9 April 2024

A Hindu Nationalist Foreign Policy

Rohan Mukherjee

On March 15, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah traveled to the state of Gujarat to launch his reelection campaign. Speaking to a crowd of Bharatiya Janata Party workers, Shah—Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s close associate—argued that the BJP was both advancing the fortunes of everyday Indians and raising India’s reputation around the world. Only the BJP, he said, could enable “a small-time party worker” such as himself and “a tea-seller from a poor family” such as Modi to become the most powerful men in the country. Only Modi, he continued, could have made India safe and prosperous.

Modi’s Messenger to the World

Rishi Iyengar

It all began in Beijing. Narendra Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat when he visited in 2011 to pitch his state as a destination for Chinese investment. As India’s ambassador to China at the time, S. Jaishankar was tasked with helping to facilitate meetings with Chinese Communist Party leaders and officials, companies, and even Indian students there.

India’s 2024 General Election: What to Know

Manjari Chatterjee Miller

Who are the major contenders to watch in these elections?

India has a multiparty parliamentary government with a bicameral legislature. This year’s elections—set to begin April 19—are for India’s lower house of Parliament, the Lok Sabha, which has 543 seats. The party or coalition of parties that wins a majority will nominate a candidate for prime minister and form a ruling government.

Currently, the BJP rules with a coalition known as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Recent opinion polls heavily favor the BJP, Modi, and many of their allies to remain in power. The main challenge to the BJP is led by the Indian National Congress, or “the Congress” as it is popularly known, which is the only other party with a cross-national appeal. However, the Congress lost dismally in the previous two national elections, held in 2014 and 2019.

To contest the 2024 elections, the Congress has formed an alliance known as the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) with a large number of regional parties, such as the All India Trinamool Congress, the current government in the state of West Bengal. But the coalition could be cracking. The All India Trinamool Congress has objected to the Congress’s insistence on putting forth its own candidates for many seats, including in states such as West Bengal, where the Congress is less popular among voters. Furthermore, one of the architects of INDIA—the state of Bihar’s chief minister, Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal (United) party—has defected to the BJP-led coalition.


Peter Mills

Executive Summary

The Taliban achieved its primary objective by taking over Afghanistan in 2021. It now presides over a weak state that is unable to address long-term socio-economic and security challenges. Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada is worsening tensions within the Taliban as he expands his power within the regime and his policies are exacerbating the economic crisis the country faces. The Taliban faces opposition from domestic groups, which it can suppress in the short term at the cost of aggravating their underlying political grievances over the long term. The Taliban also provides a safe haven for Salafi-jihadi groups that it does not control and is permitting to gain strength. It is unlikely to be able to restrain or prevent those groups from conducting an attack outside of Afghanistan should they choose to do so.

The Taliban’s inability to address the long-term challenges it faces will render it vulnerable to growing domestic opposition and degrade its ability to control Salafi-Jihadi groups in Afghanistan.

I. The Taliban Supreme Leader, Factionalization, and Decision-making

The Taliban is not a homogeneous organization but rather remains a broad coalition of factions with sometimes competing tribal, ethnic, political, business, and ideological relationships. These factions are often difficult to neatly categorize and remain imperfect broad categories rather than strict groupings. Two of the most significant Taliban factions remain the Haqqani Network – with its support base primarily in southeastern and eastern Afghanistan – and the “Kandahari Taliban” with its support base primarily in southern Afghanistan. The split between these factions is partially reflective of the fact that each draw upon a different Pashtun tribal confederacy.1 The Haqqani Network leader Sirajuddin Haqqani also serves as the Taliban Interior Minister and maintains relatives in key positions of power within the Taliban government. The Taliban’s supreme leader and de facto head of state Hibatullah Akhundzada rule Afghanistan from Kandahar with a small inner circle of religious leaders and supporters, often referred to as the “Kandahari Taliban.” 

