21 July 2018


by Surupa Gupta

Surupa Gupta, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Affairs at Mary Washington University, explains that "While Modi has repeatedly spoken against rising protectionism at international venues, his domestic messaging and actions have been far more nationalist."  In February 2018, India regained its position as the fastest growing large economy in the world, growing at more than seven percent for three preceding quarters and surpassing China. However, despite support for sub-regional integration in the Bay of Bengal region, the prospect that India will lead the charge on regional integration or even play a central role in efforts in Asia overall, remains dim. Several constraining factors, many of which have to do with India’s domestic political economy, make such a leadership role unlikely. Pushback from interest groups, India’s federal structure and the ruling party’s nationalist rhetoric are among several that shape India’s approach to economic liberalization in general and regional integration in particular.

Where Democracy Is a Terrifying Business

By Ali Akbar Natiq

Every two weeks I travel from Lahore, where I teach Urdu literature at a university, to my village in Okara district of Punjab Province. The conversations, the political debates, the infrastructure of the cities disappear in the three-hour bus journey. I grew up here and my parents continue to live here. Most Pakistanis in my village and in thousands of such villages live in grueling poverty, living off subsistence agriculture and working as laborers. It is the other Pakistan, where no nonprofit groups open their offices because we have no air-conditioned meeting halls, where no functioning hospitals are built because the doctors who come from middle- and upper-middle-class families won’t come to work here, where you don’t find clean drinking water because no health and sanitation worker ever shows up and where few schools are built — and even then, with little concern toward the quality of education — because most of us remain condemned to working as farm hands and laborers.

Taliban controls more than half of Afghanistan’s territory - Russian diplomat

Zamir Kabulov

MOSCOW, July 16. /TASS/. Taliban (a radical movement outlawed in Russia) is present in most of Afghanistan’s provinces and controls more than a half of its territory, Russian president’s special envou on Afghanistan and director of the Russian foreign ministry’s second Asia department, Zamir Kabulov, said in an interview with the Kommersant daily on Sunday. "Taliban is very integrated into Afghanistan’s military and political life. It controls more than a half of the country’s territory by now," he said. According to the Russian diplomat, Taliban is present in most of the country’s provinces and is a key force even where an official administration is present. "As a matter of fact, they establish parallel power bodies, including a court system Afghan people have more confidence in than in the official one," he noted.

The Crisis Facing America


We still do not know what hold Vladimir Putin has on Donald Trump, but the whole world has now witnessed the power of its grip.  Russia helped Donald Trump into the presidency, as Robert Mueller’s indictment vividly details. Putin, in his own voice, has confirmed that he wanted Trump elected. Standing alongside his benefactor, Trump denounced the special counsel investigating Russian intervention in the U.S. election—and even repudiated his own intelligence appointees.  Join The Masthead, our new membership program, and get exclusive content—while supporting The Atlantic's future.

How E-Commerce Is Transforming Rural China

By Jiayang Fan

Xia Canjun was born in 1979, the youngest of seven siblings, in Cenmang, a village of a hundred or so households nestled at the foot of the Wuling Mountains, in the far west of Hunan Province. Xia’s mother was illiterate, and his father barely finished first grade. The family made a living as corn farmers, and had been in Cenmang for more generations than anyone could remember. The region was poor, irrigation was inadequate—the family often went hungry—and there were few roads. Trips to the county seat, Xinhuang, ten miles away, were made twice a year, on a rickety three-wheeled cart, and until the age of ten Xia didn’t leave the village at all. But he was never particularly unhappy. “When you are a frog at the bottom of the well, the world is both big and small,” he likes to say, referring to a famous fable by Zhuangzi, the Aesop of ancient China, in which a frog, certain that nowhere can be as good as the environment he knows, is astonished when a turtle tells him about the sea. As a child, Xia said, he was “a happy frog,” content to play in the dirt roads between the mud houses of the village.

