26 November 2019

Privatization Of BPCL In India: A Bold And Pragmatic Strategy Of Modi Government – OpEd

By N. S. Venkataraman

Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) is a government of India undertaking presently involved in petroleum refinery and production of petrochemicals. The company is presently implementing major projects in Kochi in Kerala.

BPCL is a profit making company and every refinery with petrochemical derivatives such as Reliance Industries, Government of India owned Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. are all profit making companies.

While explaining the reason for privatizing BPCL, the Indian Petroleum Minister has said that the Government has no business to be in business. Obviously, he is repeating the original statement made by Mr. C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji), the first Governor General of independent India and a statesman who can think beyond his time made a notable statement that “government is to govern and not to do business”.

However, the leftist parties in India and the pledged critics of Modi government have disapproved the move to privatize BPCL along with a few other public sector undertakings stating the government is handing over the “milk cow” to private sector entrepreneurs and in the process sacrificing a well run government owned company. This is not the first time that a large government owned petro chemical company has been privatized. Indian Petrochemical corporation Ltd. (IPCL) was a well run company belonging to government fo India and was privatized and handed over to Reliance Industries several years back. TheModi government was not in power at that time.

Belt And Road Initiative: Challenges For South And Southeast Asia – Analysis

By Dr. Muhammad Zulfikar Rakhmat and Dendy Indramawan

The euphoria about the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Indonesia and elsewhere in South and Southeast Asia (SEA) has been felt since 2017, particularly following the country’s participation in the BRI Summit in Beijing that year, where Indonesia (along with other SAARC and ASEAN member states) was expected to receive massive investments from China to support several infrastructure projects.

This year, the debates concerning the BRI are again becoming prevalent after Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, as Indonesia’s representative, signed 28 BRI projects last April. Among the various debated subjects is the growing concern about the real nature of the BRI. Is it a Chinese developmental initiative or a geopolitical instrument that uses debt-trap as a tool to bring targeted countries into the desired terms?

Aung San Suu Kyi Will Go to the Mat for Myanmar’s Military in The Hague

Candace Rondeaux

One of the enduring mysteries in recent years is what happened to Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi. Somehow, some way, the woman known as “the Lady of Burma”—who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 after she spent 15 years under house arrest in Myanmar for her democratic activism—seems to have lost her soul. Her drive to the top of Myanmar’s political hierarchy and quest to burnish her political legacy have been relentless, but also devastating for all those who once hailed her commitment to democracy and nonviolence.

Since she became the de facto civilian head of Myanmar’s government following landmark elections in 2015, assuming the newly created position of state counselor, equivalent to prime minister, Aung San Suu Kyi has emerged as one of the most virulent defenders of the military junta that separated her from her family for years and ruled Myanmar for decades—and whose generals still wield most of the power in the country. This week, however, the Nobel laureate showed just how much she will compromise for the sake of power when she announced that she will personally lead the legal team defending Myanmar against charges of genocide at the International Court of Justice. Next month, she will travel to The Hague to fight tooth and nail in a case brought to the ICJ recently by Gambia, with the support of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, alleging that Myanmar’s military committed crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing in its campaign to drive minority Rohingya Muslims out of western Myanmar.

Here’s what you need to know about Bangladesh’s rocketing economy

Katharine Rooney

Bangladesh’s GDP growth rate is forecast to be 8% in 2020

The figures put it ahead of other Asian countries, including India

It could shed its 'least developed country' status in five years

When it first became a country, in 1971, Bangladesh was incredibly poor. The GDP growth rate was -14%, political instability was rife, and the nation was devastated by floods and famine.

Things have moved. Bangladesh now has an average growth rate of 8% – well above the Asian average, Asian Development Bank figures show.

A decline in population growth is also helping an increase in per capita income. The number of employed workers living below the poverty line dropped from 73.5% in 2010 to 10.4% in 2018.

China’s Enduring Influence Over Wa State In Myanmar – Analysis

By Ming Wai Sit and Tin Yau Cheung

In the northern part of Myanmar next to the Chinese border, there lies a Wa state where the way of life resembles that across the border in China. The yuan has become the main currency, Chinese language is widely spoken, and mobile telephones are connected to Chinese networks. It is also where the United Wa State Party (UWSA), the largest non-state armed group in the country, is located. This April marked the 30th anniversary of an internal coup within the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) by the Wa, with a three-day military parade. During the parade, Bao Youxiang, the President of Wa, even vowed, “We will not hesitate to sacrifice our lives and achieve the goal of being an autonomous state.”

