31 August 2020

Information Warfare: Why India needs to give Pak propaganda machinery a taste of its own medicine


There has been a surreal yet surprising silence on the part of Indian strategic circle, political parties, press, academia and intelligentsia, in that order, about the working, motives, capacity and efficacy of Pakistan Army’s propaganda arm — Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). Sporadic op-ed articles produced by some of the seasoned serving and retired officials on this subject recently defied depth and constructed on borrowed surface-level ideas.

Peculiarly, ISPR’s complex Information Warfare operations, in the past two decades, can be unearthed by open-source intelligence (OSINT) and in-depth analysis of Information Warfare campaigns orchestrated and fuelled by ISPR. 

With the aid of a sheaf of documents, scores of photographs and a sizeable number of propaganda materials tumbling into view in the past few years along with our OSINT findings, the extent of ISPR’s propaganda machinery is laid bare.

With the onset of an internet revolution in the 2000s, Pakistan’s army waged Information Warfare on parity with its giant arch-rival, India, and also with other formidable powers. 

Conscripted Chinese soldiers no match to battle-ready Indian military

Almost one third of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is made up of conscripted soldiers who are forced to serve in the military for two years and then retired. PLA’s conscripted soldiers hardly undergo the rigorous military training.

Ladakh continues to make headlines. Galwan Valley remains tense. And India continues to remain on high alert as it fortifies combat positions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to preempt any further Chinese misadventure. As far as territorial controls are concerned, there has been absolutely no change in the LAC positions despite both India and China building up their troop strengths. The two armies are in combat positions yet no shots are being fired. But China has begun its psychological warfare.

Interestingly, Galwan Valley remains out of bound for all civilians including the journalists. India has been reiterating time and again that there has been no change in areas under its control. Curiously, this fifth columnist ‘coterie’ has been working overtime to dole out Photoshop satellite images of PLA tents, bunkers and camps at the LAC in order to prove that Chinese men have encroached inside Indian Territory, while the Indian Army continues to sleep. This modus operandi intends to create a fear psychosis in the minds of Indians while covering up for the shortcomings of China’s PLA (People’s Liberation Army).

India’s turning point: An economic agenda to spur growth and jobs

By Shirish Sankhe, Anu Madgavkar, Gautam Kumra, Jonathan Woetzel, Sven Smit, and Kanmani Chockalingam
Source Link

India is at a decisive point in its journey toward prosperity. The economic crisis sparked by COVID-19 could spur reforms that return the economy to a high-growth track and create gainful jobs for 90 million workers to 2030; letting go of this opportunity could risk a decade of economic stagnation. A new report from the McKinsey Global Institute identifies a reform agenda that could be implemented in the next 12 to 18 months. It aims to raise productivity and incomes for workers, small and midsize firms, and large businesses, keeping India in the ranks of the world’s outperforming emerging economies.

Section 1

India needs rapid GDP growth to create at least 90 million nonfarm jobs by 2030

A clarion call is sounding for India to put growth on a sustainably faster track and meet the aspirations of its growing workforce. Over the decade to 2030, India needs to create at least 90 million new nonfarm jobs to absorb the 60 million new workers who will enter the workforce based on current demographics, and an additional 30 million workers who could move from farm work to more productive nonfarm sectors. If an additional 55 million women enter the labor force, at least partially correcting historical underrepresentation, India’s job creation imperative would be even greater (Exhibit 1).

The Pakistan-Saudi Arabia relationship hits a bump in the road

Madiha Afzal

In recent weeks, the “brotherly” relationship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia — with decades of close economic, political, and military ties — has hit a bump in the road. The immediate reason: On August 5, the one-year anniversary of India’s revocation of Kashmir’s autonomy, Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, pointedly demanded that Saudi Arabia “show leadership” on the Kashmir issue. He asked Riyadh to call a special meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC, which Saudi Arabia leads) to discuss it. This apparently capped months of “frustration,” according to media reports, in Islamabad at Saudi inaction on Kashmir. Qureshi also said that if Saudi Arabia did not call a meeting of OIC foreign ministers, Pakistan would be compelled to go to Muslim countries — Malaysia, Turkey, and Iran — that had voiced concern over Kashmir and stood by Pakistan’s side.

