9 September 2022

Can Russia’s T-72 Tanks Overwhelm Ukraine?

Kris Osborn

Ukrainian forces have destroyed more than 2,000 Russian tanks and 4,300 armored personnel vehicles (APVs) since the beginning of the war, a number which reflects the intensity and effectiveness of Ukrainian ambushes, anti-armor tactics, and intense will to fight.

These statistics, released September 2 by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, specify that as many as twelve Russian tanks and twenty-one APVs have been destroyed in the past few days.

There are several variables to consider, as Ukrainian forces have shown an ability to effectively use anti-armor weapons to blunt, slow, or simply destroy Russian mechanized attacks. At the same time, the Global Firepower Index lists that the Russian military operates over 12,400 tanks which suggest that Russia will be able to recover from battlefield losses. However, there are also reports indicating that thousands of Russian tanks may not be operational or fit for service.

Japan Is Getting Nervous About Russia and China's Military Ties

Kris Osborn

China is expanding its military cooperation with Russia by joining a multinational exercise called Vostok 2022. China is sending 2,000 soldiers, 300 vehicles, twenty-one fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, and three warships to the Russian-led exercise.

“The equipment participation displayed the depth of China-Russia military cooperation, as the drills will deter uncertainties and contribute to peace and stability in the region,” the Global Times, a Chinese state newspaper, reported.

The Chinese report said that state television showed images of Type 99 main battle tanks, Type 04 infantry fighting vehicles, Z-19 reconnaissance and attack helicopters, and J-10C fighter jets. More significantly, China sent its stealthy Nanchang Type 055 Destroyer, a move that signals the prospect of increased Russo-Sino naval cooperation.

Growing Russo-Sino military cooperation and training is of particular concern to Japan, given its proximity to Russia and China. The Defense of Japan 2022 strategy document noted increased Russo-Sino collaboration and highlighted what it described as Chinese “coercion” and efforts to “change the status quo” in the East and South China seas.

ISIS-K Attacks Russian Embassy in the Heart of Kabul

Trevor Filseth L

The Islamic State’s Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) within Afghanistan claimed responsibility on Monday for a suicide bombing at the Russian embassy in Kabul. The attack killed two Russian staff members and at least four other civilians.

The group claimed on its Telegram channel that the attack had been carried out by a non-Afghan foreign fighter within Afghanistan’s capital city. Russia’s Foreign Ministry later indicated that two Russian citizens—a security guard and an assistant secretary responsible for consular affairs—had lost their lives in the blast. Most of the victims, however, were Afghan citizens visiting the embassy to apply for visas. Security forces around the embassy reportedly detected the suicide bomber and shot him before he could enter the building, leading him to detonate his vest outside and likely saving dozens of lives, according to the Associated Press.

The Russian government swiftly condemned the attack, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov describing it as a “terrorist act” and “completely unacceptable.” Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov announced during a meeting with Tajik foreign minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin that the security protocols around the embassy had been enhanced in response to the incident. According to Russia's state-run RT news network, the two foreign ministers also held a minute of silence remembering the victims.

IAEA Issues ‘Urgent’ Call for ‘Protection Zone’ Around Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant

Ethen Kim Lieser

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Tuesday asserted that there is an “urgent” need to establish a “security protection zone” around the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine to prevent a massive nuclear catastrophe, CNN has reported.

“The situation in Ukraine is unprecedented,” the UN nuclear watchdog explained in its report.

“There is an urgent need for interim measures to prevent a nuclear accident arising from physical damage caused by military means,” it continued. “This can be achieved by immediately establishing a nuclear safety and security protection zone.”

The IAEA warned that a nuclear accident would be a disaster not just for Ukraine but also for nations “beyond its borders.” A meltdown at the plant would also be “much more terrible” than that of the 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant near the northern Ukrainian city of Pripyat.

EU's Top Diplomat Says Members Are Running Out of Weapons

Mark Episkopos

European Union (EU) countries are running out of weapons, Josep Borrell, the EU’s chief diplomat, said on Monday.

“The military stocks of most member states have been, I wouldn’t say exhausted, but depleted in a high proportion, because we have been providing a lot of capacity to the Ukrainians,” Borrell said during a session of the European Parliament. “It has to be refilled. The best way of refilling is doing that together. It will be cheaper,” he added.

