1 January 2019

In 2018, the American dream began to fade for Indian techies

By Ananya Bhattacharya

2018 may have put an end to the “American dream” of thousands of Indian techies.

The Donald Trump administration continued its clampdown on the high-in-demand long-term US work visa, the H-1B. Indians have been the worst-hit since they receive over three-quarters of the H-1B visas.

The work visa, which allows immigrants to live and work in the US for up to six years and is extensively used by Indian IT companies, has been battered and bruised since Trump came to power in January 2017.

This year, the Trump administration has made the qualifying criteria for the visa tougher, sought cumbersome paperwork and increased the fees, among other things. An iron-fisted crackdown on visa abuses is also underway.

And that could just be the beginning, considering several bills to hike up the wage levels for H-1B visa eligibility and reduce the over-flooding of entry-level talent at big outsourcing firms are on the table.

Why India will supersede China – Part 2

Science has yet to define and fully understand consciousness, but the debate has been given a new impetus by artificial intelligence, where the issue centers on the question: Can AI develop its own consciousness?

The meaning of the European word consciousness as we understand it today is often attributed to René Descartes (1596-1650), who used the word “conscientia.” Others attribute the current notion of consciousness to John Locke’s “Essay Concerning Human Understanding,” published in 1690. Locke defined consciousness as “the perception of what passes in a man’s own mind.” An 18th-century encyclopedia defined consciousness awkwardly as “the opinion or internal feeling that we ourselves have from what we do.”

The growing interest in consciousness in Europe, as expressed by Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am” has been explained as the liberation of religious (Catholic) dogma that had Europe in its grip for centuries. In China, the equivalence of consciousness was expressed by the term “heart-mind” and had Confucian-ethical connotations concerning how humans should act in society. The “seeking,” as opposed to believing, was left to the Taoists.

Pawns in a geostrategic chess game in the Himalayas


Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali recently concluded a formal visit to the US, where he engaged in bilateral talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on December 18. It was the first high-level exchange between Nepal and the US since then-secretary of state Colin Powell landed in Kathmandu in January 2002 to sell president George W Bush’s “war against terror” in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Powell’s visit was much needed by Nepal’s ruling elite at that time, as the government had branded former Maoist rebels as “terrorists” and the despot king’s army had been fighting against them for control of the corridors of power.

Gyawali wanted to capitalize on his US trip to assuage concerns that the Nepalese government’s foreign-policy thinking was focusing too heavily on its immediate neighbors, China and India, while ignoring other major global powers such as the US, UK, Japan, and other development-aid donor countries.

Did the U.S. Military Just Admit Victory in Afghanistan Is Impossible?

by Task and Purpose Jared Keller

In the week before President Donald Trump’s reported decision to abruptly withdraw 7,000 U.S. service members from Afghanistan, the top U.S. commander there all but admitted that the 17-year-old war there will not end with a military victory for the Pentagon.

“This fight will go until a political settlement,” Army Gen. Scott Miller, the commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and the Resolute Support mission there, told CNN when asked whether the Afghan campaign against the Taliban had reached a stalemate. “These are two sides that are fighting against one another, and neither one of them will achieve a military victory at this stage.”

In the same interview, U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass concurred with Miller’s assessment, cautioning that U.S. and Afghan officials will face a complicated diplomatic situation given the Talian’s aggressive rejection of the current administration in Kabul.



The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan could lead to an emboldened Islamist insurgency by the Taliban, threatening nearby India and Pakistan, but Russia and China have already begun getting involved.

Although the White House has offered no official confirmation of a partial U.S. pullout from Afghanistan, numerous media outlets have reported on an upcoming plan to halve the roughly 14,000 troops fighting in the country's longest-ever conflict. Despite 17 years at war there, however, the Taliban have managed to stage a major comeback, and even the Pentagon has conceded that a military solution would be impossible.

A resurgent Taliban not only threatened to stir unrest within the country itself but also volatile disputes in the region. In a commentary posted Wednesday to the India-based Observer Research Foundation's online blog, distinguished fellow Harsh V. Pant of King's College London argued that a resurgent Taliban could draw in Pakistan and India, which are already locked in a decades-long dispute over the Kashmir territory that separates them, as well as China, Iran and Russia.

Afghanistan: How does the Taliban make money?

By Dawood Azami

There are indications that the US is planning a significant withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan.

