17 December 2018

‘An Economic Strategy For India’, By Rajan, Gopinath And Others: Full Report

Thirteen senior economists, including former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan, IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath and Sajjid Chinoy of JP Morgan, have jointly outlined an economic strategy for India as the country heads closer to a key general election in 2019.

Here is the full unedited text of the report: An Economic Strategy for India

The Imperative for Strong, Equitable, and Sustainable Growth

India is one of the fastest growing large countries in the world, having grown at an average of almost 7 percent for the last 25 years. There have been many notable reforms over this period – most recently, the co-operative fiscal federalism that has brought the Goods and Services Tax into being, the enactment of the Indian Bankruptcy Code, and the dramatic dis-inflation of recent years, partly as a result of a move to an inflation targeting regime.

Is India Expecting Too Much From Its Strategic Partnership With Vietnam?

By Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

Despite growing strategic convergence, New Delhi should also be mindful of some of the limitations in the relationship.

It has been an active few months for India-Vietnam relations, with several diplomatic and defense visits being recorded by the two sides. That in and of itself should come as no surprise for those following developments in the Asia-Pacific. Vietnam is one of India’s closest international partners and an important component of India’s Act East Policy. Over the last decade, Vietnam has also become a vital part of India’s strategy to counter China’s rise in Asia.

But while Vietnam-India relations have remained strong, with multiple senior-level visits between the two countries, there are indications that all is not well with the relationship. Put simply, New Delhi might be expecting too much from the Vietnam relationship, while Vietnam, though also very keen on the India relationship, may be facing constraints in how close it can get to New Delhi and how much it can serve New Delhi’s strategic objectives. Indian strategy should consider the limitations that Vietnam faces and pare down its expectations from Hanoi.

Satellite Imagery, Remote Sensing, and Diminishing the Risk of Nuclear War in South Asia

The backdrop: a security rivalry between India and Pakistan in place since the 1947 partition of British India. The risk: nuclear catastrophe. Because the consequences of such an outcome are so dire, even the small chance of a nuclear conflict is worth trying to minimize. This report assesses whether satellite imagery and remote sensing technology, administered by a trusted third party, could ease the pressures and thus lessen the risk of disaster on the subcontinent. 


Structural political and security factors generate persistent security competition on the South Asian subcontinent. 

This competition in turn creates a small but difficult-to-close window for nuclear catastrophe. 

However unlikely, deployment of tactical nuclear weapons can open the door to inadvertent escalation or unauthorized use or theft. Any of these outcomes would be a catastrophe for the region and the world.

What a US-Iran War Means for Afghanistan and Uzbekistan

By Nicholas Trickett

U.S. coercive pressure on Iran works against Uzbekistan’s regional interests and the stability of Afghanistan.

With word that the United States is deploying the USS John C. Stennis supercarrier and its escorts to the Persian Gulf, concerns are rising as to what exactly the U.S. is doing with its Iran policy. According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, “[W]e are accumulating risk of escalation in the region if we fail to restore deterrence.” The deployment comes in response to an Iranian medium-range missile test, which the United States, France, and the UK have warned may violate UN obligations. Showing force will undoubtedly increase the odds of military action in case Iran ignores calls to cease missile tests or other activity.

But few are wondering aloud what the rising odds of conflict mean for Afghanistan and its northern neighbor Uzbekistan. NATO and Afghan security forces are charitably described as having achieved a stalemate with the Taliban on the battlefield. Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie has publicly stated that Afghan security forces cannot sustain the current level of casualties, citing a need for greater support from the U.S. and NATO partners. As things have worsened in Afghanistan, the United States has stepped up its outreach to Uzbekistan.

Political Legitimacy: Why We Are Failing in Afghanistan

By Thomas H. Johnson & Larry P. Goodson

Political legitimacy is the critical foundation for success in governance. Whatever its source, when legitimacy exists a government is secure. Max Weber famously suggested there are three sources of legitimacy—charismatic, traditional, and legal.[1] A government with a high degree of legitimacy cannot easily be challenged, but when legitimacy is low or lacking, any number of issues can undermine a government. In the absence of legitimacy, only the ability to exercise coercive power can secure the state. Niccolò Machiavelli alluded to the belief that it is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot have both.[2] Insurgency theorists and practitioners such as Mao Zedong have argued a key indicator of insurgent success is if the regime in question has 80% legitimacy in the view of its citizens.[3] A government with this level of legitimacy, which is distinct from popularity, is extremely difficult to unseat through an insurgency.

