23 September 2023

India has Russia over an oil barrel


Russia is selling hundreds of millions of barrels of crude oil to India — but instead of the dollars and euros the Kremlin needs to plug holes in its budget, it's earning mountains of rupees that are proving hard to spend.

So far this year, India has already bought more than half a billion barrels of crude, an almost tenfold increase since 2021, the year before the war, according to statistics collected by analytics firm Kpler. As a result, an estimated $1 billion worth of rupees is landing in Moscow's coffers each month.

Over the weekend, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov acknowledged the dilemma. “We've accumulated many billions of rupees that we haven't yet found a use for," he said during a press conference following the G20 summit in New Delhi.

The Indian currency is only partly convertible; New Delhi needs to give approval for larger transactions, and so far it's not doing that for its oil spending. Instead, India has reportedly offered an unconventional solution — reinvesting rupees into its own economy.

"Our Indian partners have assured us that they will suggest promising areas where they could be invested,” Lavrov said.

India expels Canadian diplomat as dispute over alleged assassination escalates

Amanda Coletta,Gerry Shih and Karishma Mehrotra

TORONTO — India expelled a Canadian diplomat Tuesday in a tit-for-tat move after Canada’s leader alleged the Indian government may have been behind the shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia, and threw out an Indian diplomat identified as the senior intelligence officer at the embassy.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegation of assassination, made during an explosive speech before Parliament on Monday, followed weeks of behind-the-scenes contact with allied nations over the killing and sent relations between the two countries tumbling toward their lowest point.

The expelled Canadian diplomat was not named in an Indian government statement but was described by the Hindustan Times as the Canadian intelligence service’s New Delhi station chief.

Weeks before Trudeau’s announcement, Canada had asked its closest allies, including Washington, to publicly condemn the killing, according to a Western official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a diplomatically sensitive matter. But the requests were turned down, the official said.

A spokeswoman for Canada’s foreign minister said claims that “Canada asked allies to publicly condemn the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, and were subsequently rebuffed, are false.”

The Axis of Outcasts


Russian arms deals with North Korea and Iran point to the emergence of a new axis of outcasts: countries united in their willingness to violate international law and ignore United Nations sanctions. Driven by desperation, these pariahs pose a threat to regional and global stability that should not be underestimated.

STOCKHOLM – Russian President Vladimir Putin had obvious reasons for hosting North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un at Vostochny, Russia’s new spaceport in eastern Siberia, this month. Owing to his illegal war of aggression in Ukraine, Putin is running low on both friends and ammunition.

The Vostochny spaceport has a troubled history. Intended to replace the Baikonur facility in Kazakhstan, its construction was plagued by repeated delays and allegations of corruption and mismanagement. Now, it is rarely used – though it did launch the high-profile Luna-25 mission that crashed into the moon recently.

Russian-North Korean relations have a similar backstory. Once upon a time, the bond between the Kremlin and the Kim regime was tight. After all, communist North Korea was essentially a Soviet creation, and it relied heavily on Soviet support for decades. But following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian leaders saw more to gain by developing relations with booming South Korea. The Kremlin effectively switched sides, joining the (unsuccessful) international effort to prevent the Hermit Kingdom from developing nuclear weapons.


Riley Bailey

Ukraine’s liberation of Klishchiivka and Andriivka south of Bakhmut may have degraded the Russian defense in the area south of Bakhmut and could have rendered combat ineffective as many as three Russian brigades according to Ukrainian military officials. Ukrainian Ground Forces Commander Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi stated on September 18 that Klishchiivka (7km southwest of Bakhmut) and Andriivka (10km southwest of Bakhmut) were important elements of the Russian Bakhmut-Horlivka defensive line that Ukrainian forces “breached.”[1] Ukrainian Eastern Group of Forces Spokesperson Captain Ilya Yevlash stated on September 17 that Ukraine’s liberation of Klishchiivka will allow Ukrainian forces to control Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) supplying the Russian force grouping in the Bakhmut area — likely referring to Ukrainian forces’ ability to establish fire control over the T0513 Bakhmut-Horlivka highway.[2] ISW is currently unable independently to evaluate the strength and extent of the Russian defensive fortifications in the Bakhmut area, although Russian forces have likely fortified their defense lines near Bakhmut less heavily than they did in southern Ukraine. Russian forces south of Bakhmut are also likely battle-weary from the recent efforts to hold Klishchiivka and Andriivka, and the Ukrainian capture of two settlements defending a key Russian GLOC supporting Bakhmut indicates that these forces will likely struggle to replenish their combat strength and defend against any further Ukrainian offensive activity south of Bakhmut. There are no immediate indications that the liberation of Klishchiivka and Andriivka will portend a higher rate of Ukrainian advance south of Bakhmut, however, and the Russian defense of positions west of the T0513 will likely continue to present challenges for Ukrainian forces in the area.

