8 July 2023

India v. China v. Everyone Else: The Battle For The Future Begins (And Ends?) In Asia

Two Asian giants are facing each other: China, whose economic and military power is no longer in doubt, and India, whose weapon is demography and who dreams of being the equal of its Chinese rival. The effects will reverberate everywhere.

PARIS — The 21st century will be Asian. There's a virtual consensus around this statement. But which Asia are we talking about? For some time now, the question has been raised: Chinese Asia or Indian Asia? Does the rivalry between the two Asian giants risk jeopardizing the prospects of the Asian continent?

At the end of June, during an international conference held in a big hotel on the French Riviera, I was able to witness first-hand — as a privileged observer — the fierce but nonetheless "muscular" exchanges between Indians and Chinese.

"At the end of this century, given the respective demographic trends of our two countries, there will be 650 million more Indians than Chinese," said one Indian delegate.

China simulates war with US, gets 'reality check’

Ajeyo Basu 

With neither side restrained by deterrence or concerned about escalation, a Chinese military think-tank simulated a “total war” with the US in which both sides used their complete and unfettered military capabilities to advance on the other.

This was done to see how a highly political and strategic situation might affect how well People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) warships would perform individually as they faced multiple simultaneous threats and had to use or overuse their anti-ship, anti-land, and electronic warfare capabilities.

China’s PLA Navy suffered terrible losses during the war game, with its destroyers losing more than half of their fighting capacity. The document on the wargame simulation by the PLA’s Unit 91404 at Qinhuangdao, however, does not imply that the Chinese leadership is actively considering such a conflict or that the Communist Party of China (CPC) is reflecting such an attitude.

Instead, it uses a tried-and-true military tactic to test the boundaries of its weaponry, defence technologies, and warfighting doctrine: planning for the worst-case situation.

The majority of militaries around the world train for such apocalyptic scenarios where they underestimate the enemy. The Chinese Journal of Ship Research, a peer-reviewed journal, published the study that was written by Fang Canxin and Guo Xinwang.

According to the experts, the end-of-the-world battle, designated as “Z,” will “be a clash of strategic willpower (where) the regional conflict escalates to a total war.”

The South China Sea (SCS), where Beijing disputes maritime boundaries with the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam, is therefore included in a war between the US and China that extends beyond the latter’s invasion of Taiwan.

China’s Ideological Affinity With Russia Is Over

Howard W. French

Throughout most of the ongoing war in Ukraine, a truism has held across most of the American political spectrum, from left to right, about the second-order effects of the conflict’s outcome. A Ukrainian victory would strengthen the position of the United States vis-à-vis China globally, while a Russian victory would achieve the opposite.

China: Zhengzhou City proposes metaverse plan

The municipal government of Zhengzhou — the capital of China’s Henan Province — issued a set of policy proposals Wednesday aimed at supporting metaverse companies operating within its jurisdiction, with plans to establish a 10 billion yuan (US$1.42 billion) fund dedicated to the industry.

Fast factsThe policies include a series of cash benefits to attract metaverse-related companies to set up shop in the city.
According to a government report, metaverse companies that move their headquarters to Zhengzhou are eligible to receive a startup capital investment of up to 200 million yuan (US$28.34 million). Such companies will also be eligible for other benefits such as rent subsidies.

All companies developing metaverse use cases in the city —headquartered there or otherwise — will also be eligible to receive up to 5 million yuan (US$710,000) for every project certified as workable by the municipal government.

The policies apply to locally operating enterprises focused on two specific areas. First: research into metaverse-related technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and brain-computer interfaces. Second: the adoption of metaverse technologies for real-world industries like education, entertainment and commerce.

To fund its metaverse initiatives, the municipal government of Zhengzhou plans to set up a 10 billion yuan metaverse industrial fund. It will work with other government agencies and investment firms to issue a further 50 billion yuan (US$7.08 billion) in funding to support metaverse-related development projects. The city will also provide cash rewards to metaverse companies if and when they are listed on China’s primary stock exchanges.

The exact launch date for the allocation of the funds has yet to be announced.

