21 July 2022

Why Do We Keep Listening To The ‘TV’ Generals On Ukraine?

Daniel Davis

Listening to television commentary and interviews of retired U.S. generals, one would be forgiven for believing Russia is on the ropes, and Ukraine was winning the war. Looking at on-the-ground battlefield reality in Ukraine, however, it quickly becomes apparent that the generals’ boasts continue a decade-long trend of rosy combat proclamations that all too often turn out to be disastrously wrong. American media, Congress, and the public need to start applying a little more scrutiny to what these officers say.

For example, retired Gen. Ben Hodges said last week that the “Russians are exhausted,” from four months of fighting and that if “the West sticks together through this year, then I think (the war) will be over (early 2023).” Earlier this month, retired Gen. Mark Hertling told a CNN audience that as Ukraine “gets more and more artillery” from the West, Hertling concluded that he believes “you’re going to see a gradual turn in the tide.”

HASC Moves to Replenish Munitions—But More Remains to Be Done

Maiya Clark & Grace Hermanson

U.S. military aid to Ukraine has depleted our own stockpiles, leaving us dangerously low of some key types of munitions. Moreover, there is growing concern that the defense industry is unable to replenish them in a timely manner

Seeking to address these problems, the current House version of the FY2023 National Defense Authorization Act increases funding to rebuild our supply of essential munitions. The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) proposal also directs the Defense Department to implement a “new initiative to develop and invest in technologies to reduce the cost, increase reliability, enhance lethality, and diversify the supply chain for key munitions.”

The focus on munitions is a positive sign, especially because they have often been neglected in the past. The military services prefer to buy platforms—tanks, ships, and planes—rather than the missiles and munitions that these systems launch. The assumption seems to be that, if the U.S. ever does go to war, we can quickly ramp up production of munitions to meet the military’s needs.

Snake Island: The Start of Ukraine’s Counteroffensive?

James Brooke

Last summer in Kyiv, I wrote an editorial for the Ukraine Business News titled: “Would NATO Fight for Snake Island?”

With Ukraine’s flag rising last week over this strategic Black Sea island near the mouth of the Danube, the answer is: NATO weapons, yes; NATO soldiers, no.

Ukraine’s constitution states that joining NATO is a national goal. But admitting Ukraine is not supported by all NATO’s member countries, soon to be 32 with the upcoming addition of Finland and Sweden. NATO’s rules require candidate countries to settle their border disputes with their neighbors. Ukraine is unlikely to achieve this as long as Vladimir Putin remains in the Kremlin.

In the face of Russia’s war against Ukraine, NATO leaders agreed at the recent summit in Madrid to sharply increase the number of forces NATO keeps at a high readiness level—from 40,000 to 300,000. But that may be more aspiration than reality anytime soon. No NATO boots are expected on the ground in Ukraine.

Iran Is Testing Us. So Far, We Are Failing


In February, a jet carrying Iran's minister of the interior, Ahmad Vahidi, landed at Pakistan's Nur Khan air base and he was not arrested.

He should have been.

Vahidi, and four other senior Iranians, are wanted by INTERPOL for "aggravated murder and damages," for their role in the July 18, 1994, bombing of the Argentine-Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA in Spanish) center in Buenos Aires.

On that day, a Renault van laden with 600 pounds of ammonium nitrate rammed into the AMIA building, killing 85 Jews and non-Jews. Vahidi was then head of the Quds Force, the external operations arm of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The Quds Force is labeled a terror organization by the United States and is considered responsible for the death of hundreds of Americans in Iraq since the second Gulf war. Vahidi is sanctioned by the U.S. government for proliferating weapons of mass destruction. INTERPOL has issued a red notice (provisional arrest warrant) for his detention because of the 1994 bombing.

As Russia Runs Low on Drones, Iran Plans to Step In, U.S. Officials Say

Eric SchmittThomas Gibbons-Neff and John Ismay

WASHINGTON — The White House disclosure last week that Russia is seeking hundreds of armed and unarmed surveillance drones from Iran to use in the war in Ukraine reflects Moscow’s need to both fill a critical battlefield gap and find a long-term supplier of a crucial combat technology, U.S. intelligence, military and independent analysts say.

Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security adviser, offered few details about the intelligence assessment he revealed to reporters last Monday, including whether the shipments had started. But other U.S. officials said Iran was preparing to provide as many as 300 remotely piloted aircraft and would start training Russian troops on how to use them as early as this month.

