23 September 2019

Afghan president sees his chance after collapse of U.S.-Taliban talks

Hamid Shalizi

FILE PHOTO: Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani gestures during his election campaign rally in Kabul, Afghanistan September 13, 2019. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani/File Photo

What he read in the draft outlining the now collapsed deal left Ghani and his officials - who were shut out of the talks by the Taliban refusal to negotiate with what they considered an illegitimate “puppet” regime - badly shaken and resentful, said a senior Kabul official close to the Afghan leader.

“Doesn’t this look like surrender to the Taliban?” Ghani asked Zalmay Khalilzad, the veteran Afghan-born diplomat who led negotiations for Washington, at a meeting the two held immediately afterwards, according to the source who was present.

The Islamist militant group that ruled Afghanistan for five years has killed thousands of Afghan soldiers and civilians since it was toppled by U.S.-led forces in 2001, and the attacks have continued throughout its negotiations with Washington.

In response to Ghani’s doubts, the Afghan official said Khalilzad replied: “This is the best deal we will ever have”.

Al Qaeda Is Ready to Attack You Again

Colin P. Clarke and Charles Lister

Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front fighters carry weapons on the back of pick-up trucks in Arsal, eastern Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, December 1, 2015

Eighteen years have passed since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and al Qaeda is worse for the wear. The terrorist organization looks remarkably different today than the group that killed thousands of U.S. citizens on American soil. Intensive counterterrorism pressure in Afghanistan and Pakistan has left behind an aging and increasingly disconnected central leadership. The emergence of the Islamic State as a peer competitor, meanwhile, has left al Qaeda with a brand that, at times, has struggled to compete for global jihadist primacy.

With the group's leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in bad health and isolated, most likely somewhere in Pakistan, and Hamza bin Laden, who may have been next in line, recently reported killed, al Qaeda's most dedicated members seem to understand that its best chance to remain relevant is through its ongoing presence in Syria. To capitalize on the opportunities that the Syrian civil war has presented to al Qaeda, the group began moving significant assets from Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Levant in September 2014. This shift in the center of the group's gravity constitutes a major change and one with implications still not fully understood by counterterrorism officials worldwide. After two turbulent decades following its most spectacular mission, al Qaeda has settled down and is again intensely focused on attacking the West.

Abu Dhabi dispatch: The great Sino-US decoupling

by Frederick Kempe

The most knowing delegates at this year’s World Energy Congress continued to worry about the US-Chinese trade war.

It has slowed growth and placed the biggest drag on oil prices.

At the same time, however, they were shifting focus to the more momentous and generational event of the decoupling of the world’s two weightiest economies.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – If one strains hard enough to listen in the humid heat of this oil-rich kingdom, one can hear the rumblings of the most profound event for global energy markets and the world economy, not only for this year but perhaps for this era:

It is the decoupling of the world’s two weightiest economies, that of China and the United States. The process seems as inescapable as its extent and global impact remains incalculable.

Taiwan’s Defense Strategy Doesn’t Make Military Sense

By Tanner Greer 

Taiwan is approaching an ominous deadline. For decades, the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party have declared that China’s “great national rejuvenation” must be accomplished by the year 2049. National rejuvenation, the party insists, includes a Taiwan governed by the same powers and principles that now reign across the Taiwan Strait. Beijing would prefer to accomplish this through the free assent of the Taiwanese people. If they do not give it, party leadership has made clear that it is willing to decide the matter with military force.

For many years, this seemed like an empty threat. Traditionally, Taiwan offset Chinese manpower with superior technology and training. But over the last 15 years, the Chinese military has implemented the most ambitious modernization program the world has seen since the 1930s. China’s navy has, in the words of one U.S. defense analyst, “metamorphosized from a coastal-defense force composed of largely obsolescent Soviet-era technologies into a modern naval service” with its own carrier wings, guided missile destroyers, and amphibious transport capacity needed to storm enemy beaches. Its air force now has more fourth-generation fighter jets than Taiwan has military aircraft. And its specialized missile force has more than 1,000 short-range ballistic missiles to lob at Taiwanese runways, command centers, and fuel depots in the first hours of a war. Chinese naval squadrons and fighter aircraft now boldly circle Taiwan, while Taiwanese intelligence and security systems are the targets of an estimated 10,000 cyberattacks per month. For the first time since the 1950s, China’s threats to invade Taiwan are frighteningly credible. The countdown to 2049 is ticking.

