30 May 2023

A Change Of Era: Boards Of Directors Can’t Afford To Be Complacent About Today’s Geopolitical Threats – OpEd

Jordi Canals

Due to the trade conflict that has grown between the U.S. and China since 2016, many U.S. and European companies have started to shift away from China as a key sourcing country and build alternative, more diverse global supply chains. This is a painful process led not by economics and business interests, but by the reality of conflicting governmental policies. It is also a very complex process for many companies. It is particularly difficult for firms such as Apple, BASF, TSMC and Volkswagen, for whom China has become the key market in terms of either sourcing or sales, or both.

New industrial policies launched by the U.S. government in 2022 — particularly the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act — seek to reduce U.S. companies’ dependence on China and position the U.S. as the natural location for manufacturing and R&D. Huge incentives offered by the U.S. government to domestic companies have sparked a reaction in the EU, with the European Commission planning to offer similarly lavish incentives to European companies.

China’s new industrial policy has triggered a clash of industrial approaches. The invasion of Ukraine and the energy crisis have exacerbated the situation. Although the accumulated experience of industrial policy calls for a healthy skepticism of the potential effect of these policies on companies, jobs and investment, these events certainly create important distortions in international trade and define a clear and significant step toward deglobalization and a more fragmented world. The outcome for companies, large and small, will be that the international context will become more uncertain over the next few years, and firms can no longer count on international expansion to increase sales or reduce costs.

These developments put additional pressure on boards of directors. They are responsible for companies’ long-term orientation and value creation. Geopolitics has joined the list of major disruptions affecting companies and their business models, along with technology, climate change and social activism, among others. Suddenly, the assumption of relative stability in international relations and global interactions, based on free trade, comparative advantage and global economic integration, has been erased — for the time being anyway.

Why Nonalignment Is Dead and Won’t Return

C. Raja Mohan

As much of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America has refused to line up behind the West amid its growing confrontation with Russia and China, the idea that these regions are returning to a policy of nonalignment has generated concern in Western capitals and a bit of excitement elsewhere. Both of these sentiments may, however, be misplaced. In the West, the debate over nonalignment is still haunted by the Cold War’s shadow, when “nonalignment” was often synonymous with an anti-Western stance. And for developing countries, the objective of building a non-Western or post-Western order—part of the ideology of nonalignment from its beginnings in the decolonization era—has been an enduring but elusive mirage.

China hits back over Five Eyes blame for US infrastructure cyber attack

Toby Mann 

China has hit back after Australia and other Five Eyes cyber agencies blamed it for recent cyber attacks targeting "critical infrastructure" in the United States.

Key points:A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson described the Five Eyes advisory as "collective disinformation" lead by the US
China called the US "the empire of hacking" in response to the Five Eyes claims
Hackers were able to avoid detection by blending in with normal activities rather than using malware

"Obviously, this is a collective disinformation campaign by the United States to mobilise the Five Eyes countries for geopolitical purposes," China's foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said.

She was responding to a joint Cybersecurity Advisory issued by US, Australian, New Zealand, Canada and United Kingdom intelligence agencies after detecting a "cluster of activity of interest" linked to China's state-sponsored hacking group Volt Typhoon.

The attacks, the Five Eyes advisory said, targeted "critical infrastructure" in the US.

"It is a report that has … a serious lack of evidence and is extremely unprofessional," Ms Mao said.

"As we all know, the Five Eyes is the world's largest intelligence organisation and the NSA is the world's largest hacker organisation, and it is ironic that they have joined forces to issue disinformation reports."

Volt Typhoon used a "living off the land" attack, which exploits legitimate tools within a system, rather than malware.

Using that technique hackers were able to evade detection by "blending in with normal Windows system and network activities".

5 Steps the US Must Take to Deter a War with China

Seth Cropsey

The United States faces an unveiled threat from China. Beijing has made clear, in its public pronouncements and its strategic doctrine, that it seeks to conquer Taiwan and engorge the whole of the Western Pacific, ultimately bending Asia’s political structures to its will. The U.S., and the world at large, would be far better served by deterring China than by being forced to defeat it.

The issue, however, is the marginal nature of the military balance.

Thus, the U.S. must take five steps immediately to try to prevent a war with China, by improving America’s deterrence credibility and combat capabilities before hostilities threaten to erupt. Those steps are ensuring Ukraine’s victory in its war against Russia, freezing U.S. Navy fleet retirements, marshaling additional aerial basing within the Philippine Sea, expanding air and naval logistics, and being prepared to hit targets in mainland China if war should occur.

