17 August 2018

Pakistan’s Water Woes: Don’t Blame India

Dr. S.Chandrasekharan

Daily Pakistan of July 29, 2018 carried a very detailed article on the water crisis in Pakistan and it said that the challenges faced by Pakistan in the shape of water scarcity and absence of clean water pose a threat to the very survival of the country and its people. It also said that rapid growth in population, extensive urbanization, traditional agricultural practices and industrialization all have put Pakistan on the path of drought, hunger and instability. Water storage has been reduced drastically to 30 days from the minimum of 120 days required for any country. This shortage of water has earned Pakistan, a name in the list of 15 most water scarce countries. The per capita availability of water is said to be 908 cubic meters now from 5200 cubic metres it had seven decades ago!

The NRC process: Both Complex and Necessary

Rajesh Singh

If we disentangle politics from the ongoing process to prepare a National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam, we will better understand the ‘what, why and how’ of the exercise, its enormity, and its necessity from both the State and the national perspectives. The task to finalise the NRC, even if limited to one State for now, is complex. And yet, the bottom line is simple enough: Identify residents who are genuine Indians and those that have illegally entered and stayed on in the country in violation of the laid down laws.

Western India is leaving the eastern half behind

The founders of the modern Indian state faced policymaking challenges of bewildering complexity. Among the most difficult was the need to finesse vast socioeconomic disparities. Much progress has been made since then—most of it in the post-liberalization era—in lifting people at the bottom of the ladder. But 71 years after independence, the problem of how to address the disparities remains. Spatial inequality is arguably the most vexing aspect of this problem. It is sand in the gears of the federal structure, creating diverging incentives across states. It disrupts the policy consensus needed for essential structural reforms—witness the interminable birth pangs of the goods and services tax. It complicates the push-and-pull of Centre-state relations at a time when recalibration is under way. And it reduces income and occupational mobility, generating chronic poverty.

When China Rules the Web

By Adam Segal

For almost five decades, the United States has guided the growth of the Internet. From its origins as a small Pentagon program to its status as a global platform that connects more than half of the world’s population and tens of billions of devices, the Internet has long been an American project. Yet today, the United States has ceded leadership in cyberspace to China. Chinese President Xi Jinping has outlined his plans to turn China into a “cyber-superpower.” Already, more people in China have access to the Internet than in any other country, but Xi has grander plans. Through domestic regulations, technological innovation, and foreign policy, China aims to build an “impregnable” cyberdefense system, give itself a greater voice in Internet governance, foster more world-class companies, and lead the globe in advanced technologies.

China-U.S. Trade Spat Is Just a Start to the Economic Cold War

Conor Sen

China is not just another front in President Donald Trump's war on trade. Unlike Mexico, Canada, Europe and other targets of the president, China will be a source of economic conflict for years to come, long after the tariff level on soybeans has been settled. Like the rivalry with the Soviet Union, economic competition with China may form a cold war that shapes American politics and economic policy for a generation or more. Until now, through flukes of timing, Americans have largely been distracted from China's economic development. China joined the World Trade Organization in December 2001, three months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. For the next several years, America's focus was terrorism and war in the Middle East, not China's ascension and its impact on the U.S. economy. Next came a financial crisis and the great recession, which became the national focus for the next several years. The post-recession political environment in the U.S. has largely been one of government dysfunction and partisan polarization.

Let’s Not Invite China to Invade Taiwan

by Gordon G. Chang

In “The United States Must Be Realistic on Taiwan,” Lyle Goldstein, writing on this site, misreads Taiwan’s history, portrays Chinese territorial ambitions as benign, and essentially argues Washington must do what China says because it has weapons. To makes these points, he neglects crucial facts and endorses pro-Beijing arguments that have now been discredited. In addition, he manages to misrepresent my views, sling epithets, resort to innuendo, and include an unrelated personal attack. Personally, I’m appalled, but I will put my feelings aside in order to address the most important geopolitical issue facing Goldstein, me, and everyone else on the planet: How does the world contain persistent Chinese expansionism? “Besides the usual platitudes about supporting democracy and relying on deterrence,” Goldstein writes, “Chang offers no specific policy prescriptions.”

