13 June 2023

Five Security Challenges of Manipur and Way Ahead

Rajiv Kumar Srivastava – Defence Analyst

Bloated Narrators with Biased Narrative

The current imbroglio of Manipur which cost lives and huge loss of property may not be entirely triggered by two or three causes, be it high court directions on ST status, forest land surveyor or removal of a few religious encroachment. One thing that stands out that foundations of this hate filled macabre violence were laid months before by scripting ultra nationalist narrative and continuously feeding to target audience . Most of the talk show or articles can be broadly grouped in to two. One, dealing with past history, different land population density and the second group emphasising why power sharing between three ethnic groups are not feasible. Majority of them had a clear cut agenda, perhaps to protect and enhance their shares. All the narrators deliberated on negative aspect of extension of reservation will create catastrophe in the state and as if it’s benefits to Manipuri citizens are not applicable pan India. Few self styled ethnic group spokesperson also did not give impression of them individually gone through the sufferings or suffered violence at the street. Their postures in studio gave out their ease of life far from ground realities of hills or valleys of Manipur. At one glance one can say that most of state based narrators appeared to be rich probably due to their share from informal trade.

Unfolding and unabated mindless violence betrayed century old Vaishnav or Christian ethos of protecting infirm, when a group operating very close to a police station,dragged and burnt mother and an injured child moving in ambulance in Imphal city on Sunday night, 04 June 23 ,victims plea for mercy were not heeded. In Manipur, one took pride in giving respect to mothers and child by keeping them out of any violence in the past. Respect and honour accorded to Meera Paibi, the torch bearer mothers of Manipur is a shining example of this traditions. No one dares to defy mothers. Now, this attack on woman and her child will leave a scar, which will remain for many years and huge efforts needed by few statesmen, international sportspersons and Meera Paibi from the state to heal it. Having gone through sufferings of innocent , now is the time to spell out five security challenges and way ahead.

De-weaponies the Society

Pakistani Authorities Give Imran Khan a Taste of His Own Medicine

Lynne O’Donnell

The government of Pakistan has taken a big step in its march toward autocracy by throwing a blanket media ban over former Prime Minister Imran Khan, its latest attempt to silence the most electable politician the country has seen in decades. It’s another move by the state aimed at crushing any chance Khan has of regaining the top office—using, ironically enough, the very weapons he wielded to browbeat political foes.

China's hypersonic missiles threaten US power in the Pacific – an aerospace engineer explains how the weapons work and the unique threats they pose

Iain Boyd

Military vehicles carry an earlier version of China's hypersonic missile during a 2019 parade. 

China’s newest hypersonic missile, the DF-27, can fly as far as Hawaii, penetrate U.S. missile defenses and pose a particular threat to U.S. aircraft carriers, according to news reports of an assessment from the Pentagon.

Chinese researchers claimed in a May 2023 research journal report that the country’s hypersonic missiles could destroy a U.S. carrier group “with certainty.” This capability threatens to sideline U.S. aircraft carrier groups in the Pacific, potentially shifting the strategic balance of power and leaving the U.S. with limited options for assisting Taiwan in the event China invades.

This shift in the balance of power highlights how the next-generation hypersonic missiles that China, Russia and the U.S. are developing pose a significant threat to global security. I am an aerospace engineer who studies space and defense systems, including hypersonic systems. These new systems pose an important challenge due to their maneuverability all along their trajectory. Because their flight paths can change as they travel, defending against these missiles requires tracking them throughout their flight.

A second important challenge stems from the fact that they operate in a different region of the atmosphere from other existing threats. The new hypersonic weapons fly much higher than slower subsonic missiles but much lower than intercontinental ballistic missiles. The U.S. and its allies do not have good tracking coverage for this in-between region, nor do Russia or China.

Destabilizing effect

Russia has claimed that some of its hypersonic weapons can carry a nuclear warhead. This statement alone is a cause for concern whether or not it is true. If Russia ever operates this system against an enemy, that country would have to decide the probability of the weapon being conventional or nuclear.

The Pentagon Is Freaking Out About a Potential War With China


Michael Hirsh is the former foreign editor and chief diplomatic correspondent for Newsweek, and the former national editor for Politico Magazine.

