During the war in Ukraine, Telegram has been essential for communications. As a result, Moscow has infiltrated the encrypted messaging app’s channels to spread disinformation to Ukrainians and flood Russian users with pro-Kremlin content, indicating that when Moscow can’t block a technology, it will work to subvert and overwhelm it.
It’s hard not to see 2022 as a “year that changed everything.” The war in Ukraine and other developments certainly represented shocks to the international system. But rather than a year that has changed everything, I see a year that has made everything more possible, at times for the worse but also for the better.
This year’s most underreported event is the renewed fighting in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The violence is especially dangerous as it is essentially a proxy conflict between Congo and its neighbor Rwanda, with the potential to become a direct military confrontation—and a regional war.
Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Belarus this week to shore up support in Minsk for his war in Ukraine. Even if Alexander Lukashenko does not send troops to Ukraine, closer political and military ties between Moscow and Minsk signal Belarus’ loss of sovereignty and its de facto involvement in the war effort.
The need for peacebuilding in post-conflict societies grew out of the realization that signing agreements to bring fighting to an end is a necessary but insufficient step toward true and enduring peace. But while many of peacebuilding’s objectives seem self-evident, it is often laborious and expensive—and easily undone.
If Iran’s moves over the past couple months are any indication, Turkey’s growing influence in the South Caucasus, especially its alliance with Azerbaijan, has heightened Tehran’s sense of unease. Iran now sees the prospect of an arc of Turkey-aligned states emerging as a powerful Turkic alliance along its northern borders.
When U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hands over the gavel next year, it will mark the end of an era in U.S. politics, with the greatest impact immediately visible on domestic policy. But Pelosi has also played a major role in foreign policy, deploying her political skills in pursuit of a mostly hawkish, internationalist worldview.
Even as both sides in Ethiopia implement the first steps of a peace accord, the impact of its civil war can be seen in regional and international responses to other conflicts in Africa. That could presage deep changes in how the West engages with African security issues, and the distribution of roles in addressing them.
Despite the challenges that technological innovations like artificial intelligence and autonomous drones pose to governance and society, they will continue to emerge. In the absence of any global agreement, there is still an opportunity for governments to seize on the benefits these advances might bring, while encouraging their ethical and democratic use.
War is hell, but for large and politically influential defense contractors, it is also good business. This is fueling claims among some NATO allies that the U.S. is profiting from the war in Ukraine. There is no denying that U.S. defense contractors are benefiting, but accusations of war profiteering are simply off base.
President Joe Biden’s first priority upon taking office was to reassure U.S. allies of America’s ongoing security commitments, promising that “America is back.” Despite some missteps along the way, that effort has paid off during the current standoff with Russia over Ukraine. But Biden still has a lot of work to do when it comes to shoring up America’s security partnerships to deal with a rising China.
Senior officials in the European Commission are seething at the national governments on the EU Council for what they view as caving to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s threat to veto aid to Ukraine amid the EU’s long-running dispute with Budapest over its failure to uphold democratic institutions.
The peace deal ending the war between Ethiopian federal government and the TPLF is a breakthrough, not because it handed victory to one side, but because it reestablished the federal constitutional framework, however contested, as the blueprint for resolving the political and constitutional disputes at the heart of the conflict.
Tensions over the war in Ukraine have relaxed since the U.S. midterm congressional elections but could ramp up again if Europe continues to fall behind the U.S. when it comes to providing financial and military support for Kyiv. Europe cannot afford a rift on this issue while Ukraine’s–and its own—security is on the line.