20 February 2024

Israel says over 100 arrests made in Gaza hospital raid


Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said they made over 100 arrests in the Nasser Hospital raid, the main health facility in Khan Younis, a city in southern Gaza.

In addition to the arrests, the IDF said they found weapons inside the hospital while searching for Hamas militants — who they believe took over the medical facility as a base. The military also killed multiple gunmen near the facility, per post on Telegram.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said the Israeli troops “arrested a large number of medical staff from inside the Nasser Medical Complex, which it has turned into a military barracks, according to the Washington Post.

The effort by the IDF is part of a multi-day raid of the health complex which kickstarted Thursday. After issuing evacuation warnings, Israeli troops entered the hospital after saying they had credible intelligence that suggested bodies of hostages might be in the complex. Hamas has denied allegations that its fighters use hospitals for cover.

The raid has heightened concerns about the safety of medical workers and Palestinians, who were in the hospital, using the facility for shelter. As many as 10,000 people were at the hospital earlier this week, according to Reuters. Many left because of the orders from the IDF to evacuate.

The United Nations’ human rights office voiced their worries about the Israeli raid, saying it came “after a week-long siege which cut off medical, food and fuel supplies.”

“The raid appears to be part of a pattern of attacks by Israeli forces striking essential life-saving civilian infrastructure in Gaza, especially hospitals,” the office said Thursday.

The IDF has not recovered any bodies so far, but told the Post in a statement that it is “well documented” that Hamas “uses hospitals and medical centers for its terror activities.”

At least 28,000 people have been killed since the Israel-Hamas war started in October, according to the Gaza health officials.

Propaganda vs. Truth: Israeli Propaganda and Palestinian Demonisation

Tamara Tamimi and Daniela Suárez Vargas

Since the latest escalation from ‘normal’ levels of violence in Palestine/Israel on October 7, 2023, Palestinian public and political figures have found their airtime on Western mainstream media significantly increased. While important, Palestinian, and pro-Palestinian speakers were often immediately forced into self-defence. One particularly familiar face is the Palestinian Ambassador to the UK, Husam Zumlot, who was persistently and relentlessly required by presenters and anchors in mainstream media, such as CNN, BBC, Sky News, and Sky News Australia/Talk TV, to condemn the Hamas attack on Israel and even to apologise for it. In doing this, the mainstream media decontextualised the events by framing the parameters of the conversation to commence on October 7th. As will be demonstrated below, this decontextualisation, combined with the language used to describe Palestinians and the atrocities they have been subjected to, resulted in the dehumanisation and demonisation of Palestinians.

This is how the ‘narrative battle’ is being waged against Palestinians, and how propaganda has been instrumentalised as a weapon of war. This piece analyses how the vilification, dehumanisation, and demonisation of the enemy, particularly through the use of language, and the politicisation of victimhood, have been used as two mutually reinforcing components of Israeli propaganda. As a weapon of war, Israeli propaganda has been used to construct international public opinion on Palestine/Israel, both historically and within the latest events, to enable creeping Israeli settler colonialism, and legitimate the perpetration of mass atrocities, including but not limited to genocide, (as demonstrated by Center for Constitutional Rights, Raz Segal, Yoav Litvin, Craig Mokhiber, and nearly 900 scholars).

Language and Victimhood Construction: Deadly Weapons in Israel’s Propaganda to Vilify, Demonise, and Dehumanise Palestinians

The Prospects for Taiwan-EU Cooperation

Francis Shin

Despite winning the 2024 Taiwanese presidential election by a wide margin, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Lai Ching-te (also known as William Lai) will face a steep challenge in improving relations with the United States and European Union due to the DPP’s lack of a majority in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan. Meanwhile, China remains displeased with the DPP’s victory, and could attempt to increase pressure on Taiwan to further reduce its interactions with the United States and Europe.

However, Europe should aim to cultivate better trade relations and bolster security cooperation with Taiwan to deter Chinese aggression against the island. Even as the EU and its members maintain a One China policy, with sole diplomatic recognition of the People’s Republic, Europe should use Taiwan’s election results as an opportunity to both help deter any future Chinese aggression against Taiwan and strengthen its overall engagement with the Indo-Pacific region.

Beyond being “like-minded partners… of freedom and democracy” in the words of outgoing Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Europe’s interest in deterring a Chinese invasion of Taiwan stems from several economic and security-related considerations. For example, 90 percent of the world’s largest container ships traverse the Taiwan Strait annually, and most of Europe’s semiconductor chip supply originates from Taiwan. Economic pressure on Taiwan short of invasion, such as a blockade of the island, could cost the global economy $10 trillion, according to Bloomberg, amounting to more than 10 percent of global GDP.

