1 February 2023

India Has Lost Access to 26 of 65 Patrolling Points in Ladakh, Says Research Paper

Sudha Ramachandran

In this photograph provided by the Indian Army, tanks pull back from the banks of Pangong Tso lake region, in Ladakh along the India-China border on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021.Credit: Indian Army via AP

India’s situation along its disputed border with China in Ladakh appears to be far more serious than the government is letting on.

A police officer from Leh in Ladakh recently disclosed that India has lost access to 26 of 65 patrolling points from the Karakoram Pass to Chumar along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.

In her research paper submitted at the 57th annual conference of India’s top police officials in New Delhi on January 20-22, Leh’s Senior Superintendent of Police P.D. Nithya said that “due to restrictive or no patrolling” by Indian forces at several patrolling points, India had lost access to patrolling points 5-17, 24-32, 37, 51, 52 and 62.

The absence of Indian troops at these patrolling points opened up space for Chinese soldiers to move in, the paper notes, forcing India to accept that these areas now have a Chinese presence. This has led to a shift in the LAC “towards the Indian side.”

Since April-May 2020, when PLA soldiers backed by tanks and armored personnel carriers crossed into areas that were previously patrolled by the Indian Army, the situation along the LAC has been tense.

The research paper argues that Indian apprehensions over drawing Chinese ire, even objections to Indian presence in territory deemed disputed by Beijing has resulted in India adopting a “play safe” strategy that has resulted in India pulling back from territory it controlled previously.

Pakistan’s dark age: The joke’s on us, and it’s no longer funny

People visit a market, where some shopkeeper are using generators for electricity during a nationwide power breakdown, in Islamabad, Pakistan, January 23, 2023 [Anjum Naveed/AP Photo]

If I had a dollar for every time that I have heard the Pakistani people called “resilient”, I could probably single-handedly bridge our current account deficit while having enough left over to try to buy Kashmir from India.

We have been derailed by coups, split apart by civil war, faced multiple waves of attacks by armed groups and economic meltdowns, and are subjected to constant political shenanigans and yet we somehow keep going, much like a particularly demented energiser bunny who does not realise his battery ran out long ago.

We survive by using sarcasm so sharp it could slice steel. We have weaponised euphemisms and analogies (a skill honed by decades of on-and-off censorship and state repression) to the point that sometimes even we do not know what we are talking about. We cope by employing a humour darker than the Pakistani sky itself during our last nationwide power breakdown, the third of the kind in the past three years.

The lights went out at 7am on January 23, and despite repeated prayers and promises from the energy minister, remained off in most of the country till almost midnight.

Businesses shut down, hospitals could not function and just about every aspect of life came to a standstill as the power reserves of mobile phone companies and internet providers slowly ran out.

Faced with the crisis, those Pakistanis who still had some battery life in their phones immediately turned to the giant town square of social media, flocking to Facebook and Twitter not to post updates or exchange information, but to try and figure out what had happened. “You see, we couldn’t pay the IMF bill so they cut off our electricity,” wrote one person. Another thought that the standard tech support solution was in play, posting: “Well the country wasn’t working so we had to turn it off and on again.”

And so, we whiled away the hours, feeling as powerless as a Pakistani prime minister and trying to chuckle away the latest crisis.

Pakistan’s Economic Woes And How It Can Come Out Of Woods – OpEd

Humais Sheikh

The operating system of current world order is political economy. Strong economy contributes to the health of any country and provides it political leverage in international arena. Post Covid-19 crisis, world is witnessing an economic recession with a colossal wave of inflation. Since the Second World War, Post Covid-19 recession is the deepest one in advanced economies. Pakistan is one of those ill-fated states which is facing an unprecedented economic downturn with an obscure future progress. But, Pakistan’s economic woes are not just confined to the Covid-19 breakout, there have been a massive mismanagement of resources and corrupt practices that brought the country to this level of insecurity.

Successive governments under their respective political leadership took massive loans from international financial organizations but they didn’t use them for sustainable developmental projects. While their performance in the political arena on the basis of ethnicity, baradari system and domestic wheeling dealing has weathered the seasons, their handling of economic matters has remained below par regardless of which political party remained in the government. Corruption, mismanagement, and useless allocation of budget has created a havoc in the country.

If we calculate the amount of external debts heaped on Pakistan’s economy by successive governments, the stats show; In PMLN’s tenure from 2013 to 2018 the external debt was Rs 35.9 Trillion (195% increase), in PPP’s tenure from 2008 to 2013 the external debt was calculated to be Rs 3 trillion (194% increase) and last but not the least in PTI’s tenure the external debt was Rs 23.6 trillion (203% increase). If we talk about the dollar exchange rates in Pakistan; in People’s Party’s tenure the dollar exchange rate was Rs 70 to Rs 101 (144% increase) against $1 USD while in Pakistan Muslim League (N) tenure it was Rs 101 to Rs 121 (119% increase) against $1 USD and in PTI’s tenure it was Rs 121 to Rs 182 (150% increase) against $1 USD, and in PDM’s short tenure it rose to Rs 182 to Rs 250 (137% increase).

Analysing Chinese Foreign Policy

Ian Seow Cheng Wei

This content was originally written for an undergraduate or Master's program. It is published as part of our mission to showcase peer-leading papers written by students during their studies. This work can be used for background reading and research, but should not be cited as an expert source or used in place of scholarly articles/books.

