23 November 2023

November 21, 1962: Why China called ceasefire in a war it was winning against India


Sixty-one years ago today, on November 21, 1962, China declared a ceasefire in its war with India. The 1962 conflict was a major humiliation for New Delhi, denting the image of its first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, forever. For China, it was a loud proclamation of might, for neighbour India as well as the West. However, while China had dominated the fighting comprehensively, the territorial gains were not proportionate. In the west, it did capture Aksai Chin, but in the east, China withdrew 20 km behind the McMahon Line.

Why did China declare a ceasefire in a war it seemed to be easily winning, and why did it withdraw behind the border it had crossed to start the fight? Here’s a brief explanation of what experts have seen as the two major reasons.

Why the 1962 India China war began

While many factors contributed to active war finally flaring up on a restive border, many have blamed Nehru’s ‘Forward Policy’ for “provoking” China. Put very briefly, the Forward Policy involved the Indian Army establishing outposts in territories disputed by China. Some have argued that such actions by an ill-prepared and ill-equipped army pushed China to attack, and defeat, India.

Others have pointed out that the war was triggered by India’s decision of granting sanctuary to the Dalai Lama after he fled Tibet under Chinese oppression, and from China’s desire to be seen as the undisputed Asian leader. Also, this was the time when resentment was rising in China against Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward policy to forcibly modernise and industrialise the country, and a successful war was one tactic most guaranteed to restore his popularity.

Regime Change In Gaza: Trajectories For A Post-Hamas Future – Analysis

Andrew McGregor

The deadly October 7 Hamas operation was designed to use shock and terror to force a change in the status and future of Gaza’s Palestinian population. In this regard, the operation has been successful—life in Gaza will never be the same. According to Israeli authorities, part of these changes will include the disappearance of Hamas as a political and military entity.

During a meeting at the Israeli Air Force operations headquarters, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said of the planned Israeli Defense Force (IDF) land offensive into Gaza: “This has to be the last maneuver in Gaza, for the simple reason that after it, there will not be a Hamas” (Arutz Sheva, [Beit El] October 22). National Security Council chief Tzachi Hanegbi has pledged Israel will “wipe [Hamas] from the face of the earth” (Times of Israel, October 14).

What then will a post-Hamas Gaza look like if the IDF succeeds? To follow are eight possible directions for Gaza’s future, which may involve one or more of these scenarios in combination:
Scenario 1: Return of the Palestinian Authority

After Hamas’s violent expulsion of Fatah from Gaza in 2007 and the subsequent dissolution of the Palestinian Unity government, Gaza and the West Bank have had little official interaction. This means the Palestinian Authority (PA) government in the West Bank (dominated by the Fatah Party of President Mahmud Abbas) has little presence or influence in isolated Gaza.

Israel, Al-Shifa Hospital, and Iraqi WMDs

Paul R. Pillar

“What Israel finds—or doesn’t—” at the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, the New York Times has declared, may shape the course of the Gaza war. Given the attention that this matter already has received, whatever further stories come out of Al-Shifa will probably help shape international sentiment and debate about what Israel is perpetrating in the Gaza Strip. But on questions about this war that really matter—including what will or will not ensure the security of Israeli citizens, and what does or does not justify the humanitarian catastrophe that Israel has imposed on Gaza—what is or is not found at the hospital hardly matters at all.

The Israeli government clearly places importance on its sentiment-influencing public relations campaign. The Israelis are devoting much effort at the site not to combating Hamas but instead to scouring for anything that can be presented to international media and the world as evidence that Hamas was there. The effort is all rigidly controlled. New York Times reporters tell of how, in a rare visit that Israel has allowed the international press to make to the war zone, they were shown a hole in the ground at the hospital but not allowed to talk to hospital staff or see anything else at the site on their own.

Despite the tight controls, the priority Israel is giving to its PR campaign, and the proven Israeli prowess for “hasbara” or propaganda, the campaign has so far not gone smoothly for Israel. A video the Israeli military released had to be edited into a second version because the original version made a readily falsifiable claim that a laptop displayed was supposedly part of seized Hamas documentation of its hostages (the computer was really Israel’s own machine.) The “evidence” that Israel has come up with, besides that hole in the ground, appears to consist chiefly of a few rifles and rifle parts that were reportedly found in a storage closet by the MRI room, along with a bulletproof vest, some Qurans, some dates, and a few other items. Nothing presented so far comes close to having the appearance of a Hamas “command center.”