American troops are in the country to support the Afghan government's fight against the Taliban and other militant groups.

The Taliban, the main insurgent group in Afghanistan with an estimated 60,000 fighters, now controls more territory in Afghanistan than at any point since its removal from power by the US-led coalition in 2001.

Despite continued US military and financial support for the government in Kabul, the conflict has become both more intense and more complicated.

Economic Issues Overshadow Bangladesh's Fraught Elections

Irrespective of who wins the elections on Dec. 30, the next administration in Dhaka will largely need to create jobs, develop infrastructure and advance the country's industrialization. An expanding economy will create greater demand for energy and infrastructure, creating opportunities for India and China to fund regional projects. In the lead-up to the elections, violence between supporters of the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party is likely, heightening political risk to the fast-growing economy.

Bangladesh will cap off a year of eventful elections in South Asia with parliamentary polls on Dec. 30. The center-left Awami League, which has spent the past decade in power under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, is seeking to win another five-year term at the head of a 12-party alliance. Arrayed against it is the center-right Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the country's main — if sidelined — opposition outfit, which is leading the Jatiya Oikya Front, an 18-member alliance. At stake are 300 of the 350 seats in the Jatiya Sangsad, the country's unicameral parliament (the remaining 50 seats are reserved for women and appointed on a proportional basis). But irrespective of the outcome, the economic goals of whoever assumes power in the capital of Dhaka will be largely the same: focus on job creation and infrastructure development, and accelerate efforts to industrialize.

The Fourth Estate in South Asia: Media’s Role in Inter-State Crises

By Hannah Haegeland and Ruhee Neog

Last month, the world paused to remember the tenth anniversary of 26/11 — the 2008 attack launched by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Mumbai, India’s commercial capital, in a series of carefully planned and orchestrated attacks. Official Pakistani connections to LeT added an inter-state dynamic to the attack, triggering a major India-Pakistan crisis — one of several in a long history of subcontinental crises that have sometimes resulted in military mobilization and outright conflict. 26/11 spanned three days and was transmitted in real time on our television screens. In its aftermath, the Indian news media was censured for flouting journalistic ethics on the ground and in newsrooms by revealing operational details and resorting to invective and jingoistic language to frame events. Ten years on, however, media behavior, determined to a large extent by the nature of its interaction with policymakers and the public, remains an understudied dynamic in inter-state crises in and beyond South Asia.

World Order without Hegemony

Zorawar Daulet Singh 

Most Western theories presume that a titantic clash will occur during a power transition. But what if rising powers cannot assume the burden of underwriting the world order? We must contemplate alternate futures where a changing balance of power does not necessarily yield a new hegemony or a breakdown in the basic tenets of international order.

At the heart of foreign policy debates today is the question of a changing balance of power. As Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out recently, “The changes we are encountering in the world are unseen in a century” (Xinhua 2018). In an important speech delivered in June, the Indian Prime Minister too had alluded to global power shifts, uncertainty, and geopolitical competition. “This world is at a crossroad. There are temptations of the worst lessons of history” (MEA 2018a). How do we make sense about power transitions? Is change possible without a violent confrontation?

How to Counter China's Ambitions in the South China Sea

Stephen R. Nagy

President Xi’s state visit to the Philippines was the first in thirteen years. It marks a high point in Sino-Philippine relations with economic pledges from Beijing and an agreement to engage in joint exploration in the Scarborough Shoals, maritime features that are claimed as sovereign territories by both Beijing and Manila.

The significance of the bonhomie between Presidents Xi and Duterte should not be downplayed. Prior to the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s decision to reject all of China’s claims in the South China Sea (SCS) in July 2016, bilateral relations were arguably at an all-time low. With the election of President Duterte and his declaration that the “U.S. has lost” in the SCS in Beijing during a state visit to China in July 2016, Duterte secured $24 billion in Chinese economic pledges to help the Philippines develop infrastructure and its economy. They also mutually agreed to put aside the territorial disputes between them to focus on cooperation and stabilizing their relationship.

Beijing’s Big, Bad Year


Sticking to the official line became critical for political survival, as President Xi Jinping’s grip on power tightened and the space for free speech narrowed. In the western region of Xinjiang, over a million Uighurs were dispatched to a new gulag archipelago, victims of a security paranoia and growing Islamophobia spreading across the country. Meanwhile, the Chinese technological-security state took on an increasingly dystopic, and sometimes incompetent, tinge, even if it wasn’t always all that Western media accounts claimed. In Washington, talk of a “new Cold War” with Beijing became more common, and even Canada found itself drawn into the conflict after it detained a top executive at Huawei and China retaliated with the arrest of three Canadian citizens.

