30 July 2019

Can India defeat Pakistan in war today?

Three things have triggered this week's thought process. The wide dismay in the strategic community over the stationary defence Budget; The statement by renowned American strategic scholar Christine Fair to The Print's Srijan Shukla that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba isn't another terror organisation but a low-cost special operations unit of the Pakistani army for waging asymmetric warfare India can't match. And that India can't defeat Pakistan in a short war; The interesting findings in the book authored by the late Air Commodore Jasjit Singh, talking about how the Indian Air Force gave Israeli engineers access to its old French Mirages so they could be modified to carry the Russian R-73 air-to-air missiles. This is when their original missile, Matra-530D, had become obsolete.

It is finally the thought of Israeli experts fitting Russian missiles on French Mirages owned by the IAF that brought back the late lyricist Shailendra's immortal lines from Raj Kapoor's classic, Shree 420: Mera Joota hai Japani, yeh patloon Inglistani/Sar Pe Lal Topee Russi, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani (my shoes are Japanese, trousers British-made/my cap may be Russian, but my heart is still Indian).

These lines were heady for a new republic in 1955.

Why India Is Mad at Trump

On Monday, early in the afternoon in Washington, D.C., and around the time most people in New Delhi were going to bed, U.S. President Donald Trump livened up a press conference with a revelation that would shake relations between the United States and India, the world’s two biggest democracies: “I was with Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi two weeks ago. He actually said, ‘Would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?’ I said, ‘Where?’ He said, ‘Kashmir.’”

Trump was seated beside a smiling Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is in Washington this week.

Trump then added: “I’d love to be a mediator.”

What did the Pakistani prime minister’s visit with Trump achieve?

Madiha Afzal

Following Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s meeting with President Donald Trump, Visiting Fellow Madiha Afzal examines whether this visit succeeded at repairing relations between the U.S. and Pakistan, Pakistan’s role in talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, as well as Trump and Khan’s personal similarities.

Imran Khan Mustn’t Let Trump Make Pakistan a Scapegoat


As U.S. President Donald Trump and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan prepare to meet at the White House next week, U.S.-Pakistan ties hang in the balance. The U.S. agenda will clearly focus on countering terrorism. Equally important will be Pakistan’s key role in pushing the Afghan Taliban to reduce battlefield violence and engage in direct talks with the Kabul government, both of which are tough asks at this point. Beyond that, the politics of the visit will likely be boilerplate: Pakistan should do more to stabilize Afghanistan while also doing more to comply with global money laundering requirements and International Monetary Fund (IMF) benchmarks. If Trump is in a good mood, he may even invite Khan to dinner at the White House.

Behind the feel-good headlines associated with the visit, there are some structural realities Pakistan’s leaders must pay attention to. In American eyes, stabilizing Afghanistan is Pakistan’s only real trump card. Islamabad would prefer to have a broader relationship with Washington beyond being seen as a window into a changing Afghanistan. Yet, in international politics, hopes matter as little as intentions.

How Pakistan Is Playing Washington—Again


This week, U.S. President Donald Trump held out extravagant hopes to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, suggesting he wanted to resume security aid, multiply bilateral trade many times over, and even try to mediate the decades-old Kashmir issue with India (claiming, falsely, that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him for help).

Trump’s friendly display represented a major presidential entreaty with a singular goal: to induce Pakistan “to help us out to extricate ourselves” from neighboring Afghanistan, as the president put it.

To many experts and former U.S. officials dealing with Pakistan, Trump’s pleas had a familiar ring and promised similar results: Islamabad will smile and say yes to most things, and then go on with its close relationship with the Taliban—including welcoming the radical Islamist forces as they retake Kabul following a U.S. withdrawal.

How the U.S. Could Lose a War With China


If a war broke out between the United States and China, the clash between two of the world’s most powerful militaries would be horrific. And the United States could very well lose.

That’s a concern among current and former defense officials and military analysts, one of whom told Breaking Defense earlier this year that in war games simulating great-power conflict in which the United States fights Russia and China, the United States “gets its ass handed to it.”

Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum last week, Admiral Philip Davidson, who oversees U.S. military forces in Asia, called China “the greatest long-term strategic threat to the United States and the rules-based international order.” He described China’s rapid military buildup in nearly every domain—air, sea, land, space, and cyber—and said that while China’s capabilities don’t outnumber America’s in the region for now, it’s possible they could overtake the United States’ within the next five years.