30,000 Fighters, Thousands of Rockets, and Suicide Drones: Hamas Capabilities

Yehoshua Kalisky 

Hamas is a terrorist organization with a varied, deadly arsenal and arms and weapons on the scale of what a country might possess. Its order of battle includes about 30,000 fighters, organized in divisions and battalions, with several thousand belonging to the Nukhba fighters force, which are skilled ground commando and naval commando fighters. A large part of the fighting force and many of the weapons are in the Gaza underground space, and therefore its destruction requires much caution and sophistication.

The organization's rocket threat includes about 18,000-20,000 rockets of different ranges, such as short-range Badr rockets; Fajr 5 with 90 kg of explosives for a range of 75-80 km, which includes the central Gush Dan area; an R-160 rocket or Badr 3 for a range of 160 km and a payload of 250 kg of explosives; and the Ayyash rocket that reaches a distance of 250 km.

In addition, the weapons array includes anti-tank missiles, mainly Kornet missiles, RPG grenades, thousands of hand grenades, mines – including magnetically attached mines, machine guns, assault rifles, sniper rifles, and a small number of surface-to-air missiles against low-flying targets. The Kornet missile is a missile that “rides” on a laser beam, with an effective range of 5-8 km, carrying in its nose a hollow charge of 4.5 kg of explosive or fuel-air containing a flammable cloud, and has the ability to penetrate steel 1 m thick. This missile is a major threat to IDF armored vehicles or tanks, and can be neutralized successfully by the Windbreaker system.

‘Backbone’ Of Israel’s Military Drone Fleet, Hezbollah Claims Shooting Down Hermes 450 UAV With SAM

Ashish Dangwal

Lebanese militant group Hezbollah claimed on November 18 that they successfully brought down an Israeli Hermes 450 combat drone.

According to their statement, the group claimed responsibility for the drone’s downing, stating that their fighters utilized a surface-to-air missile at 1:45 am on November 18, 2023. The wreckage of the Israeli drone was reported to have fallen over the “al-Jalil Panhandle.”

The mission was declared as a demonstration of solidarity with the steadfast Palestinian population in Gaza and a display of support for what the group referred to as their valiant Resistance.

A video purportedly showing the Israeli drone being downed by Hezbollah has also surfaced on the internet, though the EurAsian Times cannot independently verify this footage.

Although Israel has not officially responded to Hezbollah’s claim, the IDF did specify on the morning of November 18 that a military drone had experienced an emergency landing in an open area in northern Israel.

The Israeli Defense forces added that the aircraft was not hit by enemy fire, and the incident is currently under investigation.

Meanwhile, on November 18, an Israeli UAV also targeted an aluminum plant near the southern Lebanese market town of Nabatiyeh, firing two missiles and causing a fire along with extensive damage.

Commercial Flights Are Experiencing 'Unthinkable' GPS Attacks and Nobody Knows What to Do

Matthew Gault

Commercial air crews are reporting something “unthinkable” in the skies above the Middle East: novel “spoofing” attacks have caused navigation systems to fail in dozens of incidents since September.

In late September, multiple commercial flights near Iran went astray after navigation systems went blind. The planes first received spoofed GPS signals, meaning signals designed to fool planes’ systems into thinking they are flying miles away from their real location. One of the aircraft almost flew into Iranian airspace without permission. Since then, air crews discussing the problem online have said it’s only gotten worse, and experts are racing to establish who is behind it.

OPSGROUP, an international group of pilots and flight technicians, sounded the alarm about the incidents in September and began to collect data to share with its members and the public. According to OPSGROUP, multiple commercial aircraft in the Middle Eastern region have lost the ability to navigate after receiving spoofed navigation signals for months. And it’s not just GPS—fallback navigation systems are also corrupted, resulting in total failure.

According to OPSGROUP, the activity is centered in three regions: Baghdad, Cairo, and Tel Aviv. The group has tracked more than 50 incidents in the last five weeks, the group said in a November update, and identified three new and distinct kinds of navigation spoofing incidents, with two arising since the initial reports in September.

While GPS spoofing is not new, the specific vector of these new attacks was previously “unthinkable,” according to OPSGROUP, which described them as exposing a “fundamental flaw in avionics design.” The spoofing corrupts the Inertial Reference System, a piece of equipment often described as the “brain” of an aircraft that uses gyroscopes, accelerometers, and other tech to help planes navigate. One expert Motherboard spoke to said this was “highly significant.”

