18 July 2019

With the ICJ’s Verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav Near, How Will India and Pakistan React?

By Umair Jamal

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is expected to announce its verdict in Kulbushan Jadhav’s case on July 17. Jadhav, an Indian national and a retired navy officer, was arrested by Pakistan in the country’s Balochistan province in 2016. The verdict is important for both countries as it will carry significant implications for New Delhi and Islamabad’s stance on the issue and their relationship.

In 2017, Pakistan’s military courts incriminated Jadhav with terrorism and espionage charges, and sentenced him to death. Pakistan was unable to carry out the death sentence after India approached the ICJ for mediation in the case. The case’s nature has remained very complicated with both India and Pakistan bringing to table arguments that have challenged the court’s ability to pass a decisive judgment. For instance, India has maintained that Islamabad violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations as the country didn’t allow consular access to Jadhav. Article 36 of the Vienna Convention states that “foreign nationals who are arrested or detained be given notice without delay of their right to have their embassy or consulate notified of that arrest.”

A Radical Realist View of Tibetan Buddhism at the Rubin

Ian Johnson

One of the hallmarks of the past few decades has been the rise of religious-based nationalism in, for example, India, the United States, and the Middle East. And it has become routine in discussing these areas to make a link between politics and religion—be it Hinduism, Christianity, or Islam.

Buddhism, though, continues to flummox us. People are often shocked that it could be central to the violence of Sri Lanka or Myanmar, or the more than a hundred self-immolations that took place in Tibet in the early 2010s—self-inflicted acts of political violence that confounded both the Chinese government and many onlookers in the West. For many, Buddhism is “a religion of peace” and its adaptation for political purposes, even to inspire violence, feels flat-out wrong.

That makes the current exhibition at the Rubin Museum of Art, “Faith and Empire: Art and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism,” an especially welcome landmark, the first in-depth exploration of the topic. Tightly organized around some sixty items, the show is accompanied by a catalog of photos and essays by some of the leading scholars in the relatively new field of Tibetan studies. Together, the exhibition and the book go a long way toward demystifying Tibetan Buddhism, art, and politics, showing how closely they have been intertwined over the past thirteen hundred years.

A Test Match with the Taliban


Under the tutelage of Pakistan’s military, the Taliban brought peace to Afghanistan the last time it ruled the country. But it was the peace of the graveyard, which it could establish once again – this time with the support of the United States.

NEW DELHI – At the recent World Cup cricket tournament in England, a plucky Afghan team composed mainly of former refugees gave a surprisingly good account of themselves, including in matches against their neighbors, India and Pakistan. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of two other Afghan teams – the Taliban and the government – that met in Doha, Qatar, earlier this month to agree on a “road map for peace.”

For philanthropic institutions, the fundamental question of accountability first raised by the emergence of liberal democracy will not go away. To what extent should modern societies permit independent private agendas in the public realm and allow their advocates to pursue objectives that are not shared by governments and popular majorities?7Add to Bookmarks

The Afghan government officials who participated in the Doha talks could not even claim to be what they were, because their interlocutors, a murderous band of fanatics, do not recognize the Afghan government. Instead, the delegation was politely described as a group of representatives from Afghanistan, without saying whom exactly they represented.

DOD Releases Report on Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan

Today the Department of Defense provided to Congress the semiannual report “Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan” covering events during the period from Dec. 1, 2018, to May 31, 2019. The report was submitted in accordance with requirements in Section 1225 of the fiscal 2015 National Defense Authorization Act as amended by Sections 1231 and 1531 of the fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017 NDAA.

The principle goal of the South Asia Strategy is to conclude the war in Afghanistan on terms favorable to Afghanistan and the United States. During this reporting period, the United States and its partners used military force to drive the Taliban towards a durable and inclusive political settlement. There have been some notable developments—the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces emerged from the most hard-fought winter campaign since 2002, the U.S. continues to engage in “fight and talk” approach with the Taliban, and despite atypical levels of violence and heavy losses, ANDSF recruitment and retention outpaced attrition for the first time in several reporting periods.

Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilizad remains engaged in exploratory talks with the Taliban aimed at a settlement that reduces U.S. cost in Afghanistan while safeguarding U.S. counterterrorism interests. Increased military pressure on the Taliban, international calls for peace, and Khalilizad’s engagements appear to be driving the Taliban to negotiations. Any durable peace settlement must include guarantees and mechanisms that protect U.S. counterterrorism interests, a reduction in levels of violence, and an intra-Afghan dialogue that leads to an inclusive political settlement and an understanding that the future development relationship between the international community and the future Afghan government, and a drawdown of foreign forces in Afghanistan.

Pakistan charges 13 Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders under Anti-Terrorism Act


Last week, Pakistan’s Counter-Terrorism Department charged Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed and 12 other key members of the group with money laundering and financing terrorist groups. If history is any guide, Saeed and his cadre will dodge the charges and continue to provide support to a wide range of terrorist groups, including al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban.

Saeed, his brother-in-law and Lashkar-e-Taiba deputy emir Abdul Rehman Makki, and 11 others were charged with “financing terrorism from the massive funds collected through non-profit organisations and trusts including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, etc.,” Dawn reported. These non-profits established by Lashkar-e-Taiban (which has been renamed Jamaat-ud-Dawa in an attempt to hide its activities), are “accused of financing terrorism by building huge assets/properties from the collected funds in Pakistan.”

An Afghan Opening: Opportunities, Challenges, and Pitfalls

By Omar Samad

A gathering of more than sixty Afghans in Qatar this week provided a rare opportunity for frank discussion on the open questions facing a society still gripped in a decades-long conflict. A group of Kabul-based political, civil society, and government-endorsed representatives sat across from more than a dozen Taliban political officers, in a wrenching exchange of grievances, hopes, and fears about a slew of long-standing and contentious issues.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad called the meeting “an important step” and “an essential element of the four-part peace framework,” which aims to produce counterterrorism assurances from the Taliban, the withdrawal of foreign troops, intra-Afghan negotiations, and eventually an agreement on a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.

The intra-Afghan talks hosted in Qatar, with assistance from the German government, follow two forums in Moscow since last year where Afghan government officials were not present. The Qatar meeting was held as talks between the United States and the Taliban are accelerating and have opened the possibility of more discussions leading to formal negotiations, an important development given impending elections in both Afghanistan and the United States.

Unintended Consequences of the Message Surrounding US Withdrawal from Afghanistan and Syria

Thomas Hader, Peter K. Forster and Chris Kong


As the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) dealt final blows to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS or Daesh) physical caliphate, the specter of an American reduction in forces in the Syrian theater complicated the next phase in the conflict. On December 19, 2018, President Donald Trump tweeted, “Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining Islamic State territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions.” [i] Less than 24 hours later, the Trump Administration ordered a pullout of 7,000 troops from Afghanistan.[ii] These decisions and the process by which they were executed ignored a basic premise of risk management -- balancing the assumed threat reduction with costs and unintended consequences. These consequences include a large morale boost for terrorist organizations operating in the region and beyond, uncertainty for US allies, and confusion amongst US military leaders whose comments are carefully considered in deference civilian control of the armed forces.

Within this context, the proposed actions must be weighed to determine strategic and operational costs and reduce countervailing risks. Theoretically, information should be collected from multiple sources, analyzed, and a clear classified directive released. In this instance, these factors were, at least partially, disregarded. In effect, US operational commanders and allies were bypassed. Simultaneously, foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) in the region initiated an operational up-tempo. This trend is evident in the spread of propaganda and an increase in deadly attacks following the decision.

Pakistan & Al Zawahiri Have Warned Us: Who To Blame If Attacked?


After more than five years of vague references to India and the Kashmir situation amid much general prose, Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has decided to launch a very focused diatribe against Kashmir – apparently criticising Pakistan for its ‘self-serving’ conduct of jihad at the same time.