Deterrence requires two elements — the military capability to implement a strategy if hostile action occurs, and the political credibility to follow through on such a strategy. The two are as intertwined as the double helix of a DNA molecule. Absent political credibility, even the most powerful state will face questions over its commitments and suffer probing against its periphery. Absent the military capabilities on full display that can counter and drive back an assault — or punish one severely enough to dissuade it — then an enemy’s aggression often is the result.

The Western Pacific military balance is extraordinarily close. China’s navy — and its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) more generally — have greatly improved their capabilities over the past decade.

Still, the PLA faces difficulties: It appears to lack experience with combined-arms and joint warfare of any kind; it has a massive stockpile of missiles but may struggle to push forward its reconnaissance units enough to track U.S. forces; its aerial tanker fleet is insufficient to sustain a fighter screen in the Philippine Sea, and it has only limited airborne-amphibious capabilities that restrict the size, number, and composition of PLA landing forces.

How China Integrates Drones Into PLA Operations Surrounding Taiwan

Olli Pekka Suorsa and Adrian Ang U-Jin

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, have become synonymous with modern warfare. During the early phases of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the latter’s Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2s made international headlines by destroying scores of Russian tanks, armored vehicles, and air-defense systems with seeming impunity. TB2s also participated in some of the war’s most daring operations, such as the recapture of Snake Island and the sinking of the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s flagship, Moskva. More importantly, perhaps, Ukraine successfully utilized the Bayraktar’s grayscale targeting turret imagery as an effective propaganda tool.

Recently, Chinese drones also made headlines by circumnavigating Taiwan twice in one week. In this article we take a closer look at People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drone operations near Taiwan.

We noted previously in The Diplomat that the first acknowledged deployment of a drone by the PLA occurred on September 5, 2022, when Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) released the flight path of a PLA BZK-007 reconnaissance UAV. That drone was part of a larger nine-sortie incursion into Taiwan’s southwestern ADIZ. Since then, the PLA’s sizable portfolio of drones have become a regular fixture in incursions into the island’s ADIZ, averaging 16 sorties per month. What garnered attention most recently, however, were two PLA UAV sorties within the space of a week that circumnavigated Taiwan.

According to the MND’s daily ADIZ report, on April 27 a TB-001 medium-altitude and long endurance (MALE) UAV conducted a counter-clockwise (south to north) circumnavigation of Taiwan. The TB-001 crossed the Median Line and entered Taiwan’s southwestern ADIZ, passing through the Bashi Channel before flying up along the island’s eastern coast and returning to the mainland via the northeastern end of the Median Line. The TB-001 was accompanied by another UAV, a BZK-005 that entered the southeastern ADIZ and flew halfway to the eastern side of the island before turning back. The TB-001’s circumnavigation flight occurred as part of a 19-sortie incursion that saw PLA fighters (J-10s) and fighter-bombers (Su-30s and J-16s) cross the Median Line while a KQ-200 anti-submarine warfare maritime patrol aircraft (ASW-MPA) and Y-8 RECCE entered the Bashi Channel.

Taiwan Says War With China Can and Should Be Avoided

Kevin Cheng

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu didn’t mince his words when asked about any potential conflict with China in early May.

“We think that war can be avoided … and we’re trying to work together to prevent war from happening,” he said.

“We will not provoke a conflict between Taiwan and China … Taiwan is not going to be a provocateur,” Wu continued. “… We will ask for peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

Other senior government officials repeated similar lines on a week-long press trip for international journalists organized by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Taiwanese officials emphasized “maintaining the status quo across the Taiwan Strait” and downplaying the prospect of a war with China.

While the government made its best effort to showcase a democratically free and prosperous island to foreign journalists, Taiwan’s position – both domestically and on the international stage – remains a perilous one. The ruling government led by the President Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) must also balance the views of the Taiwanese people, with an impending election looming next January that could tip the scales on Taiwan’s future.

Relations with China have been in free fall since the DPP came to power in 2016 and the possibility of a war with China has become more visually apparent. Increased military incursions by China since 2021 have worsened relations, and the mood among Taiwanese people. China launched a series of military exercises surrounding Taiwan following a visit by then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August 2022. Chinese military aircraft have also repeatedly entered Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone, with a record 71 reported in 24 hours in December 2022.

Taiwanese people want to retain the status quo. In the latest quarterly survey conducted by the Mainland Affairs Council, 88.9 percent of respondents said that the situation with China should remain unchanged.

Turkey’s Erdoğan wins again


Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will begin another five years as Turkey’s president after winning a divisive election that at one point seemed to threaten his hold on power.

