27 April 2018

Modi Will Meet Xi For an Informal Summit: What's on the Agenda?

By Ankit Panda

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping for an unofficial bilateral summit on April 27 and 28, the two countries announced on Sunday. The meeting will take place in Wuhan, in China’s Hubei province.  The sudden announcement of this kind of an unprecedented meeting between the leaders of these two countries was announced after a trip by Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to China to meet with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. A Modi trip to China had long been rumored amid reports of Indian attempts to “reset” bilateral relations with China, but the announcement for an end-April summit is especially quick. The Indian prime minister will also travel to China in June, for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s security summit.

Trade war


Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping will once again meet at Wuhan on Saturday. Wuhan which is capital of Hubei province is at the confluence of the Han River and Yangtze Rivers, is recognized as the political, economic, financial, cultural, educational and transportation center of central China. It has a three thousand year old history and has played a significant role in China’s recent history. Will history be made now once again in Wuhan? The significance of this meeting is not that the two leaders are meeting under the shadow of Dokolam. There is a larger shadow of the looming trade war and the attendant rollback of globalization, of which the US President Donald Trump has fired the first shot with sanctions targeting $100 billion of US-China trade. The collapse of the globalization arrangements that had set off the greatest expansion of the world economy in the last three decades, threatens not just China’s economic well being but also India’s. 

How Walmart’s Purchase Of Flipkart Will Change The Rules Of Online Game

by R Jagannathan

India offers a clear path to online leadership through Flipkart, which is why Walmart is willing to plonk $12 billion for the acquisition. Walmart is already in the Indian wholesale retail game, and Flipkart means plugging directly into retail customers to make up for what it is barred from doing offline. The face in Indian e-commerce will change forever with Walmart, the world’s largest offline retailer, now close to acquiring a majority stake in Flipkart, India’s leading online player. The deal, according to reports, will value Flipkart at around $20 billion, and some of the big investors, including Tiger Global and Softbank, may sell the whole, or the bulk, of their stakes in the company.

Uzbekistan Agrees to ‘Take Part’ in TAPI

By Catherine Putz

Uzbekistan has reportedly agreed to participate in the massive Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline. The news comes as Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov paid a visit to Tashkent on Monday. As the visit began, RFE/RL reported that sources had indicated TAPI was on the agenda, followed by Reutersreporting that Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev had told journalists after meeting with the Turkmen president, “We have agreed that Uzbekistan will also take part in this project.”

Bangladesh Set to Reach Economic Par With India

By Sajeeb Wazed

The United Nations Committee for Development Policy announced in March that Bangladesh had successfully met the criteria to graduate from a “least developed country” (LDC) to a “developing country” (DC). That sounds like a lot of bureaucratese. But it isn’t. The UN’s low-key proclamation has led to celebration in Bangladesh and for good reason.  This once famously impoverished nation – regularly crushed by famine and floods – will soon have the same economic status as Mexico, Turkey, and its neighbor India. And it achieved that ranking fast; Bangladesh has been an independent nation for just 47 years.

Zuckerberg Was Called Out Over Myanmar Violence. Here’s His Apology.


Rohingya refugees arriving in Bangladesh last year from Myanmar, where advocacy groups have criticized Facebook’s approach to hate speech. In an email, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, told the groups: “I apologize for not being sufficiently clear about the important role that your organizations play in helping us understand and respond to Myanmar-related issues.” Last week, after frustrated activists from Myanmar sent an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, they got something unexpected: a reply. The activists, representing six civil society organizations, harshly criticized Mr. Zuckerberg in the letter, saying he had mischaracterized Facebook’s response to violence-inciting messages in Myanmar and had not devoted sufficient resources to enforcing its hate speech rules in the violence-stricken country. Mr. Zuckerberg wrote back to the group the next day from his personal email address, apologizing for misspeaking and outlining steps that Facebook was taking to increase its moderation efforts.

