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

Open newsletter – May 2, 2022 a.m.

TODAY:

  • AROUND THE WORLD
  • DEFENSE – MILITARY – SPACE
  • HORIZONS
  • TECH & CYBER

 

AROUND THE WORLD

Africa

  • May 2. By , Reuters. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday urged debt relief for African countries and more investment to help their economies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and weather the impacts of the Ukraine war. (read more)

Australia

  • May 2. By  and , The Strategist. Australia has suffered a litany of crises over the past three years—fires, floods and a pandemic. Crises sap the resources and capacity of government, requiring careful yet immediate management and clear, effective messaging. The way a crisis is managed can have a huge impact on the resilience of the community, as well as on its attitudes towards government. If the government delivers, the confidence of the public can go up; if the government’s efforts seem misplaced or its messaging is unclear, trust in government unsurprisingly falters. (read more)

China – North Korea

  • May 2. By  , Reuters. Beijing is concerned about the tense situation on the Korean peninsula, China’s Korean affairs envoy said as he arrived for talks in Seoul this week, adding that both the symptoms and root cause of tensions needed to be addressed. (read more)

China – Solomon Islands

  • May 2. By Reuters. China’s police presence under a new security pact will boost the capabilities of the Solomon Islands but they will not use techniques seen in Hong Kong, the Pacific island country’s top diplomat to Australia said in a radio interview on Monday. (read more)

Egypt

  • May 2. By Adam Lucente, Al Monitor. Egypt’s non-oil exports increased significantly in the first three months 2022. The exports rose 20% from nearly $7.7 billion in the first quarter of 2021 to almost $9.2 billion in the first quarter of 2022, the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a series of tweets. (read more)

Europe

  • May 2. By Saptarshi Ray, Al Jazeera. As Poles and Bulgarians worry their cookers and heaters will run dry, the rest of Europe is scrambling to respond after Vladimir Putin’s latest chess move over the Ukraine conflict – cutting off the gas supply to his major customers. Moscow last week halted natural liquefied natural gas (LNG) deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria and has threatened to do the same to other countries over their support for Kyiv, prompting accusations of blackmail by European nations and the United States. (read more)

Europe – China

  • April 26. By Clingendael. For the eighth report since its inception in 2014, the European Think-tank Network on China (ETNC) brings together analysis on 18 countries plus the European Union  to examine how dependencies on China are presented in European public and policy-level debates, and how the notion shapes policymaking in each case. (read more)

Israel – Palestine

  • May 1. By VIF. Amb. Anil Trigunayat, Distinguished Fellow at VIF evaluates the recent clashes in Jerusalem, West Bank, and Israel. The speaker identifies the reasons for the recent uptick in attacks; the possibility of renewed Hamas-Israel conflict and assesses Russia’s role in Israel-Palestine dynamics. (more)

Mekong

  • April 30. By Thong Anh Tran, East Asia Forum. The Mekong River is the lifeblood of countries in the Mekong region, but the past few years have seen water flows recurringly decline and processes of saltwater intrusion accelerating in the Vietnamese Mekong delta. These transboundary hydrological challenges have detrimental effects on millions of people living in the delta, whose livelihoods depend on the Mekong. (read more)

Pakistan – Afghanistan

  • May 2. By Syed Fazl-e-Haider, The Interpreter. In the last fortnight, Pakistan has launched a drone campaign in Afghanistan against the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – the Pakistani Taliban. The campaign is a result of the Afghan Taliban’s reluctance to crack down on the TTP on Afghan soil. Islamabad’s expectation that the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021 would bring an end to terrorist attacks on Pakistan by the TTP has now faded. (read more)

