21 December 2022

India parades a ballistic missile dubbed the 'China killer' just days after the two countries clash at a contested border. What's going on?

Avani Dias and Som Patidar

Each new year, Tibetans travel to the Tawang region to visit a centuries-old Buddhist monastery to ward off evil spirits and bring prosperity and happiness.

But this sacred temple, which is said to house a painting drawn with blood from the nose of the fifth Dalai Lama, is also in one of the most disputed and militarised regions in the world.

Both India and China claim the area in the Himalayan mountains belongs to them and recently forces from each side have clashed along the disputed border — the Line of Actual Control.

Sources have told the ABC that commanders from both sides are holding resolution meetings on the ground, though experts warn there could be further clashes in coming days.

Countries like Australia have called for restraint and de-escalation.

The Tawang Clash: The View From China

Hemant Adlakha

In response to questions asked at the regular press briefing about the scuffle between Chinese and Indian forces at Tawang on December 9, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson replied that “the situation along the China-India border at present is stable.”

Media reports, commentaries, and debates on China’s social, and digital media platforms, however, reveal more about the Chinese mindset toward its “unfriendly neighbor.”

On December 9, Chinese and Indian troops clashed on their disputed Himalayan border. It was the most significant incident between the nations since the violent clashes along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Galwan in June 2020.

In a statement, India’s Ministry of Defense said soldiers from both sides sustained minor injuries in the face-off, which took place in the Tawang sector in India’s northeastern territory of Arunachal Pradesh, a remote, inhospitable region that borders southwestern China. According to reports in the Indian press, at least six Indian troops were injured. A section of the Indian media reported that more Chinese soldiers had been injured in the scuffle.

CEPA, CECA, FTA: India’s New Trade Dictionary

Gayatri Bhumralkar

The year 2022 has seen two milestones for India’s global trade engagement. In March, India surpassed an ambitious target of $400 billion in exports for the first time. And the country signed trade deals with two important trading partners, the UAE and Australia, and is negotiating one with the U.K.

The increased exports are progress but an under-achievement for a country that once commanded 20% of global trade before the British Raj, and is still significantly below its current trading potential, as estimated by the International Trade Centre, Geneva.[1]

India’s commerce minister Piyush Goyal sees the gap and announced an ambitious target of achieving $2 trillion in exports by 2030 and $7.5 trillion by 2047. This requires 20% annual growth in exports for the next decade – a long shot when compared with actual export growth of 3% per year in the previous decade.

India’s Maddening Russia Policy Isn’t as Bad as Washington Thinks

Derek Grossman

For U.S. policymakers, India’s relentless ambiguity about Russia’s war in Ukraine has been maddening. At the United Nations, India has voted to abstain on nearly every resolution condemning Russian aggression. In other multilateral venues, such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (or Quad)—which consists of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States—New Delhi refuses to even mention Moscow, let alone criticize it. Nor has India signed on to economic and financial sanctions on Russia.

New Delhi’s policy position is especially frustrating for the Biden administration because it believes India is critical to the success or failure of the Indo-Pacific strategy designed to counter China. U.S. policymakers are left to wonder: If India refuses to uphold the liberal international order—including the U.N. Charter protecting sovereign borders—with Russia, then how could it possibly be expected to do so with China? Indeed, as I wrote in Foreign Policy in June, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government are pursuing an ultra-realist foreign policy that deprioritizes the legal and moral aspects of international affairs to secure India’s national interests. By refusing to condemn Russia, India receives tangible economic and security benefits, including the ability to purchase heavily discounted oil and continue to access Russian-made weapons for its armed forces. It should therefore come as no surprise that New Delhi is not breaking its long-standing partnership with Moscow, which dates from the Cold War.

Taiwan’s Assessment of the PRC Military Threat: The 2022 Chinese Communist Military Power Report

John Dotson

On November 29, the US Department of Defense (DoD)
released the 2022 edition
of Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China (more commonly known as the “China Military Power Report”), an annual report intended to provide an unclassified overview of the significant developmental trends and capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). This year’s report drew particular press attention for sketching out four general scenarios of primary concern for People’s Republic of China (PRC) military action against Taiwan: an “air and maritime blockade,” “limited force or coercive options,” an “air and missile campaign,” or an amphibious “invasion of Taiwan.”