China’s re-emergence as a military and economic power in the 21st century has been analysed through the lens of realism, which believes that as China’s material capabilities grow, it would become expansionist. However, realism does not explain: (1) why China’s foreign policy have become more assertive and confident under Xi Jinping as compared his predecessors, and (2) China’s growing interests in reforming the international system. As such, I argue from the Interpretative Actor Model perspective that Xi’s personality of being forceful, ambitious and Machiavellian is key to understanding China’s foreign policy since 2013. I employ Waltz’s three levels of foreign policy analysis – the state, the individual, and the international levels – to show how Xi’s personality has permeated throughout China’s foreign policy at all levels. It is also noteworthy that China’s foreign policy under Xi has generated mixed receptions among the international community, which could affect China’s security and economy in the future.

China’s re-emergence as an economic and military power in the 21st Century has generated mixed views among the international community. Some states have viewed China’s assertiveness, especially over territorial disputes, as a threat to international peace and stability, while others have viewed China’s economic development as beneficial for the global economy. Most analysis of China’s foreign policy have centred on realism, which suggests that as China’s material capabilities grow, it would seek to expand its power regionally and internationally (Kirshner, 2012; Li, 2016).

Source: Dutch, Japanese Join US Limits on Chip Tech to China

Dee-Ann Durbin and Aamer Madhani

Japan and the Netherlands have agreed to a deal with the United States to restrict China’s access to materials used to make advanced computer chips, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press on Sunday.

The person declined to be identified because the deal hasn’t yet been formally announced. It’s unclear when all three sides will unveil the agreement. The White House declined to comment.

The Biden administration in October imposed export controls to limit China’s ability to access advanced chips, which it says can be used to make weapons, commit human rights abuses, and improve the speed and accuracy of its military logistics. Washington urged allies like Japan and the Netherlands to follow suit.

China has responded angrily, saying trade curbs will disrupt supply chains and the global economic recovery.

“We hope the relevant countries will do the right thing and work together to uphold the multilateral trade regime and safeguard the stability of the global industrial and supply chains,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said earlier this month. “This will also serve to protect their own long-term interests.”

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Friday that Dutch and Japanese officials were in Washington for talks led by President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, that covered the “safety and security of emerging technologies,” efforts to aid Ukraine, and other issues.

A Nuclear War Is Closer Than Ever – OpEd

Sarah Neumann

The Ukraine war and the conflict between Russia and the West have literally dragged the whole world into a hot war. This chaos has violated the international order and forced Washington and Moscow to take on new strategies in response to systematic military developments. The main indicator of this strategy is the United States’ frustration in maintaining the current order and the world’s peace and security. This issue has affected the stability in Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia.

The United States, as the controller of Russia’s military power, is currently pursuing a restraining order model whose rules are different from the rules of the previous hegemonic order model, and unlike the past, the United States, regardless of diplomatic and economic relations, plays a fundamental role in applying the “threat power equation” against future competitors and challengers.

Although the west has viewed Russia and particularly China as the trade partners, from now on “political and economic NATO” will determine the type of relations. The Western alliance has given up on the economic benefits of Russia and is preparing for a long war by sending the most advanced military equipment to Ukraine. The trouble is that a country without the support of the Western security model can no longer feel safe. Therefore, the West will not stop supporting Ukraine and will prolong the war to achieve its goals and revive its hegemonic position.

In other words, Ukraine has become a platform for America and Europe to threaten rival countries. In fact, with the decline of the American hegemony, new challengers entered the field of competition. This is where the “restraining order” is formed. In the “restraining order” model, the system is controlled by the two elements of deterrence and balancing. Deterrence levers are strengthened to protect themselves and regional allies, and the balancing policy controls the challengers of subordinate regions. Therefore, it can be seen that the United States National Security Strategy document (December 2017) and the National Defense Strategy document (January 2018) emphasize balancing and the 2018 Nuclear Arrangement Review document emphasizes direct deterrence.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Stephen M. Walt 

One of the alleged advantages of autocracies is their supposed ability to turn on a dime in response to changing conditions. If one person has supreme power and doesn't have to worry about bureaucratic rigidity, a pesky press, domestic opposition, influential interest groups, an independent judiciary, and all those other messy appurtenances of democracy, then in theory they can just issue a new edict and set the ship of state on a new course.

This image of agile and adaptive autocrats is probably mistaken, or at least incomplete. Even seemingly unchallenged dictators usually worry about potential rivals, competing power centers, and whether distant officials will implement directives effectively. Tyrants sometimes get stuck with failing policies because underlings won't tell them what is really going on, or they refuse to change course because they don't want to appear weak. Moreover, those supposedly sloth-like, dysfunctional democracies can sometimes act with surprising vigor and swiftness, especially in an emergency.

These caveats notwithstanding, the scope and speed of the changes recently undertaken by Chinese President Xi Jinping are still impressive. Having consolidated his hold on power at the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in October 2022, Xi responded to an unexpected outbreak of public protests by suddenly abandoning the rigid and costly zero-COVID policy he had championed. He has partially moderated his statist, Leninist approach to the Chinese economy and tried to reassure and reinvigorate China's private sector in the face of anemic economic growth and his past efforts to clip the wings of high-flying Chinese companies like Alibaba. (For a fuller description of these steps, see this useful paper from the Asia Society.)

Most important for our purposes, China is now trying to mend fences with the outside world as part of a broader effort to improve its global image, reignite economic growth, and disrupt U.S. efforts to unite several key countries into a loose anti-Chinese coalition. Will this latest "charm offensive" work?

China’s Top Nuclear-Weapons Lab Used American Computer Chips Decades After Ban

Liza Lin, Dan Strumpf

SINGAPORE—China’s top nuclear-weapons research institute has bought sophisticated U.S. computer chips at least a dozen times in the past two and a half years, circumventing decades-old American export restrictions meant to curb such sales.

