20 October 2022

Still a Unipolar World

George Friedman

In recent weeks, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the United States is trying to impose a new world order, one designed to control Russia, China and Europe, as well as the lesser powers of the world. It’s tempting to write it off as the ranting of a leader at war, but there’s more to it than that. Ignore the fact that Washington’s seeking a unipolar world assumes a level of planning that runs counter to the American reality. What Putin is trying to come to terms with is that in planning for war in Ukraine, Moscow completely misunderstood the nature of the world.

Specifically, Russia misunderstood American subtlety. The United States did not commit major military force to block Russia’s advance, nor did it cede any part of Ukraine. The United States understood the threat posed by Russia on the border with NATO – that is, a new Cold War – and it understood Ukraine better than Russia did. So it sent massive amounts of weapons to Ukraine, the power and sophistication of which could not be matched. It struck blow after indirect blow.

Moscow also failed to understand America’s relationship with Europe. Time and again, Europeans bemoaned that Washington had abandoned its European commitments. That that was never the case didn’t stop U.S. think tanks from validating the idea, nor did it dissuade Russia from believing it. In times of peace, the U.S. could do without the prior relationship with Europe, bickering over trade rules and Russian energy dependence. But when the war broke out, the relationship rapidly transformed. Germany, for example, did not value Russian fuel as much as it valued American security guarantees. The Europeans knew that Russia could hurt them, and they did not really trust the Russians, but when push came to shove, they knew American interests lay in Europe. Putin, I think, was stunned when he learned the Germans stood with the Americans. He lacked a sophisticated understanding that there are different types of power and that the power projected by Russia was too blunt to work. Putin could not understand the power of appearing uncertain.

How to detect an imminent Russian nuclear attack

On october 17th nato began a fortnight of nuclear exercises in Belgium called Steadfast Noon. Later this month, nato expects Russia to hold its own nuclear drills, called Grom, for the second time this year. Steadfast Noon, involving 60 aircraft from 14 allies—including B-52 bombers flown from America—is “a routine, recurring training activity” unconnected to the war in Ukraine, nato maintains. Yet the context is very far from routine; this week, nato will be practising nuclear attacks during a major European war that some analysts fear could lead to nuclear escalation.

The timing might seem alarming, but the risks still look small. The more Russia’s forces are pushed back, however, the greater the fear that its president, Vladimir Putin, will use nukes in Ukraine, as he has from time to time threatened to do. As President Joe Biden put it, the world faces the greatest threat of “Armageddon” since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.

Early in the war, America postponed the test-launch of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile for fear that it might be deemed escalatory. The mood has darkened since then, with the West feeling it necessary to warn Russia of “catastrophic” consequences if it uses nukes. Jens Stoltenberg, the nato secretary-general, said that to cancel Steadfast Noon would be to show weakness. For Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists, a think-tank, the situation is a “textbook example” of escalation, in which both sides want to show they are serious about deterrence and cannot climb down for fear of looking weak.

Kevin McCarthy signals Republicans could withhold more aid to Ukraine if they win the House: 'It's not a free blank check'

Oma Seddiq

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy expressed skepticism about sending more aid to Ukraine if Republicans take back the House in the upcoming midterm elections.

"I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they're not going to write a blank check to Ukraine," the California Republican told Punchbowl News in a report published Tuesday.

"They just won't do it," he continued. "It's not a free blank check."

While "Ukraine is important," GOP concerns about the border and other domestic policies also carry weight, McCarthy added.

The comments signal that bipartisan support for funding to Ukraine against Russia's invasion could be waning. Over the past eight months, the US has delivered more than $60 billion in military, economic, and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.

Biden’s New National Security Strategy: A Lot of Trump, Very Little Obama

David Adesnik

“The United States welcomes the rise of a stable, peaceful, and prosperous China.” These words from the Obama administration’s 2015 National Security Strategy already belong to a bygone era. On Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden, who was vice president when the earlier document was drafted, released his own National Security Strategy. And it couldn’t strike a more different tone. “We will prioritize maintaining an enduring competitive edge over [China],” the document pledges, blasting China for trying “to become the world’s leading power.” Russia, too, is no longer described in rosy terms as a potential partner but as an “immediate and persistent threat” to global peace and stability. Put simply, the Biden strategy is a 180-degree turn from the last Democratic administration. Instead, the new document affirms what the Trump administration first concluded in its 2017 strategy: “[G]reat power competition [has] returned.”

