23 August 2018

Pakistan at Seventy-One: the Search for a New Pakistan

Alyssa Ayres

On Pakistan's seventy-first independence day, the country faces an economic crisis and a terrorism crisis. Whether prime minister–designate Imran Khan can deliver on his promise of a “naya Pakistan” hinges on whether he can address each. 

Today is Pakistan’s seventy-first independence day. The newly elected members of the National Assembly have been sworn in, and the new prime minister–designate, Imran Khan, will take his oath of office on August 18. Last month’s national election took place amid great controversy. Opposition leaders and independent observers made considerable allegations of tampering and malfeasance, bombings marred the run-up to the election and the day of voting, and there were widespread reports of the army tilting the playing field in advance in favor of Khan, casting a shadow over the results. Even so, government formation trundles along.

Raja Mandala: The churn after Ghaz

by C. Raja Mohan

The recent Taliban offensive against Ghazni, a strategically located city in southeastern Afghanistan, with alleged support from the Pakistan army, has underlined all the difficulties of finding a negotiated settlement in a nation torn by four decades of conflict. The bloody siege of Ghazni, coming nearly a year after US President Donald Trump announced a new strategy to win the war, might turn out to be a definitive moment in the evolution of the conflict. As the Taliban gets bolder in its attacks and the intensity of its violence spikes to unprecedented levels, Trump is under some pressure to take a fresh look.

China's Stake in the Myanmar Peace Process

By Mark Inkey

There are good reasons why the Chinese government covered the costs of attending the third Myanmar Union Peace Conference for the ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) of the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FNPCC). The members of the FNPCC include the EAOs who make up the Northern Alliance, which has been fighting with the Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s armed forces) and attacking commercial interests like casinos in northern Shan state and Kachin state, on the border with China. The members of the Northern Alliance, which was formed in December 2016 in response to increased pressure from the Myanmar military, are the Arakan Army (AA), the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).

Charting Asia’s Research Ascendancy

By Tyler Headley

In 1996, only five years after the end of the Cold War, the United States and its allies made up all five of the most industrious creators of scientific knowledge. This past January, however, China made headlines as its publication rate surpassed that of the United States. According to the National Science Foundation and MIT Technology Review, China published 426,000 research papers in 2016 compared to the 409,000 published in the United States. U.S. leadership in scientific research since the turn of the 20th century allowed it to be the first to develop the nuclear bomb and land a man on the moon. Its innovative technological research and development unequivocally boosted the U.S. economy. But the gap between the United States and the rest of the world is quickly closing, especially with the recent rapid growth of Asia’s research capacity.

Timeline of a Trade War

The Chinese nuclear tests, 1964–1996

A combination of intellectual rigor, technical sophistication, hard work, and intelligence gathering brought China into the world’s nuclear club in record-shattering time. Tom Reed, a former nuclear weaponeer (1959–65) and Secretary of the Air Force (1976–77), is the author of At the Abyss: An Insider’s History of the Cold War (Ballantine Books, 2004). He and Danny Stillman are collaborating on a sequel called Nuclear Express(Zenith Press, in production) that covers the political history of nuclear weapons, 1938–2008. Reed resides in northern California.

How China steals U.S. secrets

Aarthi Swaminathan and Michael B. Kelley

China wants to steal U.S. secrets and is very good at doing so.

“China, from a counterintelligence perspective, represents the broadest, most pervasive, most threatening challenge we face as a country,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Aspen Security Forum in July. A recent U.S. government report titled “Foreign Economic Espionage in Cyberspace” indicates how multifaceted China is when it comes to stealing American intellectual property and U.S. government secrets. “China has expansive efforts in place to acquire U.S. technology to include sensitive trade secrets and proprietary information,” states the report by the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC). “It continues to use cyber espionage to support its strategic development goals — science and technology advancement, military modernization, and economic policy objectives.”

China is hacking the same countries it trades with

By: Justin Lynch 
Source Link

At the United Nations headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, bands of marauding monkeys often climb over the towering fences and roam the acres of closely mowed grass. But this June, another type of uninvited guest entered the U.N. premises. Equipment located thousands of miles away at Tsinghua University, in the heart of Beijing, China, began to probe the U.N. networks in Kenya, according to research by Recorded Future, a cybersecurity research firm. The researchers observed “network reconnaissance activities,” originating from the Tsinghua servers.