On the Horizon: The Future of the Jihadi Movement


Recent years have been hard on the central leaderships of the jihadi movement’s heavyweights, the Islamic State and al-Qa`ida. The Islamic State lost its territorial possessions in the Middle East and has been cycling through leaders, losing three in less than two years.1 Meanwhile, al-Qa`ida has not carried out a spectacular terrorist attack in the West in nearly two decades, and in July 2022 lost its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in an American strike. Over a year later, it has yet to announce a successor.2 Other jihadi groups had better fortune: The Taliban has returned to power in Afghanistan, while jihadi groups operating in Africa and affiliated with al-Qa`ida and the Islamic State have been making gains, especially in the Sahel.3 How does one make sense of these diverging trends and what do they reveal about the future of the jihadi movement?

Several scholars have warned that both policymakers and many academics are prematurely dismissing the potency of the jihadi threat.4 This article does not reject these warnings, but seeks to assess the future of Sunni jihadism in a more comprehensive manner, not looking only at the transnational jihadi groups, their affiliates, or a particular region, but at the broader jihadi movement. The guiding logic behind this choice is that the state of jihadi groups is not merely a function of their confrontation with enemy states, but also of the appeal of dissimilar jihadi objectives and strategies. Consequently, while transnational jihadi groups appear in decline, jihadism is here to stay. Factors of continuity, such as anti-regime grievances, the appeal of religious ideology, and the ability to hurt, are likely to maintain it as a viable resistance ideology. The hopes for better lives and greater freedoms expressed by millions during the Arab uprisings failed to translate to significant change, but they did not die. In fact, as long as some Muslims continue to strive for change, jihadism will remain a natural ideological resource. In the West, jihadism will also remain attractive for some struggling young Muslims.

How China’s Policy Banks Shape Its Hardball Approach To Sovereign Debtors – Analysis

Shahar Hameiri

The fiscal after-effects of the pandemic have combined with global interest rate rises to create a new developing-world debt crisis — one where China’s role as creditor has come under intense scrutiny. But the Chinese approach to negotiations with sovereign debtors has done less to validate concerns that Beijing’s using debt as an instrument of geopolitical competition, than it has to showcase how China’s complicated domestic political economy produces incoherent responses to international policy challenges.

Since the early 2000s, China’s gone from a relatively insignificant donor to the biggest bilateral provider of development financing as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) saw its global lending portfolio expand rapidly to temporarily rival the World Bank’s. China also shiftedfrom delivering the bulk of its international financing as aid in the form of grants and concessional loans to providing mainly commercial-rate loans, often for infrastructure megaprojects constructed by Chinese state-owned enterprises.

Many attribute geopolitical motives to China’s expanding overseas lending — specifically the BRI — arguing that Beijing deploys development financing to cultivate allies and secure access to strategically valuable trade routes, locations and resources — using so-called ‘debt-trap diplomacy’.

If that were true, one would have expected China to do one of two things in response to the growing sovereign debt crisis: provide generous debt restructuring terms to distressed borrowers to secure their followership, or spring its debt trap, exploiting debtors’ vulnerability to seize strategic assets or coerce other concessions.

But neither is happening.

Instead, Chinese creditors are insisting on being repaid in full and appear unwilling to offer meaningful concessions, resulting in prolonged debt restructuring negotiations that in many cases have reached a stalemate.

China Providing Geospatial Intelligence to Russia, US Warns

 Alberto Nardelli and Jennifer Jacobs

The US is warning allies that China has stepped up its support for Russia, including by providing geospatial intelligence, to help Moscow in its war against Ukraine.

Amid signs of continued military integration between the two nations, China has provided Russia with satellite imagery for military purposes, as well as microelectronics and machine tools for tanks, according to people familiar with the matter.

China’s support also includes optics, propellants to be used in missiles and increased space cooperation, one of the people said.

President Joe Biden raised concerns with Xi Jinping during their call this week about China’s support for the Russian defense industrial base, including machine tools, optics, nitrocellulose, microelectronics, and turbojet engines, White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said.

China’s foreign ministry didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment during a holiday weekend.

Beijing has sought to portray itself as mostly neutral in the face of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, now into its third year, yet it’s established a deep alliance with Moscow as part of what Xi and Vladimir Putin termed a “no limits” friendship ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.

