29 August 2019

US Imperatives to Respect India’s Strategic Sensitivities-2019

By Dr Subhash Kapila

The United States policy establishment long used for decades to view South Asia with Cold War mindsets which predicated according strategic equivalence to Pakistan with India despite India’s asymmetrical predominance finds the United States in 2019 inadequate in realistic appraisal of strategic imperatives for respecting India’s strategic sensitivities.

India being treated with ‘Strategic Equivalence’ with Pakistan is an era long past having been overtaken by India’s geopolitical in ascendance and its strategic weight in global military calculuses having been magnified. Past US Administrations recognising this reality endowed India with the appellation of an ‘Emerged Power’.

Contextually, India needs to be accorded by India the respect and the respect of its strategic sensitivities not only in South Asia and the Indo Pacific but also in global context. To a great measure this was being done by past US Administrations, and initially by current US President Trump.

Standing up to China-Pak Nexus

Brahma Chellaney

Pakistan saw Article 370 as Indian acceptance that Kashmir is a disputed territory. The constitutional change can help India to more ably counter the China-Pakistan nexus.

CONTROL OF THE original princely state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is divided among India, Pakistan and China, but only India was maintaining special powers and privileges for its portion, which makes up 45 per cent of the erstwhile kingdom. Take Pakistan, which seeks to redraw borders in blood by grabbing the Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley from India: Far from granting autonomy or special status to the parts of J&K it holds (the sprawling Gilgit-Baltistan and the so-called Azad Kashmir), Pakistan has treated them as its colonies, exercising arbitrary control over them, recklessly exploiting their natural resources and changing their demographic profiles. In fact, Pakistan unlawfully ceded a strategically important slice of the increasingly restive Gilgit-Baltistan to China in 1963.

Is the Afghanistan Deal a Good One?

By Michael O'Hanlon 

According to teases leaked by the American negotiating team, it appears that an interim Afghanistan peace deal may be in the works between Washington and the Taliban. Details are far from clear to date. But the main contours of any agreement seem to be a renouncing of extremists by the Taliban, the withdrawal of several thousand American and NATO troops, together with an indefinite partial ceasefire, or at least a sustained reduction in violence by all parties. If that is indeed the deal—it’s not yet clear if the ceasefire would happen early on, as it must for the idea to make any sense from a U.S. and Afghan government perspective—there may be promise to the concept, provided that not only the Taliban but the Pakistani government support it as well. These initial steps would be followed by negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government over some future type of power-sharing, after which the preponderance of the remaining U.S. and other foreign forces would leave the country as well. It is crucial that the remaining U.S. forces not withdraw until a power-sharing arrangement has been well-established.

The U.S.-Japan Security Alliance

by Lindsay Maizland and Beina Xu

Forged in the wake of World War II, the U.S.-Japan security alliance is as important as ever to both countries’ interests in Asia. In recent years, a more assertive China, a nuclear-armed North Korea, and other challenges have pushed the alliance to make historic adjustments, including crafting a larger role for Japan’s military. Meanwhile, internal conflicts over issues such as U.S. military bases on Okinawa and cost-sharing have cast doubts over the long-running partnership.

How did Japan and the United States become allies?

Signed in 1951 alongside the Treaty of San Francisco that formally ended World War II, the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security Treaty was a ten-year, renewable agreement that outlined how Japan, in light of its pacifist constitution, would allow U.S. forces to remain on its soil after Japan regained sovereignty. This early pact dovetailed with the Yoshida Doctrine—a postwar strategy crafted by Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida that saw Japan rely on the United States for its security needs so the country could focus on rebuilding its economy.

'University Of Jihad' Gets Public Funds Even As Pakistan Fights Extremism

By Frud Bezhan

Pakistan's so-called university of jihad is led by a man who proclaims himself "the father of the Taliban,” and counts some of the world's most notorious terrorists among its alumni.

It also receives millions of dollars in aid from the government of the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province along the Pakistan-Afghan border, even as Islamabad carries out a national program to tackle extremism.

The Darul Uloom Haqqania religious seminary, located in Akora Khattak in northwest Pakistan, is known for preaching a fundamentalist brand of Islam and schooling a generation of fighters for both the Afghan Taliban and the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban.

