22 March 2024

Bangalore Water Crisis: Marginal pricing of water, subsidies to poor may curb water woes


Barely a few days into summer and there are already reports of Bangalore facing a severe water crisis. Groundwater is depleting and borewells are running dry. The price charged by private tankers have doubled. Some apartment complexes and RWAs are already rationing water and cutting off water supply to households for a few hours in the daytime. Meanwhile, the state government has decided to nationalise all private water tankers in the city.

This is a complex problem with multiple causal factors – geography (Bangalore is situated far away from any naturally occurring water body), weather (weak southwest monsoons), and mismanagement. Mismanagement takes the shape of encroachment and building property on lake beds, failure to enforce rainwater harvesting systems, not providing piped water supply to peripheral areas, and unabated exploitation of ground water.

Grossly Underpriced

In the discourse on Bangalore’s water crisis, while many causes and potential solutions are strewn about, pricing of water does not attract attention. At the heart of it, the water crisis is a demand and supply problem. There is excess demand and less supply and unfortunately, water is criminally underpriced in our cities.

Water maybe a free gift of nature, but that is only if you live near the water source. For most of us living in dense urban areas, it taken an enormous amount of resources to deliver water from the source to the taps in our homes. Thus, potable drinking water is an economic good, which comes at a cost.

India’s Civilizational Imagination of Southeast Asia

Udayan Das

A substantial amount of India’s international thought engages with the idea of the Indian civilization (Mawdsley, 2023). Statist perceptions and usage of civilization as a category need not overlap with the academic study of what constitutes a civilization. Rather statist imaginations of civilizations are contingent, constructed and deeply political. Civilizational imaginations are contingent as they change and evolve with time depending on who is constructing them. For instance, the state in India has so far oscillated between a Nehruvian and a Hindutva understanding of the Indian civilization (Chatterjee & Das, 2023). While both these imaginations agree on India’s civilizational greatness reserving a rightful place in the world order, their understanding of what consists of the Indian civilization is different. It is precisely because they are constructed that they are termed to be imaginations. There is no one authoritative account of a civilizational past which is pure. Therefore, a civilizational past is refashioned and popularized selectively owing to the needs of the present. Statist usage of civilization is inherently political. It is curated and projected by political elites. It serves a political identity. It is the political calculation that propels civilizational projects to be created at certain junctures, in some cases, inflated and in other cases consciously toned down. Consider a counter proposition: if all civilizational arguments are predicated on a usable past, notwithstanding the prominence of a civilization, all states would have raised civilizational arguments. All states are historical entities and they are products of the past where they belong centrally to a civilization or attached to one. However, only some states raise civilizational arguments. The question beckons: what makes a state actively shape a past into civilizational imagery? It depends on the projected audience and the prevailing context. This is supplemented by the political will, capability and machinery that propels a civilizational imagination in public memory and imprinted into policy making.

Civilizational arguments of a state are projected at two levels – state actors and people, both domestic and international populace. For the domestic audience, civilizational underpinnings may invoke a sense of identity to relate to the community and the state. This may be enacted in multiple forms ranging from pedagogy to political campaigning. They are useful in creating a sense of national identity that is historical. They are easy to convey to the masses as they come in the language, metaphors and folklore that the people are well versed with. However, any project of mobilization runs the risk of including some and excluding others. While the boundaries of a civilizational are more fluid than a nation-state, civilizational metaphors deploy similar tropes of the insider-outsider as the civilized and barbarian. Civilizational projects can be corrosive if the barbarians of the past are found within the territory of the present. For the international audience, civilizational arguments can be couched in terms of soft power to wield attraction. This can be carried out through modes of public diplomacy. The other state actors in the international system are another set of stakeholders. Civilizational arguments may be used to invoke respect, solidarity or hierarchy between states. This depends on how the civilizational arguments are conveyed by a state and how they are received by the other states in concern. Take, for instance, the objective of status and prestige that the Indian state seeks to achieve by using its civilizational past to create an image of a rule-abiding and responsible power. India’s civilizational claims have contrarily also created fears of hierarchy and cultural hegemony through the expression of Akhand Bharat in South Asia since the ascendancy of the Hindu Right.

Pakistan Navy gets its first spy ship, courtesy China

Vikrant Singh

Pakistan Navy has inducted its first research vessel, or spy ship, with assistance from China in an attempt to counter the growing muscle of the Indian Navy. The 87m-long PNS Rizwan is understood to be Pakistan’s answer to India’s INS Dhruv; however, it’s much smaller than the 175-metre-long marine beast, packed with long-range radars, dome-shaped tracking antennae, and advanced electronics.

INS Dhruv was inducted into the Indian Navy in 2021 with capabilities to track nuclear missiles and gather intelligence. Vessels like these play a crucial role in modern-day warfare.

By inducting PNS Rizwan, Pakistan has joined an elite list of nations that operate such ships, including India, France, the US, the UK, Russia, and China.

China’s ‘Pakistan card’

Experts say China wants to boost its interests in the Indian Ocean Region by reinforcing a crucial ally like Pakistan.

“This modernisation effort of Pakistan is supported by China aligning with its strategic interests in the Indian Ocean Region, with aims to enhance the capabilities of a crucial ally,” said open-source intelligence expert Damien Symon on X.

