25 September 2023

Blood on the street: violence, crime, and policing in Karachi

Vanda Felbab-Brown


With 56 percent of the world’s population today living in urban spaces and 70 percent projected to do so by 2050,[1] major cities of the world play an ever-larger role in the 21st century global system, power distribution, and public policies. Decisions of city governments significantly influence major transnational issues—from climate change, global financial and trade patterns, to poverty alleviation, disease mitigation and refugee flows. More than ever, a country’s governing capacity and the legitimacy of its government are shaped by how it suppresses crime and delivers order in urban areas, a major challenge for many countries.[2] Many cities in Africa and Latin America struggle to deliver effective public security, despite receiving significant international assistance. Much less policy and academic focus has been devoted to urban public order management in Asia, including specifically Karachi, even though the city is a major world megapolis, a significant global hub of legal and illegal trade, and source of transnational and local violence, including terrorism.

Based on fieldwork I conducted in Karachi in 2016 and supplemented by subsequent remote interviews, this article analyzes the sources of insecurity and violence in Karachi since the 1990s, focusing especially on the period between 2008 and 2023. Through interviews with security and police officials, military and paramilitary forces officers, politicians, civil society and business community representatives, members of criminal gangs, and security experts, the article assesses the effectiveness of anti-crime measures adopted in the city. Examining what has worked well and what policies have been deficient is a valuable source of lessons for other countries. It is also important because crime and terrorism are again rising in Karachi, the city’s residents are demanding better public safety.


Grace Mappes

Ukrainian forces continued offensive actions near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhia Oblast on September 20. The Ukrainian General Staff stated that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations and inflicted significant losses on Russian manpower and equipment in the Melitopol (western Zaporizhia Oblast) direction.[1] The Ukrainian General Staff also reported that Ukrainian forces continued offensive actions in the Bakhmut direction and are consolidating in newly secured lines.[2] The UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) assessed that Ukrainian forces secured positions in Klishchiivka (7km southwest of Bakhmut) and Andriivka (10km southwest of Bakhmut) and that Russian redeployments of airborne (VDV) forces from Bakhmut to the Zaporizhia direction have weakened Russian defenses around Bakhmut.[3] ISW had previously observed elements of the 83rd Separate Air Assault Brigade operating in Zaporizhia, although it is unclear how large a proportion of that unit was redeployed from Bakhmut.[4] Ukrainian Eastern Group of Forces Spokesperson Captain Ilya Yevlash stated that Ukrainian forces are preparing defensive positions before Russian forces renew their assaults in the Kupyansk-Lyman direction.[5]

Russian servicemen and milbloggers revealed that the Russian military command orders Russian troops to carry out “ill-conceived and unsupported” counterattacks on Bakhmut’s southern flank to urgently regain lost ground.[6] Elements of Altai Krai’s 1st Battalion of the 1442nd Regiment (a mobilized unit) published a video appeal in which the soldiers claim that they abandoned their military equipment in the Klishchiivka (7km southwest of Bakhmut) area after receiving an order from the Russian military command to form an assault group and attack in the Bakhmut direction.[7] The servicemen noted that the Russian military command began deploying different types of personnel to the frontlines — including soldiers who are currently resting in the rear —

Only two scenarios for Russia’s war against Ukraine

There can be no such thing as a “draw” to resolve the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Any outcome other than victory for the Ukrainians, as they define it, will be a victory for the Kremlin.
  • Any supposed draw in the conflict would be a win for Russia
  • The long-term consequences of a Ukrainian defeat are often understated
  • Only the West, rather than either warring party, can decide the victor
Predicting when and how Russia’s war against Ukraine will end is a very difficult challenge. The basic scenarios may seem similar to a football match: a Ukrainian victory, a Russian victory, or a draw.

However, the situation is much more complex than a football match. Sports are played according to clear rules, recognized by both teams. Compliance with these rules is controlled and enforced by a referee, whose decisions are accepted by all sides. In football, what is considered a win, a draw and a loss – the difference in goals scored – is clearly defined and respected by both teams. Moreover, a football match (although it may be a big deal in some cases) is far from an existential, life-or-death affair. The consequences of any one outcome usually do not have major implications for other important areas – like the fates of dozens of countries and the lives of hundreds of millions of people, including the security, independence and territorial integrity of those states and their citizens.

