12 March 2023

What Does the Adani Crisis Mean for India’s Growth Story?

Anuj Srivas, and Kabir Agarwal

In January, after New York-based short seller Hindenburg Research released a report accusing Adani Group of accounting fraud and stock manipulation, the Indian conglomerate defended itself by appealing to nationalism. “This is … a calculated attack on India, the independence, integrity and quality of Indian institutions, and the growth story and ambition of India,” the group said in a 413-page response refuting the allegations.

It is no surprise that Adani Group tied itself to India’s “growth story.” The industrial empire of Gautam Adani, the group’s founder, has been key to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for India, which centers on big infrastructure projects as drivers of growth. In turn, Adani’s support for Modi’s nation-building plans, from airports to green hydrogen plants, has propelled his conglomerate’s meteoric rise. From 2014 to December 2022, Adani Group’s market capitalization soared from $6.5 billion to more than $223 billion.

Hindenburg’s report triggered a sudden reversal, however. The value of Adani Group’s publicly traded stocks soon fell by more than half—a rout that has continued a month after the report’s release. Modi has chosen to remain quiet about the affair, even as it has raised serious questions about India’s economy.

If Adani Group seeks refuge from criticism by tying its success to that of India’s, then the converse must also be reckoned with: The collapse of its shares represents a stress test for India’s growth project. It has cast doubt on whether Modi’s strategy of propping up a few favored corporate titans can translate into lasting results on the ground. And, beyond that, whether Modi’s India can deliver on hopes that it could become a driver of global economic growth, as China was for the past three decades.

Why India is in the vortex of global geopolitics as world affairs increasingly become fluid

Gautam Sen

Indian politics are remarkably inward-looking, with little consciousness of its place and role in the dynamics of the wider world. There is of course parochial awareness of events that directly impinge on India, but that is mostly reactive. Indians are concerned with conflicts in the neighbourhood and its benighted elites are obsessed with the charms of a supposed good life in the US that beckons and a comical aspiration to holiday or honeymoon in Switzerland. Yet, the cut and thrust of domestic political debate exhibit little awareness of the degree to which India’s economy itself is entangled with the world economy. India’s GDP trade ratio is 42 per cent which means what happens in the outside world has a significant impact on India. But it is domestic economic policy alone that is held responsible for the level of economic activity and employment in India.

This ingrained shortcoming is much worse in the understanding of most Indians of India’s involvement and role in global geopolitics. There is currently huge discussion in India of the attempts of Western powers to destabilise the government of Narendra Modi, but the real rationale for it is barely grasped. There is a firm conviction that the West is jealous of India and seeks to thwart its rise to inevitable greatness. There is also specific mention of the causes of foreign hostility, from India’s unexpectedly successful UPI, the sudden surge in the export of refined petroleum products to its very attempt to enhance self-reliance, especially in defence. Western hostility towards such Indian aspirations, especially consequential US disquiet, may indeed be a factor. But there is a failure to identify the vital geopolitical calculus that underlies the undoubted desire to destabilise Modi’s India and plant a government in it that can be controlled.

China’s AI-powered influence operations at India’s doorstep

Modes of warfare have undergone several changes since the end of World War II. In the 21st century, battle lines become more complex as they now also use technology, as well as civilians as combatants in various types of cyber warfare. A recent report by the United States (US)-based social media analytics firm Graphika revealed a pro-Chinese political spam operation promoting a new and distinctive form of video content, which has been operating since 2019 on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The content, termed spamouflage uses Artificial Intelligence (AI)-generated videos of fictitious persons to create deceptive political content. Frequent content churned out are along the lines of US inaction over gun violence in the US, and great power cooperation between the US and China. The report terms these operations as State aligned and political.

This development is significant not only from the innovation in technology viewpoint but also due to the future possibilities of rampant dissemination of disinformation and influence operations in the social media space. The question that arises in this context is what could be the possible ramifications of politically divisive disinformation? The 21st century is one in which social media connects almost everyone. Impressionable audiences form the civil society, which in democratic societies casts votes in favour or against political candidates in elections. Influencing the audiences against electoral candidates who may have an adversarial world view to certain countries that are churning out disinformation is a tool that is increasingly finding traction in the current world order. China, which has made great strides in moving up the technology ladder as well as in AI often resorts to tools such as disinformation, spamouflage, usage of bots, usage of the digital stack and so on to create a narrative that is favourable to its world view.

Interpreting China’s unambitious growth target

When china’s government sets its economic growth target for the year, it often faces a dilemma. A balance must be struck between inspiring confidence and maintaining credibility. A high target could give courage to entrepreneurs, making fast growth easier to achieve. But ambitious targets can also be missed, denting the government’s reputation. (They can also induce reckless stimulus spending to avert any such embarrassment.)

