19 July 2018

Follow the Money: India Should Become an International Leader in Financial Intelligence


As reflected in India’s move from a Neighborhood First policy to an Act East policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unequivocally wants India to assume an increased role in world affairs. Such aspirations entail more responsibilities in upholding the peace and prosperity of the world order. One such responsibility is protecting the integrity of the international economic system from illicit threats, such as corruption, money laundering, counterfeit currency smuggling, and tax evasion. Neil Noronha is a Henry Luce scholar, and a visiting scholar with Carnegie India. Financial intelligence is a field within the purview of the central government that helps Indian law enforcement and intelligence agencies understand the nature, capabilities, and intentions of entities of interest so as to identify such threats. Activities in this field include the collection, receipt, analysis, collation, and dissemination of intelligence, both foreign and domestic, related to financial services, taxes, international trade, and foreign and domestic currency.

Pakistan, Iran and the Financial Fight Against Terrorism

The Financial Action Task Force recently "gray-listed" Pakistan for failing to better combat money laundering and terrorism financing; at the same time, the international organization suspended countermeasures on Iran while Tehran implements reforms. The task force's decision will exacerbate Pakistan's financial risks and increase Islamabad's reliance on China as a lender of last resort. Internal divisions over how far Iran should go to comply with the organization's guidelines will complicate Tehran's pursuit of financial breathing room as Iran faces strong U.S. sanctions.

The men who ruled Pakistan

Ajai Sahni 

It is common when speaking of the State to talk about institutions and systems. But in Pakistan -- indeed, across South Asia -- personalities often matter more. Tilak Devasher's second book, Pakistan: At the Helm, is a byproduct of his first, Pakistan: Courting the Abyss, an 'analytical collection of anecdotes and vignettes' that he came across while writing the latter.  Reading about the foibles and failings of Pakistan's leaders may provoke some mirth, but Devasher writes with rare empathy. This is not a book that subjects the Pakistani leadership to undeserved contempt; rather, it reveals complex human emotions, peculiar weaknesses that bring men 'to the helm'; and destructive strengths, the obduracy of will that brings them to ruin. The portraits of those who rule Pakistan bring to mind many who have ruled other nations; this anecdotal history is a cautionary tale of great urgency for India as well.

Exclusive: China presses Europe for anti-U.S. alliance on trade

Robin EmmottNoah Barkin

China is putting pressure on the European Union to issue a strong joint statement against President Donald Trump’s trade policies at a summit later this month but is facing resistance, European officials said. In meetings in Brussels, Berlin and Beijing, senior Chinese officials, including Vice Premier Liu He and the Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, have proposed an alliance between the two economic powers and offered to open more of the Chinese market in a gesture of goodwill. One proposal has been for China and the European Union to launch joint action against the United States at the World Trade Organization.

Welcome to the modern military: China’s new combat units prepare for electronic warfare

Minnie Chan
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The war games, which started on Monday and test reconnaissance, electronic communication, cybersecurity, air strikes and other battle skills, are aimed at increasing ground troops’ understanding of modern warfare, and fostering new strategic ground force commanders after a sweeping PLA overhaul. More than 50 combat units involving about 2,100 officers are taking part at five training bases. They include airborne troops, special forces and electronic warfare experts from ground forces from the Eastern, Western, Northern, Southern and Central command theatres, according to official social media accounts.

China, Russia, and the US Are All Building Centers for Military AI


Russia and the United States are moving closer to opening their own centers for military-related research into artificial intelligence, as China did in the spring of last year. But the three governments have differing approaches. The U.S. Joint Artificial Intelligence Center aims to apply lessons from an Air Force pilot project to other military services, while the Chinese approach fuses civilian and military research and Russia’s efforts are closely directed from the Kremlin.


China's latest quantum radar could help detect stealth planes, missiles

By Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer
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The Shanghai based Institute for Quantum Information and Quantum Technology Innovation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences unveiled this quantum computing device in May 2017. On June 22, China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), China's foremost military electronics company, announced that its groundbreaking quantum radar has achieved new gains, which could allow it to detect stealth planes.

