28 December 2018


A huge cloud of smoke and ash rises from Mount Etna, as seen from the city of Catania.

Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, came to life on Christmas Eve, spewing ash across a swath of the Italian island of Sicily.
The eruption was followed by a 4.8-magnitude earthquake, which shook eastern Sicily before dawn on December 26. The BBC reported that at least 28 people were injured in what was the strongest tremor since the eruption on December 24.

The quake damaged churches, roads and houses in towns near the volcano, and caused panicked residents to flee their homes. Many spent the remainder of the night sleeping in their cars.
A 70-year-old man suffered fractured ribs and was taken into surgery. A number of others were treated for minor injuries and released, according to the Italian news agency ANSA, while still more were treated for shock. Two people had to be pulled from the rubble of their homes, including an 80-year-old man.

“Etna remains a dangerous volcano, and this country of ours is unfortunately fragile,” government undersecretary Vito Crimi said, according to The Associated Press.
At more than 10,000 feet high, Mount Etna is the largest of Italy’s three active volcanoes, and the second largest in all of Europe (Mount Teide in Tenerife is taller). Etna is classed as the most active stratovolcano in the world and has a long documented history of eruptions, stretching back to 1,500 B.C.

True Competition Begins in the Indo-Pacific

By Shin Kawashima

In early November, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visited Japan where he met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The meeting produced the following statement, announcing a policy of massive development financing, infrastructure projects and investments in energy-related infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific. The announcement may very well mark the end of rhetoric and the start of a new era of true competition in this strategically vital region.

“For our part, the United States has more than doubled our ability to support private development projects in emerging economies. My nation now offers $60 billion in development financing, and infrastructure projects in the Indo-Pacific will be a priority for the United States of America. We’re also grateful, Mr. Prime Minister, that Japan has targeted $10 billion in investment by public and private organizations to promising energy infrastructure projects. And the United States looks forward to working closely with Japan to identify the most promising projects in the region.”

China’s new move in Tibet is Beijing-Lhasa high-speed road that can move troops superfast


China has started or accelerated various road and rail projects in Tibet | Col Vinayak Bhat

China is quickly building G-6 expressway from Xining to Lhasa, to connect Tibet’s capital to Beijing. This could have military implications for India.

New Delhi: In the 18 months since the Doklam stand-off with India, China has started or accelerated various road and rail projects in Tibet, especially near the Indian border.

Iran: Indian Firm Takes Over Operations At Chabahar Port

Indian firm India Ports Global Limited on Monday took over the operations of the Shaheed Behesti Port at Chabahar on the southeastern coast of Iran, being jointly developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan.

The company opened its office following the first meeting of the follow-up committee for implementation of the trilateral Chabahar Agreement between India, Afghanistan and Iran at the level of Joint Secretary/ Director General, said a statement issued by the External Affairs Ministry.

"Positive and constructive discussions were held between the three sides on full operationalisation of the Trilateral Transit Agreement for international transit and transport through the Chabahar port," the statement said.

Pakistan’s invisible forces tighten grip on power


After fracturing Nawaz Sharif‘s mandate and injuring him politically, the invisible forces are now busy tightening the noose on the chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Asif Ali Zardari, and his aides.

Because of the way things were designed, it was not difficult to understand that sooner or later the Zardari-led PPP would face the music soon. The new doctrine of the military establishment revolves around the correction of the political structure in Pakistan, and in order to do so, it is thought that the two main parties should gradually be thrown off the political horizon.

Why Chinese Reforms Will Continue

by Dan Steinbock

As Chinese President Xi Jinping gave his highly-anticipated speech on Monday on the 40th anniversary of Chinese reforms and opening-up policies, it was closely watched internationally in light of the 90-day truce in the U.S. trade wars.

Xi called the pursuit of reform and opening-up and socialism with Chinese characteristics “a milestone in realizing the Chinese nation's rejuvenation." He emphasized the importance of innovation, which has been prominently displayed by world-class productivity in the Greater Bay Area of South China, and international cooperation, as evidenced by the One Road One Belt initiative that’s fueling 21st century globalization.

