NATO Daily Evidence

Need NATO to stop Russian dominance of rare earth minerals and control of the Black Sea

Timtchenko, 8-14, 22, Ilya Timtchenko is a Master of Public Policy candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School and a Belfer Young Leader Student Fellow at the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center as well as a Research Assistant for the Belfer Center’s Intelligence Project, The Looming Threat of Russia’s Black Sea Ambitions,

The fall of Mariupol and Russia’s ambition to occupy Ukraine’s southern Black Sea coastline pose a dangerous threat. Russia aims to control not just Ukraine, but the Black Sea itself. Ukraine’s coastline—extending from “Transnistria” all the way to Mariupol and Crimea—represents a rich prize for Russia. Unable to take Kyiv or Kharkiv, but having established a land bridge to Crimea, Russia’s next big move is to take aim at what will do the most damage. Cutting off Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea would inflict a catastrophic economic and military blow and leave Ukraine a landlocked rump state. This has been clear from Russia’s recent staged attacks against the so-called Transnistria Kremlin-aligned breakaway region, its intensified attacks against Odesa, its blockade of Ukraine’s seaports, and Moscow’s high appetite for taking over Mariupol. Ukraine’s south provides the gateway to its economic arteries and holds significant resources. Through its Black Sea ports, Ukraine supplies countries in Africa and the Middle East with food, and the European Union with iron and steel. Ukraine’s economy is dependent on commodity exports, and those exports depend on access to the Black Sea. Ukraine’s ferrous metals made 22.4 percent of its overall exports in 2021, according to the State Statistics Service of Ukraine, while grains and grain-related products made up about 30 percent of Ukraine’s overall exports. While some shipments can be shifted to rail, this will take time and will be costly and less efficient. In the meantime, Russia has been striking Ukrainian rail and transportation infrastructure. By denying Ukraine access to the Black Sea, Russia holds a knife to Ukraine’s economic jugular, and in the process, holds hostage hungry people across the globe. Ukraine’s south is home to a major part of Ukraine’s renewables sector, as many Western and Ukrainian companies have installed wind turbines and solar panels there due to the favorable wind and sun conditions. Two large nuclear plants are located in the south as well—the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant and Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant. The latter was on the brink of an international environmental and humanitarian disaster after Russian forces allegedly decided to bomb the site. The situation is still at high risk, as the Russians store weapons in the engine room of the first reactor. Ukraine’s Black Sea coast holds rich deposits that are presently underdeveloped and estimated to be significantly larger than Ukraine’s trillion cubic meters of onshore gas reserves. Russia’s gas pipeline transits southern Ukraine just above Mykolayiv and Odesa, brushes Moldova, and exits Ukraine through Orlivka into Romania. A Russian takeover of this pipeline branch would provide one more strategic win for the Kremlin. Rare Earth Cravings But perhaps the most unnoticed and important resource in the southeast is Ukraine’s rare earth mineral reserves—cobalt, copper, nickel, and lithium—which are thought to be hidden along the “Ukrainian Shield,” a geological formation that cuts diagonally through Ukraine from the upper western corner to the bottom southeast. Lithium, also known as “white gold,” arguably has the highest value, as it is essential for producing batteries used in solar panels, cell phones, electric vehicles, and military equipment. Ukrainian researchers have suggested that Ukraine’s east potentially stores around 500,000 tons of lithium oxide. If proven, Ukraine would be home to one of the world’s largest lithium reserves, with the highest concentrations located near Mariupol. Rare earth elements are certainly a significant calculation in the Kremlin’s strategic military operation, according to Rod Schoonover, former director of the Environment and Natural Resources Section of the U.S. National Intelligence Council. There is real business interest in Ukraine’s lithium deposits. The Australian company European Lithium stated back in November that it was securing rights to two Ukrainian lithium deposits. China has demonstrated interest in Ukraine’s lithium reserves, with Chinese company Chengxin Lithium applying for lithium rights in Donetsk and Kropivnytskyi. If Russia has full control of these deposits, it will have more negotiation power with China as well—both unsettling developments for Ukraine. Black Sea Control Russia considers the Black Sea a Russian lake and has historically sought control of these international waters. Russia’s Black Sea fleet now blockades Ukrainian ports, interferes with global shipping, and fires cruise missiles into Ukrainian cities and towns. In the recent past, Russia has used the Black Sea region as an anti-democratic experiment, annexing Crimea, invading Georgia, blocking the Kerch Strait, and testing NATO’s reaction. Control of Ukraine’s coast is vital to Russia’s control of the Black Sea. Ukraine and its partners must eschew any ceasefire agreement that enables Russia to solidify links between territories it is occupying, install puppet administrations, and cut off Ukraine from the sea. Furthermore, Ukraine and the West must not fall into the trap of encouraging Ukraine to trade land for dubious Russian assurances of peace. Russia’s poor performance, Ukraine’s dogged resistance, and Western supplies mean that Russia’s current ability to occupy the entire Black Sea coast has diminished. But recent Kremlin-backed comments remind us that Russia retains the ambition for a big win. Mariupol is particularly significant and must not remain in Russian hands. The heroes of Azovstal will live in history. But the city itself is too important of a symbolic and strategic win for Russia’s occupation to be allowed to stand. Fortunately, with its hands full in the Donbas, Russia does not appear to be capable at present of mounting a new offensive, but there is no room for complacency. A Russian breakout from the Donbas quagmire and a successful southern offensive would threaten Ukraine’s very existence. After having dismissed Russia’s warnings for years, the Transatlantic community must take seriously Russia’s stated ambitions, prepare to defeat a southern offensive, reestablish freedom of navigation in the Black Sea, and roll back Russia’s land grab. This can be achieved by expediting heavy weapons deliveries to Ukraine from its partners, including an abundance of long-range missiles, High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) or their equivalent, fighter and bomber jets, and surface-to-air defense systems. NATO itself must strengthen its presence in the Black Sea via Romania and Bulgaria and invest in ramping up Moldova’s security against a Russian invasion. Additionally, the United States and its partners should intensify sanctions against Russia to limit its fleet construction. It should also pressure countries such as India that are taking advantage of sanctions against Russia to increase their exports to the aggressor state.


Russia doesn’t have the capacity to engage in cyber attacks beyond the Ukraine

Dan Arel, 8-12, 22, Gizmodo, Russian Hackers Are Escalating and Diversifying Their Attacks on Ukraine, Research Says,

With Russia’s cyber warfare capabilities on full display, it begs the question: if Russia can carry out attacks like this in Ukraine, can it do so to other nations? The answer is likely not, according to Geers, at least right now. “Today, Russia has its hands full,” he said. “If the NATO/EU alliance remains firm, I doubt that Russia has the bandwidth to attack other nations, because the risks currently outweigh the benefits.”

Russia will remain a threat despite sanctions and will remain so even if it loses in the Ukraine

George Beebe,Director of Grand Strategy, Quincy Institute, 8-11, 22, NATO’s Tunnel Vision,

None of these developments are unimaginable, but none look very likely right now. Opinion polls suggest that Putin is more popular than he was prior to the war.5 Although Russia is taking a sizable economic hit from sanctions, the ruble is trading higher than it was before the war, and Russian energy earnings have gone up even as its export volumes have declined, thanks to rising oil prices and reluctance outside the West to join in sanctioning Russia.6 Western sanctions and military aid have reinforced perceptions in Russia that the war is not against Ukraine but with the West, which is intent on Russia’s demise.7 So far, Russia’s battlefield losses seem to be producing a patriotic, rather than an anti-Putin, response.8  That might change if Russian forces suffer outright defeat in the war. But how the West might orchestrate Putin’s battlefield defeat without escalation into a direct – and possibly nuclear – war with Russia is not at all clear. Those advocating doing whatever is necessary to vanquish Russian forces altogether suppose that the Kremlin would accept defeat rather than risk a direct confrontation with a NATO member state.9 But this supposition is at odds with what both Russian officials and the U.S. Intelligence community say.10 In any event, there is little reason for confidence that Russia’s reaction to a defeat, should it occur, would echo Germany’s post-Nazi acceptance and national contrition, rather than its post-Versailles resentment and revanchism.    These scenarios are all premised on a key assumption: that Putin’s successor would be intent, like Gorbachev in the waning days of the Cold War, on democratizing Russia and making amends with the West. But this is perhaps even more unlikely than Putin’s near-term ouster. Certainly, there are many Russians, particularly in elite circles in Moscow and St. Petersburg, who are unhappy about the rupture in relations with the West and would like to see efforts to repair them.11 Some privately believe that Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine was unnecessary and counterproductive, and they are horrified by the brutality of the war. That said, in contrast to the late Soviet and early post-Cold War periods, many of these same people are quite disillusioned with what they see as an increasingly decadent and illiberal West.12 And after the fiasco of Western reforms in the 1990s, many of those who would like to see Russia become more democratic believe that its form of governance should evolve gradually in consonance with Russian traditions, culture, and history, rather than by forced imitation of American or West European models.13 Russians across the political spectrum agree that NATO expansion is a threat to Russian security, as Gorbachev himself has long believed.14   There is little reason for confidence that Russia’s reaction to a defeat, should it occur, would echo Germany’s post-Nazi acceptance and national contrition, rather than its post-Versailles resentment and revanchism. In sum, Putin’s departure might solve a problem of political optics, allowing Western leaders an opportunity to re-engage with Russia under a Kremlin leader untainted by the blood of Ukrainians. But the likelihood that his successor would resurrect the late Soviet days of perestroika at home and “new thinking” in foreign policy is slight. The West cannot count on regime change to solve its Russia problem.  The perils of prolonged conflict If it is difficult to envision how the West might make Europe peaceful and whole by bringing about Russia’s incorporation into a NATO-centric Europe, then how might the standoff between Putin and NATO develop? One possibility is all too likely, but highly undesirable: that Russia fails to re-subjugate Ukraine, but succeeds in creating its de facto territorial division, hoping that an unsettled state of economic ruin, humanitarian disaster, and political dysfunction will render Ukraine incapable of joining NATO for decades.15 This is not a path toward a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace. Rather, it is a path toward multi-faceted, long-term conflict between NATO and Russia, one that is in perpetual danger of escalation into a direct — and possibly nuclear — military clash.16    NATO’s admission of Sweden and Finland, together with its plans to deploy new American forces in Poland, Romania, and the Baltic states, and expand its quick reaction force more than seven-fold to some 300,000 troops, will greatly reassure “frontline” states that the alliance can and will come to their defense if attacked by Russia. But given the state of undeclared indirect warfare between Russia and NATO, not to mention the practical difficulties of defending a new 1,300-kilometer border with NATO in the north, Moscow is likely to compensate for the growing imbalance of conventional capabilities by relying much more heavily on its nuclear arsenal.17 This could include deployments of non-strategic nuclear weapons systems pointed at Europe, resurrecting dangers of hair-trigger warning and response times that were posed by contending Soviet and NATO theater missile deployments in the early 1980s. Unlike during that period, however, the prospects for any arms control dialogue under present circumstances appear remote.   Moscow is likely to compensate for the growing imbalance of conventional capabilities by relying much more heavily on its nuclear arsenal. Beyond the dangers of an East-West military confrontation and a looming re-nuclearization of European security, there are other significant dangers posed by the belief that the West must break Putin’s hold on power — or perhaps even break up Russia — to unite Europe into a NATO-centric community of like-minded democracies.18 One is that a long-term state of sub rosa warfare with Russia — including both proxy war in Ukraine and economic and political warfare more broadly — will have damaging knock-on effects inside the West itself. The war in Ukraine and the fallout from onerous Western economic sanctions on Russia are threatening to choke Europe of energy supplies as winter approaches, raising the prospect of a significant economic recession.19 High gas and food prices in the United States are already prompting questions among Americans about how long they must endure hardships to sustain Ukraine’s war effort. Over time, popular support for the West’s aid to Ukraine and sanctions on Russia may erode, exacerbating pre-existing political strains between elites focused on defending the “liberal international order” and working and middle classes uncertain of how that concept matters to their own wellbeing.20 Russia will be sorely tempted to deepen and exploit such strains. 