Saudi Arabia did not take kindly to this overt pressure. It immediately recalled a $1 billion loan, part of a $3 billion loan it had given Pakistan in November 2018. China stepped in to cover Pakistan with a replacement loan. A $3.2 billion Saudi oil credit facility to Pakistan has not been renewed after it expired in May this year. But while this bump in the road for the Saudi-Pakistan relationship is notable, it is premature to conclude that it will be long-lasting.


China Holds Trio of Military Drills, Including in South China Sea

By Drake Long

China’s military is holding three separate naval exercises and live-fire drills simultaneously this week, with one of them covering parts of the South China Sea disputed between China, Taiwan, and Vietnam. 

The Maritime Safety Administration of Hainan, China’s southernmost province, released a notice late Friday stating a military exercise would be held in an area of the Paracel Islands from Aug. 24 through Aug. 29. It warned outside vessels to steer 5 nautical miles (9 kilometers) clear of the drill area but otherwise gave no details.

The Paracel Islands are a string of disputed rocks and islets in the north of the South China Sea. The boundaries of the exercise include Woody Island, China’s largest military base in the area, and the waters to the northeast of the Paracels near Pratas atoll, which is occupied by Taiwan. 

Satellite imagery viewed by Radio Free Asia reveals some of China’s aircraft and warships that may have been positioned in the South China Sea ahead of time, either to participate in the exercise or to provide supplies to China’s disparate outposts.

Four fighter jets and multiple military transport aircraft were stationed at Woody Island, a prime staging area for China’s military operations in the South China Sea, on Aug. 17, and one fighter jet and what appears to be a military transport aircraft remained there on Aug. 22.

DoD War Games Predict ‘Extremely Destabilizing’ Chinese Military Parity


WASHINGTON: Worried about America’s eroding dominance at sea, the Pentagon has been running through a series of war games to shake out a plan to stay ahead of the rapid-fire Chinese military modernization effort. 

“The most destabilizing event in the 21st century is going to be when China can achieve conventional parity at a time and place of its choosing,” Maj. Gen. Tracy King, the Marine Corps’ Director of Expeditionary Warfare said during an online event today. “These war games are reinforcing that fact. So when they are able to do that, and when they can decide whether or not we’re going or fight or not, that’s going to be extremely destabilizing.” 

In an attempt to forestall parity, the Navy and Pentagon leadership are working on a force structure plan that includes more unmanned ships, smaller vessels that would be harder to hit, and long-range weapons that could hold Chinese ships at a distance. 

Part of the assessment includes a hard look at how the Navy and Marine Corps would get inside the A2/AD defenses China has built up along its coast and the island chains in the South China Sea.

What Is the U.S. Ban on TikTok and WeChat All About?



Jon Bateman: These moves are clearly important, but they cannot be fully assessed before they take effect. The Trump administration has announced many sweeping, high-profile measures against Chinese technologies and companies, only to delay their enforcement repeatedly while dangling waivers and exemptions. This tactic is designed to gain leverage over China (and U.S. companies) as well as obtain political advantages. The Trump administration’s lack of a clearly stated strategy means the final rules could be broad or narrow, and many stakeholders are already seeking to shape them.

If the ban has teeth, it would be the Trump administration’s strongest move yet toward technological decoupling from China. TikTok and WeChat are not fundamentally different from other Chinese apps; they are simply more popular. Banning them would therefore suggest the Trump administration has zero tolerance for Chinese apps in the United States. Indeed, the relevant executive orders define the problem as “the spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China”—not just TikTok and WeChat.

Chinese military fires ‘aircraft-carrier killer’ missile into South China Sea in ‘warning to the United States’

Kristin Huang

A DF-26 missile was from Qinghai into the South China Sea on Tuesday, according to a source close to the Chinese military. 

China launched two missiles, including an “aircraft-carrier killer”, into the South China Sea on Wednesday morning, a source close to the Chinese military said, sending a clear warning to the United States. The move came one day after China said a US U-2 spy plane entered a no-fly zone without permission during a Chinese live-fire naval drill in the Bohai Sea off its north coast.

One of the missiles, a DF-26B, was launched from the northwestern province of Qinghai, while the other, a DF-21D, lifted off from Zhejiang province in the east.

Both were fired into an area between Hainan province and the Paracel Islands, the source said.

