3 December 2017

Kautilya’s Radical Idea

Anirudh Kanisetti

The Arthashastra’s conception of the state, with self-imposed limits, was a startling one for its times. Today, civilisation is is beneficial for a lot of people. It’s given us supermarkets, fast food, healthcare, and the Internet. Humankind has never been this educated, this peaceful, or lived this long. But civilisation hasn’t always been so pleasant for us. The life of the hunter-gatherer is much more simple and healthy than the life of the farmer, who is subject to famine and tyranny. The only major danger that a hunter-gatherer society might face is absolute, unrestricted warfare.

Why the Trump administration’s policy on Pakistan is likely to fail

Madiha Afzal

Thousands of Pakistani protesters, supporters of the hard-line Tehreek-e-Labaik Islamist party that demands strict adherence to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, have blocked a main entrance to Islamabad for more than two weeks. They have accused Zahid Hamid, the country’s law minister, of blasphemy after a change last month in the oath for parliament that they construe as blasphemous (and that has since been reversed), and are demanding his resignation. Under Pakistan’s blasphemy law, offending remarks against the Prophet Muhammad are deemed blasphemous and can result in a mandatory death penalty. The change in the oath dealt with wording surrounding the belief in the finality of the Prophet Muhammad, and was considered to be a concession to Ahmadis, a group declared non-Muslim by Pakistan’s constitution.

Pakistan Hasn't Stemmed Terrorism in Afghanistan, U.S. Says

By Anthony Capaccio 

Pakistan has failed to stop terrorists crossing its borders into Afghanistan, even as it has made progress against those who attack inside the country, the top U.S. general in the region said. “The Pakistanis have been engaged in a very tough fight against extremism inside their own country,” Army General John Nicholson, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told reporters Tuesday. “They did displace many of those terrorists who were fighting their own government. But at the same time, we’ve seen the ones who weren’t displaced were the Afghan Taliban” and the affiliated Haqqani network, he said.

Despite Beijing’s Denials, Proof Emerges Of China Planning Diversion Of Brahmaputra Waters

by Jaideep Mazumdar
Source Link

Experts say, China is most unlikely to pay heed to any objections from India and will go ahead with the construction of the 1000-km long tunnel to divert the waters of the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) to the arid zones of Xinjiang province. The economic, military and demographic benefits of this project for China far outweigh the costs it will incur and the censure it will earn from India and other countries.

China and North Korea: An Abridged Love Story, and Other Chinese Military News

There were no North Korean missiles launched for nearly three months, until a new one went up on November 29 th . China and the United States see this as a threat, but for very different reasons. The many missiles launched and another nuclear test in 2017 have not made life better for North Koreans, or the North Korean government. South Korea was another matter. China quietly lifted, at the end of October, most of the economic punishments it had at on South Korea because the South Koreans insisted on installing an American made THAAD anti-missile system. While China is backing off, the Chinese have made a point. The temporary interruption of trade with South Korea did not hurt China as much as it did South Korea and it really had no significant impact on the economies of either country. Meanwhile North Korea is visibly suffering from the increased sanctions that took effect in 2017. China wants Kim Jong Un to deal with the problem and not become a victim of it. The Kim clan does not seem to be paying attention.



While I was working in the Serbian Foreigna Ministry in late 2012, a delegation of researchers from a Western think tank came to interview the Serbian diplomats about their perception of regional security. A question was asked about the Chinese role in the region. One of my superiors replied that while Serbia took pride in having a healthy, friendly political understanding with China, he did not see China as playing a particularly meaningful role because neither Serbia nor any other Balkan country had much to offer a rising global power like China.

China's Playbook for Conquering Taiwan

By Ian Easton

This Thanksgiving, as millions of American families sat down for turkey dinner and football, a dangerous game of chicken was being played out on the far side of the Pacific. Formations of Chinese bombers flanked by fighter escorts repeatedly circled Taiwan, simulating attack operations. Meanwhile, Chinese spy planes loitered nearby, collecting intelligence needed for refining China’s invasion plan against the island democracy of 23 million people.