Russian cyber attack on the grid could collapse the US

Dan Arel, 8-12, 22, Gizmodo, Russian Hackers Are Escalating and Diversifying Their Attacks on Ukraine, Research Says,

But that hasn’t stopped other nations from worrying about it. Since the start of the war, President Biden has warned that the US could also fall victim to Russian cyber-attacks as the result of sanctions against the Kremlin and financial and military support of Ukraine. These threats have not yet materialized, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t looming. Following the 2015 Russian cyber-attack on the Ukrainian power grid, Russian malware was discovered in as many as 10 US utilities, including one nuclear power plant. Is the US prepared for the day when one of these attacks hits? “As a nation, the US is prepared,” Geers believes. “But for individual businesses, the potential damage is immense, at least temporarily.” While the US government may believe it’s prepared for such an attack, that preparedness did not stop the 2021 Colonial Pipeline hack that disrupted fuel supplies to part of the country. The hack, which used a password believed to be acquired from the dark-web and an outdated security system which was not protected by two-factor authentication, shows that even in the last year, a simple phishing scam or outdated security system leaves the entire country vulnerable to attacks. While this action only targeted the southeast region of the county, a more coordinated attack could bring the country to its knees. An attack on the US grid could cause outages in various parts of the country, and well targeted attacks could leave millions scrambling with a loss of water, heat, or access to the internet.

215-Russia cannot even support Ukraine aggression

Thomas Kika, 8-7, 22, Newsweek, Russia in 'Tremendous' Military Difficulty in Ukraine War: Lange,

Russia may now be facing "tremendous" military difficulties in Ukraine, according to one European politician, as aid from foreign allies potentially turns the tables on the months-long conflict. The supply of military aid to Ukraine by the United States and other countries is reportedly being coordinated at a U.S. installation near Stuttgart, Germany. The U.S. is now helping around 50 nations provide such aid to Ukraine, according to a report from German public broadcaster, Deutsche Welle (DW), including the much-touted High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), and PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers from Germany and the Netherlands. Speaking with DW on Saturday, Nico Lange, a German lawmaker and chief of staff for the country's Federal Minister of Defense, said that this significant influx of military aid to Ukraine is changing the dynamic of the Russian invasion. russia tremendous difficulty in ukraine Military aid from 50 nations may be turning the tables in Ukraine and creating "tremendous" difficulty for Russian forces. Above, Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen. "The crucial aspect of the past few days is that Russia is now being forced to react to the Ukrainians' statements and actions," Lange said. "Until now, it was the other way around: The Ukrainians were forced to react to everything Russia did." Lange continued, saying that Russia has "moved significant forces to the south, toward both Kherson and Zaporizhzhia," two regions in Southern Ukraine that have mostly fallen under Russian occupation. They have also in recent weeks become the focus of significant counteroffensives by Ukrainian forces aiming to retake them. "A Ukrainian attack will not look like the Russians': this rolling barrage that destroys everything in its path," Lange said. "Rather, it will also rely on partisans, on uprisings in the occupied cities, on mobile operations behind enemy lines." He added: "The Russians are having great problems controlling these areas. There is a lot of partisan activity in the occupied part of Zaporizhzhia oblast. Russian patrols are being killed at night. In Melitopol, too, as in Kherson, there are posters directed against the Russian occupiers, there are leafleting campaigns. Something new is constantly being put up." Russia is now unable to "escalate indefinitely" in Ukraine, Lange said, adding that they are facing "tremendous" difficulty in continuing the conflict. Provided by the U.S. as part of its aid to Ukraine, the M142 HIMARS has been called a "gamechanger" in the country's battle against Russia. Able to be loaded with six precise GPS-guided missiles, a HIMARS is capable of hitting targets up to 300 km away. Initially provided in June, a senior U.S. defense official claimed that by late July, Ukrainian forces had used HIMARS to destroy over 100 "high value" Russian targets.

214-Cooperative approaches that build relations with Russia fail

Vibndman, 8-8, 22, ALEXANDER VINDMAN, a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel and former Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council, is a Doctoral Candidate and Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies Foreign Policy Institute, a Pritzker Military Fellow at the Lawfare Institute, and a Senior Adviser to Vote Vets, Stop Tiptoeing Around Russia: It Is Time to End Washington’s Decades of Deference to Moscow,

For the last three decades, the United States has bent over backward to acknowledge Russia’s security concerns and allay its anxieties. The United States has done so at the expense of relations with more willing partners in Eastern Europe—Ukraine in particular. Instead of supporting the early stirrings of Ukrainian independence in 1991, for example, Washington sought to preserve the failing Soviet Union out of misplaced fear that it might collapse into civil war. And instead of imposing heavy costs on Russia for its authoritarianism at home and antidemocratic activities abroad, including in Ukraine, Washington has mostly looked the other way in a fruitless effort to deal cooperatively with Moscow. The justification for this Russia-centric approach to Eastern Europe has fluctuated between hopes for a good relationship with the Kremlin and fears that the bilateral relationship could devolve into another cold war—or worse, a hot one. But the result has been U.S. national security priorities based on unrealistic aspirations instead of actual outcomes, particularly during moments of crisis. Even as evidence mounted that Russia’s belligerent behavior would not allow for a stable or predictable relationship, U.S. policy stayed the course, to the detriment of both U.S. national security interests and the security of Russia’s neighbors. One would think that Russia’s war in Ukraine would have demanded a shift in U.S. strategic thinking. Instead, whether out of habit, reflex, or even prejudice (thinking of Russians and Ukrainians as “one people” or of Ukrainians as “little Russians”), the primary decision makers in charge of U.S. foreign policy still privilege Russia over Ukraine. The war has now reached an inflection point. The United States must decide whether it will help Ukraine approach the negotiating table with as much leverage as it can or watch Russia reorganize and resupply its troops, adapt its tactics, and commit to a long-term war of attrition. If Ukrainian democracy is going to prevail, U.S. foreign policymakers must finally prioritize dealing with Ukraine as it is rather than Russia as they would like it to be. Prioritizing Ukraine will require breaking the long-standing tradition of Russocentrism in trilateral U.S.-Ukrainian-Russian relations. In its contemporary form, that tradition dates back to 1989, when senior members of U.S. President George H. W. Bush’s administration set up a secret group of interagency staff members to plan for the possible dissolution of the Soviet Union. On July 18 of that year, Robert Gates, who was then deputy U.S. national security adviser, sent a memo to Bush titled “Thinking About the Unthinkable: Instability and Political Turbulence in the USSR.” As Gates recalled in his 2007 memoir, From the Shadows, he argued that the United States “should very quietly begin some contingency planning as to possible U.S. responses, actions and policies in the event of leadership or internal policy changes or widespread ethnic violence and repression—and consider the implications for us of such developments.” … The Biden administration has made democratic renewal a cornerstone of its domestic and foreign policy agendas. There is no better way to demonstrate democratic resolve than by defending U.S. values and interests in Ukraine. A Ukrainian victory would not only limit Russia’s capacity for future military aggression but also cement democracy’s foothold in Eastern Europe, offering a powerful lesson to would-be authoritarian aggressors and democratic nations alike. A Ukrainian loss, by contrast, would signal an acceleration of the wave of authoritarianism and democratic decline that has washed over the globe in the last decade. To ensure the triumph of democracy in Ukraine, the United States must first change its thinking patterns and learn from decades of mistakes. Recognizing the poisonous Russocentrism of U.S. foreign policy is the first step toward a better approach to U.S.-Ukrainian relations. As Russia’s war effort falters and the prospect of a direct confrontation between the United States and Russia begins to look unthinkable once again, it will be tempting to revert to old ways of thinking and plan for normalized relations with a post-Putin Russia. But such an outcome would once again risk privileging Russia over Ukraine. Even if Putin is deposed or replaced through some other means, the United States should not assume Russia can change for the better; rapprochement must be earned, not given. By freeing itself from its Russocentrism, Washington will also be better able to engage with and listen to its partners in Eastern and northern Europe, which have greater proximity to and more clarity on national security threats from Russia. Their knowledge and expertise will be critical to Ukraine’s victory over Russia, future Ukrainian reconstruction, the prosecution of war crimes, prosperity in Eastern Europe, and eventually, the establishment of thriving democracies across Eurasia. Beneath the United States’ misplaced aspirations for a positive relationship with Russia lies immense hubris. Americans tend to believe they can accomplish anything, but perpetually discount the agency of their interlocutors. In truth, the United States never had the influence to unilaterally change Russia’s internal politics. But it did have the ability to nurture a more promising outcome with a more willing partner in Ukraine. Unless the United States fundamentally reorients its foreign policy, away from aspirations and toward outcomes, it will miss an even bigger opportunity to bring about a peaceful, democratic Eastern Europe.

