19 July 2019

Navigating Opportunities for Cooperation on the Brahmaputra River

Nilanthi Samaranayake, Satu Limaye, and Joel Wuthnow

The Brahmaputra River, which originates in China and flows through India and Bangladesh, provides a critical supply of water, vast potential for clean-power generation, and opportunities for economic growth. Despite the importance of this river for three of the world’s most populous nations, no formal agreement exists to manage its resources.

NBR’s Ashley Johnson spoke with Nilanthi Samaranayake (CNA), Satu Limaye (East-West Center), and Joel Wuthnow (National Defense University) about the opportunities and challenges for the three riparian nations to cohesively manage the Brahmaputra River. Their recent book Raging Waters: China, India, Bangladesh and Brahmaputra River Politics explores these issues and provides recommendations for policymakers seeking to advance regional water security.

Given the importance of the Brahmaputra River Basin for water, energy, and economic security, why has this river been overlooked as an area of focus?

Why India has not made a world-beating global invention

A few weeks ago, some reports were published about the smartphone industry in India. It is one of the most important sectors of the consumer economy, with large annual growth and very big volume.

The leader in India's smartphone market is the Chinese company Xiaomi, which has a 30% marketshare. The number two player is South Korea's Samsung, with 22%. At numbers three, four and five are also Chinese companies: Vivo, Oppo and Realme.

There is no Indian firm with any meaningful product in India's market.

I read a piece recently on a Web site called Founding Fuel in which the founder of Infosys, Narayana Murthy was quoted as saying:

Hard Choices are Needed to Solve Afghanistan's War

by Touqir Hussain

The U.S.-Taliban talks are moving ahead but where are they headed to? They may be aspiring for a comprehensive peace agreement but could just end up with a partial deal.

A comprehensive agreement might establish a framework for achieving peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan under a government legitimized by the constitution and democratic elections. But it would be challenged by the Taliban. And a partial deal might provide for the exit of foreign forces, leaving the Taliban as the commanding force of change for Afghanistan’s future. But it would be contested by Kabul. Either way, the war that we know may end but conflict will continue.

Both options raise questions. One might ask whether legitimacy justifies Kabul’s claim to power even if it has failed to create effective economic and security institutions and governance structures, and lacks a writ over nearly half the country. Equally one might wonder if an undefeated insurgency has a right to lead the country while lacking constitutional backing, domestic legitimacy, and broader support of the population? According to a 2018 countrywide survey by the Asia Foundation, 82 percent of Afghans have “no sympathy at all” for the Taliban.

Afghanistan’s Forests Are Turning a Profit for the Islamic State


KUNAR, Afghanistan—With his hands tight on his machine gun at a remote checkpoint in Afghanistan’s small eastern province of Kunar, the police officer Matiullah Safi kept watch.

“Daesh is just over there,” the uniformed 22-year-old said, pointing to a tree-covered hill less than a mile away, using the Arabic name for the Islamic State.

Small numbers of fighters for the Islamic State of Khorasan Province, the Afghan branch of the militant group, have been in Kunar since 2015. But the group’s new stronghold is in Kunar’s deep forests, inheriting a booming wood industry previously controlled by the Taliban that is now generating a growing income for Islamic State militants.

Safi’s government outpost in Chawkay district is along one of the front lines for the war on the Islamic State. But it’s also a key entry point for smugglers bringing wood from the forests to other parts of Afghanistan or neighboring Pakistan, using mules maneuvering through mountainous terrain or hiding the logs in secret compartments of trucks that cross the official border.

Al-Qaeda chief’s Kashmir threat reveals deep frustration


new video released by the al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri seeking more attacks in Kashmir, India, late on July 10, reveals a deep frustration within militant ranks acting in the region, several experts told Asia Times. The call by Zawahiri, that was first published by known al-Qaeda channels, saw him attacking the Indians and the Pakistanis, a first of its kind message from him.

Al-Qaeda is not new to the South Asian subcontinent and in September 2014, he released a video message declaring the formation of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS). In his speech, Zawahiri said that this was not a new development, but a process that started in 2012 to bring all the “Mujahideen” (holy warriors) together. His announcement was soon followed by a similar announcement by ISIS that they were also setting up a dedicated group for the subcontinent.

“It is widely known that ISIS came out of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula [AQAP] after major differences between Abu Musab al-Zarqawi with [Osama bin] Laden and Zawahiri. This has followed into the Indian subcontinent,” a senior Indian intelligence analyst told Asia Times. “However, their major ideological differences as well as lack of support from Pakistan’s intelligence services, the ISI, has limited their growth in the region,” he said.