We Need More Military Veterans in Congress Who Oppose the “Forever Wars”


At the beginning of this midterm election year, we received an urgent fundraising appeal from US representative Jake Auchincloss, a centrist Democrat from Massachusetts. The email message informed us that, as a former Marine officer in Afghanistan, Auchincloss “saw firsthand the futility of the Forever Wars.”

All good so far. But then, on behalf of a Democratic Party–funded group called VoteVets, Auchincloss bemoaned the fact that what’s missing in electoral politics today “is people who have seen these conflicts firsthand.” As a result, he noted, “we are at an all-time low of veterans serving in Congress since World War II.” According to Auchincloss, “this trend hurts all of us, not just our troops — because veterans offer a unique perspective in Congress and are able to work together to get things done while sticking to our principles.”

“Our nation is at a critical impasse,” Auchincloss warned. “We have to decide who leads. Those who will defend our democracy above all else or Trump sycophants who have never served anything beside their own self-interest their entire lives.”

The Neocons Are Losing. Why Aren’t We Happy?

Jordan Michael Smith

Daniel L. Davis joined the Army in 1985. After two years as a private, he finished the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, served in Germany, and fought in Operation Desert Storm in Iraq, where he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Valor. He ran an unsuccessful campaign in a Republican congressional primary in a Dallas-area district in early 2002, but he returned to active duty later that year and was stationed in the Pentagon.

As a strong supporter of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, he was deeply dismayed by the failure to find the weapons of mass destruction the Bush administration promised Saddam Hussein was hiding. Equally disturbing was his work on an Army initiative that aimed to build vehicles connected to drones and sensors. He says that Pentagon officials gave inaccurate positive assessments of the multibillion-dollar program until it was shuttered.

Davis then served a tour in Iraq and another in Afghanistan. When President Barack Obama proposed his Afghanistan surge in 2009, Davis predicted in a report that it would inevitably fail. On his second tour there, he patrolled 9,000 miles through eight Afghan provinces, speaking with 250 U.S. troops and Afghan security officials at different levels (he also won another Bronze Star Medal). He learned about the fraudulent Afghan military, which Pentagon leaders glamorized. “I saw it with my own eyes, it was complete hooey,” he recalled.

'Paranoid' Putin Has Lost Control of His Future—Prominent Russian Lawyer


Russian President Vladimir Putin "doesn't control" the progress of his disastrous war in Ukraine, according to a former member of the Russian parliament now opposing the Kremlin from abroad as a prominent human rights lawyer.

Mark Feygin, a former deputy in the State Duma—the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia—told Newsweek that for the first time in his career, the Russian president has found himself in a military quagmire with no clear way out.

"This is the first time when his future is not defined by himself," said Feygin, a human rights lawyer who has represented high-profile defenders including the Pussy Riot punk band, and opposition aide Leonid Razvozzhayev, who was kidnapped from Kyiv in 2021 by Russian special forces.

The instability has left Putin more isolated and more afraid, Feygin said.

Why Crimea is the key to the Ukraine war

Peter Rutland

The explosions that damaged the Kerch bridge nearly two weeks ago have put the spotlight back on the strategic significance of the Crimean peninsula, which Russia seized from Ukraine in March 2014.

Just before the attack on the bridge, Elon Musk tweeted out a plan for ending the Ukrainian war.

Musk urged Ukraine to recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea and added an interesting detail — that Crimea should be guaranteed water supplies from Ukraine. The water issue is indeed important to Moscow, but it has passed largely unnoticed in the West. (Musk has denied that he talked directly to the Kremlin about his peace plan.)

What is the root cause of the war in Ukraine? Is it really about Vladimir Putin’s desire to “denazify” Ukraine, or the threat to Russia posed by NATO expansion?

