23 November 2018

Patel-Nehru rift over Tibet & China was deep

On October 31, the world’s tallest statue, the Statue of Unity dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The work on the 182-metre tall statue has been completed after round the clock work by 3,400 labourers and 250 engineers at Sadhu Bet island on Narmada river in Gujarat. Sadhu Bet, located some 3.5 km away from the Narmada Dam, is linked by a 250-metre-long long bridge.

Unfortunately, for several reasons, scarce scholarly research has been done on the internal history of the Congress; the main cause is probably that a section of the party would prefer to keep history under wraps. Take the acute differences of opinion between Sardar Patel, the deputy prime minister, and “Panditji”, as Nehru was then called by Congressmen. In the last weeks of Patel’s life (he passed away on December 15, 1950), there was a deep split between the two leaders, leading to unilateral decisions for the PM, for which India had to pay the heaviest price.

These Afghan villages had been safe from insurgents. Then a deadly Taliban assault forced thousands to flee.

By Sharif Hassan

BAMIAN, Afghanistan — It was 3 a.m. when the loudspeaker at the village mosque crackled to life. An elder was calling everyone to come quickly. Taliban forces had just attacked a neighboring village, he said, and there was no time to lose.

Murtaza Nasiri, 23, recalled later that he was among those who immediately volunteered to help defend their village, Haider, located in the long-peaceful ethnic ­Shiite Hazara heartland of Ghazni province. Nasiri had grown up there, and he was studying to be an economist. 

He had never held a gun in his life. But suddenly he found himself being handed a Kalashnikov automatic rifle and following a group of men up the forested hills, where they began firing toward the insurgents. He had no idea how to handle the weapon, so someone else grabbed it.

Lead Inspector General for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel

This Lead Inspector General (Lead IG) report to the United States Congress on Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (OFS) is the 14th quarterly report detailing the overseas contingency operation. The report summarizes significant events involving OFS and describes completed, ongoing, and planned Lead IG and partner agency oversight work. This report covers the period from July 1, 2018, to September 30, 2018.

During the quarter, General Austin Scott Miller assumed command of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) and the Resolute Support mission. Also this quarter, the Trump Administration’s South Asia strategy passed its one year mark. Under the strategy, the U.S. Government has increased the amount of troops and equipment in Afghanistan, increased offensive strikes against the Taliban, expanded training and assistance for Afghan forces, and sought to pressure Pakistan to eliminate terrorist safe havens. Overall, the strategy seeks to drive the Taliban to enter into negotiations for a political settlement.

China’s Risky Drive into New-Energy Vehicles

Scott Kennedy

The Freeman Chair in China Studies proudly presents the third report of the China Innovation Policy Series (CIPS), which seeks to analyze trends in technology innovation in China and consider the implications for government policies and business strategies. In this latest report, Deputy Director of the Freeman Chair Scott Kennedy investigates China's ambitious development of new-energy vehicles and the global implications that innovation in this sector have on technology, energy, and strategic competition. To the read the full report, click here.

China has made developing new-energy vehicles (NEV) a top priority. The hope is that NEVs will help the country transform from a follower to a technological leader in the automobile sector, reduce China’s dependence on imported oil, and improve the country’s overall air quality. To achieve these goals, China has employed an intensive, government-led effort to generate a steady supply of NEVs, batteries, and other key components, as well as promote consumer demand.

The Limits of China’s Charm Offensive


Facing escalating geopolitical competition with the US, China is scrambling to win friends in East Asia. But while China's neighbors will undoubtedly welcome any respite from Chinese belligerence, they will not be fooled by sweet talk – or even sweet trade deals.
STOCKHOLM – Over the last decade, China has taken an increasingly muscular approach to relations with East Asian countries. But in recent months, it has surprised its neighbors with a charm offensive. What changed?

In terms of China’s behavior in the region, quite a lot. In 2013, China unilaterally declared an Air Defense Identification Zone covering the East China Sea’s disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands – a move that exacerbated tensions with Japan. A year later, China began to construct large artificial islands in disputed areas of the South China Sea. In 2016, China imposed sanctions on South Korea in response to the decision to allow the United States to deploy a missile-defense system there.

How China Walled Off the Internet


Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence, as of Nov. 15.

It is years ahead of the United States in replacing paper money with smartphone payments, turning tech giants into vital gatekeepers of the consumer economy.

And it is host to a supernova of creative expression — in short videos, podcasts, blogs and streaming TV — that ought to dispel any notions of Chinese culture as drearily conformist.