Unpacked: The US-China Trade War

David Dollar

In Unpacked, Brookings experts provide analysis of Trump administration policies and news. Subscribe to the Brookings Creative Lab YouTube channel to stay up to date on the latest from Unpacked. THE ISSUE: On Monday July 9, in the most extensive trade protections in nearly a century, the White House implemented a 25 percent tax on Chinese imports. China retaliated in force with a 25 percent tax on U.S. automobiles and agricultural products, such as soy beans. The tariffs accompanied the ongoing U.S. tariffs on imports of steel, aluminum, washing machines, and solar panels, pushing the countries into an all-out trade war. “As the U.S. imposes tariffs [on China], half of that pain will be felt by other countries. So, yes, there will definitely be collateral damage, including to U.S. firms that produce and operate in China”

American companies and Chinese Belt and Road in Africa

Yun Sun

When it comes to Africa, it is no secret that the United States and China have very different philosophies. China adopts a more state-led approach, with state-owned enterprises and policy banks spearheading Africa’s infrastructure development. The U.S. is more willing to let private companies and the market take the lead on commercial development, while the U.S. government itself puts more emphasis on the continent’s capacity building and governance challenges. A long-standing question has been whether these two powerhouses could join forces and cooperate to advance Africa’s development. Such discussions have happened between the two governments. In 2014, it was reported that Obama’s signature Power Africa initiative was considering partnership with China on improving electricity in Africa. Around the same time, China reportedly approached the U.S. on collaboration on the ambitious Inga-3 hydropower projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, years have gone by without much progress on these speculations due to multiple considerations, especially political, economic, and reputational.

1 Billion People. 100,000 Characters. 1 Typewriter.


All bureaucracies produce mountains of paperwork, and Mao Zedong’s sprawling authoritarian regime in China was certainly no exception. To process it all, the country needed a very special typewriter: the Double Pigeon. Under Mao, the Double Pigeon, known for its signature pale green color, was the preferred model among ordinary Chinese functionaries, Communist Party cadres, universities, banks, and police stations. But look closely and you’ll see that the Double Pigeon was no Remington knockoff. For starters, it lacked a keyboard. Instead, the machine relied on a rectangular bed containing 2,450 metal cubes (“slugs,” in typesetters’ lingo) — one for each of the most commonly used Chinese characters.

How China Plans to Scare Away America's Aircraft Carriers

by Zachary Keck

In this sense, the DF-26 fits in perfectly with the direction China’s nuclear and conventional force doctrines are headed. With regards to its nuclear arsenal, recent years have seen Beijing building a more mobile, survivable force. As a 2017 RAND Corporation report noted, “China has been transitioning to a more survivable, road-mobile theater nuclear force for many years.” More recently, according to a report by Ankit Panda, China has been flight testing a new nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM) based off the DF-21. In some ways, a more mobile, survivable force makes China’s No First Use declaratory policy more credible, since Beijing is better able to withstand a first strike. At the same time, the greater accuracy of precision-guided missiles like the DF-21 and DF-26 gives China a better nuclear warfighting capability. It’s also worth noting that having dual-use missiles continues Beijing’s pattern of intermingling its conventional and nuclear forces.

Trump’s Helsinki Disgrace

Eli Lake

Eli Lake is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering national security and foreign policy. He was the senior national security correspondent for the Daily Beast, and covered national security and intelligence for the Washington Times, the New York Sun and UPI. Nearly a year after Donald Trump crippled his presidency by saying there was “blame on both sides” after a scrum between white nationalists and anti-racist protesters in Virginia, he has created another Charlottesville moment. This time it was on the world stage.

Ukraine's Promising Path to Reform

By Adrian Karatnycky and Alexander J. Motyl

At the recent G-7 summit, U.S. President Donald Trump was reported to have told fellow world leaders that “Ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries in the world.” Small wonder: for years, U.S. government officials and their European counterparts have publicly castigated Ukrainefor dragging its feet on corruption. So too have Western media outlets, whose narrative often echoes the fictitious Russian talking point that Ukraine is a failing, if not failed, state.

