7 May 2019

China and India look to cooperate despite belt and road disagreements

Ananth Krishnan

The three-day Belt and Road Forum starts on Thursday in Beijing. As leaders from 37 countries and representatives from close to 150 nations gather in Beijing this week for the second Belt and Road Forum, India will be one prominent absentee. As was the case with the inaugural event two years ago, New Delhi will once again not be represented at any level at the event, underlining its official opposition to the 
Belt and Road InitiativeNew Delhi’s decision to boycott the forum in 2017 was expected to leave India isolated and plunge an already complex relationship with China into outright hostility, considering the importance of the event to President Xi Jinping. However, two years later, contrary to those expectations, India and China have moved to stabilise their relationship as well as better manage their differences.

This was evident in the comments of State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the eve of the forum. Rather than emphasise the differences between the two countries, he announced they were already working on holding a second “informal summit”.

An India-China maneouvre could soon leave world's oil powers toothless

India and China have neared a deal to set up a buyers' bloc that may tilt bargaining power in importers' favour.

India-China buyers club: How two biggest importers are manoeuvring to cut OPEC to size
The old power structure of world oil markets could be on the verge of a great, potentially far-reaching shift, thanks to India and China.

Reports have revealed that the two Asian powerhouses — world's second and third largest importers of oil — have neared a momentous deal to set up a buyers' bloc that could dramatically tilt bargaining power in favour of importers.

A high-level representative from China's National Energy Administration had visited India last week to put the deal on fast track.

The Mint newspaper said in a report that the upcoming buyers' bloc will bargain collectively on oil supplies. Over time, this joint sourcing mechanism could significantly erode OPEC's sway on all things oil.

Turbocharging India’s Digital Economy


New digital ecosystems are springing up across India's economy, transforming business models and delivering huge productivity, efficiency, and growth benefits. And sectors that have not traditionally had technology at their core – such as agriculture, banking, health care, and logistics – are among those with the most potential.

MUMBAI – India is taking a great digital leap. Having reaped substantial rewards from building up its core digital sectors, such as information technology and business process management, the country is now seizing new digital opportunities in many more sectors, such as agriculture, education, energy, financial services, health care, and logistics. These opportunities could deliver up to $500 billion of economic value by 2025.

How Do You Save a Million People From a Cyclone? Ask a Poor State in India

By Hari Kumar, Jeffrey Gettleman and Sameer Yasir

Train service was out.

And one of the biggest storms in years was bearing down on Odisha, one of India’s poorest states, where millions of people live cheek by jowl in a low-lying coastal area in mud-and-stick shacks.

But government authorities in Odisha, along India’s eastern flank, hardly stood still. To warn people of what was coming, they deployed everything they had: 2.6 million text messages, 43,000 volunteers, nearly 1,000 emergency workers, television commercials, coastal sirens, buses, police officers, and public address systems blaring the same message on a loop, in local language, in very clear terms: “A cyclone is coming. Get to the shelters.”

It seems to have largely worked. Cyclone Fani slammed into Odisha on Friday morning with the force of a major hurricane, packing 120 mile per hour winds. Trees were ripped from the ground and many coastal shacks smashed. It could have been catastrophic.

Here is why 'frustrated' China changed its stand on Masood Azhar

NEW DELHI: China's decision to drop its objection to the UN listing Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist reflects its growing frustration with Pakistan's use of terror masterminds as strategic assets. Pakistan-based terror outfit JeM had carried out a suicide attack in Pulwama, in Jammu and Kashmir, in February killing at least 40 soldiers. Until now China, which often describes itself as an "iron-brother" of Pakistan, had been opposing a move by the UN to list Azhar as a global terrorist. 

People familiar with China-Pakistan ties told ET that while for decades China has used Pakistan as a tool to box India in South Asia, it is now feeling the heat from Islamabad's strategy to encourage terror groups. One of the persons said that Pakistan’s strategy to use terror masterminds as strategic assets is resulting in increasing face loss for China. On May 1, China’s Xi Jinping-led government lifted a technical hold, helping a UN Security Council committee list Azhar. Experts say it was a move to shield from growing criticism that China supports terror infrastructure. The move also helped remove a key irritant in China-India ties, one of the sources said, adding that it may help the process of stabilising relations between the two. 

