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Open newsletter – march 2, 2022

RUSSIA – UKRAINE (impact)

Atlantic Council

On February 28, 2022, Russia indiscriminately shelled Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, in an attack that claimed at least eleven civilian lives, wounding many more, and destroying homes. This incident was not isolated; as previously reported by the DFRLab, Russia has shelled the city since the beginning of the war. Geolocating Russia’s indiscriminate shelling of Kharkiv

The invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces has spurred Europe’s worst security crisis in decades. But while most analysis is rightly focused on the immediate situation, it is equally important to forecast the war’s multiple possible trajectories and outcomes. Anticipating the uncertainties that this war will bring is a critical step toward successfully navigating its possible consequences. Barry PavelPeter Engelke, and Jeffrey Cimmino: Four ways the war in Ukraine might end

Brookings

Douglas Rediker, a nonresident senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings and in the Center on the United States and Europe, talks with David Dollar about sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine by the United States, Europe, and other nations. Rediker addresses a number of issues, including whether cutting Russian banks off SWIFT will make any difference, export control limitation of U.S. tech to Russia, the impact of sanctions on Russia’s energy sector, and if it’s possible to impose sanctions on Russian oligarchs. Douglas A. Rediker and David Dollar: What you should know about sanctions on Russia

Moscow’s efforts to spread disinformation about the crisis in Ukraine began months ago—and it will only intensify as the conflict does. Across state and social media, the Kremlin is spreading its baseless justification for invading its neighbor: that Ukraine is perpetuating a genocide against Russian speaking people in the country’s east. This propaganda effort has included plans for a fabricated video of Ukrainian soldiers committing acts of violence against civilians and spurious claims that Kyiv’s forces planned an amphibious assault against Russian-backed separatists. All the while, the Kremlin continues to accuse the United States and its partners of spreading “war propaganda” and conducting “information terrorism.. Jessica Brandt and Valerie Wirtschafter: The surprising performance of Kremlin propaganda on Google News

Moscow’s efforts to spread disinformation about the crisis in Ukraine began months ago—and it will only intensify as the conflict does. Across state and social media, the Kremlin is spreading its baseless justification for invading its neighbor: that Ukraine is perpetuating a genocide against Russian speaking people in the country’s east. This propaganda effort has included plans for a fabricated video of Ukrainian soldiers committing acts of violence against civilians and spurious claims that Kyiv’s forces planned an amphibious assault against Russian-backed separatists. All the while, the Kremlin continues to accuse the United States and its partners of spreading “war propaganda” and conducting “information terrorism.”. Jessica Brandt and Valerie Wirtschafter: The surprising performance of Kremlin propaganda on Google News

CSIS

A discussion on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its geopolitical implications for Asia. How should the United States prepare for two-front geopolitical competition? How will this situation impact China-Russia relations? What is the significance for Taiwan and the Korean Peninsula? The Ukraine Crisis and Asia: Implications and Responses

CSIS’s Nikos Tsafos and Ben Cahill join the podcast to talk about energy prices and the future of the energy and climate landscape in wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to Tsafos, we are “seeing the end of Russia as an energy superpower.”. End of Russia as Energy Superpower

Despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine across three axes, Ukrainian forces and the Ukrainian people have conducted an extraordinary defense of their country. Please join the CSIS International Security Program for an update on Russian military operations in Ukraine and a discussion on the challenges and opportunities for the United States and its partners as they seek to assist Ukraine and deter Russian advances. Assessing the Russian Military Campaign in Ukraine

Defense News

In the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent nuclear orders to his forces, the top military officer responsible for America’s nuclear arsenal said the U.S. has not made any moves of its own. “I am satisfied with the posture of my forces. I have made no recommendations to make any changes,” U.S. Strategic Forces Command’s chief, Adm. Charles Richard, told a House Armed Services subpanel Tuesday. “All I’ll say in open session is … nuclear command and control is in its most defended, most resilient lineup that it’s ever been in, in its history.”. No changes coming to US nuclear posture after Russian threat

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the West has responded with devastating sanctions and a swift condemnation and isolation of Russia as well as by sending arms and other support to Ukraine. But one option the Biden administration has definitively taken off the table: imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Stephen Losey: Here’s why a no-fly zone over Ukraine is off the table

