15 October 2019

The ‘India Question’ in Afghanistan

By Avinash Paliwal 

India welcomed the cancellation of U.S.-Afghan Taliban peace talks in Doha. In an expression of support for Kabul, which was ostracized from the talks, New Delhi asserted that any future process on the issue must include “all the sections of the Afghan society including the legitimately elected government.”

On the face of it, India reiterated a long-standing position of supporting Kabul against the Pakistan-sponsored Taliban. But what makes this position interesting is the fact that India’s relations with Kabul have undergone a shift since 2014.

When the Afghan government reached out to the Taliban in 2015, India viewed Afghan president Ashraf Ghani’s desire for talks as a “tilt” toward Pakistan, antithetical to India’s strategic interests. In response, New Delhi canceled high-level bilateral and multilateral engagements with Kabul. By early 2018, though, when Ghani made a similar overture and offered talks without any preconditions, India welcomed the move and sought international support for it. India’s support for the recent cancellation of further negotiations has more to do with its concern regarding Kabul’s exclusion than an aversion to talks with the Taliban.

Transboundary Environmental Stressors on India-Pakistan Relations

by Michelle E. Miro, Miriam Elizabeth Marlier, Richard S. Girven
Source Link

What is the status of shared air and water resources and transboundary environmental management practices in India and Pakistan?

What is the potential effect of planned hydropower facilities in India on water availability in Pakistan?

How does the transboundary transport of smoke from agricultural waste burning contribute to degraded air quality in both nations?

Which existing transboundary environmental practices are heightening tensions and which could mitigate water and air quality impacts?

During War Games, an Indian Diesel Submarine Sank a U.S. Nuclear Submarine

The Indian submarine INS Sindhudhvaj (S56) allegedly “killed” USS City of Corpus Christi (SSN 705) during an exercise called Malabar that is held annually between India, Japan and the United States. According to the Indians, the submarines were assigned to track each other down in the Bay of Bengal. “The way it happens is that the Sindhudhvaj recorded the Hydrophonic Effect (HE) - simply put, underwater noise - of the nuclear powered submarine and managed to positively identify it before locking on to it. Being an exercise what did not happen was the firing,” an Indian naval officer told India Today. The Indian vessel then “sank” USS City of Corpus Christi using 533mm torpedoes.

If the Indian description of the events is correct, it would be a bright spot in an otherwise dismal record for New Delhi’s undersea force. In recent years, the woefully neglected Indian submarine fleet has suffered numerous calamities. Submarines have run aground, caught fire and even sunk due to a combination of underinvestment, negligence and corruption. Perhaps the worst incident was when INS Sindhurakshak sank when at harbor in Mumbai after a series of explosions in the forward torpedo bay, killing eighteen sailors.

What Will Xi and Modi Really Talk About?



Less formal summits, such as these, are designed to offer space for the two leaders to engage in candid conversations to develop a deeper understanding for each other, unencumbered by administrative formalities. For Modi, three broad objectives stand out.

First, he is expected to reinforce that administrative changes within the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir are an internal matter for India. On August 5, 2019, the Indian government passed a presidential order to make changes to Article 370 of the Indian constitution, a provision that gave Jammu and Kashmir special status. In the middle of August, the Chinese Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) called for a closed-door Security Council meeting to discuss the changes. This has, without a doubt, irked the Indian leadership. Chinese officials, both in Beijing and elsewhere, had been briefed in detail about the changes and were told that these changes had no effect on India’s external borders. Making sure that Xi appreciates and absorbs India’s position in full will be of paramount importance for the Indian prime minister.

Second, Xi and Modi meet at a time of shifting geopolitical realities. China-Russian ties grow stronger by the day, while there is little to cement fraying U.S.-China relations. What is increasingly clear is that the trade war between the United States and China is only a symptom of a new normal that licenses unfettered geostrategic competition. While Indian officials search for opportunities to leverage these geopolitical cracks—such as the possibility of shifting U.S. supply chains from China to India—it will be left to Modi to assess the extent to which Xi’s China is prepared to accommodate, if not accept, Indian interests and concerns. There is no better time than the present to press Xi. China is very clearly reeling from the United States’ combative methods.