Food and Soldiers: China’s Strategic Weaknesses

Guermantes Lailari

On Dec. 7, 2022, Edward Luttwak, a strategy consultant to the U.S. government, gave the keynote speech at Japan’s National Institute of Defense Studies (NIDS) International Symposium on Security Affairs. The speech was entitled “Can China Fight a War?”

Most media outlets didn’t cover the NIDS conference, and almost none of them mentioned Luttwak’s speech. News sources missed an opportunity to highlight some of China’s most important strategic weaknesses. These should be ferociously pursued if the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) orders the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to conduct a military operation against Taiwan.
Can China Wage a War?

Luttwak noted at the beginning of his speech that he can’t answer the question: “Would the Chinese government actually initiate war operations; would it go to war against Taiwan?” He noted that leaders of countries (such as Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Ukraine or then-U.S. President George W. Bush in Iraq in 2003) “are quite capable of starting wars they cannot possibly win.”

“That is true of Russians and Americans, and it’s even more true of China,” he said.

Luttwak asked a simple question: “Can the People’s Republic of China as it now exists, actually wage a war … a small war … such as, for example, a war to take Taiwan?”

China’s new State Council: What analysts might have missed

Cheng Li and Mallie Prytherch

The once-every-five-years leadership transition in China’s party-state regularly follows a two-step process — the first occurring in the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the second involving the government. This past October, Xi Jinping cemented his strong control over the top echelons of the CCP at the 20th Party Congress. Loyalty to Xi was clearly the first and most important criterion for elite promotion, as demonstrated by the makeup of the Politburo and Politburo Standing Committee.

This past weekend, the new National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s legislature, began its first annual session. This eight-and-a-half-day-long meeting will conclude with the announcement of the president and vice president of the People’s Republic of China and appointees to the new State Council, the executive branch of the central government. Xi will serve his third term as president, and Han Zheng, former executive vice premier of the State Council, is expected to become vice president.

Public attention will focus on the composition of the State Council. Led by an “Executive Committee” of 10 officials, the State Council manages 31 provincial-level administrations and 26 constituent ministries. While China’s ultimate decisions undoubtedly rest with the Politburo, the State Council is usually given a certain amount of leeway to determine the implementation of policy, especially in economic matters. It is widely expected that the new Executive Committee will consist entirely of first-timers to this leadership body, marking the largest turnover in its history (See Table 1).

China and Russia have deep defense sector ties. Putin’s war has not changed that, data show

Simone McCarthy

Hong KongCNN — Chinese state-owned defense firms have maintained trade relationships with sanctioned Russian defense companies during the past year, even as many of the world’s leading economies cut ties with Moscow and the companies driving its continued assault on Ukraine.

Customs records reviewed by CNN show key companies within both countries’ vast military-industrial complexes have continued their years-long relationships, despite the horror Moscow has unleashed in Europe.

Records show that throughout 2022, through at least mid-November, Beijing-based defense contractor Poly Technologies sent at least a dozen shipments – including helicopter parts and air-to-ground radio equipment – to a state-backed Russian firm sanctioned by the US for its connection to leader Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Poly Technology’s long-term trade partner – Ulan Ude Aviation Plant, a purveyor of military-grade helicopters – also continued to send parts and several helicopters to the Beijing-based company last year, trade data show.

Most of the helicopter parts included in the shipments to Russia were labeled for use in the multipurpose Mi-171E helicopter, designed for transport and search and rescue. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), China began importing this model of chopper from Russia more than 10 years ago.

America and China are preparing for a war over Taiwan

Their faces smeared in green and black, some with Stinger anti-aircraft missiles on their packs, the men of “Darkside”—the 3rd battalion of America’s 4th marine regiment—boarded a pair of Sea Stallion helicopters and clattered away into the nearby jungle. Their commanders followed in more choppers carrying ultralight vehicles and communications gear. Anything superfluous was left behind. No big screens for video links of the sort used in Iraq and Afghanistan: to avoid detection, the marines must make sure their communications blend into the background just as surely as their camouflage blends into the tropical greenery. The goal of the exercise: to disperse around an unnamed island, link up with friendly “green” allies and repel an amphibious invasion by “red” forces.

Ignore the polite abstractions. The marines are training for a war with China, probably precipitated by an invasion of Taiwan. Their base in Okinawa, at the southern end of the Japanese archipelago, is just 600km (370 miles) from Taiwan. The two islands are part of what American military planners call the “first island chain”: a series of archipelagoes and islands, big and small, that stretches from Japan to Malaysia, impeding naval passage from China to the Pacific. Whether by harrying Chinese ships from a distance or—much less likely—by deploying to Taiwan to help repel a Chinese landing, the marines will be early participants in any conflict.
Aruna Viswanatha

WASHINGTON—U.S. officials are growing concerned that giant Chinese-made cranes operating at American ports across the country, including at several used by the military, could give Beijing a possible spying tool hiding in plain sight.

