5 August 2022

China and NATO’s Strategic Concept

Mercy A. Kuo

The Diplomat author Mercy Kuo regularly engages subject-matter experts, policy practitioners, and strategic thinkers across the globe for their diverse insights into U.S. Asia policy. This conversation with Dr. Mathieu Duchȃtel ̶ director of the Asia Program at Institut Montaigne in Paris and formerly the representative in Beijing of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) – is the 329th in “The Trans-Pacific View Insight Series.”

Identify major differences between NATO’s Strategic Concept 2022 and past versions.

The Euro-Atlantic area is “not at peace,” and NATO “cannot discount the possibility of an attack against Allies’ sovereignty and territorial integrity.” From this bleak but obvious assessment, in stark contrast with the language of the previous Strategic Concept released in 2010 (an Euro-Atlantic area “at peace” and a “low” threat of attack against NATO territory), follows the great emphasis of the 2022 Concept on NATO’s nuclear deterrence, with “resolve” as the key word to demonstrate credibility. “No one should doubt our strength and resolve to defend every inch of Allied territory”; “The Alliance has the capabilities and resolve to impose costs on an adversary that would be unacceptable and far outweigh the benefits that any adversary could hope to achieve.”

The Graphene Revolution Arrives in India

Girish Linganna

Asymbol of education is the humble pencil—a simple column of graphite enclosed in wood. Today, graphite holds the key to many problems we face today related to graphene. Recent vital developments will revolutionize the way we use this valuable resource.

Concrete usually takes a week to set, however, when researchers at a Manchester lab added graphene to the mix, it cut this week-long wait down to mere minutes.

Simultaneously, a joint Chinese and German research group used graphene ink to create a highly efficient solar panel. It produced an efficiency of 18 percent that could be improved to 24 percent, making it the most efficient solar panel ever.

Could Russian and Chinese Cybercriminals Team Up Against the West?

Delilah Schwartz Naomi Yusupov

Intelligence collected from the cybercriminal underground indicates that Chinese hackers are increasingly active within Russian threat actor spaces. While Russian cybercriminals undoubtedly have adequate hacking expertise, they serve to benefit from the innovation and creativity of Chinese threat actors. Could Chinese cybercriminals teach their Russian counterparts new approaches to hacking and increase the global cyber threat? There’s strength in numbers, as China-based hackers have learned. Working communally helps them slip past the “Chinese Firewall” (the Chinese government’s censorship filter) and avoid surveillance.

Just like Russian hackers, Chinese cybercriminals are driven primarily by financial motivations. However, they also have another joint objective: to help one another by sharing information and training less experienced group members to advance the Chinese hacking collective. This community-centric mindset helps individual members evade the strict internet restrictions imposed through the Great Chinese Firewall. With the help of their peers, Chinese threat actors can bypass internet blockades to the Tor Onion internet browser and access the dark web. Others adopt the community’s secret encoded language to conduct their criminal activities openly on the public internet (also called the “clear web”) to evade detection.

Will Net Neutrality Return? Two Senators Have a Plan

Stephen Silver

Net neutrality, the notion that Internet data should be treated equally by service providers, was a big buzzword in the 2010s.

In 2014, President Barack Obama asked the FCC to implement stronger net neutrality rules. Obama asked for a “basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone—not just one or two companies.” The rules were instituted more formally the following year.

This action was reversed, in 2017, by the Trump Administration, under the FCC chairmanship of net neutrality foe Ajit Pai.

Now, under the Biden administration, there’s a new push in Congress to codify net neutrality rules. It’s called the Net Neutrality and Broadband Justice Act of 2022, and it’s been introduced by Democratic senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The Next Taiwan Strait Crisis Has Arrived

Paul Heer

The Taiwan Strait Crisis of 2022 has begun. It is not yet clear how it will unfold, or when and how it will abate. What is clear is that it was wholly avoidable. And it probably will deepen the gulf in the U.S.-China relationship, which was sorely in need of efforts to arrest the downward spiral.

Whether Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi should be visiting Taiwan is now a moot point. But it nonetheless matters that the visit was never going to achieve anything of positive substance, at least nothing worth the risks. As scholar Shelley Rigger, one of the leading American experts on and supporters of Taiwan, said: “I’m begging someone to explain to me how Nancy Pelosi going to Taiwan right now makes Taiwan safer. We have an obligation to our partner to consider whether its security is enhanced or diminished by the actions we take.” Yet it appears obvious that Pelosi’s decision to visit was driven primarily by domestic politics, as was President Biden’s apparent unwillingness to dissuade Pelosi from making the trip. If any potential strategic consequences were considered, they appear to have been outweighed by political considerations.

South Korea’s First Trade Deficit with China: Stirrings in the Global Tech Sector

Joshua Park

For the first time in almost thirty years, South Korea quietly recorded a trade deficit with China in the May of 2022. Despite assurances from Korean policymakers that this unprecedented decline was extra-ordinary and transitory, recently released June 2022 data revealed an even steeper deficit. The underlying drivers behind this downturn, then, cannot be solely attributed to the exceptional circumstances of pandemic and war as many have done, but deeper and more structural reasons that must be traced back several years. A closer look at top trade items seems to point to China’s growing presence in the global tech sector.

Often, commentary on China’s economic weight has been discussed with fanfare and sensational headlines. In 2016, Chinese sanctions on Korean tourism, entertainment, and consumer products over the controversial deployment of the THAAD missile defense system cost the ROK an estimated $7.5 billion. Even six years after the incident, THAAD and the elephantine consideration of China continues to permeate Seoul’s discourse on economic security, even becoming a voting issue in this year’s presidential election. However, the trade deficit in May and June garnered surprisingly little attention – the cold numbers relegated to the sphere of economists while media instead focused on hotter stories.

Time for Difficult Choices on Myanmar

Gregory B. Poling

The recent executions of four anti-regime activists, including former lawmaker Phyo Zeya Thaw and civil society leader Kyaw Min Yu, known as Ko Jimmy, by the Burmese junta have caused global uproar. After being knocked from international news coverage by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, inflation, and food insecurity, Myanmar’s civil war is back in the headlines. But the United States and other foreign governments remain hesitant to fully embrace the opposition National Unity Government (NUG) or take riskier steps to help push the military from power. Instead, they issue condemnations, tinker with sanctions, and pass the buck to the “five-point consensus” that Myanmar’s neighbors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) negotiated with the junta more than a year ago. But the five-point consensus was dead on arrival, and assumptions about how the opposing forces would fare on the battlefield have been decisively proven wrong. It is time to make some difficult choices about Myanmar policy.

Since the February 1, 2021, coup in which the Burmese military overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s government, the United States and other partners have condemned and withheld recognition from the junta. Even countries such as China and India, which went easy on the condemnation and maintained official ties with the military, were initially ambiguous about the junta’s legitimacy. Beijing has since acknowledged the government of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, but Delhi and many others remain circumspect. Things have gone no better for the generals on the international stage. ASEAN has refused to accept Min Aung Hlaing’s participation in leader-level summits, though it has allowed junta appointees to represent Myanmar at the ministerial level in some cases. At the United Nations, China and the United States agreed to defer any decision on credentialing a new Burmese ambassador, leaving the former National League for Democracy’s emissary—a fierce critic of the junta—to represent the country for the time being.


Samuel BendettJeffrey Edmonds

Four months into the war in Ukraine, the Russian military has failed to achieve its original objectives of quickly taking Kyiv, the capital of the country, and installing a pro-Russian regime. Ukraine’s organized and effective resistance has pushed Russian forces out of the Kyiv and Kharkiv regions. Despite heavy casualties, the Russian military has launched a second major offensive to consolidate and expand control of the areas it holds in Donbas, in order to control all of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.

Throughout this conflict, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and drones have played an important part in each army’s tactics. This paper highlights what we have seen to date regarding the use of unmanned and autonomous vehicles. It follows an earlier CNA paper outlining the possible Russian military systems we expected to see in this war.

TRADE SECRETS Exposing China-Russia Defense Trade in Global Supply Chains

Naomi Garcia

Executive Summary

Chinese state-owned conglomerates trade in sensitive technologies with Russia’s defense sector, including to companies involved in Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine. At a time when the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has become the subject of heightened vigilance and new trade sanctions, evidence suggests that patterns of data censorship and convoluted corporate networks serve to obscure trade in defense-applicable technology. Whether or not the PRC’s trade data environment is opaque by design, it ultimately conceals the networks of people and companies involved in the trade of military equipment and undermines global nonproliferation efforts.

C4ADS developed reproducible methods for detecting PRC weapons trade that overcome these challenges in China’s poor data environment. In the past year, these methods have supported more than 10 U.S. and international law enforcement actions against PRC entities involved in illicit trade of defense technologies. To demonstrate our methodologies in this report, we highlight three examples of previously undetected trade in defense products between a major Chinese state-owned conglomerate and Russia’s state defense sector. In doing so, we find the following:PRC state-owned conglomerates proliferate to companies supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. We identified 281 previously unreported shipments of sensitive goods by China Poly Group Corporation (hereafter Poly Group) subsidiaries to Russian defense organizations between 2014 to 2022. For example, in January 2022, Poly Group’s subsidiary Poly Technologies Inc. reportedly exported one shipment containing anti-aircraft missile radar parts to the sanctioned Russian state-owned defense company Almaz Antey, which reportedly supports Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Hackers, Hoodies, and Helmets: Technology and the changing face of Russian private military contractors

Emma Schroeder, Gavin Wilde, Justin Sherman, and Trey Herr


The first time Russia invaded Ukraine in the twenty-first century, the Wagner Group was born. The now widely profiled private military company (PMC) played an important role in exercising Russian national power over the Crimea and portions of the Donbas—while giving Moscow a semblance of plausible deniability. In the near decade since, the Russian PMC sector has grown considerably, and is active in more than a dozen countries around the world. PMCs are paramilitary organizations established and run as private companies—though they often operate in contract with one or more states. They are profit-motivated, expeditionary groups that make a business of the conduct of war.1 PMCs are in no way a uniquely Russian phenomenon, yet the expanding footprint of Russian PMCs and their links to state interests call for a particularly Russian-focused analysis of the industry. The growth of these firms and their direct links to the Kremlin’s oligarch network as well as Moscow’s foreign media, industrial, and cyber activities present a challenge to the United States and its allies as they seek to counter Russian malicious activities abroad.

As signals intelligence and offensive cyber capabilities, drones and counter-drone systems, and encrypted communications become more accessible, these technologies will prove ever more decisive to both battlefield outcomes and statecraft. More exhaustive research on these issues is necessary. The ongoing conflict resulting from Russia’s second invasion of Ukraine in this young century seems likely to shape the conduct of Russian foreign policy and security behavior for years to come—and these firms will play a part.

Pentagon’s secret communications network to get upgrade from Booz Allen

Colin Demarest

WASHINGTON — The Defense Information Systems Agency extended its Thunderdome cybersecurity contract with Booz Allen Hamilton, citing lessons learned from the Russia-Ukraine war and the need to better secure the Pentagon’s communication system for secrets.

The addition of six months to the deal accounts for the inclusion of the Secure Internet Protocol Router Network, or SIPRNet, in the zero-trust program and the “complete development, testing and deployment planning for the original unclassified prototype,” DISA said in an announcement July 28.

SIPRNet is a communications network used by the Defense Department to transmit classified information across the world. DISA, the Pentagon’s top IT office, described the framework as “antiquated” and in need of updating.

It’s time for a US-EU industrial strategy on China – even if it costs industry.


China has never been shy about using economic ties to try and reach geostrategic goals, and for many years it found a willing partner in the nations of Europe. But in 2022 that ground has shifted, and skepticism in Europe towards Beijing is now growing. Nathan Picarsic and Emily de La Bruyere, senior fellows at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, argue below that now is the time for the US and Europe to come together for an industrial/geopolitical strategy of their own for dealing with China.

On June 27, Airbus announced that it would establish an innovation center in Suzhou, China to cooperate with local players on advanced technologies ranging from hydrogen energy infrastructure to aerospace intelligence. Four days later, China’s three leading State-owned airlines committed to purchasing almost 300 Airbus jets, the largest order by Chinese carriers since 2020.

Kirby: US has ‘visual confirmation’ of al Qaeda leader’s death in missile strike


White House national security spokesman John Kirby on Tuesday said the United States has “visual confirmation” that a CIA drone strike killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and officials would not need further corroboration.

Speaking with Brianna Keilar on CNN’s “New Day,” Kirby said the operation over the weekend, as President Biden announced Monday, killed al-Zawahiri on the third floor balcony of his safe house in Kabul, Afghanistan.

“We do not have DNA confirmation, Brianna. We’re not going to get that confirmation,” Kirby said. “Quite frankly, Brianna, based on the multiple sources and methods that we have gathered the information from, we don’t need it.”

Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan highlights America’s incoherent strategy

One way to view Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan is as a bold assertion of principle. China has taken to bullying countries that maintain even the most innocent ties with the island, which it claims. Lithuania, population 2.6m, has felt China’s wrath for simply allowing Taiwan to open an office with an official-sounding name in Vilnius, its capital. Ms Pelosi, the speaker of America’s House of Representatives, has been threatened, too. China says its army “will not sit idly by” if she visits Taiwan—something she has every right to do, and that Newt Gingrich, her predecessor as speaker, did in 1997. Perhaps her trip will inspire others to stand up to the bully.

Another view, though, is that the trip is a symptom of America’s incoherent approach to China—the country’s single most important opponent in the long run. If so, a trip designed to convey strength risks instead showing up the Biden administration’s confusion and lack of purpose.

China Rattles a Much Bigger Saber as It Prepares Live-Fire Drills Around Taiwan

Chun Han Wong

HONG KONG—Beijing is preparing live-fire military exercises this week in areas encircling Taiwan, a significant step up from its responses to previous crises and one that underscores China’s fast-growing combat capabilities.

China revealed the drills minutes after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taipei late Tuesday. They are to run from Thursday to Sunday in waters and airspace across six zones that collectively surround the democratically self-ruled island, which Beijing claims as its own.

The People’s Liberation Army said naval, aerial, strategic-missile and other forces conducted joint training on Wednesday to the north, southwest and southeast of Taiwan in the run-up to the live-fire drills, which would involve the use of long-range weapons and conventional missiles.

‘It's Jason Bourne Shit’: How the US Killed the Leader of Al Qaeda

Mitchell Prothero

The operation that killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri with a drone strike in a posh Kabul neighbourhood was partially the work of a US military unit so clandestine that its actual name is a state secret, according to three NATO officials briefed on the operation.

“It was a huge operation led by the CIA as is typically the case for something like this and everyone plays a specific role,” said a senior NATO military official who works closely with the US on counter-terrorism. “But at the tip of the operation are the people who have to get actual eyes on the target, and that’s where [Task Force] Orange comes in.”

Founded in 1980 and initially called the Intelligence Support Activity before its name became a secret and started being frequently changed, the unit works within the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), and is charged with collecting real-time intelligence to prepare for specifically planned operations. Within JSOC, the unit is currently known as Task Force Orange.

How the C.I.A. Tracked the Leader of Al Qaeda

Julian E. Barnes and Eric Schmitt

WASHINGTON — Intelligence officers made a crucial discovery this spring after tracking Ayman al-Zawahri, the leader of Al Qaeda, to Kabul, Afghanistan: He liked to read alone on the balcony of his safe house early in the morning.

Analysts search for that kind of pattern-of-life intelligence, any habit the C.I.A. can exploit. In al-Zawahri’s case, his long balcony visits gave the agency an opportunity for a clear missile shot that could avoid collateral damage.

The hunt for al-Zawahri, one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, stretches back to before the Sept. 11 attacks. The C.I.A. continued to search for him as he rose to the top of Al Qaeda after the death of Osama bin Laden and after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last year. And a misstep during the chase, the recruitment of a double agent, led to one of the bloodiest days in the agency’s history.

‘Debt bomb’ risks: More than 40 nations are at risk of default

Nikhil Kumar and Lili Pike

Sri Lanka might be only the beginning. The South Asian country, once an economic darling hailed as a “hidden jewel,” has been sucked into a financial black hole this year as an unsustainable pile of debt crushed sector after sector. The debt crisis has triggered widespread unrest and political upheaval.

But the small island nation isn’t alone, experts warn, as a range of countries worldwide — from Tunisia to Egypt, Kenya to Argentina, and beyond — groan under their own giant piles of debt.

Put aside the economic jargon, and the story is a straightforward one. As global prices and interest rates rise, putting pressure on the finances of these countries, they are struggling to pay the interest they owe on all the loans that they have taken out in recent years. That in turn is affecting their ability to keep their economies running — to feed their people, to provide fuel — even as they try to get things back on an even keel after the blows of the covid-19 pandemic.

The U.S. just killed 9/11 mastermind Ayman al-Zawahiri: Should Americans feel safer with him gone?

Tom Nagorski

Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda, was a wanted man for more than 20 years. When a U.S. drone strike killed him over the weekend, he had been living with family members in Afghanistan, back where he and Osama bin Laden had plotted the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

President Joe Biden said Monday that “justice had been delivered” and vowed to track enemies of the United States “no matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide.”

It had taken a long time — and the hiding place is as much of a story as the drone strike itself. U.S. officials said al-Zawahiri had been tracked in Kabul for months: an effort to confirm his identity and to minimize the risk to civilians in any attack. Biden authorized the strike last week, and officials said no others had been killed.

What Ayman al-Zawahiri’s killing means for al-Qaeda

Rachel Pannett

Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda and one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, has been killed in a U.S. drone strike in Kabul.

The 71-year-old was largely considered the brains behind the notorious terrorist group and its vision for attacking the West — including the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which catapulted al-Qaeda from relative obscurity to a household name in the United States.

President Biden said in an address to the nation Monday that Zawahiri’s death — after he evaded capture for decades — sent a clear message: “No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out.”

The strike is the latest successful U.S. operation against al-Qaeda and Islamic State leaders. Biden said Zawahiri’s death should help ensure Afghanistan can no longer “become a terrorist safe haven” and a “launching pad” for attacks against the United States.

China Is Doomed to Play a Significant Role in Afghanistan

Raffaello Pantucci and Alexandros Petersen

For decades, Beijing has worried about security in Afghanistan. During the Taliban’s first stint in power in the 1990s, Beijing worried about the possibility of Uyghur militants using camps in Afghanistan as a base to launch attacks against China. Then, in the early 2000s, Chinese workers were killed and kidnapped in the country. China also shares a remote but direct border with Afghanistan, and even before the Taliban takeover, increasing violence in the wider region gave China good reason to worry.

Despite this, China’s approach to its neighbor for a long time was, as prominent Central Asia analyst Zhao Huasheng aptly characterized it, essentially to act as an observer, leaving security questions to the United States and its allies. That changed in 2012, after then-U.S. President Barack Obama signaled he wanted to get Washington out of the conflict he had inherited. As the potential security vacuum left by Western withdrawal came into sharper relief, Beijing realized that it would have to play a role in encouraging a more stable and developed future for Afghanistan. Even then—and even after security concerns rose once again after the U.S. withdrawal in 2021—China never fully came to assume that role.

‘One miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation’: The U.N. chief issues a grim warning, citing war.

Farnaz Fassihi and Michael Levenson

The secretary general of the United Nations warned on Monday that humanity was “just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation,” citing the war in Ukraine among the conflicts driving the risk to a level not seen since the height of the Cold War.

“All this at a time when the risks of proliferation are growing and guardrails to prevent escalation are weakening,” the official, António Guterres, said. “And when crises — with nuclear undertones — are festering from the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

Mr. Guterres was speaking at the opening session of a conference at the U.N. headquarters in New York about upholding and securing the 50-year-old global Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, meant to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, aiming for eventual disarmament.

Balkans Flare-Up Highlights Risk of Other European Conflicts

Bojan Pancevski

NATO and the European Union scrambled to calm tensions between Kosovo and Serbia after a weekend flare-up that some politicians and experts fear could be used by Russia to spark more instability in Europe.

On Sunday, NATO forces tasked with securing Kosovo threatened to intervene to prevent a bureaucratic dispute over cross-border trade from escalating beyond a war of words between Kosovo and Serbia. Kosovar authorities said shots were fired Sunday during a standoff between Kosovar police and ethnic Serbs near the Serbian border but no one was hit.

Kosovo, once part of Serbia, declared independence in 2008 following a brief and bloody conflict that ended after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization bombarded Serbia to compel its forces to retreat from its former province. Friction between the two continues to run deep, especially in northern Kosovo, which is mainly populated by ethnic Serbs and is largely outside the control of Kosovar government in Pristina.

Justice for al Qaeda’s Zawahiri

It took nearly 21 years, but the U.S. finally removed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri from the terrorist battlefield. President Biden said Monday evening that Osama bin Laden’s longtime deputy was killed Sunday in a counterterrorism operation in Afghanistan that others confirmed as a drone strike.

As Mr. Biden noted, the strike brings another measure of justice for the victims of the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans on U.S. soil. The 71-year-old Egyptian co-founded al Qaeda and helped bin Laden build an operation that could spread radical Islam and murder innocents without remorse.

Mr. Biden praised the operation as a triumph of U.S. intelligence, but Zawahiri eluded detection for more than two decades. The President said he was located some months ago in Kabul, the Afghan capital, as he sought to reunite with his family. Perhaps he let his guard down after the Taliban captured Kabul and drove the U.S. out of Afghanistan last August.

Nancy Pelosi: Why I’m leading a congressional delegation to Taiwan

Nancy Pelosi

The Taiwan Relations Act set out America’s commitment to a democratic Taiwan, providing the framework for an economic and diplomatic relationship that would quickly flourish into a key partnership. It fostered a deep friendship rooted in shared interests and values: self-determination and self-government, democracy and freedom, human dignity and human rights.
And it made a solemn vow by the United States to support the defense of Taiwan: “to consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means … a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States.”

Today, America must remember that vow. We must stand by Taiwan, which is an island of resilience. Taiwan is a leader in governance: currently, in addressing the covid-19 pandemic and championing environmental conservation and climate action. It is a leader in peace, security and economic dynamism: with an entrepreneurial spirit, culture of innovation and technological prowess that are envies of the world.

Yet, disturbingly, this vibrant, robust democracy — named one of the freest in the world by Freedom House and proudly led by a woman, President Tsai Ing-wen — is under threat.

In recent years, Beijing has dramatically intensified tensions with Taiwan. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has ramped up patrols of bombers, fighter jets and surveillance aircraft near and even over Taiwan’s air defense zone, leading the U.S. Defense Department to conclude that China’s army is “likely preparing for a contingency to unify Taiwan with the PRC by force.”

The PRC has also taken the fight into cyberspace, launching scores of attacks on Taiwan government agencies each day. At the same time, Beijing is squeezing Taiwan economically, pressuring global corporations to cut ties with the island, intimidating countries that cooperate with Taiwan, and clamping down on tourism from the PRC.

In the face of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) accelerating aggression, our congressional delegation’s visit should be seen as an unequivocal statement that America stands with Taiwan, our democratic partner, as it defends itself and its freedom.

Our visit — one of several congressional delegations to the island — in no way contradicts the long-standing one-China policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, the U.S.-China Joint Communiques and the Six Assurances. The United States continues to oppose unilateral efforts to change the status quo.

Our visit is part of our broader trip to the Pacific — including Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan — focused on mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance. Our discussions with our Taiwanese partners will focus on reaffirming our support for the island and promoting our shared interests, including advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific region. America’s solidarity with Taiwan is more important today than ever — not only to the 23 million people of the island but also to millions of others oppressed and menaced by the PRC.

Thirty years ago, I traveled in a bipartisan congressional delegation to China, where, in Tiananmen Square, we unfurled a black-and-white banner that read, “To those who died for democracy in China.” Uniformed police pursued us as we left the square. Since then, Beijing’s abysmal human rights record and disregard for the rule of law continue, as President Xi Jinping tightens his grip on power.

The CCP’s brutal crackdown against Hong Kong’s political freedoms and human rights — even arresting Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen — cast the promises of “one-country, two-systems” into the dustbin. In Tibet, the CCP has long led a campaign to erase the Tibetan people’s language, culture, religion and identity. In Xinjiang, Beijing is perpetrating genocide against Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities. And throughout the mainland, the CCP continues to target and arrest activists, religious-freedom leaders and others who dare to defy the regime.

Indeed, we take this trip at a time when the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy. As Russia wages its premeditated, illegal war against Ukraine, killing thousands of innocents — even children — it is essential that America and our allies make clear that we never give in to autocrats.

The Upside of Putin’s Delusions

John Mueller

When Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he had ordered a “special military operation” against Ukraine on February 24, Europe had been substantially free of international war for nearly 80 years. That is likely the longest the once most warlike of continents has gone without such a war at least since the days of the Roman Empire.

In recent decades, the aversion to international war, following Europe’s lead, has spread. The result is that, over the last 30 years, there have been only three other interstate wars, conventionally defined as armed conflicts with at least 1,000 battle-related deaths per year. Ethiopia and Eritrea fought one such war in the last years of the twentieth century. The two others were the United States’ brief 9/11-induced regime-toppling invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, which then devolved into extended counterinsurgency—or counteroccupation—conflicts.

Winning in Ukraine requires a special representative and strategy to rebuild


Just as it is always darkest before the dawn, wars look the most uncertain before the system changes and reveals the next phase of the clash of wills. There are emerging personnel and logistical signs that Russia has reached a key decision point about the depth of its campaign objectives. Ukraine can exploit this turn to gain momentum and set conditions for the largest post-war reconstruction effort in modern history. The U.S. can help by sustaining, if not expanding, its massive logistical support to Ukraine and, more important but less appreciated, appointing a special representative to start coordinating wartime strategy with post-war reconstruction planning.

Just like World War II, planning how a war ends starts before the fighting stops. From the Casablanca and Cairo conferences to those at Yalta and Potsdam, allied leaders in the 1940s appreciated that military strategy and political strategy for rebuilding countries could not be separated. Political and military leaders aligned the desired end state with objectives, creating a framework to prioritize military campaigns and mobilizing resources. In Ukraine, that means starting the detailed planning now about how best to rebuild the country and ensuring the priorities inform ongoing diplomatic and military decision-making.

U.S. kills Al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri in drone strike


Al Qaeda emir Ayman Zawahiri was confirmed killed in a U.S. drone strike in Kabul on Sunday in the first air strike conducted in Afghanistan since U.S. forces completely withdrew from the country last year. Zawahiri’s death came less than two weeks after a United Nations report confirmed the Al Qaeda leader to be alive, “communicating freely,” and consulting with the Taliban.

Zawahiri, 71, was one of the most wanted men in the world as the deputy and then successor to Osama bin Laden. Alongside bin Laden, Zawahiri helped plot and execute the 9/11 attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. The United States placed a long-standing $25 million reward for information or intelligence that led to Zawahiri’s capture.

Zawahiri had been at the helm of Al Qaeda since bin Laden was killed in 2011 in a special operations raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, helping shepherd the next iteration of the terrorist group, while maintaining strong ties to the Taliban.

Understanding Russia's Motivations, and Using Them

Khrystyna Holynska & Pauline Moore

Russia’s attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty is unprecedented in the 21st century. So what is Moscow’s rationale for the move? Is Russian President Vladimir Putin confronting a perceived threat to his country’s security? Does he see himself as following examples from history and standing up for Russian greatness? Does he seek perhaps to establish a sense of order by maintaining an adversarial relationship with the West?

International relations literature has a vast body of research that seeks to explain leaders’ judgments and their decisions to go to war. Some have characterized Putin’s war on Ukraine as a return to a realist perspective, in which states in the international system are driven to action by concerns for their own survival. The realist theory suggests leaders should favor actions the pursuit of their interests, dealing with the consequences even when their behavior might violate the boundaries of appropriateness.

Ayman al-Zawahiri and the Taliban

During his long career as a polemicist and a strategist of terror, Ayman al-Zawahiri often taunted the United States. He hewed to the familiar theme that America was an apostate power at war with Islam. But he also described it as a spent force. In a video released this spring, he said that “U.S. weakness” was responsible for the war triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and he mocked the country’s standing “after its defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan, after the economic disasters caused by the 9/11 invasions, after the coronavirus pandemic, and after it left its ally Ukraine as prey for the Russians.”

The U.S. drone strike in Kabul last Saturday that killed Zawahiri, who was seventy-one, added a punctuation mark to the long search for justice for the victims of 9/11 and of other deadly attacks that Zawahiri directly approved, such as the bombing of two U.S. Embassies in Africa in 1998, which killed twelve Americans and more than two hundred Africans. President Joe Biden, announcing the attack on Monday evening, said that he hoped Zawahiri’s death “provides a small measure of peace to the 9/11 families and everyone else who has suffered at the hands of Al Qaeda.”