In particular, Xi’s speech was very clear about China’s historical debt to Deng Xiaoping other reformers - and the need to go further.

China’s pragmatic transitions

Dangerous Liaisons

by Dimitri K. Simes

WASHINGTON’S CONVENTIONAL wisdom views a Chinese-Russian alliance as a remote prospect. Defense Secretary James Mattis, who is generally both pragmatic and strategically-minded, sees “little in the long term that aligns Russia and China.” Yet a deeper look at their relations suggests that China and Russia may well build a united front to confront the United States and its allies. Even if such an alignment doesn’t last, it could have dangerous consequences.

With short exceptions at the end of the nineteenth century and in the early 1950s, China and Russia have never been close. On the contrary, they have a long history of mutual animosity. While Americans tend to see them as similar because of their authoritarian politics, the truth is that their cultures and values are quite distinct. Beijing, after long resenting Russian power, tends to look down at Moscow’s inferior economy, relatively small population, and inability to develop vast regions of Siberia bordering China. Chinese academics who study in Russia report personally experiencing xenophobic nationalism that their Western counterparts rarely encounter.

China's Information War Against the Uyghurs

By Michael Clarke

In this Sept. 20, 2018, photo, an Uyghur woman uses an electric-powered scooter to fetch school children as they ride past a picture showing China's President Xi Jinping joining hands with a group of Uyghur elders at the Unity New Village in Hotan, in western China's Xinjiang region.

Chinese information warfare is often assumed to be externally focused, but it is being used domestically as well.

From Russia’s meddling in the U.S. 2016 presidential election to China’s “influence operations” in Australia and the United States, it is clear that the manipulation of information in pursuit of political and strategic objectives has become a major dynamic of contemporary international security.

Why Asia Should Be Worried By America’s Bullying of China

By Chandran Nair

Imagine a scenario where a senior American business executive is suddenly detained overseas, at the behest of the Chinese government, which accuses him or her of violating its national security. American and Western media would undoubtedly express outrage and have a field day bashing China.

Yet when the equivalent happened last week with Canada’s detention of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, on behalf of the United States, questions about the arrest’s legitimacy, or the presence of political motives behind it, were largely absent

This is not to argue that Meng is completely innocent of breaking American law. But it is important to note that the right to this extraterritorial behavior is asymmetric: only the United States is allowed to wield it “legitimately.” No other country, such as Malaysia, which is trying to recover 1MDB-related money from Goldman Sachs, can dare to act in this way. If other nations tired of U.S. judicial bullying – and there are many – start to retaliate by detaining Americans and citizens of its Western allies, things could become very messy, very quickly.

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.

What can we expect in China in 2019?

By Gordon Orr

The next stages of China’s transition away from economic equilibrium with the United States will likely create volatility in market growth and require conservatism in some areas and bold moves in others.

The US–China economic equilibrium of the past 20 years has gone, and as we look into 2019, it is not yet clear when and where a new equilibrium will form. What level of economic separation will develop between the world’s two largest economies? How much will businesses need to change in their business model—from the customers they target, the products and services they offer, their overall supply chain, and even their capital structure and ownership? The next stages of this transition will play out over 2019 in ways that cannot be fully anticipated, but without doubt, uncertainties will lead to lower levels of long-term investment by businesses in 2019 and to greater levels of volatility in market growth and in the valuations of many kinds of assets. It will be a year for prudent conservatism in many areas, combined with a readiness to make big, bold bets if and when one-time opportunities arise.

Impact of US–China ‘economic’ confrontation

This Delhi-based start-up develops cyber security solutions for a number of security agencies – read here

By: Sudhir Chowdhary 

Innefu Labs, a New Delhi-based startup which develops cybersecurity solutions using Artificial Intelligence, has been chosen by Nasscom’s Data Security Council of India (DSCI) as the security product company of the year 2018, alongside some of the established industry biggies such as IDFC Bank, Infosys and MakeMyTrip. The clients of the firm include defense research establishments, state police departments, intelligence agencies, banks and paramilitary organisations including Border Security Force (BSF), and Indian army. Earlier this year, the startup’s trademark product was used by the Delhi Police to identify 3,000 missing children.

