7 September 2022

How China Views the Taiwan Problem

Wang Yiwei Liao Huan

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan abruptly heightened tensions by provoking unprecedented Chinese military exercises in the Taiwan Strait. This led to concern about whether a large-scale military conflict between China and the United States will ensue.

Why is the Taiwan question so sensitive? It has a bearing on China’s core national interests.

China and the “Great Reunification”

The idea of “great reunification” has been part of China’s historical and cultural tradition for over 2,000 years. It is not only a political feeling but also a value system that has gained wide popularity in China. In China, primary school students can recite a poem by Lu You, a Song Dynasty politician: “That after death everything becomes void, I sure perceive; Yet, not to have seen my country unified is still what makes me grieve.” Safeguarding national reunification is an undying belief for the Chinese people, who regard the national division as a tragedy. A look at the history of China shows that it is replete with struggles for “great reunification.” The flourishing ages in Chinese history, such as the Qin, Han, and Tang dynasties, were all unified countries without exception, and a time of national division was often denounced as troubled times that would spell disaster for the people. This background to the civilization reveals why the Chinese people are so fond of national reunification. Why do the Chinese people attach so much importance to the Taiwan question? It is because “great reunification” runs in the DNA of Chinese culture.

Russia's new maritime doctrine: adrift from reality?

Nick Childs

On Navy Day (31 July), the Kremlin announced President Vladimir Putin’s approval of a new Russian maritime doctrine. Released against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, this doctrine is noticeably more focused on the country's naval difficulties than its 2015 predecessor. Despite this, the new document still contains several of the previous doctrine’s themes and flaws, including a failure to address how Russia will deliver on its maritime ambitions.

Global Russia?The doctrine covers all aspects of Russia’s approach to the maritime domain, from security to economics and science. Compared to the 2015 doctrine, however, the 2022 update is more explicit about what Moscow perceives to be the main threats to its naval interests. The doctrine describes the ‘global naval ambitions’ of the United States, NATO activities close to Russia and at sea, an increase in foreign naval presence in the Arctic and efforts to weaken Russia’s control of the Northern Sea Route as the key challenges.

In terms of the regional priorities of Russian naval activities, there is a reordering compared to 2015, with the Atlantic dropping from first to third on the list. The first priority is now the Arctic, with the promise of strengthened capabilities for the Northern and Pacific fleets in response to threats in the region. This will only reinforce the perception in many capitals that competition and tensions in the Arctic will likely continue to rise. The Pacific follows the Arctic on the list of priorities, which is unsurprising given Russia's geographic footprint there and the increased interest in the region.

Opposite Sides of the COIN: Understanding Unlikely Insurgent Successes and Failures

Joshua Damir


The historical record unveils insurgent groups who have overcome massive odds to defeat their enemies, contrasted sharply against others who were well-organized and capable but were crushed mercilessly. There appears little continuity in what leads insurgents to victory and what results instead in their failure. What causes insurgent success? The Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN) for example had the odds stacked against them yet were successful, while the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had every advantage but were still defeated. Through thorough analysis of these two insurgent groups, my research establishes two specific typologies for insurgent success: insurgents facing strong democracies are most likely to succeed by focusing their efforts on terrorist campaigns to achieve political goals, while those fighting autocracies that they are more materially equivalent to succeed by prioritizing guerrilla warfare in order to win militarily first, and then politically. Insurgents achieve success by adapting their strategy of violence to address the specific strategic environment that they operate in based on enduring principles of insurgent warfare.

Scholars have identified four variables as important to insurgent success. These four are ruling government type, state capacity, insurgent resources, and the insurgent strategy of violence.[1] Previous research has established relationships between single variables, I build on this research using the most impactful variables to create a holistic view of insurgent success. I combine government type, state capacity and insurgent resources into a variable I call the strategic environment. I then match it with strategy of violence as my second variable to build a theory for insurgent success.[2] My research differentiates successful insurgent strategies of violence from unsuccessful ones by analyzing these variables and assessing how the FLN and LTTE’s strategies connected with their corresponding strategic environment.

The next energy frontier: A race for solar power from space?


