25 February 2023

Bangladesh Calls for Revision of Power Purchasing Deal With Adani

Shafi Md Mostofa

With Indian billionaire Gautam Adani’s business empire and practices coming under global scrutiny following accusations that he has been indulging in brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud schemes, South Asian countries where the Adani Group struck deals are calling for revisiting of contracts.

Bangladesh, where Adani Power (Jharkhand) Ltd signed a Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) with Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) in 2017 has asked for a revision of the contract. “We have communicated with the Indian company seeking revision of the agreement,” an official of the state-run BPDB said.

It was during his visit to Bangladesh in 2015 that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina to “facilitate the entry of Indian companies in the power generation, transmission and distribution sector of Bangladesh.” It culminated in the two sides inking deals worth $4.5 billion for Indian government-run and private companies to sell electricity to Bangladesh. This included a contract for Adani Power to build a $1.7 billion, 1,600-megawatt coal power plant in Godda in India’s eastern state of Jharkhand, which would supply power to Bangladesh.

Nepal’s New Government Faces a Stiff Test

Marcus Andreopoulos

The reality that Nepal’s democracy was in crisis had been made clear well in advance of the November 2022 elections. The protracted nature of negotiations that followed the closing of the polls on November 20, and the announcement of the results on December 14, once more emphasized that the old guard of the Nepali political scene favored personal ambition and a lust for power over the will of the electorate.

Nearly two weeks later, the outcome, which saw the reuniting of the two largest communist parties in Nepal for the first time since the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) split in 2021, will have been greeted warmly by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This is in spite of any understandable concerns Beijing may have over the fragile nature of this new coalition. After all, Nepal has long stood as a case study demonstrating the limited extent to which the CCP can meddle in a foreign country’s internal affairs.

Nepali voters, on the other hand, will feel the most aggrieved at the sight of the new government. Following the election results, it was widely predicted that the then-incumbent prime minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba, would remain in his post, with his party, the Nepali Congress, set to form a similar coalition to the one that had ruled since 2021. However, this outcome required the cooperation of the CPN-Maoist Center and its leader, Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Despite his party winning just over a third of the Nepali Congress’ total seats, Dahal opted instead to hold the country hostage, demanding that he should lead any new government. As a result, talks between the Maoists and the Nepali Congress dragged on, eventually breaking down on December 25.

The Real Challenge of China’s Nuclear Modernization

 Evan Braden Montgomery and Toshi Yoshihara

China is engaged in a significant quantitative and qualitative nuclear buildup. That could increase regional instability—not necessarily because its strategic nuclear forces will backstop its conventional military power, but because its theater nuclear capabilities might be used to keep the United States out of a regional conflict, with major implications for extended deterrence.

Countering China’s Coercive Diplomacy

Fergus Hunter, Daria Impiombato & Yvonne Lau

The People’s Republic of China is increasingly using a range of economic and non-economic tools to punish, influence and deter foreign governments. Coercive actions have become a key part of the PRC’s toolkit as it takes a more assertive position on its ‘core interests’ in its foreign relations and seeks to reshape the global order in its favour.

A new ASPI report, Countering China’s coercive diplomacy: prioritising economic security, sovereignty and the rules-based order, finds that the PRC’s use of such tactics is now sitting at levels well above those seen a decade ago. The year 2020 marked a peak, and the use of trade restrictions and threats from official state sources have proven the most favoured methods. Coercive tactics have been used in disputes over governments’ decisions on human rights, national security and diplomatic relations.

Over the past three years, the Chinese government has used coercive economic and non-economic tactics against at least 19 countries. The dominance of trade restrictions, followed by state-issued threats, reflects the PRC’s abuse of its global trading power and its exploitation of state-controlled media and ‘wolf-warrior diplomacy’.

Australia was the most targeted country as the PRC mounted a wide-ranging coercive campaign following a deterioration in bilateral relations, especially over Canberra’s call for an independent inquiry into the origins of Covid-19. Lithuania was the next most targeted, primarily because of the opening of a ‘Taiwanese representative office’ in Vilnius. In the dataset, Taiwan was the most common issue in disputes triggering coercive actions.

