8 April 2023

China’s And India’s Relations With Russia After War In Ukraine: A Dangerous Deviation? – Analysis

Felix K. Chang*

(FPRI) — When Russian assault troops landed at Hostomel Airport near Kiev in February 2022, few could have anticipated how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would alter geopolitics in Europe. Yet it has the potential to do the same in Asia. Moscow’s failure to score a quick military victory over Ukraine has made Russia increasingly reliant on China and India to not only buy its exports to bolster its coffers, but also, in the case of China, supply it with dual-use technologies to support its defense industry.

As the war continues, how China’s and India’s bilateral ties with Russia evolve is important, not only for Moscow’s war effort, but also for China-India relations in Asia. Both China and India have refrained from criticizing Russia’s invasion and helped to lessen the impact of Western economic sanctions against Russia. But the difference in how Moscow views what it stands to gain from the two countries could ultimately influence what it might do if put in a position where it needed to choose between them.

And being put in that position is not a theoretical concept, considering the existing tensions between China and India. Over the last decade or so, China-India relations have become more competitive and deadly. Tensions could deteriorate further over their border disputes. Should Russia explicitly or implicitly favor one over the other, that could shift the power balance between Asia’s two continental giants and lead to greater tensions in the region.
The Soviet Union and Beyond

Russia’s modern relations with China and India began during the early years of the Cold War. China’s ties with Russia, then the Soviet Union, famously displayed a bipolar character. They went from being “brothers” in the 1950s to enemies just a decade later. Conversely, India’s relations with the Soviet Union moved in the opposite direction. Moscow was initially wary of New Delhi, but the two drew close together by the 1970s, in part because of America’s support of Pakistan, India’s South Asian nemesis. New Delhi’s purchase of Soviet military equipment was a cornerstone of the relationship.

Why the United States Should Leave Syria

Ali Demirdas L

The Iranian drone strike against the American military base in northern Syria that killed one American contractor and wounded six servicemen has once again called into question the purpose of the American presence, with some 900 troops, in the country. The official reasoning, according to the Pentagon chief, Gen. Mark A. Milley, is “to counter [the Islamic State].” Furthermore, the policymakers in Washington have stated that the United States should stay in Syria to “contain and roll back Iranian influence … also protecting Israel.” Whereas the two objectives may sound legitimate, the ways by which the United States implements them are inherently problematic and will beget more problems, not only for Washington but for the region as well.

Countering ISIS

ISIS has posed a much more immediate threat to the regional states and actors than it has to Washington, which weakens the argument that the United States is in Syria to counter ISIS. By design, ISIS is an extremist Sunni organization that during its reign directed its attacks primarily against the Shia Muslims in Iraq and Syria, explicitly engaging in a Shia genocide. This makes the organization a prime adversary for Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and Iran and its proxies, who are Shias. The pro-Iranian militias such as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in Iraq and Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria played a great role in rolling back ISIS. Ironically, Washington has indirectly allowed Iranian influence in the region to strengthen by helping eliminate an anti-Shia group like ISIS, just as it did by removing a staunch anti-Iran figure, Saddam Hussein, and fighting the anti-Iran Taliban in Afghanistan.

ISIS has declared Turkey “the Wilayat Turkey” (a part of its alleged caliphate) and issued a death warrant for the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for his cooperation with “the Crusaders” (NATO) in the fight against ISIS. The terror organization is known to have carried out numerous suicide bombings in Turkey that cost the lives of dozens of Turks.

AI-Powered Influence Operations and South Asian Fault Lines

Divyanshu Jindal

A recent report by a U.S.-based social analytics firm uncovered its first state-aligned operation to create deceptive political content using Artificial Intelligence (AI)-generated video footage. According to the report, a pro-Chinese influence operation disseminated AI-generated news anchors at Wolf News, a fictitious media outlet, discussing issues like gun violence in the United States and the importance of great power cooperation between China and the United States. While instances of deep fakes are not new, their sophistication, dissemination, and penetration in a target audience have made tremendous advancements in recent years.

These developments raise significant concerns for South Asia. As Beijing’s footprints in South Asian nations grow, increasing dependence on the Chinese technology ecosystem creates avenues for PRC influence and control. Through the invisible hand of the hardware-software duo, which now proliferates unchecked in many South Asian nations, civil societies can now transform into new frontiers of war.

Chinese Influence Operations in South Asia

Although the threat of information warfare is high, it remains little understood. In a separate 2021 report on China’s influence in South Asia, the authors underlined that the “tools and tactics of China’s activism and influence activities remain poorly understood among local experts and elites.” According to the report, the space for counter-narratives almost completely diminishes once Chinese investments, coupled with strategic messaging through influence operations, take hold. Further, in countries like Bangladesh and Nepal, Chinese investments in the tech sector complement messaging campaigns, helping the CCP create an image of a benevolent neighbor interested in creating employment opportunities and economic prosperity.

