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Cyber Security, Digital Transition, Technology Geopolitics & Worlds In-Defense In-Security Pensiero Strategico

Open newsletter – march 15, 2022 a.m.

AUSTRALIA

  • An Australian court has overturned a groundbreaking ruling that required the country’s environment minister to consider the potential harm to children from climate change when approving new fossil fuel projects. A judge in July 2020 found that the environment minister must “avoid causing personal injury or death” to under 18s due to “emissions of carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere” when considering such projects, following a case brought to court by a group of secondary school students. Al Jazeera – Australia court overturns landmark climate ruling

GERMANY

  • Germany will buy up to 35 copies of the U.S.-made F-35 fighter jet, reversing years-long plans that saw the fifth-generation warplane eliminated from consideration, defense leaders announced Monday. The planes will take over by 2030 the niche, but crucial, nuclear-weapons mission from the aging fleet of Tornado aircraft, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said during a joint statement with Air Force Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhartz in Berlin. Sebastian Sprenger – Defense News – Germany to buy F-35 warplanes for nuclear deterrence

INDIA

  • An Indian court has upheld a ban on the hijab in class in the southern state of Karnataka, governed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “We are of the considered opinion that wearing of hijab by Muslim women does not form a part of essential religious practice,” Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi of the Karnataka High Court said in a judgement on Tuesday. Al Jazeera – India court upholds Karnataka state’s ban on hijab in class

  • Facebook allowed a large number of ghost and surrogate advertisers to secretly fund the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) election campaigns in India and boost the governing party’s visibility, according to an analysis of advertisements placed on the social media platform across 22 months and 10 elections.  

JAPAN – USA

  • In a sign of deepening military cooperation between Japan and the United States, amphibious Japanese troops and U.S. Marines on Tuesday practised airborne landing assaults together for the first time. Japan is revising a decade-old national security strategy this year in the face of China’s growing military assertiveness. The upgrade to defence policy guidelines is expected to call for the country to take a more active role alongside Washington in regional security.   – Reuters – Japanese, U.S. marines practise airborne assaults in sign of deepening cooperation

MALI

NUCLEAR

  • BHEL marked the dispatch from its plant in Tamil Nadu of the 42nd nuclear steam generator to be made by the company. The component is destined to be installed at Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL)’s Rajasthan nuclear power plant. The steam generator flagged off by L&T from its Hazira complex in Gujarat is the fourth to be made for the PHWRs that are planned for construction at Gorakhpur, and was completed six months ahead of schedule, the company said. World Nuclear News – Indian engineering firms mark steam generator milestones : Corporate
  • A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between Kärnfull Next and GEH for the BWRX-300, a 300-megawatt water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems. The design is based on GEH’s US-licensed, 1520 MWe Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor design. The ESBWR has already been certified by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and is currently undergoing a Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission pre-licensing Vendor Design Review. World Nuclear News – Kärnfull teams up with GEH for SMR deployment

RUSSIA – UKRAINE (impact, reactions, consequences)

  • Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that efforts were continuing to resume external electricity supplies to the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), a day after Ukrainian specialist teams repaired one of two damaged power lines connecting the site to the grid, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said. IAEA – Update 21 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine
  • The White House’s top national security aide on Monday said China will face “consequences” if it provides material support to Russia’s war in Ukraine, a senior administration official said.  During a seven-hour meeting in Rome, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Yang Jiechi, China’s director of the office of the Foreign Affairs Commission, had a “very candid” conversation that touched on topics ranging from the growing threat of North Korea to China’s support of Russia during its invasion of Ukraine. Jacqueline Feldscher – Defense One – Sullivan Vows ‘Consequences’ If China Helps Russia in Ukraine
  • Many are calling for a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine. Few appear to be grappling with the details required to make it an actual policy proposal. Peter W. Singer – Defense One – The ‘No-Fly Zone’ Test
  • As Russia massed troops along its border with Ukraine over the last few months, it was unclear whether Russian President Vladimir Putin would invade. But if he did, experts warned, Russia would bombard the nation with a series of cyberattacks to sow confusion and weaken its resolve. On Feb. 24, Putin unveiled his plans. Moscow’s war machine rolled into the Eastern European nation. The combined Russian air, land and sea assault was preceded by waves of cyberattacks, the sort of gray-zone meddling analysts and defense officials had foreseen. Websites were hamstrung. Malware coursed through computers. Communications were hampered. Colin Demarest – Defense News – Blue, yellow and gray zone: The cyber factor in Ukraine
  • Activists in London have briefly seized a multimillion-dollar mansion linked to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch subject to sanctions, saying they want to use it to house refugees fleeing Russia’s war on Ukraine. The group broke into the property at 5 Belgrave Square – one of the most exclusive addresses in the centre of the United Kingdom’s capital – and hung the Ukrainian flag outside alongside banners, one of which read: “This property has been liberated.”. Al Jazeera – Activists briefly seize London mansion linked to Oleg Deripaska
  • The United States warned China against providing military or financial help to Moscow after its invasion of Ukraine, as sanctions on Russian political and business leaders mounted and civilians sought to flee intense fighting on the ground. – Reuters – U.S. warns China against helping Russia as sanctions mount
  • The International Court of Justice announced on Monday that it would issue a ruling on Wednesday in the case regarding “Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Ukraine v. Russian Federation).”. Monique Beals – The Hill – International Criminal Court to issue ruling on allegations of genocide against Russia
  • Martin Griffiths, the United Nations humanitarian chief, announced on Monday that the U.N. would allocate $40 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to increase aid to some of the most vulnerable people affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  Monique Beals – The Hill – UN allocates $40 million for humanitarian aid to Ukraine
  • In the build-up to the invasion of Ukraine, it was publicly available satellite imagery shared online and used in news reports that gave credence to official warnings from the West about Russia’s intended aggression. Since then, self-taught enthusiasts, long-established news organisations, think tanks, NGOs and specialist teams have collaborated and shared to counter an increasingly aggressive and violent Russian information war machine. Designed to confuse and disable effective reactions, it has included a massive disinformation campaign, attacks on foreign news crews, strikes against TV broadcasting masts in Ukraine, and the censorship and sweeping controls placed on Russian media outlets. Matt Freear – RUSI – OSINT in an Age of Disinformation Warfare
  • No one can yet predict just how much of a human tragedy the Russian invasion of Ukraine will create. What the U.S. and its strategic partners can predict, however, is that Russia will be a lasting threat as long as Putin or anyone like him remains in power. What is also equally clear is that while China may be less openly provocative and threatening, its competition with the United States presents a steadily growing threat, and China is moving from cooperation and civil competition to the possibility of a major military confrontation as well. If anything, President Xi has already proved that China can create a far more effective threat than Russia over the coming decade, and President Xi already controls a far a larger economy than President Putin. Anthony H. Cordesman – CSIS – U.S. Strategy and the Real Lessons of the War in Ukraine
  • On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin met one-on-one with visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in Moscow. The two leaders discussed important regional and bilateral issues in a meeting that lasted more than three hours. Khan’s trip to Russia, made at Putin’s invitation, was the first by a Pakistani head of government in nearly 23 years (The News, February 24). Yet the timing of his arrival in the Russian capital—a mere hours before the Kremlin ordered its military forces massed on the Ukrainian border to begin the re-invasion—not only raised eyebrows in the West but prompted calls inside Pakistan for Khan to postpone the visit. Critics pointed out that going through with the summit in the middle of the spiraling crisis around Ukraine was sending the wrong signals to the United States and the European Union (Dawn, February 27). Syed Fazl-e-Haider – The Jamestown Foundation – Moscow, Beijing Play the ‘Pakistan Card’ to Crack the Quad Over Ukraine War
  • Moldova’s leadership realistically views its country as the most fragile among all of Ukraine’s neighbors from the standpoint of national cohesion, resilience, and economic resources. These domestic vulnerabilities compel the government to adopt, in effect, an attitude of hunkering down vis-à-vis Russia’s war in Ukraine, out of tune and step with the leadership’s commitment to its Western orientation (see Part One in EDM, March 10). Vladimir Socor – The Jamestown Foundation – Moldova Keeps Out of Russia-Ukraine Fray (Part Two)
  • The long-planned Ukrainian war is going poorly for President Vladimir Putin on many fronts, from the fiercely defended outskirts of Kyiv to the closed doors of MacDonald’s restaurants in Moscow. However, the drastic deterioration of Russia’s international standing is likely particularly painful for him. The Kremlin head has sought to exploit the presumed feebleness of the United States’ leadership and the European Union’s dependency upon gas import to assert Russia’s “great power” status. But instead, he is encountering a surge of Western unity and, as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had promised, “more NATO” from the Arctic to the Black Sea (Kommersant, February 19). This buildup of potential threats was acknowledged at the meeting of the Russian Security Council last Friday (March 11); but what captured most media attention was Putin’s instruction to deploy “volunteers” from the Middle East to the war zone in Donbas (Izvestia, March 11). If indeed organized, such a deployment would hardly make a difference for the stalled Russian offensive operations, but it reflects the desire to uphold Russia’s positions and influence in the Middle East and North Africa. Pavel K. Baev – The Jamestown Foundation – Moscow Scrambles to Sustain Its Positions in the Middle East
  • From the very beginning of the war in Ukraine that was kicked off by Russian forces’ invasion on February 24, the strategic goal for Russia has been clear: remove the current government and replace it with a Russian-friendly regime. Because cities are the economic and political centers of power for nations, it is no surprise that the city of Kyiv is Russia’s decisive objective. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other government leaders have remained in the capital. The Battle of Kyiv is the only battle that matters in the Ukraine War.   – Modern War Institute – What Will the Battle of Kyiv Look Like?

