5 July 2023

The Geopolitics of the Semiconductor Industry and India’s Place in It


For some time now, it has been almost conventional wisdom that states that trade with each other have less of an incentive to act with hostility toward each other. It was believed that economic interdependence would help prevent aggression.1 This argument is being severely tested when it comes to relations between China and the United States. While the prospect of any military conflict between them is low, there has been an undeniable surge in tension in their trade relationship.

Rising tensions have set China and the United States on a gradual economic decoupling. The technology export-control measures that were unveiled by former U.S. president Donald Trump’s administration in May 2019 and May 2020 have not been rolled back by the subsequent Joe Biden administration, and they have set both countries striving for self-sufficiency. Nowhere is this more evident than in the semiconductor industry.

The last few years have seen a pressing shortage of semiconductors, which matters greatly since the industries of the future will be heavily reliant on chips. Semiconductors will be critical to the foundational technologies of artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing, the Internet of Things, and advanced robotics, and any shortage in them will hurt not only the economic prospects of technology companies but also of countries that hope to deploy such technology. Semiconductors have long been critical to the functioning of various industries, ranging from aerospace to automobiles. An estimate put the number of industries impacted by the recent global semiconductor shortage at 169.2

India Has Become a Middle Eastern Power

Steven A. Cook

A decade ago, I went to India on a three-week speaking tour that took me to New Delhi, Lucknow, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, and Hyderabad. The idea behind the trip, which the U.S. State Department sponsored, was to foster an exchange of ideas about the Middle East with officials in the Indian government, academics, students, and journalists. From the perspective of the diplomats who invited me, it was a great opportunity for Indians to understand a nonofficial U.S. perspective on a part of the world that was likely to loom large for New Delhi in the future. I had a wonderful trip, but I came back skeptical about a future Indian role in the Middle East.

How to advance women’s rights in Afghanistan

Roya Rahmani

Top lines

Terrorist groups and extremist ideology will fill the social vacuum created by the erasure of Afghanistan’s women.

Providing Afghan women with rights and opportunities must be at the top of the regional and global security agenda.

Shifting from humanitarian aid to economic development projects could give the West leverage over the Taliban and is better for the long-term health of the country.

Roya Rahmani and Melanne Verveer discuss Afghan women as the way forward and how the international community should engage now, nearly two years after the fall of Kabul. (Rahmani and Verveer’s biographies are below.)

WORTH A THOUSAND WORDSSource: SIGAR, February 2021 report on Support for Gender Equality, 40.

THE DIAGNOSISDuring the twenty-year US intervention in Afghanistan, metrics gauging women’s health and education and women’s presence in local and national politics all improved.

Pakistan's Genocide

Uzay Bulut

"The conflict resulted in the massacre of an estimated three million East Pakistani citizens, the ethnic cleansing of 10 million ethnic Bengalis who fled to India, and the rape of at least 200,000 women (some estimates put the number of rape victims at closer to 400,000)." — hinduamerican.org

"Hindus were the special targets of this violence, as documented by official government correspondence and documents from the United States, Pakistan, and India.... The Pakistan military's conflation of Hindu, Bengali, and Indian identities meant that all Bengalis (the majority of people in Bangladesh) were suspect.... In the eyes of the Pakistani military, Hindu, Bengali, and Indian identities were one and the same." — hinduamerican.org

"Bengali Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, and other religious groups were also significantly affected. By the end of the first month in March 1971, 1.5 million Bengalis were displaced. By November 1971, 10 million Bengalis, the majority of whom were Hindu, had fled to India." — hinduamerican.org

"II]in the eyes of Western Pakistanis and their fundamentalist Muslim collaborators 'the Hindus among the Bengalis were as Jews to the Nazis: scum and vermin that should best be exterminated.'" — Rudolph Joseph Rummel (1932–2014), leading American scholar of genocides, quoted by sociologist Massimo Introvigne, bitterwinter.org, November 2, 2021.

The genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by the Pakistani military against millions of people due to their ethnicity, religion, language and political views urgently need to be called out and the perpetrators held accountable.
The genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by the Pakistani military against millions of people due to their ethnicity, religion, language and political views urgently need to be called out and the perpetrators held accountable. Pictured: A woman and her grandchildren in a field hospital in Calcutta, India, after they fled the war in East Pakistan (Bangladesh), on November 23, 1971. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

The genocide committed by Pakistan needs immediate recognition.

Instead of Politicizing Afghanistan, Stand Up for Women and Girls

Lisa Curtis

Ahuman rights calamity is unfolding in Afghanistan. In its latest move to repress half of the country’s population, the Taliban mandated that Afghan women can no longer work for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). The United Nations (U.N.) condemned the Taliban for forcing the international organization to make an “appalling choice” between continuing its operations without employing Afghan women, which would violate the U.N. charter, or withdrawing from the country, which would deepen the humanitarian crisis.1 Following a U.N.-led international meeting in Doha in early May, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres signaled that the U.N. would likely continue operating in Afghanistan despite the harsh Taliban edict.2 This follows several other outrageous Taliban edicts, including keeping girls out of secondary school and young women from attending university; preventing women from leaving their homes without a male companion; and prohibiting women from going to parks or gyms or holding jobs, except in the health sector.3

