6 January 2020

India in Japan’s Strategic Thinking: Charting Convergences in the Indo-Pacific

By Titli Basu

The arrival of China as a major actor in the international system is causing structural shifts in the distribution of power as it challenges the role of the United States and its allies. In its attempt to alter the existing hierarchy of states and exert its primacy, China has challenged the core tenets of the U.S.-led liberal international order.

For traditional U.S. allies like Japan ⁠⁠– a critical anchor in the hub-and-spokes San Francisco system of alliances — the strategic calculus has complicated even more under the Trump presidency.

At the global level, President Donald Trump’s America First policy is underscored by an imprudent transactional approach, lacking a nuanced understanding of alliance management, and an aversion toward multilateralism, challenging the very rules that the United States created and has upheld since the end of World War II. At the regional level, strategic fluidity in the East Asian is influencing Japan to revisit its grand strategy. Although the overall U.S.-China military balance remains favorable in terms of aggregate capabilities, Japan is acutely aware that Beijing does not need to catch up to the U.S. globally to dominate its immediate periphery.

2019 in Tibet: The Year of Relocation

In Tibet, 2019 should be declared "The Year of Relocation".
On December 24, China Daily announced that in 2019 in China, more than 10 million people were expected to be lifted from poverty; some 340 counties would no longer be labeled as 'impoverished'. This was stated by Liu Yongfu, director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development in Beijing.

Liu particularly mentioned the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), as well as the four provinces where ethnic Tibetan people live (particularly in three prefectures in Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan), the southern part of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is clubbed with these areas: “Officials commonly refer to these regions as the Three Areas and Three Prefectures, the deeply impoverished areas.”

Liu’s report added: “In the renewed effort to combat poverty, local authorities were barred from merely handing out State benefits to farmers. Instead, they were required to adopt targeted measures in developing local industries and creating jobs that would help the poor attain sustainable incomes.”

The Politics of Peace: The Collapse and Resumption of US-Taliban Peace Talks

Dr. Nilofar Sakhi
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After a three-month-long stalemate of the US-Taliban negotiations, President Donald Trump made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan to celebrate Thanksgiving with US troops in Bagram airbase, alongside Afghan president Ashraf Ghani, November 28, 29019. Trump told reporters that Taliban “wants to make a deal” and that US officials were “meeting with them”. One week earlier, Washington and Talban reached a prisoner-swap agreement to free three Taliban commanders, in exchange for two western university professors, American Kevin King and Australian Timothy John Weeks, taken hostage three years ago. (1) This shift was considered a ‘confidence-building measure’ three months after Trump halted the Qatari-brokered peace talks, and accused Taliban of seeking “false leverage”. After the visit, Trump sounded optimistic about his ceasefire condition; “We’re saying it has to be a ceasefire, and they didn’t want to do a ceasefire… Now they do want to do a ceasefire. I believe it’ll probably work out that way.” However, Taliban maintained it was “way too early” to speak of resuming direct talks.

By mid-November, there were conflicting reports about the whereabouts of the three prisoners. A Taliban spokesperson states they had not left the prison, and blamed the U.S. for the failure of the swap. In early December, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper told Reuters any future troop drawdowns in Afghanistan were “not necessarily” linked to a deal with Taliban. This decision may pave the way for reducing the 13,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan to 8,600 with the hope they would still carry out an “effective, core counter-terrorism mission.” (2) NATO troops are expected to shrink in numbers in Afghanistan as well. In this paper, Nilofar Sakhi, Fulbright scholar and a visiting fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, Columbia University, and International Center for Tolerance Education examines the dynamics and strategies of negotiations between the United States and Taliban. She also assesses the accumulative impact of nine rounds of peace talks. This paper builds up on her previous analysis “Peacemaking in Afghanistan: Procedural and Substantive Challenges” published in May 2019. It can accessed through: http://studies.aljazeera.net/en/reports/2019/05/peacemaking-afghanistan-procedural-substantive-challenges-190508101859579.html

Bangladesh: Chinese Firm To Conduct Key Studies For Planned Township, For Free

By Kamran Reza Chowdhury
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A Chinese firm has agreed to conduct feasibility and environmental impact studies free of charge for a new township that Bangladesh’s government plans to build outside the capital, officials said amid legal, environmental and ethical concerns voiced over the project.

