At a glance.
- Russia tells NATO to stay out of the Near Abroad.
- Anglo-American collaboration in cyberspace.
- Different national approaches to content moderation.
Russia issues draft treaty to restrict NATO power in the Near Abroad.
In what it represents as the latest step toward resolving conflict spurred by growing tensions with Ukraine, the Army Times reports, the Kremlin has submitted two draft documents detailing desired security negotiations with the United States and NATO. Among the requests, Russia has asked NATO to pull back its military presence in Ukraine and the Near Abroad, and that Moscow and NATO limit the deployment of missiles and take other precautions to "prevent incidents" in the Baltics and the Black Sea. Estonian World notes that Russia also that no NATO troops be deployed without Russia’s explicit go-ahead in countries that weren’t NATO members before 1997, which includes Estonia. The proposal also urges NATO to block membership of any former Soviet country, a clear reference to Ukraine and Georgia.
Chinese news outlet Xinhua (via Macau Business) explains that Russia has sent the eight-article draft treaty to the US for consideration. Yahoo News adds that Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Russia was ready to talk about the proposals with the US as early as Saturday, suggesting Geneva as a venue. “We are ready to immediately, even tomorrow -- literally tomorrow, on Saturday -- go for talks with the US in a third country,” he stated.
At the Council on Foreign Relations, US President Joe Biden's national security advisor Jake Sullivan said the White House had responded. “Russia has now put on the table its concerns with American and NATO activities; we're going to put on the table our concern with Russian activities that we think harm our interests and values.” That’s familiarly anodyne diplomatic talk, but political analysts like Konstantin Kalachev have been blunter. Kalachev called the demands "unrealistic and impossible" for the United States and NATO to meet. If this is true, Russia will be less than pleased, as AP News reports Ryabkov warned Russia may take unspecified measures if the West doesn’t comply with their requests.
Thus the peace proposals have more the quality of an ulitmatum than of anything approaching a modus vivendi. Germany’s new government, for one, is clear on that. According to Reuters, German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht said yesterday, while visiting Bundeswehr troops in Lithuania (where they’re stationed as a deterrent to Russia) that, while NATO would review Moscow’s proposals, ”But it cannot be that Russia dictates to NATO partners their posture, and that is something that we will make very clear."
Anglo-American cybersecurity strategies focus on integration.
The Eurasia Review discusses the Biden administration’s reframing of ransomware as a national and global security concern, allowing for a more active government stance in its prevention. The US has established the National Cyber Directorate as an advisory group to the president, and mandatory cybersecurity standards have been created to better regulate the pipeline industry and other critical infrastructure and to spur collaboration between the private and public sectors. As War on the Rocks reports, the US has signaled a focus on “integrated deterrence,” which includes a cooperation of military capabilities across domains, sectors, and phases of conflict in order to strengthen alliances and promote innovation. Though it sounds good on paper, some experts question how it will come to fruition in reality.
Similarly, a focus on deterrence has become paramount in the UK, where the newly issued National Cyber Strategy demonstrates a shift from “cybersecurity” to “cyber power,” the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace reports. Homeland Security Today explains that the UK has also placed an emphasis on collaboration, asking all parts of society to cooperate by seeking diversity in the cyber workforce and maximizing cybersecurity across digital supply chains. To this end, the UK government will launch “Cyber Explorers,” an online cyber skills training geared toward classrooms. In addition, the Queen has approved a new “Royal Charter” aimed at boosting the cyber workforce. A new Cyber Runway will support innovators in developing their businesses, with an emphasis on women-led and minority-founded companies outside of London.
Underscoring this alignment of cybersecurity values, Intelligent CIO adds that intelligence and cybersecurity representatives from the UK and US recently met at the Cyber Management Review in Maryland to reaffirm their commitment to cooperating to fight cyberthreats with a proactive approach necessary to combat the evolving cybercrime landscape.
US and Russian approaches to regulating social media content.
The Verge discusses the challenges of regulating social media platforms without breaking the US’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech. There’s a strong mood, in Congress and elsewhere, that regulation of social media platforms may be necessary, since many investigations have suggested that, as they currently operate, the platforms have deleterious effects on their users.
As is so often the case, the issues are framed most sharply in terms of a risk to children. The Wall Street Journal reveals how TikTok has potentially exacerbated the rise of eating disorders by barraging teen users with weight loss challenges, food purging tips, and fad diet plans like the Corpse Bride Diet.
Just this year, Texas and Florida attempted to institute laws that would regulate social media, and courts ruled both laws unconstitutional, sending them into appeals limbo. Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute, worries that while the extensive transparency regulations of such laws might be too extreme, the platforms are using the First Amendment to shield themselves against any regulation whatsoever. Jaffer states, “If you accept the social media company’s arguments. It’s not just the Texas and Florida laws that will be struck down, it’s all these future laws too. Laws that might be much more reasonable than the ones we’re looking at right now.” (There seem to be few First Amendment absolutists in a field that once would have been occupied by, for example, groups like the ACLU.)
Russia has its own approach in censoring social media, threatening Google and Meta with multi-million-dollar fines for failing to delete content deemed illegal by the Russian government. However, as BBC News reports, Russia’s goals appear to be simple matters of policy, although there too they’re framed as protective: they most readily penalize platforms posting content that promotes anti-government attitudes. Though head of media regulator Roskomnadzor, Andrei Lipov said platforms should be focused on removing "child pornography, suicide, drugs, extremism and fake news,” out of over six hundred posts identified in court proceedings against Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, the vast majority reference support of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny. (And, of course, there’s no First Amendment in Russia to induce hesitation or second thoughts.)