21 January 2023

Strategic Tech Cooperation Can Push Eu-India Ties to a Higher Level

Vera Kranenburg and Maaike Okano-Heijmans

The EU and India can play an important role in each other’s ambitions to strengthen strategic autonomy by reducing dependencies.

This year India will surpass China in population, becoming one of the world’s largest consumer and industrial markets. In this era of multipolarity, India is an increasingly important geopolitical player. The country plays a crucial role in the Indo-Pacific, a region where China wields growing influence.

Thus there are plenty of reasons for the EU to strengthen its ties to India – and opportunities to do so exist particularly in strategic technology sectors.

India’s G-20 presidency in 2023 will put a spotlight on the country’s achievements in the field of technology and digitalization. The EU can seize this moment to deepen its ties with India, especially in tech areas that contribute to strategic autonomy, which is high on the political agenda in European capitals and in Delhi.

In his G-20 commencement address, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasized the importance of technology and the threat stemming from the weaponization of critical goods. Dependencies in critical sectors can reduce political room to maneuver, like Europe’s dependency on China for the critical raw materials needed for semiconductors and green technologies, and India’s reliance on Russia for military technologies and equipment.

The United States Needs an Ambassador in India ASAP

Ambuj Sahu

To pursue an efficient foreign policy, the United States should send its best diplomats to countries of vital interest. As the Indo-Pacific remains the most contested region in global geopolitics, Washington must devote its utmost attention and resources to the region, including its best people. Today, the strategic salience of India is more than any other nation for the United States. It is vital that Washington send an ambassador to New Delhi sooner rather than later.

India is the only credible power in the Indo-Pacific that could help the United States create a stable balance of power in the region. The country is indispensable in boosting the coalitional ability of the United States, primarily because the other significant actors in the region are either already U.S. allies or under Chinese influence. On top of this, India faces active Chinese aggression at its borders, and it is the only country with combat experience against the People’s Liberation Army in the last four decades. Finally, India contributes skilled talent in the technology sector, which is crucial for the United States if it wishes to lead the technology and innovation race against China.

Unfortunately, though President Joe Biden’s term in office is nearly half done, there is still no U.S. ambassador in New Delhi. Ever since Ambassador Kenneth Juster stepped down from the post in January 2021, the Biden administration has appointed six interim chargé d’affaires, the most recent of which was named in October of last year. Now over 700 days, this is the longest period of time in the two countries’ diplomatic history, including the Cold War, in which there has been no U.S. ambassador in India’s capital. The continual appointment of ad hoc envoys sends a woeful message to New Delhi: Washington is being negligent.

This is not entirely the White House’s fault. Biden nominated former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to be the U.S. ambassador to India in July 2021. Garcetti’s confirmation vote, however, was put on hold after a Republican senator alleged him of inaction against sexual misconduct by his aide.

Modi’s China Policy Is a Failure

By Anchal Vohra

In 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid out a red carpet for Chinese President Xi Jinping in Modi’s home state of Gujarat in the hopes of building a rapport with the Chinese premier and laying a foundation to resolve their countries’ vexing border dispute in the Himalayas. But as they walked on the banks of the Sabarmati River and chatted in the veranda of activist Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram, Indian media was reporting on a new Chinese incursion in the mountainous region of Ladakh. Hundreds of Chinese troops were staring at their Indian counterparts while insisting on building a road inside Indian-administered territory. The standoff only ended after 16 tense days.

Five years later, in October 2019, Modi gave Xi a tour of 7th-century temples at Mamallapuram in southern India. The idea was to convey that India, like China, was an ancient civilization and hence equal to its Asian neighbor—even if it wasn’t yet economically or militarily at par. (Chinese GDP at $18 trillion is six times that of India’s, and its defense spending at $200 billion is more than three times larger.) But eight months later, Chinese troops entered Galwan in Ladakh and killed 20 Indian soldiers with nail-studded clubs. There were four Chinese deaths.

This past November, for the first time since the Galwan clashes, the two leaders met again, this time in Bali, Indonesia, as India assumed the G-20 presidency. Within a few weeks of their handshake, Chinese troops carried out another offensive, this time to occupy a mountain post in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh that China claims as its own.

A Tale of Two Failed Armies

Gary Anderson

Russia's most recent debacle, the latest in a long string caused by tactical incompetence in the Ukraine, highlights the lack of leadership, training and combat discipline that plagues the Russian army from top down.

Soldiers were apparently housed by the hundreds in a building where ammunition was also stored. Whether through a lack of proper command discipline or simple inattention to security, many were making cell phone calls home. That made it fairly simple for Ukrainian electronic warfare personnel to triangulate an ideal target for an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, rocket attack that resulted in anywhere from 60 to 400 Russian deaths, depending on whose counting one trusts.

The number of casualties suffered by Russian troops since last February, when the invasion began, has exceeded by multiples those suffered in two decades by American forces in Afghanistan. Pentagon officials gleefully point out the superiority of the discipline, training and weaponry of U.S. forces. All that is true, but it is also irrelevant.

Our exit from Afghanistan was as humiliating as that of the Russians from Ukraine will likely be. Great tactics cannot make up for bad strategy and flawed operational art. In this, both Russian and American political-military leadership has shown amazing incompetence.