The war began in the early morning hours with a massive bombardment — China’s version of “shock and awe.” Chinese planes and rockets swiftly destroyed most of Taiwan’s navy and air force as the People’s Liberation army and navy mounted a massive amphibious assault across the 100-mile Taiwan Strait. Having taken seriously President Joe Biden’s pledge to defend the island, Beijing also struck pre-emptively at U.S. and allied air bases and ships in the Indo-Pacific. The U.S. managed to even the odds for a time by deploying more sophisticated submarines as well as B-21 and B-2 stealth bombers to get inside China’s air defense zones, but Washington ran out of key munitions in a matter of days and saw its network access severed. The United States and its main ally, Japan, lost thousands of servicemembers, dozens of ships, and hundreds of aircraft. Taiwan’s economy was devastated. And as a protracted siege ensued, the U.S. was much slower to rebuild, taking years to replace ships as it reckoned with how shriveled its industrial base had become compared to China’s.

The Chinese “just ran rings around us,” said former Joint Chiefs Vice Chair Gen. John Hyten in one after-action report. “They knew exactly what we were going to do before we did it.”

Dozens of versions of the above war-game scenario have been enacted over the last few years, most recently in April by the House Select Committee on competition with China. And while the ultimate outcome in these exercises is not always clear — the U.S. does better in some than others — the cost is. In every exercise the U.S. uses up all its long-range air-to-surface missiles in a few days, with a substantial portion of its planes destroyed on the ground. In every exercise the U.S. is not engaged in an abstract push-button war from 30,000 feet up like the ones Americans have come to expect since the end of the Cold War, but a horrifically bloody one.

With eye on China, US and five allies condemn trade-related 'economic coercion'

Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON, June 9 (Reuters) - The United States and five of its allies on Friday condemned the use of trade practices that amount to economic coercion in a joint declaration that did not single out other countries but appeared to be aimed at China.

Australia, Britain, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand jointly released the statement with the United States, emphasizing that "trade-related economic coercion and non-market-oriented policies and practices" threatened the multi-lateral trading system and "harms relations between countries."

The statement comes after the Group of Seven leaders last month agreed to a new initiative to counter economic coercion and pledged action to ensure that any actors attempting to weaponize economic dependence would fail and face consequences.

The United States, Britain, Japan and Canada are also members of the G7.

The countries expressed concern about "pervasive subsidization," anti-competitive practices by state-owned enterprises, forced technology transfer, and government interference with corporate decision-making.

Washington has regularly raised such concerns about trade practices by Beijing, and an official from the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, who spoke to reporters about the joint declaration, cited China for imposing a ban on imports from Lithuania after Lithuania allowed Taiwan to open a de facto embassy.

China, which regards the democratically-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory, suspended imports of beef, dairy and beer from Lithuania last year.

In May, Beijing protested the G7's declarations, including on economic coercion, saying the U.S. was "pushing hard to weave an anti-China net in the Western world."

In their joint statement on Friday, the U.S. and its five allies also raised concerns about forced labor.

China can’t rely on Southeast Asian exports to offset a U.S. slowdown

Evelyn Cheng

China’s exports to the U.S. fell by 18% from a year ago in U.S. dollar terms in May. That’s according to official figures accessed through Wind Information. Exports to Southeast Asia also fell.

Southeast Asia can’t fully offset the loss from the U.S. market, said Bruce Pang, chief economist and head of research for Greater China at JLL.

Slowing global growth, especially in the U.S. and Southeast Asia, doesn’t bode well for the outlook on Chinese exports.

Pictured here is a cargo ship sailing from China’s Yantai port to Indonesia on April 23, 2023.
Future Publishing | Future Publishing | Getty Images

Exports to the Association of Southeast Asia Nations have been growing. The 10-member bloc surpassed the European Union during the pandemic to become China’s largest trading partner on a regional basis.

Data showed that exports to Southeast Asia fell by 16% in May compared to a year ago, dragging down China’s overall exports.

Exports to the U.S. — China’s largest trading partner on a single-country basis — fell by 18% from a year ago in U.S. dollar terms in May. That’s according to official figures accessed through Wind Information.

At $42.48 billion, the U.S. exports in May were more than the $41.49 billion China exported to Southeast Asia that month, according to customs data.

Southeast Asia can’t fully offset the loss from the U.S. market, said Bruce Pang, chief economist and head of research for Greater China at JLL.

How the US is deepening military alliances in China’s backyard

Demetri Sevastopulo

In the three decades since the end of the cold war, the leafy streets around Mimosa Plus Golf Course in Clark, an area about 92km north of the Philippines’ capital Manila, have been largely quiet, populated mainly by retirees.

But one day in April, about 100 US troops were sitting on a pavement and more spilling out of a hotel — a reminder of an era when Clark was the world’s biggest air base outside US territory.

