6 October 2022

The Long Road To A Peace Deal Between Russia And Ukraine

Robert Farley

With the illegal and unrecognized annexation of four Ukrainian territories yesterday morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin attempted to set the terms for negotiations to end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky quickly responded in the negative to Putin’s riposte, suggesting that he did not intend to negotiate with Russia for as long as Putin remained President. While the prospects for negotiations in the near term between the two countries do not look great, it’s nevertheless worthwhile to examine the points on which Moscow, Kyiv, and the rest of the international community will discuss when talks resume.

Territorial Concessions

The first and most significant problem for negotiations involves the control of territory. At the moment, there are four kinds of disputed territory in Ukraine: 1) territory occupied by Russia but not yet annexed, 2) territory occupied by Russia and annexed today, 3) territory annexed by Russia today but occupied by Ukraine, and 4) territory annexed or occupied by Russia in 2014. Ukraine wants all of this territory back and Russia will be reluctant to cede any but category 1.

Reinforcing Failure in Ukraine

Douglas Macgregor

In an open letter entitled “U.S. must arm Ukraine now, before it’s too late” 20 notable American advocates for the war against Russia in Ukraine argue that the conflict has reached a decisive moment. To win, the authors insist, Ukrainian forces need an abundance of new equipment, including the constant resupply of ammunition and spare parts for artillery platforms, short- and medium-range air defense systems to counter Russian air and missile strikes, and ATACMS munitions fired by HIMARS with the 300km range necessary to strike Russian military targets anywhere in Ukraine or Crimea.

Meanwhile, the initial flood of equipment and ammunition from Washington’s European Allies into Ukraine has been reduced to a trickle. Daniel Fiott, a European defense analyst at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, complained, “Ukraine needs hardware, not hot air.” Equally important, refugee fatigue is setting in across Europe.

Germans and Hungarians lost their patience with the unrelenting influx of refugees into Europe some time ago, but now the Poles are reaching the saturation point. Polish households confront serious economic headwinds. Poland has one of Europe’s highest inflation rates—15.6 percent in July—caused in part by the war in Ukraine. As conditions worsen in the fall and winter, it is not hard to imagine enormous public pressure on Berlin, Warsaw, Prague, Paris, and Rome to end the war in Ukraine.

The US and EU are splitting on tech policy. That’s putting the web at risk.

Ben Brody

Cédric O, France’s former minister of state for digital, has been an advocate of Europe’s approach to tech and at the forefront of the continent’s relations with U.S. giants. Protocol caught up with O last week at a conference in New York focusing on social media’s negative effects on society and the possibilities of blockchain-based protocols for alternative networks.

O said watching the U.S. lag in tech policy — even as some states pass their own measures and federal bills gain momentum — has made him worry about the EU and U.S. decoupling. While not as drastic as a disentangling of economic fortunes between the West and China, such a divergence, as O describes it, could still make it functionally impossible for companies to serve users on both sides of the Atlantic with the same product.

He also weighed in on whether the risk of decoupling would slow Europe down in its regulation, what might be next in the EU, the continent’s confusion in the face of U.S. state laws, the importance of democracy, and, of course, the possibilities of Web3.

The Taliban Are Planning Their Move On Central Asia

Michael Rubin

Throughout the two-decade U.S. war in Afghanistan, the Kremlin played a double game. President Vladimir Putin did not want the United States to win for that would humiliate Russia that, as the Soviet Union, lost a brutal war in Afghanistan. He also did not want the United States to lose, for that could mean the empowerment of the Taliban and the export of its extremism into the former Soviet states of Central Asia. This led to contradictions in which Russia leveraged its influence to expel the United States from Central Asian bases and cultivated the Taliban while simultaneously facilitating logistical routes across Russian territory to keep the American war going. As far as the Russians were concerned, the ideal scenario was for both the United States and Taliban to bleed each other dry into perpetuity.

President Joe Biden transformed that Russian dream into a nightmare when he ordered a complete U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The promise of maintaining over-the-horizon counter-terror threat was flawed at best. While Biden deserves credit for ordering the strike on Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri (especially after having opposed the operation to kill Usama Bin Laden), the cost of that intelligence came at a high price: Pakistan sold out one terror leader in order to win immunity for many others and win White House support for advanced arms sales. Meanwhile, the theory that the United States could maintain diplomatic leverage over the Taliban while having no presence in Afghanistan fell flat. The trips by U.S. envoy Thomas West to the region are essentially expensive junkets; the Taliban simply see no reason to take him seriously.