UFOs, intelligence and Cassandra’s curse


In Greek mythology, Cassandra is endowed with the gift of prophesy. But Cassandra is also cursed; her prophesies are never to be believed.

As former White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke writes in “Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes,” modern-day “Cassandras” – experts who sound the alarm over catastrophic or paradigm-shifting events – are often ignored.

Clarke, who served in the Reagan, Clinton and both Bush administrations, is all too familiar with this phenomenon. Like the engineer who foresaw the space shuttle Challenger catastrophe, the lone intelligence analyst who warned of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the Louisiana State University professor who issued dire predictions years before Hurricane Katrina and the “outsiders” who foresaw the 2008 financial collapse, Clarke’s desperate warnings of an impending terrorist attack fell on deaf ears before Sept. 11, 2001.

The Embarrassing Rhetoric on Russia

Todd Carney

The Ukraine-Russia conflict has spurred debate on how to best resolve the crisis. One thing most people can agree on is that nuclear war could happen. In response, most would hope that the risk of nuclear destruction would bring about grounded debate. Unfortunately, the conflict has brought out name calling and baseless allegations. Much of this coming from people currently in charge of policy or who helped shape policy in the past. The juvenile rhetoric on Ukraine-Russia is undermining the debate and could have grave consequences.

Elon Musk recently came under fire for stating his opinion on the Ukraine-Russia conflict. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with Musk’s views, or even calling his proposals “ill-informed” or “destructive”. But several powerful people turned up the dial. David Axelrod, a former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, who now heads up the influential University of Chicago Institute of Politics, tweeted “[i]t's going to be really suspicious if ⁦@elonmusk pays for Twitter in rubles!” Obviously Axelrod was joking, but it does have a shade of Senator Joe McCarthy’s red-baiting, that liberals have decried for decades.

Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, who has prided himself on defending those who speak out, called on everyone to “cancel” Musk. Much of the post 9/11 era has been defined by the need to not blindly accept one side in national security matters, yet Vindman wants society to stomp out anyone who challenges the establishment narrative on Ukraine.

Our Mercenary Retired Generals

Rod Dreher

More than 500 retired U.S. military personnel — including scores of generals and admirals — have taken lucrative jobs since 2015 working for foreign governments, mostly in countries known for human rights abuses and political repression, according to a Washington Post investigation.

In Saudi Arabia, for example, 15 retired U.S. generals and admirals have worked as paid consultants for the Defense Ministry since 2016. The ministry is led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, who U.S. intelligence agencies say approved the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributing columnist, as part of a brutal crackdown on dissent.

Saudi Arabia’s paid advisers have included retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones, a national security adviser to President Barack Obama, and retired Army Gen. Keith Alexander, who led the National Security Agency under Obama and President George W. Bush, according to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Are Syria’s HTS jihadis Turkey’s new friends?

Amberin Zaman

With the world’s attention focused on Ukraine, a potentially transformative development in northern Syria went largely unnoticed. On Oct. 13, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the jihadi faction that runs the northwestern province of Idlib and is by far the most powerful of all the Sunni rebel groups in Syria, moved into Afrin, the Kurdish-majority enclave that was occupied by Turkey in 2018. It did so at the expense of rebel factions operating under the umbrella of the Syrian National Army (SNA) and with the help of other factions also allied with the SNA. The latter include the Sultan Suleyman Shah Division, the Hamza Division and Ahrar al-Sham, which all have close ties to Ankara.

The question of where Turkey stands in this power grab is of critical importance in terms of the balance of power in northern Syria. HTS is designated as a terror group by Turkey as well as by the United States. However, it’s an open secret that Turkey and HTS collaborate on the ground with the latter facilitating the deployment of Turkish forces in Idlib, which began under the now largely lapsed Astana agreement.

Various outlets have suggested that Turkey intervened to de-escalate the clashes that were triggered by the Oct. 7 assassination of an opposition activist and his pregnant wife. HTS appears to have seized on the quarrel to make its move.

On the Ukraine War, Germany Has a Leadership Problem. Here’s Why.