China Continues to Play Both Sides in the Ukraine War

Shannon Tiezzi

Wang Yi, recently promoted from China’s foreign minister to the head of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Foreign Affairs Office, has had a busy week. He centered a tour of Europe around attendance at the Munch Security Conference on February 18, where he also met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. And Wang concluded his Europe tour with a trip to Moscow – the first by a high-ranking Chinese diplomat since Russia invaded Ukraine almost exactly a year ago.

Given that timing, Ukraine was first and foremost on the agenda during Wang’s travels, which brought him to France, Italy, Germany, Hungary, and Russia from February 14 to 22.

For China, Wang’s trip was largely an attempt at damage control. China-Europe relations have been fraying for years over concerns about economic policy and human rights abuses, but Beijing’s refusal to directly condemn Russia’s invasion of a fellow European state set off major alarm bells in European capitals. While China has repeatedly decried other countries for “smearing” its position on what Beijing calls “the Ukraine crisis,” it has not managed to convince European states that the widespread perception of China’s “pro-Russia neutrality” is some sort of misunderstanding.

China’s Debt Relief Position Is Actually Reasonable

Etsehiwot Kebret and Hannah Ryder

Over the past few weeks, China has reiterated its call for multilateral development banks (MDBs) to play a larger role in debt relief on the African continent and beyond. For instance, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning called on MDBs to provide debt relief to Zambia, where they account for 19 percent of external debt.

These calls have been interpreted with much skepticism by a number of experts, especially in the run up to a closed, 20-member “sovereign debt roundtable” including six borrowing countries, three of whom are African (Ethiopia, Ghana, and Zambia). The first session was held virtually last Friday, and the second session will be held in person on the margins of the G-20 meeting in India.

The topic is fraught. Some coverage has implied China is using this position as a deliberate excuse to itself avoid a push from the United States and IMF to provide debt relief. A recent Financial Times article even misquoted the Zambian’s finance minister’s views on the issue. (The Zambian government hurriedly issued a very clear correction).

However, China’s view on MDB participation is not new, nor is it just a Chinese view. It is an African view, too – and for good reason.

Xi the Survivor: How Washington Overestimates Chinese Weakness

Christopher Johnson

After Chinese President Xi Jinping secured a historic third term in October 2022, many Western analysts heralded him as a modern-day emperor. But just four months later, a glance at the headlines suggests he is under pressure at home and his grip on power may be looser than many thought. A messy exit from China’s “zero COVID” policy and a rogue spy balloon—allegedly the work of a Chinese military seeking to prevent Xi from stabilizing relations with Washington—are seen by some observers as evidence that the Chinese leader is suddenly on the back foot. But such analyses ignore both Xi’s ruthless political cunning and his efforts to better manage the intrinsic pathologies of a system whose flaws are viewed by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) magnates as acceptable risks as long as they remain in power.

A hallmark of Xi’s rule has been his propensity to make big bets that he thinks will pay off for him and for China. At the very beginning of his tenure, he launched a withering anticorruption purge that decimated once mighty barons of the Politburo, military, and security services. Many analysts thought such a move would be impossible at the time: they presumed that Xi was constrained by powerful interest groups, just as his two predecessors had been.

But Xi quickly outmaneuvered those alleged kingpins, allowing him to launch a transformative policy agenda comparatively early in his rule. What followed were other big bets, including his risky gambit to deleverage China’s debt-plagued financial sector, his unapologetic stance on the world stage, and his claim that China has a unique and effective development model—what Xi calls “Chinese-style modernization”—that may work for others. Western analysts roundly condemn these innovations as ruinous for China and threatening to other countries. But the hard truth is that it is too soon to make such confident judgments.

Russia, China Challenge U.S.-Led World Order

Stephen Fidler

A series of high-profile events on the international stage has laid bare the perilous state of great-power relations as Russia and China challenge the U.S.-led global order and raised the prospect that they could deteriorate further.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Russia would suspend its participation in the last remaining nuclear-arms treaty between Moscow and Washington, a vestige of the security architecture that has helped keep the peace for decades.

