11 December 2022

Report: Killing of Pakistani Journalist in Kenya ‘Planned’

Munir Ahmed

The killing in Kenya of an outspoken Pakistani journalist was a “planned assassination,” a team of Pakistani investigators said in a report released Wednesday, weeks after the mysterious slaying triggered condemnations and calls for an independent probe.

Meanwhile, Islamabad police charged two Pakistani businessmen living in Kenya who had hosted Arshad Sharif in the African country with involvement in his killing. The report offered no evidence for its claims and there was no immediate comment from Kenya.

The 50-year-old Sharif was hiding in Kenya to avoid arrest at home on charges of maligning Pakistan’s national institutions — a phrase used for critics of the powerful military, which has ruled Pakistan for half of its 75-year history.

He was killed on October 23, when the car he was in sped up and drove through a checkpoint outside the Kenyan capital and police opened fire. Nairobi police later expressed regret over the incident, saying it was a case of “mistaken identity” during a search for a similar car involved in a child abduction case.

Explaining the Unthinkable: How the Protest Movement in China Took Place

Xiaoyu Lu

Weeks after nationwide protests against the zero COVID policy, participants and policymakers in China are still trying to figure out exactly what happened. Before November 26, 2022, the prospect of a broad protest movement in China against a central government policy was almost unthinkable. Yet, waves of protests across cities like Urumqi, Beijing, Shanghai, and Wuhan and across more than 100 Chinese universities, provoked by a deadly fire incident in Xinjiang and symbolized by the holding of blank white papers, sent a strong message of “enough is enough” to the government. The protests reflected the public fatigue and outrage against the stringent COVID-19 policy that has restricted the movements of people in the past three years.

China’s government quickly rolled out relaxed rules on lockdowns and travels, highlighted by reports on Vice Premier Sun Chunlan’s meeting with health experts and President Xi Jinping’s remarks to visiting European officials. The change appeared to demonstrate that the government felt pressure to respond to the unprecedented protests. Yet the prevailing feeling, strangely enough, is neither a celebratory mood extolling the social movement and the space it opened up, nor a sentiment of fear worrying about further crackdowns and tighter controls the regime can impose. Instead, the public is largely in a state of puzzlement: What does this movement mean? How did it happen? And is it over?

China’s Information Problems Are Only Getting Worse

Eduardo Jaramillo

Most observers of the Chinese Communist Party’s recent 20th National Congress agreed on at least one top takeaway: General Secretary Xi Jinping’s power is at an all-time high, allowing him to dominate personnel appointments in the top leadership. Xi ignored decades-old precedents on retirement norms within the party, allowing two of his political allies, Zhang Youxia (72) and Wang Yi (69), to stay on in top party posts past the generally accepted retirement age of 68. He forced top officials associated with rival factions, including Wang Yang and Li Keqiang, both 67, into early retirement, bringing loyal allies Li Xi, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang, and Li Qiang into the top leadership body, the Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC). While analysts quibble over factional alignments, most agree Xi’s supporters also dominate the broader 24-member Politburo.

Xi’s appointment of proteges and supporters to key positions risks a climate of sycophancy and rigid unanimity in the ranks of China’s top leaders. In the past many of the top Chinese policymakers who were aligned with Xi, such as Li Zhanshu and Han Zheng, had risen through the ranks on their own merits and efforts. The current leadership make-up is filled with officials who owe much of their success directly to Xi, which may create a culture in which self-censorship and acquiescence to Xi’s vision permeate decision-making.

Pentagon Splits $9B Cloud Effort Among Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Oracle


The Pentagon on Wednesday announced the awardees of the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability—or JWCC—contract, with Amazon Web Services, Google, Microsoft and Oracle each receiving an award.

Through the contract, which has a $9 billion ceiling, the Pentagon aims to bring enterprisewide cloud computing capabilities to the Defense Department across all domains and classification levels, with the four companies competing for individual task orders.

Last year, the Defense Department had named the four companies as contenders for the multi-cloud, multi-vendor contract.