WASHINGTON — The idea of using satellites to capture solar radiation in space and beam it back to Earth to use as energy was first posited in 1968, and first caught the US government's interest during the mid/late-1970s “energy crisis.”

After a number of technology development initiatives by NASA and the Energy Department fizzled out due to technical and funding challenges, the Defense Department picked up the baton 40 years later. A 2007 report by the now defunct National Security Space Office dubbed space-based solar power a “strategic opportunity that could significantly advance U.S. and partner security, capability, and freedom of action.”

But ultimately Pentagon leaders at the time in essence tagged the issue as “not my problem,” and the report was filed away on a shelf somewhere deep in the five-sided building to molder.

North Korea’s Dangerous Turn

Ankit Panda

In January 2021, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told his country – and the world – about the plans he had for the evolution and modernization of his nuclear deterrent. He outlined a far-reaching, ambitious menu of military modernization goals. Among these were tactical nuclear weapons, a capability that North Korea had until then not formally sought.

The development and eventual deployment of tactical nuclear weapons by North Korea will represent the most serious negative development for peace and security on the Korean Peninsula since the country’s development of intercontinental-range ballistic missiles capable of ranging the United States. The implications include a heightened risk of nuclear escalation, greater potential for nuclear accidents and mishaps, and greater strain on the South Korea-U.S. alliance.

Tactical nuclear weapons have no universally accepted definition; indeed, the very idea of any nuclear weapons use representing a “tactical” development is contested, with analysts arguing instead that any nuclear weapon use anywhere would have “strategic” implications. Despite these debates, there are three general principles that have come to be associated with tactical nuclear weapons.

Japan’s policy on China is critically lacking a military perspective


Japan’s economic security promotion act, which was enacted in May, got rolling recently as Japan and the United States held their first economic “two-plus-two” dialogue involving their foreign and industry ministers on July 29 in Washington.

The joint statement of the U.S.-Japan Economic Policy Consultative Committee, titled “Strengthening Economic Security and the Rules-Based Order,” said the ministers “intend to collaborate in promoting and protecting critical and emerging technologies in a manner consistent with international rules and norms, including through research and development, as well as export controls, so as to support technological competitiveness and resilience and to address the challenges posed by the illicit diversion of technology critical for weapons development.”

Ideally, the two countries will further strengthen cooperation focusing on “technology critical for weapons development.”

And while it is highly likely that the ministers discussed measures to cope with China, the joint statement does not mention the country even once.

Gorbachev Did Save One Communist Party — China’s

Minxin Pei

The death of the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev naturally elicited an outpouring of praise from Western leaders for his role in ending the Cold War. If Gorbachev helped bring freedom to most of the former Soviet bloc, the revolution he led arguably led to the opposite outcome in China. Without Gorbachev’s example, the Chinese regime might not be as resilient, repressive and resistant to political reform as it is today.

China’s official reaction to the news of Gorbachev’s passing has been muted. That’s little surprise; one wouldn’t expect the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to have anything positive to say about a leader who tried to democratize a communist regime peacefully. At the same time, Chinese leaders can hardly deny Gorbachev’s influence: Many of the strategies they’ve followed since 1991 have been consciously adopted in response to his policies.

In the immediate aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse, for instance, China accelerated pro-market reforms and widely opened its economy to the outside world. At the time, paramount leader Deng Xiaoping delivered a stark warning to his comrades: The Soviet Union had collapsed because its communist leaders had failed miserably to deliver a better standard of living. The CCP would be doomed if it repeated the same mistake.

Rolls-Royce and Air China to jointly operate maintenance facility in Beijing

Jozsef Soos

China’s leading airline and British aerospace firm Rolls-Royce have joined forces to create a maintenance, repair and overhaul entity for servicing the country’s plane engines. The move comes after the United States has increasingly implemented export restrictions on advanced technology and curbs on international travel.

A new much-needed maintenance, repair and overhaul facility

According to a press release published on Thursday by Rolls-Royce, the 50:50 joint partnership is expected to produce the new facility in Beijing by the mid-2030.

