7 June 2019

India's Foreign Policy in an Uncertain World

By Shyam Saran

The foremost foreign policy challenge for the incoming government will be to adapt to a changing world order. Even as Western dominance has diminished, no power has emerged that is capable of inheriting its mantle. Therefore, the current phase of disruption and altered relations among states is likely to continue. It is also becoming clear that the US and China are moving from competition to confrontation. Balancing relations with these two countries will become more difficult and India will have to contend with pressures to join one camp or another. Against this geopolitical backdrop, the new government will have to fashion a foreign policy that offers opportunities for expanding India’s strategic space even as it seeks to tackle increasingly complex challenges. Some of these are discussed below.

Challenges, Old and New

The Future is Federal: Why Indian Foreign Policy Needs to Leverage its Border States

By Nimmi Kurian

India’s neighbourhood policy makes for a feel-good narrative of reimagining borders as bridges and speaks a comfortable cosmopolitan language, laying claim to a universal vision of globalism. The country’s diplomatic engagement has begun to acquire a level of diversity and complexity in recent years with a host of subregional initiatives such as the Bay of Bengal Multi-Sectoral Initiative for Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), the Mekong Ganga Economic Cooperation (MGC), and the Bangladesh China India Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM). The past five years have seen a further deepening of this idea at the substantive as well as rhetorical levels with initiatives such as the Neighbourhood First policy, the rechristened Act East policy, Prime Minister Modi’s high-profile visits to South Asian capitals, and the setting up of a States Division at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).1 

But for all its enthusiastic rhetoric, there is a curious paradox at the heart of India’s subregional discourse. While the border states are projected as bridges between India and the neighbourhood, in actual practice India’s neighbourhood policy remains unambiguously top-down and continues to be firmly led and steered by New Delhi. This is both puzzling and problematic since the notion of subregional cooperation is fundamentally premised on making geographically proximate border regions within two or more countries important sites of cooperation. Standing this logic virtually on its head, it is New Delhi that has regularly hosted BIMSTEC’s Working Groups on regional governance issues such as disaster management, customs cooperation and regulation of passenger and cargo vehicular traffic. A comparison with the working of China’s subregional discourse is both revealing and sobering. China’s border province of Yunnan, for example, regularly hosts the Greater Mekong Sub-region Working Groups on a range of regional governance issues such as environment, tourism and agriculture. The centralising impulse is again all too evident in India’s discourse on border trade, for instance in Dharchula, Uttarakhand, an ancient border town located on the trans-Himalayan trading routes with Nepal and China. Trade permits required to conduct trade are no longer issued at the border but instead in Dehradun, the state capital, entailing protracted procedural delays and costs. Taken together, dichotomies such as these represent a classic instance of suboptimal subregionalism at work, a discourse that has clearly ended up aiming low and hitting lower.2

Rethinking India’s Approach to International and Domestic Climate Policy

By Navroz K Dubash and Lavanya Rajamani

India has traditionally approached climate change as a diplomatic issue, insisting that the developed world – because of their disproportionate role in causing the problem – should lead the way in reducing emissions, and provide the developing world the finance and technology to do so. While this approach is entirely justifiable and has served India well in the past, there are compelling reasons for the country to rethink its approach to international and domestic climate policy. First, climate change is likely to have profound and devastating impacts in India, impacts that will make the task of development and poverty eradication considerably harder. Second, there are several cost-effective actions that India can take that serve its development as well as climate interests. Rethinking our approach would translate internationally into our joining, even leading, a ‘coalition of the willing’ that advocates for an ambitious and strong rules-based global climate regime. Domestically, it would translate into a proactive exploration of lower-carbon opportunities for growth that foster development, while investing in climate adaptation and resilience. Rethinking our approach at the international and domestic levels, however, calls for strong institutions for climate governance. 

This paper, after a brief context setting section, lays out elements of an approach to international and domestic climate policy that is likely to serve India well in the long run.

