9 March 2023

Cartographic Domination in British India

Mack Clayton

Although the spread of the European empires was driven by territorial acquisition, commercial interests, and global influence, they also brought with them an Enlightenment approach to better understand the worlds they were absorbing into their domain.[1] Whether it be botany, zoology, ethnography, or geography (to name a few), European specialists were side-by-side expeditionary military forces, missionaries, and prospectors. However, in bringing this positivist, enlightenment approach to their dominions, the Europeans often supplanted local knowledge and understanding of these subjects, which, in a colonial hierarchy, typically meant that colonialists world view would dominate that of the local. This epistemological domination was particularly prevalent in the practice of cartography.[2] Maps were often the only way that a territory could be visualised in its totality and consequently became the sole authority for the colonial power of what was present on the ground.[3] However, the practice of creating a map and deciding how a territory is represented is not objective, but steeped in power and assumption.[4] British cartographic practices throughout the empire were a form of epistemic domination. Although this can be seen throughout the British Empire, this paper will look specifically at cartographic efforts in British India. It will start by briefly setting out concepts of critical cartography and post-colonialism, looking at Spivak’s concept of epistemic violence, before examining the case study of British India, considering how British representation of political boundaries and toponomy on official maps impacted the locals.

To Help Afghanistan, Engage Its Political Opposition

Richard Fontaine and Lisa Curtis

Eighteen months after the fall of Kabul, the situation in Afghanistan is moving from bad to worse. In addition to banning girls from secondary schools, the Taliban recently closed universities to women. Taliban officials also stopped women from working with nongovernmental organizations that distribute humanitarian aid in December, prompting international charities to suspend their work. The United Nations now reports that 6 million Afghans stand on the brink of starvation.

The United States has rightly continued to provide help to Afghanistan despite the Taliban conquest and stands today as the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance in the world. While such aid remains critical, Washington should not simply accept the Taliban’s coercive rule as an indefinite if unfortunate reality. By engaging with the political opposition, the United States can take steps toward a better Afghan future.

Traveling recently in Tajikistan and Turkey, we met with former Afghan officials, members of the diaspora, refugees, and others who look in anguish at Afghanistan’s plight. Kabul’s ambassador in Dushanbe, appointed by the previous government, holds meetings in the cold: The embassy’s budget for central heating has run out. Opposition figures in Turkey attempt to harmonize their political approaches but face constraints on their speech and activities imposed by the Turkish government. Each one laments the fall of Kabul and all urge the international community to not simply give up on Afghanistan.

The challenges go beyond the Taliban crushing the rights of women and girls. The new regime is overhauling the educational curriculum, ensuring that millions of boys will be subject to its hardline Islamist views. U.N. officials report that the Taliban has “precipitated the collapse of the rule of law.” Two-thirds of the entire population is expected to remain dependent on foreign aid this year. ISIS is active and deadly in Afghanistan, and the Taliban remains linked to al Qaeda.

Inside the Chinese war machine plotting to transform Putin’s invasion

Howard Mustoe

As Ukraine faces down a Russian offensive - and lays the groundwork for an expected fightback of its own in spring - focus is once again turning to whether either side has the capability for a decisive breakthrough.

Despite mass mobilisation and a decision to pull increasingly elderly vehicles out of storage, Russia is still running low on the materiel it needs.

Analysts believe it is continuing to burn through an unsustainable number of artillery shells as it grinds forward around the devastated city of Bakhmut. Even supplies of Iranian kamikaze drones appear to have run short.

So there is little surprise that Western minds are now grappling with how to prevent a potential gamechanger: the involvement of China as a provider of arms.

Beijing, long a supporter of Russia on the sidelines, is closely examining whether it should take a more active role - and begin sending Vladimir Putin's struggling armies the equipment they need for a more sustained and damaging campaign against the Ukrainians. Such a decision could transform the conflict - and give China's manufacturers a crucial testbed as they evaluate weapons amid fears over an invasion of Taiwan.

Last week, the US upped the ante in warning China away from arming Russia in its war on Ukraine.

Bad Idea: Looking for Easy Solutions for PPBE Reform

Jonathan P. Wong

Is there any process in the defense bureaucracy with as poor a reputation as the Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) system? The means by which the Department of Defense (DoD) decides how to spend its budget of over $800 billion has long been criticized as needlessly complex and incapable of helping policymakers choose among investments to meet strategic goals. Seeking solutions, Congress created the Commission on PPBE Reform in the 2022 defense policy bill. But the reforms the system needs may not be as obvious as they seem.

The PPBE system, the brainchild of former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, has faced critiques since its implementation under the Kennedy administration. Other departments and agencies in the federal government have used and discarded (PDF) program budgeting schemes like PPBE, concluding that they are time-consuming paper drills that add little value. Critics have also observed that the PPBE process in fact favors incumbent priorities within the defense budget over new ones. One analysis found that the system has increasingly yielded fewer changes to existing strategic choices with each passing year since its implementation under the Kennedy administration.

