“This idea may be formulated as follows. The situation is better now than it was ten years ago; therefore ten years from now it will be better still. I will attempt to show here why I disagree with this notion.”          Andre Amalryk In 1968, Andrei Amalrik wrote “Will the ...

China’s communist leadership is struggling over how to respond to Hong Kong’s swelling protests. Giving in to protesters’ demands for democracy or allowing unrest to spread is out of the question.  Yet armed intervention will have its price. On April 15, 1989, students marched from Beijing University to Tiananmen Square, ...

  Bottom Line Up Front China has taken a page from Russia’s playbook as Beijing systematically wages an online disinformation campaign aimed at inflating support for Hong Kong's ruling authorities. Beijing has deployed a relentless disinformation campaign on Twitter and Facebook powered by unknown numbers of bots, trolls, and so-called ...

Protestors in Hong Kong are sticking by their demands which include a formal withdrawal of an extradition bill that launched protestors onto the streets earlier this summer; the release of protestors arrested by police and some reassurance of a move toward a more democratic society. In a high-profile move, Cathay Pacific’s ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On August 8, the United Nations released a new report that details accelerating climate change and its negative impact on global food supplies. A major second-order effect of climate change is an increase in migration, as individuals seek to relocate in hopes of escaping poverty, ...

The director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs office says the city is experiencing its worst crisis since the colony returned to China from British rule in 1997 after weeks of protests prompted by legislation that protestors believe was eroding their freedoms. Thousands of protestors have been disrupting travel ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On July 22, 2019, China issued a new defense white paper titled China's National Defense in the New Era. The white paper stresses China's ‘peaceful intentions’ and focuses on defensive capabilities while affirming the Communist Party's stance on Taiwan and acknowledging the increasing strategic rivalry ...

  Bottom Line Up Front: In July 2019, China conducted joint military exercises with two European powers, Germany and France. Through Chinese president Xi Jinping’s signature policy, the Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing is seeking to expand its economic and political influence abroad. Although China touts BRI as an economic ...

  Bottom Line Up Front: In recent weeks, peaceful demonstrators in Hong Kong have gathered in large numbers to protest a controversial extradition bill with Mainland China. Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam has indefinitely suspended the bill but recently ignored protesters’ demands to withdraw the bill completely. Since 1997, ...

  Bottom Line Up Front: The U.S. Congress was recently notified about a potential arms sale between the U.S. and Taiwan, estimated at close to $2 billion. Beijing has expressed serious concern about the deal, claiming that it violates the ‘One-China’ policy that Washington has agreed to uphold. The arms ...

President Trump took to Twitter this week, tweeting, "Hearing word that Russia, Syria and, to a lesser extent, Iran, are bombing the hell out of Idlib Province in Syria, and indiscriminately killing many innocent civilians. The World is watching this butchery. What is the purpose, what will it get you? ...

  Bottom Line Up Front: On June 4, 1989 the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) staged a violent crackdown on peaceful protesters who gathered at Tiananmen Square to demand democratic reforms. Thirty years after the event, China has arguably grown more autocratic than it was in 1989 under the leadership of ...

  Bottom Line Up Front: On May 19, 2019, a prison riot in Vakhdat, Tajikistan, left 29 people dead, including supporters of the so-called Islamic State. Allegedly orchestrated by militants, government information about the riot is limited and leaves many questions unanswered. Tajikistan has seen an uptick in jihadist-inspired violence ...

  On May 10, 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump announced a raise in tariffs on Chinese imports from 10 to 25%, further escalating the ongoing trade dispute with Beijing. The hike in tariffs came as a surprise as both the U.S. and China had been raising expectations in early May ...

A number of U.S. companies including Google, Intel, Qualcomm and others are limiting business with Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei after the White House issued an Executive Order last week aimed at tightening security on the supply chain for information and communications technology.  While the EO didn’t specifically call out Huawei, ...

