3 April 2024

India’s Silicon Valley Faces a Water Crisis That Software Cannot Solve

Damien Cave

The water tankers seeking to fill their bellies bounced past the dry lakes of India’s booming technology capital. Their bleary-eyed drivers waited in line to suck what they could from wells dug a mile deep into dusty lots between app offices and apartment towers named for bougainvillea — all built before sewage and water lines could reach them.

At one well, where neighbors lamented the loss of a mango grove, a handwritten logbook listed the water runs of a crisis: 3:15 and 4:10 one morning; 12:58, 2:27 and 3:29 the next.

“I get 50 calls a day,” said Prakash Chudegowda, a tanker driver in south Bengaluru, also known as Bangalore, as he connected a hose to the well. “I can only get to 15.”

“I get 50 calls a day” for water, said Prakash Chudegowda, a tanker driver. “I can only get to 15.”

The Silicon Valley of South Asia has a nature issue — a pain point that software cannot solve. In the sprawl beyond Bengaluru’s core, where dreams of tech riches usually grow, schools lack water to flush toilets. Washing machines have gone quiet. Showers are being postponed, and children with only dirty water to drink are being hospitalized with typhoid fever.

The big problem afflicting Bengaluru is not a lack of rain (it gets plenty, about as much as Seattle), but rather what often holds this giant, energetic nation back: arthritic governance. As the city rushed toward the digital future, tripling its population to 15 million since the 1990s and building a lively tech ecosystem, water management fell behind and never caught up as otherwise healthy aquifers were drawn dry by the unchecked spread of urban bore wells.

The Dynamics Of Energy Trades Between Russia And China-India – Analysis

Zhou Chao

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the initiation of market-oriented reforms in Russia, it can be argued that Russia has not been able to establish a truly market-oriented economic system. The comprehensive economic structure of the former Soviet era fell apart after its disintegration, and both Russia’s previous heavy and light industrial production systems were largely weakened by the failed transition. The Russian economy gradually became highly dependent on energy exports to sustain its basic operations. Existing studies[1] show that income from natural gas and crude oil exports alone consistently accounts for about 50% of Russia’s fiscal revenue, with the GDP share roughly maintaining around 25% annually. The importance of energy exports is self-evident.

With the eruption of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in February 2022, there has been a progressive escalation of sanctions by the West against Russia. Russia has been formally ejected from the SWIFT settlement system, and both the U.S. and Europe have initiated a gradual reduction in the importation of Russian oil and gas. To sustain fiscal revenues and bolster military endeavors, Russia has started to pivot its exports towards its eastern neighboring nations. India and China have emerged as pivotal in this. Furthermore, amidst Russia’s deepening isolation, there have been notable shifts in the dynamics of energy trade and settlement practices among India, China, and Russia.

Regarding Russia’s crude oil exports, historically, its primary export destinations have been European Union countries, especially Germany. In terms of crude oil[2], in 2021, the EU imported approximately 3.3 million barrels per day from Russia, which slightly decreased to 2.9 million barrels per day in 2022, and sharply dropped to 600,000 barrels per day in 2023. Meanwhile, exports to India expanded rapidly from 100,000 barrels per day in 2021 to 1.9 million barrels per day in 2023, and exports to China increased from 1.6 million barrels per day in 2021 to 2.3 million barrels per day in 2023. In terms of proportions[3], before the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, crude oil exports to the EU (via pipelines and maritime routes) accounted for roughly 44% of Russia’s total external crude oil exports, with China at approximately 30% and India at around 2%. 

The Securitization of Chinese Soft Power

Alfredo Zeli

As is well known in International Relations (IR), Joseph Nye came up with the notion of “soft power” in the late 1980s. The concept was introduced in China soon thereafter, that is during the 1990s (Li 2008). As during that decade China was further deepening the policies of reform and opening up started in the late 1970s, it was imperative for the country to ensure a peaceful environment conducive to economic integration and stable relations with other countries. To fulfil that end, soft power (软实力) arguably played an important role and explained China’s turn to multilateralism and increasingly proactive engagement in global governance. In that historical context, a number of scholars engaged in research and debate on the new concept of soft power. Zheng Bijian (郑必坚) influentially discussed China’s peaceful development strategy, emphasizing the importance of soft power in achieving great power status (Zheng 2005). Another advocate of Chinese soft power is Yan Xuetong (严学通), a prominent and well-known intellectual figure and IR realist in China, who argued that developing soft power is crucial for China to become a global power (Yan 2001). Finally, a figure who prominently pushed forward the discussion on soft power is Wang Huning (王沪宁), a member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Party of China (CPC). Back in the 1990s, Wang was the one who introduced and explored the concept of soft power in China, arguing for its significance in international relations and China’s global strategy.

