19 January 2023

The Marines have a new ship-killing weapons system to counter China

The Marine Littoral Regiments that the United States will establish on Okinawa and Guam in the coming years will be armed with the Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System, or NMESIS, which will allow the Marines to destroy enemy ships.

NMESIS is currently still being tested, but it is on schedule to be delivered to the 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment in Hawaii at the end of fiscal 2023, said Ashley M. Calingo, a spokeswoman for Marine Corps Systems Command.

Each Marine Littoral Regiment will be made up of roughly 2,000 Marines and sailors and include an anti-ship battery that uses NMESIS, which consists of Naval Strike Missiles, with a range of up to 115 miles, mounted on unmanned Joint Light Tactical Vehicles.

The vehicles are operated remotely for the protection of NMESIS crews, ensuring they will be separate from the launchers, which can be targeted by an enemy, said Joe McPherson, program manager for Long Range Fires at Marine Corps Systems Command, in a Sept. 2021 Marine Corps news release.

Over the past 20 to 30 years, America’s potential adversaries have invested heavily in weapons that are meant to destroy U.S. ships and aircraft, McPherson said in the news release. One of NMESIS’ advantages over other U.S. military weapons is that ground-based launchers have proven to be hard for enemies to find in past wars, he said.

Germany’s Bet on China Is a Crisis in the Making

by John Austin Elaine Dezenski

BASF, the German chemical products behemoth, made a bet on Russia in recent decades. After Russia invaded Ukraine, that bet failed to pay off. Now it’s making another risky bet on China, just as great power competition is heating up.

In 1990, BASF forged an alliance that would provide the company—and Germany more broadly—with a steady supply of inexpensive Russian natural gas. BASF is Europe’s largest commercial consumer of Russian gas. At its largest factory—a small, self-contained city with its own hospital and wastewater treatment plant—BASF consumed thirty-seven terawatt-hours of Russian natural gas in 2021, nearly 4 percent of Germany's total natural gas consumption that year. The fuel became so essential that the CEO of BASF referred to Russian gas as “the basis of our industry’s competitiveness.”

.Months after Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, a unified Europe turned off the tap of Russian oil and gas, starving BASF of much-needed energy and chemical ingredients. BASF tried to weather the restrictions by dialing back production, but with the prospect of the continuing sanctions and a war stretching toward its second year, BASF has cut its losses and moved operations to China, where it is building a €10 billion factory complex in Guangdong.

BASF is not alone. Germany’s economic and industrial might has depended heavily on cheap Russian gas. High energy prices and uncertain supply have impacted German companies large and small. Facing energy uncertainty, a shocking 9 percent of Germany’s small and medium industrial companies are also considering moving operations abroad.

China's Desert Storm Education

Commander Michael Dahm, U.S. Navy (Retired)

China took lessons from Operation Desert Storm and remade itself with foreign technology to build a formidable joint military force with expeditionary ambitions.

THE 1991 GULF WAR was a harbinger of change for the Chinese military. In just 42 days, a United States–led coalition eviscerated the Iraqi military and expelled it from Kuwait. Before Operation Desert Storm, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was aware of its shortcomings relative to the West, but the war underscored the magnitude of the problem. The similarities between the PLA and the vanquished Iraqi military—an army-centric force organized for a defensive campaign—created a sense of urgency, as Beijing realized its military was ill-prepared to face a modern foe like the United States. The transformations in Chinese military strategy, technology, and force structure born out of the Gulf War have been seismic, shifting the balance of power in East Asia and portending global challenges for the U.S. military.

The 30th anniversary of the Gulf War is an appropriate time to examine where the PLA was three decades ago and what it may become. Chinese President Xi Jinping recently set a goal for the PLA to become a “world class military” by 2049, the centennial of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. What the U.S. military accomplished in Operation Desert Storm certainly represents a world-class standard in terms of joint force, expeditionary operations. Well before Xi’s edict to achieve this status, however, China understood its military needed a complete overhaul to achieve three outcomes: a joint force featuring a substantially improved air force and navy; precision-strike capabilities; and a modern command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) system. As impossible as those lofty goals may have seemed in 1991, in just a few decades, the PLA has made stunning progress toward them.

A Glimpse at What a China-Centric World Would Look Like


A few days ago, a story in the Diplomat provided the United States and the West with another glimpse at what a China-centric world would look like. Zhanargul Zhumatai is a 47-year-old Kazakh artist and former radio and television editor who was arrested by Chinese police in September 2017 and spent two years in an internment camp in Xinjiang. She was “beaten and tortured” in the camp and was denied access to medical treatment in an effort to get her to confess to her “crimes.” She was finally released in October 2019 and currently resides in an apartment in Ürümqi, the capital of Xinjiang province. She told the Diplomat that she lives “in utter fear.”

