25 June 2018

India’s Indo-Pacific Embrace – Analysis

By Rajeev Ranjan Chaturvedy*

Area covered by the Indo-Pacific biogeographic region. Graphic by Eric Gaba, Wikipedia Commons.  India’s perspective on peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific was outlined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent visits to New Delhi’s maritime neighbours – Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

India is courting peril by aligning militarily with the United States

by Bharat Karnad

The nixing of the Iran nuclear deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the Paris Agreement are only some of the many ways that the United States has alienated its closest allies.1 President Donald Trump has already roiled the milieu by demanding that allies do more for themselves and rely less on his country.2 The United States, an inconsistent and unreliable friend even under prior US administrations, has increasingly become a feeble and feckless ally. Increasing military alignment, let alone a strategic partnership, with the United States would be a liability for India.

Who Lost the South China Sea?


The South China Sea is central to the contest for strategic influence in the larger Indo-Pacific region. Unless the US adopts a stronger policy to contain Chinese expansionism there, the widely shared vision of a free, open, and democratic-led Indo-Pacific will give way to an illiberal, repressive regional order. US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has spoken out against China’s strategy of “intimidation and coercion” in the South China Sea, including the deployment of anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, and electronic jammers, and, more recently, the landing of nuclear-capable bomber aircraft at Woody Island. There are, Mattis warned, “consequences to China ignoring the international community.”

China Industrial Policy Seeks to Steal ‘Crown Jewels’ of U.S. Tech

BY: Bill Gertz

China’s government is using a multi-pronged strategy to systematically steal advanced American technology as part of economic aggression against the United States, according to a White House report. The report, based in part on declassified intelligence from the Pentagon and intelligence agencies, provides some of the first public details on China’s industrial policies that have produced the world’s second largest economy, often at the expense of American companies. “The Chinese state seeks to access the crown jewels of American technology and intellectual property,” says the report, made public Tuesday night.

The Big Winner of the Singapore Summit

By Bonnie S. Glaser and Oriana Skylar Mastro

On June 12, all eyes were on U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, in the first ever meeting between the heads of states of the two countries. Although pundits debate whether it was North Korea or the United States that benefited the most from the summit, there was a less visible player that came out a clear winner: China. China’s North Korea policy is primarily motivated by the desire to counter U.S. power in the region and increase Chinese influence on the Korean Peninsula. Along those lines, Beijing had two main objectives that came to fruition in Singapore.

The Lessons China Taught Itself: Why the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Matters

By: Abigail Grace

China’s changing political landscape and the recent accession of India to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) marks the beginning of a new chapter for one of China’s first self-founded multilateral groupings. First established in June 2001 by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s initial activities were primarily focused on security, namely combatting the “three evils”—terrorism, separatism, and extremism (Shanghai Cooperation Organization, June 15 2001). This year’s leader-level summit marks the first instance in which Indian Prime Minister Modi will join the grouping as a full member, introducing a democratic counterweight into an organization historically dominated by China, and to a lesser degree, Russia.

China’s Intensifying Pressure Campaign against Taiwan

By: Russell Hsiao

China has significantly ramped up pressure on Taiwan since Tsai Ing-wen was democratically-elected as the country’s president in January 2016. As Beijing’s external pressure on Taiwan grows, pressure for action is building on the Tsai administration, both from the opposition as well as from within her own party. The confluence of these factors will make it harder for the Tsai administration to sustain her administration’s pragmatic efforts to maintain the “status quo” in cross-Strait relations without greater international support.

The Escalating Conflict with Hezbollah in Syria

Hezbollah and Iran have accumulated a substantial amount of weapons and fighters in Syria that pose a threat to the United States and its allies in the region. In response, Israel has conducted a growing number of strikes against Iranian, Hezbollah and other targets in Syria. An escalating war has the potential to cause significant economic damage, lead to high numbers of civilian casualties and internally displaced persons, and involve more countries in the region than did the 2006 Lebanon War. The stakes are high, making it critical for Washington to help prevent such an escalation. 