China’s ‘Peace Plan’ for Ukraine Isn’t About Peace

Jo Inge Bekkevold

China’s peace proposal for Ukraine has come to nothing—if, that is, peace in Ukraine was actually Beijing’s main motivation. The 12 points outlined in “China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis” are clearly too abstract to be a road map to end the war. Instead, the Chinese initiative should be viewed as a piece in China’s intensified informational and diplomatic rivalry with the United States. After running its diplomatic activity at reduced speed for almost three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Beijing has recently launched a number of foreign-policy initiatives. The most prominent of these is the so-called peace proposal on Ukraine, with which China aims to strengthen its position vis-à-vis the United States among three specific audiences: the global south, Europe, and postwar Ukraine.

China Draws Lessons From Russia’s Losses in Ukraine, and Its Gains

Samarth Pophale

Thousands of miles from the cities that Russia is bombing in Ukraine, China has been studying the war.

In an indirect struggle between two superpowers on the other side of the world, Beijing sees a source of invaluable lessons on weapons, troop power, intelligence and deterrence that can help it prepare for potential wars of its own.

In particular, Chinese military analysts have scrutinized the fighting for innovations and tactics that could help in a possible clash over Taiwan, the island democracy that Beijing wants to absorb and the United States has at times pledged to defend.

The war is a “proving ground,” they say, that gives China a chance to learn from successes and failures on both sides. The New York Times examined nearly 100 Chinese research papers and media articles that deliver assessments of the war by Chinese military and weapons-sector analysts. Here is some of what they have covered:

With an eye on China’s development of hypersonic missiles, which can be highly maneuverable in flight, they have analyzed how Russia used these weapons to destroy an ammunition bunker, a fuel depot and other targets.

They have studied how Ukrainian troops used Starlink satellite links to coordinate attacks and circumvent Russian efforts to shut their communications, and warned that China must swiftly develop a similar low-orbit satellite system and devise ways to knock out rival ones.

They have argued that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia deterred Western powers from directly intervening in Ukraine by brandishing nuclear weapons, a view that could encourage expansion of China’s own nuclear weapons program.

Taiwan Rivals Tsai and Ma in Overseas Travel Flurry

Jens Kastner

The current Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's visit to the US is widely seen as strengthening Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ahead of the presidential election in January 2024 to the benefit of US geopolitical interests, while the former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou's simultaneous unprecedented trip to China is falling fl…

China, Russia propaganda wither as cameras multiply, US admiral says

Colin Demarest

This photo, taken from a video released March 16, 2023, shows a Russian Su-27 approaching the back of a MQ-9 drone and beginning to release fuel as it passes over the Black Sea, the Pentagon said. (US Department of Defense/AP)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The proliferation of cameras now in use around the world make it increasingly difficult for China and Russia to control the narrative in international disputes, according to a senior U.S. Navy intelligence official.

Photographs and other documentation of run-ins between Chinese and Russian forces and those of other countries have proven critical to debunking propaganda, establishing factual timelines and holding Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin to account, Rear Adm. Mike Studeman said April 5 at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space conference in National Harbor, Maryland.

Among recent examples, he said, was Russian harassment of a U.S. Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance drone, which splashed into the Black Sea after an in-air collision in March. Footage captured by the MQ-9 Reaper — and quickly made public — showed two Russian Su-27 jets flying erratically, dumping fuel and the crash that ultimately forced it down.

“The affected party or a monitoring party, essentially, now is able to take that and say, ‘This is what’s really going on. China, do you stand by it? Xi Jinping, do you stand by it? This is you, right?’” said Studeman, commander of the Office of Naval Intelligence. “There’s a statement: Sunlight is the best disinfectant. That applies right here.”

Opinion Listen to Taiwan’s pleas, not China’s grumbles

When Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen meets a group of senior U.S. lawmakers including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Wednesday, Beijing will try to shift the focus to its own anger and perceived grievances. Instead, Americans should listen to what Tsai has to say: She is calling for more help to counter China’s efforts to intimidate Taiwan and interfere in its democracy.

Tsai’s meeting with members of Congress in Simi Valley, Calif., is referred to by the governments in Washington and Taipei only as a “transit” stop — a way of playing down the diplomatic significance of the trip. (She’ll be arriving in California from a tour of Central America.) This is indicative of the kind of nonsense Taiwanese leaders must go through to avoid provoking Beijing’s ire each time they visit the United States. The Wall Street Journal called her visit “purposely low-key.”

But Beijing’s response is never “low-key.” And Tsai’s restraint can mute her message, especially in an information environment awash with Chinese government propaganda. This dynamic was on display when Tsai visited New York last week to receive an award from the Hudson Institute. After discussions with the Biden administration, Tsai agreed to keep most press out. But my Post colleagues published some of her remarks, working from a recording they obtained.

What hasn’t yet been reported from the event is how Tsai described China’s escalating daily campaign of political, economic and psychological aggression against Taiwan, which is the main message she came to the United States to deliver. Tsai urged her American audience to understand that while the threat of military invasion can’t be ignored, China’s real plan is to force Taiwan to submit through nonmilitary means.

“I think the Chinese have this belief that the best way to win the war is without war,” she said at the Hudson event, which I attended. “So what they want to do is to harass us, to apply pressure on us and to continue to do whatever that they can do to make us feel uneasy and scared. That’s their strategy.”

