15 October 2022

The Logic Of The Nuclear Triad

Derek Williams and Adam Lowther

Why the Nuclear Triad Matters: With the United States actively aiding Ukraine in its war against Russia, while also aiding Taiwan in its effort to deter an invasion from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Americans are living in one of the most dangerous periods in history. No longer can Americans bask in the glow of the post-Cold War “Unipolar Moment.” Instead, the world is proving even more dangerous than during the bipolar period in which a democratic West faced off against the communist bloc. The new tri-polar period, although in its infancy, is starting out as unstable as many political scientists projected.

Admittedly, Russia is not an economic peer to the United States and the PRC is not yet a nuclear peer, but both states are attempting to use their nuclear arsenals to coerce the United States into abandoning democratically elected governments Kyiv and Taipei. Given the current international security environment, it is worth reflecting on the role deterrence and the nuclear triad play in ensuring strategic stability.

Pakistan’s Worst Nightmare: Indian Kashmir Thrives

Michael Rubin

SRINAGAR, KASHMIR, INDIA—In 2019, just weeks after Indian president Ram Nath Kovind abrogated Article 370 of India’s constitution, ending Kashmir’s de facto autonomy, I visited Pakistan. Anger was palpable. Electronic billboards, depicting barbed wire and dripping blood, counted the time since the Indian government imposed a curfew on the territory. At a Pakistan National Defense University conference, both officers and civil society leaders spoke about the horrible situation of Indian Kashmir. “It’s like the Gaza Strip,” one activist told me.

Three years later, I took the opportunity to see Kashmir for myself. My conclusion: Pakistan is in trouble. While Kashmiris under Pakistani control remain hobbled by a moribund economy and suppressed by Jamaat-e-Islami extremism, Kashmiris in India have security, taste freedom, and thrive.

The signs are everywhere. Whereas Pakistanis depict a region in India where civilians cower under the yoke of the Indian army and separatists represent popular will, the reality is different. Certainly, Indian police from outside the territory are present, but their checkpoints are unmanned and traffic flows. The emergency is over and life is normal. At the height of the day and long after dark, both in the capital Srinagar and in the hinterlands, there were no active checkpoints. This extended to southern Kashmir, where in years past, Pakistan-trained terrorists exploited the night to bring commerce and life to a halt.

A No-Fly Zone In Ukraine: A Really Dumb Idea Is Back

Peter Suciu

Would a No-Fly Zone Drag NATO in Ukraine Conflict?: Just days after a “likely” Ukrainian attack on the Russian-built Kerch Strait Bridge that links Russia with the occupied Crimean peninsula, the Kremlin targeted multiple Ukrainian cities with cruise and ballistic missiles.

(Note: Watch Harry Kazianis, Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, discuss the Ukraine War on Fox Business.)

In addition to strikes on energy infrastructure, Russia hit multiple civilian targets and even zeroed in on the three-year-old pedestrian Glass Bridge in a Kyiv park – perhaps to make a statement.

The reprisals struck the capital city of Kyiv for the first time in months, and during rush hour, in what Ukraine’s National Police have described as the largest missile assault on the country in its history.

Biden Is Now All-In on Taking Out China

Jon Bateman

The United States has waged low-grade economic warfare against China for at least four years now—firing volley after volley of tariffs, export controls, investment blocks, visa limits, and much more. But Washington’s endgame for this conflict has always been hazy. Does it seek to compel specific changes in Beijing’s behavior, or challenge the Chinese system itself? To protect core security interests, or retain hegemony by any means? To strengthen America, or hobble its chief rival? Donald Trump’s scattershot regulation and erratic public statements offered little clarity to allies, adversaries, and companies around the world. Joe Biden’s actions have been more systematic, but long-term U.S. goals have remained hidden beneath bureaucratic opacity and cautious platitudes.