Russia has exhausted most of its precision-guided weapons as well as many of the drones it has used to help long-range artillery strike targets in its monthslong bombardment of Ukraine. Meantime, the first batches of American truck-mounted, multiple-rocket launchers have destroyed more than two dozen Russian ammunition depots, air defense sites and command posts, according to two U.S. officials, making Moscow’s need to counter the new, advanced Western arms more urgent.

Is America growing weary of the long war in Ukraine?

President joe biden pledges to support Ukraine “as long as it takes”. His administration has so far spent about $8bn on military aid alone for it. In May, Congress passed a $40bn supplemental budget—more than Mr Biden had asked for, and more than the annual defence budgets of most European allies—to assist Ukraine and deal with the global consequences of the war.

But nearly six months into the fight, with the prospect of a long war to come, even Mr Biden’s closest allies are asking whether America might soon tire of the burden. The president is more unpopular even than Donald Trump was at this point in his presidency. Inflation and high fuel prices are weakening Americans’ spending power. And Republicans are set to make important gains in mid-term elections in November: they are expected to take control of the House of Representatives and possibly also the Senate.

Why The U.S. Navy Needs To Be In The South China Sea

James Holmes

I’ve been a ghost around the hallowed halls of the U.S. Naval War College in Newport this sabbatical year. But I did clank and moan my way onto campus late last month to give a talk at the Center for Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups annual symposium. This year’s workshop attendees explored “gray-zone” competition at sea, chiefly in such quarters as the South China Sea.

My bottom line was blaringly obvious—namely, that a contender has to take the field of competition and stay there in order to compete.

That you have to be there to win seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? I rather doubt the legendary University of Georgia Bulldogs football team would have defeated Alabama for the national championship last January had the Dawgs only shown up in the first half of the championship game. A contestant has to show up—and stay for the duration of the contest—if it hopes to control the field and win the game.

How Credible Is NATO’s Pivot to China?

Jagannath Panda

In June 2022, the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO) held its first summit since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Aptly described as “historic, transformative, game-changing,” the meeting paved the way for Sweden and Finland to join the alliance and also addressed the importance of expanded global partnerships with like-minded states in the Indo-Pacific—like Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea—on areas of mutual interest, such as maritime security, counterterrorism, cyber and hybrid threats, and the impact of climate change. Simultaneously, NATO also introduced several new initiatives to strengthen its posture, readiness, and interoperability, thereby enabling stronger deterrence and defense (a core task of NATO’s 2022 Strategic Concept) in face of both Russian aggression and systemic challenges posed by China. In fact, the very mention of China in NATO’s recent documents, including the 2022 Strategic Concept, is notable considering its traditional focus has been limited to Russia.

Russia’s relentless war in Ukraine has reignited the debate over NATO’s fading relevance. At the same time, it has also provided the alliance with an overarching purpose that seemed to be sorely missing despite the security environment in the Euro-Atlantic zones having been under stress for some time. Long-standing debates between collective defense and cooperative security have only complicated NATO’s future undertaking. Amidst the other defining global threats, a factor that has muddled the waters is the extraordinary, and often belligerent, rise of China, which was perhaps non-existent (for NATO) in 2010, when its last Strategic Concept was released. Now, however, the deepening partnership between Russia and China, and the systemic challenges it poses, forms an important consideration of the Strategic Concept 2022, which was released to guide NATO in developing the necessary tools and collective responses to shared, transnational threats.

No longer the most populous, but still China wants to be world number one

Rana Mitter

Last week, the UN’s global population project announced a major shift in the way the world looks. Next year, India, not China, will be the world’s most populous country. Right now, China has 1.43 billion people to India’s 1.41 billion, but by mid-century there will be more than 1.6 billion Indians to around 1.3 billion Chinese.

At one level, this development ought to delight Beijing, which compelled its population into a “one child” policy for some 40 years. Yet there may be a few disconsolate faces in Beijing. The idea of China being the most populous society in the world has long been linked to the country’s rise. Officially, China dismisses any idea that being at the top of global rankings matters: in January this year, vice foreign minister Le Yucheng declared that China had no interest in becoming the world’s biggest economy or superpower and would instead work on improving its people’s lives at home.

