27 January 2023

India, Egypt to Promote Trade and Investment, Fight Terrorism

Ashok Sharma

India and Egypt agreed Wednesday to boost trade between their countries during a visit by the Egyptian president that underscores Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to fortify ties with other emerging economies.

Modi and President Abdel Fattah El-Sissi agreed on measures to increase two-way trade within five years to $12 billion. Trade totaled $7.3 billion in 2021-22. The two countries also signed agreements on expanding cooperation in cybersecurity, information technology, culture, and broadcasting.

Modi and El-Sissi expressed concern over disruptions to food supplies and other critical resources due to the war in Ukraine. Modi sought Egypt’s cooperation in fighting cross-border terrorism, extremism, and cyber threats.

Egypt’s economy has been strained by the pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine, which pushed prices for oil and other commodities to record highs. One of the world’s biggest importers of wheat, it obtained help from the World Bank last year to finance its grain purchases as supplies from Ukraine were disrupted.

Imports from India helped to bridge the gap. New Delhi banned most wheat exports, but made an exception for countries like Egypt facing severe shortfalls.

India is among the top five importers of Egyptian products, including crude oil and liquefied natural gas, salt, cotton, inorganic chemicals, and oilseeds. Major Indian exports to Egypt include cotton yarn, coffee, herbs, tobacco, lentils, vehicle parts, ships, boats, and electrical machinery.

Shaping The Idea Of India – Analysis

P. K. Balachandran

It was the constitution of India, adopted on January 26, 1950, which defined modern India – a democratic State with equal rights for all secured by affirmative action.

It was on January 26, 1950, known as “Republic Day”, that free India defined itself as a modern, equalitarian and non-discriminatory democracy with one-man-one vote across its diverse population. The Indian constitution, which was adopted on that day, made explicit provisions for the realization of these ideals.

Although “democratic” constitutions had been adopted elsewhere too, the Indian constitution is unique in one way: it was democratic and equalitarian from the word go. While it took the older Western democracies centuries to extend rights to all (franchise was limited, women could not vote, and in the US, Blacks lacked full civil rights till the mid-1960s) the Indian constitution conferred democratic rights across the board and at once. And to realize them, it inaugurated an era of affirmative action to rid the country of primordial social and economic inequalities.

The “idea of India” or “the idea of modern India” to be precise, was conceived collectively in the Constituent Assembly (CA) through intense debates. The members of the CA were elected from all parts of the country and were led by an exceptionally gifted body of men like Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.

The Congress party had been toying with the idea of a constitution for an independent India from the early 1930s. But it was when the British indicated that they were leaving in 1946, that it became a reality. A 389-member Constituent Assembly (CA) was set up by the government with 292 elected indirectly by the Provincial Assemblies that had come into being following the 1946 Provincial elections. The CA also included 92 members from the Princely States. Most members were from the Congress party after the Muslim League left in quest of Pakistan.

The U.S.-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET): The Way Forward


On January 31, 2023, Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is scheduled to attend the first formal talks on the Initiative for Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) in Washington, DC. Doval will discuss the iCET with Jake Sullivan, his American counterpart. The iCET was first mentioned in a readout following a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden in Tokyo in May 2022. It is a unique initiative led by the Indian National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and the U.S. National Security Council (NSC) and is a product of informal discussions between and within the two organizations.

The aim is to “expand partnership” in critical and emerging technologies. It is supposed to serve as a coordination bridge to catalyze existing efforts at technology cooperation while stimulating a renewed sense of purpose for the same. In doing so, it is certain to also introduce new lines of collaboration. Ahead of the national security advisors’ meeting in Washington, DC, Carnegie India led discussions with officials from both countries, industry leaders, technologists, fund managers, entrepreneurs, academics, and others.

This article highlights some of the critical takeaways from these less-formal consultations, and the takeaways have been divided into five categories for cooperation. This includes suggestions on the administrative vehicle that drives the iCET—the mechanics, practical ideas to do more to connect the science and technology research and innovations ecosystems in both countries, and specific suggestions on technology cooperation in three domains: quantum technologies, semiconductors, and commercial space. To be sure, there are no references to the iCET priorities in the public domain. What we highlight below is a collection of ideas drawn from unofficial discussions.


The Magical Mossad Mystery Tour


‘Here I am at a Hezbollah tunnel! Here I am looking at a border fence!’TABLET MAGAZINE

Just East of Zar’it, Northern Israel

“You want to know a secret? Hezbollah is watching! They are usually up there with binoculars,” an Israeli soldier confided to me. She pointed north amid the green hills in the direction of Ramya, the Lebanese village which was the approximate starting point of the terrorist group’s flagship tunnel, named Wilderness Flower by the IDF but more commonly known as the Ramya Tunnel. We were standing amid a group of tourists at the tunnel’s mouth, now framed in concrete and with a metal door, nearly four years to the day that the Israel Defense Forces had exposed the assault passageway, one of six dug from inside southern Lebanon under Israeli territory. The IDF has blown up the other five.

If Hezbollah was indeed watching, it must have been a shaming experience for the surveillants. This marvel of military engineering, which would have enabled a flash mob of Shia fighters to emerge in the Upper Galilee to slaughter at will, was now entertaining a group of about 50 mostly elderly and Jewish tourists, some using walkers, many commenting on what schmucks the Hezbollahis must have been to invest so heavily in not one but six failed tunnels, as we moved on to Misgav Am for ice cream.