What India's extraordinary growth and future can teach global leaders

If the 19th century can be characterized by the rise of industrialization and the 20th century by the expansion of the market economy and globalization, the defining characteristics of the 21st century are dramatic and pervasive transformations and a shift from unipolarity towards multipolarity.

Triggered by disruptive technological change, the onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution has led to fundamental changes in the nature and structure of the economy. With significant redistribution of the level, location and composition of output, our organizations are more global and interconnected than ever. A hastening erosion of trust in extant political frameworks and institutions is driving human societies to be more isolated and divergent. Concurrently, the ecological challenges and climate crisis have never been more existential. In a nutshell, in a fragile world order, the need for a cohesive leadership arrangement to drive positive change is conspicuous in its absence.

Belt and Road Tests China’s Image in Pakistan


When Lijian Zhao, China’s former No. 2 diplomat in Pakistan, tweeted in July to announce the completion of a 244-mile motorway from Punjab to Sindh province, he began with “Masha Allah,” or “God has willed it.” It was a striking use of language for an atheist Chinese official, especially to describe an infrastructure project.

The Chinese diplomat’s use of the everyday Arabic term mashallah was deliberately casual, aimed at endearing China to Pakistanis in a country where Beijing’s growing presence has often caused problems. Zhao, who left Pakistan in August for a position in the foreign ministry’s information department, was perhaps the most active Chinese diplomat in the country—inaugurating projects, speaking at ceremonies, and defending China’s policies. But his controversial tweets occasionally strained a relationship that may be one of the trickiest challenges for China in future decades.

In some ways, this is a problem of success. The Multan-to-Sukkur section of the Peshawar-Karachi motorway that Zhao announced represents another apparent triumph for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), seen as the flagship of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative. CPEC is the first major economic venture in Pakistan and China’s “all-weather” friendship, which for decades was focused on defense and strategic ties.

The End of Asylum

By Nanjala Nyabola

Asmall tent city is taking shape in Tapachula, on the Mexican-Guatemalan border, and its inhabitants are living proof of the systematic erosion of one of the foundational principles of the post–World War II international order. The residents are primarily refugees and migrants from African countries who fled political persecution, social upheaval, and economic uncertainty, taking one of the longest and most perilous migration routes in the world in the hope of reaching the United States. 

Until recently, most would have been granted a 21-day grace period to either normalize their residency status in Mexico or continue on to the U.S. border. But since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in May that the administration of President Donald Trump can deny asylum to anyone who has crossed a third country en route to the U.S. border, Mexico has started denying Africans free passage through its territory. And so the migrants arriving in Tapachula have nowhere to go. They are trapped between hard-line U.S. asylum policies, Mexico’s acquiescence to those policies, and a growing global backlash against anyone seeking asylum.

Infographic Of The Day: Which Goods Are Most Traded Between U.S. And China?

Trade talks between the United States and China are ongoing, with another round of talk set to launch soon. The standoff remains with just over a year to go before the 2020 presidential election. Two-thirds of voters said in a recent poll that tariffs on Chinese goods will increase prices on U.S. goods. But what are those goods, anyway? Likewise, what does the U.S. export to China?

China vs. America: Communism vs. Democracy

by Frank Li

Despite her dramatic comeback over the past few decades, China remains essentially communistic (The People's Republic of China at Age 70). In contrast, America is becoming more and more democratic (Elizabeth Warren Calls for Ending Electoral College). Yet, China has been rising rapidly, while America has been declining precipitously. Why is that? Is communist China actually better democratic America?

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1. What is communism?

Below is an excerpt from Wikipedia - Communism.

In political and social sciences, communism (from Latin communis, "common, universal")[1][2] is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money,[3][4] and the state.[5][6]

Want to prevail against China? Prioritize democracy assistance

Patrick W. Quirk and David Shullman

Supporting democracy abroad is essential to winning U.S. strategic competition with China, argue Patrick Quirk and David Shullman. This piece originally appeared in The Hill.