The Pentagon is considering whether to add U.S. troops in Eastern European NATO-member countries on a long-term basis in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a senior Pentagon official told lawmakers Tuesday. The Biden administration’s $6.4 billion request to Congress to respond to the Ukraine crisis includes $3.5 billion for the Pentagon, to pay for operating costs associated with the surge to the current 100,000 U.S. troops in Europe or its waters and also to backfill weapons the U.S. military is sending from its stockpiles to Ukraine. Joe Gould: Pentagon revisiting long-term US troop levels in Eastern Europe

Turkey has been caught off guard as its strategic partner Russia invaded its other strategic partner, Ukraine. Russia is Turkey’s biggest energy supplier. Russia and Ukraine together are Turkey’s biggest tourist markets and grain suppliers. Turkey faced suspension from the U.S.-led, multinational program that builds the F-35 Lightening II as it insisted on becoming the first NATO ally to deploy on its soil the Russian-made S-400 long-range, air-defense system. Turkey supplies armed drones to Ukraine. Burak Ege Bekdil: How talk of ‘war’ tipped Turkey’s stance on closing warship traffic through its straits

As Russian President Vladimir Putin escalates his invasion designed to topple Ukraine’s democratically elected government, Kyiv is pleading for as many anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons as possible. While the Biden administration on Saturday approved additional military assistance for Ukraine, there is more the United States and its NATO allies must do — and fast.

Defense One

Among the mysteries of Russia’s slower-than-expected advance into Ukraine is the apparent absence of the kind of small drones that Russian forces have put to increasingly good use in recent campaigns and military drills. But there is still reason to believe that Russia’s drones are being more widely used in Ukraine than is realized, and that their effects are being masked by other flaws in the current campaign’s execution. Samuel Bendett: Where Are Russia’s Drones?

The White House this week shot down the notion of installing a no-fly zone over Ukraine, explaining that the United States will not put forces in potential combat with nuclear-armed Russia. That hasn’t stopped people from pushing for one—including the president of Ukraine and even a few former Supreme Allied Commanders Europe. So we asked someone who ran a no-fly zone about it. Marcus Weisgerber, Tara Copp: Here’s Why a Ukraine No-Fly Zone’s a No-Go

We should not delude ourselves into believing that Putin has put Chinese leader Xi Jinping in a predicament by invading Ukraine. Beijing has successfully navigated previous Russian adventurism in AbkhaziaSouth Ossetia, and Crimea, effectively insulating ties with Washington and its allies while staying aligned with Moscow where it mattered, specifically at the UN. Gabriel Alvarado: Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Does Not Put Beijing in a Bind

Six days into a multi-pronged attack on Ukraine, Russian forces have failed to claim any major cities and have reportedly suffered heavy casualties. Moscow has been diplomatically isolated while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wages a fierce, popular resistance. So what happened? Tara Copp, Patrick Tucker: Five Reasons Why Russian Forces Are Struggling in Ukraine

Formiche

Il presidente russo Vladimir Putin ha commesso un errore nel ritenere che Stati Uniti e partner europei non avrebbero risposto nel caso in cui Mosca avesse invaso l’Ucraina. È questo il messaggio che il presidente statunitense, Joe Biden, ha affidato nel suo primo discorso sullo stato dell’Unione, all’invasione russa. Ferruccio Michelin: La guerra domina lo Stato dell’Unione. “Putin ha fatto un errore”

Se si considera quanto fluida e in rapida evoluzione sia diventata la situazione in Ucraina, la probabilità che si materializzi lo scenario peggiore, o qualcosa che vi si avvicina, rimane nel campo della realtà e del possibile. L’analisi predittiva diventa sempre più imprevedibile e scoraggiante. Marco Vicenzino: Ucraina, prepariamoci al peggio

L’inaspettata resistenza ucraina, i problemi di rifornimento di carburante, le carenze di cibo e il morale molto basso: questi sono gli elementi che, secondo gli Stati Uniti, hanno reso la guerra russa all’Ucraina più difficile di quanto le autorità di Mosca avevano preventivato. Alcune unità “si stanno arrendendo, a volte senza combattere”, e “molti” soldati non sono “mai stati in combattimento prima”, ha spiegato un alto funzionario del Pentagono in un punto con la stampa. “Alcuni di loro, crediamo, non erano nemmeno stati informati che sarebbero andati a combattere”. Gabriele Carrer: Impreparate e “analogiche”. E l’intelligence occidentale ascolta le truppe russe

