6 November 2018

India and Japan Boost Relations With High-Tech Focus

By Sangeeta Mahapatra

In scenic Yamanashi, where Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi met over a private dinner and a brief tutorial on the use of chopsticks, there was a clear sense of bonhomie and trust. The 13th annual meeting between the leaders of the two countries included a visit to a Fuji Automatic Numerical Control (FANUC) factory.

Deep in the forests near Mount Fuji, the largest industrial robot manufacturer in the world showcased products that help keep the assembly lines of some of the leading global brands, including Apple, running. The visit was significant, not only because it showed growing bilateral cooperation in emerging technologies between India and Japan, but also because it highlighted the shift toward leaner, more globally competitive, manufacturing aided by automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and the creation of new skills sets. There are other implications too: increased cooperation in areas including defence, as evident from the goals of co-development and co-production in the Japan-India Vision 2025. In July 2018, the two sides agreed to collaborate on dual-use technologies to strengthen defence cooperation, including research on unmanned ground vehicle robotics.

How did Sri Lanka find itself in a crisis and how will it affect its foreign policy?

By Ankit Panda and Prashanth Parameswaran

The Diplomat‘s Ankit Panda (@nktpnd) and Prashanth Parameswaran (@TheAsianist) discuss the new constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka and its regional implications.

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The New US Hard Line Toward China Is Worrying Southeast Asia

By Mark J. Valencia

Analysts are feverishly debating whether the United States and China are on the brink of a modern version of their own “Cold War.” It is of course too early to tell and there are many reasons why that may not happen. But the “soft war” for the hearts and minds of Southeast Asian countries is clearly intensifying and the United States has suffered some recent setbacks.

“Soft power” is the capability to use economic or cultural influence to shape the preferences of others. The soft power struggle between China and the United States for influence in the region has become much more equal in capacity and effect than Washington would like. Indeed, some argue that the United States is losing — or will eventually lose.

The Great Indo-Pacific Misread

By Malcolm Cook

Dhruva Jaishankar’s recent Strategist post and Huong Le Thu’s ASPI special report are useful correctives to the widespread misreading of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. That infrequent, irregular meetings of (not the most) senior officials from the US, Japan, India and Australia are seen as a threat to ASEAN centrality and/or a containment device against China tells us more about particular ASEAN and Chinese sensitivities than it does about the Quad. ASEAN organises dozens of regular meetings at this same level every year, and all of them rightfully pass by with little or no mention.

The overanalysis of the Quad and the cognitive trap behind it have coloured analysts’ interpretations of current concepts of the Indo-Pacific region. The international relations analysis of the ‘region’ in this part of the world has been captured by a particular understanding of that term that suits the power-enhancing interests of ASEAN, the states of Southeast Asia, and China quite well.

The Reforms China Needs


Under pressure from Donald Trump’s tariffs, China might be tempted to try to stimulate aggregate demand using short-term measures, much as it did after the 2008 global economic crisis. A better strategy, however, would be to focus on structural reforms. NEW YORK – This year marks a decade since the global financial crisis erupted. For the United States, 2018 is very different from 2008. The economy has gone from the brink of collapse to the brink of overheating, thanks to a massive tax cut enacted when growth was already robust. The attitude toward China has also changed dramatically. Recognition that cooperation with China was necessary to manage global demand has given way to protectionism and hostility.

Pushback: America’s New China Strategy

By Robert Sutter

The U.S. government’s across-the-board hardening toward China emerged somewhat erratically over the past year but has shown remarkable momentum in recent months. This report offers a perspective from Washington for the use of those many observers in America and abroad seeking information and early analysis of the importance of the U.S. government shifts toward acute rivalry with China.

U.S.-China relations experienced remarkable ups and downs following the collapse of the Nixon-Mao understanding allowing the two powers, despite their many profound differences, to cooperate together against the advancing Soviet Union. The end of the Cold War, the Tiananmen crackdown, and the demise of the USSR shattered the previous U.S.-China accord. A stasis of pragmatically managing differences amid mutually beneficial engagements prevailed in the first decade of this millennium, but it gradually ended as China became ever more assertive in challenging the previous Obama government, eliciting limited responses that did not dissuade further Chinese advances at U.S. expense.

Mapping China’s 'Re-Education' Camps: The Power of Open-Source Intelligence

By Danielle Cave, Fergus Ryan & Nathan Ruser

Open-source intelligence (OSINT) has long been undervalued; elbowed out by sexier-sounding ‘secret intelligence’, it has also often been overlooked.