“It took the IDF four years to figure out all the tunnels,” said Major Nehemiah, another soldier who invited visitors to photograph anything except himself. “Hezbollah envisioned an elite force to surprise us through the tunnels. They would have surfaced here on the Old Northern Road. It would have a been a tactical, propaganda victory for them, against civilians.”

The Ramya Tunnel, he said, had taken Hezbollah about 10 years to build, and apart from Iranian funding, no foreign expertise or other role was evident in its creation. It ran for about a mile under Ramya into this area near the town of Zar’it, and the concluding section consisted of a circular cement staircase rising nearly 80 yards upward to this point. The steps were too steep for many tour members to explore, but some of our orange-helmeted number tried them out, noting that the damp dolomite walls sported power cables (labeled “Original Hezbollah Infrastructure” in Hebrew and English) but no handrails; presumably Hezbollah fighters would have been of a spryer demographic than us.

Pakistan Pursues Oil Deal With Russia

Umair Jamal

Pakistan’s Minister for Economic Affairs Sardar Ayaz Sadiq (left) shakes hands with Russian Minister of Energy Nikolay Shulginov after the two sign the final protocol of the 8th Session of the Pakistan-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) meeting on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation, at Islamabad on January 20, 2023.Credit: Twitter/ Economic Affairs Division, Government of Pakistan

Pakistan is close to a final agreement with Russia for the import of crude oil and petroleum products, with the first consignment expected to arrive in the country after a final deal is sorted in late March.

Russian Energy Minister Nikolay Shulginov was in Pakistan last week to discuss the deal. “We have already decided to draft an agreement to sort out all the issues that we have with regard to transportation, insurance, payments and volumes. These issues are in the final stage of the agreement,” Shulginov said.

Granted that the crucial details still need to be ironed out, the deal, if finalized, would be significant for Pakistan’s economy and its ties with the world.

It is the first solid start that Pakistan and Russia have made toward establishing bilateral cooperation in the oil and gas trade. In the past, conversations in this regard did not move beyond statements of interest.

The prospect of oil and gas imports from Russia also means that Pakistan, which is already procuring oil from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states on deferred payment options, has another source to access oil at discounted prices.

The State of Opposition in South Asia


Over the course of the last year, the Carnegie South Asia Program published a series of essays on the politics of opposition in South Asia. The inspiration for this series was the commonly held assessment that democracy in many parts of South Asia appears to be struggling. This has not always been the case.

Less than a decade ago, voters across South Asia were imbued with a sense of democratic optimism. In 2014, India ushered in its first single-party majority government in three decades, a reprieve from decades of fractious coalition politics. Pakistan’s 2013 elections represented the first civilian transfer of power following the successful completion of a five-year term by a democratically elected government. Voters in Nepal successfully elected a new constituent assembly, incorporating erstwhile Maoist rebels into mainstream politics. Sri Lanka, having emerged from decades of civil war, held important provincial elections, including in its contested Northern Province—the first time elections had taken place there in a quarter-century.

Today, optimism has given way to widespread pessimism. Across the region, democracy’s fortunes have suffered significant setbacks. In 2021, both Freedom House and the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Institute downgraded the quality of India’s democracy. While the Pakistani state has achieved success in reducing extremist violence, the military continues to dominate key aspects of domestic and foreign policy. Bangladesh is moving further toward consolidated autocracy, with the ruling party cracking down on dissent and political opposition. In Sri Lanka, the Rajapaksa family may have exited the scene (for now), but it remains unclear what political formation might fill the void. Across the region, regular elections co-exist with deepening challenges to liberal democracy. Far from being a beacon of democratic hope, South Asia now instead fits a larger global narrative of democratic malaise.

Paul Staniland is a nonresident scholar in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Unmanned Systems in China’s Maritime ‘Gray Zone Operations’

Prakash Panneerselvam

China recently inducted an unmanned drone carrier, the Zhu Hai Yun, an autonomous system capable of carrying unmanned surface vehicles (USV), unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV), and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones) at the ship’s spacious deck. The Global Times reported that even though the vehicles were designed for marine scientific research, they will be employed to gather intelligence in the disputed South China Sea, which highlights the question of China’s use of unmanned systems in military operations other than war.

China has been significantly investing in a variety of unmanned systems, such as drones and autonomous vehicles, to strengthen the position of its People Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). China has been using UUVs for marine scientific research in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. In 2020, China’s survey ship Xiangyanghong 06 deployed a fleet of underwater drones in the Indian Ocean to gather oceanographic data.

In the same year, Indonesian fishermen reported that they captured a Chinese Sea Wing underwater drone near Selayar Island in South Sulawesi, which is on the eastern side of the Makassar Strait, close to the international sea line of communication. This was not the first time the Chinese gliders were found collecting information in the territorial waters of Southeast Asian states. However, China denied any wrongdoing in the matter and continued to push for ocean observation exercises in the Southeast Asian waterways.

The Chinese use of USV/UUV/gliders in gathering strategically relevant data raises pertinent questions about unmanned vehicles’ possible future use in “gray zone” operations.

