21 November 2022

Ukraine has momentum. What it needs now are munitions

The liberation of Kherson on November 11th was not the end of the war. Russia still occupies the 70% of Kherson province that is east of the Dnieper river, not to mention swathes of next-door Zaporizhia, and Donetsk and Luhansk in the east. But it was the “beginning of the end”, declared President Volodymyr Zelensky, delivering his Churchillian flourish as he walked the streets of Kherson on November 14th.

The front lines in the province are still in flux. Ukraine’s armed forces are fanning out across the west bank of the Dnieper, looking for any Russians trapped on the wrong side. There are tales that Ukraine has mounted raids across the river against Oleshky, opposite Kherson city, and towards Nova Kakhovka, the site of a key dam, as well as on the Kinburn Spit, a slender finger of land that stretches into the Black Sea. But there is no evidence that these swashbuckling operations are real.

To Save Twitter, Elon Musk Should Fire Himself

Bhaskar Chakravorti

Billionaire Elon Musk’s purchase of and arrival at Twitter has turned the global social media company into a raging dumpster fire with significant consequences all around the world. The closest indication of any method behind the madness may be Musk’s Nov. 9 tweet: “Please note that Twitter will do lots of dumb things in coming months. We will keep what works & change what doesn’t.” Even here, Musk may have been overpromising: Twitter’s offices are now temporarily shuttered following mass firings, reported mass resignations, an apparent exodus of advertisers, a new plague of fake accounts, and confusion over future content policies. Many people are horrified by the Musk mayhem, his longtime critics are having an “I told you so” moment, and those inclined to be generous are taking a cautious view of “too early to tell.” Some former employees fear the platform may only have a few weeks to live.

To save Twitter, however, the choice is unambiguous: Musk urgently needs to fire himself. This is not because his opening act has been so chaotic but for deeper structural reasons. If Twitter’s mission is to be, in Musk’s own words, “by far the most accurate source of information about the world,” the combination of Musk’s multiple conflicts of interest and Twitter’s international operations would conspire to kill that mission. For one, Twitter’s global footprint is already on shaky ground. Second, Musk’s own international entanglements make the problem much worse. Third, the business pressures bearing down on the platform will be Twitter’s final nail in the coffin under Musk.

What Pelosi stepping down means for China relations


For more than three decades, Nancy Pelosi has cemented her status as a staunch opponent of the Chinese government. From being chased out of Tiananmen Square in 1991 to ignoring warnings to not visit Taiwan this year, the California congresswoman has made one thing clear:

No one can tell her what to do when it comes to China.

“If you cannot stand up for human rights in China because of commercial interests, you lose all moral authority to speak out for it in any place,” Pelosi told POLITICO in July.

But Pelosi stepped down from her historic post as speaker on Thursday, vowing to pass the torch to a new generation of leaders. After a long-time antagonistic relationship with the Chinese government, how will things change?

Biden Administration's Inaction Legitimizes Iran's Brutality

Majid Rafizadeh

As Winston Churchill pointed out, "I never 'worry' about action, but only about inaction".

The Biden administration's inaction has only been legitimizing the Iranian regime's savage crackdown on its population, and sending a message to the Iranian people that Washington does not stand with them or with their aspirations for establishing a democratic system of governance; rule of law and justice; freedom of speech, of the press and of assembly; and human rights for all.

Iranians have been protesting for nearly two months while risking their lives every hour. They have been chanting "Death to the dictator", "Death to [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei" and "This year is a year of blood, Seyyed Ali [Khamenei] will be gone".

Reports from the Oslo-based non-governmental organization Iran Human Rights state that in recent anti-regime protests, 326 people have died and 15,000 have been arrested. Executions have already begun.

