15 July 2022

With a Whimper – The Fall of Snake Island

Seth Cropsey

Perception and reality are difficult to untangle in any conflict. But the Ukraine War is the first great power conflict waged fully in the Information Age. Both parties have sought to influence global narratives and manipulate international perception.

War is, nevertheless, a physical phenomenon. The fall of Snake Island demonstrates Russia’s physical inability to defeat Ukraine. The West should respond accordingly, pressuring Russia where it is most critical - in the maritime space.

Snake Island produced the Ukraine War’s first “internet meme”, a sign of its psychological importance to Kyiv and Moscow. The small, uninhabited outcrop’s garrison of a handful of Ukrainian Border Troops defiantly refused Russia’s demand to surrender. Ironically enough, the Russian warship that bombarded the island, the Black Sea Fleet’s flagship Moskva, was sunk some six weeks later near Snake Island.

Why NATO Is Outdated, Dangerous And Deserves To Be Abolished

Jan Oberg

Let’s look at NATO’s reaction to Russia’s ill-considered and international law-violating military action in Ukraine. From a conflict-analytical point of view, it is reasonable to say that Russia is responsible for the war but that NATO with it reckless expansion against all promises given to Russia and a series of expert warnings is responsible for the underlying conflict.

It can safely be concluded that the Western/NATO response has moved beyond the proportionality principle, beyond rationality and a realistic image of the world and its own role in it:

NATO leaders express limitless hatred of everything Russia; historically hard and time-unlimited economic sanctions have been imposed – using the illegal method of collective punishment; weapons for an estimated US$ 60-100 billion will be pumped into Ukraine to defeat Russia there. NATO has added US$ 350 billion in military expenditures since the US-instigated regime change in Kiev in 2014 and, since then, prepared Ukraine for a role in NATO. The 2% goals is now a floor, not a ceiling. Forward reaction forces shall increase from 40 000 to 300 000; US troops in Europe up to 100 000. Russian reserves in the West – some US$ 300 billion – are frozen and will likely be stolen and used to rebuild Ukraine. Russia is, for all practical purposes, cancelled from Europe.

Equipping U.S. Partners in Cyberspace is a Must


EXPERT PERSPECTIVE — As the Russia-Ukraine war continues to rage, the resilience of the Ukrainian critical infrastructure in the face of Russian cyber assaults has been an unexpected bright spot.

After the damage Russia has inflicted on Kyiv with cyber tools in previous years, Ukraine has become “quite good at cyber defense,” National Cyber Director Chris Inglis observed earlier this month. The dramatic improvement in the capabilities of Ukrainian defenders is due in part, to U.S programs that bolster the ability of key allies and partners to keep their critical infrastructure secure from authoritarian influence and other malicious cyber activity. Without these programs, Russia’s cyberattacks might have caused cascading damage across Europe and the United States. Insufficient U.S. funding, however, has hindered the growth of cyber capacity building efforts in vulnerable allies and partners, weakening U.S. security in the process.

The West Worries Too Much About Escalation in Ukraine

Dan Altman

As the world looks on while Ukrainians fight for their lives and their freedom, many feel a burning desire to do more to support them. The problem is not a lack of forces or resources—it is fear of provoking a wider, perhaps nuclear, war with Russia. That fear is why U.S. President Joe Biden and other NATO leaders have consistently made clear that they will not intervene directly in the conflict, instead limiting their help to weapons, money, intelligence, and sanctions. As devastating as events in Ukraine are today, a nuclear war with Russia could kill more people than Ukraine’s entire population of roughly 44 million.

NATO leaders understand that they must walk this fine line between aiding Ukraine and risking war with Russia, but they have no theory of how to do it. The German and French governments hem and haw about whether to provide Ukraine with tanks. When Poland proposed a plan to transfer MiG-29 fighter aircraft to Ukraine, the United States refused. U.S. Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby warned that it “raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance” and therefore was not “tenable.” Yet the United States was already shipping Javelin antitank missiles and Stinger surface-to-air missiles. Soon after, it began sending other weapons, including M777 howitzers and now HIMARS multiple rocket launchers. What is the difference? Those weapons do more to strengthen Ukraine’s combat power than MiG-29s, so the theory cannot be that Russia reacts more strongly to policies that do more harm to its interests. Why, then, missiles and artillery but not planes? The answer is that there is no answer. It is simply arbitrary.

