13 December 2018

Where India quietly watches China at sea


India’s Andaman Islands are where stone-age warfare meets 21st century weapons technology. On November 16, John Allen Chau, an American Christian missionary, was killed in a hail of arrows fired by aboriginal Sentinelese tribesmen as he tried to land on North Sentinel island to spread his faith.

The island, one of the remotest and most isolated islands in the Andaman archipelago, is a no-go territory even for Indian administrators, but was suddenly – if not fleetingly – in the global media spotlight due to the US proselytizer’s demise.

But there is a bigger hidden story in the Andamans, one with a modern geo-strategic twist.

On that same chain of remote islands, situated between Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent, India quietly maintains one of its newest and best-equipped military bases.

Nepal: Stalled Justice – Analysis

By S. Binodkumar Singh

On November 21, 2018, the Conflict Victims Common Platform (CVCP), an umbrella body of 13 organizations advocating justice for war-era victims, adopted a 23-point Charter of Conflict Victims calling for meaningful participation of the victims themselves in the overall transitional justice process and related mechanisms. The CVCP adopted the charter at the end of the two-day ‘National Conference of Conflict Victims on Transitional Justice’ that concluded in Kathmandu on November 21.

Demanding reforms in the existing Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission for the Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) the charter stated,

India-Myanmar: NSCN-K Widening Rift and an Opportunity – Analysis

By Giriraj Bhattacharjee*

On December 6, 2018, the Khango Konyak-led faction of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K-Konyak) announced the decision to revoke the 2015 pronouncement of unilateral abrogation of the cease-fire agreement (CFA) with immediate effect.

‘President’ and ‘Chairman’ Khango Konyak and ‘general secretary’ Isak Sumi, in a joint statement, called upon Union Government to respond,

…keeping in view the appeal by these organisations [civil society organization like Naga Mother Association, NMA] and positive response by the GoI [Government of India] to the initiative, NSCN/GPRN [Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland/Government of the Peoples Republic of Nagaland] has resolved to revoke the earlier decision of unilateral abrogation of ceasefire with immediate effect, Therefore, we expect GoI to respond positively by honouring our decision to revive ceasefire in the interest of peace in Nagaland and Naga people in general…

Beijing's economic 'red lines' may clash with Trump's 90-day plan, analysts say

Huileng Tan

Washington has accused China of forcing technology transfers, and tacitly supporting intellectual property violations and cyber-crime.

But Chinese President Xi Jinping is likely to continue lending state support to targeted industries, particularly in technology under the "Made in China 2025" program, according to TS Lombard's Eleanor Olcott.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping may have put their tit-for-tat tariff fight on hold, but differences between the two countries' views on technology and state-supported businesses will challenge negotiations between the two economic giants, analysts said.

China’s Fourth Industrial Revolution: Artificial Intelligence

Levi Maxey 

Bottom Line: China’s nationwide pursuit to become the world leader in artificial intelligence (AI) is an attempt to not only match U.S. economic power, but to bypass it geo-strategically. While Beijing’s involvement is spurred by economic ambitions, it has made it clear that the development of AI will simultaneously be for military applications that could change the character of warfare and place the U.S. geopolitical disadvantage.

Background: China has quickly spurred its innovation engines into action, seeking to leapfrog U.S. military and technological supremacy by becoming the world leader in AI development. Their unique brand of capitalism and government control has enabled bottom-up innovation that is broadly guided by the hand of the Chinese Community Party. China’s whole-of-nation approach means the U.S. has found itself in a race against a strategic competitor to harness the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Why China gains most from the Fourth Industrial Revolution – according to PwC

By Chris Middleton

Another week, another report on the employment impact of AI and robotics. But this one is more interesting than most…

In recent years, the mainstream media has been full of reports about how Artificial Intelligence, robotics, and other ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ technologies will decimate human employment, taking anything from ten to 50% of jobs, depending on which survey you believe.

Lawyers, accountants, auditors, financial advisors, bank tellers, and other middle-class careerists will join the redundancy queue, suggested the World Economic Forum. Some might see that as payback for the 2008-09 financial crash, were they not being joined by drivers, factory workers, clerks, and secretaries.

‘Made in China 2025’: China has a competitive AI game plan but success will need cooperation

The fourth instalment of a series on China’s hi-tech industry development master plan looks at artificial intelligence (AI) and its promise to lift the country’s industries up the value chain

But in 2017 an emblem of Western innovation outplayed the Middle Kingdom at literally its own game, when AlphaGo, a computer program from Alphabet's DeepMind Technologies, beat the world’s top player Ke Jie 3-0 in a Sputnik-like moment that spurred China into a concerted, state-directed effort to catch up in artificial intelligence (AI).