A Wall Street Journal review of procurement documents found that the state-run China Academy of Engineering Physics has managed to obtain the semiconductors made by U.S. companies such as Intel Corp. and Nvidia Corp. since 2020 despite its placement on a U.S. export blacklist in 1997.

The chips, which are widely used in data centers and personal computers, were acquired from resellers in China. Some were procured as components for computing systems, with many bought by the institute’s laboratory studying computational fluid dynamics, a broad scientific field that includes the modeling of nuclear explosions.

How should the U.S. restrict the access of China’s top nuclear-weapons research institute to American chips? Join the conversation below.

Such purchases defy longstanding restrictions imposed by the U.S. that aim to prevent the use of any U.S. products for atomic-weapons research by foreign powers. The academy, known as CAEP, was one of the first Chinese institutions put on the U.S. blacklist, known as the entity list, because of its nuclear work.

A Journal review of research papers published by CAEP found that at least 34 over the past decade referenced using American semiconductors in the research. They were used in a range of ways, including analyzing data and generating algorithms. Nuclear experts said that in at least seven of them, the research can have applications to maintaining nuclear stockpiles. CAEP didn’t respond to requests for comment.

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.


Sam Biddle

THE WHITE HOUSE is unwilling to say whether the U.S. will provide depleted uranium anti-tank rounds to Ukraine, according to the transcript of a press briefing, despite decades of research suggesting the weapon causes cancer and birth defects long after the fighting ends.

At a background briefing on January 25, an unnamed reporter asked the unnamed “senior administration officials” at the session whether the Bradley Fighting Vehicles now being sent to aid in Ukraine’s defense against Russia would come armed with the 25 mm armor-piercing depleted uranium rounds they’re capable of firing. As the reporter noted, firing these radioactive rounds “is part of what makes them the ‘tank killer’ that Pentagon officials called them.” The administration official who responded declined to answer, saying, “I’m not going to get into the technical specifics.”

But the technical specifics of these weapons could have dire consequences for Ukrainians. Depleted uranium is a common byproduct of manufacturing nuclear fuel and weaponry, and, owing to its extreme density, ammunition made from the stuff is a fantastic way of punching through the thick armor of a tank and igniting everyone inside. But these anti-tank rounds also happen to be radioactive, extremely toxic, and have been linked with a variety of birth defects, cancers, and other illness, most dramatically in Iraq, where doctors reported a spike in birth defects and cancers since the Gulf War, when the U.S. fired nearly a million depleted uranium rounds, and the 2003 invasion of that country.

“[Uranium] binds avidly to bio-molecules including DNA,” according to Keith Baverstock, a radiobiologist at the University of Eastern Finland, former World Health Organization researcher, and longtime scholar of depleted uranium arms and their effects. “Where [uranium] is used in munitions (bullets and bombs) to penetrate hardened targets (using its high density) the munition may shatter and since [uranium] is pyrophoric, catch fire and burn, producing oxide particles which are partially soluble and, thus, potentially a source of systemic [uranium] if inhaled.” Uranium particles may remain embedded in the land where these rounds were fired, too, presenting a possible environmental hazard years later.

Russia’s Challenge to Liberal Peacekeeping

Daria Blinova

According to the United Nations, “peacekeeping helps countries torn by conflict create the conditions for lasting peace”. Peacebuilding, being a part of peacekeeping activity, is the process of transformation from a state of war to a state of peace (Lederach 1997) with the aim to accomplish a democratic transition. It provides stability for international security and recognizes that conflicting parties may transcend their mutually hostile intentions for the sake of stability and development which are fundamental components of people’s prosperity. After the Cold War, the system transitioned to a world dominated by the U.S. as the main guarantor of liberal values. International institutions such as NATO, OSCE, UN, and others embraced a liberal peacebuilding model that is directed not only at simply reconciliation between conflicting sides but at the promotion of democracy through the imposition of market-based economic reforms, incorporation of the rule of law traditions, and building of administrative capacity through the design of state institutions.

However, liberal peacebuilding has been challenged and questioned for its appropriateness to countries experienced political disruption and social unrest. The top-down approach, that the UN took as the basis for the peacemaking process, raised concerns among the local population who often criticized liberal peacebuilding for the negligence of inclusivity and lack of context-sensitivity (Newman, Paris, and Richmond 2009, 4). Nevertheless, the beliefs in the universality and effectiveness of the liberal peacebuilding approach have been preserved over the last decades.

Russia’s perspective on peacekeeping has been always dissimilar. It is substantially different from Western views. While the United States and European countries see peacekeeping as a possibility of protecting human rights and freedoms with the ultimate goal of displacing authoritarian regimes and promoting liberal ideals, the Russian approach, oppositely, assumes the maintenance of the local structure and keeping current regimes in power for the sake of stability. These two perspectives oppose each other, echo the Cold War period of competition for ideological influence, and display an ongoing implicit resistance between the two sides even now.

Kennan’s Warning on Ukraine

Frank Costigliola

George Kennan, the remarkable U.S. diplomat and probing observer of international relations, is famous for forecasting the collapse of the Soviet Union. Less well known is his warning in 1948 that no Russian government would ever accept Ukrainian independence. Foreseeing a deadlocked struggle between Moscow and Kyiv, Kennan made detailed suggestions at the time about how Washington should deal with a conflict that pitted an independent Ukraine against Russia. He returned to this subject half a century later. Kennan, then in his 90s, cautioned that the eastward expansion of NATO would doom democracy in Russia and ignite another Cold War.