Beijing releases Web3 white paper, highlights challenges in talent, rules

Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission released the Web 3.0 whitepaper at the Zhongguancun Forum on Saturday in Beijing. Image: Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission / WeChat

Beijing’s local government on Saturday released a white paper outlining plans and challenges for development of the city’s Web 3.0 industry, typically defined as the next evolution of the internet built around decentralized blockchain technologies, the metaverse, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Beijing joins other cities and regions in the country in announcing plans to build capabilities in Web3.

Fast factsBeijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission said in the white paper, released at the Zhongguancun Forum in Beijing, that the city faces challenges in developing Web3 industries, including finding appropriate talent, ensuring the integrity of blockchains, and developing relevant laws and regulations, according to the agency’s social media post on Saturday.

The paper defines Web3 as providing a three-dimensional online space that merges virtual reality and reality in an immersive experience that could enhance communication between humans and improve the efficiency of economic activities, according to the post.

The document says that as of April, at least 30 provincial and municipal governments across the country have rolled out guidelines or policies related to Web3 development, though it also notes the Web3 sector is still in its infancy and has limited applications at present.

China releases first national standard for blockchain technology to accelerate development

Global Times

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has released the country’s first national standard for blockchain technology, aiming to accelerate development of the emerging industry, according to media reports on Thursday.

This offers a basic and universal standard to guide the application and industrial development of the country’s blockchain technology, and it standardizes the functional architecture and core elements of the blockchain system, according to the MIIT.

The newly released standard also provides a reference guide for the industry to unify the understanding of the concept of blockchain, build and improve the blockchain system, and choose and use blockchain services. The standard has been applied in more than a hundred blockchain companies.

The move further accelerates the standardization of China’s blockchain industry and paves the way for its high-quality development, said an official at the MIIT, according to Xinhua.

The official said that the MIIT will continue to study and formulate standards for blockchain and deepen adoption of the standards so as to continuously improve the services level of the blockchain industry.

China has been making efforts to boost the development of blockchain technology, which is deemed crucial for the development of the country’s digital economy.

In February, the Ministry of Science and Technology approved the establishment of the National Blockchain Technology Innovation Center in Beijing, which will focus on areas such as basic theory, software and hardware, according to Beijing Daily. The center was launched in Beijing’s Zhongguancun area, dubbed “China’s silicon valley,” on May 10.

Also, on Sunday at the ZGC Forum, a state-level platform for scientific and technological exchanges and cooperation, the Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission issued a white paper on Web 3.0, which covers a wide range of technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence.

China’s “little blue men”

Digvijay Sodha

On 15 Jun 2020, in the dark of the night, there was a scuffle on a high ridge at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh between the Indian Army and Chinese troops. There were significant casualties on either side and the incident has brought India and China to the brink of an escalated conflict. Technically, the Chinese did not violate the 1996 bilateral agreement of not using firearms within two kilometers of the LAC[1], but they used weapons that were primitive and barbaric. This demonstrates China’s strategy of exploiting loopholes in international agreements, while overtly being a signatory to the same.

It is not the first time China has circumvented internationally accepted rules of engagement to its advantage. The country uses several tools to administer non-traditional threats and undercut a spectrum of international agreements, from trade to currency regulation, resource mining, fishing, and more.

One manifestation of such non-traditional threats in the maritime domain is through China’s People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia (PAFMM), also known as, ‘the little blue men.’[2] Well-known Chinese Maritime and Naval affairs scholar, Professor Andrew Erickson, from the U.S. Naval War College, highlights the many ways that China has used PAFMM in the past and how it plans to use them in future conflicts.[3] The PAFMM are recruited from fishing communities but are part of a well networked and controlled defense force. They use fishing vessels that appear civilian in nature, but which are strengthened to be able to ram and damage other fishing vessels. These militia are armed when at sea, and while many wear uniforms in their role as militia, they can pass off as regular fishermen when not in uniform. They are designed to confuse the engagement decision matrix of a regular navy, since the rules of engagement against fishing vessels are generally benign. They are trained by regular maritime forces in the use of small arms and anti-air weapons, to lay mines and to support the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) as a maritime reserve force for blockade, supply logistics, and transportation of troops.

Xi Jinping’s Hidden Goals for the PRC Law on Foreign Relations

Willy Wo-Lap Lam

Chinese President Xi Jinping has promulgated a new law on foreign affairs to legitimize tough measures that Beijing is taking against the “bullying” of the “hegemonic West.” The statute, “The Law on Foreign Relations of the People’s Republic of China (PRC),” which takes effect on July 1, will also anchor the supreme leader’s long-standing aspiration to build a China-centric global order that will challenge the framework established by the US-led Western Alliance since the end of World War II.

