28 June 2016

Why the British said no to Europe

June 28, 2016

A European Union flag, with a hole cut in the middle, flies at half-mast outside a home in Knutsford Cheshire after the historic referendum. Photo: Getty Images

This was a vote by those angered and demoralised by the sheer arrogance of the apologists for the ‘remain’ campaign and the dismemberment of a socially just civil life in Britain.

The majority vote by Britons to leave the European Union was an act of raw democracy. Millions of ordinary people refused to be bullied, intimidated and dismissed with open contempt by their presumed betters in the major parties, the leaders of the business and banking oligarchy and the media.

This was, in great part, a vote by those angered and demoralised by the sheer arrogance of the apologists for the “remain” campaign and the dismemberment of a socially just civil life in Britain. The last bastion of the historic reforms of 1945, the National Health Service, has been so subverted by Tory and Labour-supported privateers it is fighting for its life.

Nothing but blackmail

A forewarning came when the Treasurer, George Osborne, the embodiment of both Britain’s ancien regime and the banking mafia in Europe, threatened to cut £30 billion from public services if people voted the wrong way; it was blackmail on a shocking scale.

Immigration was exploited in the campaign with consummate cynicism, not only by populist politicians from the lunar right, but by Labour politicians drawing on their own venerable tradition of promoting and nurturing racism, a symptom of corruption not at the bottom but at the top. The reason millions of refugees have fled the Middle East — first Iraq, now Syria — are the invasions and imperial mayhem of Britain, the United States, France, the European Union and NATO. Before that, there was the wilful destruction of Yugoslavia. Before that, there was the theft of Palestine and the imposition of Israel.

*** How The British Raj’s Army Opened Its Doors For ‘Indian’ OfficersBook Excerpts

Until the First World War, Indians were not allowed to hold the King’s Commission. The best they could hope for was a Viceroy’s Commission – granted only to senior soldiers who had risen from the ranks. From 1917, however, ten places at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst were reserved every year for Indians. These King’s Commissioned Indian Officers (KCIOs) were carefully selected: most of them hailed from the martial classes that had fought in the war.

Following the political reforms of 1919, Indians in the new Central Legislative Assembly (CLA) began to take a keen interest in the ‘Indianization’ of the army. In response to the Esher Committee report of 1921, a set of resolutions was tabled in the CLA by P. S. Sivaswamy Aiyer, a leading liberal from Madras. These included demands for setting aside 25 per cent of the places at Sandhurst for Indian cadets and for the provision of preparatory training in India.

The commander-in-chief of India, as well as the India Office, rebuffed the resolutions, arguing that their provisions would dilute the efficacy of the Indian army and that no British officer would deign to serve under an Indian. Even a plan drawn up by the Commander-in-Chief in 1923, proposing complete Indianization in forty-two years, was swatted aside in London. The summary rejection of even so conservative a plan riled the Indians. Speaking at the next budget session of the CLA, Jinnah noted that the Indian army had 2,078 British officers. At the going rate, he asked, ‘how many centuries will it take to Indianise the Army?’ Concerned about a nationalist backlash, the viceroy, Lord Reading, protested to London. This resulted in a plan to ‘Indianize’ eight units (six infantry battalions and two cavalry regiments). Thenceforth the KCIOs would be posted only to these segregated units.

Make in India: Problems and Prospects for the Aerospace Industry

By Gp Capt AK Sachdev
27 Jun , 2016

The Indian public sector aerospace industry, protected by successive governments, does not have much to show as results for all the money spent in the last seven decades. On the other hand, the private sector has been denied the opportunity and indeed, there is more achievement by private sector in collaboration with foreign manufacturers than in relation to Indian clientele, be it civil or military. ‘Make in India’ can be a path-breaking movement in the right direction to placing India advantageously on the global aerospace industry map. Its intention to spend on acquisitions and on infrastructure has sent the right signals to big aerospace players worldwide and there is considerable interest in ‘Make in India’. However, as of now the visible momentum is not very encouraging. The environment in which Indian and foreign manufacturers are constrained to conduct their business is still straitjacketed although, it may be said in defence of the government, that efforts appear to be afoot to improve things, albeit at a painfully slow pace.

The time has come to encourage private entities to introduce efficient productivity into the civil aviation industry through ‘Make in India’…

NSG’s No-Entry - Three Things India Must Do Now Swarajya Staff

June 26, 2016

China’s stubborn objection to India’s latest bid for Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership will continue to rankle New Delhi for some time. Despite a high-voltage diplomacy from the Indian side, Beijing has not budged from its stand of requiring New Delhi to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to join the NSG.

