Categories
Giudizio storico Historical judgement

Geostrategic environment (september 7, 2022)

TODAY IN EVIDENCE

  • (UN) September 7, 2022. Kamal Malhotra, ORF. The growth of illiberal nationalism in the US and the deepening of already illiberal nationalist states like Russia and China are compromising the UN’s key mandates and thwarting serious progressive reform. Will illiberal nationalism undermine much-needed UN reform?
  • (Ukraine) September 7, 2022. Ronja Ganster, Jacob Kirkegaard, Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, Bruce Stokes, GMF. US Secretary of State George C. Marshall, speaking at Harvard University 75 years ago, laid out a plan that combined aid to war-ravaged European countries with the strategic goal of building an alliance against Soviet expansionism. West German Chancellor Willy Brandt, speaking at Harvard University 50 years ago, presented the idea of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) as a gift to the American people, a sign of gratitude by the German people and a living memorial to the original Marshall Plan. Today, the idea of another Marshall Plan is in the air. For the first time since 1947, a project for an expansive recovery effort on the European continent is needed and realistic. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine, with daily widespread devastation in the name of his neo-imperial plan, cries out for a strong, creative response by the global community of democracies. The vision of a free and democratic, modernized and European Ukraine is the answer to Putin’s challenge. Designing Ukraine’s Recovery in the Spirit of the Marshall Plan
  • (China) September 6, 2022. Bonnie S. Glaser, John Culver, GMF. Bonnie Glaser is joined by John Culver to discuss the military exercises and China’s intentions and capabilities. Culver is currently a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Global China Hub. Previously he was a National Intelligence Officer for East Asia and a Central Intelligence Agency analyst.  The People’s Liberation Army: China’s Capabilities and Intentions in 2022
  • (Climate action) September 7, 2022. Brian Blankespoor, Susmita Dasgupta, Somik Lall, Nagaraja Rao Harshadeep, David Wheeler, World Bank blogs. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has highlighted the urgency of steep emissions reductions to keep global warming below 1.5° C. Cumulative emissions of 2,390 Gt CO2 since 1850 have been associated with global warming of about 1.07° C. To stay within the 1.5° ceiling with high probability, future emissions will need to be limited to 300 Gt CO2. The discussions at COP26 last year also highlighted the critical need for countries to accelerate carbon reductions in the near term and move towards net zero emissions in the longer term. In their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), more than 150 nations have outlined their ambition to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The Paris Agreement requires nations to measure and report progress toward their pledged reductions in emissions. Are nations fulfilling their carbon pledges? Introducing a satellite-based carbon emissions database to enable easy tracking
  • (Mikhail Gorbachev) September 3, 2022. Anil Trigunayat, India America Today.  The disintegration of the Soviet Union was cataclysmic for the international order. The demise of the Soviet Union led to the supremacy of the remaining hyperpower, the United States of America. It also led to the end of the first Cold War. Nobel Laureate Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, who died on August 30, 2022, is credited with this unthinkable feat at the time. Counterview: The Gorby Factor and India
  • (USA – Taiwan) September 6, 2022. Bryant Harris, Defense News. The State Department on Friday announced a $1.1 billion arms package for Taipei after weeks of mounting tension with China in the Taiwan Strait following an August visit from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. The bulk of the package includes logistics support for Taiwan’s Surveillance Radar Program. It also includes 60 Harpoon anti-ship missiles and 100 Sidewinder tactical air missiles. US approves $1.1 billion Taiwan arms sale
  • (Yemen) September 6, 2022. Naif Abu-Lohom, Ali Almelhem, Selamawit T. Ghebremicael, Eli Kravitz, Gianluca Mele, Garrrett Tate, World Bank blogs. After eight years of military conflict, Yemen’s economy remains highly fragile. Humanitarian needs are increasing due to compounding crises, and the already dire socio-economic conditions are worsening due to poor institutional capacity, uncoordinated policy decisions, and the duality of administrative establishments. Yemen: Using geospatial data and modeling to show the economic impact of conflict

