19 September 2023

How colleges can address online harassment


Last fall, a University of Chicago lecturer announced a new undergraduate seminar titled “The Problem of Whiteness.” The course covered familiar academic territory (whiteness as a racial category), but a University of Chicago sophomore and conservative activist described it in a tweet as an “egregious” example of “anti-white hatred” and included the instructor’s photo and email address. The tweet triggered a storm of vitriolic posts and death threats, forcing her to postpone the course amid concerns for her safety and that of her students.

Whatever the student’s intent, the abuse directed at the instructor was entirely predictable. For years, a network of right-wing websites and media outlets has used an online “outrage machine” to rail against perceived instances of left-wing excess on college campuses.

Is India’s Ruling BJP Getting Jittery?

Sudha Ramachandran

Leaders from the opposition INDIA alliance sit for a press briefing in Mumbai, India, Sept. 1, 2023

India’s 28-party opposition front, the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance or INDIA, passed its first electoral test last week, with some key victories in assembly by-polls.


New Delhi: In a major boost to its firepower, the Defence Ministry has approved the procurement of a regiment of ‘Pralay’ ballistic missiles for the Indian Army for deployment along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Line of Control (LoC), that is, borders with China and Pakistan respectively.

“This is a major decision for the Indian Army as the proposal to acquire a regiment of the Pralay ballistic missiles which can hit targets between 150-500 Km, was cleared by the recent Defence Acquisition Council meeting,” defence officials told ANI.

22 Years After 9/11, Taliban Leader Declares Jihad “Not Over”

Ben Solis

Two years after Joe Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan and 22 years after 9/11, top Taliban leaders are still encouraging jihad – even as the White House continues to send pallets of cash to the country.

In a speech to an audience of mujahideen fighters and the military commanders of the Afghan Taliban’s Ministry of Defense, a transcript of which was released last month, Mawlawi Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid, the Taliban defense minister, said that “jihad is not over.”

'Afghanistan headed for civil war with Taliban splitting into...:' Ex-commander

The number of terrorist organisations in Afghanistan has expanded during the Taliban regime. 

Two years after the US forces abruptly left Kabul, Afghanistan is headed towards a civil war, the Taliban is now riddled with factionalism, and the country is fast becoming a safe haven for foreign terrorists, a former Afghan commander has said.


Riley Bailey

Ukrainian forces liberated Andriivka in the Bakhmut area on September 14 and continued offensive operations near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhia Oblast on September 15. The Ukrainian General Staff and other Ukrainian officials reported that Ukrainian forces liberated Andriivka on September 14 and achieved unspecified partial success near Klishchiivka (7km southwest of Bakhmut) on September 15.[1] The Ukrainian 3rd Separate Assault Brigade reported that its personnel liberated Andriivka and “completely destroyed“ the Russian 72nd Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (3rd Army Corps) after encircling the settlement.[2] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations in western Zaporizhia Oblast and are inflicting significant losses on Russian manpower and equipment near Verbove (18km southeast of Orikhiv).[3]

Imagining The Unimaginable: What Happens If Ukraine Can’t Beat Russia?

Daniel Davis

The unchallenged assumption among the majority of senior U.S. and NATO officials is that for as long as the war between Russia and Ukraine continues, one of the West’s most preferred policy outcomes of the war will be perpetually met: weakening Russia. Going unnoticed by most Western leaders, however, there is an emerging risk that the longer the war continues, Russia will grow stronger, not weaker.

What the West Still Gets Wrong About Russia’s Military

Zoltan Barany

In the spring of 2022, as the West watched Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine unfold, one of the greatest surprises was what it revealed about Russian military strength. When the assault began, many Western leaders and analysts assumed that Ukraine would be quickly overpowered by Russia’s vast army, powerful air force, and deep reserves of major weaponry. Instead, Russia’s ground forces proved to be disorganized, poorly trained, and lacking crucial supply lines, while Russian planes failed to gain control of Ukrainian airspace.

China’s Defense Minister Being Removed From Post, U.S.

Chun Han Wong

Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu in Singapore earlier this year. 

Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu was taken away last week by authorities for questioning, according to a person close to decision making in Beijing, while U.S. officials say he is being removed from his post.

Li hasn’t made a public appearance since late August. The U.S. officials cited unspecified intelligence as the basis for their assessment that he has been relieved of his duties.