Playing a long game on Hong Kong

Kurt W. Tong

Upon Hong Kong’s return from British to Chinese sovereignty in July 1997, Fortune magazine famously ran a cover story titled “The Death of Hong Kong.” Just as famously, over the subsequent two decades Hong Kong survived the Asian financial crisis, the SARS outbreak, and the Great Recession; doubled the size of its economy; and saw the reputation of its financial sector soar from relative obscurity to general recognition as the #3 global powerhouse behind New York and London. Culturally and materially rich, Hong Kong’s people came to count themselves among the world’s most fortunate global citizens, and they swelled with rightful pride about their safe, well-managed, attractive, and lively city.

This year, Hong Kong’s economy and citizenry are facing their most severe set of challenges since 1997. Beijing’s tolerance for Hong Kong’s acute variances from the form of politics enforced in the rest of China appears to have finally and definitively evaporated. Hong Kong’s political underpinnings had been steadily crumbling for some time. Following the abrupt imposition of a ferocious new national security law by Beijing on June 30, however, the city’s formerly boisterous public is now confronted with a terrible and real possibility: that the crucial qualities that have made their city strong and globally relevant over the past generation will now irretrievably dissipate.

It is useful to consider how events in Hong Kong reached this unfortunate state of affairs, and what if anything can be done about it — either by the people of the city or by their friends overseas.


When Beijing Is Angry: China’s Punitive Reprisals when Its Interests are Harmed

Eyal Propper

In recent years, as China has grown stronger, the regime in Beijing has pursued a policy of punitive reprisals against countries that harm Chinese interests, sometimes due to activity related to the close ties of those countries with the United States. The punitive measures are aimed at the "soft underbelly" of trade in order to strike at a central manufacturing sector and delineate China’s red lines. This policy was put into practice against Norway, South Korea, Canada, Australia, and others. Will China take similar action against Israel? Despite its close commercial ties, Israel has not become dependent on China. Israel should continue to diversify its international cooperative efforts in order to avoid a situation in which a foreign country, such as China, can employ coercive diplomacy against leading economic sectors in Israel.

The US State Department reported recently that Israel was joined to the Clean Network initiative as a country that has committed to protect its 5G network from untrusted vendors, such as Huawei's 5G systems. So far there has been no official response from China to this report, but a senior correspondent from one of the Chinese government organs tweeted that this was "a scandal and ingratitude" on the part of Israel, which does not appreciate its many years of friendship with China. Will additional events of this kind lead to a crisis, and perhaps to punitive Chinese diplomacy against Israel?

More pain than gain: How the US-China trade war hurt America

Ryan Hass and Abraham Denmark

The ultimate results of the phase one trade deal between China and the United States — and the trade war that preceded it — have significantly hurt the American economy without solving the underlying economic concerns that the trade war was meant to resolve, writes Ryan Hass and Abraham Denmark. The consequences that have followed in the wake of the economic clash have served to exacerbate bilateral relations. This piece originally appeared in SupChina.

As a candidate in 2016, Donald Trump built his argument for the presidency around his claimed acumen as a dealmaker. As the 2020 election draws nearer, President Trump and his surrogates are doubling down on that assertion, including by calling attention to what he has deemed “the biggest deal ever seen”: the “phase one” trade deal with China. The agreement reportedly includes a Chinese commitment to purchase an additional $200 billion in American goods above 2017 levels by the end of 2021.

Six months after the deal was inked, the costs and benefits of this agreement are coming into clearer focus. Despite Trump’s claim that “trade wars are good, and easy to win,” the ultimate results of the phase one trade deal between China and the United States — and the trade war that preceded it — have significantly hurt the American economy without solving the underlying economic concerns that the trade war was meant to resolve. The effects of the trade war go beyond economics, though. Trump’s prioritization on the trade deal and de-prioritization of all other dimensions of the relationship produced a more permissive environment for China to advance its interests abroad and oppress its own people at home, secure in the knowledge that American responses would be muted by a president who was reluctant to risk losing the deal.


Avoiding a new Cold War between the US and China

Jeffrey A. Bader

With the November presidential election looming, many China watchers are focused on what the outcome could mean for relations between Washington and Beijing. That question is no doubt a crucial one. At the same time, many trends in that all-important relationship are of course longer-term than one presidential administration. What are the long-term prospects for U.S.-China relations at this stage?

The differences between the United States and China on political, economic, ideological, technological, and security issues are real. They can and must be managed through dialogue, but we can’t pretend that we simply have a communications problem. Both sides know better. The basic framework for the relationship going forward is likely to be strategic competition, with cooperation in discrete areas, hopefully covering many subjects. There could instead be strategic rivalry, which would be more adversarial and require cool heads to manage disputes. Or the relationship could degenerate into a cold war, which would be in the interest of neither the United States nor China.

