16 July 2022

China’s Deep Space Radar May Have Military Uses

China has started building what it calls “the world’s most far-reaching radar” in the country’s southwest – a facility that could also have a military purpose, an analyst warned.

Chinese broadcaster CGTN said the new high-definition deep-space active observation facility code-named “China Fuyan,” or “Facetted Eye” for its resemblance to an insect’s eye, is being built in Chongqing Municipality.

The radar system would help “better safeguard Earth” by boosting “the country’s defense capabilities against near-Earth asteroids as well as its sensing capability for the Earth-Moon system,” the state-run broadcaster said.

What Lies Behind Chinese Delegation’s Visit to Nepal?

Santosh Sharma Poudel

Liu Jianchao, the head of the International Liaison Department of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), completed his four-day visit to Nepal on July 13. He led a six-member delegation and called upon Nepali President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka, and leaders of major parties. His visit was one of a flurry of high-level visits by Chinese and U.S. delegations in recent months.

Liu’s visit came at a critical juncture in Nepali and world politics. Accordingly, his visit is significant for domestic Nepali politics, Sino-Nepal bilateral relations, and global geopolitics.

Liu’s visit to Nepal was aimed at improving China’s relations with the Nepali Congress, Nepal’s ruling party. China is not very fond of Deuba or his party, the NC. Beijing views Deuba as a pro-India and pro-U.S. leader.

Japan Enters a New Phase in Its History

George Friedman

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated last week. Days later, his political party won an overwhelming majority in parliament. The Liberal Democratic Party certainly saw a bump from sympathy votes, but the election result was for the most part a statement about where the Japanese public stands on the major issue of Article 9, which was written into the Japanese constitution under the supervision of Douglas MacArthur, commander of the U.S. occupation force in Japan. Article 9 forbade Japan from having any military force. It was a decision Washington came to regret.

Japan changed dramatically after World War II. It became a democracy and saw remarkable economic growth. The United States needed allies against the Soviet Union in the Pacific, and Japan was in a critical geographic position. The main Soviet port on the Pacific was Vladivostok, but Soviet ships couldn’t reach the wider Pacific without traversing the narrow passages between Japan’s major islands.

BRICS: China Remains the Primary Challenge for India

Mark S. Cogan & Vivek Mishra

With the world’s attention focused squarely on Ukraine, the leaders of the five BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – met virtually at the 14th Summit, hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping. While some of the focus of the meeting was centered on the possibility of expanding the group into Iran, Argentina, and/or Pakistan, India was able to steer clear of the rancor raised by their Chinese and Russian counterparts at Western countries, instead focusing mainly on the humanitarian situation unfolding in Ukraine.

Modi, who met with G7 leaders in southern Germany, managed to avoid the diplomatic pitfalls that would have been injurious to India’s relationship with the United States. Likewise, refraining from joining the Western chorus on Russia while knowing Moscow would be the principal target of criticism at the G7 allowed India to balance two delicate bilateral relationships.

Five Space Lessons Russia’s Invasion Taught Ukraine


Mere months ago, Ukraine’s space program struggled to compete for funding and wasn’t seen as integral to national defense–but that’s completely changed now, the former head of its space agency said at the Space Innovation Summit on Monday.

Before Russia’s February invasion, Ukrainian officials viewed space as “not so critical for national defense–that you should not spend a lot of money on space–because it's expensive, and you should maybe spend on something much more clear, down to Earth. It will be easier to explain after and before the elections,” said Volodymyr Usov, former chairman of the State Space Agency of Ukraine.

Kyiv officials “had years of discussions” but never committed the funding to obtain its own imagery satellites. It was completely reliant on Western partners and commercial imagery from firms like Maxar to show the world what was happening when Russia invaded.

Why the Russian military should be very worried

Lawrence Freedman

In my last piece I asked whether Ukraine could win its war with Russia, to which I answered that it could, although it was not yet clear whether it would. In this piece I want to expand on one of the reasons I came to this conclusion.