The ‘Mess’ in Kashmir

One may remember that it was Zawahiri who formally announced the setting up of the ‘Qaedat al-Jihad’ in the Indian Subcontinent in 2014. For ease, the media called it the AQIS (Al Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent). Asim Umar, the designated leader, had a résumé as long as your arm.

He had earlier been part of the Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami and the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, and later, the Tehrik-e-Taliban. The group had a list of ‘luminaries’ in deputy positions, and it all seemed very impressive.

South East Asia’s Cultural Indebtedness To India – Analysis

By Prof. V. Suryanarayan

On June 25, 2019 Chennai witnessed a spectacular and memorable meeting. The meeting was organized by Andal Bakthargal Peravai and Chennai Centre for Global Studies. The Guest of Honour was Phra Maha Raja Guru Bidhsrivisudhigun, the religious adviser and preceptor to the King of Thailand. The Rajguru performs the religious rites associated with coronation as a result of which the King acquires divinity and gets the title of Rama. The entourage of Rajguru consisted of four people, and they were dressed in white dhoti worn up to the knees, a white buttoned up coat and white shoes. What was striking about the entourage was their well- oiled kudumi (tuft) which proves that their ancestors hailed from Tamil Nadu. There are 14 Brahmins today in Thailand, they are highly respected and they keep alive the Hindu traditions. In fact, they are unofficial Indian ambassadors in Thailand.

New Developments With Chinese Satellites Over The Past Decade

To date, 17 Chinese self-developed FengYun (FY) meteorological satellites have been launched, which are widely applied in weather analysis, numerical weather forecasting and climate prediction, as well as environment and disaster monitoring. Currently, seven satellites are in operation.

“The FY series satellite program has gone through four main stages,” according to Dr. Peng Zheng, Deputy Director at the National Satellite Meteorological Center of the China Meteorological Administration, and the first author of a recently published review.

“The first stage primarily focused on research and development (R&D) of satellite technology. FY-1A operated for 39 days and FY-1B for 158 days. Meanwhile, FY-2A operated for about six months and FY-2B for about eight months.

In the second stage, the R&D satellites were transformed to operational ones. Since FY-1C in 1999 and FY-2C in 2004, FY satellites have been stable in orbit and capable of supporting continuous measurements in an operational manner.

The Socrates Project: The Key to Countering China?

By Bonnie Girard

If a nation could have a tool that allowed it to outclass all competitors in economic and military capabilities, rendering rivals essentially neutered, why wouldn’t it adopt and use that tool immediately?

This is the question that supporters of the Socrates Project are increasingly asking in the United States.

A groundswell of support formed during the presidency of Ronald Reagan to maintain American competitiveness by co-opting the power of technology planning tools, as opposed to the economic and financial planning models that the United States had largely used after World War II. The program, called the Socrates Project, was designed to use new formulas and concepts to ensure the nation’s superiority over rising global economic and military challenges, and to make the United States the undisputed single power on the planet.

In the 1980s, few foresaw that China, India, and other developing countries would constitute a competitive challenge to the United States. Reagan and members of his team were prescient, however. Michael Sekora, director of the Socrates Project, was one of them.

Threat and Opportunity: Chinese Wedging in the Senkaku/Diaoyu Dispute

Andrew D. Taffer 

This paper provides the first systematic analysis of China's conduct in its offshore territorial conflict with Japan to contend that Beijing has adopted a wedging strategy aimed at weakening the U.S.-Japan alliance. Building on previous scholarship, the article demonstrates that over the post–Cold War era China has consistently subordinated its territorial interests in the Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute to help advance broader political and strategic goals. Drawing on Chinese writings, I argue that since 2010 Beijing has viewed U.S. and Japanese strategy in the conflict to be intended to contain it and that the empirical record suggests China's conduct has, in turn, sought to counter this perceived threat by weakening the alliance at its core. Beijing, it is argued, has aimed to sow discord in the U.S.-Japan alliance by "making use of contradictions" perceived to afflict U.S. strategy.

China is Pulling Ahead of North America on Smart Cities

Graham Allison 

China is developing 500 smart cities — almost half the worldwide total, and more than 10 times North America's figure.