A U.S.-China cold war would not be like the U.S.-Soviet one, which was largely military and ideological. A cold war would begin with radical decoupling and disengagement, which regrettably we are already seeing. It would descend and expand from there. It would fracture the international community on issues on which there should otherwise be widespread cooperation. It would build walls between economies, scientists, scholars, and ordinary people. It would likely foment ethnic stereotyping, discrimination, and hatred. It would prevent two great civilizations from benefiting from each other’s strengths and contributions. It would exacerbate an arms race that would crowd out domestic priorities. Above all, it would increase the risk of military conflict, even if neither side desires it.

China’s expansionism enters dangerous phase

Sourec Link

NEW DELHI – China’s expansionism drive, from the East and South China seas to the Himalayas and Central Asia, is making Asia more volatile and unstable. Along with the spread of the Wuhan-originating new coronavirus, this has also given rise to growing anti-China sentiment.

China’s recent border aggression against India dovetails with a broader strategy of territorial aggrandizement that it has pursued in the period since its disastrous 1979 invasion of Vietnam. That strategy, centered on winning without fighting, has driven its bulletless aggressions, from seizing Johnson Reef in 1988 and Mischief Reef in 1995 to occupying the Scarborough Shoal in 2012. And since launching major land reclamation in 2013, China has changed the South China Sea’s geopolitical map without firing a shot.

However, China’s aggression in the northern Indian region of Ladakh — a high-altitude, largely Buddhist territory where the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has occupied several vantage points — differs from its previous territorial grabs since the 1980s in one key aspect. China went beyond its usual practice of occupying vacant border spaces by snatching territories from right under another country’s nose.

China’s territorial expansion in the South China Sea, for example, has centered on capturing disputed but unoccupied shoals and reefs and then using construction activities to turn them into militarized artificial islands.

Chinese missile launch ‘could raise risk of military clash with US’

Kristin Huang

China’s missile launch over the South China Sea may push the United States to deploy more missiles and take a more aggressive stance towards Beijing, elevating the risk of an accidental armed conflict, analysts said.

The assessment came after China launched Dongfeng missiles, including the DF-26B and DF-21D – seen as “aircraft-carrier killers” – into an area between its southern island province of Hainan and the disputed Paracel Islands on Wednesday, the day after a US U-2 spy plane entered a no-fly zone without permission during a Chinese live-fire naval drill in the Bohai Sea off China’s northern coast.

The US Defence Department said on Thursday that the launches threatened peace and security in the region. Beijing’s “actions, including missile tests, further destabilise the situation in the South China Sea”, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The DF-26 has a range of 4,000km (2,485 miles) and can be used in nuclear or conventional strikes against ground and naval targets. It is a type of weapon banned by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed by the US and Soviet Union towards the end of the Cold War. When the US withdrew from the treaty last year, it cited China’s deployment of such weapons as justification.

The Revolutionary Guards Are Poised to Take Over Iran

By Ali Reza Eshraghi and Amir Hossein Mahdavi
Source Link

Anew saying is making the rounds in Iran: power is being sucked away from heads to toes, which is to say, from men who wear turbans to men who wear boots. Iran’s new parliament furnishes the most recent evidence. Its speaker, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, is a former brigadier general of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Two-thirds of the parliament’s presiding board are either former members or still affiliated with the IRGC and its auxiliary organizations. Many in Iran and in the United States have long foreseen an IRGC takeover of the Iranian government; the next step toward that outcome would be for a candidate affiliated with the IRGC to be elected president in 2021.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a bifurcated state, with elected institutions running the daily affairs of state in the shadow of the more powerful office of the supreme leader, to which security organizations, including the IRGC, ultimately answer. For more than two decades, reformists inside the Iranian political establishment struggled to consolidate the power of elected institutions against that of the parallel state. Now, they are coming to terms with the failure of that project—and preparing for leaders of the parallel state to conquer the elective bodies and consolidate power for themselves.

Which Past Is Prologue?

By Margaret MacMillan
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U.S. President Donald Trump largely ignores the past or tends to get it wrong. “What’s this all about?” he is reported to have asked on a visit to the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, in Hawaii, in 2017. When he has paid attention to history, it has been to call on it as a friendly judge, ready to give him top marks and vindicate him: his administration, he has claimed repeatedly, has been the best in U.S. history. The evidence—something that historians, at least, take seriously—suggests a different picture.