Assessing PLA Capability Development Western Theatre Command

By Brig. Rahul Bhonsle

Overview of the Pentagon 2018 Report on military developments in China indicates PLA Army capability to dominate the LAC/IB sectors on Sino Indian borders The United States Department of Defence Annual Report to Congress on Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China 2018 has been released. The Report [hereinafter called the Pentagon 2018 Report] outlines a number of vectors of capability development of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) based on reorganisation and modernisation noticed in 2017. China’s Defence Ministry has rejected the Pentagon 2018 Report calling it as misrepresenting and exaggerating the, “so-called China military threat.” Nevertheless when compared with developments tracked concomitantly during the year, a capability profile of the PLA Western Theatre Command can be visualised.

The Rise and Fall of Soft Power


Nearly three decades ago, American political scientist and former Clinton administration official Joseph Nye put forth an idea in the pages of Foreign Policy. He called it soft power, a concept that caught fire and went on to define the post-Cold War era. Nye argued that, although the United States seemed relatively weaker than it had been at the end of World War II, the country still had a unique source of power to bring to bear. Beyond using military power “to do things and control others,” Nye later explained, “to get others to do what they otherwise would not,” the United States could draw on its soft power—its noncoercive power—to cement its leadership position in the world.

Spending speed bumps hit China’s massive Belt and Road project


It was always going to be about the numbers. In the first half of 2018, China’s foreign direct investment in the Belt and Road Initiative dropped 15% compared to the same period last year. Spending edged down to US$7.68 billion, which was 12.3% of total FDI from January to June, the Ministry of Commerce stated. “Newly signed contracts amounted to $47.79 billion,” the ministry confirmed without revealing further details. The slowdown comes at a time when Beijing is being dragged deeper into a trade war with the United States while realigning a cooling economy and pushing ahead with the “Made in China 2025” policy, which revolves around advanced technology.

The Freeman Chair China Report, August 2018

Dear Friends:

We hope you are enjoying your summer. We are happy to share with you the latest edition of the Freeman Chair's newsletter. The Freeman Chair China Report provides updates on our recent activities, research, publications, and media engagement. Among the news: In August, Deputy Director Scott Kennedy wrote a piece in the journal Foreign Affairshighlighting strategies other than tariffs to protect America’s technology industry from China. In June, Dr. Kennedy contributed to an article on investment restrictions on China, and in May he wrote an essay on U.S.-China trade divides. In May, the Freeman Chair hosted Forty Years of U.S.-China Relations, an event featuring discussions with former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen and Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai. The Freeman Chair also hosted a series of events on President Xi Jinping’s “Three Battles,” focusing on credit risk and China’s anti-poverty campaign. This season’s newsletter highlights a report written by Freeman Chair Christopher K. Johnson on U.S.-China trade relations and the importance for the U.S. to operationalize red lines in the current trade dispute.

Why Japan Truly Failed at Pearl Harbor (And What China May Learn From It)

by James Holmes

In short, this is a rival who seems to have learned from Yamamoto: don’t jab a sleeping giant, and if you do, don’t steel his resolve. Let him slumber until it’s late in the contest, and you may prevail. China may have learned the true lessons of Pearl Harbor. Let’s do the same—and get ready. 

In short, this is a rival who seems to have learned from Yamamoto: don’t jab a sleeping giant, and if you do, don’t steel his resolve. Let him slumber until it’s late in the contest, and you may prevail. China may have learned the true lessons of Pearl Harbor. Let’s do the same—and get ready. If we do, those who fell here seventy-five years ago will have rendered good service once again.

As we afford our hallowed forebears the remembrance they deserve, let’s also try to learn from what transpired here seventy-five years ago, and see what it tells us about America’s future as an Asia-Pacific sea power.

Latent Uzbek Nationalism

Russia Considers Its Next Moves in Syria

To reap the rewards of its investment in Syria and to stabilize the conflict before it escalates further, Russia will try to implement a risky multipronged plan, the success of which is far from certain.

As part of that plan, Moscow will try to secure help from the United States and European Union in funding a reconstruction effort in Syria, though Russia's desire to keep Syrian President Bashar al Assad in power will be a sticking point.

Moscow will also try to prevent the conflict in Syria from giving way to an international war by mediating between Israel and Iran and by balancing the priorities of the Syrian and Turkish governments in Idlib province.

