25 August 2018

Missed Opportunities for Progress on India’s Ports Bill

By Aman Thakker

During the recently concluded monsoon session of India’s Parliament, the Lok Sabha, or lower house of Parliament, passed 21 bills, including amendments to the various Goods and Services Tax Acts and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. However, one key reform bill, which has been pending before the body since 2016, was not considered or passed. That bill is the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2016, which would overhaul the management of the major ports of India. This reform on major ports is crucial given the impact India’s inefficient ports have on government priorities such as Make in India and improving ease of doing business. While the bill aims to improve efficiency and ensure rapid and transparent decision-making by transforming how the ports are managed, progress has not yet been made on this bill.

The meaning of the falling Rupee at 70

By Ajit Ranade

When the exchange rate between the US dollar and the Indian rupee crossed 70, the headlines screamed “the rupee hits an all time low”. There is melodrama in such headlines, mostly fuelled by the rhetoric of political parties. It is implied that when the rupee “weakens” against the dollar, it is a loss of national prestige and of economic power. Perhaps, even the word “weakens” is a giveaway. For how can a national symbol, the currency and its international value be allowed to weaken? Isn’t that a failure of the government of the day? This was the campaign rhetoric used back in 2013, when the exchange rate had moved (or “collapsed”) from 54 to 68. The UPA government was severely castigated for mismanaging the exchange rate. Five years later, it was the BJP led NDA which was at the receiving end of such jibes. Such political brickbats going back and forth just fuels tempers, and has nothing whatsoever to do with economic reasoning. One of the reasons for this time’s gleeful rhetoric was because of a prediction that the NDA government would soon strengthen the rupee to rise to 40 to the dollar.

Malaysia Can’t Decide if Zakir Naik Is a Preacher or a Terrorist


GEORGE TOWN, Malaysia—It was a swelteringly hot afternoon in George Town, the capital city in the northern Malaysian state of Penang, but that didn’t dissuade the hundreds of Muslim protestersgathered outside the Masjid Jamek Shaik Eusoff mosque after Friday prayers on July 20.
The protesters, all men and mostly members of Islamic groups like Institut al-Qayyim and Perkasa, were demonstrating in support of Zakir Naik, a hugely popular Islamic preacher. According to his fans, he’s a respected Muslim scholar who belongs in Malaysia. The Indian government, however, says he’s been spreading hate speech, laundering money, and funding terrorism. Penang Deputy Chief Minister Ramasamy Palanisamy wants him deported back to his native India to face trial.

The Conflicting Assessments of the Trends in Combat in Afghanistan: 2014-2018

By Anthony H. Cordesman

The fighting in Ghazni has highlighted the fact that the U.S. has now entered its seventeenth year of war in Afghanistan and that there is no clear end to the war in sight. At present, there seems to be little prospect that a combination of Afghan government, U.S., and allied forces can defeat the Taliban and other insurgent and terrorist forces, or will be defeated by them. The conflict has become a war of attrition which can drag on indefinitely and can only be ended through some form of peace negotiation, U.S. withdrawal, or the collapse of either the Afghan government or threat forces – a transition from a war of attrition to a war of exhaustion by one side.

The Geopolitical Implications of Imran Khan's Rise in Pakistan

By Ankit Panda and Prashanth Parameswaran

The Diplomat‘s Ankit Panda (@nktpnd) and Prashanth Parameswaran (@TheAsianist) discuss the challenges, foreign and domestic, that Pakistan’s new prime minister is likely to face. Click the arrow to the right to listen. If you’re an iOS or Mac user, you can also subscribe to The Diplomat’s Asia Geopolitics podcast on iTunes here. If you use Android, you can subscribe on TuneIn here. If you like the podcast and have suggestions for content, please leave a review and rating on iTunes and TuneIn.

India’s Answer to the Belt and Road: A Road Map for South Asia


Asia has a massive and growing need for infrastructure. There is tremendous potential for cross-border cooperation on connectivity and infrastructure development. The Asian Development Bank estimates that between 2016 and 2030 developing countries in the region will need to spend $1.7 trillion per year to build the infrastructure required to “maintain its growth momentum, eradicate poverty, and respond to climate change.”1 Japan and the United States have been among the primary donors for development projects in Asia since World War II, although other countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom (UK) have played a greater role in recent years as well.2 Japan in particular has provided significant development assistance to South Asian countries, including India. Meanwhile, China’s emergence as a regional strategic and economic actor has reshaped the prospects for connectivity in Asia. Beijing has demonstrated a newfound sense of political will to undertake regional connectivity initiatives, supported by the country’s surplus capital, a shift that has changed the security environment in India’s neighborhood.

