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Geostrategic environment (october 13, 2022)

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TOPICS

  • (Bio Weapons) Jez LittlewoodFilippa Lentzos, Bullettin of the Atomic Scientists. For the fourth time this year, Russia accused the United States and Ukraine of being in non-compliance with the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention (BTWC)—and once again found little support for its allegations. At the conclusion of the Article V Formal Consultative Meeting in September, no other state formally accused these two nations of non-compliance. Russia stands alone in its allegations, with limited support from eight other states. In contrast, more than five times as many backed the United States and Ukraine in rejecting the allegations; the meeting ended with a procedural report that noted no consensus regarding the outcome. Russia’s alleged bioweapons claims have few supporters
  • (Cybersecurity) Alessandro Mascellino, Infosecurity. FormBook is the most prevalent malware in the wild worldwide, and Vidar, an infostealer, has entered the top 10 list in eighth place for the first time following a fake Zoom campaign. FormBook Tops Check Point’s Most Wanted Malware List For September
  • (Cybersecurity) Alessandro Mascellino, Infosecurity. Telecommunication giant Singtel has confirmed that another of its Australian subsidiaries, consulting unit Dialog, was the victim of a hack just weeks after the Optus breach was revealed. Singtel’s Australian IT Firm Dialog Suffers Data Breach
  • (Cybersecurity) Kevin Poireault, Infosecurity. Team82, the research arm of New York-based industrial cybersecurity firm Claroty, revealed on October 11, 2022, that they managed to extract heavily guarded, hardcoded cryptographic keys embedded within SIMATIC S7-1200/1500s, a range of Siemens programmable logic computers (PLCs), and TIA Portal, Siemens’ automated engineering software platform. Claroty Found Hardcoded Cryptographic Keys in Siemens PLCs Using RCE
  • (Defense – Military – Security) Patrick Tucker, Defense One. Ukraine’s swift counter-offensive owes much to U.S. weapons, planning, and intelligence help. But the U.S. Army is benefitting as well: by learning how to move intelligence much faster from satellites to ground units. The Ukraine War Is Teaching the US How to Move Intelligence Faster
  • (Defense – Military – Security) Marcus Weisgerber, Defense One. The merger of Leonardo DRS with Israeli radar maker RADA is on track to close by the end of next month, the company’s CEO tells Defense One. CEO: Leonardo DRS-RADA Merger On Track to Close Next Month
  • (Defense – Military – Security) Rachel S. Cohen, Defense News. The Air Force’s new HH-60W Jolly Green II combat search-and-rescue helicopter has deployed overseas for the first time, a milestone more than a decade in the making. Air Force’s new search-and-rescue helicopter heads to first deployment
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  • (Defense – Military – Security) Courtney Albon, Defense News. The U.S. Army wants ideas from industry on how to protect against attacks from so-called kamikaze drones, a loitering weapon that is featuring heavily in the war in Ukraine. US Army seeks defense against ‘kamikaze’ drone threats seen in Ukraine
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  • (Defense – Military – Security) Colin Demarest, Defense News. The Australian military will use this year’s Project Convergence to bolster its relationship with the U.S. as well as exchange information-sharing techniques and procedures that officials consider necessary to counter technologically savvy opponents. What Australia wants out of this year’s Project Convergence experiment
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  • (Defense – Military – Security) Colin Demarest, Defense News. The U.S. Army is incorporating observations gathered from the Russia-Ukraine war into its massive networking-and-technologies exercise known as Project Convergence, but is wary of drawing too many conclusions too soon. US Army carefully folding Ukraine info into Project Convergence tests
  • (Defense – Military – Security) Mike Yeo, Defense News. Malaysia has selected Italy’s Leonardo as its preferred vendor for a maritime patrol aircraft program. Malaysia selects Leonardo for maritime patrol aircraft program
  • (Development – Economy – Governance) Zsolt Darvas, Bruegel. The real effective exchange rate (REER), which measures the development of the real value of a country’s currency against the basket of the trading partners of the country, is a frequently used variable in both theoretical and applied economic research and policy analysis. It is used for a wide variety of purposes, such as assessing the equilibrium value of a currency, the change in price or cost competitiveness, the drivers of trade flows, or incentives for reallocation production between the tradable and the non-tradable sectors. Real effective exchange rates for 178 countries: a new database
  • (Health & Technological Innovation) Shania Kennedy, Health IT Analytics. A new study conducted by health information exchange (HIE) HEALTHeLINK and the Milbank Memorial Fund has found that a population health management and analytics tool contributed to better patient outcomes in primary care practices enrolled in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) program. Population Health Management Tool Improves Primary Care Outcomes in VBC Model
  • (Health & Technological Innovation) Shania Kennedy, Health IT Analytics. The Coalition for Health AI (CHAI) has published papers related to the second round of workshops in its Bias, Equity, and Fairness series for public feedback and announced plans to share recommendations for responsible artificial intelligence (AI) use in healthcare. Coalition Shares Progress, Plans to Issue Responsible Health AI Guidelines
  • (Nuclear Weapons) Robert Ayson, The Interpreter. Your main aim is to show that Europe’s security order cannot be altered without Russia’s tacit approval. You must set NATO an intolerably high price for joining the fight against your “special military operation” in Ukraine. You must show everyone, especially the Russian people, that Moscow retains the capacity to foot it with Washington. If Russia breaks the nuclear taboo
  • (Perspectives) Mathilde Velliet, IFRI. In line with the anti-Huawei diplomatic campaign of the Trump and Biden administrations, the United States has promoted an alternative : Open RAN, a concept defined by “open” network architectures. At the intersection of 5G geopolitics and standards, what risks and opportunities does Open RAN present for European technological sovereignty? “Open” Telecom Networks (Open RAN) Towards a Reconfiguration of International Competition in 5G?