Strategic Competition & Security Cooperation in the Blue Pacific

Deon Canyon


The book explores the dynamic geopolitical pressures in the region and addresses how these pressures impact security architecture, relationships, and policy. Multidimensional security challenges, such as COVID-19, climate change, water and food, piracy, and maritime challenge, are deliberated upon and given policy recommendations. It’s 17 contributors represent high-ranking individuals and experts who have geared the content for policymakers, security practitioners, and researchers.

This book represents the third DKI APCSS publication on Oceania security. Previous publications on the topic include “Regionalism, Security & Cooperation in Oceania” and “Security in Oceania in the 21st Century.”

In addressing Oceania’s security challenges, the book aims to spur security practitioners and partners to support these aspirations. With a distinct vision for the region at the forefront, Oceania’s external partners have a significant opportunity to embrace a commitment to the Pacific Region.

Avoiding War Over Taiwan

The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) assertive military exercises in response to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on Aug. 2-3, 2022 — and the PRC’s continued military actions in the air and maritime space around Taiwan since then — have brought heightened attention to the risk of military conflict between mainland China on the one side and Taiwan and the United States on the other. This policy brief argues that despite rising tensions, it is both essential and possible to avoid war in the Taiwan Strait. None of the three governments wants war. But to avoid war, all three governments must avoid steps that force the other side to launch a military conflict.

As tension rises between the PRC and the United States over Taiwan, strategists on both sides seem to have forgotten the lesson taught years ago by Nobel Prize-winning American game theorist Thomas Schelling: deterring an opponent from taking a proscribed action requires a combination of credible threats and credible assurances. Thus, key for United States policy is to understand that effective deterrence of the PRC requires not only the credible threat of a forceful response to an attack on Taiwan, but also the credible assurance that if the PRC refrains from attacking Taiwan, interests considered vital to Beijing will not be damaged anyway. This second requirement would be violated if Washington were to heed recent calls for a change in its long-standing policy that refrains from supporting statehood for Taiwan or appears to restore the U.S.-Republic of China (ROC) alliance that was scrapped as a prerequisite for the establishment of U.S. diplomatic relations with the PRC.

Air Force Cyber Law Primer

Lt Col Royal A. Davis 

Cyber law is a broad discipline that is constantly evolving and growing as technology and applicable law continue to develop. Attorneys and paralegals must inform themselves on the technical aspects of cyber operations to properly advise clients and identify legal issues—many of which will be without precedent. This primer seeks to expedite the rigorous process of learning the practice of cyber law.

The U.S. seeks to support Ukraine, but contain the war

David Ignatius

If you’ve worried that the conflict in Ukraine might escalate into a spasm of nuclear war — and what sane person hasn’t? — the past few weeks have been chilling. But they have also demonstrated some important U.S. efforts to communicate about risks and avert catastrophe.

The baseline for President Biden is that an overall peace settlement between Russia and Ukraine doesn’t appear possible now. The two sides are simply too far apart, and the United States couldn’t dictate terms to Kyiv even if it thought it was time to end the conflict. Instead, the administration has focused its diplomacy on Russia — and averting any escalation into nuclear war.

Take a look at recent U.S. crisis management efforts, to get a sense of how the Biden administration is playing this game of measured confrontation. They have the common theme of helping Ukraine while also containing the conflict.

It’s Costing Peanuts for the US to Defeat Russia

Timothy Ash

Former President Trump, and others in the US including some Democrats as well as Republicans, have criticized continued US support for Ukraine in its war with Russia. They have called for military and financial support to Ukraine to be cut, even ended. They downplay the risk from Russia and argue that the money should be spent at home.

Yet from numerous perspectives, when viewed from a bang-per-buck perspective, US and Western support for Ukraine is an incredibly cost-effective investment. 

Altogether, the Biden administration received Congressional approval for $40bn in aid for Ukraine for 2022 and has requested an additional $37.7bn for 2022. More than half of this aid has been earmarked for defense. 