The cost of the planned development in a floodplain along the Turag River has not been determined yet, but the studies will focus on a potential site in a 16-km (9.9-mile) stretch on both sides of the waterway between Aminbazar and Ashulia, the project’s director said.

“On Nov 19, we signed a memorandum of understanding with the China Road and Bridge Corporation to conduct the feasibility study and the environmental impact analysis on the project,” Ashraful Islam, the project director who is an engineer with RAJUK, the Dhaka city development authority, told BenarNews.

“The CRBC is carrying out the studies free of cost. We will not provide them any money for the studies.”

Both studies are due in November 2020, he said.

What RCEP Means for the Indo-Pacific

By Blake Berger

With the world beset by trade and economic conflict, falling gross domestic product (GDP) and trade growth rates, as well as rising protectionism and populism, the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations is all the more a landmark achievement for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

RCEP should not be viewed simply as a trade agreement, but as an economic cooperation agreement that strengthens regional political security and stability and reinforces ASEAN centrality in Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific. While India’s momentary withdrawal from the agreement has clouded the discussion of the negotiation’s success, RCEP will be the world’s largest trade bloc, covering an estimated 45 percent of the world’s population and encompassing roughly a third of global GDP. The economic benefits of the agreement are significant with or without India. With India in the agreement, RCEP is expected to generate a real GDP increase of approximately $171 billion for the bloc, and without India, an increase of roughly $137 billion. In the context of the U.S.-China trade dispute and turmoil within the European Union (EU), RCEP bucks the prevailing tides by sending a strong signal to the world that Asia is not only committed to a cooperative, multilateral, and rules-based order, but that it is also open to business.

The Geopolitics of a Latent International Conflict in Eastern Mediterranean

Nael M. Shama
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The strident objections voiced recently by Greece and Egypt to the deals signed between Turkey and the UN-backed Libyan government is but the latest example of a series of incidents that point to rising tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey and Libya’s Government of National Accord, in control of the western part of the divided, war-torn country, signed in late November two memoranda of understanding on maritime boundaries and military cooperation. The Turkish parliament ratified the pacts on December 5. Although the details of the deals have not yet been announced, both Greece and Egypt considered them illegal.(1)

In the current scheme of things, the Eastern Mediterranean is sitting atop a dormant volcano. Developments in other hot spots in the Middle East, such as the carnage in Syria, the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the Saudi-Iranian standoff in the Gulf and the civil war in Libya, have diverted the attention away from a latent yet perilous conflict. If triggered, such a conflict could have tremendous ramifications for countries in North Africa, West Asia and Southern Europe as well as for the stability of shipping transportation and energy markets worldwide.

To Keep Putin Out, Belarus Invites the U.S. and China In


MINSK, Belarus—Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus’s 65-year-old authoritarian president, is ratcheting up the geopolitical high-wire act he’s been conducting with Russian President Vladimir Putin by inviting China and the United States to exercise influence in his country as a way of forestalling political union with the Kremlin. 

Lukashenko’s outreach is expected to deepen following a planned visit to Minsk by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which was recently delayed due to escalating tensions in Iraq. 

“We’re not going to cut off our ties with Russia, they are our neighbor and largest economic partner, but surrendering our sovereignty and independence is out of the discussion,” Vladimir Makei, Belarus’s foreign minister, told Foreign Policy in an interview. “There are already three or four generations of people born in the new, independent state of Belarus, and they will never agree with giving up any independence.” 

The Investment War with China: Assessing American Pressure

By Jean-Marc F. Blanchard

The United States has long been concerned about Chinese outward foreign direct investment (COFDI). Even so, U.S. angst has reached new heights during President Donald Trump’s tenure in office. Under his administration, the United States has launched a three-pronged war against COFDI. The first prong entails a harsher environment for COFDI in the United States. The second encompasses maneuvers against COFDI overseas. And the third involves steps to disrupt the progress of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The first prong has been primarily evidenced by the expansion of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)’s role in reviewing FDI. It has been reflected, too, by the 2018 passage of the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRMMA). Notably, FIRMMA changed the ownership standard triggering CFIUS reviews from 10 percent of voting shares to one focused more on decision-making abilities/control and also expanded CFIUS’s ambit to cover FDI in critical infrastructure and real estate near sensitive locations like military bases. Recently, Congress passed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which hits COFDI in the United States directly by forbidding the use of federal funds to purchase rail cars and buses from Chinese-controlled firms. The White House has not publicly pilloried COFDI in the United States, but prominent members of the U.S. Congress continue to warn vociferously about its risks.