Xi’s Personnel Mismanagement

Willy Wo-Lap Lam

Paramount leader Xi Jinping (习近平) has been widely blamed by foreign governments and media for failing to take effective measures to remedy an economy hurt by excessive leverage, weak exports, anemic consumer spending, and the massive withdrawal of investment by multinationals (Foreign Policy, September 6). Yet President Xi, who is Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary and Chairman of its Central Military Commission (CMC), has long been lauded for his grasp of Machiavellian palace intrigue and factional manipulations. For example, while the so-called Xi Jinping Faction did not even exist when the 70-year-old first came to power in 2012, the 20th Party Congress last October saw his acolytes monopolize the bulk of seats on the CCP Central Committee, the Politburo, the Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) as well as the top echelons of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) (NPR.com, October 23, 2022; Tw.news, October 23, 2022).

Over the past two months, evidence has frequently emerged that dozens of bad apples are being detained for infractions including corruption, leakage of state secrets, and failure to carry out the commander-in-chief’s orders — particularly among Xi protégés. These intriguing developments run counter to the conventional wisdom that Xi is a master of the party. That this series of stunning personnel movements has not been explained to the public only adds to the intrigue, and in the contributes to the CCP’s reputation for lack of transparency (New York Times Chinese, July 28; Deutsche Welle Chinese, July 26).

The Belt and Road Initiative Could Be a Debt Trap for China


As the world’s largest bilateral lender, China faces challenges in dealing with the debt distress of some of its borrowers under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Whether China can support those debtors and avoid trapping itself in unpaid debts will depend on its policy choices.

China’s BRI has provoked criticism from parts of the Western world. The United States remains concerned that China’s rise will undermine its values and interests. The alleged lack of transparency and expensive lending terms of the BRI have been central issues. A “debt trap diplomacy” narrative persists in the media and certain policy circles despite recent research showing this is an unfounded myth. There are no winners in a debt trap strategy, as the debtor, trapped with unsustainable debt, leaves its creditor out of pocket.

The fundamental challenge of sovereign debt in the developing world is not China, but rather how to deal equitably with unsustainable debt owed to various creditors when the creditor composition varies from country to country. Bangladesh owes 53 percent of its external public debt to multilateral creditors and only 7 percent to China. Sri Lanka owes 35 percent to international bondholders, while Laos owes 49 percent to China alone.

Understanding the claims to a debtor is critical for successfully restructuring debt when it becomes unsustainable. This is the case for some Asian nations, with Sri Lanka declaring suspension of its debt payment in April 2022 and Laos remaining in debt distress.

The Case Against Containment

John Mueller

In the great debate over how the United States should respond to an increasingly assertive China, many commentators have advocated a ready-made solution: containment. Under this Cold War policy, Washington pushed back against Soviet (and Chinese) political and military advances wherever they appeared, seeking to prevent international communism from spreading. According to this accepted wisdom, containment won the Cold War, allowing the United States to check the power of the Soviet Union without engaging in a direct war with it.

Many argue that with a track record like this, the United States ought to dust off the containment playbook and apply it to today’s rival superpower. The historian Hal Brands, for example, has contended that this “elegant” and “winning” strategy would prove effective against Beijing, writing, “To succeed against a rising China, the U.S. must relearn the lessons of containment.” In Foreign Affairs, the political scientist Michael Mandelbaum likewise deemed Cold War containment a “success” and argued that it should be applied “once again, now to Russia, China, and Iran” although “modified and updated.”

Such calls are certainly overconfident and probably misguided. Containment was not particularly successful during the Cold War, and it is also unlikely to work well against China today. In reality, more than anything else, it was the Soviet Union’s own errors and weaknesses that caused its downfall. The main problem with U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War was that it tried to do too much, not too little. And like the Soviet Union yesterday, China today is its own worst enemy. As with last time, the key now is not so much to search for ways to balance against the rising hegemon. It is to let this troubled and perhaps declining country make its own mistakes.

