19 January 2018

PM, Def Min Missing Army Day Event Sends Wrong Signal Before R-Day

C UDAY BHASKAR

In an unprecedented development with some curious overtones, the Army Day reception hosted by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Monday, 15 January, saw a visible political void with the absence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at the annual event. The President, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, was all alone at 4 Rajaji Marg, as the Vice-President was not present either. Many senior veterans and former service chiefs that one spoke to were unanimous in expressing their deep disappointment and anguish at this turn of events and noted that as much as they can recall, such a void – where the VP, the PM and the RM ‘skipped’ an Army Day reception – was never witnessed before. One of them wryly noted that this pattern of disparaging the military by the Modi government has now become par for the course.

US renews call for steps against ‘externally focused terrorists’


ISLAMABAD: The first diplomatic engagement between Pakistan and the United States after the mini-crisis created by President Donald Trump’s tweet ended with Washington renewing its demand for Islamabad to clear its territory of “externally focused terrorists”. “Ambassador [Alice] Wells urged the government of Pakistan to address the continuing presence of the Haqqani network and other terrorist groups within its territory,” said a US embassy statement at the conclusion of a two-day visit by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells. Her visit followed the US military’s outreach to Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa to contain the damage caused by the Trump tweet which accused Pakistan of “lies and deceit”. During her meetings in Islamabad, she conveyed to her Pakistani interlocutors that the US wanted to shift to a “new relationship with Pakistan” based on “mutual interest”.

The Islamic Republic of Hysteria

BY STEPHEN M. WALT
Source Link

To the extent the Trump administration has a discernible Middle East strategy, it is to contain and confront Iran. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and President Donald Trump himself have all denounced Iran’s regional activities. (In February, after Iranian ballistic missile tests, Trump tweeted that the country was “playing with fire.”) In October, the White House announced that moving forward, the official U.S. policy is aimed at “neutralizing Iran’s destabilizing influence and constraining its aggression.”

Top U.S. General says ‘not giving up’ on Pakistan ties

The top U.S. military officer, Marine General Joseph Dunford, said on Monday he was committed to the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, which has been strained in recent weeks as Washington piles pressure on Islamabad to crack down on militants. “Do we agree on everything right now? No we don‘t. But are we committed to a more effective relationship with Pakistan? We are. And I‘m not giving up on that,” Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a small group of reporters during a trip to Brussels. The United States has long blamed militant safe-havens in Pakistan for prolonging the war in neighboring Afghanistan, giving insurgents, including from the Haqqani network, a place to plot attacks and rebuild their forces.

Beware Iran: The Current Middle East Lull Is Transient

by Jonathan Spyer

A common but mistaken reading of the current strategic situation in the Middle East presents the region as approaching the end of a period of instability. The "return of the Arab state" is one of the more arresting refrains that this perspective has produced.According to this view, the wars in Syria and in Iraq are drawing to a close. The defeat of the Islamic State in these countries represents the eclipse of the political ambitions of Salafi jihadi Islamism for the foreseeable future. Assad is set to restore his repressive but stable rule in Syria. In Iraq, the firm reaction by the government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to the Kurdish bid for independence has ended prospects of the imminent fragmentation of the country. In Lebanon, attempts by Sunni jihadis to export the Syrian war have failed, and all is quiet.

THE CHINESE DREAM AND BEIJING’S GRAND STRATEGY

By Tuan N. Pham

At the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), President Xi Jinping opened the assembly by delivering a seminal report to its members. The three hour-long speechemphatically reaffirmed a strategic roadmap for national rejuvenation and officially heralded a new era in Chinese national development. Beijing now seems, more than ever, determined to move forward from Mao Zedong’s revolutionary legacy and Deng Xiaoping’s iconic dictum (“observe calmly, secure our position, cope with affairs calmly, hide our capacities and bide our time, be good at maintaining a low profile, and never claim leadership”). Beijing also appears poised to expand its global power and influence through the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, expansive build-up and modernization of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), assertive foreign policy, and forceful public diplomacy. Underpinning these strategic activities are various ancillary strategies – maritime, space, and cyberspace – all interlinked with the grand strategy of the Chinese Dream.

