Mass Radicalization

In the Politico article, “The Problem Isn’t Just One Insurrection. It’s Mass Radicalization,” the main assertion is that as violent political acts have become normalized and encouraged under the Trump Administration there will not be an easy or single approach to stop the extremism and radicalization from occurring. The article states, ” At times and places when large groups of people have been inspired to embrace violence, it often leads to long-term unrest, if not outright civil war. And right now, experts think, it’s happening faster than ever.” This quote demonstrates the long term implications an incident as catastrophic as the January 6th insurrection has on domestic politics. Although the Biden administration can try to have preventative measures against violent extremism, unfortunately the level of individuals that condone or encourage violence reflects the vast polarization and political climate that is enabling and mobilizing individuals to participate in violent actions. I think the policy that is being overlooked is one that reinstates bipartisanship, not just in the contexts of being anti-violence, but to the full capacity that the government is able to function and serve the average American.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/02/11/mass-radicalization-trump-insurrection-468746

Christina Baker

Ukraine and NATO

On October 3rd, Reuters released the results of a poll they conducted regarding Ukraine and NATO. According to the poll 83% of Ukrainians showed interest in joining NATO. The poll surfaced after Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced that he submitted an application to join NATO. This decision is a result of the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, it’s been over half a year and Ukraine’s prolonged effort is not sustainable. Aligning the country with NATO may end the conflict or at the very least provide the country with more resources.

While the treaty mandates that any European state who fits the criteria for the alliance is welcome to apply. That being said Ukraine is not a shoe in. According to The NY Times this process could be lengthy despite Zelinskiy’s expedited application. Additionally it is rather unlikley that all NATO countries will be on board with Ukraines application. Given that Russia is already aggravated over NATO’s expansion, Ukraine joining the alliance would only fuel the flame. It will be interesting to see which countries approve of the application. Overall, I think accepting Ukraine into NATO now is a risky endeavor.

– Katriel

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/record-83-ukrainians-want-nato-membership-poll-2022-10-03/

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/30/world/europe/ukraine-nato-zelensky.html?smid=url-share

US considering responses to possible Russian escalation in Ukraine, including its potential use of tactical nuclear weapons.

As the Russian war in Ukraine continues concern over the reaction that Russian leader Vladimir Putin will react and escalate the war further into several potentially threatening situations including but not limited to the use of nuclear warfare. The USA has reportedly since the start of the war developed several contingency plans in case of Russia’s escalation into a nuclear attack against Ukraine. While there appears to US officials that Russia has no plans to engage in any nuclear warfare, experts look at it as a potential option as the tide in the war has turned for Russia and the Russian government continues its illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories. In a public statement Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed that if the US poses any threat to an invasion of the recently annexed territory, Russia will protect the illegally annexed territory with any means necessary following up on the public threat that Putin made last month. While the use of nuclear warfare from Russia seems unlikely at the current moment the US has begun to make a contingency plan involving the US and its allies if Russia carries out on such an attack.

Frances

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/10/03/politics/ukraine-russia-putin-nuclear-weapons-us/index.html

Establishment of the NAIA

On January 1st, 2021, the National AI Initiative Act became law and provided coordinated programs to promote the research, study, and advancement of AI technology throughout the United States. The NAIA also established the National AI Initiative Office, an official agency aimed at executing the studies of AI within the US. This act is key to providing essential investments in the AI sector to advance our technology and set us apart from our global counterparts. The NAIA Act defines AI as “a machine-based system that can, for a given set of human-defined objectives, make predictions, recommendations or decisions influencing real or virtual environments.”

An establishment of an office like this can direct the Federal Government to establish AI programs throughout it’s various web of departments. AI partnership between the Office of NAIA and the department of transportation, for example, could lead to machines that better predict the timing of traffic, how to utilize smart road technology to alleviate it, and to dispatch necessary traffic patrol to avoid congestion as much as possible. However, on a security stance, the NAIA Office can broaden our horizons on how various US departments react to security threats presented by different actors. Our AI technologies can make significant strides in detecting nuclear threats and strikes, something that has recently presented itself as necessary with Russia’s looming threats and annexation of Ukraine. With international violations such as the annexation of Ukraine, AI technology can help with the strategizing of what moves to make next through simulations and data collection, to ensure both peacekeeping efforts are made, as well as the removal of current and potentially emerging threats. The creation of the NAIA has unlimited potential to what our country can do to predict security threats, but it is important to ensure that its execution and usage is not stalled by red tape and the inaction of the executive and legislative branches. It goes back to the idea of potentially allowing Congress to determine nuclear response instead of the President. Could 535 people all agree in unison along with the President to deter nuclear war? Could 535 people all in unison agree to AI advancements and follow the directives of what the President wants? In actuality, probably not. But the goal of AI advancement at least has a large stepping stone propel off of.