The law also codifies the total control that Xi, who is Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary and Chairman of its Central Military Commission (CMC), exercises on all policies regarding diplomacy and national security (People’s Daily, June 30; Xinhua, June 28). The law states that the PRC “stays true to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable global security, and endeavors to strengthen international security cooperation and its participation in mechanisms of global security governance.” It stresses Beijing’s right to “take corresponding countermeasures and restrictive measures” against acts that violate international law and norms and that “endanger China’s sovereignty, security and development interests.” The official Global Times said the statute was a response to “new challenges in foreign relations, especially when China has been facing frequent external interference in its internal affairs under the western hegemony with unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction” (The Global Times, June 28). The legislation legalizes measures such as counter-sanctions and blacklisting of foreign nationals and institutions in retaliation against similar measures that the US and other Western countries have taken against PRC firms (New York Times Chinese Edition, December 16, 2022).

Observers have noted, however, that the latest demonstration of Beijing’s alleged “wolf warrior diplomacy” could hurt China’s international image, particularly among multinationals still interested in the PRC market (China Briefing, June 29). Earlier this year, the promulgation of a counter-espionage law already places businesspeople from different countries in a potentially compromising situation (South China Morning Post, June 17). This is due to the fact that Beijing has its own and unique interpretations of what constitutes “spying” or “leaking of state secrets.” Public security authorities have since the spring cracked down on a number of multinational due diligence companies as well as firms that handle accounting and other sensitive financial data of Chinese concerns. The CCP administration has also restricted the activities of American IT firm Micron in an apparent tit-for-tat response to Washington’s efforts to punish Chinese IT firms with links to national security and military units (Indopremier.com, July 1; fdiintelligence.com, May 10).

The U.S.-China rare earths battle

MOUNTAIN PASS, U.S. -- In the high desert of Southern California, a vast open pit has become a battleground in the global struggle for industrial supremacy.

Giant yellow trucks are again shuttling ore from the once-defunct Mountain Pass Rare Earth Mine -- and the revival is happening with a patriotic twist.

‘You can never become a Westerner:’ China’s top diplomat urges Japan and South Korea to align with Beijing and ‘revitalize Asia

Nectar Gan

China’s top diplomat has urged Japan and South Korea to foster a sense of “strategic autonomy” from the West and cooperate with Beijing to “revitalize Asia,” amid rising tensions between China and the two neighboring American allies.

The comments by Wang Yi on Monday come as Japan and South Korea forge closer relations with the United States – and mend ties with each other – driven by common concerns about Beijing’s growing influence and assertiveness in the region.

In a video shared by Chinese state media, Wang told Japanese and South Korean guests attending a trilateral forum in the eastern coastal city of Qingdao that most Americans and Europeans can’t tell China, Japan and South Korea apart.

“No matter how blonde you dye your hair, how sharp you shape your nose, you can never become a European or American, you can never become a Westerner,” Wang said. “We must know where our roots lie.”

Wang called for Japan and South Korea to work together with China to “prosper together, revitalize East Asia, revitalize Asia and benefit the world.”
China's top diplomat Wang Yi attends the opening ceremony of the 2023 International Forum for Trilateral Cooperation in Qingdao, Shandong province on Monday.Li Ziheng/Xinhua/Alamy Live News/AP

Wang was speaking on the sidelines of the International Forum for Trilateral Cooperation, an annual event organized by Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul since 2011.

To experts on the region, Wang’s racialized comments harken back to the sentiment of racial pan-East Asian solidarity against the West in the early 20th century.

China’s export controls on gallium likely to hit US defense industry: experts

Liu Xuanzun

An F-35 fighter jet performs during the annual Wings Over Houston Airshow at the Ellington Airport, state of Texas, the United States, Oct. 19, 2019. (Xinhua/Song Qiong)
China’s recently announced export controls on gallium could hit the US defense industry, as this material, with China with China being the leading producer and supplier in the world, is widely used in advanced radar systems installed on warplanes, warships and ground installations, experts said on Tuesday.