Some national-security and Pentagon officials have compared ship-to-shore cranes made by the China-based manufacturer, ZPMC, to a Trojan horse. While comparably well-made and inexpensive, they contain sophisticated sensors that can register and track the provenance and destination of containers, prompting concerns that China could capture information about materiel being shipped in or out of the country to support U.S. military operations around the world.

The cranes could also provide remote access for someone looking to disrupt the flow of goods, said Bill Evanina, a former top U.S. counterintelligence official.

“Cranes can be the new Huawei,” Mr. Evanina said, referring to the Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co., whose equipment U.S. officials have effectively banned after warning that it could be used to spy on Americans. “It’s the perfect combination of legitimate business that can also masquerade as clandestine intelligence collection.” Huawei has said its products aren’t a national-security risk.

Why European Defense Still Depends on America

Max Bergmann and Sophia Besch

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, it seemed like a transformational moment for European security. Surely now Europe would finally get its act together on defense. But as the war enters its second year, such a transformation has not materialized. The fault for the ongoing stasis lies with many parties—European states, NATO, the European Union and even the United States—all of whom have defaulted to the comfortable practices of the past in the hope of preserving an untenable status quo.

This is not to say that Europe has not been altered by the war. European publics and their leaders have rallied in support of Ukraine and maintained their support despite skyrocketing energy prices and high inflation. European countries have provided massive quantities of arms to Ukraine although not as much as the United States. Finland and Sweden have applied to join NATO. The EU has provided billions in lethal equipment to Ukraine and is training Ukrainian forces. And the sense of shock and urgency felt by European leaders in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine is reflected clearly in defense spending hikes. Now most European countries in NATO come close to the organization’s goal that all members spend at least two percent of GDP on defense, with some countries such as Poland and the Baltic states spending far more.

But look more closely, and these changes seem less than transformative. Although the current spending bonanza might suggest a transformation, it may amount to little if underlying issues plaguing European defense remain unaddressed.

What state and local leaders need to know about Biden’s semiconductor subsidies

Mark Muro, Joseph Parilla, and Martha Ross

On Tuesday, the Commerce Department released its Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the CHIPS Incentives Program, which commits $39 billion in new federal subsidies to spur domestic semiconductor manufacturing. Funded by last year’s CHIPS and Science Act, the program represents a watershed moment for semiconductor manufacturers and the U.S. economy.

Most notably, the 75-page application stands out for setting detailed conditions that manufacturers must abide by if they want to access these incentives. As such, the CHIPS Incentives Program is a striking, somewhat controversial signal of the nation’s new “industrial strategy”—complete with big construction subsidies, corporate guardrails, and broad economic and national security goals.

And yet, if the notice is important for the nation and the semiconductor industry, it is equally important for regional and state leaders. Far from solely a mix of subsidies and conditions for manufacturers (who will be the lead applicants), the NOFO very much implicates local and state actors in the nation’s aggressive industrial strategy for the sector.

That strategy, as Brookings Metro has noted, is highly place-based, with a focus on local industry clusters, local co-investment, and local attention to the “micro” underpinnings of “macro” national goals. Consequently, multiple features of the program will require active collaboration and problem-solving between companies and states and regions.

Given that, the NOFO sends important signals to state and local leaders about their role in incentivized efforts to revitalize the semiconductor industry. What follows, then, are a few initial takeaways for those leaders.

Russia’s Halfway to Hell Strategy

Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan

On September 21, 2022, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his large-scale mobilization of fighting-age men, it was seen as a dramatic move toward total war. No longer could the Kremlin downplay the war in Ukraine as a mere “special operation” in which ordinary Russians had little involvement. Fearful of what was to come, hundreds of thousands of young men fled the country as rumors circulated that the security services were going to close the borders to prevent more people from leaving—and take drastic measures to pressure those who had left to return and fight. Many also assumed that Putin’s order would be followed by a second, even broader draft, and that all of Russian society would soon be put on a continual war footing.

Yet few of these rumors proved true. For the remainder of 2022, and even through the first anniversary of the war in late February, Russia’s borders remained open, and a second mobilization never happened. Instead, the country was left in a state of “partial mobilization,” as Putin had called it. Indeed, despite huge numbers of Russian casualties in Ukraine, not every family has been affected, and for many middle-class Russians, life has continued much as it did before.

