8 October 2018


Will S 400 deal with Russia close India's military inventory gaps?

By Uday Bhaskar

The visit of President Vladimir Putin to New Delhi (October 5) has drawn global attention to the nature of the bilateral relationship that India has with Russia going back to the Cold War decades when the former Soviet Union was a valuable and trusted partner. This element has been inherited by contemporary Russia but there has been a visible aloofness in recent years in the Delhi-Moscow relationship and the Putin visit it about hitting the reset button. 

Currently, the focus is on the Russian built S 400 air defense system and it is understood that this US $5 billion deal will be one of the major acquisitions announced by India during the current summit. While there has been considerable speculation about the impact this acquisition will have on the India-US relationship, a more fundamental question needs to be raised. Is the S 400 the higher priority for India at this point or is it the gaps in the Indian military inventory?

Be Prepared for an India-Pakistan Limited War

By Nishank Motwani

Why is there an assumption that nuclear weapons would preclude a limited conflict between India and Pakistan? 

Nuclear strategy and deterrence in South Asia will play by its own rules. As obvious as this statement is, the problem is that most of the literature on the nuclear strategies and postures of regional nuclear powers is seen through the lens of the Cold War. This hangover imposes the experiences of the United States and the former Soviet Union on smaller nuclear weapons states and fails to acknowledge that the calculations and choices of India and Pakistan are fundamentally distinct. Because of the assumption that the strategic rivalry between India and Pakistan will largely mirror that of the superpowers, it is unsurprising that the strategic changes taking place on the subcontinent are overlooked.

How India Is Being Shamed Using Deceptive Statistics On Violence Against Dalits

by Nihar Sashittal

Arundhati Roy, The European Parliament, evangelist propagandists, and left-wing groups, all have been using a set of crime statistics to make sensational claims that Dalits face alarming levels of violence in India. But ironically, the quoted numbers, when looked at closely, suggest the very opposite - they indicate that the rate of violent crimes faced by Dalits is not only significantly lower when compared to the rates of these crimes in India but also when compared internationally with the rates of violent crimes in countries considered the most peaceful in the world. So, what explains this complete inversion of what the statistics really indicate?

Consider the following paragraph from a campaign material on violence against Dalits or Scheduled Castes (SCs) in India.

“ Although Indian law prohibits discrimination and violence against Dalit people, in reality atrocities are a daily occurrence.

A New Approach to Afghanistan

Gary Anderson

The stalemated conflict in Afghanistan is becoming a forever war because it is a “for profit’ enterprise for powerful interests on both Afghan sides of the war. Many senior leaders of the Afghan government, as well as the Taliban, are profiting daily from the conflict - why would they want to participate in a peace process that would kill their cash cow? This does not mean that the US government should withdraw from the war - which is as worth fighting today as it was in 2001. We cannot allow Afghanistan to again become a sanctuary for international jihadists. The Taliban is not an existential threat to America and the West, but groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS are. It is in America’s interest for both the Afghan government and the Taliban to resist international jihadist infiltration. That means that American economic strategy needs to be radically changed if we expect to get both sides to the peace table for serious negotiations.

Afghan government rejects proposals to privatize war

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan officials have reacted angrily to speculation that foreign military contractors could take over training and advising the Afghan armed forces, following a renewed push by the founder of private military contractor Blackwater.

Erik Prince, whose company came to prominence during the war in Iraq, has been lobbying officials about his proposal to privatize parts of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan for more than a year.

On a recent visit to Kabul, he lobbied several Afghan political figures and gave interviews to media outlets including Tolo News, Afghanistan’s largest television station, as well as the New York Times, to discuss the plan.

Strategy and Reality in Afghanistan

By Nathan Jennings

It is time to admit what is self-evident: the strategic foundation of NATO’s campaign in Afghanistan is so fundamentally flawed that it cannot be won. America’s longest war, which endures as a deeply troubled nation-building venture, continues to apply a fatally flawed theory of military victory to a maelstrom of Afghan political, social, and economic problems that Western intervention cannot solve. While war advocates speak of endless “fragile progress,” the truth is that the costly effort is not worth the thousands of lives lost or trillions of dollars spent in pursuit of a failed strategy.

As Afghanistan Frays, Blackwater Founder Erik Prince Is Everywhere

Source Link 
By Mujib Mashal

KABUL, Afghanistan — A new crop of senior American officials in Afghanistan has been racing to contain a dual crisis on the battlefield and in a potentially explosive election dispute. But it is a different American figure — the mercenary executive Erik D. Prince — who has been the talk of Kabul these days.