  • (Perspectives) Institut Montaigne. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a turning point in international affairs, bringing to the fore the perennial question of world order. Commentaries, therefore, try to look beyond that event and invest it with meaning and predictions. Here, Professors Evren Balta and Soli Özel (also Senior Fellow at Institut Montaigne) show how the war in Ukraine sheds the light on the declining image of the West across the world. They argued the West’s eroded legitimacy entails the voluntarily ambiguous positioning of middle players such as Turkey, which reap strategic benefits from swinging between alternatively pro and anti-Western stances.  A Constitutive Moment
  • (Technology Innovation) Paul Scharre and Megan Lamberth, CNAS. New CNAS Report: “Artificial Intelligence and Arms Control”
  • (Technological Innovation) B Cavello, Aspen Institute. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being adopted and implemented across a broad range of industries and applications, from telecom and transport to groceries and governments. These AI systems can be prominent elements of a product or service, or they may augment how organizations operate behind the scenes. Regardless of how apparent the integration of AI may be, these applications of advanced automation systems raise important questions about liability, responsibility, and ethical impacts on the public.  Making the Case for Trustworthy AI

WORLDS

  • (Asia) TASS. Asia where new centers of power are growing stronger plays a big role in the transition to a multipolar world, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) on Thursday. Putin points to new centers of power emerging in Asia
  • (Australia – China) David Uren, The Strategist. China’s share of Australia’s trade—both exports and imports—is falling and is being replaced by other trading partners in Asia, bringing important diversification to Australian markets. Australia’s trade diversification away from China picks up pace
  • (China) Yu Jie, Ben Bland, Chatham House. Xi Jinping’s expected anointment for an unprecedented third term as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is likely to generate global headlines when the party’s five-yearly National Congress begins on 16 October. 20th CCP National Congress: Five issues to watch
  • (China) Institut Montaigne. China Trends seeks understanding of China from Chinese language sources. In an era where the international news cycle is often about China, having a reality check on Chinese expressions often provides for more in-depth analysis of the logic at work in policies, and needed information about policy debates where they exist. China Trends is a quarterly publication by Institut Montaigne’s Asia program, with each issue focusing on a single theme. China Trends #14 – Figures of Speech in China’s Foreign Policy
  • (China) Yang Sheng and Chen Qingqing, Global Times. The 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) concluded its seventh plenary session in Beijing on Wednesday with a communiqué issued to thoroughly review the achievements of the Party and the state in the past five years, and also discussed and adopted a report of the 19th Central Committee to the 20th CPC National Congress and an amendment to the CPC Constitution.  19th CPC Central Committee concludes 7th plenum; communiqué notes achievements made amid grave challenges
  • (China) Daniel H. RosenNargiza SalidjanovaRachel LietzowRyan Featherston, Boyuan Chen, Josh Lipsky, and Niels Graham, Rhodium Group. China Pathfinder, a joint project of Rhodium Group and the Atlantic Council’s GeoEconomics Center, compares China’s economic system to those of market economies. This juxtaposition is important at a time when questions are mounting about Beijing’s economic trajectory, and both policymakers and businesses around the world are assessing how to respond and position themselves. This report looks at six components of the market model: financial system development, competition, innovation system, trade openness, direct investment openness, and portfolio investment openness. Our annual scorecard situates China in relation to ten leading market economies to establish a data-centered benchmark for discussion and analysis. We supplement the annual report with quarterly updates that zero in on the most important policy developments in China. This approach is designed to encourage a more constructive discussion of policy shifts taking place in Beijing, from the recent crackdown on technology companies, to the “dual circulation” strategy, and debate over “common prosperity.”. China Pathfinder: Annual Scorecard 2022
