15 May 2019

Will India Approve Appointment Of Next Dalai Lama By China? – OpEd

By N. S. Venkataraman

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has clearly and categorically said that his successor, the next Dalai Lama, would be from a free country like India. This has irritated the Chinese government, which has reacted to say that the next Dalai Lama would be appointed and approved by the Chinese government. Chinese government’s arrogant claim that the next Dalai Lama would be a person of Chinese government’s choice has naturally caused great concern amongst the Tibetans living in Tibet and in exile and the Tibetans living as citizens in different countries. USA has indicated that it would not approve the Chinese government appointed Dalai Lama.

However, India has, so far, remained silent on this potential issue and has not expressed it’s stand . Perhaps, Government of India thinks that there is no need to comment at this stage , when the Dalai Lama is hale and healthy and is leading Tibetans with dignity and characteristic compassion , reflecting the philosophy of Buddhism in true spirit.

India’s Defense Policy Challenge – Analysis

By Harsh V Pant and Pushan Das*

India is in the midst of its parliamentary elections, among the biggest democratic exercises anywhere in the world. Narendra Modi, the incumbent prime minister, seeks a second term in office. The economy is strong, but the pace of growth is slowing and the unemployment rate is at 6.1 percent. He remains popular, and he has made the elections a referendum on his handling of national security against the backdrop of Indian airstrikes on Pakistani territory – retaliation for a February terrorist attack on Indian security forces in Kashmir. Among his selling points is the view that he is tough on corruption. The opposition, especially the Congress Party, has tried to attack him on that count by focusing on alleged corruption in a recent defense deal. There is little evidence so far that Congress Party has convinced the electorate, but this political contestation underscores the persistent challenges India faces as it pursues defense modernization.

India’s Space Program: The Commercial Domain

By Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

In the beginning of March this year, the Indian Cabinet cleared the establishment of a private institution, the Newspace India Limited (NSIL), under the Department of Space. While the development may not have received as much international attention as some of the other space- and defense-focused developments in India, it bears careful watching as it is in line with New Delhi’s ongoing efforts to build out the commercial aspect of its space program.

India’s focus on the commercial aspect of its space program in general and moves such as the establishment of NSIL are not entirely new or surprising. This follows from the Narendra Modi government’s plan to make space a major industry focus under the government’s Vision 2030 announced in this year’s interim budget. The 10-point agenda in Vision 2030 included making India “the launchpad of the world and placing an Indian astronaut in space by 2022.”

Lost Calcutta

Maya Jasanoff

On the Calcutta Maidan, or central parade ground, one morning in January 1906, the Prince of Wales tapped into place the foundation stone of British India’s most self-aggrandizing monument. The Victoria Memorial Hall, as it would be called, had been dreamed up by Lord Curzon, the former viceroy of India, who envisioned it as a museum celebrating the late Queen Victoria and British rule in India. It was to be “not only a Victoria Memorial but an Indian Valhalla,” The Times of India declared, though, faced in the same marble as the Taj Mahal, it might more aptly be called the Taj of the Raj.

The Victoria Memorial Hall sits on the Maidan like an enormous dollop of Italian meringue. Inside, a gallery chronicles the city’s history since 1690, when an East India Company agent named Job Charnock established a factory near a village named Kalikata on Bengal’s Hooghly River. Charnock lived there for thirty-five years with his common-law wife and their children, and though the legend that he had rescued his wife, a Hindu widow, from her first husband’s funeral pyre is doubtless apocryphal, the founding story rests on an elemental truth: the city’s development was a joint British and Indian affair. In 1757, the East India Company commander Robert Clive defeated Bengal’s local ruler, or nawab, in battle and consolidated the company’s power in the province.

What Afghan Women (and Men) Really Want


Taliban representatives had something surprising to say during recent peace talks in Moscow: They would support, they said, a constitutional reform that upholds women’s access to education and work. There is reason to be skeptical of these commitments. Nevertheless, it is important to hold the group to their promise, because that is what most Afghans want. Research from eastern Afghanistan demonstrates that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, which holds that Afghans are broadly unsupportive of women’s rights, rural Afghan men and women do want to see girls go to school and women go to work. Beyond that, they believe that such progress is fundamental to peace.

