15 November 2018

Demonitization Is Paying Dividend In India – OpEd

By N. S. Venkataraman

With the next Indian parliamentary election only a few months away, critics of Narendra Modi government and opposition parties are leveling several criticisms and allegations which are not adequately backed by reliable facts and figures. In the coming months, it is likely that the criticisms will become more sharp and more vicious. With constant campaign by the critics and opposition parties, that are bordering on generating personal hatred against Mr. Modi and which are highlighted by the media and even supported to some extent by section of the media, it appears that atleast some section of the people will be carried away by such propaganda.

Of the several criticisms, the most focused one in the coming months would be the demonetization decision of the Modi government two years back.
What critics say?

Bhutan Elections: An Opportunity For Strengthening Relations With India – OpEd

By Srimal Fernando*

Bhutan is the only democratic constitutional monarchy in South Asian region holding tremendous geopolitical importance for Asian giants, India and China. Recently the Himalayan nation held its third Parliamentary election. In Previous elections like of 2008, Jigme Thinley of Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) party won and in 2013 Tshering Togbay’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) formed the government.

The 2018 election results unseated Prime Minister Tshering Togbay and installed Dr. Lotay Tshering of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) by winning 30 seats in the National assembly out of the 47-seat elected lower house of Bhutan’s Partliament.

A Concert of Indo-Pacific Democracies


The deepening relationship between Japan and India serves the goal of forestalling the emergence of a China-centric Asia. If they can leverage their relationship to generate progress toward broader cooperation among the region's democracies, the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific may be achievable. On his week-long tour of Asia, US Vice President Mike Pence has been promoting a vision of a “free and open” Indo-Pacific region, characterized by unimpeded trade flows, freedom of navigation, and respect for the rule of law, national sovereignty, and existing frontiers. The question is whether this vision of an Indo-Pacific free of “authoritarianism and aggression” is achievable.

One country that seems willing to contribute to realizing this vision is Japan. In fact, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is the originator of the “free and open Indo-Pacific” concept that lies at the heart of President Donald Trump’s new strategy, the successor to Barack Obama’s unhinged “pivot” to Asia.

Analysis and Publications

by Riaz Khokhar

Riaz Khokhar, Research Officer at Center for International Strategic Studies, Islamabad, explains that “The Pakistani government believes it will play a constructive role [in Afghanistan], including using its influence over the Taliban.”  A fundamental point underlies the US-Pakistan relationship: Washington seeks Islamabad’s support in the honorable exit from Afghanistan. After 17-years of war, the interests of the United States and Pakistan seem to have aligned in pursuing a negotiated settlement of the Afghan conundrum.

This reality presents to the new government in Islamabad with what Michael Kugelman of the Wilson Center characterized as a golden opportunity to convince the Taliban to commit to the peace talks and become part of the political process in Afghanistan. Toward that end, the Pakistani government believes it will play a constructive role, including using its influence over the Taliban. Indeed, Islamabad considers peace and stability in Afghanistan as “vital for its own long-term stability and progress,” as emphasized by Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi. 

Pakistan-China headed for Massive Shift due to Geopolitical Compulsions

By Dr Subhash Kapila

Geopolitical compulsions seem to be bearing down heavily in steering Pakistan- China ‘All Weather Iron Brother Relations’ towards a massive shift in end-2018 whose first indicator has been the less than successful first visit of new Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to Beijing from November 02-05 2018.

In end 2018, Pakistan-China relations seems to be headed towards ‘climate change’ and the ‘iron’ that clad this strategic embrace is showing the first few specks of rust. China and Pakistan were glued together strategically only by their convergent national aims of downsizing India arising from their wars of aggression against India. India’s global geopolitical significance in 2018 changes all their obsessions.


Deepak Kumar Nayak


On November 11, 2018, a Border Security Force (BSF) Sub-Inspector was killed in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) triggered by Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres near the Koliyabeda area in Kanker District. Another BSF trooper was injured in the explosion. Police disclosed that the Maoists triggered another five IED blasts at separate locations in the areas between Kattakal and Gome villages in the District, though there were no casualties. These incidents took place a day ahead of the scheduled polling in the region.