Unannounced Engine Test and Continued Construction at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station

WORLDS

Angola

China

  • September 7, 2022. Raffaello Pantucci, VIF. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, China had greater ambitions to establish cordial relations with newly independent CARs, which had not previously been the case due to Sino-Soviet animosity. In addition, the geopolitical vacuum left by the collapse of the Soviet Union has offered enough possibilities for Beijing to expand its commercial and economic links with Central Asia. Similarly, the Central Asian republics were in severe need of economic stabilisation and saw China as a possible alternative. However, this mutual interchange eventually proved asymmetrical, with major consequences for Central Asia. Sinostan: China’s Growing Influence in Central Asia
  • September 6, 2022. Kabir Taneja, ORF. In a recent statement, US Special Envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking, said that despite a prevailing narrative of American power in West Asia (Middle East) being in recession, the US was not abandoning the region. “The major message that the (US) president brought to the region is that the United States is not going anywhere,” Lenderking told the American media. However, many in the region today believe that the United States (US) in fact checked out a while ago. China’s emergent footprints in West Asia
  • September 1, 2022. , New Security Beat, Wilson Center. The summer of 2022 has been a season of climatic extremes across the globe, including record-breaking heatwaves and droughts in both the United States and Europe. But even these unprecedented extreme weather events pale in comparison with China’s heatwave from hell. For more than two months, a huge swath of the world’s most populous nation has been baking under temperatures of up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit. According to state media, this extreme heatwave affects an area of over 500,000 square miles, equivalent to more than twice the size of Texas. In terms of duration, intensity, and area affected, it is almost certainly the most severe heatwave ever recorded anywhere in the world. What China’s Heatwave from Hell Tells us About the Future of Climate Action
  • September 6, 2022. Emily Jin, Lawfare. Industrial capacity is not synonymous with technological prowess. A country’s industrial base includes not just its cutting-edge technologies and actors, but also its foundational capabilities that make up the base of its economic prosperity and competitive capacity. The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) “smart manufacturing” policies are targeted at upgrading its foundational industrial capabilities and creating the conditions for technological breakthroughs. If the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is successful at developing a self-reliant and high-value smart manufacturing sector, the productivity gains would better equip China to challenge the United States’ economic and national security interests. Smart Manufacturing: A Linchpin in China’s Industrial Policy

Germany

  • September 7, 2022. , Project-Syndicate, The Strategist. It has now been more than six months since German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stood before a special session of the Bundestag to address Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine. ‘We are living through a watershed era. And that means that the world afterwards will no longer be the same as the world before,’ he observed. ‘The issue at the heart of this is whether power is allowed to prevail over the law … Or whether we have it in us to keep warmongers like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin in check. That requires strength of our own. Yes, we fully intend to secure our freedom, our democracy and our prosperity.’. How much has the Ukraine war changed Germany?

Germany – Canada

India

Israel – Iran

  • September 6, 2022. Jacob Nigel, FDD. The Iranian regime and the US are exchanging drafts of what is being described again as a “take it or leave it, last chance [nuclear] deal.” Both sides will not admit publicly to having compromised, amidst a flurry of activity. For now, it is unclear whether a new agreement is imminent or not. Deal or No Deal, Israel Must Restore a Credible Military Threat

Maldives

  • September 6, 2022. N. Sathiya Moorthy, ORF. Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid’s timely endorsement of President Ibrahim Solih for a second term has taken the wind out of the rumour mill that followed his meeting with Mohammed Nasheed, ruling MDP boss and Parliament Speaker, in India. The New Delhi meeting, in which India’s External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar was present, had raised eyebrows back home in Maldives. Maldives: Shahid backs Solih for Presidential polls