‘Karma’s a Bitch,’ a meme


Liu Bubao

Big Lemon 🍋Carrie

The Security Risks of a Trade War With China

By Ali Wyne

Trade tensions between the United States and China continue to rise. In June, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration announced that it would impose tariffs of 25 percent on $50 billion worth of Chinese exports, with the first wave targeting some 800 goods worth $34 billion. China pushed back with its own set of tariffs targeting the U.S. agricultural sector and industrial heartland. In response, Trump has reportedly ordered his administration to consider a 25 percent tariff on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese exports. As the showdown escalates, many observers are understandably focused on the potential for a full-fledged trade war that could destabilize the world economy. But they should also consider second-order, longer-term implications—in the security realm. Up until recently, the two nations’ economic ties had served as an effective brake on escalating strategic distrust. A China less constrained by and invested in economic ties with the United States could pose a substantially greater challenge to U.S. foreign policy. For all the Trump administration’s frustrations with managing interdependence, the consequences of decoupling could mean even bigger headaches.

The Evolution of the Salafi-Jihadist Threat

Despite the Islamic State’s loss of territory in Iraq and Syria, an increasingly diffuse Salafi-jihadist movement is far from defeated. This report constructs a data set of groups and fighters from 1980 to 2018, including from the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. It finds that the number of Salafi-jihadists in 2018 declined somewhat from a high in 2016, but is still at near-peak levels since 1980. The regions with the largest number of fighters are Syria (between 43,650 and 70,550 fighters), Afghanistan (between 27,000 and 64,060), Paki­stan (between 17,900 and 39,540), Iraq (between 10,000 and 15,000), Nigeria (between 3,450 and 6,900), and Somalia (between 3,095 and 7,240). Attack data indicates that there are still high lev­els of violence in Syria and Iraq from Salafi-jihad­ist groups, along with significant violence in such countries and regions as Yemen, the Sahel, Nigeria, Afghan­istan, and So­malia.

The End Of U.S. Naval Dominance In Asia

by Robert Ross

Editor’s Note: Although the Trump administration has made much of China’s rise when it comes to trade, the president should be focused more on the security implications. Robert Ross of Boston College points to the decline in U.S. naval strength in East Asia as a game-changer for the regional order. Ross argues that the Navy’s forward presence is strained, while China’s capabilities are growing steadily. U.S. allies are aware of this painful reality, and their willingness to trust America to protect them will decline.

Daniel Byman

The rapid rise of the Chinese Navy has challenged U.S. maritime dominance throughout East Asian waters. The United States, though, has not been able to fund a robust shipbuilding plan that could maintain the regional security order and compete effectively with China’s naval build-up. The resulting transformation of the balance of power has led to fundamental changes in U.S. acquisitions and defense strategy. Nonetheless, the United States has yet to come to terms with its diminished influence in East Asia.

U.S. Military Strategy Must Return to the Basics

by James Holmes

Nor is it any mystery why the report generated buzz. The commissioners postulate that “Americans could face a decisive military defeat” if the U.S. armed forces tangle with, say, Russia in the Baltic Sea or China in the Taiwan Strait. That’s dark language and marks quite a turnabout from the triumphalism of the post-Cold War years, when Americans talked themselves into believing history had ended in Western triumph underwritten by perpetual U.S. maritime supremacy .

But it’s also accurate language, and has been for some time. Think about the algebra of Eurasian warfare. Likely contingencies would pit a fraction of U.S. forces against the concentrated military might of Russia in the Baltic or China in the Taiwan Strait. The same would go for other hotspots. Decisive defeat is always a possibility when part of one force squares off against the whole of another on the latter’s home turf.

Welcome Back to History

Dunford Slams Google for Working with China, But Not U.S. Military

By Stew Magnuson

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford —during a wide-ranging interview at the Halifax International Security Forum — took Google to task for its recent decision to withdraw from a Defense Department artificial intelligence initiative.

“I have a hard time with companies that are working very hard to engage in the market inside of China, and engaging in projects where intellectual property is shared with the Chinese, which is synonymous with sharing it with the Chinese military, and then don't want to work for the U.S. military,” he said Nov. 17.

Dunford said he did not want to single out any specific company, but had been asked by an interviewer specifically about Google’s decision not to continue working with the Pentagon on its Project Maven AI initiative after a larger number of its employees objected to the program on moral grounds.

Ukraine’s War With Russia Poised to Escalate in Azov Sea

By Paul D. Shinkman

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA – A dispute over shipping lanes is threatening to reignite the 4-year-old simmering war between Ukraine and Russia following confrontations sparked by both sides in recent days.

Russian border guards on Monday detained Ukrainian fishing vessels in the Sea of Azov, a strategically important body of water contained to the north by Ukraine, to the west by the Crimean Peninsula and to the east and south by Russia. Monday's incident came days after Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed Kiev for detaining Russian commercial ships also in the Azov in what he described as "a totally illegal move" and which Kremlin officials have warned may prompt retaliation.