Dubbed the fourth industrial revolution, the development of AI encompasses a wide range of technologies that can perform tasks characteristic of human intelligence, such as understanding language and recognising objects. Sometimes described as machine learning, what separates AI from ordinary computer programming is the capacity for machines to correct themselves through trial and error, mimicking the cognitive functions of the human mind.

One Belt, One Road, One Big Mistake


The headlines coming out of this year’s APEC conference in Papua New Guinea focused on the conflict between America and China that kept the forum from issuing a joint communiqué. Less noticed were two short memorandums released on the sidelines of the conference by the island nations of Vanuatu and Tonga. In return for renegotiating existing debt, both agreed to become the newest participants—following other Pacific nations like Papua New Guinea and Fiji—in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature foreign-policy venture, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

As Xi’s trillion-dollar development strategy has snaked away from the Eurasian heartland and into the South Pacific, western Africa, and Latin America, concern has grown. Many Americans fear that the Belt and Road Initiative is an extension of efforts by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to undermine the security and economic architecture of the international order. China’s growing largesse, they worry, comes largely at the expense of international institutions and American influence.

Japan latest country to exclude Huawei, ZTE from 5G roll-out over security concerns

Li Tao

Japan’s decision adds to the list of countries that have pushed back on Huawei’s involvement in 5G infrastructure plans

Japan decided on Monday to effectively exclude Chinese telecoms equipment giants Huawei Technologies and ZTE from public procurement, the government said, adding to the list of countries that have pushed back against the Chinese technology companies on security issues.

The decision comes amid concerns about security breaches that have already prompted the US and some other countries to ban the two Chinese companies from supplying network infrastructure products.

Cybersecurity officials of relevant Japanese government ministries and agencies agreed on the plan, but did not explicitly name the companies in consideration of the potential impact on ties between Tokyo and Beijing, which have shown signs of improvement in recent months.

Brexit Could Jeopardize Peace in Northern Ireland—and America Is Ignoring It


A former customs guard hut directly situated on the north-south Irish border stands disused as Brexit is triggered on March 29, 2017 in Newry, Northern Ireland. The northern Irish border is the United Kingdom's only land border with the rest of Europe.

Sloat is a Robert Bosch senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution. She was a Research Fellow at Queens University Belfast from 2001-2005.

When I moved to Belfast for a three-year fellowship in September 2001, American news was covering a nasty episode in the capital of Northern Ireland. In a segregated neighborhood, a Protestant mob shouted abuse and threw bricks and blast bombs at Catholic schoolgirls whose parents—eventually joined by riot police—were escorting them to Holy Cross School. A week later, two planes crashed into the World Trade Center. Friends never again asked if I felt safe in Belfast, and the place disappeared from international headlines.

Does Brexit Mean the West is in Decline?

by Sir Malcolm Rifkind

The European Union was not just created to ensure that never again would the nations of Western Europe go to war with each other. It was also created to bring about a new Europe that embraced democracy and the “rule of law.”

I recall Henry Kissinger making a speech in London in the late 1980s. He started by saying that when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, Adam turned to Eve and said, “You know my dear; we are living in an Age of Transition.”

That can be said of any period but, by any standards, today’s world is exceptional.

My own country, the United Kingdom, will, in May of next year, leave the European Union, which it has been a part of for almost half a century. The outcome remains unclear, but we know that the future will not be what it used to be.


By Ridvan Bari Urcosta

The Sea of Azov is a tiny and small sea that historically has not often earned much strategic attention from the countries that possessed it. However, history reveals that the strategic importance of the sea periodically rises when at least two countries possess the shores of this sea. The sea lends itself to regional geopolitical rivalry, and as a result of tensions both sides often create Azov flotillas. Such a contest existed during the Civil War in Russia and the Second World War when both the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany had to establish special naval units in the Sea of Azov. In general, Russia’s historical expansion to the South had three main directions – the Northern Caucasus, the Sea of Azov, and Crimea. All of these three geographical directions are fully interrelated. First, the Russian Azov Flotilla appeared in 1768 in order to fight the Crimean Tatars and Ottoman Empire. Now the geopolitical situation again necessitates that both Kiev and Moscow urgently create Azovian geographical units drawn from their naval forces.