213-Resources of US + NATO allies key to deter China

James Pinkerton, 8-7, 22, PINKERTON: The Reagan Alternative To Trump’s NATO Vision,

Indeed, Donald Trump railed against NATO, calling it “obsolete.” And his antipathy to other NATO leaders, including then German Chancellor Angela Merkel, was obvious. Interestingly, Trump became somewhat more favorable to NATO during the course of his presidency, and he deserves credit for warning the Germans about their dangerous dependence on Russian energy. Moreover, Trump regularly inveighed against “forever wars” in the Middle East, the kind that typically get fought by some sort of multinational force, including NATO. And while Trump failed to extricate the U.S. from those morasses, he nevertheless won the argument: Few today have any appetite for “liberation” and “nation building.” (Back in 2002, this author wrote in opposition to the Iraq War, even before it started.) Today, the Trump mantle is being upheld in the Senate by that lone lawmaker who voted “nay” on NATO expansion. That would be the Republican junior senator from Missouri; as Politico puts it, “Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy is living on through one senator: Josh Hawley.” Hawley’s argument is that the U.S, should be more focused on opposing China in Asia — and without a doubt, the trip of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan has shifted attention from West to East. Yet still, Hawley faced pushback from Sen. Ted Cruz, who said of Hawley’s argument, “I think it’s mistaken. We don’t beat China by retreating from the rest of the world. We beat China by standing with our allies against our enemies.” Cruz has a point. The U.S. boasts about 15% of the world’s GDP. At the same time, China’s GDP, adjusted for purchasing power, is almost 19%. And yet if the U.S. is joined with the European NATO countries, our total share of world output rises to some 31%. Now that’s a powerful bloc. And that’s what our 40th president, Ronald Reagan, always had in mind. During his eight years in the White House, he praised NATO many times, including in his famous address to the British Parliament in 1982, when he predicted that Soviet Communism would end up on the “ash-heap of history.” That’s the right place for our enemies: on the ash-heap. And to be put there peacefully, as Reagan did to the Russians. The Gipper had a phrase for that: Peace Through Strength. As he said in 1980, “We know only too well that war comes not when the forces of freedom are strong, but when they are weak. It is then that tyrants are tempted.” So that’s what we have to do: Stay strong. And unity with NATO allies is a key source of strength.

212-Strong NATO needed to deter China

William R. Hawkins, August 22,  NATO Navies Send Strategic Signals in the Indo-Pacific, August 2022 Proceedings Vol. 148/8/1,434

The interest of major NATO members in the Indo-Pacific has not been manifest just in words. In 2021, NATO members sent 21 warships into Asian waters where they conducted joint operations with all the regional navies that U.S. diplomacy is trying to pull into alignment against Chinese expansion. Naval forces are the obvious policy tool for European governments to project their power and influence in the region, just as they have been in the forefront of the United States and its Indo-Pacific allies and partners in demonstrating commitment and resolve. The most important show of force was the seven-month (May–December 2021) voyage of British Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21), based on the new HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier and its escort of two Royal Navy destroyers, two frigates, two support ships and a nuclear-powered submarine. But it was also an alliance effort. The task force included the U.S. Navy destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG-68) and U.S. Marine Corps squadron, VMFA-22 (known as the Wake Island Avengers), flying F-35B Lightning II fighters from the British carrier. The Royal Netherlands Navy frigate HNLMS Evertsen, however, gave the group its true NATO character. The Dutch have always punched above their weight. The inclusion of Evertsen in CSG21 signaled Amsterdam’s concerns for Chinese violations of maritime law laid out in the Dutch government’s Indo-Pacific Guidelines released in November 2020. CSG21 sailed through the South China Sea in July of last year on its way to Japan. Beijing issued a series of irate protests throughout its entire operation. Even before it left the British Isles, Chinese defense ministry spokesman Tan Kefei declared that “The Chinese side believes that the South China Sea should not become a sea of great power rivalry dominated by weapons and warships" and that "the real source of militarization in the South China Sea comes from countries outside this region sending their warships thousands of kilometers from home to flex muscles.” It is Beijing’s construction of military bases on artificial islands in the South China Sea that has prompted other nations to send their warships through these waters to maintain their status as international sea-lanes open to free navigation. London has deployed two patrol vessels operating out of Singapore for a sustained presence and may arrange basing access for periodic deployments of nuclear submarines in Australia, which would provide a capability to do more than just wave the flag. The Royal Navy has sent warships through the Taiwan Strait, as have France and Canada. On the sidelines of the Madrid summit, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said NATO must make clear to China that invading Taiwan would be “a catastrophic miscalculation.” She expressed that China's growing global influence and military clout was “an issue for Euro-Atlantic security.” France has not needed NATO as a motive for Indo-Pacific involvement since it has territories in the Pacific and Indian Oceans that are home to 1.6 million citizens and an EEZ in the region of 9 million square kilometers. It permanently deploys 7,000 military personnel, 20 maritime vessels, and 40 aircraft across its sovereign possessions. Paris understands that these forces are spread thin as tensions rise with China’s push for influence among the small Pacific island states. A 2022 parliamentary report recommends doubling the number of patrol vessels in New Caledonia and Polynesia, creating a corvette program to provide more combat capability, and the acquisition of amphibious vessels for power projection. The French Navy has also increased its forays in the area, transiting not only the South China Sea but also the Taiwan Strait. Last year, a French attack submarine operated in the Indo-Pacific for several months. Also, a task group built around helicopter carrier Jeanne d’Arc conducted a joint exercise with the Quad in the Indian Ocean and Sea of Japan. France considers the Quad its main partners. It has particularly strengthened its ties to Australia; and while the controversial shifting of Melbourne’s submarine acquisition program from France to the United States and Great Britain caused a stir, it has not undermined the strategic relationship because the stakes are so high. France’s carrier strike group, built around the nuclear-powered Charles de Gaulle, operated with the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean last year after conducting dual carrier flight operations with the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower CSG in the Arabian Sea. This year, the Charles de Gaulle will operate in the Mediterranean because of the Ukraine War which has focused NATO on Russia’s reemergence as the alliance’s top active threat. However, as French Minister of the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu assured his audience at the 2022 Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore: “While some fear that the crisis in Ukraine would blindside us and lead France to go back on its commitments to the region, this will not be the case.” He pledged that France would continue to participate in joint exercises in the Indo-Pacific. France has also just sold 42 Rafale fighter jets to Indonesia where it will also build two Scorpène-class, diesel-electric attack submarines. Perhaps the most significant naval deployment from Europe to the Indo-Pacific last year was of the German frigate Bayern. In July 2022, German Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach, then Inspector of the Navy (CNO equivalent), stated “Against the backdrop of territorial disputes in the Indo-Pacific it is important to stand by our valued partners.” Traveling alone, the ship visited Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Vietnam, Singapore, Palau, Japan, and South Korea. It also visited the U.S. bases at Diego Garcia and Guam and engaged in a joint exercise with the U.S., Japan, Australia, and Canada in the Philippine Sea. China claimed this exercise “would threaten regional peace and trigger dissatisfaction among regional countries” and denied Bayern permission to visit China. Berlin had long placed trade with China as a higher priority than security concerns half a world away. Beijing had thus counted on Berlin to be a voice favoring constraint within NATO. But as Admiral Schönbach warned, China’s growing naval power is “explosive” and a cause for concern if it does not follow international law. On its cruise, Bayern monitored UN sanctions on North Korea, as France and Canada have also done. The importance attached to NATO’s expanded vision in the Indo-Pacific was made clear by the attendance of Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand at the Madrid summit. But what is more important than a photo op at a diplomatic gathering is the deployment of naval forces in the areas of contention. The war in Ukraine was not deterred because Kyiv was explicitly declared to be outside the security perimeter of NATO. This mistake must not be made in the Indo-Pacific where NATO warships have joined with regional powers to exercise in the contested areas of the South China Sea, Indian Ocean, and even the Taiwan Strait. Committing naval forces in this manner puts skin in the game for NATO and signals Beijing that a globe-spanning coalition of the world’s most advanced democratic nations (totaling over half of the world’s economy) is arrayed against aggression and in support of a stable international order in both Europe and Asia. The name of this game is deterrence, and expanded naval operations add more than just firepower to the equation. Given Beijing’s wild saber-rattling over U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, threats, if executed, could trigger a major regional war. The foundation of deterrence must be strengthened beyond any doubts of its integrity if peace is to be preserved in the Indo-Pacific. Continued NATO naval deployments to the region will be key to that foundation.