“The purpose of this contract is to provide the Department of Defense with enterprise-wide, globally available cloud services across all security domains and classification levels, from the strategic level to the tactical edge,” the Defense Department said in a Wednesday announcement.

US, U.K. Military Chiefs Discuss Ukraine, China

Jim Garamone

The vicious Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, far from breaking the back of Ukrainian civilians, have increased resistance to Vladimir Putin’s invasion, senior U.S. and British military leaders said yesterday.

Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Royal Navy Adm. Sir Tony Radakin, the United Kingdom’s chief of defense staff, said the Russian leader has continued to make calamitous mistakes in Russia’s war on Ukraine. The two men spoke during the Wall Street Journal’s Chief Executive Officer Council meeting in Washington, D.C.

The two men also discussed Chinese challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Russian war on Ukraine has now lasted 10 months and Putin has failed across the board, Milley said. The Ukrainians defeated the initial attack on Kyiv and then more than held their own in the battles in the eastern part of the nation. Ukrainian forces launched a counterattack in Kharkiv that drove the Russians back from the second-largest city in the country and then pushed the Russians out of the strategic city of Kherson, Milley said.

Google Cloud Gets DOD's Blessing. But Will It Win Contracts?


Google is one step closer to being a cloud provider contender for the Defense Department.

The Pentagon’s IT agency granted the tech giant provisional authority to host sensitive, unclassified information from national security systems—a key requirement for the Defense Department’s data-sharing plans with Joint All Domain Command and Control, or JADC2.

Google cloud services span infrastructure, platform, and software “capabilities across public and hybrid cloud environments, supporting up to [Impact Level 5] data for DOD and federal communities,” according to the Defense Information Systems Agency’s blog post announcing the decision.

The Defense Department has six security levels designated for cloud providers, with Impact Level 6 reserved for classified data.

“This authorization will provide the warfighter another safe, secure cloud-hosting capability to store and process mission-critical information,” Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner, DISA’s director and commander of the Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network, said in the blog post.

Biden Must Act to Prevent a Turkish Attack on US Partners in Northern Syria

Sinan Ciddi
Source Link

Following a barrage of air strikes against Kurdish targets in northern Syria, the Turkish government has vowed to follow up with a ground campaign against the Syrian-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which make up the bulk of the U.S.-aligned Syrian Defense Forces (SDF). Such a move could not only destabilize the already troubled region but also result in SDF forces suspending their fight against the remnants of the Islamic State in order to repel the Turkish attack.

In the aftermath of a deadly terrorist attack in Istanbul, which left six dead and over 80 injured on November 13, Ankara blamed the YPG, an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which both the United States and Turkey consider to be a terrorist organization. Ankara claims the alleged bomber, Alham Albashir, is a card-carrying member of the YPG. While maintaining close relations with the PKK, the YPG has been a staunch ally in the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State, and there have been no documented YPG attacks inside Turkey.

Although the PKK and YPG have strenuously denied any involvement in the Istanbul attack, Ankara swiftly moved to carry out bombing raids and drone strikes in northern Syria, resulting in numerous civilian casualties. Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin has said that Ankara’s ground campaign could come “tomorrow, next week or anytime.” Blaming the YPG could increase nationalist support for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his bid for a third term.

Germany and nuclear energy: towards a necessary readjustment?

Annabelle Livet
Source Link

The war in Ukraine is shaking Europe in many ways. Germany, like its eastern neighbors, is experiencing the direct consequences of this conflict both in its industry and in the supply of gas, which is essential to it. As a country with relatively few energy resources on its soil – with the exception of coal – but with significant needs, especially for its industry (automo-tive, mechanical, electronic, chemical, etc.), Germany is very dependent on energy imports. The primary production of gross energy on its territory is composed of coal (about 28 %), nuclear power (12 %) and now renewable energies (40 %), particularly via wind power . Most of this domestic production is used to generate electricity, thus covering just over half of its final consumption. For the rest, energy is imported from various parts of the world (based on 2021: from France for electricity and from Russia for natural gas, coal and oil). In 2022, due to the geopolitical circumstances in Ukraine, the German government is confront-ed with the urgent need to reduce or even replace the country’s heavy dependence on Rus-sian gas to meet the energy needs of households and industry. At the same time, Germany is faced with the deadline for phasing out nuclear power by the end of this year . This deci-sion to phase out nuclear power has been accompanied by an anti-nuclear policy on the in-ternational stage, particularly in Europe, as evidenced by attempts to veto all European pro-jects that include nuclear power. The tense debate on the inclusion of nuclear energy in the European taxonomy as a “green” energy source is another significant example . While the European Commission and the International Energy Agency (IEA) call for maximum diversi-fication of energy sources in order to address the dependence problem, Germany is facing an ideological paradox on the role of nuclear power in managing the current energy security crisis.

