20 August 2022

Behind Enemy Lines, Ukrainians Tell Russians ‘You Are Never Safe’

Andrew E. Kramer

ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine — They sneak down darkened alleys to set explosives. They identify Russian targets for Ukrainian artillery and long-range rockets provided by the United States. They blow up rail lines and assassinate officials they consider collaborators with the Russians.

Slipping back and forth across the front lines, the guerrilla fighters are known in Ukraine as partisans, and in recent weeks they have taken an ever more prominent role in the war, rattling Russian forces by helping deliver humiliating blows in occupied areas they thought were safe.

Increasingly, Ukraine is taking the fight against Russian forces into Russian-controlled areas, whether with elite military units, like the one credited on Tuesday with a huge explosion at a Russian ammunition depot in the occupied Crimean Peninsula, or an underground network of the guerrillas.

Last week, Ukrainian officials said, the partisans had a hand in a successful strike on a Russian air base, also in Crimea, which Moscow annexed eight years ago. It destroyed eight fighter jets.

“The goal is to show the occupiers that they are not at home, that they should not settle in, that they should not sleep comfortably,” said one guerrilla fighter, who spoke on condition that, for security reasons, he only be identified by his code name, Svarog, after a pagan Slavic god of fire.

In recent days the Ukrainian military made Svarog and several other of the operatives available for interviews in person or online, hoping to highlight the partisans’ widening threat to Russian forces and signal to Western donors that Ukraine is successfully rallying local resources in the war, now nearly six months old. A senior Ukrainian military official familiar with the program also described the workings of the resistance.

Their accounts of attacks could not be verified completely but aligned with reports in the Ukrainian media and with descriptions from Ukrainians who had recently fled Russian-occupied areas.

Svarog and I met over lemonade and cheese pastries at a Georgian restaurant in Zaporizhzhia, a city under Ukrainian control about 65 miles north of the occupied town of Melitopol.

He spoke with intimate knowledge of partisan activities, providing a rare glimpse into one of the most hidden aspects of the war.

The Ukrainian military began training partisans in the months before the invasion, as Russia massed troops near the borders. The effort has paid off in recent weeks as Ukrainian forces are pressing a counteroffensive in the south, although Russian forces, with far greater advantages in heavy weapons, still surround Ukraine from the east and north.

Ukrainian officials warned on Tuesday of the threat of a potential Russian attack from Belarus, noting a buildup of missile systems there, and said Russian forces were expending tens of thousands of rounds a day as they shelled hundreds of defensive positions in eastern and southern Ukraine.

With little movement of the front lines, insurgent activity is now intensifying, as the fighters strike stealthily in environs they know intimately, using car bombs, booby traps and targeted killings with pistols — and then blending into the local population.

Before the war, Svarog occasionally joined weekend training with Right Sector and National Corps, a branch of the Azov movement, both of which are aligned with paramilitary units in Ukraine. They were just two of dozens of organizations running military training for civilians throughout Ukraine during the eight-year war with Russian-backed separatists.

Svarog said he was among the trainees in these public programs. Behind the scenes, Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces were forming a more structured, and secret, program that included instruction on sabotage, explosives and stashing weapon caches in anticipation of Russia’s attack.

After the invasion, Svarog said, he was directed to a storage shed outside Melitopol, where he found slabs of high explosives, detonators, Kalashnikov rifles, a grenade launcher and two pistols equipped with silencers.

Melitopol, the southern Ukrainian town where Svarog operates, has since emerged as a center of the resistance. He recounted the careful casing of targets, followed by attacks.

By Saturday, partisans had struck with explosives seven days in a row, according to the town’s exiled mayor, Ivan Fedorov, who boasted of the achievement to Ukrainian media as part of the more public embrace of partisan operations by officials.

The attacks have been going on for several months. This spring, Svarog said, he and several members of the cell in Melitopol sneaked through the town at night to booby-trap a car in the parking lot of a Russian-controlled police station.