Tension In The Gulf: Not Just Maritime Powder Kegs – Analysis

By James M. Dorsey

A recent interview in which Baloch National Movement chairman Khalil Baloch legitimized recent militant attacks on Iranian, Chinese and Pakistani targets is remarkable less for what he said and more for the fact that his remarks were published by a Saudi newspaper.

Speaking to Riyadh Daily, the English language sister of one of Saudi Arabia’s foremost newspapers, Al Riyadh, Mr. Baloch’s legitimization in the kingdom’s tightly controlled media constituted one more suggestion that Saudi Arabia may be tacitly supporting militants in Balochistan, a troubled Pakistani province that borders on Iran and is a crown jewel of China’s infrastructure and energy-driven Belt and Road initiative.

Riyadh Daily interviewed Mr. Baloch against the backdrop of heightened tensions between the United States and Iran that many fear could escalate into military conflict, past indications of Saudi support for religious militants in Balochistan, and suggestions that countries like the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are united in their opposition to Iran but differ on what outcome they want maximum pressure on the Islamic republic to produce.

Intel officials warn of China’s growing threat to American tech secrets

By: Nathan Strout  

Intel officials say 5G is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the threat China poses to national security, American intellectual property and consumer data.

As the United States works toward 5G capabilities, both the intelligence community and elected officials have raised concerns about Huawei, a Chinese company at the forefront of 5G technology. Due to the close relationship between the company and the Chinese government, some worry that the presence of their technology in U.S. infrastructure could give China access to American data or worse, the ability to disrupt American telecommunications.

“When we look at Huawei and 5G ... we’re really talking about access to the data and the integrity of communication systems especially in times of crisis,” said John Demers, assistant attorney general for national security at the Department of Justice. “What would be the ability of the Chinese government to affect our telecommunications infrastructure if we did get into a conflict with China at some point?”

U.S. plan to fight China and Russia is too good to be true


WASHINGTON - An American war against China or Russia would be truly awful. Even if the United States won — no sure thing — it could well suffer costs and casualties that would make the toll of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars seem minor by comparison. So is there a way the U.S. could stymie a Chinese attack in the Pacific, or a Russian land-grab in Eastern Europe, without having to defeat enemy forces head-on? This is the motivating question behind the idea of “horizontal escalation.”

Horizontal escalation is a strategic concept that relies on attacking an adversary’s weaknesses outside the theater where the fighting started, so as to avoid confronting its strengths within that theater. It is an alluring idea that has won support from some key national security professionals. Unfortunately, it probably won’t work.

Horizontal escalation is a response to a genuinely difficult problem: the immense challenges associated with directly defeating Chinese or Russian aggression.

China’s Hong Kong Quandary – Analysis

By Marvin C. Ott*

(FPRI) — Over recent weeks, Hong Kong has been repeatedly rocked by mass demonstrations protesting the actions of its governing authorities. What makes these demonstrations noteworthy and very important are their scale and their location. Protest organizers estimated the crowds at one point at nearly two million—over a quarter of the entire population of Hong Kong. These are not the first expressions of mass dissent in Hong Kong; the 2014 “Umbrella Movement” paralyzed the city for days. But in several respects, Hong Kong still seems an unlikely venue for such events.

When over a century of British colonial rule ended in 1997 and Hong Kong reverted to Chinese control, public opinion polls indicated that 83% of residents were positive or neutral regarding the change. The restoration of Beijing’s authority coincided with a period of rapid growth in China’s wealth and power. The last 22 years have been good to China and have produced growing pride and nationalist feeling among its citizenry. In 1997, Hong Kong was the wealthiest city in China. That is no longer the case because of the spectacular growth in Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangdong.

Moreover, residents of Hong Kong enjoy rights of free expression not available elsewhere in China. This is the product of the unique “one country; two systems” formula—to last for fifty years—agreed upon between China and Britain. So what is the problem?

(Still) Made In China: How Tariff Hikes May Trigger Re-Routing Circumvention – Analysis

By Xuepeng Liu and Huimin Shi*

The trade war between China and the US has lasted for almost a year and has recently escalated. In many industries, US–China trade had declined. At the same time, the two countries’ trade with certain third countries/regions have increased. Some of the products diverted to third countries might actually be made in China or the US. For example, in a recent Bloomberg.com news report, Chau and Boudreau (2019) show that Vietnamese exports to the US surged in 2019 and some of the products such as plywood are actually made in China, but shipped to the US with ‘Made in Vietnam’ labels. Earlier discussions on antidumping duty evasion have appeared in news or government investigation reports, but they only investigated a few products or offered mostly anecdotal evidence. In a recent econometric study, we provide a more systematic econometric analysis of the rerouting behaviours of Chinese firms to evade US antidumping duties (Liu and Shi 2019). 