Beyond Oil: A New Phase in China-Middle East Engagement

Nurettin Akcay

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (center) and China’s President Xi Jinping (left) attend the Riyadh Arab-China Summit for Cooperation and Development Issues, Dec. 9, 2022.Credit: Saudi Press Agency

Over the years, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have been at the forefront of Beijing’s foreign policy priorities as China plans to bolster its energy security, accelerate its economic growth, and deepen economic ties with Gulf nations through infrastructure building and telecommunications development, both of which are critical domains for China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

By investing strategically in critical sectors in GCC countries, China has become one of the top economic partners of several Gulf states. In the near future, Beijing hopes to extend its existing presence with the region’s countries, particularly after the narrowing of U.S. influence in the region.

Thanks to Beijing’s economy-centric approach, the trade volume between China and Gulf countries has ballooned over the years. Beijing has become the region’s biggest investor and the GCC countries’ leading trading partner, with numbers reaching $330 billion in 2021. Beijing replaced Washington as the Middle East’s largest trading partner in 2010.

China’s huge energy demand is naturally at the core of the trade relationship with Middle Eastern countries. The Middle East is the largest oil supplier of oil and gas to China. In particular, the region accounts for nearly half of China’s oil imports, making it vital to Beijing’s energy security. In 2020, Beijing imported $176 billion worth of crude oil from the region, making China the world’s largest crude oil importer. This amount accounts for close to half (47 percent) of the region’s official imports, most of which are from Saudi Arabia.

On the other hand, China has a distinctive feature that makes it stand out from other energy-hungry partners. Unlike the polarizing attitude of the United States in the region, Beijing has been able to establish smooth diplomatic ties with many Middle Eastern countries by focusing on win-win understanding and a non-interventionist attitude.

In its rivalry with the US, China can leverage 3 advantages

Christopher Tang

China has been struggling to balance curbing the spread of the coronavirus with stimulating its weakening economy. The country ended its zero-Covid policy in early December and, by mid-January, had reported nearly 60,000 fatalities linked to the virus.

The full toll of this abrupt change in health policy on human lives will not be known for some time. But economic growth is the silver lining that can create a better future for China and beyond.

Clouds continued to loom over China after three years of isolation due to quarantine, mass testing and Covid-19 lockdowns. The zero-Covid policy successfully reduced the spread of the early strains of the virus, but significantly bogged down the economy.

The youth unemployment rate exceeded 19.9 per cent last July, the highest rate since Beijing started publishing the index in January 2018. In December, China’s exports contracted 9.9 per cent year on year, the worst figures since February 2020. Gross domestic product grew 3 per cent in 2022, well below the government’s target of “around 5.5 per cent”.

Some might argue that the Chinese government should have lifted its zero-Covid policy gradually so the country was better prepared. However, it is also plausible that curbing the spread of the virus is untenable because it has mutated.

Instead of prolonging the agony, it may have been more effective to open everything at one go to stimulate the economy in the hope that a catastrophic loss of human life could be avoided if the Omicron variant is indeed less deadly.

Once herd immunity is achieved, China’s economic engine can reboot by leveraging three competitive advantages.

First, China remains the world’s largest producer of several critical products – from electric vehicle batteries and solar panels to certain electronic components used in computers and appliances. On the surface, the United States is less directly dependent on Chinese goods by importing less from China and more from Southeast Asian nations such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand, as well as Mexico.

The Strategic Importance of the Middle East and North Africa: The Strengths and Limits of MENA Oil and Gas Wealth and the Challenge of Climate Change

Anthony H. Cordesman

The Emeritus Chair in Strategy has issued an updated, book length report on the changing strategic importance of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region entitled The Strengths and Limits of MENA Oil and Gas Wealth and the Challenge of Climate Change. It focuses on the energy and other economic aspects of the strategic importance of the region—which is dominated by its current and future oil and gas exports.

A downloadable copy is attached to this webpage, and the report can be downloaded from the CSIS website at https://csis-website-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/2023-01/230124_Cordesman_Strategic_Importance_MENA.pdf?VersionId=N1L1PnMv4vxVrWJUaGceelmBlTMeGT6K.
Addressing the Impact of Oil and Gas Exports by MENA Country: The Current Key to the Region’s Strategic Importance

The analysis begins with an overview of the key factors shaping the region’s changing strategic importance. It then focuses on the oil and gas exports, which are the key factor shaping the region’s strategic importance, its role as a group of major trading partners, its role as a key line of global communication between regions, and its role in global migration.

The analysis then provides a country-by-country overview of the key quantitative and trend data on oil and gas exports. It shows that there is only a limited consensus between various sources and just how different the resources and exports of given countries are. It also shows that the level of energy exports dominates the strategic importance of most states in the region. Israel is currently the only state with an advanced enough economy to export advanced goods and services, and that ranks as a highly developed state for at least its Jewish population, although Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE are making important advances.

Examples of National Petroleum Wealth versus Regional Petroleum Poverty

The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Marks a Seismic Shift in Relations with the Continent


The second edition of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit (ALS) took place in Washington last week. Much has changed since former president Barack Obama held the inaugural summit in 2014, halfway through his second term. At that time, the geopolitical environment for strengthening ties was less fraught: global economic integration was accelerating, and Africa was “rising” from sluggish growth and persistent poverty. The initial summit was framed as an important first step in engaging with a “a new, more prosperous Africa,” as Obama put it. But this year’s summit occurred against a worrying economic and political backdrop of global inflation, an impending debt crisis for several African countries, intensifying strategic competition between the United States and China, and a hot war in Ukraine. In an uncertain international landscape, great and middle powers see a vital national interest in revamping relations with a continent that is perhaps the last frontier of future economic growth and an outsize voting bloc in multilateral fora.