America and China Need to Talk

Scott Kennedy and Wang Jisi

Relations between the United States and China have fallen to their darkest depths since the early 1970s, when U.S. President Richard Nixon met with Chinese leader Mao Zedong (and Nixon’s national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, met with Mao’s deputy Zhou Enlai) in a bid to end the hostility that had characterized the relationship since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) triumphed in the Chinese Civil War in 1949. The decades of détente and cooperation that eventually resulted from Nixon and Mao’s dialogue now seem like ancient history. Today, officials and commentators all over the world fear that not only is a cold war between the two powers inevitable but also that they will sooner or later come to blows, if not over Taiwan, then in the South China Sea or elsewhere. In the meantime, the economic juggernaut some called “Chimerica,” produced by the interdependence of the U.S. and Chinese economies, is gradually being dismantled by both countries’ growing technology restrictions, efforts to reroute supply chains, and focus on building up economic resilience.

Whether one believes that the United States and China are destined to be adversaries, might somehow find a pathway back to greater cooperation, or will have a more complicated relationship, it should be clear that it would be better for people from both countries—government officials, business leaders, scholars, and ordinary citizens—to have a greater understanding of each other. And there is no better way to build such mutual understanding than through face-to-face interactions and visits in which people can observe each other’s societies and speak at length in formal and informal settings about their perspectives and experiences.

In the three years since the COVID-19 pandemic began, such people-to-people contact among American and Chinese people has almost entirely vanished. Between 2019 and 2022, flights between the two countries declined by over 95 percent, scholarly exchanges dried up, the number of students from the United States and China studying in the other country plummeted, corporate employees abandoned China in droves, and the ranks of foreign correspondents dwindled in the wake of unprecedented expulsions by both governments. Online meetings have exploded in popularity but are no substitute for the real thing. The lack of face-to-face contact is not the source of tensions between their two countries, but it is an obstacle to stabilizing ties, avoiding a crisis, and cooperating on bilateral issues and global challenges such as climate change and public health.

U.S.-China Data War Intensifies as Bilateral Relations Nosedive

Willy Wo-Lap Lam

U.S.-China relations appear headed for further deterioration despite the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) efforts to lure back American multinationals and Beijing’s relatively limited support for Russia in its war with Ukraine. Washington has characterized the “existential competition” with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as an entrenched struggle on all fronts, but the data and information sectors have recently become areas of particularly intense contention.

The Xi Jinping leadership has sternly retaliated against purported efforts by the U.S. and its allies to choke off the PRC’s high-tech development pathways. Recent moves targeting American and other foreign firms are also closely linked to General Secretary Xi Jinping’s obsession with cybersecurity and control of data. Last weekend, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the administrative arm of the policy-setting Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission (CCAC) that Xi chairs, announced an investigation into the operations of leading American memory-chip maker Micron Technology. The CAC cited the need to safeguard the supply chains of Chinese IT and data companies. Regardless, Micron, whose China operations account for 11 percent of worldwide sales, has insisted that it “stands by the security of our products” (Straits Times, April 1; South China Morning Post [SCMP], March 31).

Foreign Firms Under Pressure

The Xi administration’s crackdown on foreign data, accounting and information-related firms began in March, when the Mintz Group and the Chinese branches of the Big Four accountancy firms were compelled to begin winding up their Chinese operations due to Xi’s concerns over the possible leakage of business and political information to foreign rivals (Radio French International, March 27; BBC Chinese, February 24). On March 20, five Chinese employees of the Beijing office of the Mintz Group, an international business intelligence and due diligence company with branches in 18 cities worldwide, were arrested by state-security agents with no advanced notice. The firm’s Beijing office was then closed. The Chinese government has not responded to inquiries from the New York-based conglomerate. Moreover, a Japanese national was arrested by state security for alleged espionage, a possible reference to the theft of sensitive economic and technological data (Radio French International, March 27; Netease, March 18).

France implores China to ‘bring Russia to its senses’ on Ukraine

France’s president, accompanied by European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, says he wants to ‘be a voice that unites Europe’ over the conflict in Ukraine.

French President Emmanuel Macron says he is counting on his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to “bring Russia to its senses” over its war in Ukraine.
The French president, on a three-day state visit, made clear on Thursday he is seeking to dissuade China from supporting Russia’s invasion of its neighbour.

“I know I can count on you to bring Russia to its senses and everyone to the negotiating table,” the French head of state told Xi during a bilateral meeting in Beijing.

In a joint statement following those talks, the two leaders reaffirmed their call for peace talks between Kyiv and Moscow “as soon as possible”.

The men also reaffirmed their opposition to the use of nuclear weapons during the conflict.

To coincide with their meeting, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV released a report in which Xi hailed China’s “positive and steady” ties with France as the world undergoes “profound historical changes”.Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with Xi Jinping after a signing ceremony in Beijing on Thursday [Ludovic Marin/AFP]
‘Major role’

Macron said during his trip Beijing can play a “major role” in finding a path to peace in the conflict and welcomed China’s “willingness to commit to a resolution”.

His visit to China – the first since 2019 – comes as Western pressure mounts on Beijing to help push for peace in Ukraine.

The view from the front line between Taiwan and China

Think about it this way: if in a conflict between America and China it is Taiwan that will be the front line, then in a confrontation between Taiwan and China that role will be played by Kinmen, an island that is 187km from Taiwan, which administers it, but only 3km away from China, which does not.