Putin’s Roulette Sacrificing His Core Supporters in a Race Against Defeat

Andrei Kolesnikov

At least since Soviet times, Russians have used dark humor to cope with dictatorship. Perhaps it is not surprising, then, that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s partial mobilization has already been colloquially dubbed the mogilizatsia, a wordplay on mobilizatsia, the Russian word for “mobilization,” and mogila, the word for “grave.” What is more, in practice, this move-to-the-graveyard is proving to be far from partial. Despite assurances by Putin and his defense minister that the draft would be limited to 300,000 people, primarily military reservists who had already served in the army and in conflict zones, Russians have already witnessed the forced conscription of men of all ages across the country. The mobilization has turned out to be almost general.

Even the most committed supporters of Putin and the regime can see that the Kremlin is aiming at a much higher figure: likely more than a million men, although Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has denied that. Such a figure would effectively double the size of the existing army, meaning that a total of two million people would be in uniform. (Although uniforms, like medicines, have become difficult to acquire: those who are mobilized are forced to buy their own uniforms and outfit themselves with first-aid kits.) Much depends, of course, on the administrative zeal of the authorities running regional recruitment offices, which, in many regions, are targeting all male citizens regardless of age or military rank or experience.

How the War in Ukraine Might End

Keith Gessen

Hein Goemans grew up in Amsterdam in the nineteen-sixties and seventies, surrounded by stories and memories of the Second World War. His father was Jewish and had hidden “under the floorboards,” as he put it, during the Nazi occupation. When Goemans came to the United States to study international relations, he recalled being asked in one class about his most formative personal experience of international relations. He said that it was the Second World War. The other students objected that this wasn’t personal enough. But it was very personal for Goemans. He recalled attending a commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of the liberation of Amsterdam by Canadian forces, in May of 1985. Many of the Canadian soldiers who took part in the liberation were still alive, and they re-created the arrival of Canadian troops to liberate the city. Goemans remembers thinking that the people of Amsterdam would be too blasé to attend the commemoration, and being moved that he was wrong. “The entire city was packed with people by the roadside,” he told me recently. “I was really surprised at how deeply it was felt.”

Goemans, who now teaches political science at the University of Rochester, wrote his dissertation on war-termination theory—that is, the study of how wars end. A great deal of work, Goemans learned, had been done on how wars start, but very little on how they might conclude. There were, perhaps, historical reasons for this oversight: the nuclear armament of the United States and the Soviet Union meant that a war between them could end human civilization; not just some dying, but the death of everything. The study of war during the Cold War thus gave rise to a rich vocabulary about deterrence: direct deterrence, extended deterrence, deterrence by punishment, deterrence by denial. But the Cold War ended, and wars kept happening. Goemans saw an opportunity for an intellectual intervention.

The surprising realpolitik of the new Haqqani network


Very strange things have been happening between the Taliban and the US ever since an American drone killed Al Qaeda chief Ayman Al Zawahiri last July in a Kabul house, which reportedly belonged to the top aide of Sirajuddin Haqqani, a Taliban minister and a leader in the Haqqani network, a powerful faction within the Taliban movement.

Instead of escalating tensions, we saw two diplomatic breakthroughs. Meanwhile, Taliban forces have clashed with Pakistan on the border. And as this has been happening, Mr Haqqani has publicly reached out to India, despite the fact that his network’s suicide bombers had repeatedly struck New Delhi’s Afghan embassy in the past.

For a decade and a half, the Haqqanis have been portrayed in the US and India as little more than an exceptionally violent proxy for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the military's primary intelligence agency, with a side mission of supporting global jihad. But recent events validate the vast amounts of evidence painstakingly assembled by scholars, analysts and journalists over the years, which charts the Haqqanis’ extraordinary rise from obscurity to infamy, and now perhaps respectability in some quarters. This data convincingly demonstrates that the Haqqanis have never been subservient; instead they have fiercely guarded their strategic autonomy by cultivating alliances with a range of players who are often enemies with each other.