Here are five Foreign Policy pieces from 2018 that captured something of a vast and increasingly opaque country.

The darkest story of the year was China’s growing—and completely unaccountable—concentration camps for Uighurs and other ethnic minorities. FP ran the first mainstream media account from inside the camp system, contributed by a Uighur student forced to remain anonymous to avoid further retribution against his family.

China’s Myth-Busting Miracle


On the 40th anniversary of China's great "opening up" under Deng Xiaoping, its leaders deserve praise for lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and surpassing the United States as the world's largest economy. But China's experience has also dispelled three myths about the impact of economic growth.

PARIS – Forty years ago, on December 29, 1978, the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China released the official communiqué from its third plenary session, launching the greatest economic-growth experiment in human history. In newspeak understandable to CPC insiders, the country’s leaders, channeling the wishes of Deng Xiaoping, announced a series of unprecedented “modernizations” that would transform one of the world’s least developed countries into a leading economic power.

The Failure of the United States’ Chinese-Hacking Indictment Strategy

By Jack Goldsmith, Robert D. Williams 

Just before Christmas, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed an indictment against two Chinese nationals who allegedly conducted a twelve-year “global campaign[] of computer intrusions” to steal sensitive intellectual property and related confidential business information from firms in a dozen states and from the U.S. government. According to the indictment, the defendants conducted these acts as part of the APT10 hacking group “in association with” the Chinese Ministry of State Security.

This is only the latest round of indictments against Chinese nationals for computer hacking in the United States. The first one occurred in May 2014, when the Justice Department indicted five People’s Liberation Army (PLA) officers on economic espionage charges. Next, in November 2017, the department unveiled an indictment of three Chinese nationals employed by a Chinese cybersecurity firm for cybertheft of confidential business information from several firms after receiving “no meaningful response” for assistance from the Chinese government. In October of this year, the Justice Department unsealed an indictment against two Chinese intelligence officers for cybertheft of intellectual property and business secrets from thirteen U.S. firms. And on Nov. 1, the department charged a Chinese state-owned company and three individuals with stealing trade secrets from American chipmaker Micron. 

Is China Getting Too Close To Israel?

By Richard S Ehrlich 

An Israeli naval officer holds the mooring rope of the INS Tanin, a Dolphin AIP class submarine, on its arrival at a naval base in the northern Israeli city of Haifa. Photo: AFP

China is constructing seaports at two sites where the US 6th Fleet deploys, in Haifa next to Israel’s main naval base and Ashdod near Tel Aviv, prompting concerns about China’s military potential in the Mediterranean Sea and Middle East.

“The civilian [Chinese] port in Haifa abuts the exit route from the adjacent [Israeli] navy base, where the Israeli submarine fleet is stationed and which, according to foreign media reports, maintains a second-strike capability to launch nuclear missiles,” Israel’s Haaretz media reported.The dailyReportMust-reads from across Asia – directly to your inbox

“No one in Israel thought about the strategic ramifications,” Haaretz said in September.

Ukraine conflict: Russia completes Crimea security fence

Russia has finished building a high-tech security fence along annexed Crimea's border with mainland Ukraine.

The fence, more than 60km (37 miles) long, is topped with barbed wire and has hundreds of sensors.

Russian forces annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in March 2014 - a move condemned internationally. Crimea has a Russian-speaking majority.

Russia's FSB security agency says the fence is necessary to prevent "infiltration attempts by saboteurs".

An FSB statement, quoted by Russia's RIA Novosti news agency, said the fence would also thwart smugglers trading in illegal weapons, drugs, alcohol and other contraband.

The fence spans the neck of land connecting Crimea with Ukraine's Kherson region.

Most of its sensors pick up vibrations from any potential intruders, the FSB said, but some are also radio-location devices. Russia has similar equipment along its northern and eastern borders.

A Review of the Yemen Civil War in 2018

For much of 2018, Yemen's civil war ground on, with the Saudi Arabian-led coalition backing the country's internationally recognized government on one side and rebels from the northern Houthi movement, who have received support and arms from Iran, on the other. The United States, through military support and funding, continues to back the Saudi coalition's efforts to dislodge the Houthis, a traditional Saudi adversary, from Sanaa, the country's ostensible capital. But support for the Saudi war effort in the U.S. Congress has been eroding in the wake of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, putting pressure on the coalition to cease hostilities.

