30 September 2023


Murtaza Hussain

AFTER THE BRAZEN killing of a high-profile Canadian Sikh activist in June, FBI agents visited several Sikh activists in California this summer with an alarming message: Their lives were also at risk.

The warnings have taken on a new urgency after Canada’s bombshell revelation on Monday that it has credible intelligence pointing to Indian government involvement in the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen and advocate for an independent Sikh state, who was shot dead outside a Sikh temple in British Columbia.

Pritpal Singh, a political activist and U.S. citizen who is a coordinator for the American Sikh Caucus Committee, told The Intercept that he and two other Sikh Americans involved in political organizing in California received calls and visits from the FBI after Nijjar was killed.

“I was visited by two FBI special agents in late June who told me that they had received information that there was a threat against my life,” said Singh. “They did not tell us specifically where the threat was coming from, but they said that I should be careful.”

The two other Sikh activists, who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons, told The Intercept that they were also visited by the FBI around the same time as Singh. The FBI did not respond to a request for comment.

The Pakistan Army’s New Mission


Tim Willasey-Wilsey served for over 27 years in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and is now Visiting Professor of War Studies at King's College, London. His first overseas posting was in Angola during the Cold War followed by Central America during the instability of the late 1980s. He was also involved in the transition to majority rule in South Africa and in the Israel/Palestine issue. His late career was spent in Asia including a posting to Pakistan in the mid 1990s.

For all its many faults the Pakistan army is becoming ever more important as the one institution which can resist the centrifugal forces endangering Pakistan’s future. However, the army needs to step back from its confrontation with Imran Khan and look for some form of understanding with India.

OPINION — There is a lot that is wrong about the Pakistan army. It interferes in politics too much. It makes bad foreign policy choices. It blocks peace feelers with India. It accounts for too much of GDP. It is too deeply entrenched in the economy. Its human rights record is mixed. However, it is now the main institution holding Pakistan together. In a country with nuclear weapons the survival of a disciplined Pakistan army matters to all of us. Ironically it should matter to India most of all because the disintegration of Pakistan would provoke a regional catastrophe. Meanwhile there are significant changes happening in the army which could have major consequences.

Asia on the cusp of a new era

Jeongmin Seong, Chris Bradley, Nick Leung, Jonathan Woetzel, Kweilin Ellingrud, Gautam Kumra, and Peixi Wang

Today’s cluster of disruptions, both economic and political, in many ways have Asia at the epicenter. We assert that these may be triggers for a new era in which Asia will play a leading role.

Today’s challenging conditions are not unique. MGI’s global research has identified other periods of disruption since 1945.1 Each triggered the start of a prolonged new era that was relatively stable in the structures and norms that frame the global economy and international relations, but transformational change occurred within that stability.

During the most recent era, which MGI has dubbed the Era of Markets (1989–2019), the region’s economies collectively emerged as the world’s new majority, accounting for more than half the global total of key metrics we use to measure the world economy. As such, Asia is now a prominent player in all five domains underlying our research: world order, technology platforms, demographic forces, resource and energy systems, and capitalization (Exhibit 1).

Asia's economies were the great beneficiaries of a globalizing world over the past 30 years. They started surging to global prominence.

Taiwan is using generative AI to fight Chinese disinfo


Many U.S. observers are waiting in dread for China to attempt a military takeover of Taiwan sometime before 2027, but beneath the threshold of armed conflict, China is already attacking vital Taiwanese information streams, both physically and virtually, while the island develops new tools and techniques to resist.

In April, a Chinese fishing vessel, followed by a cargo ship, dragged their anchors east of Taiwan’s Matsu islands, severing the two communications cables that link the islands with Taiwan itself, an act of either sabotage or clumsiness that has occurred at least 27 times in just the last five years. Taiwan has said that it suspects the severings were intentional. And of course attacks on commercial and public telecommunications channels are now a common occurrence between adversarial nations, as when Russia attacked the U.S.-based satellite communications company Viasat an hour before Moscow launched its renewed war on Ukraine.

The Taiwanese government took the interruption as an opportunity to help citizens develop workarounds to continuous Chinese-caused, er, service interruptions.

“We took that as a chance to not just teach people about, you know, microwave, and also satellite [communications] backup and things like that; we also saw a lot of civil society start learning about how to set up emergency communications when the bandwidth is limited.” Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s minister of digital affairs, told audiences during the Special Competitive Studies Project Summit in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.

Phasing Out GPS Reliance in U.S. Military Operations: An Imperative in the Face of Emerging Threats

Carlo J.V. Caro

The United States' military reliance on the Global Positioning System (GPS) poses significant vulnerabilities in the face of emerging threats from adversarial nations like Russia, China, and North Korea. At the moment, Europe is witnessing a conventional war between two nations. In this context, the role of technology, particularly navigation systems, has emerged as a decisive factor for military success.

Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), such as the American GPS, Europe's GALILEO, China's BEIDOU, and Russia's GLONASS, play an essential role in modern warfare. Despite their different technical specifications—like frequencies and orbits—these systems are designed to be compatible, allowing for greater positional accuracy. However, their signals are susceptible to various forms of interference, such as jamming and spoofing. While there are security measures like anti-spoofing in place, these are not foolproof.