The Ukrainian liberation of two villages that Russian forces were fighting hard to hold could correspond with the severe degradation of the Russian units defending them, as Ukrainian advances in western Zaporizhia Oblast appear to correspond with the significant degradation of defending Russian units and formations in that sector of the front.

China’s Ex-Foreign Minister Ousted After Alleged Affair, Senior Officials Told

Lingling Wei

NEW YORK—Senior Chinese officials were told that an internal Communist Party investigation found ex-Foreign Minister Qin Gang to have engaged in an extramarital affair that lasted throughout his tenure as Beijing’s top envoy to Washington, according to people familiar with the matter.

Qin, once considered a trusted aide to leader Xi Jinping, was stripped of his foreign minister title in July—without explanation—after he disappeared from public view a month earlier. At one point leading up to his ouster, the Foreign Ministry said the absence of 57-year-old Qin was due to health reasons.

Senior Chinese officials—including ministers and provincial leaders—were briefed last month on the party’s investigation into Qin, who served as the Chinese ambassador to the U.S. from July 2021 until January this year, the people said. The senior officials were told the formal reason for Qin’s dismissal was “lifestyle issues,” a common party euphemism for sexual misconduct, according to the people.

The officials were further told that the probe found that Qin had engaged in an extramarital affair that led to the birth of a child in the U.S., two of the people said.

Names of the woman and the child weren’t disclosed to the party officials when they were informed about Qin’s investigation, the people said, and the Journal couldn’t confirm their identities. The investigation is continuing with Qin’s cooperation, the people added, and it is now focusing on whether the affair or other conduct by Qin might have compromised China’s national security.

The Endless Frustration of Chinese Diplomacy

Cindy Yu

Jorge Guajardo’s first mission as Mexico’s new ambassador to Beijing was dealing with the fentanyl crisis. It was 2007, and the United States’ growing fentanyl addiction was already fueling Mexico’s organized crime, with groups using precursor chemicals smuggled from China. “We never got any traction with that,” Guajardo said. “[Chinese officials] didn’t understand, or they pretended not to understand.”

It wasn’t until Mexico hosted the G-20 in 2012, when then-Mexican President Felipe Calderón raised the issue directly with his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, that the country’s concerns were finally heard. After the summit, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs reached out to Guajardo’s team to ask for meetings on the issue—five years after his first efforts.

For Guajardo, now in the private sector, the episode was a typical example of how Chinese diplomats worked. “It’s a one-way channel. [Chinese diplomats] come to you with messages they want to relate to you, but anything you want to relate to them, they just either ignore or don’t know what to do with that information. So it becomes unimportant to them.” He believes that Hu had never been informed about the issue earlier, and only when Calderón was able to directly reach him did the order to do something come down from the top.

It’s an all-too-typical experience for outsiders trying to deal with China’s bureaucratic, opaque, and oftentimes defensive diplomats.

Upheavals in Xi's world spread concern about China's diplomacy

Greg Torode

BEIJING, Sept 17 (Reuters) - The disappearance of China's defence minister, the latest in a string of upheavals in the country's top ranks, is stoking uncertainty about President Xi Jinping's rule as an internal security clampdown trumps international engagement.

The growing unpredictability could affect the confidence other countries place in the leadership of the world's second-biggest economy, diplomats and analysts say.

Defence Minister Li Shangfu, who has missed meetings including with at least one foreign counterpart since he was last seen in late August, is under investigation in a corruption probe into military procurement, Reuters reported on Friday.

Newly installed Foreign Minister Qin Gang vanished with scant explanation in July, the same month as an abrupt shake-up of the military's elite Rocket Force, which oversees China's nuclear arsenal.

As Xi, China's commander-in-chief has focussed inward, he caused concern among foreign diplomats this month by missing a Group of 20 summit in India, the first time he has skipped the global leaders' gathering in his decade in power.