The surprising reality of the September mobilization has highlighted a larger feature of Putin’s war in Ukraine. Often, the Kremlin has initially appeared to take a maximalist course. Instead of invading eastern Ukraine, it launched a full-scale assault on the whole country and tried to take Kyiv. In addition to deploying tanks, missiles, and heavy artillery, Putin has repeatedly made threats about using nuclear weapons. And he has seemingly been willing to sacrifice tens of thousands of men to fuel his war. At home, meanwhile, the government has announced extreme measures to clamp down on the Russian media and popular dissent as well as to put the Russian economy on a war footing.


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.

Russia is hardly a victim here. Vladimir Putin seems comfortable abetting a new cold war, and his unjustified attack against Ukraine has offered the U.S. and NATO a golden ticket to ratchet up militarism, European defense spending, and weapons production. At the same time, it is true, as Moscow alleges, that Russia is fighting not just Ukraine, but also NATO infrastructure. It is also true that prominent sectors of the U.S. security state want this war primarily to bleed Russia, and last year the White House had to walk back President Joe Biden’s off-the-cuff remark about Putin: “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” The whole enterprise is an incredible boondoggle for the war industry, which now gets no-bid contracts baked in to build the defense “industrial base.”

Zelensky calls fight for east ‘painful’ as options dwindle in Bakhmut

Missy Ryan

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian forces clung to their positions in Bakhmut on Sunday, fiercely resisting a Russian push to encircle the city in the eastern Donetsk region and prolonging a fight that has become a symbol of Ukraine’s battlefield defiance.

Ukrainian officials have described their grip on Bakhmut, a small industrial city, as increasingly tenuous in recent days, suggesting they may need to withdraw to prevent their troops from being trapped by Russian fighters advancing on three sides.

The fate of the city, which military experts say holds little strategic value, assumes outsize importance a year into President Vladimir Putin’s full-scale war, as Ukraine prepares for what is likely to be a grueling spring offensive and Western leaders scramble to deliver arms and ammunition they hope will tip the scales in its favor.

The months of brutal fighting in Bakhmut, resulting in thousands of dead and wounded on each side, underscores the remote likelihood of any near-term end to a conflict that has overturned decades of relative stability in Europe and intensified strains on the global economy.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking in a nightly video address on Sunday, acknowledged the battlefield difficulties in Ukraine’s embattled east and honored troops fighting there.

College Should Be More Like Prison

Brooke Allen

Many of us who care deeply about education in the humanities can only feel despair at the state of our institutions of “higher” learning. Enrollment in these subjects is plummeting, and students who take literature and history classes often come in with rudimentary ideas about the disciplines. Interviewed in a recent New Yorker article, Prof. James Shapiro of Columbia said teaching “Middlemarch” to today’s college students is like landing a 747 on a rural airstrip. Technology such as messaging apps, digital crib sheets and ChatGPT, which will write essays on demand, has created a culture of casual cheating.

Never have I been more grateful to teach where I do: at a men’s maximum-security prison. My students there, enrolled in a for-credit college program, provide a sharp contrast with contemporary undergraduates. These men are highly motivated and hard-working. They tend to read each assignment two or three times before coming to class and take notes as well. Some of them have been incarcerated for 20 or 30 years and have been reading books all that time. They would hold their own in any graduate seminar. That they have had rough experiences out in the real world means they are less liable to fall prey to facile ideologies. A large proportion of them are black and Latino, and while they may not like David Hume’s or Thomas Jefferson’s ideas on race, they want to read those authors anyway. They want, in short, to be a part of the centuries-long conversation that makes up our civilization. The classes are often the most interesting part of these men’s prison lives. In some cases, they are the only interesting part.

Kellogg: End Ukraine War Quickly to Finally Focus on CCP Threat

Savannah Hulsey Pointer

The United States should work to quickly to end the Russia-Ukraine war so it can finally focus on its main global threat, the Chinese Communist Party, according to Keith Kellogg, the former national security advisor to the vice president of the United States.

In an on-stage interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on March 4, Kellogg told Jan Jekielek, senior editor at The Epoch Times and host of American Thought Leaders, that the war in Ukraine can’t be drawn out much longer before it becomes an endless conflict that “you’ll never be able to put it back in the box.”

“I would give Putin a choice. If I was the president, I’d say you should pick up the phone, which President Biden has not done. You pick up the phone and call Putin and say, ‘You got an option … You’re going to lose your army in Ukraine or you’re going to take it home,'” Kellogg said.

“There’s nothing wrong with taking a strategic adversary, like the Russians off the stage, because then, for the first time in 21 years, we can focus on the predominant threat facing the United States. And that’s China.”