The US-China Tech Wars: China’s Immigration Disadvantage

By Remco Zwetsloot and Dahlia Peterson

Earlier this year, a Chinese technology executive published an opinion piece arguing that size is China’s greatest asset in technology competition with the United States today. His argument was simple: Innovation in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence is partly a function of absolute numbers of scientists and engineers, and, as China continues to expand its domestic talent pipeline, its strength in numbers will soon far exceed that of the United States.

Many in Washington seem to agree. The White House’s education strategy draws motivation from China’s rapidly increasing number of university graduates. Experts lament the United States’ dependence on international talent and draw analogies with Sputnik to call for crisis-level educational spending levels similar to those in the post-Sputnik era.

But while a predominantly internal-facing workforce strategy worked for the United States during the Cold War, when it roughly equaled the Soviet Union in population, today it faces a rival four times its size. Domestic investments are absolutely necessary, but they are not sufficient.

China’s Climate Diplomacy 2.0

By Marina Kaneti

Can China lead the fight against global climate change? The question itself sums up the phenomenal transformation of China’s climate diplomacy in the past decade. Only 10 years ago, Chinese leadership on climate change was not even a consideration. On the contrary, after the COP 15 in Copenhagen in 2009, China was accused of “holding the world ransom” and seen by many as a climate “laggard.” Today, a steadfast commitment to the Paris process, leadership in the use of renewable sources, and active engagement in a number of multilateral initiatives beyond the COP negotiations have made China an indispensable party to all matters concerning global climate change.

China’s top climate negotiator, Zhao Yingmin, may insist that climate change requires mutual collaboration and commitment by all, but China’s negotiating leverage is in high demand. At the COP 25 meetings in Madrid last month, the expectations for Chinese leadership ranged from critical support in reining in Brazil’s excessive demands to ensuring the support of the rest of Asia — as one EU delegate observed: “If we get China, the rest of Asia will follow.” Even billionaire Michael Bloomberg was unequivocal with regards to the U.S. positioning: International efforts to combat climate change will require a new US administration to first rebuild its relationship with China.

End the Culture of Silence

It is surprising that successive Indian Governments preferred to remain mum even as China kept on making advances towards the border. If this continues, a new disaster may unfold

Recently, Sun Weidong, the Chinese Ambassador to India, declared that the positive effects of the second informal summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were gradually showing. He further said that China was keen to promote defence and security cooperation with India for regional peace and stability. This declaration, however, does not tally with the facts. Though he asserted that China’s position on Kashmir was “consistent and clear”, Beijing is planning to raise the Kashmir issue when the Special Representatives (SRs) of India and China meet to discuss the boundary issue on December 21.

It is doubtful if any progress can be made during these talks between Ajit Doval, the Indian SR and Wang Yi, his Chinese counterpart, especially after China requested the UN Security Council (UNSC) to discuss the situation in the Valley again. According to Reuters, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said, “China would like to echo the request of Pakistan and request a briefing of the Council ...on the situation of Jammu & Kashmir.” (On France’s insistence, the move was, however, dropped later).

New Caliph, Same Old Problems Baghdadi’s Legacy Looms Large Over the New ISIS Leader

By Asaad Almohammad 

The Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is down but not out. In March 2019, U.S.-backed Kurdish and Arab forces captured the group’s last territorial stronghold in the Middle East, the town of Baghuz in eastern Syria. Seven months later, the organization’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, killed himself after U.S. special operations forces trapped him in a dead-end tunnel. 

But ISIS didn’t die with him. In November, Russell Travers, the acting director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, testified to Congress that over the last year ISIS carried out a number of centrally coordinated transnational attacks and propaganda campaigns, indicating a degree “of enhanced connectivity.” Even after Baghdadi’s death, Travers said, the group “remains robust and—in some areas—is expanding.”