Easy To Hit, Hard To Detect! Frustrated With Russian UAVs, US To Arm Ukraine With Range Of Anti-Drone Systems

Tanmay Kadam

Pentagon announced a new $2.6 billion arms package for Ukraine, including new counter-drone defense capabilities, on the very day that the Ukrainian Black Sea port came under attack by a wave of Iranian-made Shahed drones used by the Russian military.

The latest package includes US $500 million in Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) funding and US $2.1 billion under the US Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funding.

A senior US defense official told reporters on April 4 that the new package “includes important capabilities for air defense and to counter Russian unmanned aerial systems.”

These important counter-unmanned aerial system (C-UAS) capabilities include additional interceptor missiles for Patriots and NASAMS [National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missiles Systems] air defense systems, as well as some new systems, “like a 30mm gun track to detect and intercept drones, such as the Iranian-built Shaheds,” said the official.

Apart from that, the package also includes ten mobile counter-UAS laser-guided rocket systems that “will enable Ukraine to fire precision rockets from mobile positions,” the official continued while noting that these systems will be new to Ukraine and “they will use the APKWS advanced precision kill weapon system, laser-guided munitions, to counter the drone threat.”Iranian Shahed Drones

The official did not specify which type of mobile counter-UAS systems would be provided or who is the manufacturer or developer of those systems; however, the Pentagon did announce in August 2022 that VAMPIRE counter-drone system would be sent to Ukraine.

Apart from that, reports also suggest that the new mobile counter-UAS system could be the one developed by Virginia-based Science Applications International Corporation, Inc (SAIC), which will be discussed later.

Blundering on the Brink

Sergey Radchenko and Vladislav Zubok

There aren’t enough palm trees, the Soviet general thought to himself. It was July 1962, and Igor Statsenko, the 43-year-old Ukrainian-born commander of the Red Army’s missile division, found himself inside a helicopter, flying over central and western Cuba. Below him lay a rugged landscape, with few roads and little forest. Seven weeks earlier, his superior—Sergei Biryuzov, the commander of the Soviet Strategic Missile Forces—had traveled to Cuba disguised as an agricultural expert. Biryuzov had met with the country’s prime minister, Fidel Castro, and shared with him an extraordinary proposal from the Soviet Union’s leader, Nikita Khrushchev, to station ballistic nuclear missiles on Cuban soil. Biryuzov, an artilleryman by training who knew little about missiles, returned to the Soviet Union to tell Khrushchev that the missiles could be safely hidden under the foliage of the island’s plentiful palm trees.

But when Statsenko, a no-nonsense professional, surveyed the Cuban sites from the air, he realized the idea was hogwash. He and the other Soviet military officers on the reconnaissance team immediately raised the problem with their superiors. In the areas where the missile bases were supposed to go, they pointed out, the palm trees stood 40 to 50 feet apart and covered only one-sixteenth of the ground. There would be no way to hide the weapons from the superpower 90 miles to the north.

But the news apparently never reached Khrushchev, who moved forward with his scheme in the belief that the operation would remain secret until the missiles were in place. It was a fateful delusion. In October, an American high-altitude U-2 reconnaissance plane spotted the launch sites, and what became known as “the Cuban missile crisis” began. For a week, U.S. President John F. Kennedy and his advisers debated in secret about how to respond. Ultimately, Kennedy chose not to launch a preemptive attack to destroy the Soviet sites and instead declared a naval blockade of Cuba to give Moscow a chance to back off. Over the course of 13 frightening days, the world stood on the brink of nuclear war, with Kennedy and Khrushchev facing off “eyeball to eyeball,” in the memorable words of Secretary of State Dean Rusk. The crisis ended when Khrushchev capitulated and withdrew missiles from Cuba in return for Kennedy’s public promise to not invade the island and a secret agreement to withdraw American nuclear-tipped missiles from Turkey.

America Can Win the AI Race

Paul Scharre

Throughout history, technology has been critical to determining which countries dominate global politics. By rapidly industrializing in the 1800s, Germany and the United Kingdom overtook Russia in economic strength. Europe’s broader industrialization had an even more profound effect. In 1790, Europe, China, and India held roughly the same shares of global manufacturing output, but by 1900, Europe—then home to a quarter of the world’s people—controlled 62 percent of the world’s manufacturing. By contrast, China had six percent and India had less than two.

European powers translated their economic might into military power, launching a wave of colonial expansion.

A World of Blocs

Aaron L. Friedberg

Edited by Jude Blanchette of CSIS and Hal Brands of SAIS, the Marshall Papers is a series of essays that probes and challenges the assessments underpinning the U.S. approach to great power rivalry. The Papers will be rigorous yet provocative, continually pushing the boundaries of intellectual and policy debates. In this Marshall Paper, Aaron Friedberg outlines three geopolitical groupings comprising the international system—broadly U.S.-aligned democracies, an “authoritarian axis” led by China and Russia, and the increasingly critical Global South. Friedberg explores how the United States and its partners should navigate this changing global order. Given tightened ties between Moscow and Beijing, Friedberg recommends that Washington work with like-minded partners to improve economic, diplomatic, and military coordination and develop a cohesive approach to engagement with the Global South capable of countering Beijing’s—and to a lesser extent, Moscow’s—growing influence.