Six more years of Putin will worry many countries. But not China

Simone McCarthy

For leaders across the West, Vladimir Putin’s inevitable landslide win in an election without true opposition was a reminder of his tight control over Russia’s political arena as his war against Ukraine grinds on.

But Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and other leaders benefiting from Putin’s rejection of a Western-led global order, will be cheering his victory.

With 99.8% of ballots counted, Putin amassed 87.3% of the vote, according to preliminary results reported Monday morning by Russia’s Central Election Commission.

Xi congratulated the Russian leader in a call that day, saying his re-election “fully reflected the support of the Russian people,” Chinese state media reported. He also pledged that China would promote the “sustained” and “in-depth” development of the two countries’ strategic partnership, the report said.

Xi has staked much on his relationship with Putin since the start of the Kremlin’s war more than two years ago, refusing to back away from the “no limits” partnership he declared with the Russian leader weeks before the invasion, while strengthening trade, security, and diplomatic ties.

China has paid a price for this. While it claims neutrality, its refusal to condemn the invasion as the US and its allies united to sanction Russia piqued European suspicion about its motivations. It also drew attention to Beijing’s designs on the self-ruling democracy of Taiwan. An annual NATO report released Thursday reflected the bloc’s hardening line on China, with chief Jens Stoltenberg saying Beijing does “not share our values” and “challenges our interests,” while pointing to its increasing alignment with Moscow.

But China’s stance enabled Xi to stay focused on deeper goals: he sees Putin as a crucial partner in the face of rising tensions with the US and in reshaping a world he believes is unfairly dominated by rules and values set by Washington and its allies. A stable relationship with Moscow, too, allows Beijing to focus on other areas of concern such as Taiwan and the South China Sea.

For many Chinese, there are ‘more important things’ than Taiwan unification

Frederik Kelter

“It is difficult to imagine that this used to be a warzone,” 23-year-old *Shao Hongtian told Al Jazeera as he wandered along a beach near the city of Xiamen on China’s southeast coast.

Halting by the water’s edge where gentle waves lapped against the sand, Shao gestured beyond the shallows towards the sea and the Kinmen archipelago – now peaceful, but in the 1940s and 1950s, a battleground.

The communists won the Chinese Civil War in 1949, and the nationalists of the Kuomintang (KMT) fled Beijing for the island of Taiwan. It was on Kinmen, the main island of the archipelago of the same name, less than 10km (6.2 miles) from the coast of China, that the nationalists repulsed repeated communist invasion attempts, but not before the fighting had wreaked havoc on both Xiamen and Kinmen.

Kinmen and its outlying islets – some of which lie even closer to the Chinese coast – have been a part of Taiwan’s territory ever since.

Chinese citizens like Shao were once able to get tourist visas to visit the islands, but that ended with the pandemic.

“Kinmen, China and Taiwan are all part of the same nation, so it should be possible to visit, and I hope I can visit one day,” Shao said over a video connection – his eyes fixed on Kinmen.

Like Shao, Chinese President Xi Jinping and the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) claim that Taiwan and its territory are part of China.

Hi-Tech, High Risk? Russo-Chinese Cooperation on Emerging Technologies

Roman Kolodii, Dr Giangiuseppe Pili and Jack Crawford

Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, China has kept the world in suspense regarding its military aid to Moscow. While China remains hesitant about the breadth and intensity of its military support for Russia, its cooperation with Moscow on civilian cellular and satellite technologies could have significant intelligence and military outcomes.

Despite backing Moscow politically and diplomatically, Beijing has declared that it will not send weapons to Russia or Ukraine. Nonetheless, this has not dissuaded Chinese companies from reportedly supplying Russia with assault rifles, body armour and drones via clandestine shipments, nor has it impeded China’s collaboration with Russia on 5G and satellite technologies with abundant (and, often, already utilised) battlefield applications, particularly in Ukraine.

Extensive deployment of drones and advanced telecommunications equipment have been crucial on all fronts in Ukraine, from intelligence collection to airstrike campaigns. These technologies, though critical, require steady connectivity and geospatial support, making cooperation with China a potential solution to Moscow’s desire for a military breakthrough.

Reaching Out: Improving Connectivity with 5G

5G has the potential to reshape the battlefield through enhanced tracking of military objects; faster transferring and real-time processing of large sensor datasets (like soldiers’ biometrics or large-resolution drone images); and enhanced communications, including between autonomous vehicles. Given the urgency of Russia’s objectives in Ukraine, it may want to tap into such potential – something which could be aided by China.


Peter Wood, Alex Stone, and Thomas Corbett


The unique arrangement of China’s strategic missile forces (chiefly the SAF/PLARF), wherein conventional and nuclear-armed missiles are deployed side by side in the same base and even on the same launcher, and the ambiguity surrounding its nuclear policy, strategy, and deterrence theory, represent significant barriers to a clear-eyed assessment of China’s nuclear command, control and communications (NC3) arrangements.

Writing in 2012, John Lewis and Xue Litai provided a framework for understanding China’s conceptual approach to nuclear weapons in the form of a six-tier hierarchy of guidance and policies. This framework provided increasing granularity, from high-level grand strategy down to specific guidance for units during a nuclear conflict.1 Tiers 1-4 are directly referenced in China’s defense white papers, albeit in abbreviated form. Tiers 5 and 6 involve more direct discussions about China’s NC3 arrangement, and can be inferred from PLA doctrinal writings, including those reviewed for this study. The secrecy and perhaps intentional ambiguity surrounding tiers 1-4 casts doubt on the trustworthiness of some PLA publications that are often deemed authoritative and restricts the types of analysis that can be performed on the specifics of China’s plans set forth in tiers 5 and 6.