At the strategic level, the Russians miscalculated Ukrainian national will. At first, they tried to execute shock and awe by decapitating the Kyiv government. After failing, they have tried terror bombing and the destruction of Ukrainian infrastructure to compel a loss of will; that has not worked either. Instead of dividing Ukraine, they brought it together in ways that political action never could.

Robert Kaplan’s "The Tragic Mind" Counsels Prudence and Realism in Ukraine and the South China Sea

Francis P. Sempa

Robert Kaplan, the Robert Strausz-Hupe Chair in Geopolitics at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, has written a short book titled The Tragic Mind that counsels American policymakers to proceed with caution in dealing with the twin crises of the Ukraine War and the increased tension in the South China Sea. His principal recommendation is for those policymakers to approach these crises with a “tragic sensibility” that looks to certain constants in history and human nature that will enable them to “think tragically in order to avoid tragedy.”

We are once again in an era of great power rivalry, and history teaches that when great powers go to war the consequences will usually be grave and in many instances unanticipated. But, according to Kaplan, it is not just history that teaches us that, but also the literary classics – especially those from ancient Greek writers like Aeschylus and Euripides, but also Shakespeare. The Greek tragedies and Shakespeare show us the unchanging nature of the human condition. The characters in their stories and plays engaged in “heroic and often futile struggles against fate” and had to make choices between lesser evils or between one good over another. Our statesmen are no different. Foreign policy “realism” is an acceptance of constraints, limits, and human imperfections. It values order and stability over chaos and anarchy.

Kaplan’s motivation for writing The Tragic Mind was his public support of the post-9/11 Iraq War, even though he worried about what a post-Saddam Iraq would look like. He admits to suffering “clinical depression” due to this mistake, confessing: “I failed my test as a realist – on the greatest issue of our time.” He writes that he kept thinking about a medieval Persian philosopher’s observation that “one year of anarchy is worse than a hundred years of tyranny.” That led him to consult the ancient Greeks who, he writes, “were too rational to ignore the power of the irrational that lay on the other side of civilization.” The tragic mind knows that civilization is fragile. Thus, the need for order.

How Is China Expanding its Infrastructure to Project Power Along its Western Borders?

Much attention has been paid to China’s efforts to modernize its military with new naval vessels, aircraft, nuclear weapons, and other equipment. China has made significant progress on these fronts, but weaponry and equipment are only part of the equation. To successfully project power, countries also need adequate infrastructure and logistics capabilities for deploying troops and equipment. China is currently undertaking a major expansion of its infrastructure that is enhancing its ability to project military power along its western frontier.

Within its western regions of Tibet and Xinjiang, China is constructing and upgrading dozens of airports and heliports—a large majority of which are military or dual-use facilities.1 China is supplementing its airpower expansion with new roads, rail, and other infrastructure that are upgrading the PLA’s logistics capabilities and enabling more rapid movement of troops, weaponry, and equipment. The pace of development in the region accelerated following standoffs and skirmishes between China and India along disputed portions of their border in 2017 and 2020. China also has growing security and economic interests in neighboring countries in South and Central Asia, as well as concerns about the potential for unrest within its own borders.

Growing Perceived Threats on China’s Western Border

China’s western infrastructure buildup is fueled by perceived external and internal security threats on its frontier. The far-flung regions of Tibet and Xinjiang are of particular concern for China’s leaders. They are expansive in size, together accounting for approximately 30 percent of China’s territory—much of which consists of harsh dessert and mountain terrain. The two regions also border a total of 11 different countries, putting them on the frontlines of China’s relations with its western neighbors.

China perceives significant security threats along its expansive disputed border with India, commonly known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The LAC is roughly divided into three sections. The eastern stretch of the border runs along an area roughly the size of Austria that is claimed by China as part of southern Tibet but administered by India as the state of Arunachal Pradesh. Near the central part of Tibet’s border is a narrow 80-kilometer (km) stretch of land between Nepal and Bhutan that is partly disputed by not just China and India, but also Bhutan. In 2017, tensions flared there on the Doklam Plateau after Chinese army engineers attempted to build a road through the area. India sent troops to stop the construction and China dispatched its own forces to the area resulting in a tense 73-day standoff.

China’s Brute Force Economics: Waking Up from the Dream of a Level Playing Field

Liza Tobin argues that the time has come for the United States and its allies to abandon the notion that competing on a level playing field with China’s state-led economy is possible and confront the reality of what she calls the country’s “brute force economics.” China’s tactics are not merely an assortment of cutthroat moves made by individual actors. Rather, they are features of Beijing’s long-term strategy and are backed up by the full force of the country’s party-state system, creating a challenge that Washington cannot afford to ignore.

In 2017, China’s chief justice, Zhou Qiang, told legal officials in Beijing to resist “erroneous” ideas from the West like “constitutional democracy,” “separation of powers,” and “independence of the judiciary.” His statements shocked some Western observers who had watched in cautious optimism as Zhou, a well-educated jurist with a reputation as a reformer, spearheaded efforts to make China’s courts more professional.1 Behind Zhou’s words was a hard truth: Reforms could only go so far before they collided with the reality that, in the People’s Republic of China, the judiciary is subordinate to the Chinese Communist Party.

This dynamic matters beyond China’s borders. Cooperative trading relations require a common set of rules or expectations that ensure that economic competition occurs on a level playing field. Beijing’s rejection of the rule of law as a fundamental operating principle means that the normative commercial structures upon which modern trade depends are at the mercy of a powerful and ideologically motivated political party. The Chinese Communist Party’s ruthless pursuit of techno-economic dominance in a range of strategic sectors has distorted activities that are usually thought of as positive sum — trade and technology cooperation — into zero-sum games.