What is important to point out is the fundamental theme of China’s reflection on soft power throughout the 1990s and 2000s. This theme is the concern of what is called in China the “China threat theory” and the need to challenge and disarticulate it through the effective use of soft power. The idea of the China threat theory refers to the perception held by some foreign individuals and analysts that China’s rise poses a threat to regional or global stability, economic interests, or existing international order (Pradt 2016). In response to the China threat theory, China has sought to address concerns and enhance its global standing through various means, including the use of soft power by means of cultural diplomacy (including the Confucius Institutes), economic engagement, and public diplomacy (d’Hooghe 2015). 

Henry Huiyao Wang and Graham Allison in Conversation on Escaping Thucydides’ Trap


Hi, this is Yuxuan Jia in Beijing. On Friday, March 22, 2024, the Center for China & Globalization (CCG) held a book launch event to release the English edition of the book "Escaping Thucydides’ Trap: Dialogue with Graham Allison on China-US Relations", published by Palgrave Macmillan, as well as its Chinese edition, published by CITIC Press Group. The book launch was followed by an engaging discussion between Henry Huiyao Wang, editor of the book & President of CCG, and Prof. Graham Allison, Founding Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense. This was their third collaboration within the CCG's Global Dialogue series, with the previous sessions held in April 2021 and March 2022.

Five days after the CCG event, Prof. Allison was welcomed by President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People. During this meeting, Xi Jinping elaborated on the meaning of the phrase “You are in me, and I am in you,” a concept also acknowledged by Professor Allison in today's transcript. According to Xinhua, Allison told Xi that "The 'Thucydides's Trap' is not inevitable."

The CCG Update today presents a transcript of the discussions between Dr. Wang and Prof. Allison at the event, as the latest episode of CCG's Global Dialogue series, as well as the Q&A session between Prof. Allison and Chinese media.

"Escaping Thucydides’ Trap: Dialogue with Graham Allison on China-US Relations", launched at the Mar. 22 event at CCG, presents a comprehensive collection of Allison’s views and writings on US-China relations from 2017 to 2022, covering a range of topics including the balance of power between the two sides, where the relationship is headed, and lessons from history on how conflict can be avoided. The book also includes an introduction and afterword by Dr. Henry Huiyao Wang, editor of this volume.

The event garnered extensive coverage from multiple media outlets, including Beijing Daily, China News Service, Pheonix TV, Bejing News, China Review News Agency, and China's Diplomacy in the New Era (dplomacy.org.cn). It was also promoted through the official WeChat blog of the Chinese Embassy in the U.S.

JUST IN: Deterring China Requires Better Understanding of Adversaries

Sean Carberry

The United States is expending military resources around the world — either directly in cases like protecting sea lanes from Houthi attacks, or indirectly by providing weapons, ammunition and supplies to Ukraine, Israel and other partners and allies. That’s putting a strain on readiness, modernization and deterrence, said the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

While deterring China from invading Taiwan requires the U.S. military to continue modernization efforts and maintain readiness, deterrence is more than just military actions and solutions, Air Force Gen. Charles Brown said at Defense Writers Group discussion March 28.

“You’ve got to think about deterrence as a cognitive aspect,” he said. “You're trying to convince somebody, and if you don't understand how they think and operate, it's hard to deter them.”

The health of U.S. deterrence today is “pretty good, but I do believe it's something we got to continue to improve upon,” he said, adding that the depth of knowledge and focus on deterrence theory today might not be at the level it was during the Cold War.

“We’ve got to pay attention to what happens in a diplomatic space, what happens in the information space, what happens economically, because those are the indicators that are probably more telling than some of their military capabilities of where their intents are,” he said, referring to China.

In his previous roles as an operational commander, “competition wasn't about orders of battle, airplanes and missiles, it was about understanding our adversary and how they think, how they make decisions. Because you can't control what you don't understand,” he said.

The United States and its allies are gaining more insight into China, and they need to think not just about integrated deterrence but about integrated indications or warnings, he said.

Satellite Images Reveal Chinese Military's Mock Targets in Desert

Aadil Brar

New satellite images show a mock version of Taiwan's Presidential Office at a military training site in China's Inner Mongolia.

The new military training site was initially identified on X, formerly Twitter, by a user posting under the handle @sfx_ewss.

"Another #PLA mock target of #Taiwan presidential office in Alxa League, Inner Mongolia, #China," the user wrote on March 25.

Earlier in March, a senior U.S. admiral told the U.S. Armed Services Committee about threats China's military modernization under leader Xi Jinping posed to Taiwan, saying the People's Liberation Army could be ready to invade Taiwan by 2027.

China considers Taiwan part of its historical territory, even though Beijing has not directly controlled the self-governed island since the Chinese Communist Party took control of the Chinese mainland in 1949.

Open-source imagery on Sinergise's Sentinel Hub website showed that construction of the office at the training site in Alxa League began in March 2021 and was almost complete by October 2021. Newsweek has accessed the latest satellite imagery confirming the existence of a road plan and structures mimicking Taiwan's Presidential Office in Taipei.