At the same time, however, they’re less likely to advocate for other women’s rights, namely the right to own property or access leadership positions in government—both of which are enshrined in the Afghan Constitution. In short, although a cultural shift has created space for women in education and work, other values advanced by the international community and women’s activists have yet to take hold. As peace talks with the Taliban continue, the international community should start paying attention to what Afghan men and women really want.

New satellite images have emerged offering a glimpse into China’s progress building its third and largest aircraft carrier.

by Liu Zhen

The ship, known as the Type 002, is China’s first domestically designed aircraft carrier.

“While details regarding the Type 002 are limited, what is observable at Jiangnan is consistent with what is expected for the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s third aircraft carrier,” the center’s ChinaPower analysis said.
A satellite image shows what appears to be the construction of a third Chinese aircraft carrier at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai. Photo: CSIS/ChinaPower/Maxar Technologies via Reuters

China Isn’t an Enemy and Hawks Shouldn’t Turn It Into One


The Pentagon recently released its latest report on the Chinese military, titled “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2019.” Although mandated by Congress, the Department of Defense probably would have produced the volume even if not required to do so. How else would they justify Washington’s massive military expenditures, globe-spanning network of bases, and troop deployments in dozens of nations? China is the best “necessary enemy.”

The Chinese economy continues to grow, even if not quite as fast as claimed, and likely will eventually match America’s. Moreover, China has become the world’s greatest trading nation, surpassing American commerce with such U.S. allies as South Korea. Beijing has become a tough economic competitor even in Latin America.

The Xi Jinping government is increasing state direction of the economy, treating everything as a resource to enhance national power. It’s also expanding totalitarian controls over academic institutions, social media, private business, websites, churches, and non-governmental organizations. The Maoist project is being reborn as hopes for a more liberal China go aglimmering.

Does your combat experience even matter against Chinese and Russian troops?

By: Kyle Rempfer  

As China and Russia modernize their militaries and restructure their forces, the U.S. military is wary that its traditional advantages may be negated in a potential war with either, or both, powers.

In the face of a rising China and resurgent Russia, some pundits point to the U.S. military’s surplus of combat experience and large-scale logistical expertise in massing forces as an overwhelming advantage.

But that may not actually help that much against a peer adversary capable of launching cyber attacks the minute mobilization orders are cut, according to retired Army Gen. Jack Keane, a former vice chief of staff for the U.S. Army.

“A commander today at Fort Bragg, in the pre-deployment phase, will be disrupted by cyber attacks on personnel manifests, loading rail cars [and] moving convoys to ships,” Keane, who serves as chairman of the Institute for the Study of War, said Wednesday at a Foundation for Defense of Democracies forum in Washington, D.C.

China’s Electric Vehicle Market: A Storm of Competition Is Coming

China’s booming electric vehicle industry is headed for some tough price competition followed by a shakeout, according to experts. The competitive landscape for China’s EV market is changing dramatically on several fronts. The phase-out of Chinese government subsidies on EVs is set to gather speed in June before they are eliminated by 2020. Meanwhile, some 500 manufacturers have registered to make EVs in the country. Global automakers such as GM and Volkswagen are also expected to intensify their efforts in China, bringing superior technology and brand recognition.

Against the backdrop of those corrections came a trailblazing show last week by Shenzhen-based BYD Company, China’s dominant maker of EVs. BYD — which stands for “Build Your Dreams” — counts Warren Buffett among its investors and posted a 632% jump in profit for this year’s first quarter to 749.73 million yuan ($111.4 million). It sold nearly 118,000 vehicles in the quarter, up 5.2% over last year’s first quarter. In comparison, BYD’s U.S. counterpart and EV maker Tesla posted a loss of $668 million on revenues of $4.5 billion in the latest quarter. The 63,000 cars it sold last quarter represented a 31% fall from the previous quarter.

Vietnam Doesn’t Trust Huawei An Inch


On April 25, Vietnam joined the 5G club as its first base stations buzzed to life on top of the offices of the nation’s largest telecommunications firm. With reported speeds between 600 and 700 megabits per second, the experiment in fifth-generation network technology was on par with the United States’ and South Korea’s April rollouts, when telecom firms introduced 5G on a limited basis.

