16 May 2024

The Indo-Pacific in Indian Foreign Policy

Walter Ladwig

The evolution of the phrase ‘Indo-Pacific’ from a term of art in marine biology to a region of contemporary strategic interest has been a key geopolitical development in the past 15 years. Although the desire to draw India into the security architecture of the Asia-Pacific was a key motivation for countries such as the US and Japan to embrace the formulation, New Delhi was initially more cautious.

China’s growing influence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean, however, prompted the adoption of the Indo-Pacific concept, which has become a cornerstone of India’s foreign policy. Demonstrating strategic adaptability in a changing geopolitical landscape marked by varying priorities among key stakeholders, India’s approach involves pragmatically working with varying sets of long-standing friends and emerging partners on specific issues. This could position India as a key bridge linking a variety of different actors. However, New Delhi’s geographic priorities differ markedly from its Quad partners, meaning its will and capacity for leadership in the Indian Ocean are far greater than in the Pacific.

Biden, Trump China tariffs draw on old, losing playbook


As Joe Biden throws down the gauntlet in his bid to defeat Donald Trump, the US president risks repeating one of his predecessor’s biggest blunders.

This week, Biden will unveil plans to quadruple taxes on Chinese electric vehicle (EV) imports and slap huge tariffs on other key industries. The new levies on mainland EVs will reportedly skyrocket to 102.5%. Other priority industries could see tariffs double or triple.

It’s Biden’s latest ploy to out-Trump Trump, and ultimately a losing ticket in terms of raising American living standards. It also risks provoking China to retaliate in ways that backfire on US consumers and investors.

Biden’s desire to relive 1985 arguably makes sense from a political standpoint ahead of the November 5 election. That is the era during which levies of the kind Biden is mulling – and Trump used from 2017 to 2021 – might have worked.

China and the U.S. Are Numb to the Real Risk of War

Sulmaan Wasif Khan

On the morning of April 5, 2023, Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, met with then-U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Simi Valley, California. This was a meeting Beijing had warned against in the strictest of terms. It was therefore a meeting that both sides found necessary to have. China had to be shown that it could not dictate whom either Taiwan or the United States met with. On this, both Taipei and Washington were agreed.

U.S.-China talks on AI risks set to begin in Geneva

Eva Dou

The United States and China will hold their first high-level talks over the risks of artificial intelligence on Tuesday in Geneva, as the two governments seek to prevent disastrous accidents and unintended war amid an arms race for the emerging technology.

“We’re focused on how both sides define risk and safety here,” a senior Biden administration official told reporters last week, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss expectations for the talks.

Seth Center, the State Department deputy envoy for critical and emerging technology, and Tarun Chhabra, senior director for technology and national security at the National Security Council, will lead the U.S. delegation, the administration official said. China will be represented by officials from the Foreign Ministry and the National Development and Reform Commission, the nation’s central economic planning agency.

Why the US Can’t Win the Trade War With China – and Shouldn’t Try


Allegations about China’s manufacturing overcapacity have sparked heated discussions among policymakers. During her visit to China in April, US Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen argued that “when the global market is flooded by artificially cheap Chinese products, the viability of American and other foreign firms is put into question,” adding that it was the same story a decade ago.

Yellen is partly correct: the Sino-American trade war has strengthened, not weakened, China’s export competitiveness. In 2023, China accounted for about 14% of total global exports, up 1.3 percentage points from 2017 (before the conflict began). More striking still, China’s trade surplus was around $823 billion in 2023, nearly double what it was in 2017.

Over a decade ago, China’s trade surplus was largely the result of an undervalued renminbi (RMB). Today’s circumstances are somewhat similar. My research shows that in 2023, the RMB was 16% undervalued against the dollar, contributing to China’s high exports and trade surplus.

How Houthi Attacks Impact U.S. Consumers

Brent D. Sadler

The Iran-backed Houthis have been assaulting shipping in the Red Sea since October, driving up global shipping costs and creating ripple-down effects on U.S. markets and consumers. Yet, with the recent IRGC seizure of the Portugal-flagged MSC Aries in the Strait of Hormuz, the Red Sea may not be the only waterway impacted by Iran and its proxies.