EU countries have tapped their own inventories to provide military aid to Ukraine rather than relying on purpose-built tranches. The measure, intended to ensure faster delivery of key security assistance to the front lines in Ukraine, has compounded deficits in reserves of certain weapons systems. Borrell’s warning comes on the heels of similar statements by officials of EU member states. “I have to admit, as the Minister of Defense … we are reaching the limits of what we can give away from the Bundeswehr [stocks],” German defense minister Christine Lambrecht said last month.

The admission comes amid renewed concerns that Western support for Ukraine could dry up in the coming months as the Eurozone slides into a recession fueled by a mounting energy crisis.

Did Hackers Steal 790 Gigabytes of Data From TikTok?

Stephen Silver

When a major tech company reportedly suffers a security breach, they react in various ways but not usually by denying that the breach happened at all.

But that’s what took place this week amid reports that TikTok suffered a security incident.

This week's post on a hacker forum alleged that hackers had stolen “2.05 billion records of more than 790 gigabytes” from TikTok. But the company denied the implication in a statement to the website Bleeping Computer.

“This is an incorrect claim — our security team investigated this statement and determined that the code in question is completely unrelated to TikTok’s backend source code, which has never been merged with WeChat data,” TikTok said.

Also this week, CNBC reported that TikTok appears to be “upending” the music industry, with the social media app often making music stars and assisting in the revival of older music.

It’s Official: Twitter Is Finally Getting an Edit Button

Stephen Silver

For years and years, Facebook has allowed its users to edit posts after the fact, while Twitter has not. When it comes to complaints from Twitter’s user base, the lack of an edit button has traditionally been near the top. As a result, when faced with tweets with typos or factual errors, Twitter users have had no choice but to delete them and try again.

The company has long refused to change this. But last week, at last, it did. The company announced on September 1 that it is testing an “Edit Tweet” function.

“It’s true: Edit Tweet is being tested by our team internally,” Twitter announced in a blog post. “The test will then be initially expanded to Twitter Blue subscribers in the coming weeks. Given that this is our most requested feature to date, we wanted to both update you on our progress and give you a heads up that, even if you’re not in a test group, everyone will still be able to see if a Tweet has been edited,” the post continued.

The company went on to describe the feature as “a short period of time to do things like fix typos, add missed tags, and more.”

North Korea Denounces South Korea-US Joint Military Exercises

Mitch Shin

North Korea’s state-controlled media KCNA published a statement from the international secretary of the Communist Party in Denmark to denounce the joint military exercises of South Korea and the United States on Sunday.

“The joint military exercises, the outcome of the U.S.’s hostile policy toward the DPRK, is a dangerous nuclear war racket to stifle the DPRK militarily,” the statement said. (DPRK is the acronym for North Korea’s official name: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.)

Due to former South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s peace process, under coordination with then-U.S. President Donald Trump until 2021, in the past few years the joint military drills had been scaled down to continue dialogue with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Even after talks with North Korea fell apart, the COVID-19 pandemic curtailed the drills.

However, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden reinvigorated the military drills recently. They look place from August 22 to September 1. North Korea again published statements to pinpoint the drills as the so-called “hostile policy.”

India Commissions Latest Aircraft Carrier

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi commissioned India’s latest aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant on September 2. This is India’s first indigenously manufactured aircraft carrier, a commendable feat for the Cochin Shipyard that constructed the ship. INS Vikrant has a displacement of 43,000 tonnes and is capable of hosting a fleet of MiG 29K aircraft, Kamov 31 early warning and MH-60R multi-role helicopters. The importance of the Vikrant for both Indian naval power as well as India’s domestic defense production is the reason why Modi was present to do the honors. It was also an occasion that was used to remove one of the last relics of colonial history, with the Indian Navy receiving a new ensign that removed the British era St George’s Cross in favor of an Indian naval crest from the Maratha Kingdom.