According to the 2006 Defense White Paper, China’s nuclear strategy is subject to the national nuclear policy and military strategy. An anonymized Chinese source also states that the SAF’s strategy falls under national military strategy and that the specific objectives, approaches, and methods of its force building, and employment must be designed in accordance with the overall national military strategy.3 As a result, grasping Tiers 5 and 6, Applied Strategic Principles and Operational Regulations, requires a clear and timely understanding of Tiers 1 through 4. Chinese researchers have raised issues with western scholars who use books like the Science of Second Artillery Campaigns (SSAC 2004) to deduce China’s nuclear strategy.4 According to Wu Riqiang [吴日强], a nuclear and arms control expert at Renmin University in Beijing, China’s senior political leaders formulate nuclear strategy and policy, with the SAF solely responsible for implementation.

The increasing challenge of obtaining information from Xi's China

Kai von Carnap
1 Introduction

Following China’s “securitization of everything,”1 —when more and more issues are deemed national security threats—more and more domains are becoming matters of “national security.” One of the most recent fields subject to this dynamic is knowledge and information. In step with rising geopolitical tensions, China’s leadership is increasingly working to keep certain sensitive domestic information out of foreign hands. Examples are visible in nearly every field, from China’s technology policy to its rule of law (table 1).

Information is the most essential currency in all decisions, whether by businesses or governments. Hence, it is crucial to understand how information from China is becoming more restricted, how this may affect different stakeholders, and how they might mitigate these challenges.

This report focuses on China’s securitization of online information from two angles: the decreasing transparency of China’s government in general and, more specifically, restrictions targeting foreign access. On the one hand, authorities are gradually reducing the amount of information they release to the public—especially affecting domains subject to intensified geopolitical competition like technology policy. Making government action more opaque, the decline in transparency affects Chinese citizens and foreign observers equally. On the other hand, the government is rolling out both regulatory and technical means to block access to potentially sensitive information from abroad. As a result, in the immediate future, stakeholders will have to face global challenges with less information to guide them.

China’s nascent railgun is just the tip of its shipboard R&D


China’s researchers recently claimed to have developed a working electromagnetic railgun, potentially providing the PLA with one of the most disruptive new weapons of the 21st century. Whether they actually have overcome the technical issues that long stymied U.S. work in this space remains to be seen, but it is clear that the PLA research investment in electromagnetic and power-generation systems goes back well over a decade.

Artillery has been powered by relatively inefficient chemical explosions since at least 1128, when the first depiction of a cannon was carved in western China. By contrast, a railgun uses magnets to accelerate projectiles to speeds that can surpass Mach 6. Railguns promise to match the greater range and accuracy of missiles and rockets with the low-cost-per-shot of traditional artillery. This flips the cost-imposition problem that bedevils modern militaries, where even successful systems can become incredibly expensive to operate or simply overwhelmed by enemies firing swarms of cheaper weapons. U.S. forces off Yemen, for instance, are shooting cruise missiles, which cost at least three orders of magnitude more than the drones they are intended to destroy.

The U.S. military was a leader in railgun research for many years, but it ended its program in 2021 after spending over $500 million. The stated reasons were the engineering challenges involved, particularly the tendency for the barrel to wear down after only a few shots, as well as a desire to shift resources to other programs, such as hypersonic missiles. But an underlying driver was a mismatch between the envisioned role and shifting Navy priorities. The railgun was initially meant to equip the future Zumwalt-class destroyers, a program which was cut short over its own cost issues. The railgun was also primarily envisioned to conduct attacks that the Navy now believes can be handled by existing cruise missiles and new hypersonic missiles. Railguns’ potential as an air/missile/drone defensive system were never fully explored, despite this being a far thornier problem for the Navy and other U.S. services.

Armenia's PM says he must return disputed areas to Azerbaijan or face war

Felix Light

Armenia could face a war with Azerbaijan if it does not compromise with Baku and return four Azerbaijani villages it has held since the early 1990s, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in a video published on Tuesday.

Pashinyan was speaking during a meeting on Monday with residents of border areas in northern Armenia's Tavush region, close to a string of deserted Azerbaijani villages that Yerevan has controlled since the early 1990s.

The four villages, which have been uninhabited for over 30 years, are of strategic value to Armenia as they straddle the main road between Yerevan and the Georgian border.

Azerbaijan has said the return of its lands, which also include several tiny enclaves entirely surrounded by Armenian territory, is a necessary precondition for a peace deal to end three decades of conflict over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which Baku's forces retook last September.

Russia's TASS state news agency quoted Pashinyan as telling residents in the video clip that was circulated by his government that failure to compromise over the disputed villages could lead to war with Azerbaijan "by the end of the week".

"I know how such a war would end," he added.

Yerevan suffered a major defeat last September when Baku's forces retook Nagorno-Karabakh in a lightning offensive, prompting almost all of that region's estimated 100,000 ethnic Armenians to flee to Armenia.