The DoD’s “China Military Power Report” provides an impressively comprehensive view of the PLA’s growing capabilities (within bounds of publicly releasable information), and is widely cited by journalists and defense commentators. However, there are other such documents that receive far less attention—including the 2022 Chinese Communist Military Power Report (111年中共軍力報告書) produced by the Republic of China’s (Taiwan, ROC) own Ministry of National Defense (MND, 中華民國國防部). This document is much lower-profile: this year’s edition was published by the MND on September 1, but is neither posted on the MND’s public webpage nor translated into English, as is the case with many other MND policy documents. [1] The author has obtained a copy, however, and presents a summary of some of the more significant content in this article. Taiwan’s own version of the “Chinese Military Power Report” is well worth examining for what it reveals about the perspectives of MND officials as they contemplate the increasing threats posed to the island and its people by the rapidly growing capabilities of the PLA—and for what it further suggests about some of the gaps in perception that exist between defense planners in Washington and Taipei.

No, Xi’s visit to Riyadh wasn’t because of bad US-Saudi relations. It’s about much more.

Jonathan Fulton

Chinese President Xi Jinping was in Riyadh from December 7 to 10, attending three summits and inspiring thousands of over-wrought headlines about what it means for the United States’ interests in the Middle East. Given the bad state of US-Saudi relations, it is natural to see Xi’s visit in the context of geopolitical competition between Washington and Beijing, but that framework misses the bigger picture. This trip was part of a much longer trajectory of deepening China-Middle East relations in which ties with several regional countries have become increasingly mature.

In the China-Saudi bilateral relationship, this is the fifth state visit for a Chinese head of state. Each had resulted in a wider range of areas where the two countries cooperated, starting with Jiang Zemin’s 1999 visit when he signed a Strategic Oil Cooperation Agreement, eventually making China the top energy customer for the Kingdom. The previous one, a 2016 visit when Xi and King Salman signed a comprehensive strategic partnership (CSP) agreement, elevated the Kingdom to the highest level in China’s diplomatic hierarchy. Between the two trips, relations had grown to include a more varied relationship across trade, investment, financing, technological cooperation, educational outreach, and security.

Washington’s semiconductor sanctions won’t slow China’s military build-up

Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Megan Hogan

In October, the US introduced a ban
on exports to China of cutting-edge semiconductor chips, the advanced equipment needed to manufacture them and semiconductor expertise. The export controls are Washington’s most serious attempt to undermine China’s military modernisation and the most damaging measures US President Joe Biden has taken against China.

Advanced semiconductors underpin everything from autonomous vehicles to hypersonic weapon systems. Chips are imperative to the defence industry and technologies of the future. By targeting this critical input, the Biden administration aims to freeze China’s semiconductor suite at 2022 levels and impede its military development.

China will probably struggle to maintain its rapid advances in artificial intelligence, quantum and cloud computing without access to US technology and expertise. Chipmakers like the Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation—China’s largest logic chip producer—will lose access to machine maintenance and equipment replacement under the new controls.

How China is using network vulnerabilities to boost its cyber capabilities

Jasmine Latimore

When news of China’s new vulnerability reporting regulations broke last year, fears circulated that Beijing would use the law to stockpile undisclosed cybersecurity vulnerabilities, known as ‘zero days’.

A report released last month by Microsoft indicates that these fears have likely been realised.

The Regulations on the Management of Network Product Security Vulnerabilities require that any vulnerability discovered within China be reported to the relevant authorities within two days. For software and products developed outside mainland China, this is particularly problematic because the Chinese government now has access to vulnerabilities before vendors can patch them. This lead time enables Beijing to assess vulnerabilities for its own operational advantage—in other words, to see whether they can be exploited for use in a cyberattack against foreign entities.

By developing a better understanding of the structure of China’s system of cybersecurity governance, we might improve our grasp of the wave of new legislation and reforms occurring in China’s cybersecurity sector. This in turn will enable us to better understand how laws such as the vulnerability reporting regulations contribute to President Xi Jinping’s vision to make China a ‘cyber powerhouse’ (网络强国), and will give policymakers greater insights into the threats posed by Beijing’s cyber capabilities.

Latest border clash shows China is continuing its calculated aggression towards India

Sarosh Bana

In a confrontation on 9 December, a sizeable detachment of Chinese troops attempted to breach the razorwired Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Yangtse area of the Tawang sector in India’s northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. The intruders were beaten back with sticks and stones by Indian Army soldiers patrolling the area.