Zainab Usman is a senior fellow and director of the Africa Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. Her fields of expertise include institutions, economic policy, energy policy, and emerging economies in Africa.

Many of the analyses of the just-concluded ALS hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden compare it with high-level Africa summits convened by other great and middle powers. After all, the Africa + U.S. summit is one of eleven different recurring “Africa +1” summits, and Africa+1 summitry has occurred with increasing frequency over the last decade. Such comparisons often focus on regularity (the 2022 iteration was only the second ALS, versus eight Forums on China-Africa Cooperation [FOCAC] and eight Tokyo International Conferences on African Development [TICAD] as of this year); the headline financial commitment ($55 billion pledged by the United States at the 2022 ALS compared to China’s $40 billion pledge at the 2021 FOCAC and Japan’s $30 billion at the 2022 TICAD); the number of heads of states in attendance (forty-six including the chairperson of the African Union Commission at the 2022 ALS compared to fifty-one at the 2018 FOCAC); and whether bilateral meetings were set up between individual visiting African leaders and the host president (none at the ALS, while bilateral meetings with the Chinese president are a staple of FOCAC).

The Dueling Nuclear Nightmares Behind the South Korean President’s Alarming Comments


Earlier this month, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol set off alarms. In an off-the-cuff remark, he warned that Seoul might need to develop nuclear weapons—or demand redeployment of U.S. nuclear arms to the Korean Peninsula—to counter North Korean nuclear threats. In doing so, Yoon spotlighted a popular view once reserved for hawkish commentators, defense intellectuals, and former military officials. Keeping nuclear weapons out of South Korea will ultimately be a U.S. responsibility that requires addressing both the deteriorating security environment and the domestic drivers underlying Yoon’s statement.


Yoon’s announcement should be popular at home. Polling from last year shows 71 percent of South Koreans believe their military should acquire the bomb. Surveys from previous years have shown similar numbers, but mainstream politicians have largely stayed away from advocating proliferation.

Stephen Herzog is a senior researcher in nuclear arms control at the Center for Security Studies of ETH Zurich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and an associate of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Project on Managing the Atom.

Yoon’s nuclear rhetoric also made headlines during the 2022 presidential election, when a nuclear South Korea became a mainstay of his conservative People Power Party’s platform. During the campaign, Yoon called for South Korea to host U.S. nuclear weapons before he then backtracked, saying this could violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Now, rapidly increasing North Korean missile testing, a growing Chinese arsenal, and the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have worsened Seoul’s security environment.

How the War in Ukraine Is Boosting Russian Politicians’ Careers

Andrey Pertsev

Previously, ambitious members of the Russian elites climbed the career ladder by taking part in the Leaders of Russia contest and training programs for governors. Now the career pipeline runs through Ukraine, and anyone reluctant to radicalize will find themselves sidelined.

For those in Russia’s ruling elite set on reaching the top, the war in Ukraine is an unexpected new career elevator. Ever sensitive to the whims of President Vladimir Putin, the presidential administration is increasingly keen to reward veterans of the conflict.

It is not, however, actual combat veterans who are favored, but officials and politicians who have visited the front line for photo opportunities and made use of them to demonstrate their radicalism. Such displays are well received in the Kremlin, regardless of the consequences for the quality of government or relations among the elites, many of whom wish things could just go back to how they were before the invasion of Ukraine.

The elites have been dressing for the part since the very beginning of the war, when First Deputy Chief of Staff Sergei Kiriyenko and the United Russia ruling party general secretary Andrei Turchak started the trend, sporting khakis in newly occupied areas of Ukraine. Appearances at the front by careerist politicians, among them State Duma deputies Vitaly Milonov, Sergei Sokol, and Dmitry Khubezov, grew more frequent in the summer. There is now even a special reserve unit made up of lawmakers called Cascade.

Others have gotten in on the action, too. Alexander Sapozhnikov quit his post as mayor of the city of Chita to volunteer for the war. Primorye Governor Oleg Kozhemyako eagerly visited the trenches. Dmitry Rogozin, ex-head of the state space corporation Roscosmos, also donned a uniform and headed off to the front.

The Global Economy as of End-2022

Jeffrey Frankel 

Economists spent most of 2022 convincing themselves that the global economy was about to fall into recession, if it wasn’t already in one. With the year over, the global recession has now been postponed to 2023.Tour d’horizon

In the US, reports that a recession had begun in the first half of the year clearly were premature, especially given how tight the labor market was. It still is. The chances of a downturn in the coming year are well below 100%, despite the confidence with which many say it is certain. It is foolish to think we can predict a recession with certainty. But the chances are indeed far above the usual 15 %. I would put the odds at perhaps 50-50 in 2023 and 75% at some point during the next two years. The main reason is the rapid raising of interest rates by the Fed (and other central banks), of course, which in turn is attributable to high inflation.

Europe, hard-hit by higher energy prices, has worse prospects. A recession is highly likely, for example as defined by the common criterion of two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

China looks to be in still worse shape. It has the same problems as Europe, plus also the recent collapse of the property sector and the return of Covid-19 due to re-opening without adequate vaccination. Growth will be far less than what the Chinese had become accustomed to. But seldom turns negative. Even an 8-percentage-point decrease in GDP growth at the time of the Global Financial Crisis, from 14% in 2007 to 6% at the height of the Great Recession in 2009, was not enough to cause Chinese output to shrink in absolute terms. This is one of many illustrations of the drawbacks of defining recession by an automatic rule based on negative GDP growth.Policy mistakes

In many countries, current woes are substantially self-inflicted. Governments have made mistakes with consequences that are turning out to be as huge as they were predictable.