Why the U.S. Needs Allies in a Trade War Against China

Chad P. Bown

On December 1, in Buenos Aires, President Trump started the 90-day clock to negotiate a trade deal with China. He claims he wants to tackle the big systemic concerns involving theft of American intellectual property, the forced transfer of technology from American firms, and the state-driven nature of the Chinese economy. For trade watchers, the time frame for such ambitions sounds absurd. But they are not entirely out of reach. If Trump makes up with scorned friends in order to take on a common adversary, he could get a meaningful deal.

Admittedly, Trump did spend the first two years of his presidency alienating traditional American allies as much as officials in Beijing. He reversed the Obama administration’s signature foreign policy moves by pulling out of the Paris Accord on climate, Iran sanctions deal, and Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. And his own protectionist actions on trade policy – tariffs imposed on steel, aluminum, and threatened on cars – mostly hit exports in economic allies like Europe, Japan, Canada, and South Korea. Because they weaken an otherwise concerning alliance, China’s view of many of those Trump policy actions is fairly positive.

Book Excerpt - Red Star Over the Pacific: China's Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy.

by Toshi Yoshihara James Holmes

Toshi Yoshihara and James Holmes present the second edition of their important work on this timely topic.

China has a dream. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials tell us so. President Xi Jinping, who ranks first among them, made “Chinese Dream” his credo soon after ascending to China’s top post in 2012. And this is no mere slogan; it encapsulates CCP officialdom’s vision of China’s purposes and aspirations, first and foremost of which is “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” President Xi proclaims that fulfilling this “great renewal” constitutes “the greatest dream for the Chinese nation in modern history.” This book investigates what the Chinese Dream means for Chinese maritime strategy, all the way from the lofty realm of high purpose down to the nitty-gritty of how seagoing Chinese forces may coerce, deter, and fight to carry forth national purposes

Huawei Is the Doorway to China's Police State

by Dan Blumenthal

The free world should be worried about the creation of a police state under the technology umbrella of Huawei.

The arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was apparently a long time coming. U.S. investigators began looking into Huawei’s dealings when Iran’s once Chinese-backed ZTE was identified as a sanctions-breaker. U.S. prosecutors now appear to have substantial evidence of the Chinese Communist Party’s state-backed mobile and technology company’s violations of the sanctions regime against Iran.

The arrest and call for extradition spotlights just how concerned the free world should be about Huawei. The stakes are high, as the company is positioned to be the dominant player in 5G mobile networks. If Huawei wins this competition against U.S. companies, much of the world’s data will pass through the mobile networks of a CCP-backed company that does business with the world’s most troubling regimes. Huawei is also the critical player in CCP General-Secretary Xi Jinping’s bid to establish a high-tech police state and to leapfrog the United States in critical technologies that will enable a host of military capabilities.

A Weakened China Tries a Different Approach With the U.S.: Treading Lightly

By Keith Bradsher, Alan Rappeport and Glenn Thrush

BEIJING — The recent arrest of a top Chinese tech executive at the Trump administration’s request seemed certain to provoke a geopolitical showdown pitting Beijing against Washington.

The detained executive is a daughter of one of China’s most admired business leaders. She helps run a company, Huawei, at the center of a global race to dominate the next generation of telecommunications technology. And her arrest, widely viewed inside China as a direct affront, comes at a time of already pervasive suspicion among the Chinese public and leadership that the United States wants to block China’s rise through a trade war.

Yet seemingly against the odds, Beijing decided to take a measured response to the Huawei incident. The Chinese leadership has compartmentalized the situation as a law enforcement dispute while making concessions on trade to help defuse tensions.

FBI: China threatens 'the future of the world’

Chinese spying threatens “not just the future of the United States, but the future of the world,” a senior FBI official told lawmakers Wednesday.

“We are being exploited by China, so we are right to shore up our defenses against this,” E.W. Priestap, assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Our efforts must inspire other nations to preserve similar systems. We must persuade them to choose freedom, reciprocity, and the rule of law. What hangs in the balance is not just the future of the United States, but the future of the world.”

Priestap, who is due to retire at the end of this month, painted a dire picture of Chinese spycraft, warning that the Communist regime uses an array of unconventional intelligence assets to pilfer American secrets both from the government and the private sector. He urged lawmakers to brace for “a hypercompetitive world” in which China uses economic theft to cement their status as a major international power.

China's New Challenge: Maintaining the Trade Truce

by Dean Cheng

A full-blown trade war between the world’s two largest economies would likely produce an unpredictable and disruptive an outcome.