The 69-year-old, who has dominated his country’s politics for two decades, was set to win the runoff vote by 52 percent to 48 percent, with more than 99 percent of ballot boxes counted, beating opposition candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, according to preliminary official results from Turkey’s Supreme Election Council.

Erdoğan declared victory in front of his residence in Istanbul, singing his campaign song before his speech. “I thank our nation, which gave us the responsibility of governing again for the next five years,” he said.

“We have opened the door of Turkey’s century without compromising our democracy, development and our objectives,” he added.

The triumphant president continued his campaign tactic of targeting LGBTQ+ people. “Can LGBT infiltrate AK Party or other members of the People’s Alliance [the broader coalition backing Erdoğan]? Family is sacred to us,” he said.

Erdoğan’s supporters celebrated in the streets of Turkey’s major cities and towns. Tens of thousands gathered in Ankara at the palace later in the night to hear him speak again.

Turkey’s place as a key NATO power at the junction of Europe and the Middle East has made the election one of the most closely watched political contests in the world this year. With Erdoğan embarking on another five-year term, he is in a powerful position to influence not only the future direction of democracy in the 85 million strong country but also to shape politics in the region and beyond.

Why Turkey’s Erdogan Will Win

Ali Demirdas

The Washington Post didn’t dub the Turkish presidential election as “2023’s most crucial election in the world“ for no reason. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has cleverly taken advantage of waning U.S. global influence by pursuing an ever-autonomous foreign policy that promotes his country’s interest, which has often contravened with that of the United States. Erdogan, by a series of military incursions, successfully undermined the American project of establishing Kurdish autonomy in Syria, which Ankara deemed a matter of national security. Citing Washington’s apathy for Turkey’s security, Erdogan, despite relentless U.S. objections, went ahead and acquired the Russian S-400 air defense systems. In the energy-rich Eastern Mediterranean, he adopted the concept of “Mavi Vatan” (the Blue Homeland), which draws Turkey’s maritime borders from the land-based perspective, as opposed to Greece’s interpretation based on its 3,000 or so islands. This has prompted Ankara to sign a maritime deal with Libya, which has allowed Ankara to effectively control the marine resources, cutting off Greece’s maritime access from the Greek Cypriots.

However, Erdogan’s opponent Kemal Kilicdaroglu is known to be determined to roll back Erdogan’s perceived foreign policy gains. He considers the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the U.S. proxy in Syria, as “Patriots trying to save their homeland.” He has occasionally questioned Turkey’s North Africa policy asking, “What is Turkey doing in Libya?” Finally, he criticized Erdogan’s decision to buy the S-400 saying, “Who would attack Turkey? Why did we buy them?”

Kilicdaroglu’s high hopes of winning on May 14 turned out to be futile. He lagged about 4 percent behind Erdogan’s 49.5 percent, which prompted a runoff to occur on May 28. With Erdogan being the favorite in the second round, its worth asking why Kilicdaroglu is likely going to be the loser despite Turkey’s economic hardships and refugee problems—issues that have plagued Erdogan’s campaign.

The “Anybody but Erdogan” Coalition

Ukraine’s coming counteroffensive has a good chance of succeeding

Richard D. Hooker, Jr.

As the Ukrainian General Staff prepares for its much-heralded counteroffensive, retaking Crimea is at the top of the operational wish list. Some experts, including senior US officials, consider this an unrealistic aim. To be sure, there are many challenges. Attacking Crimea from the Kherson region would likely involve an opposed crossing of the Dnipro river, intense fighting to reach the narrow Perekop isthmus, and then essentially frontal attacks against heavily mined barriers to breach successive lines of Russian defenses, all in the face of strong Russian artillery. Ukraine will be hindered by its lack of air power and long-range fires, as well as an absence of amphibious or airborne platforms, making a frontal assault almost the only option.

Nevertheless, while daunting, the task is far from impossible. From the Huns and the Mongols to the British, the Bolsheviks, and the Germans, many invading armies have managed to conquer Crimea. Furthermore, Ukrainian morale, generalship, and combined arms capabilities all exceed Russia’s, while the fielding of up to eleven fresh brigades with excellent Western equipment has greatly strengthened Ukraine’s ground forces.

What might a Crimean offensive look like? The Ukrainian military may well conduct sophisticated shaping operations using drones, artillery strikes, and special operations forces. A successful crossing of the Dnipro and advance to the isthmus would also shake the resolve and fighting spirit of Russian defenders.

