23 October 2022

Responding to Foreign Interference in the EU: Beware of Unintended Consequences



Ever since the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, foreign interference in Western democracies’ domestic processes has been a major topic on both sides of the Atlantic. For instance, the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States has started to track “authoritarian interference” by Russia and China in North American and European countries. Situating foreign interference in a broader context of what is called hybrid threats, EU institutions have adopted a range of legislative acts, in policy areas like “energy security, safeguarding of critical infrastructure, data protection, screening of foreign investment and transparency of political funding.” In June 2020, the European Parliament (EP) decided to step up the fight against foreign interference by setting up a special committee endowed with the task to analyze the broad range of forms of foreign interference in democratic institutions and processes of the EU and its member states as well as to propose recommendations for a proper response. In March 2022, the EP officially adopted the committee’s report on “foreign interference in all democratic processes in the European Union.”

The starting point of the report is the perception “that malicious and authoritarian foreign state and non-state actors [such as Russia, China, and others] are using information manipulation and other tactics to interfere in democratic processes in the EU.” This threat perception has only increased with the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, which was accompanied by “disinformation of an unparalleled malice and magnitude.” At its core, the report outlines a detailed list of elements for a future EU strategy against foreign interference.

China Recruiting Former R.A.F. Pilots to Train Its Army Pilots, U.K. Says

Mark Landler

LONDON — China has recruited as many as 30 retired British military pilots, including some who flew sophisticated fighter jets, to train pilots in the People’s Liberation Army, according to Britain’s Defense Ministry. A senior official said the ministry worried that the practice could threaten British national security.

Britain said it was working with allies to try to stop the practice, which the official said dated to before the coronavirus pandemic but had gained momentum in recent months. The recruited British pilots, the senior official said, included former members of the Royal Air Force and other branches of the armed forces.

None of the retired pilots are suspected of violating the Official Secrets Act, the British law that covers espionage, sabotage and other crimes. But the official said that Britain was determined to tighten the controls on retired service members to guard against training activities that could contravene espionage laws.

Will economic statecraft threaten western currency dominance? Sanctions, geopolitics, and the global monetary order

Dr. Carla Norrlöf

The return of great power rivalry is stoking renewed fears of weakening Western currency dominance. Financial sanctions are becoming the preferred economic tool for accomplishing geopolitical goals. These instruments are especially popular with the United States and Europe. In response, rival great powers, notably China and Russia, are diversifying away from Western currencies and developing counterstrategies to maintain economic and foreign policy autonomy.

As other countries are hit by increasingly punishing Western sanctions, the incentive to join Russia and China’s alternative international monetary order increases. New analysis, published in this report, shows early signs that some countries may be trying to diversify away from the dollar. A growing circle of countries attempting to evade the Western-centric financial and currency order may over time erode the dollar and the euro’s sizeable lead, though will likely fall well short of ending their global dominance.

What Xi Jinping’s third term means for the world

Michael Schuman


The inner workings of high-level Chinese politics are a black box. China watchers, not unlike the Kremlinologists of yesteryear, are forced to sift through dinner-party gossip and the front pages of the People’s Daily for clues about who’s in and who’s out. Winners in the backroom brawls of China’s politics are never certain until they are revealed at Chinese Communist Party congresses every five years. It is remarkable that even today, with China a rising world power and second-largest economy, that its political process remains so opaque.

This time around, with the much-anticipated twentieth Congress scheduled for an October 16 opening, the picture is clearer than usual. It has been widely believed for some time, both inside and outside of China, that current Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping will break with modern precedent and extend his reign into a third, five-year term. Xi, who also serves as the country’s president, has been working toward this outcome for years. In 2018, for instance, he engineered a constitutional reform to eliminate term limits on the presidency. His propaganda machine has elevated the status of Mao Zedong, who ruled practically without challenge from the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949 to his death in 1976. Xi Jinping Thought, a compendium of his ideas, is required reading in Chinese schools. Meanwhile, Deng Xiaoping, the leader who championed a more collective form of governance, has been downgraded in the government’s public messaging. Clearly, Xi has been laying the groundwork for renewed one-man dominance of China’s political system.

