11 December 2018

China and India can succeed in Afghanistan where US, Russia failed

Chayanika Saxena

Against the backdrop of a volatile global order, the Indo-Chinese bonhomie in Afghanistan offers a lesson in constructive competition

Far from being stable, Afghanistan is yet to even see its many conflicts end. The fractured political, economic and social reality of Afghanistan that we witness today is, in fact, the creation of a fractured mandate for peace. Despite the sheer number of international peace processes that have been initiated in Afghanistan’s name, little has been achieved in terms of restoring peace, stability and order there. These processes have often paralleled each other, vying for significance lest peace is attained but not on their terms. This unfortunate trend continues to date.

The rival powers of the United States and Russia have once again made Afghanistan an arena of their power play. Today, both these countries have put in place their own mechanisms that do not necessarily speak to each other.

Passage from India: Are Immigrants a Drain on the U.S. Economy?

Proposed changes in immigration rules sometimes seem to suggest that immigrants represent a net drain on the country. This view is inaccurate – or at least incomplete – if one considers the experience of immigrants from India, writes Ignatius Chithelen, manager of Banyan Tree Capital in New York City. This opinion piece is adapted from his book, Passage from India to America.

Signals from Washington these days suggest that the current administration views immigrants as a burden to the country. Proposed rule changes in federal policy are likely to “broaden the reasons the government might determine that an immigrant is a ‘public charge,’” according to media reports. One commentator recommends – maybe not entirely facetiously – that it might be time to revise the slogan on the Statue of Liberty to, “Give me your healthy, your wealthy, your medically insured, your families earning more than 250% of the federally designated poverty level.” But how true is it that immigrants represent a net drain on the country? In my opinion, that belief is inaccurate – or at least incomplete — if one considers the experience of immigrants from India, who have made significant contributions to the U.S. economy.

Why India will supersede China – Part 2


Science has yet to define and fully understand consciousness, but the debate has been given a new impetus by artificial intelligence, where the issue centers on the question: Can AI develop its own consciousness?

The meaning of the European word consciousness as we understand it today is often attributed to René Descartes (1596-1650), who used the word “conscientia.” Others attribute the current notion of consciousness to John Locke’s “Essay Concerning Human Understanding,” published in 1690. Locke defined consciousness as “the perception of what passes in a man’s own mind.” An 18th-century encyclopedia defined consciousness awkwardly as “the opinion or internal feeling that we ourselves have from what we do.”

Excerpt: Pakistan Adrift; Navigating Troubled Waters by Asad Durrani

Asad Durrani 

Not many tears were shed when Musharraf left, even though his period was marked by some positive developments, especially on the economic front. It was not a comfortable decision for people like me to join the movement for his removal. I had known him for a long time. For old times’ sake, he had offered me the prize post of ambassadorship to Saudi Arabia. And though he was aware of my views on some of his decisions while in power, he and his wife still attended the weddings of my children. The problem was that he was so full of himself that he actually believed that he could get away with murder. When he was in trouble with the country’s higher judiciary, he (reportedly) said, ‘I will get away with it, like I did with Nawab Bugti’s murder’. (Bugti was a powerful Baloch leader, who fell out with Musharraf and died during an army operation.) This hubris was also the hallmark of his autobiography, In the Line of Fire.

Pakistan and Its Militants: Who Is Mainstreaming Whom?

By Dr. James M. Dorsey

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Pakistani militants of various stripes collectively won just under 10% of the vote in the July 2018 parliamentary elections. Some represented longstanding legal Islamist parties, others newly established groups or fronts for organizations that have been banned as terrorists by Pakistan and/or the United Nations and the United States.

The militants failed to secure a single seat in the national assembly but have maintained, if not increased, their ability to shape national debate, mainstream politics, and societal attitudes. Their ability to field candidates in almost all constituencies, and, in many cases, their performance as debutants enhanced their legitimacy.

Germany Develops Offensive Cyber Capabilities Without A Coherent Strategy of What to Do With Them

Matthias Schulze is an associate at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). Sven Herpig is the project director for the Transatlantic Cyber Forum at Stiftung Neue Verantwortung (SNV). 

There is a reoccurring debate in German national security and foreign policy whether Germany suffers from “Strategieunfähigkeit”—an inability to develop and implement strategy. The historic trauma of two lost World Wars created a pacifist culture that always struggled with formulating national security interests and defining strategy. The so-called “culture of reluctance” regarding the use of hard power has bled into Berlin’s thinking about cyber issues, especially as it rushes to develop capabilities without an overarching strategy on how to use them.