China's precarious path forward – insights from the MERICS China Forecast 2023

Our survey of 880 China watchers suggests the country’s course is most unpredictable – except that it will continue to stand by Moscow and accept EU-China relations fraying.

Watch the recording of the MERICS China Forecast 2023 online event which took place on January 18, 2023 here.

Unbridled power in the hands of Xi Jinping, underlying pressures economic and social, and unpredictable policies in any number of fields – the level of uncertainty about China in the year ahead has never been higher than in this fourth edition of our MERICS China Forecast. We solicited the views of 880 China experts and non-expert members of the public with an interest in the country. Their responses don’t make for optimistic reading.

To get all results of the survey, read or download the PDF.

Last year’s events in China at least still ranged from the surprising to the certain. In October, Xi secured his expected third term as general secretary and packed the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Politburo with loyalists. But then in November, nationwide protests against draconian Covid-19 lockdowns caught the political establishment on the backfoot. And it, in turn, in December surprised everyone by abruptly ending many of its zero-covid measures.
China watchers suggest a possible “pressure cooker” scenario in China

Beijing takes aim at Airbus and Boeing’s dominance

COMAC’s new single-aisle jet could see the Chinese company break the Western duopoly in China and then in markets further afield, argue Max J. Zenglein and Gregor Sebastian.

China’s new C919 single-aisle passenger jet could hail the end of Airbus and Boeing’s global duopoly. After nearly 15 years of development, state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) delivered the country’s first homegrown passenger jet to China Eastern Airlines in December 2022. Airbus and Boeing can expect only a slow erosion of their supremacy over the large-jet market– for one, the C919 will need some time to prove its competitiveness. But they will have to brace for an eventually very different global market.
COMAC’s domestic market-share looks set to climb steadily

The C919’s market entry is a symbol of China’s technological rise and a source of national pride. A rival to the best-selling A320 and 737, the aircraft should enable China’s largely state-owned aviation sector to meet the government target of reaching 10 percent domestic market-share by 2025. Production glitches or safety issues aside, COMAC´s domestic market-share looks set to climb steadily in a huge and increasingly protected home market, with the company at some point reaching the scale to brave the step into foreign markets and global competition.

Boeing and Airbus currently have more than 10,000 commitments for orders on their books, most of them for narrow body aircraft. They are the bread-and-butter models for manufacturers, accounting for around 60 percent of all jets. Russian contenders ­– the Tupolev Tu-204 and Tu-214 and the more recent Irkut MC-21 – have over the past quarter century tried to break the US-European domination of the market for single-aisle aircraft. But they can at best occupy a stable, albeit tiny niche, having racked up a few hundred domestic orders.
The size of China’s market gives COMAC an essential home advantage

The China imperative for multinational companies

By Jonathan Woetzel, Joe Ngai, Jeongmin Seong, Kweilin Ellingrud, Nick Leung, Franck Le Deu, Sven Smit, and Peixi Wang

Over the past 30 years, multinational companies (MNCs) have enjoyed an increasingly open world. Taking advantage of a unipolar globe with relatively free flows of capital, trade, and ideas, MNCs tapped capital from wherever they chose, built businesses optimized for global supply and global demand, and served increasingly globalized customers. That may no longer be possible. In a world reshaped by the coronavirus pandemic, rising geopolitical tensions, renewed inflationary pressures, and war, MNCs must reassess, reevaluate, and reconfigure their businesses for a new era. And China is where some of the most dramatic reconfiguration may take place.

The reconfiguration will not be easy. The sheer size and complexity of the Chinese market may mean that notions of outright decoupling are simplistic; furthermore, we continue to live in a world connected by those global flows of capital, trade, and ideas. As we describe in a new paper from the McKinsey Global Institute, MNCs face a much more difficult imperative: maintaining access to China’s upsides while managing increasingly complex risks. It is a challenge that will define the next era for MNCs, and those that solve it will be tomorrow’s winners.

China and MNCs built a mutually beneficial relationship during the past few decades. Between 1990 and 2019, China’s real GDP grew at an average of almost 10 percent per year, contributing more than a quarter of global GDP growth, and average household income rose from about $750 to $13,000. That dynamism was a magnet for MNCs, which flocked to China to capture part of the growth. At one point, MNCs employed 16 million people and accounted for more than half of China’s exports. They also helped bring best practices to China, boosting the economy’s productivity in such industries as chemicals and cosmetics.

The Arab World at an Inflection Point

Jon B. Alterman

Over the holidays, I had lunch with one of the eminences of Arab politics. A former revolutionary, he had spent decades working with Arab leaders and their non-Arab counterparts. He remains sharp, but he has turned reflective. And over lunch, he had a stark admission: “All the strategic choices the Arabs made were wrong.”

He went through a list. Arab economies have proven durably weak. Newly independent governments quickly turned repressive. The constant hostility toward Israel proved an expensive distraction. The region became uniquely enmeshed in warfare and terrorism, while other regions moved on. His generation’s legacy to his children is this: a region whose struggles he had expected to be overcome decades ago, yet which seem even more daunting today. After all, he rose in his career amid a burst of optimism. His generation expected the postcolonial world would produce freedom and prosperity, power, and respect. It did not do much of any of those things. And with Arab populations growing swiftly, the energy transition looming, and the rubble of the Arab Spring’s failures still smoldering, the region’s medium-term outlook is even more daunting.