Liana Fix

In February, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a Zeitenwende, or “turning of the times,” in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This initiated sweeping changes to Germany’s defense policy. Still, Berlin remains reluctant to send Ukraine certain heavy weapons, such as battle tanks, and should be doing more to take a leadership role on European security.

What military aid has Germany provided to Ukraine?

Since the end of January, the German government has committed €1.20 billion ($1.16 billion) in military aid to Ukraine, which includes weapons and equipment as well as financial aid with military purpose. In terms of absolute spending, Germany ranks ahead of France but behind both the United Kingdom and Poland.

Both the scope and quantity of Germany’s military support for Ukraine have expanded since the beginning of the war. Germany started by providing basic equipment, such as helmets, and it is now delivering heavy weapons including rocket launchers, self-propelled howitzers, anti-aircraft guns, armored personnel vehicles, and air defense systems. The first such system just arrived in Ukraine, while the remaining three are not expected to arrive until 2023 due to production limitations.

The Only Direction for Xi’s Dictatorship


LONDON – After a decade in power, Xi Jinping is all but certain to be confirmed as China’s first three-term president at the Communist Party of China’s 20th National Congress this week. But before they make Xi a potential dictator for life, the party faithful should bear in mind that dictatorships never end well. Despite his iron grip on power, Xi’s is no different.

To see where Xi’s autocracy might lead, CPC members need only look to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s extraordinary recklessness. Alternatively, they may want to examine their own history and recall the murderous mayhem and infighting that characterized the Cultural Revolution during Mao Zedong’s last decade.

Mao’s brutal one-man rule prompted his adroit and wily successor, Deng Xiaoping, to introduce the two-term limit that Xi later pushed to abolish. To prevent a single individual from amassing so much power, Deng devised a system in which the top leader would have to operate under party elders’ guidance and in consultation with a small group of senior advisers and powerbrokers – a cabinet of sorts. But Xi chucked this model and in 2018 had Chinese lawmakers amend the country’s constitution to clear the way for his third term.

Inside the U.S. Effort to Arm Ukraine

Álvaro Bernis

In early September, Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s defense minister, travelled from the center of Kyiv to a U.S. airbase in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany, where nato officials were gathering to discuss military support for Ukraine. The trip, a distance of about twelve hundred miles, roughly the equivalent of travelling from New York to Minneapolis, lasted the better part of a day. Because there are no flights out of Ukraine, Reznikov had to take a car to the border and a plane the rest of the way. As he set off from the capital, he couldn’t help but hope for good news. Ukrainian forces had opened a second flank in an ambitious counter-offensive, a surprise operation in the direction of Russian-occupied territory in the Kharkiv region. “I learned not to raise my expectations too high,” Reznikov said, “especially in wartime.”

Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, appointed Reznikov defense minister last November, just three months before the Russian invasion. Reznikov is a lawyer and a longtime fixture of Kyiv politics, a veteran of the Soviet Air Force and an avid skydiver. He now serves as a lead negotiator securing the Western arms his country needs to continue its fight. “I get a certain request from the generals,” he said.“Then I explain to our partners the need for it.”

What If the Metaverse Is Better Without Virtual Reality?

The most expensive three letters in technology are p-r-o. Whenever a company releases a product with that trio attached to its name, your wallet is going to take a beating. Case in point is Meta’s newly announced Quest Pro VR headset. It costs $1,500, a jump of more than a grand over the previous model, the Quest 2. While the Pro device uses recent breakthroughs from Meta’s research lab to considerably improve on its previous model, the stunning price differential defies the conventional approach to winning over an audience for cutting-edge but unproven technology—making it more affordable over time. Eight years after buying the VR startup Oculus and proclaiming digital reality the next step in computing, Mark Zuckerberg is still talking about selling devices to early adopters, with the idea that its features will eventually trickle down to more affordable gear. For, uh, amateurs.

