31 July 2019

History and the 5G dilemma

Arun Mohan Sukumar

As India looks to developing 5G technology, its quest in the 1980s for an American supercomputer offers lessons

New technologies have a curious history of finding their way into the crosshairs of international politics. ‘5G’ is no different. In many respects, the dilemma facing Prime Minister Narendra Modi — to embrace Huawei and other Chinese purveyors of 5G-enabled telecommunications infrastructure, or to salvage the political relationship with the United States — is similar to the one faced by Rajiv Gandhi in the 1980s. Then, India had sought for itself a “supercomputer” from, among others, Japan. Instead, it was dealt a bad hand by the U.S., and made to settle eventually for an American machine that belonged to an older, slower generation of computers. The lessons from that moment in history are instructive, and Indian policymakers would do well to heed them.

Don’t Trust the Taliban With Afghanistan’s Cultural Preservation

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In May, Taliban fighters in northwest Afghanistan attackedsecurity posts that were providing protection for the ancient Minaret of Jam. The 12th-century minaret, known for its intricate brick construction and ancient Arabic calligraphy, is one of only two sites in Afghanistan that hold UNESCO World Heritage status. The attackers killed 18 members of the government security forces and cut off access to the minaret, the status of which is unknown.

So it is alarming that cultural heritage does not seem to be on the agenda for the peace talks with the Taliban. As a cultural heritage organization, we are concerned about the Taliban’s intentions for the incomparable treasures of world history in Afghanistan. Along with our fellow stakeholder groups representing the Afghan government, women, and civil society, we are particularly concerned about being excluded from discussions between the United States, Taliban, and other actors who are determining the framework for peace negotiations.

Trump’s Three Missteps on Pakistan

By Daniel Markey 

Editor’s Note: Pakistan is where good policy options go to die. U.S. administrations have struggled to develop a coherent and effective policy toward Islamabad, trying to coerce and co-opt it, with limited success at best. Daniel Markey of SAIS offers a readout of Prime Minister Khan’s visit to Washington. He points out mistakes the Trump administration made and argues that a continued tough approach is necessary.

Pakistan’s prime minister, army chief and other top national security officials arrived in Washington, D.C., on July 20 for a working meeting at the White House and cabinet-level talks at the State Department and Pentagon. In briefings ahead of the visit, senior U.S. officials stressed their desire to use the visit as a means to encourage Pakistan to further facilitate ongoing negotiations with the Afghan Taliban, while Pakistani officials proclaimed their own more expansive desire to “reset” relations with Washington.

Pakistan opposition parties hold protest rallies against PM Khan

Gul Yousufzai

QUETTA, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistan’s main opposition parties held protest rallies in cities across the country on Thursday, accusing Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government of ruining the economy and seeking to intimidate and silence its opponents.

Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, addresses supporters during a countrywide protest called "Black Day" against the government of prime minister Imran Khan, in Quetta, Pakistan July 25, 2019. REUTERS/Naseer Ahmed

The so-called “Black Day” protests, a year after Khan’s PTI party swept to power following a bitterly contested election, come amid mounting economic problems for Pakistan and a political climate that has grown increasingly angry.

Surging prices of fuel and everyday staples, a plunging currency that has lost a quarter of its value since the election and allegations of media censorship and stifling opposition voices has fueled the protests.

China’s Long View


NEW HAVEN – A couple of months ago, while touring Jiangxi Province, Chinese President Xi Jinping made reference to an old revolutionary milestone. “Now there is a new Long March, and we should make a new start,” he said in response to the mounting economic conflict with the United States.

With Boris Johnson’s improbable ascendance as Britain’s new prime minister, the absurdity of British politics in the age of Brexit has plumbed new depths.

In this special double issue of On Point, Edoardo Campanella seeks to uncover the deeper forces behind Johnson’s rise, and Nicholas Reed Langen anticipates the consequences of his victory.

In China, symbolism is often more important than literal interpretation of leaders’ elliptical statements. Spoken in the same province where the Long March commenced in 1934, ultimately leading to Mao’s defeat of the Nationalists 15 years later, Xi’s reminder underscored China’s greatest strength: the long view.

That strength was on display during my latest visit to China in early July. In a series of wide-ranging meetings and discussions, three conclusions stood out. Each challenges America’s bipartisan demonization of China.