North Korea

  • September 7, 2022. Khang X. Vu, The Interpreter. In late April this year, North Korea finally succumbed to one of its most tenacious adversaries: Covid-19. The hermit kingdom’s first wave of the virus, which has been circulating the globe for more than two years, didn’t discriminate. It was reported in August that North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jong-un had contracted Covid-19 in May and suffered acute symptoms including a high fever. Kim is known to be a heavy smoker – often seen with a cigarette in hand, whether overseeing a missile launch or visiting a children’s camp – which may have increased his risk of severe illness. According to North Korean public media, Kim had been in close contact with infected workers and officials while touring the country’s anti-pandemic healthcare facilities. Such an admission stands in stark contrast with North Korea’s denials of an outbreak in the previous years despite clear evidence suggesting otherwise.  North Korea’s politics defeats Covid … almost

Pakistan

  • September 7, 2022. Syed Fazl-e-Haider, The Interpreter. It’s a bizarre tale, a story that captures a much bigger problem. A luxury car, worth about half-a-million dollars, is allegedly stolen from London several weeks ago, only to be discovered in recent days parked in the driveway of a home in the posh area of Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi. The strange case of a missing Bentley and sinking corruption in Pakistan
  • September 6, 2022. Sajjad Ashraf, East Asia Forum. Pakistan celebrated 75 years of independence in August 2022. But the past few decades have been a mixed bag for the general populace, who are still waiting for the promise of Pakistan. The unfulfilled promises of independent Pakistan

Pakistan – Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)

  • September 7, 2022. Soumya Awasthi, VIF. After a decade and a half long rift between the Pakistan government and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and several failed peace treaties, the two sides again attempted an uneasy truce in June 2022 to prevent further bloodshed by having a “three month-long complete ceasefire”, only to be breached in times to come. This cessation of violence resulted after weeks of secret meetings between TTP and the Pakistan military in Kabul, mediated by the Afghan Taliban. As part of the truce, Pakistan released four TTP leaders which included the most infamous Haji Muslim Khan, popularly known as the “butcher of Swat”, the former regional spokesperson for the group in Swat valley. Pakistan expected TTP militants to continue with negotiations to end the years-long conflict and thereby de-escalate the hostilities between the two sides.  Growing Prowess of TTP amidst Negotiations

Papua New Guinea

  • September 7, 2022.  Ronald May, East Asia Forum. Elections for Papua New Guinea’s eleventh national parliament took place over three weeks in July 2022. With 99 of the 118 seats declared, including seven new electorates created shortly before the election, the National Parliament met to elect the prime minister on 9 August 2022. Marape returns for another term

Russia

  • September 6, 2022. Paul Globe, The Jamestown Foundation. In the USSR’s final years, Soviet propagandists and analysts routinely attacked the works of Western writers as being those of “bourgeois falsifiers,” arguing that their books and articles were fictitious because the ideas presented were at odds with Marxism-Leninism and Moscow’s position on most subjects. But these attacks backfired in a double sense. On the one hand, many of those so criticized wore it as a badge of honor with one Sovietologist, Australia’s T. H. Rigby, even having his own biopic titled Memoirs of a Bourgeois Falsifier (North Melbourne, 2019). On the other, the Kremlin’s attacks did not have the regime’s intended effects on the Soviet population. In fact, instead of discrediting these works, the assaults instead attracted the attention of Soviet readers to Western conclusions and ideas and often meant that specialists on “bourgeois falsifiers” were the most well-informed in their areas of expertise. That fact played a key role in the restoration of scholarship and the organization of democratic and national movements under the late Mikhail Gorbachev and throughout the 1990s. Moscow’s Attacks on Western Analysts Backfire Again