Whenever he leaves office, in early 2021, 2025, or sometime in between, the world will be in a worse state than it was in 2016. China has become more assertive and even aggressive. Russia, under its president for life, Vladimir Putin, carries on brazenly as a rogue state, destabilizing its neighbors and waging a covert war against democracies through cyberattacks and assassinations. In Brazil, Hungary, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia, a new crop of strongman rulers has emerged. The world is struggling to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and is just coming to appreciate the magnitude of its economic and social fallout. Looming over everything is climate change.

Turmoil in Belarus: Looking Beyond the Horizon

Three months ago, Belarus was a country whose domestic politics were best described as stagnant. Ruled by the same leader for twenty-six years, it was due to hold yet another seemingly perfunctory presidential election. Today it stands as a symbol of both popular yearning for democracy and brutal oppression. 

None of this was expected or predicted. Governments on both sides of the Atlantic are at a loss as to what to do other than follow their Pavlovian reflexes honed in the course of previous revolutions in the former Soviet bloc, most recently in Ukraine in 2013–2014, and endorse democracy and threaten sanctions. Neither will advance democracy in Belarus, put an end to police brutality, or deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from sending his troops to Belarus to save its crumbling dictatorship—should he decide to do so. What is needed as a first step before acting is a sober assessment of the situation in Belarus—regardless of whether its despised dictator stays or goes—and what awaits it over the coming weeks, maybe months, and what its friends can do to help. 

It is a safe bet that on President Donald Trump’s watch, the United States can be counted out as a constructive force in this situation. The Trump administration has worked hard to undermine trans-Atlantic relations and weaken NATO, coddled aspiring autocrats, and insulted key European allies. It has squandered its credibility with its transactional approach to foreign relations, widespread disinformation, and ambitions to suppress votes in the upcoming U.S. presidential election. 

The world to come: Revenge of the nation state

Source Link

The Covid-19 crisis has dealt a decisive blow to the political forces that sought to advance economic cosmopolitanism over the nation state.

In the new politics, consumption will be subordinated to production – even if the present economic slump across the world has been generated by governments annihilating consumer demand through lockdowns – and recovery will be dependent on its revival. A consumption-centric politics, which privileges low prices, presumes that only the present matters. But we now live in a world that must engage pre-emptively with the risk of repeated lockdowns. For nearly two decades, cheap labour in China drove consumer prices down. But when goods are produced in a world of fear and geopolitical rivalry, the origins of goods, and not just their cost, really matter.

The pandemic will accelerate the growing primacy of geopolitics. Donald Trump’s election in 2016 represented a clear break with international economic liberalism. He did not create strong protectionist pressures in American politics, which had begun to assert themselves at the end of the Obama presidency. But Trump did direct that discontent about global trade against China. He reoriented the US towards open technological competition with Beijing, and told the EU and Britain they would have to adjust towards this strategic rivalry or face the consequences for Nato. In the wake of the pandemic, there is even less possibility that any European country, or the EU as a whole, will be able to chart an independent course that privileges economic relations with Beijing, however much they may wish to.

Repairing the Bonhomme Richard Is Worth Almost Any Cost

By Commander James Leineweber

The July fire on board the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) offers the Navy and the nation’s shipyards a valuable opportunity they have not had the since the end of World War II—the chance to repair a capital ship that has suffered catastrophic damage. As USNI News notes: “Between December 1941 and September 1945, over 350 U.S. Navy warships and patrol craft were sunk or damaged beyond repair. In the nearly seven decades since, fewer than 30 ships have been lost directly due to enemy action or accidents.” 

The cost to repair the Bonhomme Richard will be high, coming on the back of its $249 million maintenance availability—perhaps even greater than the $3 billion dollar price tag to replace her with a new America-class LHA. There are many advocates making logical arguments that the extensive damage requires the Bonhomme Richard be decommissioned and struck from the Naval Vessel Register. Indeed, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday has asked, “Should we make that investment in a 22-year-old ship? . . . I’m not going to make any predictions until we take a look at all the facts and we follow the facts and we can make reasonable recommendations up the chain of command on the future steps, any repair efforts, future repair efforts of Bonhomme Richard.” However, even in the current fiscal environment the Navy needs to look beyond the dollar cost as it decides the fate of the Bonhomme Richard.