The Post-Post-Cold War Era

Among its other effects, Vladimir Putin’s second war of aggression against Ukraine is accelerating the division of the world into opposing geopolitical, economic, and ideological blocs. Russia’s unprovoked brutality and disastrous military incompetence have further deepened its isolation from advanced industrial democracies, strengthening the bonds among them while driving Moscow into an ever-deepening dependence on Beijing. The shock of invasion has resulted in an expansion of NATO’s ranks, bolstering its northern flank and galvanizing unprecedented transatlantic security cooperation. Meanwhile, Xi Jinping’s refusal to condemn the actions of his “best and bosom friend,” and the fact that the war began only days after he and Putin proclaimed their “no limits” partnership, has heightened suspicions about Beijing’s intentions in European capitals, fueling demands in some quarters for a thorough reexamination of every aspect of policy toward China.[1] The terrible spectacle of an enormously destructive war in the heart of Europe has also raised the perceived probability of a similar conflict in the Indo-Pacific, highlighting the need for closer strategic cooperation among the United States and its democratic allies in both regions.

Russia-Ukraine Warfare As Final Stage Of US-Russia Proxy War In Donbas (2014-2022) – Analysis

Prof. Dr. Masahiro Matsumura*

After thirteen months since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine warfare, neither country will likely be able to achieve absolute victory[2], while confronting the daunting possibility of war protraction. Thus, now is high time to identify its root cause in search for an end to the warfare.

True, Russian’s aggression against Ukraine is evident, but it is a result, rather than a cause, of the circumstances, as in the common saying “there is no smoke without fire”. Given that Ukraine neither made an armed attack nor deliberated an imminent attack against Russia, its armed invasion seems to constitute a quintessential case of one nation-state’s unprovoked aggression against another according to basic international law. Yet, Russian President Vladimir Putin has justified the invasion by invoking “the responsibility to protect”, another international law principle. It is often applied to an ethnic conflict in an independent state that involves mass atrocity crimes, such as genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity, allowing another state (or states) to militarily intervene for stopping these acts in the name of international community. Putin has claimed that the invasion forces are carrying a special military operation aimed to demilitarize and de-Nazifying Ukraine and to stop Ukraine’s armed forces from committing mass atrocities in the Donbas[3]. Now that Russia has recognized the independence of two former Donbas oblasts[4] and concluded security treaties with them, the legal status of the armed conflict has arguably been changed from an internal to an inter-state one. After that, Putin may also justify an intervention by invoking the right of collective self-defense under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter.

Now, it is becoming more essential than ever to grasp the context and circumstances of the Russian invasion in search of a settlement through diplomatic negotiation. This is because the evolving situation on battlefield seems to exclude the possibility of an early military solution of the armed conflict, given that it will surely be protracted due to the unflinching war efforts of Russia and Ukraine and to the sizable military assistance and economic sanctions of the U.S.-led West that support Ukraine. Yet, neither Western governments nor the mainstream mass media have provided adequate background information and analysis on which to judge Putin’s claim and the justifiability of the invasion, while treating the invasion as a bolt from the blue. To fill in the gap, therefore, this study will inquire some crucial facts that have been missed or de-emphasized in the current mainstream discourse on the warfare in Ukraine.

1. Ukraine’s offensives against Donbas preceded

Russia’s Vladimir Putin Blames U.S. for War in Ukraine

Ann M. Simmons

Zelensky Visits Poland, Urges More Military Support for UkrainePlay video: Zelensky Visits Poland, Urges More Military Support for Ukraine

In a televised ceremony Wednesday to accept credentials for new envoys, the Russian leader lambasted the U.S. for pursuing a foreign policy that he said had intentionally destabilized the world.

“Relations between Russia and the U.S., which directly determine global security and stability, are experiencing a deep crisis, unfortunately,” he said at the credentialing ceremony for 17 new foreign ambassadors in Moscow, including U.S. Ambassador Lynne Tracy. “It stems from fundamentally different approaches toward creating a modern world order.”

The Russian leader said that while he didn’t want to disrupt the “gracious atmosphere” of the event, he couldn’t help but tell her that Washington was to blame for the war in Ukraine.

“The use of the United States in its foreign policy of such tools as support for the so-called color revolutions”—Moscow’s term for the pro-democracy upheavals that occurred in Ukraine in 2014 and elsewhere in subsequent years—“ultimately led to the Ukrainian crisis and additionally made a negative contribution to the degradation of Russian-American relations,” Mr. Putin said.

Standing behind a podium away from the ambassadors gathered in the Kremlin’s grand St. Alexander’s Hall, Mr. Putin told Ms. Tracy that Moscow has always “advocated building Russian-American relations solely on the principles of equality, respect for each other’s sovereignty and interests, and noninterference in internal affairs.”

Zelensky Visits Poland as Ukraine Pursues Support for Offensive

Matthew Luxmoore

KYIV, Ukraine—Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Poland Wednesday as Kyiv continues to press Western allies for military and financial support as it gears up for a counteroffensive to try to oust Russian forces occupying swaths of its territory.

Mr. Zelensky’s visit to Polish capital Warsaw is the first foreign trip by the Ukrainian leader announced in advance by Kyiv, after recent trips to the U.S. and several European capitals that were kept secret for security considerations. Poland’s President Andrzej Duda awarded Mr. Zelensky the Order of the White Eagle, the country’s highest civilian award, while the Ukrainian leader, dressed in his familiar military attire, encouraged Polish businesses to invest in the reconstruction of Ukrainian’s devastated infrastructure.