Calls for reforming the PPBE system reached an urgent crescendo over the last several years as the process has been increasingly considered a roadblock to leveraging commercial technologies. Critics assert that important technologies like artificial intelligence, commercial space developments, and microelectronics developed by commercial firms will be crucial to the future success of the U.S. military. However, the intentionally slow and deliberate PPBE process, which may take two or more years to provide funding for new technologies in the budget, dissuades commercial companies from working with the Pentagon, according to reformers.

Clues to the U.S.-Dutch-Japanese Semiconductor Export Controls Deal Are Hiding in Plain Sight

Gregory C. Allen and Emily Benson

On October 7, 2022, the Biden administration upended more than two decades of U.S. trade policy toward China when it issued sweeping new regulations on U.S. exports to China of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and semiconductor technology. These export controls were designed after consultation with key U.S. allies, but the United States originally implemented them unilaterally.

This was a major diplomatic gamble.

In the face of rapidly advancing Chinese AI and semiconductor capabilities, the United States wanted to move fast, so it was willing to take the risk of moving first alone. The United States has the strongest overall position in the global semiconductor industry, and it was by itself strong enough to reshape the Chinese semiconductor industry in the short term. Over the medium to long term, however, this move could have backfired disastrously if other countries, particularly Japan and the Netherlands, moved to fill the gaps in the Chinese market that the partial U.S. exit left.

But that is not going to happen. In late January 2023, the Biden administration’s gamble paid off when the United States secured a deal with both the Netherlands and Japan to join in the new semiconductor export controls. Some officials suggested to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) that the result of the dialogues is better characterized as an “understanding” rather than a formal deal, as some details have yet to be worked out. Regardless, the United States has secured the top three international partners needed to ensure the policy’s success. Taiwan had already made a public announcement that it would support enforcement of the October 7 regulation’s application of the U.S. Foreign Direct Product (FDP) rule.

The High-Stakes Blame Game in the White House Cybersecurity Plan

IN THE ENDLESS fight to improve cybersecurity and encourage investment in digital defenses, some experts have a controversial suggestion. They say the only way to make companies take it seriously is to create real economic incentives—by making them legally liable if they have not taken adequate steps to secure their products and infrastructure. The last thing anyone wants is more liability, so the idea has never exploded in popularity, but a national cybersecurity strategy from the White House this week is giving the concept a prominent boost.

The long-awaited document proposes stronger cybersecurity protections and regulations for critical infrastructure, an expanded program to disrupt cybercriminal activity, and a focus on global cooperation. Many of these priorities are widely accepted and build on national strategies put out by past US administrations. But the Biden strategy expands significantly on the question of liability.

“We must begin to shift liability onto those entities that fail to take reasonable precautions to secure their software while recognizing that even the most advanced software security programs cannot prevent all vulnerabilities,” it says. “Companies that make software must have the freedom to innovate, but they must also be held liable when they fail to live up to the duty of care they owe consumers, businesses, or critical infrastructure providers.”

Publicizing the strategy is a way of making the White House's priorities clear, but it does not in itself mean that Congress will pass legislation to enact specific policies. With the release of the document, the Biden administration seems focused on promoting discussion about how to better handle liability as well as raising awareness about the stakes for individual Americans.

Consequences of the War in Ukraine: NATO's Future

Brian Michael Jenkins

This series takes in the sweep of the war in Ukraine and its downstream effects both regionally and globally. Part one discusses how the war could end; part two deals with the potential for escalation of the war; part three discusses how the war in Ukraine may affect Russia; part four is about the consequences of the war on NATO, part five looks at Turkey and the Balkan states; part six the global economic consequences; and the series concludes with part seven.

In January 2022, the European Parliament issued a report on (PDF) “Ten issues to watch in 2022.” The tenth on the list was European defense; Ukraine only appears once, in the “further reading” section. This year, the European Parliamentary Research Service again released (PDF) its “Ten Issues to watch” list, with “Russia's war on Ukraine” in the very first sentence. The conflict is described as a “definitive marker…a human tragedy…a geopolitical tectonic shift.” Indeed, for NATO in particular, history has not ended, but has become newly relevant.
Russia's Invasion of Ukraine Has, for the Time Being, Strengthened NATO

Security issues have again become paramount among NATO members, making the alliance far more relevant. Sweden and Finland have abandoned decades—or in Sweden's case, centuries—of neutrality and now want to join the alliance, which was inconceivable prior to February 2022.

What Does Russia's War on Ukraine Mean for the International Order?

