26 June 2023

What Does the GE-F414 Jet Engine Deal Mean for U.S.-India Defense Relations?

Ambuj Sahu

In a joint press conference with President Joe Biden on June 22, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi remarked that “even the sky is not the limit” for U.S.-India cooperation. India’s state visit is nothing short of historical, considering the widespread craze for Modi’s charisma as well as the number of agreements signed across various sectors like defense, semiconductors, critical minerals, space, climate, education, healthcare, and more. Out of all of those, the proposal to jointly produce the GE F-414 jet engines stands out. This is because only four countries—the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, and France—can make jet engines. Manufacturing behemoth China is yet to crack it. The jet engine technology is so precious that the United States has been careful to share it even with its allies. This, however, is about to change.

General Electric has signed a memorandum of understanding with India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to co-produce the GE F-414 engine for the Indian Air Force. While GE is pursuing necessary export authorizations with the U.S. government, the agreement is set to usher in a new phase of defense cooperation between Washington and New Delhi.

In the last six months, both countries have been working through the initiative for Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) to set channels for strong private sector cooperation in technologies of strategic consequences. When Secretary of Defense Austin visited New Delhi, India and the United States also agreed on a Defense Industrial Cooperation Roadmap. The jet engine deal marks the beginning of a promising collaboration on defense innovation and technology cooperation. It is also a significant step towards settling the two fundamental differences in an otherwise thriving defense relationship. First, the United States wants to increase military sales to India, while the latter presses on technology transfers for indigenization. Second, India’s role as a maritime power has been central to U.S. interests in the Indo-Pacific, while India has prioritized the land border with China. The GE jet engine deal shows how both countries can balance these mutual concerns.

From Buyer-Seller Relationship to Co-Production

Modi’s State Visit Was a Victory for the U.S.-India Partnership, but Ambiguities Remain

James Himberger

Though the weather in the District of Columbia presented a gloomy and unusually chilly June day, the welcome for Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s state visit was anything but. Though small groups of Sikh separatist activists and human rights protesters did appear near the White House, they were drowned out by the sizable and enthusiastic welcoming crowd of Indian-Americans assembled on the South Lawn.

The Biden administration hoped this week’s ceremonies would provide a stately capstone to over a decade of ever-closer strategic partnership between the United States and India. The hard work of cultivating New Delhi as an economic and security bulwark against China has paid off with a plethora of new joint initiatives. For Modi’s part, he successfully communicated India’s growing national and economic confidence and brushed off concerns about “democratic backsliding” by declaring that there is “no space for discrimination” in India.

The remarks from both Joe Biden and Narendra Modi following the prime minister’s welcome stressed shared, universal values, including democracy and pluralism. Ironically, the DC and New Delhi commentariat spent the last week debating the balance of hard interests that drive the “strategic partnership,” and wondering if “values” play any role at all.

Following a one-on-one conversation, Biden and Modi unveiled a number of advances in the U.S.-India strategic partnership across the board, from space exploration to semiconductors to supply chains to military cooperation. U.S. Navy vessels can obtain repairs in Chennai, Mumbai, and Goa. Both militaries will invite liaisons from each other officer corps—an outcome unthinkable during the distrust of the Cold War. Most importantly, India now has access to the coveted F414 jet engine through a coproduction agreement. Moreover, the leaders announced a $3 billion purchase of thirty MQ-9B Sea Guardian predator drones. Both deals will enhance Indian air strength and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities vis-à-vis China in the Himalayas and the Indian Ocean.

Modi Visit Part of a Geopolitical Great Game


President Joe Biden and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi walk onstage during a state arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, June 22, 2023, in Washington.

Over the past few months ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official state visit to Washington, Biden administration officials have worked overtime to praise his leadership. In April, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Donald Lu applauded the state of India’s free press: “You have India as a democracy in part because you have a free press that really works.” During her trip to India in March, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo called Modi a “visionary” and his “commitment to the people of India … indescribable and deep and passionate and real and authentic.”

These warm sentiments don’t bear any resemblance to the actions of the real Narendra Modi, whose regime has turned India away from its roots as the world’s largest secular democracy and toward becoming a right-wing Hindu nationalist state. During his tenure, Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have created the conditions for widespread democratic backsliding. The government has cracked down on press dissent, in fact, and stoked violence against Indian citizens who happen to be Muslims, ethnic and tribal minorities, and oppressed castes.

This is nothing new. In 2005, while Modi was chief minister of the state of Gujarat and oversaw deadly riots against Muslims, the Bush-era State Department denied Modi a visa to visit the United States, citing a 1998 law called the International Religious Freedom Act, which banned officials responsible for “severe violations of religious freedom.” He is the only person who has ever been denied a visa on those grounds.

