14 June 2019

A First: India to Launch First Simulated Space Warfare Exercise

By Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

Reports of a tabletop wargame speak to India’s ongoing efforts to develop its space policy.

The Indian government appears to be getting ready to conduct a table-top war game called “IndSpaceEx” involving all stakeholders including the military and the scientific establishment. The reports of such a development, which come against the backdrop of other key developments pertaining to outer space including the demonstration of India’s anti-satellite (ASAT) capability and the establishment of the new tri-service Defence Space Agency (DSA), bear careful watching within the broader perspective of India’s space policy.

For India, space is a domain that has remained relatively peaceful for close to three decades, but is now changing because the nature of politics and competition in outer space is much more contested today. Terrestrial politics is casting a long and heavy shadow on outer space, and India could not have ignored these developments, of which China is just a part.

Along with the growing relevance of space to national security and conventional military operations, counter-space capabilities are also being developed in an effort to deny an adversary advantages by the use of space assets. The growth of counter-space capabilities including kinetic physical, non-kinetic physical, electronic, and cyber means has sparked a fresh competition in outer space.

Pakistan’s Tribal Areas Are Still Waiting for Justice as Army Tightens Grip

By Ben Farmer

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — With the Pakistani military’s crackdown on protesters in the northwestern tribal belt in recent days, the security forces have asserted themselves as the true masters of justice in the region.

Commanders have said that an alternative antiterrorism court system will be used to prosecute leaders of an ethnic Pashtun protest movement that witnesses insist has stayed peaceful. Roads have been closed, and a curfew imposed.

But this is the year things were supposed to be different in the tribal belt, which has waited for something other than summary justice for decades and was promised it would finally happen.

Pakistan voted last year to merge those borderlands, once known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, into the country’s political and legal mainstream. At a stroke, the move assigned the region’s five million residents — the vast majority of them from the ethnic Pashtun minority — the same constitutional rights as other Pakistanis, including access to the national civilian justice system.

Trump Just Can't Quit Afghanistan

Source Link 

But let's also stipulate that by some glitch in the time-space continuum you become president of the United States, and that in one of your first major post-election interviews you observe that "nothing is going well" in Afghanistan. Wouldn't you think those troops would be home more than two years after that?

This is where we find ourselves in the spring of 2019—with a president who accurately declares in his State of the Union address that "great nations do not fight endless wars," even while 14,000 of the troops under his command still suffer and inflict death more than 200 months (and 2,300 Americans killed) after U.S. forces first overthrew the Taliban government.

"We should leave Afghanistan immediately," Trump tweeted as far back as March 2013. "No more wasted lives." He was right then, and presumably still leans that way now. To invert the old Madeleine Albright quote, what's the point of these superb executive powers if you can't use them to withdraw troops?

In the Arabian Sea, Competing Ports in Iran and Pakistan Fuel Ambition and Mistrust

China’s expansion across South Asia and the Indian Ocean under its Belt and Road Initiative will drive India’s own regional outreach, heightening the importance of New Delhi's infrastructure projects such as the Chabahar port in Iran.

However, the threat of U.S. sanctions and the war in Afghanistan risk thwarting Indo-Iranian cooperation on the port project.

Meanwhile, China's closer ties with Pakistan means its own port project in Gwadar is more assured.

Editor's Note: This assessment is part of a series of analyses supporting Stratfor's upcoming 2019 Third-Quarter Forecast. These assessments are designed to provide more context and in-depth analysis of key developments over the next quarter.

On the eastern edge of the Arabian Sea, a pair of ports located just 160 kilometers apart (roughly 100 miles) lies at the heart of a multifaceted struggle for power among regional heavyweights in South Asia. For India, the Chinese-funded Gwadar port in Pakistan has heightened its concerns of encirclement under China’s Belt and Road Initiative. This has fueled New Delhi to secure its own infrastructure projects across the Indian Ocean, including Iran’s Chabahar port. Meanwhile, for Pakistan, India's growing presence in nearby Iran feeds into its own concerns of encirclement.