Around 3,000 young men with beards and white skullcaps study at Haqqania's sprawling campus -- located about 50 kilometers east of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's capital, Peshawar, and 90 kilometers west of the national capital, Islamabad -- making it one of the largest Islamic teaching centers in the world.

How to Partner With the Taliban

By Robert Pape

The Trump administration’s peace deal for Afghanistan needs a plan for the country’s most looming threat: international terrorists whom both sides oppose.

With the Trump administration apparently close to announcing a peace deal with the Taliban, it is now time for a major consideration of U.S. strategy for Afghanistan. Virtually everyone agrees that Americans should seek to maintain current liberal political gains and prevent a future sanctuary for international terrorists in the country. The question is: What is the best plan to achieve America’s core security aims over the long haul?

Three options are now imaginable. The first is to maintain U.S. ground forces in Afghanistan indefinitely at, near, or even above today’s current levels of 14,000, a position favored by many in the U.S. Defense Department, think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, and prominent media commentators.

The second is a negotiated complete withdrawal of all U.S. ground forces from Afghanistan in 2020, supported by Trump administration officials who favor negotiated promises from the Taliban; the New York Times editorial board, which would pass the buck to regional players like Pakistan, Russia, Iran, India, and China; and “offshore” balancers, who believe a complete withdrawal would allow for more counterbalancing against potential regional hegemons like China in Asia.

Something Is Very Wrong on the Mekong River

By Tom Fawthrop

This year’s drought is just a preview of more dire problems to come if government don’t change course.

The Mekong is reeling from the combined onslaught of climate change, sand-mining, and incessant damming of the river, which combined to help cause the worst drought recorded in over 100 years in July.

“This is the worst ecological disaster in history of the of Mekong region,” declared Thai natural resources expert Chainarong Setthachua.

The water level in the Tonle Sap, Cambodia’s great inland lake, the “beating heart of the Mekong,” was reduced to unprecedented shallow areas with one floating village almost completely dried up. Almost unbelievable for Tonle Sap locals was that this happened in not in the dry season, but two months into the rainy season.

Youk Sengleng an NGO fisheries expert stationed by the Tonle Sap, shared his observations: “Many fish died because of the shallow water, hot temperature, and toxic water resulting from lack of oxygen. Around 2.5 million people who depend on the lake’s once abundant fisheries have been directly affected. “

Taking too much water out of a river essentially sucks the life out of it. Pollutants become more concentrated and water flows dwindle, resulting in the build-up of sediments that clog up the river bed.

How long will China's soaring growth last?

China’s economic ascent over the past 40 years is considered one the defining achievements in human history. In less than two generations, an autarky closed to the outside world has managed to insert itself into every facet of modern life. From the simplest manufactured goods to sophisticated hardware, from asphalt roads to nuclear power stations, Chinese companies, predominantly state-owned, have disrupted the global production and investment chain.

The history of economic development, from the invention of the wheel to the fourth industrial revolution, is a story of disruption pushing the boundaries of productivity growth and China’s economic rise since its opening up in 1978 is no different. Such change has been welcome over the past few decades. China created jobs and wealth, while the rest of the world enjoyed a wider choice of products and services at lower prices.

Yet, all good things must come to an end. As the People’s Republic reaches its 70th birthday, it is no longer seen as a benign force. Challenges to China’s economic model are increasing, as witnessed by the trade and technology disputes between the Beijing and Washington.

The Geopolitical Logic of the US-China Trade War

By George Friedman
Since Donald Trump took office in 2017, the United States has introduced a series of measures to try to reduce its trade imbalance with China. But Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on China was preceded by a decade of failed negotiations aimed at establishing a more equitable trade relationship between the two countries. The Obama administration had multiple high-level meetings with Chinese officials over Chinese barriers to U.S. imports and Chinese manipulation of the yuan. Whether fair or unfair, the perception of multiple U.S. administrations was that China enjoyed free access to U.S. markets without reciprocating.

The Chinese made gestures toward accommodation, but they could not grant U.S. demands for greater access to the Chinese market. China’s economy had long been heavily dependent on exporting to foreign markets, since its own domestic market could not absorb the vast quantity of goods that Chinese industry was producing. But with the onset of the 2008 financial crisis, the domestic market took on a whole new significance.

