19 March 2018

Super Dan and Roger Federer

Maj Gen P K Mallick,VSM (Retd)

Two days back I wrote in my FB page: 

Only person who has a realistic chance to defeat Roger will be standing across the net at the finals. The beanpole from Tanda is in impressive form. He is serving bombs, his forehand has the most devastating power in the game. To add his backhand up the line has now added lot of venom, he is not depending on his slices alone in his back hand side. 

But Federer being the supreme artist and craftsman is still my favourite. He has not been at his best in this tournament, though lost only a set in the semifinals where he has again made a Houdini act. But his impeccable serve is bailing him out, 

Best wishes to Roger, sorry Del Potro. 

My premonition has come true. The tall and handsome man from Argentina has beaten Roger in 3 sets. Juan Martín del Potro rallied from three match points down in the third set and beat top-ranked Roger Federer 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 to win the BNP Paribas Open, handing the world No1 his first loss of the year. 

Del Potro held a match point at 8-7 in the second-set tiebreaker, but he lost the final three points on his own errors and allowed Federer to force a third set. They were on serve in the third until Federer broke for a 5-4 lead with a backhand winner off del Potro’s serve. Federer had a chance to serve out the match, holding two match points but del Potro staved both off to force deuce and broke to force a deciding tiebreak. In the tiebreaker, Del Potro raced to a 6-1 lead, helped by two Federer double faults. He closed out the win on his third match point when Federer’s forehand failed. Roger serving 2 double faults in the decider tie break! After all the GOAT is human. 

This year the biggest threat to Roger is the Argentine. Make no mistake about it. Of all the players playing now only he has the game and numbers of Roger. 

Lets see how Roger plans to counter that humungous forehand of Del Potro. 

On Sunday it was All England Open badminton championships in Birmingham. On one side stood the aging superstar, the GOAT, 6 times All England champion Lin Dan, the Super Dan and on the other side the rising Chinese star last year's finalist Shi Yuqi. It was a pulsating match. Lin Dan fought hard in the first game but lost narrowly at 19. The grate man levelled the match by winning the second game. But in the third he was blown away by the power of the young pretender. Shi Yuqi toiled for 75 minutes to beat his senior 21-19, 16-21, 21-9 for his first All-England title. The 22-year-old Shi lost to Lee Chong Wei in the men's singles final last year. 

It was not a nice sight to see one time alpha male of badminton world sprawling on the ground to retrieve the powerful smashes of his opponent though he managed to make winners even from there. 

Old order changeth yielding place to new. Surely. But the great man ( October 83 born) is still good enough to reach the finals! The familiar debate will start. Look at Super Dan’s achievements : 

  • He is a two-time Olympic champion, five-time World champion, as well as a six-time All England champion. 
  • He won Malaysia open in April, 2017 by defeating Lee Chong Wei in straight sets to complete winning all the major world titles available in the world of badminton. 
  • He is the first and only player to complete the “Super Grand Slam” by the age of 28, which includes all nine major titles in the international badminton. 
  • Dan was nicknamed “Super Dan” by his fans for his amazing achievements including 5 gold and a silver in World Championships, 2 gold medal in badminton World Cup, 5 gold and 2 bronze medal in Thomas Cup, 3 gold medal in Asian Games, 3 gold medal in Asian Championships and the title of Hong Kong East Asian Games in 2009. 
  • He is the only badminton player in history to win the Olympic gold medal twice consecutively in 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics. 
In his younger days fans used to soon over his powerful acrobatic smashes and diving retrievals. Today he is more of a craftsman, uses a cat and mouse game, though the old power comes out once in a while. 

Let’s leave it to the Super Dan to decide when he quits. Till then NJOY his game. 

Is there an uncanny similarity between the two GOATS: Roger and Lin Dan?

Blog has crossed six million visitors

On 16 Sept 2017 this blog https://strategicstudyindia.blogspot.in/ crossed five million hits.

It took exactly six months to add one more million. Today the blog has touched six million visitors.