Moreover, as China is the EU’s largest import partner, any military conflict over Taiwan (especially if it drew in the United States) would disrupt China’s trade and supply chains with the EU. Any unchecked aggression against Taiwan would have regional consequences as well by potentially emboldening China to pursue other irredentist claims, especially in the South China Sea. In case of an invasion, the EU would likely join other advanced economies in imposing sanctions on China in response, which could exact an even heavier toll on the global financial system, depending on the scale of such sanctions.

The Nepali Army’s Growing Business Interests

Santosh Sharma Poudel

In an event in September 2022 to mark the completion of his first year as Nepal’s army chief, General Prabhu Ram Sharma asserted that “the Nepali Army is the focal point of hope, trust, and unity of the Nepali people,” adding that the military’s “selfless service and professionalism” (peshagat byabasayikta) during crises, natural disasters, or peacekeeping have brought Nepal praise at the national and international levels.

However, the Nepali Army has courted criticism for its byabasayikta, which also means commercialization.

It has been involved in an array of business enterprises and is reportedly keen on operating the Hetauda Textile Factory located in Hetauda, the provincial capital of Bagmati Province.

Operations at the Hetauda Textile Factory were suspended some 25 years ago and then shut down four years later. Early this month, Sharma called on Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal to brief him on the army’s plans to revive the factory.

The army said that reviving the textile factory would give fresh impetus to industrialization in the country, contribute to the Gross Domestic Product, build self-reliance, replace imports, and create jobs. It has conducted a feasibility study and estimated that an investment of $15 million would be required to revive the factory, with another $6 million for annual operational expenses. The factory will provide 200 jobs and turn profitable after nine years.

Dahal was reportedly receptive to the idea.

Reviving sick and moribund industries is part of the current government’s policy. The plan and policy document for the current fiscal year provides for a high-level committee to study the status of closed and moribund industries and bring Hetauda Textile Factory, among others, into operation. Dahal has also stressed the need to industrialize the economy. “Since the scope of job creation has shrunk, youths have started going abroad,” Dahal said.

TikTok: An Expanding Front in Cognitive Warfare

Puma Shen (沈伯洋)

The Evolution of PRC Cognitive Warfare Strategies

The landscape of the cognitive warfare perpetrated by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) against Taiwan is in a state of relentless evolution, adapting and morphing with each passing year. Initially, the conflict was grounded in the physical realm, with Beijing deploying traditional united front tactics to disseminate rumours and sow discord. These efforts were rudimentary but effective, laying the groundwork for more sophisticated operations to come.

The PRC’s strategy underwent a significant transformation with the dawning of the digital age. The battleground shifted from the streets to the airwaves, with Beijing infiltrating media outlets to launch a comprehensive public opinion campaign aimed at the heart of Taiwanese society. Beginning in earnest from the turn of the millennium, this marked a pivotal turn in the nature of cognitive warfare.

Since 2015, the focus has shifted yet again. This time the digital frontier of social media is the target. PRC tactics have become more nuanced and multifaceted, ranging from the operation of content farms to the outright purchase of fan pages and the strategic management of online communities. These methods demonstrate a remarkable adaptability and an unyielding determination to influence public opinion.

Among the most insidious developments in this ongoing campaign has been the cultivation of internet influencers. These individuals, operating primarily on platforms like YouTube, have become—knowingly or unknowingly—conduits for propaganda. They broadcast a steady stream of rumours designed to undermine democratic institutions.

The Tale of 2 Economies: Navigating the Growth Paradox in China

Marina Yue Zhang

A container vessel sails by tourists enjoying sea scenery in Xiamen in southeast China’s Fujian province on Dec. 26, 2023.Credit: AP Photo/Andy Wong

China presents a compelling case of the growth paradox, where robust economic indicators mask underlying disparities and societal sentiments. The dichotomy between China’s impressive economic figures and the lived realities of its businesses and people indicates how these contradictions coexist. Understanding these divides and seeking solutions to bridge them can have a significant impact on the nation’s economic trajectory and its global standing.

A Growth Paradox

On January 17, the National Bureau of Statistics announced that China’s GDP growth for 2023 reached 5.2 percent, a growth rate that is highly commendable and ranks prominently on the global stage. That figure would suggest that the Chinese economy has achieved stable and rapid growth, again.

However, the reality shows clear signs of strain: Consumers are saving their shrinking disposable incomes instead of spending them, and enterprises are suspending their investments due to fear of declining profitability and company value.

In 2023, the total market value of A-shares in China decreased by approximately 8.5 trillion yuan, an amount equivalent to the total cost of the Belt and Road Initiative over its lifetime (estimated to be between $1.2-1.3 trillion, or about 8-9 trillion yuan). This decline occurred against the backdrop of growing capital markets in the United States, various European countries, and India. In the first trading week of 2024 alone, an additional 7 trillion yuan was lost. Stock markets mirror the collective sentiments of investors, currently indicating a loss of confidence in China’s growth prospects.

