23 March 2024

Geo-consumerism and India-China Competition: A Comparative Assessment of Consumption Data

Amit Kumar

1. Introduction

China and India are the world’s two most populous countries. A large population means a burgeoning consumer base. And consumers are at the core of any economy for it is their will and ability to consume that creates demand and the need for supply, thereby keeping the economy alive, which in turn is a critical constituent of a state’s comprehensive national power.

By proportion, consumption (consumers) contributes the largest share to a country’s GDP ahead of the other three drivers, namely private expenditure, government expenditure, and net exports. To put things in perspective, in the OECD countries, the share of consumption as a percentage of their GDP roughly stands at over 60%, even reaching as high as 80% for some. For China, the corresponding share until 2021 stood at 55%.1 In India, consumption constitutes 60% of its national GDP.

Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF), a marker for investment in an economy, generally tracks domestic consumption. Final consumption expenditure and investment are components of Aggregate Demand and are intertemporally linked with each other. First, firms make investment choices based on their expectations of future sales. If firms expect their sales to go up due to increased consumption demand, they are likely to increase their investment. The second interlinkage is the partial playing out of the classic Keynesian multiplier effect. Increased investment leads to employment generation, which leads to increased disposable income, which, in turn, creates demand for the goods produced. In effect, it creates a virtuous cycle of expanding consumption and investment in the economy. Also, innovation is directly linked to Total Factor Productivity (TFP) — efficiency and productivity in the economy.

Furthermore, consumers play a central role in driving innovation in the economy. Throughout human history, consumers have been at the centrestage of all the phases of industrial revolutions. It is so because unless consumers attribute relevance to a product, the underlying technology, however innovative and significant, is meaningless. Even technologies such as semiconductors and the internet that were first confined to military applications reached their zenith post-commercialisation. In that sense, consumers infused meaning into innovation that drove various phases of industrialisation in the past.

India’s Poor Will Not Be Wished Away


The late, sharp-witted economist Michael Mussa, my first boss at the International Monetary Fund, once told me that every statistic must pass the “smell test.” I recalled this sage advice recently when Indian authorities published the first driblets of a consumption survey in over a decade. The numbers stink.

Economists have long maintained that India’s official GDP data overstate growth. Before the September 2023 G20 summit in New Delhi, the Indian National Statistical Office issued a particularly brazen overestimate. The last decennial census was in 2011. A survey highlighting stubbornly high malnutrition and anemia cost the survey’s director his job.

The last comprehensive consumption-expenditure survey in 2012 showed 22% living in poverty. The government junked a 2018 survey when leaked data indicated an increase in the poverty rate. Not surprisingly, the new partial consumption figures generated much excitement. Hastily, Surjit Bhalla, India’s former executive director at the IMF, and economist Karan Bhasin proclaimed – under the Brookings Institution’s imprimatur – that extreme poverty has been “eliminated.”

China’s Food Security: Key Challenges and Emerging Policy Responses

Kevin Dong, Mallie Prytherch, Lily McElwee, Patricia Kim, Jude Blanchette, and Ryan Hass


In December 2013, Chinese president Xi Jinping gave a speech at the Central Rural Work Conference of the Communist Party of China stating that China “cannot allow the recent, steady gains we have achieved in grain production to lull us into a false sense of security. We should not forget about the suffering caused by previous famines just because we have managed to recover. Rather, we should recognize that the issue of food security is a red line that would trigger terrible consequences were it ever to be compromised . . . we must adhere to the national food security strategy that puts [China] first.”[1]

Any nation’s food security is essential to the prosperity and health of its people. And China must feed nearly 20 percent of the global population, despite being home to less than 10 percent of the world’s arable land and 6 percent of the world’s water resources.[2] This translates into just 0.08 hectares per capita of arable land for the people of China, far lower than the 0.48 hectares of arable land per capita in the United States.[3]

Historically, famines and food crises in China have sometimes catalyzed political upheavals and regime collapse, underscoring for Beijing the national stability ramifications of securing a steady supply of food. Indeed, China’s State Council has cast food security as a “ballast stone” of the country’s overall national security.[4]

China’s leaders are seeking to sustain and improve the country’s food security amid myriad challenges, including inefficient agricultural practices, supply chain logistics bottlenecks, international trade dynamics, changing consumption habits, water scarcity, and domestic environmental degradation. This research paper details China’s pursuit of food security—highlighting key trends, challenges, and policy measures, along with their impacts.

