29 December 2018

India and the World

Samir Saran

This Global Governance Working Paper is a feature of the Council of Councils (CoC), an initiative of the Council on Foreign Relations. Targeting critical global problems where new, creative thinking is needed, the working papers identify new principles, rules, or institutional arrangements that can improve international cooperation by addressing long-standing or emerging global problems. The views and recommendations are the opinion of the authors only. They do not necessarily represent a consensus of the CoC members, and they are not the positions of the supporting institutions. The Council on Foreign Relations takes no institutional positions on policy issues and has no affiliation with the U.S. government.
The Challenge

The future of global development and the shift to a new low-carbon growth model will hinge on the choices of the global south and, in particular, India. Home to over a billion individuals whose lifestyle demands and aspirations are rising quickly, India’s development choices require a unique urgency. It is the first large country to transition from a low- to middle-income economy in a fossil fuel–constrained world. And in the absence of aid and contributions from developed economies, India will have to develop its economy largely through its own political and financial arrangements.

Review of President Trump's South Asia Strategy


Over one year after the announcement of the Trump administration’s strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia, significant opportunity remains to improve efforts to achieve peace. In the Atlantic Council South Asia Center’s new report, Review of President Trump’s South Asia Strategy: The Way Ahead, One Year In, authors Dr. Bharath Gopalaswamy, Director, South Asia Center, Atlantic Council; Ambassador James Cunningham, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council; General David Petraeus, Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency; Dr. Ashley J. Tellis, Tata Chair for Strategic Affairs, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Ambassador Husain Haqqani, Director for South and Central Asia, Hudson Institute; Mr. Manish Tewari, Distinguished Fellow, Atlantic Council; and Ms. Anita McBride, Executive in Residence, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, American University offer a list of recommendations to bolster the administration’s strategy and move toward a successful peace process in Afghanistan.

Western Nations Are Repeating the Mistakes of 1914

by Anatol Lieven

In their enthusiasm for a new cold war against China and Russia, the Western establishments of today are making a mistake comparable to that of their forebears of 1914.

This year saw the centennial anniversary of the end of the World War I, in which some sixteen million Europeans died, two great European countries were destroyed, and other countries were crippled. This year may also be seen by future historians as the last year of the period between the cold wars, when after twenty-nine years of relative quiet, the world’s major powers once again moved into positions of deep and structural mutual hostility.

World War I also engendered the dreadful scourges of Communism and Nazism, and thereby led to World War II, which very nearly finished off European civilization. As a result of these catastrophes, almost all of the political and cultural elites that led their countries into war in 1914 were swept away, and in the Russian and Austrian cases, destroyed. Historians differ concerning the precise balance of causes and of blame for the disaster of 1914, but on one thing all are agreed: nothing that the great powers could conceivably have gained from going to war remotely compared to what they risked losing.

The China Reckoning

By Kurt M. Campbell and Ely Ratner

The United States has always had an outsize sense of its ability to determine China’s course. Again and again, its ambitions have come up short. After World War II, George Marshall, the U.S. special envoy to China, hoped to broker a peace between the Nationalists and Communists in the Chinese Civil War. During the Korean War, the Truman administration thought it could dissuade Mao Zedong’s troops from crossing the Yalu River. The Johnson administration believed Beijing would ultimately circumscribe its involvement in Vietnam. In each instance, Chinese realities upset American expectations.

With U.S. President Richard Nixon’s opening to China, Washington made its biggest and most optimistic bet yet. Both Nixon and Henry Kissinger, his national security adviser, assumed that rapprochement would drive a wedge between Beijing and Moscow and, in time, alter China’s conception of its own interests as it drew closer to the United States. In the fall of 1967, Nixon wrote in this magazine, “The world cannot be safe until China changes. Thus our aim, to the extent that we can influence events, should be to induce change.” Ever since, the assumption that deepening commercial, diplomatic, and cultural ties would transform China’s internal development and external behavior has been a bedrock of U.S. strategy. Even those in U.S. policy circles who were skeptical of China’s intentions still shared the underlying belief that U.S. power and hegemony could readily mold China to the United States’ liking.


Luigi Scazzieri

Trump’s decision to re-impose sanctions has placed the Iran nuclear agreement on life support and further destabilised the region. Unwilling to seriously support the deal, Europeans will have to rely on diplomacy to limit the damage. 

On November 5th, the US re-imposed sanctions on Iranian oil, banking and shipping. The sanctions followed US president Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May. Trump urged Iran to “abandon its nuclear ambitions, change its destructive behaviour, respect the rights of its people, and return in good faith to the negotiating table.”