China’s shadow looms large over India, with cross-border threats surging since Xi Jinping came to power in 2013. The 69-year-old leader’s ascendance to a historic third five-year presidential term has daunted India.

New Delhi has been unable to resolve the border impasse since May 2020, when People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops breached the LAC, clashed with Indian soldiers and overran vast tracts of the eastern sector of the border Union Territory of Ladakh. Xi’s troops also entered the Demchok and Chumar areas of Ladakh while he met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India in 2014. It is profoundly offensive for a world leader to see his country under assault while he is hosting the attacker’s leader on a state visit.

Treading Lightly: China’s Footprint in a Taliban-led Afghanistan

Dr Jiayi Zhou, Fei Su and Dr Jingdong Yuan

This SIPRI Insights Paper provides a preliminary assessment of China’s attitudes to and policies on Afghanistan since the August 2021 Taliban takeover. It examines the scope of China’s security, economic and humanitarian interests, and the depth of its engagement so far. It finds that China’s footprint has been minimal due not only to China’s non-interference policy but also to a range of broader challenges: the militant extremist groups that continue to operate on Afghan soil, the risks of investing in a country where the government remains unrecognized by any member of the international community and a fragile stability that is far from conducive to long-term planning. While there may be prospects and opportunities for China to contribute to Afghan peace and development, particularly from a broader regional perspective, current realities mean that China’s overall approach to Afghanistan will remain cautious, pragmatic and limited.

How China Reinvented an Ancient Kingdom to Advance Its Claims in the Himalayas

Victoria Jones

“Who controls the past controls the future,” George Orwell wrote. Rewriting history, as for any authoritarian regime, is the bread and butter of the Chinese Communist Party — and absolutely essential in the ideological narrative it wants to shape about its image and rise on the world stage.

Today, China is increasingly concentrating on the revisionism of history relating to territorial claims across its various borders, both land and sea. One area in particular that is of great focus concerns China’s southwestern borders in the Himalayas, including a fixation on an ancient kingdom known as “Zhangzhung.” Cultural experts and archaeologists in the Himalayan Indian state of Ladakh have observed that Beijing is doing a large amount of research and excavation in western Tibet relating to Zhangzhung, but there is little examination of the topic outside China.

Zhangzhung’s exact boundaries are contested by academics. Some say the kingdom comprised parts of what today includes Ladakh, Nepal, West Tibet, and Gilgit-Baltistan, while others argue the kingdom was far less wide-reaching, only cutting into the northwest edge of Nepal and part of Ladakh. Others claim that Zhangzhung and Tibet were in fact separate at some point in history. Tibetologists argue that almost nothing is known about Zhangzhung except that it was a kingdom situated in what roughly corresponds to today’s Tibet. Scholars specializing on Himalayan history also mention the difficulty in even defining Zhangzhung as a concept.

Implications of Iranian Drones in Ukraine

Dr. Lakshmi Priya

In the first week of November 2022, Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian stated that Iran had supplied drones to Russia before the beginning of the Ukraine crisis. Iran acknowledged the delivery of drones to Russia in February. The Russian President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected claims about Russia's use of Iranian UAVs in the Ukrainian conflict.[i]

On the other hand, western powers as well as Kyiv have claimed and condemned the use of Iranian drones in Ukraine. United States’ State Department spokesperson Ned Price stated that there is abundant evidence of Russia’s use of Iranian drones in Ukraine while raising the issue with United Kingdom and France in a closed door UNSC meeting.[ii] France, Britain and Germany called in the United Nations for an impartial investigation into the use of Iranian drones in Ukraine by Russia.[iii] Moreover, Ukraine has said that around 400 Iranian drones have been used by Russia against the civilian population of Ukraine.[iv]

Iran’s UAV manufacturing capabilities


Source  Link

In recent years European and other nations have been increasingly targeted by different manipulation or coercion tactics that remain under the threshold of violence, and are commonly referred to as hybrid threats.[1] For instance, in 2016 the elections in the United States were manipulated by a foreign state actor through targeted propaganda and the leaking of hacked material that compromised one of the presidential candidates. In the same year the British referendum on remaining in the European Union was also targeted by sophisticated propaganda efforts.[2] The need to counter these threats and deal with them comprehensively has therefore been acknowledged in the EU Strategic Compass. It provides for the development of a toolbox to put at the disposal of member states a wide range of measures to respond to hybrid campaigns, should they choose to invoke the assistance of the EU. This EU Hybrid Toolbox (EUHT) intends to gather all civilian and military instruments that can be employed to counter hybrid campaigns. Operationalisation was intended by the end of 2022 but this no longer seems attainable. However, the conflict in Ukraine has demonstrated the importance of having a coordinated reaction capability to counter hybrid campaigns and is likely to provide the momentum to bring the development of the EUHT to fruition.

