24 December 2017

India tops list of migrants living abroad at 17 million: UN

India has topped the list of people living abroad at 17 million with about 5 million Indians residing in the Gulf region alone, according to a new UN report.

Mexico, Russia, China, Bangladesh, Syria, Pakistan and Ukraine also have large migrant populations living abroad, ranging from 6 to 11 million each, according to the 2017 International Migration Report released here.

In 2017, India was the largest country of origin of international migrants at 17 million, followed by Mexico at 13 million.

NITI Aayog proposes scheme for saving jobs from automation

Jatin Gandhi and Gireesh Chandra Prasad

Federal think tank NITI Aayog has proposed that the government set up a labour utilisation fund that will make the country’s workforce more skilled and cost-competitive, encouraging businesses to hire more at a time when automation and the use of artificial intelligence are making low-skill labour redundant.

NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar said in an interview that the government should consider setting up the fund, which will foot the bill for skilling workers and providing them social security, making workforce more cost-competitive for the industry to employ.

India to Arm 40 Su-30 Fighter Jets With BrahMos Cruise Missile By 2020

By Franz-Stefan Gady

Work has begun to integrate the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile on 40 Indian Air Force fighter jets. India has kicked off the process of integrating the air-launched BrahMos-A supersonic cruise missile on 40 Sukhoi Su-30 MKI multirole air superiority fighter jets, according to local media reports.

The retrofitting of the aircraft is expected to be completed by 2020, Indian Air Force (IAF) sources revealed. “It is a very important project considering IAF’s evolving requirement to boost air power when the possibility of a two-front war cannot be ruled out,” an Indian government official said.

China’s Belt and Road Meets Trump’s Afghanistan Plan

By Yu Fu

Could China play the good cop while the U.S. plays the bad cop?

In August, U.S. President Donald Trump announced a new Afghanistan strategy. Featuring an extra 4,000 U.S. soldiers and additional NATO troops in Afghanistan, the new policy was tough on the issue of tackling terrorism. Even military autonomy is improved under the plan, enhancing the authority for U.S. armed forces to target terrorists and criminal networks as well as expanding the scope of unmanned aircraft and special operations.


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When I joined the United States Air Force, I never thought I’d be advising a homeless, illiterate Afghan district governor in one of the most isolated districts in southern Afghanistan. However, with tours on an Iraq and Afghanistan Provincial Reconstruction Team under my belt, in 2011 that became precisely my job. I was responsible for the governance effort in Ghorak, Kandahar, under Special Operation Task Force-South’s Village Stability Operations. These operations, led by United States special operations forces, were designed to provide security, governance, and development to rural districts in Afghanistan. Special operations forces elements were responsible for raising and training Afghan Local Police to defend the village, while other enablers and civilians focused on governance and development. In theory, I was supposed to work alongside a State Department/USAID. But in reality, I was a one-man operation. I became responsible for connecting the Ghorak district (county) government with the Kandahar provincial (state) government and, ultimately, the national government in Kabul.

The Mysterious Chinese Company Worrying the World

For a company regularly in the news, China’s HNA Group Co. remains shrouded in mystery. American government officials are seeking more information about the conglomerate’s ownership, the Chinese government has been asking questions and the European Central Bank is considering a review of its own. Once a little-known airline operator, HNA took on billions of dollars in debt as it made more than $40 billion of acquisitions over six continents since the start of 2016. With interests in tourism, logistics and financial services, it’s now the biggest shareholder of such well-known names as Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG. It’s also facing mounting costs to finance its spending habits.

The New Era of Global Stability The grand ideological conflicts that began in 1917 are giving way to old-fashioned geopolitics.

Arthur Herman

After a century of chaos and mass death driven by conflicting ideologies, the world is entering a new era of stability. This new period of history is defined by the balance-of-power geopolitics embraced by Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. The White House National Security Strategy published Monday appears to reflect this reality.

The previous era was inaugurated by two momentous events: President Woodrow Wilson’s decision to intervene in World War I and Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik Revolution. Both occurred in 1917 and left overlapping legacies. In Lenin’s case, Russia’s communist revolution would spawn countless ideological imitators, leading to the deaths of tens of millions of people.

