22 December 2018

World of Work: India Case Study

Romina Bandura

In less than five years, India will be the most populous nation in the world; in addition, while many Asian countries are aging, India is projected to be the youngest country in the world by 2020. There is concern that the Indian economy is not creating enough “good jobs” to satisfy the appetites of its aspiring youth. The largest part of the labor force in India is informal, young, and underemployed, with low wages and unmet aspirations.

Many institutions in the country are already thinking about how to address the current challenges and disruptions in the labor market, namely informality, automation, globalization, and the youth bulge. In India, tackling informality and youth unemployment are likely the most essential elements to address if continued economic growth, improvements in living conditions, and social cohesion are to be upheld. 

Afghan Negotiators In U.A.E. For U.S.-Brokered Talks With Taliban

Afghan government negotiators have arrived in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) to join U.S.-brokered talks with the Taliban, as efforts intensify to negotiate an end to Afghanistan's 17-year war.

The three-day talks that started on December 17 are seen as an important step to launch formal peace negotiations with the militant group.

Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the U.A.E. -- countries that have significant influence over the Taliban -- are also participating in the talks.

It was not clear what has been discussed, although previous talks have focused on proposals for a cease-fire in Afghanistan and the future withdrawal of foreign forces. The militants have previously asked for the release of Taliban prisoners and a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops.

An austere base in Afghanistan rapidly expands for more US troops


Soldiers at Camp Dahlke West in Afghanistan lift weights Dec. 16, 2018 in a gym on base. The once sparse base had no gym as of April last year, and soldiers resorted to building gym equipment out of spare lumber. The new gym is part of a rapid expansion of the base to host the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade in 2018 and the 2nd SFAB in 2019.

CAMP DAHLKE WEST, Afghanistan — At the entrance of the base cafeteria here is a sign stating a simple rule: if you want to eat, you’ll have to fill two sandbags.

Expansion at Camp Dahlke West, 60 miles south of Kabul, has been so fast that everyone on base has had to pitch in to keep up and keep fed.

The buildup is a visible result of the Trump administration’s strategy in Afghanistan, which called for a modest surge of troops into the country four years after the military spent billions closing bases there.

China, Russia In Uneasy Energy Embrace – Analysis

By Michael Lelyveld

As sanction threats loom over its export plans, Russia is casting itself as a leading defender of China’s energy security.

At a bilateral energy meeting in Beijing last month, Igor Sechin, the head of Russia’s state-owned Rosneft oil giant, said his company expects to supply China with over 50 million metric tons (366.5 million barrels) of crude oil in 2018, up from nearly 40 million tons last year.

Rosneft “has a ‘leading role’ to play in ensuring China’s energy security,” said Sechin, a former deputy prime minister and close confidant of President Vladimir Putin, according to the Gazeta.ru website.

In his remarks at the first Russian-Chinese Energy Business Forum, Sechin suggested that U.S. trade frictions with China are pushing Moscow and Beijing closer together to pursue mutual benefits, particularly with petroleum exports from East Siberia and the Russian Far East.

China is driving use of armed drones in Mideast, says British think tank

By: Zeina Karam

BEIRUT — The use of armed drones in the Middle East, driven largely by sales from China, has grown significantly in the past few years with an increasing number of countries and other parties using them in regional conflicts to lethal effects, a new report said Monday.

The report by the Royal United Services Institute, or RUSI, found that more and more Mideast countries have acquired armed drones, either by importing them, such as Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, or by building them domestically like Israel, Iran and Turkey.

China has won sales in the Middle East and elsewhere by offering UAVs at lower prices and without the political conditions attached by the United States.

How China Hid Its Global Ambitions

By Oriana Skylar Mastro

“China will not, repeat, not repeat the old practice of a strong country seeking hegemony,” Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, said last September. It was a message that Chinese officials have been pushing ever since their country’s spectacular rise began. For decades, they have been at pains to downplay China’s power and reassure other countries—especially the United States—of its benign intentions. Jiang Zemin, China’s leader in the 1990s, called for mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, and cooperation in the country’s foreign relations. Under Hu Jintao, who took the reins of power in 2002, “peaceful development” became the phrase of the moment. The current president, Xi Jinping, insisted in September 2017 that China “lacks the gene” that drives great powers to seek hegemony.