The Chinese Government Likely Knew about Spectre and Meltdown Bugs Before the U.S

By Joseph Marks

Sharing information about newfound hardware and software vulnerabilities is a global project and there’s no good way to coordinate a major digital fix while ensuring the Chinese government is out of the loop, witnesses told the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday. During a six-month secret process to repair the Spectre and Meltdown computer chip vulnerabilities in 2017, chipmakers notified numerous Chinese companies about the vulnerabilities and those companies likely passed that information along to Chinese officials and intelligence agencies, witnesses told the committee.

Should the US try to keep China’s technology from advancing?


A number of commentators, including Asia Times’ own Pepe Escobar, have suggested that the trade war started by the Trump administration is not about intellectual-property theft or unfair trade but about not losing the technology race with China. Escobar believes Trump is feeling threatened by China’s stated goals to become the world leader in 10 fields of technology by 2025. CNBCagrees, though more narrowly focused on who will win the race to develop fifth-generation (5G) wireless technology.

Where Iran Ships Its Crude

by Dyfed Loesche

After President Donald Trump pulled out of the Nuclear Deal with Iran, the United States is now threatening countries that import Iranian oil with sanctions. After President Donald Trump pulled out of the Nuclear Deal with Iran, the United States is now threatening countries that import Iranian oil with sanctions. The two major regions importing Iranian oil are Asia Pacific and Europe, which together received some 2.1 million barrels per day in 2017, according to OPEC data.

The Reality TV President: Trump Achieved Nothing at the NATO Summit, But Generated Lots of Press While Doing It

Paul R. Pillar

Most press coverage of the NATO summit meeting was about Donald Trump’s political theater, for which NATO itself was merely a backdrop. Journalists who said their heads were spinning after hearing Trump’s everything-is-fine press conference at the conclusion of the meeting, which sounded like a 180-degree reversal from his insults and threats of the day before, could have saved themselves a headache by realizing that there is no way to make diplomatic sense of any of this. It was just Trump doing one of his usual things. That thing is to bemoan how supposedly awful was the state of affairs before he came along, to use his own disruptive rhetoric—sprinkled with falsehoods —to create a crisis atmosphere, and then later to claim that he resolved problems that none of his predecessors had been able to resolve. The claim is made even if nothing material was achieved—as is true regarding military spending by NATO members, who do not appear to have made new commitments beyond what they had already made pre-Trump. In these respects, the Trumpian theater in Brussels is similar to the one surrounding the summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un.

How the Mossad Stole Iran’s Nuclear Secrets

David E. Sanger and Ronen Bergman

TEL AVIV — The Mossad agents moving in on a warehouse in a drab commercial district of Tehran knew exactly how much time they had to disable the alarms, break through two doors, cut through dozens of giant safes and get out of the city with a half-ton of secret materials: six hours and 29 minutes. The morning shift of Iranian guards would arrive around 7 a.m., a year of surveillance of the warehouse by the Israeli spy agency had revealed, and the agents were under orders to leave before 5 a.m. to have enough time to escape. Once the Iranian custodians arrived, it would be instantly clear that someone had stolen much of the country’s clandestine nuclear archive, documenting years of work on atomic weapons, warhead designs and production plans.

The Russians Are Coming! Russian bots, trolls test waters ahead of US midterm elections

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — The sponsors of the Russian “troll factory” that meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign have launched a new American website ahead of the U.S. midterm election in November. A Russian oligarch has links to Maryland’s election services. Russian bots and trolls are deploying increasingly sophisticated, targeted tools. And a new indictment suggests the Kremlin itself was behind previous hacking efforts in support of Donald Trump. As the U.S. leader prepares to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday, many Americans are wondering: Is the Kremlin trying yet again to derail a U.S. election? While U.S. intelligence officials call it a top concern, they haven’t uncovered a clear, coordinated Russian plot to mess with the campaign. At least so far.