The Japanese Example

Telegram Bug ‘Exploited’ By Chinese Agencies, Hong Kong Activists Claim

Zak Doffman

Telegram, the secure messaging platform, is used by pro-democracy campaigners in Hong Kong as a means of keeping communications away from the prying eyes of the Chinese authorities. Telegram has been banned in the country since 2015, but users have found workarounds. Unfortunately, a dangerous new technical issue has arisen with group messaging which could be leaking phone numbers. Protesters claim this has already enabled government agencies to identify and target individuals.

This particular issue doesn't open private message content—these are public groups. But it demonstrates what can happen when the authorities can compromise the privacy within secure platforms. And that's where this is a reminder of what's at stake in the broader encryption debate, and why passions on the subject run so high.

Will Xi Jinping Deploy the PLA Garrison to Quell Hong Kong’s “Turmoil”?

By: Willy Wo-Lap Lam

Introduction: The CCP Confronts “Turmoil” in Hong Kong

A central question surrounding the Hong Kong protests is whether People’s Republic of China (PRC) President and Commander-in-Chief Xi Jinping will deploy the local People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Garrison to quell the “turmoil” in the Special Administration Region (SAR). Under the instructions of late patriarch Deng Xiaoping, who negotiated Hong Kong’s 1997 change of sovereignty with then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a garrison of an estimated 6,000 troops is permanently stationed in the territory. The anti-government agitations in Hong Kong started in early June against the introduction of an “Extradition Bill,” which would send suspected fugitives hiding in the SAR back to the mainland for trial (China Brief, June 26). Given that SAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam has indefinitely shelved the bill—although she has refused to irrevocably withdraw it—the goals of the protestors have morphed into two broad demands: to investigate police violence, and more importantly, to realize the civil and democratic rights guaranteed in the Beijing-approved Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution.

China Is Sending Keyboard Warriors Over The Firewall

By Lauren Teixeira

Last week, as rhetoric in mainland China turned increasingly vicious toward the Hong Kong protesters, China’s young “keyboard warriors” deployed over the Great Firewall en masse to defend the motherland. In organized battalions, they reported pro-Hong Kong Instagram accounts; flooded comments sections with Chinese flag emojis; and disseminated patriotic memes.

Most of the platforms on which global opinion battles are fought, like Twitter and Facebook, are blocked in China. But using a virtual private network (VPN) to conduct organized, large-scale raids on foreign social media is not a new phenomenon. The practice of chu zheng—which literally means something like “go into battle”—goes back to at least 2016, when patriotic youth scaled the firewall to bombard newly elected Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s Facebook page with anti-Taiwan independence memes after an incident involving the Taiwanese K-pop star Chou Tzuyu and the Taiwanese flag on Korean television.

This most recent wave of chu zheng, however, differs from the “Facebook expedition” of 2016. Last week’s offensive appears to have been launched from two different online youth subcultures: Diba, a long-running Baidu forum similar in some ways to Reddit; and fangirl circles, or networks of young women who organize to support their favorite K-pop or C-pop idols.

Trump's Tariffs Against China Aren't Working. And There's No Quick Resolution in Sight

by Charles P. Ries

The Trump administration's move to postpone the imposition of new tariffs on Chinese consumer goods until December comes as stiff tariffs the United States has already levied against China—on hundreds of billions of dollars of other commodities—don't seem to be working. The go-it-alone approach is imposing a high and growing cost on the American economy and could ultimately threaten global prosperity. No quick resolution is in sight.

There are two problems in U.S.-China trade and investment relations that the current actions seem ill-suited to resolve: China's state-directed industrial policy and its privileged position under global trade rules.

China's industrial strategy depends on fostering domestic companies, including many state-owned enterprises, in increasingly high-tech sectors. The state provides Chinese companies with protection from foreign competition, subsidies, access to capital, and critical technology obtained from international market leaders without—or without adequate—compensation. It also gives them support to export, or dump, goods at marginal cost onto international markets, including in the developing world. This Chinese strategy has hurt the United States, as well as the European Union, Japan, Canada, Australia, and many other countries, large and small.

Chinese Thinking about International Relations

by Benjamin Tze Ern Ho

The essays in the roundtable “Chinese Thinking about International Relations: From Theory to Practice” provide important analytical insights for better understanding China’s foreign policy actions and the extent to which Chinese ideas concerning international affairs are playing out in practice. This introduction previews each essay and provides a brief sketch of Chinese thinking about international relations.

Of late, Chinese scholars have argued for the need to incorporate traditional Chinese ideas into mainstream international relations (IR) theory, which is seen as privileging a Western-centric reading of international affairs. Given the global prominence of China, it behooves scholars and policymakers alike to consider how these ideas are being translated into contemporary Chinese conceptions of international order and influencing China’s foreign policy practices. The four essays in this roundtable attempt to do just that.

First, Feng Zhang adopts a historical perspective on the study of China’s engagement with the international order and examines the implications of the Xi Jinping doctrine for the country’s foreign policy. Second, Xiaoyu Pudiscusses China’s policies and actions in the Indo-Pacific, including its strategic calculations, its perceptions of the U.S. role in the region, and the sources of rising tensions between the United States and China. Using a “status dilemma” framework, Pu argues that Sino-U.S. competition is fueled by concerns in the United States and China that the other side seeks domination and regional hegemony, respectively. Third, Beverley Loke analyzes Chinese and U.S. discourses of great-power management. She examines how each country sees itself as a responsible stakeholder and assesses their respective approaches to a “new model of great-power relations.” Finally, Catherine Jones argues that, despite the use of grand political slogans, Beijing’s foreign policy practices reflect more modest objectives, not unlike the behavioral strategies of middle powers.

Competition and Cooperation in the South Pacific

by Jesse Barker Gale

This brief addresses the malign influence of Chinese investment in the South Pacific and the evolution of U.S. strategy to build trust and remain competitive. It also highlights the ongoing contributions of U.S. allies and security partners and opportunities for greater regional cooperation.

The phrasing of the Australia, New Zealand, and United States Security (ANZUS) Treaty is unambiguous: “The parties to this treaty…desiring to strengthen the fabric of peace in the Pacific Area…declare publicly and formally their sense of unity, so that no potential aggressor could be under the illusion that any of them stand alone.”[1] The South Pacific lies to the northeast of the Australian landmass, directly across the maritime approaches between Australia and its historical trade and security partners in Northeast Asia and North America. Similarly for the United States, access to Australia (its premier regional security ally) and long-standing trade and security partners in Southeast Asia relies on a stable and sovereign South Pacific. A historic objective of the U.S.-Australia alliance has been to prevent the rise of a strategic military competitor in the South Pacific.

Are Yemen’s Houthis the Future of War?


Taking a page from T.E. Lawrence and excelling at primitive drone technology, these 'ragtag' insurgents are besting major powers in Yemen.

If you want to see the future of war, look closely at the fighting in Yemen. 

There, the Houthis, a rebel group based in the country’s northwest, have fought the lavishly funded and equipped militaries of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to a standstill. They have even proven capable of launching attacks deep inside Saudi Arabia. How did this poor, lightly equipped and armed rebel group do it? And what does it mean for the United States, which continues to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in complex, costly, and vulnerable weapons systems? 

First, the Houthis have grasped the algebra of insurgency. In an article penned in 1920, T.E. Lawrence argued that insurgents would be victorious if they understood and applied a set of “algebraical factors.” He listed these as mobility, force security, and respect for the populace. The Houthis have refined and applied all three to varying degrees over the last decade. 

The Houthi forces are small and highly mobile, and this, combined with Yemen’s mountainous terrain, provides them with force security. Most critically, they and their allies have respected the local populace by providing—at least relative to southern Yemen—high levels of security and predictability. 

Defining and Understanding the Next Generation of Salafi-Jihadis

PDF file 0.2 MB 

As the first members of Generation Z, or Gen Z (those born between 1997 and 2012), enter adulthood, how might Salafi-jihadism manifest differently in Gen Z than in previous generations? How will the political upheavals of the Middle East, socioeconomic trends throughout the Muslim world, and rising digital connectivity affect susceptibility to radicalization in Gen Z?

In this Perspective, the authors explore the unique characteristics and expected drivers of Salafi-jihadism in Gen Z, elucidate potential threats and challenges from the next generation of Salafi-jihadis, and put forward recommendations for counter violent extremism programming to address the future threat. A review of the literature suggests that many of the overarching factors that drove past generations of Salafi-jihadis will remain salient in the coming generational cohort, although the manifestations of these factors will vary across localities. However, Gen Z's unprecedented familiarity with and connection to the internet and modern technology differentiate these members from previous Salafi-jihadis and portend an adaptive, tech-savvy future terrorist threat.

Return and Expand?

PDF file 1.2 MB 

With the end of its territorial caliphate, the Islamic State will almost certainly attempt a comeback. Such efforts will require money. The authors examine the group's history as an insurgency and a self-styled caliphate, drawing from the literature, the group's documents, and interviews with individuals who lived under the caliphate, with a focus on how the group has financed itself. The Islamic State has prided itself on drawing from local funding sources rather than external donations. As a territorial caliphate, it could openly levy taxes and fees and sell oil from fields it controlled to cover its expenses. Now that it can no longer rely on such sources, the group will go with activities that it has used successfully in the past, as an insurgency. Criminal activities will prove useful, with its members seeking to extort, kidnap, steal, smuggle, and traffic to obtain the money they need to finance the group's activities. On top of this, the Islamic State likely has detailed information on the population it once ruled, and it appears to have sizable assets in reserve. As an insurgency, rather than a territorial government, its expenses are far lower than they were at the peak of its power. Accordingly, the United States will need to stay involved with counter–Islamic State activities across several lines of effort, including counterfinance and potentially including military action.

The G7 and the Future of Multilateralism

The Group of Seven (G7) is an informal bloc of industrialized democracies—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States—that meets annually to discuss issues such as global economic governance, international security, and energy policy. Proponents say the forum’s small and relatively homogenous membership promotes collective decision-making, but critics note that it often lacks follow-through and excludes important emerging powers.

Russia belonged to the forum from 1998 through 2014, when the bloc was known as the Group of Eight (G8), but was suspended following its annexation of Crimea. The G7’s future has been challenged by continued tensions with Russia, disagreements over trade and climate policies, and the larger Group of Twenty’s (G20) rise as an alternative forum. Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald J. Trump has deepened divisions within the bloc, raising questions over cooperation on various policies.

Biarritz was an empty charade. The G7 is a relic of a bygone age

Simon Tisdall
Source Link

The G7 summit in Biarritz, now thankfully concluded, told us a lot about the world we live in. Unfortunately, very little of it was useful or vaguely hopeful. As the presidents and premiers of the world’s wealthiest countries posed for back-slapping group photos, and their partners sampled croissants at a charming “traditional Basque bakery”, fierce fires raged untended and unquenched across the international landscape – not to mention in the Amazon rainforest. It was a low-yield meeting whose main achievement was avoiding a repeat of last year’s bust-up.

It was as though these summiteers, conflabbing while the world burned, belonged to a different, distant era when the US president, for example, was a figure commanding instant respect; when multilateral diplomacy worked; when the postwar internationalist vision was not obscured by nationalist demagoguery; when, if the western democracies decided to do something together, it actually had a good chance of getting done. But those times have passed.

The French Are Finally Doing Better Than the Germans

Ferdinando Giugliano

After a very tough 2018 for President Emmanuel Macron, France, the second-largest economy in the monetary union, is faring much better than most experts would have assumed. Its economic model – less reliant on exports than Germany – is proving more resilient to the dangers of a U.S.-inspired trade war. At the same time, the government’s decision to embark on some fiscal stimulus at the end of last year to stave off the revolt from the “yellow vests” has proven to be lucky. It provided support just as the European economy was about to slow.

French gross domestic product expanded by 0.2% in the three months to June. While that was slightly less than expected, it was in line with the euro zone as a whole and was better than Italy and Germany. Indicators for the third quarter also appear stronger than elsewhere. In July and August, France’s manufacturing PMI – a barometer of industrial activity – was more robust than in Germany and the currency union overall. In services it was roughly in line. The European Commission expects French output to expand by 1.3% this year, in contrast with 0.5% in Germany and 0.1% in Italy.

As Challenges Mount, Can Europe Correct Its Course?

The liberal European order that emerged after World War II and spread after the collapse of the Soviet Union is now under attack from both within and without. The European Union—the ultimate expression of the European project—has become a convenient punching bag for opportunistic politicians in many of its member countries, as anti-EU sentiment has become part of the broader populist platform of protectionism and opposition to immigration. The EU still managed to withstand its latest challenge when the gains made by populist parties in recent European Parliamentary elections fell short of expectations. 