The first phase of the two-phase State Assembly Elections is being held on November 12 [at the time of writing] while the second phase is scheduled to be held on November 20, 2018. Polling in 18 constituencies in eight Districts–Bastar, Kanker, Sukma, Bijapur, Dantewada, Narayanpur, Kondagaon and Rajnandgaon–is being held in the first phase [these are the eight districts in Chhattisgarh which have been listed among the 30 worst Naxal(Left Wing extremism, LWE)-affected Districts across the country.] The remaining 72 constituencies will go to the polls on November 20. Counting of votes will be held on December 11.

Does ASEAN Matter?

(L-R) Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Indonesian President Joko Widodo gather for a group photograph at the 32nd ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit in Singapore on April 28, 2018.

In his new book Does ASEAN Matter?, esteemed Indonesian diplomat Marty Natalegawa provides a view from within the corridors of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. As Indonesia’s representative to ASEAN, and later his country’s Foreign Minister, from 2009-2014, Dr. Natalegawa was present for many of ASEAN’s best and worst moments over the past two decades.

Sri Lanka President’s Undemocratic And Unconstitutional Moves – OpEd

By Dr. S. I. Keethaponcalan

Believing that he could win a third term as president, Mahinda Rajapaksa scheduled the presidential election for January 2015. After some time, it became clear that Ranil Wickremesinghe will not be contesting the election as he was perceived as a week candidate. Several alternative names were suggested. One of my friends who had a deep connection to the United National Party (UNP) told me that Maithripala Sirisena would be the common opposition candidate. I laughed because I did not believe the theory. One, I did not believe that Sirisena will flip on his boss. Two, Sirisena was not known for democracy and good governance, which was the main slogan of the opposition coalition in 2014. Sirisena was believed to be a trusted deputy of Rajapaksa.

Sad lessons of WWI a sober warning for US vs. China


One hundred years ago today, the guns of Flanders Fields fell silent. Although the messy business of peace remained, the Tommies, Doughboys, Jerries and Poilus gained a reprieve from their march to the slaughterhouse. “The Great War,” it was hoped, would end all others, suppressing what is base in our natures and promoting what is tranquil.

That expectation of peace and coexistence failed, of course; conflict is part of human nature. But as the century-old echoes of artillery and machine-gun fire resonate with us today, they should pressure us to action, as another great-power rivalry returns in a different global theatre.

The US and China Are Talking Again, But 'Competition' Is Set to Continue

By Ankit Panda

The United States and China, after a delay, have concluded their second annual diplomatic and security dialogue at a time of unusually high bilateral tensions along all fronts.

Even beyond the ongoing trade war, the recent meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of Defence James Mattis, Chinese Politburo member Yang Jiechi, and State Councillor and Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe follows several notable events.

In August, the U.S. moved to impose sanctions on the People’s Liberation Army’s Equipment Development Department in connection with China’s receipt of Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile systems and Su-35 fighter jets. In September, at the United Nations, U.S. President Donald Trump accused China of interfering in the U.S. midterm elections.

It didn’t stop there. In late September, a Chinese Type 052C destroyer almost caused a collision with a U.S. navy destroyer lawfully conducting a freedom of navigation operation near Gaven Reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

How to Respond to China in Africa

by Lyle J. Goldstein

The murder of the Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi has finally prompted the leading U.S. media sources to take a hard look at the Yemen War in all its putrid odor. It seems that the killing of a journalist may change the “arc of history,” so perhaps there is a silver lining to Riyadh’s despicable deed. Should the media dare to ask some hard questions about the involvement of the U.S. government and various American corporations in that horrible conflict, they, unfortunately, will have much to discuss. The catastrophe of the Yemen War should be the last nail in the coffin of major U.S. involvement in the Greater Middle East. Before the 1980s, there were no major, permanent U.S. military deployments into the Middle East and Central Asia and America should return to the infinitely wiser and more cautious approach of “offshore balancing.”


China’s plan to use artificial intelligence to boost the thinking skills of nuclear submarine commanders

Equipping nuclear submarines with AI would give China an upper hand in undersea battles while pushing applications of the technology to a new level

China is working to update the rugged old computer systems on nuclear submarines with artificial intelligence to enhance the potential thinking skills of commanding officers, a senior scientist involved with the programme told the South China Morning Post.

A submarine with AI-augmented brainpower not only would give China’s large navy an upper hand in battle under the world’s oceans but would push applications of AI technology to a new level, according to the researcher, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the project’s sensitivity. “Though a submarine has enormous power of destruction, its brain is actually quite small,” the researcher said.

