3 August 2022

What if They Gave a War and Everybody Was Woke?

Jimmy Byrn

Is the U.S. prepared for battle? By one measure, military recruitment, the answer appears to be no. Nearly every branch has struggled to meet its recruitment goals for 2022, with some falling as short as 40%. Worse yet, only about a quarter of America’s youth meet current eligibility standards—and recent surveys show only 9% are even interested.

Military leadership primarily blames this slump on two causes: teen obesity rates and the tight labor market. But data for both claims can’t paint the full picture. Teen obesity did increase during the pandemic, to 22% from 19%. But that jump likely can’t account for the sudden and widespread collapse in recruitment. Neither can the labor market. The unemployment rate today sits at 3.6%—roughly the same as in 2019. Yet in 2019 the Army exceeded its recruiting goals. It’s falling perilously short today and will be understrength by 28,000 troops by the end of 2023. The military’s benefits—including child care, housing allowances, medical coverage and large bonuses, up to $50,000—should also help insulate it from the pitfalls of hiring young recruits in a tight labor market.

China on the Offensive How the Ukraine War Has Changed Beijing’s Strategy

Bonny Lin and Jude Blanchette

In the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Beijing was on the back foot. For weeks after Russian troops crossed Ukraine’s border, China’s messaging was stilted and confused as Chinese diplomats, propagandists, and foreign ministry spokespeople themselves tried to figure out Chinese President Xi Jinping’s line on the conflict. Xi’s “no limits” partnership with Russian President Vladimir Putin was incurring growing reputational costs.

Almost six months after the war’s outbreak and with no end in sight, Beijing has largely regained its footing. Its early concerns that the war would significantly increase overall European defense spending have yet to materialize. Although China would prefer the war to end with a clear Russian victory, a second-best option would be to see the United States and Europe exhaust their supplies of military equipment in support of Ukraine. Meanwhile, rising energy costs and inflation are threatening the resolve of European governments to hold the line on sanctions, signaling to Beijing a potential erosion in transatlantic unity. And even though in advanced democracies public opinion about China has clearly deteriorated, throughout the “global South,” Beijing continues to enjoy broad receptivity for its development assistance and diplomatic messaging.

Russia’s war viewed from China

Mark Leonard

Is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine merely the first in a series of conflicts that will make Europe seem more like the Middle East in the coming years? A Chinese academic who requested anonymity put that question to me last month, and his reasoning showed just how differently non-Westerners view a war that is reshaping the European geopolitical order.

In speaking with Chinese academics to understand how they view the world, I have found that they start from a fundamentally different position than many in the West do. It’s not just that they are more likely to blame the Ukraine war on NATO enlargement than on the Kremlin; it is that many of their core strategic assumptions are also the opposite of our own.

While Europeans and Americans see the conflict as a turning point in global history, the Chinese see it as just another war of intervention—one that is even less significant than those launched in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 75 years. To them, the only material difference this time is that it is not the West that is intervening.

Tehran, the Day After What might happen in Iran if America or Israel bombed the nuclear sites?

Reuel Marc Gerecht

What would happen inside Iran if America or Israel bombed its nuclear sites? That intriguing question is rarely broached, in part because many in Washington recoil from any speculation that might make such a military contingency a more concrete exercise. Iran’s atomic program keeps advancing, and the odds of any new nuclear deals seriously constraining it seem low, but neither Israel nor America appears keen on striking.

Even when it seemed in 2010 and 2011 that Israel might well attack, Washington, in government and in the somewhat freer realm of think tanks, avoided any prolonged discussion of what an Israeli attack might provoke inside Iran. Before Ebrahim Raisi, a police-state cleric par excellence, became the Islamic Republic’s president last year, there had been some concern in America and Europe that U.S. or Israeli military action might undermine Iranian “moderates.” According to these observers, the moderates were perpetually on the cusp of gaining real power but fragile enough to be undone by American meddling. It was the possibility of Iranian reprisals — against U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and against shipping in the Persian Gulf — that really captured America’s attention when it appeared Jerusalem might let loose the Israeli Defense Forces.