More than a year after first laying out his plan to President Trump to privatize the American war in Afghanistan with a cadre of contractors — and a private air force — Mr. Prince, the founder of the Blackwater security firm that became infamous for killing civilians in Iraq, has seemingly been everywhere.

And as he has made his sales pitch directly to a host of influential Afghans, he has frequently been introduced as an adviser to Mr. Trump himself.

BIMSTEC can usher in a New Asian Order

Maj Gen Binoj Basnyat (Retd.) 

The BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Co-operation) Summit was held in Kathmandu on August 30-31 amid contentions that India is losing its influence and goodwill within the immediate neighbourhood, while Chinese political influence is on the rise, through economic assistance.

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the BIMSTEC military exercises, political, diplomatic and civil society in Nepal received the message with suspicion. Nepal sent only military observers even if troops were committed during the preparation for the military exercise.

The nature of threats is altering with the shift in balance of power, so the world is witnessing a crisis of trust, problems in multilateralism, cyber criminals, corruption, poverty, gender violence and trafficking and environmental degradation leading to disasters.

Red Scarves and Iowa Newspapers: China’s Propaganda in Action

By Bonnie Girard

Nothing shows the contrast between the rights of free speech which Chinese media leverage abroad, and those which Chinese media curtail at home, more than two recent stories out of Shandong province in China on the one hand, and Des Moines, Iowa in the United States on the other.

The Shandong story highlights the power of the Chinese government and its state-owned media to control domestic content and messaging at home. The Des Moines story illustrates how those same methods and motives used by the Chinese government inside of China translate into a muddled, clumsy, and awkward message when used on an international audience in a society that is accustomed to enjoying the rights of free speech and critical thinking.

‘We Have No Way Of Addressing This’: Ex-NSA Scientist Reacts To China Sneaking Microchips Into DoD Servers


After an explosive Bloomberg report revealed that China was surreptitiously inserting small microchips into servers that later ended up being used by the Department of Defense, CIA, and many large American companies, an ex-NSA scientist warned there was “no way of addressing this risk” from a strategic standpoint.

“We can find a couple of them, but we’re not gonna find the next generation version,” said Dave Aitel, a former computer scientist for the National Security Agency now working as the Chief Security Technical Officer for Cyxtera. “That makes it very hard to trust computers in general.”

China's latest move shows that it's committed to fighting Trump in the trade war for the long haul


China announced that it would cut tariffs on roughly 1,500 goods starting November 1. 

The move comes days after the latest round of tariffs in the US-China trade war went into effect. 

China's tariffs cut shows that the government is settling in for a protracted trade war with President Donald Trump and the US. 

The tariff cut will decrease inflationary pressures on Chinese consumers and help to build relationships with non-American suppliers. 

China's government announced Wednesday that the country will cut import tariffs on a slew of goods, in an effort to lessen the impact of the trade war with the US.

China has designs on Europe. Here is how Europe should respond

EUROPE has caught China’s eye. Chinese investments there have soared, to nearly €36bn ($40bn) in 2016—almost double the previous years’ total. Chinese FDI fell in 2017, but the share spent in Europe rose from a fifth to a quarter. For the most part, this money is welcome. Europe’s trading relationship with China has made both sides richer.

However, China is also using its financial muscle to buy political influence (see Briefing). The Czech president, Milos Zeman, wants his country to be China’s “unsinkable aircraft-carrier” in Europe. Last year Greece stopped the European Union from criticising China’s human-rights record at a UN forum. Hungary and Greece prevented the EU from backing a court ruling against China’s expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea. Faced with such behaviour, it is only prudent for Europeans to be nervous.

China’s Financial Challenges and US Interests

Official Washington opines, with increasing confidence, that China’s economic growth is faltering as a result of the threat of U.S. tariffs. As National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow puts it, “I’m going to make the case that they are in a weak economic position. That’s not a good place for them to be vis-a-vis the trade negotiations.” The argument follows that Beijing will compromise over long-standing market access and intellectual property-related policy issues out of concern for external vulnerabilities.

The good news is that this is a strategy, and the belief that Trump’s team has no strategy for China whatsoever is incorrect. The bad news is that it’s faulty.

What does China really spend on its military?