The data divide: How emerging technology and its stakeholders can influence the fourth industrial revolution

Joseph T. Bonivel Jr. and Solomon Wise

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is highlighted by the interconnection of devices and sensors to the internet. The computing and communication capabilities of these devices allow for roughly 2.5 quintillion byes of data to be produced, stored, and analyzed daily. For example, every second, an exponential amount of healthcare data is generated and mined for valuable insights. Today, approximately 30% of the world’s data volume is being generated by the healthcare industry. By 2025, the compound annual growth rate of data for healthcare will reach 36%. This data is feed into machine learning and artificial intelligence models that have strong impacts on multiple healthcare domains that have the potential to impact the socioeconomic statuses of billions of people across the world Those entities who have the functional access to data capital have more options than those who do not. The data divide is the gap that exists between individuals who have access, agency, and control with respect to data and can reap the most benefits from data driven technologies, and those who do not. The data divide can only be reduced if the there is optimization in data process, monitoring and evaluation of the policies and programs from major stakeholders, and alignment of public private partnerships for social good.

Antony Blinken’s Silicon Valley visit underscores US cybersecurity concerns

Kari Paul

The US secretary of state visited Silicon Valley this week, on a trip that experts say highlights the Biden administration’s growing concerns over cybersecurity and officials’ push to collaborate more closely with the US’s powerful tech industry.

Antony Blinken on Monday spoke at Stanford University and was scheduled to meet with tech executives to “highlight the key role for technology diplomacy in advancing US economic and national security”, according to the state department.

The department shared few other details about the visit, and did not respond to a request for comment. But experts said national security concerns including the growing threat of cyberwar and potential foreign interference in upcoming elections were almost certain to be on the agenda.

NSA Cybersecurity Director's Six Takeaways From the War in Ukraine

Kevin Poireault

From the warning banner ‘Be afraid and expect the worst’ that was shown on several Ukrainian government websites on January 13, 2022, after a cyber-attack took them down, the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) cybersecurity director, Rob Joyce, knew that something was going to be different, and very aggressive, between Ukraine and Russia, and that it would be happening in the cyber space as well.

Ten months on, he was invited to speak at one of Mandiant Worldwide Information Security Exchange's (mWISE) opening keynotes on October 18, 2022.

Joyce shared six takeaways from the Russia-Ukraine cyber-conflict in terms of what we learned from it and its impact on how nations should protect their organizations. Infosecurity investigates these learnings.

1. Both espionage and destructive attacks will occur in conflict

First, Joyce insisted that seven new families of wiper have been deployed since the beginning of the war, “and they were all unique, custom-built malware deployed in the context of the war.”

0x07 An Inflexion Point On the new US controls related to semiconductors on Chinese entities

Pranay Kotasthane

Last week, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced the much-anticipated unilateral controls by the US on China’s semiconductor industry. I consider this move a significant geopolitical and geoeconomic milestone for three reasons in this Twitter thread.

Q1: How far-reaching are the new U.S. rules in terms of restricting foreign (non-US/Chinese) business with China in high-end chips? What's changed?

There are significant changes in the breadth and depth of controls, both. By breadth, I mean that the controls have expanded to more Chinese companies, universities, and sectors. For instance, Chinese entities cannot access supercomputers or chips that go into them, including AI chips. Another target is semiconductor manufacturing equipment that can be used to produce chips that go into weaponry or products that enable human rights abuses.

By depth, I mean that the existing controls have got more restrictive than before. Earlier, companies were able to get export licenses readily. But the new controls make it difficult for companies to obtain licenses. By default, licenses will be denied unless companies can prove that their products will not be deployed for end-uses that are against the national security or foreign policy interests of the US. In short, the US has formally shifted its goal from outpacing China in the semiconductor industry to actively denying it access to advanced chips.

If US Loses The War For Cyber Talent, It Loses The Cyberwar

David DeWalt

Over the past year, Americans have felt the stinging impacts of cyberattacks on their personal lives and on the national economy. These attacks exposed millions of personal data records, threatened the availability of fuel, targeted utilities and exposed the risk underlying digital and physical supply chains. The global cost of cyberattacks is expected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2025. And over 620 million ransomware attacks were recorded in 2021 alone. This figure is mind-bending. The past couple of years have seen cyberattacks of unprecedented size and impact: DarkSide, Kaseya, Log4j and the hack involving SolarWinds are just some of the attacks that made headlines.

