25 June 2023

What Joe Biden Didn’t Say to Narendra Modi

Susan B. Glasser

Modi’s visit has called attention to his autocratic leanings at home and served as a reminder of the trade-offs inherent in Biden’s foreign policy.

Just before 2 p.m. on Thursday, President Joe Biden and the visiting Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, stepped before a crowd of journalists in the White House’s East Room for one of the rituals of an official state visit to Washington: the press conference. The event was presented in the official schedule merely as an opportunity to “take questions”—apparently because of Modi’s persistent refusal to actually hold a press conference—and the questions, in the end, were also limited to just one U.S. and one Indian journalist. Both leaders swatted away the inevitable queries about India’s democratic backsliding with canned riffs about the shared importance of “democratic values,” as Biden somewhat gingerly put it, and the democracy that “runs in our veins,” as Modi sanctimoniously explained.

The choreographed exchange seemed most newsworthy in underscoring Biden’s willingness to suffer whatever embarrassment it entailed in the name of geostrategic positioning. Modi’s visit has, predictably, called attention to his autocratic leanings at home and served as a reminder of the trade-offs inherent in Biden’s foreign policy. The former U.S. diplomat Aaron David Miller called Biden’s embrace of Modi and the human-rights-abusing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom Biden visited last year despite having vowed as a candidate to shun and isolate him, “a head-exploding hypocritical pivot.” Other criticisms, including from members of Biden’s own party, who planned to skip a scheduled Modi address to a joint session of Congress, have been equally scathing. Administration officials, meanwhile, are left to wonder just how exactly they are supposed to help Ukraine win the war or successfully contain China without forging closer ties with India.

As a practical matter, though, it’s far from clear whether the accommodations to Modi were worth it. In his White House remarks, Modi offered no sign of softening on the matter of support for Ukraine. He did not even acknowledge that it was Russia that started the war. He definitely did not sound like he had signed up for charter membership in Biden’s oft-cited alliance of democracies versus autocracies at this dangerous inflection point in world history.

Democracy and Reality

David Leonhardt

India is arguably the most important swing nation in global politics. It is influential enough to shift the balance of power, and its allegiances are neither obvious nor consistent.

India is both the world’s most populous country and the only country among the top 10 economies that has not clearly chosen a side in what President Biden calls the struggle between democracy and autocracy. On the one hand, India is skeptical of a Western-led world and has helped to finance Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine by continuing to buy Russian oil. On the other hand, India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, arrived in Washington yesterday trumpeting his nation’s closeness to the U.S.

Modi’s visit, complete with an address to Congress and a state dinner at the White House yesterday, has caused understandable discomfort among some Americans. (Several liberal Democrats refused to attend his speech to Congress.) In addition to working with Putin, Modi is a Hindu nationalist whose party has cracked down on political opponents and inflamed anti-Muslim bigotry. At a White House news conference with Biden yesterday, Modi brushed aside reporters’ questions about these issues.

Were the Biden administration to choose its international friends based only on their commitment to freedom and democracy, Modi’s India would be a strange nation to celebrate with White House pomp. But the reality is that the U.S. can’t have everything that it wants in foreign policy. It faces unavoidable trade-offs.

If the U.S. embraced only those countries with purer democratic records, it would not be able to create a very powerful global alliance. The U.S., Canada, Western Europe, Japan and South Korea are not strong enough to dominate the world as they once could. They need allies in the global South and the Middle East. And India isn’t merely the biggest of these countries; it is also among the most democratic, despite Modi’s flirtation with autocratic methods and India’s historical closeness with Russia.

India as It Is

Daniel Markey

It has been a ritual for decades. Whenever American policymakers travel to India, they sing paeans to the beauty of Indian politics, to the country’s diversity, and to the shared values connecting—in the words of multiple U.S. presidents—“the world’s oldest democracy” and “the world’s largest democracy.” This rhetoric may be gauzy, and it is certainly grandiose. But to Washington, it is not empty. In the view of U.S. policymakers, common democratic principles will be the foundation of an enduring U.S.-Indian relationship, one with broad strategic significance. The world’s two biggest democracies, they say, can’t help but have similar worldviews and interests.

“Our common interest in democracy and righteousness will enable your countrymen and mine to make common cause against a common enemy,” U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt wrote to Mohandas Gandhi, then the de facto leader of India’s independence movement, during World War II. During the Cold War, successive presidential administrations tried to get New Delhi to stand against Moscow by arguing that, as a democracy, India was a natural enemy of the Soviet Union. When President George W. Bush struck a breakthrough civilian nuclear deal with India in 2005, he declared that India’s democratic system meant that the two states were “natural partners” united “by deeply held values.”

