4 March 2020

Cyber Wargame - An Indian Scenario

Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd), Consultant, VIF


Immediately after the first gulf war in the early 1990’s the theories of Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) and Information Warfare were being studied all over the world as a new kind of warfare. During that time, a course on Information Warfare was conducted at the National Defense University of USA. The course participants were from senior officers of the armed forces, representatives of Department of Defence and Department of State and policy makers from the government. Rand Corporation of US was conducting this course.

Urban Himalaya running dry, 5 Indian towns in the grip of increased water insecurity: Study

Vishwa Mohan 
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NEW DELHI: Thirteen towns across four countries, including five from India (Mussoorie, Devprayag, Singtam, Kalimpong and Darjeeling), in the Hindu Kush

Himalayan (HKH) region, are facing increased water insecurity, said a study, published in the journal Water on Sunday.

The study also explained the reasons behind the phenomena where “urban Himalaya is running dry” despite being in the region of high water availability.

The remaining eight towns are in three different countries - Nepal (Kathmandu, Bharatpur, Tansen and Damauli), Pakistan (Murree and Havelian) and Bangladesh (Sylhet and Chittagong).

Pashtun Paradise: How Years of a U.S.-Led War in Afghanistan Helped Its Adversary Succeed

by Paul R. Pillar
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Americans tend to think of all their wars in a simplified way in which wars have definite beginnings and ends and in which good guys are clearly distinguishable from the bad. The model was a poor fit for the long and messy Afghanistan conflict.

It appears that the U.S. military expedition in Afghanistan, begun in the autumn of 2001, may finally be coming to an end. Significant hurdles still have to be overcome, involving among other things the Taliban having to meet a vague standard of reducing, though not ceasing, their military operations. But a conclusion to direct American involvement in the Afghan war does seem closer than at any previous time in the more than eighteen years of that involvement.

Expect many commentaries in the weeks ahead about what went well and what went poorly—especially poorly—in the Afghanistan war. There will be hindsight-laden appraisals of tactics and strategy and of such things as troop surges said to have started too late or ended too soon. Most of the commentary probably will miss the most fundamental aspects of America’s experience in Afghanistan—what most deserves to go into the history books and what is most relevant to avoiding more ultra-long wars in the future. Those fundamentals have less to do with tactics and strategy and more to do with broader perceptual and political patterns in the United States, including the following ones.

The US Once Wanted Peace in Afghanistan

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For George W. Bush, the goal was the destruction of al-Qaeda, the total defeat of the Taliban, and a “stable and free and peaceful” Afghanistan. For Barack Obama, it was a degraded Taliban that could be reasoned with but would have torenounce violence, respect women, and abide by the Afghan constitution. For Donald Trump, it was just a reduction in violence and a clear path to the door—the Afghans themselves would have to figure out the rest.

Over nearly two decades of war in Afghanistan, the United States government went from seeking to annihilate the Taliban, to meeting with them furtively, to negotiating with them openly, before, finally, signing a deal with them. And at each juncture, the expectations dropped.

The agreement the United States and the Taliban signed today is both truly momentous for happening at all and severely modest for what it contains. In essence, it extends a seven-day truce in which U.S. and Taliban forces refrained from attacking each other, calls for Afghans to talk among themselves, and lays out a plan for a U.S. withdrawal over 14 months. The U.S. isn’t going anywhere immediately, and neither is the Taliban; there’s not even a full cease-fire. Implicit in all of it is the larger recognition that, for the U.S., getting out of Afghanistan will mean lowering the bar.

9/11 ANALYSIS: From Ronald Reagan and the Soviet-Afghan War to George W Bush and September 11, 2001

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

This article first published in September 2010 summarizes earlier writings by the author on 9/11 and the role of Al Qaeda in US foreign policy. For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, America’s “War on Terrorism”, Global Research, 2005

“The United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings….The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books,..”, (Washington Post, 23 March 2002)

“Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the [Islamic] Jihad.” (Pervez Hoodbhoy, Peace Research, 1 May 2005)

“Bin Laden recruited 4,000 volunteers from his own country and developed close relations with the most radical mujahideen leaders. He also worked closely with the CIA, … Since September 11, [2001] CIA officials have been claiming they had no direct link to bin Laden.” (Phil Gasper, International Socialist Review, November-December 2001)

US’ Afghanistan Drawdown Will Continue Amid Taliban Violence, Pentagon Says

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“I would caution everybody to think that there’s going to be an absolute cessation of violence in Afghanistan — that is probably not going to happen,” Milley said.