211-European disunity inevitable

NATHALIE TOCCI is Director of the Istituto Affari Internazionali in Rome, 8-5, 22 Foreign Affairs, Can Russia Divide Europe? Why a False Peace Could Be Worse Than a Long War,

On July 26, the European Union announced a gas deal that was aimed at showing member states’ continued resolve on Russia: according to the agreement, EU states will reduce gas consumption by 15 percent between August and March, thus helping prevent a crisis in the winter by showing solidarity and limiting Russia’s ability to weaponize Europe’s energy supply. On the surface, it was a further demonstration of the unified front that the continent has mostly maintained since the outset of the war. In reality, however, the cuts are voluntary and many individual states have carveouts that call into question how meaningful the deal will be, especially when gas shortages will affect some much more than others.

Six months into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there are signs that Europe is struggling to stay the course on an increasingly costly war. With rising inflation, an escalating energy crisis, and the growing threat of recession, European leaders have become increasingly vocal about the socioeconomic fallout of the conflict and its political and geopolitical ripple effects. Meanwhile, beneath the outward show of consensus, there are simmering tensions about how to handle the war. Germany, for example, has dragged its feet about promised weapons shipments to Ukraine. In Italy, where the coalition government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi has fallen, there is mounting political opposition to military support for Kyiv among the country’s populist parties. And although five packages of sanctions were approved at lightning speed, Europeans spent weeks bickering over a sixth one aimed at Russian oil, which was held up by the EU’s in-house autocrat, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Amid these challenges, a larger question looms about how long European unity on the war can be sustained and what might cause it to collapse. In fact, the greatest threat to the European coalition may not be the lack of progress in ending the heightened violence in Ukraine, as has been the case up to now, but a comparative lull in the conflict, which could allow Moscow to lure some EU states into pressing Kyiv to make concessions, particularly if the energy crisis continues to get worse. Paradoxically, by giving in to the illusion of peace, Europe and the West could end up prolonging the war at everyone’s expense.

During the early phase of the war, the European Union showed remarkable resolve. Never known for its speed, Brussels managed, in a matter of weeks, to approve the most far-reaching sanctions ever implemented. European governments quickly stepped up on defense, with Germany announcing a staggering 100 billion euros in additional military spending and the EU facilitating arms transfers to a third party for the first time. Europe also agreed to give temporary protection to millions of Ukrainian citizens, including the freedom to move and work across the EU. And in June, the European Council formally granted Ukraine and Moldova candidate status in the EU, as well as granting Georgia status as a prospective candidate, pending reforms. For much of the spring, the new dynamic seemed to bear out German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s claim that the Russian invasion was a Zeitenwende, a turning point, and that Europeans were ready to meet the challenge.

Since then, however, the momentum in Brussels has flagged. Although the EU states eventually agreed to an oil embargo on Russia, for example, it will occur with a time lag that may allow Russia to adapt. And despite the recent gas agreement on energy saving, a true gas embargo is nowhere in sight. In fact, rather than an EU gas embargo on Russia, it is Moscow that has turned off the gas in Europe. Six countries—Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Latvia, Poland, and the Netherlands—have been cut off completely from Russian supply. Furthermore, Gazprom, the Russian state-owned energy company, drastically reduced gas flows to the rest of Europe. Nordstream I, which is the largest pipeline bringing Russian gas to Europe and which is mostly owned by Gazprom, was temporarily closed in July for maintenance. It has since reopened, but gas exports are down to 20 percent of the agreed amounts, with further disruptions on the horizon. Rather than agreeing on new sanctions, the EU is scrambling to address gas storages in many countries and struggling to ration use. To diversify its supplies, it is seeking new energy partnerships with the United States, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caucasus. The International Monetary Fund estimates that in the event of a complete cutoff of Russian gas to Europe, the economies of some countries—including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, and Italy—could contract by more than five percent. It will be a cold and costly winter.

The mounting economic pressures are already starting to have worrying consequences in European politics. In countries such as Italy and France, populist and right-wing nationalist parties are using the costs of war to rally public support. They argue that by sanctioning Russia and embracing the green agenda, European governments and EU institutions are fueling inflation, hollowing out industry, and destroying jobs. It is a message that has also been amplified in the mainstream media. Already in France’s presidential election in April, extreme right- and left-wing parties performed strongly—an outcome that was repeated in the parliamentary election in June. Far more dramatic was Draghi’s fall in Italy in July, after the three parties with closest ties to the Kremlin pulled back their support for the coalition government of which they were part.

These events may only be a foretaste of what is to come. Taking their cues from the Kremlin’s playbook, many populist parties have adopted rhetoric that belies their actual intentions. Rather than admitting that they want to throw Ukraine under the bus, populist party leaders like Italy’s Matteo Salvini say that they are for peace, compromise, and diplomacy. Populists took a temporary beating with the pandemic as their no-vax narrative left Europeans largely unimpressed. But the Ukraine war, coupled with the energy crisis, has given them a perfect opportunity to rise again. Over time, this dynamic could create a new surge in nationalist populism that could imperil not just European unity but the existence of the European Union as a whole. Whereas a nationalist Europe is possible, a nationalist EU is a contradiction in terms.


Even more concerning for Europe is the return of old geopolitical cleavages. First is the growing divide between the continent’s east and west, with the states on Ukraine’s border, such as the Baltic countries and Poland, calling for justice through sanctions and robust military support for Ukraine, and states in western Europe, such as Italy, France, and Germany, leaning toward compromise with Russia. French President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial remarks in June about the importance of not humiliating Russia while Russian artillery was pummeling Ukraine is a case in point. As the energy and economic crises deepen, countries that are further away from the frontline are more likely to push for dialing back on the war. Eastern European leaders, although their countries are also suffering from the economic fallout, will probably remain firm in their conviction that peace is possible only when Ukraine has expelled Russian forces from its territory and Russian President Vladimir Putin has been held accountable for his aggression.

The second cleavage runs north-south, a divide that almost tore the eurozone apart during the sovereign debt crisis a decade ago. With the near-term possibility of recession, and perhaps even stagflation, the difference in the borrowing costs between northern and southern EU member States—notably between Germany and Italy—is rising. France, Spain, and Italy, which have less room for fiscal maneuver to face a recession, are calling for a new initiative from Brussels to top up Europe’s post-pandemic recovery fund and help cope with the economic costs of the war, including the expensive energy transition. This time, however, Germany, which has seen its energy prices triple and, because of its heavy reliance on Russian gas, is far more exposed to Russia’s energy blackmail than many other members, is less likely to support such a move. If anything, the German government seems likely to call on other EU members to help alleviate Germany’s energy crisis, rather than to provide its own financial resources to help other members’ economic woes. No wonder Germany strongly backed the EU gas-saving agreement in July.

Putin wagers that it is just a matter of time until Europe is pulled apart.

These divisions are precisely what Putin had hoped for. Convinced that Europe’s liberal democracies are weak and morally corrupt, the Russian leader has banked on the assumption that the West’s unity on Ukraine will crumble and could ultimately break in the coming months. By playing cat and mouse on gas, creating a world food crisis by blockading the export of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea, and pursuing a scorched-earth strategy in Ukraine, Putin may wager that it is just a matter of time until the West, starting with Europe, is pulled apart by competing pressures. As Moscow sees it, liberal democracies have a low pain threshold: they are not capable of playing a long game if it comes at a high social or economic price.

Moscow is aware that sanctions are causing colossal damage to Russia. Putin has admitted this much in public. The Kremlin also knows that the damage will grow over time. For the time being, although the energy decoupling between Europe and Russia has led to the most acute energy crisis since the 1973 oil embargo, Russia has reveled in sky-high oil and gas prices. But as Europe weans itself from Russian fossil fuels—both by diversifying its energy sources and stepping up its transition to clean energy—it will eventually emerge stronger from this crisis. By contrast, despite Moscow’s new, much vaunted ties to Beijing, it will take years for China to replace Europe as a market for Russian hydrocarbons, and for a variety of reasons, China is highly unlikely to be as lucrative for Moscow as Europe has been. Furthermore, it is difficult to see China investing in Russia’s energy transition: Russia’s long-term economic future is bleak.

Putin must recognize this reality, but his calculus is probably that Europe will break first, given its fragile unity. Internal pressures on the continent will allow him to achieve his war aims in Ukraine, and perhaps, sooner or later, return to business as usual with Europe, or at least with some European countries. As the Kremlin sees it, Europe’s divisions and weaknesses will prevent a long-term scenario in which Russia bears the strategic, economic, and political costs of its invasion.


With every additional month of war, the risk of European disunity grows, and the first worrying signals have already surfaced. But much will depend on the course of the conflict itself. If Russia continues the campaign of atrocities and destruction that has characterized the past six months, European leaders can count on Putin to keep them unified. Notwithstanding the energy crisis and the economic pain caused by it, as well as the political and geopolitical tensions these will bring about, Europeans are unlikely to step away from a bleeding Ukraine. At the current level of violence and with Russia openly declaring its ambitions to seek and hold more Ukrainian territory, Europeans will not withhold weapons and economic support to Kyiv, let alone lift sanctions in return for a truce. As long as Russia proceeds with its brutal onslaught, Europeans may kick and scream, but they will stay the course.

But it will be far more difficult for Europe if Putin, out of necessity rather than choice, changes tactics in Ukraine. By fall, Russia may simply lack the military capability to maintain the unrelenting military offensive of the last six months. Already, some Western intelligence agencies believe that Russia is incurring a very high military price for its war, both in terms of equipment and casualties. The CIA and MI6 estimate that over 15,000 Russian soldiers have died since February 24. These losses are likely to grow even further as Ukrainian forces receive higher-grade Western weapons. This does not mean that the Kremlin’s goals have changed, however: the pursuit of an ideological project is not easily deterred, and a leader that compares himself to Peter the Great is unlikely to settle for a few territorial gains in the Donbas. As Russia’s military becomes increasingly stretched, the Kremlin will likely have to adapt its strategy, including allowing for a temporary reduction in hostilities—fewer Russian missile attacks on Ukrainian cities, say, or a broader reduction in artillery fire—to allow its forces to rebuild and regroup. Such a change would mean that the pace of war in the coming months could change according to the relative depletion and reconstitution of Russia’s military power.