Is South Korea Considering Nuclear Weapons

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

In a rather surprising move, South Korea President Yoon Suk-yeol publicly suggested the possibility of Seoul developing its own nuclear weapons in the face of growing nuclear threats from North Korea. He made the comment at an official policy briefing by South Korea’s foreign and defense ministries on January 11. He reportedly suggested that South Korea could pursue its own nuclear bomb if the United States fails to deploy nuclear weapons in order to address the North Korean nuclear threat, saying this “would not take long” given the “technological prowess” of the South.

According to another report, Yoon reportedly stated, “It’s possible that the problem gets worse and our country will introduce tactical nuclear weapons or build them on our own. If that’s the case, we can have our own nuclear weapons pretty quickly, given our scientific and technological capabilities.”

Yoon’s office fairly quickly clarified that South Korea had “no plans” to develop nuclear weapons. U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby highlighted the Korean clarification and added that both Washington and Seoul are in the process of making “improvements in extended deterrence capabilities.” It is possible that Yoon’s statement was intended to get a fresh reiteration from the United States on its commitment to augment its efforts in beefing up the extended deterrence capabilities.

Such comments are demonstrative of the growing skepticism among U.S. allies on the credibility of U.S. security guarantees. Japan has also had such worries, and in fact there have been occasional comments from Japanese leaders that suggest that Japan is not entirely happy with its non-nuclear commitment.

South Korea’s Economic Security Dilemma

Moksh Suri and Abhishek Sharma

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, during his special address to the World Economic Forum (WEF), stated that the “Republic of Korea, which boasts the world’s top-notch production technologies and manufacturing capabilities in semiconductor, rechargeable batteries, steelmaking, and biotechnology, will be a key partner in the global supply chain.” That declaration furthers Yoon’s vision of South Korea as a “global pivotal state” and supplements Seoul’s recently released Indo-Pacific Strategy, which is premised on three principles: inclusiveness, trust, and reciprocity.

The intensification of China-U.S. strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific is diminishing space for cooperation and increasing the risk of confrontation between the two powers. As this competition intensifies, states are increasingly finding their autonomy constrained. Fragmentation of supply chains, trade protectionism, and the securitization of emerging technologies, among other issues, are the primary causes of this polarization. South Korea, one of the key powers of the Indo-Pacific, is caught up in this strategic rivalry and has been forced to rethink its earlier posture of strategic ambiguity. Seoul’s cautious policy of strategic ambiguity, manifested in a way that carefully navigates between Washington and Beijing, is now proving to be futile, and geopolitical tensions are incrementally pushing Seoul toward closer strategic alignment with Washington.

The Afghans I Trained Are Fighting for Putin in Ukrain

Thomas Kasza

Mr. Kasza served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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I am an American Special Forces soldier, a volunteer knowing well the hazards of this profession in which I’ve served quietly for 14 years.

And I helped build Vladimir Putin’s foreign legion.

Green Berets — the “Horse Soldiers” who toppled the Taliban in 2001 — are not Army Rangers or Navy SEALs. We specialize in training and fighting alongside indigenous forces, and our greatest strength is the trust and camaraderie we develop with our counterparts. For years, the Green Berets and the commandos of the Afghan National Army were a bulwark against the Taliban. It was a partnership forged at immense cost in American and Afghan lives.

Since the precipitous departure from Afghanistan, and in the absence of meaningful government support to the nonprofit organizations who have worked to aid our former allies, many of those highly trained commandos have accepted recruitment offers to fight with the Russian Army in Ukraine. For the 20,000 to 30,000 men that we trained, a steady salary and the promise of shelter from the Taliban is often too good of a deal to pass up — even if the cost is returning to combat.

As the next Congress prepares to investigate the withdrawal and how it went so disastrously wrong, they should examine not only the lead-up to those dramatic days in August 2021 when the Taliban swept into Kabul, but also what happened — and is currently happening — in the wake of their victory. How those who safeguarded American troops are actively hunted. How they’ve suffered under the Taliban. How our government turned a blind eye. How Afghans were forced to pay nearly $600 per person to apply for humanitarian parole, while Ukrainians had the fee waived.

Following the gross malfeasance of the withdrawal, I didn’t think that there were more red lines to cross, any further moral injury that could be inflicted on those of us who served or worked to save our allies. Yet, with this soul-sickening revelation that our closest partners will now bleed for Russia, here we are. Again.

War Trophy For Russia: Starlink Terminals That Ukraine Was Using Against Russian Military Reportedly Seized By DPR Fighters

Sakshi Tiwari

Russian troops have claimed that they have captured Elon Musk’s satellite internet terminals as war trophies in the Donetsk region, where combat has become intense in recent weeks.

The commander of the Tsarskie Wolves organization said in an interview that the Russian fighters in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) captured the Starlink satellite terminals as a bounty.

The former head of the Russian Space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, who underwent successful surgery after being wounded in Donetsk, also told reporters that Russian troops had captured a wide variety of enemy trophies in DPR, including high-tech equipment.

