1 June 2019

An Unnatural Partnership? The Future of U.S.-India Strategic Cooperation

Dr Samit Ganguly, Dr M Chris Mason

As global competition with an increasingly assertive Chinese Government expands, the strategic relationship between India and the United States is assuming ever-greater importance. From a superficial perspective, a strategic partnership seems to make a great deal of sense for both countries. Yet, enormous political, cultural, and structural obstacles remain between them, which continue to slow the progress in security cooperation to a crawl, relative to China’s economic and military advances. The authors explore these impediments frankly and suggest practical ways to build trust and establish confidence.

Modi must advance national security

Brahma Chellaney 

Narendra Modi’s return to power with a stunning majority reflects the desire of Indians for a dynamic, assertive leadership that reinvents India as a more secure, confident and competitive country. Contrast the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s nationalist plank with the opposing forces’ lack of ideological conviction or a clear national agenda. Most Indian parties, including the BJP’s own allies, are controlled by single families, which run them like family-owned businesses. The state-level election success of a few notwithstanding, the humiliating rout of many such parties shows that politics guided by families, not principles or national vision, is out of sync with the new India.

Indians not only want their country to stop punching below its weight but also to emerge truly as a great power. But without ameliorating its security challenges and investing in human capital, India has little hope of becoming a major power with a high level of autonomous and innovative technological capability.

Pakistan Puts Out Feelers for Dialogue With India

What Happened

Without getting ahead of themselves, rivals India and Pakistan are testing the waters for a revival of talks. On May 23, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted his congratulations to his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, on the latter's landslide victory in India's general election; Modi returned the favor, expressing his gratitude to Khan for the gesture. Three days later, the two leaders spoke by phone.

Also last week, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi reshuffled officials in 18 diplomatic posts. As part of the changes, Qureshi shifted the country's ambassador to France, Moin-ul-Haque, to the vacant post of high commissioner to India — indicating Khan's desire to inject fresh energy into a position that is critical for dialogue with India. This week, Qureshi also exchanged pleasantries with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization ministerial meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Taliban, Russia Demand Foreign Troops Leave Afghanistan

Ayaz Gul

The Taliban and Russia have jointly called for the withdrawal of U.S.-led coalition troops from Afghanistan, with a top leader of the Islamist insurgent group denouncing the foreign presence in the country as a major obstacle to Afghan peace.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the political deputy of the Taliban, made the remarks in Moscow to a gathering of Russian and Afghan government personnel, as well as representatives from prominent political groups from the war-torn country.

Russia organized the meeting to mark the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Afghanistan.

"The Islamic Emirate [Taliban] is truly committed to peace but the first step is to remove obstacles in the way of peace, meaning the occupation of Afghanistan must come to an end," Baradar said in rare public appearance and speech.

What veterans want in a commander in chief

Veterans we spoke to emphasized the importance of strong leadership and humility – and not just in the White House. Both parties are trying to recruit more veterans to run for Congress, while three young vets are seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. 

Green Beret Mike Waltz (r.) instructs a member of the Afghan National Police (l., blue shirt) in basic tactics in an undisclosed location. The police were ill-equipped and poorly trained for the isolated paramilitary operations required to combat the Taliban.

Mike Waltz remembers being in Afghanistan as a Green Beret when President Barack Obama announced badly needed troop increases – and, simultaneously, a timeline for withdrawal.

A colleague turned to him and said, “Sir, can you imagine Franklin Delano Roosevelt announcing to the world that we have just embarked on D-Day, but telling the Germans we would only be there six months?”

Terrorism on the Teardrop Island: Understanding the Easter 2019 Attacks in Sri Lanka

by Amarnath Amarasingam

The Southern Poverty Law Center notes, “white genocide holds that forces—principally Jewish, often coded as ‘globalist’—are pursuing policies seeking to destroy the ‘white race’ in their ‘traditional homelands’ like Europe and the United States through the deliberate importation of non-white people. This is what the torch-bearing white supremacists who marched on the campus of the University of Virginia meant when they chanted ‘Jews will not replace us.’” This drives the conspiratorial worldview that Jews are the most urgent, mortal threat to the white race and justifies violence against Jews to prevent the “white genocide.”