I suggested that the Ukrainian forces would not follow the same tactics as the Russian ones, and would instead seek to exploit the accuracy of the long-range artillery delivered by Western countries. They would concentrate “on supply lines, bases, and command centres, making opportunistic advances, using guerrilla tactics in the city against the occupying forces, leaving Russian troops uncertain about where the next attack is coming from”. All these things have been happening over the past week.

I went on to suggest that this could start to pose awkward choices for the Russian high command. It would need to consider its long-term position and how to maintain its forces to deal with future threats, other than Ukraine. Russia would not be able to “afford an inch-by-inch retreat to the border, taking losses all the way”. This is the point I wish to explore further.

China Is Stealing Taiwan’s Sand

Elisabeth Braw

At the end of April, the Taiwan Coast Guard Administration received a new frigate, the Hsinchu. At 4,000 tons, it’s a massive beast and was immediately assigned for duty in Taiwan’s Northern Pacific Flotilla to protect one of Taiwan’s most precious maritime resources: sand. China is increasing its dredging of sand in the islands’ waters. It’s a devious activity that gets Beijing much-needed sand—and presents Taiwan with large expenses and maritime degradation.

“The Hsinchu is the second of four planned CGA [Coast Guard Administration] frigates and is equipped with three high-pressure water cannons that are able to shoot at targets up to 120 meters away,” Taiwan News reported when the new frigate was received. Around the time of the Hsinchu’s arrival, the CGA also received the fourth and fifth of 12 planned offshore patrol vessels. The frigates alone will cost Taiwan almost $400 million.

Russia Seems to Be Running Low on Drones


Russia, which used drones to terrifying effect in its initial 2014 invasion of Ukraine, appears in the current campaign to be losing both small and large drones at a rapid pace.

Jake Sullivan, the Biden administration’s national security advisor, said on Monday that Iran was preparing to send “several hundred UAVs, including weapons-capable UAVs, on an expedited timeline” to Russia. That’s on top of recent reports out of Russia where regional officials have vowed to dig into their general budgets to buy the Russian Army more quadcopters.

Russia has likely lost dozens of their signature strike drone, the Orlan-10, in the early days of the war, said Sam Bendett, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and an adviser at the CNA Corporation. They’ve also lost a large percentage of their small fleet of more sophisticated Orion combat drones. He put the losses for the Orion in the single digits but that still makes up a large portion of them.

Two Years After Border Clashes, India Still Lacks a Coherent China Policy

Jabin T. Jacob

It has been over two years since Chinese incursions in the summer of 2020 along the disputed India-China boundary in eastern Ladakh led to a series of skirmishes that left dozens of soldiers dead on both sides. Yet unlike a February 2019 confrontation with Pakistan, which resulted in an Indian airstrike on Pakistani territory and a tense standoff between the two nuclear-armed neighbors, the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appears content to relegate the tensions with China over Ladakh to the margins of national consciousness.

The sum total of New Delhi’s response to China’s violations of treaties and international law has been to ban over 200 Chinese apps; capture and then withdraw from some strategic heights overlooking the disputed border—known as the Line of Actual Control, or LAC—in Ladakh; impose restrictions on Chinese foreign direct investment in India; and move closer to the United States, which China sees as its principal strategic competitor. All the while, it has let China slow-roll the interminable bilateral negotiations at the military and diplomatic levels to resolve the dispute at the border. The talks have so far led to disengagement from only a few locations along the LAC, while the other part of the process aimed at deescalation and the reduction of forces built up along the LAC since the clashes has yet to take place at all.

Protesters storm Sri Lanka's prime minister's office, as president flees country without resigning

Iqbal Athas, Rukshana Rizwie, Tara John and Hannah Ritchie

Colombo, Sri Lanka (CNN)Sri Lanka's political and economic crisis escalated as protesters stormed the prime minister's office on Wednesday, demanding the country's leaders step down after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled to the Maldives without resigning.
Rajapaksa had been expected to formally resign Wednesday but instead left the crisis-hit nation and appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as its acting leader, citing a section of the constitution that allows a prime minister to "discharge the powers, duties and functions of the office of president" when the president is ill or "absent" from Sri Lanka.
Wickremesinghe was also due to formally resign "to make way for an all-party government."
The lack of resignations further enraged protesters, who want both leaders to vacate their roles as the country's 22 million people struggle to buy basic goods, fuel and medicine.
Hundreds of demonstrators breached the compound of the prime minister's office in Sri Lanka's largest city Colombo on Wednesday and entered the premises, according to footage from the scene and local witnesses.