On its part, local Russian media was quick to conclude that since the Russian side had acquired the Starlink subscriber equipment, there were chances for Russians to study these terminals or use them in the battle against Ukraine.

In November last year, Russian state media TASS reported that the country was gearing up to field a network of space-based satellites dubbed ‘Skif’ to provide affordable, high-speed internet access.

A report in local media asserted that the Russian specialists might create “replacement” signal reception points, which, during operation, can bring a lot of problems for the Ukrainian military.

For instance, in October, the Russian media said that the invading troops were using the Tirada-2S satellite communications electronic jamming system against Starlink.

Against that backdrop, these claims may induce some anxiety in Ukrainian officials. Last month, a Russian weapons manufacturer said it had developed a Starlink terminal communication detection radar called Borshchevik, which was being tested on the battlefield.

There have been claims in the media that the Borshchevik has been “designed to detect and determine the location of Starlink terminals in a 180-degree sector at a distance of up to 10 kilometers.” However, EurAsian Times could not independently corroborate these assumptions published extensively in Russian media.

There have been speculations that Moscow was constantly devising strategies to destroy the Starlink terminals. A Russian media report based on experts’ opinions said in October that a massive number of missiles with a target engagement range of at least 500 kilometers would be required to obliterate the Starlink satellite network.

Ukraine wants longer range missiles as Russia learns from its mistakes

Tim Lister and Fred Pleitgen

Ukrainian officials say the Russians are learning from their battlefield mistakes and making it harder for Ukraine’s missiles to hit their ammunition depots and logistics hubs. That’s why, they say, Ukraine needs longer range missiles that can reach inside Russia.

They also believe the appointment of Gen. Valery Gerasimov as the commander of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine is a last throw of the dice by the Kremlin after multiple reshuffles of its military hierarchy.

The deputy chief of Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence, Vadym Skibitsky, told CNN Monday that the Russians have begun dispersing military supplies “across the entire territory of the Russian Federation.”

In particular, he said, “everything is moved to the southern regions through the Crimean peninsula” from logistical hubs in the Russian region of Rostov.

“If you ask what’s critical for the Russian Federation, the centers of gravity are these very hubs, and they need to be struck in order to disrupt the supply systems of all kinds,” Skibitsky said.

And this requires strikes against facilities not only in Russian-occupied Crimea, “but also in the Russian Federation,” Skibitsky said.

He described Russia’s logistics systems as lying 80 to 120 kilometers (50-75 miles) from the front line, which means Ukraine needs longer-range strike systems to target them.

Germany, the War in Ukraine, and Its Future Role in Europe

Robbin Laird

For Germany, its leading role in Europe is seriously being questioned and challenged, and its dependence in part for its economic growth on Chinese markets and capital and energy from Russia has seriously undercut significant pillars of its economy and with it their leading role in Europe.

And the inability of Germany to include serious consideration for defense and security within its definition of itself and its leadership role in Europe undercuts that role as well.

To get a sense of the shift in Europe affecting Germany’s role, I sought out my friend and colleague Andrew Denison, the Director of Transatlantic Networks, which is a think tank based in Germany with focus on political education and consultancy.

We started with the Chancellor’s declaration of intent to shift German defense policy dramatically in February which has been followed by serious foot dragging since then on actually doing much. His defense minister has recently been fired which in a way symbolizes the lack of progress.

According to Denison: “The Chancellor panicked when he saw the twin pressures of a probable Russian victory in Ukraine and a possible repeat of Biden’s Afghan fiasco in Europe, i.e., that the Americans would not respond forcefully. When the Russians failed to win decisively and Biden aided Ukraine and armed them for the fight, Germany could stand down and slack off on pursuing the changes the Chancellor outlined in his February speech. When it comes to confronting Russia, Germany is back to putting its foot on the brake as opposed to on the gas.”

In other words, Russian failure and American engagement made it possible for Germany to return to its comfort zone: the Americans take responsibility for German defense and Germany does not have to confront Russia (or China) – can even make money on Russia (and China). The Chancellor, writing in Foreign Affairs, demonstrated this make-money-not-war strategy with the ambitious, if somewhat unrealistic title: “The Global Zeitenwende – How to Avoid a New Cold War in a Multipolar Era.”

Germany’s Leopard-2 Tanks Will Help Crush Russia

Jacob Heilbrunn 

With the decision to send tanks to Ukraine and increase artillery production sixfold, America and its allies are moving to a war footing against Russia. Just as it took over a year to respond to Joseph Stalin’s incorporation of Eastern Europe, so the West’s determination to resist Russian president Vladimir Putin’s attempted subjugation of Ukraine has been a protracted process. Now the die is cast. Putin was convinced that he could outlast the Western alliance, but it is intent on outlasting him. Any hesitation about confronting Moscow for its depredations in Ukraine has gone by the wayside. President Joe Biden is determined to crush Russian aspirations for hegemony in Europe once and for all.

Despite initial hesitations, Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz has agreed to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. His decision has both symbolic and practical import. Symbolically, it frees Germany from the strictures that it operated under after World War II. Practically, it liberates countries such as Poland and Finland to transfer German-made tanks as soon as possible to aid a forthcoming Ukrainian offensive this spring. The United Kingdom has already promised to supply fourteen Challenger 2 tanks to Kyiv. Poland and the Baltic States have been publicly pushing for Germany to abandon its ostrich-like position against aiding Ukraine with tanks. “The Leopard is freed,” declared Bundestag vice-president Katrin Goering-Eckardt on Twitter. She added, “now he can hopefully help Ukraine quickly in its struggle against the Russian invasion…” In all, Ukraine expects to receive 100 Leopard 2 tanks from twelve countries.