Need for a Comprehensive National Security Strategy

By Shyam Saran

In the recent general elections, national security has emerged as a major political issue. However, the discourse over national security has been limited to dealing with specific security-related episodes such as terrorist attacks at Pathankot, Uri and Pulwama on the Line of Control with Pakistan; the stand-off with Chinese forces on the India-Bhutan-China border; and the security operations in the disturbed state of Jammu and Kashmir. A holistic discussion of India’s national security rarely occurs in the public space or even within the government. The Indian state does not possess an overarching national security strategy (NSS) that comprehensively assesses the challenges to the country’s security and spells out policies to deal effectively with them; of course such a strategy must be executed within the parameters laid down by the Constitution of India and the country’s democratic political dispensation. In the absence of an overall strategy, the state relies on ad hoc responses of questionable utility. Moreover, it possesses no mechanism that permits it to learn from its experiences. Ad hocism also neglects the broader political, social and economic context within which specific episodes must be located and understood.

Winning in Afghanistan Requires Taking the Fight to Pakistan

by Michael Rubin

U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad was in Washington, DC last week to brief Capitol Hill on his ongoing talks with the Taliban. The senators were unimpressed, and with reason. There any many flaws in Khalilzad’s plan: It revives the pre-9/11 formula of legitimizing Taliban rule in exchange for a Taliban pledge to close terror camps; it undercuts the legitimacy of the elected Afghan government; and it discounts the Taliban’s long history of insincere diplomacy and fleeting commitments. The biggest problem with Khalilzad’s approach, however, is it ignores a simple fact: There can be no peace in Afghanistan so long as Pakistan chooses to undercut Afghan stability and support extremism. The missing piece to the Khalilzad strategy, therefore, is how to bring Pakistan to heel.

Why Pakistan Supports Radicalism

Rising Threat of Radicalization in Kerala and Connections to Sri Lanka

By: Brian M. Perkins

Aside from a branch of fighters in the restive region of Jammu and Kashmir, India has largely been spared violence at the hands of fighters belonging to, or aligned with, Islamic State (IS). Similarly, many of the once potent terrorist groups operating in India have largely been dismantled in recent years. The country does, however, have its fair share of IS sympathizers and individuals who have traveled abroad to fight alongside IS in Syria and Iraq. Indian security forces have mostly managed to foil attacks plotted by IS sympathizers across the country over the past year.

During IS’ recent rebranding and string of announcements regarding new Wilayat (provinces), the group announced the formation of Wilayat al-Hind in May following an attack in Jammu and Kashmir. Perhaps the most shocking recent development regarding IS in India, however, is the revelation of tentative connections between radicalized individuals in Kerala State and the culprits behind the deadly Easter Sunday bombings in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

IS Connections and Radicalization in India

China's Ascent

by Keyu Jin

As it transforms from an economic backwater to the most connected hub in the global economy, China is driving seismic changes, within its own borders and beyond. It is the second time in recent history that a developing economy is on the fast track to becoming the world’s largest, but it is the first time this has happened in such an interconnected world.

How China - a unique country in transition - designs its financial liberalization and opening-up policies will be of paramount importance to all. So will the mantle the country is bound to assume in the realm of global economic cooperation. Contemporary thinking on the future of the international financial order does not yet focus on the new paradigm created by China - but it should.

China in 2040 will look on the face of things to be a mighty economic power. Under plausible projections, it will have firmly established itself as the largest economy in the world, with 60 to 70 percent of the US income level. But in 20 years, China will still be a developing economy by many measures - its financial development will lag its economic development, and many economic and policy distortions may still persist.

Beijing After Tiananmen: Part 1

By Bonnie Girard

The massacre of unarmed civilians that happened in the early morning hours of June 4, 1989 in Beijing did not end the story of suffering, sorrow, and trauma for the city’s residents that year. Indeed, the murders in Beijing – some reliable sources say of up to 10,000 people, as quoted by the British ambassador to China at that time, Sir Alan Donald – were the dramatic catalyst for a lengthy period of quiet but highly effective terror under martial law that lasted for the rest of the year.

