12 April 2024

Technological Penetration in Indian Army

The Indian Army is observing the year 2024 as the ‘Year of Technology Absorption’. This theme underscores the Army’s steadfast focus on embracing technology to transform itself so as to keep ahead of adversaries in the context of the evolving character of warfare. The means and end in this regard are visualised under the umbrella of Atmanirbharta.

In an era of uncertainty, the goals of Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) and Make In India would mitigate risks on account of disruption or manipulation of critical supply chains - the kind of challenges that have constrained Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.

The absorption will be mainly in terms of disruptive technology (DT) comprising artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous weapon systems such as drones, sensors, robotics, space technology, and hypersonic weapon systems. Several nations, led by the US and China, have remarkable accomplishments in the field of DTs. The strategic competition and engagements in the future are going to be inevitably decided by the edge a nation possesses in absorbing these technologies.

What are the Different Aspects of Disruptive Technology in the Defence Sector?

  • Disruptive technology refers to innovations that significantly alter the existing landscape of industries or sectors, often rendering previous technologies obsolete and reshaping traditional practices.
  • In the defence sector, disruptive technologies have the potential to revolutionise warfare, redefine military capabilities, and transform the dynamics of national security.
  • Game-Changing Impact: Disruptive technologies have the potential to revolutionise warfare by introducing novel capabilities or approaches that significantly alter the balance of power on the battlefield.
  • Rapid Advancement: They often emerge from rapid advancements in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, cybersecurity, nanotechnology, and biotechnology, leading to exponential improvements in military capabilities.
  • Cost-Efficiency: Disruptive technologies may offer cost-effective solutions compared to traditional systems, enabling militaries to achieve greater effectiveness with reduced resources.

Meet India’s Generation Z

Snigdha Poonam

India changes more in five years than many countries would in a quarter century. This is partly because it is still relatively young: The country gained independence just 76 years ago, and nearly half of its population is under the age of 25. As one would expect, then, much has happened in the five years since 2019, when Indian voters issued an overwhelming mandate to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in power.

America’s Asian allies are trying to Trump-proof their policies

The prime minister of Japan, Kishida Fumio, is keeping a laser-like eye on conflicts around the world—and the implications for his country’s security. If Russia is allowed to prevail in Ukraine, “it will send the wrong signal to Asia,” Mr Kishida told The Economist and other reporters in a wood-panelled room at the Kantei, the prime minister’s office, on April 5th. The desire to strengthen Japan’s security alliance explains why he will be in the White House on April 10th. He will be the fifth leader to be welcomed by Joe Biden, America’s president, for a state dinner. The two leaders are expected to announce measures to deepen defence and security co-operation between their countries.

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, president of the Philippines, another ally, will join Mr Biden and Mr Kishida the following day. American officials tout the gatherings as evidence that its Asian alliances are evolving. What they do not say, but what is implied, is that they are also trying to protect the relationships from the damage Donald Trump could do if he is re-elected.

Myanmar: is the junta’s grip on power weakening and what next for its leadership?

Rebecca Ratcliffe

Myanmar’s military junta is on the brink of losing control of a major trading town, Myawaddy, on its eastern border with Thailand, after soldiers defending the position surrendered in recent days, according to opposition groups.

This is the latest in a series of defeats for the junta, which has also lost crucial territory along its border with China and India, as well as areas of Rakhine state, in the west of the country.

These defeats aren’t just economic or strategic blows for the junta – they’re also a humiliation for the generals. Such developments have been celebrated by the wider pro-democracy movement, and provoked anger among the military ranks, raising questions about how long the junta chief, Min Aung Hlaing, can survive.

Who is fighting against the Myanmar military and why?

The military seized power in a coup three years ago, ousting the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and causing outrage among the public, who took to the streets to protest. The military responded with brutal crackdowns and many civilians took up arms and joined people’s defence forces to fight against junta rule – often with little weaponry or resources.

Some of these groups have received support from older, more experienced ethnic armed organisations that have fought with the military for decades to achieve independence for their people. These group’s specific goals, and the extent to which they are coordinated, varies.

However, the sheer number of different groups fighting the military, across various parts of the country, has left the generals severely overstretched. In a sign of how lacking in manpower the military is, it recently imposed mandatory conscription – a policy that has caused young people to flee military-controlled areas.

America’s Best Friend in Asia

Jeffrey W. Hornung

Alliances are a bit like families: you may not have a favorite member, but there is always one you depend on most. Throughout the Cold War, NATO was the collective ally that the United States depended on most in its global effort to stop Soviet expansionism. But in the twenty-first century, with the growing slate of traditional and nontraditional security issues, many of which center on China, the United States’ new go-to ally is Japan.