Faced with the growing uncertainties, some diplomats and analysts are calling for a hard look at the true nature of Xi's regime.

When will China invade Taiwan? The answer lies in West Africa

Nick Squires

When will China be ready to invade Taiwan? Perhaps never. But Xi Jinping is talking a lot about war, and a huge military and naval buildup is underway. It’s definitely something to think about.

One limitation on Xi is that an attack across the Taiwan Strait might well be seen by China itself as bringing a recalcitrant province to heel, but in the Western world it would be seen rather differently. It is likely that at least some supplies of raw materials into the Chinese economy would be cut off if it does happen.

Possibly the most vital of these would be the iron ore with which China is building itself. Constructing version 1.0 of a modern society requires vast amounts of iron and steel. Our own situation, where building something new usually means tearing down something else first, produces a lot of steel scrap. This is why the recent Tata and Port Talbot issue in Wales is being resolved with £500 million to build scrap reprocessing furnaces, rather than ones to make new steel. This is why Nucor, American’s largest steel company, is mainly engaged in reprocessing the scrap from taking down the last version of society to make the next. In the West we mostly do not need to make new, we can be green and reprocess old. But building for the first time, as China very often is, cannot be done that way.

Therefore China is reliant upon imports of iron ore: that’s the only way it can continue to develop. The imports come mainly from Australia, and a war over Taiwan would interdict that. Currently there are, quite literally, mountains of iron oxide in the Pilbara and other parts of Western Australia that get shipped off to make China’s new cities. The likelihood is that would stop upon hostilities. So, China will probably only feel free to initiate those hostilities when it can replace those supplies.

The Space Force Must Lead Without Fighting—And It Starts With the Moon

Brent D. Ziarnick

For more than 30 years, the Department of Defense (DOD) has focused on "warfighting," emphasizing violent combat at the tactical and theater level over other national defense concerns, especially strategically. With little political benefit to show for decades of battlefield victories, the DOD has begun to revisit the strategic level of war.

One of the fruits of this return to strategy is a new doctrine document, the Joint Concept for Competing, issued by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Instead of seeking mere battlefield success, it champions victory in strategic competition, which it defines as "a persistent and long-term struggle that occurs between two or more adversaries seeking to pursue incompatible interests without necessarily engaging in armed conflict with each other." This victory does not necessarily require combat. Rather, a critical determinant is shifting the competition to valuable areas where the U.S. has strong comparative advantages.

Here, cislunar space, defined as the moon and its surroundings, looms large. The Space Foundation recently measured the global space economy to be worth $469 billion in 2021, with average growth in excess of 6 percent per year, mostly driven by U.S. commercial activity. Dozens of new lunar missions, many from states new to cislunar operations, are anticipated in the next decade. Cislunar space, in other words, is among the most important strategic theaters of the 21st century, and is a region where America's comparative advantage is nearly insurmountable. That is, if it's nurtured intelligently.

Winding Up of State Enterprises in India: A Case Study of Five Enterprises Under the Department of Heavy Industry



Why is it so easy to create a public sector enterprise but so difficult to wind one up, even when precious resources of the state with huge opportunity costs are regularly appropriated for entities that no longer serve any public purpose?

Usually, it is due to a lack of political will arising out of a perhaps overblown fear of consequences of taking what are perceived to be “harsh” steps. It is also often due to an abundance of caution in the bureaucracy that has to implement these steps. There are reasons for this reluctance. Bureaucracy has learned from previous attempts at winding up state enterprises that such exercises tend to ruffle vested interests, attract political and judicial ire, and sometimes invite the unwelcome attention of investigative agencies.

Closing down state enterprises has always been notoriously difficult. It requires the rare circumstance of all the stakeholders being in alignment with the objective at the same time for progress to be made.

A great opportunity for overcoming these difficulties arose in 2014, when there was a rare and favorable confluence of circumstances and people in government, notably at the political level and in the Department of Heavy Industry (DHI), Government of India. A new government had assumed power with a reforming zeal, as new governments often have. In the department, we (Sunil Bahri as the financial adviser and Rajan Katoch as the secretary of the department) happened to be thrown together as a new leadership team.

Rule-Making in a Divided World


The war in Ukraine has accelerated both the fracturing of the world order and countries’ scramble to establish new alignments that can secure their interests. Unless the G7 clarifies its direction, it risks losing its influence, with potentially far-reaching consequences for democratic values globally.