China swings a small stick in the South China Sea


It’s hard to drive China out of the headlines. Yet a dispute between Iran and Great Britain, each of which has seized a tanker ship belonging to the other, has managed it in recent weeks — eclipsing a running feud between Vietnam and China, whose ships have squared off at Vanguard Bank, the westernmost feature in the Spratly Islands. For all that, the South China Sea dispute entails consequences at least as severe as those in the Persian Gulf. 

Iran claims control of the Strait of Hormuz. China is trying to consolidate control of 80 to 90 percent of the South China Sea, including waters allocated to its Southeast Asian neighbors under the “constitution of the oceans,” the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

In both cases, the liberal system of maritime trade, commerce and military endeavors has come under assault. In both cases, it behooves lovers of freedom of the sea to help defend the system. Freedom of the sea is the centuries-old concept that the sea belongs to everyone and no one, with few, minor and narrowly defined exceptions. No state owns it, and no state can make laws dictating what others do there. Navies, coast guards and commercial shipping may ply the sea mainly as they see fit. 

China's Latest Encroachment on Russia's Sphere of Influence

By Stephen Blank

At the end of July, Tajikistan and China will hold joint military exercises in Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region. These ostensibly anti-terrorist exercises will feature Tajikistani air, ground and air-defense forces. The composition of the Chinese contribution has not yet been announced (Avesta.tj, July 9). This will not be the first instance of Chinese troops holding maneuvers with their counterparts from Tajikistan: In 2016, a joint force of about 10,000 conducted the first Sino-Tajik bilateral drills, also in Gorno-Badakhshan. And that same year, China, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan formed a “Quadrilateral Cooperation and Coordination Mechanism in Counter Terrorism” (Mod.gov.cn, August 4, 2016). Nevertheless, the recent announcement actually has outsized significance and is anything but routine. First of all, it demonstrates China’s continuing ability to either compel or impose its will on Tajikistan without anybody, including Moscow, being able to do much about it. And second of all, and building on the first fact, the upcoming exercise represents a next step in China’s overall encroachment upon Russia’s self-proclaimed “sphere of influence” in Central Asian. Again Moscow either cannot or will not do anything to counter that trend.

South Korea’s Tough Choice: The USor China?


SEOUL—At a time when the struggle for supremacy between Washington and Beijing is intensifying, numerous countries—from Australia and New Zealand, to Japan and South Korea, to Thailand, the Philippines, Brazil, and Germany—are finding themselves in an awkward position: having the United States as their security ally and China as their top trading partner.

The U.S. and Chinese governments aren’t explicitly demanding that these nations go all in with one or the other. Not yet, at least. But pressure to pick a side on specific issues—and the various contortions these countries go through to avoid doing so—has now become a recurring feature of international affairs, and could be a prelude to a broader sorting.

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.

Moscow Faces Trial in The Hague Next Year Over Downed MH17 Airliner

By: Pavel Felgenhauer

Repercussions of the downing of Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 Flight MH17, which was shot down over occupied Donbas (eastern Ukraine) on July 17, 2014, continue to haunt the Russian authorities. Everyone on board—283 passengers, including 80 children, and 15 crew members—was killed. The 298 victims were from 10 different countries, but most were from the Netherlands. A Dutch-led international Joint Investigation Team (JIT) continued its work throughout all these years. Finally, on June 19, 2019, Dutch prosecutors charged the first four suspects: Igor “Strelkov” Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Leonid Kharchenko—all of them pro-Russia “rebel” commanders associated with the Moscow-backed separatist “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DPR). Today, the accused reside in Russia—with the possible exception of Kharchenko, who may still be in Donbas. The Russian Constitution forbids extraditing its nationals for trial, so the Dutch prosecutors announced they will not bother to send a formal extradition request. The trial is planned to begin in The Hague on March 9, 2020, in absentia. The Netherlands’ chief prosecutor, Fred Westerbeke, told journalists the four accused did not directly “press the button” that launched the surface-to-air BUK M1 missile (known in the West as the SA-11 Gadfly) that destroyed Flight MH17. But they, nevertheless, were in charge of deploying and guarding the BUK M1 as it was moved from the 53rd Air Defense Brigade in Kursk, Russia, into firing position near Snegnoye, in the Russian/rebel-controlled part of Donbas (Interfax, June 19).

Iran: Tehran Flexes Its Muscles With a Missile Test

The Persian Gulf is on heightened alert as Iran has sought to retaliate against the United States' sanctions by disrupting the flow of oil shipped through the Strait of Hormuz. And with the possibility of a military clash ever-present, Iran has resumed tests of ballistic missiles — upping the ante once more.