Carrying wire cutters, tape and fishing line, the fighters moved through courtyards and back alleys to avoid Russian checkpoints.

High-profile attacks behind Russian lines hint at how Ukrainian special forces may be using their US training


This month, the Ukrainian military has again showed Russia and the world its commitment to winning the war, carrying out attacks far behind Russia's frontlines.

On August 9, Ukrainian forces struck a military target in Crimea, the first Ukrainian attack there since Moscow invaded and illegally annexed the peninsula in 2014. At least six blasts rocked Russia's Saki air base, which is home to the 43rd Independent Naval Attack Aviation Regiment, but the source of the attack remains unclear.

On Tuesday, there more explosions at an ammunition dump in northern Crimea. Russia's Defense Ministry said a fire at "a temporary ammunition storage site" caused the blast, calling it "an act of sabotage."

In both cases, Ukrainian officials have said or suggested that their forces were involved, which hints at how Ukrainian forces might be using the training they've been getting from Western special-operations forces since 2014.

Does the Taliban Really Want to Confront Terrorism?

Muhammad Amir Rana

One year after taking power in Afghanistan, the Taliban are struggling on almost all fronts including governance, rebuilding the economy, ensuring internal security, and improving their domestic and international credibility. Besides the pledges they made in the Doha agreement, they have also been making tall claims about their renewed outlook and behavior. The international community has taken these claims cautiously. But as far as peace and security are concerned, the Taliban regime could establish a “muscular peace” in a country that has long been affected by war and conflict.

The Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K) has become a critical challenge for the Taliban. Since the signing of the Doha agreement by U.S. and Taliban representatives in February 2020, ISIS-K has intensified its attacks inside Afghanistan. The Taliban have launched a deadly crackdown against the group, but the threat level is still gradually rising. Just a few days before the first anniversary of the Taliban takeover, the death of Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul has brought another embarrassment for the Taliban. The credit for Zawahiri's killing goes to the Biden administration, which has been advocating an “over the horizon” counter-terrorism strategy to defeat terrorists since U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan. This counter-terrorism approach is also subject to criticism on the premise that a war cannot be won through limited force when the United States could not first defeat the Taliban with more troops and assets in Afghanistan.

Isolating the Taliban Isn’t an Option

Daniel R. DePetris

Roughly a year ago, the Taliban was at the top of its game. The organization that sustained an insurgency against the world’s most formidable military power for two decades, losing tens of thousands of foot soldiers in the process, was basking in the glory of victory. Flush with billions of dollars in U.S. weapons meant for the Afghan government, which the Taliban kicked out of power in a ten-day blitz across the country, the group’s fighters were now posing for photographs inside the very aircraft Afghan pilots once used to bomb Taliban positions. “This victory belongs to us all,” Taliban chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid bellowed at Kabul International Airport.

But just as President George W. Bush learned after Saddam Hussein’s army was vanquished in a matter of weeks during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Taliban is now realizing that declaring victory is a lot easier than actually achieving it. The Taliban may be running a government and doing its best to project a sense of force and legitimacy, but the last year of Taliban rule hasn’t been particularly great for the movement. The United States, meanwhile, is still attempting to figure out how to approach the new Taliban authorities, what its policy on Afghanistan actually is, and whether Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s presence in Kabul merits a reevaluation.

Threats to Taiwan’s Security from China’s Military Modernization

Paul Huang


Security is only as strong as its weakest link. In the case of Taiwan’s defense against a potential attack from China, the loss of air power following a missile attack is the single point of failure that would likely cause a general collapse of Taiwan’s overall defenses. To mitigate this threat, Taiwan must rethink and reformulate its defense strategy by investing in survivable platforms that can sustain the island’s defense for a meaningful period of time even in the face of a modern and ever-expanding People’s Liberation Army (PLA).