At the highest levels, Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and reportedly requested a “fair and an objective assessment” of India’s bid.

With China determined to block India’s access to the international nuclear energy market, what are India’s options?

Writing in Firstpost, leading nuclear energy affairs expert and Swarajya editorial team member Jaideep Prabhu offers three measures.

First, do not sign the NPT as demanded by China unless India is explicitly recognised as a nuclear weapons state. Today, India can sign the NPT only as a ‘non-nuclear weapons state’ which means it must give up its nuclear weapons. The NPT regime will not easily agree for an amendment to the treaty that will list India as a nuclear weapons state. Therefore, India signing the NPT is not even an option. Beijing must forget about it.

What Next with the NSG?

Early on Friday morning, Indian time, the verdict from Seoul was announced: India would not be allowed entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group. For many, this had been a foregone conclusion but the strenuous efforts of the Indian government raised hope that things would ultimately come out in India’s favour as they did in 2008. They were wrong.

At Seoul, Beijing played spoil sport. Stubbornly insisting on creating an admissions process for countries not signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, it refused to consider the specifics of India’s case. For China, it was a purely geopolitical calculation – Indian admission to the nuclear high table would bring the South Asian country on par with itself. Additionally, it would put India in a position of advantage over China’s client, Pakistan. Obfuscating these realities behind the rhetoric of non-proliferation, China, one of the worst proliferators in recent years, gained the support of other NSG participating governments for its “principled” stand.

Although India insists that its application was foiled by one obstinate country, other reports suggest that Austria, Brazil, Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Turkey all supported a process-based entry. Turkey may have been keeping an eye on Israel while China is the largest trading partner for Brazil and New Zealand. According to diplomats, accession to the NPT was the recurring theme during the negotiations.

India is Larger Than the NSG

By RSN Singh
Issue: Net Edition | Date : 26 Jun , 2016

It is unfortunate that a segment of the media as well as some political commentators, and ‘experts’, have issued comments on the NSG issue, unsavory to India’s interest. In effect they seek to bloat China’s ego and put down India. To cite some of these disparaging comments and headlines:-

The pro-China constituency in India survives in many manifestations, in parliament, academia, think-tanks and universities. It is for this reason that China’s anti-India posturing at the NSG did not evoke the expected anger.
No entry in NSG: India blames one country(China) others said no too
India’s NSG bid runs into a great wall.
Opposition parties slam Modi over India not getting NSG membership.
Modi failed on foreign policy.
Modi’s effort to get entry into NSG failed.
Rival Party takes a dig, calls NSG bid a failed diplomacy.

What S-400 will bring to the Indian Ground-Based Air Defence Capability?

By Lt Gen VK Saxena
26 Jun , 2016

Good strides of progress, cutting across Service boundaries have taken place in automating the erstwhile manual/semi-automatic Control and Reporting (C&R) Nodes that exercise tactical, operational and minute-to-minute control of the air defence battle. This has been made possible by the paradigm shift brought about by the satellite communication and Digital Data Transmission technologies and a near steady flow of induction of all grades of Sensors from the Low Level Light Weight Radars for the mountainous and high altitude areas and the regular ones providing gun/missile control or 3D Early Warning of incoming raids. More modern Sensors with more and more robust ECCM and anti stealth capabilities are lined up in procurements both on the indigenous, as well as the foreign OEM route.

The News

Ever since October 2015, the media is abuzz with the news of a likely purchase of S-400 Air Defence System by India from Russia. Later, the open source firmed up on the likely numbers, reporting that the clearance has been accorded for the procurement of five Regiments of S-400 at a likely cost of $4.5 billion1.

On Twin Track

Indian Naval Sales – The Cautious Emergence of a New Supplier

By Dr. Sanjay Badri-Maharaj
27 Jun , 2016

On June 10, 2016, Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) launched the first of the two 105m Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) destined for the Sri Lankan Navy.1

These vessels, the largest India has exported to date, mark the latest in a series of naval sales which, though not heavily publicised, have made India an emerging exporter of patrol vessels. Combined with the emergence of Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Limited (GRSE) as the L1 or the lowest bidder for the supply of frigates to the Philippine Navy, India has the potential of becoming a significant exporter of naval vessels.2

However, to date, India has adopted a somewhat cautious approach to marketing its naval products, confining it to neighbouring or friendly countries in Asia.

