27 April 2023

How the US Is Pushing India Away

Akhilesh Pillalamarri

India’s Minister for External Affairs S. Jaishankar, March 29, 2023.Credit: Twitter/Dr. S. Jaishankar

The foreign policy of the United States is not adapting to the challenges of contemporary geopolitical trends throughout the world. In seeking to push for international alignment with its economic and security goals, U.S. policy has instead become counterproductive.

U.S. foreign policy has long sought to prevent any single power from dominating the Eurasian landmass, home to the majority of the world’s population and economic output. While there is no danger of this happening any time soon, U.S. foreign policy has recently alienated both friends and independent-minded allies such as Saudi Arabia, France, and Brazil.

The worldview of the U.S. foreign policy establishment more closely resembles a legal court— w here rules are enforced, and lawbreakers punished in order to encourage compliance from other actors — than a royal court, with its give and take, in which courtiers form and dissolve alliances as needed. This can lead to inflexibility because diplomacy has traditionally been characterized by compromise and the pursuit of national interests. The fruits of this foreign policy have recently been described by the former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers as being “a bit lonely,” for the United States, “as those who seem much less on the right side of history are increasingly banding together in a whole range of structures.” Summers went on to add that “somebody from a developing country said to me, ‘What we get from China is an airport. What we get from the United States is a lecture.’”

Nonetheless, Summers, like much of the U.S. foreign policy establishment, clings to the notion that the United States is leading countries toward the right side of history, which presumably means a post-nationalist global order based on shared values and free trade.

Indian healthcare system needs robust cybersecurity infra. Here's what experts say

Alka Jain

Cyberattacks in India's healthcare organizations result in sensitive data leaks, significant financial losses, disruption of operations, and damage to hospital's goodwill.

The Indian healthcare sector has been experiencing an increase in cyberattacks over the past couple of years. The most recent incidents are Sun Pharmaceuticals' attack by the ALPHV Ransomware Group, AIIMS cyber-attack, and Safdarjung Hospital's hacking attack, putting the spotlight on the need for stronger cybersecurity infrastructure in the healthcare industry.

The healthcare industry in India has faced 1.9 million cyberattacks in 2022 till November 28, as per data published by cybersecurity think tank CyberPeace Foundation and Autobot Infosec Private Ltd.

These attacks result in sensitive data leaks, significant financial losses, disruption of operations, and damage to the hospital's goodwill. Hence, it is crucial for healthcare organizations to make an investment in robust cybersecurity measures. Here's what experts say in this regard,

1) Sanjay Kaushik, Managing Director, Netrika Consulting Pvt Ltd said that India's healthcare system has been growing rapidly in recent years with increased digitization and adoption of new technologies, however, it has also brought with it new challenges in cybersecurity.

“An increase in the cyberattacks in healthcare system highlights the urgent need for a robust cybersecurity infrastructure which is essential for protecting sensitive patient information, preventing data breaches and cyber attacks, and ensuring the smooth functioning of healthcare operations," he said.

When Silence Speaks Louder than Words: Indian Discourses on the ‘China Threat’

Chietigj Bajpaee

China has renewed its cartographic aggression towards India by unilaterally renaming 11 locations in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as ‘South Tibet’ (‘Zangnan’). The announcement by China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs on 1 April to ‘standardise’ the names of these locations was the third such move after Beijing renamed six districts in Arunachal Pradesh in 2017 and 15 more locations in 2022. Beyond demonstrating the precarious state of the China-India relationship following their border conflagration in 2020, this incident shows the importance of words, rhetoric and discourse in the bilateral relationship. In this context, there is a proclivity by Indian officials to remain restrained when talking about the China threat by downplaying tensions and criticising those raising concerns about China as scare- and warmongering. This came to light recently when India’s outspoken Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar noted the futility of picking a fight with a ‘bigger economy’ (1:08).

Specific reasons can, of course, be cited for Jaishankar’s statement. Most notably, with India holding the presidency of the G20 and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation this year and China being a member of both organisations, it makes little sense to escalate tensions with a country with which India will have to interact as the host country. Jaishankar is also right in noting that the balance of power is clearly tilted in China’s favour with the country’s nominal GDP roughly six times that of India.

But to hear the key foreign policy spokesperson of a government that prides itself on a muscular foreign policy essentially admit that it is no position to challenge China is out of character of the government and Jaishankar himself who is famed for taking a bold and blunt position on international affairs. This is the same person who shot down criticism of India’s close relationship with Moscow following the Russian invasion of Ukraine by noting that Europeans buy more energy from Russia in an afternoon than India buys in a month. India is willing to “call out” European hypocrisy and double standards despite the fact that the EU economy is bigger than that of India, with the EU being India’s major trade partner. But why is New Delhi unwilling or unable to be as forthright on China, a country that is not merely challenging India rhetorically but also threatening its sovereignty and security?

China Threat vs. Pakistan Threat

Sino-Indian Relations Through A Chinese Scholar’s Eyes – Book Review

P. K. Balachandran

Prof. Cuiping Zhu’s suggestions are too one-sided to be a basis of rethinking in New Delhi

In a comprehensive but controversial paper on the troubled Sino-Indian relationship, Chinese scholar Dr. Cuiping Zhu says that there can be a Sino-Indian détente only if India accepts China’s viewpoint on a range of issues, including the border/territorial dispute and China’s activities and investments in South Asia.