Cyber Espionage and Information Warfare in Russia

John A. Farinelli

Where Russia may fall behind other countries around the world regarding military capabilities and combat resources, Russia’s continued cyber espionage and information warfare campaign has been developed to balance out power with the rest of the world. This technological battle, which is usually conducted remotely, without a spy ever leaving their home country (Terry, 2018) has become the future of warfare.

Russian cyber espionage and information warfare is a lasting method of thinking from the Soviet time of rule, as Soviet leaders understood the value of information and the power of influence (Cunningham, 2020). After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the methodology behind cyber espionage and information warfare in Russia evolved from a method to achieve political objectives to a modern way to plant seeds of doubt and distrust, confusion, distraction, polarization, and demoralization on their targets of attack (Porotsky, 2019). In addition to the Soviet way of thinking, Russia has developed strong methods of cyber espionage and information warfare out of necessity: as a way of protection. Due to their expansive border and lack of natural geographic barriers they have on their southern and western borders, these tactics were developed as geographical defenses in substitute of physical barriers.

While Russia’s history of cyber espionage and information warfare began relatively recently, their effects have not gone unnoticed by the United States and the rest of the world. Russia’s attacks on the United States began in 1996 with the Moonlight Maze attack. This was categorized as the first nation state sponsored cyber espionage campaigns and this effort involved the theft of classified information from the Department of Energy, NASA, the Department of Defense, defense contractors, and private sector entities. This initial attack badly compromised national security capabilities, strategies, and interests in the United States (Westby, 2020).

Stephen Kiefer: New BMH CEO under attack. Why?

Dr. Stephen Kiefer, MD

The following are solely my own views and opinions. I am a retired physician who practiced approximately 30 years at Blount Memorial Hospital as well as in the Knoxville hospitals. I’m currently serving my third three-year BMH Board of Directors term having no intention of opting for a fourth term. My political aspirations are zero. I plan on continuing spending much of my time in voluntary community services. I hope the following offers some objective clarification to the citizens of Blount County.

The appointment of Blount Memorial Hospital’s new CEO Dr. Harold Naramore has precipitated striking public criticism, in large part directed at BMH Board of Directors. Here are the facts as best I know them. It is no secret that the hospital has encountered financial distress over the last 15 months in large measure due to the COVID pandemic: taking care of a sicker, more costly resource-consuming patient population, decreased utilization (and thus revenues) by the non-COVID population, a bear stock market hammering our investment fund, all the while experiencing the universal staffing shortages that necessitated using many high-cost contract health care workers. A new direction was needed to survive as a health care organization. We are not alone in this predicament as over half the hospitals in the U.S. have experienced significant financial losses over the last year. Some have closed. Many surviving are reorganizing to become better financially viable.

For a Lasting Peace, Europe Must Embrace Russia


Russia, a great power inhabited by a great people, now stands humiliated on the world stage. Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is a crime against peace, and his conduct of that war is a crime against humanity. Putin may be adept at poisoning opponents and jailing dissenters, but his army cannot refuel tanks or fight at night. Having failed to conquer Ukraine in a swift coup de main, Russia turned to bombing hospitals and daycare centers in a failed effort to terrorize the indomitable Ukrainian population. Putin’s aggression has been rendered impotent by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a Churchill in an OD green t-shirt.

Putin’s personal humiliation may be well deserved, but a humiliated Russia is a grave threat to international peace and security. A vision of a better peace in Europe is now more essential than ever before—not merely a ceasefire or an end to atrocities and occupation, but a just and therefore enduring political order. The United States, still the indispensable nation, must lead the West in shaping that peace. That peace cannot include Vladimir Putin or the generals who committed war crimes in his name and under his orders. However, that peace must include Russia. When the Soviet Union justly disintegrated, President George H.W. Bush envisioned “Europe whole and free and at peace.” That vision is as vital today as it was 30 years ago. Russia is a European nation, and peace in Europe must embrace Russia as vital a part of Europe.

U.S. opens door to new weapons, training for Ukraine

Olivier Knox

Welcome to The Daily 202! Tell your friends to sign up here. Via the Associated Press: On this day in 1927, the image and voice of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover were transmitted live from Washington to New York in the first successful long-distance demonstration of television.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has opened the door to giving Ukrainians fighting invading Russian soldiers “larger, more sophisticated” weapons than what America and its allies have provided to date, as well as training on how to use them, a potential deepening of the U.S. involvement in the war.

