30 March 2023

US-India Strategic and Commercial Convergence

Raymond E. Vickery, Jr.

The two sides are looking to make the American and Indian semiconductor industries complementary rather than competitive.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo’s recent trip to New Delhi shows the close relationship between U.S.-India strategic and commercial interests. Secretary Raimondo began her visit by meeting with Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and closed by meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In between, Raimondo and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal convened a much-delayed meeting of the U.S.-India Commercial Dialogue. But even that meeting was focused on a product of vital strategic importance to the U.S. and India in their competition with China – semiconductors.

Traditional trade matters were largely ignored or left to a forum of private sector CEOs.

The main topic of Raimondo’s interactions with Jaishankar, Doval, and Modi was the Strategic Trade Dialogue. The parameters of this so-called “new” dialogue are not clear, and it is actually not new at all. Rather, it follows on a long history of attempts to address Indian complaints that India is being denied access to the most advanced U.S. defense-relevant technologies. The most recent “new” attempt to address this issue was the initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) announced by President Biden and Prime Minister Modi in May 2022.

Why India Can’t Stop Russia’s Growing Cooperation with China

Krzysztof Iwanek

New Delhi will retain its partnership with Moscow, not to keep Russia away from China but despite Russia’s growing proximity to Beijing.

How can we explain New Delhi’s continuing cooperation with Moscow despite strong Sino-Russian ties? Experts and commentators in New Delhi are well aware of Russia’s tying of tighter knots of relations with China (and this is something I have written about elsewhere). The Indian government is certainly aware of this as well.

First of all, however, this is simply the natural state of international affairs. Each government plays its own foreign policy game across various political divides. If country A is not exceptionally weak, it is often able to influence its bilateral relations with state B, but affecting the way your partner, state B, deals with your rival, state C, is usually more challenging. India is forced to accept Russia’s friendship with China the same way it is forced to accept U.S. dealings with Pakistan. Washington is, in turn, mostly turning a blind eye on India’s cooperation with Russia, and Pakistan’s cooperation with China, and so on.

The Chaotic Situation In Pakistan Emerged When Third Option Backfired: What Next?

Sher Khan Bazai

Pakistan is facing a perfect storm of crisis that made political and economic turmoil followed by unprecedented judicial polarization, after devastating flooding, resurgence of terrorist activities in the country and IMF demands of substantial reforms against the 6 billion bailout program the country needs to avoid defaulting.

Further internal and external security challenges have been no less imposing since the country’s inception, confronting it with enduring dilemmas. The burden of history and tyranny of geography —volatile neighborhoods and the headwinds of geopolitics unleashed by big power competition — first US and former Soviet Union in the Cold War era now US-Chines have consistently pushed the country into a vicious cycle of political instability and economic meltdown.
There are two main reasons for the perfect storm-like situation in the country; first political

Pakistan’s long seventy-five years history tells us that the country has been in a perpetual political crisis and none of the Prime ministers has ever completed his term in office including Imran khan. Most of them have been removed, jailed, exiled, or assassinated. The military establishment has always undermined the democratic government by using state institutions like fist bureaucracy and now the judiciary.

Beijing’s Subversive Political Warfare in the Pacific—and the Need for Greater Engagement by the United States and Taiwan

Cleo Paskal, Col. Grant Newsham (USMC, Ret.)

Honduras has said it intends to shift diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China. We know this story: with the exception of 2007, when St. Lucia switched from Beijing to Taipei, the trend has run in this direction, with China peeling off country after country. The 13 remaining countries that recognize Taiwan are under a constant political warfare assault to switch. In countries like Palau, People’s Republic of China (PRC) representatives make it clear that the individuals who make it happen will be well-rewarded.

The Honduras story was widely reported, with a sense of almost inevitability. But, within the same two weeks, David Panuelo, the President of the Federated States of Micronesia, wrote a remarkable letter to leaders in his country calling for a move in the opposite direction, from China to Taiwan. The reason he did it, and the response, gets right to the heart of China’s goals in the Pacific Islands, and how democracies are responding to Beijing’s plans.

This isn’t Panuelo’s first letter related to concerns over China’s role in the region. In March 2022, as news of a potential Solomons Islands-China security agreement leaked out, Panuelo wrote to Solomons Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare expressing his concerns about the “far reaching and grave security implications” of signing such an agreement.

Sogavare signed anyway. He had switched the country’s diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 2019. Since then Solomons has postponed elections due to be held in 2023, arranged payouts to 39 out of the 50 members of Parliament from a Chinese slush fund, accepted Chinese police training and equipment (including truck-mounted water cannons), and agreed to a loan from China to fund the setting up of 161 Huawei communications towers.