The visit comes amid a flurry of diplomacy aimed at expediting a possible outcome to the continuing war in Ukraine, which is straining the limits of Western support and creating pressure on Mr. Zelensky to find a swift military solution or come to the negotiating table with Russia.

How deluded must you be to believe Dover wasn’t about Brexit (now even No10 admits it)

Sean O'Grady

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In a crowded field, there is no other figure in public life who lives in a bubble of their own making to the same extent as Suella Braverman. Quite apart from the abject folly and failures of her Rwanda policy, her statements around grooming gangs and her economically illiterate attitude to migration, we find she is also suffering from the Brexit Delusion. No surprise, there.

According to the home secretary, who never seems quite on top of her brief, the massive queues at Dover are nothing at all to do with Brexit:

“No, I don’t think that’s fair to say that this has been an adverse effect of Brexit. We’ve had many years now since leaving the European Union and there’s been, on the whole, very good operations and processes at the border.”

“At acute times where there is a lot of pressure crossing the Channel, whether that’s on tunnel or ferries, then I think there’s always going to be a back-up. I just urge everybody to be a bit patient while the ferry companies work their way through the backlog.”

So it’s all someone else’s fault. As you’d expect. I always find it that Braverman thinks this sort of blatantly absurd statement is going to be taken on trust just because she's saying it. She must think us all very stupid.

Even No 10, spiritual home of cakeism and Delusion Central, admits, through teeth gritted and grinding hard, that: “Obviously we recognise there are new processes in place.” Naturally, and compulsively, they then couldn’t help themselves from trying to add some lame excuses: “That’s why authorities were given a long time to prepare for the new checks including during the transition period, of course, and we are in discussion with our French counterparts about how we can further improve the flow of traffic.”

Learning to live with Russia

Nathalie Tocci

More than a year after Russia invaded Ukraine, there is no end in sight to the conflict. Since 24th February 2022, Russia has adapted its military strategy in response to successive setbacks, including its failed blitzkrieg on Kyiv and the reversal of its advances in the annexed regions of southern and eastern Ukraine. However, its overall political goal is unchanged.

This point was brought home to me recently when I spoke to a former Russian colleague whom I had not seen since the outbreak of the conflict. Unlike others I’d kept in touch with, he has publicly backed Putin’s war. He bluntly explained to me that Moscow’s aim continues to be that of “eliminating anti-Russian elements” in Ukraine and eventually imposing a “Chechen solution” on the country.

When I asked him whether Moscow still believed this was feasible, he wavered only slightly. Yes, he conceded, those “anti-Russian elements” may be more numerous than anticipated, making the establishment of a pro-Russian regime in Ukraine—the Chechen solution—neither easy nor immediate. But, he said, Russia could simply not afford to lose this war. If it did, the Russian state could implode.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has morphed in the establishment’s psyche into the 21st-century equivalent of the “Great Patriotic War”, the term still used today in Russia to describe its involvement in the Second World War. My interlocutor’s words were surreal, but I took them seriously. Russia has started digging a hole, and the more it comes to realise it is in one, the deeper it will continue to dig.

Since the war began, Ukraine’s political goals have also only been consolidated. The abstract concept of territorial integrity has become a concrete question of survival. Massacres in the now-liberated lands of Bucha, Irpin, Kharkiv and Kherson have persuaded Ukrainians that they cannot leave the occupied areas of Mariupol, Melitopol or Luhansk behind. The more that Ukrainians—in particular the Russian-speakers of the east and south—realise what it would mean to live under the Kremlin’s thumb, the more they are prepared to give their lives to fight it. Eliminating the “anti-Russian elements in Ukraine”, to use my former colleague’s bizarre expression, would now essentially amount to eliminating the entire country.

The Future of AIGC & ChatGPT: a Chinese Experts' Roundtable at Tencent

Qiuyue Li and WANG Shuo

I have come to realize that Pekingnology’s coverage of ChatGPT is far behind its enormous significance, so today let’s listen to seven leading Chinese scholars on the issue, via a roundtable organized by Tencent Research Institute in January. The Chinese version is available on the institute’s WeChat blog, which published quite some valuable non-Tencent content.

In 2022, AIGC (Artificial Intelligence Generated Content) took the internet by storm, from AI (Artificial Intelligence) models like DALL-E 2 and Stable Diffusion that have exploded in AI-generated art to conversational AI models like ChatGPT that exhibit human-level performance.

As AIGC becomes a hot topic across various sectors of society, people cannot help but ask: will AI become the new creator? Why has AIGC suddenly erupted? Does it signify that AI is entering a new era, and where will it lead? Will AIGC, with both large and multimodal models, become a new technology platform? How will AIGC impact the economy and society, and how should different entities perceive it?

On January 9, 2023, Tencent Research Institute held a forum titled "AIGC: Trends and Prospects of AI in the New Wave," discussing the current development and industry practices of AIGC technology and the opportunities and future challenges.