This policy brief examines the most recent progress on operationalising the EUHT.


Antara Chakraborthy, Teo Yi-Ling


The Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS) organised a Workshop titled, ‘Extremism: Old Paradigms; New Frontiers’ on 4 and 5 October 2022 at the Park Royal Collection, Singapore. The workshop aimed to a) enhance our understanding of radicalisation from a multi-disciplinary perspective, b) learn how countries and organisations around the world are confronting extremism and c) explore new methods to counter extremism.

The Workshop consisted of seven panels over the course of two days. The focus of the first day was on the extremism situation in the Southeast Asian region. The three panels discussed issues such as jihadist activity and the resurgence of hate speech and intolerance in the online space in countries like Indonesia, Philippines, and Malaysia. The second day consisted of four panels with a diverse range of topics which looked at more global issues of radicalism in-depth.

Nineteen speakers from institutions in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, India, Denmark, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States shared their insights. Workshop participants included members of the Singapore civil service, the private sector, and academia involved in examining counter terrorism, religious conflict, hate speech and other national security topics.

National Security Decisionmaking Processes in Israel

Ofer Shelah

Throughout its existence, Israel has faced security challenges and has struggled with how best to make decisions to address them. Despite recommendations in many official reports for improving Israel's national security decisionmaking process, flaws persist. These flaws are most evident in the work of the government's Security Cabinet, the highest political echelon involved in these matters, and the National Security Council, the organization responsible for preparing more-informed discussions that lead to better decisions. In this Perspective, the author examines the inherent flaws in the function of these entities and in the process as a whole through a review of past examples of security decisionmaking and interviews with former and current officials, reflects on their underlying causes, and suggests avenues toward a decisionmaking apparatus that is better suited to the challenges the country faces today.

Three Countries Provided Almost 70% Of Liquefied Natural Gas Received In Europe In 2021

In 2021, a large share of Europe’s supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) originated in the United States, Qatar, and Russia. Combined, these three countries accounted for almost 70% of Europe’s total LNG imports, according to data by CEDIGAZ.

The United States became Europe’s largest source of LNG in 2021, accounting for 26% of all LNG imported by European Union member countries (EU-27) and the United Kingdom (UK), followed by Qatar with 24%, and Russia with 20%. In January 2022, the United States supplied more than half of all LNG imports into Europe for the month.

Exports of LNG from the United States to EU-27 and the UK increased from 3.4 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in November 2021 to 6.5 Bcf/d in January 2022—the most LNG shipped to Europe from the United States on a monthly basis to date, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s LNG Monthly reports and our own estimates, which are based on LNG shipping data. Rising U.S. LNG exports are the result of both natural gas supply challenges in Europe and the sizable price differences between natural gas produced in the United States and current prices at European trading hubs.

Geopolitical Implications Of EU’s Media Freedom Act

Raquel Jorge Ricart


Media freedom and pluralism are a prominent topic in the nascent geopolitics of technology: the waves of hate speech in the media, the guarantee of the right to information and the right to avoid disinformation and misinformation, the protection and empowerment of journalistic profession, and the inference from both governments –authoritarian and illiberal ones– as well as some private companies in the respect for media freedom and pluralism.

In this scenario, the European Commission announced its commitment to prepare a European Media Freedom Act that is expected to be presented in the autumn of 2022. Beyond relevant topics such as the economic impact of the vulnerabilities to media freedom and pluralism, regulation and the role of platforms, public policies and its embedding into the EU’s jurisdictional structure, still the EU has developed for several years a growing, still dispersed, patchwork of policies to address this issue from a geopolitical perspective.
The nexus between media freedom and pluralism jointly with security and rights

Why Japan Is Boosting Its Arms Capability, Budget


TOKYO (AP) — Japan this week adopted a new national security strategy that includes determination to possess “counterstrike" capability to preempt enemy attacks and double its spending to gain a more offensive footing and improve its resilience to protect itself from growing risks from China, North Korea and Russia. The new strategy marks a historic change to Japan's exclusively self-defense policy since the end of World War II.