Source Link

A country’s defense spending represents the most direct way of measuring its potential military capability. In terms of gauging relative military strength, the size of defense budgets can be compared between countries over a set period of time. These comparisons are particularly insightful when tracing regional trends in military spending and identifying critical political events that have accelerated defense allocations.

Defense budgets also serve to identify the importance of a country’s armed forces relative to other organs of the state. Therefore, it is necessary to consider not only gross defense spending but also the size of the defense budget relative to a government’s overall budget and a country’s gross domestic product (GDP). No matter how much a country spends on its military, however, it must still find ways to translate its potential capability for power into power itself.

Chinese aircraft CarriernDevelopment

By: Drew Jones

In 2015, the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC, China) Ministry of National Defense published its military strategy which highlighted the increasing importance of maritime dominance stating that “the traditional mentality that land outweighs sea must be abandoned, and great importance has to be attached to managing the seas and oceans and protecting maritime rights and interests.” In line with this strategy, China has ramped up the development of aircraft carriers, launching its first home-grown carrier, the Type 100A, on April 26, 2017. With a third carrier on the way, it is vital that the U.S. and its allies and partners understand the scope of the threat posed by Chinese carriers.

Russia and China Aren't Full Allies—Yet

by Erik Khzmalyan Armen Sahakyan

The recent Sino-Russian military swaggering in Russia’s Far East may signal a new lasting alliance between the two Eurasian powers. This reactionary partnership is primarily due to the simultaneous American pressure against Moscow and Beijing and is coupled with their desire to challenge the U.S.-dominated global order. However, it may not be as permanent as it seems. Such tactical cooperation is not underpinned by common ideals, but rather by a shared desire to emasculate the Western liberal order.

Russo-Chinese official relations date back to the mid-seventeenth century when the two countries’ borders intersected following the conquests in the Siberian hinterland. Since then the relationship has been tempestuous, marked by years of both trade and cooperation as well as military standoffs and land-grabs.

The Coral Sea: The Mirror Image of the South China Sea

By Phillip Orchard 

Australia, like China, is militarizing the waters off its eastern coast. 

Australia and China possess profoundly different geographies, but in one key way, they are similar: The bulk of the wealth and populations of both countries is concentrated on eastern-facing coasts. These coasts, in turn, face seas containing small islands that, if held by a hostile power, could be used to block Chinese or Australian ships from entering the greater Pacific and engaging in global trade – in effect, crippling their economies. China, of course, is facing the South and East China seas. Australia is next to the less-discussed Coral Sea (the Tasman Sea being virtually secure already). China’s imperative to solidify its grip over the South and East China seas is mirrored by Australia’s recent push to solidify its control over the Coral Sea. The difference is how each goes about doing it.

Pompeo’s Doomed Mission to Pyongyang


Apart from Brett Kavanaugh, the most nervous man in Washington currently may well be Mike Pompeo. The secretary of state is flying to North Korea this weekend with hopes of nailing down the framework of a disarmament deal with Kim Jong-un. If he fails, President Donald Trump, who has pronounced himself “in love” with Kim, will be upset. He will almost certainly fail.

There is no reason for Kim to let Pompeo succeed, and some of this is Trump’s doing. Ever since the June summit in Singapore, where he appraised the man he once called “Little Rocket Man” as a great and trustworthy leader, Trump has dropped even the slightest hint of pressure against Kim’s regime. He has publicly said Kim should feel no rush to honor his vague pledge to “denuclearize”; he’s declined to back up his own negotiators’ demand that their North Korean counterparts at least define the term; and U.N. sanctions are still in place, but he has called for no action against Russia or China for violating them. When Trump confessed at a rally last weekend in West Virginia that he and Kim “fell in love” at their summit, he pulverized the last shred of leverage that Pompeo might have brandished this coming weekend.

The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities

by John J. Mearsheimer

Liberal hegemony is an ambitious strategy in which a state aims to turn as many countries as possible into liberal democracies like itself while also promoting an open international economy and building international institutions. In essence, the liberal state seeks to spread its own values far and wide. My goal in this book is to describe what happens when a power­ful state pursues this strategy at the expense of balance­-of­-power politics.

Many in the West, especially among foreign policy elites, consider liberal hegemony a wise policy that states should axiomatically adopt. Spreading liberal democracy around the world is said to make eminently good sense from both a moral and a strategic perspective. For starters, it is thought to be an excellent way to protect human rights, which are sometimes seri­ously violated by authoritarian states. And because the policy holds that liberal democracies do not want to go to war with each other, it ultimately provides a formula for transcending realism and fostering international peace. Finally, proponents claim it helps protect liberalism at home by eliminating authoritarian states that otherwise might aid the illiberal forces that are constantly present inside the liberal state.

Illegal Foreign Mining and US Strategic Interests

Geoffrey Demarest


This is a commentary on the strategic implications for the United States of foreign illegal mining. The article also touches on challenges and possibilities the phenomenon poses for police and military operations. Briefly, foreign illegal mining strengthens strategic adversaries of the United States. Countering illegal mining in order to decrease its contribution to the power of US adversaries might therefore make practical competitive sense. However, friendly government efforts to address illegal mining by applying force directly at mining source locations appears counterproductive because of the geographic proximity of legal and illegal activities. Coercive intervention at mine sites can affect innocent lives and activities to what is perhaps a diplomatically unaffordable degree. Interdiction at other discernable geographies away from mining sites (smuggling routes, conversion and transfer points), however, might effectively and affordably diminish the illicit mining trade and consequently weaken financial flows to strategic adversaries. As a corollary effect, the disruption of select mineral supply chain activities in northern South America and the Caribbean could help the US government rebalance long-term, strategically advantageous influence over a significant portion of the hydrocarbon supply producible in the region. Similar relationships between mineral movement and hydrocarbon supply may pertain elsewhere in the world.

White House Report Warns 'All Facets' Of U.S. Defense Industrial Base Are At Risk

Loren Thompson

A long-awaited White House report on the state of the U.S. industrial base finds that "all facets of the manufacturing and defense industrial base are currently under threat," and warns that entire industries vital to national security are facing "domestic extinction."

The report, which was directed by an executive order that President Donald Trump signed on July 21, 2017, took a year to complete, involving a dozen federal agencies and 300 workers. Its findings were distilled down to 50 pages plus appendices summarizing the stresses eroding U.S. industrial strength. Many of the recommendations derived from the analysis are contained in a classified (secret) annex -- some of which are already being implemented.

China and the U.S. Choosing Between the Four “Cs” – Conflict and Containment Versus Competition and Cooperation

By Anthony H. Cordesman

It is always hard to separate strategic posturing from strategic reality, but the last year has seen a steady deterioration in U.S. and Chinese relations. Economic relations have deteriorated to the point of a very real trade war, and both countries now seem to be trying to create military forces that not only deter but could "win" a war in the Pacific. It is getting harder and harder to determine which of the four "Cs" will shape strategic relations: Cooperation, Competition, Containment, or Conflict.

China’s emergence as at least an Asia superpower does pose challenges to an existing superpower like the United States, but it can also offer major benefits in terms of global economic development, trade, and technology gain. Nothing about the emergence of China must take place in the form of a two-player zero-sum game. In fact, the whole history of development is largely the history of steady cumulative benefits to all developed powers.

China-US Relations: What’s Next?

By Mark J. Valencia

The status quo is breaking down, and proactive steps must be taken to ensure it’s not replaced by another cold war. 

China-U.S. relations are rapidly deteriorating on a variety of critical fronts, including trade and technology transfer, military-to-military ties, Taiwan, and the South China Sea. Now in the midst of their deepening and widening trade war, the United States has — in quick succession — imposed sanctions against a unit of China’s Defense Ministry and its government director for purchasing Russian military equipment and announced a new sale of $330 million in military equipment to Taiwan. The United States also executed yet another freedom of navigation exercise against China’s maritime claims and stepped up its nuclear-capable B52 overflights of the East and South China Seas. To top it off, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence accused China of meddling in the upcoming U.S. elections.

Why Fake News Campaigns Are So Effective

In this opinion piece, Eric K. Clemons, a Wharton professor of operations, information and decisions, looks under the hood of fake news campaigns to explain how we have become so vulnerable to them. These often effective efforts to manipulate public opinion traffic in misleading and distorted facts — and outright lies. Still, their carefully crafted messages and precise audience selection create the desired effect. The result poses a significant threat to democracy, Clemons writes. The first part of this two-part series looks at how the process of creating fake news works. Part two will look at the distribution of fake news.

Slowly, society is becoming aware that social media have been weaponized to maximize social discord and minimize social cohesion. Even more slowly, we are becoming aware that fake news can be used to manipulate elections and to create distrust in the results of elections. Fake news may now represent an existential threat to democracy, not just because it can be used to subvert and countermand the will of the people, but also because it can be used to destroy the people’s will to act together. As Kara Swisher has noted, Facebook was not hacked in the 2016 Elections or the Brexit Referendum. Facebook was designed from the beginning to be used exactly as Russian hackers and others have used it.