Zhumatai’s “crime” consisted of having Facebook and Instagram on her phone and traveling to Kazakhstan. Chinese police arrested her after inviting her back to Ürümqi to do an “artistic musical project.” She told the Diplomat that she couldn’t understand why she was arrested and why the Chinese authorities tried to force her to plead guilty. “They told me,” Zhumatai said, “that the CCP was trying to correct the ideologies that I had.” This story will sound familiar to readers of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, which describes his own arrest as “a blinding flash and a blow which shifts the present instantly into the past and the impossible into omnipotent actuality.” Solzhenitsyn’s first reaction was: “Me? What for?” And then the comforting thought: “It’s a mistake! They’ll set things right!” But, of course, they never did. Solzhenitsyn had the temerity to make a joke about Stalin — and, for that, he got eight years in the gulag camps.

Zhumatai refused to plead guilty despite threats to place her in a mental hospital — another tactic that the CCP borrowed from the Soviets. So, they sent her home instead, but she said that she is under “constant surveillance” by police, her mother and siblings have been threatened, she cannot access her own money, authorities have disconnected her phone, and she is unable to get a job due to her arrest. “For the three years since her release,” reports the Diplomat, “she has been hounded by Chinese police. Zhumatai cannot visit any public place without an alarm being set off due to facial recognition technology, which prompts hours [of] further police interrogation.” She has been denied medical care. She is essentially a prisoner in her own home. She is not permitted to travel abroad.

China records 1st population fall in decades as births drop


BEIJING (AP) — China’s population shrank for the first time in decades last year as its birthrate plunged, official figures showed Tuesday, adding to pressure on leaders to keep the economy growing despite an aging workforce and at a time of rising tension with the U.S.

Despite the official numbers, some experts believe China’s population has been in decline for a few years — a dramatic turn in a country that once sought to control such growth through a one-child policy.

Many wealthy countries are struggling with how to respond to aging populations, which can be a drag on economic growth as shrinking numbers of workers try to support growing numbers of elderly people.

But the demographic change will be especially difficult to manage in a middle-income country like China, which does not have the resources to care for an aging population in the same way that one like Japan does. Over time, that will likely slow its economy and perhaps even the world’s, and could potentially keep inflation higher in many developed economies.

“China has become older before it has become rich,” said Yi Fuxian, a demographer and expert on Chinese population trends at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

A slowing economy could also pose a political problem for the ruling Communist Party, if shrinking opportunities foment public discontent. Anger over strict COVID-19 lockdowns, which were a drag on the economy, spilled over late last year into protests that in some cases called for leader Xi Jinping to step down — a rare direct challenge to the party.

Taiwan’s Outlying Islands Are at Risk

Frederik Kelter

On the Taiwanese island of Kinmen, as waves break against the rows of anti-landing spikes that protrude from the sand, Wang Ne-Xie—a local and former military man—gazes out across the water.

Through the light haze shrouding the horizon he spots the vague silhouettes of skyscrapers rising like ghostly columns toward the sky. They constitute the outline of the Chinese city of Xiamen, which stands only a few miles from Kinmen on the Chinese mainland.

The skyscrapers fade from view in the gentle light of dusk, but around the Taiwanese island things are far from peaceful these days. Out in the Taiwan Strait, near-daily incursions of Chinese military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone have continued unabated since former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in early August. Meanwhile, large-scale protests against harsh COVID lockdowns erupted in November throughout major Chinese cities in the biggest act of defiance to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rule in more than 30 years. Developments on the Chinese domestic front and the Chinese conduct across the Taiwan Strait have convinced Wang that the Chinese will attempt an invasion of Kinmen.

Industrial espionage: How China sneaks out America's technology secrets

Nicholas Yong

It was an innocuous-looking photograph that turned out to be the downfall of Zheng Xiaoqing, a former employee with energy conglomerate General Electric Power.

According to a Department of Justice (DOJ) indictment, the US citizen hid confidential files stolen from his employers in the binary code of a digital photograph of a sunset, which Mr Zheng then mailed to himself.

It was a technique called steganography, a means of hiding a data file within the code of another data file. Mr Zheng utilised it on multiple occasions to take sensitive files from GE.

GE is a multinational conglomerate known for its work in the healthcare, energy and aerospace sectors, making everything from refrigerators to aircraft engines.

The information Zheng stole was related to the design and manufacture of gas and steam turbines, including turbine blades and turbine seals. Considered to be worth millions, it was sent to his accomplice in China. It would ultimately benefit the Chinese government, as well as China-based companies and universities.

Zheng was sentenced to two years in prison earlier this month. It is the latest in a series of similar cases prosecuted by US authorities. In November Chinese national Xu Yanjun, said to be a career spy, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for plotting to steal trade secrets from several US aviation and aerospace companies - including GE.

It is part of a broader struggle as China strives to gain technological knowhow to power its economy and its challenge to the geopolitical order, while the US does its best to prevent a serious competitor to American power from emerging.

The Global Struggle for Tech Mastery


There is no longer any doubt about the challenge that China, Russia, and other authoritarian regimes pose to international rule of law, respect for sovereignty, democratic principles, and free people. These threats have grown as China and Russia have harnessed new technologies to surveil populations, manipulate information, and control data flows. They are setting an example for how authoritarians can further clamp down on freedom of thought, expression, and association. China’s draconian zero-COVID measures may yet test that control, but its use of technologies like drones to monitor quarantine adherence represent a new era of digital repression.