MADRID – If anyone had lingering doubts about the fractured state of global rule-making, they should now be dispelled. The just-concluded G20 summit in New Delhi attracted as much attention for who was not there – Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping – as for the discussions among those who showed up. But the real takeaway from the summit, as well as the gathering of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) that preceded it, is that global rule-making is set to become increasingly uneven, shaped by small groups, swing states, and fluid coalitions.

Even without Putin and Xi, palpable divisions marked the G20 summit, belying its optimistic theme: “one earth, one family, one future.” While India, which has worked hard to position itself as a unifying diplomatic force and a spokesperson of the Global South, managed to secure consensus on a final declaration, this was no easy feat, owing not least to disagreements over how to refer to the Ukraine war.

The compromises this demanded were reflected in the summit’s final declaration, which featured far softer language on the Ukraine war – and, in particular, Russia’s culpability – than the declaration that was issued in Bali last November. In 2022, G20 leaders acknowledged that perspectives on the invasion differed, but also strongly condemned Russia’s actions and calling for the withdrawal of its troops. In 2023,

Is China’s Economic Predicament as Bad as Japan’s? It Could Be Worse

Stella Yifan Xie

HONG KONG—Starting in the 1990s Japan became synonymous with economic stagnation, as a boom gave way to lethargic growth, declining population and deflation.

Many economists say China today looks similar. The reality: In many ways its problems are more intractable than Japan’s. China’s public debt levels are higher by some measures than Japan’s were and its demographics are worse. The geopolitical tensions that China is dealing with go beyond the trade frictions Japan once faced with the U.S.

Another headwind: China’s government, which has been cracking down on the private sector in recent years, seems ideologically less inclined than Tokyo was then to support growth.

None of this means China is sure to repeat the years of economic stagnation that Japan is only now showing signs of exiting. It has some advantages that Japan didn’t. Its economic growth in coming years is likely to be well above Japan’s in the 1990s.

Even so, economists say the parallels are a warning for Communist Party leaders in Beijing: If they don’t act more forcefully, the country could get stuck in a protracted period of economic sluggishness similar to Japan’s. Despite piecemeal steps in recent weeks, including modest interest-rate cuts, Beijing has held back on major stimulus to revive growth.

“China’s policy responses so far could put it on track for ‘Japanification,’” said Johanna Chua, chief Asia economist at Citigroup. She believes China’s overall growth prospects could be slowing more sharply than Japan’s.

Towards a New BRICS-G20 Nexus

Dr. Nand C. Bardouille

An ascendant BRICS—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—has now reached new heights, ranking as a geopolitical force for the West to reckon with at the cusp of and in the seemingly emergent multipolar international order.

If gaining greater global standing is a measure of power, the expansion of the BRICS group to include the likes of Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will likely give the grouping a leg up in taking the US/Western-led liberal international order to task, along with the global governance-related scheme of things.

Much of the criticism levelled at the BRICS group misses this point.

Yet, the group is under no illusion about its unmet leadership potential in the international pecking order. Given the role of hierarchy in international politics—whose “systems are … intrinsically political [either turning on] a relationship of legitimate authority [or] as intersubjective manifestations of organized inequality”—the group’s Global South constituency is looking to address its liminality in that vein.

If the tone of some of the most prominent voices contesting “the West’s geopolitical dominance” is any guide—or, put differently, given the full extent of ostensibly Global South-related leadership hands at work—a post-Western global order is seemingly in the cards for a constituency of countries.

The end of Germany’s China illusion

Janka Oertel

Germany’s stance on China matters. Not only because Germany is the world’s fourth largest economy and has been a beacon of stability and an engine of growth for Europe, but also because Germany matters to China. The Chinese government has consistently emphasised its respect for German industry, lauded Germany’s willingness to invest in China, and praised German openness to business and political prudence when dealing with the Chinese leadership. At the same time, Germany is unique among EU member states in the depth of its economic ties with China and the intertwined nature of its leading industries with the Chinese market.

This exceptional role has made Germany a massive beneficiary of China’s economic development. But it has also made it more vulnerable to the new global economic reality – in which geopolitics is back with a vengeance, and business is no longer just business but fraught with political tensions. How leaders in Berlin navigate this new environment will not only define the future of German prosperity, but also shape the European Union’s ability to maintain its position as global economic powerhouse and regulatory superpower.