Yet again and again, India has disappointed American hopes. Gandhi, for example, frustrated Roosevelt by prioritizing India’s struggle for freedom against the British Empire over the war against imperial Japan and Nazi Germany. New Delhi not only refused to align with Washington during the Cold War; it forged warm ties with Moscow instead. Even after the Cold War ended and India began strengthening its relations with the United States, New Delhi maintained strong connections to the Kremlin. It has refused to work with the United States on Iran, and it has made nice with Myanmar’s military regime. Most recently, it has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Modi in America

Brahma Chellaney

No bilateral relationship has deepened and strengthened more rapidly over the past two decades than the one between the United States and India. In fact, Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to the US will be his eighth as India’s prime minister, and his second since US President Joe Biden took office. The US has at least as much to gain from the growing closeness as India does.

India recently overtook China in population size, and although its economy remains smaller, it is growing faster. Indeed, India is now the world’s fastest-growing major economy—its GDP has already surpassed that of the United Kingdom and is on track to overtake that of Germany. India thus represents a major export market for the US, including for weapons.

But commercial opportunities are just the beginning. In an era of sharpening geopolitical competition, the US is seeking partners to help it counter the growing influence—and assertiveness—of China (and its increasingly close ally Russia). India is an obvious partner for its fellow democracies in the West, though what it really represents is a critical ‘swing state’ in the struggle to shape the future of the Indo-Pacific and the world order more broadly. The US cannot afford for it to swing towards the emerging Russia–China alliance.

Consider America’s quest to bolster supply-chain resilience through so-called friend-shoring. As Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has explained, India is among the ‘trusted trading partners’ with which the US is ‘proactively deepening economic integration’ as it attempts to diversify its trade ‘away from countries that present geopolitical and security risks’ to its supply chain.

India is also integral to maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. Its military standoff with China—now entering its 38th month—is a case in point. By refusing to back down, India is openly challenging Chinese expansionism, while making it more difficult for China to make a move on Taiwan. Biden hasn’t commented on the confrontation, but he is certainly paying attention. It’s telling that both Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan visited New Delhi this month.

For Biden and Modi, Interests Prevail Over Ideology

C. Raja Mohan

Many analysts and commentators in both the United States and India have struggled to understand the evolving relationship between the two countries. Consider, for example, widespread Western criticism of India’s reluctance to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, accelerated purchases of Russian oil, and continued reliance on Moscow’s arms. These critics might thus have expected the United States to disengage—but instead are surprised by U.S. President Joe Biden’s turn toward closer relations. Biden insists that the United States is in a “long game” of engagement with India, one that differences over Ukraine will not be allowed to undermine. Despite India’s ties to Moscow—or rather, because of them—the Biden administration is also going out of its way to help India modernize its defense industry, agreeing to transfer to India one of the U.S. defense sector’s crown jewels: the technology to manufacture fighter jet engines.

Washington’s Perennial India Fantasy

Howard W. French

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Washington to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday and Thursday, he will be trailing along with him a nimbus of Western expectations.

Imran Khan—and His Supporters—Face Threat of Military Trials

Betsy Joles

On May 9, paramilitary forces arrested former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on charges in an ongoing corruption case. The popular leader has spent much of the past year railing against the current government and Pakistan’s military establishment, which wields significant influence in the country’s politics. In the hours after his arrest, many of Khan’s supporters erupted in protest. Some demonstrators attacked the army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi, as well as other military and government buildings.

Building popular support for post-conflict constitutions: Lessons from Nepal

Jordan Kyle and Danielle Resnick 

In early 2023, the United Nations announced that the world is facing the highest number of violent conflicts since World War II, with a majority of these being civil conflicts. Historically, ending civil conflict and fostering democratic transitions has involved constitutional reforms that address the grievances that originally sparked violence. In fact, over 100 peace agreements signed between 1989 and 2020 have included provisions for constitutional reform. However, the period of negotiating constitutional reforms is particularly precarious in such settings and can lead to further destabilization if too many groups’ expectations are not met.


In a new working paper focused on Nepal, we examine why different communities possess varying attitudes toward constitutional reforms in post-conflict contexts. We draw on a theory from psychology called prospect theory, which emphasizes that individuals’ preferences over a policy outcome do not simply align with their actual concrete gains and losses. Instead, people tend to take larger risks, or risky gambles, if they perceive they have nothing to lose. Yet, they are more likely to be cautious and accept the “sure bet” if they perceive they have already secured significant gains that they do not want to jeopardize. These calculations are particularly pronounced in contexts of high uncertainty, such as those that prevail in post-conflict settings.