Today, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will arrive at the White House for a state visit with U.S. President Joe Biden—the first such visit by a Japanese leader since 2015. The relationship has changed over the past decade but in ways that most Japan analysts could not have envisioned. Japan is now committed to spending close to two percent of its GDP on defense. This increase in funding is helping the country beef up its cybersecurity and acquire counterstrike capabilities to respond to enemy attacks. Japan has authorized the transfer of Patriot missiles to the United States and the export of advanced fighter jets abroad, and it is focusing on areas of national security that the country has long neglected. Altogether, these efforts demonstrate Japan’s determination to do more for its own defense and for the U.S.-Japanese alliance.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-Japanese relationship continues to change and deepen, including by expanding outside Northeast Asia—for example, aligning the foreign policy strategies of the United States and Japan to not just support a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” but to support what both countries now call a free and open international order based on the rule of law. The Biden administration should build on this momentum by elevating the alliance to an even more central status in U.S. strategy. Unlike in Europe, where the United States is one country in the multinational NATO alliance, U.S. alliances in the Indo-Pacific are separate, bilateral partnerships. Historically, this has been referred to as a hub-and-spoke system, in which the United States is the hub to each of its five treaty alliances (Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand), but those alliances, in turn, do not interact.

This structure no longer reflects reality and is a suboptimal way to deal with today’s security landscape. Given the central role Japan plays in U.S. thinking, Washington should seek out new methods of not just cooperating with Japan but leveraging its centrality to U.S. strategy to help promote the security and stability of the greater Indo-Pacific region. It is time to make the U.S.-Japanese alliance the hub of a growing confederation of regional groupings.

Low Expectations for ASEAN’s Handling of Myanmar Crisis

Mark S. Cogan

As Indonesia’s term as ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Chair ended, there was both reservation and alarm at the possibility of Laos serving as its successor. In late 2023, ASEAN moved ahead with a “troika” format, with the previous chair, the current chair, and the next chair (Malaysia) serving to boost Laos’ capacity to perform its duties concerning the crisis in Myanmar, now dragging past its third year. While the first few months of Laos’ term have been unsurprisingly quiet, regional expectations for 2024 have dipped past their already low predecessors. That is highly problematic.

An early January editorial in The Jakarta Post downplayed Laos’ already low diplomatic capital, suggesting it was “unfair to expect major breakthroughs,” but reassured that the troika mechanism would prevent it from violating ASEAN’s joint declaration to keep Myanmar’s junta government in the fold. Furthermore, veteran Thai journalist Kavi Chongkittavorn, writing as a communications advisor for the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), wrote glowingly about Laos’ preparation for its ASEAN Chairmanship, noting it has “proceeded responsibly without any hyperbole” and “one can see a more consultative and collaborative style.”

However, Kavi downplayed the role Laos could play, noting that Lao Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith had said that it would “take a miracle to solve this problem” and that former chairs Brunei and Cambodia should be given credit for laying the groundwork for peace through direct contacts with Myanmar. He also suggested that Thailand’s approach to communication with Myanmar’s State Administration Council (SAC) was “proper and necessary.”

Lifting a bloc of ASEAN states that have consistently endorsed direct engagement with the junta is dangerous, but allowing Laos to slip mildly into the background while Thailand and other states attempt to reinsert an illegitimate junta into the ASEAN fold is much worse. A case in point is the outcome of the recent ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting in northern Laos, where the Five-Point Consensus (5PC), the long-delayed, much-maligned agreement reached back in April 2021 in Jakarta, was pushed to the side, angering members of the National Unity Government (NUG), who have often struggled to be heard. 

China’s Economic Slowdown is Strengthening its Defense Industrial Base

Nathaniel Sher

In 2023, China’s economy grew at the slowest pace since 1990, apart from two years during the COVID-19 pandemic when the country was closed to the outside world. For many observers in the United States, China’s economic woes are a welcome development.

But China’s slowdown masks a worrisome trend under the surface: Beijing is pouring investment into high-tech manufacturing at an accelerating pace. While China’s real estate sector faces pressure, its defense industrial base continues to expand. As a result, China’s new industrial policy could help it narrow the capabilities gap with the United States.

China’s blistering growth over the last couple of decades was destined to slow down. Following the global financial crisis, debt levels in China soared while returns on investment, especially in the property sector, fell. Aware of these imbalances, in 2020, Beijing clamped down on over-leveraged developers by enacting new borrowing limits, also known as the “three red lines.” This policy set off a spiral of falling property prices and investment.