Yet rather than stand up for Afghan women and girls in the face of such repressive policies, American leaders—Republicans and Democrats alike—are busy in a blame game about which political party is responsible for the U.S. failure in Afghanistan. Republican congressional leaders have held hearings on Afghanistan that focus on the Biden administration’s poor handling of the August 2021 withdrawal but largely ignore what is happening to women and girls in the country. One exception to Republican leaders’ inaction on the plight of Afghan women was Congressman Mike McCaul’s chairing of a roundtable on the issue that featured remarks by former Afghan Ambassador Roya Rahmani.4 For its part, the Biden administration recently published a review of the Afghan withdrawal that laid blame on the Trump administration for the Biden administration’s own failures.5 For instance, the Biden administration chose to bind itself to the Trump-era Doha deal made between the United States and the Taliban that called for U.S. troop withdrawal by May 2021. The Biden administration could have delayed a troop withdrawal and negotiated a harder bargain with the Taliban. The administration would better serve American interests by focusing on implementing policies that support women and girls, like conditioning engagement with the Taliban on the reopening of schools and universities to women.

Meanwhile, the women of Afghanistan are bravely standing up for themselves, despite the risks. Based on reporting by local journalists, contacts with Afghanistan-based protestors, and communication with the global Afghan diaspora community, Center for a New American Security researchers documented 86 women-led protests since September 2021. Most recently on April 29, dozens of Afghan women protested in the streets of Kabul against a U.N.-led meeting in Doha to discuss how the international community should engage the Taliban.6 Due to the Taliban’s harsh crackdown, 32 of these demonstrations were held indoors, with protestors getting their message out through videos, social media, and web postings.

Has Laos Ensnared China In A ‘Creditor Trap?’ – Analysis

David Hutt

In the Western vernacular there’s a warning about tails wagging dogs. And the Buddhist adage dictates that when the sage points at the moon, only the fool looks at his finger. The point of both is not to confuse the object for the subject. For years, we’ve been warned that Laos has been ensnared in a Chinese “debt trap.’ What if Laos has equally caught Beijing in a “creditor trap?”

According to the World Bank’s latest estimates, Laos’ national debt has probably surpassed 110 percent of GDP, with more than two-fifths of that owed bilaterally to China. (It accounts for around half of Laos’ external debt.) Others reckon the percentages are actually much higher. And as things stand, Laos’ public debt will remain above the 100-percent-of-GDP mark until 2030, according to a baseline scenario of an IMF report published last month.

China and Laos rarely make these things public, but the IMF reckons known deferrals of debt servicing to China amounted to $220 million in 2020, $450 million in 2021, and $610 million last year. By one estimate, China’s short-term debt relief in the form of deferrals accounted for nearly 8 percent of Laos’ GDP by the end of 2022. Delaying makes sense. It frees up Vientiane’s finances in the short term. Because most of Laos’ debt is in U.S .dollars and the Lao kip has depreciated so badly since early 2022, payment now would be far more costly to the state than if China was paid back in a few years time (when the kip would have presumably rallied).

Beijing might remain conservative. “Given the approach China has taken previously, it may offer short term relief, but only that,” Mariza Cooray, of the Lowy Institute’s Indo-Pacific Development Centre, argued last month. Beijing has moved much quicker to defer debt repayments for Laos compared to for the likes of Sri Lanka and Zambia, Cooray noted. But as with Sri Lanka and Zambia, she added, “China has also so far been unwilling to take a haircut on its debt, despite obvious signs that this will ultimately be necessary and to everyone’s benefit.”

The Magnitude of China Threat Leaves No Room for Complacency

Anne Pierce

Dangerous illusions buy China time and cover for the execution of President Xi Jinping’s multi-faceted plan for global domination. China has already made such progress; the China threat is now so great that the Free World cannot afford dalliance, wishful thinking, or repose. U.S. efforts to keep communication channels with Chinese leaders open make sense, but optimism regarding the fruits of engagement and diplomacy with China is not warranted.

China’s expansionist drive and bullying of neighbors; subjection of Hong Kong and Tibet and scheme for overtaking Taiwan; extreme human rights violations and techno-totalitarian control; relentless espionage and interference campaigns in democracies; collusion with Russia, Iran and bad actors across the globe; tremendous influence and anti-American positions in international forums; massive military build-up and preparation for war; and recent aggressive moves against U.S. planes and ships in the South China Sea, simply must give U.S. policymakers and negotiators pause.

Rather than hold on to fading hope that engagement and diplomacy will appreciably soften China’s stance, the United States must rise to the current challenge. Only by facing the hard truths about Chinese revisionism can America form principled and wise China policy.

Before believing that China, unlike Russia, is amenable to reasonable relations with democratic states, consider the China-Russia relationship. At their February 2022 meeting in Beijing, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin announced an “unlimited partnership,” which they said was aimed at countering U.S. influence. As he departed their March 2023 summit in Moscow, Xi told Putin, “Right now there are changes, the likes of which we haven’t seen for one hundred years.” Echoing that note, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said any Ukraine peace talks should discuss “the principles on which the new world order will be based.”

Such statements sent a chill down many a foreign policy analyst’s spine because a new world order, or even a major war, no longer seems entirely out of the realm of possibility. This juncture calls for a conscious rejection of complacency.