With strains worse than at any time since the Cold War, Mr. Putin’s threat to arms control in a speech in Moscow came a day after President Biden traveled to Ukraine and vowed “unending support” for Kyiv in a fight Mr. Putin considers an existential one for Russia.

Also in the mix: China, whose top diplomat, Wang Yi excoriated the U.S. at a security conference in Germany before arriving Tuesday in Moscow to see Russian officials and, people familiar with the matter said, likely propose a summit between Mr. Putin and China’s Xi Jinping.

The developments signal greater stress for the international system as Washington and its allies contend with a rising China, which has provided an important economic lifeline to Moscow, and a revanchist Russia seeking to renegotiate the end of the Cold War.

China’s Checkbook Diplomacy Has Bounced

Christina Lu

In the span of a decade, China has emerged as the developing world’s bank of choice, pouring hundreds of billions of dollars in loans into global infrastructure projects as part of its sprawling Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

But as its borrowers fail to pay up, China is finding that its newfound authority is coming at a price. Eager to recoup its money, Beijing is transitioning from generous investor to tough enforcer—and jeopardizing the very goodwill that it tried to build with initiatives such as the BRI. China has broken a few bones in Sri Lanka, whose financial turmoil allowed Beijing to seize control of a strategic port, and is hassling Pakistan, Zambia, and Suriname for repayment.

For two decades, countries “were getting to know China as the kind of benevolent financier of big-ticket infrastructure,” said Bradley Parks, the executive director of the AidData research group at William & Mary. Now, he said, “the developing world is getting to know China in a very new role—and that new role is as the world’s largest official debt collector.”

The problem for China is that nobody likes being hounded for money. Chasing down unpaid debts won’t win many friends. It complicates Beijing’s broader aspirations of extending its influence and forging new relationships through economic deals. That tension, experts say, has left Beijing facing an impossible trade-off: Can it collect its money without hurting its image?

If Taiwan Falls, What Happens To America?

Ian Easton

War games and tabletop exercises can tell us what it might look like if China attacks Taiwan. But they say little about why Taiwan matters and is worth defending. A new study examines what Americans would lose if they lose Taiwan — and what might happen next.

The first thing to know is that Taiwan is now a very big deal. America’s political and military leaders are increasingly convinced that the Taiwan Strait is the strategic nerve center of the world. No other flashpoint is as structurally unstable, as politically vexing, and as likely to draw the world’s superpowers into a war.

The second thing to know is that an invasion is no longer unthinkable. Through both word and deed, Chairman Xi Jinping is signaling his intention to annihilate Taiwan’s government. A large body of evidence suggests that China is getting ready to do something terrible. There is a growing concern in Washington that it may no longer be a question of if Xi plans to attack Taiwan, but rather when and how.

Power play: How the US benefits if China greens the Global South

Jeffrey Ball


As the relationship between the United States and China deteriorates, the battle between the two powers for supremacy in low-carbon industries is leading the slide. From batteries to solar panels to rare-earth metals used in wind turbines, technologies that over the past decade have cratered in cost and surged in scale – thanks to innovation supported by both Washington and Beijing – are targets in yet another trans-Pacific trade fight.

But investing in innovative green machines at home is only one way to affect the climate, and setting protectionist industrial policy is only one way to boost geopolitical power. At least as important to the planet is the money the United States and China spend on financing infrastructure in emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs) — infrastructure that will lock in high or low carbon-emission pathways for decades. Never has it been more crucial that the two countries, even as they vie for supremacy in low-carbon innovation, support each other’s efforts to decarbonize their respective infrastructure finance flows.

China bankrolls more infrastructure in EMDEs than any other country. But much of that infrastructure has been dirty. According to a Boston University database, Chinese companies and so-called policy banks – large government-affiliated institutions – have financed 648 power plants in 92 countries.[1] Of those plants’ collective power-generation capacity, more than 50% burn fossil fuel, and 34% burn the dirtiest sort of fossil fuel: coal. But China, facing criticism and sensing shifting economics, has pledged to change that. In November 2021, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that his country “will step up support for other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy, and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad.”[2] Today, more than a year later, China must make good on that pledge through deep, structural changes to its political economy; otherwise, changes in its outbound investment will not take hold.