It would be a mistake, though, to gloss over the fact that the Arab world is once again at an inflection point. The region’s leaderships are making a set of strategic choices as consequential as the ones their predecessors made earlier in this statesman’s career. The region has an opportunity to make much better strategic choices than it made in the past, and there are signs it is beginning to do so—but not in every case.

How The Defense Industry Became A Defining Feature Of The U.S. Economy

Loren Thompson

A hundred years ago, the United States did not have a defense industry. At least, not in the sense that term is used today.

Companies like Dupont and Bethlehem Steel that had benefited handsomely from selling to America’s military and European allies during World War One had returned to peacetime pursuits.

The War Department had demobilized from nine million personnel at the beginning of 1919 to a mere 397,000 in 2023, and what remained of weapons production was largely confined to Navy shipyards and Army arsenals.

That’s the way it had always been in America—minimal military outlays in peacetime, which ballooned when the nation went to war and then quickly reverted to one percent of the economy when peace returned.

At that level of expenditure, it wasn’t possible to sustain a large peacetime defense industry. Nor was it necessary: big oceans to the east and west, weak neighbors to the north and south insulated the nation from military threats.

World War Two was conducted on much the same model, with private industry mobilizing to become the “arsenal of democracy” until Axis powers were defeated, and then just as rapidly demobilizing.

America’s Allies: Free Riding No More?

Leon Hadar

Much has been written and discussed about the problem of “free riding,” in general, and in foreign policy, in particular. During the Cold War and its aftermath, America’s allies across the Atlantic and the Pacific were being criticized in Washington for relying on the United States to spend its national treasure in terms of higher military expenditures to provide them with global security.

With prime examples being Germany and Japan, it was argued that the allies were provided with little incentive to contribute to the production of an international public good that takes the form of the protection of global interests of the Western alliance as long as the United States seems to be ready to provide that cost-free.

Most of this discussion focused on geostrategic issues. But in the aftermath of the Cold War, it also spilled into geo-economic issues. Why should America continue bankrolling the defense budgets of countries like Japan, surplus economies whose companies compete with American businesses in the global arena?

Paying less for defense, thanks to U.S. subsidies, allows these free riders to spend more on social-economic programs while fiscal tightening forces Americans to cut expenditures on education and health.

Moreover, the United States’ hegemonic position in the Middle East, which has been maintained through huge military and financial costs, allowed America’s allies in Europe and Asia that are dependent on energy imports to have freedom of access to the oil resources in the Persian Gulf.

Has the Dollar Fixed Venezuela’s Economy?

Juan P. Villasmil

Following the West’s repudiation of the Maduro regime, for a class of government-connected Venezuelans commonly referred to as enchufdos—those who are “plugged” into government—there came a fear to invest internationally. When faced with the prospect of sanctions, incarceration, and frozen bank accounts, this ragtag group, composed mainly of members of the enabling old elite and phony populists who became the country’s nouveau riche, had to innovate.

In the pursuit of new money flows, and limited by an inability to re-invest their ill-earned dollars with confidence, this group, accompanied by so-called anti-imperialists, suddenly went all-in with the de facto dollarization of the Venezuelan economy. With this came not only the unexpected opening of a Ferrari dealership in the capital, but what many referred to as “La Era del Bodegón” (The Age of Bodegas), a term used by shocked, sometimes optimistic, and often satiric, Caraqueños who—after enduring the absence of milk, toilet paper, and sugar—started to see the rise of bodegas with, to many’s surprise, basic essentials.

This is all rather uneventful, some may think, but with this perceived progress came a reduction of expressed social discontent.

This is not due to a substantive change in the state of affairs. The country remains corruption-ridden and the currency hyper-inflated. To this day, there are gasoline and water shortages (yes, in Venezuela). The overwhelming majority of the population lives under the poverty line. Still, even when the emigration numbers are comparable with those in Syria and Ukraine, thousands who have been forced to live miserably can be made ecstatic with vacuous, slight progress. Under the guise of social betterment, it appears that there is nothing more than a superficial notion of modernization.

U.S. and Japan deepen military cooperation to advance disruptive technologies

Brandi Vincent

The U.S. and Japan have formally committed to collaboratively advancing specific emerging technologies for military use and linking their defense industrial bases as global supply chains remain strapped.

During a meeting at the Pentagon last week, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Japan’s Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada signed two bilateral arrangements aimed at driving that new cooperation between their nations in the near term.

Via a new legally-binding Memorandum of Understanding for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Projects (MOU for RDT&E), Japan and the U.S. seek to bolster partnerships to accelerate advanced technologies associated with hypersonic defense, autonomous systems for complementary teaming with fighter jets and high-powered microwaves for air defense.

And through a newly signed non-binding Security of Supply Arrangement (SOSA), the Defense Department and the Japanese Ministry of Defense intend to build crucial linkages between their defense industrial bases and enable deeper cooperation between their nation’s supply chains.

“This year is an inflection point for our alliance, with our national security and defense strategies aligning closer than ever and with our shared goal of a new era of alliance modernization,” Austin said.

The secretary and his Japanese counterpart met on Thursday at the Pentagon for bilateral talks on the margins of President Joe Biden’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the White House.