But Vietnam’s Viettel, a military-owned mobile network operator with ventures spanning from Myanmar to Haiti, is not only planning to deploy 5G. It is also trying to develop its own core technology, vowing that 80 percent of the tech will be developed at home. And while the firm has conceded it may need help from the handful of multinational firms building the hardware, it has emphatically stated that Huawei, the Chinese tech giant, will not be involved.

Viettel’s decision to opt out of Huawei technology is telling, as even the United States’ closet and wealthiest allies have been tempted by the tech giant’s artificially deflated prices despite warnings from Washington that Huawei may introduce compromised 5G infrastructure on behalf of Chinese intelligence. Although Huawei denies colluding with security forces or ever assisting in espionage, any refusal to cooperate would almost certainly be in violation of Chinese law, which broadly compels local entities to assist in state intelligence work when asked. Hanoi, perhaps because its own ruling Communist Party has a similarly close relationship with the Vietnamese private sector, is not buying Huawei’s denials.

People are key to securing the defense-industrial supply chain

By: George Kamis  

Successfully targeting a single component of the defense industrial base can cause a ripple effect that can significantly impact everything from data centers to war fighters in theater, and people are the first line of defense. 

Infiltrating the defense supply chain is one of the most insidious means by which attackers can compromise our nation’s communications and weapons systems. Successfully targeting a single component of the defense industrial base can cause a ripple effect that can significantly impact everything from data centers to war fighters in theater.

The Department of Defense’s new “Deliver Uncompromised” security initiative is designed to tackle this problem at its root cause: third-party suppliers. In essence, the DoD is requiring its suppliers to bake security into their applications from the beginning of the production process. A “good enough” approach that just clears the bar for minimal security criteria is no longer good enough. Security must be ingrained in the very fabric of the entire production process.

There’s a Constitutional Crisis in America’s Security Policy. Can It Be Fixed?

Steven Metz

When America’s founding fathers gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 to design a political system for their young nation, national security was not a high priority. Other than Britain, there were no major enemies nearby, and the founders undoubtedly thought—incorrectly as it turned out—that the British had learned that fighting the feisty Americans was more trouble than it was worth.

What did concern the framers of the Constitution was protecting the liberty of American citizens. To do that, and to avoid a potentially dangerous concentration of power in one branch of government, they created a system of checks and balances with power shared between the branches. This same design principle applied to security policy—to questions of war and peace—but only in very broad terms. The Constitution made the president commander-in-chief of the armed forces when they were called into service, but gave Congress the authority to declare war, ratify treaties, confirm senior executive officials, raise and support armies, provide and maintain a navy, and exercise oversight over the executive. But it did not indicate exactly how this partnership between the presidency and Congress was to function.

What Happens Next in Venezuela?

Venezuelans came close to ousting Nicolás Maduro from power last week. According toreports, Venezuelan opposition leaders have been negotiating with key military and government officials to remove Maduro from office and restore Venezuela’s constitutional order. However, the plan fell apart quickly after key military generals backed off. Last week’s events revealed both cracks within Maduro’s military loyalists and the opposition’s lack of fully coordinated strategy, leaving questions of what happens next for Venezuela, Latin America, and the role of the United States.

The United States and the Lima Group continue to increase pressure on the Maduro regime with diplomatic measures while challenging his legitimacy to continue in office. In addition, the United States and Canada have imposed multiple sanctions, mostly individual sanctions to over a hundred of government-affiliated Venezuelan officials. Financial sanctions were imposed, starting in 2017, while oil sanctions came into full effect with the end of the wind-down period that ended April 28, 2019. Despite external support by Russia, Cuba, China, and a few other countries, Maduro is more isolated diplomatically and economically now than ever before. That being said, the existing external and internal pressures have not been enough to convince Maduro and his inner circle to negotiate their exit ramp.

U.S. Special Forces school publishes new guide for overthrowing foreign governments

by Tom O’Connor

The official school of the United States’ Special Operations Command has published a new paper detailing a decades-long history of Pentagon-backed interference around the world, hoping to provide insight on how best to approach such efforts in the present and future.

The 250-page study, “Support to Resistance: Strategic Purpose and Effectiveness,” was compiled by Army Special Forces veteran Will Irwin and published earlier this week by the official Joint Special Operations University, where he was a resident senior fellow. Though the report notes that its views “are entirely those of the author,” its findings present a comprehensive look at how the U.S. has supported efforts to pressure, undermine and overthrow foreign governments.

