30 June 2020

After Galwan Valley Standoff, Does the Russia-India-China Trilateral Still Matter?

By Aleksei Zakharov
Source Link

The Russia-India-China trilateral meeting between (from left) Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of G-20 Summit 2019 in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019.

The China-India standoff at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Himalayas emerged as a serious test for Russia’s policy in Asia. Nurturing hopes for stability and prosperity in Eurasia, Russia’s diplomacy found itself in an intricate situation and forced to strike a balance.

Despite Moscow’s close proximity to Beijing, the Russia-China connection is still far from an alliance relationship, as both sides, even while deepening their military and political cooperation, often disagree when it comes to specifics. Still, it is hard to deny that overall Russia’s “pivot to Asia” has been overly dependent on its China policy. Unlike the glory days of Indo-Soviet friendship, today there is more room for doubt in New Delhi as to whether Russia can qualify as a shoulder to lean on.

Chinese Navy Submarines Could Become A Reality In Indian Ocean

H I Sutton

The Chinese Navy is rapidly pursuing global capabilities. A key area of future operations may be the Indian Ocean. Chinese submarines in particular could have a strategic impact if they were roaming those waters. From China’s standpoint this would protect vital sea lanes that will be vulnerable in any war. Naturally many of the world’s navies would be concerned if this were the case. Chief among them is the Indian Navy, which currently has the largest submarine fleet in the South Asia region.

For Chinese submarines, the relevant routes into the Indian Ocean are the Malacca Strait, Sunda ... [+] H I SUTTON

Concern about China’s naval expansion is a hot topic on the world stage. The U.S. Navy is increasingly pivoting towards Asia. Speaking at the Brussels Forum virtual conference on June 25, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo referenced the Chinese Communist Party’s “threats to India” and other countries in Asia. “We are going to make sure that we are postured appropriately to counter the PLA.” (People’s Liberation Army, which includes the Chinese Navy.)

China’s Indian Ocean ambitions

Joshua T. White

China has significantly expanded its engagements in the Indian Ocean region over the past three decades, raising fears among American and Indian strategists that its growing naval presence, together with its use of so-called “debt-trap diplomacy,” might provide it with meaningful military advantages far from its shores.

Although China’s ultimate aims in the Indian Ocean remain somewhat ambiguous, it is clear that the Chinese leadership is actively pursuing capabilities that would allow it to undertake a range of military missions in the region. This paper explores five such mission objectives — ranging from relatively “benign” activities to those that would be more alarming to U.S. and Indian policy planners — and describes the kinds of defense and economic investments that China would require to carry them out. These objectives are: 1) conduct non-combat activities focused on protecting Chinese citizens and investments, and bolstering China’s soft power influence; 2) undertake counterterrorism activities, unilaterally or with partners, against organizations that threaten China; 3) collect intelligence in support of operational requirements, and against key adversaries; 4) support efforts aimed at coercive diplomacy toward small countries in the region; and 5) enable effective operations in a conflict environment, namely the ability to deter, mitigate, or terminate a state-sponsored interdiction of trade bound for China, and to meaningfully hold at risk U.S. or Indian assets in the event of a wider conflict.

Delhi Must Help Taipei Get Into the WHO

By Jagdish N. Singh

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: It is disappointing that the 73rd meeting of the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), went ahead on May 18-19 without the participation of Taiwan. The dominant mood in the democratic part of the world has long been to bring Taiwan and its 23.8 million people into the WHO.

In May of this year, some 127 European parliamentarians backed Taiwan’s bid to join the World Health Organization (WHO). On May 6, US Secretary of State Pompeo called on WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to invite Taiwan to the upcoming meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of the WHO. He also called upon all nations to support Taiwan’s participation as an observer at the WHA. On May 11, the US Senate passed an act directing Pompeo to “develop a strategy to regain observer status” for Taiwan in the WHO.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Dubs Osama Bin Laden a ‘Martyr’: What Now?

By Umair Jamal

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has stirred new controversy after a speech he gave in the national parliament in which he described Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s death as martyrdom by the United States. Bin Laden was “martyed,” he said.

The statement from the country’s premier is problematic for several reasons. The fact that Khan has given similar statements in the past shows what the country’s ruling elite thinks about the slain leader of the transnational terrorist organization and what it means for Pakistan’s security policy in essence.