Hanoi Asks Beijing To Abide By Law While Drawing Baseline In Gulf Of Tonkin

Vietnam has requested that China respect international law and bilateral agreements with Hanoi after Beijing drew a new baseline in the Gulf of Tonkin.

The baseline is deemed as “excessive” by analysts, with one suggesting the United States should conduct a freedom of navigation operation to challenge it.

Radio Free Asia, a news service affiliated with BenarNews, was the first Western media to report the announcement earlier this month of a new baseline that defines China’s territory in the northern part of the area known in China as the Beibu Gulf.

This baseline, which Beijing said was set in accordance with Chinese law, did not exist before.

On Thursday, Vietnamese foreign ministry spokeswoman Pham Thu Hang said that “all coastal countries need to abide by the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)” when drawing the territorial baseline used to calculate the width of the territorial waters and other maritime zones.

She highlighted the necessity for these baselines to not affect the lawful rights and interests of other countries, including the freedom of navigation and the freedom of transit passage through straits used for international maritime activities.

The spokeswoman stopped short of rejecting the new Chinese baseline and instead called on Beijing to “respect and abide by the agreement on the delimitation of the territorial seas, exclusive economic zones and continental shelves of the two countries in the Gulf of Tonkin signed in 2000, as well as the 1982 UNCLOS.”

Beijing has yet to respond to Hanoi’s statement but the Chinese foreign ministry’s Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs said on its official WeChat account earlier that the announcement of the baseline was a necessary act to exercise national sovereignty and jurisdiction.

The U.S. Navy's Aircraft Carriers Would Be Useless in a China War

Brandon J. Weichert

Summary: The US Navy faces a significant strategic challenge due to the rise of anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) systems, particularly from countries like China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. These systems threaten to render US aircraft carriers and their air wings, including advanced F-35B and F-35C warplanes, obsolete by preventing them from getting close enough to enemy territories to be effective. This issue, highlighted nearly a decade ago, points to a broader problem within the Navy and the US military's procurement strategy, which has continued to invest in legacy systems like aircraft carriers and F-35s without adequately addressing the evolving nature of warfare.

The US Navy has long prized the power projection capabilities that its wildly expensive, massive aircraft carriers have allowed for.

Yet, the advent of anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) systems has led the US Navy to a dangerous place.

Namely, its aircraft carriers, the Navy’s primary weapon at sea, will be rendered useless before even the first shots in any war with an A2/AD-wielding power (such as China, Russia, Iran, or North Korea) were ever fired.

And it isn’t just the aircraft carriers that would be made obsolete overnight by sophisticated A2/AD systems, of the kind that China possesses. It is the air wings of advanced warplanes, such as the F-35B and F-35C variants and other warplanes, that depend on the aircraft carrier to nestle in close to a rival’s territory, allowing for the warplanes to do their jobs.

Should the carriers be kept beyond the range of the warplanes that comprise their carrier air wings, then the entire concept of the aircraft as a warfighting platform is gone.

This is not a new problem.

China’s Imminent Food Crisis – OpEd


For over a decade, I have delved into the issues of inflation and food crises in China. Throughout this long period, at times I have questioned whether my analyses might have been flawed.

Yet, after repeated re-evaluation of the fundamental logic underlying these issues, I believe that the conclusions drawn years ago remain valid and plausible. In other words, the crisis has not left China; it persists and could materialize at any moment.

For comparison, one can look at the socialist regimes of South America, particularly Chile under the leadership of Salvador Allende. While numerous factors may have contributed to Allende’s ultimate failure, one pivotal reason stands out: inflation and severe food shortages.

In China both today and in the future, very few people in rural areas are still engaged in food production. The sons of Chinese farmers, influenced by factors such as declining birth rates and the impact of China’s lowbrow culture, aspire to lives and ideals that have little to do with farming. Continuing to toil in the fields is not their ambition. They grow up with the dream of becoming successful individuals when they return to their hometowns. Such privileged figures in the rural culture are those who can decide the fate of others. While they may harbor other dreams, one thing is certain: amidst the desolation of China’s countryside today, they certainly have no desire to remain as farmers tilling the land.

The future of ‘communist capitalism’ in China


What is the economic future of China? This question raises many specific issues, notably China’s persistent macroeconomic imbalances, the threat of population decline and worsening relations with important parts of the outside world, above all, an increasingly hostile US. But underneath all of these lies a deeper one: is “communist capitalism”, that seemingly self-contradicting invention of Deng Xiaoping, inexorably fading away under Xi Jinping? Will China’s regime ossify and, in the end, collapse, as the Soviet Union did? 