Two days after the United States signed a provisional peace deal with the Taliban, senior Pentagon leaders said the Trump administration will move ahead with plans to withdraw from Afghanistan — even as Taliban officials vow to continue their attacks on the government and amid signs that conditions for intra-Afghan talks are already faltering.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that the United States will begin to draw down to 8,600 troops — starting in the next 10 days — whether or not there is continued violence on behalf of the Taliban. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley cautioned that ongoing attacks are likely inevitable.

“This is going to be a long, windy, bumpy road. There will be ups and downs. We’ll stop and start,” Esper told reporters at the Pentagon. “That’s going to be the nature of this, over the next days, weeks, and months.”

After 18 Years, Is This Afghan Peace, or Just a Way Out?

By David E. Sanger
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President Trump has left no doubt that his first priority in Afghanistan is a peace treaty that would enable him to claim that he is fulfilling his vow to withdraw American troops.

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But a parade of his former national security aides say he is far less interested in an actual Afghan peace.

And that creates an enormous risk for Mr. Trump and for Afghanistan: that, like President Richard M. Nixon’s peace deal with North Vietnam in January 1973, the accord signed Saturday will speed an American exit and do little to stabilize an allied government. In the case of Vietnam, it took two years for the “decent interval,” in Henry A. Kissinger’s famous phrase, to expire and for the South Vietnamese government to be overrun.

“Trump would not be the first president to exaggerate the meaning of a truce in an election year,” said Joseph Nye, an emeritus professor at Harvard whose newest book, “Do Morals Matter? Presidents and Foreign Policy From F.D.R. to Trump,” examines the Vietnam precedent.

In the heat of the 1972 election, Mr. Nye notes, “Nixon made great claims about an imminent peace in Vietnam,” and it was only after his re-election — and his resignation — that the image of a frantic helicopter evacuation from Saigon came to mark the failure of a long, costly American experiment.

America’s responsibilities on the cusp of its peace deal with the Taliban

Madiha Afzal

Eighteen years after the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, it’s clear there is no way for America to militarily win that war. With $1.5 trillion spent, thousands of American lives — and, by some estimates, hundreds of thousands of Afghan lives — lost, it’s time to end the bloodshed. If the violence cannot end with victory, the argument goes, it is best to end it with a peace deal.


For all the discussion of the mechanics of the U.S.-Taliban peace deal — whether or not it will hold in the first phase that is currently underway, what phase two might look like, what sort of power-sharing arrangement might emerge between the Taliban and the Afghan government — the central question of negotiating with terrorists, and the cost of that, is not one this administration is grappling with in any significant way. (The Democratic presidential candidates even less so — both Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg have said that they will leave Afghanistan and its “endless war” with or without a peace deal; the latter would be catastrophic for Afghans.)

But this should be a central question: What is the cost of negotiating with the very terrorists who you once sought to defeat, those who are responsible for the loss of thousands of American lives and even more Afghan lives?

US-Taliban deal — a victory for Islamists?

The US and the Taliban are set to sign an agreement on Saturday to end the 18-year-long war in Afghanistan. But analysts say it comes with many concessions for the insurgent group. Shamil Shams reports from Doha.

The stage is set in Doha for the signing ceremony of a much-anticipated US-Taliban deal. The agreement will be inked on Saturday, with high-ranking US officials, Taliban negotiators and delegates from various countries likely to participate in the historic event. 

It is in Doha, the capital of Qatar, that US and Taliban negotiators have held several rounds of talks. Last year in August, the two sides came very close to finalizing a deal, but US President Donald Trump called off negotiations in September after the militants attacked American troops in Afghanistan.

But within weeks, the Doha talks were back on track, and in less than five months since Trump ended Qatar talks, the US and the Taliban are on the verge of signing an historic agreement. So what changed so drastically in such a short span of time that Washington is ready to seal a deal with one of its arch-enemies?