Rising geopolitical tensions have coincided with growing encroachments by disruptive technologies into all aspects of public and private life. The implications for 2023 and beyond are clear: the technology platforms of the future are the new terrain of strategic competition. The United States therefore has a core interest in making sure that these technologies are designed, built, fielded, and governed by democracies.


Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s invasion (with considerable support from other democracies) crystallizes how technology is transforming geopolitics. A highly networked, tech-savvy country quickly came together against a much larger adversary that initially seemed to possess an overwhelming military advantage. Ukraine is now winning the world’s first digitally networked war, because it has harnessed software innovation and maximized the use of open-source technology and decentralized operations. Its tech capabilities are all stitched together by uninterrupted internet access.

Turkey plays a tough balancing act as it strengthens ties with Russia

While the West has cut off much of its business with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, NATO member Turkey has increased its trade with Russia for political and economic reasons.


As the U.S. and other Western countries imposed sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, one ally has kept business going. Turkey, which is a member of NATO, has more than doubled its trade with Russia in 2022, compared to the year before, and that has created breathing room for Russia's squeezed economy. NPR's Fatma Tanis reports on what Turkey has gotten out of it.

FATMA TANIS, BYLINE: To understand modern Turkish-Russian economic ties, one has to go back 30 years to the fall of the Soviet Union, says Turkey's former trade attache to Moscow, Aydin Sezer.

AYDIN SEZER: (Speaking Turkish) - shuttle trade.

TANIS: That's when an informal exchange of goods known as shuttle trade began. Travelers would carry goods back and forth and sell them on the streets. But the relationship took another huge leap since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Turkish businesses swooped in to fill the void left by Western companies setting new trade records. Today, Turkey is in the top three of Russia's global trade partners. It's kept a neutral stance in the war or you could say plays both sides. It supplies Ukraine with drones, weapons, armored vehicles but keeps doing business with Russia.

IBRAHIM KALIN: Imposing sanctions on Russia at this point will penalize Turkish economy rather than the Russian economy because of gas dependency that we have with them.

TANIS: That's Ibrahim Kalin, chief adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. There are other economic ties as well. Millions of travelers from Russia visit Turkey's Mediterranean beaches every year, bringing significant cash flow. The war has also changed the dynamics between the leaders of the two countries, says former Turkish trade attache Aydin Sezer.

SEZER: (Speaking Turkish).

Water Wars: The Geopolitics of Resource Conflict in the Middle East

By Alp Sevimlisoy

Across the Euphrates lies one of the most precious commodities, not a dark viscous liquid that we formally refer to as Petroleum or a shimmering precious metal such as gold, but rather a translucent substance that is imperative to our lives, simply called, water. The Euphrates Dam has been the site of many historical conquests ranging from the Akkadian Empire to the Seleucids and subsequently the Romans and the Ottomans. In more recent history it led to a standoff between the Turkish Armed Forces and the Syrian Republic when, during the 1990s, water disruptions led the Atatürk Dam in Southeast Turkey to be prioritized by the country’s national security apparatus, with an ultimatum being delivered that any obstructions would lead to Turkish troops entering Syria to restore order. Following the statement, the Arab Republic of Syria met Turkish demands and an agreement was made to ensure unobstructed flows of water across the Euphrates River across their shared border.

The Turkish Armed Forces conducted operation Euphrates Shield in 2016 to achieve a foothold in the area and clear out Marxist and religious fundamentalist groups; however, a secondary objective was to take control of water flows from the Euphrates. Many policy makers have been discussing diminishing oil reserves to be the main facet of resource-based conflicts, yet water – an imperative day-to-day commodity – is often overlooked and is in reality a major asset that is sought to be secured as a vital state interest.

The Euphrates Dam in Syria is currently in the hands of the aforementioned internationally outlawed groups whereby prior to this it was held by religious extremists, a point to outline with regard to many illegal groups seeing it as a base from which to ‘leverage’ their demands across the region. The liberation of the dam and a restoration to a mutual management of the Euphrates River via both the Atatürk Dam in Turkey and the Euphrates Dam in Syria is only possible via the cooperation of the Turkish Armed Forces and the Syrian Army in synchronicity with the National Iraqi forces also. Only via the control of nation states which have a proven track record of the successful upkeep and flow of water resources regionally can we ensure that proxy conflicts do not occur as a result of potential resource ‘blackmailing.’

Experts see ‘desperation’ in ‘flailing’ Putin’s war leadership shuffle


Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “flailing” decision this week to name a new leader for his invasion of Ukraine reflects a growing sense of desperation for the Kremlin, U.S. experts say.

The appointment of Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the former chief of Russia’s general staff, as overall commander of the country’s so-called special military operation has global watchers increasingly dubious of Putin’s wartime strategy following a series of embarrassing battlefield losses since summer.