Blinken’s comments came Wednesday in response to a question from Deutsche Welle in a roundtable interview facilitated by the State Department’s Russian-language Telegram channel as he traveled in Belgium.

They also followed a series of seemingly contradictory or muddled statements from top U.S. officials over the past two weeks about whether America is currently training Ukrainians, even as it advertises giving them military hardware to kill Russian tanks and planes. U.S. forces trained Ukrainians in the years after Russia’s invasion in 2014, but officials have said those programs stopped in the run up to the Feb. 24 escalation.
“What we’re focused on is making sure that we get to Ukraine the systems that they can use now and use effectively,” Blinken said. “At the same time, we’re looking at other systems — some of them larger, more sophisticated — that may be useful and important going forward.”


Alex Hollings

The first successful test was of a Northrop Grumman design that took place last Fall, while the second, more recent test leveraged a Lockheed Martin scramjet. This is an important point, as it seems to suggest that the United States now has at least two functional scramjet designs for weapons applications. Although the US is regularly seen as behind in the modern hypersonic arms race, this announcement may suggest that the US now leads the way in the race to field scramjet-powered hypersonic cruise missiles.

Hypersonic may sound like a term invented for a kid’s TV show about superheroes, but it relates specifically to platforms capable of traveling at speeds in excess of Mach 5, or around 3,838 miles per hour. At such high speeds, even the most modern air defense systems in the world pose little threat to these weapons as they close with their targets.
No nation has hypersonic scramjet cruise missiles yet, but America now may be the front runner

Lockheed Martin artist rendering

The United States has tested scramjet-powered hypersonic cruise missiles at least eight times since 2010, with four total or partial successes, one total failure, and two tests that ended due to problems with systems that were unrelated to the scramjet itself (namely a surrogate booster failure in 2010 and a control fin failure in 2012). The US has tested scramjet systems only three times since 2013, with one failure in 2020 and two subsequent successes in 2021 and this year.

These systems represent the most advanced hypersonic missile technology in the world. The only other nation with a publicly disclosed scramjet-powered cruise missile effort at this point is Russia, with its 3M22 Zircon. Russian state media reported successful testing of Zircon in 2021, though how this program will be affected by the severe sanctions and penalties levied on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine remains to be seen.

Hypersonic flight is not a new thing, despite its recent launch into the limelight. Even the Nazi V-2 rocket could break the Mach 5 barrier, and the U.S. even had a hypersonic bomber program in the works before the Soviets launched Sputnik. What has changed, however, is the ability to control flight at this rate of speed to a high degree of accuracy through onboard hardware and advanced software.

Modern hypersonic weapons come in two forms: scramjet-powered cruise missiles and hypersonic boost-glide vehicles, also known as Hypersonic Glide Vehicles, or HGVs. To date, the only hypersonic weapons in service for any nation belong to the latter category; hypersonic boost-glide vehicles.

Hypersonic cruise missiles are completely different than boost-glide weapons and are really lumped into the same “hypersonic” category simply because they travel at extremely high speeds and can maneuver.

They rely on an advanced propulsion system called a scramjet for powered flight, rather than gliding at high speeds from high altitudes like a boost-glide vehicle. A scramjet, or supersonic combusting ramjet, is a variation of tried and true ramjet technology that allows combustion to take place with supersonic airflow. Because scramjets are really only efficient at high speeds, these missiles are often deployed from fast-moving aircraft or rely on a different form of propulsion to get them to these speeds.

From there, hypersonic cruise missiles operate much like traditional cruise missiles–at least in theory. In practice, these platforms are far more difficult and expensive to build than traditional cruise missiles.

Render of a HACM missile being fired by a B-52 created by Alex Hollings using DoD images.

Scramjet technology has been such a challenging nut to crack in large part because of how tough it is to keep combustion lit with air flowing through the engine at Mach speeds. The nature of this challenge has been described as “trying to keep a candle lit in a hurricane.”

In the fight against Putin, Senate unanimously approves measure that once helped beat Hitler


The Senate unanimously passed major legislation late Wednesday to revive a World War II-era program allowing President Joe Biden to more efficiently send weapons and other supplies to Ukraine amid Russia’s bloody invasion.