Adversarial Machine Learning and Cybersecurity Risks, Challenges, and Legal Implications

Micah Musser

Artificial intelligence systems are rapidly being deployed in all sectors of the economy, yet significant research has demonstrated that these systems can be vulnerable to a wide array of attacks. How different are these problems from more common cybersecurity vulnerabilities? What legal ambiguities do they create, and how can organizations ameliorate them? This report, produced in collaboration with the Program on Geopolitics, Technology, and Governance at the Stanford Cyber Policy Center, presents the recommendations of a July 2022 workshop of experts to help answer these questions.Download Full Report

Views expressed in this document do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. government or any institution, organization, or entity with which the authors may be affiliated. Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the U.S. government, including the U.S. Department of Defense, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or any other institution, organization, or entity with which the authors may be affiliated.

Executive Summary

In July 2022, the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET) at Georgetown University and the Program on Geopolitics, Technology, and Governance at the Stanford Cyber Policy Center convened a workshop of experts to examine the relationship between vulnerabilities in artificial intelligence systems and more traditional types of software vulnerabilities. Topics discussed included the extent to which AI vulnerabilities can be handled under standard cybersecurity processes, the barriers currently preventing the accurate sharing of information about AI vulnerabilities, legal issues associated with adversarial attacks on AI systems, and potential areas where government support could improve AI vulnerability management and mitigation.

Over-classified information hampers work with allies, top Marines say

Irene Loewenson

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — The military’s habit of labeling too much information as classified hinders cooperation with allies, Marine generals said Monday.

Marine Commandant Gen. David Berger, speaking at a panel at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space in National Harbor, Maryland, stressed the importance of collaborating with other countries.

“Sometimes we get in our own way, by over-classifying, over-compartmentalizing,” he said. “And yet we say our strategy is underpinned by allies and partners. You can’t have it both ways.”

Partnerships are less formal relationships than alliances and don’t involve a treaty, according to a Defense Department definition.

Gen. John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, hopes to see “significant improvement” this year on loosening classification standards in the infamously overclassified Pentagon.

Berger said that top leaders within the DoD have worked to adjust classification policies to make it easier for services to train alongside other nations.

At a separate panel Monday at the Sea-Air-Space conference, the one-star general in charge of strategy and plans for the service’s plans, policies and operations department raised a similar point about classification.

“We want to have the greatest combination of naval power that the world has ever seen,” Brig. Gen. Simon Doran said. “And the way we need to do that is we need to work to the greatest extent possible to reduce the classification of as much information so that we can share more with our allies and partners.”

The over-classification problem isn’t new, nor is it unique to the Marine Corps.

Pentagon should experiment with AIs like ChatGPT — but don’t trust them yet: DoD’s ex-AI chiefs


Pentagon grapples with growth of artificial intelligence. (Graphic by Breaking Defense, original brain graphic via Getty)

WASHINGTON — Imagine a militarized version of ChatGPT, trained on secret intelligence. Instead of painstakingly piecing together scattered database entries, intercepted transmissions and news reports, an analyst types in a quick query in plain English and get back, in seconds, a concise summary — a prediction of hostile action, for example, or a profile of a terrorist.

But is that output true? With today’s technology, you can’t count on it, at all.

That’s the potential and the peril of “generative” AI, which can create entirely new text, code or images rather than just categorizing and highlighting existing ones. Agencies like the CIA and State Department have already expressed interest. But for now, at least, generative AI has a fatal flaw: It makes stuff up.

“I’m excited about the potential,” said Lt. Gen. (ret.) Jack Shanahan, founding director of the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) from 2018 to 2020. “I play around with Bing AI, I use ChatGPT pretty regularly — [but] there is no intelligence analyst right now that would use these systems in any way other than with a hefty grain of salt.”

“This idea of hallucinations is a major problem,” he told Breaking Defense, using the term of art for AI answers with no foundation in reality. “It is a showstopper for intelligence.”

Shanahan’s successor at JAIC, recently retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael Groen, agreed. “We can experiment with it, [but] practically it’s still years away,” he said.

Satellite Ground Stations Are Vulnerable, US Warns


As the Space Development Agency moves to put larger satellite constellations into multiple orbits, it has become increasingly concerned with keeping the ground stations that control those satellites safe.

“Common mode failures [such as cyber attacks] can take out all your satellites from the ground systems, then you can't proliferate your way out of that—so that's a major concern. We have a lot of protections in place, and that's something that we put a lot of resources on to make sure that we're hardened against cyber threats,” Derek Tournear, SDA’s director, said Monday at the Navy League's annual Sea-Air-Space conference.

The agency, which fully transitioned to the Space Force in October, wants hundreds of satellites in different orbits working together to build a proliferated space architecture. On Sunday, it launched its “Tranche 0” satellites—sending off 10 satellites from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 reusable, two-stage rocket. The satellites were launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California to low-Earth orbit, or LEO. The launch was originally scheduled for March 30, but was delayed a few days “to investigate technical issues with the launch vehicle,” according to the Pentagon.

Tranche 0 is planned as the “warfighter immersion tranche,” to test the “feasibility” of SDA concepts like low latency data connectivity, beyond line of sight targeting, and missile warning/missile tracking.