But the switch-up, which included the demotion of Gen. Sergey Surovikin, head of the invasion since October, could also indicate a coming escalation of Russia’s brutal war tactics.

“My sense is that Putin is flailing because he’s not getting what he wants,” former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor told The Hill.

“His military is failing. He’s trying to shake things up in order to get a better outcome, and that’s not the problem. … His military is not capable of doing what he wants for all kinds of institutional, historical, corruption, competence reasons, and shaking up the command structure, I don’t think it is going to get him what he wants.”

That line of thinking was shared by the Pentagon’s top spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, who said Putin’s decisions point to ongoing logistical, leadership and manpower challenges for Russia in the fight, now nearly in its second year.

Gerasimov’s promotion reflects “some of the systemic challenges that the Russian military has faced since the beginning of this invasion,” Ryder told reporters Thursday.

“We’ve talked about some of those things in terms of its logistics problems, command and control problems, sustainment problems, morale and the large failure to obtain the strategic objectives that they’ve set for themselves,” he added.

What Are Poseidon Torpedoes? Putin's 'Unstoppable' Nuclear Weapon


On Monday, Russia's state-owned media agency TASS reported that the country had developed its first set of "unstoppable" Poseidon nuclear-capable super torpedoes, which a pro-Vladimir Putin TV host said is capable of causing a tsunami that could drown the U.K. under a 500-meter tidal wave of radioactive seawater.

Quoting an unidentified source close to Russia's military, TASS said that Russia's Belgorod nuclear submarine will receive them "in the near future."

The news agency also said that the crew of the submarine has already completed tests with models of the weapon.
In this combination image, Russian nuclear submarine Dmitrij Donskoj which is 172 meters long and is thus the largest nuclear powered submarine in the world sails under the Great Belt Bridge between Jyutland and Fun through Danish waters, near Korsor, on July 21, 2017 and inset image of Vladimir Putin during the Navy Day Parade, on July, 31 2022, in Saint Petersburg

The Belgorod could carry up to eight Poseidons, according to a U.S. Congressional Research Service (CRS) report.

Poseidon was first announced by President Vladimir Putin in 2018. Putin said it was fundamentally a new type of strategic nuclear weapon with its own power source.

Putin boasted at the time: "They are very low noise, have high maneuverability and are practically indestructible for the enemy.

Move Over HIMARS, Russian Fighters Call US GPS Guided Shell The ‘Most Dangerous’ Weapon For Ukraine

Earlier this month, the US announced a whopping $3.75 billion military aid package for Ukraine, including several advanced weapon systems like the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles and Sea Sparrow missiles that have never been sent to Kyiv before.

In addition to the mammoth military aid, Washington has been considering sending the cutting-edge Stryker armored vehicles and lobbying with its German counterparts to get Berlin to free its Leopard-2 tanks for Ukraine.

However, despite being game-changing equipment, they don’t scare the Donetsk People’s Republic Militia (DPR) as much as American-guided artillery shells.

The DPR Militia told Russian state news agency TASS that the M982 Excalibur guided artillery shells are potentially the most dangerous part of the US military assistance to Ukraine and must be destroyed while still in warehouses.

“This is probably the most dangerous part of the delivery. These munitions are equipped with a seeker and can adjust their flight path upon approaching the target. They are GPS-and intertidal-guided,” DPR People’s Militia spokesperson said.

“There can be only one countermeasure – effective counter-battery activities, with strikes at warehouses where those munitions are stored and vehicles transporting them to launchers. They must be prevented from ever being delivered to firing positions,” he added.

This is especially noteworthy as the DPR also told TASS that US-made Stryker armored vehicles are “nothing special,” and their supplies to pro-Kyiv forces merely serve to highlight the fact that Ukraine’s armed forces are running low on armored vehicles.

Time Is on Ukraine’s Side, Not Russia’s

By Phillips Payson O’Brien

The war in Ukraine began trending toward the defenders soon after Russia launched its full-scale invasion on February 24. In the summer and fall of last year, Ukraine rapidly recaptured territory that Russia had seized in the war’s early days. Yet the relative stability of the front line in recent weeks has fueled fresh suggestions that Russia may soon go on the offensive again. Many analysts were hypnotized a year ago by what they saw as Russia’s overwhelming firepower, modern weapons, and effective planning and leadership. Although the Ukrainians almost immediately proved far more formidable than nearly anyone had anticipated, lulls in the war play to the expectation that Russia will soon start massing its supposed great reserves and recover the situation on the battlefield. The underlying assumption is that Ukraine has little hope of ultimate triumph over a fully mobilized Russia. In this account, the longer the war goes on, and the more rounds of forced conscription that Vladimir Putin and his military impose on the Russian population, the more decisive Russia’s supposed advantages will be.

