17 August 2019

The India Dividend

Robert D. Blackwill And Ashley J. Tellis

For two decades, Washington has had high hopes for India on the global stage. Gigantic, populous, and resource rich, India is, by all appearances, a superpower in waiting. And as the world’s largest democracy, it promises—according to those hopes—to be a crucial U.S. partner at a time of rising competition from authoritarian challengers.

Almost 20 years ago, acting on such expectations, Washington began resolving the disagreements that had held U.S.-Indian relations back through the Cold War and into the 1990s. During George W. Bush’s presidency, U.S. officials gave up their long-standing insistence that India relinquish its nuclear weapons, allowing Washington and New Delhi to sign a landmark nuclear accord and opening the way to heavy U.S. investments—diplomatic, economic, and military—to facilitate India’s rise. Successive U.S. administrations provided liberal access to military technologies and promoted India’s role in international institutions, culminating in President Barack Obama’s endorsement of Indian aspirations to permanent membership in the UN Security Council. Albeit imperiled by the Trump administration’s disregard for allies and partners, this basic U.S. approach continues to this day.

The Jammu and Kashmir Pakistan does not want to talk about

By Tilak Devasher 

New Delhi [India], Aug 15 (ANI): Amid all the focus on Jammu and Kashmir in recent times, the status of Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK) consisting of the so-called 'Azad' Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) has been largely ignored. Severe media restrictions, both local and international and even apathy has ensured that Pakistan has been able to act with impunity in this region.
Two of Pakistan's main arguments against the removal of Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 are that it would lead to changes in demography and that it is violative of the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. Both these arguments are not only false and malicious but it is Pakistan that has been guilty on both these counts.

Thus, the state subject rule has been held in abeyance in GB since the 1970s. This was done to deliberately dilute the Shia/Ismaili character of the region by facilitating the migration of a large number of Sunnis from Pakistan. From 1998 to 2011, due to large-scale migration, it is estimated that the population in GB surged by 63 per cent, as against 22 per cent in so-called 'AJK', where the State Subject Rule was still in force. This kind of social engineering has led to severe sectarian strife, especially under General Zia and later on as in 2012, as well as dilution of the local culture and identity.

Defense Is Becoming More Integral to India’s Diplomacy

Nilanjana Sen, Joy Mitra, Harsh V. Pant 

In May, Narendra Modi was re-elected as the prime minister of India in a landslide victory. India’s foreign policy became a salient issue during these elections due to the regional tensions with Pakistan. Beyond its immediate regional priorities, the Modi government has explicitly articulated a new vision for India and its role in shaping the world order. Whether India, under Modi’s leadership, will rewrite its engagement with the international community is yet to be seen. So far, when it comes to foreign policy, Modi is believed to be assertive and purposefully focused on mobilizing global opinion in India’s favor.

Modi has shown a penchant for personal engagement with the leaders of major world powers. While critics have warned against the dangers of personalizing diplomatic encounters, many view Modi’s proactive interactions as beneficial for India. Even as the country has substantively moved away from being a mere balancer, there are glaring regional and global realities that will require its attention. Its immediate neighborhood will continue to be a priority for India even as it strives to increase its global footprint.

The State of the Fighting in the Afghan War in Mid-2019

By Anthony H. Cordesman

The Afghan War has entered a critical period in which the U.S. is actively seeking a peace settlement with the Taliban, and doing so in spite of the fact that it is negotiating without the full participation of the Afghan government.

Peace is a highly uncertain option. There are no official descriptions of the terms of the peace that the Administration is now seeking to negotiate, but media reports indicate that it may be considering a full withdrawal within a year of a ceasefire, and other reports indicate that it is considering a 50% cut in U.S. military personnel even if a peace is not negotiated.

