13 September 2022

US orders Nvidia and AMD to stop selling AI chips to China

Michelle Toh

Two of America’s top chipmakers have been ordered to stop selling some of their technology to China that can be used for artificial intelligence.

Nvidia (NVDA) and AMD (AMD) said Wednesday that they had been told by the US government to halt exports of certain high-performance chips to the world’s second largest economy.

In a regulatory filing, Nvidia said that US officials had told it that the requirement was due to a potential risk of the products being used by, or diverted to, a “military end user.”

The restrictions cover Nvidia’s A100 and forthcoming H100 integrated circuits, and any systems that include them, effective immediately, it said.

The move threatens to upend $400 million worth of business for Nvidia, according to the filing.

That’s roughly what the California-based tech giant projected last week in potential sales to China, which could be affected by the new requirement in the filing.

Nvidia shares tumbled 6.6% in after-hours trading Wednesday, while AMD stock was down 3.7%.

In a statement to CNN Business, Nvidia said it was working with “customers in China to satisfy their planned or future purchases with alternative products and may seek licenses where replacements aren’t sufficient.”

AMD, which is also headquartered in California, told CNN Business it had also been given new requirements by the US Department of Commerce that will hit shipments of its MI250 integrated circuits to China.

“At this time, we do not believe that shipments of MI100 integrated circuits are impacted by the new requirements,” it said, referring to another line of components. “We do not believe it has a material impact on our business.”

The new rules are a reminder of how US-China tensions remain high over business and tech.

Last week, a rare agreement between the two countries on auditing US-listed Chinese companies had suggested a breakthrough in relations, but experts have warned the deal will do little to resolve other key issues.

The new mandate for chipmakers also covers a ban in exports to Russia, Nvidia and AMD noted.

Both companies said they do not currently sell any products to Russia

Lithium Monopoly in the Making? Beijing Expands in the Lithium Triangle

Daniel A. Peraza

China aims to expand its influence in the “Lithium Triangle” as a component of a broader campaign to construct a near-monopoly in the global lithium market. The Lithium Triangle, comprising Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile, accounts for approximately 56% percent of global lithium supply. Beijing’s acquisition of multiple Argentinian, Chilean, and Bolivia lithium mining operations enables China to dominate regional lithium operations. From 2018- 2020, China invested approximately $16 billion on mining projects in the Lithium Triangle and will likely continue to invest in the region.

China’s economic involvement within Argentina’s lithium mining industry allows Beijing to establish a stronger position in the global lithium market which can undermine future U.S mining operations within the region. Argentina harbors 21% of global lithium reserves. On 17 May 2021, China’s Ganfeng Lithium and Argentina’s mining ministry signed a memorandum of understanding, securing Chinese-backed development of a lithium battery manufacturing plant in Jujuy province. On 4 February 2022, Chinese Zijin Mining Group funded construction of a $380 million lithium refinery plant in the Tres Quebradas project. On 11 July 2022, Chinese Ganfeng Lithium secured $964 million for the acquisition of Lithium mining company Argentinian Lithea. On 28 July 2022, China’s Zangge Mining and Argentina’s Miner Ultra commenced investment collaboration, investing $290 million toward the Laguna Verde Project. These developments will expand China’s economic influence in Argentina’s lithium sector.

Xi Jinping’s Endgame for America

Ian Easton

For some time now, the ruler of China has been talking about destroying the United States and the liberal world order that Washington helped create in the wake of World War II. Uncovered documents and never-before-translated speeches shine light on what Xi Jinping has in mind. His words are disquieting.

Five years ago this fall, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) held its 19th National Congress in Beijing. To mark the occasion, Xi gave an iron man speech in the Great Hall of the People, standing in the limelight and reading his prepared remarks out loud for over three hours. Buried amid jargon-heavy prose was a remarkable line: “Ever since the Chinese Communist Party was first established, realizing communism has been the party’s supreme ideal and ultimate objective.”

That following spring, Xi gave another major speech in the Great Hall of the People. “Even though world socialism has had twists and turns in its path as it developed, the overall trend of human social development has not changed,” Xi declared. “We must deeply understand that realizing communism is an objective that happens in a historical process. It occurs in stages, one step at a time…We must struggle for communism our entire lives.”