Trevor Aaronson

By withholding evidence of warrantless spying, the government avoided a court challenge to controversial mass surveillance — which is now before Congress. FAZLIDDIN KURBANOV IS a barrel-chested man from Uzbekistan who came to the United States in 2009, when he was in his late 20s. A Christian who had converted from Islam, Kurbanov arrived as a refugee and spoke little English. Resettled in Boise, Idaho, he rented an apartment, worked odd jobs, and was studying to be a truck driver.

Recommendations for a Future National Defense Strategy

By Mackenzie Eaglen

It’s long past time for a new National Defense Strategy that seeks to break the mold in honesty, clarity, conciseness, and fresh thinking. Since the end of the Cold War, these documents have repeatedly served as opportunities to redefine American force structure and interests globally. Unfortunately, the most recent generation of strategies has become increasingly unmoored from the strategic reality the country faces. Since the end of the Cold War, the Pentagon’s force-sizing construct has gradually became muddled and watered down at each iteration—from the aspirational objective of fighting two wars at once to the declinist “defeat-and-deny” approach—without enough substantive debate over the wisdom of the progressive abandonment of the two-war standard.

Russia Used Social Media to Weaponize American Free Will. Here’s What to Do About It.


Revelations that Russia used Google, Facebook, Instagram,Pinterest, Pokemon Go and a growing list of other digital campaigns to attempt to influence America’s electoral process through targeted posts and attempted to penetrate the very systems used to administer elections call for stronger efforts to understand the vulnerabilities of our electoral institutions and systems. They call, too, for more study of the ways adversaries integrate weaponized information into their doctrine and operational planning. Government security leaders should explore potentially critical changes in the technologies that underlie those systems, and secure or replace them entirely. Research and development in this domain must include ways in which to manage the federal, state and local administration of elections throughout the United States more securely. Importantly, government agencies must remind social media companies that foreign support to specific American candidates is against federal law.

The new geopolitics

Bruce Jones

This is the first in a series of posts by Brookings’s vice president for foreign policy that will highlight Brookings scholars’ new and ongoing work on “the new geopolitics.” More information on this scholarship can be found here. America’s politics are mired in dysfunction and division. Much of the focus is on economic questions, and much of the heat is generated by the culture wars; but real wars—and America’s role in them—are part of the debate too.

Russia Will Build Its Own Internet Directory, Citing US Information Warfare


The Russian government will build an “independent internet” for use by itself, Brazil, India, China, and South Africa — the so-called BRICS nations — “in the event of global internet malfunctions,” the Russian news site RT reported on Tuesday. More precisely, Moscow intends to create an alternative to the global Domain Name System, or DNS, the directory that helps the browser on your computer or smartphone connect to the website server or other computer that you’re trying to reach. The Russians cited national security concerns, but the real reason may have more to do with Moscow’s own plans for offensive cyber operations.

Iran and Russia, Growing Apart

By Alex Vatanka

Today, the latest round of UN-brokered Syria peace talks begins in Geneva, with the goal of bringing President Bashar al-Assad and various armed opposition factions to a political settlement that could put an end to half a decade of civil war in the country. The Geneva talks come one week after another set of Syria talks, this time in Sochi. The November 22 gathering, which included some of the conflict’s key remaining players—Iran, Turkey, and Russia—was supposed to be a turning point in the issue of Syria’s future. At least that had been Tehran’s hope. Instead, the talks highlighted emerging fissures between Assad’s two main foreign backers, Iran and Russia, and even divisions within Iran between the civilian government of President Hassan Rouhani and the leadership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