The Gulf Scramble for Africa: GCC states’ foreign policy laboratory

The Issue 

Arab Gulf states are intervening more assertively in sub-Saharan Africa to capitalize on economic opportunities and protect their security interests. 

They view Africa as a relatively uncontested arena in which they can experiment with foreign interventions as part of their strategy to prove their rising status on the world stage. 

The impact of Gulf states’ rivalries in Africa is becoming increasingly damaging, as their zero-sum rivalry has provoked retaliations, which have dangerously destabilized vulnerable parts of Africa, such as during the fallout to the GCC crisis. 

When the border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia descended into bloody conflict in 1998, few could have predicted where a peace agreement would be signed some 20 years later. On September 16, 2018, the Eritrean and Ethiopian leaders at at desks facing one another in the middle of a lavish hall in the Peace Palace in Jeddah. A huge portrait of Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabia’s first king, loomed over them. King Salman bin Abdulaziz sat underneath, with Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman and the secretary general of the United Nations Antonio Guterres on either side. The optics were clear: It was under Saudi sponsorship that decades of conflict ended. The deal would be known as the “Jeddah Peace Agreement.”1 

The Oil Price Is Now Controlled By Just Three Men

Julian Lee

OPEC has lost what control of the oil market it ever had. The actions (or tweets) of three men — Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman — will determine the course of oil prices in 2019 and beyond. But of course they each want different things.

While OPEC struggles to find common purpose, the U.S., Russia and Saudi Arabia dominate global supply. Together they produce more oil than the 15 members of OPEC. All three are pumping at record rates and each could raise output again next year, although they may not all choose to do so. 

Big Beasts

‘Like a Terror Movie’: How Climate Change Will Cause More Simultaneous Disasters

By John Schwartz

Global warming is posing such wide-ranging risks to humanity, involving so many types of phenomena, that by the end of this century some parts of the world could face as many as six climate-related crises at the same time, researchers say.

This chilling prospect is described in a paper published Monday in Nature Climate Change, a respected academic journal, that shows the effects of climate change across a broad spectrum of problems, including heat waves, wildfires, sea level rise, hurricanes, flooding, drought and shortages of clean water.

Such problems are already coming in combination, said the lead author, Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He noted that Florida had recently experienced extreme drought, record high temperatures and wildfires — and also Hurricane Michael, the powerful Category 4 storm that slammed into the Panhandle last month. Similarly, California is suffering through the worst wildfires the state has ever seen, as well as drought, extreme heat waves and degraded air quality that threatens the health of residents.

Why Central Bank Digital Currencies Will Destroy Cryptocurrencies


Leading economic policymakers are now considering whether central banks should issue their own digital currencies, to be made available to everyone, rather than just to licensed commercial banks. The idea deserves serious consideration, as it would replace an inherently crisis-prone banking system and close the door on crypto-scammers.

NEW YORK – The world’s central bankers have begun to discuss the idea of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), and now even the International Monetary Fund and its managing director, Christine Lagarde, are talking openly about the pros and cons of the idea.

Human Rights and Détente: Kissinger's Failed Balancing Act

By Joseph Bosco

On the day before Thanksgiving forty-eight years ago, a human tragedy occurred in the waters off the coast of Massachusetts that quickly became an international incident.

The episode unfolded during the early period of détente with the Soviet Union. U.S. President Richard Nixon and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger were negotiating the timing and agenda for a summit meeting to launch talks that would lead to the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty. Kissinger, who touted the détente policy as ushering in “a generation of peace,” described the episode in his memoir as one of those “minor issues [that] seemed to arise almost spontaneously to sour things.”

On that day, Nov. 23, 1970, a Soviet fishing vessel was tied up alongside a U.S. Coast Guard cutter off Martha’s Vineyard for official talks on fishing rights.Late that morning, after furtively signaling to the Americans an intention to defect, a Lithuanian sailor jumped off his trawler and boarded the USCGC Vigilant. In his broken English, Simas Kudirka immediately begged for political asylum. 

Radio Frequency Spectrum Management

Definition: Radio Frequency Spectrum Management is the analytical, procedural, and policy approach to planning and managing the use of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Keywords: harmful interference, policies and procedures, radio frequencies, radio frequency interference analysis, radio spectrum, system acquisition

MITRE SE Roles and Expectations: MITRE systems engineers (SEs) are expected to understand the role that radio frequency spectrum management has in the system acquisition processes of our customers. SEs need to be able to advise sponsors and their contractors, where appropriate, on the processes, procedures, policies, and analytical measures needed to identify, acquire, and retain radio frequencies for use by government communications, navigation, and surveillance systems.