Come può Vladimir Putin uscire dall’Ucraina senza perdere completamente la faccia ora che l’ha raccontata al mondo come una minaccia esistenziale (con fantasiose armi di distruzione di massa comprese) per la Russia? Come può pensare di costruire un cambio di regime ora che le vittime aumentano e i soldati russi diventato detestati da tutti? Come può giustificare le perdite tra i suoi cittadini? Non solo l’operazione militare sta diventando sempre più violenta, ma la narrazione anche sta uscendo dal controllo del Cremlino. Emanuele Rossi: Putin dovrà fare i conti con i morti. Ucraini e anche russi

È fuga da Mosca. Il colossi dell’energia, spinti tra le altre cose anche dalla mossa occidentale delle sanzioni, abbandonano la piazza Rossa e mettono sì in conto perdite e contraccolpi finanziari, ma si inseriscono nella direttrice strategica imboccata dai Paesi atlantici di provenienza. Out Shell, ExxonMobile, Eni, Bp: il trend economico-finanziario dopo lo scellerato attacco russo all’Ucraina non si ferma. Francesco De Palo: Dasvidania. Tutti i big dell’energia che fuggono da Mosca

“2022? No, siamo di fronte a un nuovo 1939. Per questo è un cambio di paradigma”. Nathalie Tocci, direttrice dell’Istituto affari internazionali, non usa i guanti. L’invasione della Russia in Ucraina, i carri armati e i bombardamenti su Kiev “stanno cambiando la storia”. È un domino che va molto oltre l’Ucraina. Forse più in là di quanto Vladimir Putin avesse previsto. “Pensava di poter invadere l’Ucraina e che il mondo gli sarebbe venuto dietro. Invece ha sbattuto contro un muro di una forza che non avrebbe mai previsto o immaginato”, ha tuonato il presidente americano Joe Bidenquesta notte nel suo “State of the Union”, accolto da un applauso corale del Congresso vestito per l’occasione di giallo e blu. Francesco Bechis: Benvenuti in Europa, 1939. Intervista a Nathalie Tocci

Politica estera e dinamiche internazionali per dimostrare competenza, incisività e capacità di unire un Paese diviso, con un approccio bipartisan, anche riservando poca enfasi ad altre questioni riguardanti le riforme. Così Mario Del Pero, docente di Storia Internazionale e Storia della politica estera statunitense all’Institut d’études politiques di Parigi, fotografa il primo discorso sullo stato dell’Unione di Joe Biden. Emanuele Rossi: Biden prova a superare le divisioni parlando di Ucraina. Parla Del Pero

Global Times

After Russia conducted “a special military operation” in the Donbass region on February 24, the US and EU launched a new round of sanctions against Moscow on Saturday, covering a wide range of areas, including finance and trade, travel, air services, sports and culture. Xu Wenhong: Weaponizing financial infrastructures is a lose-lose choice

Oil prices jumped to multi-year highs on Tuesday as the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues, prompting fears about energy supply disruptions from key exporter Russia. Oil prices surge as Russia-Ukraine conflict continues

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a phone conversation at request with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Tuesday. Chinese, Ukrainian FMs hold phone talks over Ukrainian situation

Nextgov

The Federal Communications Commission cited Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in announcing its unanimous approval of a notice of inquiry for secure use of the Border Gateway Protocol, the internet’s routing system. Mariam Baksh: Russia’s Cyber Tactics Are Prompting the FCC to Address Internet Routing Security

All cybersecurity is local, regardless of the world situation. That means it’s personal, too – in Americans’ homes, computers and online accounts. As violence spreads thousands of miles away from the U.S., my strong recommendation is that all Americans remain vigilant and check on their own cybersecurity. Richard Forno: Ukraine Conflict Brings Cybersecurity Risks to U.S. Homes, Businesses

Reuters

The United Nations General Assembly adopted on Wednesday a resolution rebuking the Russian invasion of Ukraine and calling Moscow to immediately withdraw all forces from Ukraine, a move that aimed to politically isolate Russia. U.N. General Assembly votes overwhelmingly to deplore Russian invasion of Ukraine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s comments that Moscow’s nuclear deterrent is on high alert have unleashed a wave of anxiety in Central Europe, with people rushing to buy iodine which they believe may protect them from radiation and : Putin’s nuclear comments lead to rush for iodine in Central Europe

Ukrainians said on Wednesday they were battling on in the port of Kherson, the first sizeable city Russia claimed to have seized, as air strikes and bombardment caused devastation in cities that Moscow’s bogged down forces have failed to capture. Russian advances on Ukraine cities stall