There may, however, be a better way. Past invasions, while successful, often proved extremely costly. The British and French lost 165,000 men during the mid-nineteenth century Crimean War, for example. Given its high losses to date, Ukraine will seek to achieve its strategic objectives while preserving as much of its armed strength and physical infrastructure as possible. Bitter fighting on the Crimean peninsula would also take a heavy toll on civilians. Accordingly, cutting Crimea off from Russia and starving it of military support could achieve Ukrainian war aims at much lower cost.

Russian Tank Fires on One of Its Own Troops, Video Appears to Show


Footage has emerged that appears to show a Russian tank firing on one of its own soldiers from almost point-blank range in Ukraine.

The video was posted on Ukrainian Telegram channel Extreme Tourism Company, which has 2,200 subscribers, and credited to Ukraine's 67th Mechanized Brigade.

Russian troops have largely succeeded in capturing the Donbas city of Bakhmut, following months of fighting, though Kyiv denies it has lost control entirely. Ukrainian intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov said he expects his country to launch a widely anticipated counter-offensive "soon," in an interview with Japanese broadcaster NHK.

In the 54-second Telegram footage, which was first posted by Extreme Tourism Company on Wednesday, a tank can be seen advancing through a shell-cratered landscape. After about 15 seconds the tank stops and fires a shot from close range at a soldier who is walking away from it through a wooded area. The shell explodes near the soldier throwing up a cloud of dust, meaning its not clear if they survived.

A Russian T-72B tank, which had been captured by Ukrainian forces, is pictured in Ukraine's Kharkiv region on September 28, 2022. A Russian soldier was shot at by a Russian tank this week, according to social media reports.SCOTT PETERSON/GETTY

In an accompanying post Extreme Tourism Company attributed the footage, which appears to have been filmed from a drone, to Ukraine's 67th Brigade. They claim both the tank and soldier were Russian, commenting: "Raska (an offensive term for Russians) is a village of fools.

"The tanker did not figure out that he was near his positions, and the orc clearly did not expect this from his tankers!"

Is the Sun Finally Setting on the Attack Helicopter? Here’s Everything You Need to Know


The Russian invasion of Ukraine has not been kind to the attack helicopters participating, with more than 60 lost since the war began.

In the last 20 years, attack helicopters have proven themselves vulnerable to ground fire, especially shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles.

Attack helicopters must change with the times—or become obsolete.

Perhaps one of the most motivational sights on the modern battlefield is a friendly attack helicopter, bristling with guns, rockets, and missiles, dipping low as it plunges forward to deal death and destruction upon the enemy.

Yet, evidence suggests that if the attack helicopter survives on the modern battlefield that image may have to change, with armed helicopters attacking their targets far behind friendly lines. Blame it on the inherent nature of helicopters themselves, and the proliferation of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles that can swat them like flies.

Here’s what you need to know about the future of the attack helicopter.

It’s Official! Ukrainian Su-24 ‘Fencer’ Fighter Jets Are Pounding Russian Military With Storm Shadow Missiles

Sakshi Tiwari

Ukrainian Defense Minister Olexii Reznikov recently published a picture of a modified Ukrainian Su-24 Fencer aircraft outfitted with the British Storm Shadow missile, in what could be the first direct admission that a modified Fencer is being used as a carrier for the newly acquired long-range missiles.

After meeting British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, Reznikov tweeted three images and a lengthy caption acknowledging British support for Ukraine.

In one image, the two leaders are seen shaking hands, while in another, Wallace could be seen with a “thumbs up.”

Tucked between these two images is the most intriguing part of the tweet – a photo of a Su-24 fitted with a Storm Shadow missile which was given to Wallace to sign.

In this particular image, a Storm Shadow is carried beneath the fixed wing’s “glove” pylon on the right side of the jet. Wallace autographed the photo with: “To all the brave ‘few’ who risk all for the glory of Ukraine.”

As soon as the image was published, it went viral online, piquing the interest of military watchers. The official Twitter account of ‘Ukraine Weapon Tracker’ published a high-resolution version of the same image, shedding more light on the details of the aircraft laden with Storm Shadow missiles.

“We obtained the first-ever HQ image of the Storm Shadow missile used by the Ukrainian Air Force, carried by Su-24MR “Yellow 60″ of the 7th Tactical Aviation Brigade. This aircraft, refurbed in 2018, was originally a reconnaissance model-until recently of limited use,” the group said in a tweet.

Despite being an archaic Soviet warplane, Su-24 remains a potent long-range attack aircraft with precision attack capability. The Su-24MR (Fencer-E) is a specialized derivative for tactical reconnaissance which entered service four decades ago in 1983.