How America can win its tech war with China

James Pethokoukis

The U.S.-China trade throwdown isn't just about helping "American steel," protecting Corporate America's intellectual property, reducing bilateral trade deficits, or really much of what President Trump typically tweets about. To focus exclusively on tariffs or international investment flows misses the big picture. What's actually playing out on a global stage is an escalating conflict to be the technological leader and thus leading economic superpower of the 21st century. Beijing made its fighting intent clear in 2015 when it announced its goal to create "national champions" in 10 high-tech manufacturing sectors by 2025. Since then, it has expanded its ambitions with a strategic plan to become the world leader in artificial intelligence, a technology that a recent McKinsey Global Institute report called the "transformational technology of our digital age."

A new Cold War with the US and China as bitter rivals would be a grievous mistake

David Rothkopf

In the 17 years since the 9/11 attacks, the United States has made combating terrorism worldwide its number one national security priority. The shift away from its Cold War and immediate post-Cold War stance was the biggest it had made since the end of the Second World War and resulted in trillions of dollars of expenditures, two major wars and constant US military engagement in the Middle East for nearly two decades.



Every year on April 23, China’s People Liberation Army (PLA) Navy Day commemorates the founding of the service in 1949. This year’s celebrations have special significance, as a chance to display the hardware that will define the country’s future place among the world's great powers. China is preparing to launch its first domestically produced aircraft carrier, the steam-powered Type 001A, for sea trials. Naval operations are scheduled from April 20-28 in the Bohai and Yellow seas, and Chinese experts believe the Type 001A could be put to sea during that window.

How China Is Buying Its Way Into Europe

By Andre Tartar, Mira Rojanasakul and Jeremy Scott Diamond
Source Link

China’s Cosco Shipping Ports Ltd., which operates around 180 container berths at ports worldwide, is purchasing a stake in Euromax Terminal Rotterdam BV. For more than a decade, Chinese political and corporate leaders have been scouring the globe with seemingly bottomless wallets in hand. From Asia to Africa, the U.S. and Latin America, the results are hard to ignore as China has asserted itself as an emerging world power. Less well known is China’s diffuse but expanding footprint in Europe. Bloomberg has crunched the numbers to compile the most comprehensive audit to date of China’s presence in Europe. It shows that China has bought or invested in assets amounting to at least $318 billion over the past 10 years. The continent saw roughly 45 percent more China-related activity than the U.S. during this period, in dollar terms, according to available data.

Tibet can be in China: Dalai Lama

Tibet could benefit economically by staying in China and Chinese citizens could gain from Tibetan Buddhism, he said in a lecture to commemorate the 60th anniversary of his exile to India. “Historically and culturally, Tibet has been independent. The region’s geography shows where Tibet begins. So long as the constitution of China recognises our culture and Tibetan autonomous region’s special history, they can remain [part of China],” he said in the lecture organised by the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library and the Antar-Rashtriya Sahayog Parishad.
The lecture is one of the events planned to celebrate the anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s arrival in India in the late 1950s. The celebrations began earlier this month with a big event at Dharamsala. The Dalai Lama is likely to tour India throughout the year.

Caliphate - Islamic State & The Fall of Mosul Chapter Two: Why Would Anyone Join ISIS?

By Rukmini Callimachi 

A new audio series following Rukmini Callimachi as she reports on the Islamic State and the fall of Mosul. New York Times subscribers get early access to each episode.

On to chapter two .

Can Macron and Trump Bring Stability to the Indo-Pacific Region?

Walter Lohman Valerie Niquet

Trump and Macron can get the ball rolling toward better strategic coordination by focusing on three critical priorities. For the last seven decades, the alliance between the North America and Europe has undergirded peace, freedom and prosperity across the Atlantic. President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to Washington presents a perfect opportunity to build upon that achievement and extend the benefits of this remarkably successful partnership to the Indo-Pacific region.

