6 November 2019

What to Expect from the India-China High-Level Trade Dialogue

By Priyanka Pandit

The Sino-Indian trade deficit is both an economic and a political problem.

The recently-held informal summit between the Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi included an announcement about the setting up of a high-level economic and trade dialogue mechanism to discuss issues related to trade imbalances, investment, and services. The high-level trade-centric mechanism comes as no surprise given the galloping trade deficit between the two countries and the pending status of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) negotiations since 2012. 

For the past few years, New Delhi has been highly vocal about its rising trade deficit and the high tariff barriers that the Indian companies face in certain Chinese items and sectors. For example, in its submission to the World Trade organisation (WTO) last year, India complained that the trade deficit with China was becoming “unsustainable” and that the Indian products such as farm produce and meat face entry restrictions from Chinese regulatory policies despite the protocols in place. Besides the market access issues, New Delhi has flagged the concerns over the stringent Chinese visa regime preventing the Indian professionals to travel and work in China for longer durations. 

China Kicks Off Construction of Pakistan’s Third, Fourth Type 054A Missile Frigates

By Franz-Stefan Gady
Source Link

China’s Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding held a steel cutting ceremony for the Pakistan Navy’s third and fourth Type 054A/P multi-role frigates on November 1, according to the service’s director general for public relations.

“Chief Naval Overseer (CNO) China, Commodore Azfar Humayun of Pakistan Navy and President China Shipbuilding Trading Company (CSTC) jointly performed the steel cutting of the frigates,” said a statement by the director general for public relations posted on social media on November 1.

The Type 054A/P is an improved export version of the Type 054 frigate that is in service with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). Once deployed, the two new warships will be some of the most technologically advanced surface combatants of the Pakistan Navy.

The service has ordered a total of four new frigates from China. A contract for the third and fourth Type 054A/P multirole frigates was signed in June 2018 at the Ministry of Defense Production in Rawalpindi.

A Difficult Summer in the South China Sea

By Carl Thayer

In July, a China Geological Survey ship, the Haiyang Dizhi 8, entered Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and commenced seismic surveying in waters near Vanguard Bank. The Haiyang Dizhi 8 was accompanied by several escorts including China Coast Guard (CCG) ships.

China’s actions were in blatant violation of international law because it had not sought, nor was it given, permission by Vietnam to conduct a seismic survey. Under international law, Vietnam has sovereign jurisdiction of the relevant waters and seabed. Vietnam has the exclusive right to exploit all marine resources in the water column in its EEZ, as well as resources on its continental shelf. Vietnam responded by sending a small number of Vietnam Coast Guard (VCG) ships and other vessels to monitor the situation.

China’s actions precipitated a three-month diplomatic standoff that shows no sign of ending. This article discusses why the South China Sea is important to the international community, provides historical background relating to Vanguard Bank, discusses current Chinese maritime operations and the response by Vietnam and the international community.

Importance of the South China Sea

China May Be More Assertive, But Is It Really Ready to Lead?

By Lucio Blanco Pitlo III

The time of “hiding and biding” is over, but is China ready for the burdens of global leadership?

Activist, assertive, and audacious: This is the People’s Republic of China as it celebrates its 70th anniversary in grand style. From the Belt and Road Initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Xiangshan Forum, China’s convening power and capacity to provide both economic and security goods are on full display. In an age of disruption, uncertainty, and gradual U.S. retrenchment, China seem to be picking up the slack. But while China certainly does want to play a greater role, especially in Asia, it may not necessarily want to assume global leadership with all the burden and expectations that come with it.

On a strategic level, China continues to advocate for a multipolar world where it will be second to none. BRICS, the G-20, G-77, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and regional trade arrangements provide the country with platforms to pursue this agenda. China’s resurgence undermines traditional power structures embedded in leading global governance institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Beijing lobbies for reforms to accord more space for emerging powers like itself to have a greater say in these longstanding financial pillars.

China rolls out 5G mobile phone technology before schedule

Three Chinese state-backed firms launched 5G mobile services earlier than expected as US trade tensions persist.