Gaza Hospital Blast Shows America Is Not Ready for Chinese Disinformation

Kenneth R. Weinstein and William Chou

Hamas’s claim that Israel intentionally bombed the Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza on October 16 was quickly debunked by internet sleuths. But by the time U.S. and European intelligence agencies publicly refuted Hamas’ claims, Israel’s reputation had suffered significant damage. Iran and its proxies called for a “day of rage” around the globe. Public pressure forced the leaders of Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority to cancel their meetings with President Joe Biden.

Hamas has successfully integrated disinformation operations into its terrorist campaign against Israel — and the world is watching.

Gaza has become a laboratory for other bad-faith actors, such as China, to observe and refine information warfare and gray-zone attacks. Given the gullibility the worldwide information ecosystem displayed during the Al-Ahli incident, media and policymakers need to anticipate disinformation campaigns by developing protocols to combat disinformation in real time.

The Al-Ahli incident was not the first time Palestinian groups falsified mass casualties. In 2002, a Palestinian spokesman claimed that Israel massacred over 500 men, women, and children in Jenin in the West Bank. This led to global condemnation of Israel before numerous independent groups unraveled the claims. Given this history, the Biden administration should have been proactively ready to challenge Hamas’ claims as soon as they went viral.

Disinformation as a foreign policy tool predates Hamas, of course. The Soviet Union promulgated extensive, state-driven information grey-zone strategies. It targeted fissures in Western societies through “active measures” — information campaigns designed to stimulate emotional responses. The USSR used such methods to weaken NATO unity and to attribute nefarious Western intent in the Global South.

Send America’s Floating Hospitals to Gaza

James Stavridis

In my military career, I was frequently deployed on the US Navy’s massive nuclear-powered aircraft carriers into combat and on more routine peacetime missions.

I embarked in the USS Abraham Lincoln as a commodore in the late 1990s, and I sailed around South America in the USS Eisenhower as a four-star admiral in command of US Southern Command in 2009. These are fearsome machines of war, apex predators at sea with significant land-attack powers as well.

But in many ways, the most satisfying deployment I commanded was not a carrier: It was USNS Comfort, a 60,000-ton hospital ship with nearly 1,000 beds and a main battery consisting not of combat jets but of doctors and nurses. The ship has nearly 100 intensive-care beds, with total accommodations for more than 1,300 people if necessary.

The author, on right, in command of the USNS Comfort.Source: US Navy

I was lucky to have the Comfort under my command in Latin America and the Caribbean, where her crew performed hundreds of thousands of lifesaving and life-changing patient treatments over the course of six months. Today, we must think seriously about a riskier mission: sending both the Comfort and her sister ship, the Mercy, to the eastern Mediterranean during the Israel-Hamas war.

The need is clear: Nearly two million Gazans, nearly half of them children, are in the middle of a war zone. Civilian casualties are mounting by the hour despite efforts of the Israel Defense Forces to minimize “collateral damage” as they undertake a justified series of counterattacks against the terrorists.

How the Islamic State Propaganda Machine is Exploiting the Israel-Hamas Conflict

Lucas Webber, Colin P. Clarke

Since the Hamas raid on Israel on Oct. 7, the Islamic State (IS) has been attempting to exploit the resulting conflict to inspire its followers to commit acts of terrorism. Working through its central command apparatus, branches, and affiliates, as well as its legions of online supporters, IS seeks to capitalize on hostile sentiments stirred up throughout the Muslim world by Israel’s assault on Hamas in Gaza, launched in response to an attack that killed over 1,400 in Israel.

The Israeli counterattack has led to thousands of civilian casualties, including many children, with devastating images being shared throughout the world daily. In response, IS has called for its followers to join the fight and commit militant violence against Jewish, Israeli, and Western targets across the globe. There is likewise a real threat of IS Central and its branches carrying out coordinated external attacks and continuing to incite supporters to act. Current events are emboldening the Islamic State to continue inciting its followers while also looking to recruit new members. IS sees a real opportunity to mobilize radicalized Hamas supporters, taking advantage of the opportunity to capitalize upon the frenzy of rage that has accompanied large-scale mass protests, including many in the West.

It did not take long for IS followers to capitalize on the rage resulting from what many in the Muslim world considered to be the collective punishment of the Palestinian population living in Gaza. On Oct. 13, a 20-year-old man from Russia’s northern Caucasus region stabbed a teacher to death at a school in Arras, France. The perpetrator referenced the Hamas attack on video prior to the attack while identifying with the Islamic State cause. Then, on Oct. 16, a 45-year-old man of Tunisian descent shot and killed two Swedish soccer fans in Brussels. The gunman posted a video online stating he was acting on behalf of IS.