Last Friday, however, a dense regulatory filing from a little-known federal agency gave the strongest hint yet of U.S. intentions. The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced new extraterritorial limits on the export to China of advanced semiconductors, chip-making equipment, and supercomputer components. The controls, more so than any earlier U.S. action, reveal a single-minded focus on thwarting Chinese capabilities at a broad and fundamental level. Although framed as a national security measure, the primary damage to China will be economic, on a scale well out of proportion to Washington’s cited military and intelligence concerns. The U.S. government imposed the new rules after limited consultation with partner countries and companies, proving that its quest to hobble China ranks well above concerns about the diplomatic or economic repercussions.

Central Asia Comes Together

Sergei Gretsky

Central Asia took its first steps toward regional integration soon after independence in the region in 1991. Yet, for several reasons, this integration failed. Even so, with the change in leadership in Uzbekistan in 2016, attempts to improve regional cooperation have been revived, this time through the mechanism of annual consultative meetings of Central Asian leaders. The fourth such meeting took place in Kyrgyzstan at the end of July 2022.

In 1993, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan created the Central Asian Union (CAU) to foster deeper economic ties and cooperation as well as to preserve and upgrade the mechanisms that had regulated economic relations, most importantly water usage, in the Soviet period. Tajikistan was not invited to join due to its ongoing civil war at the time. Turkmenistan showed no interest, having adopted neutrality as the guiding principle of its foreign policy, including relations with its Central Asian neighbors.

For several reasons, integration within the CAU framework failed. First, the Central Asian states, which had recently gained independence, were not ready to give it up any autonomy in favor of a supranational structure and mechanisms. Second, former Uzbekistani President Islam Karimov decided to continue with Soviet-era economic policies rather than introduce market-oriented economic reforms similar to those implemented in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Without the adoption of a common economic policy, prospects for integration became moot. Third, a rivalry between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan emerged over who would ultimately head the regional organization, which further cooled Karimov’s attitude toward the idea.

Now Elon Musk Thinks He’s Henry Kissinger


In addition to being the world’s wealthiest man, Elon Musk also seems to be exhibiting the symptoms of histrionic personality disorder. HPD, as it’s known in the psychiatric sciences, resides in the “Cluster B” garden of personality disorders and is associated with narcissism, attention-seeking behaviors and manipulation. HPDers tend to be charming and lively, often verging into flirtatiousness and excitability. Although the medical literature is silent on the subject of excessive procreation and HPD — Musk has birthed nine children in collaboration with four different uteruses (his wife’s, his girlfriend’s, a surrogate’s, and a senior employee’s) — the tycoon’s breeding tendencies are consistent with the erratic and volatile conduct of those who suffer with the disorder.

This month, Musk dialed in additional attention to himself. Presumably, there haven’t been enough headlines about his on-again, off-again purchase of Twitter, his alleged romantic interludes, his dope smoking on Joe Rogan, his Tesla overpromising and all the other publicity stunts to stoke his sense of self-importance, so he’s drafted himself as a citizen-diplomat to end the Russian war on Ukraine. What better venue to promote his plan than on Twitter, where on Oct. 3 he proposed a 43-word peace plan that essentially sounded as if it had been scripted by Vladimir Putin, an HPD case if ever there was one, while sitting at his long table.



Iraq finds itself amid a water crisis that far exceeds previous experiences with water scarcity and acute shortages. Declining quantity and quality of water, outdated and damaged infrastructure, and inefficient water use have uncovered deficiencies in existing water governance, severely affecting the country’s socio-economic, political, and security situation. In the last years, basic water supply services in the south repeatedly broke down during the summer months which contributed to widespread antigovernment protests, particularly in 2018 (BBC News, 2018). The current state of Iraq’s water sector needs to be understood against the background of the country’s tumultuous history. Iraq remains marred by autocratic regimes prioritizing power politics over good governance, consecutive wars, foreign military interventions, fragile security and political instability. This has prevented the country from effectively addressing water challenges despite the increased attention that has been given to water (-related) issues in recent years.