Army acquisition exec pushes for joint JADC2 office, large-scale exercise


MCCLEAN, VA: A senior Army official today floated the idea of a new, high-level Joint All Domain Command and Control-focused office, along with a large scale exercise, to help coordinate and focus the Pentagon’s efforts in its infamously nebulous and currently disparate JADC2 push.

Speaking at the NDIA JADC2: All Domain Warfare Symposium, Doug Bush, the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, likened the envisioned JADC2 office to the Joint Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft System Office (JCO), which is overseen by the Army. Though with a much smaller scope than JADC2, the JCO has helped to prioritize investments from a joint perspective and, Bush said, a similar office at the level of the office of the secretary of defense could do the same for the Pentagon.

Thinking clever - the UK's Defence AI Strategy

Simona R. Soare
The UK’s Defence Artificial Intelligence Strategy is a blueprint for transforming the British defence establishment and its armed forces into an ‘effective, efficient, trusted and influential Defence organisation.’ The ambition is to embrace the advantages of artificial intelligence (AI) for defence, mitigate the risks, and make the UK a global leader in the responsible use of AI as part of a ‘once-in-a-generation’ defence modernisation.

Published 15 June, the strategy hits the right notes: it contains a clear threat and vulnerability assessment; proposes concrete solutions to build societal, political, and military support for AI adoption; and recognises how organisational transformation can drive successful innovation. But the strategy still needs to get the human talent and digital enablers right; manage expectations of specific deliverables; and set metrics for measuring progress.
The right approach

Why Vladimir Putin Won’t Retreat on Ukraine

William Lamping

Russia’s war in Ukraine has deep historical roots. Building on his previous assertion that Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Russians are “one people”, and his February declaration that a “special military operation” was necessary to demilitarize Ukraine and protect the people of Ukraine’s Donbass region, Russian president Vladimir Putin likened himself to Peter the Great and the war in Ukraine to Russia’s conquest of the Baltic from Sweden. In a June 10 speech commemorating the 350th anniversary of the birth of Peter the Great, Putin emphasized that Russia’s first emperor took nothing from Sweden but rather had returned territory to Russia. Noting that no European country recognized Russia’s claim before Peter’s conquest, Putin stated that Russia’s mission in Ukraine was “to restore and to strengthen” its state sovereignty by reincorporating historical territory.

Putin’s recent comments are more than a personal comparison to Peter the Great; they are an elaboration of Russian grand strategy practiced over the centuries. Originally the political project of medieval prince Ivan III, Russian rulers have sought control of the former territory of Kievan Rus—now part of Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia—for centuries. Under Peter the Great, this unification project became an imperial enterprise declared 301 years ago after Russia’s victory over Sweden in the Great Northern War. As shown by recent Russian proposals to annex occupied southern Ukraine and the Donbass region, Peter’s imperial project lives on.

Can America Overcome a Century of Challenge?

David Rieff

IT IS almost impossible to overstate the gift that Vladimir Putin’s decision to try to subjugate Ukraine represents for U.S. interests in Europe. For whatever happens on the battlefield—and one must be careful here: despite Kyiv’s heroic but also surprisingly successful resistance so far, the outcome of the war is still far from clear—the United States will emerge from the conflict having achieved strategic goals in Europe that appeared completely out of reach as recently as six months ago. NATO has regained its coherence and, assuming Turkey’s opposition can be overcome, with Finnish and Swedish accession will expand not in a way that adds to its responsibilities without strengthening its capacities—as was the case in the Baltics—but immensely increase its power and resources. Germany, for all the double game it is playing on importing Russian energy, has finally entered what might be called the “post-post-Hitler era” and will rearm. The EU’s economic withdrawal from Russia will remove a great deal of the leverage Moscow previously could exercise in Brussels. And, less measurably, the anti-Americanism of many Europeans will now have to at least coexist with the understanding that it is Russia that poses the existential threat. Not since the days of John Paul II has the balance shifted to such an extent, and in my more whimsical moments, I sometimes wonder why the conspiracy theorists on both the Right and the Left who believe Putin was pushed into war by NATO expansion and that the Maidan Revolution was, in reality, a Western coup don’t instead accuse the Russian leader of being a U.S. agent of influence.

