13 April 2024

How China Duped RCEP For Dumping, Despite India Withdrawing From Trade Block – Analysis

Subrata Majumder

With the launching of RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership), China made a bold entry into India, despite India withdrawing from the trade lock. This means, India failed to foil Chinese dumping of goods. China made a backdoor entry into India through ASEAN – a close trade ally of China, which holds a lion share in intra-RCEP trade. ASEAN accounted for one third of intra-RCEP trade.

RCEP includes 15 countries – ASEAN 10 plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. It was ratified in January 2022.

India withdrew from RCEP, fearing China’s predatory entry in India’s large market and damaging domestic manufacturing.

The fallacy lies with India’s substantial imports from ASEAN with the onset of RCEP. It is believed that China dumped goods in India en route through ASEAN.

During 2020-21 to 2022-23, India’s imports from ASEAN increased by 84.6 percent. Much of these increases were due to large imports of electronic and electrical goods (HS : 84 &85). Imports of these items increased by 39.8 percent during the two years period – from US $ 12, 104.3 million in 2020-21 to 17,559.9 million in 2022-23.

Paradoxically, in the preceding two years, imports of electrical and electronic goods from ASEAN declined. During 2018-19 to 2019-20, imports declined by 0.9 percent – from US$ 14,496.8 million in 2018-19 to US$ 14,365.9 million in 2019-20.

Parallel to this trend, ASEAN imports of similar electrical and electronic goods from China spurred during the same period. They increased by 34 percent during 2020 to 2022

Memory Of Rabindranath Tagore To Help Bridge Sino-India Gap – Analysis

P. K. Balachandran

China to celebrate centenary of Tagore’s 1924 visit in collaboration with Santiniketan

India and China have been antagonistic since the late 1950s. The Chinese invasion of India in 1962, the border clashes of 2020, retaliatory sanctions against Chinese mobile products, restrictions on the learning of the Chinese language, have made rapprochement seem impossible.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel.

In his interview to Newsweek, which is the first to be given to a US magazine in the recent past, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that for India, the relationship with China is important and significant.

“It is my belief that we need to urgently address the prolonged situation on our borders so that the abnormality in our bilateral interactions can be put behind us. Stable and peaceful relations between India and China are important for not just our two countries but the entire region and world,” he said.

The Chinese Foreign ministry spokesperson Mao said the boundary question “does not represent the entirety of the India-China relations. It should be placed appropriately in the bilateral relations and managed properly. The two sides are in close communication through diplomatic and military channels,” she said.

“We hope India will work in the same direction with China, handle the bilateral relations from the strategic heights and long-term perspective, enhance mutual trust, stick to dialogue and cooperation, handle differences properly and put the bilateral relations forward on sound and stable track, she said.

China-India-US power balance at stake in 2 elections


Two elections this year may shift the triangular balance of power among China, India and the US.

Indian prime minister Narenda Modi is expected to be returned to power after the Indian elections, which run from April 19 to June 1. Modi has woven a close relationship with Donald Trump, who is seeking re-election as US president in November.

Modi established a strong relationship with Trump during his first presidency. Both men have strong nationalistic credentials, possess larger-than-life personas and focus on immigration policies. If both Trump and Modi ascend to power, India-US ties are likely to be stronger than ever.

Meanwhile, the China-US relationship is not doing well. Trump’s tariffs that continued throughout Biden’s presidency may be ramped up if Trump returns to the White House. In an interview with Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures, Trump announced that if he is re-elected, tariffs on Chinese goods will exceed 60%.

But that’s not all. Trump intends to reduce US dependency on the Chinese economy further by
Moreover, since Trump had banned US firms from investing in Chinese companies that might compromise US security during his first presidency, it is likely that he would do the same during his second administration.

In Eid Message, Taliban Leader Lashes out at Critics in the International Community

Catherine Putz

Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada reportedly emerged on Wednesday for a rare public address marking the end of Ramadan in which he pushed back on international criticism.

Government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Akhundzada delivered the speech at the largest mosque in Kandahar to a crowd of thousands. Most attendees at the Eid al-Fitr service, however, were unable to see Akhundzada, as a source for the AFP reported. They heard his 35-minute address over loudspeakers.

The Taliban’s leader exists behind layers of security and is often referred to as “reclusive”; there is reportedly only one photograph of him.