Referencing the advice he’s given to President Donald Trump, Kellogg said “the best thing you can have in the military is fight one enemy at a time. Never fight two.”

Global diplomacy breaks the hard nexus between war and famine

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Bengal Famine in India and the less well-known Henan Famine in China, which together killed around 3 million people in Asia’s two most populous countries.

Historical memory in India will not easily forget the callousness of Winston Churchill, who declined to intervene in what was then British India to save lives so as not to divert resources from prosecuting the Second World War. It’s a sobering reminder that a geopolitical breakdown doesn’t just lead to appalling violence — it often means a disruption to global markets that can have deadly consequences for the world’s poorest.

Twelve months ago, it looked entirely possible that the world would see widespread famine to rival those of the mid-20th century, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine knocked one of the world’s largest grain exporters out of the picture. Food prices reacted to the shock quickly, putting further pressure on the livelihoods of poor households in low– and middle–income countries that had already had to endure great hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With turbulence in the fertiliser market, there was a perfect storm — Russia was the world’s biggest supplier of nitrogenous, potassium and phosphorus fertilisers. Not only this, but the skyrocketing cost of gas meant that other fertiliser producers in Europe and elsewhere could no longer afford to keep their factories running. Prices for most fertilisers had risen precipitously even prior to the outbreak of war and have come down considerably since they peaked last year, but they still remain considerably higher than they were before 2020.

The Next Superpower Battlefield Could Be Under the Sea in Africa

Joseph B. Keller

Submarine fiber-optic cables traversing oceans and connecting the African continent have fast emerged as a geopolitical hotspot for the West. As of late, U.S. foreign policy has been captivated by strategic maneuvering in response to China’s surveillance balloon and plans to implement a national ban on the world’s most popular app, TikTok, which has ties to Beijing.

Meanwhile, as extensive plans to expand cable networks are being executed by coalitions of investors and international partners, the West cannot lose sight of other looming national security risks as undersea cables and other information and communications technologies (ICT) in Africa now function as modern pressure points for authoritarian regimes to supplant Western influence and secure competitive advantages.

The continent is experiencing the most rapid growth of international bandwidth on the planet, and accelerated construction of African subsea cables gives significant leverage to China while creating a security vulnerability due to the risk of Russian meddling. The West would be mistaken to overlook the implications of African submarine cable proliferation for modern geopolitical strategies between global powers.

Submerged beneath the sea, these small tubes of glass and light hold the promise of facilitating greater internet access across Africa, enhancing connection among the continent’s people and to the rest of the world, and linking a budding network of data centers and digital infrastructure. Reliable internet connectivity is a crucial component of artificial intelligence (AI) applications, and Africa has captured substantial investment from private industry titans, including Google and Meta, to digitize some of world’s least-connected countries.

The High Seas Treaty Is an Extraordinary Diplomatic Achievement


Last Saturday night, the world took a giant plunge to protect the world’s oceans. After thirty-six straight hours of negotiations, diplomats in New York representing nearly 200 countries endorsed a treaty to protect biodiversity on the high seas—the most significant multilateral environmental convention since the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015.

Although barely known to the public, the agreement—colloquially known as the BBNJ treaty, because it addresses biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction—is the culmination of nearly twenty years of diplomacy. When formally ratified by UN member governments, it will create a comprehensive framework to conserve and sustainably manage marine species and ecosystems over a vast expanse that encompasses 43 percent of the surface of the earth and the entire water column below, accounting for 90 percent of the ocean’s volume and biomass. Given the environmental stakes involved, the complexity of securing global agreement at a time of deepening East-West geopolitical rivalry, and the growing North-South frictions on climate and development issues, the treaty is an extraordinary diplomatic achievement.

The high seas are the quintessential global commons—areas that lie beyond the jurisdiction of any single sovereign nation but on which all depend for their prosperity and well-being. Unfortunately, they are poorly governed by a hodgepodge of multilateral treaties and regional arrangements covering distinct issues such as fisheries, maritime pollution, migratory birds, and deep-sea mining. Under the 1994 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)—the closest to a global ocean constitution—the high seas constitute the waters that lie beyond the 200-mile exclusive economic zone of any littoral country. While UNCLOS establishes important principles, most importantly related to freedom of navigation, it lacks detailed provisions on environmental conservation and stewardship of the high seas. Globally, a dozen-odd regional fisheries management organizations have also been created for portions of the open ocean, but their coverage is incomplete, and they have failed to reliably protect migratory fish species or vulnerable ecosystems.

Russians’ Attitudes Toward the War

A year into what was supposed to be a short war, Russia has given little indication it is prepared to back down. Its Wagner paramilitary force has taken the lead in Bakhmut, the focus of the most intense fighting, while Ukraine steps up drone attacks and receives resupplies from NATO countries. For Moscow, a critical factor is the level of domestic support for the conflict.

