11 October 2022

Fred Fleitz to Newsmax: Russian Cyberattack Could Threaten National Security

Sandy Fitzgerald

A Russia-based cyberattack on the United States would pose a "significant threat to national security," but it's not clear from past events that the government has taken enough steps to protect the country, Fred Fleitz, the vice-chair of the America First Policy Institute Center for American Security, said Thursday on Newsmax.

"I hope that there are very loud alarm bells both in private industry and by the U.S. government about these threats right now," Fleitz, a Newsmax contributor and former chief of staff to the National Security Council, commented on Newsmax's "John Bachman Now" in response to a Coast Guard warning that a cybercriminal group targeting infrastructure in Europe is also threatening the United States.

But even though this is not the first such threat, as "the Russians have a very robust cyberwarfare capability, and we know that they have preplanned attempts to attack U.S. infrastructure," said Fleitz.

What the West is still getting wrong about the rise of Xi Jinping

Fareed Zakaria

One of the few issues on which there is a consensus in Washington these days is that U.S. policy toward China was built on an intellectual error. Liberals and conservatives alike believed that Beijing’s embrace of free markets and its integration with the global economy would fundamentally change China. But they didn’t, and (so the consensus goes) we should recognize that this was a naive belief in the power of markets and trade.

In fact, viewing China on the eve of the pivotal 20th Party Congress, I am struck by how little that line of analysis captures what has actually happened in China over the past decades. China has gone through profound economic and social changes. Its per capita GDP has gone up almost thirtyfold since the start of economic liberalization in 1978. Mass education and urbanization have changed the face of the country. Hundreds of millions Chinese are now middle class, use the most cutting-edge tools of the information revolution and have considerable freedom to own property, start businesses and change their places of residence, all previously forbidden.

It is precisely in response to these massive changes that Xi Jinping has launched his program of repression and centralization. When Xi came to power in 2012, he determined that economic liberalization was actually transforming China profoundly — in a bad way. He believed that the Communist Party was on the verge of becoming irrelevant in a society dominated by capitalism and consumerism. So he cracked down in every sphere imaginable — attacking the private sector, humiliating billionaires, reviving Communist ideology, purging the party of corrupt officials and ramping up nationalism (mostly anti-Western) in both word and deed.

The Fight to Cut Off the Crypto Fueling Russia’s Ukraine Invasion


AS RUSSIAN TROOPS have flooded into Ukraine’s borders for the past eight months—and with an ongoing mobilization of hundreds of thousands more underway—the Western world has taken drastic measures to cut the economic ties that fuel Russia’s invasion and occupation. But even as those global sanctions have carefully excised Russia from global commerce, millions of dollars have continued to flow directly to Russian military and paramilitary groups in a form that’s proven harder to control: cryptocurrency.

Since Russia launched its full-blown invasion of Ukraine in February, at least $4 million worth of cryptocurrency has been collected by groups supporting Russia’s military in Ukraine, researchers have found. According to analyses by cryptocurrency-tracing firms Chainalysis, Elliptic, and TRM Labs, as well as investigators at Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, recipients include paramilitary groups offering ammunition and equipment, military contractors, and weapons manufacturers. That flow of funds, often to officially sanctioned groups, shows no sign of abating and may even be accelerating: Chainalysis traced roughly $1.8 million in funding to the Russian military groups in just the past two months, nearly matching the $2.2 million it found the groups received in the five months prior. And despite the ability to trace those funds, freezing or blocking them has proven difficult, due largely to unregulated or sanctioned cryptocurrency exchanges—most of them based in Russia—cashing out millions in donations earmarked for invaders.

How Should We Quickly Replace Downed Satellites?


For many years, there has been a debate within the space community about how best to rapidly deploy satellites in a time of need. Should they wait on the ground to be rapidly launched when called upon, or stored in orbit, waiting to be rapidly activated? The answer has become clear: both.

Russia and especially China have invested heavily in antisatellite weaponry: missiles, directed energy, co-orbiting weapons, cyber, and more. To keep U.S. and allied constellations up and running during a conflict will take several lines of effort: maneuverability, cyber hardness, networked architectures, as well as multi-layered defenses involving spacecraft deployed in multiple orbits.