It doesn’t appear that Khan’s description of al-Qaeda’s leader as a “martyr” was a mere slip of the tongue. Sources within the prime minister office say that Khan is unlikely to offer a clarification over his statement. This is worrying for two reasons. First, if Khan’s office doesn’t offer clarification, it means the country’s highest policymaking office believes that al-Qaeda’s former head, who killed thousands of civilians worldwide, was a victim rather than an an aggressor.

Regional Implications of a U.S. Pullout from Afghanistan

Thomas Parker
Source Link

Dr. Thomas Parker worked in the Executive Office of the President, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, the Intelligence Community and the U.S. Congress over the course of thirty years. He currently teaches security studies at George Washington University.

President Donald Trump has said he plans to withdraw all U.S. troops (about 12,000) from Afghanistan by 2021 and that the United States should never have gotten involved there in the first place. Moreover, another 7,000 military forces from European countries would almost certainly leave if the United States did. (Turkey, Jordan and the United Arab Emirate also have had forces in Afghanistan in the past.) Trump’s views echo a general disenchantment by much of the American public about U.S. engagement in Afghanistan. No one likes wars that have a beginning but no end.

Virtually all observers of Afghanistan believe that a total international withdrawal of military personnel would result in an Afghan civil war whose violence would be even worse than the current level. About 60,000 full-time Taliban fighters, various militia groups, and remnants of the Afghan National Army would jockey for power locally and for control of Kabul. 

Asia Hurtling Towards A Fentanyl Disaster – Analysis

By Pascal Tanguay*

In May 2020, authorities in Myanmar seized a whopping 3700 litres of liquid fentanyl — equivalent to about 30 bathtubs’ worth — alongside other drugs, precursors and weaponry. The lethal drug is increasingly being found cut into common illicit substances as the opioid epidemic rages in North America and Europe. 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, its growing presence in Asian illicit drug markets will likely prove disastrous.

In 2017, the opioid epidemic claimed the lives of more than 70,000 Americans and close to 4000 Canadians. Opioid overdose is the leading cause of unintentional injury and death in the United States. North America accounts for around a quarter of all opioid users worldwide and just below 10 per cent of all opiate users, a subset of opioid users, globally.

Estimates place the number of people who inject drugs (generally opioids) at around 2.5 million across North America, or about 16 per cent of all injectors across the globe. But in North America, community-based harm reduction services are comprehensive and widely available and take-home naloxone programs are in place.

An Emboldened Beijing Seeks to Consolidate Its Power

The Galwan Valley in the Himalayas is located at an altitude of 4,000 meters (13,123 feet). It is a remote area where the slopes are covered in snow all year round. Last week, the valley made an appearance on the global political stage. China and India, the two most populous countries on the planet faced off along their -- disputed -- Himalayan border. The exact location of where one country ends and the next begins has long been unsettled. Indeed, the two countries went to war over it in 1962.

As the two nuclear-armed states clashed, at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed on the night of June 15. There were also reports of deaths on the Chinese side.

For the first time in almost half a century, the rivalry between the two neighbors has cost human lives. No shots are said to have been fired. Patrols in the area generally don't carry firearms. Both governments are apparently aware that they could easily trigger a world war. The soldiers may have beaten each other to death with stones and clubs. Some are said to have fallen into a ravine during the fighting.

The incident shows how quickly the situation in Asia can escalate and how a cold war can turn into a hot one at any given moment, despite the high level of caution.

China’s Answer to GPS Is Now Fully Complete

By Abhilash Halappanavar

Technological independence and superiority have long been hallmarks of superpowers; China too, in its quest to be a dominant force in the world, has invested heavily in state-of-the-art communication and transmission systems. On June 23, China concluded its decades-long project to build its own global navigation satellite system, a venture that will make it self-sufficient and avoid dependence on foreign rivals when it comes to a network that undergirds modern business, technologies and the military.

The latest satellite in China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System is a third-generation satellite known as BeiDou-3, now in geostationary orbit after having lifted off earlier this week from the Xichang Center in southwestern China. This final satellite of the system will give it full global capability. At this point, China’s completed system is poised to rival America’s GPS, Europe’s Galileo, and Russia’s GLONASS. BeiDou is a prototype of Beijing’s push to build and offer commercial surrogates to Western tech platforms. The system is meant to provide error-free global positioning services, as well as a means to transfer limited amounts of data, for commercial and military users.

Amid a U.S-China 'Cold War,' Here's Where Conflicts Could Break Out


President Barack Obama announced America's "pivot to Asia" in 2011, acknowledging that the future prosperity and influence of the world's wealthiest and most powerful nation would hinge on its presence in the world's most populous continent.