What Happened

For the first time since a standoff between the United States and Iran escalated into attacks on oil tankers, Iran has conducted a medium-range ballistic missile test. According to U.S. officials, Iran test-fired a Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile earlier this week that traveled 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) — distance enough to hit Saudi Arabia and come close to Israel.

As Opposition Builds, Turkey's Erdogan Grasps at Straws

The threat of defections by prominent, former members of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will present a real threat to the viability of the party's national governance, possibly leading to elections much earlier than the next scheduled polls in June 2023. To combat this threat and buy time until conditions are more favorable, the AKP will use its ideological, economic and institutional resources to maintain power and stymie defections from its ranks. But because the AKP has lost strength, it might not be able to prevent a rebellion within its ranks from seriously challenging the long rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AKP loyalists.

Even for the wiles of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the task of governing Turkey is becoming increasingly daunting. The economy is languishing in recession as the United States and Europe mull sanctions against Ankara, while a volatile southern border with Syria and Iraq is posing problems for Turkey's relations with Russia, Syria, Iran and, once more, the United States. Worse for Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) he leads, the once seemingly unassailable political machine he's built since the turn of the century seems to have run out of gas after shock defeats in Ankara and Istanbul's mayoral contests this year. Although it forced a rerun of the Istanbul vote, the AKP's political machine failed to beat the resurgent candidate of the Republican People's Party (CHP); in fact, its loss the second time around was close to 60 times worse than its initial reverse on March 31. And now, in a new setback for Erdogan, formerly loyal AKP stalwarts appear to be on the verge of jumping ship to establish a new party. In such a situation, Erdogan will have few good options to halt the defections that could weaken him in parliament — and move the country's scheduled general elections up well before June 2023.

The Big Picture

The 2 Steps to Fix Relations With Russia


There was something very familiar about the way U.S. President Donald Trump cozied up to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit in Tokyo last month. Trump’s joking request that Putin not interfere in America’s 2020 presidential election represented yet another display of obsequiousness toward the Russian leader, akin to the U.S. president’s public acceptance in Helsinki last year of Putin’s word over that of U.S. intelligence agencies.

Global events make clear that Moscow now acts regularly against U.S. interests with impunity. Figuring out how to rebuild deterrence—how to get Putin to start fearing the United States again—will be an important short-term challenge for Trump’s successor, whoever that turns out to be. But the next U.S. president will also face a longer-term challenge in getting Russia to start trusting the United States—or, at least, to trust that Washington is not bent on regime change in Moscow. Putin’s belief that the United States has sought to oust him from power appears deeply entrenched. And however misplaced that perception might be, it is widely shared among Russian elites. So long as Moscow mistakenly views Washington as an existential threat, addressing particular challenges posed by Russia—such as cybercrime, election interference, and overseas adventurism—will be nearly impossible.

Capitalism versus Democracy


WARSAW – Around the world, democracy is on the march. Totalitarian and authoritarian regimes have been swept away. Popular resentment against the remaining ones is growing. But it is too early to declare victory. For although capitalism is triumphant, we cannot speak of the triumph of democracy.

The connection between capitalism and democracy is far from automatic. Repressive regimes do not willingly abdicate power and are often abetted by business interests, both foreign and domestic, particularly in countries where resources such as oil and diamonds are at stake. Perhaps today’s greatest threat to freedom comes from an unholy alliance between government and business, such as in Peru under President Alberto Fujimori, Zimbabwe under President Robert Mugabe, Malaysia under Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad, and Russia under the oligarchs. In these cases, the appearances of a democratic process are often observed, but state powers are diverted to benefit private interests.

Sitting-Duck America


WASHINGTON, DC – Events of the past few weeks have highlighted the current vulnerability of the United States, not militarily – that is a subject for another day – but in other dangerous ways. Unlike some commentators, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that America’s democracy is on its last legs, but it is encountering threats that few ever expected it to face.

With Boris Johnson’s improbable ascendance as Britain’s new prime minister, the absurdity of British politics in the age of Brexit has plumbed new depths.

In this special double issue of On Point, Edoardo Campanella seeks to uncover the deeper forces behind Johnson’s rise, and Nicholas Reed Langen anticipates the consequences of his victory.

US President Donald Trump’s autocratic tendencies have recently become more pronounced than ever. True, he has lost several court cases testing the scope of his powers. But he and the Republican-controlled Senate are busy stacking the federal courts with conservative judges, and the effects of his appointment of two ultra-conservative Supreme Court justices are already visible, for example in the recent decision to allow Trump to use Pentagon funds to pay for a wall along the US border with Mexico. Should Trump win reelection, he is likely to have the Supreme Court by the throat.

