15 September 2018

India, Russia likely to sign warship deal at Modi-Putin meet next month

Rahul Singh
India and Russia are expected to hammer out a deal for four more Krivak/Talwar class stealth frigates for the navy in October when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and president Vlamidir Putin meet in New Delhi for an annual summit. India and Russia are expected to hammer out a deal for four more Krivak/Talwar class stealth frigates for the navy in October when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and president Vlamidir Putin meet in New Delhi for an annual summit between the two countries,two senior officials familiar with the matter, said on Tuesday. Two of the warships will be constructed at the Yantar Shipyard in Kaliningrad and the remaining two at the Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL).

Vivekananda Is To Spirituality What Einstein Is To Modern Physics

by David Frawley

Swami Vivekananda’s famous talk at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893 was monumental on several levels, not all of which have been properly understood. His was an epoch making revival and global expansion of Yoga, Vedanta, Hinduism and India as part of a single profound message for all humanity. He represented India’s vast ancient dharmic civilisation in a modern rebirth, renewal and transformation that continues to the present day. Vivekananda started the modern world Yoga movement, which people in the West most identify him for. His Yoga-Vedanta teachings quickly spread throughout North America and Europe, and became the basis for the new experiential spirituality of the modern age. His work pioneered a new study of consciousness and self-realisation along with yogic practices of asana, pranayama, mantra and meditation, and yogic ways of healing. He made Yoga appealing to both science and spirituality, including cosmology, psychology, medicine and philosophy – taking it far beyond the old constricting boundaries of religious discourse.

When Sri Aurobindo Invoked The Strength Of India

by Sri Aurobindo

From 1900 onwards, Sri Aurobindo began contacting revolutionary groups in Maharashtra and Bengal, and tried to coordinate their action with the help of his brother, Barindra Kumar Ghose, and Jatindranath Banerjee; at Sri Aurobindo’s initiative, P Mitter, Surendranath Tagore, Chittaranjan Das and Sister Nivedita soon formed the first secret council for revolutionary activities in Bengal. Although an effective coordination between the various groups remained elusive, some of them, such as P Mitter’s Anusilan Samiti, played a considerable part in spreading the Nationalist ideal. Their chief weapon was the establishment of centres in numerous towns and villages, where young men were given intellectual, moral and physical training, and were inspired to work for India’s liberation.

A Cheer for Trump’s Outreach to the Taliban

By Douglas Lute and Denis McDonough

In July, The Times reported that the Trump administration directed the State Department to open direct talks with the Afghan Taliban, to see whether formal talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban are possible. Taliban officials soon claimed to have met with American diplomats, an assertion that American officials have not publicly commented on. This week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced while on his way to Pakistan that Zalmay Khalilzad, a former ambassador to Afghanistan, would become an adviser on achieving reconciliationthere.

China’s partners should not turn a blind eye to fate of Uighurs

China’s partners should not turn a blind eye to fate of Uighurs If governments will not act, there is more the corporate sector could do Xinjiang, where a reported 1m Uighurs and other Chinese Muslims are being held in extrajudicial camps, is the centrepiece of Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative © Getty Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) Save Save to myFT AUGUST 28, 2018 Print this page All too often over the past century, when repressive governments have committed egregious acts, the rest of the world — because of ignorance, fear or greed — has simply shrugged. China’s treatment of its ethnic Uighur population and other Muslim minority groups should not be allowed to become one of those moments. In the past month, the US congressional-executive commission on China and a UN committee on racial discrimination have both cited “numerous and credible reports” that as many as 1m Uighurs and other Chinese Muslims are being held in extrajudicial prison camps in the western province of Xinjiang. 

China Can’t Afford a Cashless Society


As payment by phone accelerates in China, the reach of the biggest digital corporations are making its banking regulators uneasy. In Chinese cities, paying via the ubiquitous WeChat platform is now so common that vendors often have trouble making change for cash, or sometimes refuse to take it altogether. That’s prompted pushback from the state-owned banks. Anhui province’s branch of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), recently began a working group to tackle the problem. Wang Yazhou, a senior banking official in Hefei, the province’s capital, commented a thorough cleanup was needed because refusing cash payments would be likely to have a very negative impact.

