22 September 2022

“The Era of the Global Internet is Over” According to CFR Task Force Report

Daniel Pereira

Nate Fick, who was confirmed last week to lead the State Department’s Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, was also the co-chair (along with Jami Miscik of Global Strategic Insights) of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Independent Task Force on Cybersecurity.

In May, the CFR Task Force delivered their final report, Confronting Reality in Cyberspace: Foreign Policy for a Fragmented Internet, which concluded “that, —among other things—the era of the global internet is over; Washington will be unable to stop further fragmentation; data is a source of geopolitical competition; the United States has taken itself out of the digital trade sphere (undercutting Washington’s ability to lead abroad); cybercrime is a pressing national security threat; and Washington and its allies have failed to impose sufficient consequences on attackers.” (1)

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Germany must shake off its habit of finding excuses for inaction

Constanze Stelzenmüller

A German decision to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine would send a powerful signal to the Kremlin, Constanze Stelzenmüller writes. This article originally appeared in the Financial Times.

Life: it’s unfair. German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht gave a long-prepared speech in Berlin on Monday, in which she laid out her thinking on strategy. She asserted confidently that Germany was destined by “our size, our geographical location, our economic power, in short our heft” to be a “leading power in Europe, whether we like it or not.”

The strategic adversaries uppermost in Lambrecht’s mind are, however, at home. She is striving to assert her authority at a time when the Foreign Ministry is writing Germany’s first ever national security strategy. It does not help that leaders of her Social Democratic Party (SPD)’s parliamentary group are vocal skeptics of what some pointedly refer to as “chic bellicism,” or a fashionable taste for war.

The Narco-Terrorist Taliban


NEW DELHI – The strategic folly of US President Joe Biden’s Afghan policy has been laid bare in recent weeks. First, the country came back under the control of the Pakistan-reared Taliban. The announcement of the interim government’s composition then dashed any remaining (naive) hope that this Taliban regime would be different from the one the United States and its allies ousted in 2001. Beyond the cabinet including a who’s who of international terrorism, narcotics kingpins occupy senior positions.

Afghanistan accounts for 85% of the global acreage under opium cultivation, making the Taliban the world’s largest drug cartel. It controls and taxes opioid production, oversees exports, and shields smuggling networks. This is essential to its survival. According to a recent report by the United Nations Security Council monitoring team, the production and trafficking of poppy-based and synthetic drugs remain “the Taliban’s largest single source of income.” So reliant is the Taliban on narcotics trafficking that its leaders have at times fought among themselves over revenue-sharing.

Bundesbank: Germany faces recession, double-digit inflation


FRANKFURT — Germany is heading into recession as inflation is set to top the 10-percent mark, the Bundesbank said in its monthly report on Monday.

“There are mounting signs of a recession in the German economy in the sense of a clear, broad-based and prolonged decline in economic output,” the report said.

The central bank projects a moderate contraction for the current quarter and more pronounced declines in activity in the final quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year.

“High inflation and uncertainty with regard to energy supply and its costs affect not only the gas and electricity-intensive industry and its export business and investments, but also private consumption and the service providers dependent on it,” the central bank said.

The secrets of the border standoff between the Taliban and Pakistan

Roland Jacquard 
Source Link

After all that Pakistan did for the Taliban over the two decades they were fighting against the US-backed Afghan Republic, there was a legitimate expectation in Islamabad that this time around the Taliban would show much greater gratitude and accede to Pakistan’s wish-list on a range of issues.

Ever since the Taliban have re-established their Emirate in Kabul, there is not a single issue on Pakistan’s wish-list that has been ticked by the Taliban : Accepting Durand Line as Border? No; Expelling Baloch insurgents? No; Dismantling, degrading and destroying Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)? No; Keeping India out? No; Inclusive government? No; Allowing education for girls and giving women rights? No!

With every passing day, frustration is mounting in Pakistan as its leverages are reducing. Many analysts are now questioning the entire strategic framework which made Pakistan defy the West and support the return of Taliban in Afghanistan. But Pakistan is caught in a cleft stick, it can neither act against the Taliban, nor can it afford to allow Taliban to string it along endlessly on critical issues that impact its own security and stability and the safety of its citizens.

One of the most intractable issues between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been the controversial Durand Line that divides not just the two countries but also the Pashtuns. Since Pakistan came into existence, no Afghanistan government – whether monarchy , nationalist, communist, Islamic or Islamist (Taliban) – has endorsed the Durand Line. The only difference between the various dispensations ruling Kabul has been that some have been aggressive about this issue, others have agitated over it but have not stirred the broth, and still others have kept quiet but refused to sanctify it when demanded by Islamabad.

