23 May 2024

Increased Reliance On Russia And Commitments To China Driving Uzbekistan’s Gas Imports – Analysis

Yunis Sharifli

Since 2022, Uzbekistan has faced an energy shortage with significant political and economic consequences. Despite its gas reserves, the country has transitioned from an energy exporter to an energy importer. A terminal decline in domestic gas production and a lack of significant discoveries of new deposits, coupled with aging infrastructure, have led to the energy shortages, particularly in the winters of 2022 and 2023 (Interfax, February 22; Daryo, March 27).

Cogeneration plants running on gas produce almost 85 percent of Uzbekistan’s electricity. In this regard, the gas shortages and growing electricity crisis have forced thousands of industrial workers into temporary layoffs and fueled public discontent (Eurasianet, December 9, 2022; CABAR.asia, January 1, 2023; see EDM, April 18, 2023). The gas shortage in Uzbekistan could lead to further discontent in the population’s future, and Tashkent’s growing alliance with Moscow may play a role in the tense geopolitical environment in the region.

In Tashkent alone, approximately 6,000 wholesale gas customers were disconnected from the national gas network, and 120 out of 584 neighborhoods experienced frequent and prolonged power and gas outages during the winter of 2023 (Eurasianet, January 16, 2023). The government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to address the growing energy crisis, including importing gas from various countries, including Russia and Turkmenistan. Uzbekistan’s share of imported gas rose from $50.4 million in 2020 to $695 million in 2023, reflecting a growing reliance on external sources to meet domestic demand (Daryo, March 27).

Al Qaeda: Background, Current Status, And US Policy – Analysis

Clayton Thomas and Abigail G. Martin

Al Qaeda (AQ, alt. Al Qaida or Al Qa’eda) is a transnational Sunni Islamist terrorist organization with a network of affiliates. The group rose to global prominence after perpetrating the September 11, 2001 attacks (9/11) in the United States. Since then, sustained counterterrorism (CT) efforts by the United States and its partners have weakened the group, particularly in its historic base in Afghanistan.

For several years, U.S. officials and international observers have characterized the AQ threat as stemming mainly from the group’s affiliates in Yemen and Africa. The 2024 Annual Threat Assessment (ATA) of the U.S. Intelligence Community described Africa as the “center of gravity in the Sunni global jihad,” although it did not characterize affiliates there as posing a direct threat to the U.S. homeland. U.S. policy efforts, as directed and overseen by Congress, to counter Al Qaeda have included military action, foreign partnerships, sanctions, and law enforcement activities.


In 1988, Osama bin Laden established Al Qaeda from a network of Arab and other foreign veterans of the U.S.- backed Afghan insurgency against the Soviet Union, with the aim of supporting Islamist causes in conflicts around the world. After the 1991 Gulf War, citing opposition to Saudi Arabia’s decision to host U.S. troops and other grievances, the group made the United States its primary target. Bin Laden left his native Saudi Arabia that year for Sudan, until the Taliban took power in Afghanistan in 1996 and offered refuge to AQ members and other armed Islamists.

Can New UN Envoy Avoid Past Mediation Failures In Myanmar? – Analysis

Nicola Williams

Australia’s former foreign minister Julie Bishop takes on a challenging role as the recently appointed UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Myanmar. To avoid joining the high-level graveyard of UN envoys, diplomats and ASEAN leaders who have tried and failed to negotiate with the junta, she must remember the lessons learnt from over a decade of international peacebuilding and failed mediation efforts.

Bishop should avoid advocating for high-level track-one negotiations to solve Myanmar’s civil war. There is no bargaining range for talks between the junta and the broad resistance, as both sides seek decisive military outcomes and have entirely different visions for the country. Considering Myanmar’s experience with multi-stakeholder peace negotiations with the junta involved, this approach is unviable, even in more ‘ripe’ times for bargains. Track-one negotiations are generally only feasible at the tail end of many track-two peace processes across multiple years and different issues or, potentially, for a victor’s peace when the military is significantly weakened.