  • (China) , The Strategist. China has overtaken the United States to top the world in the number of high-quality scientific papers it is producing. Analysis by Japan’s National Institute of Science and Technology Policy indicates a marked improvement in the quality of China’s scientific and technological development over the past two decades. China faces major challenges in achieving goal of global technological pre-eminence
  • (China – Western Balkans) Bruegel. The rise in Chinese influence in the Western Balkans over the last decade is among the most significant geopolitical developments in Europe. As an element of Beijing’s wide internationalisation efforts to expand its global footprint, the country has been working to improve its position in several key sectors, from energy and infrastructure to culture, education and media. A lot of these investments are linked to the Belt and Road initiative. Giuseppe Porcaro and Alicia García-Herrero invite Mira Milosevich-Juaristi to help navigate the Chinese investments in the Balkans and their strategic importance and what this means for Europe. China’s rise in the Western Balkans
  • (Ethiopia’s Tigray) Michelle Gavin, Council on Foreign Relations. Nearly two years after war broke out in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, the fighting is intensifying, and the interstate dimension to the conflict is as undeniable as ever.  Peace Talks for Tigray Delayed
  • (Europe) Marie Krpata, IFRI. The EU’s basic assumptions, on which it grounds its economic and trade power, are being steadily cast into doubt. The EU’s main trade partners, the US and China, increasingly set their sights on securing their supply chains, which may further a potential decoupling.  The European Union Industrial Strategy: Reconciling Competition and Geoeconomic Challenges
  • (Europe) Simone Tagliapietra, Georg Zachmann, Jeromin Zettelmeyer, Bruegel. An EU energy fund is justified, but for different reasons than commonly assumed, with implications for the fund’s design. Does the European Union need an energy crisis fund?
  • (France – Germany) Florence Verzelen, Otmar D. Wiestler, Institut Montaigne. Every day, our societies produce massive quantities of health-related data. From administrative healthcare data generated by public and private insurers to clinical data extracted from medical records, pharmacies, medical examination reports, medical registries, clinical trials or genomic data, our healthcare system is digitalized from every angle.  France and Germany: Towards a Common Strategy on Digital Health
  • (Guinea) Cullen S. Hendrix, Peterson Institute for International Economics. Worldwide demand for bauxite, the primary source of aluminum oxide ore, is surging to meet the needs of the construction, energy, and vehicle sectors as they strive to cut carbon emissions. Bauxite production is forecast to grow by 80 percent by 2050. But countries where bauxite is mined face challenges in securing financing commitments and developing supporting infrastructure as global energy systems ramp up demand for their natural resources. Guinea faces challenges in building capacity around a critical mineral for energy transitions
  • (Iran) , Responsible Statecraft, Aspenia. Since at least 2009 and the “Green Revolution,” the young and middle-class population of Iran has repeatedly demonstrated its disgust with the aging clerical rulers who govern their lives. They march in the streets at risk of everything to denounce the brutal and inflexible dictatorship that abuses the revolutionary power given to them by the people in 1979. Revolution in Iran?
  • (Iran) Nicholas Carl, Zachary Coles, and Frederick W. Kagan, Institute for the Study of War. Iranian leadership is still largely speaking to itself rather than to the Iranian people. Iran Crisis Update, October 12
  • (Japan) Chris Burgess, East Asia Forum. From April to August 2020, Japan implemented a re-entry ban for all foreign nationals, including permanent residents, with some exceptions. This came as a shock to many who considered Japan ‘home’ since they found themselves either trapped outside the country or unable to leave to see sick family members or attend funerals. COVID-19 Border Policies Strengthen Japan’s Insular Mindset
  • (Kosovo – Serbia) Hamza Karčić, RUSI. With prospects of EU enlargement stalling, the incentive for Kosovo and Serbia to reduce tensions in their bilateral relations is steadily evaporating. How Likely is Kosovo–Serbia Normalisation?