The US has made clear that it will oppose any attempt to keep the JCPOA alive.Tweet this


Ryan N. Mannina


The United States was on the verge of achieving a lasting victory in the Iraq War after a costly seven-year occupation and the deaths of nearly 4,500 U.S. troops. In 2006, Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) had lost its charismatic leader and chief strategist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Over the next few years, the organization lost its base of support as Iraq’s Sunni tribes turned against it and began fighting beside US and Iraqi troops to eject the terrorists from their communities. By 2010, Iraq had emerged from its civil war and AQI had become irrelevant.[i] Then, President Barack Obama made two strategic mistakes that reversed that progress and sent Iraq spiraling back down the path of sectarian violence.

The Future of the Global Jihadist Movement After the Collapse of the Caliphate

by Colin P. Clarke

Despite nearly two decades of a global counter-terrorism campaign waged by the United States and its allies, there may now be four times as many Salafi jihadist fighters as there were on September 11, 2001. The total number is currently estimated at 230,000 militants spread across approximately 70 countries, with the lion's share currently located in Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The spike in numbers comes at the same time that the Islamic State's (IS) caliphate has collapsed in Iraq and Syria. The group now only claims a mere one percent of the territory it once controlled at its peak in 2014-2015. These numbers suggest that despite the decline of the so-called caliphate, the global jihadist movement is alive and well, even if it is currently more fractured and atomised than at any point in recent memory. The question many are left wondering, however, is what does this mean for the future of al-Qaeda and IS?

This Perspective lays out several possible outcomes for the future of al-Qaeda and IS as laid out below. These contextual scenarios assess the relative strength and weakness of each group and suggest a myriad of factors that might impact the relative likelihood of each particular scenario. It should be noted that in each of the scenarios described below, the groups remain as separate entities, but that does not entirely rule out occasional and pragmatic cooperation in specific regions at various times. However, such cooperation would not signal anything close to reunification of the two groups.

6 Questions to Ask Before Starting Your Next War


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.”

The Welfare State Is Committing Suicide by Artificial Intelligence


Denmark is using algorithms to deliver benefits to citizens—and undermining its own democracy in the process.

Everyone likes to talk about the ways that liberalism might be killed off, whether by populism at home or adversaries abroad. Fewer talk about the growing indications in places like Denmark that liberal democracy might accidentally commit suicide.

As a philosophy of government, liberalism is premised on the belief that the coercive powers of public authorities should be used in service of individual freedom and flourishing, and that they should therefore be constrained by laws controlling their scope, limits, and discretion. That is the basis for historic liberal achievements such as human rights and the rule of law, which are built into the infrastructure of the Scandinavian welfare state.

5 Charts That Explain The Global Economy In 2018

The following review by the IMF bringing 2018 into focus.

The global economy started 2018 on an upbeat note, buoyed by a pickup in global manufacturing and trade through 2017. As investors’ confidence in the global economic outlook lost steam, so did the upswing.

One reason behind this loss in momentum is the implementation of tariffs by major economies - especially the United States - and retaliatory measures taken by others, including China. The increasingly protectionist rhetoric on trade has meant higher uncertainty about trade policy, which weighs on future investment decisions.

2018: The Year Bolsonaro Captured Brazil's Presidency

The first day of 2019 will bring a titanic change to Brazilian politics as Jair Bolsonaro, a former military officer and political outsider, assumes the presidency. Bolsonaro cruised to victory in October elections, as many Brazilians responded favorably to his campaign promises to get tough on crime and corruption. At the same time, his victory has struck fear into many in the country due to his praise of the military dictatorship in the 1960s and 1970s, his rhetoric toward the LGBT community, his suggestion that leftist rivals can either "go overseas or go to jail" and his priority for agricultural production over environmental protection. As Brazil embarks upon an era like no other, we look back at some of the major milestones from Bolsonaro's path to the presidency, as well as his plans for the country.

A Path to the Presidency

The EU Wants to Enhance Its Sanctions Regime

The European Union is currently discussing new tools to impose targeted sanctions against individuals and institutions responsible for human rights violations. This proposal seeks to give the European Union additional options to impose pressure on governments and institutions, though the effectiveness of targeted sanctions is still a matter of debate within the bloc. Political interests and national strategies will continue to influence the European Union's foreign policy, which means that a new sanctions regime would still face the same kinds of limits that characterize the existing ones.

The European Union is working on a new institutional framework to punish human rights violations around the world. In early December, EU member states endorsed a Dutch proposal to target people and entities that violate human rights with punitive measures such as asset freezes and travel bans. While the European Union has used human rights violations in part to justify sanctions in the past, the Dutch proposal would make the issue the primary trigger of sanctions.