Trade War Update: China Trade Unfazed By Trump Tariffs

Kenneth Rapoza

So far, China trade to the U.S. knows no bounds. In fact, the U.S. is faced with a record deficit with the Chinese. Companies, meanwhile, are shipping back and forth like crazy to avoid tariff lock-in dates, and the U.S. economy is so hot that even the #resistance at The New York Times admitted it this week that there were at least three reasons for optimism.  The Trump vs Xi Jinping trade war has not harmed China’s trade economy, based on recent trade data for August and the first week of September. Total trade activity climbed 12.9% on an annual basis in August in yuan terms, up from 12.5% in July. That marked the 22nd month of growth, Panjiva research analysts said this week.

Why Idlib Matters

By George Friedman 

Sometimes the smallest and most obscure places generate the most concern among major powers.  The province of Idlib is in the northwestern part of Syria, near the Mediterranean Sea and the border with Turkey. Ordinarily, the world ought to have little interest in who controls it. But in geopolitics, sometimes the smallest and most obscure places generate the most concern among major powers – and Idlib is doing just that. The future of the province may itself not be a global issue, but it has become the site of a showdown among Russia, Turkey, Iran, the United States and Syria, with the Kurds thrown in for good measure, forcing them to reconsider who their allies and enemies are. This is a story of great power politics and thus the global balance of power. Idlib is just backdrop.

On the Anniversary of 9/11, We Reflect on the War Against Jihadism

By Scott Stewart

Seventeen years after the 9/11 attacks — and 30 years after the founding of al Qaeda — there is no end in sight to the wars against jihadists. Like communist groups in the 20th century, jihadist groups are likely to split further in the 21st century due to differences in personality, theology and vision. Because military might can only go so far in defeating an ideology, governments such as the United States will use military force to limit the power and reach of the jihadists in an effort to defeat them ideologically.

The U.S. Would Share in the Pain of Auto Tariffs

U.S. tariffs on imported vehicles and their components, possibly coming in the next six months, would drive up prices for cars and light trucks on the domestic market. Heavy tariffs would raise U.S. auto prices in general, but automakers that rely on imported vehicles would be hit hardest.  The tariffs would erode sales of more affordable vehicles produced outside North America by companies such as Hyundai, Volkswagen and BMW and could stall these companies' plans to expand their U.S. market share until at least the mid-2020s.  Considering domestic political factors, including the next presidential election in 2020, the current administration may choose less disruptive options, such as exempting NAFTA members from tariffs.

Here's What the New U.S. Strategy in Syria Means For Russia

The United States is expanding its goal in Syria to include the full withdrawal of Iranian forces from Syria and the replacement of the current government in Damascus. A more assertive U.S. approach to the Syrian government and the Iranian presence in Syria is bound to lead to more friction between Moscow and Washington. Concerns about possible chemical weapons and refugees involved in an offensive in Idlib further limit the potential for the United States and Russia to reach an understanding.

Balkan Futures: Three Scenarios for 2025

What will the West­ern Balkans look like in 2025? Will we wit­ness Re­pub­lika Srp­ska de­clare in­de­pen­dence, a wors­en­ing of re­la­tions be­tween Kosovo and Ser­bia, and the rise of eth­nic ten­sions – or will we cel­e­brate Mon­tene­gro and Ser­bia join­ing the EU? The pa­per pre­sents three con­trast­ing sce­nar­ios on the fu­ture tra­jec­tory of the re­gion – a best-case, a mod­er­ate and a worst-case sce­nario. It also high­lights 1) key trends that are un­likely to change by 2025, but will play a key role in the re­gion; and 2) six pos­si­ble game-chang­ing fac­tors that will in­flu­ence pol­i­cy­mak­ing re­lated to the West­ern Balkans, and thus how its fu­ture will un­fold.