Ukraine seeks to retake the south, tying down Russian forces

Even as Moscow’s war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing full control over the country’s industrial heartland, Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the Russian-occupied south.

The Ukrainians have used American-supplied rocket launchers to strike bridges and military infrastructure in the south, forcing Russia to divert its forces from the Donbas in the east to counter the new threat.

With the war in Ukraine now in its sixth month, the coming weeks may prove decisive.

While the bulk of Russian and Ukrainian military assets are conсentrated in the Donbas, the industrial region of mines and factories, both sides hope to make gains elsewhere.

The U.S. is a lot stronger than Russia. We should act like it.

Max Boot

The war in Ukraine has now entered its third phase.

Phase 1, beginning on Feb. 24, was Russia’s pell-mell attempt to take Kyiv. That resulted in failure thanks to terrible Russian logistics (remember the 40-mile convoy?) and a skillful Ukrainian defense making use of handheld weapons such as Stingers and Javelins supplied by the West.

Phase 2 began in mid-April, when Russian dictator Vladimir Putin concentrated his forces on Luhansk province in the eastern Donbas region. That phase, characterized by relentless Russian artillery bombardment, ended in early July with the retreat of Ukrainian forces from Luhansk.

In the third phase of the war, Ukrainian troops are holding a strong defensive position in neighboring Donetsk province (also part of Donbas) and effectively hitting back with High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and other longer-range weapons supplied by the West. The HIMARS, in particular, have been a game changer by allowing the Ukrainians to destroy more than 100 high-value targets such as Russian ammunition depots and command posts.

The Sneaky Way Ukraine Could Take Back Kherson From Putin: Guerilla Warfare

Steve Balestrieri

The Ukrainian Army is attempting to take back the city of Kherson in southern Ukraine, the first major city to fall to the Russian invasion. Kherson had a prewar population of about 300,000 people and has strategic value.

And if the counteroffensive makes it into the city, the Ukrainians will have plenty of support from the partisans, the so-called “Shadow Army.”

Kherson controls the freshwater flow to the Russian-annexed region of Crimea on the Black Sea. After Russia annexed it in 2014, the Ukrainians cut off the flow of fresh water, which supplied 85 percent of the freshwater to Crimea.

Chinese invasion of Taiwan may come sooner than expected

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian Dave Lawler

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The timeline for a potential Chinese attempt to take Taiwan by force seems to be getting shorter.

Driving the news: Chinese President Xi Jinping warned President Biden not to "play with fire" over Taiwan on Thursday, according to the Chinese readout of a call between the two leaders.

That contentious exchange comes with Beijing threatening "serious consequences" if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi follows through on a planned visit to the self-governing island.

Pelosi's plans and the bellicose response from Beijing have renewed speculation that Taiwan could become a military flashpoint sooner rather than later.

Hacktivist group Anonymous is using six top techniques to ‘embarrass’ Russia

Monica Buchanan Pitrelli

Ongoing efforts by the underground hacktivists known as Anonymous are “embarrassing” Russia and its cybersecurity technology.

That’s according to Jeremiah Fowler, co-founder of the cybersecurity company Security Discovery, who has been monitoring the hacker collective since it declared a “cyber war” on Russia for invading Ukraine.

“Anonymous has made Russia’s governmental and civilian cyber defenses appear weak,” he told CNBC. “The group has demystified Russia’s cyber capabilities and successfully embarrassed Russian companies, government agencies, energy companies and others.”

Despite rising tensions, US and Chinese troops worked together to put out a garbage dump fire, a top US general says


Rising tensions between the US and China have led to diplomatic spats and risky military encounters, but in the place where US and Chinese troops are based closest to each other, they are getting along, the outgoing commander of US Africa Command said on Thursday.