The story of those six months is largely untold, for three reasons. First, there were very few foreigners in Beijing following the massacre. At most embassies, and among the still tiny business community, all but essential staff were evacuated from the city. Many did not return for weeks or even months thereafter. Second, there were few Chinese who would have dared to talk with a foreigner at all, much less with a foreign news outlet. The consequences would have been arrest, detention, and possibly worse.

China’s Complacent Generation


China hasn’t seen a major democracy movement in a generation. Thirty years ago, when Chinese tanks brutally crushed such protests in Tiananmen Square, many observers wondered if the Chinese Communist Party could survive massacring its own citizens. But not only did the CCP survive, it flourished, even as it has become more alienated from the Chinese people.

The CCP’s strength has been made clear most recently by its ability to control a string of sensitive anniversaries this spring. Last month marked the 100th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement, a student uprising in republican China that shaped China’s 20th-century history. As told in CCP mythology, the May Fourth Movement ignited the revolutionary fervor that led to the party’s founding two years later, in 1921, and the eventual rise to power of Mao Zedong.

Conflict with China Is Not About a Clash of Civilizations

by Peter Harris 

Are the United States and China headed for a clash of civilizations? For many, just entertaining this question provokes discomfort. The temptation is to reject all talk of “civilizations” because any breath expended, or ink spilled, discussing the topic will only legitimize those who peddle pessimistic and outright racist theories of international politics. To state the obvious, worldviews that essentialize differences between the peoples of the world do not have a happy history.

Yet last month, an official in the Trump administration lent support to the civilizational lens for viewing world politics by suggesting that China represents a unique threat to the United States precisely because it is not part of “the West” and, moreover, because Chinese people are not white. These were not the remarks of a rogue, low-level bureaucrat. They belonged to Dr. Kiron Skinner, director of policy planning at the State Department.

Remembering Tiananmen Square Is Dangerous, Even in Hong Kong


HONG KONG—One evening 30 years ago, Wu Xiangdong took his girlfriend home and then, defying orders that had gone out over state media, went to Tiananmen Square, his camera in tow.

For the past six weeks, the square—which lies at the heart of Beijing—had been the epicenter of student protests that eventually swelled into a movement of more than a million Chinese calling for democratic reform, an end to government corruption, and a better-functioning economy. Wu wanted those things, too. But he was also an amateur photographer, and what place was more important than Tiananmen Square?

The next day—June 4, 1989—the Chinese People’s Liberation Army moved in with tanks and machine guns to clear the area. A bullet from one of those machine guns struck Wu in the neck, killing him. He was just 21. When his family retrieved his body from the hospital, they found a roll of undeveloped film in his camera.

Tiananmen at 30

For 30 years, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has tried to suppress all recollection of the massacre of peaceful protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. And yet the legacy of the brutal repression of China’s pro-democracy movement seems more relevant than ever.

In this Big Picture, China scholar Minxin Pei explains how the crackdown derailed the country’s inchoate liberal forces and laid the groundwork for today’s return to hardline Leninism. But as Ian Buruma, the author of A Tokyo Romance, points out, the occasion also precipitated China’s full embrace of illiberal capitalism, a governance model now favored by autocrats around the world. Brahma Chellaney of the New Dehli-based Center for Policy Research, however, anticipates that China’s 30-year stint of global free-riding and brutal repression will soon be challenged like never before.

A tribunal for ISIS fighters?

Anthony Dworkin

The goal of establishing an international tribunal to prosecute ISIS fighters is gaining momentum in European capitals, however, whether this aspiration can be translated into a credible policy remains to be seen

The idea of setting up an international tribunal to try fighters from the Islamic State group (ISIS) is gaining momentum in Europe. Sweden, whose interior minister has been promoting the concept in European capitals, will host a meeting of European officials to discuss the initiative on Monday. The Dutch foreign minister plans to bring the idea to the United Nations in the autumn. This flurry of activity testifies to EU governments’ intense desire to find some way to deal with the hundreds of European ISIS supporters and their family members detained by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). An international tribunal is an attractive idea in many ways, but it does not offer an easy or complete solution to the dilemma these governments face.

