2 May 2018

China and India are trying to write a new page of the world economy

Dr. Michael Ivanovitch

The Sino-Indian summit last week could be a new departure for neighbors who realize there is no alternative to constructive political, economic and security engagement. China and India are part of a Eurasian institution that can make that possible. Those two countries could soon become the key drivers of global demand and output. Trust is an economic variable sounded like an echo swirling around Wuhan's East Lake in China as President Xi Jinping was hosting last Friday and Saturday Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an "informal," "heart-to-heart" summit.

Defence planning- Old wine in new bottle?

Admiral Arun Prakash, former Chief of Naval Staff analyses the Government of India's decision to have a new Defence Planning Committee under the chairmanship of National Security Advisor. Modi Government has appointed NSA Ajit Doval to spearhead the Defence Planning Committee, to create a new roadmap for national security. In what has been declared, by the media, as a ‘major step’ towards reforming the process of higher defence planning, the government has created a new mechanism; designated the Defence Planning Committee (DPC) under the chairmanship of the National Security Advisor (NSA). This permanent committee has been tasked to undertake a strategic defence review, prepare a draft national security strategy, and formulate an international defence engagement strategy. Taken at face value, this step deserves a cautious welcome by the Services as well as the strategic community, even if only as a long overdue token of the government’s concern for national security.

Modi's Right. Standing Up To China Militarily Won't Work For India

If the next set of Google Earth images were to show fresh Chinese construction in the disputed Doklam plateau, there would be likely be front page headlines on "China renews construction in Doklam despite Modi-Xi talks in Wuhan.' The fact of the matter, though, is that Doklam is probably a lost cause for New Delhi at this stage and the military de-escalation that Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi discussed at their informal summit last week in Wuhan is perhaps a recognition that the way to work with Beijing is through engagement, not confrontation.

Sri Lanka's currency suffers as debt trap deepens

Mattala Rajapaksa 
Source Link

NEW DELHI -- Sri Lanka, which has loaded up on Chinese-funded infrastructure, is sinking deeper into a debt trap as its currency weakens and economic growth decelerates to its slowest pace in 16 years. The Sri Lankan rupee has depreciated 3% against the greenback this year to 157.4628 per dollar, according to forex data that the country's central bank tracked on Friday. It is at its weakest point ever and has softened nearly 20% since President Maithripala Sirisena took office in January 2015. About half of Sri Lanka's loans are denominated in foreign currency. As a result, "any further weakening of the rupee will increase the rupee value of maturing foreign exchange debt and interest payments" -- driving the government's financing needs higher, said Alex Holmes, an economist at Capital Economics.

Cooperation and Competition: Russia and China in Central Asia, the Russian Far East, and the Arctic


Summary: Engagement in Central Asia, the Russian Far East, and the Arctic has tested Russia’s and China’s abilities to manage their differences and translate the rhetoric of partnership into tangible gains. Since the collapse of Russia’s relationship with the West over Ukraine, the Sino-Russian strategic partnership has become more of a reality. Russia and China share a common desire to challenge principles of the Western-dominated international system. But their relationship is complex, with lingering mistrust on both sides. The balance of competition and cooperation is most evident in Central Asia, the Russian Far East, and the Arctic. Engagement in these theaters has tested Russia’s and China’s abilities to manage their differences and translate the rhetoric of partnership into tangible gains.

The Reality of Partnership

Questions About China’s First Domestically Built Carrier

By Bonnie Glaser, Matthew P. Funaiole

Q1: In what ways does the Type 001A differ from China’s first aircraft carrier, theLiaoning? How significant are these differences? A1: The Liaoning began its life as a “heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser” for the Soviet Navy. It was later purchased by a Chinese entity and underwent years of refits to modernize its hull, radar, and electronics. Five years after the Liaoning was commissioned, China launched the Type 001A on April 26, 2017. Unlike its Soviet-built predecessor, the Type 001A is China’s first domestically built carrier. Both carriers are similar in size and use a STOBAR (short take-off but arrested recovery) system for the launch and recovery of aircraft. Although similar to the Liaoning, the Type 001A features some notable enhancements, such as a larger airwing and improved radar systems.