As the year wraps up, the combatants in Yemen have been engaging in the first meaningful peace talks over the civil war in two years. Whether or not the country can find a political solution to the disputes that spawned the conflict, the pause in hostilities is opening space to address the humanitarian crisis spawned by the fighting. Stratfor's coverage of the Yemen civil war follows the ebbs and flows of the fighting and the political and strategic forces shaping the conflict.

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2019


As the era of largely uncontested U.S. primacy fades, the international order has been thrown into turmoil. More leaders are tempted more often to test limits, jostle for power, and seek to bolster their influence—or diminish that of their rivals—by meddling in foreign conflicts. Multilateralism and its constraints are under siege, challenged by more transactional, zero-sum politics. Multilateralism and its constraints are under siege, challenged by more transactional, zero-sum politics. Instruments of collective action, such as the United Nations Security Council, are paralyzed; those of collective accountability, including the International Criminal Court, are ignored and disparaged.

Nostalgia can be deceptive. Too fond a portrayal of the era of Western hegemony would be misleading. Iraq’s chemical weapons use against Iran in the 1980s; the 1990s bloodletting in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Somalia; the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; Sri Lanka’s brutal 2009 campaign against the Tamils; and the collapse of Libya and South Sudan: all these happened at a time of—in some cases because of—U.S. dominance and a reasonably coherent West. A liberal and nominally rules-based order hardly stopped those setting the rules from discarding them when they saw fit. The erosion of Western influence, in short, looks different from Moscow, Beijing, and the developing world than it does from Brussels, London, or Washington.

Syria’s Changing Power Grid: What Turkey Wants

Steven A. Cook

The U.S. withdrawal from Syria removes the main obstacle to a Turkish campaign to eradicate Syrian Kurdish forces and could lead to a more dangerous phase of Syria’s civil war.

President Donald J. Trump on Wednesday announced that the approximately two thousand U.S. forces in northeastern Syria will leave immediately, now that the forces of the so-called Islamic State have been defeated. Trump’s announcement set off a scramble within the U.S. government to develop a plan for withdrawal, as well as a mixture of alarm and criticism from lawmakers of both parties. The regional jockeying for power will be intense; Russia, Iran, and the Syrian regime stand to gain the most.

When Geopolitics and Business Collide

By Ben West

Businesses tend to feel geopolitical tensions more acutely in areas of territorial dispute. China has used leverage over market access to force companies to effectively recognize Taiwan as its territory, even if they would prefer to avoid taking sides. Given that territorial disputes around the world force companies into awkward foreign policy conflicts, companies would be wise to understand the nature of such geopolitical disagreements.

From Israel to China to Spain, companies are becoming increasingly embroiled in foreign policy disputes in the countries in which they operate. Territorial squabbles and ambiguous legal statuses are turning business decisions into foreign policy positions whether those companies like it or not. From Airbnb listings to maps of China, those decisions can create security and continuity concerns for companies caught in the middle. In response to these challenges, corporations need to gain a greater understanding of the disagreements so they can anticipate and head off any disruption to operations.

The Big Picture

Explaining the Hype Around Hypersonic Weapons

Countries around the world are in the process of developing hypersonic weapons technology, and the United States and China are leading the pack. With the technology needed for hypersonic missiles growing ever more feasible and accessible, we anticipate that both countries will have mature designs in the near future. The new missiles will be much faster than any current cruise missiles, and they will be extremely hard to detect. As the world adjusts to this evolving weaponry, the way countries approach offensive arms development and preemptive strikes is set to change dramatically.

After Mattis: Strategic Challenge & Opportunity For President Trump

President Trump and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis

Whatever you think of Jim Mattis, his resignation and the outflow of officials that will follow create a major foreign policy problem for the United States. There is not one ally who is applauding Mattis’s departure — but depart he will, all the same. So what must President Trump and his next defense secretary do, not only to reassure the allies, but shape the strategy for a dangerous world?

Secretary Mattis is just the latest administration official to leave, but his is really the most important departure. Mattis, Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford (also to depart in 2019), and their team shaped a new National Defense Strategy which focused on the strategic shift from interminable guerrilla wars on land to preparing to deal with peer competitors on land, at sea, and in the air, space, and cyberspace. Apparently, the President saw terminating the endless war in Afghanistan as part of this approach; Mattis did not.