These sums pale into insignificance when set against a total US defense budget of $715bn for 2022. The assistance represents 5.6% of total US defense spending. But Russia is a primary adversary of the US, a top tier rival not too far behind China, its number one strategic challenger. In cold, geopolitical terms, this war provides a prime opportunity for the US to erode and degrade Russia’s conventional defense capability, with no boots on the ground and little risk to US lives.

China Tosses Out the Developed Nation Playbook

Chris Anstey

For decades, China rode a wave of economic success by following what its neighbors had done. But now it has truly veered from that path—foreshadowing a potential failure to achieve upper income, or developed-economy, status.

Authoritarian governments in South Korea and Taiwan showed how to pull millions of people out of poverty by overseeing rapid and sustained economic growth propelled by an export-led model. Bill Overholt, drawing on his research at (now-defunct) Bankers Trust, recognized how that could be applied in the People’s Republic of China in his 1993 book, The Rise of China.

Overholt, who now conducts his research at Harvard, highlights that South Korea and Taiwan offered further lessons. In the 1980s and 1990s, their political systems evolved to embrace competition, and they became even more market-driven. This allowed them to progress to the next level of the economic scale.

Stealthy Kherson resistance fighters undermined Russian occupying forces

Isabelle Khurshudyan and

KHERSON, Ukraine — Ihor didn’t even know the first name of the person who contacted him. The man said he was a member of Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces and wanted to know if Ihor was interested in helping fight the Russians occupying his city of Kherson.

For months, the two kept up a coded communication over the Telegram messaging app. Sometimes Ihor would be asked to help pinpoint locations from which the Russians were firing artillery. Other times, he sent the man, who asked to be called Smoke, the positions of Russian troops, armored vehicles and ammunition stocks.

Then in August, Ihor had a more dangerous task from Smoke. There was a cache of weapons hidden somewhere in Kherson, and Ihor needed to bury them in a different location and wait for the signal. Eventually, Smoke told him, Ihor might be called on to take up one of the arms and help Ukrainian soldiers if the battle for Kherson turned to street fighting and small sabotage groups would be necessary.

Nothing resolved in Biden-Xi talksBy Joseph Bosco

US President Joe Biden’s news conference after his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, revealed no progress on the increasingly tense US-China relationship. The conventional diplo-speak Biden used to describe their exchange of views — “We had an open and candid conversation about our intentions and our priorities” — raised more questions than it answered.

In their candor, did they say to each other’s face what they have repeatedly stated in public? Did Xi say that Taiwan’s integration into what can only be called the Chinese empire — including Tibet, Xinjiang, Mongolia, Macau and Hong Kong — cannot be deferred for another generation and will be accomplished by force if Taiwanese do not submit “peacefully”? Did he also repeat that the US must stay out of it and not cross one of China’s many red lines?

Did Biden tell Xi directly what he told reporters and interviewers four times — that the US would use military force to defend Taiwan if China attacked it?

If the two were that frank with each other, how did the conversation proceed after they had established that their countries would go to war over Taiwan? Or did Biden issue the kind of warning a parent gives a misbehaving child, or the US gave Moscow when it failed to deter Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying “there will be consequences”?

Deglobalization Is a Climate Threat


CHICAGO – The deliberations at this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) suggest that while policymakers realize the urgency of combating climate change, they are unlikely to reach a comprehensive collective agreement to address it. But there is still a way for the world to improve the chances of more effective action in the future: hit the brakes on deglobalization. Otherwise, the possibilities for climate action will be set back by the shrinkage of cross-border trade and investment flows, and by the accompanying rise of increasingly isolated regional trading blocs.

Deglobalization is being accelerated through a combination of old-fashioned protectionism, newfangled “friend-shoring” (limiting trade to countries with shared values), and geo-strategically motivated bans and sanctions. To see why this trend will frustrate global responses to climate change, consider the three categories of climate action: mitigation (emissions reduction), adaptation, and migration to better conditions. The sequence here is important, because the challenges implied by each category will become more difficult if less is done in the category preceding it. If we do too little on mitigation, we will need more adaptation, and if we do too little on adaptation, we will see more climate refugees fleeing their increasingly uninhabitable homelands.

