24 January 2018

Has India Done Enough For Tibet’s Cause? – OpEd

By N. S. Venkataraman

More than six decades have gone after China forcibly entered Tibet and occupied the land and unjustifiably claimed that Tibet belongs to it. His Holiness the Dalai Lama had no alternative other than leaving Tibet with his disciples and he entered Indian territory on 31st March, 1959. When China occupied Tibet India led by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru just kept watching and did nothing to stop China from its aggressive move. Obviously, Nehru was very friendly at that time with Chinese government and he did not want to upset China by commenting on China’s occupation of Tibet. While Nehru took such stand, there were many sane voices in India who felt concerned about the inaction of Jawaharlal Nehru and reminded him that he was doing historical mistake.

Five months on, understanding Doklam ‘disengagement’, a few other issues

On Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs issued a clarification on Doklam: “It may be recalled that last year, the faceoff situation that had arisen in the Doklam region was resolved following diplomatic discussions between India and China, based on which both sides arrived at an understanding for the disengagement of their border personnel at the faceoff site.” The careful choice of words echoed the Ministry’s statement issued on August 28, 2017, when the “disengagement” ended the 73-day face-off in the Dolam plateau of Doklam area.



It was reported this week that Chinese general Fang Fenghui was “transferred to the military prosecution authority on suspicion of offering and accepting bribes.” Fang had reportedly been under investigation since late last year. Gen. Fang had been a senior member of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Central Military Commission – the entity that heads China’s armed forces. Before that, he led the Joint Staff Department – an organization that succeeded the General Staff Department and is effectively in charge of China’s warfighting and war-planning organizations.


The PowerPoint PDF below accompanied a presentation by fellow Gabriel Collins at an Oct. 25, 2017 briefing on the U.S. shale revolution.

Investigating Crises: South Asia's Lessons, Evolving Dynamics, and Trajectories

South Asia remains one of the most crisis-prone regions in the world with some of the highest levels of contested borders, militarized interstate disputes, and terrorist attacks. India and Pakistan's continued expansion of their fissile material stockpiles and nuclear arsenals and modernizations of their conventional forces add layers of risk, especially in periods of power transitions. For over 25 years, the Stimson Center has closely studied the cadence and dynamics of South Asian crises to better inform policymakers in New Delhi, Islamabad, Washington, D.C., and even Beijing.

Tracking Global Terrorism in 2018

With the start of a new year, we once again examine the state of the global jihadist movement. Shared from Threat Lens, Stratfor's unique protective intelligence product, the following column includes excerpts from a comprehensive forecast available to Threat Lens subscribers. In some ways "the global jihadist movement" is a misleading phrase. Rather than the monolithic threat it describes, jihadism more closely resembles a worldwide insurgency with two competing standard-bearers: al Qaeda and the Islamic State. To make matters more complicated, grassroots extremists have been known to take inspiration from each group's ideology — and, in some cases, both.

SPECIAL REPORT: In Shattered Raqqa, Top US General Calls for the World’s Help

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Votel assures SDF fighters the U.S. will remain committed to them, but bringing this Syrian city back to life will take more than the troops who liberated it can give. The calm. When Gen. Joseph Votel emerged from the dank tunnels where ISIS tortured its victims before executing them in the soccer stadium above, he walked somberly back to his convoy of grimy pickup trucks. The leader of U.S. Central Command was struck, he said, by the calm and industriousness of people who have come back to Raqqa to rebuild “some semblance of a normal life.”

The Islamic Republic’s Power Centers

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Who calls the shots in Iran on economic policy, security, and responding to domestic calls for reform? A look at the government's organization chart indicates how complicated the answer is. At the start of 2018, Iran experienced the largest nationwide protests since the 2009 Green Revolution, provoked initially by anger over economic stagnation and the government’s failure to act. Their calls for improved welfare are a test for the Islamic Republic, which was founded in 1979 on the principle of delivering social justice but has been dogged by charges of abusing civil and human rights and abetting corruption.

Turkey, the Arab World Is Just Not That into You

by Burak Bekdil

He runs around in a fake fire extinguisher's outfit, holding a silly hose in his hands and knocking on neighbors' doors to put out the fire in their homes. "Go away," his neighbors keep telling him. "There is no fire here!" I am the person to put out that fire, he insists, as doors keep shutting on his face. That was more or less how Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's neo-Ottoman, pro-ummah (Islamic community), "Big Brother" game has looked in the Middle East.