Innovation in the New Era of Chinese Military Power

By Elsa B. Kania

China’s State Council Information Office has just released a new national defense white paper, which is the first since the launch of major military reforms in 2015. This document includes an assessment of the international security situation and provides an official explanation of China’s defense policy, missions, military reforms, and defense expenditure. While unsparing in its critique of power politics and American “hegemonism,” the defense white paper also calls for China’s armed forces to “adapt to the new landscape of strategic competition.” In Xi Jinping’s “new era,” the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is urged to strengthen its preparedness and enhance combat capabilities commensurate with China’s global standing and interests. As the PLA pursues the objective of transforming into “world-class forces” by mid-century, the U.S. military may confront the unprecedented challenge of a potential adversary with formidable and rapidly advancing capabilities.

A Thucydides Fallacy: The New Model of Power Relations for Southeast Asia, the US, and China

By Danny Quah

With full international attention on the U.S.-China conflict, it is easy to forget that other nations might still have a role to play in how the world order evolves.

June 2019’s Shangri-La Dialogue gave some clues. The meeting began with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s keynote speech, in which he argued that while Asia continued to value the United States’ presence, the U.S. needed to learn to accept China’s rise. This was “met with shock, dismay and even […] a measure of incredulity by some U.S. delegates” there and continued “to reverberate in Washington policy circles,” Hugh White wrote in an op-ed for the Straits Times. The meeting’s last day had Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen noting that “if America First or China’s rise is perceived to be lopsided against the national interests of other countries or the collective good, the acceptance of the United States’ or China’s dominance will be diminished.”

In response, Bonnie Glaser — an American scholar and Asia observer — warned the region to “not draw a false equivalence between U.S. and Chinese actions.” Glaser suggested “the choice that Southeast Asia must make is not between the U.S. and China,” but “between a future in which there are shared rules and norms within a rules-based order that everyone upholds, and a future in which power prevails, the strong bully the weak and rules are disregarded in favor of a ‘might makes right’ approach.”

China Outlines Space War Plans

Bill Gertz

China's strategy for developing advanced space weapons were disclosed this week in Beijing's first defense white paper issued in years.

The defense strategy report produced by the People's Liberation Army was made public Wednesday and drops earlier veiled references by bluntly identifying the United States as Beijing's main adversary that is undermining world peace.

The report—part policy statement and part propaganda—also claims the United States seeks "absolute military superiority."

"The U.S. has adjusted its national security and defense strategies, and adopted unilateral policies," the report said. "It has provoked and intensified competition among major countries, significantly increased its defense expenditure, pushed for additional capacity in nuclear, outer space, cyber and missile defense, and undermined global strategic stability."

Amphibious Warfare: The Key to China's Overseas Military Ambitions

Amphibious warfare is a key element of China's warfighting strategy, figuring prominently its military's readiness for expeditionary warfare to safeguard Chinese interests in the South China Sea and the invasion of Taiwan. China's new Type 075 amphibious ships mark a new chapter in the continued improvement of its military sealift capability. Progress, however, remains uneven, with obstacles to the overall development of China's amphibious capabilities remaining.

In a defense white paper released July 24, China did not rule out the use of force against Taiwanese "separatists," making the state of its amphibious assault capabilities — which it would rely on in any effort to forcibly reunify the island with the mainland — once again of wide interest. In the past few months, numerous images have surfaced showcasing significant progress in the construction of China's first landing helicopter dock vessel, the Type 075, the first of which is expected to be launched later this year. This is just the latest development in the continued upgrade of China's amphibious capabilities, though China has by no means conquered all of the issues that would limit its ability to carry out a successful amphibious invasion.

The Big Picture

Why Unsustainable Chinese Infrastructure Deals Are a Two-Way Street


The narrative that China is engaging in problematic debt trap diplomacy has taken off since 2018. Coined the preceding year by an Indian pundit, the term implies that Beijing is purposely striking unsustainable debt-for-infrastructure deals with developing countries along the routes of its ubiquitous Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Such warnings gained added notoriety after White House officials began publicly raising the alarm. Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro lambasted China’s “debt-trap financing to developing countries,” and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, like his predecessor Rex Tillerson, warned African and Latin American countries of the risks of Chinese “predatory economic activity” and influence.