Why it matters: China's smart cities signal the country's strengths not only in technology and infrastructure, but in implementation.

Details: In Canada and the U.S., smart cities face obstacles including skepticism of Big Tech, privacy concerns, outdated infrastructure, and the difficulty of aligning stakeholders.
The U.S. is developing 40 smart cities, less than 4% of the globe's total.

In the meantime, over 80 cities and counties in the U.S. are suing the FCC over new rules designed to accelerate the buildout of America's 5G infrastructure, which is expected to be the backbone of advanced internet-of-things technology.

Is American Diplomacy with China Dead?


How did we get to a place where the United States government, egged on by clickbaiting media and others, actively shuns talking as a way of solving problems? We need look no further than the wreckage of recently abandoned treaties and international agreements to understand that American diplomacy has indeed fallen on hard times. Whereas U.S. diplomats used to be relied on to prevent crises, to solve international problems, to devise new agreements, rules and institutions, they are now viewed by their own government with suspicion, and the word “global” has become an epithet.

Diplomats are trained to discern how the dynamics of other countries are different from our own; how, left to their own devices, they will affect our interests; and how we might shape or harness them to service our interests, or at least not harm them. This requires curiosity, patience, listening, persistence and, above all, a realistic analysis of our interests and where they diverge or overlap with others. If a convergence of interests cannot be found and exploited through persistent, low-cost diplomacy and persuasion, we must then assess what higher costs we are willing to bear to force our interests on another country, and whether that force will succeed or fail.

A new study tracks the surge in Chinese loans to poor countries

Loan talks with Belarus; funding for bridges in Liberia; a possible gas project in Timor-Leste; accusations of exploitation in Tanzania; a corporate dispute in India; pledges to support the Rwandan private sector. And that was just the past few weeks. Such is the frenetic pace of China’s overseas lending that its outstanding loans have risen from almost nothing in 2000 to more than $700bn today. It is the world’s largest official creditor, more than twice as big as the World Bank and imf combined. Yet tracking the money is hard because of limited transparency in its disclosures.

A new study by Sebastian Horn and Christoph Trebesch of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and Carmen Reinhart of Harvard University offers the most comprehensive picture yet of China’s official credit flows (including state-owned banks). It adds to concern about whether China has sowed the seeds for debt problems abroad. They find that nearly half of China’s lending to developing countries is “hidden”, in that neither the World Bank nor the imf has data on it.

Withering Influence in National Security

Billy Carter

Author’s Note: This essay was inspired and guided by my colleague and co-worker, Mr. Jerry Orban. His guidance and expertise helped me to understand the depth of this issue and brought into focus the consideration to develop a solution that is feasible and attainable.

It is our position that in order to achieve strategic influence goals we require a unified national structure with systems and methods, policy and doctrine appropriate for its charter. Prior to the Church-Pike Hearings such a structure existed in the Operations Coordination Board as part of the NSC. While the US enjoyed strategic influence successes after the structure was initially federated out to DOD, the CIA, and USIA, we posit that it was legacy cadre with institutional acumen that facilitated the design of those programs, such as Solidarity. We raise the concern that such institution and its knowledge does not exist now but can be revitalized. We anticipate that a unified structure would offer operational efficiencies and eliminate redundancies and ultimately allow the US to achieve overmatch in the influence domain. Finally, we have the lessons learned in the formation of the ODNI to model a unified influence system after, expecting and mitigating some of the challenges that such a policy change would mean for the stakeholders as well as internal and external political concerns.


Netanyahu: IDF the only army ready to fight Iran

By Menachem Shlomo

Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that the only army ready to combat Iran is the IDF.

Speaking to members of the National Security College at the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu slammed the 2015 nuclear deal, and said that only he was against it at the time.

“The only thing that the terrible nuclear agreement gave is a strong and sweeping rapprochement with major Arab countries,” Netanyahu said. “Iran says simply: ‘We will destroy you and destroy you first by nuclear weapons.'”