Between enhanced commitment and structural opposition: nuclear deterrence in light of the war in Ukraine

Emmanuelle Maitre


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 brought the nuclear deterrence issue to the forefront. The nuclear dimensions of the events that have taken place since February 24 are of different types . In particular, Russian leaders have made many references to their nuclear arsenal, intended to be used not only as a deterrent but also as a means of coercion. The concept of “sanctuarization” of Russia’s territory under the nuclear umbrella has also been used to describe the policy conducted by Moscow.

Several phenomena can be observed in this context. Firstly, nuclear deterrence as a security doctrine is perceived with increased interest in regions where countries have nuclear weapons. But this heightened attention is not new. The 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia considerably altered the analyses that had prevailed in the previous decade and which appeared to doubt that nuclear deterrence was an appropriate response to the security issues of the time (terrorism, proliferation, and regional crises).

In Western countries, defense strategy documents are underlining again that strategic competition is back and the need to rely on nuclear deterrence to avoid major armed conflicts. And this is reflected in both doctrines and acquisition programmes.

Go Slow on Crimea

Liana Fix and Michael Kimmage

Ukraine’s liberation of the city of Kherson at the beginning of November was more than just a dramatic military victory. In its battlefield win, Ukraine called Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bluff. Just two months earlier, Putin had publicly declared Kherson and other Ukrainian territories to be a part of Russia, implicitly placing them under Russia’s nuclear protection. Putin had hoped that the fear of nuclear attack would compel Ukraine to tread lightly and make its supporters back off. His plan did not work.

Kherson is unlikely to be the end of Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive. The greatest prize lies farther to the south: the Crimean Peninsula, where the war began in 2014. A Ukrainian deputy defense minister has declared that the country’s military could enter “Crimea by the end of December.” Such remarks may be subterfuge intended to frighten Russia. Or they may be serious. With the liberation of Kherson, Crimea has certainly fallen within Ukraine’s sights. Russia may well be dug in around Crimea, but if the war has demonstrated anything so far it is that Russia can lose territory, and lose it quickly. The battle of Crimea is certainly possible.

Peace Accords

George Friedman

Russia has accepted Washington’s invitation to engage in peace talks over the war in Ukraine. Both, of course, have reservations. Russia’s is that it needs to continue to hold territory in Ukraine, America’s is that it needs to make sure Russia surrenders its territory in Ukraine.

It would seem, then, that peace is unlikely, and that the talks are therefore useless to begin with. But that is not the case. Any bargain over a serious matter starts first with a gut check – an attempt to see how deeply the other side is committed. Bargaining begins with each side making demands that are so unacceptable that they anger the other party. It’s a position that makes a deal impossible. Both sides know as much and understand well that their own positions are going to be rejected. More important is how they are rejected. If the response by either side is “Your proposal means that there can never be peace, and our intelligence has compromising pictures of your partner,” then that’s instructive. Personalizing the offer with vile insinuations provides excellent guidance, and will likely receive a reply of massive air attacks.

In this case, the United States offered to negotiate without mentioning its core demand: that Russia withdraw. Moscow replied by openly stating that Russia is prepared to withdraw from all of Ukraine save two important areas. The Americans tried to imply that Russia’s “withdrawal” is neither a withdrawal nor in the forefront. Russia’s response was that a complete withdrawal is a nonstarter. But since two areas were mentioned, one close to Russia, another in south Ukraine, both are extremely difficult for the U.S. to cede because of the political consequences.

