13 November 2018



China and India must not allow outside powers to “play them off” against each other as anxieties rise in other countries over Beijing’s rapid gains in economic and strategic influence, an Indian senior ex-diplomat said.

Equally the onus is on China to assure “everybody on its street” it poses no threat to the current world order, former Indian foreign secretary S. Jaishankar told the South China Morning Post.

“In many ways, the rise of China is good for India,” said Jaishankar, who served as New Delhi’s envoy in Beijing from 2009-13. “It is motivational, and it has changed the balance between the West and non-West.”

Facing sanctions, Iran pioneers framework for cooperation with Russia, China and India: Analysis

Micha’el Tanchum*

With Iran’s convening of its first “Regional Security Dialogue” summit in late September 2018 with deputy national security advisors from Russia, China, and India, Tehran has taken a significant step toward creating a multilateral framework for Eurasian security cooperation in the face of renewed U.S. sanctions. Ostensibly devoted to combatting terrorism in Afghanistan, the summit’s concluding declaration indicates a wide-sweeping stabilization agenda extending from Syria eastward to include all of Central Asia. 

Though Iran is historically and geographically a quintessentially Eurasian power, Tehran has had difficulty engaging its Eastern neighbors. Iran’s “Look East” policy under the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmedinejad (2005-2013), struggled to bring Moscow and Beijing into alignment with anti-US policy despite Tehran’s strong commercial relationships with both countries. Iran’s post-JCPOA scheme of “preferring East to West” in a multilateral framework for collective security cooperation involving Russia, China, and India is proving far more successful.

The significance of Arihant

by Arun Prakash

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s palpable pride at the recent completion of a “deterrent patrol” by the navy’s first home-built, nuclear-propelled, ballistic-missile armed submarine (termed SSBN), INS Arihant, is understandable. As a nation committed to “no first use” (NFU), it is of critical importance that an adversary contemplating a nuclear (first) strike should never be in doubt about the credibility of India’s nuclear deterrent and the assurance of a swift, devastating response.

Given the kind of transparency provided by satellites and other technical means, the land-based legs of our nuclear triad (missile sites and air-bases) remain exposed to enemy attack. The best way for India to provide invulnerability to its deterrent, therefore, was to send it underwater, on a SSBN; the third leg of the triad. Once the submarine disappears underwater, it becomes virtually impossible to locate and can remain on patrol for months, with its ballistic missiles ready for launch on the PM’s orders. This is the kind of credibility that Arihant and her sisters will provide India’s nuclear deterrent in the future.

Taliban representatives in Moscow signal Russia's rising diplomatic clout

by Nathan Hodge
Source Link

Moscow (CNN)Representatives of the Taliban took a seat at a conference table in Moscow on Friday alongside members of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, in a forum the Russian Foreign Ministry has billed as an unprecedented event. To be clear, Friday's discussions are not peace talks. In opening remarks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday's conference -- the second session in a series dubbed the "Moscow format" -- was meant to encourage an atmosphere for dialogue between the warring sides in Afghanistan's long-running civil war.

"The participation of the Taliban movement will be a large contribution to the formation of a good environment for the direct talks between the government, the Taliban movement and representatives of wide civil and political circles of the country," he said.

Return From a Pakistan Dungeon

By Shah Meer Baloch and Rabia Bugti

KARACHI, PAKISTAN — This is a tale of every missing person who has borne the brunt of torture in a detention center.

The torture is meant to be painful but more painful and damaging is the psychological effect on the missing persons and their family members. The experience damages them mentally and reshapes their personalities.

Spending just a few days in a detention center – more aptly a dungeon — with no window and proper space to lay down completely reshaped the life of Khalil Ahmed. He was abducted in June 2010. At the time of his abduction, he was a premedical student at Khuzdar Degree College in Balochistan. He left his studies after the incident.

When he was released after three days of harrowing torture, Ahmed reached home trussed and blindfolded. It seemed, however, that his abductors had uncovered his eyes.

