India and China had established diplomatic relations 70 years ago. 2020 saw the firing of shots for the first time in over 40 years. Even though disagreements between the two sides are not unusual, border disputes do pose a challenge for the security of both countries. Furthermore, it could have consequences for their economic relations. This paper tries to look at the recent face-off between the two states and explores the options India has in the times to come.
The India-China war took place in 1962, when Indian and Chinese troops fought over the Himalayan territory of Aksai Chin which is situated between Tibet, Xinjiang and Ladakh. At that time, India deployed its troops along the border, but China’s strategy was to launch an all-out attack. The Chinese position was that they should have sovereignty over the territory they were fighting for. India in response had a defensive strategy and they lacked sufficient weaponry and personnel. Consequently, they suffered heavy casualties. The war ended when China announced a unilateral ceasefire on 21stNovember 1962.
Since then, Both India and China have made strides in bolstering their respective capabilities. However, China’s growth has been faster and it has managed to outpace India both economically and militarily. China’s per capita income in 1980 was even lower than that of India, but today it is almost four times higher. China has registered the biggest gains in its GDP share in the global economy in the last 20 years. The gap between the US and China is also closing fast. In 1999 the global GDP share of the US was 31% and that of China was a mere 1.8%. In 2020, the US GDP share is 23.6% and that of China is 15.5%.Hence, in terms of economic strength, no other country matches US and China or even comes close to either of them. It is this transformation that has made China aspire to be the world’s second superpower. It appears that these are early times of the concretization of a bipolar world. This new power dynamics could have serious implications for the countries of the world.
Against this backdrop, India needs to figure out where it stands vis-a-vis China. Its efforts at cultivating China and keeping it pacified appear to have failed for now. China being a global player has a grand strategy and its latest moves at the LAC (Line of Actual Control) between Indian and China are a part of creating a new template for Sino-Indian relations. Clashes between troops of both countries have occurred regularly along the contested border, but this is the first deadly one in the last 45 years. In remote Tibet, ominously high above the Indian plains lies the source of the Brahmaputra, the Indus and other important rivers. The dams China has built and those it plans to construct in future, could pose an existential risk to hundreds of millions living downstream. The Brahmaputra is in great danger. In 2013, China launched a project to build six dams on the Lhasa River, which is one of its tributaries. The project, once completed, will convert the river into a series of artificial lakes. This would cause devastating damage to Tibet’s environment and significantly limit water supply for downstream countries. As it did in 2017, water could again be used as a weapon by China. It could refuse to release water when India needs it, aggravating droughts. It could also release water during rainy seasons and cause dreadful floods. Geopolitically, these dams are weapons that give China an edge against its neighbours.
Many believe that India and China, the two nuclear-armed neighbours could not possibly go to war. The threat of uncontainable escalation is appalling. If one looks at their respective economic strength, India’s per capita GDP is a little more than $2,104, while China’s is a bit above $10,261. When it comes to defence, India’s budget this year is about $66 billion while China’s is almost $179 billion. Moreover, in terms of what in China is called its Comprehensive National Power (CNP), which incorporates scientific and technological power and human capital formation, China far outflanks India. In a long war, Chinese economic might, industrial production and defence superiority would guarantee massive advantage.
Why is China miffed?
There could be various explanations as to why China decided to act now at the disputed Sino-Indian border, which stretches some 3,500 km (2,175 miles). It was the first time in 45 years that shots were fired at the border. Both countries had agreed in 1996 not to use guns and explosives near the border so that any conflict there could be managed short of a hot war. However, some actions in the recent past by the Indian side seem to have irked China.
First, China has always been sensitive about Tibet, Aksai Chin and its border with India since the days of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. In 1962, some in China claim to have taught India a lesson after it refused to back down on its forward policy and turned down its boundary deal. Last year, by a Constitutional amendment, India downgraded Article 370 of Its Constitution which had hitherto granted special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. New Delhi also carved out a new union territory of Ladakh. China was unhappy with these actions of India. Official Indian maps show Pakistani-held Gilgit and Baltistan as well as China-held Aksai Chin to be a part of Ladakh.
Second, India has built the world’s highest airfield at Daulat Beg Oldi. Long back this was an old campsite on the base of the strategic Karakoram Pass that led to the Tarim Basin in southern Xinjiang. It lies on the legendary Silk Route through which travellers moved on their journeys from Beijing to Constantinople. Located at 5,065 meters above sea level, this airfield is close to Siachen Glacier, where Indian and Pakistani troops face off. India has also built the 255-kilometer Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie road that offers it far better access to the LAC. Some experts believe that it is India’s forward-moving posture in the LAC area that has peeved the Chinese.
Moreover, the LAC, has different connotations across the Western (Eastern Ladakh), Central (Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand), and Eastern (Sikkim, Arunachal) Sectors. In the Western Sector, the Indian claim line includes the whole of Aksai Chin and is based on the 1865 Johnson Line, while the Chinese had generally accepted the 1899 Macartney-McDonald Line along the Laktsang range till East of Karakoram Pass. After 1962, the Chinese have come further ahead. In the Central Sector, the boundary lies along the watershed has limited claims by China, while the Eastern Sector has the famous Macmahon line dividing Tibet and British India. It is drawn on a very small-scale map, with no clear definition, except that it follows the watershed, based on the 1914 Shimla Agreement between British India, Tibet, and China. After the annexation of Tibet by China in 1950, it has refused to accept the treaty the Qing dynasty had signed with the British in 1914. Hence, the fact remains that the LAC had neither been correctly defined nor segregated, even during British times. Thus it suffers from a weakness of differing perceptions of the LAC by both India and China. These disputes have become increasingly difficult to contain in recent years. An exercise to clarify the LAC by the two countries could not take off in the early 2000s. The main region of disagreement was the Western sector where the Chinese did not agree to the Indian maps.
Third, India opposed the BRI (Belt and Road initiative) last year on the grounds of territorial sovereignty. The Doklam confrontation in 2017 occurred when India did not attend the first BRI summit earlier that year. In 2019, India joined the US in categorically opposing BRI. This raised many eyebrows in Beijing. Chinese have also taken umbrage at BJP MPs Meenakshi Lekhi and Rahul Kaswan’s “virtual participation” in the swearing-in ceremony of Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen.
Fourth, India has questioned China’s concealment of information and its role in the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. India’s stand and statements on the pandemic have annoyed China.
Fifth, India has been pressing for moving manufacturing away from China in the post-COVID-19 world. It has made a big noise about a higher trust factor in India. India claims to be a democracy with a free press where investments would have a lower long-term risk. China is particularly sensitive to this argument.