Brexit, Defence, and the EU’s Quest for ‘Strategic Autonomy’

By Nick Witney

There is more joy in heaven (or so we are told, on the best available authority) over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine already-righteous folk. On that basis, fatted calves in the vicinity of Brussels should have been keeping a very low profile as the British, after long years decrying and obstructing European defence integration, have rediscovered an unconditional commitment to Europe’s security, and pressed for the closest possible post-Brexit partnership. Yet the European Union negotiators’ response to this change of heart has been less than rapturous – and, in the matter of the Galileo satellite project, frankly disobliging. They seem unmoved by the growing likelihood that Brexit will do major damage to cross-Channel defence research and industry cooperation, and thus to the EU’s own aspiration to build Europe’s strength in these areas. That aspiration is part of the wider ambition that Europe should increasingly strive to stand on its own feet when it comes to defence and security – ‘strategic autonomy’, in the jargon. So why the EU coolness towards the British overtures?

Israel allocates 2.7 mln USD to protect essential factories from cyber attacks

JERUSALEM, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) --The Israeli government on Tuesday announced to allocate 10 million new shekels (about 2.7 million U.S. dollars) to support essential industrial factories to improve defense against cyber attacks. The announcement was made by the Israel National Cyber Directorate of the Prime Minister's Office. One of the dangers facing sensitive industrial plants is cyber attack that could disrupt their operations. In the case of factories dealing with hazardous materials, such attack could have dangerous environmental and security consequences. Israel has not yet reported a successful attack directed at its industrial infrastructures, but there are fears of such attacks, mainly by hostile elements, including enemy states. The focus of the program is to ensure the continuity of economic functioning in times of emergency, as it emphasizes the role of cyber defense as a central element in dealing with emergency scenarios.

Counterterror Costs Since 911: $2.8 TRILLION And Climbing


WASHINGTON: After a small group of forlorn men huddled in the middle of Afghanistan succeeded in their plan to strike the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon, America declared a global war against them. That war has sucked almost $3 trillion dollars from the US, according to a study by the respected Stimson Center here. That figure includes expenditures for homeland security efforts, international programs, and the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria — and it does not include fiscal 2018. (In their explanation of what they considered to be CT spending, the study group admits their estimate is “imprecise” in part because “it is subject to problematic definitions and accounting procedures.”)

A 10-degree shift in Syria strategy

Ranj Alaaldin, Jason Fritz, Steven Heydemann, Bruce Jones, and Michael E. O’Hanlon

With an all-out fight for Syria’s northwest province of Idlib looming, if not already beginning, the potential is growing for yet another round of immense human tragedy within the country. The consequences for regional stability, and for the possible future emergence or re-emergence of various extremist groups and associated sanctuaries, could be severe. Future events may soon require an updating of our analysis and ideas, but nonetheless, we offer the following as a realistic “10-degree shift” to U.S. policy in Syria at this crucial inflection point in the war.

Policy Roundtable: 17 Years After September 11

Source Link


To understand what has gone both right and wrong since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we have convened a roundtable of some of this country’s foremost experts on terrorism, insurgency, and strategy. 

Stratfor’s 2018 Fourth-Quarter Forecast

The United States will pile more tariffs on China, targeting $200 billion worth of imports, and may ramp up the pressure further after midterm elections in November as trade negotiations stall. While the successful renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement will mitigate the U.S. administration's threat to impose tariffs on automobiles and auto parts in North America, the European Union will probably fail to avoid the measures. A steep decline in Iranian oil exports, along with looming production disruptions in countries such as Libya, Nigeria, Venezuela and Iraq, will constrict global oil supplies, prompting the White House to try to coerce Saudi Arabia to dig dangerously deep into its spare capacity. S. unilateralism in tariff and sanctions policy will push regional powers such as Turkey to pursue ties with non-Western states and drive world powers such as Europe to reclaim their economic sovereignty.

Taking Stock of a Shifting World Order

by Ali Wyne

Distinguished members of the U.S. foreign policy establishment had been expressing concern about the erosion of the liberal world order well before Donald Trump's election in 2016. Emerging powers such as China and India had become increasingly vocal in citing the disconnect between the post-1945 balance that it reflected and the continuing shift of global weight to the Asia-Pacific. The downturn of 2008-09 had undermined confidence in both America's competence as a macroeconomic steward and its health as a democratic polity. And it had become axiomatic to note that a state-centric architecture aimed at preventing a third world war was increasingly incapable of incorporating nonstate actors into its deliberations and mobilizing collective action to tackle borderless challenges.