This article will discuss the reasons behind such a phenomenon in Wa state, the way and the extent of China’s intervention, and also the challenges faced by the Myanmar government.

Historical background of Myanmar’s ethnic issues

After the Second World War, the interim Myanmar government organized a meeting between the Shan, Kachin and Chin ethnic minority leaders, along with Aung San, to make Myanmar an independent (from Britain) and united (multi-ethnic) country. They eventually reached the Panglong Agreement in 1947, which allowed Frontier Areas to have full internal autonomy.

The US Congress Needs Facts, Not Hyperbole, on China’s Space Program

By Gregory Kulacki

Alarming and factually challenged assessments of China’s space program should not guide U.S. policy.

A recent report from the United States Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) contains alarming language about China’s space program. The first paragraph of the relevant section includes a sentence that demonstrates why no one, especially the U.S. Congress, should take the commission or its recommendations seriously.

In an effort to call attention to the rate of Chinese progress, the commission warns,

If plans hold to launch its first long-term space station module in 2020, it [China] will have matched the United States’ nearly 40-year progression from first human spaceflight to first space station module in less than 20 years.

America’s Friendship 7 carried John Glenn into outer space in 1962. NASA launched the first U.S. space station, Skylab, in 1973. Yang Liwei became the first Chinese astronaut to orbit the earth aboard the Shenzhou 5 in 2003. China’s space station, which will be about the same size as Skylab, is expected to be operational in 2022. As you do the math the commission apparently could not, you should remember the United States completed the Apollo program at the same time, landing 12 U.S. astronauts on the moon and safely returning them to earth.

China’s nuclear arsenal was strikingly modest, but that is changing

“I’m not afraid of nuclear war,” boasted Mao Zedong, China’s leader, in Moscow in 1957. Mao noted that even if half of China’s population were to perish in a radioactive inferno, 300m would remain. His Soviet hosts, who were hardly known for their softhearted devotion to human rights, were shocked. Yet despite Mao’s insouciance, China did not follow America and Russia into the arms race that saw them pile up 60,000 nuclear weapons in the three decades after that speech.

China is a military behemoth, but a nuclear minnow. It accounts for well over half the increase in global defence spending since 1990, but its nuclear stockpile is just 2% of the world’s total, with a paltry 290 bombs—about the same as France or Britain. Nor does it have much to deliver them with. The country is thought to have fewer than 90 launchers for its land-based missiles (compared with America’s 400) and just 20 nuclear-capable bombers (America has 66), according to the Federation of American Scientists, a research group.

Donald Trump’s America Can’t Fight Xi Jinping’s China

By James Palmer

On Friday morning, U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters, “We have to stand with Hong Kong, but I’m also standing with President Xi. He’s a friend of mine,” as he threatened to veto the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate. This extraordinary betrayal of Hong Kongers—in the service of a supposed trade deal that’s already collapsing—was par for the course with Trump, a man deeply ill-prepared for a serious contest with China.

In his first couple of years in office, several China experts I have great respect for told me some variant of “I hate Trump, but I have to respect what he’s done on China.” There was a certain Nixonian quality to it—only Trump could take us away from the Great Wall. But this view was a mistake. A serious shift in U.S. position was inevitable, as China slips further into ethnonationalist dictatorship under Xi Jinping, continues its aggression in the South China Sea, and hardens its own attitudes toward the rest of the world. Trump’s trade war helped that shift come, perhaps, a year earlier than it might have otherwise—and that the new hawkishness has arrived under his administration brings serious problems.

Restraint and the Rise of China

Source Link.
By Peter Harris

Two big ideas threaten to overturn decades of conventional wisdom about how U.S. power should be used overseas. The first idea is a general admonition that the United States should give up its role as guardian of the liberal international order and adopt a more circumscribed grand strategy of restraint. The second is an emerging consensus that America’s leaders should reverse the trend toward economic integration with China and should instead implement a policy of economic, political, and military containment of Beijing’s growing geopolitical clout. Each idea seems to be gaining traction with elected officials in both parties. The only problem is that the ideas might be incompatible.