Evidence confirms Israel’s al-Shifa claims, so critics move the goal posts

Jennifer Rubin

For weeks, many mainstream media outlets and Israel’s harshest critics around the world have condemned Israel for fighting in and around the al-Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip. Doctors there denied there were terrorists present. They denied it was a legitimate military target. No hostages there, we were told. Now we know those assertions were flat wrong.

News of an agreement for the imminent release of dozens of hostages, a five-day pause in fighting and a surge of humanitarian aid should not obscure the controversy surrounding the hospital.

The Israel Defense Forces, as news outlets reported last week, found “automatic weapons, grenades, ammunition and flak jackets” as well as “an operational command centre and technological assets belonging to Hamas, indicating that the terrorist organization uses the hospital for terrorist purposes.” Moreover, the IDF revealed evidence of a tunnel:

In addition, Israeli forces found a Hamas truck loaded with weapons:

And, tragically, the IDF found in the immediate area the bodies of two hostages taken on Oct. 7. (Later on Sunday, the IDF revealed more extensive footage of the tunnel and video of two hostages entering the hospital.)

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has been forthcoming about its own independent evidence of terrorist activity in and around the hospital, as the Wall Street Journal reported: “The signals intelligence, which was picked up in recent weeks, was among several pieces of U.S.-gathered information, the people said.” It was among the information that led the White House and Pentagon to announce Tuesday for the first time that the United States believed Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, known as PIJ, were using al-Shifa Hospital ‘as a way to conceal and support their military operations and hold hostages.’” U.S. intelligence, the report said, “was based on multiple streams of data and was collected independently of Israel.”

Regime Change in Gaza: Trajectories for a Post-Hamas Future

Andrew McGregor

The deadly October 7 Hamas operation was designed to use shock and terror to force a change in the status and future of Gaza’s Palestinian population. In this regard, the operation has been successful—life in Gaza will never be the same. According to Israeli authorities, part of these changes will include the disappearance of Hamas as a political and military entity. During a meeting at the Israeli Air Force operations headquarters, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said of the planned Israeli Defense Force (IDF) land offensive into Gaza: “This has to be the last maneuver in Gaza, for the simple reason that after it, there will not be a Hamas” (Arutz Sheva, [Beit El] October 22). National Security Council chief Tzachi Hanegbi has pledged Israel will “wipe [Hamas] from the face of the earth” (Times of Israel, October 14).

What then will a post-Hamas Gaza look like if the IDF succeeds? To follow are eight possible directions for Gaza’s future, which may involve one or more of these scenarios in combination:

Scenario 1: Return of the Palestinian Authority

After Hamas’s violent expulsion of Fatah from Gaza in 2007 and the subsequent dissolution of the Palestinian Unity government, Gaza and the West Bank have had little official interaction. This means the Palestinian Authority (PA) government in the West Bank (dominated by the Fatah Party of President Mahmud Abbas) has little presence or influence in isolated Gaza.

The credibility of the PA, should it return to Gaza, could only suffer by following behind Israeli troops, unless some sort of intermediate administration was established. Even afterwards, it would be difficult to avoid being characterized as Israel’s puppet. If Gazans are allowed to remain, Israel will certainly intensify rather than relax its control of the enclave, which will be sealed even tighter to prevent the supply of money or weapons to any resistance factions in Gaza. Moreover, the PA may not be eager to rush back into Gaza, especially if it remains politically unsettled.

What if Israel didn't set out to 'destroy Hamas'?


The notion that a restrained reaction to outrageous provocation is often the wiser course has wide relevance. For example, it certainly applies to the U.S. reaction to 9/11, which cost trillions and led to well over a hundred times more deaths than the impelling event.

And a case can be made for the proposition that it would have been better for Israel if its understandably vehement response to the murderous Hamas incursion of October 7 had been much more limited. The response could have focused on pushing the offensive back, a few strikes against isolated targets in Gaza, shoring up border defenses, mounting covert operations to undermine Hamas, and launching a coordinated international effort to get the hostages released.

That approach would have sought to capitalize on the fact that the appeal of Hamas and its message was in decline before its attack. This process seems to have been motivated by at least two central considerations.