Inaugurated during the Cold War, the Global Positioning System (GPS) was originally developed to provide the U.S. military with unparalleled navigation and timing capabilities. Over the years, this system has become deeply integrated not just into military functions but also in civilian applications. However, this ubiquitous dependency on GPS exposes the U.S. military to substantial vulnerabilities, especially given the anti-satellite capabilities and cyber warfare competencies of Russia, China, and North Korea.

In the current war in Ukraine, Russia has upped the ante by developing Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missiles capable of destroying GPS satellites. Such a move could effectively cripple NATO's long-range weaponry. Surprisingly, Russia seems unafraid of a similar attack on its own GLONASS system. This is because Russia has revitalized a pre-existing radio navigation system known as Long Range Navigation (LORAN).

US Congress’ Role in Countering the China Challenge

Robert Sutter

The Capitol dome is seen at rear as Chinese and U.S. flags are displayed in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 18, 2011, ahead of the arrival of China’s then-President Hu Jintao for a state visit hosted by then-U.S. President Barack Obama.Credit: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

The hardening of U.S. attitudes toward China began six years ago, but showed important weaknesses for more than two years. Then-President Donald Trump was erratic; candidate Joseph Biden was dismissive of China’s danger; public opinion, media, state, and local governments were very slow in understanding, much less supporting, the hardening.

In contrast, bipartisan majorities in Congress saw the wisdom of the Trump administration’s National Security Strategy of December 2017, which viewed China for the first time as the most important danger to U.S. national security. Lawmakers set a pattern followed up to now of working closely with like-minded leaders in the Trump government and later the Biden administration to defend the United States from the multifaceted challenges emanating from Beijing.

These challenges can be grouped into three clusters of threats: to U.S. security, economic well-being, and governance at home and abroad. Two challenges are often seen as existential threats. The first is China’s effort to undermine U.S. power and influence in Asia, so that China itself can dominate.

The second is Beijing’s effort to dominate the high technology industries of the future. Such dominance would make the United States subservient to Chinese economic power, and because such technology is essential to modern national security, subservient to Chinese military power.

Why Xi Jinping Doesn’t Trust His Own Military

Joel Wuthnow

Over the last two months, a series of senior Chinese generals have disappeared from public view, including the defense minister and the leadership of the force responsible for China’s intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). These disappearances are surprising given the perception that Chinese President Xi Jinping dominates the People’s Liberation Army and his ruthless commitment to rooting out malfeasance earlier in his tenure. In fact, that such incidents have not only continued but also affected some of the most sensitive parts of the PLA showcases the limits of Xi’s power.

Xi and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) more broadly have long granted the PLA considerable autonomy to run its own affairs. Allowing the PLA a high degree of independence helps ensure its political compliance with Xi and the party, yet with no civilian checks and balances, it also creates the conditions for malfeasance and poor accountability to fester. Although the details of the recent purges are still murky, they reflect Xi’s lack of confidence in some of his most senior officers.

Such doubts about the competence of his people and the equipment they have apparently mismanaged could weigh on Xi’s calculations of the risks of initiating a conflict—making him less certain that a decision to use force would achieve the intended results. As long as Xi doubts the stories his generals are telling him about their own proficiency, his mistrust in his own military will likely serve as a deterrent to war.

The Middle Corridor: A Geopolitical Game-Changer in Eurasian Trade

Pierre-Olivier Bussières

In an era marked by rapidly evolving trade dynamics and escalating geopolitical tensions, the rise of the Middle Corridor as a viable alternative trade route is more than just a noteworthy development; it’s a geopolitical game-changer. Bridging the gap between China and Europe via a network that runs through strategic countries such as Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, the Middle Corridor offers a fresh trade and economic landscape. This comes at a time when the traditional Northern Corridor, which is largely under Russian influence, is becoming increasingly less attractive due to Russia’s deteriorating international reputation following its invasion of Ukraine. The decline in Russia’s standing, especially regarding trade partnerships and geopolitical alignments, has added a sense of urgency to the quest for alternative, more stable trade routes. This shift has accelerated the need for a recalibration of global trade networks, making the Middle Corridor not merely an option but an imperative for nations looking to diversify their trading relationships and reduce geopolitical risk.

Gaining Momentum

While Central Asian countries have maintained a neutral stance in the Ukrainian war, they are acutely aware of the advantages of diversifying away from the Russian-dominated Northern Corridor. Central Asian states, keen to reduce geopolitical risks, have embraced the Middle Corridor for its potential to improve infrastructure and boost intraregional trade. As a result, cargo shipments along this emerging trade artery surged dramatically to 3.2 million tons in 2022.

Inside Iran’s influence operation

Jay Solomon


In the spring of 2014, senior Iranian Foreign Ministry officials initiated a quiet effort to bolster Tehran’s image and positions on global security issues — particularly its nuclear program — by building ties with a network of influential overseas academics and researchers. They called it the Iran Experts Initiative.

The scope and scale of the IEI project has emerged in a large cache of Iranian government correspondence and emails reported for the first time by Semafor and Iran International. The officials, working under the moderate President Hassan Rouhani, congratulated themselves on the impact of the initiative: At least three of the people on the Foreign Ministry’s list were, or became, top aides to Robert Malley, the Biden administration’s special envoy on Iran, who was placed on leave this June following the suspension of his security clearance.

