18 November 2022

Can Russia Terror Bomb Its Way To Victory In Ukraine?

Robert Farley

Russia has decided to try to win its war with Ukraine by resorting to terror bombing. What chances does the campaign have for success?

An Extraordinarily Brief History of Strategic Bombing

World War I saw the first strategic bombing campaigns, with Germany using Zeppelins and heavy, long-range aircraft to inflict damage primarily upon British cities. The campaign was not extensive enough to cause serious damage to British industry, but it did kill a fair number of civilians and caused panic, if not demoralization, on the British home front. Germany made another half-hearted attempt at a strategic bombing campaign in the first year of World War II, but this rapidly gave way to the Combined Bomber Offensive, the British and American effort to destroy German industry and morale.

A similar campaign against Japan ended with the dropping of two atomic bombs. The US undertook strategic bombing campaigns in both the Korean and Vietnam wars to little substantial military effect. Apart from the atomic attacks on Japan none of these campaigns are regarded as having been decisive to winning a war, but almost all of them killed a lot of people and destroyed a lot of property.

The Future of US-China Relations

George Friedman

Earlier this week, the G-20 summit opened in Indonesia, during which the long-awaited meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping took place. That they met at all means the meeting was a success. That it was three hours long is encouraging too, since unsuccessful meetings tend to end quickly and are followed by inconsequential joint statements, which so far has yet to be issued. This suggests honesty, substance and the promise of future substantive talks.

Indeed, early reports from the meeting corroborate as much. The two were apparently agreeable on topics such as the dangers of nuclear weapons and the prospect of Secretary of State Antony Blinken visiting China in the future, even as they reiterated the fact that they are competitors with different views on issues such as Taiwan. Xi allegedly even said the American model of democracy is obsolete.

As I have argued for a year, progress on this front owes not to the virtue of either side but to the geopolitical realities in which they operate. For the United States, the confrontation was anchored in economics. From the U.S. perspective, China has yet to provide ready access to its market for American goods and has been manipulating the value of the yuan to maximize trade and investment – a charge levied years ago by the Obama administration. Washington argued that given the amount of investment and technology provided by American firms, China needed to be forthcoming, especially since public sentiment suggested the U.S. had been exploited by China. China was in no position to comply with American demands without undermining its own economy. Thus was the American foundation laid.

Musk’s Polar Starlink Satellites Win Raves at Pentagon While Twitter Flails

Anthony Capaccio

For all the turmoil surrounding billionaire Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter Inc., his SpaceX remains a success story -- especially at the Pentagon, where its Starlink satellite communications system is winning new praise as a potential way to reach US troops in the distant reaches of the Arctic.

The Arctic is increasingly seen by the US as contested territory with Russia and China. But its rough climate and remote latitudes limit communications through existing military satellites. That’s where the portable Starlink units from Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. come in as a possible solution.

“We have started testing high-rate connectivity to very remote Arctic bases,” Brian Beal, principal aerospace engineer with the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Strategic Development and Experimentation office, said in a statement. At one such base, he said, data rates using Starlink improved almost 30-fold over previous capabilities.

Iran’s Mass Protests Are Impacting Lives in Pakistan

Mariyam Suleman Anees

Amid growing protests against the mandatory hijab law and now campaigns against authoritarian governance, Iran continues to close and reopen its borders with neighboring Pakistan after deadly crackdown in its bordering province of Sistan and Baluchestan.

One of the many entry points of the Iran-Pakistan border at Panjgur district’s Parom tehsil in Pakistan remained closed for several days. In the last few months, Iran continuously closed and reopened several major crossing points with Pakistan.

Although the border has not completely been closed, the closures and reopenings at several points since September have disturbed cross-border families and traders. But more than ever before, the security situation in the bordering Iranian province has concerned Iranian Baloch as well as the Baloch in Pakistan’s southwestern province.

Biden Licks Beijing’s Boots

Brandon J. Weichert

The Biden Administration is headed now to the halfway point of its execrable term. Having managed to survive what was supposed to be a blowout midterm for their Republican rivals, Joe Biden and his team are feeling their oats. They defied history: with record levels of disaster and misery surrounding his tenure, in a midterm election year in which incumbent parties almost always lose control of Congress, Biden is walking away with minimal damage.