An end to the era of foreign currency stockpiling may be nigh. This week’s dramatic freeze of the Russian central bank overseas assets in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine may now question just why countries build foreign currency reserves at all. Mike Dolan: Russia central bank freeze may hasten ‘peak’ world FX reserves: Mike Dolan | Reuters

New-crop Chicago corn and soybean futures are at or near record levels for the time of year, and that should boost U.S. farmers’ enthusiasm to plant both this spring and potentially relieve the market of historic tightness. : Column: High stakes for U.S. corn, soy stocks with steep prices, Ukraine woes

“A major geopolitical realignment is taking place,” which, like 9/11, “shapes major governments’ foreign and military policies unpredictably for years to come.”.  : Ukraine crisis re-focuses world investment themes

The Federal Reserve will move forward with plans to raise interest rates this month to try to tame high inflation, but the outbreak of war in Ukraine has made the outlook “highly uncertain” for U.S. central bank policymakers as they plan their next steps, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said on Wednesday.   and : Fed’s policy pivot on track despite ‘uncertain’ impact of Ukraine war, Powell says

Russian state-controlled media outlets RT and Sputnik will be banned in the European Union with immediate effect for systematic disinformation over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the 27-country bloc said on Wednesday in an unprecedented move.  : EU bans RT, Sputnik over Ukraine disinformation

The three Baltic states could ban Russian vessels from their ports if discussions on a European Union-wide decision drags on, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrid Simonyte told a news conference on Wednesday. Baltic nations could ban Russian vessels if EU decision drags on

The European Union is excluding seven Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system that underpins global payment transactions as the West ratchets up sanctions on Russia over its attack against Ukraine and : Explainer: Russian banks out in the cold as EU unveils SWIFT sanctions

Stocks markets saw some small gains on Wednesday but oil spiked further and the roublefell, as Russia showed no signs of stopping its assault on Ukraine. Stocks make small gains but Ukraine crisis keeps investors cautious

Foreign investors are effectively stuck with their holdings of Russian stocks and rouble-denominated bonds after the central bank put a temporary halt on payments and major overseas’ settlement systems stopped accepting Russian assets. Russia bans payments to foreigners holding rouble bonds, shares

China will not join in sanctions on Russia that have been led by the West, the country’s banking regulator said on Wednesday, adding that he believed the impact of the measures on China would be limited. China will not join sanctions on Russia, banking regulator says

Sanctions imposed on Russia have significantly increased the likelihood that the country defaults on its dollar- and other international market government debt, investment bank JPMorgan warned on Wednesday. Sanctions increase chance of Russia international debt default – JPMorgan

Potential disruption to global wheat supplies after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is raising concerns that war-torn Yemen’s hunger crisis and food price inflation could deepen, with some Yemenis rushing to buy flour. Ukraine conflict could hit food supplies, worsening Yemen hunger crisis

The U.N. nuclear watchdog’s 35-nation Board of Governors, which is currently holding an emergency meeting on Ukraine, will not vote on the draft resolution criticising Russia that was submitted to the meeting until Thursday, three diplomats said. IAEA Board will not vote on Ukraine resolution until Thursday -diplomats

Rather than commenting on the food and service at Russian restaurants and cafes, some users have begun posting online reviews detailing Russian actions in Ukraine to try to smuggle information past the tight control of state media. : Keyboard army using restaurant reviews to take on Russian state media

The United States is preparing to expand sanctions on Russian oligarchs, their companies and family members over Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing three people familiar with the measures. U.S. preparing expanded sanctions against Russian elite, families -WaPost

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said law firms working to stop Russian oligarchs from being hit by government sanctions could face penalties themselves. UK PM Johnson says law firms aiding Russian oligarchs could face penalties

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dymtro Kuleba said on Wednesday he had spoken with his South Korean counterpart about South Korea’s plan to participate in sanction against Russia. Ukraine foreign minister says South Korea will take active part in Russia sanctions

The United States is “very open” to imposing sanctions on Russia’s oil and gas industry, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Wednesday, adding that it is weighing the possible impact on global markets and U.S. energy prices. Sanctions on Russian energy ‘on the table,’ White House says

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has killed more than 2,000 Ukrainian civilians and destroyed hundreds of structures including transport facilities, hospitals, kindergartens and homes, Ukraine’s emergency service said on Wednesday. More than 2,000 Ukrainian civilians killed during Russian invasion – Ukrainian emergency service

Ukrainians said they were fighting on in the first sizeable city Russia claimed to have seized, while Moscow stepped up its lethal bombardment of major population centres that its invasion force has so far failed to tame. Ukrainians say they are fighting on in southern city of Kherson