First, Arab Barometer reports conclude that the organization had become deeply unpopular in Gaza. While it seems to have been successful at squandering funds and at digging tunnels to protect itself, its governance has been incompetent and corrupt. Over time, substantial majorities in Gaza had come to say they did not trust it, had experienced food shortages during its rule, and did not share its eliminationist perspective on Israel.

Israel Must Defeat Hamas

Frank Miele

The Oct. 7 attack on Israel drew the lines between barbarism and civilization more clearly than any other event in the Western world since World War II.

If you think about the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, they were impersonal to the killers – just a strategic concept until the split second when they were accomplished and then there was no time for the killers to celebrate their savagery or for the victims to grasp the evil about to befall them. They were all dead.

But we know from the videos left behind by both the killers and their victims that Oct. 7 was a far different experience. It was not evil at a distance; it was evil up close and personal. You probably have heard of some of the most inhuman moments. The Israeli government showed video compilations of many of the atrocities to reporters and to government officials around the world:
  • As reported by The Guardian, “[A] father and his two sons, aged approximately seven and nine, running in their underwear to what appeared to be a bomb shelter. A Hamas attacker threw a grenade, killing the man. The boys emerge bloodied and run. ‘Dad’s dead, it wasn’t a prank,’ one shouts. ‘I know, I saw it,’ replies his brother, later screaming: ‘Why am I alive?’”
  • As reported by the Jerusalem Post, one terrorist was so proud of his brutality that he called his parents to brag: “I am talking to you from the phone of a Jew, I killed her and her husband, I killed ten with my own hands … Open your phone and see how many I killed, father. Open your phone, I am calling you on WhatsApp. I killed ten. Ten! Ten with my own bare hands. Their blood is on my hands, let me talk to Mom.”
  • As reported by ABC News, the video compilation of the atrocities is grisly and hard to watch. “Militants are busy mashing a dying man's face with their boots. Another pair screams ‘Allahu Akbar’ as they use a garden hoe to try to decapitate another man. In another house, a gunman sticks the muzzle of his rifle into a room inhabited by a family. It's a mash of colors. In one, a terrorist is standing on an Israeli man's chest and shoots him point-blank in the face. Then, the scenes of bloodied bedrooms start to blur. The rooms and the gore are the same – it's how the bodies are arrayed in death that's different. There are so many children. Some are jam-packed together in a slippery mass of human flesh. Huge blood stains streak the tiles.”

The West Should Give Up the Battle of Narratives

Julien Barnes-Dacey

Live your true life, all the self-help books tell us. Embrace who you are, own your faults, become better by turning them into strengths. It’s cheap pop psychology, but it might be liberating for repressed individuals and, we would argue, for Western civilization. It is time for the West to finally own its truth and set itself free.

The horrific war in the Gaza Strip oddly represents an opportunity for this liberation. Israel’s collective punishment of Gaza is now forcing a reckoning, exposing Western claims about the sanctity of its loudly embraced global norms.

Rather than retreating into a defensive battle of narratives, the West should see this as an opportunity to move beyond a discourse that has never held water. The West will have a better hope of cementing global influence if it is more honest about this reality, offering global partnerships based on deal-making and shared interests rather than infantilizing the global south with hollow talk of international rules.

Since the intoxicating victory of the United States and its allies in the Cold War and the subsequent march of democracy through Eastern Europe and beyond, the West has embraced a comforting illusion about a liberal rules-based order. With the final triumph of liberalism over communism, the victorious armies of democracy told themselves that they could finally transfer their beautiful idea of rule of law to the international realm. International law could tame war, defend sovereignty, and protect human rights, all the same time.

The Indian G20 Presidency: Taking Stock of Key Outcomes


On September 9, 2023, the New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration was adopted at the G20 Summit, garnering global attention. More remarkably, the summit was able to achieve a consensus among G20 members at a time of deep fractures within the diplomatic community on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. While there has been a focus on the Leaders’ Declaration since its adoption, the outcomes from the many ministerial meetings convened throughout the year have been given but little attention.

The G20 consists of two official tracks—the Finance Track and the Sherpa Track. The former is led by the finance ministers and central bank governors of member countries, and the latter by the Sherpas, who are emissaries of the leaders. The two tracks are tasked with “coordinating the substantive work of the G20,” and the various working groups operate under them to carry out deliberations on agenda items decided by the presidency.

The working groups are entities within the G20 and are thematically organized to ensure that there is a dedicated focus on specific sectors like education, culture, agriculture, health, and so on. The deliberations from these working groups inform the agenda for the ministerial meetings, which then identify areas for possible collaboration among the G20 members.