Public approval in Russia has remained high and stable for most of the war, except briefly when the Kremlin announced a partial mobilization. Two waves of emigration, however, served as a release valve. By now, most Russians have adapted to the new normal. Their main concerns today have to do with the realignment of the Russian economy in response to Western sanctions, the exit from Russia of Western firms, and Kremlin decrees on import substitution. That said, people still fear a new wave of mobilization or a significant escalation of hostilities.

War in Ukraine: Twelve disruptions changing the world

Olivia White, Kevin Buehler

The war is devastating lives and roiling markets. Here we track the disruptions that seem likely to shape lives and livelihoods, beyond the immediate crisis.

On March 17, 2022, we wrote about the war’s extraordinary toll on lives and livelihoods. At that time, we set out the 12 short- and mid-term disruptions that had the most potential to reshape industries and economies. Those disruptions are gathering force. In this article, we offer 12 charts to illuminate the potential strength and direction of these shifts and their effects on lives and livelihoods. Some of these charts use the macroeconomic scenarios we laid out in our first article that provide guidance on the range of potential outcomes. We see two critical dimensions: the scale and duration of disruption, and the impact of government policy, consumer, and business responses. See sidebar “More on our scenarios.”

The invasion of Ukraine is causing a massive humanitarian crisis

The war has displaced the most refugees in Europe since World War II. To date, 5.6 million refugees have fled Ukraine, and another 7.7 million have left home and sought shelter elsewhere in the country.1 All told, the war has pushed nearly 30 percent of Ukrainians out of their homes. The war in Ukraine represents the second largest humanitarian crisis since the 1960s in terms of number of people who have fled or been displaced, and fifth in terms of fraction of the population this represents. And it could get worse: the UN estimates that 8.3 million Ukrainians could be refugees by the end of the year.

How Ukraine Learned to Fight

Jack Detsch

Ukrainian soldier Taksist (a nickname) with the 114th Territorial Defense Brigade trains at a remote site outside Kyiv on Feb. 26. The instructor (standing center left) is U.S. Army veteran John Roberts from Newport Beach, California, who has been teaching through the International Legion of Defense of Ukraine since May 2022.

When Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine one year ago, it triggered national mobilization, international outrage, and a once-in-a-generation migration crisis. It also revealed the Ukrainian military’s slow-burn transformation from a Soviet army to a NATO-style outfit able to outfight, outfox, and out-equip its Russian foes.

After Russia’s first invasion in 2014, and during the war in the Donbas that has raged all the way through the ongoing Russian onslaught, Ukraine slowly began to revamp its military organization and doctrine, allowing it to eventually get to grips with its rival.

If the Ukrainian military had a steep learning curve, so did then-U.S. Army Col. Liam Collins. A career special forces officer and Princeton Ph.D. holder who had hopped back and forth between military deployments and academia, Collins was given a month’s notice in 2016 to join Army Gen. John Abizaid as an aide. Abizaid was a retired four-star general brought on by the Pentagon to advise Ukraine’s defense ministry as it reformed the country’s military.

Global Technology Summit 2022 Action Points



Carnegie India, in collaboration with India’s Ministry of External Affairs, organized its seventh annual Global Technology Summit (GTS), themed “Geopolitics of Technology,” in New Delhi from November 29 to December 1, 2022.

The summit included a range of debates, panel discussions, and keynote addresses on diverse and cutting-edge topics, including digital infrastructures, digital public goods (DPGs), interoperability of cross-border payments, cybersecurity, quantum technology, semiconductors, biosafety and biosecurity, lessons from the war in Ukraine, geopolitics of data transfers, India’s growing space sector, and the India-U.S. tech alliance.

In addition to public sessions, the summit hosted several closed-door discussions on wide-ranging topics at the intersection of technology, finance, governance, and geopolitics, such as semiconductors, principles for real-time payment systems, principles for digital health architectures, central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), safeguarding modern bioscience and biotechnology innovation, improving access to welfare through DPGs, and India’s Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022.

Some of these discussions weave directly into India’s Group of Twenty (G20) priorities, while others form a part of our research program.

Cyber Conflict in the Russia-Ukraine War

The war in Ukraine is the largest military conflict of the cyber age and the first to incorporate such significant levels of cyber operations on all sides. For scholars, theorists, and practitioners of cyber conflict (and combat generally) this war provides precious material for study. Studying this war can be especially interesting and perhaps instructive because its course thus far has been unexpected to many: Russia, one of the most powerful cyber nations, has fared poorly despite facing a much inferior Ukraine, operating in a familiar environment, having much time to prepare, and recruiting agents on the ground who might facilitate physical access to systems.