Opinion – Coronavirus and its Impact in the Gulf


The end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 marked the outbreak of a dangerous virus (novel coronavirus or COVID-19) originating in China, one that has now begun to spread. As a result, in an increasingly globalized world where the transfer of goods and people is easier than ever before, the coronavirus epidemic has most (if not all) nations concerned. More than 40 countries have reported cases of coronavirus with public health systems in most states preparing for further spread. The Gulf countries may be more anxious about the epidemic than most others, with the possible exception of China itself and its immediate neighbors. This is partly because of the Gulf states’ social and economic situations. The economies of Gulf countries (Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman) are mostly oil or gas-based, making them dependent on the outside world in many ways.

Different factors play a role in why the Gulf is expected to be affected by the coronavirus in a way that other regions are not. These factors are: (1) the number of foreign workers in the region; (2) the number of Chinese tourists visiting the area and the general impact of coronavirus on international tourism; (3) trade and investment; (4) the extent of imports and exports between China and the Gulf Cooperation Councul (GCC) states; (5) mega events that will be held in Gulf countries; (6) and finally, decreased production in China and the impact of that on the global economy.

Taiwan Wants to Help Fight the Coronavirus. WHO Won’t Let It.

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The novel coronavirus outbreak has resulted in more than 80,000 confirmed cases and killed nearly 3,000 people worldwide. Its spread has already surpassed the total number of casualties during the SARS crisis in 2002-2003. The World Health Organization (WHO) belatedly declared the outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern on Jan. 30.

Some 60,000 flights carry 10 million passengers between Taiwan and China every year. Taiwan has an acute interest in protecting its own and the world’s welfare from this latest health threat. After the painful but valuable experience of dealing with SARS in 2003, Taiwan’s government is making maximum and keenly effective efforts to prevent further outbreaks on the island.

However, Taiwan was excluded from the WHO emergency meetings on the new coronavirus crisis. In fact, Taiwan has been denied permission to attend the annual World Health Assembly and WHO technical and experts’ meetings since 2016 due to Beijing’s aggressive attempts at limiting Taiwan’s international participation.

How Hackers and Spies Could Sabotage the Coronavirus Fight

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The world is racing to contain the new coronavirus that is spreading around the globe with alarming speed. Right now, pandemic disease experts at the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other public-health agencies are gathering information to learn how and where the virus is spreading. To do so, they are using a variety of digital communications and surveillance systems. Like much of the medical infrastructure, these systems are highly vulnerable to hacking and interference.

That vulnerability should be deeply concerning. Governments and intelligence agencies have long had an interest in manipulating health information, both in their own countries and abroad. They might do so to prevent mass panic, avert damage to their economies, or avoid public discontent (if officials made grave mistakes in containing an outbreak, for example). Outside their borders, states might use disinformation to undermine their adversaries or disrupt an alliance between other nations. A sudden epidemic—when countries struggle to manage not just the outbreak but its social, economic and political fallout—is especially tempting for interference.

Yemen’s war is escalating againBruce Riedel

After five months of deescalation, the war in Yemen is heading back in the wrong direction. Fighting is escalating on the ground. The Houthi rebels have resumed missile attacks on Saudi Arabia and the Saudis have resumed air strikes on Sana’a. If the war escalates further, there is a danger it will expand and draw in Iran and America more than previously.

The missile attacks on Saudi Arabia’s vital oil infrastructure in Abqaiq last September were the galvanizing event that persuaded Riyadh to start deescalation. The pin-point accuracy of the attacks demonstrated the acute vulnerability of the Saudi economy. Immediately after the strike, the Houthis — who claimed credit for what was actually an Iranian attack — offered to cease missile attacks in Saudi Arabia if Riyadh stopped bombing. Tehran approved the deal. The United Nations mediators used the opening to get a reduction in violence, a prisoner exchange, and medical flights from Sana’a for the people most in need of care.

The Saudis were very alarmed that President Trump said the September attacks were against Saudi Arabia and not the United States. The differentiation made the Saudis lose faith. Despite the presence of American combat troops in the kingdom (Trump returned them last year after they had left in 2003), the United States said it was not going to fight for their defense against Iran. The Democrats were even firmer in opposition to going to war for Saudi Arabia. Senator Bernie Sanders, for one, has called the Saudis “murderous thugs.” It was a wake-up call, and the killing of Qassem Soleimani did not resolve Riyadh’s concerns. They began direct negotiations with the Houthis.Recent Houthi demonstrators at University of Sana’a. Photo credit: Yemeni journalist Faris Saeed.