Kennan probably knew Russia more intimately than anyone who ever served in the U.S. government. Even before he arrived in Moscow in 1933 as a 29-year-old aide to the first U.S. ambassador the Soviet Union, he had mastered Russian and could pass as a native. In Russia, Kennan immersed himself in newspapers, official documents, literature, radio, theater, and film. He wore himself thin partying into the night with Russian artists, intellectuals, and junior officials. Dressed like a Russian, Kennan eavesdropped on Muscovites in the streetcar or at the theater. He hiked or skied into the countryside to visit gems of early Russian architecture. His disdain for Joseph Stalin’s dictatorship, particularly after the onset of the bloody purges of 1935–38, was matched only by his desire to get close to the Russian people and their culture. In 1946, after dictating his famed long telegram to the State Department warning of the Soviet threat, Kennan was brought back to Washington. The following year, he won national attention for his article in Foreign Affairs calling for the containment of Soviet expansion.

Kennan was unique. When Assistant Secretary of State Dean Acheson told a colleague that the gifted diplomat was slated to head the newly formed Policy Planning Staff, the colleague replied that “a man like Kennan would be excellent for that job.” Acheson snapped back: “A man like Kennan? There’s nobody like Kennan.” Operating from an office next door to the secretary of state, Kennan helped craft the Marshall Plan and other major midcentury initiatives.

The Realist Case for Ukraine

Jeffrey Mankoff

The scope of the Biden administration’s response to the invasion of Ukraine has already exceeded what many observers—not to mention Russia’s leadership—expected. From intelligence sharing with Kyiv ahead of the invasion to the imposition of unprecedented sanctions on the Russian economy to the provision of increasingly capable weaponry to Ukraine’s armed forces, the United States has been critical to the failure of Russia’s “special military operation” to achieve its objectives. Despite US support and Ukrainian valor, the war is now approaching a second year, and several observers in the United States and in Europe have become increasingly alarmed at the consequence of a longer war.

Amid these concerns, some of the most trenchant criticisms of the Biden administration’s Ukraine policy have come from self-described realists. The realist paradigm, widely taught in international relations courses, describes the international system as anarchic, with states ruthlessly pursuing their own interests. It is critical of states and leaders who allow wooly ideological commitments to get in the way of this pursuit of realpolitik. Realism and realists are by nature cautious, wary of grand crusades and cognizant of the fact that problems in international relations are rarely “solved,” but must be managed over time. While these considerations have led many realists to call for greater restraint in aiding Ukraine, a strong realist claim can be made that the United States should continue its forthright support of Ukraine’s effort to drive the Russian occupiers out of its territory.

While Europe has a long tradition of realpolitik, in the United States, realism has always had a stronger presence in the academy than in government. It has enjoyed something of a revival in recent years as a response to the ideological overstretch of the war on terror. Today, self-identified realists—both scholars like Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, and practitioners, notably Henry Kissinger—have warned of the potential risks posed by the administration’s sustained support for Kyiv. Realists have provided an important check on the riskier ideas emanating from supporters of more robust intervention, such as the idea of imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine in the early stages of the war. Their critique centers on concern over some combination of the potential for US support to escalate the conflict into a direct clash between Moscow and NATO, divert resources from the higher priority “pacing challenge” of China, or spark a wider Russian collapse that makes integrating a defeated Russia into a new European security architecture impossible.

Integrated Deterrence Requires a Unique Intelligence Mindset

Itai Shapira

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is placing much emphasis on the concept of Integrated Deterrence, which should be executed through a ‘mindset of campaigning’ in the context of strategic competition. High-quality intelligence, enabling the understanding and leveraging of adversary perceptions, is a critical condition for creating such deterrence. The intelligence community (IC) should adopt a deterrence-focused mindset and create a dedicated concept of operations for intelligence enabling deterrence, on top of its traditional roles in early warning and enabling statecraft and warfighting.

The recent National Defense Strategy has described three types of deterrence, mainly in the context of strategic competition with China and Russia: by denial, by resilience, and by cost imposition. This resonates with traditional terminology of deterrence by denial and by punishment. The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) has also begun to implement another form of deterrence, aimed at Iran: by detection.

Integrated deterrence as described by the DoD also relies on partners and allies, beyond the U.S. system. Integrated deterrence towards Russia relies on European actions, integrated deterrence towards China relies on Japanese and South Korean actions, and deterrence towards Iran relies among other things on Israeli actions. While assessing these actors’ intentions and capabilities is not the exclusive role of intelligence agencies, assessment of partners’ and allies’ potential influence over adversary perceptions should be the responsibility of the IC.

Creating sustainable deterrence rests on understanding and shaping adversary perceptions, or in other words, on strategic intelligence. Additionally, cost imposition relies on accurate tactical intelligence, enabling offensive action, while denial and detection rely on accurate tactical intelligence, enabling defensive action. Intelligence for deterrence, therefore, is required on all levels of statecraft and warfighting.

Intelligence for deterrence is therefore action-inclined and prescriptive. It must participate in net-assessment discussions about ways to influence adversary perceptions. This mindset is relevant for all function of intelligence agencies: collection, analysis, covert operations, and interaction with decision-makers.

The War in Ukraine: Cascading Consequences

Robbin Laird

Recently, Henry Kissinger emphasized that the war in Ukraine needed to be stopped and negotiations put in place to manage the war and its broader consequences.

“I have repeatedly expressed my support for the allied military effort to thwart Russia’s aggression in Ukraine,” Kissinger wrote. “But the time is approaching to build on the strategic changes which have already been accomplished and to integrate them into a new structure towards achieving peace through negotiation.”

Kissinger suggested in May that the two sides agree to a “dividing line” that returns to “the status quo ante,” essentially asking Ukraine to cede territory including the Crimean peninsula and parts of the Donetsk region in return for peace.

In his article over the weekend, the 99-year-old diplomat suggests control of those territories be decided after a ceasefire agreement.