On the basis of a thorough literature review, semi-structured interviews, and an expert workshop, this paper provides a critical picture of water governance in Iraq. More specifically, the authors look at how water resources are governed and managed across Iraq’s 18 governorates. Zooming in on current practices and challenges uncovers fragmented, outdated, and ill-suited structures but also allows for an initial assessment of intervention options to achieve more effective and efficient water governance.

Downrange: A Survey of China’s Cyber Ranges

Dakota Cary

Executive Summary

China is rapidly building cyber ranges that allow cybersecurity teams to test new tools, practice attack and defense, and evaluate the cybersecurity of a particular product or service. Nineteen of China’s 34 provinces are building, or have built, such facilities. Their purposes span from academic to national defense. In short, the presence of these facilities suggests a concerted effort on the part of the government, in partnership with industry and academia, to advance technological research and upskill its cybersecurity workforce—more evidence that China has entered near-peer status in the cyber domain. This report examines five of these 19 facilities that have demonstrable ties to the military or security services. China’s investment in these facilities is in line with what is known about other efforts to bolster the country’s hacking and cybersecurity capabilities. As these facilities mature, network defenders who find themselves in the crosshairs of China’s hacking teams may be subject to attacks that have been rehearsed, tested, and sometimes practiced on replicas of their own networks.

This report finds:China’s cyber ranges facilitate joint exercises between the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and civilians. One competition hosted each year in Chengdu aims to replicate the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Locked Shields exercise. Teams include representatives from the military, private cybersecurity firms, and critical infrastructure operators. Separately, a defense state-owned enterprise (SOE) makes a “comprehensive space scenario range” available to civilians at an annual cybersecurity competition. Each of these examples demonstrates China’s implementation of military-civil fusion in the cyber domain.

Rewire: Semiconductors and U.S. Industrial Policy

Chris Miller

Executive Summary

As the United States considers industrial policy for the first time in decades, it should learn lessons from prior government efforts to shape the semiconductor industry, in the United States and abroad. The U.S. government has played a major role in the semiconductor industry since the invention of the first integrated circuit, via funding scientific research and via military procurement, which has driven the commercialization of new technology. However, though government—and specifically, the Defense Department—has had deep connections with the chip industry, it has played only a supportive role in building America’s semiconductor industry, with the key innovations and firms emerging from private-sector expertise.

Other countries have experimented with industrial policy toward semiconductors too. Success stories in industrial policy generally have involved investing in skilled workforces and ensuring competitiveness by pushing domestic firms to sell to international markets. Simply pouring capital into a country’s chip industry rarely has been a winning strategy.

The Worst-Case Scenario In Russia – OpEd

Alexander Atanasov

Recently, I took a walk on an Egyptian beach. I overheard a conversation between a middle-aged Russian woman and two other slightly younger Russians. What the woman said made me cringe. “We are in big trouble in Russia,” she commented. “Only Kadyrov can save us.”

Ramzan Kadyrov became president of Chechnya in 2007 after the assassination of his father. He immediately set about imposing draconian measures to enforce his own eclectic vision of what constitutes “traditional Chechen Islam,” including his approval of honor killings based on his belief that women are the property of their husbands. Some Russian commentators have argued that Kadyrov has gone further toward building an Islamic state than the leaders of the Chechen independence fighters ever dreamed of doing. As part of his political allegiance to the Kremlin he has also sent his own children to fight in Ukraine.

Kadyrov becoming the leader of all Russia, I realized after thinking about it, would be the worst-case scenario. Even if it never happens, the idea that Russia needs someone like Kadyrov is deeply disturbing. It also has a clear explanation.