China's three state telecoms companies on Thursday announced the roll out 5G mobile phone services, marking a key step in Beijing's ambitions to become a technology superpower while it remains locked in a trade war with Washington.

China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom said on their websites and online stores that 5G plans, which start from as low as 128 yuan ($18.2) a month, will be available from Friday, allowing Chinese consumers nationwide to use the ultra-fast mobile internet service.

However, all three had already started offering access to the service on Thursday morning.

Beijing had originally said it would launch the ultra-fast mobile internet service, which promises to support new features such as autonomous driving, early next year. But it accelerated its plans as tensions with the United States, especially over its boycott of telecoms giant Huawei Technologies, heated up.

WTO Authorizes China to Hit US With $3.6 Billion in Sanctions

By Jamey Keaten

China gets the greenlight to penalize the U.S. for Obama-era anti-dumping duties.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) said Friday that China can impose tariffs on up to $3.6 billion worth of U.S. goods over the American government’s failure to abide by anti-dumping rules with regard to Chinese products.

The move hands China its first such payout at the trade body at a time when it is engaged in a big dispute with the United States that has bypassed the WTO altogether and resulted in tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of goods.

The announcement from a WTO arbitrator centers on a case with origins long before the current trade standoff: a Chinese complaint filed nearly six years ago seeking over $7 billion in retaliation.

The decision means China can impose higher tariffs against the United States than China is currently allowed under WTO rules, and will be given leeway as to the U.S. products and sectors it would like to target.

The truth about ISIS's threat

by Aaron David Miller

Aaron David Miller is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is the author of "The End of Greatness: Why America Can't Have (and Doesn't Want) Another Great President." He served as a Middle East negotiator in Democratic and Republican administrations. The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author; view more opinion articles on CNN.

(CNN)In the most recent Democratic debate, an animated Joe Biden exclaimed that ISIS "is going to come here" as a result of Trump's decision to abandon the Syrian Kurds and withdraw nearly all US troops from Syria.

After Trump's orders to withdraw, however, another wave of American troops entered Syria, leaving as many as 900 forces in the country. Still, the break in our alliance with the Kurds and the weakening in US counter-terror policy will undoubtedly allow gains for ISIS and other jihadi groups.

Is Biden right? Has Trump paved the way for ISIS to launch attacks on American soil? While the possibility can never be ruled out, the immediate threat ISIS poses to the US homeland is overstated. Far more concerning is the threat of homegrown terrorists, including right-wing extremists. The administration's willingness to alienate Muslims, and its failure to take the lead on sensible gun control legislation and minimize polarization only exacerbates these threats.

Will Abandonment of the Syrian Kurds End America’s Involvement in Unconventional Warfare

by Steven Metz 

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump ended U.S. support for Kurdish forces in Syria. “Let Syria and Assad protect the Kurds” he tweeted, abruptly abandoning an alliance that had taken shape during the Obama administration and eventually led to the battlefield defeat of ISIS.

Trump’s decision ignited a debate over whether the United States is leaving Syria altogether. Even the president seems to be vacillating, at times saying all U.S. forces were coming home and at others indicating that they would move to Iraq or even a different part of Syria. But whatever the final disposition of the U.S. military one thing is clear: the way the relationship with the Kurds ended could undercut the American approach to irregular warfare.

The United States first became involved in irregular warfare in a big way during the 1960s. After Vietnam, it fell out of use but was revived in the 1980s when a number of Soviet client states emerged in what was then called the Third World and again after the September 11 attack demonstrated the danger posed by transnational networks of terrorists and insurgents. As the 2010 Joint operational concept explained, “To prevent, deter, disrupt, and defeat irregular threats, the U.S. military applies some blend of counterterrorism, unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, counterinsurgency, and stability operations.”

The Kurds: A People Without a State

The U.S. withdrawal from Syria left Kurds at the mercy of Turkey, Russia, and Syria. Why are the Kurds still homeless? Here's everything you need to know…


By John McLaughlin

The killings of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his possible deputy by U.S. special operations forces in recent days are major losses for the extremists, ones that are likely to usher in a period of chaos and improvisation among ISIS fighters. But it would be a fatal mistake to assume that the deaths have destroyed or even seriously weakened the violent cause al-Baghdadi spearheaded. The proof? Important as it was to take down al-Baghdadi’s predecessor, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in 2006 and Osama Bin Laden in 2011, the ISIS variant of what they represented rose in the aftermath of their killings and carried out operations that often equaled or exceeded much of what came before.