Will Venezuela become South America's Afghanistan?

by Roberto Valladares & Nicola Morfini

Venezuela is currently experiencing one of the greatest economic and humanitarian catastrophes in recent memory. After two decades of inept economic policies, inflation surpassed one million percent at the end of 2018, and more than three million Venezuelans fled the country in an attempt to escape the famine that has condemned one in seven children to malnutrition.

Meanwhile, the homicide rate has exceeded to 80 people for every 100,000, making Venezuela the most violent country in Latin America. Massive blackouts, which have been frequent for years, have now reached unendurable levels. The situation is truly desperate and unfortunately, there are reasons to believe it could get worse.

What began as a domestic crisis has escalated dramatically, fanned by the National Assembly's appointment of opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president in January of this year, a direct challenge to the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

ISIS’s New Target: South Asia


The Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka have brought the island nation to the forefront of the global terrorism discourse. The Islamic State militant group, via its quasi-official Amaq News outlet, took credit for the attacks, releasing pictures and videos of the alleged attackers. The video showed the suicide bombers who conducted the raids wearing black overalls, faces covered, pledging allegiance to the Islamic State and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The Sri Lanka attacks have further strengthened the hypothesis that territorial destruction of the so-called Islamic State has not diminished the reach, the approach, or the brand power of the group. Instead, its attraction remains potent—and it’s making use of local groups and grievances. This poses a challenge for South Asia in particular, with its political tensions often crossing religious lines, as the Islamic State rebrands as a global insurgency.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Why the Price Is Too High

Fears of unsustainable indebtedness among many of the countries that are partnering in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) set the backdrop for a two-day meeting last week in Beijing. The $1 trillion initiative includes projects in transportation, energy and infrastructure in more than 70 countries across Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania such as ports, railways, oil and gas pipelines, and power grids, along with plans for new economic corridors.

Facing a slowing economy at home made worse by a trade war with the U.S., and increasingly strident opposition to the BRI from the U.S. and European countries, China’s president Xi Jinping was compelled to acknowledge the concerns that BRI is a debt trap for participating countries. He committed to creating a “debt-sustainability framework” for the initiative, compliance with international infrastructure contracting standards, and measures to curb corruption and to ensure environmental sustainability, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Xi also urged foreign and private-sector partners to contribute more funding to BRI projects. The BRI meeting saw attendance by 37 countries, but the U.S. and India were among those that did not attend.

U.S.-China Trade: Is a Deal Imminent

The trade standoff between the U.S. and China had the world riveted last year, although recently it seems that tensions are cooling. Charlene Barshefsky, a former U.S. trade representative who served during the Clinton administration, predicts there will soon be a trade deal with China that will secure some gains for the United States. But President’s Trump’s often combative negotiating style could harm the U.S. in the long run, she noted during an interview with Wharton Dean Geoffrey Garrett at a recent Penn Wharton China Lecture.

Barshefsky, who is a senior international partner at WilmerHale, was a cabinet member under President Clinton from 1997 to 2001. In her interview, she noted how China is increasingly diverging from Western capitalistic models. She further pointed out that laws allowing the Chinese government to override Chinese companies on privacy-related issues make it impossible to know how much to trust Huawei’s technology — it could be compromised down the road regardless of today’s status. She also discussed how China’s true level of economic growth is likely far below official claims, and recommended the best ways for the U.S. to respond to the China’s growing economic influence.

Legal regulation of AI weapons under international humanitarian law: A Chinese perspective

Qiang Li & Dan Xie

Arguably, international humanitarian law (IHL) evolves with the development of emerging technologies. The history of IHL demonstrated that any adoption of new technologies presents challenges to this body of law. With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), the tendency has become even more apparent when humans attempt to achieve the military use of such technology. When it comes to weapons, a combination of weapons and AI technology has increasingly drawn attention from the international community.Following the high-tech weapon systems such as cyber-attack software and armed drones, combat robots of various types have been developed and employed.[1]Potentially, artificial intelligence will not only significantly increase the efficiency and lethal effect of modern kinetic weapons, but also will partially restrict or even completely eliminate human interventions in all aspects of strategy design, battle organization and tactics implementation.