It is easy to dismiss such protestations as simple deceit. In fact, however, Chinese leaders are telling the truth: Beijing truly does not want to replace Washington at the top of the international system. China has no interest in establishing a web of global alliances, sustaining a far-flung global military presence, sending troops thousands of miles from its borders, leading international institutions that would constrain its own behavior, or spreading its system of government abroad.

The Age of Uneasy Peace Chinese Power in a Divided World

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.

Xi vows to keep opening up but will not be dictated by others


HONG KONG -- Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to continue the economic reforms started by former leader Deng Xiaoping four decades ago, but will not seek counsel from "arrogant teachers," the country's leader said Tuesday in a speech marking the 40th anniversary of Deng's program of "reform and opening up."

The anniversary comes as the country wrestles with a slowing economy and the effects of the trade war with the U.S. No fresh policy initiatives were announced during Xi's speech regarding the trade spat. Instead, Xi reiterated the importance of strengthening the leadership of the Communist Party in pushing market liberalization forward.

Why Logistics Will Be Key to Any U.S. Conflict With Russia and China

The geographic distance that helps protect the United States will impinge upon its ability to project force across the Eurasian landmass unless it can improve its logistical supply chain. The emergence of new technologies, a weakening merchant marine fleet and many diplomatic issues such as national borders will all hinder Washington's ability to deploy in Eurasia. Aware of the challenges, the United States will continue its efforts to solve these problems through the establishment of new NATO commands, the purchase of new vessels and the harnessing of new AI technology.

Whether it's the development of new weaponry, the competition to sway middle powers, the collapse of arms control treaties or more, a number of issues have come to dominate the headlines in regard to the nascent great power competition among the United States, Russia and China. But there's another critical topic that has attracted far less attention but is of great concern for Washington: logistics. As it faces the prospect of conflict with Russia or China in Eurasia, the United States has no choice but to get its organizational house in order if it is to wage an effective battle.

A New Old Threat – Countering the Return of Chinese Industrial Cyber Espionage

By Lorand Laskai and Adam Segal

China is once again conducting cyber-enabled theft of U.S. intellectual property to advance its technological capabilities. To combat the problem, the United States should build a multinational coalition, sanction Chinese companies, and strengthen cyber defenses.


After a three-year hiatus, the cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property by Chinese hackers is once again a point of contention in the U.S.-China relationship. Cybersecurity firms have reported new attacks on U.S. companies, and Donald J. Trump administration officials have claimed that China is ignoring a 2015 agreement in which both countries pledged not to conduct hacking to benefit commercial entities.

Anatomy of Palestinian Riots and How Israel Works to Prevent Violence

by Seth Frantzman

Over the weekend tensions were high in the West Bank, and there were expectations that clashes would take place between Israeli security forces and Palestinian demonstrators. Most of the fears proved unfounded, as demonstrations were dispersed or confined to Palestinian areas where PA security forces fought with local protesters. The reason some of the demonstrations ended with a minimum of violence is due to decades of experience that Israel has gained in managing the conflict.

At the demonstration next to the northern entrance to Ramallah, all of the components of what could be a violence clash with the IDF were present. Demonstrators hurled stones and set fires, and the IDF and Border Police sought to disperse them. Watching from a hill overlooking the clashes provided a perspective on how Israel turns these clashes into an event where injuries are minimized and they do not spiral out of control.


IN MAY, PRESIDENT Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the 2015 nuclear agreement, negotiated by the Obama Administration, designed to keep Iran from developing or acquiring nuclear weapons. As part of that reversal, the Trump administration reimposed economic sanctions on Iran. From the start, the US actions stoked tensions and fear of Iranian retaliation in cyberspace. Now, some see signs that the pushback has arrived.

Iranian state-sponsored hacking never stopped entirely; it has continually targeted neighbors in the Middle East, and often focused on the energy sector. But while concrete attribution remains elusive, a wave of recent digital attacks has led some security analysts to suggest that Iranian state-sponsored hackers may have ramped up their digital assaults against the US and Europe as well.

Trump Administration Can Congress Stop the Forever War?

By Denis McDonough

When the 116th Congress—including a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives—is sworn into office in a few weeks, there will be no shortage of pressing issues demanding the attention of legislators. These include perhaps the most solemn question facing any government: when and how to deploy the awesome power of the United States armed forces. 