An American strategy for the Indo-Pacific in an age of US-China competition

Richard C. Bush, Tanvi Madan, Mireya Solís, Jonathan Stromseth


The United States is a leading Indo-Pacific power with an abiding interest in sustaining a strong alliance network and maintaining a free and open regional order that delivers peace, stability, and economic prosperity. The Indo-Pacific is a dynamic region experiencing a rewiring of the lines of security and economic cooperation, as minilateral networks continue to grow and mega trade agreements take hold. The most significant development in the Indo-Pacific is the emergence of China as a peer competitor to the United States. Chinese actions that undermine vital U.S. interests include the use of coercion — whether in the form of gray-zone tactics, political interference, economic pressure, or military force — to weaken the U.S. alliance system in Asia, press unilateral territorial claims, and settle international disputes with disregard to international law. China also seeks to undermine democratic resilience in the region and incorporate Taiwan into the People’s Republic of China, even though its people reject the terms offered.

To sustain U.S. interests and efforts in the Indo-Pacific, we offer three sets of recommendations:Deepening alliances, partnerships, and coalitions. The U.S. should deepen its security alliances, enhance minilateral cooperation initiatives such as the Quad, engage actively with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its individual members, including Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam; deepen relations with India; and redouble efforts to promote trilateral U.S.-Japan-Korea collaboration.

Army Modernization, And The Virtues Of Moderation

Loren Thompson

The U.S. Army is currently in the midst of its most successful modernization campaign since the Cold War ended. All of the service’s most pressing gaps in battlefield capability are being remedied, and there is little sign of the setbacks that marred previous efforts to replace aging weapons.

This is a significant achievement because the Department of the Army spends a much bigger portion of its budget on people than the Air Force and Navy do, while spending a much smaller portion on weapons development and procurement.

In fact, the Army’s total spending on new equipment in its fiscal 2023 budget request is less than a third of the amount available to the Air Force ($36 billion versus $112 billion).

Congress will adjust these amounts when it finally gets around to passing a defense budget for the fiscal year that began October 1, but in the end the Air Force and Navy departments will still have a multiple of what the Army does for upgrading its weapons.

AI and open-source intelligence can mitigate ransomware and cryptocurrency risks

Udi Levy

Today’s columnist, Udi Levy of Cobwebs Technologies, writes that the Biden administration supports efforts by the industry to deploy AI-powered blockchain to stop threat actors from hiding their malicious activities in cryptocurrency. (Photo by Alex Wong/Newsmakers)

The Second International Counter Ransomware Initiative (CRI) Summit held recently at the White House turned the spotlight on the need to counter cybercriminal and other threat actors’ efforts to use the cryptocurrency ecosystem to garner payments and mask illicit activity.

Now more than ever, financial investigators need to use open-source intelligence to trace illicit funds and criminal activity associated with cryptocurrencies. While not all crypto transactions are peer-to-peer (P2P), the P2P nature and privacy of some cryptocurrency has become an attractive way to pay—not just for ordinary citizens, but also for criminals.

The White House brought together 36 countries and the European Union for the summit to discuss cooperative actions to counter the spread and impact of ransomware around the globe. Of note, the countries committed to hold a second counter-illicit finance ransomware workshop to expand on the lessons learned during the first workshop led by the U.S. Department of Treasury in July 2022 to build capacity on blockchain tracing and analytics. This will include a tabletop ransomware exercise, coordinated with law enforcement.

Additionally, the participants agreed to share information about cryptocurrency “wallets” used for laundering extorted funds and the development and implementation of the international anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) standards for cryptocurrency and related service providers.

Masking illicit crypto activity

In today’s world, cyber criminals increasingly use cryptocurrency to hide their activities and connections. For example, in August 2022, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned virtual currency mixer Tornado Cash, which has been used to launder more than $7 billion worth of virtual currency since its creation in 2019.