These risk calculations depend on how individuals view the primary purpose of a new post-conflict constitution. For some, post-conflict constitutions represent the end of a traumatizing and violent time period. Promises to reform political systems through new constitutions can be essential to convincing elites from previously warring factions to lay down arms and compete for power in elections rather than on the battlefield. Citizens most affected by long-lasting instability and violence may view such post-conflict institutions with relief and as a sign that the conflict is over. For others, post-conflict constitutions mark the beginning of a new and more inclusive political settlement and an opportunity for citizens previously marginalized to gain representation and voice, often for the first time. Indeed, all citizens will have to live by the rules of the new constitution—not just the previously warring factions—and therefore, for this group, the constitution’s role in democratization and political inclusion is more salient than its role in ending civil war.

China-US rivalry risks dividing the EU


The EU was forged in the bipolar conditions of the Cold War, expanded under American unipolarity and could plausibly disintegrate as the world returns to a state of bipolarity, this time with China as one of the poles.

The deepening geopolitical contest between the US and China is pulling the EU apart. Washington is on a drive to co-opt the EU into its anti-China coalition and to distance itself from Beijing, spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the growing threat to American dominance from its regional rivals.

As a traditional ally with a shared commitment to American ideals such as liberal democracy, the rule of law and the free market, and with massive military, economic and diplomatic power, the EU is a vital element in US hopes of containing an emerging China.

On the one hand, Washington wants the EU onside to strengthen its own alliance which would be more powerful than any coalition China can assemble. On the other, the US does not want the EU’s power made available to China in a way that might assist its rival’s ambitions to become the new global hegemon.

Ideally, European support would come in the form of a political commitment from the EU to bandwagon with the US, backed by policies intended to weaken China, much as western Europeans rallied behind the US in opposition to the Soviet Union during the Cold War and, in some measure, are doing in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Such policies would include an end to exports of technology to China; a reshoring of manufacturing and a reorientation of trade and investment to other parts of the world; a robust defence of Taiwanese sovereignty, preferably involving a bilateral trade deal of the kind which Washington has just reached with Taipei; alignment with American sanctions on Beijing; and European support for American-led positions on China at the UN.

China Is Ready for a World of Disorder America Is Not

Mark Leonard

In March, at the end of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin stood at the door of the Kremlin to bid his friend farewell. Xi told his Russian counterpart, “Right now, there are changes—the likes of which we haven’t seen for 100 years—and we are the ones driving these changes together.” Putin, smiling, responded, “I agree.”

The tone was informal, but this was hardly an impromptu exchange: “Changes unseen in a century” has become one of Xi’s favorite slogans since he coined it in December 2017. Although it might seem generic, it neatly encapsulates the contemporary Chinese way of thinking about the emerging global order—or, rather, disorder. As China’s power has grown, Western policymakers and analysts have tried to determine what kind of world China wants and what kind of global order Beijing aims to build with its power. But it is becoming clear that rather than trying to comprehensively revise the existing order or replace it with something else, Chinese strategists have set about making the best of the world as it is—or as it soon will be.

While most Western leaders and policymakers try to preserve the existing rules-based international order, perhaps updating key features and incorporating additional actors, Chinese strategists increasingly define their goal as survival in a world without order. The Chinese leadership, from Xi on down, believes that the global architecture that was erected in the aftermath of World War II is becoming irrelevant and that attempts to preserve it are futile. Instead of seeking to save the system, Beijing is preparing for its failure.

Although China and the United States agree that the post–Cold War order is over, they are betting on very different successors. In Washington, the return of great-power competition is thought to require revamping the alliances and institutions at the heart of the post–World War II order that helped the United States win the Cold War against the Soviet Union. This updated global order is meant to incorporate much of the world, leaving China and several of its most important partners—including Iran, North Korea, and Russia—isolated on the outside.

But Beijing is confident that Washington’s efforts will prove futile. In the eyes of Chinese strategists, other countries’ search for sovereignty and identity is incompatible with the formation of Cold War–style blocs and will instead result in a more fragmented, multipolar world in which China can take its place as a great power.

Ultimately, Beijing’s understanding may well be more accurate than Washington’s and more closely attuned to the aspirations of the world’s most populous countries. The U.S. strategy won’t work if it amounts to little more than a futile quest to update a vanishing order, driven by a nostalgic desire for the symmetry and stability of a bygone era. China, by contrast, is readying itself for a world defined by disorder, asymmetry, and fragmentation—a world that, in many ways, has already arrived.


