10 December 2022


India was the third-largest energy consumer in the world after China and the United States in 2021 (according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2022) and the second-most populous country, with 1.4 billion people.1 India’s energy needs continue to grow as a result of population growth and modernization.2

India’s real gross domestic product (GDP) had a negative growth of 6.6% in 2020, the first time since 1979 that India’s economy had negative growth.3 The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in India that began at the start of 2020 led the economy to contract.4 In 2021, the economy returned to its usual activity levels, and GDP grew by 8.9%.5

India’s government continues to face several challenges to meet the country’s growing energy demand, including securing affordable energy supplies and attracting investment for upstream projects and transmission infrastructure. The government has made considerable headway with energy reforms and continues to focus on greater energy security, infrastructure development, and market liberalization.

'Team Mysterious Bangladesh' Hackers Target Indian Education Entity

Alessandro Mascellino

A threat actor group named “Team Mysterious Bangladesh” has claimed to have compromised the Indian Central Board of Higher Education (CBHE) systems.

According to a new advisory by cybersecurity experts at CloudSEK, the hackers would have stolen personally identifiable information (PII), including names, Aadhaar numbers, Indian Financial System Codes (IFSC codes) and other details of numerous individuals.

“CloudSEK’s contextual AI digital risk platform [...] discovered a threat actor group named Team Mysterious Bangladesh who claimed to have compromised the CBHE Delhi, India,” the company wrote.

“The group mentioned leaking information about students from 2004 to 2022. The actor shared a snapshot of the data for a student.”

Access to the admin panel of the CBHE Delhi platform would enable any individual to see the results of all students from 2004 to 2022 and even delete or add records, CloudSEK explained.

China’s Communist ruler Xi not playing games with U.S.

Joseph Curl, David Keene

It’s become common to speak of the “U.S.-China rivalry” or the “U.S.-China competition” — phrases that suggest a game, something like the World Cup, with one nation winning today and another tomorrow.

Xi Jinping, the most powerful Chinese ruler since Mao Zedong, doesn’t see it that way. He believes that a Stalinist-Maoist “struggle” is underway — a struggle to determine whether the global democratic experiment is to survive or whether the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is to become the global hegemon.

To understand this, you needn’t read Mr. Xi’s mind — just his speeches and official communications.

Three eminent scholars Matt Pottinger (affiliated with FDD and the Hoover Institution), Matthew Johnson (also at Hoover) and David Feith (of the Center for a New American Security) have been doing that.

China’s Restive Middle Class Will Be Xi’s Greatest Test Yet

Howard W. French

In September 1966, just months after Mao Zedong had launched the decade of extraordinary violent political purges and upheaval that became known as China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, a lone college senior studying German at Beijing Foreign Studies University wrote to the country’s all-powerful leader deploring his new campaign of persecution of enemies real and imagined.

“The Cultural Revolution is no mass movement. It consists of a single man holding a gun to the heads of the people,” wrote Wang Rongfen, announcing her resignation in protest from the Communist Party’s Youth League, an almost unheard-of measure in her day. “As a member of the Communist Party, please think about what you are doing.”

Certain that her call would not be well received, Wang took one more step to amplify her dissent. She walked to a nearby pharmacy to purchase a potent insecticide and guzzled four bottles before lying down on the doorstep of the Soviet Embassy to await her death. The farewell note that she left in her pocket for the world to discover read, “Poor motherland, what have you become?”

China Debuts 30kw Vehicle-Mounted Laser Weapon


(Washington D.C.) The People’s Liberation Army is now firing a vehicle-mounted 30kw laser weapon as an air defense weapon to counter drones, incoming enemy missiles and low-flying aircraft, a military move bringing their ground force into a new era of lethality and attack flexibility.

The LW-30, recently unveiled at a Chinese air show, fires from a vehicle-integrated canister firing system at air targets while on the move. The advantages brought by laser weapons are both numerous and well known, as they are not only scalable for effect but also able to travel quietly at the speed of light to incinerate targets without generating large amounts of debris or fragmentation from a kinetic intercept. Lasers are also of course lower cost per shot, and technology in the realm of exportable mobile power small and compact enough to integrate into a vehicle and generate sufficient power continues to make exponential leaps forward.