Senators quickly rallied behind the proposal, known as Lend-Lease, as Ukraine’s military proved it could fend off Russian troops who have been shelling Ukrainian cities and towns since late February. The Lend-Lease program created during World War II was seen as a game-changer in the conflict, as it allowed the U.S. to quickly resupply the Allies without time-consuming procedural hurdles.

Lawmakers are resorting to extraordinary tactics last used during the most significant global conflict of the 20th century — yet another sign that the U.S. and its allies in Europe believe Russia’s invasion presents an existential threat to liberal order.

‘Where Is the Line Where Immoral Becomes Evil?’

Ellen Cushing

Adrienne LaFrance: I want to start by going back, specifically to the start of Rappler.

Maria Ressa: You were the first American reporter to write about Rappler, in 2012.

LaFrance: We go way back. And when we talked all those years ago, I remember your preoccupation with emotional contagion. I remember you saying something to me to the effect of, “We need to create informational environments where people can be rational and not just emotional.” That was 10 years ago. Here we are now. When you think back to what your dreams were for Rappler when you started, what’s your primary observation about what’s changed other than it’s gotten worse? And do you still feel like rationality over emotionality is the core mission? Is it enough?

Ressa: Oh my God, there’s three things that are there, right? Right off the top. So we came out with a mood meter and a mood navigator a few years before Facebook did the emoji reactions. But the reason for the mood meter was because I wanted to see how a story impacted our society emotionally, right? And it was actually used by several universities to look at sharing—you know, how people share online—and it’s based on valence, arousal, and dominance.

Zelenskyy wants Ukraine to be ‘a big Israel.’ Here’s a road map.

Daniel B. Shapiro

Gone, he said, are hopes for “an absolutely liberal” state—replaced by the likely reality of armed defense forces patrolling movie theaters and supermarkets. “I’m confident that our security will be the number-one issue over the next ten years,” Zelenskyy added.

With Russian forces having withdrawn from around Kyiv, suggesting that Ukraine successfully repulsed the first phase of the Kremlin’s invasion, the time is right for Zelenskyy to contemplate how to prepare for the next—and potentially much longer—phase of this conflict.

But what does he mean by “a big Israel”? With a population more than four times smaller, and vastly less territory, the Jewish state might not seem like the most fitting comparison. Yet consider the regional security threats it faces, as well as its highly mobilized population: The two embattled countries share more than you might think.

Putin Is Trying to Outcrazy the West

Thomas L. Friedman

With his annexation of parts of Ukraine on Friday, Vladimir Putin has set in motion forces that are turning Russia into a giant North Korea. It will be a paranoid, angry, isolated state, but unlike North Korea, the Russian version will be spread over 11 time zones — from the Arctic Sea to the Black Sea and from the edge of free Europe to the edge of Alaska — with thousands of nuclear warheads.

I have known a Russia that was strong, menacing, but stable — called the Soviet Union. I have known a Russia that was hopeful, potentially transitioning to democracy under Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin and even the younger Putin. I have known a Russia that was a “bad boy” under an older Putin, hacking America, poisoning opposition figures, but still a stable, reliable oil exporter and occasional security partner with the U.S. when we needed Moscow’s help in a pinch.

But none of us have ever known the Russia that a now desperate, back-against-the-wall Putin seems hellbent on delivering — a pariah Russia; a big, humiliated Russia; a Russia that has sent many of its most talented engineers, programmers and scientists fleeing through any exit they can find. This would be a Russia that has already lost so many trading partners that it can survive only as an oil and natural gas colony of China, a Russia that is a failed state, spewing out instability from every pore.

How Open-Source Data Got the Russia-Ukraine War Right

Jakub Janovský

Since Russia began its unprovoked war on Ukraine on Feb. 24, images of Ukrainian farmers pulling destroyed or abandoned Russian military hardware with their tractors have captivated followers on social media. The resilience and tenacity of Ukrainians in their David and Goliath fight against Russia has endeared governments and civilians alike in an unprecedented and coordinated display of support for Ukraine.