The report includes some 47 case studies spanning from 1941 to 2003, detailing a legacy of mixed results that included assisting partisans against the Axis Power satellites during World War II, bolstering anti-communist forces throughout the Cold War and taking on post-9/11 adversaries in Afghanistan and Iraq. The numerous Washington-orchestrated coups of the past 70 years were “not included in this study as they did not involve legitimate resistance movements.”

The Art of a New Iran Deal

By Sanam Vakil

A year ago, U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal on the grounds that he wanted a bigger, better agreement. Criticizing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for its limited scope and scale, Trump has called for a deal that would impose longer-lasting, more stringent restrictions on Iran’s nuclear work, while limiting Tehran’s ballistic missile program and stemming its interference in neighboring countries. To get to such a grand bargain, the Trump administration has pledged to enlist the support of regional players as well as Congress.

How viable is Trump’s ambitious plan? Together with colleagues at Chatham House, I took this question, among others, to 75 analysts and policymakers in ten countries: the United States, Iran, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Israel, Russia, China, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. Respondents assessed the possibility that the United States could yet broker a grand bargain with Iran. They also answered questions relating to the nuclear, regional, and ballistic missile issues that have been under negotiation.

From this survey, we can determine how those most in the know—and likeliest to participate in future talks—evaluate Trump’s Iran policy and its prospects of success. The respondents were overwhelmingly skeptical, and many pointed to the same deficits. The U.S. administration has called for something—a deal—that requires diplomacy but then consistently reached only for the bluntest of coercive instruments. Washington has further undercut its prospects by failing to nurture its European alliances or to create favorable conditions for Tehran to engage in talks. Yesterday’s announcement that Iran will limit compliance with parts of the nuclear agreement is proof positive that the Trump approach is not working.

250,000 Dead in Seoul: What North Korea's Artillery Could Do in a War

by David Axe 

North Korea on May 4, 2019 test-fired a short-range ballistic missile -- its first major launch in the 18 months since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un suspended missile testing ahead of a summit with U.S. president Donald Trump.

Pyongyang on May 9, 2019 launched a second “projectile,” South Korean officials said.

The May tests of at least one apparently nuclear-capable short-range missile startled foreign observers and threatened to elevate tensions between the United States and its allies South Korea and Japan on one side and, on the other side, North Korea and its main patron China.

On a single day eight people die during summit attempts on Mount Everest, now referred to as the 1996 Mount Everest Disaster.

A copy of the Diamond Sutra is printed in China, making it the oldest known dated printed book.

Beating the Air into Submission: Investing in Vertical Lift Modernization (Part II)

In our last paper, we discussed the current state of the U.S. vertical lift fleet and how past investment decisions helped shape this fleet. This brief will focus on future investments.

Vertical lift aircraft are a substantial part of the U.S. military, both in terms of fleet size and investment levels. Helicopters and tiltrotors make up nearly half of the military’s combat aircraft fleet, and with more than $8 billion being spent on buying and developing these aircraft each year, they draw a substantial share of the defense budget.

However, despite major investments, the vertical lift fleet has not undergone generational change since the 1980s. This is especially true within the Army, which has the largest vertical lift fleet. With a new joint effort called Future Vertical Lift (FVL), the Department of Defense (DoD) plans to deliver the next generational leap in capability. This brief (along with a forthcoming third brief ) covers the prospects for vertical lift modernization in the coming decades (using the FY19 Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) as a baseline): the timing and pace of FVL, potential upgrades to the current fleet, and long-term options for FVL.

Future Vertical Lift

Amid Ratcheting Tensions, Iran Doesn’t Know What Trump Really Wants

Frida Ghitis 

Exactly one year after the Trump administration pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, tensions between Washington and Tehran are escalating sharply amid confusion about what, exactly, the U.S. sees as its end goal. For Iran, uncertainty about what President Donald Trump wants to achieve and what he is prepared to do to get there presents a menu of risky choices.