Soviet Collapse Echoes in China’s Belt and Road

David Fickling

According to one influential view, it’s ultimately a question of investment. Great powers are the nations that best harness their economic potential to build up military strength. When they become overextended, the splurge of spending to sustain a strategic edge leaves more productive parts of the economy starved of capital, leading to inevitable decline. That should be a worrying prospect for China, a would-be great power whose current phase of growth is associated with an increasingly aggressive military posture and a tsunami of capital spending in its strategic neighborhood.

Malaysia is pushing back against a $20 billion Chinese debt trap

By Tripti Lahiri

Shortly before his first trip to China since taking office, Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said in an interview that he would like to cancel a pair of Chinese projects he had earlier ordered suspended and probed for its ties to the scandal-ridden 1MDB state-development fund. “We don’t think we need those two projects. We don’t think they are viable. So if we can, we would like to just drop the projects,” Mahathir told the Associated Press today (Aug. 13). The projects include the $20 billion, 688-kilometer (430 miles) East Coast Rail Link, which would have linked ports on peninsular Malaysia’s east and west coasts, and was being built by the China Communication Construction Company. It was a key feature of the sprawling global infrastructure plan envisioned by China since 2013. Financed with loans and expected to take a decade to build, the project would have reduced China’s dependence on shipping via the narrowest reaches of the Malacca Strait for its energy needs. The other project involved a pair of gas pipelines to be funded by China’s Exim Bank.

China Doesn’t Want to Play by the World’s Rules


U.S. President Donald Trump’s most recent threat to target all $505 billion in annual Chinese imports to the United States is only the latest development in the looming U.S.-China trade war. While Trump and his team are preparing for an economic competition focused largely on tariffs, policymakers must prepare for a multi-domain competition rooted in Chinese political posturing, domestic propaganda, and economic coercion targeting American firms operating in China. These unconventional challenges will demand a comprehensive U.S. response.

While everyone obsesses over Russia, China is stealing our data blind

By Ned Ryun

With all the focus on Russian hacking, Russian ambition, and Russian threats to U.S. national economic security, another Red Threat continues seemingly unabated: China’s ongoing effort to compete as a global economic power equal to, if not exceeding, the United States. China has the population and the economic ability to compete, and has made its ambitions crystal clear with its Made in China 2025 plans. Part of the strategy is being played out now in the battle over tariffs and trade policy, but far more important to the U.S. innovation economy is the ongoing battle over forced technology transfers and Chinese efforts to steal U.S. intellectual property and control as much data online as possible. Over the past decade, Chinese hackers have launched cyber-attacks, stealing data from the U.S. Congress, the U.S Department of Defense, and the federal Office of Personnel Management, one of the largest data breaches and thefts of American worker identities in history. The Chinese have run sustained cyber operations against our oil industry, critical infrastructure and utility industries, and the entertainment industry. With trade tensions running higher, China’s interest in hacking U.S. private businesses for data, trade secrets and intellectual property has only increased

Space Force Is Trump’s Answer to New Russian and Chinese Weapons


The United States’ decision to establish a new military service to oversee American operations in space reflects a growing concern in Washington over the development of sophisticated new weapons by Russia and China. Our adversaries have transformed space into a warfighting domain already. And the United States will not shrink from this challenge,” said Vice President Mike Pence during a speech at the Pentagon on Thursday. The primary aim of establishing a sixth armed service—the others being the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy—is to accelerate the development and deployment of new technologies for space warfighting, Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told reporters during an engagement after the rollout.

Xi Jinping's Path for China

Since assuming power, Chinese President Xi Jinping has taken many steps to reshape his country, de-emphasizing growth to build a more sustainable economy and engaging in more proactive diplomacy. He has also been rewriting political rules to establish himself as a strongman. But as China's economy slows while the United States escalates its trade attacks, policy debates inside the country are intensifying and testing core pillars of Xi's economic and foreign policies — as well as his own political strength. Despite the challenges, China cannot afford to dial back its progress in economic development and global involvement, especially considering its growing strategic competition with the United States.