Although it was a happy occasion for India and the Indian Navy, it is also time for stocktaking considering that India’s naval capabilities are falling further behind China than ever before. In regard to aircraft carriers, India was the first Asian power to acquire an aircraft carrier after 1945. India was proud of the fact that it had one of the few navies that could operate a carrier. India’s first carrier, a refurbished British Majestic-class ship, entered service in the early 1960s. Subsequently, as the original INS Vikrant aged, India purchased the ex-British carrier, HMS Hermes, which joined service in the Indian Navy as INS Viraat in 1987. Similarly, as the Viraat aged, India purchased an ex-Soviet Kiev-class aircraft carrier, which was renamed INS Vikramaditya, which continues in service. With the latest INS Vikrant, India has a two-carrier navy. There are plans for another new carrier, though they have not been approved yet.

Japan’s Nationalization of the Senkaku Islands: 10 Years On


September 11 will mark the 10th anniversary of the Japanese government purchase of the Senkaku Islands (specifically, Uotsuri Island, Minamikojima Island and Kitakojima Island) from their previous owners.

Even before the 2012 nationalization, Chinese government vessels were operating in the surrounding waters, but recent years have seen a normalization of China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels making incursions into the territorial waters around the Senkaku, navigating through the contiguous zone and approaching and following Japanese fishing boats.

In 2021, CCG vessels sailed through the contiguous zone a total of 332 days. This was second only to the record 333 days in 2020. This year, as of August 19, CCG vessels had entered the contiguous zone on 220 days, on pace for a new record.

Meanwhile, CCG vessels approached and followed Japanese fishing boats in territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands 18 times in 2021, more than double the eight of 2020.

What Happened to the Belt and Road Initiative?

Andreea Brînză

Nearly a decade after its launch, the Belt and Road Initiative – what was once nicknamed the “project of the century” – is slowly vanishing from Chinese leaders’ speeches. But the Chinese narrative about developing the world hasn’t disappeared; it just mutated toward a new initiative: the Global Development Initiative.

The Belt and Road Initiative has been China’s main branding strategy for its foreign policy over the past decade, and it was systematically and frenetically associated with Xi Jinping. But actually, Xi has been among the leaders who have used the term the least in their speeches as of late. The official name of “Belt and Road Initiative” ceased to really exist in Xi Jinping’s speeches in 2022, at least in the English versions, published for international audiences. Apart from the moments when he talks about “advancing high quality Belt and Road cooperation,” the BRI is fading away from Xi’s most important speeches, such as those given at the Boao Forum, BRICS, or the United Nations.

The BRI is not only disappearing from Xi’s speeches, but also from Xi’s agenda. While in 2017 and 2019, Xi was using the Belt and Road Forum to welcome leaders from around the world to Beijing, the BRI didn’t have a presidential forum these past few years. Instead, Foreign Minister Wang Yi was the Chinese leader in charge of hosting an “Advisory Council of The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation” in 2021. Xi basically delegated the Belt and Road Forum to Wang.

Why I’ve stopped fearing America is headed for civil war

Thomas E. Ricks

Five years ago, I began to worry about a new American civil war breaking out. Despite a recent spate of books and columns that warn such a conflict may be approaching, I am less concerned by that prospect now.

Back then, I wrote in a series of articles and online discussions for Foreign Policy that I expected to see widespread political violence accompanied by efforts in some states to undermine the authority and abilities of the federal government. At an annual lunch of national security experts in Austin, I posed the question of possible civil war and got a consensus of about a one-third chance of such a situation breaking.

Specifically, I worried that there would be a spate of assassination attempts against politicians and judges. I thought we might see courthouses and other federal buildings bombed. I also expected that in some states, right-wing organizations, heavily influenced by white nationalism, would hold conventions to discuss how to defy enforcement of federal laws they disliked, such as those dealing with voting rights. Some governors might vow to fire any state employee complying with unwanted federal orders. And I thought it likely that “nullification juries” would start cropping up, refusing to convict right-wingers of mayhem, such as attacking election officials, no matter what evidence.

We still may see such catastrophes, of course. Our country remains deeply divided. We have a Supreme Court packed with reactionaries. Many right-wingers appear comfortable with threatening violence if things don’t go their way, and a large minority of the members of Congress seems unconcerned with such talk. I continue to worry especially about political assassinations, because all that takes is one deranged person and a gun — and our country unfortunately has many of both.

China Warns US to Stop Arms Sales, Military Interactions With Taiwan

Aldgra Fredly

China has warned the United States to cease its arms sales and military interactions with Taiwan after Washington agreed to sell anti-ship and air-to-air missiles worth billions of dollars to Taiwan.

Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, warned that China will “resolutely take legitimate and necessary countermeasures” in light of the recent U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

The United States interferes in China’s internal affairs and undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests by selling arms to the Taiwan region,” Liu said in a thread on Twitter.

Liu said the arms sale “severely jeopardizes China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” and urged Washington to immediately revoke the plan.

China views Taiwan as a renegade province that must be reunited with the mainland. The Chinese regime began its largest military drills near Taiwan in August following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island.
$1.1 Billion Arms Sale

Are The Wheels Coming Off the JADC2 Bus?

Dan Gouré

The Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) framework is intended to support a new way of warfare by exploiting the vast amounts of information available to warfighters on the future battlefield. This will allow elements of the Joint Force to sense, decide, and act faster and with greater precision. JADC2 is not a single system or network but rather a means of integrating existing and planned command and control (C2) capabilities.

But without an integrating process and capability, there will be no “J” in JADC2. Leaders in the Pentagon, as well as outside observers, are coming to the realization that without greater oversight and control over the creation of JADC2, the U.S. military could be left with a set of Service-specific, stovepiped C2 systems. At a minimum, JADC2 needs an integrating cloud that can move data between subordinate networks and servers and provide it to any qualified user at any time.

There are differing and even conflicting definitions of JADC2. Some sources describe it as a capability, others a network, still others an approach. According to the Department of Defense’s (DoD) unclassified Joint All Domain Command and Control Strategy, “JADC2 provides an approach for developing the warfighting capability to sense, make sense, and act at all levels and phases of war, across all domains, and with partners, to deliver information advantage at the speed of relevance.” Frankly, the summary is equal parts enlightenment and confusion. According to this document, JADC2 is not a system, but an overlay on the existing array of DoD C2 capabilities. This overlay is a methodology or approach to encourage all C2 development stakeholders to support JADC2.

Past Pentagon leaders warn of strains on civilian-military relations

Dan Lamothe

The Pentagon’s former defense secretaries and top generals warned Tuesday that political polarization and other societal strains are creating an “exceptionally challenging” environment for maintaining the traditional relationship between the military and civilian worlds.

The assessment is the basis of an extraordinary open letter signed by eight former defense secretaries and five former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Adhering to the military’s tradition of nonpartisanship, the leaders do not blame any political leader or party for the situation, but note that the last presidential election was the first in more than a century to have the peaceful transfer of power disrupted.

The former Pentagon leaders said the current environment is challenging for various reasons, including deep political divisions and the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and they fear that the situation could worsen.

At the same time, the U.S. military has ended wars in Iraq and Afghanistan “without all the goals satisfactorily accomplished” and is preparing for “more daunting competition” with other nations, the leaders write.

Algorithmic Warfare: Government Seeking Quantum-Proof Encryption

Meredith Roaten

Once matured, quantum technology is expected to create a shift in the defense world due to the large volume of data it will be able to quickly process. While that can lead to great advances in science and technology, it can also empower those seeking to break into encrypted communications.

The Department of Commerce recently identified four algorithms that could stymie quantum hackers.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology recently announced it had completed a major step in its effort to create guidelines for encryption that protect against quantum-based attacks. Experts said the algorithms present an opportunity for federal agencies to begin evaluating what security measures work best for them.

The institute has been pitting cryptographers against each other for six years to come up with a new standard for encryption. The selected algorithms — CRYSTALS-Kyber, CRYSTALS-Dilithium, FALCON and SPHINCS+ — are just the first step in a long road to complete safety from quantum computing, said Duncan Jones, head of cybersecurity at Quantinuum, a quantum computing firm based in Colorado.


Will Beaurpere and Ned Marsh 

Throughout George Lucas’s depiction of the conflicts that gripped a galaxy long ago and far, far away, both the heroes and the villains employ myriad unconventional capabilities and tactics. They use mind tricks to confuse their enemies, conduct raids to penetrate secret facilities, and use stolen codes at critical moments. To be sure, the characters do not eschew large conventional weapons or methods—there are space fleets and massed infantry formations, huge lasers and fighter wings. Yet the preeminent warriors, the Jedi, knew that there were always other ways to fight. Lucas’s Jedi complemented conventional space war capability with subterfuge, rebels, and niche skills to influence their operational environment. Lucas portrayed a form of war that was all encompassing and had to be fought simultaneously across the entire competition continuum.

