9 October 2023

A lasting legacy of India’s G20: Trade opportunities for small businesses

Gopal Nadadur

India’s presidency of the Group of Twenty (G20) runs until December 1, when the rotating position will pass to Brazil. But even with several weeks left, it is an opportune moment to take stock of what India’s leadership has accomplished. There is, of course, the September 9-10 G20 leaders’ summit in New Delhi and the meaningful communiqué that came out of it, for which India is rightfully being lauded for its adroit navigation of immensely challenging circumstances. As the Atlantic Council’s Kapil Sharma has highlighted, India demonstrated a new model of diplomacy built on consensus, inclusiveness, and solutions.

The G20 Summit’s highest-profile outcomes include progress on digital public infrastructure, crypto regulation, climate financing, and reform of multilateral development banks. But the India-led G20 has also delivered several outcomes that, while lower-profile, nonetheless could result in big gains, most notably for micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). For example, the G20 declaration refers to the Jaipur Call for Action, which highlights the need to enhance MSMEs’ access to information. The declaration also endorses the Regulatory Toolkit for Enhanced Digital Financial Inclusion of MSMEs and the Financial Inclusion Action Plan, both aimed at improving credit access for individuals and MSMEs.

But arguably the most concrete and impactful outcome for MSMEs is in the “Unlocking Trade for Growth” section of the G20 declaration. This section includes a reference to the High-Level Principles on Digitalization of Trade Documents, which former Assistant US Trade Representative for South and Central Asian Affairs Mark Linscott pinpointed for their importance. And one of the thrusts of these high-level principles is the digitalization and interlinking of countries’ trade documentation systems.

Pakistan’s Missing Market

Sanjay Kathuria

As Pakistan lurches from one crisis to another, it needs a fundamental rethink of its geopolitical and economic strategy. Without it, any International Monetary Fund program—the most recent being a “stand-by arrangement” for around $3 billion, approved on July 12—only buys some time before the next cataclysm.

Pakistan must start putting sustainable and inclusive economic growth above all else, especially its elite-focused policies that have created a cycle of profligacy and austerity. Average annual economic growth between 2010 and 2022 has been lackluster, around 4 percent, and has been accompanied by a rise in Pakistan’s total debt as a share of its GDP, from 55 percent to 76 percent. Bangladesh, in contrast, grew at an annual average of 6.2 percent over the same period, while its debt to GDP ratio rose from 30 percent to 39 percent.

In addition to addressing spiraling debt, faster and more inclusive growth is the best pathway for the poor and vulnerable to join the middle class.

The big step Pakistan could take to reinvigorate growth would be to embrace trade with India, which is currently almost nonexistent. World Bank research, on which I worked, reveals that Pakistan’s exports could increase by 80 percent, with commensurate impacts on GDP and employment, if it had a normal trading relationship with India. Extrapolating from these estimates, Pakistan’s exports of goods, only a mere $31.5 billion in 2022, could be about $25 billion higher if trade with India was realized. Another World Bank study shows that India accounts for as much as 85 percent of Pakistan’s total unrealized trade potential.

Yes, the World Is Multipolar

Emma Ashford

An obscure academic term is suddenly back in vogue in international affairs. Multipolarity—the idea that there are many important global powers, not just a few superpowers—is being touted by leaders, CEOs, and pundits as the future. Headlines suggest the growing importance of middle powers, from Turkey and Brazil to South Korea and Australia.

But not everyone is convinced. As Jo Inge Bekkevold wrote in Foreign Policy last month, it “is simply a myth that today’s world is anywhere close to multipolar. … Today, there are only two countries with the economic size, military might, and global leverage to constitute a pole: the United States and China. Other great powers are nowhere in sight, and they won’t be anytime soon.” This also appears to be the opinion of the Biden administration, whose attempt to build a “networked security architecture” in the Pacific and to link European and Asian allies together feels very much like an attempt to rerun the Cold War playbook.