The Ukraine War Is About to Enter a Dangerous New Phase

Thomas L. Friedman

When trying to explain the recent improvements in the Russian Army’s operations in Ukraine, some Ukrainian officials have taken to saying, “All the dumb Russians are dead.” It’s a backhanded compliment, meaning that the Russians have finally figured out a more effective way to fight this war since their incompetent early performance that got thousands of them killed.

Precisely because the Ukraine war seems to have settled into a grinding war of attrition — with Russia largely standing back and just shelling and rocketing Ukrainian cities in the east, turning them to rubble and then inching forward — you might think the worst of this conflict is over.

The War in Ukraine Has Made the European Chips Initiative Out of Date

Daniel Gros

The crucial importance of electronic chips for modern industries has been amply illustrated by the way a shortage of them has held back European automobile production over the last year. The full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia has further shown the critical importance of access to this technology.

Although the European Chips Initiative was conceived before the war broke out, it must now be measured both as an instrument of industrial policy and one of geo-strategy. Unfortunately, it has serious shortcomings on both accounts.

The first question one has to ask is why the EU should support the chips industry. Nobody denies its importance. But many other sectors are important as well (software, AI, pharma, etc.) and the state cannot support them all. Public support is justified only if market mechanisms prove inadequate, e.g. in the case of nascent or “infant” industries. However, the chip industry is not an infant industry. The European chip industry is simply too old. It received support in the past and then stopped researching cutting-edge innovations. Why should this time be any different?

The Future is Now: The Use of 3D-Printed Guns by Extremists and Terrorists

Rajan Basra

Over the past three years, the threat of extremists and terrorists making 3D-printed guns has changed from a hypothetical to a realised scenario. Since 2019, there have been at least nine examples of extremists, terrorists, or paramilitaries making, or attempting to make, 3D-printed guns in Europe and Australia. This unprecedented surge in cases gives a glimpse of a future where such occurrences may become routine. While we have already seen their proliferation among criminals, we are now witnessing extremists worldwide searching for, downloading, sharing, and manufacturing 3D-printed gun designs.

Analysis of these recent cases reveals four insights. First, 3D-printed guns have gained traction among the far-right—accounting for all but one case—with examples appearing in five countries. The only exception is a dissident republican paramilitary group in Northern Ireland. Jihadists, meanwhile, are noticeably absent. Second, many of these cases also involve attempts to make explosives, meaning that 3D-printed guns have supplemented—and not replaced—existing threats. Third, 3D printing is not a shortcut to acquiring a gun, as the process still involves considerable time and effort. It remains to be seen whether their arrival has shortened the attack planning process. Fourth, at least one extremist had joined the leading 3D printing gun forum, using it to obtain guidance on his firearms and explosives, seemingly unbeknown to its moderators.

Sanctions Against Russia

Dr. Stefan Meister, Dr. David Jalilvand

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to the imposition of massive sanctions by Western countries. Given Russia’s importance to the global commodity markets, however, key sectors of the Russian economy have so far been excluded from the European and US sanctions, including the raw materials and banking sectors. The exemptions are intended to contain high costs for Western countries, in order to avoid undermining support for the sanctions within their populations. Russia is an important supplier not only of oil, gas, and coal, but also of metals such as nickel and palladium, as well as fertilizers and grain. For Germany and other EU countries it is the main supplier of natural gas, which is more difficult to be substituted on the global markets than coal and oil. Accordingly, sanctions against Russia not only affect the countries imposing the sanctions, but also the world economy.