Russia's Soft Power Push in Afghanistan

By Samuel Ramani

On October 30, 2017, a delegation of 20 prominent Russian businessmen arrived in Afghanistan to negotiate with Kabul over an expansion of Russian investments in Afghanistan’s agriculture, transport, and mining sectors. These negotiations resulted in a joint pledge to substantially increase annual trade turnovers between Russia and Afghanistan, deepening Moscow’s economic links to the war-torn country. As the profitability of economic investments in Afghanistan is highly uncertain due to the country’s ongoing political instability, Russia’s commitment to stronger commercial ties with Afghanistan is intriguing. A closer examination of Russian conduct in Afghanistan reveals that Moscow’s investments in Afghan economic development initiatives and military assistance provisions to Kabul are part of a broader strategy to rebrand Russia’s image in Afghanistan.

Cybersecurity breaches: It's time to break the silence and work together

By Billy Sokol 

Sophisticated cyber threats against governments loom large, and demand a heightened state of awareness. According to Dimension Data’s Global Threat Intelligence Report, cyberattacks on the government sector doubled from seven percent in 2015 to 14 percent in 2016 -- resulting in a first-place tie with the finance industry. With rival nation-states such as China, Russia, North Korea and Iran ramping up attacks, agencies must work together to be better prepared and change the current culture around communicating breaches. I believe there are three key elements that must be addressed to improve cybersecurity:

The Air Force is speeding up cyber ops

The Air Force is about to wrap up its 16-month-long study on coordinating cyber, air and space operations, providing a potential playbook for how the Air Force will edge out adversaries in the future, per C4ISRNET, a publication that tracks military information technology. Why it matters: The effort is based on the idea that the speed at which information travels — and therefore the speed of war — will dramatically increase by 2030. The Air Force needs to be able to respond more quickly to increasingly complex cyber threats, so it is trying to ramp up its ability to combine different operational systems' data in order to make decisions in real time.

Net neutrality a bold step towards ensuring equitable internet for all

R. Chandrashekhar

The net neutrality recommendations by Trai will ensure a level playing field for services providers to innovate and customize in India.
A digital economy can become a reality only if telecom firms make adequate investments to augment their existing networks to cater to the explosion of data traffic, and net neutrality enables that. Timothy Wu, the Columbia University visionary who coined the term net neutrality, may not have imagined the contentious debates that would rage over the concept a decade later, especially in India.

As India aspires to become a $1 trillion digital economy, we welcome the telecom regulator’s commitment to preserving the democracy of the internet and users’ right to freedom of speech and expression.

How CYBERCOM’s efforts against ISIS have changed

By: Aaron Mehta 

During his tenure at the Pentagon, then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter often talked about how the role of cyber operations in the fight against the Islamic State group, commonly known as ISIS or ISIL. But in October, Carter wrote in a lengthy blog post that he was “largely disappointed” by U.S. Cyber Command’s effectiveness against the militant group. “It never really produced any effective cyber weapons or techniques,” Carter wrote. “When CYBERCOM did produce something useful, the intelligence community tended to delay or try to prevent its use, claiming cyber operations would hinder intelligence collection. This would be understandable if we had been getting a steady stream of actionable intel, but we weren’t.”

Air Force Eyes Next-Gen Electronic Warfare


“We’ve started our next enterprise capability collaboration team, what we call as ECCT,” said Gen. Stephen Wilson, Air Force vice chief of staff at the Pentagon. Wilson said the first ECCT focused on the Air Superiority 2030 study; the second, multi-domain command and control. “The third one we’re going to focus on electronic warfare,” the general said, met by applause from the EW community during the Association of Old Crows’ annual International Symposium & Convention in Washington, D.C.

The Army outlines 10 goals for new PNT technologies

By: Mark Pomerleau

The Army wants to see new approaches to positioning, navigation and timing technologies and released a solicitation Nov. 24 specifically looking for ways industry can enhance those capabilities for soldiers fighting on land. The announcement, issued through the Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, lists 10 areas of research interest. Below is a breakdown of the capabilities and the Army’s goal for each project:

Pseudolite systems. Goal: Improved situational awareness and support to mission command.