Are Hong Kong’s Protests Dying Down?

By James Palmer

Good afternoon, and welcome to Foreign Policy’s China Brief. The highlights this week: What the ongoing protests mean for Hong Kong’s future, questions loom over Chinese influence in Australia, and the government releases shaky figures for Chinese industry.

Hong Kong’s Protests Mark 100 Days With an Uncertain Future Ahead

After more than 100 days of protest, turnout for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy demonstrations appears to be declining, at least for the moment. That is in part a result of systematic closures of the city’s subway system to restrict protest numbers and in part a natural drop after months of mobilization. Anger, especially toward the police, remains entrenched: There have been persistent rumors of cover-ups of killings by police.

The besieged chief executive, Carrie Lam, will next week launch a new “Dialogue Office” to help resolve tensions between the government and protesters, a move met with skepticism from democracy activists. And as Ryan Manuel writes for Foreign Policy, negotiations between protesters and the authorities have not been helped by the fact that both sides are essentially leaderless.

No way back. Even if the protests continue to dim, the demonstrators’ sentiment remains: Young Hong Kongers still don’t see themselves as Chinese, and they don’t see their own government as representative. Lam hasn’t made a commitment to hold the police accountable for their actions. And Beijing continues to try to force mainland practices onto Hong Kong before 2047, when the “one country, two systems” arrangement expires. The conditions are there for another eruption of protest.

China and the world: Inside the dynamics of a changing relationship

The relationship between China and the world now is changing. The McKinsey Global Institute’s (MGI) new China-World Exposure Index shows that the world’s relative exposure to China has increased, while China’s to the world has fallen. Accompanying this shifting exposure are the signs of stresses in the relationship. Trade disputes are making daily headlines, new rules are emerging to evaluate technology flows, protectionism is on the rise, and geopolitical tensions are becoming more heated. The way ahead is uncertain. Could we be at peak integration between China and the world after the years of deepening ties? Conversely, what opportunities could more engagement offer? What value could be at stake for all players?

Why the Hong Kong economy remains resilient amid unrest


For decades, Hong Kong has thrived with its unique status, facilitating investment and trade between Asia and the West. Its airport, seaport, and railways link goods, services, and travelers to the Asia Pacific region for trade and commerce, with rising connectivity with mainland China. While Chinese cities are investing heavily in hard infrastructure to rival Hong Kong, what is truly irreplaceable about Hong Kong is its special status, or “one country two systems,” that puts it in a unique position compared to the tightly controlled Chinese economic and financial system that includes import duties, value added taxes, capital controls, and restrained labor mobility.

Behind capital market might of Hong Kong is its unique “soft infrastructure” that China has relied on to deal with the economic shortcomings of the mainland, especially access to international capital markets. Hong Kong is an important springboard for foreign direct investment, as 64 percent of inward foreign direct investment to the mainland comes from Hong Kong and 65 percent of outward foreign direct investment was also channeled through Hong Kong between 2010 and 2018. Hong Kong has long been the largest offshore center for China and holds a special access to Chinese equity and fixed income markets through stock and bond connections. Hong Kong took up 73 percent of mainland companies’ initial public offerings overseas from 2010 to 2018.

Analyzing Toxic “Fake News”: Are Key Concepts Promulgated by Master Propagandists of the Past Still in Practice Today?

William Darley

We know that it is not at all necessary to have the sympathy of a majority of the people in order to rule them. The right organization can turn the trick.