One of the storied elements of World War I is the Christmas truce of 1914. Along the Western Front from Switzerland to the English Channel, forces from the two sides called informal truces, bringing a temporary halt to the fighting. In many places, the two sides exchanged mementoes and rations. In a few cases, there were even football (soccer) matches.

In the ongoing trade clashes between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping have called a similar, short-term truce. At the G-20 summit in Argentina, the United States agreed that it would suspend, temporarily, the next iteration of tariffs, scheduled for implementation by January 1. China, meanwhile, made nonspecific promises of substantial increases in purchases of American agricultural, energy, and industrial products.

Why Saudi Arabia Will Struggle to Draw Investors in 2019

Economic growth in Saudi Arabia in 2019 will stem largely from public sector spending.

The reliance on public sector spending underlines how difficult it will be for Saudi Arabia to move to a more diversified economy with a vibrant private sector.

Political uncertainty in the Middle East, as well as perceptions of domestic political turmoil within Saudi Arabia, will contribute to lackluster foreign direct investment in the kingdom.

Brexit Britain: Small, boring and stupid


BRUSSELS — So here we are at the supposed Brexit cliff — a political crisis and diplomatic crisis rolled into one — and I have a confession. I’m thoroughly bored by it all.

I suspect I’m not alone.

For those beyond Brussels and London, maybe just starting to tune in, here’s some advice. Let go of any illusions that this drama is about trade protocols, residency rights or the status of the Irish border. The histrionics going on in the United Kingdom aren't even really about its impending departure from the European Union — or about Prime Minister Theresa May’s tenuous attempts to cling to power.

Brexit is the story of a proud former imperial power undergoing a mid-life crisis. The rest of the world is left listening to Britain’s therapy session as they drone on about their ex-spouse, the EU: When will they stop talking and just move on?

The Explosive Implications of Russian Bombers in Venezuela

Stratfor's 2019 Annual Forecast said that Russia would seek to expand its ties and involvement around the world to push against Western hegemony and challenge the U.S.-led world order. News that Russia has sent strategic bombers to Venezuela and unconfirmed reports that Moscow is considering a long-term deployment suggest that the analysis was correct.

What Happened

Russia is reportedly considering a long-term military presence in Venezuela. According to a Dec. 11 report from Russian paper Nezavisimaya Gazeta that cited anonymous sources, Tu-160 strategic bombers could be based in Venezuela. The report says that Russian and Venezuelan officials agreed to put the planes at a Venezuelan military base on the island of La Orchila in the Caribbean Sea, where Russian advisers will reportedly be dispatched this week.

What Does Growing U.S.-China Rivalry Mean for America’s Allies in Asia?

by John S. Van Oudenaren

At the recent G-20 summit in Argentina, President Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping reached a temporary truce, tapping the brakes on an escalating trade war, and opening a negotiating window to deal with major structural issues in the U.S.-China economic relationship. Despite this pause in tensions, an expert panel at the Center for the National Interest, which was comprised of Michael Green (Center for Strategic and International Studies), Scott Snyder (Council on Foreign Relations) and Robert Sutter (George Washington), described how America’s allies Japan and South Korea, are adjusting to Asia’s new normal. This new normal is a climate dominated by a more confrontational, perhaps even adversarial, U.S.-China relationship. Ret. USMC Lt. Gen. Wallace “Chip” Gregson, Jr., senior director for China and the Pacific at the Center for the National Interest and former assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, moderated the discussion.

The Age of Uneasy Peace

By Yan Xuetong

In early October 2018, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence delivered a searing speech at a Washington think tank, enumerating a long list of reproaches against China. From territorial disputes in the South China Sea to alleged Chinese meddling in U.S. elections, Pence accused Beijing of breaking international norms and acting against American interests. The tone was unusually blunt—blunt enough for some to interpret it as a harbinger of a new Cold Warbetween China and the United States.

Such historical analogies are as popular as they are misleading, but the comparison contains a kernel of truth: the post–Cold War interregnum of U.S. hegemony is over, and bipolarity is set to return, with China playing the role of the junior superpower. The transition will be a tumultuous, perhaps even violent, affair, as China’s rise sets the country on a collision course with the United States over a number of clashing interests. But as Washington slowly retreats from some of its diplomatic and military engagements abroad, Beijing has no clear plan for filling this leadership vacuum and shaping new international norms from the ground up.