Just as important is the ability to rapidly replace satellites that have been taken out of the fight. The speed of future combat means there are only two ways to do this quickly enough: have spares in orbit or ready to launch on the ground. The rapid-launch option has several advantages. The launch costs are largely deferred until required. Unlike spares on orbit, satellites can be stored indefinitely and even updated with new technology. And satellites on the ground aren’t in the wrong orbits. But no satellite on the ground can be thrown into the fight as quickly as one that is already in space.

Army Climate Plan Relies on Technology That Doesn’t Exist Yet


The Defense Department could “build a fortress” with all of the reports it has released making statements on climate change without actually implementing anything, Army climate expert Sharon Burke said Thursday. The Army’s Climate Strategy Implementation Plan, released this week, aims to change that.

The implementation plan complements the service’s climate strategy plan, released in February, that called for electric vehicles, microgrids, and more. But it contained no cost estimates, either for the individual programs or the effort as a whole. (“The funding is going to be a moving target,” Paul Farnan, the Army’s principal deputy assistant secretary for installations, energy, and environment, said in February. “This is a strategy that lays out steps…a lot in the coming decade, and even some beyond the next decade.”)

Now, the implementation plan seems to have all the bells and whistles—like a budget. It lays out three lines of effort: installations, acquisition and logistics, and training. Almost half of its pages are made up of a detailed list of goals with deadlines reaching well into the future.

About those nuclear threats by Russia

As Russia’s military forces lose ground in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has escalated his threats to use nuclear weapons. The United States, he said Friday, had “created a precedent” in 1945 by dropping atomic bombs on imperial Japan to force its surrender. Russia, warned Mr. Putin, will defend “our land” – which he now claims includes eastern Ukraine – “with all the forces and resources we have.”

The U.S. takes these threats seriously, promising “catastrophic consequences” for Russia as a deterrent. Yet the fact remains that ever since Russia began to lose the war soon after its invasion in February, it has not used a nuclear weapon or even prepared them for battlefield use.

One reason is that the world has rejected the 1945 “precedent” and created a strong taboo against the use of nuclear weapons. A global norm to protect innocent civilians from weapons of mass destruction has held pretty well. Even within Russia, “it is still a taboo ... to cross that threshold,” Dara Massicot, a former Pentagon analyst of the Russian military, told The Associated Press.

Starving The Terrorists Of Cash – OpEd

Neville Teller

It was as far back as October 2021 that Israel accused six Palestinian civil society groups of funneling donor aid to militants, in particular the PLFP (the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), and consequently designated them terrorist organizations. On August 18 Israel’s defense minister, Benny Gantz, repeated Israel’s claim that the designated NGOs operated undercover to serve the PFLP. maintaining that “they also assist in raising funds for the terrorist organization via a variety of methods that include forgery and fraud.”

The next day Israel’s security forces closed down seven Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the West Bank. The reason given was that those particular NGOs had been diverting to the PLFP charitable funding provided to them for their own use. The PLFP is designated a terrorist organization by Israel, but also by the US, the EU, Japan, Canada and Australia. The UN immediately condemned the closures as “totally arbitrary”.

Justification for this can be traced back to a document published by the Israeli government in February 2019 titled: “Terrorists in Suits”. It presented dozens of examples of ties between NGO activists who delegitimize Israel, and the PFLP and Hamas. The ideological connection between them is that all reject the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, and oppose any normalization between Israel and its neighbors. The report, which lists in detail the ties between the various bodies, also found that many of these NGOs were led or staffed by members and operatives of known terrorist organizations.

With India Opting For ‘Strategic Autonomy’ The US Is Back To Wooing rival Pakistan – Analysis

P. K. Balachandran

Since the United States is finding India to be a recalcitrant partner, given New Delhi’s penchant for “strategic autonomy”, Washington has reverted to its old policy of cultivating Pakistan, India’s rival in South Asia.

In the past, Pakistan had its uses for the US, and it could be useful now, but the South Asian nation will pose new challenges to the US that stem from its domestic situation as well as its international links.

Pakistan is politically unstable and volatile, and is a hotbed of toxic religious schisms and extremism. Its close links with China, manifested in the US$ 62 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), will make it difficult for the US to ride roughshod over it. China has now supplanted the US as Pakistan’s chief external partner, though in bilateral trade, at US$ 5 billion, the US is number one.

