22 August 2018

A Second Class Seat on the Security Council Express?


Membership of the UN Security Council had become a permanent and key focus of India’s foreign policy goals for over a decade. India’s position is that it would like the UNSC to have a P-9 with it and Brazil, Japan and Germany added to perpetuate the old system. To that extent it is not a reform of the Un system but a little tweak to it. This idea has so infatuated us that we now insist that support for India’s membership is a part of every joint communiqué with any foreign government. Except for an obvious handful most governments oblige. Even China, which probably most resists the expansion of the P-5, says it would like to see India on the UNSC.

The United States' Perpetual War in Afghanistan

By Tanisha M. Fazal and Sarah Kreps

In October, the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan will turn 17. The human and material costs of what has become the United States’ longest-ever war are colossal. More than 2,000 U.S. military personnel have been killed and over 20,000 have been injured. The UN estimates that nearly 20,000 Afghan civilians have been killed and another 50,000 injured since 2009 alone. The United States has spent some $877 billion on the war. The Trump administration’s recent initiative to seek direct peace talks with the Taliban—a first since the start of the war in 2001—highlights that Washington is actively looking for new ways to wind down its involvement in the conflict. But why has the U.S. intervention lasted so long in the first place?

The Looming Crypto War With China

Fred Campbell

Blockchain and digital asset technology are reshaping key facets of the U.S. economy by improving systems used to move money across borders and laying the groundwork for the next economic boom. Unfortunately, growing regulatory uncertainty threatens to tip the scales in favor of technologies largely controlled by our geopolitical rivals—and crowd out innovation here at home. The main culprit: A bitter turf war in Washington, with multiple regulators from the SEC, CFTC, Treasury Department, Federal Reserve, and individual states all jockeying to give the final word on how we should regulate this new economic engine. Are these technologies commodities? What qualifies as a security?

​China aims to narrow cyberwarfare gap with US

By Steve Ranger

China is looking to narrow the gap with the US in terms of cyberwarfare capabilities, according to an assessment of Chinese military capabilities published by the Department of Defense (DoD). The Pentagon report said that in recent years the Chinese army has emphasized the importance of cyberspace for national security because of the country's increasing reliance on its digital economy. It said Chinese military strategists see cyber operations as a low-cost deterrent that can demonstrate capabilities and challenge an adversary.

As the trade war worsens, the trade deficit increases

David Dollar

David Dollar unpacks the effects of a continued trade war on the economies of China and the United States. If such protectionist measures stay in place long enough, he notes, global value chains will adjust. In that case, U.S. trade deficit will shift away from China and toward the rest of Asia and Europe, but the overall U.S. trade deficit will not change in any significant way. This piece originally appeared on The HillThe trade war that the U.S. has unleashed on China continues to ratchet up. The next round of 25-percent tariffs on $16 billion of imports from China will go into effect Aug. 23.

One Million Muslim Uighurs Have Been Detained by China, the U.N. Says. Where’s the Global Outrage?

Mehdi Hasan
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Dogged by protests and revolts from a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority called the Uighurs in the vast and autonomous Central Asian border region of Xinjiang — or East Turkestan, as it is historically referred to by the Uighurs — the Chinese spotted an opportunity. In the weeks and months after 9/11, Beijing began submitting documents to the United Nations alleging that the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or ETIM — a group that few people had ever heard of, or could even confirm the existence of — was a “major component of the terrorist network headed by Osama bin Laden” and “an important part of his terrorist forces.” By September 2002, both the U.N. and the United States had listed ETIM as a “terrorist organization” — throwing the Uighurs under the geopolitical bus.
One. Million. People. There are around 11 million Uighurs living in Xinjiang, which means that almost one in 10 of them has been detained.

Thanks to Chinese expansionism, the South China Sea has become Asean's Achilles heel

Brahma Chellaney

Despite its internal rifts, the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) likes to be in the driver’s seat, even on initiatives that extend beyond its remit. But having placed itself behind the wheel, Asean usually needs instructions on how to drive and where to go. One such example is the Asean regional forum, which provides a setting for annual ministerial discussions on peace and security issues across the Asia-Pacific region. Established in 1994, it draws together 27 member states, including key players like the US, China, India, Japan, Russia, Australia and the two Koreas.