  • (North Korea) Al Jazeera. North Korea has test-fired a pair of long-range strategic cruise missiles, with leader Kim Jong Un lauding another successful display of the country’s tactical nuclear strike capability. North Korea says it tested two nuclear-capable cruise missiles
  • (Russia)  and , Responsible Statecraft. Efforts to avoid sanctions by promoting an alternative to US-dominated financial networks has its challenges. But that could change. How is Russia’s parallel currency system going?
  • (Russia – North Korea) Gabriela Bernal, East Asia Forum. Moscow and Pyongyang are taking active steps to strengthen their alliance. The situation may look like a win–win for both sides, but North Korea has more to gain from cooperation than Russia. Moscow–Pyongyang cooperation remains muted
  • (Russia – Ukraine) Al Jazeera. The United Nations General Assembly condemned Russia’s attempt to annex four territories in Ukraine last month in a resolution that displayed global disapproval. UN condemns Russia’s annexation move: How did countries vote?
  • (Russia – Ukraine) , The Strategist. In the early hours of Saturday 8 October, an explosion on the Kerch Strait Bridge connecting Russia to Crimea demolished lengths of its road and railway tracks. Commentators in Ukraine are saying there are three possible explanations for what happened: the bridge was mined, explosives carried on a truck were detonated on the bridge, or the bridge was targeted by rocket attack. It is considered unlikely that the Iranian drones that were being transported in the truck ignited spontaneously. The symbolic significance of the Crimea bridge attack
  • (Russia – Ukraine) Roberto Menotti, Aspenia. Ha fatto molto scalpore una dichiarazione di Joe Biden del 6 ottobre – quasi certamente fuori programma e poi parzialmente corretta dai collaboratori del Presidente – sullo scenario di un “Armageddon nucleare”, con un esplicito parallelo con la crisi cubana del 1962. La scelta dei toni e delle parole è stata opinabile, ma è interessante il modo in cui Biden ha inquadrato questa specifica fase delicatissima del conflitto russo-ucraino: il Presidente ha definito la situazione attuale, correttamente, come il risultato delle palesi inefficienze delle forze convenzionali russe sul terreno in Ucraina – un dato che resterà a prescindere dall’esito del confronto in atto. Armi di distruzione di massa e deterrenza: non solo una soglia nucleare
  • (Russia – Ukraine) , Aspenia. Qualunque cosa accada in Ucraina andrà d’ora in poi analizzata tenendo conto della debolezza politica di Vladimir Putin. Questo è il giudizio di uno dei maggiori studiosi contemporanei di strategia militare, Lawrence Freedman. Ed è un giudizio importante: spiega infatti la rilevanza del fronte interno russo per il futuro di una guerra cominciata otto mesi fa, di cui si vede l’orrore ma non si vede la fine. La pericolosa debolezza di Putin
  • (Russia – Ukraine) Karolina Hird, Riley Bailey, Grace Mappes, George Barros, and Frederick W. Kagan, Institute for the Study of War. Russia has seemingly intensified its information operation to falsely portray Ukraine as a terrorist state, likely to set information conditions to counter efforts to designate Russia as a terrorist state. Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, October 12
  • (Russia – Ukraine) Hlib Parfonov, The Jamestown Foundation. Russian President Vladimir Putin, having announced the holding of referendums in the occupied territories of Ukraine, automatically launched the mobilization mechanism in Russia. But what will this mobilization entail? First, it will create a large number of poorly trained replacements to maintain numbers. In the Kyiv direction in March 2022, Russian troops had a 12-to-1 advantage over Ukrainian forces. In Severodonetsk, the Russia army held a 7-to-1 advantage. And even so, these units were only able to advance with massive artillery support. Recent Kremlin Policies Bog Down Russian War Effort (Part One)
  • (Russia – Ukraine) Vladimir Socor, The Jamestown Foundation. Russia is winding down its military-civil administrations in the occupied Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. The Kremlin has decided to transition these regions to Russia’s internal administrative system, the “power vertical.” In this sense, Russia is normalizing its occupation of these Ukrainian territories, and it counts on the passage of time to complete this process. Apparently, the Kremlin expects Western powers to continue denying Ukraine the heavy weapons needed to make a liberating counteroffensive feasible. Russia Reorganizing Occupation Regime in Southern Ukraine (Part One)
  • (Russia – Ukraine) Kseniya Kirillova, The Jamestown  Foundation. In July 2022, military analysts loyal to the Kremlin noted that Russia lacked the manpower for a massive offensive (Topwar.ru, July 23). At the beginning of September, Russian pro-war experts predicted a “radical increase in the Russian contingent” due to the transfer of other units of the regular army to Ukraine, now located on the Russian border (YouTube, September 2). It is quite logical that, to “legalize” the transfer of conscripts to the front, Moscow needed a formal declaration of the occupied regions of Ukraine as “Russian territory.” However, even this, combined with the replenishment of the army with new conscripts, will not solve the Kremlin’s problems. Mobilization and Annexation Will Create More Problems for Moscow
