15 December 2018

China is economically and militarily superior to India, says ex-Navy chief Arun Prakash


Admiral Arun Prakash said India’s lack of national security strategy and reliance on defence imports put it at a disadvantage against China.

Chandigarh: Former chief of naval staff Admiral Arun Prakash said Sunday that India lacked a national security strategy to deal with emerging security threats in the wake of the creation of the China-Pakistan axis.

“We have always lacked a grand security strategy. Slogans are no substitute to a national security policy. Unless you know where you want to go, how will you reach there?” he said.

Admiral Prakash, who retired as India’s 20th naval chief and chairman chiefs of staff in 2006, was speaking at a session titled ‘Evolving Indo-Pacific Concept: A game changer’ on the concluding day of the three-day Military Literature Festival in Chandigarh.

How U.S-China Trade War Could Be A Chance For India To Cash In

Pradeep S Mehta and Surendar Singh

NEW DELHI — The U.S.-China trade war is disrupting the functioning of global value chains (GVCs) that spread across East Asia, North America and West Europe, and represent nearly two-thirds of all international trade. Its potential spillover effects will likely transform the geography of GVCs, which in turn define the global trading system's geo-economic architecture.

This is forcing a large number of Asian manufacturers to shift their production lines from East Asia to low-cost economies such as Bangladesh, Cambodia and Sri Lanka, which are relatively less fragile to a global trade war. Indeed, many multinational corporations including Mitsubishi Electric, Hasbro, Micron Technology and Toshiba Machine are contemplating shifting their production centers to minimize the impact of the trade war between the United States and China.

Possibly Failed Pakistani Ballistic Missile Test Raises Doubts About Overall Capability

By Riffath Kazi

Unlike India’s indigenous ballistic missile development effort, Pakistan preferred to embark on a path that was predicated on acquiring missile technology from proliferating countries like North Korea and China. The Pakistani Ballistic missile programme has however not been fully successfully in absorbing the technology it may have received from foreign sources. An analysis of a possibly failed tests from late January 2018 reveals that not all is well with Pakistan’s solid-fuelled nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. But first, a brief history:

The U.S. Has Huawei in Cuffs. China Has the U.S. in Chains

Tim Culpan

Here’s a vision of how things might look if Beijing decides to retaliate by leveraging its dominance of the supply chain for American companies.

Imagine you’re a product engineer for a U.S. device brand based in China. You’ve had to submit your passport for annual visa renewal.

Without it, you can’t travel. And with heightened concerns over security and a crackdown on VPNs (which enable users to bypass Chinese censorship of the internet) your company has decreed that all sensitive product discussions be done in-person back at HQ. But that visa renewal is taking a long time and you’re stuck in Shanghai, with your product cycle being extended by the day.

China Backtracks On Local Coal Ban – Analysis

By Michael Lelyveld

China’s government has restored heat to hundreds of frigid households after an “improper” ban on burning coal highlighted problems with anti-smog policies for the second year in a row.

In early November, an inspection team from the Ministry of Ecology and Environment was sent to the capital of northern China’s Shanxi province following complaints that residents were burning furniture to keep warm, according to state media and independent reports.

The problem for households in the Kangle district of Taiyuan city followed a local ban on coal-fired heating, an order that the official English-language China Dailycalled “improper” in a report on Nov. 23.

Exactly who ordered the ban remains unclear, but news accounts of the episode suggest that central government authorities were eager to defuse public anger and avoid blame.

Is China ready for intelligent automation?

Drivers of Automation in China

Ongoing demographic shifts are putting pressure on China’s leaders to automate labor-intensive activities. For decades, China benefited from a demographic dividend that provided its manufacturing sector with a ready supply of cheap labor. The country now faces a declining birth rate and rapidly aging population. According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, China’s labor force will fall to roughly 700 million by 2050, down from 911 million in 2016. Automation could be the key to maintaining productivity as China’s traditional labor force shrinks.