The Attritional Art of War: Lessons from the Russian War on Ukraine

Alex Vershinin

If the West is serious about the possibility of a great power conflict, it needs to take a hard look at its capacity to wage a protracted war and to pursue a strategy focused on attrition rather than manoeuvre.

Attritional wars require their own ‘Art of War’ and are fought with a ‘force-centric’ approach, unlike wars of manoeuvre which are ‘terrain-focused’. They are rooted in massive industrial capacity to enable the replacement of losses, geographical depth to absorb a series of defeats, and technological conditions that prevent rapid ground movement. In attritional wars, military operations are shaped by a state’s ability to replace losses and generate new formations, not tactical and operational manoeuvres. The side that accepts the attritional nature of war and focuses on destroying enemy forces rather than gaining terrain is most likely to win.

The West is not prepared for this kind of war. To most Western experts, attritional strategy is counterintuitive. Historically, the West preferred the short ‘winner takes all’ clash of professional armies. Recent war games such as CSIS’s war over Taiwan covered one month of fighting. The possibility that the war would go on never entered the discussion. This is a reflection of a common Western attitude. Wars of attrition are treated as exceptions, something to be avoided at all costs and generally products of leaders’ ineptitude. Unfortunately, wars between near-peer powers are likely to be attritional, thanks to a large pool of resources available to replace initial losses. The attritional nature of combat, including the erosion of professionalism due to casualties, levels the battlefield no matter which army started with better trained forces. As conflict drags on, the war is won by economies, not armies. States that grasp this and fight such a war via an attritional strategy aimed at exhausting enemy resources while preserving their own are more likely to win. The fastest way to lose a war of attrition is to focus on manoeuvre, expending valuable resources on near-term territorial objectives. Recognising that wars of attrition have their own art is vital to winning them without sustaining crippling losses.

Alarming lack of detail in military's Gaza aid project


There is no way that the floating causeway the U.S. military wants to build connecting to the beach at Gaza won’t require “boots on the ground” say experts, putting another major question mark on the humanitarian surge project announced by the administration last week.

Details have emerged in recent days that the Pentagon plans to build a floating “trident” style causeway out of modular pieces that are en route from Ft. Eustis, Virginia, to Cyprus as we speak.

But according to experts like Sal Mercogliano, a former merchant mariner, professor, and host of the “What’s Going on with Shipping” podcast, the floating causeway project is going to be a massive endeavor to build and will require daily maintenance from personnel on the beach once put into place.

“The problem with this one it is not as durable (as a permanent non-floating elevated causeway system) and it has to be maintained. You can’t just set it up and leave it alone, you got to be constantly monitoring it, resetting anchors on it. It takes a lot to keep this system up and running. It is not something you just set up and walk away. You also got to have people ashore for it,” he said on an earlier podcast before the Trident floating option was actually confirmed by the Pentagon.

“I’m not sure how the DoD is going to get away with this without having people on the beach,” he continued. “There’s got to be some interaction here. You can have some people maybe do it for you, but I’m telling you, to do this right, and professionally, you got to put people ashore.”

There have been numerous reports that private contractor Fog Bow has been tapped to help “organize the movement of aid after it arrives on the Gaza shore.” This has not been confirmed by the DoD and the press office did not return a request for comment by RS. Fog Bow, which is run by retired Marine Corps Lt. General Sam Mundy, and Mick Mulroy, former CIA and Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East under the Trump administration, has been mentioned in several stories as talking with the Biden administration (if not already on board), and already raising money to start assisting with both private and government aid deliveries to Gaza.

How will the Ukraine war end? Only when Vladimir Putin is toppled

Simon Tisdall

Pope Francis’s suggestion that Ukraine’s leaders should admit defeat, find “the courage to raise the white flag” and negotiate a halt to the war with Russia provoked justified fury in Kyiv and eastern Europe. He was wrong to say Ukraine is beaten, and gravely remiss in failing to condemn Moscow’s illegal aggression and war crimes. Yet Francis is not alone in wondering how this conflict ends.

Two years on, there’s no sign of a winner. Maybe that’s just as well, in the sense that outright victory for either side could be disastrous for all. Does this unheroic consideration tacitly influence the cautious approach of Kyiv’s two biggest western backers, the US and Germany? If so, it makes the absence of a credible peace process all the more regrettable – and potentially very dangerous.

Vladimir Putin again threatened to use nuclear weapons last week after France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, said Nato should consider sending troops to ensure Ukraine prevails. Much of what Putin says is posturing or brinkmanship, for he believes time is on his side. He is letting the war simmer while he mounts a repeat coup this weekend disguised as an election.

But Putin was not so complacent 18 months ago when advancing Ukrainian forces threatened to retake Crimea and expel the invaders. It was revealed last week that US officials rushed radiation detectors and potassium iodide tablets to Kyiv, acting on intelligence estimates indicating a 50-50 chance of a Russian tactical nuclear strike to prevent Crimea falling.

So great was the concern that the White House asked a group of experts to devise a new nuclear “playbook” of contingency plans, optional American military responses and escalation scenarios, the New York Times reported. All this was based on the calculation that a nuclear strike was more likely than at any time since the end of the cold war. Though the risk has diminished since 2022, it’s still high.