In its previous avatar Taliban 1.0 never acquiesced to Pakistani requests to acknowledge the Durand Line as the official border. This was despite the Taliban dependence on Pakistan for virtually everything. The former ISI Chief Lt. Gen. Javed Ashraf Qazi had said in an interview in 2001 that the Taliban had flatly refused Pakistani demands that they recognize the Durand Line. In fact, the Taliban were often quick to react to any report in the Pakistani press about discussions on the Durand Line. They would accept discussions on border management issues but never gave any sign that they were ready to discuss, much less settle, the issue of Durand Line. Owing to diplomatic and political exigencies, they might not have pressed Afghan claims to areas inside Pakistan – in some cases going all the way to the Indus river – but they never gave up these claims, neither officially, nor unofficially.

In the 1990s, there were often clashes between Taliban troops and Pakistani soldiers along the Durand Line. The Taliban rank and file harbored a healthy contempt for the predominantly Punjabi Pakistan Army. While these clashes never snowballed into anything bigger, they were a sign that the border issue could only be managed, never resolved. The situation in 2020s in remarkably similar to what it was in the 1990s. Since August 2021 when the Taliban captured Kabul, there are again regular reports of clashes and skirmishes along the Durand Line. Incidents of cross border firing and even artillery exchanges have been reported. Video footages of Taliban threatening Pakistani troops and challenging them have gone viral. The regime in Kabul is however trying to keep a lid on things to prevent tensions from spiraling out of control.

Although Pakistan defied the international consensus, even sanctions, to support the Taliban terrorism in Afghanistan for 20 years, there is not a lot of love, and even lesser trust, that Taliban have for Pakistan. The mistreatment of senior Taliban leaders – blackmailing them, keeping their families hostage, incarcerating leaders & killing them in custody, handing them over to the US for incarceration in Guantanamo Bay, forcing them to launch operations – has not been forgotten. Within the Taliban, there are the Haqqanis who were more or less treated with kid gloves by the Pakistanis. But there are also the Kandharis – Mullah Baradar, Mullah Yaqoob etc. – who have no love lost for Pakistan. While they will probably refrain from taking an overtly hostile stand against Pakistan, they will also not go any distance to appease the Pakistanis. The way the Taliban see it, as the saying goes “you have the watches, we have the time” applies as much to Pakistan as it did to the US.

Politically, the Taliban are aware that they most Afghans see them as proxies of Pakistan. This is an image they would like to shake off. They know that while they are not in any popularity contest like normal politicians in democracies are, they cannot afford to be seen as agents of a much despised Pakistan. Any compromise or surrender by Taliban on the Durand Line will be seen as a sell-out by the Islamist militia to its ‘masters’. They will, therefore, do everything possible to disabuse Afghans of any notion that they are under the thumb of Pakistan, even if this means riling Pakistan.

The fact the Taliban is both Islamist and predominantly Pashtun implies a double jeopardy for Pakistan insofar as the Durand Line is concerned. As Islamists, the Taliban do not accept boundaries that divide the Ummah; as Pashtuns they see the Durand Line dividing the traditional Pashtun homeland. Even secular Pashtuns- the Pashtuns Tahaffuz Movement (PTM – talk of Lar-aw-Bar Afghan (north or south, Afghans are one people).

Compounding the problem for Pakistan is the TTP factor. The TTP comprises of fighters from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the erstwhile Tribal Areas (now amalgamated as ‘Tribal districts’). They are being protected by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Their links with the Taliban go back decades and they are, in the words of top Pakistan Army generals, “two sides of the same coin”. Because the Taliban do not recognize Durand Line, they will be loath to taking any action against TTP on the behest of Pakistan. In fact they have told Pakistan that it needs to settle with TTP and accommodate their aspirations. The problem for Pakistan is that if it fights TTP, it will mean the Durand Line will be observed more in its breach; if however Pakistan accommodates TTP, it will mean creating a proto-Emirate inside Pakistan which is closely connected to the real Emirate in Afghanistan, which in turn means the Durand Line ceasing to exist because neither Taliban nor TTP will respect it.

Put in other words the Durand Line is fast becoming just an academic line on the map of the Af-Pak region. It was respected and observed a lot more when Afghanistan was an Islamic Republic than it is now that Afghanistan has become an Islamic Emirate. But the latter is something that Pakistan hankered for and pushed for very hard. The price of that strategic miscalculation will now be paid by Pakistan which will do well to remember the Oscar Wilde aphorism : “what is worse than not getting what you desire, is to get it”.