William Courtney

One year ago, Russia unleashed a war that has brought horror to Ukraine. But there's no doubt that the implications of this war reach much farther: It has shaken the European security order, and those effects may be felt on a global scale. The war has shown the danger of Russian revanchism and the risk of living next door to a power that embraces war as a coercive tool. It's also highlighted the West's role as a major protector of the democratic world and Ukraine's advantages as a result of three decades of democratic development. Issues of reconstruction, war crimes, and sanctions might break new ground in the role these issues play in international diplomacy. The war could affect China's ambitions and nuclear decisionmaking. Perhaps surprisingly, Russian isolation because of the war is less than some might think. All in all, Russia's war on Ukraine is having major repercussions for the international order.
Regime Change

In three decades of modern independence, Russia has never been more repressive at home, or more imperial and revanchist abroad. Independent journalists and political opponents are often jailed or even killed. In light of Russia's past wars on Georgia and Ukraine, Russia's neighbors know they cannot count on Moscow to respect their sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. A reduction of the threat might require more liberal governance in Moscow, but there is no certainty this may come. If liberalizing change does come, it may be sudden or unexpected, as was the emergence of the liberalizing Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev after a long “era of stagnation” under his conservative predecessors. Although the West has no direct influence on politics in Russia, it may have indirect influence by helping Ukraine to defend itself. The current Western strategy of aiding Ukraine could have salutary effects in Moscow in weakening the power of Putin's revanchist regime and the ability of Russia's military to win in Ukraine.

Solving Europe’s Defense Dilemma: Overcoming the Challenges to European Defense Cooperation

Sean Monaghan

Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine has led to a transformational moment for European defense. However, Europe has a dilemma: it is spending more on defense but cooperating less—all despite three decades of political initiatives designed to improve European defense cooperation.

As this brief explains, there is no single reason for this failure: it is a result of a deep-seated collective action problem entrenched across the political, economic, and military fields of the European defense landscape.

This brief identifies three main insights for NATO, EU, and European policymakers to help solve Europe’s defense dilemma: Understanding the challenge as a collective action problem reveals three principles that can help unlock European defense cooperation: small groups, normalization, and mechanisms to incentivize cooperation (and discourage fragmentation).
Previous experience reveals internal and external factors that influence the prospects for cooperation.
Many different types of defense cooperation may be used to provide European leaders with a range of options to boost cooperation.

The Sorry State of European Defense Cooperation

The Strategic Importance of Legacy Chips

Sujai Shivakumar , Charles Wessner , and Thomas Howell

The chip shortage in late 2020 drew widespread attention to the fact that the most advanced semiconductors are no longer manufactured in the United States, and that this represents a strategic vulnerability. Interestingly, this chip shortage was overwhelmingly a function of inadequate availability of so-called legacy chips, which U.S.-based firms continue to make but not in sufficient quantities to meet the needs of domestic manufacturers. The shortfall adversely affected not only traditional industries like automobiles but also other devices that incorporate a complement of semiconductor technologies—including microprocessors, advanced microcontrollers, analog and mixed-signal products, and power semiconductors—and drive displays, decode audio, operate engines, and perform other key functions. The absence of these components created significant disruptions in the U.S. economy, prompting a deeper look at the strategic significance of so-called legacy chips.
What Are “Legacy” Chips?

“Legacy” or “mainstream” semiconductor-based integrated circuits (ICs) are made using established—but still evolving—manufacturing processes, typically with larger transistors etched on each chip. The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 defines legacy devices as those produced with 28-nanometer (nm) technology or larger, and it tasks the Department of Commerce with formulating a precise definition for other types of chips. That determination is still pending. The official definition of “cutting-edge” chips has also yet to be formulated but can be assumed to apply to process nodes at or below 5 nm. The highly advanced 10 nm and 7 nm chips are in a definitional gray area, at least until the Department of Commerce categorizes them. Even then, this is a static distinction in a technology that is still following a trajectory predicted by Moore’s Law: what is considered “legacy” today was cutting-edge not long ago, and what is cutting-edge today is destined to become tomorrow’s legacy chip.

Viewpoint: For stronger tech, Europe must spend more on defence and research

Charles Wessner

In its effort to increase the strength and competitiveness of its technology industries, the EU has been moving towards a policy of ‘strategic autonomy’. In theory, that’s good; EU member states are vital US allies, so what strengthens Europe could also strengthen America. But the way this policy is developing raises concerns, and risks repeating old mistakes.

That the EU should want more autonomy right now is no surprise. It is probably fair to say that the last 12 months have revealed a shocking level of dependence by many European countries for commodities and technologies critical to their security. Most of all, the war in Ukraine has laid plain the near-total dependency of some countries on Russian gas and oil. But when it comes to science and technology, the way the EU has reacted has an exclusionary element, embedded in a transactional approach to S&T cooperation. For instance, efforts to limit participation of Swiss and British researchers in EU R&D projects may substantially reduce the EU’s capacity for broad advances in technologies like artificial intelligence and quantum computing and communications.