The Role of Sub-state and Non-state Actors in International Climate Processes: Financial Institutions

Kirsty Hamilton

The trillions of dollars needed to secure the sustainable, climate-compatible pathway outlined in the 2015 Paris Agreement have focused attention on private finance and investment, and on the role of the financial sector as a potentially powerful non-state actor in the international climate debate.

Leading individual financial institutions reacted to the Paris Agreement by framing it in terms of what it would mean for markets – i.e. risks and opportunities – and by underlining the importance of national implementation of climate change commitments.


Camino Mortera-Martinez, Beth Oppenheim

Europe needs migrants, and migration is inevitable. Now, European leaders must articulate a powerful case for opening legal migration channels, rather than defaulting to vote-winning policies of containment and control. 

The total number of migrants coming to Europe by sea has fallen by 90 per cent since the peak of the so-called refugee crisis in 2015. Yet the EU’s success in reducing arrivals has failed to silence the anti-immigration rhetoric of the populists.
Moderate European politicians face a political challenge and a policy challenge, both of them tough: politically, with the European Parliament elections around the corner, they need to fight anti-migrant, populist forces, while they also have to devise policies to ensure that there is no repeat of the crisis.
This task puts governments and mainstream politicians in a tricky position. Leaders tend either to ignore the problem or try to outpace the populists by tilting toward illiberal policies, allowing anti-migrant forces to own the debate. Neither choice is good for Europe.

December 2018 Issue


After its pivot to insurgency, is the Islamic State losing power or preserving strength in Iraq? This is the research question posed by Michael Knights in this month’s cover article. Attack metrics, he writes, “paint a picture of an insurgent movement that has been ripped down to its roots,” but also one that is vigorously working to reboot by focusing “on a smaller set of geographies and a ‘quality over quantity’ approach to operations.” Knights warns that “the Iraqi government is arguably not adapting fast enough to the demands of counterinsurgency, suggesting the need for intensified and accelerated support from the U.S.-led coalition in order to prevent the Islamic State from mounting another successful recovery.”

The Impact of US LNG on Russian Natural Gas Export Policy


The United States and Russia have long been the world’s largest natural gas producers, but they traditionally have not faced off in direct competition in that market. The United States was expected to become a net importer of natural gas, while Russia’s state-owned Gazprom took a prominent position in the European market. The boom in US shale-gas production changed that. While the United States had been trading gas regionally by pipeline for decades, the shale boom allowed for the export of US liquefied natural gas, putting the two gas giants in competition. Even before the first molecule of US LNG shipped, rising US production had diverted LNG destined for the United States into the European Union. Facing increased competition pushed Russia toward a more market-oriented strategy, with Gazprom adjusting its long-term oil-linked contracts that had previously been the backbone of Russian sales to European customers to use more hybrid formulae.

This was just the beginning. After a slow start, the competition brought on by US gas is to a large extent shaping the Russian natural gas strategy in Europe and beyond. For Europe, rising gas competition from new suppliers has both economic and energy security implications. Globally, it is also raising questions about how Gazprom will compete in Asia, where demand is growing and gas suppliers are looking to place future production, as well as in other markets. Understanding how Gazprom will react to US gas is thus a critical economic and geopolitical question for LNG importers and exporters worldwide.

The Geopolitical Flash Points of 2019


If 2018 was a year marked by international challenges that percolated but did not boil over into full-blown crises, next year may well be the year in which that good fortune runs out. As the former deputy and then acting director of national intelligence, I am frequently asked during discussions about the global threats I am most concerned about. So, let me highlight five major geopolitical challenges that I fear may become more troublesome in the coming months, as well as a few less publicized but still worrisome “hot spots” that may also command policy maker attention in the year ahead.


While several foreign policy experts believe that the Syrian war is winding down and that the Bashar al-Assad regime has won, there is still, in my view, considerable cause to worry about the direction of this conflict in 2019. For example, the uneasy truce in the Idlib Province, which is home to many (probably numbering in the low thousands) of the most extreme al-Qaeda and Islamic State fighters left in Syria, as well as 2,000,000 civilians, seems shakier by the day.

International Impediments: A Counterterrorism Strategy Study

Kyle Mark Amonson

Modern terrorism is a phenomenon that is global in range, constant in presence, and inevitably involves the commission of crime. It is politically motivated, involving violence, or the threat of violence in which the pursuit of publicity plays a significant role. Any national or international mechanism to counter it must be predicated on this understanding (Gottlieb et al., 2018, p. 220).