Yet a far greater spectacle of national disaster awaits the American people in the coming weeks: Biden’s meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping in Indonesia. And with the Democratic Party’s improbable survival in the midterms, Biden undoubtedly will confuse his blind luck with actual skill and attempt to finesse his way into better relations with Beijing—which of course will do lasting damage to U.S. national interests.

Biden Pretends to be a China Hawk

When Biden ran for president in 2020, he faced criticism that he was far too friendly to China over the course of his long career in government. Biden, like so many others, insisted he now recognized the threat the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) posed to the world and would make moves to hold the line against China’s expansionism in the Indo-Pacific. He seemed to make good on his word, placing China hawks such as Kurt Campbell in positions of influence.

Is Washington pushing Ukraine to negotiate with Russia?

Cristina Maza

A debate is unfolding in Washington over whether the U.S. should encourage Kyiv to crack open the door to negotiations with Russia.

In the days leading up to the midterm elections, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan traveled to Kyiv.

It was the Biden administration official’s first visit to the country since Russia launched a brutal war against its neighbor almost nine months ago. Sullivan met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, his top aide, Andriy Yermak, and the country’s defense minister. He also announced a new $400 million security-assistance package, including refurbished tanks and unmanned aerial vehicles. The package appeared to signal Washington’s commitment to helping Ukraine win a protracted fight against its larger neighbor.

But several days later, Zelensky took to his Telegram channel to announce a series of conditions Russia would need to meet for peace negotiations between the two countries to begin. It was a sharp turn from his previous statements when he said Ukraine would not negotiate as long as Russian President Vladimir Putin remained in power.

Reconceiving U.S. Economic Strategy

Walter M. Hudson

Military doctrine often proposes a whole-of-government approach to overcome what could be a fragmented strategic process. But this approach is elusive and ill-defined. Somehow, a lot of people from different government agencies work collaboratively and with single-minded purpose to devise a strategy. Joint Publication 3-08, for example, states that whole of government effort “involves the integration of U.S. Government efforts through interagency planning that set forth detailed concepts and operations.”[1] But it goes little beyond describing planning efforts in abstract terms. And it admits significant difficulties. For example, civilian departments and agencies have “different cultures and capacities,” and many do not even conduct operational planning.[2] These are indeed obstacles.

The utility of a coherent whole-of-government strategic approach is even more questionable when any strategy involves the use of economic statecraft as an instrument of power. For reasons described below, the mental model of a unified government “orchestrating” the economic instrument of power is fundamentally misleading. Rather, the more appropriate “mental model” to describe the milieu of the economic instrument is as a network of a variety of entities, and even more specifically to describe that milieu as a complex adaptive system. Behaviors in such a system are inherently decentering– no single node in the system predominates. Understanding how the economic instrument can operate in this system also requires understanding the rest of the elements and their interconnected interdependencies.

The particular problems of fighting in the Ukrainian autumn

It’s mud season again in Ukraine. “Spring and autumn are the most difficult periods for warfare,” says reservist Colonel Oleh Zhdanov, a former operations officer on the Ukrainian general staff. “The main problem is the rain.” Farm tracks leading to the front lines are churned into slippery swamps, armoured vehicles founder, soldiers slip and fall and sometimes break bones. “As the temperature drops, the fighting slows down,” says Colonel Zhdanov. “When roads are impassable, the war usually becomes more positional.”

“The rain feels like needles on every part of your body; you are pouring water out of your boots,” says Andriy, a Ukrainian unit commander in the province of Luhansk. His poncho is his most treasured piece of kit. “I love it, I could write a book about it.” By day, it keeps the rain off; at night he stretches it into a canopy above his foxhole. Other soldierly essentials are a water-resistant sleeping bag, good thermal underwear (“I didn’t change my clothes for two weeks; I smell really bad”), and sanitary towels, which soldiers use as insoles to keep the damp out of their boots.

Iran teaches Russia its tricks on beating oil sanctions


Iran is preparing to hand the Kremlin the blueprints for its most effective weapon against the West: the underground financial network it relies on to evade sanctions.

