19 July 2022

Alibaba And The Data Thieves: Chinese Authorities Scramble to Plug Leaks after Massive Cyber Breach

Bhaswati Guha Majumder

In the past few years, along with Russia and North Korea, several cyberthreat reports have highlighted China’s name for sponsoring cyberattacks, targeting several countries all around the world. But now it looks like the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-ruled country has tasted its own medicine since reports have claimed that it faced a massive cyberattack that caused the data leak of more than 1 billion Chinese people.

As soon as the reports went viral, earlier this month, experts stated that if this news is true, then it would make this particular incident one of the biggest data breaches in the world’s history.

It was found that an anonymous hacker gained access to the Shanghai police’s database and, for more than a year, the dashboard for maintaining the database was accessible online without a password, making it simple to browse and recover its contents.

NATO’s New Division of Labor on Russia and China Won’t Be Easy

Jo Inge Bekkevold

For the first time since the Mongol invasion of Europe in the 13th century, Europe now views an Asian power as a direct security threat. Unlike Japan, which overran Europe’s East Asian colonies during World War II, China is a superpower with global reach. In NATO’s new Strategic Concept, adopted at its Madrid summit last month, the alliance identifies China’s ambitions and coercive policies as a challenge to its members’ interests, values, and security. However, focusing on China will be fundamentally different from the bloc’s traditional role of warding off territorial threats in Europe, with several fault lines between the United States and NATO’s European members already built in.

Five factors explain NATO’s landmark decision. Some have been familiar parts of the security debate for years; others gained salience only recently.

First—and most obviously—NATO’s strategy is responding to China’s rise and the emergence of a new bipolar international system, replacing the so-called U.S. unipolar moment of the 1990s and early 2000s. With China’s economy estimated to be 25 percent larger than the United States’ by 2026 (measured in GDP at purchasing power parity), Beijing has the resources to further increase a defense budget that is already four times larger than Russia’s. As realists such as political scientist Kenneth Waltz have emphasized, a bipolar power structure compels other states to choose a side. Although the United States announced its rebalance to Asia in 2011, geographic distance and a certain strategic sloth have slowed Europe’s response to China’s growing power. Thus, it has taken Europe and NATO another decade to categorize China’s rise as a security challenge.

The Battle for the Internet’s Future Has Just Begun

Alena Epifanova

Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, headlines spread claiming that a new iron curtain had fallen across Europe. Russia’s economic and political isolation, they claimed, had come hand-in-hand with digital isolation. As the United States and its allies introduced technological sanctions against Russia, numerous Western tech companies also stopped doing business there, making their products and services unavailable to Russians. At the same time, the Russian state had moved quickly to block any websites that offered information about the war, especially those that criticized the Kremlin’s actions.

It is well-known that Russian President Vladimir Putin sees an open and free internet as one of the biggest threats to his power. For the past decade, he’s been fighting for what’s been called a “sovereign internet”—that is, state control over technology and networks within its borders.

NASA, SpaceX Launch Climate Science Research, More To Space Station

A SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft carrying more than 5,800 pounds of science experiments, crew supplies, and other cargo is on its way to the International Space Station after launching at 8:44 p.m. EDT Thursday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The spacecraft launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy for the company’s 25th commercial resupply services mission for NASA. It is scheduled to autonomously dock at the space station about 11:20 a.m. Saturday, July 16, and remain there for about a month.

Among the science experiments Dragon is delivering to the space station are:

Pakistan: Staff Level Agreement Reached With IMF

Shabbir H. Kazmi

Pakistan has finally reached staff level agreement with International Monetary Fund (IMF) on policies to complete the 7th and 8th reviews of Pakistan’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

The agreement is subject to IMF board approval, likely in August, which will pave way for the release of US$1.17 billion bringing total disbursement to US$4.2 billion under EFF.

Additionally, in order to support program implementation and meet the higher financing needs in FY23, the IMF Board will consider an extension of the EFF till June 2023 instead of September 2022. The Board will also consider increasing the size of the EFF program to US$7 billion, up from initially proposed US$6 billion.