Russia in the Gray Zone

In its ongoing efforts to influence world affairs, Russia is waging campaigns both bloodless and bloody. A significant number of its tactics fall in the space between routine statecraft and direct and open warfare, a space sometimes referred to as the gray zone. Americans are familiar with Russia’s disinformation efforts in the United States and its use of “little green men” in Ukraine, but they may be less attuned to stepped-up Russian political and economic coercion abroad, its gray zone cyber and space operations, and its use of proxy forces in Syria. Its aim with these approaches is to achieve Russian objectives at low-cost, notably by side-stepping military escalation with the United States or its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies. Although Russia’s exploitation of the gray zone is not new, the prevalence of these tactics is more significant today than any time since the end of the Cold War.

Disinformation, political influence, and economic and energy coercion are the core of the Gerasimov Doctrine’s emphasis on the non-military means to achieve security goals. Russia continues to remain undeterred and committed to interfering and influencing foreign elections. U.S. officials have acknowledged Russian attempts to influence the 2018 midterm elections and identified efforts already underway to influence the 2020 election. The European Commission recently released a report which found that Russia undertook a “continued and sustained” disinformation campaign that targeted Europe’s May 2019 parliamentary elections. Its efforts were aimed at both suppressing voter turnout as well as influencing voter preference.

A Preliminary Survey of CCP Influence Operations in Singapore

By: Russell Hsiao


As China rises on the world stage, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is increasingly utilizing all levers of influence to achieve and secure its national objectives along its periphery and globally. To achieve and secure those objectives, the CCP is employing political warfare. [1] Political warfare is a set of overt and covert tools used by governments to influence the perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors of other governments and societies in order to achieve national objectives. [2] Set within a broader discussion about how CCP engages in influence operations in Asia, Singapore presents a valuable case study for understanding the means by which the CCP engages in influence operations that target a majority ethnic-Chinese state.

As noted by Singaporean diplomat Bilahari Kausikan, in terms of state-to-state relations, the Chinese government essentially engages in influence operations in a fashion similar to other governments (Straits Times, June 28). However, the CCP is a Leninist party, and its use of united front tactics and organizations represents a holistic approach to influence operations wholly unlike other countries (China Brief, May 9). Singapore has long been a target of CCP united front attention, and the city authorities have a history of combating CCP propaganda that dates back to the 1950s and 1960s, when People’s Republic of China (PRC) leaders sought to export communist revolution to Southeast Asia (National Archives of Singapore, undated). [3]

When Trump Threatens Google, Here’s What He Doesn’t Get

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Days after the Treasury Secretary cleared the U.S. tech giant of national security concerns, the president was rage-tweeting again.

Google’s relationship with China may threaten national security, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday, contradicting his own Treasury Secretary’s recent assurances that the limited work done by the U.S. tech giant on the Chinese mainland poses no such threat.

“There may or may not be National Security concerns with regard to Google and their relationship with China. If there is a problem, we will find out about it. I sincerely hope there is not!!”Trump tweeted.

That came two days after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that his department had determined that Google’s work in was “very minimal,” concerned only “open source” technology that it presented no national security concerns. 

Britain Stumbles Toward an Exit From the EU

Three years after British voters narrowly voted to leave the European Union in a 2016 referendum, Boris Johnson assumed the office of prime minister. But with no clearer a strategy on Brexit than his predecessor, Theresa May, Johnson will struggle to actually deliver on his promises before the extended deadline of Oct. 31. Learn more when you subscribe to World Politics Review (WPR).

Three years after British voters narrowly voted to leave the European Union in a 2016 referendum, Boris Johnson assumed the office of prime minister amid a political environment characterized by anger, turmoil and confusion. But with no clearer a strategy on Brexit than his predecessor, Theresa May, Johnson will struggle to actually deliver on his promises before the already extended deadline for the U.K. to leave the EU on Oct. 31. 

Brexit has already been a disaster for the country’s two main political parties. The referendum outcome immediately brought down the Conservative government of former Prime Minister David Cameron, who had called for the vote in the first place. His successor, May, has been felled by her inability to get the withdrawal agreement she negotiated with Brussels through Parliament, mainly due to opposition by extremist Brexiteers within her own Tory ranks. For his part, Johnson has promised to do what May couldn’t and arrive at a Brexit deal that a majority of Parliament can agree on—or to crash out of the EU by the October deadline with no deal in place, if that proves to be impossible.