The Biden administration is clearly eager to put that past behind them. Today, Modi will give a speech to a joint session of Congress, and will be the guest of honor at a state dinner at the White House.

Why Biden Can't Pry India Away from Russia


As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi heads to Washington to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden, much of the fanfare surrounding the visit is focused on announcements regarding the growing partnership between the two nations. But while the White House seeks to isolate Russia over its war in Ukraine, New Delhi remains steadfast in its commitment to a deep-rooted relationship with Moscow.

Although tensions continue to simmer between India and China, with whom Russia has cultivated increasingly close relations, New Delhi counts on its unique dynamic with Moscow to realize its interests and serve as a buffer to Beijing.

Former Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao explained that "a good part of India's strategy to deal with a belligerent Beijing runs through Washington." At the same time, she argued, "it also runs through Moscow."

"I think China is being given quite a free hand in in Asia and Eurasia," Rao, who also previously served as ambassador to the U.S., China and Sri Lanka, said during a discussion hosted by the Defense Priorities think tank, "especially with the deteriorating situation in Ukraine, and a very boxed-in Russia."

"And at this moment, I think India feels that it cannot afford to neglect its relationship with Russia," she added, "because I think it also helps that that connection is in a way a means to counter China's, in a sense, monopolizing of the space within Asia."

This dynamic also extends to the multilateral institutions of which China, India and Russia are members, such as BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Helicopter Parents:Comparing the US and Soviet efforts to build the Afghan Army

Martin Stanton

In 1988 the Soviet Union began withdrawing from Afghanistan with the last troops leaving the country in January of 1989. The Army of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) they left behind continued to receive resourcing and material from the Soviets. A small number of Soviet soldiers remained in Afghanistan after the withdrawal in 1989 but they were overwhelmingly logisticians and technicians. The DRA Army in the field faced the Mujaheddin alone. They achieved some notable victories (Jalalabad in 1989) and suffered some notable defeats (Khost in 1991) but did not completely collapse until the Russians (not the Soviets – under new management) cut off funding and resourcing in early 1992. Prior to the loss of Russian resourcing, the DRA Army, with all its imperfections, maintained a degree of combat efficacy.

In 2021 the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) and Afghan National Defense and Security Forces ( ANDSF) were informed of the final decision on US withdrawal on April 14th. At no time or point was the ANDSF cut off from US/NATO resourcing or material support (which was scheduled to continue until at least 2024). Four months to the day after the announcement of the president’s final decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, the Army that the US and its allies/partners had so painstakingly built over almost twenty years had collapsed (largely without a fight) and the GIRoA had fallen.

It's hard to escape the conclusion that the Soviets were more successful in developing an Afghan Army than we were. It’s not enough to look at our mistakes. We should also look at those who had more success at the endeavor than we did. How were they different? What environmental factors of the times helped them and what lessons transcend specific time periods?

Same country, different times:

To start, we must acknowledge that the Soviets had some key advantages that gave them more of a base foundation to work with. First, the Afghan army they assisted was already established and the Soviets already had a train-and-equip relationship with it prior to the 1979 Invasion. Second, the Afghan Military’s personnel system was based on a large body of high turnover conscripts/enlistees and a small body of professional cadre – in other words, it was a military model like that of the Soviet Army. Lastly (and perhaps most significantly) the Afghan Army the Soviets worked with from 1979 to 1988 was made up of people who had undergone a degree of normal socialization in peacetime. Even the youngest DRA recruit in 1988 at least had a childhood memory of Afghanistan at peace in a time of (relative) prosperity and normality. Afghan national identity (although still relatively weak) was stronger in the 1960s/70s than perhaps any other time in recent history. The soldiers that made up the DRA were from the last generation of Afghans whose socialization process had not been entirely interrupted by war.

Pakistan’s economic meltdown spurs more people to risk lives to reach Europe

KHUIRATTA, Pakistan-administered Kashmir, June 23 – Hameed Iqbal Bhatti had prospered over two decades working in Saudi Arabia, but after returning to Pakistan three years ago, he was getting desperate.

The economy had suffered in the pandemic and his restaurant business closed. With work avenues drying up and sky-high inflation blowing a hole in his budget, the 47-year-old cobbled together $7,600 for a trafficker to smuggle him into Europe, where he hoped to rebuild the life he once had, his brother Muhammad Sarwar Bhatti, 53, told Reuters.

“He told me that he would start afresh for his children’s future and the life he wanted for them,” the elder Bhatti said at the family home in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

A boat that left Libya carrying the younger Bhatti and hundreds of others sank off Greece last week, in one of the deadliest migrant disasters of recent years. He is missing and presumed dead, according to his brother, highlighting the perils faced by people who seek to enter Europe illegally.