Is it a risk for America that China holds over $1 trillion in U.S. debt?

Many worry that China’s ownership of American debt affords the Chinese economic leverage over the United States. This apprehension, however, stems from a misunderstanding of sovereign debt and of how states derive power from their economic relations. The purchasing of sovereign debt by foreign countries is a normal transaction that helps maintain openness in the global economy. Consequently, China’s stake in America’s debt has more of a binding than dividing effect on bilateral relations between the two countries.

Even if China wished to “call in” its loans, the use of credit as a coercive measure is complicated and often heavily constrained. A creditor can only dictate terms for the debtor country if that debtor has no other options. In the case of the United States, American debt is a widely-held and extremely desirable asset in the global economy. Whatever debt China does sell is simply purchased by other countries. For instance, in August 2015 China reduced its holdings of U.S. Treasuries by approximately $180 billion. Despite the scale, this selloff did not significantly affect the U.S. economy, thereby limiting the impact that such an action may have on U.S. decision-making.

How China Could Shut Down America’s Defenses


Advanced U.S. weapons are almost entirely reliant on rare-earth materials only made in China—and they could be a casualty of the trade war.

President Donald Trump has often argued that China has much more to lose than the United States in a trade war, but critics say his administration has failed to address a major U.S. vulnerability: Beijing maintains powerful leverage over the warmaking capability of its main strategic rival through its control of critical materials.

Every advanced weapon in the U.S. arsenal—from Tomahawk missiles to the F-35 fighter jet to Aegis-equipped destroyers and cruisers and everything in between—is absolutely reliant on components made using rare-earth elements, including critical items such as permanent magnets and specialized alloys that are almost exclusively made in China. Perhaps more worrisome is that the long-term U.S. supply of smart bombs and guided munitions that would have to be replenished in a hurry in the event of U.S. conflict in Syria, Iran, or elsewhere are essentially reliant on China’s acquiescence in their continued production.

The Internal Debates Driving the US-China Trade War

By Richard Boucher

There are two opposing factions on each of two sides, and that is making a deal difficult.

The China-U.S. trade war has become complicated because we’ve gone beyond the regular contortions of trade negotiations, threats, counter-threats, tariffs, and retaliation, into the realm of punishment and seeking strategic advantage. On the U.S. side, some elements in the Trump administration want to wall off China. On the Chinese side, some elements want to stand up to the United States and return to self-reliance and the ethos of the Long March. Neither can achieve what it wants, but these hardliners make life harder for those trying for a deal.

In Washington, there are two groups within the administration: trade deficit hawks and China-threat hawks. So far they’ve been in sync: as negotiators come up with new tactical moves, China hawks pile on in an attempt to isolate China. Each group operates on erroneous assumptions.

Trade deficit hawks mistakenly see the trade deficit as a measure of “winning” and “losing.” In fact, in a modern economy, the trade deficit reflects how goods are manufactured in value chains and of the desire of foreigners to hold dollars. When the U.S. economy grows more quickly — as it has this year — the deficit rises. Be that as it may, the main goal of trade hawks is to increase U.S. exports to China, cut China’s exports to the United States, and balance the trade. President Donald Trump, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and others, many of them veterans of the same disputes with Japan in the 1980s, have been pushing for a deal much like the ones reached with Tokyo back then: a big buying mission; some sector openings, especially for automobiles; and promises to respect trade rules, such as intellectual property protection. This group, especially the president, wants to show they can negotiate a really big deal.

US-China Trade War: Emerging Dilemmas – Analysis

By Su-Hyun Lee

The US-China trade war has been rapidly escalating into an economic and political warfare between the two big powers. The fundamental transformation of US-China relations will reshape the global order and create economic and diplomatic dilemmas for many other countries.