Metaverse: Opportunities, risks and policy implications

One of the most talked about concepts in modern technology, the metaverse can be described as an immersive and constant virtual 3D world where people interact by means of an avatar to carry out a wide range of activities. Such activities can range from leisure and gaming to professional and commercial interactions, financial transactions or even health interventions such as surgery. While the exact scope and impact of the metaverse on society and on the economy is still unknown, it can already be seen that the metaverse will open up a range of opportunities but also a number of risks in a variety of policy areas. Major tech companies are scaling up their metaverse activities, including through mergers and acquisitions. This has given impetus to a debate on how merger regulations and antitrust law should apply. Business in the metaverse is expected to be underpinned largely by cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens, raising issues of ownership, misuse, interoperability and portability. Furthermore, the huge volume of data used in the metaverse raises a number of data protection and cybersecurity issues (e.g. how to collect user consent or protect avatars against identity theft). There is considerable scope for a wide range of illegal and harmful behaviours and practices in the metaverse environment. This makes it essential to consider how to attribute responsibility, inter alia, for fighting illegal and harmful practices and misleading advertising practices, and for protecting intellectual property rights. Moreover, digital immersion in the metaverse can have severe negative impacts on health, especially for vulnerable groups, such as minors, who may require special protection. Finally, the accessibility and inclusiveness of the metaverse remain areas where progress has still to be made in order to create an environment of equal opportunities.

‘The Taliban Have Picked Up the Resource Curse’

Lynne O’Donnell

For decades, Afghanistan’s people have been told of the vast riches beneath their feet, untapped mineral resources potentially worth billions of dollars that the world is clamoring to explore, exploit, and export to create jobs in a world-class, sustainable industry that would catapult them into a future of peace and prosperity.

It’s not entirely a myth. Afghanistan does sit atop huge deposits of copper, iron, marble, talc, coal, lithium, chromite, cobalt, gold, lapis lazuli, gemstones, and more—making Afghanistan one of the world’s most resource-rich countries on paper. The tricky part, as it has been for the better part of two decades, is turning potential into reality.

The mining sector—which never really took off under the former Afghan government, due in no small part to security risks posed by the Taliban insurgency—has yet to fully bloom, even though those at the top of the Islamist group understand its earning and jobs-creation potential. But as the Taliban become increasingly fractured and security nationwide deteriorates, the mining sector is still just a cash cow funding the power base and survival of those who control it, not a motor for nationwide economic growth.

Why This Isn’t an Economic Crisis

Ravi Agrawal

We’re dubbing Foreign Policy’s summer 2022 magazine the “Back to the Future” issue because key aspects of global affairs seem like echoes from the past: fears about nuclear war, great-power politics, a new arms race, the return of nonalignment, a food shortage, and so much else.

In one of the essays in the magazine, FP columnist Adam Tooze takes on the perception that inflation is back to where it was in the 1970s. Although the comparison is itself an obvious one to make, Tooze writes that policymakers shouldn’t rely too much on lessons from that period.

I spoke with Tooze in an FP Live interview marking the release of FP’s print issue. You can watch the full discussion in the video below. What follows is a condensed and edited transcript.

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.”

US pressing even tougher chip bans on China


TOKYO - The US government is finding it easier to harass Chinese semiconductor producers than to support its own industry. As the CHIPS Act remains stalled in Congress and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo warns that large foreign investments are at risk, tougher US sanctions against China are reportedly in the works.

Congress has been debating for a year and a half but has not yet reconciled the House and Senate versions of the CHIPS Act, which would provide US$52 billion in subsidies to domestic and foreign semiconductor companies that invest in America.

Assessing the Role of China’s Aircraft Carriers in a Taiwan Invasion

Summary: Despite the publicity China’s carrier force has received in the press, the huge ships, as impressive as they are, may only play a secondary role in Chinese naval operations during a Taiwan invasion. The function of China’s carrier force will be to clean up any remaining opposition after Chinese forces decisively defeat the U.S. and Japanese fleets using a blizzard of cyberattack and missile barrages.

Text: China’s aircraft carriers have been in the news over the last few months. The Liaoning and its escorts conducted exercises in the South China Sea May of this year[1]. China’s second carrier and its first domestically built one, the Shandong, was recently spotted with several drones on its flight deck[2]. Meanwhile, the Chinese have just launched a third carrier, the Fujian, and planning for a fourth carrier, possibly nuclear-powered, is in the works[3]. There is even discussion of six People’s Liberation Army – Navy (PLAN) carrier groups by 2035[4].