These and similar images are one type of open-source intelligence, or OSINT, that are increasingly used by intelligence analysts, investigators and journalists to track and trace what is happening on the ground in real time. OSINT includes any publicly available source, much of which can be found online on social media platforms and in videos, webinars and speeches as well as tools such as satellite imagery that can be used in combination to triangulate data and verify facts.

Since the war began in Syria, the field of OSINT has evolved from being a niche interest of online amateur sleuths on the fringes to a mainstream method of investigation and research. Thanks to OSINT, the scale of Russia’s troop build-up on Ukraine’s borders and details about the type of military hardware it was using was known months before the invasion. Since then, data has been collected for a range of categories including materiel losses, targets, casualties and potential war crimes as well as the quality and quantity of equipment and supplies on both sides.

Biden’s Chance to Restore American Dignity in Iran

Reuel Marc Gerecht and Ray Takeyh

The Islamic Republic’s impasse has once more exploded in the streets. The triggering event was the killing of Mahsa Amini by Iran’s morality police last month. But the tension—the rot in the Islamic system depressing the country—lies much deeper. For the clerical regime, it’s an insoluble predicament.

Among the casualties of this uprising may be the White House’s desperate quest to restore Barack Obama’s nuclear deal. Even before the streets erupted, Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, wasn’t biting at the new agreement proffered in Vienna this summer. When beset by regime-shaking domestic discontent, Iran’s theocracy tends to scorn diplomatic mediation. Repression at home produces truculence abroad.

One of the persistent problems with American policy toward Iran has been mirror-imaging. The Islamic Republic’s foreign minister, Hussein Amir-Abdollahian, revealed that Tehran had received word from the Biden administration, after the protests had started, that it remains committed to reviving the nuclear deal—that the “will and goodwill” to do so remain.

Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School National Cyber Power Index 2022

Julia Voo, Irfan Hemani, Daniel Cassidy

The Belfer Center’s mission is to provide leadership to advance critical policy-relevant knowledge of important international security issues. The release of the National Cyber Power Index in 2022 does just that. Over the past two years, the NCPI has catalysed conversations and debate between policymakers, academia, and industry on the concept of cyber power and how states are and can further harness their capabilities to enhance their overall ability to achieve national objectives.

Harnessing a state’s cyber power requires a whole-of-nation approach. National governments should not just be concerned about destructive operations, espionage, or enhancing its cyber resilience, but also other state’s efforts at surveillance, information control, technology competition, financial motivations, and shaping what is acceptable and possible through norms and standards.

Japan as the third global military power Japan is building its military to new heights, but will ‘Bilateralism Plus’ have it taking up global security responsibilities?

Andrew Salerno-Garthwaite

If Japan fulfils its budget goals in the next five years the nation will go from the fifth or seventh strongest military power – in terms of firepower or defence spending respectively – to third in the world after the US and China.

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Japan’s defence expenditure is anticipated to increase from $53.1bn next year to $70.4bn in 2027, reflecting a compound annual growth rate of 7.3%, according to GlobalData.

After the Cold War, Japan maintained a ‘dual hedge’, encouraging relationships with both China and the US to preserve its own autonomy. Under the post-WWII Yoshida doctrine, Japan relied primarily on the US for defence and economic support with a limited allowance to grow its own military power, capping its military spending at 1% of GDP.

Out of Control How China outmanoeuvred the Modi government and seized control of territory along the LAC


FOR THE FIRST TIME in forty-five years, on 15 June 2020, India and China recorded the death of Indian soldiers on the Line of Actual Control—the contested border between the two countries, which stretches from the Karakoram Pass in the west to Myanmar in the east. The deaths occurred in the Galwan Valley, in Ladakh, and these were the first military casualties in the territory since the 1962 Sino-India War. The full details of the incident are shrouded in ambiguity, but it involved Chinese soldiers pitching tents around the Galwan Valley and their forceful eviction by the Indian Army—there is little clarity on whether China’s People’s Liberation Army had agreed to abandon these positions. This led to a clash which claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers and at least four PLA soldiers. More than seventy Indian soldiers were injured while nearly a hundred more, including some officers, were taken captive by the Chinese. No Chinese soldier was in Indian captivity. “We were taken by surprise by how well prepared they were for the clash,” a top officer at the army headquarters in Delhi, who was part of the decision-making in the Ladakh crisis, told me.