China's Belt and Road Initiative Finds Shaky Ground in Eastern Europe

As part of its Belt and Road Initiative, China will work to build economic and security ties with Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova in the coming years. A variety of factors, including insufficient infrastructure and competition in the region between Russia and the West, will complicate China's expansion in these states. Forging deeper relationships with China will give Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova more leeway for negotiating the standoff between Russia and the West, though Beijing will be careful not to encroach on Moscow's interests in the region.

Daily Memo: Purges in Iran, Concessions in China, Troubles in Idlib

Iran has purged parts of its government in response to domestic unrest. Nearly 70 people, including members of the Tehran province city councils and the mayoral office in Zabol, were arrested over the weekend for corruption, smuggling and hoarding of goods. At least 100 more officials have been prohibited from leaving the country. The supreme leader and the minister of intelligence have come out in support of the purge. It would be tempting to dismiss this particular anti-corruption drive were it not for the scale. Earlier firings could be excused as a capitulation to the demands of protesters. The government’s actions over the weekend are clearly more proactive than that.

How China's state-backed companies fell behind

It was a prime candidate for overhaul. China Unicom's former chairman, Chang Xiaobing, was found guilty of taking bribes and sentenced in May to six years in prison. And by some important financial measures, China Unicom's performance has been catatonic. Its return on equity -- a key indicator of overall efficiency as well as a yardstick of how much net profit a company returns to shareholders -- has been below 1% in recent years, compared to a global industry average of about 19.5%, according to an analysis of QUICK-FactSet data on 47 telecom operators.

How the U.S. Helped Prevent North Korea and South Korea From Reaching Real Peace in the 1950s


In the long history of Korea, nothing compares to the 20th century division of the peninsula or the war that followed. That war has not finished, and a peace treaty remains elusive. China, North Korea and South Korea all seek a peace treaty, but 11 U.S. presidents since 1953 have been unwilling to agree. If President Trump turns out to be the exception, that shift could help put an end to more than a half-century of conflict — and the role of the United States in determining whether peace arrives is not a small one. Neither is it coincidental: in fact, the U.S. has played a key role in keeping the conflict going as long as it has. The division of Korea is not what Franklin Delano Roosevelt intended as World War II ended. As President, he had discussed with British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin an “international trusteeship” of Korea that would help bring the country out of Japanese colonial rule and restore its sovereignty. But Roosevelt died in April 1945 and President Truman had different priorities. The change of thinking by the Truman administration led to a change of direction that altered the course of history in northeast Asia.

The Changing Risk Landscape

This graphic plots the change in the perceived likelihood and impact of various societal, technological, geopolitical and environmental risks between 2012 and 2018. For more on resilience and the evolution of deterrence, see Tim Prior’s chapter for Strategic Trends 2018 here. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics on risk and resilience, click here.

History’s Lesson Regarding Russian Cyber Warfare

Daniel Hoffman

Ten years ago this month, war erupted between Russia and Georgia after Georgian troops attacked South Ossetia and shelled the town of Tskhinvali, in response to alleged Russian provocations. Russia justified its military action based on countering Georgia’s aggression- President Medvedev’s called the attack an attempted “genocide” against innocent civilians. Seeking to discredit Georgia’s national sovereignty, Russia also portrayed the conflict as a proxy war against the U.S., the first of its kind since the end of the Cold War. Russia blockaded the Georgian coast with its Black Sea Fleet, dispatched combat troops to Abkhazia to deter a Georgian attack, and conducted combat air missions against Georgian targets. Using a justification which would be repeated when Russia annexed Crimea, Medvedev claimed there were regions where Russia has “privileged interests” to defend the rights of Russians wherever they might be located. South Ossetia and Abkhazia declared their independence, and Russia created a “frozen conflict”, which would serve Russia’s national security strategy by indefinitely delaying Georgia’s NATO membership.