Most African Countries Are Confronted With Challenging Economic And Social Situation, IMF Says

Kester Kenn Klomegah

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been focusing on developments, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic and currently the Russia-Ukraine crisis, both shattered economies including and its impacts, on Africa. While Covid-19 seems to subsides, it is uncertain when the crisis might not end soon between Russia on one side and the United States and European Union.

One fundamental effect is that economic gains recorded previously are being eroded by the Covid-19 and Russia-Ukraine crisis in Africa. African leaders are showing their pragmatism in diplomacy as it was during Cold War times – the ideological-political confrontation between East and West. African leaders grossly benefitted from both sides. Currently they stand without condemning Russia for the negative effects of its invasion into Ukraine, so also without attacking the United States and Europe.

The Economic Implications of the Ukraine War on Azerbaijan

Orkhan Baghirov

In the first four months of 2022, Azerbaijan’s revenues from gas exports increased about 3.7 times and reached $4.18 billion (Marja, May 19). Revenues from oil exports, on the other hand, increased 50.3 percent in the same period. As a result, the positive balance of payments increased about 4.8 times and reached $1.57 billion in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021 (Marja, June 10).

The high price of oil and gas is the economic advantage that the Russian-Ukrainian war has created for Azerbaijan. However, along with high energy revenues, due to the war, Azerbaijan is also confronted with several economic difficulties.

The warring parties, especially Russia, represent a large share of Azerbaijan’s imports. In 2021, the total of Ukraine’s and Russia’s shares of Azerbaijan’s imports was about 22 percent (customs.gov.az, January 15). Azerbaijan imported goods worth $470 million from Ukraine and $2.74 billion from Russia (amerikaninsesi.org, April 13). Last year, Azerbaijan imported $293.2 million worth of wheat from Russia. Also, imports from Russia met 25 percent of Azerbaijan’s local demand for vegetable oil and 50 percent for its sugar.

The Assassination of Shinzo Abe and the Threat Posed by DIY Weapons

Colin P. Clarke, Joseph C. Shelzi

An individual shot and killed former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with an improvised firearm on July 8 while Abe was delivering a campaign speech in the city of Nara. The suspected assailant, identified as 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami, fired two shots from a device that resembled a sawed-off shotgun, later telling police that he had made his own firearms by taping steel pipes together with parts purchased online. Investigators recovered several other homemade or do-it-yourself (DIY) weapons from Yamagami’s home following the attack.

In a country where gun violence is exceedingly rare, the killing came as a complete shock. The process for legally obtaining a firearm in Japan is so onerous that few choose to pursue it. Moreover, the penalties for illegal possession or use of a firearm are so stringent that even Japan’s organized crime syndicates, the Yakuza, limit their use against civilians.

The First Cyber Safety Review Board Report is Out

Paul Rosenzweig

Last year, President Biden created the Cyber Safety Review Board, with the intention that (akin to the National Transportation Safety Board) the new organization would review cyber incidents, examine root causes and, where necessary, make recommendations.

This is fundamentally a good thing. For too long, cyber incident response has been uncoordinated, with a lack of systematic review at the Federal level.

Earlier this month the CSRB released its first report, an account of the Log4J event. I will likely have more to say about the report in some detail later. For now, however, it is enough to welcome the initiative and call the report to the readers’ attention. Here’s a short taste from the Executive Summary:

Reassessing Jomini on Hybrid Warfare and Counterinsurgency

 Andreas Foerster

With the rise in popularity of doctrines concerning low-intensity conflicts, especially counterinsurgency (COIN) and hybrid warfare, several theorists have promoted a separation from the older generation of thinkers. Naturally, because of their significant influence upon the development of “conventional warfare”, as these newer theorists understand it, Carl von Clausewitz and Antoine-Henri de Jomini have been zeroed in for criticism. Put simply, a misunderstanding of these theorists has led to this attack on their writings. This failure to see their potential outside of conventional warfare and the historical context of their ideas’ formation, concerning these two giants of military theory, deprives researchers and officers alike of valuable tools for achieving victory. This particular paper will focus on Jomini, because his absence in modern discussion on low-intensity conflicts is far more prominent. This is a shame, because Jomini’s treatise The Art of War, is a rich text that should be necessary reading for every aspiring military officer and civilian analyst. Moreover, recent research has allowed us to access a “restored” text, that combines the original book with recovered notes, additional chapters and appendixes by Jomini that provide us with a far more wide-ranging body of work. In order to overthrow this incorrect understanding of Jomini haunting the study of warfare today, this paper will present its evidence in the following format: First, a summary of the misunderstandings of Jomini will be laid out; Second, a short note on Jomini’s call for caution and sound statesmanship when dealing with complex situations; Third, an explanation of Jomini’s theories concerning “irregular” conflicts in general will be provided; Fourth, the same will be done for hybrid warfare; and Lastly, the same will be done COIN, as well as other types of stability operations.