As of mid-August 2019, the Taliban has continued to reject any formal peace negotiations with the Afghan government, and has steadily stepped up its military activity and acts of violence while it negotiates with the United States. Terrorist groups like ISIS-K add to the threat, as do the many splits within the Afghani government and political structure. The Taliban has not encouraged further ceasefires, or shown any clear willingness to accept a lasting peace on any terms but its own. It may well see peace negotiations as a means of negotiating a withdrawal of U.S. and other allied forces and a prelude to a peace that it could exploit to win control of Afghanistan.


by Anthony H. Cordesman 

The Afghan War has entered a critical period in which the U.S. is actively seeking a peace settlement with the Taliban, and doing so in spite of the fact that it is negotiating without the full participation of the Afghan government.

Peace is a highly uncertain option. There are no official descriptions of the terms of the peace that the Administration is now seeking to negotiate, but media reports indicate that it may be considering a full withdrawal within a year of a ceasefire, and other reports indicate that it is considering a 50% cut in U.S. military personnel even if a peace is not negotiated.

As of mid-August 2019, the Taliban has continued to reject any formal peace negotiations with the Afghan government, and has steadily stepped up its military activity and acts of violence while it negotiates with the United States. Terrorist groups like ISIS-K add to the threat, as do the many splits within the Afghani government and political structure. The Taliban has not encouraged further ceasefires, or shown any clear willingness to accept a lasting peace on any terms but its own. It may well see peace negotiations as a means of negotiating a withdrawal of U.S. and other allied forces and a prelude to a peace that it could exploit to win control of Afghanistan.

The U.S. and the Taliban Are Near a Deal. Here’s What It Could Look Like.

By Mujib Mashal
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DOHA, Qatar — After months of negotiations between the United States and the Taliban, both sides have signaled that they are nearing an initial peace deal for Afghanistan, perhaps in the coming weeks or even sooner, even though the recent talks have seemed bogged down in the final details.

Even a provisional agreement would be momentous, marking the beginning of the end to the United States’ longest war. The conflict has stretched for nearly 18 years, taking the lives of tens of thousands of Afghans and more than 3,500 American and coalition forces, and costing hundreds of billions of dollars.

President Trump’s desire to end what he has described as an endless war has been abundantly clear, and it is likely that if there is a breakthrough to announce, in an election season, he will be the person to do it.

America’s Anti-China Mood Is Here to Stay

By Joe Renouard

The U.S.-China trade war that began last year continues to drag on as a long-term war of attrition. Negotiators ended their latest round of talks at the end of July with few results, and each side rang in August by announcing a new set of retaliatory measures.

Optimists hope to see the talks resume in September, and their spirits were buoyed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision on Tuesday to push some tariffs back from September 1 to December 15. Yet even if there are significant breakthroughs on the trade front — and that’s a very big “if” — it will do little to change the anti-China mood in Washington. Partisan rancor and the president’s Twitter musings may get the headlines, but there is broad agreement in the nation’s capital that the Sino-U.S. relationship has fundamentally changed. A critical mass of policymakers, national security hawks, China specialists, and even business liberals now rejects the long-standing conventional wisdom that engagement with China would engender that nation’s domestic liberalization and peaceful integration into the world order. Instead, China has gotten richer, more confident, and, at least to many observers, more authoritarian and more of a threat to U.S. interests. As of 2018-19, the new conventional wisdom is a damning, comprehensive critique of China’s trade policies, its assertive foreign policy, its pursuit of advanced technology, its demands on foreign companies, its narrowing of civil society space, its ideological battles with the West, and its environmental and labor standards. In the latest Washington parlance, China is a “whole-of-society” or “whole-of-nation” threat that necessitates a reciprocal response from Americans.


By Peter Vincent Pry

Fiona Cunningham is to be commended for her report “Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications Systems of the People’s Republic of China” (Nautilus July 18, 2019). Ms. Cunningham relies on unclassified sources to provide a well-researched summary of the mainstream view of academics, China scholars and even many military professionals of the PRC’s nuclear doctrine and C3 arrangements.

Unfortunately, this mainstream view is almost certainly wrong.