Israel unveils new ‘5th generation’, ‘lightning’ version of Merkava tank


JERUSALEM — Israel this week unveiled the latest iteration of its Merkava family of tanks, what the Israeli Defense Force calls the ‘Lightning’ version of the Merkava IV.

The advanced tank has been under development and undergoing trials over the last half-decade. In a joint statement from Israel’s Ministry of Defense and the IDF, it was presented as a key to the future of the IDF, incorporating the latest sensors, artificial intelligence, networking and active protection system — technological, rather than structural advancements.

“The new era ushered in by the Barak tank is an extraordinary leap and an expression of the technological capabilities that continually enhance and secure the qualitative advantage of the IDF, both in defence and offence,” Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said in a statement Tuesday. The Commander of the 401st Armored Brigade, Col. Benny Aharon said the “absorption of the new tank is a tremendous opportunity to improve operational effectiveness in preparation for the next campaign and a force multiplier for the IDF, the Infantry, and the Armored Corps.”

Ukraine’s bumpy road ahead just got rockier

David A. Andelman

The vast store of goodwill accumulated among the forces of democracy for Ukraine and its courageous and utterly unorthodox president may be running dry.

That is the clearest and most present danger to the security of Europe and the entire Western alliance. It is surely also the fervent hope on which Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to pursue his carnage and the reason he has chanced his whole presidency on what once seemed like a sure bet, and is instead turning into a morass of quicksand and violence with no easy exit.

America — and its allies — must under no circumstances allow that to happen.

The dangers for Ukraine are even more profound than simply waffling by a handful of right-wing Republicans in Congress over appropriations — those prepared to throw under the bus an entire nation to their overweening ambition and distrust of Democrats.

Fissures are appearing across the hitherto united Western front that can only be sending shivers of joy up Putin’s spine. The worst of it is that at least some of this has been Ukraine’s own doing.

The slow pace of the counteroffensive, the rapidly expanding needs for ever more advanced weapons, the fears of enmeshing all of the NATO alliance in an expanded conflict and a host of more immediate issues have all converged in recent days into what could become a perfect storm of horrors for Ukraine.

The Rules-Based International Order Is Quietly Disintegrating

Walter Russell Mead

The most important fact in world politics is that 19 months after Vladimir Putin challenged the so-called rules-based international order head-on by invading Ukraine, the defense of that order is not going well. The world is less stable today than in February 2022, the enemies of the order hammer away, the institutional foundations of the order look increasingly shaky, and Western leaders don’t yet seem to grasp the immensity of the task before them.

This isn’t just about the military threats to the international system in such places as Ukraine and the Taiwan Strait. Even as the global geopolitical crisis becomes more acute, the core institutions and initiatives of the American-led world order and the governments that back them are growing progressively weaker and less relevant.

The United Nations was supposed to be the crown jewel of the rules-based order, but lately the power and prestige of this perennial underperformer has sunk to new lows. Among the leaders of the five permanent members of the Security Council, only Joe Biden bothered to show up for the General Assembly last week. Emmanuel Macron was too busy welcoming King Charles III on an entirely ceremonial state visit to Paris. Apparently neither the British king nor the French president thought the U.N. important enough to affect his plans. U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak blew off a letter from the heads of more than 100 international-development nongovernmental organizations urging him to attend, the first prime minister in a decade to skip the annual meeting.

Mr. Putin and China’s Xi Jinping also ditched the U.N. meeting, but they weren’t staying at home and washing their hair. Both ostentatiously demonstrated their contempt for Western norms by inviting international pariahs for high-profile visits. Just before the U.N. meeting, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un headed to a Russian space-launch site, where Mr. Putin courted him and both leaders bragged about their deepening relations. And during the General Assembly, Mr. Xi welcomed Syria’s beleaguered Bashar al-Assad to Hangzhou.

Russia Appears Ready To Accept Crimea as Ukraine's—On One Condition


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has appeared to back the territorial integrity of Ukraine agreed upon after the break-up of the Soviet Union when Crimea was internationally recognized as part of the country Moscow has invaded.

Ukrainian social media users noted Lavrov's response at a press conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday when asked whether Russia will "recognize the sovereignty of Ukraine."

Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014, and Kyiv has repeatedly stated that one of its war aims is the recapture of the occupied peninsula, which has been the scene of a series of recent high-profile strikes conducted by Ukrainian forces.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is seen at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on September 23, 2023. He said that Russia recognized the territorial integrity of Ukraine agreed in 1991 under certain conditions.

Lavrov said that in 1991 Moscow "recognized the sovereignty of Ukraine on the basis of the Declaration of Independence, which it adopted upon leaving the USSR," in which Crimea was considered to be under the control of Kyiv.

He said that the declaration "contained a lot of good things," which formed part of Ukraine's constitution, including protecting minority rights and the status of the Russian language.

"One of the main points for us was that Ukraine would be a non-aligned country and would not enter into any military alliances, Lavrov said. "Under those conditions, we support the territorial integrity of this state."

Ukraine’s Drone and Missile Tactics Transform Battlefield

Mykola Vorobiov

On September 22, the Ukrainian Armed Forces launched a missile strike on the Sevastopol headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet (Meduza, September 22). The Russian Defense Ministry reported that the “historic Black Sea Fleet headquarters building was damaged,” with independent sources claiming British-made Storm Shadow cruise missiles had been used in the attack (T.me/mod_russia; T.me/ENews112, September 22). This strike came after Ukrainian naval forces successfully carried out a special operation “causing serious damage” to the Saky airfield in Crimea. Reports show that Ukrainian forces used drones to overwhelm Russian air defenses, then launched Neptune missiles at the intended targets (Meduza, September 22).