For years, the Islamic Republic has frustrated American efforts to isolate it and starve its economy by constructing a parallel universe of front companies and foreign banks — including major financial institutions based in Europe and the U.S. — that Iranian companies use to evade international controls and conduct business abroad.

As Russia faces increasing international isolation over the war in Ukraine, Iran, which is already providing Moscow with weapons, has offered to share its expertise in the art of sanctions evasion, Western diplomats say. A series of recent meetings between senior Russian and Iranian officials, including Iranian central bank chief Ali Salehabadi and Deputy Economy Minister Ali Fekri, involved laying the groundwork for that collaboration, the diplomats argue.

Xi-Biden Meeting May Help End China’s Destructive Isolation

Scott Kennedy

China’s infamous zero-COVID controls and restrictions on international travel have left the country more isolated than at any time since the mid-1970s. Many Chinese urbanites see their country shifting in the direction of North Korean isolation and increasingly use a term coined several years ago, “West Korea,” to describe their own nation. China is not yet a Hermit Kingdom, but my recent trip there post-outbreak of the pandemic, the first by a Washington think tank expert, convinced me that China’s growing isolation is as dangerous for the world as Pyongyang’s is.

When U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Bali, Indonesia, on the sidelines of the G-20 summit, they both seemed to have understood that reducing their countries’ mutual isolation should be a top priority and that doing so would be in the self-interest of both countries as well as benefit the rest of the world. This is urgently needed because the situation has become dire.

Looking out of my quarantine hotel window next to the Beijing Capital International Airport provided the initial clue that China had turned inward. Flights into Beijing are down by over two-thirds from their 2019 levels, and I saw no foreign airlines coming in for a landing during my 10 days there. In the city, the absence of international visitors was even clearer. My hotel, part of a major American chain, had so few guests that the restaurant was only open part of the week.

Baltic Conflict: Russia’s Goal to Distract NATO?

Courtney Stiles Herdt

The Baltics are a key strategic region where the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Russian military and economic interests overlap. Sabotage of the Nordstream 2 pipeline, regardless of who executed the attack, has signaled that conflict in the region is no longer left of bang. Gray zone operations are underway, and the United States, NATO, and their partners need to be ready to act in unity against an increasingly hostile Russia that is now trying to distract attention from its military shortcomings in Ukraine. In this effort, Russia’s playbook will test the limits and try to exploit the seams of the alliance. An exacting response is needed to deny Russia control and ensure full conflict is avoided. The NATO summit in Vilnius will be critical to strengthening resolve and a path forward to a combined strategy to deter further Russian aggression.

Conflict in the Baltics will take place in every domain—air, sea, land, space, and cyber. Russia has maintained a constant threat to the Baltic region through the full spectrum of gray zone operations, including economic coercion, disinformation and propaganda, cyber disruption, and covert military incursions. Ukraine may have changed the calculus for a Russian conflict in the Baltics by revealing significant gaps in Russia’s ability to control the land and air domains. Conflict in the Baltics would meet the same national, existential resolve that are on display in Ukraine—with the added weight of mutual defense agreements and NATO Article V commitment.

How Ukraine Blew Up a Key Russian Bridge

James Glanz and Marco Hernandez

The attack severed a crucial Russian supply line and triggered a month of Russian airstrikes. Experts reconstructed how Ukraine pulled it off.

The attack, which killed four people, was a critical moment in the war. It dealt an embarrassing blow to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who presided over the bridge’s opening in 2018, and it underscored Russia’s inability to protect a critical strategic asset and a potent symbol as its only connection to Crimea.

Structural and explosive experts who reviewed the bridge’s design and imagery of the blast offered new details on how the bridge was damaged. The operation’s success shows sophisticated planning, they said — or luck.

‘General Frost’ is coming: What the cold, dark winter ahead means for the war in Ukraine

Joshua Keating

On Wednesday, the first snow of the year fell in Kyiv, a stark reminder of what’s in store for the coming months in Ukraine.