If the pre-war dividing line between Ukraine and Russia cannot be achieved by combat or by negotiation, recourse to the principle of self-determination could be explored,” he wrote. “Internationally supervised referendums concerning self-determination could be applied to particularly divisive territories which have changed hands repeatedly over the centuries.”

And he argues that Ukraine has established itself during the war as a “major state in Central Europe” with “one of the largest and most effective land armies in Europe,” paving the way for its entry into western security alliances.

“A peace process should link Ukraine to Nato, however expressed. The alternative of neutrality is no longer meaningful, especially after Finland and Sweden joined Nato,” Kissinger writes.

First artillery, then tanks, then warplanes, then what?

Anatol Lieven

Immediately after the United States and Germany announced that they are sending main battle tanks to Ukraine — immediately, without any pretense of a decent interval — the Ukrainian government, backed by some East European members of NATO, has raised a demand for the latest U.S. fighter jets; and discussions of this within NATO are reportedly already under way.

So far, the Biden administration has described this as a “red line,” and West European diplomats have expressed private “concern.” But given that one NATO weapon after another that was previously seen as absolutely tabooed has been supplied since the Russian invasion began, Ukrainian officials have good reason for expressing confidence that the Biden administration and NATO will sooner or later agree to this.

If it is correct that several recent Russian missile strikes against Ukrainian infrastructure have been launched from long-range Tupolev bombers flying over Russian territory, then if the Ukrainian armed forces receive fighters capable of shooting them down, there is little reason to think they will not do so. They would indeed be perfectly within their rights. Whether it carries an acceptable level of risk, however, is another matter.

There are a couple of curious features about this progressive escalation of Western military aid to Ukraine; ironic in one case, extremely dangerous in the other. The first is that when Russia invaded almost a year ago, and most NATO military analysts predicted a sweeping Russian victory, there was no official talk of heavy weapons for Ukraine — and indeed, the Ukrainian forces stopped and turned back the Russian advance with a combination of their own courage and grit with light Western infantry weapons: Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.

The further the Russians have been pushed back, and the more deeply they have become bogged down in the east and south, the more Western weapons supplies have grown — in the name of defending Ukraine and preventing any future Russian threat to NATO. A more cynical view would be that when Russia really did seem threatening, the West was too scared to risk war with Russia by sending such weapons; and that the escalation has grown not with the Russian threat, but precisely with growing Russian weakness, a belief that Russia can be not only halted but crushingly defeated, and a growing confidence that Russian talk of red lines and escalation are empty bluff.

The Unwarranted Ukraine Proxy War: A Year Later – Analysis

Dan Steinbock

To Russia and Ukraine, the crisis is an existential issue. To the US and NATO, it’s a regime-change game. To Europe, it means the demise of stability – in the world economy, lost years (and that’s the benign scenario).

That’s how I characterised the US/NATO-led proxy war against Russia in Ukraine back in early March 2022. I argued that it was an “avoidable war that will penalise severely Ukraine, Russia, the US and the NATO, Europe, developing countries and the global economy”.[1]

At the time, the prediction was seen as contrarian. But it has prevailed. However, on January 25 the Ukraine proxy war entered a new, still more dangerous phase. The commitment of some 70 US, German, UK and Polish battle tanks herald lethal escalation, although hundreds more are needed to defeat Russia. For the first time since World War II, German tanks will be sent to the “Eastern front.” In Moscow, it will foster those voices who see the stakes of the war as existential.

Not only will economic and human costs climb even further, but strategic risks, including the potential of nuclear confrontation, will soar. With such escalation in high-tech arms sales to Ukraine, regional and military spillovers are no longer a matter of principle, but a matter of time.

Russia’s economic resilience

In early 2022, Western observers, with rare exceptions, predicted that the Russian economy would default within months as a net effect of sanctions. “Putin’s war” was doomed, they said. Obviously, the sanctions, which have been fuelled by might and economic coercion, have not been inconsequential. But nor were they new.

Ron Paul: The Real Disinformation Was The ‘Russia Disinformation’ Hoax – OpEd

Dr. Ron Paul

Thanks to the latest release of the “Twitter Files,” we now know without a doubt that the entire “Russia disinformation” racket was a massive disinformation campaign to undermine US elections and perhaps even push “regime change” inside the United States after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016.

Here is some background. In November, 2016, just after the election, the Washington Post published an article titled, “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say.” The purpose of the article was to delegitimize the Trump presidency as a product of a Russian “disinformation” campaign.

“There is no way to know whether the Russian campaign proved decisive in electing Trump, but researchers portray it as part of a broadly effective strategy of sowing distrust in US democracy and its leaders,” wrote Craig Timberg. The implication was clear: a Russian operation elected Donald Trump, not the American people.

Among the “experts” it cited were an anonymous organization called “Prop Or Not,” which in its own words claimed to identify “more than 200 websites as peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season, with combined audiences of at least 15 million Americans.”

The organization’s report was so preposterous that the Washington Post was later forced to issue a clarification, even though the Post provided a link to the report which falsely accused independent news outlets like Zero Hedge, Antiwar.com, and even my Ron Paul Institute as “Russian disinformation.”

The 2016 Washington Post article also featured “expert” Clint Watts, a former FBI counterintelligence officer who went on to found another outfit claiming to be hunting “Russian disinformation” in the US, the “Hamilton 68” project. That project was launched by the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a very well-funded organization containing a who’s who of top neocons like William Kristol, John Podesta, Michael McFaul, and many more.