Terrorism as a Weapon of the Strong? A Postcolonial Analysis of Terrorism


Terrorism studies and academic interest in terrorism has exploded since the September 11 attacks on the United States. As the terrorism industry has grown, so has Western governments acute interest in the inviable terrorist threat (Gunning 2007, p. 363). Conventional terrorism studies have focused on this Western state centric, problem solving approach, which has severely limited the scope of the field’s research and academic interests (Gunning 2007, p. 363). To fill the intellectual gap, critical terrorism studies was developed and popularised by several approaches. This includes feminist, Marxist or political economy based and postcolonial perspectives that have significantly expanded and improved on conventional views (Stump & Dixit 2013, p. 55). Postcolonial theorists emphasise the centrality of race and imperial power in forming normative understandings and meanings of terrorisms particular acts and actions (Stump & Dixit 2013, p. 55). This approach amplifies the voices of those often unheard and unasked, living in colonial dynasties or postcolonial societies. This essay will argue a postcolonial perspective offers a greater understanding of terrorism than the traditional approach. First, the shortcomings of the conventional perspective will be examined, including the problem solving dynamic and the state-centric analysis. The various benefits of postcolonialism will then be studied including, the ability to understand historical continuities, to properly assess Western state terrorism in the past and the current manifestation of counter-terrorism measures. The case study of drone warfare will be used to highlight these points. Finally, the ‘othering’ process will be analysed and its implications for terrorism studies and the conventional school.

Thomas Piketty Goes Global

By Idrees Kahloon

Now that the celebrity economist’s boldest ideas have been adopted by mainstream politicians, he has an even more provocative vision for transcending capitalism and overcoming our “inequality regime.”

Inequality, in Piketty’s view, drives human history, and calls for radical remedies.Illustration by Ben Wiseman

Speaking in 1918, with Europe ravaged by the horrors of modern warfare and Russia in the hands of the Bolsheviks, Irving Fisher warned his colleagues at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association of “a great peril.” That peril, which risked “perverting the democracy for which we have just been fighting,” was extreme inequality. “We may be sure that there will be a bitter struggle over the distribution of wealth,” Fisher, perhaps the most celebrated economist of his day, maintained. More than a century later—at another annual meeting of the American Economic Association—the spectre once more loomed over the discipline. “American capitalism and democracy are not working for people without a college degree,” Anne Case, an economist at Princeton, declared in January, as she flipped through slides in a large, windowless conference room. On a screen, charts showed breathtaking increases in suicide, drug overdoses, and alcoholism among less-educated whites over the past two decades. These “deaths of despair,” as she and her husband-collaborator, Angus Deaton, call them, originated in the deep unfairness of American society. When Fisher issued his warning, the richest ten per cent of Americans were taking home forty-one per cent of all domestic income. Today, they take forty-eight per cent.

The Marvelous Misadventures of the U.S.-Ukraine Relationship

by Mark Episkopos

The impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives have demonstrated a near-unanimous consensus among Washington experts and politicians regarding Ukraine policy, best expressed in the closing remarks of Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.): “We should care about Ukraine. We should care about a country struggling to be free and a Democracy . . . but of course, it’s about more than Ukraine. It’s about us. It’s about our national security. Their fight is our fight. Their defense is our defense. When Russia remakes the map of Europe for the first time since World War II by dint of military force and Ukraine fights back, it is our fight too.”

Former Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor echoed a similar sentiment in a recent New York Times op-ed: “To support Ukraine,” wrote Taylor, "is to support a rules-based international order that enabled major powers in Europe to avoid war for seven decades. It is to support democracy over autocracy. It is to support freedom over unfreedom. Most Americans do.”

The Washington consensus offers what is admittedly a gripping narrative: not only the U.S. government but every American citizen is morally bound to support a fledgling Ukrainian nation locked in a mortal struggle to defend its democracy against foreign invasion.

Global Migration Is Not Abating. Neither Is the Backlash Against It

Around the world, the popular backlash against global migration has fueled the rise of far-right populist parties and driven some centrist governments to adopt a tougher line on immigration. But with short-term strategies dominating the debate, many of the persistent drivers of migration go unaddressed, even as efforts to craft a global consensus on migration are hobbled by demands for quick solutions.