Is Japan’s Postwar Pacifism Dead?

Ulv Hanssen

Before his shocking murder, former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo was pushing hard for a doubling of Japan’s defense budget. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine coupled with longstanding security concerns about China and North Korea have caused unusually high perceptions of threat and insecurity in Japan. After a successful upper house election this month, Prime Minister Kishida Fumio will now probably grant Abe’s last wish by raising Japan’s defense budget from 1 percent of GDP to 2 percent over a five-year period. Such a doubling would turn Japan into the third largest defense spender in the world.

The lack of opposition to such a drastic move vividly illustrates the weakness of pacifism in today’s Japan.

The push for 2 percent conforms to NATO’s defense spending goals and is undoubtedly part of Kishida’s larger vision of a bolstered Japan-NATO relationship. Kishida’s participation in last month’s NATO summit in Madrid – the first ever by a Japanese prime minister – signaled a new stage in this relationship. Just like the NATO countries, the Japanese government frames spending 2 percent of GDP on defense as a realistic response to an increasingly unstable security environment. As the Japanese ruling party’s National Security Strategy draft paper reads: “With the defense spending target of more than 2% of GDP for NATO nations in mind, our country also aims to realize a budget that meets a level necessary to fundamentally reinforce defense capabilities in five years.”

The Deep Roots of Sri Lanka’s Economic Crisis

Talal Rafi and Brian Wong

As Sri Lanka faces its worst economic crisis since independence, it is high time – not just for the Sri Lankan political elite, but the world at large – to reflect upon how the country got here. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation and subsequent exit from the country has put Sri Lanka back in global headlines. To make sense of the current political and governance crisis, however, we must examine the crisis’ economic origins.

The immediate crisis is the persistent shortages of fuel, gas, and other essential items in Sri Lanka, due to a shortage of foreign exchange. The country and its people have scant options to address the issue. An IMF bailout has become a must, as currency swaps with India and China alike have been insufficient in ameliorating the foreign-exchange crisis. Yet the IMF will set strict conditions, including a necessary consensus from the creditors regarding debt restructuring. That looks unlikely at the moment, with one of the major bond-holders of the government filing a lawsuit against the Sri Lankan state for a bond payment due in July 2022. Sri Lanka can neither get more foreign exchange, nor more debt relief, without substantial and shocking readjustments to its domestic economy.

Great Power Management of the Ukraine Conflict

Martin A. Smith

The situation in Ukraine today can be seen as a theatre of Great Power management in a manner that would have been recognisable in the context of the 19th Century Concert of Europe. Established in the aftermath of Napoleon’s defeat and exile in 1815, this diplomatic arrangement had the laudable goal of preventing tensions and disputes from developing to the level of Great Power conflict through a balance of power mechanism. Self-ascribed Great Powers claimed a right to determine or regulate the borders, territory and sometimes very existence of smaller states, particularly in eastern and south-eastern Europe. The latter thus became objects of Great Power machinations, rather than autonomous or independent agents.

In the current crisis, western leaders have publicly rejected the idea of treating Ukraine as a ‘buffer state’. The situation in practice has been more ambiguous, however. Partly this reflects a habitual mindset, previously apparent in the Russo-Georgia War of August 2008. The focus of western diplomacy to end that conflict was directed at pressuring the Georgian government to accept a ceasefire and freeze in place Russia’s claim that Abkhazia and South Ossetia were in fact ‘independent’ states, rather than part of Georgia. In 2014, despite having a declared interest in Ukraine’s security and territorial integrity via the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, neither the US nor UK offered military assistance during the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea and the incitement of separatist uprisings in the Donbas since.