—Roger Trinquier

Because war is, as Clausewitz famously quipped, politics (policy) by other means, the dynamics of war-related political dispute conducted through public information channels today should be of keen interest to members of the military since such communications so heavily influence the operational environment in which they now must operate.1 As a result, it is exceedingly important that military members gain greater sophistication in their understanding of the dynamics governing public information affecting this environment by increasing their ability to critically analyze the more salient of assumptions about human nature that some have contended underlie effective information strategies.2

The importance of gaining a measure of sophistication of understanding on the use of propaganda is highlighted in a speech that was given recently before the Russian Academy of Science by Russian General of the Army Valery Gerasimov, who asserted that two of the most important features of modern warfare were first, that modern wars and the equivalent of wars will be fought without being declared (some of which should be regarded as already ongoing); and second, that such conflicts will be largely waged by means other than the use of kinetic destructive military weapons. He went on to specify that among the most important of those “other means” employed would be so-called information warfare (of which propaganda is a significant part).3

This Is the Moment That Decides the Future of the Middle East

Source Link

Since the end of World War II, three core interests have shaped U.S. Middle East policy: ensuring the free flow of energy resources from the region, helping to maintain Israeli security, and making sure no state or group of states can challenge American power in a way that would put the other two interests at risk. In other words, aside from the strategic, historical, moral, and political reasons for the “special” U.S.-Israel relationship, oil is the reason why the United States is in the Middle East at all.

That’s why this moment—the aftermath of an attack on Saudi Arabia’s most significant crude-oil processing facilities—is so important. How the Trump administration responds will indicate whether U.S. elites still consider energy resources a core national interest and whether the United States truly is on its way out of the Middle East entirely, as so many in the region suspect.

When the story broke on Saturday morning that Saudi Arabia’s processing facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais were attacked and that the likely culprits were Houthis, the debate among foreign-policy experts quickly became about Saudi Arabia’s culpability for suffering in Yemen, how much influence Iran has with the Houthis, and whom the Saudis were actually fighting. These questions only intensified after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo specifically accused Iran of the attacks. Speculation was that Pompeo—an Iran hawk—was being too cute by half, directly blaming the Iranians though Tehran was likely only indirectly responsible. This is not an unreasonable position, given Iran’s long history of avoiding direct confrontation in favor of supplying proxies with money, technology, and weapons to do their dirty work around the region. Others agreed with Pompeo that the Iranian role was clear, a position that grew stronger as reports surfaced that cruise missiles were used in the attacks. It was a robust, if not always edifying discussion. It also does not really matter.

The Attack on the Saudi Oil Facilities: A New Level of Iranian Audacity

Yoel Guzansky, Eldad Shavit, Sima Shine
Source Link

The September 14 attack on the oil facilities in Saudi Arabia - including Abqaiq, which is considered the largest of its kind in the world - is the most serious kinetic attack on oil facilities in the Gulf since the 1991 Gulf War, in terms of damage and economic significance. This incident goes far beyond the bounds of the war in Yemen, particularly if it is proven beyond any doubt that the attack was launched from Iranian territory. Under these circumstances, it is evident that even if Iran is not interested in a broad deterioration vis-à-vis the United States, it is prepared to take new and more daring risks, based in part on the assessment that President Trump, as well as the Saudis and other Gulf states, is not interested in severe escalation. The reactions from both the Saudis and the US will be determined by several converging interests, some of which are contradictory. On the one hand, Riyadh and Washington have an interest in punishing and deterring Iran. On the other hand, they are not interested in running the risk of dragging the entire region into an all-out war, particularly after Saudi vulnerability has been brought into sharper relief. One way or another, it is likely that pressure on both leaderships to respond will grow. From Israel’s standpoint, given its continued attacks in Syria and Iraq, and notwithstanding the difference in the nature of the theaters, Iran’s moves in Saudi Arabia carry an indirect yet clear message about its advanced military capabilities, even from outside Iranian territory. They are also a possible signal in the event of a military deterioration between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

US says attack on Saudi oil site was an Iranian ‘act of war’


RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday called the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations an “act of war” against the kingdom by Iran, as the Saudis displayed missile and drone wreckage and cited other evidence they said shows the raid was “unquestionably sponsored by Iran.”

Iran, which has denied involvement in the attack, warned the U.S. it will retaliate immediately if it is targeted.