Around the world, migration continues to figure prominently in political debates. In Europe, far-right populist parties have used the Migrant Crisis of 2015 and latent fears of immigrants to fuel their rise and introduce increasingly restrictive border policies in countries, like Italy, where they have entered government. The popular backlash against immigrants has also pushed centrist governments to adopt a tougher line on immigration at home, while working with countries of origin and transit to restrict migration, whether through improving border controls or strengthening economic incentives for potential emigres to stay in their home countries.

In some places, the strategy appears to be working—for now. In Europe, asylum applications have dropped back to pre-2015 levels, when a wave of refugees and immigrants arrived on the continent from Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa. In the United States, President Donald Trump’s pressure on Mexico to secure its southern border also appears to have stemmed the flow of refugees and migrants attempting to make it into the country. At the same time, the Trump administration has threatened to end aid programs that might actually help keep people in the Central American countries they are fleeing.

Strategic Competition For Emerging Military Technologies: Comparative Paths And Patterns – Analysis

By Michael Raska*
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One of the most pressing issues in contemporary international relations is the expectation of a new era of intensifying strategic competition, characterized by the confluence of political, economic, and military-technological competitions in the context of major shifts in the global security environment.1 At the forefront of this growing strategic rivalry is the contest for future supremacy over global security and economic institutional grids between the world’s major military powers—the United States, China, and to a lesser degree, Russia.

The Trump Administration has adopted an unprecedentedly combative stance toward China—the 2017 National Security Strategy describes China as a “revisionist power . . . that seeks to displace the United States in the Indo-Pacific region,” while the 2018 National Defense Strategy portrays China as “a strategic competitor” that is using “predatory economics,” as well as its growing military capabilities, “to intimidate its neighbors.”2 The shift in U.S. perceptions amounts to a growing realization that its two-part strategy of “engagement and strategic balancing” toward China that began with the Nixon/Kissinger “China opening” in the late 1960s, has failed to achieve its main objective—to integrate China as a “responsible stakeholder” in the existing international system, while preserving a favorable balance of power that would dissuade China from trying to mount a serious challenge in the long-term future.3 Increasingly, the policy narrative has shifted toward a contrary viewpoint—as a fast–rising power, China “embodies a more enduring strategic challenge”—it is reluctant to accept institutions, border divisions, and hierarchies of political prestige put in place when it was comparatively weak.4 According to one observer,

it would be naïve to assume that China doesn’t harbor longer-term strategic ambitions in the region that would allow it to emerge not only as a ‘theater peer’ of the United States but also as the most formidable Asian power that would be able to contest and effectively deter the United States.5

The Uncrowded Country of the Bomb

Verlyn Klinkenborg
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In 1962, the poet George Oppen published a poem called “Time of the Missile.” “My love, my love,” he wrote, “We are endangered / Totally at last.” It was the right year to come to that conclusion—the year of the Cuban missile crisis and the year nuclear testing reached its all-time peak. In 1962, the United States conducted ninety-eight nuclear tests and the Soviet Union seventy-eight. Thirty-five of America’s tests that year were atmospheric—launched by rocket or dropped from a plane—all but two of them in the Pacific Ocean. The rest were detonated underground in Nevada. Traces of the atmospheric tests were mostly scattered by the winds and absorbed by the seas. But the underground tests—and there were at least seven hundred more over the next thirty years—left a pox-like pattern of craters in the desert some sixty-five miles northwest of Las Vegas, a stark monument of deliberate ruin. 

If you examine the Nevada nuclear test sites using Google satellite view or its equivalent (start at the Sedan Crater—37°10’36.7″N, 116°02’46.2″W—and work your way south), you see an irregular array of circles. They’re scattered within a rough grid of service roads and cross-hatchings that have been bulldozed into the surface crust of a long north–south valley. But a satellite view almost inevitably turns landscape into metaphor. Analogies spring to mind so forcibly that it takes a conscious effort to resist them, to insist upon the reality of what you’re seeing. Yes, the landscape looks almost lunar. Yes, these could be nightmarish crop circles or dusty, haphazard versions of the center-pivot irrigation fields you come across throughout the semi-arid West. Some of the circles do indeed look like the top of a fallen cake or the entrance to a subterranean ant colony. But each one is a subsidence crater, the slumping cone that results when hundreds of thousands of tons of earth and rock are vaporized far below ground.