Russia – Ukraine

  • September 6, 2022. CNAS. Michael Kofman joins Ryan Evans to provide an update on the war in Ukraine, primarily discussing a southern counter-offensive launched by Ukrainian forces this week. Into the Breach: Ukraine’s Counter-Offensive Begins
  • September 7, 2022. , The Strategist. Whether it wins or loses its war on Ukraine, Russia is likely to become more dangerous and unpredictable, and Australia needs to prepare better to deter an increased threat of nuclear conflict. That grim conclusion is contained in a report by a top Australian analyst of Soviet and Russian affairs, Paul Dibb, emeritus professor of strategic studies at the Australian National University, who writes that the risk of nuclear conflict is now higher than at any time since the Cold War. The most dangerous days of Russia’s war in Ukraine lie ahead
  • September 6, 2022. IAEA. Last week, the IAEA’s Support and Assistance Mission to Zaporizhzhya (ISAMZ) travelled to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant to assess the nuclear safety and security situation at the plant. The Agency has now set up a continuous presence of the IAEA at the plant. Here is a video overview of the week. IAEA’s Support and Assistance Mission to Zaporizhzhya
  • September 6, 2022. Aslan Doukaev, The Jamestown Foundation. The Russo-Ukrainian War, now entering its seventh month, has dramatically altered the dynamics of intra-Chechen politics and, rather unexpectedly, brought the half-forgotten issue of Chechnya’s difficult, often adversarial relations with Moscow to the fore. Even preceding the Kremlin’s re-invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022, Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov had advocated for the war, backing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assertion that “modern Ukraine was entirely created by communist Russia‎” and insisting that the territories supposedly lost by Russia to independent Ukraine “will return to the fold” (T.me/RKadyrov, February 21). As the crisis unfolded, Kadyrov sent his forces to the front lines and turned his home territory into a training base for “volunteer battalions,” much to the Kremlin’s delight and Ukraine’s anger and bewilderment. Chechen Fighters in Ukraine Set Sights on Homeland
  • September 6, 2022. Pavel K. Baev, The Jamestown Foundation. The long-promised Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south has not yet delivered any breakthrough, but it still signifies a critical turning point for the war: Russia cannot hope to win by sticking to the pattern of trench warfare and artillery duels. Some “patriotic” commentators have suggested that the failures of Ukrainian attacks would pave the way for a new Russian offensive toward Mykolaiv and Odesa, but the Kremlin’s high command hardly entertains such strategic fantasies (Svobodnaya pressa, September 3). Russian summer offensive captured Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk through such heavy expenditure of material resources and battalions that little capacity remains for a new push. In contrast, Ukrainian forces have relied more on well-targeted long-distance strikes and exploiting weak points in Russian forces’ porous defenses (Meduza, September 2). Common strategic sense dictates a Russian retreat from the exposed positions to the west of Dnipro River, but political ambitions—undiminished by the exhaustion of military might—demand holding Kherson at any cost. Putin’s Choices in Ukraine: Retreat, Attrition or Escalation
  • September 6, 2022. Karolina Hird, George Barros, Layne Philipson, and Frederick W. Kagan, ISW. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) September 6 report on the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) described numerous ways in which Russian occupation authorities and the Russian military are jeopardizing the safe operation of the plant. The report does not attempt to determine which party is responsible for the shelling that has damaged the facility and repeatedly calls on “all relevant parties” to take measures to improve the situation. The moderation and apparent neutrality of that language can overshadow the extremely clear articulation of the Russian activities undermining the plant’s safety and the fact that the report attributes no dangerous actions to Ukraine. The IAEA’s report is thus a coded condemnation of Russian moves that have created and are perpetuating the danger of nuclear disaster in Ukraine. Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, September 6

Southeast Asia

  • September 7, 2022. Susannah Patton, The Interpreter. A new series of essays, commissioned for the Lowy Institute by Roland Rajah and Ben Bland, asks whether Southeast Asia needs a new development model. In different ways, several of the responses suggest that such ambition can only be driven by new political approaches. Debating Southeast Asia’s future