The “Russia loses” scenario is especially hazardous in that Putin characterises Ukraine as a war against the US and Nato – and polling suggests that most Russians believe him. For him, defeat is unacceptable, since it would imply Russia’s wider defeat by America and could result in his overthrow. If cornered, this cowardly skunk would blame the west and take everyone down with him.

France Vows More CAESAR Artillery Guns For Ukraine Even As Russia Claims Destroying Three In Five Days

Parth Satam

The platform units sent to Kyiv so far have failed to bring about any significant battlefield advantage and have been significantly damaged by Russian fire. Moscow has claimed to have destroyed three units since March 10.

The new French plan to manufacture new CAESAR guns for Kyiv also indicates that the West has embraced Russia’s’ long war’ doctrine and is preparing for a long haul of its own.

The war might not end anytime soon, given the fact that US and Europe are reviving their underinvested defense industries. They have been unable to meet Ukraine’s massive hunger for tens of thousands of artillery rounds a week — numbers that their arms factories could only produce in a month.

What Macron Said

In an interview on French TV, Macron said, “If the situation should deteriorate, we would be ready to make sure that Russia never wins that war. (Anybody advocating) limits (on aid to Ukraine) chooses defeat.”

He said it was important for Europe not to draw red lines, which would signal weakness to the Kremlin and encourage it to continue its invasion of Ukraine. He refused to give details on what a deployment to Ukraine might look like. “I have reasons not to be precise. I’m not going to give (Putin) visibility,” he said.

A Danish CAESAR SPG in service with Ukraine. 

Other accounts quoted him as admitting that the French “defense industry is not equipped for high-intensity war.” He pointed out, “But we have increased our production capacity by three times. We will also produce weapons in Ukraine, closer to the front.”

New F-15EX Is ‘Awesome’ to Fly, Guard F-15C Pilots Say Ahead of Transition

David Roza

Pilots from the Oregon Air National Guard’s 142nd Wing—poised to be the first operational unit for the F-15EX later this year—gave the new fighter rave reviews after becoming the first members of their unit to fly the aircraft at a training course in Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. earlier this month.

“My impression of the F- 15EX after flying it for the first time was that it is an awesome, awesome aircraft,” Lt. Col. Joel “Thermo” Thesing, said in a press release published March 15.

A member of Oregon’s 123rd Fighter Squadron, Thesing currently pilots the F-15C, the aging single-seat air superiority fighter flown by Air National Guard units in Oregon, California, Florida, Louisiana, and Massachusetts. Oregon’s Portland-based 142nd Wing expects to switch to the F-15EX starting summer. Dubbed the Eagle II, the two-seat EX promises higher speed, longer range, increased payload, and more advanced technology than previous variants. It didn’t take Thesing long to notice the improvements.

“The engines feel like they have a lot more power than those in the C-model, and the radar and avionics are a generational improvement over the F-15C as well,” he said in the release.

123rd Fighter Squadron pilot, Lt. Col. Joel “Thermo” Thesing, along with 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron pilot, Maj. Scott “Hoosier” Addy (back seat), taxis the runway in an F-15 EX at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. on March 7, 2024. 

Thesing was among five F-15C instructor pilots from Oregon to attend the two-week training course, which started the first week of March. They are not the first Air National Guard pilots to fly the F-15EX, but they are the first from the upcoming first operational unit of the EX, 142nd spokesperson Steve Conklin told Air & Space Forces Magazine. Training a C-model pilot to fly the EX takes only about two weeks, he said.

Addressing Haiti’s turmoil starts with its Caribbean neighbors—and US and Canadian support

Jason Marczak and Wazim Mowla

Haiti’s recent turmoil proves true the saying that “each time history repeats itself, the price goes up.” That is the unfortunate history of the first independent Caribbean state, forced from its 1804 birth to pay for its survival at a high cost, and to do so again and again in the years since. Fast forward to 2024, when the instability that has made headlines in the past few weeks sparks not-so-distant memories of Haiti’s troubled past, when US troops came in to help restore order in 1994 and 2004.

One challenge has remained constant for Haiti, however: It fades from attention just as quickly as it makes headlines. That must be stopped. The historical lack of commitment to putting Haiti on a different political and economic path—combined with the country being battered by natural disasters, in addition to the man-made ones—has meant that carving out a different trajectory for Haitians has eluded both local and international leaders. What is needed is a long-term approach, in which Caribbean leaders are in the driver’s seat along with their Haitian counterparts, while the United States and Canada help to offset the costs given the grave implications of inaction.

A window of opportunity

When Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced on March 12 that he will resign after a transitional presidential council is created, it opened a window of opportunity for a country battling multiple crises at once. Since Henry assumed power in 2021, following his predecessor’s assassination, Haiti has been taken hostage by fervent gang violence and political instability, plunging the country into a humanitarian crisis. With not enough food or medicine entering the country, Haitians suffer from hunger and disease.

Haiti’s problems are also no longer confined to its own borders. Haitians are emigrating in droves, and gangs that now control the island traffic firearms and drugs in the wider region. With the likelihood of further instability, Haiti’s neighbors must prepare for the repercussions of a failed state, where lawlessness will only invite other transnational criminal organizations to take advantage of the moment.