The truce between the United States and China has finally ended, as the trade talks collapsed in Washington DC last month. As of 10 May 2019 at 12:01 am, US increased tariff rates from 10% to 25% on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods that included 5,745 items. After three days, China immediately responded by declaring that they would impose tariffs of up to 25% on 5,140 American products amounting to $60 billion.

On the same day, the United States Trade Representatives (USTR) drafted a list of 3,805 Chinese products valued at approximately $300 billion dollars that could be subject to potential tariffs up to 25%. On 30 May, it was reported that China put on hold the purchase of American soybeans that come from the Midwest farm belt, the core constituencies of the US president Donald Trump. And before leaving for the D-Day Ceremony in Normandy recently, US President Donald Trump made another fresh threat that he could go for tariffs on another $300 billion of Chinese goods at the right time, which means he might slap tariffs on virtually every Chinese export.

Russians Are Getting Sick of Church

By Alexander Baunov

An extraordinary protest unfolded in Russia’s fourth-largest city, Yekaterinburg, in recent weeks. Large crowds of locals gathered to demonstrate against plans to construct a big new church in a park in the center of the city. And despite facing intimidation, arrests, and the disapproval of both regional and federal politicians, not to mention the huge authority of the Russian Orthodox Church, the protesters prevailed.

The local governor, Yevgeny Kuyvashev, agreed in late May for the construction site to be moved after an opinion poll showed that 74 percent of city residents were opposed to the plans. President Vladimir Putin had said he would approve the verdict of a referendum—though he evidently did not expect the resulting vote, which was heavily against the construction of the church.

It was just the latest sign that times have suddenly changed in Russia when it comes to matters of church and society. A recent opinion poll recorded that 79 percent of Russians think of themselves as Orthodox Christians. But the church does not command obedience. The Yekaterinburg protests were much angrier, the views of the protesters much more passionately held, than the other big recent social protest in Russia’s regions against a planned landfill site in the northern city of Arkhangelsk.

The Future Of Trade

The 75th anniversary of the Bretton Woods multilateral institutions ironically comes at a time when the benefits of multilateralism are being challenged. Doubts about the functioning of our current trading system are particularly pronounced. What is the future of trade in this challenging environment? Does the recent rise of protectionism signify the end of the open, rules-based trading system that fostered globalization? Or can we rescue the system through judicious reform?

The postwar global economy saw unprecedented growth of global trade and income. Explanations for this growth abound a sharp decline in information and communication costs, technological change allowing for increasing fragmentation of production, political developments such as the integration of Eastern Europe and East Asia into world markets, and international cooperation. The nature of the beast is such that quantifying the relative contribution of each of these explanations to the growth of trade defies clean identification and robust econometric evidence. Yet based on first principles, strongly suggestive empirical evidence, and anecdotal accounts, there is little doubt that a rules-based, predictable trading system contributed significantly to trade and trade-induced growth in many parts of the world, especially in Europe and East Asia. Unfortunately, not everyone participated. Several countries, particularly in Africa and Latin America, were left behind, and there is increasing evidence that the gains from globalization were not shared equally among those living in the countries that benefited from trade.

A Persistent Crisis in Central America

For years, Central America has contended with the violence and corruption stemming from organized crime and the drug trade. Now the countries of the region also find themselves in U.S. President Donald Trump’s line of fire, due to the many desperate Central Americans who make their way across Mexico to seek asylum at the United States’ southern border. 

The steady stream of outward migration is driven by ongoing turmoil, particularly in Nicaragua and in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The three Northern Triangle countries rank among the most violent in the world, a legacy of the civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala, which destabilized security structures and flooded the region with guns. In that context, gangs—often brought back home by deportees from the U.S.—have proliferated, and along with them the drug trade and corruption, fueling increasing lawlessness. Popular unrest has done little to produce political solutions, leading many of the most vulnerable to flee. 