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.

Achieving coordination among sanctioning countries in a Taiwan crisis presents a unique challenge. While policymakers have begun discussing the potential for economic countermeasures in a Taiwan crisis, consultations are still in the early stages. Coordination is key to successful sanctions programs, but high costs and uncertainty about Beijing’s ultimate intentions will make stakeholder alignment a challenge. Finding alignment with Taiwan in particular on the use of economic countermeasures will be central to any successful effort. G7 differences on Taiwan’s legal status may also prove a hurdle when seeking rapid alignment on sanctions.

US-China lessons from Ukraine: Fueling more dangerous Taiwan tensions

John K. Culver and Sarah Kirchberger

The lessons that Washington and Beijing appear to be learning from Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, and from Ukraine’s resistance and counteroffensive, could set the stage for a crisis over Taiwan in the next few years. This grim prospect is driven by the United States and China arraying themselves for a strategic rivalry since 2017 through the continuing trade war, economic decoupling, and increasing rhetorical and military positioning for confrontation over Taiwan. In light of the Chinese military’s threatening gestures, belligerent rhetoric, and other recent actions that read like they could be preparation for war, there is a danger that the successive warnings by senior US military commanders that Chinese CCP General Secretary and President Xi Jinping has already decided to use military force in the near term could become the proverbial tail wagging the dog — and could impose a logic that makes a US-China war more likely, rather than enhancing deterrence.1 Therefore, the key question for the United States and its allies is how an increasingly truculent and belligerent Chinese leadership can be incentivized to walk back from the brink. This paper examines what lessons China, the United States, and European allies have drawn from the Ukraine conflict and how such lessons have shaped these actors’ strategic assumptions. It concludes with a discussion of policy recommendations for the transatlantic community confronting the possibility of a US-China conflict over Taiwan.

China’s assumptions and lessons learned

Even as Beijing modulates its public statements in support of Moscow, China’s strategic assumptions from before the Ukraine invasion likely have not changed, and may depend on the longer-term outcome in Ukraine. That includes the prospect of an outcome that Vladimir Putin can claim as a Russian “victory,” in which Russia continues to hold territory and forecloses Ukraine’s NATO or European Union (EU) integration.

China is likely to apply the following strategic assumptions as it digests lessons learned from the Ukraine war.

Judge to Decide Whether Taint of C.I.A. Torture Extended to Guantánamo

Carol Rosenberg

The suicide bombing of the U.S.S. Cole killed 17 U.S. sailors in October 2000. Credit...U.S. Navy/Getty Images

More than 22 years after Al Qaeda bombed the U.S.S. Cole and nearly 12 years after a prisoner was first charged with plotting the attack, a judge heard final arguments Friday on a fundamental question in the pretrial phase of the case: Can the accused bomber’s confession, after years in C.I.A. custody, be used against him?

The judge, Col. Lanny J. Acosta Jr., acknowledged that potentially relevant information was still being given to defense lawyers in the case, but he said it was time to resolve a key obstacle in the long wait for the death-penalty trial of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. Colonel Acosta will retire from the Army in September and has been determined to wrap up a portion of the pretrial phase focusing on the legacy of C.I.A. torture.

In closing arguments, he confronted several issues straight on, including whether what the C.I.A. did to the defendant — waterboarding him, depriving him of sleep, holding him nude in solitary confinement — constituted torture or cruel and inhuman treatment.

“I do not concede that at this time,” replied Edward R. Ryan, a prosecutor from the Justice Department.

By day’s end, however, Mr. Ryan acknowledged that the Justice Department had already conceded that what Mr. Nashiri told interrogators in C.I.A. custody “should be treated as ‘statements obtained by the use of torture or by cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.’”

The Secretive World of Guantánamo BayThe Docket: Since 2002, roughly 780 detainees have been held at the American military prison in Cuba. Now, a few dozen remain, and it costs $13 million a year per prisoner to keep them there.

Uniforms? Check. Motto? Check. Now the Space Force needs an identity.

Christian Davenport

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The uniforms resemble costumes from the television series “Battlestar Galactica,” and the logo is right out of Star Trek. Even the name given its members, “guardians,” seems born of science fiction. But three years after it was established as the sixth branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, the U.S. Space Force is very much a reality.

It has a motto, “Sempra Supra” or “Always Above,” fitting for an agency whose future is outside Earth’s atmosphere. It has an official song, a short, melodic anthem about guardians “boldly reaching into space” that’s not as catchy as “The Army Goes Rolling Along.” It has a budget ($26 billion last year, similar to NASA), bases across the country and a mission to transform the military’s relationship to the cosmos at a time when space has moved from being a peaceful commons to a crucial front in military conflict.

“We are very much clearly in the next chapter of the Space Force,” Gen. David Thompson, the vice chief of space operations, said during a recent event hosted by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. The mission of the Space Force now is to become an “enterprise that really makes sure that we’re ready to deliver warfighting capabilities.”

What that means in practice is still unclear: The Space Force remains one of the least understood arms of the federal government. Its culture and identity are still being molded, as its leaders push to set the department apart from the Air Force, Navy and Army by arguing that as a new, smaller service it is free to do things differently. While the Air Force has more than 300,000 service members, there are only 13,000 guardians.