Ukraine: Conflict at the Crossroads of Europe and Russia

Jonathan Masters


Ukraine has long played an important, yet sometimes overlooked, role in the global security order. Today, the country is on the front lines of a renewed great-power rivalry that many analysts say will dominate international relations in the decades ahead.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 marked a dramatic escalation of the countries’ eight-year-old conflict and a historic turning point for European security. After six months, many defense and foreign policy analysts cast the war as a major strategic blunder by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and one that has put his long-time rule in jeopardy.

Many observers see little prospect for a diplomatic resolution in the months ahead and instead acknowledge the potential for a dangerous escalation, which could include Russia’s use of a nuclear weapon. The war has hastened Ukraine’s push to join Western political blocs, including the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Ukraine’s experience spurs allies’ interest in ‘resistance,’ info war training


AUSA 2022 — In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, US Special Operations Forces have seen increased interest from allies and partner nations in Europe and the Pacific in learning techniques for “resistance” and information war in the event of a foreign occupation of their land, said Lt. Gen. Jonathan Braga. the Army’s SOF commander.

“I think one of the greatest lessons from the Ukraine wars is the power of information ops, influencing relevant populations in the world,” he told reporters on the margins of the annual Association of the United States Army show in Washington, D.C. “There hasn’t been a special operations international military that I have dealt with since the Ukraine crisis that has not talked to us about expanding information operations and psychological operations forces.”

Braga explained that there has been an uptick in requests for training and assistance in crafting what special operators call a “resistance operations concept” — i.e., a plan for how to fight from the inside after an invasion — in particular from allies and partners in the European and Indo-Pacific theaters. This can include material assistance, but also training on skills like using the internet and the media to gather international support. On the latter, he noted, Ukraine has been nothing short of masterful.

Taliban names former Guantanamo detainee deputy interior minister


The Taliban has named Mohammad Nabi Omari, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee who is also a senior leader in the Haqqani Network and maintains close ties to Al Qaeda, to serve as its “first deputy” to Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Minister of the Interior. Omari was one of the notorious “Gitmo Five” detainees who were freed in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier who deserted his post and was captured by the Taliban. His appointment highlights Sirajuddin’s consolidation of power in Afghanistan’s interior ministry.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid announced Omari’s appointment on Oct. 6, 2022 along with the shuffling of other appointments, including provincial governors and other key Taliban leadership positions. Omari previously served as the Taliban’s governor of Khost, one of several important provinces in eastern Afghanistan that is dominated by the Haqqani Network [see LWJ report, Taliban’s government includes designated terrorists, ex-Guantanamo detainees].

Omari is one of several key Haqqani Network leaders to be appointed to top level posts in the Taliban’s new government. In addition to Sirajuddin, who is the minister of interior, Khalil al Rahman Haqqani is the minister of refugees, Mullah Taj Mir Jawad is the first deputy of intelligence, and Haji Mali Khan is the governor of Logar.

‘No Limits’: Xi’s Support For Putin Is Unwavering

Matthew Johnson, Hoover Institution and John Pomfret


After nearly three years of self-imposed isolation, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping traveled abroad last month to Kazakhstan and then Uzbekistan to attend the Beijing-backed Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit. On the meeting’s sidelines, Xi also held a much-publicized one-on-one exchange with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the first time the two autocrats have met in person since the Russian leader launched a full-blown invasion of Ukraine in February. Media coverage of the bilateral exchange concluded that the Sino-Russian “no limits” partnership was cooling. In fact, a closer examination of statements and actions by Beijing and Moscow before, during, and after the exchange suggests the opposite.

It is perhaps no coincidence that just after the meeting, Putin returned to Russia and, in a September 21 speech, ordered a partial mobilization and again threatened retaliatory use of nuclear weapons in the event “of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people.” Putin added: “This is not a bluff.”1 In a follow-on ceremony and speech on September 30, Putin declared the Russian annexation of about 15 percent of Ukraine’s territory and brandished his nukes yet again, saying the United States had “created a precedent” by dropping atomic bombs on Japan in 1945. If Xi has reservations about the war in Ukraine, an educated guess would be that he wants Putin to get the job done faster.