Deciphering China’s Uncomfortable Sanctions Discourses - Opinion

Rishika Chauhan and Sarah Tzinieris

In March, China’s Special Representative on Eurasian Affairs criticized European Union (EU) sanctions against Chinese enterprises, calling on the bloc to “return to the right track” and cancel the measures. A few months earlier, adopting a brusque approach to similar American sanctions on Chinese entities, Beijing’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson called the use of sanctions “illegal”. However, on that instance the condemnation was accompanied by action, as Beijing decided to adopt an equivalent tool of economic statecraft against US-based defense companies by invoking its newly-enacted Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law (AFSL). Referring to Western sanctions as wrong, or a violation of China’s rights and interests but to its own as simply “countermeasures”, Beijing attempted to simultaneously highlight the impropriety of Western sanctions while justifying its own.

As a long-term target of sanctions but, more recently, acquiring the economic leverage to be able to impose them on other states, China has a unique perceptive on sanctions. Despite vociferously campaigning for decades against the West’s imposition of unilateral sanctions, China has since performed a complete volte-face by developing its own formal sanctions regime. Since 2018, Beijing has enacted no fewer than nine legislative sanctions provisions, giving it serious firepower to employ tools of economic warfare commensurate with its status as an emerging superpower.

Yet this does not tell the whole story. While Beijing’s new formalized sanctions regime is a momentous development, and one that raises normative questions about the conduct of orderly affairs in a world where multiple states might practise economic coercion, there exists a broader hinterland of Chinese sanctions. In fact, China has practiced economic statecraft throughout its modern history, albeit such measures are largely taken on an informal basis to confer plausible deniability. And yet by continuing to maintain its anti-sanctions rhetoric China is being reticent at best and nefarious at worst about its sanctions policy. In view of the potential of the Chinese economy to impact the flows of global trade, Beijing’s decision to develop a comprehensive sanctions regime deserves closer attention. In particular it is instructional to decipher how China is presenting this formalized approach given its obvious discomfort with sanctions.

China—The New No.2 Space Power

Brad Tucker

On 4 October 1957, the USSR launched Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite, and with it the Space Age itself. In February 2023, China’s National Museum put on a grand exhibition marking thirty years since the start of the Chinese human space program.[1]

The environment in space is very different from that of Earth. The extremes in temperatures, from less than −150 degrees Celcius to more than 150 degrees, the lack of atmospheric pressure, and other issues mean that the margin for error to achieve success is zero. Even the most experienced space powers, the United States and Russia, can fail. Luna 25, Russia’s first probe to the Moon in nearly fifty years, crashed there in August 2023.

The difficulties of space travel are challenging for countries and companies relatively new to the space race. China, during a period of about thirty years, has not just overcome these hurdles but also surpassed many other countries, including Russia, to become the world’s number 2 space power.

Launching rockets

One way to measure the progress China has made is by the number of rocket launches. In the United States, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which put the first people on the Moon, now primarily relies on private companies to launch its spacecraft, including crewed missions. SpaceX is one of the companies doing most of this work for NASA. SpaceX can launch multiple rockets per week, sometimes every day, while having the rocket boosters return to Earth to be refuelled and reused.

In 2022, the United States achieved a total of seventy-four orbital launches, sixty-one by SpaceX; China boasted sixty-four. Far behind was Russia at twenty-one, and fourth was New Zealand’s RocketLab at nine.[2]

SpaceX rockets often take multiple, and in some cases, nearly a hundred satellites into space whereas Chinese rockets usually only carry one or two. This is not because China lacks the capability but because it is sending larger satellites and only one or two can fit. However, China is rapidly developing the capability to do these missions that take multiple satellites, called ride-share.