How Russia’s New Commander in Ukraine Could Change the War

Last week, Russia announced that it was replacing General Sergei Surovikin—who had been put in charge of the war in Ukraine only three months earlier—with another general, Valery Gerasimov. The change surprised many observers. Surovikin was thought to have improved the Russian war effort, and Gerasimov was at least partially responsible for planning the disastrous initial invasion. But Gerasimov is close to the Kremlin, and will now get another chance. “They have taken someone who is competent and replaced him with someone who is incompetent, but who has been there a long time and who has shown that he is loyal,” Dara Massicot, a senior policy researcher at the rand Corporation, told the Times.

Mr. Kishida Goes to Washington, And What it Means for the United States

June Teufel Dreyer

Kishida Is Warmly Welcomed in Washington

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida’s visit to the United States—on the less than auspicious day of Friday the 13th—was a triumph for the prime minister, whose favorability ratings had slumped due to the financial ties of several of his ministers with a religious group. Even center-left Asahi, Japan’s second-largest circulation daily and a perennial critic of Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party and of the prime minister himself, described President Joe Biden as “effusive in his praise of Tokyo’s decision to drastically beef up its defensive posture while pledging continued unwavering support to the defense of Japan.”

Biden enthusiastically endorsed the revisions to Japan’s defense policy, and re-iterated for the nth time the unwavering commitment of the United States to the defense of Japan, including the contested Senkaku Islands, under Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, using its full range of capabilities, adding that this included, if need be, nuclear weapons. The two leaders discussed cooperation on sensitive technology, space development, and clean energy, including nuclear energy. Biden and Kishida also agreed to work together in moving toward a world without nuclear weapons—always a sensitive topic in Japan as the only country ever to have experienced a nuclear attack and gaining heightened sensitivity after Russian president Vladimir Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Kishida expressed satisfaction, saying that he had “further deepened [his] personal relationship of trust with President Biden and [felt] confident that the meeting will serve as an important step toward further strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance.”

Japan’s Defense Reforms

If Germany has truly learned from its history, it will send tanks to defend Ukraine

Timothy Garton Ash

Germany has a unique historical responsibility to help defend a free and sovereign Ukraine. Europe’s central power is also uniquely qualified to shape a larger European response designed to end Vladimir Putin’s criminal war of terror in a way that deters future aggression around places such as Taiwan.

As a signal of strategic intent to measure up to this double obligation, from the past and for the future, the Berlin government should commit at the Ukraine defence contact group meeting in Ramstein, Germany, this Friday not only to allow countries such as Poland and Finland to send German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine but also do so itself, in a coordinated European action. Call it the European Leopard plan.

Germany’s historical responsibility comes in three unequal stages. Eighty years ago, Nazi Germany was itself fighting a war of terror on this very same Ukrainian soil: the same cities, towns and villages were its victims as are now Russia’s, and sometimes even the same people.

Boris Romanchenko, for example, a survivor of four Nazi concentration camps, was killed by a Russian missile in Kharkiv. No historical comparison is exact, but Putin’s attempt to destroy the independent existence of a neighbouring nation, with war crimes, genocidal actions and relentless targeting of the civilian population, is the closest we have come in Europe since 1945 to what Adolf Hitler did in the second world war.

The lesson to learn from that history is not that German tanks should never be used against Russia, whatever the Kremlin does, but that they should be used to protect Ukrainians, who were among the greatest victims of both Hitler and Stalin.

8 Lessons for Taiwan From Russia’s War in Ukraine

Tzu-yun Su

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power in China have raised fears of a comparable military conflict in the Taiwan Strait. Moscow has annexed, on paper, parts of eastern Ukraine that it sees as its traditional territory and regards NATO as a hostile force. China, meanwhile, sees Taiwan as a local government and the Taiwan Strait as an internal sea. Such claims of sovereignty and maritime rights challenge international norms embraced by the West and its allies, as well as some of their interests, thus creating contestation beyond the borders of the regions in question.

While the fighting in Ukraine is on land, and thus very different from the maritime battlefield that would surround Taiwan, there are still many things my island nation can learn from Ukraine's defensive operations. One similarity in particular is that Taiwan, like Ukraine, is a relatively weak power facing the threat of a much larger one—and that asymmetry lies at the heart of many of the lessons outlined below, including that a nation’s security cannot rely solely on promises of peace and that continuity of government operations is vital.

In some key respects, Taiwan finds itself in a more advantageous position than Ukraine. It is geographically separated from its adversary by the strait and its GDP in 2021 was nearly four times Ukraine’s by one measure,1 giving Taiwan the financial leeway to bolster its defenses in advance.

Before considering lessons for Taiwan, it is important to note that China has also learned from the Russian-Ukrainian war, most notably by improving its psychological warfare capabilities, which have increasingly targeted Taiwan, and enlarging its nuclear arsenal (a process that began before the current war). Nuclear weapons afford Beijing a “political denial” capability, in addition to its conventional military anti-access/area-denial capabilities, to deter other countries from assisting Taiwan. The fact that Moscow's nuclear arsenal has kept the West from sending troops into Ukraine has likely reaffirmed China’s drive to accelerate the build-up of its nuclear arsenal and rocket forces.

Below I have listed eight possible lessons for Taiwan from the Ukraine war.