  • Joey

https://www.ai.gov/#:~:text=The%20National%20AI%20Initiative%20Act,economic%20prosperity%20and%20national%20security.

Iranian Cyber Attack on Albania

This year Albania has suffered a Cyberattack on its government including attacks on civilian areas of government which could negatively impact the day to day lives of the Albanian people.  Albania blamed Iran for the attacks which included disruption with the National Police Computer Systems, . The US put its weight behind Albania, and put sanctions on Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and security due to the July attacks, on top of this since the attacks Albania has chosen to sever diplomatic ties to Iran, going as far as to force those in the Iranian embassy to leave the country.

This poses many international questions, and raises many international issues around the following of norms. Whilst Iran has not taken responsibility for the attacks independent Cyber-Security firm confirmed that the attacks were either performed or sponsored by Iran. This Cyber attack violates behavioural norms within peacetime, thus leading to its hostile interpretation, one possible goal from the attack could’ve been a desire to incite chaos within the public, and whilst this was unsuccessful, the mere act itself sends a message to Albania that Iran has this capability. Albanian-Iranian relations have been tense since Albania took in thousands of Iranian opposition group the MEK at the request of NATO, this is why US intervention and sanctions can be understood, the US must put support behind Albania as the MEK refugees are there under US (through NATO) request, therefore any backlash seen must be addressed in the proper manner by the US. However, as with the current theme of Iranian and US relations this could further jeopardise the JCPOA negotiations as Iran is increasingly distrusting the US and their feelings of hostility will only increase as the US continues to put sanctions, and pressure, on their economy, decreasing the likelihood of a secure deal.

-Ellie

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62821757

Sanctioning Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security for Malign Cyber Activities

 

EU forwards eight package of sanctions against Russia

Referendums that violate international law, the draft of at least 300,000 men into its army, the open articulated threat about the use of nuclear weapons – all these further escalation steps from Kremlin towards Ukraine contributed to the latest sanctions of the European Union. The European Commission forwarded a series of new sanctions on Russia this Wednesday, including an oil price cap, trade restrictions, and blacklisting several persons that were responsible for the so-called “referendums” in some eastern and southern parts of Ukraine.

This would be the eight edition of EU sanctions against Russia since Putin started the war of aggression against Ukraine. However, before being able to actually implement the sanctions, all EU countries would need to agree on them. As it has tried in the past, Hungary is expected to block the enforcement of the sanctions. Hungary’s president, Victor Orban, claimed on Monday according to the New York Times, that the sanctions adopted by Brussels were hurting Europe more than Russia.

Nevertheless, President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen told reporters on Wednesday: “Last week, Russia escalated the invasion of Ukraine to a whole new level”, referring to the so-called “referendums”, the military mobilization as well as nuclear threats. “We’re determined to make the Kremlin pay for this further escalation”, von der Leyen added.

As Europe is economically very intertwined with Russia it makes sense that sanctions are also mainly forwarded by the EU Commission. As long as the sanctions hurt Russia, they support US Foreign policy. With the announcement of an additional 1.1 billion USD in long-term aid for Ukraine, the Biden administration recently demonstrated once again that the US is strongly interested in a stable, peaceful Europe and an independent Ukraine. Sanctions might be another tool towards that goal.

Especially the oil price cap might increase the financial pressure on Putin since the Russian economy is very uniform and heavily depending on selling oil. Further sanctions on individuals within the Kremlin’s elite might also cost the president some more supporters within his political elite circles. Thus, President Biden might signal his support of the sanctions to the EU and even try – if that is within the abilities of the Biden administration – to convince Hungary to greenlight the implementation of the latest EU sanctions.

– Maline

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/09/28/world/russia-ukraine-war-news?name=styln-russia-ukraine&region=hub&block=storyline_live_updates_block_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection

https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-proposes-new-sanctions-package-including-oil-price-cap/

Unifying of the Proud Boys after Federal Punishment

      The Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, and one of the most violent domestic terror groups, are possibly expanding, despite the federal charges against the leaders of the group, like Gavin McInnes. Despite federal punishment, including being charged with seditious conspiracy, the anti-government and pro-violence extremist group is attracting more attention and creating a unifying component for members of the organization.  