On Wednesday, Iran announced it was withdrawing from parts of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, the initially seven-nation agreement struck in 2015 curbing Iran’s nuclear program that was central to former President Barack Obama’s foreign policy. Starting this week, President Hassan Rouhani said, Iran would start holding on to its enriched uranium and heavy water instead of exporting it, as the JCPOA requires. .

US Sanctions, Iran’s Response and worsening Oil Situation

Amb D P Srivastava

President Rouhani in a nationally televised speech on 8th May announced that Iran would not be temporarily performing some of its obligations under the nuclear deal or Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA). This is not withdrawal from the agreement. As Rouhani said, ‘This surgery is for saving the deal, not destroying it’. Iranian action came a year after President Trump announced US withdrawal from JCPOA, despite Iran maintaining its commitments under the nuclear accord as certified by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Recently, US also imposed additional measures. In early April, it declared Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization. On 22nd April, it announced end of sanctions waivers on crude purchase by eight importing countries. Last Sunday, US announced dispatch of a carrier task force led by USS Abraham Lincoln to the Middle East.

Iran invoked Article 26 of the JCPOA to announce it would stop selling unspent enriched uranium and heavy water to other nations for 60 days. The article allows Iran to treat re-imposition of specified sanctions as ‘grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part.’ During this period, it expects European Union to make good on its promises to protect Iran’s oil and banking sectors. If it does, Iran will resume its cooperation under the nuclear accord proportionately. If not, ‘Iran will scale back more commitments in phases.’

European Biometric Identity Repository Project – National Security Trumps Privacy?

Dr Kamlesh Bajaj

European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect on 28 May 2018, after years of deliberations inside and outside the EU parliament, and in all major economies of the world. That global data flows contribute to global GDP, and data driven innovation (DDI) are critical to individual economies is well recognized. Several studies show that the AI adoption in countries will nearly double the GDP growth rate of advanced economies in 10-15 years. Much has been talked about the conflict between DDI and privacy violation of individuals, while GDPR was in the making.

GDPR implementation has barely started. So, it’s with surprise and disbelief that the world has woken up to the news of the European Parliament voting for a Common Identity Repository (CIR), which will amass biometrics and identity data of over 350 million EU and non-EU citizens, for enabling border control, and for law-enforcement access for national security and public safety. Two different resolutions were passed by the Parliament with over two third majority, in third week of April 2019. The first one was to merge visas and border systems; the other was to merge systems with law-enforcement, judicial, migration, and asylum information. An idea for inter-connectivity among EU databases has transformed into a centralised EU database, which will help simplify the role of border officers and law-enforcement agencies. With a single click they will be able to uniquely identify someone.

Israel and Hamas come close to war

It should have been a celebratory weekend. Israelis were getting ready to mark their 71st independence day. In Gaza 2m Palestinians were making final preparations for the month-long Ramadan holiday, which began on May 6th. And then the rockets and bombs started falling. Residents on both sides spent the weekend cowering under rocket fire and air strikes. Four Israelis were killed, the first civilians to die in fighting with Gaza since a brief but brutal war in 2014. On the Palestinian side 27 people, a mix of militants and civilians, died. As in previous bouts of conflict, the fighting ended with a truce brokered by Egypt, Qatar and the un. And, as before, no one expects it to last.

Such has been the pattern since March 2018, when residents of Gaza began holding regular protests at the barrier separating their enclave from Israel. The protests are meant to call attention to the dire economic situation in the territory, which is blockaded by Israel and Egypt, with only essential supplies allowed in. These restrictions have been in place since 2007 when Hamas, a militant Islamist group, took power. Tensions have risen over the past year, with exchanges of fire between Israel and Hamas every few months.

Escaping the Rat Race: Why We Are Always Running Out of Time

William Penn, a colonist who helped found the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, once said, “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” That’s the dilemma for many people trying to balance the competing demands of work, family, finances, technology and self-care. The rat race is the biggest reason why Americans are so pressed for time, according to a new book by scholar Daniel Hamermesh. That culture likely won’t change without a government mandate, but he doesn’t see that on the horizon for the U.S. Hamermesh, a distinguished scholar at Barnard College and professor emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin, joined the Knowledge@Wharton radio show on Sirius XM to talk about his book, Spending Time: The Most Valuable Resource, and why Americans can’t get off the treadmill. (Listen to the podcast at the top of this page.)