CBDCs will need to work across borders. Here are the models exploring how to do it

Ananya Kumar and Alisha Chhangani

Today, the Atlantic Council GeoEconomics Center released new findings from our flagship Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Tracker showing that 134 countries, representing 98 percent of global GDP, are exploring CBDCs. Countries are not just exploring retail CBDCs (a digital version of cash you can use to buy coffee). They are also prioritizing the development of cross-border and wholesale CBDCs, which can help bank-to-bank transfers across countries. Development of CBDCs is not evenly distributed: large economies such as India, China, Japan, Singapore, and the Euro Area are significantly further ahead than their peers in the United States and UK. Moreover, since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting financial sanctions, we have seen cross-border wholesale CBDCs, such as those developed by China, UAE, Thailand and Hong Kong (named Project mBridge) multiply and evolve. Across the twelve other cross-border projects in our research, including Project Dunbar and Project Mariana, we have documented the rise of specific country-blocs developing technology that sidesteps the existing financial system.

Central banks and international financial institutions are realizing that uneven and dispersed technological advancements in digital currencies could actually create further fragmentation of the financial system, deepen digital divides, and create systemic risks. This would undercut the premise of digital currencies, which are supposed to create more efficiency in the existing system. Fortunately, there are some new models of interoperability across borders. A range of policymakers are trying to solve this looming problem, here are the current options:

IMF’s XC Model

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) interoperability model, known as the XC platform, proposes a global centralized ledger to simplify and streamline cross-border payments. It was released in November 2022 as a theoretical project which extends the concept of wholesale CBDCs by integrating commercial banks, payment providers, and central banks into a unified, streamlined platform. The model’s goal is to reduce transaction costs and settlement times.

The platform proposes a three-layer architecture: a settlement layer that acts as the primary ledger, a programming layer for executing smart contracts, and an information layer designed to protect personal data while ensuring compliance and facilitating currency controls as needed. Instead of adopting CBDCs, central banks can issue Certificates of Escrow (CE) for use exclusively on the XC platform. These certificates share characteristics with CBDCs and can later be converted into central bank reserves by financial institutions. According to the IMF, a key advantage of using CEs is that it allows countries to prioritize domestic use cases for their CBDC projects.

A Revolution in American Foreign Policy

Bernie Sanders

Asad fact about the politics of Washington is that some of the most important issues facing the United States and the world are rarely debated in a serious manner. Nowhere is that more true than in the area of foreign policy. For many decades, there has been a “bipartisan consensus” on foreign affairs. Tragically, that consensus has almost always been wrong. Whether it has been the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, the overthrow of democratic governments throughout the world, or disastrous moves on trade, such as entering the North American Free Trade Agreement and establishing permanent normal trade relations with China, the results have often damaged the United States’ standing in the world, undermined the country’s professed values, and been disastrous for the American working class.

This pattern continues today. After spending billions of dollars to support the Israeli military, the United States, virtually alone in the world, is defending Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing extremist government, which is waging a campaign of total war and destruction against the Palestinian people, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands—including thousands of children—and the starvation of hundreds of thousands more in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, in fear-mongering around the threat posed by China and in the continued growth of the military industrial complex, it’s easy to see that the rhetoric and decisions of leaders in both major parties are frequently guided not by respect for democracy or human rights but militarism, groupthink, and the greed and power of corporate interests. As a result, the United States is increasingly isolated not just from poorer countries in the developing world but from many of its long-standing allies in the industrialized world, as well.

Given these failures, it is long past time to fundamentally reorient American foreign policy. Doing so starts with acknowledging the failures of the post–World War II bipartisan consensus and charting a new vision that centers human rights, multilateralism, and global solidarity.


Dating back to the Cold War, politicians in both major parties have used fear and outright lies to entangle the United States in disastrous and unwinnable foreign military conflicts. Presidents Johnson and Nixon sent nearly three million Americans to Vietnam to prop up an anticommunist dictator in a Vietnamese civil war under the so-called domino theory—the idea that if one country fell to communism the surrounding countries would fall as well. The theory was wrong, and the war was an abject failure. Up to three million Vietnamese were killed, as were 58,000 American troops.

Every War Is a Space War Now

Dr. Joanna Rozpedowski

Tales of intergalactic conflict have inspired novelists and captivated Hollywood audiences alike offering introspective explorations of the human condition on a cosmic scale. Asimov’s “Foundation”, Lem’s “Solaris”, and Lucas’ “Star Wars” franchise advanced thought-provoking visions of humanity’s future amidst a desolate and untamed celestial landscape. Today, epic battles waged against rival factions across vast interstellar distances increasingly serve less as thrilling adventures tantalizing the impressionable human imagination and more as allegories for contemporary geopolitical tensions.

The Artemis Accords – spearheaded by the United States, alongside the European Union’s Strategic Compass, NATO’S Allied Air Command and Space Centre of Excellence; the deployment of Space X satellite constellations; the operational prowess of the Soyuz launcher and the Galileo spacecraft; the establishment of sovereign Space Forces and geospatial intelligence capabilities such as Airbus Defense and Space; and the dynamic evolution of the “New Space” economy collectively portend of humanity’s burgeoning endeavors beyond the confines of Earth’s atmosphere.