Finally, some analysts argue that China’s Xi Jinping was trying to divert attention from his handling of the Covid-19 fallout. He might also have been trying to ease domestic pressures. He might have even calculated that at the time when all countries were busy fighting Covid-19; it was perhaps a better time to take advantage of their divided attention.
Opinion in China:
Positions in China are divided to the extent that some people in China are strongly critical of Chairman Mao for his handling of the 1962 war with India. They call Mao a national sinner because China did not gain control over southern Tibet at that time.
There is a view among China’s strategic community that China-India relations hold no great prospect in the current international situation. Zhang Jiadong, director of South Asian Studies Center of Fudan University rules out any possibility of a negotiated settlement of the border dispute in the near future. India, he argues, is already a quasi-ally of the United States and there is no way China can thwart further intensity in US-India relations. Hence, violent conflicts are predicted to be the new normal in China-India ties.
Some experts in China argue that China should prepare for simultaneous war-like situations on both fronts – with the PLA Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps focusing on the eastern front, and the Chinese army concentrating on the western front with. Sui snow Mongolia of the School of International Studies, Renmin University of China maintains that they take inspiration from India on this matter, arguing that “Isn’t India preparing on two fronts all the time? Why can’t we fight on two fronts?”
A Chinese military expert Li Jie argued in Huanqiushibao, that by aggressive actions the Indian side is giving indication that if an irrepressible conflict occurs on the land between China and India on the border, it may choose to retaliate against China at sea by aiming at China’s oil and gas transport vessels, thereby, urging the Chinese government to take proper countermeasures to deal with the disturbances at the sea.
Lin Minwang, a prominent expert from Fudan University, agrees that American political support is crucial to India’s toughened stance against China. He further notes that since the outbreak of the epidemic, India and the United States have maintained close communication. India is now more anti-China than many of the other US allies. Lin argues that from the foreign policy of the Indian government it is now very clear that India has decided to stand with the United States in the great power competition.
Another argument is that the recent conflict is intended to sidetrack Indian public opinion, given the worsening COVID situation in the country and the sinking economy and create nationalistic fervor to bring together the people against China.
Against this backdrop one needs to see what are the options for India in the near term?
First, India needs to modernize its military and bolster its security. It does not need to put all its eggs in the American basket by assuming that the US will come to its help when it is threatened by China. Since all countries are guided by their national interests and so is the US, therefore, its support would be only to the extent it serves the US interest. Beyond it, India will have to fend for itself. Hence, the basic way of seeking security is to build deterrence capacity on its own. This however, appears to be a tall order in the immediate context, given the fragile condition of the Indian economy and its negative growth. However, it needs to be given top priority in the times ahead. At present, India has not articulated in definite terms the threats emanating from China as it still is not very sure about the extent of American assistance in restraining China. India is conscious of the domestic compulsions of the US and its limitations in backing India to the end. Moreover, there would be uncertainty in US politics till a new administration takes office in Washington. Picking a fight with China, therefore, is not the wisest strategy; obfuscating the exact nature of the China threat is indeed a much better strategy.
Second, India needs to get more active in arrangements like the Quad Security Dialogue. It may gain traction if all these countries make sincere efforts, as all of them have a common claim of being democratic countries and have common interests of unobstructed maritime trade and security. Quad underlines the rising importance of maritime geopolitics in an increasingly integrated world. Economically, the strategy is viewed as an answer to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which is instituting a China-centric trade route. However, India needs to tread carefully and not be taken in by the enthusiastic support which the others are offering India to contain China. Our actions in this group should be cautious and limited by our abiding national interest. We are the only ones sharing a long boundary with China and we have to live with this for all times.
Third, the government of India should not be guided by the aggressive nationalistic rhetoric, which has been mainstreamed in India by the party in power at the Federal level. The government needs to make a distinction between its domestic politics – where it might need to employ such a tactic- with international politics, where India needs to have a long term strategy. It needs to appreciate that China is a rising power with claims to superpower status. Understanding the consequences of a confrontation, India needs to tread carefully and avoid a skirmish with China in every possible way. However, it needs to continuously work on bolstering its deterrence capability.
India also needs to engage with China more meaningfully. China had been told, during the recent talks in Moscow, that its frontline troops were engaged in provocative behaviour and had disregarded bilateral agreements and protocols. It was also emphasised that the Indian troops had scrupulously followed all agreements and protocols pertaining to the border areas. In Moscow, the Foreign Ministers of both countries agreed on a five-point plan to deescalate the situation and thwart any unpleasant incident in the future.
Beijing’s position is that New Delhi should meet it halfway, which is seen as an indication that India accepts the new Chinese claim lines. New Delhi has maintained that Chinese troops should move back to the pre-April 2020 position. Such an engagement would help India to limit the damage from Chinese incursions and to ensure that such unilateral aggressive behaviour from China is avoided in future.
Finally, in international politics, a country can choose its friends but she cannot choose its neighbours. China is a neighbour, sharing a boundary of thousands of kilometres with India. Since they have to live with China, Indian strategic planners need to do some out of the box thinking. They can even think of looking at China differently, not necessarily as an adversary but a potential partner. It cannot be denied that India’s efforts at cultivating China till now have not borne much fruits, but India needs to think about its own missteps in engaging with China and stop harping on the same old line of playing a victim of Chinese betrayal. India would have nothing to lose if it invests more in this option. It is possible to engage constructively with both the US and China; India does not necessarily need to take sides between the two. We need not be over-excited with the sudden outburst of affection from the US. It is nobody’s case that we should ignore the American overtures, but we need to have our feet firmly planted on the ground.
Notwithstanding age-old border tensions, India and China have considerable multilateral cooperation, mainly through alternate global institutions created over the last several years. The BRICS, including Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa; the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), in which India is the second-largest capital contributor; the New Development Bank; and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, have all been platforms for cooperation regardless of the countries’ continuous security competition. Hence, in today’s world of interdependence, for India to totally cut off its entire links with China is neither possible nor desirable. We should bear in mind that China is India’s primary trading partner with annual trade worth $92 billion.
However, China’s periodic assertions complicate issues. For example, its recent contention that it abides by the LAC as proposed by Premier Zhou Enlai has complicated the border row in eastern Ladakh, and called into question Beijing’s intention to restore status quo ante of early April and de-escalate the conflict. Basically they confirm that the old Confidence Building Measures Regime inaugurated by the Border Peace and Tranquility Agreement of 1993 is no longer valid. In the wake of the 15 June Galwan incident, India had decided to be pro-active in its engagement with Chinese troops. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had given go ahead to the army to deal with China to protect Indian territory. Hence engaging China constructively is something which is easier said than done.