For China’s Military, 2024 Is the Year of Discipline

Robert Rust

On January 6, an article in Bloomberg made sensational claims about China’s nuclear force. Per U.S. intelligence, the article said that China’s recent removals of several high-ranking military figures, including People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force Commander Li Yuchao, Political Commissar Xu Zhongbo, and Defense Minister Li Shangfu, happened after the discovery of significant problems with the country’s nuclear arsenal. Specifically, it claimed, many of the missile silos in western China had non-functioning lids, and some missiles were “filled with water instead of fuel.”

Some were quick to raise questions around that intelligence. China’s one liquid-fueled nuclear missile, the DF-5, is not kept fueled because the fuel is highly corrosive. The claim of dramatic holes in China’s nuclear arsenal contradicts other U.S. assessments of Chinese nuclear capabilities and military developments.

However, Bloomberg’s was not the only explanation of the high-ranking removals. Some analysts argued that the goal of the moves was to strengthen China’s nuclear triad of sea-based, air-based, and land-based delivery systems; the new commander and commissar come from the PLA Navy and Air Force, respectively. Others have argued that it suggests a crisis of confidence on the part of President Xi Jinping, and that he is prioritizing officials with personal loyalty above all else.

Questionably water-logged missiles aside, corruption and high-level upheaval defined 2023 for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). So far, articles in the army’s newspaper and internal directives published in early January suggest that discipline will define 2024. This merits a closer look at the PLA’s disciplinary practices.

China’s Emerging Approach to Regulating General-Purpose Artificial Intelligence: Balancing Innovation and Control

Qiheng Chen

In late 2022, the arrival of ChatGPT sparked a nationwide fervor in China to build similar indigenous generative artificial intelligence models and downstream applications. Unlike earlier breakthroughs in machine learning, which are task specific, the large language models (LLMs) that form the backbone of ChatGPT and other generative AI systems are general purpose in nature. They acquire human-like natural language understanding by training on a massive amount of data and then being fine-tuned.

Generative AI poses immediate political, regulatory, and security-related challenges for the Chinese government. The technology’s ability to generate and disseminate information threatens the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) control over information and raises concerns about privacy, safety, and fairness. At the same time, AI is front and center in U.S.-China technological competition. The technological know-how, often dual use in nature, not only fosters spillovers to the broader economy but also finds relevance in military applications. Beijing recognizes the risk of missing out on these opportunities. Consequently, China is committed to establishing the necessary conditions for catching up on this technology frontier, including tapping into generative AI’s potential to boost economic productivity and drive scientific progress in other disciplines.

This issue paper takes stock of developments in China’s domestic governance of AI over the past year and analyzes both the known aspects and the uncertainties surrounding China’s regulatory approach to generative AI.

Review of Developments in 2023

China currently regulates tech firms using a three-part framework of security, privacy, and competition; each pillar has a seminal law and a set of regulations. In June 2023, the State Council of China published a legislative plan that set a goal of presenting a draft comprehensive Artificial Intelligence Law to the National People’s Congress. Several sources suggest that the first draft may not materialize until late 2024. Until then, the AI space will be governed largely by ad hoc regulations.

Justice for Alexei Navalny: 5 Ways Joe Biden Can Respond

Sam Greene

Justice for Navalny: Five Effective American Responses - Alexei Navalny’s death weighs heavily on the consciences of Western leaders, slow as they were to recognize the threat posed by Russia’s corruption and authoritarianism. That is as it should be. It will be in vain, however, if it is not made to weigh even more heavily on the fortunes of the men who murdered him.

President Joe Biden’s promise that Moscow would face “devastating consequences” if Navalny died in prison was, of course, made seven months before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Most of the kinds of sanctions and other responses that might have been on the table in early 2021 have, by early 2024, already been imposed, a fact that almost certainly factored into Vladimir Putin’s own calculations.

That does not mean, however, that Washington is without options. In fact, there are five key policies that, if implemented consistently and in concert with America’s allies, can have a genuine impact on the Kremlin, on the prospects for Putin and those who challenge him, and on the longer-term future of Russian politics.

5 Ways Joe Biden Can Respond

First, the US must make the fate of political prisoners central to its Russia policy. Navalny – while Putin’s most prominent political prisoner – was far from the only one. The Russian human rights organization Memorial, now forced to operate from exile, estimates that there are nearly 700 people on being held in Russian prisons for the crime of being brave enough to stand up against Putin, his war, and his campaigns of domestic repression. These include other prominent opposition politicians, such as Vladimir Kara-Murza and Ilya Yashin, journalists like Evan Gershkovich and Alsu Kurmasheva (both, not incidentally, American citizens), and many, many more people whose names are less familiar but whose peril is no less severe.