Belt and Road Initiative

Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port, which a Chinese state-owned firm acquired via a ninety-nine-year lease in 2017 after the Sri Lankan government could not service its loans, has been cited repeatedly as evidence that the Chinese government is practicing debt trap diplomacy. This cautionary tale does have broader global implications, but two crucial aspects tied to project selection and debt sustainability have been largely overlooked.

US troops return to Saudi Arabia after 16 years

Bruce Riedel 

US troops are returning to Saudi Arabia for the first time in 16 years as tensions with Iran rise and the kingdom finds itself increasingly isolated in Yemen.

US Central Command chief Kenneth McKenzie and Fahd bin Turki bin Abdul-Aziz, commander of the Saudi-led coalition, speak during a joint news conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, July 18, 2019.

American troops are coming back 16 years after they left Saudi Arabia, King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud announced on Saturday. According to press reports hundreds of American troops are deploying to Prince Sultan Air Base outside Riyadh as tensions spike in the region between Iran and its allies and the Donald Trump administration and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s Saudi Arabia. The deployment of American troops in the kingdom has never been popular with Saudis. It was an early complaint of Osama bin Laden and comes as the Saudis' Arab allies are deserting the crown prince’s war in Yemen.

Ghani’s Missed Opportunity: The Hazara Enlightenment Movement

By Sayed Ziafatullah Saeedi

Three years ago, after the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani decided to change the route for a major electricity project that was initially designed to pass through the central highlands of the country, the Hazarajat, the Enlightenment Movement was born. To protest the decision to change the route, thousands of Hazaras took to the streets, the government in answer blocked roads with containers. When they rallied for a second time, the Islamic State’s local iteration attacked the rally, claiming the lives of almost a hundred and wounded 400 more.

Seeing it’s indifference to their demands and deaths, the Hazaras couldn’t help but resent the Ghani government. Since then, relations between the Hazaras and Ghani’s government have remained strained and hostile. 

One of Ghani’s most dire mistakes in office was his confrontations with Enlightenment Movement and subsequent resentment of the Hazaras. A different deal with the Enlightenment Movement could have given Ghani a firmer stand at the current moment when he is badly scrambling for survival in both the peace process and the upcoming elections. 

US Army or Islamic War College?

By J. Daryl Charles 

The cultural winds, they are blowing fiercely. In recent times, we have grown increasingly accustomed to the phenomenon—notably in academic circles—of speakers being disinvited. The pattern has become as predictable as it is problematic. An invited speaker whose views are “controversial” is disinvited shortly before his or her scheduled address after a group or groups of individuals who oppose those views register protest to the institution’s administration (typically at a college or university). The pattern is especially predictable in that the speaker is always a social-cultural-political conservative or someone remotely sympathetic to Judeo-Christian values. Disinvitations never go out to political leftists, so-called “progressives,” closet Marxists, or Islamists. At bottom, it is not the outrageous or the perverted that is prevented from public expression; it is truth spoken in the public sphere that is feared the most.

Iran’s threats are an attempt to negotiate

Suzanne Maloney

By ratcheting up tensions, Iran is hoping to expand the crisis with the United States, force a dialogue, and hopefully find their way out of an increasingly dire set of circumstances, Suzanne Maloney writes. This piece originally appeared in Politico Magazine.

In July 2012, several senior U.S. government officials made a clandestine visit to Muscat, where they met with Iranian diplomats in the first of what would be a series of back-channel negotiations. Officially, nothing like this meeting in Oman was ever supposed to happen: The two countries had severed their formal diplomatic relations decades earlier, and intensifying U.S. economic pressure on Iran had made direct diplomacy more toxic than ever.

But this secret dialogue ended up providing the genesis for the historic 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran, Washington, and five other world powers—the first time that the international community managed to slow the clerical regime’s steady progress toward nuclear weapons capability.

Seven years later, that agreement is on life support. The Trump administration pulled out in May 2018, and Iran has recently begun breaching the deal’s restrictions on its nuclear activities. Tensions are high in the Persian Gulf, with Iran seizing a British ship and announcing plans to execute a ring of supposed CIA spies. Fears are mounting that the two countries are on a collision course, headed toward a wider and far more destabilizing military conflict.