Scholars in Carnegie’s Technology and International Affairs Program for years have been quietly convening working groups on cyber strategy, building on our publication in 2017: Understanding Cyber Conflict: 14 Analogies (Georgetown University Press). As the Ukraine war has stretched on, we have decided to sequentially publish a series of papers assessing its conduct and potential implications.

We emphasize “potential” to acknowledge several important considerations. The war is not over. The facts of its conduct, including attempted and achieved cyber operations by aggressors and defenders of all sorts, will never be completely known, especially by those who rely on unclassified sources, as we do. Many facts that are known will be disputed, and their interpretations and implications will be constructed and debated for years to come.

The War in Ukraine, One Year Later: Five Principal Insights

Arkady Mil-Man, Georgy Poroskoun

Failed assessment: The President of Russia made a decision to invade Ukraine, relying on on basic data and assumptions (the balance of power, moods in Ukraine, the reaction of the West) that were overwhelmingly disconnected from reality, while relying on advice and assessments that were adapted to his worldview at the expense of objectivity. The planning of the invasion did not include professional consideration of terrain levels and caused a huge gap between expectation and realization. The operational decision to abandon the northern front (about five weeks after the invasion) reflected an understanding that the original plan had failed, as well as the lack of any Plan B. The Russian moves throughout the year show that Russia reacts and conducts itself in the face of the changing reality, and no longer controls the pace of developments at the strategic level.

The war of the "Old Guard": Unlike many expectations of change and the "streamlining" of the modern battlefield, the Russia-Ukraine war looks similar to the two World Wars, with massive use of artillery, infantry, trench warfare, armored corps, and more. Although advanced elements are also prominent in combat – extensive use of UAVs, precision missiles, cyber warfare – these do not dictate the results of battles (although the supply of Western precision anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine, such as HIMARS, manages to score operational successes).
The West’s collective effort: Contrary to the Russian assessment, the Western countries (US, NATO, and their partners) quickly formed a stable coalition of political, military, and economic-humanitarian aid to Ukraine and a political front against Putin's regime. Western ideological-value identity played an important role in this, sometimes at the expense of routine pragmatic interests. This coalition provided Ukraine with multi-level support vis-à-vis Russia, including the ongoing supply of military personnel and intelligence while committing to ensure Ukraine's victory. The processes of strengthening the NATO alliance were accelerated (investment in building strength among member armies, as well as recruiting new members – Sweden and Finland). Despite the close economic ties many European countries had with Russia in the field of energy, these countries managed to free themselves of the dependence within a few months, without being seriously harmed.

STRATCOM wrapping spectrum ops center plan, as military faces bandwidth grab by 5G firms


WASHINGTON — US Strategic Command expects approval soon of the action plan for its Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations Center (JEC), designed to identify gaps in and improve capabilities across the US military to fight through attacks on spectrum access, STRATCOM head Gen. Anthony Cotton said today.

“The overall objective of the JEC is to raise overall readiness of the joint force and to prevail in that mission space,” Cotton told the Senate Armed Services Committee today. “We’re actually doing really good work, and we’re in the final steps — actually working our way through with the Deputy Secretary of Defense [Kathleen Hicks] for her to sign out the memorandum and actions on the tasks that we have to move forward. So, I look forward to seeing that pretty soon.”

Cotton explained that electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) “superiority” is “critically important” for not just STRATCOM, but all of the combatant commands, underpinning “communication through all domains, and assured PNT, position, navigation and timing.”

Gen. Jim Dickinson, head of Space Command, echoed the criticality of EMS to modern warfare. He explained during the SASC hearing that all the space capabilities SPACECOM is responsible for providing to the joint force — from PNT to SATCOM to missile warning — are “dependent” upon access to EMS. Thus, he said, spectrum availability it “foundational to what US Space Command does.”

The JEC was launched at STRATCOM in August 2021, at the same time Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin signed off on an implementation plan for the department’s 2020 Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Strategy.

Royal Navy and Ukrainian cyber experts combine forces for cyberspace battle during Estonia exercises

Royal Navy and Ukrainian cyber warfare experts fended off virtual attacks to ‘national infrastructure’ during a large-scale cyber battle exercise in Estonia.

Thirty-four teams from 11 nations tested their cyber defence skills during the British Army-organised Defence Cyber Marvel 2 in Tallinn, which included personnel from across the globe, including Ukraine, United States, Japan, Singapore, Kenya and Oman.

The Royal Navy’s cyber operations specialists based in Portsmouth are usually on the virtual front lines across the world, protecting ships and RN bases from threats round the clock but headed to a cyber range in Estonia’s capital to join forces with a Ukrainian cyber unit.