Where Has All the Liquidity Gone?


CHICAGO/NEW YORK – The malfunctioning of the government bond market in a developed economy is an early warning of potential financial instability. In the United Kingdom, the new government’s proposed “mini-budget” raised the specter of unsustainable sovereign debt and led to a dramatic widening in long-term gilt yields. Recognizing the systemic importance of the government bond market, the Bank of England correctly stepped in, both pausing its plan to unload gilts from its balance sheet and announcing that it will buy gilts over a fortnight at a scale near that of its planned sales for the next 12 months.

Markets have since calmed down. But as commendable as the BOE’s prompt response has been, we must ask what blame central banks bear for financial markets’ current fragility. After all, while long-term gilt yields have stabilized, gilt market liquidity (judging by bid-ask spreads) has not improved. And across the Atlantic, the market for US Treasuries is also raising liquidity concerns. Many metrics are flashing red, just like at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and in the aftermath of Lehman Brothers’ failure in 2008.

Germany’s Emerging War Economy


MUNICH – On February 27, three days after Russia invaded Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stood before a special session of the Bundestag and declared the invasion a “turning point” (Zeitenwende) in German history. In his speech, Scholz also pledged to increase defense spending by €100 billion ($98.5 billion), reversing Germany’s decades-long aversion to rearmament.

Scholz further clarified the meaning of “turning point” in an hour-long speech at Charles University in Prague in August. There, he outlined his vision for the “militarization” of Europe under German leadership and called for a stronger, more “sovereign” European Union that is more effective at defending itself and competing against the influence of foreign powers.

How Far Will Xi Go to Help a Desperate Putin?

Craig Singleton

Anyone who has been in a relationship knows there are good days and not so good days. While trust and respect are the bedrock of healthy partnerships, transactional and even toxic relationships have proven, time and again, to be just as durable. Sometimes more so. That is why Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s marriage of convenience will endure, not despite Russia’s recent battlefield setbacks, but because of them.

To be fair, Xi appears to be concerned about Putin’s accumulating losses in Ukraine. Chinese observers, like their Western counterparts, probably expected the war to last weeks, not months. Even fewer could have predicted Kyiv would mount successful counteroffensives striking deep into Russian-held territory. But these developments aside, Xi is unlikely to turn on Putin, even as Russia resorts to nuclear saber-rattling and sham referendums that challenge Beijing’s long-held anti-secessionist stance.

The Persian Pivot Point

The Iranian regime is under greater domestic pressure than at any point since the Green Revolution. Although their proximate cause was the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, almost certainly at the hands of the Iranian Morality Police, the issues run far deeper. Tehran’s hybrid theocracy is not popular, and an aging Ali Khamenei is a particular figure of popular distaste.

Iran will not collapse due to these protests. Its Revolutionary Guards are robust enough to control public dissent, and the regime is ruthless enough to crack down by any means. Nevertheless, the protests are likely to trigger a variety of regime actions that align Iran fully within the Sino-Russian entente. Moscow and Beijing intersect most openly in Tehran: the US should take note and treat Iran with the seriousness it deserves as a strategic adversary.

Recall that just a month ago, the Biden administration seemed to believe a deal was imminent, much as it was at various points in late 2021 and 2022. The Biden White House doggedly searches for the chimerical Iran Deal, the deal that the Obama administration proclaimed would prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon. This stems from Washington’s characteristic determinism. Personnel is policy, and the Biden team is packed full of the Iran deal’s greatest proponents. The Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, was the US’ lead negotiator. The Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Colin Kahl, participated in the negotiations and a major public advocate for the deal. John Kerry remains affiliated with the administration as Biden’s climate envoy: he was the Secretary of State responsible for the JCPOA.

The Intersection of Climate Change and Gender Equality in South Asia

Chihiro Aita and Arsalan Ahmed

The global climate crisis has exacerbated gender inequality around the world.[1] Women are often more vulnerable than men to climatic variability and extremes based on a variety of factors, including socially constructed roles and responsibilities, limited access to and control over resources, muted voices in decision-making, restricted rights, and limited access to education. All these factors contribute to preventing women from standing up against climate catastrophes on their own. Poor women are particularly at risk from environmental stresses caused by the increased frequency and intensity of climate-induced droughts, floods, heatwaves, deforestation, and the accompanying scarcity of natural resources, given that they have access to even fewer opportunities and resources.