The Only Way to End the War


BRUSSELS – Russia’s war against Ukraine, like almost all wars, will end at the negotiating table. But negotiations cannot start until Ukraine’s territorial integrity has been restored. Since a change of heart in Moscow is unlikely in the short term, the faster that Ukraine gets the means to force Russian troops to return to Russia and stay there, the better – for Ukraine and the rest of Europe.

We should all aim for a swift conclusion of the fighting. But, paradoxically, to bring about that outcome, we must make clear to Russian President Vladimir Putin that we will stay the course, doing whatever it takes for as long as it takes, so that he sees there is no point in endlessly sending young Russians into the meat grinder that is the Ukrainian front.

Putin will not win this war. In fact, he has already lost it. But he could prolong it or create a semi-frozen conflict if Ukraine is deprived of what it needs to expel Russian forces. For any peace to last, it must be just. And to be just, it must respect Ukraine’s international borders, its democracy, its statehood, and its right to choose its own destiny.

How Did Everybody Get The Ukraine Invasion Predictions So Wrong?

Mike Eckel

On February 22, 2022, Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, took a phone call from the United States’ top diplomat.

According to Borrell, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told him that Russia, after months of building up a massive military force on Ukraine’s border, was, in fact, going to invade.

“Tony Blinken phoned me and told me, ‘Well, it is going to happen this weekend’,” Borrell recalled in a speech months later. “And certainly, two days later, at 5 o’clock in the morning, they started bombing Kyiv. We did not believe that this was going to happen.

“We did not believe that the war was coming,” he said.

Everyone thought Russia wouldn’t invade a sovereign country.... That the buildup was a bluff. It was a psychological barrier.”
-- Defense analyst Konrad Muzyka

As the drumbeat of war grew louder in the months before February 24, 2022, Western intelligence officers, military analysts, and political scientists struggled to divine Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions. They also looked hard at what was known about Russia’s modernized, reformed, and well-financed armed forces -- not to mention the ragtag, underequipped state of Ukraine’s military.

Russia, Putin and the new geopolitical order

One year on, the war in Ukraine continues to dominate the headlines. As Putin continues to admonish NATO’s thirst for expansion, and Western leaders maintain their support for their Ukrainian counterparts perhaps the most important question is what are going to be the long-term ramifications for the balance of world power. In this article, a number of world-leading experts, including Nigel Inkster, Owen Matthews, Svitlana Morenets, Stathis N. Kalyvas, Alexander Korolev, Chris Ogden, and Lasha Tchantouridzé discuss the state of Russia and the new geolpolitical order, one year since the invasion of Ukraine.

Owen Matthews

In the first weeks of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Kyiv’s soldiers surprised the world by fighting the Russian army’s ill-planned and badly executed offensive to a standstill. NATO’s military assistance to Kyiv had essentially assumed that Ukraine’s army would be beaten in a full-frontal attack and focused instead on equipping them for a guerrilla war that would slow, not stop, the Russian steamroller. A year later, the cohesion of NATO and the scale of its assistance to Ukraine - now including main battle tanks and possibly deliveries of fighter jets - is at a level nobody could have predicted in those first chaotic weeks of the war.

But though Russia’s military has been shown to be disorganized, demoralized and poorly-equipped, its sheer strength remains enormous. More, there was no sign in Vladimir Putin’s belligerent speech on the eve of the war’s anniversary that he intends to back down. On the contrary, Putin knows that defeat in the field would be fatal for his regime and for himself, and therefore has doubled down on the conflict, describing it as an existential battle for Russia’s survival against a belligerent West. Those two factors - the continued intransigence of the Kremlin and the weight of numbers and heavy metal still available to the Russians - will be crucial for the coming titanic struggles of the Spring and Summer.

Cold war 2.0 will be a race for semiconductors, not arms

John Naughton

Our digital civilisation, if you can call it that, runs on just two numbers – 0 and 1. The devices we call computers run on vast strings of ones and zeros. How? By having electrical currents that are either flowing or not. The tiny electronic switches that decide whether they’re on (1) or off (0) are called transistors.

