14 June 2024

India Deserves a Better Media

Mukul Kesavan

For the last 10 years, India has been the site of a natural experiment. It’s as if a social scientist was testing to see how long it would take for a determined state to bring the mainstream media to heel in a large parliamentary democracy, where newspapers and broadcasters were privately and diversely owned.

Modi’s Taiwan Ties Have Rattled China

Rishi Iyengar

In the week since he staked his claim for a third term as India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi’s official account on X (formerly Twitter) has been replete with replies to congratulatory messages from dozens of global leaders—from Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky to U.S. President Joe Biden to Pakistan’s Shehbaz Sharif, and even the likes of Bill Gates and Elon Musk.

The U.S. military plans a ‘Hellscape’ to deter China from attacking Taiwan - Opinion

Josh Rogin

President Xi Jinping has called on China’s People’s Liberation Army to be ready to take Taiwan by force by 2027. The United States, together with regional partners, must ensure a Chinese invasion can’t succeed. That plan hinges on quickly building and deploying thousands of new drones that would swarm the Taiwan Strait and keep China’s military busy until more help can arrive, according to the top U.S. military official in the Pacific. But time is running out to turn these plans into a reality.

Under its long-standing policy of “strategic ambiguity,” the United States has never committed to coming to Taiwan’s defense if China attacks. President Biden has repeatedly said he would send the U.S. military to defend Taiwan, although he added a new caveat in his latest interview with Time, saying, “It would depend on the circumstances.” President Donald Trump seems less likely to intervene on Taiwan’s behalf, having told a GOP senator while in office that if China attacks, “there isn’t a f------ thing we can do about it.”

For any U.S. president, to send American men and women to defend a small democracy on the other side of the world would be a very tough call. That’s why Plan A is to deter Xi from ever attempting an invasion, by making sure that he never looks across the Taiwan Strait and sees an easy victory, Adm. Samuel Paparo, the new head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, told me in an interview.

A U.S.-China War over Taiwan: Why America Might Not Be Able to Win

Brent M. Eastwood

U.S. Military Strategy for Defending Taiwan Against China

The United States has maintained strategic ambiguity for years about what it would do if China attacked Taiwan. Now, U.S. President Joe Biden has brought new attention to the question over the years.

In an interview with 60 Minutes, Biden said on Sept. 18, 2022, that the United States would indeed fight to protect Taiwan against China. That follows remarks made in Tokyo in May of 2021, during which Biden said the United States would engage in battle to defend Taiwan. Currently, the Americans provide arms to the Taiwanese, but the U.S. has also recognized Beijing’s One China policy.

What would the United States do militarily if there was an attack on Taiwan?

From Wars of Words to a War of Missiles

Taiwan sits about 110 miles off the coast of mainland China. Beijing claims the island as its own. Chinese President Xi Jinping believes that total reunification is unavoidable, and he has not ruled out the use of force to maintain the One China policy. Any shooting war that draws in the United States would be bloody, with death and destruction mounting on both sides.

The U.S. Military Can't Stop China from Taking the South China Sea

Brandon J. Weichert

South China Sea: The Overlooked Flashpoint in U.S.-China Tensions

The world perceives the tension between the United States and the People’s Republic of China as existing squarely in that 100-mile swathe of water separating China from Taiwan known as the Taiwan Strait. Indeed, the Taiwan Strait is the center of gravity of any potential conflict between China and America.

Yet there are many points of contact beyond the Taiwan Strait where tensions could boil over into a full conflagration between the two nuclear-armed powers. One such area is the South China Sea.

China’s History of Aggression

China’s government likes to challenge new American presidents to see how much they can get away with under the new president’s leadership. Early in the Obama administration, China began an ambitious project to build manmade islands in the South China Sea.

The US-Saudi Nuclear Agreement: Regional Implications – OpEd

Hira Bashir

Several media reports have suggested that Saudi Arabia is close to a “mega deal” with the United States. The “mega deal” is also known as “grand bargain” because the agreement would significantly strengthen US-Saudi relations, given it includes a mutual defense pact and collaboration on advanced technologies such as AI and a civilian nuclear program.