How Much Will the Space Force Cost?

The Issue

The proposed creation of a new military service for space, known as the Space Force, is likely to be a hotly debated issue in the FY 2020 legislative cycle. One of the central questions about this proposal is how much it will cost and what the overall size and scope of the Space Force will be. This brief provides rough estimates for the number of military and civilian personnel, the number and locations of bases, the budget lines that would transfer to the new organization, and the additional personnel and headquarters organization that would be needed for the new military service.

The size and budget of a new military service for space depends on how broadly its charter is defined and which existing space-related organizations it would incorporate. The three options evaluated in this analysis are: a Space Corps within the Department of the Air Force; a limited but independent Department of the Space Force (“Space Force-Lite”); and a more expansive Department of the Space Force (“Space Force-Heavy”). The Space Corps option is limited to the space-related organizations, personnel, programs, and bases currently within the Air Force, similar to the legislation that passed the House on July 6, 2017, as part of the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Space Force-Lite option includes everything in the Space Corps plus the space-related organizations, personnel, programs, and bases in the other Services. The Space Force-Heavy option includes everything in the Space Force-Lite option plus some missile defense activities and programs in the Army and Missile Defense Agency that could be considered space-related under a broader definition.

Most ATMs can be hacked in under 20 minutes

By Catalin Cimpanu

An extensive testing session carried out by bank security experts at Positive Technologies has revealed that most ATMs can be hacked in under 20 minutes, and even less, in certain types of attacks.

Experts tested ATMs from NCR, Diebold Nixdorf, and GRGBanking, and detailed their findings in a 22-page report published this week.

The attacks they tried are the typical types of exploits and tricks used by cyber-criminals seeking to obtain money from the ATM safe or to copy the details of users' bank cards (also known as skimming).

Is a “No Deal” Brexit Still Avoidable?

By Henry Farrell

W. C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatman’s comic history of England, 1066 and All That, talks about nineteenth-century British Prime Minister W. E. Gladstone’s efforts to solve the Irish Question—the puzzle of what to do with rebellious Ireland, which was then part of the United Kingdom. According to Sellar and Yeatman, every time that Gladstone got close to an answer the Irish changed the question. Over the last couple of days, a new Irish question has stymied Brexit negotiations between the United Kingdom and the EU: how to deal with the border between the Republic of Ireland, which will remain part of the EU, and Northern Ireland, which will not. This time it’s EU negotiators who keep on trying to come up with answers, while British politicians keep on changing the question.

The new way the Army will conduct information operations

By: Justin Lynch 

The Army's guide to information operations suggest creating a map to analyze the effectiveness of "propaganda". (US Army/ATP 3-13.1) 

Time to Rethink America's Vast Arms Deals

by Daniel R. DePetris 

Selling weapons is big business for the United States. The State Department cleared $75.9 billion in arms deals in fiscal year 2017, a one-year record since the Defense Security Cooperation Agency started keeping tallies. President Donald Trump is a firm believer in selling American weapons, aircraft, missiles, anti-air systems, and military technology to overseas buyers, both to grow America’s domestic defense manufacturing workforce and to increase U.S. foreign policy leverage over the countries choosing to buy American. The Cato Institute assessed that Washington has delivered a $197 billion worth of conventional weapons platforms, equipment, and related training services to 167 countries between 2002–2016.

U.S. Military Strategy Must Return to the Basics

by James Holmes

Here’s a tip: read the whole thing.

Nor is it any mystery why the report generated buzz. The commissioners postulate that “Americans could face a decisive military defeat” if the U.S. armed forces tangle with, say, Russia in the Baltic Sea or China in the Taiwan Strait. That’s dark language and marks quite a turnabout from the triumphalism of the post-Cold War years, when Americans talked themselves into believing history had ended in Western triumph underwritten by perpetual U.S. maritime supremacy .

But it’s also accurate language, and has been for some time. Think about the algebra of Eurasian warfare. Likely contingencies would pit a fraction of U.S. forces against the concentrated military might of Russia in the Baltic or China in the Taiwan Strait. The same would go for other hotspots. Decisive defeat is always a possibility when part of one force squares off against the whole of another on the latter’s home turf.

Welcome Back to History

Social Media Has Democratized Psychological Warfare. Can the U.S. Military Adapt?

Warfare has always been both physical and psychological. As combatants attempt to injure, incapacitate or kill enemy fighters, they also try to weaken the will of their adversaries and anyone who might support them. Throughout history, warriors relied on ferociousness for that, intimidating their enemies by the way they looked or the horrible actions they took. In the modern era, militaries turned to communication technology and psychology. Soldiers were trained to craft and transmit messages and propaganda, while psychological operations became a particular military specialization.