The Opening of the North Korean Mind

By Jieun Baek 

On a cold, clear night in September 2014, a man I’ll call Ahn walked up to the edge of the Tumen River on the Chinese side of the heavily guarded border between China and North Korea. At its narrowest points, the Tumen measures a little over 150 feet wide, and Ahn could easily see the North Korean side from where he stood. In two bags, he was carrying 100 USB drives filled with films, television shows, music, and e-books from around the world. 

Almost anywhere else, such material would be considered completely innocuous. At this border, however, it constitutes highly illicit, dangerous contraband. In the totalitarian state of North Korea, citizens are allowed to see and hear only those media products created or sanctioned by the government. Pyongyang considers foreign information of any kind a threat and expends great effort keeping it out. The regime’s primary fear is that exposure to words, images, and sounds from the outside world could make North Koreans disillusioned with the state of affairs in their own country, which could lead them to desire—or even demand—change.

How U.S. And Russian Nuclear Arsenals Evolved

by Niall McCarthy

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has been intent on drumming up support among NATO countries for the contention that Russia violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty).

The Venezuelan Refugee Crisis Is Not Just a Regional Problem

By Cynthia J. Arnson 

Venezuela’s refugee crisis is the largest in Latin American history. Worldwide, it is now second only to that of Syria. A staggering four million Venezuelans have fled their homeland, the majority since 2015. This number constitutes more than 12 percent of the country’s total population. Leaving behind a collapsed economy and mounting repression, over one million Venezuelans have fled since last November. The UN projects that the number of refugees will climb to 5.4 million by the end of 2019, while other researchers have predicted several hundred thousand more. 

No country in Latin America has escaped the impact of Venezuela’s meltdown. Colombia, which shares a long border with Venezuela, now hosts the largest number of refugees—1.3 million, up from about 300,000 just two years ago. Another 710,000 Venezuelans traveled through Colombian territory in 2018 in transit to other destinations farther south. Peru hosts the second-largest number of Venezuelans (806,900), followed by Chile (288,200) and Ecuador (263,000). Caribbean states have smaller totals but the most refugees relative to their population.

What Is the American Export Control System?

With the launch of Stratfor Worldview Enterprise, business leaders from a variety of backgrounds share their opinions on geopolitical risks and business strategies. Paige Wakefield has a Masters of International Affairs, National Security and Diplomacy from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. She is the author of the first in a three-part series on U.S. export controls. In this column she discusses the United States' efforts to reform export controls and the role those controls play in U.S. foreign policy.

An integral component of the American system, export controls lie at an important confluence of U.S. foreign policy. Designed to facilitate the intersection of commerce and national security, export controls are utilized to not only protect American businesses and national security but to further American foreign policy objectives. They are meant to restrict the export of critical technologies, hardware, software and information to foreign nationals both within and outside of the United States.

New Manufacturing and New Workers

Some of you may be thinking that the only things I do here at the Scholl Chair are writing this column and being one half of the Trade Guys podcast (if you don’t listen, you should). However, that would be wrong. There is a lot of other activity going on here as well, and today I want to talk about our latest publication, Training the Next Revolution in American Manufacturing. This project, which addresses narrowing the skills gap in advanced manufacturing will be followed by a separate one that examines the information gap in manufacturing job placement—how to do a better job of matching job seekers with available positions.

Both these studies grow out of what has rapidly become a cliché—manufacturing is changing. What used to be—and is still viewed by many as—a hard, dirty, repetitive job that requires physical strength and endurance now often takes place in bright, clean environments where the loudest noise is the placid hum of machinery; and the tasks have more to do with interfacing with robots through troubleshooting advanced mechanical systems and software than more traditional physical labor.

Secure us to secure me

Today, no organization is truly able to tackle cybersecurity alone. The modern, ecosystem-dependent business world amplifies the impact of cyber attacks exponentially. An incident that once would cripple just one enterprise can now grow and expand to threaten a company’s partner organizations, an entire industry, or even large parts of the entire economy. And as more of the physical world is controlled by digital devices, the potential impact reaches even further.

Ecosystem threats demand ecosystem solutions

The ecosystem approach that leads to increased risk also holds a potential solution. Leaders are beginning to recognize that their collaboration and connectedness can also be used to greatly improve security. Businesses must include growing ecosystem dependencies as part of their own security postures and make security an integral component of how they build partnerships in the first place.