What Environmental Regulations Mean for Fab Construction

Hideki Uno and Benjamin Glanz

Recognizing the inherent vulnerability of the global chip supply chain to black swan events and looming geopolitical trends, U.S. policymakers have sought to encourage chip companies to build fabrication facilities (fabs) on U.S. soil. The CHIPS for America Act, notably, would provide $52 billion in support for domestic semiconductor manufacturing.

Industry is also responding to new global uncertainties and opportunities. Semiconductor manufacturers Intel, Samsung, and GlobalWafers recently announced new plans to build fabrication facilities in the U.S.

Any semiconductor company looking to build a factory in the U.S., however, is required to navigate a complex network of local and federal environmental regulations. While these regulations are necessary to minimize the environmental impact of any proposed facility, the process of securing governmental permits is time-consuming and expensive. In this blog, we explore the current environmental permitting process and how the U.S. can realize both speedy permitting and good environmental stewardship.

Can Ukraine win the war?

Lawrence Freedman

In my first piece after the start of the Russian’s war in Ukraine, I argued that Vladimir Putin had made a huge blunder and that Russia could not win. I reached this judgement partly because Moscow had apparently failed its immediate objectives, despite enjoying the advantage of surprise on 24 February. I was cautious about how the clash of arms would play out because I assumed the Russians would soon learn to adjust to Ukrainian tactics and capabilities. (By my second piece, which I wrote on 27 February, I was more impressed by Russian military incompetence and sought to explain why this would continue to affect its operational performance.)

I believed that Putin would fail because this enterprise was launched on the basis of a deluded view that Ukraine was a country lacking both a legitimate government and a national identity, and so would therefore crumble quickly. On that first day, he expected to take down the Ukrainian government and replace it with a puppet. Even if this plan had succeeded, the Ukrainians would probably have continued to fight against a Russian occupation. But we can imagine how, if the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky had been killed or abducted, the Russians would have instructed a compliant government to invite their forces in to remove “Nazi” usurpers in Kyiv – though the invitation would have been retrospective. This is what happened in December 1979 in Afghanistan: the Soviet Union removed one leader in Kabul and inserted another, who then requested the Russian military intervention that was already under way.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa Is Finally Resigning. What’s Next for Sri Lanka?

Rathindra Kuruwita

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who rode the crest of popularity to secure 6.9 million votes to become the executive president of Sri Lanka in 2019, was deposed on July 9 by the Sri Lankan people. Hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans, who had poured into the capital Colombo that day, stormed his office and residence to literally drive him out of power.

His landslide win in 2019 was followed by another victory in the general elections of 2020, when his Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party won an overwhelming majority in parliament. However, these massive victories were not enough to protect him from the fury of the people on July 9.

A rookie who had never been tested politically, Rajapaksa surrounded himself with leaders of big business. He made a series of policy errors; foremost among these was a disastrous agricultural policy that plunged the country into crisis.

Four (updated) ways the war in Ukraine might end

Barry Pavel, Peter Engelke, and Jeffrey Cimmino

It’s the war that was both eminently predictable and roundly unpredicted. If ever there has been a conflict that underscored the urgent need in the policy world for strategic foresight, it’s the one currently raging in Ukraine. For months, our foresight experts have been projecting how the war could break out and, once it did, how it could unfold next. In this latest installment, Barry Pavel, Peter Engelke, and Jeffrey Cimmino revisit their March forecasts for four different scenarios.

In early March, soon after Russia invaded Ukraine, we proposed four scenarios for how the war might unfold. At that time, we noted that several factors suggested it was turning in the West’s favor, including popular international support for Ukraine, Kyiv’s determination to fight, and newfound transatlantic solidarity. Since then, Russia’s initial offensive has collapsed, transatlantic allies and partners have become bolder in their actions, and NATO appears poised to admit Finland and Sweden.