Internally, Space Force officials are still debating its priorities, analysts say: Is it to support warfighters on the ground? Or should it focus primarily on protecting assets in space? Or both? And despite all the talk of starting fresh and moving nimbly, the Space Force still exists within the rigid walls of the Pentagon, the world’s largest bureaucracy, which is often faulted for resisting change.

When Space Force Gen. Chance Saltzman, chief of space operations, introduced tenets to guide the force, he labeled them “A theory of success,” rather than a doctrine because he wants them to continue to evolve.

What is the fallout of Russia’s Wagner rebellion?

Aslı Aydıntaşbaş, Pavel K. Baev, Jessica Brandt, Federica Saini Fasanotti, Vanda Felbab-Brown, James Goldgeier, Ryan Hass, Steven Heydemann, Suzanne Maloney, Michael E. O’Hanlon, Elizabeth N. Saunders, Constanze Stelzenmüller, Caitlin Talmadge

Much of the media analysis after this weekend’s 23-hour Wagner rebellion is about the weakness of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime. True, personalized autocracies bypass rules and institutions and, as such, are inherently weaker than democracies.

But autocrats are also more dangerous precisely for the same reason — especially when they feel that their survival is at stake.

It is wrong to assume that the Russian military is toothless or that the Prigozhin saga is “the beginning of the end” for Putin. Putin was humiliated and, as Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin argues, the Russian military is corrupt and inefficient — but there is no indication that the regime is unraveling. We do not have a clear sense of what really happened. Was Prigozhin trying to stage a coup, as early reports suggested, or is this simply infighting among warlords in an opaque system?

Most likely the latter.

The Wagner chief never really publicly criticized Putin throughout this episode and has always said his feud was with the military leadership, namely Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov. Prigozhin may have been set up by the regime to go on a drunken rage or may have just assumed, after months of ranting publicly, that Putin, too, agrees with his criticism of the army. In the end, Russian elites did not come to his support.

The impact of the mini-rebellion on the Ukraine war might also work in both ways. While many assume that, with the Russian military embroiled in infighting, the Ukrainians can now find openings to reclaim more territory, a humiliated Putin would likely get more belligerent in order not to be perceived as weak. (Several weeks after the failed coup attempt in Turkey, Ankara waged a massive incursion into Syria, in part for the same reason.) He might increase domestic repression and take his assault inside Ukraine up one more notch.

Yevgeny Prigozhin: A history of violence and propaganda around the world

Digital Forensic Research Lab

BANNER: Yevgeny Prigozhin speaks on June 24, 2023 (top left); a Wagner statue in Krasnodar Krai, Russia (top right); alleged Wagner soldier training Sudanese armed forces (bottom left); grain shipments to Sudan marked “From Russia with love, courtesy of Yevgeny Prigozhin” (bottom right)

Over a 36-hour period starting on Friday, June 23, Yevgeny Prigozhin captured global attention by launching an armed mutiny against the Russian state with his company of Wagner mercenaries deployed in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. After posting a diatribe aimed at Russia’s military leadership and its management of the war effort, Prigozhin and his forces took over the Russian city of Rostov, Russia’s Southern Military District headquarters, and marched within 200 kilometers of Moscow before standing down in a fragile truce that exposed increasing fractionalization within Russia while the world watched live updates on social media.

For the last six years, the DFRLab has tracked Prigozhin’s various activities – including security efforts, like Wagner Group, and propaganda efforts, like the Internet Research Agency – across four continents.

Prigozhin has been one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest aides as Putin has taken a more assertive and destabilizing role around the world since coming back for a third (and effectively indefinite term) as president in 2012. Prigozhin has played central roles both officially and quasi-officially in Putin’s efforts to maintain domestic control, extend military power, and project influence operations including strategic disinformation around the world. This includes, but is hardly limited to, undermining domestic opposition figures within Russia; a central role in the initial invasion of parts of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea in 2014; Russia’s support of Assad in Syria; Russia’s interference and influence operations against US elections and other western democracies; increasing security presence in various African countries in return for revenue or control of extractive industries; and providing assistance to the Maduro regime in Venezuela. The list of operational activity would make any fictional Bond villain suffer professional jealousy.

Adam Tooze: How Putin Overstretched His Military in Ukraine

Cameron Abadi

Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder and leader of the private military organization Wagner Group, said he had 25,000 soldiers under his command last weekend as he mounted a mutiny against Russian President Vladimir Putin. That compares with up to 1.15 million active-duty personnel estimated to be in the Russian military. And yet that disparity in size didn’t stop Prigozhin and Wagner from organizing a march on Moscow that started in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don and nearly made it to the doorstep of the capital. Fears that the Putin regime could collapse were exaggerated in retrospect—but the events were an indication of how the state might eventually come apart.

Russia’s Nukes Are Probably Secure From Rogue Actors

Christopher David LaRoche

Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin’s abortive mutiny last weekend raised concerns that Russia’s nuclear arsenal could fall into the wrong hands. U.S. officials reportedly had their eyes on the stockpile in the weeks running up to and during the insurrection. If Russia faces another crisis of authority—or collapse—could private militaries or other rogue actors actually use warheads from the Kremlin’s atomic stockpile?