The Ukraine War Is Remaking Global Space Cooperation

Kevin Holden

Chinese astronauts, from left, Tang Hongbo, Nie Haisheng, and Liu Boming wave as they prepare to board for liftoff at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan in northwestern China, Thursday, June 17, 2021.Credit: AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

When the leaders of two of the planet’s space superpowers – NASA and the European Space Agency – met in their first-ever webcast summit last month, they compared their war-shifted visions of the spaceflight advances and joint missions that could propel upcoming astronaut landings on the Moon and see robotic explorers parachuting onto Mars.

During the ESA-NASA conclave, staged in the penumbra of the Russia-Ukraine war, the heads of the Russian and Chinese space agencies were present only as specters that have conjured the overnight reshaping of aerospace alliances around the world.

Crisis Averted? Lithuania to Allow Russian Goods Into Kaliningrad

 Trevor Filseth L

Lithuania announced on Wednesday that it was ending its month-long blockade of Russian goods sanctioned by the European Union (EU)—which prevented goods from the mainland from passing through Lithuanian territory to reach the isolated Kaliningrad Oblast—in response to a ruling by the European Commission permitting their transit.

The new guidelines were announced on Wednesday, ending a political crisis that had broadly increased tensions in Eastern Europe and led to growing threats from the Kremlin.

Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave located along the Baltic Sea, is separated from the Russian mainland by Lithuania and relies on road and rail transport from Russia for many of its goods. On June 17, Lithuanian officials cut off Russian train access to the territory, citing regulations against allowing the transport of goods sanctioned by the European Union, including lumber, metals, and vodka. Although Russian officials claimed at the time that goods shipments from mainland Russia to Kaliningrad would never leave Russian vehicles within the territory, making the country’s enforcement irrelevant, Lithuanian officials countered that the regulations forbade the transport of the goods through Lithuanian territory, regardless of the intended destination. During the month-long blockade, Russia continued shipments of non-sanctioned goods, including food, to the city through normal routes, while sending sanctioned goods via ship from the port of Saint Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city.

How India Fell Behind in the War on Space Debris

Girish Linganna

Space assets form an important part of life all across the globe. Countries are reliant on their satellites in orbit for everything from weather forecasts to internet-based services to security and deterrence. It is then no surprise that space exploration and space militarization have garnered massive interest from several nations around the world. This is the basis for the global space race.

However, there is a price to be paid for the same. Exploration missions, anti-satellite missile tests, and accidental collisions are adding to the millions of pieces of trash already orbiting the Earth. These form the tons of space debris that threaten the space assets of all countries. Space debris is non-functional man-made objects in space that no longer serve any purpose. Examples include defunct spacecraft, abandoned launch vehicles, parts of destroyed satellites, etc. Space debris is alternatively also called space junk, space pollution, space waste, and space garbage.

Inflating China’s Threat Risks Disaster for the United States

Michael D. Swaine

Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently claimed that Chinese leadership has “announced its ambition to create a sphere of influence in the Indo-Pacific and to become the world’s leading power.”

Blinken is wrong: no Chinese leader has ever made such a clear statement. But Blinken’s mischaracterization is only the latest notable signal of a dangerous trend in Washington, where U.S. government officials are significantly inflating the threat that China poses to the United States. This threat inflation actually hurts America’s interests at home and in the region, and it increases the chances of a disastrous U.S.-China conflict.

In May, I published a study examining the widespread presence of threat inflation in assessments of the Chinese military and Beijing’s general strategic intentions. Blinken’s speech is practically a case study in threat inflation, and his insistence on Beijing’s globe-bestriding ambitions is a sterling example. Blinken was likely referring to a speech made by Chinese leader Xi Jinping that has often been wrongly translated. At the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in 2017, Xi stated that China will become “a global leader in terms of composite national strength and international influence.” Although many analysts translate the original Chinese phrase into English as “the” global leader, this is far from clear in the original Chinese, and the official Chinese translation of the term uses “a,” not “the.” It was hardly a clear announcement.

Could the War in Ukraine Last Years?