Calls for restraint

The argument that the United States should severely curtail its overseas commitments is gathering steam in America’s foreign-policy community. It is easy to see why. After 9/11, the United States began a significant program of military interventionism meant to stamp out foreign threats to U.S. national security. Around 7,000 U.S. soldiers have died in those wars -- most of them in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also in warzones such as Syria, Libya, and Yemen. These wars have also cost taxpayers more than $5.9 trillion. Despite these efforts, international terrorism remains an enduring and evolving threat, raising serious doubts about whether endless warfighting has done anything to improve U.S. national security.

Iran Says It Wants To Avoid War, So Why Did It Attack Saudi Arabia?

Iranian protestations of innocence notwithstanding, the arrows following last week's massive drone and missile strikes on oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia all point toward Tehran. In this, there's one key question that's on everybody's mind: What is Iran after? While Tehran's aggression has made the probability of a U.S. or Saudi military strike on Iran higher in the short term, the Islamic republic does not necessarily intend to trigger such a strike and the ramifications it would entail. On the contrary, Iran is hoping to force an end to the United States' maximum pressure campaign sooner, rather than later — even if that requires riling up the world's superpower even further.

Getting on the Front Foot

Ever since the United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the Iranian nuclear deal, in May 2018, Iran's hard-liners have emphasized that the country must maintain credible deterrence. This means that Iran's escalation has served two interests: Make the United States and its allies pay a higher cost for its pressure campaign and establish the credibility of Iran's threats. Iran has clearly accepted the risk that such an escalation could result in a conflict with the United States, but its demonstration of a credible regional threat and a willingness to use it is forcing the United States to think twice about conducting a strike on Iran.

Review – Thucydides on Choice and Decision Making: Why War is Not Inevitable

By Ilias Kouskouvelis

Getting Thucydides ‘right’?

Within the discipline of International Relations (IR), the treatment of Thucydides as a canon/classic hardly causes surprise. Yet it certainly comes with considerable frustration, especially given the varied reception of the ancient writer or the polysemy of a dictum like ‘‘Thucydides rules, OK?’’ (Mikelis, 2015: 22). His emergence as the father of IR stems from several instances of him being evoked in the field’s constitution, in terms of a “marker of contemporary International Relations Theory” (Ruback, 2015). This process includes concepts such as the “Thucydides Function”, that is the establishment of a disciplinary common ground upholding Thucydides at its center. It also involves the “Thucydides Industry”, referring to the interpretations and invocations of him within the IR scholarship (Ruback, 2015: 407-408, 2016: 18). The industry includes a set of “three Is”, namely the ‘Invoker’, ‘Imperialist’ and ‘Inquisitor’ dispositions. The ‘Invoker’ relates to the presentation of passing references to Thucydides. The ‘Imperialist’ relates to theoretical development via an explicit position. The ‘Inquisitor’ involves raising a relevant theory, without having firstly announced a theoretical position. Another option is to firmly resist the Thucydides Function, with a focus on the ambiguous elements of Thucydides (Ruback, 2016: 21-27).

Getting Thucydides on Decisions right

Can a Young Saudi Prince End the War in Yemen?

By Colum Lynch , Lara Seligman , Robbie Gramer

Four and a half years ago, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman led a military coalition against a Houthi insurgency in Yemen, drawing Saudi Arabia into the most disastrous war in its modern history. Now, he is looking to his little brother, Khalid bin Salman, to get him out of it.

Last week, Khalid bin Salman traveled to Muscat, Oman, for a meeting with Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said to prepare the groundwork for high-level talks with the Iranian-backed Houthis, who seized control of Yemen’s presidential palace in January 2015, forcing the Saudi-backed president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, to flee the capital of Sanaa. The meeting marks the culmination of more than three years of highly discreet, mostly secret direct talks between Saudi and Houthi officials.

The prince’s diplomatic mission to Oman sends a “strong signal” of a shift in Saudi Arabia’s war policy, reflecting “a commitment to a final comprehensive peace … and a realization that there is no military solution to the conflict,” said Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, a former Yemeni foreign minister. “I believe Prince KBS hopefully has come with a new vision to put an end to a costly war which has created great regional stability.”

Israel's New Way of War

Seth Frantzman

Commuters on Route 4, driving toward the Israeli coastal city of Ashdod on November 12, were shocked by an explosion, a rocket impact next to a major intersection. Had it fallen on a car or one of the many trucks plying the route, there would have been deaths, and the road would have been closed. Instead, police and Israeli Home Front Command units came and cordoned off the sidewalk, and drivers went about their day.