The man upon whom ISIS’s continued resurgence now depends is Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi. Little is known about Baghdadi’s successor, whose real identity remains a mystery. (Qurashi is a nom de guerre.) U.S. State Department officials have both described him as a “nobody” and conceded that “nobody knows his background.” But to reunite what remains of the militant organization and build on the momentum of the last year, Qurashi will have to resolve two festering problems that bedeviled his predecessor: an ideological dispute that threatens to tear ISIS apart from within and a rapidly expanding network of global branches and affiliates that presents a raft of challenges to centralized control.

Is Trump's 'maximum pressure' campaign blowing up in Iraq?


President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran is coming under some maximum pressure of its own.

As protesters tried to breach the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad on Tuesday, and Iraqi and American officials feuded over the necessity of recent U.S. airstrikes, critics blamed the chaos on the Trump team’s laserlike focus on cracking the Islamist regime in Iran.

The “maximum pressure” initiative is backfiring, former U.S. officials and other Iran watchers argued. They said it was far too heavy on economic sanctions and military deterrence, far too light on serious diplomatic outreach, and not focused enough on the other countries caught in the middle. Trump and many of his aides often send mixed messages on what they seek from Iran, the critics said — ranging from regime change to narrow nuclear talks.

How Tehran Rolled Donald Trump In Iraq

by Dov S. Zakheim
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On December 29, 2019, in retaliation for a rocket attack two days earlier by the Tehran-backed Kataib Hezbollah (KH) militia on the K-1 military base near Kirkuk that killed an American contractor, Air Force F-15E fighters struck three of the militia’s bases in Iraq and two more in Syria. The attacks left about twenty-five militiamen dead and more than fifty wounded. The targets were KH storage facilities and command posts; Washington asserted that the command posts had masterminded a series of eleven rocket attacks that had culminated with the December 27 KH strike on the K-1 base.

Tehran did not waste much time responding to the American strike. One day later, led by its Iraqi puppets—notably Iraqi National Security Advisor Faleh al Fayyad, and Hadi al Ameri, leader of the Shia Badr organization—rioters charged the American embassy compound, used makeshift battering rams to break down its outer doors and ransacked the facility’s entrance lobby. 

Can Iran Hope To Stop U.S. Stealth Drones?

by David Axe 
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U.S. forces on deployment to the Middle East include F-15E fighter-bombers, F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters and B-52 bombers, among others.

But as tensions escalate between the United States and its allies including Saudi Arabia on one hand, and Iran and Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels on the other hand, it’s worth considering what other American aircraft might be in the region.

The Pentagon maintains an extensive surveillance system in the Persian Gulf region that includes satellites, drones and ground- and sea-based sensors.

Iran’s shoot-down of a U.S. Navy Global Hawk drone in June 2019 put a dent in this system. But it’s possible that other, stealthier drones complement the high-flying but non-stealthy Global Hawks.

Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge begins.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Ankara?

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The question is not: “Can we live with a rogue Turkey?” but: “Do we have a choice?” said one U.S. official.

Turkey has long felt underappreciated and disrespected in NATO. 

Although the country almost always contributes manpower to NATO missions — in Afghanistan and elsewhere — its most important resource, as far as the West is concerned, is not economic or military might but its strategic location.

“We look at Turkey as the cork in the bottle of the Black Sea. They don’t think of themselves like that at all,” said Ben Hodges, a former commanding general of U.S. Army Europe. “I can remember years ago the Turks saying, ‘You guys don’t appreciate us. You don’t respect us. You only come to us when you need something.’”

As President Donald Trump heads to London this week for a NATO summit, the relationship between Turkey and its Western allies is in a particularly rocky moment. Washington and Ankara remain in a standoff over the latter’s purchase of a Russian air-defense system that could compromise the stealthy F-35 flown by several NATO partners. In October, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent forces into Syria to attack Kurds whom the United States considers partners in the fight against ISIS. That has incensed Congress and touched off a spat with France.

The US Literally Doesn’t Know How Many ISIS Fighters Have Escaped In Syria


“We just have less eyes on the ground to know for sure what is happening,” said one senior defense official.

For the better part of a year, Defense and State Department officials have been issuing dire warnings about the risk that thousands of captured ISIS fighters could escape from a network of makeshift prisons dotted across rebel-held territory in northern and eastern Syria.