Which Countries Are For or Against China's Xinjiang Policies?

By Catherine Putz

Days after a group of 22 nations signed a letter addressed to the president of the UN Human Rights Council and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights calling on China to end its massive detention program in Xinjiang, a group of 37 countries submitted a similar letter in defense of China’s policies.

The text of the first letter, criticizing China, has been made available (PDF); the second letter has not yet made its way into the general public but both letters reportedly included requests that they be recorded as documents of the Human Rights Council’s just-concluded 41st Session. 

In the first letter, the signatories express concern about “credible reports of arbitrary detention” in Xinjiang and “widespread surveillance and restrictions” particularly targeting Uyghurs and other minorities. The signatories call on China to uphold its national laws and international commitments, including as a member of the Human Rights Council, and “refrain from the arbitrary detention and restrictions on freedom of movement of Uighurs, and other Muslim and minority communities in Xinjiang.” 

Coup-proofing? Making Sense of Turkey’s S-400 Decision

On July 12, Turkey received the first elements of the S-400, a fourth-generation surface-to-air Russian missile system. Few recent weapon sales have been as geopolitically charged as this one. U.S. officials have threatened both military and economic sanctions should Turkey acquire the Russian system.

The delivery comes after many years of negotiations for more advanced air defenses. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan first discussed with Russia in August 2016 what would ultimately become a $2.5 billion agreement to procure four S-400 batteries, but Turkey has been pursuing air and missile defenses for over a decade. The S-400 announcement follows several previous tenders in which Turkey considered but ultimately did not buy the U.S. Patriot, the Chinese HQ-9, and the French SAMP/T. The arrival of the S-400 follows significant political turmoil in Turkey, most notably the shootdown of a Russian jet in 2015, the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016—exactly three years ago today—and a new strategic partnership between Erdogan and President Vladimir Putin.

Can commercial satellites revolutionize nuclear command and control?

By: Nathan Strout  

The rapid growth of commercial space makes the use of non-government satellites for nuclear command and control increasingly tempting, according to one official.

During a speech June 26, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said that the service — which oversees both the United States’ ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, as well as strategic bombers capable of delivering nuclear warheads — was open to the idea of using private sector satellites.

“Whether it’s Silicon Valley or commercial space, there’s unlimited opportunities ahead right now for us in terms of how we think differently on things like nuclear command and control,” said Goldfien. “I, for one, am pretty excited about it.”

Novak Djokovic, a Spoiler and a Champion at Wimbledon

By Louisa Thomas

Novak Djokovic came into the Wimbledon final against Roger Federer as the defending champion. He had won three of the past four Slams. He is the No. 1 player in the world. The distance in ranking points between him and the No. 2 player, Rafael Nadal, is around the distance between Nadal and the eighth-ranked player, Kevin Anderson. He was going for his sixteenth Grand Slam title. A win would leave him two Slam titles behind Nadal, for the second most in history, and only four behind Federer, who holds the record, and who, at thirty-seven, is five years Djokovic’s senior. Except for a yearlong slump, which ended with last year’s Wimbledon title, he has been the most dominant player in tennis for the better part of a decade.


ON ZOOM CONFERENCE calls across the US this week, brows furrowed as the news broke that the video conference company had a flaw in its backend that could give hackers access to people’s webcams. Worse, Zoom seemed at first unwilling to fix the problem. Thankfully, hours after the initial reports, Zoom backtracked and issued a fix to solve underlying vulnerability. You can go back to Zooming your brilliant brainstorms in peace, everyone.

According to a new report this week, a Magecart hacking group has been breaking into misconfigured Amazon Web Services buckets, scanning the contents of 17,000 domains, and stealing any goodies—like credit card numbers used on some ecommerce sites.

In other Amazon news, are you ready for Amazon Prime Dayon Monday? Phishing scammers sure are. In the last few weeks scammers have pushed a whole phishing toolkittargeting Amazon customers. Beware.