These issues are particularly relevant in South Asia. The region has some of the world’s most densely populated areas and spans climate corridors that often create devastating storms. The pandemic and the resulting economic fallout of the past few years have only exacerbated the regressive effects of gender equality in South Asia overall.[2]

To better understand the impacts of climate change on women, it is important to acknowledge the difficulties women in South Asia are already facing. Analyzing cultural gender roles and women’s position in politics, the workplace, and society provides a basis for future programs that might bring stability to women facing threats to their livelihoods from climate change. There is a strong need for climate adaptation and mitigation strategies at the macro and micro levels to include gender-sensitive planning that takes into consideration practical gender needs (i.e., food, water, fuel, healthcare, and housing) as well as strategic gender needs (i.e., education, power and control over resources, and means of production) that will promote greater gender equality.

China's Emerging Africa Strategy

Nadège Rolland

Chinese elites are in the process of defining a new Africa strategy, crafted against the backdrop of China’s intensifying global rivalry with the West.[1] From this perspective, the African continent is no longer seen exclusively as a source of energy and raw materials, but rather as an integral and integrated part of Beijing’s grand strategy and of the future global subsystem it aspires to dominate.[2]

African countries have been a constant focus of Chinese diplomacy since the early years of the People’s Republic of China. Starting in the mid-1950s, for ideological reasons, Beijing provided technical and financial assistance to support African revolutionary and anticolonial liberation movements. During the reform and opening-up era, Chinese leaders prioritized instead China’s economic development and continued access to African energy and natural resources. African countries were also key to Beijing’s diplomatic efforts to constrain Taiwan’s international space and to leverage votes in the United Nations to avoid condemnation of China’s human rights abuses.

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis and China’s overtaking Japan as the second-largest world economy, China’s global strategy underwent a fundamental re-examination. Based on perceptions of a looming power shift between a rising East (and South) and a declining West (and North), Chinese strategists began to contemplate the necessity of proactively shaping the global environment to allow for China’s ascendance. They expected an intensifying geostrategic contest as China’s newfound proactive quest for global influence would challenge the U.S. hegemonic position. In this context, they identified the developing world, with the African continent as its cornerstone, as an indispensable piece in what they foresaw as a “new great game” that opposes China against the United States, and the wider West.[3]

The Wagner Group: Putin’s ‘chef,’ a Nazi-obsessed commando, and the story of the Kremlin’s private army

Joshua Keating

Officially, Wagner Group does not exist. The now globally infamous private military contractor (PMC), which has operated in nearly 30 countries and taken on a major role in the war in Ukraine, is not actually a registered company in Russia or anywhere else. In fact, PMCs like Wagner are illegal in Russia. And yet Wagner Group has been an essential and controversial piece of the battlefield equation for the Kremlin in its war against Ukraine.

The Russian government has denied any connection to Wagner and rarely acknowledged its existence. For the Russian state, Wagner Group’s secrecy was the point: Its mercenaries could be deployed anywhere, with a minimum of accountability and a maximum of plausible deniability.

Lately, however, the group has been getting a lot more visible. As Russia’s regular military forces began to suffer heavy losses in Ukraine, Wagner began recruiting more openly, posting billboards, social media ads and slick videos promising aspiring fighters glamour, adventure and even an “unforgettable summer with new friends.” Russia’s state-run media outlets are now openly discussing and celebrating Wagner’s activities, not just in Ukraine but around the world. Some 1,000 mercenaries, including senior leaders of the group, were deployed to Ukraine in March, according to Western officials. Since then, they’ve suffered heavy losses but also recruited heavily, making it difficult to know their current strength.

The Fight Over Which Uses of AI Europe Should Outlaw


IN 2019, GUARDS on the borders of Greece, Hungary, and Latvia began testing an artificial-intelligence-powered lie detector. The system, called iBorderCtrl, analyzed facial movements to attempt to spot signs a person was lying to a border agent. The trial was propelled by nearly $5 million in European Union research funding, and almost 20 years of research at Manchester Metropolitan University, in the UK.