The Islamic State vs. Russia in Afghanistan

Lucas Webber

On September 5, an Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) suicide bomber hit the Russian embassy in Afghanistan’s capital city, Kabul. The explosion killed two Russian embassy staff and at least six other people. Just as ISKP did with earlier rocket attacks on Uzbekistan in April and Tajikistan in May, the militants followed through on their increased threats to target Russian interests, only this time the operation produced deadly results.

ISKP’s successful strike on the diplomatic mission of the leading power of the “Crusader East” and the killing of its citizens is a significant operational achievement as well as a powerful propaganda and morale booster for both the international Islamic State movement and the regional branch in Af-Pak.

The Islamic State’s Media Warfare Against Russia

In Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s first speech following the declaration of the caliphate in 2014, he described the world as being divided into “two camps” in irreconcilable opposition to each other: the “Muslims and the mujahideen” and the “Jews, the crusaders, [and] their allies.” The latter, he declared, is “led by America and Russia, and being mobilized by the Jews.” This designation as a very top enemy of the Islamic State — on a level with the U.S. — put a sizable target on Russia’s back that would grow considerably with the official September 2015 intervention in Syria to support Bashar al-Assad’s government. This was evidenced when, in stated retaliation to Russia’s military campaign, the Islamic State’s official Sinai branch blew a Russian passenger plane out of the skies above Egypt in October 2015.

Ukraine Warns Russian Cyber Onslaught Is Coming

Jeff Seldin

Ukraine is bracing for a new wave of Russian cyberattacks likely to freeze its citizens in coming months and crippling its spending power.

According to an assessment shared Friday by a top Ukrainian cyber official, the attacks are expected to include precision cyber strikes, combining virtual efforts against key systems with physical action targeting critical infrastructure as winter approaches.

“We saw this scenario before,” Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation Georgii Dubynskyi told reporters on the sidelines of a cybersecurity conference in Washington.

“They [Russia] are trying to find a way to undermine, defeat our energy system and make circumstances even more severe for Ukrainians,” he said. “We are preparing.”

Dubynskyi is not the first Ukrainian official to sound alarms about Russia’s efforts in cyberspace.

Japan Responds To Rising China-Taiwan Tensions By Militarizing Its Remote Islands


Japan plans to beef up defenses on its remote islands in the East China Sea in preparation for a Taiwan Strait crisis, a move reflecting official strategic thinking but one that is likely to annoy China.

The Japanese defense ministry wants to expand fuel and ammunition storage facilities on the Nansei (Ryukyu) island chain, whose westernmost tip lies only 110 kilometers (68 miles) from Taiwan, Nikkei Asia quoted Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada as saying this week.

Moving ammunition to the southwest would improve Japan’s deterrence capabilities, Hamada said, adding that an ammunition depot will be built on the island of Amami Oshima, located between Kyushu and Okinawa.

Port facilities and fuel depots will be set up in Okinawa, Kyushu and elsewhere to not only fulfill Japanese defense forces needs but support American forces responding to a Taiwan conflict.

Make the Green Serve China: PRC Influence Operations Target International Environmentalism

Filip Jirouš


As the world embraces green initiatives on an unprecedented scale, so has the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) — perhaps surprisingly — embraced the green movement, but has done so primarily to support its own political objectives. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has attempted to build an image as an environmentally responsible global player, a task made easier by former President Trump’s withdrawal of the U.S. from international climate change cooperation frameworks, and China has trumpeted its efforts to develop its renewable energy and green technologies sectors (Xinhuanet, September 22, 2020). In addition, however, in the spirit of “do not destroy, repurpose,” PRC influence agencies, as well as the Ministry of State Security (MSS, 国家安全部, Guojia Anquan Bu), the PRC’s main civilian intelligence agency, have been cultivating ties with the world’s largest green non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as government environmental officials from the West. [1] These efforts and NGO-regulations led to the current state when environmental foundations praise China and almost never criticize it, while the country remains one of the top world polluters. Thus, possibly with the best intentions, these institutions serve PRC’s propaganda and help legitimize the CCP in an area that had been Beijing’s weak point both domestically and internationally, while also giving funds to the PRC. [2]

In contrast, Greenpeace, which has no apparent institutional ties with PRC influence organs, continues to systematically criticize China’s environmental policies, strengthening the argument that such ties at least correlate with benevolence towards PRC green efforts (Greenpeace East Asia, July 13, 2016; Greenpeace, August 8, 2016; Greenpeace East Asia, January 18; Greenpeace East Asia, July 20).