US Weighs Escalation Risk As Ukraine Asks for Longer-range Missiles


TALLINN, Estonia–While top U.S. administration and military officials praise Ukraine’s use of Western missiles, officials are showing no sign of fulfilling Kyiv’s requests for longer-range precision fires. The reason has to do with the Biden administration’s approach to escalation and even Russian threats.

Ukraine has captured the “strategic initiative” in its effort to retake key terrain and turn the tide of war, Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters traveling with him to Europe and the Middle East on Friday. Last week in Germany, Milley highlighted how well Ukraine was using U.S.-supplied HIMARS launchers and almost half a million rounds of 155mm ammunition, as well as Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System, or GMLRS, rockets.

But Ukraine has been asking for the MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System, or ATACMS, since February, a senior Ukranian military official confirmed to Defense One. The missile, which can hit targets more than 185 miles away, would enable Ukraine to strike key supply lines inside Russia or on the annexed Crimean peninsula.

Ukraine Put Putin in the Corner. Here’s What May Happen Next.

Amy Mackinnon, Robbie Gramer, and Jack Detsch

Almost seven months into a war that has already taken a number of unexpected turns, the Ukrainian military stunned the world as it succeeded in driving Russia’s forces out of swaths of territory in southern and eastern Ukraine in a counteroffensive over the past week. Armed with U.S.-supplied long-range weapons, the Ukrainian military destroyed Russian logistics hubs and arms depots in a series of strikes over the summer, undercutting the ability of Russian troops to bombard Kyiv’s forces from afar and leaving them vulnerable to attack.

The Russian military’s rapid collapse in the face of Ukraine’s surprise offensive has turned the whole narrative of the war on its head, convincing many Western policymakers that Ukraine could actually win a strategic victory, while pushing Putin to his most politically vulnerable point since the onset of the war after a series of embarrassing military setbacks for Moscow.

Will deterrence have a role in the cyberspace ‘forever war’?

David Ignatius

At a time of growing concern about possible nuclear threats from Russia, some prominent defense strategists are arguing for a new theory of deterrence. They argue that military conflict is now so pervasive in cyberspace that the United States should seek to shift away from deterrence in this domain — and more aggressively exploit the opportunities it presents.

Beware, reader, in exploring this topic: Deterrence strategy is one of the wooliest and most abstract areas of defense analysis. In the early Cold War decades, it was the province of professors such as Herman Kahn at the Rand Corp., and Thomas Schelling and Henry Kissinger at Harvard — sometimes collectively known as the “wizards of Armageddon.” They “thought about the unthinkable” when it came to nuclear war, partly to dissuade the Soviet Union from ever launching an attack.

Times have changed, argues the new book “Cyber Persistence Theory: Redefining National Security in Cyberspace.” Its three authors have all worked closely on cyber strategy for the Pentagon: Michael P. Fischerkeller as a cyber expert with the Institute for Defense Analyses; Emily O. Goldman as a strategist at U.S. Cyber Command; and Richard J. Harknett as a cyber expert at the University of Cincinnati and the first scholar-in-residence at Cyber Command.

Kharkiv Retreat: What Will Military Losses Mean for Russia’s Domestic Politics?

Tatiana Stanovaya

The retreat of the Russian armed forces from Ukraine’s Kharkiv region sowed panic, disenchantment, and bewilderment among pro-war activists. Their channels on the Telegram messaging app are brimming with anger at the authorities and questions about how such a setback came about. This is one of the most serious political challenges to the Kremlin since it set about decimating the non-systemic (anti-President Vladimir Putin) opposition.

The Russian authorities have always had a complicated relationship with the pro-war segment of the population. For many years it was marginal: only a small group of fans of the Novorossiya project—a hypothetical confederation of states in southeastern Ukraine stretching from Kharkiv to Odesa—followed the fighting in the Donbas, and they had little influence over the political agenda. However, the invasion of Ukraine didn’t just radicalize the party of war; it also bolstered it with political heavyweights. The conservative anti-Western mainstream—including the party of power, the siloviki (members of the security services), and the systemic opposition that doesn’t in fact oppose Putin—fully supported the president’s decision to invade Ukraine and even tried to get at the helm of the pro-war movement.

For a while, the gap between the pro-war opportunists in government and the traditional anti-Kyiv warmongers had almost closed, which created the perception of broad sociopolitical support for the war. In the face of failures, however, the two groups are again divided: the establishment tries to justify every decision of the Kremlin, while the pro-war activists complain, criticize, and even question the ability of the Russian armed forces to succeed.