These breakthroughs in the realm of expeditionary power are extremely significant, as an ability to build in enough transportable electricity sufficient to sustain high-powered lasers has indeed been a long standing challenge for weapons developers. A Chinese government-backed newspaper, called the Global Times, describes the Chinese weapon as having an efficient kill rate, meaning it can destroy multiple drone targets in a matter of seconds.
30kw Vehicle-Mounted Laser Weapon

When Mr. Xi comes to town

James M. Dorsey

Pomp and circumstance are important.

So are multiple agreements to be signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Saudi Arabia this week, his first venture beyond East and Central Asia in three years.

No doubt, Mr. Xi's reception will be on par with the welcoming of Donald J. Trump when he headed to Saudi Arabia in 2017 on his first overseas trip as US president. At the same time, it will contrast starkly with the more downbeat response to Joe Biden’s hat-in-hand pilgrimage to the kingdom in July.

Mr. Xi Jinping and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s timing is perfect.

The visit allows Gulf states, with Saudi Arabia in the lead, to further diversify their foreign relationships and hedge their bets as the world moves from a unipolar to a bipolar, if not multipolar, order.

Xi’s Shattered Illusion of Control

Orville Schell

It has been a long time since demonstrators filled the streets of Chinese cities crying out, “We want freedom!” and “The Chinese Communist Party should step down!” But the seemingly unthinkable has happened in recent days as an upwelling of protest erupted against Beijing’s draconian “zero COVID” policies and then morphed into a more general expression of opposition against the suffocating controls that the CCP has imposed on Chinese society.

Do these events threaten the reign of President Xi Jinping, who has just been anointed with a third term as general secretary of the party? Are they a historical tipping point? Or will they prove to be an epiphenomenon that the well-organized CCP will easily bring to heel with more repression? After all, in the wake of the far more tectonic 1989 demonstrations, and even the ensuing Beijing massacre around Tiananmen Square, Chinese leaders not only put the protest genie back in the bottle but also went on to initiate a period of impressive economic growth and stability.

Although the United States has no shortage of China experts, we have never accurately predicted moments of historical inflection in this “people’s republic.” Few of us foresaw Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms in the 1970s and 1980s, the mass demonstrations that led to the massacre in 1989, or Xi’s embrace of a neo-Maoist techno-autocracy over the last decade. But our failure to anticipate this most recent spark of dissent is perhaps more understandable; after all, as Xi’s one-party Leninist imperium has gathered momentum, most foreign journalists have been expelled from China. Compounding the problem, Chinese citizens themselves have also been cowed into silence. Without independent polling, a free press, fair elections, and academic freedom, and with Xi now exercising control over every organ through which public sentiment might find expression, it has become difficult for outsiders to gauge public sentiment there.

North Carolina attack underscores vulnerability of power grid


An attack on power substations in North Carolina is putting a spotlight on the physical vulnerability of the electric grid in the United States.

Law enforcement officials said that two power substations were damaged by gunfire on Sunday night in what they believe was an “intentional” attack on the power grid. The FBI has joined the investigation into the “the willful damage,” authorities said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, authorities had not named any suspects or detailed a motive. Utility company Duke Energy said Thursday that around 35,000 people remained without power, while electricity had been restored for about 10,000.

The company anticipates that “nearly all” customers would have their power back by Thursday.

The incident prompted some experts to renew calls for change to protect the grid.

Pentagon, Chinese analysts agree US can’t win in Taiwan Strait


China’s satellite coverage in the Western Pacific has doubled since 2018, the Pentagon reported last week in its annual assessment of the Chinese military. That gives China the ability to detect American surface ships with an array of sensors that can guide its 2,000 land-based missiles to moving targets, including US aircraft carriers.

The Defense Department’s November 29 report “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China” reflects a grimly realistic rethinking of China’s military capacity in its home theater.

China hawk Elbridge Colby, a prominent advocate of a Western Pacific military buildup to deny China access to its adjacent seas, tweeted on November 6, “Senior flag officers are saying we’re on a trajectory to get crushed in a war with China, which would likely be the most important war since WWII, God forbid.”

