11 November 2022

After Lula’s Victory, India and Brazil Can Join Forces on the Global Stage

Quintijn Kat

On October 30, Brazilians elected former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (commonly known simply as Lula) to the Brazilian presidency once again. The unexpectedly tight race was decided by a margin of only 2.1 million votes, Lula taking 50.9 percent against incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro’s 49.1.

Much attention will be given to Lula’s domestic policy plans and implementation, which is understandable considering Brazil’s many internal challenges. Besides, on the global stage Brazil’s role has diminished since Lula left office in 2010, with the once emerging great power suffering corruption scandals and political crises that coincided with its worst recession in decades. Bolsonaro further damaged Brazil’s international standing through his anti-globalist rhetoric while pulling Brazil out of several international institutions, accelerating the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, and cozying up to former U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

In short, today Brazil’s role on the global stage might seem less impactful than during Lula’s earlier presidency (2003-2010). Still, it merits close attention, especially from states located in the Global South and particularly from India. To understand why, one needs to look at Brazil’s international role under the earlier Lula administration and the ambitions that the president-elect’s foreign policy advisor, Celso Amorim, expressed recently.

Principals with Agency: Assessing Civilian Deference to the Military

Alice Hunt Friend, Sharon K. Weiner

There is little doubt that civilian leaders often defer to military expertise. Congress, for example, tends to boost defense spending based upon inputs from the service chiefs, going so far as to request each year a list of “unfunded requirements” that the military wants but which are absent from the president’s budget request.1 Despite their commitments to wind down the war, both Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump eventually deferred to the military on keeping troops in Afghanistan.2 And many civilian leaders over the years have followed the military’s preferences on social issues, resulting in delays in integrating the armed forces, accepting gay and lesbian servicemembers, and allowing women to serve in combat roles.3

But is this deference by civilian decision-makers primarily structural, i.e., do civilian leaders defer to the military because they depend on the military’s expertise and have little access to outside or competing sources of expertise? Or is it more a function of agency — do civilians choose to defer to the military? In other words, if civilians have competing sources of expertise made available to them, are they more likely to opt for policy choices that contradict military preferences, or will they still defer to the military?

To shed light on this question, we focus on three cases in which U.S. presidential administrations had to form an opinion for an emerging policy choice, but in the context of different information environments. The first case has to do with the use of special operations forces during the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations. This example provides a base line for understanding civil-military interaction when the military has a near monopoly on expertise. As expected, civilian leaders in both administrations deferred to the military. The other two cases involve how cyber operations were viewed and used from the Reagan administration through the Obama administration, and Obama’s efforts to change U.S. nuclear policy. In each case, there existed expertise oligopolies, in which civilian leaders had multiple credible sources of information in addition to the military. And yet, civilian leaders eventually adopted the military’s policy preferences in both cases, even though those preferences were in direct opposition to those initially expressed by the president.

Why Europe’s Energy Crisis Is A Disaster For Emerging Economies

Irina Slav

The surge in natural gas demand from Europe has led to a surge in prices that has devastated emerging economies in other parts of the world and this devastation could drag on for years, Bloomberg reports.

“Energy security concerns in Europe are driving energy poverty in the emerging world,” Saul Kavonic, Credit Suisse energy analyst, told Bloomberg. “Europe is sucking gas away from other countries whatever the cost.”

The fact is that European countries can afford to pay a premium for natural gas while poorer nations such as Pakistan or Bangladesh don’t have the money to afford such a premium. Pakistan, by the way, is already suffering blackouts for most of the day and there is little chance of that changing anytime soon because of exorbitant LNG prices.

“Suppliers don’t need to focus on securing their LNG to low affordability markets,” Wood Mackenzie analyst Raghav Mathur told Bloomberg. What’s more, the spot market is so lucrative at the moment that producers can breach their long-term contracts and afford to pay the penalties with money made on that market.

Can Germany ‘reduce lopsided dependencies’ on China?

Duncan Bartlett

Germany has a president, as well as a chancellor, and on the face of it, their attitudes toward China are distinctly different.

The chancellor is the more powerful one — Angela Merkel was the previous incumbent. “Decoupling is the wrong answer,” current German chancellor Olaf Scholz told a business conference before he headed to Beijing to meet Chinese leader Xí Jìnpíng 习近平. Many German industrialists agreed with him, and chose to accompany him on the trip.

However, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier — a former foreign minister — said that Germany must learn from Russia’s war in Ukraine. “The lesson is that we must reduce lopsided dependencies wherever we can,” he told the public broadcaster ARD last month. “This applies in particular to China.”

President Steinmeier reinforced this message with visits to Japan and South Korea that took place in parallel to the chancellor’s trip to Beijing. In fact, he had lunch with President Yoon Suk-yeol in Seoul at exactly the same time as Chancellor Scholz was in Beijing, although it was the Scholz-Xi meeting that received all the press attention.

Protecting the environment in times of armed conflict

Finn Stepputat & Jairo Munive

Armed conflicts cause immense immediate harm to the people affected by them. Therefore, it seems only natural to focus exclusively on the human consequences, downplaying the environmental harm caused by armed conflicts. And although, in some cases, degraded environment and depleted resources like water or fertile soil can be at the root of armed conflict, the environment is frequently a ’silent victim’. However, conflicts can and do cause long-term damage to the environment, whether directly or incidentally, harming people’s health and livelihoods. Attacks and explosive remnants can cause water and soil contamination, or release pollutants into the air. The war in Ukraine, for example, has caused damage to internationally protected wetlands, national parks, and biospheres, and threatens to damage nuclear power plants. During recent fighting in Gaza, incendiary artillery shells set fire to hundreds of tons of toxic pesticides, fertilizers, chemicals, and other farming materials, causing groundwater contamination.

Armed conflict can also result in further indirect environmental degradation. When people flee to camps or cities, the need for food and traditional cooking fuels such as firewood and charcoal can contribute to deforestation and resource depletion. Furthermore, armed conflict occupies government capacities. Environmental protection is not always high on states’ agendas, and they may themselves be involved in the unregulated exploitation of natural resources to sustain armed conflict. But all things being equal, armed conflict risks reducing states’ capacity for protecting the environment, controlling the exploitation of natural resources, and managing forcibly displaced populations during and after conflict. A case in point is Libya, a country affected by long-term armed conflict, where oil spills from ill-maintained power plants, oil fields and offshore installations have resulted in widespread pollution.

The Russian Air War and Ukrainian Requirements for Air Defence

Dr Justin Bronk, Nick Reynolds and Dr Jack Watling
Source Link

Executive Summary

Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) conducted significantly more extensive fixed-wing strike operations during the first days of the invasion than has been previously documented, while Ukrainian ground-based air-defence (GBAD) capabilities were suppressed by initial attacks.

During this period, Ukrainian fighter aircraft inflicted some losses on VKS aircraft but also took serious casualties due to being totally technologically outmatched and badly outnumbered.

Russian fighters have remained highly effective and lethal against Ukrainian aircraft near the frontlines throughout the war, especially the Su-35S with the R-77-1 long-range missile and, in recent months, the Mig-31BM with the R-37 very long-range missile.

From early March, the VKS lost the ability to operate in Ukrainian-controlled airspace except at very low altitudes due to its inability to reliably suppress or destroy increasingly effective, well-dispersed and mobile Ukrainian surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems.

Responding to Russian Attacks on Ukraine’s Power Sector

Joseph Majkut

As winter approaches, steady access to energy supply has become a major concern for cities across Ukraine. Since October 10, Russia has attacked Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with waves of missile and drone attacks. Ukrainian officials have reported that this has left up to 40 percent of the power system damaged, with around 30 percent of the country’s power stations destroyed. Attacks on energy infrastructure and generating facilities have occurred throughout the war, but the recent escalation has substantially eroded the power grid’s resilience and operational integrity.

Under these conditions, Ukraine has taken steps to reduce electricity consumption, including planned blackouts in Kyiv and other major cities across the country. A winter with intermittent power supply is likely. EU nations expect the latest attacks to prompt a new wave of refugees and current refugees have been urged to remain abroad over the winter. Disrupted power supply also threatens military operations particularly if communication lines are impaired.

Protecting Ukraine’s power supply is then essential both for humanitarian and martial purposes. In the short term, international allies and donors should prioritize the provision of critical components to repair damaged energy infrastructure and provide generators and fuel supply to protect the operation of essential facilities and services. Resources dedicated to Ukraine’s energy sector should not only repair what has been damaged. Investments should also be directed toward efforts to increase the resilience of Ukraine’s power supply in the coming years and to begin longer-term work to modernize and integrate Ukraine’s grid with the European Union.