The driving force in altering Germany’s adamantine stance against dispatching tanks was its new defense minister, Boris Pistorius, who has made no secret of his support for Ukraine’s struggle against Russian aggression and who demanded that the Bundeswehr, as an initial step, examine its inventory of tanks. While some in the Social Democratic Party have clung to obsolete notions of reaching some kind of accommodation with Putin and his camarilla, Scholz’s coalition partners, the Free Democrats and the Greens, have been stalwart in pushing for a more hard-line stance. So has the Christian Democratic Union, whose leader Friedrich Merz declared, “it’s the right decision.” In essence, Scholz was bowing to the inevitable.

Russia-Ukraine WarThe U.S. Plans to Send M1 Abrams Tanks to Ukraine, Officials Say

WASHINGTON — Reversing its longstanding resistance, the Biden administration plans to send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, U.S. officials said on Tuesday, in what would be a major step in arming Kyiv in its efforts to seize back its territory from Russia.

The White House is expected to announce a decision as early as Wednesday, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussions. One official said the number of Abrams tanks could be about 30.

Over the past month, Pentagon officials had expressed misgivings about sending the Abrams, citing concerns about how Ukraine would maintain the advanced tanks, which require extensive training and servicing. And officials said it could take years for them to actually reach any Ukrainian battlefields.

But Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III has now come around to the view that committing to sending American tanks is necessary to spur Germany to follow with its coveted Leopard 2 tanks. Officials at the State Department and the White House argued that giving Germany the political cover it sought to send its own tanks outweighed the Defense Department reluctance, the officials said.

The movement toward sending the Abrams tanks, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, follows a testy confrontation last week during a NATO defense chiefs meeting over the refusal by Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, to send the Leopards, which many military experts believe could be a critical weapon in Ukrainian hands.

German officials privately insisted that they would send the tanks, among the most advanced in the world, only if the United States agreed to send its own M1 Abrams tanks.

Ukraine fighting confirms Marines’ new focus on battlefield ‘thinkers’: Officials


U.S. Marines standby to conduct an integrated training exercise at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Angel D. Travis)

WASHINGTON — The Marine Corps today took the latest step in its Force Design 2030 efforts, initiating a wide range of assessments and overhauls that are all aimed at revamping how the service produces Marines. Russia’s war in Ukraine, senior officials say, have “confirmed” the direction the new document sets for the Marine Corps.

“Current events, I would say, were more confirming that we know that this is what’s necessary,” Sgt. Maj. Stephen Griffin, the senior enlisted at the service’s Training and Education Command, told reporters today at the Pentagon. “That we need a cognitively agile [non-commissioned officer] that can outmaneuver our enemies in the future. It’s just more confirmation.”

The document itself, titled “Training and Education 2030,” is roughly 24 pages long, signed out by Commandant Gen. David Berger, and goes through nearly every element required to produce a United States Marine, from selecting a military occupational specialty and the technology used in the classroom to hosting large-scale exercises and honing marksmanship, a skill the service prides itself on teaching every Marine.

Each section concludes with specific tasks Berger is ordering Training and Education Command, also called TECOM, to undergo. There’s a little more than two dozens tasks, all of which have timelines to be completed no later than sometime in 2025, and they collectively amount to reevaluating every aspect of how Marines train and learn, and whether that way is still the best.

What does Ukraine tell us about cyber warfare?

Late last year I had the pleasure of moderating a fascinating debate organised by Geneva's CyberPeace Institute. It was all about cyberwarfare: what we know, what we don't know, and what the now almost yearlong conflict in Ukraine has taught us about the future of war.This content was published on January 24, 2023 - 17:00January 24, 2023 - 17:00Imogen Foulkes

The participants included representatives from NATO, from the Swiss Armed Forces, from the International Committee of the Red Cross and security analysts. It was a thought-provoking event, and it prompted me to devote our latest episode of Inside Geneva to the same topic.

Some of our readers and listeners will remember the Arab Spring. Back in 2011, the term “citizen journalist” defined some of the events. Thousands of people, many of them young, took to the streets in Tunisia, Egypt, eventually Syria, demanding change, demanding more representation, and more democracy.

They shared their thoughts and experiences online, and the immediacy of the news of what was happening across the Arab world led many of us, myself included, to think that this was a new freedom, a way to defy the autocratic governments who controlled the media.

Sadly, many of those countries still have autocratic rulers, and they have learned to use cyberspace too, not to liberate but to repress. At the same time defence departments around the world have all had to look at cyberspace and assess how could they use it in a war, and how it might be used against them in a war.

Russian trolls

Long before Russia invaded Ukraine, western countries knew Moscow was using cyberspace to spread disinformation, and, it is believed, to influence policy and elections in western democracies.

Censorship, Mass Surveillance and Bugs: World Economic Forum vs. The Free World

J.B. Shurk

People with fortunes have an economic incentive to hide them behind the appearance of benevolence, so as to avoid scrutiny while making those fortunes even bigger. Behind every "build back better" inch of the WEF's "great reset" of the global economy is some corporate titan, banking behemoth, power-hungry politician, bureaucratic chieftain, or plain old aristocrat making money or gaining influence from the multitude of secret transactions buttressing the whole philanthropic charade.