Cuiping Zhu also proposes that India cooperate with China on the latter’s economic projects in South Asia and use the complementarity in skills and resources for mutual benefit and the benefit of countries which are part of China’s On Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative.

These ideas are expounded in her book: “India’s Ocean: Can China and India Coexist?” published by Springer.

The first proposition for total acceptance of China’s positions, will, of course, be totally rejected by India because it goes against historical facts and also its image of being the dominant power in South Asia.

India certainly cannot accept that it should give in on the border issue and not challenge China’s brazen territorial claims, including its claim over the entire State of Arunachal Pradesh.

Cuiping Zhu, recognizes India’s growing capabilities but would like it to be a junior partner in China’s plans for South Asia and the Indian Ocean Rim Countries. She trashes the Indian case that there can be no development cooperation until China gives up its claims vis-à-vis the Sino-Indian border; ensures peace on the border; supports’ India’s bid to be a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group; and stops opposing the listing of Pakistan-based, anti-India terrorists by the UN.

Adam Tooze: A New Middle East?

Cameron Abadi

This week, the Iranian government extended an invitation for a state visit to the Saudi royal family. That’s just the latest development in an extraordinary turnaround in Saudi-Iranian relations in recent weeks after years of estrangement and rivalry that led to proxy battles across the region, from Yemen to Syria. And with both regional powers due to open embassies in each other’s capitals by May 9, the trend seems set to continue. The question is whether that rapprochement is sufficient to create a new regional order—without the active involvement of the United States.

Sudan fighting: Why it matters to countries worldwide

Andrew Harding

There's a reason why the fighting that has erupted there over the past week is ringing so many international alarm bells. Sudan is not only huge - the third largest country in Africa - it also stretches across an unstable and geopolitically vital region.

Whatever happens militarily or politically in the capital, Khartoum, ripples across some of the most fragile parts of the continent.

The country straddles the Nile River, making the nation's fate of almost existential importance; downstream, to water-hungry Egypt, and upstream, to land-locked Ethiopia with its ambitious hydro-electric plans that now affect the river's flow.

Sudan borders seven countries in all, each with security challenges that are intertwined with the politics of Khartoum.

The Economic Costs of America’s Conflict with China


NEW HAVEN – Five years into a once-unthinkable trade war with China, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen chose her words carefully on April 20. In a wide-ranging speech, she reversed the terms of US engagement with China, prioritizing national-security concerns over economic considerations. That formally ended a 40-year emphasis on economics and trade as the anchor to the world’s most important bilateral relationship. Yellen’s stance on security was almost confrontational: “We will not compromise on these concerns, even when they force trade-offs with our economic interests.”

Yellen’s view is very much in line with the strident anti-China sentiment that has now gripped the United States. The “new Washington consensus,” as Financial Times columnist Edward Luce calls it, maintains that engagement was the original sin of the US-China relationship, because it gave China free rein to take advantage of America’s deal-focused naiveté. China’s accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001 gets top billing in this respect: the US opened its markets, but China purportedly broke its promise to become more like America. Engagement, according to this convoluted but widely accepted argument, opened the door to security risks and human-rights abuses. American officials are now determined to slam that door shut.

There is more to come. President Joe Biden is about to issue an executive order that will place restrictions on foreign direct investment (FDI) by US firms in certain “sensitive technologies” in China, such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing. The US rejects the Chinese allegation that these measures are aimed at stifling Chinese development. Like sanctions against the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and those being considered against the social-media app TikTok, this one, too, is being justified under the amorphous guise of national security.

Macron in China


LONDON – The Communist Party of China has a way of flattering foreign leaders into supporting its policies, or at least remaining mum about them. This certainly seemed to be China’s goal when it rolled out the red carpet for French President Emmanuel Macron in early April. Even Macron himself seemed slightly embarrassed by the pageantry.

Macron’s China trip has been widely derided in the West. Moreover, the statements he made during and after the visit about the relationship between France, the European Union, and China, and about Europe’s relationship with the United States and Taiwan, seemed to support the criticism that he lacks the determination required of a leader of a prominent liberal democracy at a time of rising authoritarianism.

Macron’s remark that Europe must not become a “vassal” of the US in its escalating rivalry with China has drawn criticism from politicians and commentators on both sides of the Atlantic. His divisive remarks seemed to evoke a Gaullist vision of France’s role in the world that feels more than a little outdated in the twenty-first century. Even Hubert Védrine, the foreign minister under President Jacques Chirac and a Macron supporter, acknowledged that France’s economy has “weakened too much” for it to reprise the leading global role that it played during Charles de Gaulle’s time.

My inclination is to give Macron the benefit of the doubt. He is, after all, highly intelligent. But the more he said about China, the US, France, Europe, and Taiwan, the more I recalled my history teacher at Oxford. Once, when reading an essay I had written suggesting that Charlemagne could be called the founder of modern Europe, my teacher interrupted me and said, “I beg your pardon.” He advised me to avoid grandiloquence and let evidence, facts, and pragmatism do the talking. So, my charitable response to Macron’s China trip is a respectful but stern “I beg your pardon.”