The West Asia Quad Continues to Gain Momentum

Husain Haqqani and Aparna Pande

The recent meeting between the United Arab Emirates’ Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar in New Delhi was a reminder not just of the close bonds between India and the UAE but a demonstration of how far the I2U2 grouping – comprising India, Israel, the UAE, and the United States – has come in one year.

What analysts have referred to as the “West Asia Quad” was launched in October 2021 with much less fanfare than what accompanied the Indo-Pacific Quad – a grouping of Australia, Japan, India, and the United States. Within six months, however, the new grouping was dubbed I2U2 (for Israel and India, and U.S. and UAE) and had given rise to a free trade agreement between India and the UAE. Multiple cooperative arrangements among the group’s countries followed.

I2U2 might be one of the most robust “minilateral” groupings on the world stage. Minilaterals are partnerships between like-minded nations, which are currently proving to be more effective in international diplomacy than much larger multilateral arrangements.

Digitalization Advances Financial Inclusion For Women And Micro Business Owners But More Is Needed

By Eurasia Review

The World Economic Forum launched today the ASEAN Digital Generation Report 2022, the sixth edition of the report since 2017. This year’s report examines digital financial services, gaps in access and where businesses, governments and civil society organizations need to improve financial inclusion.

The report builds on insights from a survey of more than 90,000 respondents from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. Some 70% of respondents were aged between 16 and 35, 52% were women, and a third (27,000) were micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

Produced in collaboration with Sea Limited, a global consumer internet company founded in Singapore, the report indicates that usage of digital financial services is increasing across the region. Digital payment apps were most widely used after social media, with 84% of survey respondents having used digital payments. Respondents stressed the importance of better access to financial services for daily personal and business needs, from cash flows and savings to a safety net for business expansion.

Digitalization offers the potential to improve access to finance, promoting inclusivity for underserved groups such as women, rural dwellers and micro business entrepreneurs. Accessing digital financial services has become common practice among the majority of surveyed rural dwellers. MSMEs, particularly micro businesses, are getting more loans from fintech, as well as complementing loans from banks. In addition, one woman in five respondents who needed loans borrowed through fintech and online services, making them an important source of formal borrowing.
Access to finance remains an issue

Fallout Of The Russia-West Economic War Of Attrition For Pakistan – OpEd

Sabina Babar

Renowned historian Adam Tooze has warned that the world faces a ‘Poly-Crisis’ — a perfect storm of impending global financial and socioeconomic crises. The once-comprehensible map of the world order has turned into a tangled mess, giving rise to a series of economic challenges. The global economy was already under stress due to COVID-19, and the Russia-West economic war has further exacerbated the existing situation. The conflict is not just an indirect military engagement, but also an economic war of attrition on a scale that was unthinkable a year ago and unprecedented in its far-reaching impact on the financial stability of a deeply inter-connected world.

Since the outset of the Russia-Ukraine conflict — the Western world, led by the US — has wielded sanctions as an economic weapon against Russia by choosing an approach of ‘supply-side damage’ to impact the Russian economy while failing to adequately plan for the inevitable consequences of such a strategy for the rest of the world, including itself. Europe is paying a heavy price, primarily in the form of surging energy prices along with rising interest rates in response to inflationary pressure. According to the European Energy Council Report, the Ukrainian conflict would reduce global productivity by about US $1 trillion this year, with a 2.8% growth in the world economy rather than the previously forecast 3.9%. The current trajectory of the war is heading into what appears to be a longstanding economic war of attrition between Russia and the West. Russia’s announcement of the suspension of the gas supply for an indefinite period created a wave of concern in Europe as it became impossible to replace a dependency of this magnitude on such short notice. The G20 countries also saw a decline in their aggregate gross domestic product. According to the European Energy Council Meeting in November, the rise in gas and electricity prices has put pressure on the EU economy, affecting the competitiveness of European enterprises and jeopardizing EU cohesion.

