17 July 2022

How China Wants to Replace the U.S. Order

Michael Schuman

Beijing has for years been chipping away at the pillars of the U.S.-led global order—subverting its foundational institutions, international norms, and liberal ideals—but Chinese President Xi Jinping had not offered a comprehensive vision of how a China-led replacement might work. That is changing.

Xi has collected his ideas for a new world order into the Global Security Initiative (GSI), a platform of principles on international affairs and diplomacy that, he argues, can make the world a safer place. Included are some proposals that sound appealing—countries should resolve their disputes through dialogue, respect one another’s differences, and be considerate of varying national interests to achieve “security for all,” as Xi put it in an April speech. “We need to work together to maintain peace and stability in the world,” he said. “Countries around the world are like passengers aboard the same ship who share the same destiny.”

Why the US is selling stockpiled oil to China

Louis Jacobson

Critics, including conservative media outlets, attacked President Joe Biden for selling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to a Chinese-owned company. Some of the coverage implies a connection between the sales and Chinese investments linked to Biden’s son Hunter.

Experts in the international oil markets, however, told PolitiFact that the sales were governed by U.S. law, and they see no way that the Biden family could have influenced or benefited from the sales.

“It’s a political talking point, and a ridiculous one,” said Patrick De Haan, a vice president with GasBuddy, which tracks gasoline prices.

What China’s ‘Cold War’ rulers want from U.S.

Charles Hurt, Victor Davis Hanson and Daniel N. Hoffman

Bipartisanship is rare in Washington these days. Christopher Wray is an exception — sort of. Former President Donald Trump nominated him as FBI director but soon soured on him and would have fired him had Attorney General William Barr not threatened to resign should that occur.

President Biden, upon becoming president, accepted a recommendation from the FBI Agents Association that Mr. Wray continue his 10-year term for “the stability, credibility, and integrity of the Bureau.”

Director Wray is now energetically addressing what may be the most significant threat to America’s national security. Others — on a bipartisan basis — are failing even to comprehend the threat. More on that in a moment.

So what coups might John Bolton have been involved in, exactly?

Philip Bump

Tuesday’s hearing of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol led to a remarkable admission: A member of President Donald Trump’s senior team confessed to having plotted a coup.

But not the attempted coup that occurred on Jan. 6, and not a member of Trump’s team at that point.

The admission came from former national security adviser John Bolton, and it came with the caveat that the coups he had planned were targeted at foreign countries.

Bolton made the surprising claim during an interview Tuesday with CNN’s Jake Tapper. Bolton was fired by Trump in late 2019, just before the country learned of the president’s efforts to pressure Ukraine into announcing a probe of Joe Biden. Since leaving Trump’s team, Bolton has been a fervent critic of his former boss and vice versa.

Europe’s Tiny Steps Won’t Solve Its Energy Emergency

Brenda Shaffer

The European Union and its 27 member states have invested more money, effort, and political capital in energy policy than any other region in the world. Until this year, Europe was admired globally as the gold standard for energy and climate policy. Germany’s Energiewende—or energy transition—was especially touted as a shining example of how to green the energy supply.

No one aspires to emulate the Europeans today. Germany and the EU have spiraled headfirst into the globe’s worst energy crisis since the Arab oil embargoes of the 1970s and 1980s. All across the continent, Europe’s energy policies have led to astronomical price increases, industry shutdowns, potential energy shortages, and geopolitical vulnerability. Germany, in particular, is in crisis mode and will likely see much worse, as its entire economic model—based on energy-hungry manufacturing, cheap Russian gas, and a self-mutilating shutdown of nuclear energy that Berlin still won’t reverse—is on the verge of collapsing without a plan B. In short, Europe is in a mess of its own creation.

John Bolton said he planned foreign coups. The global outcry was swift.

Adam Taylor and Ana Vanessa Herrero

“As somebody who has helped plan coups d’etat — not here but, you know, other places — it takes a lot of work, and that’s not what [President Donald Trump] did,” Bolton, who served as the top national security official in the Trump administration for 17 months before a bitter exit in 2019, told Tapper.

It was a passing reference, apparently meant as a stinging criticism of the former president rather than a bombshell admission of responsibility.

But clips of the remarks went viral online, drawing millions of views from all corners. Within hours, they had sparked official condemnation and unofficial speculation from foreign observers, especially in parts of the world where decades of U.S. intervention remain fresh memories.