The LAC has neither been delineated on the map nor demarcated on the ground by either side. The last attempt to do so failed nearly two decades ago. The difference in the two sides’ understanding of it is so vast that New Delhi claims the border between the two countries is 3,488 kilometres long while China says it is only around two thousand. It is the world’s longest disputed border. As the two countries do not agree on where the “actual control” exercised by either side ends, both are engaged in an uncompromising contest of asserting control over small parcels of land in a desolate Himalayan wasteland. The demonstration of territorial claims can take several forms, including soldiers patrolling up to certain points, building infrastructure along the border and controlling the limits to which people in border villages are allowed to graze their animals. The unforgiving terrain and harsh weather have not dissuaded India and China from deploying around fifty thousand additional soldiers each on the 832-kilometre LAC in Ladakh since the summer of 2020.

Xi Jinping’s Quest for Order Security at Home, Influence Abroad

Sheena Chestnut Greitens

In April 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a speech on foreign policy at the Boao Forum for Asia, an annual conference of business executives and world leaders in Hainan Province. In it, he proposed what he called Quanqiu Anquan Changyi, or the Global Security Initiative (GSI), which he framed as “promoting the common security of the world.” Xi offered few details of how the initiative might be put into practice, however, and with Western governments intensely focused on Russia’s unfolding war in Ukraine, the speech did not receive much attention.

But the speech was hardly insignificant. As Chinese diplomats and analysts close to the government have made clear in the months since, the GSI marks a significant shift in Chinese foreign policy. It directly challenges the role of U.S. alliances and partnerships in global security and seeks to revise global security governance to make it more compatible with the regime security interests of the Chinese Communist Party.

How Joe Biden's Lend-Lease for Ukraine Could Turn the Tide of War


The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a measure on Wednesday that could potentially turn the tide of the war between Russia and Ukraine in Ukraine's favor.

Senators passed the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022 that will grant President Joe Biden more authority to provide the Ukrainian government with defensive equipment and allow him to overcome bureaucratic barriers.

The bill is designed to remove obstacles to providing military equipment to Ukraine and, if passed by the House of Representatives and signed by Biden, it would effectively allow the U.S. to gift equipment to Ukraine, while technically requiring payment at a later date.

That could be a major help to the country as military equipment could essentially be supplied free of charge for the duration of the conflict.

How Western Errors Let the Taliban Win in Afghanistan

Stefano Pontecorvo

At 6:21 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, NATO’s Afghan adventure formally ended. At that moment, the Italian C-130 on which I was flying as the last representative of the Atlantic Alliance to leave the country crossed the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. For the first time in 20 years, Afghanistan was without a NATO presence.

We had left behind just under 7,000 U.S. and British soldiers, under national command, who would soon withdraw after having destroyed all the sensitive material left at Kabul’s airport, following the chaotic evacuation of Afghan personnel. We left the country and left it badly—in the hands of the same Taliban we had thrown out of power in just a few weeks 20 years earlier. And we left a country that had believed in us, condemning Afghans once again to a very different future from the one we had given them a glimpse of.

The Ukraine conflict and the problems of conflict termination

Chris Tuck

Ukrainian and Russian officials are, at the time of writing, meeting in Turkey to seek a breakthrough that would lead to an end to the fighting in Ukraine. This is the latest in a succession of negotiations that so far has failed to lead to any decisive results. In many respects this should not be surprising. Wars are much easier to start than they are to stop. This might seem odd – one might assume that states begin wars as a result of a rational calculation on the costs and benefits of doing so; and when the costs turn out to exceed the benefits, it would be equally rational to halt the fighting as quickly as possible. For Ukraine, the war has wrought huge destruction and suffering. In the case of Vladimir Putin, it is clear that the war that he began in Ukraine has turned out to be significantly more costly than he assumed, and the anticipated gains elusive. An early end to the fighting would seem beneficial to both sides.

The Ukraine conflict demonstrates, however, that this sort of rationality often has little bearing on the prospects for peace, and we should not, therefore, expect a significant political breakthrough in negotiations any time soon. Why is this? Evidence from the past shows that there are usually a range of common obstacles to the termination of armed conflicts. These obstacles can be understood in terms of four key issues: is war working; is there a peace to make; are the costs of peace too high; and can peace be sold to those constituencies that matter? These questions reveal complicated dynamics in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.