Raytheon-United Technologies: A Powerhouse Whose Size Shouldn't Matter To Regulators

Loren Thompson

United Technologies Chairman & CEO Greg Hayes remarked over the weekend that the proposed combination of his realigned company with Raytheon will define the future of aerospace and defense.

He certainly got that right. Raytheon Technologies Corporation, as the combination would be called, will be a leading innovator in aircraft propulsion, commercial and military avionics, digital communications, sensors tailored to diverse warfighting domains and cybersecurity solutions. In fact, it may claim the same “national champion” status in civil and military electronics that Boeing currently occupies in commercial aviation.

But Raytheon Technologies isn’t just about the future. It would also be about the past, subsuming many of the enterprises that have made America the world’s leading aerospace power. The best-known of these enterprises trace their history back nearly a century, to the dawn of the modern era.

For instance, Raytheon was founded in the shadows of MIT in 1922, and played a pivotal role in bringing radio into American households. Iconic engine innovator Pratt & Whitney completed its first engine (the Wasp) on Christmas Eve in 1925. Collins Radio was founded in 1933. All three were crucial to the Allied war effort during World War Two, and then became important participants in the jet age that dawned at the war’s end.

The United States’ Soft War with Iran

Iran is engaged in a soft war, or jang-e narm, with the United States. Iran uses formal and informal means to influence populations across the globe and has expanded its information campaign utilizing the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, cultural centers, universities, and charitable foundations. But Iran’s authoritarian political system and attempts to control access to information make it vulnerable to a U.S. and Western information campaign. Iran’s weaknesses​ suggest that a major component of U.S. competition with Tehran should be ideological.

While there has been considerable focus in the United States on Iran’s military capabilities and activities, there has been far less attention devoted to Iran’s “soft power” and its efforts to expand influence. This brief focuses on Iranian soft power and asks: How do Iranian leaders view soft power? How does Iran attempt to export soft power? And what are Iran’s weaknesses? To answer these questions, this report compiles quantitative and qualitative information— some of which is new—on elements of Iran’s soft power.

Britain and America are Paying for Their Nationalist Ways

by Paul R. Pillar

London and Washington are engulfed in political turmoil and awash with economic problems.

Current political strife in the United Kingdom and the United States has been providing a study in political pathology, partly involving parallels between the two countries and partly involving contrasts. A breakdown of party disciplinein one case and blind partisanship in the other—opposite phenomena in most respects—have inflicted damage in each country, given the differences in the political system in each. A further question concerns the costs and false promises of narrow, primitive nationalism in both countries. Specifically, when will the economic costs of such nationalism have significant political effects, in which country will such effects be seen first, and how bad will the economic story have to get in either place before the political story changes?

In Britain it’s all about Brexit, of course. Theresa May, having defined her premiership (perhaps unavoidably, given the hand she was dealt) in terms of delivering Brexit, and having failed to deliver because of the inherently unachievable nature of what the Brexiteers had promised, is on the way out. Current betting says that a Brexiteer will succeed May. Friends of Britain should be dismayed that the front-runner is prominent Brexiteer Boris Johnson, whose political strength is based primarily on shallow charisma and who performed dismally as foreign secretary. Also dismaying is that a no-deal Brexit, in which the UK would simply crash out of the European Union without a new trade agreement, has become a significant possibility. If a no-deal Brexit were to occur, the economic consequences would be severe in Britain (and less extreme, but still negative, on the European continent).

The Self-Destruction of American Power

By Fareed Zakaria

Sometime in the last two years, American hegemony died. The age of U.S. dominance was a brief, heady era, about three decades marked by two moments, each a breakdown of sorts. It was born amid the collapse of the Berlin Wall, in 1989. The end, or really the beginning of the end, was another collapse, that of Iraq in 2003, and the slow unraveling since. But was the death of the United States’ extraordinary status a result of external causes, or did Washington accelerate its own demise through bad habits and bad behavior? That is a question that will be debated by historians for years to come. But at this point, we have enough time and perspective to make some preliminary observations.