After Khan's Visit, Pakistan Doubles Down on China Dependence

By Tridivesh Singh Maini

Pakistani Finance Minister Asad Umar, in an interview to China Global Television Network (CGTN), emphatically stated that it was wrong to blame the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project for Pakistan’s economic problems. According to Umar, who was speaking from the sidelines of the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, “Pakistan has a debt problem for sure, but Pakistan does not have a China debt problem”

Umar attributed Pakistan’s current economic mess to other reasons – specially the lack of exports and failure to generate “enough foreign currency inflows to be able to service the debt.”

Later, while briefing the press on Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent China visit, Umar claimed that, while the economy does face numerous challenges, the country’s balance of payments crisis had ended. The Pakistani finance minister stated that financial assistance from Saudi Arabia (worth $6 billion) as well as Chinese assistance had helped in financing the $12 billion gap.

Was Imran’s visit to China a failure? Yes. Here’s why

Adnan Rasool

As Prime Minister Imran Khan returns from his trip to China, one thing is becoming glaringly clear: the Pakistani state is completely clueless regarding the larger objectives of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

To say that the prime minister’s trip was successful would be a flat out lie at this stage. What happened in Beijing is a learning moment for the government of Pakistan that I fear will be forgotten.

The purpose of this article is not to simply point out the ineptness of our government but to analyse exactly what happened, what the problems are, the harsh realities and then detailing what needs to be done to address them.

The Global Impact of a Chinese Recession

Most economic forecasts suggest that a recession in China will hurt everyone, but that the pain would be more regionally confined than would be the case for a deep recession in the United States. Unfortunately, that may be wishful thinking.

CAMBRIDGE – When China finally has its inevitable growth recession – which will almost surely be amplified by a financial crisis, given the economy’s massive leverage – how will the rest of world be affected? With US President Donald Trump’s trade war hitting China just as growth was already slowing, this is no idle question.

Typical estimates, for example those embodied in the International Monetary Fund’s assessments of country risk, suggest that an economic slowdown in China will hurt everyone. But the acute pain, according to the IMF, will be more regionally concentrated and confined than would be the case for a deep recession in the United States. Unfortunately, this might be wishful thinking.

Can Russia and China 'Synergize' the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt and Road Initiative?

By Catherine Putz

“Synergizing” China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) remains in the rhetoric of both sides, most recently while Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was in Beijing for the 23rd China-Russia Prime Ministers’ Regular Meeting. His Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang, according to the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry summary, said that “China will synergize the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union.”

Medvedev was also in Beijing to be a guest of honor at China’s first International Import Expo (CIIE). The readout of his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping didn’t mention the EAEU but did stress cohesion between China and Russia:

Both China and Russia are in a crucial stage in achieving national development and revitalization, Xi said.

China is struggling to explain Xi Jinping Thought

THE INSTITUTE of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era occupies several rooms in the Marxism department of Renmin University in north Beijing. Qin Xuan, the institute’s director, says it is one of ten similar centres for the study of the philosophy that is attributed to China’s president. The institute has only a small administrative staff but about 70 affiliated academics. It produces research, offers advice to policymakers and organises seminars.

Mr Qin says that part of his team’s job is to explain Xi Thought to journalists, foreign diplomats and Chinese youngsters. In October he and researchers at other such institutes, all founded in the past year, appeared as judges and commentators on a youth-targeted game-show called “Studying the New Era”. It involved students who stood on the bridge of a starship and answered questions, posed by an animated robot, about Mr Xi’s speeches and biography. The show was part of an unusually lively series of programmes about ideology called “Socialism is Kind of Cool”, produced by a provincial television station.

China’s Beating the US to Market on Combat Drones, By Copying US Technology

Source Link

The mockup of China’s CH-7 combat drone unveiled at Zhuhai Airshow this week looks a lot like one the U.S. Navy was developing — until it dropped the project, allowing China to position itself to beat the U.S. and other allies in fielding a long-range, high-altitude combat drone. That’s despite the fact that—in the words of one expert—the United States had a “ten-year head start.”