An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

Knowledge@Wharton: Are we spending our time wisely?

U.S. Digs in Deeper in Middle East With New Hardware


Almost 16 months ago, then-U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis initiated a course correction for the Pentagon. After 17 years of war in the Middle East, great power competition with Russia and China, not terrorism, would be the priority.

But this week, the White House ordered an aircraft carrier strike group operating in the Mediterranean Sea and bomber task force to move to the U.S. Central Command region, in a striking show of force designed to counter what acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan called “a credible threat” from Iran to attack U.S. forces. Then on Friday, the United States sent additional hardware into the region, including the USS Arlingtonamphibious ship, which transports U.S. Marines and their equipment, and a Patriot missile battery, according to the Pentagon.

The U.S. Defense Department is tracking threats to U.S. troops in the region from Iran and Iranian proxy forces both on land and by sea, a U.S. defense official told reporters Friday. In the Persian Gulf, the Pentagon has seen “anomalous naval activity” by Iranian regime vessels, such as dhows, small sailing vessels, being loaded with potential military hardware, including missiles.

What Netanyahu and Hamas Are Really Fighting for in Gaza

By Bernard Avishai

This past weekend in Gaza saw the heaviest Palestinian rocket attacks and reciprocal Israeli bombing since the 2014 war. A ceasefire was announced on Monday, though it may prove short-lived. The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said in a statement that “the campaign is not over.” He is deep in negotiations to form a governing coalition, including with the hawkish leader Avigdor Lieberman, who is likely to return to the Defense Ministry, and who, in the past, has advocated for a full-scale invasion of Gaza to topple the Hamas regime. A spokesperson for Hamas, Sami Abu Zuhri, said that “the conflict will not end until we regain our rights.” In typical fashion, Zuhri left ambiguous whether by “rights” he meant the easing of the blockade or “return,” the banner under which youthful, and often fatal, border demonstrations for Palestinians’ “right of return” to their homelands have been mounted for the past year. Netanyahu wants Hamas to think that an invasion is possible; Zuhri wants Israelis to think that the price for such an action would be unacceptably high. Both men defaulted to vendetta banalities; the numbers presumably tell you who should be more afraid of whom.

The Real Reason Europe Needs The EU

In the UK, many Remain voters have made the point that lasting peace in Europe needs to be considered one of the primary achievements of the European Union. How valid is that claim? In order to find out, we analyzed Peter Brecke's Conflict Catalog which documents violent deaths in 3,708 conflicts going all the way back to 1400. The result is the following infographic which estimates the number of violent deaths in wars in Europe between 1800 and 2016.

Did Israel Have the Right to Bomb Hamas’ Cyber HQ?


It is not every day that the response to an attack in cyberspace includes a destroyed building and potentially dozens of dead bodies. Sunday was such a day.

In the morning hours of May 5, the Israeli Defense Forces victoriously tweeted that “we thwarted an attempted Hamas cyber offense against Israeli targets. Following our successful cyber defensive operation, we targeted a building where the Hamas cyber operatives work. HamasCyberHQ.exe has been removed.” ZDNet’s Catalin Cimpanu called it the first time that “Israel has used brute military force to respond to a Hamas cyber-attack.”

Naturally, the incident sparked heated discussions among analysts and pundits alike. Central to all their deliberations were two questions: Was the IDF’s response proportional to the harm suffered? And will this incident shift the debate about norms on deterrence and state behavior in cyberspace?

Crossing a Cyber Rubicon? Overreactions to the IDF’s Strike on the Hamas Cyber Facility

By Robert Chesney 

Amid a massive exchange of rocket fire and airstrikes between Israel and both Hamas and Islamic Jihad this weekend, Hamas attempted a cyber operation against an unspecified civilian target in Israel. The operation failed, and in its aftermath the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carried out an airstrike that destroyed the building housing Hamas’s cyber capability. Some observers are citing the incident as an important—and perhaps dangerous—precedent. Others are questioning the legality of the strike itself. Both these views are misplaced.