The Russia-India-China Trilateral After Ukraine: Will Beijing Take the Lead?

Jagannath P. Panda, Wooyeal Paik


At the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) foreign ministers’ meeting in late July, which included China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, People’s Republic of China (PRC) State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi exhorted member states to uphold the “Shanghai Spirit” (上海精神, Shanghai Jingshen) of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, mutual consultations, diverse civilizations, and the pursuit of common development (Gov.cn, July 29). He then presented a “five-point proposal” for building an SCO community “with a shared future” (CGTN, July 30). In doing so, Wang echoed President Xi Jinping’s call in his four-point proposal at the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) summit in June —albeit via a rather elemental poetic allegory of fire, wind, and water –to embark on a “righteous course” toward a shared global future premised on inclusive, comprehensive and close win-win cooperation (Qiushi, June 24). BRICS already has a “Plus” mechanism and is mulling an expansion to include “like-minded” partners.

The PRC’s claim to be advancing a more inclusive model of international relations through SCO, BRICS and other multilateral groupings in which it plays a leading or central role accords with Beijing’s stringent criticism of the West in general, and the U.S. in particular, for unilaterally targeting or isolating states on normative ground (i.e. the “universal values” of liberal democracies). Under Xi, the PRC has promoted its own networks of multilateral and bilateral strategic partnerships as positive-sum correctives to U.S.-led formal alliances, which Beijing consistently asserts drive world politics toward zero-sum competition (China Brief, July 15). This narrative has become even more prominent of late with Beijing’s sharp reaction to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) identification of China as a “systemic challenge” for the first time at the Madrid summit this June, where Indo-Pacific states were invited as observers. As a result, the PRC’s fears of NATO spreading its tentacles in Asia (or a similarly modeled “Asian NATO”) have intensified. Beijing has responded with a series of tirades against NATO referring to the Western security bloc as a “gangster,” a “war machine,” and a “butcher” (Global Times, March 16). Concurrently, however, the language of Xi, Wang and other leaders invokes the Communist Party’s “Chinese characteristics” while ironically addressing diversity in forums that are decidedly multipolar. The key question is: how far will emerging and developing nations with a distaste for the West favor China as an international leader?

Are Cross-Strait Relations Dead?

John S. Van Oudenaren

Kuomintang (KMT) Vice Chairman Andrew Hsia led a delegation to China in August, which occurred in the immediate aftermath of the extensive live-fire exercises that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducted around Taiwan following U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit (Focus Taiwan, August 28; Republic of China, Ministry of National Defense, August 3). The trip by the number two figure in Taiwan’s main opposition party elicited a torrent of domestic criticism, including from KMT politicians. The timing of the visit was doubly poor for the KMT as it not only coincided with China’s escalation of military pressure but also came as the campaign season for Taiwan’s November 26 local elections kicked off (Newtalk, September 8; Focus Taiwan, August 29). The local elections are a litmus test of current KMT chairman Eric Chu’s efforts to remake the party’s radioactive “pro-China” reputation among younger Taiwanese voters. Chu has made tentative but real headway in moving his party to a mainstream position on cross-strait relations premised on maintaining the status quo, defending Taiwan against the existential threat from the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) and deepening ties with the U.S. (United Daily News [UDN], June 9). Chu has rhetorically burnished the party’s anti-communist and pro-U.S. legacy but has also taken concrete steps to change course, most significantly orchestrating the reopening of the KMT’s liaison office in Washington, D.C., which was shuttered shortly after President Ma Ying-jeou assumed office in 2008 (UDN, June 9). In June, Chu visited the U.S. to personally preside over the office re-opening and made the think tank circuit rounds to tout the KMT’s commitment to close ties with Washington (Taipei Times, June 8). In contrast to members of the KMT’s deep blue, pro-unification wing such as former chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu, who appeared on PRC state television to parrot Beijing’s charges that Pelosi’s visit recklessly destabilized cross-strait relations, Chu welcomed Pelosi as an “international friend” and stated the KMT supports any moves that deepen U.S.-Taiwan relations (Apple Daily, August 2; CGTN, August 6).