Six ways to improve global supply chains

Darrell M. West

It used to be a simple matter to outsource production to other countries, have them manufacture clothes, electronics, computer chips, and medicines, and ship the items back to the United States. America provided value through design capabilities and reliance upon domestically-produced components. But many businesses utilized inexpensive labor from abroad to assemble products, and global distributors then would deliver materials “just-in-time” for American firms.[1]

Now we are seeing the limits of this model. It is a time of tremendous disruptions in global supply chains with many problems ranging from shifts in consumer demand and off-shoring reliability to transportation jams, anti-competitive practices, and geopolitical complications.[2] As noted in a 2022 Council of Economic Advisers report, supply chains currently “are efficient but brittle – vulnerable to breaking down in the face of a pandemic, a war or a natural disaster. Because of outsourcing, off-shoring and insufficient investment in resilience, many supply chains have become complex and fragile.”[3]

Predicting Military Performance Can’t Be Perfect. But It Can Be Better

Franz-Stefan Gady

In the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many military analysts found that their prewar predictions about the Russian military’s performance were wildly off the mark. Even if many had expressed doubts about Russia’s ability to sustainably achieve its strategic objectives in Ukraine, most experts shared the widespread expectation that the superior firepower and mobility of Russian forces’ combined arms operations would quickly overwhelm the Ukrainian military.

In the months since then, endless post-mortems have dissected the particular Russian blunders and Ukrainian successes that determined the course of the war’s first weeks, and why military analysts were unable to foresee them. But it’s also worth examining the broader lessons of that analytic failure, in order to apply them to similar exercises with major implications, like efforts to predict the performance of the Chinese military in a prospective conflict scenario over Taiwan.

Russia’s Brutal War In The Donbas Proves Ukraine Can’t Win

Daniel Davis

Methodical and Relentless: Russia’s war Donbas likely to continue through the summer – The General Staff of the Ukraine Armed Forces (UAF) on Monday confirmed that President Volodymyr Zelensky’s troops have withdrawn from Lysychansk. In the face of Russia’s superiority “in artillery, aviation, MLRS, ammunition, and personnel,” the General Staff reported, “the continuation of the defense of the city would lead to fatal consequences.” The UAF, the General Staff spokesperson continued, would nevertheless “be back and we will definitely win!”

They are almost certainly wrong, however, and it is time to face an increasingly unavoidable reality: In all likelihood, the Ukrainian Armed Forces will continue to suffer loss after loss, surrendering more territory to the Russians. If Kyiv and the West continue ignoring combat reality long enough, Ukraine may suffer an outright military defeat. Based on the public statements by senior Kyiv and Washington leaders, however, one might be forgiven for thinking Ukraine was actually winning.

Pentagon plan for homeland cruise missile defense taking shape

Jen Judson

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s plan to defend the U.S. homeland from cruise missiles is starting to take shape after a prolonged period of development because until recently, the threat was perceived as a more distant regional one, a senior Air Force official said.

North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command have been working for several years and across two presidential administrations to come up with a design that can effectively defend the continental U.S. from cruise missiles, according to Brig. Gen. Paul Murray, NORAD deputy director of operations.

NORAD and NORTHCOM, in consultation with the Missile Defense Agency and the Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Organization are closing in on a design framework for the mission, Murray said, just as the Pentagon enters a critical decision-making period as it formulates the fiscal 2024 budget request.

Price Cap on Russian Oil Exports Would be Futile; West Should Opt for Tariff Instead

Daniel P. Ahn

At last month’s G-7 summit, President Joe Biden formally presented the idea of a price cap on Western purchases of Russian oil, something his counterparts agreed to consider. Their motivations are certainly well-meaning: to diminish the amount of oil revenue accruing to a regime currently conducting military aggression in Ukraine while also minimizing economic damage to Western economies already suffering from an inflationary surge.

Sadly, this price cap mechanism ignores the working realities of global oil markets and is likely doomed to futility. To significantly reduce Russian oil revenue, Western leaders have only two sets of policy options: to boost Western oil supply and/or to decrease Western oil demand. An oil price cap does neither. Worse still, it will not be difficult to bypass: Russian oil would likely continue being rerouted to Asia and could just as easily keep going to Europe and North America blended with other feedstock. Thus, Western leaders would be well-advised to shift their priorities to alternatives that actually work, such as an import tariff.

Ukraine Support Tracker

The Ukraine Support Tracker lists and quantifies military, financial and humanitarian aid promised by governments to Ukraine between January 24, 2022 and currently through July 1, 2022. It covers 40 countries, specifically the EU member states, other members of the G7, as well as Australia, South Korea, Turkey, Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland, China, Taiwan and India. The database is intended to support a facts-based discussion about support to Ukraine.