Russian satellite comms firm Dozer taken offline by Wagner-affiliated hacker group - report

Dan Swinhoe 

A Russian satellite communications firm was taken down in what is reported to be a cyber attack.

Russian satellite communications provider Dozor-Teleport was taken down yesterday, with a Wagner-affiliated group taking credit.

Dozor-Teleport is reportedly used by Russia’s Ministry of Defense, ships of the Northern Fleet, Russian energy firm Gazprom, remote oil fields, the Bilibino nuclear power plant, the Federal Security Service (FSB), Rosatom, and other organizations.

Internet monitoring firms NetBlocks, Kentik, and Ioda, all confirmed the company had been taken offline.

“Confirmed: Metrics show a disruption to satellite internet provider Dozor-Teleport which supplies Russia's FSB, Gazprom, Rosatom, and military installations; the incident comes amid a wave of cyberattacks by a group claiming affiliation with Wagner PMC,” NetBlocks said.

“We can confirm that Russian satellite operator Dozor Teleport (AS41942) left the global routing table at about 02:00 UTC earlier today. It is now unreachable, reportedly due to a cyber attack,” Doug Madory, director of Internet Analysis at Kentik said yesterday.

Ioda’s monitoring suggests the company is back online, after being fully down for around 16 hours and working at reduced capacity for a further 17 hours.

Kentik's Madory also reported that Amtel Svyaz, parent company of Dozor Teleport, also suffered a significant outage beginning at 02:00 UTC on June 29, but is largely operating as normal now.

Founded in 2005, Dozer describes itself as a VSAT fixed satellite communications operator and systems integrator, providing a wide range of telecommunications satellite communications services for enterprises. The company utilizes capacity on four satellites and has communication nodes located in the cities of Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Krasnoyarsk.

Washington Needs a New Economic Security Framework for the Americas

Elaine Dezenski

The Western hemisphere is home to some of the world’s largest economies—the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico—and boasts countries with long-standing democratic traditions. Yet a lack of U.S. leadership and vision has left the hemisphere vulnerable to authoritarian encroachment, weak economies, and populations at risk. A new regional economic security framework is badly needed.

America’s backyard, instead of being filled with democratic friends and booming economies, is home to Russian bombers and mercenaries, twenty-nine Chinese-owned ports and port projects, a widespread Iran and Russia-fueled anti-U.S. propaganda machinery, Chinese-enabled fentanyl and money-laundering operations, wobbling and fallen democracies, and widespread economic and political instability. Soon, it may also be home to yet another Chinese surveillance outpost.

Over the last two decades, Latin America has seen wild swings from left-wing populists to right-wing populists and back, all of which have enabled corruption, disappointed their populations, and left the United States without stable partnerships across the region. In response, Washington has settled into a hands-off approach to the region—allowing Venezuela and Nicaragua to slide into dictatorships and largely ignoring chaos in Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, and El Salvador.

In addition to rising internal hardline forces within Latin America, external autocratic forces are imposing their will upon the region with little in the form of a coordinated American response. Russia and Iran are also increasingly active throughout the Americas, providing military assistance to Venezuela, evading sanctions in Cuba, or pushing misinformation and destabilizing democracy. The rising influence of authoritarianism throughout Latin America is pushing the region away from the stable and interdependent democracies that would benefit both local citizens and the hemisphere at large.

Europe must choose: back US tech war on China or support win-win solutions for all

David Morris

The European Commission made an announcement on June 15 that was widely reported as a ban on Chinese telecommunications firms Huawei and ZTE. Rather, the communication endorsed the actions by some member states to restrict or completely exclude the two firms as being consistent with the European Union “toolbox” on 5G security – a set of guidelines designed to be interpreted and implemented by member states.

Some EU countries have followed the United States in treating Chinese telecommunications companies as security risks while others have not, which suggests political factors could be at play. Despite talk of “de-risking” in current EU circles, the growing trend is for language framing China as a security threat, rather like the US debate. Yet Europe is not the US and could benefit from de-escalating the US-China tech war.

China-EU relations have taken twists and turns over the years, but economic interests have usually driven a pragmatic approach when it comes to trade and investment. Some European countries and their consumers have embraced Chinese technology.

The US, on the other hand, in recent years has embarked on a campaign of wide-ranging sanctions and trade barriers to constrain China’s technology industry, notably banning Huawei, sanctioning supercomputer centres and blocking advanced semiconductors from reaching Chinese industrial customers. The US has long dominated global technology industries but now has a rival in setting the norms and rules for the technological revolution under way.

From 2017 onwards, beginning with the Trump administration, China has been identified as a key security threat and strategic competitor, with Huawei in particular singled out. Some political circles in the EU are now echoing the US position.

Ukraine’s ‘Cheap’ Missile Outperforms World’s Best S-400 Systems In Warzone, Wreaks Havoc On Russian Warplanes

Ritu Sharma

A lot of digital ink has been spilled into the firepower packed by the hypersonic missiles, fighter jets, and big guns in the Russia-Ukraine War. Contrary to the hullabaloo around the expensive high-tech weapons, the humble man-portable air defense system (MANPADS) has emerged as the most effective weapon of this war against fixed-wing, rotary aircraft, and drones.