Russia is preparing for war, British military experts warn

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will turn to his own policy advisers for options that he could present to the president. WASHINGTON — As the initial shock of the president’s order to create a Space Force wears off, the question of “what comes next” looms large for the Pentagon. With the U.S. Air Force poised for a major breakup if and when the Space Force is formed, leaders on Tuesday moved quickly to allay fears and assure airmen that business, for now, will go on as usual. The establishment of a space branch of the military will be a “thorough, deliberate and inclusive process. As such, we should not expect any immediate moves or changes,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein and Chief MSgt. Kaleth Wright wrote in a letter sent on Tuesday to the entire force.

Space Force: Pentagon navigates the way ahead and awaits direction from Congress

by Sandra Erwin

WASHINGTON — As the initial shock of the president’s order to create a Space Force wears off, the question of “what comes next” looms large for the Pentagon. With the U.S. Air Force poised for a major breakup if and when the Space Force is formed, leaders on Tuesday moved quickly to allay fears and assure airmen that business, for now, will go on as usual. The establishment of a space branch of the military will be a “thorough, deliberate and inclusive process. As such, we should not expect any immediate moves or changes,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein and Chief MSgt. Kaleth Wright wrote in a letter sent on Tuesday to the entire force.

A Trump Foreign Policy

Dimitri K. Simes

AFTER A YEAR and a half in office, Donald Trump’s foreign policy appears poised for success, though some major challenges in approach and execution remain. While still a work in progress, the president’s approach already reflects some commendable and much needed changes, genuinely putting America first and making foes and friends alike take American positions more seriously. America’s international conduct has become noticeably more muscular, relying on a significant increase in the military budget and a demonstrable willingness to use force. This is particularly true in Syria; Trump’s red lines are more credible than Obama’s, and when Trump threatens to use military force, few are ready to gamble that the American president is bluffing.

Russia as It Is A Grand Strategy for Confronting Putin

By Michael McFaul

Relations between Russia and the United States have deteriorated to their most dangerous point in decades. The current situation is not, as many have dubbed it, a new Cold War. But no one should draw much comfort from the ways in which today’s standoff differs from the earlier one. The quantitative nuclear arms race is over, but Russia and the United States have begun a new qualitative arms race in nuclear delivery vehicles, missile defenses, and digital weapons. The two countries are no longer engulfed in proxy wars, but over the last decade, Russia has demonstrated less and less restraint in its use of military power. The worldwide ideological struggle between capitalism and communism is history, but Russian President Vladimir Putin has anointed himself the leader of a renewed nationalist, conservative movement fighting a decadent West. To spread these ideas, the Russian government has made huge investments in television and radio stations, social media networks, and Internet “troll farms,” and it has spent lavishly in support of like-minded politicians abroad. The best description of the current hostilities is not cold war but hot peace.

U.S. withdrawing from U.N. Human Rights Council


The United States will withdraw from the U.N. Human Rights Council, an entity it has long accused of being biased against Israel and giving cover to rights-abusing governments, the Trump administration announced on Tuesday. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, announced the decision, a move that essentially reverts the U.S. to the stance it took during the George W. Bush administration, which declined to join the council. Haley and Pompeo‘s announcement came a day after the U.N.’s human rights chief, in a speech to the council, criticized President Donald Trump’s immigration policy decisions that have led his administration to separate families apprehended after entering the U.S. illegally.

Addressing ‘the global gap’

BY Richard Haass and Aashna Agarwal

The 44th G7 summit, held in Canada in the first week of June, ended on a tense, disunited note—not unlike the premise of Richard Haass’ 2017 book, The World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order. In this interview, the President of the Council on Foreign Relations discusses the role of international institutions, World Order 2.0 and how India can participate in it. Aashna Agarwal (GH): You have written about the global gap and how it can be addressed. What should the next steps for international institutions be in order to seriously address this gap?