Sectarianism, Salafism and the Latent Terror Threat in Saudi Arabia

By: Andrew Devereux


On April 23, 37 individuals were killed in state-mandated executions across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, each accused of terror-related crimes; at least 33 of those killed were Shia Muslims (Arab News, April 23). The individual charges have not been released, with officials only offering vague platitudes, such as accusing the individuals of adopting indeterminate extremist ideologies.

Two days prior to the executions, four Sunni jihadists armed with automatic rifles and unsophisticated explosives attempted to besiege a government facility in al-Zulfi, approximately 155 miles north of Riyadh (Al-Arabiya, April 21). Videos shared via social media showed the neutralized bodies of the attackers lying near their vehicle. Three police officers were wounded during the incident. Despite the attack being largely unsuccessful, with minimal casualties or damage, Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the incident via its news agency Amaq (Al-Araby, April 22).

The Salafist-Saudi Relationship 

Islamic State bombs bus, security personnel in western Kabul


Jihadists detonated three improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in western Kabul earlier today. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the bombings, the second attack by its so-called Khorasan province in the Afghan capital in recent days.

The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency claims that more than 30 Shiites and members of Afghan security forces were killed or wounded as a result of the explosions. Citing its supposed “security sources,” Amaq reported that “the attack was carried out in two stages,” with the first “explosive device” being detonated on or near a bus carrying about 25 Shiites. In Afghanistan, as elsewhere, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s representatives have deliberately and repeatedly targeted Shiite civilians, labeling them “polytheists.” The jihadists seek to stoke sectarian tensions.

The second part of the terrorist operation was executed when “security elements” had gathered around the bus. Two additional explosive devices were detonated at that time.

You Can’t Defeat Nationalism, So Stop Trying


Way back in 2011, I wrote a column for Foreign Policy on “the most powerful force in the world.” The powerful force I had in mind wasn’t nuclear deterrence, the Internet, God, Lady Gaga, or even the bond market; it was nationalism. The idea that humans form distinct tribes based on a common language, culture, ethnicity, and self-awareness, and that such groups ought to be able to govern themselves, has shaped the history of the past 500 years in ways that many people still do not fully appreciate.

Nothing has happened since then to alter my views; if anything, the importance of understanding the power of nationalism is even greater today. It was nationalism—specifically, a desire to regain lost national autonomy—that drove the British decision to leave the European Union, even though the movement’s leaders (and I use that term advisedly) cannot figure out how to do it and departure is likely to make most Britons poorer and could lead to the eventual dissolution of the entire United Kingdom. U.S. President Donald Trump rode nationalist nostalgia for an imagined past (“Make America Great Again”) to the White House in 2016, and it forms the basis for the protectionist and anti-immigrant policies that keep his political base loyal now. Nationalism is central to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitious efforts to make China a world leader, and it is the common thread uniting right-wing European politicians in France, Austria, Italy, Hungary, and Poland. Everywhere one looks, in fact, one sees nationalism at work in today’s world.

A Brief History of How Your Privacy Was Stolen

By Roger McNamee

In 1982, when I began my career as a technology investor, privacy was not a concern. The denizens of Silicon Valley shared a goal: to improve the lives of the people who used technology. An idealized form of capitalism reigned supreme. IBM had just shipped its PC, and the personal computer was about to take off. Optimism pervaded the nascent industry. Steve Jobs spoke of computers as “bicycles for the mind,” expanding human capabilities with little or no downside.

Over the course of a three-decade-plus career, I have advised countless companies and entrepreneurs, from those early days of personal computers to the current generation of social networks. I was an adviser to Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook from 2006 to 2009, and I helped bring Sheryl Sandberg to that company (I remain a shareholder in the company). Since 2017, I have been raising awareness of the threats to privacy, democracy, public health and innovation from the business models and algorithms of internet platforms.