What Xi Jinping’s New Year’s Speech Means for America

Jonathan D. T. Ward

The United States must accept the truth that China is now its first superpower rival since the USSR. Xi’s New Year Speech fittingly revives a Cold War Communist tradition: using the New Year as a platform for a counterpoint to an American-led world. Recent Chinese presidents would have ended with statements on development and prosperity. Xi has gone farther. From commemorating China’s space and military achievements in 2017, to highlighting China’s new international initiatives, Xi has set the stage for a China that is becoming ever more comfortable voicing global ambitions. More importantly, the subtext of a series of new Xi speeches is that China is in direct competition with the United States.

A Year in Review: More Problems, More Reforms, More Cooperation for Central Asia in 2017


Central Asia in 2017 recalls Charles Dickens’ observation in A Tale of Two Cities: it was truly the best of times, if far from perfect, and the worst of times, if far from disastrous. And depending on whether one focuses on the problems the five regional countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan) face, or instead emphasizes examples of reforms passed last year as well as increased intra-regional cooperation, including with the Russian Federation, one would be driven to draw dramatically different conclusions.

Shock and Awe: Surprises That Could Stun Asia in 2018

By Anthony Fensom

Asia is expected to enjoy stronger economic growth in 2018 as the world economy picks up speed. But there are still plenty of potential surprises that could rattle financial markets in the Year of the Dog, according to analysts.China has already followed the U.S. lead in tightening monetary policy, but the rest of Asia’s central banks are far from willing to follow the U.S. Federal Reserve in hiking interest rates given their diverging economic outlooks. Should the Fed increase rates more than the anticipated three or four times this year, Asia could suffer the fallout, particularly if a strengthening dollar drains capital from emerging economies. India, Indonesia, and the Philippines are considered the most exposed, based on their current account balances and levels of net foreign direct investment. Yet the eruption of private debt levels, which has reached more than 200 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in China and nearly as high in South Korea, poses a high risk also, particularly for those companies with dollar-denominated loans.

Terrorists Stalk Dark Web for Deadlier Weaponry

LEVI MAXEY
Source Link

Bottom line: Terrorists are turning to the dark web’s crypto-bazaars, social media channels and e-commerce sites to buy more coveted military equipment than the usual rocket launchers and AK-47s in the traditional black market. These digital black markets are also allowing terrorist organizations from Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, as well as self-radicalized individuals in the West, to access a larger assortment of arms, explosives material and expertise from the comfort and anonymity of their home computers. 

Turkish president vows to ‘drown’ US-backed Syrian Kurdish force

Turkey’s president on Monday denounced U.S. plans to form a 30,000-strong Kurdish-led border security force in Syria, vowing to “drown this army of terror before it is born,” as Russia and Syria also rejected the idea President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also warned U.S. troops against coming between Turkish troops and Kurdish forces, which Ankara views as an extension of Turkey’s own Kurdish insurgency. Turkey has been threatening to launch a new military operation against the main Syrian Kurdish militia, known as the People’s Defense Units, or YPG, in the Kurdish-held Afrin enclave in northern Syria. The YPG is the backbone of a Syrian force that drove the Islamic State group from much of northern and eastern Syria with the help of U.S.-led airstrikes. Russia has also warned that the nascent U.S. force threatens to fuel tensions around Afrin.

In 2018, Chavismo’s Time May Finally Run Out

BY JOSÉ R. CÁRDENAS

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s embattled regime ended a tumultuous 2017 by having to suppress renewed food riots resulting from the government’s failure to import sufficient supplies of pork leg, a traditional holiday staple. In one disturbance, a pregnant woman was shot dead by security forces on Christmas Eve. Yet if 2017 ended poorly for Venezuela, 2018 is shaping up to be even worse.  Already, there have been new outbreaks of looting in the face of rampant shortages of food and basic goods. Inflation, which hit a reported 2,616 percent last year — the highest in the world — will continue to surge in 2018. And, worst of all, due to bad management and corruption, oil production has fallen to one of its lowest points in three decades, “further depriving the cash-strapped country of its only major source of revenue and adding to the suffering of its people,” according to CNN.