The rest of the planned 28 satellites in Tranche 0 will be launched in June, Tournear said, and the agency will begin launching Tranche 1, the “first initial warfighting capability,” in 18 months. By 2025, “we’ll be able to have the ability to take the fight through a regional theater and bring these technologies to bear,” Tournear said.

A Complete Guide to The Pegasus Project, the NSO Group, and the Commercial Spyware Marketplace


Global Spyware Scandal: Exposing Pegasus

While the recent EO banning commercial spyware use within the USG included a list of previous directives and legislative activity leading up to the directive, the real back story is found at The Pegasus Project – the global investigative reporting collaboration which broke the story on the NSO Group and the company’s “zero-click” surveillance software product, Pegasus. FRONTLINE, a U.S.-based investigative journalism program which is part of The Project Pegasus consortium of investigating organizations, recently released a two-part documentary – Global Spyware Scandal: Exposing Pegasus – that followed the entire investigative effort, including the moment the global journalistic outlets (including The Gaurdian, Le Monde, and The Washington Post) pressed the “publish” button simultaneously on the story and the backlash:

“FRONTLINE and Forbidden Films, the documentary arm of Forbidden Stories, investigate the powerful spyware Pegasus, sold to governments around the world by the Israeli company NSO Group. This two-part series, part of the Pegasus Project, examines how the hacking tool was used on journalists, activists, the wife and fiancée of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and others.”

What Is Quantum? What Does It Mean For Blockchain Security?


Konstantin Vilk is the co-founder and CTO of QuSecure, where he is responsible for advancing quantum resilient cybersecurity innovation. Blockchain is one of the great technological revolutions that has swept the globe and quantum is helping to enhance blockchain security. It is primarily a financial vehicle and enabler of the emerging supply chain, smart contract technologies, record management, and clinical record monitoring. It is regarded as a financial asset with extremely high extrinsic value. Blockchain technology powers cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, allowing users to perform virtual transactions online, actual cash faster, and trade without the need for a traditional bank or credit business.

There is an increasing demand for technologies that can protect data while proving it has not been tampered with. Blockchain is regarded as very safe. Due to its decentralized nature, a consensus system of checks and balances and cryptographic underpinning is used to secure the data. As a result of these factors, it has evolved into its financial asset class for both consumers and substantial institutional investors.

Quantum Computing In Blockchain Security: An Overview

In papers, Quantum computing is frequently mentioned as a threat to blockchain security, saying that it will undermine its records’ cryptographic base, communication protocols, and immutability. Quantum computers are accessible via the cloud and purposefully created by nation-state actors to crack present cryptography. It is just a matter of time before attacks against blockchain and cryptocurrency emerge. A quantum computer is not like the traditional computers we use today. Quantum computers use subatomic processes such as entanglement and superposition to accomplish computations far more potent than our present computers.

The Most Amazing — and Dangerous — Technology in the World

“We rarely think about chips, yet they’ve created the modern world,” writes the historian Chris Miller.

He’s not exaggerating. Semiconductors don’t just power our phones and computers; they also enable our cars, planes and home appliances to function. They are essential to everything from developing advanced military equipment to training artificial intelligence systems. Chips are the foundation of modern economic prosperity, military strength and geopolitical power.

But semiconductors are also part of one of the most concentrated supply chains of any technology today. One Taiwanese company, TSMC, produces 90 percent of the most advanced chips. A single Dutch firm, ASML, produces all of the world’s EUV lithography machines, which are essential to produce leading-edge chips. The entire industry is built like this.

That doesn’t just make the chip supply chain vulnerable to external shocks; it also makes it easily weaponizable by the powers that control it. In October, the Biden administration banned exports of advanced chips — and the equipment needed to produce those chips — to China. In August, President Biden signed into law the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, which includes a $52 billion investment to on-shore U.S. chip manufacturing. China has invested tens of billions of dollars over the past decade to build a domestic semiconductor industry of its own. Chips have become to the geopolitics of the 21st century what oil was to the geopolitics of the 20th.

There is no better or more timely explanation of the semiconductor industry — and the geopolitics that have formed around them — than Miller’s new book, “Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology.” So I asked him on the show to talk me through what semiconductors are, why they matter and how they are shaping everything from U.S.-China relations and the Russia-Ukraine war to the Biden policy agenda and the future of A.I.

‘Just in time’ F-35 supply chain too risky for next war, general says

Stephen Losey

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will need a more resilient supply chain to ensure the military can keep it flying in a future, highly contested war, the Air Force officer in charge of the program said Monday.

The F-35 program was set up with a “just in time” supply chain, where parts arrive right before they’re needed and little inventory is stockpiled, Lt. Gen. Michael Schmidt, the program executive officer, said during a panel discussion at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space conference being held this week in National Harbor, Maryland.

In the private sector, Schmidt said, that kind of efficient supply chain works well for keeping costs low. But in a future war involving highly contested environments, it could lead to disaster, he said.

“When you have that [just-in-time] mentality, a hiccup in the supply chain, whether it be a strike … or a quality issue, becomes your single point of failure,” Schmidt said. “We need to look at, what does ‘right’ look like in the future, to give us more resilience in a combat environment.”

Bridget Lauderdale, vice president and general manager of the F-35 program for the aircraft’s main manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, said the company has focused more on trying to forecast the demand cycle, so it can better predict when it will need parts.