The trial sparked controversy. Polygraphs and other technologies built to detect lies from physical attributes have been widely declared unreliable by psychologists. Soon, errors were reported from iBorderCtrl, too. Media reports indicated that its lie-prediction algorithm didn’t work, and the project’s own website acknowledged that the technology “may imply risks for fundamental human rights.”

This month, Silent Talker, a company spun out of Manchester Met that made the technology underlying iBorderCtrl, dissolved. But that’s not the end of the story. Lawyers, activists, and lawmakers are pushing for a European Union law to regulate AI, which would ban systems that claim to detect human deception in migration—citing iBorderCtrl as an example of what can go wrong. Former Silent Talker executives could not be reached for comment.

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.

The physical and financial destruction of Ukraine’s energy sector 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.

7 Secrets to Living Your Best Life

Parker Klein 

1. Follow “The Law of Attraction”

The law of attraction says like attracts like, and so as you think a thought, you are also attracting like thoughts to you.

The law of attraction simply gives you whatever it is you are thinking about.
2. Your thoughts determine how you feel

The way you think will become your reality.

Lean into positive thinking and expel negative thoughts.

“Every thought of yours is a real thing — a force.” — Prentice Mulford

3. Most people think about things they don’t desire and wonder why it keeps happening

An epidemic worse than any other is the “don’t want” epidemic.

People keep this epidemic alive when they think, speak, act, and focus on what they “don’t want.”

20 Googling Tricks 99% of People Don’t Know About

Darshak Rana

Google is not a company anymore. It’s more than a brand — it’s a noun, verb, and adjective.

Did you know that there are two trillion+ Google searches every year?

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Google is the world's think tank with trillions of indexed pages.

But to extract the desired information in optimum time is a skill many of us have.

Though you know that Google is the best way to find information online, you get frustrated when you don’t find what you need in the first few pages of results.

So, from advanced search operators to using Google for research, these tips will help you get the most out of your next Google session.

Ukraine War, 4 October 2022: Kherson

Tom Cooper

This morning, and amid an ‘entire string of counteroffensives’ run by the Ukrainian Armed Forces (ZSU) — I’ll, again, try to address just one of them, and then one about which there are many questions: the one in northern Kherson Oblast.

What happened there the last three days can be mostly deducted from Russian reports: so far, Ukrainians are rather reluctant to say what is going on.

Up front, it is obvious this operation was prepared in a much better fashion than the one from late August — even if its aims, probably even axes of advance, remained largely the same.

First problem was that during operations in northern Kherson in late August and early September, involved ZSU units quite quickly run out of artillery ammunition. The reason is that the ammunition expenditure in this war remains far higher than anybody expects. That said, the ammo was not spent for nothing: it severely depleted the opposition. Moreover, the ZSU offensives into eastern Kharkiv have forced the Russian Armed Forces (VSRF) to re-route lots of reinforcements and supplies in that direction: the concentration of VDV (Russian airborne units) and Separatist forces in Kherson Oblast — the two are commanded by the 49th Combined Arms Army (southern and western Kherson) and the XXII Army Corps (northern Kherson) - could not yet receive similar reinforcements.

Volvo Just Embarrassed Tesla

Will Lockett

When you think of cutting-edge, breakthrough, and industry-leading electric vehicles, you probably think of companies like Tesla, Lucid, Rivian, and maybe even Rimac. One company you definitely wouldn’t picture is Volvo. But in the background, Volvo has been making some significant advances that have not only allowed them to catch up to these EV titans but even exceed them. This recently became apparent when Volvo’s parent company, Geely, announced that they have 600 kW charging technology that will be hitting the road next year. This will allow their cars to obtain a whopping 186.41 miles of charge in only five minutes! But is this enough to eclipse Tesla?

Let’s start with some context. Tesla’s fastest charging cars peak at a rate of 250 kW and can secure 200 miles of charge in fifteen minutes. This means that Geely’s cars can charge nearly three times as fast as a Tesla!

So how has Geely been able to do this? Well, it’s all to do with their chargers and their new battery.