On May 19, 2024, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan visited Saudi Arabia for discussions, including a civil nuclear cooperation agreement. Under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 reform plan, Saudi Arabia aims to generate substantial renewable energy and reduce emissions, with nuclear energy playing a significant role. Initially, this deal was tied to Saudi Arabia normalizing relations with Israel. However, Saudi Arabia insists that normalization must include Israel recognizing a path to Palestinian statehood, which Israel opposes, putting normalization on hold.

Hamas Accepts UN Ceasefire Resolution

Marni Rose McFall

Hamas has accepted a ceasefire resolution presented by the United Nations Security Council and is ready to negotiate, one of the group's senior officials told Reuters news agency.

The resolution, adopted on Monday, would see the withdrawal of Israeli troops and a swap of hostages for detainees held by Israel.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is in the Middle East pushing a ceasefire deal, told reporters that Hamas' statement was "a hopeful sign."

The Context

The U.N. security council resolution called for Hamas to agree to a three-phase hostage-for-ceasefire proposal, as per a report from The Guardian.

Israel Official Says Biden Ceasefire Plan Allows IDF to Destroy Hamas

Tom O'Connor

Amid conflicting narratives over U.S. President Joe Biden's latest push for a ceasefire in the eight-month war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, an Israeli official has told Newsweek that the U.S. proposal aligns with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's goal of inflicting a lasting, decisive defeat against the Palestinian movement.

"Israel will not end the war before achieving all its war objectives: destroying Hamas' military and governing capabilities, freeing all the hostages and ensuring Gaza doesn't pose a threat to Israel in the future," the Israeli official told Newsweek on background.

"The proposal presented enables Israel to achieve these goals and Israel will indeed do so," the Israeli official said.

Putin Cuts Ukraine’s Power

Keith Johnson

Russia’s renewed and much broader assault on Ukraine’s energy sector this spring, which has now destroyed roughly half of the country’s electricity generation capacity, represents an explosive blow to Kyiv’s resilience, civilian morale, and industrial production. What’s worse, the ongoing Russian attacks on the vulnerable energy system offer few prospects of a quick fix that could right the situation before Ukraine enters its third winter of the war.

South Korean forces fire warning shots after North's troops cross DMZ


Around 20 North Korean troops briefly crossed into the southern portion of the Demilitarized Zone over the weekend, prompting South Korean forces to warn the intruders by firing shots and using loudspeakers, the South’s military announced Tuesday.

The North Korean troops who crossed the Military Demarcation Line at 12:30 p.m. Sunday “immediately” went back to their side of the border after the warnings, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a text message to reporters.

The border is covered with overgrown trees and other vegetation, making signs denoting the boundary difficult to see, South Korean army Col. Lee Sung-jun said during a news conference Tuesday. Some of the North Koreans were carrying “work tools,” he said, but declined to elaborate.

Russia and Belarus Launch Joint Nuclear Strike Drills

Brendan Cole

Russia and Belarus have started nuclear weapon exercises as part of the "second stage" of drills between the countries known as the "Union State."

Russia's Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that the countries had started practicing the joint combat use of nonstrategic nuclear weapons.

Vladimir Putin last month announced nuclear weapons drills would take place amid heightened tension over his full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the Kremlin's rhetoric about the use of such arms.

US Confirms Ukraine's Patriots Downed Putin's Rare Radar Plane: 'Historic'

David Brennan

Asenior U.S. Army officer has confirmed that Ukraine used one of its American-made Patriot surface-to-air missile systems to down a Russian Beriev A-50 airborne early warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft in January 2024.

Colonel Rosanna Clemente, the assistant chief of staff of the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, said in comments at the Fires Symposium event last month that Ukraine's Western-provided Patriot anti-air systems are serving Kyiv in various roles.