Ukraine’s Vulnerable Power Grid

Ukraine’s energy crisis differs dramatically from that of its European counterparts. In Europe, the problem is related to exorbitantly high prices. But in Ukraine, the crisis is shaped primarily by the battlefield, where energy infrastructure has been a major site of the fighting. Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion in February, electricity demand in Ukraine has fallen by about 40 percent. This is largely due to nuclear power plants being taken offline, damage to distribution infrastructure, displacement of people and industry, and the lack of funds for operation and maintenance of facilities.

Ukraine's energy sector's physical and financial destruction could also have long-term impacts. The damage caused to energy infrastructure and companies thus far will require billions of dollars and many years to repair. The fighting has also significantly set back Ukraine’s efforts to integrate the sector with the EU and shift to renewables. Disruptions in the energy market will also limit the extent to which industry and other businesses can resume full operations.

The PLA’s Military Diplomacy in Advance of the 20th Party Congress

Kenneth Allen


As the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) Chinese Communist Party (CCP) approaches its 20th Party Congress, which begins on October 16, General Secretary Xi Jinping is set to continue his run as core leader (People’s Daily, August 31). Throughout his tenure, Xi, who is also Chairman of the Party and State Central Military Commission (CMC) and PRC President, has prioritized military diplomacy as a key element of Chinese foreign policy. Consequently, since 2013, China's military diplomacy's frequency, intensity and scale has generally increased. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted or limited some areas of engagement, under Xi, the overall trend of military diplomacy assuming a growing role in China’s international engagement is bound to persist.

This two-part article series provides updated information concerning the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) military diplomacy since the China Brief’ article “The PLA’s Military Diplomacy Under COVID-19” was published last June (China Brief, June 21, 2021). [1] This article examines potential forthcoming changes to PLA Leadership and their implications for the PRC’s military diplomacy; provides a general overview of key developments in Chinese military diplomacy since 2021; and catalogues senior-level visits abroad and hosted visits. The forthcoming second article in this series, examines specific areas of military diplomacy: bilateral and multilateral Joint Military Exercises, non-traditional Security Operations, and international Academic Exchanges and Cooperation. It also examines how military diplomacy is playing out in two regions: Africa and Latin America. [2]

Japan: An Empire Reawakened?

Jose Miguel Alonso-Trabanco

Japan is often overlooked in most specialized discussions about contemporary great power politics. This analytical neglect is understandable due to the discreet, secondary, and modest position that the Japanese assumed for decades after their crushing defeat in World War Two. However, appearances can be deceiving. In fact, a closer scrutiny reveals that the role that Japan might potentially play in the near future will not be inconsequential for the correlation of forces in the Pacific Basin and perhaps even beyond. Therefore, from a long-range perspective, the following sections examine the Japanese state’s geopolitical background, its historical trajectory and current situation in order to envisage why and how this East Asian nation can reassert itself as a heavyweight. Despite its prolonged “hibernation” and problematic phenomena like its sharp demographic decline, it seems thar Japan has not reached its twilight yet. Far from it.

Understanding Japan’s Background as a Great Power

As Professor Jared Diamond argues, the uniqueness of Japan is determined by its geography. Although the Japanese archipelago belongs to the Far East, it is substantially separated from the Asian mainland (South Korea, its closest neighbor, is located more than 1,000 kilometers away). This paradoxical sense of simultaneous closeness and remoteness is noticeable in several traits that have historically shaped the characteristic Asian-ness of Japanese society, including the exceptional profile of the Japanese language. Furthermore, Japan is located in the area peripheral to the Eurasian landmass referred to as the rimland in the theoretical geopolitical thinking of Nicholas Spykman. Therefore, such position means that Japanese national security is often threatened by the natural expansionism of continental powers such as China and Russia. In other words, Japan’s position is somewhat analogous to that of Britain in Europe. This maritime condition offers a direct and dynamic gateway to interact with the wider world in the fields of trade, diplomacy, and military matters. On the other hand, Japan’s terrain is very rugged, a reality that often influences the development of clannish, homogeneous and conservative societies that are wary of outsiders.