Few matters are as complex or as consequential. And Congress should not be shy. The Constitution grants competing powers in the realm of foreign affairs to Congress and the president, with the expectation—even the demand—of aggressive oversight. Having served at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, I understand that many in the White House will see this congressional role as a nuisance. But they would be well advised to welcome it, because a full partnership with Congress on national security matters will improve both the policies and their execution, while also beginning to restore the American people’s trust in Washington. 

Europe in Disarray


In what by historical standards constitutes an instant, the future of democracy, prosperity, and peace in Europe has become uncertain. And with the US under President Donald Trump treating its allies like enemies, the continent must confront the growing threats it faces largely on its own.

NEW YORK – It was not all that long ago – just a few years, as hard as that it is to believe – that Europe appeared to be the part of the world most closely resembling the end-of-history idyll depicted by Francis Fukuyama at the end of the Cold War. Democracy, prosperity, and peace all seemed firmly entrenched.

America’s Long Goodbye The Real Crisis of the Trump Era

By Eliot A. Cohen

In the end, 2018 was not the year of U.S. foreign policy apocalypse. Normally, this would not be a cause for celebration. But given the anxiety about President Donald Trump and what his administration might do—pull out of NATO, start a war with Iran or North Korea—it was something to be grateful for. In fact, Trump’s first two years in office have been marked by a surprising degree of stability. The president has proved himself to be what many critics have long accused him of being: belligerent, bullying, impatient, irresponsible, intellectually lazy, short-tempered, and self-obsessed. Remarkably, however, those shortcomings have not yet translated into obvious disaster.

But the surface-level calm of the last two years should not distract from a building crisis of U.S. foreign policy, of which Trump is both a symptom and a cause. The president has outlined a deeply misguided foreign policy vision that is distrustful of U.S. allies, scornful of international institutions, and indifferent, if not downright hostile, to the liberal international order that the United States has sustained for nearly eight decades. The real tragedy, however, is not that the president has brought this flawed vision to the fore; it is that his is merely one mangled interpretation of what is rapidly emerging as a new consensus on the left and the right: that the United States should accept a more modest role in world affairs.

Russian Trolls Came for Instagram, Too

By Kevin Roose

A look at posts from the Internet Research Agency reveals that the group used Instagram for several distinct purposes. 

In the wake of the 2016 election, Instagram — known as the home of preening influencers, artfully arranged grain bowls and Icelandic vacation photos — somehow escaped much of the scrutiny of other social networks.

But two new reports suggest that may have been a mistake. The reports, conducted by independent groups and released by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday, concluded that Instagram — which is owned by Facebook — became a favored tool of Russian internet trolls after the 2016 election.

According to the reports, which were based on a trove of data provided by social media companies, Russia’s Internet Research Agency operated a vast network of accounts on Instagram that sought to infiltrate American identity groups, harden ideological divides and sow distrust in the American political system.

Think tank: NATO must prepare to counter a rapid Russia invasion in Europe

By: Stephen Losey  

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Chez Carter, assigned to Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division ground guides a M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle during a Table XII Live Fire Exercise, Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, August 23, 2018. This exercise is in support of Atlantic Resolve, an enduring training exercise between NATO and U.S. Forces. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Jamar Marcel Pugh, 382nd Public Affairs Detachment/ 1st ABCT, 1st CD/Released)

Russia is positioned to quickly defeat forward-deployed U.S. and NATO forces and grab land before reinforcements could arrive, according to a new paper from the Atlantic Council, an international affairs think tank.

Tariffs Could Still Derail Trump’s Self-Declared Victory on a New NAFTA

Besides getting Mexico to pay for the wall, which continues to elude him, there were two things that U.S. President Donald Trump seemed to want most out of the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. One was increased accessto the Canadian market for American dairy farmers, and the other was an incentive to increase car production in the United States. He won on those things, though the latter could well turn out to be a pyrrhic victory. But he is undercutting any credit he might get for those victories with his fondness for tariffs. Indeed, if looking tough for his political base continues to eclipse all else, the president could lose the chance to replace the NAFTA he hates with the one he says he loves, at least for now.

6 Questions to Ask Before Starting Your Next War

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The somnolent overseers of foreign policy on Capitol Hill have unexpectedly been stirred to action. Unfortunately, it required Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s order of the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi for policymakers to do their jobs. Nevertheless, 56 senators deserve credit for calling on U.S. President Donald Trump to remove military forces “as part of the conflict in Yemen.”