Ukrainian drone attacks have increasingly targeted military objects on Russian territory. Perhaps the most striking example occurred with the strike on Russia’s Pskov airfield, some 700 kilometers from the Ukrainian border. According to Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukrainian Defense Intelligence, the attack was launched from Russian territory (Pravda.com.ua, September 1). In early August 2023, the Ukrainian Secret Service conducted a special operation on the Port of Novorossiysk. Naval drones attacked the Olenogorsky Gornyak landing ship and the SIG oil tanker causing serious damage (see EDM, August 18).

Ukrainian drones and missiles are attacking Moscow’s city center in higher numbers in an effort to sow panic and discord among the Russian public (Dw.com/ru, August 1). Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor in the Office of the President of Ukraine, recently declared on X (formerly Twitter) that Moscow is being pulled deeper into the conflict by “more unidentified drones, more collapse, more civil strife [and] more war” (Twitter.com/Podolyak_M). Due to this onslaught, the commander overseeing Moscow’s air defenses, Major General Konstantin Ogienko, was recently arrested on allegations of bribery and corruption (RBK, September 1).

Lazy Categories: East, West, North, South

Edward Lucas

The way we label places determines how we think about them. For this reason, I have always objected to the term “Eastern Europe”, which was once convenient shorthand for the countries that languished under communism. Taken literally, it never made sense. Prague is west of Vienna. Helsinki and Athens are in the geographical east of the continent, but not part of “Eastern Europe”. Russia’s giant, Kaliningrad-to-Kamchatka land mass busts the category completely.

Even taken as a loose description, it is now completely out of date. Connotations of poverty and backwardness are inaccurate. Poland, on current trends, will be richer than Britain by the end of the decade. Estonia’s digital governance makes most EU and NATO countries look primitive. Nor does geopolitics help: some “East European” countries are hawkish on Russia. Others, to put it mildly, are not. The best place for this outdated and misleading label is the bin.

A similar debate is now raging over another inaccurate term, the “Global South”. A recent commentary in the Financial Times said it was “patronizing, factually inaccurate, a contradiction in terms and a catalyst for political polarization”. Its defenders respond that it is a “geohistorical category”, referring to the countries (mostly but not all of them in the southern hemisphere) that suffered from Western colonialism, and are now poor and marginalized as a result.

Do We Stand At A ‘Tipping Point’ In Global Security?

James Holmes

The question posed by the organizers is: Will Taiwan be a tipping point in global security? Well, why don’t we start at the beginning and ask what a tipping point is?

Canvassing different dictionary definitions, there are some common denominators. A tipping point always involves a change of state. It always involves cause and effect. And it always involves time, time being the time consumed during the phase shift from one condition to another. Some definitions add that change is dramatic at the tipping point or irreversible after it. I don’t necessarily go along with those claims. Even a sweeping transformation may be hard to perceive when it happens, while changes of state are reversible in many cases.

Because I got my start as a marine engineer working with boilers, engines, and generators, I inclined to Malcolm Gladwell’s definition of a tipping point as a “boiling point.” I like it because it vividly conveys the image of a change from one state to another, and because it brings in the human factor where other definitions do not.

The boiling point, of course, is the temperature at which a substance begins changing from one physical state to another, such as from liquid water to steam within a boiler. Boiler tenders light fires, bring the water up to the boiling point and initiate a phase change from water into vapour, which has very different properties.

The EU and Azerbaijan: Time to Talk Tough


The events of the last week are triggering a debate on the need for a deep reset of Europe’s policy toward Azerbaijan.

It’s all about Karabakh, but it’s even bigger than that.

On September 19, Azerbaijan used military force to retake the Armenian-populated territory of Nagorny Karabakh, crossing a red line drawn for it by both the European Union and the United States.

The consequences are cataclysmic. The eventual casualties will run into the hundreds. Fearful for their future, thousands of Karabakh Armenians are now making a mass tragic exodus from their homeland to Armenia.

Many in Brussels and Washington feel shocked and betrayed by Azerbaijan’s use of force. Up until the last minute, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev was reportedly assuring high-level interlocutors—including European Council President Charles Michel and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken—that he would not launch a military operation.

At the United Nations, German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock, said it most clearly: “Baku broke its repeated assurances to refrain from the use of force, causing tremendous suffering to a population already in dire straits.”

An egregious aspect of this is that Azerbaijan was getting pretty much everything it wanted at the negotiating table. After years of deadlock and many equivocations, the Karabakh Armenians had agreed to talks with Baku, which would have resulted in a deal on some kind of integration into Azerbaijan. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had acceded to the international norm in acknowledging Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, including Nagorny Karabakh.

Russia Seals Its Southern Border

George Friedman

Russia’s focus currently is on its western front, in Ukraine and neighbouring countries. There is, however, another front that concerns Russia: its southern border, which runs along and through the Caucasus Mountains. South of the mountains lie Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

The mountains protect a strategic area of Russia. The area northwest of the mountains leads to the Sea of Azov and the Ukrainian border near Donbas, which has been heavily contested over the years. To the northeast is the Volga River and the historical city of Stalingrad, now called Volgograd. The land north of the mountains is flat, and from Astrakhan to Crimea is about 550 miles (885 kilometers). An attack on Russia from the south would have a decided effect on Russia’s ability to execute the war in Ukraine and, in the long run, could sever critical rivers such as the Volga and the Don. Therefore, protecting the Caucasus from penetration by any hostile force is vital.