But what is intelligence?

For the answer, let’s go straight to the wisdom of the Middle Kingdom and poor, overused Sun Tzu, who said: ‘If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperilled in a hundred battles.’ This tells us what we need intelligence to do for us, but what isn’t well understood is that much of the information we need isn’t ‘secret’ or ‘classified’. It is often by combining publicly available and hidden information that we can reveal covert or clandestine intent.

As demonstrated by the Bellingcat investigation into the Skripal poisoning and the revelations about Strava’s fitness heatmap (which one of us highlighted earlier this year), in the OSINT world, the devil is in the detail.

The Return of Big Infrastructure as a Geopolitical Tool

By Jeff Goodson

Infrastructure is a high priority in developing countries, but its expense presents major problems for countries trying to secure financing. China's focus on building infrastructure in some of the world's most strategic places not only represents a geopolitical threat to the West but also challenges the long-standing Western approach to development. The new U.S. International Development Finance Corp. offers an alternative to countries that are desperate for infrastructure but don't like the risk and sovereignty implications of some of China's financial terms.

Big infrastructure is back. Long relegated to a secondary development objective by the West, China's gambit to use infrastructure as a vehicle for promoting foreign policy objectives is changing the geopolitical landscape.

Is a US-China war in Asia inevitable?

by James Reinl

New York City - Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent talk of "preparing for war and combat" is just the latest example of tough language that has stoked fears of a military flare-up with the United Statesover two potential flashpoints: Taiwan and the South China Sea. Last week, Xi told his military commanders in Guangdong province to "concentrate preparations for fighting a war", in comments distributed by government-run media following a four-day visit to the south.

Meanwhile, retired US Lieutenant-General Ben Hodges said it was likely the US would be at war with China within 15 years thanks to a "tense relationship and increasing competition" between the world's two greatest economies.

With sabre-rattling on both sides, two long-standing issues between Beijing, Washington, and others have come to the fore as potential flashpoints - the disputed South China Sea and Taiwan, which China views as a renegade province.

Down But Not Out: Extremists’ Evolving Strateg

The U.S. State Department Bureau of Counterterrorism recently released its annual report on terrorism. The report concludes that despite the success of efforts to dismantle ISIS, “the terrorist landscape grew more complex.” Extremist groups such as ISIS, al-Qaida, and their affiliates are proving resilient and adjusting to heightened counterterrorism pressure with new attempts to destabilize, seize, and govern territory in fragile states. This shift in extremist strategy underscores the need for the kind of “preventive” approach outlined in the interim findings of the Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States.Raqqa’s main cemetery, after Islamic State members desecrated the graveyard, in Syria, June 13, 2018.

Moscow to Boost Protection of Russians Abroad and Make It Easier for Many to Return

By: Paul Goble

Yesterday (October 31), Russian President Vladimir Putin made two important but potentially contradictory and explosive promises. First, he told the Congress of Russian Compatriots that Moscow will increase its efforts to defend Russians living abroad, something that he hopes will lead to an expansion of the “Russian World” (“Russkiy Mir”) but which will, in all likelihood, generate a sharply negative reaction among the peoples Russian expatriates live among (RIA Novosti, October 31). Second, he promulgated a new immigration strategy document governing the return of compatriots to Russia. This strategy could succeed at attracting more Russian immigration if these communities feel uncomfortable abroad and see Russia as a better option, but not if they become integrated in their adopted countries or do not view their prospects in Russia itself as better. Putin’s strategy could also create internal tensions in Russia if more non-ethnic Russians take advantage of the new rules than ethnic Russians do (Kremlin.ru, Politikus.ru, October 31).

A Radically Realistic Climate Vision


Limiting global temperatures to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels is the only way to achieve social justice while protecting our environment from devastating climate change. And, contrary to prevailing wisdom, it's not an impossible goal. BERLIN – According to the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s main scientific authority on global warming, keeping global temperatures from rising more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels is a feasible goal. The IPCC’s stance represents a move in the direction of the kind of “radical realism” that many civil-society actors have long advocated.

The IPCC does not bet on geo-engineering proposals – for example, deep-ocean sequestration of massive amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide, or “dimming the sun” by spraying the atmosphere with aerosols – to combat global warming. These largely theoretical solutions could have untold consequences for people and ecosystems, worsening not only the climate crisis, but also the other social and ecological crises we face.