As Beijing deprioritizes the real estate sector, it is doubling down on science, technology, and national defense. In 2023, property investment declined by 9.6 percent, while investment in “high-tech manufacturing” grew by 9.9 percent. Weakness in the property sector is freeing up resources—land, labor, capital, and intermediate inputs—to invest in dual-use sectors. Growth was particularly strong in industries like aviation, electronics, and communication equipment. By next year, the government plans to raise the output of “strategic emerging industries” as a share of GDP from 13 percent to 17 percent.

In January, the Pentagon released the United States’ first National Defense Industrial Strategy, noting that China’s production capacity in sectors like shipbuilding, critical minerals, and microelectronics “vastly exceeds” that of “not just the United States, but the combined output of our key European and Asian allies.” Another report published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies states that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is “acquiring high-end weapons systems and equipment five to six times faster than the United States.” In the event of a prolonged conflict, the United States may be unable to match the speed and scale of China’s weapons procurement.

How to prevent a war over Taiwan

Joseph S. Nye

Might China try to attack Taiwan by 2027? The outgoing chief of the US Indo-Pacific Command, Philip Davidson, thought so in 2021, and he recently reaffirmed his assessment. But whether the United States and China are destined for war over the island is another question. While the danger is real, such an outcome is not inevitable.

China considers Taiwan a renegade province and a remnant of the Chinese civil war of the 1940s. Although US-China relations were normalized in the 1970s, Taiwan remained a point of contention. Nonetheless, a diplomatic formula to paper over disagreement was found: Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait agreed that there was just ‘one China’. For the Americans, refusing to recognize any de jure declaration of independence by Taiwan would ensure that the island’s relationship with the mainland would be settled by negotiation, not force. China, however, never ruled out the use of force.

For years, the US policy was known as ‘strategic ambiguity’, but it could be better described as ‘double deterrence’. The US wanted to deter China from using force, but also to deter Taiwan from provoking Beijing by declaring formal independence. That meant providing Taiwan with weapons for its self-defense, but not issuing a formal security guarantee, since that might tempt Taipei into declaring independence.

Thus, when I visited Beijing in 1995 as an official in the Clinton administration and was asked whether the US would really risk war to defend Taiwan, I replied that it was possible, though no one could be sure. I pointed out that in 1950, US Secretary of State Dean Acheson had declared Korea to be outside our defense perimeter; yet within the year, Chinese and Americans were killing each other on the Korean Peninsula. The lesson of history was that China should not take the risk.

The next year, after I had left government, I was asked to join a bipartisan group of former officials to visit Taiwan. We met with President Chen Shui-bian, whose previous ‘unofficial’ visit to the US had caused a crisis in which China fired missiles into the sea and the US deployed carriers off the coast of Taiwan. We warned Chen that if he declared independence, he could not count on American support. Such was ‘strategic ambiguity’.

China's Expansive Frontier: The rise of dual-purpose settlements in Tibet


1. Introduction

Border settlements, a tactic frequently used in territorial disputes, have often been discussed in the context of China’s developments along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India. However, this strategy is not exclusive to this region and has been observed in other disputed areas in Georgia, the Arctic, and Antarctica. The history, cultural diversity, and modern geopolitical considerations surrounding border settlements’ evolution and strategic significance make for a fascinating and multifaceted narrative.

Border settlements have existed for centuries and emerged along ancient trade routes, pilgrimage paths, and strategic locations. They were established by various groups, including indigenous communities, rulers, merchants, and religious leaders, during different historical periods. These settlements played a vital role in defense and communication, serving as early warning systems against invasions. They also facilitated cross-border trade, cultural exchanges, and diplomatic interactions. As time passed, these settlements became melting pots of diverse cultures, hosting people from different ethnic backgrounds, languages, and traditions. This cultural diversity is reflected in each village’s unique folklore, festivals, and rituals.

1.1 China’s border settlements

Rapid construction activities, especially settlements in recent times, have occurred for various reasons related to its disputed territorial claims with neighboring countries. While the Chinese Communist Party initially presented these settlements as part of its poverty alleviation campaign, they also played an essential role in national security. The settlements are established to strengthen surveillance and security, assert territorial claims, maintain a civilian presence as a deterrent, support military operations, encourage Chinese citizens to work in ethnic minority populations, and promote economic development in remote areas.

The Messy Battlespace That Would Be a U.S. vs. China War

James Holmes

It’s a truism that the Pacific is an amphibian theater. Just look at your map and behold! the oceanic region’s majestic vacantness. That being the case, it takes amphibian forces to seize, hold, and defend terrain, chiefly though not exclusively along Asia’s first offshore island chain. Warfare in the Pacific promises to be an all-service, all-domain, and allied endeavor. Waging it will demand the utmost not just from naval forces but from fellow services that operate from dry earth.