As crazy as it may seem, might we consider that the extremists may have something here?

In this regard, consider the following from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law. (The article is entitled "Moral Communities or A Market State?")

BEGIN QUOTE (See Page 643)

Huawei Revs Up Its U.S. Lawsuit, With the Media in Min

By Paul Mozur

SHANGHAI — Huawei is ramping up its legal challenge to American limits on purchases of its equipment, in a sign that it is doubling down on its strategy of fighting the Trump administration through the courts and public opinion rather than through quiet negotiations.

The Chinese telecommunications giant filed a motion on Tuesday in the United States to accelerate its lawsuit against the White House, which it filed in March in a federal court in Texas. The request for summary judgment could expedite an outcome without the costs and time of a full trial, including avoiding handing over sensitive corporate information during the discovery process. It also could give the company a chance to present its arguments publicly in front of a judge in just a few months rather than wait for a trial to unfold.

To announce its filing, Huawei’s legal team turned to the American news media twice. Huawei’s chief legal officer, Song Liuping, laid out the company’s argument for the motion in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal that appeared on Monday. Then on Wednesday in China, the company hosted a news conference at its headquarters in the city of Shenzhen.

Unforgettable Tiananmen


LONDON – Thirty years ago this month, I was in Beijing as a British development minister for the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank. But what took place at that gathering – including the seating for the first time of a delegation from Taiwan – was overshadowed by what was happening across the city. And what happened in China in 1989 continues to resonate deeply today, not least in Hong Kong.

For the past 40 years, the United States and other advanced economies have been pursuing a free-market agenda of low taxes, deregulation, and cuts to social programs. There can no longer be any doubt that this approach has failed spectacularly; the only question is what will – and should – come next.9Add to Bookmarks

The big event in Beijing in late May of that year was supposed to be a state visit by the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev; the Chinese leadership was keen to show him how an orderly communist regime ran a great country, in comparison to the dissolution occurring in the Soviet Union under perestroika. But like an enormous unexpected firework display, an almost festive explosion of yearning for freedom greeted both sides.

Why Is China Sending Top Military Brass to Shangri-La 2019?

By Eleanor Albert

General and State Councilor Wei Fenghe, China’s minister of national defense, is set to deliver a speech as his country’s representative at the Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) from May 31 to June 2 in Singapore. The annual gathering is dedicated to bringing together defense ministers and military officials from various Asia-Pacific countries, as well as scholars and members of the media, to promote exchanges on the region’s pressing security matters and foster interstate relationships. Wei, whose speech will be given on the final day of the forum, is the highest ranking Chinese delegate to attend since 2011.

It should surprise no one that the central phenomenon shaping all items on the 2019 Shangri-La Dialogue’s agenda is the seeming entrenchment of Sino-American rivalry. Asia’s defense policymakers will descend upon the city-state of Singapore amid new and recurrent tensions in the bilateral relationship between Beijing and Washington. Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s keynote address will address competition between Washington and Beijing and its impact on the Asia-Pacific, as well as the role that smaller states can play to boost regional security and world order.

The U.S. Expects China Will Quickly Double Its Nuclear Stockpile


China is expected to increase its nuclear weapons stockpile by twofold in the coming decade, according to a new U.S. military intelligence assessment, part of a sweeping build-up of Beijing’s strategic arsenal.

“Over the next decade, China is likely to at least double the size of its nuclear stockpile in the course of implementing the most rapid expansion and diversification of its nuclear arsenal in China’s history,” Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, the director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency said during a speech on Wednesday.

Speaking at the Hudson Institute in Washington, Ashley also accused both China and Russia of covertly testing low-yield nuclear weapons in violation of a 23-year old international treaty. The allegation came less than three months before the expected end of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forcesagreement with Russia; and two years from the expiration of the landmark New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START.

Rule of the rigid compromiser

Cheng Li and Diana Liang

President Xi Jinping’s populist leadership of China, six years on, has been a lesson in the art of mixing flexibility in tactics and rigidity in ideology—alongside the ultimate goal of growing his own power and that of China. Cheng Li and Diana Liang unpack Xi's domestic and foreign policies and highlight important takeaways for American analysts and policymakers around the world in their search for a more effective approach to China. This piece originally appeared on the Cairo Review.