Israel Silent As Iran Hit

The Times Of Israel (ToI) is reporting late today (Oct. 31, 2018) that the Government of Israel is remaining silent, as a computer virus more lethal and damaging than the Stuxnet virus/malware is hitting Iran’s critical infrastructure and strategic networks. The ToI report adds that the cyber attack began within the past few days, noting that the malware is similar to Stuxnet, but “more violent, more advanced, and more sophisticated.”

“The report comes hours after Israel said its Mossad intelligence agency had thwarted an Iranian assassination plot in Denmark, and two days after Iran acknowledged Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s mobile phone had been bugged. As the ToI notes, this report “follows a string of Israeli intelligence coups against Iran, including the extraction from Tehran in January by the Mossad of the contents of a [highly secretive] vast archive documenting Iran’s [clandestine] nuclear weapons program; and, the detailing by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the U.N. in September of other alleged Iranian nuclear and missile assets in Iran, Syria, and Lebanon.”

Mattis Shares Thinking Behind New National Defense Strategy

Jim Garamone - DoD News

WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary James N. Mattis shared the thinking behind the new National Defense Strategy during a discussion at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington yesterday. The strategy, released in January, sees Russia and China as the greatest threats with Iran and North Korea as regional threats. Violent extremism rounds out the threat matrix. The strategy is based on a return to great power competition among the United States, Russia and China.

Power, Urgency, Will

Mattis told Stephen Hadley, the moderator of the event and former national security advisor to President George W. Bush, that in setting up the strategy, officials looked at threats from three different angles: Power, urgency and will.

Trumping Asia

By Abigail Grace

In a cavernous Manila exhibition hall, flooded with light, U.S. President Donald Trump stood flanked by members of his national security team to deliver remarks to the press in November 2017. Joking that the White House press corps would need a day to recover from his first Asia trip – which covered five countries – the president observed, “It’s been an incredible 12 days. I’ve made a lot of friends at the highest levels.”

After intense public back-and-forth over Trump’s attendance at the 2017 East Asia Summit in the Philippines, he departed immediately following the leaders’ lunch, but before delivering official remarks. Officials cited a tight schedule, noting that the summit was running behind. Then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was left behind to speak in the president’s stead.

Russia’s Roadmap to Exiting Ukraine (Op-ed)

In its fifth year, Russia's armed aggression in Ukraine's Donbas region has become a costly burden with little strategic benefit. Ukraine, having lost over 10,000 lives, is more united against Russia — and more connected to Europe. Sanctions have heightened Russia’s isolation and forced it to cut spending, leading to protests over the government’s raising of the retirement age. Meanwhile, Russia’s continued military presence in Donbas blocks all Russian hopes of restoring dialogue with the West on shaping security in Europe.

While we cannot know when or if Russia will reconsider its failed approach, it would be a failure of smart policymaking not to have an exit ramp designed and paved for ready use.

Managed Confrontation: UK Policy Towards Russia After the Salisbury Attack

Duncan Allan

The nerve-agent attack on Sergey and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury on 4 March 2018 was not just a brazen violation of UK sovereignty. It was also a UK policy failure. Following the murder of Aleksandr Litvinenko in 2006, the UK government failed to deter another life-threatening attack on a British national by organs of the Russian state. Russian decision-makers saw the UK as lacking purpose and resolve because its firm rhetoric was not matched by its actions.

The UK’s response to the Salisbury attack has been far stronger. It has taken robust political, diplomatic and law enforcement measures, coordinated with international partners. Yet this is still essentially a sterner version of what it tried following the Litvinenko murder – broadly ‘deterrence by denial’ (making it more difficult for Russia to conduct future hostile attacks on UK soil). Other aspects of the UK’s post-Salisbury policy towards Russia seem ill-defined.

Mapping Global Strategic Stability in the Twenty-First Century

The U.S.-Russia strategic relationship—the only one to have featured strategic arms control—is no longer central to global strategic stability. While Sino-American relations are not nearly as dominant in terms of the rest of the world as U.S.-Soviet relations were during the Cold War. Thus twentieth-century methods of dealing with the issue of strategic stability, such as arms control, are insufficient. As the world experiences a palpable weakening of the global order—complete with major-power rivalry, regional instabilities, and technological innovation—strategic stability, taken for granted since the end of the Cold War, is again in question.