South Korea Parades Troops and Powerful Weapons in Its Biggest Armed Forces Day Ceremony in Years

Hyung-Jim Kim

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea paraded thousands of troops and an array of weapons capable of striking North Korea through its capital as part of its biggest Armed Forces Day ceremony in 10 years on Tuesday, as its president vowed to build a stronger military to thwart any provocation by the North.

Concerns are growing that North Korea is seeking Russian help in expanding its nuclear arsenal in return for supplying Moscow with conventional arms exhausted by its war with Ukraine.

“After looking at your imposing march today, I believe our people would trust you and have faith in our national security,” Yoon Suk Yeol told cheering soldiers at the end of the ceremony in a central Seoul plaza. “I’ll always support you together with our people.”

Earlier, South Korea rolled tanks, artillery systems, drones and powerful ballistic missiles capable of hitting all of North Korea through the streets of Seoul, amid steady autumn rains. About 4,000 South Korean troops carrying rifles or flags followed them, accompanied by about 300 U.S. soldiers, in the first such military parade since 2013.

As the soldiers and their weapons went past, Yoon waved, clapped and flashed a thumbs-up.

Is Future Escalation in Cyber Conflict a Foregone Conclusion?


Recently, Artur Lyukmanov the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s International Information Security Department warned that continued cyber clashes threatened to catalyze into “all-out war” between Russia and the United States. Lyukmanov, who also serves as special representative to Vladimir Putin on international cooperation on information security, stressed that such cyber hostilities were a deteriorating force, which could lead to direct conflict, particularly if cyber attacks were misinterpreted or else caused a devastating impact against critical infrastructure, ultimately compelling some form of retaliatory action.

This statement comes at a time when the cyber part of the Ukraine war has brought in state, nonstate, and even private sector involvement in various aspects of coordinated and autonomous cyber offensive and defensive operations. The activities have extended beyond the two principal states involved in the war, with cyber attacks coming from foreign state and nonstate assets and targeting sympathetic governments and even private sector organizations that have demonstrated solidarity with either side. This situation underscores Lyukmanov’s concerns that cyber hostilities quickly risk becoming global problems given the amount of official and non-official participants such events can bring to the table, creating an unchecked free-for-all in cyberspace.

U.S. Army Hospital in Germany Is Treating Americans Hurt Fighting in Ukraine

Dave Philipps and Eric Schmitt

A group of Ukrainian Army soldiers pierced by Russian grenades and mortar shells arrived at a hospital recently in need of surgery. It would have been a familiar scene from the bloody war grinding on in Ukraine, except for two crucial differences: Most of the wounded soldiers were American, and so was the hospital — the U.S. Army’s flagship medical center in Germany.

The Army has quietly started to treat wounded Americans and other fighters evacuated from Ukraine at its Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Though the number so far is small — currently 14 — it marks a notable new step in the United States’ deepening involvement in the conflict.

When the war erupted in 2022, hundreds of Americans — many of them military veterans — rushed to help defend Ukraine. Nineteen months later, perhaps a few hundred are still there, volunteering for local militias or serving under contract with the Ukrainian national army.

An unknown number of them have been shot, hit by artillery, blown up by mines or otherwise injured in combat. About 20 have been killed. Most of the wounded have had to rely on a patchwork of Ukrainian hospitals and Western charities for help. Now, though, the Pentagon has stepped in to offer some of them the same care it gives to American active-duty troops.

British Army general says UK now conducting ‘hunt forward’ operations

Alexander Martin

Lt. Gen. Tom Copinger-Symes is the deputy commander of the United Kingdom’s Strategic Command, responsible for the Ministry of Defence’s offensive and defensive cyber capabilities — as well as activities that lie somewhere in between.

He told Recorded Future News that Strategic Command was now opening up about its hunt forward operations — a type of defensive activity pioneered by U.S. Cyber Command in which military cyber experts deploy to a foreign nation to detect malicious activity on the host nation’s networks.

These operations were previously softly referenced in the Defence Command Paper 2023, when the MoD stated: “Our ability to both learn from events and hunt forward to find threats will generate strategic advantage for our personnel and partners in conflict.” Explicit confirmation that the British Armed Forces have been conducting hunt forward operations has not previously been reported.

Affectionately known as General Tom to his subordinates, Copinger-Symes has recently overseen the creation of the National Cyber Force (NCF) which consolidates British offensive cyber activities and includes staff from the signals intelligence agency GCHQ, the Secret Intelligence Service and the MoD.

Army cyber tool will focus on broader information environment


Military service members assigned to the 7th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Bliss, Texas, and 729th Air Control Squadron, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, conduct warfare operations at the Tactical Operations Center-Light (TOC-L) on Oct. 14, 2022, during Project Convergence 22 experimentation at March Air Reserve Base, California. PC22, a multimonth event, enables the Department of Defense and its multinational partners to assess future warfighting concepts and capabilities. 

Atool the Army had been developing to allow commanders to visualize the cyberspace environment is evolving to encompass the entire information environment, including social media.