“The announcement of this (joint venture) is an important milestone for Rolls-Royce in China, where we have been powering the nation’s airlines for more than 50 years,” said Chris Cholerton, president of civil aerospace at Rolls-Royce.

China’s Gorbachev Phobia


CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – There was a time when well-meaning, if not wishful-thinking, Westerners thought that “China’s Gorbachev” was the highest compliment they could pay a Chinese leader who looked like a reformer. But when Zhu Rongji, the straight-talking mayor of Shanghai, visited the US in July 1990, and some Americans called him that, the future premier was not amused. “I am not China’s Gorbachev,” Zhu reportedly snapped. “I am China’s Zhu Rongji.”

We will never know what Zhu, widely admired for implementing key reforms in the 1990s and spearheading China’s successful efforts to join the World Trade Organization, really thought about Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, who died on August 30. What we do know for certain is that, in the eyes of most leaders of the Communist Party of China, Gorbachev committed the unforgivable crime of causing the collapse of the Soviet Union.

At the most practical level, the CPC’s vilification of Gorbachev makes little sense. Sino-Soviet relations improved dramatically during his six-year reign. The collapse of the Soviet Union was also a geopolitical boon to China. The lethal threat from the north nearly disappeared overnight, while Central Asia, formerly part of the Soviet space, suddenly opened up, enabling China to project its power there. Most importantly, the end of the Cold War, for which Gorbachev deserves much credit, ushered in three decades of globalization that made China’s economic rise possible.

Airpower after Ukraine: The future of air warfare

“War is a harsh teacher,” Thucydides warned in ancient times. History has repeatedly borne out the truth of his dictum, and the war in Ukraine is no exception. The ongoing conflict ought to serve as a “wake-up call” for the United States: Despite Moscow’s numerical and fires advantage, Kyiv has proven a formidable opponent by combining old and new tactics and technologies, marking a crossroads for the future of airpower.

“Everyone is learning from the current events in Ukraine,” the chief of staff of the US Air Force, General Charles Q. Brown, Jr., acknowledged, but identifying the correct lessons from the war is no easy task. This task is further complicated by Russia’s failed air campaign, which provides a convenient rationalization for avoiding unpleasant truths. In 1914, the great powers went to war expecting it would be short and decisive, with their militaries extolling the advantages of offense in warfare. But nothing turned out as expected. The horrors of machine guns, massive artillery barrages, and static trench warfare awaited them. European armies had missed the warning signs from the American Civil War, the Boer War, and the Russo-Japanese War. We should not repeat this tragedy today.

Instead, the United States and other allied air forces ought to ask the tough questions: Does the war in Ukraine challenge existing assumptions about the future of war? And how might the United States and its allies need to rethink and adjust existing doctrine, operational concepts, and procurement priorities? These are high-stakes questions, the answers determining whether air forces anticipate change or get taken by surprise in tomorrow’s wars.

To re-engage in the Black Sea, the US must look to Turkey

Arnold C. Dupuy

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reinforced the notion that instability will follow when the United States fails to lead or when it leads ineffectively. Washington wields the kind of unprecedented global influence that many allies and partners need to enhance their own security. This principle applies to the wider Black Sea region, which includes the Balkans, the Caucasus, and Central Asia, a geographic space of vital strategic importance to the United States and its NATO allies—but where Washington’s involvement has waned in recent decades. The results have been predictable: an aggressive and resurgent Russia, growing Chinese influence, and Iranian opportunism have combined to create an environment of unprecedented instability on Europe’s southeastern flank.

This wasn’t always the case. The early post-Cold War era could be seen as a “golden age” of US-Black Sea engagement, when Washington’s support for the newly independent former Soviet states of the region included promoting democratic transition, non-proliferation, demilitarization, and free market reforms. Perhaps the most effective display of its determination during this period was helping Azerbaijan, a major regional oil and gas producer, to become independent of the Russian energy infrastructure by facilitating the Southern Gas Corridor and the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. Those provided Europe with non-Russian oil and gas while allowing Azerbaijan and transit nations Georgia and Turkey to benefit.