In our real contemporary operational environment, the joint force needs speed and flexibility to effectively influence across the full competition continuum, both below and in armed conflict. These characteristics are the products of an agile and open mindset—a requirement for modern military campaigning. To resource that requirement, we recommend combining and integrating space, cyber, and special operations capabilities as a joint concept for influence that directly complements existing conventional warfighting concepts.

Liz Truss’s problems start now

Rachel Wearmouth

Liz Truss has officially won the Conservative Party leadership contest – but it was not the “landslide” victory her supporters had hoped for.

Truss, the Boris Johnson continuity candidate, beat Rishi Sunak by securing 57 per cent of Tory members’ votes against his 43 per cent. It doesn’t come close to Johnson’s thumping victory over Jeremy Hunt in 2019 (66 per cent against 34 per cent), or David Cameron’s triumph over David Davis in 2005 (68 per cent against 32 per cent).

The relatively narrow win could spell trouble for Truss on the backbenches – which will likely include Michael Gove and Johnson, who desperately clung on to the last and might believe he can return.

It also empowers Sunak, even as Truss begins to appoint ministers to her new cabinet. She refused to shake Sunak’s hand before giving her short acceptance speech. Was it wise for the new leader to ignore a former chancellor with the backing of a huge chunk of activists, not MPs?

Why Gorbachev Mattered

James A. Baker

No world leader has a bigger place in the history of the late 20th century than Mikhail Gorbachev, for his pivotal role in the Cold War's peaceful end. The free world will be forever grateful to him, even if many of his fellow citizens are not.

In the 1950s and ’60s the Soviet Union rolled in the tanks to keep its empire together amid several similar anti-Soviet uprisings: in East Germany in 1953, Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968.

But on Oct. 6, 1989, Mr. Gorbachev charted a new path. In a speech at the People’s Assembly building in East Berlin he concluded that every country in Eastern Europe should find its own path to socialism. “The decision on how society is organized is for the people themselves to decide, but there is need for variety,” he said. He said emphatically that East Germany's future “must be decided in Berlin, not in Moscow.”

And so it was. In November 1989, Mr. Gorbachev ignored hard-liners in Moscow and refused to use violence to stem the tide of freedom. Suddenly, the Cold War that had threatened the world with nuclear annihilation for longer than four decades began its death throes.

Mr. Gorbachev was a powerful force for international cooperation. At the time, we in the United States government recognized that, and sought to work with Mr. Gorbachev because we recognized that a productive relationship with the Soviet Union, and later with Russia, could form the basis of a new post-Cold War order — one in which democracies would thrive. Sadly, given Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine, we are far away from this moment of optimism.

So even as he pressed to reform the failed Soviet experiment with communism, he worked constructively with his nation’s old rivals — the United States, France and Britain — to reunite East and West Germany. He struck agreements with Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush to reduce arsenals, effectively ending the nuclear arms race between the two superpowers. He cooperated with the United States in the United Nations to forcefully and unconditionally reverse Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, and also with the United States to promote Arab-Israeli peace as a co-chair of the Madrid Peace Conference. The decades-long fissure between East and West was healing.

Just as important, democracy and freedom began spreading across the globe as tyranny’s tight grip slipped. In 1987, the citizens of 75 nations in the world lived under authoritarian regimes. But as the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union itself ceased to exist, democracy spread rapidly. By 2017, only 15 nations operated under authoritarian regimes. And though there has been some backsliding in democratic freedoms across the globe in recent years, likely more than half of countries have democratic forms of governance.

Many factors contributed to the end of the Cold War, particularly the enduring spirit of the people of the captive nations of Eastern Europe. But America certainly played its part. Every American commander in chief from Harry Truman to George H.W. Bush held firm in opposition to Soviet expansion. When the time came, President Bush, working with Presidents Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, deftly managed the end game so that the conflict ended peacefully and not with the nuclear bang that so many had feared for so long.