The United States is reshaping how it uses foreign aid in order to compete with China. The executive branch and Congress are exploring efforts — some controversial and still few on details — to better leverage foreign aid as a tool to prevail in an era of great power competition.

This competition is one over resources, influence and nothing short of the world order’s future contours — or, as the 2017 National Security Strategy aptly proclaims: “between those who value human dignity and freedom and those who oppress individuals and enforce uniformity.”

The strength of democracy in places where the United States and China are competing will be a key determinant of the competition’s result. Authoritarian countries are more vulnerable to Beijing’s coercion or cooptation because their regimes are less constrained by independent media, free elections, and other institutional checks that would otherwise control against such subversion. The numbers are not in America’s favor. Over the last decade, democracy has declined globally while the ranks of authoritarian states have swelled.

Latin America and China: Reflections on the 70th Anniversary of the PRC


October 2019 is the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the People´s Republic of China (PRC). The date is symbolic for several reasons: the regime surpassed the late Soviet Union (which lasted for 69 years) and Beijing celebrated with a display of military power and unity among rising international tensions with the United States and domestic unrest due to protests in Hong Kong. It is also an important watershed for Latin America.

Chinese trade and investment are now key for the economic recovery of the region, which is suffering the impacts of a decade of recessions and political crisis. However, China is increasingly controversial in Latin America. There are nationalistic reactions to its growing influence and diplomatic concerns about the Sino-American trade war and its impacts in the region.

Brazil is the most important case study. In November 2018, Jair Bolsonaro became the first president since the establishment of ties with the PRC in 1974 to have a hostile view of Beijing. He wants a special relationship with Donald Trump and the United States. How will that play out?

Latin America and China Since the 1970s

The US and Iran: a way out of the impasse?

Although no major breakthroughs to end the current impasse between Tehran and Washington are expected in the short term, Mahsa Rouhi says that tensions could be alleviated by a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani if only to break the ice and show goodwill.

The dangerous diplomatic and military dance between Iran and the United States shows no signs of ending. As recently as two weeks ago, when world leaders met at the UN General Assembly, there had been hopes for talks between the two countries. French President Emmanuel Macron put forward a reported four-point deal to break the current impasse. Under his proposal, Iran would agree to comply with the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and remain open to future nuclear negotiations and perhaps even some discussion of Iran’s regional activities, while the US would agree to sanctions relief, including on critical oil exports. Both sides agreed to the terms, but the plan fell through because Washington refused to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s requirement that sanctions be lifted ahead of any meeting.

There are, of course, broader reasons for the current diplomatic frustration. Rouhani needs sanctions relief and a clear framework for negotiation up front to provide him with the political capital required to sell new talks to Iran’s religious leadership and other hardliners in the country. The US wants reasonable assurances of a deal that President Donald Trump can claim is superior to the JCPOA. In this light, middle ground seems elusive.

‘It Didn’t Have to Be This Way’: Just-Retired CENTCOM General


Trump's decision "threatens to undo five years’ worth of fighting against ISIS and will severely damage American credibility and reliability," writes Joseph Votel, who until March led America's forces in the Mideast.

The abrupt policy decision to seemingly abandon our Kurdish partners could not come at a worse time. The decision was made without consulting U.S. allies or senior U.S. military leadership and threatens to affect future partnerships at precisely the time we need them most, given the war-weariness of the American public coupled with ever more sophisticated enemies determined to come after us.

In northeastern Syria, we had one of the most successful partnerships. The Islamic State was using Syria as a sanctuary to support its operations in Iraq and globally, including by hosting and training foreign fighters. We had to go after ISIS quickly and effectively. The answer came in the form of a small band of Kurdish forces pinned up against the Turkish border and fighting for their lives against ISIS militants in the Syrian town of Kobane in 2014.

Saudi Arabia Has Room to Maneuver After the Oil Attack


The September 14 2019 attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil processing plants were unprecedented. Saudi officials quickly stated that all options for response are on the table. But one option is better than the alternatives: a non-aggression arrangement with Iran. Despite the kingdom’s confrontational rhetoric on Iran, a non-aggression arrangement may be both more likely and more useful than one would expect.