Michael O'Hanlon

With the Ukraine war entering its fifth month, the fighting has entered into a slow-moving slog. Tragically, there is no end in sight. Ukraine still hopes to recapture the 20 percent of its territory held by Russia, including those parts that Moscow stole in 2014. While understandable, this position is militarily unpromising, and likely a recipe for many months or years of combat. Some Western officials have acknowledged as much, but U.S. policy is still guided by the view that Ukraine under its impressive leader, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, should be empowered and resourced to fight as long and hard as it wishes. That position may be morally sound, but it is strategically questionable.

Weapons should continue to flow to brave Ukrainian forces, to be sure, and Americans should not seek to impose a peace that Ukraine cannot accept. But the further delivery of advanced artillery systems to Ukraine’s military forces should not be seen as the silver bullet many now hope for. Yes, the so-called HIMARS rockets are very accurate and are already taking out ammunition depots and command centers in Russian-controlled territory. However, Russian forces are learning how to jam Ukrainian communications, shoot down targeting drones, and otherwise impede Ukraine’s ability to conduct battlefield reconnaissance. You can’t hit something you can’t find. Moreover, Russia will likely learn to disperse supply depots and camouflage weaponry better as the weeks and months go by. Yes, HIMARS will help, and more are needed. But the idea that they, and a couple of other new types of technologies, can turn the tide decisively in Ukraine’s favor seems wishful thinking. We need a complementary strategy that recognizes the likelihood of a protracted grind on the battlefield.

The Need for a New NATO Force Planning Exercise

Anthony H. Cordesman,Grace Hwang

NATO countries have already provided massive amounts of military aid to Ukraine, deployed additional forces to support the NATO countries that share a border with Russia, improved the Alliance’s ability to rapidly deploy forces forward in a crisis, and worked with key powers like Poland to strengthen its capabilities. NATO has accepted Finland and Sweden as future members of the Alliance, and it has made numerous other short-term adjustments to its force posture that enhance its deterrence and defense capabilities.

NATO faces a future, however, where it cannot predict how much territory Ukraine will lose and where it must now view Russia as an ongoing major threat at virtually every level from the limited conventional threats Russia poses to the NATO countries on its border to the major increases in its threat of strategic nuclear forces. NATO cannot continue to treat Russia as a potential partner, and that seems to be an unlikely path forward so long as Putin or anyone like him is in power. NATO also cannot ignore the rise in China’s military and economic power or the prospects of closer Russian and Chinese strategic cooperation.

Are Western Special Operations Forces in Ukraine?


The NYT claims “…a few dozen commandos from other NATO countries, including Britain, France, Canada and Lithuania, also have been working inside Ukraine.” The article also mentions CIA personnel on the ground in Ukraine. This would tally with so far unconfirmed reports of the loss of a CIA contractor earlier this year inside Ukraine (two further anonymous stars have been added to the Agency’s Memorial Wall this year).

The US Army’s 10th Special Forces Group who, along with UKSF, had been shouldering the majority of the training of Ukrainian forces (along with a number of US Army National Guard units) prior to the invasion, were withdrawn immediately before the Russian offensive to continue their training activities in Germany and Poland. According to the NYT article, 10th Special Forces Group are now heading up a fusion intelligence cell to manage both deliveries of Western military aid and disseminate NATO and US intelligence to the Ukrainians.

‘We Will Kill Them Again’: As Russia Advances, Ukrainians Dig In


KYIV—Leaning back from the picnic table, Den drowns his cigarette in a murky cup of water cut from the bottom of a plastic bottle and grimaces as I press him on what he and his fellow volunteers did with suspected Russian soldiers they captured during the opening days of the war.

How did you spot them? He shrugs and lights another cigarette. He says he doesn’t want the Russians to know what to fix.

Then he does offer one tale: a Russian who came to a hospital he and his fellow volunteers were guarding, who didn’t want to take his shirt off. They removed it for him, revealing that the man’s shoulders were bruised in the shape of a flak jacket, something no one would take off voluntarily in a city being rocked by explosions and gunfire — unless it revealed something incriminating, like Russian military insignia.