Yet the renewed discussion of strategic stability is too often focused on relations between the United States and Russia, and leads to calls for updated arms control. Seeking twentieth-century solutions for twenty-first-century problems, however, is hardly productive. This article discusses how the meaning and key features of strategic stability have changed since the bipolar era, the toolbox that exists today for managing strategic stability, and which policies should be adopted by the powers concerned.



He was born on a sailboat in Leith Harbour, an abandoned whaling station on South Georgia island. His father, a French adventurer, had met his mother, an Australian zoologist, on a jetty in Tasmania while sailing his boat around the world. The couple started a family in the South Atlantic. For years they traversed the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, surveying wildlife in uncharted bays—seals, flowering plants, seabirds—with three boys in tow. Dion was the first.

The Antarctic Peninsula is an 800-mile string of mountains and volcanoes that juts north from the White Continent like the tail on a horseshoe crab. It was Poncet’s playground. Young Dion and his brothers read, drew, and played with Legos—but also chased penguins, lifted chocolate from derelict research stations, and sledded down hills that might never have seen a human footprint. Other kids face schoolyard bullies; Dion was tormented by dive-bombing skuas, which whacked his head hard enough to make him cry. Other kids star in wobbly home movies; the Poncet boys were featured in a 1990 National Geographic film about growing up in the Antarctic. Sometimes, during breaks from homeschooling, Dion’s mom had him count penguins. “It got pretty boring pretty quickly,” he says.

Angela Merkel Failed


The British politician Enoch Powell famously observed that “all political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel appears to defy this rule. The present is hardly a happy juncture for her, yet her Oct. 29 announcement that she will step down as leader of her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has been lauded by observers as both dignified and elegant. Whether she can continue as chancellor until 2021, as she has said she would, is de facto not in her hands: Were the Social Democratic Party to leave the ruling coalition before then, prompting elections, she would not run again. Still, she is perceived as supremely in control, just as she has always seemed in control since heading her first government in 2005—with the fateful exception of the fall of 2015, when many citizens felt that the German state was no longer in charge of its own borders, as hundreds of thousands of refugees streamed into the country.

If Terrorists Launch a Major Cyberattack, We Won’t See It Coming

by Kathy Gilsinan 

“The FBI assesses the cyberterrorism threat to the U.S. to be rapidly expanding,” said one law-enforcement official, testifying before Congress. “Terrorist groups will either develop or hire hackers, particularly for the purpose of complementing large physical attacks with cyber attacks.” That assessment was made nearly 15 years ago. In the meantime, a generation of tech-savvy jihadists has exploited the internet to attract recruits, share bomb-making expertise, and incite violence. Yet they haven’t managed to pull off the devastating cyberattacks that experts have long feared.

With just days left before Americans go to the polls for midterm elections, it is worth considering: Why not?

“I’m as puzzled as you are,” said Michael Hayden, who served as CIA director from 2004 to 2008. “These folks are not cyberdumb.”

Singapore Sets Up World’s First Commercial Cyber Risk Pool

SINGAPORE: Singapore is setting up the world’s first commercial cyber risk pool as part of efforts to develop the region’s capacity to deal with threats from cyber attacks, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced at the 15th Singapore International Reinsurance Conference on Monday (29 Oct). “The pool will commit up to US$1 billion in capacity, and bring together both traditional insurance and insurance-linked securities markets to provide bespoke cyber coverage,” he said.Advertisement “To date, twenty insurance firms have indicated their interest to participate in this pool, which would allow corporates in ASEAN and Asia to be protected against cyber-related losses,” said Mr Heng.

Cybercrime was estimated to cost the global economy about US$3 trillion in 2015, a figure that is expected to double by 2021. And Asia is vulnerable, said Mr Heng. Hackers are 80 per cent more likely to target organisations in the region, yet 60 per cent of Asian companies do not have proper cyber threat monitoring systems.

Energy and the Information Infrastructure: Part 2 – The Invisible & Voracious 'Information Superhighway'

By Mark P. Mills

A note about this series:

Part 1 of this series (here) focused on the “Cloud” of datacenters—energy-gobbling warehouse-scale computers—that sit largely out of sight at the center of the Internet. In part 2 we explore the invisible “information superhighway” that connects the Cloud to everyone and, soon, everything. The ethereal magic of radio photons now forms the most far-reaching network humanity has ever built; and one that uses more electricity than the country of Italy.