Iran Energy Profile: Holds Some Of World’s Largest Deposits Of Proved Oil And Natural Gas Reserves

Iran was the fifth-largest crude oil producer in OPEC in 2021 and the third-largest natural gas producer in the world in 2020.1 It holds some of the world’s largest deposits of proved oil and natural gas reserves, ranking as the world’s third-largest oil and second-largest natural gas reserve holder in 2021. At the end of 2021, Iran accounted for 24% of oil reserves in the Middle East and 12% in the world.2 Despite its abundant reserves, Iran’s crude oil production has fallen since 2017 because the oil sector has been subject to underinvestment and international sanctions for several years.

Although Iran is a member of OPEC, it is exempt from the production cuts under the OPEC+ agreement because its crude oil production is constrained as a result of sanctions. Iran’s crude oil production reached a 30-year low in 2020 as a result of these sanctions and the economic impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Output rose slightly in 2021 because global oil demand increased. Although sanctions on its oil exports remained in place, Iran shipped more crude oil, primarily to China, in 2021.3 If sanctions were lifted, Iran’s crude oil production could return to full capacity, which EIA assesses at 3.7 million barrels per day (b/d). Indirect negotiations related to Iran’s nuclear program between the United States and Iran began in April 2021 and are ongoing as of September 2022.4

The OSCE in Agony (Part One)

Vladimir Socor

Russia’s devastating invasion of Ukraine this year is not, for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), a dramatic watershed or existential crossroads as it has been made out to be. The OSCE has all along been mired in a deep crisis inherent to this organization’s nature. It is an institutionalized form of Western unrequited hopes about Russia dating back to the 1990s.

Moscow’s current war in Ukraine—as part of its overall war against the West, by Russia’s own description—has, however, turned the OSCE’s crisis into sheer agony. At the organization’s year-end ministerial conference in Poland on December 1 and 2, most participating states had to face up to the possibility that the OSCE had little justification to survive in its existing form. Warsaw’s chairing of the organization for the current year has helped convey that realization.

Russia has largely evicted the OSCE from conflict theaters in Europe’s East, the organization’s area of responsibility as a presumed security actor. The OSCE has been losing its field missions there one after another, culminating with the loss of its missions in Ukraine this year, by dint of Russia‘s veto right (euphemistically referenced as the “consensus rule”).

U.S. intel chief says Russia is using up ammunition in Ukraine faster than it can replace it

Dan De Luce

Russian forces in Ukraine are burning through ammunition faster than the country’s defense industry can replace it, U.S. National Intelligence Director Avril Haines said Saturday.

Russia is using up ammunition “quite quickly,” prompting Moscow to look to other countries for help, including North Korea, Haines told NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell at a panel at the Reagan Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California.

Asked how fast Russia was using up ammunition, Haines said: “I don’t think I can give you precise numbers in this forum. But quite quickly. I mean, it’s really pretty extraordinary.”

She added: “And our own sense is that they are not capable of indigenously producing what they are expending at this stage.

So that is going to be a challenge.”

'Insane' photo shows huge pile of used Russian rockets in Ukraine

Emily Cleary

A picture has emerged showing the scale of the recent bombardment on Ukraine wrought by Putin's forces.

Retired US Army major John Spencer posted what he described as the "insane" photo showing two police officers looking at a fragment pile of Russian rockets that hit Ukraine's second largest city of Kharkiv.

Considered an expert on urban warfare, Spencer has been outspoken on his opinion that the US should send more weapons to Ukraine to help the country defend invasion by the Russians.

On Monday he wrote: "I still strongly believe the U.S. should provide Ukraine [with] ATACMS, Grey Eagle, Patriot missile systems, and more.

The semiconductor industry and the China challenge


Every nation-state faces a fundamental choice: With whom will we engage in trade?

What goods and services will we sell, and to whom? What will we buy, and from whom? For authoritarian regimes, where the state subsumes commercial activities, the answer is simple: Only transactions that enhance the power of the state are permitted.