China’s Rebalancing: Recent Progress, Prospects and Policies

While China’s growth gathered momentum in 2017, rebalancing was uneven and decelerated along many dimensions reflecting the temporary factors behind the growth pickup. Going forward, rebalancing is expected to proceed as these temporary factors recede, but elevated income inequality and leverage will remain a challenge. The authorities are already pursuing several pro-rebalancing policies which could be expanded to support each dimension of rebalancing while reducing trade-offs between them.

China's Long-Range Bomber Flights

This report examines the key drivers behind China's strategic bomber flights throughout the Asia-Pacific region, assessing Chinese commentary on flights and leveraging a number of sources, including interviews in Taipei and Tokyo, to better understand and gauge regional reactions. The report recommends specific responses for consideration by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. policymakers, as well as allies and partners, offering an in-depth analysis of the key issues driving top Chinese leaders to move in the direction of conducting these overwater bomber flights.

China Is Angry With Trump’s Trade ‘Antics'

by Gordon G. Chang

As the “clash” between the United States and China looks increasingly existential in nature, the American public should be prepared for a long fight.

“You don’t do this with the Chinese,” said one of China’s former officials to the Washington Post this week. “You don’t triumphantly proclaim all their concessions in public. It’s just madness.”

Beijing officials do not know what to think in the aftermath of Saturday’s dinner in Buenos Aires between President Donald Trump and Chinese ruler Xi Jinping. As the Postreports, “One former official said the president’s antics had puzzled and angered his Chinese counterparts.”

Madman or genius, Trump is having a great effect on Beijing. And despite the wailing of Chinese officials—or maybe because of it—that looks like a good thing for the United States.

Pakistan and its Militants: Who is Mainstreaming Whom?

Pakistani militants of various stripes collectively won just under ten per cent of the vote in the July 2018 parliamentary elections. Some represented long-standing legal Islamist parties, others newly established groups or fronts for organisations that have been banned as terrorists by Pakistan and/or the United Nations and the United States.

The militants failed to secure a single seat in the national assembly but have maintained, if not increased, their ability to shape national debate and mainstream politics and societal attitudes. Their ability to field candidates in almost all constituencies, and, in many cases, their performance as debutants enhanced their legitimacy.

The militants’ performance has fueled debate about the Pakistani military’s effort to expand its long-standing support for militants that serve its regional and domestic goals to nudge them into mainstream politics. It also raises the question of who benefits most, mainstream politics or the militants. Political parties help mainstream militants, but militants with deep societal roots and significant following are frequently key to a mainstream candidate’s electoral success.

Huawei Executive’s Arrest Intensifies Trade War Fears

By Mark LandlerEdward Wong and Katie Benner

WASHINGTON — At dinner with China’s president, Xi Jinping, on Saturday night in Buenos Aires, President Trump celebrated their “special” relationship and all but predicted they would emerge with a truce in the trade war between the United States and China.

Seven thousand miles away, unbeknown to both leaders, Canadian police acting at the request of the United States were in the process of detaining Meng Wanzhou, a top executive of one of China’s flagship technology firms, as she changed planes in Vancouver.

The Justice Department is investigating Ms. Meng’s company, Huawei, on charges of violating sanctions on Iran, and her arrest was meant as a warning shot by the Trump administration in its campaign to limit the global spread of Chinese technology. But it has thrown Mr. Trump’s trade negotiations with Beijing into disarray, drawing a sharp protest from the Chinese government and sending financial markets into a panicky swoon, before a modest recovery on Thursday afternoon.

From growth opportunity to threat: how the world has changed its mind on China’s belt and road

Andreea Brînză

In the past two years, antipathy has steadily grown in the US, Europe, India, Pakistan and elsewhere towards the initiative, now seen around the world as an expression of Chinese ambition.

The European Union was among the first to act on its concerns as it tries to limit the Chinese presence on its turf and counter its influence. Last year, the EU launched an investigation into a Chinese-backed project to build a high-speed railway between the Serbian capital Belgrade and Budapest in Hungary. EU officials said the project, aimed at extending the belt and road into the heart of Europe, may have violated EU rules on public tenders for major transport projects.

Then in April this year, 27 of the 28 EU ambassadors in Beijing signed a document that criticised the belt and road for hampering free trade and favouring Chinese companies, which China subsidises.

Inside China's audacious global propaganda campaign

By Louisa Lim and Julia Bergin
Beijing is buying up media outlets and training scores of foreign journalists to ‘tell China’s story well’ – as part of a worldwide propaganda campaign of astonishing scope and ambition. 