Starting August 1, China will impose export controls on gallium and germanium as well as several chemical compounds involving the two materials, according to a notice China’s Ministry of Commerce and General Administration of Customs released on Monday.

Items meeting certain characteristics shall not be exported without approval, the notice stated.

The move aims to safeguard national security and interests, it said.

Gallium and germanium are used in the making of semiconductors and other electronic components, observers said.

Chinese military analysts said that the export controls, particularly those on gallium, could hit the US defense industry at a time when the US is attempting to militarily contain China’s development.

Gallium arsenide (GaAs) and gallium nitride (GaN) are the most basic materials in the making of the transmit receive modules on active electronic scanning array (AESA) radars, which are widely used on modern warplanes, warships and ground installations, Fu Qianshao, a Chinese military aviation expert, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

For example, US’ defense companies Raytheon and Northrop Grumman are reportedly introducing new AESA radar systems based on GaN, which provide superior performance than previously used GaAs. The latest radars for the F/A-18E/F carrier-based fighter jet and the F-35 stealth fighter jet also incorporate GaN.

China simulates ‘Z-day’ total sea war with the US


China has just simulated a total war scenario at sea with the United States, an exercise that highlighted the People’s Liberation Army-Navy’s formidable challenges in a potential high-intensity conflict with an advanced, determined and highly-capable adversary.

South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that researchers from the PLA’s Unit 91404 recently added a “total war” scenario when testing and evaluating the performance of new weapons. Unit 91404 is responsible for the sea tests of some of China’s latest and most potent naval weapons.

The SCMP report notes that the researchers published their “Z-day” total war scenario in the peer-reviewed Chinese Journal of Ship Research last month. The report mentions that the researchers assumed that the Chinese military was under all-out attack by a hypothetical “blue alliance” with Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

In the simulation, the PLA-N had nearly 50 destroyers, with each attacked with 11 missiles and more than three torpedoes coming from multiple directions.

The report also mentions the blue alliance generated jamming noises 30 times stronger than the signal PLA-N warships use for communication and that the detection range of Chinese radar was reduced to 60% below normal.

Those conditions destroyed almost a third of the Chinese destroyer’s air defense capabilities, with only half of their surface-to-air (SAM) missiles hitting their targets. Chinese naval experts who independently assessed the simulation results were quoted as saying the figures are “realistic.”

China’s newest quantum computer Wukong is expected to launch in July: report

Global Times

China's newest quantum computer Wukong is expected to launch in July, which is now in the final stage of debugging and adjustment by its developer Origin Quantum Computing Technology Co, according to media reports.

The construction of an intercity backbone network of quantum communication in the Yangtze River Delta region was proposed at a recent meeting held in Hefei, East China's Anhui Province from Monday to Tuesday, gathering major provincial and city leaders in the region,according to a report by the Shanghai Securities Journal.

The backbone network will have a total distance of about 2,860 kilometers, forming a ring network with Hefei and Shanghai as core nodes while linking cities in the region.

The network will also adapt self-developed quantum service operation support system and satellite scheduling system to protect the space-ground integrated quantum confidential communication network, which also marks the first of a space-ground integrated quantum network in the world with protection coverage of thousands of kilometers.

The first quantum super collaborative innovation in the Yangtze River Delta region was also established by the Shanghai Supercomputing Center and the Origin Quantum, while the soon-to-be released new quantum computer "Wukong" now is in the final stage for adjustment, per the report from the Shanghai Securities Journal.

A 176-qubit quantum computing platform named Zuchongzhi went online for global users on May 31, which is expected to push forward the development of quantum computing hardware and its ecosystem, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Original Quantum has developed quantum computers and delivered one to a user, per a statement sent to the Global Times by the Anhui Quantum Computing Engineering Research Center in January, marking China the third country in the world with the ability to deliver a complete quantum computer.

Are Vietnam and America Headed Toward Strategic Partnership?

Vincenzo Caporale 

Following sustained Chinese presence in Vietnamese-claimed territory in the South China Sea, the United States sent the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier to Vietnam for a port call visit this week at Vietnamese invitation—only the third such visit since the Vietnam War. This visit not only sent a powerful message of deterrence but also symbolized the incredible growth in relations between the two countries over the decades.