In the address, which was also aired by the state-run radio station, Akhundzada railed against the Taliban’s critics.

“If anyone has any issues with us, we are open to resolving them, but we will never compromise on our principles or Islam,” he said, according to a report from VOA.

Akhundzada said countries that participated in the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan were still attacking the country with “propaganda” and “evil tactics.”

“They blame your leaders, claiming they are incapable of governing the country. Don’t let these infidels mislead you,” he said. “Stay vigilant and be mindful of their deceitful tactics. Their ultimate goal is to see us fail.”

The Taliban Have Restored Barbarism to Afghanistan - Opinion

Sadanand Dhume

Nearly three years after the Taliban retook Kabul, they plan to resume the brutal practice of stoning women for adultery. “You say it’s a violation of women’s rights when we stone them to death,” Taliban supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada said in a March audio message aired on state television, apparently directed at Western critics. “But we will soon implement the punishment for adultery. . . . We both say we defend human rights—we do it as God’s representative and you as the devil’s.”

The return of barbarism to Afghanistan shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with the Taliban’s strict interpretation of Shariah. Since returning to power, the Taliban have brought back public executions, banned girls from attending school beyond sixth grade, and carried out hundreds of public floggings. Nonetheless, the Taliban 2.0—like the Taliban 1.0, which ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001—offer lessons to the West.

First, their actions expose the naiveté of Western analysts who argued that the Taliban would be more moderate the second time around. Except for reluctantly accepting television and the internet as unavoidable aspects of 21st-century life, they appear as committed as ever to instituting its archaic and bleak vision of Allah’s law on earth.

In a phone interview from London, Tamim Asey, a former Afghan deputy defense minister who now heads the Afghanistan-focused Institute of War and Peace Studies, says the Taliban are “involved in a state-building exercise, the likes of which you have never seen in the Islamic world. They say they are going to establish the purest Islamic system. They view all other Islamic countries as under the influence of infidels.”

Unlike the Islamic State at its peak, the Taliban have failed so far to draw large numbers of Arab and European Muslims to their cause. But as long as a corner of our planet remains home to a radical jihadist experiment, the potential for attracting adherents in other countries remains.

Southeast Asians Don’t Really Care About the Myanmar Crisis

David Hutt

The ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute’s annual State of Southeast Asian survey dropped last week, heady times for an overstretched columnist. Not so positive, however, if you’re busy battling a barbarous military junta and are looking around for a bit of moral support from your fellow Southeast Asians.

Let’s turn to page 16 of the survey report. Question 7 asked, “Which of the following current geopolitical events are the top concerns for the government in your country?” As a regional average, only 26.6 percent of the respondents said the crisis in Myanmar was one of the three main concerns, putting it fourth-last, after the 2024 U.S. presidential elections, the implications arising from the 2024 Taiwan elections, and North Korea’s continued ballistic missile testing.

A slight digression. This is bizarre. The three geopolitical issues that Southeast Asian “elites” – four-fifths of the respondents have a bachelor’s degree or higher – think their governments are least concerned about are the threat that a maniac in North Korea will start a nuclear war; the threat that China might invade Taiwan and unleash an Indo-Pacific war; and the threat that Donald Trump will be re-elected president in November and introduce a neo-isolationist policy in Washington that would scupper an international order that has allowed Southeast Asia to go from famine to feast. Granted, the options weren’t spelt out to the respondents in that way, but a right-thinking, educated “elite” has to at least infer some of these potential outcomes.

Anyway, back to Myanmar. As stated, only around a quarter of all Southeast Asian respondents reckon that the Myanmar crisis is a top-three geopolitical concern of their governments. Admittedly, 41 percent of Thais thought it was a top-three concern, although even that seems low considering how much space the Myanmar crisis now occupies in Bangkok’s diplomacy. Just 12 percent of Laotians and less than a fifth of Cambodians thought it was a top-three priority despite their countries suffering some of the negative effects of the conflict, not least the flood of ever-cheaper drugs from Myanmar’s conflict zones.

The Islamic State in Khorasan Province: Exploiting a Counterterrorism Gap

Tricia Bacon

Last month, after four gunmen attacked Crocus City Hall in Moscow, killing more than 150 people, all eyes turned to the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP), the Islamic State’s so-called province based in Afghanistan. Soon thereafter, the Islamic State core claimed responsibility for the attack while ISKP heralded it without directly claiming it. Despite this ambiguity, ISKP has emerged as the most likely culprit. Unfortunately, the attack in Moscow not only represents an expansion in the group’s transnational capability, but it also highlights the difficulties countering the organization.