Lessons From the U.S. Civil War Show Why Ukraine Can't Win | Opinion


During the early years of America's Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln sought a limited conflict against people he still regarded as fellow countrymen and with whom he sought reconciliation. Only after three years of stalemate did he turn to "Unconditional Surrender Grant," who in turn unleashed General William Tecumseh Sherman to "make Georgia howl" and help bring the war to its decisively violent conclusion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin waited only six months before switching from a special military operation to full scale war against Ukraine. Putin's initial assault was limited to barely 150,000 troops. He expected a quick victory followed by negotiations on his principal concerns: Russian control of Crimea, Ukrainian neutrality, and autonomy for the Russian population in the Donbas, but he was wrong. Putin had not counted on Ukraine's stiff resistance or the West's massive military and economic intervention. Faced with a new situation, Putin changed his strategy. Now he is about to unleash his own General Sherman and make Ukraine howl.

Last month Putin gave General Sergey Surovikin overall command of Russia's war in the Ukraine. Surovikin comes from the technologically sophisticated Aerospace Forces, but has fought on the ground in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Syria where he is credited with saving the Assad regime. Surovikin has stated publicly that there will be no half measures in Ukraine. Instead, he has begun to methodically destroy Ukraine's infrastructure with precision missile attacks.

Perspective on Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has entered its tenth month. Reporting on the conflict understandably focuses on the day-to-day fighting and destruction, but it is important for Americans and U.S. policymakers to understand the larger issues raised by the war and the U.S. role in it. The following Defense Priorities analysis aims to improve understanding of these issues and what U.S. policy should prioritize as the war continues.


Ukraine Situation Report: Russia Ran Out Of Iranian Shahed-136 Drones Says Kyiv


As of Tuesday, Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones had not appeared over the skies of Ukraine since the middle of last month and the reason is that Russia likely ran out of them, according to the Ukrainian Air Force.

“It’s been three weeks” since Ukrainian air defense forces have seen “the loitering drones of the Shahed-type,” Yuri Ignat, spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, said during a press conference Tuesday at the Ukrainian Media Center. “There are different thoughts and factors which indicate probably that the first shipment received by the occupiers is over [and] they ran out of them.”

Russia initially ordered about 1,700 of the Shahed-136 drones, said Ignat, with only about 400 arriving in Russia so far. Of those, he said about 350 were shot down by Ukrainian air defense forces. Those that managed to make it to their targets caused tremendous damage and terrorized Ukrainian civilians.

Ukraine leader defiant as drone strikes hit Russia again

Jamey Keaten

KYIV, Ukraine — Drones struck inside Russia’s border with Ukraine Tuesday in the second day of attacks exposing the vulnerability of some of Moscow’s most important military sites, observers said.

Ukrainian officials did not formally confirm carrying out drone strikes inside Russia, and they have maintained ambiguity over previous high-profile attacks.

But Britain’s Defense Ministry said Russia was likely to consider the attacks on Russian bases more than 500 kilometers (300 miles) from the border with Ukraine as “some of the most strategically significant failures of force protection since its invasion of Ukraine.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russian authorities will “take the necessary measures” to enhance protection of key facilities. Russian bloggers who generally maintain contacts with officials in their country’s military criticized the lack of defensive measures.

In Ukraine, a new approach to modern conflict is emerging


People charge their phones, try to connect to the internet and make phone calls on central square in Kherson, Ukraine, on Nov. 17. Russian airstrikes targeted Ukraine’s energy facilities again Thursday as the first snow of the season fell in Kyiv, a harbinger of the hardship to come if Moscow’s missiles continue to take out power and gas plants as winter descends.

I recently participated in a series of high-level conversations about how we leverage technology for strategic advantage in the face of technology-enabled threats. The gatherings, hosted by the Munich Security Conference, follows a similar talk held in Munich in February, on the eve of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. These two conversations covered similar issues and were held less than a year apart, but the tenor and substance was dramatically different. That is because the war in Ukraine is changing how the world is responding to these threats — and Ukraine’s remarkable resilience has been both inspiring and instructive.

