11 March 2020

India’s chemical industry: Unleashing the next wave of growth

By Florian Budde, Pinak Dattaray, Tejas Dave, Avinash Goyal, Suyog Kotecha, and Karthikeyan K S
India’s chemical industry: Unleashing the next wave of growth

India’s chemical story is one of outperformance and promise. A consistent value creator, the chemical industry remains an attractive hub of opportunities, even in an environment of global uncertainty. Worldwide trends affecting the global chemical industry could lead to near-term opportunities for chemical companies in India. How chemical players prioritize and tap this value-creating potential could shape the future of the industry in India as well as the country’s trade performance.

India’s chemical industry: A consistent value creator with a positive outlook

US-Taliban Deal: First Step on a Long Road to Peace

Réjeanne Lacroix

Afghanistan is a country saddled with political and national security issues due to forty years of constant war, often shaped by foreign intervention. Afghan affairs are typically analyzed through the lens of international security and terrorism as a result of these circumstances. Nonetheless, recent events, such as the bungled September 2019 presidential elections in which incumbent Ashraf Ghani was announced as the victor only weeks ago, and the historic agreement between the United States and Taliban representatives in Doha, Qatar are particularly relevant to domestic affairs as well as future development in the country. Afghan citizens and diaspora hope for a peaceful and prosperous land; therefore, it is worth investigating how this deal could potentially impact their collective optimism.

Basics of the Deal

A Deal with the Devil? Terms, Implications, and Risks of the US-Taliban Accord

The peace agreement signed by the United States and the Taliban on February 29, 2020 in Doha, Qatar is intended to end the nearly two-decade war between the Taliban and US-led forces in Afghanistan. In the broader strategic picture, the failure of the US to achieve a decisive victory over the Taliban in Afghanistan in the course of 19 years of fighting highlights the limitations of military power. Iran in particular could seemingly benefit from the US withdrawal (notwithstanding possible cross-border destabilizing ramifications), as one of its primary foreign policy aims has been the expulsion of US forces from its proximity. Additionally, this development supports the Iranian assessment that President Trump seeks to avoid military conflict in the Middle East. Especially relevant for Israel is the administration’s readiness to strike a deal with a long-time adversary (behind the back of an ally, the government of Afghanistan), but related concerns could be mitigated by the assessment that this deal may ease pressure from the White House to strike additional agreements quickly in order to demonstrate foreign policy success in advance of the 2020 elections.The United States faced a difficult decision in determining how to conclude the unpopular, stalemated, and costly war in Afghanistan at an acceptable price: it could either do so through unilateral withdrawal, or by an agreement with the Taliban, which might yield Washington some guarantees in return. Having long resisted both options - the former deemed a retreat and the latter as unenforceable - the US administration finally agreed with the Taliban on an accord to be implemented gradually over a 14-month span. The agreement, negotiated between US Special Representative to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and Chief Taliban negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, has six key components.

The four US commitments to the Taliban include:

Reduction of troops from 12,000-14,000 to 8,600 within 135 days, and then to zero by late April 2021.

Pandemic Disease Is a Threat to National Security

By Lisa Monaco 

On January 13, 2017, national security officials assembled in the White House to chart a response to a global pandemic. A new virus was spreading with alarming speed, causing global transportation stoppages, supply-chain disruptions, and plunging stock prices. With a vaccine many months away, U.S. health-care infrastructure was severely strained.

No, I didn’t get that date wrong. This happened: it was part of a transition exercise that outgoing officials from the administration of President Barack Obama convened for the benefit of the incoming team of President Donald Trump. As Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Adviser to President Obama, I led the exercise, in which my colleagues and I sat side by side with the incoming national security team to discuss the most pressing homeland security concerns they would face. Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden made ensuring a professional transition a top priority, so we followed the excellent example of our predecessors, who held a similar exercise in 2009. After 9/11, congressional legislation mandated such efforts in order to safeguard the country’s security through presidential transitions.

The coronavirus is exposing the limits of populism

Thomas Wright and Kurt Campbell

COVID-19 is becoming the third major crisis of the post–Cold War period, following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the financial collapse of 2008. Expertise matters. Institutions matter. An enlightened response, even if it’s unpopular, matters, argue Thomas Wright and Kurt Campbell. This piece was originally in The Atlantic.