I addressed some of these issues in a series of columns published last year. Last week, shortly after returning from my first week-long visit to Beijing and Shanghai since 2019, I re-examined China’s structural macroeconomic challenges and raised concerns about the possible re-emergence of destabilising global imbalances. This week, I intend to address that far bigger one: is Xi-ism killing Deng-ism? A number of informed people I met were extremely gloomy, especially about prospects for the private sector. But will such problems ultimately be solved, or not? 

Much light on this issue is shed by China’s World View, a recently published book by David Daokui Li, a distinguished Harvard-trained professor of economics, who teaches at Tsinghua University. People interested in China, be they hawks or doves, should read Li’s valuable book carefully. 

Perhaps its most startling observation is that “from 980 until 1840, the beginning of China’s modern history”, income per head declined. Ancient China was in a Malthusian trap. This picture is even worse than the one shown in the work of the late Angus Maddison. Even after 1840, this grim reality did not get much brighter. Only after Deng Xiaoping’s “reform and opening up” did it change. 

By freeing the private economy, relying on market forces and opening up to the world economy, Deng created the conditions for an extraordinary transformation. Yet, by repressing demands for democracy in Tiananmen Square in 1989, he also reinforced communist party control. He invented a new political economy: today’s China is the result. 

Why China’s Ambitious Agenda Could Fail in 2024 - Opinion

Ashton Ng

At the National People’s Congress on March 5, Premier Li Qiang presented China’s government work report, which trumpets the country’s achievements over the past year and sets an ambitious agenda for 2024. However, implementing this agenda may prove difficult, especially as China grapples with a range of economic, social, and geopolitical challenges.

On the economic front, the report celebrates China’s 5.2% GDP growth in 2023, but acknowledges that the “foundation for China’s sustained economic recovery and growth is not solid enough,” given weak demand and overcapacity. Although China avoided economic catastrophe in 2023 whilst exiting its strict “zero-COVID” policies, the report acknowledges that “Risks and potential dangers in real estate, local government debt, and small and medium financial institutions were acute in some areas.” For 2024, China targets GDP growth of around 5% and over 12 million new urban jobs. However, the only new measure announced was “ultra-long special treasury bonds” issued over several years, offering one trillion yuan in 2024 for national development. Amid a real estate downturn, sluggish consumer spending, and a slowing global economy, the government seems to have no new ideas to spur domestic demand without resorting to the debt-fueled building sprees of the past.

The report emphasizes scientific and technological innovation—from new energy vehicles to semiconductors and AI—but concedes that China’s capacity in these critical domains “needs to be further improved.” Previous state-led efforts to build up domestic tech champions have yielded mixed results, with tens of billions squandered on unproductive investments. Furthermore, the report’s rhetoric on technological self-reliance portends continued tensions with the West. As both sides pursue decoupling, there are risks of inefficient duplication, trade and investment restrictions, and technological fragmentation.

China's New KJ-600 Surveillance Plane Expands Maritime Targeting


Surveillance at sea beyond the horizon, if properly networked, can not only save lives in maritime warfare by “seeing” threats at greater stand-off ranges, enabling more time for defenses, countermeasures or counterattack, but also conduct offensive targeting and attack missions to “find,” “verify,” and “destroy” otherwise unreachable enemy targets.

This is the Concept of Operation informing the US Navy’s continued maturation and deployment of its famous carrier-launched E-2D Hawkeye. While the Hawkeye has for years functioned as an early warning surveillance plane engineered to “detect” and “see” potential threats, in more recent years the US Navy has leveraged technological advances to evolve the E-2D into a flying command and control node as well. In a tactical sense, this means the surveillance aircraft can increasingly network with fighter jets, surface ships, drones and even satellites in near real time with an ability to gather, process and disseminate time-sensitive high-value combat data.

Biden May Not Have Enough Rope To Push His Vision Of The Middle East – Analysis

James M. Dorsey

This year’s US presidential elections are not the only potential hurdle confronting President Joe Biden’s multi-pronged vision for a Middle East peace once the Gaza war ends.

The Biden administration is pushing for a multi-pronged comprehensive Middle East deal that would not only end the war in Gaza but also produce a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The deal would involve a reformed Palestine Authority governing Gaza and the West Bank, a credible pathway to an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, and Saudi recognition of the Jewish state.