Rules of Order: Assessing the State of Global Governance


On the morning of June 3, 2023, the American destroyer Chung-Hoon and Canadian frigate Montréal entered the Taiwan Strait to conduct freedom of navigation operations. They did so in defiance of the Chinese government, which had declared these to be its sovereign waters. A Chinese warship, seeking to harass the vessels, came within 150 yards of the bow of the Chung-Hoon, forcing the latter to take evasive action. Had the two ships collided, the world might have witnessed the first violent clash between the two superpowers of the twenty-first century.

A few days earlier, several hundred technologists released a statement declaring that breathtaking advances in artificial intelligence (AI) threatened human extinction. This came on top of warnings from national security experts that growing reliance on AI would transform the nature of warfare—perhaps even increase the risk of nuclear war. Despite these and other growing dangers, national governments are nowhere near an international agreement on how to regulate the use of such technologies. Indeed, they face powerful geopolitical and economic incentives to unilaterally accelerate the pace of national AI innovation.

Also in May 2023, the World Health Assembly (WHA) convened in Geneva for its annual meetings to consider how to improve pandemic preparedness and response in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Among the most contentious topics was the latest draft of a proposed pandemic treaty, intended to close loopholes in—and strengthen compliance with—the International Health Regulations (IHR), a set of legally binding rules defining the rights and responsibilities of countries in cross-border public health emergencies. The heavily bracketed text—replete with suggestions for alternative treaty language—revealed sharp differences among UN member states (as well as private corporations and civil society representatives), including over matters like equitable access to vaccines and sovereign exemptions from global rules.

BRICS: An Inconvenient, Hard Truth

Dr. Nand C. Bardouille

In Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises, a well-known passage centres on a character’s bankruptcy. In reflections therein on how he arrived at his misfortune, the following punchline is invoked: “Gradually, then suddenly.”

Changes in international politics happen much the same way, as the BRICS’ (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) story to-date attests.

It is fitting and timely to frame the BRICS in such terms, calling attention to the group’s recently held XV Summit. This landmark summit gave new impetus to the group, whose history is steeped as much in a narrative of reform of the US/Western-leaning international order as it is in a narrative of righteousness.

Some two decades ago, appalled with some of the worst excesses of the unipolar moment, Brazil took the lead in marshalling together a handful of like-minded, emerging nations.

At the time, in what was indicative of great hubris, Washington determined that “the United States enjoys a position of unparalleled military strength and great economic and political influence.”

Moreover, following 9/11 and related events, which ushered in the Global War on Terror, Washington zealously pursued military campaigns in the Middle East and beyond.

Whither the G20?


TOKYO – Following the latest G20 summit, held in New Delhi earlier this month, there is no longer any doubt about India’s central position in global power politics. But questions about the G20 itself are gaining traction.

India’s achievement with this G20 is indisputable. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the summit’s host, managed to secure agreement on a joint communiqué not at the eleventh hour, as is so often the case for multilateral summits, but on day one. This is particularly notable given the deep divisions among G20 members over the war in Ukraine. Many wondered whether there would be any final communiqué at all.

The fault line is clear to see. The West wants to take a hard line on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, whereas China and other Russia-friendly countries want to avoid any direct condemnations of the Kremlin’s actions. At last year’s G20 summit, the West’s perspective won out: the final declaration deplored “in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine,” and demanded Russia’s “complete and unconditional withdrawal” from Ukrainian territory.

But this year – despite the absence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping – the final declaration was much vaguer. “In line with the [United Nations] Charter,” it reads, “all states must refrain from the threat or use of force to seek territorial acquisition against the territorial integrity and sovereignty or political independence of any state. The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible.” Russia is not mentioned explicitly.

Xi unable to solve economic woes

Paul Lin

As China’s economy was meant to drive global economic growth this year, its dramatic slowdown is sounding alarm bells across the world, with economists and experts criticizing Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) for his unwillingness or inability to respond to the nation’s myriad mounting crises.

The Wall Street Journal reported that investors have been calling on Beijing to take bolder steps to boost output — especially by promoting consumer spending — but Xi has deep-rooted philosophical objections to Western-style consumption-driven growth, seeing it as wasteful and at odds with his goal of making China a world-leading industrial and technological powerhouse, and rather shows a penchant for austerity.