Is A Good World Order A Dead One?

Greg Pence

The proxy war waged by the United States against Russia in Ukraine can be seen as a continuation of the same keyword that Clinton used in the Kosovo war: “globalization.” Addressing the American people in the midst of the 1999 US airstrikes in Kosovo, he said that the issue of Kosovo’s independence was about globalization and the fight against tribal thinking. The political use of the dualism of tribal thinking, in which national interests take precedence over globalization, is something that has gone beyond its original idea of a model of free trade and peace between nations.

The American political structure believes in a kind of globalization that thinks above all about the dissolution of any traditional and political forms of human societies and does not believe in the survival of national governments, indigenous and local identities, and geographical boundaries. All people and nations must be integrated into the multinational corporations and the pro-Washington political economy network, which have come together as irresponsible and transnational institutions.

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.”

Russia’s Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons and Its Views of Limited Nuclear War

Dr Sidharth Kaushal and Sam Cranny-Evans

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia’s nonstrategic nuclear arsenal has come to play an increasingly important role in its defensive plans. The definition of nonstrategic nuclear weapons in Russian parlance covers weapons with a range of less than 5,500 km. Tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) are a sub-category of nonstrategic nuclear weapons that are limited in range, typically to 500 km.

Most such weapons are in the kiloton (kt) range. For example, the nuclear capable SSC-8 carries a 10kt warhead. Notably, some Russian missiles which fall into the category of strategic weapons, such as the Layner submarine-launched ballistic missile, are also capable of carrying low-yield warheads suggesting substrategic missions. Though it has been suggested that unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is willing to resort to nuclear first use and has lower nuclear thresholds, this is not quite right. The Soviets incorporated the early use of battlefield nuclear weapons into their planning for a war in Europe. Rather, Russian thinking differs from its Soviet predecessor in that it considers the possibility of limited nuclear use as part of efforts to inflict ‘unacceptable damage’ upon an opponent within the context of a coercive strategy. This is dissimilar to the Soviets who, though they held out the possibility of avoiding strategic exchanges between the Soviet Union and the US, assumed that even tactical nuclear use in Europe would assume catastrophic proportions. For Russia, nonstrategic nuclear weapons are a controllable part of a framework for achieving both battlefield results and war termination.

U.S. State Department does “not support organized violent opposition to the Taliban”


As resistance groups step up attacks on the Taliban in Afghanistan, the U.S. State Department said it does “not support organized violent opposition” to Taliban rule. Instead, the State Department called for all warring parties to negotiate. That policy both limits the effectiveness of anti-Taliban resistance – and further reduces the U.S. military and intelligence communities’ ability to monitor and strike Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and other regional and global terror groups based in Afghanistan.

State noted its opposition to resistance to the brutal regime of the Taliban, which calls itself the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, in a response to questions from The Foreign Desk.

“We are monitoring the recent uptick in violence closely and call on all sides to exercise restraint and to engage. This is the only way that Afghanistan can confront its many challenges,” a State Department spokesperson told The Foreign Desk.

European Union demand reduction needs to cope with Russian gas cuts

Ben McWilliams,  Georg Zachmann

The share of the European Union’s gas supply provided by Russia dropped from over 40% in 2021 to just 20% in June 2022. The gap of over 300 terawatt hours in the first six months of 2022 compared to 2021 has so far been filled mostly by 240 TWh of additional imports of liquified natural gas (LNG). Gazprom has broken several long-term supply contracts with its EU commercial partners, and the risk is high that Russia will cut all supplies to the EU ahead of the winter, if it deems this strategically beneficial.

Replacement of Russian gas by LNG has largely reached its limit. Lower imports from Russia can now only be met by reducing EU gas demand. Immediate deployment of a coordinated EU approach offers the best option to reduce substantially the overall gas demand-reduction cost. For the EU as a whole, a total demand reduction over the next 10 months of about 15% compared to average demand in 2019-2021 would be required to compensate for a complete stopping of Russian pipeline imports. For EU countries (arranged into regional groupings), we calculate the required reduction as ranging from zero to -54%.