Strategic autonomy also reflects a growing focus on China’s rising tech strength. Some of this is propelled by China’s own drive for self-sufficiency. One can understand Beijing’s concerns over the numerous economic choke points in its economy, be it oil or semiconductors. However, the mantra of free trade and the expectation that, once in the World Trade Organisation, China would become rule-abiding partners “just like us,” has certainly fallen by the wayside in the face of Chinese industrial policies, espionage, and massive mercantilism. So the fact that European policymakers don’t want to be the last to be dependent on global supply chains is understandable. But it seriously understates the reality of global interdependence.

The role of cyber weapons in Russia's war on Ukraine

Jenna McLaughlin

A year after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Russian cyber war many had expected has not quite materialized, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been a key piece of the story. NPR's cyber security correspondent Jenna McLaughlin spoke with over a dozen intelligence analysts who've studied the role that cyber weapons have played in the conflict and how those lessons might be applied to future wars.

JENNA MCLAUGHLIN, BYLINE: On a recent chilly winter afternoon, I made my way to DuPont Circle to visit the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. I met there with a contemplative man wearing glasses and a hoodie.

JUAN ANDRES GUERRERO‑SAADE: So my name is Juan Andres Guerrero‑Saade. Most people call me JAGS because that's a mouthful.

MCLAUGHLIN: Juan, or JAGS, has been following Russian hackers for years. His rolled-up sleeves reveal tattooed lines of digital code. He remembers the confusing, tense days before the invasion, because for the cybersecurity community, that's when the war really began.

GUERRERO-SAADE: The cybersecurity space, threat intelligence space was involved in analyzing the components of the Russian invasion hours before other people had even accepted that the invasion was happening. I mean...

MCLAUGHLIN: JAGS, who's with the cybersecurity firm SentinelOne, speaks quickly and eagerly about that time, full of technical detail and personal memories.

Japan can learn from Israel about how to win cyberwars


TOKYO -- Cyberattacks have drastically jumped around the world, and Japan may have become easy prey.

Between September and November last year, Japan was targeted with the second-highest number of cyberattacks in the world after the U.S., according to a recent report by Canadian cybersecurity company BlackBerry, which said 8% of the 1.76 million attacks it had detected in the period were directed at Japan.

It is no surprise that the U.S., the world's top information and technology destination, was the No.1 target. But why did Japan come under such a heavy attack? "Hacker groups around the world may have realized how feeble the country's cyberdefense is," said a Japanese government official in charge of national security.

In the first half of 2022, an average 7,800 cases of unauthorized access -- nearly all of them from abroad -- were detected daily in Japan, double the number for all of 2019, according to the National Police Agency.

Japan clearly lags behind other advanced nations in cybersecurity. After analyzing cyberdefense capabilities of 15 major countries, the International Institute for Strategic Studies placed Japan at the bottom of its three-scale ranking in a June 2021 report. The London-based think tank cited the country's weak cybersecurity in both public and private sectors, inducing its ability to keep track of malicious intrusion attempts and lack of a legal framework to launch counterattacks.

Opinion – Is Russia a ‘Terrorist State’?

Zachariah Parcels

Three Baltic national legislatures denounced Russia as a “terrorist state.” Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations stated, “Russia has proven once again that this is a terrorist state that must be deterred in the strongest possible ways.” Further denunciations of Russia’s as a “terrorist state” by public officials and media have picked up momentum in recent weeks, with the intentional targeting of civilian infrastructure and reported instances of “murder and rape” by Russia’s infamous Wagner Group. These assertions reference Russia’s blatant targeting of civilians in recent weeks, such as the attack in Dnipro on 14 January that claimed at least 45 lives. However, the White House rejected labelling Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism as “not the most effective or strongest path forward”.

As there is no universal definition of terrorism, definitions of terrorism and terrorist actors vary and, at times, entail political connotations. For instance, the labelling and revoking of a terrorist designations in the case of Yemen’s Houthis reflects exogeneous circumstances and alternative approaches to the crisis. The Trump administration’s designation was in response to their actions against civilian infrastructure, namely the Saudi Aramco facility, while the Biden administration’s revocation reportedly reflects its diplomatic approach to Yemen’s humanitarian crisis. Amid the catastrophic loss of life and destruction inflicted daily on Ukraine by Russian forces, semantic discussions on the use of the word “terrorist” seem frivolous. By labelling Russia’s “terroristic” actions as “terrorism,” however, it conflates state and nonstate action, introducing further obscurity into a conflict and an international community already marred in disinformation.