As the weather turns colder and the days shorter, nearly all the momentum in the war is on the Ukrainian side. Last week saw what may have been the most consequential setback for Russia’s forces since the invasion last February, as they retreated from the southern city of Kherson. The recapture of Kherson was important not only for its strategic location and symbolic weight (the first major city captured by the Russians fell almost without a fight, just weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared it to be Russian territory “forever”) but also because of the timing. It was a dramatic demonstration of Ukraine’s ability to win heading into a winter that is likely to exact a brutal toll on Ukraine’s civilians and test the resolve of its Western allies.

Just last week, America’s top military commander, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made headlines by saying that winter was likely to slow the pace of fighting in Ukraine, making this a good time to push for peace negotiations. The idea was quickly rejected by the Ukrainian government and walked back by the Biden administration, but if Ukrainian momentum does start to slow in the coming months, there may be more voices arguing that the country’s remarkable resistance has accomplished about as much as can be reasonably expected — and that paths to peace should be explored.

How China Is Trying to Turn the US CHIPS Act to Its Favor


When the Chips and Science Act (frequently referred to as the CHIPS Act) was signed into law in August, President Biden and Congressional lawmakers celebrated.

The legislation included subsidies to bolster America’s domestic semiconductor industry and tackle supply chain vulnerabilities, addressing key national security concerns with China. The Biden administration boasted that the CHIPS Act would lower costs, create jobs, strengthen supply chains, and counter China.

But China has not taken the news lying down. The PRC has mobilized a strategic communications campaign to undermine support for the Act.

“A perfect example of overreacting and coercion,” tweeted Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the PRC’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shortly after the bill became law. Hua drew an analogy of the world as a classroom, where everyone is studying hard to get good grades, and suddenly, one student cuts the electricity and threatens the other students in the name of upholding classroom order. “Anyone like this guy? Seriously?” she added.

Space Development Agency asks for satellite ‘battle management system’ proposals


WASHINGTON — The Space Development Agency is kicking off development of an on-board “battle management system” for its planned satellite mesh network, issuing a draft solicitation to launch a software prototyping project.

SDA’s Battle Management Command, Control, and Communications (BMC3) layer will play the role of robotic traffic cop, providing “automated space-based battle management through command and control, tasking, mission processing and dissemination” for the agency’s still-developing National Defense Space Architecture (NDSA), according to the agency’s website. The NDSA will comprise multiple satellites constellations in low Earth orbit linked together to form a mesh network. Alongside the battle management layer in that mesh, a set of data relay satellites called the Transport Layer will serve as the communications backbone for the Defense Department’s Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) concept.

The draft BMC3 Application Factory & SIL Program Solicitation, published Wednesday, is seeking “an industry partner to develop, implement, and sustain BMC3 software development, integration, testing and deployment capabilities as part of the NDSA,” the solicitation states.

European Commission launches new defense package, with military mobility and cyber focus


DUBLIN — The executive branch of the European Union (EU) has committed to “stepping up its contribution” to defense by making military mobility and cyber resilience cornerstones of a newly released security package.

Upon unveiling the package on Nov. 10 the European Commission said that an “action plan” had been prompted by Russia’s war in Ukraine and recent cyber attacks on strategic infrastructure.

Military mobility — a term referring to efforts to make it easier for the military of one nation to cross borders quickly to support another nation in times of peril — has been a focus for the EU and, to a lesser extent, NATO, ever since Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014. It has both a logistical part (making sure rail systems and roads could support the weight of tanks, for example) and a legal part, to ensure that forces aren’t being held up at border crossings due to paperwork.

Senator to Elon Musk: 'Fix Your Companies. Or Congress Will'


An influential Democrat on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee threatened to rein in Elon Musk’s companies on Sunday, after the senator and CEO exchanged heated words on Twitter over the platform’s verification process.

The exchange between Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Musk came after The Washington Post on Nov. 11 published an article describing how one of the newspaper’s columnists—with Markey’s blessing—was able to set up a verified Twitter account posing as the senator. Following the article’s publication, Markey sent a letter to Musk demanding answers about the company’s recently announced subscription-based verification service, saying that “allowing an imposter to impersonate a U.S. senator on Twitter is a serious matter that you need to address promptly.”