Cyber Situational Understand, or Cyber-SU, is specifically designed for ground commanders to have better insight into the cyber and electromagnetic landscape to make more informed decisions, but it is not meant to be used for cyberspace operations.

As the information landscape has changed in recent years, the program has received new requirements to allow commanders to better understand the entirety of their battlespace.

“Where we’re going from a requirements perspective, we’re starting to make a soft pivot toward the information space. The last couple of years, we’ve been very much focused on cyber and collecting cyber data, producing that cyber layer in the common operating picture. But now, we’re venturing into the gray space,” Col. Matthew Paul, project manager for mission command at the program executive office for command, control, and communications-tactical, told DefenseScoop in an interview. “We want to be able to have access to publicly available information to include social media data — being able to access that sort of data to fuse it with all of our cyber data to give that commander the picture about the information space within the area of operation so we understand what is the sentiment, what is the media narrative, what are the people saying in the area of responsibility?”

‘Not enough’: Space Force pauses commercial strategy to flesh out ‘actionable’ plans with industry


AMOS 2023 — Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman has, in essence, sent the Space Force’s draft Commercial Space Strategy back to the drawing board, seeking to flesh it out with more specifics on what exactly the service believes it needs from industry for each of its mission areas.

Saltzman on Wednesday told the annual Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies (AMOS) Conference in Hawaii that after reading through the draft, “I said, ‘this is not enough.’ … It can’t just be a strategy with aspirational platitudes about how we’re going to work together. I just don’t think that’s where we are today. It has to have more tangible guidance, things that we can take action on.”

The document, he stressed, has to move from “aspirational to actionable” — echoing the growing industry concerns about the need to turn rhetoric on leveraging commercial innovation into real programs with real money.

“So, I started asking some questions amongst the staff, like, ‘What is the appropriate division between those services which commercial industry can provide and those services which have to be inherently governmental because of the nature of the effort, the nature of the consequences that come with it? And quite frankly, there’s not a lot of easy answers,” Saltzman added.

Takshashila Policy Advisory - Regulatory Mechanism for Over-The-Top (OTT) Communication Services and Selective Banning of OTT Services

Bharath Reddy & Rijesh Panicker
Source Link

A. Issues Related to Regulatory Mechanism for OTT Communication Services

Over-The-Top (OTT) communication services differ significantly from traditional telecom services, and treating them similarly could harm consumer welfare. These services operate globally, and subjecting them to diverse regulations across different regions could hinder their growth and adaptability.

Far from substituting traditional services leading to a loss of revenue, OTT communication services create additional demand for data, which generates revenue for telecom service providers. Furthermore, intense market competition among platforms like WhatsApp, Skype, and Signal leads to continual innovation and improved services. Imposing stringent licensing or regulations on OTT communication services poses challenges in complying with diverse regulations globally, inhibiting innovation and consolidation among players and reducing consumer welfare.

OTT communication platforms are agile and can quickly adapt to market needs, and over-regulation might hinder their ability to serve consumers effectively.

29 September 2023

Pakistani cyber attackers using country domain code to target Indian defense personnel


The Indian government has released a cybersecurity advisory cautioning that Indian defence personnel are being targeted by Pakistani cyber attackers. These attackers are reaching out to their targets using websites registered under the domain - .IN.

Cyber threat actors are constantly devising new methods to target potential victims, and this is one of their most recent tactics.

Moreover, this particular tactic is significant as the .IN domain is India's top country code internet domain, hence making it harder for people to discern where the website is being operated and by whom.

According to the advisory accessed by Moneycontrol, these websites are being hosted by Pakistan-based malicious actors, and are being used "to trap Indian defence personnel".

This comes at a time when various branches of the Indian defense, including the Indian Navy, have been targeted by threat actors.

Fixing Global Governance


EDINBURGH – After India’s G20 summit and the UN General Assembly this month, world leaders will attend the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings in Marrakesh, before heading to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai. But there is little optimism that these summits will deliver meaningful progress in tackling our greatest challenges, not because of any lack of resolve, but because the global rulebook we have been following since the end of World War II is no longer fit for purpose.

The world’s growing fragmentation was confirmed at the G20 summit. Though the meeting signaled India’s arrival as a major power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s moment of triumph was fleeting. The summit did little to prevent the 2020s from almost certainly becoming a low-growth decade.

U.S. Shared Intelligence With Canada After Alleged Assassination of Sikh Separatist

Dustin Volz

WASHINGTON—Canadian intelligence agencies intercepted communications among Indian diplomats indicating that New Delhi was involved in the killing of a Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia earlier this year, a Western official familiar with the matter said.

Those intercepts, combined with a stream of intelligence shared by the U.S., led Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, to publicly accuse India of playing a role in the shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was gunned down in the parking lot of a Sikh temple.

U.S. officials are reluctant to talk about the alleged assassination plot at the same time the Biden administration is eager to forge closer ties with India to counter China, though President Biden’s national-security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said last week the accusation was a “matter of concern.” U.S. spy agencies recently provided briefings to the congressional intelligence committees about the assassination plot, according to congressional aides.

While Canada generated the most in-depth intelligence about the assassination plot on its own, U.S. spy agencies shared intelligence that helped firm up and contextualize Ottawa’s conclusion that India was responsible, according to the Western official.