In July 2015, China's state broadcaster, China Central Television, showcased a military exercise at the Zhurihe Training Base in Inner Mongolia. The exercise showed People's Liberation Army soldiers storming a building similar to the Japan-era office of Taiwan's president, wrote J. Michael Cole, a senior nonresident fellow at the Washington-based Global Taiwan Institute, in The Diplomat, an international current-affairs magazine.

"As it has done before in the past, Beijing is sending a signal to voters in Taiwan to make the 'right' choice (vote for its favored candidate, Hung Hsiu-chu of the KMT) and warning of the consequences should they fail to comply (by voting for the opposition Democratic Progressive Party's Tsai Ing-wen)," Cole wrote in 2015.

China Walks Perilous AI Tightrope

Emmie Hine

China has some of the world’s most advanced and toughest artificial intelligence regulations. It also has 40% of AI patent filings.

The apparent contradiction is influential, challenging the adage that “regulation stifles innovation.” European policymakers argue to the contrary, that strong rules spark innovation. US policymakers, while skeptical, fear China’s AI advances and are looking towards rules to promote AI with “democratic values.”

Everyone should take a closer look. China’s supposed success in balancing innovation and regulation is shaky. Regulations are reactive. Enforcement is lax. AI companies are allowed to innovate but must be cautious. If they — or their products — challenge the Communist Party’s control, the government will step in.

The Party’s goal is to preserve its two “miracles” of economic development and social stability. Social stability requires information control, so China imposes strict Internet restrictions and extensive censorship. AI supports economic development and can facilitate social control through, for example, urban facial recognition systems. But as a dual-use, destabilizing technology, it also threatens social stability, especially information control. A dangerous tightrope walk is required to maintain both “miracles.”

China’s AI regulations are often characterized as proactive and stringent. Since 2021, Beijing has birthed proposals and laws on recommendation algorithms, synthetic content, generative AI, and facial recognition. It so far has avoided enacting a broad, horizontal regulation such as Europe’s AI Act, though it is considering such a move.

Why the U.S. Economy Is Surging, as China’s Stumbles


“Every so often, a grand thesis captures the world’s imagination,” began an article in the The New Yorker in 2008. “The latest ... is that America’s time of global dominance is finished, and that new powers, such as China, India, and Russia, are poised to take over.” There has been no shortage of optimism about China since, like a 2011 Foreign Affairs headlined the “The Inevitable Superpower” and a 2018 piece from The Economist that “The Chinese century is well under way.” What a difference the past few years have made.

Conventional wisdom that China’s economy would eclipse the U.S. in a decade—maybe even sooner—is looking uncertain. The view that China was the emerging geopolitical power, with developing nations tucked under its wings, is looking similarly shaky. It is now unclear whether China’s GDP will ever surpass the U.S. and nations around the world are rethinking their ties to Beijing and the debt trap that is the Belt and Road Initiative.

Meanwhile, China’s population growth is done. Chinese entrepreneurs are leaving the country. Optimism is dimming among Chinese youth. The Chinese stock market is tanking. Foreign direct investment is in freefall, as global business seeks alternatives to the “world’s factory” that don’t come with the same geopolitical risk, and Big State political meddling. The economic indicators are so bad that Beijing is pulling many of them from public view.

As for the U.S., it is chugging along as the world’s fastest-growing and most dynamic economy. Inflation is down while jobs, real wages, and productivity are going up.

What happened? China is showing the inevitable limits of a state directed economy and society, when political diktats begin to trump open-market economic self-interest. One can’t grow the economy forever under state-controlled enterprise and subsidized infrastructure, EVs, and real estate, particularly while tightening political control over both the masses and your leading entrepreneurs. Just listen to the warning from Chinese businessman Chen Tianyong as to why he was packing up: “China’s economy is like a giant ship heading to the precipice. Without fundamental changes, it’s inevitable that the ship will be wrecked and the passengers will die.”

U.S. Marine Corps Boosts Cyber Defense in Face of China Threat

Stavros Atlamazoglou

Summary: The U.S. Marine Corps is significantly enhancing its cyber warfare capabilities, particularly with an eye towards potential conflicts with China, by deploying cyber troops to strategic locations like Okinawa, Japan. This move, part of the Marine Corps Forces Cyber Command's (MARFORCYBER) new cyber rotational force concept, aims to bolster the defense of critical networks within adversaries' weapons engagement zones. Small teams of cyber experts are being integrated into units globally, emphasizing the importance of resilient, reliable networks for rapid decision-making.

Marines Deploy Cyber Troops to Key Locations Amid Rising Cyber Warfare

The U.S. Marine Corps is investing heavily in its cyber capabilities. A potential conflict with China is at the center of the Corps’ preparations.

A recent deployment of cyber troops to the most important area of operations in the world shows how the Marine Corps, and the U.S. military as a whole, are trying to limit the threat posed by Beijing’s powerful cyber capabilities.

Cyber Marines vs. China?