Dubbed the worst nightmare of Russian fighter jets, MANPADS have wreaked havoc on low-flying combat jets, helicopters, and drones. They are usually made up of three parts: a disposable carriage with a launch tube, which carries a missile, a power system, and a trigger or firing unit.

As reported by the EurAsian Times earlier, the MANPADS have been dubbed as a major ‘killer’ of its Su-35 and Su-34 fighters.

The Oryx website puts the losses of Russian fighter jets at 36. Russia lost 93 helicopters, nine Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles, and 128 Reconnaissance UAVs a year into the invasion.

The Ukrainian sources put the numbers even higher. They have formed the bulk of defense aid that the NATO countries have provided to Ukraine.

“It is not only that the MANPADS are the cheapest option available to take down aircraft, but it is also that nothing else is available,” Brigadier MKK Iyer, retired from the Indian Army, told the EurAsian Times. He was in the Air Defense of the Force.

Presently, MANPADS from several countries are deployed in Ukraine: the Soviet-era Igla, Swedish RBS-70 NG, French Mistrals, US Stingers, and British Starstreak. The significant difference between the Russian and the Western hand-held air defense system is that the former works on the heat-seeking principle, and the latter is laser-guided.MANPADS in Ukraine

Russia’s Periphery Takes Note of Putin’s Sudden Weakness

Daniel B. Baer

The New York Times called it Russia’s “36-hour rebellion,” as if the weekend’s shattering events could be confined to a day and a half. Even if Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin called off his group’s march on Moscow and has apparently begun his exile in Belarus, the continuing aftershocks of the mutiny that came within 125 miles of Russia’s virtually defenseless capital cannot be separated from the crisis itself.

Idea of separate US Cyber Force raises eyebrows

Gintaras Radauskas

The prospect of an independent Cyber Force within the US military might be assessed in Washington soon. However, experts aren’t sure that this is the right time to commit to reorganization.

A provision in the US Senate Armed Services Committee’s version of the fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), specifying the annual defense budget, directs an outside study on the creation of an independent cyber service.

This would presumably be the new US Cyber Force, akin to the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Space Force.

A provision in the executive summary of the NDAA mentions “an independent assessment of creating a Cyber Force or further evolving the existing force development and management model.”

The Committee is suggesting that the Department of Defense (DoD) use the National Academy of Public Administration to conduct the assessment, which would be neutral. The full NDAA language hasn’t been released yet.

Of course, the provision is probably just the first salvo in what could be a protracted battle between various agencies inside and outside the Pentagon.

But for quite some time now, there have been rumblings that the US Cyber Command, one of the eleven unified combatant commands of the DoD, is not powerful and organized enough to combat the threats in cyberspace. Some experts, though, doubt this would be the right time to reorganize.

Strong voices in favor

Wagner Mutiny Rattles the Kremlin’s War in Ukraine

Jack Detsch

Before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Yevgeny Prigozhin denied that he had any involvement in the paramilitary Wagner Group, despite European Union sanctions against him and an FBI bounty for his arrest. But as Prigozhin grew increasingly critical of the Kremlin’s tactics in Ukraine, he finally admitted last year that he was the leader of the group and attended funerals for Wagner mercenaries slain in combat. And on Saturday, Prigozhin’s transformation from a shadowy Kremlin ally to a public challenger to Russian President Vladimir Putin was complete: In a lightning mutiny, the Wagner Group stormed into Rostov-on-Don, a city of a million people in the north Caucasus, before an eleventh-hour diplomatic intervention from Belarus ended the saga.

Dual-Use Technology and U.S. Export Controls

Hannah Kelley

Technology is a key enabler of political, military, and economic power. As technical competence grows more diffused, middle powers such as India and Brazil are emerging as technological leaders while authoritarian states are wielding technology to challenge liberal norms and institutions. In response, the United States increasingly turns to export controls to promote its foreign policy and national security interests and deter problematic actors from using U.S.-origin technology in malign ways.

Although U.S. export controls were originally created to regulate items with clear military inputs and use cases, today’s critical technologies—from artificial intelligence to quantum computing to space technologies—are more often borne out of the commercial sector.1 Carrying both commercial and military applications, dual-use technologies are more difficult to regulate at both the national and international levels.

The United States is thus working toward an export control strategy that addresses a broader range of foreign policy objectives—such as preventing human rights abuses and supply chain disruptions—while accounting for the dual-use characteristics of critical technologies and a shifting geopolitical landscape. It is likewise trying to work these changes into the existing regulatory frameworks of allies and partners.2

Current U.S. statutory language is robust—including the U.S. Export Control Reform Act of 2018 (ECRA), which codified authorities for export controls on dual-use technology.3 For example, ECRA clarified the scope of U.S. export controls to include “the protection of human rights and the promotion of democracy” as key U.S. foreign policy interests.4 It highlights the importance of military interoperability with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and other allies and calls for tailored controls to protect core technologies and items that, if misused, could seriously threaten U.S. national security. ECRA also maintains that while unilateral controls are useful to protect specific U.S. foreign policy and national security interests, coordinated multilateral controls are generally more effective in the long term in addressing broader international security issues.5

The challenge with U.S. export control policy is not the language. Rather, it is how the U.S. government can best apply its statutes to promote its interests and effectively coordinate with like-minded states, while also keeping pace with rapid technological change.