We must keep terrorists out — by any means necessary


Last month, the House voted on what ought to have been the easiest resolution in recent memory. 

Introduced by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), the No Immigration Benefits for Hamas Terrorists Act sought to achieve one simple goal: keep any terrorist who participated in or facilitated the Oct. 7, 2023, massacre of thousands of innocent Israelis from entering the U.S. 

You would think that even in an American political landscape as highly partisan and divisive as our own, you’d find no one who disagrees with the premise that we shouldn’t welcome terrorists who have raped women, beheaded children and executed entire families.

You’d be wrong.

Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Cori Bush (D-Mo.) voted against the bill. Why? Because, according to the two, keeping America safe by keeping convicted terrorists out is merely a bit of “GOP messaging” intended solely “to incite anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian, and anti-Muslim hatred that makes communities like ours unsafe.”

Once upon a time in America, not so long ago, we understood that it was terrorists, not unsubstantiated accusations of alleged bias, that made us unsafe. And judging by the rampant violence against Jews and others everywhere, from our college campuses to our city centers, it’s high time we reminded ourselves of what the real threat is and how to handle it.

We could hardly ask for a better primer on this issue than considering the case of Mousa Abu Marzook.

Born in the Gaza Strip, Abu Marzook was educated in Cairo and found work in the United Arab Emirates. But his sights were set on the United States; before too long, he was admitted to Colorado State University, where he received a master’s degree, and then to Louisiana Tech University, from which he graduated with a doctorate in industrial engineering.

Michael Cohen suggests Trump’s mounting legal fees make him ‘thoroughly compromised’: ‘He is for sale’


“We need to be very careful about him as a potential president because he is for sale,” Cohen, now an outspoken critic of the former president, said in an interview on MSNBC’s “The Weekend” on Sunday.

“He needs to figure out where he is going to raise $500-plus million over a short period of time,” Cohen continued.

Cohen’s warning comes as Trump, the leading 2024 GOP presidential candidate, was found liable Friday for nearly $355 million in penalties in a civil fraud case in New York that delivered a severe blow to his family business.

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) sued Trump and his business in 2022, alleging the former president falsely altered his net worth on key financial statements to receive tax and insurance benefits. James also alleged that Trump sometimes adjusted his assets’ value to obtain more favorable loans and deals, which the state points to as evidence of fraud.

Last month, a federal jury in a different civil case ordered Trump to pay $83.3 million for defaming E. Jean Carroll, adding to the $5 million verdict in an earlier trial that found Trump liable for sexually abusing Carroll and defaming her in separate comments.

When MSNBC host Symone Sanders-Townsend suggested Trump “is open to the highest bidder at this point because the tab keeps being run up,” floating “the Saudis, the Russians,” as options, Cohen agreed.

“Thoroughly compromised, yes,” Cohen said.

Trump was also indicted in four criminal cases, two of which were brought by special counsel Jack Smith, with another each in Georgia and New York. The New York hush money case will be the first to go to trial, and jury selection is slated to start next month. Cohen has been a witness in that case.

Triumph in Defeat: Inaugurating a New Era for Azerbaijan and Armenia

M. Hakan Yavuz

The Karabakh Conflict is a quintessential example of the paradoxical repercussions that can blur the lines between military triumph and humiliating downfall. This article explores the question of how the thrill of military victory morphs into a profound sense of defeat. In the space of just thirty years, both Armenia and Azerbaijan, respectively, experienced how the elation of military victory and the humiliation of battlefront defeat left profound impacts on the collective national psyche.

In 1994, Armenian forces celebrated a triumphant victory, establishing a separatist state, called Arshak in Armenian, within Azerbaijani territory while etching a populist narrative of robust Armenian nationalism. But, in 2020, this triumph was transformed into a defeat that left behind a landscape marked by scorched aspirations and shattered illusions. Meanwhile, the First Karabakh War left Azerbaijan at the nadir of its national identity and pride. The war displaced more than 700,000 people, left between 20,000 and 30,000 dead, destroyed cities and their infrastructure, and stunned the Azerbaijani people. The trauma, often referred to as the “Karabakh Wound”, triggered not only a desire for revenge but also for national rehabilitation. Meanwhile, Armenians could not fathom the impact that the Karabakh Wound had left on Azerbaijanis. The trauma was felt not just by those who were displaced or were grieving for the dead but also by ordinary Azerbaijanis at all levels of society and in all walks of life. The Azerbaijani state coordinated its message about collective trauma and a nation’s profound sense of victimhood, reinforcing it and making this collective psyche resilient in the nation’s schools and popular media.

Conversely, the Armenian experience of military triumph not only bolstered newfound self-confidence but also bred a deep disregard for Azerbaijanis, whom the Armenians unjustly framed as “genocidal Turks” who were finally being punished for the events of 1915. Armenia saw its victory as confirming its nationalistic identity as superior to the weak and divided nation of Azerbaijani Turks. Unsurprisingly, Armenia’s bluster and intransigence served to intensify the Azerbaijani resolve for retribution. 