During the 2008–09 financial crisis, the stock market, global trade, and economic growth all fell by greater margins than in the same period of the Great Depression of 1929–33. However, unlike in the 1930s, governments set aside smaller disagreements, coordinating domestic policies to save the global economy. After a rocky year, the economy stabilized and a second great depression was averted. The response, not the scale of the initial shock, mattered most. As Daniel Drezner, an international-politics professor at Tufts University, put it, the system worked.

The coronavirus, which causes the disease now called COVID-19, may be another once-in-a-century event. If some of the gloomier projections of COVID-19 play out, the world will face one of its worst peacetime crises of modern times. Unfortunately, this crisis occurs in a dark political climate, more similar to that of the early ’30s, when many governments pursued nationalist, beggar-thy-neighbor policies such as the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, and international cooperation was very limited. Over the past decade, the world has grown more authoritarian, nationalistic, xenophobic, unilateralist, anti-establishment, and anti-expertise. The current state of politics and geopolitics has exacerbated, not stabilized, the crisis.

Coronavirus Outbreak Intensifies: Q&A with RAND Experts

Cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, have now spread to at least 75 countries, infecting nearly 100,000 people across the globe—most in China, the epicenter of the outbreak.

With concerns about the disease rising, we asked a group of RAND researchers to answer a wide range of questions about the crisis:

Jennifer Bouey, the Tang Chair in China Policy Studies at RAND, is an epidemiologist whose research focuses on global health strategies and the social determinants of health.

Courtney Gidengil is a senior physician policy researcher who is board-certified in both general pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases.

Mahshid Abir is a senior physician policy researcher whose research focuses on hospital surge capacity and the effects of overcrowding at medical facilities.

Andrew Mulcahy is a senior policy researcher who studies prescription drug and health care payment policy.

Lori Uscher-Pines is a senior policy researcher whose work focuses on health care delivery via telemedicine, as well as emergency preparedness and response.

Elizabeth Petrun Sayers is a behavioral and social scientist who researches how traditional and new media shape risk perceptions and health behaviors.

What follows are edited highlights from their responses. (We'll post the full audio of this conversation shortly.)

Reflections on Confucian Cosmology and the Chinese School of IR


As an academic discipline, International Relations (IR) has built its meta-theoretical foundations upon various dualistic meta-narratives (e.g., identity v. difference, center v. periphery, civilization v. barbarism, and so on) and the Newtonian mechanics that pursues linear causation, treating global politics as a closed system of discrete, atomistic actors where their linear inputs are supposed to produce linear outputs. Against this backdrop, this article examines the efforts made by two leading scholars of the Chinese School of IR (hereafter Chinese School), Zhao Tingyang and Qin Yaqing, whose works claim to be informed by Confucianism. In order to see whether and how far Confucian cosmology has served as an alternative meta-theoretical resource to theorize global politics differently. While the potential (and limits) of Confucian cosmology may deserve further exploration in IR, this article finds that it does not constitute the meta-theoretical backbone of their respective theoretical constructs. Rather, their engagement with Confucian cosmology has been marginal, selective, and even contradictory. In addressing the disconnection between Confucian cosmology and theories of the Chinese School, we focus on how they are (un)related.

Confucian Cosmology: A Brief Sketch

Being Confucian, as Tucker (1998: 8-9) puts it, ‘implies realizing the ethics of relatedness at the heart of the universe…generat[ing] reciprocal resonances expressed through patterned correspondences with all forms of life’. The best exemplar is a famous motto from the Great Learning (Da Xue): ‘Cultivate the self, regulate the family, govern the state, then harmonize the world’ (Xiu shen, qi jia, zhi guo, ping tianxia). It indicates that, through self-cultivation, everyone can contribute to the harmony of tianxia or world order in a flexible concentric ripple by being a virtuous human being in various relational roles, such as a family member, a state official, or a global leader.

How Long Will It Take to Develop a Coronavirus Vaccine?