Sources: Sailor under investigation for arson in USS Bonhomme Richard ship fire

By: Jennifer Kastner
Source Link

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A Navy sailor is under investigation in connection with the fire that caused extensive damage to the USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego, sources told ABC 10News.

Multiple sources with close ties to Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) told ABC 10News that investigators determined the July 12 fire may have been set intentionally. Investigators identified a sailor as an arson suspect in their probe, sources said.

The sources added multiple search warrants were executed at the sailor’s home and property. The sailor’s name and rank were not disclosed.

On Tuesday, a Navy spokesperson told ABC 10News that NCIS requested help from the National Response Team for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) because the agency provides resources and expertise on complex, large-scale incidents like the massive ship fire.

A Navy spokesperson on Wednesday declined to confirm what sources told ABC 10News regarding the suspect and now-arson investigation.

However, the spokesperson said, “The investigations are ongoing and there is nothing new to announce on their current status or findings.”


By John Dunford
Sourec Link

Key Takeaway: US and Russian forces are engaged in a competition for influence and control of the major roads in northeast Syria, threatening the safety of US personnel. Russia seeks to expand its presence toward the Syria-Iraq border in the far northeast corner of Hasakah Province to cut off key US ground supply lines between Iraq and Syria. US and Russian forces routinely disrupt each other’s patrols, leading to confrontations and risking escalation between the forces. A recent confrontation in the far northeast corner of Hasakah Province resulted in several US injuries after US and Russian vehicles collided. Russian helicopters also flew over US vehicles in an attempt to disperse them. Russia will continue its efforts to pressure the US presence through confrontations like these, while also threatening the security of US ground supply lines connecting US forces in Syria to Iraq.

What Navalny’s Poisoning Says About Russia’s Putin

Frida Ghitis 

From the moment Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny abruptly fell ill last week, the top suspect in what immediately looked like a case of poisoning was President Vladimir Putin and his regime in Moscow. That suspicions quickly centered on a possible assassination attempt by the Kremlin is another damning indictment for a president who has sought to earn international respect.

A government whose critics routinely die mysterious deaths, or survive attempts on their lives, reveals itself to be outside the bounds of legitimate democratic behavior. That people suspect Putin orders the assassination of his domestic foes shows the grotesque image he has forged.

Do intelligence agencies need restructuring for the digital disinformation age?

By Stilgherrian
Source Link

The current architecture of the intelligence world is full of historical accidents dating back to the Second World War, says Andrew Davies, a senior fellow at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) in Canberra.

Take all the cybers, for example. In most western countries both cyber intelligence and cybersecurity have ended up being run by the signals intelligence agencies.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre is part of the Australian Signals Directorate, for example. In the UK, the National Cyber Security Centre is part of their signals intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters.

According to Davies, if you started with a blank sheet of paper you wouldn't necessarily do it that way

Digital espionage has "been the leader" in the agencies' adaptation to the internet age, he said, but the increasingly important areas of subversion and information operations look more like state-on-state hostile actions.


By Walker D. Mills

The world is increasingly urban and littoral. This convergence between urbanization and the littoral, or littoralization, can lead to “the worst of both worlds” and may remake the littorals into hotspots of instability and conflict. At the same time, the U.S. Marine Corps is shifting its focus away from decades of counterinsurgency and irregular warfare in the Middle East. In 2017, the Marine Corps published a new operating concept focused on the littorals called Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment (LOCE). LOCE emphasized “fighting for and gaining sea control, to include employing sea-based and land-based Marine Corps capabilities to support the sea control fight,” but at the same time cautioned that “major combat operations (MCO) and campaigns versus peer competitors are beyond the scope of this concept.” A more recent and still not publicly released operating concept, Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO), expanded on LOCE to cover major combat operations and campaigns against a peer competitor – most likely China.

EABO and a growing focus on great power competition promises to be the future of the Marine Corps and is the basis for the new Commandant’s Force Design 2030 effort. The Commandant of the Marine Corps has asserted that the Corps is “the preeminent littoral warfare and expeditionary warfare service.” And littorals are unquestioningly where the Marine Corps is most needed and can be the most effective. But this pivot to the littoral does not necessarily mean the Marine Corps can leave irregular warfare and lower-intensity conflicts behind. History and current trends make clear the global littorals are a haven of irregular warfare, and always have been for millennia.