Huw Dylan, David V. Gioe and Joe Littell

In ancient China, the general Sun Tzu counseled that “all warfare is based on deception.” Could that still be the case millennia later—after an industrial and then a digital revolution have left contemporary battlefields awash with intelligence sensors and digital technology that can offer commanders unprecedented levels of situational awareness? Advancement in thermal imaging can highlight targets concealed to the naked eye, while near constant real-time observation from constellations of satellites and seemingly ubiquitous unmanned vehicles can inhibit maneuver, deliver precision strikes, and provide timely indications and warning. Voluminous twitter threads and uploads of data, metadata, and even curated datasets provide a surprisingly granular understanding of the battlespace, and internet platforms like Google Maps can indicate traffic congestion along main motorways caused by an invasion. This may lead some to consider the fog of war practically dispelled, and, as a consequence, military deception a tool of a bygone, less transparent, and less sensor-laden era. But analyzing recent Ukrainian victories would correct this erroneous point of view. In early September the Ukrainian military accomplished the most major feat of arms in the Russo-Ukrainian war (thus far) with deception at its foundation. Some principles are timeless.

In early September, Ukrainian armed forces launched a surprise counteroffensive in Kharkiv that broke through Russian lines. Local breakthroughs morphed from salient to encirclements. Many Russian troops reportedly fled—on foot, by bicycle, and with some wearing civilian clothes pilfered from raided wardrobes. Abandoned military equipment emblazoned with “Z” quickly came to litter the streets and countryside. On September 10, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared that nearly two thousand square kilometers of territory had been retaken. This included the key logistical hub of Izium, dealing the already harassed Russian logistical chain another major blow. As long as the war continues, it is premature to declare any battlefield achievement to be decisive, but for now, Vladimir Putin’s army has been routed in substantial sections of northeast Ukraine.

The NATO Vs. Russia Proxy War In Ukraine Could Become A Real War

Ted Galen Carpenter

Blueprint for Disaster; Confusing a Proxy War and a Direct War with Russia in Ukraine: The United States has been waging a proxy war against Russia since Vladimir Putin’s government launched its “special military operation” in Ukraine in late February. Washington has spent billions of dollars to flood Ukraine with increasingly potent weaponry. At the same time, the Biden administration has emphasized repeatedly that the United States will not become a direct participant in the fighting.

Nevertheless, the line between proxy war and direct war in Ukraine is becoming dangerously thin.

In addition to the deluge of weaponry that the United States and some of its NATO partners are pouring into Ukraine, Washington is providing Kyiv with extensive military intelligence on the deployment of Russian forces. Such intelligence appears to have helped Ukrainian forces score some impressive victories, including the downing of a Russian troop transport plane, the assassination of several Russian generals, and the sinking of the Moskva, the flagship of the Kremlin’s Black Sea fleet. There are even credible reports that U.S. special operations forces are now operating inside Ukraine. Russian complaints about U.S./NATO actions are getting louder and angrier. Washington is running a growing risk that its current proxy war, dangerous as that gambit is, may culminate in something far worse: a direct war between Russia and NATO.

Could Russia Really Go Nuclear?

Paul Bracken

Is there a real possibility that Russia could use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war?

As long as these weapons exist there’s a chance they will be used. But Vladimir Putin’s escalation strategy has been a total disaster. It looks a lot like the failed U.S. strategy in Vietnam. That was to gradually increase the pain on Hanoi by U.S. bombing and other attacks as a way to keep tight control of everything. Problem was, it gave Hanoi time to absorb and react to the attacks, so it had no real impact on North Vietnam other than to kindle condemnation of the United States for war crimes.

Astoundingly, Putin is repeating this slow motion, incremental escalation against Ukraine. It can’t possibly work. Kyiv will never give in. The attacks only elicit more condemnation of Putin, both inside and outside Russia, and more aid to Ukraine from NATO. Even China and India don’t want to be associated with Putin’s war.