Western analysts consistently fail to understand that, for both Beijing and Moscow, nuclear war plans and C3 to execute those plans are national security “crown jewels” that they try to protect and conceal behind a bodyguard of lies and disinformation. Trusting open sources and commentary — especially when they are intended to cast nuclear doctrine and C3 in the most benign possible way — is a big mistake.

The Chinese Military Reforms and Transforms in the “New Era”

By: Elsa Kania


The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been undergoing a far-reaching transformation with strategic implications for the military balance in the region and beyond. Starting in 2015, the PLA has been undertaking historic reforms that have involved extensive restructuring of the force. [1] The 2015 People’s Republic of China (PRC) national defense white paper (NDWP), titled “China’s Military Strategy,” had confirmed revisions to the PLA’s military strategic guidelines, while previewing the direction that Chinese military reforms have since taken (China Brief, July 2, 2015; Ministry of National Defense, May 26, 2015). In July 2019, the PRC issued its first official NDWP in four years, “China’s National Defense in the New Era” (Ministry of National Defense, July 24). This new NDWP is directed towards purposes of signaling and propaganda, while revealing PRC ambitions to reshape the global security architecture (China Brief, July 31). However, it declines to provide much in the way of substantive transparency beyond only limited updates on PLA reforms. Nonetheless, a careful reading of “China’s National Defense in the New Era” reveals notable insights and indications of the evolution of PRC interests, the progression of PLA reforms, and new directions in Chinese military modernization.

Continued Evolution of PRC “Core” Interests

Will Beijing Intervene in the Hong Kong Unrest?

Anti-government protests in Hong Kong that erupted over a now-suspended extradition bill have now entered a 10th week with no end in sight, putting the city's all-important business and transport activities at significant risk of damage. Beijing's latest warnings about the protests point to a growing possibility that the mainland government might abandon its previous restraint and instead directly intervene — a scenario that could cause as many problems for Beijing as for Hong Kong.

Unrest in Hong Kong intensified the weekend of Aug. 10-11, with violent clashes between protesters and local police and security forces, which continued their crackdown. On Aug. 12, protesters overwhelmed the territory's international airport, leading to the cancellation of hundreds of flights.

What Are Beijing's Red Lines, and How Might It Intervene?

Hong Kong remains crucially important to mainland China

For the past nine weeks and counting huge anti-government protests have rocked Hong Kong, with no obvious end in sight. On August 5th pro-democracy protesters organised the first general strike in the territory for half a century. It shut down parts of the transport system. Banks, advertising companies and many other businesses also closed, or urged their employees to work from home.

The absolute number of protesters on the streets has fallen—from an estimated 2m who marched, largely peacefully, on June 16th, to 350,000 strikers. But the fluid tactics of the black-clad vanguard, which is increasingly using violence, has challenged the resources of a police force determined to crack down on the protests. As the methods of the protesters have changed, so too has their target: what began as opposition to a bill that would have allowed suspects in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China has become a popular revolt against the local government—and, for at least some on the streets, against Chinese rule itself.

China May Set Its Navy on Course for the Persian Gulf

China has long wanted to extend its maritime reach and has major strategic interests in energy supplies that transit the Persian Gulf. The U.S. call for nations to join Operation Sentinel, which would see naval escorts for commercial shipping, gives China an opportunity to do both — but Washington might not welcome Chinese participation, and China itself has reservations. If tensions continue to escalate in the Persian Gulf, however, Beijing may find it has no choice but to have a security presence in the Middle East.

China has become the latest country to voice interest in becoming involved in the proposed U.S. naval security plan for the Persian Gulf. On Aug. 6, Chinese Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Ni Jian said China is considering having its navy escort its commercial ships in the region, and that Beijing is also looking at the U.S. proposal for Gulf escorts. Ni hedged that China would only move in this direction in the event of a "very unsafe situation" in the Persian Gulf. If the Chinese decide to proceed, this would mark a significant step forward in China's military and naval presence in the region.

