20 June 2019

Minority-focused secularism will not work

Kanwal Sibal 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s electoral victory has been extraordinary despite the Opposition’s attacks on him on various issues: farmers’ distress, youth unemployment, poor implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), demonetisation, lynchings, Hindutva, assault on institutions, media gagging, intimidation of intellectuals, tampering of electronic voting machines, politicisation of the armed forces and the Rafale deal. But the country was not swayed by these accusations.

The refrain of the secular, Left-liberal circles that with increasing intolerance, the “Idea of India” (unilaterally defined) is being destroyed had no impact either. The Opposition misread the public mood because with such comprehensive denunciation, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should have lost miserably. One hopes that instead of persevering with the same analysis and discourse as before and impeding the National Democratic Alliance(NDA)’s task of governance by agitations and negative politics, the Opposition will participate in consensus-building in areas of national priority such as judicial, police, parliamentary, electoral, agricultural, banking, labour, educational, land acquisition and energy-market reforms.

How India Funds the World: Financial Assistance in the Immediate Neighbourhood

In the schema of realist international politics, where political relationships between aspiring powers are often decided by economic underpinnings, financial aid is often a key instrument of foreign policy. In most cases, it serves as a long-term insurance to preserve old relationships, while in others, it acts as a direct incentive to forge new partnerships. Using figures from the "Expenditure Profiles" in the union budgets of the past five fiscal years, this article is the first in a two–part series that provides an assessment of India's budgetary aid programme to countries in India's geographic neighbourhood.

India has traditionally extended financial assistance to countries in its immediate neighbourhood in order to maintain geopolitical clout and to keep crucial economic partnerships up and running. This long-standing policy is gradually becoming a centrepiece of Indian foreign policy as the hegemony of the global North1 gives way to a new geopolitical reality wherein regional powers in the global South2 steadily gain international influence through new horizontal partnerships and investments. India’s broadening foreign aid spectrum must be seen in this dynamic context of rapidly expanding South–South Cooperation3, a distinct feature of which is the "equal partner" relationship between the donor and recipient countries.

Pakistan appoints new ISI chief

Lieutenant General Faiz Hamid will take to his new command as duck to water, notes Rana Banerji, who headed the Pakistan desk at the Research and Analysis Wing, India's external intelligence agency.

In an unexpected reshuffle, Pakistan's army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa has again shifted his newly promoted lieutenant generals.

Lieutentant General Asim Munir Shah, who had Joined the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate a few months ago has moved out as corps commander, 30 Corps, Gujranwala.

This shift indicates that though General Munir was regarded a Bajwa favourite, having worked under him in the Northern Areas (Gilgit Baltistan) while General Bajwa commanded the 10 Corps, he seemed not to like his new charge in the ISI or was seen as not being cut out for cloak and dagger work, preferring perhaps the more routine slot of a corps command.

Xi Jinping Is (Finally) Visiting North Korea

By Shannon Tiezzi

China’s President Xi Jinping will make his first state visit to North Korea this week, according to Chinese state media. Citing Hu Zhaoming, spokesperson for the International Department of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee, Xinhua saidXi would be in North Korea from June 20 to 21, at the invitation of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Xi and Kim’s first meeting came in March 2018, a full five years after Xi assumed office, and over six years since Kim became North Korea’s “supreme leader.” Since that belated meeting, the two sides seemed to be making up for lost time — Xi and Kim have met four times in the past 15 months. Notably, however, Xi has not yet made a trip to North Korea, despite reportedly accepting Kim’s invitation to do so in 2018. The last time the top Chinese leader traveled to North Korea was in 2005, when then-President Hu Jintao made the trip.

In fact, Xi broke with longstanding Chinese diplomatic precedent by visiting South Korea first. Generally Chinese leaders stop in Pyongyang before Seoul, but Xi made a 2014 state visit to South Korea, then under President Park Geun-hye, without even setting foot in the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. That was part of a warming trend in China-South Korea relations, while China-North Korea relations at the time seemed to be on ice.