The Illusion of China’s AI Prowess

Helen Toner, Jenny Xiao, and Jeffrey Ding

The artificial intelligence revolution has reached Congress. The staggering potential of powerful AI systems, such as OpenAI’s text-based ChatGPT, has alarmed legislators, who worry about how advances in this fast-moving technology might remake economic and social life. Recent months have seen a flurry of hearings and behind-the-scenes negotiations on Capitol Hill as lawmakers and regulators try to determine how best to impose limits on the technology. But some fear that any regulation of the AI industry will incur a geopolitical cost. In a May hearing at the U.S. Senate, Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, warned that “a

Sanctioning China in a Taiwan crisis: Scenarios and risks

Charlie Vest and Agatha Kratz

In recent months, growing tensions in the Taiwan Strait as well as the rapid and coordinated Group of Seven (G7) economic response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have raised questions—in G7 capitals and in Beijing alike—over whether similar measures could be imposed on China in a Taiwan crisis. This report examines the range of plausible economic countermeasures on the table for G7 leaders in the event of a major escalation in the Taiwan Strait short of war. The study explores potential economic impacts of such measures on China, the G7, and other countries around the world, as well as coordination challenges in a crisis.

The key findings of this paper:In the case of a major crisis, the G7 would likely implement sanctions and other economic countermeasures targeting China across at least three main channels: China’s financial sector; individuals and entities associated with China’s political and military leadership; and Chinese industrial sectors linked to the military. Past sanctions programs aimed at Russia and other economies revealed a broad toolkit that G7 countries could bring to bear on China in the event of a Taiwan crisis. Some of these tools are already being used to target Chinese officials and industries, though at a very limited scale.

Large-scale sanctions on China would entail massive global costs. As the world’s second-biggest economy—ten times the size of Russia—and the world’s largest trader, China has deep global economic ties that make full-scale sanctions highly costly for all parties. In a maximalist scenario involving sanctions on the largest institutions in China’s banking system, we estimate that at least $3 trillion in trade and financial flows, not including foreign reserve assets, would be put at immediate risk of disruption. This is nearly equivalent to the gross domestic product of the United Kingdom in 2022. Impacts of this scale make them politically difficult outside of an invasion of Taiwan or wartime scenario.

G7 responses would likely seek to reduce the collateral damage of a sanctions package by targeting Chinese industries and entities that rely heavily and asymmetrically on G7 inputs, markets, or technologies. Targeted sanctions would still have substantial impacts on China as well as sanctioning countries, their partners, and financial markets. Our study shows economic countermeasures aimed at China’s aerospace industry, for example, could directly affect at least $2.2 billion in G7 exports to China, and disrupt the supply of inputs to the G7’s own aerospace industries. Should China impose retaliatory measures, another $33 billion in G7 exports of aircrafts and parts could be impacted.

Global Migration Is Not Abating. Neither Is the Backlash Against It

Around the world, far-right populist parties continue to stoke the popular backlash against global migration, driving some centrist governments to adopt a tougher line on immigration. But with short-term strategies dominating the debate, many of the persistent drivers of migration go unaddressed, even as efforts to craft a global consensus on migration are hobbled by demands for quick solutions.

The European refugee crisis of 2015, when more than 1 million refugees and asylum-seekers arrived in Europe from Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa, has long since abated, and some of Europe’s leading figures on the far right from that time, like the Netherlands’ Geert Wilder, have lost relevance as a result. Nevertheless, other far-right populists—like France’s Marine Le Pen and, more recently, Eric Zemmour—continue to hammer on anti-immigrant sentiment to fuel their electoral ambitions. And Italy’s Matteo Salvini just made a comeback in last year’s elections and is part of the coalition government led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and her far-right, anti-immigrant Brothers of Italy party.

Meanwhile, the populist narrative of immigration as a threat continues to keep centrist governments toeing a tough line on the issue at home, even as they work with countries of origin and transit to restrict migration. And a recent surge in migration to Europe, often using dangerous and at times deadly crossings of the Mediterranean Sea and English Channel, is once again raising alarm—and tensions—across the European Union.

The issue’s political divisiveness is hardly limited to Europe. Anti-immigrant sentiment was central to former U.S. President Donald Trump’s winning 2016 campaign, and he subsequently reshaped U.S. security policy around stopping illegal immigration. The issue did not have the same resonance in the 2020 presidential campaign, however, and upon taking office, President Joe Biden promised a more comprehensive approach to addressing the root causes of the Central American migration crisis. But that effort has been overtaken by events, in the form of record numbers of arrivals at the southern U.S. border and dramatic shifts in the patterns of migration in the Western Hemisphere, both of which are putting U.S. border policy under unprecedented pressure. As a result, Biden’s latest attempts to curb asylum-seeking have begun to bear a close resemblance to Trump’s.

