12 October 2023

Hamas Has Crossed The Rubicon: What Now?

Faisal J. Abbas

The massive escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict sends so many messages at the same time. The first thing one has to note is that a Hamas attack on this scale could only have been possible after months of planning. In fact, this is exactly the kind of “explosion” warned of as a consequence of continued occupation and deprivation of Palestinian rights. Those claiming that the attack was unprovoked are wrong — this is precisely the reaction that deliberate and systematic intimidation by the current Israeli government garners when insult is added to injury.

Does this justify the killing and kidnapping of civilians? Absolutely not, and this is true regardless of who the villains or victims are.

So, what happens now?

Well, given recent history, the outcome is pretty predictable: Israel will say it has the right to defend itself, declare a full-scale war and inflict the maximum pain possible in retaliation. Hamas will declare the outcome — no matter what it is — a victory. Many Palestinians will celebrate the unprecedented early success portrayed in images of Israelis fleeing and soldiers being detained. Shortly after, the same Palestinians will suffer the devastating consequences at the hands, tanks and aircraft of the Israeli army. After that, Arab countries — namely the GCC — will come to the rescue and help rebuild Gaza.

What we know about the latest violence in Israel and Gaza


On early Saturday morning Palestinian militants with Hamas and Islamic Jihad launched a large-scale attack on Israel. Gunmen stormed into Israeli cities and towns while rockets launched from the Gaza Strip. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country is at “war” and pledged retaliation. Israel has launched several air strikes into the occupied territory of the Gaza Strip. The attack is the biggest attack inside Israeli territory in decades and the total death toll on both sides is now in the hundreds. As of the end of Saturday night, fighting continues, with several Israeli nationals — service members and civilians — held hostage by Hamas and Israel ramping up attacks into the occupied territory.

Here’s what you need to know about the conflict, including the death toll, groups involved and why people are spreading a lie that American money is funding the Hamas attack.

How it began

The fighting started early Saturday morning, with a large wave of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip. The rockets hit multiple sites including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Militants then entered southern Israel via land and sea, despite heavy Israeli security, surveillance and a blockade of the Gaza Strip. Videos from today show Palestinian militants entering Israel from at least five points, with little initial resistance. Fighters attacked military sites and civilian areas in cities and towns. The attack into Israel is the bloodiest inside the nation’s territory in decades and comes almost 50 years to the day of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The scale and multi-pronged nature of the attack, along with its success, points to major intelligence and defense failures in the Israeli security forces.

Biden backs Israel but fails to defend record as critics source attack to his Middle East policies

Charles Hurt , Clifford D. May & Gene Marks

An Iranian-backed militant group’s surprise attack on Israel has put President Biden’s Middle East policies front and center, with critics saying he should take accountability for the attack.

Conservative critics, including former President Donald Trump and lawmakers in the House and Senate, have gone on the offensive against the president, claiming that his Middle Eastern policy decisions emboldened Hamas and its primary backer Iran.

The Jewish state was hit with a surprise blitz from the terrorist group early Saturday morning, which has left over 200 Israelis dead. The Israeli military also confirmed that numerous civilians and Israeli soldiers have been taken hostage by Hamas in Gaza.

Mr. Biden did not address any of the criticism lobbed his way during remarks given from the White House Saturday afternoon. The president did reaffirm the commitment he made to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the U.S. would “never fail” to have Israel’s back.

Israel has the right to defend itself and its people full stop,” Mr. Biden said. “There’s never a justification for terrorist attacks. In my administration the support for Israel security is rock solid and unwavering.”

Mr. Biden continued, “Let me say this as clearly as I can: This is not a moment for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks to seek advantage. The world is watching.”

A ‘Pearl Harbor’ moment: Why didn’t Israel’s sophisticated border security stop Saturday’s attack?

Joshua Berlinger

The gunmen came from air, sea and land. They shot at civilians, took hostages and forced families to barricade themselves indoors, fearing for their lives.

