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

Open newsletter – march 24, 2022 a.m.

BELGIUM

CRYPTOCURRENCIES – BLOCKCHAIN

  • The fast-growing decentralized finance (DeFi) system—the collection of finance applications built on blockchain technology—holds promise for a new financial architecture that can eliminate the need for traditional intermediaries (such as banks, brokers, and exchanges) and reduce rents (excess profits) in the financial sector. But it also generates formidable challenges for regulators, according to a paper to be discussed at the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (BPEA) conference on March 24. Igor Makarov and Antoinette Schoar – Brookings – Cryptocurrencies and decentralized finance (DeFi)

FUTURE DEVELOPMENT

  • When we talk about access to justice, a key consideration is “access for whom?” While access is often made widely available by law, in practice it is heavily dependent on resources and knowledge. Access is practically defined by resources and opportunities. It is often obstructed by overlapping layers of vulnerability, including poverty and limited financial resources, race, sexual orientation, gender, language, lack of institutional trust, education level, and physical access to justice institutions like courts, lawyers, and other legal professionals. Paul Prettitore – Brookings – Do the poor suffer disproportionately from legal problems?

INDIA – JAPAN

  • As Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida landed in Delhi, the stakes were high. While both sides were meeting to continue the tradition of annual bilateral summits, neither party could ignore the broader shifts in the international system. For some weeks now, New Delhi has watched as much of the Western world and its allies abroad, including Japan, have mobilised in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As whispers of Western discontent with India’s more measured position on the Ukraine crisis made the rounds, New Delhi’s first in-person meeting with a major ally would be a portent of things to come. Harsh V. Pant, Shashank Mattoo – ORF – India & Japan take recent shifts in their stride

MIDDLE EAST

  • In the lead-up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month, a number of former and current Tunisian officials, including former Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, visited Washington to discuss Tunisia’s impasse with officials and analysts. After a slow-motion coup that began on July 25 last year, the last remaining democratic transition of the Arab Spring effectively ended. The country’s crisis has intensified in recent months, with would-be strongman Kais Saied dissolving the Supreme Judicial Council. Shadi Hamid – Brookings – What Russia’s invasion of Ukraine means for democracy promotion in the Middle East

MOLDOVA

MYANMAR

NATO

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s historic address to a joint session of the US Congress last week was a statement of defiance against Russia’s brutal invasion of his country, an expression of gratitude for the West’s assistance, and an urgent call for more robust intervention.  But as NATO leaders convene for an extraordinary summit Thursday, they shouldn’t ignore the fourth key element of his speech: that it’s time for a new approach to ensuring global security. “The wars of the past have prompted our predecessors to create institutions that should protect us from war, but they, unfortunately, don’t work,” he said. “We see it. You see it. So we need new ones, new institutions, new alliances.”. Ian Brzezinski – Atlantic Council – Why NATO should establish a humanitarian no-conflict zone in Ukraine

NIGERIA

NORTH KOREA

  • North Korea fired what may be at least one ballistic missile toward the sea off its east coast on Thursday, militaries in South Korea and Japan said, the first apparent test launch since a missile reportedly exploded in mid-air last week. Reuters – N.Korea fires possible ballistic missile off east coast

RUSSIA – CHINA

  • The US attempt to expand NATO into Ukraine, both in its direct effects and in emboldening the Kiev government’s attempt to deprive the Russian speaking population of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine of their rights via the 2014 coup d’etat, is the cause of the Ukraine military conflict. But while there are extremely specific features of the Ukraine situation there are also key elements characterising the present course of US foreign policy. These pose a great threat to humanity as a whole and have direct effects on Russia-China relations. This latter aspect is the subject of this article. John Ross – Valdai Discussion Club – Russia-China Cooperation Crucial in a Very Dangerous Moment for Humanity

RUSSIA – EUROPE

  • Amid hostilities in Ukraine and the avalanche of the European economic sanctions against Russia, Russian gas has been flowing to Europe, including the transit via Ukraine, without interruption. For now, it looks like Russia-Europe gas trade has been in the eye of the storm (an area of calm weather at the centre of a strong cyclone). Vitaly Yermakov – Valdai Discussion Club – Russian Gas Exports to Europe: in the eye of the storm

RUSSIA – UKRAINE (and beyond)