US and Japan Fire Missiles to Sink Ship During RIMPAC

With the explosive roar of multiple missiles and white contrails arcing high into the sky, U.S. and Japanese forces made history Thursday during Rim of the Pacific exercises. And set the stage for what a future conflict with China might entail. The Army fired a Naval Strike Missile from a truck at the Pacific Missile Range Facility and hit a decommissioned ship at sea 63 miles north of Kauai. Ally Japan fired its own truck-mounted Type 12 anti-ship missiles at the tank landing ship Racine -- at one point in a salvo with five practice U.S. High Mobility Artillery Rocket System missiles, also truck-mounted. Gen. Robert Brown, commander of U.S. Army Pacific at Fort Shafter, said it was the first time Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force missiles were under by U.S. fire control while working with U.S. forces including the Army, Navyand Air Force to target a ship.

What to Look for During the Trump-Putin Summit

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will have the chance to discuss contentious issues, including the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, sanctions, arms control, and military buildups, at their upcoming summit in Helsinki. Though the two leaders may make some compromises in each of these areas, they probably won't reach any strategic breakthroughs. The tone and outcome of the meeting will indicate whether the standoff between the United States and Russia will intensify or perhaps abate.

Trump, Putin and a Contentious State of Affairs on the Continent

By Reva Goujon

U.S. President Donald Trump's return to the NATO summit will bring with it a repeat of a set of familiar negotiating tactics, which are more likely to deepen the chasm between the White House and some security allies.
While U.S. relations with the Western European powers will remain strained, Eastern European allies will try to deepen their energy and security ties with Washington in hopes of muddying a potential U.S.-Russia rapprochement. While negotiations with Moscow on a host of issues could serve a strategic purpose, that strategy would be greatly undermined if the White House inadvertently plays to the Kremlin on dividing the West.

In Russia, a Dilemma for the Ages

A long-expected but politically controversial plan to raise the retirement age in Russia could be President Vladimir Putin's biggest challenge in his fourth term. The reform has spurred protests across Russia, and demonstrations could grow in size and scope once the World Cup tournament ends and host cities lift their moratoriums on public protests. The government will probably modify the parameters of the reform in the event of protracted protests and public discontent, but Putin will have to balance any concessions against Russia's broader economic challenges.

Turkey Has Made a Quagmire for Itself in Syria

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AFRIN, Syria — Murmurs of kidnappings for ransom hung in the air, and shootings and bombings continued just outside the city. Two women walked along the street adjacent to the government compound. “I’m scared to speak because of there,” one said, pointing to the collection of buildings from which Turkey and its local allies run the Afrin enclave. “There’s no safety. There’s no security.” Inside the compound, Turkish officials and Syrian allies cited some good news about Afrin during a tour for international journalists sponsored by the Turkish government. Numerous major Turkish charities are operating inside Afrin, helping distribute aid, establish democratic governance, and train local security forces.

As Trump twists NATO’s arm, let’s run the math on defense spending

Robert E. Litan and Roger Noll

At the NATO summit, the member nations reiterated their commitment that each would spend at least two percent of GDP on defense by 2024. President Trump has repeatedly criticized the vast majority of NATO members that have not yet reached this target, complaining that, as a result, the U.S. pays an unfair share of NATO’s costs. The new rift in the alliance over defense spending raises an interesting question: Exactly how big a deal would it be if all NATO members immediately increased their defense spending to the target of two percent of GDP? We ran the numbers, supposing that every NATO nation that spends below the 2024 target had spent at least two percent of GDP on defense in 2017.

