11 October 2018

Why Vladimir Putin's India visit is of great significance


The 19th annual summit between India and Russia held last week testifies to the highest level attention that both countries give to their bilateral relationship. That India and Russia held their 19th annual summit last week testifies to the highest level attention that both countries give to their bilateral relationship. For Russia, the relationship with India is not the most important and for India, ties with Russia are not uppermost in foreign policy priorities. Yet, the annual summits have been held without break, which is exceptional. This suggests that for Russia, the bilateral relationship is worth nurturing because, apart from direct bilateral benefits, it gives to Russian foreign policy a strong Asian dimension. The esteem that the Indian leadership shows for President Vladimir Putin contrasts with his demonisation by the West.

Pakistani Poker: Playing Saudi Arabia Against China – Analysis

By James M. Dorsey

Desperate for funding to fend off a financial crisis fuelled in part by mounting debt to China, Pakistan is playing a complicated game of poker that could hand Saudi Arabia a strategic victory in its bitter feud with Iran at the People’s Republic’s expense. The Pakistani moves threaten a key leg of the USD60 billion plus Chinese investment in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a crown jewel of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road initiative. They also could jeopardize Chinese hopes to create a second overland route to Iran, a key node in China’s transportation links to Europe. Finally, they grant Saudi Arabia a prominent place in the Chinese-funded port of Gwadar that would significantly weaken Iran’s ability to compete with its Indian-backed seaport of Chabahar.

No easy escape from Afghan war for Trump

Brahma Chellaney

Not for the first time, the U.S. is showing signs of desperation in trying to end its war in Afghanistan, by renewing efforts for a peace deal with the Taliban and — yet again — reviewing combat strategy. Ending the longest war in American history, which marks its 17th anniversary on Oct. 7, appears integral to President Donald Trump’s broader plan to roll back America’s “imperial overreach” — the phenomenon of a great power going into decline when it takes on excessive global commitments. In contrast to China’s use of economic tools to achieve strategic objectives, the U.S. has too often reached for the gun instead of the purse. Many in Washington now believe U.S. retrenchment must include staying out of faraway wars and making allies pay their fair share for defense.

The Taliban’s Fight for Hearts and Minds


In many ways, Charkh seems like a typical rural Afghan district. With little development or industry to speak of, its population of 48,000 ekes out a living mostly from farming. Poverty is common; those who can find better jobs elsewhere leave and send money back to support their families. But a closer look at Charkh reveals a divergence from what one may expect of an average Afghan district. Administrators there are widely seen as fair and honest, making them outliers in a country consistently ranked among the world’s most corrupt. Locals say there is remarkably little crime. Disputes among neighbors or families are rare, and when they arise, the district governor or judge quickly settles them. A health official regularly monitors clinics to make sure that doctors and nurses are present and that medicines are stocked. Across the district’s schools, government teachers actually show up, and student attendance is high—an anomaly in a state system where absenteeism is rife.

China’s Imperial Project Runs into Resistance

By Brahma Chellaney

Grand on ambition but short on transparency, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s marquee project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), seeks to refashion the global economic and political order by luring nations desperate for infrastructure investments into China’s strategic orbit. The BRI is essentially an imperial project aiming to make real the mythical Middle Kingdom. The BRI, rolled out in 2013, attracted many countries, as China offered to finance and build major infrastructure projects, including ports, highways, energy plants and railroads. But after a smooth sailing, the BRI is now encountering strong headwinds, as partner-countries worry about China ensnaring them in sovereignty-eroding debt traps. China has extended huge loans to financially weak states, only to strengthen its leverage through debt entrapment Indeed, Beijing has converted big credits not just into political influence but also a military presence, as its first overseas naval base at Djibouti illustrates.

China on Monday reacted guardedly to Saudi Arabia's plan to invest in Pakistan, saying it is a "positive factor" if any other party would like to contribute to promote the inter-connectivity and prosperity of the region on the basis of consultation.  After the recent visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to Saudi Arabia, it was announced that Riyadh will be the third "strategic partner" of USD 50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).  The CPEC is the flagship project of the multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a pet project of President Xi Jinping aimed at enhancing China's influence around the world through China-funded infrastructure projects. 

A Conversation With Wang Yi

Source Link

RUBIN: Good morning. I’m Bob Rubin. And on behalf of my colleagues at the Council, welcome to today’s meeting. We are deeply honored to have as our guest State Councilor and Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China Mr. Wang Yi, who is also a friend to many of us in the United States.

State Councilor, I had the opportunity about two weeks ago to speak at the China Development Forum—I was the luncheon speaker—and I expressed a view that I think is shared by many, but certainly not all in this country, which is that it is imperative that we get our relationship back on a constructive track for a whole host of reasons; economic reasons, but also because the two largest economies in the world are probably the best way to coalesce global response to climate change, nuclear weaponry, and many other transnational issues. But as we all know, there is a lot of strain in our relationship right now, and we enormously appreciate your being with us today to explain China’s views on issues that are of great interest in our country.

South China Sea Showdown: What Happens If a U.S. Navy and Chinese Vessel Collide?

What would happen should a U.S. Navy warship collide with a Chinese vessel while demonstrating on behalf of freedom of the sea?

This hasn’t been a trivial or hypothetical question since at least April 2001, when a Chinese fighter jet hotdogging near a U.S. Navy EP-3 surveillance plane slammed into the American aircraft, kindling a diplomatic crisis between the Chinese Communist Party leadership and the newly installed administration of President George W. Bush. This aerial encounter furnished advance warning of what might happen on the surface below.

Trump´s Middle East Policy

By Jack Thompson for Center for Security Studies (CSS)
Source Link

Jack Thompson argues that Donald Trump’s Middle East policy represents a significant change from that of Barack Obama. For instance, in addition to isolating Iran, the president appears to be supporting the ascendancy of bloc consisting of Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United Arab Emirates. However, this agenda has emerged in piecemeal fashion rather than as part of a coherent strategy – and there are few indications that administration officials have considered the long-term implications of their approach. This CSS Analyses in Security Policy was originally published in October 2018 by the Center for Security Studies (CSS). It is also available in German and French.

Israel’s War with Iran Is Inevitable

by Efraim Inbar

Iran is a formidable enemy. A large country of more than 80 million people, endowed with energy riches, it has always been a regional power. Having an imperial past and revolutionary zeal (since the 1979 Iranian Revolution), Iran nourishes ambitions to rule over the Middle East and beyond. Furthermore, theologically there is no place in Iranian thinking for a Jewish state. Iran believes that Israel will either wither away following military pressure on its population or be annihilated when it is militarily weak and vulnerable.

Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040

By Coral Davenport

INCHEON, South Korea — A landmark report from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.” The report, issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders, describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population. The report “is quite a shock, and quite concerning,” said Bill Hare, an author of previous I.P.C.C. reports and a physicist with Climate Analytics, a nonprofit organization. “We were not aware of this just a few years ago.” The report was the first to be commissioned by world leaders under the Paris agreement, the 2015 pact by nations to fight global warming.

Reimagining Diplomatic Relations for a Changing World

In recent years, many American officials have regarded withholding diplomatic relations as a way to punish countries for actions ranging from human rights abuses, to failure to abide by international law, to specific treaty violations and acts of war. But withholding diplomatic relations usually doesn't work, and can seriously handicap America's ability to achieve major foreign policy and national security goals. What's more, re-establishing diplomatic relations with a country after they have been severed is no simple matter for the Department of State. U.S. administrations have a great track record of painting themselves into a corner by curtailing relations with considerable brio, with the result that the path is blocked when it is in the national interest to resume normal relations.