“I had to fight alone to block the nuclear agreement,” Netanyahu lamented. “I had to fight against all the powers and against the president of the United States – I went to the American Congress.

Iranian Hybrid Warfare

by Oliver 

The most recent retaliatory strike window looks set to close with more US sanctions being placed on Iran. A short term conclusion to what was very nearly a military strike. Large scale military action against Iran has been touted repeatedly since the start of the War on Terror. Despite the clear threat, Iran has become increasingly influential through its adaptable and bold use of hybrid warfare. Iranian actions have global consequences due to its strategic location dominating access to the Strait of Hormuz, through which a quarter of the world’s oil travels in vulnerable tankers.

Iranian actions on the world stage can be directly traced back to the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Where an increasingly Westernising US backed monarch was overthrown in favour of an Islamic (Shia) Republic. The political power structure ruling since is seen as complicated; however the supreme leader Ali Khamenei has the ultimate political and religious power. This power is exercised through a web of tightly controlled, unelected councils. The Intelligence Services, Armed Forces and Revolutionary Guards Corps answer directly to the Supreme Leader as Commander in Chief.

The Melians’ Revenge: How Small, Frontline, European States Can Employ Emerging Technology to Defend Against Russia

T. X. Hammes argues that the current technological revolution is creating a range of small, smart, cheap weapons that can provide small nations with the combat power previously reserved to major powers. For Hammes, this is good news for European NATO nations - such as the Baltic States - seeking to deter Russian aggression. Indeed, he contends that for a modest investment, such nations could present Russia with an unpalatable complex defense of inexpensive autonomous drones, missiles, and ubiquitous improvised explosive devices (IEDs), especially when combined with other NATO members’ capabilities.

American Commandos Gear Up for New Shadow War With Russia

by Eric Schmitt

SZOLNOK, Hungary — Secretive, behind-the-lines mission rehearsals and other operations by 1,400 American and allied commandos to combat shifting Russian threats have laid bare a fundamental tension in the Trump administration: While the president courts Moscow, much of his government considers it an increasingly dangerous foe.

Just days before President Trump made light of Russia’s interference in American elections during a meeting last month with President Vladimir V. Putin, teams of Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs were practicing support missions for local resistance forces in Eastern Europe and the Baltics should they have to confront Russian commandos without insignia, the so-called little green men who helped Moscow seize Crimea in 2014.

The UK Is Prepping Its Special Forces to Fight Russia’s “Little Green Men”

by Michael Peck 

The core of Britain’s special forces is the Special Air Service (SAS) regiment, the Special Boat Service (SBS) and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR), which carries out covert surveillance. The SRR’s mission would expand under the new plan.

Britain is giving its vaunted special forces a special job: fighting little green men, gray wars and black ops.

All these colors belong to Russia’s “hybrid warfare” strategy, which eschews massive military force in favor of more subtle means such as political manipulation, cyberwarfare and special forces operating incognito (the “little green men” in unmarked uniforms that spearheaded the seizure of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014).
So, Britain plans to fight fire with fire by using its own special operators. “The plan is called ‘Special Operations Concept’ and has been drawn up by the senior officer in charge of the special forces, the Director Special Forces (DSF),” says the BBC. “According to people familiar with what’s in it, part of the concept involves changing both the structure of the military’s secretive units and what they do.”

(This appeared in June 2019.)

An Education Crisis for All


At a time when the world should be progressing rapidly toward the UN Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring “inclusive and equitable quality education” for all, it faces a deepening crisis instead. To address it, the G7 and developing countries alike must offer concrete commitments that match the scale of the challenge.

WASHINGTON, DC – Aichetou, a 14-year-old girl, lives on the outskirts of Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, in Africa’s Sahel region. Every day, she makes a difficult trek through the sand to get to a school with no drinking water or sanitation, where she barely learns, owing to a lack of textbooks and trained teachers. And she is not alone: tens of millions of schoolchildren worldwide face similar circumstances, while 262 million children and youth are not in school at all.