The cybersecurity industry has responded to this threat by unleashing a wave of innovation, resulting in a plethora of products and technologies coming onto the market—all designed to solve the cyber problem. In 2021 alone, for instance, we saw $29.5 billion in venture capital funding pour into cybersecurity, well more than twice the previous year’s amount, and there are now more than 6,850 companies in the space.

The Not-So Secret Cyber War: 5 Nations Conducting the Most Cyberattacks

Peter Suciu

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, but cyber vigilance is something that should be practiced year-round. Unfortunately, the threat vector continues to get worse, and hacking is now a domain where a not-so-secret war is being waged. A question remains, however, as to what nations are actively engaged – but also where some of those states manage to train their cyber teams to conduct these hacks.

“Most of our enemies offer free university education to their citizens,” warned John Gunn, CEO of cybersecurity provider Token.

There is also evidence to suggest that China and Russia, in particular, have cyber training programs in place.

“China has a vast National Cybersecurity Centre in Wuhan, which reportedly spans over 15 square miles, which is assumed to train the next generation of threat actors,” explained Yana Blachman, threat intelligence specialist at Venafi.

Will Xi’s Paranoia Defeat Him?

Susan Shirk

Over the past decade, Chinese President Xi Jinping has expressed many of the same anxieties as his predecessor, Hu Jintao, about domestic threats to social stability. Both leaders have worried about the fragility of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rule in a rapidly changing society and sought to secure it by exerting greater control over social and economic life. Both, moreover, see security dangers as emanating mainly from domestic problems, though they also cast a suspicious eye on “malign” international forces. As Xi often observes, the security threats confronting China come from the “increasingly complex” external and internal threats that “are interlocked and can be mutually activated.”

However, Xi takes the paranoia that has been endemic to Chinese politics since Mao Zedong’s rule to an extreme. China is stronger than ever. It has a hugely successful economy, a capable military, and growing global influence. The government enjoys a high level of public support. Yet Xi’s fixation on security betrays his persistent feelings of vulnerability. Xi’s “overall national security outlook” is more holistic than Hu’s, more party-centered, and more explicitly highlights external threats.

Xi Jinping wants China to ‘win local wars.’ Russia’s failures in Ukraine show that’s not so easy

Brad Lendon

It has taken just a handful of years for Chinese leader Xi Jinping to make good on his promise of transforming the People’s Liberation Army.

In 2015, three years after he assumed leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi undertook a sweeping project to turn the PLA into a “world-class fighting force” that would be a peer to the US military.

The deadline he set for that milestone was 2049, yet just seven years on and he is already far along the path to realizing his dream.

China now boasts the world’s largest navy, with some of the newest and most powerful warships afloat; an air force with stealth fighter jets and a stealth bomber expected soon; and a rocket force bristling with new missiles that give it a reach unmatched in Asia.

Why Web3 Won’t Go Mainstream — Yet

Kartik Hosanagar

Crypto and Web3 have a problem. No, not the recent fall in Bitcoin’s value, the collapse of “stable coin” Terra (LUNA), the fact that early projects offered little utility and were mostly driven by asset speculations by a small but vocal community, or even the widespread accounts of fraud. This problem is of equal or greater concern, one that will outlast market fluctuations and a lack of proper regulation. It is that, for a product meant to democratize everything from investment to activism to art, Web3 — the universe of blockchain, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and cryptocurrencies — is devilishly difficult to use.

“Getting and spending we lay waste our hours,” wrote Wordsworth in his poetic critique of capitalism. With cryptocurrencies, it is not the getting that eats up time or requires technical savvy. Part of their appeal, in fact, is how easy they are to buy. Buying Bitcoin or Ethereum is as straightforward as setting up an account with one of the many registered exchanges and linking it with a credit card (or source of funds).

It’s the spending that has occupied embarrassing quantities of our time over the past couple years — and which we believe represents a real cap on how world-changing these innovations can be. Initially, the issue with Crypto was the inability to spend it on anything other than illicit purchases on websites like Silk Road. All that changed with the emergence of NFTs and decentralized autonomous organizations that allow users to buy digital art, or invest in musicians in return for a share of their royalties, or join clubs that provide them access to IRL (in real life) activities like concerts or networking events. But participating in these projects — or operating within Web3 in general — requires you to be able to understand and act on smart contracts written in code, often in seconds.