US President Joe Biden even came to the conclusion that Xi has “his hands full” coping with economic problems at home and “doesn’t have the same capacity as before” to attack Taiwan.

On the point of ideology, austerity has been at the heart of China’s revolutionary tradition of economic development. After the founding of the nation, aside from political movements, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has adopted an “increase production and practice thrift” economic policy.

History tells us that “increasing production” turned into the disastrous “great leap forward,” which caused tens of millions of deaths through starvation and led to total economic failure, while “thrift” became a repeated mantra.

It's time for Canada to implement a foreign policy reset


This week, Canada's prime minister, Justin Trudeau, accused India of involvement in the assassination of a Canadian Sikh activist on Canadian soil, triggering a broader deterioration in relations between Ottawa and New Delhi.

And when it comes to Canada-China relations, there has been a similar deterioration trend that began with the arrest by China of the so-called Michaels — Michael Spavor, a businessman, and Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, both of whom Beijing accused of espionage. The two were arrested following the detainment of Huawei executive Meng Wangzhou in December 2018 at the request of the United States.

Today, serious accusations of Chinese electoral interference and threats against Canadian lawmaker Michael Chong have also translated into record-low favorability ratings of China in Canada and an atmosphere in which discussing anything about engagement between the two nations is radioactive.

Canada's relations with Russia are no better as Ottawa correctly and courageously continues to provide deep support for Ukraine as it battles to maintain its sovereignty against invading Russian forces. Ottawa has maneuvered itself inadvertently into the position where it has alienated the first and second most populated nations on the planet and Russia, a declining but disruptive power determined to weaken the international rules-based order that Canada relies on for its peace and prosperity.

Poland stops sending weapons to Ukraine amid grain fight, Warsaw says


Warsaw has stopped supplying weapons to Kyiv and is focusing on arming itself instead, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Wednesday, amid a dispute over Ukraine's agricultural exports.

“We are no longer transferring weapons to Ukraine, because we are now arming Poland with more modern weapons,” Morawiecki said in an appearance on Polish television channel Polsat, according to European Pravda. "If you don't want to be on the defensive, you have to have something to defend yourself with," he added, insisting, though, that the move wouldn't endanger Ukraine's security.

Morawiecki's terse comments came as tensions escalated between Kyiv and the EU over the past week, after the European Commission moved to allow Ukrainian grain sales across the bloc, ending restrictions on grain imports which five eastern EU countries originally sought to protect their farmers from competition.

Poland, Hungary and Slovakia responded to the Commission's move by imposing unilateral bans on Ukrainian grain imports, in apparent violation of the EU’s internal market rules. Kyiv struck back by filing lawsuits against the three countries at the World Trade Organization.

Azerbaijan Moves to Disarm Karabakh Separatists (Part One)

Vasif Huseynov

On September 19, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry announced it had launched an “anti-terrorist” operation against “illegal formations” in Karabakh (JAM-news, September 19). This move came after four Azerbaijani soldiers and two civilians were killed by land mines in the region. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan condemned the “full-scale aggression” and denounced Russian peacekeepers for “failing to do their jobs’ (Al Jazeera, September 19).

The recent fighting comes as tensions had been mounting over Baku’s efforts to fully integrate Karabakh back into Azerbaijan. This measure had been stipulated in the tripartite agreement signed by Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia following the end of the Second Karabakh War in November 2020 (President.az; Kremlin.ru, November 10, 2020; Primeminister.am, November 11, 2020). Russian peacekeepers were stationed in the region to facilitate implementation of the measure; yet, they have done little since to constructively manage the process.

Thus, Baku began to accept the necessity of taking charge on the matter. Earlier, on September 9, Azerbaijan and Ukraine had issued statements expressing mutual support for one another’s territorial integrity. The two countries also denounced “elections” in the territories under the control of foreign powers—namely, Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region and Ukraine’s Crimea and Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions (Mfa.gov.az, Mfa.gov.ua, September 9). Although the “elections” in Karabakh had been condemned by the United States and the European Union, Russia made no official reaction (Eeas.europa.eu, September 9; Apa.az, September 11). The growing discord between Baku and Moscow reflects the underlying problems in Russia’s mediation of tensions in the Karabakh region.