“They’re back,” says onlooker Denmark Blances, a tourism student. “I’ve never seen so many US uniforms.” The troops were participating in Balikatan, or “shoulder to shoulder”, a large military exercise the US conducts annually with its oldest ally in Asia. This year it involved more than 17,600 members of the forces, the most since the US lost permanent access to Clark in 1991.

The stepped-up drills are just one element of an expansive, multi-pronged strategy that the Biden administration has introduced across the Indo-Pacific to counter what it sees as the growing military threat from China in the region.

When Joe Biden took office, there was some concern, particularly among allies such as Japan, that he might adopt a weaker approach on China than his predecessor Donald Trump, who took a much sharper position than previous US presidents.

Yet Biden has taken an unexpectedly tough stance in terms of security and other measures such as export controls designed to prevent China from obtaining advanced semiconductors.

In the diplomatic realm, he has sought to ramp up co-ordination with allies in Asia that were already becoming tougher on China, while persuading initially reluctant European allies to strike a tougher tone. That has been accompanied by numerous security initiatives designed to boost deterrence in Asia, and to help Washington and its allies to better prepare for conflict with China over Taiwan if deterrence fails.

China’s Middle Eastern Moment


Abdullah Baabood is a nonresident scholar at the Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center. He holds the chair of the state of Qatar for Islamic area studies and is a visiting professor at the Faculty of International Research and Education at Waseda University in Tokyo. Recently, he wrote an article for Carnegie titled, “Why China Is Emerging as a Main Promoter of Stability in the Strait of Hormuz.” Diwan interviewed Baabood in late May to discuss his article, and more broadly to get his perspective on China’s changing role in the Middle East, particularly with regard to the Gulf countries.

MY: You recently wrote an article on China’s role in the Strait of Hormuz. What was your argument and your major conclusions?

Abdullah Baabood: I argued that due to China’s reliance on the Gulf region for a significant quantity of its oil and gas, it has a strong interest in preserving stability and security in this region, a clear example of which was its brokering of the recent Saudi-Iranian reconciliation agreement. The Gulf is an area of significant opportunity for China in its global geostrategic competition with the United States, as, unlike Washington, Beijing enjoys close bilateral relations with countries on both sides of the Strait of Hormuz. As its interests in the region have grown, China has become a principal stakeholder in the strait’s security. The Saudi-Iranian agreement only reaffirmed this, contributing to defusing strains in the Strait of Hormuz and the broader region.

The military presence of the United States and its allies in the strait has encouraged China to share the burden of security in the region to protect its commercial interests, particularly as Beijing is acutely vulnerable to disruptions in oil supplies. China’s facilitation of the Saudi-Iran agreement also demonstrates how Beijing’s expanding economic clout allows it to play a greater role in influencing regional security dynamics as well as building diplomatic bridges in areas of strategic importance, thereby protecting its commercial interests. It is longer a “free rider,” to use the terms of former U.S. president Barack Obama, acting under a U.S. and Western security umbrella.

MY: While China was the formal sponsor of the recent Saudi-Iranian reconciliation, can you tell us in practical terms what this means? How can Beijing influence implementation of the agreement, or lack thereof?

Did German Pilots Just Pass NATO’s Tactics to China?

Franz-Stefan Gady

There is a long history of German military pilots helping the Chinese air force. In the 1930s, Nazi Germany dispatched military advisors to help build and train the air force of the Republic of China, which was simultaneously fighting communist insurgents under Mao Zedong and the invading Imperial Japanese Army. Chinese-German relations soured a few years later, when Berlin allied with Tokyo in the Tripartite Pact. By then, however, Chinese pilots had not only been trained by the formidable German air force—the Luftwaffe—but were also flying German-made bombers and fighter aircraft to attack the communists and Japanese.

The US should pay close attention to Saudi Arabia’s domestic policy

Jonathan Panikoff

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday at an especially delicate moment in the kingdom’s relationship with the United States. While the secretary’s visit will involve a litany of policy objectives and discussions across various sectors, its overarching goal is almost certainly singular: to put relations back on a more stable track.

Those relations have waned and waxed since US President Joe Biden went to Jeddah almost eleven months ago. They were strained by the Saudi-driven OPEC+ decision in October 2022 to cut oil production and Biden’s promise for a full-scale review of the US relationship with the kingdom. Conversely, they have been enhanced by Riyadh’s choice of Boeing to build planes for its new airline and US efforts to soften the ground by sending multiple emissaries to improve bilateral ties.