Fifty years ago this month Apollo 7marked two firsts: the first manned flight of the Apollo crew module which put the program on track for the moon landing just nine months later; and the first live TV transmission from a manned spacecraft, seen by hundreds of millions of people around the world.

5G Technology Set To Fuel Technological Change And Transform Global Economy

Mike Scott
Source Link

Five key themes will shape the world in the next five years, fuelled by an unprecedented increase in the pace of technological changes, in particular the roll-out of 5G mobile technology, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The financial services giant says in its report, Transforming World – The Next 5 Years, that the “the five most influential themes that should shape our world over the next five years” are big data and artificial intelligence; the rise of electric vehicles; demographics; climate change; and privacy and cyber threats.


by Jeff Goodson

Infrastructure is a high priority in developing countries, but its expense presents major problems for countries trying to secure financing. China's focus on building infrastructure in some of the world's most strategic places not only represents a geopolitical threat to the West but also challenges the long-standing Western approach to development. The new U.S. International Development Finance Corp. offers an alternative to countries that are desperate for infrastructure but don't like the risk and sovereignty implications of some of China's financial terms.

Then and now – coming out from the shadows

By Mike Burgess 

Changes in the global economy are bringing with it a wealth of opportunities for Australia, but we need to be open-eyed on the potential threats to our most important interests, says Mike Burgess, director-general of the ASD.

I’ve had two careers in the Australian Signals Directorate – the first starting in 1995, the other in 2018.

In 1995, the Defence Signals Directorate, as it was known then, was a highly secretive organisation. My own family didn’t really know what I did. In fact, at that point in time, few people had even heard of the directorate.

Early in 1995, I spotted a geeky-sounding telecommunications job advert in a newspaper. Some of you may just remember those days, when online wasn’t yet a thing and jobs were found in the newspaper.

Data Localisation: A Strategic Weapon In Cyber War

By Prashant Mali, President – Cyber Law Consulting (Advocates & Attorneys)

Data is the new oil, and I believe it is the new cyber weapon too. Those whose possess, control and mine the data are the proxy rulers of cyber space. Data being localised in Indian borders gives a better control even for law enforcement agencies to gather electronic evidence without any foreign countries prejudice. Till the ECPA (Electronic Communications and Privacy Act), exists in the US, they are never going to share data with India’s law enforcement agencies. My personal interaction with a US Government attorney in Washington made me aware that they do not even expect ECPA to be amended in favour of data sharing with countries like India.

What Northrop’s $54M Unified Platform Win Means For Cyber War


UPDATED with contract details WASHINGTON: A deceptively modest award for a blandly named “Unified Platform” actually gives contractor Northrop Grumman the lead role in developing the next generation of weapons for Cyber Command. Other companies may offer specific software and hardware modules, but as “Systems Coordinator,” Northrop now gets to design the virtual chassis all those upgrades must fit on.

CyberCom Is Targeting Russia’s Election Meddlers — and Changing How Governments Use Cyber


We learned last week that U.S. Cyber Command is conducting operations against Russian operatives suspected of interfering in U.S. elections. The goal according to the New York Times is “to deter them from spreading disinformation” and “[tell] them that American operatives have identified them and are tracking their work.” Direct messages were apparently sent to these individuals to erase doubt about who attacked them and why.

This episode breaks the mold of what is typically understood as traditional cyberspace behavior. Operations in this domain are rarely coupled with intentional and clear acknowledgement by the perpetrator. Instead, they usually look like Russia’s 2016 election interference where communication is nonexistent and responsibility vehemently denied. Cyber Command’s operation is different and may portend an evolution in how states utilize cyber weapons and what goals they may try to achieve. 

The Logic of Credit Claiming

Army Evaluates New Intel Technology for the 'Tactical Edge of Combat'

By Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven

The Army is evaluating a series of emerging intelligence analysis technologies intended to integrate and organize a range of input sources to include drone videos, satellite imagery, enemy movement information, terrain data and crucial elements of battle planning. Part of the initiative is aimed at leveraging the most advanced computer processing speeds, data analysis and technologies designed to synthesize information from otherwise disparate nodes. Bringing this to fruition, Army developers explained, requires extensive exploration of cutting-edge commercial technologies which can quickly be applied to military systems.

One system being evaluated, Raytheon’s FoxTen, uses commercially-developed software to collect and organize data from sources such as human intelligence (HUMINT), signals intelligence (SIGINT), cybersecurity oriented data, terrain and battlespace data and other fast-changing combat-relevant information.