Focussing on the subnational conflicts within Myanmar’s national conflict and ethnic relationships within the broad federal democracy movement embedded within the resistance will be more effective. This could involve looking at contests over territory and identities in the hotly contested Shan State and workshopping what the federalism puzzle could look like in one of Myanmar’s most complex ethnic landscapes. The approach may also tackle challenges among political stakeholders with legitimacy claims and ‘turf’ contests. In any strategy, it is wise to go bottom-up rather than top-down.

Sino-Russian Entente Shifts Tectonic Plates Of World Politics – OpEd

M.K. Bhadrakumar

The state visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to China underscored that the two superpowers’ choice of entente-type alignment has gained traction. It falls short of explicit military obligations of support and yet will not entirely rule out military support either. By embracing a form of strategic ambiguity, it provides them the optimal means to address the common threat they face from the United States via the prism of collective action while preserving the autonomy for independent action to pursue specific interests.

The epochal significance of the talks in Beijing lies in that the bedrock of strategic understanding accruing steadily to the modelling effort of the Russia-China entente has evolved into a more effective alignment choice than a formal alliance to balance against the US’ dual containment strategy.

The entente permits both Russia and China to strike the middle ground between entrapment and deterrence. At the same time, the strategic ambiguity inherent in these two seemingly self-contradictory goals of an entente is expected to be a key component of its success as an alignment strategy.

As Taiwan’s new president takes office, report warns of cyber side of China’s ‘long-term’ strategy


Within hours of Taiwan’s new president taking office Monday, China began a social media and propaganda effort to convince the Taiwanese people and Taiwan’s supporters that any efforts to become independent would, in the words of the foreign minister, “pose the most serious challenge to the international order, the most dangerous change to the status quo in the Taiwan Straits, and the most significant disruption to peace in the Straits.”

The public offensive could be followed shortly, however, by more subtle manners of persuasion and interference, including the covert and widespread use of cyber tools against individuals, companies, the military and government organizations seen to be pushing independence, if recent history recounted in a new report from US defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton is any indication.

The report, titled “How to Succeed at Annexation Without Really Trying: The PRC’s Taiwan Cyber Strategy Explained” and published earlier this month, analyzes the online arm of China’s quest to control Taiwan. And while the report said that China is unlikely to use cyber alone to win against Taiwan, one of the report’s authors described it Friday to Breaking Defense as a “critical tool in the PRC [People’s Republic of China] strategy.”

Symbolic Western Sanctions Will Not Change Iran’s Behavior – OpEd

Dr. Mohammed Al-Sulami

The EU and the Australian government last week announced new sanctions that aim to pursue the Western policy of changing the behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Their respective announcements were part of a calibrated political strategy to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities in the Middle East and Europe. These sanctions are a sign of the deteriorating Iranian-Western relations in the context of the Red Sea crisis, the Israel-Gaza war and Iranian support to the Russian war effort against Ukraine.

These sanctions are different from previous ones because they could be a sign that, if Iran does not change its regional strategy, Europe could designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. The trigger of such a designation could be an increase in tensions in the Middle East and military escalation between Iran and Western-based military forces in the region. Another potential factor behind these sanctions could be the rise of Iranian military support to Russian forces, especially the delivery of missiles that could hit European soil.

If Europe decides to put the IRGC on its sanctions list, the implications could be the closure of European member states’ respective embassies in Tehran and a rise in the number of EU nationals imprisoned in Iran. There are currently a dozen EU citizens in jail in Iran, including four French nationals and Johan Floderus, a Swedish national who is an employee of the European External Action Service.

Russia Begins ‘Non-Strategic’ Nuclear Weapons Drills Near Ukraine Border

Russia has begun “practical training in the preparation and use of non-strategic nuclear weapons,” its Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the drills earlier this month in “response to provocative statements and threats by Western officials,” the ministry said.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said NATO should not rule out deploying troops to Ukraine, while British Foreign Minister David Cameron has said Ukraine has the right to fire Western missiles into Russian territory.