Stockpiling US arms in Taiwan a vital move

Yao Chung-yuan 

A potential stockpile of munitions the US wants to establish in Taiwan has sparked controversy and concern within the ruling and opposition camps.

Earlier this month, Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) confirmed speculation that the US is discussing the creation of such an arms reserve as a contingency for critical situations, not just in the Taiwan Strait, but around the western Pacific region.

Some opposition legislators have opposed the proposal, saying it could turn Taiwan into “East Asia’s ammunition room” and could speed the increase of tensions in the Taiwan Strait, compromising the nation’s safety and pushing Taiwan to the front line of war.

Such opposition is not only unconvincing, but also groundless and misleading.

The administration of US President Joe Biden is pushing to stockpile arms in Taiwan based on a professional security assessment.

Apart from the strategic function of hosting an arms supply in the event of a cross-strait war, such a move would deter the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) military aggression against Taiwan.

By extension, the maneuver would add some measure of security to the Indo-Pacific region.

China's and India's low-key but growing presence in the Maghreb

Dalia Ghanem


In 1999, China launched its ‘Go Out policy’, while from 2014, India pursued closer engagement with regions such as the Middle East via its ‘Look West policy’. Since that time Chinese and Indian companies have expanded overseas and dramatically stepped up their investment in the Arab World and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Nonetheless, China’s and India’s volume of trade with the Maghreb (here defined as Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia), remains modest by comparison with their level of engagement with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (GCC) or even with Sub-Saharan countries. The latter remain more important to both China and India than the three Maghreb nations. To give one example, in 1992, 31.3 % of China’s imports from Africa came from the Maghreb. By 2018, however, that amount had dropped to 7.76 % because China’s trade with Africa had grown (1). Moreover, while China remains a major source of imports for the three countries, it is not a major export market. Pre-Covid, China was Algeria’s and Morocco’s 11th biggest trading partner for exports while it ranked 15th for Tunisia (2). Although Indo- Moroccan trade is more substantial, India never features within the top ten export destinations for Tunisia or Algeria.

Yet both China and India recognise the significance of the three Maghreb nations as the gateway to the Mediterranean and a market of no less than 95 million people. For now, the locus of engagement of the two Asian giants has mainly been the economic sphere, where both countries face serious competition from a historical partner: the European Union (EU).

Revisiting America’s War of Choice in Iraq


NEW YORK – One advantage that historians have over journalists concerns time, not so much in the sense that they are free from urgent deadlines, but that they have the deeper perspective conferred by the years – or decades – between events and the act of writing about them. Twenty years is not a lot of time in historical terms, of course. But when it comes to understanding the war that the United States launched against Iraq in March 2003, it is all we have.

Not surprisingly, even two decades after the war began, there is no consensus regarding its legacy. This is to be expected, because all wars are fought three times. First comes the political and domestic struggle over the decision to go to war. Then comes the actual war, and all that happens on the battlefield. Finally, a long debate over the war’s significance ensues: weighing the costs and benefits, determining the lessons learned, and issuing forward-looking policy recommendations.

Why Chinese Apps Are the Favorites of Young Americans

Shen Lu

The concern around TikTok in Washington is drawing fresh attention to how Chinese apps have woven themselves into the fabric of young Americans’ lives—and what makes them so popular.

Four of the five hottest apps in the U.S. in March were forged in China. Algorithms are often cited as their secret sauce. An often overlooked facet is how cutthroat competition for users at home has given Chinese firms a leg up over Western rivals.

Much like during China’s rise to manufacturing dominance a few decades ago, Chinese tech companies have harnessed a labor pool of affordable talent to constantly fine-tune product features.

The nonstop drive to get better even has a term in China’s tech industry: “embroidery.”

“Everybody works on improving their craft, stitch by stitch,” said Fan Lu, a venture-capital investor who invested in TikTok’s predecessor Musical.ly.

Seven-month-old Temu was the most downloaded app across U.S. app stores during the first three weeks of March, according to market-insights firm Sensor Tower. It was followed by TikTok’s video-editing partner app CapCut and TikTok itself. Fast-fashion retailer Shein came in fourth. Then came Facebook, the only non-Chinese app among the top five.

Was Iraq a Worse Disaster for America Than Vietnam?

Ross Douthat

At the 20th anniversary of the Iraq war, we stand in the same position relative to the initial invasion as America stood in 1985 relative to the 1965 arrival of our first combat troops in Vietnam. This makes it a useful moment to compare the two conflicts and their effects, and to consider — provisionally, always provisionally — which was more disastrous, which intervention deserves to be remembered as the worst foreign policy decision in our history.