Featuring participation from ministers and high-level representatives from twenty advanced and emerging economies and building on the work done by experts as part of the working groups (including international agencies like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization), these ministerial meetings are key to understanding the Leaders’ Declaration. Outcome documents from these meetings, including reports, compendiums, policy priorities, and high-level principles, are valuable resources that are then considered during the formulation of a declaration toward the end of a country’s G20 presidency.

Remember Ukraine?

George Friedman

Some of you may remember Ukraine. Just a few months ago, it was all the talk. Since then, war has broken out between Hamas and Israel, a potentially game-changing summit took place between the United States and China, and Elon Musk grabbed headlines again. Between the tragic and the absurd, we have somehow managed to routinize the conflict in Ukraine.

Routinizing Ukraine is not unreasonable; the war has trended in that direction. There have been many battles involving advances and retreats. But none of the movements or battles have been decisive, which means Ukraine continues to fight for its survival. None of the fears the participants had about entering the war in the first place are illegitimate. And the stakes – a potential redefining of Europe – technically remain in place.

Wars in which all sides have reasonable fears are the most dangerous. No side can quit, and until one side achieves an overwhelming advantage and imposes a new reality, the war must go on even if the losses are difficult to endure. Absent an overwhelming advantage, compromise becomes necessary, but it can be equally hard. In this war, there are still expectations that Russia will destroy the Ukrainian army and force the U.S. to silence its guns. This has not happened. The primary reason is that Russia is short on troops, and since drafting them into service is extremely unpopular, Moscow has had to improve its recruitment, relying on large bounties for enlistees – some 12,000 rubles ($137), according to the Atlantic Council – and asking for donations from a sympathetic public to purchase equipment. Mints are a major weapon of war, and it’s unclear if Moscow is printing any more money. The fear of inflation is likely a consideration.

Ukraine War: Selling Stalemate and Prolonging Pain

Matthew Blackburn

A few months back, Chatham House issued a report underlining the hawkish consensus on the Russo-Ukrainian War: no compromise with Moscow; it must be soundly defeated and punished. Now, the war optimism that swept Western media across 2022 appears to have vanished. An increasing number are discussing the prospects of a ceasefire, and Zelensky himself is under pressure to begin negotiations with Russia.

The same experts who boldly forecasted the defeat of a feckless and incompetent Russia are changing tact. Now, the claim is that the war is a stalemate that neither side can win. Given this, it is time to freeze the conflict akin to the negotiated end of the Korean War. This idea was first proposed to the mainstream in May 2023 in a Politico article. Now, after the failure of the Ukrainian counter-offensive, it is again being discussed. But is it realistic?

The Preconditions of Korea’s Frozen Peace

The freezing of the Korean War was based on three factors. The first was the military stalemate of positional and attrition warfare along the thirty-eighth parallel, the original borders between North and South before the war. Here, ceasefire negotiations proceeded in parallel to continued military offensives, in which neither side made substantial gains nor inflicted enough losses to exhaust their opponent.

Nuclear Notebook: Nuclear Weapons Sharing, 2023


The FAS Nuclear Notebook is one of the most widely sourced reference materials worldwide for reliable information about the status of nuclear weapons and has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987. The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by the staff of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project: Director Hans M. Kristensen, Senior Research Fellow Matt Korda, Research Associate Eliana Johns, and Scoville Peace Fellow Mackenzie Knight.

This issue’s column examines the current state of global nuclear sharing arrangements, which include non-nuclear countries that possess nuclear-capable delivery systems for employment of a nuclear-armed state’s nuclear weapons.

Read the full “Nuclear weapons sharing, 2023” Nuclear Notebook in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, or download a PDF using the button on the left side of this page. The complete archive of FAS Nuclear Notebooks can be found here.

NATO in 'Race Against Time' to Prepare for Russia War

David Brennan

NATO must become capable of waging a major war with Russia within five to nine years to deny Moscow a "window of opportunity" to expand its open-ended war on Ukraine into a wider confrontation with the Western alliance, a new report has warned.

NATO risks having to play "catch up" with Russia, despite Moscow's disastrous war in Ukraine, according to the proposal published by the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) think tank earlier this month. Russia, authors Christian Mölling and Torben Schütz said, "represents the greatest and most ­urgent threat to NATO countries."

The alliance, the report said, is in a "race against time."