AI weapons—also known as autonomous weapon systems (AWS), which have been defined by the ICRC as weapons that can independently select and attack targets, i.e., with autonomy in the ‘critical functions’ of acquiring, tracking, selecting and attacking targets—have raised a series of issues both legally and ethically. It is debatable whether such weapons/weapon systems with the functions of learning, reasoning, decision-making and the ability to act independent of human intervention should be employed in future battlefields. In all circumstances, they must be employed in accordance with the principles and rules of IHL.

China’s Belt and Road Partners Aren’t Fools


Bojan is three months unemployed, and his wife earns just 120 euros a month—not nearly enough to feed a family of four. He blames Serbia’s increasingly authoritarian president, Aleksandar Vucic, for his troubles. He also blames the European Union, which he says is Vucic’s ultimate master. He describes Brussels as a vaguely imperialist entity that demands too much of Serbia while delivering little. “And China?” I ask. “China is good. China is here to help,” he says.

That story is surprisingly common among Serbians, who largely view China as a reliable business partner and the country’s billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a wonderful economic opportunity. English-language coverage of Belt and Road largely targets the flaws of the initiative—principally that it lacks transparency, promotes poor standards, and deals in “debt trap diplomacy.” The critical tone contrasts dramatically with the mood on the ground in many countries touched by the BRI. Critics of Belt and Road tend to see the initiative as a conscious exercise in power projection. They are not necessarily wrong, but this focus on Beijing overlooks the agency of local decision-makers and fails to comprehend their attitude toward Chinese funding.

China’s Crackdown on Uighurs in Xinjiang

by Lindsay Maizland

Human rights organizations, UN officials, and many foreign governments are urging China to stop the crackdown. But Chinese officials maintain that what they call vocational training centers do not infringe on Uighurs’ human rights. They have refused to share information about the detention centers, however, and prevent journalists and foreign investigators from examining them.

Some eight hundred thousand to two million Uighurs and other Muslims, including ethnic Kazakhs and Uzbeks, have been detained since April 2017, according to experts and government officials [PDF]. Outside of the camps, the eleven million Uighurs living in Xinjiang have continued to suffer from a decades-long crackdown by Chinese authorities.

Most people in the camps have never been charged with crimes and have no legal avenues to challenge their detentions. The detainees seem to have been targeted for a variety of reasons, according to media reports, including traveling to or contacting people from any of the twenty-six countries China considers sensitive, such as Turkey and Afghanistan; attending services at mosques; and sending texts containing Quranic verses. Often, their only crime is being Muslim, human rights groups say, adding that many Uighurs have been labeled as extremists simply for practicing their religion.

A "People's War": How China Plans to Dominate the South China Sea

by James Holmes

By all means, let’s review China’s way of war, discerning what we can about Chinese warmaking habits and reflexes. But these are not automatons replaying the Maoist script from the 1930s and 1940s. How they might transpose Maoist doctrine to the offshore arena—and how an unruly coalition can surmount such a challenge—is the question before friends of maritime freedom.

Last year China’s defense minister, General Chang Wanquan, implored the nation to ready itself for a “people’s war at sea.” The purpose of such a campaign? To “safeguard sovereignty” after an adverse ruling from the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The tribunal upheld the plain meaning of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), ruling that Beijing’s claims to “indisputable sovereignty” spanning some 80-90 percent of the South China Sea are bunk.

Washington Is Dismissing China’s Belt and Road. That’s a Huge Strategic Mistake.


SINGAPORE — Last week, leaders and officials representing more than three dozen countries from across the world gathered in Beijing for the second Belt and Road summit. The event marks the two-year anniversary since China first convened its flagship initiative to coordinate trillions of dollars of infrastructure across Eurasia and the Indian Ocean in a broad effort to recreate the old Silk Roads.

One nation that was missing from the summit: The U.S.

The fashionable position in Washington today is to dismiss the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a power play that won’t last—an attempt at neocolonial debt trap diplomacy, in which China uses unpayable debts to control less powerful states, that is ultimately destined to collapse under the weight of financially spurious projects. On the other hand, there are also those who view BRI as a serious threat—a sign of China’s continued quest for global hegemony and the presence of a new Cold War between the U.S. and China.

What is really going on in China?

Frank Li
Source Link

I was in China April 20-28, throughout which I experienced and carefully observed China first hand. Here is a summary: China is doing very well, as usual, and the trade war between the U.S. and China has zero effect on average Chinese citizens, so far. Specifically, let me highlight three big events that happened while I was there:

1. Another loyalty test

Regulations governing who gets promotion will also require candidates to be given a clean bill of health by the anti-corruption watchdog.