Why Can’t China Make Semiconductors?

Jack Ma says he's ready for China to make semiconductors at home. It's a longstanding goal for the Chinese government. And thanks to a recent crackdown on certain technology exports by the U.S., it's now a critical one. The question is whether China can finally conquer this challenge after decades of failures. Semiconductors are the building blocks of electronics, found in everything from flip phones to the servers that make up a supercomputer. Although China long ago mastered the art of making products with semiconductors produced elsewhere (the iPhone is the most famous example), it wants to move beyond being a mere assembler. It aspires to being an originator of products and ideas, especially in cutting-edge industries such as autonomous cars. For that, it needs its own semiconductors.

Move over Britain, France is America’s ‘special’ friend


Emmanuel Macron has been to Washington. He had a rollicking time with Donald Trump and delivered a speech so fine to the U.S. Congress that many Americans wished that he were president of the United States — and not just because he speaks better English. (It would be fair to say, in fact, that Macron speaks the best English of any French head of state since Napoleon III.) Macron’s American admirers are mostly Democrats, lacking decent leadership of their own. Even so, for a visiting president to have captured a notable section of the American imagination in the way Macron did is remarkable. To be sure, his charisma and charm are augmented by a contrast with President Trump. But his impact is also due to a recognition that — as president of France — he is now the face of the real “special relationship” in American foreign policy.

‘Adversaries’ jamming Air Force gunships in Syria, Special Ops general says

The head of the U.S. military’s Special Operations Command said Wednesday that Air Force gunships, needed to provide close air support for American commandos and U.S.-backed rebel fighters in Syria, were being “jammed” by “adversaries.” Calling the electronic warfare environment in Syria “the most aggressive” on earth, Air Force Gen. Tony Thomas told an intelligence conference in Tampa that adversaries “are testing us every day, knocking our communications down, disabling our AC-130s, etc.”

Infographic Of The Day: Longest Roads In The World

If you're looking for the road trip of a lifetime, consider a road spanning the entire Americas, circling Australia's coast, or covering India's mainland.

Can North Korea Really Give Up Its Nukes?

By Rodger Baker

North Korea's diplomatic outreach again raises the possibility that it is willing to use its nuclear program as a bargaining chip. With an eye toward regime survival and eventual Korean unification, Pyongyang could trade away the public face of its nuclear weapons program.  Having offered such a concession, North Korea will demand a lot more than an easing of sanctions by South Korea and the United States in return. Ahead of the landmark inter-Korean summit, North Korea has offered to shutter its nuclear test site, suspend intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear weapons tests, and ultimately denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. Although it was framed in ambiguous terms, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's announcement serves to set up both the impending meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae In and the subsequent proposed sit-down with U.S. President Donald Trump. A year ago, it appeared as if nothing would get North Korea to budge on its nuclear weapons program and its insistence on being recognized as a nuclear state. Now, it is making numerous public "concessions" even before it sits down with South Korean and U.S. leaders. It is little surprise, then, that there is quite a bit of confusion over just what North Korea wants, what it is willing to do, and whether the North Korean leadership can be trusted to stick to any deals that may be struck. 

Korea Military Balance

By Anthony H. Cordesman

It is all too easy for Americans to focus on the North Korean nuclear missile threat, rather than the overall military balance in the Koreas and the impact that any kind of war fighting can have on the civil population of South Korea and the other states in Northeast Asia. The nuclear balance is a critical aspect of the security of the region, but it is only part of the story and does not address the entire potential impact and cost of any given form of conflict. The Burke Chair is now issuing a detailed quantitative comparison of both the civil and military balance between the two Koreas. This report is entitled The Korean Civil-Military Balance.

