WORLD ROUNDUPBooming Global Spyware Industry | Ukraine Facing a Complete Blackout | Only Offensive Realism Can Contain China, and more

Published 8 December 2022

··How the Global Spyware Industry Spiraled Out of Control
Spying is a booming business

··Ukraine Is on the Edge of a Complete Blackout

Ukraine’s power supply is currently being held together with Band-Aid

··German Plotters, Long Dismissed as Fringe, Got a Lift From QAnon
Since the onset of the pandemic, German extremists have become the main conduit for violent and antisemitic conspiracy theories, notably QAnon

··After a Bungled Coup Attempt, Peru’s President Falls
Pedro Castillo tried to shut down Congress. Instead, he was impeached

··Why Russia’s Cyberattacks Have Fallen Flat
Ukraine benefited from good preparation and lots of help

··Argentina Court Sentences VP Kirchner to Six Years in Prison
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner accused of fraudulently awarding public contracts

··NATO Prepares for Cyber War
NATO’s cyber forces have been watching the war in Ukraine closely

··Is Xi Jinping Ready to Seize Taiwan?
China has coveted its island neighbor for decades. Is Xi Jinping ready to seize it?

·· Disentangling the Digital Battlefield: How the Internet Has Changed War
Talking about the “first TikTok war” tells us only so much about the real impact of digital technology on the current conflict

··Only Offensive Realism Can Contain China
Rising powers almost always have revisionist intentions

How the Global Spyware Industry Spiraled Out of Control  (Mark Mazzetti, Ronen Bergman and Matina Stevis-Gridneff, New York Times)
The market for commercial spyware — which allows governments to invade phones and vacuum up data — is booming. Even the U.S. government is using it.

Ukraine Is on the Edge of a Complete Blackout  (Norma Costello, Foreign Policy)
As winter deepens, half of the country’s energy system is already destroyed—and the other half is under threat.

German Plotters, Long Dismissed as Fringe, Got a Lift From QAnon  (Katrin Bennhold and Erika Solomon, New York Times)
Reichsbürger, the movement behind a plan to overthrow Germany’s government, gained momentum from conspiracy theories that grew during the pandemic, turning it into a potent new threat.

After a Bungled Coup Attempt, Peru’s President Falls  (Economist)
In Marx’s hoary phrase, history repeats itself as farce. In 1992 Alberto Fujimori, an elected president, sent tanks to shut down Peru’s Congress and governed as an autocrat for the following eight years. Three decades later Pedro Castillo, the bumbling occupant of the job since July 2021, tried to do the same. On December 7th he announced that he would close Congress, convene a new one with powers to write a new constitution, and “reorganize” the judiciary and the prosecutor’s office. The effort collapsed within hours.
Instead Congress voted by 101 votes to six, with ten abstentions, to dismiss him. After an emergency meeting of the high command, the police decided to arrest him for rebellion as he was being driven to the Mexican embassy to seek asylum. His vice-president, Dina Boluarte, has now taken over from him.

Why Russia’s Cyberattacks Have Fallen Flat  (Economist)
Wars are testbeds for new technology. The Korean war saw jet fighters employed at scale for the first time. Israel pioneered the use of drones as radar decoys in its war with Egypt in 1973. And the Gulf war of 1991 was a coming-out party for GPS-guided munitions. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the first time that two mature cyber-powers have fought each other over computer networks in wartime. The result is a lesson in the limits of cyber-power and the importance of having a sound defense.

U.S. Rivals Are Facing Unrest. Is It Due to Luck or Skill?  (Douglas London, Foreign Policy)
Mass protests create a favorable environment for intelligence agencies—but the CIA should tread carefully in China, Iran, and Russia.