Trump and Putin vs. America

By Thomas L. Friedman

From the beginning of his administration, President Trump has responded to every new bit of evidence from the C.I.A., F.B.I. and N.S.A. that Russia intervened in our last election on his behalf by either attacking Barack Obama or the Democrats for being too lax — never President Vladimir Putin of Russia for his unprecedented cyberhit on our democratic process. Such behavior by an American president is so perverse, so contrary to American interests and values, that it leads to only one conclusion: Donald Trump is either an asset of Russian intelligence or really enjoys playing one on TV.

The New Economy’s Old Business Model Is Dead


The titans of the new economy are different from their predecessors in one very important way: They aren’t job creators — at least not on a scale to match their dizzying growth in value. General Motors, at its peak in 1979, had some 618,000 employees in the United States and 853,000 worldwide. Facebook had just a few more than 25,000 employeesin 2017, up from nearly 12,700 as recently as 2015. Google’s parent corporation, Alphabet, is the third-largest company in the world by market capitalization but has only about 75,000 employees.

Putin-Trump Summit: Untangling the Knots

Amb Anil Trigunayat

Ensuring Peace is a global good and a responsibility of all countries and stake holders. But it is more so of the Hyper and Super powers, who always indulge in the political chess games and move their rooks adroitly and sometimes bluntly, to ensure their fiefdoms, areas of influence and critical strategic interests through alliances, diplomacy and military and economic power. In the past decades the global hot spots have proliferated along with increasing mistrust among the major international players. A major fallout of narrow national interests blunting efforts is the reverberation of extremism and terrorism, which ideally should have seen a unified international response, but have not been met with the requisite force. In a free for all, competition theatres have become breeding grounds of more extremism and rabid terrorism like Daesh (ISIS). War and destruction continues apace.

The True Power of Trump's Tweets

by Chris Davis

President Donald Trump’s mastery of mass communication is unprecedented in our history. Within an hour after President Trump took the Oath of Office, he launched his first post–inauguration communication to millions of followers through his personal Twitter account. In the following weeks, Twitter would become the president’s chosen medium for projecting policy, announcing personnel movements, and settling scores with leaders both domestically and abroad. Doubling down on their legitimacy, the White House staff quickly proclaimed that the tweets served as official statements from the president. Given the authority of the president’s office and the weight of official communications, it begs the question do presidential tweets carry the full authority and legitimacy of the Office of the President?

Communication from the President

The British History of Brexit


LONDON – Since June 23, 2016, when 52% of British voters backed withdrawing from the European Union, the “Brexit” debate has been tearing British politics apart. Although the Brexit referendum was non-binding, then-Prime Minister David Cameron’s government, expecting a vote in favor of “Remain,” had promised to honor the result. Britain, late to join the EU, will be the first member state to leave it, with the exit date set for March 2019.

How quantum computers could steal your bitcoin


Crypto-currencies like bitcoin have recently captured the public’s imagination because they offer an exciting alternative to traditional monetary systems. Bitcoin transactions are essentially a series of puzzles stored in public on the blockchain. The puzzles used to protect bitcoin are so complex that current computer technology isn’t powerful enough to crack them. But quantum computers could crack these puzzles in coming decades. Here’s how it could happen to your bitcoin. How does the encryption behind bitcoin work? Traditional currencies rely on trusted intermediaries like banks to verify and record all monetary transactions. The crypto-currency economy instead relies on a public ledger – the blockchain, which is maintained by all honest participants of the bitcoin network.

Microsoft wants the government to regulate face recognition software

It’s the first big tech company to ask the feds to supervise how the technology is used. A view from the top: Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith wrote in a blog post Friday that the company is requesting Congress regulate AI-powered face recognition software. “There will always be debates about the details, and the details matter greatly,” says Smith. “But a world with vigorous regulation of products that are useful but potentially troubling is better than a world devoid of legal standards.” What should they regulate? Smith outlined questions he thinks officials should discuss including:  Should law enforcement’s use of facial recognition be subject to human oversight and controls? 