Derailed Development in Southern Mexico

Located on the Pacific coast and 120 miles (200 kilometers) southwest of Mexico City, Guerrero state had the most homicides of any state in Mexico last year. Though this can partly be attributed to geography – the state is mountainous and therefore hard to secure from the outside – it’s also due to the fact that the state was not seen as a priority during various points in Mexico’s history.

Michael Hayden: The End of Intelligence

By Michael V. Hayden

In 1994 during the height of the Bosnian civil war, when I was head of intelligence for American forces in Europe, I walked through the ruined streets of Sarajevo. A city of once-beautiful steeples, onion-shaped domes and minarets had been devastated by Serbian artillery in the hills rising above the Miljacka River. I wondered what manner of man could pick up a sniper rifle and shoot former neighbors lining up for scarce water at a shuttered brewery. What struck me most, though, was not how Sarajevans were different from us, but how much they weren’t. This had obviously been a cultured, tolerant, vibrant place that had been ripped asunder by the conflict pitting Muslim Bosniaks against Christian Serbs and Croats.

Reflecting on a Quarter Century of Russia’s Relations With Central Asia

Source: Getty

Russia’s geopolitical outlook in Central Asia is evolving. Its primary interests are maintaining its sphere of influence, keeping out Western influence and preventing the post-Soviet states there from drawing close to the West, and securing the region from external and internal threats to stability, especially with regard to spillover effects from Afghanistan. Russia also increasingly has to take into account the growing presence of China. As Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) gathers steam, the two so far appear committed to working together in Central Asia. They have agreed on a de facto duopoly: Russia takes the lead in regional military affairs and political stability, and China leads when it comes to economic development.

Russian Social Media Influence

by Todd C. Helmus, Elizabeth Bodine-Baron, Andrew Radin, Madeline Magnuson, Joshua Mendelsohn, William Marcellino, Andriy Bega, Zev Winkelman

Understanding Russian Propaganda in Eastern Europe

Research Questions 
What is the scope of Russian social media campaigns? 
What are the critical ingredients to countering these campaigns? 

A RAND Corporation study examined Russian-language content on social media and the broader propaganda threat posed to the region of former Soviet states that include Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, and, to a lesser extent, Moldova and Belarus. In addition to employing a state-funded multilingual television network, operating various Kremlin-supporting news websites, and working through several constellations of Russia-backed "civil society" organizations, Russia employs a sophisticated social media campaign that includes news tweets, nonattributed comments on web pages, troll and bot social media accounts, and fake hashtag and Twitter campaigns. Nowhere is this threat more tangible than in Ukraine, which has been an active propaganda battleground since the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. Other countries in the region look at Russia's actions and annexation of Crimea and recognize the need to pay careful attention to Russia's propaganda campaign.

NATO's Value to the United States: By the Numbers


Questions have emerged in the United States about the value of America’s transatlantic alliance in an age when many Americans call for fewer foreign commitments and a stronger focus on domestic issues. NATO’s role and value to the United States was highlighted during the 2016 presidential campaign, and President Donald J. Trump has continued to ask questions about the relevance of the Alliance, calling for better burden-sharing between the United States and its European allies. 

Beyond the tyranny of tolerance

by S.N. and A.L.

IN 2012 a same-sex couple sued a bakery in Colorado for discrimination after the owner, a Christian man who believed that gay marriage is “sacrilegious”, refused to bake them a wedding cake. The owner is making his case to the Supreme Court on the grounds of freedom of expression and freedom of conscience. In 2016 a woman on a beach in Nice was forced to remove some of her clothing as several armed men stood around her. She was wearing an outfit similar to a “burkini”, a full-body swimsuit that has been banned in many beach resorts in France in the name of laïcité(secularism).