Here is a look at Japan's new security and defense strategies and how they will change the country's defense posture.


The biggest change in the National Security Strategy is possession of “counterstrike capability” that Japan calls “indispensable." Japan aims to achieve capabilities ”to disrupt and defeat invasions against its nation much earlier and at a further distance” within about 10 years.

Two Russian strategic missile carriers performed a flight over the neutral waters of the Sea of Japan, the Russian military announced Wednesday. (Dec 14) AP
SharePlay Video

The West Needs To Fully Cut Ties with Iran's Ruling Mullahs

Majid Rafizadeh

Where, also, are the women's movements of the West?

The sister of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Badri Hosseini Khamenei, came out criticizing the whole establishment and calling for the overthrow of her brother's "despotic caliphate".

"The regime of the Islamic Republic of Khomeini and Ali Khamenei has brought nothing but suffering and oppression to Iran and Iranians. I hope to see the victory of the people and the overthrow of this tyranny ruling Iran soon." — Badri Hosseini Khamenei, in an open letter.

Even though a large number of high level public figures, celebrities, athletes are supporting the protesters and turning against the regime, calls for international support by many Iranians are being totally ignored

"O free people, be with us and help us, and tell your governments to stop supporting this murderous and child-killing regime. This regime is not even loyal to any of its own religious principles, and does not know any laws or rules except force and maintaining power in any way possible. " — Farideh Moradkhani, niece of Ayatollah Khamenei.

Ukraine fearful of fresh Russian offensive despite Putin's humiliation on the battlefield


Vladimir Putin is aiming to launch a brand new offensive in the new year against Ukraine, according to senior officials. The Ukrainian defence minister Oleksii Reznikov said in an interview that although Kyiv was able to defend itself against the barrage of missile attacks from Moscow, evidence has begun to emerge of new plans from the Kremlin.

Similar fears have also been raised by President Zelensky, the head of the armed forces, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, and the chief of ground forces, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskii.

In spite of Russia's failed attempts to take much of Ukraine's territory the government in Kyiv has warned the West not to be complacent about the threat Putin poses.

Mr Reznikov believes the offensive could be launched in February, one year since the invasion began, however others have suggested it could come as early as January.

The defence minister has indicated that half of Russia's 300,000 mobilised troops may be being trained more intensely for future offensives.

Whatever Happened to Russia’s Vaunted Cyberoffensive?

Amy Mackinnon

People had already begun laying flowers in front of the Ukrainian Embassy in London by the time Liam Maxwell arrived for a lunchtime meeting with Vadym Prystaiko, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United Kingdom, on Feb. 24, the day that Russia sent troops and missiles screaming over the Ukrainian border in the opening phases of the largest ground war in Europe since World War II.

As director of government transformation at Amazon Web Services, the online retail giant’s cloud computing arm, Maxwell had come to see how the company could assist the Ukrainian government as it came under Russian assault. Over a lunch of borscht, they quickly settled on the idea of migrating government systems to the cloud to protect vital data and ensure that they could continue to operate regardless of the damage wrought by Russia.

“We sat down and we went, ‘Right, what’s the first thing we need to save?’” said Maxwell, who previously served as the British government’s national technology advisor.

A looming Russian offensive

Russia is massing men and arms for a new offensive. As soon as January, but more likely in the spring, it could launch a big attack from Donbas in the east, from the south or even from Belarus, a puppet state in the north. Russian troops will aim to drive back Ukrainian forces and could even stage a second attempt to take Kyiv, the capital.

Those are not our words, but the assessment of the head of Ukraine’s armed forces, General Valery Zaluzhny. In an unprecedented series of briefings within the past fortnight the general, along with Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, and General Oleksandr Syrsky, the head of its ground forces, warned us of the critical few months ahead. “The Russians are preparing some 200,000 fresh troops,” General Zaluzhny told us. “I have no doubt they will have another go at Kyiv.” Western sources say that Russia’s commander, General Sergey Surovikin, has always seen this as a multi-year conflict.

