16 November 2022

How to Slow Climate Change While Fighting Poverty

Rabah Arezki

This year’s U.N. Climate Change Conference, or COP27—which opened on Nov. 6 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt—has been called “Africa’s COP.” Voices from developing economies, most prominently Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley, have become louder in demanding that richer countries compensate them for “loss and damage.”

That term, used in climate negotiations, refers to the irreversible consequences caused by climate change to which poor countries or communities cannot adapt. When options to adapt exist, they are not affordable to these countries or communities. The debate over loss and damage is occurring at a time when the future of traditional aid is in doubt. Indeed, political support for aid budgets has been dwindling.

Donor countries have increasingly been under pressure from a series of crises—from the global financial crisis in 2008 to the COVID-19 pandemic to Russia’s war in Ukraine—which have raised their debt levels. Fiscal and monetary space is increasingly limited, and taxpayers are facing rising costs of living. Politicians in advanced economies will increasingly face the difficult choice between giving citizens more financial support at home and providing aid internationally.

TikTok Time Is Running Out

Peter Schweizer

At a time when an invasion of Taiwan by Communist China looms ever larger, why worry about TikTok?

Targeted at American teens, TikTok is a mobile app for sharing short videos, owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance. After five short years on the market, it has more than one billion users worldwide. The app has lived under deep suspicion for much of that time, as American cyber-security and counter-intelligence experts have warned about its enormous reach and direct connections to the Chinese Communist Party.

During the administration of President Donald Trump, the White House considered an outright ban on the app. Senators as diverse as Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Josh Hawley (R-AR) led the charge to ban it or force its parent company to sell it. Nothing ever came of that push, and sale negotiations between ByteDance and both Microsoft and Oracle failed to reach a deal. The only concession made was that today, internet traffic to and from TikTok in the US supposedly flows only through servers owned by Oracle, which is paid by ByteDance to manage the app within the US.

IP22061 | 20th CCP Congress: Key Storylines and the Future of China

Benjamin Ho

To many international observers, the week-long 20th congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), held from 16 to 23 October 2022, will be best remembered for President Xi Jinping’s thorough consolidation of power within the party. This was symbolically evidenced by the image of a forlorn-looking former Chinese president Hu Jintao being escorted out of the meeting on the last day. Beyond this, however, what were some of the key storylines that have emerged in the course of the week-long meeting? And, what would they mean for the future of China?

Political Allegiance above All

Hindsight is always 20/20, and there were all sorts of speculation as to who would make the final list of the CCP’s Politburo Standing Committee. The final line-up however suggested a more straight-forward selection logic: political allegiance to Xi trumps everything else. Whether there was any horse-trading, compromise or concessions behind the scenes would never be known, but it would seem that in the final reckoning those who would lead China into the future are those who demonstrated loyalty to Xi in the past.

The new era of decoupling, deglobalisation and economic war

Graeme Dobell

China’s President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden give fresh shoves to the decoupling that will define this new world. Decoupling of trade and tech shapes the contours of strategic competition.

Biden last month lunged at Beijing’s throat by banning the sale of semiconductors and chip-making technology to China.

‘A superpower declared war on a great power and nobody noticed,’ was Edward Luce’s comment in the Financial Times. Biden had launched a ‘full-blown economic war on China—all but committing the US to stopping its rise—and for the most part, Americans did not react’.

America’s reaction was relatively low key because elements of the world being born are already the established reality. Given the reality, US policy responses follow.

How to defeat Russia and prevent nuclear armageddon with one weird trick

Rafael Loss

Three weeks before Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, I suggested there “would not be a nuclear war, but a war with an undeniable nuclear dimension.” This remains true today – despite some recent claims to the contrary. The risk of nuclear escalation may have increased since 24 February, but it is still extremely remote. Genocide, however, is a certainty if Western leaders, paralysed by the Kremlin’s nuclear talk, were to abandon Ukraine.