Russia – Ukraine

  • May 2. By Al Jazeera. Russia may have averted default as it announced it had made several overdue payments in dollars on its overseas bonds, shifting the market’s focus to upcoming payments and whether it would stave off a historic default. Russia’s $40bn in international bonds and the chance of default have become the focus of global financial markets since it was hit with sanctions from the United States and its allies after its invasion of Ukraine in late February. (read more)
  • May 2. By HRW. Russian forces have fired on civilian vehicles in three separate incidents in Ukraine’s Kyiv and Chernihiv regions, killing six civilians and wounding three, Human Rights Watch said today. In one case, they pulled a man from a van and summarily executed him. (read more)
  • May 2. By Bridget Sleap, HRW. The impact of war on older people has never been more visible than in the conflict in Ukraine. Images of older people unable to reach the safety of basements, being carried over makeshift bridges or walking through body-strewn streets haunt our screens. Some have been unable to flee. Others have decided not to leave their lifelong homes. (read more)
  • May 2. By Al Jazeera. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Moscow’s upcoming Victory Day celebrations on May 9 will have no bearing on the pace of its operations in Ukraine. Speaking with the Italian outlet Mediaset, Lavrov insisted on Sunday that Moscow would not rush to wrap up its so-called “special military operation” in time for the anniversary, which celebrates Nazi Germany’s surrender to allied forces – including the then Soviet Union – in 1945. (read more)
  • May 2. By David Brewster, The Interpreter. As Russia’s war of attrition grinds away in eastern Ukraine, Moscow seems to be opening a new front on Ukraine’s western border, in the Transnistria region of Moldova. A series of mysterious explosions in Transnistria signals that something is afoot. But Russia’s objectives remain a mystery and there’s every chance that its actions could end up rebounding against it. (read more)
  • May 1. By IAEA. Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today  that there had been no significant developments related to nuclear safety and security in the country over the past 24 hours, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said. (read more)
  • May 1. By Karolina Hird, George Barros, and Frederick W. Kagan, ISW. As Russia’s war of attrition grinds away in eastern Ukraine, Moscow seems to be opening a new front on Ukraine’s western border, in the Transnistria region of Moldova. A series of mysterious explosions in Transnistria signals that something is afoot. But Russia’s objectives remain a mystery and there’s every chance that its actions could end up rebounding against it. (read more)

Somali diaspora

  • April 26. By Nauja Kleist, Ahmed Musa & Jethro Norman, DIIS. Somali diaspora engagement is a lifeline for Somalis living in the Horn of Africa but its future is uncertain. What will happen when the refugees who fled the civil war in the late 1980s and 1990s retire and no longer will be able to send remittances and engage to the same degree? Will the younger generations take over or withdraw? And if they do engage, will their transnational practices be different or follow the same trends we see now? (read more)

South Asia

  • April 29. By Gareth Price, Chatham House. Despite South Asia being one of the least connected regions in the world, its economies do share numerous similarities – and the fact that Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Nepal are each currently facing a mixture of economic and political crises reflects replication rather than contagion. (read more)

Tunisia

  • May 2. By Hanen Jebli, Al Monitor. Tunisian President Kais Saied’s measures continue to spark criticism among Tunisians. In a statement posted on its Facebook page on April 27, the Social Democratic Path (Al-Massar) party said that Independent High Authority for Elections (known by its French acronym, ISIE) is part of “the gains of the revolution of freedom and dignity, and its law needs to be amended in a way that enhances its independence and keeps it clear of any partisan bickering and quotas.”. (read more)

USA – ASEAN – G20

  • May 2. By East Asia Forum. The challenges facing the global system and the global economy continue to multiply. The recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is still sputtering, with global inflationary pressure as well as supply chain issues stemming from lockdowns in China throwing a wrench into the works. The situation in Ukraine continues to deteriorate. Tensions between the two major powers, the United States and China, continue to metastasise across all dimensions of the bilateral relationship. The strategic direction of the United States, and of Asia, are at a major crossroad. (read more)
  • May 1. By Yose Rizal Damuri, Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum. On 12 and 13 May the leaders of ASEAN will meet US President Joe Biden at the White House for the first in-person US–ASEAN Summit since the beginning of the pandemic. The summit will be a way for ASEAN to communicate what it wants from US engagement in the region, but also an important moment for urgent dialogue between the White House and Indonesia, this year’s G20 chair. (read more)