There is no point in building an EV capable of charging super quickly unless you have an equally fast supercharger. But it can be tough to develop high-speed chargers. This is because there are issues with thermal management, supply load, and safety, not to mention problems with manufacturing at scale.

White House wants to hold big tech accountable in new artificial intelligence ‘blueprint’


WASHINGTON — The White House today released a “blueprint” to help guide the development and use of artificial intelligence and automated systems with a focus on protecting the rights of consumers, a step that the White House says aims to hold big technology companies accountable and one that comes in the wake of the Defense Department’s own ethical AI pledges.

“Automated technologies are driving remarkable innovations and shaping important decisions that impact people’s rights, opportunities, and access,” Alondra Nelson, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) deputy director for science and society, said in a statement. “The Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights is for everyone who interacts daily with these powerful technologies — and every person whose life has been altered by unaccountable algorithms.”

The 73-page document [PDF], published by the OSTP, outlines five “common sense protections”: safe and effective systems; algorithmic discrimination protections; data privacy (both with built-in protections and having agency over how data is used); notice and explanation (knowing when an automated system is being used and why); and human alternatives, consideration and fallback (being able to opt out).

Learned Helplessness: China’s Military Instrument and Southeast Asian Security

Zachary Abuza and Cynthia Watson

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has developed a sophisticated toolbox to advance its national interest. The country’s growing and multifaceted military instrument is meant to signal, compel, deter, and engage in joint-kinetic operations. But most of all, it is meant to awe regional states into acquiescing to Chinese interests, values, and interpretations of international law. In short, it aims to reinforce a notion of learned helplessness.

Xi Jinping pledged at a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in November 2021 not to seek dominance in Southeast Asia, saying that “China resolutely opposes hegemonism and power politics, wishes to maintain friendly relations with its neighbors and jointly nurture lasting peace in the region and absolutely will not seek hegemony or even less, bully the small.”[1] Yet, China is operationalizing its doctrine of unrestricted warfare in the region, meaning that “any methods can be prepared for use, information is everywhere, the battlefield is everywhere, and that any technology might be combined with any other technology,” as well as that “the boundaries between war and non-war and between military and non-military affairs have systematically broken down.”[2]

A more strategic Russian retreat signals long fight ahead in Kherson

Isabelle Khurshudyan,, Paul Sonne and Kamila Hrabchuk

MYKOLAIV REGION, Ukraine — The drone operator ignored the occasional thunder of outgoing artillery in the distance and kept his eyes focused on the computer monitor in front of him, waiting for the burst of smoke to appear. His thumbs pushed the joystick left, then right, before moving to his cellphone screen to report where the artillery should aim next.

Another soldier, whose call sign is “Dobriy,” then informed his comrades in this Ukrainian special forces unit that their drone wasn’t the only one in the sky. He had just been told that a Russian Orlan reconnaissance UAV was headed this way, and if they were spotted, shelling would surely follow. The day before, the field behind this short trench line was littered with rockets. “That was especially for me,” Dobriy said with a grin.

His commander, Col. Roman Kostenko, now looked concerned. “Should we leave?” he asked, referring to himself and The Washington Post journalists he brought with him. “Too late,” answered Arthur, the drone operator, still not taking his eyes off the screen in front of him.

The Tragedy of Taiwan’s Success The logic and virtue of American “strategic ambiguity” are more important than ever.


By the time my plane touched down in Taiwan, The Economist had labeled the island “the most dangerous place on earth.” This was shortly after Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, had visited Taipei — an offense in the eyes of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing that justified an unprecedented military show of force.

During the first three weeks of August, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft intruded into Taiwan’s airspace more than 600 times, carried out six “live fire” exercises around the island, and for the first time fired missiles right over the island and into Japan’s exclusive economic zone. Many feared a Chinese version of Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in the Ukraine was in the making.

I had traveled there as part of a delegation from Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, with which the Asia Society has a joint Taiwan project examining microprocessors and the growing tensions in the U.S.-Taiwan-China triangle: What will happen to the world’s semiconductor supply chains if China were to blockade or invade Taiwan?

China on course to elude US chip-making equipment bans


Chinese tech giant Huawei’s attempt to make semiconductors without American equipment has generated global headlines as the US-China tech war takes yet another turn.