Taiwan’s air force, with only conventional fighter jets, would likely be knocked out of action at the onset of a conflict with China as the few available runways on the small island are bombarded and paralyzed by PLA ballistic missiles and other long-range munitions.

The Evolving Geopolitics of Economic Interdependence between the United States and China

Ali Wyne

We live in a world of instant communication, where globalization is intensifying in the digital realm. Yet we also live in a world where “deglobalization” is gaining traction in some policy circles. Self-sourcing or sourcing supplies only from like-minded countries—improbably referred to as “friend-shoring”—is openly encouraged. But we cannot so easily delink the supply chains that hold up our integrated global economy. Moreover, deglobalization is a privilege that most communities around the world cannot afford.

This Asia Policy special essay by Ali Wyne argues that the push for self-reliance is largely prompted by the world’s two giants in economic might and rivalry. Described by Wyne as “perhaps the two greatest beneficiaries” of globalization, the United States and China are now turning inward, primarily due to persistent and growing frictions stemming from their great-power competition. Efforts toward “decoupling” are having a knock-on effect on trading partners, particularly in Asia. Breaking up is hard to do, including for friends of the bickering couple. To many smaller and lower-income economies, the prospect of taking a side in the great-power rivalry comes with significant repercussions to their development trajectory and political positioning.

Spectrum Management:Improved Planning and Interagency Collaboration Could Strengthen Spectrum Reallocation Efforts

The FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) regulate use of radio-frequency spectrum in the U.S. to help ensure there's enough for emerging 5G networks, satellites, and everything else. When there could be interference, FCC and NTIA coordinate with other agencies.

We testified about our reviews of the spectrum reallocation process and how agencies collaborate on potential spectrum interference issues.

We found:NTIA did not have a comprehensive documented process to plan its reallocation efforts from start to finish

FCC, NTIA, and other agencies could more fully employ key collaboration practices

Emergent Technologies and Extremists: The DWeb as a New Internet Reality?

Terms floating around with regard to the decentralised web (DWeb) such as Web3 or bitcoin have become a catchall for anything having to do with blockchains and cryptocurrency. Overall, the major questions related to a decentralised web are coalescing around two themes: (1) Is a decentralised web viable and attractive enough for enough people? and (2) What is the nature of this ‘new internet’ – in other words, will the decentralised web avoid the pitfalls of the current web? The latter is regularly charged for online radicalisation or for enabling authoritarian strengthening. Instead, could the DWeb foster positive aspects such as its potential for activists who could organise out of sight of regime censors using this technology.

This report contributes to both by asking how extremists are already exploiting and how they could exploit it in the future. Why is the decentralised web ‘good’ or ‘bad’? Why do people use it? Is a small percentage that abuses it jeopardising this version of the internet already? What could developers factor into their consideration given existing evidence? What do policymakers need to keep in mind when working on legislating tech? The possible angles researchers and journalists have been exploring with regard to the DWeb are plentiful and range from questions addressing political economy issues to normative ramifications of an ethical underpinning among Web3 developers that ‘Big Tech’ cannot be trusted. For this report, the focus is on the implications for extremist actors with corresponding security implications for societies as a whole.

New Wine in an Old Bottle: The PLA Invokes Mao in Support of All-Domain Operations

From March to April 2022 the official newspaper of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) published a series of articles arguing that all-domain operations are the application of certain Maoist military principles in the current era. The arguments were convoluted and unconvincing, but it is possible that the purpose of the series was not scholarly. Instead, its purpose is likely to have been to convince doubters in the PLA of the wisdom of the PLA’s latest addition to its doctrine and to boost their confidence in the PLA’s capacity to implement it. The PLA’s earnest effort to persuade the doubters would indicate that doubters exist, but it would also indicate that the PLA is serious about developing the capability to conduct all-domain operations.

Will AI Make Cyber Swords or Shields?