Robust Peacekeeping and Its Unintended Consequences

Martin Kleiven Jørgensen

The turn towards more robust peacekeeping came as a response to failures of United Nations (UN) peacekeepers in the 1990s to hinder mass atrocities, such as in Rwanda and Bosnia and Herzegovina (Tardy, 2011). Today, there is a consensus that the UN was too slow to respond and that the peacekeepers on the ground were risk-averse and lacked the necessary equipment and personnel to prevent these atrocities (Rhoads, 2019). The UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) (2009, p.21) defines robust peacekeeping as “a political and operational strategy to signal the intention of a UN mission to implement its mandate and to deter threats to an existing peace process in the face of resistance from spoilers”. A robust approach seeks to have a more powerful and proactive military to protect civilians (Hultman, 2010) and authorises peacekeepers to use force on the tactical level in self-defence and defence of the mandate (e.g., protecting civilians) against certain armed factions (DPKO, 2009).

However, practitioners disagree on whether the robust turn has led to more effective peacekeeping (Laurence, 2019). Drawing on Hunt’s (2017) argument, this essay argues that the turn towards robust peacekeeping has had several unintended consequences, with the potential of undermining the unity of effort and effectiveness of UN peace operations. The essay begins by exploring how risk-averse troops often hinder effective implementation of the Protection of Civilians (POC) mandate and how robust peacekeeping missions might be effective in the short term. It proceeds by investigating how these missions clash with traditional principles of peacekeeping and can have unintended implications for humanitarian access, the security of UN personnel and civilians and the behaviour of Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs). It continues by examining how robust peacekeepers can undermine a peace process by using force. Lastly, it investigates how the ambiguity of robust peacekeeping can affect the unity of effort of UN peace operations.

Interview – Michael Kugelman

Michael Kugelman is director of the Wilson Center’s South Asia Institute. He is also a columnist for Foreign Policy magazine and writes its weekly South Asia Brief newsletter. He has held the South Asia portfolio at the Wilson Center for nearly 16 years, and his research has ranged from the destabilizing potential of natural resource stress in Pakistan to China’s policies in South Asia. His most recent projects look at the future of US policy in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. His analysis has been featured in a range of major media outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, CNN, NPR, BBC, and Bloomberg News, and also in top media outlets in South Asia. He is always happy to speak with the next generation of South Asia scholars and analysts, and he can be reached here.

Where do you see the most exciting research/debates happening in your field?

Good question. As an analyst of South Asia, the field often appears rather depressing: Polarization, intolerance, border disputes, economic stress, climate change—with all these bad-news regional trends, it’s easy to forget the inspiring and positive developments in the region that present exciting new research opportunities.

One is the tech sphere. We’ve all heard about the global success story that is the Indian hi-tech sector, but it goes well beyond that. We’re seeing a deepening tech industry footprint across the wider region. This raises interesting questions: What explains the emergence of this nascent regional tech ecosystem? How is it navigating often harsh regulatory environments in a region that’s experiencing growing crackdowns on online content? If tech industries continue to grow, could we see the emergence of a region where economies grow less reliant on manufacturing and more focused on services?

To counter the Wagner Group’s presence in Africa, the US will need to prioritize stabilizing Libya

Emadeddin Badi

The war in Ukraine has brought Yevgeny Prigozhin and his Wagner Group to the forefront, with the United States now focusing on countering their presence beyond Ukraine, particularly in Africa.

One theatre Washington is now prioritizing as part of this burgeoning effort is Libya, where Russia’s influence is mainly projected through Wagner mercenaries. There, Wagner has acted as the Kremlin’s surreptitious foreign policy tool for over three years, significantly expanding its footprint in the country after supporting General Khalifa Haftar in his failed attack to capture Tripoli and oust Libya’s United Nations-recognized government in 2019. Quelling Wagner’s influence in Libya will be challenging, as the US must address Libyan realities and unite Europe and regional powers to support its foreign policy endeavor.

The Wagner Group’s activities in Libya have been multi-faceted, including military operations, military hardware maintenance, political advisory services, and social media disinformation and influence operations. After Haftar’s failed attack in 2019, Wagner’s profile grew substantially, with the group shifting to fulfill Russian strategic goals.

Since the October 2020 ceasefire, Wagner mercenaries have entrenched in the south and east of Libya, taking over military airbases and encamping near oil fields and natural resource infrastructure. This development dovetailed with blockades imposed by Haftar and his rag-tag army on oil exports. The latest blockade—unilaterally imposed through the first half of 2022 by Haftar—served Russian geopolitical interests and harmed US interests by stifling oil supplies to Europe and exacerbating global inflation.

What we learned from the Russia-China-South Africa military drills

Rough seas ahead. On Monday, China, Russia, and South Africa wrapped up ten days of joint naval drills in the Indian Ocean, an exercise that overlapped with the one-year mark of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Why did these three nations get together? Why now? And what did we learn about the military capabilities of the two powers that the United States considers to be its chief security threats? Experts from across the Council set sail with the answers.