“Tornado Cash is a virtual currency mixer that operates on the Ethereum blockchain and indiscriminately facilitates anonymous transactions by obfuscating their origin, destination, and counterparties, with no attempt to determine their origin,” according to Treasury officials.

Blockchain, the foundation for cryptocurrency

Blockchain technology allows for the existence of cryptocurrency, delivering a shared, immutable ledger for recording transactions, tracking assets, and building trust. In most cases, investigators are only getting a piece of the pie by looking at transactions on the ledger; to get a comprehensive understanding of the illicit activity, security teams need to pair on-chain data needs with off-chain data.

Investigators need to see beyond what happens on ledgers and what happens in crypto wallets. There’s much more data on the dark web that can give a full view of the wallet. Investigators need to know if crypto addresses were shared on the dark web or used in social media posts. Traditional blockchain analysis tools cannot give them this full view.

At the same time, when people buy or sell crypto, they rely on their wallets to keep their funds safe and secure. But no wallet is ever truly safe from cybercriminals, and many people have become victims of hacks, wherein their funds are either partly or entirely stolen.

Mitigating ransomware crypto attacks

In today’s data inundated world, investigators must use automated, AI-powered blockchain analysis that continuously scans the web and the dark web to categorize the technical details and other digital footprints left behind by blockchain transactions, as well as identify vulnerabilities in crypto wallets that can result in theft and compromised transactions.

The CRI Summit illustrated that governments and companies are looking for comprehensive strategies to handle crypto ransomware attacks. An AI-powered web intelligence (WEBINT) platform lets investigators collect, analyze, and monitor crypto currency addresses used in transactions on blockchain. As a result, strains of ransomware are detected and attributed to threat actors. The platform scans and detects data from all layers of the web using AI and machine learning. Afterwards, generated reports offer insights, such as where the threat actors provide ransomware as a service, the dark web forums where they discuss their ransomware attacks and buy ransomware kits.

Armed with an AI-powered WEBINT platform, investigators can trace the cryptocurrency money trail back to the threat actors, regardless of geographical location, language or cryptocurrency used. This knowledge helps law enforcement investigations and gives organizations a way to comply with anti-laundering and terror financing legislation and avoid fines. Moreover, an AI-powered platform can proactively assist in defending against crypto ransomware attacks.

Comprehensive intelligence

Threat actors as well as criminal elements and organizations leave a digital footprint during their activities that are normally detected by solutions that analyze the technical details of electronic activity, online behavior, and cyber information such as IP addresses, timestamps, and device indicators. These solutions are useful, but do not give the full picture.

Complex financial networks are often hard to detect because of various masking methods threat actors use to keep their activities hidden. Law enforcement agencies are often relying on internal data such as transactions, criminal records and prior cases that only provide limited information. With only 5% of information publicly-available on the open web and 95% in the dark web, an AI-powered WEBINT capability can assist investigations by extracting comprehensive intelligent insights on cryptocurrency activity.

Data centers are physical and digital targets, says Pentagon’s Eoyang

Colin Demarest

WASHINGTON — The role cyber plays in military campaigns needs reexamination after Russia’s failure to cripple computer networks during its invasion of Ukraine likely forced it to physically strike the country’s infrastructure instead, according to a senior Pentagon official.

Mieke Eoyang, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy, on Nov. 16 said the conflict in Eastern Europe is critically important for the U.S. Department of Defense to understand, noting that day-to-day fighting and devastation are outstripping the consequences of cyberattacks.

“When you think about cybersecurity as a risk-managed exercise, and one of the risks you are trying to manage in the context of that is armed conflict, you have to think very differently about what you are dealing with,” Eoyang said at the Aspen Cyber Summit in New York. “When you think about the cybersecurity of data centers, for example, it is not just about patching and closing those things. It is about the physical security of those data centers. It is about whether or not those data centers are within the range of Russian missiles.”