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, said he is moving to increase financial sanctions on Tehran over the attack. He was noncommittal on whether he would order U.S. military retaliation.

At a news conference, Saudi military spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki said the attack Saturday that did heavy damage to the heart of the Saudi oil industry was “launched from the north and was unquestionably sponsored by Iran.” Yemen is south of Saudi Arabia, while Iran and Iraq lie to the north.

Al-Malki stopped short of accusing Iran of actually firing the weapons itself or launching them from Iranian territory.

Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in response to the Saudi-led war in Yemen that has killed tens of thousands of people.

Why would Iran raise the stakes by attacking Saudi Arabia?

By Kasra Naji

Saudi Arabia says it has evidence showing Iran sponsored Saturday's drone and missile attacks on two of its oil facilities, and called on the international community to take action. The question is whether there could be a war.

The scale of the attacks means that Saudi Arabia cannot overlook what happened, and its decision to identify Iran as the culprit compels the kingdom to respond.

The Saudis will probably wait until a team of independent experts from the United Nations has completed an investigation into the incident.

Although the experts are likely to come to the same conclusions - namely, that the attacks could not have been carried out without Iranian material support and guidance - the process will give the Saudis time to consider their options.

Attacks on Saudi Arabia Spell Bad News for the U.S. Military

Mitchell Prothero

Asthe security situation in the Persian Gulf continues to deteriorate in the aftermath of Sunday’s cruise missile attacks on Saudi oil facilities, the Trump administration finds itself in an increasingly dire situation — and its apparently dysfunctional relationship with both Iran and Saudi Arabia appears to be to blame.

The attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities early Sunday morning, apparently carried out by Iran and its regional allies, highlights the terrible strategic position faced by the Trump administration in confronting Iran militarily in its own neighborhood.

Iran denies launching the attacks, pointing out that the Houthi militants in Yemen have claimed ownership of the strike. Yet Iran and the Houthi are close allies, and the weapons appear to have been supplied by Iran. Assuming Tehran is indeed behind the strike, which knocked about 5% of the world’s oil production offline for a yet undetermined amount of time, it confirmed what military experts have long suspected: Despite billions in U.S. arms sales and training arrangements, the Saudi military is as incapable of protecting its own oil infrastructure as it is defeating the Iran-backed Houthi militants that control vast swaths of Yemen. And for the U.S., that means the billions of dollars in arms sales to Saudi Arabia have yet to produce a military that can stand on its own.

Iran and its allies have made a bold statement with the attack, conducted with cheap drones and knock-off Chinese cruise missiles: Any direct military conflict between Iran and the U.S. or its allies in the Persian Gulf would come at an enormous economic cost to the worldwide economy.

Saudi Oil Infrastructure Offers a Target-Rich Environment for Iran

Iran has recently focused on building up its missile capabilities, putting Saudi Arabia's critical infrastructure within its reach.

Saudi air defenses have significant vulnerabilities to missile and air attacks by Iran, whether launched directly from Iran or via Iraq or Yemen.

The Saudi oil and gas sector has numerous chokepoints Iran can target, and Iran could decide to expand its target set beyond the petroleum sector.

For years Iran has threatened that if it were no longer able to export oil because of U.S. sanctions, then no one else would be able to either. The Sept. 14 attacks on Saudi Arabian Oil Co.'s Abqaiq and Khurais oil processing complexes and two earlier attacks on the Saudi oil sector gave life to longstanding fears of Iranian attacks on Saudi critical infrastructure. Iran has clearly made the strategic decision to escalate its attacks against oil industry targets in the region in response to U.S. sanctions pressure and Washington's departure from the Iranian nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Putin Is Trolling the United States in the Persian Gulf

By Dimitar Bechev

Think what you will about Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the man does have a wry sense of humor. Trolling has become one of his trademarks. If Saudi Arabia wants to protect itself, he hinted on Sept. 16, it should make a wise decision and follow Iran and Turkey, who bought Russian air-defense systems. Russia’s S-300 and S-400, he continued “are capable of defending any kind of infrastructure in Saudi Arabia from any kind of attack.” Flanked by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at a joint press conference in Ankara, Turkey, following a round of talks on Syria, Putin was poking at another friend of his, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “What should the Saudis buy,” Rouhani asked, laughing, “S-300 or S-400?” Putin’s retort was quick: “Let them choose.”