The Long Game: Saudi Arabia And Professional Golf – Analysis

Sean L. Yom

(FPRI) — When the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Tour commenced in 2022, most observers dismissed the spectacle as sportswashing. Sportswashing refers to sponsorship by authoritarian regimes over major sporting teams and events in order to elevate their image. Last year, LIV fit the bill. It was financed to the tune of $2 billion by Saudi Arabia’s $700 billion sovereign wealth fund (the Public Investment Fund, or PIF), and created exhibition-style golfing events featuring players lured away from the PGA Tour by lucrative cash payouts. Against the LIV stood the PGA Tour, the $1.5 billion sanctioning body based in the United States that traditionally organizes competitions, signs sponsors, licenses media, and pays cash purses at events.

The PGA and LIV embarked upon an ugly feud fought out in the Western media and American courts. The battle ended recently with the shocking news that the two had agreed to instead merge their forces—alongside the smaller DP World Tour (formerly known as the PGA European Tour, now sponsored by the UAE’s state-owned DP World cargo and port company)—to “unify” the professional game under one organizational umbrella. Many Western observers have reacted with hostility. They frame the move as an upstart effort by Saudi Arabia to control global sporting by essentially buying outWestern golf to conceal its poor human rights record, one pockmarked by the fact that most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals and the families of the victims from those terrorist attacks allege that those hijackers received Saudi government assistance. Congressional scrutiny has followed, as the merger raises antitrust issues. The Justice Department has also signaled it will investigate the deal, bringing forward the possibility that the merger may not happen after all.

Even if it falls through, however, the merger demands attention in how it has invoked political and strategic concerns that extend far beyond the game of golf. The PGA Tour-Saudi deal is not just sportswashing. The merger entails the Saudi government not buying the PGA Tour outright, but rather going into business with it by funding a new private enterprise to co-manage its commercial empire, of which the biggest components are corporate sponsorships, licensing deals, media rights, and digital assets. It also reflects an accelerating adaptation of the richest Gulf monarchies to the world’s changing geopolitical landscape. Saudi Arabia intends to draw considerable long-term profit from this business relationship, in line with its broader strategy—shared with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates—of carving out permanent spots at the global cultural table. Gone are the days when unfamiliar foreigners, when asked about these kingdoms, would conjure up Orientalist images of camel-riding tribal sheikhs splurging newfound black gold on garish Beverly Hills mansions. The agreement between the PGA Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund instead shows the Saudis as something else: savvy businesspersons using their oil wealth to create new financial and political opportunities, even if this rankles Western audiences.

Generative AI: A New Moment for American Leadership in the Indo-Pacific?

Hello, I’m Ylli Bajraktari, CEO of the Special Competitive Studies Project. In this edition of 2-2-2, SCSP staff reflect on their travel to Singapore and Taiwan from earlier this month.

Earlier this month, SCSP staff members visited Singapore and Taiwan to engage with government, industry, academia, and private capital stakeholders. Throughout the trip, three overarching themes emerged:

The growing prominence of artificial intelligence (AI). AI was a central topic of discussion in nearly every conversation we had. The persistent echo of "Generative AI" hinted at its anticipated growing influence across economy, society, education, and security. And while much of the world is only just beginning to grapple with the implications of AI, one immediate effect is clear: a renewed sense of awe for America's innovation prowess, the vitality of its private sector, and the allure of its soft power through these domains.

None of our interlocutors were surprised that the People's Republic of China (PRC) was not the first to come up with the most powerful generative AI model. Some attributed this to the pathologies of the PRC political system, and the censorship it imposes on information and digital platforms. As one interlocutor noted, “AI is something that the Chinese Communist Party can’t control — if you control it, it loses value; if you don’t control it, it gains value.” Others said it was the restrictions that the U.S. and allies have imposed on the exports of advanced technologies to the PRC. Some attributed it to business decisions by PRC tech companies that failed to see how generative AI could further enhance their activities and bottom line. Yet others attributed it to the lack of talent inflow and talent exchanges. And most were unsure that PRC large language models (LLMs) could make up the gap with those developed by OpenAI, Google, Anthropic, or Meta. At least one of our interlocutors argued that the PRC has a narrow window of opportunity that extends to the end of this year to make up for lost ground; past that point and absent a significant shift in paradigm it gets harder and harder, as first-mover advantage enables the incumbents to establish and maintain dominance.

Why the Evidence Suggests Russia Blew Up the Kakhovka Dam

James Glanz, Marc Santora, Pablo Robles, Haley Willis, Lauren Leatherby, Christoph Koettl and Dmitriy Khavin

Moments after a major dam in a Ukrainian war zone gave way, wild torrents cascaded over the jagged remains of the top. But the real problem most likely lay elsewhere, cloaked deep beneath the surface of the raging waters.