Ukrainian Resistance

An incomplete understanding of the nature of the conflict in Ukraine still plagues Australian strategic discourse. In what has been termed, the ‘first TikTok war,’ Ukraine’s strategy of resistance indicates an intent to democratise warfare. In this context, the purpose of this Post is to explore the strategy of resistance, Ukraine’s employment of this strategy, and the issues that emerge as lessons for national security professionals.

Using the ASPI Strategist as an indicator of the breadth of the Australian debate, in the first six months of this year, 103 articles have engaged with the topic of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, of which 19 were written prior to the 24 February 2022 escalation. Of these contributions to our understanding of this conflict, a quarter engaged with the implications for Australia’s region. Deterrence was addressed by around 12 percent of contributions, yet only one mentioned the important context of the ‘stability-instability paradox’. This Cold War-era concept argues that the costly risk of vertical escalation into major combat operations or even nuclear war will encourage competitors to engage in sub-threshold actions, such as support to insurgency. In other words, this example aside, Australian discourse has generally failed to frame discussion of deterrence in Ukraine in the appropriate context of an ongoing proxy war in the Donbas region and, more recently, the potential for proxy expansion into Moldova.

The Rise of Multimodal Transportation Among Russia, Iran and India

Vali Kaleji

As the Ukraine war has entered its fifth month, and two decades after Iran, Russia and India signed the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) in 2002, Dariush Jamali, head of the Iranian-Russian Port of Solyanka in Astrakhan Oblast, announced that the first transit shipment from Russia to India had been sent through Iran by way of the INSTC (Mehr News Agency, June 11). This shipment passed on a multimodal route through Astrakhan Port, specifically the Solyanka part (Russia); Bandar Abbas and Chabahar ports (Iran); and Nhava Sheva Port (India).

In this process, the Solyanka section’s role is critical, which was classified as the first among 15 ports on the Volga River and in the Republic of Dagestan in 2020 (Portnews.ru, June 14). Since a decade ago, the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines has bought 53 percent of Solyanka shares in Astrakhan. Solyanka is important because the main part of Iranian sea trade is in the Caspian Sea with the Port of Astrakhan; a smaller portion of this trade is also dedicated to Makhachkala Port.

Will the China-Pakistan Corridor Get a Boost with a New Government in Islamabad?

Syed Fazl-e-Haider


On June 10, the Foreign Office in Islamabad received a diplomatic communication from the Pakistani ambassador in Beijing (The News, June 13). China assured Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif, who replaced former PM Imran Khan in April, that it is eager to work with the present government (PRC Foreign Ministry [FMPRC], June 17). China also confirmed the rollover of a $2.3 billion loan to Pakistan at a reduced rate, which is a great help to the cash-strapped nation (The Express Tribune, June 22). Furthermore, China agreed to extend additional financial assistance between $2.5 to $2.8 billion, and pledged to support Pakistan’s fragile economy through the multi-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) (Business Standard, June 29). Chinese leadership also urged the present government to reinvigorate CPEC projects, which were neglected under Imran Khan’s government (The News, June 13; Business Recorder, June 15). However, PM Sharif’s government has inherited a plethora of problems and issues plaguing progress and causing delays in the execution of projects that fall under the umbrella of CPEC.

CPEC under the PTI government

The previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government led by Imran Khan, which came to power in 2018, provided minimal support to CPEC in the first two years of its tenure. From the outset, Khan criticized CPEC deals signed by the PML-N government alleging that the agreements compromised Pakistani interests and unduly favored China. The Khan administration even went so far as to accuse then Chief Minister of Punjab Shehbaz Sharif of taking kickbacks from Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) working on CPEC projects in the province (South China Morning Post, April 20).

3 Lessons from the Russia-Ukraine War for the South Korea-US Alliance

Jihoon Yu and Erik French

In Eastern Europe, Russia’s bloody war against Ukraine grinds on in its fifth month. This ongoing conflict offers several vital lessons for the South Korea-U.S. alliance in its efforts to deter North Korea.

The first key lesson is a simple but critical insight based on Russia’s poor military performance throughout the war: quantitative superiority cannot compensate for shortcomings in logistics, training, leadership, and air support. On paper, the Russian Army massively outmanned and outgunned Ukraine’s forces. Despite this clear quantitative advantage, however, the Russian military has performed poorly throughout the war. It failed to seize Kyiv early in the war and has continued to struggle to secure the Donbas region, all while suffering catastrophic losses.