The Saudi crown prince, Mohamed Bin Salman, has said that he “hopes not” to order “a military response” and that “the political and peaceful solution is much better than the military one.” He even welcomed the idea of a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to craft a new deal, saying: “absolutely. This is what we all ask for.” His answer might signal a slight yet promising departure from the usual combative Saudi rhetoric on Iran.

Saudi leaders shouldn’t deny themselves the option of sitting with Iranian leaders to negotiate their own deals. Yet opening a channel with Iran after the attacks bears a political cost for Riyadh. It could be seen as a sign of weakness, not only by Iran, but also by the Saudi regime’s foes and friends, at home and abroad.


Hot Issue – The Race for Bases, Ports, and Resources in the Horn of Africa Heats Up

By: Michael Horton

Executive summary: The battle for access and influence in the Horn of Africa is intensifying as the Gulf States, Turkey, and China race to secure footholds. At the same time, rivalries between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, and Turkey are shaping how these countries interact with state and non-state actors in the Horn. The insertion of the Gulf States’, Turkey’s, and Iran’s regional disputes into the politics of the countries that make up the Horn will exacerbate instability in what are already fragile states.

Over the last five years, the battle between outside powers for influence in—and access to—the Horn of Africa has intensified. The Gulf States, Turkey, and China, in particular, are all competing for footholds in what is one of the world’s most strategic regions. After years of relatively little interest in the countries that make up the Horn of Africa, outside powers are investing billions of dollars in the region.

The race for bases and ports in the Horn of Africa is well underway. Somalia hosts Turkey’s largest overseas military base and Turkish companies run Mogadishu’s port and airport. Turkey’s ally and benefactor, Qatar, is also working to establish itself in southern Somalia. Further north in the independent but unrecognized Republic of Somaliland and in the autonomous region of Puntland, United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based companies operate the ports of Berbera and Bosaso. The UAE has also built a naval and air base at Assab in Eritrea. Djibouti, wedged between Somaliland and Eritrea, hosts bases for the United States, Japan, France, Italy, and China. Saudi Arabia has an agreement with Djibouti to build its first overseas base in the country, but construction of the base has not begun.

Trump’s Trade War: A Report From The Front – OpEd

By Dean Baker

Donald Trump is bravely carrying on a trade war, not just with the bad guys with China, but with longtime allies like Canada and the European Union. Incredibly, the media just don’t seem that interested in reporting on the ongoing progress.

Last week the Commerce Department released trade data for August, and it got almost no attention whatsoever. The report showed that the trade deficit increased modestly from $54.0 billion in July to $54.9 billion in August. This is virtually identical to the deficit from August of 2018, so comparing these two months year over year, at least the trade deficit is not expanding.

Looking at a slightly bigger picture, in 2016, the last year of the Obama administration, the trade deficit was $518.8 billion, or 2.8 percent of GDP. The trade deficit expanded in both 2017 and 2018, reaching $638.2 billion in 2018, or 3.1 percent of GDP. It looks to come in slightly higher in 2019, with the deficit averaging $648.3 billion in the first half of 2019.

There are many factors behind the rise in the trade deficit. Growth in the U.S. has been somewhat faster than in major trading partners like the EU and Japan. The dollar has also risen in value, although most of that rise pre-dates Trump. But putting these aside, if Trump’s goal was to bring the trade deficit closer to balance, he’s been going the wrong way in the first two and half years of his administration.

Concern For Secretive US Bio-Geopolitics – OpEd

By Dan Steinbock

Entomological, anti-animal, and crop-based diseases typically occur for natural reasons. All three have also been aggravated by globalization and climate change. However, evidence suggests that some of these outbreaks may also involve prior deployment in “biological programs” and “research.” 

Take anthrax, for instance. Despite the post-9/11 concerns, the bacteria continue to be “researched.” In May 2015, the Pentagon confirmed that its lab in Utah had “inadvertently” sent live anthrax samples to one of its military bases in South Korea. Last April, civic groups and residents took to the streets to protest against biological agent experiments, which the US was reportedly conducting at Busan’s Port Pier 8. Pentagon’s budget estimates suggest the project was ongoing with funds set aside for live agent tests. 