Officials in both Riyadh and Washington sense the seesaw nature of the relationship. Among the few areas of complete agreement is that both countries would prefer something more stable. Stability will not equate to agreement on all issues, but it could mean establishing clearer expectations and agreeing to avoid surprise decisions.
Saudi domestic policy is driving its foreign policy

Too often, countries underestimate or forget just how much other countries’ foreign policies are simply a reflection of domestic priorities and politics. Saudi Arabia is a case in point. However they might appear from the outside, Riyadh’s foreign priorities today are little more than a shadow of its domestic policy. Saudi officials’ single overriding goal is to create, in record time, a vibrant and diverse economy to ensure the kingdom’s wealth and regional hegemony long after oil is no longer the world’s dominant energy source.

Is Saudi-Israeli Normalization Worth It?

Aaron David Miller

The U.S.-Saudi relationship is too big to fail. That’s clearly the Biden administration’s mindset as Secretary of State Antony Blinken heads to the Saudi capital, Riyadh, this week, following National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan’s visit to the country last month, to woo a problematic partner. The latest twist in this complex relationship is a U.S. push to test the waters for an Israeli-Saudi normalization agreement.

Splitting The China-Russia Axis Starts With A Negotiated Settlement In Ukraine


President Trump claims he would end the Russia-Ukraine war in 24 hours but refuses to say how. Ron DeSantis’ position is unclear, and other GOP candidates support continued U.S. involvement in Ukraine without specifying clear limits on engagement. If elected president, I will end the war by ceasing further U.S. support for Ukraine and negotiating a peace treaty with Russia that achieves a vital U.S. security objective: ceasing Russia’s growing military alliance with China. This strategy is the mirror image of President Nixon’s diplomatic maneuver that distanced China from Russia in 1972 — except this time, Putin is the new Mao.

In 2001, Russia and China entered their Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation, and in February 2022 Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a more expansive “no-limits partnership.” Collectively, these agreements effectively commit each country to defend the other militarily if either is attacked.

The Sino-Russia alliance presents the greatest military risk the U.S. has ever faced. Russia and China together outmatch the U.S. in every area of great power competition: geographic footprint, economic potential, industrial manufacturing might, conventional military power, and nuclear weapons, including super-Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) weapons, which could destroy critical U.S. infrastructure resulting in hundreds of millions of American civilian casualties.

Beijing’s alliance with Russia provides China with sufficient strategic depth to chance direct conflict with the U.S. in the context of Taiwan, on the credible belief that the U.S. would not dare risk a simultaneous war with two allied nuclear superpowers. Russia is armed with the largest nuclear stockpile in the world and supersonic ballistic missiles well ahead of U.S. capabilities. But in the absence of Russia’s support, China would have to think twice before risking war with the U.S. over Taiwan.

President Biden’s ongoing support for Ukraine is pushing Russia into a closer military alliance with China, which increases the risk of nuclear war: Russia has nuclear capabilities in Poland-adjacent Kaliningrad and soon in Belarus too, and China is bound by treaty to back Russia. My top U.S. national security objective is to disrupt this Sino-Russian alliance in a manner that weakens China without war.

Opinion The key to ending the war in Ukraine? Attacking Crimea.

John E. Herbst and Daniel Fried

Ever since Russia first invaded and occupied parts of Ukraine in 2014, far too many Western policymakers assumed that Crimea was Russia’s real red line — the one territorial conquest it could never part with. Russia itself has spent considerable energy stressing this to Western interlocutors since then.

In reality, Crimea represents a point of maximum leverage. It is exactly where Ukraine needs to make battlefield gains to bring this war to a successful conclusion.

There are signs that the Ukrainian counteroffensive is starting to ramp up. While Ukraine will ultimately strike where it anticipates the most favorable outcome, many observers think Ukrainian forces will eventually have to make a push in the south to cut the land bridge running from Russia through occupied Donbas to Crimea. If successful, such a move could be decisive. It would divide Russian forces arrayed across Ukraine’s south, and even potentially put Crimea itself in a vulnerable position.

NATO’s big gamble in Ukraine has failed


The Russian military seems to be ahead of NATO on at least the following capabilities – air defence, electronic warfare, artillery/counter artillery, and hypersonic missiles.

Fifteen months into the biggest land war in Eurasia since the Second World War, the tables have turned. US and NATO began with a confidence that a proxy war was the only way to roll back Russian influence in Europe. It was aimed to cut Russia down to size and snuff out the incipient multipolar order.