Russia Revisits an Old Cold War Battleground


Moscow looms large in sub-Saharan Africa's Cold War history. Across the continent, the Soviet Union competed with the United States and its Western allies for influence in a series of long-running proxy battles. Russia's interest in sub-Saharan Africa waned, however, after the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991. The region may have lost much of its geopolitical significance in the intervening time, but as the Kremlin asserts its influence in more and more conflicts abroad, sub-Saharan Africa presents Russia another opportunity to extend its global reach — should it so desire.

North Korea meeting to stress importance of sanctions: Canada


VANCOUVER (Reuters) - A summit on curbing North Korea's nuclear ambitions will focus in part on how to ensure countries fully implement all the sanctions imposed on the reclusive state, a Canadian government source said on Monday. Senior officials from 20 nations will gather in Vancouver on Tuesday for the full-day meeting, which is designed to increase diplomatic and financial pressure on Pyongyang to scrap its nuclear programs. Canada and the United States are co-hosts. The United Nations Security Council, which has already imposed a wide range of sanctions, last month approved new punitive measures seeking to limit Pyongyang's access to refined petroleum products and crude oil and its earnings from workers abroad.

A U.S.-Ukraine Weapons Deal Has Russia Up in Arms


Since the war in Ukraine began in 2014, the United States has considered sending arms to the country. Now Washington is ready to follow through with the idea. U.S. President Donald Trump approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine on Dec. 22, signing a $47 million deal that includes 35 FGM-148 Javelin command launch units and 210 anti-tank missiles, along with smaller arms. Wary of provoking Russia, the United States has been careful to frame the recent decision as a purely defensive measure, and not a means to encourage military action against separatist forces in eastern Ukraine. But Moscow, viewing the move as an act of escalation, will doubtless respond in one way or another.

In the EU, East and West Are Falling Out of Tune


In its mission to bring peace and prosperity to a landmass wracked by war, the European Union has always been a marriage of convenience. Between 2004 and 2007, the union incorporated several countries from Central and Eastern Europe into its expanding bloc. EU governments and institutions viewed enlargement as a path toward fostering the emergence of prosperous, democratic and stable nations on its eastern border after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In turn, the new member states regarded EU membership as a gateway to funds, investment, modernization and protection. In exchange for Brussels' financial largesse, new members introduced deep economic, political and institutional reforms to comply with EU standards. Now, however, the increasing unwillingness of eastern members to heed the EU's demands threatens to deepen the divide between the bloc's west and east.
Stopping the Rot

What the Hell Happened in Hawaii?

BY ANKIT PANDA

Early this morning, residents of Hawaii received an emergency alert on their cell phones and on their television screens: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEKIMMEDIATE SHELTER.” If that wasn’t enough to spark panic in a state where Cold War-era nuclear-attack alert sirens have been undergoing testing, the warning ended with those five dreaded words: “THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” Following several minutes of panic and confusion, various authoritative sources confirmed that the alert had been sent in error. Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard took to Twitter to say that she had “confirmed with officials” that there was no ballistic missile threat. U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) issued a statement noting that the “Earlier message was sent in error,” and that the State of Hawaii would issue a correction. Thirty-eight minutes after the original alert, a second followed: “There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False Alarm.” Russian, Chinese, or North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) could make it to Hawaii in less than 38 minutes, mind you.

EU names China and Russia as top hackers

Andrew Rettman

Beware of opening emails entitled ‘Official Data Breach Notification’ or 'UPS Label Delivery’ if you are a CEO, the EU’s cyber-defence agency, Enisa, warned on Monday (15 January). Those subject headings were the most popular sent in fake or 'phishing’ emails that installed malware on victims’ computers in 2017, along with 'IT Reminder: Your Password Expires’, 'Please Read Important from Human Resources’, and 'All Employees: Update your Healthcare Info’. The Greece-based EU agency noted in its annual report that cyber criminals out to steal money were the main “threat agent” who were “responsible for at least two-thirds of the incidents registered”. It said phishing “was reportedly responsible for 90 to 95 percent of successful attacks worldwide” and that the most sophisticated attacks were aimed at CEOs of large companies.