The Rules-Based International Order And The Foggy Bottom Blues – OpEd

Prof. Howard Richards

The four words “Rules-Based International Order” (RBIO) are surrounded by controversies. I will review some controversies as a prelude to a proposal. The proposal will recommend discarding the currently dominant discourses that are, as Michel Foucault might say, the historical conditions of the possibility of RBIO discourse. I will recommend an “unbounded” attitude toward reinventing human life on this planet to cope with the physical reality that we are now an endangered species, and to cope with the social reality that we are now a species now so politically polarized that working together to take homo sapiens off the endangered species list is nearly impossible.

One controversy starts by asking, “What are the rules?” Quinn Slobodian, in his must-read book The Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism, demonstrates that the rules referenced by the acronym RBIO when it was coined, are not the rules RBIO denotes in 2023.

Back then the prevailing social philosophy managed to reconcile, as Gunnar Myrdal did, the Enlightenment ideals of liberté, egalité, fraternité with economic orthodoxy. The RBIO promised a better future after a disastrous depression and a disastrous war.

Back then, the rules championed by the International Monetary Fund allowed capital controls. In 2023 for the IMF, the WTO, USAID and other leading think tanks and funders, capital controls are verboten.

The new name of the game is to reduce the political risk of investors to zero. Defending the free movement of capital in, and the free movement of profits out, appears to have become part of the core meaning of being rule-based.

Russo-Ukrainian War Should Doom the ‘5+2’ Negotiations on Transnistria (Part One)

Vladimir Socor

Russia’s war against Ukraine has dealt the coup de grâce to the “5+2” negotiations on the settlement of conflict in Transnistria, the forum where Russia and Ukraine sit next to each other. Moscow and Kyiv have been seated formally at the top of the table, but Russia was always the dominant player by far, manipulating the 5+2 forum against Moldova’s as well as Ukraine’s interests. Western powers have conceded that role to Russia in spite of the Kremlin’s serial military interventions in Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine.

Keeping the 5+2 process alive must be deemed inconceivable after Russia’s re-invasion of Ukraine. Yet, some process-addicted diplomats envisage resuscitating this same forum once the war in Ukraine subsides. They only acknowledge a temporary difficulty in “seating Russia and Ukraine together at the table again”—merely a procedural, but not substantive obstacle.

The 5+2 forum took its present shape in 2005 when the European Union and the United States entered it as “observers”—a status inferior to that of the incumbent full members. The European Union and the United States thereby joined the construction that Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov had created in 1997 and remains in place officially to date. Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) are “mediators” of an eventual political settlement between Chisinau and Tiraspol as well as “guarantors” of the ultimate settlement. The two Western “observers” amount to little more than appendages within the 5+2 forum itself, but they can and do exert their influence outside this Russian-dominated forum.

The Kremlin had, back in 1997, awarded Kyiv with the role of co-mediator and co-guarantor, as a weak and vulnerable Ukraine was comfortable to Russia in that role. In fact, Ukraine was never able or willing to counterbalance Russia in the 5+2 forum—all the less after itself being invaded by Russia in 2014.

Debate: Why Heilbrunn Gets Ukraine and Putin All Wrong

Robert G. Rabil 

In an op-ed retweeted and hailed by the Atlantic Council, National Interest editor Jacob Heilbrunn emphasized that Germany’s decision to send tanks to Ukraine will help crush Russia. He underscored several points that led him to the conclusion that Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed his death warrant by invading Ukraine. His assessment was eloquent, sweeping—and wrong.

Heilbrunn is on his strongest ground in arguing that the Western alliance, in contradistinction to what Putin had expected, has cast its die not only to outlast him in Ukraine but also to crush Russian aspirations for hegemony in Europe once and for all. He contended that whereas Berlin’s decision has symbolically freed Germany from the strictures that it operated under after World War II, it has practically liberated countries such as Poland and Finland to transfer German-made tanks to aid a forthcoming Ukrainian offensive this spring. Next he stressed that Putin was time and again wrong in his miscalculation that he would swiftly sweep over Ukraine and break up the Western alliance. Fundamentally, Heilbrunn argued that Putin—by rejuvenating the Western alliance, inadvertently arousing America from its post-Cold War torpor and unifying Ukrainians against him—has faced a “fight to the finish” which he cannot win.

I fully agree with Heilbrunn that Putin has miscalculated. Indeed, he committed a strategic blunder by invading. Moscow has already lost the war for Kyiv. But the story does not end there even if Heilbrunn is too blind to recognize it. The cold, hard truth is that Putin will never concede defeat and will stand his ground in the Crimea and Donbas, which he will fight for until the “finish” using nuclear warheads should the need arise to secure his survival there.

Finding a Way Out of the Societal War Over Ukraine

Ariel E. Levite

Most of the world has been focused on the brutal kinetic war that has been waged in Ukraine for almost a year. But from day one, this conflict has predominantly been a societal confrontation. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has sought to keep Ukraine as a proxy devoid of an independent identity. Since 2014, Moscow has tried to subdue Ukraine (and deter the West from integrating it into its midst) through a combination of subversion and intimidation short of war. The failure of this approach led in late February 2022 to a brief but equally dismal flirt with blitzkrieg-style conquest, whose rapid unraveling led Russia to refocus its strategy on waging a war of attrition aimed at crushing Ukrainian society's collective resolve and the Western public’s staying power, while ensuring the Russian people's forbearance and mobilization.

In pursuing its society-centered strategy, Russia has viciously and unconscionably applied covert action, conventional weapons, nuclear threats, economic (and especially energy) leverage, information control and manipulation, cultural and religious influence, and even population transfers. Countering the Russian onslaught in their own ways and subject to dramatically different ethical standards, Ukraine and the West have also leveraged many of these very tools to thwart Russia’s grand design. Their focus has been directed at reviving Ukraine’s independent cultural and political identity while building up a separate Orthodox religious affiliation. These means have been harnessed to shore up Ukrainian endurance and mobilization for war and solidify the West’s commitment to and material support for Kyiv, notwithstanding the toll it exacts on their societies. In parallel, this approach has sought to undermine the Russian public’s tolerance and mobilization for the war and international support for Moscow.

