8 July 2018

The making of the Kargil disaster

Nasim Zehra

Journalist Nasim Zehra’s recently published book, From Kargil To The Coup: Events That Shook Pakistan, provides the first meticulous documentation of the events that surrounded the controversial Kargil incursion in 1999 which almost brought Pakistan and India to the brink of war. It is based on scores of primary interviews with military officials, politicians, civilian bureaucrats, analysts and Western envoys, as well as extensive research from published accounts in the international and domestic media. The following is an extract, reprinted under permission, that reconstructs the first time that a very secretive and already advanced military operation was divulged to the civilian government ostensibly in charge of approving such operations. What this narrative shows clearly is how the follies of non-consultative policymaking, critical non-engagement from civilians and military hubris can lead to political disasters and possibly worse...

US to India: Buy American, Not Russian


Even as India prepares to buy advanced missiles from Russia— a potentially sanctionable action — a top U.S. diplomat touted the “strategic importance” of the relationship between Washington and New Delhi. Russia has long been India’s top weapons supplier, but the U.S.has been gaining. Since 2008, Delhi has bought about $15 billion in American arms. “If we want to see that continue and I think both we and our Indian friends want to do that, then it’s incumbent on us to give them the best case and hopefully that will engender a willingness on the part of the Indian government to think about our systems as they go forward in their procurement,” Tina Kaidanow, principal deputy assistant secretary of the State Department’s Political-Military Affairs Bureau, said Thursday in a call with reporters.

India’s Soft Power and Heritage: A Gift to the World

Ambassador Bhaswati Mukherjee
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In the foreign policy context, soft power and heritage have become as important a tool of diplomacy for States as hard power. It promotes inter-cultural dialogue, essential to counter the multiple challenges to the existing world order by non-State actors and Islamic fundamentalists, who espouse the theory of clash of culture and civilisation in the context of the growth of fundamentalism worldwide. For developing countries, it helps to develop sustainable tourism and the preservation of this precious heritage through their inscription on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.

Why India’s Nuclear Security Challenge Demands Attention

By Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

Nuclear security has been a key issue for India for several decades, well before the world started paying greater attention to the subject after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States. Given the kind of neighborhood that India is in, securing nuclear and radiological materials from a range of internal and external challenges has remained a major preoccupation. Such concerns shaped the Indian approach, which took the form of a number of institutional and legal measures, some of which go back to the 1960s. These measures have been periodically revised to adapt to the changing threat environment. Though the likelihood of an attack on a nuclear facility may be remote, the impact of such an attack could potentially be horrendous. This has led to greater official Indian attention leading to better interface between policy, regulation, and technology to implement a more effective security practice.

India’s Major Foreign Policy Concerns And Indo-US Strategic Partnership – Analysis

By Dr. Manoj Kumar Mishra

India’s foreign policy concerns in forging close strategic ties with the US can be grouped under three related themes such as India’s sovereignty concerns, its desire for strategic autonomy and its policy of multi-alignment. Although these themes are interrelated as one cannot be attained without the other, they can be separated for analytical purposes. While India’s sovereignty concerns imply a defensive stance in relations to other powers in international forums, the desire for strategic autonomy refers to India’s attempt at maneuverability in its engagement with other powers and the policy of multi-alignment clearly signals an active policy of India in diversifying relations with many players in order to lessen dependence on any single power. Before fleshing out these themes of concerns, there is need to understand why and how Indo-US relations peaked to a level we see today.

DoD Releases Report on Enhancing Security, Stability in Afghanistan

Covering events from Dec. 1 to May 31, the report was submitted in accordance with requirements in Section 1225 of the Fiscal 2015 National Defense Authorization Act as amended by Sections 1231 and 1531 of the fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017 NDAAs. “Our purpose in Afghanistan remains to prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a safe-haven from which terrorist groups can plan and execute attacks on the United States, or our allies and citizens abroad,” officials said in a statement announcing the report’s submission. “To accomplish this, we continue to support Afghanistan and train, advise and assist its military and police forces.”

How China Is Muscling In on Lithium-Ion Batteries

In spite of potential global pushback against Beijing's investments, Chinese companies will acquire control of a majority of the lithium-ion battery market, giving the country a significant advantage in a sector of growing geopolitical importance. The United States will exploit economies of scale and focus on finding domestic sources of materials as it attempts to carve out a market share amid China's growing dominance. Japan and Korea will have the most success penetrating markets in which there is significant pushback against Chinese investment, such as in North America, Australia and parts of Europe. Europe will likely fall behind because its battery manufacturing capacity does not have the ability to meet its demand.