The Perils of Mission Command – A Historical Perspective

Conor O’Neill

Mission command is firmly built into UK and Allied military doctrine. It has become an article of faith that it produces better results as it “…encourages initiative and decentralized decision-making” and thus “promotes…speed of action…”. UK doctrine argues that the British approach goes further than the Allied one, with use of the concept encouraged down to the lowest levels of command. So, despite considerable advances in communications and information technology, there is broad consensus that, in a fast-moving battlefield, delegation of decision making, coupled with sound understanding of the broader tactical or operational context and plan, will outpace a more directive system.

The philosophy of mission command is evident in modern ideas such as Collaborative and Edge C2, developed by NATO, and cited in UK doctrine development work on the Future of Command and Control. It has a long history, however, and it is from that that we can learn lessons about the dangers that Mission Command can expose a force to. Eighty years after the Battle of Britain, this article will examine German operations in that campaign to highlight the potential risks of an approach which is now central to British military C2, and thus provide an insight into how to avoid them.

30 August 2020

Can 'The Quad' Work Together to Contain Chinese Aggression?

Joseph Hammond 
Source Link

A once in a decade series of events in the Asia-Pacific region have conspired to bring about closer ties between America’s most important allies in the Asia-Pacific. Regardless of who wins the election in November, the U.S. has an opportunity to expand this emerging alliance to include other areas of potential cooperation beyond nominal defense ties.

Back in 2007, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sought to bring together his country, the United States, Australia, and India with a security arrangement that serve as a bulwark against Chinese expansion in the Indo-Pacific. From the U.S. perspective, key supporters included Vice President Dick Cheney and Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain. These efforts fizzled in 2008, but in 2017 the the Trump administration began—quietly and with little fanfare—to reknot the undone defense ties among the nations. The grouping known as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue was relaunched that year. Analysts in all four countries often refer to it simply as “the Quad.”

China’s increasingly assertive behavior in territorial disputes is causing concern across the Indo-Pacific from Ladakh to Japan’s Senkaku Islands. The governments in all four countries have also taken notice of China’s behavior in the South China Sea where it has militarized a series of artificial islands along one of the world’s busiest maritime transit corridors. Internally, China’s behavior toward Hong Kong or minority groups like the Uighurs is just as worrying.

Indo-Pacific Pivot in India’s Geostrategy

Krupa Susan Varghese

The geopolitical corridor of the Indo-Pacific was the platform of various civilizational exchanges and where the Portuguese mercantile interest and naval power was projected. The naval power assertion was evident from their precise navigation capabilities and their naval bases in East Africa, Southern Asia and Southeast Asia. Simultaneously, the region provided opportunities for the Dutch, French and British mercantile interest. The term ‘Indo-Pacific’ has been under construction for a decade or more, and plays a significant role in the geostrategies of countries like India, Australia, Japan (along with some Southeast Asian countries), United States and France. Many scholars have debated the transition from the Asia-Pacific to ‘Indo-Pacific’ due to the importance of the Indian Ocean as well as due to India’s role. Also, the two important water bodies of the Indian and Pacific Oceans are assumed to be increasingly in confluence. The region is currently the abode of the great power projection where the US exerts its naval power through overstretching and rebalancing; China attempts to assert its power in the South China Sea; India projects its naval power and is also assuming the role of ‘Net Security Provider’; Russia has been extending its interest in the South Asia, Southeast Asia and West Asia; French interest is to promote French diplomacy and also to establish partnership with the regional countries whereas Australia tries to create balance and adapt to the ongoing competitions in the Indo Pacific between the US and China.

Threat Spectrum

The globalised network and the security vulnerabilities in the region creates a wide range of threat perceptions to India and the other regional players. The complex nature of the Indo-Pacific could be defined under two types of threats: Traditional and Non-traditional threat. The growing naval competition and territorialism between countries, failed states, the introduction of weapons of mass destruction and its proliferation have defined the traditional ambit of threats. The non-traditional ambit looks into the maritime terrorism, human and narcotics trafficking, piracy, small arms and light weapons trafficking, climate change and depletion of ocean resources. The non-traditional threats require a collective maritime cooperation among the Indo-Pacific countries to mitigate the challenges and such initiatives were held through MILAN (a step to provide a platform for interaction among the regional naval countries), QUAD, Indian Ocean Naval Symposium and Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) which focus on securing sea lanes of communication and safeguarding the trade routes.