This is not the view outside Ukraine. In the freezing mud, the conflict is thought to be deadlocked. There has been almost no movement for a month along the 1,000km or so of battlefront. Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, Britain’s most senior officer, this week said that, right now, a shortage of artillery shells means Russia’s scope for ground operations is “rapidly diminishing”.

Is COVID a Common Cold Yet?

Katherine J. Wu

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the worst things about SARS-CoV-2 was that it was so new: The world lacked immunity, treatments, and vaccines. Tests were hard to come by too, making diagnosis a pain—except when it wasn’t. Sometimes, the symptoms of COVID got so odd, so off-book, that telling SARS-CoV-2 from other viruses became “kind of a slam dunk,” says Summer Chavez, an emergency physician at the University of Houston. Patients would turn up with the standard-issue signs of respiratory illness—fever, coughing, and the like—but also less expected ones, such as rashes, diarrhea, shortness of breath, and loss of taste or smell. A strange new virus was colliding with people’s bodies in such unusual ways that it couldn’t help but stand out.

Now, nearly three years into the crisis, the virus is more familiar, and its symptoms are too. Put three sick people in the same room this winter—one with COVID, another with a common cold, and the third with the flu—and “it’s way harder to tell the difference,” Chavez told me. Today’s most common COVID symptoms are mundane: sore throat, runny nose, congestion, sneezing, coughing, headache. And several of the wonkier ones that once hogged headlines have become rare. More people are weathering their infections with their taste and smell intact; many can no longer remember when they last considered the scourge of “COVID toes.” Even fever, a former COVID classic, no longer cracks the top-20 list from the ZOE Health Study, a long-standing symptom-tracking project based in the United Kingdom, according to Tim Spector, an epidemiologist at King’s College London who heads the project. Longer, weirder, more serious illness still manifests, but for most people, SARS-CoV-2’s symptoms are getting “pretty close to other viruses’, and I think that’s reassuring,” Spector told me. “We are moving toward a cold-like illness.”

Ukrainians Focus on Resilience a Day After Major Russian Strikes

Carlotta Gall

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainians raced to repair the damage and restart services on Saturday, a day after one of the heaviest Russian missile assaults on infrastructure killed at least five people and knocked out power and water in many of the country’s main cities.

With Ukrainians already on edge about further strikes, new explosions rang out over the port city of Odesa early Saturday, and air-raid alerts sounded across the country a few hours later. Midmorning, the Ukrainian general command warned that military jets were taking off from neighboring Belarus and that the whole of Ukraine was a potential target.

Early reports from Ukrainian officials on Saturday were of incoming missiles being intercepted. The country’s southern military command said that two incoming Russian missiles had been intercepted by its air defense in Odesa and caused no casualties. No further damage was reported on Saturday, although Russian artillery struck again in the southern city of Kherson, causing further civilian casualties.

The Russian Ministry of Defense said in a statement on Saturday that it had targeted Ukrainian defense enterprises and energy facilities on Friday in a huge attack with “long-range, airborne and sea-based precision weapons.”

Low Orbit, High Stakes: All-In on the LEO Broadband Competition

Makena Young, Akhil Thadani

The competition to provide broadband from low Earth orbit (LEO) is one of the most important, least appreciated geostrategic developments underway. Policymakers in Washington have yet to consider the economic and strategic implications of LEO satellite constellations, which promise to dramatically improve coverage in underserved markets and bring more of the world online. In addition to reaping vast commercial rewards, nations with leading LEO broadband providers could enjoy increased resiliency in their communications, accuracy in positioning services, and even enhanced early warning capabilities.

An elite group of companies, primarily from the United States and Europe, are on the cutting edge of these efforts. But China has its own plans for LEO broadband, deep pockets of state funding to pursue those ambitions, and political ties to leverage through its Belt and Road Initiative. As the LEO broadband competition intensifies, policymakers need an accessible guide to these developments and recommendations for advancing U.S. interests.

Competing for the System: The Essence of Emerging Strategic Rivalries

Michael J. Mazarr, Tim McDonald

Technical Details »

The authors of this Perspective contend that the United States should view emerging strategic rivalries with Russia, and especially China, in systemic terms. The United States, they argue, is principally competing to establish the structure and context of the global system, including institutions, rules, and norms in which political, economic, and social activity occur. Policy initiatives should place individual actions in the context of systemic strategy, broadening from discrete, issue-specific approaches. The authors outline a set of principles for building institutions and practices to support this approach.