What 2018 has in store for the markets


WHAT is in store for economies and markets in 2018? Around this time of year, a large number of analysts and fund managers are giving their views. Among the most interesting and thoughtful approaches can be found at Absolute Strategy Research (ASR), an independent group founded by David Bowers and Ian Harnett. ASR adds extra depth to its analysis by contrasting its own views with those of the consensus. To do so, the group polled 229 asset allocators, managing around $6trn of assets, for their views on the outlook for economies and markets. They found a groundswell of optimism; the probability of equities being higher by the end of 2018 was 61%, and that shares will beat bonds is 70%. The allocators think there is only a 27% chance of a global recession. And they are not worried about the prospect of the Federal Reserve pushing up interest rates.

A Year in Review: Ukraine Faced Mixed Fortunes, Missed Opportunities in 2017

By: Oleg Varfolomeyev

Ukraine missed some chances to improve the domestic situation last year, with the fight against corruption not as efficient as Western creditors expected and the economy growing at only a sluggish pace. Among the country’s achievements in 2017 were the long-awaited ratification of the association and free trade agreement plus a visa-free travel bonus from the European Union, and Naftogaz Ukrainy’s victory over Russian Gazprom in an international arbitration court. Nonetheless, there is still no light in the end of the tunnel as far as the conflict with Russia-backed militants in Donbas is concerned, and Ukraine deepened the split by stepping up the economic blockade of the area. The governing coalition led by President Petro Poroshenko proved stable, but it will face challenges ahead of both presidential and parliamentary elections, scheduled for 2019.

Telecom to lose more jobs; on course to cull 90,000 more: Report

Faced with uncertainty, the once-sunshine telecom sector will continue to witness decline in headcounts for the next six-nine months taking the total number of job losses to 80,000-90,000, says a report. The sector, which has been witnessing rough weather in terms of profitability due to rising competition and lower margins, has witnessed large scale lay-offs making job scenario uncertain, said a CIEL HR Services in a report on Monday. The report is based on a survey among around 100 senior and mid-level employees of 65 telco and software and hardware service providers to telecom companies.

TRUST WAR: DANGEROUS TRENDS IN CYBER CONFLICT

NEAL A. POLLARD, ADAM SEGAL, AND MATTHEW G. DEVOST

This test was an example of the “bytes and blood” scenario that national security analysts generally predict when they talk about “cyber war” or conflict in cyberspace. For most of cyberspace’s short history, defense analysts, policymakers, and many computer experts have been focused on cyber-attacks that cause physical destruction and death. In 2012, for example, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta cautioned Americans that they someday could face a “cyber Pearl Harbor” as a terrorist group or enemy state gained control of “critical switches,” to “derail passenger trains, or even more dangerous, derail trains loaded with lethal chemicals.”

CONTRASTING CHINA’S AND RUSSIA’S INFLUENCE OPERATIONS

PETER MATTIS

A series of scandals from Russian meddling in the U.S. elections to China’s influence over Western politicians, like Australian Sen. Sam Dastyari and U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, has brought American attention back to the Cold War-style fight for influence and narratives. Congress has started to act, incorporating counter-propaganda funding into the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act and proposing reforms to the Foreign Agent Registration Act and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. The United States finally may be waking up to the challenge that its NATO allies and Taiwan have been facing for years. As Americans try to make sense of modern political warfare, the struggle to polish the rust off of the Cold War toolkit for countering foreign influence has run into the problem of insufficient to explain the challenges now faced by the United States and its allies.

On Technology and War

BY MARTIN VAN CREVELD

As anyone who casts even an occasional and superficial view at the media knows, military-technological development, driven by hundreds of billions in R&D funding, is proceeding at a furious pace. Not a day passes without the announcement of some new and revolutionary weapons and weapon systems that have recently transformed the entire face of war or are about to do so in the near future. The objective is always the same: namely, to obtain that elusive and often ill-defined thing, military-technological superiority. As one who has spent much of his life studying military history, specifically the interaction between technology and war, today I want to address the following question. Suppose you have got this kind of superiority. In that case, how do you go about using it?