Macron’s previous foray into bilateral diplomacy, when he tried to dissuade Russian President Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine in February 2022, already made European policymakers, especially Russia’s neighbors, shake their heads in disbelief. But his comments on China were worse, because they gave the impression that Europe is divided on Taiwan and that European countries would be reluctant to support the island in the event of a Chinese invasion.

China Prioritizes 3 Strategic Technologies in Its Great Power Competition

Namrata Goswami

A Long March-2F Y12 rocket carrying a crew of Chinese astronauts in a Shenzhou-12 spaceship lifts off at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan in northwestern China, June 17, 2021.Credit: AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

China recently reconstituted its Ministry of Science and Technology and created a powerful Central Science and Technology Commission in order to ensure that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has more direct oversight over the ministry. This change, which was recommended by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, recognizes that technology competition with the United States requires direct supervision from the highest level of the party.

This reorganization was carried out during the “Two Sessions,” annual meetings of National People’s Congress (NPC) and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) held in Beijing in March of this year. This is where policy direction of the CCP becomes clear as thousands of delegates ratify institutional and personnel changes, legislate, and endorse government budgets in rather ceremonial but important meetings. Dissent is hardly allowed.

The result of endorsing the dominant role of the CCP over China’s technology development in these sessions implies the importance China’s leaders place on the sector. During the Two Sessions, Xi indicated that “enhancing integrated national strategies and strategic capabilities” is key to China’s aim of becoming a global power. In this, the development of key strategic technologies plays a vital and consequent role.

By 2049, China aims to emerge as a global leader in three strategic technologies, identified by President Xi Jinping as critical for China’s national rejuvenation: space, AI, and quantum communications and computing.

China Says Chatbots Must Toe the Party Line

Chang Che

Five months after ChatGPT set off an investment frenzy over artificial intelligence, Beijing is moving to rein in China’s chatbots, a show of the government’s resolve to keep tight regulatory control over technology that could define an era.

The Cyberspace Administration of China unveiled draft rules this month for so-called generative artificial intelligence — the software systems, like the one behind ChatGPT, that can formulate text and pictures in response to a user’s questions and prompts.

According to the regulations, companies must heed the Chinese Communist Party’s strict censorship rules, just as websites and apps have to avoid publishing material that besmirches China’s leaders or rehashes forbidden history. The content of A.I. systems will need to reflect “socialist core values” and avoid information that undermines “state power” or national unity.

Companies will also have to make sure their chatbots create words and pictures that are truthful and respect intellectual property, and will be required to register their algorithms, the software brains behind chatbots, with regulators.

The rules are not final, and regulators may continue to modify them, but experts said engineers building artificial intelligence services in China were already figuring out how to incorporate the edicts into their products.

Around the world, governments have been wowed by the power of chatbots with the A.I.-generated results ranging from alarming to benign. Artificial intelligence has been used to ace college exams and create a fake photo of Pope Francis in a puffy coat.

Leaked CIA report suggests China is building cyber weapons to hijack enemy satellites

Paul Lipscombe 

China is reportedly building cyber weapons to seize control of enemy satellites, according to a leaked CIA report.

The Financial Times (FT) reported that these cyber weapons would make the satellites useless when providing data signals or surveillance during wartime.

The FT said that it had reviewed the CIA-marked document, noting that it is one of the dozens allegedly shared by 21-year-old US Air Guardsman Jack Teixeira, who was recently arrested for allegedly leaking several classified documents online in a gaming chatroom.

According to the document, the US suggests that China is pushing to develop capabilities that enable it to "deny, exploit, or hijack" enemy satellites.

This leaked report comes at a time when trade relations between the US and China are already strained. The FT noted that the CIA, along with the National Security Council (NSA) and the Pentagon, has declined to comment.

Beijing reportedly sees such tactics as a key "war-fighting domain", where such an approach would go beyond anything Russia has done during its war with Ukraine.

SpaceX noted that its Starlink satellite broadband service faced signal jamming during the early weeks of Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year.

Another satellite operator, Viasat, also reported cyberattacks against its satellite Internet network in the early days of the conflict, with the impact of the outage called "catastrophic" by Ukrainian officials, with the service even impacting other European countries including Germany, Italy, and Poland.

However, this leaked report by the US anticipates that the Chinese are preparing more sophisticated cyberattacks that will enable them to mimic the signals that enemy satellites receive from their operators, which in the process trick them into either being taken over completely or malfunctioning.

Macron’s ‘Strategic Autonomy’: An Interpretation Drawn from Chinese International Theory

Chia-Yu Liang

French President Emmanuel Macron engendered a controversy regarding his comments on Europe’s relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the United States (US) during his visit to China in April 2023. He advocated for European sovereignty, which would require European states to reduce their dependency on the US and not be involved in the Sino-Taiwan conflict, as it is not of Europe’s doing, but an issue of ‘the US agenda and a Chinese overreaction’ (Anderlini and Caulcutt 2023). The idea of European sovereignty is so crucial to Macron’s vision for Europe that he reiterated it in a speech in the Netherlands (Macron 2023) where he characterised his vision for Europe as a dream by invoking George Steiner’s imagery of cafés. This vision, or dream, is for Europe to be a third superpower. This dream deserves further examination because on the one hand, it clearly breaks away from the prospect of a bipolar world order that is often characterised in the language of a ‘new Cold War’. On the other hand, the fact that a former colonial empire is championing the establishment of a new superpower provides invaluable insight for reviewing the formulation of the post-World War II international order.