Clemente said some Patriot launchers are "being used to protect static sites and critical national infrastructure. Others are being moved around and doing some really historic things that I haven't seen in 22 years of being an air defender. And one of them is a 'SAMbush.'"

"They're doing that with extremely mobile Patriot systems that were donated by the Germans because the systems are all mounted on the trucks."

Russia Taps Unlikely Allies to Help Ship Sanctioned Oil

Costas Paris & Joe Wallace

An armada of old tanker ships has sprung up to move sanctioned Russian and Iranian oil, putting sailors in peril and threatening environmental catastrophes.

At the center of this trade is a surprising new player in global shipping: Gabon, a nation better known for its dense rainforest and a recent coup than maritime acumen.

The Gabonese ship registry has ballooned to hold more than 100 tankers, according to ship brokers and owners, and an official at an established rival registry. Lloyd’s List Intelligence estimates more than 70 of those vessels have obscure ownership and form part of a shadow fleet of tankers dedicated to sanctioned oil trades.

Ukraine’s Plan to Make Itself Indispensable

Walter Russell Mead

On a long road trip from the Moldovan frontier through Odesa to Kyiv, Kharkiv and back, I heard overwhelmingly that Ukrainians are determined to fight on. That isn’t always because they love President Volodymyr Zelensky, trust their generals, or see a path to victory. The bottom line in Ukraine is that they must keep fighting because Vladimir Putin gives them no choice.

Mr. Putin isn’t looking for compromise, they say. It isn’t about moving the border posts a few miles to the west. He believes he needs all or almost all of Ukraine, and he won’t stop until he gets it.

Worse, they say, Mr. Putin doesn’t only want to raise the Russian flag over the country and redistribute its wealth to his favored oligarchs. He wants to crush Ukrainian nationality, marginalize the language and culture, impose totalitarian rule over the country, and enlist Ukraine in his project of rebuilding the Russian Empire.

Russia Losing Artillery at Record Pace, Kyiv's Figures Show

Brendan Cole

Russia continues to lose equipment at a vast rate in its full-scale invasion, according to Ukraine whose latest figures suggest that June is on track for its biggest monthly losses of artillery systems for the whole war.

Data from Ukraine's defense ministry showed that in May, Russia had lost 1,160 artillery systems, the highest total for a month since Vladimir Putin started the invasion on February 24, 2022. It was the first time the figure had breached four figures and was well clear of the previous highest of 947 from September 2023.

But so far it looks like June will surpass that monthly record, with artillery losses in the first nine days already reaching 453, a rate if extrapolated over the month would equal 1,510.

US and Israel Would Conduct Annual Tunnel Exercises Under House Plan

Anthony Capaccio

The latest draft of the House Armed Services Committee’s $895 billion defense spending bill would require the US to conduct joint exercises with Israel aimed at improving the countries’ ability to fight militants and smugglers in underground tunnels, part of a push to counter a key advantage of Hamas and other groups.

Section 1233 of the proposed legislation would “require military exercises in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility to conduct an annual counter-tunneling exercise with Israel.” It would authorize an additional $30 million for research and technology in an ongoing “United States-Israel Anti-Tunnel Cooperation” project.

Israel Is Losing America

Shalom Lipner

In a surprise announcement on May 31, U.S. President Joe Biden outlined a road map for “an enduring cease-fire [in the Gaza Strip] and the release of all hostages.” The plan, he declared, had been authored by Israel, and he urged Hamas to acquiesce to its terms. Biden’s speech gave the president the upper hand in his growing rift with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and it caught the prime minister off guard. Biden’s action has put Netanyahu in a difficult bind. If he accepts the deal, then members of his right-wing coalition will likely follow through on their vow to topple him. But if he rejects it, then he will increase tensions with the United States. For the time being, the prime minister has settled for an equivocal endorsement, insisting that Biden has inaccurately characterized the offer and that Israel has not consented to Hamas’s precondition of a full stop to the war. Meanwhile, Hamas’s reaction has been even less positive.