Between Conflict and Survival: The New Energy Geopolitics of the Eastern Mediterranean

Andreas Stergiou

The Eastern Mediterranean has been subject to geopolitical conflicts triggered by energy security concerns or other security aspirations promoted through claims on existing or assumed energy reserves. Encouraged by the discovery of offshore hydrocarbons in the region 15 years ago, some littoral states have designed ambitious projects aimed at developing natural gas both for domestic consumption and for export to the European Union market. The prospect of discovering new energy reserves pushed neighbouring countries to delimitate their Economic Exclusive Zones. Following the delimitation agreements, most of the regional countries have granted licenses for natural gas exploration and drilling and in some cases signed highly lucrative agreements. Their declared maritime zones, however, overlap, provoking tensions with their neighbours, thereby complicating the development of the reserves. At the same time, frequent maritime safety broadcasts refer to endless military exercises, harassment of energy exploration activities and serious frictions among the littoral states that have sometimes nearly escalated into high scale conflicts.

In November 2019, Turkey signed a bilateral agreement, an official Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with the internationally recognised Libyan Government of National Accord in Tripoli on the Turkish–Libyan maritime boundaries. In exchange, Libya received a security pact involving military trainers and advisers as well as deliveries of military equipment by Turkey. After a decade of abortive efforts to conclude maritime boundary delimitation agreements with Egypt and Libya that would challenge Athens’ assignment of large maritime jurisdiction areas to Greek islands and Cyprus, Ankara had achieved its objective. Henceforth, Turkey can now at least invoke a single agreement in its competitions with antagonistic energy interstate projects in the region which do not include Turkey. As this agreement contradicts the Greek and Cypriot claims to their maritime rights in the region, it further aggravated the already burdened Turkey–Cyprus–Greece relationship. In obvious response to the Turkey–Libya agreement, in June 2020, Italy and Greece agreed to delimitate their maritime zones, including their future Economic Exclusive Zone. In the same context, in August of 2020, after 15 years of negotiations, Greece and Egypt signed an agreement in Cairo, delimiting partially their maritime boundaries in the Eastern Mediterranean.

On Nationalism – Review

Curtis Large

Understanding nationalism was to Eric Hobsbawm the puzzle of a lifetime. Born Jewish in Egypt in 1917, he was half-British and half-Austrian. Nationalist hostility towards expatriates saw the family leave for Vienna, the epicentre of an Austro-Hungarian Empire that had just been defeated in World War I. Reminders of its diversity were constant; he was fluent in German, childminded by a Slovenian, and in one apartment building supervised by Czechs. In 1931, his mother’s death forced him to move to relatives in Berlin. Here, he witnessed the emergence of Nazi Germany in and before 1933 and became interested in history by reading Karl Marx.

Such “rootless cosmopolitanism”, editor Donald Sassoon suggests in the introduction to this posthumous volume, led Hobsbawm to the anti-nationalism most evidenced in his Nations and Nationalism since 1780 (1990). On Nationalism can be viewed as a complementary anthology to this work. Just as the tumult of Hobsbawm’s upbringing foreshadowed his original book, so Sassoon justifies this new collection by warning “that we stand on the doorstep of an age when the internet and the globalization of capital threaten to blow away many national boundaries while, partly as a reaction, nationalism seems to re-emerge with renewed strength” (p.viii).

On Nationalism comprises two sections. The first, “Nationalism in History”, elaborates Hobsbawm’s belief that nationalism is a modern, European construct. Central to this elaboration are three chapters, one each from The Age of trilogy on the “long nineteenth-century” (1789–1914), which together frame how nationalism evolved throughout this period.

Hobsbawm argues that the universalism of the French Revolution split into national movements during the 1830s, weakening revolutionary prospects in Europe by founding themselves on bourgeois interests. This combination of nationalism and capitalism (symbolic of the “double revolution”, French and Industrial) culminated in the Revolutions of 1848. Instigated by the same bourgeoisie, these movements lacked proletarian leadership and strong class consciousness.

Does the United States Need a New Ukraine Strategy?

Emma Ashford & Matthew Kroenig

Matt Kroenig: Hi, Emma! I usually like turning to you for insights on President Vladimir Putin and Russia, but your insights may be dated. Unlike Tucker Carlson, you haven’t spent hours chatting with the dictator lately.

Trump Foreign Policy 2.0: Fewer Allies, Less Trade, More Loyalists

Alex Leary and Andrew Restuccia

WASHINGTON—A new trade war with China, weakened alliances in Europe—and more praise to and from authoritarian leaders.