New USAF African Drone Base Being Constructed Outside Agadez in Niger

Eric Schmitt

Rising from a barren stretch of African scrubland, a half-finished drone base represents the newest front line in America’s global shadow war. At its center, hundreds of Air Force personnel are feverishly working to complete a $110 million airfield that, when finished in the coming months, will be used to stalk or strike extremists deep into West and North Africa, a region where most Americans have no idea the country is fighting. Near the nascent runway, Army Green Berets are training Nigerien forces to carry out counterterrorism raids or fend off an enemy ambush — like the one that killed four American soldiers near the Mali border last fall.

North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons: The Unfinished Arsenal

In declaring a unilateral freeze in missile testing, North Korea appears ready to settle for now with an imperfect nuclear arms capability, one good enough to stoke fear in the United States but which can’t promise to strike U.S. targets reliably, experts say. North Korea said on Saturday it no longer needed to conduct nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile tests because it had reached its weapons development goals, even though U.S. officials and experts do not believe the North’s program is complete. The declaration came ahead of talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in on Friday. Kim, whose economy is under pressure from international sanctions, is expected to meet U.S. President Donald Trump in late May or early June.

Why Isn't Russia an Aircraft Carrier Superpower?

Robert Farley

Historically a land power, the Soviet Union grappled with the idea of a large naval aviation arm for most of its history, eventually settling on a series of hybrid aircraft carriers. Big plans for additional ships died with the Soviet collapse, but Russia inherited one large aircraft carrier at the end of the Cold War—that remains in service today. Although many of the problems that wracked the naval aviation projects of the Soviet Union remain today, the Russian navy nevertheless sports one of the more active aircraft carriers in the world.

History of Russian Naval Aviation

Like Vietnam, it is Time to Cut Our Loses in Afghanistan

Chad M. Pillai

Afghanistan, as another Vietnam, conjures images of defeat as U.S. helicopters take the last American off the embassy roof. While the Vietnam War was a near-term strategic defeat, in retrospect, it may yet prove to have been a geo-strategic win. The same may prove true for Afghanistan after a U.S. withdrawal. Like a bad business investment, there are times when you must accept one’s loses and move on. Vietnam, after the U.S. withdrawal and fall of Saigon, was a poor yet united country after centuries of domination by the Chinese, Japanese, and French. Like its more powerful northern neighbor, China, it too is a communist dictatorship embracing capitalism. Despite its similarities with China, China’s rapidly aggressive political-economic-military influence in the Asia-Pacific region is pushing Vietnam closer to the U.S. to counter-balance China. For the U.S., this potential alignment, as seen by the recent U.S. carrier visit to Vietnam , could provide invaluable access for the U.S. and its regional Partners and Allies to hedge against China’s regional hegemonic aspirations.

Where U.S. Trade Policy and Grand Strategy Intersect

By Reva Goujon

History shows how trade policy can be a potent tool in the U.S. strategic arsenal, especially when containing peer competitors. Trade policy was a matter of intense debate for the Founding Fathers, but it took a massive shock in the form of the Great Depression for the United States to restructure and position itself to wield trade policy as a tool of grand strategy. U.S. President Donald Trump's economic assault on U.S. trading partners is a reaction to decades of pent-up economic discontent and a nebulous era in the global arena in which the United States lacked a well-defined adversary. But great power competition is back, and with it will come a more strategic approach toward trade and a focus on containing China.

Will robots and AI take your job? The economic and political consequences of automation

Darrell M. West 

In Edward Bellamy’s classic Looking Backward, the protagonist Julian West wakes up from a 113-year slumber and finds the United States in 2000 has changed dramatically from 1887. People stop working at age forty-five and devote their lives to mentoring other people and engaging in volunteer work that benefits the overall community. There are short work weeks for employees, and everyone receives full benefits, food, and housing. The reason is that new technologies of the period have enabled people to be very productive while working part-time. Businesses do not need large numbers of employees, so individuals can devote most of their waking hours to hobbies, volunteering, and community service. In conjunction with periodic work stints, they have time to pursue new skills and personal identities that are independent of their jobs.