Andrew Lohn, Krystal Jackson

Executive Summary

Cybersecurity is a constant battle between attackers and defenders who try to leverage advances in technology to gain an advantage. Progress in those technologies can tip the scales in favor of either offense or defense, and it is not always clear beforehand which side will benefit more. This report illustrates how mathematical modeling can provide insights into how advances in technology might affect a few areas of cybersecurity: 1) phishing, 2) vulnerability discovery, and 3) the race between patching and exploitation. We demonstrate the approach and show the types of insights that it can provide.

Phishing is already a popular and effective technique for attackers. With little effort, attackers can send a generic message to many recipients, tricking a small percentage of them into cracking the door to the victim’s organization. Attackers can work harder to tailor their message to individual targets and increase the probability of success. Today, automated systems that can collect private data and write convincingly threaten to combine the scale of those spray-and-pray phishing campaigns with the effectiveness of spear phishing.

Zawahiri’s death: echoes of 9/11 and a demonstration of US resolve

Michael Shoebridge

America has killed al-Qaeda’s head, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was living in a wealthy Kabul suburb under the noses of the Taliban leadership. Al-Zawahiri living and working in Afghanistan is an echo of the safe harbour the Taliban gave his former boss, Osama bin Laden, to plan and conduct the horrific September 11 attacks. That continued until the Taliban were ousted at the start of the 20-year Afghan war. So, there’s a symmetry to the Taliban again harbouring an al-Qaeda head while America hunts him.

Al-Zawahiri’s death comes 11 years after bin Laden was killed in May 2011, at his home near a major Pakistani military base. It’s 21 years since al-Zawahiri played a role in planning the 9/11 attacks, but he’s been a capable and canny organiser and leader who has kept al-Qaeda viable. Unlike bin Laden, he didn’t need a special forces team conducting an extended high-risk night raid to kill him—al-Zawahiri died from two small but lethal Hellfire missiles fired by a drone operated remotely by the CIA.

Can China take Taiwan? Why no one really knows.

Michael E. O’Hanlon


Military analysts often use modeling to predict specific outcomes in war, including winners and losers, casualties, territorial gains or losses, and combat duration. But a potential U.S.-China war over Taiwan, likely also involving some American allies, poses analytical and policy challenges that make predicting outcomes especially difficult. In particular, the outcome of a Chinese maritime blockade of Taiwan scenario, in which a U.S.-led coalition aids Taiwan’s military to break the blockade and keep the island polity economically viable, may be too close to call.

In this paper, a combination of simple military modeling and path-dependent scenario or campaign analysis is used to determine whether the outcome of a maritime blockade of Taiwan can be feasibly predicted. The methodology draws from the well-structured and clearly described framework recently offered by Rachel Tecott and Andrew Halterman. Although I provide a limited analysis here, the results strongly suggest that any predictions by either adversary would be unreliable.

Sri Lanka Collapsed First, but It Won’t Be the Last

Indrajit Samarajiva

As a Sri Lankan, I find watching international news coverage of my country’s economic and political implosion is like showing up at your own funeral, with everybody speculating on how you died.

The Western media accuses China of luring us into a debt trap. Tucker Carlson says environmental, social and corporate governance programs killed us. Everybody blames the Rajapaksas, the corrupt political dynasty that ruled us until massive protests by angry Sri Lankans chased them out last month.

But from where I’m standing, ultimate blame lies with the Western-dominated neoliberal system that keeps developing countries in a form of debt-fueled colonization. The system is in crisis, its shaky foundations exposed by the tumbling dominoes of the Ukraine war, resulting in food and fuel scarcity, the pandemic and looming insolvency and hunger rippling across the world.

The uncomfortable economic truth behind Xi Jinping’s Taiwan threats

Jeremy Mark

China’s response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taipei—launching missiles and conducting aggressive naval and air exercises—has changed the military status quo in the waters surrounding Taiwan. But Beijing’s economic actions—barring imports of various Taiwanese food products, as well as ending Chinese exports of sand—appear designed to leave cross-strait trade largely undisturbed.