US-China Tensions Enter a New Phase

By Roncevert Ganan Almond

In his masterpiece The Master and Margarita, the Ukrainian playwright Mikhail Bulgakov envisions a debate on the streets of Moscow between Satan and two intellectuals, an editor and young poet, who question the existence of God. The devil, masquerading as a foreigner, asks: “If there is no God, then who, one wonders, rules the life of man and keeps the world in order?” The young poet replies that, of course, man rules himself. “I beg your pardon,” the devil retorts with a smirk, “but to rule one must have a precise plan worked out for some reasonable period ahead.”

As the geopolitical struggle between the United States and China takes form, one wonders what will keep the world in order. What is the precise plan in U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s trade war? In the reasonable period ahead, what more can we expect? The conflict entered a new phase on December 1 when Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was detained by Canadian authorities, at the request of the U.S. government, while transferring at Vancouver International Airport.

Brave new world with Chinese characteristics

By Yangyang Cheng

The YouTube video began with a young Chinese man in a light blue shirt, seated in what appeared to be a biology lab, speaking exuberantly into the camera in slow but clear English: “Two beautiful little Chinese girls, Lulu and Nana, came crying into this world as healthy as any other babies a few weeks ago.” It could have been an excited new father sharing the joy of birth. But as the video would soon reveal, Lulu and Nana are not “any other babies;” they are the world’s first genetically edited humans, born from fertilized eggs modified with CRISPR-cas9 technology.

At least that is what the man in the video and at the center of a storm of controversy—the Chinese scientist He Jiankui, who led the experiment—claims.

ISIS's Use of Social Media Still Poses a Threat to Stability in the Middle East and Africa

by Antonia Ward

ISIS's strategic use of social media demonstrates the resourcefulness of the terrorist-cum-insurgent organization, which mobilized an estimated 40,000 foreign nationals from 110 countries to join the group. Increasing internet access in both Africa and the Middle East means that ISIS also has a new pool of potential supporters who, through social media, could be recruited to join its effort to regain control of lost territory. Given the threats ISIS's online propaganda poses to regional and international security, policy makers and analysts may need a better understanding of the intentions of the group in the information and communication technologies (ICT) domain.

ISIS's use of social media is not new or unique; Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has used social media and online propaganda for more than a decade, launching its English language digital magazine, which inspired the Boston Marathon bombers, in 2010. Even the Taliban makes strategic use of social media, running its own Telegram channel, al-Emarah. The group also has Telegram channels in other languages including Pashto, Persian and Turkish, with the former two commanding 4,236 followers in 2016. The Taliban's demonstration of governance ability in its propaganda has been critical in attracting fighters and projecting itself as a legitimate governing entity, distinguishing it from the vast majority of other violent extremist groups.

What is France, Anyway?

by Frank Li

France is in turmoil ('Yellow Jacket' protests paralyze Paris and threatens Macron's government and Christmas market attack: France declares Strasbourg shooting an act of terrorism). What's really going on over there? More profoundly, what is France, anyway?

It's time to truly understand France, especially after having studied Germany (What is Germany, Anyway?) and the U.K. (What is the U.K., Anyway?).

Trump Tries to Take Control of Mattis Narrative


WASHINGTON President Trump continued to hit back at critics on Monday while doubling down on criticism of US allies, as the fallout from the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis continues to roil Washington.

A series of presidential Tweets on Christmas Eve came as the president remains isolated at the White House after cancelling plans to stay at his private resort in Florida. He said he would remain in Washington to work on the government shutdown he has embraced as a way to force movement on his long-sought border wall.

Responding to news coverage of Mattis’ resignation letter, which underscored his embrace of allies as opposed to Trump’s tense relationship with longtime partners overseas, Trump appeared to embark on what may be a campaign to undermine the retired Marine general. It would fit the pattern Trump has established with most fired advisors and cabinet members, as he has previously mocked former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, personal lawyer Michael Cohen, and others. 