What Does Growing U.S.-China Rivalry Mean for America’s Allies in Asia?

by John S. Van Oudenaren

At the recent G-20 summit in Argentina, President Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping reached a temporary truce, tapping the brakes on an escalating trade war, and opening a negotiating window to deal with major structural issues in the U.S.-China economic relationship. Despite this pause in tensions, an expert panel at the Center for the National Interest, which was comprised of Michael Green (Center for Strategic and International Studies), Scott Snyder (Council on Foreign Relations) and Robert Sutter (George Washington), described how America’s allies Japan and South Korea, are adjusting to Asia’s new normal. This new normal is a climate dominated by a more confrontational, perhaps even adversarial, U.S.-China relationship. Ret. USMC Lt. Gen. Wallace “Chip” Gregson, Jr., senior director for China and the Pacific at the Center for the National Interest and former assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, moderated the discussion.

A Month of Unrest in France

By GPF Staff

Government proposals to raise fuel taxes are mobilizing the public.

The administration of French President Emmanuel Macron has come under fire in recent weeks over fuel tax hikes and increases in the cost of living. Hundreds of thousands of protesters calling themselves the “yellow vest” movement have taken to the streets of Paris for the past four weekends, staging sometimes violent demonstrations that have caused closures, including of major tourist attractions, in the capital city. In response, Macron has promised to raise wages and reduce various taxes – in addition to abandoning the fuel tax increase that ignited the protests – but so far, these pledges have not quelled the unrest.



As parties gather this week in Poland at the annual United Nations climate change conference, the health sector is making a loud and strong argument for health to be at the heart of ALL discussions and policy decisions on climate change.

Though the focus of the Paris Agreement is on rising temperatures and increased carbon dioxide, at its core, it is a safeguard for human health worldwide. The Paris Agreement is not only an historic climate pact, but also an unprecedented health treaty.

Every year that we ignore the warnings and continue to burn fossil fuels and destroy our environment, we are further endangering the lives and livelihoods of current and future generations. As a physician who has worked in public health for nearly three decades, I don’t make such a claim lightly.

A Planet At Risk Requires Multilateral Action

The COP-21 Paris Agreement limiting greenhouse gas emissions was a major achievement on the road to meeting the threat of climate change. But as the evidence becomes increasingly unambiguous that human activity is destabilizing the Earth’s climate and biosphere, policymakers will need to do more. The inherently shared nature of the threat underlines the need for closer and more comprehensive international cooperation to preserve the habitat in which human life has thrived.

"In contemplating the future course of economic growth in the West, scientists are divided between one group crying “wolf" and another which denies that species’ existence. One persistent concern has been that man’s economic activities would reach a scale where the global climate would be significantly affected. Unlike many of the wolf cries, this one, in my opinion, should be taken very seriously."

Hackers are making their attacks look like they came from the Chinese government

By: Justin Lynch

Hackers are increasingly using false-flag operations that wrongly point the blame toward China for some cyberattacks, threat intelligence experts said.

Because Chinese hackers often rely on publicly available tools for their operations, it is easy to mimic their signature viruses, according to Brandon Helms, the chief operations officers at Rendition Infosecurity, a cybersecurity company that does incident response and threat intelligence.

Helms said the issue is becoming more prevalent because most hackers have access to the same publicly available tools that China favors. The trend is emerging as tension increases between the U.S. and Chinese governments and the United States takes a more aggressive approach in pursuing Chinese hackers.

Show Me The Data: The Pentagon’s Two-Pronged AI Plan


WASHINGTON: Having bet heavily on artificial intelligence, the Pentagon now has a two-pronged plan to overcome the biggest obstacle to AI: the data.

As the short-term solution, the newly created Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, JAIC, will seek to gather the vast amounts of data required to train machine learning algorithms.

At the same time, DARPA will pursue the long-term goal of developing a next-generation artificial intelligence that’s intelligent enough to reach conclusions from less data.

Both tasks are daunting. Right from the start, “as we roll out the first two, three, four applications, the thing that will be hitting us over and over again will be data,” Dana Deasy, the Pentagon’s Chief Information Officer and chief overseer of JAIC, told the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. “Do we really understand where the sources of our data come from?…. How do you ingest it, what are its formats, do we have duplicative data, and how do we bring it together?”

As Pentagon Demands Cybersecurity, Industry Group Offers New Standards: AIA


As the DoD prepares to make cyber security a key pillar for what it buys -- and from whom -- a defense and aerospace trade group unveils a new standard that will allow companies, and the government, to see how secure contractors really are.

WASHINGTON: With the Pentagon increasingly anxious about how Chinese hackers constantly probe defense contractors’ networks, the massive Aerospace Industries Association is releasing an ambitious new cybersecurity plan for companies hoping to win government work.