Russia’s response to the recent drone attack on Saudi Aramco oil facilities speaks volumes about its place in the Middle East. Had the crisis occurred several years ago, few would have cared what Moscow thought about Gulf affairs. But now, thanks to its military intervention in Syria, Russia is seen as a power broker. And if the Russian president had said that Russia is “locked and loaded” to respond to Iran’s apparent aggression in Saudi Arabia last weekend, as U.S. President Donald Trump did, he would probably mean it.

Western COIN: The Rise of “Soft” Counterinsurgency Doctrine

Brandon Brooks

Since the middle of the 20th century, intrastate conflict has become the prevailing form of warfare worldwide.[1] Though often lacking in manpower and physical resources, insurgents have exhibited an impressive degree of skill and innovation, frustrating their opponents’ efforts to infiltrate the organization and disrupt its activities. This paper examines the major shifts in irregular warfare, defined here in accordance with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Operating Concept as “a violent struggle among state and non-state actors for legitimacy and influence over [a designated] population.”[2] While there have been several noteworthy evolutions in the ways in which insurgents wage war, this paper argues that the most consequential developments in irregular warfare have occurred on the state-side, reasoning that Western democracies’ embrace of “soft” COIN approaches has spread worldwide.[3]

Much of the existing literature on the evolution of irregular warfare has investigated historical trends in the ways insurgencies operate. Scholars, such as Bruce Hoffman, Neville Bolt, John Mackinlay, and Steve Metz analyze insurgents’ embrace of mass media – particularly broadcast news and the internet – arguing that contemporary armed movements are less interested in achieving tangible military results than engaging in dramatic acts of violence intended to mobilize a designated populace.[4] Laia Barcells, Sthathis Kalyvas, Seth Jones, and Patrick Johnston examine insurgents’ military strategy, Barcells and Kalyvas observing a steady increase in the use of guerrilla warfare over the course of the Cold War and following the September 11th attacks.[5] Antoine Bousquet, Mark Duffield, and David Kilcullen, on the other hand, focus on the organization of insurgent movements, noting that Al-Qaeda and its affiliates have embraced a decentralized, networked structure, which allows them to quickly adapt to their operational environment and establish links with like-minded groups.[6]

The Return of Fiscal Policy

LONDON – As we enter the last quarter of 2019 (and of the decade), cyclical indicators point to a slowing world economy amid wide-ranging structural challenges. There are plenty of issues to keep one up at night, be it climate change, antimicrobial resistance (AMR), societal aging, strained pension and health systems, massive debt levels, and an ongoing trade war.

But as the old adage goes, one should never let a crisis go to waste. Among the countries feeling the worst effects of the global trade tensions is Germany, where policymakers finally are waking up to the glaringly obvious need for productivity-enhancing, investment-based fiscal stimulus. Similarly, beneath all the chaos caused by Brexit, the United Kingdom is also looking at its fiscal-stimulus options. So, too, is China, as it searches for measures to reduce its vulnerability to disrupted trade and supply chains.

Policymakers around the world are coming to realize that it is neither wise nor feasible to rely constantly on central banks for economic-policy support. In today’s environment of low – and in some cases negative – interest rates, the case for shifting the burden from monetary to fiscal policy is more apparent.

The Economic Consequences of Automation


LONDON – While Brexit captures the headlines in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, the silent march of automation continues. Most economists view this trend favorably: technology, they say, may destroy jobs in the short run, but it creates new and better jobs in the longer term.

The destruction of jobs is clear and direct: a firm automates a conveyor belt, supermarket checkout, or delivery system, keeps one-tenth of the workforce as supervisors, and fires the rest. But what happens after that is far less obvious.