Thousands of people fleeing fierce fighting in Ukraine streamed across central European border crossings on Wednesday as Russian troops bombarded Ukrainian cities and looked poised to advance on the embattled capital, Kyiv and : As Russia steps up assault, Ukrainians beat weary path to safety

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has often done away with the trappings of office in his dealings with the media – offering access to reporters who beat him at table tennis and holding lengthy peacetime press conferences in a food court. : Sandbags and soldiers as Ukraine leader gives interview under siege

Russia will treat any hacking of its satellites as a justification for war, the head of the country’s space agency was quoted as saying in a news report on Wednesday. Russia space agency head says satellite hacking would justify war -report

A week after launching its invasion of Ukraine, Russia said its forces took control the first sizable city on Wednesday, seizing Kherson, in the south, as fighting raged around the country and Western nations tightened an economic noose around Russia. Russia says it controls Ukraine’s Kherson, Biden closes U.S. airspace

Russia will treat any hacking of its satellites as a justification for war, the head of the country’s space agency was quoted as saying in a news report on Wednesday. Russia space agency head says satellite hacking would justify war -report

Twitter (TWTR.N) will comply with the European Union’s sanctions on Russian state-affiliated media RT and Sputnik when the EU order takes effect, the social network said on Tuesday. : Twitter to comply with EU sanctions on Russian state media

Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google said on Tuesday that it has blocked mobile apps connected to RT and Sputnik from its Play store, in line with an earlier move to remove the Russian state publishers from its news-related features. : Google blocks RT, Sputnik from Play app store in Europe

Oil futures prices are now anticipating a severe shortage of petroleum as sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union disrupt exports of crude and refined products from Russia. John Kemp: Column: Oil market signals need for emergency stock release

The stoppage of grain exports out of Ukraine was confirmed on Monday as the country said all ports will be closed until the end of the Russian invasion, though there is a chance that supplies for the next season out of both Ukraine and Russia could also be in jeopardy pending the outcome of the war. Karen Braun: Column: Concerns rise over Black Sea spring crops amid Russia-Ukraine war

Asia’s imports of coal slumped in February as prices remained close to record highs for both thermal and coking grades, and the crisis in Ukraine means the cost of the fuel is unlikely to retreat any time soon. : Column: Asia’s coal imports decline, but Ukraine crisis will keep prices up

Russia’s largest lender, Sberbank (SBER.MM), is leaving the European market as its subsidiaries there face large cash outflows and threats to the safety of employees and property, the bank said on Wednesday. Russia’s Sberbank to leave European market in face of outflows, safety risk

India’s production and exports of Russia’s Sputnik COVID-19 vaccines are expected to slow further following U.S. sanctions on Russia’s sovereign wealth fund that promotes the shot globally, three Indian pharmaceutical industry sources told Reuters.  : India’s output, exports of Russia’s Sputnik vaccine at risk due to Ukraine crisis

The U.S. nuclear power industry is lobbying the White House to allow uranium imports from Russia to continue despite the escalating conflict in Ukraine, with cheap supplies of the fuel seen as key to keeping American electricity prices low, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Ernest Scheyder and Trevor Hunnicutt: Exclusive: U.S. utilities push White House not to sanction Russian uranium

Asian stocks came under renewed pressure on Wednesday and the price of oil surged past $110 per barrel as investors worried about the impact of aggressive sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine.  : Stocks slip, oil blasts past $110 as Russia sanctions bite

Russia’s central bank kept stock market trading on the Moscow Exchange suspended for a third day in a row on Wednesday, but said it would allow a limited range of operations for the first time this week. Moscow Exchange won’t resume stock trading on Wednesday – cenbank

Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) on Tuesday said it would exit Russia oil and gas operations that it has valued at more than $4 billion and halt new investment as a result of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Sabrina Valle: Exxon to exit Russia, leaving $4 bln in assets, Sakhalin LNG project in doubt

American big brands including Apple, Google, Ford and Harley-Davidson on Tuesday stopped sales and distanced themselves from Russia because of the invasion of Ukraine, joining a growing list of companies from shippers to car makers to energy companies shunning the country and : Apple stops product sales in Russia, adding to pressure from shippers, car makers

Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, U.S. intelligence had predicted a blistering assault by Moscow that would quickly mobilize the vast Russian air power that its military assembled in order to dominate Ukraine’s skies. and : What happened to Russia’s Air Force? U.S. officials, experts stumped