The drills are being conducted in Russia’s southern military district, which borders Ukraine and also includes parts of Ukraine that Russia claims it has annexed.

The Russian defense ministry said the training is designed to test “the readiness of personnel and equipment of non-strategic nuclear weapons combat units to respond and to unconditionally ensure the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Russian state.”

It was not immediately clear if any test firings have occurred.

The West has accused Putin of irresponsible nuclear saber-rattling.

Brass Tacks: Why Russia’s Military Fails To Reform – Analysis

Kirill Shamiev

“On a freezing winter dawn, a column of Russian troops moved through what the leadership in Moscow considered to be Russian territory. By midday, commanders were receiving alarming reports. In one town at the border, local fighters had stopped the column and burned and overturned 16 trucks. Later, another convoy was ambushed. Heavy casualties began to appear in the reports of military commanders. Soon, a special military operation that was supposed to be small and aimed at crushing an unfriendly political leadership turned into a long, bloody war with thousands of casualties that would change the Russian nation for years to come.”[1]

This story sounds remarkably familiar. But it is not from an early memoir of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It is how Russian general Gennady Troshev described the beginning of the first Chechen war in December 1994.

But past is apparently prologue. In 2022, Russian forces invaded Ukraine, a country that Russian president Vladimir Putin often implies is part of Russia. The plan was for the Russian military, supported by Russian intelligence agents, to quickly decapitate the government and occupy the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. Within hours of crossing the frontier, the first reports of military setbacks and casualties began to roll in. In just a few days, it became clear that the most recent special military operation would in fact be yet another long, bloody war.

The Risk To America’s AI Dominance Is Algorithmic Stagnation – Analysis

Vincent Carchidi

Imagine an artificial intelligence (AI) application that you can meaningfully communicate with during moments of careful deliberation. I do not mean the mimicry of communication popularized by chatbots powered by Large Language Models (LLMs), most recently embodied in OpenAI’s GPT-4o. I envision an AI model that can productively engage with specialized literature, extract and re-formulate key ideas, and engage in a meaningful back-and-forth with a human expert. One easily imagines the applicability of such a model in domains like medical research. Yet, the machine learning systems that have captured the world’s attention—generative AIs like ChatGPT, Gemini, and Claude—lack the intellectual resources and autonomy necessary to support such applications. Our lofty AI vision remains a matter of science fiction—for now.

The drive to master AI in geopolitics is undeterred by this reality. Indeed, the geopolitical “scramble” for AI triggered in 2023—represented by states as diverse as Britain, France, Germany, India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, and China—was undoubtedly sparked by generative AI and machine learning more broadly. However, some corners of the AI world conceive of machine learning as merely the current stage of state-of-the-art AI—but not its final stage.

FAS's Report on Russian Nuclear Weapons: Flaws and Fallacies

Mark B. Schneider


The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) is an American think tank that advocates for what it calls “minimal deterrence.” It does not support the U.S. strategic nuclear triad or non-strategic nuclear weapons and calls for the complete elimination of the U.S. ballistic missile submarine force.[1] Correspondingly, it has an apparent tendency to downplay the size and significance of the Russian nuclear arsenal. In the absence of detailed U.S. government information since the end of the Cold War on the Russian nuclear threat, the latest FAS report on Russia’s nuclear weapons receives considerable attention; much of the global media regard it as authoritative on Russian nuclear warhead numbers, a status it does not deserve.[2]

The annual FAS report is the product of a great deal of research. Much of it is accurate, but on the critical question of the number of Russian nuclear weapons, it provides almost no sourcing for its numerous numbers.[3] It is possible that Russia has 5,580 nuclear weapons, as FAS assesses, but it is also possible that Russia has at least twice that number.[4] For example, in 2020, noted Russian journalist Pavel Felgenhauer wrote that, “Indeed, taking into account non-strategic (tactical) nuclear weapons, which no one has ever verifiably counted, Russia may have more (maybe twice as many overall) than all the other official or unofficial nuclear powers taken together.”[5]