In March, the Marine Corps Forces Cyber Command (MARFORCYBER) deployed cyber troops to Okinawa, Japan, as part of its first iteration of a new cyber rotational force concept.

“Cyber defense is crucial, and as our capabilities continually mature, it is important that we support the warfighters and units tasked with ensuring our competitive edge throughout the globe,” MARFORCYBER commander Maj. Gen. Ryan P. Heritage said in a press release.

5 Deadliest Weapons China Can Use Against Taiwan in a War

Brandon J. Weichert

There is some debate about how the People’s Republic of China will choose to attack Taiwan. Many assume China will attempt a bolt-from-the-blue strike bringing combined arms methodically across the Taiwan Strait, conducting a 100-hour air war against Taiwan, and then sending in ground forces in the largest amphibious assault since the D-Day landings in World War II.

Still others, mostly U.S. Navy analysts, think that Beijing will attempt a piecemeal, phased encapsulation of Taiwan followed by a long-term blockade to effectively starve and isolate the island democracy into submission.

Regardless, some Chinese weapons platforms are deadlier than others. These are the five deadliest weapons Beijing could ever deploy in a possible conflict with Taiwan.


The first and most obvious way that China’s military can eviscerate Taiwan’s high-tech society is by conducting sweeping and devastating offensive cyber operations (OCO) against critical infrastructure on the island. Taiwan is subjected to “millions of cyberattacks” every year, with most of those attacks coming from the mainland.

Not only is critical infrastructure targeted, but so too are essential command-and-control nodes for the Taiwanese military. Chinese cyber forces will attempt to establish information dominance over Taiwan, and they will corrupt the hearts and minds of the besieged Taiwanese with influence operations via cyberattacks.

That’s to say nothing of widespread distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

If Chinese hackers, who are skilled in the dark art of cyberwarfare, can penetrate enough critical systems in Taiwan, they could shut the island down—at least for a time—sowing chaos among the defenders and creating a strategic window of opportunity for China’s invasion forces to exploit.

China Tightens Its Grip on Hong Kong


A few weeks ago, I was invited by several churches in and around Oxford to participate in a full-day meeting they had organized to welcome Hong Kong émigrés and their families to the area. Nearly all attendees were beneficiaries of the visa scheme introduced by the United Kingdom in 2021, which enables Hong Kong residents seeking refuge from escalating repression to relocate to the UK and offers them a path to British citizenship. Many had already settled down and were actively contributing to their new communities.

Many of these expatriates’ professional qualifications stand to make them highly valued members of British society. Many also demonstrated extraordinary entrepreneurial skills and fierce ambition. One student observed that many of the top spots at their school were now held by new students from Hong Kong. It appears that Hong Kong’s brain drain is Britain’s brain gain.

It is unlikely that anyone in Hong Kong’s current government understands why this outflow is occurring. But it is the inevitable outcome of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) effort to control Hong Kong without the input of its residents.

Naturally, those I spoke with were sad that they had been driven into exile by the establishment of a police state. Hong Kong was a remarkable and widely admired global city: beautiful, prosperous, and inclusive. It had outstanding public services, a police force that garnered broad public support, a vibrant civil society, and young people whose love for the city’s democratic values far surpassed any conceivable regard for Chinese communism.

Young people’s desire to live in a free and diverse society underscores the contrast between Chinese cultural values and the CPC’s oppressive regime. China’s leaders have consistently failed to acknowledge this reality, revealing the regime’s inability to reform itself, let alone establish an appealing sociopolitical model.

The Islamic State Five Years After The Collapse Of The Caliphate – Analysis

Colin P. Clarke and Christopher J. O’Leary

Five years ago this March, the final remnants of the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate were physically destroyed. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish militia backed by the United States and its allies, swept into the Syrian desert town of Baghouz to capture the group’s remaining fighters and their families. ISIS’s last stand was the culmination of a years-long effort led by the United States and its allies to uproot the group from its Levantine headquarters.

At its apex in 2015-2017, ISIS-controlled territory larger than the size of Great Britain. They boasted tens of thousands of foreign fighters from dozens of countries and were capable of launching complex terrorist attacks in the heart of Europe, as the group did in Paris in November 2015 and Brussels in March 2016. Its propaganda inspired lone wolves to embark on murderous rampages targeting crowds of civilians with vehicles. Its fighters beheaded Western hostages and used the videos and images to seduce radicalized recruits.

But in early 2024, the organization is nearly unrecognizable from what it was just five years earlier. Although ISIS is no longer anchored in the Middle East, a rump of hardcore fighters remain in Iraq and Syria, where they conduct guerrilla-style operations. Many of its most prolific and active branches are now located in Africa, where ISIS branches regularly claim attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Mozambique, and Nigeria.