Pakistanis have been making these journeys in increasing numbers in recent months because of the country’s economic crisis, according to more than a dozen migrants and their relatives, experts and data reviewed by Reuters.

Cash-strapped Pakistan’s $350 billion economy is in a meltdown, with inflation at a record 38%. A rapidly depreciating currency and external deficit led the government to adopt drastic measures over the past year to avoid default.

But with that came a huge hit to growth and jobs. The industrial sector, Pakistan’s economic engine, provisionally contracted almost 3% in the current financial year – troubling for a nation of 230 million with more than 2 million new entrants to the labour force annually.

Official unemployment data have not been published in two years. Hafeez Pasha, a former finance minister and an economist renowned for his work on Pakistan’s labour force, put the jobless rate at a record “11-12%, conservatively”.

Why Nepalis Are Fighting on Both Sides of the Russia-Ukraine War

Birat Anupam

Almost one month after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, reports emerged that a Nepali youth named Pratap Basnet was fighting for Ukraine. His story was widely noticed in Nepal. Nepal’s stated foreign policy is neutrality and non-alignment. However, on the Ukraine issue, Nepal’s government sided with the United States and the Western world to criticize Russia’s military attack on Ukraine’s territory.

Recently, evidence has emerged of Nepali youths joining Russian forces. On May 16, Russian authorities made it easy to access Russian citizenship after one year of military service in Russia. Since then, hundreds of Nepali youths have joined Russian forces as contract soldiers. Some of them are retired from the Nepal Army.

One Nepal Army retiree said he was working as a security guard in Dubai when he was lured to Russia by the more attractive offers. He traveled to Moscow as a tourist and joined the army at a Russian recruitment center. He noted that lowered standards made it possible for him to enlist. “Previously they would look for Russian language proficiency. Now English is also okay for it,” the retiree told me over Telegram. (He later blocked me after deciding against further contact with a journalist).

He is now in a military training camp in Russia. “Training is not hard for me as I have gone through similar training in Nepal Army also,” he said. “But weapons here are more modern than what I would get in Nepal Army training.”

There is no publicly available data on the number of Nepali youths joining Russian forces. But it is an open secret that Nepali youths are enlisting as private citizens.

Nepal has a long tradition of sending its youths to serve as soldiers for the British and Indians through formal channels. Nepali youths have been drafted into the British Army since 1815 as “British Gurkhas.” This tradition carried over after India achieved independence through the “Indian Gurkhas.” Nepal’s Gurkha Contingent has also been actively engaged in the Singapore Police since 1949, again through the British connection.

Will China’s Private Security Companies Follow the Wagner Group’s Footsteps in Africa?

Jong Min Lee and Samuel Wittman

In April, the Wagner Group, a Russian-based private military company (PMC), caught the attention of the world for its offensive against the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut. This assault put the name of this group and its Kremlin-linked founder, Yevgeny Prigorzhin, on the lips of journalists and the news-conscious public around the world. However, to observers of the African continent, Wagner has been a source of concern for several years.

Wagner’s extensive deployments across the continent have made the company into Africa’s most prominent PMC, and allow it to act as an extension of Russian influence. However, Russia is not the only authoritarian giant casting an eye toward Africa. Chinese investment and trade with African countries have been among the defining features of the continent’s 21st century economic growth. Much as China has studiously watched the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Chinese actors have begun to imitate certain aspects of the Wagner Group’s strategy.

With the decision to expand its economic outreach in Africa as part of the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, China has been drastically expanding the size of its private security companies (PSCs) since the mid-2010s, based on the pre-existing model of Wagner and Western PMCs. Thus far, Chinese PSCs have pursued a reserved strategy. However, as Wagner begins to shift resources to the Ukraine conflict and China’s engagement with Africa continues to become more robust, it is likely that Chinese actors will gradually come to play a more significant role in the security sector – especially in African states on tense terms with the West.

The Weakest Link: Securing Critical Undersea Infrastructure in ASEAN

Lucas Snarski

Since November 2022, the dataflow on all five of Vietnam’s undersea internet cables has been disrupted, slowing internet speeds and forcing the country into periodic reliance on land cable connections to China and Cambodia. The failures are from a mixture of technical issues, including unintentional physical damage to cables in waters near Malaysia and Hong Kong. Drastically slowed internet access impedes economic activity, lowers investor confidence, and impacts sectors from healthcare to education.

Although isolated disruptions to internet access are relatively common, the vulnerability of critical undersea infrastructure is increasingly noticeable as societies become ever more reliant on connectivity. The high-profile sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines has received significant attention, and there have been a number of notable disruptions in the Pacific in recent years. For example, in February of this year, both cables connecting the Taiwanese island of Matsu to Taiwan were damaged by two passing Chinese vessels, reportedly by accident, and the Pacific Island state Tonga was cut off from the internet for five weeks after a volcanic eruption in 2022.