If the CH-7 makes its first flight next year and stays on track, it “will be the sole option for buyers wanting to field stealth combat drones” in 2022, crowed China Daily, citing “sources.” It will also be the sole option for buyers looking to purchase an aircraft carrier-capable combat drone (according to China’s state-run Global Times) that looks like the X-47B, an experimental drone that U.S. weapons-maker Northrop Grumman developed for the Navy.

Iran Feels the Effects of U.S. Sanctions

The United States has sought to maximize pressure on Iran by limiting its oil exports, but a tight oil market has left Washington constrained. Despite Saudi efforts to increase the kingdom's production, replacing the Islamic republic's output is no easy task and eight countries have been granted waivers to continue importing Iranian oil. Iran will feel the bite of U.S. pressure, making the few lifelines it has left crucial to maintaining stability.

The United States has now reimplemented some of the sanctions against Iran that were once lifted under the nuclear deal. As details trickle out about which countries have received sanctions waivers and how long the waivers will last, the effects of U.S. pressure on Iran are taking shape.

How colonial violence came home: the ugly truth of the first world war

By Pankaj Mishra

‘Today on the Western Front,” the German sociologist Max Weber wrote in September 1917, there “stands a dross of African and Asiatic savages and all the world’s rabble of thieves and lumpens.” Weber was referring to the millions of Indian, African, Arab, Chinese and Vietnamese soldiers and labourers, who were then fighting with British and French forces in Europe, as well as in several ancillary theatres of the first world war.

Faced with manpower shortages, British imperialists had recruited up to 1.4 million Indian soldiers. France enlisted nearly 500,000 troops from its colonies in Africa and Indochina. Nearly 400,000 African Americans were also inducted into US forces. The first world war’s truly unknown soldiers are these non-white combatants.

How colonial violence came home: the ugly truth of the first world war – podcast

EU Scenarios for 2017

Author Antonio Estella

In this paper, Antonio Estella reflects on the future of the European Union and outlines possible scenarios on what the EU could look like in 2027. He argues that the EU's future will be determined by four major variables: 1) enlargement, 2) economic growth, 3) immigration, and 4) exit(s). Because three of these variables play against integration, Estella contends that the EU will definitely demonstrate a tendency towards disintegration within the next 10 years.

The Inflection Point

By Jon B. Alterman

In 1967, the Middle East was transformed, but the impending drama wasn’t clear when the year began. In fact, at the beginning of 1967, the political climate seemed sustainable and unlikely to change. Cold War tensions that divided the Middle East were nothing new, and monarchies and republics continued their quiet sparring to seize the region’s future. As part of that struggle, Egypt’s president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, had become mired in a war in Yemen that was depleting his military and draining his treasury.

Undeterred by events in Yemen, Nasser led the Arabs into a war against Israel, which resulted in Israel’s swift capture of the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. With his defeat in the June 1967 war, Nasser’s Arab socialism died, and so did the dream of revolutionary republics leading the Arab World out from the shadow of colonialism and onto the world’s center stage. Nasser had been a rising star in the Middle East for more than a decade. He succeeded in pushing the British out of Egypt and resisting the Tripartite Aggression of 1956. His Voice of the Arabs radio station had become the soundtrack for news and culture throughout the Arab World. However, suddenly, Nasser was no longer the harbinger of the future. After 1967, Arab monarchies steadied, political Islam gained steam, and the Soviet Union began to lose its Arab footholds. The events of 1967 created a new reality and a new dynamic, and this reality persisted for a half-century.

The United States, Russia, and Europe in 2018

In October 2018, a select group of Russian and American experts met at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. Their meeting, convened by CSIS and the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), aimed to discuss four topics central to U.S.-Russian relations: the conflict in Ukraine, the future of the European security order, the war in Syria, and the question of interference in other states’ political processes. The attendees participated not as representatives of their countries or governments but rather as experts working collaboratively to define the problems at hand and consider possible solutions. Their goal was to identify the positions of stakeholders with an eye to defining the possibilities for future negotiations and paths out of conflict.

