13 October 2017

Donald Trump’s Iran Gamble Could Hit India Too – Analysis

By Manoj Joshi

United States President Donald Trump is expected to begin a process that will torpedo the Iran nuclear deal. His own national security team and almost all experts have said that this is a bad idea. The New York Times says this will be “his most feckless foreign policy decision yet”.

Is the India-China Border Heating Up Again?


Long after China and India negotiated a face-saving “disengagement” to the Sikkim border standoff, PLA troops are still causing unease with a heavy presence near the disputed terrain. The Indian Express reports:

Infographic Of The Day: Comparing China Vs. India Population Pyramids

Enacted in 1979 by China's Communist Party, the controversial "One Child Policy" was primarily meant to slow the country's rapid population growth, while capping the growing drain on China's limited resources.

Even though the government’s primary objectives were arguably achieved through these extreme measures, it has been at an extraordinary human cost. The draconian enforcement of these policies, combined with the unintended consequences on families and the cultural preference for male children, will have an everlasting impact on the country’s future.

Wonky Demographics

New infrastructure developments in Tibet

Quoting from the TAR’s transportation department, Kangba TVreported: “except Songduo Tunnel and Milashan Tunnel, Lhasa-Nyingchi High Grade Highway has been well prepared and begins trial operation from October 1.”

The four-lane Lhasa-Nyingchi High Grade Highway is 398 km long; it is designed for a 80 km/h speeed.

Xi Jinping Presses Military Overhaul, and Two Generals Disappear


He was one of China’s most prominent commanders, with hopes of rising higher. So when Gen. Fang Fenghui disappeared from public view, it sent a clear warning to the top leaders of the People’s Liberation Army: President Xi Jinping was not done shaking up their once-unassailable ranks.

North Korea: Where China Can Beat the US

By Jacob L. Shapiro

Of all the parties involved in the Korean missile crisis, the most difficult to read is China. The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s almost daily platitudes about the need for a peaceful resolution do little to reveal what China’s real interests and objectives are – and what they are is multiple and conflicting. At one level, China is concerned with the balance of power on the Korean Peninsula. China doesn’t want Pyongyang to have nuclear weapons, and it doesn’t want the peninsula to unify. But at the same time, what happens on the Korean Peninsula also affects China’s relationship with the U.S., and despite the deep economic ties between the two countries, from Beijing’s perspective that is a relationship defined ultimately by fear and mistrust.

A New Front in Asia’s Water War


For decades, China has been dragging its neighbors into high-stakes games of geopolitical poker over water-related issues. But the country's politically motivated decision to withhold hydrological data from India amounts to an escalation of China's efforts to exploit its status as the world's hydro-hegemon to gain strategic leverage over its neighbors. 

China’s Approach to International Terrorism

As China’s role in global political and economic affairs has expanded, so has its exposure to international and domestic terrorism. At the same time, it is constrained in its response by two long-held principles—nonintervention and noninterference. This Peace Brief discusses the threats to China, its response, and how these might affect its participation in global counterterrorism efforts.

The East Is Green: China’s Global Leadership in Renewable Energy

By Dominic Chiu

President Xi Jinping’s speech at the World Economic Forum’s meeting in Davos argued for globalization and the international community’s need to proactively manage globalization while mitigating its negative effects.1 He highlighted how China’s past decades of reforms are in line with the trend of globalization, and that China is not only its beneficiary but also its benefactor. Most importantly, Xi stated that China is committed to “a fundamental policy of opening-up,” pledging explicitly to keep China’s doors open to foreign investment and greater economic integration with the world. Although he did not openly advocate for a Chinese role in global leadership, Xi’s desire for China to be at the helm of the push toward globalization is implicit throughout his speech.2 His host, Klaus Schwab, echoed this open secret by remarking that “in a world marked by great uncertainty and volatility the world is looking to China.” 3

Iran, Trump And The Art Of The Nuclear Deal

by Matthew Bey

Deep ideological differences and mutual mistrust have marred the relationship between the United States and Iran since the Islamic Republic replaced the nation's monarchy nearly four decades ago. But time has done little to heal the wounds that each country has inflicted on the other. Their enduring enmity will be on full display this week as U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to "decertify" the deal Iran has struck with global powers on its nuclear program by arguing that the agreement isn't in the best interest of U.S. national security. Though Washington will likely keep sanctions relief for Tehran in place for now, Trump's speech will trigger a 60-day review period during which Congress will have the power to reimpose them.