China catches cold, South Korea gets the flu


SEOUL – Global trade weathervane South Korea is facing an unfamiliar and unwelcome situation: Not only has it been suffering consecutive monthly trade deficits since April, but figures just in show August’s deficit was also a record.

The country saw imports outpace exports by US$9.47 billion last month, the largest deficit ever recorded, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, as reported by Yonhap. While exports for August climbed a solid 6.6% year-on-year, imports rocketed 28.2% to a record high of $66.15 billion.

Trade deficits have been ongoing since April, marking the first time since 2008 – the year of the global financial crisis – that South Korea, a manufacturing powerhouse, has suffered five months of consecutive trade deficits.

Three key factors are behind August’s deficit. While two are super trends, the third is new, making it a triple whammy.

Thailand grapples with allowing more Chinese landowners


Thailand has been a popular expatriate destination for investment and retirement, but foreign land ownership has long been restricted.

Foreigners can own no more than 49% of any condominium development and are restricted from owning most freehold estates. Yet Thailand is keen to attract wealthy international investors — particularly those from China.

Thailand’s now-suspended Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha proposed a policy that would allow foreigners to own land for residential use on July 15, 2022. Thai officials claim this will boost the economy by luring wealthy foreigners to spend and invest in the country.

Investing 40 million baht (US$1.1 million) in Thai property, securities or funds for a period of at least three years is now one of many preconditions for foreign nationals to own up to one rai (approximately 1,600 square meters) of land beginning in September 2022.

Aircraft Carrier Or Submarines? South Korea Abandons Aircraft Carrier Program While Indian Navy Explores 3rd Carrier

Sakshi Tiwari

The CVX project, part of South Korea’s aspirations to construct its first aircraft carrier, has not received funding as part of the country’s proposed 2023 defense budget. The proposed budget was submitted to the National Assembly on September 2, 2022.

For its defense spending in 2023, the government has asked for a 4.6% increase from 2022, putting the total value at 57.12 trillion won, or approximately $42.4 billion. Of this, 17.9 trillion, or roughly $13.3 billion, would be set aside for new purchase programs, with the remaining money going toward upkeep and operations.

The axing of the ambitious program could be attributed to the change in strategy owing to the exacerbated threat from an aggressive North Korea. However, some quarters believe it is more to do with the expanding scope and cost of the carrier design that the budget possibly could not accommodate.

No investment in Russia, dip in Pakistan, pivot to Saudi — China’s BRI takes a turn


New Delhi: China’s investment and expenditure in foreign countries through its grand infrastructure development plan, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), has dipped by 11.77 per cent in the first half of 2022 year-on-year, data from China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) shows.

Countries including Russia, Sri Lanka, and Egypt saw no investment from the BRI in the first half of 2022, while Pakistan saw a fall in funding by 56 per cent. Saudi Arabia became the single largest recipient, as assessed by a July 2022 report from Fudan University’s Green Finance and Development Center.

In the first half of 2021, MOFCOM data revealed that China’s BRI investments cumulatively stood at $84.2 billion, while for the same period in 2022, the figure has fallen to $74.74 billion.

Further, with the energy sector accounting for a majority of BRI investments, Saudi Arabia was the single largest recipient in the first half of 2022. The oil-rich kingdom received $5.5 billion in this period.

Learning From The Best! US Air Force Wants To Master Fighter Jet Dispersal Technique Used By SwAF

Tanmay Kadam

The Commander of USAFE, General James B Hecker, told reporters on August 26 during the Uppsala Airshow that he is sending personnel to Sweden “to see how they do this so well,” while speaking about SwAF’s ability to disperse its fighter forces.

“The ability to disperse aircraft is a specialty of theirs,” Gen Hecker said of the SwAF, adding, “Sweden has got Agile Combat Employment (ACE) down better than any other air force in the world, and we are going to exploit that [knowledge for NATO]. It’s very exciting!”

According to Gen Hecker, a team from the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) Air Combat Command (ACC) should arrive in Sweden in the coming days.

Agile Combat Employment

The USAF has been focused on the Agile Combat Employment (ACE) concept in recent years to meet the increasing challenge from anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capabilities fielded by near-peer adversaries like China and Russia.