Here’s Why Joe Biden’s Saudi Arabia Trip Is Doomed To Fail

Michael Rubin

Why Joe Biden’s Saudi Arabia Trip Looks Problematic At Best: Soon after he joined Barack Obama’s ticket in 2008, Joe Biden decided that he would highlight his foreign policy credentials by questioning not only George W. Bush’s management of the Afghanistan war, but also sitting Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Not only Kabul but also Tehran noticed the criticism. “Americans are trying to call into question the president’s [Karzai’s] popularity and damage his standing in Afghanistan to replace him with another individual in the forthcoming presidential elections,” Iran’s official state television announced in a special bulletin.

Obama and Biden may have targeted their remarks to the U.S. audience, but what happens in Washington doesn’t stay in Washington. Karzai neither forgot nor forgave Biden for what he saw as a personal attack, as Biden discovered during his first trip to Kabul as vice president. Biden’s meeting with Karzai grew so heated that eventually Biden just left. The episode did have one important result: It accelerated Karzai’s shift away from the West and into the hands of various anti-American conspiracy theorists. Unfortunately, that episode is now the rule rather than the exception.

India’s Gamble in Afghanistan

Tricia Bacon and Asfandyar Mir

Since taking power last summer, Afghanistan’s Taliban-led government has been isolated internationally; not a single country has yet recognized it. But in recent weeks, Taliban officials have made a series of increasingly public overtures to a once unlikely prospective partner: India. And the interest has been reciprocated, to some extent. At a regional security summit in Tajikistan in late May, Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval urged Afghanistan’s neighbors to provide counterterrorism aid to the war-torn country. On June 2, a delegation of senior Indian officials traveled to Kabul to meet with Taliban leaders. And on June 23, India reopened its diplomatic mission in Afghanistan.

In return for India’s tacit recognition, the Taliban are reportedly ready to act on intelligence against some of the major jihadi groups—including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS)—that have traditionally found a haven in Afghanistan. The Taliban have long resisted pressure to act against foreign militants operating in Afghanistan. If their statements to the Indian government are accurate, it would mark a significant shift in the group’s approach to long-standing foreign militant allies.

Cyberattacks in Baltics foreshadow future of war


As the fighting in Ukraine drags on, another conflict is taking shape elsewhere on Russia’s periphery. This borderless conflict is aimed at destabilizing the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, but can and likely will expand to engulf others.

Last month, Lithuanian government and public service Web portals were hit by a sustained cyberattack from Russian hackers. The attack was a response to Lithuanian enforcement of a European Union sanctions package on goods traveling to and from Kaliningrad, a Russian territory located between Lithuania and Poland. In taking responsibility for the attack, Russian hackers promised that more would be forthcoming.

“The attack will continue until Lithuania lifts the blockade,” a spokesman for the group told Reuters. “We have demolished 1,652 Web resources. And that’s just so far.”

German-Chinese Trade Relations: How Dependent is the German Economy on China?

Andreas Baur and Lisandra Flach

In recent decades, China has risen to become Germany’s most important trading partner for international trade in goods. Has Germany become too dependent from trade with China? An analysis using direct and indirect value-added linkages along the supply chain shows that China plays an important, but by no means dominant role for Germany as a supplier or destination market. However, in a survey conducted by the ifo Institute, 46% of German firms in the manufacturing sector state that they currently depend on important intermediate inputs from China. Of those, almost half of the firms are planning to reduce imports from China in the future. The most frequently mentioned reasons for reducing imports from China are the desire to decrease dependencies and increase diversification, increased freight costs and disruptions in transportation, as well as political uncertainty. An analysis at the product level shows that the German economy depends on several critical industrial goods and raw materials from China.

Hybrid CoE Paper 14: AI-based technologies in hybrid conflict: The future of influence operations

Nicolas Mazzucchi

Emerging information technologies, especially AI-based ones, could initiate a new major evolution in military influence operations. With the possibility to generate fake individuals, fake videos and a false consensus over an issue, hybrid warfare may enter a new era. Moreover, lower ranked military powers and non-state actors could benefit from increasingly easier access to these technologies. This Hybrid CoE Paper explores the changing landscape of influence operations and concludes that NATO, the EU and European countries need to update the doctrine and process for influence and counter-influence operations using the information domain; develop internal capabilities to detect and counter deepfakes; and train dedicated staff.