"Once intensive fighting will have ended in Ukraine, the regime in Moscow may need as little as six to ten years to reconstitute its armed forces. Within that timeframe, Germany and NATO must enable their armed forces to deter and, if necessary, fight against Russia. Only then will they be in a position to reduce the risk of another war breaking out in Europe."

A Ukrainian armored vehicle is pictured on a road not far from the front line in the Donetsk region on November 16, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Moscow's war has been costly for both sides.

Ukraine is thinking more like Silicon Valley to defend itself against Russia's electronic warfare

Lloyd Lee

The Ukrainian government has made innovating military technologies, such as radios and drones, that can combat Russia's electronic warfare campaign a priority. 
  • Russian jamming is a major source of frustration for Ukraine as it impacts comms and weapons.
  • As a countermeasure, Ukraine has taken several steps to develop new warfare tech.
To combat Russia's increasing supply of Iranian-made suicide drones that have wreaked havoc on cities in Ukraine, the Ukrainian government devised a plan: Host a hackathon.

The competition, which took place in June, offered a $1 million contract to companies that could create "alternative systems" to counter the Iranian-made Shahed drones, according to Ukraine's Ministry of Digital Transformation.

The event is just one way Ukraine has been taking cues from Silicon Valley — the world's tech hub — to fight the more invisible but highly effective electronic warfare that Russia has been waging to jam Ukraine's communications and weapons systems.

In electronic warfare, jamming technology can be used to disable drones, suppress radar signals, and render GPS-guided missiles useless.

Both countries are engaged in electronic warfare, but Ukraine's capabilities are harder to assess, The Associated Press reported last year.

Maneuver Warfare Is Not Dead, But It Must Evolve

Colonel Pat Garrett, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired), and Lieutenant Colonel Frank Hoffman, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve (Retired)

Maneuver warfare is a fraud, and maneuver as a warfighting function is dead. At least, that is what some scholars and military analysts claim. We disagree. However, there are ongoing changes in the character of war fueling perceptions that should be addressed. Warfare’s changing character often alters the balance between offense and defense, and the U.S. military faces one of these periodic shifts today.

These changes require professionals to think creatively about the implications. As warfare evolves, remaining ready in the face of technological change is key to the profession of arms. The challenges posed in today’s operating environment complicate maneuver and should stimulate updates to Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication (MCDP) 1: Warfighting.

Current Debate

A U.S. Marine with the Maritime Special Purpose Force, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, provides security in an urban environment training course on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in November 2022. While there are higher costs for urban operations, both movement and offensive maneuver are still possible in steel and masonry canyons. U.S. Marine Corps.

Secretive White House Surveillance Program Gives Cops Access to Trillions of US Phone Records


A little-known surveillance program tracks more than a trillion domestic phone records within the United States each year, according to a letter WIRED obtained that was sent by US senator Ron Wyden to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Sunday, challenging the program’s legality.

According to the letter, a surveillance program now known as Data Analytical Services (DAS) has for more than a decade allowed federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to mine the details of Americans’ calls, analyzing the phone records of countless people who are not suspected of any crime, including victims. Using a technique known as chain analysis, the program targets not only those in direct phone contact with a criminal suspect but anyone with whom those individuals have been in contact as well.

The DAS program, formerly known as Hemisphere, is run in coordination with the telecom giant AT&T, which captures and conducts analysis of US call records for law enforcement agencies, from local police and sheriffs’ departments to US customs offices and postal inspectors across the country, according to a White House memo reviewed by WIRED. Records show that the White House has, for the past decade, provided more than $6 million to the program, which allows the targeting of the records of any calls that use AT&T’s infrastructure—a maze of routers and switches that crisscross the United States.

In a letter to US attorney general Merrick Garland on Sunday, Wyden wrote that he had “serious concerns about the legality” of the DAS program, adding that “troubling information” he’d received “would justifiably outrage many Americans and other members of Congress.” That information, which Wyden says the DOJ confidentially provided to him, is considered “sensitive but unclassified” by the US government, meaning that while it poses no risk to national security, federal officials, like Wyden, are forbidden from disclosing it to the public, according to the senator’s letter.

AI is already being melded with robotics – one outcome could be powerful new weapons

Mark Tsagas

Mark Tsagas does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Interest in the incorporation of robots into security, policing and military operations has been steadily increasing over the last few years. It’s an avenue already being explored in both North America and Europe.