The standard economic argument is that workers affected by automation will initially lose their jobs, but the population as a whole will subsequently be compensated. For example, the Nobel laureate economist Christopher Pissarides and Jacques Bughin of the McKinsey Global Institute argue that higher productivity resulting from automation “implies faster economic growth, more consumer spending, increased labor demand, and thus greater job creation.”

Competition Without Catastrophe

By Kurt M. Campbell and Jake Sullivan

The United States is in the midst of the most consequential rethinking of its foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. Although Washington remains bitterly divided on most issues, there is a growing consensus that the era of engagement with China has come to an unceremonious close. The debate now is over what comes next.

Like many debates throughout the history of U.S. foreign policy, this one has elements of both productive innovation and destructive demagoguery. Most observers can agree that, as the Trump administration’s National Security Strategy put it in 2018, “strategic competition” should animate the United States’ approach to Beijing going forward. But foreign policy frameworks beginning with the word “strategic” often raise more questions than they answer. “Strategic patience” reflects uncertainty about what to do and when. “Strategic ambiguity” reflects uncertainty about what to signal. And in this case, “strategic competition” reflects uncertainty about what that competition is over and what it means to win.

The American Working Man Still Isn’t Working

By Jason Furman

The United States is in the midst of its longest-ever economic recovery. It has been a slow climb out of the depths of the 2008–9 financial crisis, but the upward trend is now in its 11th year. American workers have seen 107 consecutive months of job growth, more than double the previous record, and the unemployment rate will soon reach its lowest level in over 50 years. However, there is one important economic indicator that still hasn’t rebounded to pre-crisis levels: the employment rate among prime-age men—that is, men between the ages of 25 and 54.

On the eve of the recession at the end of 2007, 12.8 percent of prime-age men didn’t have jobs. Now that figure stands at 13.7 percent. The headline unemployment rate for this group has fallen—from four percent to 3.1 percent—but only because many of these men have simply given up looking for work. When they stopped actively searching for jobs, they no longer qualified as “unemployed.” Instead, the government labeled them as “out of the labor force,” a designation that lowers the unemployment rate but is no less harmful to the economy.

Interview – Costas Constantinou

Costas M. Constantinou is Professor of International Relations at the University of Cyprus, with cross-cutting interests in diplomacy, conflict, international political theory, and legal and normative aspects of international relations. His research uses conceptual and autoethnographic approaches to understand methods of engaging alterity and modes of living, relating and cohabiting. Besides Cyprus, he has conducted fieldwork in India, Nepal, Lebanon, Israel, Turkey and Kenya. His publications include States of Political Discourse: Words, Regimes, Seditions and On the Way to Diplomacy.

Where do you see the most exciting research/debates happening in your field?

In the field of diplomacy, the current exploration of issues and questions beyond state-centric and foreign policy concerns is a very exciting development. During the 20th century, the field was mostly limited to the study of foreign policy formulation and implementation, negotiation strategy and tactics, and practitioners’ guides to diplomatic procedures, rules and rituals. Nowadays, we find an abundance of cross- and multi-disciplinary studies of diplomacy that have completely changed the field. What I have in mind here is the work of political geographers, social anthropologists, critical diplomatic historians, political ecologists, science, culture and education scholars, but also of colleagues rooted in the IR discipline but open to social concerns and the insights imported from other disciplines. A lot of this work is high-level and innovative and has changed the academic landscape of diplomacy offering exploratory vistas for theorization and praxis. Purist and conservative voices still misread these developments as fashion or confusion, protesting that diplomacy has become everything and anything, that we no longer know what diplomacy is or supposed to achieve, and the like. As far I am concerned, what we have gained are new research agendas and fruitful debates on, among other topics, diplomatic assemblage, practice theory, everyday diplomacy, informal diplomacy, public diplomacy, diplomatic ethics, science diplomacy, digital diplomacy, visual diplomacy, and diplomacy and the arts. It is a fantastic period to conduct research in diplomatic studies.

The future of Asia: Asian flows and networks are defining the next phase of globalization

Asia is increasingly the center of the world economy. By 2040, the region could account for more than half of global GDP and about 40 percent of global consumption. Global cross-border flows are shifting towards Asia on seven of eight dimensions, and the region’s growth is becoming more broad-based and sustainable as its constituent economies increasingly integrate with each other.