The U.S. pivot to Asia is part of Washington, D.C.'s response to the predicted "Chinese Century," as Beijing comes of age and emerges as the first superpower to challenge U.S. hegemony since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Indeed, some observers have already declared a new Cold War.

Through President Donald Trump's tenure, America's eastwards shift in strategic focus has become more obvious. There are now few in Washington and in capitals across the Western world that do not consider China the greatest strategic challenge facing liberal democracies and the so-called "rules based international order"—sculpted by the U.S. and its allies in the aftermath of World War Two and cemented by the collapse of the USSR.

Trump's tough-on-Beijing rhetoric was a feature of his campaign before he entered the White House. His expansive trade war with China has colored bilateral ties since it began, even though Trump has lauded his personal friendship with President Xi Jinping and praised the dictator's iron grip on power.

Planes in China's Air Force.

Mark J. Valencia 

When in November 2013, China surprised Japan, the U.S. and the world by declaring an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea https://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1796488/chinas-potential-security-game-changer-south-china-sea, analysts, media, and US officials warned that the ‘sky is falling.’ They hyped its possible dire consequences and warned that China would declare a similar ADIZ in the South China Sea. 

In December 2013 then US Secretary of State John Kerry admonished China to “refrain from taking similar unilateral actions elsewhere in the region and particularly in the South China Sea.” https://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1384255/us-warns-china-against-imposing-south-china-sea-air-zone

In January 2014 Evan Medeiros, then Director for Asian Affairs at the US National Security Council said, “We have been very clear with the Chinese that we would see that as a provocative and destabilizing development that would result in changes in our presence and military posture in the region.” http://cc.pacforum.org/2014/05/chinas-maritime-disputes-top-agenda/

Central Asian Gas Exports to China: Beijing’s Latest Bargaining Chip?

Maximilian Hess 
Source Link

Natural gas supplies to the People’s Republic of China have helped drive Central Asia’s economic growth for the last decade. For no country is this more true than for Turkmenistan: over 90 percent of Turkmenistan’s total exports is natural gas exports to China. This figure is up from near zero before the Central Asia-China gas pipeline opened in December 2009. In 2019, Turkmenistan sold Beijing just over 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas, with Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan each selling 10 bcm. The initial outbreak of COVID-19 in China caused significant disruption to these supplies. As the pandemic continues to have an effect on energy demand, a result of the ongoing global economic slowdown, the short-term outlook for Central Asia is troubled. However, over the medium term, the crisis appears set to solidify China’s role in the region—at Central Asia’s expense.
The Pandemic and Energy Exports

The first hint of trouble came in early March when the head of Kazakh state pipeline company KazTransGas (KTG) announced that his firm had received a force majeure declaration from Beijing regarding its natural gas supplies. China released import data for the first two months of the year jointly, arguably in an attempt mask the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, but Turkmen imports—the best proxy for China’s total natural gas imports—were published shortly thereafter and had fallen some 17.2 percent. Chinese imports from Uzbekistan, of which gas is a major component, fell a staggering 35.4 percent. However, the picture is heavily clouded by the fact Kazakh exports rose by 31.6 percent. The trend continued in March and April, both of which saw year-on-year declines for Turkmen and Uzbek exports in excess of 20 percent and 30 percent, respectively, while Kazakh exports again increased by more than 20 percent.


By Dieter Ernst 
Source Link

HONOLULU (16 June 2020)—In July 2017, China’s State Council released the Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan (AIDP). The plan is a road map for using artificial intelligence (AI) to upgrade China’s manufacturing and service industries and to catch up with the US and other advanced economies. This is just the latest in a long string of Chinese efforts to create an advanced technology ecosystem that would be less vulnerable to outside pressures.Monitors at Huawei's Bantian campus in Shenzhen, China, display AI applications for facial recognition. Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images.

America’s political elites broadly agree that the AIDP poses a serious threat to US leadership in science and advanced technology. Following years of concern about intellectual property and technology transfer, the Trump administration has now sharply increased restrictions on China’s access to advanced US technology.

The US Treasury has introduced almost unsurmountable hurdles to Chinese investment in US firms with “sensitive” technology, while the Commerce Department has placed Huawei and China’s leading AI start-up companies on its so-called “Entity List,” which bars foreign companies from buying advanced semiconductors and software from US companies without the government’s approval. According to the new rules, any transfer of information to a foreign national can be deemed an export, requiring an export license. This systematic blocking of knowledge exchange, in effect, cuts off the lifeblood of the global AI industry.