The plan doesn’t lack ambition but the odds of all the pieces coming together are almost insurmountable, certainly in the time left until the November US election, even if Saudi Arabia has bought into the concept, albeit with a high price tag.

Assuming the price is right, Saudi Arabia is interested in cutting a deal while Mr. Biden is in office. The kingdom is not sure that a second Donald J. Trump presidency would meet Saudi demands, particularly its insistence on a legally binding defense agreement with the United States.

Despite his catering to the Saudis during his presidency, Mr. Trump turned the moment the kingdom needed US assistance into a business opportunity.

In response to Yemeni Houthi attacks in 2019 on Saudi oil facilities that temporarily knocked out 50 per cent of the kingdom’s oil production capacity, Mr. Trump described the incident as a Saudi, not an American problem, and offered to retaliate on behalf of the Saudis if they were willing to foot the bill.

Vital Yet Vulnerable: Undersea Infrastructure Needs Better Protection

Henri van Soest and Harper Fine

On Monday, March 4, the Seacom, TGN-Gulf, Asia-Africa-Europe 1, and Europe India Gateway submarine cables in the Red Sea were cut, affecting 25 percent of data traffic flowing between Asia and Europe. The incident is currently under investigation, as officials try to determine if it was deliberate or accidental. While it is plausible that the incident is an extension of the attacks by Houthi rebels on international shipping, they have so far denied any involvement. This disruption highlights the vulnerability of critical subsea infrastructure, which are some of the most important assets to modern economies.

The seabed hosts a large number of subsea cables and pipelines that provide several different services to modern digital society. For example, while satellites get all the fame for helping modern humans talk to one another, more than 97 percent of the world's telecommunications are transmitted through cables beneath the sea that are thousands of kilometres long. These cables also play a vital role in supporting financial services, as they carry almost £8 trillion in financial transactions every day.

The seabed also supports the energy needs of our economies: amidst efforts to reduce European reliance on Russian exports, for example, the North and Mediterranean Seas' oil and gas pipelines play a particularly important role in safeguarding access to energy. European countries are also connected through subsea electricity cables. For example, as an island nation the United Kingdom already has electricity interconnectors to France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, and Norway, with planned connections to Denmark, Germany, and even Morocco. These interconnections make it possible to transfer electricity between countries, which makes it easier to match the supply and demand of electricity.

Tom Friedman’s strange case for a US military presence in Syria


An iconic New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman, has just been squired around the Middle East by the commander of Central Command, the U.S. military headquarters for operations in the Middle East, Persian Gulf and North Africa.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the military and American journalists have cultivated symbiotic relations since the Civil War. It’s in the nature of things. The press needs access, and the military needs public and congressional support. Quality time shared by the top U.S.military officer for this volatile region and the top foreign affairs columnist for the nation’s top broadsheet makes sense.

Among their whistlestops were U.S. installations in Syria. About 900 American troops are there, distributed in penny packets among seven bases. Some of these protect oil fields that supply U.S.-backed Kurdish authorities; others are in the far northeast, where they assist Kurdish units, help secure and supply the cluster of camps that house ISIS prisoners and their families and continue to hunt ISIS fighters; and still others in the southeast, at a road junction where the Iraqi, Syrian and Jordanian borders meet. This base was set up to interdict Iranian-backed forces attempting to entrench themselves in Syria and transport supplies to Lebanon.

In Friedman’s recap of this visit, he explained that the importance of these U.S. deployments lay in the need to fight the terrorists over there so we would not have to fight them over here.

Let’s say, for the moment, that there are several other rationales for maintaining troops in Syria. Iran, for example, does seek to use Syria as a land corridor to Lebanon and the Israeli-Syrian border, from which it can carry the fight to its enemy. Iran is 1,200 kilometers from Israel, so if it wants to reach out and touch someone without using ballistic missiles, it needs to be on Israel’s borders. Rendering this a bit more difficult than it might otherwise be makes a regional blow-up marginally less likely.

Ukraine gets first M1117 wheeled armored vehicles

Dylan Malyasov

Ukraine has finally showcased the recently received M1117 Armored Security Vehicles (ASVs) promised by the United States in 2022.

According to reports by Militarnyi, Ukrainian Soldiers shared footage showing the American-made M1117 wheeled armored vehicles, believed to have been captured during training exercises at one of Ukraine’s training ranges.

The supply of these ASVs comes as part of the US government’s commitment to providing additional security assistance to Ukraine under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI). The $400 million military aid package announced in November 2022 included the supply of 250 refurbished M1117 ASVs among other equipment and support.