The United Nations General Assembly is set to reprimand Russia on Wednesday over its invasion of Ukraine and demand that Moscow stop fighting and withdraw its military forces, a move that aims to diplomatically isolate Russia at the world body. Michelle Nichols: U.N. General Assembly set to censure Russia over Ukraine invasion

U.S. President Joe Biden warned Vladimir Putin that the Russian leader “has no idea what’s coming”, as Western nations tightened an economic noose around Russia, whose invading forces bombarded Ukrainian cities and appeared poised for an advance on KyivU.S. closes its airspace to Russia as Ukrainian cities brace for attacks

Security Affairs

Recently a Ukrainian researcher leaked 60,694 messages internal chat messages belonging to the Conti ransomware operation after the announcement of the group of its support to Russia. He was able to access the database XMPP chat server of the Conti group. Pierluigi Paganini: Ukrainian researcher leaked the source code of Conti Ransomware

ESET researchers uncovered a new data wiper, tracked as IsaacWiper, that was used against an unnamed Ukrainian government network after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Pierluigi Paganini: IsaacWiper, the third wiper spotted since the beginning of Russian invasion

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) published a joint cybersecurity advisory to warn US organizations of data wiping attacks targeting Ukraine that could hit targets worldwide. Pierluigi Paganini: CISA and FBI warn of potential data wiping attacks spillover – Security Affairs

The Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) continues to investigate the attacks that are targeting Ukrainian networks and discovered that entities in Ukraine were targeted with a previously undetected malware, dubbed FoxBlade, several hours before Russia’s invasion. Pierluigi Paganini: FoxBlade malware targeted Ukraine hours before Russia’s invasion

AFRICA

Brookings

By developing evidence-based national medicines policies, African member states have demonstrated that they are prioritizing universal access to essential medicines and health products. Notably, 95 percent of African countries have developed policies and plans on medicines, over 90 percent on blood safety and 85 percent on traditional medicine. Such policies are vital for a robust and effective health infrastructure: For example, by developing essential health products lists, countries are better able to regulate and procure health products that contribute to patient safety and better quality of healthcare. Jean-Baptiste Nikiema: How strengthened political engagement can lead to improved health outcomes in Africa

CHINA

China Leadership Monitor

China’s economy decelerated sharply toward the end of 2021 and at the start of the new year it was growing at about 4 percent.  But some easing of monetary policy and real estate regulations could move it closer to 5 percent.  With the all-important Party Congress scheduled for the end of the year, the leaders want steady growth but also stability.  The main headwinds are in COVID, real estate, policies toward the private sector, and trade.  The situation with the pandemic could become better (mRNAs boosters for the Chinese population) or worse (new variants resistant to Chinese vaccines).  On the one hand, in real estate, too much tightening could lead to a collapse in prices that results in panic selling and weakened household wealth and confidence.  On the other hand, Too much easing could reignite the bubble and lay a foundation for a larger financial crisis.  The regulatory crackdown could reach new sectors or leave most of the private economy untouched. In trade, the risk is a re-acceleration of the U.S. trade war, and too weak of a global economy to make up for the re-acceleration by trade with other partners.  All in all, it makes for a year of dangerous growth. David Dollar: Dollar | China Leadership (prcleader.org)

Global Times

Beijing-based private rocket start-up Galactic Energy announced on Tuesday that its self-developed 50-ton-thrust reusable liquid oxygen-kerosene engine has succeeded on a full-system test run, a fresh sign of progress for China’s commercialization of space program that has seen its local private firms closing in on their Western competitors. Private rocket firm succeeds in test run of reusable liquid engine

Technology companies participating in the MWC Barcelona are eyeing the metaverse, an area blending physical and digital experiences and possibly unlocking new digital business models. Global firms eye metaverse; China likely to take lead with 5G deployment

Nuclear power-related shares rose on Wednesday after the industry-chain alliance of China’s advanced nuclear power technology brand named “Guohe No 1” was officially established in Shanghai on Monday. China’s nuclear power related shares rally, after establishment of ‘Guohe No 1’ alliance

China’s Ministry of Public Security has launched a special campaign from March 1 to December 31 to crack down on the trafficking of women and children. A teleconference was held by the public security organs across the country on Wednesday for the deployment of the special action throughout the year. Special campaign to crack down on women and children trafficking launched in China: public security authority