The economic impacts of the Red Sea and other disruptions so far are largely imperceptible, but they will compound over time. Shipping companies will be the first to feel these effects, followed by manufacturers, retailers, and finally, the consumer.

The Red Sea is one of the most important arteries in the global shipping system, with one-third of all container traffic flowing through it. In addition, 12 percent of seaborne oil and 8 percent of liquified natural gas (LNG) travel through the Suez Canal. But after four months of attacks, half of the global shipping fleet that regularly transits the Red Sea is rerouting around the Cape of Good Hope. Added fuel costs, long delays, and rising insurance premiums are driving costs on shipping companies to the tune of billions of dollars.

Why Iran and Israel Stepped Back From the Brink

Vali Nasr

The volley of attacks and counterattacks between Iran and Israel in the first two weeks of April drastically changed the strategic landscape in the Middle East. On April 1, an Israeli airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus killed seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders, including two generals. Two weeks later, Iran retaliated with a barrage of drones and missiles, almost all of which were intercepted. Israel swiftly responded with its own drone and missile attack on an airbase in Iran. The exchange brought the shadow war the two countries have been fighting for more than a decade into the open.

It is now clear that the spiraling rivalry between Iran and Israel will shape regional security and drive Middle East politics for the foreseeable future. Each views the other as an arch enemy that it must defeat by military means. Left unchecked, their dangerous competition will destabilize the region, and it could ultimately trigger a conflict that drags the United States into a costly war. It now falls on Washington to craft a diplomatic strategy to calm the escalatory forces that precipitated a direct confrontation between Iran and Israel in April—and could do so again.

America needs to lead in drone warfare- Opinion

Mark Montgomery
Source Link

When Russian tanks invaded and cruise missiles and drones rained down, Ukrainians responded with grit, a highly motivated fighting force, and their own waves of drones. This nation of 38 million people has stood firm against one of the world’s largest militaries, in part by using drones as an invaluable force multiplier. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) play an instrumental role in modern asymmetric warfare, but if the U.S. does not step up, our partners and allies will continue turning to China and Iran to purchase this technology.

Both Moscow and Kyiv use drones for intelligence gathering, target acquisition, and airstrikes for devastating effects. Drones have evolved from mere intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) tools to lethal weapons capable of carrying up to 500-pound munitions, striking targets with incredible accuracy. With their ample processing capability, drones can rapidly identify, track, and attack targets.

From QUAD to Squad: Informal Alliances in the Indo-Pacific - OPINION

Dr.Akshat Dwivedi

In a move that underscores the growing significance of strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin announced a quadrilateral group called the “Squad,” which includes the United States, Australia, Japan, and the Philippines. As per the Global Times report, during the Shangri-La security dialogue, the first meeting of Squad defence chiefs took place in June 2023 in Singapore. Additionally, in April 2024, the four nations carried out cooperative marine patrols inside the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines – a significant development in light of ongoing hostilities between China and the Philippines.

The formation of the Squad comes at a time of heightened tensions and evolving security dynamics in the Indo-Pacific. China’s increasingly aggressive activities and territorial disputes are raising anxiety among neighbouring nations. The alliance brings together a wide range of resources and capabilities with the participation of the United States, Japan, Australia, and the Philippines. Important regional participants Australia and Japan both provide substantial naval and defence resources. Meanwhile, the Philippines’ strategic significance stems from its geographic location and marine capabilities, despite its relatively weaker military might.

Glide Bombs Help Russia Make Gains Near Kharkiv: What To Know

Joe Edwards

As the conflict in Ukraine rages on, Russia is increasingly employing a weapon known as the glide bomb. These weapons, which take the form of kits added to Russia's Soviet-era unguided high-explosive bombs, have played a role in Russia's recent territorial gains, particularly in the eastern parts of Ukraine.