Since 2020, the FAS estimate of the number of Russian nuclear weapons has declined from 5,977 to 5,580.[6] However, no evidence for this decline is cited. Indeed, the Biden Administration has repeatedly said that the number of Russian nuclear weapons is increasing.[7]

Ukraine War Maps Show Russian Advances in 10 Frontline Locations

Brendan Cole

Russian forces have advanced along the front line near settlements in three regions, according to a Ukrainian open-source project, as maps show the latest state of play in the war.

Moscow's forces have been gaining momentum in Vladimir Putin's full-scale invasion in recent weeks, launching a push on May 10 in Ukraine's northeastern Kharkiv region bordering Russia, helped in part by Ukrainian ammunition and equipment shortages.

While Ukraine's General Staff described the situation at the front on Sunday as "tense, but under control" Telegram channel Deep State noted Russian advances toward a total of 10 villages, two in Kharkiv Oblast and others in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions.

Its live map showed the extent of the push toward Robotyne and Verbove in the Zaporizhzhia region as well as six villages in the Donetsk region.

Army leader dismisses House proposal for drone branch creation


House lawmakers are poised to vote next week on a measure establishing a US Army drone branch, but Army Undersecretary Gabe Camarillo said such a creation isn’t warranted right now and could hamstring service plans.

“It’s an area of specialization that probably isn’t necessarily warranted at this time,” Camarillo told reporters after a Center for a New American Security event today.

“Operating and defending against the drone threat,” he later added, “is something that will be experienced by, you know, all formations at multiple echelons.”

Camarillo’s comments come just days before members of the House Armed Services Committee are slated to mark up the fiscal 2025 defense authorization bill. Ahead of the marathon event, this week Chairman Mike Rogers released a package of changes likely to be included in the bill, including a provision for the Army to establish “Drone Corps as a basic branch.”

Reflections on Revolutions

Max J. Prowant

For the past few years, pundits and policymakers have made a living explaining why we are at the end times. With the left regularly predicting the end of liberal democracy and the right of moral virtue, we are living in an age that is pessimistic at best, reckless and dangerous at worst. Amid the hysterics, Fareed Zakaria may be the most influential voice that has consistently urged calm in the face of large-scale change. His new book, Age of Revolutions: Progress and Backlash from 1600 to the Present, offers a powerful defense of liberalism’s achievements and a caution to revolutionaries that Edmund Burke himself would endorse. The logic of Zakaria’s defense, however, devolves into an identification of liberalism with “progress” in such a way that appeals to salutary checks on liberalism are treated as reactionary and dangerous. His argument, accordingly, should be taken with some caution.

According to Zakaria, we are living in a revolutionary age, both in our domestic politics and in the world at large. Domestically, the traditional left-right divide is changing. For decades, the dividing line between left and right was economic in nature; conservatives wanted tax cuts, deregulation, and a smaller federal government whereas liberals wanted to preserve and expand a host of entitlement programs. Both, however, operated within a broad liberal framework that located the ends of government in the protection of individual rights. That is no longer the case. The divide now concerns the “open” versus “closed” societies where moral and ideational issues are more determinant of a person’s vote than tax cuts and spending. Internationally we are seeing a similar “revolution” against the US-backed liberal order uniting the world through free trade, collective action, and easy immigration. This revolution, led by an array of demagogues and populists, prefers tighter borders and national identity instead of globalism.

Demography: The ticking time bomb threatening Europe’s democrac


In Europe, democracy is conceived of as a fundamental value that enjoys broad, unwavering public support across the Continent. As such, the far-right wave predicted to make landfall during next month’s European election is seen as no more than a transitory political phenomena. Surely, European democracy will persist and persevere over time.