Is the UK the Security Leader Europe Needs?

Diana Mjeshtri

When news broke on January 24 that German chancellor Olaf Scholz relented to demands by Ukraine and its closest European allies to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine, Europe’s heads of state weren’t exactly lining up to congratulate Scholz for his decisive leadership. Instead, many people fear the decision came too late and due to outside pressure—not because of German resolve to show a united front against Russia

Honoring the Élysée Treaty’s sixtieth anniversary, Scholz met with French president Emmanuel Macron last Sunday to toast, walk and talk about European security, energy, and economic policy, in an attempt to squelch criticism that the Franco-German partnership is faltering.

Meanwhile, former British prime minister Boris Johnson received a hero’s welcome in Kyiv, as if he had never left Downing Street. The UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, which connects the Nordic and Baltic countries through British security assurances, has also lately been seen as a viable alternative to full NATO membership for Finland and Sweden, given Turkey’s opposition to NATO’s expansion on the disputed claims that Sweden supports Kurdish terrorist groups.

Although the Franco-German strategic partnership is in trouble, an unlikely candidate to take the lead in European security matters has now appeared: Great Britain. The first major European power to send tanks to Ukraine, Britain has once again become the leader in European security policy, despite having left Europe politically. Britain’s post-Brexit domestic political challenges don’t seem to have dampened the ambitious foreign policy of a successive row of British governments, each one positioning itself as a staunch supporter of Ukraine. This has won the backing of the EU’s eastern flank members, all of whom worry they’ll become the next victims of Russian aggression, should Ukraine fall.

Is Globalism Undermining Globalization?

Jerry Haar Ricardo Ernst

“Globalization,” the bête noir of isolationists, protectionists, and labor and environmental activists for nearly a decade, is now considered by many reasonable, centrist individuals to be dying, if not dead already.

However, there is compelling empirical evidence to the contrary. Just recently, Apple announced it would manufacture 25 percent of its products in India due to disruptions in China. TSMC, the world’s biggest maker of advanced computer chips, committed $12 billion to build an Arizona-based semiconductor plant in 2020, and has since announced the opening of the company’s second chip plant there, raising its investment in the state to $40 billion. Meanwhile, Noah Itech, a Chinese supplier for Tesla, has invested $100 million in a new factory in Monterrey, Mexico, and the Brazilian multinational personal care cosmetics group Natura has expanded its presence to seventy-three countries across all continents except Antarctica.

In reality, a major source of pessimism and attacks on globalization is the widespread confusion between “globalization” and “globalism,” with the latter undermining the former.

Globalism is an ideology, a firm set of beliefs that goods, services, capital, and people should be able to move unfettered across borders and that trade agreements should be set in place to foster interconnectedness and interdependence. Globalization, on the other hand, is the dynamo, the actual process of cross-border exchanges of products, services, people, information, and finance. It is a process that is agile and resilient, though often impacted by external factors such as a pandemic, natural disaster, climate change, civil unrest, and public safety.

In response to those who claim we have entered an era of deglobalization, one could point out that world trade volume and value have expanded by 4 percent and 6 percent, respectively, since the World Trade Organization (WTO) was established in 1995. Moreover, services trade, excluded in global trade reporting, is ever-increasing, now exceeding $6.1 trillion, over one-fifth of total world trade in goods and services. Notable also is that services trade, in contrast with merchandise trade, produces a yearly surplus for the United States.

Battlefield artificial intelligence gets $72M Army investment

Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs

ADELPHI, Md. -- The U.S. Army is investing $72 million in a five-year artificial intelligence fundamental research effort to research and discover capabilities that would significantly enhance mission effectiveness across the Army by augmenting Soldiers, optimizing operations, increasing readiness, and reducing casualties.

This week, the Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory, the U.S. Army's corporate laboratory (ARL), announced that Carnegie Mellon University will lead a consortium of multiple universities to work in collaboration with the Army lab to accelerate research and development of advanced algorithms, autonomy and artificial intelligence to enhance national security and defense. By integrating transformational research from top academic institutions across the US with the operational expertise and mission-focused research from within CCDC, the Army will be able to drastically accelerate the impact of Battlefield AI.

"Tackling difficult science and technology challenges is rarely done alone and there is no greater challenge or opportunity facing the Army than Artificial Intelligence," said Dr. Philip Perconti, director of the Army's corporate laboratory. "That's why ARL is partnering with Carnegie Mellon University, which will lead a consortium of universities to study AI. The Army is looking forward to making great advances in AI research to ensure readiness today and to enhance the Army's modernization priorities for the future."

This Cooperative Agreement for fundamental research was formed as a result of collaboration that initially started between the Army Research Laboratory and Carnegie Mellon under ARL's "Open Campus" initiative, which Carnegie Mellon joined earlier in 2018. Carnegie Mellon and the team of academic research institutions will focus on fundamental research to develop robust operational AI solutions to enable autonomous processing, exploitation, and dissemination of intelligence and other critical, operational, decision-support activities, and to support the increased integration of autonomy and robotics as part of highly effective human-machine teams.

Open-source intelligence is piercing the fog of war in Ukraine

Social-media posts and satellite imagery provide a torrent of data, but can overwhelm and confuse

On may 29th 1982 Robert Fox had just witnessed 36 hours of intense warfare over Goose Green, a remote spot on the Falkland Islands, an archipelago in the South Atlantic then being fought over by Britain and Argentina. It was the decisive battle of the war and it had gone Britain’s way. Mr Fox, then a bbc radio correspondent, was keen to tell listeners. It took him ten hours to get to a satellite phone aboard a warship, he recalls. It took another eight hours to decrypt his text in London. The story was not broadcast for 24 hours. Television journalists had it worse, says Mr Fox. Their shots took ten days to reach home.