These issues remain sensitive in East Asia, in light of the US biowarfare against North Koreans and Chinese in the 1950s and contemporary geopolitics. Biological agents have dual-use functions. Like new technologies, they can save, but also incapacitate and destroy human lives. 

Asian Swine Fever: Epidemics Vs Geopolitics 

Mackinder's Nightmare : Part Two

In the first part of this essay, the author outlined a geopolitical framework for understanding current security challenges posed to the United States and its allies by the rise of the People’s Republic of China. Halford Mackinder’s concepts of a World-Island, Heartland, and outer maritime crescent were found to be relevant today—as was Nicolas Spykman’s addition of an intermediary Rimland. Mackinder feared that a conglomeration of autocratic powers centered on the Eurasian landmass might one day marginalize great maritime democracies such as Great Britain and the United States. This is now a real possibility. This article is drawn from the author’s latest book, Age of Iron: On Conservative Nationalism (Oxford University Press, 2019).

The United States has never faced a great power competitor with the range of economic capabilities now possessed by the People’s Republic of China. Americans need to come to grips with the fact that they could actually lose this long-term strategic competition. Like going bankrupt, there are two ways they could lose: gradually, and then suddenly. The gradual scenario would involve a long-term expansion of Chinese economic, diplomatic, and military capabilities to the extent that U.S.-allied capitals are ultimately unable to resist key Chinese demands. Indeed, this scenario is already well underway. The sudden version involves a violent crisis situation, for example in the Taiwan Strait, in which the relative erosion of an overall U.S. strategic position is fully and forcefully revealed in shocking fashion, ending one historical era and beginning another. Recent wargame simulations run by the RAND Corporation demonstrate that the United States and its allies could be defeated in a “limited” conventional war with the Russian Federation and China on the other side. U.S. military superiority in these encounters can no longer be taken for granted.
The Future of U.S. Foreign Policy

Syria's War The Decent into Horror

In the seven years since protesters in Syria first demonstrated against the four-decade rule of the Assad family, hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed and some twelve million people—more than half the country’s pre-war population—have been displaced. The country has descended into an ever-more-complex civil war: Jihadis promoting a Sunni theocracy eclipsed many opposition forces fighting for a democratic and pluralistic Syria. Regional powers backed various local forces to advance their geopolitical interests on Syrian battlefields. The United States has been at the fore of a coalition conducting air strikes on the self-proclaimed Islamic State, while Turkey, a U.S. ally, has invaded in part to prevent Kurdish forces, the United States’ main local partner in the fight against the Islamic State, from linking up their autonomous cantons. Russia too has carried out air strikes in Syria, coming to the Assad regime’s defense, while Iranian forces and their Hezbollah allies have done the same on the ground.

After a long stalemate, regime forces and their foreign backers have turned the tide in Assad’s favor, capturing two of the last major rebel enclaves, in east Aleppo and the Damascus suburbs. But Syria likely faces years of instability to come. Assad has never been willing to negotiate his way out of power, but his continued rule is unacceptable to millions of Syrians, particularly given the barbarity civilians have faced. Meanwhile, the foreign forces on which he relies will continue to wield power. In the north, Kurds will be unlikely to cede their hard-won autonomy, and the near defeat of the Islamic State has led to a scramble for territory liberated in the country’s east.

Trump Loves the Military. But He Doesn’t Like Using It

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Some time ago, a young combat veteran I’ve been mentoring for years sent me a troubling email.

His unit was considering holding a significant ceremony at a property controlled by President Trump’s company. Given the recent public concerns about Air Force flight crews staying at a Trump hotel in the U.K., this young officer felt the appearance of enriching the Commander in Chief’s corporate pockets with Department of Defense funding was wrong. That is correct. But what is deeply disturbing is that he had to wrestle with these moral and ethical questions regarding his chain of command. He should be concentrating on preparing for combat operations.