Trump’s Secret War on Terror


President Donald Trump has dramatically expanded the war on terror. But you—and perhaps he—would never know it. Since he came into office, Trump has reportedly abandoned Obama-era rules governing the use of drones in non-combat theaters such as Somalia and Libya. Whereas Obama operationally expanded but bureaucratically constrained drones’ use, from what we can tell, Trump’s new rules instead vest strike decisions with military commanders, without requiring approval from the White House.

The Missile Arsenal at the Heart of the Israeli-Iranian Rivalry

Iran and Hezbollah will continue efforts to enhance their missile and artillery capabilities by threatening Israel where it is most vulnerable; in the economic realm. In response, Israel will seek to lobby Washington and Moscow to restrict Tehran's activities in Syria. In the event of a war, Israel will seek to take a load off of its missile defense system by launching a ground incursion into Syria or Lebanon to destroy possible launch pads for Iranian or Hezbollah missiles as well as the projectiles themselves. Following a string of recent successes, Syria's government is in a dominant position as the Syrian civil war transitions to a new phase. Meanwhile, the two largest outside powers involved in the conflict — the United States and Russia — are looking to make an exit as their primary foes lose ground. But even as the war appears to be winding down for some, it's beginning to ramp up for one key player: Israel.

Looking Back on the Russian-Georgian War, 10 Years Later

By Eugene Chausovsky

Russia's invasion of Georgia in August 2008 gave it a new geopolitical foothold after decades of weakness in the wake of the Soviet Union's collapse. The war paved the way for Russia to increase its influence throughout Eurasia, although the collapse of global oil prices and the Euromaidan uprising in Ukraine later demonstrated the limits of Moscow's reach. In the years since, Russia has maintained its clout on the world stage and revived its rivalry with the West, which, in turn, has redoubled its support for Georgia and other countries in the region.

The Unlikely Activists Who Took On Silicon Valley — and Won

By Nicholas Confessore

The way Alastair Mactaggart usually tells the story of his awakening — the way he told it even before he became the most improbable, and perhaps the most important, privacy activist in America — begins with wine and pizza in the hills above Oakland, Calif. It was a few years ago, on a night Mactaggart and his wife had invited some friends over for dinner. One was a software engineer at Google, whose search and video sites are visited by over a billion people a month. As evening settled in, Mactaggart asked his friend, half-seriously, if he should be worried about everything Google knew about him. “I expected one of those answers you get from airline pilots about plane crashes,” Mactaggart recalled recently. “You know — ‘Oh, there’s nothing to worry about.’ ” Instead, his friend told him there was plenty to worry about. If people really knew what we had on them, the Google engineer said, they would flip out.

1 big thing: How the robot revolution is changing our lives

We're entering a new, robot-fueled tech boom that is already disrupting the world's balance of power, and is changing how we fight wars, stay alive, drive, work, shop and do chores. The future is now: We keep talking about what's coming, but we're already on the leading edge of a profound global change that will create tremendous opportunity for new power and wealth. In this new age of automation, businesses are frantically installing machines and algorithms that eventually will make them far more efficient — and wipe out jobs and sectors at blinding speed. This has touched off a tech race between the U.S. and China. And the other major economies — the U.K., France and South Korea in particular — are also spending big to own a piece of this future.

We should fear the use of killer drones like in Venezuela – all you need is £5,000 and some tinfoil

Barry Jenkins

The last Zeppelin attack off Great Yarmouth during the First World War was unintentionally marked a hundred years ago to the day by the drone attack wreaking similar terror from the skies on Nicolas Maduro. But we are long past the days of manned Zeppelin raids. The new kid above the block is an illegally modified drone. They have been around for decades, but the Venezuelan attack has now dramatically put them centre stage. And having designed force protection solutions against this type of small hybrid threat in both Iraq and Afghanistan, this attack came as no surprise to me. 