Twenty-five miles south of where the rocket landed, other rocket teams from Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), an Iranian-backed terrorist group, were preparing to fire more than 400 rockets at Israel during a brief flare-up in fighting. Most of them would be intercepted by Israel's high-tech air defense.

More than 2,000 rockets have been fired into Israel since March 2018.

The ability of millions of Israelis to mostly go about their day while Israel's air force carries out precision air strikes nearby is due to Israel's latest achievements in fighting war. It also comes with questions about whether Israel is being effective and what this latest revolution in military affairs means in the long term.

Israel Demolished Iranian Republican Guard Corps HQs in Syria in Retaliation for Rocket Attack

by Sebastien Roblin

What happens next? Is a Middle East War possible? 

What prompted this ineffectual attack from Iranian forces?

Like the Ouroboros, the snake that is forever preoccupied devouring its own tail, the side-show war between Israel and Iranian forces in Syria seemingly stretches out into an infinite series of violent affronts repaid in kind.

Since 2013, Iran has built up a military presence in Syria not only to combat rebels opposing the Syrian government under Bashar al-Assad, but to build up a military infrastructure that could pressure Israel, including by transferring arms to proxies like Hezbollah. Over that same period of time, Israel has retaliated with hundreds of airstrikes blasting the Iranian bases.

For example, in August, Israel warplanes killed two people in an attack described as pre-empting a scheme to deploy a swarm of drones to attack targets in Israel.

Several commentators have connected the November 19 rocket attack is being a response to Israel’s assassinated Bahaa Abu al-Ata, the commander of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, with a surprise air strike in Gaza on November 12. The same day, Syria reported a reported missile attack on the home of another PIL leader living in Damascus named Akram al-Ajouri, killing his son and one bystander.

As Gaza Falls Apart, The Next Israel-Hamas War Is Becoming More Likely

by Ram Yavne, Ari Cicurel

A casual observer could be forgiven for presuming Israel and Hamas again stand on the precipice of war as rockets fly over Tel Aviv and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) strike key Hamas leadership targets in response. Despite the volatile situation in Gaza this past year, including ongoing attacks incited by Hamas along the border, both sides are exploring a ceasefire rather than escalating to a fourth major conflict in a decade. A form of mutual deterrence has evolved that enables, and indeed encourages, both sides to limit the violence and avoid full-scale war.

While offering a sliver of hope for stability, this tenuous equilibrium between a liberal democracy and a terrorist group could collapse in the near future, due to Gaza’s humanitarian situation and the ubiquitous potential for miscalculation between adversaries.

The current incentive for both sides to limit the violence results from various military and political factors in recent years. On the operational level, Israel’s ability to intercept rockets and detect cross-border tunnels from Gaza limits the amount of damage Hamas can inflict, mitigating Israel’s imperative to respond as forcefully or rapidly as it did before these defenses came online.

Israel’s Netanyahu is indicted amid political gridlock

Natan Sachs and Kevin Huggard

Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit ended months of speculation today in announcing his decision to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. The move caps a dramatic and tumultuous year in Israeli politics. If convicted, Netanyahu could face prison time, potentially making him the second consecutive Israeli prime minister — after Ehud Olmert — to go to prison.

Mandelblit’s decision was not in and of itself a surprise, but that this indictment will include a charge of bribery, the most serious charge Netanyahu faced, represents the worst possible legal and political outcome for the prime minister. Netanyahu reacted to the announcement by sticking to his message: that he is the victim of a political witch hunt, accusing the state authorities of an attempted coup, no less. It is worth remembering that this attorney general, a civil servant (Israel has a separate political post of minister of justice) was a former Netanyahu aide and was appointed by him to this post. Netanyahu will not go quietly.

That this indictment will include a charge of bribery…represents the worst possible legal and political outcome for the prime minister.

A new era of cyber warfare: Russia’s Sandworm shows “we are all Ukraine” on the internet

By Cynthia Brumfield

In-depth research on Russia's Sandworm hacking group shows broad capabilities and scope to disrupt anything from critical infrastructure to political campaigns in any part of the world.