CHINA – ARCTIC

Think China

Although not an Arctic state, China has called itself a “near-Arctic state” and is an observer in the Arctic Council. It takes an interest in Arctic affairs and the development of Arctic shipping routes such as the Northern Sea Route which could see transits between Europe and Asia shortened if they become commercially viable in the future. While China-Russia ties look to be getting ever closer, Hong Nong explains why close cooperation between the two countries in the Arctic — which some call the theatre of a new Cold War — is not at all straightforward. Hong Nong: China’s cautious navigation amid talk of a new Cold War in the Arctic, Politics News

CHINA – EUROPE

Global Times

China’s development is a good opportunity for the EU, not a challenge, nor is it a “threat” that some people clamor for, Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao said in Beijing on Tuesday, calling on both sides to strengthen communication and promote healthy competition. Yin Yeping: China-EU Summit’s ‘ice-breaking’ role expected to advance bilateral cooperation: experts

CHINA – TAIWAN

Global Times

Media on the island of Taiwan on Sunday speculated that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been deploying high-altitude balloons to the island this month, with the island’s defense authority claiming that the balloons were more likely for meteorological research purposes. Liu Xuanzun: Taiwan hypes mainland weather balloon presence, ‘reflects suspicious, frightened mindset’

CLIMATE CHANGE

ESA

Human-induced climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption in nature, affecting the lives of billions of people around the world, according to the latest state of the climate report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published this week. Satellites support latest IPCC climate report

FUTURE OF CAPITALISM

Council on Foreign Relations

Roger W. Ferguson Jr., Steven A. Tananbaum distinguished fellow for international economics at CFR, leads a conversation on the future of capitalismAcademic Webinar: The Future of Capitalism

HONG KONG

Reuters

A British human rights lawyer and former head of Hong Kong’s Bar Association said he left the city on Tuesday evening, hours after China’s state-backed media said he was summoned to a local police station and interviewed by national security police and : Ex-chief of Hong Kong barristers says he left city after police interview

IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL

Reuters

“Bitter experience” with broken U.S. promises has made it inevitable that Iran will push to defend its interests by securing a reliable nuclear deal, its top security official said on Wednesday, according to the Nour-news website.  : Bitter experience with U.S. explains Iran’s push for sustainable nuclear deal -top official

SOUTH KOREA – JAPAN

East Asia Forum

Ties between Seoul and Tokyo reached their lowest ebb in decades under the administrations of South Korean President Moon Jae-in and former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe as bilateral history problems flared. Now, with a new Japanese leader at the helm and an impending presidential election in South Korea, questions abound as to whether the shifting political landscapes of both countries will usher in a reset of the bilateral relationship. Lauren Richardson: Prospects for a reset of Seoul–Tokyo relations

USA

The White House

State of the Union Address: 2022 State of the Union Address

Brookings

In July 2021, President Biden lost his patience with Facebook. “They’re killing people,” the president said of the falsehoods around the coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccines circulating on the platform. A White House spokeswoman announced that the administration was “reviewing” Section 230 (§ 230) of the Communications Decency Act, the law that protects Facebook and other platforms from being held liable for much of what users post to their websites. “[C]ertainly they should be held accountable,” she told CNN. Quinta Jurecic: The politics of Section 230 reform: Learning from FOSTA’s mistakes

Defense News

The U.S. Army is preparing to demonstrate an offensive drone swarm capability at its next Project Convergence experimentation effort this fall, according to the service’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office. The Army awarded a $14 million contract to BlueHalo in February to develop the capability over a 30-month period, the company announced in a Feb. 24 statement. Jen Judson: US Army to demo offensive drone swarms in next Project Convergence

Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman announced Tuesday they have selected payload providers for their respective segments of the Space Force’s Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared program. Both companies are on contract to build a portion of the first block of Next-Gen OPIR satellites — Lockheed to develop three satellites based in geostationary orbit and Northrop two polar satellites destined for highly elliptical orbit. Next-Gen OPIR is the successor to today’s Space-Based Infrared System, which detects and tracks ballistic missiles. Courtney Albon: Lockheed, Northrop choose payloads for Space Force missile warning satellites

As the U.S. Army looks to expand its sensor-to-shooter capabilities, a new agreement with the Space Force is meant to ensure cooperation between the two services and inform future joint architecture requirements. Courtney Albon: New agreement aims to bolster US Army, Space Force cooperation on architecture requirements

The U.S. Navy’s cruiser modernization program has been disorganized in its planning and troubled in its execution, service leaders have told Defense News. But it’s a sliver lining for those working on destroyers, as they’re able to learn from mistakes in the cruiser effort and avoid repeating them. Megan Eckstein: How mistakes in modernizing a US Navy cruiser can benefit destroyers