America Should Rethink Its Commitments to Allies

by Ted Galen Carpenter

Washington’s demands toward North Korea and Iran have one important feature in common. In both cases, U.S. officials in multiple administrations have insisted that America’s adversary renounce any ambition to possess nuclear weapons or a significant ballistic missile capability. The underlying assumption is that if Tehran or Pyongyang possesses even a small nuclear arsenal, it would pose not only an unacceptable threat to regional peace but also a dire threat to America’s own security.

The worry about a menace to the U.S. homeland is improbable—unless Washington continues to put America’s safety and well-being at risk to defend vulnerable allies and security clients. That caveat underscores a crucial distinction between direct deterrence (deterring an attack on one’s own country) and extended deterrence (deterring an attack on a third party). The former has high credibility; the latter has significantly lower credibility.

Space Exploration and U.S. Competitiveness

by Steven J. Markovich and Andrew Chatzky

The 1957 launch of Sputnik and subsequent Russian firsts in space convinced many U.S. policymakers that the country had fallen dangerously behind its Cold War rival. Consecutive U.S. administrations invested in education and scientific research to meet the Soviet challenge. These investments propelled the United States to victory in the so-called space race and planted the seeds for future innovation and economic competitiveness, experts say. Yet, since the 1990s, NASA’s share of federal spending has waned. The U.S. private sector has ramped up investment in space, but accidents and other obstacles cast some doubt on the pace of developing commercial space flight.

The Soviet Union took the world by surprise in October 1957 with the launch of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite. In a matter of months, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Congress initiated measures to build U.S. scientific and engineering prowess, including the creation of NASA, a civilian space exploration agency.

The UN International Water Courses Convention 2014 – Analysis

By Dr. S. Chandrasekharan

In Foreign Policy in Focus, Conn Hallinan has made a strong case that the World needs a Water treaty and has suggested that the International Water Courses Convention that came into effect on August 2014 following the endorsement of the treaty by Vietnam should be a good starting point in any dispute/conflict/cooperation among the member countries.

It is said that Water Consumption appropriates 54 percent of the World’s accessible fresh water run off. 786 million people in the world lack access to safe drinking water.

It is significant that India and China that have a third of the World’s population, both together have access to only ten percent of the Globe’s water resources. It is therefore all the more important that the countries in Asia should think of a water treaty in a larger context. China’s outright rejection and India’s abstention of the Internationa convention of 2014 should therefore be a cause for concern.

Pentagon studies how to secure 5G and beyond

By: Mark Pomerleau 

The Department of Defense is developing a 5G strategy, and now the Defense Science Board has given Pentagon decision-makers its findings on the subject.

The DSB’s quick task force on defense applications of fifth-generation network technology undertook an extensive technical review of 5G-related technologies and communication to offer the DoD recommendations on how to adopt such technologies in the face of concerns.

Specifically, Pentagon officials and members of Congress are increasingly worried that if China invests in and controls the majority of the global 5G network marketplace, the Chinese government can use that network to spy on the communications that cross the network. Worse, some fear that in a conflict or tension, China could cut off communications to certain areas as leverage.

2019 Internet Security Threat Report

The 2019 Internet Security Threat Report takes a deep dive into insights from the Symantec Global Intelligence Network (GIN), revealing the latest trends in cyber security attacks including ransomware, formjacking, cloud security and mobile threats.

Through GIN, Symantec has established the largest civilian threat collection network in the world, and one of the most comprehensive collections of cyber security threat intelligence.

Download this in-depth report now to use this unparalleled intelligence to your advantage.

Why won’t the National Security Commission share its thoughts on AI?

By: Kelsey D. Atherton

Artificial Intelligence is an inherently opaque process. Creating machines that can arrive at new conclusions means setting a process in motion more than carefully orchestrating each step along the path. So, too, it appears are the operations of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, which held its third plenary session July 11, 2019, in Cupertino, California. In a Department of Defense news release, the Commission shared merely that it listened to classified briefings about AI.

Created by the National Defense Authorization Act in 2018, the Commission is explicitly tasked with reviewing “advances in artificial intelligence, related machine learning developments, and associated technologies,” for the express purpose of addressing “the national and economic security needs of the United States, including economic risk, and any other associated issues.” The form this review will take is annual reports to the president and Congress, made publicly available with the possible exception of a classified annex.

Pentagon studies how to secure 5G and beyond

By: Mark Pomerleau  

The Department of Defense is developing a 5G strategy, and now the Defense Science Board has given Pentagon decision-makers its findings on the subject.

The DSB’s quick task force on defense applications of fifth-generation network technology undertook an extensive technical review of 5G-related technologies and communication to offer the DoD recommendations on how to adopt such technologies in the face of concerns.