Azov Sea, Kerch Strait: Evolution of Their Purported Legal Status (Part Three)

By: Vladimir Socor

Russia’s 2014 seizure of Crimea and the resulting de facto border changes have overturned the geographical and political foundations of the 2003 Russia-Ukraine treaty on the Azov Sea and Kerch Strait. The consequences of the 2014 fait accompli with regard to Ukraine’s position in that sea and in that strait escaped Western notice until now. Those consequences include Russia’s de facto annexation of the Kerch Strait and threat of de facto annexation of the surface of the Azov Sea. Springing yet another strategic surprise on Ukraine and its international partners, Russia recently assembled a strong Azov Sea flotilla and began, in May 2018, systematically to obstruct shipping in the Kerch Strait and Azov Sea. The November 25, 2018, Russian attacks on Ukrainian ships occurred as an epiphenomenon of that process, belatedly drawing international attention after triggering a crisis (see Parts One and Two in EDM, December 3, 5).

Germany Is Soft on Chinese Spying

Source Link

Huawei has deep ties to the Chinese government. Berlin might let it build the country’s next generation of communications infrastructure anyway.

Last week, New Zealand decided to exclude the Chinese technology company Huawei from providing equipment to operate its 5G high-speed mobile network due to “significant national security risks.” The country follows Australia and the United States, which have also excluded Chinese companies from supplying 5G infrastructure.

In Germany, meanwhile, security has so far hardly played any role in the debate over the fifth generation of cellular technology. In the terms of reference published last week by the German Federal Network Agency for its 5G auction, security was not even included in the conditions for awarding the contract. In October, the government announced: “A concrete legal basis for the complete or partial exclusion of particular suppliers of 5G infrastructure in Germany does not exist and is not planned.”



This week, riots overwhelmed authorities in Paris, with so-called yellow vest protesters attacking police officers, setting cars on fire, and spray-painting graffiti on historic sites, including the Arc de Triomphe. What prompted this spasm of rage? Reportedly, high gas prices driven by exorbitant taxes placed on both unleaded and diesel fuel—taxes in France already surpass 64 percent on unleaded and 59 percent on diesel.

Amazingly, French President Emmanuel Macron was considering even higher taxes, supposedly designed to curb further carbon emissions, despite the fact that carbon emissions in the EU dropped this year while rising dramatically in developing countries China and India.

U.S. intelligence sounds the alarm on the quantum gap with China

Jenna McLaughlin

WASHINGTON — For years, quantum computing, which leverages the difficult, and, to many, spooky science of quantum mechanics, has been a subject mostly of interest to the technical elite. Yet as scientists and now policymakers point to the rapid progress that China is making in the field, it’s the intelligence community that appears to be the most alarmed.

“Our folks in the intelligence community are completely worried about this,” said Will Hurd, a Republican congressman from Texas and a former CIA officer who has criticized President Trump for his failure to defend the nation’s spy agencies.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration hosted an event focused on quantum science with major companies in attendance, and has demonstrated an appetite for confronting China on issues like trade and economic espionage. Yet researchers working in the field argue that much more needs to be done in advance of China’s progress.

US has a 'concerted strategy' to push allies to reject Huawei's 5G equipment: Eurasia Group

The United States is pushing its allies to shut out Chinese tech giant Huawei's 5G networks due to national security concerns as the high-speed technology is set to play a critical role in the 21st century, a Eurasia Group expert said Tuesday.

Japan, Washington's close ally, will reportedly stop buying Huawei and ZTE network equipment for government offices and its military forces. Huawei has also been excluded from providing technology for the core 5G network that's being developed by U.K. telecoms firm BT.

Australia and New Zealand have also banned Huawei from participating in building their 5G networks — the next generation of mobile technology expected to revolutionize the interaction of internet-connected devices and appliances.

What Huawei case says about America's growing impatience with China

By Jeffrey Wright, Paul Triolo and Michael Hirson 

As President Trump negotiated a trade truce with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires last weekend, an arrest 7,000 miles away created another complication between the world's largest economies. Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Chinese telecom giant Huawei and the daughter of its founder, was arrested in Vancouver on December 1 on suspicion of violating US sanctions on Iran.

Meng's arrest won't keep the US and China from beginning negotiations, likely next week in Washington. Both sides have much to gain from reopening talks. Trump is under pressure from jittery equity markets and Chinese tariffs on US agricultural products, and Xi is eager to get relief from US tariffs that contribute to a slowing Chinese economy.