Six Months into Russia’s War in Ukraine, Newsgathering is Reshaped

The war in Ukraine has killed, wounded, and displaced thousands of people and devastated the countryside and cities across the country. It has disrupted global supply chains; upended notions of the so-called rules-based international order; prompted countries like Germany to boost military spending; and Finland and Sweden to take the extraordinary step of joining NATO. The conflict has also highlighted shifts in social media for newsgathering and content verification, forcing newsrooms to adapt to new platforms and tackle savvy propaganda.

Storyful has so far verified more than 1,650 videos and images relating to the war, spanning the buildup of tensions ahead of the February 24 invasion to the latest events.

Ukraine winning information war

As Russian forces threatened Kyiv on February 25, President Volodomyr Zelensky and members of his cabinet stood in a darkened street to reassure Ukrainians they had not fled the capital. Zelensky pointed to the leadership of the Ukrainian government and said each was “here”, including Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, who held up his mobile phone with the date and time visible. It was a video tailored for social media, and Ukraine’s social media strategy has been savvy throughout the conflict.

Russia could be ‘North Korea on steroids’: Economist and ex–Kremlin adviser warns what could happen if Putin is replaced


Russian President Vladimir Putin is in complete control of his country and its government, but should he ever be replaced, the frail political system he helped construct could be at risk of a catastrophic collapse.

That is the view of Sergei Guriev, a Russian economist and former adviser to the Kremlin, who is warning that a Putin-less Russia could quickly become even more volatile and unpredictable than it is today.

“Regimes like this change in very unpredictable ways,” Guriev said in an interview with CNBC this week. “It’s very hard to predict what will come after Putin. The reason for that is Putin has built his regime in a way nobody can replace him.”

Guriev said that Putin has built up Russia’s government in a way that, should he be removed or replaced, the entire system would cease to function, and lead to either a collapse or at the very least a significant rehaul.

Turn of the tide: Authoritarian regimes' influence waning around the world

Evgenii Dainov

There are different ways of looking at the world. One is to see it as a batch of things arranged in a certain manner. Another is to see it as a cluster of processes that are always on the move, creating what Shakespeare called "tides in the affairs of men."

Back in 2016, there were several authoritarian populist regimes in Europe. In a fit of extraordinary levity, the United Kingdom voted for Brexit, and the US voted for Donald Trump. Further east, Russian President Vladimir Putin was tightening his grip on Europe's economy and its elites, while Chinese leader Xi Jinping was quietly increasing his Communist Party's control over everyday life. The future looked distinctly authoritarian.

Tourists watched a Chinese military helicopter fly by in massive military drills off Taiwan in August

That tide is now beginning to turn. Three almost simultaneous events in recent weeks are clear indicators.

U.S. to sell $1.1 billion in anti-ship, air-to-air weapons to Taiwan

Ellen Nakashima

The Biden administration Friday formally notified Congress of its intent to sell Taiwan $1.1 billion worth of defensive arms as Beijing continues its heightened military air and sea presence around the island in the wake of a high-profile visit to Taipei by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month.

The package, which includes 60 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, 100 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and support for a surveillance radar system, is the fifth and largest arms sale to Taiwan advanced by the Biden administration. It is widely expected to clear Congress, which is considering legislation to surge the amount of security assistance provided to Taiwan over the next four years.

Such sales generally take several years to be delivered because of larger structural challenges arising out of how foreign military sales are completed. Laura Rosenberger, White House senior director for Taiwan and China, said the administration has undertaken a “substantial effort” to accelerate the process. “We’re acutely aware of the need to expedite delivery,” she said.

Officials said that the package, which was first reported by Politico, is part of the administration’s broader strategy to deter Beijing’s aggression. That strategy also calls for working with allies and partners through joint exercises in the region and building Taipei’s economic resilience so it can withstand increased pressure from China, they said. The United States will soon launch trade talks with Taiwan.

“The biggest threats we see that Taiwan will face are going to come from the sea and from the air,” Rosenberger said. “So it is really critical that they are able to use the Harpoons in support of the coastal defense and the Sidewinders in support of their air defense.”