On the issues of allies, Trump Tweeted:

Throwing the Ukraine War in Putin’s Face

Anna Nemtsova

MOSCOW—Russia is fighting Ukraine on several fronts at the same time: Its trolls are waging information war and regular troops are deploying closer to Ukrainian borders. Fear of a huge war is growing here as well as in Kiev. So it was inevitable journalists hoping to understand the Kremlin’s strategy would try to ask President Vladimir Putin pointed questions during his four-hour press conference Thursday.

But Ukrainian journalist Roman Tsymbaliuk became a hero of the day by pushing the Ukraine war into Putin’s face. He asked the Russian president directly how much money Russia was spending on the rebel-controlled “occupied Donbas” in the east of the country. Several journalists from Kremlin-loyal publications began to laugh, some of them a little nervously.

Mattis Had a Mixed Record


In hindsight, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis was doomed from the beginning. As he uncomfortably watched President Donald Trump use the Pentagon’s “Hall of Heroes” as the backdrop for signing a travel ban targeting Muslim-majority countries in the administration’s first week—a policy Mattis had previously opposed publicly—this obviously was not going to end well.

Despite Mattis’s attempts to establish a warm relationship with Trump, he never really fit in. A president who thinks in stereotypes thought he was getting a “Mad Dog” Marine out of Full Metal Jacket and had little patience for Mattis’s cool analysis and sober thinking. Trump likely also grew tired of all the positive press Mattis attracted, almost always at his own expense.

The inner workings of Vladimir Putin’s state

Moscow’s maximum security Lefortovo jail, where the kgb held its most important prisoners, has seen its share of revolutionaries, commissars, dissidents, ministers, oligarchs, governors and generals. Alexander Shestun is different.

Until his arrest in June, he was the head of the district of Serpukhov, an outlying city in the Moscow region. But he matters more than his job title suggests. His rise and fall give an insight into the mechanics of power in Russia and its lever—the Federal Security Service (fsb). Under President Vladimir Putin this has become even more dominant than the Soviet kgbhe once served. Mr Shestun played a part in that transformation; he was also its casualty.

He acted as a “torpedo”—an undisclosed accomplice used by the fsb to blow up its rivals. There are dozens of such people. But Mr Shestun distinguishes himself by his habit of recording incriminating discussions and releasing excerpts on YouTube. His case is revealing because it is typical; it is exceptional because, at the moment of his downfall, when the fsb turned against him, he took the world with him into the room. This is his story.

The education of James Mattis


Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned after President Donald Trumptold him he would keep his promise to remove all U.S. troops from Syria. Mattis shouldn’t have been surprised, as Trump campaigned on that promise, and in March said "We're knocking the hell out of ISIS. We'll be coming out of Syria like very soon. Let the other people take care of it now." He then put a hold on $200 million of Syria recovery funds. In April, Trump gave the Pentagon another six months, and on Thursday, eight months later, he pulled the plug.

Trump obviously didn’t know he was supposed to have “both a public and a private position” and, after telegraphing his punch for two years, he finally gave the order.

Impulsive? Not hardly.

When Cyber Attacks Occur, Who Should Investigate?

by John S. Davis II, Jonathan William Welburn, Benjamin Boudreaux, Jair Aguirre

Marriott announced last week that it had suffered a major data breach. Hackers made off with the personal details of 500 million customers dating back to 2014. The Marriott cyber incident is just the latest of many occurring in recent years, often with what feels like escalating stakes. Many of these data breaches and cyberattacks cross geopolitical boundaries. They target individuals, corporations and governments and have led to the theft of information and money, as well as the disruption of critical infrastructure, such as power stations and hospitals.

The Marriott attack came just days after the U.S. Department of Justice indicted two Iranians (PDF) for the cyberattacks that crippled much of Atlanta city's government systems earlier this year. Unfortunately, the assignment of blame like this is rare and victims of cyberattacks are often left to fend for themselves. While Marriott International stated that it reached out to cybersecurity experts and law enforcement, identifying attackers is very challenging and there is no authoritative international body to rush to the digital crime scene to determine who is responsible.

Assessing Outcomes of Online Campaigns Countering Violent Extremism

Research Questions

What are effective ways to assess social media–based campaigns for countering violent extremism (CVE)?

What different methods have been used in the past?
How can these methods be applied in a specific case study?