In February, as we met in Munich, Russian troops were massing on Ukraine’s borders. At the time, many predicted devastating Russian cyberattacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, attacks that would throw Ukraine into turmoil and accelerate what many anticipated would be their defeat. In the months since, the world has witnessed in horror Putin’s brutal invasion. But we’ve also witnessed how Ukraine has defied the skeptics, successfully defending against cyber-attacks to its critical infrastructure and making masterful use of technology in a broader way to gain the initiative.

Ukrainian special forces were in Russia during strike

Morgan Winsor,Emily Shapiro,Meredith Deliso,Nadine El-Bawab,Bill Hutchinson

More than six months after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion into neighboring Ukraine, the two countries are engaged in a struggle for control of areas throughout eastern and southern Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, whose forces began an offensive in August, has vowed to take back all Russian-occupied territory. But Putin in September announced a mobilization of reservists, which is expected to call up as many as 300,000 additional troops.

10 civilians killed in Russian air strike, Zelenskyy says

A Russian airstrike that struck Kurakhov, a city in Donetsk Oblast in southeastern Ukraine, has killed 10 people, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced on Wednesday.

Civilian areas such as a market, gas station, bus station and a residential building were among the targets that were struck, Zelenskyy said.

The Unavoidable Crash


NEW YORK – The world economy is lurching toward an unprecedented confluence of economic, financial, and debt crises, following the explosion of deficits, borrowing, and leverage in recent decades.

In the private sector, the mountain of debt includes that of households (such as mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, student loans, personal loans), businesses and corporations (bank loans, bond debt, and private debt), and the financial sector (liabilities of bank and nonbank institutions). In the public sector, it includes central, provincial, and local government bonds and other formal liabilities, as well as implicit debts such as unfunded liabilities from pay-as-you-go pension schemes and health-care systems – all of which will continue to grow as societies age.

Just looking at explicit debts, the figures are staggering. Globally, total private- and public-sector debt as a share of GDP rose from 200% in 1999 to 350% in 2021. The ratio is now 420% across advanced economies, and 330% in China. In the United States, it is 420%, which is higher than during the Great Depression and after World War II.

The Islamic World’s Uyghur Silence

Charlotte Lawson

ISTANBUL—Uyghur exiles have hoped for solidarity from their Muslim brothers and sisters as they’ve protested persecution by the Chinese government. In Istanbul last week, they instead faced police decked out in riot gear and threats of deportation.

The clash epitomized the growing sense of abandonment Uyghurs feel from Muslim-led countries. For years their pleas for help from the Islamic world in the face of China’s long oppression and recent genocide in Xinjiang have largely gone unanswered. Turkey, which hosts one of the largest Uyghur populations outside of China—many of them refugees—has historically been one of the diaspora’s most steady allies. But its friendship has been inconsistent.

Protesters arrived outside the Chinese consulate in Istanbul at 5 a.m. last Wednesday, braving the winter chill to draw attention to an ongoing genocide in Xinjiang (also known as East Turkestan to Uyghurs) and the recent deadly fire in its provincial capital of Urumqi. Police soon worked to clear demonstrators from the area, threatening those who refused to comply with deportation—particularly dangerous for refugees fleeing genocide—and escorting stragglers away from the consulate one-by-one. Still, some protesters, including one woman who said she hasn’t heard from her three children in Xinjiang for more than six years, sought to break through the police barricades.

Putin’s Warriors: How the Kremlin Has Co-opted Its Critics and Militarized the Home Front

Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan

In late September, following devastating Russian setbacks in Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s controversial “partial mobilization” of the Russian population, the Kremlin faced an explosion of popular discontent on social media. Notably, some of the most vocal criticism came from the government’s core supporters: ultranationalists and military hard-liners who felt that Russia was not fighting as well as it should. By the beginning of October, the recriminations were coming close to Putin’s own circle, with Ramzan Kadyrov, the notoriously brutal head of Chechnya, issuing a long diatribe on Telegram, the messaging app. According to Kadyrov, a Russian general who had lost a crucial town in Donetsk was “being shielded from above by the leadership in the General Staff.” Other leading figures close to Putin—including Yevgeny Prigozhin, who runs Wagner Group, the military contractor with close ties to the Kremlin—echoed similar complaints.