However potentially rich the controversy the philosopher president’s vision provoked may be, the dispute has neglected one indispensable perspective: the Chinese perspective. The debate effectively centres on whether France – and Europe – should be ‘America’s follower’ without ‘strategic autonomy’ and framed the issue as the relations between two agents: Europe and the US. Nevertheless, Macron expressed his view during his visit to the PRC, which is exactly the other superpower next to the US. For him to advocate for Europe as a third superpower, the neglect of the second superpower seems curious. Furthermore, the PRC’s potential invasion of Taiwan is exactly what the US as the first superpower sought to deter, and what Macron sought to dissuade European states from engaging with. Finally, it is actually possible to examine China’s view on Macron’s vision, since Chinese academics have produced abundant scholarship on Chinese International Relations Theory (IRT) that is based on sources of Chinese Intellectual History and Chinese Philosophy, forming a large scope of Chinese perspectives on international politics. Without taking the Chinese perspective into consideration, the debate over Macron’s vision cannot reach a comprehensive assessment of his idea.

STAR WARS! Russia-Ukraine Conflict Is World’s 1st Commercial Space War As Moscow’s EW Tries To Cripple Ukraine

NC Bipindra

The employment of space assets for military purposes has recently seen an uptick. The Russia-Ukraine war is the most significant space-related development since 2022, given the wide-ranging use of space-based assets by both the warring sides.

A Space Threat Assessment by an American think-tank has also concluded that there has been an unparalleled level of transparency on the battlefield in Ukraine: Sensitive intelligence was declassified to reveal Moscow’s plans and intentions, imagery showed the massing of Russian forces, and social media posts conveyed the war’s horrors up close.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) assessment, which took an in-depth look at Russian counter-space activities, noted space capabilities are aiding in this transparency and making an impactful contribution to this fight. Communications satellites empower Ukrainian forces and connect the Ukrainian people with the outside world.

“Imagery satellites, some able to penetrate clouds and collect pictures at night, are watching the movement of Russian forces, mapping humanitarian evacuation routes, and collecting evidence of war crimes. Other satellites can detect and locate the sources of GPS interference, which is causing Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to alter course,” the 56-page assessment, released on April 14, has concluded.

First Commercial Space War

Some observers have described this war as the “first commercial space war” due to the prominence of Western space industry capabilities enabling Ukraine’s resistance. However, as with any advantage on the battlefield, adversaries quickly look for ways to erode that edge, and the same is true for space.

The assessment analyses in detail the Russian employment of electronic warfare and cyberattacks against space systems, uncertainty on Russian use of laser weapons, and unusual behavior by a Russian inspector satellite in GEO.

What Northern Ireland Teaches Us About Ending the Ukraine War


NEW YORK – There are many reasons to celebrate the recent 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. Reached in 1998, it has provided a political framework that has dramatically reduced violence in a part of the United Kingdom that experienced something very close to civil war for the preceding three decades.

Some of what explains the accord’s success is specific to Northern Ireland. But other factors have broader relevance, providing guidance for approaching conflicts elsewhere, even the war between Russia and Ukraine.

The most fundamental lesson is that diplomacy can succeed only where and when other tools cannot. Successive British prime ministers – Margaret Thatcher, John Major, and Tony Blair – created a context that by the late 1990s gave diplomacy a chance. This required two things: First, the UK introduced sufficient security forces so that those in Northern Ireland who sought to shoot their way to power could not succeed. Violence could not be prevented from disrupting lives, but it was not allowed to create political facts.

12 Books You Should Be Reading Right Now

The New York Times Books Staff

At The New York Times Book Review, we write about thousands of books every year. Many of them are good. Some are even great. But we get that sometimes you just want to know, “What should I read that is good or great for me?”

Well, here you go — a running list of some of the year’s best, most interesting, most talked-about books. Check back next month to see what we’ve added.

Night of Nights

Colonel Keith Nightingale, U.S. Army (Retired)

The carrier crew was never informed as to the real purpose of the helicopters or the sudden appearance of the primarily Marine crew. But they understood something important was happening in their presence and they were part of it.


As night descends on the ship and the artificial lights begin to take effect, they start gathering. First in individual movements, later in small groups, they begin appearing. They move to places on the hangar deck and stand against the bulkheads watching, hoping they won’t be spotted as being too obvious and being asked to leave. Some find places on the stairwells and ladders overlooking the hangar deck where they can see but not be seen. Their focus is on the eight helicopters which are being slowly wheeled from their anchor points to the elevator hoist.

The eyes follow each move of the aircraft and observe each move of the pilots and crew as they walk around their craft and climb aboard. The observers say nothing but watch intently as if they were for the first time ushered into a church service mid- ceremony.