Distribution of last months visitors country wise is given below. For Latin America I need Spanish! Africa has still not caught up. When I visited China I found the great wall of China has blocked my site as I do post lot of papers concerning China. Some hits probably from Think Tanks/ universities do come from China which I suppose have the necessary permission.

Happy reading !

Pageviews by Countries
United States

Indian banks with outdated software: Easy targets for fraud

Rohan Jahagirdar

The timing of the recent Punjab National Bank — Nirav Modi scam couldn’t have been worse. After just having committed to pay for a giant recapitalization package to bail out the banks’ for bad loans, the public trust in banking system is at its lowest. Some commentators have suggested big bang reforms like complete privatization of banking systems while others think we need better regulatory oversight. However, very few have focused on a crucial aspect that enabled the fraud: the bad, old tech used by the bank.

Despite Four Major Exits, Telecom Is Still An Unstable Triopoly, Thanks To Jio

by R Jagannathan

Jio will continue to wage a war for more market share by keeping tariffs low. The telecom disruption isn’t over yet, for Jio is not aiming for number three. The rapid consolidation in the telecom industry, where four major players exited over the last six months (Reliance Communications, Tata Tele, Telenor and Aircel), is not bringing stability to the industry. The remaining field of three big private players (plus one government player) is in a state of unstable equilibrium.

CENTCOM Confirms That Pakistan Is Still Covertly Supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan

Bill Gertz

Gen. Joseph L. Votel, commander of the Central Command, disclosed in congressional testimony this week that despite a new U.S. policy of pressuring Pakistan, the Islamabad government is still supporting the Taliban terrorist group in the border region with Afghanistan. Asked during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday if Pakistan is continuing to back terrorist activity in Afghanistan, Gen. Votel said the U.S. pressure campaign has produced some “positive indicators” of a shift. However, on the question of continued Pakistani support, Gen. Votel noted: “I cannot tell you that we have seen decisive changes in the areas in which we’re working, but I remain very well-engaged with my partner to ensure that we are moving forward on this.”

U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Ronald E. Neumann, David S. Sedney

SHINN: As you finish your lunch and dessert, welcome to today’s session in this series of—Council on Foreign Relations Series What to Do About… And specifically, today is “What to Do About U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” A timely conversation, since this is the 6,025th day of the war in Afghanistan, some would say the longest and the bloodiest war in American history. So no surprise that it’s the topic of some reconsideration from a strategic standpoint, and that the CFR is not the only place where this reconsideration is taking place. Here is a letter from the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan that came out three weeks ago that asks, what are you—what is U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan? And is it time to reconsider? You can down this—download this, by the way, off their website, which is rather a slick—has rather a slick user interface.

Tell the Truth About Our Longest War

Susan E. Rice

The nearly 17-year-old Afghanistan conflict, the longest war in United States history, will not end on the battlefield. It can be resolved only at the negotiating table. So, the bold offer last month from President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan to negotiate with the Taliban “without preconditions” is a welcome initiative. But it faces daunting obstacles. Mr. Ghani’s proposal envisions an outcome in which the Taliban would be recognized as a legitimate political party, prisoners would be released and United Nations sanctions against the group would be lifted. In exchange, the Taliban would have to recognize the Afghan government and respect the rule of law, including women’s rights.

Mackinder and Mahan: The Chinese Geopolitics in South Asia

By Jennifer Loy

Geopolitics is always at play within international relations, but none more so than the current role the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has in South Asia. Sir Halford Mackinder explained the Heartland Theory in “The Geographical Pivot of History” in 1904. Whichever nation controlled Eastern Europe would control the Heartland (the core of Eurasia); subsequently this nation would then control the World Island (all of Europe and Asia); and finally, would dominate the world. Alfred Thayer Mahan’s view was focused upon the oceans. Simply, whoever conquered the seas would control the world. Both have proven true throughout history, but not at the same time with the same nation. The partnership of Mackinder and Mahan’s theories are found within the PRC’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) project. 