Among the reasons for continued concern, three stand out.

First, a terror group with a clear strategy and organization is less dependent on individual leaders, and ISIS is more developed on both scores than al-Qaida ever was under bin Laden or his successors. ISIS strategy encompasses three concentric rings. The “interior” ring includes Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine. Here, ISIS’ objective is to conquer, defend and expand — and to plan and execute external operations. Its “near abroad” ring comprises the rest of the Middle East and North Africa, extending to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Libya probably remains the central external hub. The objective is to establish affiliates here and increase disorder. In the “far abroad” ring — the United States, Europe, parts of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa — the goal is to establish affiliates, with notable success in Africa and Southeast Asia, and to attack and polarize. Loss of the territorial caliphate in Iraq and Syria has undoubtedly hampered execution of this strategy, but the concepts and many geographic elements survive and continue to operate or await reanimation. 

Is This the Arab Spring 2.0?

Nearly a decade after the Arab Spring fizzled, a new wave of protest has swept over the Middle East and North Africa. What is different this time, and will the protesters be more likely to get what they want?

Many believe the Arab Spring that began with the self-immolation of a Tunisian fruit vendor in 2010 ended in failure. Since 2013, with the exception of Tunisia, autocrats have kept or regained control across the Arab world. The resurgent antidemocratic regimes then tarnished the protesters by claiming that it was a Western conspiracy that led people to the streets in Tripoli, Manama, Tahrir Square in Cairo, and all across the region. But the continued absence of political and economic opportunity in the Middle East did not abate. Now, national protests happening in Algeria, Lebanon, and Sudan herald a new season of civil unrest and calls for democracy in the Middle East.

The first Arab Spring ended in 2013 for two reasons: either because Arab governments quashed the protests with force, money, or both; or because the Arab public saw what happened in Libya, Syria, and Yemen and did not want their own situation to deteriorate into civil war. But the problems that created the protests did not disappear, only the protesters themselves. And when oil prices declined in 2014, many governments in the Arab world lost an effective tool to mollify their citizens’ economic grievances. Despite nearly being toppled, most of them still have not internalized that the rentier system that keeps them in power, backed by high oil prices and patronage underpinnings, is no longer viable.

A new Sino-Russian high-tech partnership

Samuel Bendett 

Authoritarian innovation in an era of great-power rivalry

What’s the problem?

Sino-Russian relations have been adapting to an era of great-power rivalry. This complex relationship, categorised as a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era’, has continued to evolve as global strategic competition has intensified.1 China and Russia have not only expanded military cooperation but are also undertaking more extensive technological cooperation, including in fifth-generation telecommunications, artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology and the digital economy.

When Russia and China commemorated the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China in October 2019,2 the celebrations highlighted the history of this ‘friendship’ and a positive agenda for contemporary partnership that is pursuing bilateral security, ‘the spirit of innovation’, and ‘cooperation in all areas’.3

Such partnerships show that Beijing and Moscow recognise the potential synergies of joining forces in the development of these dual-use technologies, which possess clear military and commercial significance. This distinct deepening of China–Russia technological collaborations is also a response to increased pressures imposed by the US. Over the past couple of years, US policy has sought to limit Chinese and Russian engagements with the global technological ecosystem, including through sanctions and export controls. Under these geopolitical circumstances, the determination of Chinese and Russian leaders to develop indigenous replacements for foreign, particularly American technologies, from chips to operating systems, has provided further motivation for cooperation.

Nuclear strategy in a changing world

By Rod Lyon
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The immense destructive power of nuclear weapons continues to shape the international strategic balance, not least Australia’s place as a close ally of the United States in an increasingly risky Indo-Pacific region.

What is the continuing utility to America’s allies of extended nuclear deterrence? Where is the risk of nuclear proliferation greatest? How should the world deal with the growing nuclear capabilities of North Korea? Is the nuclear order as sturdy and stable and it needs to be?