They have come from all over the ship to watch from the galleys in mid meal so they wouldn’t not miss this from their bunks deep within the ship from the reactor spaces far below the waterline and from their relatively comfortable accommodations in Officer Country. Until a very short while ago, they had no conception of what these helicopters, these space users, would do. As if by some unseen messenger, the carrier crew has individually received notice as to what is happening, and each man wants to be a part of this moment. Sailors stand with hands over their mouths and anxious eyes. Little human sound is heard. Only the ceaseless vibrations of the ship itself and the whir and clank of machinery that is making things happen. Much is thought, but little is said. All sense something important is about to happen.

Countries scramble to remove diplomats, citizens from Sudan

Battles raging in Sudan have sparked several evacuation operations to rescue foreign citizens or embassy staff by road, air and sea.

The main airport in the capital Khartoum has been the site of heavy fighting and is under the control of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that is battling the army.

Some evacuations are taking place from Port Sudan on the Red Sea, an 850 kilometre (530 mile) drive from Khartoum.

Here is an overview of what various nations were doing in efforts to take stranded citizens to safety.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia led the first reported successful evacuation with naval operations picking up more than 150 people including foreign diplomats and officials from Port Sudan on Saturday.

Riyadh announced the "safe arrival" of 91 Saudi citizens and around 66 nationals from 12 other countries -- Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan, India, Bulgaria, Bangladesh, the Philipines, Canada and Burkina Faso.

United States

On Sunday, the US military sent three Chinook helicopters to evacuate American embassy staff from Khartoum.

More than 100 US forces took part in the rescue to extract fewer than 100 people, which saw the choppers flying from Djibouti to Ethiopia to Sudan, where they stayed on the ground for less than an hour.

Several thousand US citizens including dual nationals are thought to remain in the country.

Why the 155mm round is so critical to the war in Ukraine

Tara Copp, AP

155mm M795 artillery projectiles are stored during manufacturing process at the Scranton Army Ammunition Plant in Scranton, Pa., Thursday, April 13, 2023. (Matt Rourke/AP)

The 155mm howitzer round is one of the most requested artillery munitions of the war in Ukraine. Already the U.S. has shipped more than 1.5 million rounds to Ukraine, but Kyiv is still seeking more.

A look at why this particular munition is so commonly used, and why it’s been so critical to the war in Ukraine.
What is the 155mm?

Essentially, the 155mm round is a very big bullet, made up of four parts: the detonating fuse, projectile, propellant and primer.

Each round is about 2 feet (60 centimeters) long, weighs about 100 pounds (45 kilograms), and is 155mm, or 6.1 inches, in diameter. They are used in howitzer systems, which are towed large guns that are identified by the range of the angle of fire that their barrels can be set to.

The 155mm shells can be configured in many ways: They can be packed with highly explosive material, use precision guided systems, pierce armor or produce high fragmentation.

Past variants have included smoke rounds to obscure troop movement and illumination rounds to expose an enemy’s position.

“The 155mm round and the similar Soviet-era 152mm rounds are so popular because they provide a good balance between range and warhead size,” said Ryan Brobst, a research analyst at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. “If you have too small a shell, it won’t do enough damage and go as far. If you have a larger shell, you can’t necessarily fire it as far. This is the most common middle ground, and that’s why it’s so widely used.”

Our classified leaks conundrum: ‘Need to know’ became ‘a need to share


Massachusetts Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira, right, appears in U.S. District Court in Boston, Friday, April 14, 2023. He is accused in the leak of highly classified military documents as prosecutors unsealed charges and revealed how billing records and interviews with social media comrades helped pinpoint Teixeira.

One of my colleagues during my time at CIA was Aldrich Ames. We knew him as Rick. I was never that fond of him. He seemed a bit of an arrogant, know-it-all jerk, unhappy with his position and not “recognized” for his brilliance. But, if they fired everyone with that character in D.C., the place would revert to being a steamy swamp.

When Ames was caught as a Russian spy, I thought of a dear friend in the counterintelligence field who said they were “never surprised, only disappointed.” Counterintelligence is not a field filled with optimists — nor should it be.

When Massachusetts Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira was arrested last week, I thought, ‘Here we go again — the latest in a long line of arrogant, unhappy people leaking information for political purposes.’ It appears in this case, I was wrong. And in being wrong, I think we may be starting to see a troubling pattern to come.
‘Need to know’ becomes the need to share

It has been over 20 years since Sept. 11 turned this country upside down. The reaction to the murder of 3,000 of our fellow citizens put the military and intelligence organizations of our country on overdrive. We’d been caught out short. It was never going to happen again.

The separation of foreign and domestic intelligence issues went away. There were no borders or boundaries in the war on terror. What happened in Bagram, Afghanistan, could be linked to potential events in Bellingham, Wash., or Key West, Fla.

Big Tech Is Already Lobbying to Water Down Europe's AI Rules


European lawmakers are putting their finishing touches on a set of wide-ranging rules designed to govern the use of artificial intelligence that, if passed, would make the E.U. the first major jurisdiction outside of China to pass targeted AI regulation. That has made the forthcoming legislation the subject of fierce debate and lobbying, with opposing sides battling to ensure that its scope is either widened or narrowed.

Lawmakers are close to agreeing on a draft version of the law, the Financial Times reported last week. After that, the law will progress to negotiations between the bloc’s member states and executive branch.