Kevin Rudd on Xi Jinping, China and the Global Order

Speech at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

On Tuesday, June 26, 2018, Asia Society Policy Institute President Kevin Rudd delivered an address to the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore for The Significance of China's 2018 Central Foreign Policy Work Conference. Below is the transcript of the speech. On 22-23 June 2018, the Chinese Communist Party concluded its Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs, the second since Xi Jinping became General Secretary of the Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission in November 2012. The last one was held in November 2014. These are not everyday affairs in the party’s deliberations on the great questions of China’s unfolding global engagement.

The China-U.S. Power Struggle Is Just Beginning

By Brian Bremner, 

Chinese President Xi Jinping has an ambitious master plan for his country’s transformation into a wealthy, technology-driven global economic power. And U.S. companies need not apply. That’s why the current trade rumble between the U.S. and China, in which the Trump administration is threatening to slap tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports and Beijing promises to respond in kind, is far more than just a spat over market restrictions, intellectual property rights and the epic U.S. deficit. On a deeper level, the standoff reflects an escalating economic and military rivalry between a status quo power and one of the most remarkable growth miracles in history. It’s a clash between two divergent systems, (one state-directed, the other market-driven) with markedly divergent world views and national aspirations. That strategic tension seems likely to intensify, regardless of how the current brinkmanship over tariffs plays out.

Here's How the Road to Iraq Is Repeating Itself with Iran

by Christopher A. Preble

Rob Reiner’s movie “Shock and Awe,” due to hit theaters on July 13, reminds us of the role that provocateurs and conspiracy theorists played in building the case for war with Iraq. (Spoiler alert: this article reveals key movie plot lines, including that the United States did, in fact, invade Iraq in 2003, and that most of the people who led us into that war have evaded accountability for having done so.) Some of the Iraq war boosters appear in actual clips from the era. We see, for example, Laurie Mylroie on C-Span, peddling her tale of Saddam Hussein’s supposed involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center Attack. We are also treated again to Dick Cheney’s claims of Iraq-Al Qaeda linkages and Saddam’s aluminum tubes on “Meet the Press.” There’s Donald Rumsfeld’s “known unknowns” press conference, and, of course, George W. Bush’s “axis of evil” speech. At other times, names are dropped into dialogue. For example, Reiner, in the role as Knight Ridder DC Bureau Chief John Walcott, mentions Bill Kristol and others at the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) as key figures behind the case for war.


When we make law, we create categories; when we interpret law, we assign actions, actors, and events to the categories we have created. For law to be effective, we need reasonable clarity and consensus about the contents and value of our categories: the concept of “theft,” for instance, makes sense only if there is some shared understanding of the concepts of “property” and “ownership.” This is equally true of the legal framework governing conflict and coercion. Both international and US law take as a basic premise the notion that it is possible, important, and reasonably straightforward to distinguish between war and peace, emergencies and normality, foreign and domestic, public and private, and so on. We have elaborate rules governing the conduct of “parties” to “armed conflicts”; we subdivide people into “combatants” and “civilians”; we speak of “force,” “self-defense,” “armed attacks,” and actions falling short of armed attacks; we distinguish between areas with “active hostilities” and areas without such hostilities, between “internal,” “international,” and “noninternational” armed conflicts, and between civilians who are “directly participating” in hostilities and those who are not.


Jonathan Bate and Duncan Walker

In April 2003, two US Army sergeants in Baghdad stumbled upon a hidden stash containing $650 million in uncirculated US $100 bills, likely stockpiled by senior Iraqi officials. This lucky find became the genesis for the Commander’s Emergency Relief Program (CERP), which provided billions of dollars to tactical units in Iraq to meet urgent humanitarian relief and reconstruction needs at the local level. Within four years, this accidentally funded program had enabled over eighteen thousand projects in twenty broad categories ranging from condolence payments to hospital repair to entrepreneurial micro-grants. Due to its popularity with ground commanders, Congress reinforced the program by allocating additional funding for Iraq as well as expanding the program to Afghanistan.

What higher oil prices mean for OPEC and the U.S.