Once upon a time, these were tangible objects: I remember buying one with my pocket money in the 1950s for a radio receiver I was building. But rapidly they were reduced in size, to the point where electrical circuits using them could be etched on thin wafers of silicon. Which I guess is how they came to be called silicon “chips”.

Nowadays, a chip is a grid of millions, or even billions, of these tiny switches that flip on and off to process those ones and zeros – to store them and to convert images, characters, sounds, whatever – into billions of binary digits. In the 1960s, Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel, an early chip manufacturer, noticed that every year the company was able to double the number of transistors it packed on to a given area of silicon. And since computing power seemed to be correlated with chip density, he formulated Moore’s law, which indicated that computing power would double every two years – a compound annual growth rate of 41% – which kind of explains why the A15 processor in my Apple iPhone (which has 15bn transistors) has vastly more computing power than the room-size IBM computer I used as a student.

Move Fast and Win Things: What the War in Ukraine Has Revealed About Statecraft

Eliot A. Cohen

The Western response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been less a problem of strategy than of tactics and execution. After one year of fighting, the basic idea—support Ukraine and defeat Russia—has held up well; the implementation has not. That holds especially true for the United States.

Successful statecraft has much in common with the concept of aerial combat formulated by twentieth-century U.S. Air Force pilot and military thinker John Boyd. From his experience in the Korean War and later studies, Boyd concluded that fighter pilots engage in combat in a four-stage cycle: a pilot observes what is going on, orients himself to the environment, decides what to do, and acts accordingly. The tighter the loop—the quicker and more efficiently each stage is mastered—the greater the chance of success, and, indeed, survival.

Throughout the war in Ukraine, the West has excelled at the first stage of Boyd’s cycle. It has closely tracked the Russian buildup around Ukraine. And beyond the first stage, the West has generally done the right thing—supporting Ukraine and sanctioning Russia. But again and again, it has taken far too long to execute, lacking urgency and agility. The path from observation and understanding to decision and action has been painfully slow. Along the way, there have been many missed opportunities to seriously weaken Russia and enable Ukraine to win. What a year of war has shown, then, are the limits of Western statecraft in the face of the greatest military challenge that Europe, and in some measure the entire free world, has faced since the Cold War.

Why Ukraine will win the war

Mark Hertling

Looks have always been deceiving when it comes to Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression in Ukraine. From the start, Russia’s capacities were overestimated. Both the size of its army and the modernization it had supposedly undergone indicated to many observers that Russia would triumph easily. But since the invasion began, the Russian military has failed to adapt its strategy and operational objectives to battle conditions and circumstances.

One year into the conflict, coverage of the war’s battles mostly focuses on the fighting along the central and southern fronts, with cities such as Bakhmut and Vuhledar dominating headlines. Russia has been making small gains at great cost to its troops around the former, and has squandered thousands of its soldiers for nothing at the latter. This might look like an emerging stalemate, but it is anything but. It is, in fact, a slugfest.

The war has gone through five phases and, through each one, Ukraine’s forces have significantly outperformed Russia’s, in no small part because of a military culture of adaptability. Russian forces continue to be hampered by a lack of that very same culture, as well as by a lack of leadership and initiative.

During my time as commander of U.S. Army forces in Europe, I got to know Ukrainian leaders and soldiers during various training missions, and saw this culture of adaptability grow and develop. I also had the opportunity to closely watch Russia “demonstrate” (but not properly train or exercise) its military capacity on several occasions, and frequently noted the deep and pervasive corruption that bedeviled its armed forces.

A year in the trenches has hardened Ukraine’s president

Paul Sonne and David L. Stern

Not long after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, a year ago this week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky found himself in a safe room beneath Kyiv’s government complex with the voice of the Belarusian president booming over the phone.

Alexander Lukashenko, one of the Kremlin’s key allies, was inviting a delegation of officials to Minsk to negotiate an end to the war that Russia had launched just three days earlier, according to Andriy Sybiha, the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, who was in the room for the call.

Zelensky was incensed at the invitation to another negotiation — recalling talks over the conflict in Ukraine’s east, known as “Minsk 1” and “Minsk 2,” that took place in the Belarusian capital in 2014 and 2015 — in which Kyiv was forced to make concessions to the Kremlin under the threat of battlefield losses.

