10 May 2017

*** Russia Seizes an Opportunity in North Korea


Moscow will continue to expand its economic and financial cooperation with North Korea, which in recent years has included transportation networks, fuel supplies and employment. 
Russia, which sees its growing ties with North Korea as another way to build leverage it can use in negotiations with the West, will not wield that influence just yet. 
While it cannot replace China as North Korea’s primary partner, Russia is developing the capacity to play spoiler to many U.S. plans to increase pressure on North Korea. 

As North Korea's relationship with China grows more difficult, Russia has increased its focus on the Korean Peninsula, ready to forge stronger ties with its isolated neighbor. Beijing is considering increasing pressure on North Korea to dial back its nuclear weapons program, and Russia stands ready to take advantage of the conflict. But though deepening its involvement with North Korea could equip the Kremlin with additional tools to use in its wider confrontation with the West, Russia could not hope to match Chinese influence in North Korea. Yet, Russia could still limit the pressure China is able to exert on North Korea.

*** Why Russia Can't Quit Syria

Source Link

It can be difficult to separate the important from unimportant on any given day. Reflections mean to do exactly that — by thinking about what happened today, we can consider what might happen tomorrow.

In the resort town of Sochi, on the Black Sea coast, Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed a possible exit strategy from Syria with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Today's meeting reinforces the urgency with which Russia is trying to extricate itself from the situation it has become mired in. One of the topics up for discussion was the implementation of de-escalation zones — or so-called safe zones — in Syria, part of a proposal to advance the political negotiations on ending the ongoing conflict. Elsewhere in the region, however, Syrian rebels walked out of peace talks in the Kazakh capital of Astana on May 3, spoiling efforts to get Syrian belligerents to discuss a potential solution to the conflict. The move highlights the difficulties Russia is facing — and just how unlikely the Kremlin is to succeed in its plan of making a smooth departure.

*** The Necessary Empire


LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — Elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany this year have brought much drama to the old Carolingian core, where Charlemagne founded his empire in the ninth century. This has always been the richest and most strongly institutionalized part of Europe. But should the European Union continue to weaken, the most profound repercussions will be felt farther east and south.

There, along the fault line of the Austrian Hapsburg and Ottoman Turkish empires, former Communist countries lack the sturdy middle-class base of core Europe, and in many cases are still distracted by ethnic and territorial disputes 25 years after the siege of Sarajevo. They depend on pro-European Union governments as never before.

Here in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, a country squeezed between Central Europe and the Balkans, officials and experts talk about a so-called phantom frontier that still exercises people’s imagination. This is the “Antemurale Christianitatis,” the “Bulwark of Christianity,” proclaimed in 1519 by Pope Leo X, in a reference to the Roman Catholic Slavs considered the front line against the Ottoman Empire. Croatia was the first line of defense against the Muslim Sultanate, and Slovenia the second. “When Yugoslavia collapsed, it was assumed that none of this earlier history was important,” one official said to me recently. “But a quarter-century after the disintegration of Tito’s Yugoslavia, we find that we are back to late-medieval and early-modern history.”

** Military Politicization

A1: A politicized military exercises loyalty to a single political party and/or consistently advocates for and defends partisan political positions and fortunes. An apolitical, nonpartisan military is one of the norms underpinning American democracy and a feature of American military professionalism. The military serves the Constitution through obedience to democratically elected civilian officials without regard for political party or partisan positions. This idea underwrites the peaceful transfer of power between presidential administrations and ensures that the American people can make governance choices free from the threat of coercion. Knowing that partisan intentions do not inform professional military advice also allows elected officials to trust the expertise and advice provided by senior officers. Moreover, if the military took partisan positions or exercised partisan loyalties, voters might reasonably assume that the opposition party would not be able to control the military if voted into office. In other words, the democratically elected representatives of the people would not be able to count on the faithful execution of national security policy if the military expressly favored the other party. Such conditions would break down the public’s confidence in either the disfavored party or in the military itself and damage the functioning of the government.

Another critical result of a nonpartisan force is that it protects the military: because the American military serves elected representatives from different political parties equally, there is no reason for those representatives to treat the military differently based on partisan affiliation. Decisions about the funding, size, shape, and use of the military are much less likely to be motivated by a desire to defend partisan power and much more likely to be driven by wider strategic, economic, and public values. Moreover, service personnel management can remain a professional—not political—process.

Train to Tawang? Build roads first

Before undertaking such difficult projects as 378-km railway line to Tawang, the government must seriously examine whether having quality roads is a better option, says Sanjeev Nayyar.