There is no path to lasting Russian victory

Putin’s war has left his country isolated in Europe, while permanent occupation of Ukraine is unfeasible GIDEON RACHMANAdd to myFT © James Ferguson There is no path to lasting Russian victory on twitter (opens in a new window) There is no path to lasting Russian victory on facebook (opens in a new window) There is no path to lasting Russian victory on linkedin (opens in a new window) Save current progress 0% Gideon Rachman JANUARY 16 2023 854 Print this page Receive free War in Ukraine updates We’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest War in Ukraine news every morning. “Don’t write off Russia” — that was the muttered warning of a European diplomat, with long experience in Moscow. It is a fair point. Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has gone badly wrong. But Russia remains a huge country, with plentiful resources and a ruthless, brutal government. Ukraine’s intelligence services think that further conscription drives may allow Russia to deploy an army of 2mn for a renewed offensive later this year. 

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently warned that Moscow might soon make a fresh attempt to capture Kyiv. But even a battlefield breakthrough could not deliver Russia a lasting victory. Imagine that Putin’s forces achieved some kind of malign miracle, defeated Ukraine and overthrew the Zelenskyy government. What then? The reality is that a wounded and isolated Russia would then be stuck in a decades-long guerrilla war that would make Afghanistan look like a picnic. Occupying forces or a collaborationist government in Kyiv would be under constant attack. “Victory” would lock Russia into a long-term disaster. Putin and his allies continue to take comfort from history. Russia suffered terrible defeats at the hands of Napoleon and Hitler — but ultimately prevailed. But those wars were defensive. Knowing that they had nowhere to retreat, the Russians fought to the bitter end. This time it is the Ukrainians who are defending their homeland. 

“If the problem becomes more serious”: South Korea talks going nuclear


The political and security environment on the Korean Peninsula has changed dramatically over the past year, with tensions reaching new levels because of continuous confrontations between the two Koreas.

There are no signs yet of a de-escalation. In fact, things got even worse barely a few days into 2023.

On New Year’s Day, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered the “exponential” expansion of his country’s nuclear arsenal and the development of a more powerful intercontinental ballistic missile. In response, South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol hinted at the possibility for joint planning and military drills involving US nuclear assets. Washington, however, was quick to refute these claims, denying it was considering any joint nuclear drills with Seoul.

Just days later, Yoon went a step further, floating the possibility of scrapping the 2018 inter-Korean military agreement, which has helped prevent accidental military clashes along maritime and land borders between the two Koreas since its signing. Unlike its predecessor, which sought engagement with the North, the Yoon administration, newly-inaugurated in 2022, has been more than eager to very publicly align itself with the United States and follow Washington’s lead on many major issues, including on how to deal with North Korea.
North Korea will not take the first step in deescalating tensions. This move must come from the South.

Yoon seems committed to respond to the North with a power-for-power approach, despite the risks of escalation. He proved this again on 11 January, when he publicly expressed the possibility of South Korea acquiring nuclear weapons. Yoon warned his country could take the nuclear route if the security situation on the Korean Peninsula continues to worsen. This was a major move as it marked the first time that a South Korean leader has expressed the possibility for nuclear armament.

How Ukraine became a testbed for Western weapons and battlefield innovation

By Katie Bo Lillis and Oren Liebermann

Last fall, as Ukraine won back large swaths of territory in a series of counterattacks, it pounded Russian forces with American-made artillery and rockets. Guiding some of that artillery was a homemade targeting system that Ukraine developed on the battlefield.

A piece of Ukrainian-made software has turned readily available tablet computers and smartphones into sophisticated targeting tools that are now used widely across the Ukrainian military.

The result is a mobile app that feeds satellite and other intelligence imagery into a real-time targeting algorithm that helps units near the front direct fire onto specific targets. And because it’s an app, not a piece of hardware, it’s easy to quickly update and upgrade, and available to a wide range of personnel.

US officials familiar with the tool say it has been highly effective at directing Ukrainian artillery fire onto Russian targets.

The targeting app is among dozens of examples of battlefield innovations that Ukraine has come up with over nearly a year of war, often finding cheap fixes to expensive problems.

Small, plastic drones, buzzing quietly overhead, drop grenades and other ordnance on Russian troops. 3D prinoters now make spare parts so soldiers can repair heavy equipment in the field. Technicians have converted ordinary pickup trucks into mobile missile launchers. Engineers have figured out how to strap sophisticated US missiles onto older Soviet fighter jets such as the MiG-29, helping keep the Ukrainian air force flying after nine months of war.

Peace by Exhaustion in Ukraine


While wars invariably end, the underlying disagreements often remain. The peace is tenuous and interrupted by spasms of violence. The way a war ends – whether through outright victory, exhaustion, or mutual deterrence – might make a difference, with exhaustion less likely to prevent future flare-ups than, say, the wholesale defeat of one party. But this is not guaranteed. It certainly does not mean that some types of peace are not worth pursuing.

There is no shortage of examples of once-warring parties – North and South Korea, Ethiopia and Eritrea, and Serbia and Kosovo come to mind – now balanced in a fragile peace. Japan and Russia have yet to conclude a formal end to World War II hostilities, owing to their enduring dispute over the Kuril Islands. And despite signing a truce in 1994, Armenia and Azerbaijan have not reached a permanent peace agreement on Nagorno-Karabakh; fresh clashes occurred as recently as last year.