1. Why are Russia and China teaming up with South Africa?

Teaming up may be a misleading term, as South Africa has longstanding ties with both Russia and China. South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), received significant Soviet support during the anti-apartheid struggle, including both military and financial backing. South Africa became a member of the BRICS consortium of economies in 2014—which also includes Brazil, Russia, India, and China—and has had strong economic engagement with China since the early 2000s. Also, Russia, China, and South Africa have previously conducted bilateral and other multilateral joint training exercises. So defense cooperation among these nations is neither unprecedented nor wholly unanticipated.

In addition to the practical and diplomatic advantages of shared drills with South Africa, its location aligns strategically with Russian and Chinese efforts to project naval power in African waters. Russia has increased its activities in the Indian Ocean in recent years, for example with efforts to secure port access for its navy in Mozambique. China similarly wants to increase its ability to deploy the People’s Liberation Army Navy worldwide, including in the Indian and Atlantic oceans. To support its navy’s push, China must ensure logistics provision and access in ports or basing in countries along these coasts, such as in Kenya, the Seychelles, Tanzania, or Angola. Straddling both these coasts, of course, is South Africa.

Why Russia’s manpower advantage may not be enough to win the war in Ukraine

Joshua Keating

The old saw that in war, “quantity has a quality all its own,” has been getting a workout in the recent commentary about the war in Ukraine. The quantity in question is people, and the concern among Ukrainians and their international backers is that Russia simply has more of them. The cold hard math is that there are about 100 million more Russians than Ukrainians.

If this war becomes a simple endurance test and President Vladimir Putin is willing to accept any number of Russian casualties to accomplish his goals, perhaps all the advanced weapons systems the West can send won’t make a difference. Russia has already suffered mind-boggling losses. A recent report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies put the number of Russian soldiers killed at 60,000 to 70,000, more than in all its wars combined since World War II. And yet a Ukrainian commander recently told NPR that he worries Russia simply has an “infinite” number of men to mobilize into his military.

Can Putin just keep throwing bodies into the fight until the Ukrainians are exhausted?

Wars are not won by population size alone, of course, or by leaders’ willingness to send young men to risk their lives. If they were, South Vietnam might be an independent, pro-American nation today. The numerical advantage doesn’t mean that Russian victory is inevitable. But unfortunately for anyone who would like the bloodshed to stop soon, this seems to be the calculus and the advantage that Putin is banking on.
Mobilization turns the tide


Jeremy Scahill

THERE IS A disturbing aspect to the discourse in Washington, D.C., and European capitals surrounding the war in Ukraine that seeks to quash any dissent from the official narrative surrounding NATO’s military support for Ukraine. As the world was thrust into Cold War 2.0, the Western commentariat dusted off the wide brush wielded for decades by the cold warriors of old, labeling critics of the policy of massive weapons transfers to Ukraine or unquestioning support for the government of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as Russian stooges or puppets. This is a dangerous trend that encourages groupthink over a potentially nuclear conflict.

Citizens have every right to question the role of their governments, particularly in times of war. Some of the dynamics around policing criticism of Zelenskyy or the Ukrainian government or the U.S. support for it are reminiscent of the efforts to stifle criticism of Israel through charges of antisemitism. Not only is this an intellectually bankrupt line of attack, but it also runs contrary to the vital principle of free debate in democratic societies. It also seeks to relegate to a dungeon of insignificance the vast U.S. record of foreign policy, military, and intelligence catastrophes as well as its abuses and crimes by pretending that only lackeys for Moscow would dare question our role in a foreign conflict on the other side of the globe.

Russia is fighting not just Ukraine, but also NATO infrastructure.

Searching China - OSINT Way

The Chinese internet, also known as the "Great Firewall of China," presents unique challenges for researchers looking to conduct open-source intelligence (OSINT) analysis. With strict government censorship and monitoring, finding and accessing information can be difficult. Yet, it is possible to undertake efficient OSINT research on the Chinese internet with the proper tools and methodologies. Here are some tips for conducting OSINT research on the Chinese internet:

Use VPNs and proxies: To access websites that are blocked in China, researchers can use virtual private networks (VPNs) or proxies. These tools can help researchers access information that would otherwise be unavailable.

Understand Chinese search engines: Chinese search engines, such as Baidu, are different from Western search engines like Google. It is important to understand how these search engines work and what search terms to use to find the information you need.

Use Chinese-language tools: Chinese-language OSINT tools, such as Sogou and Youdao, can be used to search for Chinese-language content that may not be available through Western search engines.

Monitor social media: Social media platforms like WeChat and Weibo are popular in China and can provide valuable insights into Chinese social and political issues. Researchers can use tools like WeiboScope to monitor these platforms and identify trends and patterns.

‘Not the right time’: US to push guidelines, not bans, at UN meeting on autonomous weapons


WASHINGTON — On Monday, government experts from around the globe will once again gather in Geneva to debate the ethics and legality of autonomous weapons.