Camp Lemonnier in Djibuoti is the US military's only permanent base in Africa. It is also just a few miles from the Chinese People's Liberation Army's only overseas military base.

China officially opened its base in late 2017. US military leaders greeted it with concern and have formally complained to China about activity there, but there haven't been any problems between their personnel, US Army Gen. Stephen Townsend said at a Defense Writers Group event.

Slowdown in China ripples through corporate earnings

Hope King

Why it matters: China is not only the largest consumer market in the world, but it also remains a key component of global supply chains.But the Fed has warned that the country's current troubles — housing market upheaval, regulation and continued COVID-related lockdowns — would spread.

Driving the news: Chinese leaders held their quarterly economic meeting on Thursday and "all but acknowledged" that their annual GDP growth target would not be met, the WSJ reports.Meanwhile, several multinational brands and conglomerates reporting earnings from the second quarter have all cited weakness from the Chinese market as a challenge they've either been hindered by or have to overcome.

Details: Apple, which derives close to 20% from the "greater China region" (which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong) reported a 1% decline in revenue from the area from the same period last year, which was better than feared.Earlier in the week, Adidas cut its financial forecast for the year because it had previously assumed there wouldn't be any more "major" COVID-related lockdowns in China.

No matter what the Kremlin says, the sanctions against Russia are working and 'catastrophically crippling' its economy: study

Huileng Tan

Russia's economy is crumbling under sweeping sanctions and a corporate exodus, a Yale study found.

The study stands in contrast to economic releases from the Kremlin.

"The Kremlin has a long history of fudging official economic statistics," the Yale authors wrote.

Five months into the invasion of Ukraine, Russia's economy is imploding from sweeping international sanctions and a corporate exodus, a Yale University analysis has found. The analysis, released July 20, was led by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor at the Yale School of Management.

The study's findings stand in contrast to studies of Russia's economy that show it's holding up better than expected. Many of those analyses, forecasts, and projections draw from Russian government economic releases, which are becoming "increasingly cherry-picked; partial, and incomplete, selectively tossing out unfavorable statistics while keeping favorable statistics," the Yale team wrote. "Indeed, the Kremlin has a long history of fudging official economic statistics, even prior to the invasion."

The Battle for Kherson and Why it Matters

Lawrence Freedman

In my recent posts, here and here, I have been arguing that the war with Russia has shifted in Ukraine’s favour. This is because of Russia’s difficulties in replacing its lost equipment and recruiting more men for the front as Ukraine takes advantage of an influx of modern Western weapons. Ukraine’s Defence Minister Olesky Reznikov has praised his ‘gunners’ for using HIMARS multiple rocket launchers ‘very precisely – they work like a surgeon with a scalpel.’ Over recent weeks these gunners have successfully attacked more than a hundred ‘high-value’ targets, including, according to a pentagon official Russian command posts, ammunition depots, air-defence sites, radar and communications nodes, and long-range artillery positions. In response the Russian military have been told that the elimination of HIMARS and other long-range artillery system is a high priority. In this effort, and despite Moscow’s occasional claims to the contrary, they have as yet been unsuccessful. They have been thwarted, at least so far, by the ability of these systems to ‘shoot and scoot’ (get away from their firing positions in minutes).

This same Pentagon official was also quoted as observing that Russia has committed nearly 85% of its military to the war in Ukraine, which means that its armed forces will be progressively unable to fulfil its other tasks protecting their borders and supporting Russian foreign policy goals around the world. It has used up a lot of its smart munitions and so is relying on dumber capabilities. They therefore can launch fewer precision strikes even when they have the intelligence to guide them. While estimating the scale of Russian casualties still requires a lot of guesswork, they have undoubtedly been heavy, including officers at all levels, leaving a command structure struggling to cope.