NATO’s Evolving Role in Developing AI Policy

Daniel Fata

This week, NATO leaders convened their first-ever Data & AI Leader’s Conference on big data and artificial intelligence (AI) with a focus on building sound foundations for both governance and responsible use of these technologies. Given the increased attention and focus big data and AI are having in allied capitals, NATO’s goal is to help define a common set of standards and principles which members and industry can adopt in terms of how to use AI in a responsible and implementable way. This week’s internal deliberations on this topic serve as an important inflection point regarding the alliance’s collective ability to define what NATO and its members need and should be focusing on in terms of developing AI-enabled capabilities for the coming years. It is also equally about building the foundations and momentum for knowledge and experience-sharing as it relates to the overall issue of digital transformation.

The questions surrounding the development and use of big data analytics and AI have taken on increased importance in recent years, not just because of the advancements in the technology itself, but also the increased use of these technologies in applications such as weather forecasting, financial transactions, and, to a degree, military threat detection.

NATO Activities

For its part, NATO headquarters has been very active in terms of laying the foundations for what its role will be in not only developing responsible policies but also the facilitation of funding of some of the most important and critical emerging and disruptive technologies (EDTs) its members will be relying on the decades to come.

Is the World Big Enough for Middle Powers?

Corey Lee Bell Rebecca Zhang

It was only several weeks ago that President Joe Biden reaffirmed his administration’s high hopes for the United Nations (UN). Standing before the seventy-seventh session of the UN’s special assembly on September 21, Biden said, “The United States will always promote human rights and the values enshrined in the U.N. Charter,” adding that “this institution, guided by the U.N. Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is at its core an act of dauntless hope.”

Two weeks later, Chinese state media was triumphantly touting Beijing’s success in derailing a U.S.-backed motion for the UN Council on Human Rights to discuss allegations of human rights abuses in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. It came after sixty-six mainly developing nations, including China, broke from Washington’s position by calling for a peaceful settlement of the war in Ukraine—which would likely reward Russian aggression by urging partial acquiescence to Moscow’s demands.

The Real Cost of Breaking Saudi-U.S. Ties

David B. Ottaway

In late August 2001, then-Saudi crown prince Abdullah sent a fiery letter to President George W. Bush threatening to freeze political, military, and security cooperation with the United States unless he acted to halt a particularly bloody incursion by the Israeli military into the West Bank town of Hebron. Abdullah signaled he meant business by calling home a Saudi military delegation on a visit to Washington.

Abdullah’s initial twenty-five pages of talking points for his Bush letter were so menacing that Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan felt he had to tone it down to avoid a break in U.S.-Saudi relations. Still, the crux of the letter, as Bandar recounted and I detailed in my 2008 book The King’s Messenger, was: “You go your way. I go my way.”

What prevented that from happening was a far more serious crisis in U.S.-Saudi relations just two weeks later on September 11. Nineteen Arab terrorists hijacked three American commercial airliners and crashed one of them into the Twin Towers in New York and another into the Pentagon building, killing nearly 3,000 people. It turned out that fifteen of the hijackers were Saudis, and so was their inspiration, Osama bin Laden.

What the 20th Party Congress Report Tells Us About China’s AI Ambitions

Jie Gao

At China’s 20th Party Congress, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping delivered a lengthy speech outlining his vision for the next decade. Notably, compared to his report five years ago, Xi dedicated a whole section to technological development and talent management.

While Washington has attempted to slow down China’s advancement in artificial intelligence (AI) with new export controls, Beijing is determined to catch up with a comprehensive set of policy measures. It aims to achieve “great self-reliance and strength in science and technology.”

This article will analyze the implications of the 20th Party Congress report on China’s technological development, focusing on AI.

Beijing Is Doubling Down on Tech Development Efforts

Among the 15 sections of the 20th Party Congress report, five of them incorporate technology, including sections on the CCP’s new missions (section III), economic development (section IV), science and technology and education strategy (section V), domestic security (section XI), and military and defense (section XII). While only one paragraph from the 19th Party Congress report talked about the innovation-driven development strategy, Xi added a whole section to elaborate on “invigorating China through science and education and developing a strong workforce for the modernization drive.”

Iranian Drones Are Changing the Battlefields of Eurasia

Sine Ozkarasahin

On October 10, Iranian loitering munitions rained over Ukraine’s urban centers, including Kiev. Two weeks later, Israeli forces struck an Iranian drone factory in Syria (Al Arabiya, October 23). This demonstrated how Iran’s drone program is now beyond Iran, both in terms of production and operational impact. Iran has become a drone-exporting nation and Iranian drones are creating new flashpoints in different geopolitical axes.