How Iran, the Mideast's new superpower, is expanding its footprint across the region – and what it means

Iran has achieved milestones of leverage and influence that rival any regional power in the past half-century. While there are limits to how far it can extend its authority, Tehran’s rapid rise poses new challenges to the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia as it undermines their previous dominance. How far can Tehran extend its reach? 

DECEMBER 17, 2017 BAGHDAD; AND KABUL, AFGHANISTAN—With opulent furnishings and the finest cut-crystal water glasses in Baghdad, the new offices of the Iranian-backed Shiite militia exude money and power – exactly as they are meant to. At one end of the meeting room is a set built for TV interviews, with gilded chairs and an official-looking backdrop of Iraqi and militia flags, lit by an ornate glass chandelier.



Nothing is like anything else. You can do nothing well or you can do nothing badly. Some people excel at nothing. Others have more difficulty with it. They grow restless, resent the loss of initiative and control, and, more deeply, they feel that “something” is inherently, even morally, superior to nothing.

The U.S. government national security apparatus, for better or for worse, sucks at nothing. In the policy process, the saying goes, something always beats nothing. As a bureaucratic fact, this is clearly true. But, from a policy perspective, is nothing always the wrong choice?

Germany's Secret Plan to Win World War I: Super 'Guns'

World War I’s stalemate on the Western Front ushered up varied solutions. The Allies developed tanks for traversing no man’s land to get at the enemy. But tanks had faults: Artillery could stop them, so could mechanical problems and difficult terrain; and they could not get the job done without lots of infantry.

Across the trenches, Germans had little regard for tanks and produced but few models. The main effort by the Germans lay in the application of the Hutier Taktik, the forerunner of the Blitzkrieg of 1939-1940. The Hutier demanded a narrow front, advancing without regard to the security of the flanks. Follow-up troops were detailed to deal with strong points that had been by-passed. It was an approach that worked well on the Eastern Front, but less so against the entrenchments in the West because the French and British armies were more stable and because the Germans could never amass enough stormtroopers.

Trump administration approves lethal arms sales to Ukraine

By Josh Rogin

Correction: A previous version of this blog post incorrectly reported that the Trump administration had approved the first-ever commercial sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine. It stated that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had publicly supported arms sales to Ukraine; Mattis did not explicitly do so. This post has been updated. 

The Trump administration has approved the largest U.S. commercial sale of lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine since 2014. The move was heavily supported by top Trump national security Cabinet officials and Congress but may complicate President Trump’s stated ambition to work with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Egypt Girds Itself for a Loss of Power Over the Nile

Egypt will continue to maintain an aggressive tone against Ethiopia on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in an attempt to force Ethiopia to capitulate to Cairo's demands, but the dam will be completed.

Over the past decade, upstream states have shifted the balance of power in Nile River politics and are beginning to challenge Egypt's leverage over the use of the river's resources.

Egypt will be forced to come back to the negotiating table with Ethiopia because once the dam is built, Egypt must coordinate its dam operations with Ethiopia's as the new reservoir is filled.

Trump’s National Security Strategy Is a Farce

Roger Cohen 

Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, presented what she said was evidence that Iran was violating one of its international agreements.

The Trump Administration has put out its new national security strategy. This is a farce. On any one issue, President Trump and his team have several contradictory positions. That’s what happens when your priority as president is to use foreign policy to throw red meat to your base while other cabinet members are scrambling to stop Armageddon.

Why the United States Is Wary of the WTO

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.

The end of the Cold War brought about a different view of free trade in the United States. Through almost 50 years of negotiations, the United States spearheaded the establishment of the World Trade Organization as Washington sought to shape the global trading regime — and the trading order in the West — as a bulwark against communism. But times have changed, and amid a frontal assault by the United States this week, the WTO's 11th Ministerial Conference came to an undignified end Dec. 13 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Trump and Bannon’s 'Pivot to Asia'?

Curt Mills

The former White House chief strategist talks the “valley of decision” in Japan; the White House unveils a bellicosely anti-China National Security Strategy.

For all that has been made of the contrasts between President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama, there are a number of similarities. For one, both were outsider presidents who inherited a remarkably similar portfolio in their first year: proliferation threats in North Korea and Iran, a flagging healthcare system, a somewhat undefined desire to end America’s permawar in the Middle East, and near-unprecedented partisan division and national unease about the U.S. economic future. History will judge whether the fact that Trump has inherited a strikingly similar slate of challenges speaks poorly of Obama, or rather, attests to the long-term nature or even outright implacability of the challenges at hand.