U.S. Needs a National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, Lawmakers and Experts Say


The government is well-positioned to flag specific research areas that would have the biggest impact on national interests.  Policymakers and technology experts said without a broad national strategy for driving artificial intelligence forward, the U.S.risks letting global competitors direct the growth of the budding industry. The Trump administration has taken a largely hands-off approach in regards to AI, arguing it’s still too early for the government to get involved in the technology and any attempts at oversight could stifle its growth. But in a panel hosted Wednesday by Politico, experts were quick to point out the difference between burdening industry with regulations and addressing the issues at hand today.

Pentagon sees quantum computing as key weapon for war in space

by Sandra Erwin 

Michael Hayduk, chief of the computing and communications division at the Air Force Research Laboratory says quantum technology will be "disruptive" in areas like data security and GPS-denied navigation. WASHINGTON — Top Pentagon official Michael Griffin sat down a few weeks ago with Air Force scientists at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio to discuss the future of quantum computing in the U.S. military. Griffin, the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, has listed quantum computers and related applications among the Pentagon’s must-do R&D investments.

The F-35 Is a $1.4 Trillion National Disaster


The F-35 still has a long way to go before it will be ready for combat. That was the parting message of Michael Gilmore, the now-retired Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, in his last annual reportThe Joint Strike Fighter Program has already consumed more than $100 billion and nearly 25 years. Just to finish the basic development phase will require at least an extra $1 billion and two more years. Even with this massive investment of time and money, Gilmore told Congress, the Pentagon and the public, “the operational suitability of all variants continues to be less than desired by the Services.” Gilmore detailed a range of remaining and sometimes worsening problems with the program, including hundreds of critical performance deficiencies and maintenance problems. He also raised serious questions about whether the Air Force’s F-35A can succeed in either air-to-air or air-to-ground missions, whether the Marine Corps’ F-35B can conduct even rudimentary close air support, and whether the Navy’s F-35C is suitable to operate from aircraft carriers.

The Farming Technology Revolution Bringing tech into the fields

Oculus, Amazon, Uber, and Google are the household names most associated with innovations in autonomous vehicles, virtual reality, and drones. John Deere? Not so much. But the agricultural industry has a long track record of acting as a testing ground for new technologies well before they’re a blip on consumers’ radar. The agricultural industry has always been an early adopter of technology. Prehistoric farmers practiced selective breeding to create the optimal traits in plants, otherwise known as genetic modification. In the early 1800s, Eli Whitney introduced a rifle made with interchangeable parts. Shortly after, farmers began adopting iron plows with interchangeable parts. While we might not immediately think of farmers as innovators, they’ve been ahead of the curve for centuries.

Cyber warfare: the dawn of a new era for which we are thoroughly ill-prepared

David Rothkopf

With the attention of much of the world drawn to the Nato summit last week, the meeting between Russia's Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump in Helsinki and the on-going investigation into Russian interference in the US election, it is striking that the most important connection between these events has been largely overlooked. What is more, that connection has broad resonance for every region of the world, including the Middle East. It turns not on personalities or politics but on the dawning of a new era in global affairs for which all are ill-prepared. What the indictments brought by US special counsel Robert Mueller last Friday against 12 officers of the Russian military intelligence service illustrate is that for several years the US and Russia have been engaged in the world’s first major cyber war.

Death by WhatsApp: How rumours on the messaging app kill

Sandeep Unnithan
For several days, messages warning about child-lifters on the prowl had pinged on smartphones in Rainpada, a tribal hamlet in Dhule district, 400 km northwest of Mumbai. Then, on July 1, the villagers saw a group of seven tribal nomads from the Davri Gosavi community speaking to a child. A group of around 20 locals, certain these were the child-lifters the WhatsApp video had warned of, pounced on them and began beating them before locking them up in the local gram panchayat office. Two men managed to flee.