Russia’s Missing Peacemakers Why the Country’s Elites Are Struggling to Break With Putin

Tatiana Stanovaya

Even in a war that has gone poorly for Russia, the Russian Defense Ministry’s November 9 announcement of a full retreat from the city of Kherson marked a special kind of disaster. Kherson was the first major Ukrainian city seized by Moscow after the invasion, and it was one of the four regions that Russia had illegally annexed just five weeks earlier, following sham referendums. In October, the city’s occupying authorities had plastered its streets with billboards declaring that Russia would be there “forever,” and Moscow had told Russian citizens that the city’s occupation was one of the war’s major successes. But by the time of the annexation, Russian forces were already struggling to hold their lines in the face of continued Ukrainian advances. Eventually, Russian leaders were forced to withdraw and to shore up defenses around Crimea and in the east.

This embarrassing retreat—which follows Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive in Kharkiv province in September—has caused many Russian elites to question and challenge the invasion. People who opposed the war from the outset (but who stayed silent to stay safe) have been joined by many people who actively supported the war but are now convinced that the invasion has been mishandled from the start and privately want it to end. Some of them worry that Russian President Vladimir Putin is unfit to lead, prone to missteps, and overly emotional in his decision-making.

China’s Xi Stacks Government With Science and Tech Experts Amid Rivalry With U.S.

Karen Hao

HONG KONG—Chinese leader Xi Jinping has packed the top ranks of the Communist Party with a new generation of leaders who have experience in aerospace, artificial intelligence and other strategically important areas, as Beijing seeks to become a science and technology superpower that rivals the U.S.

The roster of officials with backgrounds in science and technology on the party’s 205-member Central Committee has rebounded to roughly the length it had during former leader Jiang Zemin’s first five-year term, beginning in 1992, when he kicked off a rapid acceleration of scientific research and innovation. The increase comes as Washington takes steps both to contain China’s tech sector and boost U.S. innovation.

Chinese officials with technical expertise occupy 81 seats, nearly 40% of the total, in the new Central Committee—the elite body that decides major national policies—according to data compiled by the Washington-based Brookings Institution think tank and shared exclusively with The Wall Street Journal. That compares with less than 18% in the previous Central Committee. The new one was announced last month during a twice-a-decade conclave in Beijing.

Kherson euphoria highlights the folly of a premature peace with Putin

Last week’s liberation of Kherson produced some of the most iconic scenes since the beginning of the Russian invasion. The arrival of Ukrainian troops in the city sparked wild celebrations from a civilian population brutalized by eight months of Russian occupation. “This is what liberation looks like. This is what liberation feels like,” commented CNN’s Nic Robertson in one of many memorable reports from the city. Sky News correspondent Alex Rossi described the atmosphere as “euphoric” as he was mobbed by joyous locals cheering Russia’s retreat.

Despite harsh conditions and a lack of basic amenities in Kherson, the party began almost as soon as news of the Russian military withdrawal was confirmed. Speaking to AFP, one Kherson resident summed up the mood in the liberated city. “We have no electricity, no water, no heating, no mobile or internet connection. But we have no Russians! I am extremely happy. We can survive anything but we are free.”

This footage should be compulsory viewing for anyone who still believes in the possibility of a negotiated settlement with Putin’s Russia. Despite overwhelming evidence of the Kremlin’s genocidal agenda in Ukraine, opinion pieces continue to appear with depressing regularity in the international media arguing that the time has come for Ukraine’s Western partners to pressure the country into peace talks.

FBI head: China has ‘stolen more’ US data ‘than every other nation combined’


FBI Director Christopher Wray said Tuesday at a House committee hearing that China has stolen more American data “than every other nation combined.”

“China’s vast hacking program is the world’s largest, and they have stolen more Americans’ personal and business data than every other nation combined,” Wray said at the House Homeland Security Committee’s annual worldwide threats hearing.