They depend upon African slave labor for the mining of "green" raw materials and Chinese slave labor for the manufacturing of "green" technologies while simultaneously smearing as bigots anyone who objects to their open border policies flooding Western nations with endless cheap labor at home. Predictably, those most responsible for undermining labor groups at home while subsidizing slavery abroad are the same ones who lecture the world on racism, fair wages, and human rights.

Stick, meet carrot. They may fly on private jets, but at the end of the day, the World Economic Forum cabal is just the greatest collection of thugs organized crime has ever managed to put together in the same room, orchestrating the most effective schemes ever devised to force formerly free peoples to do exactly what they say.

In a more just era, anybody attending the WEF's gatherings would be arrested for conspiracy to commit racketeering and fraud. Instead, because the "masters of our future" have invested heavily in the elections of the West's most prominent leaders, presidents, prime ministers, legislators, and even military staffs are only too happy to champion their cause.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told his WEF audience that the world's economy is in tremendous peril, while failing to point out that it has been the WEF's own COVID-19 lockdown policies and attempts to use the pandemic as a "great reset" for transitioning the West from hydrocarbon to "green" energies that are responsible for much of the harm.

[T]he UN chief was more interested in making two other points: (1) there should be legal "accountability" for social media platforms that promote "false information," and (2) politicians should force unpopular policies upon their populations for their own good.

In essence, the head of the globalists' preferred international governing body demands that national leaders intentionally disregard the will of their people and implement a system for the criminalization of free speech, so that dissent magically disappears much like a protester in a "re-education" camp. These are the same WEF "elites" who then have the temerity to turn around and preach about "democracy" and "Western values."

Why Russia’s war in Ukraine today is so different from a year ago

Alexander Hill

Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine is approaching its first anniversary. The war being fought by Russian forces today is, however, very different from that being fought when Russia first invaded Ukraine.

In February 2022, the Russian attack on Kyiv — seemingly aimed at bringing about regime change in Ukraine — soon faltered. It quickly became apparent that the current Ukrainian regime would not simply collapse.

Putin appeared to have ignored or not been told about improvements in the Ukrainian armed forces that separatist and Russian forces fighting in the Donbas region since 2014 experienced first-hand. Nonetheless, during the first weeks of the war, Russian forces secured significant territory in eastern Ukraine.

Russia’s war of movement, however, soon degenerated into the sort of fighting that it’s engaged in today. Ukrainian forces also recaptured territory relatively quickly in the fall of 2022, but their war of movement has also come to an end for the time being.

Neither side has been able to gain a decisive advantage on the battlefield. Russia’s army in Ukraine has not collapsed — despite the predictions of many western observers — and shows no signs of doing so. Here’s why.
Redeploying forces

Russia’s attack north of Kyiv was undoubtedly a debacle and it was halted, resulting in a redeployment of Russian forces to the east. That move both greatly simplified Russian supply lines and meant more troops in the east. The Russian pullout from territory near Kherson, in southern Ukraine, had the same effect.

What Western tanks should give Ukraine in the next round of the war

Each phase of the war in Ukraine brings its iconic weapons. Around Kyiv last winter the shoulder-fired Javelin anti-tank and Stinger air-defence missiles had starring roles. When fighting shifted to the eastern Donbas region in the spring, it was the 155mm howitzer. As Ukraine advanced in the autumn, plaudits went to the himars rocket launcher. Now, as both sides prepare for new offensives, the spotlight has turned on the Leopard tank.

Russia still occupies about 17% of Ukraine’s territory—including Crimea, the peninsula it annexed in 2014 and which poses some of the trickiest questions about the future of the war. Right now, the war has become one of static but bloody attrition. In the air, Russian missiles and drones seek to cripple Ukraine’s electrical grid. On the ground, artillery barrages and human-wave attacks have allowed Russian forces to inch forward around Bakhmut.

Operation Inherent Resolve U.S. Ground Force Contributions

Jeffrey Martini, Sean M. Zeigler, Sebastian Joon Bae, Alexandra T. Evans, Gian Gentile, Michelle Grisé, Mark Hvizda

Research QuestionsWhat is by, with, and through?

What lessons can be derived from OIR practices and outcomes?

This report, which provides a narrative account of four battles within Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) and a review of U.S. ground force contributions to those battles, is intended to serve as an operational history and review of warfighting functions as applied to OIR. Although OIR was both a Coalition fight and joint one, the report's focus on U.S. ground forces is meant to address gaps both in analysis and in the common understanding of OIR.

This research was structured according to the operational concept of by, with, and through. This concept refers to the U.S. military's reliance on local partners — either a host nation government or a local surrogate force — to prosecute ground fighting with U.S. support. That support typically encompasses U.S. advising and enablers and could involve U.S. forces accompanying the partner. Although the terminology is familiar to those working in national security, it has yet to be formalized in joint doctrine and there are inconsistencies in its usage. The authors trace the development of the concept and its application in OIR, then analyze how it might be better incorporated into military doctrine.

The authors detail four battles: the counterattacks on Ramadi and on Fallujah, setting the conditions for Mosul, and the urban fight in Mosul. The choice of these operations was made to ensure treatment of the Euphrates and Tigris river valleys where the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria was defeated in Iraq and to cover battles at different points in the overall campaign.

Key Findings