Though India has built several warships and has a largely indigenously built navy and coast guard, its exports were, until recently, limited to refurbished ex-navy and coast guard ships being transferred to the Seychelles, the Maldives, Mauritius and Sri Lanka. India had not sold a single new-build naval vessel until March 04, 2011, when a contract to supply Mauritius with a 74m OPV was concluded with GRSE.3 This vessel MCGS Barracuda was delivered in December 2014.4

Kargil Controversy: An IAF Response

By Air Marshal RS Bedi
26 Jun , 2016

Lt Gen Harwant’s article “Kargil Controversy : Sorry State of Higher Defence Management”, published in October-December 2009 issue of the Indian Defence Review is laudable for its comprehensive and all encompassing critique. Though written with an advantage of hindsight after a long span of ten years, he somehow ends up making the issue still more controversial, especially with regard to the role of the Indian Air Force. One does not have to berate the other merely to prove a point, that the Chief of the Defence Staff is an urgent need of the hour if Higher Defence Management is to improve. I have no reason to believe that the article is a deliberate misrepresentation of facts. I am in fact inclined to attribute it to inadequate understanding of fundamental precepts of air power. I would therefore dwell on some of these issues raised by the General and hopefully set the records straight in the interest of inter service bonhomie.

Except against China in 1962, the IAF played significant roles in support of the army in all past conflicts since independence. It may be mentioned here that it was the government that held the air force back for fear of widening the scope of the war. Apparently, it was the American ambassador John Galbraith who advised Prime Minister Nehru not to commit the air force, for the Chinese might attack industrial complexes in and around Calcutta. Besides, it was also the intelligence input or lack of it that led the government to decide not to use air power. Forsaking the use of air power was in fact a miscalculation on the part of the political leadership. The Chinese did not have any significant capability then.

Revisiting 27 May, 1949- To Understand Nehru and His Kashmir Policy

By Hari Om Mahajan
27 Jun , 2016

It is widely believed that Jammu and Kashmir came in for discussion in the Indian Constituent Assembly, only on 17 October 1949. That was when Article 306-A (Article 370) was adopted and the state was permitted to have a special relationship with the Union Government. This assessment is partially correct.

A scrutiny of the proceedings of the Constituent Assembly reveals that the issues concerning Jammu and Kashmir were discussed twice – first on 27 May 1949, and again on 17 October 1949. It also shows that the focus on 27 May was far sharper and more revealing than it was on 17 October. Article 370 was designed to give Jammu and Kashmir the right to have its own constitution and a flag, other than the national flag.

The Article was adopted in no time; despite the fact that a Muslim member of the Constituent Assembly, Maulana Hasrat Mohani, had warned that the grant of special status to Kashmir (on the score of religion) would enable it to “assume independence afterwards.” (Constituent Assembly Debates, Book No 5, Vol. Nos. X-XII, 6 Oct 1949 to 24 Jan 1950, reprinted by Lok Sabha Secretariat, New Delhi, Second Edition, 1989, p. 428).

It would be interesting to reflect on the 27 May discussion, which is less known but is equally relevant- something that kept the Constituent Assembly engrossed in squabbles and tortuous discussions for hours together. Such an exercise is imperative to understand the reasons behind the 70-year-old complaints of the people of Jammu and Ladakh that “they have no place whatsoever in the country’s policy” and that “it is New Delhi which is responsible for their socio-cultural and politico-economic degeneration and under-development”.

How the Americans first proposed India's NSG membership and then turned it into a Sino-India tangle

India’s diplomacy and foreign policy has suffered a humiliating defeat at Seoul.

Imagine a train accelerating along an S-curve. That is what Indian diplomacy has done. Now, close your eyes and don’t even look at the wreckage as the news comes from the plenary of the Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting in Seoul.

India’s diplomacy and foreign policy has suffered a humiliating defeat.

It was plain to see all along for anyone who is not myopic – and, most certainly, at least from June 9 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi dialled up the Kremlin number – how the denouement of India’s high voltage diplomacy on NSG membership would turn out to be.

The best spin one can give is that Modi’s aides led him up the garden path and left him in a world of make-believe that India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group was just round the corner.

Modi probably found the prospect irresistible that he would be claiming credit in the Indian public opinion for an incredible diplomatic achievement.

Talking tough


JUNE 27, 2016

Last week’s vote in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union not only reflects the country’s history of globalization and suspicions of continental domination, but also discontent with unaccountable and out-of-touch elites. Fewer people remember the horrific events of the two world wars and the Cold Warm which provided much of the impetus for integration. The victory of the “Brexiteer” campaign is indicative of a growing trend of agitation against the establishment in both Europe and the United States. If what we saw in Britain heralds a trend, this could be the beginning of a shift away from the integrated economic and security institutions that have been the bedrock of global stability since the end of World War II. More immediately, the European Union will be weaker at a time when Russia is resurgent. The United Kingdom, United States, and European Union need to take steps to ensure Brexit has a minimal negative impact on international security.

The worst-case scenario for security in the wake of the Brexit would be an isolationist Britain that retreats from the entire world, not just the European Union. NATO with a less-engaged Britain would be severely weakened. A United Kingdom with an even smaller defense budget would be unwilling and unable to deploy forces to deal with transnational threats. Consequently, a diminished European Union could fall into internecine squabbling about the way ahead. Unhampered by a solid Euro-Atlantic front, a resurgent Russia could continue its efforts to build a de facto buffer zone in Eastern Europe at the expense of NATO members and partners. Even progress toward a global structure of free trade, democracy, and human rights risks slowing, stopping, or even being reversed. Luckily, none of this need come to pass. If all parties adopt a proactive stance, they can reassure Europe and other British allies and partners around the world and minimize the potential impact to global and regional security.

Brexit and the Weakness of the West

June 24, 2016

When Americans walk away, Europe tends to fail. The Americans walked away during the Bush and Obama years, and the consequences of that withdrawal are becoming apparent.

For Americans, the British decision is a bitter blow. NATO, the European Union, Great Britain, Germany and the West generally are all in a worse position now than they were before the vote. Not only will Western institutions be turning inward to deal with the consequences of British withdrawal, the balance of power inside the EU will shift away from the outward looking and dynamic north towards the more protectionist south. Even as the global situation deteriorates and the Middle East lurches deeper into the horrors of sectarian war, America’s close European allies will be squabbling with each other over the details of divorce—and both the EU and Britain will be consumed by their internal problems. Scotland may now want to leave Britain, and populist politicians across Europe are already talking about more secessions and more referendums.

The vote, and weakening of the West that it heralds, will diminish President Obama’s foreign policy legacy. American policy toward Europe under his leadership has been an abject failure. His most obvious failure, and one that historians will view severely, is his failure to prevent the meltdown of Syria. The millions of desperate refugees fleeing for their lives are much more than a humanitarian disaster; they are a political disaster, and the strain of coping with the refugee flow on top of Europe’s other problems stoked suspicion and fear across the continent and greatly strengthened the power of the Leave campaign in the UK.

Brexit: Bad for Europe, Good for Britain

June 26, 2016

From a strict perspective of American interest, the British vote to leave the European Union is bad news. Great Britain has always played a moderating role within the union and, although they often differed on individual EU issues, tended to stand with Germany as a counter to the bloc of often dysfunctional EU member nations for whom the union has acted as a welfare system and wealth-redistribution scheme. Of more immediate American interest, Britain was also the largest EU member with the most congruous foreign-policy alignment to the United States, and thus a strong force within the union for harmonizing new European aspirations—and pretensions—with the still pertinent transatlantic security and cooperation functions of NATO.

No question about it: the immediate impact is a strong negative for our national interest as well as for the forces for responsible policy within the EU.

Having said that, however, I must still confess to a certain grudging respect for the decision made by the British people. It is a little too easy to blame British smugness, insularity and jingoism for the Brexit, although all of these factors undeniably played a part in the winning exit vote. Brexit is the logical, if rather drastic, response to a relentless, steadily building power-grab from the Eurocrats in Brussels that has already gone far beyond what original advocates for the then Common Market, even Charles de Gaulle, had in mind.

Brexit: Keep Calm and Carry On

June 25, 2016

The immediate reaction to the Brexit vote in the international media and financial markets illustrates again the complacency and vacuity of the governing elites of the West. There was never any reason to imagine the Remainers would win on the basis of the piffle that David Cameron brought back from Brussels. He promised “full-on treaty change” in response to decades of mounting British unease over the authoritarian regulation of their lives and occupations, and what he got was a promise by the twenty-six other European Union countries to “consider” British “applications” for the right to vary benefit paid to certain categories of migrants. What Neville Chamberlain brought back from Munich in 1938 was a triumph of diplomacy in comparison. This was always going to be a close race and where the slumbering confidence that Cameron would walk it came from is a complete mystery, other than the resistless addiction of the British political leadership, like their American analogues, to believe what they want to believe.

Though they can be overworked, there are some comparisons with the sacking of the American political establishment. There is the common thread of concern about immigration and trade being mere labels for the importation of unemployment. And there is the resentment of the lassitude and pomposity and disconnection to bread and butter as well as patriotic issues of the ruling elites. But in Britain there is the dangerous issue of surrender of national sovereignty-at least the Americans do not have to retrieve the right of self-government, for which George Washington and his comrades fought for seven years. But it is not fair to say that Britain has had twenty years of misgovernment as the United States has. The United Kingdom did not bring down upon itself and the world the greatest economic crisis in eighty years as the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations did with the housing bubble and the deliberate and enforced issuance of hundreds of billions of dollars of worthless mortgages. Nor have the British squandered scores of thousands of casualties and trillions of dollars in prolonged war in the Middle East that enhanced the status of their strategic adversaries, especially Iran. And Britain has not oscillated between the hip-shooting pugnacity of George W. Bush, and the feckless appeasement of Obama.

Reflections On Brexit Vote: Triumph Of Irrationality – OpEd

JUNE 27, 2016

The Brexit vote in the UK is yet another reminder of the perils of direct democracy in today’s complex “post-industrial” age putting severe limits on the ability of average citizens to make informed choices about complicated economic and socio-political issues. But, thankfully, the British political system is based on representative democracy, which is why the legally non-binding referendum ought to be ignored by the British lawmakers, most of whom are in favor of remaining in the Union — for good reasons.

Faced with the problems of economic stagnation, terrorism, refugees, the deepening right/left cleavage, and so on, the European Union is facing uncertain future and maybe headed toward a bigger crisis of governability in case the Brexit vote translates into Britain’s actual departure from the Union, which in all likelihood would trigger a break-up of the British Union; Scotland Wales have opted to remain in EU and now there are calls for a fresh Scottish referendum on independence. Equally important, the Brexit vote has raised new concerns about the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and the peace between them, which has been much helped by their EU membership. Neither economically nor in terms of their security, the British people are not served by the Brexit campaign, which has prophesied disaster of biblical proportion with the myth of an EU super-state and marauding masses of immigrants.

Brexit’s Impact On GCC – OpEd

By Christian Koch*
JUNE 26, 2016

The historic vote in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union is bound to have repercussions far beyond the European continent. This includes implications for the GCC states who will now find themselves having to deal with a more fractured Europe and an EU institution struggling to define its purpose in the wider integration process. On the foreign-policy front, the vote signifies a return to classical nation-state power politics with the EU losing its momentum as a voice for diplomacy and cooperation.

The immediate consequences will off course be felt within Europe first. While the process of separating the UK from Brussels will be a complicated and prolonged one, the vote is certain to provide further impetus for European separatism. With issues like immigration on the top of agenda in most European countries, parties like the French Front National and the Alternative für Deutschland (AFD) in Germany, could see their poll prospects rise further, a worrisome development given the fact that both France and Germany will hold national elections in 2017.

The European project has always succeeded or fallen short based on the strength of a solid German-French understanding on the way forward for Europe. This alliance, however, is weak rather than strong at the moment. The result is an EU in a profound period of doubt and declining confidence. With the UK now set to leave the EU, it will be incredibly difficult to insert a new sense of momentum unless Paris and Berlin can quickly regain their footing and agree on a comprehensive agenda going forward. At the moment, this does not appear to be the case.

Taliban Attacks Intensifying in Eastern Afghanistan

June 26, 2016

Islamic State Militants Launch New Attacks in Eastern Afghanistan

KABUL — Heavy fighting between Islamic State militants and government security forces has claimed dozens of lives in eastern Afghanistan, officials said on Sunday.

In recent months insurgents claiming allegiance to Islamic State had largely appeared to be bottled up in a mountainous area along the border with Pakistan under threat of U.S. air strikes.

The latest attacks indicate the group remains a potent threat to a government already battling an insurgency dominated by the rival Taliban.

At least a dozen Afghan security forces and civilians had been killed, with another 18 wounded, Nangarhar province governor Saleem Khan Kunduzi said in a statement.

Local officials claimed more than 100 Islamic State fighters had been killed in fighting in Nangarhar over the past three days, although exact figures varied and could not be independently verified.

“There is no doubt that Daesh do not respect anyone,” Kunduzi said, using a common term for Islamic State. “They kill people, regardless of whether they’re a child or a woman. They burn down madrasas, mosques and schools.”


JUNE 26, 2016

Rising tensions in the South China Sea have cast a pall over many actors and issues, but not international law. Indeed, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and its mandatory dispute settlement mechanisms are arguably at the zenith of their popularity. Some believe that the U.S. Senate may soon finally ratify a treaty that has been adhered to by both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Perversely, the Obama administration’s focus on international law — with the arbitration ruling likely to be handed down shortly— may be badly undercut depending on how China reacts and behaves. Ideally, China would find in the ruling a diplomatic off ramp to avoid a clash at sea and promote new joint development of maritime resources.

However, such a diplomatic tack should not be assumed to be that probable. One hint is China’s long-adamant position that the panel’s ruling will be a legal nullity because of Beijing’s alleged indisputable sovereignty over South China Sea land features. Another less obvious clue is China’s systematic attempt to use diplomacy and economic inducements to enhance the malleability of each Southeast Asian claimant state.

As China woos South Asia, India remains wary

By Rashmi Saksena
Date : 26 Jun , 2016

The flowers in the ‘spring city’ of Kunming, capital of China’s southwestern Yunnan province, were in full bloom and the pleasant weather was at its best as it played host to the 4th China-South Asia Expo and the 24th China Kunming Import and Export Commodities Fair (June 12-17). At the end of the six day Kunming Expo and Fair co-hosted by China’s Ministry of Commerce and the provincial government of Yunnan, foreign trade contracts and agreements of intent worth USD 24 billion were signed. 

With the exception of India, the other participating 89 countries plus regions were apparently in the grip of this ‘spring’ when it came to building trade ties with China. On the other hand, a winter chill seemed to have had enveloped India’s participation in the event. The cold reflects the fact that trade and business interests have been overtaken by New Delhi’s concerns over Beijing’s perceived geopolitical ambitions and aims. Obviously, India has chosen to sacrifice economic potential and opportunities presented by the likes of the Kunming Expo and instead concentrate on its foreign policy narrative as it tangos with China.

Without doubt New Delhi remains peeved with its gaping trade imbalance with China (34% deficit for India during 2015). However, the apparent studied lack of Indian excitement at the Kunming Expo goes beyond.

How Concerned Should China Be About Brexit? – Analysis

JUNE 27, 2016

At first glance, the unexpected referendum result on Brexit—the UK’s exit from the EU—appears to be bad news for China’s interests in both the UK and EU. British Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to resign following the loss of the “Remain” vote in the referendum puts into question the multibillion dollar Sino-UK cooperation agreements signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UK last year, in particular the Hinkley Point nuclear project, whose lead developer Électricité de France is considering withdrawing from due to the project’s escalating costs.

Now, with the coming loss of political support from Prime Minister Cameron, opposition against China’s nuclear investment, especially from the security lobby, could be strengthened. This could endanger China’s strategic plan to use Hinkley Point as a showpiece project that would lead to further nuclear projects in the UK and Europe.1 Likewise, China’s carefully cultivated relations with other EU member-states could come undone following Brexit, with the emboldened leaders of the European far-right, including Marine Le Pen of France and Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, issuing calls for referendums across Europe on exits from the EU.2

Is China Building Africa? – Analysis

JUNE 26, 2016

“The US destroys and China builds,” was how a taxi driver from Ethiopia in Washington DC responded to Chen’s question about China’s main activity in Africa. Building is what China has been doing, on a massive scale, with projects of all kinds sited in African cities and spread across this vast continent. Having built the $150 million gleaming new conference centre at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, China recently signed a contract worth $12 billion to build the Coastal Railway in Nigeria stretching 650 km across the country from Calabar in the east to Aba, Port Harcourt, Warri, Benin City and Lagos in the west. Never before in human history have we seen the spectacle of a continental-sized China, which was as poor as most African countries only 30 years ago, building up Africa’s infrastructure on such a scale that could help the world’s poorest continent catch up in development.

China’s dominant role in building Africa’s infrastructure has been controversial despite two generally agreed positions. The first is that Africa lags severely behind other developing regions in infrastructure and has a craving demand for catching up. The second is that China is meeting that demand more than any other country, with its companies, especially state-owned enterprises (SOEs), and workers labouring away on projects that range from municipal buildings and dams to roads and railways that begin to stitch together poorly connected African cities and regions.

Iraqi Army Claims to Have Captured Last Fallujah Neighborhood Held by ISIS

June 26, 2017

Iraqi Forces Retake Islamic State Holdout in Falluja

FALLUJA, Iraq — Iraqi forces recaptured the last district held by Islamic State militants in the city of Falluja on Sunday and the general commanding the operation declared the battle complete after nearly five weeks of fighting.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi claimed victory over Islamic State in Falluja more than a week ago but fighting continued inside the city west of Baghdad, including in the Golan district. The offensive has been backed by a U.S.-led coalition mostly in the form of air strikes against Islamic State.

“We announce from this place in central Golan district that it has been cleaned by the counter terrorism service and we convey the good news to the Iraqi people that the battle of Falluja is over,” Lieutenant General Abdul Wahab al-Saidi told state TV.

Flanked by jubilant fighters, some waving Iraqi flags, Saidi said a few militants were still holding out in buildings. At least 1,800 Islamic State fighters were killed in the operation to retake Falluja, and the rest had fled, he said.

Government troops launched the operation on May 23 to retake Falluja, a bastion of the Sunni Muslim insurgency against U.S. forces that toppled Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, in 2003, and later against Shi'ite-led governments.

Obama Says ‘Special Relationship’ With Britain Will Endure

JUNE 24, 2016

President Obama boarding Air Force One on Thursday to travel to California. On Friday, Mr. Obama said, “The people of the United Kingdom have spoken, and we respect their decision.”CreditZach Gibson/The New York Times

PALO ALTO, Calif. — President Obama on Friday sought to assure Britainand the European Union that the United States would not pick sides once the two are divorced. But he acknowledged, somewhat ruefully, that Britain’s vote to leave the union, which he had publicly opposed, spoke “to the ongoing changes and challenges raised by globalization.”

Mr. Obama’s first public reaction to the news from Britain came in a rather incongruous setting: the Global Entrepreneurship Summit at sunnyStanford University, 5,300 miles from London, where the president addressed a young, multicultural, tech-savvy audience that seemed worlds away from an older generation of Britons whose nationalist passions largely drove the vote.

“The world has shrunk,” he told the entrepreneurs, adding that they embodied this trend. “It promises to bring extraordinary benefits, but it also has challenges, and it also evokes concerns and fears.”

Russia and America: Destined for Conflict?

June 26, 2016

THE NEXT American president will face the most serious challenge from Russia since the end of the Cold War or, for that matter, since the early 1980s, when the United States and Yuri Andropov’s Soviet Union actively confronted one another around the globe. Russia today is increasingly an angry, nationalist, elective monarchy, and while it is still open for business with America and its allies, its leaders often assume the worst about Western intentions and view the United States as the “main enemy”—indeed, a new poll finds that 72 percent of Russians consider the United States the country most hostile to Russia. Worse, Moscow has been prepared to put its money where its mouth is in proceeding with a massive military modernization. The Russian government is simultaneously tightening domestic political and police controls and seeking new alliances to balance pressures from the United States and its allies and partners.

It is important not to oversimplify this situation. It is not a reenactment of the Cold War; history rarely repeats itself so precisely. Vladimir Putin’s Russia is not a superpower and its top officials are realistic about their country’s military, geopolitical and economic limitations. Russia does not have a universal ideology predicated on the West as an enemy. In fact, Putin and his associates regularly profess interest in resuming cooperation with the United States and its allies—on terms acceptable to the Kremlin. The Russian government is eager to obtain foreign investment and access to Western technology, which requires normalcy in relations with the West.

The Deadly Cost of America's Anti-Cop Ideology

June 26, 2016

For almost two years, a protest movement known as “Black Lives Matter” has convulsed the nation. Triggered by the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014, the Black Lives Matter movement holds that racist police officers are the greatest threat facing young black men today. This belief has triggered riots, “die-ins,” the murder and attempted murder of police officers, and a campaign to eliminate traditional grand jury proceedings when police use lethal force.

Even though the U.S. Justice Department has resoundingly disproved the lie that a pacific Michael Brown was shot in cold blood while trying to surrender, Brown is still venerated as a martyr. And now police officers are backing off of proactive policing in the face of relentless venom directed at them on the street and in the media. Violent crime, as a result, is on the rise.

The need is urgent, therefore, to examine the Black Lives Matter movement’s central thesis—that police pose the greatest threat to young black men. I propose two counterarguments: first, that there is no government agency more dedicated to the idea that black lives matter than the police; and second, that we have been talking obsessively about alleged police racism over the last twenty years in order to avoid talking about a far larger problem—black-on-black crime.

How Long Before U.S. and Russian Jets Clash Over Syria?

June 25, 2016

How long will it be before American and Russia jets dogfight in the skies over Syria?

That possibility seems more likely after the latest in a string of confrontations between American and Russian aircraft. Earlier this month, Russian aircraft bombing U.S.-backed rebels fighting ISIS and the Syrian government almost confronted U.S. Navy fighters, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Pentagon was incensed by the attack, which occurred on Syria’s border with Jordan, and not where Russian forces have operated until now. “No U.S. forces were present in the area, but the U.S. military scrambled fighter jets and used an emergency communications channel set up to avoid air accidents to tell Russian officers to end the strikes,” U.S. officials told the Times.

“The Russian Su-34 fighter-bombers left the area at first, but came back for a second strike after the U.S. F/A-18 fighters went to refuel. The second attack killed several Syrian rebels attempting to provide medical support to the survivors of the initial one, officials said.”

Humans And Artificial Intelligence Should Coexist, Experts Say

JUNE 27, 2016

Experts at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions tackled the issue of artificial intelligence and what it means for humans, concluding that they can and should coexist. The pertinent issue is how humans can leverage artificial intelligence to enhance the outcome of new technologies and improve quality of life, and not focus on the narrative of human vs machine. However, rapid technological advances underline the urgency for policy-makers to redesign educational systems so that younger generations are adequately prepared for a workplace that will see more automated processes.

“By some estimates, 47% of existing jobs in the US could be replaced by automation,” said Wendell Wallach, Scholar, Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, Yale University, USA. “When the World Bank used similar methodology, it came up with 69% in India, and 77% in China. If that’s truly the case, we are talking about tremendous jobs being lost,” he added. The central concern is: what are we training our children for in the future? How should they be cooperating with these technologies to go beyond what any machine alone can realize and perhaps bring about super intelligence, he asked.

The Incredible Story Behind the Iwo Jima Photo Discovery

by Hope Hodge Seck
Jun 25, 2016
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What does it take to set straight an iconic piece of American history? For retired Marine Lt. Col. Matt Morgan, it was years of research and dogged forensic analysis.

The Marine Corps made national headlines this week when officials announced that one of the men in perhaps the most iconic photograph of Marines in World War II had been misidentified for decades. A 1945 photograph by Associated Press journalist Joe Rosenthal of six Marines raising a flag on Mt. Suribachi -- an image that Navy Secretary James Forrestal famously said would ensure the Corps’ survival for another 500 years -- did not include Navy corpsman John Bradley, officials concluded. Instead, it pictured Pfc. Harold Schultz, a quiet mortarman who died in 1995 without ever setting the record straight.

Morgan, who served in the infantry and as a public affairs officer during his career, told Military.com in a June 23 interview that his journey to find answers about the famous photograph began in 2005, when he was a student at the Marine Corps’ Command and Staff College at Quantico., Va.

Morgan said he received a call from a friend, retired Marine Sgt. Maj. James Dever, who had been working as a military adviser on Clint Eastwood’s film, Flags of Our Fathers, based on the bestselling book of the same name by Bradley’s son, James.

Cold War 2.0: The US military is beefing up its presence in the former Soviet Bloc

June 25, 2016 

US Army Major Christopher Rowe scanned the unfamiliar terrain as his Stryker armored vehicle sped past the Russian border, less than 15 miles away. It was just after 3:00am, but the summer sun was already rising over northeastern Poland. From the commander's hatch, Rowe looked out on a stretch of rolling farmland and thick pine forests that US military planners now consider the most vulnerable chink in the NATO alliance.

Solitary horses in twilit fields and drunks teetering out of 24-hour truck stops gazed back at Rowe, 38, who was leading a Stryker column down a two-lane highway through the so-called Suwalki Gap. In the Pentagon's nightmare scenario, Russia seizes this 40-mile-wide bottleneck in a surprise attack, effectively cutting off the tiny Baltic republics — Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia — from their NATO allies. Rowe's mission was to show that the American cavalry was still capable of galloping to the rescue.

The US 2nd Cavalry Regiment's passage through the sleepy Suwalki Gap earlier this month was the anticlimactic highlight of a 1,500-mile road march that would take the regiment's Fourth Squadron from their base in southern Germany to the northern tip of Estonia.

"There's another horse," Rowe's voice crackled over the Stryker's intercom as his column approached the border with Lithuania. Thanks to passport-free travel within the European Union, motorists zipped past the boarded-up customs houses without even braking.

The 5 Most Powerful Navies of 2030

June 25, 2016

The most powerful navies in 2030 will be a reflection of the broader state of the world. Some countries are invested in preserving the current international order, and see naval power as a means to maintain it. Other emerging countries are building navies commensurate with their newfound sense of status, often with an eye towards challenging that order.

The eastward shift in naval power will continue in 2030, a product of both declining defense budgets in Europe and growing economies in Asia. While the most powerful navies of the Cold War were concentrated largely in Europe, by 2030 both China and India will be on the list, with Japan and South Korea as runners-up also fielding large, modern naval forces.

Ship-wise, there are two classes that will define the most powerful navies: aircraft carriers and ballistic missile submarines. Aircraft carriers reflect the need to maintain a global, or even regional, power-projection capability. Ballistic-missile submarines reflect a maturation and diversification of a country’s nuclear arsenal, with an eye toward maintaining a second-strike capability in case of surprise attack. More than any other type, those two will define naval power in the early-to-mid twenty-first century.

The United States