  • (UK – Europe – China) Bronwen Maddox, Chatham House. The tax-cutting budget from new UK chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng was clearly not inhibited by any apparent concern for the markets’ response. But the interest rate rise it contributed to and the scepticism raining down on the Truss government should force a recognition that economic vulnerability now constrains what the UK tries to do abroad. The UK must avoid conflict with Europe and China
  • (UK – Indo Pacific) Jack Watling, RUSI. The Indo-Pacific is vital for the UK’s prosperity, but that does not make it the military’s main effort. The military’s craving for relevance in the theatre risks a strategic blunder. The Military is the Fourth Instrument of UK Power in the Indo-Pacific
  • (USA) Mohamad Moslimani, Pew Research Center. The number of Black eligible voters in the United States has grown at a modest pace in recent years and is projected to reach 32.7 million in November 2022. At the same time, Black eligible voters stand out for their relatively high voter turnout rates – 51% in 2018, higher than the turnout rates for Latino and Asian eligible voters in the same year (40% each). Key facts about Black eligible voters in 2022
  • (USA) Anusha Narajan, Carolyne Im, Pew Research Center. An estimated 34.5 million Hispanic Americans are eligible to vote this year, making Latinos the fastest-growing racial and ethnic group in the U.S. electorate since the last midterm elections. The number of Hispanic eligible voters has increased by 4.7 million since 2018, representing 62% of the total growth in U.S. eligible voters during this time. Key facts about Hispanic eligible voters in 2022
  • (USA) Carolyne Im, Pew Research Center. Asian Americans have been the fastest-growing group of eligible voters in the United States over roughly the past two decades, but their growth has leveled off somewhat since 2018. Their number has grown by 9%, or just about a million eligible voters, in the past four years – greater than the 3% growth rate of the total number of eligible voters during the same time. Key facts about Asian American eligible voters in 2022
  • (USA) Karen Dynan, Wilson Powell III, Peterson Institute for International Economics. The September US employment report signaled the labor market has cooled from earlier in 2022. The economy added 263,000 jobs, down from the average gain of 444,000 in the first half of 2022. Wage growth is slower than in the beginning of the year, but it has plateaued in recent months and remains above pre-pandemic levels. Supply and demand for workers may be becoming less central to US wage growth
  • (USA) Patrick Tucker, Defense One. The new National Security Strategy is a pitch of sorts, both to reassure U.S. allies that Washington still wants to lead on international rules, norms, ideals, and partnerships; and to convince the American people that such leadership will improve their own lives. New National Security Strategy Returns Focus to Rules, Partnerships, and American Leadership
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  • (USA) , Responsible Statecraft. The Biden administration has finally released its long-awaited National Security Strategy, the first such document since 2017. Biden’s ‘schizophrenic’ National Security Strategy
  • (USA) , Responsible Statecraft. In a Wednesday speech at Georgetown University, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan argued that the world is at an “inflection point” in history following the end of the post-Cold War era. ‘The stakes could not be higher’: Top Biden aide says world is at an ‘inflection point’
  • (USA) Atlantic Council. On Wednesday, the White House released its long-awaited National Security Strategy (NSS), which US President Joe Biden described in the introduction as “a 360-degree strategy grounded in the world as it is today, laying out the future we seek, and providing a roadmap for how we will achieve it.” So we put the call out to our experts from across the Atlantic Council, many of whom have previously served on the National Security Council, which takes the lead in drafting the document. Does this strategy deliver? What does it get right and what’s missing? How will the rest of the world view the administration’s strategic vision? Experts react: The hits and misses in Biden’s new National Security Strategy
  • (USA – China – Russia) RAND Corporation. U.S. military activities and policy with respect to the space domain have evolved significantly since the 1980s, and recent developments include the reestablishment of U.S. Space Command and the establishment of the U.S. Space Force in 2019. Yet, despite this activity and concerns regarding the increasingly congested and contested nature of space, there has been little open-source analysis of Chinese and Russian perceptions of these developments. Chinese and Russian Perceptions of and Responses to U.S. Military Activities in the Space Domain