These and other pressing issues are addressed in this volume by one of Australia’s leading thinkers on nuclear weapons and the global strategic balance, Rod Lyon.

Rod’s career spans academic research and teaching at the University of Queensland, and strategic analysis for Australia’s peak intelligence agency, the Office of National Assessments (now the Office of National Intelligence). Since 2006 he has been a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and a frequent contributor on nuclear issues to The Strategist, Australia’s best online source of analysis on defence and strategic issues.

Global risks 2035 update: Decline or new renaissance?

Mathew J. Burrows

Our conclusion in 2016’s Global Risks 2035 was that state-on-state conflict posed a bigger threat than terrorism. In the two years since, the post-Cold War order has continued to unravel without a “new normal” emerging. If anything, with de-globalization underway, conflict among the great powers looms even larger than when Global Risks 2035 was written in mid-2016.

We must recognize that the old historical rhythm that laid the foundations of the Western liberal order has come to an end. The world now faces momentous challenges with climate change, the return of state-on-state conflict and an end to social cohesion with increasing levels of inequality. Without a political, intellectual and, some say, spiritual renaissance that addresses and deals with the big existential tests facing humanity we will not be able to move together into the future. 

With so much of the analysis of Global Risks 2035 still on target, this update focuses on key changes since 2016 and the alternative worlds that appear to be emerging from the fraying of the old normal.

A short recap of 2016’s Global Risks 2035

The Hardening of Soft Power


PARIS – International-relations theorists generally distinguish between soft and hard power. Soft power refers to the exercise of political influence through flexible, non-binding instruments such as economic assistance; the dissemination of environmental, health, and civil-security standards; and exports of cultural goods. Soft-power leaders are generally reluctant to coerce others and prefer to wield influence by example. The European Union is the leading exponent of this approach.

For 40 years, elites in rich and poor countries alike promised that neoliberal policies would lead to faster economic growth, and that the benefits would trickle down so that everyone, including the poorest, would be better off. Now that the evidence is in, is it any wonder that trust in elites and confidence in democracy have plummeted?

Hard power, by contrast, refers to military and economic instruments of coercion. Rather than leading by example, countries that depend on the hard power at their disposal wield it to try to bend others to their will. Following Machiavelli, they would rather be feared than loved. Here, Russia is a quintessential example. And between Europe and Russia, the United States has long represented a unique combination of both forms of power.

10 Lessons From History About What Makes a Truly Great Leader

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Roberts is the author of Leadership in War: Essential Lessons from Those Who Made History. He is also the bestselling author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny, The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War, Masters and Commanders: How Four Titans Won the War in the West, 1941-1945, Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Gamble and Napoleon: A Life, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for biography and a finalist for the Plutarch Award.

With the 2020 presidential election approaching, America is bracing to choose its next leader in a time of incredible change and upheaval. How can we recognize the kind of person we’ll need to lead us through these turbulent times? What are the qualities that a truly great American president needs? What can this person, regardless of political affiliation, learn from leaders of the past?


The Potential War Map of Eastern Europe

By Jacek Bartosiak

The frequently cited Suwalki Gap is the only communication route connecting Poland – the operational base of NATO and the U.S. – to the Baltic states, which abut Russia and thus are vulnerable to Moscow’s military advances. This narrow area is essential to sustaining NATO cohesion and guaranteeing the collective security afforded by NATO. In military terms, NATO’s Line of Communication, or LOC, through the gap is extremely difficult to establish and maintain; it traverses a challenging terrain over a long distance, from Warsaw to Tallinn, and since it is flanked by Belarus and Kaliningrad, it is vulnerable to Russian anti-access/area denial assets. (Indeed, the importance of Belarus and Kaliningrad cannot be overstated. They affect NATO’s general strategy, the escalation ladder, nuclear aspects, political dimension, cohesion of the alliance, and so on.)