While enduring tension and intermittent violence is obviously not an ideal outcome, the brutal, bloody, often prolonged wars that preceded these periods of fragile peace were worse. In fact, those who resist imperfect peace – remaining committed instead to a “just peace” achieved, presumably, through the outright defeat of their opponents – often end up worse off. This has been true for the Palestinians. And Ukraine seems set to meet the same fate.

During his short visit to the United States last month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated that his country will accept nothing short of Russia’s total withdrawal from Ukrainian territory, including Crimea. But, despite Ukraine’s extraordinary battlefield successes, and the West’s continued support for Ukrainian forces, it is unlikely to defeat its much larger invader outright.

Our European neighbours now look at post-Brexit Britain and say simply: nein, danke

Jonathan Freedland

From political dysfunction to economic turmoil, the evidence of Brexit as a great problem-creator is all around. No wonder European support for leaving the EU has tanked since 2016

We’re good Europeans at last. Nearly seven years after we voted to leave, Britons are finally doing their bit for the European Union. Diligently and with dogged devotion to duty, we are strengthening the ties that bind the 27 remaining nations of the EU – though not quite in the way anyone would have wanted.

Take a look at the Europe-wide survey, published yesterday , which showed that support for leaving the EU has tanked everywhere since 2016. In every EU member state where data was available, from Finland to the Netherlands, Portugal to Hungary, pro-leave sentiment has fallen through the floor. Even Europe’s most hardcore anti-EU parties have abandoned the goal of actually leaving the EU – no more talk of Frexit or Italexit – aiming instead merely to reform the union from within.

Hmmm, I wonder what could possibly explain such an unmistakable shift in European opinion. Some might like to think it’s the war in Ukraine or the Covid pandemic, both of which served as reminders of the value of international solidarity. But the explanation that leaps out is the obvious one. Europeans have taken one look at Britain since the Brexit referendum and thought: Nein, danke.

They see our political dysfunction, with five prime ministers in six years. They see the way Brexit divided the nation down the middle, injecting acrimony and toxicity into our national life. They see our economic malaise, with Britain lagging behind, facing the same pressures of post-Covid recovery and inflation as our neighbours but suffering more, with a 5.2% shrinkage in GDP and a 13.7% fall in investment in the last quarter of 2021, compared with the projected numbers had we not left the EU – all attributable specifically to Brexit, rather than, say, the pandemic.

Russia’s Energy Clout Is Waning, Weakening Its Global Influence

By Georgi Kantchev, Joe Wallace

Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s use of energy as a weapon of financial war is increasingly backfiring, threatening the core of Russia’s beleaguered economy and curtailing its geopolitical influence.

Western sanctions, falling prices for Russian fossil fuels and strategic miscalculations are hurting the country’s oil-and-gas industry while the war in Ukraine is poised to stretch into a second year. Ultimately, the strain will erode Moscow’s status as an energy superpower, according to analysts and former energy officials and executives.

5 nature-positive trends to watch out for in 2023

Jack Hurd, Nicole Schwab, Akanksha Khatri

'Nature positive' broadly means halting and reversing nature and biodiversity loss by 2030 and is quickly becoming nature's version of 'net zero'.

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which came out of COP15, saw nearly 190 countries agree to halt and reverse biodiversity loss.

As leaders meet in Davos, here are five trends that we can expect to see over 2023 to accelerate the protection, management and restoration of nature.

‘Nature positive’ broadly means halting and reversing nature loss by 2030 and last year we saw the term gaining traction. Its implications for our planet are a hotly-contested topic right now, but it's becoming nature’s version of net zero – a term which is now firmly in the public consciousness when it comes to climate change.

The landmark Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which came out of the UN’s COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal in December, is a step in the right direction, with almost 190 countries agreeing to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, including protecting a third of the planet by the same date.

This is an ambition which needs every government and every industry to contribute to in order for the nature-positive agenda to succeed. Targets for what’s been dubbed the ‘Paris Agreement’ for nature and biodiversity will be turned into national action plans and business contribution plans. There is no time to waste.

As the world shifts towards achieving the targets agreed in Montreal, we will see some key trends that will quicken the protection, management and restoration of nature. The private sector’s role in this global movement will be discussed at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos.

Now more than ever, business must have an in-depth understanding of biodiversity trends and its role for action in nature.

Integrated approaches to stopping deforestation will increase

The global growth story of the 21st century: driven by investment and innovation in green technologies and artificial intelligence

Mattia Romani

The world has in its hands a new growth and development story driven by investment and innovation in green technology, boosted by artificial intelligence (AI); it is a much more attractive and inclusive story than the dirty and destructive paths followed in the past.

This new growth story is beginning: in the next 5 years more than half of the tipping points for crucial green technologies will have been met, making them competitive in key markets. The process of structural and systemic change will be multi-decadal. But this decade is decisive to limit the risk of greater climate instability. Acceleration now is essential. AI is creating real opportunities for this acceleration.