A CAATSA Waiver for India: What’s Really at Stake

Chet Lee

Over the last two decades, China’s military modernization and expansion have placed it on the brink of becoming one of the most dominant forces in the world. In particular, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), now the numerically largest in the world, has been a focal point for President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party – and his efforts have been worthwhile. Already having employed coercive measures in much of the South China Sea, it is now only a matter of time until the CCP uses its PLAN to do the same in the Indian Ocean, the next stage on which it hopes to upset the international order.

As of 2020, the PLAN has amassed 355 ships, 145 of which are major combatants, six nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, six nuclear-powered attack submarines, and 46 diesel-powered attack submarines. According to the Department of Defense’s latest report to Congress on China, in the near term, the PLAN will cement its global power projection capabilities through the ability to conduct long-range land strikes with cruise missiles fired from submarines and surface ships.

In Ukraine war, a race to acquire smarter, deadlier drones


KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Drone camera footage defines much of the public’s view of the war in Ukraine: grenades quietly dropped on unwitting soldiers, eerie flights over silent, bombed-out cities, armor and outposts exploding in fireballs.

Never in the history of warfare have drones been used as intensively as in Ukraine, where they often play an outsized role in who lives and dies. Russians and Ukrainians alike depend heavily on unmanned aerial vehicles to pinpoint enemy positions and guide their hellish artillery strikes.

But after months of fighting, the drone fleets of both sides are depleted, and they are racing to build or buy the kind of jamming-resistant, advanced drones that could offer a decisive edge.

Can the US Win the New Cold War?


CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – US President Joe Biden has framed America’s confrontation with China and Russia as an open-ended contest between democracy and autocracy. If that is true, an American victory will depend not only on the country’s ability to outcompete its adversaries, but also on its success at safeguarding democracy at home.

On the former imperative, the United States is well-positioned to succeed, thanks to a series of diplomatic masterstrokes. For starters, at the recent G7 and NATO summits, Biden cemented a broad alliance spanning Europe and Asia against Russia and China. This follows the quick mobilization of Western governments to support Ukraine and punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for the war he launched there in February.

Biden has also taken advantage of Chinese aggression toward its neighbors to consolidate American alliances in East Asia. The Quad – comprising Australia, India, Japan, and the US – has been deepening its strategic cooperation. In short, the Biden administration has proved its ability to rally America’s democratic allies abroad to stand up to their autocratic adversaries.

Indra Develops Active Protection Radar For Armored Vehicles Capable Of Detecting Drone Attacks, Projectiles

Indra, a global technology engineering company for the aerospace, defence and mobility sectors, has developed a new active protection radar that incorporates the most advanced digital technologies to protect vehicles, armored vehicles and tanks from the increasingly varied threats that are being used in new conflict scenarios, many of them simple but very effective, while others are much more sophisticated.

In Ukraine, for example, the enormous vulnerability of tanks and armored vehicles to guided missiles, rocket launchers and drones has been highlighted, which, despite their low cost, manage to defeat much more advanced platforms, thus providing a great tactical advantage.

The Man at the Center of the New Cyber World War


Ukraine has long been Russia’s cyberwarfare sandbox, a proving ground for the Kremlin to trial new techniques and new malware viruses. Since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of the country on Feb. 24, Ukraine has seen those attacks increase threefold, according to Ukrainian officials — hitting everything from civilian and military agencies to communications and energy infrastructure.

Those attacks have not been isolated to the roughly 40 million residents of Ukraine. Russian cyberespionage and cyberattacks since the start of the invasion have been recorded in 42 countries across six continents — the majority of which are NATO countries or those that supplied aid packages to or voiced support for Ukraine. In April, the Department of Justice said that U.S. officials had discovered malware planted by Russian military forces in computers across the world and had removed the malware before it could be activated into a “botnet,” a network of computers used in mass cyberattacks.