The Desirability and Feasibility of Strategic Trade Controls on Emerging Technologies

Nancy Gallagher, Lindsay Rand, Devin Entrikin, Naoko Aoki

Policy problem: Policymakers must decide whether and how to regulate the development, sale, and use of emerging technologies so the security benefits outweigh the economic, technological, and political costs. They have faced that question before, so lessons can be learned from historical experience. It has never been easy to get agreement about what types of governance mechanisms are most desirable, or to implement those controls effectively enough to achieve the security objectives. Many different approaches have been tried but only some legacy arrangements could be applied to emerging technologies, while others would do more harm than good. Four features make the current iteration of the dual-use problem particularly challenging.

(1) Emerging technologies are largely intangible rather than physical.

(2) The private sector is now the main engine for innovation, often independent from and resistant to government control.

(3) Concerns about dual-use emerging technologies expand beyond their relevance to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to their much broader utility for conventional warfighting.

(4) Political and economic relations among the countries at the forefront of technology innovation are also very complex and uncertain, further complicating efforts to get agreement about what greatest security risks are, and what mix of competition and cooperation offers the most cost-effective way to reduce them.

Methodology: This report employed a historical review of efforts to control dangerous dual-use technologies during and after the Cold War to identify key governance approaches and assess their effectiveness. This was followed by a socio-technical evaluation of five key emerging technologies including PNT, quantum computing, computer vision, hypersonics, and quantum sensing. The technical assessment focused on seven considerations that vary widely across different sectors to determine which strategic trade controls would be both feasible and desirable for a specific category or sub-category of emerging technology: technology makeup, fabrication process, stage of development and dispersion, dual-use applications, disruption mechanisms, stakeholder community and power distribution, and scientific promise.

Pentagon lacks ‘comprehensive’ strategy for buying AI tech, GAO warns


WASHINGTON — Despite planning to spend billions of dollars to develop artificial intelligence tools over the next several years, the Pentagon still lacks a department-wide acquisition strategy, potentially risking spending money on technologies that don’t address future challenges raised by AI-enabled adversaries, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

“Although numerous entities across DOD are acquiring, developing, or already using AI, DOD has not issued department-wide guidance for how its components should approach acquiring AI,” according to the report, released Thursday. “DOD is in the process of planning to develop such guidance, but it has not defined concrete plans and has no timeline to do so.”

In the report, GAO says the Pentagon’s chief digital and AI office (CDAO) should develop a department-wide AI acquisition strategy and that the military services should also develop their own guidance to help navigate the AI acquisition process.

“It is especially important that DOD and the military services issue guidance to provide critical oversight, resources, and provisions for acquiring AI given that the U.S. will face AI-enabled adversaries in the future,” the report says. “Without such guidance, DOD is at risk of expending funds on AI technologies that do not consistently address the unique challenges associated with AI and are not tailored to each service’s specific needs.”

The Pentagon is investing heavily in AI-enabled tech, including seeking $1.8 billion in fiscal 2024 for various AI efforts, and has established initiatives like the AI and Data Acceleration effort that aims to improve tactical AI at the military’s combatant commands.

DoD has also released several AI-focused strategies, including its Responsible AI Strategy and Implementation Pathway, which is led by the CDAO, and Ethical Principles for AI and a DoD AI Strategy that was released in 2018. The GAO noted that the CDAO oversees an AI “marketplace” called Tradewind to procure AI capabilities, but an overarching acquisition strategy is still missing.

What policy makers need to know about artificial intelligence

Philip L. Frana

Despite an abundance of books, articles, and news reports about artificial intelligence (AI) as an existential threat to life and livelihoods, the technology is not a grave menace to humanity in the near term. Undeniably, the comments of deep learning pioneer Geoffrey Hinton, who resigned from Google, are concerning. “I have suddenly switched my views on whether these things are going to be more intelligent than us. I think they’re very close to it now and they will be much more intelligent than us in the future. How do we survive that?” Hinton said in a recent interview. Hinton fears that AI may come to intentionally or inadvertently exert control over humanity, a hypothetical scenario known as an “AI takeover.” He is also worried about the potential spread of AI-generated misinformation or the possibility that an oppressive leader may attempt to use AI to create lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS). But AI programs have no agency to act on their own. Generative AI language models currently operate only within the controlled environments of computer systems and networks, and their capabilities are constrained by training datasets and human uses.

The generative transformer architecture that is powering the current wave of artificial intelligence may reshape many areas of daily life. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has been making a global tour to engage with legislators, policymakers, and industry leaders about his company’s pathbreaking Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) series of large language models (LLMs). While acknowledging that AI could inflict damage on the world economy, disrupt labor markets, and transform global affairs in unforeseen ways, he emphasizes that responsible use and regulatory transparency will allow the technology to make positive contributions to education, creativity and entrepreneurship, and workplace productivity.