Manufactured by Textron Marine & Land Systems, the M1117 ASV, also known as the Guardian, is a 4×4 armored vehicle designed to offer enhanced protection against mine threats and small arms fire. It has been deployed by the US military in conflict zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan since its adoption in 2001.

Featuring a modular expandable armor package from IBD Deisenroth Engineering, the M1117 offers robust protection for its crew and passengers against various threats, including improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Equipped with a one-man turret armed with a 40mm automatic grenade launcher and a .50-caliber machine gun, the M1117 provides firepower support while maintaining maneuverability and versatility on the battlefield.

French government hit with cyberattacks of ‘unprecedented’ intensity


Several French government departments have been experiencing a series of cyberattacks in the past day, with the government activating a crisis unit to deal with the attack.

According to the prime minister's office, the impact has now been reduced and access to some government websites was “re-established,” but the attacks are still ongoing.

“Since [Sunday], several government departments have been the subject of cyberattacks whose technical methods are conventional but the intensity unprecedented,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement. “Many ministerial services have been targeted," it added.

Teams mobilized from the interministerial digital affairs department DINUM and France’s cybersecurity agency ANSSI continue to fend off the attacks, added the prime minister’s office.

It is still unclear who is behind the attacks. Pro-Russian hacker group Anonymous Sudan claimed responsibility for "a massive cyberattack" on the infrastructure of the French Interministerial Directorate of Digital Affairs on their Telegram channel.

The group has been behind a series of politically motivated "distributed denial-of-service" attacks (DDoS), in which massive amounts of internet traffic are directed at websites and services, causing them to go offline. The attacks in themselves do not constitute a breach of IT systems but can seriously disrupt communications and services, and are sometimes conducted in parallel with attempts to hack into systems.

Ukraine war: The sea drones keeping Russia's warships at bay

Abdujalil Abdurasulov

It was a dark night when the attack happened. Ukrainian drones were approaching fast through the water.

By the time the crew of the Russian patrol ship Sergey Kotov saw them, it was too late. Russian sailors opened fire with heavy machine guns, but their ship was hit and destroyed.

Ukrainian sea drones have revolutionised naval warfare over the last few years, relentlessly hunting down Russian ships in the open sea and even at naval bases.

Group-13, a secretive unit of Ukraine's military intelligence agency, was behind the Sergey Kotov attack last week, and the BBC has been given rare access to its operations.

Since it was set up last year, the unit says it has sunk five Russian vessels and damaged others. But its commander, who asked us to refer to him by his call sign, Thirteenth, says the Sergey Kotov was the most difficult target so far.

Group-13 had attacked and damaged the ship twice in the past, but only managed to sink it on the third attempt.

Ministry Of Defence Of UkraineFootage released by Ukraine purported to show the Sergey Kotov being sunk by drones.

The Age of Aircraft Carriers for the Royal Navy Is Over

Brandon J. Weichert

Summary: The ambition to restore Great Britain's naval prowess has led to significant strategic missteps, notably the construction of the HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carriers. Despite the historical pride and efforts to regain maritime dominance, the reality of Britain's post-imperial status and economic limitations has starkly contrasted with its aspirations. The Royal Navy, once the embodiment of British global power, now grapples with budget constraints that hinder its ability to fully equip and support these carriers, compromising other vital naval capabilities.

When she vowed to put the “great” back in “Great Britain,” Lady Margaret Thatcher was presiding over a post-imperial Britain in transition from her position atop the international system to a new place, a lesser location, somewhere in the middle. Back in the 1980s, when Thatcher reigned, Britain could still go through the motions of being relevant.

But it was purely superficial.

Since 1945, and certainly following the Suez Canal Crisis, Britain’s days as a dominant world power were over.

The best she could do was to nestle alongside another greater power and seek to behave as the equivalent of a remora on the body of a shark.

Even when Thatcher surprised her American allies and resisted Argentina’s attempts to seize the Falkland Islands, there was much concern among Thatcher’s own military leadership, because the British military had been so thoroughly gutted by 50 years of decolonization and national economic failures. The Falklands, though, were more like Britain’s last hurrah, rather than a revitalization.

Whither the Monroe Doctrine?

Joseph A. Ledford

As an immigration bill languishes in Congress, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump’s simultaneous appearances at the U.S.-Mexico border heightened the salience of border security. The border crisis has yielded an unprecedented number of asylum seekers and migrants from across the globe, making it one of American voters’ top concerns. However, despite the regional issue absorbing the public’s attention, the United States is not fully executing a strategy for building security in the Western Hemisphere.

From a historical vantage point, the lack of a proactive strategy for securing the Western Hemisphere is disorienting. Since the republic’s founding, the United States has strived to preserve regional stability and prevent foreign powers from intervening in Western Hemisphere affairs. This aim, famously codified in the Monroe Doctrine, has resulted in infamous excesses and resounding successes. Nevertheless, the past fifteen years of inattention have nearly undone over two centuries of consensus at a dangerous time.

America’s adversaries have noticed the neglect. To varying degrees, the despotic quartet of China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea have increased their influence in the region. Most significantly, China has pursued diplomatic, economic, and military ties with Latin American countries at an alarming rate. It has become the top trading partner for South America by signing up twenty-two countries for the Belt and Road Initiative and constructing dual-use facilities, not to mention exporting fentanyl precursor chemicals to Mexico.

In addition to trading with democratic countries, Russia maintains close security ties with Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, the autocratic trio perennially opposing the United States in the region. In February, Russia thwarted a security assistance package to Ecuador, using its influence to great consequence for both South America and Europe. Under the agreement, Ecuador would have received American weapons for President Daniel Noboa’s campaign against gangs in exchange for old Soviet-made weapons that the United States would send to Ukraine for its defense against a Russian invasion. After Russia banned Ecuadorean bananas imports, jeopardizing the $800 million Russian market, Noboa canceled the deal.

Will U.S.-Turkey Relations Survive the Wars in Gaza and Ukraine?

Ali Mammadov & Riccardo Gasco

Turkey and the United States are facing substantial challenges in their bilateral relations amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas wars. On the one hand, the alliance has been strained by these conflicts. On the other, it also opened new windows of opportunity and cooperation. As both countries deal with these challenges, the upcoming presidential elections in the United States loom large, potentially reshaping the path of their relationship. Within this framework dominated by uncertainty, the major question that still needs to be answered is how Turkey and the United States will handle these difficult times and sustain their relationship.

When discussing bilateral relations between Turkey and the United States, a popular topic is the extent to which Ankara is drawing closer to Russia and distancing itself from the United States. But is this the case? The beginning of 2024 has marked a remarkably positive phase for Turkey-U.S. relations after several challenging years. The long-awaited approval of Sweden’s NATO membership was quickly followed by the announcement that the United States would sell F-16s to Turkey in a $23 billion deal. Canada also promptly lifted a series of arms embargoes against Turkey.

During a visit to Ankara, Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland went even further by stating, “Should Turkey be able to resolve our concerns about the S-400, then there could be a restoration of movement into the F-35 program.” These moves illustrate that for Ankara, concerns regarding the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)’s presence in Sweden were not as pressing as lifting the embargoes on arms exports.

Nuland’s statement, made at a particularly complex time for European and NATO security, indicates how the Biden administration has taken several steps to de-escalate and improve relations with Turkey. This occurred even though Biden was the only president not to officially extend an invitation to the White House over Erdogan’s two decades in power. Despite the ongoing issue of the S-400 missiles purchased from Russia remaining a significant thorn in bilateral relations, the recent bipartisan visit by two U.S. Senators signals the intention of the United States to mend ties with Ankara. 

How should Israel bring to justice the perpetrators behind the worst attack in its history?


Hamas’ unprecedented raid on southern Israel has prompted a legal predicament: How does a country scarred by the deadliest attack in its history bring the perpetrators to justice?

Israel is holding hundreds of Palestinians from Gaza accused of taking part in the Oct. 7 attack that sparked its war with Hamas. It is grappling with how to prosecute suspects and offer closure to Israelis, including victims’ families.

None of the available legal options seem to fit.

Mass criminal trials could overwhelm Israel’s already sluggish courts. An ad hoc war crimes tribunal established under Israel’s far-right government could lack credibility. Freeing the suspects as part of a deal to release hostages held in Gaza would trouble many traumatized Israelis.

“They slaughtered, raped, looted and were caught red-handed,” said Yuval Kaplinsky, a former senior official in the Israeli Justice Ministry. “There is no silver bullet here for how to try them.”

Rights groups say the longer Israel takes to decide the right legal path, the longer suspected perpetrators languish in poor conditions and with no known contact with the outside world. At least 27 Palestinians from Gaza have died in Israeli custody since the war began, according to Israeli figures.


Israel has long contended with legal issues surrounding Palestinian suspects — and has long been criticized for its approach. It regularly uses a measure called administrative detention to hold Palestinians without charge or trial.

The U.S. Navy Needs to Stop Building Aircraft Carriers

Brandon J. Weichert

Summary: The US Navy faces a strategic crisis due to the rise of anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities by adversaries like China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. These developments challenge traditional naval power projection, particularly the effectiveness of aircraft carriers in such contested environments. To adapt, the Navy needs to embrace a new force posture focusing on stealth, submersibles, directed energy weapons, drones, and hypersonic weapons. Despite this, investment continues in aircraft carriers, overlooking the strategic advantage of submarines, especially in potential conflicts over Taiwan or the South China Sea. The Navy's current acquisition strategy, favoring expensive carriers over versatile and stealthy submarines like the Virginia-class, is criticized for not aligning with modern warfare needs. This approach risks the Navy's ability to counter A2/AD strategies effectively and calls for a shift in priorities towards more relevant and cost-effective platforms and technologies.

The US Navy is in a real crisis and they might not even realize it. Having spent decades obsessed with the aircraft carrier, the Navy appears to not have internalized the fact that America’s foes were developing capabilities to stunt the Navy’s power projection capabilities into the backyards of their rivals.

This has been especially true with China, which probably leads the world in what we know as “anti-access/area-denial” (A2/AD) capabilities. Russia, Iran, and North Korea are likely right behind China with their A2/AD systems, too.

What this means is that the Navy has no choice but to fundamentally rethink its entire force posture and the way that it fights. No longer able to move its assets within physical range of potential targets, the Navy needs to learn to leverage stealth, submersibles, directed energy weapons (DEW), drones, and hypersonic weapons together into one seamless strike package; a sort of pin to pierce the bubble that A2/AD systems create around the regions they are deployed to.

Top US General Tries to Reassure Defense Industry of Predictability Amid Stalled Ukraine Aid

Anthony Capaccio

The top US military official got a whirlwind tour of a Lockheed Martin Corp. plant as the Pentagon attempts to assure contractors that it will provide predictable signals while it seeks more funding to send weapons to Ukraine.

General Charles Brown, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, traveled to Camden, Arkansas, to visit the 308,000-square-foot facility, which produces the HIMARS mobile rocket.

North Korea launches 3 short-range ballistic missiles off its eastern coast


South Korea — North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles off its eastern coast Monday morning, according to Japanese and South Korean authorities.

The weapons were launched between 7:44 a.m. and 8:22 a.m. from Sangwon county in North Hwanghae province, the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a text message to reporters. They flew more than 185 miles before splashing down in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea.

A news release from Japan’s Ministry of Defense said North Korea fired three ballistic missiles to a maximum altitude of 30 miles and all three fell outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

The South Korean military has strengthened its surveillance capabilities in preparation for additional launches and will work closely with U.S. and Japanese authorities to analyze them, the Joint Chiefs said.

The Japanese Coast Guard issued an alert Monday morning about a possible ballistic missile launch and advised ships in Japanese waters to avoid fallen objects but to report anything found.

Tokyo “strongly protested and strongly condemned” North Korea’s actions, the defense ministry said.

“Actions by North Korea, including its repeated launches of ballistic missiles, threaten the peace and security of Japan, the region, and the international community,” the release said. “Furthermore, such ballistic missile launches violate relevant [U.N.] Security Council resolutions and are a serious issue concerning the national safety.”

North Korea’s last ballistic-missile launch, a solid-fuel intermediate-range weapon on Jan. 14, flew around 620 miles before falling into the Sea of Japan. The communist regime fired 24 ballistic missiles, five of them intercontinental range, last year.

From Jan. 5-7, Pyongyang fired around 350 artillery shells toward its southern maritime border, according to South Korea’s military. The North also launched several cruise missiles over a 10-day span starting Jan. 24.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in South Korea on Sunday to attend the Summit for Democracy in Seoul and meet with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul on Monday, according to a news release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During his meeting with Yoon, Blinken reiterated that Washington will stand with Seoul and develop a “firm response to North Korean provocations,” according to a news release from the South Korean presidential office.

Monday’s launch comes four days after U.S. and South Korean troops wrapped up their 11- day Freedom Shield exercise. The militaries described the large-scale training held SUBSCRIBE throughout South Korea as defensive in nature; however, North Korea’s state-run media labeled it a rehearsal for an invasion.

Top Hamas commander killed in Israeli airstrike


Israel killed Hamas’s No. 3 commander in an airstrike last week, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Monday.

“Israel has made significant progress against Hamas. They’ve broken a significant number of Hamas battalions [and] killed thousands of Hamas fighters including senior commanders. Hamas’s number three, Marwan Issa, was killed in an Israeli operation last week,” Sullivan said, adding that the remaining top leaders “are in hiding likely deep in the Hamas tunnel network.”

Issa, the deputy of Mohammed Deif, head of Hamas’ military division, helped plan the Oct. 7 attack against Israel, the Israel Defense Forces claimed last week.

Sullivan’s comments came as he relayed a call earlier Monday between President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which the two discussed Israel’s plans for Rafah.

During the call — the first in weeks between the two leaders amid mounting tensions over Israel’s handling of its war in Gaza — Netanyahu agreed to send senior officials to Washington, D.C., this week to discuss potential military plans in Rafah.

Israel has indicated it will soon launch a major operation in the city, where more than 1 million Palestinian civilians have sought refuge since the start of the war in October. The city also serves as the primary entry point for humanitarian assistance into Gaza from Egypt and Israel.

How to better study—and then improve—today’s corrupted information environment

Sean Norton, Jacob N. Shapiro

Social media has been a connector of people near and far, but it has also fueled political conflict, threatened democratic processes, contributed to the spread of public health misinformation, and likely damaged the mental health of some teenagers. Given what’s come to light about these platforms over the last several years, it is increasingly clear that current guardrails—both government regulations and the companies’ internal policies—aren’t sufficient to address the issues plaguing the information environment. But for democracies and their citizens to thrive, a healthy virtual ecosystem is necessary.

To get there, experts need an international effort to link policymakers to research by gathering, summarizing, and distilling relevant research streams. Two such initiatives, the International Panel on the Information Environment and the proposed International Observatory on Information and Democracy, have begun working towards that goal. Both are inspired by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a multinational organization that elects a scientific bureau to conduct evaluations of climate research and create policy recommendations. Since its founding in 1988, the IPCC has firmly established the anthropogenic origin of climate change and provided policy recommendations that formed the basis of two major international agreements, the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 and the Paris Agreement of 2015. Policymakers and researchers have called for similarly structured efforts to create research-informed, globally coordinated policies on the information environment.

For such efforts to work, though, they have to able to draw on a well-developed research base. The IPCC’s first report, written from 1988 to 1990, capitalized on decades of standardized measurements and research infrastructure, including atmospheric carbon dioxide monitoring, sophisticated measurements from weather balloons and meteorological satellites, and 16 years of satellite imagery of the Earth’s surface.

Is the World Ready for the New Era of Deterrence?

Stephen Cimbala & Lawrence J. Korb 

The twenty-first century will challenge the concept of deterrence in new ways. Some are already apparent. There are at least nine important components of the new metaverse for deterrence (or meta-deterrence) that will be significant for military planners, policymakers, and theorists.

The first component of the new metaverse for deterrence is the growing threat to states’ cybersecurity and the possibility of cyberwar. Cyberwar among state and non-state actors is already a significant challenge to international security. Cyberattacks occur as solo excursions or as supplements to the kinetic use of force. Both the public and private sectors are vulnerable to cyberwar, and the possibility of a crippling attack against American infrastructure, including military forces and command systems, requires constant vigilance and upgrades to information systems. In the case of nuclear deterrence, a nuclear first strike would probably be preceded by cyberattacks against the opponent’s early warning, command-and-control, and response systems in order to introduce confusion or paralysis that could delay or forestall an effective response.

Second, military uses of space and the ability to deny space superiority to potential U.S. adversaries will become primary concerns for the Defense Department. Partnerships between the U.S. government and high-end defense contractors are already exploring ways to increase the reliability and resilience of space-based and space-dependent systems for reconnaissance and surveillance, communications, early warning, command-and-control, and other functions. Both Russia and China have tested satellites for rendezvous and proximity operations (RPO) in various orbits, ostensibly for the inspection and repair of friendly satellites, but also capable of close inspection or destruction of adversaries’ systems if so tasked. U.S. options for increasing the resilience of orbital platforms include the proliferation of numerous smaller satellites in critical orbits, equipping satellites with defensive measures (including stealth and maneuverability), and developing offensive capabilities for responding to perceived threats. Legal issues arise with respect to whether an attack on critical mission satellites for national defense is tantamount to an attack on the American homeland or other vital military assets.