DoD Must Move Faster to Leverage Commercial Technology

Mike Gallagher

One of the defining features of our New Cold War with the Chinese Communist Party is that, perhaps even more so than during the Old Cold War with the Soviet Union, economic and technological competition is front and center. In theory, this plays to one of our greatest sources of national advantage: the U.S. commercial technology sector. In practice, when it comes to the allocation of resources and programs, DoD is habitually under-invested in commercial technology and more reliant on the capabilities it develops alongside traditional defense contractors. As a result, DoD is failing to leverage the full breadth of tools at its disposal to tap into the U.S. innovation ecosystem and ensure American technological dominance for decades to come.

Pentagon officials widely acknowledge dual-use technologies' role in future conflicts. The world is seeing a powerful example of this today in Ukraine, where commercial satellite imagery and small drones are providing asymmetric advantages to the Ukrainians. On one hand, DoD leadership is sending the right signals when it comes to innovation: its technology modernization agenda identifies 14 critical technologies vital to maintaining our national security, 11 of which are dual use. On the other, DoD has yet to shift significant resources or adapt business processes to harness commercial solutions at scale or at speed.

Marine vet Stuart Scheller exposes failures in military leadership and Afghanistan in new book


Stuart Scheller — the U.S. Marine officer discharged for his viral videos criticizing the military and political handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan — has written a tell-all book that will be published next month. In it, he exposes failures in military leadership and the Afghanistan withdrawal, and details the events that led to his discharge from the Marine Corps after 17 years.

Scheller’s book “Crisis of Command: How We Lost Trust and Confidence in America’s Generals and Politicians” is set to hit shelves on Tuesday, Sept. 6. In an interview with American Military News, Scheller recounted his thoughts behind his viral public indictment of military leaders and the outcome of the 20-year war in Afghanistan.

Beginning with what he saw as the flaw in the overall objective of the war in Afghanistan, Scheller said U.S. military commanders understood how to win in combat, but either didn’t understand how to achieve the overall political goals set by successive presidential administrations or failed to oppose problematic plans.

Book Review: "Crisis of Command"

Kacy Tellessen

America’s haphazard withdrawal from Afghanistan was a physical manifestation of our decades-long failure in that country. Anyone who experienced combat watched with bated breath as the Marines charged toward chaos. We watched knowing that Americans would die because of the impossible situation into which the United States sent those young Marines, that the herald of death would likely be a suicide bomber. I hoped that I was wrong but knew I wasn't. The inevitable bombing killed 13 of our noblest—our military and political leaders had wasted more young lives on the Afghan quagmire. As a citizen, a veteran, and a human being, I wanted accountability. I wanted the assholes with shiny stuff on their collars and the politicians in tailored suits to pay for sacrificing our youth to their greed and gross incompetence.

But political leaders did not resign in shame. Nor did a single military commander have the intestinal fortitude to fall on his sword and take responsibility for the blunder.

Instead, there was a mid-ranking military officer who screamed for accountability. With nothing but an iPhone and poor lighting, Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller made a Facebook video decrying the Afghanistan withdrawal and demanding accountability. He recorded the video in his Marine Corps uniform from the very same office where he conducted his duties as the commanding officer of Advanced Infantry Training Battalion. An overnight sensation, the video kicked off "[a] series of escalating events […] which resulted in [his] imprisonment, court-martial, and resignation [from the Marines].” It was also the final fracture in a crumbling marriage. Scheller would lose his wife and children to this video.

North Korea States It Will Never Give Up Nuclear Weapons

Ellen Kim

On September 9, North Korea celebrated the 74th anniversary of the country’s founding. Amid the growing concern about the country’s possible seventh nuclear test, North Korea held the seventh session of the 14th Supreme People’s Assembly, where the country’s leader Kim Jong-un formally announced that North Korea would never abandon its nuclear weapons arsenal.

Q1: What happened at the Supreme People’s Assembly?