How China Is Polarized by America Image Credit: DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro How China Is Polarized by America

By Xie Tao

The Trump administration fired the first shot in the U.S.-China trade war. Thus one would expect most Chinese to view their government’s retaliatory measures as justified and to support those measures. Yet commentaries in Chinese mass media clearly indicate that Chinese elites are sharply divided over how to respond to Washington. At one end are those who ardently support tit-for-tat. Many assert that the economic warfare is an integral part of an emerging U.S. strategy to undermine the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. They point out that Washington increasingly perceives China as a serious threat to American supremacy and the U.S.-led liberal international order. They believe that any unilateral compromise will only lead to a slippery slope of harsher demands from Washington.

China’s Mass Internment Camps Have No Clear End in Sight


Last summer, online links between China’s western Xinjiang region and the rest of the world began to go dark. Uighurs, who make up the largest ethnic group in Xinjiang, started cutting friends and family members abroad from their contacts on WeChat, the dominant online communication platform in China. Many asked their family members not to call them by phone. One family I spoke to smuggled a final communication through the chat function integrated into a video game. In 2009, the government had shut down the internet entirely for almost a year, but this was something different. Entire minority groups were cutting themselves off from the outside world, one contact deletion at a time.

Can China Recharge Its Population Growth?

China has recently redoubled its efforts to boost its population, using both carrot and stick. Some Chinese provinces are offering tax benefits, housing and education subsidies, and longer paternity and maternity leave to lift birth rates, according to a report in The New York Times. In some other provinces, abortion clinics face new restrictions, and it is becoming more difficult for women to access them. Chinese courts are joining the effort by trying to dissuade couples from divorcing, and enforcing cooling-off periods, as The Economist reports.

China is hacking the same countries it trades with

By: Justin Lynch  

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. Chinese universities like Tsinghua, known as the MIT of China, are frequent hubs of hacking activity by the government, according to Recorded Future.

Applying Long War Theory to Insurgencies

By Scott Stewart VP of Tactical Analysis, Stratfor

In contrast to conventional Western military strategists, insurgent commanders seek to prolong battles to ultimately wear down stronger opponents. There are strong parallels between what the Islamic State is currently experiencing and the situation it faced when it was a largely guerrilla movement in 2010. The Taliban might make overtures regarding negotiations, but they are unlikely to truly pursue talks because they believe they can outlast the Americans in Afghanistan.

First Greece, Now Turkey? Is Turkey entering a deep financial crisis just as Greece exits one?

By Carsten Hesse

One can somewhat compare the boom times and overheating of the economy between 2000 and 2008 in Greece with the 2010-2018 period in Turkey. The risk to watch is whether Greece reverses reforms to such an extent that markets take fright again. Roughly 10 years after the start of the great financial crisis, Greece is the fifth and last Eurozone country to leave its bailout program. In future, Greece will have to get by without new loans from its official lenders (i.e., the International Monetary Fund, European Stability Mechanism, European Commission and European Central Bank). Instead, it has to attract money exclusively from private sources. As Greece exits from its financial crisis and has achieved a measure of economic growth again, the Turkish government must feel uncomfortable. After all, there are important parallels in the economic policy pursued by both governments (Greece then, Turkey now):

How Far Can South Korea's Indigenous Defense Industry Go?

By Robert Farley

A recent Jane’s Defence Weekly profile by Jon Grevatt investigated the ROK’s defense industry in depth. From a low base in the late 1960s, South Korea has progressively developed a sophisticated, productive arms industry to serve its own forces and, increasingly, the export market. South Korean exports have steadily increased since the early 2000s, and now cover a range of high-technology weapons systems delivered to customers around the world. But there are risks on the horizon.

The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of Chem­i­cal Weapons

By Zach Dorf­man for Carnegie Coun­cil for Ethics in In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs

In this ar­ti­cle, Zach Dorf­man de­scribes how chem­i­cal weapons have been used in al­most every decade since Ger­man troops first re­leased chlo­rine gas in an at­tack at Ypres, Bel­gium, on 22 April 1915. He also high­lights how af­ter a few decades of rel­a­tive non-use, chem­i­cal weapon at­tacks have again ex­ploded on to the scene and why their oc­cur­rence will likely con­tinue un­abated. This ar­ti­cle was orig­i­nally pub­lished by the Carnegie Coun­cil for Ethics in In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs on 7 Au­gust 2018. Im­age cour­tesy of Ryan An­der­son/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Af­ter the ad­vent of nu­clear weapons, the two su­per­pow­ers sud­denly pos­sessed the abil­ity to al­ter the very con­di­tions for life. Hi­roshima and Na­gasaki shook the foun­da­tions of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions. Even the most prag­matic and in­ci­sive schol­ars of power, like Hans Mor­gen­thau, thought world gov­ern­ment was now an ur­gent moral ne­ces­sity (if not soon ac­tu­ally in the off­ing).