We focus on government-to-government transfers into Ukraine. Due to a lack of comparable and reliable data, we do not quantify private donations or transfers by international organizations like the Red Cross. For more details see below. We are continuously expanding, correcting, and improving this project. We therefore very much welcome any help to improve the tracker. We are very grateful for the many comments and suggestions we have received. Please send feedback and comments to ukrainetracker@ifw-kiel.de

Military Personnel Need Watch How They Use Social Media

Peter Suciu

Before the various social media networks became a place to see echoes of one's political opinions and to call out those who you disagreed with, many of the services were where you simply shared some thoughts of the day along with a photo or two. Fewer people actually do this today, and perhaps it would be good for the country – dare it even be said the world – if social media returned to being more about social.

That said, it turns out one group may be "oversharing" photos and information more than they should, namely those in uniform. This has been an ongoing problem in recent years, and one The New York Times reported about in early 2019 after social media posts revealed some NATO secrets.

China’s Roadblocks to Becoming A Science Superpower


A future in which China is the world’s dominant scientific power fills the imagination of leaders in both East and West. In Beijing, China has entered its latest policy-planning period, the 14th Five-Year Plan. Building on strong performance in common science-and-technology indicators and advances in cutting-edge areas such as AI, quantum computing, and hypersonic flight, China is now striving to achieve two of the remaining milestones outlined in its 2016 Innovation-Driven Development Strategy: joining the front rank of innovative countries by 2035 and becoming a “global scientific great power” by 2050.

All this has animated calls for an American response to ensure the United States’ leading position in scientific and technological progress. Countless articles and reports frame it as a new “Sputnik Moment” and a key element of U.S.-China strategic competition. This has led to a host of new proposals and policy initiatives, ranging from increases in DoD research spending to the recent debate over the China competition bill in Congress.

Pregnant Sri Lankans Fear ‘One Meal Per Day’

Dimuthu Attanayake

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka—In Koralawella, a coastal village just south of Colombo, Anusha Fernando, her husband, and their 7-year-old child have been surviving on just a single curry and rice most days, which they spread out between lunch and dinner. Despite living in a fishing village, Fernando, who is eight months pregnant, has barely been able to afford seafood—or even eggs, meat, or milk powder—since the beginning of the year.

“I eat less now, and I get [gastritis], which makes me feel nauseous. I have lost 2 kilograms [4.4 pounds] since last month,” Fernando said in June in their modest home in a housing block provided by the government for low-income families, a few streets from the shore of the Indian Ocean, with its colorful fishing boats and clusters of small wooden shanties. Fernando’s husband has found less and less work since January as a casual laborer at one of the neighborhood’s many carpentry workshops, and sometimes they are forced to choose between food and other daily necessities.

Putin’s Captives How a Ruinous Imperial War Has Strengthened His Rule at Home

Andrei Kolesnikov

Is Russia at war? To anyone visiting Moscow or even the provinces this summer, it can sometimes be hard to find much evidence. People are going about their usual lives, and the economy continues to function. There are no shortages of consumer goods; so far, so-called parallel imports—the system by which Russian importers circumvent Western sanctions by using third countries—have worked well. Only inflation has remained stubbornly intractable, with the annualized rate currently hovering above 16 percent. And, at least when they are asked, many citizens do not seem overly disturbed by what is happening on their western border.

According to survey data released by the independent Levada Center in June, Russians do not seem to be seriously concerned about the economic effects of the conflict: half of respondents say sanctions will strengthen the country and stimulate development, and another quarter say sanctions will have no negative effect on growth. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating has stabilized above 80 percent, or about ten points above prewar figures. And when it comes to the war itself, many respondents say they are prepared to tighten their belts and that they are proud of their country and their army. Many also express optimism that conditions for consumers will improve and that the future for domestic production looks rosy.

The Cyberwar That Never Was: Reassessing Choices During Cyber Conflicts – Analysis

Miguel Alberto Gomez

The action and rhetoric leading to the invasion of Ukraine early this year led to speculation about the effective use of Russian cyber capabilities to complement or replace conventional means at the outbreak of the conflict. Noting the observed and declared Russian prowess in cyberspace, some observers held that the deteriorating situation provided the opportunity to demonstrate the strategic value of cyber operations. Nevertheless, despite the seemingly favourable conditions, the exercise of Russian cyber power at the onset of hostilities –and throughout them– is limited at best.[1] Although disruptive tactics such as defacement and wiper malware were documented, the expected cyber ‘bang’ was more of a ‘whimper’, remaining much the same throughout the past three months.