North Korea’s Nuclear Bomb Is Much Bigger than Previously Thought


Scientists looking anew at a 2017 North Korean nuclear test discovered that the explosion was likely about two-thirds more powerful than U.S. officials previously thought.

Earlier data put the yield somewhere between 30 and 300 kilotons; the U.S. intelligence community said 140 kilotons. That was already the most powerful device tested by North Korea, topping a 2016 test by about an order of magnitude. But a new look at seismological data suggests that the blast was between 148 and 328 kilotons, and probably around 250 kilotons.

That’s the conclusion from a group of researchers from the University of California, Santa Cruz; the Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica; and elsewhere, as published Monday in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. The team combined sound-wave data recorded during the blast with information about North Korean nuclear tests since 2006 and plugged it all into models showing how sound would travel through various types of rock at an estimated depth of 430 to 710 meters.

Understanding the Failure of U.S. Foreign Policy: The Albright Doctrine

by Doug Bandow Follow Doug_Bandow

How to describe U.S. foreign policy over the last couple of decades? Disastrous comes to mind. Arrogant and murderous also seem appropriate.

Since 9/11, Washington has been extraordinarily active militarily—invading two nations, bombing and droning several others, deploying special operations forces in yet more countries, and applying sanctions against many. Tragically, the threat of Islamist violence and terrorism only have metastasized. Although Al Qaeda lost its effectiveness in directly plotting attacks, it continues to inspire national offshoots. Moreover, while losing its physical “caliphate” the Islamic State added further terrorism to its portfolio.

Is America Seeking to End the Current International System?

By Jin Kai

When teaching, I used to sketch a diagram to help my students visualize the importance of a “constructive engagement” of China by the dominant United States within the international system. China has played an increasingly active role in that system since the late 1970s, even while seeking changes and reforms in recent times when the existing institutional arrangements do not always best serve China’s ever-expanding national interests. Even so, unlike Japan and Germany prior to the major wars, China did not retreat from the international system, nor did it challenge the fundamental elements of the current international order, such as free trade, multilateral mechanisms, and the spirit of peaceful solution of various conflicts among countries. On the contrary, China has striven to preserve all these elements.

The End of the World As We Know It


Last month, under pressure from US President Donald Trump’s administration, Google terminated its cooperation with Huawei, thereby depriving the Chinese smartphone maker of the license to use Google’s Android software and related services. The move marks both a new pinnacle in the Sino-American conflict and the end of US-led globalization.

Last month, under pressure from US President Donald Trump’s administration, Google terminated its cooperation with Huawei, thereby depriving the Chinese smartphone maker of the license to use Google’s Android software and related services. The move poses an existential threat to Huawei. But, more than that, it marks both a new pinnacle in the Sino-American conflict and the end of US-led globalization. The message from the US is clear: technology and software exports are no longer just a matter of business; they are about power. From now on, the US will put might over market.

Now that the conflict has assumed the form of a hegemonic struggle, China may have to pull out all the stops to protect its national champions. That means withdrawing as quickly as possible from all supply chains that rely on US-made high-tech inputs, particularly semiconductors. China would have to start sourcing all the necessary components domestically, or from safe partners within its orbit.

Digital Dissidents Are Fighting China’s Censorship Machine

Shelly Banjo and Lulu Yilun Chen

The face of dissent isn’t easy to recognize in modern China. Laborer Quan Shixin spends most days planting trees and spraying pesticide in a man-made forest on the outskirts of Beijing. She makes less than $10,000 a year and never went to university—not the kind of person you’d expect to be steeped in such things as end-to-end encryption, virtual private networks, or cryptographic authentication. But in her spare time, Quan has learned to bypass the country’s Great Firewall, the digital blockade separating the global internet from China’s 800 million web users. With such a set of web tools, she fights what she calls unfair actions by her local government.