On the other side, to deal with a resurgent India, Chinese hardliners suggest a policy of “three nos”: no weakness, no concession and no defensive defence. It means, China should take all openings to crack down on India, and have the enterprise to hit it hard whenever possible. This, it is maintained, will not dent China-India relations; on the converse, it will lend it more stability.
China also intends at conveying a message to the international community. Allen Carlson, director of Cornell University’s China and Asia Pacific Studies program, argued that they are demonstrating to the global audience that China is no longer a reactive player on the world stage, it intends to be proactive, and more direct in achieving what are viewed as the country’s core national interests.
Someanalysts say that these developments are a consequence of India’s irresponsible posturing. But then India did something that irritated China. A few months after Modi won a landslide election, his Home Minister, Amit Shah vowed to take back Ahsai Chin. During a speech in Parliament about the disputed region of Kashmir, Mr. Shah declared that Aksai Chin and all of Kashmir was an inalienable part of India and it would go to any extent to regain it.
This ongoing conflict between India and China has elicited attention from other powers in the world. China’s aggressiveness in pushing a brash narrative through ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomacy has raised alarm bells in other countries of the world. Two prominent proponents of this are Hua Chunying and Zhao Lijian, top spokespeople at China’s Foreign Ministry. China has shown extreme anxiety to show its might from the Western Pacific to Eastern Ladakh. The Americans consider it as a challenge to their ascendancy in world politics. Hence, there is the new emphasis on the Quad to contain China. The visit of high-level US officials to India just on the eve of US presidential elections, was to convey to New Delhi the urgency which the US attached to this issue and that it stands with India to respond to China’s hegemonic plans.
The recent Indo-US 2+2 meeting and theinking of four foundational agreements between India and USA are indicative of India and the US getting closer. In addition, the Malabar military exercises where Australia participated for the first time pointed towards the fact that Quad is progressively getting more militarised. Under the US-India Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) huge amount of military equipment from the USA has already been delivered to Indian troops who are manning the borders in Ladakh. The US knows it.
India is determined not to let the situation congeal into a status quo. Even though officially it has taken an indistinct stand, declaring that the Chinese were not in occupation of any Indian territory, the fact is that the Chinese have occupied some 1,000 sq kms of the grey zone in Depsang, Galwan, Gogra and Pangong Tso. The Indian plan now is to press the Chinese to the point where they are willing to return to status quo ante as of April in these areas. However, this is a loaded strategy, and any of these incidents could escalate to a wider skirmish with consequences neither side may intend.
Nonetheless, if relations continue to worsen over territorial boundaries and the border issues remains unsettled, this could have consequences for the future of relationship between both these countries. Furthermore, India should tread with caution as countries in the neighbourhood are becoming increasingly more accommodative of China.
Preventing Nuclear War in the Middle East: Science, System and “Vision”
“A scientist, whether theorist or experimenter, puts forward statements, or systems of statements, and tests them step by step.”-Karl R. Popper -The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1959)
For the moment, informed global concerns about nuclear war avoidance center on superpower crises over Ukraine. Though such existential concerns are understandable and well-founded, there are coinciding nuclear threats in other parts of the world. More precisely, because world politics must always be evaluated as a system, whatever happens in Ukraine regarding nuclear warfare matters could sometime spill over into the Middle East.
Irremediably, the specific shape or form of any such “spillover” would be difficult to decipher.
Now, a very basic query must be raised: What are the essential parameters of relevant strategic planning? Whether or not analysts care to admit it, a nuclear war in the Middle East is conceivable and more-or-less plausible.Nothing can be said about tangible probabilities because a nuclear war – any nuclear war – would represent a unique event. By definition, any nuclear conflict would be sui generis. In science and mathematics, true probabilities must be based upon the isolable frequency of pertinent past events.
Quo Vadis? By definition, no other subject of national security concern could possibly justify comparably serious examinations. This means, inter alia, that Israel’s most capable strategic thinkers and scholars are immediately responsible for ensuring that virtually every imaginable nuclear war scenario will be suitably delineated and explored. It suggests further that Israel’s strategic analyses be consistently and expressly theoretical.
Recalling philosopher of science Karl Popper’s oft-quoted line (borrowed from the classic German poet, Novalis), “Theory is a net. Only those who cast, can catch.”
A core question needs to be raised at the outset: How might Israel find itself caught up in a nuclear war? Under what identifiable circumstances could Israel discover itself involved with actual nuclear weapons use?
Presently, as Israel remains the only regional nuclear power, such concerns could appear baseless. Nonetheless, always changing “order-of-battle” considerations could change suddenly and unexpectedly, most ominously in regard to Iran. Even in the continuing absence of a regional nuclear adversary, a beleaguered Israel could find itself having to rely upon nuclear deterrence against sub-nuclear (i.e., biological and/or massive conventional) threats. Acknowledging such a potentially existential reliance, the prospect of atomic weapons firing ought never be excluded or ruled out ipso facto.
What next? To answer its most basic nuclear security questions, Jerusalem’s strategic planners will need to adhere closely to variously well-established canons of systematic inquiry, logical analysis and dialectical reasoning. Accordingly, there are four intersecting narratives that best “cover the bases” of Israel’s obligatory nuclear preparedness: Nuclear Retaliation; Nuclear Counter Retaliation; Nuclear Preemption; and Nuclear War fighting. In sufficient detail, here is what these four comprehensive scenarios could reveal to that country’s capable leaders and scholars:
(1) Nuclear Retaliation
Should an enemy state or alliance of enemy states ever launch a nuclear first-strike against Israel, Jerusalem would respond, assuredly, and to whatever extent judged possible/cost-effective, with a nuclear retaliatory strike. If enemy first-strikes were to involve certain other forms of unconventional weapons, notably high-lethality biological weapons, Israel might still launch a nuclear reprisal. This particular response would likely depend, in significant measure, on Jerusalem’s calculated expectations of follow-on aggression and its associated assessments of comparative damage-limitation.
If Israel were to absorb “only” a massive conventional attack, a nuclear retaliation could not automatically be ruled out, especially if: (a) the state aggressor(s) were perceived to hold nuclear and/or other unconventional weapons in reserve; and/or (b) Israel’s leaders believed that exclusively non-nuclear retaliations could not prevent annihilation of the state. A nuclear retaliation by Israel could be ruled out ipso facto only where enemy state aggressions were conventional, “typical” (that is, sub-existential or consistent with previous historic instances of enemy attack in degree and intent), and hard-target directed (that is, directed solely toward Israeli weapons and military infrastructures, not at “soft” civilian populations).