New Islamist Militant Outfit Emerges in Bangladesh

Shafi Md Mostofa

On October 6, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), an elite anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, arrested seven members of a new militant organization, Jama’atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya.

While members of the group have been active since 2017, it was only in 2019 that they took on the name Jama’atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya after bringing together leaders and workers of several Islamist militant groups including the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Ansar al-Islam (AAI), and Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami Bangladesh (HUJI-B).

Bangladesh has three streams of Islamic militant organizations. While the AAI, which came to the fore in 2013 with the killing of atheist blogger Rajib Haider, is an al-Qaida affiliated group, Neo-JMB, which was responsible for the 2016 Holey Artisan Café attack is an affiliate of the Islamic State (IS). The third stream is the JMB, which was founded in 1998 by Afghan war veterans.

Europe’s Response to China’s Quest for Technology

Ivana Karásková, Veronika Blablová, and Filip Šebok

The risks related to academic cooperation with China recently received high-level political attention in Europe. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her State of the Union Address specifically mentioned a scandal involving a research center on human rights in Amsterdam. The allegedly independent center was funded by Chinese entities. It had to close down after it became public that the academics affiliated with the center embellished China’s human rights record and defended it on Chinese state television.

After using this example of China’s interference in European academia, von der Leyen announced a Defense of Democracy package, which “will bring covert foreign influence and shady funding to light.”

Not much is known yet about the prepared package, but a discussion about how to promote trusted research has long been overdue in the European Union. Some technologically advanced countries have noticed that China’s declared ambitions to become a leader in science and technology by the middle of this century, backed by immense financial resources and a whole-of-society approach, may pose various challenges. Yet others are lagging behind in realizing the scope of the issue. Moreover, a holistic EU-wide approach to trusted research, which would support the integrity of the system of international research collaboration, is still missing.

What If . . . Alternatives to a Chinese Military Invasion of Taiwan

Benjamin Jensen, Riley McCabe

With the 20th Party Congress approaching and Xi Jinping seeking an unprecedented third term, it is important to explore the full range of actions Beijing could take to coerce Taiwan over the next 10 years. History provides a range of historical cases that suggest alternatives to a full-scale invasion.

As part of its On Future War series, the CSIS International Security Program adapted six historical cases of coercion China could use to target Taiwan short of a costly amphibious invasion. The report looks back to look ahead, using the logic of historical cases ranging from the 1948 Berlin Airlift to the 1980s Tanker War in the Arabian Gulf to identify ways and means Beijing could use to compel Taiwan. The resulting range of scenarios point toward an urgent need to develop new escalation management frameworks supporting the new integrated deterrence strategy.

Putin Could Cripple Ukraine Without Using Nukes

Leon Hadar

Much of the discussion in Washington and other Western capitals in recent days has been focused on Russian president Vladimir Putin’s supposed threat to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, in response to challenges to what he perceives to be Moscow’s core national interests.

Yet as we ponder this specter of Russian deployment of its nuclear arsenal which, we are warned, could lead to a Cuban Missile Crisis II, we need to be reminded that a global superpower can cripple a small or mid-size power without resorting to the use of nukes. By just using the full force of its conventional weapons in Ukraine, Russia would force Washington into the same no-win situation it found itself in after the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary, when it concluded that saving the victim of Moscow’s aggression would require direct U.S. military intervention.

Contrary to our collective historical memory, the single most destructive bombings raid in human history was not the United States’ detonation of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, but the firebombing air raid on Tokyo by the U.S. Air Force during two nights in March 1945. That raid left an estimated 100,000 Japanese civilians dead and over one million homeless. By comparison, the atomic bombing of Nagasaki resulted in the deaths of between 40,000 and 80,000 people.

How does the Russo-Ukrainian War end?