Just fifty years ago, the United States withdrew from Vietnam after over a decade of brutal conflict. Since then, the relationship has blossomed into a vital partnership, especially in recent years. Given the upward trend of relations and China’s increasingly coercive action in the South China Sea, some experts have either called for or predicted a formal upgrade of ties from a comprehensive partnership to a strategic partnership—something both countries have signaled a desire to do. However, given the apprehensions held by Vietnam regarding potential Chinese repercussions, the prospects of an upgrade in relations remain unlikely.

How We Got Here

Beginning in 1954, the United States and Vietnam fought a decades-long war that culminated in the U.S. withdrawal and a unified country under the Communist Party of Vietnam in 1975. The conflict resulted in the death of millions of people and a complete severance of relations between the two countries, with little optimism for reconciliation.

However, evolving geopolitical and economic circumstances resulted in a re-engagement between the two former enemies. Shortly after the war, Vietnam began experiencing severe economic difficulties partly due to a dysfunctional centralized economy, its evolving reliance on the fledgling Soviet Union, and its economic isolation from the United States following Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia to remove the Khmer Rouge in 1979. Yet, in 1986 Vietnam transformed its economy through economic reforms (Doi Moi), and in 1989 it withdrew its military from Cambodia.

The Surprising Bipartisanship of U.S. Foreign Policy

Jordan Tama

In an article in The Atlantic in 2020, shortly before he became CIA Director, William Burns observed that “in the past, a sense of common domestic purpose gave ballast to U.S. diplomacy; now its absence enfeebles it.” Burns is not alone in bemoaning the decline of bipartisan agreement on foreign policy. Writing in Foreign Affairs a year later, Charles Kupchan and Peter Trubowitz argued that the “domestic consensus that long supported U.S. engagement abroad has come apart in the face of mounting partisan discord and a deepening rift between urban and rural Americans.” Indeed, this has become a common refrain, with the stark contrast in approaches between U.S. President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump on such issues as NATO, Russia, and climate change often cited to demonstrate the precipitous decline of consensus politics.

Yet a deeper look at the political dynamics that have shaped U.S. foreign policy since the end of World War II reveals that such sharp differences are hardly new. Ever since the rise of the United States as a great power, bipartisan cooperation, partisan bickering, and intraparty disagreement have coexisted in shaping the country’s foreign policy. These tensions were present even during the early years of the Cold War, a period usually regarded as a golden age for bipartisanship. Today, Democrats and Republicans are generally aligned on China and industrial reshoring but are polarized on climate change and immigration. At the same time, the Republican Party is split over aid to Ukraine, reflecting a GOP divide between nationalists and internationalists that dates back to World War II. In short, the politics of U.S. foreign policy has always been more complicated than images of past unity or current polarization suggest.


Vociferous disagreement over foreign policy marked the United States’ earliest days, when the Founding Fathers argued bitterly over whether the country should intervene in support of revolutionary-era France during its war with Great Britain. A century later, U.S. hawks and progressives fiercely debated the questions of hostilities with Spain and the occupation of Cuba and the Philippines in the Spanish-American War. After World War I, President Woodrow Wilson was unable to persuade Republicans in Congress to vote for the treaty establishing the League of Nations, preventing the United States from joining the first multilateral institution designed to preserve peace.

The US Air Force is transforming warfare with 1,000 heavily armed AIs


The US Air Force is gambling big on artificial intelligence (AI). The world’s leading air arm plans to acquire a thousand AI-controlled armed drones in the coming years. It’s betting that these “loyal wingman” drones will be nimbler and cheaper than traditional manned fighter jets.

It’s a solid wager. A recent experiment proves why.

In early 2019, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) – the Pentagon’s fringe-science agency – recruited eight teams of coders to develop the first-ever dogfighting AI under the auspices of the AlphaDogfight project.

The competitors included major American defense firms such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing, smaller companies including Maryland-based Heron Systems and upstart squads from universities such as Georgia Tech.

In mid-2020, Darpa hosted a series of dogfighting competitions pitting the AIs against each other. And a few months after that, it deployed the most competitive AI – Heron’s – against an actual human: a US Air Force F-16 pilot who gave only his callsign, “Banger.”

Darpa broadcast the video-game style contest online in a spectacle similar to an extreme-sports event. Banger sat in a mockup of an F-16 cockpit and flew a simulated battle against another F-16 flown by the AI.