USA – Pacific Islands Countries

  • May 2. By , Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration plans to step up diplomatic engagement with Pacific Island countries, Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell said on Monday, including inviting Pacific leaders to the White House later this year. (read more)

DEFENSE – MILITARY – SPACE

  • May 2. By Gerard O’Dwyer, Defense News. The sudden elevation in intensity of top-level talks between Finland and Sweden has raised the bar on the expectation that the two unaligned Nordic states will jointly announce their decisions to join NATO by May 16. The prospect for a “joint leap” by Sweden and Finland in to NATO will be discussed when the prime ministers of both countries, Magdalena Andersson and Sanna Marin, meet at Schloss Meseberg castle, near Berlin, to discuss security issues with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on May 3. (read more)

HORIZONS

  • May 2. By Oommen C. Kurian, Shoba Suri, ORF. The Covid-19 vaccination rollout has been slow in many parts of the world, and it might not be inaccurate to say that the newer, more transmissible variants have done a better job at immunising populations than the vaccine. More than 16 months since the global vaccination drive was started, wealthier countries have inoculated vastly higher proportions of their populations compared to the poorer ones. For example, as of late April 2022, the United Arab Emirates has administered 266 doses per 100 people; and Haiti, with a comparable total population, is at 2.3 doses per 100 people. Even when numerical disparities are high, however, a comparative country analysis might conflate equity with parity without considering the differences in demographic profiles—for which is often used the concept of “priority groups”, in terms of risk to the elderly and health workers on the frontlines. This report problematises this narrow definition of “priority groups”, and assesses vaccination data made available through global trackers. The aim is to examine the global experience of the Covid-19 vaccination effort, and measure the length and breadth of the remaining task for the international community. (read more)
  • April 26. By Mona Kanwal Sheikh, DIIS. In a DIIS Working Paper that summarizes earlier contributions, Mona Kanwal Sheikh describes the development in her work on worldview analysis. She has worked on two intertwined concepts and frameworks for thinking; first sociotheology (Juergensmeyer & Sheikh 2013) and secondly worldviews (Sheikh, 2018; Sheikh and Juergensmeyer 2019). While the first was initially an identification of a scholarly approach that integrates theology and social sciences, the second collaboration developed into a methodological elaboration of how scholars can embrace an insider-oriented understanding of how their religious research subjects view the world, published in the volume Entering Religious Minds – The Social Study of Worldviews (2019). The approach to worldview analysis outlined here is based on the dissolvement of dichotomies between inside-outside, mind-body, rationalities-emotions, and highlights the social dimension of worldviews and its significance for conflict analysis.  (read more)
  • April 26. By DIIS. In this DIIS Working Paper Elena Paola Carola Alessiato outlines the implications of worldviews being ‘total and universal’ at the same time. The point of departure is the definitions of Wilhelm Dilthey and Karl Jaspers, both of whom thematised the concept of Weltanschauung at the beginning of the 20th century. Alessiato depicts some peculiar and constitutive traits of the concept, and offers reflections on potential conflictuality between contrary or competing worldviews. (read more)

TECH & CYBER

  • May 2. By Pierluigi Paganini, Security Affairs. In mid-January 2022, security researchers from Mandiant have spotted a spear-phishing campaign, launched by the Russia-linked APT29 group, on targeting diplomats and government entities. (read more)
  • April 27. By Luke Patey, DIIS. Europe’s tech capabilities and global competitiveness are often overlooked in policy debates on the global tech race. The European Union (EU) is commonly portrayed by international media as lagging behind the United States and China. In some technologies, this depiction of competitive weaknesses is warranted: the EU does not boast household-name digital champions such as Google or Alibaba, nor a standout global leader in consumer electronics and software comparable to Microsoft or Huawei. (read more)