Ukraine Is Winning

Chels Michta

The war in Ukraine crossed its half-year point on August 24, which coincidentally is Ukrainian National Day. While the conflict represents a national struggle for survival (Russian officials openly question its future existence), the outlook is far from bleak. With the southern offensive now underway and making some progress against Russian forces north and west of the Dnipro river, one can also argue that Ukraine continues to score important political victories that position it well for the duration of the conflict. If Clausewitz’s famous dictum that war is the continuation of politics by other means holds true, Ukraine’s dogged resistance has already changed Europe’s political landscape.

While the commitment of the Ukrainian nation to defend its sovereign territory has been exemplary, Russia still occupies about 20% of its land. Still, the current Ukrainian approach of steadily degrading the Russian military plays in its favor, for there can be no doubt that public determination in Ukraine to fight remains high. The latest polling suggests that 90% of the public is opposed to making a deal with Russia that would result in territorial losses.

Thus far, the war has gone through two distinct phases. The first, in which the Russians tried to pursue a blitzkrieg to seize the capital and destroy the political center of Ukraine, failed spectacularly. The second, mainly in Donbas, has seen a return to the “Soviet way of war,” with Russian forces relying predominantly on long range artillery and missiles to destroy everything in their path.

Continuous Compliance: Enhancing Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure by Strengthening Regulation, Oversight, and Monitoring

Julian Baker

An intrusion into a critical infrastructure facility risks the health, wellbeing, and safety of millions of people. The sixteen critical infrastructure sectors in the United States have little to no cybersecurity regulations or requirements. Cybersecurity standards, except for the energy, nuclear, and financial sectors, are voluntary and there is no legal penalty for lax practices. International standards are much the same: not mandatory and unenforceable.

Businesses that institute their own cybersecurity practices—even if they are stringent—often conduct an assessment or are audited on a point-in- time or period-in-time basis. This means that they verify adherence to a voluntary standard at a certain moment in time rather than in an ongoing manner. By assessing on a point-in-time basis, a business can only determine that they comply at that moment, rather than being notified when networks are noncompliant or drifting away from compliance standards or best practices.

Furthermore, many companies that run U.S. critical infrastructure are small, rural, or underfunded. These facilities do not have the financial resources to upgrade their cybersecurity practices and ensure ongoing monitoring, making them attractive targets to threat actors. They are poorly defended yet still responsible for facilities serving large populations. Recent intrusions, including ransomware and other attacks, have demonstrated the ease with which motivated threat actors can access these networks.

The geopolitical implications of Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Emeritus Professor Paul Dibb AM

The eminent Harvard University professor of Ukrainian history, Serhii Plokhy, observed that Russia’s occupation of Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk in 2014 raised fundamental questions about Ukraine’s continuing existence as a unified state, its independence as a nation, and the democratic foundations of its political institutions.1 This created a new and dangerous situation not only in Ukraine but also in Europe as a whole. For the first time since the end of World War II, a major European power made war on a weaker neighbour and annexed part of the territory of a sovereign state. This unprovoked Russian aggression against Ukraine threatened the foundations of international order—a threat to which, he said, the EU and most of the world weren’t prepared to respond.

Two years later, Plokhy published a book called Lost kingdom: a history of Russian nationalism from Ivan the Great to Vladimir Putin 2 in which he observed—correctly, in my view—that the question of where Russia begins and ends, and who constitutes the Russian people, has preoccupied Russian thinkers for centuries. He might have added that Russia has no obvious or clear-cut geographical borders. Plokhy also stated that the current Russo-Ukrainian conflict is only the latest turn of Russian policy resulting from the Russian elite’s thinking about itself and its East Slavic neighbours as part of their joint historical and cultural space, and ultimately as the same nation. He asserts that the current conflict reprises many of the themes that have been central to political and cultural relations in the region for the previous five centuries. Those include Russia’s great-power status and influence beyond its borders; the continued relevance of religion, especially Orthodox Christianity, as defined in Russian identity and the conduct of Russian policy abroad; and, last but not least, the importance of language and culture as tools of Russian state policy in the region. Moreover, the conflict reminds the world that the formation of the modern Russian nation is still far from complete. Plokhy concludes that this threat is no less serious than the one posed in the 19th and early 20th centuries by the German question—the idea of uniting all the German lands to forge a mighty German Empire.