Both are mistaken. In a paper recently published by the Stimson Center, we set out to assess whether the world is indeed becoming more multipolar and how U.S. policymakers can best leverage the features of the emerging international environment to achieve U.S. interests. We came to a stark conclusion: The United States simply does not hold the level of military and economic power it did during the early decades of the Cold War. Nor does today’s China match the Soviet Union at its peak.

A multipolar system doesn’t require three powers of equal size; it just requires that significant power is concentrated in more than two states. Today, the middle powers—from Japan to India—are significantly more influential than they once were. This is the textbook definition of what scholars call “unbalanced multipolarity.”

A Bold Challenge to Chinese Aggression Succeeded. What Does That Mean?


When the Philippine Coast Guard removed a Chinese barrier in a contested stretch of the South China Sea last week, some observers feared it might light a fuse to war. It didn’t—and it’s worth examining why it didn’t, because we may soon see similar challenges to China’s dominance in the region.

Initial reports of the removal—which happened on the orders of the Philippines’ President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.—cited worries that Chinese President Xi Jinping might react with some escalatory counteraction. But, so far anyway, he has not.

Marcos’ action was legally and morally proper. The Chinese barrier clearly violated international law and blocked the movement of Philippine fishing boats. Still, Manila has rarely—and, in the past decade, has never—challenged Beijing’s territorial claims so boldly. It’s an open question whether Xi will now double down on his claims or settle into a more “rules-based” coexistence.

After the Philippine Coast Guard cut the rope that held the barrier in place, a commentator and former military officer in Beijing, Song Zhongping, denounced the move as “a serious threat to China’s national sovereignty and security,” adding, “China must take decisive measures to put an end to the Philippines’ provocation.”

How China is fighting in the grey zone against Taiwan

Joel Guinto

When Taiwan raised the alarm last month over a record number of Chinese fighter jets crossing the unofficial border between them, Beijing said that line did not exist.

The 103 fighter jets that China flew near Taiwan - 40 of which entered the island's Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) - were yet another escalation in Chinese war games.

Beijing, which has long claimed Taiwan, has in the past year repeatedly rehearsed encircling the self-ruled island with fighter jets and navy ships. The military drills have taken an especially menacing turn in light of China's vows to "reunite" with Taiwan.

So far, the manoeuvres have fallen short of an invasion and stayed within a grey zone, which is military speak for tactics that fall between war and peace.

But Taiwan is now a tinderbox in what has become a volatile US-China relationship - and analysts say grey zone tactics are part of Beijing's strategy to control Taipei without firing a single shot.

What is China trying to achieve?

Grey zone warfare tactics are aimed at weakening an adversary over a prolonged period - and that is exactly what China is trying to do with Taiwan, observers say.

By regularly crossing Taiwan's ADIZ, Beijing is testing how far Taipei will go to reinforce it, says Alessio Patalano, a professor of war and strategy in East Asia at King's College in London.

Xi Jinping: China’s New ‘Dragon Emperor’

Mark Toth and Col. (Ret.) Jonathan Sweet

Two 30-foot, carved white marble columns — “huabiao” in Chinese — stand guard over the entrance to the Gate of Heavenly Peace in Beijing. Perched atop each huabiao, gazing southward, are two mythical dragons, known as Denglong, who, as legend has it, warned Chinese emperors when they had been away from the Forbidden City for far too long, or more ominously, howled to let a ruler know it was time to abdicate.

Mythology notwithstanding, Chinese President Xi Jinping is well aware of the usefulness of the symbolic power of the dragon. It encapsulates his vision of China, now and into the future. During a state visit by then-President Donald Trump in November 2017 to Tiananmen Square, Xi noted that “Chinese civilization is a unique lasting culture in the world, that passed down through generations consistently.”