The greatest risk that European leaders faces is thus a hidden one: if Russian operations in Ukraine subside and Moscow begins to hint at some kind of compromise or truce, Europeans might fall in a trap. Such a prospect, although it would present itself as an opportunity to be seized, would likely be an insidious threat: for Moscow, it would simply serve as a way to gain time to prepare for the next round of fighting, a few months down the line. And if some countries supported such a step, it could further divide Europe, even as it helped the Kremlin prolong the war.

210-Iran engaged in cyber attacks against NATO member states

LLAZAR SEMINI Associated Press, 8-4, 22, US firm: Likely Iranian threat actor in Albania cyberattack,

TIRANA, Albania -- A cyberattack that temporarily shut down numerous Albanian government digital services and websites in mid-July was likely the work of pro-Iranian hackers seeking to disrupt an Iranian opposition group's conference in Albania, a leading U.S. cybersecurity firm said Thursday. In a report, Mandiant expressed “moderate confidence” the attackers were acting in support of Tehran's anti-dissident efforts based on several factors: The timing, the content of a social media channel used to claim responsibility, and similarities in software code used with malware long used to target Farsi and Arabic speakers. The July 23-24 conference by the Iranian dissident group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq was in fact canceled following warnings from local authorities of a possible terrorist threat. Some 3,000 Iranian dissidents from the group, best known as MEK, live at Ashraf 3 camp in Manez, 30 kilometers (19 miles) west of Albania’s capital, Tirana. The Free Iran World Summit was to have been held at the camp with U.S. lawmakers among the invitees. A group calling itself “HomeLand Justice” claimed credit for the cyberattack, which used ransomware to scramble data. Ransomware is best known for its use in for-profit criminal extortion but is being increasingly wielded for political ends, particularly by Iran. Advertisement The claim by “HomeLand Justice" came on a Telegram channel in which documents purported to be Albanian residence permits of MEK members were posted, along with video of the ransomware being activated. The channel alleged corruption in the Albanian government and used hashtags including #Manez. “This activity poses an active threat to public and private organizations in other NATO member states,” Mandiant said. “As negotiations surrounding the Iran nuclear deal continue to stall, this activity indicates Iran may feel less restraint in conducting cyber network attack operations going forward.” At the time, the Tirana government said the hackers’ method was identical with attacks last year in other NATO states including Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Belgium.

209-AI involved in cyber attacks and defense

Adeeb Rashid, 8-4, 22, Security Intelligence, Cybersecurity and the Metaverse: Patrolling the New Digital World,

The metaverse is a hot topic, and it’s easy to see why. It promises a 3D model of the internet, where virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality offer endless escapism. It provides a place parallel to the physical world where you can live a rich digital life: hang out with friends, shop for real or virtual products, play and create games, purchase and monetize real estate and much more. It’s no wonder people want the metaverse to reach its full potential as soon as possible. However, with all the buzz surrounding the metaverse, one critical concern is often overlooked: cybersecurity. How do we offer immersive and boundless virtual spaces while keeping our critical data safe? Why We Need to Secure the Metaverse: Top Security Concerns Today’s threat landscape is more dangerous than ever before. Attackers use advanced methods that include artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. At the same time, fledgling threat actors benefit from more accessible and affordable crime-as-a-service products. When new technology crops up, there’s always someone waiting to take advantage of it. We saw this happen with COVID-19. Cyberattacks rose as companies adapted to remote work as the new norm. If threat actors can wreak havoc on the metaverse during its infancy, people could give up on the concept. In addition, protecting the virtual identity of users needs to be top of mind when designing the metaverse. While the metaverse will contain lots of software, users must invest in hardware like smart glasses and VR headsets to get the full picture This means robust cybersecurity measures for both the expanding digital attack surface and the physical attack surface. In essence, attackers won’t be lacking in attack vectors. Combatting Metaverse Cybersecurity Concerns For the metaverse to thrive, it must adopt a zero trust model rooted in the concept of ‘never trust, always verify’. A zero trust model requires strict identity checks. It also uses ongoing authentication and verification to ensure bad actors are kept out or severely limited. With the colossal amounts of data set to be hosted in the metaverse, zero trust is the most effective way to reduce or erase the theft of sensitive information. AI will also play a critical role in safeguarding the metaverse in multiple ways. For example, AI-driven cybersecurity tools can analyze user behavior patterns across the network.

208-Military AI integration fails

SOFREP, August 1, 2022,, Europe, UK, US Triples Down on Military AI Tech

Other uses of AI include: Autonomous Weapons and Weapons Targeting Surveillance Cybersecurity Homeland Security Logistics Autonomous Vehicles Though the capabilities of AI integration are promising, implementing them in military branches is a whole other story. According to French CEO of AI surveillance startup Arnaud Guérin, the military is still dominated by large contractors focused on military hardware and not AI software. The vetting process is also another hurdle. With AI’s ethics and coverage, one contract approval can span decades, and this pace is opposite to the fast-paced startup cycles that can boost companies from zero to $100 million in a year. General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz Katherine Boyle said this is also why she’s not optimistic about military AI integration anytime soon. AI startups usually go bankrupt while waiting for defense contracts to be approved.

207-US increasing cyber security coop with the Ukraine

Danny Bradbury, July 28, 2022,, US Expands Cybersecurity Partnership With Ukraine

The US government’s cybersecurity agency has signed an agreement with its Ukrainian counterpart to work more closely together on cybersecurity. The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) announced yesterday that it had signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with the Ukrainian State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine (SSSCIP). It will extend an existing relationship between the two agencies, said CISA. Under the agreement, the two organizations will exchange information and best practices relating to cyber incidents. They will also share technical information about critical infrastructure security in real time, said Oleksandr Potii, deputy chairman of the SSSCIP. The MoC also authorizes the two agencies to conduct joint exercises and training sessions. “Cyber threats cross borders and oceans,” said CISA Director Jen Easterly, calling out Russia for “cyber aggression” in what she said was an unprovoked war. “So we look forward to building on our existing relationship with SSSCIP to share information and collectively build global resilience against cyber threats.” Earlier this month, the SSSCIP reported a surge in cyber-attacks in the second quarter of this year. In April, news emerged of a cyber-attack against the country’s national telecommunications provider Ukrtelecom using compromised employee credentials. The same month saw a hit against high-voltage electrical substations in Ukraine using a new variant of Industroyer malware, which was linked to a 2016 attack against Ukraine by Russia’s Sandworm group. CISA has also been taking extra steps to protect organizations in the US. It launched a campaign called Shields Up in February, as it warned domestic organizations to prepare against possible Russian cyber-attacks. The US is not the only government to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian attacks. The EU also deployed a Cyber Rapid Response Team (CRRT) to help the country in February. Led by Lithuania, the team also received support from Croatia, Poland, Estonia, Romania and the Netherlands.

206-Most states agree that a cyber “attack” is one that has comparable effects to physical/kinetic warfare

Schmitt, July 28, 2022, Michael N. Schmitt is the G. Norman Lieber Distinguished Scholar at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is also Professor of Public International Law at the University of Reading; Professor Emeritus and Charles H. Stockton Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at the United States Naval War College; and Strauss Center Distinguished Scholar and Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Texas, CYBER SYMPOSIUM – THE EVOLUTION OF CYBER JUS AD BELLUM THRESHOLDS,

The Use of Force Threshold

UN Charter Article 2(4) provides, “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” In assessing whether a non-destructive and non-injurious cyber operation qualifies as a use of force, the inaugural Tallinn Manual IGE adopted an approach that I had proposed in a 1999 Columbia Journal of Transnational Law article.

In the piece, I argued that it was reasonable to interpret the use of force prohibition as extending below the physical damage or injury threshold. My conclusion was partly based on the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) finding in Paramilitary Activities that the mere arming and training of guerillas amounted to a use of force (¶ 228). The obstacle to application in the cyber context, however, was that no accepted standard for making the determination existed. In its absence, I suggested that States look to various non-exclusive factors when assessing whether a cyber operation has crossed the use of force threshold: severity, immediacy, directness, invasiveness, measurability, and presumptive legitimacy.

The International Group of Experts concurred with the factors but added several others, some at the suggestion of States: military character, degree of State involvement, prevailing political environment, whether the cyber operation portends the future use of military force, the identity of the attacker, any record of cyber operations by the attacker, and the nature of the target (such as critical infrastructure). Tallinn Manual 2.0 maintained the approach of its precursor.

A further modification came with the first IGE’s adoption of the notion of “scale and effects” in the use of force rule (“A cyber operation constitutes a use of force when its scale and effects are comparable to non-cyber operations rising to the level of a use of force.”). The ICJ had used the standard in its 1986 Paramilitary Activities judgment only to assess whether an action qualified as an “armed attack,” the criteria for determining whether a right of self-defense exists in a particular situation (¶ 195). The Experts “found the focus on scale and effects to be an equally useful approach when distinguishing acts that qualify as uses of force from those that do not. In their opinion, ‘scale and effects’ is a shorthand term that captures the quantitative and qualitative factors to be analysed in determining whether a cyber operation qualifies as a use of force.” The second IGE retained the scale and effects standard for use of force determinations.


Only a few States have expressed a position on cyber uses of force that goes beyond noting that the prohibition applies in the cyber context. Nearly all those have articulated some variant of the Tallinn Manual approach – either adoption of the scale and effects test in the use of force context or enumeration of illustrative factors in the appraisal, or both. The following are non-exclusive examples (emphasis added).


Australia (2021): In determining whether a cyber activity constitutes a use of force, States should consider whether the activity’s scale and effects are comparable to traditional kinetic operations that rise to the level of use of force under international law.

Canada (2022): In Canada’s view, cyber activities may amount to such a threat or use of force where the scale and effects are comparable to those of other operations that constitute the use of force in international law. Canada will assess cyber activities that may amount to a threat or use of force on a case-by-case basis.