The Phony US-China Truce


There is no shortage of precedents for the approach to the escalating trade dispute taken by Donald Trump and Xi Jinping. But if the US economy shows signs of falling into recession, Trump will need to blame someone – and in this case, we can be relatively certain about who that will be.

BEIJING – On December 1 in Buenos Aires, US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, agreed on a 90-day moratorium on increases in import tariffs to provide a window for negotiations. Unfortunately, this approach to mediation does not always succeed, and investors were not impressed – as was evident in the 800-point fall in the Dow Jones Industrial Average on December 4. And if markets were skeptical then, they will be even more skeptical now, with the arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou for violating US sanctions on Iran.


WE ARE DEEP into the worst-case scenarios. But as new sentencing memos for Donald Trump associates Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen make all too clear, the only remaining question is how bad does the actual worst-case scenario get.

The potential innocent explanations for the president's behavior over the last two years have been steadily stripped away, piece by piece. Special counsel Robert Mueller and investigative reporters have uncovered and assembled a picture of a presidential campaign and transition seemingly infected by unprecedented deceit and criminality, and in regular—almost obsequious—contact with America’s leading foreign adversary.

A year ago, Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes and Quinta Jurecic outlined seven possible scenarios about Trump and Russia, arranged from most innocent to most guilty. Fifth on that list was “Russian Intelligence Actively Penetrated the Trump Campaign—And Trump Knew or Should Have Known,” escalating from there to number 6 “Kompromat,” and topping out at the once unimaginable number 7, “The President of the United States is a Russian Agent.”

How a World Order Ends And What Comes in Its Wake

By Richard Haass

A stable world order is a rare thing. When one does arise, it tends to come after a great convulsion that creates both the conditions and the desire for something new. It requires a stable distribution of power and broad acceptance of the rules that govern the conduct of international relations. It also needs skillful statecraft, since an order is made, not born. And no matter how ripe the starting conditions or strong the initial desire, maintaining it demands creative diplomacy, functioning institutions, and effective action to adjust it when circumstances change and buttress it when challenges come.

Eventually, inevitably, even the best-managed order comes to an end. The balance of power underpinning it becomes imbalanced. The institutions supporting it fail to adapt to new conditions. Some countries fall, and others rise, the result of changing capacities, faltering wills, and growing ambitions. Those responsible for upholding the order make mistakes both in what they choose to do and in what they choose not to do.

Here's Why U.S. Tactical Nukes Are a Bad Idea.

by Kristin Ven Bruusgaard

They likely won't change Moscow's calculations during a crisis.

Policymakers in Washington are making a case for low-yield nuclear weapons. But these weapons aim to solve a problem based on major and unsubstantiated assumptions about Russian doctrine. Such weapons will not meaningfully affect Russian calculations if the Kremlin fears the existence of their state is at stake. They may, however, reinforce a view in Moscow that the United States seeks superiority across both the nuclear and conventional domains.

U.S. policymakers worry that were Russia to begin losing a conventional conflict, it might escalate to the use of nuclear weapons to de-escalate and settle the conflict on terms favorable to Moscow. They also argue that Russian aggression against U.S. allies in Europe becomes more likely if the United States does not have low-yield nuclear warheads to symmetrically match Russia’s escalation. Having such weapons would deter the Russians from considering nuclear preemption and strengthen U.S. deterrence.


In 2015, Microsoft introduced Edge, a homegrown browser it pitched as a modernized successor to Internet Explorer, and capable competitor to Google Chrome. Just three years later, Microsoft has raised a white flag, opting to rebuild Edge on Chromium, the same open-source rendering engine used by Chrome. As for Internet Explorer? Two years after its stopped getting feature updates, it's still more popular than Edge ever was.

Plenty has been written about why Edge is making the jump, including by Microsoft Windows lead Joe Belfiore. "Ultimately, we want to make the web experience better for many different audiences," Belfiore wrote in a blog postannouncing the change, arguing that users, web developers, and corporate IT departments will all benefit from coalescing around Chromium. The shorter version may simply be that even three years in, even being bundled with Windows 10, precious few people were using Edge. Especially compared to Internet Explorer.

What the Arrest of Huawei's CFO Means for the U.S.-China Trade War

On Dec. 1, the United States and China agreed to a truce in their trade war, but that same day Canadian authorities arrested the chief financial officer of one of China's most important tech companies, Huawei. Huawei has been the chief target of U.S. pressure on Chinese tech companies, and this new development adds another layer of complication to the already awkward trade negotiations between Beijing and Washington.