It is one more strong hint – if any were needed – that the US government is in the process of creating a competitor that it won’t be able to control while forcing American companies to abandon a massive market that until now has supported their sales, profits, economies of scale and stock prices.

Geopolitics have overridden America’s past devotion to open markets and the situation is not likely to change anytime soon as long as current political structures and mentalities prevail.

The US is intent on rebuilding its own semiconductor industry and denying China technology with advanced military or other national security-related applications – the first and prime example being Huawei’s telecom equipment. So what can China do about America’s sanctions and bans?

What’s Driving Russia’s Opportunistic Inroads With Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arabs


The spotlight is back on the burgeoning Saudi-Russia relationship, thanks to their renewed efforts to prop up oil prices and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s role in brokering a surprise deal in September to release foreign prisoners of war seized on the battlefield in Ukraine, including several U.S. and UK military veterans. The Kremlin’s ties with Saudi Arabia and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have expanded steadily following the launch of OPEC Plus’s oil production arrangement in 2016 and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s historic first visit to Moscow in October 2017.

Analysis of the drivers behind Russia’s relationships with the GCC states typically centers on a widespread desire across the region to hedge against the purportedly waning security ties to the United States. According to this logic, the writing on the wall says that the Middle East is becoming less of a core U.S. national security interest as a result of the U.S. pivot to Asia, the drawdown of the U.S. military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, and surging U.S. domestic oil and gas production, among other things. The GCC states and Russia also share a strong preference for authoritarian governance. Some of these drivers may be real, but it would be an exaggeration to conclude that Russia and regional players are actually positioning themselves for the Kremlin to become a leading provider of security in the Persian Gulf, let alone supplant the United States.

A Common Language for Responsible AI

Emelia Probasco

Executive Summary

The deputy secretary of defense’s memorandum entitled “Implementing Responsible Artificial Intelligence in the Department of Defense” articulates five ethical principles for artificial intelligence systems: responsible, equitable, traceable, reliable, and governable.1 Those guiding principles have evolved the Department of Defense’s thinking on responsible AI, but they are not sufficient for implementing responsible AI principles across everything from development to acquisition to operations. One foundational task toward implementing these guidelines, as laid out in the DOD memorandum “Responsible Artificial Intelligence Strategy and Implementation Pathway,” is the standardization of language and definitions relating to the characteristics of responsible AI.2

Policymakers, engineers, researchers, program managers, and operators all need the bedrock of clear and well-defined terms that are appropriate to their particular tasks in developing and operationalizing responsible AI systems. Creating those standard terms and definitions requires input from all the communities involved in realizing responsible AI, both internal and external to the DOD. Thankfully, a community-defined taxonomy for responsible AI has already been started by the National Institute for Standards and Technology as a part of its draft AI Risk Management Framework (AI RMF), and the DOD could benefit by leveraging the work NIST has already done.

China’s 100-year Plan in Ukraine

Rich Berdan

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the United States competed for global supremacy numerous times by waging proxy wars around the world; Afghanistan, Vietnam, and Angola being the most notable. Today, Russia has been relegated to a secondary power position with China taking the lead in the East to dethrone the US as the reigning world power. Russia’s operation in Ukraine is what can be seen a superpower proxy war between the United States and China.

The crisis in Ukraine is but a small part in China’s 100-year plan to become the world’s ruling superpower. While Russia’s special military operation was never an intended part of the design, China pivoted and capitalized on a gold-plated cloak and dagger snare to further expedite America’s military and economic decline, as well as its ability to exert power in the latter part of China’s blueprint.

In the three weeks leading up to Russian President Vladimir Putin ordering his forces into Ukraine, Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted Putin at the Beijing Winter Olympics in a meeting that concluded with a 5,000-word joint statement declaring a “no limits” partnership between the two nations.

Xi Jinping’s Radioactive Friend


LONDON – Vladimir Putin’s ongoing failure in Ukraine has put his strategic alliance with Chinese President Xi Jinping to the test. With Putin growing ever more desperate, Xi must finally realize the scale of the threat that his “friendship without limits” with the Russian president poses to China’s economic health, to global stability, and to his own geopolitical ambitions.