A day that began with air raid sirens blaring out in the early morning had by lunchtime turned into one of the most terrifying attacks Israel has known in the 75 years of its existence. Assailants from Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls the impoverished and densely populated Gaza Strip, had by nightfall killed hundreds of people and wounded hundreds more.

Though Israel is no stranger to terrorist attacks, Saturday’s assault was unprecedented – not least because of the lack of warning. Israel’s military on Saturday found itself caught off-guard, despite decades in which the country became a technology powerhouse that boasts one of the world’s most impressive armed forces and a premier intelligence agency.

The questions for Israeli authorities are legion. It has been more than 17 years since an Israeli soldier was taken as a prisoner of war in an assault on Israeli territory. And Israel has not seen this kind of infiltration of military bases, towns and kibbutzim since town-by-town fighting in the 1948 war of independence. How could a terror group from one of the world’s poorest enclaves manage to launch such a devastating attack?

“The entire system failed. It’s not just one component. It’s the entire defense architecture that evidently failed to provide the necessary defense for Israeli civilians,” said Jonathan Conricus, a former international spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces.

After Attack, Israel Wrestles With Question: How Could This Happen?

Dion Nissenbaum

TEL AVIV—As explosions rang out and bullets flew over Tamir Erez’s home in Mefalsim near the Gaza Strip border, he said he kept asking himself, “Where is the Israeli military?” He fled town with his children holding their heads down so they couldn’t see the bodies of dead Israelis killed by Palestinian militants.

“It will take a long time for us to recover from this day,” Erez said.

Israel’s failure to anticipate an attack Saturday that left hundreds of soldiers and civilians dead and militants rampaging through villages punctured a sense of invincibility built on its vaunted military and intelligence apparatus. It left the world questioning what went wrong and Israel’s leaders facing pressure to retaliate with overwhelming force.

Hamas’s attack also caught the Biden administration by surprise, several senior U.S. civilian and military officials said.

“I’m confident we had no intel,” said retired Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, who said he was in Israel earlier this year, including touring defenses at one of the kibbutzim in southern Israel that was overrun by Hamas.

Montgomery said a senior U.S. military officer in the region got on a plane and returned to the U.S. in recent days, implying that wouldn’t have happened if Washington knew an attack was coming.

Israel is ‘at war’ after Hamas militants launch major assault

It’s a new October war. Early Saturday morning, Palestinian militant group Hamas launched its biggest assault on Israel in decades. Thousands of rockets arced from Gaza into Israel; black towers of smoke rose from where they struck. On motorcycles, trucks, and even paragliders, Palestinian militants darted into Israeli communities. Reports indicate that more than a hundred Israelis have been killed, and hundreds more have been injured. “We are at war, not in an operation, not in rounds of fighting—at war,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, as Israeli forces began air strikes in Gaza in response to Hamas’s assault.

Below, our experts share their insights on the unfolding events, which come as Israel and Saudi Arabia have been attempting to broker a deal to normalize relations, and nearly fifty years to the day after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, also known as the October War. This article will be updated as the news develops and more reactions come in.

The Israel-Hamas conflict reaches a new level—and it’s only just beginning

The attacks on Israel this morning are only the beginning of this conflict. Netanyahu has already promised to “exact a huge price,” and will have little interest in backing down from that vow. This is not going to be a small tit-for-tat; the unparalleled nature of the attack won’t allow for it. Surprise attacks have happened before, and the fact that this one occurred fifty years and one day after the start of the Yom Kippur War is a reference that will be forever etched in the history books. But for years, Israel and Hamas (and other Palestinian militant groups) have engaged in multiple rounds of rocket fire from Gaza and attacks, followed by Israeli responses striking the Gaza Strip.

‘Unprecedented’ Hamas attack on Israel shows ‘apparent quantum leap’ in capabilities


A day of intense terror attacks by Hamas that killed more than 200 Israelis united observers in shock—not just at the toll, but at the sophistication of the assaults. Meanwhile, Pentagon officials announced the dispatch of carrier strike group to region to support Israel.