While this principle may be suspended temporarily (for example the New Economic Policy in Russia, or the temporary Chinese market reforms of the Deng-Jiang-Hu era), or may be incompetently implemented, authoritarian regimes exercise full control over trade, in order to enhance state power.

For commercial republics, by contrast, these choices present thorny dilemmas; commercial republics generate massive wealth from free trade. As a result, it is often difficult to differentiate between commercial and national interests; more trade generates more wealth, which in turn generates more power and security.

China lends billions to poor countries. Is that a burden ... or a blessing?


China's New Silk Road project is lending out billions to countries in Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa to build and upgrade railways, ports, pipelines, power grids and highways. Above: A Kenya Railways train pulls shipping containers as it departs from the Mombasa port station.Luis Tato/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Chinese leaders have often boasted about their country's "miracle" progress in alleviating poverty and indicated their willingness to share their expertise with other nations.

Take its "Belt and Road Initiative," also known as the New Silk Road. China has spent nearly one trillion dollars in the last decade building highways, railways, ports and energy plants from east Asia to Europe in a bid to boost global trade.

But development experts who monitor such programs have long said that there's a catch – that China burdens countries with unsustainable debt as it asks for repayment and that it leaves human rights abuses in its wake.

‘No Dumb Questions’: Why has the war in Ukraine lasted so long?

Joshua Keating, Tom Nagorski and Angelo Leotta

It was an early assumption about Russia’s war on Ukraine — in the days just prior to the invasion and then its immediate aftermath: This would be a short war. One of the world’s largest armies was moving on a European nation that lacked the overt backing of NATO and had nowhere near the armed forces or weaponry of the aggressor. The Russian case for war suggested another advantage: The Kremlin argued that Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine wanted the soldiers to come and would welcome the invaders and help in their cause.

That didn’t happen. And today, more than nine months later, the war still rages.

All of which brings us to this installment of this series and the question: Why has the war in Ukraine lasted so long? The answers are in many ways as complicated as the war itself. As Grid’s Global Security Reporter Joshua Keating puts it, “The Russian Army dramatically underperformed and clearly wasn’t prepared for the level of resistance it was going to receive.” Keating has spent much of this year dissecting complex issues about the war, and his contribution to the series now is no exception. From Russian mistakes to Ukrainian preparedness, Putin’s mobilization orders to the support of the West — there’s a lot to cover in one brief video.

What is blockchain?

Blockchain is one of the major tech stories of the past decade. Everyone seems to be talking about it—but beneath the surface chatter there’s not always a deep clear understanding of what blockchain is or how it works. Despite its reputation for impenetrability, the basic idea behind blockchain is pretty simple. And it has major potential to change industries from the bottom up.

Blockchain is a technology that enables the secure sharing of information. Data, obviously, is stored in a database. Transactions are recorded in an account book called a ledger. A blockchain is a type of distributed database or ledger—one of today’s top tech trends—which means the power to update a blockchain is distributed between the nodes, or participants, of a public or private computer network. This is known as distributed ledger technology, or DLT. Nodes are incentivized with digital tokens or currency to make updates to blockchains.

Blockchain allows for the permanent, immutable, and transparent recording of data and transactions. This, in turn, makes it possible to exchange anything that has value, whether that is a physical item or something less tangible.

ChatGPT shows how far AI has come and its acute limitations — like being right

Benjamin Powers and Khaya Himmelman

ChatGPT is the conversational chatbot from Open AI that has taken the internet by storm, with 1 million people signing up to use it in the five days after its November launch. Chatbots aren’t new (the first one came out in 1966), but ChatGPT is the shiniest and most advanced yet to hit the public domain.

What makes it special? People have used previous iterations of chatbots to write essays or have conversations. ChatGPT pushes the boundaries of models such as Microsoft’s Tay and Meta’s BlenderBot 3 into the next level — it’s able to take a guess at how to correct computer code and write humorous sonnets.

It can engage in a wide array of tasks, from writing sample tweets to jokes, essays and even code.