The One Percent Problem: Muslims in the West and the Rise of the New Populists

Despite Muslims comprising only one to eight percent of the population in various Western countries, their very presence has become one of the defining issues of the populist era, dividing left and right in stark fashion. Right-wing populist parties differ considerably on economic and social policy. But nearly every major right-wing populist party emphasizes cultural and religious objections to specifically Muslim immigration as well as to demographic increases in the proportion of Muslim citizens more generally.

It would be a mistake, however, to view the debate over Islam and Muslims as only that. The rise of anti-Muslim sentiment signals a deeper shift in the party system away from economic cleavages toward “cultural” ones. With this in mind, attitudes toward Muslims and Islam become a proxy of sorts through which Western democracies work out questions around culture, religion, identity, and nationalism.

Women and the war on terror: An insider account

Bruce Riedel

I am often asked what it is like to work for the Central Intelligence Agency. I spent 30 years there, both as an analyst and an operator abroad. A new book by Nada Bakos—“The Targeter: My Life in the CIA, Hunting Terrorists and Challenging the White House” (with Davin Coburn, published by Little, Brown and Company 2019)—is one of the best books I know of that addresses the question.

Bakos’ book is an important contribution to our understanding of the intelligence wars that erupted in 2001 over Iraq’s alleged connections to the 9/11 attacks and the George W. Bush administration’s bungled efforts to stabilize Iraq after the 2003 invasion. A former CIA analyst, Bakos had a ring-side seat for that whole sordid chapter in America’s endless wars in the Middle East. She also provides new insights into the hunt for Abu Musaib al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian terrorist who created al-Qaida in Iraq, and ultimately the Islamic State.

One of the most important insights this book offers is that women have been at the heart of the CIA’s war with al-Qaida from well before 9/11. As Bakos writes, women “initially made up the majority of the CIA targeters charged with hunting the most dangerous figures in the most dangerous terrorist organization the United States has ever known.” The agency turned to female analysts more than ever to help track down both Zarqawi and Osama bin Laden; the results speak for themselves.

Terrorist definitions and designations lists

Chris Meserole and Daniel L. Byman

This publication is part of a series of papers released by the Global Research Network on Terrorism and Technology, of which the Brookings Institution is a member. The research conducted by this network seeks to better understand radicalisation, recruitment and the myriad of ways terrorist entities use the digital space.

Terrorist groups pose a profound challenge for technology companies. The ‘blitzscaling’ model pioneered by YouTube, Instagram and others has enabled social networks and file-sharing services to gain tens and even hundreds of millions of users globally before they make meaningful revenue, much less profits.[1] By the time technology companies can afford to hire a counterterrorism expert, it is often too late: any application with tens of millions of users worldwide but little oversight is ripe for terrorist exploitation. Worse, even when companies are able to hire counterterrorism experts, they are often unable to do so at a scale commensurate with the problem.[2]

Richard Clarke is sounding the alarm about another kind of 9/11


Richard Clarke knows a few things about clear and present dangers. He had already served under six presidents and been appointed the U.S.’s first counterterrorism czar when he joined the George W. Bush White House, but when he tried to alert important decision-makers before September 11 about the threat of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, those warnings were largely ignored. (Afterwards, he famously apologizedpublicly for the government’s failures.) These days, Clarke is still trying to get people to think hard about the next big attack—the cyber version—and all the ones that have already happened.

Clarke’s new book, The Fifth Domain, written with cyber expert and fellow White House veteran Robert Knake, is in many ways a follow-up to a book they wrote in 2012 called Cyber War. That book was derided by some at the time as science fiction, Clarke laments; now he has the benefit of a sci-fi-like series of developments to illustrate his case. And yet, while we’ve been blindsided by a slew of giant hacks, thefts, and attacks, the prospect of a Cyber 9/11 or Cyber Pearl Harbor is still hard to grasp. Maybe those are the wrong metaphors.

Heatwave: Think It's Hot In Europe? The Human Body Is Already Close To Thermal Limits Elsewhere

by Tom Matthews

I am a scientist who researches climate hazards. This week I have published research on the potential for a catastrophic cyclone-heatwave combo in the global south. Yet over the past few days I have been approached by various media outlets to talk not about that hazard, but about the unfolding UK heatwave and climate change. It is always satisfying to respond to public interest around weather extremes, but there is a danger that key messages about extreme heat globally are not receiving enough airtime.