The Myth of the Liberal Order

By Graham Allison

Among the debates that have swept the U.S. foreign policy community since the beginning of the Trump administration, alarm about the fate of the liberal international rules-based order has emerged as one of the few fixed points. From the international relations scholar G. John Ikenberry’sclaim that “for seven decades the world has been dominated by a western liberal order” to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s call in the final days of the Obama administration to “act urgently to defend the liberal international order,” this banner waves atop most discussions of the United States’ role in the world. 

John Esposito: What Everyone Needs to Know

by A.J. Caschetta

One of academia’s most renowned experts on Islam, John Esposito, wants everyone to know that there is nothing to fear from Shariah law and that it is not incompatible with democracy. In Shariah: What Everyone Needs to Know, he and Natana J. DeLong-Bas argue that “far-right political commentators and popular Christian televangelists” have “hijacked” the term Shariah in order to perpetuate a clash of civilizations.

Against Identity Politics The New Tribalism and the Crisis of Democracy

By Francis Fukuyama

Beginning a few decades ago, world politics started to experience a dramatic transformation. From the early 1970s to the first decade of this century, the number of electoral democracies increased from about 35 to more than 110. Over the same period, the world’s output of goods and services quadrupled, and growth extended to virtually every region of the world. The proportion of people living in extreme poverty plummeted, dropping from 42 percent of the global population in 1993 to 18 percent in 2008.

'Islamic State': Up to 30,000 fighters still in Syria and Iraq, UN says

Despite military defeat in the region, the "Islamic State" militant group can still "mount attacks inside Syrian territory," according to a UN report. In Iraq, the group "remains active" hiding out in desert areas. A report by UN sanctions monitors published Monday said the "Islamic State" (IS) militant group has between 20,000 and 30,000 fighters still in Iraq and Syria. Despite major military setbacks and a near-halt on foreign fighters joining their ranks, the group continues to maintain a sizable presence "roughly equally distributed between the two countries," said the report. "Among these is still a significant component of the many thousands of active foreign terrorist fighters," it added.

Charlottesville remembered: 'A battle for the soul of America'

By Joel Gunter

On 12 August, the small, serene city of Charlottesville, Virginia will mark the anniversary of a deadly white nationalist rally that shocked the nation. The violence that day cost the life of a young counter-protester and scarred Charlottesville. An official report condemned city officials for failing to adequately prepare and police for standing by as confrontation turned to chaos. In the year since, some residents have attempted to reckon with the legacy of that weekend and the racial inequality that persists in the city. Others have sought to consign the violence of last summer to the past, in an effort to restore to Charlottesville a lost reputation as a peaceful, progressive place - 2014's official Happiest City in America. Here, in their own words, some of those closest to the events of that weekend tell the story of what happened, why it happened, and what it meant to a city and a nation. You may find some language offensive.

25 Confucius Quotes That Will Inspire You to Live the Best Life Possible

By Armando Quintana
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Confucius was an exceptional teacher and philosopher that founded Confucianism which can be described as a way to govern your life. Confucianism is founded on the notion that human beings can improve their life through personal development and create the life they truly desire.
Below are some bits of wisdom Confucius spoke to life:

1. “Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.” – Confucius

The case against a US retreat from international development

John R. Allen

As an instrument for peace, prosperity, and human advancement, U.S. foreign assistance constitutes one of the most important examples of American compassion. Since the Marshall Plan allowed hard hit citizens and enterprises to return to normalcy after World War II, advancing a new world order in the process, America has embraced its role as a global development leader.

Thorium power has a protactinium problem

By Eva C. Uribe,

In 1980, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) observed that protactinium, a chemical element generated in thorium reactors, could be separated and allowed to decay to isotopically pure uranium 233—suitable material for making nuclear weapons. The IAEA report, titled “Advanced Fuel Cycle and Reactor Concepts,” concluded that the proliferation resistance of thorium fuel cycles “would be equivalent to” the uranium/plutonium fuel cycles of conventional civilian nuclear reactors, assuming both included spent fuel reprocessing to isolate fissile material. Decades later, the story changed. “Th[orium]-based fuels and fuel cycles have intrinsic proliferation resistance,” according to the IAEA in 2005. Mainstream media have repeated this view ever since, often without caveat. Several scholars have recognized the inherent proliferation risk of protactinium separations in the thorium fuel cycle, but the perception that thorium reactors cannot be used to make weapons persists. While technology has advanced, the fundamental radiochemistry that governs nuclear fuel reprocessing remains unchanged. Thus, this shift in perspective is puzzling and reflects a failure to recognize the importance of protactinium radiochemistry in thorium fuel cycles.