The E.U. Artificial Intelligence Act is likely to ban controversial uses of AI like social scoring and facial recognition in public, as well as force companies to declare if copyrighted material is used to train their AIs.

The rules could set a global bar for how companies build and deploy their AI systems as companies may find it easier to comply with E.U. rules globally rather than to build different products for different regions—a phenomenon known as the “Brussels effect.”

“The E.U. AI Act is definitely going to set the regulatory tone around: what does an omnibus regulation of AI look like?” says Amba Kak, the executive director of the AI Now Institute, a policy research group based at NYU.

One of the Act’s most contentious points is whether so-called “general purpose AI”—of the kind that ChatGPT is based on—should be considered high-risk, and thus subject to the strictest rules and penalties for misuse. On one side of the debate are Big Tech companies and a conservative bloc of politicians, who argue that to label general purpose AIs as “high risk” would stifle innovation. On the other is a group of progressive politicians and technologists, who argue that exempting powerful general purpose AI systems from the new rules would be akin to passing social media regulation that doesn’t apply to Facebook or TikTok.

The Discord Leaker Was a Narcissist, Not an Ideologue

David V. Gioe

Even before U.S. Air National Guard member Jack Teixeira was arrested on Thursday as the leaker of dozens of classified government documents that have made their way around the internet in recent weeks, the inevitable comparisons with Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden suggested that he was the latest in a long line of mass leakers of intelligence. As one journalist reported on the most generic of similarities, “Like Manning and Snowden, Teixeira has a military or intelligence tie as a member of the Massachusetts Air Force National Guard.”

Expectations Rise Of Ukrainian Counteroffensive After Unconfirmed Reports Of Dnieper Crossing

(RFE/RL) — Reports that the Ukrainian military has crossed the Dnieper River and established positions on the eastern side heightened expectations on April 23 that Kyiv is on the verge of its long-awaited counteroffensive.

The influential U.S. Institute for the Study of War (ISW) argued in its regular update on April 22 that “Russian milbloggers have provided enough geolocated footage and textual reports to confirm that Ukrainian forces have established positions in east [left] bank Kherson Oblast as of April 22 though not at what scale or with what intentions.”

The ISW added that geolocated footage from Russian military bloggers indicated that Ukrainian forces had established a bridgehead north of the town of Oleshkiy and that they have put in place “stable supply lines to these positions” in the Kherson region.

Battlefield reports could not be independently confirmed.

Many experts have said — and Ukrainian leaders have hinted — that a major spring counteroffensive by Kyiv’s forces is in the works.

One suggested goal would be to split the land corridor the Kremlin’s forces have established between the illegally annexed Crimean Peninsula and Russia itself.

The Ukrainian military declined to confirm or deny the reports that its troops had taken up positions on the partly Russian-controlled bank of the strategically crucial Dnieper River.

A spokeswoman for the Southern Defense Forces of Ukraine, Natalia Humenyuk, said in televised comments that crossing an obstacle like the “wide and powerful” Dnieper was “very difficult work.”

“I Can’t Go On”: When Heads of Security Organizations Resign from their Posts

Tamir Hayman Ofer Shelah

If I am put in a position of being asked to execute something I feel is immoral, unethical, or illegal, I believe I have only one option, and that is to make my point extremely forcefully and then, if I am unable to reconcile that difference simply to resign.[1]

Admiral Stansfield Turner, former head of the CIA

Leading a security establishment demands strength and the ability to withstand various types of significant pressure. One such pressure is the need to remain in office even in difficult circumstances, in order to ensure the system’s stability and to show the rank and file that leadership means continuing to remain at the helm and not abandoning the job. Therefore, resignations by senior command figures are rare. Nonetheless, is there a situation in which a commander must resign? Are there in fact cases where remaining in a position of command is unethical? These questions are not posed in a vacuum, of course. At the time of this writing, the reality is Israel is complex, and the tension between the political echelon and the operational echelon is unprecedented, as shown by the dismissal of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (which was later rescinded), after he expressed the concerns of military commanders regarding the IDF’s ability to function. This article presents professional rules with reference to this weighty issue, based on an analysis of past cases. Although the scope of the examples is limited and the future event, if it materializes, will be singular in nature, there are cases, in Israel and elsewhere, from which lessons can be learned.
Lessons from the Past

Reasons for past resignations by senior officials can be divided into a number of categories: resignation for personal reasons, following the exposure of an event linked to conduct that arouses serious criticism, which is not relevant to the current discussion; resignation due to taking responsibility for the organization’s performance; resignation or retirement due to professional disagreements; resignation based on a sense that the political level is endangering the country or the security organization.

Responsibility for the Organization’s Performance

United States Says Wagner Has Quietly Picked Sides in Sudan

Eric Schmitt and Edward Wong

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the notorious private military company Wagner, has offered weapons to the paramilitaries fighting for control of Sudan, according to American officials.

Mr. Prigozhin, who is waging a brutal military campaign on behalf of Russia in Ukraine, said this week that he wanted peace and offered to help mediate between the rival generals fighting for power. But American officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly, said Mr. Prigozhin is actually intent on fueling the fighting between the two military factions in Sudan: the Sudanese Army, overseen by Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces paramilitaries, led by Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan.