No Pacific war will be a strictly naval war.

In fact, armies and air forces are sea services as surely as navies and marines are. So it was during World War II, when legendary U.S. Army general Douglas MacArthur commanded one of the twin offensives island-hopping toward the Philippines and imperial Japan. So it is again. Residents of the Pacific enjoyed a few quiescent decades after the Cold War. Now, though, a domineering China and its crummy little toadies Russia and North Korea have stormed back onto the Asian geopolitical scene. Their power and ambition mark a return to the region’s martial past—including at sea.

That’s where we find ourselves. What to do? Well, holding land features in the Western Pacific is an intrinsic good in itself. The first island chain is made up entirely of U.S. allies, notably Japan and the Philippines, and of quasi-allies such as Taiwan. Holding territory upholds friends’ sovereignty.

Island-chain defense is of the essence on those terms alone.

Beyond that, though, islands make excellent firing platforms. Holding ground opens up offensive vistas for allied forces. Think about it. Bodies of missile-armed troops on Asian islands could work with aircraft roaming overhead, and with surface and subsurface craft prowling adjoining waters, to make waters and skies along the island chain into a no-go zone. Close the straits that separate the islands comprising the island chain and you bar access to the Western Pacific for China’s air force, navy, and merchant fleet.

How to Prevent a War Over Taiwan


Might China try to attack Taiwan by 2027? The outgoing chief of the US Indo-Pacific Command, Philip Davidson, thought so in 2021, and he recently reaffirmed his assessment. But whether the United States and China are destined for war over the island is another question. While the danger is real, such an outcome is not inevitable.

China considers Taiwan a renegade province and a remnant of the Chinese civil war of the 1940s. Although US-China relations were normalized in the 1970s, Taiwan remained a point of contention. Nonetheless, a diplomatic formula to paper over disagreement was found: Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait agreed that there was just “one China.” For the Americans, refusing to recognize any de jure declaration of independence by Taiwan would ensure that the island’s relationship with the mainland would be settled by negotiation, not force. China, however, never ruled out the use of force.

For years, the US policy was known as “strategic ambiguity,” but it could be better described as “double deterrence.” The US wanted to deter China from using force, but also to deter Taiwan from provoking Beijing by declaring formal independence. That meant providing Taiwan with weapons for its self-defense, but not issuing a formal security guarantee, since that might tempt Taipei into declaring independence.

Why Iran Fears A War With America Or Israel

Julian McBride

The Islamic Republic of Iran is currently engaged in a long-standing conflict against both Israel and the United States. Against the backdrop of the Islamic Revolution, the new ruling theocracy would declare a fatwa and call to arms against the West and Israel, which the Mullahs see as their primary obstacle to exporting their theocratic power across the region.

However, after four decades of strict Islamic laws, public flogging, thousands of executions, and nationwide protests, the Mullahs are even more unpopular than ever. Facing a socioeconomic recession, multiple separatist movements, hostile neighbors, and brewing conflicts in the region, the ruling Mullahs face a crossroads over a potential direct war with Israel or America.

Current State of Iran

Taking power from the Pahlavi Dynasty of Iran, the current goal of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini and his ruling clerics was to export their theocratic influence across the Middle East.

The resulting policies put the now Islamic Republic in direct conflict with countries such as Iraq, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, the IRGC, which is the Mullahs’ personal army, would directly create Hezbollah to solidify their hold over a war-battered Lebanon.

Other regional militant groups, such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Ansar Allah, and the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, would all be directly supported with funds and training from the IRGC. These factions have either attacked US Forces or allied partners in the Middle East over the past several decades.

Despite a growing regional network, the Islamic Republic is experiencing a blowback inside the country. Periods of nationwide protests continue to take place every several years that continue to gain unwanted international attention that the Mullahs attempt to avoid.

Economic turmoil continues to hamper Iran’s progress, and instead of addressing socioeconomic conditions, Tehran continues unpopular international operations.

The Greater Middle East is a ticking time bomb


Generations in war-wracked Palestine, Syria, and Yemen have little, if anything, to look forward to. Moreover, discontent is mounting and could explode anytime in countries like Jordan, Egypt, and Iran.

Palestine is a pressure cooker. Gazan youth has known little else than two decades of wars and siege. Beyond the trauma of the latest six-month-old war, Gaza’s next generation is likely to experience at least a decade of a slow rebuilding of their lives that were shattered at birth.

Furthermore, Palestine threatens to be the lightning rod for widespread social, economic, and political discontent and the translation into militancy of despair and perceived double standards of not only the West but also their rulers.