China has deployed a network of sensors and communications capabilities between Hainan Island and the Paracel Islands in the northern South China Sea. These capabilities are part of a “Blue Ocean Information Network” (蓝海信息网络) developed by China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), a state-owned company, to aid in the exploration and control of the maritime environment using information technology. The network constructed in the northern South China Sea between early 2016 and 2019 is referred to as a demonstration system. However, future plans for the Blue Ocean Information Network involve expanding the sensor and communications network to the rest of the South China Sea, the East China Sea, and other ocean areas far from Chinese territory. While the Blue Ocean Information Network is largely cast as an environmental monitoring and communications system, the military utility of its sensing and communications functions makes its development important to monitor.

The most visible elements of this network are two types of “Ocean E-Stations” dubbed “floating integrated information platforms” (IIFP) (浮台信息系统) and “island reef-based integrated information systems” (IRBIS) (岛礁信息系统). AMTI previously identified one of the latter systems after it was deployed to Bombay Reef in the Paracels in mid-2018.

The Monarchs’ Pawns?

Alexandra Stark

This report examines the combined influence of four factors by about 2014 led three Gulf monarchies to change their calculations and adopt proxy warfare strategies aimed more consistently at managing crises that threatened their spheres of interest and maintaining the political status quo for the region rather than revising the regional balance of power. After introducing you to the three Gulf monarchies the report is divided into four sections. The first section examines each of these three Gulf monarchies’ strategic interests in the early post-Arab Spring period from 2011 through 2014 and goes on to look at how these interests shaped their proxy interventions in Bahrain, Libya, and Syria. The second section examines the four factors that led the Gulf states to change their strategic assessments, and the third section examines the interventions that followed that turning point in Yemen. Finally, the conclusion discusses what the Gulf states’ shifting approach means for U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Thank you to David Sterman for his careful editorial guidance and support throughout the production of this report, to the rest of the International Security Program team, and Joe Wilkes for formatting the report. I would also like to thank my PhD dissertation advisor Dr. Lise M Howard, and committee members Dr. Andrew Bennett and Dr. Daniel Byman. Their guidance greatly shaped my dissertation framing and research, which in turn helped me conceptualize the framework for this report. Many thanks also to Nate Rosenblatt, the reviewer of this paper, and Andrew Leber for their thoughtful feedback. Any remaining errors are mine alone.

Why Putin’s Bid to Become President for Life Is No Sure Thing

Candace Rondeaux 

If all goes as planned next week, Vladimir Putin will be on a glide path to serve as Russia’s perpetual president. On July 1, Russia will hold a national referendum on a proposed package of changes to its constitution that many predict will essentially pave the way for Putin to run for office again after his current six-year presidential term expires in 2024.

In theory, the proposed changes—which will, among other things, “reset the clock” on the current constitutional limit of two consecutive presidential terms—mean Putin could win two more elections and remain in power until 2036. If he does, he would be 84 years old by the time he stepped down and would have outstripped the tenure of the Kremlin’s last iron-fisted leader for life, Joseph Stalin, by about seven years.

Reopening America&The World

The coronavirus has imposed a heavy toll on people’s lives, livelihoods, and connections with one another. As America and the world reopen from this devastating pandemic, it is important to examine how the process is taking place, its impact on individual lives and livelihoods, and learn from the experiences of other nations. In this report, we look at the experiences of the United States and other countries to see what we can derive about the reopening and its human impact. We present the insights and observations of three dozen Brookings scholars who look at reopening from many different angles and offer their thoughts and recommendations.

The first volume focuses on the American experience while the second one examines the experiences of other nations and lessons for the United States. Brookings President John Allen’s essay presents an overview of the pandemic and the serious questions it has raised for the world. Our goals in this project are to inform the public conversation about COVID, help business, government, and civic leaders take their next steps, and think about the immediate and longer-term consequences of the virus. We must learn as much as possible about this pandemic in order to address its overall ramifications.

Pompeo says US ready to team up on China, but EU eyes a post-Trump world

Source Link

Donald Trump is finally ready to join forces with the EU against China — but his offer to link arms comes just as many European leaders are hoping U.S. voters will soon ditch the president, and after three years in which trust in Washington has all but evaporated.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday unexpectedly declared that the U.S. had accepted a proposal to create a new U.S.-EU dialogue on China that was put forward last week by the bloc's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, during a videoconference.