For months, as Israel has intensified its grip over Gaza despite mounting international condemnation, the impasse between Biden and Netanyahu has seemed only to worsen. In the weeks before Biden’s address, recriminations escalated. “We are not a vassal state of the United States,” Netanyahu told his cabinet on May 9. More recently, Biden suggested that observers could legitimately conclude that Netanyahu is prolonging the war to preserve his grip on power. As a consequence of this discord, the U.S.-Israeli relationship is turning from an intimate friendship into a contentious brawl. The ability to resolve differences and coordinate policy behind closed doors is vanishing rapidly, being replaced by animosity and dissent.

The Horn Of Africa States: A Geostrategic Geopolitical Minefield – OpEd

Dr. Suleiman Walhad

The region has always been a bridge connecting Africa, Asia and Europe from ancient times to this day. Despite its apparent poverty, it still plays a pivotal role in world affairs and major and regional powers still keep it in mind and include it in their calculations geostrategically and geopolitically. It was always a conflict-prone region for some centuries now starting with the arrival of the Portuguese in the Middle Ages, through the Scramble for Africa, the First and Second World Wars and the Cold War, when despite being in the same socialist camp, conflicts still continued in the region.

Nothing has changed and the currently brewing East and West standoff still affects the region with USA-led NATO on one side and the BRICS Plus on the other. This is further complicated by the regional wars such as those endless Middle East wars culminating in the current Palestinian/Israeli war in Gaza. The region knows no respite as the world elephants face off each other with their proxy wars within the region, which impacts its tribes and clans, some of whom with limited understanding of matters wrongly believe in unachievable matters.

No First Use: Threatening Alliance Cohesion, Assurance, and Non-Proliferation

Michaela Dodge & Keith B. Payne


The U.S. extended nuclear deterrent is underpinned by the deterrent threat option to escalate to nuclear first use in the event of otherwise unstoppable aggression against an ally. For decades, major allies have testified as to the critical importance they attach to this nuclear escalation threat behind the U.S. extended nuclear deterrent. It is a key reason, allies insist, that they are able to stand back from pursuing their own national possession of nuclear weapons—and thus a key to U.S. nuclear non-proliferation goals. It is no overstatement to conclude that, for decades, the U.S. extended deterrent, including the nuclear escalation option, have been essential to the cohesion of U.S. alliances and the relative success of nuclear non-proliferation.

Episodic U.S. initiatives to move to no first use (NFU) or “sole purpose” nuclear weapon policies—that would preclude U.S. nuclear employment in response to anything other than an opponent’s nuclear attack—would directly contradict the traditional U.S. extended nuclear deterrent commitment to allies. These initiatives are a prime example of how the U.S. pursuit of arms control goals can unintentionally undermine the keys to alliance cohesion—extended nuclear deterrence and the assurance of allies. U.S. allies have consistently expressed sharp, substantive opposition to U.S. proposals for an NFU or “sole purpose” nuclear policy—two different titles for essentially the same policy constraint on U.S. deterrent strategies, i.e., precluding a U.S. nuclear response to an opponent’s non-nuclear attack, including an opponent’s chemical or biological weapons (CBW) attack.

The Demographic Meltdown

George Friedman

Major news publications around the world are rife lately with articles noting how the decline in birth rates has reached a critical mass. Over the past years, life expectancy has increased – particularly in advanced industrial countries – just not enough to cover the shortfall of new humans. And though there are higher numbers of elderly virtually everywhere, the numbers don’t specifically account for those incapacitated, and thus rendered unproductive, by old age. Caring for the elderly will suck up a significant portion of the younger population’s time and energy unless a radical shift takes place in medicine.

I live in the United States, which has its own bespoke problems in this regard, and have written about this issue in several of my books. But this is a truly global phenomenon. In many countries, there will be fewer people to grow and produce food, nurse the infirm, teach school and do other uniquely human endeavors. As those demands remain steady and other needs increase, it will be more difficult to maintain social equilibrium – the result of which invariably is social and economic unrest.