Vietnam’s experience shows that multiple cables can be damaged simultaneously, necessitating a robust response plan. The cables were damaged outside of Vietnamese waters, highlighting the importance of regional action in building resilient infrastructure for Southeast Asia’s fast-growing population.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) needs to develop a comprehensive framework and plan of joint action to ensure the energy and information security of all member states going forward. It must develop resilient infrastructure networks that can withstand physical damage, while also ensuring the security of the computer systems that manage operations. As ASEAN states digitize and become increasingly interlinked with each other and the surrounding regions, a centralized plan is necessary to protect these heretofore underappreciated sectors of state security.

China Has a Problem That Needs Solving

Dr. Henry Kissinger

“Chess has only two outcomes: draw and checkmate. The objective of the game…is total victory or defeat – and the battle is head-on, in the center of the board. The aim of Go is relative advantage; the game is played all over the board, and the objective is to increase one’s options and reduce those of the adversary. The goal is less victory than persistent strategic progress.”

Mentally pin the quote above to your sub-conscious, as you read this essay.

This is the second essay in our series addressing Unrestricted Warfare[1]. How far we will take this series is yet to be determined. It will likely form the basis of a 4Sight seminar or roundtable. The previous essay stressed the need to accurately define and contextualize problems, in order to develop a common operating picture. We provided a brief caution on mirroring and introduced the concept of the Cognitive Domain, as it relates to Irregular Warfare. This and the previous essay are primers for understanding and responding to Unrestricted Warfare. As we begin to examine Unrestricted Warfare, it is essential to understand what drives its application.

David Maxwell presented his China thesis in two pieces written in 2020 and 2023 and multiple speaking engagements. It should be clear to everyone reading this: “China exports its authoritarian political system around the world in order to dominate regions, co-opt or coerce international organizations, create economic conditions favorable to China alone, and displace democratic institutions.”[2]

“I Will Survive….”

Gloria Gaynor’s hit from 1978 frames the initial motivation behind China’s One Belt/One Road initiative. It is key to understanding the problem the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is trying to solve. When we go through Unrestricted Warfare, it is easy to lose sight of how it all fits together with China’s problem-solving process. So, let’s start there.

How Putin and Xi resurrected America


Professor Edward Luttwak is a strategist and historian known for his works on grand strategy, geoeconomics, military history, and international relations.

Future historians will struggle to explain the recent dramatic rise of America’s global power. Faced with a long list of irreconcilable differences at home, and two consecutive presidents whose distinguishing characteristic is the intensity of the opposition they provoke, this century is so often painted as one of US decline.

But the blatant contradiction between disarray at home and increased power abroad has a simple explanation: the greater part of American power does not derive from what the US itself, let alone individual presidents, are able to do, but from the cooperation and support it receives from friendly countries around the world. US power depends on the magnitude and the cohesion of its alliances — and the latter can change very quickly.

This, of course, is key. Years of talk in Europe of replacing the “increasingly outdated” US-directed Nato alliance with an alternative centred in the European Union ended abruptly last February when the Russians attempted to seize Kyiv in a day and Ukraine in a week. Had they succeeded, as both Russian and US intelligence had predicted (it was the always-wrong CIA that prompted Biden’s offer to evacuate Zelenskyy), Nato would have collapsed.

Yet because the Ukrainian guards fought off elite Russian paratroopers at the Antonov airfield, inaugurating fierce resistance across the entire front, and because the US and UK immediately reacted by promising military aid, a seemingly moribund Nato was suddenly resurrected.

Without waiting for discussions or agreements, some countries simply acted: Norway airlifted 2,000 LAW anti-tank weapons, which are point-and-shoot rockets, neither new nor advanced — but just the thing to fire at Russian armour flooding into the country. And its example was followed by Denmark, Canada and then others, while far more advanced missiles arrived very quickly from the US and the UK, inaugurating a flow of weapons from most Nato countries that still continues.

Time For Central Asia To Create Its Own New Silk Road

James Jay Carafano

Like a bad hangover, the world is quickly moving to look past Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative, which connects China to global markets.

But sobering up won’t be so easy. To construct resilient, profitable supply chains, the West will have to take China’s challenge far more seriously than Secretary of State Anthony Blinken did on his recent trip to Beijing, where he told reporters—to President Xi Jinping’s delight—that “China’s broad economic success is also in our interest.”

For starters, Washington needs to pay much more attention to the heart of Eurasia. It is time for the nations of Central Asia and the countries bordering the Caspian Sea—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia—to buck China’s malign influence and own their future.