Satellite Cybersecurity, Iran, And The Israel-Hamas War – OpEd

Sarah Katz

In light of Iran’s recent launch of three satellites into space, geopolitical concerns could increase surrounding the country’s intermittent threats toward the West and Israel amidst the post-October 7 Israel-Hamas war. Indeed, despite Tehran thus far avoiding direct involvement in the war, Iran has loomed via proxies such as Hamas and Yemen’s Houthi rebels to intimidate both Israel as well as the U.S. for its support of Israel. With Iranian nuclear and satellite capabilities on the rise, Israel and Western entities should remain watchful for potential indirect attempts to disrupt Israeli and Western equivalents, particularly for communication and surveillance hindrance purposes in the face of Israeli attacks on Iranian military personnel.

Alongside the obvious danger of attacks on government satellite systems, attacks on commercial satellites could also risk data loss. Such loss or theft could prove perilous in the hands of hacktivists and nation-state actors alike, including obstructed visibility into Iran’s nuclear activities. Further, for both federal and commercial systems, respectively, stolen defense-related data as well as the protected health information (PHI) of patients cared for by hospitals with affected satellites could be fatal.

In addition to the well-known distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) and supply chain methods of attack used to overwhelm and infiltrate respectively, backdoor attacks present a more elusive attack that exploits vulnerabilities in aerospace systems. To explore this subject in greater depth, MIT-trained Assistant Professor at Cornell University’s Aerospace ADVERSARY Lab, Dr. Gregory Falco, LEED AP, was consulted. Dr. Falco detailed the following (text minimally revised for context):

The bus is what facilitates all communication across the space vehicle. Usually, subsystems are reporting telemetry data over the bus to the brains of the satellite for consistent coordination. When something is chatty, it could either mean that it is programmed incorrectly or it’s sending too much data back. It could be sending data back to the brain to flood the brain with errant messages or for other malicious activity.

Iran Tells US to Step Aside as It Readies Response to Israel

Dana Khraiche and Patrick Sykes

(Bloomberg) -- Iran said it asked the US to “step aside” as the country prepares a response to a suspected Israeli attack on its consulate in Syria while Hezbollah, its main proxy in the Middle East, warned the Jewish state it’s ready for war.

In a written message to Washington, Iran “warned the US not to get dragged into Netanyahu’s trap,” Mohammad Jamshidi, the Iranian president’s deputy chief of staff for political affairs, wrote on X, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The US should “step aside so that you don’t get hit.”

“In response, the US asked Iran not to hit American targets,” Jamshidi said.

The US hasn’t commented on the alleged message Iran had sent.

CNN reported that the US is on high alert and is preparing for a “significant” response from Iran against Israeli or American targets in the region.

NBC, citing two unnamed US officials, said President Joe Biden’s administration is concerned any attack could be inside Israel, specifically against “military or intelligence targets, rather than civilians.”

War In Gaza Hits 6-Month Mark Amid ‘Death, Devastation’

The Israel-Hamas war reached its gruesome six-month mark Saturday and is considered one of the most destructive, deadly, and relentless conflicts of the 21st century.

“Six months on, the war in Gaza is a betrayal of humanity,” said Martin Griffiths, undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator at the United Nations.

In a statement Saturday, Griffiths acknowledged the pain and suffering of both Palestinians and Israelis since Hamas staged its October 7 terror attack on southern Israel that killed 1,200 people and claimed more than 240 hostages.

Griffiths remarked that “for the people of Gaza, the past six months of war have brought death, devastation and now the immediate prospect of a shameful manmade famine.” He noted that for the people affected by the lasting horror of the Hamas attacks, “it has been six months of grief and torment.”

In his plea for a cease-fire, Griffiths said that “every second counts ending this war” as it claims more civilian victims and “continues to sow the seeds of a future so deeply obscured by this relentless conflict.”

Griffiths said any further escalation of the war in Gaza is an “unconscionable prospect.”

He said his “heart goes out to the families of those killed, injured or taken hostage, and to those who face the particular suffering of not knowing the plight of their loved ones.”

“It is not enough for six months of war to be a moment of remembrance and mourning,” he said. “It must also spur a collective determination that there be a reckoning for this betrayal of humanity.”

In Six Months, Everything Has Changed for Israel

Shayndi Raice and Dov Lieber

On Oct. 6, Israel appeared on the cusp of a new era of recognition from the Muslim world, close to a peace deal with Saudi Arabia that would move it to the center of a realigned Middle East after years on its fringes. The historic conflict with the Palestinians that had defined its existence for most of its 75-year history appeared to have finally receded into the background.