During their walkabout, Xi pointedly underscored to Trump: “We call ourselves descendants of the dragon.” Left unsaid was that Xi, wittingly or not, views himself as China’s modern-day heir of Qin Shi Huang. Known as the “Dragon Emperor,” Qin Shi Huang, beginning in 221 BC, was the first Chinese monarch to unite the country under “a new Chinese script, a new currency, and a new system of weights and measures.” He was responsible for the “life-size terra-cotta army” and for connecting the Great Wall of China.

US tightens intelligence links with Asia to combat Chinese cyberattacks

The US is deepening intelligence cooperation with countries across Asia as it looks to counter Beijing’s sophisticated spying apparatus and blunt Chinese cyberattacks.
The Biden administration has developed a set of separate but overlapping partnerships in Asia, including an intelligence-sharing arrangement with the “ Quad” grouping of the US, India, Japan and Australia, according to US officials who asked not to be identified discussing matters that aren’t public.
The web of relationships also includes trilateral partnerships among the US, Japan and South Korea, and one encompassing the US, Japan and the Philippines, the officials said.

The push also involves strengthened bilateral sharing of information with Japan, India and Vietnam, according to the officials, who added that a major focus of these relationships is boosting resilience to Chinese offensive operations online.

This new and strengthened partnerships, known formally as intelligence liaison relationships, are in part aimed at reducing the growing power of China’s spy apparatus, which a recent UK parliamentary report described as the world’s largest. The administration effort is part of a broader drive to deepen links across the region amid growing alarm at the threat from Beijing.

“Intelligence liaison can serve as an important force multiplier,” said Daniel Byman, a specialist on the topic at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “It can expand overall collection as different countries will have access to different secrets in different parts of the world.”

U.S. Weaves Web of Intelligence Partnerships Across Asia to Counter China


The U.S. is deepening intelligence cooperation with countries across Asia as it looks to counter Beijing’s sophisticated spying apparatus and blunt Chinese cyber attacks.

The Biden administration has developed a set of separate but overlapping partnerships in Asia, including an intelligence-sharing arrangement with the “Quad” grouping of the U.S., India, Japan and Australia, according to U.S. officials who asked not to be identified discussing matters that aren’t public.

The web of relationships also includes trilateral partnerships among the U.S., Japan and South Korea, and one encompassing the U.S., Japan and the Philippines, the officials said.

The push also involves strengthened bilateral sharing of information with Japan, India and Vietnam, according to the officials, who added that a major focus of these relationships is boosting resilience to Chinese offensive operations online.

M1 Abrams Ineffective By 2040 In Fight Against China


The U.S. Army's M1 Abrams tanks will "not be effective" or able to "dominate" on the battlefields of the 2040s, especially in the context of a potential high-end conflict against China. This is the conclusion of an official advisory body that is also calling for an Abrams replacement effort that could include a next-generation M1 derivative, as well as lighter 'tanks' armed with larger caliber guns and hypersonic anti-tank missiles, and uncrewed ground vehicles.

The Army Science Board, a federally-sanctioned independent group of experts that advises the Secretary of the Army, recently published an assessment about the future of the M1 tank. It also outlines the need for one or more types of "5th Generation Combat Vehicle," or 5GCV, to meet operational demands in the 2040s. The origins of this study trace back to 2019 and the final report is dated August 2023.

US Army M1A2 Abrams tank. 

The Army currently has around 2,500 M1 Abrams tanks in service today, with thousands more in storage that could potentially be refurbished and returned to service, if necessary. The original M1 entered service in the 1980s and significantly more capable variants have been introduced since then.

New Army "Quiet" & "Helo-Like" FTUAS Drone Develops AI For Fast-Attack


Finding targets in milliseconds, taking off vertically amid uneven terrain while under enemy fire, networking threat specifics across an integrated series of manned and unmanned combat sensor “nodes” and possibly even delivering attack weapons are merely a few of the US Army’s intended missions for its Future Tactical Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (FTUAS).

The Army’s FTUAS is a fast-emerging effort to engineer a new drone able to perform helicopter-like take-off and landings, survey high threat enemy areas, process targeting data and instantly send specifics to a meshed series of platforms across a multi-domain force.

Rapid prototyping and further testing is the Army’s focus at the moment, as it surges into a new phase 2 of development for the drone, exercising options for Griffon Aerospace and Textron Systems offerings. An Army essay on the FTUAS explains some of the operational advantages the new drone is expected to bring to the current and future force. Not surprisingly, vertical take-off, low acoustic signature, networking and agility are key elements of the Army’s vision for the platform.

“The FTUAS Program of Record requirements include runway independence and a rapidly deployable UAS capability. When fielded, FTUAS will provide a distinct tactical advantage over current systems due to increased maneuverability through VTOL, improved command and control supported by the on-the-move capability, a reduced transportation and logistics footprint, as well as significantly improved survivability due to reduced noise signature,” an Army essay says.

The cycle of war: Ukraine’s futility and America’s endless profiteering

Tim Cudmore

War never changes. It features different people in the same predictable patterns. Those with power manipulate those without to serve elite interests … that’s it.

By examining the timelines of the second world war and the current Russia-Ukraine conflict we can identify some questionable similarities in the strategies of our major players. While details differ, the overarching motivations of sacrificing lives for power and profit remain unchanged.

In 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland under the pretence of preventing Polish aggression against ethnic Germans. This marked the beginning of the second world war in Europe. Having conquered Poland and France, Germany began its siege of Britain, hoping to bomb its enemy into surrender. Despite British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s pleas for aid, America refused direct involvement, instead passing the Lend-Lease Act in 1941 to supply weapons while remaining officially ‘neutral’. The US joined the Western Europe war for the D-Day invasion in June 1944, 5 years after the conflict began.

Compare this to February 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine claiming the need to protect Russian-speaking people in the Donbas and counter Nato expansion. Within months Russia had seized the susceptible territories and completed its ‘special operation’ by creating a land bridge to Crimea. Just as Britain did in the past, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy desperately sought out military aid from the Americans so that they may have a hope of recapturing their lost territory. In May 2022, US President Biden quickly passed a Ukraine version of the Lend-Lease Act, enabling the supply of weapons just 3 months into the invasion.

The T-64, Ukraine’s Most Important Tank, Could Go Extinct In Three Or Four Years

David Axe

Ukraine has, or is getting, a little more than 300 Western-style tanks from its NATO allies: 10 Strv 122s from Sweden, 14 Challenger 2s from the United Kingdom, 31 ex-American M-1s, 75 German-made Leopard 2s and as many as 200 Leopard 1s.

Three hundred tanks is far too few tanks totally to reequip Ukraine’s brigades, which probably require between 1,200 and 1,500 tanks. So old ex-Soviet tanks, currently the most numerous tanks in Ukrainian service, are likely to remain the most numerous tanks in Ukrainian service.

It’s worth asking how long it might take for Ukraine to run out of its most important tanks, the diesel-powered T-64BVs: recent upgrades of tanks that the Malyshev Factory in Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, built for the Soviet army between 1963 and 1987, and which the Soviets left behind in Ukraine when the USSR collapsed in 1991.

The answer depends on a lot of variables and assumptions. In the most optimistic scenario for Ukraine, the last T-64BV blows up or gets captured or hopelessly damaged in 2027. In the least optimistic scenario, the Ukrainian T-64BV goes extinct in a couple of years.

The math is simple. The Ukrainian armed forces had 800 of the 40-ton, three-person tanks in active or reserve service when Russia widened its war on Ukraine in late February 2022. Another 450 T-64s were in storage.

A Gathering Financial Storm

Jay Westcott

In “The Sun Also Rises,” Ernest Hemingway wrote: “How did you go bankrupt?”

“Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

The late MIT economist Rudi Dornbusch said something similar about economic crises. He wrote that a financial crisis takes a much longer time coming than you think, and then it happens much faster than you would have thought.

This was certainly true of the September 2008 Lehman Brothers crisis that led to the 2008-2009 Great Economic Recession. Unfortunately, there are all too many indications that next year we may get a repeat of this pattern and experience a full-blown economic and financial crisis before the November elections.

The Lehman Brothers crisis was preceded by many years of an unsustainable housing boom fueled by reckless lending and by a Federal Reserve fast asleep at the wheel. It took until March 2008 for the first signs of a gathering financial storm to emerge when Bear Stearns had to be taken over by JP Morgan and when strains in the subprime mortgage market surfaced. Only in September 2008 did the situation unravel at lightning speed when the Lehman bankruptcy occurred.

Shambles in Granada: Mega-gathering of European leaders ends with a whimper


GRANADA, Spain — A summit gathering close to 50 European leaders, dozens of aides and legions of journalists ended as a damp squib when those gathered failed to make any significant progress to resolve conflicts on Europe’s doorstep — or any other regional issue.

The third edition of Emmanuel Macron’s pet project, the European Political Community, was billed by advisers as an opportunity to broker peace between warring Armenia and Azerbaijan, de-escalate tensions in the Balkans and hold a strategic conversation about the Continent’s security.

While leaders did rally around Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who was in Granada to shore up Europe’s support amid U.S. jitters on Ukraine aid, they failed to make headway on the other conflicts in the absence of key players.

Hope among attendees in taking steps to resolve the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh were dashed when both Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan decided to skip the gathering. Leaders hoped to host the first meeting between Aliyev and Armenia’s Nikol Pashinyan since Azerbaijan launched a lightning offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh, triggering an exodus of 100,000 refugees.

Putin’s fleet retreats: Ukraine is winning the Battle of the Black Sea

Peter Dickinson

Russia has reportedly withdrawn most of its Black Sea Fleet from occupied Crimea in recent weeks following a series of successful Ukrainian attacks. The retreat of the Russian fleet is a serious setback for Vladimir Putin’s ongoing invasion and the latest indication that Ukraine is winning the Battle of the Black Sea.

Satellite footage from early October indicates that Russian vessels including three Kilo-class submarines, two guided missile frigates, and a patrol ship have all been hastily withdrawn from their home port of Sevastopol in Crimea and moved to the Russian port of Novorossiysk on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, according to the Wall Street Journal. Additional Russian warships have been removed from Sevastopol and sent to other ports in the far west of Crimea or elsewhere in the Black Sea.

It is not hard to see why the order was given to pull out of Sevastopol. Since August 2023, Ukraine has carried out a number of audacious attacks that have undermined Russia’s air defenses in Crimea and inflicted serious damage on the fleet itself, with casualties including a number of large warships and a submarine. On September 22, Ukraine was able to bomb and partially destroy the Black Sea Fleet headquarters in the heart of Sevastopol.

Russia’s Axis of the Sanctioned

Hanna Notte

At first glance, the war against Ukraine appears to be a disaster for Russia. With most of its soldiers tied up fighting Kyiv’s forces, Moscow is struggling to station troops abroad. Russia has also had to redeploy to Europe some weapons and military systems it had positioned in Asia and the Middle East. And Moscow’s military sales, already in decline, are now in greater peril. Sanctions have deterred traditional Russian clients from continuing with their purchases, and Russia’s poor military performance has dampened enthusiasm among prospective ones.

These constraints and problems are real. But if Western officials believe, as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in June, that the war in Ukraine is “greatly diminishing Russia’s power, its interests, and its influence,” they should think again: Russia still has significant international sway. Moscow maintains steady defense contracts with most of its legacy customers, such as India and Vietnam, which rely on Russia to maintain their systems. Russia has had to move most of its soldiers and material to Ukraine, but it still has permanent air and naval bases in Syria, giving the country direct access to the Mediterranean and allowing it to harass U.S. forces in the Middle East. The Moscow-led Wagner paramilitary company controls several bases in Libya, which serve as a logistics hub for its activities in the Sahel. Wagner is set to continue operating in one form or another, even after its former boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, was killed in a plane crash (likely orchestrated by Russian President Vladimir Putin). Moscow is also considering whether to use or establish additional bases in Africa.