How North Korean Hackers Rob Banks Around the World

THE BILLS ARE called supernotes. Their composition is three-quarters cotton and one-quarter linen paper, a challenging combination to produce. Tucked within each note are the requisite red and blue security fibers. The security stripe is exactly where it should be and, upon close inspection, so is the watermark. Ben Franklin’s apprehensive look is perfect, and betrays no indication that the currency, supposedly worth $100, is fake.

Most systems designed to catch forgeries fail to detect the supernotes. The massive counterfeiting effort that produced these bills appears to have lasted decades. Many observers tie the fake bills to North Korea, and some even hold former leader Kim Jong-Il personally responsible, citing a supposed order he gave in the 1970s, early in his rise to power. Fake hundreds, he reasoned, would simultaneously give the regime much-needed hard currency and undermine the integrity of the US economy. The self-serving fraud was also an attempt at destabilization.

At its peak, the counterfeiting effort apparently yielded at least $15 million per year for the North Korean government, according to the Congressional Research Service. The bills ended up all over the world, allegedly distributed by an aging Irish man and laundered through a small bank in Macau. The North Koreans are believed to have supplemented the forging program with other illicit efforts. These ranged from trafficking opiates and methamphetamines to selling knockoff Viagra and even smuggling parts of endangered animals in secure diplomatic pouches. All told, the Congressional Research Service estimates that the regime at one point netted more than $500 million per year from its criminal activities.

The Energy Relationship Between Russia and the European Union


In 2018, around 40% of EU natural gas imports came from Russia (Foy, 2018). In the same year, Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas monopoly, supplied a total of 200.8 billion cubic meters of gas to European countries, with 81% heading to Western Europe (Gazprom, 2018). Though both sides are dependent on one another, the relationship is far from fruitful. Aside from the obvious historical grievances, particularly between the bloc’s eastern member states and Russia, recent geopolitical developments have aggravated relations, namely the Crimean crisis of 2014. The EU, along with the US and several other countries, imposed sanctions on Russia, targeting the financial and energy sectors (Spiegel, 2014). Yet, they were limited to the oil sector, given the EU’s dependence on Russian gas. This detail illustrates an interesting dynamic between the two.

The Eastern member states feel particularly vulnerable as a result of pre-existing historical anxieties, as well as a more intense dependence on Russia. Before the launch of the Klaipeda LNG terminal in 2015, the baltic states imported their entire natural gas consumption from Russia (Chyong & Teherneva, 2015).

With that in mind, the EU-Russia relationship resembles an uneasy marriage. At this point in time, Russia needs the European Union, and the European Union needs Russia. Europe meets its energy needs. Russia’s hydrocarbon exports generate a substantial amount of revenue for the state, accounting for more than 50% of the consolidated budget (Bogoviz, Lobova, Ragulina, & Alekseev, 2018, p.1).

As for the uneasy element, they are and will remain natural geopolitical rivals. The incorporation of some eastern European states into the union reinforces this friction. Russia sees these states as its natural sphere of influence.

Euroscepticism, Thatcherism and Brexit


“The British people have spoken and decided to remain in [a] reformed European Union,” British Prime Minister David Cameron planned to proclaim on Friday, June 24, 2016.[1] Instead, he delivered his resignation speech, saying, “I was absolutely clear about my belief that Britain is stronger, safer and better off inside the EU…But the British people made a different decision to take a different path.”[2] The outcome of the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum sent shockwaves around Britain, Europe, and the world.[3] Brexit constitutes the first time a state has voted to exit a major supranational institution and has since left the UK’s role in a globalized world in a state of uncertainty.[4]The cause of this unexpected referendum result is highly contested. On the one hand, the Brexit vote can be viewed as a revolt by the ‘losers’ or those left behind by globalization.[5] On the other hand, the unexpected outcome may be attributed to, as Tim Shipman put it, “the culmination of three decades of Euroscepticism cloaking a nation in its suffocating embrace.”[6]

Euroscepticism, defined as opposition to the powers of the European Union (EU), has been a growing phenomenon in Britain since the first European membership referendum in 1975; it found its full voice during the premiership of Margaret Thatcher. This essay explores: To what extent was Margaret Thatcher’s Euroscepticism in 1985-1990 drawn upon by the “Brexit/Leave” movement? In this essay, I argue that Margaret Thatcher’s Euroscepticism during her premiership initially built the momentum of a Eurosceptic movement within the Conservative Party, eventually resulting in Brexit decades later. Through public statements and speeches, she continued to embolden others within the Conservative Party. In addition, during the European Debt Crisis, she strengthened support among the Conservative Party after she predicted the failure of the single European Currency. Thus, Thatcher’s legacy heavily influenced the Leave movement in 2016.