Its franchise in Afghanistan, ISIS-Khorasan (ISIS-K), is the group responsible for last week’s terrorist attack at a theater in Moscow, in addition to attacks in Iran and Türkiye so far this year. ISIS-K is currently the Islamic State’s standard bearer and most operationally capable affiliate, drawing comparisons to al-Qaeda’s Yemeni branch in the Arabian Peninsula, which developed a reputation for its ability to develop high-profile terrorist plots.

The Obstacles to Diplomacy in Ukraine

Branislav L. Slantchev and Hein Goemans

After more than two years of fighting, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has bogged down into a bloody impasse. Both countries continue to spend substantial resources to gain territory, but their advances are rare and small. Sometimes they are quickly reversed. Neither side has the resources to achieve a decisive victory on the battlefield. Both are incurring heavy casualties every day.

Typically, academics describe such situations as “mutually hurting stalemates,” and they often foster the conditions that cause parties to negotiate. If the warring actors lack the means to alter the trajectory of fighting, they often rethink how much they can accomplish by force. And if faced with an increasingly costly and indefinite deadlock, they start to consider previously unpalatable concessions. The result can be bargaining space that did not exist before.

Yet this war has not reached a stage where a negotiated termination is possible, even in principle. To make peace in a conflict, both parties have to be willing to accept each other’s minimum demands. And despite the mutual lack of progress, neither Russia nor Ukraine can swallow each other’s requirements. Kyiv, for instance, cannot accept Russia’s demand for new leadership. Moscow cannot accede to Ukraine’s demand for reparations. Both sides will not give up land.

No amount of creative diplomacy can alter these facts. For both countries, fighting on remains preferable to making a settlement. And unless there is a drastic change on the battlefield or in one of the state’s governments, it is highly unlikely that the two sides will revise their requirements in the long term, either. The Russians appear incapable of conquering the lands they have laid claim to, but the Kremlin is dug in, and it is insulated from the kinds of political pressure a costly war would normally produce. The Ukrainians cannot simply give up millions of their citizens to Russian subjugation (one of Moscow’s central demands) while they can still defend them by fighting. When this war ends, it is unlikely to be with a compromise agreement that grants Russia many of its demands. Instead, it will either be because Ukraine grows strong enough to wrest control of newly conquered lands and has the capability to deter Russia from attempting to regain them or after the Kremlin prevails more on the battlefield—and Ukraine’s resources are only enough to defend what independent land remains.

The Trouble With “the Global South”

Comfort Ero

Not so long ago, policymakers in Washington and other Western capitals gave little apparent thought to the possibility that the rest of the world might hold opinions distinct from their own. There were some exceptions: governments that the West deemed “good partners”—in other words, those willing to advance U.S. and Western security or economic interests—continued to benefit from Western support even if they did not govern themselves in accordance with Western values. But after the Cold War ended, most Western policymakers seemed to expect that developing countries would, over time, embrace the Western approach to democracy and globalization. Few Western leaders seemed to worry that non-Western states might bridle at their norms or perceive the international distribution of power as an unjust remnant of the colonial past. Leaders who voiced such views, such as Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, were dismissed as eccentrics, their ideas behind the times.

Today, by contrast, many Western policy discussions treat it as an established fact that a global South exists with its own distinct outlook. The phrase has become a nearly unavoidable shorthand—my colleagues and I use it ourselves at the International Crisis Group, the organization I lead. And, indeed, non-Western leaders including Narendra Modi of India and Mia Mottley of Barbados have begun to articulate the priorities of a collective—if still rather amorphous—global South on issues such as climate financing and the role of international institutions. Disappointed by many developing countries’ refusal to take serious steps to penalize Russia for its aggression in Ukraine, U.S. and European officials have started to pay new lip service to concerns of this group of states.

Although this acknowledgment of the rest of the world’s interests is a welcome development, it is connected to a particular understanding of the global South, which, as a term, is conceptually unwieldy. There is no hard-and-fast definition of the global South, but it is typically used to refer to the bulk of countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It lumps together powerful members of the G-20, such as Brazil and Indonesia, with the world’s least developed countries, including Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste. These countries do share some common historical experiences and future objectives, such as changing the balance of power in the international system. In conversations with politicians and officials from countries considered to be members of the global South, I have encountered a range of views on how coherent a unit it is. Some accept the term—but others do not. For these countries can also have dramatically diverging interests, values, and perspectives.

U.S. and Israel’s ‘Unprecedented’ Intelligence Sharing Draws Criticism

Warren P. Strobel and Nancy A. Youssef

A secret memorandum that expanded intelligence sharing with Israel after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack has led to growing concerns in Washington about whether the information is contributing to civilian deaths, according to people familiar with the issue.

Among the worries is that there is little independent oversight to confirm that U.S.-supplied intelligence isn’t used in strikes that unnecessarily kill civilians or damage infrastructure, the people said.

The secret U.S.-Israeli intelligence-sharing agreement has received less public scrutiny than U.S. weapons sales to Israel. But it is prompting increasing questions from Democratic lawmakers and human-rights groups, even as alarm mounts within the Biden administration over how Israel is conducting its military campaign in Gaza following Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks, which killed about 1,200 Israelis.