(2) Nuclear Counter retaliation
Should Israel feel compelled to preempt enemy state aggression with conventional weapons, the target state(s)’ response would largely determine Jerusalem’s subsequent moves. If this response were in any way nuclear, Israel would expectedly turn to nuclear counter-retaliation. If this retaliation were to involve other weapons of mass destruction, Israel might then feel pressed to take an appropriate escalatory initiative. Any such initiative would necessarily reflect the presumed need for what is formally described in strategic parlance as “escalation dominance.”
There is more. All pertinent decisions would depend upon Jerusalem’s early judgments of enemy state intent and on its accompanying calculations of essential damage-limitation. Should the enemy state response to Israel’s preemption be limited to hard-target conventional strikes, it is unlikely that Israel would move on to any nuclear counter retaliations. If, however, the enemy conventional retaliation were “all-out” and plainly directed toward Israeli civilian populations – not just at Israeli military targets – an Israeli nuclear counter retaliation could not be excluded.
It would appear that such a unique counter-retaliation could be ruled out only if the enemy state’s conventional retaliation were entirely proportionate to Israel’s preemption, confined exclusively to Israeli military targets, circumscribed by the legal limits of “military necessity” (a limit routinely codified in the law of armed conflict) and accompanied by various explicit and verifiable assurances of non-escalatory intent.
(3) Nuclear Preemption
It is prima facie implausible (perhaps generally even inconceivable) that Israel would ever decide to launch a preemptive nuclear strike. Although circumstances could arise wherein such a strike would be perfectly rational, it is unlikely that Israel would ever allow itself to reach such “all or nothing” security circumstances. Unless the relevant nuclear weapons were employed in a fashion still consistent with the authoritative laws of war, this form of preemption would represent a flagrantly serious violation of binding (codified and customary) international rules.
Even if such consistency were possible, the psychological/political impact on the world community would be negative and far-reaching. In essence, this means that an Israeli nuclear preemption could be expected only where (a) Israel’s state enemies had acquired nuclear and/or other weapons of mass destruction judged capable of annihilating the Jewish State; (b) these enemies had made it clear that their military intentions paralleled their capabilities; (c) these enemies were believed ready to begin an active “countdown to launch;” and (d) Jerusalem believed that Israeli non-nuclear preemptions could not possibly achieve needed minimum levels of damage-limitation – that is, levels consistent with physical preservation of the state and nation.
It is arguable, at least in principle, that an Israeli non-nuclear preemption could sometime represent the best way to reduce the risks of a regional nuclear war. Such an argument would flow logically from the assumption that if Israel waits too long for Iran to strike first, that enemy (once it had crossed the nuclear weapons threshold) could launch its own nuclear attacks. Even if Iran should strike first with conventional weapons only, Israel might calculate no rational damage-limiting alternatives to launching a nuclear retaliation.
To the extent that this narrative is taken as a reasonable scenario, the cost-effectiveness/legality of certain Israeli non-nuclear preemptions could be enhanced. Arguably, in these actions, Jerusalem’s preemptive commitment to “anticipatory self-defense” would be entirely law-enforcing. No such defense could be mustered on behalf of any Israeli nuclear preemption, an unprecedented attack that would (in virtually all conceivable circumstances) be in stark violation of authoritative international law. A possible exception could obtain only if Israel’s resort to a nuclear preemption were compelled by plausible expectations of national disappearance (see, in this connection, the 1996 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice).
Should Israel feel compelled to resort to actual nuclear war-fighting at some point after (1) enemy reprisals for Israel’s conventional preemption cause the state to escalate to nuclear weapons, or (2) enemy chemical/biological/conventional first-strikes cause Israel to escalate to nuclear weapons, the country would confront substantial problems under international law. Should an enemy state launch nuclear first-strikes against Israel (not presently a possibility unless Pakistan is counted as an enemy state), Jerusalem’s retaliatory use of nuclear weapons would be less problematic jurisprudentially. At the same time, matters of law in such dire circumstances would become utterly moot.
(4) Nuclear War fighting
Should nuclear weapons be introduced into an actual conflict between Israel and its enemies, either by Israel or a particular foe, nuclear war fighting, at one level or another, would ensue. This would be true so long as: (a) enemy first-strikes against Israel would not destroy Jerusalem’s second-strike nuclear capability; (b) enemy retaliations for an Israeli conventional preemption would not destroy Jerusalem’s nuclear counter retaliatory capability; (c) Israeli preemptive strikes involving nuclear weapons would not destroy adversarial second-strike nuclear capabilities; and (d) Israeli retaliation for enemy conventional first-strikes would not destroy enemy nuclear counter retaliatory capability.
It follows that in order to satisfy its essential survival requirements, Israel should take immediate, recognizable and reliable steps to ensure the likelihood of (a) and (b) above and the unlikelihood of (c) and (d).
In all cases, Israel’s nuclear strategy and forces must remain oriented toward deterrence, never to actual war fighting. With this in mind, in all likelihood, Jerusalem has already taken suitable steps to reject tactical or relatively low-yield “battlefield” nuclear weapons and any operational plans for counter-force targeting. For Israel, always and without exception, nuclear weapons can make sense only for deterrence ex ante; not revenge ex post.
The four above scenarios should remind Israeli planners and policy-makers of the overriding need for coherent nuclear theory and strategy. Among other things, this need postulates a counter-value targeted nuclear retaliatory force that is recognizably secure from enemy first-strikes and presumptively capable of penetrating any enemy state’s active defenses. To best meet this imperative security expectation, the IDF would be well-advised to continue with its sea-basing (submarines) of designated portions of its nuclear deterrent force. To satisfy the equally important requirements of “penetration-capability,” Tel-Aviv will have to stay conspicuously well ahead of all foreseeable enemy air defense refinements.
There is more. Sooner rather than later, Jerusalem will need to consider a partial and possibly sequenced end to its historic policy of “deliberate nuclear ambiguity.” By selectively beginning to remove the “bomb” from Israel’s “basement,” national planners would be better positioned to enhance the credibility of their country’s nuclear deterrence posture. However counter-intuitive, the mere possession of nuclear forces could never automatically bestow credible nuclear deterrence upon Israel or on any other nation-state.
Always, something more would be necessary.
In Israel’s strategic nuclear planning, would-be aggressors, whether nuclear or non-nuclear, should be systematically encouraged to believe that Jerusalem has the required willto launch measured nuclear forces in retaliation and that these forces are sufficiently invulnerable to any-contemplated first-strike attacks. Additionally, these enemies must be made to expect that Israel’s designated nuclear forces could reliably penetrate all already-deployed ballistic-missile defenses and air defenses.