It is by now very well established that hot extremes are more likely in the changed climate we are living in. Yet there is a seemingly unquenchable thirst for this story to be retold every time the UK sweats. Narratives around such acute, local events detract from critical messages about the global challenges from extreme heat.



Recent months have seen something of a turnaround in the conventional wisdom about how to address climate change. In December, on the weekend before the Swedish Academy presented the Nobel Prize to my uncle, the economist William Nordhaus, for his work on climate change and carbon taxes, France’s yellow vest movement flooded into the streets, shutting down Paris and other cities across the country and forcing President Emmanuel Macron to rescind the carbon tax he had recently imposed on transportation fuels.

A month earlier, voters in Washington state, as environmentally minded a place as you will find in the United States, soundly rejected a ballot initiative that would have established a carbon tax in that state. Meanwhile, residents of New York’s 14th District elected Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Congress. Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist, promised to return the Democratic Party to its working-class roots with a Green New Deal that would combine massive public subsidies for clean energy with universal health care and a government jobs guarantee. She explicitly contrasted her proposal with market-based efforts to price carbon, which she dismissed as a sellout to corporate interests. Within weeks, most of the major contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination had jumped on her bandwagon.



In October 2012, the global financial system got its first taste of the effects of climate change when Hurricane Sandy roared through lower Manhattan, shutting down Wall Street. Amid the blackout, the power remained on in the tower containing the headquarters of Goldman Sachs, offering to the world a striking if accidental symbol of a future age of climate inequality.

As the investment bank stood firm, the U.S. government’s outpost on Wall Street, the New York branch of the Federal Reserve, made plans to pull up stakes. In response to the hurricane, the Fed created new backup capacity for market operations farther inland, at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Descended from historical port cities, it is not by accident that the world’s leading financial centers—New York City, London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai—are vulnerable to flooding. But the larger challenge that climate change poses is not so much the physical as the systemic risk. What central bankers—the world’s preeminent economic decision-makers since the 1980s—are beginning to worry about is the potential for climate change to trigger financial crisis.

Where U.S. Nuclear Bombs Are Stored In Europe

by Niall McCarthy

A NATO-affiliated body recently released and subsequently deleted a document that apparently confirmed something that has been suspected for a long time - U.S. nuclear weapons are being stored at air bases in several European countries. The document was compiled in April and a copy was published on Tuesday by Belgian newspaper De Morgen which states that more than 150 B61 nuclear bombs are currently stored at six bases in Europe.

Britain’s Power Play in the Persian Gulf


In calling this week for a European naval coalition to provide security for commercial ships in the vital Strait of Hormuz, the United Kingdom is seeking to both uphold the nearly moribund nuclear deal with Iran and still push back against Tehran’s seizure last week of a British-flagged tanker.

The British proposal is seen as a partial rebuke of the Trump administration, as outgoing Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt stressed that the European naval coalition would not form part of the U.S. campaign of imposing maximum pressure on Iran, which includes the deployment of naval vessels, troops, and aircraft to the region.

The mission “will not be part of the U.S. maximum pressure policy on Iran because we remain committed to preserving the Iran nuclear agreement,” Hunt told the House of Commons on Monday, days after Iran seized a British-flagged vessel, the Stena Impero, in the Strait of Hormuz.

Will Crypto Rogues Threaten The Geopolitical Order?

by Yaya Fanusie

“There is a competition for currency supremacy. The dollar is the preferred currency in the world… The dollar is the means by which we have the opportunity to influence the economic order in the world. How will this [Libra cryptocurrency] impact the dollar?” — Rep. Al Green of Texas

Rep. Green’s remarks, which he made at last week’s Congressional hearing on Facebook’s Libra project, echo something many cryptocurrency businesses do not acknowledge: The development of digital currency technology has major U.S. national security implications. In fact, the geopolitical story around blockchain technology is likely to be more important than the purely technological and financial features most cryptocurrency enthusiasts emphasize.

The highest levels of the U.S. government certainly view crypto as a national concern. Although President Trump recently tweeted rather dismissively about cryptocurrencies, just days later, the U.S. Treasury Secretary gave a press briefingat the White House expressing his concerns about bad actors misusing digital assets. Secretaries of the Treasury do not make press statements lightly.