Karolina Hird, Christina Harward, Grace Mappes, Nicole Wolkov, and Mason Clark

Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations near Bakhmut and advanced in western Zaporizhia Oblast on October 6. Ukrainian military sources noted that Ukrainian forces continued successful offensive actions south of Bakhmut near Andriivka (8km southeast of Bakhmut).[1] Geolocated footage posted on October 5 shows that Ukrainian forces have advanced towards a tree line between Robotyne and Verbove, about 6km southeast of Robotyne.[2] Ukrainian Eastern Group of Forces Spokesperson Captain Ilya Yevlash noted that Ukrainian forces are preparing for offensive operations throughout the autumn-winter period. Yevlash emphasized that while supply requirements will increase and rainy and foggy conditions may complicate the use of drones and tactical and army aviation, Ukrainian forces will continue to fight through the winter.[3] Yevlash’s statement supports ISW’s longstanding assessment that weather will not prevent either side from conducting offensive operations throughout the winter of 2023-2024 if they are well-supplied and choose to do so, as they did in the winter of 2022, and that the pace of Ukrainian offensives will largely be metered by Western provision of appropriate small-arms and ammunition and non-lethal supplies to Ukraine - not simply winter weather conditions or any specific weapons system.[4]

Russian forces appear to have recently conducted a regimental rotation in the Orikhiv area, demonstrating an ability to sustain their defenses in this critical sector of the frontline. A Ukrainian military observer reported on October 6 that elements of the 291st Motorized Rifle Regiment (42nd Motorized Rifle Division, 58th Combined Arms Army, Southern Military District), which were recently “partially restored,” withdrew to positions east of Nesteryanka (about 10km northwest of Robotyne) after the Russian command previously committed them to the area.[5] The Ukrainian observer also suggested that elements of the 71st Motorized Rifle Regiment (also of the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division) are ”persistently” counterattacking on the northern outskirts of Novoprokopivka (2km south of Robotyne).[6] ISW observed in mid-September that critical elements of the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division, particularly its 291st and 71st Motorized Rifle Regiments,

Estonia discussed sending offensive cyber tools to Ukraine after Russia invaded


TALLINN — When waves of cyber attacks struck Ukraine just before Russia launched its full-scale invasion last year, one small country familiar with such tactics rose to Kyiv’s aid: Estonia, the tech-savvy nation of just 1.3 million people.

“We helped to overcome the first shocking moments,” said Tõnu Tammer, head of the Incident Response Department at Estonia’s Estonian Information Systems Authority. “We acted as a sort of conduit to put resources at the disposal of Ukrainians from the donors that wanted to contribute.”

A host of public and private entities would ultimately step in to help Ukraine respond to Russian hacking. Microsoft, for example, helped Ukraine transfer data to cloud systems beyond the reach of Russian missiles.

Estonia’s role as a cyber-defense coordinator is just one way in which the small Baltic country has adapted to the new security reality caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Tammer’s office is at the center of this work. The Estonian Information Systems Authority is in part responsible for guarding the networks of Estonia, a country so digitized that a majority of citizens voted online in the 2023 elections.

Estonia also discussed providing Ukraine with dual-use cyber tools that could be used for offensive operations against Russia, said Tammer.