The concerns about intelligence sharing in some ways mirror those over the provision of American weapons as the death toll mounts in Gaza, and President Biden has left open the possibility of withholding some arms from its closest ally in the Middle East. That possibility hasn’t been raised with intelligence, but its potential for contributing to civilian casualties is being discussed in the administration and on Capitol Hill.

“What I’m concerned about is making sure our intelligence sharing is consistent with our values and our national-security interests,” Rep. Jason Crow (D., Colo.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said in an interview.

Crow, who in December wrote to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines seeking details of the sharing arrangements, added that he worried that “what we’re sharing right now isn’t advancing our interests.”

Spending Billions Preparing For Hot Wars When Water Wars Are Looming – Analysis

Kalinga Seneviratne

Since the pandemic, governments have been spending billions on arming themselves for imagined hot wars when billions of dollars are needed to mitigate a global water crisis that needs the building of sustainable water infrastructure and management regimes.

Presenting a series of articles from researchers in the Asia-Pacific region, Reece Hooker, Contents Manager of the 360info news service, warned: “Tensions around access to and management of water are heightening all over the world. Finding ways to de-escalate and innovate is a matter of life and death”.

“As we face a future where some parts of the world will be chronically short of water, so too comes the increased risk that groups will be drawn into conflict and wars over access to and sovereignty over water,” he added.

While the UN marked the annual World Water Day on March 23, there were looming water conflicts across Asia, with Vietnam complaining about the low water flows downstream on the Mekong River impacting their farming heartland in the Mekong Delta due to dams being built upstream in China, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.

Similar issues are looming on the Brahmaputra River, which flows through China, Bangladesh, and India. The small island state of Singapore, which depends on most of its water from Malaysia, said about two decades ago that when Malaysia threatened to cut off supply over a pricing dispute, this would be considered an “act of war.” Tensions over water pricing are brewing again between the two Southeast Asian neighbours.

Singapore’s attempt to wean itself away from dependency on Malaysian water through a high-tech path of establishing water desalination and recycling plants has not fully succeeded so far.

The Army Has Finally Fielded Its Next Generation Squad Weapons

Jared Keller

The Army has officially fielded its brand-new Next Generation Squad Weapon rifles to its first unit, bringing an end to the service's decades-long effort to replace its M4 and M16 family of military firearms.

Army Futures Command announced Thursday that soldiers from 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, accepted delivery of the XM7 Next Generation Rifle and XM250 Next Generation Automatic Rifle ahead of training in April.

Produced by firearm maker Sig Sauer, the XM7 is intended to replace the M4 carbine in close combat formations, while the XM250 will replace the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, or SAW. Both new rifles are chambered in 6.8 mm to provide improved range and lethality against enemy body armor.

The Next Generation Squad Weapon series also includes the XM157 Fire Control smart scope, built by Vortex Optics, which integrates advanced technologies such as a laser range finder, ballistic calculator and digital display overlay into a next-generation rifle optic.

The fielding "is a culmination of a comprehensive and rigorous process of design, testing and feedback, all of which were led by soldiers," Col. Jason Bohannon, manager of soldier lethality for the Program Executive Office Soldier project, said in a statement. "As a result, the Army is delivering on its promise to deliver to soldiers the highest-quality, most-capable small-caliber weapons and ammunition."

If ‘Diversity Is Our Strength,’ Why Is Our Military So Weak?


Our military is in trouble. Chronic recruiting shortages are forcing the Army to cut 16,500 occupational positions, most of them vacant. The Air Force has proposed a reduction of 8,000 troops after missing recruiting goals for the first time in over 20 years. The Navy is short 9,000 sailors, forcing longer deployments for others.

Race-conscious “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) policies are making personnel shortages worse. Minority recruitment has remained steady or increased, which is fine, but a steep decline in white recruits almost entirely accounts for the ongoing recruiting crisis.

According to Military.com, in fiscal year 2018, the Army recruited 44,042 new white recruits — 56 percent of the total. In 2023, that number plummeted to 25,070, or 44 percent. In the Navy, white recruit losses accounted for an overall drop of about 9,000 new recruits.

Does National Security Depend Upon Incoherent and Irrational Stereotypes?

So, what are senior military leaders doing to fix this? They keep claiming without evidence that “diversity is a strategic imperative.” Race-conscious practices, they say, are essential for military readiness and national security.

The argument is absurd, especially since the Supreme Court’s 2023 landmark ruling ending racial preferences in higher education. The military service academies were not parties to Students for Fairness in Admissions v. Harvard and the University of N. Carolina, but the court ignored the government’s objections when it applied its ruling to the civilian universities’ ROTC programs.

In its opinion, the court also exposed the flimsy premises behind decades-old racial categories, describing them as “imprecise … overbroad … arbitrary … undefined … underinclusive … incoherent … [and] irrational stereotypes.”