Tehran’s drone program is hardly new, however. In fact, it dates back to the 1980s war of attrition with Iraq and rests on a decades-long significant research and development (R&D) effort. Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) strategy is aggressive (Farsi Al Arabiya, April 23, 2021). It mainly focuses on utilizing UAVs to support the government’s capabilities and strengthen its proxy forces abroad. Led by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its drone-maker Qods Aviation Industries (QAI), some of Iran’s existing drone technologies are developed from reverse-engineering Western systems that have crashed or landed on or near Iranian territory (including the ones allegedly intercepted or captured near its coast). For example, some of the Iranian government’s most sophisticated systems, including the Shahed-141 and 191, are modeled after the American RQ-171 Sentinel UAV that crashed in Iran back in late 2011 (Iran Press, December 16, 2020).

Breaking China’s near monopoly on rare earths will be easier said than done

David Uren

The past decade of work proving up Australia’s deposits of rare-earth minerals is beginning to pay off, with a number of firms getting close to production. But the supply chains for rare earths still run through China, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon.

Last week’s Australian Rare Earth Conference hosted by the Australian National University and ASPI heard reports of progress and geological challenges from 16 companies in addition to presentations by Resources Minister Madeleine King, Chief Scientist Cathy Foley and academics.

There’s a sense that the sector is achieving critical mass, that the policy frameworks both in Australia and in the US are delivering support, and that the outlook is one of exponential increase in demand.

Yet, for all its promise, the sector is mainly populated by small and speculative stocks. The major resource companies like BHP and Rio Tinto are focused on simplifying their resource portfolios and have left the difficult rare-earth sector alone.

Do U.S. Sanctions on Venezuela Work?

Diana Roy

Since 2006, the United States has imposed a wide variety of sanctions [PDF]. The most significant are preventing the Venezuelan government from accessing the U.S. financial system; freezing the bank accounts and other assets of the Nicolás Maduro administration; blocking oil imports from the state oil and gas company, PDVSA; and imposing penalties on individuals who the U.S. government determines have undermined democratic processes or committed human rights abuses. Among those targeted are Maduro himself, eight supreme court judges, and the director of the central bank.

Democracyterrorism-related sanctions, which prohibit all commercial arms sales to Venezuela and target individuals found to financially support terrorist organizations;
drug trafficking–related sanctions, which target individuals and companies labeled as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers; and,
broader sectoral sanctions, which block the assets and transactions of companies that benefit from the Maduro administration’s corrupt practices.

The U.S. Military Is In Decline While China Grows More Powerful

Mackenzie Eaglen

Among our military’s senior brass, the chorus of warnings over Chinese military capabilities continues to grow ever louder. Last week, the Commander of US Strategic Command, Admiral Charles Richard, stated that when it comes to America’s ability to deter China, “the ship is slowly sinking.” He added, “it is sinking, as fundamentally they are putting capability into the field faster than we are.”

In other words, America’s conventional deterrence is in increasingly rapid decline. This is for a variety of reasons but one of the most prominent is due to the military’s lack of margin. There is little slack in the force for deterrence in zero-sum budgeting for winning the warfight. The result is aging, shrinking, less ready troops lacking enough capacity and not modernizing fast enough.

The Air Force flies planes with an average age of 29 years old. The Navy is shrinking to 280 ships by 2037. And, the Army continues to grow smaller, missing out on last year’s recruiting goal by 25 percent. None of these problems at the root of our flagging conventional deterrence are new.

The World’s Democracies Ask: Why Can’t America Fix Itself?

Damien Cave

Lin Wei-hsuan was just a child when he observed his first Taiwanese election almost two decades ago. His parents took him to watch the vote-counting, where volunteers held up each paper ballot, shouting out the choice and marking it on a board for all to see — the huge crowd of citizens inside, and many more watching live on television.

The open process, established islandwide after decades of martial law, was one of several creative steps that Taiwan’s leaders took to build public trust in democracy and to win over the United States, whose support might deter China’s aim of unification.

At the time, America was what Taiwan aspired to be. But now, many of the democracies that once looked to the United States as a model are worried that it has lost its way. They wonder why a superpower famous for innovation is unable to address its deep polarization, producing a president who spread false claims of election fraud that significant parts of the Republican Party and the electorate have embraced.