North Korea has developed the necessary scientific and industrial basis for manufacturing nuclear weapons and might be possessing 20 to 30 nuclear devices at the moment, former Chief of Staff of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces (RVSN) Col. Gen. Viktor Yesin said. “At the present time, the DPRK possibly possesses 20-30 implosion-type nuclear devices,” Yesin said at a conference of the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe on Tuesday. North Korea finished the modernization of its nuclear weapons industry in 2015 and now possesses delivery vehicles whose ranges vary from 65 to 1,300 kilometers, Yesin said. The DPRK uses the nuclear warheads it currently possesses to arm its air bombs and ballistic missile warheads, he said. “The DPRK nuclear weapons industry can manufacture up to seven nuclear warheads a year” and could potentially increase this production to ten nuclear warheads a year, Yesin said.

Manners and Political Life

I married a woman born in Australia, of that class that emulated English culture. Loving her as I did, I did not understand the British obsession with table manners. For her, eating a bowl of soup was a work of art, a complex of motions difficult for me to master, and to me incomprehensible in purpose. From the beginning of our love, dinner became for me an exercise of obscure rules governing the movement of food to my mouth. It was a time when conversation was carefully hedged by taboos and obligations. Some things were not discussed at dinner.

A ‘common European home’

Mike Scrafton

For Russia, the great prize is a Europe where it’s accepted on equal terms with other European nations and can share in Europe’s economic and technological progress. A ‘common European home’ was a core element of the Gorbachev revolution and remains an objective today.

South Korea developing graphite ‘blackout bombs’ to paralyse North’s electrical grid

By Julian Ryall

South Korean F-15K fighter jets drop bombs as they fly over the Korean Peninsula during a joint drills with the U.S

South Korea is ready to deploy graphite bombs – also known as “blackout bombs” – that will paralyse North Korea’s electrical power plants in the event of war breaking out on the peninsula.

The Ties That Bind: Germany and the United States in a New Era

As German Chancellor Angela Merkel enters her fourth term in office, this publication examines four key areas that could present opportunities for closer cooperation between the US and Germany. More specifically, the topics covered include 1) Washington and Berlin’s roles in NATO as well as burden sharing within the Alliance; 2) the transatlantic community’s response to increased Russian assertiveness; 3) US-German trade relations, including Washington’s trade deficit with Berlin; and 4) how there is significant untapped potential to increase energy sector ties between the two countries.

British spy boss says cyber security as important as fighting terrorism

Protecting Britain from cyber crime is as important as defending it against terrorism, the head of Britain’s GCHQ spy agency said on Monday.

Britain has suffered a number of high-profile cyber attacks this year, including one in May on the state-run National Health Service which crippled some computer systems and caused huge disruption, and another on parliament in June.

North Korean hackers stole U.S. and South Korean wartime plans, Seoul lawmaker says

Anna Fifield

North Korean hackers stole a huge trove of classified U.S. and South Korean military documents last year, including a plan to “decapitate” the leadership in Pyongyang in the event of war, a lawmaker in Seoul said Tuesday.

The revelations, if substantiated, come at a time of heightened tensions over North Korea, with President Trump most recently saying that “only one thing will work” when it comes to Pyongyang, hinting at military action.


From the hacking attack on Estonia in 2007 to the fake news targeting the NATO battalions on the alliance’s eastern border in 2017 — the Baltic states have been the bull’s-eye of Russian-backed digital warfare.

Ten years ago, Estonians awoke to find the country paralyzed by a mass cyberattack and in the grip of street riots, with Russian protesters traveling across the border to participate against “Nazism” and “blasphemy.” The Estonian goverment’s decision to relocate a memorial to Soviet soldiers in the capital Tallinn had sparked the biggest crisis since the country’s independence.

The Lost Art of Giving (Negative) Feedback

Earlier in my military career, a respected mentor of mine commented that “the Army has lost the art of giving negative feedback.” That statement resonated with me and has stuck with me for years since then. From my experience, Army leaders either fail to provide quality feedback to their subordinates intended to improve them, or do so in an ineffective and destructive manner (which undermines the ultimate purpose). We either are too afraid to have the hard conversations, fail to make time to provide feedback, or (worst case) we out right don’t value developing members of our team or organization with feedback. No matter the reason, it is our subordinates who suffer because a critical aspect of their leader development is missing.

The Myth of Accidental War

By James H Nolt

As the rhetoric and warlike maneuvers of the U.S. and North Korea accelerate, the media are increasingly considering the prospect of “accidental” war between the U.S. and North Korea. But if war does start, it will not be accidental. It depends on deliberate choices by both sides about whether to escalate violence or pull back and reassess. Those choices are made by politicians, who are often swayed by domestic political pressures.