Syria in 2018 is not Iraq in 2003

by Muhammad Idrees Ahmad

Last Saturday, when the United States, the UK and France launched strikes on three chemical facilities in Syria, the move was met with disapproval in some quarters. The pre-announced spectacle blew up three buildings and took no lives, but some pronounced it a "dangerous escalation". Some spoke of its "illegality". All complained about its disregard for the OPCW investigationThe action, which lasted less than an hour, was an escalation only if everything that preceded it was normal. By this reckoning, Syria has now returned to its status quo of genocide by the Assad regime.

Israel celebrates but is war with Iran looming?

Simon Tisdall
Israelis enjoyed a lavish party last week to mark the nation’s seven eventful decades, but the threat to its existence could hardly have been greater An RAF Hercules takes part in an air show that was part of Israel’s independence celebrations last week. There were fireworks, concerts, torch processions and parties throughout the country. In Jerusalem the night sky was illuminated by 300 drones that coalesced to form images of favourite Israeli symbols,such as the national flag and a dove with an olive branch in its mouth. The celebrations included a live, televised retelling of Jewish history dating to biblical times. In one scene children with yellow stars pinned to their clothes fled marching Nazi soldiers. Another showed pioneers building the fledgling Jewish state.



A member of the media uses a Geiger counter at Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima, Japan, February 23. The site includes hundreds of tanks containing about 777,000 tons of water laced with tritium that TEPCO has decided to dump into the nearby sea, despite opposition from local fishermen.Toxic waste produced by one of the world's worst nuclear disasters will be dumped into the sea, according to the head of the Japanese company tasked with cleaning up the radioactive mess, despite protests from local fishermen.

On Seeing America's Wars Whole

By Andrew Bacevich

Congratulations on assuming the reins of this nation’s -- and arguably, the world’s -- most influential publication. It’s the family business, of course, so your appointment to succeed your father doesn’t exactly qualify as a surprise. Even so, the responsibility for guiding the fortunes of a great institution must weigh heavily on you, especially when the media landscape is changing so rapidly and radically. Undoubtedly, you’re already getting plenty of advice on how to run the paper, probably more than you want or need. Still, with your indulgence, I’d like to offer an outsider’s perspective on “the news that’s fit to print.” The famous motto of the Times insists that the paper is committed to publishing “all” such news -- an admirable aspiration even if an impossibility. In practice, what readers like me get on a daily basis is “all the news that Times editors deem worthy of print.”

The Changing Face of the Country


Many Germans feel foreign in their own country and are afraid that immigration is changing their homeland rapidly. Every fifth person in Germany comes from an immigration background and that number will continue to climb. What does that mean for the country? Maike Manz runs her hand across the patient's belly and hopes that the young woman in the hospital bed will at least have an inkling of what she's trying to tell her. "We're going to conduct an ultrasound now and then we will decide how to proceed," the gynecologist says, slowly and as clearly as she can. The pregnant woman is from Guinea-Bissau and has only been living in Germany for the past nine months. She peers on helplessly as the doctor does a miming gesture to try to help her to understand. Adhered to her stomach is the sensor of a CTG device that measures babies' heart rates. She's in her 36th week of pregnancy and is expecting twins. Aside from the word "baby," she hasn't understood anything, because she doesn't speak any German.

Globalization Backlash Paradox


Today, the very countries that have spent 70 years building multilateral institutions and establishing global trade rules are busy undermining them. In this context, the absence of even a whiff of protest against financial integration demands explanation. Most economists wax eloquent about the benefits of “real” global integration – that is, virtually uninhibited cross-border flows of goods, labor, and technology. They are less certain when it comes to global financial integration, especially short-term flows of so-called hot money. Yet today’s anti-globalization backlash is focused largely on real integration – and almost entirely spares its financial counterpart.