Hawaii’s Nuclear Wakeup Call (and Why We Should Take MLK’s Advice)

BY JOE CIRINCIONE

What is it like to live on the nuclear brink? For professional golfer John Peterson playing in the Sony Open in Honolulu, it meant huddling terrified “under mattresses in the bathtub with my wife, baby and in-laws,” he said, on Twitter. “Please lord let this bomb threat not be real.” It was not real. But there are thousands of Hawaiians with similar stories after they got the official warning:  “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEKIMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” It took 38 minutes for state officials to cancel the alert, saying an employee had pushed the wrong button. “False alarms of the apocalypse are not a new feature of the nuclear age,” explains analyst Ankit Panda in an excellent summary of Saturday’s incident. There have been dozens of mistakes and false alerts, some bringing us a few minutes and one decision away from a nuclear disaster.

18 January 2018

Fresh provocation: China’s building a 36-km long road in strategic J&K valley near Siachen

COL. VINAYAK BHAT (RETD) 

New Threat Spotted: China’s 36-km road, troop locations in PoK’s Saksham valley “gifted” by Pakistan. Gives Chinese Army access to Line of Actual Control near Siachen. 

Rebuilding on the Beatles, an Ashram in India Hopes for Revival


A meditation pod atop an ashram in Rishikesh, India, where the Beatles went to study with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1968. The mural by Miles Toland complements a planned new museum on the grounds dedicated to the band’s tenure there. In 1968, the Beatles and a crew of hangers-on traded hip London threads for kurtas and wreaths of marigold, trudging through dense forest to an ashram in Rishikesh, India, where they spent weeks writing songs. There was George Harrison, a devoted follower of Transcendental Meditation; John Lennon and Paul McCartney, who had started to feud over the band’s direction; and Ringo Starr, the band’s drummer, who was so perturbed by India’s famously spicy food that he packed a reserve of beans for his stay at the ashram. He lasted 10 days.

What's Next for the Indian Army's Anti-Tank Guided Missile Requirement?

By Ankit Panda

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently in India on a five-day visit, the first by an Israeli prime minister since Ariel Sharon’s 2003 visit and the second Israeli prime ministerial visit to India overall. While the bilateral agenda between the two countries continues to grow broader than ever, defense ties are particularly in the spotlight given India’s recent decision to cancel a $500 million deal with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. for Spike anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM). The Indian decision was announced days into the new year and cast a bit of a pall over Netanyahu’s then-upcoming visit.

Telecom to lose more jobs; on course to cull 90,000 more: Report


Faced with uncertainty, the once-sunshine telecom sector will continue to witness decline in headcounts for the next six-nine months taking the total number of job losses to 80,000-90,000. The report is based on a survey among around 100 senior and mid-level employees of 65 telco and software and hardware service providers to telecom companies. Faced with uncertainty, the once-sunshine telecom sector will continue to witness decline in headcounts for the next six-nine months taking the total number of job losses to 80,000-90,000, says a report.

The sector, which has been witnessing rough weather in terms of profitability due to rising competition and lower margins, has witnessed large scale lay-offs making job scenario uncertain, said a CIEL HR Services in a report on Monday.

The United States and Pakistan: Best Frenemies Forever?

Laurel Miller

The United States is once again ratcheting up the pressure on Pakistan to fall in line with U.S. policy in Afghanistan by ending the Afghan Taliban’s enjoyment of safe haven. Unsurprisingly, Pakistan is once again pushing back. Amid the mistrust, mutual recrimination, and stale narratives that have increasingly characterized the U.S.-Pakistan relationship in recent years, there is one Pakistani talking point I have heard routinely from officials that should be taken at face value: Pakistan does not intend to fight the Afghan war on Pakistani soil. Although the reality of the situation is dissatisfying, the United States needs a strategy in Afghanistan and policy toward Pakistan based on the best Pakistani behavior it can have, not the Pakistani behavior it wants to have.

Will It Even Matter If U.S.-Pakistan Ties Collapse Altogether?

Steven Metz

Soon after 9/11, President George W. Bush recognized that the United States needed Pakistan’s cooperation to eradicate the training camps in Afghanistan where al-Qaida planned the attacks. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf declared that his nation was a full partner in the new “war on terror.” A few years later, Bush designated Pakistan a major non-NATO ally. Since 2002, Pakistan has received more than $33 billion in economic and security assistance from the United States, while the American military greatly expanded cooperation with its Pakistani counterpart.