However, the Suwalki Gap is less important to Poland – whose independence would remain intact even if Russia invaded the Baltics – than it is to Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. And it is far less important than the Smolensk Gate – more on that in a moment. The Baltic states are like three pieces of meat on a skewer comprising a single road route from Poland that passes through terrain less than 90 kilometers (60 miles) wide at its narrowest point. The fact that a single LOC can be cut by a potentially hostile Russian force, therefore, demands an analysis of what it would take to discourage Russian aggression.

The Smolensk Gate

Why America Can't Afford to 'Take the Oil'

by Daniel Davis

Many of Washington’s foreign-policy elite—members of Congress, retired generals and admirals, and think tank professionals—are strident in their contention that the recent attack against Saudi Arabia’s oil refineries warrants a strong military response from the United States. Before Beltway elites plunge the United States into yet another open-ended war in the Middle East, however, we should consider the ramifications of such an escalation. Heedlessly rushing to use force would worsen our security significantly—it would certainly not improve it.

The vast majority of today’s senior political leaders and all of the active and retired three- and four-star generals spent their formative years in the kiln of the Cold War. Though that world came crashing down in 1992 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, too many of these figures still form their policies as though that now-defunct paradigm remains. But this paradigm doesn’t exist and hasn’t existed for decades, which means policymaking on this outdated model puts U.S. interests at risk.

In response to the oil shocks of the 1970s and the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan on Christmas Day in 1979, then-President Jimmy Carter formed the “Carter Doctrine” to safeguard American interests. In his 1980 State of the Union address, Carter established the foundation of that doctrine when he solemnly said, “any attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.” Every administration, of both parties, has embraced this doctrine since.

The New Space Race Is On, and Russia Is Winning

by Andy Keiser

From the Arctic to Afghanistan, Vladimir Putin’s Russia is a clear threat to U.S. national-security interests. At every turn, Russia enjoys being a foil to the United States. In recent years, the list of Moscow’s aggressive actions that counter U.S. interests have included: invading and occupying portions of Georgia and Ukraine; meddling in U.S., German, French, British and other elections; shooting down Malaysian Air Flight 17; poisoning dissidents on UK soil; conducting dangerous and threatening military maneuvers at sea and in the skies; and bolstering dictators Bashar al Assad in Syria and Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, to name a few.

The current political mood aside, Washington has consistently taken significant actions and enacted policies to squeeze the Russian government. To give the Trump administration credit where it is due, its policy responses to Russian actions have been strong—putting us in arguably the most aggressive policy posture towards Russia since the end of the Cold War.

One additional future squeeze that could be employed is for the United States to end its reliance on Russian rocket engines to launch critical national-security assets into space.

The Potential War Map of Eastern Europe

By Jacek Bartosiak

The frequently cited Suwalki Gap is the only communication route connecting Poland – the operational base of NATO and the U.S. – to the Baltic states, which abut Russia and thus are vulnerable to Moscow’s military advances. This narrow area is essential to sustaining NATO cohesion and guaranteeing the collective security afforded by NATO. In military terms, NATO’s Line of Communication, or LOC, through the gap is extremely difficult to establish and maintain; it traverses a challenging terrain over a long distance, from Warsaw to Tallinn, and since it is flanked by Belarus and Kaliningrad, it is vulnerable to Russian anti-access/area denial assets. (Indeed, the importance of Belarus and Kaliningrad cannot be overstated. They affect NATO’s general strategy, the escalation ladder, nuclear aspects, political dimension, cohesion of the alliance, and so on.)

Russia, the Indispensable Nation in the Middle East

By Eugene B. Rumer

Russia is on a roll in the Middle East. Russian airpower saved the Assad regime from certain defeat. Turkey and Israel must now accept the presence of Russian troops on their borders. Saudi Arabia has given Russian President Vladimir Putin the red-carpet treatment. And U.S. President Donald Trump thanked Putin for facilitating the operation to kill Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State (or ISIS). Throughout the Middle East, from North Africa to the Persian Gulf, Russia is ubiquitous, with its high-level visitors, its weapons, its mercenaries, and its deals to build nuclear power plants. Russia has gotten involved in this region as the United States pulls back from it—a trend that even the success of the Baghdadi raid can do little to conceal.