Geopolitics Goes Into Orbit With The US And China’s Space Ambitions

Saadia M Pekkanen

Space stations are the harbinger of a deepening bipolarity in the international relations of space. The United States leads the International Space Station (ISS), and will lead whatever comes after it, but it is no longer seen as the uncontested unipolar power in space. China now also has a national space station, named Tiangong, which represents a momentous achievement for the country’s space program.

The ISS and Tiangong are not divorced from the quest for national technological supremacy. If technology is ‘power in practice’ for China, it is no less important for the United States, which has long seen the transformative potential of technology as critical to its national security.

The United States has also shifted to a more muscular industrial policy in an attempt to lead in the industries of the future. In a bid to sustain its pre-eminence, it has put technological decoupling into motion in such a forthright way that there is little doubt that it seeks to block China from becoming a technological peer of any kind.

Russia Using ‘3D Tech’ To Drop Grenades Into Enemy Trenches; Leaves Ukrainian Troops Exposed & Helpless

Ashish Dangwal

The Russian military is employing 3D technology to aid in dropping grenades into enemy trenches from a quadcopter, state-owned media claimed.

Combat operations by UAVs are arguably one of the most essential technological advancements employed in modern-day warfare. Troops on both sides have been using quadcopters to drop grenades on rival positions.

Russian forces appear to have devised a method for precisely striking Ukrainian soldiers in the network of confined trenches. The state-run Zvezda news channel aired a video of the Russian military putting 3D-printed winglets to grenades for stabilization.

A drone hovering above the Ukrainian’s positions can release a shell from an under-barrel grenade launcher straight into the Ukrainian forces’ trenches. The small parts made by a 3D printer enable a smooth dive of munition that ensures a precise strike in the trench.

Soldiers from the 40th Marine Brigade of the Pacific Fleet create these “wings” in a small lab located in an underground shelter. It is quite challenging to place a shell in a trench correctly.

Emerging Military Weapon Technologies in Outer Space | SETA Emerging Military Technologies Series .3.

 Aşkın İnci Sökmen Alaca

The outer space and the Milky Way, where the Earth, mankind’s habitat, is located, are described in international agreements as a place that belongs to everyone and over which no country can claim sovereignty. The participation of the private sector as a non-state actor in space studies, a field where state actors have been dominant to date, under the leadership of the United States resulted in the idea of commercial space gaining importance and marked the beginning of a new era in space featuring multiple players and missions. That multipolar system with multiple players, which represents a reflection of the Earth’s international system in space, entails certain additional threats and risks. It is possible to argue that the national security of all relevant countries requires, on top of their existing space missions, leadership in the field of commercial space, establishing permanent bases and settling in planetary objects in deep space, the privatization of their resources and building space colonies – which would consolidate their leadership on the Earth. In addition to state actors, the stated ideal of space entrepreneurs, who are part of the private sector, is to pioneer efforts to rebuild life on another planet within the Milky Way

Future Prospects for Ukrainian Forces Fighting Along the Frontlines

Mykola Bielieskov

The recent successes of Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv and Kherson offensive operations has given rise to countless speculations about the future course of Ukrainian actions. It is becoming more obvious that Ukraine will do its best to exploit to the fullest extent possible this window of opportunity that has been opened by the combination of Ukraine’s skillful defense, Western aid and Russian miscalculations. The Ukrainian top brass hope to make significant progress before Russia completes the process of integrating recently mobilized recruits into the fighting force and creates defense-in-depth along the major operational directions.

In their grand strategy, the Ukrainian authorities have made clear that Kyiv will not agree to any temporary ceasefire or truce (Svoboda, November 15). Such a stance reflects bitter lessons from the Minsk-1 and Minsk-2 agreements, which not only did not guarantee the return of the occupied parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to Ukraine but also ended with the initiation of Russia’s large-scale aggression on February 24. Moreover, unlike 2014 and 2015, when the Minsk agreements were forced onto Ukraine due to Russian successes on the battlefield and were treated as a means to alleviate Russia’s preponderance in firepower, today, the battlefield dynamics do not favor Russia, as Ukraine possesses Western-supplied long-range precision firepower.