Gilded aspirations

India’s socio-economic realities have evolved significantly over the past four decades, particularly as far as attitudes to wealth accumulation are concerned. Gold is today no longer negatively associated with crooked businessmen, but rather positively with the consumerist aspirations of middle-class India. It is used to project enhanced family status at events such as the ‘great Indian wedding’, and is perceived as a high-return investment and a hedge against inflation.

Demand for gold has consistently risen 14% annually since 2001, with prices altogether increasing eight-fold. The Indian love affair with gold continues even as the economy strains under the weight of gold imports that degrade the fiscal balance. Gold is metaphorically to many Indians what opium was to the Chinese in the 19th century: an addictive escape from institutional decay and social stagnation. But hoarding gold pits the individual and their family against the government and its need to keep liquidity flowing in order to grow the economy.

This report examines three questions:

1. Why did an illicit economy around gold imports emerge in India?
2. What are the methods and routes used by smugglers?
3. Why has the illicit economy proved resilient to countermeasures by the government?

Taiwan and the United States — much thunder, little rain

Douglas Paal, Carnegie Endowment
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Since April, the administration of US President Donald Trump has been ratcheting up its rhetoric and actions regarding China. This strategy is intended to deflect blame for its mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic at home. It is having the side effect of appearing to dismantle the policy of ‘engagement’ with China of the previous seven US administrations and the way they treated Taiwan.

Trump sent Alex Azar, his Secretary of Health and Human Services, to visit Taiwan earlier this August. Azar is the first senior-level official of the Trump administration to do so, and the first since 2014 when the then head of the Environmental Protection Agency visited the island on behalf of then president Barack Obama.

Given the context of deteriorating US ties with China, rising anti-Chinese rhetoric and the sensitivity of the Taiwan issue to Beijing, which regards Taiwan as a ‘core interest’, the visit seems to come as close to crossing one of China’s ‘red lines’ as possible.

Attention to Taiwan at this level is not a hallmark of the Trump administration. Trump first alarmed China when, as president-elect in November 2016, he accepted a congratulatory phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. But buyer’s remorse set in on both the Trump and Tsai camps shortly after. The Trump administration quickly retreated to the behaviour and formulas of previous US governments on dealing with Taiwan.

The Current Situation in Pakistan

Pakistan continues to face multiple sources of internal and external conflict. While incidences of domestic terrorism have reduced, in part due to measures taken by the Pakistani state, extremism and intolerance of diversity has grown.

There is some recognition by the state that instead of merely kinetic responses holistic counterterrorism policies are needed to counteract this trend. The growing extremism has been fueled by a narrow vision of Pakistan’s national identity, threatening the country’s prospect for social cohesion and stability. The inability of state institutions to reliably provide peaceful ways to resolve grievances has encouraged groups to seek violence as a legitimate alternative.

While peaceful political transitions occurred in both 2013 and 2018, the country is still facing mounting debt crisis and a perennial trade imbalance on the economic front. Furthermore, Pakistan’s high-profile disputes with neighboring India and Afghanistan have periodically resulted in violence and continue to pose a threat to regional and international security.

To Counter China Online, Regulate Big Tech

Coby Goldberg 

The heads of Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook fended off tough questions from lawmakers last month at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee. To help allay concerns about monopolistic business practices, each CEO sought to portray his company as representing American values and serving American interests. They all did so in part by pointing to a threat supposedly bigger than their own companies: China.

“If you look at where the top technology companies come from, a decade ago the vast majority were American. Today, almost half are Chinese,” Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg said in his opening remarks. “There’s no guarantee our values will win out.” Limiting Facebook’s power, he implied, would only play into Beijing’s hands. Zuckerberg and the other Big Tech executives returned to the specter of Chinese technological dominance more than 30 times over the course of the afternoon, according to a New York Times tally. .

China Locks Down Xinjiang to Fight Covid-19, Angering Residents

By Javier C. Hernández
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First came the notices that Chinese officials had declared a “wartime” state. Then the authorities started going door to door, sealing off apartments and warning residents to stay inside.

The Chinese government in recent weeks has imposed a sweeping lockdown across the Xinjiang region in western China, penning in millions of people as part of what officials describe as an effort to fight a resurgence of the coronavirus.

But with the outbreak in Xinjiang seemingly under control and the restrictions still in place more than a month after the outbreak there began, many residents are lashing out and accusing the government of acting too harshly.

“There are no cases here,” Daisy Luo, 26, a fruit seller who lives in northern Xinjiang, said in an interview. “The controls are too strict.”