The Big Picture

China Is Waging a Disinformation War Against Hong Kong Protesters

By Steven Lee Myers and Paul Mozur

BEIJING — When a projectile struck a Hong Kong woman in the eye this week as protesters clashed with the police, China responded quickly: Its state television network reported that the woman had been injured not by one of the police’s bean bag rounds, but by a protester.

The network’s website went further: It posted what it said was a photo of the woman counting out cash on a Hong Kong sidewalk — insinuating, as Chinese reports have claimed before, that the protesters are merely paid provocateurs.

The assertion was more than just spin or fake news. The Communist Party exerts overwhelming control over media content inside China’s so-called Great Firewall, and it is now using it as a cudgel in an information war over the protests that have convulsed Hong Kong for months.

Chinese Propaganda Goes Tech-Savvy to Reach a New Generation

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Named “Study Xi to Strengthen the Nation”, the app quizzes users on all things related to President Xi Jinping – his policies, activities, achievements, theories and thoughts. Users can earn points and win prizes for correct answers and compete with colleagues and friends to see who knows the most about China’s leader. 

The app is the latest example of a rethink by the Communist Party when it comes to its propaganda efforts and how best to justify the legitimacy of its one-party rule, extol the virtues of the party, and promote patriotism to an audience of young, tech-savvy Chinese.

For those institutions responsible for the production of effective propaganda, this is a real challenge. After all, propaganda in the 21st century has to go beyond forcing people to sit in study sessions on Friday afternoons, read the People’s Daily newspaper, or watch China Central Television (CCTV) in group meetings.

Related podcast:

How a Crackdown in Hong Kong Would Reverberate, From Shanghai to Taiwan

Howard W. French
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A drive to the airport in Shanghai from an outlying suburb earlier this week revealed an entirely new city to me. Brand new high-rise apartments rose in thick clusters in the near distance, as new access roads zigged, zagged and looped around new train and subway stations.

Mine was not the usual surprise of newcomers to this city, but rather that of someone who had lived there for six years, up until 2009. Shanghai was already plenty big and new and physically impressive then. But to look at the way entirely new zones—from Pudong in the east to the southwestern district where I recently stayed—have developed since then brought new perspective on the immensity of what China has achieved, and not only in this showcase city of more than 20 million people

Africa Is a Continent on the Brink ... but of What?

It makes sense that a continent home to 54 countries and 1.2 billion people would also house a mass of contradictory developments. Africa features several of the world’s fastest-growing economies and a burgeoning middle class. But much of the continent remains mired in debt, ravaged by conflict, disease or terrorism, and plagued by elites clinging to power.

Even as economies expand, people are driven to migrate—either within Africa or across continental borders—because of humanitarian catastrophes or because opportunities are not coming fast enough for everyone. Yet, many remain behind and look to disrupt the status quo. Civilian-led reform movements have toppled regimes in Algeria and Sudan already this year.

From a geopolitical perspective, European nations and the United States are looking to shore up bilateral trade across the continent. These moves are driven both by an interest in spurring individual economies to help stem migration flows, but also to counter China’s growing presence in Africa. On the back of its Belt and Road Initiative, China has been leveraging infrastructure financing deals for access to resources and increasing influence.

Human Rights Are Under Attack. Who Will Protect Them?

Globally, human rights remain under assault, whether by populist movements desperate to gain power or authoritarian governments eager to maintain it. Technology has opened up new frontiers for curbing people’s ability to express and share dissenting ideas. And broad assaults are underway on institutions like the International Criminal Court, which was established not only to offer recourse for the victims of rights violations, but to establish an international human rights benchmark. Instead, it is being replaced by a dangerous intolerance.

Around the world, populist authoritarians have built their movements by demonizing minorities. In Brazil, for instance, newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro reveled in his provocations calling into question women’s rights as well as those of the LGBT and indigenous communities. With their verbal assaults, these leaders and the movements that follow them are inspiring people to commit acts of physical violence. In just a matter of months, Jews have been targeted in Pittsburgh, Muslims in New Zealand and Christians in Sri Lanka.