It all changed on Oct. 7.

Today, after a bloody attack that might have brought it the world’s sympathy, Israel is closer to being a global pariah than ever before. Its Saudi peace deal is on hold. The Palestinian question is again roiling its Arab neighbors. It is in open argument with its main ally, the U.S. And its physical living space has been shrunk by dangers on its northern and southern borders.

In six months, the world has turned upside down for this small nation. On Oct. 7—or Black Sabbath, as Israelis now call it—the Jewish state experienced a fundamental shock that upended its sense of security and belief in the strength of its military. It responded with a heavy-handed invasion of Gaza that in much of the world’s eyes left it the aggressor and its attackers the victims. The resulting isolation could be more of a threat to its future than the attack by Hamas that killed 1,200 people on Oct. 7.

“Israel’s longevity is in question for the first time since its birth,” said Benny Morris, an Israeli historian. The only time Israel faced a similar existential threat, he said, was in its war for independence in 1948, when it battled five Arab countries and local Palestinian militias.

Journalist Who Broke Story on Israel’s AI Warfare Discusses the Technology

Amy Goodman

The Israeli publications +972 and Local Call have exposed how the Israeli military used an artificial intelligence program known as Lavender to develop a “kill list” in Gaza that includes as many as 37,000 Palestinians who were targeted for assassination with little human oversight. A second AI system known as “Where’s Daddy?” tracked Palestinians on the kill list and was purposely designed to help Israel target individuals when they were at home at night with their families. The targeting systems, combined with an “extremely permissive” bombing policy in the Israeli military, led to “entire Palestinian families being wiped out inside their houses,” says Yuval Abraham, an Israeli journalist who broke the story after speaking with members of the Israeli military who were “shocked by committing atrocities.” Abraham previously exposed Israel for using an AI system called “The Gospel” to intentionally destroy civilian infrastructure in Gaza, including apartment complexes, universities and banks, in an effort to exert “civil pressure” on Hamas. These artificial intelligence military systems are “a danger to humanity,” says Abraham. “AI-based warfare allows people to escape accountability.”


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

The Israeli publications +972 Magazine and Local Call have exposed how the Israeli military used an artificial intelligence known as “Lavender” to develop a “kill list” in Gaza that includes as many as 37,000 Palestinians who were targeted for assassination with little human oversight. The report is based in part on interviews with six Israeli intelligence officers who had firsthand involvement with the AI system.

+972 reports, quote, “Lavender has played a central role in the unprecedented bombing of Palestinians, especially during the early stages of the war. In fact, according to the sources, its influence on the military’s operations was such that they essentially treated the outputs of the AI machine ‘as if it were a human decision.’”

Iran is winning the Gaza war Tehran's violent strategy could soon escalat

David Patrikarakos

Amid the continuing destruction in Gaza and the surrounding global fallout, one thing becomes ever clearer. Even as Israel’s war stutters, Iran’s broader campaign against it, and by extension what we might call the American-led order, is growing in strength.

Six months on from October 7, it’s hard to see how Israel can achieve its stated goals of dismantling Hamas and rescuing its remaining hostages. The IDF has only rescued three hostages during its ground operations in Gaza, which is a good indicator of how unrealistic the latter always was. But Hamas is also far from defeated: the terror group’s top three commanders remain at large, and its fighters are already re-emerging in areas of Gaza City that were supposedly cleared. Israel claims to have killed approximately half of its 40,000 fighters, but given the amorphous nature of the terror campaign, and the radicalising effects of Israel’s operations on the Gazan population, the notion of totally eliminating Hamas remains fanciful.

According to the February 2024 US Annual Threat Assessment report compiled by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Hamas will be able to continue as “lingering armed resistance… for years to come, and the military will struggle to neutralise Hamas’s underground infrastructure, which allow insurgents to hide, regain strength, and surprise Israeli forces”. And all of this for near-universal global outrage and condemnation.