Pompeo, in a speech to the Brussels Forum, an annual event held by the German Marshall Fund of the U.S., laid out a litany of complaints and grievances with Beijing, referring repeatedly to "the threat of the Communist Party in China" and hammering especially hard on allegations that China covered up information about the outbreak of the coronavirus.

He accused China of "provocative military actions" including "continued aggression in the South China Sea, deadly border confrontations in India, an opaque nuclear program and threats against peaceable neighbors."

The Retrenchment Syndrome

By H. R. McMaster

In the decades after the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, the simplistic but widely held belief that the war had been unjustified and unwinnable gave way to “the Vietnam syndrome”—a conviction that the United States should avoid all military interventions abroad. The mantra of “no more Vietnams” dominated foreign policy, muting more concrete discussions of what should be learned from that experience. Instead, the analogy was applied indiscriminately; U.S. military operations in the Balkans, the Horn of Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East prompted assertions that the use of force would lead to “another Vietnam.” It was not until the United States won a lopsided victory over the military of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in the 1990–91 Gulf War that President George H. W. Bush could declare that the United States had finally “kicked the Vietnam syndrome.” 

Nearly three decades later, however, a new mantra of “ending endless wars” has emerged from frustrations over indecisive, protracted, and costly military interventions abroad. These frustrations have reproduced the Vietnam syndrome in a new guise: the Afghanistan-Iraq syndrome. Across the political spectrum, many Americans have come to believe that retrenchment would not only avoid the costs of military operations overseas but also improve U.S. security. They have found support for this belief in analyses like those that appeared in this magazine’s lead package for its March/April 2020 issue, titled “Come Home, America?” 

South Korea’s Digital New Deal

By Troy Stangarone

As the world continues to recover from the COVID-19 induced economic recession, the Moon administration has proposed spending 76 trillion won ($62 billion) over the next five years on the Korean New Deal to prepare the South Korean economy for the future.

The Korean New Deal is centered on two pillars – the Green New Deal and the Digital New Deal. While the Green New Deal is focused on transitioning South Korea to a net-zero emissions economy, the Digital New Deal would lay the foundations for a digital economy that will spur economic growth and innovation.

Information and communications technologies (ICT) are transforming the global economy. The new digital economy that is emerging is underpinned by technologies such as 5G, big data, and artificial intelligence (AI). IHS Markit estimates that by 2035 the 5G global value chain will be worth $3.6 trillion and support 22.3 million jobs. AI and big data are expected to have similar economic impacts.

Global Economic Prospects, June 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has, with alarming speed, dealt a heavy blow to an already-weak global economy, which is expected to slide into its deepest recession since the second world war, despite unprecedented policy support. The global recession would be deeper if countries take longer to bring the pandemic under control, if financial stress triggers defaults, or if there are protracted effects on households and firms. Economic disruptions are likely to be more severe and protracted in emerging market and developing economies with larger domestic outbreaks and weaker medical care systems; greater exposure to international spillovers through trade, tourism, and commodity and financial markets; weaker macroeconomic frameworks; and more pervasive informality and poverty. Beyond the current steep economic contraction, the pandemic is likely to leave lasting scars on the global economy by undermining consumer and investor confidence, human capital, and global value chains. Being mostly a reflection of the recent plunge in global energy demand, low oil prices are unlikely to provide much of a boost to global growth in the near term. While policymakers’ immediate priorities are to address the health crisis and moderate the short-term economic losses, the likely long-term consequences of the pandemic highlight the need to forcefully undertake comprehensive reform programs to improve the fundamental drivers of economic growth, once the crisis abates.


The EU has made democracy support a stronger aspect in its relations with African countries since 2002. However, a broad range of political and economic dynamics within as well as outside of Europe challenge democracy and its supporters: the rise of non-democratic countries such as China, challenges to democracy within the EU, and global autocratization trends, which include African countries. While posing new challenges the EU needs to react to, these trends also reinforce the importance of continued support and protection of democracy abroad. In light of this changed context, the EU will need to fundamentally adjust its strategic approach and instruments towards democracy support in Africa. Against this background, this paper discusses reasons for the EU to continue and even strengthen its democracy support in Africa: societal demands in Africa and regional democracy norms; the relationship between democracy and sustainable development as well as the new geostrategic competition. The paper analyses how the EU’s support for democracy and human rights in sub-Saharan Africa has developed over the last decades in terms of its understanding of democracy support as well as its substance. The paper concludes by making ten proposals for reforming the EU’s democracy support in Africa. The reform proposals relate to a new narrative and more strategic approach to democracy support in light of the changed geopolitical setting, to addressing megatrends more explicitly through democracy support or to reforming the EU’s institutional prerequisites.