It ended quickly. After some hard turns, the Heron drone drew a bead on Banger and shot him down with simulated gunfire – and then repeated the feat in several subsequent mock fights.

The Heron AI’s secret was its aggression. The AI had stood out from the other algorithms owing to its preference for head-on attacks with its simulated gun. With its bold tactics, the Heron drone neutralized a human pilot’s main advantage over an artificial mind: creativity.

Early drone AIs “struggled with those adversaries that did something even just a little different,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Justin Mock, an F-16 pilot who observed the initial Darpa trials. But Heron’s artificial pilot doesn’t have that problem.

Hackers force Russian military satellite operator offline

Ryan Daws

A group of unidentified hackers has taken credit for targeting prominent Russian satellite communications operator Dozor-Teleport.

The network disruption caused by the cyberattack impacted critical services utilised by energy companies, as well as the country’s defense and security services.

The attack was perpetrated by an organisation claiming to be affiliated with the Wagner Group, a group of mercenaries financed by the Russian military that staged a coup last month before its commander, Yevgeny Prigozhin, called it off and fled to Belarus.

Despite the hacker group’s claims of affiliation with the Wagner Group, doubts have emerged regarding their authenticity. The absence of any mention of the attack on the Wagner Group’s official Telegram channel adds to this scepticism.

Whether the group’s affiliation claims are real or not, the impact of their work certainly is.

⚠️ 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 🛰️📉 pic.twitter.com/rSoRyUFsWm— NetBlocks (@netblocks)June 29, 2023Click to accept marketing cookies and enable this content

The hackers caused damage to satellite terminals and compromised confidential data stored on Dozor’s servers. They released 700 files, including documents and images, on a leak site and a newly established Telegram channel.

One document suggests an agreement granting Russian security services access to subscriber information from Amtel Svyaz, although the authenticity of these files remains unverified.

Ukraine and Lessons for Future Military Leaders


Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, there have been a multitude of documents that provide initial observations about the war. While these reports are too numerous to list here, some of the best compilation of lessons include the reports from the Royal United Services Institution, a recent report from T.X. Hammes, and this week, an excellent series of articles in The Economist by defence correspondent, Shashank Joshi.

Mostly, the observations produced so far have fallen into one (or more) of three categories.

First, there are the observations about equipment. This includes the multitude of different combat and support equipment, as well as munitions and other materiel used to underpin combat operations and the defence of military forces and civilian infrastructure.

Second, there are observations about ideas – the tactics and strategies used by either side. This has included observations about poor integration of combat arms, particularly by the Russians, as well as Ukrainian tactics to defeat the Russians north of Kyiv. More recently, observations have been made about Russian Z Storm Units and evolved tactics for the use of drones, Wagner human wave tactics, the employment of artillery and drones to close the detection to destruction gap and the evolving integration of the Ukrainian air defence network.

Third, there are observations about organisations. Early in the war, many observations were made about the utility of the Russian battalion tactical groups. Since then, other observations have been made about Ukrainian drone attack companies and Russian private military companies. Michael Kofman and Rob Lee have also written about the larger force design of the Russian military.

US Military’s Recruiting Woes Are a National-Security Crisis

James Stavridis

James Stavridis is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. A retired U.S. Navy admiral, former supreme allied commander of NATO, and dean emeritus of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, he is vice chairman of global affairs at the Carlyle Group. He is on the boards of American Water Works, Fortinet, PreVeil, NFP, Ankura Consulting Group, Titan Holdings, Michael Baker and Neuberger Berman, and has advised Shield Capital, a firm that invests in the cybersecurity sector. @stavridisj

America’s armed services are failing to meet their recruiting goals, with the Army in particular suffering the worst shortfalls in five decades. There are many reasons behind this, but one is very surprising: veterans themselves.

Recent reporting and anecdotal evidence indicate the likelihood that children of service members will sign up, or be urged to do so by their families, is at a nadir. Given that 80% of new recruits have a relative who served in uniform, there is no understating the crisis.More 

When I came out of high school in 1972, the draft had just ended and America was embarking on a great experiment: an all-volunteer force. As someone who grew up in the military (my father was a career infantry officer in the Marines, retiring as a colonel in 1970 after distinguished combat in Korea and Vietnam), following the family trade was a foregone conclusion. But as I entered the Naval Academy on a hot summer’s day half a century ago, it was entirely unclear if the volunteer force would succeed.