Saturday’s attack was “unprecedented and an apparent quantum leap in Hamas's capabilities,” said Steven A. Cook, a senior fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, or CFR.

Mark Hertling, a former commander of U.S. Army Forces Europe, tweeted, “Operation ‘Al Aqsa Storm’ isn’t the typical Hamas attack. Israel is facing attacks on multiple domains & fronts, from an opponent with allies & supporters (Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Iran, even Russia), during a symbolic time (50th anniversary of Yom Kippur). Much more complex.”

Bruce Hoffman, a senior fellow at CFR, tweeted, “Back in 2006, Hezbollah had an arsenal of ~15k missiles (the most sophisticated provided by Iran). Today, it has 10x that number. The danger of a two front war for Israel or perhaps 3-front if the West Bank erupts in violence, begins to assume existential dimensions.”

The surprise attack, which was apparently unforeseen by Israeli intelligence, began in the early morning hours of a Jewish holiday. Hamas forces fired multiple rockets into Israel, broke through barriers with explosives, made beach assaults with speedboats, and dispatched troops on pickup trucks, motorcycles, and even paragliders to infiltrate towns in southern Israel.

Indian Americans now largest Asian American group in U.S.

Niala Boodhoo

Inderjeet Poolust, 5, from India, celebrates at a U.S. citizenship ceremony in New York.

Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial group in the U.S., and Americans of Indian descent are now the largest sub-group within that, new data released from the 2020 Census confirms.

Why it matters: Indian Americans have a long history in the U.S. but their population was relatively small until the 1960s when a change in immigration policy helped lead to a migration boom of Indian tech workers. Over the generations, other family members also moved to the U.S.

By the numbers: The number of Americans who consider their racial origin as solely Asian Indian grew more than 50% to nearly 4.4 million people from 2010 to 2020.
  • When factoring in people who consider themselves either single race or multiracial, the most populous Asian identification among Americans is still Chinese (excepting Taiwanese): 5.2 million people.
  • That's an increase of 37.2% since 2010.
  • According to the Census, the five states with the largest percentages of Asian groups are California, New York, Texas, Hawaii and Washington.

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. Both students of economics, we understood the administrative and economic rationale for closure of sick enterprises and appreciated the opportunity for us to make a signal contribution to better governance and public welfare. We intended to make all-out efforts to ensure that the opportunity was grasped and a sustainable outcome achieved within the brief tenure of two years that we had with the department.

Thailand’s Mall Shooting Shows That Authorities Must Address Online Black Markets

Michael Picard

Thailand’s recent mall shooting is tied to a thriving online black market for guns. The shooter – a teenager from a privileged background apparently suffering from mental illness – used a blank-firing pistol converted to fire live ammunition to attack his victims in Bangkok’s iconic Siam Paragon mall.

The perpetrator is someone who legally never should have gotten his hands on a weapon. He was able to do so through a black market for firearms hiding in plain sight. Thai authorities must decide whether they are willing to forge new approaches to policing this space in order to prevent future tragedy.

According to a senior police official, the gunman used a weapon that he purchased online. Simple searches on Thailand’s popular social media platforms like Line, X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, and YouTube quickly direct users to an active illicit market for firearms, ammunition, restricted components, and fraudulent documents. Payments are done remotely and anonymously while shipments are facilitated through courier services using basic concealment methods.

The gunman may have even purchased the weapon legally through e-commerce platforms as blank-firing weapons are traded with few restrictions. Such guns can be easily converted to fire live ammunition, and once again, simple searches on social media turn up modification tutorials. According to the Bangkok Post, this weapon was modified with the help of a 

A New State of Lending: Chinese Loans to Africa

A new update to the Chinese Loans to Africa (CLA) Database, managed by the Boston University Global Development Policy Center, estimates that from 2000-2022, 39 Chinese lenders provided 1,243 loans amounting to $170.08 billion to 49 African governments and seven regional institutions.