But this fairy-tale ending, the story of the inevitability of democracy in Europe, is as comforting as it is dead wrong.

Data from numerous surveys show that consistent support for democracy across Europe is already quite low. And if demography is destiny, it looks like public support for democracy will continue to fall, with Europe possibly reaching an inflection point where nondemocratic forms of government not only take root but flourish.

How do we know this?

According to the Open Society Foundation’s 2023 global poll, which Comms Hub advised on and analyzed in Europe, only 38 percent of Germans aged 18 and up are consistent supporters of democracy. In France, the number stands at a paltry 27 percent, while Italy and Poland clock in at less than 45 percent.

Gaza and Elections, continued


My friend and I wrote recently about how the Gaza war may end up costing Joe Biden re-election. Against this backdrop moderate Democrats should look with concern at Britain’s local elections on May 2nd, when their sister Labour Party suffered heavy losses among Muslim voters across the country. Islamist voters give left-wing parties a choice: Join us in trying to destroy Israel, or risk losing. The Labour leaders’ present priorities and those of the Islamist voters are irreconcilable.

Hundreds of local councils, mayoral positions, and police commissionerships were up for grabs, with the opposition Labour Party scoring a number of key victories at the expense of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party. This is just the latest sign that the Conservatives (or “Tories”) are heading for a heavy defeat at the next yet-to-be-announced UK General Election.

Despite these advances, Labour lost a lot of votes in areas with large Muslim populations, with the Guardian reporting that the party's vote was down 17.9% in areas where more than a fifth of people identified as Muslim. In areas that are majority Muslim, ITV’s analysis found that Labour lost fully 33% of their previous vote share. In the most heavily Muslim-populated wards of all (those with over 70% Muslim population share), Labour lost a whopping 39 percentage points. The falling Muslim support is a direct response to how Labour’s leader, Sir Keir Starmer, reacted to Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza. These votes are not usually going to the Tories, but to smaller parties Islamists can control.

Why Won’t Biden Let Ukraine Hit Russia Back with US Weapons?

Hal Brands

Ukraine’s fate is no longer hostage to neo-isolationists in the US Congress. But its fortunes are still at their lowest ebb since the desperate days after the initial Russian invasion in early 2022.

Case in point: the new Russian thrust toward Kharkiv. That assault probably won’t conquer Ukraine’s second-largest city. But it demonstrates the price that Ukraine is paying for America’s — and its own — tardiness in girding for this moment. And it underscores the inanity of US restrictions that keep Kyiv from taking the fight to Russia on its own soil.

There have been sharp swings on the battlefield around Kharkiv, in Ukraine’s northeast. The Russians tried and failed to conquer the city during the early going in 2022, although they did get close enough to pummel parts of it with artillery. Months later, a Ukrainian counteroffensive routed Russian forces from the region. But now the Russians are back, and they are driving hard against Ukraine’s understrength defenses.

Fortunately for Ukraine, the force that Russian President Vladimir Putin has committed — between 30,000 and 50,000 personnel — is probably insufficient to take the city. This attack seems aimed at lesser, but still important, objectives.

Ukraine May Soon Have to Sue for Peace | Opinion

Dan Perry

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's term runs out today, May 20. While the war with Russia has enabled a quiet extension, it is a fitting moment to take stock of a catastrophe that has been overshadowed by the Gaza war but whose associated risks are far higher.

Support for Ukraine has become a divisive political issue in the United States, as it seems almost anything important will—and so many people are emotional about it. But a sober analysis suggests Ukraine may soon have to seek a deal with Russia.

At a London conference I attended this weekend on geopolitics, quite senior U.S. and European officials and analysts divided along two clear narratives.

The first is that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a dictator, a Soviet nostalgist and an imperialist with a potentially Hitlerian bent which, if appeased, would whet an appetite that would soon turn to Moldova, the Baltics and perhaps even Poland.