“Safeguards such as Twitter’s blue checkmark once allowed users to be smart, critical consumers of news and information in Twitter’s global town square,” Markey wrote in the Nov. 11 letter. “But your Twitter takeover, rapid and haphazard imposition of platform changes, removal of safeguards against disinformation and firing of large numbers of Twitter employees have accelerated Twitter’s descent into the Wild West of social media.”

Biden’s Nuclear Policy Fails the Ukraine Test


Senior Russian military leaders reportedly recently discussed how they might use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, while other Russian officials were suggesting that Kyiv might detonate a “dirty bomb”—suggestions widely dismissed as a setup for a false-flag excuse to escalate the war. And even before all that, President Joe Biden reckoned that the world was closer to “Armageddon” than any time since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

Cause for concern? You bet. But if you’re looking for new ideas to address Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attempts at nuclear blackmail in Ukraine, you won’t find them in the Biden administration’s new statement on nuclear policy. Known as the Nuclear Posture Review, or NPR, the report is a disappointing defense of the status quo. It breaks little new ground, and it fails to respond to the Ukraine moment. Reading it, you might almost forget that the world is facing the most serious nuclear threat in 60 years.

President Putin has repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons to keep the United States and NATO from getting too involved in the war. The NPR notes that Russian leaders view their nuclear arsenal “as a shield behind which to wage unjustified aggression against their neighbors.” Not only do these reckless actions increase the risk of nuclear war, but they also threaten the future of U.S.-Russian arms control and could give non-nuclear states new motivations to get the bomb.

The IAEA’s Iran NPT Safeguards Report

David Albright, Sarah Burkhard, and Andrea Stricker

Iran has consistently violated its obligations under its comprehensive safeguards agreement (CSA), a key part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), under which it must cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and fully account for its past and present nuclear activities. The IAEA refers to this process as a country providing both a correct and complete nuclear declaration.

For four years, the IAEA has been investigating the presence of man-made uranium particles at three Iranian sites. Earlier, it sought information about nuclear material and activities at a fourth site. In March 2022, the IAEA found Iran in breach of its safeguards obligations for failing to declare its use of nuclear material at the fourth site, a former Amad Plan site called Lavisan-Shian.

The IAEA concluded in September 2022 it is “not in a position to provide assurance that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.” This means the IAEA cannot verify Iran’s compliance with its CSA and the NPT and is implying Iran is violating both agreements.

Elbridge Colby Has It Right on Taiwan and Ukraine


olby is one of the new generation of defense/national-security intellectuals in the mold of Andrew Marshall and Edward Luttwak, and, before them, Herman Kahn and Albert Wohlstetter. Colby served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Strategy and Force Development in the Trump administration, where he led the way to shifting U.S. strategy to focus on renewed great-power rivalry after two decades of fighting “small” wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the so-called Global War on Terror. His most recent book, The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict, is a must read for understanding today’s global security environment.

This division of labor would enable the United States to rely less on economic warfare against China, thereby lessening the strain on the Atlantic alliance.

Colby recently penned an article on the website UnHerd to explain how the United States can best prepare for and meet the gathering storm in the western Pacific. He foresees that China may move against Taiwan within the next few years, and he laments that the Biden administration has left us dangerously unprepared for war in the western Pacific.

Assessment of the Risk of a Nuclear Exchange with Russia: Is the U.S. Whistling Past the Nuclear Graveyard?

Summary: There is uncertainty over how the U.S. might respond to Putin’s threats of nuclear weapon use in Ukraine, which raises curiosity about the sources of nuclear risk. This risk includes three aspects of U.S. policymaking: presidential leadership, creativity and engagement of forward-thinking nuclear planners, and the flexibility of the bureaucracy in the face of crisis. The conclusion is that the U.S. may own some of the risk of a nuclear exchange over Ukraine.

Text: Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine, prompting comparisons to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis[1]. Fortunately, Putin has recently issued statements tempering the threat[2], but the war in Ukraine is not over. Russia appears to be losing badly, suggesting Putin might play the one (nuclear) card he has left.