International Relations at the End of the Second Elizabethan Age

Martin Duffy

This writer had the pleasure of meeting the late HRH Queen Elizabeth II three times and, on each occasion, one happily acknowledges that the opportunity was not only a genuine pleasure but far more emotionally manifestative than I might have expected. Decades of diplomacy, world-class advisors attending to her 24/7, choreography fine-tuned, and a rampageous soft power all combined to make each event uniquely revelational. Several US Presidents, including Barack Obama, have commented on their nervousness awaiting a regal audience. Indeed, Sir Tony Blair confessed that when he met the Queen for the first time, as Prime Minister Elect, he was so overwrought he almost tripped on the royal carpet. Here, I will explore the three occasions on which I was lucky to meet Queen Elizabeth II and the significance of these events I bore witness to on the international scene, alongside a brief analysis of Queen Elizabeth as an internationalist and as an illustration of soft power.

My first fortunate occasion was the Queen’s first visit to Dublin in the state visit from 17 to 20 May 2011, at the invitation of the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese. It was the first by a reigning British monarch to the Republic of Ireland since the 1911 tour by the Queen’s grandfather King George V, when the entire island of Ireland was still part of the United Kingdom. The intervening period saw the 1916 proclamation of the Irish Republic during the Easter Rising against British rule. One should not under-state the monarch’s mastery of the symbolism of an Irish visit. However, only such a unique person could carry the symbolic into the realm of the genuinely reconciliatory, as she addressed her hosts in Gaelic, visited politically emotive sites such as Croke Park, and set aside decades of division and contention.

Constructing the Responsibility to Protect

Richard Illingworth

The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is a political commitment adopted by United Nations (UN) member states in 2005 to tackle four mass atrocity crimes of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing. Despite this commitment, devastating crimes which fall under the rubric of R2P continue to rise and scourge many societies (Ferguson and Carver, 2021, p.4). Ongoing and protracted atrocities, such as those committed in Syria, Yemen, and Myanmar have together claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, while leaving millions in need of emergency humanitarian assistance.

Against this backdrop, contributions like Charles T. Hunt and Phil Orchard’s edited volume, Constructing the Responsibility to Protect: Contestation and Consolidation, are very welcome. Understanding the R2P is not just a matter of scholarly interest, but a compelling moral necessity in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of current efforts to curb mass atrocity crime. This excellent volume brings together a range of key thinkers and perspectives to illuminate R2P’s meaning and status, helping readers to understand some of the key challenges to atrocity prevention. The book will naturally be of interest to R2P analysts, but also beyond this, to international relations scholars more broadly, and to students of international politics and relevant disciplines.

Work-from-anywhere as a public policy: 3 findings from the Tulsa Remote program

Prithwiraj Choudhury, Evan Starr, and Thomaz Teodorovicz

For decades, the geography of work in the United States has faced a seemingly intractable problem. On the one hand, agglomeration economies and the rise of large cities[1] have led to smaller towns experiencing stark brain drain. The loss of young and highly educated residents to larger cities has had severely detrimental effects to the local economy and local sense of community in smaller towns.[2] On the other hand, educated workers migrating from smaller towns to the larger urban clusters, often archetypal members of the “creative class”,[3] have faced separation from their hometown communities and high cost of living in dense urban centers. As Moretti[4] documents, this has led to reduced real income for college graduates migrating to large cities. In other words, while smaller towns have lost talent with no jobs to retain them, educated workers migrating to large cities have faced high cost of living and separation from their communities. In this context, the rapid rise of flexible “work-from-anywhere” (WFA) employment arrangements, where companies allow workers to relocate and live at the locations preferred by workers (Choudhury, 2020),[5] has the potential to mitigate this problem. If indeed, WFA were to become a mainstream policy across multiple organizations, smaller towns might see a flow of workers who are able to work remotely migrating from larger cities.[6] Workers migrating to cheaper locations might experience gains in real income and might also experience a stronger connection to their new communities. Sensing this, several localities across the country have rolled out programs to attract remote workers. Examples include Ascend WV in West Virginia, Remote Tucson in Arizona, and Tulsa Remote in Oklahoma.

NATO Readies Strategy To Steer Use Of Autonomy


NATO is planning to release guidance on how to use autonomous technologies by the end of the year, according to an official.

The document is in the works and headed into negotiations with allies, David van Weel, NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, told reporters on Friday.

“What we're trying to do, just like we did with the AI strategy, which is very not-NATO-like, is to make as much unclassified as we can. Because we feel it's also about creating trust with the populations and if you keep this all secret then there's not much trust to be gained,” van Weel said at the Special Competitive Studies Project’s Global Emerging Technologies Summit.

The alliance released several strategies around emerging or disruptive technology areas, including artificial intelligence and space. Van Weel said the autonomy strategy would follow similar paces as the AI strategy, accounting for moral and ethical uses. NATO is also exploring other technologies, including quantum and biotechnologies, with initial reports expected by early 2023. Other work in data exploitation and operationalizing responsible AI in defense is also underway.

