Category Archives: China

Jan Kallberg, Ph.D.: A link collection of my writings about the Russo-Ukrainian War

Kallberg, Jan. 2023. Ukraine’s War of the Treelines. The Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), October 2.

Kallberg, Jan. 2023. Ukraine War Lesson No. 1 — Chatty Micromanagers Die. The Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), September 11.

Kallberg, Jan, and Stephen Hamilton. 2023. Command by intent can ensure command post survivability. Defense News (C4ISRNET), August 29.

Kallberg, Jan. 2023. Ukraine — Victory Is Closer Than You Think. The Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), August 23.

Kallberg, Jan. 2023. Junior Officers on the Battlefields of Ukraine. The Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), May 26.

Kallberg, Jan. 2023. NATO — The Frenemy WithinThe Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), April 11.

Kallberg, Jan. 2023. Why Russia will loseThe Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), March 6.

Kallberg, Jan. 2023. After the war in Ukraine: cyber revanchism. CyberWire, February 10.

Kallberg, Jan. 2022. Leader Loss: Russian Junior Officer Casualties. The Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), December 23.

Kallberg, Jan. 2022. Russia’s Imperial Farce. The Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), December 1.

Kallberg, Jan. 2022. Russia’s Aggression Justifies Western Cyber Intervention. The Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), November 9.

Kallberg, Jan. 2022. Russia’s Military – Losing the Will to FightThe Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), September 15.

Kallberg, Jan. 2022.  The West Has Forgotten How to Keep SecretsThe Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), August 8.

Kallberg, Jan. 2022. Goodbye Vladivostok, Hello Hǎishēnwǎi! The Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), July 12.

Kallberg, Jan. 2022. Defending NATO in the High North. The Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), July 1.

Kallberg, Jan. 2022. Drones Will not Liberate Ukraine – but Tanks WillThe Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), June 24.

Kallberg, Jan. 2022. A Potemkin Military? Russia’s Over-Estimated LegionsThe Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), May 6.

Kallberg, Jan. 2022. Russia Won’t Play the Cyber Card, YetThe Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), March 30.

Kallberg, Jan. 2022. A troubling silence on Prisoners of WarThe Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), March 22.

Kallberg, Jan. 2022.  Free War: A strategy for Ukraine to resist Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine? 19FortyFive, March 10.

Kallberg, Jan. 2022. Too late for Russia to stop the foreign volunteer armyThe Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), March 10.

Kallberg, Jan. 2022.  An Underground Resistance Movement for UkraineThe Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), March 7.

Hacking Back – The Impact on Norms

During the last year several op-ed articles and commentaries have proposed that private companies should have the right to strike back if cyber attacked and conduct their own offensive cyber operations.

The demarcation in cyber between the government sphere and the private sphere is important to uphold because it influences how we see the state and the framework in which states interact. One reason why we have a nation state is to, in a uniform and structured way, under the guidance of a representative democracy, deal with foreign hostility and malicious activity. The state is given its powers by the citizenry to protect the nation utilizing a monopoly on violence. The state then acts under the existing laws on behalf of the citizens to ensure the intentions of the population it represents. These powers create an authority that federal government utilizes to enforce compliance of the laws and handle our relations with foreign powers. If the federal government cannot uphold the authority, legitimacy and confidence in government will suffer. The national interest in protecting legitimacy and authority and to maintain the confidence in the federal government is by far stronger than the benefits of a few private entities departing on their own cyber odysseys to retaliate against foreign cyber attacks.

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Designer Satellite Collisions from Covert Cyber War – Jan Kallberg

Kallberg, Jan. “Designer satellite collisions from covert cyber war.” Strategic Studies Quarterly 6, no. 1 (2012): 124-136.
/This text was published in 2012 but is as relevant today/

Outer Space

Outer space has enjoyed two decades of fairly peaceful development since the Cold War, but once again it is becoming more competitive and contested, with increased militarization. Therefore, it is important the United States maintain its space superiority to ensure it has the capabilities required by modern warfare for successful operations. Today is different from earlier periods of space development,1 because there is not a blatantly overt arms race in space,2 but instead a covert challenge to US interests in maintaining superiority, resilience, and capability. A finite number of states consider themselves geopolitical actors; however, as long as the United States maintains space superiority, they must play according to a set of rules written without their consent and forced upon them.

US space assets monitor the actions of authoritarian regimes and their pursuit of regional influence—a practice these regimes find quite disturbing. Therefore, any degradation or limitation of US space-borne capabilities would be seen as a successful outcome for such regimes. Cyber warfare offers these adversarial actors the opportunity to directly or indirectly destroy US space assets with minimal risk due to limited attribution and traceability. This article addresses how they might accomplish this objective. We must begin by examining US reliance on space before focusing on space clutter and the means an adversary might use to exploit it. While satellite protection is a challenge, there are several solutions the United States should consider in the years ahead.