  Bottom Line Up Front China has created a highly controlled environment in Xinjiang where it monitors ethnic Uighurs, relying on emerging technologies to track and surveil its citizens. The Chinese Communist Party cites widespread religious extremism as the reason behind its draconian counterterrorism strategy. There is a palpable fear ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The Trump Administration ended a key waiver on Iran oil sanctions as part of an effort to apply maximum pressure on Iran’s economy and its regime. The end of the waiver program will reduce Iran’s oil exports further but is unlikely to bring them to ...

  Bottom Line Up Front: The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is China’s principal foreign policy vehicle and may be the most significant geopolitical strategy of the 21stCentury. BRI now extends to approximately 70 countries and is increasingly folding EU-countries under its infrastructure investment umbrella—most recently, Italy. Beijing’s investments in European ...

A lot has happened since China expert and Harvard Professor Graham Allison’s best-selling book on China, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides Trap was published in 2017. Thucydides was a Greek historian who chronicled close to three decades of war between Athens and Sparta and documented patterns ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The U.S. is continuing its aggressive campaign against the growing influence of Chinese telecom giant Huawei as countries move toward 5G infrastructure. Particularly noteworthy is the adoption of Huawei infrastructure by ‘Five Eyes’ countries, America’s closest and most trusted allies in information sharing and intelligence ...

In part two of 'The Coming Chinese Storm', former Deputy Director for Counterintelligence at the CIA's National Clandestine Service, Mark Kelton, lays out the Chinese threat to both the public and private sectors in the U.S. "As General Michael Hayden has rightly said: “This is stealing American wealth.  It’s stealing ...

  Bottom Line Up Front: On 19 March in a surprise move, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev resigned during a public television announcement. Nazarbayev’s resignation is strategic and designed to ensure a stable future for his country by promoting a smooth political transition. Russia and China each have a vested interest ...

The Cipher Brief is engaging with dozens of Cipher Brief experts, government speakers and private industry executives this week on the national security challenges that are impacting the public and private sectors.  We will have special coverage of the 2019 Threat Conference and will be re-posting some of our most ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On March 11, the Trump administration submitted a $4.7 trillion-dollar budget proposal that details its spending priorities. The administration’s proposed budget prioritizes military spending, along with border security and the creation of a new ‘Space Force.’ The actual budget will differ substantially from the proposal, ...

The U.S. and China are rapidly sliding into a full-court confrontation in and over cyberspace. This portends serious risks and disadvantages for both sides in light of their economic and technological interdependence. It is bound to have even greater reverberations internationally, given that both countries serve as the world’s leading ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On March 6, Meng Wanzhou, CFO of the Chinese tech company Huawei, had an extradition hearing in Canada where she is being held on charges of fraud. Her case is a legal one but still tied to broader geopolitical implications between the U.S. and China ...

  Bottom Line Up Front: The second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, held on February 28, produced no substantial outcomes in the goal of denuclearizing North Korea. Another state with significant stakes in the North Korean crisis is China, who is closely ...

Cipher Brief Expert and former Senior Director for Cyber Operations at the National Security Council, Thomas Donahue, provides critical perspective on the strategy needed to protect the sovereignty of the U.S. telecommunications backbone. The U.S. Government - by blocking the sale of U.S. high technology firms to foreign companies for ...

  Bottom Line Up Front A Dutch cybersecurity researcher reported that Chinese company SenseNets exposed millions of people’s facial recognition information. China has used facial recognition to target Muslim ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region. Venezuela is also adopting an identification card system similar to the Chinese model to track ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On February 18, Pakistan-based militants killed four Indian soldiers during a raid in Kashmir, just days after 40 Indian soldiers were killed in a suicide bombing. The suicide bombing was the worst in decades in the region and has derailed already tense relations between New ...