The declaration was especially meaningful because the Pentagon wanted to pretend that U.S. forces were not co-combatants in the Saudi-led air war in Yemen, despite providing weapons and logistics support, targeting assistance, in-air refueling, and (earlier) combat-search-and-rescue support. In August, Secretary of Defense James Mattis erroneously announced, “In Yemen, as a general statement, we stay out of the war ourselves,” while on December 6, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford falsely claimed the United States was “not a participant in the civil war in Yemen nor are we supporting one side or the other.” Sen. Tim Kaine described the Senate as “insulted by that. … We don’t find that to be believable.”

Will the Poland Climate Talks Lead to Action — or More Talk?

Wharton's Eric Orts, Columbia Law School's Michael Gerrard and Felix Mormann from Texas A&M University discuss the potential outcomes of the COP24. Nearly 200 countries that gathered in Katowice, Poland, for a two-week United Nations meeting on climate change framed a rulebook to ensure compliance with the 2015 Paris climate accord on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But they were unable to agree on carbon pricing to create disincentives for polluting businesses; they pushed that milestone to November 2019, when the 25th annual Conference of the Parties (COP25) will meet in Chile. Even so, the U.N. conference claimed success, and declared, “We have a global climate agreement.”

Meanwhile, the Trump administration continues to refuse to abide by the 2015 U.N. Paris Agreement, which aims to cap the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Another concern stems from a follow-up U.N. report in October that warned that the goal should be 1.5 degrees Celsius and it should be achieved in the next 12 years, or before 2030. The U.S., Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait merely “noted” the report; they resisted pressure on them to “welcome” it.

Brexit Math – Analysis

By Jolyon Howorth*

The Brexit process ground to a halt after UK Prime Minister Theresa May realized that the number of votes necessary to get her “deal” through the House of Commons fell short by, in her own words, “a significant margin” – as many as 200 votes. She accordingly cancelled the vote.

Disapproval for the package, after more than two years of debate under two prime ministers, came from three quarters: The “hard Brexiters” wish for a complete break from the European Union. The residual Remainers had never abandoned hope of reversing Brexit. Others prefer another type of “soft Brexit,” such as the EU relationship currently enjoyed by Norway. May’s proposals were seen as making little sense. In part, but only in part, because of the intractability of the Irish border situation – leaving the Irish border open to trade, people and services in the event of no deal while awaiting more negotiations. This would leave the United Kingdom indefinitely bound to adhere to almost all obligations of EU membership while abandoning any role in the decision-making process and continuing to pay into the EU budget.

Artificial Intelligence Can Free Imagery Analysts to Focus More on the Unknown

Analysts at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency may spend as much as half their time poring over satellite imagery of activities they're already familiar with, taking place in locations where everybody is already looking.

Their time could be better spent doing other things, said Susan Kalweit, director of analysis at NGA.

Analysts with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency spend most of their time analyzing intelligence involving both locations and activities that they are familiar with. AI might allow those analysts to spend more time looking at intelligence involving both unknown locations and unknown activities. DOD illustration by C. Todd Lopez

NATO Can No Longer Afford to Be Complacent About Russia’s Cyber Threat

Dominik P. Jankowski

As NATO’s relations with Russia seem to be hitting a post-Cold War low, numerous experts argue that the West is already in a state of conflict with Moscow in three domains: intelligence, information warfare and cyber. In particular, Russia’s increasingly hostile actions in the cyber domain have lent new urgency to the debate over cybersecurity in the West, including within NATO. The recent Russian plot to hack the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, discovered and thwarted by the Netherlands, is yet more proof that complacency over Russian cyber operations will prove costly. Russia has decided to adopt a more belligerent, gloves-off approach. Under the current circumstances, NATO must speed up its cyber adaptation process to confront the resurgence of an old foe.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube Withheld Russia Data, Reports Say

By Sheera Frenkel, Daisuke Wakabayashi and Kate Conger

SAN FRANCISCO — When lawmakers asked YouTube, a unit of Google, to provide information about Russian manipulation efforts, it did not disclose how many people watched the videos on its site that were created by Russian trolls.

Facebook did not release the comments that its users made when they viewed Russian-generated content. And Twitter gave only scattered details about the Russian-controlled accounts that spread propaganda there.

The tech companies’ foot-dragging was described in a pair of reports that the Senate Intelligence Committee published on Monday, in what were the most detailed accounts to date about how Russian agents have wielded social media against Americans in recent years.


