7 August 2022

Squeezed Global Spare Oil Capacity Limits OPEC+ Output Hike

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, has agreed to a further 100,000 barrels per day oil production hike from September as it warned of a lack of spare capacity for any greater increases.

The alliance, which includes Russia, held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss output levels amid calls from the US to ramp up production to cool the international oil market.

The increase will mean the 23-nation group, which includes Russia, will raise output by 748,000 bpd from next month.

In a statement after the meeting, OPEC+ warned that a lack of investment into the upstream sector will impact the availability of adequate supply “to meet growing demand beyond 2023 from non-participating non-OPEC oil-producing countries, some OPEC Member Countries and participating non-OPEC oil-producing countries.”

The Paradoxes of Escalation in Ukraine

Austin Carson

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a paradox about escalation has emerged. The West carefully avoids certain kinds of involvement—such as sending Kyiv MiG fighter jets, setting up no-fly zones, and putting boots on the ground—for fear that it will provoke a greater war with Moscow. But Western countries do supply Ukraine with sophisticated artillery and intelligence targeting Russian officers and ships. They have sent intelligence personnel and special forces to Ukraine to share information and move military equipment within the country. The distinctions between these kinds of assistance can seem arbitrary and change over time. Yet those differences are taken seriously by both Russia and the West, and they have helped stop the war from spreading.

In Ukraine, the two most important limits are clear: the West has not directly attacked Russian forces, and every party keeps their operations confined to Ukrainian territory. Yet such boundaries are hardly the only ones at play. NATO, for example, has refrained from involvement that would fall safely within these limits, such as providing jets or organizing volunteer units, because Moscow might see such assistance as provocative. Russia’s response would likely also remain within those proxy and geographic limits. But such caution on the part of NATO is sensible, because a harsh Russian reaction could harm Ukraine’s civilians and its government, as well as the West, in new ways.

Keys to Ukrainian victory? Logistics, heavy weapons and the ‘test of will’

Tom Nagorski

Exactly four months ago, Grid spoke about the war in Ukraine with an American general who until recently had commanded all U.S. forces in Europe. In early April, Lt. Gen. Benjamin Hodges argued that beyond economic sanctions and condemnation of Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, more needed to be done in terms of military aid to Ukraine. It was, Hodges said then, a matter not only of supporting the Ukrainian resistance but arming and training its armed forces to a level that would enable them to reverse Putin’s aggression.

Much has changed since then — on the front lines and the weapons supply lines, and there are questions about the staying power of global support for Ukraine.

We asked Hodges for an update on all these fronts and how he sees the next phases of the war unfolding. Hodges said he’s optimistic that Russia can be driven back — but only if the West continues to “stand with Ukraine.”

Russia ratchets up the danger at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

Dan Vergano

Russia’s nuclear brinkmanship in Ukraine is once again raising alarms — this time over the fate of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe.

In March, Russia’s invading armies seized the Zaporizhzhia plant in a dangerous firefight that damaged one reactor building, seen worldwide on security cameras. The plant — and the defunct Chernobyl nuclear waste site — continued to operate with Ukrainian workers overseen under duress by Russian nuclear agency personnel.

As the war in Ukraine moved south last month, Russia turned the Zaporizhzhia complex into an artillery park for rocket launchers and in return received Ukrainian drone strikes. On Tuesday, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi called the plant “completely out of control” in an interview with the Associated Press.

China blocks some Taiwan imports but avoids chip disruptions


BEIJING (AP) — China blocked imports of citrus, fish and other foods from Taiwan in retaliation for a visit by a top American lawmaker, Nancy Pelosi, but has avoided disrupting one of the world’s most important technology and manufacturing relationships.

The two sides, which split in 1949 after a civil war, have no official relations but multibillion-dollar business ties, especially in the flow of Taiwanese-made processor chips needed by Chinese factories that assemble the world’s smartphones and other electronics.

They built that business while Beijing threatened for decades to enforce the ruling Communist Party’s claim to the island by attacking.

Two-way trade soared 26% last year to $328.3 billion. Taiwan, which produces half the world’s processor chips and has technology the mainland can’t match, said sales to Chinese factories rose 24.4% to $104.3 billion.

The Future of the Quad’s Technology Cooperation Hangs in the Balance

U.S. President Joe Biden last month made a historic trip to Tokyo, where he met with the prime ministers of the other countries in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, known as the Quad: Australia, India, and Japan. The four leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a free, open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific, as well as their interest in collaborating on critical and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). 

