WORLD ROUNDUPA Digital Iron Curtain? | Is China's Military the Goliath It's Portrayed to Be? | The Virtues of Restraint, and more

Published 17 November 2023

·  Mexico Could Spoil New U.S.-China Fentanyl Plan
As the drug has spread, AMLO has blocked efforts to track and control it

·  Assessing Israel’s Approach to Proportionality in the Conduct of Hostilities in Gaza
The Jabalia strike indicates that the IDF’s tolerance for civilian casualties is multiples greater than that of the U.S. in the ISIS war

·  China Gains as U.S. Abandons Digital Policy Negotiations
The USTR just handed a victory to China on digital sovereignty

·  It’s Time to Close the Door on Biden’s Saudi Defense Deal
A U.S.-Saudi mutual defense pact was a terrible idea before the Gaza war began, and it would be disastrous now

·  The Myanmar Military Is Facing Death By a Thousand Cuts
Events in Myanmar’s renewed civil war took a dramatic turn these past three weeks, reminding us not to forget about the world’s longest running conflict

·  A Digital Iron Curtain?
The Kremlin’s policies restricting internet usage likely won’t succeed, but they should still concern those who care about a free and open internet

·  The Virtues of Restraint
Why the use of Force is rarely a sufficient response to terrorism

·  Is China’s Military the Goliath It’s Portrayed to Be?
A new report details how the conventional wisdom about the challenges posed by the PLA is often incomplete and unpersuasive

·  Lithium Mining in Africa Reveals Dark Side of Green Energy
The new rush for lithium in Africa risks fueling corruption and harming local communities and the environment, investigations have shown

Events in Myanmar’s renewed civil war took a dramatic turn these past three weeks, reminding us not to forget about the world’s longest running conflict. Just prior to the break of dawn on Oct. 27, 2023, the Three Brotherhood Alliance of the Arakan Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army launched a surprise assault — called Operation 1027 — on junta forces in northern Shan State. Within a couple of weeks, the three ethnic armed organizations have reportedly seized over 150 military outposts and several key towns astride a strategic road to the Chinese border, as well as highways crisscrossing Shan State. With operations continuing to expand, this marks a significant battlefield defeat for the increasingly overstretched military junta.
While the fog of war demands analytical caution, Operation 1027 carries important implications for the future of Myanmar. First, the Myanmar military is increasingly overstretched despite its airpower and artillery advantages. Second, the Three Brotherhood Alliance potentially aligning itself more openly with the pro-democracy movement — at least militarily — highlights the resistance’s determination and coalition-building efforts. Third, China’s turn toward the junta has proven a poor bet. Considered together, the Myanmar military is more vulnerable than at any time in the past half century. Now is the moment for Myanmar’s pro-democracy resistance to push hard and for their international supporters to crank up the pressure on the junta. The resistance should continue to build momentum with operations across the country, while international backers like the United States should increase the tempo of sanctions and redouble their diplomatic efforts to convince the junta that it cannot prevail. 

A Digital Iron Curtain?  (Luke Rodeheffer, National Interest)
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been accompanied by a chilling wave of repression inside Russia. The number of blacklisted websites increased dramatically in the aftermath of the war, as the Kremlin sought control over the narrative of its “special military operation,” and encryption technologies have become the next target. Media in the West has responded by calling the new system a “Digital Iron Curtain” and comparing it to China’s infamous Great Firewall. These comparisons are not accurate: the ship has already sailed for recreating the Communist Party’s leviathan of online censorship. But that doesn’t mean Moscow isn’t trying. (Cont.)