As Donald Trump closes in on the Republican presidential nomination, his foreign-policy agenda is coming into sharper relief following the incendiary suggestion that he would encourage Russia to attack NATO nations that fall short on defense-spending goals. Trump’s views largely track those of his first term. But if elected again, he would face a more unstable world while trying to further withdraw the U.S. from longstanding military and economic pacts. And he would likely have a more loyal cadre of national-security officials to carry out his wishes.

Trump has avoided specifics on how he would handle current conflicts, including the war in the Middle East, while making the audacious claim that he could settle the war in Ukraine in 24 hours. He is selling as assets his unpredictable style and relationships with the world’s pre-eminent strongmen: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese leader Xi Jinping and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

“I know Putin very well—very smart, very sharp,” Trump said during a rally earlier in February. “They hate when I say that. They say, ‘Oh, you called President Xi of China…a very smart man.’ They ask me, ‘Is he smart?’ I said, ‘Well, let’s go a step above that. Let’s say he’s a brilliant guy.’ ”

From the campaign trail, the former president is already playing a major role in impeding billions of dollars in additional aid to Ukraine by urging GOP allies on Capitol Hill to oppose it. His complaints over the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have set off alarms in Europe, and the people of Taiwan are wondering whether the U.S. would stop a Chinese invasion under his watch.

Urban warfare expert says Israeli military taking unprecedented steps to protect Gaza civilians

Ruth Marks Eglash

JERUSALEM — One of the top urban warfare experts in the U.S. believes the Israeli military is taking unprecedented measures — above and beyond what most armies do — to avoid harming Palestinian civilians as it battles the Islamist terror group Hamas in Gaza.

He adds that comparisons cannot be drawn between the intensity of the four-month-old war and other recent conflicts.

As Israel gears up for what could be the fiercest and most complicated battle in the Strip’s southernmost city, Rafah, John Spencer, chair of the Urban Warfare Studies Modern War Institute at West Point and an author of multiple books on the subject of urban warfare, told Fox News Digital the "steps that Israel has taken to prevent casualties is historic in comparison to all these other wars."

"Israel has taken more steps to avoid harming civilians than any other military in history," said Spencer, who served for more than 25 years in the U.S. military, reaching the rank of major. He says that such lengths would set a new standard that other Western militaries would struggle to follow in the future.

IDF officers go over maps in Khan Younis, Gaza. 

Israel launched its war in the Gaza Strip following Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attack that killed more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and saw some 240 people taken hostage, including babies, children, women and the elderly. Since starting its ground invasion of the Palestinian enclave, however, Israel’s military has faced sharp criticism as even its close allies, including the U.S., cite a death toll based on Hamas data.

America can’t ignore the national security concerns tied to the LNG freeze


As former national security advisor to President Obama and former supreme allied commander of NATO, I am compelled to call attention to the significant national security ramifications involved in the administration’s decision to pause new U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) export licenses.

Stated simply, the LNG permit pause is a boost to Vladimir Putin and his persistent quest for leverage against our European allies and the transatlantic community. Putin has long used Europe’s dependence on Russian gas as a weapon of manipulation and extortion for geostrategic advantage. In turn, he has funneled his energy revenue into propping up his morally bankrupt government and for sowing instability around the world culminating in his savage invasion of Ukraine and threats against broader Europe.

Last year, U.S. exports of LNG totaled 86 million tons, with the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Germany — key NATO allies — accounting for more than half of that volume. With Eastern Europe gripped by war, limiting America’s critical LNG lifeline downstream is a gut punch to our partners — one warmly welcomed by Putin knowing what it could mean.

As Eurogas President Didier Holleaux puts it, this LNG embargo could “spark a new period of price volatility in Europe,” undermining the significant work it took for Europe to slash dependence on Russian gas by two-thirds in the past two years alone. Now substantially freed from Putin’s grip, a long-term LNG permit embargo could eventually put America’s allies right back into Russia’s energy crosshairs.

Make no mistake, the resilience and energy security of NATO allies are squarely in the U.S. national security interest, particularly in these precarious times — without ignoring or diminishing the importance of working diligently and globally to meet the severe challenges posed by climate change.

NSA’s transformation from secret agency to public cybercrime warrior - Opinion

 Adam Maruyama and Andrew Borene

The National Security Agency, once so secretive that its acronym NSA was jokingly referred to by intelligence insiders as “No Such Agency,” is out of the shadows.

NSA’s Cybersecurity Director Rob Joyce even appeared recently at New York City’s International Conference on Cyber Security to warn about the new dangers AI will raise as an enabler of increasingly sophisticated espionage, terrorist attacks and criminal activity.

Joyce and other NSA leaders now regularly speak in public, unclassified forums about the NSA’s offensive and defensive cyber missions. Organizationally, NSA now collaborates openly with other agencies in defense, law enforcement, and homeland security to openly discuss foreign efforts to infiltrate American and allied information networks, threaten our critical infrastructure, and disrupt our supply chains.