The specific U.S.-produced intelligence was given to Ottawa after the alleged assassination occurred, the official said, and while considered helpful it was Canada’s interception of electronic communications among Indian diplomats that chiefly drove its conclusion and public accusation.

Another Round of 'Physical Isolation'? Beware, Military Cadres


Worldview Weekly #1: China’s Views on India-Canada Spat

The diplomatic spat between India and Canada has escalated quickly in a week’s time ever since Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the Government of India of being involved in the extra-judicial killing of the Sikh separatist leader Nijjar in Canada.

Canada followed up the accusation with the expulsion of an Indian diplomat and RAW officer to which New Delhi responded by sending back the Canadian Deputy High Commissioner in India. India rubbished Trudeau’s claims and demanded that Canada share evidence. India has since also suspended visa facilities and attached to the state properties of several Sikh separatists in India.

The issue also caught headlines in Chinese media, which saw it as an opportunity to highlight the faultlines underlying alliances centered around the US and its double standards with respect to treating India, although not in the manner the Indians have argued.

On the question of the US’s lukewarm or rather lackadaisical response to Canadian accusations of India’s involvement in the killing of a Canadian citizen (recall the Kashoggi incident), Li Haidong, a professor at the Chinese Foreign Affairs University, agreed with the general consensus that “India occupies an absolutely leading position in the overall Asia-Pacific strategy of the US” and that “this move shows the US’s desire to woo India to serve its geopolitical interests in the Asia-Pacific region.”

China Can’t Catch a Break in Asian Public Opinion

Zuri Linetsky

China has a soft-power problem—especially among its neighbours in Asia. New data collected by my organization, the Eurasia Group Foundation, demonstrates that many people in Singapore, the Philippines, and South Korea have unfavourable views of China’s soft power. While about three-quarters of people surveyed reported favourable views of U.S. soft power (a composite measure of views of the United States, its culture, its system of government, and its influence over the past five years), just over one-third said they had similarly favourable views of Chinese soft power. This is a concrete problem for Beijing because, in the Philippines and South Korea, it contributes to policy changes that conflict with China’s objectives.

China and Russia: The New Axis of Evil

Con Coughlin
  • Xi has been eyeing the South and East China Seas, coopting the Solomon Islands, building and militarizing his own artificial islands, and threatening not only Taiwan, but neighbours such as Australia, India and Japan.
  • Putin seized and occupied territory in Georgia in 2008, and Ukraine in 2014 (Crimea) and 2023, not to mention his relentless bellicosity towards the Baltic states and eastern Europe.
  • There are mounting concerns... in Western security circles that in return for providing any uplift in military support for Russia, Kim wants Moscow to provide technical assistance for his missile and satellite programmes, which would seriously enhance North Korea's ability to threaten the West with its nuclear arsenal.
  • Any attempt by Russia to help improve North Korea's military strength will also benefit China's Communist rulers: it will provide North Korea with the ability to intensify the threat that all three countries pose to the US and its allies -- and to global security.
It is more than twenty years since then US President George W. Bush first identified an "axis of evil" of rogue states that threatened global security, and now a new alliance of malign states is taking shape with Russia and China acting as its new lynchpins.

Back in 2002, when Bush first articulated his notion of rogue nations in his State of the Union address made in the wake of the September 11 attacks, he identified Iraq, Iran and North Korea as states that, together with their terrorist allies, "constitute an axis of evil...by seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger."

Is Chinese Youth Unemployment As Bad As It Looks?


China’s exceptional growth in recent decades has influenced the education and career choices of young people and their families. But now that high-skilled jobs are drying up and recent graduates are struggling to find work, there is a growing mismatch between expectations and new realities.

CHICAGO – China’s youth unemployment rate, after rising every month this year, reached a record high of 21.3% in June. Faced with hypercompetitive work environments and grim job prospects, many of the country’s young workers and middle-class professionals have embraced the “lying flat” movement – which means opting out of the culture of overwork and consumerism – while others have quit to become “full-time children.” In the wake of these startling trends, the Chinese government has stopped publishing monthly youth-unemployment data, triggering a stream of negative headlines about China’s economic “collapse.”

The Electric Vehicle Revolution Comes for German Industry


While German carmakers pined for the golden era of the internal combustion engine, Chinese firms gained an almost insurmountable lead in electric vehicles. By forming joint ventures with Chinese EV and battery manufacturers, German companies could acquire the necessary know-how to remain globally competitive.

MUNICH – At September’s IAA auto show in Munich, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz appealed to domestic car manufacturers, urging them to welcome competition from Asia rather than trying to curb the influx of Chinese-made electric vehicles. No other country, he insisted, could match Germany’s automotive engineering expertise. But while Scholz’s assertion was certainly true in the golden era of the internal combustion engine, Germany lacks the expertise required to compete directly with Chinese manufacturers on EVs.

Hostility Between the United States and China Looks Increasingly Inescapable

Paul Heer

Washington and Beijing have been taking steps to resume normal diplomatic engagement, which had been largely suspended for several months after the “spy balloon” incident in February. A potential meeting between Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping at the APEC summit in San Francisco in November is widely viewed as the next opportunity to restore some positive momentum to the relationship. To that end, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan recently met with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi, and Secretary of State Blinken met with Chinese vice president Han Zheng on the margins of the UN General Assembly.

