Asia

  • Cyberattack Cripples Ukraine

    The massive cyberattack that crippled public transportation, the central bank, government offices, the state power distributor, and public firms in Ukraine on June 27 serves as a potent reminder of the havoc that can be unleashed by low-level actors, according to an Atlantic Council analyst.

    “This is another reminder that low-capability actors can have a profound impact on critical infrastructure like media, finance, energy, and others,” said Beau Woods, deputy director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

    Besides Ukraine, which appears to have been hit particularly hard, symptoms of the attack were also reported from the United Kingdom, Russian oil producer Rosneft, and the Danish shipping company Maersk.

    “Despite early indications, it’s unclear whether this attack was targeted against Ukraine or just happened to hit the news cycle there first,” said Woods.

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  • Herbst Quoted by NBC News on Russian Oligarch Viktor Yanukovych


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  • Fishman in The Hill: Speaker Ryan, the Fate of Our Policy Toward Russia Rests in Your Hands


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  • What Happens if Russia Turns Up the Heat Again in Ukraine?

    Will the low-intensity war in the Donbas continue its current course in the coming years, or will Moscow turn up the heat there, as it occasionally does?

    It’s hard to say. “It all comes down to geopolitics and what Putin wants to do,” said Ihor Kozak, an independent Canadian defense and security expert who visited Ukraine’s frontlines in June, in a recent interview.

    Russia is purposefully building up its military capacity and installations, including a railway line along the Russian-Ukrainian border from Zhuravka to Millerovo—new infrastructure that would make possible the quick movement of troops in the region. Renowned Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer, who in June 2008 predicted Russia’s August 2008 assault on Georgia, warns that this project and the general buildup of the Russian army could lead to an open Russian invasion into mainland Ukraine.

    The aim of such a foray could be to create a land connection between the occupied parts of the Donbas and Crimea that runs along the shores of the Azov Sea.

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  • How History Will Remember Vladimir Putin

    To paraphrase Pravda in 1929, Putin is the Stalin of today. Nobody since Stalin’s death has achieved such longevity or uncontested power over Russia as Putin has. Nevertheless, tomorrow he may be remembered as the Brezhnev of today, for he has presided over a galloping stagnation of the economy and public morality. At the same time, like many former Russian leaders—including Brezhnev, Stalin, and Nicholas I—he seeks to imprison Russia in a straightjacket of repression and mandated official thinking that glorifies autocracy and Russian state nationalism.

    Under Nicholas I, this system was called “official nationality” and it put Russia into an ice age during the last years of his reign. Other despots like Alexander III, Stalin, and Brezhnev presided over such stagnation after they refused to make any reforms that might weaken their leadership and it became clear that their governments had nothing to offer. The results of such policies are well known to Russian historians and observers and are of particular significance on this centennial anniversary of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Today, the same phenomenon is apparent under Putin.

    Nevertheless, recent trends suggest that the pressure inside Putin’s regime is growing steadily.

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  • Gopalaswamy in Foreign Affairs: The Trump–Modi Summit, Big Meeting, Low Expectations


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  • Gopalaswamy Quoted by Hindustan Times on the Trump-Modi Meeting


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  • Memo to President Trump: It’s Not “The Ukraine” Anymore

    The first meeting between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and US President Donald Trump on June 20 was widely hailed as a small but significant victory for Ukraine, signaling continued American support at a time when many fear Ukraine’s struggle with Russia is in danger of becoming a forgotten war. The only fly in the ointment was Trump’s reference to “The Ukraine,” which elicited a predictable chorus of moans.

    Numerous commentators chose to see this gaffe as yet another example of Trump’s allegedly amateurish and uninformed approach to foreign affairs. However, in fairness to the current resident of the White House, he is far from alone in failing to name Ukraine correctly. His predecessor Barack Obama repeatedly referred to “The Ukraine,” while numerous other international leaders have also been guilty of the same offense in recent years.

    Many struggle to see why the use of the definite article is such a big deal for Ukrainians.

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  • Herbst Quoted by the Independent on the United Nations Appointment of Former Russian Diplomat as Lead of Counterterrorism Division


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  • Manning in Nikkei Asian Review: Moon-Trump Summit: How to Avoid a Train Wreck


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