Is Europe Serious About Defense?

Alexander Mattelaer

Slowly but surely Europeans are getting serious about defense. Military expenditure is trending upward, readiness is being rebuilt, and collective defense has again become the focal point of defense staffs in European capitals. This has as much to do with changing threat perceptions following Russia’s resort to force to upend the European security architecture as with the realization that the transatlantic relationship needs fundamental repair after the U.S. presidency of Donald Trump.

In the process, Europeans are rediscovering the importance of NATO as the organization of choice for organizing their collective defense. The EU’s defense ambitions remain welded to the paradigm of crisis management and reducing the fragmentation of defense industrial markets. The tension underlying this institutional dynamic has fundamentally to do with the question of whether the authority to wield force must remain with national governments or be transferred to a competent supranational authority. The NATO membership bids submitted by Finland and Sweden speak volumes in this regard.

Tibet: Barriers to Settling an Unresolved Conflict

Tibetans continue to experience egregious human rights abuses, as Chinese authorities impose increasingly harsh restrictions on religious and cultural life and restrict their ability to enjoy the fundamental rights they are entitled to under international law. For decades, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has sought to address the aspirations of the Tibetan people for rights and freedom through dialogue. From 2002 to 2010, ten rounds of dialogue between Chinese officials and representatives were conducted, without any concrete results. Chinese authorities continue to impose conditions on a return to dialogue, including an insistence that the Dalai Lama concede that Tibet has been a part of China since antiquity. He has refused because such a claim is not rooted in historical fact.

United States policy, per the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002, seeks to promote dialogue without preconditions between Tibetans and the Chinese government and to “explore activities to improve prospects for dialogue, that leads to a negotiated agreement on Tibet,” as well as to encourage the Chinese government “to address the aspirations of the Tibetan people with regard to their distinct historical, cultural, religious, and linguistic identity.”

The IT Army of Ukraine

For several years prior to the Russian invasion, the principal idea of creating a cyber volunteer army had been bouncing around in Ukrainian government circles. In part those discussions were informed by the success of the Estonian Defence League's Cyber Unit and other efforts around the globe. In contrast to these well-​established and purely defensive cyber volunteering efforts, the IT Army of Ukraine was stood up in an ad-​hoc manner without a clearly structured and proven plan. This CSS Cyberdefense Report provides the first-​ever comprehensive analysis of the IT Army’s structure, tasking, and ecosystem.

Sustaining and Growing the U.S. Semiconductor Advantage: A Primer

Owen Daniels, Will Hunt


The United States and several allies and partners presently enjoy an advantage over China in collectively producing the advanced semiconductors necessary for artificial intelligence (AI) and other leading-edge computing technologies. This advantage stems from their tight control over many parts of the semiconductor supply chain, including over design and advanced inputs to production like the semiconductor manufacturing equipment (SME) necessary for advanced chips, and it has promoted comparatively safe and ethical technology development. Yet the complexities of the global semiconductor industry do not guarantee a future edge for the United States and other democratic chipmaking leaders amid strategic competition with China.

Despite its advantages in research, equipment, design software, and intellectual property (IP), the United States lacks onshore semiconductor fabrication facilities (fabs) that covert these and other inputs into leading-edge chips. This reality could undermine the country’s chip access and its leading role in advanced semiconductor supply chains. The United States overwhelmingly depends on Taiwanese and South Korean manufacturers for leading-edge logic chip imports, exposing its access to geopolitical risk. Meanwhile, China hopes to lessen its long-term dependence on foreign advanced chips by supporting its domestic manufacturers like SMIC and YMTC and, increasingly, by investing across other parts of the semiconductor supply chain. With unfettered access to advanced chips, China could pursue leading-edge computing capabilities in AI and other areas that threaten the interests, values, and security of the United States and its allies.