When the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson was liberated in November, it took just hours, if not minutes, for the news to flood out. Images circulating on Telegram, a messaging service popular in Russia and Ukraine, showed Ukrainian soldiers strolling into the centre of the city and Ukrainian flags lofted over buildings (see clips above). A network of amateur analysts on Twitter tracked the Ukrainian advance, almost in real time, by “geo-locating” the images—comparing trees, buildings and other features to satellite imagery on Google Maps and similar services.

The rise of open-source intelligence, osint to insiders, has transformed the way that people receive news. In the run-up to war, commercial satellite imagery and video footage of Russian convoys on TikTok, a social-media site, allowed journalists and researchers to corroborate Western claims that Russia was preparing an invasion. osint even predicted its onset. Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute in California used Google Maps’ road-traffic reports to identify a tell-tale jam on the Russian side of the border at 3:15am on February 24th. “Someone’s on the move”, he tweeted. Less than three hours later Vladimir Putin launched his war.

Satellite imagery still plays a role in tracking the war. During the Kherson offensive, synthetic-aperture radar (sar) satellites, which can see at night and through clouds, showed Russia building pontoon bridges over the Dnieper river before its retreat from Kherson, boats appearing and disappearing as troops escaped east and, later, Russia’s army building new defensive positions along the m14 highway on the river’s left bank. And when Ukrainian drones struck two air bases deep inside Russia on December 5th, high-resolution satellite images showed the extent of the damage.

The World Is Tired Of United States’ Wars – OpEd

Greg Pence

The fate of wars has shown that consensus-building lead to more power and consensus at the international level is only possible with the support of allies behind a great power as a leader. Of course, consensus building is impacted by factors such as ideological influence, the ability to ensure the security of the allies in order to maintain their international peace and stability, and finally the resolution of international crises based on the interests of the allies. In other words, what brings a great power the necessary capabilities for consensus building is nothing but international credit. This credit rests upon the rules of the international/liberal order.

Consensus building succeeds when it can manage the interests of allies to serve the interests of the great power by creating a collective will. In the past, with the help of Europe, the United States controlled and managed the consensus-building industry against Russia and China, and also controlled the world’s public opinion. In the consensus-building industry that was formed after the Second World War, the United States together with NATO became the world’s largest military power and was able to form the world’s largest economic power along with G7 countries. American consensus-building became a concept for political, economic, cultural, and military influence over other countries and societies. It transformed the international system into a global system based on American values and interests with greater mastery and dominance in diplomatic affairs.

Consensus in the economic sector also turned the United States into an international economic power that still has no serious competitors in the world. By creating a global value chain in the economic and financial sectors, the US was able to lay the foundation for monetary and economic dominance through the Bretton Woods organizations. The economic consensus gave the US effective access to international credits and the foreign exchange market. During the 1970s, the Bretton Woods system allowed the United States to cover approximately 70 percent of its balance-of-payments deficits through the dual processes of gold profitability and debt financing. Financing this debt enabled the United States to undertake heavy military spending abroad and “foreign commitments” and to maintain considerable flexibility in domestic economic policy.

Due Diligence in Mineral Supply Chains from the Democratic Republic of Congo

Divin-Luc Bikubanya, Hadassah Arian, Sara Geenen and Sarah Katz-Lavigne

Companies like Tesla are under increasing scrutiny to take responsibility for environmental and human rights violations along their supply chains. Global supply chains are complex and intertwined, but many eyes are focused on places like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where raw minerals such as cobalt (critical for lithium-ion batteries) but also gold, tin, and coltan are sourced under often exploitative, polluting and violent conditions. In international relations, the concept of due diligence has become widely used as a tool for firms to meet their responsibility to respect human rights and the environment. But what exactly does due diligence mean? How does due diligence connect the responsibilities and rights of global consumers, companies, and mining communities? And what effects does it have in the DRC? In this contribution, we review the literature on the due diligence concept and analyze its effects on the ground in the DRC. Specifically, we highlight a shift in discourse from conflict-free sourcing to responsible sourcing and reflect on what this might mean for small-scale miners and mining communities in the DRC.

Due diligence

Tesla recognizes the importance of mining to local communities and encourages ethical sourcing from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As recommended by the OECD, we do not support an embargo, implicit or explicit, of any DRC material, but instead, allow sourcing from the region when it can be done in a responsible manner through audited value chains (Tesla).

Due Diligence has become a well-entrenched practice in mineral supply chains, a tool for identifying, assessing, and acting upon risks. Risks are nowadays broadly understood to include forced labour, child labour, human rights violations, and war crimes (OECD, 2016). Supply chain actors are responsible for carrying out their own due diligence. To do so, they can use practical guidelines, due diligence and traceability programmes, and certification schemes that help firms comply with standards (Postma and Geenen, 2020). The most widely used guidance is the OECD Due Diligence Guidance (3rd edition in 2016), which recommends a five-step framework for doing due diligence (figure 1). In collaboration with the OECD, the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemical Importers and Exporters (CCCMC) also developed Due Diligence Guidelines in 2015. Well-known due diligence and traceability programmes are the International Tin Supply Chain Initiative (ITSCI) or Better Mining, both operational in the DRC. Notable certification programmes include the Regional Certification Mechanism of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, the Chain-of-Custody Standard of the Responsible Jewellery Council, and the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (Postma and Geenen, 2020).