Ukrainian company debuts simple anti-tank drone

By: Kelsey Atherton 

Military airplanes started as unarmed scouts in 1909. By 1911, pilot Lieutenant Giulio Gavotti, flying a plane for the Kingdom of Italy, decided to bring some grenades with him for a mission above Libya, and then drop them near a Turkish camp target below. While Gavotti’s flight didn’t cause any casualties, it set the stage for subsequent rapid adaptations of a new form of flying scout into a new kind of flying attack. Consider, then, the “Demon” aircraft, from Ukrainian dronemaker Matrix UAV. Taking an existing quadcopter model, the Demon modification attaches an RPG to the fuselage, which makes it roughly the 21st century equivalent of a satchel full of explosives stuffed into the cockpit.

Countries Most at Risk From a Currency Crisis

What do the Turkish lira, the Iranian rial, the Russian ruble, the Indian rupee, the Argentine peso, the Chilean peso, the Chinese yuan and the South African rand all have in common? They’ve all declined steadily this year, and some have depreciated dramatically in the past two weeks alone. The Turkish lira, for example, dropped steeply late last week. At nearly $200 billion, almost 50 percent of Turkey’s gross external debt is denominated in dollars. (Turkey’s General Directorate of Public Finance, which, unlike BIS, accounts for financial borrowers, puts that figure at nearly 60 percent.) But this isn’t the whole story. The whole story is that each of these countries is sitting on a ticking time bomb of U.S. dollar-denominated debt.

This story has been long in the making. In the 1990s, many countries began to accumulate large amounts of debt denominated in U.S. dollars. It was an effective way to kick-start economic activity, and so long as their own currencies remained relatively strong against the dollar, it was fairly risk free. From 1990 to 2000, dollar-denominated debt tripled from $642 billion to $2.17 trillion.

What Does the New Caspian Sea Agreement Mean For the Energy Market?

A landmark agreement signed between the Caspian Sea states of Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan is the culmination of over two decades of negotiations, but it won't resolve all the lingering issues between the countries. The division and distribution of energy resources within the Caspian Sea will remain a major sticking point, requiring further negotiations that Russia and Iran will seek to prolong. Russia, in particular, will work on the sidelines of the agreement to prevent projects like the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline from materializing and potentially compromising its energy market position in Europe.

It's Trump's war ... and it's not going well

By Peter Bergen,

Troops caught in conflict of Afghan violence 03:28

Peter Bergen is CNN's national security analyst, a vice president at New America, and a professor of practice at Arizona State University. He is writing a book about the Trump administration's national security decision-making. (CNN)One year ago, President Donald Trump announced what he said was his new strategy for the Afghan war. He said he had become convinced that the only thing worse than staying in Afghanistan was pulling out. In a rare admission that he had changed his mind, Trump said: "My original instinct was to pull out, and historically, I like following my instincts. But all my life I've heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office."

Venezuela’s Oil Industry Is in Deep Trouble, but Things Could Get Even Worse

Lisa Viscidi, Nate Graham

Venezuela’s flailing oil industry has helped prop up global energy prices even as Saudi Arabia and Russia open the spigots and global oil demand remains robust. Though oil prices have recovered from their lows during the price collapse in 2015, Venezuelan output has since seen an incredible decline of 1 million barrels per day. The drop in oil production is further squeezing the Venezuelan economy, which faces critical shortages of goods and ballooning inflation that is expected to reach an astounding 1 million percent this year.

But could Venezuela’s oil production decline even more steeply? Three evolving developments will largely determine the answer, which would push Venezuela closer to the brink: whether creditors can seize assets in compensation for default; whether conditions for oil workers on the ground worsen, leading large numbers to abandon their jobs; and whether the United States and other countries impose additional sanctions.

Pentagon Prohibits Personnel From Using GPS Services in All ‘Operational Areas’


The device-agnostic policy applies to smartphones, tablets, fitness trackers, smartwatches and all other applications with geolocation features. The Defense Department on Monday issued an order barring all personnel from using geolocation services on their personal and government-issued devices in all “operational areas.” The policy, which applies to smartphones, tablets, fitness trackers, smartwatches and all other applications with geolocation features, goes into effect immediately. “The rapidly evolving market of devices, applications, and services with geolocation capabilities … presents significant risk to Department of Defense personnel both on- and off-duty, and to our military operations globally,” Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan wrote Friday in a memo to top Pentagon brass.