China’s dwindling labor force is driving up the cost of doing business. The average hourly wage for factory workers hit $3.60 per hour in 2016, more than five times the average hourly wage in India. While salaries in China are still dramatically lower than those of mature economies – workers in US manufactories earned $21.60 per hour in 2016 – China must now compete against countries like Mexico and Brazil where manufacturing workers earn just over $2 per hour. Productivity, which measures economic output per hour worked, remains relatively low in China, at just 15-30 percent of the OECD average.

China’s Political Economy After 40 Years of Reform

by Si Wu George Yin

Entrepreneurs and consumers in Beijing may become the largest beneficiaries of Trump's trade war.

The year 2018 marks the fortieth anniversary of China’s “reform and opening up.” In the past four decades, China’s program of economic reforms has seen its ups and downs. Indeed, China has experienced two waves of liberalization, each followed by a wave of retrenchment.

The first wave of reform lasted from 1978 to 1989 and was characterized by agricultural reform and revival of the private sector. The first wave of retrenchment lasted from 1989 to 1992. It was characterized by an ideological shift to the left and restrictions on the private sector.

The View From Olympus: A Major Policy Blunder

William S. Lind

A frequent sin of conservative governments is throwing away what they have achieved domestically by making major foreign policy blunders. That danger now looms over President Trump’s government. His domestic agenda is successful. The economy is booming, new conservative judges are sitting on important benches and Left-wing regulations are being rolled back. In the recent elections, a blue wave was met by an equal red wave. The result was a normal off-year election for the party holding the White House, except the Republicans gained seats in the Senate. There was no repudiation of President Trump or his agenda.

All this is now being put at risk because of the administration’s China policy. President Trump has been right to challenge China on trade issues. Free trade on our part has allowed a mercantilist China to hollow out our industry, depriving Americans of millions of good paying jobs. China regularly steals intellectual property and forces American companies to turn over trade secrets if they wish to do business with China. All this should have been challenged by previous presidents, Republican and Democrat. Their failures to act left President Trump to deal with the whole mess. To his credit, he is doing so. 

The US is worried about China spying via Huawei because it did the same in the past

By John Detrixhe

The US is again warning its allies about the risks of using telecom equipment made by China’s Huawei. American officials have briefed their counterparts in countries like Germany, Italy, and Japan about what they argue are potential cybersecurity risks, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall). This follows previous warnings, such as a claim earlier this year that American citizens shouldn’t use Huawei’s phones.

The US may be concerned about Chinese government influence embedded in Huawei’s technology because America’s spy agencies have done the same thing in the past.

Western governments have long been wary of Huawei, which was founded by Ren Zhengfei, a former People’s Liberation Army soldier. (The recent arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who is Zhengfei’s daughter, over allegations of violating of Iran trade sanctions is apparently separate to concerns about cyber espionage.)

Saudi Arabia’s Biggest Geopolitical Error

By Gregory R. Copley

War is inherently risk-intense, and therefore is not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly. The more comprehensive the engagement the less predictable the outcome. So it is with the Saudi Coalition’s present intervention in Yemen.

Nothing is more important than having clear, strategically valid goals and absolute imperatives before engaging in warfare. Moreover, given its unpredictability, direct conflict should be initiated as a course of last resort.

Any power initiating a physical war automatically engages target and contextual factors beyond its control, quite apart from the mastery which an initiator must have over its own population, resources, and capabilities.

Computer vision: how Israel’s secret soldiers drive its tech success

When Ofir Schlam, the co-founder of Taranis, an Israeli agriculture tech start-up, was growing up on a farm in Israel, he would regularly wake at 5am to search through the crop for the tiniest caterpillars, pests and rot. Years later, when he joined the military and was attached to the prime minister’s office, he adapted that skillset to analyse thousands of surveillance images, looking for the smallest anomaly. 

One of his key senior executives at Taranis, Amihay Gornik, developed his expertise working at large aerospace companies, designing imaging parts for military drones. He figured out a way to make a fast-moving camera think it was standing still by nestling it inside a proprietary pod he had fitted with a gyroscope, which helped cancel out vibrations and resulted in less blur. 

Erdoğan: Ideological but Not Suicidal

by Burak Bekdil

Is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan a devout ideologue or a pragmatist? The answer is both. Perhaps a more relevant question is: When is he a devout ideologue and when a pragmatist?