As with most deaths, many factors contributed to this one. There were deep structural forces in the international system that inexorably worked against any one nation that accumulated so much power. In the American case, however, one is struck by the ways in which Washington—from an unprecedented position—mishandled its hegemony and abused its power, losing allies and emboldening enemies. And now, under the Trump administration, the United States seems to have lost interest, indeed lost faith, in the ideas and purpose that animated its international presence for three-quarters of a century.

US may escalate trade war in six ways

By Yu Yongding 

The causes behind China-US trade war

First, let's take a look at the "superficial" reasons behind China's trade war with the US. There was no mention of "superficial" when I talked about the trade war last year, but it now seems necessary to put it into context. There are three superficial reasons why the US is launching a trade war with China. First, China has a large trade surplus with the US. Second, China hasn't honored its WTO commitments. Third, China has gained US technologies through unfair means. These are major complaints filed by the US.

Let's make some simple comments on the whines. 

The first complaint doesn't deserve much discussion for economists. The US trade deficit is basically attributed to its domestic macroeconomic imbalance -- insufficient savings. Additionally, the US has repeatedly accused China of maintaining a trade surplus of more than $300 billion with the US. The accusation centering around a trade balance in bilateral terms is fairly absurd and no economist will accept it. The trade balance issue can't be discussed in bilateral terms. I maintain a surplus with you, but I have a deficit with others at the same time. 

The rise of millennial socialism


Across the world, young activists are turning to old ideas. Why?

Updating his 1976 triptych on the “Main Currents of Marxism” in 2005, the philosopher Leszek Kołakowski predicted that Marx himself would become “more and more what he already is: a chapter from a text book of the history of ideas, a figure that no longer evokes any emotions, simply the author of one of the ‘great books’ of the 19th century – one of those books that very few bother to read but whose titles are known”.

That assumption seemed credible then. But one consequence of the financial crash of 2008 has been the intellectual rehabilitation of Marx. Outside academic precincts, his ideas have been slowly, if not wholly, exfoliated of their association with dictatorship and state-sponsored terror. Recent, if only partial, exonerations have been issued by the Economist and the New York Times, as well as by high-ranking superintendents of the neoliberal order, including Alan Greenspan and Francis Fukuyama.

Shangri-La: The silent rebellion of the small powers

By Liselotte Odgaard

The 2019 Shangri-La Dialogue was expected to display fireworks between the United States and China. 

The U.S. announcement of its free and open Indo-Pacific strategy and China's decision to send its defense minister for the first time in eight years set the scene for a wrestling match between the two strategic competitors. 

However, the fireworks never came. Indeed, we got a manifestation of the different positions of Washington and Beijing on issues such as Taiwan, the South China Sea and Huawei and 5G. But there was not much interest in putting on display these conflicts by challenging each other in public. 

Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said that what we are witnessing now is not a face-off between the United States and China. Instead, negotiations are taking place on how to prevent military conflict. China's defense minister responded by emphasizing that the militaries of the two powers were acting as stabilizers in the relationship. The fireworks were left to closed-door meetings outside of the public eye. 

US criticism of China rings hollow when America itself has betrayed its own ideals

Robert Delaney

Call it cultural, ideological or civilisational. The great debate about who’s superior continues.

To try to make a point in this pointless exercise, I’m going to indulge in the self-centred custom that most corporate executives and policymakers engage in when trying to establish their China credentials.

I’m going to talk about the country I discovered when I first landed there.

You won’t be surprised that this is a story of beguiling economic transformation with a turn away from the freedoms that Americans hold dear. But don’t worry.

There’s room here to examine the way US political culture has crippled the high horse American leaders sit on when they criticise Beijing.

I arrived in China in December 1992, and proceeded to Wuhu, in Anhui province, to start studying Mandarin at Anhui Normal University.