Israel, it follows from all this, could benefit substantially from releasing at least certain broad outlines of its strategic configurations, capacities and doctrines. Without a prior and well-fashioned strategic doctrine, no such release could make sufficiently persuasive deterrent sense.
Such intentionally released information could support the perceived utility and security of Israel’s nuclear retaliatory forces. Disclosed solely to enhance Israeli nuclear deterrence, it would center purposefully upon the targeting, hardening, dispersion, multiplication, basing, and yield of selected national ordnance. Under certain conditions, the credibility of Israeli nuclear deterrence could vary inversely with the perceived destructiveness of its pertinent weapons. These should never be treated as issues of “common sense.”
Among other fundamental concerns, Israel will need to prepare differently for an expectedly rational nuclear adversary than for an expectedly irrational one. In such variously nuanced and unprecedented circumstances, national decision-makers in Jerusalem would need to distinguish precisely and meaningfully between genuine enemy irrationality, pretended or feigned enemy irrationality and authentic enemy madness. In actual military practice, operationalizing such subtle distinctions could present staggeringly complex intellectual challenges and would need to take account of whether pertinent principal adversaries were (1) fully or partially sovereign states; (2) sub-national terrorist groups; or (3) “hybrid” enemies comprised of both state and sub-state foes.
Whatever nuances will be encountered in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the only rational way for Israel to effectively meet all these growing challenges will be to stay well ahead of its adversaries through the indispensable power of erudition and scholarship. Long ago, in classical Greece and Macedonia, the linked arts of war and deterrence were already described by military planners as challenges of “mind over mind,” not merely crude contests of “mind over matter.” For Israel, such ancient descriptions remain even more valid today.
Before Israel can successfully satisfy its most primary security and survival obligations, the country’s capable scholars must assume increasing intellectual responsibility for meeting the relevant challenges of “mind.” Most importantly, this means carrying on a coherent strategic “conversation” that goes significantly beyond usual day-to-day political commentaries or narrowly partisan observations. In the final analysis, Israel’s security situation must never be allowed to become a result of narrow political bickering between competing parties or interests. Instead, it should be allowed to emerge as the lifesaving outcome of optimally disciplined and dispassionate strategic scholarship.
There is one additional observation, a crucial one that brings the reader back to current superpower disagreements over Ukraine. Though present concern is that these disagreements could impact the prospect of a nuclear conflict in the Middle East (because world politics must always be assessed as a system), there are also variously urgent reciprocal concerns. To wit, a nuclear crisis or nuclear war in the Middle East could affect the likelihood of nuclear crisis or nuclear war between the United States and Russia over Ukraine.
Of necessity, the basis of this bold assertion is deductive argument rather than empirical generalization. Such a reasoned basis is by no means useless, deceptive or inferior. It represents the only logically acceptable basis for offering estimations of any such unique (sui generis) strategic circumstances.
Going forward, the prevention of a nuclear war in the Middle East should always be founded upon science-based scholarship and law, not on transient political factors. As a practical matter, observers are unlikely to see any propitious end to “Westphalian” international relations soon, but planners and policy-makers must still acknowledge that the “dreadful equality” of Thomas Hobbes’ “State of Nature” among individuals is also starting to characterize the relationship of certain states in world politics. More to the point, with the continued proliferation of nuclear weapons, some of the “weakest” states could become able to “kill the strongest.”
Among other things, this hitherto ignored outcome would mean that a particular state’s tangible “superiority” in nuclear weapons might not necessarily produce any proportionate increments of national security or safety.
“Realistically,” to sum up these matters concerning nuclear war avoidance in the Middle East, analysts ought to not soon expect any fundamental transformations of Realpolitik in the region. In the short term, at least, Israel’s planners and policy makers should continue to do whatever is needed and lawful to maintain the country’s critical deterrence and defense postures. At the same time, and preferably in some sorts of institutionalized cooperation with potentially nuclear adversary Iran, Jerusalem should begin to think beyond the “Westphalian” system of self-help power politics altogether. Though hard to take seriously regarding issues of international relations, the comprehensive wisdom of Federico Fellini does reasonably apply to variously complex matters of nuclear war avoidance: “The visionary,” warned the Italian film director succinctly but broadly, “is the only realist.”
 In this connection, recall the unchallengeable observation of Jesuit philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in The Phenomenon of Man: “The existence of `system’ in the world is at once obvious to every observer of nature, no matter whom….”
 For early accounts of nuclear war effects by this author, see: Louis René Beres, Apocalypse: Nuclear Catastrophe in World Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980); Louis René Beres, Mimicking Sisyphus: America’s Countervailing Nuclear Strategy (Lexington, Mass., Lexington Books, 1983); Louis René Beres, Reason and Realpolitik: U.S. Foreign Policy and World Order (Lexington, Mass., Lexington Books, 1984); and Louis René Beres, Security or Armageddon: Israel’s Nuclear Strategy (Lexington, Mass., Lexington Books, 1986). Most recently, by Professor Beres, see: Surviving amid Chaos: Israel’s Nuclear Strategy (New York, Rowman & Littlefield, 2016; 2nd ed. 2018). https://paw.princeton.edu/new-books/surviving-amid-chaos-israel%E2%80%99s-nuclear-strategy
 Rabbi Eleazar quoted Rabbi Hanina, who said: “Scholars build the structure of peace in the world.” See: The Babylonian Talmud, Order Zera’im, Tractate Berakoth, and IX.
 See Karl Popper, epigraph to The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1959).
 On deterring a soon-to-be nuclear Iran, see Professor Louis René Beres and General John T. Chain, “Could Israel Safely deter a Nuclear Iran? The Atlantic, August 2012; Professor Louis René Beres and General John T. Chain, “Israel; and Iran at the Eleventh Hour,” Oxford University Press (OUP Blog), February 23, 2012; and Beres/Chain: Israel: https://besacenter.org/living-iran-israels-strategic-imperative-2/ General Jack Chain (USAF) was Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Strategic Air Command (CINCSAC), from 1986 to 1991.
 The law of armed conflict requires, inter alia, that every use of force by an army or an insurgent group meet the test of “proportionality.” Drawn from the core legal principle (St. Petersburg Declaration, 1868, etc.) that “the means that can be used to injure an enemy are not unlimited,” proportionality stipulates that every resort to armed force be limited to what is necessary for meeting appropriate military objectives. This element of codified and customary international law applies to all judgments of military advantage and planned reprisals. It does not mean that each side must either suffer or create symmetrical harms. The rule of proportionality does not stipulate that a defending state must necessarily limit its use of force to the same “amount” employed by the other side. Proper determinations of proportionality need never be calculated in a geopolitical vacuum. To a limited extent, for example, such legal decisions may take into correct consideration the extent to which a particular adversary has committed prior or still-ongoing violations of the law of armed conflict.