For the years 2021 and 2022 combined, the CLA Database recorded a total of 16 new loan commitments worth $2.22 billion from Chinese lenders to African government borrowers, signifying two consecutive years of lending to Africa below $2 billion.

The CLA Database is an interactive data project tracking loan commitments from Chinese development finance institutions (DFIs), commercial banks, government entities and companies to African governments, state-owned enterprises and regional multilateral institutions. CLA Database loan amounts are not equivalent to African government debt, as the database tracks commitments, and not disbursement, repayments or defaults.

A new policy brief by Oyintarelado Moses, Jyhjong Hwang, Lucas Engel and Victoria Yvonne Bien-Aimé analyzes the state of Chinese lending to Africa.
Main findings:Total loans: The CLA Database estimates that from 2000-2022, 39 Chinese lenders provided 1,243 loans amounting to $170.08 billion to 49 African governments and seven regional institutions.

US-China 'tech war': AI sparks first battle in Middle East

Cathrin Schaer

Just over a month ago, a leading US technology firm made a rather mysterious announcement.

Nvidia, which produces the world's most advanced computer chips — the small silicon cards needed to run everything from supercomputers to modern cars and cellphones — said the United States government was restricting the export of its most advanced chips to "some Middle Eastern countries."

Nvidia did not say which countries were affected or why. But for many observers, it was a sign the "tech war" between China and the US had arrived in the Middle East.

For some time now, the US has been trying to get ahead of China when it comes to the development of world-changing artificial intelligence (AI) technology. In an attempt to slow down Chinese AI progress, a recent tactic has been to throttle Chinese access to the computer chips or semiconductors needed for the most advanced artificial intelligence models.

Chips made by Nvidia process data much faster, and are now so valuable experts refer to them as 'the new oil'

What Chinese Nuclear Modernization Means for U.S. Deterrence Strategy

George Krompacky

Military vehicles carrying DF-26 ballistic missiles drive through Tiananmen Square during a military parade in Beijing. 

Amidst evolving geopolitical shifts, the foundation of U.S. nuclear deterrence, forged in the crucible of the Cold War, faces a new set of challenges. The principle of mutually assured destruction (MAD), once the bedrock of deterrence, is now being tested by Russia's aggressive posturing and China's strategic advancements. In the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and signals of a willingness to employ tactical nuclear weapons, questions arise about the efficacy of traditional deterrence strategies. Concurrently, China's expanding nuclear arsenal adds complexity to the equation. Do these developments mean America needs to rethink its deterrence strategy?

In a new paper, “China’s Nuclear Enterprise: Trends, Developments, and Implications for the United States and Its Allies,” FSI Center Fellow Oriana Skylar Mastro focuses on the Chinese perspective of the equation and examines recent trends in Chinese military doctrine and their implications for U.S. deterrence strategy. Mastro’s contribution is part of a new report, Project Atom 2023: A Competitive Strategies Approach for U.S. Nuclear Posture through 2035, produced by the CSIS Project on Nuclear Issues.

Interpreting Politico-Strategic Motivations for Chinese Military Exercises

Narantsatsral Enkhbat

Chinese President Xi Jinping, soon after he took power, announced a drastic military reform program, modernizing weapons and technology and improving the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)’s organization, training, and preparedness. The goal is to “basically complete the modernization of national defense and the military by 2035 and to fully transform the people’s armed forces into world-class forces by the mid-21st century.” As part of the modernization plan to advance combat readiness and preparedness, the PLA has intensified and increased its military exercises. Beijing uses military exercises for a wide variety of reasons, from military training purposes (improving quality of military performances and testing new weapons) to political and strategic ends. However, the politico-strategic dimensions of Chinese military exercises are frequently overlooked, which can have far-reaching consequences for regional and global security.