Robot integration into these areas could be seen as analogous to the inclusion of dogs in policing and military roles in the 20th century. Dogs have served as guards, sentries, message carriers and mine detectors, among other roles.

Utility robots, designed to play a support role to humans, are mimicking our four-legged companions not only in form, but in function as well. Mounted with surveillance technology and able to ferry equipment, ammunition and more as part of resupply chains, they could significantly minimise the risk of harm to human soldiers on the battlefield.

However, utility robots would undoubtedly take on a different dimension if weapons systems were added to them. Essentially, they would become land-based variants of the MQ-9 Predator Drone aircraft currently in use by the US military.

In 2021, the company Ghost Robotics showcased one of their four-legged robots, called Q-UGV, that had been armed with a Special Purpose Unmanned Rifle 4. The showcase event leaned into the weaponisation of utility robots.

It is important to take note of how each aspect of this melding of weaponry and robotics operates in a different way. Although the robot itself is semi-autonomous and can be controlled remotely, the mounted weapon has no autonomous capability and is fully controlled by an operator.

OpenAI Exploring ChatGPT’s Potential In Classrooms—Despite Critics Saying AI Promotes Cheating, Report Says

Molly Bohannon

OpenAI—the company behind ChatGPT—is exploring ways for its popular generative artificial intelligence platform to be used in schools, according to Reuters, marking a new undertaking for the company that’s been criticized by some educators for enabling cheating.

In this photo illustration, the welcome screen for the OpenAI "ChatGPT" app is displayed on a laptop ... [+]

  • Brad Lightcap, chief operating officer for OpenAI, said at a San Francisco conference last week that the company will likely create a team next year that will solely look into ways artificial intelligence can be used in education, Reuters reported.
  • Lightcap said at the conference that “most teachers are trying to figure out ways to incorporate (ChatGPT)” into how they teach, and that OpenAI is “trying to help them think through the problem.”
  • Artificial intelligence—and ChatGPT, specifically—have been criticized in the past for making it easier for students to cheat, even being banned by some schools and districts earlier this year.

85%. That’s how many students—out of those who were able to compare human tutoring to using AI—said ChatGPT was more effective than working with a real person, according to Government Technology.


ChatGPT was released mid-school year last November, and districts nationwide almost immediately began banning the generative AI platform out of cheating concerns. Students are able to use generative AI platforms to write essays and complete homework, though it wasn’t hard to catch, according to the New York Times, because of AI being in early stages and still “hallucinating,” or making things up. On Dec. 12, 2022, the nation’s second-largest district, Los Angeles Unified School District, became one of the first to block the site to “protect academic honesty,” though at the start of a new school year it introduced its own education-specific AI bot called “Ed” in about 100 schools, Politico reported. Other districts that banned it or limited access to the site included New York City Public Schools and schools in Montgomery County, Alabama. Since the release of ChatGPT, though, OpenAI has worked to show its value in education. In the fall, OpenAI and nonprofit Khan Academy announced a partnership to create an “AI-powered assistant” available to Khan students that works as “both a virtual tutor for students and a classroom assistant for teachers.”

Microsoft Emerges as the Winner in OpenAI Chaos


JUST AFTER 2 am Pacific time on Monday morning, several OpenAI staffers—including its chief technology officer, Mira Murati—posted in unison on X: “OpenAI is nothing without its people.” Sam Altman, who was dramatically removed as the company’s chief executive on Friday, reposted many of them. By then, Altman already had a new job. Satya Nadella—CEO of Microsoft, a major investor and partner of OpenAI—announced late on Sunday night that Altman and his cofounder Greg Brockman would be joining the tech giant to head a new “advanced AI research team.” Nadella’s statement seemed to suggest that others from the startup would be joining Microsoft.

By hiring Altman and Brockman amid the chaos at the top of OpenAI, Microsoft has managed to acquire one of the most successful management teams in artificial intelligence without having to buy the company—whose pre-chaos valuation was $86 billion.

“Satya now looks like one of the most epic kingmakers,” says Nathan Benaich, founder and general partner at Air Street Capital and author of the State of AI report.

At least three other senior researchers—Jakub Pachocki, Aleksander Mądry, and Szymon Sidor—have reportedly left OpenAI.

“The head and the arms and one of the legs [of OpenAI] have gone to Microsoft,” says tech analyst Azeem Azhar, author of the newsletter Exponential View. “This is an enormous opportunity for Microsoft because it gets to take Sam Altman and Greg Brockman and probably a large part of the leadership team, and many of the very best engineers and researchers.”