Deep inside the dam was an Achilles’ heel. And because the dam was built during Soviet times, Moscow had every page of the engineering drawings and knew where it was.

The dam was built with an enormous concrete block at its base. A small passageway runs through it, reachable from the dam's machine room. It was in this passageway, the evidence suggests, that an explosive charge detonated and destroyed the dam.

At 2:35 a.m and 2:54 a.m. on June 6, seismic sensors in Ukraine and Romania detected the telltale signs of large explosions. Witnesses in the area heard large blasts between roughly 2:15 a.m. and 3 a.m. And just before the dam gave way, American intelligence satellites captured infrared heat signals that also indicated an explosion.

After the first section of the dam was breached, videos suggest that the power of the rushing water tore a larger and larger gash into the dam.

As the water levels further dropped this week, they fell below the top of the concrete foundation. The section that collapsed was not visible above the water line — strong evidence that the foundation had suffered structural damage, engineers said.

In the chaotic aftermath, with each side blaming the other for the collapse, multiple explanations are theoretically possible. But the evidence clearly suggests the dam was crippled by an explosion set off by the side that controls it: Russia.

Even in a war that has razed entire cities, the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam in southern Ukraine stands out.

AI Has Entered the Situation Room

Stanley McChrystal

At the start of 2022, seasoned Russia experts and national security hands in Washington watched in disbelief as Russian President Vladimir Putin massed his armies on the borders of Ukraine. Was it all a bluff to extract more concessions from Kyiv and the West, or was he about to unleash a full-scale land war to redraw Europe’s borders for the first time since World War II? The experts shook the snow globe of their vast professional expertise, yet the debate over Putin’s intentions never settled on a conclusion.

America Cannot Afford to Be like Europe in Regulating Artificial Intelligence

Luke Hogg

Last November, the research nonprofit OpenAI unleashed ChatGPT, its artificial intelligence (AI) powered chatbot, on the world. Mere months before, conversations about AI were relegated to academic conferences and science fiction conventions. But, as ChatGPT exploded to become the fastest-growing consumer application in history, AI rapidly became a kitchen table issue. Now, policymakers are shining a spotlight on the industry and asking the question: how much regulation is necessary to mitigate potential risks without stifling innovation?

From government reports to briefings and hearings to legislation, AI is the topic du jour on Capitol Hill as lawmakers attempt to answer this question. While legislative proposals regarding AI vary widely, the ethos behind such proposals can generally be grouped into two categories. The first consists of proposals aimed primarily at mitigating potential risks of AI, which typically take a more heavy-handed approach to regulation in the name of consumer protection. The second takes a broader view of the AI ecosystem, attempting to foster innovation and global competitiveness with a more light-touch regulatory regime.

While both approaches are well-intentioned, the latter focusing on innovation and competitiveness holds greater promise. After all, the United States is not the only country developing AI systems, and amidst the Great Tech Rivalry it is essential that we remain globally competitive in cutting-edge technologies. If Washington is too heavy-handed in regulating AI, it risks becoming an innovation desert, like Europe.

The Heavy Hand…

The heavy-handed approach is typified by Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA). As one of the very few members of Congress holding degrees in computer science, Rep. Lieu has been one of the most vocal lawmakers on the question of AI regulation. Just before introducing the first federal piece of legislation itself largely written by an AI, Rep. Lieu opined in the New York Times:

Beyond UN Security Council: Can UN General Assembly Tackle Climate–Security Challenge? – Analysis

Dr Adam Day and Dr Florian Krampe

The wildfires raging in Canada are yet another reminder that climate change is already having an impact on all our lives. As the smoke clears around the United Nations building in New York, we are likely to see a renewed push for the UN Security Council to tackle the security risks posed by climate change, including in the upcoming New Agenda for Peace policy brief from UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

Recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, supported by a growing body of scientific evidence, reach the inescapable conclusion that climate change is a meaningful factor in the risks of violent conflict. In fact, one group of experts recently suggested that only a ‘misreading of the state of science’ could allow any doubt over the links between climate change and insecurity.

Despite the evidence, and despite the Security Council having already passed more than 70 resolutions and statements on climate-related security risks, efforts to make climate change a standing item on the Security Council’s agenda have so far failed. While some permanent and elected members favour broadening the Security Council’s mandate to cover responses to all ‘threats to peace and security’, including climate change, others—notably China and Russia—want to keep Security Council business restricted to deploying peace operations, imposing sanctions, authorizing the use of military force and creating tribunals. These mechanisms are not sufficient to address the plethora of climate-related security challenges societies around the world are facing.