Sri Lanka’s Collapse Points to Global Gloom

Source Link

On the menu today: You probably saw that footage of seemingly unending throngs of people swarming and overtaking the president’s residence and prime minister’s house in Sri Lanka. Our Dominic Pino has been keeping an eye on that troubled island nation for a while, and he lays out the sadly predictable path to chaos: a dumb ban on chemical fertilizers, corruption and mismanagement, the interruption of the usual trade routes and tourism, and a devastating wave of runaway inflation. Meanwhile, down in Georgia, there’s good reason to doubt that Quinnipiac survey showing Herschel Walker trailing Senator Rafael Warnock by ten points.

Why Sri Lanka Suddenly Matters

Back in March, as the world was still watching the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Reuters filed an ominous dispatch from Sri Lanka about the consequences of its government’s attempt to ban the use of artificial fertilizers:

Germany bolsters defenses against Russian cyber threats

The German government on Tuesday announced plans to shore up cyber defenses in light of possible new threats from Russia.

Several major cyberattacks around the world have been traced to Russian intelligence-linked hackers in recent years.

Amid worsening relations with Moscow, Germany's government fears the war in Ukraine will exacerbate the threat.
What is planned?

The new measures involve promoting cyber resilience among small- and medium-sized enterprises. That would apply to "critical infrastructure," businesses involved in transport, food, health, energy and water supply.

Europe’s Worst Energy Nightmare Is Becoming Reality

Christina Lu

As Russian gas cutoffs upend European energy security, the continent is struggling to cope with what experts say is one of its worst-ever energy crises—and it could still get much worse.

For months, European leaders have been haunted by the prospect of losing Russia’s natural gas supply, which accounts for some 40 percent of European imports and has been a crucial energy lifeline for the continent. That nightmare is now becoming a painful reality as Moscow slashes its flows in retaliation for Europe’s support for Ukraine, dramatically increasing energy prices and forcing many countries to resort to emergency plans, and as backup energy suppliers such as Norway and North Africa are failing to step up.

“This is the most extreme energy crisis that has ever occurred in Europe,” said Alex Munton, an expert on global gas markets at Rapidan Energy Group, a consultancy. “Europe [is] looking at the very real prospect of not having sufficient gas when it’s most needed, which is during the coldest part of the year.”

Generating the Fog of War or Conducting Military Statecraft?

Michael B. “Bulldog” Kelley

Prior to 9-11, Special Operations Forces (SOF) were integrated into operations predominantly led by conventional forces. During the reestablishment period of formal SOF capability in the 1980s, the Service leadership required Congressional action to establish permanent and sustained SOF capabilities within their own formations. In 1987, U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) established its headquarters in Tampa, Florida, a first for the SOF community since the disbanding of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) at the end of World War II. Public Law 99-661, established in 1986 directed USSOOCM in Section 167 with the requirement to “develop strategy, doctrine, and tactics.” Arguably, USSOCOM has mastered the doctrine and tactics, but military leaders, SOF practitioners, and academics are still working to define an agreeable definition of strategy and theory of SOF.

During the 1990s, SOF along with their conventional counterparts struggled to define doctrinal and strategic applications after the Cold War ended. In 1995, Major Ken Tovo, captured this challenge when observing that Army Special Forces have a “dual mission focus” to provide unconventional warfare (UW) and foreign internal defense (FID), and this gives senior military leaders an “indirect” capability to enable shaping the environment and providing capability below the threshold of war.[1] The Gulf War in 1991 marked the pinnacle of SOF integration into conventional operations, and arguably solidified their role in the coming decade due to the extreme versatility shown to them. Outside of the direct action and counterterrorism formations, the Army Special Forces, Civil Affairs, and Psychological Operations played major roles in providing geographical combatant commanders with unique capabilities not reticent in the conventional formations of the 1990s. Yair Ansbacher and Rom Schieifer noted the period from 1946 to 2001 as the “second age of SOF” where “SOF represented a governmental tool that may be overt or covert, designed to foment rebellion and create proxy and guerrilla forces, or to fight guerrilla forces to further national interests, while in both instances maintaining a degree of obscurity.”[2] These applications are warranting increased focus as SOF strategists and planners are adjusting to the new strategic challenges post Afghanistan and Iraq.