America's 5G Era

Edward Parker, Spencer Pfeifer, Timothy M. Bonds

This Perspective describes some of the technical aspects of the global competition to deploy fifth-generation telecommunications technology (5G). 5G technology offers the prospect of much faster and more reliable wireless communications that connect a higher number of devices than ever before, with a wide variety of potential applications from industrial automation to virtual reality to connected autonomous vehicles. The United States is not currently at the forefront of 5G deployment, and it faces significant challenges in allocating sufficient electromagnetic spectrum and ensuring a reliable supply of radio access network (RAN) equipment from domestic companies or allied nations. However, the United States remains at the forefront of other aspects of the complex and global 5G ecosystem, such as mobile applications development; smartphone modems; and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics talent. In this Perspective, authors discuss the global state of play in several aspects of the 5G ecosystem (e.g., spectrum availability, the supply chain for hardware and software components, and applications) as of June 2020, and raise several issues for policymakers to consider. 5G technology will roll out gradually over the course of the next decade, and there remains significant uncertainty about its eventual applications and which nations will gain technical leadership and the resulting economic and security benefits. Therefore, the authors believe that policymakers should not view the technical development of 5G as a race that one nation will "win" in the near term, but should promote the United States' long-term technical competitiveness in this area.

Balanced Hydropower Development in Nepal

Deepak Rauniar

Nepal is blessed with extraordinary water endowments in the form of snow cover, rivers, springs, lakes, and groundwater. However, its most important water resources are the over 6,000 rivers and rivulets across the country. They not only provide a reliable source of water for different purposes but, together with the steep topography of the country, also offer significant opportunities for hydropower generation.

The technical and economically feasible hydropower potential of Nepal has been estimated at 83,000 and 42,000 megawatts (MW), respectively.[1] Though hydropower development started in 1911, it progressed slowly. By 2005, Nepal had developed only 557 MW due to the absence of private-sector engagement, political considerations, and overwhelming dependency on external financing.[2] Around this time, Nepal went through an acute power crisis that lasted nearly a decade. Much of its hydropower capacity was reliant on run-of-river hydropower plants, and with fluctuating seasonal river discharges and increasing energy demand from rapid urbanization, the nation was forced to ration energy.

Report: Starlink is much faster than it was last year

Jordan McDonald

Nearly two years after Starlink became available to consumers, SpaceX’s satellite-internet service continues to improve connectivity speeds, according to a new report by Ookla, a web service focused on internet speed tests.

​​The service is still slower than fixed broadband in the US and Canada but far ahead of satellite-broadband competitors like HughesNet and Viasat. But in several countries, like Australia and New Zealand, the service has faster download speeds than traditional fixed-broadband options, highlighting Starlink’s ability to deliver comparatively strong service in certain areas.

Starlink’s user base has grown to over 400,000 worldwide as of May, up from 145,000 at the start of the year. The service kicked off its public beta in October 2020.

Drone war in Ukraine: Decoys, spies and flying death machines

Joshua Keating
Source Link

The Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 combat drone, an intimidating-looking flying death machine with a 12-meter wingspan that carries up to four laser-guided bombs, began its ascent to icon status in the opening days of the war. Grainy videos began appearing on social media with stunning regularity, showing attacks on Russian military columns and armored vehicles. Ukrainians — and the rest of the world — took notice.

In early March, the catchy song “Bayraktar” by Ukrainian soldier Taras Borovok appeared on YouTube, quickly becoming a viral hit and inspiring countless cover versions. (Sample lyrics: “They wanted to invade us with force, and we took offense at these orcs. Russian bandits are made into ghosts by … Bayraktar!”) Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko announced on Telegram that a baby lemur born at the city zoo had been named “Bayraktar.” In Lithuania, a crowdsourcing campaign raised $6.4 million in three days to purchase a TB2 for Ukraine. The company ended up giving Ukraine the drone and donating the money to Ukraine relief efforts.

Sri Lanka’s economic crisis: How one family turned this ‘hidden jewel’ into a basket case

Nikhil Kumar

The president went missing, his whereabouts unknown, as protestors stormed the whitewashed colonial-era mansion that serves as his residence. The prime minister’s private home, meanwhile, was set on fire. News that both would leave their posts triggered celebratory fireworks.

This was the scene in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, Saturday, as monthslong protests sparked by a crushing economic collapse reached a violent crescendo.

At the heart of the protests was an unprecedented explosion of public anger, directed toward one family: the Rajapaksas, a clan that has dominated Sri Lankan public life for years and is at the heart of the story of how this small and once vibrant South Asian island nation descended into a raging economic firestorm.