      I think this is a really difficult situation to try to deter, because every governmental action will be meant with resistance and utilized as justification for the violent means the extremist groups pursue there is no low cost or low risk policy solution. I think the Biden Administration ought to keep charging the inciters of violence and anti-government leaders, because although there is the adverse effect of it unifying the Proud Boys, and groups like the Proud Boys, the administration needs to show that it is serious and focused on internal dissidence, threat, and political violence.   

Christina Baker

https://www.politico.com/news/magazin e/2022/09/23/proud-boys-extremism-book-00057703

Pakistan Thanks Biden for American Aid During the Flood

In recent weeks, Pakistan has suffered record-breaking and catastrophic flooding as a result of monsoon rains and melting glaciers. Of the 220 million citizens of the country, over 33 million have been affected by the flood in some way with many of those being displaced. Last Wednesday, President Biden made a speech to the UN General Assembly announcing an aid package worth roughly 2.9 billion dollars and urged other world leaders to consider assisting as well. “We don’t have much time left. We all know we are already living in a climate crisis,” “Families are facing impossible choices, choosing which child to feed, and wondering whether they will survive. This is the human cost of climate change. And it’s growing, not lessening,” Pakistan’s prime minister has thanked US President Joe Biden for his appeal. Donations made by the United States and other Western countries have the potential of allowing for more influence to be gained in the region. It is well known that since the end of the Cold War the relation between Pakistan and The U.S. has been rocky at best, but as the world comes to grips with the Climate Crisis, it is in everyone’s best interest to work towards a solution that benefits citizens of both Eastern and Western communities.

-Wesley

Sources:

Pakistan PM thanks Biden for UN speech urging world for flood aid | Floods News | Al Jazeera

Russia Plans “Massive Cyberattacks” on Critical Infrastructure, Ukraine Warns

The Ukrainian government has warned that the Kremlin is planning to carry out massive cyberattacks targeting power grids and other critical infrastructure in Ukraine and the territories of its allies. This advisory alluded to two cyberattacks that Russian government has originally carried out in 2015 and 2016 that deliberately left Ukrainian citizens without power during one of the coldest months of the year. These attacks were seen as a sort of test for testing the strength of Ukraine’s power grid.

The first attack repurposed a known piece of malware, called BlackEnergy, created by Kremlin-backed hackers. The attackers used this new BlackEnergy3 malware to break into the corporate networks of Ukrainian power companies and then further encroach into the supervisory control and data acquisition systems the companies used to generate and transmit electricity. The 2016 attack used a new piece of malware written from scratch specifically designed for hacking electric grid systems. The new malware—which goes by the names Industroyer and Crash Override—was notable for its mastery of the arcane industrial processes used by Ukraine’s grid operators. “We don’t have any direct knowledge or data to make an assessment on Ukraine’s capability to defend its grid, but we do know that CERT-UA stopped the deployment of INDUSTROYER.V2 malware that targeted Ukraine’s electric substations earlier this year,” Chris Sistrunk, technical manager of Mandiant Industrial Control Systems Consulting, wrote in an email. “Based on that, and what we know about the Ukrainian people’s overall resolve, it’s increasingly clear that one of the reasons cyberattacks in Ukraine have been dampened is because its defenders are very aggressive and very good at confronting Russian actors.”

Reading this article following our discussion on Thursday really allowed for me to fully understand the severity of Russia utilizing cyberattacks against Ukraine. The plan to target power grids will give Russia the advantage since they are already involved in conflict rather than targeting power grids in an otherwise known peace time. This move will be seen as a more aggressive approach to the already aggressive conflict happening between Russia and Ukraine and would potentially do a lot of damage to Ukraine. I hope since Ukraine is warning their allies that they are already taking any possible precautions and strengthening their cyber branches.

-Kerrin

https://apple.news/A4VaWBA54R9aL6CS6wHQhZA

Climate change: Spike in Amazon emissions linked to law enforcement

The Amazon Rainforest is the world’s largest rainforest and has a massive impact on the climate of the region and the world as a whole by storing huge amounts of carbon in trees and soils. Although, carbon emissions in the Amazon region in 2019 and 202 more than doubled compared to the average of the previous eight years. Lack of prosecutions by law enforcement agencies has led to an increase in deforestation, biomass burning, and degradation producing net carbon losses and drying of the forest regions.

The impact of poor law enforcement says a lot about how those in power view climate change and how serious it is. Climate change always impacts human security and I feel federal governments have a natural duty to include climate change policies. Although in this case, because the Amazon rainforest is so impactful I wonder if other parties than the Brazilian government have standing to address the situation.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-62999822

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