Is Europe headed for a financial crisis?


Doomsday scenarios are in high demand in Europe these days, which is understandable when there is no dearth of bad news coming down the wire. Forecasts for German economic growth were revised downwards once again this week, with expectations now at a meagre 0.1% GDP growth. France, the second-largest economy in the European Union, has apparently lost all control over its public finances and possesses debt levels exceeding 100% of GDP, a problem also faced by Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Belgium. Put simply, some of Europe’s major economies are on an unsustainable economic trajectory, with a growing gap between government spending and revenues.

There are, however, some reasons for optimism. Poland, for example, has experienced a three-decade-long “economic miracle”, during which GDP more than tripled; if measured per capita, it almost quadrupled. This is a unique success story which does not receive the attention it deserves, largely because Left-leaning Western politicians are afraid that the economic success of a deeply conservative country could strengthen their domestic competition. Nevertheless, it shows that economic growth is possible — even in the often sclerotic EU.

Poland isn’t alone in this success. Sweden has tied state pensions to overall life expectancies, thereby ensuring assets will exceed liabilities in the national pension system. Meanwhile, Denmark enacted a governing reform in 2007 which reduced the number of municipalities from 271 to 98, with no municipalities representing fewer than 20,000 citizens. This allowed the Copenhagen government to make public services more efficient and fiscally sustainable.

The UK’s Trident launch failure: a cause for concern?

William Alberque

The 30 January 2024 failure of a sea-launch test from HMS Vanguard of the United Kingdom’s nuclear-armed submarine-launched ballistic-missile (SLBM) system, the Trident II D-5, grabbed headlines. As the second successive failure – following one in 2016 from HMS Vengeance – the test raised questions around the reliability of the UK’s continuous at sea deterrent. However, examining the complete test history of the missile system reveals a success rate that more accurately demonstrates its reliability.

Statistics matter 

Contrary to some reporting after the launch, the Trident II D-5 SLBM has so far proved to be a very reliable system, with 191 successful sea launches and only five failures since 21 March 1989 – a failure rate of 2.6%. Alongside sea testing, the Trident II D-5 was tested on land 19 times from January 1987–January 1989, recording three failures. This means the Trident II D-5 has been tested 215 times by the United States and the UK in total, including eight failures, five of which occurred between 1987–89. While two failed UK sea launches in a row is dispiriting, and the timing is embarrassing due to the presence of Secretary of State for Defence Grant Shapps and First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Ben Key on board the HMS Vanguard for the most-recent test, they do not necessarily indicate a shortcoming in the system.

The UK has only launched 12 Trident II D-5s from submarines since the Royal Navy acquired the missile in 1994. The missiles are drawn from a shared pool with the US, which carries out all missile-surety tests, and they are only launched by the UK during its Demonstration and Shakedown Operations (DASO) – a series of tests carried out by submarines upon their construction and first sea cruise, or upon completion of a period of maintenance. The UK’s first 10 launches succeeded, with each of the Vanguard-class submarines launching at least two Trident II D-5 missiles between 1994 and 2012 (see Figure 1). The two failures have both reportedly been attributed to human error. The failed test in 2016 was attributed to mis-programming the missile’s target coordinates, while the latest failure was reportedly due to modifications made to the missile in preparation for the test. The submarine and its crew were successfully certified following the most recent launch.

The U.S. and its allies want to bring the entire chip supply chain in-house—and that could create an OPEC-style cartel for the digital age

Jaemin Lee

The U.S., Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are on a mission to restructure the global chip supply chain. The proposed “Chip 4 Alliance” wants to internalize all parts of the semiconductor business—research and development, design, manufacturing, packaging, sales and consumption—in-house. This chip clique will only reach outside the circle in strictly controlled circumstances.

These four economies constitute almost the entire global semiconductor industry, accounting for 82% of the global market share, and 74% of the semiconductor global value chain with 84% of chip design. They collectively occupy a 77% share in the market for manufacturing equipment and as high as 99% for memory chips. Thus, the Alliance is more than just cooperation and coordination: What these four governments determine will shape the global market.

But the Chip 4 Alliance raises a critical and complicated question: Can countries control production and manage trade for a product defined by innovation and competition?

If they can, we’re looking at something very new: an OPEC-style cartel for the digital age.

To the extent that participating members in the Chip 4 Alliance promise to regulate their respective domestic semiconductor industries in a coordinated way, and orient their businesses in a certain direction, this endeavor may introduce something akin to a state-owned enterprise, operated collectively and managed multinationally.

Put bluntly, the four Alliance members can lay out, in the long run, which companies do what, who produces parts and materials, how they are sourced, and where chips are distributed and sold. They will also align their R&D, financial support, and incentives. The chip sector will feature government-arranged financial support, on-going governmental influence, public-private joint business planning, and public mandate fulfilment.