Now, as the United States carries out a sudden and unplanned withdrawal from the country, senior officials across government say that the U.S. has no real idea how many fighters have already escaped amid the fierce fighting between Turkey and Kurdish fighters that Washington previously backed in the fight against ISIS. 

“Nobody does,” a senior government official involved in the issue told Defense One. 

The New Nordic Model

By Børge Brende

Countries everywhere face daunting socioeconomic challenges. Inequality is rising. Cohesion is weakening as societies undergo identity crises. And as demonstrations from Santiago to Paris to Beirut show, trust in government is in decline.

In their search for culprits, many voters and politicians blame trade, technology, and migration. But this leads to a seemingly unsolvable puzzle. If people are increasingly angry; if they think that no good can come from trade, technology, or migration; and if they don’t trust their governments or fellow citizens to provide a solution, then what can be done?

The Nordic countries—Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden—show that there is a way. The Nordic model that they have pioneered over decades has a few basic components: a welfare state with free, high-quality education and health care; a “flexicurity” model of employment, which combines flexible hiring and firing with strong social security; and open markets with low tariffs and minimal barriers to trade.

In Iraq, the US Gets Hit Where It Hurts

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The storming of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad demonstrated that America doesn’t have a monopoly on pressure.

When Iranian student revolutionaries seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979 and took dozens of American diplomats hostage, it destroyed U.S.-Iranian relations and ruined Jimmy Carter politically. When Islamist militants attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in 2012, killing several Americans including the U.S. ambassador, it became the rallying cry for Republicans (including Donald Trumpand his current secretary of state, Mike Pompeo), who accused Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton of malpractice in their handling of national security.

So when hundreds of supporters of Iranian-backed militias breached the U.S. embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday—setting fires and chanting “Death to America” as American diplomats huddled inside and the compound’s sirens howled—it was more than another spasm of unrest in the course of America’s ill-fated engagement in Iraq. It was a geopolitical gut punch to the Trump administration, conjuring the ghosts of the Iran hostage crisis and Benghazi debacle. And it was a striking reminder (as if we needed another) of just how dangerous the showdown between Iran and the United States has become as it has morphed from a narrow dispute over Trump withdrawing the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal into a series of broader confrontations across the Middle East.

2019 Was A Decade Of Defiance And Dissent: The 2020s Are Likely To Be No Different – Analysis

By James M. Dorsey
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Like 2019, the new year and perhaps the new decade is likely to be pockmarked by popular protest, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa.

The question is what the protests that last year toppled the leaders of Sudan, Algeria, Lebanon and Iraq but only led to a genuine transition process in Sudan will produce.

The protests’ outcome so far suggests that there may not be a clear-cut answer.

What is clear is that protesters have learnt not to surrender the street when a leader agrees to resign but to maintain the pressure until a process of transition to a more transparent, accountable and open political system has been agreed.

Protesters in Algeria, Lebanon and Iraq, demanding appointment of a leader untainted by association with the old regime, have stood their ground as governments and vested interests have sought to salvage what they can by attempting to replace one leader by another with close ties to ruling elites.

Ukraine’s Unfinished Revolution – Analysis

By Igor Torbakov*
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(Eurasianet) — Ukraine’s post-Soviet existence has been marked by social upheaval and political dysfunction. To understand why stability and prosperity has proven so elusive in the country, look at the political and social conditions that governed Ukraine’s transition from communism to independence.

The Soviet Union’s implosion in 1991 caught the elites in each of its 15 constituent republics unprepared. At the time, Ukraine, along with the other republics, lacked a well-developed, inclusive notion of national identity, a mature political culture, pluralistic institutions and wide acceptance of the idea of a loyal opposition. Under such conditions, Communist cadres enjoyed an advantageous position amid the scramble to lead newly independent Ukraine. The competition wasn’t strong.

Ultimately, the momentous events of 1991 can’t be considered the logical conclusion of a protracted and heroic national-liberation struggle, but rather a deal struck by the three major groups comprising Ukraine’s population – communists, nationalists and the mainly Russian-speaking workers in eastern areas.