Beware of war predictions: Ukraine’s outcome is not yet written


In 1942, Germany controlled most of Europe and a large swath of Northern Africa, and Japan controlled much of China, Southeast Asia, and was at Australia’s doorstep. By the end of 1943, the maps looked quite different. War is like that, a dynamic phenomenon. A scene from the movie, “Lawrence of Arabia,” says it best: After marching through burning sands and biting windstorms, Lawrence and his men were on the edge of dehydration when they found an oasis. Lawrence realized that his camel boy was missing. When no one volunteered to go back to retrieve the boy, Lawrence went himself. His men pleaded with him not to go, saying that his fate was written by Allah. Two days later, Lawrence returned with the boy, so exhausted and dry that he could only whisper, “Nothing is written unless we write it.”

A war’s outcome is written by its combatants. It depends upon which side commits what is necessary — in blood, materiel, and will — toward achieving its aims, how long it can sustain its efforts, and whether it makes fewer mistakes than its enemies. By that score, how or when the Ukraine war will end remains unknown.

New World Order Or The Systematic Plundering Of Nations By International Banditry

Sarah Neumann

For several decades, the process of modern international banditry has been going on in the direction that it is the USA that determines the place of friend and enemy and the rules of the game. These rules are written using sanctions, endless wars, or threats of war. The strategic questions here are: Are peace and democracy possible in such a world? Is it not the right time for making fundamental international rights stated in the United Nations Charter global? Shall not we try to change America’s global dictatorship that prevailed under the guise of the new international order and replace it with a multipolar order?

In the legal section of the United Nations Charter, it is clearly emphasized that every country can freely choose its own path, both politically and economically. In other words, there is no condition on how a government should implement its governance system. Violent security and political behavior of the USA, palpable in Asia and especially Vietnam, in addition to the process of nation-building and state-building in Afghanistan and Iraq, has led to endless wars and destruction. The United States has insinuated as if the West, under the leadership of the United States, has the right to intervene and arbitrate on the governance system of countries or the standards of democracy and can decide which country is a “good” democracy.

Drones And Transport Could Reshape Eurasian Geopolitics

James M. Dorsey

When US intelligence asserted that Iran was selling hundreds of combat drones to Russia, it was signalling more than Iranian support for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Suggesting that Russia was not capable of serial producing its own drones, the intelligence served to question further Russian military capabilities, already overshadowed by doubt because of the poor performance of Russian military personnel and equipment on the Ukrainian battlefield.

The US disclosure followed the inauguration in Tajikistan of Iran’s first overseas drone manufacturing facility. The factory produces Iran’s Ababil-2 multipurpose reconnaissance and killer drone.

The disclosure likely also drew Gulf attention to Iran’s potentially expanding role in assisting Russia, and China, in an increasingly bifurcated world at a time that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were manoeuvring to put their strained relations with the Islamic republic on a more even keel.

South Asia: Tackling Rising Prices And Falling Currencies Together

Amitendu Palit

High inflation in South Asia is hurting the people by increasing prices and reducing earnings. Depreciating currencies magnify the adverse impacts. The twin problems of rising prices and falling currencies must be tackled together. Mobilising more dollars from non-resident populations through attractive bank deposits and high-yielding bonds should be considered.

Global prices have risen to unprecedented highs in the last few months as the world grapples with absorbing the impact of disrupted supply chains and shortages of essential products following the continuation of COVID-19 and the prolongation of the Russian-Ukraine conflict. South Asia is experiencing these strong inflationary headwinds as much as the rest of the world.

Sri Lanka, which is now ‘bankrupt’ and battling its worst economic crisis, has the highest inflation rate in the region (Table 1). Pakistan – the region’s second-largest economy and in deep financial distress – is right behind Sri Lanka. Nepal – another regional economy with precarious macroeconomic conditions – comes next. India and Bangladesh, while not experiencing critical macroeconomic conditions yet, have inflation that is far more than their target rates. Even the small economy of Bhutan is experiencing soaring prices (Table 1).

Role Of External Powers In Keeping The Myanmar Military In Power

P. K. Balachandran

The Myanmar junta is losing on the military and economic fronts. And yet, it stays in power because the major regional and global powers either pussyfoot on it or support it in one way or another, experts on the country say.