The director, who served as an assistant attorney general under former President George W. Bush, emphasized that the U.S. has a “national security concern” when it comes to China.

Wray referenced the prevalence of TikTok and its parent company ByteDance, based in China, as one major intelligence concern.

“They include the possibility that the Chinese government could use to control data collection on millions of users or control the recommendation algorithm, which could be used for influence operations if they so chose or to control software on millions of devices, which gives the opportunity to potentially tactically compromised personal devices,” Wray said of the problems posed by TikTok.

Egyptians: We Do Not Want the Islamists to Return to Power

Khaled Abu Toameh

Is the banned Muslim Brotherhood organization trying to return to power in Egypt?

Many Egyptians believe that the Muslim Brotherhood was behind calls to Egyptians to hold nationwide protests during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), which is now in progress at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh. The Islamists, they say, justified their call by arguing that the planned demonstrations were designed to protest human rights violations and bad economic conditions in Egypt.

Fortunately for the majority of the Egyptians, only a few people heeded the Muslim Brotherhood supporters' call to take to the streets on November 11. The Islamists, in other words, failed in their latest attempt to instigate unrest and violence in Egypt with the hope of returning to power.

The Muslim Brotherhood regime of former President Mohammed Morsi ended in 2013, when the Egyptian army stepped in to prevent the country from being engulfed in anarchy.

Asia must not become arena for ‘big power contest,’ says China’s Xi as APEC summit gets underway

Simone McCarthy

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has stressed the need to reject confrontation in Asia, warning against the risk of cold war tensions, as leaders gather for the last of three world summits hosted in the region this month.

Xi began the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit in Bangkok by staking out his wish for China to be viewed as a driver of regional unity in a written speech released ahead of Friday’s opening day – which also appeared to make veiled jabs at the United States.

The Asia-Pacific region is “no one’s backyard” and should not become “an arena for big power contest,” Xi said in the statement, in which he also decried “any attempt to politicize and weaponize economic and trade relations.”

The Russian-Turkish Bond to Harm the West

Burak Bekdil

If they had met as presidents of other countries, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin would probably have hated each other. Historically, Turkish Islamists have hated both Tsarist and Soviet Russia. Similarly, Russians have never been fond of the Turks. Today, however, Erdogan, with a foot in NATO, is exhibiting a pro-Russian tilt never seen before. What is the secret of this ostensible marriage?

Turkey has refused to join Western sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, thereby throwing Putin a lifeline. Turkey's skies remain open to Russian airlines and its doors remain open to hundreds of thousands of Russians and their money. Turkey's exports to Russia are surging. In July alone, exports to Russia shot up by a dizzying 75% year-on-year.

Russia's state-owned Rosatom, which is building Turkey's first nuclear power plant, had sent around $5 billion to its Turkish subsidiary, the first in a series of such transfers. Russian cash helped to plug the growing hole in Turkey's foreign currency reserves — and at a time when Erdogan needs foreign money to shore up the country's ailing economy before the presidential and parliamentary elections in June 2023.

How It All Fell Apart in Afghanistan

Jack Detsch and Robbie Gramer

Welcome back to Foreign Policy’s SitRep! How’s that U.S. pivot to the Indo-Pacific going, eh? The split screen from this week’s G-20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, says it all: While U.S. President Joe Biden and his top aides did a reassurance mission from their hotel room after a Ukrainian shootdown of a Russian missile killed two people in Poland, Indonesian President Joko Widodo killed time by giving reporters a personal tour of his mangrove garden.

We’ll be off next week for Thanksgiving but look forward to returning to your inboxes after the holiday.

Alright, here’s what’s on tap for the day: A watchdog calls out the United States for a nation-building failure of historic proportions in Afghanistan, the Poland missile crisis continues to make waves in Europe, and a new Republican speaker threatens to hold up Pentagon funding.