Policy Roundup: March 2022

Key policy takeaways from Amy Zegart on new strategies in U.S. intelligence; Rose Gottemoeller on maintaining nuclear nonproliferation; Michael McFaul on military support for Ukraine; Gi Wook Shin on South Korea’s presidential election; and the final report from the Virality Project on vaccine misinformation.


Why the West Must Boost Military Assistance to Ukraine
Michael McFaul, FSI Director
Washington Post, 3/16/22

  • Ukrainians will ultimately defeat Putin’s invasion, but it is imperative for the West to hasten the end of the conflict by providing more military assistance.
  • The three most likely outcomes for how the conflict will end are an outright Ukrainian victory, a stalemate, or a protracted guerilla war between Ukrainian resistance forces and Russian occupiers. In every scenario, Ukraine will benefit from increased Western help.
  • More fighter jets, more surface-to-air missiles systems and more counter-fire weapons against long-range artillery are needed immediately.
  • In parallel, the West must ratchet up economic sanctions against Russia every single week until one of these three endgames is reached. Once Zelenskyy signals that acceptable negotiations have been reached, the West should then clearly signal to Russia how sanctions will be lifted.
  • Because a nuclear threat cannot be fully ruled out, Biden, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and the leaders of other nuclear powers must engage directly with Putin to receive ​​​​assurances that he does not intend to blow up the planet.
  • Threats to NATO front-line states become serious only if Putin wins in Ukraine, therefore Biden and his partners in the free world should do everything they can to create conditions for ending the war without risk of escalation.

Nuclear Nonproliferation

How to Stop a New Nuclear Arms Race
Rose Gottemoeller, Steven C. Házy Lecturer at the Center for International Security and Cooperation
Foreign Affairs, 3/09/22

  • Russian isolation in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine will jeopardize further progress on nuclear nonproliferation, so the United States should do what it can to keep Russia engaged and constructive in arms control diplomacy.
  • The first step must be to rebuild confidence among the current generation of negotiators and lay the groundwork for future generations of negotiators.
  • Next, the NPT member states should closely review the current disarmament and nonproliferation superstructure, built around the NPT, to see whether it should be strengthened, and include a close look at the organization and operating procedures of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
  • Washington and Moscow should focus on restoring constraints on intermediate-range ground-launched missiles, also known as INF missiles, in Europe. Adopting these measures would help lay the groundwork for broader U.S.-Russian cooperation on maintaining and strengthening the arms control regime.
  • If Russia absents itself from nuclear diplomacy, the United States and China will have to consider how they, budding superpower rivals, can develop a greater partnership to resolve problems in the global arms control regimes.

U.S. Intelligence

The Weapon the West Used Against Putin
Amy Zegart, FSI Senior Fellow
The Atlantic, 3/05/22

  • The way in which the U.S. disclosed so much detailed intelligence ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could drastically change geopolitics in the future.
  • Getting the truth out before the lies can take hold inoculates the world against information warfare and helps rally allies and shore up support in the U.S.
  • Revealing intelligence generates friction for adversaries like Putin by knocking him off-balance, forcing him to react to Washington, and making him allocate precious time worrying about his own intelligence weaknesses.
  • Disclosing intelligence makes it much harder for other countries to sit out the conflict or provide quiet support to Putin by hiding behind his fig-leaf narratives.
  • This intelligence strategy is new and clever, but it’s not risk-free. Using secrets now may mean losing secrets later and can make crises harder to manage.


South Korea's Presidential Election

South Korea Votes, Beijing Watches
Gi-Wook Shin, Director of the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
American Purpose, 3/2/22

  • South Korean views of China have sunk to their lowest since diplomatic normalization between the two countries. The Beijing Winter Olympics were illustrative of South Korea’s brewing anti-China sentiments.
  • According to a survey conducted this past January, a large majority of South Korean respondents (78 percent) indicated that Korea-China relations would be an important consideration when deciding which presidential candidate to vote for.
  • Younger South Koreans in their twenties and thirties have strongest negative feelings toward China of any age cohort.
  • South Koreans are not alone in their negative feelings toward China, yet South Korea is distinctive from other countries in that regard in its reaction to China’s perceived cultural imperialism.
  • The anti-China sentiments in the ROK will pose a major challenge for the new South Korean administration, which will come to power in May, in managing the bilateral relationship with China. At the same time, the situation offers an opportunity for the U.S.-ROK alliance. Washington should not miss this opportunity, especially as a more strongly pro-American cohort of young South Koreans grows into a political force that will shape their country’s future.

Vaccine Disinformation

New Report Provides Inside Look and Lessons from Monitoring COVID-19 Anti-Vaccine Narratives
The Virality Project, 2/24/22

  • Public health organizations should focus on misinformation narrative themes and tropes rather than attempt to fact-check individual incidents.
  • Social media platforms should consistently enforce their existing policies, and must continue to improve data sharing relationships with researchers.
  • Research groups should develop simple tip line processes to bolster social media observation with community input.
  • Government should develop and maintain communication channels between federal, state, and local agencies to understand and learn from what is happening across regions.
  • Government and public health officials should address vaccine hesitancy in underserved communities through collaboration with trusted voices.

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