In late 2010, at the peak of the diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Israel after the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident, a senior Israeli diplomat asked this author: “Is there a way to push Erdoğan from blind (anti-Zionist) ideology to rationalism so that we can normalize our relations?” My answer was, “Costs… If a crisis costs him economically, then politically, he will switch from ideology to reason.” A comment on that conclusion made by a friend of the diplomat explains why Ankara and Jerusalem have had erratic but deeply hostile relations since 2009: “Israel is a powerful country but not big enough to make Turkey pay a price for its antagonism.” After a theoretical normalization of diplomatic ties in December 2016, Turkey and Israel once again downgraded their diplomatic missions in May 2018.

After the Killing of Jamal Khashoggi: Muhammad bin Salman and the Future of Saudi-U.S. Relations

The Issue 

Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman has been ambitious in his efforts to enact economic reforms in Saudi Arabia. However, these efforts have been accompanied by a series of seemingly poorly-planned foreign policy decisions. 

Despite this series of ad hoc decisions, the crown prince has successfully consolidated power in his own hands in a way that is unprecedented in recent Saudi history. 

The United States must be wary of insisting on a change of personnel that could lead to an intra-family conflict. Instead, the administration should encourage the crown prince to change his behavior. 

King Salman should identify an additional interlocutor who can engage with the United States on foreign policy issues for the foreseeable future. 

The Arab Gulf States and Iran: Military Spending, Modernization, and the Shifting Military Balance

By Anthony H. Cordesman and Nicholas Harrington

The military balance between Iran, its Arab neighbors, and the United States has been a critical military issue in the Middle East since at least the rise of Nasser in the 1950s. The risks this arms race presents in terms of a future conflict have not diminished with time, and many elements of the regional arms race have accelerated sharply in recent years.

Clashes with Iran in the Gulf, struggles for influence in Iraq and Syria, and the war in Yemen all act as warnings that new rounds of conflict are possible. The Iranian reactions to the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA nuclear agreement, the growing tensions between the Arab Gulf states, the boycott of Qatar, and the unstable outcome of the fight against ISIS, and the Syrian civil war all contribute to an increasingly fragile and dangerous security environment.
The Growing Risk from a Regional Arms Race

Will Abe’s Article 9 Revisions Fly?

By Phillip Orchard 

Japan’s Constitution is distinctly anti-war – but naval developments suggest a changing tide. 

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s march to reform the war-renouncing Japanese Constitution is still mired in a slog of domestic political resistance. But, as has generally been the case since the Japan Self-Defense Forces were reconstituted in 1954, Tokyo isn’t waiting for public concern to align neatly with its strategic interests. Rather, it is pushing forward with plans to arm itself with equipment and systems that can address Japan’s core geopolitical vulnerabilities – and further its ability to flex its muscles far from its shores.

Japan moves to keep Huawei out of power grids and railways

TOKYO -- The Japanese government will call on businesses and other organizations handling key infrastructure in 14 sectors to avoid buying communications equipment that are seen as vulnerable to leaks of sensitive information and system shutdowns in a move that in effect targets Chinese equipment makers Huawei Technologies and ZTE.

The government already has procurement guidelines for ministries and agencies that cover nine types of equipment, such as servers and terminals. Suppliers that had been chosen based on price will be scrutinized for security risks starting next April. 

Japan will now expand such guidance to the private sector, asking companies and organizations to refrain from acquiring vulnerable equipment starting January.

The Yellow Vest Protests and the Tragedy of Emmanuel Macron

By Arthur Goldhammer

France is a country with a long history of rebellions, but it has never seen anything quite like the revolt of the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests), which erupted in mid-November. Disturbed by the high cost of gasoline and diesel fuel, a woman who runs an online cosmetics business in the small town of Savigny-le-Temple posted a petition on Facebook calling on authorities to cut prices at the pump. When the government instead announced that in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions it would enact a modest increase in the tax on gasoline and a slightly higher increase in the tax on diesel, the petition began to pick up steam. Before long it had gathered 986,000 signatures.