By Jason Koebler

CISPA is all but dead, again.

The controversial cybersecurity bill known as the Cyber Information Sharing and Protection Act, which passed the House of Representatives last week, will almost certainly be shelved by the Senate, according to a representative of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

The bill would have allowed the federal government to share classified “cyber threat” information with companies, but it also provided provisions that would have allowed companies to share information about specific users with the government. Privacy advocates also worried that the National Security Administration would have gotten involved.

Information Warfare: An Emergent Australian Defence Force Capability

This paper provides an account of the Australian military’s developing information warfare capabilities as part of CSIS’s series on Indo-Pacific interoperability. It sets out Australia’s developing information warfare capabilities, with a view to generating discussion between Indo-Pacific security partners and allies on the nature of information warfare in a modern context, and the capabilities and frameworks required to meet this emergent challenge. This is especially important for the U.S.-Australia relationship as two key five-eyes partners. 

The timing for such discussion is significant: 

In 2018, the Australian government passed laws into its parliament restricting foreign ownership of Australian assets such as electricity grids, while also tightening laws against foreign interference. Reports suggested the laws were aimed at China.
During the same period, 13 Russians were charged by U.S. courts with tampering with the 2016 U.S. federal elections. 

How the Pentagon can help improve supply chain cybersecurity

By: Mike Gruss

Nary a speech from Pentagon senior leadership passes without mention of the importance of cybersecurity. But many of the details of that broad strategy fall to Thomas Michelli, the acting deputy chief information officer for cybersecurity within the Defense Department.

Michelli is responsible for coordinating cybersecurity standards, policies and procedures with federal agencies, coalition partners and industry. He spoke recently with C4ISRNET’s Mike Gruss.

C4ISRNET: Tell me about the projects you’ve been working on and how we might measure change in the next year.

THOMAS MICHELLI: The secretary really is focused on near-term, which is the coming year and making sure that the dollars that we’ve gotten and the resources, the people we’ve gotten directly, move the needle.

Next time, information operations may not be so easy to detect

By: Mark Pomerleau 

One of the cybersecurity industry’s leading officials said he expects so-called influence operations, like the Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential election, to become significantly worse and more difficult to notice in the months and years to come.

“They’re going to be hard to police, they’re going to be hard to detect, they’re going to get harder to police and harder to detect in the near-term. That’s what we’ve seen lately in regards to information operations,” Kevin Mandia, CEO of cyber firm FireEye, said during a media roundtable discussion hosted by Stanford’s Hoover Institution in California Oct. 1.

Mandia said his gut tells him that government-funded efforts from many nations already exist in this sphere, but he acknowledged that the overall effect from these information operations is difficult to predict because it’s hard to guess how those targeted will respond to the events.

The Necessary Authority to Counter Drone Threats

By Nicholas Weaver

On Aug. 4, as Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro gave a speech in front of the ranks of the Venezuelan National Guard, two DJI Matrice M600 drones took to the sky. Each drone was armed with a little less than a kilogram of explosives, their operators seemingly intent on assassinating Maduro.

The effort was unsuccessful. One drone crashed into a building while the other appeared to explode in mid air; Maduro was unharmed. But amazingly, should someone try a similar attack in the United States, federal officers do not have sufficient legal authority to stop the drone in progress. The current version of the bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) contains language that would enable federal authorities to directly counter these threats.

How Do We Really Define The War On Terror? Notes From A Generation At War


How do we define the amorphous and endless War on Terror?

Do we measure the war by the money spent? Do we define it by the absence of a grand strategy and its political consequences? Or do we define the war at the individual level, by the generation tasked to fight it–by the grave markers in Section 60 in Arlington Cemetery? Or is the war more aptly defined by the chasm between those who fight and those who go about their lives seemingly oblivious to the cost and sacrifice of military families?

These were the questions “A Generation at War,” a discussion hosted in Washington in late September by the New York Times, attempted to answer. The panel comprised of C.J. Chivers, a New York Times journalist; Tammy Duckworth, a U.S. senator and a Purple Heart recipient; and Bonnie Carroll, retired Air Force Reserve officer. Moderated by Eric Schmitt, a Timescorrespondent, the discussion touched on the major themes of the perpetual War on Terror, ranging from the difficulty of the home front to the human cost of war, and how defining it defies any simple, easy narrative.