As part of a 900-strong UK contingent also from the British Army and RAF, the combined RN/Ukrainian team were tasked with responding to simulated cyber threats, including attacks to networks, industry control systems and unmanned robotic systems – simulating some of the tactics Russia used to disrupt Ukrainian cyberspace in the early days of the invasion one year ago.

It was a test of guile and mental agility designed to stretch the most experienced cyber specialists, allowing allies and partners to learn and sharpen skills together.

The Royal Navy and Ukraine team were judged to be the most improved at the end of the week-long exercises, which were run as a competition with participants judged on their effectiveness and speed.

“Hosting and supporting the Ukrainian cyber team has been an experience not to be forgotten,” said Chief Petty Officer Roger Brand, Royal Navy Maritime C5ISR Support Unit (MCSU) Cyber Protection Team Leader.

Cybersecurity Trends & Statistics For 2023: More Treachery And Risk Ahead As Attack Surface And Hacker Capabilities Grow

Chuck Brooks

Every year I peruse emerging statistics and trends in cybersecurity and provide some perspective and analysis on the potential implications for industry and government from the data. While cybersecurity capabilities and awareness seem to be improving, unfortunately the threat and sophistication of cyber-attacks are matching that progress.

The emerging digital ecosystem is treacherous. In our current digital environment, every company is now a reachable target, and every company, large or small, has operations, brand, reputation, and revenue pipelines that are potentially at risk from a breach.

For 2023 and beyond the focus needs to be on the cyber-attack surface and vectors to determine what can be done to mitigate threats and enhance resiliency and recovery. As the interest greatly expands in users, so do the threats, As the Metaverse comes more online it will serve as a new vector for exploitation. Artificial intelligence and machine learning, while great for research & analytics (i.e. ChatGPT). However, AI tools can also be used by hackers for advanced attacks. Deep fakes are already being deployed and bots are continuing to run rampant. and the geopolitics of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has highlighted the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure (CISA Shields Up) by nation-state threats, including more DDSs attacks on websites and infrastructure. Most ominous was the hacking of a Ukrainian satellite.

Why the Floppy Disk Just Won’t Die

WHEN MARK NECAISE got down to his last four floppy disks at a rodeo in Mississippi in February, he started to worry.

Necaise travels to horse shows around the state, offering custom embroidery on jackets and vests: “All of the winners would get a jacket and we’d put the name of the farm or the name of the horse or whatever on it,” he says.

Five years ago, he paid $18,000 for a second-hand machine, manufactured in 2004 by the Japanese embroidery equipment specialist Tajima. The only way to transfer the designs from his computer to the machine was via floppy disk.

“We started with eight disks, but four of them stopped working, which made me very uneasy,” he says. “I tried reformatting them in order to get them to work properly, but it didn’t work. I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to continue with the embroidery.”

Back when Necaise’s Tajima machine was made, floppy disks were still in mass production—and were particularly popular in Japan, where they were used for official government procedures until last year. Even though the last major manufacturer of floppy disks stopped making them in 2010, the machines that rely on them—from embroidery machines to plastic molding, medical equipment to aircraft—live on, relying on a dwindling supply of disks that will one day run out.

“I personally think that the floppy disk should die,” says Florian Cramer, a writer and filmmaker who, in 2009, shrunk every Oscar-nominated film from that year into animated GIFs on two floppy disks, as a commentary on Hollywood’s digital piracy crackdown. “Objectively it’s a toxic medium. It’s basically plastic waste … It’s really something that should no longer exist.”

Mysterious Launch Out Of Cape Canaveral Appears Imminent (Updated)


Social media is abuzz over what appears to be a looming test launch of some type of undisclosed rocket or weapon system out of Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, which sits to the south of Kennedy Space Center. While we cannot say with absolute certainty what this launch window is for, a test of a hypersonic weapon seems highly likely.

Signs that such a test could come began a couple of days ago, when various hazard warnings were posted. The launch window extended throughout the weekend and into late Monday afternoon. The pattern shown of hazard areas does not seem to match common orbital system launches that are a staple of the region. In addition, no orbital launchers are scheduled. Subsequent Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) that are common for launch operations have been put into place, as well.

The Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) community of social media has been actively watching the area. Two of the Missile Defense Agency's highly modified Gulfstream jets, which use the callsign HALO, were seen taking up station generally along the hazard area's path as they normally do to track projectiles and gather other data on missile test launches and intercepts.

There have also been images posted on Twitter showing what appears to be one of the Army's new Long-Range Hypersonic Weapons (LRHW), also now nicknamed Dark Eagle, launchers erected in its firing position at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.