Germany’s China strategy

In mid-July, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his coalition government published Germany’s first ever comprehensive China strategy, an all of government position paper on the state of the German relationship with its largest trading partner.

Biden to Urge Nations to Protect and Nurture Democracy

Michael D. Shear and Peter Baker

President Biden will attempt on Tuesday to focus global attention on the need to protect and nurture democracies, calling for the world to continue backing Ukraine and urging advanced nations to do more to bolster economies in the developing world.

In his third speech as president to the United Nations, Mr. Biden is expected to promote his administration’s achievements around the globe even as he confronts challenges at home: growing resistance to additional Ukraine aid, a looming government shutdown, inflation and listless approval ratings ahead of next year’s election.

The president’s speech on Tuesday is the centerpiece of a week of international diplomacy as the Biden administration confronts threats from Iran, tensions with Israel and the slow, grinding efforts by Ukraine to push back Russia’s invasion.

Mr. Biden arrives at the United Nations at a moment when he has asserted American leadership in world affairs and repaired many of the relationships that frayed under his volatile predecessor, Donald J. Trump. But with the next election looming and Mr. Biden effectively tied with Mr. Trump in early polling, many other nations will be greeting the president with uncertainty about his staying power.

Six reasons the Pentagon should retire ‘deterrence by denial’


As the United States begins another presidential campaign season and conditions worsen in China, Russia, and Iran, this is a good time to step back and reconsider some of the conventional wisdom undergirding U.S. defense policy. Perhaps most flawed and underexamined is the concept of deterrence by denial.

The idea, which gained favor after the Cold War, still enjoys the loud support of defense officials, think-tank studies, and government strategies. But events of the past decade suggest their faith is misplaced. Russia was not deterred by risks of denial or punishment before invading Ukraine; China continues to reshape the security environment of the South and East China Seas through largely uncontested “gray-zone” activities; and the Pentagon’s own wargames suggest completely denying an invasion of Taiwan is likely infeasible.

Even the Defense Department’s own recent behavior underscores the growing insolvency of deterrence by denial. A flurry of diplomatic successes in the last two years strengthened alliances and improved U.S. defense posture in Australia, the Philippines, Japan, and Vietnam. At the same time, the proposed U.S. defense budget reduced spending in real terms, with each of the U.S. military services accepting troop cuts to pay for future high-tech weaponry. Far from a “ring of steel” around allies like Taiwan, these developments suggest the DOD is pursuing a more sophisticated strategy to convince China’s leaders that aggression is risky and could cost more than it gains.

America’s Warrior Diplomat, Rahm Emanuel, Takes On China’s Xi Personally

Peter Landers

China’s Communist Party chief Xi Jinping doesn’t have to worry about opposition leaders at home criticizing his record. But not far away, a U.S. diplomat has seized that role for himself with barbed and sometimes sarcastic criticism.

Rahm Emanuel, Washington’s ambassador in Tokyo, is stepping up personal attacks on Xi, depicting the Chinese leader as an incompetent steward of the economy, a foreign-policy failure and a bumbling would-be Machiavellian whose government is a mess.

The latest jab on X, formerly Twitter, came Friday when Emanuel speculated with three question marks that Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu, who hasn’t been seen in public since Aug. 29, was missing meetings “because he was placed on house arrest???” Alluding to other top officials who have recently lost their jobs under mysterious circumstances, he added, “Might be getting crowded in there.”

The war in Ukraine unfolds alongside a military build-up in the Asia-Pacific

Tim Huxley 

When Singapore’s defence minister, Ng Eng Hen, said in February 2023 that his ministry and the city-state’s armed forces were watching the war in Ukraine ‘very, very closely’, he might have been speaking not only for his own country’s defence establishment, but also for those of others across the Asia-Pacific. Eighteen months after Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine began, its military implications for the Asia-Pacific region are still unfolding. At the same time, it is difficult analytically to disentangle the impact of the Ukraine war on Asia-Pacific defence policies and postures from the influence of parallel concerns over a regional security environment widely perceived to be deteriorating. Nevertheless, it is possible to identify several important dimensions of the Ukraine war which are already affecting the efforts of Asia-Pacific governments to improve their countries’ military capabilities.