For the first time since the late 1980s, the military rulers of Myanmar executed four pro-democracy activists on July 25, triggering outrage across the democratic world. Many wondered why the junta revived a practice thought to have been abandoned long ago. Zachary Abuza, Professor at the National War College in Washington DC, and an expert on South East Asia, appears to have the answer.

In a piece published by the Indonesian website Benar News Prof. Abuza says that it was the junta’s way of announcing to the world that it is not cowed by the reverses it has been facing in its war against ethnicity-based resistance groups or by the deteriorating performance of the Myanmar economy under its tutelage. With the ground situation getting out of control, the junta needed to flex its muscles to show that it still has the chutzpah to do its worst and to challenge its opponents to do their worst.

Interview: Can Kyiv Launch An Offensive To Take Back Southern Ukraine?

Reid Standish

Ukrainian forces continue to use U.S.-supplied precision rocket systems to target Russian supply lines in occupied parts of southern Ukraine as Kyiv signals the possible launching of a major counteroffensive in the region.

The high-mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) provided by the United States to Ukraine have a longer range, superior precision, and a faster rate of fire compared with the Soviet-designed ones used by Russian and Ukrainian forces and their use has allowed the Ukrainians to hit targets -- such as the Antonivskiy Bridge that crosses the Dnieper River in the Kherson region -- that military analysts say will make it much harder for Russian forces to operate smooth supply lines and defend land they have seized.

But while the introduction of Western weaponry and the uptick of targeted attacks point to growing momentum on the Ukrainian side, how capable are Kyiv's forces of launching an offensive to retake and hold territory from Russia that it has occupied since the early days of its invasion?

Harnessing the Metaverse: States of All Sizes

Michael Greenwald

State powers are beginning to make their presence known in the metaverse, as Barbados launches a virtual embassy and China leverages its dedicated blockchain research group to harness data in virtual worlds. Though these two examples are distinct due to the varied size of the nations, the metaverse poses opportunities for state actors to capitalize on access to a captive global audience. With these opportunities comes a variety of concerns around how resources will be controlled from the political economy perspective and how the evolving U.S.-China relationship will be defined in this new realm.

Relative geopolitical power, for the most part, is already locked in for states across the globe due to their combined standing politically, economically, financially, and militarily. The combination of these sectors has traditionally determined where states sit in relation to their counterparts, and how much they can influence world events or the actions of their partners. With the innovation of the metaverse and its capacity to support different methods of social interaction outside of our physical universe, there is opportunity for states to differentiate themselves virtually, developing a larger influence and soft power presence than was previously possible.

Turning Off Congo’s Looting Machine


WASHINGTON, DC – Last month, the Belgian government returned a gold-capped tooth that was ripped from the mouth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s first elected prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, more than 60 years ago. Lumumba was assassinated in 1961 by a Belgian execution squad that dissolved his body in acid, taking the tooth as a “hunting trophy.” Now, the Belgian government has been attempting to make amends for the crimes that Belgium visited upon the Congolese people in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.itical developments.

But Belgium’s role is only part of this sordid history. The DRC is a case study of how greed-fueled transnational economic exploitation can continue for centuries. Companies and consumers in the United States and Europe – and more recently in China, Uganda, and Rwanda – have reaped enormous gains as a direct result of the Congolese people’s brutalization. As US Secretary of State Antony Blinken prepares to travel to the DRC in August, he has an opportunity to help prevent another chapter of devastating exploitation from being written.

Regenerate: Biotechnology and U.S. Industrial Policy

Ryan Fedasiuk

Executive Summary

Arevolution in biotechnology is dawning at the precise moment the world needs it most. Amid an ongoing climate crisis, fast-paced technological maturation, and a global pandemic, humans must find new ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve food security, develop new vaccines and therapeutics, recycle waste, synthesize new materials, and adapt to a changing world. But incentive structures in the U.S. private sector are generally biased against risk, and therefore constrain development in ways that do not have the same effect on firms in China and other U.S. competitors. This puts the United States at a relative disadvantage and risks ceding American leadership over one of the most powerful and transformative fields of technology in recent memory.