At the highest levels of the military, these same political concerns are manifesting themselves in everything from hiding a Navy vessel, the U.S.S. John S. McCain, for fear of offending the President, to the current controversy over American military aid to Ukraine, which the President possibly held up in an attempt to pressure the Ukrainian government into investigating a political rival. For our military, this kind of intrusion of domestic politics into national security is concerning.

Automation and economic disparity: A new challenge for CEOsOctober 2019 | Article

By André Dua and Susan Lund

As intelligent machines take over a wider variety of tasks, many global companies are doubling down on workforce retraining. And rightly so—the next wave of automation technologies promises to alter the nature of work further across a range of industries. But beyond these thorny organizational challenges around what work is—and what work will become—is another, less-explored management consideration: Where will this work happen?

New McKinsey Global Institute research on the future of work in the United States holds some clues. Economic disparity in the United States is high, and the health and trajectory of US local economies differ sharply from place to place—meaning that the forces of automation will affect localities in vastly different ways. How local economies respond will therefore have big, long-term implications for companies in where they hire, where they locate operations, where they invest, and even where they will find their customers.
Shifting fortunes

Our new research looks at how the future of work may play out across 315 US cities and more than 3,000 US counties. The study finds that just 25 urban areas and their peripheries have accounted for a majority of the country’s job growth since the Great Recession, and these areas are poised to generate 60 percent of job growth in the decade ahead (exhibit). These megacities and high-growth hubs, including Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle, are the most dynamic economies in the country, with a disproportionate share of high-growth industries and high-wage jobs. By contrast, 54 trailing cities and roughly 2,000 rural counties that are home to one-quarter of the US population have older and shrinking workforces, higher unemployment, and lower educational attainment. These areas could be facing a decade of flat or even negative employment growth.

Guterres warns U.N. may not have enough money to pay staff next month

Michelle Nichols

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres addresses the opening of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 24, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

He told the 193-member U.N. General Assembly’s budget committee that if he had not worked since January to cut spending then “we would not have had the liquidity to support” the annual gathering of world leaders last month.

“This month, we will reach the deepest deficit of the decade. We risk ... entering November without enough cash to cover payrolls,” said Guterres. “Our work and our reforms are at risk.”

The United States is the largest contributor - responsible for 22 percent of the more than $3.3 billion regular budget for 2019, which pays for work including political, humanitarian, disarmament, economic and social affairs and communications.

Washington owes some $381 million for prior regular budgets and $674 million for the 2019 regular budget. The U.S. mission to the United Nations confirmed the figures.

Value over volume: Shale development in the era of cash October 2019 | Article

By Jeremy Brown, Florian Christ, and Tom Grace

The US unconventional sector has been in growth mode for years. Liquids production has risen by 5.1 million barrels per day since 2013, 85 percent of which has come from independents.1 In a previous article, we showed how this growth was a direct response to investor demand,2 with share prices for independents strongly correlated to production growth—but not earnings or cash flow, which has consistently been negative. With the growth phase now at an end, operators need to focus on delivering value by improving their capital efficiency.

Shifting development priorities

During the growth-at-all-costs era, operators poured their energy, science, and capital into delivering what investors expected. That meant maximizing initial rates for new wells, often at the expense of economic metrics, such as net present value (NPV) and free cash flow. This approach drove aggressive decisions on production levers, such as well design, spacing, and choke protocols during early well life. The combined effects of these strategies have left many operators unprepared for the era of cash.

Review Feature – The US Foreign Policy Consensus in Crisis


Both Robert Kagan’s The Jungle Grows Back (2018) and Stephen Walt’s The Hell of Good Intentions (2018) were written in response to the election of Donald Trump. Kagan’s book is an attempt to defend and renew the battered US foreign policy consensus of liberal hegemony. For the sake of definition, liberal hegemony is about the establishment of an international liberal order whose security is guaranteed by the global projection of American power. The establishment of liberal hegemony in the wake of World War Two was, for Kagan, a world historical transformation which signaled a break with the history of perpetual war between states, an order that he sees unraveling with the election of Trump. Walt is less horrified by the outcomes of the 2016 elections – not because he supports Trump, but because he sympathizes with the widespread exasperation with the liberal hegemony that Trump’s election, in part, signified. Where Kagan warns that declining US power will bring about a return of great power competition, insecurity, war and disruption of economic growth, Walt counters that it is precisely the US pursuit of liberal hegemony that has eroded the position of primacy the US had achieved in the world following the end of the Cold War.