As a result, the question is not if but when and how simmering frustration and anger will boil over.

“The Gaza war is stirring up every radical movement across the Middle East. Its recruitment potential against the US and Israel is enormous & will have repercussions for decades,” tweeted Middle East scholar Joshua Landis.

Mr. Landis noted that Osama Bin Laden first conceived of the 11 September 2001 Al Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington in 1982 when he watched US-built F-16 fighter jets carpet bomb Beirut during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

For now, much of the threat of renewed revolts and militancy may be more bluster than real.

Iranian-backed Iraqi militants asserted that they stood ready to arm 12,000 fighters of the Islamic Resistance in Jordan that would open a new front against Israel.

Abu Ali al-Askari, a Kataib Hezbollah security official, suggested Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s assessment that all Jordanian militants needed was access to weapons inspired the offer.

Ending Congo’s Forever War


Violence is once again surging in Africa’s volatile Great Lakes region. This month marks the 30th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide that left 800,000 people dead and another two million displaced. These refugees fled into the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which became the epicenter of an increasingly intractable conflict – what some now call Africa’s Thirty Years’ War.

Since the ouster of the kleptocratic dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in 1997, successive DRC governments have been unable to secure the country’s borders and govern large areas in its east, where about six million people have been killed and another seven million internally displaced. The lawlessness of this vast territory has enabled local and foreign-backed forces’ systemic looting – especially in recent years – of the DRC’s large deposits of cobalt, coltan, copper, gold, diamonds, and other minerals.

African regional bodies, external powers, and the United Nations – which has deployed peacekeeping missions in the DRC for 25 years – have failed to curb the violence. To prevent an escalation, and ultimately end the conflict, the DRC’s domestic, regional, and international interlocutors must understand the complex dynamics at work.

At the heart of the current crisis are severe tensions between the DRC and Rwanda, whose autocratic president, Paul Kagame, is expected to extend his almost quarter-century rule in July’s election. Kagame has accused the DRC government of supporting genocidal Hutu militias, seeking to expel Congolese Tutsis, and refusing to negotiate an end to the fighting. The DRC, meanwhile, has rejected talks with the March 23 Movement (M23), a Rwanda-backed rebel group in eastern Congo, and called on Kagame to withdraw Rwandan troops from the DRC and demobilize the M23.

Neighboring Uganda and Burundi have played a more ambiguous role in the conflict. Both are accused (as is Rwanda) of smuggling gold and other resources out of the DRC. But, despite its uneasy truce with Rwanda, the Ugandan government has launched a joint operation with the DRC against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Islamic extremist group operating in both countries. Burundi has accused Rwanda of supporting Burundian rebels in eastern Congo and recently sent troops to the region under a bilateral agreement with the DRC government.

How Patriot proved itself in Ukraine and secured a fresh future

Jen Judson

In the dead of night in May, Russia launched a Kinzhal hypersonic missile at the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

The air-launched weapon can reach speeds up to Mach 10, which equates to about 7,700 mph.

Less than a month earlier, the U.S. had sent a Patriot air defense system to Ukraine to help it fend off the barrage of complex missiles Russia was using. But the system had never proved itself against a missile like the Kinzhal.

Even so, the Patriot system blocked the incoming missile, defusing the weapon and several others, according to U.S. officials.

Since then, the Patriot system has continued to successfully intercept a wide range of Russian weaponry. It has shot down Russian aircraft like Su-34 fighters flying nearly 100 miles away, and intercepted missiles as far as 130 miles away, according to Oleksandr Musiienko, head of the Kyiv-based nongovernmental organization the Center for Military and Legal Studies.

A Russian Air Force MiG-31K jet carries the high-precision hypersonic missile Kh-47M2 Kinzhal during the Victory Day military parade. 

The success of the RTX-made Patriot system in Ukraine comes as the U.S. Army aims to replace the Patriot with an integrated air and missile defense system better able to connect with other equipment on the battlefield and equipped with a more capable radar.

Joe Biden may be forcing Israel to finish off Hamas in Tehran instead of Rafah


Winning is not a difficult concept, except when it comes to President Joe Biden and his national security team.

Led astray by national security advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Biden is thinking short-sightedly in terms of strategic ties. In doing so, he is setting up the U.S. and its allies for completely avoidable losses.

In Ukraine, his has been a dangerously half-hearted approach to countering our country’s enemies. Instead of equipping Ukraine to win, the Biden administration has piecemealed weapons and munitions, transforming a once-winnable conflict into a “forever war.”