In the highly classified world of U.S. intelligence, it’s been eye-opening to us, as former intelligence officers, to witness this transformation as an agency once shrouded in secrecy becomes engaged as a public relations enterprise. Yet we recognize this level of transparency is precisely what American industrial leaders and the general public need-to-know to develop active whole-of-society defenses in an era of nation-state threats to our private sector.

Our most challenging adversaries – chiefly China and Russa – have broadened their cyber operations focus to encompass ever larger segments of the allied private sector beyond the traditional Defense Industrial Base (DIB), into multiple areas of critical infrastructure, financial services, law firms and academia where they can either steal proprietary information or secure vulnerabilities for future exploitation.

What Americans Owe Ukraine

Graham Allison

Imagine that two years ago—before Putin invaded Ukraine—someone had come to the US with a credible proposition to hobble Russia’s military threat to Europe for the decade ahead without the loss of a single American soldier. How much would Americans have been willing to invest in that initiative?

A quarter of our $800 billion dollar defense budget? A tithe a year for several years?

Imagine further that the proposal would also:

-Awaken our European NATO partners to the reality of bloody, large-scale combat in the 21st century—motivating them to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in building their own defense capabilities?

-Persuade two of the most militarily capable European nations—Finland and Sweden—to join NATO and thus significantly enhance its deterrent strength.

-Deliver to Putin a huge strategic failure—by decisively defeating his attempt to capture Kyiv and essentially erase Ukraine from the map.

-Persuade the nation with the most important economy in Europe—Germany—to eliminate its dependence on Russia for cheap energy and begin building up its own military forces.

-Revitalize the transatlantic alliance in a sustained coordinated campaign to defeat Russian aggression by arming and funding Ukraine and weakening Russia by imposing the most -comprehensive economic sanctions in history.

And if that were not enough, even arousing the individual who has the most sway with Putin, China’s Xi Jinping, to warn him both privately and publicly against any “threat or use of nuclear weapons”—thus strengthening the “nuclear taboo” that has emerged over the past 78 years since nuclear weapons were last used in war.

Lift Off: Scaling Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Autonomous Capabilities for the U.S. Department of Defense

Bethan Saunders

In this new era of strategic competition, the Department of Defense (DoD) must rapidly scale emerging and innovative technologies to maintain U.S. global leadership. However, due to its antiquated acquisition systems, the U.S. military risks falling behind its adversaries in delivering cutting-edge and emerging capabilities to warfighters.

This challenge is especially evident for scaling autonomous technologies, which have been identified by the DoD as a critical technology area. With the most advanced capabilities existing outside of traditional acquisition partners, the DoD’s process for fielding and scaling new capabilities is too slow and complex to acquire essential technologies at the speed of relevance. Despite the high interest and significant efforts from across the DoD, rapid and effective scaling of many emerging autonomous technologies remains elusive.

Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Small UAS), a critical autonomous technology in modern warfare that has encountered significant challenges in effective scaling, are the primary focus of this report. In an era of great power competition, small UAS has become a strategic capability that fills critical joint warfighting gaps. However, scaling small UAS presents a significant challenge for the DoD.

This report identifies challenges faced by the DoD in attempting to scale small UAS capabilities to the warfighter and advances five key policy recommendations for the DoD to more effectively deliver high-impact small UAS solutions to the warfighter at the speed of relevance.

Geostrategic Trends and Atrocity Risk


Global geostrategic trends directly impact Australian foreign and defence policy in a variety of ways. For a nation such as Australia, which prioritises defence of the rules-based international order, there are few violations more egregious to confront than genocide and mass atrocities. Nevertheless, genocide has killed at least 84 million civilians worldwide since 1900. Genocide and mass atrocities are not just catastrophic events; they reflect deep ethical and moral failings in society and the international community; they also increase the prevalence of terrorism, civil war, mass displacement, economic destruction and long-term failure to democratise.

This paper uses empirical case studies and a review of the scholarly literature to test the relationship between three major geopolitical themes: great power competition, climate change and urban warfare, and mass atrocity crimes in the 21st century. This research provides a foundation for the Australian Army, the ADF, the Department of Defence and the Australian Government more broadly to prepare for a future where the potential for mass atrocity, both in the Indo-Pacific and elsewhere in the world, remains a serious risk. It provides a series of recommendations which aim to enable better preparation and inter-agency coordination in the interests of atrocity prevention and response.

The paper is divided into four sections: (1) a brief review of the literature on the factors associated with genocide and mass atrocity risk; (2) a review of the literature on selected geostrategic trends and mass atrocities (or closely related outcomes); (3) analysis on the role armed forces play in mass atrocities; and (4) preparing for the future including recommendations. Appendix 1 includes a note on methodology and definitions. Appendix 2 includes three contemporary case studies (within the past 15 years) of genocide or mass atrocity crimes where there has been a demonstrated relationship between the violence and the geostrategic trends under analysis.