UK

USA

  • September 5, 2022. Stacie Pettyjohn, CNAS. However, if China attempted to invade Taiwan, the U.S. military’s main goal would be to destroy as many Chinese invasion ships far from shore, and that would require a lot of long-range weapons, such as Harpoons and Naval Strike Missiles, said Stacie Pettyjohn, director of the defense program at the Center for a New American Studies think tank in Washington, D.C. The US Military Needs a Lot More Artillery Shells, Rockets, and Missiles for the Next War
  • September 6, 2022.  Roger W. Ferguson Jr., CFR. President Biden’s proposal to forgive the student debt of up to 40 million Americans has proven to be very controversial. Some have applauded it as a bold move; others see it as a poorly thought-out move, setting a reckless and costly precedent. Perhaps one way to determine which perspective is more likely accurate is to consider the answer to three questions that are relevant for any policy proposal: What is the rationale for this policy choice? Who will benefit and who will pay? And what might be the unintended consequences? Three Questions About Student Debt Forgiveness
  • September 6, 2022. , Wilson Center. A recent report conducted by Instituto Cervantes asserts that nearly 493 million people in the world speak Spanish as their native language. Measured by number of native speakers, that would make Spanish the world’s second most prominent language behind Mandarin Chinese. Mexico has the world’s largest Spanish speaking-population—by a wide margin—but the US currently has the world’s fourth largest Spanish-speaking population, when measuring native Spanish speakers. In fact, the US has 40 times the number of Spanish speakers of any other country where Spanish is not an official language. The US is the World’s Fourth Largest Spanish Speaking Country
  • September 6, 2022. Giancarlo Pasquini, Emily Saks, Pew Research Center. Americans have watched in real time as the country has moved to confront the threat posed by the coronavirus outbreak. Scientists have developed and tested vaccines and treatments for the virus at an unprecedented pace, while government leaders have grappled with appropriate policy response, attempting to balance public health and other considerations. What did Americans learn during COVID? Democrats, Republicans differ in answers
  • September 1, 2022. Martin Chorzempa, PIIE. China’s ambitions to obtain advanced technologies, including technologies with military implications, have raised longstanding concerns about its use of investments abroad to gain access to sensitive technologies, data, and infrastructure. In 2018, the US Congress moved to address this issue by enacting an overhaul of the government’s interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), expanding its scope to examine Chinese investments in companies with business in the United States and modify or block them if necessary. US security scrutiny of foreign investment rises, but so does foreign investment
  • September 6, 2022. William A. Galston, Brookings. In recent decades, the cost of college has risen faster than overall inflation and family incomes, and states have reduced funding for public education. As a result, student loan debt has soared and now tops $1.6 trillion. Many students fear that they will not be able to repay their loans and that monthly payments will make homeownership and child-rearing unaffordable. Do Americans support President Biden’s student loan plan?
  • September 6, 2022. Nicol Turner LeeRashawn RaySamantha Lai, and Brooke Tanner, Brookings. Augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) technologies are creating new means for education by opening doors for students to learn and teachers to instruct in a more immersive, technological environment. For example, medical school students can engage in experimental surgeries in virtual reality environments and biology pupils are able to engage with plants, mammals, birds, insects, and amphibians via technological simulations. But not all universities have equal access to leverage these and other emerging technologies. This means that some students face disadvantages in their preparation and on the job market because of a lack of economic and network resources to engage with new technologies. Ensuring equitable access to AR/VR in higher education

Vietnam

  • September 7, 2022. Anh Thi Bao Tran, Judy Yang, World Bank blogs. This week, more than 23 million students across Vietnam tuned in to the reverberating sound of beating drums to mark the start of a new school year. By tradition, the thunderous drumming evokes the excitement of children as they embark on a journey of learning and development. Education levels today far exceeds those of previous generations, with nearly universal enrollment in primary and lower secondary levels.  Reducing gaps in education remains important in Vietnam as new school year kicks in

TOPICS

Cybersecurity

Defense – Military – Security

Health & Digital

Illicit finance

  • September 6, 2022.  Alex Zerden, Lawfare. Unprecedented economic sanctions. SWIFT financial messaging bans. Central bank asset freezings. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine unleashed a new phase of economic warfare and heightened media and government attention to the opaque, byzantine world of international financial flows. Over the past six months, the G-7 and its partners implemented extensive multilateral economic sanctions, developed new uses of export control authorities, and rolled out the KleptoCapture and Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs (REPO) task forces. They also tried to close loopholes against Russian capital flight and sanctions evasionDemystifying the Financial Action Task Force