Nevertheless, Britain’s withdrawal from the union, known as Brexit, continues to loom over the grouping, and there is no way of knowing whether the populist wave has crested. Illiberal governments hold power in Hungary and Poland, and a far-right party was part of a coalition government in Austria until its recent collapse. Centrist leaders seem unable to come up with a response to immigration that doesn’t alienate more voters than it unites. 

Even as leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel try to fend off challenges from right-wing opposition parties at home, they are also seeking to salvage major international initiatives, including the Paris climate agreement, as the United States under President Donald Trump questions its global role. 

New Study: China Would Beat US Military in Pacific

by Dave DeCamp

The United States Studies Centre (USSC), a research center based at the University of Sydney in Australia, released a study titled, "Averting Crisis: American Strategy, Military Spending and Collective Defence in the Indo-Pacific." The study makes the argument that the US would not be able to defeat China in a military confrontation in the Indo-Pacific.

The USSC is funded by the Australian government, over the past five years one percent of their budget came from the US government and eight percent came from "US-based foundations, companies or individuals."

The three researchers whose names are on the study are part of the USSC’s Foreign Policy and Defence program. The program lists its partners as the Australian government, The US defense company Northrop Grumman, the French defense company Thales and the US State Department.

The study says the US is disadvantaged in the region because of, "ongoing wars in the Middle East, budget austerity, underinvestment in advanced military capabilities and the scale of America’s liberal order-building agenda."


THE US AND China won’t be the only ones affected in the trade war raging between the two countries. As companies scramble to find ways around the ever-increasing tariffs that the world’s two largest economies impose on each other’s goods, other countries are being drawn into a conflict that might have no winners.

The world could only watch as the latest developments played out online heading into the weekend. “Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing our companies HOME and making your products in the USA,” President Trump tweeted Friday in response to Chinese president Xi Jinping's threat to impose tariffs on $75 billion worth of US goods. Speaking to reporters at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France Sunday, Trump claimed that he could use emergency powers to force private companies to relocate out of China, but said he has no current plans to do so.

However dubious Trump's claims are, many companies based both in the US and abroad already are looking for alternatives to China due to the trade war. Plenty of countries offer attractive options—although, it seems, not so much the US.

A Defining Moment for Trump’s Foreign Policy


A nation that itself broke free from colonial control has, under Trump, struggled to come up with a clear, consistent position on a massive demonstration from people in Hong Kong chafing at Chinese rule.

It seems about as black-and-white a situation as an American president can face in this messy world of ours: hundreds of thousands of largely peaceful protesters—at points as much as a quarter of Hong Kong’s entire population—spilling into the streets of the former British colony to demand greater democracy and resist China’s creeping control over the semiautonomous region.

All the more so for this particular American president, who for nearly a decadehas styled himself as the man who will finally stand up to China. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, he looked toward the heavens and suggested he was put on this Earth to challenge Beijing’s economic dealings. “I am the chosen one,” he said. “Somebody had to do it. So I’m taking on China. I’m taking on China on trade.” His administration has identified the struggle between free societies and authoritarian powers like China as the “central challenge to U.S. prosperity and security.” This summer, that struggle has come right up to China’s southern coast, in the beating heart of Asia.

As a senior Trump-administration official, who, like some others contacted for this article, spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to candidly discuss the topic, told us this week, “Hong Kong is a bellwether for China’s ability and intention to color the world in a more authoritarian hue.”

The Amazon Fires Reveal the Dysfunction of the Global Community


The case for territorial incursion in the Amazon is far stronger than the justifications for most war.

When Jair Bolosonaro won Brazil’s presidential election last year, having run on a platform of deforestation, David Wallace-Wells asked, “How much damage can one person do to the planet?” Bolsonaro didn’t pour lighter fluid to ignite the flames now ravishing the Amazon, but with his policies and rhetoric, he might as well have. The destruction he inspired—and allowed to rage with his days of stubborn unwillingness to douse the flames—has placed the planet at a hinge moment in its ecological history. Unfortunately, the planet doesn’t have a clue about how it should respond.

In part, the problem is that so much of the world is now governed by leaders who share Bolsonaro’s sensibility. Even before Bolsonaro presided over the incineration of the world’s storehouse of oxygen, he led a dubious regime. His path to power began with the corrupt impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, followed by the arrest of his higher-polling electoral rival.

In part, the problem is the dismal state of international institutions, which haven’t been so tattered since World War II. In the face of global critics begging Bolsonaro to stop the destruction of the Amazon, he shouts about the threats to Brazil’s sovereignty. For that complaint to land, he would need democratic legitimacy, and this revanchist has none; yet those critics do nothing more than sputter inconsequential rage.

Greenland Is the Center of the World

By Laurie Garrett

The Arctic island offers a harrowing reminder of the environmental damage, and political dangers, already imposed by climate change.

A Greenland ice melt lake atop the sheet, seen from 5,000 feet above, in August. Across Greenland’s massive ice sheet, blue pools of melted water, forming icy lakes, dot the landscape as far as the eye can see. Laurie Garrett for Foreign Policy

NUUK, Greenland—U.S. President Donald Trump’s open interest in purchasing Greenland was almost universally acknowledged as undiplomatic and “absurd,” to cite Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. But the kerfuffle has brought long overdue attention to the Arctic island that’s roughly half size of Western Europe (more than 836,000 square miles), 80 percent covered in a layer of ice that is up to 2 miles thick, and enveloped in frigid darkness for about six months every year.

Although Greenland is unassuming, it has quietly moved ever closer to the center of geopolitics. Trump probably didn’t know or particularly care about the island’s status as a leading indicator and object of climate change. But the American people should pay close attention. It’s not enough to merely laugh at Trump’s audacity. His advisors were likely aware of China’s and Russia’s growing assertiveness in the region and the way its shipping lanes and mineral deposits are becoming more accessible through global warming. The melting of the Arctic is being treated by many countries as an opportunity—and by the region’s indigenous peoples as an existential risk.

Intelligence Consolidation Looms for the U.S. Military

U.S. intelligence must become more integrated and agile to address both growing threats and emerging technologies, according to a former defense intelligence official. This will require new approaches to leadership for integrating the community amid burgeoning capabilities and missions, says Lt. Gen. Robert W. Noonan Jr., USA (Ret.), former head of Army intelligence and current chair of the AFCEA Intelligence Committee. He adds that the biggest challenge for defense intelligence may be to leverage all of the U.S. intelligence community’s capabilities.

The U.S. Intelligence Strategy released earlier this year outlines seven mission objective areas. The first three encompass strategic intelligence for executive-level decision makers, anticipatory intelligence to predict events, and current operations intelligence. The latter includes support for combat or missions short of war, Gen. Noonan says.

Over the past 25 years, the U.S. intelligence system has become a prolific collector of data, Gen. Noonan states. Moving that data in a useful form to the right people is not a matter of moving all of it, he notes, adding that technology is the key to maintaining control over this information.

How to Prepare for Gray-Zone Competition

by Wallace C. Gregson

The power of the air and sea threat means that we can no longer allow forces on the ground to await the arrival of the enemy. Battles will not be sequential.

“Under present-day U.S. posture in the region, most American and allied bases and forward-deployed ships, troops and aircraft would struggle to survive a PLA salvo attack, and would be initially forced to focus on damage limitation rather than blunting the thrust of a Chinese offensive.”

This rather ominous-sounding assertion from the newly released Averting Crisis study is not a new revelation. It has been the normal state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula from 1950, as well as a compelling state of affairs in Europe and other places during the Cold War. It is a new threat to Japan, where we are still deployed and organized much as we were during the Korean conflict. The fighting then was on the peninsula, and Japan was a sanctuary. Since the end of the Cold War we’ve become very comfortable with the luxury of bases as sanctuaries, complete with Baskin Robbins thirty-one flavors and weekly surf-and-turf dinners.

Infographic Of The Day: Comparing 3 Generations Of Wireless Technology

Wireless technology has evolved rapidly since the turn of the century. From voice-only 2G capabilities and internet-enabled 3G, today's ecosystem of wireless activity is founded on the reliable connection of 4G. Fifth-generation wireless network technology, better known as 5G, is now being rolled out in major cities worldwide. By 2024, an estimated 1.5 billion mobile users - which account for 40% of current global activity - will be using 5G wireless networks. Today's infographic highlights three generations of wireless technology in the 21st century, and the differences between 3G, 4G, and 5G networks.