This imbalance highlights the uncomfortable truth facing Chinese leader Xi Jinping as he turns up the heat in the Taiwan Strait: Both countries’ economies stand to lose if the situation continues to escalate. While Taiwan, powered by its world-leading semiconductor industry, is experiencing solid growth, China’s economy is poised on a knife’s edge—its vaunted economic “miracle” undermined by a real-estate crisis and Xi’s “zero-COVID” policies.

The fortunes of China and Taiwan are built on co-dependence, and the ties that have developed over the past generation to bind key industries like electronics cannot be severed without damaging both countries. That’s not even mentioning the suppliers, manufacturers, financiers, investors, and consumers around the world who rely on the same supply chains.

Germany Sees Tidal Shift in Sentiment Toward Atomic Energy

Melanie Amann, Vicky Isabelle Bargel, Marco Evers

Winter is coming and Klaus Zilian is worried. He lives with his wife and two children in Neustadt, in the northwestern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, in the single-family home the couple bought 14 years ago – 160 square meters (1,500 square feet), seven rooms and insulating plaster the color of champagne. The electricity comes from the municipal utility company, the house is heated with gas and the Baltic Sea is only a five-minute walk away. It's typical middle-class prosperity.

The family will be able to handle the fact that the energy prices are going up due to the Russian reduction of the flows of natural gas into Germany, Zilian says. But what if the house suddenly gets cold because there's just not enough gas? "I can already see us cuddling under blankets," says Zilian, who heads a financial consultancy.

Reflections on the Fall of Kabul One Year Later

Fawzia Koofi

August 15, 2022, marks the one-year anniversary of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

On September 12, 2020, 21 representatives of the Afghan government convened with Taliban members in Doha, Qatar to negotiate Afghanistan’s future following the withdrawal of U.S. troops. As the vice president of the Afghan parliament, I attended the negotiations as one of only four women, out of 42 total negotiators. From the beginning, my female colleagues and I faced obstacles to participating in the talks. While we had successfully participated in dialogues with Taliban members in both Moscow and Doha, this time, Taliban members were reluctant to greet us or even make eye contact with us. There was a common sentiment among many people that because men participate in wars, they should be the ones making the peace deals. I felt obligated to speak up and represent the women of Afghanistan.

At the time of the negotiations, the Taliban had promised they would not launch offensives in big cities and swore that their forces would remain in the villages where they had been previously stationed. In direct violation of the Doha Agreement, the Taliban disregarded these commitments began carrying out attacks. Negotiations began amid increased fighting and violence in Helmand and some of the northern provinces. The negotiations started with discussions about the procedures, principles, and rules that would serve as the basis for the talks. The two parties disagreed about whether the Doha Agreement or the Afghan constitution should be used. The Taliban wanted the Doha Agreement—a peace agreement between the U.S. government and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan—to serve as the basis of the negotiation, because while the United States did not formally recognize the Taliban, it was still mentioned in the document. The representatives from the Afghan government proposed that the constitution should be used, arguing that the will and interests of the people of Afghanistan should underpin the negotiations. A compromise was eventually reached to use the Doha Agreement while also including the Afghan constitution, which clearly outlines Afghanistan as a republic. The debate over which document to use lasted two months, stalling the negotiations, all while people lost their lives in Afghanistan.

Microsoft Disrupts Russian Cyber-Espionage Group Seaborgium

Microsoft has announced that it disrupted a Russian-state backed threat group that is believed to have run espionage campaigns against several different NATO countries. According to the tech giant, the prolific hacking group that is identified by the name “Seaborgium” focuses most of its attacks on entities located in the US and UK. In addition, the group has been known to target countries of the Baltics, Nordics, and Eastern Europe. Microsoft reported that it disabled accounts used by the hacking group for efforts such as phishing, email collection and reconnaissance. In addition, Microsoft has updated detections against its phishing domains in its Microsoft Defender SmartScreen.