China’s Global Dreams Give Its Neighbors Nightmares


In 1904, Halford Mackinder theorized that whichever nation ruled the “World-Island” of Africa, Asia, and Europe would “command the world.” One hundred and nine years later, in Astana, Kazakhstan, Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping made his move, declaring himself the prophet and China the engine of Afro-Eurasian integration. The era of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) diplomacy had begun.

Why China stopped making fissile material for nukes

Hui Zhang

Some western scholars have expressed growing concern about China’s expansion of its nuclear arsenal and what they see as a “sprint to parity” with the United States. One scholareven claimed that China could have built as many as 3,000 nuclear weapons, far above the estimate of Western intelligence agencies, which assume that China has between 200 and 300. As a comparison, the United States and Russia each keep roughly 7,000 nuclear weapons. If China had any interest in parity, that would leave it with an awfully long way to go.

How is China developing AI technology so much faster than the US?

By: Daniel Cebul  

China is rapidly developing and deploying technologies powered by artificial intelligence at a pace that will see the country soon eclipse the United States as the world’s leader in the technology. But how is China progressing so quickly? Speaking during a press briefing at the Center for a New American Security, announcing the organization’s new AI and national security Task Force, SparkCognition CEO Amir Husain explained that the pace of technological development is influenced by doctrine and governance, but also funding. “The Chinese are spending $150 billion [on AI] by 2030... hopefully we will spend more than the $1.2 billion we spend now,” Mr. Husain said.

Chairman Xi, Chinese Idol

Ian Johnson 

For nearly sixty years since it opened in 1959, the Great Hall of the People has been the public focus of Chinese politics, a monumental granite block that extends 1,200 feet along the west side of Tiananmen Square. It is where the country’s leaders appear in public to display their power: a platform for state banquets, receptions of foreign dignitaries, and symbolic political meetings. It is their throne room, their sacred space. It is the outward manifestation of decisions made in other, darker realms. 

The Evolution of Chinese Nuclear Doctrine: Updating or Overhauling?

By Lorenzo Termine

What role is played by the atomic weapon in Chinese defense strategies? How has nuclear doctrine changed since 1964? The historical root of Chinese nuclear doctrine dates to the traumatic experiences of the Taiwan Strait crises during the 50’s when the United States, then politically and militarily bound to Taiwan, kept on the table a nuclear attack option against Beijing. Meanwhile, the unbalanced nuclear partnership of PRC with the Kremlin got stuck in a dead end when the USSR abandoned the cooperation in June 1959. Before the first nuclear weapon was tested in 1964, two major theorists had given their contribution to the future Chinese nuclear approach, Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. The former elaborated the concept of “people’s war” that, coherently with the Marxist-Leninist war theories, gave very little relevance to the atomic weapon. Mao used to utterly disparage atomic weapons, “paper tigers” in his words. Nuclear capacities could be a part, but not the core of PRC’s strategies. The latter supported a more active nuclear approach with his concept of “existential deterrence.” China had to join the nuclear and thermonuclear clubs on its own terms to ensure its survival in a world of “mass destruction.”

US accuses Russia of cyber-attack on energy sector and imposes new sanctions

Julian Borger 

US officials say malware was found in operating systems of several US energy companies and announce sanctions for election interference The US has accused Russia of a wide-ranging cyber-assault on its energy grid and other key parts of its infrastructure, as it stepped up sanctions on Russian intelligence for its interference in the 2016 elections. US officials said that malware had been found in the operating systems of several organisations and companies in the US energy, nuclear, water and “critical manufacturing” sector, and the malware as well as other form of cyber-attacks had been traced back to Moscow. “Russia’s behaviour continues to trouble us and we are continuing to push back in meaningful ways,” a senior national security official said.

In a first, U.S. blames Russia for cyber attacks on energy grid

Dustin Volz, Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration on Thursday blamed the Russian government for a campaign of cyber attacks stretching back at least two years that targeted the U.S. power grid, marking the first time the United States has publicly accused Moscow of hacking into American energy infrastructure. Beginning in March 2016, or possibly earlier, Russian government hackers sought to penetrate multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation and manufacturing, according to a U.S. security alert published Thursday.The Department of Homeland Security and FBI said in the alert that a “multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian government cyber actors” had targeted the networks of small commercial facilities “where they staged malware, conducted spear phishing, and gained remote access into energy sector networks.” The alert did not name facilities or companies targeted.