With hacking of US utilities, Russia could move from cyberespionage toward cyberwar

Frank J. Cilluffo and Sharon L. Cardash

Even before the revelation July 23 that Russian government hackers had penetrated the computer systems of U.S. electric utilities and could have caused blackouts, government agencies and electricity industry leaders were working to protect U.S. customers and society as a whole. These developments, alarming as they might seem, are not new. But they highlight an important distinction of conflict in cyberspace: between probing and attacking. Russian hackers who penetrated hundreds of U.S. utilities, manufacturing plants and other facilities last year gained access by using the most conventional of phishing tools, tricking staffers into entering passwords, officials say.

After the Bitcoin Boom: Hard Lessons for Cryptocurrency Investors

By Nathaniel Popper and Su-Hyun Lee

SAN FRANCISCO — Pete Roberts of Nottingham, England, was one of the many risk-takers who threw their savings into cryptocurrencies when prices were going through the roof last winter. Now, eight months later, the $23,000 he invested in several digital tokens is worth about $4,000, and he is clearheaded about what happened. “I got too caught up in the fear of missing out and trying to make a quick buck,” he said last week. “The losses have pretty much left me financially ruined.” Mr. Roberts, 28, has a lot of company. After the latest round of big price drops, many cryptocurrencies have given back all of the enormous gains they experienced last winter. The value of all outstanding digital tokens has fallen by about $600 billion, or 75 percent, since the peak in January, according to data from the website coinmarketcap.com.

​How weaponized AI creates a new breed of cyber-attacks

By Dan Patterson
Source Link

TechRepublic's Dan Patterson sat down with Jiyoung Jang, Research Scientist, CCSI Group at IBM Research, Marc Ph. Stoecklin, Principal RSM & Manager, CCSI Group at IBM Research and Dhilung Kirat, Research Scientist, CCSI Group at IBM Research. The researchers have discovered invasive and targeted artificial intelligence-powered cyber-attacks triggered by geolocation and facial recognition. The following is an edited transcript of the conversation.

The Art of War What the German and American Armies Can Learn from Each Other for the Education of Future Field Grade Officers

Lt. Col. Dominik J. Schellenberger, German Army

Professor Brian McAllister Linn of Texas A&M, author of Elvis’s Army: Cold War GIs and the Atomic Battlefield, conducts a seminar 4 May 2018 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, with the 2017/18 Art of War Scholars on the U.S. Army’s post-World War II transformation to an “atomic army.”  hat experience and history teach is this—that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.

—Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

FBI Issues Warning About The Potential For A Global ATM ‘Cash-Out’

By Cyber Thieves
Source Link

The FBI this morning/August 17, 2018, issued an alert, warning banks of “an imminent threat to their ATM-cash-machines,” which could allow cyber thieves to fraudulently withdraw cash in a global ‘black Friday,’ for the darker digital angels of our nature. According to Yahoo News, the FBI issued a confidential alert, warning international banks that criminals are plotting a concerted, global malware attack on ATM cash machines in the next few days.” The FBI warned about a “highly choreographed [cyber] fraud scheme known as “jackpotting,” in which cyber thieves hack a bank, or payment card processor; and, use cloned cards at cash machines around the world,” to fraudulently steal millions of dollars with the click of a mouse. 

Origins of World War I

The Web is still a DARPA weapon.

Stephen J. Lukasik, who was Deputy Director and Director of DARPA at the time, explained in Why the Arpanet Was BuiltThe goal was to exploit new computer technologies to meet the needs of military command and control against nuclear threats, achieve survivable control of US nuclear forces, and improve military tactical and management decision making. If you know the history of that period, with the ongoing Cold War, you know that the Internet has been a great geopolitical success, beyond any hope. The International Network became more than a medium, it is a message in itself, a message of friendship and cultural collaboration between Nations.

A message against the internationalism of Communism that back then was fighting for the “abolition of the state”.

The Evolution of War

War evolves. From technology and tactics to the strategic imperatives shaping the future of conflict, we explore the evolution of war since World War I in this episode of the Stratfor Podcast. Stratfor Senior Military Analyst Omar Lamrani and Director of Analyst Operation Paul Floyd join Editorial Director Ben Sheen to explore why and how military strategies have changed over the last 100 years and what war between nations will look like in the future.

Milton Friedman: A Man of the Past?

by Frank Li

Milton Friedman was arguably the most influential and controversial American economist. As a self-proclaimed disciple of Adam Smith and Thomas Jefferson, he “religiously” preached for freedoms and individualism, especially later in his life. In this post, I will briefly assess his works, with a clear conclusion that Dr. Friedman is mostly a man of the past.

1. Who is Milton Friedman?

Below is an excerpt from Wikipedia - Milton Friedman.