Rosenberger stressed, however, that the administration sees the threat from China against Taiwan as long-term and so Washington’s response needs to be both sustained and comprehensive. Last month, for instance, the United States conducted a joint air exercise with Japan near Okinawa, and last week it sent two U.S. warships through the Taiwan Strait — the first such transit since Pelosi’s visit.

“We will not be reflexive or knee-jerk,” White House Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell told reporters last month. “We will be patient and effective, will continue to fly sail and operate wherever international law allows.”

Taiwan’s status is the most fraught issue in the U.S.-China relationship. Under its one-China policy, Washington recognises Beijing as China's sole legal government. But it has never endorsed Beijing’s position that Taiwan, a self-governed island, is part of China. Nonetheless, under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, the United States is committed to providing Taipei “defense articles and defense services” necessary to enable it to defend itself.

For months and even years before Pelosi’s visit, Beijing was stepping up aggressive actions in the region. President Xi Jinping saw a visit by Pelosi, who was the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the island since then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1997, as highly provocative and effectively an effort to further change relations between Washington and Taipei.

But the Biden administration said it is China that is seeking to upend the status quo. “What we see is a real effort by Beijing to increase its coercive pressure campaign against Taiwan,” Rosenberger said. “We believe that Beijing is trying to change the status quo and its efforts are jeopardizing peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

The backlogs in arms sales are getting worse because the demand is growing as threats worldwide multiply, experts said. “It usually takes four or five years for weapons to be delivered and deployed — that is a normal timeline for the foreign military sales process,” said Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, which tracks arms sales closely.

“The ability of the primary defense contractors to ramp up production quickly simply is not there,” he said. “That’s for fighter jets, ships, missiles. When we need more HIMARS [multiple-rocket launchers] for Ukraine, there isn’t the production line capacity.”

According to Hammond-Chambers, none of the weapons in the previous packages approved by the Biden administration have been delivered. In fact, very little of the hardware approved under the Trump administration for Taiwan has been delivered.

Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is driving up demand in Eastern Europe for U.S. weapons. The threat from Iran is driving procurement from the Emirates. In Asia, China’s military buildup has heightened demand for U.S. weapons from the Indians, Australians and Japanese, he said.

“Those are all real threats to our country and friends and partners,” he said. “When you get right down to prioritizing who gets what when, is Iran the bigger threat? Is Russia? Is China? Sequencing is really tricky.”

The anti-ship and air-to-air missiles that Washington is selling Taipei are what the administration calls “asymmetric” in that they are intended to neutralize larger and more expensive assets such as warships or fighter jets. But some analysts say the ground-launched Harpoons are more likely to survive Chinese targeting than those launched from F-16s, as called for in this package. Nonetheless, they are a step in the right direction, other analysts say.

“No single sale is going to solve Taiwan’s problems, but a sustained level of investment in anti-ship and anti-air capabilities that builds credible stockpiles is a positive trend,” said Eric Sayers, a former adviser to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and now a nonresident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Ar analysts said that furnishing arms to Taipei in advance of a conflict is crucial because once fighting breaks out, it will be near impossible to resupply Taiwan via land, sea or sea. “NATO has been able to supply weapons to Ukraine relatively easily” through its land border with Poland, noted Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund. “If a conflict between Taiwan and China breaks out, a PLA [People’s Liberation Army] blockade would prevent the United States from supplying weapons to Taiwan so they need to store a large inventory of munitions.”

How Fake GPS Coordinates Are Leading to Lawlessness on the High Seas

Anatoly Kurmanaev

On a December morning, the scrappy oil tanker waited to load fuel at a dilapidated jetty projecting from a giant Venezuelan refinery. A string of abandoned ships listed in the surrounding turquoise Caribbean waters, a testament to the country’s decay after years of economic hardships and U.S. sanctions.

Yet, on computer screens, the Reliable ship appeared nearly 300 nautical miles away, drifting innocuously off the coast of St. Lucia in the Caribbean. According to Reliable’s satellite location transmissions, the ship had not been to Venezuela in at least a decade.