China Sows Disinformation About Hawaii Fires Using New Techniques

David E. Sanger and Steven Lee Myers

When wildfires swept across Maui last month with destructive fury, China’s increasingly resourceful information warriors pounced.

The disaster was not natural, they said in a flurry of false posts that spread across the internet, but was the result of a secret “weather weapon” being tested by the United States. To bolster the plausibility, the posts carried photographs that appeared to have been generated by artificial intelligence programs, making them among the first to use these new tools to bolster the aura of authenticity of a disinformation campaign.

NASA Announces Summer 2023 Hottest on Record

This map depicts global temperature anomalies for meteorological summer in 2023 (June, July, and August). It shows how much warmer or cooler different regions of Earth were compared to the baseline average from 1951 to 1980. 

Summer of 2023 was Earth’s hottest since global records began in 1880, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

Climate disasters are getting worse — Congress can help


It’s been a banner summer for climate-related disasters. Wildfires devastated Maui, a tropical storm slammed low-lying desert communities in Southern California, record flooding in Vermont inundated the state’s capitol, and Hurricane Idalia battered the Gulf Coast.

If it feels like disasters are happening more often, it’s because they are — major disaster declarations have been increasing each year since the government started collecting data in the 1950s.

9/11: The Perfect Op

George Friedman

It has been 22 years since the 9/11 attack that destroyed the World Trade Center buildings and a wing of the Pentagon and launched a string of American actions that were both inevitable and ultimately ineffective.

The attack was brilliant in conception. At its core were al-Qaida members who were prepared to go to their certain deaths. They entered the country through legal means about a year before the attack and received a flow of money for their operation. The most important part of the operation was the seizure of airliners that would serve as bombs, with the impact of the aircraft and the ignition of jet fuel serving as the agents of destruction.

Beware the False Prophets of War

Eliot A. Cohen

Prognosticating about war is always a chancy business. Even the most arrogant pundit or politician soon learns to slip a qualifying “You never can tell” into their predictions. But making all allowance for that, it is striking just how bad Western governments, commentators, and leaders have been over the past few decades at gauging not only what course wars might take but how they have gone as they have unfolded.

USAF aims to ‘re-optimize’ for great power competition


The U.S. Air Force will conduct a “broad review” to look for ways to improve how it deploys its troops, and identify areas for change by early next year, as it gears up for a potential fight in the Pacific.

This new effort to “re-optimize” for “great power competition” will examine all aspects of how the service organizes, trains, and equips to support combatant commanders and the joint force, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said Monday at the Air & Space Forces Association’s annual Air, Space & Cyber conference in National Harbor, Maryland.

The Top Myths about US Aid to Ukrain

Luke Coffey

Servicemen of the 128th Separate Brigade of Territorial Defense Forces practice storming enemy positions during a tactical drill in the Zaporizhzhia direction, southeastern Ukraine. 

Since Russia invaded Ukraine for the second time in eight years, Russian troops have ravaged Ukraine’s cities, raped its women, and stolen its children. Russian missiles and Iranian drones strike Ukrainian cities daily, often hitting civilian targets. Russia is the aggressor. Ukraine is the victim.

How America Plans To Take On The China Military Challenge

James Holmes

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks set defense commentators aflutter last month when she announced “Replicator,” an initiative meant to field “small, smart, cheap” uncrewed, autonomous aerial, surface, and subsurface vehicles by the thousand within the next two years—all without asking Congress for additional taxpayer dollars.

The goal: to offset China’s advantages in numbers on the cheap and in a hurry. I applaud the theory. It’s distributed warfare carried to the nth degree.

Will the West Abandon Ukraine?

Liana Fix and Michael Kimmage

When Russia annexed Crimea and invaded eastern Ukraine in 2014, Kyiv had many supporters. France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States sought the restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty through sanctions on Russia and through diplomacy, but they refused direct military involvement. Only belatedly did they provide lethal military assistance—not until 2019, in Washington’s case.

By late February of 2022, however, as Russia amassed its forces on the Ukrainian border, that reluctance had mostly melted away. The brutal invasion that followed, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s charismatic leadership, generated a first round of Western military and financial aid. Ukraine’s stunning battlefield successes in September and October 2022 opened the door to even more ambitious support.


