WORLD ROUNDUPNot-So-Great Powers | Loitering Munitions Are Shaping Conflicts | Poland’s Imperiled Democracy, and more

Published 8 June 2023

·  Not-So-Great Powers: U.S.-China Rivalry in the Neomedieval Age
Counterintuitive as might sound, U.S. decisionmakers should avoid strategies and methods drawn from industrial-age great power competition

·  Arctic Ocean Could Be Ice-Free in Summer by 2030s, Say Scientists – This Would Have Global, Damaging and Dangerous Consequences
One of the most stark and dramatic signs of fundamental change to the climate system anywhere in the world

·  Kakhovka Dam Breach Raises Risk for Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant – Receding Waters Narrow Options for Cooling
The breach lowers the level of water in the reservoir which supplies water necessary for cooling the plant’s reactors and spent fuel

·  The UK Wants to Export Its Model of AI Regulation, but It’s Doubtful the World Will Want It
The U.K. approach can hardly be considered stringent at all

·  One Way Attack: How Loitering Munitions Are Shaping Conflicts
One-way attack drones are an increasingly critical element of contemporary armed conflicts

·  America Is Winning Against China in Oceania
There is less to Beijing’s security gains in the Pacific than meets the eye

·  Bad for the Goose, Bad for the Gander: Drone Attacks in Russia Underscore Broader Risks
States increasingly are adopting the more elastic U.S. military’s definition, where civilians lose their immunity from attack

·Poland’s Imperiled Democracy 
The remarkable staying power of populist governments—thanks in part to their willingness to bend the rule of law—is a warning to America

·Netanyahu Sends in the Clowns
The Israeli prime minister has spent decades drumming out all competent challengers. Now he has no capable successors.

·  Israel Is Officially Annexing the West Bank
Recent moves make it clear that Israel is in the process of fully annexing the West Bank—de jure

Not-So-Great Powers: U.S.-China Rivalry in the Neomedieval Age  (Timothy R. Heath, National Interest)
Relative political and economic weakness stands out as a striking and disturbing feature of the current U.S.-China rivalry.
The weakened state of the rival powers ill-fits the pattern set not only by the Cold War but also by all great power rivalries over the past two centuries, including the two World Wars and even the conflicts of the Napoleonic era. The state of technologies differed dramatically, of course, but they shared key social, political, and economic features. Those epic contests involved centralized, unitary states with a high degree of internal cohesion and robust patriotic popular support. Governments enjoyed strong legitimacy partly due to expanding opportunities for political participation and economic advancement. Broad popular support for the governments also owed to industrialization, which took off in the late 1700s and yielded dramatic gains in the material standard of living for many people, especially after 1850. Industrial-age warfare typically centered on strategies of mass mobilization that permitted the fielding of vast armies consisting of citizen-soldiers equipped with standardized uniforms and equipment. When these nation-states fought, they demonstrated an impressive ability to mobilize resources, involve the population, and sustain a war footing for years on end. Their militaries frequently engaged in blood-soaked set-piece battles that generated staggering casualties. The wars often wrought immense destruction and typically ended with unconditional surrender by one side or the other.
The current U.S.-China rivalry contrasts sharply with these historical experiences. Unlike their predecessors, the two countries contend amid a complex and overlapping array of threats, labor under severe resource constraints, and manifest distressing signs of domestic weakness. With a diminishing ability to meet the needs of their citizens, the U.S. and Chinese governments have inspired little patriotic enthusiasm. Neither side has mobilized their citizenry against the other, nor do strategies of mass mobilization appear plausible for the foreseeable future.