Nextgov

Ways adversaries have been recently observed exploiting Navy networks are listed in a newly unclassified notice penned by the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, which urges military officials to play an alert and active role in U.S. cyber defense. Brandi Vincent: ‘You Are a Target’: Navy Warns Staff to Prepare for Cyber Threats

President Joe Biden condemned Vladimir Putin’s Ukraine invasion, lauded NATO’s and the global community’s response, and announced new measures to squeeze the dictator’s supporters in his first State of the Union address to Congress, delivered Tuesday. Jacqueline Feldscher: ‘Battle Between Democracy and Autocracy’ Leads Biden’s First State of the Union

Technological innovations and industry policy were present among the myriad topics President Joe Biden briefly discussed during his State of the Union address on Tuesday evening. Alexandra Kelley: Biden Calls Out Big Tech, Supports Greater Domestic Investment

The Defense Department took a big step toward building a global satellite system to track and respond to missiles and hypersonic weapons in making three awards with a total value of $1.8 billion. Nick Wakeman: DOD Plans Next Phase of JADC2 Satellite Layer

USA – CHINA

Brookings

Decisions undertaken by Washington and Beijing in the coming months could have outsized influence over the trajectory of U.S.-China relations, and indeed the international system, for coming decades. At its core, the question confronting both countries is whether the U.S.-China relationship remains capable of being confined to an intense interests-driven competition. The more China clings to Russia following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s barbarism in Ukraine, the stronger that calls will grow in the United States and elsewhere to treat China and Russia as interchangeable enemies bent on imposing their violent might-makes-right vision for the world. Ryan Hass: Ukraine presents opportunity to test China’s strategic outlook

China Leadership Monitor

Developments in the U.S.-China relationship over the past year suggest that both sides acknowledge there are not any simple fixes for neutralizing the other as its most formidable rival and competitor. Instead, both countries appear to be settling in for long-term competition. Going forward, Beijing likely will play to its strengths as it seeks to gain an edge over Washington and others. Beijing identifies its advantages as its growing economic gravity, its strengthening relationship with Russia, its expanding influence in much of the developing world, and its ability to offer solutions to other leaders who feel threatened by social instability. With the National Party Congress looming in Fall 2022, Beijing likely will focus in the coming year on addressing compounding challenges at home and geopolitical headwinds abroad. Recognizing the threats that Washington and other developed countries remain capable of posing to China’s continued rise, Beijing also will look for ways to minimize any damage in its relations as it works to maximize gains in overall influence in the rest of the world. How well China does in navigating this thicket of challenges will inform its ability to achieve its ambitions. Ryan Hass: Hass | China Leadership (prcleader.org)

Global Times

The US’ National Security Agency (NSA) has been launching cyberattacks against 47 countries and regions for a decade, with China’s government departments, high-tech companies and military-related institutes among the key targets, the Global Times learned from a report published by the Internet Security Company 360 on Wednesday. Fan Lingzhi, Cao Siqi and Liu Caiyu: US NSA launches cyberattacks against China for a decade, making citizens’ privacy ‘run naked’

USA – CHINA – INDO PACIFIC

Global Times

US President Joe Biden will host Southeast Asian leaders for a special summit in late March, the White House announced on Monday. Given the Biden administration’s recent release of its Indo-Pacific strategy that is said to rely on partnerships to counter China’s growing influence in the region, the summit could be another attempt by Washington to rope in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to form a united front against China. US’ new attempt to pit ASEAN against China will be futile

USA – TAIWAN

Reuters

Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, sanctioned by China when he left office at the end of the Trump presidency, arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday and almost immediately referred to it as a country, a highly sensitive red line for Beijing. U.S. former top diplomat Pompeo arrives in Taiwan, calls it ‘great nation’

The United States stands firmly behind its commitments to Taiwan, a visiting U.S. delegation said on Wednesday, as Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen vowed to work more closely with allies in response to what she called China’s growing military threat.   and : U.S. stands firm behind commitment to Taiwan, delegation says

WORLD TRADE ORGANISATION

East Asia Forum 

The rules-based trading system is losing steam. While the World Trade Organisation (WTO) promised an integrated global economy regulated by multilateral rules, the world in recent years has witnessed the rise of protectionist forces and return to unilateral measures by the United States. If the WTO is to reassume its role as the regulator of rules-based trade, changes in both its substantive rules and institutions must take place. Zhijie Ding: What a multi-phased reform strategy of the WTO should look like