A1: Four things happened. First, North Korea passed new legislation that further enshrined its nuclear power status. Second, under the new law, North Korea announced five conditions in which the country would launch a preemptive nuclear strike. Third, North Korea indicated in the law that it will not share its nuclear weapons or technology with other countries. Fourth, Kim Jong-un made very clear that the country would resist all sanctions pressures to give up its nuclear weapons.

North Korea with these statements is trying to cement its status as a “responsible” nuclear weapons state with a clearly announced commitment not to proliferate horizontally (though there have been actions to the contrary), and an explicit statement against denuclearization.

Big Challenges for Russian Oil Price Cap

Ben Cahill

The G7 has confirmed its plans to impose a price cap on Russian oil. The goal is to keep Russian crude oil and petroleum products on the market to avoid a price spike, while depriving the country of essential revenues for its economy and its war machine. The price cap is a novel approach. Most energy sanctions target export volumes, while this plan would cut prices. But rather than set a new, globally recognized price for Russian oil, the cap is likely to create a multitiered price system. It would cut but not decimate Russia’s oil revenue.

The United States has pushed for the price cap in response to the European Union’s risker plan to ban Russian oil imports. In June, the European Union imposed a sanctions package that will ban seaborne crude oil imports as of December 5 and petroleum product imports as of February 5, 2023 (with some exceptions). Crucially, the sanctions also ban EU companies from providing shipping insurance, brokering services, or financing for oil exports from Russia to third countries. U.S. Treasury officials suggest the EU embargo could reduce Russia’s exports by three to five million barrels per day, which would trigger a massive price spike.

Under the proposed plan, shippers and insurers would have to prove they are supporting Russian oil trade at or below the price cap. Unauthorized trade above that price would require buyers to seek brokering, shipping, insurance, and reinsurance from outside the participating countries. These services would become more scarce and more expensive. For now, there are no plans to impose secondary sanctions to force countries to participate. Many details remain uncertain, and the terms have to be agreed before December 5, when EU sanctions take effect.



I have been hesitant to write about the success of Ukraine’s counter-offensive around Kherson and Kharkiv because the information sources are very jumbled and because it’s always difficult to assess what’s going on in a major military operation in the first hours and days. However, at this point there is apparently some grounds for optimism. Dan Parsons:

Ukraine’s multipronged offensive that kicked off about a week ago has punched miles into Russian-occupied territory in multiple sectors, with dozens of towns recaptured, scores of prisoners taken, and many pieces of abandoned equipment seized.

The offensive near Kharkiv seems to have been well-planned and resourced, and also seems to have taken the Russians completely off guard. There continue to be serious communications and logistical issues that are at least partially driven by Ukrainian use of HIMARS. There are also reports of significant numbers of prisoners and Russian forces refusing to fight. Operationally, there seems to be some chance to create a major pocket around Izyum:

Could Greece And Turkey Go To War? The Answer Is Yes

Michael Rubin

Coming Soon: A Greece – Turkey War? The list of countries suffering from Turkish aggression is long. Turkey occupies one-third of Cyprus. It has used its F-16s and Special Forces against Armenians. Iraqi officials say Turkey has now established 68 outposts on its territory, ranging in size from small platoon-level posts to a full-size base. The Turkish Air Force bombs Iraq nightly. Turkey ethnically cleanses entire districts in northern Syria. Its maritime land grabs would make the creators of China’s Nine-Dash Line blush.

Against this backdrop, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s increasing threats against Greece should alarm. Indeed, the tension between the two NATO members is nothing new and predates Turkey’s mercurial ruler for decades. Four factors, however, make the current crisis different.

First, Erdogan is openly revanchist. He seeks to revise—always in Turkey’s favor—the century-old Lausanne Treaty that established Turkey’s borders with Greece and Bulgaria. He falsely claims Greece violates demilitarization agreements, and Turkish politicians up to and including Erdogan coalition partner and nationalist party leader Devlet Bahceli and Defense Minister Hulusi Akar further argue that they should possess all islands east of a median line in the Aegean Sea. Turkey does not limit such provocations to maps. Turkish jets regularly violate the airspace of Greek islands like Kastellorizo. State Department statements infused with bothsiderism make matters worse.