America Must Prepare for the Coming Chinese Empire

by Robert D. Kaplan

BEFORE ONE can outline a grand strategy for the United States, one has to be able to understand the world in which America operates. That may sound simple, but a bane of Washington is the assumption of knowledge where little actually exists. Big ideas and schemes are worthless unless one is aware of the ground-level reality of several continents, and is able to fit them into a pattern, based not on America’s own historical experience, but also on the historical experience of others. Therefore, I seek to approach grand strategy not from the viewpoint of Washington, but of the world; and not as a political scientist or academic, but as a journalist with more than three decades of experience as a reporter around the globe.

After covering the Third World during the Cold War and its aftershocks which continue to the present, I have concluded that, despite the claims of post-colonial studies courses prevalent on university campuses, we still inhabit (in functional terms, that is) an imperial world. Empire in some form or another is eternal, even if European colonies of the early-modern and modern eras are gone. Thus, the issue becomes: what are the contours of the current imperial age that affect grand strategy for the United States? And once those contours are delineated, what should be America’s grand strategy in response? I will endeavor to answer both questions.

Are the U.S. and China on a war footing in space?


Trump wants a Space Force, Beijing is developing weapons it could use in orbit, and ‘there is not a lot of dialogue’ between the two countries.

A top Chinese general has a warning for any U.S. leaders planning an arms race in space: Be prepared to lose.

Outspending a rival power into economic exhaustion might have helped the U.S. win the Cold War, said Qiao Liang, a major general in the Chinese air force who co-wrote a book called "Unrestricted Warfare: China’s Master Plan to Destroy America." But he said it won’t work against a wealthy manufacturing powerhouse like China.

“China is not the Soviet Union,” Qiao said in an interview with the South China Morning Post, a news partner of POLITICO. “If the United States thinks it can also drag China into an arms race and take down China as it did with the Soviets … in the end, probably it would not be China who is down on the ground.”

Qiao’s words come as both Washington and Beijing are pouring money and resources into an increasingly militarized space race that some security specialists and former U.S. officials fear is heightening the risk of war. The aggressive maneuvers include President Donald Trump’s proposal for a standalone Space Force — which Qiao dismisses as “an unwise move” — and efforts by both countries to develop laser and cyber weapons that could take out each other's satellites.

The Truth About Tariffs

Andrew Chatzky

Tariffs have been applied over the years to protect homegrown industries and target competitors who are seen as using unfair trade practices. They impose costs on both importers and exporters and had been in decline until the recent U.S.-China trade spat.

Tariffs have long been used to prop up homegrown industries by getting locals to buy goods produced domestically. For most of the past century, however, tariffs have fallen out of favor because they often lead to reduced trade, higher prices for consumers in tariff-wielding countries, and retaliation from abroad. With tariffs once again rising under U.S. President Donald J. Trump and global trade slowing, many experts fear companies could soon face higher costs and the world economy could suffer.
What is a tariff?

A tariff is a tax imposed on goods imported from a foreign country. Tariffs are paid by an importing business to its home country’s government, most commonly as a fixed percentage of the value of the imports.

China’s Crackdown on Uighurs in Xinjiang

Lindsay Maizland

More than a million Muslims have been arbitrarily detained in China’s Xinjiang Province. The reeducation camps are just one part of the government’s crackdown on Uighurs. 

The Chinese government has reportedly detained more than a million Muslims in reeducation camps. Most of the people who have been arbitrarily detained are Uighur, a predominantly Turkic-speaking ethnic group primarily from China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang.

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

Russia and China are waging a “shadow war” against the US, and the battlefields will be AI and space, CNN’s Jim Sciutto says

By Eric Johnson

Over the past two-and-a-half years, you’ve probably heard a lot about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election — but that is just one of several ways Russia is trying to undermine the US, CNN’s Jim Sciutto writes in his new book The Shadow War.

“We’re already in a war without realizing it,” Sciutto said on the latest episode of Recode Decode with Kara Swisher. “And certainly the public’s not aware of it, and our leaders are not speaking of it in those terms … you’re getting attacked on other fronts [besides election interference] and losing ground on other fronts.”

Sciutto’s book compares the efforts of two nations that are adversarial to US interests, Russia and China. He calls their efforts a shadow war, in part, because the “battlefields” where conflict is occurring aren’t necessarily visible to the naked eye.

”You’ve got space weapons, with military intent,” he said. “You’ve got an arms race under the waves, again with military intent. And as in any sort of asymmetric battlefield, these are the spaces where Russia, and China too, calculate that they can compete with us. They can’t build 12 aircraft carriers tomorrow, but they’ve got very good submarines. And then you have the broader cyber issue.

The Geopolitical Implications of Abe's Iran Trip

By Mercy A. Kuo

Trans-Pacific View author Mercy Kuo regularly engages subject-matter experts, policy practitioners, and strategic thinkers across the globe for their diverse insights into U.S. Asia policy. This conversation with Dr. David Arase – Resident Professor of International Politics at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Hopkins-Nanjing Center, co-editor of The U.S.-Japan Alliance: Balancing Soft and Hard Power, and author of The Rise of China: Implications for East Asian Order – is the 192nd in “The Trans-Pacific View Insight Series.”

Identify the top three outcomes of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent meeting with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader.

Abe played to three different audiences with this trip.

With respect to the U.S. and Iran, who are at daggers drawn today, Abe used Japan’s traditional friendship with both sides to open a high-level and two-way backchannel of communication in a bid to de-escalate the situation. Trump lacks a trusted line of communication with Khamenei, and so Abe is positioned to play a helpful role.

How Europe Is Handing Off Its ISIS Militants to Iraq


BAGHDAD—Standing in his prisoner’s yellow jumpsuit, Mustapha Merzoughi remained quiet at first. He shook slightly and brushed at his eyes, before assuming a neutral expression. His Arabic appeared to be limited, and when the judge first began to question him, he stayed silent, eventually saying in French:

“There is no point that I speak. Whatever I say, you will convict me to death.” About an hour later, he was.

Merzoughi was one of 11 French defendants that an Iraqi court sentenced to hang over the course of trials from May 26 to June 3. He was captured, however, not in Iraq but in neighboring Syria, by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) during the last battles against the Islamic State. Merzoughi and his fellow ISIS defendants were the first official cases of foreigners transferred from Syria to Iraq for trial—juridical guinea pigs in an experimental solution to the problem facing many European countries whose citizens left home to fight for the Islamic State. The Europeans do not want them to return, but the SDF does not have the sovereign power to sentence them, leaving their citizens in limbo.

Iran: America’s Latest Drive For War – OpEd

By Ryan McMaken*

This week, two oil tankers exploded in the Persian Gulf, reportedly as a result of a limpet mine attack. Neither tanker flew a US flag. One was Panama-flagged, and the other was Marshall Islands-flagged. No one was killed.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo immediately accused the Iranian regime of being responsible for the attack. Pompeo told reporters that the accusation was “based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping.”

It’s unclear yet what course of action the administration will opt for in coming days. But, it’s likely to include calls for new sanctions at the very least. But it may also include calls for invasions, bombings, and yet another US-involved war.

Needless to say, we’ve all seen this movie before, and we know how it works: the US government claims that something a foreign country has done poses a grave threat both to the international order and to the United States directly. Or we may be told the foreign regime in question is perpetrating horrific human rights violations against its own people. The US then insists it must launch new airstrikes, enact new economic sanctions, or even orchestrate a new invasion and occupation of a foreign country.

Can Sudan’s Revolution Be Saved?

Richard Downie

On June 3, the eve of the 30th anniversary of China’s bloody dispersal of demonstrators in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, Sudan’s military authorities launched their own massacre of unarmed pro-democracy protesters. State-linked paramilitaries attacked a peaceful sit-in in the capital, Khartoum, claiming, without proof, that it had been infiltrated by drug dealers and criminals. More than 100 people were killed, according to doctors’ groups in Khartoum. Scores of bodies were dumped into the Nile River, women were reportedly raped and hospital staff attacked as they tended to the injured. That the atrocities echoed those conducted in Darfur for more than a decade was hardly surprising; the perpetrators were the Rapid Support Forces, or RSF, a successor militia to the infamous Janjaweed that was accused of genocide in Darfur. In the days that followed, the authorities rounded up protesters, deported political leaders and cut off internet services

Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault

By Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous

Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.

Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race.

But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.

At that point, the outlines of the Russian assault on the U.S. election were increasingly apparent. Hackers with ties to Russian intelligence services had been rummaging through Democratic Party computer networks, as well as some Republican systems, for more than a year. In July, the FBI had opened an investigation of contacts between Russian officials and Trump associates. And on July 22, nearly 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee were dumped online by WikiLeaks.

Why North Korea Denuclearization Is Such a Long Shot

North Korea denuclearization efforts have been at the forefront of the international agenda for more than two years, but there is little progress so far. Critics say the Trump administration has a flawed approach to the negotiations—and the U.S. trade war with China isn't helping. Meanwhile, North Koreans continue to suffer.

Ending North Korea’s nuclearization efforts has been at the forefront of the international agenda for more than two years now. But despite improved relations between North and South Korea and two unprecedented face-to-face meetings between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, there has been no clear progress toward North Korea denuclearization.

Trump has framed the meetings and his personal relationship with Kim as a promising start to a potential breakthrough, but critics point to the lack of headway so far, which they blame on the Trump administration’s flawed approach to the negotiations. For his part, Kim refuses to even begin drawing down the program that is essentially his regime’s only bargaining chip unless the international community drops its sanctions. Hard-liners in Washington, on the other hand, would like to see meaningful steps toward denuclearization before they lift any restrictions.

Confronting Iran: To What End?

By Paul Rogers


The escalation of tensions and threats between Iran and the United States during May has increased the potential for a new war in the Middle East with potentially catastrophic social and economic consequences. This briefing seeks to clarify what interests Washington and its key regional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia, see as worth risking such destruction. And what might be the alternatives?


In the past month there has been a marked increase in tension between the United States and Iran, coinciding with the first anniversary of President Trump’s withdrawal from the multinational Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) of July 2015. The remaining state signatories to the JCPOA, China, Russia, the UK, France and Germany, as well as the EU, all remain committed to the agreement with Iran, which is intended to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. President Trump regards it as a bad deal and has re-imposed sanctions on Iran which are already seriously affecting the country’s economy.

How the U.S. Can Keep the Strait of Hormuz Open

Source Link
James Stavridis

The summers are long and hot in the Arabian Gulf. I deployed to those waters half a dozen times during a long Navy career, and have sat on the bridge of U.S. warships watching Iranian gunboats warily too many times to count.

Sometimes the Iranians are very professional, and follow the standard rules of the nautical road. At other times, they can be the worst and most dangerous of mariners, swerving close at high speed, hurling insults in broken English over the bridge-to-bridge radio, turning on their fire control radars. And the behavior always seemed to turn worse as the roasting summer days – with sea-surface temperatures over 110 degrees Fahrenheit – dragged on. Now, given the geopolitical climate, it’s not surprising to be faced with a very ugly summer in the Arabian Gulf.

On one deployment as a destroyer captain, I directed fire of a 50-caliber-weapon in front of a cluster of Iranian gunboats, causing them, eventually, to turn away. On another, my cruiser provided air-control information to planes that fired air-to-air missiles at approaching Iranian fighters. 

The Iranians are generally bellicose and somewhat unpredictable, and we should not underestimate their ability to conduct serious combat operations – both overtly and covertly. Above all, to them this is the “Persian Gulf,” a bow to the ancient empire on which modern-day Iran is built. 

American Foreign Policy Adrift

By Brett McGurk

In a May 11 speech at the Claremont Institute in Beverly Hills, entitled “A Foreign Policy from the Founding,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo quoted John Quincy Adams to explain how Donald Trump’s foreign policy is grounded in a “realism” that eluded his predecessors, particularly George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Adams, then Secretary of State, wrote in 1821 that America “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.”

According to Pompeo, Trump’s foreign policy is grounded in this prudent tradition of the United States’ founding generation, with an emphasis on “realism, restraint, and respect.” Trump, Pompeo said, “has no aspiration to use force to spread the American model.” Instead, he aims to lead by example. “The unsurpassed attractiveness of the American experiment is something I market every day,” Pompeo said, describing his role as America’s top diplomat. He then quoted George Washington, who predicted that the United States’ democracy might ultimately inspire “the applause, the affection, and the adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it.”

U.S. chipmakers quietly lobby to ease Huawei ban

Stephen Nellis, Alexandra Alper

SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Huawei’s American chip suppliers, including Qualcomm and Intel, are quietly pressing the U.S. government to ease its ban on sales to the Chinese tech giant, even as Huawei itself avoids typical government lobbying, people familiar with the situation said.

Executives from top U.S. chipmakers Intel and Xilinx Inc attended a meeting in late May with the Commerce Department to discuss a response to Huawei’s placement on the black list, one person said.

The ban bars U.S. suppliers from selling to Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment company, without special approval, because of what the government said were national security issues.

Qualcomm has also pressed the Commerce Department over the issue, four people said.

Chip makers argue that Huawei units selling products such as smartphones and computer servers use commonly available parts and are unlikely to present the same security concerns as the Chinese technology firm’s 5G networking gear, according to three people.

Global Consequences of Escalating U.S.-Russia Cyber Conflict

U.S. offensive cyber operations might deter Russia and other U.S. adversaries online, but we should consider the global consequences of escalating cyber conflict. 

Gen. Paul Nakasone, director of the National Security Agency and commander of U.S. Cyber Command, testifies to the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about "worldwide threats" on Capitol Hill, January 29, 2019.

Lukasz Olejnik is an independent cybersecurity and privacy researcher, a research associate at the University of Oxford's Centre of Technology and Global Affairs, and a former scientific adviser on cyberwarfare at the International Committee of the Red Cross. Follow him on Twitter at @lukOlejnik.

Cyber conflicts involving state actors are quickly becoming a geopolitical reality. Perhaps the most cited example, the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, is a continued source of conflict in U.S.-Russia relations. The story took another turn last October when the U.S. Cyber Command conducted an offensive cyber operation against the Internet Research Agency (IRA), the “Russian troll factory” linked to using disinformation campaigns during the 2016 elections, and onwards. While the operation has yet to be confirmed by the U.S. government, media reports and U.S. officials’ commentary taken together suggest the event occurred. The U.S. action, which took place during the 2018 midterm elections, has been portrayed as a defensive warning against Russia and other U.S. adversaries online. But the result of the offensive operation may, however, in the end benefit Russia and possibly contribute to escalation in the cyber domain globally.

What Does The Trump Administration Want From Iran?

Two oil tankers were attacked on June 13 off the coast of Oman, forcing the crew members of one burning ship to flee.

It was the latest in a series of assaults on tankers transporting oil through the Gulf. In May, Saudi, Norwegian and Emirati oil tankers were attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, causing damage but no casualties. The attacks have gone unclaimed, so the perpetrator is unknown - at least publicly.

U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, Iran’s regional rival, blamed the Iranian government and called the May attacks “naked aggression." Saudi King Salman asked the international community to “use all means" to punish Iran.

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton, who has called for bombing Iran to cripple its nuclear program, has maintained that Iran is “almost certainly" responsible for the attacks. In May Bolton announced the deployment to the Persian Gulf of a carrier strike group and a nuclear-capable bomber task force, America’s most formidable military assets.

But the White House is squabbling over its objectives, which are far from clear. Trump administration officials do not seem to agree whether the U.S. wants behavior change or regime change. Should the U.S. use diplomacy or force? Are frustrated Iranians or frustrated Americans the target of this military deployment?

Taking on Tehran


Forty years after the revolution that ousted the Shah, Iran’s unique political-religious system and government appears strong enough to withstand US pressure and to ride out the country's current economic difficulties. So how should the US minimize the risks to the region posed by the regime?

NEW YORK – US President Donald Trump’s administration has singled out Iran – even more than Russia, China, or North Korea – with sustained pressure over the past two and a half years. The United States has withdrawn from the 2015 nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA), designated an arm of Iran’s military (the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) as a foreign terrorist organization, imposed economic sanctions against nearly one thousand individuals and entities, and taken steps to make it extremely difficult for Iran to sell its oil.

US policy is working, in the sense that most countries (including those that disagree with Trump’s policy) have judged it better to maintain trade and investment ties with the US than with Iran. Iran’s oil exports are down sharply, and its economic isolation is real and growing. The economy contracted some 4% in 2018 and is projected to shrink as much as another 6% this year. The currency is plummeting. There are reports of price spikes, shortages of food and medicine, and reduced financial transfers to Hezbollah and various militias central to Iran’s attempts to exert influence around the region.

Fiscal Money Can Make or Break the Euro


The parallel payment system that Greece's government proposed in 2015 would have bolstered the eurozone. By contrast, the Italian government's planned "mini-Treasury bills" would lead to the single currency's demise.

ATHENS – It’s a curious feeling to watch your plan being deployed to do the opposite of what you intended. And that’s the feeling I’ve had since learning that Italy’s government is planning a variant of the fiscal money that I proposed for Greece in 2015.

My idea was to establish a tax-backed digital payment system to create fiscal space in eurozone countries that needed it, like Greece and Italy. The Italian plan, by contrast, would use a parallel payment system to break up the eurozone.

Under my proposal, each tax file number, belonging to individuals or firms, would be automatically provided with a Treasury Account (TA) and a PIN number with which to transfer funds from one TA to another, or back to the state.

One way TAs would be credited was by paying arrears into them. Taxpayers owed money by the state could opt for part or all of those arrears to be paid into their TA immediately, instead of waiting for months to be paid normally. That way, multiple arrears could be eliminated at once, thus liberating liquidity across the economy.

How the Climate Crisis Threatens the US Energy System


The U.S. military is the largest customer of the U.S. electricity grid, and other insights from a two-day workshop convened by the Council on Foreign Relations.

As climatic changes continue to make themselves painfully obvious across many geographies, U.S. energy infrastructure is increasingly at risk. The United States is ill-prepared for this national security challenge. Climatic disruptions to domestic energy supply could be large, entailing huge economic losses and potentially requiring sizable domestic military mobilizations. Yet public debate about emergency preparedness is virtually nonexistent. To explore the challenges of climate risk to the U.S.energy system, the Energy Security and Climate Change program at the Council on Foreign Relations convened a group of 44 experts at the Council’s New York office on March 18–19, 2019, for the workshop “Climate Risk Impacts on the Energy System: Examining the Financial, Security, and Technological Dimensions.”

How the FCC lost a year in “the race to 5G”

Tom Wheeler

“The race to 5G is on and we must win,” President Trump exhorted in April. As the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission stood next to him, the president announced, “my administration is freeing up as much wireless spectrum as is needed.” The president did not give a promise that the FCC “is working to free up” the necessary spectrum, but a fait accompli that the agency “is freeing up as much wireless spectrum as needed” [emphasis added].

But it is not.

The Trump FCC has continued the work of the Obama FCC in making available for 5G so-called high-band spectrum (above 6 GHz). Recent auction prices for this spectrum, however, reinforce that there is ample high-band available. What is needed is spectrum in the mid-band (2 GHz-6 GHz), like that being used in other countries. Of particular interest is the C-band spectrum, currently licensed to satellite companies that have indicated they no longer need all of it.

New AI Generates Horrifyingly Plausible Fake News

Dan Robitzski

But the scientists who built it say it's the best tool against online propaganda.

In an attempt to prevent artificial intelligence-generated fake news from spreading across the internet, a team of scientists built an AI algorithm that creates what might be the most believable bot-written fake news to date — based on nothing more than a lurid headline.

The system, GROVER, can create fake and misleading news articles that are more believable than those written by humans, according to research shared to the preprint server ArXiv on Wednesday — and also detect them.

“We find that best current discriminators can classify neural fake news from real, human-written, news with 73% accuracy, assuming access to a moderate level of training data,” the researchers wrote in the paper. “Counterintuitively, the best defense against Grover turns out to be Grover itself, with 92% accuracy.”

What does a cyber counterattack look like?


President Barack Obama promised at his year-end news conference Friday that the U.S. will respond “proportionally” to North Korea’s cyberattack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, but the conventional options available to him are ineffective, merely symbolic or a bad risk because they might lead to a larger military conflict.

Military action against North Korea is effectively off the table, experts told POLITICO, and trade with the isolated rogue nation is nearly nonexistent, making sanctions ineffective. The U.S. could indict those behind the hack, but that would have little real-world effect. A senior Democrat called for the country to be relisted as a state sponsor of terrorism — but North Korea already spent years on the list before the Bush administration removed it during the past decade.

With conventional options so limited, the preferred option of several former officials and cyber watchers who spoke to POLITICO this week was a brand of psychological warfare aimed at undermining support for the regime in Pyongyang — especially among the Pyongyang-based Communist Party elite, the only segment of the population with access to technology like computers and DVD players.


Jim Perkins

For nearly four thousand years, the horse was as integral to warfighting as weapons and armor. Then the Second Industrial Revolution led to developments in motorized vehicles and aircraft. These new technologies’ experimental use during World War I hinted at a new style of war. What those hints portended was the subject of intense debate in the years that followed. Some recognized that motorized vehicles would dramatically change the way wars were fought. But many others held on to the deep-seated, millennia-old preference for beasts of burden on the battlefield. Only World War II would eliminate any remaining such preference. And with the horses’ disappearance from their old roles, the military services also divested all associated equine training, breeding, and care in exchange for drivers, welders, and mechanics.

We are again in a period of disruptive technological progress—the Fourth Industrial Revolution—and this current era of persistent low-intensity conflict is arguably an interwar period not unlike that of the 1920s and 1930s. Experts are again intensely debating how new technology—in the form of automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence—will change the character of war. Killer robots, loss of control, and abdication of human responsibility in killing another human are all profound issues for us to confront. However, while national security experts often focus on the sexy applications of these technologies (and public attention is most easily earned by apocalyptic characterizations), too little attention is paid to the more obvious and less complicated issue: those same technologies are also reshaping the workforce. In historical terms, this is akin to debating the merits of using vehicles as mobile firing positions on the battlefield while overlooking the way motorized transport would, for example, dramatically transform logistics.

Most Cyber Attacks in 2018 Came from US, Chinese Report Warns

A Chinese report warned on Monday that most cyber attacks against Chinese networks in 2018 came from the US, which Chinese experts predicted that the latter is preparing to wage a large-scale "cyberwar" but China is prepared to launch a strong counterattack.

The information came from an annual report released by China's National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team (CNCERT) on Monday.

The CNCERT said that in 2018, 14,000 servers in the US infected by a Trojan virus or botnet controlled 3.34 million host computers in China; and the number of servers increased 90.8 percent year-on-year, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

In 2018, 3,325 US IP addresses with the Trojan virus infected 3,607 Chinese websites, an increase of 43 percent compared with 2017, CNCERT said.

US-China Trade War Only Part of Larger Global Conflict – Cyber Security AnalystAside from implanting viruses, the US has long been hacking information from the terminals of Chinese customers and has been utilizing apps to tap, steal information and analyze the information they obtained, a Beijing-based military expert, who also specializes in cybersecurity, told the Global Times on Monday.

What Are Limpet Mines, and How Do They Work?

By John Ismay

An image taken from video released by United States Central Command shows a smaller boat near what appears to be the vessel Kokuka Courageous, in the Gulf of Oman. The military said the video shows the crew of an Iranian Gashti Class patrol boat removing an unexploded limpet mine from the tanker’s hull.CreditUnited States Central Command

WASHINGTON — With President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserting that Iran was behind the explosions on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday and threatening military retaliation, the United States Central Command released a surveillance video showing what it said were Iranian sailors removing a weapon called a limpet mine from one of the ships.

Although the operator of one of the tankers said on Friday that the vessel had been struck by “a flying object,” expressing doubt that a mine had been attached to its hull, the United States stuck to its explanation.