Wagner — which previously sent Sudan armored vehicles and training in return for lucrative gold mining concessions — has offered powerful weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, to General Hamdan’s paramilitaries, American officials said.

As of Friday, General Hamdan had not decided whether to accept the weapons, which would come from Wagner stocks in the Central African Republic, the officials said.

Since 2019, Wagner has expanded its activities in Sudan, mining for gold, exploring for uranium and supplying mercenaries to the restive region of Darfur. After the two generals seized power in 2021, Wagner intensified its partnership with General Hamdan, who visited Moscow in the early days of the Ukraine war and has received military equipment from the mercenary group.

Eric Schmitt is a senior writer who has traveled the world covering terrorism and national security. He was also the Pentagon correspondent. A member of the Times staff since 1983, he has shared four Pulitzer Prizes. @EricSchmittNYT

Germany and Nord Stream Sabotage: Victim or Confidant?

Rene Tebel

So far, Germany has been the blind spot in discussions over the Nord Stream sabotage. The economic disadvantages to the world’s fourth-largest economy from blasting the pipeline are too great. Of course, no one will seriously assume that the traffic-light coalition in Berlin stands behind the attack. However, the outwardly conspicuously indifferent and dismissive handling of the act of sabotage suggests that Berlin either has a particularly opaque approach to its MPs or has its reasons for downplaying the significance of the Nord Stream sabotage. Several observations in Germany’s handling of the sabotage suggest that, though Germany was a victim of the attack, it is advancing the line that it no longer has a national interest in the Nord Stream pipelines.

Parliamentary questions from the opposition

Parliamentary groups and individual members of the opposition have addressed parliamentary questions about the sabotage to the German government. Particularly exciting are the answers – some of which are verbatim identical – from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action to the members of parliament Matthias Hauer (CDU), Leif-Erik Holm (AfD) and Zaklin Nastic (Die Linke), which state, that the federal government assumed that sabotage had taken place, but that it had “no concrete insights of the facts of the case, in particular of the possible authorship.” “Furthermore, the German Bundesregierung, after careful consideration, has come to the conclusion that further information cannot be provided for reasons of the state interest (Staatswohl) – not even in classified form” because they are subject to the “third-party rule.” The German state, according to the letter, would jeopardize the basis of trust with other intelligence services by publishing the information that “would result in a serious impairment of the participation of the intelligence services of the Federation in the international exchange of intelligence” and consequently: “If, as a consequence of a loss of confidence, information from foreign agencies were to be omitted or substantially reduced, significant information gaps would arise with negative consequences for the accuracy of the depiction of the security situation in the Federal Republic of Germany as well as with regard to the protection of German interests abroad. The disclosure of the information would furthermore make it considerably more difficult to further clarify intelligence activities in and against the Federal Republic of Germany. The requested information thus affects secrecy interests in need of protection to such an extent that the welfare of the state (Staatswohl) prevails over the parliamentary right to information and the right of members of parliament to ask questions must for once take a back seat to the secrecy interests of the Federal Government.”

Interview – Anton Shirikov

This interview is part of a series of interviews with academics and practitioners at an early stage of their career. The interviews discuss current research and projects, as well as advice for other early career scholars

Anton Shirikov is a political scientist who studies propaganda, misinformation, and political polarization. His research uses surveys and experiments to understand what makes citizens more vulnerable to propaganda and authoritarian state media. In other work, he examines polarization, inter-ethnic trust and political elites in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and other countries. Anton received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2022. Before academia, he was a journalist and editor in Russian independent media. In recent publications, Shirikov has examined how Ukrainian oligarchs protect their wealth (prize for the Best Article published in 2020–2021 from the American Association for Ukrainian Studies) and how the Russian government and official propaganda responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. His analysis and commentary have recently appeared in The Washington Post, The Financial Times, USA Today, on PBS NewsHour, and in other outlets.

What (or who) prompted the most significant shifts in your thinking or encouraged you to pursue your area of research?

Being a journalist in Russia was an interesting and sometimes exciting experience, and I have learned a lot about how Russian politics and business really worked. At the same time, I came into journalism already having a background in academia. Over time, I was increasingly dissatisfied with my day-to-day work, and I felt I wanted to do more systematic research and work on long-term projects. It also didn’t help that the Russian government was gradually choking the press, and at some point, it became clear to me that there was no future for me in the Russian media industry. That’s why going back to academia and getting more systematic training through a PhD program was a rather obvious solution for me at that time.

The Key to Responsible AI Development


GENEVA – In recent months, the development of artificial intelligence has accelerated considerably, with generative AI systems such as ChatGPT and Midjourney rapidly transforming a wide range of professional activities and creative processes. The window of opportunity for guiding the development of this powerful technology in ways that minimize the risks and maximize the benefits is closing fast.

AI-based capabilities exist along a continuum, with generative AI systems such as GPT-4 (the latest version of ChatGPT) falling within the most advanced category. Given that such systems hold the greatest promise and can lead to the most treacherous pitfalls, they merit particularly close scrutiny by public and private stakeholders.

Virtually all technological advances have had both positive and negative effects on society. On one hand, they have bolstered economic productivity and income growth, expanded access to information and communication technologies, extended human lifespans, and improved overall well-being. On the other hand, they have led to worker displacement, wage stagnation, greater inequality, and increasing concentration of resources among individuals and corporations.