Europe as a Neutral Giant?

Joseph de 
Source Link

From Emmanuel Macron to Ursula von der Leyen, many European leaders dream of the European Union (EU) asserting itself one day as a geopolitical superpower in its own right.

There is still a long way to go, however. True, the Europeans manage to play some degree of power politics vis-à-vis Moscow—the EU economic sanctions over the annexation of Crimea certainly help contain a resurgent Russia. But on almost all other geopolitical hot-button issues, Europeans fail to formulate any meaningful foreign policy that can’t be ignored by the big powers.

In Syria, the EU has been AWOL despite millions of Syrians having fled the civil war to Europe. In Libya, EU members cancel each other out. Berlin and Rome back the internationally recognized government in Tripoli, while Paris lends at least diplomatic support to military strongman Khalifa Haftar. In Iran, Europeans fail to deliver on their obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal, as Washington’s secondary sanctions prevent EU companies from trading with Tehran. In the Balkans, Brussels is struggling to uphold its influence, which is further complicated by France, the Netherlands, and Denmark making it clear that they are not keen on allowing EU enlargement into Albania and North Macedonia anytime soon.


The world is currently in the grips of a global pandemic known as COVID-19. As of June 10, 2020, there were more than 7.2 million confirmed cases1 in at least 177 countries.2 More than 412,100 people have reportedly died due to the disease3 , which is caused by a strain of coronavirus. First identified in 1968, coronaviruses are a family of related RNA viruses known to cause illness in animals and humans.4 Depending on the strain, coronaviruses can cause a range of illnesses, from mild infections like the common cold to deadly diseases like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a strain of coronavirus similar to SARS-CoV, the strain that caused the 2003 SARS pandemic. This virus has been designated SARS-CoV-2. Based on an examination of the early stages of the outbreak, efforts to conceal the spread and novel nature of the virus, failures to share accurate information as required by international law5 , and the suppression of voices seeking to warn the world, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) bears overwhelming responsibility for allowing a local outbreak to become a global pandemic. Senior CCP leaders, including CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping, knew a pandemic was occurring weeks before they warned the public. Research shows that the CCP could have reduced the number of cases in China by up to 95%6 , had it fulfilled its obligations under international law and implemented a public health response at an earlier date. 7 The World Health Organization (WHO) enabled the CCP cover-up by failing to investigate and publicize reports conflicting with the official CCP, while at the same time praising the CCP’s response. In sum, the COVID-19 global pandemic could have been prevented if the CCP acted in a transparent and responsible manner

Can Telephones Race? 5G and the Evolution of Telecom

This report is divided into three sections, which are published separately. The first, presented here, looks at the environment for competition by exploring how 5G creates wealth, the standards contest, and the effect of technological change in telecommunications as we move to an “open” environment. The second will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of two key national competitors in Europe and China. A final section to be published later concludes by assessing U.S. strength and recommending elements of a comprehensive national approach to 5G strategy.

The growing recognition that technology builds national power has led to a narrative of a “race” between the United States and China. China is now what the European Union calls a “systemic rival” and technology is a central part of this rivalry. China has recognized the advantages of being a leader in technology and uses statist economic policies and espionage to obtain an advantage. Fifth-generation mobile technologies (5G) have become one of the most high-profile domains where this competition is playing out.

Key Points

The United States is not losing the 5G “race.” S. (and Japanese) technologies are essential for 5G infrastructure.

29 June 2020

To Stand Up to China, India Must First Boost Its Economy


While last week’s border skirmishes between India and China sent commentators rushing to Google Maps to locate obscure mountainous locales, the jousting in the Himalayas may prove to be a geopolitical inflection point. On strategic affairs, New Delhi and Beijing have long been at loggerheads, but the former has attempted a tightrope walk of cozying up to the West without alienating the communist regime. That may be about to change. In the wake of the brutal killing of at least twenty Indian soldiers by Chinese forces wielding a medieval mix of stones, clubs, and nail-studded rods, India might be forced to rethink its longstanding policy of strategic hedging.


Yet the foreign policy impact of last week’s high-altitude encounter will turn less on India’s diplomatic and defense maneuvers than on simple economics at home. India’s ability to project power abroad, protect its homeland, and assemble and sustain meaningful partnerships depends on the capacity of India’s political leaders to quickly and competently get its economy back on track. The foreign policy crisis consuming the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the wake of the border clash—as real and raw as it might be—cannot be resolved unless India first fixes its economic emergency.