Continue reading Designer Satellite Collisions from Covert Cyber War – Jan Kallberg

Bye bye Vladivostok! The Chinese claim of the Russian Far East.

Russia’s decline is visible to everyone, including China, despite its grandiose claims and attempts to bury history.

In 1997, the First Opium War officially ended with the British administration and forces leaving Hong Kong. The Second Opium War is still ongoing, since the Russian Federation continues to occupy the Amur region and Outer Manchuria. This land area was extorted from China in 1860 during the Second Opium War, under threat to set Beijing ablaze.

Surely no one these days thinks of returning Vladivostok to China?

Continue reading Bye bye Vladivostok! The Chinese claim of the Russian Far East.

If Communist China loses a future war, entropy could be imminent

What happens if China engages in a great power conflict and loses? Will the Chinese Communist Party’s control over the society survive a horrifying defeat?
People’s Liberation Army PLA last fought a massive scale war during the invasion of Vietnam in 1979, which was a failed operation to punish Vietnam for toppling the Khmer Rouge regime of Cambodia. Since 1979, the PLA has been engaged in shelling Vietnam at different occasions and involved in other border skirmishes, but not fought a full-scale war. In the last decades, China increased its defense spending and modernized its military, including advanced air defenses and cruise missiles, fielded advanced military hardware, and built a high-sea navy from scratch; there is significant uncertainty of how the Chinese military will perform.

Modern warfare is integration, joint operations, command, control, intelligence, and the ability to understand and execute the ongoing, all-domain fight. War is a complex machinery, with low margins of error, and can have devastating outcomes if not prepared. It does not matter if you are against or for the U.S. military operations the last three decades, fact is that the prolonged conflict and engagement have made the U.S. experienced. The Chinese inexperience, in combination with unrealistic expansionistic ambitions, can be the downfall of the regime. Dry swimmers maybe train the basics, but they are never great swimmers.

Although it may look like a creative strategy for China to harvest trade secrets and intellectual property as well as put developing countries in debt to gain influence, I would question how rational the Chinese apparatus is. The repeated visualization of the Han nationalistic cult appears as a strength, the youth are rallying behind the Xi Jinping regime, but it is also a significant weakness. The weakness is blatantly visible in the Chinese need for surveillance and population control to maintain stability: surveillance and repression that is so encompassing in the daily life of the Chinese population that German DDR security services appear to have been amateurs. All chauvinist cults will implode over time because the unrealistic assumptions add up, and so will the sum of all delusional ideological decisions. Winston Churchill knew after Nazi-Germany declared war on the United States in December of 1941 that the Allies will prevail and win the war. Nazi-Germany did not have the GDP or manpower to sustain the war on two fronts, but the Nazis did not care because they were irrational and driven by hateful ideology. Nazi-Germany had just months before they invaded the massive Soviet Union, to create lebensraum and feed an urge to reestablish German-Austrian dominance in Eastern Europe. The Nazis unilaterally declared war on the United States. The rationale for the declaration of war was ideology, a worldview that demanded expansion and conflict, even if Germany was strategically inferior and eventually lost the war.

The Chinese belief that they can be a global authoritarian hegemony is likely on the same journey. China is today driven by their flavor or expansionist ideology that seek conflict, without being strategically able. It is worth noting that not a single major country is their allies. The Chinese supremacist propaganda works in peacetime, holding massive rallies and hailing Mao Zedong military genius, and they sing, dance, and wave red banner, but will that grip hold if PLA loses? In case of a failed military campaign, is the Chinese population, with the one-child policy, ready for casualties, humiliation, and failure?
Will the authoritarian grip with social equity, facial recognition, informers, digital surveillance, and an army that peace-time function is primarily crowd control, survive a crushing defeat? If the regime loses the grip, the wrath of the masses is like unleashed from decades of repression.

A country of the size of China, with a history of cleavages and civil wars, that has a suppressed diverse population and socio-economic disparity can be catapulted into Balkanization after a defeat. In the past, China has had long periods of internal fragmentation and weak central government.

The United States reacts differently to failure. The United States is as a country far more resilient than we might assume watching the daily news. If the United States loses a war, the President gets the blame, but there will still be a presidential library in his/her name. There is no revolution.

There is an assumption lingering over today’s public debate that China has a strong hand, advanced artificial intelligence, the latest technology, and is an uber-able superpower. I am not convinced. During the last decade, the countries in the Indo-Pacific region that seeks to hinder the Chinese expansion of control, influence, and dominance have formed stronger relationships increasingly. The strategic scale is in the democratic countries’ favor. If China still driven by ideology pursues conflict at a large scale it is likely the end of the Communist dictatorship.

In my personal view, we should pay more attention to the humanitarian risks, the ripple effects, and the dangers of nukes in a civil war, in case the Chinese regime implodes after a failed future war.

Jan Kallberg, Ph.D.