Visceralities of the Border: Contemporary Border Regimes in a Globalised World


On the 9th November 1989 the Berlin Wall collapsed, triggering a chain of events that was said to have ushered in a new globalised era. Under no illusions as to whose ideology had prevailed, thinkers such as Francis Fukuyama pronounced an End of History (1992), with ideological debate now a matter of which laissez faire economist had been proven most correct. History had been won, and central to this new era of globalised trade was the notion of a borderless existence. When the Berlin Wall came down the number of border walls stood globally at 15 (Donnan and Wilson, 1999). The only question remaining was how long it would take for the others to fall. Almost three decades on and the realities could not be starker. The current number of border walls stands at 72 (Donnan and Wilson, 1999), with the spectre of further border development at the forefront of state policy throughout the Global North. In response to the claim that this process of bordering represents an aberration from an otherwise open and borderless capitalist landscape, this essay intends to invert such premises, arguing that the border is built into the very structures of global capitalism. Indeed, the border is constitutive of capitalism itself. Thus, building on from this premise, the article will situate the border at the heart of social life, asking in what ways a more sociological IR theory can make sense of our globalised world today.

Three Rare Metals Every Investor Must Watch At This Critical Time – Analysis

By Meredith Taylor

Three of the most valuable metals in the world are so rare that they could become a factor in the difference between global technological dominance and military superiority on one hand, and the loss of superpower status on the other.

Yet, for all their critical importance, even the most powerful nations are struggling to secure a stable supply.

That’s because one of these metals is so rare that total historical production wouldn’t even cover your ankles in an Olympic-sized swimming pool

The second is even rarer than the first.

And the third … is so secretive that it’s almost impossible to put a market price on it at all.

#1 Platinum (Pt)

This metal is as scarce as gold, representing .005 ppm (parts per million) of the earth’s crust. But it isn’t exploited at even close to the volume of gold.

The future of defense contractor cybersecurity standards

Andrew Eversden
SAN FRANCISCO — The Department of Defense official leading the overhaul of cybersecurity requirements for the Department of Defense contractors sees the model as being in a “constant state of evolution” over the next few years.

Katie Arrington, the chief information security officer for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and czar for the new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, told Fifth Domain in an interview at the RSA Conference that work on CMMC will be a “perpetual thing.”

After the CMMC requirements are written into contracts around October, Arrington said she wants to “have some data to say ‘okay, these controls — are they really worth the return on investment? Do we need to tweak the model?’”

CMMC 1.0 was released at the end of January.

Right now, Arrington said, she is working with staff to create the audit training. One of the challenges in building the training, like creating CMMC itself, is ensuring that it is simple and easy to understand.

How private companies help the FBI identify more cybercriminals

Andrew Eversden
SAN FRANCISCO — Private companies have a crucial role to play in assisting the Department of Justice and FBI as they gather information to charge malicious cyber actors with crimes, especially as the department views criminal charges as a form of indictments, a top FBI cyber official said Feb. 26 at the RSA Conference.

Adam Hickey, deputy assistant attorney general of the national security division at the Department of Justice, said that companies reporting breaches to the Justice Dept. allows the agency to begin an attribution process that may ultimately result in criminal charges.

Contacting law enforcement, Hickey said, was the “responsible” thing for companies to do.

“That [contact] is critical to the attribution question a lot of the times," Hickey said, because the law enforcement can the work "backwards from whatever breadcrumbs are on the network of the victim to figure out on our end who did it.”

The department also has a fundamental different role in cyber attribution — one that also has to be significantly more transparent — than other government agencies doing attribution.

5 myths about cyberwar

The U.S. indictment of four Chinese hackers in the massive Equifax breach, The Washington Post's recent revelations about CIA encryption back doors, President Donald Trump's desire to rewrite the Russia investigation's findings and swirling worries about Huawei's cybersecurity have all put cyberwar back into the national lexicon. It's a topic fueled by decades of dramatic movies, blue-ribbon commissions and academic theorizing, to say nothing of the devastating cyberattacks that have occurred. But as recent events show, many long-held ideas about cyberwars aren't always borne out.