On paper it was an ingenious, if diabolical, strategy. Ukrainian blood and NATO weapons would be more than a match for Russia. At the very least, western policymakers surmised, Russia would be bogged down in another protracted ‘Afghanistan’ or ‘Vietnam’ for years, while America would swoop across the world as a rejuvenated superpower.

The opposite has occurred. On every front in this proxy war – it is more apt to classify the conflict as a limited great power war – US goals have fallen short.

The US’s Weak Hand

The international community has stayed scrupulously away from lining up behind the West. Other than its loyal G-6 states in tow, Washington has witnessed a resounding rejection of NATO’s plan to demonise and contain Russia.

The Global South has instead discovered an opportunity to advance their own interests and embrace a multipolar world order where weaker states can henceforth bargain for better deals with the major players. India’s foreign policy exemplifies this trend that can today be seen in South America, Africa, Middle East and even in parts of East Asia.

Great power geopolitical alignments have also shifted adversely. China – the swing power for the West – has barely budged its position. Since the outbreak of the Ukraine war, Washington has attempted to imagine cleavages between Moscow and Beijing that it could exploit for a new western rapprochement with China.

The balancing act for the UK’s semiconductor strategy

Dr Patrick Schröder

How should the UK balance economic security and the energy transition to net-zero in times of worsening geopolitical tension?

The UK government launched its long-awaited semiconductor strategy on 19 May 2023. This 20-year plan aims to secure the UK’s leadership in design, research and some advanced aspects of next generation chip manufacturing in the global semiconductor industry. It also seeks to safeguard supply chains from disruption and protect technology against national security risks. However, questions remain about how the strategy will contribute to economic security as well as the energy transition to net-zero in times of worsening geopolitical tension.
Navigating the intensifying chip war

Currently, the UK, the US, Europe, China and many industries rely on Taiwan for cutting-edge semiconductor devices. Taiwan is the world’s most important location for high-performance semiconductors, with the key company being Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Ccompany (TSMC), the world’s largest foundry that counts major technology firms, such as Apple, Qualcomm and Nvidia, as its clients. It provides over half of global supply – with Samsung in South Korea as the next biggest supplier – and constituted nearly 90 per cent of the market for advanced microchips in 2020.

But this contract manufacturing model has become increasingly precarious. The pandemic disrupted chip supply chains and TSMC has become caught in a deepening battle between the US and China over technological leadership.

Indeed, the prospect of a trade blockade or a military conflict with China that threatens the supply of semiconductors from Taiwan would put global economic security and the energy transition at risk. In 2021, analysts at the US Army War College even suggested Taiwan should threaten to destroy its semiconductor industry rather than allow it to be captured by China in its Broken Nest Strategy. Such an outcome would be catastrophic, according to their strategy, not only for Taiwan, but across multiple global high-tech supply chains.

The United States and NATO at a Crossroads regarding the War in Ukrain

Eldad Shavit, Shimon Stein 

How can a toll be exacted from Russia, without deteriorating into an all-out war? Western leaders must now tackle this challenging question, following the escalation in the Ukrainian theater, Putin’s annexation announcement, and Russia’s threat to use nuclear weapons on the battlefield. What dilemmas confront the NATO members, first and foremost the United States, and what is Israel’s role in this inter-bloc struggle?

President Putin’s decision to annex four regions of Ukraine and his definition of his struggle against the Western elites as an existential struggle, while avowing his determination to defend the annexed territories and making implicit threats about the possibility of using unconventional weapons, significantly increase the risk of escalation. Consequently, the United States and its allies are now at a crossroads. It seems that Russia’s conduct will compel them to formulate a follow-up strategy that will heighten the challenge of supporting Ukraine without getting dragged into war with Russia. Thus far, aside from the threat of a serious and “decisive” response, the United States and NATO have maintained a veiled response to Russia’s potential use of unconventional weapons. The response could be political (cutting off relations) and economic, but a conventional military response cannot be ruled out. The official statement by Israel – which so far has refrained from responding to Ukraine’s request to provide it with military aid – that it will not recognize Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian regions is a positive step, but insufficient. The Israeli government should stand clearly by Ukraine’s side, including responding to its military requests. In addition, it should unhesitatingly stand by the side of the US in the struggle, which will influence the shaping of the future world order and the leading role of the United States.

The United States administration persists in its determined statements regarding Russia's actions in the war in Ukraine. In response to Russia's decision to annex four regions of Ukraine's territory, President Biden condemned the move, defined it as illegitimate, and stated that the United States will continue to help Ukraine restore its control over its territory by strengthening its military and diplomatic capabilities. Biden also warned Moscow that Washington would defend every inch of NATO territory. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg emphasized that Russia's actions constitute a rhetorical escalation the likes of which have not been seen since the beginning of the war.