By Carolyn Kormann

On Monday, Donald Trump held a meeting in the White House to discuss his Administration’s response to covid-19, the novel coronavirus that has spread to every continent except Antarctica. At the time there had been more than a hundred and five thousand cases reported in at least eighty-three countries, leading to more than thirty-five hundred deaths. Seated around an oval table in the Cabinet Room were health experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institutes of Health, as well as pharmaceutical executives from Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, and others. With more than a hundred cases already discovered in the U.S., which had resulted in six deaths (the virus has since infected nearly four hundred people in the U.S., and killed at least nineteen of them), Trump was concerned. But he was also confused, despite having had several previous briefings with the Administration’s top health officials. Grasping for some good news, he pressed the executives to deliver a vaccine within a few months, at which point Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (N.I.A.I.D.), spoke up. “A vaccine that you make and start testing in a year is not a vaccine that’s deployable,” he said. The earliest it would be deployable, Fauci added, is “in a year to a year and a half, no matter how fast you go.”

The virus seems to have been circulating in the United States, particularly in Washington State, for the past month, and more cases are expected. A person can be infected but asymptomatic, and therefore unknowingly infect other people. This limits the ability of public-health tools to contain its spread. Even still, a covid-19 vaccine developed, licensed, and manufactured at a global scale in twelve months would be an unprecedented, remarkable, even revolutionary achievement. No other vaccine has come close to being developed that quickly. The fastest effort to date was during the Zika outbreak, in 2015, when one was ready for testing in about seven months, but the epidemic fizzled out before an approved vaccine could be sent through clinical trials. At the meeting on Monday, Trump said, “I like the sound of a couple months better, if I must be honest.”

China demands US response over CIA hacking claims

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has asked the US for a "clear explanation" after claims the CIA had been hacking targets in China for at least 11 years.

The allegations were made by Qihoo, a well-known cyber-security firm based in Beijing.

The company said it had found evidence in malware suggesting the CIA had targeted airlines, petrol companies and government agencies.

The BBC has contacted the CIA for comment.

Qihoo said it had analysed malicious code and found similarities between it and information about alleged CIA hacking tools which was published three years ago.

Among other alleged targets of the hacking campaign were internet firms, scientific institutions and energy companies.

Big Ideas for NATO’s New Mission in Iraq

Source link

Following U.S. President Donald Trump’s calls for America’s allies to “get more involved in the Middle East,” NATO defense ministers last month agreed to “enhance” the Atlantic alliance’s training mission in Iraq. Although the parameters of NATO’s new role are still to be defined, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has indicated it may include taking on some of the tasks currently being performed by U.S. forces in support of Iraqi military units focused on preventing a resurgence of the Islamic State.

In principle, having America’s NATO allies—as well as other coalition partners from around the world—assume greater responsibility for preventing the resurgence of Islamist extremist groups in Iraq makes sense. Why, after all, should the United States shoulder the lion’s share of the burden for keeping terrorism at bay when the rest of the trans-Atlantic community is equally, if not more, threatened by it?

Moreover, as U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has argued, deploying more European forces and military hardware to the Middle East could enable Washington to reduce the U.S. presence there. That in turn might allow the Pentagon to refocus precious resources and attention toward what the 2018 National Defense Strategy identifies as its new top priority: great-power competition, in particular with China in the Indo-Pacific.As the Islamic State shows signs of regenerating, any attempt to outsource too much, too quickly risks becoming a path to failure.

Fight Pandemics Like Wildfires

By Catherine Machalaba and William B. Karesh

As the new coronavirus spreads around the world, causing markets to plunge and analysts to slash growth projections, the epidemic’s potential to damage the global economy is rapidly becoming clear. The regions in China that have been hardest hit by the virus, which originated in Hubei Province late last year, are home to millions of businesses that in turn supply an estimated 56,000 multinational companies. Already, many of these multinationals are experiencing disruptions in their supply chains, as vital manufacturing components from China are delayed. The effects will likely reach tech giants, pharmaceutical companies, heavy manufacturers, and other industries as well.

China finally appears to be getting the outbreak under control. After fumbling its initial response, the government is rushing to reopen factories and scale up manufacturing to meet global demand. Employers are reportedly offering paid plane tickets to coax workers back to factories and offices. But these efforts are likely to be hampered by worker hesitation and by lack of trust in Chinese institutions. And even if China can resume a normal level of business, supply chains could take longer to catch up. Disruptions may be felt for months in the form of reduced supply and higher prices.