Samantha Gross
Source Link

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting on June 22 in Vienna garnered much more attention than usual. Oil ministers from OPEC and cooperating non-OPEC countries (notably Russia) agreed to raise production in response to the highest oil prices since 2014. Rapidly growing U.S. oil production likely changed the thought process of OPEC ministers, making the decision to raise production easier. A number of conditions brought about the tight oil market and rising prices. Global oil demand has grown since OPEC and a few other oil producers agreed to cut production in late 2016. At the same time, oil production in Venezuela has plummeted as the economy there goes into free fall. An additional 360,000 barrels per day of production just went offline in the Canadian oil sands, demonstrating that an oil supply disruption can come from anywhere.

Could Japan become a role model for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

Leveraging fast-emerging technologies like self-driving cars, artificial intelligence and data-intensive precision medicine to address social challenges is a goal that many countries share. The most successful will have at least two things in common: a strong sense of mission across government, industry and civil society; and the right mix of intellectual and industrial assets to apply to the task. Japan, I’m convinced, possesses both in abundance
In recent months, I have worked closely with Japanese government, business and civil society leaders to establish the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Japan — the first Centre in the Forum’s new global network to be established outside the United States.

WTO Faces Existential Threat in Times of Trump

By Martin Hesse

Roberto Azevedo, the director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), is enjoying the moment. Outside, in front of the neo-classical Centre William Rappard, the headquarters of the WTO, Lake Geneva is glittering in the spring sun, while inside, Azevedo is not facing a particularly challenging start to his day. His agenda calls for him to open the Natural Disasters and Trade Symposium - a routine duty.
Azevedo shows up in the conference hall 10 minutes late, shakes hands and chats briefly with colleagues. He is met with goodwill on all sides - which has become a rarity for the guardian of free trade in these turbulent times.

Why Is Israel Simulating Attacks on Its Own Nuclear Reactors?

by Zachary Keck

Israel’s nuclear establishment has been conducting drills simulating attacks against the country’s two nuclear reactors.
“The Israel Atomic Energy Commission has been taking numerous steps to protect the nuclear reactors in Dimona and Nahal Sorek in light of assessments that Iran and Hezbollah see the reactors as preferred targets for missile attacks,” the left-leaning Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported on June 28 .  The Nahal Sorek reactor is a small research reactor America supplied to Israel as part of the Atoms of Peace program. The Dimona reactor is a much larger reactor that Israel used to produce plutonium for its nuclear weapons program. The Dimona reactor is still operating, although it’s unclear if it is making plutonium. It is widely believed that Israel uses Dimona to produce tritium for boosted atomic weapons .


NICOLE CAMARILLO WAS touring the Army base at Fort Meade, Maryland, in early 2017 when a young captain—I’ll call him Matt, due to the sensitivity of his position—crossed her path. I’ve got to talk to that kid, Camarillo remembers thinking. Just weeks before, she’d seen Matt deliver a presentation on a tool he was developing to counter enemy drone strikes in the Middle East. The technology, he explained, was being developed on a “shoestring budget.”
That caught Camarillo’s attention. As executive director of talent strategy at the US Army Cyber Command, a relatively new branch of the Army, Camarillo’s job is to persuade top employees in Silicon Valley that they should sacrifice their stock options and six-figure salaries and apply their technological know-how in the Army instead. The idea that someone with Matt’s skills was scrounging to develop tools that could mean life or death for soldiers hardly boded well for her program.

The Geopolitics of the United States, Part 2: American Identity and the Threats of Tomorrow

This installment on the United States, presented in two parts, is the 16th in a series of Stratfor monographs on the geopolitics of countries influential in world affairs. Click here for part oneWe have already discussed in the first part of this analysis how the American geography dooms whoever controls the territory to being a global power, but there are a number of other outcomes that shape what that power will be like. The first and most critical is the impact of that geography on the American mindset. The formative period of the American experience began with the opening of the Ohio River Valley by the National Road. For the next century Americans moved from the coastal states inland, finding more and better lands linked together with more and better rivers. Rains were reliable. Soil quality was reliable. Rivers were reliable. Success and wealth were assured. The trickle of settlers became a flood, and yet there was still more than enough well-watered, naturally connected lands for all.

Domesticating the Giant: The Global Governance of Migration

By Patrycja Sasnal

Migration is a natural and defining phenomenon of the globalized world. The challenge of governing migration lies in its inevitability, volume, and heterogeneity. As a portion of the global population, migrants represent around 3 percent, but their absolute number is rising. There were 170 million migrants in 2000; today there are roughly 260 million. Migration levels will certainly grow while hostilities continue in the most conflict-ridden regions of sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, the global wealth gap persists, climate change aggravates living conditions in many areas, and the poorer half of the globe becomes more populous. Moreover, migration is a complex heterogeneous process. Depending on the cause, duration, and legality, migration can be voluntary or forced (refugees and internally displaced persons, including survival migrants such as climate and disaster refugees), permanent or circular, regular or irregular.

