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The Strategy and Technology Weekly

Updated: Jun 22

GLOBAL SHIFTS:

NAVIGATING POLITICS, TECHNOLOGY, AND ECONOMICS IN A VOLATILE WORLD

 

Summaries and Links to This Week’s Curated Articles

June 10  –16, 2024


THE BIG PICTURE

 

International Political Landscape

In the Middle East, U.S. President Joe Biden's attempts to mediate peace between Israel and Hamas face significant hurdles, with both sides showing reluctance to compromise. At the G7 summit, global leaders pledged a $50 billion loan to aid Ukraine's reconstruction, underscoring the ongoing geopolitical struggle with Russia. Meanwhile, China faces growing international trade conflicts, with new tariffs from the European Union on Chinese electric vehicles and rising unrest in the Global South over steel exports. These events reflect a volatile global environment where strategic alliances and economic policies are continually tested.

 

Technological Innovations

Innovations such as the bird eye-inspired camera for enhanced object detection and AI-based drone systems for search and rescue missions signify significant progress in technology applications. Yale's pioneering in-house 3D surgical procedure and Honeywell's use of 3D-printed ceramic molds for turbine blades illustrate the transformative potential of 3D printing in medicine and manufacturing. Additionally, tech giants are forming new alliances to counter Nvidia's dominance with the "Ultra Accelerator Link," and AI's role in redefining language learning and advanced AI data centers continue to evolve, highlighting the dynamic interplay between technological development and market competition.

 

Economic Developments

Economic news this week focuses on the implications of technological and geopolitical changes. The U.S. is pushing for dominance in the battery production industry, driven by significant investments under the Inflation Reduction Act, aiming to secure critical mineral supplies and develop a robust supply chain independent of Chinese control. Oracle's impressive cloud infrastructure sales and new partnership with Google Cloud signal robust growth in the cloud technology sector. Meanwhile, the Biden administration considers further restrictions on China's access to AI chip technology, indicating a tightening grip on strategic tech resources. These developments underscore the interconnectedness of technology and economic strategies in shaping global market dynamics.

 

 

ECONOMICS  

·      Strong Dollar Creates Inflation Headache.

·      Biden Escalating Trump China Tariffs.

·      US consumer sentiment unexpectedly fell to a seven-month low in early June as high prices continued to affect views of personal finances.

·      Bank of England meets but is unlikely to cut interest rates.

·      The US reports retail sales, which are expected to stay flat. 

·      Vladimir Putin visits North Korea and Vietnam.

·      Chinese Premier Li Qiang visits Australia, senior-most visit since 2017.

 

 

TECH WATCH

Innovative bird eye–inspired camera developed for enhanced object detection: A research team has developed a perovskite-based camera specializing in object detection.

Using AI to help drones find lost hikers: A trio of engineers has designed and built an AI-based drone system that can assist in search efforts for hikers lost in the wilderness.

Yale’s First In-House “3D” Surgical Case: A Leap in Medicine. Yale School of Medicine surgeons pioneered the first fully in-house 3D surgical procedure to fix a misaligned bone near the wrist.

Honeywell 3D Prints Ceramic Molds for Turbine Blades: Honeywell is believed to be one of the first jet engine manufacturers to make turbine blades with 3D printed ceramic molds.

Tech giants form AI group to counter Nvidia with new interconnect standard: "Ultra Accelerator Link" aims to connect high-performance GPUs and servers.

Massive Sunspot Cluster Returns, Threatening Yet Another Geomagnetic Storm: If you thought the Sun was done hurling bonus radiation toward Earth, you'd be wrong.

Babbel CEO: AI will redefine language learning — but won’t replace it. How will generative AI impact the way we learn foreign languages?

Understanding the Battle for the Future of AGI: Understanding the scale of the massive AI data centers being built and the competition to create the dominant AI in 2025.

US Manufacturers Are Stumbling Toward Digitalization: US factories are showing growth in digitalization projects. Yet a fragmented approach has made ROI hard to measure.

Generative AI Expert Looks Behind the Myth to Reality: Well-known tech author tells Design News how he views game-changing AI tool affecting how we work and what issues need to be resolved.

Cancer patients often do better with less intensive treatment, new research finds: Scaling back treatment for three kinds of cancer can make life easier for patients without compromising outcomes, doctors reported at the world's largest cancer conference.

 

 

NATIONS MAKING HEADLINES

 

THE USA

"Sleepwalking Toward War: Will America and China Heed the Warnings of Twentieth-Century Catastrophe?" by Odd Arne Westad, published in Foreign Affairs, explores the parallels between the pre-World War I antagonism between Germany and Britain and the current tensions between the United States and China. The article highlights how economic competition, geopolitical fears, and deep mistrust drive the rivalry, suggesting that while structural factors fuel the antagonism, it is ultimately the decisions of leaders that can either prevent or precipitate conflict. Westad emphasizes the need for strategic communication and cooperation to avoid a disastrous war, drawing lessons from history to propose measures for managing U.S.-China relations. [Read more](https://www.foreignaffairs.com/china/sleepwalking-toward-war-united-states).

 

"The Terrorism Warning Lights Are Blinking Red Again: Echoes of the Run-Up to 9/11," by Graham Allison and Michael J. Morell, published in Foreign Affairs, highlights the rising threat of a terrorist attack on the United States. The article draws parallels to the pre-9/11 warnings and emphasizes the urgency of current alarms from FBI Director Christopher Wray and other officials about threats from groups like al Qaeda, ISIS, and ISIS-K. The authors argue for proactive measures, similar to those taken by the Clinton administration in 1999, to prevent potential attacks, stressing the need for comprehensive intelligence and security efforts. [Read more](https://www.foreignaffairs.com/united-states/terrorism-warning-lights-are-blinking-red-again).

 

"Will Biden’s Help for Ukraine Come Fast Enough and Last Long Enough?" by David E. Sanger, published in The New York Times, analyzes President Biden's recent commitments to Ukraine amidst the ongoing conflict with Russia. Biden signed a 10-year security pact and announced a $50 billion loan for Ukraine's reconstruction, signaling long-term support. However, the article raises concerns about the timely delivery of aid, the potential impact of the upcoming U.S. elections, and the challenges in securing congressional approval for the necessary funds. The effectiveness of these measures in changing the course of the war and their sustainability remains uncertain. [Read more](https://www.nytimes.com/2024/06/13/world/europe/g7-ukraine-loan-russian-assets.html).

 

"G7 United," by Alexandra Sharp, published by Foreign Policy, covers the recent G7 summit in Fasano, Italy, where leaders from the world's major economies convened to address global security, particularly focusing on the war in Ukraine. The summit saw the announcement of a $50 billion loan to Ukraine to rebuild its infrastructure, funded by the interest from frozen Russian assets. Additionally, the U.S. and Ukraine signed a new security agreement signaling long-term support for Kyiv. Despite the show of unity, political challenges at home for many G7 leaders, including the U.S. presidential race and rising far-right movements in Europe, underscored the fragility of these commitments. [Read more](https://www.foreignpolicy.com/).

 

"Why the Dollar Will Stay Ahead of a BRICS Currency, the Yuan, or Crypto," by Jared Cohen, published in Foreign Policy, argues that despite numerous predictions of the dollar's decline, it remains the cornerstone of the global economy. Cohen explains that while countries and financial technologies are pushing the limits of their autonomy within a dollar-dominated system, there is no real alternative on the horizon. The U.S. economy's size, deep capital markets, and trusted financial institutions continue to underpin the dollar's dominance. Efforts towards de-dollarization are ongoing but remain marginal, and any significant shift would require substantial policy changes globally. [Read more](https://www.foreignpolicy.com/).

 

"How America Can Win the Coming Battery War," by Jonas Goldman, Noah J. Gordon, Bentley Allan, and Daniel Baer, published in Foreign Affairs, discusses the United States' strategic efforts to dominate the battery production industry amid global competition, especially from China. The article highlights the significant investments driven by the Inflation Reduction Act, which has boosted U.S. clean energy manufacturing. It emphasizes the need for bipartisan support and international collaboration to secure critical mineral supplies and develop a robust supply chain independent of Chinese control. The authors argue that to maintain leadership in the electric vehicle market and ensure a successful green transition, the U.S. must increase funding, forge strategic alliances, and streamline mining and processing operations. [Read more](https://www.foreignaffairs.com/).

 

"Robotic Vehicles to Fight with Enemy Forces in Army Training Event," by Jen Judson, published in Defense News, discusses the U.S. Army's upcoming training exercises involving Robotic Combat Vehicles (RCVs). These vehicles will be integrated into opposing force units at the National Training Center, marking a significant step in the Army's efforts to evaluate and refine human-machine combat tactics. The article highlights the Army's ongoing experiments and the expected delivery of new RCV prototypes from various manufacturers, which will undergo rigorous testing to determine their suitability for future deployment. The Army aims to field its first operational RCV unit by fiscal year 2028. [Read more](https://www.defensenews.com/).

 

"What the Apple-OpenAI Deal Means for Four Tech Titans," by Deepa Seetharaman, Aaron Tilley, and Miles Kruppa, published in The Wall Street Journal, examines the impact of Apple’s collaboration with OpenAI on the competitive dynamics among major tech companies. The agreement, announced at Apple’s developer conference, strengthens OpenAI’s position in the AI sector and gives Apple a significant edge in integrating advanced AI capabilities into its products. This move raises questions about OpenAI's existing partnership with Microsoft and poses a challenge to Google, which has relied on being the default search engine for Apple devices. The deal underscores the shifting alliances and intensifying competition in the AI landscape. [Read more](https://www.wsj.com/articles/apple-openai-deal-big-tech-dc3fe4ce).

 

 

CHINA & ASIA

"China’s Trade Troubles Are Breaking Out Across the Globe," by Ben Holland, published in Bloomberg, details the escalating trade conflicts China is facing on multiple fronts. The article highlights new tariffs imposed by the European Union on Chinese electric vehicles, mirroring actions taken by the United States. Additionally, China is contending with trade disputes in the Global South over cheap steel exports, which are causing unrest in countries like Brazil, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. These challenges, compounded by a weak domestic economy, present significant hurdles for President Xi Jinping and China's international trade strategy. [Read more](https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-06-14/china-s-trade-troubles-are-breaking-out-across-the-globe).

 

"EU’s New China Car Tariffs Risk Retaliation," by Albertina Torsoli and Alberto Nardelli, published in Bloomberg, discusses the European Union's decision to impose additional tariffs of up to 38.1% on electric vehicles imported from China starting next month. The move is part of a broader effort to address the competitive imbalance caused by Chinese subsidies and protect the European auto industry. This decision impacts not only Chinese companies like BYD and Geely but also Western carmakers such as Tesla, which exports vehicles from Shanghai to Europe. In response, China has hinted at retaliatory measures affecting sectors such as agriculture, aviation, and automotive. This escalation underscores the growing global trade tensions and the delicate balance the EU must maintain between its green agenda and industrial protectionism. [Read more](https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-06-12/eu-to-impose-additional-tariffs-on-ev-imports-from-china).

 

"Why China Is Sabotaging Ukraine," by Alexander Gabuev, published in Foreign Affairs, explores China's strategic decision to undermine Western-led peace efforts in Ukraine. Despite initial indications of support for Ukraine’s peace proposals, Beijing has opted to maintain its alliance with Russia. The article argues that China seeks to leverage its relationship with Moscow to eventually broker its own peace deal, enhancing its global diplomatic standing. However, this approach faces significant challenges, as neither Ukraine nor Russia is ready for peace talks, and China’s actions have eroded trust in Western capitals. [Read more](https://www.foreignaffairs.com/china/why-china-sabotaging-ukraine-peace-agreement).

 

"A Plan for China’s Housing Glut?" by James Palmer, published in Foreign Policy, delves into China's tentative strategy to repurpose its vast unsold housing inventory into affordable housing. Faced with 3.6 billion square feet of unsold homes due to a collapsed property bubble, the plan aims to increase affordable housing from 5% to 30% of the national stock. However, past corruption and inefficiencies in similar initiatives, combined with the complexities of the hukou system and local government financial constraints, pose significant challenges. The plan's success hinges on overcoming entrenched socioeconomic barriers and finding sustainable funding solutions. [Read more](https://foreignpolicy.com/).

 

"Modi’s Taiwan Ties Have Rattled China," by Rishi Iyengar, published in Foreign Policy, explores the recent tensions between India and China sparked by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's acknowledgment of Taiwan's President Lai Ching-te. Modi's public response to Lai's congratulatory message on social media, advocating for closer ties between India and Taiwan, provoked a sharp reaction from Beijing. This move marks a significant shift in India's foreign policy, reflecting its growing economic and technological partnerships with Taiwan amid deteriorating relations with China, particularly after the 2020 border clashes. The article also discusses the broader implications of India's stance on Taiwan and its strategic alignment with like-minded partners in technology and defense. [Read more](https://foreignpolicy.com/2024/06/11/modi-lai-india-taiwan-china-relations).

 

The Taiwan Aid Bill Won’t Fix the Arms Backlog” by Eric Gomez, Foreign Policy. The article discusses the recently passed Taiwan aid bill, signed by U.S. President Joe Biden, which aims to address Taiwan's $19.7 billion backlog of arms sales from the United States amidst increasing Chinese military activities. Despite new legislation to expedite weapons transfers using presidential drawdown authority (PDA), the bill's impact will be limited as the U.S. military does not stock many of the items Taiwan has ordered. The article argues that while PDA can provide short-term relief, it won't solve the systemic issues causing long delays. Instead, a smarter, asymmetric defense strategy focusing on readily available, less complex weapons may better enhance Taiwan's self-defense capabilities. [Read more](https://foreignpolicy.com/2024/06/14/the-taiwan-aid-bill-wont-fix-the-arms-backlog/)

 

"Cloud Gains: The Bloomberg Open, Asia Edition," by Carrington York, published in Bloomberg, discusses the surge in Oracle's shares following impressive cloud infrastructure sales and a new partnership with Google Cloud. The article also covers the Biden administration's consideration of further restrictions on China's access to AI chip technology and highlights a variety of global economic updates, including India's and Canada's heightened security exchanges and Australia's economic outlook. The piece emphasizes the growing importance of cloud technology and geopolitical developments in shaping the global market landscape. [Read more](https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-06-11/oracle-reports-strong-bookings-signaling-further-cloud-momentum).

 

 

RUSSIA & NATO

"Russia’s Sabotage Campaign in Europe," by Robbie Gramer and Amy Mackinnon, published in Foreign Policy, examines the increasing frequency and boldness of Russia's hybrid warfare tactics against NATO countries. The article details various acts of sabotage, including cyberattacks, arson, and attempts to disrupt critical infrastructure across Europe. These operations, attributed to Russian military intelligence (GRU) and its proxies, aim to undermine Western support for Ukraine and create instability without provoking a full-scale military response. Despite their limited success, these actions highlight the growing threat and challenge Western nations face in countering Russia's gray zone strategies. [Read more](https://foreignpolicy.com/).

 

Postimperial Empire: How the War in Ukraine Is Transforming Europe” by Timothy Garton Ash, Foreign Affairs. The article explores how Russian President Vladimir Putin's attempt to restore the Russian empire by invading Ukraine has inadvertently paved the way for a postimperial Europe. Timothy Garton Ash argues that to counter Russian aggression and secure this new future, the European Union (EU) must adopt characteristics of an empire, such as greater unity and centralized authority. He highlights the EU's historical imperial influences and current geopolitical challenges, emphasizing the need for a strategic partnership with NATO and a strong stance against Russian and Chinese ambitions.  [Read more](https://www.foreignaffairs.com/europe/how-europe-got-its-mojo-back)

 

"The Fallout of European Elections," by Alexandra Sharp, published in Foreign Policy, discusses the significant gains made by far-right parties in the recent European Union parliamentary elections. While mainstream parties managed to secure a slim majority, far-right groups made substantial inroads, posing challenges for centrist leaders across Europe. French President Emmanuel Macron and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo are among the leaders facing political upheaval, with Macron calling for snap legislative elections and De Croo resigning after his party's poor performance. The rise of far-right parties in Germany, Italy, Austria, and the Netherlands highlights the shifting political landscape in Europe, raising concerns about the future direction of the EU. [Read more](https://foreignpolicy.com/).

 

"US Attack Sub, Canada Navy Patrol Ship Arrive in Cuba on Heels of Russian Warships," by Reuters Staff, published in Reuters, reports on the recent arrival of a U.S. attack submarine and a Canadian Navy patrol ship in Havana, Cuba, following the visit of Russian warships. The U.S. and Canadian naval presence highlights the growing tensions and strategic posturing in the region, as the Russian flotilla, including the advanced Yasen-M-class submarine Kazan, conducted exercises and port visits in the Caribbean. This development underscores the geopolitical competition and the significance of naval power in projecting influence in the Western Hemisphere. [Read more](https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/us-attack-sub-canada-navy-patrol-ship-arrive-cuba-heels-russian-warships-2024-06-14/).

 

 

MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

"Exclusive: Gaza Chief’s Brutal Calculation: Civilian Bloodshed Will Help Hamas," by Summer Said and Rory Jones, published in The Wall Street Journal, reveals the strategic mindset of Yahya Sinwar, Hamas's military leader in Gaza, who believes that the ongoing conflict and resultant civilian casualties benefit Hamas. Sinwar’s communications with mediators and Hamas officials suggest he thinks Israel has more to lose from the war and that high civilian death tolls will garner international sympathy and pressure on Israel. This strategy aims to prolong the conflict, thereby elevating Hamas's standing and ultimately achieving a cease-fire that allows them to claim victory. [Read more](https://www.wsj.com/world/middle-east/gaza-chiefs-brutal-calculation-civilian-bloodshed-will-help-hamas-626720e7).

 

Why Biden’s Gaza Cease-Fire Gambit Is Likely to Fail” by Aaron David Miller and Steven Simon, Foreign Policy.  The article examines U.S. President Joe Biden’s attempt to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, highlighting the challenges due to the parties' differing priorities and strategic clocks. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar are seen as having no urgency to compromise, contrasting with Biden’s pressing political timeline. The authors argue that despite Biden's efforts, the deep mistrust and strategic interests of both Netanyahu and Sinwar make a lasting truce unlikely, predicting that any agreement will likely be short-lived and fail to address underlying issues.  [Read more](https://foreignpolicy.com/2024/06/14/biden-gaza-israel-ceasefire-deal-diplomacy)

 

"The paradox ahead for Gaza: A postwar where the war goes on," by David Ignatius, published in The Washington Post, discusses the grim outlook for Gaza even if a cease-fire is reached. Ignatius highlights the complexities of achieving lasting peace, noting that Israel remains committed to demilitarizing Hamas, while Hamas is unlikely to relinquish its arms. The proposed "humanitarian bubbles" plan by Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant envisions areas in Gaza where an international force supports local governance, but skepticism remains about its viability. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's diplomatic efforts underscore the challenging path to de-escalation and reconstruction amid ongoing conflict. [Read more](https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2024/06/11/gaza-israel-hamas-ceasefire-security-plans/).

 

"Hamas Unsure How Many Hostages in Gaza are Alive," by Isabel Kershner, published in The New York Times, reports that Hamas does not know the status of the approximately 120 hostages Israel claims are still in Gaza. In an interview, Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan admitted that the leadership lacks information on the hostages' well-being. The return of these hostages is central to a proposed cease-fire, mediated by the U.S., Egypt, and Qatar, aiming to end the ongoing conflict. The proposal involves a phased release of hostages and a withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. However, negotiations are complicated by the unclear fate of the hostages and differing conditions set by Hamas and Israel. [Read more](https://www.nytimes.com/).

 

"Israel and Hezbollah Trade Strikes as Fighting Intensifies," by Hiba Yazbek, Abu Bakr Bashir, Aaron Boxerman, and Euan Ward, published in The New York Times, details the escalation of conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. Israel intensified its missile and artillery strikes in southern Gaza and targeted Hezbollah military positions in Lebanon, while Hezbollah responded with its most severe rocket and drone assault in months. The ongoing violence has resulted in injuries and wildfires, displacing over 150,000 people. Efforts by the U.S., France, and other mediators to broker a diplomatic settlement have been hindered by the persistent hostilities. [Read more](https://www.nytimes.com/2024/06/13/world/middleeast/israel-hezbollah-fighting.html).

 

"U.S. Strikes Targets in Yemen as Houthis Step Up Attacks on Red Sea Ships," by Anjana Sankar, published in The New York Times, reports on the U.S. military's airstrikes against three anti-ship cruise missile launchers in Houthi-controlled Yemen. The strikes were in response to intensified Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea, including missile strikes on two vessels on Thursday and crippling a ship the previous day. One Ukrainian-owned bulk carrier was hit, injuring a crew member and causing a fire. The Houthi's actions are escalating regional instability and complicating humanitarian efforts in Yemen and Gaza. [Read more](https://www.nytimes.com/2024/06/13/world/middleeast/us-strikes-yemen-houthis-red-sea.html).

 

 

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