For some time, even after my own initial support for the war dissolved and its folly became obvious, I doubted that Iraq could outstrip Vietnam in the ranks of American debacles. More than 12 times as many American troops died in the Vietnam War as died in Operation Iraqi Freedom and its aftermath. The bloodletting among Iraqis was terrible, but so was the civilian toll in Southeast Asia. The United States lost the Vietnam War completely; in Iraq we left behind an unsteady and corrupt republic rather than a new dictatorship, with a government that still allows an American military presence.

Domestically, the period around the Vietnam War was dreadful — a wave of domestic terrorism, a crisis of authority, the 1960s curdling into the 1970s. The immediate aftermath of Iraq was sour and paranoid in its own way, but even with the Great Recession there wasn’t the same kind of radicalism and social breakdown. When Barack Obama was elected president, American conservatism seemed shattered by Iraq, as American liberalism was shattered by Vietnam, but by his second term there was a return to ideological stalemate.

Eisenhower, Dulles, and USIA: can the past provide lessons for the present? (Or, “The rhyming history of US public diplomacy”)

This post first appeared at mountainrunner.substack.com on 7 February 2023. It has been modified slightly for clarity. Subscribe to my free substack for new posts through email, the web, or through the substack app. Posts are copied here when I get around to it. However, in the case of this post, it originated here at the MountainRunner blog in September 2018 before going to the substack, so now it has returned in a revised form.

I started to write a different article that opened with this question: Can a term represent both a symptom and cause of a dumpster fire? Yes, unequivocally. The term in question is “public diplomacy,” and it was adopted – it was not “coined,” please stop writing it was “coined”1 – in 1965 as part of a public relations campaign to further segregate and elevate the activities of one bureaucracy to be at least on par with another. The US Information Agency operated for more than a decade without this term, and the State Department had managed to run more than USIA’s relatively small portfolio for nearly a decade prior. Despite this, there is surprisingly little serious inquiry let alone understanding into why “public diplomacy” emerged in 1965 as part of a name at a center established at Tufts University. I don’t want, nor do I really have the time right now, so read my chapter on Google Books that discusses the common use of the term before 1965. For now, it is easy to stipulate the confusion around what is, and is not public diplomacy, and who does, and does not, “do” public diplomacy, derives from its original application to an agency and not to activities, methods, or outcomes. The result has been catastrophic programmatically, conceptually, and organizationally.

Due to other priorities, what followed that opening began to take more time and energy than I have, so that’s on hold.2 In place of that, below is a version of a post published on mountainrunner.us in September 2018. Besides correcting some misinformation – and, arguably, disinformation – around the Smith-Mundt Act, it may provide some relevant forgotten history for those interested in “public diplomacy,” information warfare, etc., today.

Eyes on Russia: Documenting Russia's war on Ukraine

Benjamin Strick
Source Link

The full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia and its allied forces since 2022 has caused countless deaths, destruction of homes, mass displacement and possible war crimes.

Documenting, investigating and advocating for the end of the conflict in Ukraine has become the focus of the international community.

Using best practices established through the Centre for Information Resilience’s (CIR) projects and the wider open source community, CIR launched the Eyes on Russia project in January 2022, to collect, document and verify information coming out of Ukraine, as well as to provide a publicly available Eyes on Russia Map to share, inform and support research on what is happening in Ukraine.

Our ambition was to make verified and reliable information public, in order to support media, humanitarian, research, justice and accountability organisations. We did exactly that.

The Eyes on Russia Map and database is a CIR-led effort assisted by the wider open source community, and serves as an archive of verified information that can be used by justice, accountability and advocacy groups and a public map to serve and support research.

This report explains the methodology and practical steps conducted by the Eyes on Russia team to document the information seen in the Eyes on Russia map and database.

The Fed’s Role in the Bank Failures


There are four reasons to worry that the latest banking crisis could be systemic. For many years, periodic bouts of quantitative easing have expanded bank balance sheets and stuffed them with more uninsured deposits, making the banks increasingly vulnerable to changes in monetary policy and financial conditions.

CHICAGO – The recent bank collapses in the United States seem to have an obvious cause. Ninety percent of the deposits at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank were uninsured, and uninsured deposits are understandably prone to runs. Moreover, both banks had invested significant sums in long-term bonds, the market value of which fell as interest rates rose. When SVB sold some of these bonds to raise funds, the unrealized losses embedded in its bond portfolio started coming to light. A failed equity offering then set off the run on deposits that sealed its fate.

But four elements of this simple explanation suggest that the problem may be more systemic. First, there is typically a huge increase in uninsured bank deposits whenever the US Federal Reserve engages in quantitative easing. Because it involves buying securities from the market in exchange for the central bank’s own liquid reserves (a form of cash), QE not only increases the size of the central-bank balance sheet, but also drives an expansion in the broader banking system’s balance sheet and its uninsured demandable deposits.