Specifically, Pentagon officials and members of Congress are increasingly worried that if China invests in and controls the majority of the global 5G network marketplace, the Chinese government can use that network to spy on the communications that cross the network. Worse, some fear that in a conflict or tension, China could cut off communications to certain areas as leverage.

Securing 5G Networks Challenges and Recommendations

Robert Williams

Fifth-generation (5G) telecommunications networks could revolutionize the digital economy by enabling new applications that depend on ultra-fast communications at industrial scale. Many of these new applications, such as driverless cars, telemedicine, factory automation, smart electric grids, and smart cities, will capitalize on advances in artificial intelligence (AI), and 5G networks themselves will be AI-enabled.

With these opportunities come major cybersecurity challenges. Western governments are grappling with the risks posed by Huawei and other Chinese vendors of 5G infrastructure equipment. On May 15, 2019, U.S. President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order laying the groundwork for a ban on Huawei equipment in U.S. networks, a long-anticipated move that was accompanied by the Commerce Department’s even more consequential decision to restrict the company’s access to U.S. components. Excluding Huawei from U.S. networks, however, is not the same as securing those networks. Instead, U.S. policymakers need to adopt a broader strategy that includes technical measures, regulatory adjustments, a sensible legal liability regime, diplomacy, and investments in research and cybersecurity skills training.

The Technology of 5G

Congress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid


Lawmakers are zeroing in on the potential for foreign cyberattacks to take down the U.S. electric grid, with members in both chambers pushing hearings and a flurry of bills to address the issue. 

Congressional interest in the issue is growing following reports that Iran has stepped up its cyberattacks against U.S. critical infrastructure, and as Trump administration officials cite threats from Russia and China against the electric grid.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee focused on threats to the grid during a hearing on Friday, as lawmakers look to get ahead of the issue.

“We know our enemies are rapidly developing new techniques to compromise and attack our grid, so it is vitally important that the federal government and the electric industry remain vigilant in ensuring the grid is secure,” said Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), chairman of the full committee.

The Nexus of Russian Foreign and Domestic Politics Through Diversionary Warfare Against Ukraine

By Rusudan Zabakhidze

Earlier this year, The Strategy Bridge asked university and professional military education students to participate in our third annual student writing contest by sending us their thoughts on strategy.

Now, we are pleased to present this year’s winning essay by Rusudan Zabakhidze from the Erasmus Mundus International Master Programme in Security, Intelligence, and Strategic Studies.

Even though international relations scholarship has acknowledged the intersection of domestic and foreign policy areas, structural theories with emphasis on power distribution in the international system still dominate the discussions to explain the past or contemporary conflicts. Mansfield and Snyder’s work “Democratization and Danger of the War” is one of the prominent articles to study the domestic factors influencing foreign policy. Mansfield and Snyder argue that democratizing states are more war-prone because threatened elite groups develop parochial interests in war and tend to mobilize masses through nationalist appeals. To avoid the political cleavage, leaders often resort to using prestige strategies, understood as shoring up domestic prestige by seeking victories abroad.[1] The authors note that prestige strategies are simple and effective; however, they are a risky choice as they make the state hypersensitive to slights to its reputation.[2] War can produce great fears in the beginning, but national sentiment will soon “banish the domestic fright, emphasizing the heroic times and will reunite the parties under the mantle of glory.”[3] In their 1995 article, Mansfield and Snyder suggest theory’s applicability to big democratizing states such as Russia and China, however not much corresponding research has followed. This essay attempts to contribute to the scholarly agenda on the interrelation of domestic and foreign politics by applying the theory to contemporary Russia and its strategy towards the conflict in Ukraine.

In Virality We Trust! The Quest For Authenticity In Digital Diplomacy – Analysis

By Corneliu Bjola*

For Ministers of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and embassies, being on social media is no longer only about presence and networking, but about standing out through the virality of their messages. Virality allows digital diplomats to step out of their immediate ‘bubble’ and reach out to unfamiliar audiences, showcase their position on important policy issues or normative claims, and enhance their social authority in front of their peers or the online public. The challenge for digital diplomacy lies in achieving the proper know-how and technical capacity to make their messages ‘go viral’. This ARI provides some clues and rules to improve the virality in digital diplomacy.
The Studium and the Punctum

Virality in digital diplomacy is the new black, and rightly so, one may add! For Ministers of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and embassies, being on social media is no longer only about presence and networking, but about standing out through the virality of their messages. Creating content that is shared exponentially on social media, in a very short timeframe, with multiple levels of reactions from a mosaic of audiences is, to put is simply, ‘pure gold’ from a communicational perspective.