Russian ‘Hacktivists’ Are Causing Trouble Far Beyond Ukraine

THE ATTACKS AGAINST Lithuania started on June 20. For the next 10 days, websites belonging to the government and businesses were bombarded by DDoS attacks, overloading them with traffic and forcing them offline. “Usually the DDoS attacks are concentrated on one or two targets and generate huge traffic,” says Jonas Skardinskas, acting director of Lithuania’s national cybersecurity center. But this was different.

Days before the attacks started, Lithuania blocked coal and metal from being moved through its country to the Russian territory of Kaliningrad, further bolstering its support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. Pro-Russian hacker group Killnet posted “Lithuania are you crazy? 🤔” on its Telegram channel to 88,000 followers. The group then called on hacktivists—naming a number of other pro-Russian hacking groups—to attack Lithuanian websites. A list of targets was shared.

Western Ideas of War and the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Beatrice Heuser

As noted in its Introduction, my book, War: A Genealogy of Western Ideas and Practices, “is mainly about ‘Western’ ideas about war, but also about Western practices.” It was in print when Russia launched its all-out invasion of Ukraine. This gives me the opportunity to reflect on whether I would have changed anything in my text, had I completed it after 24 February 2022. Well, I would have added a few words about current Russian thinking. I think I have rightly said, in my conclusions, that the current Russian regime’s thinking about war and peace is not binary (p. 399), but I might have added: Putin sees all of international politics as war, war in kinetic and non-kinetic forms. Even when he was still ready to co-operate to some extent with the West, he uttered the following words in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2020:

We all know that competition and rivalry between countries in world history never stopped, does not stop, and will never stop. Differences and a clash of interests are also natural for such a complicated body as human civilisation.[1]

Shorten the war. Send 60 HIMARS to Ukraine.

Max Boot

It has become commonplace to observe that Ukraine is mired in a “long war” — one that could last for years, according to NATO’s secretary general. That could well be correct. The war, after all, has already lasted nearly five months and continues to grind on. But I fear that by so readily accepting that there is no end in sight, we might be giving in to fatalism and defeatism. Instead of becoming resigned to a never-ending war, the West should be focusing on how to shorten the conflict by enabling Ukraine to win.

A long war, after all, probably favors Russia. Ukraine’s economy is set to shrink by 45 percent this year amid Russian attacks on economic infrastructure and a Russian blockade of the Black Sea coast. Russia is suffering from sanctions, but it is expected to take in more oil and gas revenue this year ($285 billion) than last year. While Russian dictator Vladimir Putin squelches domestic opposition, Western support for Ukraine could waver if Europeans have to endure sky-high prices for natural gas in the winter and if the increasingly isolationist Republicans take control of at least one house of Congress.

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.

You would be wrong.

I believe the Ukraine war is about to enter a new phase, based on this fact: Many Russian soldiers and generals may be dead, but Ukraine’s steadfast NATO allies are tired. This war has already contributed to a huge spike in natural gas, gasoline and food prices in Europe — and if it drags into the winter, many families in the European Union may have to choose between heating and eating.

Pakistan’s Coming Collapse Should Worry the World

Michael Rubin

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent economic shockwaves across not only Europe but also the broader Middle East. Pakistan, whose economy is already weak because of decades of corruption, mismanagement, and unstable governance, has been particularly vulnerable. While many countries are dependent upon Ukrainian or Russian wheat or foreign energy imports, Pakistan requires both. Between July 2020 and January 2021, for example, Pakistan was the third-largest consumer of Ukrainian wheat exports after Indonesia and Egypt. The price spike in oil prices has hit Pakistan hard, driving up the cost of its imports by more than 85 percent, to almost $5 billion, just between 2020 and 2021.

For Pakistan, it is a perfect storm. At the end of Pakistan’s fiscal year on June 30, 2022, its trade deficit neared $50 billion, a 57 percent increase over the previous year. Had the Shehbaz Sharif government not banned the import of more than 800 non-essential luxury items in May 2022, the figure might have been even higher.

The Return of Industrial Warfare

Alex Vershinin

The war in Ukraine has proven that the age of industrial warfare is still here. The massive consumption of equipment, vehicles and ammunition requires a large-scale industrial base for resupply – quantity still has a quality of its own. The mass scale combat has pitted 250,000 Ukrainian soldiers, together with 450,000 recently mobilised citizen soldiers against about 200,000 Russian and separatist troops. The effort to arm, feed and supply these armies is a monumental task. Ammunition resupply is particularly onerous. For Ukraine, compounding this task are Russian deep fires capabilities, which target Ukrainian military industry and transportation networks throughout the depth of the country. The Russian army has also suffered from Ukrainian cross-border attacks and acts of sabotage, but at a smaller scale. The rate of ammunition and equipment consumption in Ukraine can only be sustained by a large-scale industrial base.