Perhaps to compensate for that, Meta also announced a significant shift in who gets to access its metaverse. Zuckerberg doggedly insists that VR’s destiny is to become the default means by which we socialize. But he knows as well as anyone that network effects are critical in social apps. What’s the use in buying a VR rig to hang out with your buddies, if they don’t have rigs of their own? Yes, it helps that the new headsets can track your facial expressions, have brighter screens, and don’t feel like you’re wearing an anvil on your face. But if the cost of that comfort is prohibitive, the platform will never get to critical mass. So in an effort to broaden the use of the technology in social settings, Meta announced two new features that will arrive in 2023. People will be able to access the company’s version of the metaverse, Horizon Worlds, via web browser. And groups of VR explorers at companies that use Meta’s productivity app Workrooms will be able to pop in via Zoom.

How Xi Jinping made himself unchallengeable

Grace Tsoi and Sylvia Chang

Few foresaw that Xi Jinping would become the most assertive Chinese leader in decades - he is now all but set to secure a historic third term in power.

A decade ago little was known about Mr Xi - apart from the fact that he was a "princeling" because his father was one of the country's revolutionary leaders.

His lineage helped him win the support of party elders, which was crucial to ascending power within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as these leaders often wielded political influence even after retirement.

"Before his elevation, Xi Jinping was regarded as someone who could compromise with everyone," said Joseph Fewsmith, an expert in Chinese elite politics at Boston University.

But 10 years on, Mr Xi's authority appears to be unquestionable, and his power unrivalled. How did that happen?

Education 4.0 India

The COVID-19 pandemic has widened the gaps in learning outcomes among schoolchildren in India. With the aim of addressing these challenges through digital learning, the World Economic Forum collaborated with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and YuWaah (Generation Unlimited India) to launch the Education 4.0 India initiative.

The Education 4.0 India report tracks the progress and findings of the Education 4.0 India initiative, which convened over 40 partners from the education technology, government, academic and start-up communities to focus on how Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies can enhance learning and reduce inequalities in access to education among schoolchildren in India. Under four themes – foundational literacy and numeracy, teacher professional development, school-to-work transition, and connecting the unconnected – the report identifies gaps and outlines interventions, each substantiated by case studies and an implementation roadmap that can enable India’s youth to participate in the ever-evolving global workspace.

AUSA Conference Wire: Multi-Domain Drops


The Army has released its biggest doctrinal step in forty years: Field Manual 3.0, which presents the service's long-in-development playbook for multi-domain operations. At the Association of the U.S. Army conference in Washington, D.C., Chief of Staff James McConville called it the biggest doctrinal advance since the 1980s' AirLand Battle.

Elsewhere, conversation took some surprising turns, include a pleas for more ships—to transport soldiers and materiel around the vast Pacific region. Caitlin Kenney reports on that and more, here.

Biden’s National Security Strategy Focuses on China, Russia and Democracy at Home

David E. Sanger

President Biden declared on Wednesday that the overwhelming challenge for the United States in the coming years would be “outcompeting China and restraining Russia” while focusing on restoring a damaged democracy at home.

In his 48-page national security strategy, which every new administration is required to issue, Mr. Biden made clear that over the long term he was more worried about China’s moves to “layer authoritarian governance with a revisionist foreign policy” than he was about a declining, battered Russia. More than six months after the invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military appears less fearsome than it did when the first drafts of the document circulated in the White House in December.

“Russia and the P.R.C. pose different challenges,” Mr. Biden wrote, using the abbreviation for the People’s Republic of China. “Russia poses an immediate threat to the free and open international system, recklessly flouting the basic laws of the international order today, as its brutal war of aggression against Ukraine has shown.”

New National Security Strategy Focuses on China’s Power, Russia’s ‘Immediate and Persistent Threat’

Bridget Johnson

The new National Security Strategy released by the White House today singles out China as “the only competitor with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it,” while stressing that Russia “now poses an immediate and persistent threat to international peace and stability.”

“The world is at an inflection point and the choices we make today will set the terms on how we are set up to deal with the significant challenges and the significant opportunities we face in the years ahead,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters this morning before the release of the strategy. “That’s really what this National Security Strategy is all about.”

“The fundamental premise of the strategy is that we have entered a decisive decade with respect to two fundamental strategic challenges,” Sullivan added. “The first is the competition between the major powers to shape the future of the international order. And the second is that while this competition is underway, we need to deal with a set of transnational challenges that are affecting people everywhere, including here in the United States — from climate change to food insecurity, to communicable diseases, to terrorism, to the energy transition, to inflation.”