Glide bombs are a type of precision-guided munition that combines the characteristics of a conventional bomb and a cruise missile. Unlike traditional bombs, which are dropped from aircraft and rely solely on a ballistic trajectory to reach their targets, glide bombs are equipped with wings and guidance systems that allow them to glide for extended distances, increasing their accuracy and range.

Moscow has been using the weapons extensively during a surprise offensive in the east of Ukraine, near the city of Kharkiv.

Britain and US sound alarm over growing Chinese cyber threat

Michael Holden and James Pearson

U.S. and British officials warned on Tuesday of a growing cyber threat from China, with the White House cyber director saying Beijing was capable of causing havoc in cyberspace and a UK spy agency chief warning of an "epoch-defining" challenge.

Anxiety has been increasing in the United States and Europe about alleged Chinese cyber and espionage activity, but Beijing has denied the accusations.

"China poses a genuine and increasing cyber risk to the UK," Anne Keast-Butler, director of Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) eavesdropping agency, told a security conference in the central English city of Birmingham.

She said the response to Beijing's activities was GCHQ's top priority, and that coercive and destabilising actions by China threatened international norms.

After Al Jazeera, Will Israel Target Its Own Media?

Ben Lynfield

Israel is framing its decision to close down the Jerusalem bureau of Al Jazeera as a matter of security—suggesting that the network’s coverage of the war in Gaza includes regular incitement against the Jewish population that could lead to attacks on Israelis. But rights activists and media watchdogs are warning that the move could be part of a larger crackdown on press freedoms in the country—potentially targeting Israeli journalists and outlets as well.

Russia’s Bombardment of Ukraine Is More Lethal Than Ever

Alistair MacDonald, Jemal R. Brinson, Emma Brown and Ievgeniia Sivorka

Ukraine is shooting down a far smaller proportion of Russian missile attacks than it was earlier in the war.

The worsening performance of Ukraine’s air defenses comes as Russia increases drone and missile attacks, and fires more harder-to-hit weapons, such as ballistic missiles. Kyiv is also running low on ammunition for the Western-supplied Patriot systems that have been its best defense against such attacks.

In the past six months, Ukraine intercepted around 46% of Russian missiles, compared with 73% in the preceding six-month period, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of daily data from the Ukrainian Air Force Command. Last month, the interception rate fell to 30% of missiles. The interception rate for long-range Shahed drones, which are easier to shoot down, fell 1 percentage point to 82% in the past six months.

While the attack and interception data for several days was incomplete, and Ukraine uses such statistics for propaganda purposes, a UAF spokesman and an independent defense analyst said the data gave an overall accurate picture.

IDF’s new three-pronged Gaza offensive takes shape


The Israel Defense Forces have rapidly increased the number of troops fighting in Gaza over the week of May 5-12, sending two divisions to clear out Hamas in eastern Rafah and Jabalya. Eastern Rafah is along the Egyptian border, and is a sensitive area because of potential opposition from the US and Egypt. Jabalya is in northern Gaza and was previously cleared by the IDF in December. A third, smaller operation also began in Gaza city’s Zaytun suburb.

The multiple operations are bolstered by Israel’s control of the Netzarim corridor which stretches across Gaza, cutting off Gaza City from central Gaza and giving IDF forces easier access to areas such as Zaytun. The decision to return to Jabalya is raising eyebrows in Israel because the IDF cleared the area once already and it is clear now how quickly Hamas has re-established control. Hamas also launched rockets at the Israeli city of Ashkelon twice on May 11-12 and twice at Beersheba on May 10-11, illustrating that terrorist groups continue to possess or rebuild long-range rocket capabilities. In general, there have been few long-range rocket launches since January 1.

Israel Advances Deeper On Rafah; US Says There’s No Plan To Protect Civilians

Israeli forces advanced deeper on Gaza’s southern city of Rafah on Sunday even as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Israel has not given the United States a credible plan to protect the more than one million Palestinian civilians sheltering there or a plan for what happens when the seven-month war eventually ends.