The Sino-Indian Clash: Russia in the Middle

By Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

In the midst of a border crisis with China, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh is away in Moscow. At the same time, India’s foreign minister joined his Russian and Chinese counterparts online for an Russia-India-China (RIC) meeting. The Sino-Indian crisis potentially puts Russia in a difficult position, having to choose between its traditional partners in India, which also represents a lucrative arms market, and its new but much more powerful friend in the east, China. 

The ostensible reason for Singh’s visit to Russia was to attend the rescheduled Victory Day Parade. The annual parade commemorating the end of World War II was supposed to be held on May 9, but was postponed due to the pandemic. A 75-member tri-service Indian military contingent participated in the parade. 

The Chinese defense minister was also in Moscow to attend the same parade. However, the Indian side made it clear that there would be no meeting between the two ministers. All negotiations between India and China on the border crisis are taking place bilaterally either through diplomatic channels or through local military commanders. The fact that the RIC meeting was an online affair also helps to ensure that Russia is not forced to mediate between the two sides. 

Afghanistan: Road To Nowhere – Analysis

By S. Binodkumar Singh*
Source Link

On June 17, 2020, at least 10 Police personnel were killed when Taliban militants aggressively attacked their checkpoints in the Shurabak District of Kandahar Province.

On June 17, 2020, seven Police personnel were killed in a Taliban attack in Pul-e-Khumri, capital of the Baghlan Province. Another five Police personnel were wounded in the attack.

On June 16, 2020, six Afghan soldiers were killed when Taliban militants attacked an Army post in the Bala Hisar area of Aqcha District in Jowzjan Province. Another three soldiers were injured in the incident.

On June 5, 2020, 15 Police personnel were killed in an ambush by the Taliban on the Zabul-Kandahar highway near the city of Qalat in Zabul Province.

On May 28, 2020, 14 members of the Afghan Border Force were killed in an attack by the Taliban in the Dand-e-Patan District of Paktia Province. Three members of the Border Force were also wounded in the attack.

China’s Military Provokes Its Neighbors, but the Message Is for the United States

By Steven Lee Myers
Source Link

In the same week that Chinese and Indian soldiers engaged in a deadly brawl, one of China’s submarines cruised through the waters near Japan, prompting a scramble of aircraft and ships to track its furtive movements. Chinese fighter jets and at least one bomber buzzed Taiwan’s territorial airspace almost daily.

With the world distracted by the coronavirus pandemic, China’s military has encroached upon its neighbors’ territories on several fronts throughout the spring and now into summer, flexing its military might in ways that have raised alarms across Asia and in Washington.

China’s military assertiveness reflects a growing sense of confidence and capability, but also one of confrontation, particularly with the United States over the pandemic, the fate of Hong Kong and other issues that China considers central to its sovereignty and national pride.

China Has ‘First-Strike’ Capability To Melt U.S. Power Grid With Electromagnetic Pulse Weapon

James Conca

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security issued a scary report on China’s ability to conduct an Electromagnetic Pulse attack on the United States. The key takeaway, according to Dr. Peter Pry,
 executive director of the department’s EMP task force, is that China now has super-EMP weapons, knows how to protect itself against an EMP attack, and has developed protocols to conduct a first-strike attack, even as they deny they would ever do so.

According to the Center for Strategic International Studies, China has the most active ballistic missile development program in the world, so this is doubly troubling. China used stolen U.S. technology to develop at least three types of high-tech weapons to attack the electric grid and key technologies that could cause a surprise “Pearl Harbor” attack that could produce a deadly blackout to the entire country.

Dr. Pry outlines how China has built a network of satellites, high-speed missiles, and super-electromagnetic pulse weapons that could melt down our electric grid, fry critical communications, and even takeout the ability of our aircraft carrier groups to respond.

In U.S.-China Trade War, New Supply Chains Rattle Markets


With relations between Washington and Beijing in freefall, the future of global supply chains is uncertain. Even as inconsistent White House messages continue to raise questions about the direction of U.S. trade policy, trade war tariffs remain in effect. Meanwhile, the fallout from Beijing’s proposed national security law, which threatens to constrain Hong Kong’s autonomy, further imperils the already fragile phase one trade agreement between the two superpowers. This friction, paired with the race to secure medical supplies and develop a coronavirus vaccine, is provoking a reevaluation of just-in-time supply chains that privilege efficiency above all else.