Nuclear rhetoric from Russia has been the norm throughout this war. This should not come as a surprise. Russia’s nuclear weapons are an integral part of its escalation-management toolkit, and frequent referrals to its nuclear potential are standard practice. According to researchers Anna Clara Arndt and Liviu Horovitz, Russia calibrates its nuclear rhetoric in pursuit of three distinct goals: “to deter foreign military intervention; dis­suade foreign aid to Ukraine; and coerce the government in Kyiv”.

Defend. Resist. Repeat: Ukraine’s lessons for European defence

Hanna Shelest


Ukraine’s response to the Russian invasion holds vital lessons for the rest of Europe. Kyiv has placed cross-society resistance at the heart of its national defence, bringing all military and security agencies under a single command, assisted by support from the civilian population. Since 2014, the country has transformed its armed forces, upgrading logistics and communications and empowering mid-level officers; put in place a network of reservists; and taken measures to ensure Ukrainian society’s broader resilience to crises. It built this approach both on the adoption of NATO best practices and on a unique movement of volunteers who raise funds to support the war effort, merging defence and measures to increase national resilience into a single system.

This constitutes a ‘third way’ between the ‘total defence’ model of Sweden, Finland, Singapore, and Switzerland, which brings together military and civilian actors in a whole-of-society approach to security; and the strongly hierarchical model of the United States, Russia, and China, where decision-making is centralised in the political leadership. The total defence approach concentrates on defence and deterrence, while Ukraine’s approach also prioritises resilience – including a comprehensive but agile coordination of a variety of forces within and beyond the government.

China’s Diaspora Policy under Xi Jinping

China estimates the number of people of Chinese origin outside the People’s Republic to be 60 million. Beijing considers them all to be nationals of China, regardless of their citizenship.

Xi Jinping views overseas Chinese as playing an “irreplaceable role” in China’s rise as a world power. Beijing is working hard to harness overseas Chinese resources for its own goals in the fields of economics, science and technology, as well as diplomacy and soft power.

Beijing also expects people of Chinese origin in Germany to deepen rela­tions between China and Germany. But not only that: As “unofficial ambassadors”, they are also expected to spread China’s narratives to the German public, defend China’s “core interests”, and help with the trans­fer of knowledge and technology to China.

Ukraine’s drone raid on Russian naval base was tactically innovative but not revolutionary

Alessio Patalano

Last week the naval war in Ukraine came back to international attention. In a theatre that first defined by the Russian assault against Snake Island in the early stages of the invasion and then by Ukraine’s sinking of the cruiser Moskva, Russian sources report a new blow. This time, Ukrainian surface and air drones conducted a daring raid on the Crimean port of Sevastopol where Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based.

Authorities in Moscow claim that the uncrewed capabilities involved in the attack were all neutralised, though they also admitted minor damage to a minesweeper and to harbour defences. With limited information available on overall battle damage, unlike in the Moskva’s case, the extent of the Ukrainian success this time remains unclear.

Nonetheless, unverified video footage of the events suggests that the attack was much more consequential than Russia claims. Images show uncrewed surface vessels reaching their targets, including the Black Sea Fleet’s flagship since the Moskva was sunk, the frigate Admiral Makarov. Images on Russian social media in the aftermath of the raid show the frigate damaged at sea. If confirmed, this would indeed be a significant result.

The End of the China Illusion

Horst Fabian and Andreas Fulda

A press photo from the closing day of the 20th Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress has captured the global imagination. It shows the moment former General Secretary Hu Jintao (2002–12) is forcibly removed from the main stage. The highly symbolic picture represents China's 'Führer era', which began in 2012. It is also a public repudiation of China's so-called 'reform and opening up era', which lasted from 1978 until 2012.

What had happened before Hu was walked off the stage, and why does this incident matter? A video recording by Singapore's CNA shows that he attempted to access a red folder in front of him. Hu was prevented from doing so by Li Zhanshu, the outgoing Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

The Russian Air War and Ukrainian Requirements for Air Defence

Dr Justin Bronk, Nick Reynolds and Dr Jack Watling

Executive SummaryRussian 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.