Why Putin's Approval Ratings Are Declining Sharply And What It Means for Russia's Political Future

By Andrei Kolesnikov

Perhaps no figure has loomed larger on the world stage of late than Russian President Vladimir Putin. His recent summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Helsinki, U.S. concerns about future Russian interference after the 2016 presidential election, the Kremlin’s resurgence as a decisive player in the Middle East, and, of course, Putin’s easy reelection in March all seem to point to his continued strength. Yet they may also conceal a growing weakness.

Adversaries Could Have Fiddled With US Satellites: DoD IG


WASHINGTON: If Chinese and Russian spies have been doing their jobs well, they might well have been able to compromise some of America’s most important satellites, including the missile launch detection birds known as SBIRS.

A report out today from the Pentagon’s Inspector General says that Air Force Space Command’s failure to safeguard its supply chain means that “an adversary has opportunity to infiltrate the Air Force Space Command supply chain and sabotage, maliciously introduce an unwanted function, or otherwise compromise the design or integrity of the critical hardware, software, and firmware.”

“This is really an audit report on whether AFSPC complied with the DoD supply chain risk management policy, and clearly there were issues. It is important to note that just because proper policy and procedures were not followed does not necessarily mean that the system was actually compromised.”

Facing Automation In The Next 20 Years

by Sungki Hong and Hannah G. Shell

Advances in technology are almost always considered positive because they increase productivity and ease frustration of completing simple, menial tasks. However, technological improvement does not come without cost; some tech advancements can result in the automation of jobs that used to be performed by humans. This phenomenon is not new to the U.S. Several decades ago, labor was mostly concentrated in production and agriculture; however, as automation increased the productive capacity of manufacturers and farmers, labor was freed up to pursue other types of employment.

The feds keep creating cybersecurity offices and experts say it's not necessarily a good thing

by Anna Giaritelli

Federal agencies have launched several offices and programs since the 2016 election that are intended to secure cyberspace, but some are warning that this is only creating more confusion among the private sector, since President Trump's White House hasn't done enough to help coordinate them. Experts say the existence of a dozen independent cybersecurity operations with overlapping agendas is not ideal, especially since there is only sporadic information-sharing between agencies.

Who needs democracy when you have data?

by Christina Larson

In 1955, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov published a short story about an experiment in “electronic democracy,” in which a single citizen, selected to represent an entire population, responded to questions generated by a computer named Multivac. The machine took this data and calculated the results of an election that therefore never needed to happen. Asimov’s story was set in Bloomington, Indiana, but today an approximation of Multivac is being built in China.

“The Last Three Feet,” Reinvesting in Tactical Information Operations

Lt. Col. Gregory M. Tomlin, PhD, U.S. Army

Afghan National Army Master Sgt. Sediq Kamran (left) talks with Sal Jan (center), a U.S. Department of Defense civilian, and U.S. Army Sgt. Kartton Killebrew from the 344th Psychological Operations Company 28 October 2010 at Camp Lindsey, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. Killebrew discussed propaganda created by his unit to express a message of peace to area residents. (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Robert Thaler) It has always seemed to me the real art in this business is not so much moving information or guidance or policy five or ten thousand miles. That is an electronic problem. The real art is to move it the last three feet in face-to-face conversation.

—Edward R. Murrow


Ryan Gallagher
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GOOGLE BOSSES HAVE broken their silence on the company’s plan to launch a censored search engine in China amid mounting internal protests over the project. On Thursday, CEO Sundar Pichai admitted to employees during an all-hands meeting that the censorship project – code-named Dragonfly – had been “in an exploration stage for quite a while now,” according to two sources who heard his remarks. Pichai emphasized his belief that Google should return to China, but claimed that the company was “not close to launching a search product in China.” Facing employee criticism for shrouding Dragonfly in secrecy, Pichai vowed that “we’ll definitely be transparent as we get closer to actually having a plan of record.”