Rules show customary hallmarks of Xi Jinping's efforts to stamp his imprint on party, but one observer warns they could harm morale.

Pushing the jihadist genie back into the bottle: How to counter the ongoing terrorist threat

Eyal Tsir Cohen

Recent terrorist attacks have shown that jihadist terror should still be considered a major threat worldwide, and specifically to the stability of the Middle East. While ISIS has lost the physical territory of its caliphate, this did not put an end to the jihadist doctrine that has invaded so many countries. ISIS will continue to maneuver, govern, radicalize, and inspire its followers to carry out both spontaneous and well-planned attacks that challenge authorities around the globe.

This paper first provides a short overview of jihadist organizations as we know them today, with a central focus on ISIS. Next, it describes the central elements of the terrorist threat today. Relying on empirical data collected from terrorist attacks over the last four years, it analyzes ISIS’ ever-evolving modus operandi. Next, it suggests a layered strategythat defines the core framework that a vigilant country should adopt to meet the challenge ahead.

While countries are grappling with urgent and immediate terrorist challenges, too often they ignore policy problems and long-term planning. Governments should resist this reactive approach, which could prove deadly, and instead adopt a comprehensive strategy that will prevent jihadist terrorism in different stages: from radicalization to thwarting an attack in motion.

‘Global Britain’ Is a Pipe Dream


Among the more compelling arguments for Brexit in 2016 was the idea that the center of gravity of the global economy was shifting away from Europe. In order to capitalize on the new opportunities, the argument went, the United Kingdom should unmoor itself from the rigid and introspective European Union.

If “Global Britain” sounded vaguely plausible in the generally benign international environment of the early months of 2016, it sounds much less so at a time when post-Brexit Britain would find itself in a much less favorable geopolitical situation—and in the midst of trade wars between the United States and the EU, as well the United States and China.

The idea of a Global Britain always rested on shaky premises.
The idea of a Global Britain always rested on shaky premises. Imperial nostalgia aside, the U.K. economy is going to remain tightly integrated with the European continent by virtue of economic gravity. That alone makes it hard to justify erecting new trade barriers between Britain and its closest economic partners—a necessary consequence of Brexit.

President Trump Is Spending $20 Billion on an Aircraft Carrier. The Navy Wanted That Money for Cybersecurity


In March, a report to the Secretary of the Navy warned that the service is preparing for the wrong war, one fought not with bombs and artillery but with terabytes and artificial intelligence.

“We find the Department of the Navy preparing to win some future kinetic battle, while it is losing the current global, counter-force, counter-value, cyber war,” the report says.

President Donald Trump, however, this week ordered the Navy to continue preparing for the last war, surprising Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer and Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John Richardson, on Tuesday by reversing his February decision to retire the 21-year-old nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman.

Trump’s decision will cost the Navy more than $20 billion over the next two decades, much of which the service had planned to spend on new unmanned vessels and other advanced technologies.

Going Toe-to-Toe With Ukraine’s Separatist Hackers


The hacker realized that he was being watched.

The spy software he was attempting to run against the Ukrainian government had infected the wrong machine, and now an analyst working for an American security company was picking apart the program—known as RatVermin—trying to understand how it worked.

The hacker, likely working on behalf of the Luhansk People’s Republic, a breakaway region of Eastern Ukraine, first tried to run a ransomware program dubbed Hidden Tear to scramble the contents of the computer it had mistakenly infected. The program would have made the computer useless to the analyst and flashed a sardonic message: “Files have been encrypted with hidden tear. Send me some bitcoins or kebab. And I also hate night clubs, desserts, being drunk.”

But the analyst blocked the program from executing, and then, for a few hours on March 20, 2018, the two engaged in the digital equivalent of hand-to-hand combat.