China’s military exercises near Taiwan

China is employing military exercises as a tool to demonstrate its military might and signal its willingness and ability to “reunify” Taiwan. The use of military exercises by China to intimidate Taiwan through displays of military prowess is not a new phenomenon. Such exercises often serve as a scare tactic to remind Taiwan of the potential consequences of drawing closer to the United States. “Those who play with fire will perish by it,” Xi Jinping warned during a telephone conversation with U.S. President Joe Biden last year. Such warnings often emphasize China’s determination to oppose any actions that could be interpreted as supporting Taiwanese independence as well as threatening China’s security.

Global Engagement Center Special Report: How the People’s Republic of China Seeks to Reshape the Global Information Environment


Every country should have the ability to tell its story to the world. However, a nation’s narrative should be based on facts and rise and fall on its own merits. The PRC employs a variety of deceptive and coercive methods as it attempts to influence the international information environment. Beijing’s information manipulation spans the use of propaganda, disinformation, and censorship. Unchecked, the PRC’s efforts will reshape the global information landscape, creating biases and gaps that could even lead nations to make decisions that subordinate their economic and security interests to Beijing’s.

PRC Information Manipulation

The PRC spends billions of dollars annually on foreign information manipulation efforts. Beijing uses false or biased information to promote positive views of the PRC and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). At the same time, the PRC suppresses critical information that contradicts its desired narratives on issues such as Taiwan, its human rights practices, the South China Sea, its domestic economy, and international economic engagement. More broadly, the PRC seeks to cultivate and uphold a global incentive structure that encourages foreign governments, elites, journalists, and civil society to accept its preferred narratives and avoid criticizing its conduct.

The PRC’s approach to information manipulation includes leveraging propaganda and censorship, promoting digital authoritarianism, exploiting international organizations and bilateral partnerships, pairing cooptation and pressure, and exercising control of Chinese-language media. Collectively, these five elements could enable Beijing to reshape the global information environment along multiple axes:

Turkey-Iran Rivalry in the Changing Geopolitics of the South Caucasus

The South Caucasus has long been a theatre of Turkish and Iranian cooperation and rivalry. While these two regional powers have historically balanced their inter­ests, there are signs that rivalry is taking precedence. Turkey’s unwavering backing of Azer­baijan during the 2020 Karabakh War consolidated Ankara’s footprint in the region. Azerbaijan’s retaking of the rest of Karabakh in the latest military strikes on 19 September 2023 makes a peace accord between Azerbaijan and Armenia more likely, furthering Turkey’s interests, and potentially limiting Russia’s role in the region. However, the prospect of a “less Russia, more Turkey” dynamic heightens Tehran’s apprehensions towards Ankara. Particularly concerning for Iran is the clause with­in the Moscow-brokered ceasefire of November 2020 that mandates the rebuild­ing of a road and rail link connecting Turkey to mainland Azerbaijan via Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan exclave and Armenia’s south-eastern Syunik province; this risks marginal­ising Iran. In addition, Tehran is anxiously observing the deepening of ties between Turkey’s close ally, Azerbaijan, and Iran’s key adversary, Israel.

Changes to the status quo in the South Caucasus benefited Turkey and have been viewed with growing unease in Iran. Teh­ran has been comfortable having Russia be the dominant power in the South Caucasus, yet the Kremlin’s once relatively exclusive influence over the region is increasingly called into question. During the Second Kara­bakh War, Moscow succeeded in bro­ker­ing a ceasefire agreement between Azer­baijan and Armenia on 9 November 2020. However, since the end of 2021, Russia has lost its monopoly over Azerbaijani and Armenian negotiations given the engagement of Washington and Brussels in the peace talks. During the latest escalation on 19 September 2023, Russian peacekeeping forces were involved in reaching a ceasefire between Karabakh Armenians and Baku the next day. It remains unclear, however, how Russia will manage its damaged relations with Armenia, its only formal ally in the South Caucasus.