Seven Key Takeaways From Ukraine's Counteroffensive


Russian troops are reeling from a successful Ukrainian counterattack which pushed them out of almost the whole of Kharkiv province in the north, as well as making gains around Kherson to the south, over the past week.

Kyiv's forces punched through Russian lines to the east of Kharkiv pushing nearly all Russian troops back across the Oskil River, in what was arguably Ukraine's biggest victory since the Kremlin's attempt to seize Kyiv was repulsed in March.

On Monday evening President Volodymyr Zelensky said his troops had recaptured about 2,320 square miles since their counteroffensive began at the start of this month, with one Ukrainian official claiming the Russians had "abandoned half their equipment" during the rout.

An analysis by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington D.C. think tank, published on Monday concluded there are seven main "takeaways" resulting from the Ukrainian offensive and the continued war more broadly.
Ukraine Troops Continue to Make Progress in Kharkiv Province

Russia May Be Unable to Withstand Ukrainian Push in Luhansk: UK


Russia is likely to mount a "stubborn defense" of the Luhansk oblast in Ukraine's east although there is doubt over whether its forces have the resources to handle a further push by Kyiv's forces, British defense officials have said.

The U.K. Ministry of Defense (MOD) said Ukraine's forces were continuing with their counteroffensive in the north-east and that Russian troops had established a defensive line between the Oskil River and the town of Svatove along the Luhansk border.

The assessment said that "any substantial loss of territory" in Luhansk will "unambiguously undermine Russia's strategy."

"Russia will likely attempt to conduct a stubborn defense of this area," the officials said, "but it is unclear whether Russia's front line forces have sufficient reserves or adequate morale to withstand another concerted Ukrainian assault."

A data-sharing approach for greater supply chain visibility

Eleftherios Iakovou and Chelsea C. White III

Amid the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising inflation, the war in Ukraine, geopolitical tensions in East Asia, and more frequent extreme weather events, manufacturing supply chains continue to struggle in bringing goods when and where they are needed. These disruptions have affected all aspects of end-to-end supply chains, producing demand shifts, supply and manufacturing capacity reductions, and coordination failures. Prior to 2020, most supply chain designs lacked the resilience needed to cope with these disruptions, and, in response, companies have tried to diversify their sourcing and increase inventories and manufacturing capacity, all of which have led to increased cost.

Now more than ever, companies need a new paradigm for cost-competitive resilience if they are to redesign supply chains while maintaining their competitive advantages. Firms are increasingly turning toward better contingency planning, improving organizational readiness and worker flexibility, automation, and building more collaborative relationships with suppliers to improve supply chain resilience. Other strategies include moving from vertically specialized to vertically integrated firm structures and trading lean supply chain designs for more decentralized network designs. By redesigning products and supply chains for greater agility, firms are creating greater opportunities for postponement and a reduced need for highly accurate demand forecasts.

Chinese Invasion of Taiwan May Be Coming Sooner Than Expected


Since United States (US) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s historic visit to Taipei last month, China has launched a series of unprecedented actions in the Taiwan Strait. If the refuelled aggression is any indication of what is to come, it is safe to assume that Beijing’s resolve to reunify Taiwan with the mainland has only strengthened. Moreover, while experts have previously claimed that this inevitability would likely come to pass in 2027, China’s recent actions suggest that it may have significantly expedited its plans.

Last year, Admiral Philip Davidson, the former head of the US Indo-Pacific Command, predicted that China would attempt to invade Taiwan in six years. Jin Canrong, a Chinese professor of international studies at the Renmin University of China, too, noted that the 2027 deadline has a very symbolic value for the Communist Party, as it marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). In fact, Xi has called on the PLA to fully modernise itself by 2027.

However, it was reported earlier this month reported that the PLA has been conducting mock drills against US warships and also preparing to prevent all warships from entering the Taiwan Strait. While the Chinese army has held exercises in the Strait for years, the future-oriented nature of the most recent iteration of drills indicates a more narrowed approach toward choking all foreign aid to the island.

Preventing the (Un)thinkable: Escalation Scenarios and Risk Reduction Measures for Russia and NATO following the War in Ukraine

The spectre of war with Russia looms large in the imagination of European and American policymakers in 2022. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has reawakened thinking in terms of risks and ‘escalation’. Since both Russia and NATO-states US, UK and France have nuclear arsenals, the nuclear threat has also returned to the forefront.