  • US President Joe Biden called his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin a war criminal. Some US Presidents have also been charged with war crimes. Gordon Brown, a former UK PM, has called for a Nuremberg-type trial for Putin. Western media is airing programmes about Putin facing trial for war crimes at the International Criminal Court. President Zelenskyy has become the darling of the Western media. Meanwhile, Russia has presented evidence at the UNSC that the US was funding biowarfare research in Ukrainian biolabs. America has denied these allegations as propaganda but suspicion about such clandestine research refuses to go away. The US has expressed concern about Russia taking over these biolabs for obvious reasons. The level of rhetoric in the propaganda war is fuelling the demonisation of Putin and, along with economic sanctions and massive arms aid to Ukraine, has underpinned the West’s proxy war against Russia. Pinak Chakravarty – ORF – The war in Ukraine and its economic fallout
  • Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, much of the Indian debate on the issue has been focused around dissecting the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) abstentions, issue of territorial sovereignty, need for diversification of defence imports, and the consequences for strategic autonomy due to this dependence. Nivedita Kapoor – ORF – Russia-Ukraine Crisis: Why India needs to do more
  • Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, the war between the two countries has shown no signs of simmering down. The situation is getting worse with every passing day. Russia justified its invasion of Ukraine on the grounds that the latter’s move to join the NATO alliance endangered Russia’s security, as Moscow would be merely 600 kilometers from Ukraine. However, many countries of the world are not convinced with Russia’s logic, and have outrightly criticised the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In South Asia, India adopted a neutral position in the war between Ukraine and Russia because of its security interest. However, Nepal strongly denounced the Russian invasion of Ukraine whilst voting in the United Nations General Assembly. Nepal demanded Russia to “immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine.”. Hari Bansh – ORF –Nepal’s response to the Ukrainian Crisis 
  • There is no way as of yet to predict what the outcome of the war in Ukraine will be for Ukraine’s future, but it is all too clear that it is unlikely to have a happy ending. Ukraine has loyal and brave fighters, but the war has already produced massive damage to its economy and to the lives of its citizens – and even an ending to the war that leaves Ukraine somewhat intact seems unlikely to end the threat that Russia now poses to Western Europe. Anthony H. Cordesman – CSIS – U.S. National Security: Looking beyond the War in Ukraine
  • Just two days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine was launched, Ramzan Kadyrov, president of Russia’s Chechen Republic, announced his forces were deployed to the battlefield. Since then, Chechnya’s leader has posted on social media regular updates and videos of Chechen soldiers allegedly participating in military and humanitarian activities on Ukrainian territory. Mariya Petkova – Al Jazeera – What role is Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov playing in Ukraine war?
  • One month after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Russian army has failed to execute a swift takeover of its neighbour and install a pro-Kremlin puppet government in the capital, Kyiv. The Russian plan to surround key cities with rapidly inserted airborne forces and ground troops driving along major roads relied on the assumption that Ukrainian resistance would be chaotic and light. Justin Bronk – Al Jazeera – Analysis: Russia falls back on urban siege warfare in Ukraine
  • Turkish telecoms operator Turkcell (TCELL.IS), one of three main operators in Ukraine, said around 10% of its infrastructure in the country had been disabled by Russia’s invasion, but added there was no damage to its central network. Reuters – Turkcell says 10% of mobile infrastructure in Ukraine disabled