The number of programs dedicated to countering violent extremism (CVE) has grown in recent years, yet a fundamental gap remains in the understanding of the effectiveness of such programs. This is particularly the case for CVE campaigns, which are increasingly conducted in the online space. The goal of this report is to help CVE campaign planners better evaluate the impact of online efforts. It reviews prior assessments of online CVE campaigns, provides recommendations for future assessments, and provides a case study of one particular CVE campaign — the Redirect Method. A limited evaluation of the Redirect Method process variables suggests that the implementers are able to use advertisements linking to counterextremist videos to effectively expose individuals searching for violent jihadist or violent far-right content to content that offers alternative narratives. Users clicked on these ads at a rate on par with industry standards. However, as is the case with other CVE evaluations, this partial evaluation did not assess the impact of the video content on user attitudes or behavior. The potentially highly radical nature of the Redirect Method's target audience makes evaluation of the campaign particularly complicated and therefore might necessitate the recruitment of former extremists to help gauge audience response. Alternatively, it might be advisable to analyze user comments to understand how a subsample of users respond to the content.

When Cyber Attacks Occur, Who Should Investigate?

by John S. Davis II, Jonathan William Welburn, Benjamin Boudreaux, Jair Aguirre

Marriott announced last week that it had suffered a major data breach. Hackers made off with the personal details of 500 million customers dating back to 2014. The Marriott cyber incident is just the latest of many occurring in recent years, often with what feels like escalating stakes. Many of these data breaches and cyberattacks cross geopolitical boundaries. They target individuals, corporations and governments and have led to the theft of information and money, as well as the disruption of critical infrastructure, such as power stations and hospitals.

The Marriott attack came just days after the U.S. Department of Justice indicted two Iranians (PDF) for the cyberattacks that crippled much of Atlanta city's government systems earlier this year. Unfortunately, the assignment of blame like this is rare and victims of cyberattacks are often left to fend for themselves. While Marriott International stated that it reached out to cybersecurity experts and law enforcement, identifying attackers is very challenging and there is no authoritative international body to rush to the digital crime scene to determine who is responsible.

Financial Frameworks for Cybersecurity Are Failing

by Cortney Weinbaum, Igor Mikolic-Torreira, Don Snyder

Effective cybersecurity can be attained by creating financial incentives for manufacturers to produce secure technologies, or from legal frameworks that protect users and set standards for vendors. This conclusion is the result of four role-playing exercises we conducted in the U.S. and Australia during the past two years with over 200 participants.

And our participants were nearly unanimous in agreeing that both models are failing: existing financial incentives for security are insufficient at best, and society has failed to create and implement a regulatory model for cybersecurity.

We conducted exercises with experts from governments, industry, academia, and related sectors. Participants described cybersecurity as the knitting together of federal, state, and local laws; international treaties and agreements; industry standards; financial incentives; and the behaviors of individual users and institutions. They responded to our exercises in ways that present cybersecurity as a team sport with all participants on the same field, but playing without clear rules, without a team approach, and without knowing when to pass the ball or to whom.

Intentional Bias Is Another Way Artificial Intelligence Could Hurt Us

by Douglas Yeung

The conversion about unconscious bias in artificial intelligence often focuses on algorithms that unintentionally cause disproportionate harm to entire swaths of society—those that wrongly predict black defendants will commit future crimes, for example, or facial-recognition technologies developed mainly by using photos of white men that do a poor job of identifying women and people with darker skin.

But the problem could run much deeper than that. Society should be on guard for another twist: the possibility that nefarious actors could seek to attack artificial intelligence systems by deliberately introducing bias into them, smuggled inside the data that helps those systems learn. This could introduce a worrisome new dimension to cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns or the proliferation of fake news.

According to a U.S. government study on big data and privacy (PDF), biased algorithms could make it easier to mask discriminatory lending, hiring or other unsavory business practices. Algorithms could be designed to take advantage of seemingly innocuous factors that can be discriminatory. Employing existing techniques, but with biased data or algorithms, could make it easier to hide nefarious intent. Commercial data brokers collect and hold onto all kinds of information, such as online browsing or shopping habits, that could be used in this way.