The Pentagon’s New Artificial Intelligence Is Already Hunting Terrorists


After less than eight months of development, the algorithms are helping intel analysts exploit drove video over the battlefield.
Earlier this month at an undisclosed location in the Middle East, computers using special algorithms helped intelligence analysts identify objects in a video feed from a small ScanEagle drone over the battlefield.

A few days into the trials, the computer identified objects — people, cars, types of building — correctly about 60 percent of the time. Just over a week on the job — and a handful of on-the-fly software updates later — the machine’s accuracy improved to around 80 percent. Next month, when its creators send the technology back to war with more software and hardware updates, they believe it will become even more accurate.

The FBI and CIA need more political management, not less


The Bolsheviks were wrong about everything except the need to defeat (real) fascism, and the necessity for firm control of the Cheka, the secret police.

Michael Morell, the former Acting Director of the CIA, recently confessedthat maybe it was a mistake for himself, the former chief of the CIA and NSA, Gen. Michael Hayden, and the then-Director of the CIA, John Brennan, to criticize candidate Donald Trump. He admitted that he failed to understand how Trump would interpret their campaign criticism, which is pretty damning coming from someone who briefed presidents on how foreign leaders think.

Here’s Why the Trump Administration Called Out North Korea’s Cyberattacks


The attribution announcement made three big arguments and North Korea’s culpability was only one of them.

Trump Homeland Security officials put policy into practice Tuesday when they attributed a massive, transnational ransomware attack to the North Korean regime.

During a 30-minute press briefing, Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert and Homeland Security Department cyber official Jeanette Manfra repeatedly hammered on key pillars of the administration’s cybersecurity strategy and touted the administration’s cyber priorities.

US short of options to punish NKorea for WannaCry cyberattack

By: Matthew Pennington and Ken Thomas 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration vowed Tuesday that North Korea would be held accountable for a May cyberattack that affected 150 countries, but it didn’t say how, highlighting the difficulty of punishing a pariah nation already sanctioned to the hilt for its nuclear weapons program.

The WannaCry ransomware attack infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide and crippled parts of Britain’s National Health Service. It was the highest-profile cyberattack North Korea has been blamed for since the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures after it produced “The Interview,” a satirical movie imagining a CIA plot to kill leader Kim Jong Un.

Feds officially pin WannaCry ransomware attack on North Korea

By: Jessie Bur 

Seven months after the WannaCry malware attack infected and held ransom thousands of computers worldwide, Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert announced Tuesday that the U.S. is officially attributing the cyberattack to the North Korean government.

“After careful investigation, the United States is publicly attributing the massive WannaCry cyberattack to North Korea. We do not make this allegation lightly. We do so with evidence and we do so with partners,” said Bossert, adding that the U.K., New Zealand, Australia and Japan have seen the analysis and agree with the attribution.

Here’s how the Army is trying to integrate information operations

By: Mark Pomerleau 

A soldier from 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division uses a Handheld, Manpack, and Small Form Fit Manpack radio to communicate while conducting dismounted operations at the Army's Network Integration Evaluation 13.1 on Nov. 9, 2012. The Manpack allows small units in austere environments to exchange voice and data information with their higher headquarters, without having to rely on a fixed infrastructure. 

The Army wants to give battlefield commanders the ability to drill down into local social media feeds and identify potential communication tools such as Wi-Fi networks and cellphone towers as a way to help slow the flow of information.

US Military tests system for on-demand 3D-printed drones

David Lumb

The US military has used drones in combat zones for over a decade to scout and support infantry. Now they're testing a way to give ground troops another edge: The capability to build UAVs themselves. What's more, the US Army is partnering with the Marine Corps on a test project that lets troops 3D-print particular drone parts from a tablet-based catalog, which could eventually lead to manufacturing UAVs customized to the mission.

The concept is promising, and so is the flexibility: The software catalog setup lets military units print out an unmanned aircraft system for specific missions. The Army Research Laboratory expects the turnaround time to create UAV parts to be anywhere from minutes to hours, rather than days or weeks.