As they sifted through resumes, the team recruiting for the new London hub of China’s state-run broadcaster had an enviable problem: far, far too many candidates. Almost 6,000 people were applying for just 90 jobs “reporting the news from a Chinese perspective”. Even the simple task of reading through the heap of applications would take almost two months.

For western journalists, demoralised by endless budget cuts, China Global Television Network presents an enticing prospect, offering competitive salaries to work in state-of-the-art purpose-built studios in Chiswick, west London. CGTN – as the international arm of China Central Television (CCTV) was rebranded in 2016 – is the most high-profile component of China’s rapid media expansion across the world, whose goal, in the words of President Xi Jinping, is to “tell China’s story well”. In practice, telling China’s story well looks a lot like serving the ideological aims of the state.

The Wooing of Jared Kushner: How the Saudis Got a Friend in the White House

Senior American officials were worried. Since the early months of the Trump administration, Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and Middle East adviser, had been having private, informal conversations with Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the favorite son of Saudi Arabia’s king.

Given Mr. Kushner’s political inexperience, the private exchanges could make him susceptible to Saudi manipulation, said three former senior American officials. In an effort to tighten practices at the White House, a new chief of staff tried to reimpose longstanding procedures stipulating that National Security Council staff members should participate in all calls with foreign leaders.



Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned of the consequences that sanctions imposed by the United States on his country would have for the West.

Under President Donald Trump, the U.S. has charged Iran with supporting militant movements across the globe and has responded to this and its ballistic missile development by scrapping a historic nuclear deal and re-imposing strict sanctions.

The measures have further crippled Iran's already struggling economy, something that Rouhani told a gathering of the speakers of the parliaments of Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and Turkey could hinder its efforts to disrupt drug trafficking and terrorism, leaving the West exposed.

Angela Merkel’s Vision Problem

By Yascha Mounk

As the head of the country’s biggest political party for eighteen years, and its chancellor for twelve, Angela Merkel has done more to shape contemporary Germany than any postwar leader other than Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt, and Helmut Kohl. So her recent announcement that she will hand over the leadership of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU)this December, and refrain from seeking another term in federal elections expected to be held in 2021, marks the beginning of the end of an era.

Since Merkel has been a deeply stabilizing force, and political extremists are lying in wait to exploit her departure, it is only natural to wonder how the country will change in the coming years. Will the CDU lurch to the right after its proudly moderate leader leaves the stage? Can the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has already established itself as a major force in German politics, use the power vacuum she leaves behind to its advantage? Or might a change of political personnel actually help to calm the anger that Merkel has increasingly inspired in the past years?

U.S. Security and Russia: Choices and Consequences

by Jill Dougherty Thomas Zamostny

America’s current strategy toward Russia, simply put, is not working; instead, it’s tying our hands.

The United States and Russia are locked in an angry geopolitical confrontation that threatens to spiral into direct military conflict—even if neither country wants it. America’s current strategy toward Russia, simply put, is not working; instead, it’s tying our hands. It’s making Russia more aggressive externally and less democratic internally. The dangers are escalating.

Diplomatic tools that prevented armed conflict during the Cold War have atrophied; arms control and verification regimes that helped provide strategic stability and prevent a costly arms race are in danger of collapsing. The United States has imposed dozens of sanctions on Russia that have had no apparent impact on its foreign policy behavior. Official meetings and negotiating fora have largely dried up, while citizen-to-citizen contacts have diminished to the point where neither public understands the other. Meanwhile, Russia has formed a de facto entente with China, our main global competitor. Moscow is becoming bolder in challenging the United States and its allies while expanding its regional and global trade and security arrangements.

Oil & Gas 4.0: An inside look at the oil and gas industry’s tech-driven effort to power tomorrow’s economy


This year, humankind quietly passed a historic turning point: As of September, more than half of the world’s population—roughly 3.8 billion people—now live in middle-class households. That number is set to climb to five billion people by 2030.

As the middle-class grows, so too will its demand for energy—both in the form of fuel and in petrochemicals for everyday products derived from today’s primary energy sources. This reality has become a call-to-action for the oil and gas industry, which last month convened for the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) to discuss this and other big challenges and opportunities facing the industry.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), the event’s host, has called on the industry to deliver a robust response to the 4th industrial age. The “Oil & Gas 4.0” mission is built on the recognition that the oil and gas industry will continue to play an expansive role in the energy required to drive the 4th industrial revolution and must embrace disruptive technologies in order to enable this massive step change in human development.

The Deadly Soul of a New Machine

By Timothy Egan

Bots, artificial intelligence and social media algorithms are shaping the fate of humanity at a startling pace. At what point is control lost and the creations take over? How about now?