Estonia (2021): States must refrain in their international relations from carrying out cyber operations which, based on their scale and effect, would constitute a threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the UN.

Germany (2021): Germany shares the view expressed in the Tallinn Manual 2.0: the threshold of use of force in cyber operations is defined, in analogy to the ICJ’s Nicaragua judgment, by the scale and effects of such a cyber operation. Whenever scale and effects of a cyber operation are comparable to those of traditional kinetic uses of force, it would constitute a breach of art. 2 para. 4 UN Charter.

The determination of a cyber operation as having crossed the threshold of prohibited use of force is a decision to be taken on a case-by-case basis. Based on the assessment of the scale and effects of the operation, the broader contextof the situation and the significance of the malicious cyber operation will have to be taken into account. Qualitative criteria which may play a role in the assessment are, inter alia, the severity of the interference, the immediacy of its effects, the degree of intrusion into a foreign cyber infrastructure and the degree of organization and coordination of the malicious cyber operation.

France (2019): A cyber operation carried out by one State against another State violates the prohibition of the use of force if its effects are similar to those that result from the use of conventional weapons. However, France does not rule out the possibility that a Cyber operation without physical effects may also be characterised as a use of force. In the absence of physical damage, a cyber operation may be deemed a use of force against the yardstick of several criteria, including the circumstances prevailing at the time of the operation, such as the origin of the operation and the nature of the instigator (military or not), the extent of intrusion, the actual or intended effects of the operation or the nature of the intended target. This is of course not an exhaustive list. For example, penetrating military systems in order to compromise French defence capabilities, or financing or even training individuals to carry out cyberattacks against France, could also be deemed uses of force.

NATO (2020): For example, if COs [cyberspace operations] cause effects that, if caused by traditional physical means, would be regarded as a use of force under Article 2(4) of the UN Charter or an armed attack under jus ad bellum, then such COs could similarly be regarded as a use of force or armed attack.

Criteria that could be considered in making this assessment include the scale and effects of the attack, which might take into account such factors as interference with critical infrastructure or functionality, severity and reversibility of effects, the immediacy of consequences, the directness between act and consequences, and the invasiveness of effects.

Netherlands (2021): It is necessary, when assessing the scale and effects of a cyber operation, to examine both qualitative and quantitative factors. The Tallinn Manual 2.0 refers to a number of factors that could play a role in this regard, including how serious and far-reaching the cyber operation’s consequences are, whether the operation is military in nature and whether it is carried out by a state. These are not binding legal criteria. They are factors that could provide an indication that a cyber operation may be deemed a use of force, and the government endorses this approach.

Norway (2021): Whether a cyber operation violates the prohibition on the threat or use of force in Article 2(4) of the UN Charter depends on its scale and effects, physical or otherwise.

… A number of factors may be taken into consideration, such as the severity of the consequences (the level of harm inflicted), immediacy, directness, invasiveness, measurability, military character, State involvement, the nature of the target (such as critical infrastructure) and whether this category of action has generally been characterised as the use of force. This list is not exhaustive…. [A] cyber operation causing severe disruption to the functioning of the State such as the use of crypto viruses or other forms of digital sabotage against governmental or private power grid- or telecommunications infrastructure, or cyber operations leading to the destruction of stockpiles of Covid-19 vaccines, could amount to the use of force in violation of Article 2(4). Similarly, the use of crypto viruses or other forms of digital sabotage against a State’s financial and banking system, or other operations that cause widespread economic effects and destabilisation, may amount to the use of force in violation of Article 2(4).

United States (2022, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard): Cyberspace operations may rise to the level of a use of force within the meaning of Article 2(4) if their scale and effects are analogous to other kinetic and nonkinetic operations that are tantamount to the use of force… There is no single formula to determine whether cyberspace operations constitute the use of force, although elements that inform a State’s determination include:

  1. Severity
  2. Immediacy
  3. Directness
  4. Invasiveness
  5. Measurability of effects
  6. Military character
  7. State involvement
  8. Presumptive legality of the operations.

See also Italy (2021), New Zealand (2020), Romania (2021), and Singapore (2021).

Particularly noteworthy are the positions of the Netherlands, Norway, and France concerning cyber operations targeting a nation’s economy or financial system. While the Netherlands raises the prospect that they might qualify as a use of force, Norway adopts that view. France, as discussed below, goes further by suggesting that such operations could even rise to the level of an armed attack triggering the right of self-defense. In this regard, it should be noted that most States, and the ICJ, consider armed attacks to be the “most grave” form of the use of force (Paramilitary Activities, ¶ 191). By contrast, the United States takes the unique, and in my view less supportable, position that all uses of force are armed attacks triggering the right of self-defense.

In summary, most States have not addressed the use of force threshold issue. But among those that have, the “scale and effects” approach first suggested by the Tallinn Manual IGEs appears to be taking hold. And in that group of States, some have shown a willingness to consider non-destructive and non-injurious operations as sometimes qualifying as a use of force by reference to factors like those identified by the Tallinn Manual Experts. Most others have not ruled out such an approach.

The Self-Defense Threshold

The right of self-defense is set forth in Article 51 of the UN Charter: “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.” As noted, most States and international law experts view an “armed attack” as a particularly grave “use of force,” the notable exception being the United States. I support the former view.

In light of this “gap” between the two thresholds, the approach described above vis-a-vis the use of force threshold does not map neatly onto the armed attack threshold. Indeed, in my 1999 article, I was of the view that physical damage or injury was necessary to reach the latter. I have since moderated that view and support an approach to armed attack analogous to that used for use of force assessments. But like most States, I would set the armed attack bar higher, as did the ICJ in Paramilitary Activities.

Both Tallinn Manual IGEs split on the issue, although the Experts agreed that armed attack was a higher threshold than use of force. The common thread running through their analysis was the interpretation of armed attack in the cyber context merited greater caution. As the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized in a 2019 letter to the Dutch Parliament, “At present there is no international consensus on qualifying a cyberattack as an armed attack if it does not cause fatalities, physical damage or destruction yet nevertheless has dire non-material consequences.”

Thus, States have been reticent to discuss the armed attack threshold with any granularity. Instead, the tendency is to confirm that if the effects of a cyber operation would rise to the level of an armed attack had they been caused by traditional non-cyber means, the cyber operation qualifies as such too. Several examples illustrate the trend (emphasis added).

Australia (2021) Thus, if a cyber activity – alone or in combination with a physical operation – results in, or presents an imminent threat of, damage equivalent to a traditional armed attack, then the inherent right to self-defence is engaged.

Estonia (2021): In order to assess if a cyber operation reaches the threshold of the use of force or an armed attack based on Article 2(4) or 51 of the UN Charter, we must consider the scale and effects of the operation. If the effects of a cyber operation are comparable to a kinetic attack, it could constitute an armed attack.

Finland (2020): Most commentators agree that a cyberattack which is comparable to an armed attack in terms of its extent and impacts equates to an armed attack, and self-defence is justified as response.

Germany (2021): Malicious cyber operations can constitute an armed attack whenever they are comparable to traditional kinetic armed attack in scale and effect. Germany concurs with the view expressed in rule 71 of the Tallinn Manual 2.0.

Italy (2021): Italy deems that wrongful cyber operations conducted by State or non-State actors may constitute an armed attack when their scale and effects are comparable to those resulting from conventional armed attacks, resulting in significant physical damage of property, human injury and loss of life, or disruption in the functioning of critical infrastructure.

New Zealand (2020): Cyber activity that amounts to a use of force will also constitute an armed attack for the purposes of Article 51 of the UN Charter if it results in effects of a scale and nature equivalent to those caused by a kinetic armed attack.

United Kingdom (2021): An operation carried out by cyber means may constitute an armed attack giving rise to the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence, as recognised in Article 51 of the UN Charter where the scale and effects of the operation are equivalent to those of an armed attack using kinetic means.

As with the use of force threshold, France is a trailblazer in interpreting the norm. In 2019, it announced, “A cyberattack could qualify as an armed attack when it causes substantial loss of life or significant physical or economic damage. This would be the case of an operation in cyberspace affecting critical infrastructure with significant consequences, or likely to paralyze whole sectors of the country’s activity, to trigger administrative or ecological disasters and to cause many victims.” In making the announcement, France was the first state to unequivocally adopt the view that the notion of an armed attack includes cyber operations that do not cause physical damage or injury. This was a possibility that had been raised earlier by the Netherlands’ then Minister of Defense, although it does not explicitly appear in the most recent expression of Dutch views on how international law applies in cyberspace.

In 2021, Singapore also stretched the envelope a bit when it noted, “it is also possible that, in certain limited circumstances, malicious cyber activity may amount to an armed attack even if it does not necessarily cause death, injury, physical damage or destruction, taking into account the scale and effects of the cyber activity. An example might be a targeted cyber operation causing sustained and long-term outage of Singapore’s critical infrastructure.” Anecdotally, I can confirm that government officials in many States are thinking along the same lines – that severity of harm matters more than the nature of harm with respect to the law of self-defense.

As with the use of force threshold, most states have not addressed the self-defense threshold. Those that have done so are cautious in adapting it to the unique characteristics of cyber operations, especially the possibility of causing severe but non-destructive and non-injurious consequences.


Numerous issues beyond the use of force and armed attack thresholds remain unsettled in the jus ad bellum as applied to cyberspace. But they are not cyber-unique. Instead, they tend to mirror ones that already resist State consensus in the non-cyber context. For example, may the effects of multiple cyber operations be aggregated to reach the thresholds? How early can anticipatory self-defense be mounted against future cyber armed attacks? When does a response to a cyber armed attack become mere retaliation? Does the right of self-defense exist in response to non-State actors’ cyber attacks that are not attributable to another State? May a victim State conduct a forcible response into the territory of another State in response to cyber attacks by non-State actors from that (the unwilling/unable debate)?