The group is also known as Callisto Group, ColdRiver, and TA446. Known to be highly persistent, the group has run different campaigns that leverage social networks through impersonation, rapport building, and phishing. The group has been running campaigns for years using the same tactics, including over 30 different targets just this year. 2022’s targets have included defense and intelligence consulting companies, non-governmental organizations, higher education, and think tanks. In addition, the group has been observed targeting former intelligence officials and Russian citizens living abroad, Microsoft stated.

How many Russian soldiers have been killed in Ukraine? What we know, how we know it and what it really means.

Joshua Keating

Last week, after Ukraine’s dramatic and deadly strike on a Russian air base in Crimea, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had a particularly blunt message for the Kremlin.

“If almost 43,000 dead Russian soldiers do not convince the Russian leadership that they need to find a way out of the war,” Zelenskyy said, “then more fighting is needed, more results are needed to convince.”

We don’t really know how many Russian soldiers have been killed in Ukraine. But there is no shortage of estimates.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which provides a daily running tally on social media, put the number of enemy “liquidated” at around 43,000 as of Aug. 11 — hence Zelenskyy’s figure. The Russian government has not published its own losses since March 25, when it gave a total of 1,351 killed and 3,825 wounded. (Wartime casualties are a state secret in Russia, and revealing them is punishable by up to seven years in prison.)

Learning from Ukraine, Army cyber schoolhouse focuses on electromagnetic spectrum


TECHNET AUGUSTA 2022 — The Army Cyber Center of Excellence is already incorporating lessons learned from the Russian invasion of Ukraine into its schoolhouse curriculum, specifically when it comes to the electromagnetic spectrum, the center’s commander said today.

Gen. Paul Stanton told reporters during a media roundtable at the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference that the service is learning a lot about electronic warfare, emissions control and what soldiers’ footprints look like in the electromagnetic spectrum from watching the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

“We’re watching both the Russian and Ukrainian ability to find each other on the battlefield using EMS, using electronic warfare,” Stanton said. “And we’re studying that pretty carefully to make sure that one, we know how to find our enemies and two, we know how not to be found when we don’t want to be.”

A Year After Kabul's Fall, Taliban’s False Commitments Are Fully Exposed


When the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan on Aug. 15, 2021, there were faint hopes that this time would be different.

The Taliban promised to respect girls’ education and women’s rights, and to not allow the country to become a breeding ground for terrorism, as it had been in the Taliban’s previous stint in government before the 2001 U.S. intervention.

But a year after the fall of Kabul, the Taliban has failed to deliver on these promises and gradually become more repressive as it tries to consolidate power in the country.

US to Control Exports of Some Chip Tech to Cut ‘Nefarious’ Use

Ana Monteiro and Eric Martin

(Bloomberg) -- The US is imposing export controls on technologies that support the production of advanced semiconductors and turbines, protecting against their “nefarious” military and commercial use.

The innovations “are essential to the national security” of the US and meet the criteria for the protection, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security said in a statement Friday. The agency is key to crafting and enforcing export restrictions.

“Advancements that allow technologies like semiconductors and engines to operate faster, more efficiently, longer, and in more severe conditions can be game changers in both the commercial and military context,” Alan Estevez, under secretary of commerce for industry and security, said in the statement.

Afghanistan: Biden’s Most-Telling ‘Illusion’

Will Alexander

French psychologist Gustave Le Bon, illustrating “the mental state of crowds,” wrote about the extent to which the manager of a popular theater of his day used off-stage theatrics to make it almost impossible for his audience to distinguish the “real” from the “unreal.”

“[The manager] in consequence of his only playing sombre dramas, was obliged to have the actor who took the part of the traitor protected on his leaving the theatre to defend him against the violence of the spectators, indignant at the crimes, imaginary though they were, which the traitor had committed,” Le Bon wrote in his most popular work, The Crowd (1896).