To recognize the shift in the challenges of the 21st century, we must recognize that the international community is now marked by a manifesto of globalization. In this modern environment, without cooperation, states may fail to learn of impending attacks as terrorists plot against them from foreign lands, or they may watch as terrorist suspects remain free because of lack of extradition agreements or sharing of evidence (Gottlieb et al., 2018, p. 279). The international community is opposed by the transnational threat of extremist networks who are increasingly innovative in their capacity to cause chaos worldwide. In this environment, international cooperation is required for effective counterterrorism strategy.

The new US Africa strategy is not about Africa. It’s about China

Cornelia Tremann

President Donald Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton outlined the US administration’s new Africa strategy in a speech last week at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, DC. The main tenets of the strategy, including the prioritisation of trade and investment, combatting of terrorism, and better-targeting of US foreign aid in Africa, are on the whole sensible. The US has already increased the promotion of private sector engagements in Africa as a key lever for development and should continue to support US investment in Africa.

Unfortunately, the positive aspects of the strategy were a little lost in the speech because the new US Africa strategy is not really about Africa. It’s about China.

Not a ‘Department of No,’ New Defense Chief Turns Trump’s Demands Into Policy

By Julian E. Barnes and Eric Schmitt

WASHINGTON — When it was first announced last spring, President Trump’s proposal for a new Space Force was resisted by the Pentagon and ridiculed by late-night comics who envisioned Luke Skywalker in the military. But it found a champion in Patrick M. Shanahan, the deputy secretary of defense who will soon become the Pentagon’s acting chief.

“We are not the Department of No,” Mr. Shanahan told Pentagon officials after Space Force was announced, arguing that it was a presidential priority and could help develop new military capabilities more quickly. “There is a vision, and it makes sense.”

Now, Mr. Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, has been thrust into the Pentagon’s top job at one of the department’s most tumultuous times in years. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who during his tenure pushed back on a number of White House requests, resigned last week in the wake of Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria.

Implementation of Recommendations Is Needed to Strengthen Acquisitions, Operations, and Cybersecurity

The federal government has spent billions on information technology projects that failed or have performed poorly. These efforts often suffered from ineffective management. Agencies have also had cybersecurity failures affecting millions of people.

This testimony addresses 2 issues we identified as high risk for the federal government: management of IT acquisitions and operations, and cybersecurity.

We have made numerous recommendations on these issues since 2010.

510 of our 1,242 recommendations on management and operations have not been implemented.

688 of our about 3,000 recommendations on cybersecurity have not been implemented.

EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS: Office of Emergency Communications Should Take Steps to Help Improve External Communications

In an emergency, it's vital that first responders can communicate with their counterparts in other agencies and jurisdictions. The Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) offers a range of services and assistance to first responders to support interoperable communications systems and technologies.

First responders and other public safety officials we surveyed were generally satisfied with OEC’s work. However, some would like more information about OEC and its offerings.

We recommended that OEC ensure it is using the best communication tools to share information on training opportunities, workshops, and other emergency communications efforts.

Australia's cybersecurity future(s)

Frank Smith 

It’s January 2024. Does Australia still have the internet?


Australia wants to create a future for cyberspace that’s open, free and secure, but that future is not assured. According to Dr Tobias Feakin, the Ambassador for Cyber Affairs, ‘Australia’s vision … and our ambitions across the broad spectrum of cyber affairs are impossible to achieve alone.’1 Key drivers are outside of the country’s control. The government can—and should—advance a positive vision, but Australia might not get its way.

What if the future of cybersecurity looks different from what we hope or expect? This is a hard question to answer. Day-to-day concerns demand our immediate attention, and, when we think about the future, we tend to extrapolate from current trends. As a result, we’re shocked or surprised by discontinuous change, and woefully unprepared to face new realities. The risk is particularly acute in cybersecurity, in which rapidly changing technologies combine with diverse social and political forces to create unexpected consequences. Therefore, as difficult as it is to rethink our assumptions about the future, failing to do so could be dangerous.

Private-public partnership for cyber security


Given the decentralised nature of cyberspace, the private sector will have to play a vital role in enforcing rules for security

On November 11, 2018, as 70 world leaders gathered in Paris to commemorate the countless lives lost in World War I, French President Emmanuel Macron inaugurated the Paris Peace Forum with a fiery speech denouncing nationalism and urging global leaders to pursue peace and stability through multilateral initiatives.

In many ways, it echoed US President Woodrow Wilson’s monumental speech delivered at the US Senate a century ago in which he outlined 14 points on the principles for peace post World War I. As history unkindly reminds us through the catastrophic realities of World War II, Wilson’s principles went on to be sacrificed at the altar of national self-interest and inadequate multilateral enforcement.

