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

Open newsletter – march 9, 2022 p.m.

BELARUS

  • At the March 1 meeting of the Belarusian Security Council, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka declared that Belarus is not participating in the war in Ukraine. However, adding to the intrigue of the meeting was a map on open display purportedly showing where Belarusian and Russian troops were stationed along the border with Ukraine and demonstrating by red arrows the main directions of movement of Russian troops. One of those arrows pointed toward Moldova. That raised a minor international scandal, with the Belarusian ambassador being summoned to the Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs for explanation (Interfax, March 2). Grigory Ioffe – The Jamestown Foundation – Lukashenka’s Intentions and the Reasoning of the Warring Parties

KENYA

NEPAL – MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATIONS (MCC) 

  • On the night of 27 February, the House of Representatives (HoR), the lower House of Nepalese Parliament ratified the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) with over two-thirds majority, paving the way for receiving the grants amounting to US$500 million from the American government for the construction of electricity transmission line and for repairing and maintenance of roads in Nepal in the next five years. Hari Bansh Jha – ORF – The American Millennium Challenge Corporation and Nepal

RUSSIA – UKRAINE (impact – reactions – consequences)

  • Against the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, this episode reflects on the principles that underpin contemporary Russian strategy, Vladimir Putin’s political ascendancy, and the dangers of relying on historical analogies. Emma De Angelis, Edward Mortimer and Demi Starks – RUSI – Episode 1: Understanding the Origins of Russian Grand Strategy
  • South of Russia, from Syria to Israel, there exists a variety of complex perspectives on Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Chatham House – Perspectives on Russia’s war from Turkey, Iran and the GCC states
  • The response to the invasion of Ukraine is a mixture of shock and horror, with Russia condemned in the UN Security Council and by an overwhelming vote in the UN General Assembly (UNGA). But despite this, Moscow is ramping up the military pressure by shelling in Kyiv, Mariupol, and Kharkiv, and trying to get its convoy into the Ukrainian capital – it is time to move beyond disbelief. Jamie Shea – Chatham House – Devising the strategy to deter Russia and weaken Putin | Chatham House – International Affairs Think Tank
  • The inexplicably constrained role of the Vozdushno-kosmicheskiye sily (VKS) or the Russian Aerospace Force till now has left all followers of the conflict confused. Given the disparity in the inventorysize and quality of assets, between the small Povitryani Syly Ukrayiny (PSU) or Ukrainian Air Force and the larger VKS, air power was expected to play a more dominant role. Air Marshal Diptendu Choudhury (Retd), PVSM, AVSM, VM, VSM – VIF – Russo-Ukraine War: Air Power Analysis
  • The Russian ‘special military operations’ in Ukraine, starting 24 February,with the intention of making Ukraine amenable to Russian rather than NATO overtures, has created a crisis in Europe. Besides the rising oil and gas prices it is creating a backlash in global economies. The negative impact on growth rates as well as prospects of stable development for the post-pandemic recovery is perceptible. Gurjit Singh – VIF – The Ukraine Crisis Impacts Africa too
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special military operation, seen as an invasion by the world, is an unprecedented event that has shaken the world. Though geopolitical and strategic considerations drove Putin to take this measure, his actions have evoked widespread condemnation, including that in the UNSC, UN General Assembly and the UNHRC. Right or wrong, India abstained from all these meetings from voting. Rajaram Panda – VIF – Russia-Ukraine Crisis and Japan’s Response
  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shown the limits of American power and failure of the international system to stop yet another war. Though the present military conflict is mainly internal to Europe’s military security matrix, it will seriously impact geopolitics. Parjanya Bhatt – ORF – Lessons for India from the Ukraine crisis: Is India prepared to take on China?
  • Multiple Indian experts and commentators have averred that India needs to distance itself from Moscow following President Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine. The argument put forth is that New Delhi needs to condemn and reassess its ties with Russia because the foundation of global order have been fundamentally challenged by Russian imperialistic conduct. Kartik Bommakanti – ORF – No retreat from Russia: Strategic autonomy and interests are synonymous
  • India could be heading to become a collateral casualty of the devastating Russian attack on Ukraine. The United States-European Union (US-EU) sanctions can derail our ties with Russia. So far, India has remained neutral and abstained from voting against Russia at the United Nations (UN). But soon, there may be no more wiggle room left and the seas could become rougher, even stormy. This could push the US to place sanctions through the Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). This action can have its own geopolitical fallout on the growing Indo-us alignment aimed at checking China. Manoj Joshi – ORF – Breaking with Russia on defence is difficult
  • Russia’s unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, is leaving behind a trail of economic destruction and human displacement at levels not experienced in recent European history. It is possible that this war may trigger Europe’s largest refugee crisis of this century. More than 2 million people have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries over the past week. Another 4 million Ukrainians could migrate by July 2022 while 6.7 million could be internally displaced, according to some conservative estimates. Romina Bondura – CSIS – There Is No Time to Spare: Multilateral and Bilateral Economic Support to Ukraine
  • The Russian invasion in Ukraine has descended into a war of cities and supply lines. While the Ukrainian military, territorial defense force, and civilians have valiantly held advancing Russians back across the country, a war of cities will create complex humanitarian emergencies and new strategic dilemmas that must be addressed now in talks between Ukraine and Russia. There is both a humanitarian and a military logic to humanitarian corridors. Benjamin Jansen – CSIS – Why Ukrainian Cities Need Humanitarian Corridors
  • Faced with the shocking images of Russian military forces indiscriminately shelling civilians across Ukraine, Western countries are under mounting pressure to find new ways to help Ukrainians defend themselves. As the Atlantic Council’s military fellows concluded in their latest assessment, Russian forces—despite seriously stumbling during their first week of combat in Ukraine—still pose a perilous threat as the Kremlin’s invasion proceeds. Lt Col Tyson Wetzel and Barry Pavel – Atlantic Council –  What are the risks and benefits of US/NATO military options in Ukraine? Our strategic risk calculator has answers
  • As Russia launched its massive re-invasion of neighboring Ukraine in late February, scores of propagandists, journalists and officials—in Russia, Ukraine and even abroad—seized on an old, familiar trope: the Chechen, a fearless and ruthless force, far deadlier than any other foe. Watching the agitprop on both sides pair inflammatory texts with visuals to sloganeering effect, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Chechens form both the vanguard and crème de la crème of the invading army (YouTube, February 26) and, simultaneously, a big chunk of its casualties (Suspilne.mediaInterfax-Ukraine, February 27)—depending on what source one tunes in to. The “red-bearded tough-guy” cliché goes back to Afghanistan and the Middle East, among other places, where local commanders would routinely trot out easy and comforting tales of competent and unstoppable Chechens within the ranks of their enemies to explain their own military failures. Every war needs its heroes and villains, but the Chechens appear to embody both concurrently. Aslan Doukaev – The Jamestown Foundation – Warring Chechen Factions Fight on Opposing Sides in Ukrainian Conflict
  • Moscow has been extremely chary about reporting combat losses in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine, electing instead to make the heads of the federal subjects responsible for doing so at the local level—lest it become immediately obvious to all Russians just how large these cumulative losses have become. But that decision, like the decision to make the federal subject heads responsible for fighting the coronavirus pandemic, may backfire on the central government. Not only is this forced delegation of responsibility likely to infuriate those governors, who will have to face public anger, but it may also highlight the extent to which “Russian” combat losses are concentrated in non-Russian areas and among rural Russians. Indeed, there is already growing evidence that non-Russian troops are dying in disproportionate numbers in Ukraine. So while most republic leaders have lined up behind Putin’s war, many in the national movements are now talking about pursuing secession from the Russian Federation. Paul Globe – The Jamestown Foundation – Ukrainian War Unsettles Russian Regions and Non-Russian Republics
  • As Russian forces in Ukraine approach two weeks in the country since their invasion, it has become increasingly clear that Russian efforts to achieve a quick military victory in Ukraine and replace the regime in Kyiv with a more pliable one have failed. Vladimir Putin premised the initial plan of operations seemingly on the idea that military victory would come quickly, toppling the government of Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In its place, Russia would establish a pro-Russian leader that would sign some form of a political agreement with Russia regarding Ukraine’s “demilitarization and denazification,” allowing the Russian military to largely withdraw from the country. Over the first weeks of the war, it has become clear that this naïve plan, based on overly optimistic assumptions about how the Ukrainian public would support toppling the government in Kyiv, has failed. – Modern War Institute – Miscalculation and Myopia in Moscow: Understanding Russia’s Regime Change Folly