The Ukraine War Is Teaching the US How to Move Intelligence Faster


Ukraine’s swift counter-offensive owes much to U.S. weapons, planning, and intelligence help. But the U.S. Army is benefitting as well: by learning how to move intelligence much faster from satellites to ground units.

Part of the answer is planning: making sure satellites are available to gather data when and where commanders need it.

That means “trying to locate where the targets are now in the targeting board, you know, making sure that the effect that the commander wants on the battlefield is there and it's right there in the stack,” said Lt. Gen. Daniel Karbler, the commanding general of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command.

Plans must include getting permission to access those satellites, Karbler told reporters at the Association of the U.S. Army conference on Wednesday. “We could sit there and we can have a plan out there. But sometimes you have to get authorities at the right level. And if you're waiting for authorities to come down, because you haven't put them into the plan initially, then that flashbang…it's going to be much longer,`` he said.

New National Security Strategy Returns Focus to Rules, Partnerships, and American Leadership


The new National Security Strategy is a pitch of sorts, both to reassure U.S. allies that Washington still wants to lead on international rules, norms, ideals, and partnerships; and to convince the American people that such leadership will improve their own lives.

On Wednesday, the Biden administration released an unclassified version of the long-awaited document—it arrives seven months after the Defense Department submitted its classified National Defense Strategy—echoes its predecessor’s 2017 version in its focus on great power competition and China in particular. But the new strategy’s emphasis on America’s place in the international rules-based order marks a return from the Trump administration’s departure, and it also downgrades the Russian threat to “acute,” a step below China’s “pacing challenge.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine delayed the strategy’s release but also vindicates the administration’s approach, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Wednesday.

Analysis: U.S. ban on Nvidia, AMD chips seen boosting Chinese rivals

Jane Lanhee Lee and Stephen Nellis

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 8 (Reuters) - The U.S. ban on exports to China of Nvidia and AMD's flagship artificial intelligence chips will create new business opportunities for domestic startups jockeying for a piece of China's fast-growing data center chip market, industry executives and analysts told Reuters.

The ban is part of a longer effort by the U.S. government to crack down on U.S. contributions to Chinese artificial intelligence and high-performance computing, or supercomputing. Last year, U.S. officials put seven Chinese supercomputing entities on an economic blacklist, and last week they banned Nvidia and AMD's chips from export to China "to keep advanced technologies out of the wrong hands."

On Thursday, an independent group that measures artificial intelligence speeds published new data that can help back up the claims of little-known Chinese startup Shanghai Biren Intelligent Technology Co that its latest chip has bested the performance of one of the high-end chips banned by the U.S. government.

How Starlink Scrambled to Keep Ukraine Online

ON MARCH 29, Ukrainian forces rolled into the shattered streets of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, littered with blackened wreckage and dead bodies. The destruction had knocked all 24 of the city’s cell towers offline, preventing traumatized survivors from letting friends and relatives know they were safe. “Most of those base stations had significant destruction,” says Kostyantyn Naumenko, head of radio access network planning and development at cellular network Vodafone Ukraine. Just two days later, with help from Elon Musk, the city was back online.

Irpin was reconnected on March 31 after engineers from Vodafone Ukraine arrived with a circular white satellite antenna known by its manufacturer as Dishy McFlatface—a terminal for the Starlink satellite internet service offered by Musk’s SpaceX. The engineers mounted the receiver and its motorized base to a mobile base station on the edge of Irpin whose fiber-optic connection and power had been severed, and attached a generator. Within hours, the city was back online, and so were its remaining residents. “The first thing they are doing is calling relatives to say that they are safe and sound,” Naumenko says.

The speed with which Irpin was brought back online shows the ingenuity of the engineers involved and the nimbleness with which Ukraine’s government has used Starlink terminals. The country has received more than 10,000 of the devices since Russia invaded, in part thanks to funding and other help from the US government. The terminals have already become central to the country’s response to the war, finding both civilian and military uses.