Can “Cooperative Rivalry” Work?


PARIS – On the same day that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its latest report on the urgent need for climate action, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. There, the two leaders issued a statement criticizing the West and emphasizing their intention to deepen the Sino-Russian strategic partnership.

It was a revealing coincidence, highlighting the extreme tension in today’s international relations. On one hand, preserving global public goods – such as the climate and biodiversity, as well as institutions and procedures to prevent future pandemics – requires urgent coordinated action. On the other hand, geopolitical fragmentation and the intensifying Sino-American rivalry are making coordination increasingly difficult.

Such tension is not entirely unprecedented. Admittedly, geopolitical rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union did not prevent the two Cold War powers from cooperating to prevent a direct confrontation and curtail nuclear proliferation. But the hierarchy of issues was not the same back then. When the post-World War II order was conceived, the focus was not on managing the global commons, but rather on fostering economic ties through trade and investment, in the hope that this would strengthen political alliances. Preventing climate change, preserving biodiversity, and avoiding the depletion of high-sea fisheries were not on anyone’s radar.

China’s Naval Strategists Dissect Ukraine’s USV Strike on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet Base

Lyle Goldstein and Nathan Waechter

The attack on Sevastopol six months ago may not have had the intended impact, but could have reverberations for the naval rivalry in the western Pacific.

In shaping patterns of future warfare, there is little doubt that militaries across the world will be seeking to absorb the key lessons of the Russia-Ukraine War, ranging from the employment of tanks to the use of anti-ship cruise missiles and the ubiquitous drones. For the Chinese military, these lessons might even assume a greater importance, since the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) lacks recent major combat experience, and has also leaned heavily on Russian weapons and doctrine for its rapid modernization over the last few decades.

Chinese media coverage of the war in Ukraine has been extensive. The close nature of the China-Russia “quasi-alliance” means that Chinese military analysts have not engaged in the ruthless critiques of Russian military performance that have been commonplace in the West. Yet, Chinese military analyses are still probing deeply for lessons to understand the shape of modern warfare. They have taken particular interest in the U.S. employment of novel weapons and strategies.

Agile Ukraine, Lumbering Russia : The Promise and Limits of Military Adaptation

Margarita Konaev and Owen J. Daniels

During more than 13 months of war against one of the world’s largest armies, Ukraine’s military has continually stood out for one quality in particular: its ability to adapt. Over and over, Ukraine has nimbly responded to changing battlefield dynamics and exploited emerging technologies to capitalize on Russia’s mistakes. Despite their limited experience with advanced weapons technology, Ukrainian soldiers quickly graduated from point-and-shoot Javelin and Stinger missile systems to the more sophisticated High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), which they have used to pummel Russian command centers, logistical assets, and ammunition depots. They have deployed military and commercial drones in increasingly creative ways. And although this is not the first war to play out on social media, the Ukrainians have been giving the world a master class in effective information operations in the digital age. Such is their record of technical and tactical versatility that Ukrainian forces continue to enjoy a sense of momentum, despite the fact that the frontlines have been largely frozen for months.

By contrast, Russian forces have shown limited openness to new tactics or new technologies. Hobbled by bad leadership and terrible morale, the Russian military was slow to recover from its disastrous attempt to seize Kyiv in February 2022 and has struggled to adjust its strategy or learn from its mistakes. This is despite having demonstrated considerable dexterity in its deployments in eastern Ukraine in 2014 and in Syria starting in 2015. In the current war, although Russian military leaders have made some adjustments to alleviate logistical problems and improve coordination on the ground, the Kremlin’s core strategy continues to rely largely on throwing more manpower and firepower at the enemy—a lumbering, high-cost approach that has hardly inspired confidence. Observing this performance, some Western experts have raised the possibility of exceedingly dire scenarios, including a doomed Russian spring offensive, a large-scale mutiny of troops, or even the collapse of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime.

OPINION: Chindia Ruins Russia

Diane Francis

The most profound outcome of Putin’s war will be the massive redistribution of wealth from Russia to China and India, or “Chindia”. Both Asian giants import increasing amounts of energy at deep discounts because of newly imposed oil price caps. Estimates are that Moscow’s oil revenues alone are down $200 million a day because of caps — a massive saving that mostly benefits Chindia’s economies. To bolster this trade, the two stay on the diplomatic sidelines. Both refuse to publicly condemn Putin’s invasion or to sanction it. Both have abstained from the UN votes calling upon Russia to immediately withdraw from Ukraine, and remain “neutral” by not providing weapons to Russia, or Ukraine, and calling for peace. This gambit was on full display recently when China’s President went to Moscow for a marathon of meetings with Putin which ended with a promise for an “enduring economic partnership” between them, not a military alliance.