Speakers at this year’s CyberwarCon conference dissected a new era of cyber warfare, as nation-state actors turn to a host of new advanced persistent threat (APT) strategies, tools and tactics to attack adversaries and spy on domestic dissidents and rivals. The highest profile example of this new era of nation-state digital warfare is a Russian military intelligence group called Sandworm, a mysterious hacking initiative about which little has been known until recently. The group has nevertheless launched some of the most destructive cyberattacks in history.

Wired journalist Andy Greenberg has just released a high-profile book about the group, which he said at the conference is an account of the first full-blown cyberwar led by these Russian attackers. He kicked off the event with a deep dive into Sandworm, providing an overview of the mostly human experiences of the group’s malicious efforts.

South Korea and America Do Not Share the Same Interests

by Olivia Schieber

The United States has 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the Korean War and a deterrent to North Korea. The costs of that deployment are shared by both the US and the ROK, with Seoul carrying close to $1 billion annually, roughly 40 percent of the total cost. But Donald Trump wants South Korea to pay more. Specifically, 400 percent more. That’s unlikely to happen.

While policymakers and defense experts generally agree that South Korea can and should shoulder more of the burden, Seoul reacted with anger to the $5 billion ask US Defense Secretary Mark Esper relayed during a surly meeting earlier this week. Not only that, but the same day talks dissolved with the US, South Korea signed a defense agreement with China. A $5 billion request is certainly a shock to the system, but the larger issue is that increasingly, South Koreans don’t believe their interests align with those of the US.

This week, they took to the streets to protest US demands. Some argue that Washington is using South Korea as part of its plan to contain China. The notion seems bizarre after nearly seven decades of American commitment to peace and security in the South. But for many South Koreans, even the threat of the North is not enough of a convincing justification when it comes to the US-ROK alliance. President Moon Jae-in has placed peace and inter-Korea relations at the forefront of his North Korea policy, at times putting South Korea at odds with the US and Japan, who favor sanctions and pressure over engagement. Moon Chung-in, a close senior adviser of President Moon, expressed frustration that South Korea had “sacrificed” North-South Korea relations in favor of the US-South Korea alliance, concluding that the US position on these matters has been “harmful.”

River of the Dammed

In October, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in starting peace negotiations with Eritrea. But his country is still in the middle of another major dispute that threatens regional stability. This one is over the waters of the Nile River, specifically, Ethiopia’s plans to build the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the river’s Blue Nile tributary. Egypt considers the dam to be a looming threat to its very survival. Ethiopia, on the other hand, sees the undertaking as essential for its development and has vowed to continue the project no matter the ramifications.

Ethiopia and Egypt are two of Africa’s most populous and powerful countries; any ongoing showdown between them is a major threat to peace, which is why the international community should press for an equitable settlement.

Both countries have expressed their preference for a negotiated long-term settlement for the dispute, but the road there has not been smooth. A round of negotiations in early October—following many others over the last few years—failed to reach a compromise. Egypt accuses Ethiopia of dismissing concerns its officials have raised about the threat to its water security. Ethiopia insists that pending issues will be resolved before the completion of the dam.

Recognizing Israeli Settlements Marks the Final Collapse of Pax Americana

By declaring earlier this week that the United States does not consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal—and thereby recognizing some form of Israeli sovereignty over the occupied territory—President Donald Trump’s administration not only undercut over 50 years of U.S. foreign policy, it also undermined the basis for the United States’ objection to Russia’s land grab in Crimea, China’s absorption of Tibet in the 1950s and current designs on the South China Sea, and any future move by either to extend their borders to places where they can assert—even a flimsy—historic or ethnic rationale.

That the entire episode contradicts the United Nations Charter, of which the United States was a co-author, is hardly surprising at this point: For Trump, the U.N. may well be merely another skyscraper in Manhattan that would look better with his name on top. To the rest of the world, however, the decision will mark the final collapse of Pax Americana, the overly simplistic but still valid idea that U.S. military, economic, and diplomatic power has helped the world avoid a third world war through a combination of deterring revanchism, selective intervention, and global economic and diplomatic institution-building.

U.S. Diplomacy’s ‘Gordon Problem’ Goes Way Beyond Gordon Sondland

Armed with a wry smile and $55,000 watch, Ambassador Gordon Sondland couldn’t have offered a starker contrast to the career diplomats he was compelled to testify alongside in the public impeachment hearings. 