Unfortunately, the risk of nuclear exchange over Ukraine is not widely understood because the public discourse has been confusing. Some reporting suggests that Putin’s threats are real[3], but prominent commentators have also dismissed the threats[4]. There is also uncertainty over how the U.S. might respond to Russian nuclear aggression. U.S. Army General (Retired) David Petraeus recently argued that the U.S. would most likely respond to Russian nuclear action with a massive conventional response[5]. Even so, it is not clear how a massive conventional response would not trigger further escalation, given Russia’s already precarious strategic position.

Reserve Bank Of India Launches Digital Currency – Analysis

Vinod Rai

While presenting the Budget for 2022-2023, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman declared that India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), will issue a digital rupee, or a central bank digital currency (CBDC), in early 2023. The CBDC has finally come to India with the start of the pilot phase of the digital rupee rollout from 1 November 2022. The RBI launched the first pilot of the digital rupee (symbol: e₹-W) for only the wholesale segment. The pilot programme permits nine selected participating banks to use the digital rupee to settle secondary-market transactions in government securities. The nine banks are State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Yes Bank, IDFC First Bank and HSBC. Banks exchanged ₹275 crores (S$ 46.6 million) in bonds on the first day of the new currency, according to the Clearing Corporation of India Ltd.

The RBI has maintained that settlement in the central bank-backed currency would reduce transaction costs. Since it is a sovereign currency, it ensures finality and reduces risk in the financial system by pre-empting the need for settlement guarantee infrastructure or for collateral to mitigate settlement risk. As India moves into a new era of digital money, it is expected that the current rollout, would make the interbank market more efficient. The RBI has stated that the central bank’s digital currencies will give consumers the same experience of trading in currency, in digital form, without the hazards associated with private cryptocurrencies. These currencies will also safeguard consumers by avoiding the negative social and economic effects of private virtual currencies.

Iran-Made Drones Key To Russian Strategy

Anatolii Shara and Anastasiia Koberska

Gaining pace in October, Shahed-136 and Shahed-131 models have been used to target civilian buildings and have damaged about a third of the country’s power plants. For months, Tehran denied that it had supplied Russia with drones, stressing its neutrality in the war. On November 5, Iran’s foreign minister for the first time acknowledged the sale of the equipment, while insisting that the transfer had happened before the full-scale invasion began.

According to President Volodymyr Zelensky, Moscow has ordered over 2,400 of the so-called “kamikaze drones,” as they are manufactured to explode on impact.

More than ten can be launched simultaneously from different directions, from the south and from Belarus in the north. They fly in so-called swarms close to the Dnipro river bed from where they are less visible to radars. Russia has combined this with the launch of cruise missiles from Russian territory, specifically from Kursk and Bryansk regions, and from the Black and Caspian Sea.

Why China Will Play It Safe Xi Would Prefer Détente—Not War—With America

Christopher K. Johnson

At a time of growing tension between Beijing and Washington, China’s 20th Party Congress in October unsettled many outside observers. During the proceedings, not only did Chinese President Xi Jinping stack China’s all-important Politburo Standing Committee with loyalists and secure a third term in office; he also painted his darkest picture yet of China’s external threats. Xi called for further increasing the quantity and quality of China’s already accelerating defense production. And he appointed a mix of protégés and skilled technocrats to the full Politburo to oversee China’s response to the challenge.

So far, Beijing has withheld escalatory responses that would amount to direct economic warfare against the United States, such as disrupting crucial supply chains of rare-earth metals or using untested Chinese regulatory tools such as its “Unreliable Entity List” and the Anti–Foreign Sanctions Law, which could penalize foreign companies simply for complying with U.S. regulations. But to many analysts, Xi’s recent moves are a sign of worse to come. Now that Xi is firmly ensconced in his third term, some China observers argue that he could move to retake Taiwan in the next few years, provoking a full-fledged war between the world’s two most powerful states.

DOD making progress in information operations but more improvement is needed, experts say

Mark Pomerleau

The Department of Defense is taking action to elevate and further incorporate information operations and information warfare into its strategy and planning. However, some experts say more work needs to be done.

Over the past couple of decades, the DOD divested much of its capabilities and tactics in this realm, ceding the ground to others such as Russia and China and forcing the Pentagon to play catch-up, according to some observers.

“Fundamentally, information operations is a critical part of modern warfare. Our enemies are using it. We’ve actually used it effectively in the past. But our current capabilities are way behind the times. We are losing the information warfare fight,” Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., a member on the House Armed Services Committee, told DefenseScoop.