China and India practice real politik, or the art of putting practicalities ahead of principles, and by so doing are more rapidly shifting the balance of power globally. Putin’s war is going badly and he desperately needs customers and photo ops as his genocide shreds his country’s reputation and economy. But he’s caught in an East-West vice: The West provides billions in aid and armaments for Ukraine while Chindia snaps up more of Russia’s resource wealth at bargain prices.

Since the war began, China’s oil imports from Russia have jumped by 50 percent — Russia-China trade now represents 30 percent of Russia’s total, but only 3 percent of China’s. India has become the largest importer of oil in the world and switched to Russian supplies from the Middle East because of discounts. Since the invasion of Ukraine, India and Russia have tripled their bilateral trade, mostly involving cheap Russian oil and fertilizer imports.

Some Rules of Global Politics Matter More Than Others

Stephen M. Walt

If there’s a phrase that (supposedly) defines what U.S. foreign policy is all about these days, it’s “the need to uphold a rules-based order.” Case in point: a desire to strengthen the current order is one of the main reasons the Biden administration has worked so hard to assemble a set of like-minded nations this week, in the second iteration of its so-called Democracy Summit. One can understand why: Saying the United States is just trying to uphold the rules is politer than saying its goal is to preserve U.S. primacy in perpetuity, weaken China permanently, topple governments it doesn’t like, or undermine its other adversaries.

Of course, when U.S. officials say “rules-based order,” they mean the current order, whose rules were mostly made in America. It’s not the existence of rules per se that they are defending; any order involving modern states must by necessity be rules-based, because the complex interactions of a globalized world cannot be managed without agreed-upon norms and procedures. These norms range from foundational principles (e.g., the idea of sovereign equality) to mundane everyday practices (e.g., the use of English as the standard language for international air traffic control). This raises the question: Which parts of the current order is the United States most eager to defend? Which norms matter most?

For many in the West, the essential element of today’s world order is the norm against territorial conquest. As U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last summer, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had challenged “the fundamental principles of peace and security … that one country can’t simply change the borders of another by force or subjugate a sovereign nation to its will or dictate its choices or policies.”

France is on fire. How bad is it this time?


PARIS — France is protesting against Emmanuel Macron’s plans to raise the retirement age. After months of strikes and protests, tension reached its peak on Thursday, with some violent outbursts in Paris that brought back memories from the months-long Yellow Jacket movement.

Protests are impacting the country’s daily life and even France’s international agenda, with the Elysée postponing a long-awaited visit by King Charles III to Paris. Trade unions have called for another big day of strikes next Tuesday, the 10th since the beginning of demonstrations, but other smaller, spontaneous protests are erupting in parallel, another reminder of the Yellow Jacket marches.
How did we get there?

Strikes and protests against the pensions overhaul started at the beginning of the year and escalated this week, after the government forced the text through parliament amid fears that it would not have enough votes. Protesters POLITICO spoke with are furious with Macron for the reform — which would raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, and extend contributions to get a full pension — but also for bypassing a parliamentary vote.
Are the Yellow Jackets making a comeback?

Not really. There are several differences between ongoing protests and the spontaneous movement that blocked the whole country during Macron’s first mandate. Before turning into a massive anti-Macron movement, the Yellow Jackets started as a protest against a fuel tax mostly led by lower-middle class people from rural areas who use their cars to go to work. Violent actions and vandalism have been a key feature of Yellow Jacket protests everywhere in France.


Elena Chernenko

I have never heard so many people in Moscow talk about a possible nuclear war as I have in the last few weeks. Friends and relatives, who have nothing to do with foreign or security policy, ask me, half worried, half-joking if it makes any sense to plan for even the nearest future because there might not be one.

There are no recent polls conducted in Russia on this issue. However, a study by the governmental pollster WCIOM from September 2021 shows that 49% of Russians are concerned about nuclear war in one way or the other, while only 7% thought it was possible in the coming 2-3 years. I have no doubt that if such a poll were conducted today, both numbers would be higher.

In the United States, nearly 70% of participants of a recent survey by the American Psychological Association said they “are worried the invasion of Ukraine is going to lead to nuclear war. They fear that we are at the beginning stages of World War III.” The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres summed it up nicely on Mar. 14, 2022, when he said, “the prospect of nuclear conflict, once unthinkable, is now back within the realm of possibility.”

Since the end of the Cold War, there has never been a situation where nuclear weapons seem possible. It started with a clear warning by President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 24, 2022, the morning of the “special military operation” in Ukraine:*

“I would now like to say something very important for those who may be tempted to interfere in these developments from the outside. No matter who tries to stand in our way or all the more so create threats for our country and our people, they must know that Russia will respond immediately, and the consequences will be such as you have never seen in your entire history.”