While Putin may or may not have been bluffing when he threatened to use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine last month, Xi must assume the worst if he wants to be viewed as a responsible leader. After all, Russia’s military doctrine allows for a nuclear strike to defend Russian territory against an existential threat. Russia’s illegal annexation of the occupied Ukrainian regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia provides the pretext for such an attack.

Xi, who is expected to secure an unprecedented third consecutive term as China’s leader at the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China later this month, must now turn his attention to preventing World War III. A Russian nuclear strike in Ukraine – the first use of such weapons since the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 – would ignite a catastrophic global crisis, spoiling Xi’s coronation.

When Xi and Putin met at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February to sign the Sino-Russian cooperation agreement, the plan to invade Ukraine must have seemed like a safe bet: the Russians would quickly topple Ukraine’s leadership, which would make the US and NATO appear weak. A proxy war would also divert US attention from its rivalry with China – or so Xi thought.

Then Ukraine fought back, exposing Russia’s myriad military weaknesses. Russian forces have now retreated from the Kharkiv region in the northeast, following Ukraine’s impressive counteroffensive, and are suffering heavy losses near Kherson in the south.

Xi almost certainly conveyed his displeasure with Russia’s failures when he met with Putin at the recent Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Putin publicly acknowledged China’s “questions and concerns” about the war – a rare admission of tensions between the two countries – while Xi himself did not publicly mention Ukraine at all. Xi’s silence stood in stark contrast to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who – in a remarkable volte-face – openly rebuked Putin.

Still, it is hard to believe that Xi is not wondering whether he made the right decision when he tied his political fate to so reckless an ally. Putin’s “partial mobilization” of 300,000 Russian men to join the fight in Ukraine has triggered protests across Russia and caused more than 200,000 young men to flee the country. The quality of Putin’s new recruits – who include convicts – is unlikely to help the war effort or assuage Xi’s concerns.

With morale among Russian troops already at rock bottom, an infusion of dispirited and ill-trained draftees may hasten the dissolution of Putin’s military and the fall of his regime, akin to how Czar Nicholas II’s poor leadership during World War I fueled the collapse of the Czar’s armies and the Russian Revolution of 1917. With his direct appeals to Russian soldiers to surrender or die, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky seems to understand the perilous state of the Russian military better than Putin does.

The point of a proxy war is to weaken one’s adversary, but Putin’s incompetence has achieved the exact opposite for Xi. NATO is now stronger than it has been at any point since the Cold War’s end, with previously neutral countries like Sweden and Finland applying to join and Asian countries like Japan, South Korea, and increasingly India voicing support for America’s Ukraine policy.

Instead of helping China to establish itself as a counterweight to US global hegemony, Russia has been exposed as too weak and corrupt to defeat even a middling country. With Putin now issuing direct orders to Russian field commanders, China’s military alliance with Russia must seem almost worthless to Xi.

While the chances of Putin using a nuclear weapon in Ukraine appear slim, they cannot be fully discounted. So, Chinese officials must be trying to assess how the US and NATO would respond if Putin followed through on his threat. Given US President Joe Biden’s tough-minded – if still ambiguous – statements, it is safe to assume that the international economic and military response would be far more severe than the sanctions already imposed on Russia.

But if Putin does decide to use a tactical nuclear device to “defend” the Ukrainian territory that he has illegally annexed, he may well open a Pandora’s Box of horrors. For example, his war has brought considerable chaos to Ukraine’s nuclear power stations, and, in addition to other concerns about their operation, it can no longer be assumed that their spent nuclear fuel rods have always been safely secured during the battles for control of the sites. This opens the terrifying prospect of some mad partisan creating a “dirty” bomb to use in retaliation.

Putin’s annexations may also undermine the “One China” policy regarding Taiwan, which most of the world accepts. Some Eastern European countries are already voicing doubts about the wisdom of that policy. If Xi, who has steadfastly defended the principle of territorial integrity, silently accepts Putin’s annexations, some countries may decide that Xi’s hypocrisy has nullified the “One China” policy.

Ever since he became president ten years ago, Xi has signaled his fear that China could suffer the type of political and economic disintegration that led to the implosion of the Soviet Union. Putin’s current predicament should serve as another cautionary tale. The prospect of a regime so rotten that it collapses from within must haunt China’s president almost as much as the threat of nuclear war.