Unconsciously, spectators became victims of illusions, made to laugh or cry over “imaginary adventures.” In a similar way, some of the most despotic conquerors and movements in history depended on creating “strong impressions” that captured the public imagination. The power and strength of nations, Le Bon wrote, hangs on the popular imagination. It is moved and molded by the creators of illusions.

The Taliban’s Islamic Emirate: An Exclusive Mullah Government

Weeda Mehran

One year after the Taliban’s victory over its democratically elected predecessor, the Islamic Emirate is struggling with internal and external challenges that could further undermine its already shaky foundation. The Taliban’s Islamic Emirate remains to be recognized by any foreign state. It is facing resistance in various parts of the country, is rife with internal fragmentation, and has failed to form an inclusive government contrary to its commitments in the Doha Agreement. The Taliban have deprived women of their livelihoods and restricted girls’ education to below the secondary level. More than 90 percent of Afghans do not have enough to eat. To make matters worse, the killing of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in the heart of Kabul by a U.S. drone demonstrates that Afghanistan may have once again become a safe haven for terrorist organizations.

How are the Taliban running Afghanistan and where is the country headed?

An analysis of how state institutions are run illustrates that the Taliban have formed an ultra-exclusive government run by Taliban fighters, clerics, and sympathizers at the national and local levels. Many of these appointees lack the knowledge and expertise to run a complex administrative system. The repercussions of the brain drain, with previous administration workers leaving the country, is palpable, and the problem is compounded by the Taliban’s inability to pay what civil servants remain.

China’s Taiwan Strategy Could Impact India’s Economy

Mohamed Zeeshan

Even before U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went to Taiwan this month, Beijing had been aggressively pushing countries around the world to reiterate — or adopt — a pledge of allegiance to its One China policy. Since 2019, Kiribati, the Solomon Islands and Nicaragua have all switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing, driven in large part by the latter’s political and economic support for their respective regimes.

In the wake of Pelosi’s contentious visit, that effort has only intensified. Early this month, Beijing asked India to reiterate its One China policy. In his press briefing, Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi responded to that merely by saying: “India’s relevant policies are well known and consistent. They do not require reiteration.”

Space Force Takes Over All Military Satellite Communications

Thomas Novelly

The Army transferred some of its satellite operations to the Space Force on Monday, marking the latest move to reorganize and grow the youngest military branch.

In addition to control of the communication satellites, 500 people will be transferred from the Army's Space and Missile Defense Command, based in Huntsville, Alabama, and will now answer to Schriever Space Force Base in Colorado as part of the expansion.

"This historic transfer from the Army to the Space Force will mark the first time all Department of Defense military satellite communication functions have been consolidated under a single military service," the Space Force wrote in a press release.  

The Army has also transferred roughly $78 million of its budget to the Space Force for 2022 to help expand the service's infrastructure.

Russia Preparing 'Massive Missile Attack' on Ukraine From Belarus: Intel


An independent military intelligence group says Russia is amassing anti-aircraft missile systems in Belarus in preparation for what it says is a large-scale attack against Ukraine.

Belarusian Hajun said in a Telegram post Monday that its analysis of satellite images shows a buildup of arms at the Ziabrovka airfield in Belarus roughly 25 miles from the border with Ukraine. The report from the monitor of Belarusian military activity comes amid speculation over Belarus' support for Russia's war effort in Ukraine.

"An analysis of the situation at the airfield proves that the likelihood of rocket attacks on the territory of Ukraine not only remains, but it seems that the Russians are preparing for a massive missile attack on Ukraine in the coming weeks," Belarusian Hajun said in the post.

America’s Low-Earth Orbit Strategy Has Gotten Lost in Space

Akash Shah

Last month, Russia announced that it will quit the International Space Station (ISS) after 2024 and launch its own orbiting station. Many believe that Russia is using the cooperation related to the ISS as a bargaining chip to secure leeway with the economic sanctions imposed by the West after its invasion of Ukraine. The sanctions are gradually strangulating the Russian economy and this could represent a desperate attempt to find a way out. Regardless, Russia is not the first country to push for its own space station and it was bound to happen sooner or later.