“There will be no Minsk,” Zelensky said, according to Sybiha. “There will be no Minsk 3.”

Zelensky’s refusal to entertain another Minsk negotiation — despite Russian attack helicopters, fighter jets and tanks descending on Kyiv — showed how the Ukrainian leader was hardening in the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threat, a process that began many months before the invasion and accelerated as the war unfolded.

The war is making Ukraine a Western country

Ukraine’s armed forces had prepared for the invasion that began at 4:30am on February 24th, but many ordinary Ukrainians had not. Svitlana Povalyaeva, a writer, had to be woken by her 24-year-old son, Roman Ratushny, at about 5am. She wanted to go back to sleep; he insisted that she take the news seriously. “They’re bombing Boryspil airport with fucking ballistic missiles,” he railed.

Prepared or not, people like Mr Ratushny jumped into action. Later that day he returned to see his mother, in military fatigues, with a gun. She screamed at him hysterically, desperate to stop him going off to war and getting himself killed. But she also knew that he was a determined sort, who had faced down death-threats while campaigning to stop a wood in Kyiv being bulldozed by developers. As she feared, her protests were in vain.

Mr Ratushny was not the only one doing the unexpected that day. When Andrii, a fighter pilot, finally took a break after almost 19 hours of sorties, too exhausted to fly any more, his commanding officer spooned stew into his mouth to revive him. Vitaly Shabunin ignored warnings that his name was on a list of people whom Russian soldiers had been instructed to kill, and set about turning his anti-corruption organisation into a network to support the armed forces. Famously, Volodymyr Zelensky, the president, declined to flee the onslaught. Instead, the next day, he posted a video of himself in the centre of Kyiv to reassure Ukrainians that the state was still functioning. “We’re all here,” he declared. “The military is here. Citizens and society are here. We’re defending our independence, our country.”

NATO’s new center of gravity


The war in Ukraine, now approaching its first anniversary, is continually changing European politics. And as a result, the hub of European leadership is trending eastward — most obviously toward Poland.

The Polish government was at the forefront of the effort to organize a “free-the-Leos” coalition within NATO, which resulted in the recent increase in Western military aid — particularly the decision by Berlin to provide its Leopard 2 tanks and grant permission for others to do the same.

Polish President Andrzej Duda and Defense Minister Marian Błaszczak took the lead in building momentum and support in various capitals to apply pressure on Berlin, eventually announcing that Poland would send the Leopards to Ukraine with or without Germany’s sign-off. And this pressure from Central Europe was an important factor in Washington’s decision to lean on Germany and — in sending its own Abrams tank — leave Berlin no let-out.

This was, undoubtedly, a political win for Poland — but the Leopard 2 coalition that Warsaw built stretches beyond Central Europe. It includes Finland, Norway, Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark, and it has the potential to change Europe’s internal dynamic, shifting NATO’s center of gravity away from the Franco-German tandem.

A Year of War in Ukraine: The Roots of the Crisis

Eric Nagourney, Dan Bilefsky and Richard Pérez-Peña

“A walk in the park.”

That was the assurance skeptical members of the Russian military said they were given by superiors as it appeared increasingly clear that President Vladimir V. Putin truly did mean to wage an unprovoked war on neighboring Ukraine.

And it seemed to make sense.

Ukraine was a vastly outgunned nation led by the unlikeliest of presidents, a former comedian elected just a few years before. Russia was a major military power, if not the global force it was in the days of the Soviet Union.

And so when the first planes raced across the border followed by ground troops, it was widely assumed that it would be mere days before the Russian tricolor was hoisted over Kyiv, the capital.

That was one year ago this Friday. Now, no one is talking about a walk in the park. They speak of slogs and slaughter. Of a Kremlin “special military operation” that metastasized into the biggest ground war in Europe since World War II. Of Russian casualties of around 200,000 killed or wounded, by some Western estimates.