However, with this progress comes new challenges. The escalation of militarization and weaponization in outer space has become an urgent issue of concern. The once-fictional notion of using nuclear space weapons to incapacitate satellites with powerful energy waves is now a tangible reality. Nations across the globe are making unprecedented strides in both civilian space exploration and its military application. According to the Secure World Foundation’s annual Global Counterspace Capabilities report, there is a noticeable trend wherein an increasing number of countries are harnessing space to bolster their military capabilities and safeguard national security. This involves the development of a wide array of defensive and offensive technologies with dual-use applications.

Notably, countries like France, India, Iran, Japan, and North Korea are actively investing in counter-space programs, while major players such as China, Russia, and the United States are leading the charge in research, development, testing, and operationalizing systems and weapons. This proliferation of capabilities significantly heightens the risk of potential conflicts in space.

Tech Triumphs or Terrors: The Implications of Emerging Technologies on Bioterrorism



The COVID-19 pandemic served as a stark reminder of the profound impact that biological threats can have on global security. The pandemic underscored the vulnerability of even the world’s armed forces to diseases, as evidenced by instances like the evacuation of a significant portion of the USS Theodore Roosevelt’s crew due to a severe COVID outbreak. As societies worldwide grapple with the challenges of a naturally occurring virus, the spectre of intentional and malicious use of emerging technologies looms large. In this context, the intersection of emerging technologies with the potential for bioterrorism becomes a pressing concern. This Insight seeks to unravel the intricate connection between the emerging cutting-edge technologies and the augmentation of bioterrorism capabilities. Simultaneously, it addresses the pressing need for preventive measures to counteract their malevolent misuse, aiming to contribute to a more secure and resilient global landscape.

Emerging Technologies and Bioterrorism

Bioterrorism is the deliberate dissemination of biological agents or toxins with the aim of causing harm or fatalities among humans, animals, or plants. This is done with the intention of intimidating or coercing a government or civilian population to advance political or social objectives. While bioterrorism is not a novel occurrence, historical instances have been relatively contained. Following the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, there were incidents involving anthrax-laced letters sent through the mail to media companies and congressional offices, resulting in the loss of five lives.

Biotechnology refers to a technological field grounded in biology, utilising cellular and biomolecular processes to create innovations and products aimed at enhancing both human well-being and the overall health of the Earth. The advancement of biotechnology has introduced a significant shift, providing increased access to cost-effective yet potent biotechnological tools such as ‘clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats’ (CRISPR). Additionally, the reduced expertise required to operate these tools has lowered the barrier for malicious actors to exploit such technology. The disarmament agenda presented by the United Nations Secretary-General in 2018 expresses specific apprehensions regarding the potential of new technologies to diminish obstacles to accessing and utilising prohibited weapons, as exemplified by synthetic biology and gene editing. As technology advances, new tools and methods may be exploited by those with malicious intent, amplifying the risks associated with bioterrorism.

Ethics Guidelines for Brain-Computer Interface Research

Ethics Guidelines for Brain-Computer Interface Research

1. Purpose

To guide the compliant conduct of brain-computer interface (BCI) research, prevent ethical risks in the research and application of BCI technology, and promote the healthy and orderly development of this field, this document proposes ethical guidelines for BCI research.

2. Terminology

2.1 Brain-Computer Interface (BCI):

BCI is a new interdisciplinary technology that creates an information channel between the brain and an external device to achieve direct information exchange between the two. It involves collecting the brain’s neural activities from inside or outside the skull using recording devices, decoding these activities via machine learning models to extract information like subjective intentions, and using this information to output corresponding commands to control external devices, creating an interactive closed-loop system. BCI applications mainly include healthcare and medicine, communication, and lifestyle and entertainment, especially improving the movement, communication, and perception functions of patients with neurological paralysis diseases.

2.2 Noninvasive BCI:

Refers to BCI technologies that collect brain signals in a noninvasive manner from outside the scalp, including scalp electroencephalogram (EEG) and functional near-infrared [spectroscopy] signals.

Aircraft Carrier Enterprise Delivery Delayed by 18 Months, Says Navy


The future aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-80) will deliver a year and a half later than prior projections, according to the Navy.

The Ford-class carrier, which is currently under construction at HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia, will deliver in September of 2029, 18 months later than its previous scheduled delivery date in March of 2028, according to the Navy’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget documents.

The documents cite “delays in material availability and industry/supply chain performance” as the reason for the schedule change.

In addition to delays to the CVN-80 delivery, Monday’s budget submission also disclosed the Navy’s decision to delay the purchase of its next aircraft carrier, CVN-82, from Fiscal Year 2028 to Fiscal Year 2030.

“As previously stated, any deviation that lengthens intervals between platforms compared to previously approved shipbuilding plans and forecasts is concerning because of the potential disruption to our supplier base which continues its recovery amid significant levels of demand for its materials and products,” Todd Corillo, a spokesperson for HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding, said in a statement about the FY 2025 budget request.

Last year, the Navy was mulling the decision to delay the purchase of CVN-82 and CVN-83, for which the service wants to pursue a block buy contracting strategy, in part because of a one-year delay for the CVN-80 delivery, Defense News reported in October. Jay Stefany, who was the Navy’s acting acquisition chief at the time, cited workforce shortages, impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and issues with suppliers as reasons for the CVN-80 delay.

Navy’s budget plan to get rid of 19 ships draws some early criticism


The Navy’s plan to buy fewer ships while accelerating early retirements for others across the fleet has drawn the opening salvos of criticism from at least one member of Congress.