A Government Shakeup in Moscow

George Friedman

The Russian government announced last week a massive shakeup of its senior staff. Several ministers in civilian sectors such as energy, agriculture, industry and trade, and transportation were relieved of their positions, but the most notable departure was Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who was replaced by Andrei Belousov, a former assistant to Vladimir Putin and a former minister of economic development. Putin has insisted that Shoigu, the architect of the war in Ukraine, will still be involved in military affairs, and his appointment as secretary of the Security Council is perhaps a testament to the president’s sincerity.

Indeed, there is little reason to believe this is some kind of Stalinist purge. Putin has made every effort to dismiss the idea that the team that managed the war failed. Recent government statements suggest that Putin needs a better balance of military and economic affairs, so installing a former economic development minister to the top defense post makes sense in this regard. Even so, we would be remiss if we neglected to mention reports that one senior Defense Ministry official was arrested and charged with corruption. Whether this is a single event or the beginning of more arrests (or worse) is yet unknown.

The Gantz Ultimatum


On Saturday night, the leader of Israel’s National Unity party ushered in a new era of national disunity. Benny Gantz, who joined the Israeli government shortly after the Oct. 7 attacks, gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an ultimatum: either he formulates a war strategy that will remake the diplomatic landscape of the Middle East, or else Gantz will resign. This performance, hardly calculated to build a national consensus, laid the predicate for a speedy defection from the government and the beginning of a campaign to topple Netanyahu. While Gantz’s resignation, when it comes, will not bring an immediate end to this government, it will place the coalition under strain, and may well make early elections more likely.

After having attempted to defeat Benjamin Netanyahu in five rounds of elections between 2019 and 2022, Gantz heeded calls from the Israeli public to put aside political feuds. He joined the government, sparking the creation of a special war cabinet, which, in addition to him, consists of Netanyahu, Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant, and three observers. While decisions of the war cabinet are not constitutionally binding, they carry moral authority. Gantz’s presence reassures the Israeli public—and foreign friends—that policy serves the national interest. From now on, however, the government’s decisions will be open to the accusation that they serve the prime minister’s narrow interests.

In fact, Gantz was already making the case on Saturday night. “A small minority took over the bridge of the Israeli ship, and is sailing it toward a wall of rocks,” Gantz asserted, as if he himself had not been present on the bridge throughout the war.

Israel’s Catch-22 in Rafah

Seth J. Frantzman

Israel’s military campaign in Gaza is grinding on after seven months of fighting Hamas. Since the October 7 attack, Israel has faced not only threats from Hamas in Gaza but also increasing attacks from Iranian-backed proxy forces in the region, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in the Red Sea. As Israel approaches its eighth month of war, it is now clear that defeating Hamas in Gaza has become much more challenging than other counter-terrorism campaigns, such as the Iraqi defeat of ISIS in Mosul in 2017. Israel now faces hard choices in Gaza as to what will come next.

The war in Gaza went through several phases. It began with a bombing campaign followed by a ground offensive on October 27. An initial intense campaign in northern Gaza led to 1.7 million Gazans fleeing and saw Israeli tanks and infantry sweeping through dense urban areas. The initial intense phase of fighting, which saw large Hamas concentrations eliminated in northern Gaza, quickly gave way to less intense fighting and more raids by special forces. The shift to lower-intensity fighting in December and January came amid U.S. pressure on Israel but also for operational reasons. The IDF had called up 300,000 reserve soldiers in October after the Hamas attack, and they couldn’t be kept at the front forever.

Beware the Middle East’s forgotten wars

Christopher Phillips

With global attention focused on Gaza and the attacks on Israel by Iran, to the south, nearby Sudan passed a grim milestone largely unnoticed last month. It is now over a year since the outbreak of civil war between the army and its rebellious offshoot, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Thousands have been killed and millions displaced in a vicious conflict that has seen widespread rape, looting and ethnic cleansing.