One year ago, Russia launched Europe’s biggest war since WWII. Russian tanks began rolling into Ukraine, sending civilians fleeing for basement bunkers and their country’s borders. Governments around the world imposed stringent sanctions on Russia in an attempt – so far unsuccessful - to pressure President Vladimir Putin to abandon the war. Against the odds, Ukraine’s military has held its ground, reclaiming control of broad swaths of occupied territory and fending off Russian attempts to advance in the east where fierce battles are continuing.

The toll of the human suffering has been staggering – thousands have been killed and more than 8 million Ukrainians fled abroad. The economic consequences also continue to reverberate around the world, from the scramble for new energy sources in Europe to higher grain prices in Africa.

Throughout the war, journalists from The Associated Press have been on the ground in both Ukraine and Russia, delivering the same fact-based, eyewitness coverage that has defined the AP throughout our 177-year history. This is a showcase of their important and award-winning work, which will continue for as long as the war does.

Putin’s war has devastated Ukraine. It has also changed Russia.

Stanislav Kucher

In the year since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine, tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians have been killed; countless others have been wounded. Another 14 million Ukrainians have fled their homes, and Ukraine’s economy has shrunk by more than 30 percent.

Meanwhile, a year of war has brought the Ukrainian nation together like nothing in its history.

But what has happened to Russia? Beyond the casualties — estimates suggest as many as 200,000 Russian dead and wounded — how has the war that Putin started changed his country?

In some ways, what’s happened to Ukraine is clear. What’s happened to Russia is the more complicated question.
A new fear

I left Russia four years ago, but I still communicate regularly with friends, acquaintances, fellow journalists and my social media followers in Russia. Earlier this month, I asked them to share their impressions and perspectives on how their country has changed since the war began. Nearly 200 people answered via Facebook, WhatsApp and other platforms. Most said they were opposed to the war and spoke on the condition of anonymity for security reasons.

Great Power Geopolitics and the Scramble for Oceania

Eli Jackson

The practice of wooing peripheral states is as much a part of today’s budding U.S. rivalry with China as it was during the actual Cold War with the former Soviet Union. Indeed, the PRC has gone to tremendous lengths trying to create a sphere of influence in Washington’s backyard.

In 2000, Chinese trade with Latin America sat at $12 billion. By 2021 the region had done over $430 billion worth of business with the PRC. China is in the business of resource acquisition, perhaps above any other type of business, and the commodity-rich states of Latin America have remained a major target. Through foreign direct investment and infrastructure spending related to the BRI, China is the second-largest trading partner for all of Latin America (after the United States) but the largest partner for South America. China’s presence in Latin America should concern policymakers more than it does, but the Biden administration has, at least, signaled a desire to play catch-up in its backyard, via nearshoring projects and soft-power programs.

Likewise, over the last decade, a neocolonial race to invest in Africa’s numerous resources and bountiful patronage has played out between the likes of China, the U.S., and, increasingly, Russia. Unlike in Latin America, however, China’s economic footprint in Africa seems to be fading. Loans to the region (doled out for ports, railways, and the like and always degraded as debt-trap diplomacy by the United States and the West) are down to less than $2 billion after peaking at $28.4 billion in 2016.

Governing the Final Frontier: Risk Reduction in Outer Space

Naomi Egel and R. Lincoln Hines

With more state and private actors, space is becoming increasingly crowded with greater risk of accidental collisions. In seeking solutions, the US faces important choices: should it pursue legally binding measures? Unilaterally or with others? Which others? Three multilateral risk reduction measures proposed here can promote a more stable and sustainable space environment.

Is ChatGPT the future of cheating or the future of teaching?

Khaya Himmelman

ChatGPT, the cutting-edge chatbot from OpenAI that was released in November 2022, can solve math equations, write a history term paper, compose a sonnet and almost everything in between. So it’s not surprising that many educators support banning the chatbot in schools to prevent plagiarism, cheating and just plain inaccuracy.

In response to these concerns, some major districts have banned the chatbot in schools. In December, the Los Angeles Unified School District “preemptively” blocked access to ChatGPT while “a risk/benefit assessment is conducted,” a district spokesperson told the Washington Post. And in January, New York City Public Schools banned access to ChatGPT from devices and networks that the school owns, per the Washington Post. A spokesperson for the NYC Department of Education told Chalkbeat that the decision was made “due to concerns about negative impacts on student learning and concerns regarding the safety and accuracy of content.”