The Security Council seems likely to continue its incremental approach, recognizing some country-specific climate–security links in resolutions (e.g. mentioning climate-driven recruitment into an armed group) without tackling the broader security impacts of the climate crisis. Even this limited scope offers some real opportunities for addressing climate-related security issues in conflict settings that are already on the Security Council’s agenda. Nevertheless, it is time to ask whether more can be achieved within the UN system on broader climate–security challenges outside the Security Council chamber, in particular through the UN General Assembly.

Increase In Bangladesh’s Garment Exports Of Earnings Bears ‘Good News’ At This Time Of Dollar Shortage – OpEd

Mehjabin Bhanu

Export earnings are very important in the overall progress of the country. If export earnings increase and this trend continues, it is very promising. The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) has released country-wise export data for July-April of FY 2022-23. During this period, Bangladesh’s total garment exports reached 42.63 billion US dollars with a growth of 10.67% compared to the same period of the previous year.

Of these total apparel exports, USD 21.22 billion worth of apparel (49.78% of total exports) went to the EU market. The United Kingdom had a share of 10.77% and exported a total of US$ 4.59 billion to the United Kingdom; $7.73 billion worth of apparel was exported to the US market – which was 18.14% of total exports; The share was 3.26% and a total of USD 1.39 billion in apparel exports to Canada. Besides, USD 7.69 billion was exported to non-traditional markets – which had a share of 18.04%.

The European Union has contributed significantly to this growth. This is because it is the largest destination for Bangladesh’s apparel exports, with a growth of 9.94% in July-May 2022-23 as compared to July-May 2021-22 fiscal year, and apparel exports increased from USD 19.30 billion to USD 21.22 billion. Exports in Germany declined by 7.22% during the same period of the previous fiscal year (July-May 2021-22), from USD 6.50 billion to USD 6.03 billion. Exports to France and Italy reached USD 2.6 and 2.06 billion respectively. Export growth was 23.4% and 44.81% respectively.

After lagging behind for two consecutive months, May’s exports have surged again. Export earnings gave this ‘good news’ at a time when coal imports are uncertain due to the dollar crisis. Export earnings in 11 months have reached close to 12 months of last year. If this trend of growth continues, Bangladesh is going to set a record by the end of June. As a result, there is a promising situation in terms of export earnings. Taking this into consideration, it is the duty of the concerned to take necessary initiatives and ensure their proper implementation.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman Is Pushing Past Doubts on Artificial Intelligence


You ever watch Star Trek?” Sam Altman, the CEO who has become the most visible face of the current artificial-intelligence boom, has just called us an Uber. The 38-year-old serial entrepreneur has lately become known for talking up the risks of AI, but he is at his most animated in talking about its possibilities. So transformative is this new technology that responds naturally to our verbal commands that he envisions new hardware for it—something, eventually, like the Star Trek holodeck, in which characters use their voice to conjure and interact with 3D simulations of the world. An interface like that feels “fundamentally right,” he says.

Altman’s company, OpenAI, is only seven years old. It has fewer than 500 employees. Pipe some pan flutes and whale sounds into the airy, light-filled lobby of its headquarters in San Francisco’s Mission District, and it could almost be mistaken for a spa. But in the span of 6 months, the company—through its viral product ChatGPT—has vaulted AI into public consciousness. Few doubt it’s at the vanguard of a revolution that will, for better or worse and probably both, change the world.

ChatGPT is almost certainly the most rapidly adopted product in the history of technology. It’s also one of the more versatile, capable of responding to a vast array of user prompts, from “Tell me a joke” to “Draft 10 slides with ideas to grow revenue at a hair salon.” It can write poetry and explain scientific concepts. Altman says he uses it for routine tasks, like pulling highlights from his overflowing email inbox or to “draft a tweet that I was having a hard time with.” Essentially a super-powerful auto-complete tool trained to generate language by observing patterns in large quantities of data, it has its limits—including a disconcerting inability to separate truth from fiction. OpenAI’s warning about this, placed beneath the text input box, hasn’t stopped people from using it for homework, investment advice, and even therapy.

Consumer-facing AIs had hit the market before, but something about ChatGPT’s text-message-inspired, conversational interface clicked. In the days following the Nov. 30 release, OpenAI employees were glued to their screens, posting graphs in the company Slack channel as usage numbers took off. “It just kept going up and to the right at a steeper and steeper angle,” says Diane Yoon, OpenAI’s vice president of people. Two months later, ChatGPT had more than 100 million unique visitors, according to data from Similarweb. Instagram took 30 months to reach that level.

AI’s Gatekeepers Aren’t Prepared for What’s Coming

Paul Scharre

New technologies can change the global balance of power. Nuclear weapons divided the world into haves and have-nots. The Industrial Revolution allowed Europe to race ahead in economic and military power, spurring a wave of colonial expansion. A central question in the artificial intelligence revolution is who will benefit: Who will be able to access this powerful new technology, and who will be left behind?