Armenia, Azerbaijan and location of Nagorno-Karabakh.


The authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh have agreed to all of Azerbaijan’s conditions, including the dissolution of the Defense Army, according to a statement from the Karabakh President’s office.

“Through the mediation of the command of the Russian peacekeeping contingent stationed in Nagorno-Karabakh, an agreement was reached on a complete cessation of hostilities from 13:00 on September 20, 2023,” the statement says.

“An agreement was reached on the withdrawal of the remaining units and military personnel of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia from the deployment zone of the Russian peacekeeping contingent and the disbandment and complete disarmament of the armed formations of the “Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army” and the withdrawal of heavy equipment and weapons from the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh with the aim of their speedy disposal.”

The statement added that issues raised by the Azerbaijani side on the “reintegration, ensuring the rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as issues of ensuring the livelihoods of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh within the framework of the Constitution of Azerbaijan,

America Prepares for a Pacific War With China It Doesn’t Want

Zuri Linetsky

Flying over the Australian Outback at night in a U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J aerial refueler, the scene outside the cockpit is a featureless sea of black. The instrument panels are backlit in neon green. The radio crackles in my ear over the baritone drone of the aircraft’s four propellers. Lt. Col. Courtney O’Brien (call sign Britney) alerts me to two fighter planes approaching from the rear. The KC-130J deploys fuel lines from tanks on both wings as incoming Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II fighter jets extend their fuel probes to begin aerial refueling.

Ukraine war inspires weapons that crack battle tanks at weakest point

Sebastian Sprenger

LONDON — Western companies are developing weapons aimed at cracking battle tanks from the top, their weakest point, or that can rain down thousands of metal fragments on dug-in infantry from falling drones.

The novelties come as arms manufacturers tune their lineups to the immediate experience of the brutal, close-range fighting in Ukraine, a trend on display at the DSEI defense trade show held last week in London.

Germany’s Rheinmetall, for example, is reviving a Cold War concept of bouncing mines in its proposed Area Defence Weapon. The system, which resembles a small beer keg sitting on radial stabilizers, uses a combination of sensors to verify that a tank is passing by only to launch itself into the air and drill a 155-millimeter artillery munition into the vehicle’s topside on the way down.

The company said the weapon, ready for use in a few years, could be used in combination with traditional anti-tank mines, where the ADW munition goes after mine-clearing vehicles to keep adversaries’ armored columns from advancing through mined areas.

The re-emergence of mine warfare brings to mind the situation on the frontlines of Ukraine’s defense against Russia, described in a recent Washington Post report as the world’s most mine-contaminated piece of land.


Tom Ellison and Francesco Femia

Executive Summary

This report is the first of a new initiative by The Center for Climate and Security (CCS) dedicated to shining a light on the U.S. national security benefits of addressing climate change, food insecurity, and stability together. The report begins by outlining the global state of play on food security, followed by a preliminary assessment of existing U.S. initiatives that could be scaled up to increase the impact of the government’s response to climate change, food insecurity, and national security. Currently, policies and interventions often include two of the focus areas but are rarely scoped to consider all three. Thus, this landscape assessment focuses on three current nexus areas: (1) food insecurity and national security, (2) food insecurity and climate change, and (3) climate change and national security.

Following are preliminary key findings and policy recommendations considered to be a priority for policymaking action.

U.S. Investment in Semiconductor Manufacturing: Building the Talent Pipeline

Sherry Van Sloun

The Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act of August 2022 provides billions to bring the manufacturing of semiconductors back to the United States. Several leading companies have already signaled their intention to help make this happen. But each semiconductor fabrication plant (commonly known as fabs) needs hundreds of skilled engineers and technicians at all levels. Right now, the United States does not have the talent pool to support this ambitious undertaking.