Sondland, a millionaire former hotel magnate with no prior diplomatic experience now serving as U.S. ambassador to the European Union, sought to portray himself as just one of the foreign-policy team. He said he was in lockstep with the president, other senior diplomats, and the interagency process on President Donald Trump’s Ukraine policy. “Everyone was in the loop,” he said.

Some of Sondland’s colleagues—most of them professional diplomats and national security officials—begged to differ with his characterization of a smooth-running team. One, National Security Council aide Tim Morrison, referred to the “Gordon problem.” Another former aide, Fiona Hill—a witness Thursday on the final day of public impeachment hearings this week—was even more blunt. Hill said Sondland was involved in “a domestic political errand” related to Trump’s alleged efforts to improperly withhold military aid and use an Oval Office meeting as leverage with Ukraine’s leader. Other diplomats, including Hill, were “involved in national security foreign policy,” she said.

Making Affordable Water For The Poor – OpEd

By Dr. Michael A. Bengwayan

Meeting the basic water needs of the world’s poorest people can only happen if investments in infrastructure are redirected to affordable, decentralized an environmentally sustainable technologies.

Yet this approach is being largely ignored by governments and financial institutions as well as large dam lobbyists.

Affordable water technologies can that raise the yields of small farmers are essential for increasing food production. Small farmers, most of who live on rain-fed lands, make up the great majority of the world’s extremely poor people. Raising their yields require water, water management and rainwater harvesting technologies.

The widespread implementation of small-scale infrastructure for delivering water services is a prerequisite for achieving the Millenium Development Goals.

This calls for pump technologies, drip irrigation and small water impounding systems.

Infographic Of The Day: 69 Trillion Of World Debt

Two decades ago, total government debt was estimated to sit at $20 trillion. Since then, according to the latest figures by the IMF, the number has ballooned to $69.3 trillion with a debt to GDP ratio of 82% - the highest totals in human history. Which countries owe the most money, and how do these figures compare?

Network Geography: Cyber Landscapes


“What difference does that make, what channel you got?” complains Ed Lindsay while he flips the stations on a television in a boarding house common room. Lindsay, a character in a 1961 episode of The Twilight Zone, is frustrated with the rapt attention that his housemates pay to the television. Soon after this exchange, Lindsay retrieves his 1935 console radio from the basement, and he finds that it receives, literally, broadcasts from the past. The radio’s mystical power eventually transports Lindsay into the past for which he longs.[1] The episode, named “Static,” avoids the usual, clichéd plot of fear of advancing technology coupled with eroding humanity, so often found in science fiction.[2] Instead, it makes a more subtle point about technology that is implicit but often overlooked in these narratives, namely that technology shapes the social experience of time and space. Though a permutation of the same broadcast technology, the TV world has different spatial and temporal reference points than does the world of radio. This can be seen in Lindsay’s characterization of a musical performance on TV as “ruining a perfectly good song.” The values imposed by the TV (video) are different from the values imposed by radio (audio). This is more than just an issue of production quality; it changes the interactions of the individuals within those spaces. Television’s visual values prompt Lindsay to refer to his housemates as “hypnotized” as they watch. This is different from the space of radio, which created an interactive social space around its speakers, so when Lindsay reconstructs his space to the 1940s, the radio is not the focal point in the room, instead the focal point is his love interest.

The Growth And Challenges Of Cyber Insurance

Andrew Granato , Andy Polacek

Cyberattacks have grown in frequency and cost over the past decade, with high-profile cases, such as the 2013 Target data breach, the 2017 Equifax data breach, and the leak of Democratic National Committee emails during the 2016 election making national headlines. Ransomware attacks, intellectual property theft, and fraud cost companies billions in recovery expenses, fines, and lost revenues every year. More firms are purchasing cyber insurance as a way to cover losses and expenses resulting from cyber incidents.

However, cyber insurance alone is not a panacea, and even firms that have cyber insurance may not be as protected as they think. Unlike traditional lines of business such as private auto insurance, where standardized policies provide liability or collision coverage, cyber insurance policy language is not standardized. The types of risks covered under cyber insurance vary significantly across policies and businesses, and insurers do not always agree on what loss events are covered under those policies. The features of cyber events, including a limited loss history, the unreliability of past data when predicting future events, and the possibility of a large-scale attack where losses are highly correlated across companies and/or industries, make it difficult to write comprehensive policies. In this Chicago Fed Letter, we examine the extent to which cyber insurance can help protect businesses and the wider economy from the costs of cyberattacks and how institutional factors and legal uncertainties may obstruct the development of this market.