Despite the importance of all four of those topics to global and regional security, to say nothing of bilateral relations between the United States and Russia, the expert group agreed that the biggest challenge to resolving any of them is that Russian, American, European (including Ukrainian), Syrian, and other relevant governments do not see their resolution as urgent. Although these stakeholders may not be happy with the status quo, they often see alternatives as likely to be worse, or at least to pose new risks.

One Hundred Years of American Grand Strategy


On November 11, 1918, World War One, the Great War, ended. Amid the chaos that followed—revolution, the fall of empires, and rise of nations—the United States attempted to build a rules-based world which favored freedom. American power had won the war, and President Woodrow Wilson was trying to shape a peace along the lines of what we now call a rules-based or “liberal” world order. Wilson’s Fourteen Points, presented the previous January, challenged the imperial, balance-of-power system of the European powers (on both sides) which had started the war, and at the same time took on Lenin’s revolutionary alternative. Wilson’s ideas were a rough draft of American Grand Strategy in what has been called the American Century.

Germany's Political Woes Spell Trouble for Europe

Germany has entered a period of political turbulence that will likely reduce the effectiveness of the federal government and its influence on European Union affairs. In the coming months, the main threat to the continuity of the German government will come from the Social Democratic Party, which is mulling whether to withdraw from the governing coalition. Over time, Germany's political polarization could make it harder for Berlin to accommodate its partners in Southern Europe, which would reduce the room for compromise on EU issues.

Angela Merkel's announcement that she will not stand for re-election as the leader of Germany's governing Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party is raising questions about the political future of the largest economy in Europe. Merkel wants to remain German chancellor until the end of her term in 2021, but the race to succeed her already has begun. Beyond the mere domestic ramifications, the consequences of the competition to succeed Merkel will have an impact across the European Union. In the immediate term, a weaker German government could result in the postponement of important EU reforms. In the longer term, Germany's political polarization could make it harder for Berlin to accommodate its partners in Southern Europe, thereby threatening the entire continuity of the union.

Measuring the Geopolitical Fallout From the U.S. Midterm Elections

The Democrats' newfound control over the U.S. House of Representatives probably won't translate into greater control of the president's foreign trade powers. With vocal critics of Trump's trade policies out of the Senate, the new House will instead try to influence congressional approval for future trade negotiations. The president has significant clout over foreign policy, but Congress can still try to build momentum for heavier sanctions against Russia or measures to rein in Saudi Arabia. Gridlock will dominate some parts of the policymaking process under a divided Congress. The House probably won't be able to go after the tax reform that has already passed, but White House priorities such as immigration reform and additional tax cuts are now likely off the table.

How Congress Can Take Back Foreign Policy

By Brian McKeon and Caroline Tess

On January 3, 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump will face a new reality: a chamber of Congress controlled by the opposition party. Confronting a hostile Democratic House of Representatives will be a rude awakening for a president who chafes at any limits on his authority. For the first two years of his presidency, Trump experienced little resistance from the Republican-controlled Congress as he sought to disrupt the established international order. Republicans largely stood by as Trump withdrew from vital international agreements, embraced autocrats while giving allies the cold shoulder, used Twitter to threaten friends and foes alike, and discarded democracy and human rights as core values of U.S. foreign policy.

His free rein is over. Now that Democrats have taken power in the House of Representatives, Congress has a chance to influence the administration’s foreign policy. The Constitution gives Congress more authority over foreign affairs than most observers understand. It has the power of the purse, the power to declare war, and the power to regulate the armed forces, trade, and immigration. Congress can fund programs it supports and withhold money from those it doesn’t. It can block initiatives that require legislation and use investigations to expose and curtail executive-branch wrongdoing. And it can reach out to allies and admonish adversaries.

From Economic Crisis to World War III


The response to the 2008 economic crisis has relied far too much on monetary stimulus, in the form of quantitative easing and near-zero (or even negative) interest rates, and included far too little structural reform. This means that the next crisis could come soon – and pave the way for a large-scale military conflict.

BEIJING – The next economic crisis is closer than you think. But what you should really worry about is what comes after: in the current social, political, and technological landscape, a prolonged economic crisis, combined with rising income inequality, could well escalate into a major global military conflict.

Israel and the Trillion-Dollar 2005-2018 US Intelligence Budget

by Grant Smith 

The American public and think tank analysts are not supposed to know precisely how billions in taxpayer dollars flowing into the intelligence community are spent. Even the best plead ignorance. Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy commenting on huge budget increases told the Washington Examiner, "What exactly that signifies, it’s hard to say. Are there new program leads? Are there new acquisitions? It could be new operations or collection programs. We don’t know and we’re not supposed to know."

Israel is one undeniably large factor behind spending surges since 2005. Israel successfully demanded enormous increases in joint U.S.-Israeli cyber warfare expenditures and benefited from related U.S. contingency planning. Due to onerous secrecy, Americans remain unable to engage in informed public debate about whether what amounts to US subjugation to the Israeli prerogatives driving these massive expenditures should continue.

The Vanishing Nuclear Taboo?

By Nina Tannenwald

On April 5, 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama stood before a massive crowd in Prague and gave a soaring speech announcing his commitment to “a world without nuclear weapons.” In pursuit of that goal, he pledged to seek an arms reduction treaty with Russia, ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and convene a global summit to discuss the eventual elimination of nuclear stockpiles. He acknowledged that a nuclear-free world was unlikely to be achieved in his lifetime, yet his speech marked the first time a U.S. president had set out a step-by-step agenda for abolishing nuclear arms. It represented a sharp break from the approach of U.S. President George W. Bush, who had expanded nuclear missions and rejected arms control. Much of the world was elated. Nuclear disarmament was back on the global agenda. That September, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing Obama’s vision and strengthening various disarmament and nonproliferation measures. The following month, the Nobel Committee awarded Obama the Nobel Peace Prize, citing his call for nuclear disarmament. More than six decades after humanity first harnessed the destructive power of nuclear reactions, the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons was charting a path for the world to put the genie back in the bottle.

Lost in Sudan


[The FOIA documents cited in this article can be viewed here]

Obama administration officials have been on the receiving end of much-deserved criticism for the decision to grant a one-time license to allow payment of taxpayers money to the Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA), a U.S. designated terror-financing charity in Sudan, once closely linked to Osama bin Laden.

However, as a July 2018 investigation by the Middle East Forum uncovered, World Vision, a large but controversial international Christian aid charity, was the primary recipient of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grant that ultimately ended up funding ISRA. World Vision deserves much of the blame, but so far, its actions have escaped serious scrutiny.

Newly available information strongly suggests that World Vision was waylaid by the Sudanese regime, one of only four U.S. designated state-sponsors of terrorism in the world, into doing its bidding. What's more, to protect itself from bad publicity, World Vision has gone to great lengths to deceive the public about its actions.

South Korea’s Emergence as an Important Player in Cryptocurrency

By Troy Stangarone

When it comes to cryptocurrency, North Korea tends to get most of the attention on the Korean Peninsula. Since 2017, North Korea has stolen $571 million from cryptocurrency exchanges and accounted for nearly 65 percent of all cryptocurrency stolen. Despite North Korea’s illicit activities in this burgeoning field, the recent acquisition of Europe’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by a South Korean investment firm is just the latest sign that South Korea is developing into a significant player on the licit side of cryptocurrency and its underlying blockchain technology.

In late October, NXMH, the Belgium-based subsidiary of the South Korean investment firm NXC, acquired Bitstamp, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Europe by trading volume. The transaction will give NXC ownership of both Bitstamp and the smaller South Korean exchange Korbit. While Korbit and Bitstamp will operate separately, the two exchanges will share technology and resources for research and development.

Japan’s Belt and Road Balancing Act

By Andreea Brînză

There is an old saying: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Japan seems to be well aware of this adage, because it is oscillating between fellow democracies and China in order to strengthen its position in the race for influence in Asia.