Ukraine war latest: Ballistic missiles fired at Kyiv; Belgorod in Russia 'under fire from Ukrainian troops'

Russia fired ballistic missiles at Kyiv during its strike on the Ukrainian capital this morning; several frontier settlements in Russia's Belgorod region are being shelled simultaneously by Ukrainian forces, the governor in the area says.

A New Cold War May Call for a Return to Nonalignment

Shivshankar Menon

At first glance, the policy of nonalignment may seem irrelevant in today’s increasingly polarized world. The Western alliance is more united than since the Cold War, with even Finland and Sweden abandoning neutrality to join NATO. Other sharpening divides—between democracies and autocracies, rich and poor—dominate international affairs and contribute to the fragmentation of economies and polities.

Why Latin America Will Stay Nonaligned

Jacob Sugarman

On Feb. 23, the eve of the one-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine, U.S. Ambassador to Argentina Marc Stanley gathered with the Ukraine Embassy chargé d’affaires Sergei Nebrat at the North American Cultural Institute of Argentina in downtown Buenos Aires. The diplomats’ ostensible purpose was to unveil a photography exhibit celebrating the resilience of the Ukrainian people. In practice, the event served as an opportunity to denounce Russian President Vladimir Putin—and, perhaps, to pressure the Argentine government ahead of the October elections to align itself more fully with Ukraine. (In Latin America, only Chilean President Gabriel Boric has condemned Putin’s invasion from the start.)

Why Gas Prices Are Cheaper Right Now


Ayear ago, heading into Memorial Day weekend, people were freaking out about gas prices.

Prices at the pump hit $4.72 a gallon on May 30 and then soared past $5 a gallon in June. Diesel prices were as high as they’d been in the U.S. since the government started tracking them, which sent prices soaring for just about everything that moves by truck or boat or plane.

This year, though, travelers are getting a reprieve; gas prices are hovering around $3.57 a gallon, down from both a month ago and a year ago. These lower prices are tied to the price of crude oil, which is down about 35% from last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Oil production has not been impacted as much as analysts worried it would be during last year’s invasion of Ukraine, says Patrick De Haan, head petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, and Russia is still sending crude oil to the market. At the same time, demand is weakening as worries about a recession dampen consumer spending and as retailers flush with inventory order less stuff.

Last year, by contrast, worries about supply constraints were happening as consumer demand was soaring, requiring more trucks on the road and more diesel to fuel them, causing prices to rise.

“The big story from my chair is that demand is weaker,” De Haan says. On average, between lower diesel and gasoline prices, the U.S. spends roughly $667 million less per day on fuel than it did a year ago, De Haan estimates. Low prices should continue throughout the summer and into October, according to a forecast from UBS.

Judy Asks: Is Ukraine a Game Changer for European Defense?


Russia’s war in Ukraine has spearheaded significant developments aimed at boosting European defense capabilities. But Ukraine’s role as a game changer for EU defense is a matter of perspective.

On the one hand, and in terms of a mentality shift, it is undeniable that EU leaders agree on the need to reassess the union’s security and defense capabilities and spending to become more strategically autonomous. In this respect, the European Peace Facility (EPF) is an important instrument now providing assistance to Ukraine and allowing the EU to reimburse member states for donated ammunition from existing stocks.

The EPF sits outside the EU budget. It remains to be seen whether this will cement into a structural commitment in the bloc’s budget or, for that matter, what this will mean for the EU’s political identity as a defense actor.

Another short-term EU instrument has been recently adopted to reinforce defense industrial capabilities through a common procurementscheme. This will support member states in filling their most urgent and critical gaps in a collaborative way and contribute to strengthening the “European Defence Union” and a defense single market.

On the other hand, are these recent commitments enough to forge a long-term strategic vision for an EU-wide security and defense architecture? This will certainly require a clearer understanding of the EU’s and its member states’ joint goals, the division of labor with NATO, and a stronger EU-level coordination in terms of procurement and defense industrial cooperation.


Definitely yes. European armies have realized how weak they are and are building new plans and strategies for capability development. For example, the Czech army this week changed its earlier decision to buy three middle-sized drones and instead of them will buy 200 small ones.

If we include the European defense industry, then the answer is more complicated. Again, there is a new list of needs. Still, this industry is quite fragmented and underinvested and, new investments take years to materialize even if the EU will inundate them with funds, as we see in the case of artillery ammunition production.