Currently, the United States manufactures just 12 percent of the world’s chips, down from 37 percent in 1990. This outsourcing of the manufacturing of semiconductors over the last three decades has caused semiconductor and hardware education to stagnate. While the number of students majoring in computer science has doubled since 2010, the number of chip-related degrees has remained static. The need to develop new curricula, labs, and instructors will remain a challenge for universities across the country. Additionally, pushing students toward degrees related to semiconductor work will require incentives due to the restrictive nature of the work itself. Many students studying computer science and engineering are more interested in other innovative areas or are simply unaware of the field and its lucrative opportunities.

Companies like Intel Corporation, TSMC, and Micron are taking advantage of the CHIPS Act funding to build new or expanded fabs across the United States. They are working with universities and consortiums to both build updated curricula within existing engineering schools as well as standing up brand new degree or certificate programs with interested institutions.

China Aims To Replicate Human Brain in Bid To Dominate Global AI


Aiming to be first in the world to have the most advanced forms of artificial intelligence while also maintaining control over more than a billion people, elite Chinese scientists and their government have turned to something new, and very old, for inspiration—the human brain.

In one of thousands of efforts underway, they are constructing a "city brain" to enhance the computers at the core of the "smart cities" that already scan the country from Beijing's broad avenues to small-town streets, collecting and processing terabytes of information from intricate networks of sensors, cameras and other devices that monitor traffic, human faces, voices and gait, and even look for "gathering fights."

Equipped with surveillance and visual processing capabilities modelled on human vision, the new "brain" will be more effective, less energy hungry, and will "improve governance," its developers say. "We call it bionic retina computing," Gao Wen, a leading artificial intelligence researcher, wrote in the paper "City Brain: Challenges and Solution."

The work by Gao and his cutting-edge Peng Cheng Laboratory in the southern city of Shenzhen represents far more than just China's drive to expand its ever more pervasive monitoring of its citizens: it is also an indication of China's determination to win the race for what is known as artificial general intelligence.

Beyond ChatGPT: Experts say generative AI should write — but not execute — battle plans

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

WASHINGTON — Chatbots can now invent new recipes (with mixed success), plan vacations, or write a budget-conscious grocery list. So what’s stopping them from summarizing secret intelligence or drafting detailed military operations orders?

Nothing, in theory, said AI experts from the independent Special Competitive Studies Project. The Defense Department should definitely explore those possibilities, SCSP argues, lest China or some other unscrupulous competitor get there first. In practice, however, the project’s analysts emphasized in interviews with Breaking Defense, it’ll take a lot of careful prep work, as laid out in a recently released SCSP study.

And, they warned, you’ll always want at least one well-trained human checking the AI’s plan before you act on it, let alone wire the AI directly to a swarm of lethal drones.

“Right now you can go on ChaGPT and say, you know, ‘Build for me a schedule for my kids’ lunch boxes for like the next five days,’” said Ylber Bajraktari, a veteran Defense Department staffer now serving as a senior advisor to SCSP. With a little more programming, he added, “it could connect to Instacart or whatever [and] can order all of those instantaneously, and that will get shipped to you.”

Space moves: Trackers losing maneuvering sats, increasing heavenly danger, study says


AMOS 2023 — As Pentagon and commercial interest grows in satellites and spacecraft that can maneuver more rapidly and more often, a new industry study shows that such moves are very difficult to accurately track — leading to erroneous assessments of spacecraft whereabouts and thus increasing risks of on-orbit crashes.

“Maneuvers are the biggest cause of accuracy degradation in SSA [space situational awareness] and space domain awareness, the biggest, number one cause,” Dan Oltrogge, chief scientist at COMSPOC Corp., told Breaking Defense in an interview at the annual Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Conference in Hawaii.

For the non-cognescenti, SSA refers to being able to detect and track objects on orbit, whereas space domain awareness is the term used by the Defense Department, and increasingly other militaries, to refer to the ability to not just track, but also characterize the functions of, and determine the possible threat from, space objects.

The study, released today, examined tracking data provided by private companies as well as the US military and was conducted jointly by COMSPOC, the Center for Space Standards and Innovation, LSAS Tec, the Space Data Association, Intelsat and SES.