Twitter, the EU, and self-regulation of disinformation

John Villasenor 

Earlier this month, Germany’s Digital and Transport Minister Volker Wissing met with Twitter CEO Elon Musk to discuss disinformation. As reported in Ars Technica, following the meeting, a ministry spokesperson said that “Federal Minister Wissing made it clear . . . that Germany expects the existing voluntary commitments against disinformation and the rules of the Digital Services Act to be observed in the future.”

Twitter is one of several dozen signatories to the European Union’s (EU) “2022 Strengthened Code of Practice on Disinformation,” a self-regulatory framework for addressing disinformation. In light of the massive staff cuts at Twitter in recent months, it’s clear that there is concern in EU governments regarding whether Twitter will be in a position to meet commitments made prior to its acquisition by Elon Musk.

The 2022 Disinformation Code contains a series of 44 “Commitments,” some of which are further subdivided into “Measures.” When a company becomes a signatory, it submits a subscription document identifying which Commitments (and, more specifically, which Measures) it is signing up for. Twitter’s June 2022 subscription document indicates that Twitter has committed, among other things, to: “defund the dissemination of disinformation and misinformation,” “prevent the misuse of advertising systems to disseminate misinformation or disinformation,” and “put in place or further bolster policies to address both misinformation and disinformation.”

Given all of the recent staffing cuts and management changes at Twitter, it is unsurprising that it is in the spotlight regarding disinformation. But all the signatories—a list that includes not just Twitter but also Google, Meta, Microsoft, and TikTok—face potential challenges in meeting their commitments under the 2022 Disinformation Code.

Kahl: U.S. Focused on ‘Next Phase’ of Ukraine Conflict


In the weeks ahead, frontline progress in the war in Ukraine will be measured not in miles but in “hundreds of meters,” defense undersecretary for policy Colin Kahl told reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday.

Kahl, who just returned from a trip to Ukraine for meetings with that nation’s leadership, said the United States is focused on “surging those capabilities to Ukraine for the next phase of the conflict to really try to change that dynamic and continue the momentum that the Ukrainians had in the late summer and early fall.”. But that doesn’t portend a big change in the types of equipment the U.S. might send.

Kahl spoke to reporters ahead of a meeting of the Defense Contact Group in Germany later this week. The group is the assembly of nations providing military and other forms of aid to Ukraine. Observers expect the United States to announce a substantial aid package at the meeting, but some items Ukraine has asked for will not be on the list. For instance, Ukraine has repeatedly said that it wants more tanks to break through entrenched Russian positions in the country’s east. And they’ve been asking for long-range guided ATACMS missiles since the start of the conflict.

Ukraine has also asked Germany to send Leopard 2 tanks, and if the U.S. sends M1 Abrams tanks, that could compel Germany to to follow suit. But Kahl said logistics barriers and other concerns are contributing to the Biden administration’s reservations. “The Abrams tank is a very complicated piece of equipment. It's expensive. It's hard to train on…I think it's about three gallons to the mile of… fuel.”

U.S. Enabling North Korea, So South Korea Wants Nuclear Weapons

Gordon G. Chang

We do not have to wonder if Beijing in fact supports North Korea's weapons programs. China for decades has allowed the North to use Chinese banks to handle proceeds from criminal activities and activities in violation of U.N. sanctions.

Such designations [enforcing U.S. money-laundering laws] would put these state banks out of business everywhere outside China.

If these banks were to fail, so would China's state-dominated banking system. The failure of the banking system would undoubtedly mean the end of the Chinese economy and financial system. The end of the Communist Party's political system could not be far behind.

Whatever the effects of designations, the United States needs to enforce its laws. America did not allow Pablo Escobar to run criminal cash through New York, so why does America allow China to do that for North Korea?

"The money Kim Jong Un obtains by fraud, computer hacking, and ransomware and which he uses to build bombs to threaten us is being laundered through our banks. We're giving Xi Jinping and Kim de facto immunity to keep right on doing it." — Joshua Stanton, expert on North Korean sanctions, to Gatestone.

No wonder South Korea's Yoon is not particularly impressed with America.

South Korea is a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. If Seoul were to develop nuclear weapons, it would have to withdraw.

Perhaps South Korea should withdraw. China, also a signatory, has been freely proliferating nuclear weapons technology to dangerous states, such as Pakistan and Iran, in addition to North Korea, and the United States has done little, sometimes nothing. At the same time, Washington repeatedly stopped South Korea and Taiwan from building nukes.

The Paradox of Europe’s Defense Moment

The war in Ukraine has been a wakeup call for European countries, alerting them to the reality that defense matters. But do some recent promising steps in the right direction actually signal a revival of the European Union’s drive for strategic autonomy and a security and defense union? And will it lead to greater defense cooperation and integration? In terms of European defense capacities and operational action, it is a mixed bag, at best.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 came as a bombshell to Europe. After decades of relative peace and prosperity, the Russo-Ukrainian war has brought back horrors to Europe that echo the continent’s dark past. Europeans get it. Most governments and publics understand that this war represents a turning point in European history. It is a rude awakening to the reality that defense matters. However, it bears asking how deep and widespread this acknowledgement is and what its implications are for the defense of Europe, European defense, and the trans-Atlantic partnership.
Europe’s Watershed Moment

The military invasion, occupation, and illegal annexation of the territory of an independent country driven by fascistic imperial fervor is something that Europeans believed belonged to the past. It is true that, since World War II, the world, including Europe and its troubled neighbors, has seen far too many wars and atrocities. The wars in the Balkans, Africa, the Caucasus, the Middle East, and Asia have demonstrated that peace is not a given. It is also true that European countries, much like America, are partly to blame, with their overt misdeeds and covert complicity, for many of the violations of rights and international humanitarian and human rights law that humanity has suffered over the years. Yet, an ideologically driven global power waging a conventional war under a nuclear umbrella to take over an independent state is something that Europe had not seen since World War II.