President Putin's "implicit" threats regarding the possibility of using nuclear weapons have received considerable attention in Washington. The administration is increasingly concerned that in light of Ukraine's success in its counterattack, the likelihood of this scenario has increased, even if at the present time sources at the Pentagon emphasize that no concrete signs have been identified. In any case, the administration and its NATO allies have repeatedly stated that the response to any use of nuclear weapons will be "decisive." The US National Security Advisor emphasized that the administration has "communicated directly, privately and at very high levels to the Kremlin that any use of nuclear weapons will be met with catastrophic consequences for Russia, that the US and our allies will respond decisively, and we have been clear and specific about what that will entail.”

Can France’s Big Bucks Fill the Defense Gaps?

Michele Barbero

As the war in Ukraine rages on and Europeans scramble to boost their defense spending in response to the new reality of a high-intensity conflict on the continent, France is on track to approve its biggest military budget in over half a century. But critics say the extra cash will do little to make the EU’s most capable army better suited to the dangerous world that has emerged from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

What Wildfire Smoke, Gas Stoves and Covid Tell Us About Our Air

Linsey Marr

We just lived through a pandemic caused by a tiny virus floating in the air. Now we are experiencing wildfires that not only devastate communities and landscapes but also send out gigantic plumes of smoke that can affect millions of people downwind, as the Northeast is experiencing now.

If the pandemic was whispering to us about air quality, the wildfires are screaming to us about it. Add to that concerns about gas stoves and longer allergy seasons, and it’s clear we should be on the precipice of a new public health movement to improve the air we breathe.

Air pollution is bad for us, and we’ve known that for a long time. The ancient Romans wrote about “heavy heavens” generated by emissions from wood burning and metal processing. In 1948, killer smog in Donora, Pa., affected nearly half the town’s residents and inspired the comprehensive Clean Air Act of 1970. Currently, the World Health Organization estimates that indoor and outdoor air pollution is responsible for about 6.7 million premature deaths per year.

Why aren’t we doing more about the quality of the air we breathe?

While water and food are carefully regulated for safety, there are gaps in how we ensure the safety of our air. The National Ambient Air Quality Standards apply to outdoor air and are designed to protect health, but no such standards exist for indoor air quality for the public, even though we spend, on average, about 90 percent of our time indoors. Also, these standards don’t help when unstoppable plumes of wildfire smoke drift through our cities and towns.

Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Has Likely Begun


Ukraine launched a flurry of localized offensives across the battlefield on June 4 and 5, most notably in Russian-occupied southern Donetsk Oblast. These attacks likely aim merely to probe Russian defenses or divert Russia’s attention from a forthcoming larger offensive. Nevertheless, the early stages of Kyiv’s much-anticipated counteroffensive appear to have begun.

Ukraine reportedly launched assaults in or around Mar’inka, Avdiivka, and Bakhmut. In the south, Russian sources said Ukraine conducted small-scale reconnaissance-in-force near Mala Tokmachka in Zaporizhzhia Oblast and stepped up incursions across the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast. In addition, groups of Russian nationals fighting for Ukraine conducted the latest in a series of raids across the Russian-Ukrainian border into Belgorod Oblast. These assaults follow a weekslong campaign of strikes against targets deep in the Russian rear.

The most significant Ukrainian attacks occurred in southern Donetsk Oblast. Much about the offensive remains murky. Accounts from Russian sources vary, while the Ukrainian government has kept particularly quiet regarding its military operations in the area. Available evidence suggests Ukrainian forces achieved some modest gains while also taking significant losses.

According to Russia’s Ministry of Defense (MoD), Ukrainian forces “launched a large-scale offensive in five sectors of the front in the South Donetsk direction” on Sunday morning, seeking to break through what they saw as the most vulnerable part of the front. Ukraine’s newly formed 23rd and 31st mechanized brigades led the offensive, supported by other units, the MoD said, adding that a total of six mechanized battalions and two tank battalions participated. Ukraine’s newly formed 47th Artillery Brigade also appears to have recently deployed to the area.

Russian sources said Ukrainian motorized infantry units, supported by tanks, launched assaults near the Russian-occupied villages of Neskuchne, Rivnopil’, Novodarivka, and Levadne on Sunday. These settlements are located southwest of Ukrainian-controlled Velyka Novosilka, a small but tactically important town in southern Donetsk Oblast. Ukraine may have also attacked toward Blahodatne (a.k.a. Oktyabar), south of Neskuchne, and settlements south of Vuhledar, where Russia conducted an ill-fated offensive last winter.