The 43-year-old says she had to get more tech savvy after local officials seized her village’s land for commercial development without what she viewed as proper compensation. Friends introduced her to digital tools to help her communicate with like-minded people. She uses what she’s learned to file petitions appealing to the central government to intervene in local cases and to blow off steam on social networks such as Twitter that are banned inside China. “The wall is becoming higher and higher,” says Quan, who was jailed twice last year for posting controversial remarks on social media. “But if I don’t speak out, I feel suffocated. Expression is a basic right.”


By Kieran Galea

In October 2018, the Army released its Robotic and Autonomous Systems (RAS) Strategy.[1] While this is an important step forward, the pace of technological advances means the Army needs to explore and develop complementary strategies for adversarial machine learning, combating enemy RAS, and improvised RAS capabilities.

Adversarial machine learning

Adversarial machine learning involves experimentally feeding inputs into an algorithm to reveal the information it has been trained on or distorting inputs in a way that causes the system to misbehave.[2] By flooding an autonomous targeting system with thousands of inputs it is possible to reverse-engineer its function. This allows the attacker to peer within the “black box” of the neural network providing an understanding that can then be used to determine how to defeat the system.


By Jack Goener

As the leadership training model is presently being considered in Army, I would like to discuss whether there is a continuing need for grading students on career courses. I would argue that we cannot train for post-H hour decision making and combat risk management if we have not provided an environment of confidence in which to experiment. This experimentation is critical in developing the creative thinking that underpins the manoeuvreist approach. Linking our performance on our All Corps Officer Training Continuum (ACOTC) courses to a specific grade that impacts on the career prospects of officers places negative pressure on a trainee, disrupting their learning process and is a major disincentive for students to experiment.

The Problem 

DARPA, Army & Team Platypus: Big Boosts For Artificial Intelligence


Aerospace Corporation’s “Team Platypus” won $100,000 grand prize in an Army competition to apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to electronic warfare.

WASHINGTON: This afternoon, DARPA announced a five-year, $2 billion “AI Next” program to invest in artificial intelligence, with 2019 AI spending alone jumping 25 percent to $400 million. It’s all part of a big Pentagon push to compete with China.

The vision is for future weapons and sensors, robots and satellites, to work together in a global “mosaic,” DARPA director Steven Walker told reporters. Rather than rely on slow-moving humans to coordinate the myriad systems, he said, you’re “building enough AI into the machines so that they can actually communicate and network (with each other) at machine speed in real time.”

Steven Walker

Russian Intrigues in the Middle East

By: Pavel K. Baev

Taliban representatives and Afghan politicians in Moscow, May 28 (Source: Mid.ru)

Russian diplomacy is well known for its apparent readiness to engage with all parties to the multiple conflicts in the Middle East, and this characteristic has recently produced another awkward tangle of opportunistic intrigues. President Vladimir Putin fancies himself a master of communicating with difficult counterparts, but he is by no means a grandmaster capable of playing chess on several boards at once. He simultaneously wants to be seen as an exterminator of terrorism and a perfect mediator; thus, a Taliban delegation as well as a contingent of Afghan politicians landed last week (May 28) in Moscow, while new reports proliferated about forceful counter-terrorist operations in Astrakhan, Vladimir and Dagestan (Znak.ru, May 30). The most complicated entanglement involves relations with Iran, with whom Russia needs to maintain a partnership on the Syrian battlefield, rather than merely good-neighborly ties. But it does not necessarily want to openly side with the Islamic Republic in the latter’s fast-unfolding confrontation with the United States and its Gulf allies.