But just as the situation appeared to be getting out of control, the criticisms died down. By November, most of the hard-liners had been brought in line and were no longer assailing Russia’s war strategy. Meanwhile, the military itself has quietly been handed control over many parts of the Russian economy, giving the government and the Ministry of Defense broad new powers, even in the private sector. Taken together, these developments highlight the growing influence of the military, and those close to it, in the way that Putin wields power at home. Rather than making the regime more vulnerable, as some Western observers have suggested, the setbacks in the war in Ukraine over the past few months have offered Putin an opportunity to expand his hold over Russian society, and even over his military critics.

Britain must get real about its place in the world

John Kampfner

When two dozen experts from around the world gathered at a secluded venue outside London this autumn my job was to do what Brits are traditionally bad at doing: to listen. Coinciding with the dying days of Liz Truss’s short-lived premiership, the timing was hardly propitious. I gave them 15 minutes to guffaw.

The discussions ranged from security to science to ‘soft power’ and beyond. The participants included former ministers from Latin America, Hong Kong dissidents, Europeans of various stripes, an Indian banker, younger contributions from Jamaica and Saudi Arabia, alongside policymakers and commentators from the United States and France. In all, 18 countries were represented.

This moment formed part of the research by Chatham House’s new UK in the World Initiative. The project’s aim is to imagine Britain’s role in the world in 2030 – far enough in the future for any major shift in direction to be discerned, yet not so far to be theoretical. By that point the next government will have served a full five-year term and had the chance to leave its mark. Encapsulated in one sentence, the conclusion of this group would be roughly this: if Britain looks at itself in the mirror, modernizes and changes some of its behaviours, it can still play a significant role in the world.

What Ukraine’s Drone Strike Deep in Russian Territory Means


Ukraine’s drone strikes on two air bases deep inside Russia mark a new chapter in this war, but their significance—whether they escalate the conflict or alter the war’s course in some other way—is unclear. Much depends on Moscow’s reaction, and Kyiv’s response to that, in the next several days.

For now, it’s worth probing some possibilities, though first let’s lay out the implications of these strikes, regardless of their consequences.

The strikes followed several days of massive Russian air and missile attacks on Ukrainian civilian targets, mainly power plants, shutting off heat and electricity as Ukraine’s winter is getting brutal. The Russians launched those attacks from the airfields that the Ukrainians subsequently hit.

In the war up till now, Russia has enjoyed an asymmetric advantage: It has hit Ukrainian targets with planes and missiles launched from Russia, but Ukraine hasn’t fired back, fearing that doing so—that hitting targets inside Russia—would escalate the conflict. With Monday’s drone strikes, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sent Russian President Vladimir Putin a clear message: From this point on, if you hit us from Russia, I will hit you from Ukraine.

Germany confronts a broken business model

Guy Chazan and Patricia Nilsson

Hives of activity don’t get bigger — and busier — than BASF’s headquarters in Ludwigshafen. The size of a small town, it’s the largest integrated chemical complex in the world, with one of Europe’s biggest wastewater treatment plants, its own hospital and fire brigade.

The lifeblood of Ludwigshafen is natural gas. It is the substance that courses through its dense network of pipes, the fuel for its power plants, the feedstock for its chemical processes. And Russia’s war in Ukraine has knocked out its main supplier.

BASF first responded to the soaring price of gas by shutting down its ammonia plant and reducing the run rate of its acetylene facility, hobbling production of two chemical building blocks used to make a host of different products that are vital to modern industrial value chains.

“High natural gas prices have created a situation where importing ammonia from overseas was cheaper than manufacturing it ourselves,” says Uwe Liebelt, head of BASF’s European sites.