In Mr. Gorbachev, the last two Cold War American presidents — Mr. Bush and Mr. Reagan — found a Soviet leader who understood that his country could not economically or militarily sustain its conflict with the West. They also found a Soviet leader who had the same energy and optimism that they had. Though Mr. Gorbachev was neither tall nor large, his personality filled a room with an upbeat attitude that buoyed everyone in it. Above all, Mr. Gorbachev, Mr. Reagan and Mr. Bush built relationships of trust unimaginable to their Soviet and U.S. predecessors. It was a privilege to work closely and cooperatively with Mr. Gorbachev during those times of dramatic change in East-West relations.

As the Soviet Union collapsed, however, Mr. Gorbachev lost the trust of his own people and was forced to resign in 1991. This largely removed him from the scene as Russia still struggled to develop a strong democracy and robust economy. And struggle it did. Still, for longer than a decade after his resignation, the Cold War had ended. Western companies did business in Moscow, and relations between East and West, though often strained, were largely amicable. There was active cooperation in many areas. Fifteen new independent nations came into existence, and citizens of the former Soviet Union began to enjoy freedoms they had never known.

Today, Mr. Gorbachev’s dream of a democratic, prosperous Russia at peace with its neighbors has been dashed. Under Mr. Putin, the country has drifted into authoritarianism. Mr. Putin has moved toward a more confrontational stance with the United States and the West. He has repeatedly flouted international norms of behavior, notably in the recent unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. We are in another Cold War with Russia, in which Moscow is again trying to impose its will through a mailed fist that threatens not only Ukraine but peace in Europe as a whole.

One could argue that the United States and its Western allies must share some of the blame for the current tensions. Though the right policy, NATO’s expansion after the Cold War was accomplished in a way that alarmed Moscow. More, perhaps, could have been done to engage Russia in a true strategic partnership. But none of these potential acts or omissions provide any justification for Mr. Putin to declare war on a neighboring country.

Until the end, Mr. Gorbachev remained dedicated to peace. Although his frail health prevented him from commenting about the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, his foundation clearly responded with the statement: “We affirm the need for an early cessation of hostilities and immediate start of peace negotiations. There is nothing more precious in the world than human lives.”

Such a statement is true to the heritage of Mikhail Gorbachev, a very courageous leader who was an inspiring advocate of more freedom for the people of the Soviet Union. The desire of those people for freedom will never end. And neither should the memory of his legacy in having tried to attain that freedom for them.

How Much Has the Ukraine War Changed Germany?


BERLIN – It has now been more than six months since German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stood before a special session of the Bundestag to address Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine. “We are living through a watershed era. And that means that the world afterwards will no longer be the same as the world before,” he observed. “The issue at the heart of this is whether power is allowed to prevail over the law ... Or whether we have it in us to keep warmongers like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin in check. That requires strength of our own. Yes, we fully intend to secure our freedom, our democracy, and our prosperity.”

Scholz’s speech proclaiming a Zeitenwende, or historic turning point, came at a moment of deep shock in Germany. The country was witnessing a total collapse of strategic principles that went back to the late 1960s, with then-Foreign Minister Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitik (“Eastern Policy”) and its central premise of Wandel durch Handel (“change through trade”). The hope was that commercial, cultural, and other forms of engagement with actual and potential adversaries would eventually bring about rapprochement. After 1989, the peaceful political transitions in many Central and Eastern European countries became the expected norm for how the world ought to work.

Ukraine's mysterious battle to retake Kherson


Ukraine has been talking about launching a major counteroffensive in southern Kherson province since July, fighting to recapture at least the regional capital, Kherson City, from Russian invaders who seized the region soon after their Feb. 24 invasion. On Monday, Ukraine said the offensive had begun — then said little else.

Ukrainian forces "have started the offensive actions in several directions on the South front towards liberating the occupied territories," Nataliya Humeniuk, a spokeswoman for Ukraine's southern military command, told CNN. "All the details will be available after the operation is fulfilled." Yes, "there is news," she told The Wall Street Journal. "It has inspired everyone. We need to be patient."