Russia’s Push for Militarization of the Arctic Continues

By: Sergey Sukhankin
Source Link

In 2015, speaking before the Federation Council (the upper chamber of the Russian parliament), Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin accused the West of “inflaming anti-Russian propaganda” related to Russia’s alleged militarization of the Arctic region (RIA Novosti, November 20, 2015). However, merely two years later, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu affirmed that the Ministry of Defense had, in effect, already completed all planned major facilities (including military ones) in the Arctic. He also declared, “For the entire history of the Arctic region, no single state had managed to develop infrastructure, including energy-related and military facilities, as impressive as what Russia has accomplished” (RIA Novosti, December 25, 2017). Now, the latest news coming from the region points to an even larger push by Russia to pursue comprehensive military build-up in the Arctic, including by bolstering local tank forces, air-defense missile systems, naval forces, strategic aviation and locally based special operations forces.

Next Steps in the Merger of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt and Road Initiative

By: Gregory Shtraks
Source Link

On June 9th, 2018 the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held its annual summit at the Chinese seaside city of Qingdao. The past three summits have been preoccupied with the impending membership of India and Pakistan, but now that the two are full members, the focus has shifted. Both pre- and post-summit statements suggest that one of the highlights of the conference was the unveiling of concrete steps towards the merger of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The initial merger of the two organizations was announced in May of 2015, just four months after the EAEU’s launch, but there has thus far been little visible progress of integration. Still, over the last three years the EAEU and BRI have gradually evolved and the announcement of actual projects can be seen as a victory for both China and Russia.

The Eurasian Economic Onion: Many Layers, Few Nutrients

Grand Theft, Mass Murder, & Legalized Lies – Book Review as Epitaph

Robert David Steele

There was a time when I thought James Clapper was one of the top five flag officers among the sixty-five or so that I had worked with over 40 years. I’ve known Clapper since 1994 and it is with distress that I conclude his judgment was diminished in 2007 when he became the first professional Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence (USDI),[1]following Stephen Cambone, a political appointee himself with mixed talents.[2] Between the two of them, they turned defense intelligence into a spending cesspool biased toward technical collection and mass data storage, fully in line with what one author calls “Grand Theft Pentagon.”[3] Clapper’s tenure as Director of National Intelligence (DNI) can be summed up quite simply: one trillion dollars spent, to no good end.

Putin Reentering Korea Conflict in Big Way

By: Paul Goble

Some, especially in the West, have argued that United States President Donald Trump has effectively sidelined Russia from the rapidly evolving Korean situation by his rapprochement with North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-un, at the recent summit in Singapore. But such suggestions cloud years of Russian activity. For one thing, they fail to take into consideration past Russian actions, including assistance to Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs over the last decade and help in allowing North Korea to evade international trade sanctions (Newsland.com, December 28, 2017; Ekho Moskvy, December 30, 2017; Kommersant, January 26, 2018; Kasparov.ru, December 30, 2017, January 26, 2018). Moreover, assertions of the Kremlin having been sidelined over Korea miss at least two recent, potentially game-changing moves: the announcement that Moscow plans to build a new natural gas pipeline through North Korea as well as diplomatic preparations for a visit by Kim to Russia and one by Vladimir Putin to Pyongyang later this year.

4 ways AI can let humans down on the battlefield

By: Daniel Cebul  

WASHINGTON ― Artificial Intelligence has made incredible progress over the decade, but the relatively nascent technology still has a long way to go before it can be fully relied upon to think, decide and act in a predictable way, especially on the battlefield. A new primer from the Center for New American Security’s’ technology and national security program highlights some of promises and perils of AI. While the ceiling for the technology is high, AI is still immature, which means systems are learning by failing in some spectacular, hilarious and ominous ways.