Grace Mappes, Karolina Hird, Riley Bailey, Christina Harward, and Mason Clark

Ukrainian forces made confirmed advances in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area and in western Zaporizhia Oblast and made claimed advances south of Bakhmut on September 9. Geolocated footage published on September 9 shows that Ukrainian forces advanced northwest of Novomayorske (18km southeast of Velyka Novosilka) along the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border, where Russian sources claim fighting has intensified in recent days.[1] Additional geolocated footage published on September 9 shows that Ukrainian forces also advanced northeast and east of Novoprokopivka (13km south of Orikhiv) and west of Verbove (20km southeast of Orikhiv) in western Zaporizhia Oblast.[2] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces achieved unspecified successes south of Robotyne (10km south of Orikhiv).[3] A Kremlin-affiliated Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces forced Russian forces to withdraw from Andriivka (9km southwest of Bakhmut), and another prominent milblogger claimed that Andriivka is now a contested “gray zone.”[4] Ukrainian officials reported that Ukrainian forces also achieved unspecified success south of Klishchiivka.[5]

Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Spokesperson Vadym Skibitskyi reemphasized Ukraine’s right to target critical Russian strategic and military objects in rear areas. Skibitskyi stated on September 8 that Ukraine identifies and strikes the most critical Russian objects in Russian rear areas using drones, missiles, and agents on Russian territory.[6] Skibitskyi emphasized that Ukrainian forces target military facilities and objects of the military-industrial complex that help with missile production and logistics support. Skibitskyi stated that Ukraine purposefully targets these objects to degrade Russian offensive potential and achieve a “domino effect” where destroying one object forces other dependent enterprises to stop production.

France vetoes American takeover of two 'sensitive' nuclear suppliers

Jean-Michel Bezat

Two small companies, based in Mennecy (Essonne, northern France) and Lyon, have received a great deal of attention from the French Finance Ministry and the Defense Ministry in recent months. And with good reason: Segault (80 employees) and Velan SAS (280 employees) supply valves for the boiler rooms of Naval Group's nuclear submarines and EDF's (the state-owned electricity company) nuclear power plants.

These SMEs are subsidiaries of Canadian company Velan, currently in the process of being acquired by the Texas-based Flowserve Corporation. The Finance Ministry vetoed on Friday, October 6, the takeover of Segault by the American industrial machinery giant. Following the veto, Flowserve announced it would abandon its plans to take over Velan worldwide.

Segault was subject to the "foreign investment screening procedures." This is automatic when a non-European industrialist or financier wishes to acquire at least 10% of the voting rights of a listed French company (or 25% of the voting rights of an unlisted company) operating in a strategic sector. The French government deemed that commitments made by the multinational Flowserve were insufficient to eliminate all risks.

Tighter controls on foreign investment

The affair has taken a political turn, especially on the right and far right. In May, in response to a question from a Rassemblement National (far right) MP, Minister of Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu warned that the French state would oppose "loss of operational control" of the company. Two months earlier, Arnaud Montebourg, former minister of industrial renewal (2012-2014) during François Hollande's presidential term, wrote to Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, calling for the SME to remain in the French fold.

The World Bank Is Still Failing the Poor

Howard W. French

There are two facts that should loom above all others in thinking about the World Bank as it wraps up its almost ritualized annual meetings in Washington this weekend.

The first is that its incoming president, Ajay Banga—the 63-year-old Indian-born American and longtime executive chairman of Mastercard—was the only “candidate” for the job. Following the bank’s tradition, the United States nominated Banga, and the use of quotation marks here is meant to emphasize that there was no public debate whatsoever about who would be best suited to lead the multinational development lender, nor any open debate about priorities for the bank or leadership strategy. Banga’s experience in the credit card business is formidable, but how this prepares him for his very different new job is less than completely obvious.

This leads to the second big thing to consider about the World Bank. There is a deafening dissonance between this Western-dominated institution’s undemocratic procedures and the West’s own pronounced traditional bias in favor of democratic governance in its engagements with what was long known as the Third World. It is, of course, true that the best one can say about the West’s historic advocacy of democracy in the global south is that it has been highly inconsistent. The rub with the lack of democracy in the World Bank’s governance is about much more than this awkward hypocrisy, though.