In Major Advance, Ukraine Drives Russians Out of Key Front-Line Cities

Thomas Grove and Evan Gershkovich

Ukrainian forces pushed deep into Russian-controlled territory Saturday, handing Kyiv some of the most strategically important towns and cities in the northeast of the country and delivering retreating Russian forces one of their biggest setbacks since the start of the war.

In a matter of days, Ukraine retook swaths of its Kharkiv region, where Russians had fought ferociously for months, spending lives and ammunition to take over cities, sometimes a building at a time.

In the weeks leading up to Ukraine's offensive earlier this week, Kyiv’s forces used Western-made weapons, including High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or Himars, against Russian supply lines and front-line positions.

The growing success of Ukraine’s advance signals to Western backers the effectiveness of weapons the U.S. and Europe have given to Kyiv. It comes at a particularly critical time for Western powers, days after Moscow indefinitely suspended natural-gas flows to Europe, raising the prospect of energy rationing this winter.

Why the Russian Military Brutalizes Ukraine

Tom Nichols

I spent years teaching military officers who served in conflicts all around the globe. I am not naive about the viciousness of war, and I am grateful that I have never been touched by it. But I am startled by the sheer sadism of the Russian war on Ukraine. Russia’s armed forces are engaging in actions such as leveling cities, intentionally attacking civilian targets, and other apparent war crimes that we would associate with a war of extermination.

I turned to a friend and fellow Russia expert for a more thorough consideration of this. Nick Gvosdev holds a Ph.D. in Russian history from the University of Oxford; he and I taught together at the U.S. Naval War College for many years. (He still teaches there, and his comments here are his personal views and not those of the U.S. government.) We are both Eastern Orthodox Christians ourselves, which adds an especially painful aspect for us to this immense tragedy. We have had many conversations about the war, the latest of which I now offer to readers trying to understand this terrible conflict.

Tom Nichols: Nick, international-relations experts will hash out the “great power” dimensions of this war, but at the ground level of the actual fighting, why is the conflict so brutal? Is it really enough to say that the Russians are reacting to the humiliation of losing almost from the start?

All Warfare Is Based on Deception—Troops, Vets Targeted by Disinformation Can Fight Back


Type “#MilTok” into the search bar on TikTok and you’ll be greeted with page after page after page of military videos. Soldiers trash-talking sailors. Sailors trash-talking soldiers. Military memes, uniform hacks, service members waxing long about their boot camp experience, half-dressed Army bros showing off their abs. TikTok allows for an extraordinary window into daily military life and culture, inconceivable a few decades ago.

It’s also an extraordinary source of information broadly, the scope of which was similarly hard to predict not long ago. As content multiplies, so does misinformation. TikTok, where millions of users upload short videos, is particularly notorious for misleading content. In the second half of 2020 alone, TikTok removed or added a warning label to more than three-quarters of a million videos that showed unsubstantiated content, misinformation, or evidence of manipulation.

The military officially banned TikTok on government-issued devices two years ago. But as #MilTok makes evident, the app is popular with service members, who access it on their personal devices. This usage highlights the novelty and complexity of mis- and disinformation. Unlike more traditional threats that target military members, this one is more likely to appear while you check your phone at a bar than as you maneuver on the battlefield.

Navy Orders High-Level Outside Investigation of SEAL Course

Dave Philipps

The Navy has started an independent investigation of the brutal selection course for its elite SEALs after a sailor’s death this year revealed a tangle of physical abuse, poor medical oversight and use of performance-enhancing drugs in the course.

The order for the new investigation came from the highest levels of the Navy — the outgoing vice chief of naval operations, Adm. William K. Lescher. It was given to a rear admiral from outside the SEALs, signaling that the Navy had given it high priority and wanted it to be independent.

Admiral Lescher issued the order in a letter obtained by The New York Times. The letter is dated the day after The New York Times reported that the sailor’s death had exposed a number of problems at the harrowing selection course, known as Basic Underwater Demolition/SELs, or BUD/S for short.

The Restoration of the Next Islamic Caliphate Alhawal Camp

Albert Hadi and Paul Lieber