SAUDI ARABIA – CHINA

SRI LANKA – IMF

  • Sri Lanka is seeking financial support from the International Monetary Fund, reversing the government’s earlier resistance as efforts to bolster its foreign exchange reserves and manage looming debt payments have been complicated by the war in Ukraine. Bloomberg, Al Jazeera – Sri Lanka reverses course, seeks financial support from IMF

TECHNOLOGY

  • Have you ever felt a creeping sensation that someone’s watching you? Then you turn around and you don’t see anything out of the ordinary. Depending on where you were, though, you might not have been completely imagining it. There are billions of things sensing you every day. They are everywhere, hidden in plain sight – inside your TV, fridge, car and office. These things know more about you than you might imagine, and many of them communicate that information over the internet. Back in 2007, it would have been hard to imagine the revolution of useful apps and services that smartphones ushered in. But they came with a cost in terms of intrusiveness and loss of privacy. As computer scientists who study data management and privacy, we find that with internet connectivity extended to devices in homes, offices and cities, privacy is in more danger than ever. Roberto Yus and Primal Pappachan – Nextgov – Smart Devices Spy on You—2 Computer Scientists Explain how the Internet of Things can Violate Your Privacy

TURKEY

USA 

  • The risks associated with nuclear weapons are rising once again, the heads of three U.S. intelligence agencies told lawmakers last week, as Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine intensified. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. At the end of the Cold War, President George H.W. Bush boasted that the United States could now reduce its nuclear forces. But today’s arsenals—and global politics—are much different than in 1991. U.S. leaders face threatening dictatorships in Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, and Pyongyang, all racing to create new nuclear bombs and ways to deliver them. Technology, it turns out, is making arms control harder, and that’s forcing a big rethink about nuclear deterrence. Patrick Tucker – Defense One – Why New Technology Is Making Nuclear Arms Control Harder
  • Take a good look at the propaganda machine. The total control of information and messages from the airwaves to the internet, the fawning over the infallible leader—it’s all quite impressive. I’m not talking about Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin. I’m talking about America’s far-right media, on display at two conferences in Orlando last week, and every night on cable TV.  Kevin Baron – Defense One – Putin’s Propaganda Machine Is What America’s Far-Right Wants
  • We all understand the importance of being a good customer in our daily lives. As customers at restaurants and hotels, we know that being considerate towards service providers such as waiters and bellhops is the baseline for receiving good customer service. The same concept should apply to the Defense Department’s acquisitions system, despite the difference in scale. In military technology acquisitions, to receive the best customer service from defense firms and maintain access to the best service providers, DOD should be a good customer by listening to private sector concerns for speed and profitability. 1st Lt. Luke Chen, Capt. Louis McCullagh – Defense One – The Defense Department Is a Bad Customer. Let’s Change That
  • As the world doomscrolls through the grim news from Ukraine, it’s time to reassess the risks created by sizing the U.S. military to fight a single major conflict. The 2018 National Defense Strategy was a watershed document that shifted DOD’s focus toward defeating Chinese or Russian aggression, defending the U.S. homeland, sustaining nuclear deterrence, and deterring — but not defeating — a lesser aggressor in another theater.

USA – MEXICO

  • Authorities said a U.S. Consulate along the Mexican border closed temporarily after it was shot at overnight. In addition to the temporary closure, the U.S. Consulate encouraged its employees to stay indoors and directed U.S. citizens to do the same or avoid the area, according to ReutersMonique Beals – The Hill – US Consulate in Mexico temporarily closes after coming under gunfire