Why new Russia-Turkey deal on Idlib matters

Maxim A. Suchkov

MOSCOW — A new deal between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to bring an end to fighting in Idlib puts the saga over this issue on standby. In recent weeks, Russian-Turkish relations witnessed a stress test and personal diplomacy efforts by the two presidents was needed to ease the heat. Still, the fundamental disagreements that Moscow and Ankara have over Syria have yet to be overcome.

“The situation in the Idlib zone in Syria has deteriorated so much that we need to have a direct and personal discussion,” Putin told Erdogan in his opening remarks when the two leaders sat down in the Kremlin on March 5.

“First of all, I would like to express our sincere condolences over the death of your military personnel in Syria. Loss of life is always a big tragedy. Regrettably, as I have told you by telephone, nobody, including the Syrian military, was aware of your troops’ location. At the same time, there were casualties among Syrian servicemen as well. The Syrian army reported major losses,” Putin noted, as if dismissing recent speculation among the Syrian public that Moscow cares not about its ally and is acting in an egoistic manner. Last week, at least 34 Turkish troops were killed in an airstrike, and Turkey retaliated by killing a large number of Syrian forces.

Syria’s Civil War: The Descent Into Horror

By Zachary Laub
Source Link

In the nine years since protesters in Syria first demonstrated against the four-decade rule of the Assad family, hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed and some twelve million people—more than half the country’s prewar population—have been displaced. The country has descended into an ever more complex civil war: jihadis promoting a Sunni theocracy have eclipsed opposition forces fighting for a democratic and pluralistic Syria, and regional powers have backed various local forces to advance their geopolitical interests on Syrian battlefields. The United States had been at the forefront of a coalition conducting air strikes on the self-proclaimed Islamic State, then abruptly pulled back its forces in October 2019 ahead of the second invasion of northern Syria by Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally. The Turks seek to push Kurdish forces, the United States’ main local partner in the fight against the Islamic State, from border areas. Russia too has carried out air strikes in Syria, coming to the Assad regime’s defense, while Iranian forces and their Hezbollah allies have done the same on the ground.

Syria likely faces years of instability to come. Assad has never been willing to negotiate his way out of power, but his continued rule is unacceptable to millions of Syrians, particularly given the barbarity civilians have faced. Meanwhile, the foreign forces on which he relies will continue to wield power. Fighting in the northern part of the country entered a new chaotic phase in late 2019, leading to the war’s highest civilian displacement yet as multiple international forces jockeyed for power and the Islamic State mounted a comeback.

Can North Korea Cope With the Coronavirus?

By Sue Mi Terry

As the coronavirus spreads around the globe, infecting more than 92,000 people and killing at least 3,125 to date, it raises an unsettling question: Will the outbreak spread to North Korea? And if it does, will the famously insular and impoverished state be able to cope?

North Korea is uniquely unprepared for a medical emergency of this magnitude. With a crumbling health-care system that is starved of public investment, it is arguably more vulnerable to a viral outbreak of this kind than any other country in the world. Pyongyang is well aware of this. It has hermetically sealed its borders, suspended all tourism, quarantined all foreign nationals, shut down many public sites, and closed all schools for a month

So far, these measures have kept the number of infections in North Korea at zero, at least if the government’s official figures are to be believed. (Both the South Korean and the U.S. news media have reported on multiple suspected cases in the country.) If the virus does gain a foothold in the country, or indeed if it already has, the humanitarian consequences will likely be severe. But even if Pyongyang manages to prevent an outbreak, doing so will have second-order economic effects that will prove extremely damaging—and could weaken the regime’s hold on power. 


The Hidden Cost of Migrant Labor

By Deepak Unnikrishnan

Iwas recently in Berlin to give a talk about my book, Temporary People, to a roomful of scholars whose work focuses on the countries of the Persian Gulf. Set in the United Arab Emirates, my fiction explores the lives of people like my parents, men and women who left their homes in the southern Indian state of Kerala in the 1970s to work abroad. It is steeped in the South Asian lingo of much of the UAE’s immigrant population. My stories dwell on the consequences of migration to the Gulf, on what that movement of people does to both home and host countries, to languages, and to families.