Is AI revolutionizing cybersecurity? The answer isn’t as clear.

Mark Guntrip 

Peruse last quarter’s press releases from top cybersecurity vendors, and it’s hard to miss the focus on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). According to these vendors, traditional security tools are getting boosted by advanced algorithms that can analyze large amounts of event and behavioral data to trigger automated decisions that keep organizations safe from today’s threat actors.

Security teams can use AI to go from identification to remediation in just and handful of minutes. In a world where threat actors operate at the speed of business, this capability at scale can mean the difference between catching a threat in time or suffering the consequences of a breach.

This is great! However, AI/ML are hardly making cybersecurity solutions better. Sure, they are faster and are able to process an amazing amount of data quickly, but they aren’t casting a wider net or preventing emerging avenues that threat actors use to reach their victims. New Highly Evasive Adaptive Threats (HEAT) targeting web browsers are able to get around traditional security tools, and no amount of automation or scalability is going to change that. AI/ML is only as good as the data you feed into it. If you’re not providing the right information, your AI/ML engine isn’t going to learn or adapt on the fly to catch today’s evasive threats.
Meeting threats where they operate

Organizations need to look for AI/ML-powered cybersecurity solutions that can identify and provide context around the threats impacting today’s users. Today’s work is being conducted in the web browser. From private applications hosted by cloud service providers to Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms, data has moved out of the data center and onto the Internet where it can be accessed by any authorized entity from anywhere. Users can look up customer contact information, interact with a channel partner, sign documents or do just about anything without data leaving the web browser.

Today’s threat actors know this, of course, targeting the web browser as a way to gain an initial foothold and get around traditional security tools that focus on network or endpoint security. They know that these solutions have limited to no visibility into what happens inside the web browser. This crucial event and behavioral information is not getting fed into AI/ML algorithms and, as a result, they are leaving organizations that rely on these traditional cybersecurity solutions open to evasive browser attacks.

Keeping An Eye On AI: The New Skills Needed To Embrace Artificial Intelligence

Julia Handl

It’s been called the biggest breakthrough in the fight against deadly superbugs in decades. Scientists have successfully used Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyse thousands of chemical compounds and identify a new antibiotic to treat lethal drug resistant bacteria.

The transformational technology has been hailed as a revolutionary force in science and medicine, but it has widespread applications in business too.

Business leaders are focused on two principal areas where AI and data science can be effectively integrated into their operations.

Firstly, ensuring that all available data is being used to inform the decision-making process; AI can efficiently integrate and analyse enormous amounts of data, saving huge amounts of time and resource.

And secondly, applying AI to evolve the products or services that a company is delivering, including rapid prototype development.

However, adopting AI doesn’t come without risk.

There are serious concerns about the potential of AI techniques to perpetuate or exacerbate existing biases in society, and to accelerate the spread of misinformation. This particularly applies to the use of generative AI – otherwise known as the type of AI that can create a wide variety of data, such as images, videos and audio.

The Pentagon’s Ambitious AI Plans Look Less and Less Like ChatGPT


Open AI’s ChatGPT and its ilk have dominated headlines this year, captivating billionaires, fans, regulators, and doomsayers. But much of the recent coverage has also revealed just why the Pentagon is pursuing quite different approaches to AI: military leaders need tools they can trust.

One big reason ChatGPT and other very large language models are so good at mimicking human writing is the same reason they are given to deceit: the neural network at the heart of the AI is fueled by scraping information from millions of websites. While Open AI hasn’t disclosed what websites it used to train its tools, a recent Washington Post investigation looked at 15 million websites that researchers have used to train similar models. Unsurprisingly, this large mass of data contains much that isn’t true—and solarge language and generative AI models frequently lie.

Even if you were to train large language models on a carefully selected pool of websites, you might still run into “artificial hallucination”: “the phenomenon of a machine, such as a chatbot, generating seemingly realistic sensory experiences that do not correspond to any real-world input.”

So DOD is being very careful about using such tools.

“We are not going to use ChatGPT in its present instantiation. However, large language models have a lot of utility,” Maynard Holliday, DOD’s deputy chief technology officer for critical technologies, said Thursday at the Defense One Tech Summit. “We will use these large language models, these generative AI models, based on our data. And so they will be tailored with Defense Department data, trained on our data, and then also on our compute—either our compute in the cloud and or on [premises] so that it's encrypted, and we're able to, essentially…analyze, its feedback.”

This week, Holliday said, the Defense Department will convene a gathering “to get after, you know, just what the use cases are; just what the state of the art is in the industry, and academia.”