What Separates the Hacks and the Hack-Nots—Cyber Saturday

Robert Hackett

In the latest issue of Fortune, which features our Global 500 list, I penned an essay about whether American corporations are equipped to defend themselves in cyberspace. Perhaps surprisingly, the answer to that question increasingly appears to be, "Yes." At least that's according to the experts I consulted. In lieu of a newsletter column today, below is an excerpt from that piece.

Attend any cybersecurity confab, and you’ll encounter some version of the following refrain. "There are two types of companies in this world: those that have been hacked and those that don’t yet know they’ve been hacked."

The phrase that launched a thousand quips was coined by Dmitri Alperovitch, a Moscow-born entrepreneur and one of the world’s foremost hacker-sleuths. In 2011, as head threat researcher at antivirus pioneer McAfee, he created the classification while investigating—and publicly revealing—half a decade’s worth of (likely Chinese) cyber­attacks on more than 70 organizations, including defense contractors, tech companies, and the United Nations.

Vietnam Rushes to Adopt 5G

By Dat Nguyen

As part of the country’s plan to modernize and catch up to other developed economies, Vietnam is hoping to be one of the first countries to jump on the so-called “fourth industrial revolution” bandwagon. In fulfilling this highly ambitious vision, the Vietnamese government has planned to begin trials of fifth-generation mobile networks, or 5G, this year in major urban centers like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. However, Vietnam launched its 4G service nationwide only a few years ago. The Southeast Asian country expects to rollout 5G commercially by 2021, an unrealistic goal for any developed country, let alone a developing one.

Many media outlets, both inside and outside Vietnam, have cited 5G as a driver for economic growth, improving businesses, and enhancing people’s lives. However, it is not clear how Vietnamese businesses and people are likely to benefit from an early adoption of 5G. Vietnam’s vertical industries and workforces are not at an advanced enough stage to take full advantage of new mobile technology. The most likely beneficiaries are Vietnam’s oligarchic telecoms, 5G equipment providers, and foreign companies in Vietnam.

The People Who Invented the Internet: #Reviewing The Imagineers of War

By Walker D. Mills

These questions guide Sharon Weinberger in her history of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency more commonly known by their acronym—DARPA. She doesn’t quite come up with an answer. The best approximation is probably all of the above, and she admits as much toward the end of her book, The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed the World. Weinberger is an executive editor at Foreign Policy and has made her career in investigative journalism focusing on national security. The book is a fascinating and thorough read and offers a thorough investigation into one of the Pentagon’s most shadowy offices.

DARPA’s most famous creation was, and still is, the Internet. It was consummated in 1969 with a two-letter message sent from a researcher at the University of California Los Angeles to another researcher at the Stanford Research Institute—“Lo,” because the network crashed before it could send the next three letters, “gin.”[2] Originally conceived as a multi-nodal network that would be resilient in the aftermath of a Soviet nuclear strike, ARPANET, as it was known, would not find a real military use for years.

Attorney General Barr says encrypted apps pose ‘grave threat’ to safety

by Devlin Barrett 

Attorney General William P. Barr delivered a blistering critique Tuesday of encrypted messaging programs, saying they are preventing law enforcement from stopping killings, drug dealing and terrorism, and warned that time may be running out for the tech industry to make changes on its own.

The speech, delivered at the International Conference on Cyber Security in New York, marks a forceful return by the Justice Department to the encryption debate it has shied away from in recent years, after a bruising fight between the FBI and Apple over the locked phone of a dead terrorism suspect.

Since then, Barr said, the situation has gotten much worse.

“As this debate has dragged on, and deployment of warrant-proof encryption has accelerated, our ability to protect the public from criminal and national security threats is rapidly deteriorating,” Barr said in the written version of his speech. “The status quo is exceptionally dangerous, it is unacceptable, and only getting worse.”

Space Wars: Military Satellites Will Be Armed 'With Lasers And Guns' By 2030

Zak Doffman

Last September, the French government accused Russia of an "act of space espionage," when Moscow's signals-intelligence satellite Luch-Olymp was steered "a bit too closely" to France's military communications satellite Athena-Fidus. “It got so close," France's Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly reportedly said at the time, "that we might have imagined it was trying to intercept our communications—trying to listen to your neighbors is not only unfriendly, it’s an act of espionage."

Last week, Parly announced details of a new "defense space strategy" at the Lyon-Mont Verdun air defense operations base. "Having a reinforced space defense is absolutely essential," she said, "it is our freedom of appreciation, access and action in space that is at stake." France's Le Point reported that in the summer of 2019, space has finally become "a field of action."