he Greek Financial Crisis May Be Over, but Greece, and the Eurozone, Will Never Be the Same

After three consecutive bailout programs, the Greek economy is growing again. But structural problems, ranging from state bureaucracy to tax evasion, remain extant.
Greece's massive debt, which currently stands at above 180 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), will be a national burden for decades. Greece also faces the long-term consequences of mass emigration and a subsequent brain drain, which will make it harder for the country's economy to recover.

How Trump's Tariffs Would Disrupt the North American Auto Industry

The United States could announce tariffs or quotas on imports of finished vehicles and auto parts in the next six months, which could very well raise the price of vehicles in the United States.  Because of tightly integrated supply chains and extensive reliance on the U.S. market, automakers in Canada and Mexico will suffer as a result of any U.S. trade barriers that are imposed. 
The United States will use the threat of auto tariffs to negotiate stricter rules of origin requirements in the NAFTA talks. But even if Washington gets its way, it may still use tariffs to dissuade future automotive investments in Mexico. Tariffs and NAFTA concessions could threaten Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's 2019 re-election bid and cause Mexico's government to hold off on heavier social spending. 

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. 

Erdogan Is Poised to Reform the Turkish Lira


Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on his countrymen to “save the honor of the Turkish lira” by selling privately held foreign currency and banking in the local currency instead. His plea came a day after the lira’s value plunged to a record low on Aug. 12. If he could prevent Turks from fleeing en masse to the more stable dollar or euro, he must have thought, he could buy time to right the lira’s reputation and fix his country’s monetary woes. Unfortunately, his gambit won’t work. He’ll likely have to resort to bigger reforms of Turkey’s currency next, which is almost certain to cause more chaos.

Using Social Media and Social Network Analysis in Law Enforcement

by John S. Hollywood, Michael J. D. Vermeer, Dulani Woods, Sean E. Goodison, Brian A. Jackson

0.9 MB 

Technical Details » 

Research Questions 
How should social media data and social network analysis be used in law enforcement? 
What security, privacy, and civil rights protections should be in place to ensure the appropriate and sustainable application of these technologies in law enforcement? 
What needs does law enforcement have with respect to social media and social network analysis? 

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.

Why Cyberattacks Don’t Work as Weapons

By Myriam Dunn Cavelty

Digitalisation will fundamentally alter many aspects of our lives – in many cases for the better. However, our increasing dependence on computers and networks for data exchange and storage is creating new vulnerabilities for both individuals and society. The key word here is: cybersecurity. This encompasses more than just technical solutions: it involves not only security in cyberspace, but also security that is influenced by cyberspace.

Cyberattacks in political conflicts

Cyberspace is a Consensual Hallucination

By Robert Dewar for Center for Security Studies (CSS)

Robert Dewar contends that cyberspace does not exist. As a result, it is a misconception for states to treat cyberspace as an existent domain of warfare alongside land, sea, air and outer space. In response, politicians and academics should acknowledge that this virtual domain is just that—virtual. By doing so, states will see they already have the norms and legal frameworks in place to deal with a range of cybersecurity threats and risks. Cyberspace – an important part of modern life and the source of numerous modern security concerns – is being treated as a domain where the usual rules do not apply, a position stemming from a fundamental misconception: cyberspace does not exist.

Internet of Things (IoT): Cheat sheet

By Teena Maddox 

The Internet of Things, which is commonly called IoT, refers to the billions of devices around the world that are connected to the internet through sensors or Wi-Fi. It's basically a giant network of objects that connect to the internet. Each device collects data, and this data, known collectively as big data, is exchanged and analyzed. IoT-connected smart devices can be an everyday item such as a phone, car, watch, washing machine, or refrigerator. IoT devices can also be components of machines and systems, such as on an oil rig or airplane engine. As costs go down, IoT is more accessible than ever. Gartner estimates that about 8.4 billion IoT devices were in use in 2017, up 31% from the previous year, and it will hit 20.4 billion by 2020. Total world spending on IoT hit about $2 trillion in 2017.