Sudan and the New Age of Conflict

Comfort Ero and Richard Atwood

For the past year, much of the world’s attention has been focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and rising tensions between the United States and China over Taiwan—flashpoints that could trigger direct or even nuclear confrontation between the major powers. But the outbreak of fighting in Sudan should also give world leaders pause: it threatens to be the latest in a wave of devastating wars in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia that over the past decade have ushered in a new era of instability and strife. Mostly because of conflicts, more people are displaced (100 million) or in need of humanitarian aid (339 million) than at any point since World War II.

Since fighting erupted in April between Sudan’s armed forces and a paramilitary group notorious for atrocities committed two decades ago in Darfur, at least 700,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, hundreds have been killed, and thousands more injured. Street battles, explosions, and aerial bombardments are devastating the capital, Khartoum, as the two factions vie for control over this northeastern African country of 45 million. In Darfur, tribal militias have entered the fray, raising fears of a wider conflagration. Cease-fires have repeatedly broken down.

The dynamics at play in Sudan’s crisis mirror those of many wars in this recent wave. The roots of these conflicts lie in struggles to shake off decades of dictatorial rule, they disproportionately affect civilians, and they are prone to foreign meddling. The involvement of an ever-larger cast of outside actors—not only major powers but also so-called middle powers such as Iran, Turkey, and the Gulf monarchies—has fueled and prolonged this latest spate of wars, as regional powers compete for influence amid uncertainty about the future of the global order.

Can a Soldier Come Home From War?

John Waters

It has been said that a lifestyle arose after 20 years of the war on terror. People lived in the war long enough that it became an alternative to everything else. Better than a video game. Better than boredom. Going to war “was the only thing for a man to do, easily and naturally, when he might have done something else,” as Hemingway wrote. But the portal to war’s mystery closed once the fighting stopped. You feel the need to talk but there's no one who can listen. People have heard “too many atrocity stories" to be entertained by the simple truth that you liked it, that war magnified who you were. Once you lose the quality that made you vital, you discover the hardest part of going to war is coming home to face yourself.

For combat veterans, the process of resuming normal life has meant a series of abstract labels and diagnoses. It began with post-traumatic stress disorder. Then came anxiety disorders. "Moral injury," discussed among mental health professionals if not operationalized for diagnosis, appeared somewhere along the way, but there have been many others. Daniel Swift, a Navy SEAL who died fighting in Ukraine earlier this year, had been diagnosed with something called "adjustment disorder." Evidently, it's a term encompassing feelings of hopelessness and anxiety experienced after a complex, stressful life event. For Swift, that event was coming home from war and attempting re-entry into civilian life.

Though war is among the hardest things a person can survive, it's not the only hard thing. Countless events unrelated to combat trauma can trigger dark feelings. Love, loss, and death form parts of everyone's experience, and the totality of their effect on our psychology and behavior can change who we are. When combat infantryman Bill Bee wrote about holding a Marine's hand as he died of a gunshot wound to the head during a tour in Helmand, most of us could imagine how it might feel (or remember how it felt) to be similarly helpless, holding a parent's hand as life fades away.

In her new book Night Vision: Seeing Ourselves Through Dark Moods (Princeton, 2023), philosophy professor Mariana Alessandri argues persuasively that so-called "dark moods" should not be shamed and covered in stigma. She frames these moods as natural responses to the skin-of-your-teeth, emotionally rich experience of living. "[In life], I don't think suffering is optional," she told me by telephone. Life, especially one that includes combat, will inevitably agitate and stir our "arsenal of feelings," and wanting constant positivity and success creates unhealthy expectations. Though her book does not contemplate how and why veterans deal with "dark moods" as they reassimilate to life after war, Alessandri was quick to acknowledge how cold the world can feel when a person is open about sadness, grief, and suffering. Perhaps medical health professionals and "superstar bloggers" have claimed too much responsibility for "narrating our psychic lives," she writes. It is okay to feel sad; the world has always been full of tragedy. We spoke about her book and inspiration, and how this brand of philosophy might apply to combat veterans. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation.

Why did you write Night Vision?

Kissinger at 100: A Stalwart in Realpolitik More Relevant than Ever

Carlos Roa

Today—May 27, 2023—marks the 100th birthday of Henry A. Kissinger, one of America’s most influential and famous foreign policy minds (and Honorary Chairman of The National Interest). In commemoration of this date, The National Interest will be rerunning some of our best content on Kissinger throughout the day.

It is likewise worth spending a moment contemplating Kissinger himself on this occasion, for in the annals of American diplomatic history, few figures command such awe, inspire such debate, or embody such complexity.

A refugee from Nazi Germany, Kissinger’s life and career embody a particularly American tradition: triumphing over adversity, working service to a new homeland, and relentless intellectual engagement with the challenges of one’s era. Rising from relative obscurity to the zenith of American power, his trajectory embodied the promise of the American Dream, even as his approach to international relations was grounded in a deeply pragmatic and realist worldview.

