The threat spectrum | The strategist

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Planet A

The Bank of China will stop funding new coal projects abroad after Chinese President Xi Jinping made a similar promise to the UN General Assembly that China will stop building new foreign coal power plants. China, Japan and South Korea, which together have financed 95% of foreign-funded coal projects since 2013, have all now committed to stop funding new international coal projects.

Coal projects once made up nearly half of China’s Belt and Roads Initiative’s activity in developing countries, but that has diminished in recent years, suggesting that Xi was aiming for “low hanging fruit” rather than a big step to do. Replacing coal-related investments with greener alternatives would expand China’s portfolio of foreign investments in renewable energy and could improve the BRI’s reputation.

However, this development will not reduce China’s domestic coal consumption. China has committed to carbon neutrality by 2060, but is still responsible for a quarter of global carbon emissions. It would have to shut down around 600 of its own coal-fired power plants in order to achieve the goal.

Democracy clock

The Germans voted their first election in 16 years without the incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday. Preliminary results indicate that the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) appears as the strongest party in the Bundestag for the first time since 2002.

The dramatic turn to the SPD was largely driven by the popularity of its chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz, who is considered the continuity candidate and next Angela Merkel; “Many voters see the moderate Scholz as the next best after Merkel, whose centrist course has made her the most popular politician in the country,” said Politico. This also reflects the value that German political culture places on stability, consensus-building, statecraft and pragmatic incrementalism.

While Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union could remain in power in a “Jamaica coalition” with the Greens and the FDP, the results suggest that the Germans put their trust in the SPD in order to support them in the post-Merkel Era to lead.

Information operations

On September 14, several people alleging to be connected to the “hacktivist” collective Anonymous leaked more than 180 gigabytes of data stolen from Epik, an internet services company that hosts the websites of several far-right organizations, including the Proud Boys, the QAnon groups and the Texas Right to the life group. The leak contained decades of data, including 15 million unique email addresses, names, phone numbers, physical addresses, passwords, and purchases from Epik customers and non-customers. The data is hailed by some as the “Panama Papers” by far-right groups as it has the potential to identify individuals connected to alt-right communities online.

The hackers Press release shows that the violation was politically motivated and supports #OperationJane, a hacking initiative that opposes Texas’s latest anti-abortion law.

As researchers continue to sift through the large data set, the breach represents a trend in hacktivism and cybercrime, where the theft of personal information is justified by political motives. However, this also raises questions about the risks that the uncontrolled use of these tools can entail for individual security and the right to privacy, and their potential for escalation.

Follow the money

China’s largest real estate company Evergrande faces a default and warns investors of cash flow problems after accumulating over $ 300 billion in debt this year and seeing an 85% decline in its share value.

The Chinese government has not offered a bailout to the company. Instead, it can take this opportunity to further tighten regulation in the real estate market, but it needs to take some steps to prevent a riot from affected homeowners. The real estate sector accounts for 30% of China’s GDP and 40% of household wealth. China’s central bank has injected over $ 70 billion into the banking sector in preparation for Evergrande’s collapse.

If the company collapses, this may not be a global “Lehman Moment”, but it would have a significant potential impact on Australia’s largest exporter, iron ore. The Evergrande-related market panic last week saw the price of iron ore fluctuate significantly, dropping to $ 90 a ton before quickly rising to $ 108.70. Fluctuating iron ore prices add billions to Australia’s GDP, with every $ 10 per ton of iron ore price drop equating to $ 6.5 billion.

Terror byte

A report published by the US think tank New America shows that right-wing extremists have killed more Americans in the US than Islamic fundamentalists since September 11. In the past 20 years, over a dozen right-wing extremist attacks have killed 114 Americans, while jihadist attacks accounted for 107 out of 14 incidents.

Although far-right militants are more common, experts fear that their attacks will be treated less harshly than those of their Islamist counterparts. As a result, policy makers and intelligence analysts may be ill-equipped to better prevent future attacks.

President Joe Biden’s administration has stepped up its efforts to counter white supremacy, calling it “the deadliest threat” to domestic security. It topped up funding for the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security to better detect and prevent attacks, and launched the country’s first national strategy to combat domestic extremism. These measures may not be enough. Encouraged by the previous administration of Donald Trump, the white supremacist ideology has become embedded in American society and governance, including law enforcement and defense, and the many state legislatures that legislate to restrict the right to vote for blacks and immigrants .



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