Peter Schrijver

In early August 2023, residents of Russian-annexed Crimea received phone calls containing a recorded message urging them to avoid military infrastructure, naval bases, and assembly areas for military equipment in Crimea. The unidentified speaker warned of missile strikes and ongoing drone attacks against Russian forces. It was yet another example since Russia’s invasion last year of the innovative strategies in the information environment for which Ukraine has earned praise. Specifically, Ukraine has gained admiration for its effective communication of messages to both domestic and international audiences, as well as for its robust cybersecurity measures, which have enabled the prevention of and response to cyberattacks on its networks and systems.

Sundar Pichai on Google’s AI, Microsoft’s AI, OpenAI, and … Did We Mention AI?


EARLIER THIS MONTH, Sundar Pichai was struggling to write a letter to Alphabet’s 180,000 employees. The 51-year-old CEO wanted to laud Google on its 25th birthday, which could have been easy enough. Alphabet’s stock market value was around $1.7 trillion. Its vast cloud-computing operation had turned its first profit. Its self-driving cars were ferrying people around San Francisco. And then there was the usual stuff—Google Search still dominated the field, as it had for every minute of this century. The company sucks up almost 40 percent of all global digital advertising revenue.

But not all was well on Alphabet’s vast Mountain View campus. The US government was about to put Google on trial for abusing its monopoly in search. And the comity that once pervaded Google’s workforce was frayed. Some high-profile employees had left, complaining that the company moved too slowly. Perhaps most troubling, Google—a long-standing world leader in artificial intelligence—had been rudely upstaged by an upstart outsider, OpenAI. Google’s longtime rival Microsoft had beaten it to the punch with a large language model built into its also-ran search engine Bing, causing panic in Mountain View. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella boasted, “I want people to know we made Google dance.”

The Big Interview

UK’s AI ecosystem to hit £2.4T by 2027, third in global race

Ryan Daws

Projections released by the newly launched Global AI Ecosystem open-source knowledge platform indicate that the UK’s AI sector is set to skyrocket from £1.36 trillion ($1.7 trillion) to £2.4 trillion ($3 trillion) by 2027. The findings suggest the UK is set to remain Europe’s AI leader and secure third place in the global AI race behind the US and China.

Treat AI as your ‘crazy drunk friend,’ not like ‘peanut butter’


WASHINGTON — Can intelligence agencies trust artificial intelligence? From ChatGPT’s plausible but erroneous answers to factual questions, to Stable Diffusion’s photorealistic human hands with way too many fingers, to some facial recognition algorithms’ inability to tell Black people apart, the answer is looking like “hell no.”

How To Regulate Artificial Intelligence

Mark MacCarthy

The journalist and academic Nicolas Lemann has observed that when the internet came along a quarter century ago, “just about everyone, including liberals, assumed that an unregulated Internet would be a good idea.” Well, policymakers saw what that produced: tech markets dominated by a handful of giant companies, privacy invasions of truly staggering proportions and a blizzard of hate speech and disinformation that no amount of self-regulation seems to control.

In my forthcoming book, Regulating Digital Industries, I argue that the U.S. should now establish a digital regulator empowered to set competition, privacy and content moderation rules for companies operating in core digital industries, which include search, ecommerce, social media, the mobile app infrastructure and ad tech.


General Randy George, General Gary Brito and Sergeant Major

Today our Army finds itself in an interwar period. We do not know when it will end, and so the work we must do is urgent work. We must modernize our equipment and doctrine, we must train hard, and we must reinvest in our profession. To do this work well, we cannot solely depend on the thoughts and voices of senior leaders in high command, as we can assure you: we do not have all the answers. Instead, we must strengthen our profession from top to bottom by building expertise through written discourse. We must also train hard on mission essential tasks and individual warfighting skills. This will ensure that when called, our Army is ready.

U.S. Military Sends Cyber Team to 'Hunt' Foes from NATO Ally Next to Russia


U.S. military cyberwarfare team has recently conducted a "defensive hunt operation" in the Baltic NATO state of Lithuania amid heightened tensions surrounding Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine, U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) has told Newsweek.

In a statement, CYBERCOM said that the second such deployment since May of last year, just months into the Russia-Ukraine conflict, was led by operators attached to the Cyber National Mission Force (CNMF), alongside counterparts from the Lithuanian Interior Ministry's Information Technology and Communications Department.