Analysts have attributed the Russian military’s failings to a wide range of critical shortcomings. The Russian Army has struggled to remain supplied with adequate munitions, food, and fuel, putting its units at a significant disadvantage. Russian forces have also proved poorly-trained and led, unable to conduct effective combined-arms warfare. Armored units have frequently deployed without adequate infantry support, for instance, rendering them vulnerable to anti-tank weaponry. Finally, the Russian military has been unable to secure command of the air over Ukraine, reducing its ability to employ airpower in support of its offensive.

Dmytro Naumenko: As winter approaches, the west remains a critical factor in Ukraine’s energy security

The fourth month of Russia’s brutal war with Ukraine has arrived, ruthlessly eroding Ukraine’s human and economic resources and putting into question the stable functioning of the nation’s power system.

Several of Ukraine’s power plants, including the largest nuclear plant in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, have been seized by Russian forces. Even more electric transmission facilities have been damaged or destroyed by shelling.

Despite the losses incurred, Ukraine’s power system has demonstrated an unprecedented capacity for crisis management, adeptly balancing supply and demand considerations and providing Ukrainian-controlled parts of the country with electricity.

Blue Helmets Out: ​​Mali Suspends UN Rotations After Arresting Peacekeepers

Trevor Filseth L

The Malian government announced on Thursday that it has ordered the United Nations to suspend all flights to rotate peacekeeping forces into the country, a step taken after forty-nine soldiers from neighboring Cote d’Ivoire were alleged to have arrived in the country illegally.

“For reasons related to the national security context, the government of Mali has decided to suspend, as of today, all rotation of the military and police contingent [of the United Nations], including those already scheduled or announced,” Mali’s foreign ministry announced on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

The UN swiftly acknowledged its understanding of the situation. UN spokesman Olivier Salgado later clarified that the international organization was prepared for negotiations with Malian authorities to restart the rotation process, which he characterized as “of critical importance for [the mission’s] operational effectiveness and the morale of its uniformed personnel.”

Where Russia’s Afghanistan Policy Went Wrong

Akram Umarov Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili

Like many other countries in the world, over the past decade, Russia has changed its view of the Taliban, which it had long viewed as a threat. The failure of the United States in Afghanistan was a clear demonstration that the U.S. ability to influence and provide order around the world was in decline. By the time the United States left Afghanistan, Russia saw the Taliban takeover as an opportunity to expand its influence. Yet, Russia seems to have overplayed its hand as many of the strategic choices it made have not come to fruition.

Vladimir Putin has embraced the Taliban. He urged the international community to unfreeze Afghanistan's central bank reserves, restore financial aid programs for the country, and gradually welcome the Taliban into “the civilized family of nations.” Such measures, the Russian leader argued, were necessary to prevent the “disintegration” of Afghanistan. He also said that Russia is moving towards excluding the Taliban from its list of extremist organizations. It has also accredited Taliban-appointed diplomats while refusing formal recognition of its government.

Ukraine's new US rockets are causing fresh problems for Russia

Tim Lister and Oren Liebermann

(CNN)There's a new and potentially very significant factor in the Ukrainian conflict: the Ukrainians' ability to use recently supplied Western systems to hit Russian command posts, logistical hubs and ammunition dumps a long way beyond the front lines.

In the past week, there have been enormous explosions in several occupied areas in the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. The available evidence, from satellite imagery and Western analysts, is that the targeting has been highly effective.

For months the Ukrainian military pleaded for long-range precision artillery and rocket systems from Western partners. Now they have them and are deploying them to considerable effect in both the south and east of the country.

Troops’ use of TikTok may be national security threat, FCC commissioner says

Karen Jowers

Troops and family members could be jeopardizing national security with their use of the TikTok video-sharing app, a U.S. regulator told lawmakers.

While the military services have banned the use of TikTok from government devices, troops and family members do use the app on personal devices.

TikTok is owned by the Beijing-based ByteDance, said Brendan Carr, the senior Republican on the Federal Communications Commission. And he’s concerned about the amount of non-public sensitive data Americans upload that could be flowing into the hands of the Chinese government.