Timothy Snyder

At first, no one could imagine that the Russo-Ukrainian war could begin. And yet it began. And now, no one can imagine how it will end. And yet end it will.

War is ultimately about politics. That Ukraine is winning on the battlefield matters because Ukraine is exerting pressure on Russian politics. Tyrants such as Putin exert a certain fascination, because they give the impression that they can do what they like. This is not true, of course; and their regimes are deceptively brittle. The war ends when Ukrainian military victories alter Russian political realities, a process which I believe has begun.

The Ukrainians, let's face it, have turned out to be stunningly good warriors. They have carried out a series of defensive and now offensive operations that one would like to call "textbook," but the truth is that those textbooks have not yet been written; and when they are written, the Ukrainian campaign will provide the examples. The have done so with admirable calm and sang-froid, even as their enemy perpetrates horrible crimes and openly campaigns for their destruction as a nation.

Choking Off China’s Access to the Future of AI

Gregory C. Allen

On October 7, 2022, the Biden administration announced a new export controls policy on artificial intelligence (AI) and semiconductor technologies to China. These new controls—a genuine landmark in U.S.-China relations—provide the complete picture after a partial disclosure in early September generated confusion. For weeks the Biden administration has been receiving criticism in many quarters for a new round of semiconductor export control restrictions, first disclosed on September 1. The restrictions block leading U.S. AI computer chip designers, such as Nvidia and AMD, from selling their high-end chips for AI and supercomputing to China. The criticism typically goes like this: China’s domestic AI chip design companies could not win customers in China because their chip designs could not compete with Nvidia and AMD on performance.

Chinese firms could not catch up to Nvidia and AMD on performance because they did not have enough customers to benefit from economies of scale and network effects.

Because of the new export controls, revenues that formerly flowed to U.S. chip companies will now go to Chinese chip companies, offering a viable path to economies of scale and competitive performance.

Russia’s Militarization of the Black Sea: Implications for the United States and NATO

Ben Hodges, Steven Horrell and Ivanna Kuz


The Black Sea Region (BSR) is an area of critical geostrategic importance. It is Eastern Europe’s gateway to the Mediterranean and to global sea lines of communication. It links Europe to the Caucasus and the Middle East. The region is a key node of the global energy economy, both for hydrocarbon resources in the region and for transit infrastructure. Today, it is the site of a large-scale conventional war, the most destructive in Europe since World War II.

Russia’s war on Ukraine is the culmination of Moscow’s steadily increasing militarization of the Black Sea Region, which has a prominent place in the Kremlin’s strategic worldview due to cultural and historical factors.

The United States and NATO – even though NATO members Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania are Black Sea littoral states – have previously lagged in providing a strategic perspective on the region. This war gives the US and NATO even more reason to develop coherent and action-based strategies to check Russia’s unabashed aggression and to ensure the security of the Black Sea Region. The 2022 NATO Madrid Summit emphasized the Black Sea Region with several key decisions, 2 and the US Congress is considering legislation to enhance security in the BSR. 3

Zuckerberg’s Metaverse Is off to a Rough Start

Last year Mark Zuckerberg made a big gamble and staked the future of Facebook on the metaverse, even changing his firm’s name to Meta.

“Meta has spent billions of dollars and assigned thousands of employees to make Mr. Zuckerberg’s dream feasible. But Meta’s metaverse efforts have had a rocky start,” the Times said. It went on to describe the company’s flagship virtual-reality game, Horizon Worlds, as “buggy and unpopular,” with employees of the company not wanting to use it. The Verge reported earlier this month that Vishal Shah, the vice president in charge of Meta’s metaverse division, had expressed disappointment in how few employees of the company were using Horizon Worlds.

“Why don’t we love the product we’ve built so much that we use it all the time?” Mr. Shah asked on a company message board, as reported by the Times. “The simple truth is, if we don’t love it, how can we expect our users to love it?”