After a bumpy post-draft period, the military was rejuvenated under President Ronald Reagan in early 1980s, becoming the highly successful force that fought the nation’s battles from Panama to the Persian Gulf. Yet the foundations of that all-volunteer military feel shakier than they have for decades. What can the Pentagon do about it?

Against the Odds: Lessons from the Ukrainian Resistance Movement

Oleksandr V Danylyuk

Given the difficult conditions under which it must operate, the nature and development of the resistance movement in Ukraine’s occupied territories is worthy of greater attention.

After Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, a large part of the territory of Ukraine – and thus millions of Ukrainian citizens – came under the control of Russian troops. The participation of the residents of the occupied territories in the resistance movement, their interaction with the Defence Forces of Ukraine (all of the defence, security and intelligence institutions involved in the defence of Ukraine) and their contribution to the success of Ukrainian operations are extremely significant. At the same time – as the experience of Ukraine has shown – in the conditions of modern war, the nature and tasks of a resistance movement differ from those of a traditional one. The study of the Ukrainian resistance movement therefore deserves special attention, as it can help in adapting existing doctrines and training programmes for resistance movement specialists to the realities that they will have to face.

First of all, it should be noted that in the conditions of a major conventional confrontation between Ukraine and Russia, where Ukraine also has the means of long-range fire damage, the main function of the resistance movement in the occupied territories is the collection and transmission of intelligence information – particularly on the location of the most important Russian military objects – as well as carrying out fire adjustments on such targets. Since the population of the occupied territories of Ukraine is extremely hostile to Russia and wants to liberate its settlements as soon as possible, it was not difficult for the Defence Forces of Ukraine to identify people who were ready to participate in the resistance. Tens of thousands of people are involved in the networks that operate in the occupied territories, the vast majority of whom are involved in the collection of intelligence information necessary for the effective operations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Ukraine Hails U.S. Patriot's 'Record' Five Russian Aircraft Hits in One Day


Ukraine's air force has appeared to confirm that a U.S-made Patriot missile system was behind the downing of five Russian aircraft in one day in May 2023.

A video posted on Monday shows "kill" markings on the side of a Patriot air defense system that indicate it claimed three helicopters and two jets on May 13. If accurate, this would be a record for a Patriot system in a single day.

The precise circumstances around the destruction of the aircraft are still unclear. On May 14, Ukraine's air force said Russia had lost three helicopters and two aircraft the previous day in the Russian border region of Bryansk. However, Kyiv appeared to suggest that Russia's own air defenses were responsible for the loss of the aircraft.

At the time, Russian state media reported four aircraft had been lost, rather than five. Russian outlet Kommersant said four aircraft—an Su-34 and Su-35 fighter jet as well as two Mi-8 helicopters—were shot down "almost simultaneously" on May 13.

The model or type of the contested fifth aircraft, which would be a helicopter by Kyiv's tally, is not known, although Forbes has suggested it could be a search-and-rescue helicopter.
A Russian Su-35 at an air show at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul on September 17, 2019. Russian outlet Kommersant said four aircraft, an Su-34 and Su-35 fighter jet as well as two Mi-8 helicopters, were shot down "almost simultaneously" on May 13.

In an article referencing the video showing the markings on the Patriot missile system, Ukrainian military reporter Yuri Butusov said "this is the most effective Patriot battery attack since the creation of this anti-aircraft missile system."

According to data provided by the U.S. think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies, bringing down five targets in less than 24 hours would indeed be a record for the Patriot system. Newsweek has reached out to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry for comment via email, and a Pentagon spokesperson said they had nothing to add at this time.

Forecasting Russia

George Friedman

The points below are drawn from my book, “The Next 100 Years,” which was published in 2009. In the points that follow, I try to explain how I reached these conclusions.

The United States in particular tends to first underestimate and then overestimate enemies. By the middle of the 2010s, the United States will again be obsessed with Russia. There is an interesting process to observe here. The United States swings between moods but actually, as we have seen, executes a very consistent and rational foreign policy.

In the long run, the United States dismisses enemies but, as tension rises, vastly overestimates them. Consider this cycle with China. Distance breeds a sense of security. The greater the contact, the greater the American tendency to underestimate itself and overestimate the opponent. Intimacy causes the United States to magnify problems. It also generates massive military spending to catch up to the enemy, which tends to shy away from direct combat.