Conventional wisdom holds that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s domestic governance and foreign policy are ideologically rigid and politically single-minded, incongruent with the reality of both environments. Xi’s doubling down on state capitalism, the abolishment of presidential term limits, Cultural Revolution-style propaganda, the cult of personality, and assertive foreign policy in recent years have all seemed to align with this perception.

However, Xi has blended rigidity in his goals and overarching strategy with flexibility and compromise in his tactics. Although these illiberal trends are undoubtedly central to Xi’s leadership, he has not demonstrated anywhere near the same level of inflexibility as Mao Zedong in policy and has made a number of important accommodations. Examples of this include promoting private sector growth through tax cuts and other mechanisms, opening the business environment for foreign companies, and offering compromises in trade relations with the United States. Equally important, Xi has made efforts to broaden his power base, burnishing his image as the leader of the people by moving away from his previously strong ties with princelings—leaders like himself who come from veteran communist families.

US airstrikes interrupt ISIS and al-Shabaab battleground

By: Kyle Rempfer 

The U.S. appears to be stepping up airstrikes in northern Somalia’s Golis Mountains, where the country’s Islamic State affiliate and al-Shabaab have been battling for territorial control.

On Sunday, the U.S. conducted an airstrike that killed three al-Shabaab militants in the Golis Mountains. This was the sixth airstrike in the last month against IS-Somalia and al-Shabaab in the region.

“We constantly assess and exploit intelligence sources as they develop,” U.S. Africa Command spokesman John D. Manley said in an email. “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, the last few days presented opportunities to successfully reduce terrorist influence and activity in the Golis Mountains."

AFRICOM maintains that the airstrikes help to keep militant leadership and recruiting efforts in a state of flux, though al-Shabaab remains a lethal insurgent group in many rural areas across the country.

In Yemen Conflict, Some See A New Age Of Drone Warfare


Iranian soldiers carry part of a target drone used in air-defense exercises. Iran is also turning some target drones into low-tech weapons for its proxies.Iranian Army via AP

In January, a group of high-level military commanders gathered at an air base in Yemen. It was far from the frontlines of the country's ongoing civil war.

Then, without warning, a small drone appeared out of the sky and exploded, spraying the group with shrapnel. According to news reports, the blast killed several, including the Yemeni government's head of military intelligence.

"It's pretty scary because it's clear that these guys had no idea what had just happened," says Nick Waters, a researcher with the U.K.-based online investigative group Bellingcat who has been tracking the Yemen conflict.

Why ISIS Remains a Threat

Ben Jonsson

Despite a net loss of territory in Iraq and Syria since January 2016, the Islamic State carried out complex attacks in Brussels and the Philippines and inspired other attacks in Turkey and Asia during the same months. The successful attacks suggest that the Islamic State’s ability to threaten U.S. interests will likely outlast its control of significant swaths of territory. Mitigating the long-term threat of the Islamic State will thus require more than its military defeat on the battlefield in Syria and Iraq.

The United States must challenge the Islamic State’s powerful messages even as its territory recedes. Understanding how the Islamic State portrays its struggle for Syria can offer insights on how to challenge its survival by addressing its core appeal to constituents.

An analysis of 134 Twitter posts from January 1-31, 2016, all allegedly originating from within Syria, revealed four broad themes of the Islamic State’s information campaign.
Strength of its military (victory, targeting, advanced weapons built in the caliphate, spoils gained)

France’s Macron Strengthens His EU Hand With European Parliament Vote

Judah Grunstein

While the ostensible purpose of European Parliament elections, which took place this weekend, is to determine the makeup of the European Union’s deliberative body, the results often have implications for domestic politics across the member states. This is certainly the case for French President Emmanuel Macron, who positioned himself prominently in this year’s election campaign. But it’s still unclear exactly what impact the vote will have on the future of European or French politics.