Cybersecurity at Big Events

High-​profile events, such as the G20 Summits and the Olympic Games, are increasingly influenced by globalization, geopolitical developments and digitalization. Alice Crelier writes that these elements open the door for the proliferation of nefarious cyber activities. Due to their costs, political implications, reach through media and reputational significance, such events cannot neglect cybersecurity. In response, Crelier here defines an approach to big events and addresses key issues regarding cybersecurity organizational processes and incidents. To do so, she also uses the G20 Leaders’ Summits and recent Olympic Games as case studies. 

What to Expect from Congress’ Cyber Strategy Brain Trust


The Cyberspace Solarium Commission aims to have policy recommendations ready to plug into the next defense authorization bill, Co-Chairman Rep. Mike Gallagher said.

Foreign adversaries are increasingly turning to cyberattacks to disrupt the U.S. economy, steal trade secrets and undermine the political process, and Congress is teaming with government and industry experts to fight back. 

Lawmakers in May stood up the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, a 16-person panel charged with reviewing U.S. cyber strategy and recommending policy changes to improve the country’s response to digital threats. The group, whose members include lawmakers, high-ranking national security officials and a smattering of industry experts, is expected to release its findings around the end of the year.

Nextgov recently sat down with the commission’s co-chairman Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., to discuss gaps in U.S. cyber policy, the high turnover among national security officials and what we can expect from the commission’s report.

Hacking and cyber espionage: The countries that are going to emerge as major threats in the 2020s

By Danny Palmer

Nation-state backed cyber groups have been responsible for major incidents over the last decade. And now more countries want the same power.

The continuing rise of state-backed hackers has been one of the most dramatic cybersecurity developments of recent years. And now it seems a new set of countries are keen to use the same tactics as some of their larger and more powerful rivals.

Cyber espionage has been going on pretty much since the dawn of the web, with Russia, China, Iran and North Korea generally seen as the countries most likely to be engaging in cyber-espionage campaigns against Western targets. Their Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) hacking groups target governments and organisations around the world. Western governments are spending big on their own cyber-espionage expertise too of course, and one of the most high-profile cyberattacks, the Stuxnet worm used against the Iranian nuclear project, was led by the US.

But it's not just the major superpowers and the usual suspects that are looking to take advantage of the internet for intelligence and other gains – and as we move into the 2020s, more governments are looking to level up their cyber capabilities.

The Army’s network modernization plan is aggressive. But is it feasible?

By: Mark Pomerleau 

The Army is still preparing to field the first units with equipment associated with its new network design in 2021, but that hasn’t stopped it from setting its sights on the next build, slated for 2023. At issue is the compressed timeline it’s seeking to meet since it wants to provide iterative upgrades.

The Army’s incremental “capability set” build, a plan to add capabilities to the network every two years beginning in 2021, will require quick turnarounds to prototype, contract for and experiment with capabilities for units.

Col. Garth Winterle, project manager for tactical radios within Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical, told reporters Nov. 21 via teleconference from Austin that, given this cycle, they didn’t have a feeder year where they could shape what they’d be asking for as part of capability set ’23.

As a result, the Army will be asking industry for white papers in December with the intention of inviting companies with promising or exciting technologies back in February for a shark tank-like panel to prioritize technologies and down select. The white paper awards will occur at the end of January, marking what officials again described as an accelerated timeline.

In America's Next Serious War, It's Aircraft Carriers Won't Go Unscathed

by Robert Farley

The United States has decided to spend many billions of dollars on the CVN-78 (“Ford”) class of aircraft carriers to replace the venerable Nimitz class. The latter has served the U.S. Navy since 1975, with the last ship (USS George H. W. Bush) entering service in 2009. The Fords could be in service, in one configuration or another, until the end of the 21st century.

Just as the U.S. government has determined to make this investment, numerous analysts have argued that the increasing lethality of anti-access/area denial systems (especially China’s, but also Russia and Iran) has made the aircraft carrier obsolete. If so, investing in a class of ships intended to serve for 90 years might look like a colossal waste of money.

As with any difficult debate, we should take time to define our terms, and clarify the stakes. The anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) systems around the world may indeed curb the effectiveness of the Ford class, but the U.S. will still find uses for this ships.