Why Cyber Dogs Have Yet to Bark Loudly in Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Nadiya Kostyuk, Erik Gartzke

As Russia’s massive armored buildup on the Ukrainian border became apparent in the fall of 2021, pundits began to offer contrasting predictions about the likely role that cyber war would play in any escalation of the crisis.1 These disparate claims mirror a larger ongoing debate about whether cyber war is more likely to supplant or exacerbate traditional modes of warfare in the 21st century. Specifically, advocates of the theory that cyber operations will increasingly substitute for conventional conflict argue that cyber conflict today and in the future could achieve what tanks did in the 20th century.2 Advocates of a competing theory argue that cyber operations will tend to coincide with, rather than replace, any significant use of military force.

While Russia has conducted some cyber operations in Ukraine, both in the lead-up to and after the February invasion, these have neither supplanted nor significantly supplemented conventional combat activities. Given Russia’s highly sophisticated cyber capabilities and its long-term presence in Ukrainian networks,3 why has it failed to utilize such apparently potent tools in seeking strategic or tactical advantages?

The answer to this perplexing question can be gleaned from a more systematic empirical assessment of cyber conflict. In a recent study, we examined whether cyber operations mostly serve as complements to, or substitutes for, conventional conflict, or whether the two forms of conflict more often occur independently.4 Our statistical analysis of global conventional military campaigns over an 11-year period suggests that, with a few notable exceptions, cyber operations are rarely used as either complements to or substitutes for conventional military operations. Instead, countries tend most often to use these two types of operations independently of one another, due to both the difficulty of coordinating them and the different political purposes served by the two modes of conflict. Ultimately, our results show that, while cyber operations are far more likely to be used independently of conventional warfare than as a direct substitute for or complement to it, there is an indirect link between cyber and conventional conflict: The more access a country has to the internet, the more likely it will be involved in cyber conflict, whether as the target or the aggressor. We call this effect “indirect substitution.”

The Human Factor: The Enduring Relevance of Protecting Civilians in Future Wars

Sahr Muhammedally, Daniel Mahanty
Source Link

Daily images coming out of Ukraine of civilian deaths and displacement and the destruction of civilian infrastructure, after a decade of similar scenes emerging from Syria and Iraq, make it hard to fathom that the future could hold even larger and deadlier conflicts. And yet, a war involving the United States and its allies against Russia over the Baltic states, or against China over Taiwan, could bring about a level of devastation not seen since World War II, even without the use of nuclear weapons.1

To condition the U.S. military to fight a war that could be “more chaotic, intense, and highly destructive” than it has seen in decades,2 the armed forces have shifted from a counterinsurgency “population-centric” approach to enemy-centric operations that are focused on lethality, sharp war, and the need to annihilate an adversary. The United States has also invested in emerging technologies like robotic and autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, and hypersonic weapons.3

Warfare that centers on destroying an enemy through decisive victory has historically carried devastating consequences for civilians.4 The fight to dislodge the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in a dense urban environment resulted in devastating losses of civilian life and the destruction of civilian infrastructure; the protracted displacement of civilians; and the disruption of education, health services, and employment. Rebuilding a country’s human and economic capital after a war takes decades. For their part, the United States and its allies are quick to distinguish themselves from countries like Russia by making clear that they will not directly or intentionally target civilians as a means of winning a war. At the same time, U.S. military officials have warned the public that the policies and tactics that were effective at reducing civilian harm during the counterinsurgency era are neither legally required nor practical to employ in larger-scale wars, in which the stakes and risks are higher.5

The Gap Has Been Bridged!

Francis J. Gavin

Alexander George would be very happy.

Three decades ago, George lamented the divide between international relations scholars and foreign policy practitioners in his classic Bridging the Gap: Theory and Practice in Foreign Policy. George bemoaned how these two worlds had less interaction and exchange than was ideal, with consequences for both communities. Policymakers needed theoretical frames to make sense of a complex world but were loath to admit it. Scholars rarely made the necessary efforts to provide the kind of knowledge decision-makers needed. At heart, the issue was the “differences between the two cultures of academia and the policy-making world.”1 George laid out thoughtful, if modest, strategies to overcome these differences.

I am here to tell you that the gap has, at long last, been bridged. Indeed, if the composition of the current Biden administration is used as evidence, it may have been eliminated altogether.