About 300,000 of the 1.3 million Palestinians who fled to southern Gaza months ago on orders from the Israeli military to escape the attacks on Hamas militants in northern Gaza have now been ordered to move again, this time to the northwest of Rafah, to a territory along Gaza’s Mediterranean Sea coastline.

But Blinken told NBC’s “Meet the Press” show on Sunday there is no specific Israeli plan to protect the Palestinians or provide sufficient humanitarian aid for them.

Tanks take a sharp turn to remain relevant

Sascha Bruchmann

Recent conflicts have sparked a minefield of questions about the tank’s future.

Tanks in Ukraine have suffered heavy losses, targeted by uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs) – in particular loitering munitions – and anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). Poor battlefield tactics have been another problem.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies has assessed that Russia may have lost more than 8,000 armoured fighting vehicles in the first 24 months of the war. Among those are more than 3,000 main battle tanks (MBTs), or as many MBTs as it had at the outset. It has had to replenish stocks by taking old equipment from storage.

Ukraine’s 2023 counter-offensive, backed by Western equipment, including United States M1A1 Abrams and German Leopard 2 MBTs, made limited gains. The Western-donated armour also suffered losses, in part to Russian Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopters, with the Kremlin recently showing off some of the captured equipment in Moscow.

Why Almost Nothing Can Stop the Tomahawk Missile

Stavros Atlamazoglou

The U.S. military can strike anywhere in the world with precision at short notice. The Tomahawk long-range cruise missile is one of the top weapons systems that enable that capability.

The Tomahawk

The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile is a long-range cruise missile that can operate in all weather conditions. The U.S. Navy and the British Royal Navy are the two leading operators of the munition, which arms their surface warships and submarines.

A jet-powered, subsonic munition, the Tomahawk is designed to fly at extremely low altitudes and use tailored guidance systems to evade air defenses.

There are several variants of the Tomahawk munition.

The Tomahawk Block III Conventional iteration packs a 1,000-lb blast/fragmentary unitary warhead. The Block III Submunition version features a submunition compartment that includes cluster bomblets for strikes against personnel or weapons systems out in the open. The Block IV version adds significantly better capabilities. The operator can reprogram the munition mid-flight through a satellite communications system and strike either a predesignated target or a completely different set of coordinates. In addition, the Block IV can loiter over a target and strike targets of opportunity, as well as provide battle damage assessments to commanders.

U.S. To Use AI To Fly Fighter Jets, Navigate Without GPS …

Tara Copp

Two Air Force fighter jets recently squared off in a dogfight in California. One was flown by a pilot. The other wasn’t.

That second jet was piloted by artificial intelligence, with the Air Force’s highest-ranking civilian riding along in the front seat. It was the ultimate display of how far the Air Force has come in developing a technology with its roots in the 1950s. But it’s only a hint of the technology yet to come.

The United States is competing to stay ahead of China on AI and its use in weapon systems. The focus on AI has generated public concern that future wars will be fought by machines that select and strike targets without direct human intervention. Officials say this will never happen, at least not on the U.S. side. But there are questions about what a potential adversary would allow, and the military sees no alternative but to get U.S. capabilities fielded fast.

NATO Cannot Survive Without America

Hans Binnendijk, R. D. Hooker, Jr., and Alexander Vershbow

Last month, NATO, the world’s most successful military alliance, celebrated its 75th anniversary. Some fear that it may have been its last anniversary with the United States playing a leading role. Former U.S. President Donald Trump still views the alliance as obsolete. If reelected, he says he would encourage Russian leaders to do “whatever the hell they want” to member states that do not pay what he considers to be enough for defense. A second Trump presidency could have dire implications for European security.

Trump’s defenders argue that he is bluffing to pressure Europe into spending more on defense. But former U.S. officials who worked closely with Trump on NATO during his tenure, including one of us (Hooker), are convinced he will withdraw from the alliance if he is reelected. Trump hugely resents the more moderate advisers who kept him in check during his first term. If he reaches the White House in 2025, the guardrails will be off.