With the international community’s bandwidth limited, a somewhat myopic focus on the immediate crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean is understandable, but perhaps not wise.

Sudan has been labelled by the UN, ‘one of the worst human rights disasters in recent memory,’ and has the potential to destabilize its already fragile neighbours in the Sahel, Horn of Africa and Red Sea.

Though attempts have been made to broker ceasefires, there is little sign of a breakthrough and, since the 7 October attacks, Sudan has fallen down the global priority list.

Olympus Has Fallen: America's decline as a superpower, and what that means for Israel - opinion


Action movie buffs will recall Olympus Has Fallen, a 2013 film in which the White House is attacked and taken over by Korean terrorists seeking to unify the Korean Peninsula. The sequel London Has Fallen, in which radical Islamic terrorists plagued the UK capital, followed in 2016.

While the plots are fantastical, the underlying message behind both films unfortunately resonates more than ever in 2024. The White House has not been physically attacked, but its current occupant has succeeded in undermining and eroding America’s standing on the global stage to a degree that was unimaginable when the Cold War ended, leaving the US the sole superpower.

Similarly, masses of Islamist fanatics can be found marching in the streets of London these days, threatening violence against Jews and supporters of Israel. The British government and police seem powerless to intervene in the face of their poisonous message.

Can America Regain Its Self-Confidence?

Daniel Chirot

America’s self-confidence in its institutions is collapsing. The consequences are already grave and they will get worse. The United States is not unique, and as recent articles in the Journal of Democracy and many other publications show, attitudes about the legitimacy of democracy are falling throughout the world.

That European democracies are afflicted by a crisis of confidence as much as the United States suggests a kind of growing malaise about the value of democratic capitalism and the very essence of what used to be called the Enlightenment project. As recently as the 1990s the very opposite appeared to be taking place, fulfilling the dreams and hopes of more than two centuries of struggle. In three decades, all that is quickly fading.

On the American political left, much of that decline is reflected in the increasing sense of guilt about the country’s history. Few publications express this more vividly than Nikole Hannah-Jones’ book The 1619 Project, published and relentlessly promoted by the New York Times. The central ideas are that America was founded as a slave society, has never fundamentally changed its exploitative racism, and has never had any major redeeming qualities. A brief quote shows that it is not just racism but the nature of its economic system that is at fault.

‘No silver bullet:’ Military will need multiple systems to back up GPS


As Defense Department concern grows about the increasing ability of adversaries to disrupt GPS satellite signals, experts warn that there is no one-size-fits-all alternative to meet military needs for positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) capabilities.

Radio-frequency (RF) signals broadcasted from Global Positioning System satellites can be used by a wide variety of platforms for almost an infinite number of military missions — ranging from helping a soldier navigate an all-terrain vehicle in an unfamiliar landscape to steering an airborne missile to its target.

The problem, as is being demonstrated every day in conflict zones such as Ukraine and Gaza, is that GPS RF signals are weak and easily jammed — or, perhaps worse, spoofed to fool users into going to or looking at the wrong place. For example, in March a plane carrying UK Defence Minister Grant Shapps from Poland back to Britain lost GPS near Kaliningrad due to suspected Russian jamming — something that his spokesperson said is not unusual over Russia’s Baltic coast.

Pentagon should streamline software adoption with more testing enclaves, experts urge


In recent days both Pentagon CIO John Sherman and the House Armed Services Committee have pushed new policies to speed the adoption of commercial software by the Department of Defense.

That’s great as far as it goes, DoD and industry officials said at a recent conference. But, they argued that beyond cutting red tape, the chronically overworked officials certifying commercial software as cybersecure and safe for government networks also need the technical tools and computing environments to test the software properly.

The critical choke-point is a process known as ATO, or Authorization To Operate. When the Pentagon wants to use some commercial software, a government Authorizing Official (AO) must formally approve it as sufficiently safe and secure against cyberattack to be used on government networks. That process can be fraught with bureaucratic hurdles.