China’s ambition to dominate global markets and supply chains, grandiosely envisioned as a “New Silk Road,” recalls the Eurasian routes that dominated global trade from Roman times to the 15th century. Then, as now, goods travel along one of three routes: the northern corridor, which winds through Russia to the West; the middle corridor, which makes its way through Central Asia, the Caspian Sea, the Caucuses and the Black Sea; and a southern corridor, which crosses the Indo-Pacific to Africa and then moves upward through the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

But after many years of press releases and unrealized promises, Beijing’s belts and roads mostly look like bridges to nowhere.

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.

Communist China’s Tentacles Are All Over the Western Hemisphere

Congressman Mike Waltz

A note from Morgan:

“I’ve known Mike Waltz for years - he is the definition of an American patriot. He served our country across the world as a combat-decorated Green Beret with four bronze stars, including two for valor. I was so glad he got elected to Congress in 2018, where he fights every day for a stronger America that can protect our sons, daughters, and loved ones against our enemies - foreign and domestic. Mike aptly sits on the House Select Committee on Intelligence, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, continuing his long career defending our country by working in Congress to stop the ever-growing China threat around the world.”

This month, Americans were again stunned by the news of yet another Chinese espionage campaign leveled against our homeland.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the totalitarian regimes in Communist China and Cuba had come to an agreement to allow the Chinese to build an “eavesdropping facility” on the island - just 90 miles away from Florida.

What then transpired was almost more troubling. The Biden administration first questioned the accuracy of the report, only then to backtrack a few days later to confirm the facility had been operational since 2019, saying they had inherited this problem from the Trump administration.

Even if this is true, it calls into question the Biden administration’s efforts – or lack thereof - to thwart Chinese influence in our hemisphere.

One of the hallmarks of the Trump foreign policy doctrine was building partnerships in Latin America to curb our adversary’s influence and strengthen mutual interests with countries in the region. These include: the Trump administration’s successful efforts, along with several Latin American countries, to sanction the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah which is spreading terror cells across South America; the isolation campaign against the Maduro regime to starve his corrupt narco-syndicate government of resources; and designating the Cuban government a state sponsor of terrorism. These actions sent a clear-eyed signal of American resolve to the rest of the world.

Migrant Smuggling “Influencers” Offering Services Via TikTok & YouTube


As the United States continues to face rampant illegal crossing at the US-southern border with Mexico, migrant smugglers have publicly begun advertising transportation services via social media outlets, generating billions of dollars.

According to recent media reports, these new migrant smuggling social media “influencers” have been advertising illegal transportation into the homeland for more than $10,000 per person via TikTok videos.

The carte-linked human smugglers (coyotes in Spanish) have been posting high-quality promotional videos, which show them escorting illegal migrants across rivers.

The coyotes have public profiles on TikTok and YouTube, where they flaunt their schemes, mocking the US immigration system.

According to reports, any individual can open their mobile device, and with a few clicks, talk to a smuggler through their social media account and obtain a quote for transporting a migrant illegally into America.

By using words on TikTok like “sueño americano” (“American dream”), “levanto” (“pick up”), and “inmigrantes” (“immigrants”), it revealed dozens more accounts of suspected coyotes.

Speaking to the New York Post, an alleged human smuggler said the charge for him to sneak a Mexican immigrant into the US was $10,500.

On YouTube, Soy Xulen, whose handle is @ELINMIGRANTEAVENTURERO, which means “the migrant adventurer,” had footage of smugglers in camouflage slipping illegal immigrants over the border.

In one video, users can see smugglers with backpacks heading along a dusty path to guide a family into a vehicle bound for the US.

Israel’s control challenged by Hezbollah in north, restive West Ban

Ben Caspit

TEL AVIV — Rioting by settlers in the West Bank this week and the establishment of several illegal outposts in recent days highlight an alarming phenomenon — of Benjamin Netanyahu's government losing control across the board, at an accelerated pace.

This lawlessness is compounded by the absence of governance on the part of the Palestinian Authority (PA) which is turning the northern part of the West Bank into a no-man's-land.

Israeli settlers established seven illegal outposts in the West Bank on Wednesday and Thursday to avenge the June 20 killing of four settlers by Palestinian gunmen linked to Hamas. Ynet reported Friday that the authorities were aware of the illegal activity but took no action to block it. Also after the attack, hundreds of settlers, including coalition Knesset members, traveled to the illegal West Bank outpost of Evyatar, saying they were returning there for good. Past attempts to resettle Evyatar were stymied by the military, but not this time.