Sri Lanka’s Collapse Points to Global Gloom


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:

Infiltrate, Exploit, Manipulate: Why the Subversive Nature of Cyber Conflict Explains Both Its Strategic Promise and Its Limitations

Lennart Maschmeyer

Information technology has revolutionized modern life, driving vast increases in economic productivity and enabling entirely new social interactions. Naturally, this technology was expected to transform international conflict as well. As the World Wide Web made its debut in the 1990s, warnings of a future of cyberwar where information trumps mass emerged. Subsequently, an alternative view predicted cyber capabilities to enable revolutionary increases in the effectiveness of conventional force by acting as force multipliers. The most recent wave of revolutionary theorizing argues that cyber operations enable a novel form of strategic competition and conflict short of war marked by unprecedented strategic value independent of the use of force. These revolutionary schools have two things in common. First, they focus on select properties of information technologies to draw inferences about the impact of their use. Second, evidence of the predicted revolution and its impact remains scarce—cyber operations continue to fall short of expectations.

To understand how cyber operations matter in conflict, examining how they function and what effects they can produce in practice—rather than speculating about what they could do in theory—is essential. My research, published recently in International Security, shows that cyber operations are not entirely novel tools, nor is their impact revolutionary. Rather, they are instruments of subversion that promise great gains in theory but are constrained in practice by a crippling operational trilemma that limits strategic value. Evidence from Ukraine—in many aspects the defining battleground of cyber conflict—underlines these limitations. Understanding this trilemma is important because prevailing in cyber conflict requires alleviating its constraints in offense while leveraging them against adversaries in defense.

Chinese Political Warfare: The PLA’s Information and Influence Operations

John Lee


Material power is relatively easy to understand and quantify. Much less attention is given to nonmaterial power, which is admittedly more nebulous and difficult to assess. Even so, if power is broadly defined as the capacity to exercise or impose one’s will over another, then nonmaterial forms of power need to be taken seriously. This means understanding them, increasing one’s capacity to operationalize and exercise them, and institutionalizing their use to achieve national and security interests. The issue of nonmaterial power (especially information and influence operations, which will fall under the term political warfare) is arising because these forms of power have been taken for granted or have been largely ignored by the advanced democracies. Beijing is exploiting our complacency. There is already a rich and growing body of literature on the various information, influence, and institutional resources and activities of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This brief does not seek to reproduce the excellent work already out there.

A US history of not conducting cyber attacks

Max Smeets

The United States is a leading cyber power.

Naturally, experts have focused on deconstructing US-led cyber attacks to broaden our understanding of the nature of cyber conflict (Healey 2013). Most prominently, Operation Olympic Games—better known as Stuxnet—destroyed 1,000 centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment site. These cyber attacks did three things: They proved the ability of cyber operations to cause destruction to critical infrastructure, highlighted the role of the private sector in exposing cyber attacks, and revealed where the offense versus defense balance lies (Lindsay 2013; Slayton 2016).

But these cyber attacks are only one part of the story.

Just as important is the United States military’s history of not conducting cyber attacks—in particular, those it planned but never executed. There were numerous occasions when the US military considered conducting cyber attacks but refrained from doing so, and these have been largely overlooked as sources of insight. Part of this is due to the limited availability of information on these cases. (There are also operations the United States has tried but failed. For example, Joseph Menn reported that the United States tried a similar attack to Stuxnet against North Korea but ultimately failed because it was not able to get sufficient level of access [Menn 2015]).

US Lawmakers Want to Give India a Pass For Buying Russian Missiles


Bipartisan lawmakers want to give India more leeway to buy Russian weapons in the short term to strengthen the security partnership between the United States and India in the long term.

New Delhi buys the vast majority of its military equipment from Russia, which quickly became a global pariah following its invasion of Ukraine in February. Even as countries seek to cut ties with Moscow, lawmakers argue exempting India from secondary sanctions will give it time to end its dependency on Russia and strengthen the security partnership between Washington and New Delhi.

“They have so much of a legacy that it will take time for them to move away,” Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., told Defense One. “Sanctions would really push India further into the arms of Russia and halt the efforts that are ongoing to get India to be more aligned with the United States.”