The Beginning of the End of the Islamic Republic

Masih Alinejad

The current protests in Iran sound the death knell of the Islamic Republic. The killing in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was arrested for wearing the hijab incorrectly, has unleashed a wave of angry and bloody demonstrations, boycotts, work stoppages, and wildcat strikes that have exhausted the country’s security forces and spread to more than 100 cities. The government has endured major protests before, notably in 2009, 2017, and 2019, but these demonstrations are different. They embody the anger that Iranian women and young Iranians feel toward a regime that seeks to stifle their dearest desires. And they promise to upend Iran’s establishment.

Since Iran’s 1978–79 revolution, the Islamic Republic has relegated women to second-class status under sharia and the strictures of the Iranian constitution. But women, especially young women, have had enough, and they are now volubly rejecting the requirement to wear hijabs along with the social order that the Islamic Republic has sought to impose on the country. Some women have burned their headscarves, an act that two months ago was punishable by lashing and a jail sentence but now is not that rare an act in Iranian cities.

How the FBI stumbled in the war on cybercrime

Renee Dudley and Daniel Golden,

Investigating cybercrime was supposed to be the FBI’s third-highest priority, behind terrorism and counterintelligence. Yet, in 2015, FBI Director James Comey realized that his Cyber Division faced a brain drain that was hamstringing its investigations.

Retention in the division had been a chronic problem, but in the spring of that year, it became acute. About a dozen young and midcareer cyber agents had given notice or were considering leaving, attracted by more lucrative jobs outside government. As the resignations piled up, Comey received an unsolicited email from Andre McGregor, one of the cyber agents who had quit. In his email, the young agent suggested ways to improve the Cyber Division. Comey routinely broadcast his open-door policy, but senior staff members were nevertheless aghast when they heard an agent with just six years’ experience in the bureau had actually taken him up on it. To their consternation, Comey took McGregor’s email and the other cyber agents’ departures seriously. “I want to meet these guys,” he said. He invited the agents to Washington from field offices nationwide for a private lunch. As news of the meeting circulated throughout headquarters, across divisions and into the field, senior staff openly scorned the cyber agents, dubbing them “the 12 Angry Men,” “the Dirty Dozen” or just “these assholes.” To the old-schoolers — including some who had risked their lives in service to the bureau — the cyber agents were spoiled prima donnas, not real FBI.

EurasiaChat: The Russians have come

In our podcast this week, hosts Aigerim Toleukhanova and Joanna Lillis discuss how Russians fleeing conscription are upending life in Central Asia and placing Kazakhstan in an awkward position.

Also, we hear an update from Peter Leonard, our Central Asia editor, on the political drama after the recent fighting between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, the worst inter-state violence in Central Asia since independence. In the volatile border areas, many people are angry and worried after the two countries agreed to withdraw troops, fearing they have been left exposed.

And after 600 days, a small group of protestors outside China's embassy in Almaty is still demanding answers about the fates of their loved ones in the Xinjiang gulag. Also awkward for Kazakhstan.

The United States Has Entered The ‘Danger Zone’ With China

James Holmes

China and U.S. Have Entered the Danger Zone Says Dr. James Holmes: This week Wisconsin congressman Mike Gallagher delivered a brusque speech at the Washington, DC-based Heritage Foundation sounding the alarm klaxon about the state of the U.S. armed forces. Occasioning his remarks was the release of the annual Heritage Index of U.S. Military Strength, which rates the services’ capability and capacity to discharge the missions entrusted to them.

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This year, for the first time, the report’s coauthors adjudged the armed forces “weak” relative to commitments set before them in such embattled theaters as the Western Pacific. Representative Gallagher ascribed the United States’ martial plight to a nexus of a worsening strategic environment, policy drift in Washington, and the Pentagon’s efforts to recapitalize the joint force after its post-Cold War strategic holiday and years of counterinsurgent warfare.