AI is no different. Generative AI systems open up abundant opportunities in areas such as product design, content creation, drug discovery and health care, personalized education, and energy optimization. At the same time, they may prove highly disruptive, and even harmful, to our economies and societies.

The risks already posed by advanced AI, and those that are reasonably foreseeable, are considerable. Beyond widespread reorientation of labor markets, large-language-model systems can increase the spread of disinformation and perpetuate harmful biases. Generative AI also threatens to exacerbate economic inequality. Such systems may even pose existential risks to humankind.

How to defend against the rise of ChatGPT? Think like a poet.

Jaswinder Bolina’s “English as Second Language and Other Poems” is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press.

And so we’ve come to the end of the world again, and this time, it will be death by a thousand chattering bots. But apocalypse aside, most striking to me about ChatGPT and other large-language-model artificial intelligence systems is what their chatter reveals about us — specifically, our language, education, work and the grimly redundant human condition.

I happen to be a poet and teacher of poetry, so language, education and the grim human condition take up most of my Outlook calendar. In thinking about AI, I’ve become preoccupied with — and weirdly heartened by — its utter banality.

AI bots aren’t so much artificially “intelligent” as they are opportunistically efficient at learning from the bland patterns in our language. Entire industries have been built around cliched and predictable writing and thinking, from adspeak to clickbait media to the formulaic pop songs, movies and television that suck up our free time. There is so much blasé filler for AI to mine, and every sentence, paragraph and document on ChatGPT’s kill list is another example of human expression so devoid of personality that the person is rendered superfluous.

As AI proliferates, this lack of originality in our daily language is what will render so many of our jobs irrelevant. But this is where I become optimistic. Because to me, it’s clear that one of our best defenses against the rise of the writing machines might be to learn how to think like a poet.

Sure, I’m biased, but consider what the making of a poem — that small (or large) artifact William Carlos Williams famously called a “machine made of words” — can teach us.

Hear more articles narrated by the author

Diametrically opposed to cliche, poets are trained to invent and reinvent language to arrive at fresh expressions of our angst, joy, anguish and wonder.

Experts: Cyber, Kinetic Forces Should be Battlefield Twins

A panel of cyber experts gathered by the Atlantic Council last week discussed the outcomes of modern warfare and pointed to the likelihood of increased coordination between cyber and kinetic forces.

Michael Martelle – a Cyber Vault fellow for the non-profit National Security Archive – argued during the April 20 event that the most efficient use for cyber during a war is to provide targeting support for kinetic action.

“There is actually an abstract, ideal, efficient application of cyber in combination with kinetic,” Martelle said. “The question needs to be: in what certain situations is disruptive cyber a more efficient use of your resources than disruption by kinetic means? And I think there are three general times when those could occur.”

“The first is when the target area is lying beyond your kinetic reach,” he explained. “Another possibility would be if you have the opportunity to create aggregate cumulative degradation.”

Martelle continued, adding, “The final example of disruptive application that I can see is when you are able force a verifiable action from the adversary.”

“The most efficient use of computer network access in a shooting war is to provide targeting support to kinetic strikes. In war you’re trying to kill people and break things,” he said. “Cyber is not usually going to be the best tool to permanently break things or to kill people.”

Fourteen months has passed since Russia invaded Ukraine, and cyber experts have been trying to decipher how this historic event will change modern warfare of the future. On both sides of the war, non-state actors – like industry and third-party entities – have jumped to action in aiding with cyber efforts.

“We’ve also seen non-state actors directly involved in breaking things in this conflict,” JD Work, a professor at the National Defense University’s College of Information and Cyberspace, said. “A non-state group of civilian actors very likely influenced the course of that front, and that’s something we’re not quite used to seeing.”

Continuity or change? The role of cyberspace in future armed conflicts

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine is being referred to as the first large-scale conventional war in nearly three decades, which is expected to bring significant changes to the global security landscape. The changes are not only related to strategy and tactics but also encompass the utilization of cyberspace capabilities. In the Ukrainian hostilities, technologically advanced actors are physically engaged in the conflict. It is noteworthy that Ukraine is ranked second in terms of cyber defense capabilities, as per the National Cyber Power Index 2022, while Russia holds the second position in terms of having the most significant offensive cyber capabilities. Russia has previously demonstrated its ability to defeat its adversaries and has been revealed to be continually developing further offensive cyber tools through its secret services, operating under the guise of a private company called NTC Vulcan. As such, the ongoing conflict on the eastern borders provides a unique perspective on how cyberspace may be utilized in future warfare.

Prior to February 2022, many experts held the view that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine would remain in a state of "smoldering" in the gray zone, where cyberspace would be extensively utilized for hostile activities that would be "on the verge of war." Cyber operations were considered a convenient alternative to the kinetic competition between technologically advanced nations. However, the Russian kinetic invasion of Ukraine has shown that when one of the parties believes that its vital interests are at stake, activities in the gray zone, including cyber operations, may not be sufficient. Russia's strategic objective was to physically conquer the territory of Ukraine, and activities in cyberspace proved inadequate to achieve this goal. As soon as the threshold of war was crossed, the role of offensive activities in cyberspace also shifted.