In an international environment replete with conflict and competition, ISKP should, in theory, be a rare opportunity for international counterterrorism cooperation. With transnational membership and ambitions, ISKP is a threat to all governments in the region, including the Taliban regime, Pakistan, Iran, Central Asian states, and India. Most of its attacks since its emergence in 2015 have been in Afghanistan and, to a lesser extent, in Pakistan, but the group—as well as/along with Islamic State core—has also conducted multiple attacks in Iran in recent years. To date, it has only launched small-scale attacks in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, but it encourages violence there as well as in India. It is also an international threat. It has been behind multiple plots in Europe, and it seeks to develop the capability to strike in the United States as well as attack the United States’ strategic competitors, both China and Russia.

Though it is easy to dismiss Moscow’s false claims that the West and Ukraine supported the attack in Moscow last month, Russian president Vladmir Putin’s response reflects a broader problem with counterterrorism efforts against the group. Counterterrorism, particularly against the Islamic State, was once an area of cooperation even between countries with broader tensions. There was even a Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. But in the current environment, governments increasingly view terrorist threats, particularly the threat from ISKP, through the lens of conspiracies and competition, rather than as a common problem.

America's Greatest Enemy Isn't China or Russia: Its $35 Trillion In Debt

Brandon J. Weichert

In the 2012 film Prometheus, a prequel to Ridley Scott’s 1979 hit Alien, one of the lead characters, Michael Fassbender, looks upon an embryo of the iconic monster and quips, “Big things have small beginnings.”

One could say the same thing about the rising economic and financial trading bloc, loosely known as the BRICS bloc.

BRICS is short for “Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.” The term can find its roots in a 2001 Goldman Sachs report about the economy of the developing world. Many in the West have poo-pooed the term and the very notion that this budding economic alliance is anything but a gigantic show for the leaders of those countries to look like statesmen.

Yet, just as with the embryonic alien monster in Prometheus, the BRICS bloc has moved from a mere theory in the minds of turn-of-the-21st-century Wall Streeters and is slowly growing into a financial dagger aimed at the heart of the U.S.-led economic system.

America is the Beating Heart of the Global Economy

Americans secured a position at the center of international trade by the middle of the twentieth century.

After the First World War, the United States became a net creditor for the rest of the depleted world’s powers. Again, by the end of the Second World War, as Peter Hitchens documents in his masterful book The Phoney Victory: The World War II Illusion, Washington had spent much time erasing the British Empire’s once-dominant position atop the world economy.

How China is Hacking America

Sean O'Driscoll

The sheer scale of China's latest attempt to infiltrate U.S. infrastructure has surprised the entire cybersecurity industry, an expert has said.

Daniel Cuthbert, who sat on the UK Government Cyber Security Advisory Board, said the Volt Typhoon hacking system is bigger than anything China has unleashed before.

The U.S. government says it is designed to cripple U.S. computer systems if America and China go to war.

FBI Director Christopher Wray told a U.S. committee hearing on January 31 that Volt Typhoon was "the defining threat of our generation".

It has already been used in attempted hacking on emergency services, military installations and satellites.

"In essence, Volt Typhoon is a campaign, albeit a very large one, by Chinese state agents actively gaining access to industrial control systems and other critical national infrastructure," Cuthbert told Newsweek.


"Similar campaigns have been happening for a very long time, but I think what has surprised many, including myself, was the sheer scale of the campaign."

Cuthbert said it was a mistake to think that China was only targeting the U.S.

American CEOs overlook China risk at their own peril

Jonathan Ward

In late March on Capitol Hill, the commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Adm. John C. Aquilino, warned congressional leaders in clear terms of the growing military threat from the People’s Republic of China.

He emphasized that Beijing "has continued the most extensive and rapid [military] buildup since World War II." His words should have had clear and forceful impact across the United States, not only in the halls of Congress and around American dinner tables, but also in our C-suites and boards where American business leaders make decisions that will determine the future strength and security of the U.S. economy – and by extension, the future of our military power.

A week after Adm. Aquilino and other national defense leaders laid out a vivid update to the military challenge from China, American business leaders gathered in Beijing at the China Development Forum to explore further investment and expansion in the China market.