However, frankly, it is getting increasingly difficult to anticipate any scenario for substantial rapprochement between the United States and China in the near term, if not the foreseeable future. This is because of the structural and historical forces driving their strategic rivalry, the adversarial dynamic of their interactions, and the domestic politics on both sides that thwart mutual understanding and accommodation. These drivers keep pushing both sides—despite their rhetoric about getting bilateral relations back on track—to exchange harsh rhetoric and pursue antagonistic and retributive policies toward each other, fueling competitive tensions and hindering progress toward détente.

The historical context is fundamental. The United States spent most of the past seventy-five years as the preeminent power in the world and got used to taking that position for granted and taking advantage of it. But the end of the Cold War, coinciding as it did with China’s economic rise,

Belt and Road at 10: A Paradigm Shift in Development Finance?

Zachary Fillingham

Ever since its largely unremarkable inception in a speech at Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev University in 2013, President Xi’s landmark Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has represented a moving target for analysts and policymakers. The branding has evolved – from a Maritime Silk Road of the 21st century, to One Belt One Road, before finally settling on the current form. So too has the project’s geographic scope, which branched out from its original Eurasian focus to eventually encompass Africa, Oceania, Latin America, and even the Arctic. And in a shift beyond the original economic thrust of promoting infrastructure development, Belt and Road has evolved into a banner under which numerous educational, environmental, and technological exchanges proliferate around the world. Just two of many examples include the ‘Digital Silk Road,’ which seeks to expand the footprint of China’s tech giants and afford them a larger role in shaping global standards, and the ‘Space Silk Road’ which facilitates satellite launches and technical cooperation among developing countries.

It’s not only the Belt and Road Initiative that has been changing over the past decade. Shifts in the global distribution of economic and diplomatic power have also unfolded, leading to a gradual eclipse of US preeminence that has favored the expansion of the BRI, a platform that is generally presented as an alternative to traditional Western circuits of development finance. A similarly upward trajectory can be discerned in two other young institutions synonymous with China’s expanding global clout – the BRICS grouping and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) – both of which have expanded their membership and diplomatic influence in recent years.

China’s Economic Slowdown Was Inevitable

Yasheng Huang

As China’s economy steadily grew in recent decades, its advocates championed the country as an antithesis—and an antidote—to liberal economics and politics. This argument seemed credible as China grew rapidly under an autocratic and economically statist system. At the same time, the United States—that beacon of Western democracy—was suffering from economic and political sclerosis.

This contrast between the Chinese and U.S. systems, and their disparate performances, led to questions regarding the effectiveness of the Western model of free markets and liberal democracy. Perhaps, as some observers have argued—including, most recently, the economist Keyu Jin—the Chinese economic miracle could be evidence of an alternative playbook to that which enabled the West’s success. China has risen, in this view, thanks to the power of statism and the wisdom of Confucianism craftily combined with the efficiency of the private sector. As China’s growth rate consistently averaged nine percent a year, the basic ingredients in standard economics came into doubt. Perhaps market finance, the rule of law, and property rights were unnecessary and, from the perspective of Chinese culture, undesirable and counterproductive contrivances.

Blasting Bullhorns and Water Cannons, Chinese Ships Wall Off the Sea

Hannah Beech

The Chinese military base on Mischief Reef, off the Philippine island of Palawan, loomed in front of our boat, obvious even in the predawn dark.

Radar domes, used for military surveillance, floated like nimbus clouds. Lights pointed to a runway made for fighter jets, backed by warehouses perfect for surface-to-air missiles. More than 900 miles from the Chinese mainland, in an area of the South China Sea that an international tribunal has unequivocally determined does not belong to China, cellphones pinged with a message: “Welcome to China.”

The world’s most brazen maritime militarization is gaining muscle in waters through which one-third of global ocean trade passes. Here, on underwater reefs that are known as the Dangerous Ground, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, or P.L.A., has fortified an archipelago of forward operating bases that have branded these waters as China’s despite having no international legal grounding. China’s coast guard, navy and a fleet of fishing trawlers harnessed into a militia are confronting other vessels, civilian and military alike.

Chinese Facilities on Mischief Reef

The real reasons for the west’s protectionism

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“Trade freely with China and time is on our side.” That was the confident view of George W Bush, the former US president, in the run-up to China joining the World Trade Organization in 2001. A generation later, many in the west have come to the conclusion that time was, in fact, on China’s side.

Bush was making a political judgment. He believed that a China that integrated deeply with the global economy would become more open and more democratic. But under Xi Jinping China has become more closed and authoritarian. It is also more overtly hostile to the US. Meanwhile, China’s rapid economic growth has funded a massive military build-up. 

Some US policymakers now look back to the decision to admit China to the WTO as a mistake. They believe that the huge boost this gave to Chinese exports also contributed significantly to the deindustrialisation of America. Rising inequality in the US then helped to fuel the rise of Donald Trump. 

That raises an awkward question. What if globalisation, far from promoting democracy in China, undermined democracy in the US? It would be an amusing historical irony — if we were not living with the consequences. 

Fears about the health of US democracy underpin the embrace of industrial policy by the Biden White House. Biden has retained the tariffs on China imposed by Trump and added lavish subsidies designed to reindustrialise America and give the US the lead in the technologies of the future. The White House sees these policies as crucial to the stabilisation of American society and its democratic system.