Mass still matters: What the US military should learn from Ukraine

Andrew A. Michta

Russia’s war against Ukraine is a system-transforming conflict that is reconfiguring the geostrategic picture in Europe and in Asia. It is also fueling a debate in the US defense policy community about how to structure and posture US forces. For the United States and its NATO allies, there are big lessons from this war that are already circulating through the policy bloodstream, but those lessons are encountering serious headwinds generated by what has been establishment thinking over the past three decades. Recent years of “scheduled wars,” fought on the US timeline with cross-domain control and unchallenged logistics, have changed expectations of what the US military would need when it comes to readiness levels and equipment to fight current and future wars.

The overarching lesson from the unfolding war in Ukraine is simply the scale of what’s required to fight a modern state-on-state war. No Western military has prepared for such levels of weapons and munitions consumption and force attrition. No NATO ally today—save for the United States—has the armor or munitions stocks that could last longer than a few weeks or months at best on Ukraine-like battlefields. This war has brought front and center the enduring centrality of mass in modern conventional warfare with a near-peer adversary. It should also put paid to the obsession with precision strikes that has dominated the US defense acquisition culture in recent years.

This war has brought into focus an enduring truth in warfare: In a state-on-state conflict, mass trumps precision. The impact of mass is immediate and registers at the point of contact, while precision strikes on enemy forces concentrated in the rear, on ammo depots, or on logistical chains will only register over time, perhaps after the decision on the battlefield has already been reached. True, space can compensate for mass to an extent, but none of NATO’s flank countries has the advantage of geography to plan accordingly in the event of a Russian invasion, nor would the Indo-Pacific region offer favorable space in terms of terrain should China decide to invade Taiwan.

In California and Europe, a new dawn for corporate climate disclosure


The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is expected to finalize a new rule this month to cover required corporate climate disclosures by public-reporting companies. But the bigger news is that California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has announced that he will soon sign into law two climate change disclosure bills passed by the state Legislature.

These laws will put the U.S. back into a global leadership position on efforts to contain the worsening climate emergency because of the expected impact of the “California Effect” in environmental law. This refers to the influence that California has had in leading the nation on ground-level air pollution, electric vehicle standards and other issues.

California’s climate disclosure laws will also mesh with developments underway in the European Union mandating climate disclosure, which will have an analogous “Brussels Effect.” The EU has already adopted regulations mandating nonfinancial disclosure by large companies doing business there.

Taken together, this means a new day for corporate climate disclosure is dawning that will replace the hodgepodge of voluntary standards collected under the increasingly suspect heading of ESG (environmental, social, and governance). The new disclosure regime will help reduce rampant greenwashing by firms that claim, for example, that they are committed to climate targets — such as “net zero” by 2050 — but then do little to act on these pledges.

Mark Milley: Constitutional Hero Or Military Rogue?

Ted Galen Carpenter

Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, briefs the media on Afghanistan, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, has received widespread praise for the sentiments he expressed at the farewell ceremony on September 29, marking his retirement. The dominant narrative quickly emerged that he had provided a vigorous defense of democracy, emphasized that the military would always revere the Constitution, and delivered an implicit rebuke to former President Donald Trump. Several passages in his speech support that conclusion, but Milley’s conduct as JCS chairman also should create some uneasiness.

He asserted that the Constitution should be the moral “North Star” for everyone who serves in the military. “We are unique among the world’s militaries. We don’t take an oath to a country. We don’t take an oath to a tribe. We don’t take an oath to a religion. We don’t take an oath to a king or a queen or to a tyrant or a dictator.” In an unsubtle swipe at Trump, Milley added: “And we don’t take an oath to a wannabe dictator. We don’t take an oath to an individual.” Instead, “we take an oath to the Constitution, and we take an oath to the idea that is America, and we’re willing to die to protect it”

AI’s Present Matters More Than Its Imagined Future

Inioluwa Deborah Raji

Last month, I found myself in a particular seat. A few places to my left was Elon Musk. Down the table to my right sat Bill Gates. Across the room sat Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, and not too far to his left was Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google. At the other end of the table sat Sam Altman, the head of OpenAI, the company responsible for ChatGPT.