By the end of the first week, it still wasn't clear how the battle was going — or even if this is the big counterpunch Ukraine has been telegraphing. Here's a look at what we know and what it could mean for the shape of the war:

Britain’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss faces some big challenges: Brexit, Ukraine, and a rising cost of living

Nikhil Kumar

It’s (finally) official: Liz Truss, Britain’s foreign secretary, will take over Tuesday as the country’s leader, replacing her boss, the scandal-prone Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The switch is the result of Johnson’s downfall earlier in the summer, after a series of scandals that triggered an avalanche of resignations of senior government figures — too many, as Grid reported, for Johnson to hold onto his job. What followed was a two-month contest within Johnson’s Conservative party to pick a new leader. Truss emerged as the clear winner Monday — putting her in line to become Britain’s third female prime minister.

She inherits a country that seems “lurching from one disaster to another,” as the right-leaning Daily Telegraph, long seen as the Conservative party’s in-house newspaper, recently put it.

How Truss deals with these disasters will matter not just to Britons, who are facing a historic cost of living crisis, but reverberate far beyond. Under Johnson, Britain left the European Union, but the economic realities of Brexit are only beginning to set in as the country reworks its relationship with what remains its biggest trading partner. Truss’ elevation also comes amid a war on Europe’s doorstep; the conflict in Ukraine shows no signs of ending. That has implications for both European security and for the economy in Britain.

AUKUS Represents the Future of Collective Deterrence

Jason Pack Darren Spinck

Last month, the war in Ukraine and the great power struggle for control of the South China Sea became forever linked. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei at the beginning of August inflamed an already tense competition between Washington and Beijing for influence in the Indo-Pacific region. As part of buttressing Ukraine and defending a rules-based international order, the United States signaled its commitment to defend Taiwan by sending missile cruisers through the Taiwan Straits last week. China’s bellicose responses have been yet another example of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) strong-arm approach to resolving regional disputes. Just days after Pelosi and her delegation left Taiwan, China launched missiles over Taiwan into Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

This missile launch into Japanese waters elicited no meaningful response from the United States even though Japan is a treaty ally with security guarantees. Washington’s strategy to counter China’s hegemonic ambitions remains vague given America’s justifiable preoccupation with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This series of events encapsulates the extent to which the U.S.-led unipolar global order is existentially threatened.

What kind of prime minister will Liz Truss be?

Declinism, that dull fear of Britain’s sunset, has shaped the country’s post-war politics. It propelled Harold Macmillan’s wish to enter the European Economic Community, the eu’s precursor, and fuelled Margaret Thatcher’s economic revolution. And now it has helped Liz Truss into Downing Street. On September 5th Ms Truss was declared the winner of the ballot of 172,000 Conservative members to replace Boris Johnson as the Tory leader; tomorrow, she will fly to Balmoral Castle, Queen Elizabeth’s remote Scottish home, where she will be invited to form a government.

Ms Truss won the contest in large part because she is cheerful, a characteristic she shares with Mr Johnson. On the campaign trail, she would dismiss the warnings of hard choices from Rishi Sunak, her rival in the protracted final stage of the contest. “I don’t agree with this declinist talk,” she’d say. “I believe our country’s best days are ahead of us.” Such optimism struck a chord among party activists. Her colleagues think her positivity might appeal to the broader electorate, too. “It’s boosterism without Boris,” says a cabinet minister. “It’s a gamble, but it might be a very powerful cocktail.”

Chernobyl May Have Been Gorbachev’s Greatest Lesson


OPINION — The late Mikhail Gorbachev wrote for the 20th Anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster in April 2006, “Chernobyl opened my eyes like nothing else…One could now imagine much more clearly what might happen if a nuclear bomb exploded. According to scientific experts, one SS-18 rocket could contain 100 Chernobyls.”

With Russian President Vladimir Putin’s cavalier threats to the use nuclear arms and his Russian troops using Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as a military base, I believe Gorbachev’s passing is a time to show how at least he, as a nuclear-armed leader, came to his senses when he realized the disastrous power he controlled through these weapons, thanks to the Chernobyl accident.

It began at 1:23 am on April 26, 1986. Reactor unit number 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power station, 62 miles north of Kiev, Ukraine, suffered a series of explosions. Operators were conducting an experiment at low power when an emergency shutdown accelerated a nuclear chain reaction causing a power surge which created a steam explosion. This not only ruptured the tubes containing low-enriched, uranium nuclear fuel, but also blew the 1,000-metric-ton cover off the top of the reactor.