Kagan and Walt are rehearsing an old debate in IR – the clash between realism and liberalism/idealism. What is new and important about these books is how they renew this debate in the context of changing historical circumstances, both domestically and internationally. The realist/idealist debate persists because the fundamental questions it poses about history, sovereignty and anarchy remain unresolved. Is there any meaning or pattern of history? Kagan is skeptical about this: he does not believe that liberalism can be understood in terms of any sort of unfolding teleology which transforms the world into the liberal ideal. At the same time, he does espouse a strong distinction between a realist and liberal order. Immanuel Kant’s language in Articles for a Perpetual Peace describes Kagan’s disposition: “When we see the attachment of savages to their lawless freedom…we regard it with deep contempt as barbarity, rudeness and brutish degradation of civilization” (1795). Kagan similarly views liberal hegemony in terms of a struggle between civilization and barbarism.

Assessing Global Response to Rising Sea Levels: Who Needs to Be Involved?


As states globally prepare for the inevitable effects of climate change, those ‘developed’ countries identified by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) continue to undermine their roles as leaders, inevitably to their own detriment. Not everyone will feel the effects of Global Warming-induced climate change in the same way, and many will feel it sooner and more tangibly than others. The World Bank data has determined that South East Asia and the island regions of the Pacific and Indian Oceans are the most severely impacted by global sea level Rise (SLR) (Dasgupta 2018).

SLR has been measured as rising since the turn of the 20th Century, pushed by a combination of retreating glaciers and ice sheets and the heat induced expansion of ocean waters (Parliament of Australia 2009). As an island nation, the Maldives are uniquely affected by SLR, with estimates it will be completely inundated in the case of a 1-metre rise by 2085 (Anthoff et al 2010). Indonesia is also placed in dire circumstances, as a topographically varied South East Asian country, it deals with both SLR and the multi-faceted face of global warming. With the combined effects of climate change, the induced natural disaster and SLR, Indonesia is an integral asset in furthering discussions surrounding the mitigation and adaptation of Climate Change.

As the world continues to globalise, it is vital that the governing institutions, such as the United Nations (UN) and their subsidiary the UNFCCC, drive discussion in developing relevant mitigation and adaptation techniques. Whilst these institutions have begun the conversation, fueling debate and grassroots action, much needs to be done in holding stakeholders accountable to their decisions and their potential impact.

A visual guide to remittances, the lifeblood of developing economie

John Letzing, Andrew Berkley

When Amnesty International interviewed Santhosh, a migrant worker from Kerala, India about his experiences in Saudi Arabia, he described 18-hour days at a metal fabrication company punctuated by beatings. After months of unpaid work, he fled without any money to send home to his wife, son and ageing parents.

Santhosh and others like him are willing to put themselves at risk because their loved ones rely so heavily on their foreign earnings. According to Amnesty, remittances account for nearly a third of Kerala’s net domestic product. While the individual amounts are often small, remittance payments can add up in a big way.

People working abroad sent more money home to low- and middle-income countries in 2018 than ever before, and the biggest individual chunk went to India: a total of $79 billion, equal to nearly 3% of the country’s GDP. The Philippines, meanwhile, received an equivalent of about 10% of its GDP in remittances. Excluding flows to China, remittances to low and middle-income countries in 2018 were significantly larger than the $344 billion in total foreign direct investment flows that year. This year, these remittances are poised to grow even further, to $550 billion - making them the single biggest source of external funding for recipient economies.

5 trends in the global economy – and their implications for economic policymakers

The Global Competitiveness Report 2019 is a much-needed economic compass, building on 40 years of experience of benchmarking the drivers of long-term competitiveness and integrating the latest learnings about the factors of future productivity.

The Global Competitiveness Index 4.0 is organized into 12 pillars: institutions; infrastructure; ICT adoption; macroeconomic stability; health; skills; product market; labour market; financial system; market size; business dynamism; and innovation capability. The index has a scoring system ranging from 0 to 100, with the frontier (100) corresponding to the goal post for each indicator.

Singapore is the nation closest to the competitiveness frontier. Among large economies, the United States ranks highest and continues to be an innovation powerhouse. Among the BRICS, China ranks highest. The lowest places in the rankings are occupied by African economies who have not yet crossed the halfway mark to the competitiveness frontier.

The Emerging Risk of Virtual Societal Warfare

by Michael J. Mazarr, Ryan Michael Bauer, Abigail Casey, Sarah Heintz, Luke J. Matthews

What are the characteristics of virtual societal warfare, and what risks does it present to advanced societies?

What is the social and technological context in which cyberaggression, such as hostile social manipulation and virtual societal warfare, will be employed?

What might the world look like 10–15 years after the advent of virtual societal warfare and related techniques of cyberaggression?

The evolution of advanced information environments is rapidly creating a new category of possible cyberaggression that involves efforts to manipulate or disrupt the information foundations of the effective functioning of economic and social systems. RAND researchers are calling this growing threat virtual societal warfare in an analysis of its characteristics and implications for the future.

Army Secretary Ramps Up 3D Printing


A 3D printer creates a hard-to-find spare part for Army MRAP armored trucks.

WASHINGTON: Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy issued detailed marching orders this morning for how the service should embrace advanced manufacturing and encourage contractors to adopt it as well. That includes writing official requirements for future weapons and source-selection criteria for contract competitions to encourage the use of 3D printing and related techniques. While the focus is on new procurements, the policy also calls for advanced manufacturing of spare parts to better sustain aging equipment, for which the original suppliers may have gone out of business.

Ryan McCarthy

“Capability developers, with input from technical subject matter experts, will write performance and readiness capability requirements to account for gains that can be made using advanced methods and materials,” the policy directs. “Materiel developers will [use] source selection evaluation factors that favor performance and readiness gains, cost reductions, and schedule reductions that can be achieved using advanced manufacturing.”

The Air Force, Navy, and Marines are working hard on 3D printing as well.

Breaking Defense graphic from Army data

3D-printing ICBM parts; shutdown countdown; Boeing stands up venture arm; and a lot more.

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Among the first stories I wrote for Defense One were about how the Pentagon and defense industry were exploring the use of 3D printing for weapons and equipment. Nearly three years later, as the technology matures and gains wider certification for military use, printed parts are becoming commonplace in everything from satellites to ICBMs.

Aerojet Rocketdyne has been using 3D printing — additive manufacturing, companies call it — to make RL10 engines for Atlas and Delta rockets.

“Infusing this technology into full-scale rocket engines is truly transformative, as it opens up new design possibilities for our engineers and paves the way for a new generation of low-cost rocket engines,” said Jeff Haynes, the company’s additive manufacturing program manager.

Printed parts aren’t just for the rocket. An upcoming Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite is slated to lift off with a printed “aluminum electronic enclosure designed to hold avionic circuits.” It will be the first such part certified for use on a Lockheed Martin military satellite.

Army Brings AI to Electronic Warfare

By Kris Osborn - Warrior Maven
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(Washington, D.C.) Surrounded by enemy fire, trapped in a valley between mountains and unable to use certain sensors, drones, fire-control and radar applications, a forward-positioned Army infantry unit suddenly finds itself with no radio, sensors, electronics... or GPS. Their communications are jammed, disabled and rendered useless, making them isolated and vulnerable to lethal air and ground attacks. Does this outnumbered infantry unit have any options with which to avoid destruction? How can they get air support or armored vehicle reinforcement?

This very realistic possible threat scenario, increasingly becoming more ominous with modern technical advances, is precisely why the Army is moving quickly to modernize its arsenal of electronic weapons -- and further integrate them with cyber systems. With an increasingly crowded and complex electromagnetic spectrum, contemporary electronic warfare threats are naturally extremely serious, as they can operate on a greater number of frequencies, attack with greater range and strength and fire from less detectable locations.