Trouble in the Middle East Prompts Pompeo to Postpone Eastern Europe, Central Asia Trip

By Catherine Putz
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On January 1, the U.S. State Department announced that Secretary Mike Pompeo’s upcoming trip to Eastern Europe and Central Asia would be postponed.

The postponement, which came just two days after State officials previewed the trip for the press, was in response to a spike in tensions in the Middle East.

The announcement noted that the trip, originally scheduled for January 3-7, has to be postponed “due to the need for the Secretary to be in Washington, D.C., to continue monitoring the ongoing situation in Iraq and ensure the safety and security of Americans in the Middle East.”

It’s a most unsurprising turn: U.S. foreign policy engagements elsewhere in the world truncated because of trouble in the Middle East. 

On Tuesday, violent protests that had been ongoing in Baghdad shifted attention from the Iraqi government to the United States. NPR has a good summary of the turn of events:

‘Shattered’: Inside the secret battle to save America’s undercover spies in the digital age

by Jenna McLaughlin and Zach Dorfman

When hackers began slipping into computer systems at the Office of Personnel Management in the spring of 2014, no one inside that federal agency could have predicted the potential scale and magnitude of the damage. Over the next six months, those hackers — later identified as working for the Chinese government — stole data on nearly 22 million former and current American civil servants, including intelligence officials.

The data breach, which included fingerprints, personnel records and security clearance background information, shook the intelligence community to its core. Among the hacked information’s other uses, Beijing had acquired a potential way to identify large numbers of undercover spies working for the U.S. government. The fallout from the hack was intense, with the CIA reportedly pulling its officers out of China. (The director of national intelligence later denied this withdrawal.)

Personal data was being weaponized like never before. In one previously unreported incident, around the time of the OPM hack, senior intelligence officials realized that the Kremlin was quickly able to identify new CIA officers in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow — likely based on the differences in pay between diplomats, details on past service in “hardship” posts, speedy promotions and other digital clues, say four former intelligence officials. Those clues, they surmised, could have come from access to the OPM data, possibly shared by the Chinese, or some other way, say former officials.

Turkey's Economy Is Not Out Of The Woods Yet

by Desmond Lachman
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Anyone who believes President Erdogan’s assertion that the Turkish economy is out of the woods following its 2018 exchange rate crisis has not read the IMF’s latest Turkish economic report. In that report, the IMF could not have been clearer that Turkey’s high degree of external vulnerability makes it particularly exposed to a change in market sentiment towards the emerging market economies or to adverse domestic and international political developments.

The key economic vulnerability highlighted by the IMF is the Turkish corporate sector’s excessive foreign currency indebtedness. As a result of that indebtedness, Turkey still has a gross external financing need of almost 25 percent of the country’s GDP. In addition, that indebtedness has made Turkey’s overall external position worse today than it was on the eve of the 2008 global financial crisis. This makes the country all too dependent on the uninterrupted smooth flow of foreign capital into the country.

These are the top 15 emerging jobs of 2020, according to LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s third annual US emerging jobs report has identified the 15 fastest-growing jobs, as well as the skills and cities most associated with them. This year the company found that the number of artificial intelligence and data science roles continue to expand across nearly every industry. For the first time, robotics has made an appearance on the list, and at least five roles in the ranking include the word “engineer” in the title.

But it’s not just high-tech roles that have seen a lot more hiring action in the past five years, which is how far back LinkedIn looks to measure the emergence of roles based on user profile data and hiring growth trends. Product owners, “customer success specialists,” and sales development representatives are also in high-demand, LinkedIn says.

Only one job on the list generally doesn’t require a four-year degree, which is that of behavioral health technicians. Since 2015, hiring for this role has grown 32% a year, due in part to the increased insurance coverage for mental health, according to the report.

50+ Reasons Our Favorite Emerging Technologies Had an Amazing 2019

By Marc Prosser

For most of history, technology was about atoms, the manipulation of physical stuff to extend humankind’s reach. But in the last five or six decades, atoms have partnered with bits, the elemental “particles” of the digital world as we know it today. As computing has advanced at the accelerating pace described by Moore’s Law, technological progress has become increasingly digitized.