LTC Amos C. Fox


The term contested logistics implies that the U.S. military and its partners grew accustomed to uncontested logistics during the post-9/11 period of armed conflict. Contested logistics is, in fact, nothing new. Rather, it is the standard state of logistics in large-scale armed conflict between industrialized states; the notion that logistics might not be contested is yet another negative impact of the post-9/11 wars on military thinking. To be sure, General William Sherman’s evisceration of supply lines across the South during the U.S. Civil War is an example of continental-level contested logistics. On a global scale, the German military used unrestricted submarine warfare, and other methods, during World War I against the United States and its allies to disrupt strategic logistics.1 Further, during World War II, the battle for control of the Atlantic Ocean—in which personnel and military equipment deployed to North Africa and Europe—played a critical part in contested logistics. Further, the contest between the Allies and the Axis for control of the Mediterranean Sea was an important issue for the ultimate Allied victory in North Africa, Italy and the war as a whole.2 Richmond Hammond notes that:

Fundamentally, control of the Mediterranean was vital to both opposing coalitions as an essential route of transit in a global war. For the Allies, it was a vital artery between east and west, allowing a relatively quick and efficient method of transferring men and materiel between the various theaters of war. For the Axis powers, wresting control of the Mediterranean from the Allies, or even merely contesting it . . . the result of Axis victory in the Mediterranean would be to greatly curtail one of the Allies’ greatest strengths: their global mobility.3

It is important to understand that contested logistics is not a new wrinkle of modern warfare, but a problem that planners, strategists and industry have wrestled with throughout the depth and breadth of armed conflict. 


MAJ Aditya Iyer


Crossing a river defended by an enemy force puts any attacker at a disadvantage; the attacker must take all precautions and utilize all resources to cross the obstacle successfully. Since the Napoleonic Wars, river-crossing equipment and doctrine have evolved. The current U.S. Army doctrine refers to river crossings as wet-gap crossings and defines them as “crossing an inland water obstacle, requiring extensive planning and detailed preparations.”2 Wet-gap crossings have evolved from building expedient wooden landing craft to the metal float bridges used by modern militaries. They include the employment of various resources as military organizations have grown in size, weight and complexity. This increased complexity also increases the challenge for the leadership to synchronize and control operations. Most recently, the Russian forces in Ukraine were confronted with the difficulty of conducting a wet-gap crossing operation in the modern environment.

On 9 May 2022, the Ukrainian forces successfully disrupted the Russian attempt to cross the Siverskyi Donets River and undermined their ability to encircle the Ukrainian forces in the region.3 This was the third failed attempt by the Russians to cross this river. Several mistakes on their part led to the failure, but the Ukrainian capabilities provided insights into the technological advances of the modern battlefield.

The Russians’ first mistake was that, although they had identified three crossing sites, they only used one site during each attempt, never taking advantage of the opportunity to cross simultaneously on a broad front. Second, their crossing was conducted in the daytime; they were literally moving in plain sight. Third, the Russian forces failed to properly reconnoiter the area to gather the Ukrainian disposition and composition. Lastly, due to a lack of understanding of this Ukrainian composition and disposition, the Russians failed to secure the near- and far-side bridgeheads or to employ any combined-arms effects to set the conditions for crossing. In contrast, the Ukrainian forces had accurate intelligence that showed the Russian troops massing along the river. 

Trump, NATO, and Nuclear Deterrence


In a recent post dealing with anxieties about a future war with Russia and whether young people in the UK would be prepared to fight for their country, I suggested that there was a potentially larger issue to be addressed about the role of the UK’s nuclear forces. If, as a result of Donald Trump returning to the presidency, European members of NATO can no longer rely on the US for its nuclear umbrella, would the UK be expected to take its place, on its own, or in concert with France?

Trump and NATO: Seeking a Divorce

Campaigning in Conway South Carolina on 10 February, Donald Trump promised his audience that he would be tough with America’s free-loading allies once he got back to the White House. He described a conversation from his previous stint with an unnamed leader ‘of a big country.’ As this country had failed to pay its dues its defence was being subsidised by the United States. According to Trump the encounter went as follows:

Unnamed leader: ‘Well, sir, if we don’t pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?

Trump: ‘“You didn’t pay. You’re delinquent.’

Unnamed leader: ‘Yes, let’s say that happened.’

Trump: ‘No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.

The moral of the story for Trump was that his tough stance led the allies to pay up. But the underlying attitude it reveals goes much further. It is bad enough casting doubt on whether alliance commitments would be met. Quite another, and in contrast to President Biden’s promise to defend ‘every inch’ of NATO territory, to encourage aggression.