Shipping data researchers have identified hundreds of cases like Reliable, where a ship has transmitted fake location coordinates to carry out murky and even illegal business operations and circumvent international laws and sanctions.

Ukrainian Verdun

Robert Purssell

In the last weeks of August 2022, the Russia-Ukraine War has become an asymmetric stalemate. Russian artillery keeps the Ukrainians at bay, while the Ukrainians rely heavily on NATO-supplied high-tech weaponry, such as man-portable and mobile precision-guided missiles and launchers, precision artillery, and increasingly sophisticated drones to stop the Russians.

After six months of fighting, neither side in the Russia-Ukraine War seems able to make any meaningful progress toward either victory or resolution. This reality raises the question: Is there any useful historical precedent, and what does that precedent presage for the future of this stalemated conflict?

By January 1916, the German General Staff realized that their initial plan to rout the French forces, seize Paris, and defeat France had failed, consequently stalemating the German army in France and Belgium. Erich von Falkenhayn (Chief of the German General Staff) introduced an alternative strategy of using massive artillery bombardments to attrit the French army. Implemented in and around Verdun, the German attack launched on 21 February 1916 inflicted casualties and pushed the defenders back.

HIMARS: The Rocket Weapon Creating Chaos For Russia In Ukraine

Harrison Kass

What is HIMARS? An Expert Explains – The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is just what the name suggests: a mobile rocket launcher. Relatively lightweight, the system is capable of launching multiple rockets from its mounting on the back of a standard U.S. Army M1140 truck frame. The system carries a pod that can be equipped with six 227mm GMLRS rockets, or alternatively, with one 610mm ATACMS missile.

The HIMARS is “protecting our soldiers with combat proven reliability,” Lockheed Martin, the systems designer, said on its website. “Adversaries around the globe are becoming more sophisticated. Our customers require the most advanced tactical missile capabilities to protect soldiers, citizens and infrastructure. The Lockheed Martin High Mobility Artillery Rocket System is a strategic capability, improving homeland and important asset defense while reducing overall mission costs.”

China’s Economy Won’t Overtake the U.S., Some Now Predict

Stella Yifan Xie

HONG KONG—The sharp slowdown in China’s growth in the past year is prompting many experts to reconsider when China will surpass the U.S. as the world’s largest economy—or even if it ever will.

Until recently, many economists assumed China’s gross domestic product measured in U.S. dollars would surpass that of the U.S. by the end of the decade, capping what many consider to be the most extraordinary economic ascent ever.

But the outlook for China’s economy has darkened this year, as Beijing-led policies—including its zero tolerance for Covid-19 and efforts to rein in real-estate speculation—have sapped growth. As economists pare back their forecasts for 2022, they have become more worried about China’s longer term prospects, with unfavorable demographics and high debt levels potentially weighing on any rebound.
Narrowed LeadGross domestic product measured in U.S.​dollar termsSource: World BankNote: Data as of July 20, 2022

In one of the most recent revisions, the Centre for Economics and Business Research, a U.K. think tank, thinks China will overtake the U.S. as the world’s biggest economy two years later than it previously expected when it last made a forecast in 2020. It now thinks it will happen in 2030.

Learning From Russian Losses, US Army Wants ‘Low & Fast’ Attack Helicopters To Fight Enemy Inside The ‘Kill Chain’

Parth Satam
Source Link

Major General Walter Rugen, Director of the Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional Team in the US Army Futures Command, made the observations at a talk held by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Rugen also discussed the need for missiles with greater standoff ranges, dual-use sensors, and the ability to ‘converge’ information from multiple assets onto a single interface to allow commanders to make faster battlefield decisions.

Rugen’s statement comes in the backdrop of the Army’s two vital procurement programs – the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAAC) and the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA). Both are part of the larger Future Vertical Lift (FVL) project.The Boeing-Sikorsky SB-1 Defiant X & the Bell V-280 were tested for the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLAARC) program

While the FLAARC is meant to replace the Sikorsky S-80 Black Hawk, the FARA is meant as a replacement for the AH-64 Apache; both are targeted to happen by the 2030s.