Attempts to Derail an Anti-Corruption Campaign Have Upended Guatemala’s Election

Andrew Thompson

Guatemalans vote Sunday in what looks like one of the most unpredictable elections in their country’s recent history. Across an extremely fragmented field, a total of 19 candidates, whittled down from the original 24, are competing for the presidency. Nearly two dozen political parties are also chasing seats in the 160-seat, single-chamber Congress and in 340 municipalities around the country, which, with a population of more 17 million, is the largest in Central America—and where a landmark fight against corruption has taken a U-turn.

In a field otherwise skewed to the center and to the right, opinion polls favor former First Lady Sandra Torres, an experienced but controversial leader of the social-democratic National Unity of Hope party, known by its Spanish acronym, UNE. Trailing her are a range of challengers jockeying for position on the center right, led by Alejandro Giammattei of the Vamos party, Roberto Arzu of PAN-Podemos and Edmundo Mulet of the Guatemalan Humanist Party. Those three are considered contenders to make it through to a second-round runoff against Torres, set for Aug. 11 if, as seems likely, no candidate gets 50 percent or more of the vote in the first round. ...

The Soaring Economic and Political Costs of Trump’s Incoherent Trade Policy

Kimberly Ann Elliott

Almost every week of late, it seems something new, startling and historically unusual is happening in U.S. trade policy. President Donald Trump’s actions are undermining the credibility of American negotiators, increasing uncertainty for traders and investors, domestic and foreign, and potentially threatening to throw the economy into recession. This is all happening in part because Trump refuses to acknowledge that Americans pay the tariffs he likes so much, and also because he still doesn’t understand how global supply chains work. With so many head-spinning developments this spring, it can help to step back and take stock of where things stand, how we got here—and just what the point of it all is.

One of Trump’s first actions after taking office in 2017 was to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP—the major free trade deal with 11 other Pacific Rim countries that had been President Barack Obama’s signature piece of trade policy. Perhaps Trump thought the agreement would collapse without U.S. participation. If so, he miscalculated. With Japan leading the way, the other 10 countries moved forward to implement the agreement without the U.S., and it entered into force at the end of 2018. At that moment, the parties to the new deal began lowering their barriers to one another’s exports, putting U.S. exporters at a disadvantage, especially American farmers who rely heavily on the Japanese market. So far, the Trump administration has made little progress negotiating a separate bilateral trade deal with Japan.

Uncertainty in ending extreme poverty

Fabian Mendez Ramos

Whereas sustained economic growth is considered the primary driver of poverty alleviation, the different ways in which growth interacts with changes in income inequality mean that the future of poverty reduction is highly uncertain.

In a recently published working paper, I use historical (1980-2014) data to model and simulate future paths of income inequality and growth, which, in turn, enable us to quantify country-specific changes in poverty rates and income distribution. Our historical-based simulations estimate that the probability of alleviating extreme poverty below the 3 percent threshold by 2030 (Sustainable Development Goal 1) at the global level is small—less than 2 percent.

Furthermore, our results indicate significant variation in future poverty outcomes. For instance, by 2030, the most favorable estimate of poverty headcount at the global level displays a median value of 4.6 percent, with a standard deviation of 0.5. Conversely, our most pessimistic result shows a median outcome of 8.9 percent with a standard deviation of 0.9. These median estimates represent approximately 370 and 720 million people around the world subsisting on less than $1.90 a day (2011 PPP).

86% of Internet users being duped by fake news, says survey

Fake news most prevalent on Facebook, but also appears on YouTube and Twitter. 

U.S. takes the lion’s share of blame for its spread, followed by Russia and China

Eighty-six percent of Internet users have been duped by fake news — most of it spread on Facebook — according to a global survey published on Tuesday.

Respondents said they want both governments and social media companies to crack down on these activities, which are contributing to a growing distrust of the Internet as well as negatively impacting economies and political discourse.

The U.S. took the lion’s share of the blame for spreading fake news, followed by Russia and China, according to the annual Ipsos survey of more than 25,000 Internet users in 25 countries.