But the advent of cyber capabilities has uniquely implicated the threshold at which a cyber operation risks breaching the obligation to restrain from the use of force against other States and that which enables a State to respond to a hostile cyber operation with cyber or non-cyber measures at the use of force level. And these two questions lie at the heart of the jus ad bellum’s application in cyberspace.
205-Cyber attacks increasing, more cooperation is needed

Alice Taylor, 6-26, 22, Cyberattacks Big Threat to Western Balkans, US Expert Says,

Cyberattacks are increasingly endangering regions such as the Western Balkans, Europe and broader global areas following the Russian attack on Ukraine, according to a former American general who heads a cyber security company contracted by the Albanian government. James Jones was invited to parliament on Monday, days after a sophisticated cyber attack crippled online government infrastructure bringing all digital services and government websites offline. “NATO member countries must increase efforts in the face of cyber threats as well as cooperation between intelligence agencies, which is nowhere more urgent than in this region,” he said. He emphasized that deeper cooperation of intelligence services between NATO member countries is nowhere else more urgent than in the Western Balkans, particularly amid threats posed by Russia’s attack on Ukraine. “The unprovoked Russian attack against Ukraine demonstrated the value of real-time cooperation. “This war is a lesson in the multiple benefits of intelligence agency cooperation for all NATO allies and non-member friends,” he added. In discussion with Albanian legislators, the head of Jones Group said that cyber-attacks constitute a real risk to the normal functioning of democratic societies for economic stability and the continuity of free businesses worldwide. The American authorities, he emphasized, have provided a network of cooperation in the face of cyber incidents to narrow the spaces for cybercriminals, which requires permanent vigilance and continuous infrastructural measures in the region. The Rama government and Jones Group signed an agreement on January of this year to strengthen the security of digital systems. The announcement of the cooperation came just days after the personal data of nearly 690,000 people were leaked from state and private databases, including names and car registration numbers. During the 2021 election campaign, databases, including the personal data of every voter in Tirana, were leaked. The data, up to date and believed to be from a government institution, was for the use of the Socialist Party and included notes taken by “patrons” or spies on people’s believed voting preference. The Speaker of the Assembly, Lindita Nikolla, said that the EU is further increasing its attention to the Western Balkans, also in terms of security issues, while non-Western influences feed nationalism and conflicts in the region. “The integration of the countries of the Western Balkans into NATO has not gone parallel to the membership in the European Union. This affects security issues because it allows space for non-western influences in the region”, said Nikolla.

204-Russia and China are not responsible for the decline of democracy and challenging them won’t save it; reasons for the decline are internal

Feldstein, 7-26, 22, Foreign Affairs, Ukraine Won’t Save Democracy: The Causes of Democratic Decline Are Internal,, STEVEN FELDSTEIN is a senior fellow in the Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. From 2014 to 2017, Steven Feldstein he served as U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

Witnessing Ukrainian fighters' valiant efforts to resist Russian President Vladimir Putin's unprovoked invasion of their fledgling democracy, a growing cohort of analysts and policymakers have begun to argue that a Russian defeat would not simply remove a major threat to Western democracies. What it would also do, they argue, is revive liberal internationalism itself, breathing new life into an ailing and increasingly dysfunctional post–Cold War global order. A win against the Kremlin would help upend the narrative that the West is too weak and divided to push back against authoritarianism, and it could prompt fence-sitting countries to reconsider their embrace of China or Russia. But the notion that defeating Putin could reverse 16 straight years of global democratic decline simply doesn't hold up. Although a decisive Ukrainian victory might momentarily slow the downward cascade, the pathologies underlying democratic decay are largely disconnected from Russian or Chinese actions. Instead, the greater threat to the world's democracies comes from within. A toxic combination of internal factors—including pernicious polarization, anti-elite attitudes, and the rise of unscrupulous politicians willing to exploit these sentiments—has led to a breakdown in shared values in the democratic world. Preventing further democratic decline, let alone reversing it, requires both a clear-eyed understanding of these factors and, more important, a renewed commitment to core democratic values. DEMOCRACY IN DECLINE One reason for democratic backsliding is that liberal democracies and electoral democracies are facing an ongoing crisis in governance. Heads of state such as former U.S. President Donald Trump, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban have brazenly subverted democratic institutions in their pursuit of power. These trends, which researchers have described as a "third wave of autocratization," are particularly pronounced in established democracies. The most recent report from the Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem) at Sweden's University of Gothenburg found that roughly one in five European Union member states are growing more autocratic, as are long-standing democracies such as Brazil, India, and the United States. As a result, the number of liberal democracies worldwide stands at a 26-year low. Authoritarianism is also expanding rapidly in the weak democracies or competitive autocracies known as hybrid states. During Uganda's 2021 presidential elections, for example, President Yoweri Museveni authorized forceful measures to assure that he remained in power. He imposed a complete Internet blackout leading up to the vote and used state security forces to intimidate and arrest journalists, civil society actors, and opposition figures such as presidential candidate Bobi Wine, who was detained by the police after casting his ballot. In this regard, Uganda is far from alone. Similar rights violations have occurred in countries as diverse as Nigeria, Pakistan, and the Philippines, illustrating the far-reaching nature of this trend. Research shows that while authoritarianism is surging, democratic movements and institutions have failed to respond with sufficient force, allowing many repressive measures to go unchallenged. While pockets of resistance have emerged in countries including El Salvador, Myanmar, and Slovenia (where the electorate recently voted out the country's right-wing populist leader in favor of the liberal opposition), these examples are rare. In contrast, pro-autocracy protests have been on the rise in developing countries and in the postcommunist world. This development partly reflects the growth of "conservative civil society," in which right-leaning civic actors join forces with illiberal politicians to reject liberal democratic norms. Across the world, autocratic leaders are mobilizing citizens to help advance their antidemocratic agendas. In Brazil, thousands rallied in September 2021 to Bolsonaro's calls to remove all Supreme Court justices. In the United States, Trump encouraged an insurrection on January 6, 2021. In Thailand, royalists have assembled antidemocratic coalitions to deter opposition protesters. These popular mobilizations suggest that democracies are losing the normative argument about the desirability of liberal governance. AUTOCRACY NOW Indeed, autocrats have seized the initiative to erode the idea that all citizens possess inalienable rights and freedoms regardless of national origin. Illiberal leaders are arguing with increasing success that citizens' rights and liberties should face limitations, particularly when these freedoms challenge the incumbent's rule. Autocrats are using an array of justifications such as national security, public order, or cultural preservation to make a case for prioritizing sovereignty over universalism. Discarding universal principles isn't a new phenomenon. But it is gaining momentum, partly because autocrats feel decreasing pressure to follow the liberal democratic model. The weakening of universal norms is happening in big and small ways worldwide. The "splintering" of the Internet is one such trend. Autocracies such as China, Iran, and Russia, may have led the way. Still, democracies such as Brazil, India, and Nigeria, have also devised rules governing what information their citizens can access and produce, in clear violation of freedom of expression. In India, for example, the government has decreed that social media platforms must take down content that threatens "the unity, integrity, defense, security or sovereignty of India." In turn, this has precipitated broad suppression of legitimate speech, such as the Indian government's order that Twitter ban hundreds of accounts linked to farmers' protests in 2021. These leaders are calculating that if they can undermine universal democratic principles that dilute their power, they can more easily consolidate their rule and remain in office. The weakening of universal norms is happening in big and small ways worldwide. Similar deterioration has been witnessed across a range of democracy indicators: V-Dem researchers find that "six critical indicators of "liberal democracy," from judicial independence to executive oversight, are declining worldwide. In scores of countries, states have instituted restrictive legal measures to constrain nongovernmental organizations, carried out "aggressive smear campaigns" to discredit independent organizations, and intentionally sowed discord among civil society actors. Leaders justify these crackdowns by claiming that civil society groups are damaging national interests or allowing shadowy foreign brokers to undermine political systems. In 2018, for example, Orban secured passage of what became known as the "Stop Soros" law, a reference to the philanthropist George Soros, a longstanding Orban target. The law made it illegal to assist undocumented migrants and provided a convenient pretext for the Orban government to crack down on its political opponents. Autocrats worldwide are increasingly using similar restrictions to justify repression in the name of national sovereignty. In some countries, Beijing and Moscow have played significant roles in reinforcing authoritarianism, mainly by providing military assistance and economic support. In the Central African Republic, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, and Sudan, Russia's Wagner Group, a paramilitary organization with close ties to the Russian armed forces, has spearheaded disinformation campaigns to undermine regime opponents, secured payment for services through extractive industry concessions, and carried out joint military operations that have led to civilian killings. China has pursued similar policies to help Cambodia's longtime strongman, Hun Sen, stay in power. In return, Hun Sen has granted China permission to build a clandestine naval facility for its exclusive use. China's surveillance and censorship exports have helped it to pursue similarly advantageous relationships with Algeria, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Serbia, and Zambia. COUNTERING AUTHORITARIANISM As Western policymakers struggle to counter growing authoritarianism worldwide, they should take care not to overemphasize competition with Russia and China. Already, there is widespread suspicion about U.S. motives. A string of foreign policy blunders has damaged the United States' reputation: prisoner abuse scandals in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo, Edward Snowden's disclosures, and unaccountable civilian deaths from U.S. drone strikes. U.S. efforts to box in Russia and curtail China's influence have drawn tepid responses in many countries. When I conducted field research in Ethiopia in 2020, for instance, my sources repeatedly mentioned that the U.S. rivalry with China felt irrelevant and that they believed that the United States' involvement in their country was motivated by its own security priorities rather than a genuine interest in advancing democracy or prosperity in the country. It comes as little surprise that, as the historian Peter Slezkine writes, "outside of the United States' (mostly Western) formal allies, attitudes toward anti-Russian sanctions have been largely ambivalent." This sentiment touches on a crucial point: few of the world's citizens are fooled by U.S. President Joe Biden's focus on the contest between authoritarianism and democracy. They see the U.S. agenda for what it is: lofty rhetoric about democracy undercut by geopolitical calculations. Biden's recent trip to the Middle East—during which he greeted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (whom U.S. intelligence agencies hold responsible for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi) with a fist bump, and had a warm tête-à-tête with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (whose government has detained tens of thousands of political prisoners)—offered a pointed reminder about U.S. policy priorities.