In his view, the DOD doesn’t sufficiently approach information operations as a critical warfighting function, but as just “one minor tool” in its toolkit.

End the Ukraine war well


Ending the Ukraine war requires not just stopping the fighting but also creating a sufficiently durable, political arrangement that addresses the underlying confrontation between Russia and Ukraine and sets the conditions for a better peace.

The conflicting objectives between Volodymyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin are stark and longstanding. Zelensky desires self-determination for Ukraine — a future in which the people of Ukraine can determine their own political and economic interests. Putin wants Ukraine as a Russian vassal.

In an address at the Cooper Union in February 1860, Abraham Lincoln asked, “What will satisfy them [the people of America’s south]?” His answer, “This and this only: Cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right.” Lincoln would not agree to that. And we know what will satisfy Putin — but neither Ukraine, the U.S., nor NATO can agree to that.

EU vs RT: A Propaganda Chess Match for the Ages

Manucharian Grigoriy

The Russian Gambit

RT France is the French branch of a Russian state-funded news channel. At the end of February 2022, the European Union announced that it is to be banned in all languages throughout all member states. Since then, the Russian propaganda machine underwent a metamorphosis — it had to adapt and continue to broadcast, at any cost.

These costs were covered by the Russian state. As reported by The Moscow Times in March, the Russian federal budget allocated 114.8 billion rubles labeled “for mass media” in the operational statistics of the Ministry of Finance for 2022. One quarter of this sum is dedicated to ANO TV Novosti, RT’s parent company. Given the March conversion rate, this is the equivalent of around $262 million USD. Between January and March 2022, 61% of

this amount ($160 million) was already allocated under the same “for mass media” label, which already amounts to approximately 3.2 times more than during the same period in 2021. And it showed, as the RT production costs on Odysee, a relatively small platform, were worthy of a TV channel.

The war in Ukraine brought the West together. For the rest of the world, it’s complicated.

Nikhil Kumar and Mariana Labbate

To some, it came as a surprise. When Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva won Brazil’s presidential election last month, attention soon turned to his stance on the war in Ukraine.

“He did want war,” Lula, as the Brazilian president-elect is known, was quoted as saying about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. “If he didn’t want war, he would have negotiated a little more. That’s it.”

And what about the Russian President?

“I criticized [Vladimir] Putin when I was in Mexico City [in March], saying that it was a mistake to invade. But I don’t think anyone is trying to help create peace. People are stimulating hate against Putin. That won’t solve things!” Lula said.

Generational shift in Indian students’ higher education goals

Yojana Sharma

Universities in India and abroad need to change their mindset when seeking to attract Indian students, as a major survey has shown a shift in perspectives among ‘Generation Z’ youths towards life goals and jobs and what influences them.

The survey by international education consultancy Sannam S4 of some 10,000 Gen Z Indian students – one of the biggest surveys of its kind across India – has found changing sentiments among young people aged 18 to 23 towards education and life goals, and a clear difference compared to people a decade or so older.

“Representing around one-fifth of the entire world’s youth population, how Indian students make decisions about their education will profoundly dictate future global mobility,” said Adrian Mutton, CEO of Sannam S4, which carried out the survey in several stages during 2020 and 2021.

World Population Is About To Hit Jaw-Dropping Milestone


The global population will hit 8 billion on 15 November 2022, the U.N. has estimated. While this figure is a clear indicator of success in public health and development, it also poses a challenge for sustainability and social and economic growth.

Despite uncertainties in trends in worldwide fertility and mortality, previous U.N. population estimates have been fairly accurate.

"Thirty years ago, in its 1992 revision of the World Population Prospects, we projected the world population to reach 8 billion in early 2020," Bela Hovy, from the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, told Newsweek.

"There are many uncertainties about the population data and population estimates for many countries and regions, so even the year of reaching 8 billion has to be taken with caution," Tomas Sobotka, a senior researcher at the Wittgenstein Center for Demography and Global Human Capital, told Newsweek. "But, based on the best available data and estimates, we can conclude that the world is reaching 8 billion around this year."