Virality allows digital diplomats to step out of their immediate ‘bubble’ and reach out to unfamiliar audiences, showcase their position on important policy issues or normative claims, and enhance their social authority in front of their peers or the online public. In the attention-deficit space of the digital medium, virality promises to inject a high-dose of authenticity and engagement, even though, the outcome often has a short-lifespan and generates transient effects. The challenge lies, of course, with the fact that viral content is not that easily to create, especially by MFAs and embassies who generally lack the human, know-how and technical capacity to make their messages ‘go viral’.

New Army cyber gear for drones and teams test, protect units in another domain

By: Todd South

Spc. Ashley Lethrud-Adams, left, Pfc. Kleeman Avery and Sgt. Alexander Lecea, cyberspace operations specialists with the Expeditionary Cyber Support Detachment, 782nd Military Intelligence Battalion (Cyber), provide support to a training rotation for 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at the National Training Center in January. (Army)

A prototype device used recently at the Army’s premiere combat training center has soldiers using precision cyber techniques to target small drones that might have been missed with other equipment and methods.

Soldiers with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division used the cyber precision drone detection system during a January rotation at the National Training Center.

The equipment allowed soldiers to get alerts of drone presence and ways to target it that helped protect the brigade, according to an Army release.

The Battle for the Past Whoever defines the past controls the present and future.

By George Friedman

We all live in the past. We were born in a certain place and time, to a certain family that believed certain things and shared those things with others in the community. Even when we reject our past, we cannot reject the joys and traumas that shaped us, nor the failures, successes, embarrassments and enemies that we and our families faced. The one thing that cannot be forgotten is our memory of the past, our victories, defeats, heroism and cowardice. We can try to imagine that we were something other than what we were, and that the terrible moment when our true nature was revealed to the world didn’t happen. But it is an illusion. Our memories are always there and always delighting or haunting us.

Just as people try to shape memories of the past, so too do religions and nations. As Christianity spread through Europe, it sought not only to defeat paganism but to wipe Europe’s memory of it. Christianity was, after all, also a political movement, governed as it was by Pope Boniface’s doctrine of two swords – one religious and one political. Paganism was an alternative to religion, but it, too, was a political movement that threatened to arise. The Church sought to obliterate the memory of paganism by appropriating and Christianizing some and crushing the rest. The goals were to save the heathens from the lies they were taught and to break the source of the pagan world’s power: the memory of who its followers were. It was, as with all victories, imperfect. The memory of paganism still haunts Europe, and sometimes it bursts forth, as it did with Hitler.

Taiwan’s Status is a Geopolitical Absurdity


TAIPEI—After nine years of construction, more than 400 American diplomats and staff have moved into new offices here, a $250 million compound built into a lush hill with security provided by marines. Employees will offer American citizens in Taiwan consular services and help Taiwanese obtain visas to visit the United States, just as they would anywhere else in the world.

Yet this is not an embassy, or a consulate—at least officially. Instead it is the American Institute in Taiwan, a name that suggests a research center rather than a diplomatic mission, the result of a geopolitical compromise that, while far from the biggest of Taiwan’s problems, illustrates the ludicrous situation the island finds itself in. It is not recognized as a country by its most important ally, the U.S.; it faces an existential threat from territory it claims as its own, China; and its sovereign status is being gradually erased by companies seeking to preserve access to the Chinese market. As tensions worsen between Washington and Beijing—and with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen due to visitthe U.S. this week—understanding Taiwan’s bizarre situation becomes ever more important.

Military Discipline in the Social Media Age: How the New Top Marine Plans to Lea

By Gina Harkins

The Marine Corps' new commandant is not one to micromanage -- but he expects his leaders to be squared away and put their Marines on the right path when they're misbehaving.

Gen. David Berger is not the first commandant who might encounter discipline problems in the ranks. But he's one of just a few who have led the Marine Corps in the age of social media, where some Marines have made career-ending decisions.

That has included racist photos, a video showing Marines defiling enemy remains, posts that degraded women and negative comments about the commander in chief.

"What's interesting to me, is over the last couple of years, ungoverned -- it's not structured, it's more like it grew up on its own -- is this self-policing on social media," Berger, who became the commandant on Thursday, told Military.com in an exclusive interview this week. "... That's pretty fascinating to me."