There, American and European corporate leaders in a variety of strategic industries, including energy, pharmaceuticals, industrials, finance, and technology, met with Chinese Communist Party officials, including for some, a meeting with Chinese Communist Party Chairman Xi Jinping.

According to the Wall Street Journal, an American corporate leader who is co-chair of the China Development Forum, "defended Chinese leaders’ prerogative to pursue their own vision of national security, but also emphasized the private sector’s critical role in helping China realize its goals."

Do the CEOs gathered in Beijing really understand the goals of the Chinese Communist Party? The contrast could not be starker when one compares the meetings in Beijing with the warnings of our military leaders.

The South China Sea Is the World’s Next Flashpoint

Karishma Vaswani

Where could the US and China find themselves in a direct confrontation? Taiwan is the obvious answer: President Xi Jinping has said the island will eventually be unified with the mainland, either through peaceful means or by force. In fact, there was so much concern about the possibility of a conflict that The Economist called Taiwan “the most dangerous place on earth” in 2021. For now, though, military experts agree that an invasion is not imminent as Beijing still needs to boost its military capabilities. This is a fight Xi will not want to lose.

Instead, the world’s most dangerous place moniker belongs to the South China Sea.

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.

Iran has ten ways to attack Israel; which one will it choose? - analysis


Iran has vowed to “punish” Israel for an airstrike in Damascus on April 1 that Tehran blamed on the Jewish state. Over the last week and a half, Iranian leaders have made repeated threats against Israel. This has led to heightened tensions in the region. Iran has a track record of threatening Israel. It also has a track record of using its proxies to threaten and attack Israel. What follows is a list of different types of attacks the Islamic Republic could carry out based on how it has behaved in the past.

A ballistic missile strike from Iran

Iran has a large arsenal of ballistic missiles of varying types and ranges. Some are solid-fueled, and some are liquid-fueled, which means some can be rushed out to be fired relatively quickly, and others take time to prepare and position. Israel’s mortal enemy has used ballistic missiles frequently in the past.

Tehran used ballistic missiles to target the Al-Asad Base in Iraq on January 8, 2020, in retaliation for America’s assassination of IRGC Quds Force head Qasem Soleimani. Iran launched up to 22 missiles, targeting both Asad where US troops are based in western Iraq, and the Kurdistan autonomous region that hosts US forces. The missiles were launched from several locations in Iran, and 11 of them struck Asad base. Iran informed the Iraqis just before they launched the missiles.

The missiles were launched beginning at 1:20 a.m., and the attack continued for several hours. It is believed that Iran used the Fateh 313 and Qiam ballistic missiles in the attack, which contain warheads of more than 450 kg.

The Federal Reserve Has A Big Choice To Make

Desmond Lachman

So much for the soft economic landing.

The disappointing consumer price inflation numbers released on April 10 suggest that inflation will not come down to the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target without a recession. The numbers also suggest that interest rates will need to stay high for longer in order to regain control over inflation. That could spell real trouble for the financial system in general and regional banks in particular. It could also make the economy a central focus of the November presidential election.

Over the past year, core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy prices, are estimated to have risen by 3.8 percent—close to double the Fed’s target. This leaves the Fed with little option but to maintain its hawkish monetary policy stance.

In recent public statements, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has reiterated that the Fed will only cut interest rates when it sees clear signs that inflation is coming down on a sustainable basis toward the Fed’s target. Today’s inflation numbers, along with jobs numbers that remain strong, make interest rate cuts before the second half of the year highly improbable. This is especially the case given the deteriorating situation in the Middle East, which is once again driving up international oil prices.

To say that the Fed’s earlier ultra-easy monetary policy has put it into a box would be an understatement. That policy not only caused multi-decade inflation, it also helped fuel a commercial real estate problem and a frothy equity market.

The Fed’s fundamental policy predicament is that it has only one interest rate, but it needs two different interest rates—one for its inflation problem and one for its financial system problem. High interest rates are needed for longer periods to control inflation. At the same time, it needs low interest rates, and soon, to ease strains on the financial system that are now strengthening as a result of the slow-motion train wreck hitting commercial property.

Secretive US cyber force deployed 22 times to aid foreign governments

Colin Demarest

U.S. cyber specialists toiled in more than a dozen countries last year as part of a push to fortify networks and expose tools used by hackers, according to the leader of Cyber Command and the National Security Agency.