The Long-Term Implications of France's 'Yellow Vest' Protests

The French government's comfortable majority in the National Assembly makes it possible for President Emmanuel Macron to implement his pro-business reforms agenda, but resistance from volatile grassroot movements, right- and left-wing political opponents and labor unions will constrain the government's room for action.

A plan to reform the pensions system in 2019 will open the door to new street protests, while a plan to amend the French Constitution will give opposition parties the chance to weaken the government.

Resistance from Northern European countries and institutional turnover in 2019 will make it hard for France to achieve its plans of deeper risk-sharing and greater money transfers within the European Union.

More, Less, or Different? Where U.S. Foreign Policy Should—and Shouldn’t—Go From Here

By Jake Sullivan

Since November 2016, the U.S. foreign policy community has embarked on an extended voyage of soul-searching, filling the pages of publications like this one with essays on the past, present, and future of the liberal international order and the related question of where U.S. grand strategy goes from here. The prevailing sentiment is not for just more of the same. Big questions are up for debate in ways they have not been for many years. What is the purpose of U.S. foreign policy? Are there fundamental changes in the world that demand a corresponding change in approach?

Into this earnest and reflective conversation enter Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, each with a new book, each making his long-standing argument about the failures of U.S. foreign policy with renewed ferocity. Walt’s is called The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy; Mearsheimer’s is The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities. The titles give clear hints of the cases they lay out: against democracy promotion, humanitarian intervention, nation building, and NATO expansion; for restraint and offshore balancing.

The U.S. vs. China: A Great Experiment vs. A Great Civilization!

by Frank Li

No bi-lateral relationship is more important than that between the U.S. and China. Yet, the two countries seem to be on a collision course. Why is that?

Blame the U.S. for trying to contain China, without knowing what China is or even what America is!

China is the greatest country in human history with its own civilization, while the U.S. is merely an experiment, albeit a great one!

1. China is the greatest country in human history!

World Bank cancels $250m emergency relief loan

By Shahbaz Rana

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank has cancelled a $250-million emergency relief loan for Pakistan after both sides could not converge on a new macroeconomic framework due to deteriorating external-sector condition of Pakistan.

The loan was aimed at strengthening the regulatory and institutional framework to cope with climate change and disaster risk in Pakistan and increase financial capacity to respond to natural disasters.

Loan negotiations have been cancelled, according to government officials.

The decision to cancel the policy loan came following postponement of visit of a World Bank team to Pakistan. The World Bank had planned to send a mission in the third week of November but it suddenly scrapped the trip a day after bailout talks between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) failed.

The Role of Communicators in Countering the Malicious Use of Social Media

This brief discusses the role of communicators in countering the malicious use of social media. It is based on the report ‘Countering Information Influence Activities: The State of the Art’ (2018) developed by the Department of Strategic Communication at Lund University and published by the Swedish Civil Contingency Agency (MSB). This brief is divided into three sections: understanding, identifying, and counteracting information influence activities. The Understanding section covers defnitions, diagnostics, and vulnerabilities. Identifying provides a basis for analysing the narratives, target groups, and techniques used in information influence activities. Counteracting covers preparation, action, and learning.

The Forgotten Lesson Of Huawei: Cyberattacks Will Be A Constant Threat To Manufacturing Firms

The arrest last week in Canada of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, injects one more source of uncertainty into a global economy that is increasingly fragile, and into financial markets that reflect a marked uptick in investor anxiety.

Attendees sit in front of a screen showing an acknowledgement message featuring the Huawei Technologies Co. logo at the Mobile World Congress Shanghai in Shanghai, China, on Thursday, June 28, 2018. 

To be sure, the narrow issue with Huawei is that it is alleged to have violated U.S. restrictions on trading with Iran. However, there is a broader issue that is a central point of contention in the trade dispute and potential cold war between China and the U.S. That issue is cybertheft.

Making Sense of the War on Huawei

The arrest of Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei, is only the beginning of what is clearly becoming the U.S. government’s war on the Chinese tech firm, writes Wharton dean Geoffrey Garrett in this opinion piece.