The reemergence of Russia as a major power broker in the Middle East is striking not only in contrast with the United States’ erratic posture in the region but because for a quarter century after the Cold War, Russia had been absent from the region. But Russia’s absence, and not its return, is the anomaly.

Trump’s Withdrawal from Syria Is a Foreign Policy Masterstroke

Douglas A. Macgregor

President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Northern Syria is a brilliant strategic move that simultaneously achieves all of our major objectives in the region.

Perhaps because it has been so long since America had a coherent foreign policy strategy, the political establishment is aghast at the president’s action, predicting all manner of calamitous consequences. The same “experts,” however, have been responsible for the myriad foreign policy disasters that have befallen this country over the past two decades, so their discomfiture should be taken with a rather small grain of salt.

In one deft move that doesn’t put a single American life at risk, President Trump achieved a regional solution to ISIS, undermined Iran’s capacity for foreign aggression, and disentangled the United States from an alliance of convenience that threatened to create major diplomatic headaches down the road.

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.

Turkey Has Long Had Nuclear Dreams

By Colum Lynch

In September, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told members of his party that it is time for his country to acquire its own nuclear bomb.

Such a move would mark a sharp break from previous obligations by Turkey, a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which bars non-nuclear states from acquiring nuclear weapons. But this is not the first time that Turkey—which has played host to U.S. nuclear weapons since the late 1950s—has craved its own nuclear weapons program.

As part of our Document of the Week series, Foreign Policy is posting a copy of a Sept. 26, 1966, memo describing to then-Ambassador Parker T. Hart a troubling conversation Clarence Wendel, the U.S. minerals attache at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, had with a “reliable” Turkish scientist on Turkey’s nuclear ambitions.

The memo, one of 20 previously declassified documents on nuclear weapons in Turkey compiled this week by the National Security Archive, claims the source disclosed that officials from Turkey’s General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration “had been asked to cooperate with General [Refik] Tulga and Professor Omer Inonu (Professor of Physics at METU) [Middle East Technical University] in a Turkish program to develop an ‘Atomic Bomb.’”

Open Borders Are a Trillion-Dollar Idea

By Bryan Caplan

The world’s nations, especially the world’s richest nations, are missing an enormous chance to do well while doing good. The name of this massive missed opportunity—and the name of my book on the topic—is “open borders.”

Critics of immigration often hyperbolically accuse their opponents of favoring open borders—a world where all nationalities are free to live and work in any nation they like. For most, that’s an unfair label: They want more visas for high-skilled workers, family reunification, or refugees—not the end of immigration restrictions. In my case, however, this accusation is no overstatement. I think that free trade in labor is a massive missed opportunity. Open borders are not only just but the most promising shortcut to global prosperity.

To see the massive missed opportunity of which I speak, consider the migration of a low-skilled Haitian from Port-au-Prince to Miami. In Haiti, he would earn about $1,000 per year. In Miami, he could easily earn $25,000 per year. How is such upward mobility possible? Simply put: Human beings are much more productive in Florida than in Haiti—thanks to better government policies, better management, better technology, and much more. The main reason Haitians suffer in poverty is not because they are from Haiti but because they are in Haiti. If you were stuck in Haiti, you, too, would probably be destitute.

The Age of Leaderless Revolution

Samuel Brannen

Mass protest movements are roiling politics around the globe. Over the past several days, the prime ministers of Lebanon and Iraq have agreed to resign and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile was cancelled—all due to massive, leaderless protest movements. At this very moment, protesters are out on the streets of not only Lebanon, Iraq, and Chile but also Hong Kong, Spain, Bolivia, Ecuador, Honduras, Haiti, Egypt, and Algeria. They have been out in force as well in recent months in Russia, France, Indonesia, and Thailand. In recent years, the restlessness of citizens has been channeled elsewhere into the ballot box for political populists from the United Kingdom to the United States, Brazil to the Philippines, Poland to India. And at the outset of the decade, the Arab Spring tore through 15 countries.