The outbreak of the Russo-Ukrainian war dealt the final blow to Europe’s faltering security architecture and the ironclad belief that interdependence, while not a silver bullet for preventing all conflicts, would at least help to mitigate them. This is the premise on which the European project was built and the conviction that has guided its internal integration and external role in the world over the last seven decades. The war has also further shaken the normative foundations of the multilateral system, which is based on sovereignty and territorial integrity. In addition, the Kremlin’s threats that it will do whatever it takes to win this war — indiscriminately killing civilians, attacking critical infrastructure, and threatening nuclear Armageddon — imply that the international order, including what was painstakingly built over decades of arms control agreements and non-proliferation diplomacy, risks being destroyed.1 As German Chancellor Olaf Scholz put it at the outset of the war, Russia’s invasion marks a Zeitenwende, a watershed moment in history.2

NATO and the European Union: The Burden of Sharing

Mathieu Droin

The European Union and NATO have a new third joint declaration. In the context of the war in Ukraine, it sends an important message of transatlantic unity and solidarity. It commits to take NATO-EU partnership “to the next level.”

This is a welcome development and a desirable ambition.

But behind the smiles and handshakes, it took almost a year and a half to issue a 640-word text between two organizations that have more than two-thirds of their members in common and are less than seven kilometers apart. The generic, wishful tone of the declaration does not exactly strike as an enthusiastic renewal of vows.

Yet the response to the war in Ukraine has highlighted the complementarity between NATO and the European Union. The European Union is offering Ukraine what NATO cannot: lethal equipment, humanitarian assistance, waves of sanctions on Russia and more importantly, a future in a shared political community. NATO provides to exposed eastern flank allies what the European Union cannot: defense, deterrence, and reassurances. But complementarity is not tantamount to cooperation. Both organizations have been leveraging their own competencies and strengths, whereas stepping up cooperation could have multiplying effects and provide solid foundations for the future of the Euro-Atlantic community.

Now that the declaration is out, NATO and EU institutions and members have a responsibility to deliver on its provisions. They should also tackle the lingering distrust and barriers to cooperation that the new declaration will not wash away on its own.
An Indispensable Yet Complicated Partnership

The joint declaration is the third of its kind. The first was issued in 2016 and the second in 2018. They were not the result of a sudden appetite for cooperation, which has in practice been limited since 2004 by the Turkey-Cyprus stalemate. The declarations were rather motivated by the need to stem rising concerns about respective duplication and eventual competition, in a cooperative manner.

How Davos’ World Economic Forum became such a big deal

Matthew Zeitlin

Exactly what happens at the World Economic Forum, the annual confab in the Swiss Alps held at the beginning of the year, is something that’s both completely out in the open yet maddeningly opaque.

Hundreds of reporters cover it every year, and much of the programming is broadcast and live-streamed, and yet exactly what thousands of business leaders, politicians, academics and activists do when they converge on the Swiss mountain town is a little mysterious.

Naturally, the forum has become the object of conspiracy theories over the years. (In fact, it’s a place where you’re likely to find the key actors in any good conspiracy theories, from world leaders to business executives to intelligence agency chiefs). It’s an event with a vague theme but no unifying goal, yet it attracts the most powerful people across the planet to the same location. And the broad explanation of why people are there seems to be that, well, other people are there too.

Politicians, heads of state and corporate executives all mingling — some 2,700 total — working together to change the world: Here, both the World Economic Forum’s conspiratorial critics and the WEF itself have something in common, that this meeting and the organization are important forces that can have a meaningful impact,beyond just a bunch of important people hanging out. It wasn’t a conspiracy theorist that coined the phrase “the spirit of Davos” or called the WEF “a partner shaping history.” It was the WEF.

The meeting in its current form dates to 1974, when a business conference hosted by a German business professor in Switzerland named Klaus Schwab invited politicians to join the corporate executives in the mountain valley. As the conference and organization expanded, what was once the “European Management Forum” became the “World Economic Forum” in 1987.

2023 Will Be a Huge Year for the War on Big Tech

Thomas A. Hemphill

2023 could be a watershed year for public policy regarding Big Tech. Since 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the European Union (EU) have filed lawsuits against major U.S. tech companies, alleging they have relied on anti-competitive methods to maintain monopolies over social media platforms, search engines, advertising, and app stores. “The agencies have started laying the foundations for a more interventionist stance over the last two years, and this year is when we’ll start to see some of those efforts come to fruition—or be stopped in their tracks by the courts,” said Colin Kass, a partner in Proskauer Rose LLP’s antitrust group.

On November 10, the FTC voted to replace its 2015 “Statement of Enforcement Principles Regarding ‘Unfair Methods of Competition’ under Section 5 of the FTC Act” with a new “Policy Statement Regarding the Scope of Unfair Methods of Competition Under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.” This new policy statement is reflective of FTC chair Lina Khan’s antitrust philosophy and President Joe Biden’s “Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy.” However, Logan Breed, a partner at Hogan Lovells, has noted that “this policy statement exists in a vacuum. There is no real clarity on what [Section 5] means, and we’re just going to have to wait and see what the FTC decides to do. … And that’s likely going to happen in 2023.”