Examples abound. Protégés of the great international relations scholar, Robert Jervis, shape America’s grand strategy in the White House, the State Department, and the Department of Defense.2 One of them, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl, populated the Pentagon with scholars at key posts to tackle the most critical foreign policy challenges, including space policy,3 climate policy,4 and emerging technologies.5 He brought in a leading international relations theorist to red team the national defense strategy.6 In the State Department, two whip-smart academics, Mareena Robinson Snowden and Jane Vaynman, are crafting an arms control policy for the 21st century. China policy is debated in the White House by two brilliant young scholars with different viewpoints, from different disciplinary traditions, who have published competing scholarly works.7 The architect of the successful American response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a Princeton-trained historian of early modern Dutch empire.8

Russia’s air campaign hampered by poor ISR based strikes and target processing: NATO official


DUBLIN — A senior NATO official has cast a withering judgment on Russia’s air power capabilities, claiming that Moscow has vastly inferior ISR-led strike capabilities compared to the alliance, and inadequate targeting processes to exploit intelligence data.

Air Marshal Johnny Stringer of the UK’s Royal Air Force, who serves as Deputy Commander of NATO’s Allied Air Command, offered the assessment during a Nov. 3 speech on the war in Ukraine, hosted by the Royal United Services Institute, a UK defense and security think tank.

Russia’s illegal invasion of its neighbor that began in February has moved to an attritional phase with Moscow consistently unable to achieve air dominance and increasing signs that renewed Ukrainian resistance is causing concern for President Vladimir Putin.

Dual-Use Goods Are Fueling Russia’s War on Ukraine

Austin Wright

Russia’s military efforts in Ukraine remain heavily dependent on Western technologies, despite the West’s best efforts to cut off the supply of critical parts. In the face of extensive sanctions, Russia’s war machine has still been able to acquire the inputs necessary for its advanced weaponry. Further military aid does little for Kyiv unless the West finally puts a stranglehold on the Russian military by reexamining its export control standards for dual-use components.

Export controls have been a long-vested element of the United States’ and European Union’s security agendas, with particular focus on them since the early 2000s. In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, the fear that rogue entities could acquire weapons of mass destruction, also known as WMDs, stoked action by the international community. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 was, in part, adopted not only to formally codify this threat but also to identify the obligations of states to prevent the spread of these weapons.

How to Win the U.S.-China Economic War

Robert D. Atkinson

It is dawning on the United States that China is not just a military adversary but an economic one. The two countries are at war for primacy in both innovation and production capacity as much of Beijing’s economic gain in advanced industries comes at Washington’s loss—and vice versa. This trend is likely to continue. Chinese President Xi Jinping acknowledged as much last year when he stated, “Technological innovation has become the main battleground of the global playing field, and competition for tech dominance will grow unprecedentedly fierce.”

Economic war is distinct from economic competition. Canada and the United States, for example, compete economically, but both nations understand that trade is conducted on the basis of a mutually beneficial comparative advantage. By contrast, China has launched massive frontal assaults on U.S. technology and industry capabilities. Beijing’s 2006 National Medium- and Long-Term Plan for the Development of Science and Technology can be considered an initial strike in this conflict, followed in 2015 by Xi’s “Made in China 2025” strategy. Both identified key technologies in which China sought to achieve self-sufficiency, and both are backed by restrictions on foreign firms’ market access in key industries, widespread intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers, enormous subsidies for Chinese firms, and much more. The latter document also added numerical targets for China’s market share in leading industries.

Close All China Consulates, Slash Embassy Staff

Gordon G. Chang

Americans in recent weeks have been outraged by reports that China's regime has established a police station on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, in Chinatown.

The New York Post last month reported that the IRS-blacklisted ChangLe Association NY Inc., which had failed to file required reports for three consecutive years and thereby lost tax-exempt status in May, still owns and operates a "service station" at 107 East Broadway.

The location houses the Fuzhou Police Overseas Chinese Affairs bureau. The bureau's stated purpose is to help China's nationals with Chinese-government identification cards and drivers' licenses.

Beijing reportedly has also used the station to track Chinese individuals of interest to the regime and, short-circuiting legal procedures, to persuade those Chinese to voluntarily return to China.