Ukraine is the victim. Negotiations should be Kyiv’s decision

Steven Pifer

Writing in The Washington Post on December 2, Robert Wright called on the Biden administration to press Ukraine to negotiate a settlement to the war Russia unleashed on it. That adds to a spate of articles in recent weeks urging Washington to prod Kyiv toward the negotiating table or to set a diplomatic process for settling the conflict.

Negotiations could well become necessary at some point. However, the questions of if — and when — to engage should rest with the Ukrainian government.

In February, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a multi-pronged invasion of Ukraine. It has run into difficult straits. The Russians retreated from Kyiv in March. More recently, Ukrainian counteroffensives drove the Russians out of Kharkiv oblast (region) and liberated Kherson city, pushing the Russians back to the east side of the Dnipro River.

As Kyiv’s military successes grew, commentators began calling for Washington to “bring Russia and Ukraine” to the negotiating table, to “lay the groundwork” for talks, and to “begin discussions” on eventual negotiations. The authors offer various reasons for doing so: that Russia might escalate; that the costs of supporting Kyiv are too high; that Ukrainian victories might make negotiations more difficult; that the Russian military might recover its footing and win; that the war could settle into a drawn-out stalemate; and that, absent a firm settlement, Ukraine would face the threat of reinvasion.

Explosions at Russian Air Bases May Change Several Nations’ Calculations


Explosions at the Dyagilevo and Engels airbases deep within Russia suggest that Ukraine can strike the very outskirts of Moscow—and, perhaps, that U.S. officials may need to revisit their rationale for withholding various long-range weapons.

On Monday evening, the Russian Ministry of Defense said modified versions of the Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-141 Strizh reconnaissance drones had struck air bases at Engels, 372 miles from Ukrainian-controlled territory, and at Dyagilevo, 122 miles southeast of Moscow. It blamed the strikes on “the Kyiv regime.”

The UK Defence Ministry, citing “multiple open sources,” said at least two Russian Tu-95 Bear Russian bombers had been damaged by an exploding fuel tank at Dyagilyaevo, a home base for heavy bombers.

“The causes of the explosions have not been confirmed,” the MoD tweeted. “However, if Russia assesses the incidents were deliberate attacks, it will probably consider them as some of the most strategically significant failures of force protection since its invasion of Ukraine.”

Japan’s Ruling Coalition Approves Counterstrike Capability

Mina Pollmann

On December 2, Japan’s ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior partner, the Komeito, approved Japan possessing the capability to strike enemy bases that are preparing to attack. This change will be reflected in the three defense documents that are expected at the end of this year: the National Security Strategy, the National Defense Program Guidelines, and the Mid-Term Defense Program.

Though there had been questions about how the pacifist Komeito would respond to the suggestion that Japan acquire counterstrike capabilities, it ultimately did not pose much of a roadblock. North Korea’s repeated missile launches, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and increased tension over Taiwan appear to have been sufficiently dramatic to convince the Komeito that the changes were necessary for Japan’s defense.

Furthermore, Komeito’s concerns about whether a counterstrike before Japan was attacked was possible without it being confused for an illegal, preemptive attack were assuaged with the agreement that the same conditions requiring Diet approval for the use of force for self-defense would also be applied to counterstrikes. The Diet would approve the use of force for self-defense only when an armed attack threatened Japan’s survival, there are no other appropriate means to repel the attack, and the use of force will be kept to the minimum necessary.

Ukraine appears to expose Russian air defence gaps with long-range strikes

Pavel Polityuk and Sergiy Chalyi

KYIV/NOVOSOFIIVKA, Ukraine, Dec 6 (Reuters) - A third Russian airfield was set ablaze on Tuesday by a drone strike, a day after Ukraine demonstrated an apparent new ability to penetrate hundreds of kilometres into Russian air space with attacks on two bases.

Officials in the Russian city of Kursk, around 90 km (60 miles) north of the Ukraine border, released pictures of black smoke above an airfield in Tuesday's early hours after the latest strike. The governor said an oil storage tank had gone up in flames, but there were no casualties.

On Monday, Russia said it had been hit hundreds of kilometres from Ukraine by what it said were Soviet-era drones - at Engels air base, home to Russia's strategic bomber fleet, and in Ryazan, a few hours' drive from Moscow.