Why is the US sending 'downgraded' weaponry to Ukraine?

Roman Goncharenko

Whether Leopard 2 battle tanks from Norway, or MiG-29 fighter jets from Slovakia, Ukraine receives pledges for the delivery of heavy weapons from its international allies almost daily. On March 20, the United States announced a new military aid package worth $350 million (€325 million). But the M1 Abrams main battle tanks previously promised were not included.

US officials said they were seeking to shorten delivery times and they would deliver older models by fall. In January, Politico reported that, because of export regulations, the United States intended to strip the Abrams tanks of their classified armor package, which includes depleted uranium, before sending them to Ukraine.

Gustav Gressel, a senior policy fellow who specializes in armed conflict and military affairs at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told DW that this is nothing unusual. "Ukraine is receiving the export variant of the Abrams, the same ones that are used in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq,” Gressel said. He added that the armor is comparable to that of the older German Leopard 2A4 tanks that Norway and, earlier, Poland had delivered to Ukraine. Gressel said the older Abrams was "still a good battle tank: It has a good thermal imaging camera and a powerful cannon, and is superior to Russian tanks in terms of handling.”

Putin Says He Could Put Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Belarus by Summer

Anton Troianovski, Vivek Shankar and Andrew Higgins

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said he would be able to position nuclear weapons in Belarus by the summer, a claim that analysts said was likely bluster but which underscored the Kremlin’s determination to use its vast nuclear arsenal to pressure the West to back down from its support of Ukraine.

Western officials condemned Mr. Putin’s remarks as irresponsible, even as they said that they saw no indication that Russia was making changes to how it deploys nuclear weapons.

Mr. Putin, in an interview released ahead of its broadcast on Russian state television on Sunday, provided new details of a plan that he first floated last year to base Russian weapons in Belarus, a close ally. He said that 10 Belarusian warplanes have already been retrofitted to carry Russian nuclear weapons, and that a storage facility for the warheads would be ready by July 1.

“The United States has been doing this for decades,” Mr. Putin said, insisting that his plan was no different from the American practice of positioning nuclear weapons in allied countries — an assertion that Western officials rejected.


Jeremy Scahill

THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT has accused Germany, Denmark, and Sweden of a cover-up in their investigations into the sabotage attacks on the Nord Stream pipelines last September. Moscow, with the support of China, plans to introduce a resolution before the United Nations Security Council on Monday calling for an independent international investigation.

The White House declined to answer questions from The Intercept about whether the U.S. has ordered its own investigation, saying only that it is supporting its allies in their individual probes. Germany, along with Denmark and Sweden, are each conducting separate investigations but say they are cooperating with one another.

In a series of letters to European governments and the United States in February, made public by Moscow earlier this month, Russian officials complained that they have been barred from examining evidence gathered from the sites where the blasts occurred. Despite Russia’s majority ownership of the pipelines, Russian officials said, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden have rejected Russia’s repeated requests for a joint investigation — confirming their “suspicions that these countries are trying to conceal evidence, or to cover up the sponsors and perpetrators of these acts of sabotages.”

Russia has been doing its own investigation into the sabotage, including underwater surveys. It has not, to date, released any forensic evidence to support its assertion that “Anglo-Saxon” powers or the U.S. were behind the explosions. At a U.N. Security Council meeting in February, Russia’s representative Vassily Nebenzia cited investigative journalist Seymour Hersh’s report accusing the U.S. of carrying out the attack. “This journalist is telling the truth,” he said. “This is more than just a smoking gun that detectives love in Hollywood blockbusters. It’s a basic principle of justice; everything is in your hands, and we can resolve this today.”

Military Review

  • Letter from the Editor in Chief: Read like Your Life and the Lives of Your Soldiers Depend upon It
  • Suggested Writing Themes and Topics—2023
  • Musicians of Mars in Multiple Domains: Expanding Combined Arms in the Twenty-First Century
  • Reframing Operational Art for Competition
  • Term of Art: What Joint Doctrine Gets Wrong about Operational Art and Why It Matters
  • Mission Modeling for Commanders: Improved Operational Effectiveness through the Use of Measurable Proxy Variables
  • Financial Access Denial: An Irregular Approach to Integrated Deterrence
  • Through the Looking Glass: Missing the Mark by Mirror-Imaging Competitors’ Reserve Forces
  • Once More unto the Breach: Air Defense Artillery Support to Maneuver Forces in Large-Scale Combat Operations
  • Collaboration between Leadership and Behavioral Health: How One U.S. Army Brigade Created a Novel Approach to Suicide Prevention
  • Coup d’œil and Cognition: How to Build Adaptive Tactical Experts
  • Hiding in Plain Sight
  • Assessing the Modern Fight
  • Sustaining Multidomain Operations: The Logistical Challenge Facing the Army’s Operating Concept
  • Looking Outward: Lessons in Security Force Assistance from the French Experience in Africa
  • Blood and Ruins: The Last Imperial War, 1931–1945
  • Medal of Honor: Spc. 5 Dwight W. Birdwell, U.S. Army