U.S. cyberstrategy needs updating, but this isn’t the way to do it.


Quietly, in a week dominated by other news, the Trump administration has taken the United States’ purported rules for using cyberweapons and thrown them out the window. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order on Aug. 15 reversing a set of classified guidelines “that had mapped out an elaborate interagency process that must be followed before U.S. use of cyberattacks, particularly those geared at foreign adversaries.” The change, a Trump administration official said, represents “an offensive step forward.”

Under Threat of Global Cyberattacks, Cybersecurity in Manufacturing Industry Must Keep Pace With Digital Transformation

by Christopher Morales

The digital transformation of manufacturing goes by many names — Industry 4.0, Smart Manufacturing, The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Cyber spies like to think of it as the Mother Lode. The potential advancements arising from the interconnection of everything from manufacturing design to maintenance and repair to enterprise business and supply chain systems are exciting. The ripple effects are wildly disruptive — we’ll be able to produce consumer goods and build airplanes in ways we never imagined. But with the possibilities come risks. As more equipment, processes, suppliers, and people are connected online together to form the digital thread connecting everything inside factories and extending across the value chain, the cyber attack surface grows exponentially.

Downloadable Guns and Other 3-D Printing Security Threats

by Troy D. Smith, Trevor Johnston, J. Luke Irwin

Just hours before most Americans were expected to be able to legally access blueprints for 3D-printed guns, a federal judge in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday stopping release of the blueprints until a hearing Aug. 10. U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik issued the order in response to a lawsuit filed by eight states against the federal government to block a settlement allowing blueprints for 3D-printed guns to be downloaded from the Internet. Downloading the blueprints would allow people to circumvent background checks and open the door to do-it-yourself firearms that could bypass point-of-sale controls that have traditionally been used to limit access to firearms and other dangerous devices.

What Does "Ethical" AI Mean for Open Source?

by Glyn Moody

It would be an understatement to say that artificial intelligence (AI) is much in the news these days. It's widely viewed as likely to usher in the next big step-change in computing, but a recent interesting development in the field has particular implications for open source. It concerns the rise of "ethical" AI. In October 2016, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs and, in the UK, the House of Commons' Science and Technology Committee, all released reports on how to prepare for the future of AI, with ethical issues being an important component of those reports. At the beginning of last year, the Asilomar AI Principles were published, followed by the Montreal Declaration for a Responsible Development of Artificial Intelligence, announced in November 2017.



IT WAS A perfect sunny summer afternoon in Copenhagen when the world’s largest shipping conglomerate began to lose its mind. The headquarters of A.P. Møller-Maersk sits beside the breezy, cobblestoned esplanade of Copenhagen’s harbor. A ship’s mast carrying the Danish flag is planted by the building’s northeastern corner, and six stories of blue-tinted windows look out over the water, facing a dock where the Danish royal family parks its yacht. In the building’s basement, employees can browse a corporate gift shop, stocked with Maersk-branded bags and ties, and even a rare Lego model of the company’s gargantuan Triple-E container ship, a vessel roughly as large as the Empire State Building laid on its side, capable of carrying another Empire State Building–sized load of cargo stacked on top of it.

Infographic Of The Day: Is Cryptocurrency In The Mother Of All Bubbles?

Earlier this year the total U.S. stock market cap surpassed $30 trillion. It then lost more than $1 trillion in a single month. Apple might very well become the first company worth over $1 trillion in the modern era. The U.S. national debt surpassed $21 trillion, and the deficit for next year is expected to add another $1 trillion. But just how big are these numbers? Can we get some perspective? A trillion here, a trillion there—pretty soon you’re talking about real money. We decided to clarify things with one simple and easy to understand visualization of bubbles. We found the total value of each major market in the world, everything from brand new cryptocurrencies to sovereign debt. We stacked ranked the combined total value of each category and called out interesting subsets. We color-coded each type and added a little narrative on the right for easy reference. Categorizing each asset as a “bubble” can make you wonder—what if one of these pops?

Are Spheres of Influence Still In? The EU and External Security

By Pawel Zerka for European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)

How willing is the EU to regard its neighboring regions as within its sphere of influence? To help provide an answer, Pawl Zerka explores the attitudes of EU member states towards the Union’s involvement as a security provider in the Western Balkans, eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia. He also highlights how these attitudes show that the EU’s overall security priorities very much align with those of Germany’s current government. This article was originally published by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) on 10 August 2018. The security perceptions scorecard highlights the EU's ability and willingness to act as a security provider, depending on the region