Ukraine did not directly claim responsibility for the strikes, but nonetheless celebrated them.

Opinion: A week in the life of Vladimir Putin

David Ignatius

All politics is local, as the saying goes, and that applies even to Russian President Vladimir Putin. That truth becomes evident from a close look at Putin’s publicly available calendar, which offers fascinating insight into a leader who oversees virtually every aspect of Russian life.

Putin’s public schedule wraps the brutal reality of his war in Ukraine in the photo opportunities of a conventional, media-savvy, Western leader — shaking hands, getting briefings, meeting farmers, tax collectors and diplomats. This presentation for his domestic audience gives no hint that outside Russia he is seen as an unchecked autocrat whose invasion has displaced millions and led to the deaths or injury of tens of thousands of Ukrainians and Russians.

Putin is often portrayed in the Western media as something of a cartoon villain. But he’s also a skillful politician who has used the state-run media, a pliant bureaucracy and brutal repression to dominate Russian politics so totally that he appears to have no significant opposition. For many in the West, he’s a figure of derision, even hatred. But at home, he retains a bedrock of popular support, even amid the Ukraine fiasco.

TikTok National-Security Deal Faces More Delays as Worry Grows Over Risks

John D. McKinnon, Aruna Viswanatha and Stu Woo

WASHINGTON—A potential deal between the Biden administration and TikTok—once expected around year-end—has run into more delays, according to people familiar with the situation, as worry grows over national-security concerns that U.S. officials say the popular app poses.

The review has dragged on amid a range of concerns, including how TikTok might share information related to the algorithm it uses to determine what videos to show users, and the level of trust Washington would need to place in the company, these people said. U.S. officials haven’t returned to TikTok with additional demands to address the recent concerns, some of the people said, leaving the path forward unclear.

A TikTok spokeswoman said the company is looking forward to a “timely conclusion to our agreement with the U.S. government, much of which we have already started implementing in earnest, so that we can put these concerns to rest.” She said the government hasn’t shared any remaining, unmet concerns with the company.

A Plea: The Case for Digital Environmentalism

Andrew Burt, Daniel E. Geer, Jr.

Digital technology, the defining innovation of the last half century, has deep and unaddressed insecurities at its core. This paper, authored by two prominent technologists and strategic thinkers, argues that a new form of “digital environmentalism”—marked by a re-evaluation of our relationship to technology, growth, and innovation—is the only way to fix such insecurities, and to bring meaningful change to the digital world.

The Miniaturization of Force

Mike Martin

Not a single war goes by without commentators and pundits proclaiming that conflict has now changed forever. The latest outbreak is something different. It heralds a new style of warfare. We must reshape how we conduct the business of warfighting.

Often, these are observations stemming from a recognition of new technologies on the battlefield. Humans stopped throwing rocks and moved onto spears. The invention of torpedo-armed submarines created the need for new thinking about shipping. Ditto aircraft, satellites, and now drones: all have made their mark.

These changes can be highly significant — witness the almost-complete destruction of Armenian tank brigades by Azeri drones in their 2020 war over Nagorno-Karabakh. Sometimes, these new technologies burst into public and media consciousness, taking everyone by surprise except military insiders and thinkers. Arguments are made, new funds are allocated, and militaries adapt as fast as they can. It’s probably safe to say that Armenia will not consider any new conflict before it has acquired better anti-drone defenses, for example.

12 Psychological Warfare Strategies Used Throughout History

Owen Rust

In warfare, psychological warfare refers to tactics intended to reduce an opponent’s morale and will to fight. This can include tactics related to fear and intimidation, deception, and surprise. Militaries have long used psychological warfare to gain an advantage over opponents, allowing them to accomplish more without risking their soldiers’ lives or valuable armaments. Psychological warfare can also be used during peacetime to intimidate rivals into delaying or abandoning military intervention. Here we will look at both the ancient and modern eras of psychological warfare and how various militaries gained powerful advantages over opponents, even when they were militarily weaker. Today, psychological warfare, or ‘psyops’ is a common tool of modern military planning.

Ancient Psyops 1: War Elephants