The faster growth of Emerging Markets and Developing Economies (EMDEs) relative to richer countries and the location of renewable energy sources will change the world’s industrial geography and patterns of trade. If managed well, these changes can make supply chains more diverse and less fragile; multiple sources of key products and inputs will be necessary. The race has started, with countries across the world competing in investment support to gain dynamic comparative advantage, such as the $1trn US Inflation Reduction Act with its strong focus on green technologies.

Major investment across the world is needed for the transition to rapid, sustainable growth: some $5-7trn a year globally in gross investment for clean energy and digital transformation. Part of this investment will be additional; the necessary global increase in investment will be around 2-3% of GDP, less in richer countries, more in EMDEs. The aggregate world macro position makes this increase in investment possible; there is no global savings constraint. This investment can give impetus to a strong and durable recovery from the current crises and pre-empt a lost decade for development.

6 experts at Davos share what's on the horizon for 2023

Abhinav Chugh

Top experts participating at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting 2023 share horizon scans from their domain of expertise.

The theme of the 53rd Annual Meeting is 'Cooperation in a Fragmented World', bringing together 2,700 leaders from 130 countries including 52 heads of state/government.

The programme of the 53rd Annual Meeting focuses on solutions and public-private cooperation to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges.

Multiple crises are deepening divisions and fragmenting the geopolitical landscape. Leaders must address people’s immediate, critical needs while also laying the groundwork for a more sustainable, resilient world by the end of the decade.

“We see the manifold political, economic and social forces creating increased fragmentation on a global and national level. To address the root causes of this erosion of trust, we need to reinforce cooperation between the government and business sectors, creating the conditions for a strong and durable recovery. At the same time there must be the recognition that economic development needs to be made more resilient, more sustainable and nobody should be left behind,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum.

Review of On Grand Strategy by John L. Gaddis

Tigran Terpandjian

In “On Grand Strategy,” Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis compiles a lifetime’s worth of reflection on what makes a statesman successful or unsuccessful. It investigates the components of knowledge, temperament, and bravery that produce great leaders and resilient empires, similar to “Makers of Modern Strategy.” The advantage of Mr. Gaddis’ book over its illustrious predecessor is that it is a more welcoming narrative which makes it far simpler for the reader to understand strategic teachings that spanned globally for millennia. However, “On Grand Strategy,” by John Lewis Gaddis, does not convey the breadth of classical strategic historical analysis comprehensively as historians such as Lawrence Freedman, Angelo Codevilla, Edward Mead Earle, Edward Luttwak, Williamson Murray or B.H Liddell Hart sought in their respective works: “Strategy: A History”, “Informing Statecraft”, “Makers of Modern Strategy”, “Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace”, and “Strategy: Second Revised Edition”

At first glance, ‘grand strategy’ and ‘strategy’ may not have difference in semantics, but the nuance is quite stark. Whereas strategy focuses on a singular end state goal in a specific context, ‘grand strategy’ is indicative of leveraging all resources a state has at its disposal (politics, economics, culture and military) to further national interests, globally. Gaddis acknowledges that “grand strategies have traditionally been associated, however, with the planning and fighting of wars.” Therein, the general theme in the examination and development of grand strategies is centered in successful warfare. Gaddis poignantly defines the concept directly as “the alignment of potentially unlimited aspirations with necessarily limited capabilities.” He expands on highlighting the difference between the two aforementioned concepts that ‘grand’ is the holistic aggregation of what is being risked by a nation. In quoting the political scholar and philosopher Isaiah Berlin on his anecdote on the hedgehog and fox, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one large thing,”[1]Gaddis reinforces the necessity for strategic leaders to cultivate adaptability, imagination and perception.

Why Ukraine believes tanks can turn the tide of war


LONDON — In the early years of the 21st century, military planners were pondering the unthinkable — were tanks becoming obsolete?

Unmanned drones, cyber warfare and other emerging technologies were seen as the weapons of the future. As recently as 2020, some defense chiefs thought Britain should mothball its tanks altogether.

But as 2023 dawns, and with Ukraine mulling a crucial spring offensive against Russia that could prove decisive in its struggle for survival, Kyiv is preparing to turn once more to the traditional land army equipment of 20th century warfare.

Ukraine’s military chiefs want hundreds of Western tanks for the next phase of the war, desperate to counter Moscow’s forces and break through lines of trenches in places such as Luhansk and the Zaporizhzhia region.

After months of stonewalling, NATO allies are starting to see the wisdom of the strategy, with the U.S., France and Britain all pledging armored vehicles for the first time in recent weeks.

It’s a reminder that for all the high-tech sophistication of modern warfare, sheer force on the ground still counts.

Live from Davos – Cyber in 2023: Geopolitical and Economic Risks

Jason N. Smolanoff, Megan Greene

The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos this week is titled “Cooperation in a Fragmented World.” The theme reflects the instability and uncertainty that shaped 2022 and sets the stage for 2023. Cyber has continued to play a leading role. We have seen cyberattacks cause widespread operational disruption, reputational damage and financial harm to their targets—at a cost of trillions of dollars. Meanwhile, the ongoing Russia war on Ukraine demonstrates that the threat landscape contributes to geopolitical and economic uncertainty beyond national borders.