For philanthropic institutions, the fundamental question of accountability first raised by the emergence of liberal democracy will not go away. To what extent should modern societies permit independent private agendas in the public realm and allow their advocates to pursue objectives that are not shared by governments and popular majorities?

At a time when we should be progressing rapidly toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring “inclusive and equitable quality education” for all (SDG4), the world is facing a deepening education crisis. True, some countries are making strides: in France, every child receives a compulsory education, which will soon begin at age three.

Options for U.S. Use of Private Military and Security Companies

Christophe Bellens

This article is published as part of the Small Wars Journal and Divergent Options Writing Contest which ran from March 1, 2019 to May 31, 2019.


This article considers from the perspective of the United States government what options are on the table in the use private military forces. Decision makers have three possibilities, explained by their effectiveness in Iraq or Afghanistan, for a future PMSC-strategy.


Since the start of the ‘Global War on Terror’, U.S. government organizations such as the Department of Defense (DoD), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of State (DoS) have contracted PMSCs to manage security risks. The employees of these corporations perform duties that until recently were fulfilled by military members, such as the protection of key personnel, convoys and sites. Due to a reduction in troop numbers and an environment where privatization was heavily favored, PMSCs became a vital component of counterinsurgency. Despite their importance, planners often overlook the role of these contractors. The two cases of Iraq and Afghanistan offer three pathways to reach the envisioned political, tactical, operational and strategic objectives during counterinsurgency. 


Hack-and-Leak Operations: Intrusion and Influence in the Gulf

James Shires 

Events such as the leaking of hacked emails from the US Democratic National Committee before the 2016 presidential election sit between two paradigms of cybersecurity. The first paradigm focuses on intrusion (unauthorized access to networks), while the second concentrates on influence (the use of digital technologies to shift public debate). Analyses generally tackle one of these two aspects: cybersecurity specialists focus on intrusion, setting aside the complexities of the digital public sphere, while media scholars do the opposite, closely analyzing flows of leaked information without considering how it was obtained. This article instead argues for conceptualizing hack-and-leak operations (HLOs) as a distinct category, through a close analysis of a crucial HLO that has been overlooked by the cybersecurity literature: the release of documents from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the ‘Yemen Cyber Army’. It proposes a tripartite framework for understanding the impact of HLOs as mechanisms of delegitimization, based on their technical characteristics, social and political context and target audiences. The article suggests that the Yemen Cyber Army incident could have been an experiment for the same Russian actors who carried out the DNC operation, allowing them to hone their tactics prior to the US elections.

Column: The dark new world of leaks, rumours and deadly hybrid war

by Peter Apps 

LONDON (Reuters) – As Britain ponders the fallout from leaked diplomatic telegrams from its ambassador to Washington, it ponders an awkward question. Was the so-called “special relationship” deliberately sabotaged by Britain’s own officials or politicians releasing the material for their own political ends, or was the United Kingdom the victim of an attack by a foreign power?

Assistants carry flags into a room ahead of a press conference held by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in London, January 22, 2018. 

It’s a quandary that points to an awkward dynamic at the heart of politics in almost every Western country. Without doubt, several major nations – particularly Russia, but also China and Iran at the very least – have become adept at using leaks, rumour and political subterfuge to support their geopolitical ends.

The problem, though, is that growing forces within Western countries have also embraced very much the same tactics. It makes getting to the bottom of what is really going on difficult, sometimes impossible. And perhaps most dangerous of all, it means the international climate continues to deteriorate and become ever more paranoid – whether it is justified or not.

Blame Intel

W.R. Baker

From the onset of World War II, intelligence failures have been attributed to significant military events.

Beginning with Pearl Harbor, Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) has reigned supreme among all others intelligence forms, but with significant downsides. Then, information derived from the various Japanese codes were not shared with many other levels of commands, organizations, and overseas commander, especially those who might be able to put context and sense to intercepts. Of course, there still existed the thought and practice that almost anyone could be a G-2, such as Hawaiian Commander LTG Walter C. Short’s appointment of LTC J. Fielder as his G-2, who had no intelligence background, over an experienced reservist.