The day before the event, I had dinner with my European hosts. They surprised me by introducing themselves as “temporary people,” too, transplants from different countries and marginalized communities in Europe, now living and working in the largest economy of the European Union.

At first, I was a little taken aback by their description of themselves, however sincere. I was surprised that they related to me. I didn’t think we shared the same experiences. Did they have childhood memories of strangers noting their foreign nationality? Did they feel exposed by the color of their skin? And did they, like me, have a chip on their shoulder because they’d managed to jump social classes? As two European academics told me that they identified with Gulf migrants from South Asia, I thought that our backgrounds couldn’t have been more different.

Shifting Global Trade Patterns this Decade

Rodger Baker

This week I am in Boston serving as a judge for the Fletcher Political Risk Group Student Case Competition, a program for students to focus on the real-world impact of political risk on corporations. This year’s focus is Vietnam, a country that has been caught up in the U.S.-China trade battle, and is now feeling the impact of the Coronavirus on supply chains.

Trade friction between Washington and Beijing contributed to a rise in inbound investment in Vietnam in manufacturing.

COVID-19 is threatening Vietnam’s clothing industry, disrupting the critical flow of raw materials and textiles from other Asian nations. In both cases, Vietnam itself plays only a minor role in the forces shaping opportunity and risk - and that is the result of globalization.

Globalization in the broad sense represented a major shift in the traditional patterns of economic activity. While trade and commerce, whether local, regional or international, has always existed in some form, it was in the post World War 2 era, with the creation of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1947, that the modern ideas and impact of globalization take shape. GATT created a way of managing trade and tariffs in a multilateral manner, creating a framework for global governance and reducing the volatility of constantly shifting unilateral actions. 

Exclusive: The Strongest Evidence Yet That America Is Botching Coronavirus Testing

Source Link

It’s one of the most urgent questions in the United States right now: How many people have actually been tested for the coronavirus?

This number would give a sense of how widespread the disease is, and how forceful a response to it the United States is mustering. But for days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has refused to publish such a count, despite public anxiety and criticism from Congress. On Monday, Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, estimated that “by the end of this week, close to a million tests will be able to be performed” in the United States. On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence promised that “roughly 1.5 million tests” would be available this week.

But the number of tests performed across the country has fallen far short of those projections, despite extraordinarily high demand, The Atlantic has found.

“The CDC got this right with H1N1 and Zika, and produced huge quantities of test kits that went around the country,” Thomas Frieden, the director of the CDC from 2009 to 2017, told us. “I don’t know what went wrong this time.”

Europe and NATO’s Shame Over Syria and Turkey


Maybe Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer was right.

In October 2019, the German defense minister suggested the creation of an internationally controlled security zone along the Turkey-Syria border, which could be led by NATO. It would have provided some kind of safe haven. It would have also addressed some of Turkey’s security concerns.

Nothing came of her proposals, which were politely listened to by NATO and the EU and then discarded. Both organizations are now paying a heavy moral and political price for the devastation and suffering taking place in Syria.

They will pay a very high price for Russia’s military and political role—as well as Iran’s—in this part of the Middle East. They will pay a heavy price over the way Turkey has consistently blackmailed NATO and the EU. The war in Syria has left both organizations morally high and dry.

The moral consequences for NATO and the EU are clear. NATO is supposed to be a military and political organization made up of democratic countries that uphold certain values. As a civilian organization, the EU boasts about values too and defends its democratic principles based on solidarity, the rule of law, and international obligations.

How Tech Could Help the World Prepare for the Next Epidemic

Summary: The global coronavirus response is providing a critical test bed for new technologies to detect, diagnose, and treat infectious diseases. But broader investments in public health are needed to capitalize on these advances.
Related Media and Tools

It may be tempting to imagine a room of all-seeing officials managing the global response to the novel coronavirus epidemic, like desk officers directing a field operative in an international spy movie. While this is certainly not the case, rapid technological advances could soon bring this vision closer to reality.

Improved systems and data sharing have already enabled a faster, more effective response to COVID-19, the disease caused by this coronavirus strain, than to any previous outbreak. The virus’s DNA sequence was released in record time, at least eleven labs have begun to ship out diagnostic tests, and the biotech firm Moderna hopes to have a vaccine ready for clinical trials as early as April. In the years ahead, technologies for early detection, rapid diagnosis, and remote treatment will make it easier and safer to contain the spread of future outbreaks.