Why Does the Global Spyware Industry Continue to Thrive? Trends, Explanations, and Responses



The global spyware and digital forensics industry continues to grow despite public backlash following an array of surveillance scandals, many linked to NSO Group’s Pegasus program. This paper explores the resilience of the commercial spyware market and offers ideas about how to limit the spread of invasive cyber surveillance tools. It highlights several factors driving the industry, including elevated demand for intrusion technology from government clients and private customers, as well as inconsistent political will from democratic governments to crack down on these technologies.

KEY INSIGHTSBetween 2011 and 2023, at least seventy-four governments contracted with commercial firms to obtain spyware or digital forensics technology, according to data collected by Carnegie’s global inventory of commercial spyware and digital forensics (https://data.mendeley.com/datasets/csvhpkt8tm/10).

Autocratic regimes are much likelier to purchase commercial spyware or digital forensics than democracies: forty-four regimes classified as closed autocracies or electoral autocracies procured targeted surveillance technologies between 2011 and 2023, contrasted with thirty electoral democracies or liberal democracies.

Israel is the leading exporter of spyware and digital forensics tools documented in the global inventory: fifty-six out of seventy-four governments have procured commercial spyware and digital forensics technologies from firms that are either based in or connected to Israel, such as NSO Group, Cellebrite, Cytrox, and Candiru.

Phase-based Tactical Analysis of Online Operations



The online threatscape in 2023 is characterized by an unprecedented variety of actors, types of operation, and threat response teams. Threat actors range from intelligence agencies and troll farms to child-abuse networks. Abuses range from hacking to scams, election interference to harassment. Responders include platform trust-and-safety teams, government agencies, open-source researchers, and others. As yet, these responding entities lack a shared model to analyze, describe, compare, and disrupt the tactics of malicious online operations. Yet the nature of online activity—assuming the targets are human—is such that there are significant commonalities between these abuse types: widely different actors may follow the same chain of steps. By conducting a phase-based analysis of different violations, it is possible to isolate the links in the chain within a unified model, where breaking any single link can disrupt at least part of the operation, and breaking many links—“completing the kill chain”—can disrupt it comprehensively. Using this model will allow investigators to analyze individual operations and identify the earliest moments at which they can be detected and disrupted. It will also enable them to compare multiple operations across a far wider range of threats than has been possible so far, to identify common patterns and weaknesses in the operation. Finally, it will allow different investigative teams across industry, civil society, and government to share and compare their insights into operations and threat actors according to a common taxonomy, giving each a better understanding of each threat and a better chance of detecting and disrupting it.


Governments,1 nonprofit organizations,2 commercial companies,3 academic institutions,4 and social media platforms5 have all invested heavily in setting up teams to tackle some of the abuses within the online environment. In parallel, countries and international institutions have begun work to define and regulate the online space, with initiatives such as the UK’s Online Safety Bill (formerly Online Harms Bill)6 and the EU’s revised Code of Practice on Disinformation7 and Digital Services Act.8

Pentagon, ODNI form ‘joint team’ to explore risks connected to mobility across cloud networks


Experts within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence are collaboratively reviewing the technical, governance and policy implications — among other emerging challenges — associated with automatically moving authorized data and resources between private or public clouds and to tactical edge devices, depending on government needs.

“USDI&S and ODNI have established a joint team that’s kind of looking into the security of the mobility systems,” Johanna ‘Jojo’ Leasiolagi said during Federal News Network’s virtual Cloud Exchange on Thursday.

Leasiolagi, a senior technical advisor for the Defense Intelligence Agency, went into deeper detail about that ongoing review in a discussion with DefenseScoop on Friday.

Cloud services, which are essentially delivered on-demand via the internet, mark a major enabler of DIA’s unfolding pursuit to modernize its legacy, secretive Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communication System, or JWICS, network. Through multi-vendor, multi-award contracts including the Pentagon-wide Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC) and the intelligence community’s Commercial Cloud Enterprise (C2E), DIA can choose from and is engaging with several large cloud service providers.

US military needs 7th branch just for cyber, current and former leaders say

Martin Matishak

A national association of current and former military digital security leaders is calling on Congress to establish a separate cyber service, arguing that the lack of one creates an “unnecessary risk” to U.S. national security.

In a March 26 memorandum, the Military Cyber Professional Association urged lawmakers to establish a U.S. Cyber Force in this year’s annual defense policy bill.