AI for Energy


Realizing an equitable clean energy economy by 2050 while strengthening the Nation’s resilience to the effects of climate change will require a substantial increase in the rate of modernization and decarbonization of the electric grid of the United States. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to significantly enhance how we manage the grid, which is one of the most complex, yet highly reliable, machines on earth.

In accordance with Executive Order 14110 on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence, DOE developed a report that identifies near-term opportunities for AI to aid in four key areas of grid management: planning, permitting, operations and reliability, and resilience.

The Role of AI in Russia’s Confrontation with the West

Samuel Bendett

Russian thinking about artificial intelligence (AI) development is consistent with that of other major powers that are seeking to respond to an evolving combat environment characterized by growing complexity and rapid technological change. Russia has made several pronouncements on the importance of AI in combat, yet it is often difficult to estimate whether the country’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) actually has utilized AI-enabled systems and weapons, including on the Ukrainian battlefield. Western sanctions and export controls also have the potential to increase the headwinds that Russia faces in its ability to meet its AI objectives.

Presently, the Russian military establishment is investing in AI research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) seen as most relevant today and in future combat. These investments are shaped both by the understanding of where such emphasis is placed among likely competitors, such as the United States and NATO, and where resources should be allocated based on the ongoing complicated combat in Ukraine.

Combating Terrorism Center (CTC)CTC Sentinel, April 2024, v. 17, no. 4

Assessing the Houthi War Effort Since October 2023

A View from the CT Foxhole: Colonel (Ret.) Miri Eisin, Director, International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT)

The State of al-Qa`ida Central

The Somali National Army Versus al-Shabaab: A Net Assessment

The stakes of Space Race 2.0 could not be higher - Opinion

Michelle Hanlon

On April 19, NASA issued a press release announcing that Slovenia had signed the Artemis Accords. Following quickly on the heels of accession by Switzerland (April 15) and Sweden (April 16), this brings the total number of signatories to the United States-led political commitment in space to a whopping 39 nations. Largely ignored by all but the media outlets devoted to space activities, these modest signing ceremonies play a tremendously significant role in the new 21st century space race.

Red Moon Rising: How America Will Beat China on the Final Frontier, a new book penned by Greg Autry and Peter Navarro puts the stakes of Space Race 2.0 in sharp focus — and they’re a lot higher than national prestige and bragging rights. At the heart of this race lies China’s palpable ambition, articulated by Xi Jinping, to ascend to a dominant position in space by 2045. The significance of this ambition cannot be overstated. As the adage goes, “possession is nine-tenths of the law.” Under international law, no sovereign nation may claim territory in space, nevertheless mere presence will translate into superior bargaining power and influence.

Foresight Cybersecurity Threats For 2030 - Update 2024: Extended report

This is the second iteration of the “ENISA Foresight Cybersecurity Threats for 2030” study that represents a comprehensive analysis and assessment of emerging cybersecurity threats projected for the year 2030. The report reassesses the previously identified top ten threats and respective trends whilst exploring the developments over the course of a year.

Gen AI Has Already Taken the World by Storm. Just Wait Until It Gets a Quantum Boos


When Lawrence Gasman was looking for a PhD topic back in the 1970s, computing labs were already abuzz with smart people proposing clever studies in artificial intelligence. “But the problem was we had nothing to run them on,” he says. “The processors needed just didn’t exist.”

It took half a century for computing power to catch up with AI’s potential. Today, thanks to hi-powered chips such as GPUs from California-based Nvidia, generative artificial intelligence, or gen AI, is revolutionizing the way we work, study, and consume entertainment, empowering people to create bespoke articles, images, videos, and music in the blink of an eye. The technology has spawned a bevy of competing consumer apps offering enhanced voice recognition, graphic design, and even coding.

Now AI stands poised to get another boost from a radical new form of computing: quantum. “Quantum could potentially do some really remarkable things with AI,” says Gasman, founder of Inside Quantum Technology.