PLA Rocket Force Organization

The PLA Rocket Force (PLARF), formerly known as the PLA 2nd Artillery Force (PLASAF) until 2016, is responsible for the PLA’s land-based nuclear and conventional ballistic missiles. The Second Artillery Force was officially established in 1966 and given command of China’s small inventory of land-based, regional nuclear missiles. These first-generation missiles were largely categorized as unsophisticated and of limited range and capability. The story of the PLARF/PLASAF, however, has been one of steady and progressive growth in both size and capability, beginning with the development of increasingly longer-range systems through the 1960s and 1970s and, with the introduction of the DF-5 in the early 1980s, the first intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the United States. 

The 1980s were a seminal decade for the PLASAF in two other ways: first, through its development of the DF-21, the PLA’s first road-mobile ballistic missile system, and second, through its decision to field conventional as well as nuclear missiles, leading to the introduction of the DF-11 and DF-15 short range ballistic missiles in the early 1990s. The steady diversification of platforms and improvement in capabilities assigned to the PLASAF was matched by its equally steady growth in size. Four new brigades were stood up between 1980 and 2000, three of which were equipped with these latest weapons systems. This expansion accelerated in the 2000s: between 2000 and 2010, the PLASAF stood up as many as eleven new brigades equipped with its growing array of weapons, including its first ground-launched cruise missile, the CJ-10, and its first road-mobile ICBM, the DF-31. The pace of growth continued to intensify between 2010 and 2020, as the PLASAF (and, following its name change in 2016, the PLA Rocket Force) added 13 new brigades, as well as more important weapons systems such as the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile, the longer range and more capable DF-41 road-mobile ICBM, the dual nuclear-conventional DF-26 IRBM, and the DF-17 hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV). Incredibly, between 2017 and late 2019 the PLARF added at least ten new missile brigades. This unprecedented expansion from 29 to 39 brigades represented a more than 33% increase in size in only three years.i This was followed by an apparent massive expansion of the PLARF’s silo-based ICBM force in 2021. Thus, the PLARF has evolved from a small, unsophisticated force of short-ranged and vulnerable ballistic missiles to an increasingly large and modern force with a wide array of both nuclear and conventional weapons platforms.

Moore’s Law and Its Practical Implications

Gregory Arcuri

Q1: What is Moore’s Law?

A1: While popularly referred to as a “law,” Moore’s Law is better understood as an empirical observation regarding advancements in computing. In a 1965 Electronics Magazine article, the cofounder of Fairchild Semiconductor International, Inc. and Intel, Gordon Moore, projected that the ideal number of transistors per square inch on a microchip would double each year while the manufacturing cost per component would halve. Ten years later, Moore revised his original projection and said chip density would, instead, double every two years for at least the next decade.

More transistors and components, in layman’s terms, means more computing power, higher efficiency, and more complex functions. A corollary of Moore’s Law is that the cost of computing has fallen dramatically, enabling adoption of semiconductors across a wide span of technologies. Today, semiconductors are the technology platform underpinning how the world works, communicates, and consumes.

Putin’s Stalin Phase Isolated, Paranoid, and Ever More Like the Soviet Dictator

Andrei Kolesnikov

The harsher and more repressive the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin becomes, the more successful the reign of Joseph Stalin appears to ordinary Russians. In the five years leading up to 2021, the number of Russians who agreed that “Stalin was a great leader” doubled from 28 to 56 percent, according to polls carried out by the independent Levada Center; over the same period, the number of those who disagreed with that statement fell from 23 to 14 percent. Since 2015, Stalin has been lionized on national holidays, and discussion of his repression has largely been stifled. Such is the interest in the Soviet dictator that it sometimes seems as if he is competing with Putin. More likely, however, he is simply serving as a helping hand from the distant past, reassuring his modern-day acolyte that he is on the right path.

It is not just that Stalin’s iron rule has become a model for today’s Kremlin. Increasingly, Putin himself has come to resemble Stalin in his final years, when the Soviet leader was at his most paranoid and severe. At the end of World War II, Stalin had been in power for more than 20 years, and from that time until his death in 1953, he took his regime to new autocratic extremes: heightened intolerance of other people’s opinions; constant suspicion of his close associates; ostentatious, truly shameless brutality; and deluded, obsessive ideas. Like Stalin in his late period, Putin has also spent more than 20 years in power (including his interlude as prime minister from 2008 to 2012), and in his current presidential term, which began in 2018, he has also shown many of the same qualities. During this time, he has amended the Russian constitution to reset the clock on his presidential terms, orchestrated the poisoning and arrest of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and started a war with devastating consequences for the entire world.

