WORLD ROUNDUPGlobal Scramble to Tackle Deepfakes | Something Has to Give in Postwar Syria | China’s Nuclear Ambitions, and more

Published 2 February 2023

··  Missing Radioactive Capsule Is Recovered from Western Australia Roadside
The capsule went missing when it fell from a truck

··  How China’s Nuclear Ambitions Will Change Deterrence
The consequences of shifting from a bipolar system to a tripolar one

··  Something Has to Give in Postwar Syria
Thirteen years of constant crisis is heading toward inevitable breakdown

··  Is the U.K. the Security Leader Europe Needs?
An unlikely candidate to take the lead in European security matters has now appeared: Great Britain

··  Finding a Way Out of the Societal War Over Ukraine
This conflict has predominantly been a societal confrontation

··  U.S. Guns Are Fueling Violence in Central America, Here’s How to Help Stop the Arms Flow
In 2022, exports of semi-automatic rifles (including assault weapons like the AR-15 rifle) hit a new record

··  Seeing Is Believing? Global Scramble to Tackle Deepfakes
Deepfake detectors are vastly outpaced by creators

··  Is the U.S. Military Capable of Learning from the War in Ukraine?
The Pentagon has learned painful lessons in the past—and may have to do so again

··  Hungary Most Corrupt EU Member in 2022: Watchdog
Hungary replaces Bulgaria as the most corrupt member of the EU

··  Assessing the Russian and Chinese Economies Geostrategically
The geopolitical tensions have resurrected Cold War blocs

Missing Radioactive Capsule Is Recovered from Western Australia Roadside  (James Salmon, The Times)
A tiny radioactive capsule capable of inflicting burns on anyone passing within five meters of it has been found in the Western Australian outback after a frantic six-day search.
The stainless steel capsule, roughly the size of a pea, went missing when it fell from a truck on an 870-mile stretch of the Great Northern Highway between Pilbara in the north of the state and Perth, the state capital. It was found this morning on the side of the highway about 30 miles south of the town of Newman.
The discovery was made by a team from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, who placed it in a lead container for safety. Search crews had spent six days scouring the highway using specialist equipment which picked up radiation emitting from the capsule.

How China’s Nuclear Ambitions Will Change Deterrence  (Economist)
China is expanding its nuclear arsenal, from a few hundred weapons to roughly 1,000 by 2030. It may have 1,550 warheads or more by the mid-2030s—the limit agreed to by Russia and America in a deal originally signed between them in 2010. This Chinese buildup is changing geopolitics. The American-Russian bipolar nuclear system, which has dominated the nuclear balance for over half a century, is evolving into a less stable tripolar system that risks undermining long-standing pillars of deterrence and triggering a nuclear arms race.
All this comes as America prepares to modernize its ageing “triad” of nuclear-weapons delivery systems (land-based and submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and long-range bombers). China’s gambit raises questions over how best to proceed, as a tripolar system will erode several critical pillars of deterrence that proved effective in the bipolar system.

Something Has to Give in Postwar Syria  (Charles Lister, Foreign Policy)
Syria’s crisis is set to enter its 13th year in March. Although the level of violence across the country remains relatively low today compared with earlier years, the crisis is a long, long way from over. Within Syria, at least six distinct conflicts involving internal actors and foreign governments are ongoing to this day, and all of them show more signs of escalating than calming down.