Responding to the limited strategic role of cyber operations thus far, both cybersecurity scholars and policy analysts weighed in on possible explanations. While the possibility exists of increasingly destructive action with notable strategic effects, most acknowledge its supportive or complementary value once a dispute is militarised.[2] Proponents of this view recognise: (1) the difficulty of planning and initiating cyber operations; (2) their limited effects; and (3) and the potential for escalation, which may temper decisions surrounding their use.

Demographic Effects on Fiscal Balances in India

Shreyans Bhaskar and Amaani Bashir

Indian states have generally recorded budget deficits in recent decades, with both development and non-development expenditures rising as India’s population has exponentially grown. In particular, public spending has risen on provision of goods and services as well as on debt servicing. Public spending is not only a function of demographic size, but also demographic structure, as public spending on social and medical services and transfer payments is generally higher in countries with a disproportionately higher share of younger or older people, who are not part of the labour force and often require additional budgetary support from the state. Research in Asian countries indicates a negative relationship between demographic transition and government budget balances through higher government expenditure.

In India, the population remains young relative to the wider Asia region, but overall, the share of 60+ persons in the population has risen from 6.2% in 1991 to 10.1% by 2020[1]. Falling fertility rates and improving health outcomes could further accelerate this climb and indeed, there remain strong inter-state differentials in the demographic structure, with important policy implications. State governments in India play a crucial role in provision of social services and several states already have significant debt burdens. State governments are the key drivers of government schemes given India’s quasi-federal constitutional structure and are responsible for disbursement of welfare payments and social services in a way that the central government is not. Therefore, in this article, we try to understand the relationship between government budget and debt levels of Indian states, and the change in the proportion of the 60+ population. We also try to understand the changing trend in health and pension spending as the population has aged.

When are we actually in a recession? It’s when these 8 economists say we are.

Matthew Zeitlin

There’s something odd about the economy right now. If you look at the pace of hiring, it’s historically strong. If you look at the output of the overall economy as measured by the gross domestic product, it’s contracting. Consumers are about as negative about the economy as they’ve been in years, while manufacturing is still growing.

Perhaps the most perplexing, at least for some observers, is the difference between the economy’s output and its labor market.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. has had 18 straight months of job growth, with 372,000 jobs created in June, which would have been one of the best months of job growth in the post-2008, pre-covid period. Another “real time” indicator developed by former Federal Reserve economist Claudia Sahm, which is supposed to detect recessions in real time by looking at how quickly the unemployment rate is growing, does not indicate a recession happening now or particularly soon.

Meet The Brimstone: The British Missile Killing Everything In Ukraine

Brent M. Eastwood

You’ve heard of the air-launched Hellfire missile, but you may not know about a comparable munition called the Brimstone. The United Kingdom has sent hundreds of these systems to Ukraine. The Brimstone can be fired from the air, ground, or a truck, day or night, and in all weather. It is effective against tanks and armored vehicles – even small boats.

Rapid Fire Missiles

Watch how quickly the Brimstone leaves its launcher in a video published on Twitter. The ten-second clip has over 400,000 views and shows two missiles firing in about one second. The Brimstone was initially designed to be launched by drones and airplanes, but the ever-resourceful Ukrainians adapted it to be fired from a vehicle. This ground mobility makes it even more lethal.

The toughest challenges for cryptocurrency lie ahead, not in the rear-view mirror

With more than $1 trillion in cryptocurrency value wiped out since the 2021 high-water mark, many investors may be tempted to enter the cryptocurrency orbit at a potentially attractive, lower price point. After all, previous dramatic drawdowns in cryptocurrency valuations have been followed by explosive growth — and all this volatility could be justified as the expectedly bumpy price discovery process of an important brand-new asset class. However, the most profound risks to cryptocurrency investing may lie ahead, rather than in the rear-view mirror. Investors contemplating a long-term allocation to cryptocurrencies should remain wary for five primary reasons. After a dazzling first decade, bitcoin has become a somewhat troubled teenager. In its heady early days, bitcoin had near-zero correlation with broad equities and commodities, providing the potential for true portfolio diversification. However, as cryptocurrency investing has become more mainstream, and especially since 2020, bitcoin’s correlation with U.S. equities and bonds has spiked sharply and remained consistently positive.