Clearly, Putin’s Russia is engaging in brinkmanship and one-sided escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, and thus the risk of escalation must therefore be taken seriously. Keeping citizens and territory safe is the task of NATO and its member-state governments. At the same time, European and American accommodation and acceptance of Russian aggression and threats are a recipe for further escalation from the Russian side and a problematic international precedent to set. Thus, NATO as a whole, and NATO-states individually, must keep a balanced position: do not cave to unacceptable threats, as accommodation is a recipe for further escalation from the Russian side.

Europe’s Energy and Resource Challenge. The Arctic Is Part of the Solution.

Marie-Anne Coninsx, Karen van Loon

The EU’s increased climate ambitions require unprecedented growth in renewable energy and a diversified supply of critical raw materials. Building long-term partnerships and investing in innovation will be vital to pave the way for a clean and secure energy future.

With energy being used as a prominent geopolitical weapon and energy prices soaring, the need for enhanced energy security and reliable resource suppliers is essential. The EU has realized it must reduce its natural resources’ dependence to ensure its prosperity, safeguard its interests, and reinforce its strategic autonomy.

Especially the European Arctic region should be taken into account when considering the role it can play as a provider of renewable energy, sustainable development, and a reliable supplier of critical raw materials. Despite the specific challenges and costs associated with its cold and vulnerable climate, the region has certain advantages over parts of the world where political instability or low environmental standards are problematic. With its available resources, expertise, and technological innovations, the Arctic, which is often called an innovative testbed and a high-tech knowledge hub, can be instrumental for the EU to realize its Green Deal objectives, end its dependence on fossil fuels, strengthen its autonomy, and ensure its prosperity.

After China Ericsson’s position as a 5G tech leader shows multinationals can overcome a post-China future

Luke Patey

It’s a c-suite mantra: to be competitive globally, companies must be competitive in China. But with a rising global market share, robust supply chain, & cutting-edge tech, Ericsson shows that life post-China might not be so bad.

In a cover story for The Wire China, Luke Patey examines the competitiveness of Ericsson in the global race for leadership in fifth-generation mobile networks. Since Sweden’s ban on China’s tech champion Huawei last year, Ericsson has lost half its market share in China. But not since 2001 has its China revenues represented over 10% of Ericsson’s total.

Telecom markets a fraction of the size, including Latin America, have long generated more revenues. Today, decoupling between China and the West brings both new risks and benefits: What is lost in China, can be gained elsewhere. Over the past decade, Ericsson generated 3 to 5 times more revenues in the United States than China. The US, not China, is Ericsson's boom market.

Not all sunshine and roses - how Russian experts view China

Roderick Kefferpütz and Yurii Poita

Moscow and Beijing have taken to calling their relationship a “friendship without limits.” Official declarations and joint statements offer important insights into the strategic thinking behind the bilateral relationship, but they can mislead by hiding grievances and concerns. Public statements by Russian foreign-policy experts and think tanks show there is more than meets the eye to effusive descriptions of the purported no-limits friendship. There are mounting worries that an embrace so warm could turn into an uncomfortable bear hug.

In line with MERICS data analysis, Russian experts consider hostility towards the US and opposition to the Western governance model the basis of Russia-China relations. Nadezhda Arbatova, Head of European Political Studies at the Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations at Russian Academy of Sciences, sees “Russian-Chinese closeness” as the result of “conflicts with the ‘collective West’”. Vasily Kashin, Director of the Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies at the HSE University, even says: “We have a common interest with China: to oppose and harm the United States.”

"Comprehensive National Security" unleashed: How Xi's approach shapes China's policies at home and abroad

Katja Drinhausen, Helena Legarda

1. Introduction

New, wider definitions of national security are emerging in many countries. However, China’s party and state leader Xi Jinping has turned national security into a goal in itself: his all-encompassing view of national security has become a core element of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) world view and governance model. Amid rising tensions with Western nations, complicated by Russia’s war in Ukraine and global supply chain problems, this paradigm heightens the risk of overreactions.

Xi’s concept of “comprehensive national security” (总体国家安全) was officially introduced in 2014 and now comprises 16 security arenas deemed essential to China’s development and the party state’s survival by keeping China domestically stable and internationally thriving. The concept is closely linked to achieving the “rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” by 2049 and has been encoded in the revised Party Constitution and various party documents and laws.1

The November 2021 “historical resolution” from the CCP Central Committee’s sixth plenum warned of unprecedented pressures from an increasingly fraught international environment that blends traditional and non-traditional threats.2 In late 2021, the Politburo also drew up a new National Security Strategy for 2021–2025.3 The document is not public but reinforces existing policies. As Xi instructed top officials of the CCP’s security and legal apparatus in January 2022: all party and state organs must improve their efforts to prevent and contain any internal and external threats to China’s national security and political system.4

Russia’s Vostok 2022 Military Drills: Not Size or Tanks, but Context

Emily Ferris and Veerle Nouwens

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are meeting today in Uzbekistan, in their first face-to-face meeting since their much-touted early February 2022 summit, which took place on the eve of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This follows Russia’s quadrennial military exercises known as Vostok (East), which took place from 1–7 September. This year, they featured units from China, India, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua and Syria, and around 50,000 personnel. Russia’s Eastern Military District (EMD) is overseeing the exercises, held mostly in the waters and coastal areas around the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan.