Trump has scrapped a 2012 policy on when to attack in cyberspace

By: Justin Lynch  

The Trump administration kicked off a new era of government cyber operations by “rescinding” a presidential directive that had restricted offensive capabilities, an administration official told Fifth Domain, but experts warned the move would not be sufficient in detering state-based hacking. The Wall Street Journal reported Aug. 15 that Trump reversed what’s known as Presidential Policy Directive 20, which previously governed offensive cyber operations. A Trump administration official speaking to Fifth Domain declined to elaborate on the policy change, although the replacement is likely to allow for greater offensive operations. Under the previous rules, approved in 2012, cyber operations that resulted in “significant consequences” required presidential approval. The document was labeled “top secret” but Edward Snowden included it among a trove of files he released.

How AI-controlled fighter jets and warships and armies of cyber soldiers will dominate the battlefields of the future

By Gerard du Cann

EXPERTS say future wars will be incomparable to even recent conflicts, and warn developed nations are poised on the precipice of the next arms race. This arms race is towards autonomous machines governed by artificial intelligence, and programs that could wipe out infrastructure with a single line of code. Today Russia unveiled a new plane that carries nuclear warheads with accuracy unsurpassed by any modern jet Noel Sharkey, a professor of artificial intelligence and robots at the University of Sheffield, said any prospect of large armies meeting on a battlefield was gone. Wars of the future would look like one of two options: developed countries deploying autonomous weapons against each other, or, where developing countries were involved - insurgent warfare.

The Three-Generation Dilemma

Lt. Col. Matthew T. Archambault

Leaders from across 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, representing three different generations of education, training, and experience, work on the final fight of the Leader Training Program, Fort Irwin, California, November 2016. (Photo by Capt. Eileen Hernandez, U.S. Army) Doctrine receives mixed reviews from leaders across the Army. Mythology surrounds doctrine like a fog. Many junior leaders reiterate the quip, sometimes attributed to the Soviets, that Americans are unpredictable because we don’t follow our own doctrine.1 These leaders implicitly associate the reputed quote with the idea that strategy or fundamentally sound tactics do not matter.

Why War Evolved To Be A Man's Game - And Why That's Only Now Changing

by Alberto Micheletti

One pattern characterises every war that's ever been fought. Frontline fighting in warfare is primarily and often almost exclusively a male activity. From a numbers perspective, bigger armies obviously have greater chances of success in battles. Why then, are half of a community's potential warriors (the women) usually absent from the battlefield? Previous hypotheses have suggested that this is the result of fundamental biological differences between the sexes. But our new study, published in Proceedings B, finds that none of these differences fully explain why women have almost never gone to war, and nor are they needed to do so. Instead, this state of affairs might have more to do with chance.

How Charles de Gaulle Rescued France

By Adam Gopnik

Charles de Gaulle, Julian Jackson insists in the preface of his new biography, “De Gaulle” (Harvard), is “everywhere” in modern France, its undisputed hero. This claim, like some other confident statements in the book, may strike a reader as both narrowly true and what a French thinker might call metaphysically false. His name is certainly everywhere—on the great airport outside Paris; on the Place Charles de Gaulle, once called the Étoile, where traffic streams perpetually around the Arc de Triomphe—but his example seems remote. He is more a ceremonial than a controversial figure, his work now done. In forty years of passing in and out of France, I have almost never heard him pointed to as an exemplar useful in any way for today’s crises. His name having been placed on l’Étoile is apt: the traffic goes around all day but never stops for long.

Army Tests Jamming MRAPs: New Electronic Warfare Vehicle


While the Army put out a press release Aug. 2, and officials answered some of my follow-up questions, they were understandably unwilling to detail the capabilities or even the exact number of the Electronic Warfare Tactical Vehicles (EWTVs). What is clear, though, is that the EWTVs are a small but significant step towards rebuilding the Army’s disbanded capability to attack enemy communications, the electronic linchpin of modern warfare.