At present, however, Altman’s generative AI is most useful in improving natural language processing and machine translation. Generative transformers are flexible and scalable models that outperform recurrent neural networks—which made voice-activated assistants on smartphones possible—in certain tasks, such as capturing relationships between different words within long documents and answering questions about them. Examples include GPT, BERT, T5, and LaMDA. They do not on their own possess independent capabilities associated with artificial general intelligence or superintelligence, and it is unlikely that a truly versatile human-like cognitive AI will become a reality before 2050. Even an ultrasmart AI program may never bootstrap itself into consciousness. And there is almost zero chance that—as in the Roko’s Basilisk thought experiment—a spiteful and malicious AI will emerge that rewards those humans who assist it and punishes any who dare attempt to stop it. As Sam Altman puts it “GPT4 is a tool not a creature.”

The economic potential of generative AI: The next productivity frontier

AI has permeated our lives incrementally, through everything from the tech powering our smartphones to autonomous-driving features on cars to the tools retailers use to surprise and delight consumers. As a result, its progress has been almost imperceptible. Clear milestones, such as when AlphaGo, an AI-based program developed by DeepMind, defeated a world champion Go player in 2016, were celebrated but then quickly faded from the public’s consciousness.

Generative AI applications such as ChatGPT, GitHub Copilot, Stable Diffusion, and others have captured the imagination of people around the world in a way AlphaGo did not, thanks to their broad utility—almost anyone can use them to communicate and create—and preternatural ability to have a conversation with a user. The latest generative AI applications can perform a range of routine tasks, such as the reorganization and classification of data. But it is their ability to write text, compose music, and create digital art that has garnered headlines and persuaded consumers and households to experiment on their own. As a result, a broader set of stakeholders are grappling with generative AI’s impact on business and society but without much context to help them make sense of it.

The speed at which generative AI technology is developing isn’t making this task any easier. ChatGPT was released in November 2022. Four months later, OpenAI released a new large language model, or LLM, called GPT-4 with markedly improved capabilities.1 Similarly, by May 2023, Anthropic’s generative AI, Claude, was able to process 100,000 tokens of text, equal to about 75,000 words in a minute—the length of the average novel—compared with roughly 9,000 tokens when it was introduced in March 2023.2 And in May 2023, Google announced several new features powered by generative AI, including Search Generative Experience and a new LLM called PaLM 2 that will power its Bard chatbot, among other Google products.3

Is AI ready to handle cyber-economic warfare?


In March, Kojima, a small factory in Japan, was hit with a ransomware attack. This small factory was responsible for supplying cupholders to Toyota Motor Company, and the disruption caused by the ransomware attack forced Toyota to shut down 28 production lines, causing nearly $400 million in economic impact. Some have speculated that the Russian government executed this cyberattack in retaliation against the Japanese government for its recent aid to Ukraine. Assuming the speculation is true, the Russians knew exactly where to apply the least amount of effort to cause the maximum amount of pain, all below the threshold for war.

We have entered a new era of cyber-enabled economic warfare, where nation-states are able to achieve national objectives through cyberattacks with minimal risk of kinetic response (e.g. boots on the ground).

The Colonial Pipeline attack first showed how cyberattacks can impact everyday citizens. Pipelines that supplied 45 percent of the East Coast’s fuel were shut, gas stations ran out of fuel and panic, hoarding and price gouging ensued. Had this attack been coordinated alongside attacks against refineries and maritime shipping, gas prices could have spiked 100-fold. Now imagine this attack occurring days before an election.

The new era of cyber warfare

We tend to think of cyberattacks as extortion-centric — a criminal organization seeking to extract a profit from a victim. In this new area, cyberattacks shift towards retaliation, business destruction and political gain.

These attackers don’t need to compromise organizations directly; rather, disrupting the supply chain, as we saw with Toyota Motor Company, can achieve the objective. Companies that embraced just-in-time logistics and lean manufacturing are especially susceptible. Within the U.S., the bulk of these industries and their suppliers reside within our central corridor — Georgia to Texas in the south, Wisconsin and Michigan to the north, the Heartland to the west and Pennsylvania to the east. This is also the most important geopolitical corridor in the world, which is home to the swing states that determined the last five presidential elections.

Key enablers


Risk and harm are set to scale exponentially and may strangle the opportunities generational technologies create. We have a narrow window and opportunity to leverage decades of hard won lessons and invest in reinforcing human dignity and societal resilience globally.

That which occurs offline will occur online, and increasingly there is no choice but to engage with online tools even in a formerly offline space. As the distinction between “real” and “digital” worlds inevitably blurs, we must accept that the digital future—and any trustworthy future web—will reflect all of the complexity and impossibility that would be inherent in understanding and building a trustworthy world offline.

Scaling Trust on the Web, the comprehensive final report of the Task Force for a Trustworthy Future Web, maps systems-level dynamics and gaps that impact the trustworthiness and usefulness of online spaces. It highlights where existing approaches will not adequately meet future needs, particularly given emerging metaversal and generative AI technologies. Most importantly, it identifies immediate interventions that could catalyze safer, more trustworthy online spaces, now and in the future.

We are at a pivotal moment in the evolution of online spaces. A rare combination of regulatory sea change that will transform markets, landmarks in technological development, and newly consolidating expertise can open a window into a new and better future. Risk and harm are currently set to scale and accelerate at an exponential pace, and existing institutions, systems, and market drivers cannot keep pace. Industry will continue to drive rapid changes, but also prove unable or unwilling to solve the core problems at hand. In response, innovations in governance, research, financial, and inclusion models must scale with similar velocity.