Worried about China’s air force? Here’s everything you need to know


Ask anyone in the U.S. military above the rank of colonel what keeps them awake at night and they will likely say “China,” the rising superpower across the Pacific. But what exactly are senior leaders afraid of, particularly in regards to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF)?

For years, U.S. Air Force leaders have sounded the alarm about China’s increasing power and America’s shrinking technological edge. But what are the specific forms of power and technology that have U.S. officials so worried? Considering the language barrier, cultural differences and the lack of transparent governance or a free press, it is difficult for average Americans to know what threats service members may face in a possible conflict in the western Pacific.

But not to worry, the Air Force prepared several easy-to-read briefings and videos to bring you up to speed. Though some of the videos date to late 2021 or early 2022, their general observations still hold up.

“[W]e must accelerate learning across the Air Force to stay ahead of the pace,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles ‘CQ’ Brown Jr. in a memo published on Thursday, alongside a series of “toolkits” put together by the Air Force’s China Aerospace Studies Institute (CASI).

To Kill and Save: Abilities of New Age Drones

Prof (Dr) Dinesh Kumar Pandey, 

Drones were developed to watch and eliminate targets. However, now its load-carrying abilities are exploited to save a life. Edible drones have been developed in order to supply food in times of need. With such advancements, edible drones stocked with food, drink, or medication supplies may prove crucial in humanitarian crises.

Drones have been proven to be efficient aircraft for unmanned transport missions, such as delivering supplies to people in need. UAVs can currently transport cargo in the affected areas that may contain small arms, currencies, documents, food, and medical supplies. However, various drone manufacturers have considered optimising this procedure by creating edible drones.

Some businesses have already started offering drone delivery services to cut down on the price of delivering small items over the last mile. Due to their dependability when hovering and manoeuvring, multirotor-type drones are most frequently used in such situations. However, as commercial drones can typically only carry 10 per cent to 30 per cent of their mass as payload, the amount of food that can be delivered in a single trip is limited. A team of researchers of the Somerset-based Windhorse Aerospace company has created a ground-breaking technique that boosts a drone’s ability to transport food by recreating the structural elements of a drone out of edible ingredients. Such drones, used as food, are called ‘edible drones.’[1]

US JDAM ‘Smart Bombs’ Worthless For Ukraine As Kyiv Lacks Military Aviation To Use Them — Russian Expert

The potential delivery of advanced electronic equipment to Kyiv to convert missiles into “smart bombs” makes no sense as the Ukrainian forces no longer have military aviation capable of using such munitions, Russian military expert Alexei Leonkov told Sputnik.

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing senior US officials familiar with the matter, that the White House was planning to supply Ukraine with advanced electronic equipment to convert unguided aerial munitions into high-precision “smart bombs” to target Russia’s military positions. According to the report, the delivery would include global positioning devices for precision that could be deployed onto a variety of arms and create what the Pentagon calls a Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM).

“Why does Ukraine need it? In fact, it does not. The only weaponry they used during the special military operation was missiles. Recently they have been using the AGM-88 HARM missile, an air-to-radar missile, and trying to destroy the radars of our air defense systems.

They do not succeed and often lose aircraft that carry these missiles. The Ukrainian aviation has never conducted bombing strikes,” Leonkov said. He added that it would be reasonable to speculate about possible air raids by the Ukrainian military using “smart bombs” if Kyiv “suddenly had, let’s say, 300 aircraft.”

The Best Books We Read in 2022

Even while keeping up with the nonstop torrent of news headlines from around the world, FP columnists and contributors somehow found time over this past year to read a lot of books, and many helped contextualize events happening out in the real world.

We asked them to tell us which of the books they read this year they’d most want to recommend to FP readers. Here are the ones they chose.



Recommended by Elisabeth Braw

As the Soviet Union lay in its death throes, the legendary Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski, who had been born in a part of Poland that was subsequently ceded to the Soviet Union, crisscrossed the empire. The result was the book Imperium.

When it was first published in Polish in 1993, Imperium was a beautifully observed and recounted voyage of a country in decay, with towns where visitors—as was the case with Kapuscinski—found themselves at the mercy of the often brave and kindly ex-Soviet citizens who’d stayed behind as everyone else left.