What the Foxconn Exodus in Zhengzhou Means for China’s Supply Chains

Marina Yue Zhang

Last week, images and short videos flooded China’s social media of an exodus of hundreds of workers from the Foxconn compound in Zhengzhou, the factory that produces nearly half of Apple’s iPhones, making their bumpy journey home on foot. The speculation is that those who left the compound, and a well-paid job, were fearful of being infected with the COVID-19, which had been detected within the walled campus, and worried about being locked down in isolation between their dormitories and the assembly lines.

In a sense, Foxconn’s manufacturing compound in Zhengzhou is like a city, except that its residents live in extremely high density and must obey strict rules in their daily routines. At peak time, nearly 350,000 people work and live on a pocket of land of 10 square kilometers (the size of about 1,400 standard football fields).

Behind those workers are perhaps millions of family members who seemed ready to prioritize the health and freedom of their loved ones over a secure income for the family. While the media expressed concerns about the workers’ safety and well-being, the exodus also raises a longer-term question: Is this the end of China’s dominance of the supply chains in the global production network?

Capital markets showed their pessimism. Upon the news of the exodus, Foxconn’s share price dropped 1.4 percent on the Taiwan Stock Exchange and Apple’s by 1 percent on the Nasdaq. If COVID-19 spreads more widely within the compound or into the interdependent supply chains for Foxconn’s production, Apple will have difficulties delivering its iPhones, iPads, and other gadgets to customers around the world in time for Christmas.

Ukraine’s New Air Defense System Comes With a Deep Supply of Ammunition

John Ismay

WASHINGTON — After eight continuous months of combat, Ukraine is running low on the missiles that its Soviet-era air defense systems use to shoot down Russian drones and warplanes. But on Monday, according to U.S. and Ukrainian officials, the country received its first shipment of an advanced weapon whose design helps solve the supply problem.

The weapon is an air defense system known as the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or NASAMS, that is jointly produced by the United States and Norway. It includes a radar, sensors, launchers that can be loaded with six missiles each and a mobile command center where soldiers can monitor airborne threats. Every component can be towed or placed on the back of a truck and moved quickly.

“It does provide a significant air defense capability,” Brig. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters on Tuesday. He added that NASAMS can defend against “basically any type of advanced aerial threat that Russia may try to employ against Ukrainian targets or civilians.”

Sharif in China: How Are China-Pakistan Ties?

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was in China for a two-day official visit last week, the first foreign head of government to arrive in Beijing since Xi Jinping took on a third term as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party late last month. During this trip, Sharif met with Premier Li Keqiang and other officials including top Chinese legislators. The two sides signed a number of intergovernmental cooperation agreements in areas including economy, trade and investment, e-commerce, digital economy, culture, law enforcement, and security.

During his meeting with Sharif, Xi underscored the importance of Pakistan in China’s neighborhood diplomacy and said the two countries “are good friends, good partners and good brothers.” He went on to add that the two “supported each other and forged ahead, demonstrating an iron-clad friendship” and that China is all set to “elevate the level of all-round strategic cooperation… and inject new impetus into their all-weather strategic cooperative partnership.”

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) came up in Xi’s discussions with Sharif. Xi stated that China and Pakistan, through the Joint Cooperation Committee of CPEC, will further accelerate CPEC development, bringing in “greater efficiency, and make CPEC an exemplar of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.” Xi added that it is of importance that they “accelerate the construction of auxiliary infrastructure for Gwadar Port” in order to bring about greater development and interconnectedness in the region. Xi also talked about how China will push the development and upgrading of a number of internal developmental projects including ML-1 (a high-speed rail project Main Line-1 from Karachi to Peshawar worth $9.8 billion) and the Karachi Circular Railway project.

What Are Those Mysterious New Towers Looming Over New York’s Sidewalks?

Dodai Stewart

A curiously futuristic tower recently appeared on the corner of Putnam and Bedford Avenues in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. A gray column topped by a perforated casing, at a whopping 32 feet tall, it reaches higher than the three-story brick building behind it.

Sixty-year-old Marion Little, who owns Stripper Stain & Supplies, the hardware store that has operated on that corner for 17 years, said that he and his neighbors had received no warning. One day there were workers outside; then the tower materialized.

“We were shocked because we had no idea what it was,” Mr. Little said. Since it’s right outside his store, people keep asking him about it. “They’ve been emailing me, calling me weekends, Facebooking me, like, ‘Yo, what’s that?’ and I’m sitting there like, ‘I have no clue.’”