SEMICONDUCTORS

  • The competition between technological platforms that are being formed at the poles of the modern world economy, which were previously identified by the experts of the Valdai Discussion Club, is growing: both in breadth (new states and TNCs are involved) and in depth (there is an improvement of state intervention at the levels of legislative and executive power). The acute shortage of semiconductors during the pandemic forced the authorities of the most economically developed countries to take steps in the “chip race”, aimed at maintaining existing niches in this market segment and expanding its strategic positions. A special place in this race belongs to the USA and the EU, which in late 2021 and early 2022 made significant efforts to dominate the digital chessboard. Stanislav Tkachenko , Natalia Zhiglinskaya Wyrsch – Valdai Discussion Club – Digital Chessboard: The Geopolitics of Semiconductors

SOMALIA

  • The fall of Kabul in August 2021 reinvigorated debate over the relevance, feasibility and limitations of international state-building, exposing the paradox of a model that often breeds dependency in the pursuit of empowerment and self-sufficiency. With the impending replacement of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) – a multilateral ‘peace enforcement’ mission propping up the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) in Mogadishu – analogous questions have become increasingly pronounced in relation to the Horn of Africa: what are the plausible outcomes of such interventions; what thresholds would be palatable to domestic and foreign stakeholders; and how can these aspirations be realistically achieved? Michael Jones – RUSI – Taking Stock in Somalia