Governing Private Sector Self-Help in Cyberspace: Analogies From the Physical World


Cyberspace is transforming the relationship between states and private entities. States have benefited immensely from the autonomy given to corporations driving technological innovation, but rapid innovation and growing societal dependence upon data and information and communications technologies have brought significant exposure to cyber risks. The consequences of these risks increasingly extend beyond corporate assets to broader public safety, economic prosperity, and even national security interests. Yet despite growing awareness of the extent of the problem, the roles and responsibilities of government and the private sector in cyberspace remain largely ambiguous.

This ambiguity leaves unresolved the proper scope and limits of self-help in cyberspace: How far are private actors allowed, expected, or even obligated to go when providing for their own security from malicious cyber activities?

Long-Range Emerging Threats Facing the United States As Identified

by Federal Agencies

Threats to U.S. national security continue to evolve with technological, economic, and social changes.

Federal agencies identified 26 long-term threats within 4 categories:

1) Adversaries' Political and Military Advancements—e.g., China's increasing ability to match the U.S. military's strength.

2) Dual-Use Technologies—e.g., self-driving cars might be developed for private use, but militaries can use them too.

3) Weapons—advances in weapons technology, e.g., cyberweapons.

4) Events and Demographic Changes—e.g., infectious disease outbreaks.

The Marines' new ‘blueprint’ for information capabilities

By: Mark Pomerleau 

The Marine Corps is drafting a plan to inform how it designs capabilities for its nascent information forces.

Among the three priorities for the deputy commandant for information, stood up in 2017, is using the new Marine Expeditionary Force Information Groups, or MIGs. These teams will work on all information-related capabilities, providing commanders a clearinghouse of options including cyber, intelligence, electronic warfare and information operations.

According to presentations by Marine Corps leaders, one of the lines of effort for delivering what the MIGs need is the Marine Corps Information Environment Blueprint, a Marine Corps spokesman told C4ISRNET.


Franklin C. Annis

Why should we study military history? It is an interesting question that I believe most will never take the time to fully analyze. As an U.S. Army Officer, my gut reaction to this question was to answer, “It is an expectation in my profession.” But this explanation falls far short of the true purposes we should be investing in while studying military history. After close examination, I have come to three principle purposes for the study of war. Two of these purposes applies to all citizens of our Republic and a final purpose is unique to military service members. 

Before we begin, it is important to note that the study of military history can never be subdivided from the larger concept of history. The application of military forces is not independent of the social and cultural interaction of the day. It would be impossible to study history without the study of the armed conflicts that occurred between cultures and within different political or religious institutions. While we can focus our examination of history onto military conflicts, it would be impossible and a grave error to attempt to study history without studying the history of warfare at some level.

Drones are becoming increasingly disruptive. Can they be stopped?

By: Kelsey D. Atherton

GATWICK, ENGLAND — The second-busiest airport in the United Kingdom was recently beset by a robotic menace. Starting at 9 p.m. GMT Dec. 19, a pair of drones was spotted near the airport, prompting the airport to cancel flights until 6 a.m. Friday. Airlines scrambled responses, passengers remained delayed and confused as their holiday travel plans were increasingly sent out of whack, while Sussex police actively searched for the people at fault.

The military has been called in for assistance with counterdrone equipment, as the rest of the world ponders two similar, related questions: How can drone flybys cause so much disruption, and why isn’t there a tool that can stop them yet?

“Drone” is an expansive category, which has swallowed everything from military-specific aerial targets and high-altitude remotely operated observation platforms to everything flying and without a human on board, including toys as well as somewhat more capable tools priced at a few hundred dollars. That latter category makes up a massive expansion in the number of objects controlled by humans that can be put into the air. In January 2018, the UK had registered roughly 20,000 people-carrying aircraft, in every category from gas-filled airships to fixed-wing planes to gliders. A 2014 estimate prepared for the House of Commons put the number of drones purchased in the United Kingdom at over 530,000.

The Army has outlined a technology wish list

By: Mark Pomerleau  

The Army is looking to expand industry partners and technologies in the next five years to inform its pilot multidomain task force.

The task force will test new concepts the Army believes will be needed to fight future near-peer adversaries in areas such as long-range precision fires, cyber and electronic warfare.

Recent exercises in the Pacific have given the Army's new Multidomain Operations Task Force Pilot Program a wealth of opportunity to refine its doctrine.

In a notice to industry Dec. 18, Army Pacific, which is running the pilot, is in the process of assessing the industrial base for state-of-the-art technologies that can enable the pilot.