Myth No. 1: Cyberwar is overhyped and impossible

One of the most common myths in cybersecurity is that destructive hacking is a wildly overblown threat, or nearly impossible, or incapable of shaping geopolitical conflicts. The cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier, for example, has argued that we should eschew the vocabulary of statecraft for "the more measured language of cybercrime" when talking about such attacks. Others love to point out that squirrels cause more blackouts than hackers, suggesting, as The Guardian put it, that "cyberwarfare remains a slightly overblown fear."

Inside the Cyber Honey Traps of Hamas

Neri Zilber
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TEL AVIV—The 20-year-old Israeli soldier couldn’t believe his luck. Out of nowhere, a pretty brunette named Maria Yakovlevah messaged him on Telegram. She was a year older, originally from Odessa, but now living in northern Israel according to her Facebook profile, which had a post that read, in Hebrew: “A pretty woman isn’t always happy, but a happy woman is always pretty.”

The two got to chatting. Maria said she loved listening to music, traveling and watching movies. "What are you looking for?" the soldier inquired. “To go through life,” Maria replied with a coquettish upside-down smiley face emoji. The conversation turned more flirtatious; Maria pressed the soldier to download an app called “catchandsee” so they could exchange risqué pictures—which he did, or at least tried to. 

The Top 3 Priorities Of New Space Force: Stopher


Next, revolutionary capabilities that support joint warfighting against peer competitors must be built. Finally, the newest service must lead in creating a comprehensive deterrence regime that can garner international support and build domestic political support as we transition to an era where “space is a warfighting domain.”

The first priority of the Space Force has to be addressing acquisition holes, including architectural planning and integration, enterprise systems engineering, and programmatic discipline. The poor track record of space program acquisition performance has provided the congressional oversight bodies (as well as warfighters who depend on the capabilities) ample reason to demand a management overhaul.

Review – The Future of War


In The Future of War: A History, Lawrence Freedman addresses how societies over the last two centuries have tried to predict war’s future. He moves through Bismarck’s surprise at French tenacity during the Franco-Prussian War, early twentieth-century arguments that the world wars would be won using organised cavalry charges, the unexpected end of the Cold War, and the futurologists of the 1990s who insisted that the USA’s next major world power rival would emerge out of Asia – and would be Japan (pp.265-7).

Freedman demonstrates that such predictions tend to share common motivations and usually serve a political purpose, making any prediction ‘about the present as much as the future’ (p.286). Overall, he concludes, attempts to predict the future have not gone very well – ‘virtually without exception, they get it wrong’ (p.264). His conclusions are timely: confident predictions abound today about the role of artificial intelligence in future conflicts, the likely parties involved, and which crisis in the Middle East will prelude a race to war. It may serve us well, then, to bear Freedman’s work in mind when confronted with these doom-laden forecasts.

Besides serving as a reminder to the present about the fallibility of predicting the future, The Future of War is also a valuable contribution to the histories of war and of government planning. Adopting his now-characteristic inter-disciplinary approach, Freedman shows an impressive command of literature, from classical myth to H.G. Wells, using these alongside abundant historical case studies. Freedman also engages with the historiography of topics which have been absent from his previous work, such as the logic of civilian targeting in war and Mary Kaldor’s definitions of ‘New Wars’ (Kaldor, 2012).

Army Reintegrating Electronic Warfare Into Force

By George I. Seffers

This year the Army will take several steps in the march toward reintroducing cutting-edge electronic warfare systems capable of countering near-peer competitors.

The service already has made progress through its use of rapid prototyping, which will continue in the weeks and months to come. In late 2018, Col. Kevin E. Finch, USA, project manager for electronic warfare (EW) and cyber, along with the Rapid Capabilities Office, won a David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award for rapidly fielding prototypical EW technologies to Army forces in Europe. An operational needs statement called for tools that would enable ground troops to maneuver freely, even as adversaries manipulated the electromagnetic spectrum and targeted friendly force systems with jamming and interference.

This year, the team should be heading back to Europe to upgrade those capabilities. “As you give soldiers capability, they get very vocal on what they want. So, we took the feedback they gave us on the first round, and we’re going back in the second quarter of this year to field phase two capabilities to European units,” Col. Finch reports. “These are soldiers in areas where they can employ the systems in a more realistic manner than some of our continental United States-based units.” In the third quarter of the current fiscal year, the team will begin fielding equipment to other units under another operational needs statement.