We had all arrived that morning for the inaugural meeting of Senate Leader Chuck Schumer’s AI Insight Forum—the first of a set of events with an ambitious objective: to accelerate a bipartisan path toward meaningful artificial-intelligence legislation. The crowd included senators, tech executives, civil-society representatives, and me—a UC Berkeley computer-science researcher tasked with bringing years of academic findings on AI accountability to the table.

I’m still unsure of what was achieved in that room. So much of the discussion was focused on concerns and promises outside the periphery—the most extreme dangers and benefits of AI—rather than on adopting a clear-eyed understanding of the here and now. Speculation about the future of AI is fine as long as we don’t spend all of our time daydreaming. But that’s precisely what’s happening as American lawmakers scramble into the realm of tangible AI rule-making.



NATO allies’ divergent threat perceptions will soon become apparent again, and the longer the Ukraine war drags on, the less unified NATO will be on the subject.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has an identity crisis. The alliance can come together and act decisively when it needs to, but there are too many countries that have too many divergent interests to keep NATO from unifying for prolonged periods of time. The alliance lost its original purpose from the post-Cold War era, but the second Russian invasion of Ukraine (like the Balkans crises of the 1990s) stimulated NATO into a semi-unified response. However, NATO allies’ divergent threat perceptions will soon become apparentagain,and the longer the Ukraine war drags on, the less unified NATO will be on the subject.

Europe’s post-World War II geopolitical landscape spawned NATO out of necessity. The war devastated Western Europe. The Soviet Union cast a big shadow across a divided Germany, and the United States wanted to retain influence on the continent without directly challenging the USSR. To select Western European countries, Canada, and the United States, a collective security alliance to deter the Soviet Union would secure Western European liberty. Thus, the North Atlantic Treaty was signed in 1949. Since then, NATO has attempted to preserve the security of its members against any potential threat, whether state-sponsored aggression or terrorism, both inside and outside the European continent. However, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, NATO has not faced an existential crisis for almost 30 years—not until the recently renewed Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. At the same time, member states’ foreign policies have increasingly diverged from each other.

Towards responsible AI: Why building diverse voices is essential to guard its safety and fairnessin 2 days

Diya Wynn

To name a few, AI has been working in the background to deliver music and shopping recommendations and helping us write text messages. We now enter the next, more sophisticated, evolution of AI, where it’s coming to the forefront through its ability to generate open-ended responses.

Broadly speaking, technology has been able to transform our lives for the better. But some innovations require guardrails and best practices to mitigate risk or harm to individuals, communities and society, and even then, there can be unintended consequences. AI is no exception.

While we’ve been developing and researching responsible AI solutions for traditional AI and machine learning (ML) services, this new era of generative AI poses unique challenges. And because of how quickly generative AI is evolving, there is a more significant potential for risk and unintended outcomes unless we take intentional and proactive steps to minimize those risks.

A critical step is promoting fairness in generative AI. One of the ways to do that is to address the bias that can be found in the data used, in the algorithm, and the people involved in its design, development and deployment.

While technical solutions are critical to mitigate bias in AI, we must think about this holistically, investing in approaches that involve people and processes as well.

Why Evolving AI Threats Need AI-Powered Cybersecurity

Gabriele Fiata

The urgency to fortify defenses against the weaponization of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in cyberattacks has never been greater. Adversaries can now harness AI to launch targeted cyberattacks with unprecedented precision and exploit vulnerabilities at speeds and scales unattainable by human hackers.

AI can also be used to craft highly convincing phishing emails, create malware that adapts to security measures, and even automate the extraction of valuable data from compromised systems.

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which means it’s the perfect time to discuss how cybersecurity measures can mitigate these risks.

Expanding threat landscape

The threat landscape surrounding AI is expanding at an alarming rate. Between January to February 2023, Darktrace researchers have observed a 135% increase in “novel social engineering” attacks, corresponding with the widespread adoption of ChatGPT.