The United States needs some form of industrial policy to promote its bioeconomy—one that is enshrined in democratic values and focused on improving access to four key drivers of bioeconomic growth: equipment, personnel, information, and capital. This report attempts to measure the health and outlook of the U.S. synthetic biology industry and broader bioeconomy by examining U.S. access to each of these four resources. It concludes that the United States still possesses an advantage in each of these fields—but that, absent a proactive strategy to ensure resource access, and without a significant infusion of capital, the U.S. bioeconomy risks languishing behind competitors such as China in the decades ahead.
Summary of Recommendations

Realism Is More Than Restraint

Robert D. Kaplan

In his first book, A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace 1812-1822, Henry Kissinger wrote that, “Every statesman must attempt to reconcile what is considered just with what is considered possible.” What is considered just depends on one’s own domestic values, but what is considered possible depends not only on the resources at your disposal but of the resources and values of opposing states. In other words, we can’t always get our way in a complex and intractable world. This may be one of the most useful and simply stated definitions of realism. A related definition is embodied in the “particularism” of George F. Kennan. Particularism stands against universal values and the legalistic rules that uphold them, and implicitly accepts the world as it is, with all of its cultural and philosophical differences that require different strategies. Because realism comprehends the sheer variety of the world, it has traditionally been the friend of area specialists: the Arabists, Sinologists, and others whose deep cultural knowledge has argued for particular approaches to different regions that abjure one-size-fits-all universalist strategies.

Innovation: People Are More Important than Technology

General Anthony Zinni

Today’s strategic environment features rapid technological change coupled with the increasing accessibility of cutting-edge technologies to more and more actors. These changes, and the threats they pose to U.S. national security, span presidential administrations and cross party lines. The 2018 National Defense Strategy, for example, notes that maintaining U.S. technological advantage requires significant changes across the “National Security Innovation Base” and calls on the Department of Defense (DoD) to “organize for innovation” and “out-innovate revisionist powers.”1 In his Interim National Security Guidance, President Joe Biden pledges to “sustain America’s innovation edge” and encourages “the culture of innovation required to address today’s complex challenges.”2 Over the past several years, DoD has attempted to adapt to this dynamic technological landscape by establishing organizations and concepts such as the Defense Innovation Unit, the Chief Digital and AI Office, Joint All-Domain Command and Control, Project Convergence, Project Overmatch, the Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve fund, and a network of “tech bridges” focused on leveraging artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other advancements to develop sensor networks and shorten kill chains.3

The U.S. Army, not Meta, is building the metaverse

Pete Morrison, BISim and TerraSim Inc.

Since Facebook rebranded to Meta late last year, every industry seems to have attached itself to the metaverse. However, the language around different ‘metaverses’ in various industries gets confusing. We do not yet have a shared imagination for the metaverse and the technology required to build it.

Virtual worlds that could be considered metaverses have existed in gaming for some time. The computer game Second Life, for example, has built “an enduring community of millions who are ‘living’ together in virtual spaces.” Clearly, the idea is not new. The current metaverse hype cycle has revolved around marketing from big tech players. Each of these companies wants to steer the conversation toward its technology. Meta owns VR headset developer Oculus, so it makes sense that its buzz around the metaverse will push its customers to buy more headsets.

Russian Hackers Target U.S. HIMARS Maker in 'New Type of Attack': Report


Russian hackers have launched "a new type of attack" on American military company Lockheed Martin, which makes the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) that the U.S. has supplied to Ukraine, a pro-Moscow news website said.

The Kremlin-supporting Life website reported that the cyberattack by the Killnet and Killmilk hacker groups took place at 7 a.m. on Monday. The groups said the rocket systems - credited by the Ukrainians with shifting the balance in the war against Russia - had been responsible for thousands of deaths.