The so-called hunt-forward missions, conducted by CYBERCOM’s elite Cyber National Mission Force, or CNMF, totaled 22 deployments, with some happening simultaneously across the world, Air Force Gen. Timothy Haugh said in testimony submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee on April 10.

“Enhancing the security of government, private sector and critical infrastructure systems grows ever more imperative,” said Haugh, who took the helm at CYBERCOM and NSA in February. “Foreign adversaries continuously update how they operate, and frequently work through American-owned networks and devices.”

Hunt-forward missions are executed at the invitation of a foreign government and are not always disclosed. They’re part of CYBERCOM’s persistent engagement strategy — a means of being in constant contact with adversaries and ensuring proactive, not reactive, moves are made.

Low Earth Orbit Is a High-Value Domain

Rebecca Grant

Low Earth Orbit – known as LEO – is the future for communications satellites. It’s also a high-value domain for national security. And it’s getting crowded. Elon Musk’s Starlink has over 5500 satellites on orbit and just launched 23 more Friday morning. Amazon is putting $10 billion into its LEO constellation named Kuiper that will build out to 3,236 satellites. To get half the constellation up by 2026, Amazon just carried out the largest-ever block buy of satellite launches.

Then there is the Space Force. Hundreds of new, smaller satellites in LEO are taking over many critical functions from missile warning to tactical targeting and communications. The project is called the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture. Tranche 1 of the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture is being launched now, with 172 satellites for regional coverage, to be followed by another 216 satellites in Tranche 2 that will give warfighters complete global access. Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and York Aerospace have all built Tranche 1 satellites and won contracts for more in Tranche 2. SDA says Tranche 3 won’t launch until 2028, leaving room to define new capabilities.

Just as the United States Navy ensures freedom of navigation for maritime trade, the Space Force and commercial companies are going to find themselves working together. In fact, important aspects of US national security may rest on how well the Space Force and its commercial partners learn to work together to keep data flowing in LEO.

The rush to LEO is made possible by affordable satellite and launch costs and, a staggeringly good business case. LEO is just 550 km away versus geostationary orbit or GEO at 35,786 km. Satellite internet in the past came from GEO because the coverage was better; but at those distances, latency limited streaming, gaming, and other data-intensive activities. LEO speeds up data transfer. It isn’t perfect: there is atmospheric drag, solar weather, and higher fuel consumption to contend with. However, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr hit the nail on the head when he said “this latest generation of low Earth orbit satellites is absolutely a game changer.”

The Only Way for Israel to Truly Defeat Hamas

Ami Ayalon

The war Israel launched on Hamas after the group’s horrific October 7 attacks is a righteous mission. Hamas fighters massacred hundreds of innocent people, deliberately killed children and the elderly, and raped and mutilated women. They abducted hundreds of civilians—including women, infants, and octogenarians—and held them captive in dismal conditions, subject to abuse and starvation. Their actions contravened any sense of law and humanitarian principles. The slaughterers, still spattered with blood, made gleeful boasts about their atrocities that were broadcast in horrific videos and quoted in news articles. In response, Israel has waged a just war of self-defense.

But Israelis are not the only ones suffering. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in Gaza, many of them civilians, including thousands of women and children. The war is especially cruel because the fighting is taking place in congested population centers and because the enemy has turned schools, mosques, and hospitals—places where civilians seek shelter—into military command centers, communications hubs, and weapons factories and caches. Hamas, which governs Gaza, has turned the people it is obligated to protect into human shields. While Hamas’s leaders and fighters hide in Gaza’s hundreds of miles of underground tunnels, civilians are defenseless in the line of fire.

Understandably, Palestinians see the conflict differently than Israelis. Most tolerate or may even support Hamas because, in their eyes, it is waging a war of liberation against Israeli occupation, even if they reject the group’s radical Islamist agenda or recognize the inherent depravity of its sacrifice of civilians. Hamas, despite its methods, is gaining support not just among Palestinians but also in Arab-majority countries and Muslim-majority countries outside the Middle East.

The rest of the world is watching, too. As time passes and the number of Palestinians killed continues to rise, Hamas’s atrocities on October 7 are fading from public consciousness, and Israel’s have weakened its own case to possess the moral high ground. The recent strike that mistakenly killed seven workers from the relief organization World Central Kitchen who were trying to provide food to the Gazan population has further diminished Israel’s international standing. The global narrative has definitively shifted in favor of Israel’s enemies.