Israel had not just a right but a duty to respond to the October 7 atrocities. No state could stand by and do nothing. No nation could suffer such a loss and not respond. But the events set in motion by October 7 were always going to be about more than just Israel and Gaza. A localised war has now become perhaps the primary front in a much broader conflict between the American-led order on the one hand and, on the other, a loose axis of states with little in common except a common desire to oppose that order. In the Middle East, the primary player is Iran — and it is exploiting events with sadistic ruthlessness and efficacy.

How World Leaders Are Reacting to the Six-Month Anniversary of the Israel-Hamas War


On Oct. 7, Hamas militants stormed into Israel from Gaza, killing around 1,200 people, most civilians, and taking more than 250 hostage, igniting a devastating war.

In the six months since then, Israel responded by invading and bombarding Gaza, killing a reported 33,000 Palestinians, a majority women and children, according to the United Nations. Israel’s attacks and control of humanitarian aid into the territory have now, according to reports, pushed one million people to the brink of famine.

The crisis has prompted protests and legal challenges—including one filed by South Africa at the U.N.’s highest court in which judges issued an interim order in January that it was “plausible” Israel was committing acts of genocide. Israel strongly rejects the claim.

Israel’s allies have increased their criticism and pressure on the country to protect civilians, especially after the Israeli military fired missiles that killed seven aid workers—six foreign nationals—working with the NGO World Central Kitchen on April 2 in what the military called a “grave mistake.”

After the deaths, President Joe Biden gave Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an ultimatum to take immediate actions to protect civilians and allow food aid into Gaza or the U.S. will change its military campaign support (the U.S. gives Israel billions of dollars a year in military aid). Israel responded by opening up new aid routes into Gaza.

At home, Netanyahu faces massive protests calling for a hostage deal from families of the remaining 133 hostages, with some joining anti-government protesters to push for him to step down.

The Israeli leader said in remarks on Sunday: “Today we are marking six months of the war. The achievements of the war are considerable.”

After six months of war, Israel’s isolation grows with no end in sigh


When Israel declared war against Hamas last October, it stood unified at home and enjoyed broad backing from around the world following an unprecedented attack by the Islamic militant group.

Six months later, Israel finds itself in a far different place: bogged down in Gaza, divided domestically, isolated internationally and increasingly at odds with its closest ally. The risk of a broader regional war remains real.

Despite Israel’s fierce military onslaught, Hamas is still standing, if significantly weakened. The offensive has pushed Gaza into a humanitarian crisis, displacing more than 80% of the population and leaving over 1 million people on the brink of starvation. Yet Israel hasn’t presented a postwar vision acceptable to its partners, and cease-fire talks remain at a standstill.

Here are six takeaways from the first six months of war.


Israel declared war in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 cross-border attack, in which the militant group killed 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and kidnapped about 250 others.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set two objectives: destroying Hamas and bringing home the hostages. Despite his repeated pledges to achieve “total victory,” his goals remain elusive.

After steadily conquering most of Gaza in a bruising offensive, Israeli ground troops are in a holding pattern marked by small tactical operations and uncertainty over whether the army will march into the southern Gaza city of Rafah, Hamas’ last significant stronghold.

Joseph S. Nye, Jr.

Project Syndicate: In your new memoir, A Life in the American Century, you describe implementing US President Jimmy Carter’s policy of ensuring that plutonium formed from uranium in nuclear reactors was not reprocessed and reused. Is there a comparable rule or initiative that could help mitigate nuclear risks today, when, as you recently wrote, “conditions seem especially dire”? What are the most glaring gaps in current nonproliferation efforts?

Joseph S. Nye, Jr.: The beginning of the 1970s was marked by widespread fear of oil shortages and the belief that the world did not have enough uranium to power all the nuclear reactors we would need to replace the oil. We were headed for an economy based on plutonium – a weaponizable material. Some predicted that dozens of countries would soon possess nuclear weapons. Yet today, there are just nine nuclear-weapons states – still too many, but far fewer than expected – and the implementation of an internationally safeguarded “once through” fuel cycle (which left plutonium locked up in the stored spent fuel) is a major reason why.