Managing the Promise and Threat of Emerging Technologies

BESA Center

Emerging and disruptive technologies (EDTs) are crucial for human development. Tremendous opportunities and advantages emanate from them, and they are both a product of and a catalyst for social and economic innovation. They are force multipliers that can assist humanity across a wide range of fields, including food security and climate change. However, the advent of some technologies, such as AI (artificial intelligence), has raised concerns of potentially grave implications for humanity that have prompted calls for regulation and oversight.

On March 22, 2023, a group of prominent developers, researchers, and technological experts, amongst them Elon Musk of Space-X, Tesla and X (Twitter), Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and Tom Gruber of Siri/Apple and Humanistic AI, published an open letter calling for a six-month pause by all labs that train AI (artificial intelligence) systems more powerful than GPT-4. They expressed concern that AI systems with human-competitive intelligence can pose profound risks to society and humanity by creating digital minds that no human can understand, predict, or reliably control. They suggested that this pause be used to develop safety protocols for advanced AI design that would ensure that these systems and their use are safe. They also recommended that AI governance systems be developed to regulate and oversee AI.

After the publication of this letter, several other initiatives and statements were made regarding the need to exercise caution and consider possible limitations on AI. A message of concern was voiced by the Secretary General of the UN in his Policy Brief Number 9, “A New Agenda for Peace”, which was published in July 2023. Therein, the SG identifies AI as both an enabling and a disruptive technology that is increasingly being integrated into a broad array of civilian, military, and dual-use applications, and that this rapid integration could have unforeseen implications.


Zach Meyers , John Springford

Artificial intelligence (AI) – computing systems that use a significant degree of autonomy and adaptability to achieve particular goals – is already being exploited by leading technology firms. But recent advances like ChatGPT have raised hopes that the technology could boost Europe’s slow-growing economy. Tech optimists argue AI will raise productivity growth in some services industries by doing (often boring) work in areas like research, accounting, contract and report drafting, coding and communication with customers. There are also hopes AI might help companies perform drug discovery, supply chain management, cancer screening and other technical tasks more cheaply, quickly, and accurately.

However, European politicians worry about the technology just as they did about previous digital innovations. In her recent State of the Union speech, European Commission President von der Leyen talked up the “risk of extinction from AI”. This alarmism is unwarranted for a technology that is useful, but currently no more than an advanced form of autocomplete. Another big fear is that AI will make Europe even more dependent on a few US tech giants. Yet others are concerned (with reason) about the risks of workers losing their jobs or compromising consumer safety. AI might replicate and amplify human biases against women and minorities, for example, help trouble-makers propagate misinformation, interfere in elections, pose cybersecurity risks or raise income inequality further. There are European and global efforts to deal with the safety risks that AI poses, but this paper limits itself to the potential effects of AI on economic activity and how Europe should seek to extract the most benefit from the technology.3

Strengthening the Shield

Jacob Stokes

Executive Summary

In December 2022, Japan’s government released three major strategic documents: the National Security Strategy, the National Defense Strategy, and the Defense Buildup Program. Although Japan has made incremental changes to its security policies and capabilities over the last decade, the new documents mark a notable shift in Japan’s approach to strengthening its defense. The documents reflect Tokyo’s assessment of the rising threats that could challenge Japan’s security and signal Japan’s commitment to build the military capabilities necessary to meet them. This report examines Tokyo’s defense transformation and assesses its implications for the U.S.-Japan alliance and Washington’s strategy toward the Indo-Pacific.

Japan is “fundamentally reinforcing” its national security and defense policies to cope with its increasingly severe security environment. The military threats posed by China, North Korea, and Russia have been growing steadily for years but appear to be peaking simultaneously. Tensions between Japan and China have occasionally flared in the five decades since they normalized diplomatic relations. But those tensions have reached new heights since 2012, when China began to regularly contest Japan’s administration of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. By August 2022, Beijing fired five ballistic missiles into Japan’s exclusive economic zone during China’s live-fire military exercises after then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. The aim of the missile launches was to signal there would be consequences for Japan if Tokyo were to intervene in a Taiwan contingency. Meanwhile, North Korea’s unprecedented rate of missile testing since 2022 and Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine have deepened Japanese concerns about the potential for the use of force in the Indo-Pacific.