AI has taken center stage for the Quad. In the last five years, all four countries have announced national AI strategies aiming to leverage the technology for societal development, economic prosperity, and military power. Beyond national agendas and investments, the Quad countries also see multinational technology collaboration with like-minded democracies as key to responsible AI development. Promising to promote an accessible and secure technology ecosystem, Quad-led AI collaboration could also help counter China’s disruptive behavior in the region, particularly the country’s malicious use of AI for surveillance, censorship, and misinformation.

The Risk of Russian Cyber Retaliation for the United States Sending Rockets to Ukraine

For months President Biden and his administration have warned of possible Russian cyberattacks against American infrastructure. On March 21, Biden urged American business leaders to harden their companies’ cyber defenses immediately. He said Russian President Putin is “likely to use cyberattacks as a form of retaliation” for U.S. actions to counter the Russian invasion into Ukraine. His alarm followed an FBI advisory that hackers with Russian internet addresses were scanning the networks of five U.S. energy companies. On April 18, U.S. officials ramped up warnings that Russian state actors are “looking for weaknesses in our systems.” Even though evolving intelligence indicates Russian planning for cyberattacks, none yet have emerged on American soil.

The U.S. provision of long-range rocket systems to Ukraine will not trigger a catastrophic campaign of Russian cyberattacks against American critical infrastructure, as long as Ukraine continues to only use the systems within its own territory. The reality is that the latest weapons transfers are not a significant escalation and will not lead Russia to expand its cyberattacks. Russian threat actors are devoting most of their resources to defending networks within their own country and attacking Ukrainian networks, and devoting resources to attacking the West would distract from the core Russian objective of capturing Ukrainian territory. This combination of Russian cyber priorities and the similarity between current weapons shipments and previous ones combine to ensure that Russia will not retaliate against the United States through cyberspace for providing rockets to Ukraine.

Why business is booming for military AI startups

Melissa Heikkilä

Exactly two weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Alexander Karp, the CEO of data analytics company Palantir, made his pitch to European leaders. With war on their doorstep, Europeans ought to modernize their arsenals with Silicon Valley’s help, he argued in an open letter.

For Europe to “remain strong enough to defeat the threat of foreign occupation,” Karp wrote, countries need to embrace “the relationship between technology and the state, between disruptive companies that seek to dislodge the grip of entrenched contractors and the federal government ministries with funding.”

Militaries are responding to the call. NATO announced on June 30 that it is creating a $1 billion innovation fund that will invest in early-stage startups and venture capital funds developing “priority” technologies such as artificial intelligence, big-data processing, and automation.

Artificial intelligence with American values and Chinese characteristics: a comparative analysis of American and Chinese governmental AI policies

Emmie Hine & Luciano Floridi


Artificial intelligence (AI) has recently become a focus of governments worldwide. AI is a “growing resource of interactive, autonomous, and often self-learning agency” with many applications and the potential to reshape society (Floridi and Cowls 2019; Hagerty and Rubinov 2019). Globally, the United States of America (US) and China are two of the most prominent players in AI development (Ding 2018; Savage 2020). Their dynamic is often framed as a “race” for AI supremacy (Savage 2020), which is concerning because the US and China are geopolitical rivals and military superpowers.

Both countries only recently defined national AI strategies: China in 2017 and America in 2019. Some work has examined China’s AI strategy, including (Allen 2019; Ding 2018; Roberts et al. 2019). Rasser et al. (2019) has looked at America’s. There is a dearth of both comparative work focusing on the vision endorsed by the strategy and of work examining local plans in China (Roberts, et al. 2021a, b). In assessing the AI approaches of the US, UK, and EU (before new developments in American AI policy), Cath et al. (2018) used the term “Good AI Society” to analyse the visions of AI-enabled societies endorsed in policy documents, which informs this analysis. Recently, Roberts et al. (2021a) compared the strategies of China and the EU, and Roberts et al. (2021b) compared those of the EU and US. Nevertheless, a gap still exists for a comparison of the strategies of China and the US. This article seeks to fill it.