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it has verified some 64 attacks on health care facilities in Ukraine since Russia began its invasion a month ago. The confirmed the attacks took place between February 24 and March 21 at a rate of between two and three each day, killing at least 15 people, the WHO said in a statement. Al Jazeera – WHO says 64 hospitals attacked since Russian invasion of Ukraine
  • Russia’s communications regulator has blocked Google News, accusing the news aggregator service of spreading false information about the country’s military operation in Ukraine, Russia’s Interfax news agency said on Wednesday. “We’ve confirmed that some people are having difficulty accessing the Google News app and website in Russia and that this is not due to any technical issues on our end,” Google said in a statement. Al Jazeera – Russian regulator blocks Google News over “inauthentic” war info
  • Uzbekistan chose not to take sides in Russia’s war against Ukraine, as first announced by the Uzbekistan presidential administration when the war started and later demonstrated by Uzbekistan’s avoidance of voting on the United Nations’ resolution condemning the invasion of Ukraine. A neutral posture was taken not only by all government officials but also by the nascent independent media in Uzbekistan, which was “asked” not to side with either conflicting party in their publications. At the same time, Tashkent recognizes the dire humanitarian situation in Ukraine and shows its support by sending medical supplies to the country. Overall, Tashkent’s current ties to Moscow proved to be of high importance and appearing neutral was the only way for Tashkent not to destroy relations with Russia. Umida Hashimova – The Jamestown Foundation – How Uzbekistan Views the Russian War Against Ukraine
  • Despite warnings by American and British intelligence services that Russia was planning a full-scale attack on Ukraine, most Ukrainian people did not believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin would undertake a full-scale invasion. They were convinced an attack would mean a strategic loss for Moscow, which is now evident to the entire world a month into the war (Pravda.com.ua, February 22). When the war began, many organizations found themselves unprepared to support the military operations that unfolded. Maria Kucherenko – The Jamestown Foundation – Ukrainian Public Organizations Help the Army Fight Russia
  • Four weeks into the largest war Russia has fought since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (1979), President Vladimir Putin faces an impending dilemma in military manpower and the attrition of hardware and equipment in Ukraine. According to a well-known Russian military proverb zhelezo ne voiuet (iron cannot fight): the successes achieved in combat by Ukraine’s Armed Forces in the face of Russia’s invasion illustrates its meaning. The nature of Putin’s impending dilemma stems from losses of military personnel and hardware, the war entering a protracted phase of attrition and ultimately, the question as to how long Russia’s conventional military can sustain such a conflict. He will either need to find a path to peace—even temporarily—or choose to escalate the war (see EDM, March 9). Roger N. McDermott – The Jamestown Foundation – Iron Cannot Fight: Putin’s Military Dilemma in Ukraine
  • As Moscow has modernized Russia’s conventional Armed Forces over the past decade or so, the technological aspects in this process have included the adoption and introduction of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). UAVs have routinely been present in Russian combat training and annual operational-strategic military exercises, used in operations from Ukraine to Syria, and frequently highlighted in statements by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. These systems have come to play an essential role across the branches and arms of service, forming a symbiotic relationship with both air defense and electronic warfare (EW). How and why these processes were put in place by the defense ministry leadership forms the basis of this paper. Roger N. McDermott – The Jamestown Foundation – Russia’s UAVs and UCAVs: ISR and Future Strike Capabilities
  • Russian forces continued to settle in for a protracted and stalemated conflict over the last 24 hours, with more reports emerging of Russian troops digging in and laying mines—indications that they have gone over to the defensive. Ukrainian forces continued to conduct limited and effective counterattacks to relieve pressure on Kyiv, although the extent of those counterattacks is likely less than what some Ukrainian officials are claiming. Russian efforts to mobilize additional forces to keep their offensive moving continue to be halting and limited. Russian progress in taking Mariupol city remains slow and grinding. Increasing Russian emphasis on using air, artillery, and rocket/missile bombardments of Ukrainian cities to offset forward offensive momentum raises the urgency of providing Ukraine with systems to defend against these attacks. Frederick W. Kagan, George Barros, and Kateryna Stepanenko – ISW – Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, March 23

SOLOMON ISLANDS – CHINA

SRI LANKA

  • The United States has urged Sri Lanka to end detentions under its draconian anti-terror law and ensure justice for wartime atrocities. Sri Lanka’s rights record has drawn the ire of the international community with Colombo accused of carrying out war-time atrocities against its Tamil minority during the decades-long civil war that ended in 2009. Al Jazeera – US asks Sri Lanka to stop terror law detentions, improve rights

STRATEGIC THINKING

  • There are relatively few individuals within the United States government who understand how, for example, Napoleon used the strategy of the central position in the Hundred Days campaign. Nevertheless, there is almost no one who would not understand, “It’s fourth and ten—we have to punt.”. The games we play represent our first, and arguably our most important, strategic language. Sports games such as American football, soccer, or basketball, tabletop games such as chess or go, and even video games such as Starcraft or League of Legends provide a common, implicitly learned language of strategy. This language channels strategic thinking while facilitating communication. These games not only influence the strategic planning of countries but also of important world leaders. Just as it is possible, for example, to see elements of American football in US strategic thinking, it is also possible to see the fundamental premises of judo, Vladimir Putin’s sport, in Russia’s efforts to use its opponents’ strengths against them. It is, of course, possible to overextend this insight. Games are certainly not the only influence on a culture’s, a country’s, or a person’s strategic thinking. History, education, economics, politics, as well as the broader context of the situation play a role. That said, games, despite their obvious influence, have historically been underexamined as both an inspiration and a catalyst for strategic thought.  and  – Modern War Institute – The Games We Play: Understanding Strategic Culture Through Games

TAIWAN

TURKEY – LIBYA

USA

  • The civics class model of the Supreme Court is that of an impartial adjudicator, above politics. It is an ideal still prized by the American public. Recently, however, the Supreme Court is looking more and more partisan. In a statement that reminds one of Shakespeare’s famous line, “the lady doth protest too much,” Justice Amy Coney Barrett proclaimed that “this court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks.”. Simon Lazarus – Brookings – How to rein in partisan Supreme Court justices
  • Anew method of measuring poverty in the United States—based on families’ spending and easily accessible resources—finds that about eight million more people lived in poverty in 2019 than reported by the government’s conventional income-based approach, according to a paper to be discussed at the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (BPEA) conference on March 25. John Fitzgerald and Robert A. Moffitt – Brookings – The Supplemental Expenditure Poverty Measure: A new method for measuring poverty