 According to the rules of international law, every use of force must be judged twice: once with regard to the right to wage war (jus ad bellum), and once with regard to the means used in conducting war (jus in Bello). Today, acknowledging the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 and the United Nations Charter of 1945, all right to aggressive war has been abolished. However, the long-standing customary right of self-defense remains, codified at Article 51 of the Charter. Similarly, subject to conformance, inter alia, with jus in Bello criteria, certain instances of humanitarian intervention and collective security operations may also be consistent with jus ad bellum. The laws of war, the rules of jus in Bello, comprise (1) laws on weapons; (2) laws on warfare; and (3) humanitarian rules. Codified primarily at The Hague and Geneva Conventions (and known thereby as the law of The Hague and the law of Geneva), these rules attempt to bring discrimination, proportionality and military necessity into belligerent calculations.
The question of preemption – any preemption – must also be confronted as alegal matter. For early writings by the present author on this matter with particular reference to Israel (a matter regarding “anticipatory self-defense” under international law), see: Louis René Beres, “Preserving the Third Temple: Israel’s Right of Anticipatory Self-Defense Under International Law,” 26 VANDERBILT JOURNAL OF TRANSNATIONAL LAW, 111 (1993); Louis Rene Beres, “After the Gulf War: Israel, Preemption and Anticipatory Self-Defense,” 13 HOUSTON JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW 259 (1991); Louis Rene Beres, “Striking `First’: Israel’s Post-Gulf War Options Under International Law,” 14 LOYOLA OF LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AND COMPARATIVE LAW JOURNAL (1991); Louis Rene Beres, “Israel and Anticipatory Self-Defense,” 8 ARIZONA JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL AND COMPARATIVE LAW 89 (1991); Louis Rene Beres, “After the Scud Attacks: Israel, `Palestine,’ and Anticipatory Self-Defense,” 6 EMORY INTERNATIONAL LAW REVIEW 71 (1992).
 On Israeli submarine basing measures, see: Louis René Beres and (Admiral/USN/ret.) Leon “Bud” Edney, “Israel’s Nuclear Strategy: A Larger Role for Submarine-Basing,” The Jerusalem Post, August 17, 2014; also Professor Beres and Admiral Edney, “A Sea-Based Nuclear Deterrent for Israel,” Washington Times, September 5, 2014. Admiral Edney was a NATO Supreme Allied Commander (SACLANT).
 In modern philosophy, a more general highlighting of “will” is discoverable in Arthur Schopenhauer’s writings, especially The World as Will and Idea (1818). For his own inspiration (and by his own expressed acknowledgment), Schopenhauer drew freely upon Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Later, Nietzsche drew just as freely (and perhaps far more importantly) upon Schopenhauer. Goethe also served as a core intellectual source for Spanish existentialist Jose Ortega y’ Gasset, author of the prophetic work, The Revolt of the Masses (Le Rebelion de las Masas (1930). See, accordingly, Ortega’s very grand essay, “In Search of Goethe from Within” (1932), written for Die Neue Rundschau of Berlin on the occasion of the centenary of Goethe’s death. It is reprinted in Ortega’s anthology, The Dehumanization of Art (1948) and is available from Princeton University Press (1968).
 Expressions of such decisional irrationality in world politics could take variously different forms. These sometime overlapping forms, which would have no necessary correlations with authentic madness, include a disorderly or inconsistent value system; computational errors in calculation; an incapacity to communicate efficiently; random or haphazard influences in the making or transmittal of particular decisions; and the internal dissonance generated by any structure of collective decision-making (i.e., assemblies of pertinent individuals who lack identical value systems and/or whose organizational arrangements impact their willing capacity to act as a single or unitary national decision maker)
 Recall widely-cited observation of Sigmund Freud (in his book about
America’s Woodrow Wilson): “Fools, visionaries, sufferers from delusions, neurotics and lunatics have played great roles at all times in the history of mankind , and not merely when the accident of birth had bequeathed them sovereignty. Usually , they have wreaked havocS .”
 On such madness, see Seneca, 1st Century AD/CE: “We are mad, not only individuals, but nations also. We restrain manslaughter and isolated murders, but what of war, and the so-called glory of killing whole peoples? ….Man, the gentlest of animals, is not ashamed to glory in blood-shedding, and to wage war when even the beasts are living in peace together.” (Letters, 95).
In this regard, Israel’s nuclear strategy could have tangible effects upon the United States and meaningful implications for U.S. national security. On these generally ignored but still-significant effects, see Professor Louis René Beres and (General/USA/ret.) Barry McCaffrey, ISRAEL’S NUCLEAR STRATEGY AND AMERICA’S NATIONAL SECURITY, Tel-Aviv University and Israel Institute for Strategic Studies, Tel-Aviv, December 2016: https://sectech.tau.ac.il/sites/sectech.tau.ac.il/files/PalmBeachBook.pdf
 In this connection, consider Jose Ortega y’Gasset in Man and Crisis (1958): “Science, by which I mean the entire body of knowledge about things, whether corporeal or spiritual, is as much a work of imagination as it is of observation….”
William Blackstone, the jurist upon whose work the United States owes its own basic system of law, remarks at Book 4 of his Commentaries on the Law of England: “The law of nations (international law) is always binding upon all individuals and all states. Each state is expected, perpetually, to aid and enforce the law of nations as part of the common law, by inflicting an adequate punishment upon the offenses against that universal law.”
 See: Treaty of Peace of Munster, Oct. 1648, 1 Consol. T.S. 271; and Treaty of Peace of Osnabruck, Oct. 1648, 1.Consol. T.S. 119, Together, these two treaties comprise the Peace of Westphalia. De facto, though co-existing with various patterns of collective security, “Westphalian” international law remains essentially a “vigilante” or self-help system of power management.
Though composed in the seventeenth century, Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan still offers a still- illuminating vision of balance-of-power world politics. Says the English philosopher in Chapter XIII, “Of the Natural Condition of Mankind, as concerning their Felicity, and Misery:” “During such chaos,” a condition which Hobbes identifies as a ‘time of War,’ it is a time “…where every man is Enemy to every man… and where the life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Hobbes believed that the condition of “nature” in world politics was less chaotic than that same condition existing among individual human beings. This owes to what he called the “dreadful equality” of individual men in nature concerning ability to kill others, but this once-relevant differentiation has now effectively disappeared with the global spread of nuclear weapons. Today, certain “weaker” states that are nonetheless nuclear could still bring “unacceptable harms” to certain “stronger” states.
 For the authoritative sources of international law, see art. 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice; done at San Francisco, June 26, 1945. Entered into force, Oct. 24, 1945; for the United States, Oct. 24, 1945. 59 Stat. 1031, T.S. No. 993, 3 Bevans 1153, 1976 Y.B.U.N., 1052.
 Even amid “Westphalian” geopolitics in international relations, a dominant jurisprudential assumption of solidarity obtains between all states. This fundamental assumption is already mentioned in Justinian, Corpus Juris Civilis (533 C.E.); Hugo Grotius, 2 De Jure Belli Ac Pacis Libri Tres, Ch. 20 (Francis W. Kesey, tr., Clarendon Press, 1925)(1690); and Emmerich De Vattel, 1 Le Droit Des Gens, Ch. 19 (1758).
What is driving Russia’s security concerns?
The current discussions between Russia and NATO pivot on Russia’s requirement for the Alliance to provide legally binding security guarantees: specifically, that the alliance will not expand east, which will require revoking the 2008 NATO Bucharest summit decision that Ukraine and Georgia “will become members of NATO” .
It is useful to shed some light on the underlying points which drive Russia’s deep concerns. Moscow holds that the USSR was deceived on the issue of NATO expansion. At the same time, it is recognised that it was the fault of the Soviet leadership not to acquire legally binding guarantees at that time and the fault of the Russian leadership in the 1990s not to prevent NATO expansion per se. The current acrimony is caused by numerous examples of Western leaders making promises, blurred or straightforward, not to expand NATO further.
But Russia’s proposals were not limited only to political statements. For example, in 2009 Moscow already put forward the draft of a legally binding European Security Treaty.
As to the issue of membership, it is unlikely that Moscow buys certain behind-the-scenes hints that the potential NATO membership of Ukraine is really only a rhetorical position. Often this approach is called “constructive ambiguity”. Moscow strongly believes, with good reason, that in the past all unofficial promises about the expansion of NATO were broken. Why would it believe them now?
Another fundamental point, from Russia’s point of view, is that beside the right to choose alliances, there is a crucial role for the concept of indivisible security, particularly the elements of equal security and the obligation that no country not to strengthen its own security at the expanse of the other. These principles are enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act (1975), in the Paris Charter (1990), in the NATO-Russia Founding Act (1997) and in the Charter of European Security (1999). Therefore, it should be the obligation of both sides to work out the parameters of indivisible security holistically and not to pretend that this is an invention of Moscow.
Arguably, indivisibility of security may include, for example, an obligation not to indicate the other side in military strategic concepts, doctrines, postures and planning as an enemy, rival or adversary. Among other things, it may also include an obligation to halt the development of military planning and military exercises, which designate Europe as a potentialtheatre of war between NATO and Russia. It is Pentagon, which in its official press statements indicate for example Georgia, Ukraine and Romania as “frontline states”.
A common Western argument against Russia’s current draft is that it is difficult to see how such a legally binding guarantee can be achieved when Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty stipulates that its parties, upon unanimous decision, can invite any other European state to join.
But to refer to Article 10 regarding the expansion of NATO after 1991 is not correct. In 1949 Article 10 of course did not envisage the open-door policy for the states that were in the Soviet bloc. After 1991 a qualitatively new situation arose. It was not Article 10 but a political decision of the United States in 1994-1995 to open a totally new chapter in the expansion. That decision was of a paramount importance.
Also, it is said that the United States is similarly unlikely to enter into a bilateral arrangement with Russia regarding NATO expansion, since this would violate Article 8 of the Treaty, whereby parties undertake not to enter into any international engagements in conflict with the Treaty.
Again, the point is not straightforward. The US de facto is the dominant member of NATO, which in most circumstances calls the shots there. According to history, when its national interests demanded, it took decisions that can be interpreted as conflicting or even undermining Article 8. For example, the security interests of the UK were clearly disregarded in 1956-1957 in the course of the Suez crisis due to the actions of the US. Or doesn’t the AUKUS run counter to the security interests of France? Or, for example, didn’t the way in which the US left Afghanistan undermine the security of some other members of NATO?
Short of the legally binding guarantee by NATO, what other options for a settlement might be satisfactory for Russia?
Russia deeply values the status of neutrality that several countries in Europe maintain. Indeed, it would be difficult to dismiss the fact that the international standing of Finland, Austria or Switzerland would have been much lower if not for their policy of neutrality. Moreover, one may say that the security of these countries is even higher than the security of some member states of NATO. So why not consider an option of neutrality, for example, for Ukraine, Moldova or Georgia, buttressed by certain international treaties like it was in the case of Austria?
Another back-up option would be to consider any further theoretical expansion of NATO on the conditions that were applied to the territory of the former German Democratic Republic—i.e. that NATO integrated troops or NATO infrastructure is not deployed on this territory.
Alternatively, a further option could be to place a moratorium on a new membership, for example for 15-20 years, which would not undermine Article 10 per se. For example, Turkey now for 16 years is a candidate-country of the European Union but nobody in the EU pretends that it can become a member in the foreseeable future.
Mutual security concerns could be met if a significant complex of agreements is approved. Firstly, agreements could be made on military-to-military communication, on military drills and exercises, and on patrols of strategic bombers.
Secondly, there could be a NATO-Russia comprehensive agreement on the basis of well-known IncSea and dangerous military activities agreements.
Thirdly, there is scope for an agreement on an obligation not to deploy in NATO members, bordering Russia, any strike systems, either nuclear or conventional.
And fourthly, in the league of its own, there could be an agreement on a Russia-NATO legally binding moratorium on the INF land-based systems, both nuclear and conventional.
Finally, on Ukraine, it is often said that Ukraine is much weaker than Russia and has no ability to launch and sustain a large-scale offensive against Russia. This misses the point.
Russia is concerned about two things. First, that there is no guarantee that sooner or later a third country would not decide to sell to or deploy in Ukraine strike systems that will endanger Russia’s security. Second, that Ukraine may attack not Russia but Donbas, like Poroshenko did in 2015, to try to solve the problem with military means and at the same time to try to involve NATO in military confrontation with Russia. This could be called a Saakashvili style of doing things.
It is unlikely that Russia will ever agree to restrain the movement of troops on its own territory, which would be quite humiliating. This would be a matter for a new CFE treaty if such a treaty is ever revived. Another question is what is considered “in proximity to the Ukrainian border”? At present, the deployment of most additional Russian troops, described by Western sources as “in proximity”, is minimum 200-300 km from the border. Does it mean that Russian troops will be prohibited from approaching its own borders in proximity, for example, of 400-500 km?
Meanwhile, on the other side there are more than 100 thousand Ukrainian troops concentrated on the contact line with Donbas, and much closer to it than the distance between the Russian troops and the Russian border. It is interesting to note that maps, which Western media these days is so fond of printing and which show locations where Russian military forces are stationed or deployed on the territory of Russia, do not have any indication of Ukrainian troops disposition. What happens if Ukrainian troops receive orders to attack Donbas akin to orders that Saakashvili gave his troops in 2008 to attack Tskhinval? It is clear that Moscow will never let Kiev take Donbas by force destroying the whole edifice of the political process based on the Minsk-2 agreements, which, importantly, in 2015 became a part of the UN Security Council Resolution. The additional Russian troops deployments are intended to deter Kiev from attacking Donbas and they are not a harbinger of “invasion of Ukraine”.
At present there are conflicting signals coming from all sides, which can be interpreted in many ways. Warmongers shout that diplomacy is a waste of time and that only muscle-flexing and even application of hard power will teach the other a lesson. Still, most top policymakers in Moscow, Washington and major European capitals seem to prefer further consultations and dialogue, both public and confidential. In the sphere of arms control in Europe and CBMs, on which there is an ample pool of expert recommendations, the US and NATO have let it be known that they are ready to talk seriously with Moscow.
The situations in the Baltic region and in the Black Sea region require urgent and lasting de-escalation. A compromise on the issue of further expansion of NATO should be reached in a way that satisfies both sides in spite of each having to make necessary concessions. A final imperative is that the US-Russia tracks on the future of strategic stability and cyber security should proceed unhindered. The P5 statement of January 2022 on preventing nuclear war and avoiding arms races needs to be followed by a P5 summit – the Russian proposal that was unanimously supported in 2020.
In summary, Western and Russian diplomats, both civil and military, need time to continue their work, which is of existential importance.
From our partner RIAC
In 2022, military rivalry between powers will be increasingly intense
“Each state pursues its own interest’s, however defined, in ways it judges best. Force is a means of achieving the external ends of states because there exists no consistent, reliable process of reconciling the conflicts of interest that inevitably arise among similar units in a condition of anarchy.” – Kenneth Waltz,
The worldwide security environment is experiencing substantial volatility and uncertainty as a result of huge developments and a pandemic, both of which have not been experienced in a century. In light of this, major countries including as Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and India have hastened their military reform while focusing on crucial sectors. 2022 might be a year when the military game between big nations heats up.
The military competition between major powers is first and foremost a battle for strategic domination, and the role of nuclear weapons in altering the strategic position is self-evident. In 2022, the nuclear arms race will remain the center of military rivalry between Russia, the United States, and other major countries, while hypersonic weapons will become the focus of military technology competition among major nations.
The current nuclear weapons competition between major nations will be more focused on technological improvements in weapon quality. In 2022, the United States would invest USD 27.8 billion in nuclear weapons development. It intends to buy Columbia-class strategic nuclear-powered submarines and improve nuclear command, control, and communication systems, as well as early warning systems.
One Borei-A nuclear-powered submarine, two Tu-160M strategic bombers, and 21 sets of new ballistic missile systems will be ordered by Russia. And its strategic nuclear arsenal is anticipated to be modernized at a pace of more than 90%. This year, the United Kingdom and France will both beef up their nuclear arsenals. They aspire to improve their nuclear forces by constructing new strategic nuclear-powered submarines, increasing the quantity of nuclear warheads, and testing new ballistic missiles.
Russia will commission the Zircon sea-based hypersonic cruise missiles this year and continue to develop new hypersonic missiles as a leader in hypersonic weapon technology. To catch up with Russia, the US will invest USD 3.8 billion this year in the development of hypersonic weapons. Hypersonic weapons are also being researched and developed in France, the United Kingdom, and Japan.
Surviving contemporary warfare is the cornerstone of the military competition between major countries, and keeping the cutting edge of conventional weapons and equipment is a necessary condition for victory. In 2022, major nations including as Russia and the United States will speed up the upgrade of primary war equipment.
The United States will concentrate on improving the Navy and Air Force’s weaponry and equipment. As planned, the US Navy will accelerate the upgrade and commissioning of weapons and equipment such as Ford-class aircraft carriers, Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines, and F-15EX fighter jets, as well as develop a high-end sea and air equipment system that includes new aircraft carrier platforms and fifth-generation fighter jets.
Russian military equipment improvements are in full swing, with the army receiving additional T-14 tanks, the navy receiving 16 major vessels, and the aerospace force and navy receiving over 200 new or better aircraft. The commissioning of a new generation of Boxer armored vehicles in the United Kingdom will be accelerated. India will continue to push for the deployment of its first homegrown aircraft carrier in combat. Japan will also continue to buy F-35B fighter jets and improve the Izumo, a quasi-aircraft carrier.
The US military’s aim this year in the domain of electromagnetic spectrum is to push the Air Force’s Project Kaiju electronic warfare program and the Navy’s next generation jammer low band (NGJ-LB) program, as well as better enhance the electronic warfare process via exercises. Pole-21, Krasukha, and other new electronic warfare systems will be sent to Russia in order to increase the automation of electronic warfare systems. The electronic warfare systems of the Type 45 destroyers, as well as the Type 26 and Type 31 frigates, will be upgraded by the United Kingdom. To build combat power, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces will continue to develop the newly formed 301st Electronic Warfare Company.
Around the world, a new cycle of scientific, technical, and military upheaval is gaining traction, and conflict is swiftly shifting towards a more intelligent form. Russia, the United States, and other major countries have boosted their investment in scientific research in order to win future battles, with a concentration on intelligent technology, unmanned equipment, and human-machine coordinated tactics.
This year, the US military intends to spend USD 874 million on research and development to boost the use of intelligent technologies in domains such as information, command and control, logistics, network defense, and others. More than 150 artificial intelligence (AI) projects are presently being developed in Russia.
This year, it will concentrate on adapting intelligent software for various weapon platforms in order to improve combat effectiveness. France, the United Kingdom, India, and other countries have also stepped up their AI research and attempted to use it broadly in areas such as intelligence reconnaissance, auxiliary decision-making, and network security.
In the scope of human coordinated operations, the United States was the first to investigate and has a distinct edge. The US intends to conduct the first combat test of company-level unmanned armored forces, investigate ways for fifth-generation fighter jets to coordinate with unmanned reconnaissance aircraft and drone swarms, and promote manned and unmanned warships working together on reconnaissance, anti-submarine, and mine-sweeping missions.
Russia will work to integrate unmanned equipment into manned combat systems as quickly as feasible, while also promoting the methodical development of drones and unmanned vehicles. Furthermore, France and the United Kingdom are actively investigating human-machine coordinated techniques in military operations, such as large urban areas.
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