How Artificial Intelligence Could Increase the Risk of Nuclear War

Could artificial intelligence upend concepts of nuclear deterrence that have helped spare the world from nuclear war since 1945? Stunning advances in AI—coupled with a proliferation of drones, satellites, and other sensors—raise the possibility that countries could find and threaten each other's nuclear forces, escalating tensions. Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov settled into the commander's chair in a secret bunker outside Moscow. His job that night was simple: Monitor the computers that were sifting through satellite data, watching the United States for any sign of a missile launch. It was just after midnight, Sept. 26, 1983.

A siren clanged off the bunker walls. A single word flashed on the screen in front of him.

Electronic Warfare “Disables” U.S. Aircraft In Syria

Jacqueline Poggi 

Cyber warfare has long loomed in our future, but there’s little question that it’s actually happening now. We usually think of this as someone in front of a computer purposely attacking another person’s computer. Take the 2016 election: With the help of thousands of bots, Russian propaganda has made its way across the Atlantic, influencing the minds of millions of Americans across the country through often highly specific political targetingBut this isn’t just happening online: a new kind of warfare, called electronic warfare (EW), is here. And as the name doesn’t really suggest, it has a real effect on our physical world.

The opportunities of cyber in arctic warfare

By: Jan Kallberg 

A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldiers assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) conducts snow machine movement and evasive maneuver training near Kiruna, Sweden, February 24, 2017. Cyber could be a weapon to make the environment even more forbidding for enemies.The change from a focus on counter-insurgency to near-peer and peer-conflicts has also introduced the likelihood, if there is a conflict, for a fight in colder and frigid conditions. The weather conditions in Korea and Eastern Europe are harsh during winter time, with increasing challenges the farther north the engagement is taking place. In traditional war theaters, the threats to your existence line up as follows: enemy, logistics and climate. In a polar climate, it is reversed: climate, logistics and the enemy.

Defense panels want the Pentagon to form a cyber reserve team to help states

By: Mark Pomerleau and Joe Gould 

The House Armed Services subcommittee wants to study the possibility of establishing cyber reserve components for each state that could also provide cyber support to civilian agencies. In a draft version of the annual defense policy bill released April 25 by the HASC subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities, lawmakers requested a study on the feasibility, advisability, and necessity of a reserve cyber team for each state. As part of the study, the committee directs DoD to consider a series of tasks, including responding to major network attacks, and gauging the U.S. cyber workforce capacity for both homeland defense and national power.

Can state cyber attacks be justified under international law?

The UK has been working towards building its offensive cyber capability since 2013, as part of its approach to deter adversaries and to deny them opportunities to attack, both in cyberspace and in the physical world. But reports that the government considered an offensive cyberattack as part of its response to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury on 4 March have brought the issue of whether and when offensive cyber operations would be justified under international law to the fore.

What would a cyberwar look like?

By Daniel Dobrygowski

Daniel Dobrygowski is Head of Governance and Policy, Global Centre for Cybersecurity, World Economic Forum. Governments are attacking civilians in a time of peace, according to Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer of Microsoft, at the RSA cybersecurity conference in San Francisco on 17 April 2018. These attacks aren’t with tanks and warplanes, but with bytes and bots and they are aimed at our energy grids, our infrastructure, and even our private financial and other information. We’ve increasingly seen reports of cyber incursions, attributed to nation-states, into critical infrastructure and financial systems. We’ve seen further attempts to affect countries’ internal political institutions. Nations have also been reported to be stockpiling software and network vulnerabilities, purportedly to use for espionage or in the event of an internet-enabled conflict.

The End of the Democratic Century

By Yascha Mounk and Roberto Stefan Foa

At the height of World War II, Henry Luce, the founder of Time magazine, argued that the United States had amassed such wealth and power that the twentieth century would come to be known simply as “the American Century.” His prediction proved prescient: despite being challenged for supremacy by Nazi Germany and, later, the Soviet Union, the United States prevailed against its adversaries. By the turn of the millennium, its position as the most powerful and influential state in the world appeared unimpeachable. As a result, the twentieth century was marked by the dominance not just of a particular country but also of the political system it helped spread: liberal democracy.