Russia's Use of Media and Information Operations in Turkey

by Katherine Costello

Russian media have sought to undermine Turkey's political and security cooperation with the United States and Europe by exacerbating mutual skepticism and highlighting policy differences. In Turkey, Russian media have also contributed to anti-American discourse and have reinforced and informed the Turkish government's own propaganda pursuits. This analysis assesses how Russia has used media and information operations to pursue its foreign policy goals related to Turkey. It examines Russian media responses to three significant events in Turkey: (1) Turkey's November 2015 shootdown of a Russian military aircraft, (2) the July 2016 Turkish coup attempt, and (3) the December 2016 assassination of the Russian ambassador. 

age Against The Machine: A Leading Google Critic On Why He Thinks The Era Of ‘Big Data’ Is Done; Why He Opposes POTUS Trump’s Talk Of Regulation; And, The Promise Of Blockchain

Tunku Varadarajan, a Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution recently sat down with polymath and prolific author, sage, George Gilder (78); and, he had a feature article in the weekend’s/Sept. 1/2, 2018, edition of the Wall Street Journal. I refer you to Mr. Vardarajan’s article for the full interview. “Mr. Gilder is one of a dwindling breed of polymath Americans who thrive in a society of intellectual silos,” Mr. Vardarajan eloquently wrote. “As academics know more and more, about less and less,” Mr. Vardarajan wrote, Mr. Gilder “opens brazenly on subjects whose range would keep several university faculties on their toes: marriage and family, money and economics, law and regulation, and the social role of technology, a subject that engrosses him at present, and the subject of his latest book, “Life After Google: The Fall Of Big Data, And The Rise Of The Blockchain Economy.” 

The Case for a National Cybersecurity Agency

David H. Petraeus

Recent reports that Russia has been attempting to install malware in our electrical grid and that its hackers have infiltrated utility-control rooms across America should constitute a significant wakeup call. Our most critical infrastructure systems are vulnerable to malicious foreign cyberactivity and, despite considerable effort, the collective response has been inadequate. As Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats ominously warned, “The warning lights are blinking red.” 

U.S. Silently Enters New Age of Cyberwarfare

Years ago, the world witnessed the creation of the first major “cyberweapon.” Secretly loaded onto an unknown Iranian worker’s USB flash drive, an American-Israeli line of malicious code now known as Stuxnet entered Iranian computer networks and spread like a cancer. The self-replicating computer worm burrowed itself in 15 Iranian industrial networks, eventually infecting its primary target: Iran’s nuclear facility at Natanz. Workers watched helplessly as centrifuges spun out of control, tricked by the worm to spin faster and faster until its eventual mechanical suicide. By the attack’s end, over 900 centrifuges were left in ruin. Strands of the worm, which found its way into the wild, still infect computers to this day.

The Known Known

Sue Halpern

In 1999, when Scott McNealy, the founder and CEO of Sun Microsystems, declared, “You have zero privacy…get over it,” most of us, still new to the World Wide Web, had no idea what he meant. Eleven years later, when Mark Zuckerberg said that “the social norms” of privacy had “evolved” because “people [had] really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people,” his words expressed what was becoming a common Silicon Valley trope: privacy was obsolete. By then, Zuckerberg’s invention, Facebook, had 500 million users, was growing 4.5 percent a month, and had recently surpassed its rival, MySpace. Twitter had overcome skepticism that people would be interested in a zippy parade of 140-character posts; at the end of 2010 it had 54 million active users. (It now has 336 million.) YouTube was in its fifth year, the micro-blogging platform Tumblr was into its third, and Instagram had just been created. Social media, which encouraged and relied on people to share their thoughts, passions, interests, and images, making them the Web’s content providers, were ascendant. 