Citizen grievances are many but share a common theme: the failure of ruling elites and political institutions to meet expectations of dignity and betterment. Protesters are frustrated with perceived corruption and economic inequality. Often young, angry, and urban, protesters are not an organized opposition proposing the substitution of their party or ideology for an existing one but a leaderless movement demanding their voices are heard. In some cases, protesters’ demands are clear; more often they are muddled. Across the board the aggrieved want change in systems that feel outdated, broken, or nonresponsive.

The Rise of the Present Unconventional Character of Warfare

By Mike Fowler

The character of war has changed. Technological advancements and operational approaches have changed the face of warfare. Conventionally-focused Western militaries have created a sufficient deterrent built on their overwhelming advantages in firepower, technology, tactics, and effective training. However, unconventional warfare has become the method of choice to mitigate the technological military advantages of the United States and its allies.[1]

Asymmetric Warfare

Militaries axiomatically search for methods and equipment to find an asymmetric advantage over their adversaries. Leading up to World War I, countries across Europe sought an advantage in mobilization. Assuming modern warfare could deliver a quick, decisive blow, the first country to mobilize their massive army gained a significant advantage.[2] During the interwar period, countries sought to prevent repeating the stalemate of trench warfare by leveraging new technologies: airpower, submarines, and armor.[3] These innovations were effective at providing short-term, tactical advantages. But, both sides were able to match the innovations, negating any lasting strategic advantage—World War II still resulted in a conflict of exhaustion.[4]

Revolutions for Whom?


PHILADELPHIA – “No one will be worse off than before, but it will be much better for many,” German Chancellor Helmut Kohl assured East Germans after the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989. His words helped fuel rapid political and economic changes throughout post-communist Europe. Thirty years later, it’s worth asking how well Kohl and other Western leaders kept this promise.

For 40 years, elites in rich and poor countries alike promised that neoliberal policies would lead to faster economic growth, and that the benefits would trickle down so that everyone, including the poorest, would be better off. Now that the evidence is in, is it any wonder that trust in elites and confidence in democracy have plummeted?

Travel to Prague, Kyiv, or Bucharest today and you will find glittering shopping malls filled with imported consumer goods: perfumes from France, fashion from Italy, and wristwatches from Switzerland. At the local Cineplex, urbane young citizens queue for the latest Marvel blockbuster movie. They stare at sleek iPhones, perhaps planning their next holiday to Paris, Goa, or Buenos Aires. The city center hums with cafés and bars catering to foreigners and local elites who buy gourmet groceries at massive hypermarkets. Compared to the scarcity and insularity of the communist past, Central and Eastern Europe today is brimming with new opportunities.

Are Facebook and Google State Actors?

By Jed Rubenfeld 

It cannot be thought that any single person or group shall ever have the right to determine what communication may be made to the American people. ... We cannot allow any single person or group to place themselves in a position where they can censor the material which shall be broadcasted to the public.

What Secretary Herbert Hoover warned against has now come to pass. A handful of internet mega-platforms, unsurpassed in wealth and power, exercise a degree of control over the content of public discourse that is unprecedented in history. No governmental actor in this country, high or low, has the authority to excise from even a small corner of public discourse opinions deemed too dangerous or offensive. Yet Facebook and Google do that every day for hundreds of millions of people.

This is permitted as a constitutional matter because Facebook and Google are private companies, whereas the Constitution applies only against state actors. If Facebook and Google were state actors, their censorship policies would have provoked a constitutional firestorm.

Is the US Losing the Artificial Intelligence Arms Race?

By James Johnson

As Chinese and Russian technologies become more sophisticated, they threaten U.S. domination of technological innovation and development.

The U.S. government, long a proponent of advancing technology for military purposes, sees artificial intelligence as key to the next generation of fighting tools.

Several recent investments and Pentagon initiatives show that military leaders are concerned about keeping up with – and ahead of – China and Russia, two countries that have made big gains in developing artificial-intelligence systems. AI-powered weapons include target recognition systems, weapons guided by AI, and cyberattack and cyberdefense software that runs without human intervention.

The U.S. defense community is coming to understand that AI will significantly transform, if not completely reinvent, the world’s military power balance. The concern is more than military. As Chinese and Russian technologies become more sophisticated, they threaten U.S. domination of technological innovation and development, as well as global economic power and influence.