Semiconductors and the U.S.-China Innovation Race

Semiconductors, otherwise known as “chips,” are an ­­essential component at the heart of economic growth, security, and technological innovation. Smaller than the size of a postage stamp, thinner than a human hair, and made of nearly 40 billion components, the impact that semiconductors are having on world development exceeds that of the Industrial Revolution. From smartphones, PCs, pacemakers to the internet, electronic vehicles, aircrafts, and hypersonic weaponry, semiconductors are ubiquitous in electrical devices and the digitization of goods and services such as global e-commerce. And demand is skyrocketing, with the industry facing numerous challenges and opportunities as emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced wireless communications, notably 5G, all requiring cutting-edge semiconductor-enabled devices. But the COVID-19 pandemic and international trade disputes are straining the industry’s supply and value chains while the battle between the United States and China over tech supremacy risks splintering the supply chain further, contributing to technological fragmentation and significant disruption in international commerce.

Why Autonomy is Not a Viable Solution in Karabakh

M. Hakan Yavuz

In recent discussions, some Armenian and Azerbaijani scholars have promoted the idea of autonomy for the Armenian minority in the Karabakh region. Nevertheless, their argument is flawed on the basis of: (a) international law, (b) the legacy of the violent conflict, and, most importantly, (c) the number of affected Armenians, who do not even constitute 0.1% of the Azerbaijani population by some measures. In a recent opinion essay on E-IR, and elsewhere , Vahagn Avedian aptly argued that autonomy “is not a solution for the future of Karabakh”, I fully agree with his conclusion but for different reasons. Instead, Avedian advances the idea of separatism on the basis of “remedial” secessionism.

Avedian contends that the Armenian minority cannot live together with Azerbaijanis and thus they either need to be independent or be unified with Armenia. I would argue that for the security and well-being of Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as the welfare of the Armenian minority, there should not be any form of territorial autonomy. The Karabakh conflict should be considered the key reason why the population of the Republic of Armenian declined from 3.3 million in 1994 to 2.9 million in 2021, which coincides with a drop in the number of Armenians in Karabakh.

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.

Is Pakistan heeding the warning signs from Sri Lanka?


Pakistan is showing similar symptoms to those of Sri Lanka if economic and political challenges the country faces are seen in perspective.

Sri Lanka is currently engulfed in crisis, amid a multi-billion dollar debt default and double-digit inflation. Many people on the island nation are reeling with power blackouts and fuel shortages. Concern over food and other essentials is growing. There is a shortage of foreign exchange. Anti-government protesters stormed the official residence of Sri Lanka’s president and prime minister, forcing both leaders to announce their resignations. Sri Lanka is currently in talks with the International Monetary Fund for a rescue package – but this too is in jeopardy as the country grapples with its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948.

“In sight of surrender”: Critical Analysis of the 2022 Sanction Regime on Russia

Hans Iver Traaseth Skogvang

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson, architect of the post-war international cooperative regime, stated the following regarding economic sanctions: “A nation that is boycotted is a nation that is in sight of surrender. Apply this economic, peaceful, silent, deadly remedy and there will be no need for force. It is a terrible remedy” (Hufbauer et al., 2007, p. 1).

Advocates and sceptics alike, few today agree on the prospect that sanctions may provide an alternative to war. Still, the use of sanctions as a deterrent and second-best alternative to military intervention has become the policy of choice in cases where diplomacy is insufficient, and intervention is too drastic. Subsequently, the use of sanctions has been increasingly subject to scholarly scrutiny. This scrutiny is particularly relevant today, as many Western states, with the EU and the US in the forefront, have imposed on Russia what is likely the most encompassing sanction regime since 1945.

China's debt bomb looks ready to explode

Minxin Pei

Confidence in the safety of Chinese banks has been badly shaken by the failure of several small banks in Henan Province in April this year. In terms of their assets of about 40 billion yuan ($6 billion) and the number of customers, roughly 400,000, the shuttered rural banks are minions in China's financial system.

The implosion of these poorly supervised and likely corruption-ridden financial institutions should not be surprising. But how local authorities handled the fallout is shocking even to the most jaded observers of China's political scene.

Instead of compensating the depositors, who are entitled to up to 500,000 yuan, according to government regulations, officials in Henan have done everything imaginable to silence them.