The move comes as top officials warn the defense industry that cyber hygiene will increasingly become part of the Pentagon’s decision-making process in deciding what to buy from the private sector, and amid increasing concerns that inconsistent standards for cyber security across industry are putting everyone at risk.

The New Censorship

by Phyllis Chesler

In 1984, George Orwell wrote: “The two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth and to extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent thought. When people ‘disappear’ no one is allowed to mention it, no one is mourned, no one person is important, only the Party and Big Brother are important.”

Today, Orwell’s Thought Police are, rather ominously, everywhere. There is a definite intellectual chill in the air. Reason and civility are all but gone in the public square. In its place, we have insults, shaming, censorship and self-censorship that is meant to “pass” for thought. Hotly internalized propaganda rules the day online. We have met Big Brother, and he is us.


In India, WhatsApp is a major channel for false reporting and hate speech that sometimes fuels mob violence and gruesome murders. Police say they can’t track the encrypted messages to find culprits. And the government is demanding change.

BY THE TIME police arrived in the hamlet of Rainpada on July 1, 2018, the village council office was the scene of a massacre.

THE BRIGHT BLUE shutters on the windows were splintered and the door was kicked in. Inside, files were strewn across the floor and the light green walls were splashed with blood. Five men were dead, beaten to death with fists, feet, sticks, and office furniture wielded by a raging mob.

The dead men—four in their late forties and one whose age remains unknown—had arrived in Rainpada earlier that day, at around 9 am, on a bus from Solapur, some 300 miles south, to attend a Sunday market. According to their families and police, all of them were members of a Nath Panthi Davari Gosavi tribe, a nomadic group that roams India’s western Maharashtra state, surviving mostly on alms. The men sat under a tree not far from where they had gotten off the bus and, as they ate, handed a biscuit to a young girl.

Trade group pushes voluntary cybersecurity standards for defense contractors

By Aaron Gregg

As the U.S. military tries to ensure its military assets are as secure as possible against cyberattack, the U.S. defense industry is gathering behind a new set of standards to spot cybersecurity laggards within its own supply chain. 

The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), an Arlington-based trade association that lobbies on behalf of defense contractors, on Tuesday released a set of voluntary standards designed to help U.S. aerospace companies ensure the weapons systems they make for the U.S. military are secure from hackers. 

AIA president and chief executive Eric Fanning said in a statement that U.S. defense companies should see cybersecurity as part of their competitive advantage as they build complex systems for the military. 

The ‘dirty’ secret behind autonomous machines

By: Kelsey D. Atherton  

Fourteen years ago, the future of robotic warfare ground to a halt in the desert outside Barstow, California. During DARPA’s Grand Challenge, which sought to automate the task of driving long distances across rugged terrain, a converted Humvee ended its journey with a thud just 7.5 miles from the starting line, far shy of the lofty goal of Primm, Nevada, which remained 142 miles away. If there is a prologue to the modern world of ground-based autonomous vehicles, it is here in this simple failure in the desert.

However, 18 months of iteration later, multiple teams completed a 132-mile circuit, and then an urban challenge, and from there the work on self-navigating vehicles moved from an experimental frontier of military spending to a driving concern of tech industry. Today, tech giants such as Google and Apple have created (and in Google’s case, even spun off) self-driving car companies.

The Grim Future of Urban Warfare


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.

Questions remain over Pentagon’s strategy to pivot towards a large-scale conventional conflict

US Marines board a CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter in Keflavik, Iceland, on 17 October for a simulated air assault as part of ‘Trident Juncture 2018’. Next year, the Pentagon could face tough questions from lawmakers on how the department is preparing for violent conflicts with China and Russia. Source: DoD

When Pentagon leaders defend their fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020) budget request early next year, there could be mounting pressure to detail precise plans for how they are prioritising spending and shifting towards a 'great power competition' with China and Russia.

Nearly 11 months after the release of the new National Defense Strategy (NDS), it is still not clear if Department of Defense (DoD) leaders have a firm grip on what the shift means, according to key members of the congressionally mandated NDS Commission.

Military Power Revue Nr. 2 / 2018

This edition of the Swiss Military Revue features six articles on assorted aspects of military power, three of which are in German, one in French and two in English. More specifically, the texts examine 1) NATO’s contemporary challenges in dealing with various security threats in Europe; 2) experiences and lessons from the Strategic Leadership Exercise, which the Swiss Federal Chancellery conducted in 2017; 3) the importance of cybersecurity in light of the security threats the development of artificial intelligence (AI) will generate; 4) a theoretical framework for the analysis of strategies employed during armed conflict; 5) the role of information in power politics; and 6) ethics in military public affairs.