China’s Brightest Children Recruited To Develop AI ‘Killer Bots’

A group of some of China’s smartest students have been recruited straight from high school to begin training as the world’s youngest AI weapons scientists.

The 27 boys and four girls, all aged 18 and under, were selected for the four-year “experimental programme for intelligent weapons systems” at the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) from more than 5,000 candidates, the school said on its website.

The BIT is one of the country’s top weapons research institutes, and the launch of the new programme is evidence of the weight it places on the development of AI technology for military use.

China is in competition with the United States and other nations in the race to develop deadly AI applications – from nuclear submarines with self-learning chips to microscopic robots that can crawl into human blood vessels.

“These kids are all exceptionally bright, but being bright is not enough,” said a BIT professor who was involved in the screening process but asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject.

China Gives ‘Guarantee’ On Winter Gas Supplies – Analysis

By Michael Lelyveld

Despite all-out efforts to avoid shortages, China will depend on the volatile spot market for liquefied natural gas (LNG) to keep its homes heated for the second winter in a row.

On Oct. 24, China’s top planning agency said it has a “contingency plan in case of emergencies such as extreme weather, in order to guarantee sufficient supplies of gas for residential use during the winter,” the official English- language China Daily reported.

The guarantee by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is the government’s strongest assurance to date that homes will not be left in the cold as a result of anti-smog bans on coal-fired heating, as was the case last December.

Uzbekistan Steps up Railway Diplomacy

By: Fozil Mashrab

An official delegation from Uzbekistan, led by Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov, visited Pakistan on November 1–2. Kamilov and his retinue were received by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and held meetings with Foreign Minister Mahmood Qureshi as well as the host country’s top military brass. In the discussions with Pakistani officials, the Uzbekistani foreign minister proposed several ground-breaking initiatives, including a railroad connection between the two countries that would pass through Afghanistan (The New Indian Express, November 2).

The proposal to build a rail link to Pakistan came one month after Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyaev traveled to India, on October 1. In Delhi, the Uzbekistani head of state invited his hosts to partner in implementing another trans-Afghan railway project, connecting the Afghan cities of Mazar-I-Sharif and Herat. Uzbekistan’s government pledged $500 million from its own funds for this important railway line, which, if realized, will become the shortest transit route to the Iranian port of Chabahar. The Indian government did not immediately agree, however, and is taking its time to consider the Uzbekistani proposal (The Hindu, September 28; Review.uz, October 30).

Russia in Review: The Gerasimov Doctrine Is Here To Stay

Russia in Review is a weekly intelligence summary (INTSUM) produced by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). This ISW INTSUM series sheds light on key trends and developments related to the Russian government’s objectives and its efforts to secure them. Receive future Russia in Review INTSUM products via-email by signing up for the ISW mailing list.

Special Topic Update: Russian Military Doctrine and Lessons Learned in Syria and Ukraine

Authors: Mason Clark and Catherine Harris with Jennifer Cafarella

Russian influence operations

■ Prepare for an ingenious and robust use of the in­fluence operations toolbox on the part of Russia: it is important to think creatively to counter this use.

■ Focus on the most important cases: it is impossible to prepare for all eventualities within what is a vast arena.

■ Expect international regimes designed to regulate influence operations launched in the digital domain to be difficult to establish and uphold. 

■ Recognize that cognitive resilience therefore is critical.

Russia can select from a very large toolbox when engaging in influence operations. The different tools are all ultimately used in attempts to influence personal views and/or public opinion. Russia’s many activities have put the West on the defensive. However, the digital tools it uses are Western in origin, and Russia is unlikely to assume the lead in deve­loping new technologies.

Harnessing Blockchain for American Business and Prosperity

Blockchain is a game-changing technology that has the power to unleash a new era in supply chain management and communication. In this report, the CSIS Scholl Chair reviews how blockchain can be used to solve complex business problems across various sectors and areas of life, assesses myths and challenges surrounding blockchain, and discusses what the U.S. government’s policy should be regarding blockchain. Blockchain enables interactions among anonymous users without central authority, using tamper-evident data on those interactions that are visible to all users in real time. It is particularly useful in the many settings where there are large networks of players, high intermediation costs, significant informational asymmetries among the players, and concerns about fraud and veracity of data. This paper does not focus on Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies enabled by blockchain; rather, the focus here is primarily on enterprise blockchains—blockchain applications operated by a company or an organization for a specific community of users. This paper uses the term “blockchain” loosely to refer to a family of distributed ledger technologies.