Army commissions first cyber officers but hurdles remain

By: Mark Pomerleau  

The Army recently commissioned its first two officers as part of a new pilot program to attract cyber talent from the private sector and bring them into the military ranks. As part of the pilot, mandated by Congress and stood up by the Army in late 2017, accepted applicants will enter service as first lieutenants. The program is aimed at filling a critical gap the Army has identified in some niche areas such as data scientists, computer scientists, reverse engineers and development operations engineers that typically are found in the commercial sector and academia, Brig. Gen. Neil Hersey, commandant of the Army Cyber School, told reporters during a media call July 11. Hersey described an ongoing process of selection boards to bring in new direct commissioned officers.

If Your Weapons Aren’t Cyber-Hardened, Expect to Lose Pentagon Contracts


FARNBOROUGH, UK — The Pentagon could stop awarding contracts to companies whose weapons are deemed vulnerable to cyber attacks, according to senior U.S. Defense Department officials. Today, companies are responsible for assessing whether their own products meet DoD cybersecurity standards. “Because of a couple recent events, we realized that that is not good enough,” Kevin Fahey, the assistant secretary of defense for acquisition, said Monday during a briefing at the Farnborough Air Show. In February, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan issued a stern warning to companies: protect your networks or risk losing business. In June, Chinese hackers allegedly stolesensitive submarine warfare information from a contractor’s computer. 

The Roots of Modern Military Education

By Lorenzo Ruiz

In September 1870, at the Battle of Sedan, the Prussian Army, led by General Helmuth von Moltke, decisively defeated the French Army of Napoleon III after an incredible feat of mobilization, deployment, and battlefield maneuver. With their army destroyed, the French struggled through a nine-month insurgency, eventually succumbing to the Prussians. The Treaty of Frankfurt ended the Franco-Prussian War, recognized the unification of German states into an empire, and saw Prussia proclaimed the dominant land power in Europe. Their success was largely a result of their institutionalization of three army educational reforms during the 1800s: tiered education, broad curriculum, and historical study. These reforms provided Prussian leadership the tools they needed for success on the battlefield and remain essential components of today’s military education systems.


Every year, Global Firepower releases its list of the most powerful military forces in the world. America predictably tops the list again in 2018, and the rest of the top five is unchanged from last year. But things get more interesting further down the list. Both North and South Korea have moved several places up the list since last year, likely to do with recent military escalations in the region. It remains to be seen if the diplomatic moves towards denuclearization will affect their ranking in next year’s list. Another big mover on the list is Iran. The nation has hit the news in recent months, with the military advisor to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei saying he is prepared for war with the U.S. and Israel. Iran’s new ranking higher up the list indicates he's been putting his money where his mouth is.

This new counter-drone weapon can take down advanced drone communicators with less power, weight

By: Todd South 

This new counter-drone weapon can take down advanced drone communicators with less power, weight Current counter drone tools often use large scale blasts of power to take out the radio comms between the drone and the pilot. Current counter-drone tools often use large-scale blasts of power to take out the radio comms between the drone and the pilot. That requires a lot of battery and can jam or disrupt friendly frequencies. The Drone Killer, made by IXI Technology and displayed at this year’s Warrior East Expo by ADS, Inc., hits both of those gaps and more. John Lopardo, adjunct director with IXI, explained that the shoulder-fired weapon weighs only 7 pounds, battery included, and has a range of 500 meters. “It’s our line-of-sight solution,” Lopardo said.

3 thoughts on hypersonic weapons from the Pentagon’s technology chief

By: Aaron Mehta  

WASHINGTON — If military terms can be described as clothing, then hypersonic weapons are the couture, stylish, must-talk-about item of the summer. The technology behind them. The theory around them. The questions of what competitors are saying and doing with them. Nearly every discussion about future capabilities for America’s defense includes an early mention of hypersonics. The point man for developing that capability is Michael Griffin, a former NASA administrator who is now the first-ever undersecretary of defense for research and engineering. So when he sat down with reporters July 12 to discuss a range of issues, it wasn’t a surprise hypersonic weaponry came up. “My view is that this is not an advantage that we can concede to people who wish to be our adversaries,” he said bluntly when asked about the systems. “And there is no reason why we should.”