The first dimension is that the sheer reality of the outbreak of large-scale, protracted inter-state warfare in Europe (where it was largely unexpected) is providing some Asia-Pacific governments with additional reasons, or at least justifications, for increasing their military efforts in order to better deter or provide defence against pre-existing threats in their own region, where state-on-state conflict has been widely anticipated for at least the last decade – the most likely flashpoints being seen as Taiwan, the South and East China Seas and the Korean Peninsula. Tokyo’s first-ever National Security Strategy, announced in December 2022, emphasised that the most serious direct threats to Japan came from China and North Korea, but nevertheless also claimed that Russia’s attack on Ukraine showed that the international community faced ‘serious challenges’ and that Japan needed to make ‘independent and voluntary efforts’ to maintain its own sovereignty and independence. Consequently, the National Security Strategy said that Japan would increase its spending on defence and other initiatives related to national security to reach 2% of GDP by 2027, which implies a 60% increase compared with the previous five-year period.

Ukraine’s Next Battlefield Foe

Isabel Coles and Daniel Michaels

ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine—For Ukrainian soldiers struggling to make headway against entrenched Russian troops, the counteroffensive is taking on a new urgency as summer gives way to shorter days, drenching rain and then snow.

Both Ukrainians and Russians are accustomed to biting cold, and the war has churned on during two winters, so ground troops won’t abandon the battlefield anytime soon. But relentless downpours can dissolve roads, and icy weather complicates basic operations from loading artillery shells to pulling a trigger.

One worry is that Ukraine’s grueling assault on Russian defenses could eventually achieve a breach that its heavy armored equipment can’t quickly exploit because terrain is too muddy or snowy.

For now, fighting is a brutal infantry slog over small distances, with both sides’ movements limited by constant aerial surveillance and attacks. Kyiv’s forces are battering away at heavily defended Russian lines, seeking to create fissures that they can widen and push tanks and other armored equipment through.

“The fighting will continue one way or another,” said Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s HUR military intelligence service, last weekend.

Win or Lose, Ukraine Will Not Join NATO

Timothy Hopper

The NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, ended with the alliance rejecting Ukraine’s membership once more. The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, expressed his dissatisfaction with NATO’s lack of a definite timeline or standards for membership. The summit’s final statement merely stated that Kyiv would be admitted to the alliance if it fulfilled the conditions and obtained the approval of the allies. This demonstrated the disparity among the 31 NATO members on the issue of Ukraine’s integration. Britain appealed to the United States and other hesitant allies such as Germany to at least convey some verbal endorsement for Ukraine’s membership, while many Eastern European countries advocated for Ukraine’s inclusion in NATO.

Irrespective of their divergent approaches, the members concur on one aspect: Kyiv’s affiliation with NATO would activate Article 5 and escalate the likelihood of a direct clash between NATO and Russia so long as the war persists. Consequently, Ukraine should not join this organization during the war. However, this is merely one rationale for postponing Ukraine’s accession to NATO until an indeterminate time in the future. The post-war predicament that Ukraine will find itself in, which could also implicate NATO in an undesired conflict, coupled with the exorbitant costs of the war and the futility of Ukraine’s membership in NATO in light of the severe debilitation of Russia, are other factors that demonstrate that Ukraine’s membership in this alliance is impractical, at least in the medium-term.

How two SATCOM companies are responding to Starlink’s dominance

Courtney Albon

Correction: An earlier version of his story included incorrect information about OneWeb’s timeline for fielding its Gen 2 satellites.

LONDON — With SpaceX’s Starlink constellation dominating the space-based communications market, longstanding satellite operators are positioning themselves to compete with the billionaire-owned company — particularly when it comes to military and government services.

SpaceX, with its 5,000-satellite Starlink fleet, has a hedge on the satellite communication market, but executives at U.K.-based OneWeb and Luxembourg-based Intelsat told C4ISRNET this week during the DSEI conference here they see opportunities to join the behemoth in meeting increasing connectivity demands.

Chris Moore, OneWeb’s vice president for defence and security, said in a Sept. 12 interview demand for these services means that other providers likely won’t be waiting in the wings much longer.

“We’ve got a supply problem — it’s a good problem to have,” he said. “There’s plenty of room for us and Starlink in terms of meeting the world’s connectivity problems in the short term. And of course, others are going to be coming online.”

Anti-drone system that fits in backpack now allows soldiers to hack hostile targets

Danielle Sheridan
Source Link

Soldiers are now able to take down hostile targets with anti-drone technology that fits in a backpack.

The compact device, EnforceAir, discreetly tracks nefarious drones by sending short data signals to hack into enemy equipment.