Japan used to be one of the most vehement critics of the Belt and Road Initiative, together with the United States, but lately its stance on the BRI seems to be changing. In the first years after Shinzo Abe became Japan’s prime minister in 2012, relations between China and Japan were quite cool. China’s President Xi Jinping and Abe met many times, but only in short, informal settings. It took six years for one of the two leaders to finally secure an official visit to the other country, with Abe’s recent visit to China. Since 2014, the relations between the two countries have started to improve, especially in recent months, when China has become more and more affected by the trade war with the United States, while Japan has itself been the target of steel and aluminum tariffs.

Toronto-born Canadian is mystery man behind ISIL's high-profile cyber attacks

Adrian Humphreys

An Islamic State-linked media outlet says a Canadian man was behind the terror group’s highest-profile cyber attacks, including the embarrassing takeover of the Twitter account of the U.S. military’s Central Command.

The Canadian fighter, who is said to have been killed by a drone strike in Syria, also allegedly penetrated bank computers and used the “spoils” to fund their fighting and hacked the U.S. Department of Defense, airports, international media organizations and the accounts of “hundreds” of U.S. soldiers.

Terrorism experts say the Arabic-language notice likely reveals a previously unknown Canadian convert who left Toronto to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in its ongoing war.

Troubled Waters: How A New Wave of Cyber-Attacks is Targeting Maritime Trade

By Justin Fier 

Protecting Vital Commercial Hubs Requires Thinking Beyond Air-Gapping or Standard IT Solutions

In concrete terms, the historical “air gap” separating industrial control systems from enterprise networks meant that factories and shipyards were more or less immune to cyber-attack. As long as systems were air-gapped it didn’t matter how pernicious or effective the cyber-threat became, we felt confident that these virtual concerns couldn’t impact our physical infrastructure.

But recent years have proven us wrong. As the global transition to smart infrastructure — from IoT sensors in trash cans to app-controlled irrigation systems — has enabled enormous gains in efficiency and precision, at the same time it has quietly deflated this air gap. As nearly every sector is digitizing, operational technology (OT) and IT are now intertwined more closely than ever before.

This is how artificial intelligence will become weaponized in future cyberattacks

By Charlie Osborne for Zero Day

On Thursday, researchers from Darktrace (.PDF) said that the current threat landscape is full of everything from script kiddies and opportunistic attacks to advanced, state-sponsored assaults, and in the latter sense, attacks continue to evolve.

However, for each sophisticated attack currently in use, there is the potential for further development through the future use of AI.

Within the report, the cybersecurity firm documented three active threats in the wild which have been detected within the past 12 months. Analysis of these attacks -- and a little imagination -- has led the team to create scenarios using AI which could one day become reality.

Chronicles of the Meme War

P. W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking

The word surreal appears so many times in LikeWarthat I lost count, but each time its use was appropriate; indeed, it would have been relevant myriad other times. How not? The book’s subject is social media, and how those media have been transformed into vehicles manipulated by loathsome villains to brainwash the unsuspecting and wreak chaos, hatred, and even violence. (Social media are sometimes used for decent ventures by decent people). LikeWar is scrupulously researched, deftly written—surprising in a dual-authorship book—and well worth reading. Its depiction of a world being driven crazy, or worse, by a unique new communications instrument constitutes a ghastly dystopian vision.

Despite the word weaponization in LikeWar’s subtitle, P. W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking spend little time on specific military uses of the internet.1 But social media campaigns that augment military operations have their place in the book, as do the extraordinary range of activities initiated to undermine democracies, strengthen dictatorships, demonize numerous ethnic minorities, and pamper Taylor Swift’s fans (the book has its lighter moments). The latter notwithstanding, the sheer nihilistic rage detailed in LikeWar sometimes has a numbing effect. But the authors aren’t exploiting the “cruel surreal spectacle[s]” that they examine, to borrow their own description of the online extravaganza that accompanied the Islamic State’s 2014 war in Iraq. They’re on the side of the angels; they want the internet cleaned up.