Europe’s economy: Three pathways to rebuilding trust and sustaining momentum

By Jacques Bughin, Eric Labaye, Sven Smit, Eckart Windhagen, Jan Mischke

Europe has an opportunity to ensure that growth and well-being continue in the long term, and to strengthen trust in its institutions. Europe is bouncing back after a “lost” decade. Business and citizen optimism has returned and eurozone GDP in 2017 expanded at its fastest pace since the 2008 financial crisis. This changing mood creates an opportunity for European political and business leaders to take the action needed to ensure that growth and well-being are sustained in the long term, and that trust in Europe’s institutions is strengthened. Rebuilding trust is critical: even in a time of economic recovery, divergent forces linger, anti-globalization sentiment is gaining ground in a number of countries, and distrust of politicians and political institutions is rife. Business leaders, meanwhile, tell us that they favor “more Europe” but still worry about the fragility of the eurozone. Drawing on research by the McKinsey Global Institute, this briefing explores three pathways where Europe could take concrete action to begin restoring trust while sustaining economic momentum:

It’s No Longer About ISIS: US Government Is Moving the Goalposts By Changing the Rationale/Excuse for Keeping US Troops in Syria

Paul R. Pillar

Behind a façade of continuity, the deployment of U.S. armed forces in Syria for the purposes that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described in a speech [3] this week represents a departure from what such forces were originally sent to Syria to do. The Trump administration is having U.S. troops participate indefinitely in someone else’s civil war, for reasons that are quite different from the original stated objective of helping to quash the so-called caliphate of the Islamic State (ISIS). The new reasons do not stand up to scrutiny in terms of defending any threatened U.S. interests. The administration has in effect made a decision to immerse the United States in yet another foreign war.

The Necessity and Impossibility of “Strategic Autonomy”

Hans Kundnani

WASHINGTON, DC — As the first anniversary of the inauguration of Donald Trump as president of the United States approaches, Europeans are still debating how to respond. The most fundamental question is about the U.S. security guarantee toward Europe, which Trump had radically questioned during the election campaign and even after winning it. After conspicuously failing to commit to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty at the NATO leaders meeting in Brussels in May, he finally did so a month later in the Rose Garden at the White House. So should Europeans now feel reassured that the uncertainty about Article 5 is over? Or should they quickly move toward “strategic autonomy” — just in case it turns out that they can no longer depend on the United States?

North Korea and Cyber Catastrophe—Don’t Hold Your Breath


The heightened tension over North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons programs, combined with growing DPRK cyber capabilities and their use for coercion or theft, has led some to conclude that the North may launch cyber-attacks against US critical infrastructure, perhaps with catastrophic result.[1] We can best assess this risk by placing it in a larger strategic context, and in this context, a major cyber-attack by the North is unlikely.[2]

Fake News: Defining and Defeating

Following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to present his media critics with so-called “fake news awards,” it is more important than ever to define what “fake news” actually is, and what it is not. President Trump’s repeated accusations of fake news are dangerous both for journalists around the world, and for the integrity of free and fair democratic discourse in America.

How to be a leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Jennifer Artley

We often underestimate the scale and speed of change that occurred in the 20th century. Wave upon wave of scientific discovery and technological advance has transformed many aspects of our daily and working lives. As we strike out into the digital age it is our responsibility as business leaders to navigate these changes with integrity and to provide positive, impactful leadership as the business landscape takes a new shape.

Russia and the Limits of Power

By George Friedman

The government of Belarus has announced that it will not permit more than two foreign military bases on its territory. There are now two Russian military bases in Belarus, and it is unlikely that any other country has suggested placing bases there. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the Russians have asked Belarus for additional facilities and that the Belarusians have turned them down. The reason for Russia’s interest in Belarus is obvious. The Baltics are part of NATO, Ukraine has a pro-Western government, and Belarus is the last piece of the Russian buffer zone that is not overtly anti-Russian. If Belarus were to shift its stance and turn against Russia, the entire buffer zone would be gone and with it the strategic depth Russia has depended on. Obviously, more bases would strengthen Russia’s position in Belarus.

National Defense Strategy a ‘Good Fit for Our Times,’ Mattis Says

By Jim Garamone

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis announces the new National Defense Strategy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, a division of the Johns Hopkins University based in Washington, Jan. 19, 2018. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Kathryn E. Holm The secretary unveiled the strategy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and stressed that the strategy is not merely a defense strategy, but an American strategy. The school is a division of the Johns Hopkins University based in Washington.

The New National Defense Strategy: Some Good Broad Goals, and Bad Buzzwords, But No Clear Strategy

By Anthony H. Cordesman

The unclassified summary of new National Defense Strategy (NDS) is just that: An unclassified summary. It sets goals and objectives that do build on the National Security Strategy (NSS) announced in December, and it raises many of the same themes: the need to adapt to new forms of war and to engage in “long-term strategic competitions with China and Russia as emerging potential threats.” It talks about an increasingly complex global security environment, characterized by overt challenges to the free and open international order and the re-emergence of long-term, strategic competition between nations. These changes require a clear-eyed appraisal of the threats we face, acknowledgement of the changing character of warfare, and a transformation of how the Department of Defense conducts business.