Space Warfare Is Here


The White House has announced its intention to create a space force. Until now, a series of treaties have prevented the weaponization of space. Yet, even with things like the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and other fantastical agreements, space has been militarized almost from the start. The only reason no space war occurred during the Cold War was that the technology to get humans into space was so rudimentary and the costs of such operations were too high. Today, costs have come down and space is much more accessible (as it should be) to humans. As the costs for entering a strategic domain lower, the potentiality for warfare increases. This is a fact of human nature: we compete with each other.

When Would Russia's Cyber Warfare Morph Into Real Warfare? Refer To The Tallinn Manual

James Conca

Cyberspace is the new global battlefield and its soldiers sit in front of computer screens. What happens when the escalating cyberattacks by Russia on our most critical industries - energy, finance, healthcare, manufacturing and transportation – succeed too well? Like a hippo being nibbled to death by a thousand piranha, the United States is an old cyber behemoth bleeding from the savvy carnivores of the digital age. Our regulations are not current, our defenses are not adequate and our people’s understanding is not sufficient. We are wide open to attack. It is no wonder that Russia has developed a suite of more and more effective cyber weapons that are being used against the United States and several other nations around the world. With impunity.

Army Cyber Command has many roles

David Vergun 

WASHINGTON — A misconception of U.S. Army Cyber Command’s mission is that it’s only about defensive and offensive cyber, said Lt. Gen. Stephen G. Fogarty. But equally important, he said, are other “tribal members” of ARCYBER — signals intelligence, electronic warfare and information operations. Fogarty, commander of ARCYBER, spoke Aug. 2 during an Association of the U.S. Army-sponsored forum on cyber warfare. ARCYBER needs to provide the combatant commander with an entire array of options from each of those communities that will provide him or her freedom of movement on the battlefield and deny the same to adversaries, Fogarty said. “We want to present multiple dilemmas to the enemy, not just cyber,” he said.

Science Board Advises Fighting War Without End in Cyberspace

Robert Levinson

A Pentagon advisory panel recommends that the military and other government agencies seek authority to engage in a permanent state of conflict in cyberspace. It also recommends that the military become much more deeply involved in protecting key private-sector networks. The Defense Science Board, an independent federal advisory committee providing scientific advice to the Defense Department, in July released the executive summary of its report, “Cyber as a Strategic Capability.” The summary promotes the idea that the military’s efforts in cyberspace must be integrated with the other agencies of the U.S. government as well as the private sector. No. 15 of the report’s 16 recommendations would direct DOD officials to review existing statutes governing Pentagon and U.S. action in cyberspace and “update or draft replacement language to enable continuous offensive and defensive actions for protecting and promoting national interests in cyberspace.”

Air and Missile Defense Integration Needed Now…More Than Ever

By Dave Mann, Dick Gallagher
“Success no longer goes to the country that develops a new technology first, but rather to the one that better integrates it and adapts its way of fighting…Cultivating a lethal, agile force requires more than just new technologies and posture changes; it depends on the ability of our warfighters and the Department workforce to integrate new capabilities and adapt warfighting approaches. -SECDEF Mattis; 2018 National Military Strategy

The Threat

It has never been more important to integrate our current and future air and missile defense capabilities, especially considering the current global threat environment. Potential adversaries have carefully observed U.S. successes in recent conflicts and seek to exploit perceived gaps and vulnerabilities. Given the cost of fielding large land, air, and maritime formations, many are turning to relatively cheaper and “difficult to defend against”

New Navy Boards Will Send Underperforming Officers to Early Retirement

The Navy as a whole is poised to grow in coming years -- but top brass say there's still no room for senior officers who don't carry their weight. In a new move aimed at rooting out officers who are underperforming or causing problems at their units, the Navy on Thursday announced the creation of a new Selective Early Retirement Board, set to convene this fall.  The move was made possible by a provision in the Fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act that gives military service secretaries the ability to look within subsets of paygrades to find officers who aren't making the cut, Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke told reporters this week.