Today, the threat of proliferation comes less from a new technology than from the loss of credibility in extended deterrence. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which gave up its nuclear weapons in 1994, has given some countries second thoughts about their non-nuclear status. Restoring the credibility of the US nuclear umbrella – not least by making clear to our allies that we are not embracing isolationism – has now become urgent.

PS: “In a relative sense,” you wrote in February, “America has been in decline ever since the end of World War II,” when it accounted for half the world economy and held a monopoly on nuclear weapons. But it was immediately after the Cold War that the US had its “unipolar moment.” To what extent is today’s global fragmentation rooted in that critical period? What did US policymakers get right, and where did they go wrong?

JSN: In the period between the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991 and the start of China’s rapid economic rise, analysts described the US as the world’s sole superpower. This fueled hubris among some US policymakers, who began to overestimate how much control over world affairs the US really had. The 2003 invasion of Iraq is a case in point. It was easy for the US and its allies to defeat Saddam Hussein’s regime militarily, but transforming Iraq – let alone the Middle East – was another story. The world was never as simple as some policymakers believed it was, and it is even more complex today.

Big Tech Is Trying to Prevent Debate About Its Social Harms

Joseph E. Stiglitz

Platforms like Google, Facebook, and Amazon are not only shaping our economy, but our society—with questions of privacy, monopoly power, online racial discrimination, misinformation, hate speech, incitement, and impacts on mental health at the fore of the policy debate.

Netanyahu’s War Strategy Doesn’t Make Any Sense

Anchal Vohra

In November, I met Hamas-held hostage Liri Albag’s father, Eli Albag, in Tel Aviv. As he sat in the middle of Begin Road holding a picture of his 19-year-old daughter, he said he backed the government’s military campaign to put pressure on Hamas. “Do you think Hamas would let go of hostages on their own?” But Albag seems to have run out of patience. In late March, in an ultimatum to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he told the local press that the families would no longer hold rallies but gather on the streets, joining an expanding anti-Netanyahu protest movement.

U.S. Department of the Treasury Releases Report on Managing Artificial Intelligence-Specific Cybersecurity Risks in the Financial Sector

Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released a report on Managing Artificial Intelligence-Specific Cybersecurity Risks in the Financial Services Sector. The report was written at the direction of Presidential Executive Order 14110 on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence. Treasury’s Office of Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection (OCCIP) led the development of the report. OCCIP executes the Treasury Department’s Sector Risk Management Agency responsibilities for the financial services sector.

“Artificial intelligence is redefining cybersecurity and fraud in the financial services sector, and the Biden Administration is committed to working with financial institutions to utilize emerging technologies while safeguarding against threats to operational resiliency and financial stability,” said Under Secretary for Domestic Finance Nellie Liang. “Treasury’s AI report builds on our successful public-private partnership for secure cloud adoption and lays out a clear vision for how financial institutions can safely map out their business lines and disrupt rapidly evolving AI-driven fraud.”

Former top general warns of 'inevitable' threats to US from Islamic State in wake of Moscow attack

Juhi Doshi

The Islamic State terror group has a "strong desire" to attack the U.S. and other foreign powers, the former head of U.S. Central Command warned on Sunday, calling it a threat that is only growing.

"We should believe them when they say that. They're going to try to do it," retired Gen. Frank McKenzie told ABC News' "This Week" co-anchor Martha Raddatz.

"I think the threat is growing," McKenzie continued, pointing to the dangers from affiliates like ISIS-K after the broader group took responsibility for a deadly attack in Moscow earlier this month.The group also said it was behind a mass bombing in Iran in January.

"It begun to grow as soon as we left Afghanistan, it took pressure off ISIS-K. So I think we should expect further attempts of this nature against the United States as well as our partners and other nations abroad," McKenzie said. "I think this is inevitable."

McKenzie, who is also the author of the upcoming "The Melting Point," a book about leadership and his time commanding U.S. forces in the Middle East, which included the exit from Afghanistan, said that the U.S. maintains a large enough military presence in Iraq and Syria to counter extremists there.