This reality should be a concrete warning to Western countries, who have scaled down military industrial capacity and sacrificed scale and effectiveness for efficiency. This strategy relies on flawed assumptions about the future of war, and has been influenced by both the bureaucratic culture in Western governments and the legacy of low-intensity conflicts. Currently, the West may not have the industrial capacity to fight a large-scale war. If the US government is planning to once again become the arsenal of democracy, then the existing capabilities of the US military-industrial base and the core assumptions that have driven its development need to be re-examined.

United States, Saudi Arabia, And Russia Meet The Great Energy Challenge

Scott B. MacDonald

The world’s three energy superpowers – the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Russia – are scrambling to acclimate to a new geo-economic landscape. Each country faces distinct challenges. Of the three, the U.S. probably has the brightest prospects, in part due to its substantial oil and gas reserves, its ability to export liquefied natural gas by ship, and a deep push into renewables. But there is no easy way around the challenge: Efforts to move towards zero emissions have hit a major geopolitical speed bump, and the emerging energy landscape is going to be volatile and disjointed. This reality is already reflected by a global surge in inflation and the looming possibility of slowed economic growth.

Europe, Disrupted

The most disruptive shift is taking place in Europe. While Russia is reaping substantial revenues from its hydrocarbon exports and is trying to make Western Europe suffer by slowing the supply of gas and oil, Europe is enacting a bruising yet necessary decoupling from energy dependence on its eastern neighbor. This entails a major restructuring of global supply chains, with implications that reach from the U.S. Permian Basin and Trinidad and Tobago’s offshore natural gas fields, to Qatar’s new $29 billion North Field East natural gas project.

Cyber Operations and Maschmeyer’s “Subversion Trilemma”

Jason Healey

Will cyber operations be a major factor in international relations, or a relative sideshow? A major article in the Fall 2021 issue of International Security advances these theories around cyber operations. Specifically, Lennart Maschmeyer argues, in his International Security article and associated Lawfare post, that cyber operations are subject to a “subversive trilemma” of speed, intensity, and control that limits their strategic utility. Improvements in one will likely result in losses in the others so that “cyber operations will tend to be too slow, too low in intensity, or too unreliable to provide significant utility.”

Maschmeyer’s formulation hits on important truths, but what he has uncovered is larger than just a trilemma and overestimates the impact of subversion.

The Subversive Trilemma Is a Compelling Concept

In “The Subversive Trilemma,” Maschmeyer argues that cyber operations are fundamentally subversive in nature, a compelling finding. Subversion relies on exploitation, depends on secrecy, and misuses an adversary’s own systems. This is easily recognizable in cyber operations, which use subversion “to control, manipulate, and use the system” to achieve their desired effects. This is a fuller analysis than, for example, emphasizing that cyber operations rely on deception.

Why the War in Ukraine is not about Democracy versus Authoritarianism

Michito Tsuruoka

Russia’s war against Ukraine is often depicted as a battle between democracy and authoritarianism. The Ukrainians are seen to be defending freedom and democracy. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson argues that ‘It is about Ukrainian democracy against Putin’s tyranny. It is about freedom versus oppression’. There is certainly a strong sense in Europe that Ukraine is fighting not only for its own freedom, sovereignty and territorial integrity, but crucially for the whole of Europe.

If unconsciously, many US and European leaders seem to be using the ‘democracy versus authoritarianism’ discourse as a way to raise the stakes of the war and to generate political and moral support from their people. Yet, regarding the war in Ukraine as a battle between democracy and authoritarianism is misguided and unhelpful in two respects.

The Logic of Israel’s Laser Wall

Ilan Berman

In early February, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced a major new defense initiative when, in an address to Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies, he laid out his administration’s plans for a “laser wall” to protect the country from rockets, missiles and UAVs. “In about a year, the IDF will launch a laser interception system,” Bennett explained. “At first experimentally and later it will become operational. First in the south and then elsewhere. This will allow us, in the medium to long term, to surround Israel with a laser wall that protects us from missiles, rockets, UAVs and other threats.”[1]

The announcement marked the public unveiling of a capability that has been an area of intense focus for the Israeli government and industry for some time, with hundreds of millions of shekels allocated to its development to date. It represents an attempt to address what has become a long-standing problem: the war of economic attrition being waged against Israel by Hamas and other militants.