Friend-sourcing military procurement: Technology acquisition as security cooperation

James Hasik


In the United States, the military procurement bureaucracy tends to sponsor development of new technologies to fill requirements. The bureaucracy also largely seeks domestic sources for all new charismatic military megafauna: aircraft, ships, ground vehicles, and missile systems. Security “cooperation” in US policy and practice is largely a one-way process, neglecting the benefit of learning and sourcing from other countries. However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and China’s concomitant threats from India to Korea, point to the need for coordinating the industrial capabilities of allies. As the United States faces simultaneous competition with two revisionist, nuclear-armed, major-power rivals, not to mention a challenging budgetary and fiscal environment, the additional research and development (R&D) costs assumed by the Department of Defense through its disregard of foreign suppliers, while never ideal, are no longer tenable.

Law, regulation, and policy can conspire against good economic thinking, though with clear exemptions. The Department of Defense Authorization Act for 1983 prohibited the construction of naval vessels in foreign shipyards, unless the president first informs Congress of a national security need otherwise (10 U.S.C. §§ 7309–7310). The Buy American Act of 1933 demands preference for domestic manufactures in federal procurement, though this is waived for imports from dozens of allied countries through reciprocal agreements (41 U.S.C. §§ 8301–8305). Note, though, that these laws say nothing of where products are designed, merely where they are manufactured. Further, the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 mandates a “preference for commercial products . . . to the maximum extent practical,” with “market research . . . before developing new specifications for a procurement” (10 U.S.C. § 3453). Official policy periodically reemphasizes this mandate for off-the-shelf procurement.1

Inside Israel, the Gaza War Looks Very Different

Amy Mackinnon

There is a pervasive sense in Israel that time stopped on Oct. 7, 2023. Kibbutz Kfar Aza, one of the first places Hamas attacked on that day, is now a closed military zone, frozen in time. A sukkah, or temporary hut erected for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, which took place the week leading up to Oct. 7, still stands in the yard of one house. In another, a cluster of children’s bikes lean under a tree.

How Washington Missed the Boat on AI Regulation

Bhaskar Chakravorti

“The longer we wait, the bigger the gap becomes.” With those wise words, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer drew attention to an urgent need: closing the gulf between the pace of innovation and the pace of policy development regarding artificial intelligence in the United States.

AI: A Double-Edged Sword – OpEd

Rimsha Malik

The convergence of artificial intelligence with cyber security is a major advancement as we enter the 21st century’s technological renaissance. Not only is this synergy a technological marvel, but it also catalyzes breakthroughs in healthcare, education, and other fields.

Artificial intelligence refers to how computers, particularly computer systems, imitate human intellectual functions. Protecting computers from hackers is the goal of cybersecurity. AI in cybersecurity offers insights that help businesses comprehend and address problems more quickly, improving procedures like vulnerability management, threat hunting, and network security. Security issues may be automatically detected and evaluated via machine learning (ML), the foundation of artificial intelligence. While ML has been included in cybersecurity solutions including spam, phishing, URL screening, and intrusion detection systems, it has advanced gradually since the 1980s. With a focus on improving security capabilities through quicker intelligence creation, this research attempts to present an updated overview of AI applications in cybersecurity.

Army Launches New "Defend AI" Program to Counter Enemy Attacks on AI

Kris Osborn

How soon will the US need to be prepared to fight armies of autonomous robots? The answer, while unclear in some respects, may be “pretty soon.” As cliche as “terminator” types of comparisons circulate within analysis of robotics, autonomy and AI, there is something quite “real” about this possibility to a degree.

The consequences are serious, because while the Pentagon and US services heavily emphasize “ethics” with AI and the need to ensure a “human in the loop” regarding the use of lethal force, there is little to no assurance that potential adversaries will embrace a similar approach. This introduces potentially unprecedented dangers not lost on the Pentagon, a reason why there are so many current efforts to optimize the use of AI, autonomy and machine learning when it comes to combat operations and weapons development.