IMAGE: Road to Dirang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh in September 2013.
Photographs: Sanjeev Nayyar

Even before the recent visit of the Dalai Lama, and in response to the excellent infrastructure constructed by the Chinese in Tibet, there have been reports of India proposing to construct a railway line to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.

According to one such report, the 378-km railway line, with an elevation of 3,048 metres, would begin from Missamari near Tezpur in Assam and would, in most places, follow the existing 320-km Tezpur-Bhalukpong-Bomdila road.

SC Should Ask Itself: How Did A Judge Like Karnan Get Past The Collegium?

R Jagannathan

The real issue is there is no institutional mechanism for the selection and removal of judges.

While the Supreme Court, through an extreme reading of the constitution, gave its collegium the power to appoint judges, it did nothing for their removal.

The curious case of Justice C S Karnan, a Judge of the Calcutta High Court who has been defying the orders of the Supreme Court and refusing to appear before it to face contempt of court charges, is not being handled well by the bench hearing his case.

A few days ago, a bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, ordered a medical examination of Justice Karnan since he has repeatedly defied the court’s orders and made wild allegations against fellow judges. The Judge, who was transferred from the Madras High Court to Calcutta for making unsubstantiated allegations of caste bias against the then chief justice Sanjay Kaul (now elevated to the Supreme Court), ordered a tit-for-tat mental examination of the judges of the Supreme Court. Yesterday (4 May), Justice Karnan sent the medical team dispatched by the Supreme Court packing. His defiance has been regularly compounded.

China is repeating the West’s mistakes in Pakistan

Mihir Sharma

Chinese President Xi Jinping will no doubt tout the Pakistan investments—which include a network of road, rail, power and port projects that are collectively known as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor—at his massive ‘Belt and Road’ conference later this month. Photo: Reuters

When President Xi Jinping announced in 2015 that China would pump $46 billion worth of investments into Pakistan, the recipients of his largesse seemed less surprised than one might have expected. The military and political elites of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have long extracted aid from outside powers in return for keeping a lid on things at home. As far back as April 1948, barely eight months after independence, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan assured Pakistani military commanders that three-quarters of the new nation’s budget would be devoted to defence—fully expecting that the US would underwrite the pledge.

Xi will no doubt tout the Pakistan investments—which include a network of road, rail, power and port projects that are collectively known as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC—at his massive “Belt and Road” conference later this month. The Chinese argue these projects won’t just link China to markets and suppliers from Europe to Southeast Asia, but also promote stability and development in the countries on its periphery.

Pakistan’s Emerging Threat: Highly Educated Youth Gravitate to Radicalization

Madeeha Anwar

The on-campus mob slaying of a journalism student and the arrest of a female medical student for allegedly planning a suicide attack underscore concerns that some of Pakistan’s highly educated youth are gravitating toward violent extremism and radicalization.

Security experts say the unrelated incidents show that religious militancy isn’t limited to the disenfranchised and uneducated poor. They contend the government has to wake up to a problem that may be getting worse as the country’s conservative streak growing deeper.

On April 13, a crowd in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa almost casually carried wooden planks and guns to fatally beat and shoot Mashal Khan, a 23-year-old journalism student who had been accused — falsely, as investigation later showed — of spreading blasphemy on social media.

Then Naureen Laghari, a bright, 20-year-old medical student from a well-educated family in Sindh province, was arrested for allegedly planning an Easter suicide attack on Lahore’s Christian community. She had pledged allegiance to Islamic State and had traveled to Syria, where she took military training.


Ashok Malik

The end-goal of OBOR is to establish Chinese mastery over oceans and connectivity routes across Asia and between Asia and Europe. It is premised on an American vacation of strategic space in the coming 20 years 

As the Chinese prepare to host the Belt and Road Initiative Summit, focused on the project also known as One Belt-One Road (OBOR), there has been a flurry of commentary in India on how New Delhi should respond. India has made it clear it will not be sending its Prime Minister to the summit, and has little desire to pay court to a Chinese imperial construct. Indian objections have repeatedly mentioned the fact that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a key segment of OBOR, passes through Gilgit-Baltistan and this makes any Indian acceptance of the project impossible.

Legally, Gilgit-Baltisan is Indian territory: It was part of the undivided kingdom of Jammu & Kashmir, which acceded to India in October 1947. At the very least, it is internationally disputed territory. It is certainly not Pakistani property — though it has been under Pakistani state and Army occupation for 70 years — and cannot simply be used for a bilateral project without consultation with or reference to India.


By Tuan N. Pham

Are there connected Chinese strategic themes that cut across the contested and interlinked global commons (domains) of maritime, space, and cyberspace? If so, what are they and what could the United States do about them?