What Happened

Canada's Department of Justice announced in a Dec. 5 statement that it had arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of prominent Chinese tech company Huawei, in Vancouver on Dec. 1 at the request of the United States. Meng is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei. According to Canadian Justice Department spokesman Ian Mcleod, Meng is facing extradition to the United States over suspicions that she violated U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Facing US blowback, Beijing softens its 'Made in China 2025' message

Beijing has begun downplaying Made in China 2025, the state-backed industrial policy that has provoked alarm in the West and is core to Washington’s complaints about the country’s technological ambitions, diplomatic and Chinese state media sources said.

With a full-blown trade war looming amid U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats to impose tariffs on up to $450 billion in Chinese imports, his administration has fixed on Beijing’s signature effort to deploy state support to close a technology gap in 10 key sectors.

Beijing is increasingly mindful that its rollout of the ambitious plan has triggered U.S. backlash.

The Trump administration is considering rules that would bar companies with at least 25 percent Chinese ownership from buying U.S. firms with “industrially significant technology,” a U.S. government official said on Sunday.

The coming cyberwar: China may already be monitoring your electronic communications


“Sometime they’ll give a war and nobody will come.”

In Carl Sandburg’s epic book-length poem “The People, Yes” from 1936, one of the best-known antiwar slogans was born. It highlighted the isolationist stance the United States kept prior to World War II.

Then we were at war. From Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Pacific, to D-Day and Operation Market Garden in Europe, America’s soldiers, sailors, and airmen battled for freedom around the world, supported by the ferocious war machine back home.

But, today, what if China and Russia declared war upon us and we forgot to show up?

If we don’t make the right choices now, our future might look more like ‘Man in the High Castle’ – waking up one day to find dystopia instead of utopia. And if that happens it will be of our own rush to globalism, having forgot who the good guys actually are.

China’s Fourth Industrial Revolution: Artificial Intelligence

China’s state news agency Xinhua, has shown the world just how far China has come in the artificial intelligence race with the introduction of a digital news anchor.

The digital anchor not only read the news at China’s World Internet Conference last week, but it also demonstrated the capabilities of a digital ‘person’ created via machine learning, with speech, voice and facial movements all based on its human counterparts. 

The accomplishment is yet another sign of China’s overall AI ambitions.

Analysis: China’s nationwide pursuit to become the world leader in artificial intelligence (AI) is an attempt to not only match U.S. economic power, but to bypass it geo-strategically.

How a chilling Saudi cyberwar ensnared Jamal Khashoggi

By David Ignatius

When Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, he didn’t know he was walking into a killing zone. He had become the prime target in a 21st-century information war — one that involved hacking, kidnapping and ultimately murder — waged by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his courtiers against dissenters.

How did a battle of ideas, triggered by Khashoggi’s outspoken journalism for The Post, become so deadly? That’s the riddle at the center of the columnist’s death. The answer in part is that the United States, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and other countries that supported Saudi counter-extremism policies helped sharpen the double-edged tools of cyberespionage that drove the conflict toward its catastrophic conclusion in Istanbul.

How 3D Printing Is Transforming Mass Manufacturing

Once thought of as a method to make trinkets, 3D printing is increasingly being used in mass manufacturing to make production cheaper, better, stronger and faster. In his new book, The Pan-Industrial Revolution: How New Manufacturing Titans Will Transform the World, Dartmouth professor Richard D’Aveni explains how 3D printing could have a ripple effect across the global economy, even weakening China’s position as a rising superpower. 
An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

Knowledge@Wharton: In the last decade, we’ve seen manufacturing jobs, which were the backbone of this country for many years, going away. Is 3D printing mitigating some of that loss?

Meet the Australian Aircraft Carrier That Jump-Started China's Own Carrier Quest

by Sebastien Roblin

The ability to project airpower across oceanic expanses has long appealed to island nations—indeed, the first carriers were deployed by the United Kingdom and Japan. After experiencing Japanese air and submarine attacks during World War II, Australia understandably sought a carrier of its own.

This came in the form of the Sydney, originally one of sixteen “Light Fleet Carriers” laid down in the United Kingdom, intended to fall in between the huge slugging-power of a fleet carrier and small escort carriers used to protect convoys from submarines. Construction was paused at the end of World War II, but Australia scooped up the Terrible in 1948 and renamed her HMAS Sydney. The 190-meter long carrier could carry up to thirty-eight Sea Fury and Fairey Firefly propeller planes. These saw action in the Korean War starting in 1951, flying over 2,300 sorties and losing thirteen aircraft in combat.