From Maritime Quad to Tech Quintet

Ryan Fedasiuk and Elliot Silverberg

Shortly after his election as president in April, Yoon Suk-yeol said he would “positively review” any invitation for the Republic of Korea (ROK) to formally join the Quad, but that he did not expect such an offer would be extended anytime soon.[1] Given his flurry of early outreach to the United States, Australia, India, and significantly Japan, ROK-Quad cooperation may no longer be a pipedream. In particular, Yoon’s ambitious digital agenda, an early hallmark of his policy priorities, underscores an opportunity to hitch South Korea’s formidable technological capabilities to the efforts of the Quad’s Working Group on Critical and Emerging Technologies.

The argument for cooperation, particularly around technology, is compelling. The ROK, like the existing Quad members, is a vibrant democracy that advocates for international peace and human rights, generally abides by fair and open market rules, and leads regional efforts to combat climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic. In recent years, the South Korean economy has become a leading producer of critical and emerging technologies, including in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), quantum information science, and biotechnology; and today, Korean technology products are widely consumed within the Quad countries. As then president Moon Jae-in acknowledged through his May 2021 joint statement with President Joe Biden, the Quad’s “open, transparent, and inclusive regional multilateralism” may have profound consequences for South Korea’s geopolitical future, with or without Seoul’s active participation in the dialogue. This admission by Moon, however perfunctory, represented a significant shift away from years of Blue House strategic ambiguity, and even from statements just months prior that the Quad could jeopardize regional security. It also primes the Yoon administration for a much more forward-leaning approach to the Quad.

China says it 'drove' away U.S. destroyer that sailed near disputed isles

BEIJING, July 13 (Reuters) - A U.S. destroyer sailed near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea on Wednesday, drawing an angry reaction from Beijing, which said its military had "driven away" the ship after it illegally entered territorial waters.

The United States regularly carries out what it calls Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea challenging what it says are restrictions on innocent passage imposed by China and other claimants.

Monday marked the sixth anniversary of a ruling by an international tribunal that invalidated China's sweeping claims to the South China Sea, a conduit for about $3 trillion worth of ship-borne trade each year.

Joe Biden sets off aimlessly to the Middle East

For decades American presidents have arrived in the Holy Land like earnest pilgrims searching for the holy grail of a two-state solution. George Bush hoped to find it in 2003 with his “road map for peace”. Barack Obama came in 2013, while John Kerry, his secretary of state, was trying to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks. Even Donald Trump promised to “give it an absolute go”.

Joe Biden has lost the faith. His nearly 48-hour visit to Israel and Palestine, which begins on July 13th, will be an exercise in banality: shake a few hands, see a few sights, head back to the airport. He is unlikely to announce big plans or offer stirring words. No president in recent memory has arrived with so little to say about the region’s most intractable conflict.

West’s Ukraine Strategy Will Mean a Prolonged, Bloody Stalemate

Mark Kimmitt

Leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization last month rallied around a new slogan for Ukraine: “As long as it takes.” When a reporter asked President Biden to explain what that means, he said: “As long as it takes so Russia cannot, in fact, defeat Ukraine and move beyond Ukraine.” Note what he didn’t say: as long as it takes for Ukraine to win.

The West’s strategy is to give the Ukrainians enough military aid to defend against Russian advances, and to counter Vladimir Putin’s belief that he can win on the ground or wait out the Alliance until it runs out of gas, wheat or patience—in other words, to wait Mr. Putin out. The likely result will be a prolonged and bloody stalemate reminiscent of the Western Front of 1915.

The excellent daily analysis published by the Institute for the Study of War and Twitter feeds of ground operations closely follow attacks and counterattacks by both Ukrainian and Russian forces. An operational-level analysis suggests that these fights, while consuming vast amounts of materiel and causing major casualties, achieve little progress for either side. The Russians’ capture of Severodonetsk wasn’t a breakthrough; it had even less strategic significance than Mariupol. The Ukrainian relief of Kharkiv may be important for residents of the city but does little to change facts on the battlefield.