How NATO Could Solve the Suwalki Gap Challenge

by Nikolai Sokov

Sebastien Roblin recently wrote a good summary of the increasingly popular narrative on the Suwalki Gap and—unintentionally—an equally good representation of the glaring gaps in it. Roblin notes that the forty-mile (more common measurement is sixty miles) corridor squeezed between Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia and Belarus represents a “natural chokepoint Russia could potentially assail from multiple directions to pinch off columns of NATO troops attempting to reinforce the Baltics.” Russia’s ability to prevent reinforcements from arriving is expected to enable its forces to occupy the Baltic states in thirty-six to sixty hours, according to a RAND Corporation study. Referring to the 2018 CEPA study authored by retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, Roblin reiterates the solution to the conundrum: reinforce conventional deterrence by enhancing NATO military presence in the Baltic states and the ability to quickly amass troops on the Polish side of the corridor to keep it open.

Regulating social media: lessons from Britain’s first highway code

There is much discussion currently regarding the regulation of the internet and, in particular, the taming of social media. Technology is causing problems to the extent that society is troubled, but this is not a new problem. There is a common pattern of technology emerging to address a problem, followed by the discovery that the technology itself can be the cause of a different set of, often more severe, problems. Nuclear power stations addressed the need for bulk electricity without the need to burn fossil fuels and damage the environment. But then, when nuclear power stations themselves had problems (for example the Chernobyl disaster of April 1986), the local issue of air pollution from fossil fuels transformed to a global issue of radiation from released nuclear fuel (World Nuclear Association, 2018). New technology often enables us to go faster or do more at reduced cost. It should not be a surprise then that the problems arising from new technology happen more quickly and with a more significant impact than the problems that arose from the old technology it replaced.

UK to regulate social networks to curb the spread of harmful content


The UK‘s set to kick off this week with a move to regulate social media platforms, so as to hold them accountable for the spread of “online harms,” like misinformation, terrorist propaganda, and content depicting child sexual abuse.

“The era of self-regulation for online companies is over,” said Jeremy Wright, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, as the proposal was revealed, reported the BBC.

The UK‘s Home Office, and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport jointly announced measures that would see social networks fined or blocked if they violated the code of practice that they hope to implement.

The news follows the passing of a law in Australia last week that will see internet platforms fined for failing to remove “abhorrent violent material.” Germany introduced similar legislation last year, with a time frame of 24 hours to take down “obviously illegal” content, or face fines of up to €50 million.

Implications of Quantum Computing for Encryption Policy

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Princeton University have convened a small group of experts to advance a more constructive dialogue on encryption policy. The working group consists of former government officials, business representatives, privacy and civil rights advocates, law enforcement experts, and computer scientists. Observers from U.S. federal government agencies attended a select number of working group sessions. Since 2018, the working group has met to discuss a number of important issues related to encryption policy, including how the relevant technologies and uses of encryption will evolve in the future.

This paper and its companion piece on user-controlled encryption were prepared by Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy at the request of the Carnegie Encryption Working Group as briefings to provide insight into future trends related to encryption policy. The papers do not take a position on encryption policy, rather they provide analysis of the future trends related to encryption and how they will shape the issues that policymakers must address.

Forget about artificial intelligence, extended intelligence is the future


Last year, I participated in a discussion of The Human Use of Human Beings, Norbert Weiner’s groundbreaking book on cybernetics theory. Out of that grew what I now consider a manifesto against the growing singularity movement, which posits that artificial intelligence, or AI, will supersede and eventually displace us humans.

The notion of singularity – which includes the idea that AI will supercede humans with its exponential growth, making everything we humans have done and will do insignificant – is a religion created mostly by people who have designed and successfully deployed computation to solve problems previously considered impossibly complex for machines.

They have found a perfect partner in digital computation, a seemingly knowable, controllable, machine-based system of thinking and creating that is rapidly increasing in its ability to harness and process complexity and, in the process, bestowing wealth and power on those who have mastered it.

How big tech designs its own rules of ethics to avoid scrutiny and accountability

David Watts

“Digital ethics and privacy” shot into research and advisory company Gartner’s top ten strategic technology trends for 2019. Before that it barely raised a mention.

In the past year governments, corporations and policy and technology think tanks have published data ethics guides. An entire cohort of expert data ethicists have magically materialised.

Why this sudden interest in data ethics? What is data ethics? Whose interests are the guidelines designed to serve?

To understand what is going on, it’s necessary to take a step back and look at how the information landscape has unfolded.