The Cipher Brief asked expert and retired four-star General David Petraeus for his big takeaways after attending last weekend's Munich Security Conference. First, the wedge between the U.S. Administration and Europe is a good bit bigger than last year, and Russia, Iran, and China are working to highlight and exploit the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On January 28, intelligence officials warned of a Sino-Russian entente, with China and Russia more closely aligned than at any point in decades. A strengthened Moscow-Beijing axis poses serious security challenges to the West in general and to the United States in particular. The Sino-Russian ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Just last week, the United States pulled out of the landmark 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, citing years of Russian violations. On February 02, Russia announced that it, too, would suspend adherence to the treaty, sparking fears of a renewed arms race reminiscent of the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Earlier this month, China released footage from a military exercise where the ‘Guam killer’ DF-26 ballistic missile was tested. In the 21stCentury, China has increasingly focused resources on modernizing its military to match its economic power. Chinese military modernization presents the most significant challenge to ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan will give terrorist groups like al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) more room to maneuver. AQIS is a major node in a network with deep roots in South Asia, and it works closely with other terrorist groups, including the ...

General Michael Hayden, the co-host of The Cipher Brief’s Annual Threat Conference for the past two years, has famously said that the world has been more dangerous in the past, but it has never been more complicated.  He has also said that if the U.S. doesn’t get China right, nothing ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On January 02, China announced that it had become the first nation to land a rover on the dark side of the moon. Access to a significant supply of rare mineral resources could provide a boon to China’s research and development programs. For China’s President ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On December 13, 2018, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton detailed the Trump administration's New Africa Strategy. The strategy seeks to counter Chinese influence on the continent and promote U.S. national security interests. In recent years, Chinese investment in Africa has grown exponentially, and the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front As 2019 begins, the U.S. and its allies will continue to deal with crises that started years ago and have now matured into critical threats. The U.S. faces numerous crises that warrant a multilateral response in a time when Washington is increasingly responding unilaterally. Among ...

2018 was a year dominated by a new range of worries for national security experts in Britain.  Brexit and a series of untraditional statements from U.S. President Donald Trump, kept things interesting, to say the least.  This, in addition to the traditional security issues that keep the British up at ...

Bottom Line Up Front:  The Trump Administration is confronting China on issues that have been developing for years and have percolated to the top of a list of concerns that are affecting bilateral relations.  The current 10% tariff on $250 billion of goods could escalate to 25% or higher if ...

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is out on bail in Vancouver while she fights an extradition request to the United States. This, as President Donald Trump suggested this week that he may intervene in efforts to prosecute her, if he thinks it will give the U.S. an advantage as it tackles ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Uzbekistan’s renewed domestic and foreign policies have largely been welcomed by the international community. The geopolitical landscape of Central Asia presents a challenge to Tashkent’s ambitions of increased cooperation among the states in the region. Russia seeks to re-integrate the states of the former Soviet ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On December 1, President Trump met Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Argentina. The meeting comes at a crucial time for the Sino-U.S. relationship, which has been continuously deteriorating throughout the Trump presidency. Both Xi and Trump are to ...

According to a recent report by the National Defense Strategy Commission (NDS), the U.S. Department of Defense and the White House "have not yet articulated clear operational concepts for achieving U.S. security objectives in the face of ongoing competition and potential military confrontation with China and Russia." The NDS is ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Despite being well-known for producing high numbers of foreign fighters, Central Asian countries, especially Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, have been mostly spared from domestic terrorist attacks. Global terrorism trends signal a shift in focus and re-location to Central Asia, however, increasing the terrorism threat in the ...

This brief is part of The Cipher Brief’s 2018 Annual Threat Report.   Bottom Line: There are three prominent technological security concerns for the United States with a growing Chinese strategic competitor to the east: Beijing’s push toward cyber and electronic warfare, its development of counter-space capabilities that threaten U.S. space ...

China's state news agency Xinhua, has shown the world just how far China has come in the artificial intelligence race with the introduction of a digital news anchor. The digital anchor not only read the news at China's World Internet Conference last week, but it also demonstrated the capabilities of ...

As tensions heat up between Russia and the West, cold-war skills are back in play.   Norway and Iceland are hosting more than 50,000 troops from 29 NATO countries involved in an intense training scenario across Northern Europe, dubbed Exercise Trident Juncture, with the first phase wrapping up mid-week. The military ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The U.S. has announced it will pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, signed in 1987. Washington’s departure from the hallmark treaty was not unexpected; the U.S. has accused Russia of violating the INF agreement since 2014. The decision to leave is quite ...