"The notorious HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems, supplied to Ukraine by the aforementioned military-industrial corporation, allow the criminal authorities of the Kiev regime to kill civilians, destroy the infrastructure and social facilities of the still temporarily occupied Ukraine," the hackers said in a statement reported by Life.

The Taliban’s Neighbors Fear Afghanistan’s ‘Boiling Pot’ of Terrorism

Lynne O’Donnell

The Taliban’s failure to make the leap from insurgency to governance is coming under scrutiny this week as they meet with representatives of countries that are growing increasingly concerned that after almost year in power, the extremists have again transformed Afghanistan into a global terrorist haven.

The July 25-27 conference in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, follows the latest report on Afghanistan by the United Nations Security Council, which contains alarming details on the activities of terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, now enjoying the Taliban’s protection in Afghanistan. The report indicated that Afghanistan has essentially reverted to the state it was in before Sept. 11, 2001, when it hosted Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, while the group planned the big terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

A Shrinking China Can’t Overtake America

Howard W. French

In 2009, on the heels of a U.S.-driven international financial crisis, a book by a British journalist, Martin Jacques, exploded out of the gates of the publishing world and, for a time, dominated perceptions of what many saw then (and now) as perhaps the most important questions in global affairs: Whither China? And with its stirring rise, what will its impact be on the distribution of global power?

Surprisingly for a 550-page book, the title told you nearly everything you needed to know about its contents: When China Rules the World: The Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World. Jacques made a variety of claims under this rubric, but two stood out by far. By more or less mechanical extrapolation, he predicted that China would surpass the United States in GDP by the middle of the 2030s, on its way toward becoming a truly dominant economic weight in the world later this century.

The Global South’s Looming Debt Crisis—and How to Stop It

Mark Malloch-Brown

The war in Ukraine, like Afghanistan before it, may have driven other crises off the front pages for the time being. And economics might seem a dull affair compared to war. But make no mistake: On the heels of the Ukraine conflict lurks an impending global economic crisis.

Many poor countries face major economic disruption and possible default on their sovereign debt in 2022. This is an offspring of the pandemic. COVID-19 may have started as a global health crisis, but it soon became a global economic crisis. And it won’t be long before it mutates once again into a global political crisis.

Even before the pandemic, people were taking to the streets from Ecuador to Egypt to Eswatini to protest high prices and rising inequality. Social distancing temporarily suppressed such protests. But there is every expectation they will return with a vengeance, as the source of the grievances—inequality—has only worsened in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in low-income countries that didn’t have the luxury of borrowing at cheap rates to fund major fiscal stimulus packages to cushion the economic impact.

Hunger Is a Weapon of War. Food Can Help Prevent It.

Ertharin Cousin

The Biden administration’s recent reversal of U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen is a welcome departure from a foreign-policy agenda that yielded little but suffering—and a reliable market for U.S.-made weapons. But President Joe Biden’s move shouldn’t be hailed as a panacea for the Yemeni people, who have endured immeasurable suffering over the past six years. Rather, resolving the world’s worst humanitarian crisis will require a larger paradigm shift in foreign policy.

The reason Yemen’s humanitarian situation is so acute is because its people are starving. Data from the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) reveals that 16.2 million of the country’s 30 million people need food aid. According to the U.N., nearly half of all Yemeni children under the age of 5 suffer from stunted growth because of malnutrition, with some 400,000 children now in danger of dying from severe acute malnutrition—an increase of 22 percent over 2020.

Hunger has generally been confronted as a humanitarian issue. And rightly so. But it must also be treated as an essential element of military or foreign policy. This means that Biden’s new approach to Yemen must not only focus on arms sales and high-level negotiations but also on helping civilians to meet their basic needs. Doing so is not just morally right but strategically smart: Addressing hunger helps people build the resilience they need to resist militancy and migration pressures and recover from conflict.