The Trump-Putin Summit: What the Europeans Fear

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French President Emmanuel Macron has done it. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has done it. Yet when it was confirmed Thursday that President Trump would be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Europeans could be forgiven for not greeting it like a routine get-together. After all, there is a context. Trump is meeting Putin at a time when he remains at odds with his intelligence community over Russian interference on his behalf on the U.S. election. Russia, the president tweeted Thursday, “continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!”—American intelligence assessments say otherwise, and European countries themselves have had to contend with Russian election interference. Trump continues to be at odds with America’s European allies over issues like trade policy, climate change, and the Iran deal; in light of Trump’s ambivalence about NATO, European leaders have openly discussed the need for Europe to stand on its own. All of this presents a potential opening for Putin, who has long sought to divide the Western alliance.

The Trump-Putin Summit: Issues at Stake

by Stephen Sestanovich

Four issues likely to have a prominent place at the Helsinki summit next week between Donald J. Trump and Vladimir Putin are election meddling, Ukraine, Syria, and nuclear arms control. Russian and U.S. officials have made little progress in reaching agreements on any of them. But there is reason to think one or both sides will approach each of these issues in a new way. U.S. election meddling. At two previous meetings, and in countless public statements, Trump and Putin have dismissed this issue, though doing so has not served them well. Saying that he accepts Putin’s denials hurts Trump’s credibility and makes it harder to move the relationship in the direction he wants. That’s why Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has promised Congress that the president will take a strong stand on the issue. For his part, Putin has suggested that those involved in meddling may have acted independently of the Russian state. Real agreement is unlikely and politically risky for Trump, but look for new positioning by both sides.

The World Cup exposes the limits of globalization

Dhruva Jaishankar

International soccer, often known around the world as football, is undoubtedly a beneficiary and a symbol of globalization. Over 70 percent of players at this year’s FIFA World Cup play professionally for clubs outside their native countries. Chinese sponsors have shelled out $835 million on the event, contributing more than a third of its advertising revenue despite China not qualifying for the tournament. In many ways, the transnational nature of soccer has helped diminish differences and prejudice: Two decades after the Nigerian-born Polish star Emmanuel Olisadebe was subjected to monkey sounds and bananas thrown at him by his own fans, Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa—who thrived at the club CSKA Moscow—characterizes playing in Russia as “playing at home.” Meanwhile, Egypt’s Mohammed Salah—who celebrates each goal for his club Liverpool by kneeling in prayer—was voted 2018 player of the year in England, just as the British government grapples with thorny questions of immigration and Islamophobia.

The USA Is Now A 3rd World Nation

by Charles Hugh Smith
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I know it hurts, but the reality is painfully obvious: the USA is now a 3rd World nation.

Dividing the Earth's nations into 1st, 2nd and 3rd world has fallen out of favor; apparently it offended sensibilities. It has been replaced by the politically correct developed and developing nations, a terminology which suggests all developing nations are on the pathway to developed-nation status. What's been lost in jettisoning the 1st, 2nd and 3rd world categories is the distinction between developing (2nd world) and dysfunctional states (3rd world), states we now label "failed states." But 3rd World implied something quite different from "failed state": failed state refers to a failed government of a nation-state, i.e. a government which no longer fulfills the minimum duties of a functional state: basic security, rule of law, etc.

Trump’s Wrecking Ball Ideology

A year ago, it would have been tempting to write off President Trump’s “bull in a china shop” diplomacy as the product of inexperience and impulsiveness. However, after eighteen months in the White House tenure, Trump is looking like a man with a method, a leader acting according to a consistent ideology — if not a traditional strategy — and even a kind of disruptive genius. “I think President Trump has an agenda and knows exactly what he is doing,” said William Cohen, a moderate Republican who became Clinton’s secretary of Defense. “He wants to return to an 18th and 19th century ‘balance of power’ global order, because he sees himself as being a strongman in the mold of the autocratic leaders he admires, like (Vladimir) Putin in Russia and Xi Jinping in China,”

Here are the 12 tech trends that will dominate business in 2018

By Laurel Deppen 

In a Wednesday report, Forrester revealed the top 12 emerging tech trends that business leaders should consider adopting in 2018. To keep ahead of competition, the report noted that CIOs should keep emerging tech in mind when making key business decisions. According to the report, implementing new technology is the no. 1 action businesses are taking to change their models. Similarly, being up on emerging tech remains a priority for hiring and retaining the best employeesThe report noted that Forrester created the list based on the technology's newness, connectedness, and it's particular type of technological innovation. Here are the top 12 emerging technology trends to look out for in 2018.