Here are four potential areas of concern:

1. The machine might cheat

Quantum Computing and the New Space Race

Nayef Al-Rodhan

IN JANUARY 2017, Chinese scientists officially began experiments using the world’s first quantum-enabled satellite, which will carry out a series of tests aimed at investigating space-based quantum communications over the course of the next two years. The satellite is the first of its kind and was officially launched in August 2016 from the Gobi Desert. The satellite—named Micius after the Chinese scientist and philosopher—was developed by Chinese and Austrian scientists within the Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) project. The project has drawn attention from experts and media outlets across the globe, as quantum-enabled satellites could provide the infrastructure for future hack-proof communication networks. At a moment when cyberattacks are carried out with increasing ease, improving the security of communications is crucial for guaranteeing the protection of sensitive information for states, private entities and individuals. For states, securing communications also entails strategic geopolitical advantages. What are the possible implications of quantum-enabled satellite technology, in the context of current global security issues and China’s expanding engineering capabilities in space and elsewhere?

What Italy's Foreign Policy Will Look Like Under New Rulers

The new Italian government will push for a rapprochement with Russia, which will make the EU sanctions regime against Moscow increasingly harder to sustain. While Rome has pledged to remain committed to NATO, it could withdraw from some foreign operations and cut defense spending. Italy will push to redesign EU migration rules, even as a comprehensive overhaul of the Dublin system remains elusive. Rome's critical view of free trade agreements could result in Italy vetoing future deals between the European Union and other blocs or countries.

Cut the Red Tape Slowing the Pentagon’s Race to Space


The U.S. Air Force’s space acquisition model—fundamentally risk-adverse, oriented towards big, expensive, complex system—worked when national power was built by launching a single billion-dollar satellite every six months. In a world with cheap satellites and reusable rockets, it is no longer sufficient. If we want to take advantage of new capabilities, we can’t rely on today’s ponderous certification and government overhead processes. Fortunately, the Air Force’s senior leadership clearly recognizes the benefits of more agile, flexible, and rapid procurement. The problem is that this attitude isn’t filtering down to the bureaucracy fast enough. There’s no silver bullet; the answer will be collective reform from multiple angles. Here are a few.

How Google Uses Wi-Fi Networks to Figure Out Your Exact Location


Google is in the process of fixing an unnerving security bug in its Google Home and Chromecast devices—one in which a malicious website could potentially learn your exact location. While the bug itself is cause for concern, it’s worth understanding precisely how Google can triangulate your location via mapped wireless networks, an ability that may surprise some device owners. Security investigator Brian Krebs reported Monday that Craig Young, a researcher with security firm TripWire, discovered a security vulnerability in Google Home and Chromecast products that stems from poor authentication protocols. With a simple script, a website could collect precise location data on Chromecast and Google Home device owners.

On the Theft and Reuse of Advanced Offensive Cyber Weapons


Almost exactly one year ago, the world experienced two destructive cyberattacks in which offensive cyber tools developed by the National Security Agency were stolen and shared with the public. In May 2017, the WannaCry ransomware hit over 300,000 computers in 150 countries. One month later, the NotPetya attack hit the computer systems of companies and governmental entities across the globe causing millions of dollars in damages. These attacks exploited numerous vulnerabilities, and have subsequently exposed the slow response time of targeted countries and the lack of effective information sharing mechanisms between responsible agencies, something which could have mitigated the severe damage caused by the attacks.

Military should be deployed to combat cyber attacks, new head of Army says

Dominic Nicholls 

The military should be deployed to combat cyber attacks, the new head of the army has said. In his first speech since being appointed to the role, General Mark Carleton-Smith described how the modern battlefield had expanded rapidly, and is "no longer bound by the laws of physics.”  Opening the Land Warfare Conference, hosted by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), General Carleton-Smith added that “revolution is the new evolution” and warned “existential threats occur at the speed of the internet". The new Chief of the General Staff used his inaugural speech to warn of the growing evidence that the cyber domain is being used to undermine Western societies and democratic processes.