It will matter a great deal where the fault line lies. If Russia’s resurgence is to be a minimal crisis, the Russians will dominate Central Asia and the Caucasus and possibly absorb Moldova, but they will not be able to absorb the Baltic states, or dominate any nations west of the Carpathians. If the Russians do manage to absorb the Baltics and gain significant allies in the Balkans, like Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece – or Central European countries such as Slovakia – the competition between the United States and Russia will be more intense and frightening.

Russia’s need to move westward is hardwired into Moscow’s fears of attack by the West. Its interests span the area from the Balkans to the Baltics. But its primary interest must be to its west, to and past the Carpathian Mountains, the direction from which wars come. The U.S. interest is command of the seas – an interest that entails blocking the rise of major European navies. Russia has the distant potential to field a significant navy in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The United States therefore sees Russian defense as potentially offensive and is thus compelled to respond, primarily using allied ground forces for major combat while it controls air and naval forces.

Russia's electronic warriors are intercepting Ukrainian troops' communications and jamming their GPS-guided bombs, experts say

Michael Peck

Electronic warfare is a pervasive if less visible of the fighting between Russia and Ukraine.

Russia in particular has waged a major electronic-warfare campaign against Ukrainian forces.

Russian jamming seems to be affecting Ukraine's communications and US-provided weapons, experts say.

Russian jamming has become so effective that Ukraine — as well as the US and NATO — can no longer assume that Joint Direct Attack Munition glide bombs and other smart weapons will hit their targets.

That's the conclusion of an analysis by Britain's Royal United Services Institute. "Jamming is not causing the JDAMs to stop working, but it is risking their accuracy," according to RUSI researcher Thomas Withington.

While anti-jamming upgrades to JDAM may mitigate the problem, Russian electronic-warfare systems can simply drown out the GPS guidance signal from satellites. "The problem may well be the sheer power of the jamming signal that can be brought to bear," Withington said.

The warning comes after Pentagon documents leaked in April revealed concerns that Russian jamming was reducing the accuracy of American guided weapons, including JDAM as well as HIMARS rockets.

Ukrainian troops fire M142 HIMARS rockets toward Bakhmut in May. Serhii Mykhalchuk/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

The effect on JDAM is particularly significant, as it is arguably the simplest and most cost-effective smart bomb. By attaching fins and a GPS guidance system to cheap, old-fashioned "dumb" bombs, Ukraine could produce long-range guided weapons at a fraction of the cost of special precision-guided munitions that are in short supply.

Google DeepMind Unveils AI System to Discover Faster Algorithms

Belle Lin

DeepMind Chief Business Officer Colin Murdoch says AI can help execute the same amount of computing using fewer resources. PHOTO: GOOGLE DEEPMIND

Researchers at Google DeepMind, the Alphabet-owned artificial-intelligence research lab, announced on Wednesday a new AI system that could make computing more efficient and sustainable.

The latest breakthrough, published in the scientific journal Nature, focuses on the discovery of faster computer algorithms, which are fundamental for software development and are used by companies trillions of times a day, DeepMind said.

The London-based AI lab, known for pioneering AI models such as AlphaFold and AlphaGo, which mastered the complex game of Go, calls its new AI system AlphaDev. Based on AlphaZero, an iteration of AlphaGo, the system uses reinforcement learning, a form of machine learning in which computers learn and develop strategies on their own, to discover faster algorithms for computer-science functions such as sorting and hashing.

Sorting algorithms are used to order data for things such as ranking web-search results and the back-end systems of financial institutions. Hashing algorithms convert data into a unique string of characters so users can find what they are looking for in things such as databases. Because they are so widely used by companies, making these algorithms faster could significantly reduce the resources needed for computing.

“It means that we can carry out the same amount of computing using much fewer resources,” said Colin Murdoch, DeepMind’s chief business officer.

When applying AlphaDev to a C++ sorting library, the company said AlphaDev was up to 70% faster for smaller sorting tasks and 1.7% faster for large-scale sorting tasks. For hashing functions, AlphaDev discovered an algorithm that was 30% faster in the 9 to 16 bytes range. Both algorithms are available to developers in open-source libraries.