The stealth system identifies a protected airspace then neutralises the threat by assuming control of the hostile drone and landing it safely in a predefined zone.

Counter-drone devices typically rely on jamming – sending signals or energy to interfere with enemy devices and block communication between the drone and its controller. However, this risks impacting other operations in the area and only provides temporary control, leaving the potential for an enemy drone pilot to regain control when jamming stops.

But EnforceAir, created by D-Fend Solutions, employs radio-frequency cyber detection and takeover mitigation to detect, locate and identify rogue drones without jamming. It is already in use by the Met Police and Ministry of Defence.

The spy tactics China are using to shape the world in their favour

Sophia Yan

Just seven years ago, China’s leader Xi Jinping was riding in a gilded, horse-drawn carriage along the Mall, lined with British and Chinese flags, en route to Buckingham Palace, accompanied by the late Queen Elizabeth.

The subject of lavish diplomatic courting, he spent two nights at the Palace, and even enjoyed a pint at a pub with then prime minister David Cameron. It was the beginning of what then chancellor George Osborne insisted would be a “golden decade” of UK-China relations, one that both sides described as rich with immense promise.

Fast forward to this week, when it came to light that two men – one of them a British parliamentary researcher – had been arrested for spying, prompting Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to say that he is “acutely aware” that China posed a threat to the UK’s “open and democratic way of life”.

The researcher denies the allegations. The arrests followed a rare “parliamentary interference alert on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party” issued last year by the domestic security service MI5 about the activities of a UK-based lawyer, Christine Lee, who was publicly named as an “agent of influence”.

Lee, who arrived in Britain in 1974 aged just 11, and became legal adviser to the Chinese embassy in 2008, had donated almost half a million pounds to the office of Labour MP Barry Gardiner, with her son working for his office.

New Orleans DA Fights ‘Terrorism’ on Streets With AI Spycraft

Kate O’Keeffe

NEW ORLEANS—The case against Dijon Dixon, accused of killing Cornelius Smith in 2019, looked to be falling apart after a key witness backed out following an online death threat.

Then prosecutors presented the defense team with a detailed and dramatic timeline featuring some of Dixon’s social-media posts—including one in which the serial numbers of the Glock he was holding were partially visible.

Dixon took a plea deal.

The timeline was assembled by a team of people who once tracked international terrorists online and now are working for first-term New Orleans District Attorney Jason Williams. The newly created task force is working to use machine-learning to autogenerate subpoenas for social-media and wireless companies, analyze the reams of data obtained and create vivid, detail-packed timelines.

Williams hired the team of 11 to take a 21st-century approach to tackling a surge in violent crime, exacerbated by an understaffed police department and an enormous backlog of cases.

The arrangement, which hasn’t previously been publicly announced, is unusual for U.S. law enforcement. Legal experts say the harnessing of such data to help prosecute crimes shouldn’t run afoul of constitutional protections, although one said it could prompt privacy concerns from the public. A group tracking the New Orleans crime problem raised concerns about outsourcing the state’s investigative authority to a private company.

U.S. Partisan Divide is Impairing Space Preparedness

Brian Chow

America’s partisan divide has infected the space defense policies of both the Biden and Trump Administrations. While President Joe Biden has leaned too excessively toward a dovish posture, President Donald Trump’s was too hawkish. Both administrations’ lack of desire for a practical solution could encourage China to develop and launch a “shock and awe” precursor to a campaign to seize Taiwan. This one-two punch might well be part of the operational capabilities that President Xi Jinping wants China to attain by 2027. The current course of action will render us unprepared to counter this space threat and save Taiwan.

In 1985, nuclear strategist Albert Wohlstetter and I penned an op-ed, Arms Control That Could Work. It considered that “satellites can be anti-satellites.” We worried about the Vice President of the USSR Academy of Science Yevgeny Velikhov’s disturbing statement: “If we can dock with a satellite, then clearly we can dock with an American satellite, but a bit carelessly, and thus destroy it.” The op-ed and the study behind it proposed a solution of creating self-defense zones to provide a buffer and warning that U.S. satellites are being targeted in time to mount a defense.

While Wohlstetter’s ideas on nuclear deterrence became the foundation of U.S. nuclear strategy, starting with the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, this proposal was not adopted. On the other hand, if this space proposal had been accepted three decades ago, the United States and international space policies would have ensured peace in that domain.