In Indonesia, Energy Reform Takes a Back Seat to Pragmatism

Indonesian President Joko Widodo fulfilled some aspects of his far-reaching energy reform in his first term, but he is more likely to continue watering down some of his goals in his second term. On the production side, the president's emphasis on resource nationalism will not abate, although he has been forced to rebalance his more aggressive push for local control amid volatile global oil prices, the continued need for foreign investment and state-owned Pertamina's need for greater expertise. On the retail side, the president will continue to prioritize maintaining economic growth and low prices at the pump to keep the cost of living down instead of his long-term ambition to free up government revenue.

Pragmatism is winning out over ambition, at least as far as energy reform in Indonesia is concerned. When he assumed office in 2014, Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo promised big changes for both the upstream and downstream energy sectors in an effort to attain greater local control of hydrocarbon production and stanch the flow of state funds into expensive consumer fuel subsidies. With this, Jokowi hoped to foster long-term self-reliance in extraction and production while channeling subsidy savings into much-needed infrastructure improvements, right-sizing fuel demand and lowering the country's reliance on imported fuel. All of the changes were part of Jokowi's overall bid to foster an economy based on manufacturing and industry, rather than raw commodity exports.

The UAE Revisits Its Foreign Policy Goals With New Tactics

The Emiratis are repositioning themselves to decrease the likelihood that their actions will trigger a general war with Iran, even as they cannot control all the other factors that could ignite such a conflict. The country's pullback from Yemen represents an adjustment to the diplomatic, political and military risks of its intervention, but Abu Dhabi will not abandon its overall strategy to either reduce Iran's influence in Yemen or combat Sunni extremists there. Because it is highly dependent on the Trump administration's goodwill amid Congress' hostility, the United Arab Emirates will only have a finite window of opportunity to shore up its relationship with the United States.

The goals haven't changed, but the methods of achieving them have, at least as far as the United Arab Emirates is concerned regarding foreign policy. In recent weeks, Abu Dhabi has raised eyebrows by conducting a partial pullout from its war against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, while at the same time pursuing low-level maritime talks with Tehran to manage its relations with its great regional nemesis.

U.S. Drives Global Growth In Crude Oil Production

by Katharina Buchholz
Source Link

Crude oil production in the U.S. is rising and might set a new record in 2019. In April, daily production hit 12.2 million barrels, the first time the 12 million mark was surpassed according to the Department of State.

Comparing U.S. performance to global crude oil extraction worldwide, it becomes apparent that North America has been a large driver in the global increase in production. While the Middle East remains the biggest producer by a large margin, the U.S. has been growing its production significantly since 2011. Most of the oil is extracted from shale by a controversial method known as fracking.

The former Soviet Republics and Africa were also able to increased their production, but only by a small margin according to analyst Enerdata. The main users of oil around the world are United States and China, which together use about one third of the world’s supply. The biggest growth in oil demand can also be witnessed in the U.S and China as well as in India.

U.S. Officials Suspect New Nuclear Missile in Explosion That Killed 7 Russians

By David E. Sanger and Andrew E. Kramer
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American intelligence officials are racing to understand a mysterious explosion that released radiation off the coast of northern Russia last week, apparently during the test of a new type of nuclear-propelled cruise missile hailed by President Vladimir V. Putin as the centerpiece of Moscow’s arms race with the United States.

American officials have said nothing publicly about the blast on Thursday, possibly one of the worst nuclear accidents in the region since Chernobyl, although apparently on a far smaller scale, with at least seven people, including scientists, confirmed dead. But the Russian government’s slow and secretive response has set off anxiety in nearby cities and towns — and attracted the attention of analysts in Washington and Europe who believe the explosion may offer a glimpse of technological weaknesses in Russia’s new arms program.

Thursday’s accident happened offshore of the Nenoksa Missile Test Site and was followed by what nearby local officials initially reported was a spike in radiation in the atmosphere.

How America Lost Faith in Expertise And Why That’s a Giant Problem

By Tom Nichols 
In 2014, following the Russian invasion of Crimea, The Washington Postpublished the results of a poll that asked Americans about whether the United States should intervene militarily in Ukraine. Only one in six could identify Ukraine on a map; the median response was off by about 1,800 miles. But this lack of knowledge did not stop people from expressing pointed views. In fact, the respondents favored intervention in direct proportion to their ignorance. Put another way, the people who thought Ukraine was located in Latin America or Australia were the most enthusiastic about using military force there. 

The following year, Public Policy Polling asked a broad sample of Democratic and Republican primary voters whether they would support bombing Agrabah. Nearly a third of Republican respondents said they would, versus 13 percent who opposed the idea. Democratic preferences were roughly reversed; 36 percent were opposed, and 19 percent were in favor. Agrabah doesn’t exist. It’s the fictional country in the 1992 Disney film Aladdin. Liberals crowed that the poll showed Republicans’ aggressive tendencies. Conservatives countered that it showed Democrats’ reflexive pacifism. Experts in national security couldn’t fail to notice that 43 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats polled had an actual, defined view on bombing a place in a cartoon. 

Italy's Government Hangs by a Thread

The Italian government is hanging by a thread. The collapse of the coalition between the right-wing League party and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement seems imminent after League leader Matteo Salvini asked Aug. 8 for an early general election. But even if the League formally leaves the coalition government, several institutional steps will have to take place before an election is called.

The Big Picture

Stratfor's 2019 Third-Quarter Forecast identified Italy as the main source of political and economic instability in the eurozone. In the coming days, markets will be watching events in the country closely. The combination of low growth, high debt and an unstable government makes Italy a problematic country for the currency area.

The Options on the Table

Breathing Life Into Eastern Ukraine

By Melinda Haring

The Russians took and held Kramatorsk, a small city in eastern Ukraine, for about three months in 2014. Since then, the only battles this town has seen have taken place in the kitchen. Or several kitchens, to be exact. Last year, on the anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence Day, government officials sparred for the titles of “Best Plov,” “Best Borscht,” and “Best Goulash.” This year there will be no Independence Day competition, since the organizer of the borscht battle was recently sacked.

Yevgen Vilinsky was the first deputy governor of the Donetsk Regional State Administration. The Ukrainian province, or oblast, he helped govern directly borders the breakaway region currently under Moscow’s control. The Donetsk area has been hard hit by war and division, and its citizens are not of one mind about their future. Vilinsky and his team had made significant progress helping the oblast rebound from the war. But when Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, assumed office, he promptly began replacing everyone associated with the previous administration—including Vilinsky, who was fired on July 4.

Putin the Great

By Susan B. Glasser 

On January 27, 2018, Vladimir Putin became the longest-serving leader of Russia since Joseph Stalin. There were no parades or fireworks, no embarrassingly gilded statues unveiled or unseemly displays of nuclear missiles in Red Square. After all, Putin did not want to be compared with Leonid Brezhnev, the bushy-browed septuagenarian whose record in power he had just surpassed. Brezhnev, who ruled the Soviet Union from 1964 to 1982, was the leader of Putin’s gritty youth, of the long stagnation that preceded the empire’s collapse. By the end, he was the butt of a million jokes, the doddering grandfather of a doddering state, the conductor of a Russian train to nowhere. “Stalin proved that just one person could manage the country,” went one of those many jokes. “Brezhnev proved that a country doesn’t need to be managed at all.”

Integrating Cyber and Electronic Warfare

By Sam Cohen

To succeed in the battlespace of the future and to ensure combat superiority over peer adversaries, the U.S. military must be equipped with capabilities to defend information networks in cyberspace and to secure unimpeded access to the electromagnetic spectrum. Adversaries are developing cyber and electronic warfare capabilities to conduct information operations against U.S. systems that will likely threaten the speed and accuracy of military communications, intelligence and data sharing channels, while maliciously altering or stealing the information itself. These capabilities often have complementary effects, which means integrating cyber and electronic warfare could provide a stronger protection and attack capacity for U.S. military assets.