A Better Approach To Globalization – Analysis

By Koichi Hamada*

Some argue that globalization delivers great benefits to the world, increasing wealth with trade, movement of people and goods, and information sharing. Globalization also contributes to improvement of the welfare of developing nations and brings a diversity of ideas that promote innovation. Along with its economic benefits, globalization improves justice in terms of gender equality and human rights. Globalization indeed works to help keep world peace, and during the post war period, multinational organizations like the United Nations and the World Trade Organization contribute to the trend of international cooperation.

United Nations Secretary-General Address to the General Assembly

António Guterres

Our future rests on solidarity. We must repair broken trust. We must reinvigorate our multilateral project. And we must uphold dignity for one and for all.

[As delivered, trilingual; scroll further down for all-English]

Our world is suffering from a bad case of “Trust Deficit Disorder”. 

People are feeling troubled and insecure.

Trust is at a breaking point. Trust in national institutions. Trust among states. Trust in the rules-based global order.

Within countries, people are losing faith in political establishments, polarization is on the rise and populism is on the march.

Bolivia Remains Landlocked

By GPF Staff 

The International Criminal Court in The Hague ruled this week against Bolivia's claim that Chile must negotiate access to the Pacific Ocean for the landlocked country. Bolivia lost its access following the War of the Pacific. 

Global warming will make deadly heatwaves an annual threat in India and Pakistan

By Maria Thomas

In 2015, India and Pakistan experienced heatwave conditions that ended up killing over 3,600 people in just three months. Now, research suggests this could become the new normal. If average world temperatures increase by between 1.5ºC and 2°C, potentially deadly heatwaves are likely to substantially increase (pdf) in frequency, and those similar to the one in 2015 could become an annual occurrence in India and Pakistan, according to a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations body set up in 1988. At warming of over 2°C, coastal cities such as Karachi and Kolkata are especially at risk. The landmark report, released in Incheon, South Korea, today (Oct. 08), was written by a team of 91 authors from 40 countries following the 2015 Paris climate agreement, in which policymakers from around the world, including India and Pakistan, agreed to work towards limiting the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C.

The ultimate guide to negative-emission technologies

By Akshat Rathi

The world has delayed reducing carbon emissions for so long that humanity will need to suck enormous amounts of carbon dioxide back out from the air to avoid catastrophic global warming. That’s one of the conclusions of a new report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Earlier this year, Environmental Research Letters published threestudies reviewing the need for negative emissions and laying out the state of development for the technologies that can help us achieve them. Quartz has synthesized those reports to help you understand the technologies that may be required to capture as much as 20 billion metric tons each year to prevent catastrophic climate change.

The Decline and Fall of Brazil’s Political Establishment

By Eduardo Mello

This October, Brazilians will go to the polls to elect a new president, and the country could become the next democracy to fall in the populist wave that has been sweeping the globe. Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right nationalist member of Congress known for making racist and chauvinistic comments, is currently leading in many polls and may very well win a second-round runoff. At first glance, it may seem strange that a country once hailed as one of the most inclusive democracies in the developing world could elect a president who has openly attacked the rights of gay people, women, and Afro-Brazilians and who has been an apologist for military dictatorship and torture. Yet Bolsonaro’s rise makes sense when one considers the backdrop of Brazil’s culture of political corruption. After watching politicians of nearly every mainstream party be caught in corruption scandals, Brazilian voters are willing to rebel against a dysfunctional system. Unlike the traditional elites, Bolsonaro built an innovative campaign based on heavy use of social media and grassroots work to promote himself as an outsider to this system.

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.

Can this AI find a terrorist in a surveillance video?

By: Joe Gould 

WASHINGTON — A Connecticut-based video analytics and cloud computing firm is pitching the U.S. Army on an artificial intelligence that can tag cars, people and weapons in drone footage, saving troops from drowning in data. IronYun used an appearance at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual meeting to market a capability that uses multiple algorithms running simultaneously for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance — potentially saving thousands of man-hours of screen viewing. The idea of automatically searching through the reams of data brought in by military surveillance assets — often referred to as a “tsunami” by Pentagon experts — is an increasingly realistic thanks to emerging AI capabilities. And AI is an emerging priority for the Defense Department, which has several significant AI initiatives underway. Google has contracted with the Pentagon for similar AI-drone services, under the banner of the controversial Project Maven.

Google Plus Will Be Shut Down After User Information Was Exposed

By Daisuke Wakabayashi

Google said on Monday that it would shut down Google Plus, the company’s long-struggling answer to Facebook’s giant social network, after it discovered a security vulnerability that exposed the private data of up to 500,000 users. Google did not tell its users about the security issue when it was found in March because it didn’t appear that anyone had gained access to user information, and the company’s “Privacy & Data Protection Office” decided it was not legally required to report it, the search giant said in a blog postThe decision to stay quiet, which raised eyebrows in the cybersecurity community, comes against the backdrop of relatively new rules in California and Europe that govern when a company must disclose a security episode.

Our Trust Deficit With Artificial Intelligence Has Only Just Started – Analysis

By Eleonore Pauwel*

“We suffer from a bad case of trust-deficit disorder,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his recent General Assembly speech. His diagnosis is right, and his focus on new technological developments underscores their crucial role shaping the future global political order. Indeed, artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to deepen the trust-deficit across the world. The Secretary-General, echoing his recently released Strategy on New Technologies, repeatedly referenced rapidly developing fields of technology in his speech, rightly calling for greater cooperation between countries and among stakeholders, as well as for more diversity in the technology sector. His trust-deficit diagnosis reflects the urgent need to build a new social license and develop incentives to ensure that technological innovation, in particular AI, is deployed safely and aligned with the public interest.

The UK is practicing cyberattacks that could black out Moscow

By John Detrixhe

British defense officials say they have practiced cyber war games that could shut off electricity in Russia’s capital, the Sunday Times (paywall) reports. The measures are part of a wider range of strategies to hit back at an increasingly assertive Russia—accused of interfering with US elections, cyberattacks on Western targets, and poisoning a former spy on UK soil—without resorting to a full-blown nuclear attack. “If they sank our aircraft carrier with a nuclear-tipped torpedo, what is our response? There’s nothing between sinking their submarine and dropping a nuclear weapon on northern Kamchatka,” one senior source told the Sunday Times. “This is why cyber is so important; you can go on the offensive and turn off the lights in Moscow to tell them that they are not doing the right things.”

There’s a serious threat to the supply chain, says Pentagon

By: Justin Lynch 

Amid concern that the Chinese government has infected the U.S. supply chain, a new Pentagon report says that the cybersecurity industry has not paid enough attention to protecting a foundational sector. Most cybersecurity research is focused on cloud services, data management and other types of information systems, but security of the manufacturing industry’s supply chain has been overlooked, according to the Oct. 5 report. “Cybersecurity has not become an ingrained norm in manufacturing, especially in small and medium-sized manufacturers,” the report said. If these issues are not addressed, the American industrial base faces even more vulnerabilities and a “substantial reduction in the number of suppliers compliant with requirements and thereby eligible to provide products and services to [the Department of Defense],” the report warned.

The Top American General In Vietnam Considered Using Nukes During The Siege Of Khe Sanh, New Documents Reveal


The top commander of U.S. military forces in Vietnam readied nuclear weapons for use on the battlefield in the early months of the brutal 1968 battle at Khe Sanh, according to recently declassified documents obtainedby the New York Times. A series of memos, declassified in 2014 and first discovered by historian Michael Beschloss, reveals that Gen. William C. Westmoreland had in February 1968 activated Fracture Jaw, a secret plan to move nuclear warheads into South Vietnam “so that they could be used on short notice” should U.S. troops face imminent defeat at Khe Sanh. Westmoreland, who had previously touted the North Vietnamese advanced on Khe Sanh as “the main event” of the Communist advance, put Fracture Jaw together with the approval of the then-U.S. Pacific Command chief Adm. Ulysses S. Grant Sharp Jr. so that, “should the situation in the DMZ area change dramatically, we should be prepared to introduce weapons of greater effectiveness against massed forces.”