Extremist settler groups have carried out a series of acts of revenge attacks in recent days, setting fire to cars and homes in Palestinian villages following the deadly attack on Tuesday that claimed the lives of four Israelis in the settlement of Eli.

A PA official said in a press statement on Wednesday that Israeli settlers carried out 310 attacks against Palestinians and their properties within 24 hours. The military said in response that it did not have sufficient advance intelligence to stop the rioting settlers.

At the same time, violent riots broke out Wednesday in the Golan Heights, where hundreds of members of the Druze community, most of them Syrian citizens, demonstrated against the Israeli government in general and the construction of a large number of wind turbines, in particular. The Druze also attacked police stations, and the violence appeared to be veering out of control before police quelled it. Twenty-seven people, including 17 police officers, were injured, and six demonstrators were detained.

21st Century Economic Growth Will Be Slower Than We Thought

The global economy will grow slower in the 21st century than economists have expected, a finding that has implications for our ability to adapt to climate change in the coming decades, according to new research.

A new study projecting the economic futures of four income groups of countries over the next century finds growth will be slower than predicted, with developing countries taking longer to close the wealth gap and approach the income of wealthier nations. What economists have thought of as a worst-case scenario for global economic growth may, in fact, be a best-case scenario, according to the new study published in Communications Earth & Environment.

The findings suggest governments need to start planning for slower growth and wealthier countries may need to help lower-income nations finance climate change adaptations in the coming decades, according to the study authors.

“We’re at a point where we maybe need to significantly increase financing for [climate] adaptation in developing countries, and we’re also at a point where we might be overestimating our future ability to provide that financing under the current fiscal paradigm,” said Matt Burgess, a CIRES fellow, director of the Center for Social and Environmental Futures, and assistant professor of environmental studies at CU Boulder who led the new study.

“We can now start to winnow down the range of possibilities and move forward in more tangible ways,” said Ryan Langendorf, a postdoctoral scholar at CU Boulder and co-author of the new study.

In the new study, Burgess and his colleagues used two economic models to project how much the global economy will grow over the next century and how quickly developing countries will approach the income levels of wealthier nations.

Russian attack helicopters showed up in force on the front lines and have been putting dents in Ukraine's armored assaults


Russia changed the way it uses its aviation assets as Ukraine conducted offensive operations.
Attack helicopters have been carrying out short-range operations close to the front lines.

Ukraine's armed forces are gaining ground and pressing ahead with counteroffensive operations, but the Russians are putting up a fight and deploying aviation assets to the front lines in ways they haven't been until recently to blunt Ukrainian efforts to retake captured territory.

Ukrainian forces are pushing beyond the protection of some of their fixed air defenses without the kind of mobile air defenses they really need, and Russian attack helicopters, like the Ka-52 Alligators able to do damage with its 30mm cannon or anti-tank missiles, are emerging as a threat to Ukraine's ground forces that must be quickly engaged with air-defense missiles before they can eliminate its heavy armor, such as tanks and infantry fighting vehicles.

Senior Ukrainian military officials have raised concerns about Russia's "aviation and artillery superiority" during the counteroffensive operations, which they have said are meeting "fierce fighting," and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told The BBC Wednesday the counteroffensive is currently moving "slower than desired."

In a recent intelligence update, Britain's defense ministry noted that "Russia has re-enforced its attack helicopter force in" southern Ukraine, giving the Russians an advantage in an area where tougher fights have been taking place.

A Ukrainian soldier told The Financial Times this week that Russian helicopter attacks on Ukraine's armored vehicles have proven to be a "very powerful technique" the Ukrainian forces have struggled to match with the capabilities available.

The emergence of this airborne threat may indicate a "gap" in how Ukraine has deployed its "air-defense umbrella," Riley Bailey, a Russia researcher at the Institute for the Study of War, told Insider.

Deal focus: US Pentagon targets plasma-assisted hypersonic propulsion

Richard Thomas

Specter Aerospace has revealed previously undisclosed funding from the US DoD for its plasma-assisted hypersonic propulsion development. Credit: Specter Aerospace

US-based aerospace propulsion specialists Specter Aerospace has received $9.5m in venture and US Department of Defense (DoD) funding, as Washington continues to explore ways to gain a technological advantage in the development of hypersonic weapon systems.

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According to a 13 June release from Specter Aerospace, the previously undisclosed venture and DoD funding has come from various defence contracts and equity investments from CS Ventures and Mandala Ventures.

Specter Aerospace, based in the Boston, Massachusetts area, specialises in the field of plasma-assisted combustion and hypersonic propulsion.

Defence innovation in the US has fallen behind in key next-generation technologies to rivals China and Russia, particularly in the field of hypersonics and missile systems. To this end, Specter Aerospace, and other such companies, are attempting to introduce the concept of relevance at the speed of change, enabling more rapid development and upgrade of emergent technologies and defence systems.