Kissinger’s approach to foreign policy—realpolitik—is defined by a clear-eyed understanding of the world as it is, rather than as we might wish it to be. Power, balance, negotiation—these were his instruments. He sought not to reshape the world in America’s image, but to manage it, to balance its forces, and thus secure the national interest. This approach won him both admirers and detractors. To his supporters, this sort of pragmatism is a breath of fresh air in a world full of ideological crusades. To his critics, his approach is a chilling dismissal of human rights, if not worse.

But Kissinger’s accomplishments as Secretary of State and National Security Advisor speak for him. He laid the groundwork for détente with the Soviet Union, pursued a policy of engagement with China that profoundly reshaped the global order, and sought a lasting peace in the Middle East with the historic shuttle diplomacy after the Yom Kippur War. His negotiation of the Paris Peace Accords, for all their imperfections, helped bring an end to U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Assessing Ukraine’s Air Defense Deterrent – Analysis

Can Kasapoğlu*

1. Evaluating Russian Airpower

In the opening stages of its invasion of Ukraine, Russian airpower fell short in two crucial tasks. It failed to attain air superiority, and it failed to ground the Ukrainian Air Force. The inability of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) to run a robust SEAD (suppression of enemy air defenses) campaign proved costly. The VKS’s shortfalls, combined with Ukraine’s dispersed air defenses and effective SAM (surface-to-air missile) capabilities, attritted Russian airpower. Worse for Moscow, its lack of precision-guided munitions forced Russian pilots to fly at lower altitudes. As a result, Ukraine’s MANPADS (man-portable air defense systems) preyed on Russian aircraft at lower altitudes, scoring sensational kills of advanced Russian platforms.

The VKS’s unsuccessful SEAD performance left many of the Ukrainian Air Force’s critical facilities operational, including command-control nodes, ammunition depots, and runways. Thus, while outmatched by the VKS in aerial engagements, the Ukrainian Air Force has managed to fly combat sorties at low altitudes for brief periods to date, exploiting ground clutter and using terrain masking to its advantage.

As previous editions of this report have explained, Russia’s Su-35S and Su-30SM aircraft, equipped with long-range R-77-1 air-to-air missiles, and respectively with N035 Irbis-E and N110M Bars-M radars, outclass the Ukrainian Mig-29 and Su-27 fleet with its R-27R/ER missiles. Advanced Russian aircraft regularly conduct combat air patrols (CAPs)—during which they defend an airspace against adversary aircraft—between altitudes of 20,000 and 26,000 feet. These aircraft, as well as the Su-34 tactical bomber, also carry L-175 “Khibiny” electronic warfare pods that jam Ukrainian platforms’ sensors and in-flight communications.

Russian air defenses are also strong. Its long-range S-400 SAM systems, empowered by Podlet 48Ya6-K1 radars customized for detecting aircraft at low altitudes, have proven effective against the Ukrainian Air Force. Field reports and interviews with Ukrainian airmen indicate that Podlet radar has helped Russian SAM systems score kills against aircraft flying over 150 kilometers away at altitudes below 50 feet. Su-35S combat air patrols at mid-altitude levels have used R-37 air-to-air missiles to intercept Ukrainian aircraft at even longer ranges, marking kills as far as 177 kilometers away. Layered with frontline SAM systems such as the SA-17 and SA-15, Russia’s combat-deployed air defenses pose a serious threat.

Consider The Porcupine: Western Officials Struggle To Find A New Security Model For Ukraine – Analysis

Mike Eckel

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is grinding into its 16th month with no end in sight. Impatience is mounting in Western capitals about how long the conflict will rage, how long Ukraine can hold out, and how long Western voters — U.S. first and foremost — will continue to support sending billions in weaponry to Kyiv.

Some of Ukraine’s staunchest backers — in Washington, Brussels, and elsewhere — say nothing less than full membership in NATO will resolve the conflict.

But the prospect of NATO membership for Ukraine has been a prominent constant in a series of shifting grievances cited by the Kremlin as justification for launching Europe’s largest land war since World War II.

So, what about opening the spigot of Western weaponry even further, for the foreseeable future, while offering some sort of limited security assurance, and taking the near-term prospect of NATO membership off the table?

Sort of like Israel.

Also referred to as the “porcupine” model, the idea is gaining traction in some NATO hallways as diplomats struggle to figure out how to untangle the conflict without throwing Ukraine under the bus — or rewarding Russia for its aggression.