Banga has been parachuted into his new five-year term as the bank’s leader with a ready-made agenda, which has also not been the focus of any open debate or public discussion. Led by the United States, the West has decided that climate change should be the World Bank’s overriding priority.

Does Canada Need an Overarching Intelligence Review and Reset?

John Gilmour


In a post-COVID-19 environment and with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Canada’s policy-makers charged with a national security remit have renewed their focus on:State-on-state conflicts;
  • State and non-state generated efforts on behalf of broader hybrid warfare strategies, including cyber-attacks and disinformation campaigns;
  • Various ideologically driven attacks; and
  • Greater public visibility on espionage and influence campaigns by countries with adversarial agendas.
This threat environment has resulted in compelling arguments to securitize a number of policy issues that have historically fallen outside the traditional purview of national security. These include environmental or climate change security, plus energy, food, economic, health, supply chain and migration security. Practitioner and academic communities suggest the time is right to update key policy documents for Canada’s national, defence and foreign security. In a perfect world, there would be a timing, narrative and prioritization nexus between all three policies constituting a grand strategy in support of national security, but this remains aspirational.

All such policy, strategy and programs require intelligence for informed decisions to be made.

Echoes across the airwaves

Jessica Brandt, Bret Schafer, Valerie Wirtschafter, and Peter Benzoni

In recent years, political podcasting has boomed in the United States, with new series emerging across the political spectrum.1 Due to the medium’s decentralized nature, it is difficult to grasp the total audience for these shows, but recent polling data has found that nearly 1 in 4 Americans look to podcasting for their news,2 almost 9 out of 10 expect the information they receive there to be mostly accurate, and 8 out of 10 view it as equally or more trustworthy than news they receive from other sources.3 Despite this audience growth and implicit trust in news content shared across the medium, podcasting remains a largely underexplored space, where content can be highly opinionated and politicized, anyone can claim expertise and become a podcast host, content moderation practices are largely absent, and the spread of contested claims — particularly about elections — is common across some series.4 As a result, this new media ecosystem represents a seemingly fertile area for Russian propaganda about the invasion of Ukraine to reach audiences in the United States. Despite this expectation, we found the endorsement of pro-Kremlin narratives to be a rare event. When these types of narratives circulated, they primarily did so because they resonated with domestic culture war concerns in the United States, rather than out of sympathy for Russia’s cause in Ukraine.

To explore whether and how Kremlin narratives spread across popular U.S. podcasts, we transcribed 1,885 episodes focused on Ukraine-related topics that aired during the first year of the conflict (between February 24, 2022, and February 24, 2023) and remained online as of March 2023.5 These podcast series represent some of the most popular U.S. political podcasts and draw on the perspectives of pundits from across the political spectrum.

Influenced by Disinformation: What the U.S. Can Do to Counter Disinformation Operations

Del Sanders & Peter Roberto

In February and March of 2022, as Russian troops crossed into Ukraine, Russian misinformation concurrently crossed over social media platforms to support them. Russia attempted to promote the idea that Ukraine housed bioweapons plants for the U.S. While the idea was swiftly debunked, it gained traction amongst conspiracy theorists in the U.S. The prevalence of these conspiracy theories in public debate eroded the public’s faith in U.S. institutions, capitalizing on disunity amongst Americans, lack of government efficiency, and lack of institutional transparency. The ability to influence a myriad of population sectors worldwide is the “go-to” tool of 21st century warfare for U.S. competitors. The U.S. must recognize that refilling stockpiles, maintaining nearly 800 bases in 70 countries, and reorganizing the Navy’s carrier posture is not enough to compete in 21st century warfare. Irregular warfare strategies replaced the overt wars of the 20th century. Although the U.S. outspends any country in defense expenditure, increased global connections evened the playing field, enabling irregular warfare operations, especially disinformation campaigns, that cause as much or more damage than a HIMARS barrage. The U.S. must engage Russia, and eventually China, in the information realm, which it all too often confronts from a cyber defense context and not offensive cyber or influencing sentiment. With new tools like “deep fakes” becoming increasingly common on social media, the U.S. must reorganize its efforts to protect and actively cultivate its reputation and control its influence against its competitors. This article outlines three ways to enable the U.S. to effectively compete against adversaries in the information wars.