Russia would normally relish, at least rhetorically, opposing the mounting US pressure on Iran, but it can hardly resist the efforts of another valued regional partner—Saudi Arabia—to build an anti-Iranian coalition of the Gulf states (Kommersant, May 28). Moscow felt obliged to clarify, amidst news reports alleging a scuttled arms deal, that it did not refuse to sell Tehran S-400 surface-to-air missiles; according to Russia, there had never been any discussion of such a deal at all (TASS, May 31). Meanwhile, Russian military experts speculate that minor naval clashes in the Gulf could escalate to a full-blown military conflict (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 29). Seeking to persuade the Iranian leadership to refrain from provocative actions, the Kremlin dispatched Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov to Tehran, where he expressed understanding of the Iranian position on the nuclear deal; but he was not granted any high-level meetings (Rossiiskaya Gazeta, May 29). Russian protestations against new US sanctions on Iran have effectively been undercut by China, which quietly stopped its oil imports from this troubled supplier (Rosbalt, May 29).

Facts Versus Opinions

by Jennifer Kavanagh

Over the past 30 years, the ways that Americans consume and share information have changed dramatically. No longer do people wait for the morning paper or the evening news. Instead, equipped with smartphones or other digital devices, the average person spends hours each day online, looking at news or entertainment websites or using social media and consuming many different types of information.

Although some of the changes in the way news and information are disseminated can be quantified, far less is known about how the presentation of news—that is, its style and linguistic characteristics—has changed over this period and differs across media platforms1.

The RAND Corporation in 2019 sought to fill that knowledge gap with a new report, News in a Digital Age: Comparing the Presentation of News Information over Time and Across Media Platforms. A team of researchers sought to identify and empirically measure how the presentation of news—particularly the use of, or references to, facts or authoritative information—in U.S. news sources has changed over time and how news presentations differ across media platforms.

Deterrence in Cyberspace


Understanding deterrence in cyberspace is often difficult, because our minds remain captured by an image of deterrence shaped by the Cold War: a threat of massive retaliation to a nuclear attack by nuclear means. A better analogy is crime: governments can only imperfectly prevent it.

Proponents of “persistent engagement” have sought to strengthen their case by arguing that deterrence does not work in cyberspace. But that sets up a false dichotomy. Properly used, a new offensive doctrine can reinforce deterrence, not replace it.

Deterrence means dissuading someone from doing something by making them believe that the costs to them will exceed their expected benefit. Understanding deterrence in cyberspace is often difficult, because our minds remain captured by an image of deterrence shaped by the Cold War: a threat of massive retaliation to a nuclear attack by nuclear means. But the analogy to nuclear deterrence is misleading, because, where nuclear weapons are concerned, the aim is total prevention. Deterrence in cyberspace is more like crime: governments can only imperfectly prevent it.

British military risks 'irrelevance' if it doesn't adapt to the future, Army head warns

Dominic Nicholls

The British military risks becoming irrelevant if it continues to focus on "missiles and tanks" as the main threats to the UK, the head of the Army has warned.

The army must “update and change the rules of war” according to the Chief of the General Staff, to be able to tackle new threats like cyber attacks, whilst also deterring countries that rely on heavy firepower.

General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith said a focus on high-tech weapons that are no use against low-level threats like fake news and subversion “leaves us close to a position of dominant irrelevance”.

Speaking in London to a conference of Defence chiefs from 38 nations, he warned of the threat from cyber attacks and aggressive actions that do not fit the traditional view of warfare. 

Deterrence and Intelligence in the Western Pacific

By Seth Cropsey

Military historians tend to emphasize dramatic turning points and climactic engagements. Salamis, Lepanto, Aboukir, Trafalgar, Jutland: each confrontation functionally decided the victor of the conflict in question. It is true that discipline and individual skill at command are indispensable variables in an armed force’s success or failure. But equally important are a myriad of preparatory choices that create the contestants’ fleets and armies, supply them, maintain logistical chains, and provide intelligence on the enemy’s movements.

Indeed, even the most powerful and effective military formations in history are crippled without effective intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting information. Over a century ago, the British and German navies eyed each other across the North Sea, each fielding one of the world’s most powerful navies. Nevertheless, the only direct confrontation between the Grand Fleet and Hochseeflotte – and the only fleet action between dreadnought battleships – was brief and inconclusive.