The crucial question for arms controllers: What’s the greatest danger from militarized AI and other autonomous systems? Many peace activists and neutral nations focus on out-of-control killing machines, like the Terminators of pop culture or, more plausibly, the swarming assassination drones of the mockumentary Slaughterbots. But others, including US officials and experts, often focus on something subtler, like an intelligence analysis algorithm that mistakes civilians for terrorists, a hospital for a military base, or a scientific rocket for a nuclear first strike — even if it’s still a human pulling the trigger.

A growing movement hopes the United Nations Group of Government Experts meeting in Geneva will help lay the groundwork for a binding legal ban on at least some kinds of officials call “lethal autonomous weapons systems” and what activists call “killer robots”— however they end up being defined, a question that’s bedeviled the Geneva negotiators for nine years. Just last week, at a conference in Costa Rica, 33 American nations, from giant Brazil to tiny Trinidad, declared “new prohibitions and regulations… are urgently needed,” in the form of “international legally binding instrument” like those already banning land mines and cluster bombs.

Black swans, gray rhinos, and silver linings: Anticipating geopolitical risks (and openings)

Andrew Grant, Ziad Haider, and Anke Raufuss

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 triggered more than 1,000 companies to curtail their operations in the world’s 11th biggest economy, revealing an imperative for global firms to bolster their ability to anticipate geopolitical risk and build resilience.1

The global order still reels from disruptions related to the war in Ukraine, including those in energy, food security, supply chains, and more. A central concern among global CEOs who speak with us is whether and how they will contend with additional geopolitical ruptures when they occur. As Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, stated at the 2022 Shangri-La Dialogue global security forum, “Ukraine today may be East Asia tomorrow.”2

In between navigating the fallout from Europe and unfolding strategic competition in Asia, multinational corporations must also manage a host of long-tail political risks and conflicts across other geographies, including Africa and South Asia.

Even as boards and CEOs work to build capabilities in managing such risks and developing geopolitical resilience, the imperative to lift one’s gaze and look around the corner has become key to strategy and performance. Scenario planning is squarely back.

In the extensive literature on scenario planning, notably Peter Schwartz’s The Art of the Long View, a core point is the need to develop frame­works, with colorful and gripping language, that help leaders “reperceive” the future and unlock strategic foresight.

The imperative to lift one’s gaze and look around the corner has become key to strategy and performance—scenario planning is squarely back.

Open-Source Intelligence is Indispensable for Countering Threats

Eric Mandel, Sarit Zehavi

When most people hear the word intelligence in a political context, they immediately think of clandestine sources, spies, and secret meetings. Intelligence services still rely on human source intelligence (HUMINT) and intercepted communications (SIGINT). However, in the twenty-first century, open-source intelligence (OSINT) has become indispensable for understanding your adversaries and is often the primary and most valuable source of actionable intelligence. According to a detailed article highlighting the power of OSINT in the Wall Street Journal, “80% of what a U.S. president or military commander needs to know comes from OSINT.”

What then is OSINT, and why is it so important in 2023?

In brief, OSINT is the painstaking gathering and analysis of information from a wide range of open sources for the military, intelligence, police, and business communities. The explosion of social media—from real-time videos to blogs to chat rooms to Twitter and Facebook—has produced unprecedented opportunities for insight into areas and people where HUMINT and SIGINT are not as effective or cost too much while decreasing the risk to human intelligence assets. In addition, the analysis of covert intelligence is informed and sometimes significantly changed by OSINT.

As such, combining OSINT, HUMINT, VISINT (visual intelligence), and SIGINT allows a country’s national and diplomatic security apparatus to pre-emptively act to thwart threats, inform allies, negotiate from the point of strength, and challenge international organizations and non-government organizations with accurate information, especially those with hostile intent.

Russian Military Operations in Ukraine in 2022 and the Year Ahead

Dara Massicot


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Gaining Victory in Systems Warfare

Mark Cozad

The People's Republic of China's (PRC's) and the People's Liberation Army's (PLA's) understanding of the military balance is fundamentally based on systems warfare concepts. Systems concepts drive China's perceptions of the successes of its three-decade-old modernization and its identification of enduring or emerging weaknesses. China's leaders recognize the qualitative and quantitative improvements in PLA weapons and technology; however, in key areas essential to conducting systems confrontation and systems destruction warfare, there remain significant gaps that have received the attention of Xi Jinping himself. During Xi's tenure, the PLA has been forced to confront a range of problems that go well beyond technological modernization, force structure, and organizational relationships. Still, both the United States and the PRC, through different evaluation processes, have concluded that war with the other has the potential to be extremely risky from an escalation standpoint, protracted and costly, and fatally harmful to long-term credibility and/or strategic goals. This analysis is one of the first to detail how the PLA understands and assesses military balance.

The PLA sees itself as the weaker side in the overall military balance, largely because it has made only limited progress in those key areas that will define future warfare, most importantly informatization and system-of-systems–based operations. Necessary improvements have not materialized quickly and will likely take time because of the PLA's organizational culture and the improvements' systemic complexity. A refined understanding of Beijing's view of the PLA also has significant implications for U.S. policymakers, military commanders, and planners.