The Pentagon plans to build two new nuclear weapons to keep up with the modernizing arsenals of Russia and China, according to a comprehensive Department of Defense review on the U.S. military’s nuclear capabilities, sparking heated debate about the strategy: Will it bolster the U.S. military's ability to deter threats, or make a nuclear war more likely?  "While the United States has continued to reduce the number and salience of nuclear weapons, others, including Russia and China, have moved in the opposite direction," an unclassified draft of the Pentagon’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) states. "The United States must be capable of developing and deploying new capabilities, if necessary, to deter, assure, achieve U.S. objectives if deterrence fails, and hedge against uncertainty."

Defense Dept. blocks 36M malicious emails daily, fends off 600 Gbps DDoS attacks

by Teri Robinson

That the Defense Department blocks 36 million malicious emails daily aimed at accessing U.S. military systems, as Defense Information Systems Agency Director of Operations David Bennett recently said, underscores that attackers continue to consider email an attractive attack vector and highlights the stresses that security pros face daily trying to sort through threats. "Our threat labs have observed cybercriminals recently migrating to email as the most common attack vector. As the tension between nations is increasing, more of the conflict is being fought online. They use email because it is effective,” said Nick Bilogorskiy, cybersecurity strategist at Juniper Networks, noting that he wasn't surprised that the Defense Department had seen an uptick in email attacks. "While most such attacks are simple phishing scams, the most dangerous ones are usually the work of rogue nation states and can be political in nature.”

FINDING YOUR VOICE Forget About Siri and Alexa — When It Comes to Voice Identification, the “NSA Reigns Supreme”

Ava Kofman

AT THE HEIGHT of the Cold War, during the winter of 1980, FBI agents recorded a phone call in which a man arranged a secret meeting with the Soviet embassy in Washington, D.C. On the day of his appointment, however, agents were unable to catch sight of the man entering the embassy. At the time, they had no way to put a name to the caller from just the sound of his voice, so the spy remained anonymous. Over the next five years, he sold details about several secret U.S. programs to the USSR. It wasn’t until 1985 that the FBI, thanks to intelligence provided by a Russian defector, was able to establish the caller as Ronald Pelton, a former analyst at the National Security Agency. The next year, Pelton was convicted of espionage.

How Smartphone Users Benefit From Artificial Intelligence

by Felix Richter

As we’re surrounded by smartphones, smart homes, smart cities and many more supposedly smart things, artificial intelligence and machine learning are already helping us in ways that we may not even realize. According to Deloitte’s Global Mobile Consumer Survey, 65 percent of smartphone owners across 16 developed markets have used an application featuring machine learning in the past. Many of these applications, think predictive text and route suggestions for example, are designed to make our mobile experience feel more personalized and convenient; and as algorithms, hardware and the underlying data sets improve over time, we can expect AI-infused services to get a lot smarter going forward.

Four new ‘superpowers’ changing our world

Pat Gelsinger

The term ‘superpowers’ conjures an image of major nations shaping the course of global history. But in the digital era, I believe it’s time we expanded that definition to include four extraordinary technological superpowers that promise to wield as much influence over the next 20 years as any nation state: mobile technology, the cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT). Each of these capabilities is transformative in its own right, but together they unlock game-changing opportunities that have not been available to us until this moment in history. And we are just beginning to tap their full potential.

5th Generation Air C2 and ISR

Author:Bart A Hoeben 

5th Generation Air C2 and ISR provides tangible recommendations about improving Air C2 and ISR systems, their integration, collaboration and Information & Communication Technology (ICT) at the tactical level, including the possible application of a combat cloud, and towards F-35 employment and follow-on development. It furthermore explores the possibility for distribution of control towards the tactical edge, concluding that RAAF and RNLAF should further pursue this concept. The paper also looks at command and ISR at the operational level and strategic employment of F-35 and draws two conclusions: first, that new concepts for Air C2 and ISR related to F-35 employment deserve increased attention from RAAF and RNLAF, and second, that successfully employing F-35 requires strong(er) influence of RAAF and RNLAF at the operational and strategic level. Overall, the paper recommends possible ways in which RAAF and RNLAF could cooperate to face the Air C2 and ISR challenges and opportunities that come with the transition to a 5th Generation Air Force. This could involve stimulation and facilitating international discussion on new concepts for Air C2 and ISR. 


Since the terrorist attacks on the U.S. homeland on 11 September 2001, the United States has been engaged in worldwide military operations. The initial campaigns during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom demonstrated the unmatched conventional capabilities of the U.S. military, developed mostly during the Cold War, as they rapidly toppled the regimes of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq. These rapid victories soon turned into protracted irregular wars, for which the United States and its allies and partners were not fully prepared. In the years that followed, new concepts and capabilities rapidly evolved to fight these wars. Nowhere were these adaptations more profound—and costly—than in U.S. land forces.