Teddy Roosevelt Goes to Panama

In November 1906, Theodore Roosevelt became the first sitting U.S. president to make a diplomatic visit outside the continental United States. On Nov. 9, he sailed for Panama to view the construction of the Panama Canal, a symbol of the expansion of U.S. geopolitical power, for himself.

At its narrowest point, the isthmus of Panama separates the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by a mere 30 miles (50 kilometers). Since the 1500s, explorers and entrepreneurs had dreamed of a path that would drastically cut the time and resources required to cross from one ocean to the other: Sea transit between the U.S. east and west coasts was a weekslong, 13,000-mile journey.

Control over such a path gave Washington a valuable source of revenue and immense geopolitical influence. Alfred Thayer Mahan, the great naval and geopolitical writer, knew that U.S. control of the Central American isthmus, and the possibility of a trans-isthmus canal, would be pivotal for the projection of U.S. military and commercial power. Roosevelt, too, was keenly aware of this; he had served as secretary of the Navy under President William McKinley, who had bolstered U.S. influence in international affairs by extending the U.S. Navy’s geographic reach.

Asia Summit and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit

COLM QUINN: So I’d like to just begin. My name’s Colm Quinn I’m the director for new media and audience development here at CSIS. And I’ll be moderating today’s press briefing. Thank

you all for coming. I just want to give you a quick note for housekeeping. We will be transcribing this discussion. So when you are asking your questions, if you want to identify yourself and you outlet, make it easier on you, we will then be sending out that transcript later on today.

So let me introduce my colleagues who will be speaking today in this order. To my immediate left, Matthew Goodman. He’s senior vice president and our Simon chair in political economy. He’s also a senior advisor for Asian economics. And he was the coordinator for the APEC and East Asia Summits, and including the G-8 and G-20 summits in the Obama White House. To his left is Amy Searight, senior advisor and director in the Southeast Asia program at CSIS. Bill Reinsch, senior advisor and Scholl chair in international business at CSIS. Rick Rossow, senior advisor and Wadhwani chair in U.S.-India policy studies, and Chris Johnson, senior advisor and Freeman chair in China studies at CSIS. And then joining us on the phone is Victor Cha, who is the senior advisor and Korea chair at CSIS. And so we’ll all be hearing from them today.

America's Place in the World Depends on Conditions at Home (And the Middle Class)

by Michael O'Hanlon 

Was it a blue wave, a blue trickle or a simple and fairly normal midterm correction? These are the questions that seem to fascinate and dominate the post-game analysis of the November 6, 2018 elections. With colleagues who are far better equipped than myself to answer these questions, I will not venture deeply into this debate—except to note that, as a 24-year veteran of Brookings and a 30-year veteran of Washington, I have seen enough previous “waves” and other electoral phenomena of seemingly seismic proportions (1992, 1994, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2016) to think that none of them tend to last very long. The modern American electorate is fickle and malleable, in addition to being severely divided.

Overcoming Challenges Arising from the Creation of National Security Councils

Research Questions

What are the challenges in creating an NSC?

How can these challenges be overcome?

How can a framework of an effective NSC be created?

In reviewing the case study countries, what is the security and political situation of country leading up to the establishment of its NSC? What are the NSC's institutional features? How does the NSC rate against the framework?

How can Mali apply these lessons to create its own NSC?

How can Mali overcome potential challenges in establishing its own NSC?

Improving C2 and Situational Awareness for Operations in and Through the Information Environment

by Christopher Paul, Colin P. Clarke, Bonnie L. Triezenberg, David Manheim, Bradley Wilson

Research Questions

How should DoD conceptualize C2 and situational awareness of the IE?

How should geographic combatant commands organize to maintain C2 and situational awareness of the IE?

The information environment (IE) is not a physical place and has not yet been defined as a warfighting domain in U.S. military doctrine. Targets of operations in and through the IE include human perceptions or behaviors: Weapons are ideas, and defenses are norms, beliefs, and traditions.

Adding to the complexity of achieving command and control (C2) and situational awareness of the IE is the fact that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has not effectively integrated the IE into operational planning, doctrine, or processes, instead considering traditional land, air, and sea operations separately from operations in the information space. However, every military activity has inherent informational aspects, and adversaries are increasingly using propaganda, misinformation, and other means to influence public perceptions, alliances, and decisions.