Macron portrayed the vote as a battle between his progressive, reformist vision for the EU and the illiberal, nationalist policies championed by the bloc’s far-right populist parties. It was a risky gamble, since European elections often boil down to a referendum on the popularity of national governments, in which a minority of voters participate. They also by nature favor single-issue parties—it’s no coincidence that the Animalist Party, whose platform focused exclusively on protecting animals’ rights, finished with over 2 percent of Sunday’s vote in France. Given Macron’s recent difficulties due to France’s Yellow Vest movement and the focused euroskeptic brand of his far-right rival, Marine Le Pen, Macron was at a distinct disadvantage from the outset.

America Might Not Be Able to Beat Russia or China In a War Thanks to 1 Problem

by Kris Osborn

Given these pressing concerns, and many others, there is clearly an unambiguous and pressing need to rapidly address a Military Sealift crisis. In addition to upcoming budget planning, there appears to be an immediate need to re-direct or fast-track funding to address the deficit. Many believe the threats are simply far too serious for the US to do otherwise.

As the Pentagon accelerates its pivot toward great power competition and moves beyond 15 years of counterinsurgency, the US military continues to build up forces, increase training and conduct exercises with regional allies in both the European and Pacific theaters. 

This is widely known, as NATO and US Army Europe continue to launch visible allied interoperability operations and -- simply put -- continue a substantial buildup of military power. Of course, much of this is intended to send an unambiguous “deterrence” message to Russia.

What Europe Should Worry About Most: Bad Demographics

Chris Karidis 

PARIS — Nationalist forces and their alarmist, demagogic obsession with migration took center stagethroughout the European election campaign. The results, therefore, showed that the extreme right's strategy — playing on fears that Europe is being overrun by hoards of outsiders — continues to be effective.

What got lost in the noise, however, are two other demographic trends that are quietly shaping the Europe of tomorrow in a lasting and structural way: the aging of the population, and emigration from one EU country to another.

In less than 30 years, 20% of Romanians, 12% of Bulgarians and 7% of Poles have left to work in other European countries, according to Eurostat figures. These waves of departures constitute a demographic upheaval, with multiple consequences for EU stability. At first, the exodus primarily involved people in Central and Eastern Europe (the CEE) after the fall of the Berlin Wall. But it took on a whole other dimension after the financial crisis of 2008, and further accelerated with the debt crisis of 2011.

This Is Not a Great-Power Competition

By Michael J. Mazarr

A new era of great-power competition is upon us. That, at least, is the emerging conventional wisdom among foreign policy analysts in Washington. Both the 2017 National Security Strategy (NSS) and the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) signaled a shift in thinking:the unclassified summary of the latter declared that “inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security,” and many have turned to the classic concept of great-power rivals to describe the new reality. “After being dismissed as a phenomenon of an earlier century,” the NSS concluded, “great power competition returned.” Former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis used the term in a speech outlining the NDS. Outside government, references to great-power competition have proliferated over the last several months, the term having become a sort of shorthand for the situation the United States now faces. But does the phrase really capture today’s reality?

Great-power competition describes a specific pattern of relations between states—the sort practiced by the great empires and nation-states from the seventeenth through the early twentieth centuries. China’s rise as an economic and political power and Russia’s increasing assertiveness on the world stage have understandably fueled analogies to that time. But the emerging era does not match the patterns of the past. Treating it as though it does risks misunderstanding both the character of today’s threats and the source of the United States’ competitive advantages.


'Plenty Of Cards To Play': Chinese Media Suggest Cutting Rare Earth Exports To U.S.


A worker in China shifts soil containing rare earth minerals intended for export in 2010. Rare earths are used in important technologies, and a commentary in China's People's Daily newspaper on Wednesday said the U.S. endangers its supply from China by waging a trade war.STR/AFP/Getty Images

China is ready to capitalize on its dominance as an exporter of rare earth minerals by cutting its exports to the U.S., Chinese media reported Wednesday.

Rare earths are a group of elements with unique properties that are used in cell phones, hybrid cars and cancer treatment. They also play an important role in U.S. defense, from computers to aircraft engines.