Chinese Missiles Strike Seas Off Taiwan, and Some Land Near Japan

Chris Buckley, Amy Chang Chien, Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger

At least 11 Chinese missiles struck seas north, south and east of Taiwan on Thursday, less than 24 hours after Speaker Nancy Pelosi celebrated the island as a bulwark of democracy next to autocratic China. The People’s Liberation Army declared its missiles “all precisely hit their targets,” even as Japan said five landed in its waters.

The Chinese military called the exercises a prelude to a bigger show of force intended to punish the island for a visit by Ms. Pelosi that challenged Beijing’s claims to Taiwan. The drills, pushing ever closer to Taiwan and expected to run 72 hours, will also give Chinese forces valuable practice should they one day be ordered to encircle and attack the island.

Confronting Reality in Cyberspace: Foreign Policy for a Fragmented Internet

Adam Segal and Gordon M. Goldstein

Executive Summary

The global internet—a vast matrix of telecommunications, fiber optics, and satellite networks—is in large part a creation of the United States. The technologies that underpin the internet grew out of federal research projects, and U.S. companies innovated, commercialized, and globalized the technology. The internet’s basic structure—a reliance on the private sector and the technical community, relatively light regulatory oversight, and the protection of speech and the promotion of the free flow of information—reflected American values.

Moreover, U.S. strategic, economic, political, and foreign policy interests were served by the global, open internet. Washington long believed that its vision of the internet would ultimately prevail and that other countries would be forced to adjust to or miss out on the benefits of a global and open internet.

The United States now confronts a starkly different reality. The utopian vision of an open, reliable, and secure global network has not been achieved and is unlikely ever to be realized. Today, the internet is less free, more fragmented, and less secure.

How mercenary hackers sway litigation battles


Bodyguard Carlo Pacileo was under mounting pressure. His boss, a direct sales entrepreneur named Ryan Blair, wanted compromising material against a business rival amid a flurry of lawsuits, Pacileo said. Nothing was turning up.

So he turned to a Silicon Valley detective he knew from his days in Afghanistan with the U.S. mercenary firm Blackwater. Nathan Moser, a former North Carolina sheriff’s deputy, arrived days later at Pacileo’s Hollywood apartment with a duffel bag full of surveillance equipment.

Moser showed Pacileo several gadgets, including Israeli-made listening devices that could be hidden in ceilings or behind television sets. One particular service stood out: Moser said he knew an Indian hacker who could break into emails. “My ears perked up,” Pacileo told Reuters recently. “I didn’t know you could do that type of stuff.”

The Cyber Mercenary Business is Booming

Emilio Iasiello

A recent report revealed several private sector Indian companies that have been involved in using corporate cyber espionage tactics against entities involved in litigation in an effort to influence their outcomes. What started off as a hacker-for-hire situation, quickly bloomed into an organized commercial endeavor for the hacker, who recruited and grew a small group of Indian colleagues to be hired out to private investigators employed by clients involved in lawsuits. The reporting focused on three particular companies (BellTroX, CyberRoot, and Appin), though there are several more of these cyber mercenary groups whose customers have ranged from multinationals to individuals with personal grievances they are seeking to satisfy.

Though this reporting focused on Indian companies, there has been an increasing amount of literature exposing the activities of these “cyber mercenaries” – gray hat companies that are also referred to as private sector offensive actors, that advertise their services under the rubric of forensics, pentesting, information security research, or auditing. Ultimately, these capabilities are purchased by customers for more malicious purposes. Per Microsoft, cyber mercenaries employ two types of business models: a access-for-hire approach where the group sells end-to-end hacking tools to the customer who conducts their operations independent of the group’s help; and a for-hire service where the customer provides targeting information and the group does all of the work. In addition to companies involved in litigation, the prime targets of cyber mercenaries have included but are not limited to politicians, political activists, human rights, journalists, among other targets. These cyber mercenaries are found globally, though recent reports have focused on those based in Austria, China, India, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates. Since early July 2022, Google has been aggressively identifying and shutting down the websites of these groups, closing at least 30 domains associated with these actors. These are but minor, temporary wins in a much larger and global effort.

Though deemed as being non-state affiliated, a segment of these groups possess sophisticated hacking capabilities that experts believe to be on par with some advanced persistent threat operations, and using similar attack methodologies used by their state counterparts. In addition to deploying spearphishing and specialized malicious plugins, a recent report revealed that at least one of these cyber mercenary conclaves targeted European and Central American victims by exploiting a zero-day vulnerability in Windows that would facilitate surveillance, a tactic typically employed by state-caliber actors to assure entry into high-value targets. In some instances, cyber mercenary groups have been known to help each other out whether through the sharing of infrastructure, tools and resources, or individuals.