Now, Biden is doing it again in the Middle East. During a telephone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last Thursday, the president essentially demanded that the Israel Defense Forces capitulate to Hamas in the wake of the deaths of seven aid workers in Gaza who were killed in an Israeli airstrike.

On Saturday night, Israel abruptly withdrew its ground forces from Southern Gaza. The White House seemingly got what it wanted.

Or did it?

Former President Barack Obama once said of Biden, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f— things up.” And Biden, more likely than not, just seriously messed things up in the Middle East. Indeed, the second- and third-order effects of Biden’s decisions have escalated conflicts throughout Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

Israel views this conflict as existential and is therefore unlikely to back down. Thus Biden, in pressuring Israel to draw back from Hamas, may prod it into taking the fight directly to the source: Iran. Israel’s war cabinet is probably already recalibrating with this withdrawal. Hamas was the wolf closest to the gates of Jerusalem, but the source of the current chaos has always been Iran, and by extension its proxy, Hezbollah.

The Widening Willpower Gap

Connor Fiddler

On an unusually warm October day in 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt took center stage to dedicate the new Outer Drive Bridge in Chicago. As Roosevelt spoke, Benito Mussolini’s Italy was consolidating its conquest of Ethiopia, Nazi Germany was drafting its plans for continental domination, and Imperial Japanese troops were marching through Beijing. Roosevelt announced that “it seems to be unfortunately true that the epidemic of world lawlessness is spreading. [And] when an epidemic of physical disease starts to spread, the community approves and joins in a quarantine of the patients...” Despite Roosevelt’s call to “quarantine” the aggressive countries, the United States failed to take decisive action.

Writing in 1937, Walter Lippman observed, “The fascist powers, though potentially weaker than the rest of us, are in fact stronger, because they have the will to fight for what they want and we do not have it.” The failure of the allied powers to provide early, unified, and resolute involvement against the fascist countries emboldened their aggression and resulted in a world war. Like in 1937, the United States and its allies are failing to muster enough willpower to match their adversaries.

What Makes a Country Powerful?

From university lecture halls to Pentagon conference rooms, assessments of national power usually focus on easily measurable economic, military, and political indicators. A nation’s GDP, average national income, annual defense spending, total ship numbers, research and development investment, and number of treaty allies can all factor into a nation’s gross power. In any rivalry, the comparative measurements of economic, military, and political power will be critical in determining the victor. However, gross national power can only tell part of the story. Willpower needs to be accepted as a category of national power.

Willpower can be defined as the combination of strategy and sustained determination in its implementation. The countries with the highest degree of willpower tend to be those countries that seek revision of and dominance over the international system. In the modern context, those nations are the leading authoritarian powers that desire to end American preponderance. They strive for a world safe for authoritarianism. Building that world requires strategic initiative, decisive action, and aggressive tactics.

No Substitute for Victory

Matt Pottinger and Mike Gallagher

Amid a presidency beset by failures of deterrence—in Afghanistan, Ukraine, and the Middle East—the Biden administration’s China policy has stood out as a relative bright spot. The administration has strengthened U.S. alliances in Asia, restricted Chinese access to critical U.S. technologies, and endorsed the bipartisan mood for competition. Yet the administration is squandering these early gains by falling into a familiar trap: prioritizing a short-term thaw with China’s leaders at the expense of a long-term victory over their malevolent strategy. The Biden team’s policy of “managing competition” with Beijing risks emphasizing processes over outcomes, bilateral stability at the expense of global security, and diplomatic initiatives that aim for cooperation but generate only complacency.

The United States shouldn’t manage the competition with China; it should win it. Beijing is pursuing a raft of global initiatives designed to disintegrate the West and usher in an antidemocratic order. It is underwriting expansionist dictatorships in Russia, Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela. It has more than doubled its nuclear arsenal since 2020 and is building up its conventional forces faster than any country has since World War II. These actions show that China isn’t aiming for a stalemate. Neither should America.

What would winning look like? China’s communist rulers would give up trying to prevail in a hot or cold conflict with the United States and its friends. And the Chinese people—from ruling elites to everyday citizens—would find inspiration to explore new models of development and governance that don’t rely on repression at home and compulsive hostility abroad.

In addition to having greater clarity about its end goal, the United States needs to accept that achieving it will require greater friction in U.S.-Chinese relations. Washington will need to adopt rhetoric and policies that may feel uncomfortably confrontational but in fact are necessary to reestablish boundaries that Beijing and its acolytes are violating. That means imposing costs on Chinese leader Xi Jinping for his policy of fostering global chaos. It means speaking with candor about the ways China is hurting U.S. interests. It means rapidly increasing U.S. defense capabilities to achieve unmistakable qualitative advantages over Beijing. It means severing China’s access to Western technology and frustrating Xi’s efforts to convert his country’s wealth into military power. And it means pursuing intensive diplomacy with Beijing only from a position of American strength, as perceived by both Washington and Beijing.