Was Vietnam winnable? A new book suggests yes and offers advice for the war in Afghanistan.

By Jennifer Rubin 

Max Boot, a highly regarded military historian and foreign-policy analyst who is also a fierce critic of President Trump, is out with a new book: “The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam.” Lansdale(whose name is mentioned as Daniel Ellsberg’s boss in the opening scene of “The Post”) was a Vietnam analyst who correctly saw that our strategy was going in the wrong direction. As Boot said in a recent interview at the Council on Foreign Relations, “Lansdale tried to make [Defense Secretary Robert] McNamara and the other policymakers in the Kennedy administration realize the true nature of the war and to understand that we were not going to win just through superior firepower. And unfortunately, that message would be vindicated in the years ahead. But it was not something that McNamara was willing to believe in the beginning.”

The Pakistan Conundrum

RICHARD N. HAASS

The big US error after 9/11 was to treat Pakistan as if it were an ally with which it is possible to assume a large degree of policy overlap. In fact, even a more calculated, transactional relationship will not bring the US and Pakistan closer together. NEW YORK – Harold Brown, the US defense secretary under President Jimmy Carter, was reported to have described the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union in these terms: “When we build, they build. And when we don’t build, they build.” The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

The Lingering Dream of an Islamic State

By AZADEH MOAVENI

It was inevitable, a young lawyer in Tunisia told me, that the first attempts at a modern Islamic state would flounder. Young Muslims had grown up under the paradigms of nationalism, European racism and harsh police states, he said. They carried these inherited behaviors into the caliphate formed by the Islamic State, a place that was supposed to be just and colorblind but instead reveled in violence and was studded with mini neocolonial enclaves, where British Pakistanis lorded over local Syrians, and Saudis lorded over everyone. It would take one or two generations to unlearn these tendencies and deconstruct what had gone so wrong, he said. But he remained loyal to the idea — partly because the alternative he currently lives under is worse. “When the police become the state itself,” he said, “it is truly terrifying.”

What Xi Jinping’s New Year’s Speech Means for America

Jonathan D. T. Ward

The United States must accept the truth that China is now its first superpower rival since the USSR. Xi’s New Year Speech fittingly revives a Cold War Communist tradition: using the New Year as a platform for a counterpoint to an American-led world. Recent Chinese presidents would have ended with statements on development and prosperity. Xi has gone farther. From commemorating China’s space and military achievements in 2017, to highlighting China’s new international initiatives, Xi has set the stage for a China that is becoming ever more comfortable voicing global ambitions. More importantly, the subtext of a series of new Xi speeches is that China is in direct competition with the United States.

University rejects Chinese Communist Party-linked influence efforts on campus

By Josh Rogin

As part of a broad effort to interfere in U.S. institutions, China tries to shape the discussion at American universities, stifle criticism and influence academic activity by offering funding, often through front organizations closely linked to Beijing. Now that aspect of Beijing’s foreign influence campaign is beginning to face resistance from academics and lawmakers. A major battle in this nascent campus war played out over the past six months at the University of Texas in Austin. After a long internal dispute, a high-level investigation and an intervention by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), the university last week rejected a proposal by the leader of its new China center to accept money from the China United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF). The Hong Kong-based foundation and its leader, Tung Chee-hwa, are closely linked to the branch of the Chinese Communist Party that manages influence operations abroad.

The political consequences of China’s rise

RAJESH RAJAGOPALAN
Source Link

There is greater recognition today in India of the growing power disparity with China and its impact on Indian security and interests. While this much-delayed recognition is welcome, there is still insufficient appreciation of the full effects of China’s power. Far too often, this disparity is seen only in the context of military security. Though the military power China can bring to bear on India is considerable and it is a real threat to the security of India’s borders, the international political consequences of China’s growing power is less often recognised.