Is the Internet Making Writing Better?

By Katy Waldman

Acommon refrain from writers on Twitter is that writing is hard. Often, this insight is accompanied by the rueful observation that tweeting is easy. This is, of course, the difference between informal and formal expression, between language that serves as a loose and intuitive vehicle for thought and language into which one must wrestlespeech. The first pours from political orators; the second winds around friends at a bar. But, as the linguist Gretchen McCulloch reveals in “Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language,” her effervescent study of how the digital world is transfiguring English, informal writing is relatively new. Most writing used to be regulated (or self-regulated); there were postcards and diary entries, but even those had standards. It’s only with the rise of the Internet that a truly casual, willfully ephemeral prose has ascended—and become central to daily life.

Why Future Jobs Will Require Data Analytics Skills

From a lone statistician toiling over narrowly defined problems for the marketing department, to a C-level executive overseeing a mission-critical area impacting every function of the company, the meaning of “data and analytics professional” has changed a lot in recent years. A. Charles Thomas’s career has reflected those developments.

Thomas, who is General Motors’ first-ever chief data and analytics officer (CDAO), shared where corporate data analytics has been, where it’s going and the evolution of chief data officer roles, in a keynote at the recent Wharton Customer Analytics conference ‘Successful Applications of Analytics.’ He spoke from his experience not only at GM, but also other major companies including Hewlett Packard, the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) and Wells Fargo.

In the late 1990s, he said, data analysts were typically individual contributors working with transactional data involving marketing, credit and retail. “The [data analyst’s] reputation was ‘a smart guy,’” said Thomas. “You want an answer, you come to Charles.”

What the future holds for Cyber Command

By: Mark Pomerleau 

Cyber Command’s mission and portfolio has expanded and evolved. The nature of cyberspace means the Department of Defense’s cyberwarriors are facing new challenges every day. But the future of Cyber Command, an organization whose workforce and capabilities have grown rapidly, remains uncertain.

Cyber Command was born out of an effort to consolidate the Department of Defense’s cyber efforts under a single entity to protect U.S. military networks.

“For the first 20-odd years [of cyber within DoD] it was about this struggle to try to do defense better,” Jason Healey, senior research scholar at Columbia University specializing in cyber, told Fifth Domain.

The catalyst to create Cyber Command came after a 2008 intrusion dubbed Operation Buckshot Yankee. At that time, Defense Department personnel inserted thumb drives they found in parking lots overseas into their devices and spread malware throughout the secret and unclassified Pentagon network.

The challenge in securing critical information

By: Lindsay Gorman   

One decade ago, Cyber Command was born as a sub-unified command of U.S. Strategic Command with the mission of securing critical Defense Department networks from adversary incursion. Its creation codified a recognition that malign actors seeking to access, control, and exploit our information systems constituted a core national security threat and heralded a new domain of warfare: cyberspace. Cyber Command’s foundational charge to “ensure U.S./Allied freedom of action in cyberspace” is as vital today as it was 10 years ago. But the next 10 years will require U.S. cyber policy to confront a new challenge: to secure not only critical networks, but critical information — about everything and all of us.

The internet of things and future of connected devices promise an explosion of personal information to the tune of 175 zettabytes of connected data by 2025. As our homes, cars, appliances, wearables and factories come online, members of the connected population will have a data-producing interaction once every 18 seconds. Data generated by these interactions is already being used by internet companies for tremendous economic gain from targeted advertising-based business models.

The Future of Conflict is Proxy Warfare, Again


Great-power competition may conjure up images of war in Europe or the Pacific, and U.S. defense planners are rightly preparing for head-on collisions. But the Cold War and the Global War on Terror suggest that the future of conflict will more likely be limited to indirect skirmishes at the fringes of great-power influence. To succeed in this environment, the United States should plan for proxy warfare

So we looked at the U.S. experience with conflicts in which it supported one side without playing a major direct role in the fight. Cold War examples include the Hmong army in Laos, the Afghan mujahideen, and the Nicaraguan contras. We also examined the more recent Anbar Awakening in Iraq, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF. We gleaned several key lessons, which we have laid out in “The Cheapest Insurance in the World? The United States and Proxy Warfare,” a new report from CNA.