The picture that emerges is of an industry immune from the regulatory constraints that apply to everyone else.
The shine has gone

Cybersecurity R&D to Counter Global Threats

Takeshi Nakatsuru, Yoshiaki Nakajima, Jun Miyoshi, and Katsumi Takahashi

New cybersecurity threats are continuing to expand on a global scale, and Japan is expected to become the target of cyber-attacks in the run up to 2020. In these Feature Articles, we discuss the key points of resisting global cybersecurity threats and introduce our research and development strategy for dealing with them.

1. Introduction

The NTT Group has aggressively expanded into the global business sector to establish global cloud services as a cornerstone of our business. To this end, we are establishing stronger systems to offer to the world by responding to the needs of our customers who are developing diverse information and communication technology (ICT) services on a global scale. In the global business arena, ICT is an essential component that is used by a wide range of businesses in diverse fields. Incidents of cyber-attacks on these businesses can cause serious damage such as service interruptions or information leaks. In recent years, many cases of cyber-attacks directly aimed at exploiting business secrets or financial assets have been reported, and the financial impact of these attacks is also increasing.

National Cybersecurity R&D Programme

The National Cybersecurity R&D Programme (NCR) seeks to develop R&D expertise and capabilities in cybersecurity for Singapore. It aims to improve the trustworthiness of cyber infrastructures with an emphasis on security, reliability, resiliency and usability. 

NCR is coordinated by National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF), National Security Coordination Centre, Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Government Technology Agency, Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Economic Development Board to promote collaboration among government agencies, academia, research institutes and private sector organisations.

Launched in 2013, the NCR was supported at $130 million over five years. The funding supports research efforts into both technological and human-science aspects of cybersecurity. In 2016, an additional $60 million was allocated to extend the support until 2020. The funding will be used to deepen the development of cybersecurity R&D expertise in Singapore. This includes the funding of grant calls and cybersecurity research infrastructure. 

Basic Research in Cyber Security

Cyber is a prefix derived from the word cybernetics and has acquired the general meaning of through the use of a computer which is also termed as cyberspace. The word security in general usage is synonymous with being safe, but as a technical term security means not only that something is secure, but that it has been secured. Joining the two words together form the word cybersecurity is concerned with making cyberspace safe from threats, namely cyber threats. The information and communications technology (ICT) industry has evolved greatly over the last half century. With the advent of the internet, security becomes a major concern. ICT devices and components are generally inter dependable and vulnerable to the security attacks. The act of protecting ICT systems and their contents has come to be known as cybersecurity. Cybersecurity is an important tool in protecting and preventing unauthorized surveillance. As commonly used, the term cybersecurity refers to three things:

• A set of activities and other measures, technical and non-technical, intended to protect computers, computer networks, related hardware and devices software, and the information they contain and communicate, including software and data, as well as other elements of cyberspace, from all threats, including threats to the national security.
• The degree of protection resulting from the application of these activities and measures.
• The associated field of professional endeavor, including research and analysis, aimed at implementing and those activities and improving their quality

World military expenditure grows to $1.8 trillion in 2018

(Stockholm, 29 April 2019) Total world military expenditure rose to $1822 billion in 2018, representing an increase of 2.6 per cent from 2017, according to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The five biggest spenders in 2018 were the United States, China, Saudi Arabia, India and France, which together accounted for 60 per cent of global military spending. Military spending by the USA increased for the first time since 2010, while spending by China grew for the 24th consecutive year. The comprehensive annual update of the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database is accessible from today at www.sipri.org.

Explained: How Israel Won a War in Just 6 Hours

by Michael Peck

It was June 5, 1967, and the Six-Day War was about to begin.

At 7:10 a.m. Israeli time, sixteen Israeli Air Force Fouga Magister training jets took off and pretended to be what they were not. Flying routine flight paths and using routine radio frequencies, they looked to Arab radar operators like the normal morning Israeli combat air patrol.

At 7:15 a.m., another 183 aircraft—almost the entire Israeli combat fleet—roared into the air. They headed west over the Mediterranean before diving low, which dropped them from Arab radar screens. This was also nothing new: for two years, Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian radar had tracked Israeli aircraft—though never this many Israeli aircraft—taking off every morning on this same flight path, and then disappearing from their scopes before they returned to base. But that morning, instead of going home, the Israeli armada of French-made Mirage and Super Mystere jets turned south toward Egypt, flying under strict radio silence and just sixty feet above the waves.