203-US empire, supported by NATO, is benevolent compared to the authoritarian alternative

Henry Bean, July 24, 2022, Roanoke Times, Letter: NATO has proven its value,

NATO is the most successful military alliance in world history. Originally formed to protect western Europe from the USSR and its Soviet allies in Eastern Europe, NATO has gone on to become a military force dedicated to protecting human rights of peoples across the globe. It's impossible to describe here the force for good NATO represents. But it is safe to say that NATO saved the world from the evil oppression of Communist dictatorship, and continues to stand against the dictatorships such as Putin's Russia. If we go to war with China, NATO will be there. The United States will not have to fight alone. The cost of this titanic struggle from the end of World War II right to the moment I'm writing these words has seen untold human suffering, millions of lives lost and literally a mountain of gold spent. The preponderance of this wealth and around 200,000 of those lost lives were provided by the United States. If it's any consolation, the payback for we Americans has been an even bigger fortune and a political/economic empire that has provided Americans with security and the highest standard of living in the history of the world — all while driving our enemies out of business. Across the board almost every nation on the globe that has allied itself with the United States has been more successful than their peers who fell into the darkness of dictatorship. Future historians will speak of the "Pax Americanous" as the most benevolent empire to this point in human history. What sets our American Empire apart from those that preceded it is American hegemony is built on consent, not coercion of our allies. The fact that Russia's former allies want the military and economic security against Russia provided by NATO speaks volumes on who they believe the real threat to their human right of self government is. And they are looking west toward the United States and Western Europe. And you can add Sweden and Finland to the list of NATO allies. Trump's desire to pull the USA out of NATO and his consistent praise for the dictator Putin is a real good indicator of what he was planning even before the stupid coup. The fool that would be King.

202-Unrestrained nuclear arms race now

Khan, July 24, 2022, Hamdan KhanHamdan Khan is currently working as Research Officer at Strategic Vision Institute Islamabad. He is an alumnus of the National Defence University Islamabad and has previously worked for the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) and the Pakistan Council on China (PCC). Hamdan studies Global Affairs with a focus on Great-Power Politics, Programs and Policies of Nuclear Weapons States, and Emerging Military, Modern Diplomacy, NATO Bracing for a New Security Competition,

In a blunt departure from its preceding mission statement issued in 2010, which adopted an optimistic tone about arms control and non-proliferation, and envisioned lessened reliance on nuclear weapons in NATO’s strategy — Strategic Concept 2022 categorizes nuclear as the foremost among the mix of capabilities to realize NATO’s fundamental task of ‘deterrence and defense’. Strategic Stability is deservedly described to be undermined by the steady erosion of the arms control framework for which paradoxically the Western world also shares responsibility. Moreover, citing the expansion and modernization of Russian and Chinese nuclear arsenals and their delivery means, the alliance has vowed to undertake all the necessary measures to maintain the credibility and effectiveness of its deterrence capability — besides working to ensure cross-domain integration and coherence of capabilities and activities. The developments bear out that the era of arms control and nuclear reduction is all but over and the world is moving into an unprecedented era of the nuclear arms race, wherein at least three strategic competitors would be vying for nuclear supremacy — unless some highly unlikely arms control framework averts the imminent tripolar arms race, fraught with unforeseen challenges.

201-China and Russia using information warfare to undermine the US

Frawell & Mi9klaucic, July 23, 2022, James P. Farwell has advised U.S. Special Operations Command and the Defense Department. He is an associate fellow at King’s Centre for Strategic Communication at King’s College in London, and he is the author of “Information Warfare” (Quantico: Marine Corps University Press, 2020)’; Michael Miklaucic is a senior fellow at the National Defense University and the editor-in-chief of its journal PRISM, In the Information Battlespace, Cold War II Has Already Begun,

Two words no Western leader wants to say are “cold war.” Nobody wants it, but the facts speak for themselves: we are already deep into a global cold war. China and Russia are using every tool in the gray zone toolbox to advance their strategic interests at the expense of the liberal world order, and information warfare ranks among their most potent tools. We should be fighting back. Our leaders need to understand the power of the information battlespace and fund the capacity to wage it effectively.

This is not the twentieth-century Cold War. During that war, there was very little direct contact below the summit level between the United States and its allies and the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. Western businesses did not do much business in Russia or China. Travel and people-to-people contact were limited.  Today, the West, Russia, and China are enmeshed in integrated global business, communication, and information ecosystems.

Though different in many ways from the Cold War of the last century, today’s cold war is a competition for hearts and minds. Each side is weaponizing information, misinformation, and disinformation for strategic effects. Russia’s influence operations in the 2016 elections in the United States and Europe are well-known. China’s disinformation and dissimulation as to the origins of Covid-19 are notorious. Those are the tip of the iceberg.

A few have begun to recognize the seriousness of the information battlespace. U.S. Marine Corps commandant General David H. Berger says, “Information is the foundation of all human interaction,” in the just-published Marine Corps doctrine on information. This is at least a doctrinal acknowledgment of the importance of the information battlespace. But information warfare is evolving rapidly, as our economic, information, and communication ecosystems evolve.

Take for example the recent disinformation attack detected by American cyber watchdog company Mandiant. A pro-Chinese information warfare squad called Dragonbridge was posting warnings of environmental catastrophe and irreparable damage from rare earth mining in Texas, aiming to stir up local opposition. Why? Because China currently enjoys a near-monopoly on the rare earth materials that so many cutting-edge industries depend on. That gives them political power that they do not want to lose.

Observers like Olivia Solan and Ken Dilanian have pointed out the distinctions between the Russian and Chinese approaches. Russia has employed a strategy of offensive operations to divide and discredit the United States and sow a loss of confidence among Americans in our social and political institutions. China uses disinformation, but its strategic approach is more sophisticated. China is less focused on tearing down competitors and opponents than building up its own standing through “discourse power.” This tactic aims to shape a narrative that characterizes China’s autocratic government as superior to democracies and to gain sympathy for China’s perspectives.

That aligns with China’s doctrine of warfare. While Western notions of warfare focus on armed conflict, Chinese doctrine—well expressed through its Three Warfares (lawfare, psychological warfare, media warfare) and its doctrinal Science of Military Strategy—eschews armed conflict in favor of political, economic, diplomatic, espionage and information tactics to achieve its goals. It employs targeted foreign direct investment, cyber theft, and exploiting access by private Chinese nationals to new technologies. The People’s Liberation Army has centralized its space, cyber, electronic, and psychological warfare operations under one organization, the Strategic Support Force, to enhance coordination.

Some confuse information operations with soft power. We are not talking about soft power. Soft power is the influence that accrues to countries because of their attraction in terms of economy, culture, politics, or other non-military attributes. Soft power is an important element in the New Cold War, but we are talking about the use of information to achieve strategic effects and objectives at the expense of our rivals. We are talking about non-kinetic warfare that may work side-by-side with kinetic operations or as stand-alone operations.

We are not helpless. The United States and its allies and partners have tremendous information power. But we have to mobilize and fund this power and recruit the talent to leverage our capabilities to achieve concrete tactical and strategic effects. China is said to have as many as 100,000 information or cyber warriors. Even the hyper-dynamic high-tech “marketplace” can’t counter that on its own. To meet the adversary in the information battlespace and to prevail—even just to compete—will require a determined governmental response. Congressional leaders, as well as national security leaders, must quit giving this challenge lip service—a new doctrine isn’t a defense, let alone a winning strategy. Information warfare is real and it is urgent; this will take real resources—people and funding. This will require bringing our vibrant private sector on board. The United States needs to get with it. This is war.

200-NATO is an imperialist alliance that threatens world peace

Humayun Kabir is a former official of the United Nations, July 22, 2022, NATO strategy and world peace

In its recent declaration highlighting rapid changes in NATO’s military capacity, it announced plans to massively increase the number of its forces at high readiness from 40,000 to over 300,000 troops. The NATO secretary general described this change as ‘the biggest overhaul of our collective deterrence and defence since the Cold War.’ What is more significant is that the rapid reaction force is a combination of land, sea and air assets designed to be deployed quickly in the event of an attack. It is reported that some of these have already been sent to countries bordering Russia and Ukraine.

Another significant development coming from the Madrid summit is that NATO members are expected to change the alliance’s official stance towards Russia, from one of a ‘strategic partner’ to one that may be described, in the secretary general’s words, as posing ‘a direct threat to our security, to our values, to the rules-based international order’.

In essence, it creates an impression of a dangerous plan to preserve western domination through greater militarism and division. The core essence of the Madrid declaration indicates that the Euro-Atlantic alliance is preparing for combat and competition in a ‘contested and unpredictable world.’

With the declaration adopting a ‘360 degree approach’, NATO is preparing to extend its operating domains beyond land, air and sea, to information, cyber and space. As a result, NATO allies will bolster their inter-operability and capabilities for ‘high-intensity, multi-domain war fighting.’ More concerning is the fact that NATO’s increased force of 300,000 troops and more ammunition will be pre-positioned in Eastern Europe. Sweden and Finland, which share a maritime and land border respectively with Russia, will now join the alliance, exacerbating tensions with Moscow. Academic scholars, media professionals and politicians from all shades of life and regions have been expressing concerns that rather than diffusing the war in Ukraine, NATO allies continue to export high volumes of arms to Ukraine. This alone has further escalated the war and destruction of lives and properties, and some fear it has, to some degree, enhanced the prospects of a catastrophic nuclear

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