Cybersecurity Workforce Development: A Primer

By: Laura Bate

This report unpacks the many issues and questions that collectively make up “the cybersecurity workforce development challenge” in the United States. Our aim is to inform the discussion, make the case that the challenge warrants policy intervention, and highlight areas ripe for further research and policy intervention. We argue that filling cybersecurity jobs is critical for improving U.S. cybersecurity, but that no single action, effort, or theory will address the pervasive difficulties of filling cybersecurity jobs. Instead, lasting solutions will require a network of connected policies and community-wide efforts. Accordingly, the goal of the report is to expand on the range of policy options available rather than to advocate for any one solution. However, the discussion does consider the relative merits of different policies and will endorse those policies that offer particular promise.

Freedom on the Net

The Rise Of Digital Authoritarianism

Governments around the world are tightening control over citizens’ data and using claims of “fake news” to suppress dissent, eroding trust in the internet as well as the foundations of democracy.

Freedom On The Net Map

Out of the 65 countries assessed in Freedom on the Net, 26 experienced a deterioration in internet freedom. Almost half of all declines were related to elections.

Fake news, data collection, and the challenge to democracy

US Army Pursues Israeli Robots


TEL AVIV: The US Army is looking into robots designed by Israel Aerospace Industries, with the first contracts likely to be signed in early 2019, after which production will shift to IAI’s US subsidiaries.

In recent months top officials of the US Tank-Automotive Research, Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC) have been visiting IAI facilities almost on a weekly basis, Breaking Defense has learned.

“We consider the US Army a big potential customer,” retired Maj. Gen. Gadi Shamni, IAI’s VP for land systems and the former Israeli defense attaché in the US, said in an exclusive interview. “They have been briefed in Israel and saw the systems in action in the US.”

DHS-Funded Tech Could Help Calculate the Costs of Cyberattacks


The agency awarded $1.3 million to research helping organizations weigh the benefits of different cyber tools.

The Homeland Security Department is devoting nearly $1.3 million to researchers trying to figure out how organizations can get the most bang for their bucks when investing in cybersecurity.

The agency on Thursday announced it would fund teams at the University of California, San Diego, and University of Illinois, Chicago, which are building tools to spot and measure the costs of potential cyber threats.

State Department Relaxing Rules on Transfer on Drone, Chip Technology


The drones and chips that U.S. manufacturers can sell commercially are about to become a lot more capable. The State Department has announced that it will relax rules on the sale of some key technologies that were seen as highly sensitive to national security, including chips that will play a big role in 5G telecommunications devices, as well as some types of sense-and-avoid radar for drones and drone autonomy software.

The biggest change is the move of certain types of Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuits, or MMIC, chips from the Defense Department’s strictly regulated U.S. Munitions List to the Commerce Department’s less stringent Commerce Control List. That may sound dull but it could affect how consumers around the globe use future cell phones.

World War I Is More Than Trenches in France

by James Holmes

Today—the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month—marks the centennial of the armistice concluding the First World War. Your humble correspondent traveled to Kansas City, Missouri, last week to offer remarks as part of “1918: Crucible of Conflict,” the centennial symposium at the National World War I Museum and Memorial. After two days of listening to learned commentators hold forth about sundry dimensions of the war, the armistice, and the interregnum between the world wars, it’s clear the Great War still casts a long cultural shadow.

Bottom line: history matters. A partial or garbled understanding of history means any guidance we distill from it is partial or garbled as well.

The Next Great War

by Graham Allison

On Sunday, the world will pause to remember the 100th anniversary of the final day of a war so devastating that it required historians to devise an entirely new classification for it: “world war.” On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the guns of World War I fell silent — and nearly 20 million people lay dead.

Could such a conflict happen today? After more than seven decades without a shooting war between great powers, many Americans find the thought of the United States and a major adversary like China killing millions of one another’s citizens virtually inconceivable.

But when we say something is “inconceivable,” we should remember this: the realm of what is possible is not bound by what our limited minds can conceive. In 1918, in a scene described in Barbara Tuchman’s gem, The Guns of August, then German chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg famously responded to a colleague who demanded to know how the war could have happened: “Ah, if only we knew.”