Climate Change And Urbanization: Challenges To Global Security And Stability – Analysis

By Ronak B. Patel and David P. Polatty IV*

Two global trends that present monumental new challenges for civil-military coordination in humanitarian crises are urbanization—the growth of cities across the world—and climate change. The following article explains how these two trends and their interactive effects will increasingly complicate and test civil-military coordination in humanitarian crises. Each trend individually intensifies the risk for crises and makes responses remarkably more complicated. The manner in which these two trends interact to drive and escalate further crises is also becoming clearer. The humanitarian community has begun to address these challenges in its operations by debating their impact on coordination and thinking through potential actions that can facilitate more resilient approaches to crisis preparedness. Militaries, increasingly engaged in supporting humanitarian missions in both natural disaster and conflict settings, face a rapidly changing environment. Civil-military coordination in these crises must be re-examined, and militaries must adapt to this shifting landscape in order to operate effectively with humanitarian actors.
Climate Change and Cities

DHS Cyber Strategy Faces Staffing, Vulnerability Tests

By 2020, more than 20 billion devices will be connected through a network of ping-ponging texts, bank transfers, and personal data. At the same time the world grows more connected, nefarious nation-states and transnational criminal organizations only have more targets for crippling cyber attacks. Cut the cord, and the institutions the world relies on could grind to a paper-only halt. In February, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats called cyber-attacks the United States’ greatest national security risk. The new frontlines of warfare won’t be drawn in windswept desserts or hacked through far-flung jungles; they’ll be written in lines of code.


Dustin E. Lawrence


Last year, the author of this article participated in Operation Persistent Venture, a bilateral exchange program between the British and US Armies, during which he observed one class-cycle at the Platoon Commanders’ Division. He acted as a guest instructor throughout the PCBC, observing, assessing, and evaluating newly commissioned Second Lieutenants recently graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Beyond economic and political spheres, the “special relationship” between the British and the United States significantly influenced the military history of the two great powers. And while American and British Soldiers have often shared the operational foxhole, the influence of politics, geography and public sentiment have led to noteworthy unilateral moments. The Vietnam War, the Suez Canal Crisis, and the Falklands War are potent examples. Likewise, the separate but intersecting paths have created differences in how the two nations prepare their future leaders. This is evident when comparing the initial entry courses of newly commissioned Infantry Officers – the US Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Course and the British Army’s Platoon Commanders’ Battle Course.

A Policy of Defeat

David Campbell and Jesse McIntyre III

Time Magazine commented in August 1939 that French Army General Maurice Gamelin was head, by unanimous acclaim, of the world’s finest military machine. The sentiment was echoed by English Prime Minister Churchill who remarked that the French had an incomparable military machine and that the French Army was the most perfectly trained and faithful mobile force in Europe.1 Just nine months later, Germany launched a military offensive in France and the Low Countries that remains one of the most remarkable campaigns in Western history. The decisive victory over a first-class military, arguably one of the most impressive ever, shocked the world, not for its horror but for the lack of it. This work intends to assess how the German military achieved in six and half weeks in 1940 what it could not accomplish in over four years of fighting a generation earlier. 

ML Cavanaugh on “What will make great generalship in 2030?”


On April 24, 2018 my friend, US Army Major Matt Cavanaugh, delivered the remarks below to the 2018 US Army War College (USAWC) 29th Annual Strategy Conference. This year’s theme was “Strategic Leadership 2030: Transcending Challenges in a Time of Deep Change.” One of the missions of LENS is to help to build the next generation of national security leaders, and part of doing that is giving them a voice in a variety of venues, including Lawfire. I urge you to seize this opportunity to get some insights about the future of military leadership from one of the Army’s most brilliant young thinkers. Some more context: The panel on which Matt served included USAWC Professor Chuck Allen and Dr. Sarah Sewall of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. It was asked to address the following questions: 

Mission Command and Zero Error Tolerance Cannot Coexist

Mission command is considered the principal method of command and control (C2) in the U.S. military. Its effectiveness is predicated on giving subordinates sufficient freedom to act so they can exercise initiative in the course of executing their assigned missions. The Navy’s deeply rooted zero tolerance for error, however, is incompatible with true mission command. For more than three decades, the zero-defect mentality has pervaded the service. Reversing these policies will require a cultural revolution in the way the Navy thinks and acts.

What Is Mission Command?