The Mattis Resignation: What Does It Mean for the Future of National Security?

Last night the White House announced that Secretary of Defense James Mattis had resigned, effective February 28. Speculation had been rising for months that Mattis might leave the administration, but it seemed to have eased recently as he achieved some bureaucratic victories.

Mattis has served the two-year average tenure for secretaries of defense, so he is not leaving early, but many commentators regard his departure with concern because he was seen as an experienced and moderating voice in an administration that tended to the erratic. So, there is a high level of uncertainty and anxiety about what happens next.

Q1: Why did Mattis resign?

A1: Mattis’s resignation letter gives two reasons. The first is strong support for partners and allies: “One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships.” President Trump frequently disparaged allies and the value of alliances, and Mattis was perceived as having to sooth relationships afterward.

James Mattis’ Final Message To US Troops Holds Advice For Life After His Resignation


Secretary of Defense James Mattis abruptly resigned following President Donald Trump’s sudden decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, but that didn’t stop the Department of Defense from releasing his holiday message to U.S. service members.

The Pentagon’s Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS) on Dec. 21 published Mattis’ brief holiday video message to the Department of Defense personnel — and it contains some kernels of advice for dealing with life after his resignation.

“Since Washington crossed Delaware at Christmas in 1776, American troops have missed holidays at home to defend our experiment in democracy,” Mattis said. “To all you lads and lasses holding the line in 2018, on land, at sea, or in the air, thanks for keeping the faith. Merry Christmas and may God hold you safe.”



The global internet continues to fragment. Governments, in particular, are using their influence to shape the ways that digital companies, markets, and rights connect us online. This new form of realpolitik, which we call “digitalpolitik,” is an emerging tactical playbook for how governments use their political, regulatory, military, and commercial powers to project influence in global, digital markets.

Last month, at the Internet Governance Forum, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace, a multi-stakeholder effort to define internet principles around human rights law, with calls for protections against cybercrimes, intellectual property theft, hate speech, and hacking from nonstate actors. The signatory list includes predictable supporters, including France’s European Union allies, large private companies such as Alphabet and Microsoft, and internet rights advocacy groups such as Access Now. There were also notable abstentions, predominantly from countries that bristle at delegating their sovereignty, like the United States, Russia, and China. Despite refusing to sign as sovereigns, the prominence of American companies in pushing for international internet agreements amid its governmental absence highlights one of Macron’s key points: “The internet is a space currently managed by a technical community of private players,” noted one source from the Macron government, quoted by Reuters, “But it’s not governed. So now that half of humanity is online, we need to find new ways to organize the internet.”

Mattis Resigns: Sky Will Not Fall

by Paul R. Pillar

Take a deep breath, everyone, while contemplating the rapid-fire events that have culminated in Secretary of Defense James Mattis submitting his resignation. Mattis is a distinguished public servant and an uncommonly knowledgeable warrior. Although he has his obsessions, at important moments he has tempered them with judgment. But no senior official is indispensable. If Mattis seems to be, it is only because the “adult in the room” meme has been invoked exceptionally often in his case.

Any hysteria about Mattis’s departure is closely related to, and comes just a day after, hysteria over President Trump’s decision to extract U.S. troops from Syria. Although the Syria decision may have been the straw that broke a camel’s back already weighed down by increasingly divergent perspectives of the president and his defense secretary, it was the immediate issue over which Mattis resigned. Syria and Mattis must be considered in tandem.

The U.S. Army Has a Big Problem

by Task and Purpose Jamie Schwandt

Tom note: Here is the second entry in our 10 Long March posts for 2018, the 9th most-read item of the year, which originally ran on May 10, 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.

It appears as though we have decided that insurgents are no longer a threat and we would rather fight a near-peer enemy. In the new Army field manual, FM 3-0 Operations, the U.S. Army has apparently decided to forget past lessons learned. FM 3-0 signals a shift in military strategy and a focus back to large-scale ground combat operations against near-peer threats, where belligerents possess technology and capabilities similar to the U.S. military. Essentially, we no longer want to do the “Vietnam or Iraq thing” again.