The Kasserine Counterattack of February 1943 is an example of not listening to frontline troops (TIC, Troops in Contact) as a source of intelligence with an extremely short expiration time. This accurate information was submitted up to British LTG Kenneth Anderson about the Germans attacking through the Faid Pass in Tunisia, but was discounted as an “exaggeration of green, untried troops” by Army and AFHW intelligence divisions. Eisenhower later replaced the head of his AFHQ intelligence organization.[i]

Beyond Twitter: The Emergence of the Cyber-Presidency and Small Cyber Wars

Jonathan Lancelot

Given the nature of the presidency, and the importance for the President to be free of chatter and clear of direct conflict is contradicted when President Trump is expressing his opinion on Twitter. When cyberwarfare is the top defensive policy for the Pentagon, including the protection of critical infrastructure from a catastrophic cyber-attack, the Commander-in-Chief should strategically avoid social media if at all possible. This is not the case within the Trump Administration, yet what has happened is the presidency’s presence on Twitter has turned the platform into a political and tactical battlefield. Twitter, whether it is aware of it or not, has become a target for cyber operations that use the platform to sway public opinion with fake news, political subterfuge, hate speech, and fear-based propaganda. An equivalent is when the President is in an area, and security is increased to protect the situation when the American people meet their executive in public. Therefore, any space the president occupies (cyberspace or real space) must be secured, controlled, and transparent.

The Coming AI Metamorphosis


Humanity is at the edge of a revolution driven by artificial intelligence. It has the potential to be one of the most significant and far-reaching revolutions in history, yet it has developed out of disparate efforts to solve specific practical problems rather than a comprehensive plan. Ironically, the ultimate effect of this case-by-case problem solving may be the transformation of human reasoning and decision making.

This revolution is unstoppable. Attempts to halt it would cede the future to that element of humanity more courageous in facing the implications of its own inventiveness. Instead, we should accept that AI is bound to become increasingly sophisticated and ubiquitous, and ask ourselves: How will its evolution affect human perception, cognition, and interaction? What will be its impact on our culture and, in the end, our history?

America’s Indefensible Defense Budget

Jessica T. Mathews

A parable, to begin: in 2016, the 136 military bands maintained by the Department of Defense, employing more than 6,500 full-time professional musicians at an annual cost of about $500 million, caught the attention of budget-cutters worried about surging federal deficits. Immediately memos flew and lobbyists descended. The Government Accountability Office, laying the groundwork for another study or three, opined, “The military services have not developed objectives and measures to assess how their bands are addressing the bands’ missions, such as inspiring patriotism.” Supporters of the 369th Infantry Regiment band noted that it had introduced jazz to Europe during World War I. How could such a history be left behind? A blues band connected effectively with Russian soldiers in Bosnia in 1996, another proponent argued, proving that bands are, “if anything, an incredibly cost-effective supplement” to the Pentagon’s then $4.5 billion public affairs budget.


Mike Sweeney

Fifty-one years ago, British Foreign Secretary George Brown informed his American counterpart that the United Kingdom was leaving the Persian Gulf in the next few years, expediting an existing withdrawal plan. Britain was decamping because it had to: it no longer could afford the costs of its imperial commitments throughout Asia.

The United States today is different from 1960s Great Britain in two important ways. On the one hand, it has not (yet)overextended itself to the point where it is forced into an ignominious retreat from the Middle East stage. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, it also doesn’t have a coherent plan for how to address the future of its regional posture before such overreach becomes fact—or in the event internal conditions in the Middle East render US presence untenable.

The latter prospect warrants more discussion than it has received. In the immediate wake of the 2011 Arab Spring, there was concern over the internal stability of the states America relies on to host its forces in the Middle East. In particular, there were palpable fears about Bahrain, the tiny island emirate that hosts the US Fifth Fleet, but which also is home to a tenuous balance between a Sunni monarchy and a majority Shiite population. As the regional situation slowly stabilized—sadly with little real positive change for the people of the Middle East—the American perspective returned to one of complacency.