As War Hits the Homefront, Russia’s Defeat Inches Closer

Alexey Kovalev

By many accounts, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is already a colossal failure. The confirmed losses of destroyed and abandoned tanks and other armor alone exceed the entire army of a decent-sized Central or Eastern European country, and the rate of loss doesn’t look likely to be reversed anytime soon. Citing sources close to the Kremlin, Russian independent media has reported 90,000 irrecoverably lost soldiers, including battlefield and hospital deaths plus injuries severe enough to prevent them from ever fighting again. These losses now exceed those incurred during Russia’s wars in Afghanistan and Chechnya, politically devastating conflicts that left deep scars on Russian society that have still not healed today. What’s more, it took Russia 10 years to accumulate its losses in Afghanistan, whereas it has only been fighting in Ukraine for eight months.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “partial mobilization,” which he recently promised will be over in two weeks just before the regular annual military draft begins, has also been a failure on all levels. Russian social media is full of clips of fresh conscripts facing squalor in hastily thrown up tents and cold abandoned barracks without food, uniforms, sanitation, equipment, or commanders, left to fend for themselves or survive on parcels brought by their relatives. As men are grabbed from the streets and sent right to the front with only a cursory training course at best, their relatives are expected to cough up money for basic items that are supposed to be provided by the army, such as first-aid kits or winter clothes.

Sustainability and superapps top Gartner’s Top 10 2023 Trends List

Allen Bernard

Because financial concerns are once again top of mind for most companies today, Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2023 are focused on the technologies that help them increase resilience, optimize operations, scale and engineer new forms of customer engagement.

Sustainability is a top trend for the coming year

Sustainability has also risen to the top of the organizational concerns list, said David Groombridge, a distinguished vice president and analyst at Gartner. Gartner’s top trends highlight the technologies that will drive significant disruption and opportunity over the next five to 10 years.

“Sustainability covers social, economic and environmental impacts, and involves making decisions about the use of technology and business practices that support long-term ecological balance and human rights,” Groombridge said from Gartner’s IT Symposium in Orlando.

As Project Convergence tries new ‘tech gateways,’ 2 AI algorithms to transition to programs of record


WASHINGTON — The Army’s new “technology gateway” scenario has set the service’s Project Convergence tech-focused experiments in “new direction,” hoping to follow in the footsteps of two AI algorithms from last year’s experiment that will be transitioned into programs of record, according to service officials.

The new “gateway” was added to this year’s annual Project Convergence experiments, the Army’s contribution to the Pentagon’s Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) effort, after the service realized there was a need to start incorporating industry technologies earlier into the experiments.

“This year we’re expanding Project Convergence to be a little bit more inclusive of earlier technology… We truly are at the intersection of concepts and technology, and whether it’s concepts informing technology or technology informing concepts, we feel like we have an obligation to mature Project Convergence to a point where it not only solves problems, but it gets after opportunities,” Lt. Gen. Thomas Todd, deputy commanding general for acquisition and systems and chief innovation officer for Army Futures Command (AFC), told reporters during a call on Monday. “I think that’s what expected of our Army, certainly in the modern fight.”

A Musk monopoly? For now, Ukraine has few options outside Starlink for battlefield satcoms


WASHINGTON — Though the recent tumult over whether Elon Musk’s SpaceX would continue to fund the operation of its Starlink satellite service in Ukraine appears to be over for now, an uncomfortable question remains: If for some reason Starlink is not available, who else might the Pentagon, or Ukrainian forces for that matter, be able to turn to?

While there are other satellite communications firms providing internet connectivity from space, experts say that, at least in the short term, there are few that provide both the wide global coverage and inexpensive, highly mobile and easy-to-use receiver terminals that have made Starlink a vital part of Ukraine’s war against Russia.

“There really aren’t any great substitutes here. I mean, this is why [Starlink has] been such a game changer, because there’s not been anything like it before,” said Tim Farrer, an industry consultant. That situation isn’t likely to change, he added, for “maybe about a year” — meaning that for the moment it is almost the only game in town for keeping the embattled Kyiv government and the Ukrainian military connected.

Army 2030: Disperse or die, network and live


AUSA 2022 — In an age of drones, commercial satellite imagery and informants wielding smartphones, you have to assume the enemy is always watching, even thousands of miles from the front line.

That surveillance can pinpoint targets for long-range precision weapons, which means rear-echelon command posts, support troops and supply dumps are under threat of attack like never before, a threat that changes how they have to operate. But how do units spread out, take cover, and keep moving — to avoid being spotted, targeted, and struck — while still coordinating any kind of effective action?

That’s the tactical dilemma the Army attempts to tackle with its new multi-domain operations doctrine – and the critical technical challenge for its still-in-development battle network.

Suicide drones strike fear in Ukraine’s capital, killing 4


KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Waves of explosives-laden suicide drones struck Ukraine’s capital Monday, setting buildings ablaze, tearing a hole in one of them and sending people scurrying for cover or trying to shoot them down in what the president said was Russia’s attempt to terrorize civilians.

The concentrated use of the kamikaze drones was the second barrage in as many weeks — after months in which air attacks had become a rarity in central Kyiv. The assault sowed fear and frayed nerves as blasts rocked the city. Energy facilities were struck and one drone largely collapsed a residential building, killing four people, authorities said.

Intense bursts of gunfire rang out as the Iranian-made Shahed drones buzzed overhead, apparently as soldiers tried to destroy them. Others headed for shelter, nervously scanning the skies. But Ukraine has become grimly accustomed to attacks nearly eight months into the Russian invasion, and city life resumed as rescuers picked through debris.


David H. Ucko and Thomas A. Marks

The Department of Defense is working on a new definition of irregular warfare, and the stakes are surprisingly high. The danger lies not just in forgetting whatever was learned from twenty years of engagement with substate actors through counterinsurgency and counterterrorism. Rather, in seeking to apply the term to state-based actors, the better to capture the subversive approach being used by America’s principal adversaries, there is a risk that irregular warfare will lose all its meaning. The issue is certainly not that irregular warfare is irrelevant to the strategic competition at hand—quite the contrary—but rather that the US military system is proving too traumatized by its counterinsurgency past, and too mired in its own orthodoxies, to grasp the contribution of the term. Before the value that irregular warfare provides is lost, an interrogation of its meaning is necessary. On this basis, this article sets out a reworked definition of irregular warfare, one that retains its crucial focus of on legitimacy, coercion, and political power but that is also applicable to interstate competition.

Why Redefine?

The Department of Defense officially defines irregular warfare as “a violent struggle among state and non-state actors for legitimacy and influence over the relevant population(s).” The term emerged from the challenges posed by nonstate armed groups, which necessarily engage in subversion and guile to outmaneuver militarily stronger states. In these efforts, mobilization, legitimacy, and credibility produce societal power, allowing adversaries weaker at the offset to paralyze stronger foes and, at times, prevail against seemingly impossible odds. Reflecting the approach, the official definition of irregular warfare specifies that it “favors indirect warfare and asymmetric warfare approaches” to direct military confrontation and seeks “to erode the adversary’s power, influence, and will” until a final military push, if necessary, can seal the deal.

Obama’s Apology is Too Little Too Late

Todd Carney

As President, Barack Obama was good at apologizing…for America. But Obama would rarely own up to his mistakes. Recently, Obama admitted fault, for once, concerning his administration’s response to a pro-democracy movement in Iran early in his presidency. In a soft-ball interview with his former staffers on the “Pod Save America” podcast Obama claimed that he and his staff had debated whether to do more to support Iran’s pro-democracy movement. Obama went on to say that the administration ultimately did not back the movement further because they did not want the demonstrators to seem like “tools of the West”. Obama concluded by saying he considers his response a mistake. This self-reflection has won Obama praise. However, Obama’s apology is meaningless because it comes a decade late and does nothing to undo the damage his initial response caused.

The Middle East was an early focus of Obama’s administration. Obama gave a famous speech in Egypt about America’s relationship with the Muslim world. At the time, the speech received a lot of praise. Many hoped that it could lead to pro-democracy movements in the region, without the US needing to invade.

A little over a week later, there was a democratic uprising in Iran in response to claims that Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had rigged the nation’s presidential election to win another term. Ahmadinejad responded to the protests with violence and arrests, the same kind of human rights abuses that Iran is committing today. It is possible that some of the demonstrators protested because they were inspired by Obama’s speech.