Cyber warfare involves operations disrupting, exploiting or crippling adversaries through information systems and the Internet. These operations are generally referred to as computer network operations, including the capability to attack and disrupt enemy computer networks; defend military information systems; and exploit enemy computer networks through intelligence collection. Computer network operations are usually accomplished through the use of computer code and computer applications.

Scientists, businesspeople, professional forecasters predict differing worlds of 2052

By Fred Phillips, Brendan Monks, Ulrich Betz

How do we agree and disagree about what the future holds? Business people, technologists, and scientists see different industries advancing, different technologies developing, and different risks emerging as the future plays out. That matters because many of these professionals—say, scientists–are in a position to develop the technologies that will help shape that future. A comprehensive survey polled readers of three leading business and scientific journals as well as professional future forecasters about how the world will change between now and 2052.

The 2017 survey involved four panels, two comprising the readers of either Nature or Science, another of readers of the Harvard Business Review, and yet another of academics and others in the foresight field—a discipline in academia, business, and government related to predicting the future. They considered the following: What science and technology trends, across a broad variety of fields, will dominate in 2052? What are the gaps between desired products and anticipated science/tech capabilities? What are the gaps between the anticipations of educated businesspeople and those of scientists?

History Doesn't Repeat Itself in Cyberspace

The 10th anniversary of the US Cyber Command is an opportunity to prepare for unknowns in the rapidly changing cybersecurity landscape.

Ten years ago, GPS on phones was just becoming available. Self-driving cars were secretly making their way into traffic, and most people hadn't even heard of 3D printing. This was when the US Cyber Command was created to direct and coordinate cyberspace planning and operations to defend and advance national interests with domestic and international partners.

It's an understatement to say things have changed a lot since 2009, especially the cyber landscape. Though the majority of its operations are classified, it's not hard to imagine the Cyber Command has also gone through major changes over the past decade.

Anniversaries are usually an opportunity to reflect on the past and think about the future, but that's tricky to do when most of the Cyber Command's activities are essentially kept from the public's eye. And while history is known to repeat itself, cyberspace — the epitome of constant change — bucks that trend. This secrecy, conflated with the dynamic cyber landscape, makes it difficult to accurately predict what the next decade might bring for the Cyber Command and technology in general. (Seriously, who could've foreseen that a social media platform conceived by a broken-hearted student in a college dorm room would end up being a tool for skewing elections of a world superpower?) 

What government can do to keep its cyber workforce

By: Andrew Eversden   
The government needs to do a better job showing that it values cybersecurity professionals as it battles to attract and retain a digital workforce, industry professionals told Fifth Domain during a week of information security conferences in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“They have to value these people, and I don’t know that they’re fully valued,” said Greg Conti, current senior security strategist at IronNet, former director of the Army Cyber Institute and a senior cyber warfare adviser to U.S. Cyber Command, in an Aug. 8 interview at Black Hat 2019, held in the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.

M.K. Palmore, field chief security officer for the Americas at Palo Alto Networks and a former FBI cyber agent, said that people with technical backgrounds can feel stuck while working for the government, causing them to leave.

It’s High Time for Germany to Fund, and Fix, Its Military

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The U.S. ambassador to Germany caused a stir last week by suggesting Washington could withdraw U.S. troops from Germany if Berlin continues to fall below its NATO commitment to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense. “It is actually offensive,” Richard Grenell told German media, “to assume that the U.S. taxpayer must continue to pay to have 50,000-plus Americans in Germany, but the Germans get to spend their surplus on domestic programs.”

Grenell’s frustration is justified. U.S. presidents since Dwight Eisenhower have complained about NATO’s European members sitting passively on the sidelines while the United States does most of the heavy lifting for their security. The American people are likewise right to find it patently absurd that a wealthy country like Germany, whose $3.9 trillion GDP is the largest in Europe, is unwilling to invest in its own national defense. There is simply no excuse, other than domestic politics, for Berlin to continue dragging its heels.