Fake news appeared to be most prevalent on Facebook, but also appears on YouTube, blogs and Twitter, the pollsters found.

Is Cyber Where Radar Was In 1942?

By Dr. Harlan K. Ullman

Despite the famous U.S. Navy fleet exercises of the 1930s, when World War II broke out, too many American naval commanders did not fully understand how to use radar effectively. Nor had many studied Japanese naval tactics and the lethality of the Long Lance torpedo. Those failures were costly. 

Today, is the Navy better prepared in its understanding of cyber warfare and employment of cyber weapons than it was in 1942 regarding radar and enemy capability? 

Consider the naval battle for Guadalcanal beginning in August 1942. More than 5,000 sailors died in action at sea, and about 1,600 Marines were killed ashore. The U.S. Navy was repeatedly battered by the Imperial Japanese Navy. A major reason was the failure to employ radar effectively. The battle of Savo Island that August was a precursor of the disasters that lay ahead. 

While Rear Admiral Norman Scott used radar to prevail at Cape Esperance in October, Rear Admiral Daniel Callaghan, several numbers his senior, did not when in command. Both admirals died in action the night of 13-14 November; Scott was killed on board the USS Atlanta (CL-51) by friendly fire from the flag ship USS San Francisco (CA-38). Of Callaghan’s five cruisers and three destroyers, only three escaped being sunk or badly damaged. 

Digital Development And Geopolitical Divides – Analysis

By Amalina Anuar

Bridging development and geopolitical divides will be paramount to delivering digital development at the WTO, no matter how intractable these challenges seem.

With the digital economy evolving at breakneck speed, countries are accelerating efforts to play regulatory catch-up and update the multilateral rulebook. Following e-commerce talks launched in January this year by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), various proposals for the future of digital trade architecture were discussed this May.

What might a slate of new rules mean for digital development prospects, going forward? With 76 of 164 WTO members participating, finding a middle ground between different development levels, along with degrees of complementary and conflicting interests, signal a long negotiating process.
State of Play

Current talks encompass both e-commerce (physical goods transactions online) and digital trade (data-heavy goods and services). Though broader consensus exists on e-commerce — whether in improving trade facilitation or helping micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) ride the e-commerce bandwagon — preferences for data governance models are more mixed.

Technology Trap: Why Britain Needs to Steer Clear of Huawei

by Chuck Cooper

5G is certainly a game changer, and Huawei has convinced the world that 5G cannot be built without it.

The reign of the United Kingdom’s Theresa May, a woman whose time in power has been, it is safe to say, a mixed success, is coming to an end. One of her final tasks as prime minister was to meet with President Donald Trump about her decision to include Huawei in the United Kingdom’s 5G network. While the government has at least promised to exclude Huawei from providing “core” parts of this network, the Daily Mail—a UK newspaper—understands that Everything Everywhere has not followed that rule in its 5G rollout. In an interview with the BBC on the first day of his visit, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was comparatively noncommittal on the subject of Huawei, emphasizing that the United States “doesn’t have a veto” on British policy. While it is of course important that the UK exercise independence in its policymaking, one cannot help but wonder about the wisdom of its current course.

It is worth remembering that the Chinese government has been carrying out interference campaigns in other democracies, including Australia and New Zealand, and there is no reason to assume it lacks similar intentions with regards to the UK. A recent report from the Henry Jackson Society notes that “Huawei is alleged to have a special relationship with the PLA, which allows it to take part in procurement tenders. It also alleged to have a relationship with state sponsored hacking groups.” These suspicions are only exacerbated by Huawei’s refusal to turn over internal corporate documents to the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Select Committee for fear of violating China’s state-secret laws. As the committee noted, “It is strange the internal corporate documents of purportedly private sector firms are considered classified secrets in China. This fact alone gives us a reason to question their independence.”