Russia’s Strange Combination of Conscription and Mobilization

Pavel Luzin

It is still three weeks before the fall conscription campaign in Russia ends. This conscription hopes to draft 120,000 new soldiers for all branches of the Russian Armed Forces, including several thousand recruits for the Russian National Guard (Rosgvardia). It has also been five weeks since President Vladimir Putin’s “partial mobilization” was declared complete without any legal enactments. According to Putin’s statements, 300,000 citizens were mobilized together with 18,000 volunteers, and 80,000 of the newly mobilized have already been deployed to the war zone, including 50,000 men who took part in combat operations at the beginning of November 2022 (Kremlin.ru, November 4. 7). Since then, no new official data has been provided, but large numbers of the mobilized soldiers are still in training, including at sites in Belarus.

Despite these statements, this writer’s estimate of the true number of mobilized citizens at the beginning of November 2022 remains 120,000, and it has probably not increased significantly since then. Overall, most of the formally mobilized units have been active military servicemen who lost the opportunity to end or break their service contracts.

The American Raj

John Gregory Dunne
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On March 16, 1914, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, three-year-old Henry Williams, Jr., the son of a Navy officer, inserted the first ceremonial bolt into the newly laid keel of BB-39, the thirty-ninth battleship built for the Navy since 1895. There is a photograph of the boy that day, smiling and holding the right index finger of the young and vigorous Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt. “I grabbed his finger and hung on for dear life,” Williams recalled years later. “And they tried to get me away, and, of course, I was a little ham. F.D.R., being a bit of a ham himself, I guess he saw the possibilities.” In the fall of 1916, BB-39, by then christened the U.S.S. Arizona, joined the fleet, and for the next quarter century it sailed the globe, representing the impregnable first line of the nation’s ocean defenses. In those years, it was under the command of twenty-five different captains, some good, some not so good. One was court-martialled after the ship rammed a fishing boat off the California coast, killing two people. He was found guilty of culpable inefficiency and relieved of his command.

The Arizona entered Pearl Harbor on December 5, 1941, after an exercise off Oahu. Now commanded by Captain Franklin Van Valkenburgh, it was scheduled to depart on December 13th for overhaul and Christmas leave at its home port of Long Beach, California. Flying his flag on board as commander of Battleship Division 1 was Rear Admiral Isaac Kidd, who as a captain had commanded the Arizona between 1938 and 1940. The ship moored at Battleship Row, inboard of the repair ship Vestal, forward of the Nevada, aft of the Tennessee, the West Virginia, the Maryland, the Oklahoma, and the California. None of the three aircraft carriers attached to the Pacific Fleet were in port; the Saratoga was in San Diego, while the Enterprise and the Lexington, because of the tense diplomatic situation with Japan, were at sea delivering warplanes to Navy and Marine outposts on Wake and Midway Islands. Saturday morning, there was, as usual, inspection, followed by liberty for some of the crew, whose excursions often ended up in the whorehouses on Honolulu’s Hotel Street, where working girls might turn a hundred tricks through the day and night. Officers remaining on board that evening could watch “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” starring Spencer Tracy and Ingrid Bergman, in the wardroom.

Why Japan’s Missile Defense Requires ‘Counterstrike Capabilities’

Kenji Nagayoshi

Service members with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) 2nd Air Defense Missile Group, set up the MIM-104 Patriot missile system during Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) deployment training at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Aug. 29, 2017.Credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Aaron Henson

As Japan prepares to release three critical security documents – its National Security Strategy, National Defense Program Guidelines, and Medium-Term Defense Program – by the end of 2022, its policymakers have been discussing Japan’s acquisition of strike capabilities in the context of missile defense. The debate about adopting “counterstrike capabilities” – formerly known as “enemy base strike capabilities” – accelerated exponentially when the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) Research Commission on Security proposed that Japan must consider acquiring such capabilities to deter missile attacks.

Although this active discussion reflects the severe regional security environment facing Japan, the strike capability debate must also be accompanied by decision-makers’ will to make a political decision about the conditions for deploying strikes and their commitment to launch counterstrikes against the enemy – including China – to improve Japan’s deterrence against missile attacks.