But not everyone is on board with a complete ban — some in the education world say instead of banning it, teach kids how to use it smartly and fairly, and it could be a beneficial educational tool.

Top 15 best Open-Source MLOps tools in 2023

Sefali Warner

Machine learning technologies are bringing meaningful change to every industry. The main reason behind this change is the MLOps framework and tools. These best MLOps tools in 2023 have advanced features that make the process of building machine-learning models easily.

In this blog, we will be discussing the open-source MLOps tools list in detail. Let us know which tool you prefer from this list.

First, let us have a look at what MLOps tools are exactly.
What are open-source MLOps tools?

MLOps tools help us apply the best practices of DevOps during artificial intelligence and machine learning model creation. There are several open-source MLOps tools. With the help of these tools, you do not need to spend much to complete the purpose. These tools help you to analyze AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) models during development, validation, or production monitoring. Some experts predicted that the MLOps market is expected to grow significantly by 2025.

How AI can actually be helpful in disaster response

Tate Ryan-Mosley

We often hear big (and unrealistic) promises about the potential of AI to solve the world’s ills, and I was skeptical when I first learned that AI might be starting to aid disaster response, including following the earthquake that has devastated Turkey and Syria.

But one effort from the US Department of Defense does seem to be effective: xView2. Though it’s still in its early phases of deployment, this visual computing project has already helped with disaster logistics and on the ground rescue missions in Turkey.

An open-source project that was sponsored and developed by the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit and Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute in 2019, xView2 has collaborated with many research partners, including Microsoft and the University of California, Berkeley. It uses machine-learning algorithms in conjunction with satellite imagery from other providers to identify building and infrastructure damage in the disaster area and categorize its severity much faster than is possible with current methods.

Ritwik Gupta, the principal AI scientist at the Defense Innovation Unit and a researcher at Berkeley, tells me this means the program can directly help first responders and recovery experts on the ground quickly get an assessment that can aid in finding survivors and help coordinate reconstruction efforts over time.

The DoD Cyber Workforce Strategy: Deploying an Agile, Capable, and Ready Cyber Workforce

Daniel Pereira

Amidst our coverage of exponential technologies and national cognitive infrastructure protection, it is easy to take a purely technology-based perspective and neglect the human factor: the role of trained talent and future innovators in building the technology and platforms to solve the most pressing problems and address future risks, opportunities, and threats. The OODA Loop Talent Superpower Strategy (The Human Factor) Series of posts over the course of this year is designed to track, research, and synthesize vital strategic issues from a human talent perspective. To start: an overview of the launch of a “cyber workforce of the future” effort at the DoD.

The Defense Department’s New Cyber Workforce Strategy

The Defense Department’s new cyber workforce strategy creates dozens of updated work roles, including new artificial intelligence and data-focused specializations, as part of a broader effort to recruit and retain “the most capable and dominant” workforce in the world by utilizing “four human capital pillars.”

A year of Russian fighting in Ukraine shows the US military what it needs to improve, analysts say


A year ago, many outside observers said it was only a matter of time until Kyiv’s fall, as Russian soldiers invaded Ukraine in a bid to capture its capital.

Instead, Moscow’s full-scale invasion floundered. Two months into the fighting, Kyiv stood and Russian forces were in retreat.

But hidden amid those failures is a threat still facing the United States military and its allies in Europe, where vulnerabilities persist on its eastern borders, experts say.

“The Russians didn’t get close to capturing Kyiv in three days, but they did capture enough territory equal to the size of Estonia,” retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the former commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, said in a recent phone interview.

Despite the Kremlin’s battlefield failures and the huge toll in lives and materiel in Ukraine, allies should be careful not to underestimate a Russian military that can be expected to undergo a major reset regardless of the outcome in Ukraine, analysts say.

“At the end of the day, NATO forces would crush Russian forces, but that doesn’t mean that in the early days, if we were caught flat-footed, that there would not be enormous casualties and damage,” Hodges said.