1. Computer vision

Humans Plus Robots: Why the Two Are Better Than Either One Alone

The idea of artificial intelligence may strike fear in the hearts of some business leaders, but there is no need to panic. In their new book, Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI, Paul Daugherty and James Wilson make a compelling case for pairing this particular technology with human capital. Daugherty, who is chief technology and innovation officer for Accenture, and Wilson, who is managing director of information technology and business research at Accenture Research, joined the Knowledge@Wharton show on Wharton Business Radio, SiriusXM channel 111, to talk more about the topic. 

First They Came for the Immigrants. Then They Came for the Robots.

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The phrase “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet” has been used as the title of several pop songs and a French film. It could also aptly describe the future of politics across the globe as the twin specters of nationalism and populism intensify and people grapple with the social and economic impacts of increased automation and the spread of artificial intelligence.
In key respects, this future has already arrived. In 2016, there were already 309 installed industrial robots for every 10,000 manufacturing workers — a measurement known as robot density — in Germany, 223 in Sweden, and 189 in the United States. The use of robots had risen 7 percent in the United States, 5 percent in Sweden, and 3 percent in Germany in just one year. That may not sound like much, but at that rate, robot density would double in the United States in about a decade. And these numbers are only likely to grow because next-generation robots are already highly cost competitive. The average hourly cost of a manufacturing worker in Germany as of 2013 was $49, in France it was $43, and in the United States $36. The hourly cost of a collaborative robot — a machine that does not require skill to interact with — was $4, according to a recent study by Bain & Company.

The NATO Summit Spotlights Its Defense Spending Standard

The United States will pressure its NATO allies during the military bloc's July 11-12 summit in Brussels to spend more on their own defense. Although it is NATO's most powerful member state, the United States still derives great benefits from the alliance. The commitment from each NATO member to spend at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense does not adequately account for the different security priorities of the alliance's disparate states. Fed up with what it perceives as an unequal burden sharing, the United States is preparing to put considerable pressure on its NATO allies during a summit in Brussels on July 11 and 12. U.S. President Donald Trump already has foreshadowed this pressure, which could include threats to withdraw U.S. forces from Europe or to cancel major NATO exercises, by sending strongly worded letters to the leaders of several NATO allies, including Germany, Belgium, Norway and Canada. While the United States has a case to make that the alliance's member states are not living up to their commitment to spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product on their own defense, NATO remains a critical component of the United States' global dominance.

Mattis, Visiting Balkans, Sees Russian Meddling and ‘Hybrid’ Threats to Allies

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OSLO, NORWAY: After meeting with foreign ministers from several Balkan countries on Friday, Defense Secretary James Mattis referred to Russian influence in the region as “a destabilizing element” that seeks to undermine fledgling democracies who are joining NATO at a rapid pace. Mattis, speaking to reporters aboard his plane en route to Norway from the conference in Zagreb, Croatia, added that there was a “common purpose” in strengthening defense ties between the countries in the region, in part to combat the complex threat from Russia.

Waging cyber war without a rulebook

By Derek B. Johnson 

However, in interviews with former White House and executive branch officials as well as members of Congress and staffers involved in cyber policy, many expressed more concern about the potential for a Cyber Gulf of Tonkin: a misunderstanding or misattribution around an event that precipitates or is used as a justification for war. "I think we should all be concerned about a [misunderstanding] or something that is made to look like someone else took action," said Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), a co-founder of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus. "Attribution is very difficult, although we are getting much better at it. There's no doubt there could always be a level of uncertainty."