Cold War II Is All About Geopolitics

Jo Inge Bekkevold

In Cold Peace: Avoiding the New Cold War, Michael Doyle writes that he remembers with nostalgia the optimism of the early 1990s. So do I: Serving as a junior officer in the Norwegian armed forces toward the end of the Cold War, I can still recall the sense of euphoria watching the Berlin Wall fall and Europe’s geopolitical divide crumble down. The post-Cold War order that followed was certainly not perfect, but it provided peace and prosperity around much of the world on an unparalleled scale. Yet now, we are on the verge of another cold war, and global security and stability are at risk—with serious implications for democracy and human rights, economic growth, and climate change. Cold Peace engages with three major questions concerning the emerging Cold War II.

Henley Putnam University

Journal of Strategic Security, 2023, v. 16, no. 2 

Disrupting Deterrence Signaling: Examining the Fifth Wave of Technology’s Impact

Extended Space Deterrence: Providing Security Assurance in Space

Counterterrorism Law and Policy in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia: A Comparative Perspective

Desperate and Opportunistic: CBRN Terrorists and Civilian Radiological Material

A Taxonomy of Radiofrequency Jamming and Spoofing Strategies and Criminal Motives

The Brave New World of Third Party Location Data

How Putin's Cyberwar Failed in Ukraine

Cyber 2023

Cyber security and the global economy

Digitalization has made cyberspace key for the continued growth and resilience of the global economy. At a time of increased geostrategic competition, conversations on technology, security and economics are increasingly intertwined.

Through a series of high-level discussions, cyber security experts from policy, business and civil society explore the role of cyber security in the global economy, and the collaboration required to deliver an open and secure internet.

Why attend?

Deepen your understanding of how cyberthreats pose a key economic challenge to states, businesses and individuals.

Hear from international experts on what it will take to safeguard against cybercriminals and how we can foster international collaboration to tackle cybercrime.

Explore ways in which we can boost resiliency across the UK’s critical technology infrastructure.

The Dangers of Manipulated Media and Video: Deepfakes and More

As artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies become more user-friendly, extremists and conspiracy theorists are using deepfakes, AI-generated audio and other forms of synthetic media to spread harmful, hateful and misleading content online.

Background & Definitions

Synthetic media is media content which has been fully or partially generated by technology, typically through artificial intelligence or machine learning processes. This includes any combination of video, photo or audio media formats, and may or may not be created with malicious intent. As an increasingly popular product often aided by Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI) technology, which allows for more widespread access to the creation of synthetic media, such content has already been leveraged by bad actors to spread mis- and disinformation by way of deepfakes.

The definition of deepfakes has evolved over time to describe all forms of intentionally misleading synthetic media that are created using artificial intelligence or machine learning technology. Originally, deepfakes were defined as videos, sounds or images that replace the likeness of an existing individual with that of another. The term was coined in 2017 from the eponymous screenname of a Reddit user who shared pornographic content showing actress Gal Gadot’s face superimposed on the actual woman in the video – one of the first widespread deepfakes. “Cheap fakes” or “shallow fakes” are used to describe media that has been edited using far less sophisticated tools than those used for deepfakes, without the use of AI or ML technology. Tactics include reversing, deceptively editing or changing the speed of existing audio/visual media. Some synthetic media content may be created using both deepfake and “cheap fake” tactics.

In the context of synthetic media, lip syncing is a technique where voice recordings are mapped – or synced – to a video of someone, making it appear that the individual has said something which they did not. This is sometimes achieved with audio-based deepfake techniques like synthetic speech, which uses artificial intelligence to mimic real voices that have been “cloned” from audio samples of authentic speech from celebrities, politicians or others. Users can make these generated voices “say” whatever they wish, much to the chagrin of celebrities and politicians targeted. This step helps in the generation of more convincing deepfakes.

The New Media Goliaths


The internet has allowed independent creators to thrive, finding niche audiences for everything from nudes to salad recipes. But it’s also spawned silos that incentivize propaganda.

One of the more remarkable artifacts of late-stage social media is the indelible presence of a particular character: the persecution profiteer. They are nearly unavoidable on Twitter: massive accounts with hundreds of thousands to millions of followers, beloved by the recommendation engine and often heavily monetized across multiple platforms, where they rail against the corporate media, Big Tech and elites. Sometimes, the elites have supposedly silenced them; sometimes, they’ve supposedly oppressed you — perhaps both. But either way, manipulation is supposedly everywhere, and they are supposedly getting to the bottom of it.