Analysis of Russia’s exercises tends to focus on their size – as they have been steadily expanding – the content of military hardware on display, or their joint nature with China, all of which are relevant. But the political context in which the Vostok exercises are operating is no less significant. This year, as most of Russia’s military capabilities are engaged on the Ukraine front, Vostok was not just an exercise in symbolism, but the capstone of a series of political events, cemented by Xi and Putin’s latest meeting.

US-China Signaling, Action-Reaction Dynamics, and Taiwan: A Preliminary Examination

Andrew Scobell, Ph.D.; Shao Yuqun; Carla Freeman, Ph.D.

The United States and China have found it challenging in recent years to interpret one another’s foreign policy signals vis-à-vis Taiwan. Misinterpretation of the signaling may contribute to a cycle of actions and reactions that can inadvertently elevate bilateral tensions to the point of crisis or even war in the Taiwan Strait. This report, co-authored by three USIP experts and three experts from China’s Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, examines the challenges to clear and unambiguous US-China communications over Taiwan and provides preliminary recommendations for overcoming them.

Russia–China defence and security relations: Insights from the expert community

In the defence and security realms, Russia–China relations resemble more pragmatic cooperation based on shared, calculated interests than an alliance.

This event presents and discusses key findings from a recent expert survey conducted by Chatham House with the aim to gather insights on Russia–China military, defence, and security relations.

Survey responses helped identify areas of bilateral cooperation but also crucial friction points and obstacles that prevent the relationship from developing further, as well as policy pathways for the West.

Chinese Information and Influence Warfare in Asia and the Pacific

John Lee

Executive Summary

The People’s Liberation Army’s increasingly provocative and reckless activities in and around disputed zones such as Taiwan, the Senkaku Islands, and the South China Sea constitute only one means through which Beijing seeks to change key aspects of the regional order and compel others to “accept its interests.” However, the Chinese Communist Party and PLA are already decades into China’s information and influence war, which is designed to either weaken the will and capabilities of the United States and its allies should military conflict break out or, even better, eliminate the need for China to use military force to achieve its primary objectives (i.e., to “win without fighting”). In this context, the PLA is several steps ahead of the West; whereas Western analysts observe that the PLA is operating in the “grey zone,” the PLA is instead redefining and expanding this grey zone by manipulating how other countries think about it.

With respect to this so-called grey zone, a cost-benefit analysis encompassing both objective and subjective elements typically determines an entity’s decision to respond with military force. For example, crafting narratives about the PLA’s military superiority, elite capture, ability to foment disunity within a target country, or normalization of coercion raises the West’s threshold of what provocations demand a military response—thereby expanding the grey zone within which the PLA and CCP are allowed to operate. Thus, Beijing is well ahead of the US and its allies in conceptualizing and operationalizing the use of military actions other than (kinetic) war to achieve political or strategic objectives.

Earth to DoD: The Military Needs More Rockets, Missiles, and Bombs

Mackenzie Eaglen

Despite repeated assurances from Pentagon leaders that US military munitions, ammo, missiles, bombs, and rocket stockpiles are adequate, Congress is rightly worried. Across the defense bills moving on Capitol Hill are more funds for each of these priorities—wherever industry could absorb the added dollars.

Congress’ triage is extremely helpful to meet the moment, but Pentagon planners must lock in long-term contracts to beef up all of these inventories for the medium term. Not just because of what the US is sharing with Ukraine—but because of our own brittle stockpiles and industrial base.

Industry leaders have been clamoring since early spring to tell defense officials they need long-term contracts signed now to ramp up factories and workforces that were shuttered long ago.

Just take the Javelin as an example. Earlier this year, Lockheed CEO Jim Taiclet said his company, along with Raytheon, makes the anti-tank missile. The current capacity is for these firms to build 2,100 Javelins per year, with a goal of 4,000 annually. This near-doubling of output is going to take a “couple of years” to achieve because the supply chain must be cranked up, Taiclet told CBS’s Margaret Brennan.