Russia is a prominent player in the information domain and China is an active learner, both taking advantage of the U.S.’s lack of preparation in the field. Russia has implemented disinformation campaigns since the Cold War, and these activities were revived amidst the various Russian incursions into Ukraine. Russia uses different online groups to implement its recent campaign of lies,

Breaking Patterns: Multi-Domain Operations and Contemporary Warfare

Davis Ellison and Tim Sweijs
Source Link

Warfighting concepts shape our views on past, present and future wars. They contain an implicit criticism of past approaches, while offering proposals to avoid earlier mistakes and/ or to address current challenges. Today the dominant concept within NATO and other technologically advanced militaries is multi-domain operations (MDO). MDO aim to combine and coordinate effects from across military and sometimes non-military actions. Different militaries stress the need to act across military services and to better coordinate with civilian authorities. They highlight how sensors, communication technologies augur in a new way of warfighting, but often fail to articulate the mechanisms that could lead to the defeat of the opponent.

This study, by Strategic Analyst Davis Ellison and HCSS Director of Research Tim Sweijs, examines whether and how the adoption of MDO concepts can help armed forces achieve military success. The report argues that MDO could break away from the worst patterns of past conceptual work, though this will require concerted changes in prevailing approaches. As such, this study provides an intellectual framework as well as a set of guidelines that strategists and force developers can use to better assess and qualify MDO-type approaches across different countries, and, importantly, how such concepts can best be further developed.

US Military Support for Ukraine is Helping Put American Industry Back on Track

Kristine Berzina, Sophie Arts & Parker Nash

While some argue that Ukraine aid is a drain on the US economy, the numbers suggest that sustained support is a win-win for Ukrainians and the American people. A large portion of the money designated for Ukraine is being reinvested at home, bolstering the defense industry and sustaining American manufacturing jobs. This translates to more business for US companies and sustained employment for rural communities in which they operate.

Amid claims that the United States cannot foot the bill of a long, drawn-out war in Ukraine, a faction of Republican lawmakers is threatening to shut down the US government if further Ukraine funding is included in a continuing resolution. But this approach does not take into consideration the benefits to US strategic interests and the American economy. A large portion of the money designated for Ukraine is being reinvested at home, bolstering the defense industry and sustaining American manufacturing jobs.

So far, the American people have provided the lion’s share of Ukraine’s military aid—$46.6 billion with an additional package of $10.5 billion now under consideration. This support has been essential to Ukraine’s war effort, enabling its forces to reclaim occupied territory. And, critically, it serves key US interests—first and foremost, by defeating Russia’s imperialist ambitions and preserving territorial integrity in Europe. Beyond this, supporting Ukraine brings its own economic benefits.

Offensive cyber operations

Juliet Skingsley

Cyberspace is now established as an important domain of national and international security. Until recently, informed and open discussion on the responsible use of offensive cyber capabilities has been constrained by high levels of secrecy around national strategies for their use.

Insights as to how individual states view the utility of offensive cyber, and how they perceive and manage associated risks of escalation and conflict, have been hard to access. A lack of open debate around the limitations of cyber operations has also led to inaccurate portrayals of cyber capabilities as versatile ‘silver bullet’ solutions which can address a widening variety of security challenges.

This paper offers an in-depth exploration of new or revised national cyber strategies, authorization mechanisms and legislation in nine NATO states, and draws on interviews with national cyber experts. As well as aiming to promote more informed debate on the key issues, it presents important policy recommendations to support the responsible use of offensive cyber and to contribute to the achievement of a secure cyberspace for all.