IBM's AI predictions: Trusted AI, quantum computing take center stage in 2019

By Alison DeNisco Rayome 
Source Link

In 2018, artificial intelligence (AI) researchers made breakthroughs in accelerating machine learning training, anticipating cybersecurity attacks, and eliminating bias. The year 2019 promises to take society from today's "narrow" AI to a new era of "broad" AI, where developers, enterprises, and consumers will be able to fully take advantage of the technology's potential, according to a Thursday blog post from Dario Gil, COO and vice president of AI and quantum at IBM Research.

"Broad AI will be characterized by the ability to learn and reason more broadly across tasks, to integrate information from multiple modalities and domains, all while being more explainable, secure, fair, auditable and scalable," Gil wrote in the post.

Here are three trends that IBM researchers are looking out for in the new year that will advance the industry, according to Gil:

1. Causality will increasingly replace correlations

AI Year in Review: Highlights of Papers and Predictions from IBM Research AI

For more than seventy years, IBM Research has been inventing, exploring, and imagining the future. We have been pioneering the field of artificial intelligence (AI) since its inception. We were there when the field was launched at the famous 1956 Dartmouth workshop. Just three years later, an IBMer and early computer pioneer, Arthur Samuel, coined the term machine learning. And ever since, our gaze has always been fixed on what’s next for the field, and how we’ll get there.

Today we released a 2018 retrospective that provides a sneak-peek into the future of AI. We have curated a collection of one hundred IBM Research AI papers we have published this year, authored by talented researchers and scientists from our twelve global Labs. These scientific advancements are core to our mission to invent the next set of fundamental AI technologies that will take us from today’s “narrow” AI to a new era of “broad” AI, where the potential of the technology can be unlocked across AI developers, enterprise adopters and end-users. Broad AI will be characterized by the ability to learn and reason more broadly across tasks, to integrate information from multiple modalities and domains, all while being more explainable, secure, fair, auditable and scalable.

How a Guy With a Camera Outsmarted the United States


On the morning of December 26, Alan Meloy stood on the front porch of his home in northern England and noticed that “murky” early clouds were clearing into a crisp and sunny winter’s day.

Meloy, a retired IT professional and a plane spotter of 45 years, decided to grab his best camera to see whether he could catch any interesting flyovers. Before long, he saw a “jumbo”—a Boeing VC-25A—and, knowing there were few such aircraft left, took about 20 photos of the plane. He could tell immediately that there was something unusual about it, though.

“It was just so shiny,” he told me. As it turned out, Meloy had unwittingly captured Air Force One.

The Geopolitics of the Gregorian Calendar

By Phillip Orchard

When England adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, some 170 years after it was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, Benjamin Franklin wrote, "It is pleasant for an old man to be able to go to bed on Sept. 2, and not have to get up until Sept. 14." Indeed, nearly two weeks evaporated into thin air in England when it transitioned from the Julian calendar, which had left the country 11 days behind much of Europe. Such calendrical acrobatics are not unusual. The year 46 B.C., a year before Julius Caesar implemented his namesake system, lasted 445 days and later became known as the "final year of confusion."

In other words, the systems used by mankind to track, organize and manipulate time have often been arbitrary, uneven and disruptive, especially when designed poorly or foisted upon an unwilling society. The history of calendrical reform has been shaped by the egos of emperors, disputes among churches, the insights of astronomers and mathematicians, and immutable geopolitical realities. Attempts at improvements have sparked political turmoil and commercial chaos, and seemingly rational changes have consistently failed to take root.

Reading Into Albert Einstein’s God Letter

By Louis Menand

Albert Einstein’s so-called God letter first surfaced in 2008, when it fetched four hundred and four thousand dollars in a sale at a British auction house. The letter came back into the news earlier this month, when its owner or owners auctioned it off again, this time at Christie’s in New York, and someone paid $2.9 million for it, a pretty good return on investment, and apparently a record in the Einstein-letters market. The former top seller was a copy of a letter to Franklin Roosevelt from 1939, warning that Germany might be developing a nuclear bomb. That one was sold at Christie’s for $2.1 million, in 2002. If you have any extra Einstein letters lying around, this might be a good time to go to auction.