Details remain sketchy, but we know this much: Heavy fighting broke out last Friday in Gaza and Israel, with Islamic Jihad and Hamas launching more than 690 rockets and mortars indiscriminately into Israel, and Israel countering with some 320 targeted airstrikes. During these kinetic attacks, according to the commander of IDF cyber division, Hamas attempted to carry out some sort of cyber operation targeting Israeli civilian infrastructure in an unspecified fashion. The operation failed, apparently thwarted by the combined efforts of Unit 8200 and Shin Bet. And then the IDF conducted an airstrike on the building housing the Hamas cyber capability, destroying it and whatever equipment was within (and most likely killing at least some people as well, though I’ve not yet seen any reporting on that specific point).

It's people, not technology, that will decide the future of wor

Sharan Burrow

As a trade union leader, I am often asked about the impending catastrophic impact of technology on jobs. Are the more extreme estimates of job loss credible or is the reality more nuanced? Are we heading towards a data dystopia or on the road to a digital promised land?

In truth, nothing is written in stone. Technology itself will not determine the way forward. It’s all about the choices that governments, businesses, workers and their unions and societies as a whole make.

The accelerating march of digitalisation, robotics and a plethora of technological innovations will affect production, services and life in general - in ways that are hard to predict but which will surely be profound. The challenge is to make the right decisions, putting people at the centre and technology at the service of people.

There is a historic opportunity this year to launch a human-centred agenda for Globalization 4.0 and the future of work: the Centenary of the International Labour Organisation. At the ILO Conference in June, we expect to adopt an ILO Centenary Declaration, a milestone for the ILO itself, and something that will set out the high-level principles on how the world should shape Globalization 4.0.

The AI Boom: Why Trust Will Play a Critical Role

Artificial Intelligence is on the cusp of becoming the biggest technology of the information age, says Horacio Rozanski, president and CEO of Booz Allen Hamilton. However, we need to bake human judgement into it before it is too late, he writes in this opinion piece.

The exponential pace of technological advancement has made it more challenging than ever before to address its unintended consequences. We have seen it with digital innovation, especially social media, and we are only just beginning to contemplate it with artificial intelligence, which holds the promise of being the most transformational technology of the information era.

The unanticipated consequences of digital innovation have been well documented. Live-streaming of unspeakable violence and other crimes. Proliferation of conspiracy theories. Addiction that alters kids’ brains and emotional health. Groupthink that worsens political and societal divisions. The promotion of cultural tribalism, intolerence and social divisiveness. Foreign manipulation of social media that undermines electoral integrity. All of these developments have degraded our trust in digital technologies.

Israel responded to a Hamas cyberattack with an airstrike. That’s not such a big deal.

By Erica D. Borghard and Jacquelyn Schneider

On May 5, the Israel Defense Forces announced on Twitter that “HamasCyberHQ.exe” had been removed “following our successful cyber defensive operation.” Later, Brig. Gen. “Dalet” (a pseudonym) explainedthat Israeli fighter aircraft had launched a strike on a building hosting Hamas cyber operatives. He said that they had been engaged in a cyberattack aimed at “harming the quality of life of Israeli citizens.” 

This is a big deal in debates over cyber strategy. As cyberwarfare has become an essential instrument of power, the question of how it relates to traditional military force has become increasingly important. When a nation suffers a cyberattack, should it retaliate only through cyberattacks, or should it feel free to use physical force? Is moving from cyberattacks to physical attacks an escalation, which might cause further retaliation? And if a nation moved in the opposite direction — responding to a physical attack with a cyberattack — should that be seen as a dangerous escalation? 

Does Capitalism Mean War?

During the Cold war, the major antagonists, United States and Soviet Union, faced one another at European borders. No military confrontations occurred between them. Their cooperation, in a war to end all wars, had a brief interlude, and succeeding years detected huge losses of lives in endless conflicts.

The Cold War atmosphere became a testing ground for two systems. The capitalist system gained economic and political victories, but at what cost? A fundamental question emerged from the rhetoric and saber rattling -- which system, capitalist or socialist, was more likely to contain peace, or stated another way, more likely to wage war?

Examination of the conflicts occurring during the Cold War provides a clue and answers another lingering question. "Does Capitalism mean war?" A chart of the history of major wars during the 1946-1991 era tells a story. Years succeeding the collapse of the Soviet Union and its communist system add to the story. A review of economic warfare completes the picture. A chart describes major and local wars from 1946 to 2019 with the following criteria: