6 July 2019

India’s Response to China’s Cyber Attacks

By Elizabeth Radziszewski, Brendan Hanson, and Salman Khalid

In a 2018 report to India’s National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), an unprecedented 35 percent of cyber attacks against the country were attributed to China. Although such attacks have not generated a catastrophic impact in terms of damaged infrastructure, knocked down power grids and any related casualties, China’s cyber policy against India could undermine the country’s conventional power in a future military conflict.

Despite the risks India’s response has been one of restraint, or what might amount to turning the other cheek. While puzzling, such posture is not uncommon among countries embedded in enduring international rivalries. India’s defensive posture is a rational, albeit short-term, response to an ongoing series of cyber attacks, but its current efforts to ramp up cyber defenses would have a better, long-term deterrent capability if the country joined forces with other countries that China has targeted in Asia to bolster cyber cooperation against a common foe.

China’s Cyber Threat

Transforming State Capacity in India



Over the past quarter century, India has undergone four important transformations. Politically, one-party dominance has given way to a highly competitive, multiparty electoral system and, more recently, to the political resurgence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Another part of India’s political transformation has been the dramatic upending of the social basis of politics, as previously disadvantaged castes and communities have experienced a political awakening. In economic terms, India has traded its socialist, autarkic model for a more market-based approach that is more integrated into the global trading system. And, finally, when it comes to foreign policy, the country has pivoted from a posture of nonalignment to a warmer embrace of the United States and the West.

While one can debate the merits—not to mention the speed and extent—of each of these transformations, one area has remained relatively untouched: India’s governance institutions. Unfortunately, India’s core governing apparatus has not enjoyed the same kind of rejuvenation that has touched these four other domains. In many ways, India is a twenty-first-century economic and diplomatic entity powered by a nineteenth-century state.

Intra-Afghan peace meeting in Qatar aimed at building trust

Rupam Jain

KABUL (Reuters) - Taliban officials are due to meet a group of Afghan delegates in Doha this weekend as diplomatic efforts build to withdraw foreign forces from Afghanistan and end years of violence that continued this week with a devastating bomb attack in Kabul.

The weekend meeting, brokered by Qatar and Germany, will follow a separate strand of talks between Taliban militants and U.S. diplomats this week aimed at agreeing a timeline for the withdrawal as well as security guarantees for a post-conflict Afghanistan.

Those talks have gone on for longer than expected as the two sides wrangle over the timeline and over counter-guarantees Washington is demanding against Afghanistan being used as a base for militant groups, including al Qaeda and Islamic State.

Pressure to reach an agreement was underlined on Monday when the Taliban claimed a truck bomb attack in Kabul that killed or wounded scores of civilians, many of them children.

A Taliban Attack on Children Causes Outrage, Everywhere but at Peace Talk

By Fatima Faizi and Rod Nordland

KABUL, Afghanistan — Even by the standards of Afghanistan’s long war, the Taliban attack near a school that wounded dozens of schoolchildren on Monday stood out as unusually brutal, and expressions of outrage came thick and fast from governments around the world.

But from Doha, the Qatari capital where American negotiators were meeting with Taliban officials in a seventh round of talks, now in their fourth day, there was publicly only silence on the assault.

Several of the earlier rounds of talks, which began in earnest this year, also coincided with attacks in Afghanistan, where more than 32,000 civilians have been killed in the last decade of the war, now in its 18th year. Most of those deaths have been blamed on the insurgents, a result of indiscriminate bombings and suicide attacks.

Trump says he is worried about terrorist attacks if U.S. troops leave Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said he wants to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan but is concerned that without an American military presence, the country could be used as a base for terrorist attacks on the United States.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks while participating in a border funding legislation signing ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S. July 1, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

In an interview on Fox News broadcast on Monday, Trump said the problem with pulling the 9,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the site of America’s longest war, is that the country is a “lab for terrorists.”

“I call it the Harvard of terrorists,” Trump said.

He recounted conversations he had with U.S. military officials telling them of his desire to remove troops. He said they warned him it would be better to fight terrorists in Afghanistan than at home.

U.S. documents reflect how Sri Lanka fall prey to U.S. military designs in Asia

By Daya Gamage

The projections, objectives, targets, and overall policy formulae officially declared in the U.S. Department of Defense (USDOD) June 1, 2019-released “Indo Pacific Strategy Report” clearly depicts how Sri Lanka has fallen prey to America’s military maneuvers as a coerced recruited ‘partner’ to confront the Chinese expansion in the Asian region which led to being pressured to enter into a ‘questionable’ military agreement – Acquisition and Cross-Services Agreement (ACSA) – the August 2017-renewed (and expanded) 83-page document, and exerting pressure to agree to Washington’s terms to a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) which could provide diplomatic cover to American military personnel if and when they are on Sri Lanka soil.“China wants to be the dominant economic and military power of the world, spreading its authoritarian vision for society and its corrupt practices worldwide,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a news conference in The Hague in June.

The June 1 Indo-Pacific Strategy Report is based on the foundation of the December 2017 compiled National Security Strategywhich explicitly disclosed the importance of America’s military dominance in the Indo-Pacific region.

The US, Iran, and Oil-Hungry Asia

By Nicholas Trickett

The steady escalation of tensions between the United States and Iran, most recently brought to a head by attacks on two tankers on June 12, which the United States says Iran was responsible for, have not had a large impact on the oil market. A short-term price rally of 2.2 percent based on rising supply risks evaporated as weakening economic figures overshadowed other concerns for traders, investors, and consumers. Asia – the world driver of oil demand growth – was already watching closely as Washington moved to squeeze out Iranian oil exports in late April. With the odds of a military confrontation rising, the import-dependent economies of the Asia-Pacific need to prepare for rising supply risks in the Strait of Hormuz.

China's New Data Protection Scheme

By Qiheng Chen

China had held off on publicly releasing several cybersecurity and privacy regulatory measures due to fears of complicating the U.S.-China trade talks. But after the talk stalled in early May, they went out at short intervals. On June 13, the Cyberspace Administration of China released a draft regulation on outbound transfers of personal information that fleshed out the personal information (PI) protection component of the Chinese cybersecurity law.

Notably, the draft adopted a contractual approach to transferring data from domestic network operators to foreign data receivers. According to Dr. Hong Yanqing, an influential scholar of data privacy, this approach draws from the European Union General Data Protection Regulation’s (GDPR’s) binding corporate rules that allow multinational companies to transfer data internationally between their subsidiaries. Both the Chinese and EU regulations emphasized the need for an adequate level of data protection in destination countries and mandated regulatory approval prior to transfer. Yet, there is a difference. Binding corporate rules are more lightweight, an internal code of conduct without obligation to report the current year’s outbound transfers.

Dealing with the Dragon


Winston Churchill famously referred to Russia as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” Doubtless, many would agree the same could be said of China. During nearly four decades dealing off and on with China, first as a university teacher and then as a diplomat with the Foreign Agricultural Service, I have seen hundreds of officials and exporters from dozens of countries smack their foreheads in surprise and frustration at Chinese behavior—from unjustly rejected shipments and illogical lurches in negotiating positions to blatant disregard of World Trade Organization commitments.

Since the United States and the People’s Republic of China established diplomatic relations in 1979, the relationship has swung back and forth between one of glowing expressions of optimism about shared interests in a peaceful and prosperous world, and one of tension and mutual mistrust. Always underpinning hopes for a happy future on the U.S. side was the basic assumption that China would join the international community as a “responsible” player, and that the obvious benefits of a “rules-based” system of trade and diplomacy would inevitably lead China in that direction, to the betterment—and enrichment—of all.

What the US and China each got out of the Trump-Xi meeting in Japan

Ryan Hass

This generally positive but non-specific characterization likely reflects that both leaders covered a range of issues in a short period of time, and did so without the benefit of detailed preparatory negotiations to define outcomes that both leaders could affirm. Even so, a few early takeaways from the meeting are visible.

For Beijing, key outcomes include:

No new tariffs. President Trump earlier had threatened to impose tariffs on the roughly $300 billion of Chinese imports that currently fall outside of existing taxes on imports. This list includes popular consumer items such as smart phones, tablets, laptops, and cameras. Trump pledged to withhold tariff escalation to enable an opportunity for negotiators to reach a trade deal.

Taking Stock of Trump's Iran Policy

By Kenneth Pollack

Where to even start to make sense of the current imbroglio with Iran? How about here: U.S. President Donald Trump’s Iran strategy is working, but it’s probably not going to work. 

The economic pressure the administration boasts about is doing tremendous harm to Iran’s economy. However, it is still very far from accomplishing Trump’s goals. In May 2018, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid out a dozen far-reaching steps that Iran will have to take to get the administration to reverse course. While nothing short of regime change in Tehran would realistically fulfill those conditions, these were probably part of a maximalist bargaining position -- an opening bid. Trump never expected to get all or even most of them. So, what does the president want?

It seems increasingly clear that all Trump really wants is a new nuclear deal with Tehran. He wants it to be better than the one his predecessor Barack Obama sealed -- the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Trump believes that by placing enormous economic pressure on Iran, he will force the Iranians back to the negotiating table. Once there, Trump believes he will have the leverage he needs to extract bigger concessions from Tehran than what Obama got, possibly in return for fewer benefits than Obama gave. 

Russian Troops Will Be Getting Tactical Bomb Drones


Having learned from ISIS attacks in Syria, Russia is rushing to put armed drones on the front lines.

Following in the footsteps of U.S. Marines and Special Forces, the Russian military is looking to outfit soldiers with small multi-rotor drones armed with explosives, the Russian Defense Ministry told Russian news site Izvestia.

“It is planned that the new flight vehicles will perform not only reconnaissance missions, but also strike targets with miniature bombs” the news site notes. The outlet doesn’t say exactly how big the drones will be, only that they will go to divisions and brigades of the ground and airborne forces as well as special operations forces and marines.

The future of US defense strategy: A conversation with General Paul J. Selva

Adam Twardowski

During his tenure as 10th vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul J. Selva has played a central role in helping the U.S. military harness new technologies that will shape the wars of the future. He has warned that China’s accelerating pace of modernization could outpace the U.S. military’s edge in key warfighting areas, while Russia’s efforts to offset NATO’s advantages in Europe could limit the alliance’s ability to deter aggression by Moscow.

O’Hanlon asked Selva to assess the Pentagon’s pace in developing and acquiring capabilities. Selva said it hasn’t been fast enough: While “this is not a judgment on the allocation of the budget or the effort, it’s a judgment on the cultural changes required to take advantage of the speed of change that is happening in the technology sector.” Long gone are the days when the U.S. government provided most of the capital for defense research and development—today, the private sector leads the Pentagon by a 10-to-1 ratio, he said. Selva cautioned that China and Russia will continue to compete with the United States in a myriad of warfighting areas.

Former NSA Head Mike Rogers: How a Crisis Can Drive Strategic Change

In 2014, Navy Admiral Michael S. Rogers took over as head of the National Security Agency and its much younger sibling, the U.S. Cyber Command, at the height of the Edward Snowden scandal. Snowden, a former CIA contractor, leaked information to the media that the U.S. was spying not only on its enemies, but also on its citizens and allies. Congress and the public were enraged and called for President Obama to make substantive changes.

Internally at the NSA, Rogers was fighting another battle. The workforce, he said, “was a little shell-shocked.” Employees felt picked on by the public. The prevailing attitude was, “we follow the law. We’re doing great things to save our nation. Why are people all over us?” he said. Rogers’ job as the leader was to take the heat from Congress and the media so the team could focus. He told them to “stop worrying about what everybody thinks.” Stay true to the mission at hand and the tasks needed to fulfill it. “If we keep those things in mind, we’re going to be fine,” he said.

A Leader Is Accountable

Russia beating U.S. in race for global influence, Pentagon study says


The U.S. is ill-equipped to counter the increasingly brazen political warfare Russia is waging to undermine democracies, the Pentagon and independent strategists warn in a detailed assessment that happens to echo much bipartisan criticism of President Donald Trump's approach to Moscow.

The more than 150-page white paper, prepared for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and shared with POLITICO, says the U.S. is still underestimating the scope of Russia's aggression, which includes the use of propaganda and disinformation to sway public opinion across Europe, Central Asia, Africa and Latin America. The study also points to the dangers of a growing alignment between Russia and China, which share a fear of the United States' international alliances and an affinity for "authoritarian stability."

Its authors contend that disarray at home is hampering U.S. efforts to respond — saying America lacks the kind of compelling “story” it used to win the Cold War.

UPDATED: 14 Sailors Die on Secretive Russian Nuclear Submarine; Putin Calls Incident ‘Great Loss’

By: Sam LaGrone and Ben Werner

This post has been updated with a comment from the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A fire that broke out on a secret Russian submarine has killed 14 sailors, according to a statement from the Ministry of Defense in Moscow.

“On July 1, 14 submariners – sailors – died in Russian territorial waters as a result of inhaling combustion products aboard a research submersible vehicle designated for studying the seafloor and the bottom of the World Ocean in the interests of the Russian Navy after a fire broke out during bathymetric measurements,” read a translation of the statement from the state-controlled TASS news service.

The fire was extinguished “thanks to the self-sacrificing actions of the team,” the ministry said. The incident is believed to have occurred off Russia’s northern shore in the Barents Sea on Monday, but the MoD has not specified.

A Round of Upsets at Wimbledon, and the Big Story of Tennis

By Louisa Thomas

They fell one by one—slipping on the slick grass, tumbling out of the draw. On the first day of Wimbledon, serving at 4–5, down two sets to one, the No. 5 men’s player in the world, Alexander Zverev, sprinted to his left to field a shot from Jiří Veselý, No. 124; his feet slid out from under him, and he landed on his rear. Moments later, the upset was complete. Across the grounds, Stefanos Tsitsipas (No. 6)—who, within the past twelve months, defeated Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic on hard courts and Rafael Nadal on clay—was stumbling against a free-swinging Italian, Thomas Fabbiano (No. 89). Tsitsipas squeaked out a win for the fourth set, but that only stalled his end: he went down in five sets. Naomi Osaka (No. 2 on the women’s side), who won the U.S. Open in 2018 and the Australian Open just a few months ago, hit a backhand into the net, and she fell with it, to Yulia Putintseva (No. 39), in straight sets, on Centre Court. On the tournament’s second day, the upsets continued: Dominic Thiem (No. 4) lost to Sam Querrey (No. 65). Garbiñe Muguruza (No. 27), a previous Wimbledon champion, lost to the Brazilian qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia (No. 121), in a tidy hour and thirty minutes. And, still, the only real surprise was that none of these losses was terribly surprising.

Closing Off America From Its Neighbors Isn’t Keeping It Great

Howard W. French

As the 17th-century poet John Donne wrote in those immortal lines, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

Don’t be alarmed. This is not a column about poetry, or metaphysics, but about how the world economy has churned and woven its way, however unsteadily, toward closer and closer ties between different countries and regions, and thus toward greater integration overall. These processes are generally called globalization, lending to a sense that this is something relatively new, but in fact, it has been going on in one form or another for centuries. .

Seoul and Tokyo: No Longer on the Same Side

by Sheila A. Smith

While many focus on the drama of President Donald J. Trump’s meeting with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un, a far more worrisome transformation in Northeast Asian geopolitics is underway. Washington’s two allies are in a downward spiral. Japan’s announcement this morning of export restrictionstoward South Korea’s tech industry is only the latest blow in the two countries’ economic relationship over the past year.

In this round of antipathy between Japan and South Korea, history has taken the blame as usual. But history is not the culprit. In the Asia that is emerging, leaders in Seoul and Tokyo seem far too tempted to privilege nationalism over realism.

Japan's Biggest Warship Offers Clue to Military Ambitions

By Emily Wang

One of Japan’s largest warships, the helicopter carrier Izumo, offers a glimpse of where its military is headed: For the first time, troops from a newly formed amphibious brigade of Japan’s army participated in an extended naval deployment.

The Izumo left Subic, a former U.S. naval base in the Philippines, at the end of a two-month deployment in the Indo-Pacific region at a time of prolonged tensions involving China’s sweeping territorial claims in and around the South China Sea. The carrier, along with the destroyers Murasame and Akebono, just finished a series of drills with the United States and other countries.

Island nation Japan’s ability to project military power beyond its borders is severely constrained by the commitment to pacifism and rejection of use of military force in conflict enshrined in its post-World War II constitution, though in 2015 it was reinterpreted to allow the use of force in defending itself and its allies.

Greece Is Over Its Crisis, but Europe Isn’t


ATHENS—It has been a problem child, a sick man, a canary in a coal mine, a warning sign, and a long-running experiment into where economics meets politics, with a significant social toll. It has become a rallying cry for Brexiteers and right-wing populists, and has revealed some of the deepest fissures in the European Union.

Nearly a decade after it required a bailout in 2010, Greece remains one of the most polarizing issues in Europe, and politicians across the EU draw different—and politically convenient—lessons from how European institutions handled, or mishandled, its crisis.

3 ways security is compromised on the cloud

By: Kelsey Reichmann 

The CSTR also cites complex IT systems as another threat to cloud security. According to the report, 64 percent of security threats are tied to the cloud and 25 percent of cloud security alerts go unaddressed.

Cloud data sharing and storage services are expanding rapidly; cloud security, however, is not improving at the same pace.

New research reveals that 73 percent of respondents in a recent study have experienced a cloud-related security incident due to inadequate security practices. Symantec’s Cloud Security Threat Report (CSTR), released June 24, finds that while 53 percent of respondents reported workloads moving to cloud applications, 54 percent said their security practices have not kept up at the same rate.

Want a Job in the Future? Be a Student for Life

New digital technologies are expected to take away many jobs. They will also create several new ones. However, to grasp these new opportunities, everyone must continuously learn new skills. “We will now have to move to a continuum of lifelong learning, which essentially means we have to be lifelong learners,” says Ravi Kumar, president at Infosys, the digital services firm.

Kumar sees two big shifts on the jobs front. The first, he says, will be from repetitive tasks to non-repetitive tasks. And the second will be from problem-solving to problem-finding. In a conversation with Knowledge@Wharton in the company’s New York City offices, Kumar discusses how the emerging world of technology will shape the jobs of the future and what it means for individuals, industries and countries.

An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

Will Facebook’s Libra Bring Cryptocurrency into the Mainstream?

Facebook, the world’s largest social network with 2.4 billion users, is developing a cryptocurrency that has the potential to reshape the global financial system. Called Libra, the cryptocurrency and blockchain system is backed by major companies and groups and scheduled to hit the market in 2020. Facebook wants Libra to become a global currency that could help the 1.7 billion ‘unbanked’ people get access to financial systems.

Unsurprisingly, the announcement was met with calls for tough scrutiny from regulators and skepticism from technologists and the cryptocurrency community. Congressional committee hearings already are planned. In an op-ed for The Financial Times, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes called the prospect of Libra’s success “frightening.” Facebook’s practice of moving fast and breaking things works for a college social network, he said, but “it’s not appropriate for the global monetary system.”

From Camel Herder to Dictator


Khartoum’s long-standing strategy of fighting Sudan’s civil wars by empowering tribal militias—such as the infamous Darfurian janjaweed—has finally come back to bite it in the form of Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagolo, known as Hemeti.

Hemeti is the commander of the country’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the deputy chairman of the Transitional Military Council, which has ruled Sudan since the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir in April. A poorly educated militiaman from a remote village—he and most of the commanders and fighters who surround him are Darfurian Arabs who first saw combat serving in the janjaweed—Hemeti has none of the normal credentials for a national leader. But he is the most powerful man in Sudan today, even more than Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the general who actually leads the council.