Try to imagine the last 11 minutes of Lion Air Flight 610 in October. The plane is a new machine, Boeing’s sleek and intelligent 737 Max 8, fitted with an advanced electronic brain. After takeoff, this cyberpilot senses that something is wrong with the angle of ascent and starts to force the jetliner down.

A tug of war follows between men and computer, at 450 miles an hour — the human pilots trying to right the downward plunge, the automatic pilot taking it back from them. The bot wins. The jetliner crashes into the Java Sea. All 189 onboard are killed.

And here’s the most agonizing part: The killer was supposed to save lives. It was a smart computer designed to protect a gravity-defiance machine from error. It lacks judgment and intuition, precisely because those human traits can sometimes be fatal in guiding an aerodynamic tube through the sky.

The Yellow Vests and Why There Are So Many Street Protests in France

By Adam Gopnik

A.J. Liebling, the greatest reporter—and the keenest Francophile—ever to write for this magazine, said that a reporter tells you what he’s seen, an interpretive reporter tells you the meaning of what he’s seen, and an expert tells you the meaning of what he hasn’t seen. Not having been there to actually see—or sense, hear, or witness—what is going on right now in France, mere expertise should watch its step and often curb its tongue. Yet, although not the same as being there, looking at the background and the history of an event can often help to make sense of it, even in brief retrospect. So, the gilets jaunes, or yellow vests, in France, have been the subject of anxiety, controversy, and, at times, shameless political opportunism on all sides. They are a popular movement of no clear political view or ideology; they take their name from the yellow vests that drivers in France are required to keep in their cars, to be worn in the case of a breakdown. (They can be seen in the dark that way.) Their ostensible ignition point was a rise in fuel taxes, engineered by the government of President Emmanuel Macron, for, as it happens, impeccably green reasons: the plan was to wean France off fossil fuels by making them more expensive, and to encourage the use of renewable sources.

Marine Corps University Press

Marine Corps University Journal, Special Issue 2018 

o Gender Integration and the Military
o British and Soviet Women in the Military Campaign of 1939–45: A Comparative Review
o “Things Must be Bad at the Front”: Women in the Soviet Military during WWII
o Rumors, Lies, and Fake Radio Broadcasts: One Woman’s Pioneering Efforts in Psychological Warfare
o From WACs to Rangers: Women in the U.S. Military since World War II
o The Observatory for Equality between Women and Men in the Mexican Army and Air Force: Guardian of Gender Equality
o Gender Integration and Citizenship: A Civil-Military Perspective
o Opening Marine Infantry to Women: A Civil-Military Crisis?
o Guarding the Border, Crossing a Barrier: Women Trooper Integration in the Israel Border Police, 1995–98

New Realities in Foreign Affairs: Diplomacy in the 21st Century

Modern diplomacy is currently experiencing fundamental changes at an unprecedented rate, which affect the very character of diplomacy as we know it. These changes also affect aspects of domestic and international politics that were once of no great concern to diplomacy. Technical develop­ments, mainly digitization, affect how the work of the diplomat is understood; the number of domestic and international actors whose activity implicates (or is a form of) diplomacy is increasing; the public is more sen­sitive to foreign policy issues and seeks to influence diplomacy through social media and other platforms; the way exchange between states, as well as the interchange between government and other domestic actors, pro­gresses is influencing diplomacy’s ability to act legitimately and effectively; and finally, diplomats themselves do not necessarily need the same attri­butes as they previously did. These trends, reflecting general societal devel­opments, need to be absorbed by diplomacy as part of state governance.

Project Troy: How Scientists Helped Refine Cold War Psychological Warfare

The phrase Cold War didn’t always refer to a time period. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the very years that the battle lines between the United States and the Soviet Union were being drawn, U.S. foreign-policy strategists used the phrase to invoke a specific kind of conflict, one carried out by “means short of war.” If, as NSC-68, a key document of U.S. strategy, asserted in 1950, the United States and the Soviet Union were locked in an ideological clash of civilizations, a battle between “slavery” and “freedom,” a victory by force would be hollow. If the United States wanted to defeat communism, it needed to do so “by the strategy of cold war,” combining political, economic, and psychological techniques. “The cold war,” NSC-68 warned, “is in fact a real war in which the survival of the free world is at stake.”


IN 1999, ORACLE CEO Larry Ellison suspected that Microsoft was secretly funding the seemingly independent advocacy groups that were loudly defending Microsoft amid a heated antitrust investigation. Seeking proof, Oracle’s law firm hired Terry Lenzner, a private investigator from Washington, DC, who had dug up dirt on Bill Clinton’s female accusers. Lenzner found receipts tying Microsoft to the Independent Institute, including an invoice from the group for a full-page newspaper ad supporting Microsoft’s position. Reporters soon learned that Lenzner got the intel by paying a janitor to rifle through the software company's trash.