The new policy statement defines a method of competition as “a conduct undertaken by an actor in the marketplace”—as opposed to merely a condition of the marketplace not of the respondent’s making, such as high concentration or barriers to entry. This conduct must implicate competition directly or indirectly. In addition, the term “unfair” is defined as conduct that “goes beyond competition on the merits,” e.g., a firm having “superior products or services, superior business acumen, truthful marketing and advertising practices, investment in research and development that leads to innovative outputs, or attracting employees through better employment terms.” The new FTC policy statement is explicit that an FTC “inquiry will not focus on the ‘rule of reason’ inquiries more common in cases under the Sherman Act, but instead focus on stopping unfair methods of competition in their incipiency based on their tendency to harm competitive conditions.” Actual harms may not always be necessary to warrant enforcement, and such “incipient threats” now become challengeable.

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.

While satisfied with the U.S. military’s tactical performance in irregular warfare, Cleveland rejects the argument that special operations can raid their way to victory or capture enough terrain. Cleveland uses the strategic failures of the U.S. in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan to argue the U.S. military must focus on its failure to structurally, doctrinally, and militarily invest in irregular warfare to succeed.

Shedding Light On Quantum Photonics

By Eurasia Review

As buzz grows ever louder over the future of quantum, researchers everywhere are working overtime to discover how best to unlock the promise of super-positioned, entangled, tunneling or otherwise ready-for-primetime quantum particles, the ability of which to occur in two states at once could vastly expand power and efficiency in many applications.

Developmentally, however, quantum devices today are “about where the computer was in the 1950s,” which it is to say, the very beginning. That’s according to Kamyar Parto, a sixth-year Ph.D. student in the UC Santa Barbara lab of Galan Moody, an expert in quantum photonics and an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. Parto is co-lead author of a paper published in the journal Nano Letters, describing a key advance: the development of a kind of on-chip “factory” for producing a steady, fast stream of single photons, essential to enabling photonic-based quantum technologies.

In the early stages of computer development, Parto explained, “Researchers had just made the transistor, and they had ideas for how to make a digital switch, but the platform was kind of weak. Different groups developed different platforms, and eventually, everyone converged on CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor). Then, we had the huge explosion around semiconductors.

“Quantum technology is in a similar place — we have the idea and a sense of what we could do with it, and there are many competing platforms, but no clear winner yet,” he continued. “You have superconducting qubits, spin qubits in silicon, electrostatic spin qubits and ion-trap-based quantum computers. Microsoft is trying to do topologically protected qubits, and in the Moody Lab, we’re working on quantum photonics.”

Cyber-attacks have tripled in past year, says Ukraine’s cybersecurity agency

Dan Sabbagh 

Ukraine has suffered a threefold growth in cyber-attacks over the past year, with Russian hacking at times deployed in combination with missile strikes, according to a senior figure in the country’s cybersecurity agency.

The attacks from Russia have often taken the form of destructive, disk-erasing wiper malware, said Viktor Zhora, a leading figure in the country’s SSSCIP agency, with “in some cases, cyber-attacks supportive to kinetic effects”.

Zhora’s comments came as he visited London’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ, where he and Ukrainian colleagues were due to discuss how to work together to tackle the Russian threat.

Welcoming them, Tom Tugendhat, the UK security minister, said the fight “against Russian barbarism goes beyond the battlefield” and terror inflicted on civilians. “There is the real and persistent threat of a Russian cyber-attack on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure,” he added.

A day earlier, SSSCIP released an analysis of Russia’s cyberstrategy during the war so far, which concluded that cyber-attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure last autumn were linked to its sustained bombing campaign.

Russia launched “powerful cyber-attacks to cause a maximum blackout” on 24 November, the report said, in tandem with waves of missile strikes on Ukraine’s energy facilities that at the time had forced all the country’s nuclear plants offline.

The Lingering Power of Cyber Brandishing

By Jason Healey

Academics are among those who have oversimplified that “brandishing a cyber capability for signaling purposes is counterproductive when, by the very act of revealing it, the capability can be rendered inert.” This makes sense at the broadest technical and theoretical levels: Yes, once revealed, a vulnerability can be patched. But this exaggeration misses the overall dynamics of cybersecurity: vulnerabilities are actively exploited for years. After being brandished, cyber capabilities would not instantly become inert. Rather, they have a long shelf life, making them more useful tools for coercion and deterrence.

About Brandishing

During the Cold War, the Soviet and American militaries routinely brandished their weapons. These intentional displays of military capabilities were meant to cow the other side: “Look at how terrible your forces are under our command; no one better mess with us.” Focused on such aspects of deterrence, it was only natural for academics, policymakers, and practitioners to examine how states might brandish offensive cyber capabilities to deter or coerce a rival.

Cyber brandishing could be exceptionally specific, such as penetrating into a sensitive system—say, in the Pentagon or the White House—to leave a calling card or hacking an electrical grid to flicker the lights at a specific time.

But brandishing can also be more general, such as what I call Cartwright Conjecture, named after the former vice chairman of America’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. James Cartwright, who warned in 2011 that “we’ve got to talk about our offensive capabilities … to make them credible so that people know there’s a penalty” for attacking the United States.