Where do you fit in? Today’s four schools of thought on strategic policy: Post-Modern Globalists, the Multipolarity School, the Eurasianist School, and the Classical Primacy School

Gabriel Elefteriu

The Western conversation on statecraft and defence in our times appears to have reached new peaks of strife, cacophony and sheer multiplicity and divergence of views even on basic tenets and assumptions of policy. Modern democratic societies traditionally possessed of free speech have never been short of strong debates and varied opinions on the big questions regarding the most advisable course of action in international affairs.

But in the past – even the recent past – these exchanges, for all their sharpness, were anchored in a greater corpus of shared beliefs.

One of these beliefs that has informed the worldview of generations of statesmen and foreign policy experts has been the Western ascendancy in the world system, and the fact that this was a good thing. Today there are disagreements on both – and much more.

The reasons for this intellectual fragmentation are not difficult to discern. It is an incontrovertible fact that the West, which has dominated global affairs for hundreds of years, is now experiencing an unprecedented challenge to its collective power and standing, primarily from the rise of China.

This is happening at the same time as a certain dysfunction in the Western mind – brought, on by the postmodern intellectual development, in different guises, of the Marxist infection that began in the 19th century – has now metastasized across our governing classes and cultural elites.

Today’s foreign policy debate thus has to take place in the context of a highly destabilising mix of unprecedented external systemic pressure and internal loss of coherence and inversion of values – which is striking deeper than ever, at the very roots of Western civilisation and philosophical traditions.

No wonder there is confusion even on fundamental ideas such as what constitutes “realism”, with every faction under the sun seemingly trying to appropriate the label for themselves, from ultra-isolationists to the most aggressive hawks.

Hamas’ bet on the world is paying off - Opinion

Jason Greenblatt

The Biden administration may not have meant to play into Hamas’s hands when it shifted its harsh rhetoric toward Israel last week – but it did.

In a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday in the aftermath of Israel’s deadly strike on a World Central Kitchen aid convoy, President Joe Biden adopted the position of the left flank of his party and called for an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza. Though Biden also urged Hamas to release the scores of Israelis believed to still be held hostage in Gaza, to date Hamas has steadfastly rejected the call, including again on Monday, and the Biden administration has not changed its tune.

Also on Thursday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken appeared to suggest that Israel’s failure to prevent civilian casualties in Gaza put the Jewish state at risk of being no better than the terrorist organization Hamas. The administration prodded Israel with a vague threat about changing “US policy with respect to Gaza” if Israel did not take “specific, concrete and measurable steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering, and the safety of aid workers.” Biden allies on Capitol Hill are now threatening to condition military aid to Israel, though thankfully arms sales have continued unabated so far.

This represents a dramatic, harsh turn following an already shifting approach on Israel that unwittingly emboldens and rewards Hamas. The Biden administration once insisted on Israel’s solemn right to do what it must to eradicate Hamas. Now, it appears to adopt the view that such a right has serious limits and might need to be abandoned well before Hamas has been defeated.

This gives Hamas what it wants in an obvious sense: Hamas considers it a victory to survive when Israel has vowed to destroy it. Hamas counts on a long-running strategy of Westerners intervening to stop Israel’s successful offensives due to humanitarian concerns, which is why Hamas enables Palestinian suffering by using human shields, stealing aid and employing hospitals as military facilities, according to US intelligence, NATO and former Pentagon officials, Palestinians on the ground and CNN and other media reports. Hamas then engages in a PR campaign to magnify the criticism of Israel by failing to distinguish between civilians and combatants in casualty reports.


Ben Blane and Christopher Lee

Almost immediately after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, observers began exploring how it would affect regional stability halfway around the world. The People’s Republic of China (PRC), it was said, was watching the war unfold. And Beijing was learning lessons from it. Would Taiwan be the next state targeted by an aggressive neighbor? Or, as some analysis concluded, would Russia’s struggles in Ukraine serve as a cautionary tale, discouraging military action to forcefully seize Taiwan?

More than two years into the war in Ukraine, there is little evidence that the grinding, attritional character it has taken on has diminished Beijing’s determination to bring Taipei under its control. In fact, as Admiral John C. Aquilino, the senior US military commander in the Indo-Pacific, recently told the Senate Armed Services Committee, the PRC’s increased military buildup and modernization efforts indicate readiness for an invasion of Taiwan as early as 2027. Given that assessment, it is crucial that the United States is able to achieve integrated deterrence against the PRC. But what enables effective deterrence? As General Charles A. Flynn, commander of US Army Pacific, has described, deterrence has four components—capability, posture, signaling, and will. An examination of these four components, informed by an appreciation of the lessons on display in the war in Ukraine, reveals the keys to achieving integrated deterrence in the Indo-Pacific region—and how the US Army can best contribute to it.

Capabilities and Forward Posture: The Keys to All-Domain Advantage

The first two components of strong deterrence, capability and posture, are closely linked to one another and best explored in tandem. The US Army’s posture and positions of advantage in theater must be understood relative to the capabilities of the pacing threat. Strategic standoff, once a concept related purely to kinetic fires, has taken on a new definition with the PRC’s continued development and integration of enhanced intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and nonkinetic (primarily space and cyber) capabilities. As the PRC expands the range and reach of its operational capabilities, it continues to increase its positions of advantage and the likelihood that it can “win without fighting.”

Don’t Just Bring a Gun to a Drone Fight!

Monte Erfourth


Early morning, June 6, 1918. Marines of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, crouched along the expanse of a French wheat field, preparing to attack Hill 142. The hill is located on a ridge overlooking Torcy and Belleau Wood. Taking the hill and Belleau Wood would prevent flanking fire against the French as they maneuvered to prevent a German advance at Château-Thierry, just 59 miles from Paris. The German infantry and machine gunners were well dug in and gaining momentum on their planned push towards Paris.

On order, the Marines stood and, in perfect formations, began their movement across the waist-high wheat field. German machine guns almost completely destroyed the first wave and mercilessly ripped through the waves that followed. The Marines marched out as Civil War-era doctrine directed. Tight, disciplined formations were to be kept, but technology had made mass formations hopeless and fatal. It became the deadliest day in Marine Corps history. More Marines were lost on that June 6th morning than in all the battles the Corps had fought since its founding in 1775. Technology had changed, and Americans were needlessly killed because leadership failed to adapt to technology.

On January 28 of this year, three U.S. soldiers were killed in Jordan, and more than 40 other service members were injured following an uncrewed aerial system attack at a military base near the Syrian border. Those service members were in Jordan to support Operation Inherent Resolve, which is the U.S. and coalition mission to ensure the defeat of ISIS. For a casualty-sensitive nation, this is a legitimate blow to the forces deployed to defend the homeland from a resurgent ISIS.

Antony Blinken’s Ahistorical Advice for Israel - OPINION

John Spencer and Liam Collins

The Biden administration is keeping the pressure on Israel not to invade Hamas’s final stronghold, in Rafah. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last month that such an assault would be “a mistake” and “not necessary.” Three months earlier he claimed that Israel could defeat Hamas by using “targeted operations with a smaller number of forces.”

But could it? A strategy dependent on raids and airstrikes alone has never been effective in defeating a large enemy. If Israel believes a military response is the only way it can defeat Hamas, it should ignore Washington and pursue a ground invasion supported by targeted raids and airstrikes.

U.S. thinking about the war is plagued by what former White House national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster called the “Zero Dark Thirty” fallacy. The term—named for the 2012 film about the operation that killed Osama bin Laden—refers to the mistaken belief that raiding alone can constitute a military strategy. Gen. McMaster described the thinking: “The capability to conduct raids against networked terrorist or insurgent organizations is portrayed as a substitute for, rather than a complement to, conventional joint force capability.” In other words, we can’t expect strategic outcomes from tactical missions.

America’s military efforts reflect that axiom. In the Iraq war, the U.S. quickly ousted Saddam Hussein’s Baath party and fought multiyear counterterror and counterinsurgency campaigns against enemy forces. The U.S. was successful through the combination of a small number of special operations using intelligence-driven raids to target terrorist leaders and a large number of conventional forces working to secure the local population, gather intelligence and help build institutions for governance.

In their new book, “Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine,” Gen. David Petraeus and historian Andrew Roberts argue that intelligence-driven special-ops raids aren’t enough to wage successful counterinsurgency campaigns. Such efforts must be combined with a population-centric strategy, requiring sizable conventional forces to “clear, hold, build” in insurgent sanctuaries.