SpaceX lands and reuses rockets and self-driving cars do away with drivers thanks to automation, sensors, and software. Businesses find and hire talent from anywhere in the world, and for better and worse, a notable fraction of the world learns and socializes online. From the sequencing of DNA to artificial intelligence and from 3D printing to robotics, more and more new technologies are moving at a digital pace and quickly emerging to reshape the world around us.

What is the dark web? How to access it and what you'll find

The dark web is a part of the internet that isn't indexed by search engines. You've no doubt heard talk of the “dark web” as a hotbed of criminal activity — and it is. Researchers Daniel Moore and Thomas Rid of King's College in London classified the contents of 2,723 live dark web sites over a five-week period in 2015 and found that 57% host illicit material. 

A 2019 study, Into the Web of Profit, conducted by Dr. Michael McGuires at the University of Surrey, shows that things have become worse. The number of dark web listings that could harm an enterprise has risen by 20% since 2016. Of all listings (excluding those selling drugs), 60% could potentially harm enterprises.

You can buy credit card numbers, all manner of drugs, guns, counterfeit money, stolen subscription credentials, hacked Netflix accounts and software that helps you break into other people’s computers. Buy login credentials to a $50,000 Bank of America account for $500. Get $3,000 in counterfeit $20 bills for $600. Buy seven prepaid debit cards, each with a $2,500 balance, for $500 (express shipping included). A “lifetime” Netflix premium account goes for $6. You can hire hackers to attack computers for you. You can buy usernames and passwords.[ Prepare to become a Certified Information Security Systems Professional with this comprehensive online course from PluralSight. Now offering a 10-day free trial! ]


The title above comes from Paris Martineau’s December 30, 2019 article she posted to the technlogy and security blog, WIRED.com. Ten years ago [2010] “techno-optimism was surging,” Ms. Martrineau wrote. “A whopping 75 percent of American adults were online — a big jump from the 46 percrent that were logging on a decade prior — crusing through the information age largely from the comfort of their homes for the first time en masse. Social media was relatively new and gaining traction — especially among young people — as the worlds attention appeared to shift to apps from the browser-based web.”

“The Pew Research Center marked the new decade [2010] by asking 895 leading technologists, researchers, and critics,for predictions of what the Internet-connected world of 2020 would look like,” Ms. Martineau wrote. “On one subject there was overwhelming consensus: 85 percent of respondents agreed that the “social benefits of Internet use will far outweigh the negatives over the next decade,” noting that the Internet by and large “improves social relations and will continue to do so through 2020. They pointed to the ease of communication and wealth of knowledge granted by the information age as reasons to be optimistic.”

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

How did Carlos Ghosn escape from Japan without any of his three passports?

by Jack Guy

London (CNN Business)Carlos Ghosn was once feted in Japan as a titan of the auto industry, the charismatic boss of emblematic automakers Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors. If he wasn’t one of the country’s most recognizable faces then, he certainly became one when he was spectacularly fired after being arrested in November 2018 on suspicion of financial misconduct.

The terms of his 1.5 billion yen bail (that’s $13.8 million) required that he remain in Japan in advance of his trial, set for 2020. Deemed a flight risk, Ghosn’s three passports were confiscated, held by his defense team in order that he could not leave the country. Even then, he was placed under strict surveillance and he was subject to restrictions on his use of phones and computers.

Carlos Ghosn at the New York International Auto Show in 2016.

In the absence of hard facts, there has been plenty of speculation. Among the more outlandish theories to be raised in Lebanese media was that he was smuggled out in a box designed for musical instruments, after a private performance at his home by a Gregorian music ensemble.

Make 5G Secure and Open to All

Marc Grossman

WASHINGTON: Panic is rising in the United States over China’s lead in the production and provision of global 5G networks. And a scramble is on over how to confront the technological challenge. Making a sober assessment of the threat and then creatively exploiting the unlikely offer of a new opportunity to get into the game would be useful places to start in developing a strategic response.

Of course, there is plenty to be anxious about. In its recent report Innovation and National Security, the Council on Foreign Relations says 5G networks “will offer data speeds up to fifty or one hundred times faster than current telecom networks and will serve as critical infrastructure for AI, automated vehicles, the Internet of Things, and other industrial sectors.” The Wall Street Journal reports that 5G will power “a fourth industrial revolution.” Whoever controls this technology will be in the driver’s seat for next-generation innovation.