How a Culture Shift in the Israeli Military Helps Explain Gaza’s Death Toll

Yagil Levy

The Israeli attack on a humanitarian convoy in Gaza in early April that killed seven aid workers with the U.S.-based aid group World Central Kitchen has ignited a fierce global backlash against Israel’s policies of engagement in the territory. The attack involved the successive firing of three missiles at three vehicles, driven by suspicions of a Hamas combatant’s presence within the convoy, according to reports.

Ukraine’s Cheap Drones Are Decimating Russia’s Tanks

Jack Detsch

More than two-thirds of the Russian tanks that Ukraine’s military has destroyed in recent months have been taken out using first-person-view (FPV) drones, a NATO official told Foreign Policy, an increasing sign of Kyiv’s reliance on the unpiloted aircraft as it awaits more artillery ammunition from the United States and other Western countries.

Europe Needs More Funds For Defence As Wider War ‘No Longer A Fantasy’, Borrell Warns

Alexandra Brzozowski

A full-scale conflict in Europe is “no longer a fantasy” and Europeans must find new ways to financially prepare for a potentially wider war on the continent, the EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell warned on Tuesday (9 April).

“War is certainly looming around us (…), and a high-intensity, conventional war in Europe is no longer a fantasy”,” Borrell said in a speech at an economic forum in Brussels.

“Russia threatens Europe” through its war in Ukraine and hybrid attacks on EU member states, he added.

“It [the war] is not going to start tomorrow, but we cannot deny reality,” he said in the most explicit comments to date.

His comments come after several European military chiefs have recently issued warnings of Russia potentially trying to undermine NATO in the coming decade.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, Europeans have reversed decades of cutting back defence spending and stepped up plans to boost their defence industrial production capacity.

However, European efforts to increase weapons deliveries to Ukraine and re-arm their domestic military forces have only slowly begun to gain traction, with the most sensitive issue being the future financing of more defence investments.

“EU member states created a [European] Defence Agency but did not finance it,” Borrell said, adding that the body is needed due to the “duality between those who have knowledge about weapons and have been making reports for years to which no one paid attention.”

The Black Market That Delivers Elon Musk’s Starlink to U.S. Foes

Thomas Grove, Nicholas Bariyo, Micah Maidenberg, Emma Scott and Ian Lovett

A salesman at Moscow-based online retailer shopozz.ru has supplemented his usual business of peddling vacuum cleaners and dashboard phone mounts by selling dozens of Starlink internet terminals that wound up with Russians on the front lines in Ukraine.

Although Russia has banned the use of Starlink, the satellite-internet service developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, middlemen have proliferated in recent months to buy the user terminals and ship them to Russian forces. That has eroded a battlefield advantage once enjoyed by Ukrainian forces, which also rely on the cutting-edge devices.

The Moscow salesman, who in an interview identified himself only as Oleg, said that most of his orders came from “the new territories”—a reference to Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine—or were “for use by the military.” He said volunteers delivered the equipment to Russian soldiers in Ukraine.

On battlefields from Ukraine to Sudan, Starlink provides immediate and largely secure access to the internet. Besides solving the age-old problem of effective communications between troops and their commanders, Starlink provides a way to control drones and other advanced technologies that have become a critical part of modern warfare.

The proliferation of the easy-to-activate hardware has thrust SpaceX into the messy geopolitics of war. The company has the ability to limit Starlink access by “geofencing,” making the service unavailable in specific countries and locations, as well as through the power to deactivate individual devices.

Russia and China don’t allow the use of Starlink technology because it could undermine state control of information, and due to general suspicions of U.S. technology. Musk has said on X that to the best of his knowledge, no terminals had been sold directly or indirectly to Russia, and that the terminals wouldn’t work inside Russia.

Jamie Dimon, who said the $34 trillion national debt was pushing U.S. off a 'cliff,' insists it’s ’vital’ to boost military spending


Every time he sees the American flag, he wrote to shareholders, “it reminds me of the values and virtues of this country and its founding principles conceived in liberty.” The particular values he’s emphasizing: more military spending to ensure America’s world leadership, diversity, equality and inclusion initiatives, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, more growth for banks.

After securing the helm of JPMorgan Chase as CEO 20 years ago, Dimon has been adding “national thought leader” to the list of roles he dabbles in as a financial boss. He’s had private talks on the economy with former presidential candidate Nikki Haley, although whether he actually has politician dreams is yet to be known.