The Army doesn’t have enough PSYOP soldiers to fight the information war, IG says


The Army doesn’t have enough PSYOP soldiers to fight the information war with China and Russia, the Department of Defense’s Inspector General said in a report released Wednesday.

The IG report found the Army has not recruited, trained, or retained a big enough workforce to meet the growing demand for Military Information Support Operations (MISO), commonly referred to as “psychological operations, or PSYOP” which aim to influence the beliefs and actions of other countries’ populations.

Without enough active duty soldiers trained in PSYOP warfare, the service has relied on reservists to “fill the global, full-time requirements for conventional MISO.” In fiscal year 2023, the Army’s four active and reserve Psychological Operation Groups operated with only 60% of their authorized strength, according to the report.

“The resulting operational tempo required of this under-resourced force risks burnout of these specialized Soldiers, which only serves to worsen the underlying conditions,” the report said.

However, Aaron Schmidt, a current PSYOP reservist, said the “burnout” issue is not unique to PSYOP but to reservists in general.

“There are things that we need to better address whether that’s manning, training and equipping,” he said. “But from my perspective, I do not see it as a burnout issue.”

The “divorce”

Problems in the Army’s PSYOP community began around 2006 with the “divorce,” where Army reserve civil affairs and PSYOP units under the U.S. Special Operations Command were reassigned to the Army Reserve Command.

AT&T Reset 7.6 Million Customers’ Passcodes After Data Breach

Drew FitzGerald and Ginger Adams Otis

AT&T T -0.57%decrease; red down pointing triangle said it reset the passcodes of about 7.6 million account holders whose personal information was leaked on the dark web after a data breach.

The affected data set, which also includes information from more than 65 million former account holders, was leaked onto the dark web about two weeks ago but appears to have come from 2019 or earlier, the company said Saturday. It includes personal information such as names and Social Security numbers. The source of the security breach isn’t yet known, AT&T said.

AT&T said its internal investigation hasn’t turned up evidence “of unauthorized access to its systems resulting in exfiltration of the data set,” with the caveat that the probe is in its early stages. The company said its investigation is supported by internal and external cybersecurity experts.

Affected customers have been contacted by the telecommunications giant, which will offer credit monitoring services. The data breach hasn’t had a material impact on operations, the company said.

In 2021, a hacker claimed to have stolen customer records on 73 million customers. AT&T denied at the time that its systems had been breached.

Why Open Source Is Mandatory For Secure Communication In A Quantum World

Matthias Pfau

After AI, the next revolution in tech will be quantum computers. This amazing new generation of computers will have an unimaginable amount of computational power that will bring a multitude of innovations to not only the tech sphere, but also other areas like biology, medicine, climate research and more. Yet, quantum computers also challenge the backbone of our online security: encryption.

To keep up with this challenge, we must future-proof our online communication with post-quantum encryption in combination with open-source software. As concerns about data breaches and cyber threats arise, the role of open-source software becomes increasingly central.

This article will explore the profound importance of open source, particularly when constructing online communication tools with maximum security and post-quantum encryption.

Benefits Of Open-Source Development

Starting as a grassroots movement, free and open-source software has become indispensable in our modern world of technology. The internet as we know it today would not work without tools like OpenSSL (TLS), MySQL, Apache and Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), which are only some of the open-source technologies out there that power the web.

With open-source software, the source code is made freely available for review, modification, and distribution, which has made open-source software immensely popular, as most big tech services rely on, at least in part, such software. One major success pillar of open-source software, and the most important one when it comes to security, is transparency and trust. Open-source projects publish their entire code so that it is fully accessible for security reviews, but also for other developers who want to use the existing code to build their own products and services.

Google Chrome Users on Windows Urged to Patch Critical Security Flaw CVE-2024-2883 Immediately

Ethan Brown

In what has become a clarion call to action for the billion-plus Google Chrome users on Windows, a critical security update has been rolled out by Google. The update includes a fix for a particularly menacing vulnerability, identified as CVE-2024-2883, that warrants immediate attention and action. This urgency is accentuated by the fact that the flaw affects all Chromium-based browsers, with reports confirming that exploits for CVE-2024-2883 exist in the wild.

Google Chrome is the leading desktop browser, making it the automatic choice for over a billion Windows users. The recent security update for Chrome was not particularly eventful, with only a few patches included. However, the highlight was the default Windows Hello sign-on feature. Now, a new urgent update warning has been released, so it is recommended to update Chrome promptly.

It is essential to mention that on any platform where Chrome is being used, it is crucial to promptly apply the update. As vulnerabilities become known and subsequently resolved, the risk of unpatched systems being exploited escalates rapidly as time elapses.

Google Chrome’s update, pushing the browser to version 123.0.6312.86/.87 for Windows users, also addresses three other high-risk fixes. It is a part of Google’s unwavering commitment to cybersecurity, evident in its internal security team’s continuous efforts through audits, fuzzing, and utilization of sophisticated tools.