Although it bears his signature, Einstein didn’t actually write the bomb letter. It was written by the physicist Leo Szilard, based on a letter that Einstein had dictated. But, if auction price is at all relative to historical significance, that letter should be way more valuable than the God letter. The God letter was cleverly marketed, though. “Not only does the letter contain the words of a great genius who was perhaps feeling the end fast approaching,” Christie’s said on its Web site, “It addresses the philosophical and religious questions that mankind has wrestled with since the dawn of time: Is there a God? Do I have free will?” The press release called it “one of the definitive statements in the Religion vs Science debate.” Journalistic interest was stirred up by the question of whether the letter might contradict other comments that Einstein is recorded having made about God.

Are robot swarms the future of destroying sea mines?

By: Kelsey D. Atherton 
Source Link

A sea mine is a promise of tragedy in the future. Built for the immediate demands of a naval conflict, deployed for some once-pressing strategic end, and now left in place for decades, sea mines are an enduring risk. Clearing the sea from the dangerous refuse of the past can be a high-stakes proposition. Why not, then, let robots do it?

In August 2018, a loose mine was spotted off the coast of Washington state, and then detonated without harm (or secondary explosion, indicating that it was an inert training mine). This detonation work is typically done by human divers, and while the mine spotted in Washington was luckily inert, there are plenty of sea lanes where live weapons of dead wars persist. In the Baltic, for example, NATO estimates there remain 80,000 sea mines, a number that’s been unchanged for nearly a decade.

Perspective | Mattis Was A Deeply Flawed Defense Secretary

by Bob Wilson 

Jim Mattis’s resignation from the Trump administration, and his subsequent accelerated dismissal, prompted responses that bordered on the hagiographic. Tellingly, most of the anecdotes in these articles and columns emphasized his career up to the point when Mattis walked into the Pentagon as defense secretary, rather than his performance in that role — which was decidedly lackluster.

In the Atlantic, foreign policy scholar Eliot Cohen told a heartwarming story of Mattis relieving a young Marine from checkpoint duty, on a Christmas Day at Quantico, so he could spend the holiday with his family. Retired Army officer John Nagl recalled that Mattis joined Marines in foxholes on cold nights in Afghanistan to keep watch. Post columnist Max Boot chimed in, saying Mattis in Iraq in 2003 was “as close to a reincarnation of George S. Patton as I would ever meet.”

Nagl and Cohen both noted that Mattis is an avid reader of the classics, with a personal library of thousands of books on history and strategy. While he is no doubt a highly respected Marine and an unconventional thinker, the praise in all these pieces was so thick it obscured his actual record in the job he resigned from (beyond vague assertions that he “labored to save the world from Trump,” as Boot put it).

What is Hybrid Warfare: A detailed analysis

Zeeshan Munir

This excerpt has been taken from the thesis of the writer titled “Challenges posed by Hybrid Warfare to International Humanitarian Law”.

Our contemporary world has been undergoing momentous transition since the 9/11 attacks. Various nation-states had faltered, economies gone bankrupt, social system became the dysfunctional and social fabric of societies has been torn apart by multitude of challenges. This phase of transition has been termed by some as a consequence of ‘Great Power Competition’ while others term this state of affairs of various states as ‘their own bringing’. But this pattern of analysis do not accommodate a holistic approach into understanding why societies all across the globe are in such disarray whose source of instability might be internal yet its importance possess an international, and by extension, a war dimension.

Flashpoints and Arms Races to Watch in 2019

By Franz-Stefan Gady

The 2019 security outlook for Asia, as in past years, is dominated by a number of regional flashpoints that include the Korean Peninsula, the South and East China Seas, as well as the Taiwan Strait, all of which have the potential to trigger a military confrontation. Nonetheless, there appears to be a reduced risk for open military clashes in all of the four cases in the next 12 months.

Simultaneously, 2019 will likely see an intensification of the war in Afghanistan, amid ongoing peace negotiations and the suggested withdrawal of 7,000 U.S. troops from the country; the presidential election scheduled for the spring may be postponed. Other areas our readers should watch include: a possible uptick in violence in Jammu and Kashmir as a result of the 2019 Indian general elections, the usual chance of South Asian border disputes getting out of control, and increased naval competition between India, China, and Pakistan in the Indian Ocean. Naval competition is especially noteworthy as all three states are in the process of fielding, or already have deployed, nuclear-armed submarines.