Live from the Davos Economic Forum, we explore these trends and how cybersecurity can influence individual companies and global markets alike. We also examine what businesses can do to bring stability to their organization in these uncertain times.

Kroll’s Jason Smolanoff, President of Cyber Risk, and Megan Greene, Global Chief Economist and a Kroll Institute Fellow, provide perspective on cyber and the economy in 2023, considering the current geopolitical landscape.

Background on Global Cyberwarfare

The worry in Davos: Globalization is under siege

Ishaan Tharoor

DAVOS, Switzerland — A decade ago, political power brokers and corporate bigwigs gathered here in the Swiss Alps under an upbeat theme. It was a time for “resilient dynamism,” declared the organizers of the 2013 meeting of the World Economic Forum. After the travails of the global financial crisis, they explained, the world was now in a “post-crisis” stage. It was incumbent on the elites convened at Davos to usher in further reforms in the service of economic “sustainability” and “competitiveness,” perennial WEF watchwords that tap into the liberal dogma that long underlay its proceedings, where the desire to do good need not interfere with profit margins.

‘Please write this code’ and other problematic prompts for chatbots

Billy Hurley

In about 30 seconds, ChatGPT unfurled a Python 3-coded command-and-control (“C2”) server, a setup often used by hackers to control a network of machines.

“I’ve been doing this for 22 years, right? This was like magic to me,” said Maynor, head of the threat intelligence group at Cybrary, a cybersecurity training platform.

Generative, text-based AI and ChatGPT have been having a moment, developing user-generated ideas that range from a biblical-style story about removing a peanut butter sandwich from a VCR to a “quippy” essay about itself.

Like any new, enchanting tech, however, the AI tool creates risks that organizations must watch out for, especially as they purchase software from third parties.

“If attacks against you are easier, attacks against your partners and your customers and your ecosystem, your value chain…is also easier,” said Jeff Pollard, VP and principal analyst at the consultancy Forrester.

What is ChatGPT? Why, it can tell you itself!

“As an AI trained by OpenAI, my primary goal is to provide accurate and detailed information in response to user questions,” the bot replied when we asked in December.

The tool from the San Francisco-based research company OpenAI sits alongside other products and features meant to quickly generate answers: Photoshop recently announced generative-AI offerings, and GitHub Copilot, a programming tool that uses OpenAI’s Codex AI system, translates human language into code.

#Reviewing The American Way of Irregular Warfare

M.T. Mitchell

The American Way of Irregular Warfare is a memoir co-authored by retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Charles T. Cleveland with Daniel Egal that explores how the United States military has employed the concept of irregular warfare.[1] The authors draw on Cleveland’s observations from his 37-year military career to argue the U.S. should restructure its military with doctrine, authorities, and education conducive to proper understanding and the proper employment of irregular warfare. Cleveland commanded the United States Army Special Operations Command and served in special operations through the unique historical period spanning the 1980s and the U.S. Global War on Terror. He asserts that operational and strategic level leadership must learn to better employ tactical irregular warfare units to solve people-centric campaigns.

He defines irregular warfare as conflict below the threshold of conventional warfare waged in the minds and wills of the population with limited support.[2] His theme throughout is that warfare is a human endeavor and the U.S. military must retool its understanding of how it affects human behavior through psychological, relational, economic, and military means. Humans are the key to successfully influencing local politics and culture, in Cleveland’s mind. Thus, leaving a competent partner force in place is the only way the US can avoid future indefinite commitments of Americans to stay and fight.

Sympathy for the Algorithm


STOCKHOLM – With hindsight, 2022 will be seen as the year when artificial intelligence gained street credibility. The release of ChatGPT by the San Francisco-based research laboratory OpenAI garnered great attention and raised even greater questions.

In just its first week, ChatGPT attracted more than a million users and was used to write computer programs, compose music, play games, and take the bar exam. Students discovered that it could write serviceable essays worthy of a B grade – as did teachers, albeit more slowly and to their considerable dismay.

ChatGPT is far from perfect, much as B-quality student essays are far from perfect. The information it provides is only as reliable as the information available to it, which comes from the internet. How it uses that information depends on its training, which involves supervised learning, or, put another way, questions asked and answered by humans.

The weights that ChatGPT attaches to its possible answers are derived from reinforcement learning, where humans rate the response. ChatGPT’s millions of users are asked to upvote or downvote the bot’s responses each time they ask a question. In the same way useful feedback from an instructor can sometimes teach a B-quality student to write an A-quality essay, it’s not impossible that ChatGPT will eventually get better grades.

This rudimentary artificial intelligence forces us to rethink what tasks can be carried out with minimal human intervention. If an AI is capable of passing the bar exam, is there any reason it can’t write a legal brief or give sound legal advice? If an AI can pass my wife’s medical-licensing exam, is there any reason it can’t provide a diagnosis or offer sound medical advice?