Assessment of Joint All Domain Command and Control Requirements and the Use of Live, Virtual, and Constructive Capabilities for Training

Timothy Marler, Carra S. Sims

As the anticipated character of warfare changes, new operational concepts emerge in response to new needs, and training must also adapt to support these concepts and ensure readiness. Given the speed at which concepts develop and the length of time it may take to adapt training after the fact, it is prudent to assess training capabilities and practices as concepts mature rather than after concepts have been fully operationalized.

Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) is emerging as the preeminent operational concept in the U.S. Department of Defense. It is intended to improve situational awareness, improve abilities to direct forces across domains and services, and facilitate rapid decisionmaking. Distributed sensors, shooters, and data from all domains are connected to joint forces, enabling coordinated exercise of authority to integrate planning and synchronize convergence in time, space, and purpose. However, JADC2 is under development by all the services as well as the Joint Staff, and therefore, plans for its execution are not yet mature. It is a complex and networked concept, and training to support this concept will require preemptive consideration of supporting capabilities, especially when considering continuation training for personnel at air operation centers (AOCs).

Live, virtual, and constructive (LVC) simulations can help support the complex training that JADC2 will require, but proper development and deployment will require aligning training processes, LVC capabilities, and JADC2 training needs. Drawing from documentation review and interviews with subject-matter experts, the authors develop a road map to leverage LVC in support of JADC2 training.

The Weapons That Win World Wars2023

The Keys to Winning High Intensity Conflicts

In a previous post, I covered what the US military is doing to counter China. Both countries have a relatively short-term view of hostilities, opting for complicated weapons and platforms that take years to build. But what happens if a war breaks out and both sides want to keep fighting? The munitions, ships, and planes required might be very different.
Maximizing Destruction Per Dollar

Several useful strategies emerge when fighting an existential war.

Cheap Precision

In total war, boutique weapons won't be able to destroy enough enemies even if they are tactically successful. It is also challenging to produce and transport the mind-boggling mass inaccurate weapons require. The sweet spot is accurate but cheap weapons. These can be classic smart weapons like GPS-gravity bombs but also include an Abrams tank that can reliably kill adversaries 3000 meters away with unguided shells.

Avoid Unreliable Systems

An enemy can grind unreliable weapons into the ground by forcing a high tempo. The twenty US B-2 Bombers could deliver a one-time nuclear strike but could not eliminate thousands of Chinese ships, bases, and troop concentrations because of their low sortie rate and limited numbers.

Bad Idea: Integrated Deterrence as Strategy

Sean Monaghan

Integrated Deterrence – the “centerpiece” of the 2022 National Defense Strategy (NDS) – is not a bad idea. In fact, it is a good one. But it’s not a strategy.

The primary aim of the 2022 NDS is to “strengthen U.S. deterrence” to defend the status quo against America’s adversaries. But this strategy neglects the limits of deterrence and misses the fact that U.S. adversaries are already changing the status quo through their actions.

Instead, U.S. defense strategy should embrace an expanded concept of integrated influence which includes two pieces missing from the NDS: coercion and persuasion. Coercion is required because the United States will need to go beyond deterrence to compel an increasingly reckless Russia and assertive China to change course. Persuasion is required because history shows that successful strategy requires carrots as well as sticks, while emphasizing soft power tempers escalation and plays to U.S. strengths. This change will require readjusting force structure and integration.

Deterrence remains the right “centerpiece” for U.S. defense strategy in a dangerous world. However, a broader focus on coercion and persuasion would provide a strategy more worthy of America’s vision for a free, open, secure, and prosperous world.
The National Deterrence Strategy – and Its Limits

State of Defense 2023


With no end in sight to the year-old Ukraine war, defense headlines remain largely, and understandably, focused on Russia’s invasion of Europe’s frontier. But back home, the Biden administration, military leaders, Congressional partisans, and the U.S. security apparatus appear far more concerned about China. The services are shifting their plans, people, and weapons to deter Beijing from military conflict, to be better positioned to respond, and to have a better chance to survive.

What’s changed is that where military leaders used to avoid saying “China” when talking publicly about their Pacific worries, it’s now all out in the open. Army commanders in the Indo-Pacific region, for example, have always tried to declare the land service’s relevance in that vast and mostly air- and sea-covered side of the Earth. This year, it’s genuine. U.S. Army Gen. Charles Flynn, of U.S. Army Pacific Command, expects 2023 to be one of the business and most consequential ever.

The goal? Beat China to their punch, which they’ve forecast could come as early as 2027.

The problem? Convincing Americans to join in the fight.

“Today’s young Americans appear to be less interested in enlisting in the Army than they’ve been at almost any point in the last 50 years,” writes Defense One’s Ben Watson in his State of the Army 2023.