Emerging space powers like China and India already have plans to send lunar missions and independent space stations into low-Earth orbit (LEO). In fact, China has successfully launched two out of three modules of its space station Tiangong; the last module is set to be sent into space by the end of 2022. Similarly, India is determined to launch its space station by 2030. Given this trend, more countries with the resources and ambition to have their own space stations are likely to follow suit in the coming decade.

The Cost of Engaging the Taliban

Nilofar Sakhi

On August 15, 2021, the Taliban returned to power after two decades of fighting the United States, NATO, and Afghan National Security Forces. As the United States began withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan, the Taliban touted their hard-won victory and replaced a newly installed democratic system with a totalitarian, extreme, and hard-core religious ideology. These actions have changed the country drastically and failed to address the fragile security issues that existed and continue to worsen.

The first year of Taliban rule has been repressive, defined by humanitarian and economic crises, curtailed individual rights, and plundered women’s rights. The implementation of new rules has further silenced progressive Afghans in an attempt to create a closed society. As Afghanistan falls further into poverty, radicalization, and severe human rights abuses, the emerging insurgency and reorganization of terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, pose serious security threats to the region and the West. There are rising concerns that these insurgent groups may soon carry out large-scale attacks if the existing crises are not taken seriously.

[Special Report] Managing the China, India, and Pakistan Nuclear Trilemma


The report synthesizes insights and conclusions reached by a special research project jointly launched in 2021, and from two days of closed policy discussions held among panels of experts earlier this year. The report summarizes the outcome of those discussions for the first time, including panelists’ policy recommendations for leaders in China, India, and Pakistan to review as they consider how best to navigate the evolving nuclear security picture in the region.

The author of the report, APLN Policy Fellow Dr Tanvi Kulkarni says ongoing efforts to increase nuclear weapons stockpiles and modernize nuclear weapons could see Southern Asia’s three nuclear weapons powers stumbling into a crisis. As Dr Kulkarni puts it, “The ‘nuclear trilemma’ involving China, India, and Pakistan in Southern Asia is a low-risk but high-impact, and still relatively understudied, geopolitical threat.”

Key findings of the report include:Disagreement on the nature of the nuclear security situation in South Asia: Some see a situation of ‘two asymmetric dyads’ – China-India and India-Pakistan – dominating the countries’ security arrangements. Others see the three countries trapped in a “nuclear chain”— where China adopts a more aggressive nuclear weapons posture in response to moves by the United States, and India responds to China’s moves, further prompting Pakistan to respond to India’s moves. Other policy professionals argue that the three nations are locked in an ‘evolving nuclear trilemma,’ one that is rife with tensions and contradictions.

US AI Policy Report Card

Hodan Omaar

Executive Summary

In the United States, there are three sets of institutions that are primarily responsible for initiating, importing, modifying, and diffusing AI: private firms, publicly funded national laboratories, and universities with funding from government, industry, and donors. AI policy refers to the public means for nurturing the capabilities and activities of this AI ecosystem and optimizing its applications in the service of national goals and the public good.When government institutions and policies act properly, AI innovation flourishes. When government fails to act or misfires, so too does AI innovation.

This report analyzes how the United States is performing across nine of the most prominent policies the U.S. government uses to support AI innovation and competitiveness. We split these policies into two groups. First are innovation policies that directly spur AI innovation and competitiveness. These include six types of policies that support AI research, strengthen the AI workforce, spread AI tech hubs across the country, facilitate access to AI resources, promote government adoption of AI, and help develop technical standards for AI. Second are legal and regulatory policies that shape the environment for AI innovation. These include three types of policies that regulate the use of AI systems, incentivize AI activity through intellectual property (IP) rights, and support AI development through international trade.