IN THE EARLY hours of Aug. 25, 2017, a ragged insurgent group from Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority attacked military outposts in the country’s northwest, killing 12 people. Security forces quickly retaliated with a campaign of village burning and mass killings that lasted weeks. As Rohingya died by the thousands, Myanmar’s military leaders took to Facebook.

A post from the commander-in-chief pledged to solve “the Bengali problem,” using a pejorative for Rohingya in Myanmar. Another general wrote to praise the “brilliant effort to restore regional peace,” observing that “race cannot be swallowed by the ground but only by another race.” A UN fact-finding report on the violence later cited the commander-in-chief’s post as suggestive of genocide, and noted the history of Facebook posts whipping up hate against Rohingya in Myanmar. The mission’s chair told journalists that the site had played a “determining role” in the crisis.

5 biggest IoT security failures of 2018

By James Sanders 

With the ubiquity of smartphones, smart speakers, and wirelessly connected devices around the world, design flaws and security vulnerabilities more easily surface. For example, 2018 saw a spectrum of IoT security failures, ranging from problems with vendor implementation, state actors co-opting legitimate products, service providers outright selling data to third parties with negligible security practices, and cascading failures from voice recognition gone wrong.

Many emergency broadcast systems in place today were designed in the 1980s, without the expectation that malicious actors would attempt to commandeer the systems. Though the alert of a ballistic missile threat broadcast in Hawaii on January 13th was the result of human error, the 38 minutes between that broadcasted alert and retraction caused panic and anxiety, particularly as North Korea had been testing missiles in late 2017.

How Iran's Cyber Game Plan Reflects Its Asymmetrical War Strategy

By Scott Stewart

In response to sanctions and other measures taken by the United States, Iran will look to retaliate in cyberspace. Iran's strategy on the use of physical force provides a gauge of how it will employ cyberattacks. Iran will pursue asymmetrical operations instead of a full-on cyberwar, using proxies and sending subtle messages about U.S. vulnerabilities. 

As discord between the United States and Iran continue to rise in 2019, Tehran will reach deeper into its bag of deadly tricks to counter pressure from Washington. While the huge imbalance of power will restrain Iran from engaging in direct military conflict with the United States and its allies, it will retaliate with its asymmetrical arsenal. These weapons include cyberattacks, terrorism and support for its regional militant allies, and they pose a threat to companies and organizations in the Middle East and beyond. But what is most notable is how Iran's strategy for handling conflict in cyberspace mirrors its game plan for physical clashes.

The Army is developing a lighter, more agile comms kit

By: Mark Pomerleau  

The Army is testing a new equipment design that increases the number of small network nodes to a unit, allowing for a reduced expeditionary signal battalion without decreasing capability.

The new Expeditionary Signal Battalion-Enhanced (ESB-E) pilot unit — the 50th ESB, 35th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade — used its agile networking suite for the first time during a training mission at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in December, according to an Army release.

Not unlike the efforts underway to modernize its tactical network, the service is leveraging rapid prototyping, experimentation and development operations to inform future needs. The pilot is aimed at providing scalable units to ensure uninterrupted mission command and faster movement. The ESBs provide tactical network communications support to other units.

CENTCOM chief: The future of warfare demands more cyber authorities

By: Justin Lynch  

The Pentagon has received more power to conduct cyber operations in the past 18 months. But for the top Army commander in the Middle East and Central Asia, the new authority is not enough.

The head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel, wrote in a Dec. 18 paper that the Pentagon must “normalize” electronic warfare and cyberattacks and incorporate them into daily operations.

“Normalizing the cyberspace domain means broader authorities that are more responsive than current bureaucratic processes,” Votel wrote in the Army’s Cyber Defense Review. “It also means we need simple and streamlined organizations and processes to increase lethality and enhance performance.”

Why The Best Young Marines Are Fleeing The Corps, In One Damning Quote


Tom note: Here is the third entry in our 10 Long March posts for 2018, the 8th most-read item of the year, which originally ran on September 26, 2018. These posts are selected based on what’s called ‘total engaged minutes’ (the total number of time spent reading and commenting on an article) rather than page views, which the T&P editors see as a better reflection of Long March reader interest and community. Thanks to all of you for reading, and for commenting–which is an important part of this column. 

“Marines are now fleeing the service because there is nothing honorable or courageous about being promoted by default and micromanaged.”

That’s tough talk from a corporal, on the damn record. And a tip of the Long March cap to Proceedings for running it.