Many of these polemicists rely on a thinly veiled subtext: They are scrappy truth-tellers, citizen-journalist Davids, exposing the propaganda machine of the Goliaths. That subtext may have been true in last century’s media landscape, when independent media fought for audience scraps left by hardy media behemoths with unassailable gatekeeping power. But that all changed with the collapse of mass media’s revenue model and the rise of a new elite: the media-of-one.

The transition was enabled by tech but realized by entrepreneurs. Platforms like Substack, Patreon and OnlyFans offered infrastructure and monetization services to a galaxy of independent creators — writers, podcasters and artists — while taking a cut of their revenue. Many of these creators adopted the mantle of media through self-declaration and branding, redefining the term and the industry. Many were very talented. More importantly, however, they understood that creating content for a niche — connecting with a very specific online audience segment — offered a path to attention, revenue and clout. In the context of political content in particular, the media-of-one creators offered their readers an editorial page, staffed with one voice and absent the rest of the newspaper.

Special Operations Forces:Additional Actions Are Needed to Effectively Expand Management Oversight

DOD has increasingly relied upon Special Operations Forces since 9/11. The number of personnel has jumped from 45,000 to 70,000 and the budget for Special Operations Command has more than doubled.

Congress recently directed DOD to improve its oversight of special operations.

We found DOD faces two key challenges in improving oversight:

It has not set timeframes for taking planned actions

It has not clearly described DOD's and special operations' roles and responsibilities

We made 3 recommendations, including that DOD set timeframes for new oversight actions, and update or develop guidance to clarify roles and responsibilities.

What GAO Found

Since 2017 the Department of Defense (DOD) has made recommendations, developed actions, and taken steps to address requirements in section 922 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017 to expand the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict's (ASD-SO/LIC) roles and responsibilities. DOD officials noted that they have taken an incremental implementation approach to addressing section 922. In 2018, DOD identified 166 recommendations to change the ASD-SO/LIC's oversight of special operations forces (SOF). These recommendations were used to develop 87 actions that were necessary to implement section 922. Since February 2019, DOD has implemented 56 of these actions. For example, the Deputy Secretary of Defense approved a new Special Operations Policy and Oversight Council directive that identified the ASD-SO/LIC as the lead for that council. The Deputy Secretary of Defense also delegated the ASD-SO/LIC with authority to approve waivers to hire civilian personnel during a civilian hiring freeze.

The Gray Rhino in space: US must update military requirements for satellite cyber defense


The Space Force is moving fast to develop a new set of missile warning/tracking satellites in MEO. (Graphic: Raytheon Technologies)

When it comes to the security of space assets, there is widespread agreement the greatest threat will come in the cyber domain. In the following op-ed, former vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Sandy Winnefeld and former Air Force Materiel Command head Ellen Pawlikowski lay out their vision of how to introduce greater cyber resiliency for space.

Catastrophic events, such as the terrorist attacks of 9/11, sometimes arrive as so-called “black swans.” These are events completely unforeseen, largely due to failures of imagination. Other times, catastrophes have arrived in the form of so-called “gray rhinos” — equally impactful events that were actually envisioned by leaders who failed to take preventive measures.

Inaction can be caused by analysis suggesting a low probability of the event, miscalculation of the resources necessary to address the threat, or simple denial that something so bad could actually occur. It doesn’t take much to find a recent example: the government knew for a long time that a pandemic was a serious possibility, but nonetheless was almost completely unprepared when COVID arrived. These gray rhinos stare us in the face, but we too often find it difficult to do anything about them in advance.

The potential for great power conflict is certainly on everyone’s minds, and some would suggest that the US and its allies are not treating it as a gray rhino this time. While change in the military is maddingly slow due to outdated concepts and sclerotic legacy procurement systems, the military is beginning to shift its focus from counter-insurgency operations to more challenging near-peer competitors.

However, there is at least one element of such a conflict that persists as a gray rhino. It is highly likely that an adversary like China or Russia would use cyberattacks in addition to, or even in lieu of, kinetic attacks to neutralize the satellites on which we depend so much for communications, surveillance, and precision navigation and timing. Whether it involves intrusion in satellite networks’ control links or tampering with the data they move, a successful attack would have a near-catastrophic impact on our ability to fight. Moreover, depending on the target set it would also have collateral effects on capabilities essential to everyday life in Western nations.