Last week was a wild ride for China-United States relations and for global markets. What began with the optimism of a 90-day truce in the trade war ended with market turmoil surrounding the arrest at the request of the U.S. government of Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the founder of one of China’s biggest tech companies, Huawei, where Wanzhou is CFO.

The immediate media and market reactions speculated that the arrest might derail a U.S.-China trade deal next March. The arrest’s impact on the trade war is only the beginning of what is clearly becoming the American government’s war on Huawei. And that war has very little to do with the ostensible reason for the arrest last week – the violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran.


AFTER A HELLISH year of tech scandals, even government-averse executives have started professing their openness to legislation. But Microsoft president Brad Smith took it one step further on Thursday, asking governments to regulate the use of facial-recognition technology to ensure it does not invade personal privacy or become a tool for discrimination or surveillance.

Tech companies are often forced to choose between social responsibility and profits, but the consequences of facial recognition are too dire for business as usual, Smith said. “We believe that the only way to protect against this race to the bottom is to build a floor of responsibility that supports healthy market competition,” he said in a speech at the Brookings Institution. “We must ensure that the year 2024 doesn’t look like a page from the novel 1984.”

Here’s what the Army is saying about its new electronic warfare solution

By: Mark Pomerleau 

A U.S. Army official is describing results from the recent deployment of an urgent electronic warfare capability to Europe as mixed.

In light of advanced Russian capabilities in theater, the U.S. Army decided it couldn’t wait for the current trajectory of the service’s official program schedule for the Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool, or EWPMT, a command-and-control planning capability that allows commanders and soldiers to visualize on a screen the effects of electronic warfare in the field.

Rather, the Army issued what’s known as an urgent operational need statement for a capability that bridged the incremental capability insertions for EWPMT, the next of which is not slated to be delivered for some time.

Google’s ‘internal effort’ for a Chinese search engine

By: Justin Lynch 

In this May 8, 2018, file photo, Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif. Google pledges that it will not use artificial intelligence in applications related to weapons or surveillance, part of a new set of principles designed to govern how it uses AI. Those principles, released by Pichai, commit Google to building AI applications that are "socially beneficial," that avoid creating or reinforcing bias and that are accountable to people. 

Google is considering the launch of a search engine in China, the company’s CEO told lawmakers Tuesday, but is refusing to answer if it has discussed the project with officials from Beijing.

Sundar Pichai told the House of Representatives during a hearing that he “will be transparent” with the internet giant’s plans to open up a search engine tailored to Chinese authorities' requirements, but evaded pointed questions from lawmakers.

The Grim Future of Urban Warfare

By Darran Anderson,

War is won by breaking an enemy’s morale until their ability to resist collapses. In Iraq, the U.S. military employedshock and awe,” demonstrating overwhelming force while using superior technology and intelligence. It was a new term for an ancient approach: “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt,” Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War, centuries before Christ. Strike suddenly, brutally, and with the element of surprise to sow confusion and encourage surrender and retreat—or to stage annihilation.

The Third Reich’s blitzkrieg techniques did the same (“the engine of the Panzer is a weapon just as the main gun,” the German general Heinz Guderian noted), along with the shrieking “Jericho Trumpet” sirens its Luftwaffe attached to planes making dive-bomb attacks on cities. The aim was not just the shattering of buildings but the shattering of nerves.

Trump Picks Milley For Joint Chiefs Chairman: A Bold Reformer — But Will They Clash?


Trump certainly fell in and out of love fast with the last outspoken warrior-intellectual he hired, short-lived National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster.

WASHINGTON: President Trump has one thing in common with his pick for Joint Chiefs chairman, the current Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley: When they speak, they get your attention.

Milley on bypassing Pentagon weapons-buying bureaucracy? “Cut us loose and see what happens. If we fail, fire us.”

Trade War Battles: Latest Conflicts

By Kathleen Claussen

The last weeks of 2018 have precipitated significant developments in the so-called trade wars between the United States and its trading partners. Yet the recent agreements made and signed did little to advance efforts toward greater cooperation on the “three-digit sagas”—the tit-for-tat tariff battles occurring under statutory delegations known by their three-digit references, such as Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. The announcements coming out of the G20 summit in Argentina make now a good time to take stock of the state of play in the trade wars.