The funding would assist the ongoing development of plasma-assisted combustion propulsion, enabling defence customers to “go farther and faster” on less fuel, stated Felipe Gomez del Campo, CEO of Specter Aerospace.

Russia says it downed 3 drones outside Moscow, suspects it was attack by Ukraine

This handout photo released by Moscow Region Governor Andrei Vorobyev telegram channel on Wednesday, June 21, 2023, an emergency services employee walks near the site where a drone crashed, near Kalininets, outside Moscow, Russia. Two drones were brought down outside Moscow as they approached the warehouses of a local military unit, Moscow region Gov. Andrei Vorobyov said Wednesday, in what could be the latest attempt by Ukraine to strike targets inside Russia during the early stages of Kyiv's most recent counteroffensive. (Moscow Region Governor Andrei Vorobyev telegram channel via AP)

Two drones were brought down outside Moscow as they approached the warehouses of a local military unit, Russian authorities said Wednesday, in what could be the latest attempt by Ukraine to strike targets inside Russia during the early stages of Kyiv’s most recent counteroffensive.

At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that the Ukrainian forces were regrouping after what he described as a failed counteroffensive and could be readying new attempts to attack Russian positions.

The two drones came down near the village of Lukino, administratively part of the city of Moscow, Russian media reported. The wreckage of a third drone was reportedly found about 20 kilometers (12 miles) away. No damage or casualties were reported.

Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed it was “an unsuccessful attempt at a terrorist attack” by “the Kyiv regime” on its facilities in the Moscow region, adding in a statement that all three drones were brought down by electronic jamming.

Ukraine, which doesn’t usually confirm attacks on Russian soil, made no immediate comment. Previously, Ukrainian officials have emphasized the country’s right to strike any target in response to Russia’s invasion and war that started in February 2022.

The Forgotten Element of Strategy

Nadia Schadlow

Time and time again, in one sector after another, we articulate strategies and set objectives, but we usually fall short, because we’ve failed to take into account the crucial element of time. Tasks we once accomplished swiftly now drag on for years. Problems we once resolved efficiently now prove interminable. Without incorporating time into our strategic calculations, we will always be too late.

I saw this firsthand while I worked at the White House. In 2017, as deputy national security adviser for strategy, I helped write the U.S. National Security Strategy. I knew that actually implementing the initiatives it detailed would be harder than writing it. Presidential executive orders and White House strategies are merely aspirational until they are linked to budgets, and until tasks are assigned to the organizations that must implement them. But even that is not enough. The NSS outlines priorities, but it does not specify when they must be achieved or provide a mechanism to track how long they are taking. The result is a problem that plagues Democratic and Republican administrations alike, as their initiatives aren’t executed swiftly enough to accomplish what they are intended to achieve. Examples abound:

American leaders consistently emphasize the need to reduce dependence on China for crucial minerals, and although we have abundant domestic resources, it still takes well over a decade, on average, to open a new mine in the United States.

Top military leaders lament that we have lost the art of moving fast and that unless we accelerate required changes, we won’t be prepared to deter and win wars. China is acquiring high-end weapons systems and equipment five to six times faster than the United States. As we continue to provide Ukraine with ammunition and other military equipment, we struggle with replenishing our stockpiles of arms and munitions. For some weapons systems, replenishment will take at least five years, just to restore stocks that were already inadequate to sustain a major conflict. This is particularly problematic, because the United States might run out of certain munitions in less than a week should conflict with China erupt over Taiwan.

Survey: Biden’s Weakness Driving Europe Towards China

Daniel Berman

When George W. Bush was rallying support for his 2003 invasion of Iraq, he contrasted the opposition of “Old Europe” – in other words, France and Germany – with the pro-American enthusiasm of “New Europe” – Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Baltic states. When it comes to the question of the People’s Republic of China, similar phrases are once more being heard in the corridors of power in Washington.

Emmanuel Macron’s recent trip to Beijing already caused jitters about the reliability of Europe in a Sino-American conflict. A series of recent surveys of European public opinion have seemed to confirm those fears, as they have shown a distinct lack of enthusiasm for European involvement in a potential U.S.-China war. Those findings have now also provoked calls for the U.S. to abandon an “ungrateful Europe” in order to focus on Asia.

A world without hegemons

William Minter

In 2022, military spending by the United States came to $877 billion, more than the total of $849 billion spent by the next 10 countries combined. U.S. spending was three times greater than the $292 billion spent by China, and more than 10 times as much as the amount spent by Russia.

U.S. military forces, moreover, are stationed in more than 750 bases in 80 countries around the world. Neither China nor Russia has more than a handful of bases outside their borders.