A chorus of ‘re’-themed supply chain buzzwords—resiliency, redundancy, reshoring, restructuring, and regionalization, to name a few—is music to the ears of White House protectionists, who launched the trade war and who think China’s global manufacturing role is long overdue for revision. U.S. President Donald Trump’s strategy of reducing the United States’ trade deficits and rejuvenating the U.S. economy stems from a nationalist view of supply chains. In this vein, Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro signaled the country’s $2 trillion in spending on stimulus packages in part aims to bring more manufacturing jobs back to American shores.

The US and China Tussle Over Hong Kong

HONG KONG: President Donald Trump’s announcement that the United States would sanction China for ending Hong Kong’s autonomous status is unlikely to have much impact on the ground, but does reflect the depth of deterioration in the bilateral relationship during the weeks since March 27, when he last spoke with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.

“Possession is nine-tenths of the law,” as the adage goes, and China undoubtedly possesses Hong Kong. No one challenges that. The United States and other countries, including Britain, may challenge the legality of China’s actions but since there is no way to enforce international law, the most any can hope for is that Beijing will be more circumspect in its actions. Immediately, this means drafting the national security law for Hong Kong narrowly to avoid unduly affecting the vast majority of the city’s residents.

Trump has indicated a lack of personal support of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and in 2019 referred to them as “riots.” He earlier referred to the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Beijing as “riots” and called the Chinese leaders “strong” for having put the uprising down.

The China “Constrainment” Doctrine


LONDON – It is necessary to know some history in order to draw the right lessons from it. All too often, alleged parallels and similarities seem far-fetched on close examination. So, when it was suggested recently that China’s recent behavior – bullying, lying, and violating treaties – was similar to that of Germany prior to World War I, I was doubtful.

In 1911, for example, Germany’s Wilhelm II provoked an international crisis by deploying a gunboat to Agadir, Morocco to try to squeeze concessions out of France and drive a wedge between that country and Britain. Instead, the episode convinced France and Britain of Germany’s aggressive intentions – a conclusion borne out three years later by the outbreak of war.

Maybe it is too pessimistic to draw similar conclusions today about the behavior of the Communist Party of China (CPC). But the events of the last few months surely call for a coordinated response by the rest of the world, and especially by liberal democracies. If Chinese President Xi Jinping’s aggressive behavior is to be discouraged, we need to get together and stick together.

The list of China’s transgressions is long. While the rest of the world has been distracted by a pandemic that spread in part because of the CPC’s secrecy and lies, China has increased its military threats against Taiwan and reneged on treaty-based promises to respect Hong Kong’s traditional freedoms under the rule of law.

China’s Approach to Global Governance

For more than two millennia, Chinese leaders saw their country as one of the dominant actors in the world. The concept of zhongguo—the Middle Kingdom, as China calls itself—is not simply geographic. It implies that China is the cultural, political, and economic center of the world. This Sino-centrist worldview has in many ways shaped China’s outlook on global governance—the rules, norms, and institutions that regulate international cooperation. The decline and collapse of imperial China in the 1800s and early 1900s, however, diminished Chinese influence on the global stage for more than a century.

In the past two decades, China has reemerged as a major power, with the world’s second largest economy and a world-class military. It increasingly asserts itself, seeking to regain its centrality in the international system and over global governance institutions.

These institutions, created mostly by Western powers after World War II, include the World Bank, which provides loans and grants to developing states; the International Monetary Fund, which works to secure the stability of the global monetary system; and the United Nations, among others. President Xi Jinping, the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, has called for China to “lead the reform of the global governance system,” transforming institutions and norms in ways that will reflect Beijing’s values and priorities.

China’s Great Wall of Finance Shows First Signs of a Crack – in Hong Kong

By Macro Yuk-sing Kwan

A day before Beijing passed a decision paving the way for its national security law for Hong Kong, the global index provider MSCI decided to relocate its financial derivative products from Singapore to Hong Kong, citing its confidence in Hong Kong as an international financial center for “years and decades to come.”

Perhaps one should not be too surprised by MSCI’s move. For a long time Hong Kong has been blessed by the fact that China-U.S. decoupling is taking place in everything but finance. Even as Beijing and Washington traded barbs over tariffs, technology, and indeed Hong Kong’s own future, the financial arena has been curiously ringfenced.

As a result, Hong Kong as a global financial hub has continued to prosper amid mounting political tension, even to the point of overtaking Singapore in terms of foreign exchange turnover according to a 2019 survey by the Bank for International Settlements.