Disarming the Weapons of Mass Distraction

Kamil Kotarba

“Are you paying attention?” The phrase still resonates with a particular sharpness in my mind. It takes me straight back to my boarding school, aged thirteen, when my eyes would drift out the window to the woods beyond the classroom. The voice was that of the math teacher, the very dedicated but dull Miss Ploughman, whose furrowed grimace I can still picture. We’re taught early that attention is a currency—we “pay” attention—and much of the discipline of the classroom is aimed at marshaling the attention of children, with very mixed results. We all have a history here, of how we did or did not learn to pay attention and all the praise or blame that came with that. It used to be that such patterns of childhood experience faded into irrelevance. As we reached adulthood, how we paid attention, and to what, was a personal matter and akin to breathing—as if it were automatic. 

Cold War Tactics Return to Britain

Yasmeen Serhan

The last time the United Kingdom moved to expel Russian diplomats en masse, it was during the depths of the Cold War. The defection of a top KGB officer in 1971 revealed the scope of the Soviet Union’s espionage apparatus in the U.K., prompting the British government to banish 91 suspected Soviet intelligence officials, in the country as diplomats, in response. Moscow responded in furious fashion, calling the British espionage claims “a complete fabrication,” and retaliated with its own expulsions. The moment marked a new low in Anglo-Soviet relations, which wouldn’t improve until the end of the Cold War.

Trump has decided to remove national security adviser General H.R. McMaster - Washington Post

Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Philip Rucker and Carol D. Leonnig

President Trump has decided to remove H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser and is actively discussing potential replacements, according to five people with knowledge of the plans, preparing to deliver yet another jolt to the senior ranks of his administration. Trump is now comfortable with ousting McMaster, with whom he never personally gelled, but is willing to take time executing the move because he wants to ensure both that the three-star Army general is not humiliated and that there is a strong successor lined up, these people said. The turbulence is part of a broader potential shake-up under consideration by Trump that is likely to include senior officials at the White House, where staffers are gripped by fear and un­certainty as they await the next move from an impulsive president who enjoys stoking conflict.

The U.K. Measures Its Response to the Poisoning of a Former Russian Spy

The poisoning of former Russian spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia has exacerbated the already tense relationship between the United Kingdom and Russia. As a result, British Prime Minister Theresa May said her government was reviewing a range of diplomatic, financial and economic responses to the likely Russia-backed poisoning, which took place in her country. And the United Kingdom requested that the Kremlin hand over materials and samples of its military grade nerve agent, Novichok, by the end of the day on March 13. Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry has denied receiving the request and in turn has asked for full access to the investigation and samples of the nerve agent, since Yulia is still a Russian citizen.

Is DoD organized to combat Russian information operations?

By: Mark Pomerleau 

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., noted how disorganized the Pentagon is when it comes to information warfare or information operations, during a March 13 Senate Armed Services Cyber Subcommittee hearing. He mentioned how cyber, electronic warfare and information operations are organized across different lines. “Why does this matter? Because Russia’s information operations troops conduct technical and cognitive operations in an integrated way,” he said. “We conduct information operations in support of commanders at the tactical level. Adversaries are coming at us at the strategic level in so-called peacetime.”

Sweden’s plan to deter a Russian digital attack

By: Aaron Mehta  

As Sweden seeks to revitalize its “total defense” concept, it will rely heavily on its private technology industry to develop new protections from cyberattacks. The blueprint, which would see the entirety of Sweden activated to repel an invasion, was laid out by Defence Commission head Bjorn von Sydow and commission secretariat chief Tommy Akesson during a February interview with Defense News. While Sweden had plans throughout the Cold War to militarize the nation in case of an attack, government officials let those plans expire as the country’s relationship with Russia changed. That means leaders have a system to build on as they develop a new strategy.