For the FLAARC, Sikorsky-Boeing’s Defiant X, a contra-rotor (or coaxial rotor) helicopter, and Bell’s V-280 tilt-rotor, both technology demonstrators (TD), were extensively tested.

The FARA, meanwhile, has Bell’s 360 Invictus and Sikorsky’s Raider X as contenders, where the latter is a shorter, slightly modified version of the Defiant X.
Lessons From Ukraine

Saying that speed and range would allow future rotorcraft to stay out of the reach of surface-to-air fires indicated Rugen was talking about the several Russian Kamov Ka-52 alligator and Mil Mi-17 helicopters shot down in Ukraine and other similar Ukrainian helicopters like the Mi-8 that fell to Russian air defense.

But these losses presumably happened because these helicopters were within the enemy’s ‘kill web’ (or kill zone as it is commonly known).

“There’s a lot of clutter as you get low. If you don’t take advantage of the clutter and do a lot of flying in the day, that’s higher than we like, which presents a problem. It opens up weapons systems like infrared (IR) weapons systems that are very good when you’re flying high during the day. Thus, low and fast matter. There are plenty of places to hide when you stay low,” Rugen said.

This means the Army is looking at employing the chaos and confusion in the middle of the battlefield to reduce the chances of becoming surface-to-air missile and air defense targets.

It can be safely assumed that these will have been overwhelmed by their own friendly and enemy aircraft besides persistent electronic warfare and jamming, even more so during night-time.The Bell 360 Invictus pitched for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program.

Rugen cited unnamed “effective” Ukrainian cross-border actions using rotorcraft that happened in “tough” and “lethal environments” where the aircraft supposedly flew low and fast. This low and fast flying is supposed to be aided by four techno-tactical changes Rugen hopes to see.
Cognitive Cockpit, ‘Single Window’ Data Sharing, Longer Range Missiles & Swarm UAVs

First is a more “cognitively” accessible cockpit that can share a more significant load of the flying while the crew and pilots focus on the fighting bit. Rugen hopes this can be achieved with dual-use sensors in response to a question regarding what complementary technologies he believes can believe low-fast flying and autonomous cockpits.

“When a sensor is not doing survivability, can it do lethality? Can it do protection from obstacles and degraded visual environments? A multi-use sensor feeds into the ability to do several tasks the cockpit is very worried about. We want the cockpit to be cognitively easier than today. So cognitive offloading with sensors would be tremendous,” Rugen adds.

It means sensors of a Missile Approach Warning System (MAWS), Laser Warning Detector (LWD), or Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) should double up as an obstacle warning system or object proximity alert. These can assist in negotiating challenging terrains like mountainous regions, coastal areas, or urban warfare environments.

Second is the ability to collate, process, and beam data from multiple assets and allied forces (like NATO nations) on a unified interface, which Rugen called a ‘single pane of glass,’ enabling faster and more effective decision-making.

This will enable a “convergence” of “effects” from the combined arms and friendly (NATO) forces on the battlefield. The ‘glass’ reference is a transparent glass board usually seen in command centers with maps and markings of the battlefield situation.

Third is greater ‘standoff’ capability with missiles reaching more than 30 kilometers, more than double that Rugen’s generation used to with the AGM-114 Hellfire’s 11 kilometers.

“(This can) open up an opportunity to maneuver through to seize the position of advantage on a good terrain or present multiple dilemmas to our enemy,” Rugen said. He added that the fate of rotorcraft in Ukraine and the Nagorno-Karabakh War in late 2020 bared the importance of a more remarkable standoff capability before the US Army.

“Those that didn’t have it (standoff) had much tougher days, and those that had that standoff were decisive against long-range fires which they were able to reduce,” he further said.

Last is the Future Unmanned Systems (FUS) program, which is essentially expendable, attritable, simple, and modular swarm drones/UAVs/UAS, packed with sensors for both lethal and non-lethal effects. Rugen talked about one Air-Launched Effect (ALE) drone the US Army came across, which he said could “flood the battlefield (and) present dilemmas to the adversary.”