Europe Without America

Benjamin Rhode

The stench of battle and bloodshed wafting over most of Europe’s history is common to the human experience across our planet. Europe, however, differs from other strategically significant continents in several important ways. The most recent of these distinctions lies in the nature of the security order established there after the Second World War and expanded after the Cold War, founded on the power and engagement of the United States, which now faces potentially mortal challenges. To appreciate this order’s full significance, however, it is worthwhile considering it in the context of other distinctive aspects of Europe’s history.

Perhaps one of the most notable of these is that, since the fall of the Roman Empire in the West in 476 CE, no overwhelming hegemon has dominated Western and Central Europe for a sustained period, and certainly has not controlled most of its territory. In 1453, almost 1,000 years after Rome’s fall, the Ottoman Empire took Constantinople and the last remnants of what had been the Eastern Roman Empire. In the intervening millennium, while there had been pretenders to the imperial legacy in Western and Central Europe, such as the misnamed Holy Roman Empire, none had truly established itself as the inheritor of Rome’s crown. Europe had largely represented a backwater in economic, technological and strategic terms, and its constituent states appeared poor relations to the great empires in East and South Asia and the Middle East.

Some have argued that the very lack of imperial leadership and political unity after Rome’s fall itself stimulated the internal competition and dynamism essential to Europe’s eventual rise and global dominance. In the five centuries after the Ottomans seized Constantinople, European states succeeded in enslaving, colonising or otherwise controlling much of the rest of the world, or seeded powerful new polities that became world powers in their own right, including the United States of America. At the same time, war remained an almost constant presence in Europe itself.

Elon Musk and Jamie Dimon’s AI Predictions and What They Mean for the Future of Humanity

Joseph De Avila

Elon Musk and Jamie Dimon say artificial intelligence will be smarter than humans and transform society.

The question now is whether the prognostications of one of the world’s richest people and the head of the nation’s largest bank will come to fruition, or turn out to be overstated.

In remarks this week, both Musk and Dimon joined a chorus of business executives making bold predictions about AI’s potential for dramatic change.

“My guess is that we’ll have AI that is smarter than any one human probably around the end of next year,” Musk said in an interview Monday with Nicolai Tangen, CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management, Norway’s $1.6 trillion sovereign fund and one of the largest investors in Tesla. The interview was broadcast on Musk’s social-media platform X.

Musk, who is chief executive of Tesla and also runs his own AI company, said AI was the fastest-advancing technology he’s ever seen. He predicted it will probably surpass the collective intelligence of humans in five years.

Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, told investors Monday that AI could be as transformative as some of the major technological inventions over the past several hundred years.

“Think the printing press, the steam engine, electricity, computing and the Internet, among others,” Dimon wrote in his annual letter to shareholders Monday. Dimon’s letter to shareholders is highly anticipated every year and read widely in the financial-service industry. He has said AI might lead future generations to only work 3½ days a week.

Close Air Support: Could the F-35 Be Better Than the A-10?


The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is well known as a 5th-generation, stealthy, multirole fighter jet capable of detecting and destroying enemy targets from ranges where it cannot itself be seen, something made possible through advanced computing, software upgrades and a new generation of sensing technology bringing pilots high-resolution target imagery and threat detection capability. Therefore, using stealth and speed to elude and destroy enemy air defenses, destroy air and ground targets with precision from stand-off distances and perform drone-like ISR as an aerial “node” in a joint, multidomain warfare environment, are all things widely associated with the F-35.

As a stealth fighter jet with exquisite technologies and wide-ranging operational purview, it may seem that the F-35 is ill suited for the dangers and rigors of Close Air Support missions where lower-flying aircraft hover and maneuver in support of fast-advancing ground forces under enemy fire. However, the F-35 has now for many years been regarded as an optimal platform for the high-threat CAS mission for a number of key reasons.

Years ago, the Pentagon performed a specific CAS assessment looking at both the A-10 and the F-35 capabilities for the mission. Clearly its titanium hull, 30mm cannon and “low and slow” flying ability has made the A-10 Warthog “Flying Tank” cherished for worthwhile reasons, yet there also seems to be lesser recognized variables explaining why an F-35 may be particularly well-suited for CAS operations as well.

While the full scope of the findings and resulting policy initiatives emerging from the A-10 vs F-35 CAS experiment seemed unclear, there is little question that both the A-10 and the F-35 bring unique attributes to the CAS mission.