What’s more, this appears to be a booming business, with these groups adapting the established cybercrime-as-a-service model to market cybersecurity services to appear legitimate as evidenced in BellTroX’s advertisement and even legally incorporating their companies. Some like the Israel-based NSO group have gained notoriety over the past several years for these questionable activities. NSO sold its spyware tool Pegasus to governments and law enforcement entities, the fallout from which is still being revealed in news outlets. One Austria-based group listed services on its website consistent with a cybersecurity vendor but was exposed when a data leak disclosed that it also engaged in cyber warfare, biometrical facial recognition, and unmasking foreign information warfare. It’s connection to the previously mentioned Windows zero-day that would deploy malware in surveillance cameras would be extremely useful to law enforcement and intelligence entities and would risk crossing privacy and human rights concerns.

While gray hat companies are pushing the boundaries of illicit for-hire activities, the emergence of a group dubbed Atlantis Intelligence Group (AIG) puts a spin on this growing industry. While not a gray hat company per se, AIG has engaged in recruiting cyber mercenaries – which may be individuals or gray hat groups – who possess specializedskillsets that are used to aid on specific parts of an attack that AIG has been contracted out to perform. By segregating phases to increase operational security practices, AIG has found a way to protect the core group, as well as preserve the integrity of the overall operation. The contracted mercenaries are never given permanent group member status and have no knowledge of the larger operation, thereby limiting their insight into how AIG does its business and insulating the senior AIG individuals from exposure. Many of the ad-hoc positions being sought are consistent with initial access such as spearphishing and social engineering attacks. AIG’s practices further show how these entities continue to refine cyber mercenary activities, perhaps learning from where other groups like the aforementioned Indian companies and the now defunct HackingTeam, and Gamma International, Ltd., mis-stepped resulting in their public exposure of their activities. Based on these security considerations, it certainly appears that AIG is looking to be a longstanding player in the for-hire services industry.

What’s clear is that the offerings provided by cyber mercenaries have value to both public and private sector customers, increasing their value with demonstrated records of success. These groups have proven themselves adaptable and do not focus on any particular industry making them an attractive option to conduct corporate and industrial cyber espionage for the purposes of providing competitive advantage to their clients. Perhaps more importantly, they represent an affordable resource. For states, they provide an instant capability for those lacking the fiscal, material, and human resources required for stealthy cyber operations, or if deployed internally, perform surveillance and help support domestic control. For already cyber-capable states, cyber mercenaries are a natural complement to be leveraged as cut-outs, that if contracted properly, provide plausible deniability should their activities be detected.

The extent with which cyber mercenary companies will be utilized by states remain to be seen. However, they are already proving to be viable options for the private sector. Moreover, the full extent of these operations is not known, though the number of these types of gray hat companies seems to be larger and more global than perhaps previously suspected suggesting the appetite for such services by corporate clientele. This also raises the question if some activities that have been detected by organizations haven’t been misidentified thereby obstructing a more thorough understanding of who is perpetrating the malfeasance and why. Failing to do so risks incorrectly informing organizations of the nature of the threat, impairing victims from adjusting their cybersecurity postures appropriately.

Cybersecurity Research: A DARPA Retrospective

Rich Heimann

Cyber threats are real and constantly evolving, and responsible cybersecurity is looming. This confluence of factors makes cybersecurity more important than ever. However, this article is not a detailed account of cyber threats or the necessity of cybersecurity. It is 2022, and I will assume you already know these realities. Instead, this article is about research, specifically how to pursue research properly, based on my experience with two different research programs at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The DARPA Network Defense (ND) program focused on threat detection using machine learning to discover behavioral patterns in network traffic. The program analyzed actual security events using network traffic acquired through a partnership program. In effect, industry partners shared data with the government for the program’s security analyses.

Is the Sri Lankan Debt Crisis a Harbinger?

Shantayanan Devarajan and Homi Kharas

Sri Lanka is in the midst of the worst economic crisis in its 74-year history. An acute foreign exchange shortage has caused supplies of food, fuel, and other essential goods to dwindle. Almost 90 percent of Sri Lankans do not have enough to eat, according to the World Food Program. People stand in gasoline lines for days at a time, and schools have been closed for weeks. Power cuts of eight to ten hours a day are not uncommon. Patients die in hospitals for lack of medicine. For those goods that are available, prices are skyrocketing; overall annual inflation exceeds 50 percent, with the price of food rising by more than 80 percent. Since April, when the government announced that it would default on $51 billion in external debt, the Sri Lankan rupee has lost 75 percent of its value.

Popular outrage over the economic situation boiled over last month, igniting protests that eventually toppled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government. Hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans demonstrated outside the presidential palace, chanting “Go Home Gota” and waving signs decrying corruption and nepotism (three of Rajapaksa’s brothers served in his cabinet). On July 9, protesters stormed the president’s office and residence, forcing him to flee to Singapore.

The U.S. made a breakthrough battery discovery — then gave the technology to China


When a group of engineers and researchers gathered in a warehouse in Mukilteo, Wash., 10 years ago, they knew they were onto something big. They scrounged up tables and chairs, cleared out space in the parking lot for experiments and got to work.

They were building a battery — a vanadium redox flow battery — based on a design created by two dozen U.S. scientists at a government lab. The batteries were about the size of a refrigerator, held enough energy to power a house, and could be used for decades. The engineers pictured people plunking them down next to their air conditioners, attaching solar panels to them, and everyone living happily ever after off the grid.

After the al-Zawahiri Strike, the U.S. May Lack Capabilities in Afghanistan

James Dobbins

The U.S. drone strike that killed al Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan over the weekend took out one of the last remaining key figures behind the 9/11 terror attacks, but it also highlighted how little the United States got out of its 2020 bargain with the Taliban and raised questions about the U.S. ability to adequately monitor the developing threat from this quarter going forward.

Hosting al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian-born medical doctor who took the reins of al Qaida after the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011, in a safe-house in an upscale neighborhood of Kabul was not necessarily a violation of the Taliban's pledge in the 2020 agreement that led to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Taliban-controlled country. The Taliban had long been pressed by U.S. negotiators to cut their ties with al Qaida, and they explicitly refused to do so. All they had been willing to promise was that they would not permit al Qaida or other groups to use Afghan territory to mount attacks on the United States.

Cyber Ambassador Pick Wants to Bring 'Coherence' to Tech Diplomacy Efforts


Establishing a culture of “fluency and expertise in digital technologies” would be one of the first items on the agenda for the Biden administration’s pick as the first cyberspace ambassador at large for the State Department, Nathaniel Fick said Wednesday at his nomination hearing.

“My hope if confirmed in this role is to is to provide kind of coherence to our tech diplomacy, and ensure that we as a government first, and we, as a leader of like minded allies and partners, are coordinating our efforts because we have a competitor out there with a very different vision of what our global technology future could look like,” Fick told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The State Department announced the creation of the Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Diplomacy in April. The ambassador position that comes with it—a recommendation of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission—is a role that will require tight relationships with the Defense Department and could help steer future international cyber policies.

What the Zawahiri Strike Means for the Future of Drone Warfare

Kris Osborn

The successful drone strike on Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri offers reveals two distinct yet interwoven realities. Not only does the strike remind Americans that the threat of terrorism and Al Qaeda remains persistent, but it also underscores that the United States has by no means lost its intensity and vigilance in counterterrorism.

This strike was quite an accomplishment, given that it comes as the United States is increasingly focused on great power competition. Despite the prioritization of competition with China, it is clear that the Pentagon and the intelligence community have retained a razor-sharp focus on hunting and killing terrorists who threaten the United States.

The terrorist threat seems to have a timeless quality, as terrorists may even use time as a weapon of war, planning strikes when they are less expected. However, those involved in U.S. counterterrorism strategy clearly understand this, which is why drones, surveillance planes, and special forces units remain engaged in non-contested yet terrorist-friendly environments. Simply put, the Pentagon and the intelligence community appear to understand that the war on terror continues and will require persistent vigilance and resolve.

Economic War: Will Sanctions Cripple the Russian Military?

Kris Osborn

In addition to the well-reported military dimension of the war in Ukraine, there is another critical, less discussed element of the campaign: economics.

Pentagon officials are now reporting that widespread economic sanctions are taking a sizable toll on the Russian economy. During a recent briefing, officials detailed a number of specific consequences of the sanctions.

A senior Pentagon official noted that “in terms of Russian domestic failures, export controls that have been imposed on Moscow by the United States, partners and allies around the world are just now starting to have an effect.”

According to a Pentagon report, 1,000 multinational companies have now suspended operations in Russia, while inflation in Russia is “rising up to 20 percent” and the Russian stock market has lost one-third of its value. The report added that “[m]ajor Russian state-owned companies have lost 70-90% of their market capitalization”

Biden sold America the false narrative that Al Qaeda was ‘gone’ from Afghanistan. Zawahiri’s death proves he was dangerously wrong.

Bill Roggio

One year ago this month, President Biden told Americans that Al Qaeda was ‘gone’ from Afghanistan.

On Monday, we learned that clearly was not the case.

‘We went to Afghanistan for the express purpose of getting rid of al Qaeda in Afghanistan as well as getting Osama bin Laden. And we did,’ he told reporters on August 20, 2021, as American and allied forces hastily prepared to pull out of the country.

President Biden had set August 31st as the last day for U.S. troops to leave Afghanistan after 20 years of war and the deadline had caught the world by surprise.

‘Look, let’s put this thing in perspective,’ he insisted amid calls to delay the evacuation, ‘What interest do we have in Afghanistan at this point, with al Qaeda gone?’

Al-Qaeda Boss Zawahiri Lived in Upscale Kabul Neighborhood with Top Taliban Officials


Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri reportedly met his end on Sunday morning while enjoying the view from the balcony of his safe house, which was located in an upscale Kabul neighborhood inhabited by top Taliban officials.

A U.S. drone blew Zawahiri off the balcony with a precision missile that left the other occupants of his home uninjured.

Reuters found some irony in the wily 71-year-old terrorist boss surviving for years in Afghanistan’s “rugged mountains” and the harsh Pakistani tribal region while dodging a $25 million bounty from the United States, only to be liquified while enjoying the comforts of a Taliban bed-and-breakfast. He was literally living in a little pink house in Sherpur, a Kabul burb featuring leafy streets, swimming pools, and private gardens.

Stop the “Stop the Killer Robot” Debate: Why We Need Artificial Intelligence in Future Battlefields

For nearly a decade, the “Stop the Killer Robots” debate has dominated public conversation about military applications of artificial intelligence (AI). However, as Marine Corps Lieutenant General Michael Groen pointed out on May 25, the role that artificial intelligence is expected to play in the defense industry is much more diverse and less dramatic than many people envision in calling for an international ban on lethal autonomous weapons systems.

Although their efforts out of humanitarian concerns are laudable, many of these arguments are based on erroneous assumptions and speculations that are devoid of practical and operational considerations. Governmental experts are scheduled to meet again in July to continue this debate at the United Nations, while the U.S. Department of Defense is planning to update their autonomous weapons guidance. It is time to re-consider the value of the “Stop the Killer Robot” campaign because the ban will not only be ineffective but will also adversely impact law-abiding nations, depriving their ability to defend themselves from rogue nations and malicious actors, and worse of all, will actually be inhumane.

As China Plans Drills Circling Taiwan, U.S. Officials Fear a Squeeze Play

David E. Sanger and Amy Qin

WASHINGTON — For years the deliberate “strategic ambiguity” in Washington’s China policy has left unclear how the United States would respond to a full-scale, amphibious invasion of Taiwan.

But an equally hard question — maybe harder, in the minds of many senior White House and defense officials — is how to respond to a slow squeeze of the island, in which Chinese forces cut off much of the access to it, physically or digitally.

That question may soon be tested for the first time in a quarter of a century. China’s declaration during Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit that it would begin live-fire military exercises in six locations encircling the island could set up the largest crisis in the Taiwan Strait since 1996, when President Bill Clinton ordered American aircraft carriers to the area.

Biden's national security adviser doubles down on Taiwan policy after Pelosi visit


China is escalating tensions with the U.S. after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan this week, but the White House will not be deterred in defending its interests in the Western Pacific, according to the president's national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

It has been a busy few days for Sullivan as President Joe Biden navigates complex issues on multiple fronts.

Alongside Pelosi's trip, there is the ongoing war in Ukraine, and the U.S. drone strike that took out al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul.

Sullivan sits down with NPR's Mary Louise Kelly to discuss the past week and how the administration plans to address each issue.