The more than $250 billion budget proposed for fiscal 2025 for the Navy and Marine Corps includes fewer purchases of Virginia-class attack submarines and F-35 Lightning II fighter variants. The Navy’s plan would fund long-term projects such as a second Columbia-class, ballistic-missile submarine and two more Ford-class aircraft carriers.

The Navy also seeks to get rid of 19 ships, including 10 before reaching their expected service life, a move Congress has been reluctant to support in recent years.

Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., said last week that the Navy’s decision to buy one new Virginiaclass attack submarine instead of two “makes no sense” as the U.S. faces a rapidly expanding Chinese navy, which has set a target size of 440 ships by 2030. The U.S. Navy has 291 ships.

“We have an urgent need to expand the submarine fleet,” said Courtney, whose district includes Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton. “This is not good budgeting or good planning.”

The House and Senate will begin holding hearings this week on the Pentagon’s proposed budget, but some criticism has already emerged since the spending plan was publicly released March 11. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, expressed concern almost two weeks ago about an “icebreaker gap” with the Russians and allowing them to outpace the Navy with ships that can operate in the Arctic Ocean.

Courtney, whose district also includes the General Dynamics Electric Boat facility where half of the Virginia-class attack submarines are built, is the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee’s subpanel on seapower and projection forces. He plans to raise the issue of the submarines at House Armed Services Committee hearings this week and a fuller examination at a subcommittee hearing to be scheduled later.

The Tragic Paradox of Military Ethics

Phillip Dolitsky

In March 1946, the American philosopher and economist Henry Hazlitt published Economics in One Lesson. Expounding on what Frédéric Bastiat called the “seen vs unseen principle,” Hazlitt argued that the field of economics can be succinctly summarized as “looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act of policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.” An observation of lasting import in economics, Hazlitt’s ideas have also proven prescient toward military ethics. In such a context, decisions must be made considering not only the seen, immediately obvious consequences of an act, but also the less immediately evident yet still significant unseen consequences across all groups.

Military ethics has been the subject of much popular discussion of late with Israel’s just war against Hamas. One of the most common topics among media outlets is the need for Israel to protect innocents by adhering to the principle of “noncombatant immunity.” It is well known that Hamas hides its members and armaments amid civilian homes and buildings, utilizing women and children as human shields, thereby posing a serious moral conundrum. Some commentators, based on a strict and rigid understanding of noncombatant immunity, believe that Israel is obligated to refrain from any military action that would knowingly harm innocents, noting that it is always wrong to intentionally harm innocent civilians. In 2003, for example, Israel’s internal security service Shin Bet received intelligence that eight major Hamas leaders would soon convene in Gaza. Israeli leaders, worried that the size of ordinance necessary to ensure the elimination of all eight senior terrorists would also kill innocent bystanders, instead utilized a much smaller bomb. In the end, none of the senior Hamas figures were harmed.

Applying Hazlitt’s framework, what are the seen and unseen effects of this decision? What were the consequences of Israel’s policies to all groups? By deciding against using the necessary means to kill the intended targets in order to spare civilian lives, Israel could claim the moral high ground. In a world where barbaric actors like Hamas pay no attention to innocents, Israel can ask itself Churchill’s question of “are we beasts?” and answer with a definitive “no.” In a world where Israel is perpetually demonized as an oppressor, that is an important and noble seen consequence.

A Full Spectrum of Conflict Design: How Doctrine Should Embrace Irregular Warfare

Robert S. Burrell

China’s gray zone conflict. Russian hybrid warfare. These terms have emerged to describe belligerent activities that standard US military operations struggle to address. Although these adversarial approaches remain central to today’s security environment, they are absent from the current joint doctrinal framework. Even the new joint doctrine note on strategic competition (JDN 1-22) fails to address hybrid warfare at all and there is only one mention of the gray zone. In fact, these two methods of conflict should remain front and center. Since the inception of joint doctrine, the United States has generally envisioned conflict in a linear fashion where peace and full-scale war occupy opposite sides of a continuum, with varying degrees of each in between. Doctrine’s evolution has made little change in this concept of a conflict continuum over time.

The 2022 US National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy made progress in detailing a more comprehensive approach to conflict. But much more can be done to incorporate both deterrence and competition, as well as irregular warfare, into operational design. As Eric Robinson detailed in an Irregular Warfare Initiative essay in 2020, there are four foundational ways of responding to belligerents: traditional warfare, deterrence, irregular warfare, and competition. If planners adopted this framework, they would have a full spectrum of conflict design that would help them to integrate ends, ways, and means into a coherent campaign plan. And they would also be better able to understand the activities of the United States’ most important competitors.

Understanding Conflict—From One Dimension to Two

The US joint force has attempted to define different forms of conflict for decades, but it has failed to move beyond a linear understanding. A competition continuum was introduced in a 2019 joint doctrine note, with cooperation on one end, adversarial competition below armed conflict in the middle, and war on the other end. This one-dimensional concept has been adopted by other doctrinal publications, such as Joint Publication 1 (the joint force’s capstone doctrine) and Joint Publication 3-0, Joint Campaigns and Operations. While this is the most recent conceptualization, for the past two decades doctrine has only slightly redefined categories between war and peace through minor revisions to descriptions and these changes have added little significance.