OODA Loops in Cyberspace: How Cyber Awareness Training Helps Threat Actors

Robert Zager and John Zager
Source Link

Cybersecurity’s human adversarial engagement is often lost in discussions of cybersecurity. We discuss how defenders’ focus on technology unintentionally creates vulnerabilities which can be exploited by threat actors. In particular, we discuss how the convergence of cyber awareness training and defensive technologies is exploited by threat actors with devastating consequences.

URL Abuse

Attackers want their attacks to look as realistic as possible and they therefore create websites and URLs that look like sites their targeted victims would expect to receive email from or visit.

-- Brad Smith, Microsoft President[[1]]

Why Cyber Arms Control Is Not a Lost Cause

by John Maurer

Disruption and attack in cyberspace poses a serious challenge to international security. In the face of rapidly-evolving cyber threats, it is natural to look to the past to discover how policymakers managed the emergence of previous disruptive technologies, especially through arms-control negotiations. Recently, some have called into question the usefulness of historical arms-control examples for emerging digital technologies, noting that these new technologies are fundamentally different from the nuclear weapons controlled by the existing arms-control regime. Specifically, arms-control skeptics have claimed that it is easier to verify limitations on nuclear-weapons technologies than on emerging cyber threats . Perhaps the skeptics are correct: only time will tell whether an arms-control framework for cyber can be constructed. History, however, provides us with some reason for hope. After all, today’s ability to control nuclear technology is the result of intentional efforts to develop new technologies, new organizations, and new norms for arms control.

Sectarianism in the Middle East

by Heather M. Robinson, Ben Connable, David E. Thaler, Ali G. Scotten

Present unrest in the Middle East has many causes and takes on many forms. A collective sense of disenfranchisement, inadequate governance, geopolitical discord, and religious extremism all contribute to the conflicts in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, and Libya. Many Western observers and policymakers view unrest in the Middle East through the lens of binary religious sectarianism, focusing on the divisions between Sunni and Shi'a Muslims. This split is most clearly articulated in the geopolitical competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and it plays out through violence in Iraq and Syria. But the complexities of human identity and of regional culture and history do not lend themselves to this arguably too-simplistic interpretation of the situation. The authors analyze sectarianism in the region, evaluate other factors that fan the flames of violent conflict, and suggest a different interpretation of both identity and the nature of regional unrest.

The commercial imagery that will benefit national security challenges

By: Kelsey Atherton 

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and National Reconnaissance Office announced Sept. 5 that the EnhancedView contract will be transferred from NGA to the NRO. Nearly a decade ago, the NGA awarded contracts worth over $7 billion to a pair of commercial satellite companies. The EnhancedView commercial imagery program built on existing government contracting for images from commercial satellites, and was designed to pay out over the next decade, ensuring government agencies got the intelligence they needed from cameras in orbit. When the contracts were first awarded in 2010, EnhancedView was offered as a mechanism to provide “greater access, priority tasking and improved capability and capacity to government customers from the next series of U.S. commercial imagery satellites.”

Managing World War

By Tomasz Dominiak

World War II continues to draw the attention of historians, scholars, and military experts alike. The sheer magnitude of the global conflict still entices research, books, and studies shedding new light on the clash of military powers between the Allies and the Axis. One focal point is the relationship between warfare, logistics, and management. The victorious Allied forces had to find a proper way to project their military powers at maximum force with minimum cost in manpower, all the while accounting for the scale of global operations, scarcity of resources, hardship endured by nations, as well as political and cultural factors.


Jahara Matisek

Editor’s note: In this article in the journal Defense & Security Analysis, MWI Non-Resident Fellow Dr. Jahara Matisek considers the way in which the US government conducted military assistance during the Cold War and the way in which this “model” is difficult to implement in the contemporary era of weak states where US politicians engage in strategic dithering. Since coming to office, the Trump administration has been substantially cutting resources for the US State Department and other diplomatic “peacemaking” agencies in the US government. Reducing support for the State Department goes against the personal views of Secretary of Defense James Mattis. In 2013, when Gen. Mattis was serving as commander of US Central Command, he told the Senate Armed Services Committee, “If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition.”