HASC SUBCOMMITTEE OPENING REMARKS: “CHINA’S PURSUIT OF EMERGING & EXPONENTIAL TECHNOLOGIES”


Today, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Chairwoman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery, on the Subcommittee’s hearing titled “China’s Pursuit of Emerging and Exponential Technologies .” For testimony and to watch the hearing click here“I would like to welcome everyone to our first Subcommittee event for 2018. Today we will examine China’s Pursuit of Emerging and Exponential Technologies and the resultant impact on U.S. national security.

The fall of ISIS and its implications for South Asia

KABIR TANEJA
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With the territorial defeat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, analysts are pondering the kind of organisational form the group would take next. The influence of the so-called Islamic State in South Asia may be minimal, but India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, have all had the shadow of ISIS’ global footprint land on their doorstep. This brief sheds light on how the influence of ISIS spread across South Asia, specifically after 2014, when pro-ISIS social-media platforms circulated the ‘ISIS Khorasan’ maps that showed the region as part of the caliphate’s global ambitions of conquest.

Introduction

ENTRY 23: HAWAII UNDER THREAT

VAN JACKSON

I managed just over 600 words this weekend, which is no bueno. I have to get more done than that to hit the deadline. I had more words in me than I actually put on paper. This weekend was busy, but only partly because Wellington’s unusually warm and sunny weather beckoned me to the beach. There was also a much written about false-alarm notification to Hawaii residents that a ballistic missile was incoming. For 38 minutes, hundreds of thousands of people thought they were going to die. Many of them had never thought about national security or the threat environment in the Asia-Pacific, leaving them traumatized.

Can the Europeans defend Europe?


Mike Scrafton

A renewed sense of urgency over European defence has come only after a cumulative series of strategic shocks. The European powers have long resisted supranational defence institutions, instead depending heavily on NATO and the US. Prior to 1989, Western European and US strategic interests converged as the trans-Atlantic powers faced a hostile Soviet Union. After the Cold War, the Europeans failed to assume responsibility for the peace and security of their own continent. Can they now?

A German coalition deal to radically reshape Europe


The preliminary agreement signals a shift to more agenda-driven EU politics WOLFGANG MUNCHAU Add to myFT Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz: in the last grand coalition deal, in 2013, there was hardly any reference of Europe beyond the usual clichés © AP Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) Save Save to myFT Wolfgang Münchau YESTERDAY 101 Germany’s two main parties finally reached a preliminary agreement for a grand coalition. Whether it holds is anyone’s guess. There are plenty of obstacles still in the way between the deal reached in the early hours of Friday morning and Germany getting a new government. But if the parties involved — the Christian Democrats led by Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Social Democrats — do manage to pull it off, it would be truly radical in one respect: the section on the future of the EU lays out the biggest push by Germany towards continental integration since the Maastricht treaty a quarter of a century ago. 

“Modern Guerrillas” and the Defense of the Baltic States

by James K. Wither

The Soviet Union invaded Finland in November 1939. The Soviet force numbered 600,000 backed by thousands of tanks, aircraft and artillery. By comparison, Finland was a military minnow. Its army was less than half the size, had few tanks and aircraft and suffered chronic ammunition shortages. Nevertheless, the Finns inflicted up to ten times as many casualties on the attacking forces than they suffered. Although Finland was forced to concede significant territory to the Soviet Union at the conclusion of the war in March 1940, determined resistance arguably preserved its independence.

North Korean nuclear capabilities, 2018

Hans M. Kristensen Robert S. Norris

The authors cautiously estimate that North Korea may have produced enough fissile material to build between 30 and 60 nuclear weapons, and that it might possibly have assembled 10 to 20. Although North Korea is thought to have the capability to develop an operationally functioning re-entry vehicle to deliver an operational nuclear warhead, there is some uncertainty about whether it has demonstrated that it has succeeded in doing so. Nonetheless, North Korea’s nuclear weapons program has made considerable progress over the years, including a wide variety of ballistic and powerful nuclear tests. Presumably, if it hasn't happened already, it is only a matter of time before Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal can be considered fully functioning. 

The uncertainty around H-1B visas is more unnerving than the rules themselves

WRITTEN BY Ananya Bhattacharya

The Donald Trump administration’s flip-flop over H-1B visas has the Indian IT sector on edge. India’s largest software exporter Tata Consultancy Services, for instance, is more worried about the lack of clarity over the policy than the possibility of tougher norms itself. “The immediate concern of H-1B is that there are a few more bills that are being talked about, but none of that has played out as of now,” TCS human resources head Ajoyendra Mukherjee told reporters after the company announced its earnings for the October-December 2017 quarter.

IDEATING FUTURE WAR FIGHTING: MULTI-DOMAIN WARFARE


The bedrock of all security strategies is the in-depth analysis of how the security environment of the future is fathomed, and how this analysis is translated into national security strategy, doctrines and onwards towards war fighting plans, and capabilities enhancement/creation. An article by William S Lind has been trolled in fauji social media groups, drawing equations and parallels in our armed forces. Some remarks find resonance and likeness ‘…decisions are committee-consensus, lowest common denominator, which… is usually the worst of all possible alternatives. Nothing can be changed or reformed because of the vast number of players defending their “rice bowls.” Decisions are pulled up the chain because the chain is laden with surplus officers looking for something to do. Fixing the substantive problems is harder because those fixes require changes in organizational culture.’[1] In the Indian context, this necessitates further analysis.

U.S to cut mobile ties with Huawei & ZTE



CAPE TOWN - US lawmakers last week introduced a bill, aimed at banning government agencies from using phones and equipment from Chinese multinationals, Huawei and ZTE.  This comes after growing security concern surfaced between Huawei, ZTE and the U.S government. The US government says that these mobile technology brands pose a security threat to their country. As a result, Texas Representative, Mike Conaway introduced a bill last week, Defending U. S Government Communications Act. The bill aims to ban US government agencies from utilising phones and equipment from the companies. In a statement on his site, Conaway says that technology coming from the country poses a threat to national security and that by using the company’s equipment, “would be inviting Chinese surveillance into all aspects of our lives,”

'Very high level of confidence' Russia used Kaspersky software for devastating NSA leaks


Three months after U.S. officials asserted that Russian intelligence used popular antivirus company Kaspersky to steal U.S. classified information, there are indications that the alleged espionage is related to a public campaign of highly damaging NSA leaks by a mysterious group called the Shadow Brokers. That’s a Russian intelligence operation,” a former senior intelligence official, who requested anonymity to speak bluntly, told Yahoo Finance. “They’ve gotten a lot noisier than they used to be.”

Causes of False Missile Alerts: The Sun, the Moon and a 46-Cent Chip

By MATT STEVENS and CHRISTOPHER MELE

A United States Air Force plane, right, intercepting a Soviet aircraft in 1982. Both countries were on high alert for nuclear launches throughout the Cold War. CreditUnited States Air Force As strange, serious and scary as the erroneous emergency notification Saturday about a missile attack against Hawaii may have been, it was far from the first such false alarm the country has faced. Every decade since the dawn of the nuclear age has seen its share of close calls, experts said. During the Cold War, the government routinely dealt with hundreds of anomalies that could have led to a nuclear launch.

Reviewing Combined Operations

By B.A. Friedman

A major power confronts another across a wide expanse of ocean. Neither opponent is able to significantly threaten the other’s mainland without mastering and crossing the waves. But the vast distances involved are daunting even for the opposing navies. One side then executes an east-to-west island hopping campaign, using the possession of islands to control the sea and project force far beyond the capacities of lesser powers.  Two campaigns fitting the above description act as bookends to Western naval history: the Persian invasions of Greece from 492-479 BC and World War II from 1941-1945. Everything before the Persian invasions is lost to the sands of time. Everything after the world-spanning amphibious campaigns of World War II is judged in their shadow. 

A Primer on Understanding the Threat - Russian, Iranian, and Chinese Political Warfare

by Douglas A. Livermore

“Political warfare” is a form of strategy that leverages all of the diplomatic, informational, military, and economic capabilities at a nation's disposal to achieve its strategic objectives. Best described in a 1948 State Department memorandum by US Ambassador George Kennan, political warfare involved: “The employment of all the means at a nation's command, short of war, to achieve its national objectives[...] They range from such overt actions as political alliances, economic measures, and 'white' propaganda to such covert operations as clandestine support of ‘friendly’ foreign elements, 'black’ psychological warfare and even encouragement of underground resistance in hostile states.”