“For over a decade, each service has taken their own approach to providing United States Cyber Command forces to employ and the predictable results remain inconsistent readiness and effectiveness,” according to the group, which boasts around 3,700 members.

“Only a service, with all its trappings, can provide the level of focus needed to achieve optimal results in their given domain,” the memo states. “Cyberspace, being highly contested and increasingly so, is the only domain of conflict without an aligned service. How much longer will our citizenry endure this unnecessary risk?”

The creation of a Cyber Force would follow the arrival of the Space Force in 2019. It was the first new branch of the U.S. military in 72 years, bringing the total to six.

What two decades of Iraqi struggles can teach us about modern conflict

Dr Renad Mansour

It is now 20 years since the United States-led coalition invaded Iraq with the intent to remove the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and usher in democracy.

Despite the hundreds of billions spent for this effort, Iraq is still not a functioning democracy and continues to struggle to build coherent state institutions. Instead, the invasion and subsequent occupation unleashed wave after wave of crisis, from the rise of salafi-jihadi organizations like Al-Qaeda or ISIS to fallout from the US confrontation with Iran.

Today, conflict continues to be an everyday reality in Iraq, from armed groups competing for territory and influence, to the structural violence of a corrupt system where political elites pocket state funds meant for the provision of basic services, leading, for instance, to the proliferation in the healthcare system of fake medicine.

From the very start, the US and its allies prioritized quick wins to show their home audience that the invasion was a success, resulting in rushed decisions that lacked a longer-term strategic vision.

Deprived of a decent standard of living – despite the country’s massive oil wealth – Iraqis have tried to mobilize in mass protest. But time after time, demonstrations have been violently repressed by state forces, making Iraq today at times as dangerous as ever for anyone who wants to exercise their democratic rights against the kleptocracy.

Musicians of Mars in Multiple Domains: Expanding Combined Arms in the Twenty-First Century

Lt. Gen. Milford Beagle Jr., U.S. Army, Col. Richard Creed, U.S. Army, Retired

To get harmony in battle, each weapon must support the other. Team play wins. You musicians of Mars ... must come into the concert at the proper place and at the proper time.

—George S. Patton

Over eighty years ago at the outset of World War II, then Maj. Gen. George S. Patton described how he wanted to fight to the 2nd Armored Division using a musical metaphor—an odd choice reflecting the ease with which the general often combined the profound with the profane. The instruments of battle are different today and so is the operational environment, but the metaphor still rings true. The new version of Field Manual (FM) 3-0, Operations, emphasizes the time-tested combined arms approach to operations, expanded to meet the challenges posed today by threats like China and Russia.1 Both adversaries possess large, modern militaries that can contest the U.S. joint force through land, air, maritime, space, and cyberspace—an environment in which the U.S. Army has not fought for decades. Army forces meet this challenge through multidomain operations, the operational concept described in the new FM 3-0:

Multidomain operations are the combined arms employment of joint and Army capabilities to create and exploit relative advantages that achieve objectives, defeat enemy forces, and consolidate gains on behalf of joint force commanders.2

What Joint Doctrine Gets Wrong about Operational Art and Why It Matters

Maj. Rick Chersicla, U.S. Army

Operational art is one of the most contested terms in the military lexicon. Few doctrinal definitions have fluctuated as much or have come to mean as many things as operational art. Unfortunately for planners, current joint doctrine overly complicates the term and offers a hollow definition that provides limited utility and no insights to the joint force. This is not just a matter of grammatical minutiae for doctrinal pedants—a confusing or unclear definition of operational art could spell disaster for the joint force in a twenty-first-century near-peer conflict as the future battlefield will likely involve the kind of distributed operations that necessitate an expert application of operational art. Rather than serve as a historical overview of the origins of the term, this article discusses the problems with the current joint definition, offers a remedy, and outlines why the joint force needs a clearer definition of operational art to prepare for modern challenges.
Fixing the Problem

The 2020 edition of Joint Publication 5-0, Joint Planning, defines operational art as “the cognitive approach by commanders and staffs—supported by their skill, knowledge, expertise, creativity, and judgement—to develop strategies, campaigns, and operations to organize and employ military forces by integrating ends, ways, means, and risks.”1 The problem with this definition is twofold. First, it is overly wordy—the original sin for many doctrinal terms (albeit a common one). Second, even with the second clause removed, it is an empty definition that conflates operational art with the widely accepted ends, ways, and means formulation typically associated with strategy.2 The joint force would be better served by returning to the definition offered in the U.S. Army’s 2016 version of Army Doctrine Publication 3-0, Operations, or a variation thereof. The 2016 edition succinctly defined operational art as “the pursuit of strategic objectives, in whole or in part, through the arrangement of tactical actions in time, space, and purpose.”3