But he still believes the U.S. should have kept a small troop presence in Afghanistan rather than withdrawing completely in August 2021, bringing an end to America's longest war.

Though President Joe Biden has previously maintained there would be an "over-the-horizon capability" to "act quickly and decisively" in Afghanistan, even from afar, McKenzie disputed that.

Jamestown FoundationChina Brief, March 29, 2024, v. 24, no. 7

When The Chips Are Down: Taiwan’s Water and Energy Conundrum

Foreign Intelligence Hackers and Their Place in the PRC Intelligence Community

Beijing’s Increasing Maritime Gray Zone Operations Around Taiwan’s Outlying Islands

Deepfakes with Chinese Characteristics: PRC Influence Operation in 2024

The PRC’s Continued Outsized Role in the Cryptocurrency Industry

Fifty Shades of Gaza

J.B. Books

I’m tired of reading articles and op-eds and listening to politicians and pundits characterize the Israeli military campaign in Gaza as “over the top” or too brutal. I’m dismayed when I hear the Secretary of Defense say Israel’s actions are driving Palestinians into the arms of Hamas, and that Israel is headed for a strategic defeat. I’m appalled that many retired and currently serving senior military leaders agree with these premises.

Israel is rightly fighting a just war, and while the loss of life in Gaza is terrible, it is also unavoidable. There is no chance that Israel’s military campaign will further drive the Palestinians of Gaza into Hamas’s arms. Gazans are already there; they were there well before October 7th.

The people of Gaza hated Israeli Jews enough to murder, torture, and rape their way across the peaceful communities of southern Israel. Gazans cannot possibly hate the Jews more than they already do.

Those Palestinians who did not directly engage in acts of depravity and violence still exposed the darkness of their souls by cheering the wickedness wrought by their fathers, brothers, sons, neighbors, and friends. As some of the released hostages have reported, “everyday” Gazans wittingly and actively collaborated in their detention. Hostages reported that Gazans raped and sexually assaulted detainees. We can only assume that many hostages still in captivity are suffering further degradation to include more sexual abuse.

Most Gazans have shown no remorse for the attacks of October 7th. Nor have their supporters around the world displayed any contrition. Gazans seem to be willing to pillage aid deliveries. But, they are not willing to confront Hamas and take their lives back. Why not? Because many Gazans support Hamas, both its hatred and its genocidal intent.

Why Graduate Education in International Relations Could Benefit From Strategic Studies

Michael H. Creswell

In many political science programs with an international relations (IR) or security studies subfield, academic strategists often find themselves on the sidelines, in part due to methodological differences with most of the scholars in these fields. These differences mean that many political science programs with an IR subfield do not have a single faculty member trained as a strategist. Yet, strategists have much to offer to graduate students of IR. Building on Joshua Rovner’s description of the divide between security studies and strategic studies, this article makes the case why the study of strategy will improve graduate education in IR in the United States by identifying the importance of what strategists bring to the table.

What Do Strategists Study and Why Does It Matter?

Strategists are primarily concerned with how wars begin and how to win them. They focus on the relationship between policy, which is the end goal as decided by civilian leaders, and strategy, or the ways and means by which one attempts to reach that goal. Among the first principles of strategy is the vital need to ensure a proper policy-strategy match, as a mismatch can put one at a severe disadvantage, even against a materially weaker opponent. A key ancillary concept of strategy is operations, which is the physical manifestation of those strategic decisions. These elements taken together constitute the foundation stone for strategists.

Hiring a strategist will not duplicate the efforts of a political scientist or a historian or an economist. The strategist differs from these other scholars in a few key areas. While many strategists embrace theory, they generally avoid IR theory. Strategists are instead more practical in their approach: how can we achieve our objective? This difference will force IR students to view the world from another perspective. While strategists rely heavily on history, they differ from historians. The field of history has long been shifting away from traditional diplomatic and military history, even though these subfields remain popular with students. And many of the diplomatic and military historians who remain in academia focus on more recent concerns, such as the environment, race relations, and gender.