Pakistan: Returning Scourge In North Waziristan

Tushar Ranjan Mohanty

On July 6, 2022, an Army soldier, Sepoy Waheed Khan (23), a resident of Nowshera District, was killed during an exchange of fire with terrorists in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

On July 3, 2022, one terrorist was killed during an exchange of fire in North Waziristan District, when a group of terrorists from Afghanistan attempted to break the border fence near the Kanjeera and Wargar Sar military posts. One trooper, identified as Saqib, suffered injuries in the encounter.

On July 2, 2022, at least three terrorists were killed in an intelligence-based operation (IBO) in the general area of Ghulam Khan Kalay in North Waziristan District. The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said, the “killed terrorists remained actively involved in terrorist activities against security forces”. Arms and ammunition were seized from the slain terrorists.

Xi Jinping Might Think He Can Handle His Own ‘Ukraine’

Grant Newsham

Chinese leader Xi Jinping, like many people, may have been surprised by Russia’s failure to conquer Ukraine in a matter of days – owing in large measure to unexpectedly fierce Ukrainian resistance. In addition the Americans and the Europeans – even the Germans – imposing wide-ranging economic and financial sanctions on the Russians, and providing the Ukrainians with massive military aid must have surprised Beijing.

Indeed, some analysts suggested Putin’s difficulties with Ukraine might force Xi to decide an assault on Taiwan was too hard for the foreseeable future.

But now that four months have passed, Xi might look at what has happened in Ukraine, and to the Russians, and think he’s got a reasonable shot at Taiwan – and can absorb whatever punishment the U.S. and allies can apply.

Don’t Sleep on China’s Global Develop­ment Initiative

Fikayo Akeredolu

It’s been a hectic few weeks in international relations and development policy circles, with significant implications for Asian and Pacific countries.

First was the BRICS Business Forum on June 23, attended by the top leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Then came the High-Level Dialogue on Global Development on June 24, attended by leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, and a selection of non-BRICS countries: Cambodia, Argentina, Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Senegal, Thailand, and Uzbekistan. Two days later, leaders from seven of the world’s wealthiest countries (the G-7) met from June 26 to 28.

While there was much to discuss internally within these groups, a general thread from each meeting was international development, especially as the world continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and now the fall out of the Russia-Ukraine war.

What Xi Jinping’s Personality Means for Taiwan’s Deterrence

Julian Spencer-Churchill & Liu Zongzo

Taiwan’s security depends on a robust deterrence, tailored to the threat of a Chinese attack decided in the specific decision-making circumstances in Beijing. This depends to a large extent on the personality and objectives of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping, particularly as he is most likely to be leader at the moment of the Chinese power transition supplanting the United States. Deducing foreign policy from personality profiles has a dubious record, especially because leaders are sufficiently rational to dominate a political system by adapting to it. However, in cases of highly centralized totalitarian systems, particularly in instances where individuals rule with small cabinets, decision-making may become dangerously optimistic regarding the use of force.

Most assessments of Xi, such as that by George Washington University professor David Shambaugh in China’s Leaders, identify him as far more politically authoritarian than his three predecessors: Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin or Hu Jintao. Geremie Barmé, elaborating on Fang Zhou’s 2022 Objective Evaluation of Xi Jinping, concludes that Xi, like Russian President Vladimir Putin, is under the spell of totalitarian nostalgia. Xi idolizes Mao Zedong and is pursuing every means in order to remain in power indefinitely, including a dramatic increase in repression, erosion of the rule of law, and feeding of a cult of personality. Xi’s pursuit of absolute power increases the war proneness of China by creating a difunctionally misinformed Politburo.

The Time Is Right: Why Japan and South Korea Should Get the Bomb

Seung-Whan Choi

For more than half a century, one of the United States’ grand strategic missions has been to inhibit the proliferation of nuclear weapons. This strategic mission has been successful to the extent that the United States prevented the global spread of the most destructive, indiscriminate, and inhumane weapons. Since almost all U.S. allies believe in the efficacy of the U.S. nuclear umbrella, nuclearization is a pursuit of those beyond its reach.

However, the international security environment has changed dramatically in recent years. Above all, China and North Korea have expanded their capabilities to project military power globally, emerging as the biggest security threats to East Asian countries and the United States. As global hegemonic power is slipping through Washington’s fingers, the United States faces increased difficulties balancing the two new military aggressors alone.