The president of Poland, one of Ukraine’s strongest supporters, endorses the idea.

“The discussions on this one are going on right now,” Andrzej Duda told The Wall Street Journal an interview published this week.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has accepted an invitation to attend the upcoming NATO summit in Lithuania in July, and alliance members will consider setting up a new entity called the Ukraine NATO Council. The arrangement would allow for Ukraine to summon the council and seek assistance in the event of threats, the newspaper said; individual members countries, but not the alliance as a whole, would then provide assistance.
‘One Of The Strongest Armies In The World’

Turn Ukraine Into a Bristling Porcupine

Franz-Stefan Gady

The Spanish American philosopher George Santanaya once remarked that “only the dead have seen the end of war.” In truth, however, all high-intensity wars eventually end, and Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine will end at some point, too. When this happens—whether as a result of victory or mutual exhaustion, whether the guns remain silent or some degree of fighting continues along a static front line—the West needs a game plan to deter future Russian aggression. It must make sure that this will not be a repeat of 2014, when Russia paused its invasion in Crimea and the Donbas while it prepared for a full-on war. This time, there must not be a follow-on war a few years down the road.

The Truth About Joe Biden’s Immigration Policy – OpEd

Vikram Zutshi

The roots of the immigration crisis at the US-Mexico border can be traced back to historical factors that have shaped the region. The United States and Mexico share a complex history marked by colonialism, territorial disputes, economic interdependence, and socio-political factors. Economic disparities, limited opportunities, violence, and political instability in Mexico have historically pushed individuals to seek a better life across the border. Simultaneously, the demand for labor in the United States has acted as a magnet, pulling migrants northward.

The signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994 brought about a significant shift in the dynamics of US-Mexico relations. While NAFTA aimed to promote economic growth and development, it also had unintended consequences for Mexican farmers and small-scale industries. The influx of subsidized American agricultural products led to the displacement of local farmers and increased unemployment. This economic upheaval, coupled with the lure of higher wages and employment opportunities, further fueled migration from Mexico to the United States.
A Teetering System

According to the most reliable estimates, there were approximately 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States. However, these numbers may have fluctuated since then. The Migration Policy Institute estimated that around 79% of the undocumented immigrant population in the United States in 2018 originated from Mexico and Central America, including countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

The numbers tell us that the US has an immigration crisis. Past reforms have attempted to address the complexities of the border crisis. The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 sought to grant amnesty to undocumented immigrants while simultaneously increasing border enforcement measures. However, the implementation of IRCA faced challenges, and subsequent reforms failed to provide a comprehensive solution. The absence of a clear path to legal status for those unauthorized immigrants who arrived after the IRCA, coupled with inadequate border security measures, contributed to an ongoing cycle of unauthorized migration.

The G7 Meeting: New Roles For A Venerable Organization – Analysis

June Teufel Dreyer*

(FPRI) — The annual meeting of the world’s seven most economically prosperous democratic countries—plus the European Union—that comprise the G7 always generates a good deal of anticipation. That was especially the case this year, given Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

Originally founded in 1967 to address economic problems attendant on the first oil crisis, the G7 gradually took on new roles like the environment, food security, and human rights. Until recently, the grouping tread very lightly on matters of international relations. The organization was briefly a G8—Russia, despite being neither a leading world economy nor a democracy, was admitted in 1997 on the now naïve-seeming assumption that it might become both. Russia was expelled in 2014 after its invasion and annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Last year’s G7 meeting, in the Bavarian Alps, was dominated by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, as was this year’s, with added intensity as the war dragged on. All members save Japan are members of the North American Treaty Organization (NATO), and NATO has announced its intention to open an office in Tokyo. For its part, Japan is clearly aware of the dangers that the de facto Russo-Chinese alliance poses for control of the waterways that are crucial to its continued economic prosperity. In what observers interpreted as a demonstration to Tokyo of Russian sovereignty over the disputed Kuril Islands, the Russian military conducted an air defense drill in the area just before the conference opened.

As this year’s host of the rotating presidency, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida chose Hiroshima as its venue. In addition to being his hometown, it is the ideal place to showcase Japan’s ongoing crusade to abolish all nuclear weapons. Mindful of concerns in the Global South that they are being neglected by members of richer states, Kishida invited the leaders of several of them—including India and Brazil, both of whom have thus far refused to condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine—as well as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The latter was expected to attend virtually due to his need to direct the war effort and the dangers of travel, but arrived secretly via Saudi Arabia, thus enabling him to focus attention on his country’s plight in person and to shore up what seemed to be flagging support for Ukraine among certain European states.