This is a diverse region, but its different parts have complementary characteristics, and powerful networks are developing within Asia. Patterns of globalization are shifting, and these shifts are occurring faster in Asia than elsewhere, suggesting that more than any other region, Asia could shape the way globalization unfolds in the years to come.

This new paper builds on the McKinsey Global Institute’s research on globalization in January 2019 by examining Asia’s rise on eight dimensions incorporating 16 types of flow, looking at the increasing integration of the economies of the region, and highlighting the development of three powerful new Asian networks: industrialization, innovation, and culture and mobility, and the rising cities that are pivotal components of those networks. The paper is one of a series on the Future of Asia, a multi-phase research project that aims to decipher the many facets of Asia.

Air Force creates new information warfare organization, revamps Cyber Command teams

Mark Pomerleau

The Air Force announced Sept. 18 it will officially create a new information warfare command.

While the project has been in the works for several months, Gen. James Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, told reporters at the annual Air, Space, Cyber Conference that the decision has been finalized and Maj. Gen. Timothy Haugh has been tapped to lead the new organization, pending Senate confirmation.

Haugh was nominated for his third star Sept. 18 and was tapped to lead the new organization, which combines 24th Air Force or Air Forces Cyber and 25th Air Force. The latter is responsible for global intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Haugh, who took command of 25th Air Force less than three weeks ago, most recently led the Cyber National Mission Force at U.S. Cyber Command, which defends the nation against malicious cyberattacks abroad. He also co-led Cyber Command’s Russia Small Group, which helped thwart potential election interference in the 2018 mid-term elections.

“Tim brings unique experience to us as both an intel professional and then he’s been working for Gen. [Paul] Nakasone as one of his task force commanders in USCYBERCOM," Holmes said.

The new command will be known as 16th Air Force and provide cyber, electromagnetic spectrum operations, ISR and information operations to commanders. It will also have a director that oversees an operations center. It will activate upon Haugh’s confirmation.

In Countering a Creative Security Threat, Anticipation Is Key

Scott Stewart

Because criminals, militants, spies and the like are ever resourceful, security personnel must overcome some of their traditional inflexibility in addressing threats to their companies.

Focusing on trends in criminal tradecraft will help departments identify and prepare for the threats they are likely to face.

Security departments can nip a potential attack in the bud if they can deny resourceful adversaries the ability to conduct surveillance at will.

The old adage "necessity is the mother of invention" is never truer than when it comes to crime. I spent most of last week in Chicago attending the annual ASIS International Global Security Exchange, chatting to colleagues old and new about the particular challenges they face. In doing so, something struck me: Whether it's criminals, militants, corporate spies or activist groups, every threat is adaptive and creative. And then the flip side of this realization also occurred to me: By nature, security people and the programs they create tend to be rigid and inflexible. After all, many security leaders come out of the military or law enforcement (or both, like me). And even those from different backgrounds tend to pick up many of the cultural traits of such institutions by working with and for people who have.

How Cyber Command can limit the reach of ISIS

Mark Pomerleau 

The U.S. military’s digital team tasked with targeting ISIS is now focused on providing agencies intelligence that will help identify specific individuals and that will limit the group’s financing.

“About 90 percent of what we do is intelligence,” Brig. Gen. Len Anderson, deputy commander of Joint Task Force-Ares, said Sept. 16.

Joint Task Force-Ares is the U.S. Cyber Command digital offensive against ISIS that worked hand-in-hand with the kinetic operations as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the global coalition tasked with ridding the group from Iraq and Syria.

Anderson explained that the task force has to be everywhere ISIS is and it needs to provide intelligence and battlefield options to military commanders as well as senior leaders who are interested in thwarting the group’s global presence.

“Now, as that physical caliphate has gone away, we’re focused on the digital caliphate, which is worldwide … that’s where JTF-Ares is going to be," Anderson said.

Considering the Whole Ecosystem in Regulating Terrorist Content and Hate Online


The last few years have seen a range of proposals to counter terrorist and extremist content online. From the European Commission’s Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech Online in 2016 and its 2018 proposed Regulation for preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online, to the introduction of the German Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) in 2017, with a similar French law likely to be implemented soon, and the UK’s Online Harms White Paper in 2019, a range of strategies have been advanced. One recurrent idea is a requirement for faster removals, supported by large fines in the event of non-compliance, and the UK’s Online Harms White Paper proposed the creation of a new independent regulatory body.

This article is going to argue that there are two crucial considerations that require greater thought when putting forth proposals. The first is the enormous variation that exists between the social media platforms, file-sharing sites and instant messaging services that are being used, in terms of their capabilities and resources, as well as their motivations to comply. The second is the large variety of services these organisations supply and the finding that the platforms and sites are interconnected yet not used homogeneously. The concluding argument will be that the whole ecosystem requires consideration in future proposals.

Self-Help in Cyberspace: A Path Forward

By Wyatt Hoffman, Ariel E. Levite

Recent years have seen sustained calls to “unleash” the private sector to more assertively combat cyber threats. The argument has gained some sympathy in Congress, where Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) recently reintroduced the Active Cyber Defense Certainty Act (ACDCA). As Bobby Chesney summarizes, the act, if passed, would amend the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) to allow private entities, under certain conditions, to engage in defensive measures that intrude into attackers’ networks for purposes of attributing, disrupting or monitoring malicious activity.

Motivating this renewed push for active defense is a growing recognition of the magnitude of the peril that cyberattacks present to the private sector, along with limits on the government’s ability to arrest its growth and bring the perpetrators to justice. As former director of the National Security Agency Gen. Michael Hayden put it, “[T]he cyber cavalry ain’t coming.” However, notwithstanding the benefits of harnessing private-sector expertise to improve cyber defense, the ACDCA is premature and of uncertain efficacy, and is potentially even risky from both domestic and international perspectives. A dual-track approach is therefore essential: The United States should prudently explore acceptable domestic parameters for the practice of private-sector “self-help” in cyberspace and engage other nations to harmonize these standards internationally. The Justice Department can lead such an approach and—by exercising prosecutorial discretion within the limits of existing law—begin to define the scope and parameters for responsible private-sector conduct in this domain.

Intel, Ethics, and Emerging Tech: Q&A with Cortney Weinbaum

Cortney Weinbaum studies intelligence and cyber policy as a senior management scientist at RAND. Her research has helped the intelligence community improve its data collection and analysis and identify emerging technologies and their impact on operations. She began her career as an intelligence officer, designing advanced sensors for intelligence gathering. She is the recipient of a General Electric Fellowship and Grant for Women in Physics & Computer Science and a Defense Intelligence Agency Humanitarian Award. Weinbaum serves on the board of directors of Carrie Simon House, a charity that provides transitional housing, life skills, and support and mentoring to young, homeless mothers in the Washington, D.C., area.

What got you interested in intelligence and national security?

I was studying physics in college, with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do for a living. And then, in the beginning of my junior year, 9/11 happened. I reached out to my university's alumni network in Washington and asked, 'What can I do?' My mentors said, 'You have a physics degree? Send in a resume.' I ended up taking a summer internship with the Defense Intelligence Agency that led to a job after college.

Fighting Shadows in the Dark

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What is cyber coercion, and how have states used cyber operations to coerce others? Based on unclassified, open-source material, the authors of this report explore how four states — Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea — have used cyber operations, and whether that use constitutes cyber coercion.

States like Russia and North Korea appear to be more likely to have used cyber operations as a coercive tool than China and Iran. The authors also find that, contrary to what coercion theory would predict, states often do not make distinct threats with unambiguous demands for changes in behavior. Rather, states use cyber operations to try to coerce their neighbors while denying responsibility, often hiding behind proxies and without issuing clear demands. Despite the low probability of success, the authors anticipate states will continue to use and may, in fact, come to employ cyber operations more often in the future to coerce. To prepare for this outcome, the United States and its allies need to work now to develop methods to discern cyber coercion as it emerges and strategies to counter it in the future.