Part 1 of this two ­part series explored the cross-domain nexus between the maritime, space, and cyberspace global commons by examining the latest Chinese white paper and strategies. Repeated refrains included the Chinese Dream (national rejuvenation); global interests, peace and development, security, and the development of national laws to advance China’s national interests in the three contested battlespaces. Special emphasis was given to the contentious concept of cyberspace sovereignty in support of national security and social stability. With this backdrop, Part 2 will now derive possibly connected strategic themes that cut across the interlinked global commons and discuss how the United States could best respond. 

China’s One Belt One could be many trillions in investment in the 2020s

Chinese Super-Computers Threaten U.S. Security

By Bill Gertz,

China is eclipsing the United States in developing high-speed supercomputers used to build advanced weapons, and the loss of American leadership in the field poses a threat to U.S. national security.

That’s the conclusion of a recent joint National Security Agency-Energy Department study, based on an assessment of China’s new supercomputer called the TaihuLight.

“National security requires the best computing available, and loss of leadership in [high-performance computing] will severely compromise our national security,” the report warns.

Supercomputers play a “vital role” in the design, development and analysis of almost all modern weapons systems, including nuclear weapons, cyberwarfare capabilities, ships, aircraft, communications security, missile defense, precision-strike capabilities and hypersonic weapons, the report said.

China is rapidly developing hypersonic strike missiles that can deliver conventional and nuclear payloads by maneuvering past advanced missile defenses.

Despite encroachments, China is still Russia’s preferred partner

BY Stephen Blank

This post is part of a debate on Bobo Lo's Lowy Institute Paper A Wary Embrace. Other debate posts can be found here.

Bobo Lo's new Lowy Institute Paper on Russo-Chinese relations dazzles with the brilliance, clarity of thought, precision, and vigour we have come to expect from his work. This essay should be required reading for those who would seek to plumb the depths of this critical relationship and of Russian and Chinese foreign policies.

Lo is certainly right to say that the most dynamic factor in this relationship is the growing imbalance in aggregated power between Russia and China, whereby China is outstripping Russia in most if not all indices of power and capability. He argues that this dynamism and the consequences that ensue from it are placing the relationship under ever-increasing stress. Thus he sees it as a tactical rather than principled relationship or partnership, and dismisses, as do most writers, the idea of an actual alliance appearing anytime soon.

However, despite the many virtues and scintillating insights, the essay fails to answer why, if there is a power asymmetry (and most assuredly there is), the relationship has been a durable feature of world affairs for the last 25 years. Neither does his assessment explain why leaders like China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi repeatedly state that bilateral relations between them have reached 'a historic maximum', are stronger than they ever have been and are based on mutual interests and not external factors like a shared antipathy to the US. Certainly those statements are not just pro forma utterances or words spoken purely for purposes of politeness or domestic consumption. If the irritants and divergences in this relationship are as strong and widespread as Lo suggests, then its continuation is a mystery, as it would appear to be of decreasing utility or benefit to both states.

The Mother Of All Terrorist Groups Isn’t The Islamic State

By Michael Kugelman, 

On April 13, the U.S. military dropped a huge bomb on caves and tunnels used by Islamic State fighters in eastern Afghanistan. The resulting blast reverberated several miles away, reportedly killed dozens of terrorists, and exposed the poverty of U.S. policy in Afghanistan.

The “mother of all bombs” was devastating — but it was used against the wrong target, for the wrong reasons. Analysts and Trump administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, have suggested that the bomb was targeted more at intimidating North Korea and Syria than battlefield objectives in Afghanistan.

It’s true that Islamic State-affiliated militants in Afghanistan have claimed a series of attacks over the last few years — including, most recently, a hit on a NATO convoy in Kabul on May 2 that killed eight civilians. Still, they’ve struggled to carve out a major presence in the country. They’ve alienated locals with their savagery and made the Taliban look gentle in comparison. Punishing and sustained U.S. strikes, often undertaken jointly with Afghan forces, have already killed their leaders and badly degraded their ranks.

Although dethroned by U.S. military action in 2001, the Taliban has remained a tenacious opponent.


The slow demise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) caliphate project since 2015 has proceeded to the point where it is realistic to ask the following question: What next after the caliphate? As the battle of Mosul moves slowly to its inevitable conclusion, analysts are confidently predicting the end of ISIL — complete with a “Reichstag moment” — as the group continues to hemorrhage territory, lose access to its tax and extortion base, and find less things to celebrate in its media operations.