In his letter, Dimon took a stance on America’s position as a global leader right off the bat. “The terrible ongoing war and violence in the Middle East and Ukraine,” and “growing geopolitical tensions, importantly in China,” he wrote, are challenging America’s global leadership role, which he said is further undermined by the U.S.’ political polarization.

While he notes the country’s economy continues to be resilient, marked by consumers still spending, the economy is being fueled by large amounts of “government deficit spending and past stimulus.” But as unwelcome as that spending is, he wrote, it will need to increase as global supply chains are restructured (as seen in the drop in oil production after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine) and as the country transitions to a greener economy.

Despite his earlier criticism of government spending—he has called the debt a “cliff” and warned of a stock-market “rebellion” over government debt, Dimon identifies one key area he says needs a boost—military expenditures. The ongoing wars have “the potential to disrupt energy and food markets, migration, and military and economic relationships, in addition to their dreadful human cost,” he writes.

The fallout from these wars, he writes, “should also lay to rest the idea that America can stand alone,” adding that “global peace and order are vital to American interests.” To that effect, Dimon says America needs to lead with one of its biggest strengths: military spending.

Benjamin Netanyahu is Playing with Fire

Dov S. Zakheim

“There is no greater commandment than the redemption of captives.” Thus states the authoritative Code of Jewish Law. The injunctions of his religion have cut no ice with Benjamin Netanyahu, however. Neither have the thousands protesting his refusal to prioritize the release of the approximately 130 hostages still held in captivity by the Hamas thugs. Instead, Netanyahu has only given vapid lip service to the importance of releasing the hostages while arguing that only a complete Israeli victory over Hamas will lead to their freedom.

To that end, he continues to assert that he will order the Israeli Defense Forces to attack Rafah, and with Ramadan at an end, that assault could come in a matter of days. That such an operation will automatically result in the freeing of the hostages is highly problematic, for as the veteran negotiator Gershon Baskin has pointed out, it could well lead to the death of many hostages if not most of them.

Netanyahu’s indifference to the fate of the hostages is matched only by his resistance to President Joe Biden’s entreaties and those of Secretary of State Tony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan that Israel first develops a credible plan to relocate the more than a million Palestinians who have fled to Rafah and its immediate environs from their own devastated towns. When they met virtually with their American counterparts, the Israelis, who were led by Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi, claimed that Israel could implement a relocation plan in a matter of a few weeks. Their assertion met with considerable skepticism on the part of their American interlocutors, led by Sullivan himself. And rightly so. Neither Dermer, whose claim to fame is as a political operative rather than as a strategic analyst nor Hanegbi, a long-time leader of the settler movement who has never evinced any concern for Palestinians, ever actually outlined how Israel might implement the four-week plan.

Media Plays The Misinformation Game Once More – OpEd

Andrew Moran

Purveyors of censorship activities enjoy tossing around two terms: misinformation and disinformation. World leaders, from President Joe Biden to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, routinely spout these words to dismiss legitimate criticisms of progressive orthodoxy or statist endeavors. A Google Trends search shows these 14-letter words have ballooned in popularity since 2020. And yet, despite the near rampant proliferation of falsities committed by the legacy media, it is social media that bears the brunt of criticism.

X, Influencers, and Misinformation

Over the past decade, reports have verified cozy relationships between social media juggernauts and governments. From The Twitter Files to The Facebook Files, Washington maintained intimate relationships with Big Tech to clamp down on speech, rein in dissenting voices, and censor unapproved content, be it opinion, news reports, or memes. Then billionaire Elon Musk came along, upsetting the digital order by acquiring Twitter, transforming it into X, and ensuring the de facto public town square remained open to a treasure trove of diverse opinions.

The Fourth Estate will seemingly never forgive Musk for committing the cardinal sin of granting users a level blue checkmark playing field with journalists espousing the three-by-five card of allowable opinion. This is apparent in the bombardment of Musk-related news coverage, such as his SpaceX rockets or the supposed rise of hate speech on the X platform. The Leviathan’s tentacles in the mainstream media are now attempting to fire off the misinformation bullets and disinformation missiles to encourage voters to reject information disseminated on Musk’s web portal.

The Associated Press published a riveting Apr. 6 article titled “Anonymous users are dominating right-wing discussions online. They also spread false information.” The piece started by reporting a false X post that claimed 220,731 illegal immigrants have registered to vote in Arizona since January 1, 2024, which garnered a quote tweet from Musk. It then grilled conservative accounts and influencers that have enjoyed a “meteoric rise” to stardom for serving as “alternative information sources.” But here is what perturbed the newswire: