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 THE WEEK IN STRATEGY

Summaries and Links to This Week’s Curated Strategy Articles


 

The Strategy Central staff collects strategy-focused articles from reputable journals, news media, and other journalistic forums every week. We provide a summary, link, and bottom line for each article. Perhaps some in our audience do not subscribe to the major news feeds or periodicals. We have access and try to provide articles from multiple sources that cover a wide array of strategic topics so that you can take advantage of something worth your time. Many links will only connect you to the article online if you subscribe, but you can at least get a sense of what is being conveyed. We hope this is convenient and informative for you.


 

AI and technology are central themes for this Week in Strategy.



 

UNITED STATES & EUROPE

 

The West Is Still Oblivious to Russia's Information War

by Ian Garner,

Foreign Policy -  March 9, 2024

Summary:

The article analyzes Russia's ongoing information war against the West. Garner, a historian and translator of Russian war propaganda, points out the failure of Western governments and social media companies to counteract or even recognize the full extent of Russian disinformation campaigns. Despite clear evidence of Russian influence operations deeply penetrating Western society, policymakers and social media companies have failed to take significant action to prevent further interference. Garner argues for a more aggressive approach to counteracting Russian disinformation, including forming coalitions to pass laws preventing Russia from directly feeding information to Western citizens through social media, initiating mass civic education programs to increase public awareness of Russian influence operations, and potentially retaliating in kind against Russian propaganda efforts.

 

Link:

 

Bottom Line:

The West's failure to effectively confront and mitigate Russia's information war not only jeopardizes support for Ukraine but also poses a significant threat to Western democratic institutions and values. Garner calls for urgent and decisive action to address this threat, warning that without such measures, the West risks losing not only the military conflict in Ukraine but also the broader hybrid war against Russia.


 

UNITED STATES


TSMC to Win More Than $5 Billion in Grants for US Chip Plant

By Mackenzie Hawkins

Bloomberg - March 8, 2024

Summary:

Hawkins reports that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) is poised to receive over $5 billion in federal grants to support a chip manufacturing project in Arizona. This funding marks a significant development in President Joe Biden's initiative to bolster American semiconductor production. The grant is part of ongoing negotiations with TSMC and other leading chip manufacturers for a portion of approximately $28 billion in grants aimed at advanced factories, as per the 2022 Chips and Science Act. The government has already announced awards for companies that produce older-generation semiconductors. This initiative is vital to reviving the US semiconductor industry and aims to ensure its competitiveness and security.

 

Link:

 

Bottom Line:

The U.S. government aims to reverse the trend of semiconductor manufacturing moving to Asia over past decades by incentivizing chipmakers to establish operations on American soil.  The strategy is to return control of the most vital commodity in manufacturing to the United States and prevent China from accessing or taking control of the industry through force.


 

UNITED STATES


Should AI Be Open-Source? Behind the Tweetstorm Over Its Dangers

By Belle Lin

The Wall Street Journal – March 7, 2024

Summary:

There is a debate about whether artificial intelligence (AI) should be developed as open-source or closed-proprietary. This discussion reflects broader concerns within the tech community about AI technologies' control, distribution, and ethical implications. Advocates for open-source AI argue for transparency, community building, and preventing monopolization by large tech firms. They believe that AI development should be accessible to everyone for collaborative improvement. Conversely, advocates for closed AI argue that keeping AI development private or within certain boundaries is crucial for managing its potential dangers and preventing misuse. They draw parallels between AI and nuclear weapons regarding the potential risk to national security.

 

Link:

 

Bottom Line:

The discussion touches on several key points, including the nature of AI development, technical and ethical considerations, and the potential risks AI poses. Both open and closed models of AI development have their pros and cons. Large language models, like those powering tools such as ChatGPT, are still developing and exhibit such problems as producing biased or inaccurate outputs, high operational costs, and significant energy consumption. Open-source advocates argue that AI's unknowns and technical gaps necessitate open development to harness collective expertise before commercial interests dominate. Conversely, closed-source supporters highlight the existential risks AI poses, suggesting that such technology should be managed with caution for the safety of society as a whole.


 

ASIA PACIFIC


Xi Sticks to His Vision for China’s Rise Even as Growth Slows

By Chris Buckley

The New York Times - March 9, 2024

Summary:

China's President, Xi Jinping, has an unwavering vision for China's future in the face of external pressures and slowing growth. Despite facing economic challenges and falling behind in areas like artificial intelligence, Xi is confident in his strategy for China's technological dominance. His vision includes tight Communist Party control and state-led investments in new sectors, emphasizing ambitions for industrial growth driven by innovation. Critics argue Xi's centralized approach may stifle innovation and escalate tensions with Western governments. Nonetheless, Xi's long-term plans remain unchanged, and he continues to push for the Communist Party's deeper involvement in society and the economy and confront international rivals.

 

Link:


Bottom Line:

While Xi displays "tactical flexibility" in addressing immediate issues, he insists on adherence to his broader goals. His administration defends his policies against skeptics, emphasizing the need for technological advancements to overcome economic, environmental, and demographic challenges. There is a contrast between China's current predicament and past moments of reform. China faces increased global antagonism and a belief among Chinese leaders that Western rivals face even greater long-term challenges.  Xi's strategy includes leveraging China's advancements in manufacturing and technology, particularly in clean energy and electric vehicles, to drive "high-quality" growth. Despite the economic slowdown, the Chinese leadership is convinced that controlling critical global economic sectors will significantly leverage international trade and relations.


 

RUSSIA. 


After Ukrainian Strikes, Russia Fires Top Naval Commander

By Julian E. Barnes, Maria Varenikova and Paul Sonne

The New York Times – March 12. 2024

Summary:

The New York Times reported that Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, the head of the Russian Navy, was dismissed following successful Ukrainian strikes on Russia's Black Sea Fleet, which has significantly impacted Russia's naval capabilities. The Ukrainian attacks have sunk an estimated 15 Russian ships in the past six months using sea drones and missiles despite Ukraine lacking a traditional navy. This action marks a significant repercussion of the ongoing conflict, pushing the Russian fleet back from Ukraine's coast and allowing the country to resume grain shipments from the port of Odesa.

 

Link:

 

Bottom Line:

There are broad strategic implications for these developments, including the enhanced ability of Ukraine to conduct further strikes against Crimea and the Black Sea Fleet if the United States provides additional military assistance. The change in naval leadership and the effectiveness of Ukrainian strikes reflect both the tactical challenges faced by Russia in securing its naval assets and the strategic resilience of Ukraine in the ongoing conflict.


 

 

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