The Contradictory Nature of U.S.-Japan Relations

By Rodger Baker

Once again, U.S.-Japanese relations are diverging between strategic cooperation and economic competition — a long established pattern. Trade disputes are not uncommon between the two countries: The United States actively challenged Japan's economic might in the midst of the Cold War, despite being dependent on the strategic position of its key Pacific ally. The rise of China has brought Japan out of its economic malaise, and Tokyo is rapidly moving away from the postwar prohibitions of the Yoshida Doctrine and Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution. Even as the United States and Japan struggle with a trade imbalance, there is a growing alignment of interests and actions when it comes to the strategic question of managing China.

Artificial Intelligence for the Warfighter: How Emerging Technologies are Changing Decision-Making

- Sun Tzu

“Speed is the essence of war."

In an era of exponentially expanding data, the challenge of collecting and distilling information into actionable insights has become exceedingly daunting. The amount of information in the world is increasing far more quickly than our ability to process it; there is simply too much data for humans to analyze in order to keep pace with mission demands. To better anticipate the multitude of complex adversary threats, analysts must be armed with the processing speeds that modern technology provides. New advances in automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are increasingly unburdening analysts and providing greater visibility for the warfighter, but questions remain: how can we ensure that analytic outputs are accurate and contextualized to the mission? And what does ideal human-machine collaboration look like?

How 5G is the key to protecting US interests

By: James “Spider” Marks 

One of the greatest assets to United States national security is our global dominance in the technology sector. For decades, the United States has led in the development of next-generation technology used by civilians and the military alike.

President Trump signed an executive order May 15 banning any company that poses “an unacceptable risk” to the security of our nation’s telecommunications networks from doing work in the United States. The Department of Commerce followed suit, preventing “American technology from being used by foreign-owned entities in ways that potentially undermine U.S. national security or foreign policy interests.” These moves, while political in nature, were critically important to preserving America’s dominance in the tech sector and providing secure communications networks here at home and abroad in allied nations.

3 big changes in how the Army thinks about software

By: Mark Pomerleau   

The Army is changing the way it buys software and has started entering into new agreements with industry to acquire the intellectual property rights of software.

Generally, contractors that develop systems for the Army own the actual code they write. This means if an update needs to be made quickly, the Army has to go back to the contractor and often pay for updates because they don’t own the rights to the programming.

“It used to be the way we looked at intellectual property rights is we kind of saw it as a binary decision. The government either bought it or we didn’t. Most times we didn’t because it was very expensive,” Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor, commander of Communications and Electronics Command (CECOM), told C4ISRNET in a May 20 interview. “The reason it was so expensive is because what company would want to compromise that?”

Dunford: The military shouldn’t just grow for the sake of it

By: Meghann Myers  

As the services work out of a funding and readiness hole brought on by the Global War on Terror and budget gridlock in Congress, both the Navy and the Air Force have signaled that they’d like to grow ― not just in end strength, but in ships and aircraft.

But they should be wary of building that force structure without having enough training hours, maintenance dollars and quality leadership to operate them well, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford told an audience Wednesday at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

“I don’t dispute need to increase capacity. If we’re going to grow capacity, you need to do it in away where it is meaningful capability,” he said. “When you have to make a choice between capacity and capability, I would go with capability.”

The Making of the Military-Intellectual Complex


In 1947, two years after the United States emerged victorious in World War II, the 80th U.S. Congress passed the National Security Act, which created the Department of Defense (originally titled the National Military Establishment), Central Intelligence Agency, and National Security Council. Though the nation had demobilized after the war, anxieties about communism quickly permeated the American foreign policy establishment. To combat the Soviet Union—and to manage the nation’s increasingly global interests—decision-makers established, for the first time in American history, a peacetime “national security state” able to deploy thousands of weapons and millions of troops all over the world.

Compared to its better-known counterparts, the National Security Council remains something of a mystery. Headquartered in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House and a block away from the Council on Foreign Relations, the NSC bridges the gap between the intellectuals and decision-makers of the foreign policy establishment. The council, in short, is a core institution of the “military-intellectual complex,” the network of organizations that since the late-1940s have provided government officials with the ideas they rely on to make foreign policy. If the military-industrial complex builds the weapons of American empire, the military-intellectual complex develops the concepts that determine where such weapons are actually used.