Unlike its rise from relative obscurity, where the group made its own luck and forged its destiny with a patient strategy and competent execution of the military campaign that won it considerable territory in Syria and Iraq, ISIL’s future survival will be determined less by its own agency and more by the actions of others. This complex interaction of actors, local and foreign, with its unpredictable effects leads to a number of possible trajectories for the decade-old movement that calls itself the Islamic State.

New-look Hamas?

As the Palestinian group moderates its line, the opportunity for talks must not be lost

The new political charter of Hamas marks a departure from several of its earlier controversial positions, indicating that the Islamist movement is willing to take a more realistic view of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Over the years, Hamas has been criticised by rival Palestinian groups as well as the international community over its original charter and actions. It has shown willingness in the past to live with Israel, but its original charter, marked by anti-Semitic language and unrealistic objectives, was a major point of contention. For example, it vowed to “raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine”, called for the “obliteration” of Israel, and repeatedly harped on its fight against the Jewish people. Though the new programme does not supplant the existing one, its key proposals run counter to the old document. Hamas now says it is not fighting the Jewish people but the Zionists, because they have occupied Palestine. Released by the group’s outgoing Political Bureau chief, Khaled Meshal, the new charter also insists that Hamas is not a revolutionary group that seeks to interfere in the affairs of other countries. Instead, it is merely fighting for Palestinian rights. More importantly, it is now ready to support the formation of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.

Lessons learned from Senkaku war games


The Yomiuri Shimbun 

Think Tank Predicted Russian Cyberwar v. United States

Source Link
By Jeffrey T. Richelson

Washington, D.C., May 3, 2017 – A Rand Corporation 1967 paper predicted many of the cyber dilemmas faced by policy makers today, and a 2017 expanded analysis of the “GRIZZLY STEPPE” hacking by Russian cyber operators disclosed key findings about the techniques the hackers used and ways to mitigate them, according to the National Security Archive publication today of 40+ highlighted primary sources from the critically-praised “Cyber Vault” at http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/cybervault.

Compiled and edited by noted intelligence historian Dr. Jeffrey T. Richelson, the Cyber Vault collection of primary sources is growing by a dozen or more documents every week, and includes the declassified briefings provided by the National Security Agency to the George W. Bush and Barack Obama transition teams in 2000 and 2009, respectively. The collection also includes a 2016 order from the U.S. Cyber Command to set up a unit with the mission of debilitating and destroying computer and communications operations of the terrorist group ISIS.

The Cyber Vault team obtained the 2016 order under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The project has filed scores of other FOIA and declassification requests as part of a multi-year documentation contribution to the growing field of cyber studies, with the support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

In a Deluge of New Media, Autocrats Swim and Democracies Sink

By Tyler Roylance
 by World Affairs 

At the beginning of the century, the spread of the internet, satellite television, and other media technologies was expected to break down old monopolies and political boundaries, making it nearly impossible for those in power to control what people read, watch, and hear.

Digital media have indeed expanded around the world at lightning speed in the years since, reaching populations that previously received news only from state broadcasters.

Nevertheless, press freedom worldwide deteriorated to its lowest point in 13 years in 2016, according to Freedom House’s latest annual report. Just 13 percent of the world’s population lives in countries whose media environments are ranked as fully “free.”

What the optimists failed to take into account was that forces interested in maintaining control over news and political discourse would not simply accept the inevitability of their own demise, but would fight back and look for new opportunities to increase their dominance.

U.S. Nuclear Security - Insider Threats

By Micah Zenko

This week, I was joined by Professor Matthew Bunn, professor of practice at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and co-principal investigator of the Belfer Center for International Affairs’ Project on Managing the Atom. We discuss insider threats in both the private and national security sectors, the topic of Professor Bunn’s recent book, Insider Threats (co-edited with Scott Sagan). Bunn also shares insights from his invaluable dissertation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Guardians at the Gates of Hell: Estimating the Risk of Nuclear Theft and Terrorism—and Identifying the Highest-Priority Risks of Nuclear Theft, and talks about how nuclear security has evolved over the past quarter-century.

Professor Bunn provides guidance on how one can have an impact on policy, which is useful to policy professionals and those just entering the field, and shares his advice for young scholars who are interested in nuclear weapons and international security. Listen to our conversation, and follow the work of the Project on Managing the Atom @ManagingtheAtom.

Guardians At The Gates Of Hell

Urban combat: The Army's next frontier

By: Mark Pomerleau,

While one of the major drivers is technology, the Army’s Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, described another notion that some in the Pentagon have mentioned: the dense urbanization of global populations.

This has huge implications for armies and specifically the U.S. Army, he said at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council on May 4 in Washington, D.C.

Here’s how this trend breaks down in the next 30 or so years: Milley described a current global population of around 6 billion people. By 2050, that number is projected to grow to 8 billion people, of which 85-90 percent will live in highly dense, complex urban areas.

Moreover, Milley discussed megacities, defined as cities with populations over 10 million people — Seoul, South Korea; Tokyo; and Mexico City, for example. Today there are 10 to 15 of these cities, while in 2050 there might be over 50.

Getting Intelligence Agencies to Adapt to Life Out of the Shadows

by Guest Blogger

Jamie Collier is a Cyber Security DPhil Candidate and a Research Affiliate with the Cyber Studies Programme, University of Oxford. You can follow him @jscollier93

Gone are the days when spy agencies did not officially exist with their personnel and activities guarded surreptitiously away from the public view. Today, the situation could not be more different. The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence has had a Tumblr account since 2014. NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers appears regularly at conferences and panels. On the other side of the Atlantic, GCHQ Director Robert Hannigan writes op-eds for the Financial Times. GCHQ also recently broke a historical precedent of refusing to comment on allegations about its activities: the agency dismissed the unhelpful allegations about the agency’s role in spying on Trump, made by Andrew Napolitano and then echoed by the White House, claiming that they were ‘utterly ridiculous and should be ignored’. In recent years, signals intelligence (SIGINT) agencies have been pro-actively trying to manage and shape their public perception. 

Why are organisations that pride themselves on secrecy, and which have previously appeared allergic to press relations, now proactively getting their message out there? The answer is that they are increasingly communicating out of necessity. 

The Promises and Perils of Emerging Technologies for Cybersecurity

By Herb Lin

In late March 2017, I was invited to submit for the record my views on “the Promises and Perils of Emerging Technologies for Cybersecurity" before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. What follows below is what I submitted for the hearing record held on March 22, slightly modified to include some references. I invite comment from Lawfare readers.

The hearing was intended to explore the impact of emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, the internet of things, blockchain, and quantum computing, on the future of cybersecurity and to launch a discussion about how such technologies create new cyber vulnerabilities but also innovative opportunities to combat cyber threats more effectively.

On the cybersecurity impacts of the technologies listed explicitly in the hearing announcement: 
Artificial intelligence. AI may have substantial value in recognizing patterns of system behavior and activity that could indicate imminent or ongoing hostile cyber activity. Many hostile activities are discovered long after the initial penetrations have occurred, and earlier detection of these activities could reduce the damage that they do. It may also be possible to apply AI techniques across multiple systems to detect hostile cyber activities on a large scale to recognize, for example, a coordinated cyberattack on the nation as a whole; this is a substantially harder problem to solve than that of detecting a cyberattack on a single system. 

Europe Is Developing Offensive Cyber Capabilities. The United States Should Pay Attention.

by Guest Blogger

U.S. President Donald Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg hold a joint news conference in the East Room at the White House in Washington, DC. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters). 

Jeppe T. Jacobsen is a Ph.D. candidate at the Danish Institute for International Studies and the University of Southern Denmark. He previously worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark as a coordinator of Denmark’s cyber diplomacy in European Union and NATO. 

It is no surprise that the United States and its European allies are looking to integrate offensive cyber capabilities as part of their military operations. Last year, the Pentagon boasted about dropping “cyber bombs” on the self-declared Islamic State group. France and the United Kingdom have built similar capabilities, as have smaller European states, such as Denmark, Sweden, Greece and the Netherlands. 

House Panel Set to Reform Military Space Operations

By: John Grady

United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket successfully launched the U.S. Air Force X-37B space plane on May 20, 2015. ULA Photo

The House panel focused on national security space activities is set to explore reforms how the military uses space and could call for the creation of a new command or agency as early as next year, legislators said during a Tuesday hearing.

As Rep. Mike Rogers, (R-Ala.) and chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, said, “Far too many people are in a position to say no” when it comes to developing and buying needed space assets. “There is no clear leadership below the Secretary of Defense” as to who in the Pentagon is responsible for the department’s space activities.

John Hamre, a former undersecretary of Defense, said, “Candlemakers have to think in a different way” about what they are trying to do: provide light.

“We [in the Pentagon] need to break out of the tyranny of thinking we’re the only ones that can do it,” i.e., build, launch and maintain satellites.

Retired U.S. Navy Adm. James Ellis Jr., a former commander of Strategic Command, said current thinking about space assets is to ensure they are hardened against electromagnetic pulse attack and provided with protective devices for optics. Yet, “there’s robustness and resilience in having a lot of nodes,” private sector practice.