Beyond Huawei – 5G and US National Security

Daniel Zhang

The US government has launched a concerted campaign both domestically and internationally to block Huawei from building Next-Generation (5G) wireless networks. These efforts are, however, insufficient to address wider network security concerns. Keeping Huawei hardware out of the US 5G network does not equate to successfully preventing foreign cyber threats. The current administration must, therefore, implement further robust measures to address the much larger issues posed by the 5G rollout.

The U.S., along with other Western nations, has long alleged that Huawei equipment poses risks, especially as tensions between China and the U.S. have risen over the past few years due to national security concerns. A Trump administration May executive order blocks US companies from purchasing telecommunications equipment from sources deemed to be national security threats. One of the results has been an effective ban on Huawei products entering the US market.[i] Critics of Chinese 5G technology argue that Chinese companies are obliged to assist their government under the Chinese National Intelligence Law. Given this concern, one worrisome scenario would be Huawei installing deeply implanted flaws in the 5G network, providing Chinese intelligence services a menu of vulnerabilities to exploit.[ii]

Army Wants Hypersonic Missile Unit by 2023: Lt. Gen. Thurgood


PENTAGON: The Army will field a battery of truck-borne hypersonic missiles in 2023, with a contract award in August, the service’s new three-star Program Executive Officer said. The service will also field a battery of 50-kilowatt lasers on Stryker armored vehicles by 2021, he said. A program to put a 100-plus-kilowatt laser on a heavy truck, however, is under review and may be combined with Air Force and/or Navy efforts to reach comparable power levels, Lt. Gen. Neil Thurgood told reporters here this afternoon.

Thurgood’s recently reorganized and upgraded office will also take over key Army space programs, he said, but those organizations haven’t been brought under his command just yet.

Commonality is key, Thurgood said, with the three services combining their efforts and pooling resources wherever possible on these high-stakes, high-tech, high-cost programs. (Marine acquisition is mostly managed by the Navy).


Adam Maisel

War Books is a weekly MWI series, in which we ask interesting guests—practitioners, experts, or experienced students of war—to list five books that have shaped the way they understand war, warfare, and strategy. This week’s edition, which focuses on intelligence, originally appeared in 2017.

Alec Ross, The Industries of the Future

Ross served as a senior adviser to the State Department on innovation and his book envisions the generally positive effects of five key areas in technological advancement: robotics, genomics, the increased importance of big data and analytics, the rise of cryptocurrencies, and the importance of the cyber domain. Though optimistic, Ross does not shy away from the negative impacts these advances may have on society and their impact on warfare. Reading between the lines, Ross offers a primer on future trends that will have significant impact on the battlefield in the decades to come.

What Happens in White Space Should Not Stay in White Space: Fomenting Creativity in Professional Military Education

By Heather Venable

Innovation has found her fairy godmother, who has outfitted her in a stunning gown and even a reflective belt so she does not run into trouble on military bases, where her dance card is always full. But Creativity wastes away in her evil stepmother’s attic, longing for the day when she can energize professional military education students and instructors alike.[1] Perhaps that is because Innovation promises practical products that can be used on the battlefield, whereas Creativity seems to hang out with tormented artists and latte-sipping poets whiling away the hours in Parisian cafes. Creativity and Innovation are fraternal twins, and allowing Creativity out of the attic first best spurs Innovation.[2] Moreover, the ideas Creativity spurs can energize professional military education, providing students with essential “habits of mind” and “patterns of thought” that they can introduce back to the operational world upon graduation while better transitioning to thinking strategically.[3]

Numerous individuals have commented on how to improve professional military education. Some, for example, have considered rebalancing Socratic seminar learning with more real-world war games.[4] After all, who can forget the 2018 National Defense Strategy’s damning—and overwrought—pronouncement of professional military education as “stagnated, focused more on the accomplishment of mandatory credit at the expense of lethality and ingenuity.”[5] Since when did lethality become the primary goal of professional military education?