This is the future of the internet

Paul Laudicina

Since becoming commercially available, the internet has democratized information, enabled global communication and served as a platform for a variety of goods and services. In its infancy, policy-makers trod lightly in terms of regulating online activity to allow innovation and commerce to flourish. The overwhelming success of Google, Facebook, Amazon and other internet giants evolved in that unregulated space. But as the internet enters its adolescence, boundaries are being pushed and questions asked about the wide berth historically afforded to such companies. Policy-makers around the world, particularly in Europe and the US, are now waking up to the challenges posed by the internet giants. The allegations of Russian impropriety on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter during the 2016 US presidential election, for example, have ignited a global dialogue about the influence and power exercised by social media and other internet companies.

Six Key Points from the EU Commission’s New Report on Disinformation

Today the EU Commission released the final report from the High Level Expert Group on Fake News, entitled “A Multi-Dimensional Approach to Disinformation”. The report, a document supported by a number of different stakeholders, including the largest technology companies, journalists, fact-checkers, academics and representatives from civil society has a number of important attributes including: important definitional work rejecting the use of the phrase ‘fake news’; an emphasis on freedom of expression as a fundamental right; a clear rejection of any attempt to censor content; a call for efforts to counter interference in elections; a commitment by tech platforms to share data; calls for investment in media and information literacy and comprehensive evaluations of these efforts; as well as cross-border research into the scale and impact of disinformation.

Beware the Big Five

by Alexander Klimburg 

The big Silicon Valley technology companies have long been viewed by much of the American public as astonishingly successful capitalist enterprises operated by maverick geniuses. The largest among them—Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Google (the so-called Big Five)—were founded by youthful and charismatic male visionaries with signature casual wardrobes: the open-necked blue shirt, the black polo-neck, the marled gray T-shirt and hoodie. These founders have won immense public trust in their emergent technologies, from home computing to social media to the new frontier, artificial intelligence. Their companies have seemed to grow organically within the flourishing ecology of the open Internet. 

U.S. says Russia has mounted a campaign of cyber attacks over the past two years that targeted the U.S. power grid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration on Thursday blamed the Russian government for a campaign of cyber attacks stretching back at least two years that targeted the U.S. power grid, marking the first time the United States has publicly accused Moscow of hacking into American energy infrastructure. Beginning in March 2016, or possibly earlier, Russian government hackers sought to penetrate multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation and manufacturing, according to a U.S. security alert published Thursday.The Department of Homeland Security and FBI said in the alert that a “multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian government cyber actors” had targeted the networks of small commercial facilities “where they staged malware, conducted spear phishing, and gained remote access into energy sector networks.” The alert did not name facilities or companies targeted.

There Are More and More Threats that Militaries Can’t Stop. People’s Forces Can Help


Populations are not fragile flowers – far from it. Treating them as a national-security resource can boost a society's resiliency, and even its deterrence. Major-General Eirik Kristoffersen of the Norwegian Army is the quintessential soldier, a special forces officer who has done several tours in Afghanistan and commanded Norway’s Special Forces Command. So his newest appointment — as commander of Norway’s home guard, the Heimevernet — shows how homeland defense is a rising concern for national security leaders. And Norwegian-style People Power is the answer. “All Heimevernet’s 40,000 members have completed military training, but they’re civilians,” Kristoffersen said in an interview. “Ordinarily, they do things like search-and-rescue and clean up after natural disasters, but they can also be used as a local response force in case of an attack. Because more than 90 percent are assigned to their home areas, they also notice subtle changes that most people wouldn’t see, and report it to the police.”

Army Develops "Offensive" Electronic Attack for Drones

by Warrior Maven

The Army’s Rapid Equipping Force is looking to arm its Gray Eagle drone with new, more targeted and lethal electronic warfare weapons to widen attack mission possibilities and provide commanders with a more expansive range of offensive options. Russia’s use of EW in Ukraine and fast-evolving EW technologies around the world, the U.S. Army realizes it needs to think differently about EW to position itself for potential near-peer adversaries.