When Ellison was asked about the oppo-research scheme at an unrelated Oracle press conference, the CEO claimed he had just learned about the “unsavory” tactic, but nonetheless defended the mission as a “public service.” He added: “All we did is try to take information that was hidden and bring it to light."

What Is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

Steve Fiorillo 

Are we in the middle of a Fourth Industrial Revolution? What impact could new technological advances have on the world?

The Street Illustration

Technology develops faster than ever these days. As it develops in new and unexpected ways, we're left to wonder the implications of what it can mean for our everyday lives and how it will change them.

Some have argued that the technological advancements of today place society in an industrial revolution, the fourth since the late 18th century. What would separate this fourth industrial revolution, though, is the direct relation it has to the preceding one - the "digital revolution" - before it.

So, what is this fourth industrial revolution? What technology is a part of it and what is its impact?

Germany Develops Offensive Cyber Capabilities Without A Coherent Strategy of What to Do With Them


Germany has traditionally prioritized defense over offense in cyberspace. That's now beginning to change.

There is a reoccurring debate in German national security and foreign policy whether Germany suffers from “Strategieunfähigkeit”—an inability to develop and implement strategy. The historic trauma of two lost World Wars created a pacifist culture that always struggled with formulating national security interests and defining strategy. The so-called “culture of reluctance” regarding the use of hard power has bled into Berlin’s thinking about cyber issues, especially as it rushes to develop capabilities without an overarching strategy on how to use them.

Until recently, Germany has prioritized defense over offense in cyberspace. The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), Germany’s cybersecurity agency, has a strictly non-military defensive mandate and is a vigilant advocate of strong encryption and full disclosure of zero-day vulnerabilities to vendors. Germany’s foreign intelligence agency (BND) has historically had a relatively small cyber espionage budget.

Data privacy issues may be capturing more attention in China

Evelyn Cheng 

Facebook’s high-profile issues with data collection have captured China’s attention, says Ziyang Fan, head of digital trade at the World Economic Forum.

Two Chinese health care start-ups say they separate personal records from medical information.

Baidu CEO Robin Li's comment earlier this year that Chinese people don't care about data privacy also provoked popular backlash.

A wave of security breaches has made protecting personal information a greater priority for consumers around the world.

Executives say that's even been been true in China, where rapid adoption of innovative mobile services has created a horde of data.

MI6 'C' speech on fourth generation espionage

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a pleasure to be back at St Andrews. I had no idea that I would return one day as Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, SIS – as we call ourselves – or MI6, as we are known to the world. After I graduated, I joined a Scottish Regiment. But within 4 years I found myself sitting in MI6 Headquarters, staring at a blank piece of paper. I imagine some of you might be familiar with that situation.

I had been given, as my first job, the task of penetrating an organisation intent on genocide in the Western Balkans in the mid-1990s.

Starting from that blank piece of paper, I had to find my way to the heart of that organisation and obtain secret information for the British government.

Principles of Russian Military Thought

The aim of this paper is to identify the enduring principles at the basis of Russian military thought, offering an alternative to the contemporary analytical mainstream – which deems Moscow’s military behavior to be revolutionary and unprecedented. This is based on comparative analysis of Russian official military discourse and practice between 2008 and 2016. Critical inspection of the two Military Doctrines approved during this timeframe and of various military drills will reveal a series of rhetorical and operational recurrences. Notwithstanding numerous changes at the international and domestic levels that could have had an impact on Russian military behavior, no substantive shift is distinguishable. These empirical findings will constitute the basis for a reconstruction of Russian military thought. Through a deductive method, we will be able to reconstruct the ultimate assumptions granting them logical coherence and legitimization. Far from being incomprehensible, Russian military thought will be presented as the adaptation of classical strategic principles to contemporary contingencies. You can read the full paper here.

U.S. Military Capabilities and Forces for a Dangerous World

This report evaluates the capabilities of current and programmed U.S. forces to meet the demands of conflicts that could arise involving any of five potential adversaries: China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and Salafist-jihadi groups worldwide. The report finds that U.S. forces today are larger than necessary to fight a single major war, are failing to keep pace with the modernizing forces of great power adversaries, are poorly postured to meet key challenges in Europe and East Asia, and are insufficiently trained and ready to get the most operational utility from many of its active component units. The report recommends a host of enhancements to the capabilities and posture of U.S. forces and offers three alternative force planning constructs to help ensure that defense resources are, in the future, applied to the highest-priority needs.