If there is any country that might claim global hegemony, it would be the United States.

Yet if hegemony means the capacity to get other countries to comply with one’s demands, the United States is far from being a global hegemon. In a long series of wars from Korea and Vietnam in the latter half of the 20th century to Iraq and Afghanistan in the 21st, the United States has demonstrated the capacity for massive destruction but it has won no more than Pyrrhic victories. The cost to the United States has included not only lives lost but also erosion of confidence at home and abroad.

What, then, to make of the war in Ukraine?

In the United States and Britain, many see it as a just war, with images harking back to World War II. Pundits such as Timothy Snyder at Yale University and Timothy Garton Ash at Oxford have extolled Ukrainians’ martial spirit as evocative of the Athenian defense of democracy and the Greek warrior Achilles. Mainstream American media, such as the Washington Post and the New York Times, still devote far more coverage to the war in Ukraine than to any other conflict elsewhere in the world.

U.S. opinion polls show public support for the war in Ukraine dropping somewhat this year, and some Republicans in Congress have questioned its cost. But most U.S. politicians still see support for negotiations as a step too far. After hastily withdrawing a call for diplomacy last fall, progressive Democrats remain hesitant to raise their doubts in public. Instead, the public calls for negotiation have come from the military, including the current chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, and his predecessor, Admiral Mike Mullen.

BRICS currency won’t dislodge the dollar but is a threat


Could a new currency be set to challenge the dominance of the dollar? Perhaps, but that may not be the point.

In August 2023, South Africa will host the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – a group of nations known by the acronym BRICS. Among the items on the agenda is the creation of a new joint BRICS currency.

As a scholar who has studied the BRICS countries for over a decade, I can certainly see why talk of a BRICS currency is, well, gaining currency. The BRICS summit comes as countries across the world are confronting a changing geopolitical landscape that is challenging the traditional dominance of the West.

And while the BRICS countries have been seeking to reduce their reliance on the dollar for over a decade, Western sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine have accelerated the process.

Meanwhile, rising interest rates and the recent debt ceiling crisis in the US have raised concerns among other countries about their dollar-denominated debt and the demise of the dollar should the world’s leading economy ever default.

That all said, a new BRICS currency faces major hurdles before becoming a reality. But what currency discussions do show is that the BRICS countries are seeking to discover and develop new ideas about how to shake up international affairs and effectively coordinate policies around these ideas.
De-dollarization momentum?

With 88% of international transactions conducted in U.S. dollars, and the dollar accounting for 58% of global foreign exchange reserves, the dollar’s global dominance is indisputable. Yet de-dollarization – or reducing an economy’s reliance on the U.S. dollar for international trade and finance – has been accelerating following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine is the Graveyard of Europe’s Last Empire

Ilan I. Berman

In recent years, imperial thinking has made a major comeback in Russia.

Buoyed by visions of a revived “greater Russia” and egged on by ideological fellow travelers, President Vladimir Putin has championed an increasingly aggressive foreign policy designed to reassert his country’s primacy in its traditional geopolitical sphere of influence — and beyond. Mr. Putin’s fateful decision to launch a “special military operation” in February 2022 with the goal of fomenting regime change in Kyiv was the logical consequence of this revived impulse.

Yet today, Russia's actual imperial potential is declining, and the war in Ukraine is a big reason why. Across Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Baltic states, Russia’s reputation has taken a massive hit as more and more countries question the prudence of aligning too closely with Moscow. This shift is neatly captured in a new Gallup survey highlighting a number of key regional changes the Kremlin’s ill-fated war of choice has wrought.

The first is that, over the past year, approval of Russia’s leadership declined dramatically among nearly all of its neighbors. And while in places such as Ukraine and the Baltics, which already had extensive experience with Moscow’s predations, trust was already low, it has dipped significantly over the past year in countries like Armenia, Moldova, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, which have historically been more or less “sympathetic to Russian leadership.”

Specifically, between 2021 and 2022, approval of Russia slipped from 45% to 32% in Armenia, from 43% to 30% in Moldova, and from 55% to 29% in Kazakhstan. In Azerbaijan, meanwhile, support for Russia plummeted from 60% in 2019 to just 23% last year.

Second, Russia’s current offensive against Ukraine has had a much more marked impact on regional perceptions than its earlier 2014 invasion ever did. Back then, thinking about Russia experienced a marked negative shift in the Baltics and Ukraine but far less so in other post-Soviet states. Now, however, Russia’s renewed aggression against Ukraine has significantly shifted regional public opinion because “the thin justification for the land grab, and the magnitude of violence are fertile grounds for concern, particularly in countries with their own ethnic divisions.”