Thinking Outside the Grid: Q&A with Anu Narayanan

Anu Narayanan is a specialist in what-ifs. She's an engineer at RAND whose research focuses on critical infrastructure and national security. Her work has helped the military assess and build resilience to a range of risks to missions and installations, including those from adversary attacks, critical infrastructure failures, and climate change. Some of her most recent research has looked at the power grid: What if a cyberattacker tries to take it down?

She studied math as an undergrad, worked for a time as a computer programmer, then joined a program at Carnegie Mellon University that pairs technical training with public policy. At the time, the industry was buzzing about the future “smart” grid. She started looking at how to minimize risk to the power supply as the grid becomes more automated, work that continues today. “We've built our lives around this commodity,” she says. “Any risks that it faces are not going to be niche problems.”

How vulnerable is the grid today?

There's really a whole spectrum of threats and hazards. The grid is becoming more automated, with more smart technology to make it more efficient, but that also increases the attack surface for adversaries. At the same time, it's facing more climate-related effects, natural disasters, and ongoing issues that stem from human error. And a lot of the infrastructure is just old.

The Costs of Brexit Uncertainty

by Charles P. Ries and Marco Hafner
The EU and UK have agreed to go their separate ways. At the end of January, the UK left the EU, but in the short run (until December 31, 2020) very little will change for traders and travelers. This week, negotiations will start in earnest, aimed at working out the economic and political terms of a new relationship. As much of the political debate so far has been on whether and when the UK would formally leave, it may be tempting to think that Brexit is now 'done.'

However, as we observe in a recent RAND study, formally leaving the EU at the end of January was only 'the end of the beginning.' Consumer confidence may be rising and areas of manufacturing activity stabilizing in Britain but Brexit trade policy uncertainty is still likely to affect the UK's overall economic performance until new arrangements between the UK and EU are negotiated, ratified and then implemented.

Because of uncertainty about the final trading arrangements, UK-based companies may hold back in introducing new product lines for continental and overseas markets or may decide to exit export markets altogether. Furthermore, existing evidence (PDF) suggests that Brexit uncertainty has led to a reduction in foreign direct investment flows in the UK and that UK companies are setting up subsidiaries (PDF) in the EU to keep market access in continental Europe.

Opinion – Pipelines and Politics: Natural Gas Connects Israel and Egypt


On Jan. 15, 2020, the Egyptian minister of petroleum, electricity, and renewable energy, Tarek el-Molla, and his Israeli counterpart, Yuval Steinitz, announced the start of Israeli natural gas exports to Egypt, supplied by Israel’s largest subsea gas field, Leviathan. El-Molla and Steinitz made the announcement on the same day as the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) held its third meeting in Cairo. Set up in 2019 and including Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Greece, Italy, and Jordan as members, the EMGF aims to develop the Eastern Mediterranean gas market, lowering infrastructure costs and securing competitive prices for exports. By helping to tie the Eastern Mediterranean closer together economically, deals like the Israeli-Egypt gas export agreement will help to create a mechanism for long-term regional cooperation based on common interests.

Israeli Supply Meets Egyptian Demand

For decades, Israel has been reliant on energy imports to supply its domestic needs, but the discovery of the Leviathan field in 2010 and its subsequent development have enabled Israel to become an exporter for the first time. After Woodside Petroleum withdrew from a proposed partnership to develop the field, Israel and Egypt began negotiating a gas supply deal in 2012. Under the terms of the deal, Tel Aviv agreed to supply 85 billion cubic meters of natural gas for a period of 15 years. The parties also agreed to explore the possibility of Israel exporting additional gas to Egypt via Aqaba, Jordan through the Arab Gas Pipeline (AGP). Running 1,200 km, the AGP was originally constructed in 2003 to export Egyptian natural gas to Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, and a supplemental branch was added in 2008, connecting Israel via Ashkelon.

What’s Stopping Us? The Failures Behind Famine Prevention in the 21st Century


Since the year 2000, Ethiopia, Niger, and Yemen have all been threatened with or experienced famine to varying degrees. At first glance this is somewhat surprising, as preventing famine should be relatively straightforward even in the world’s poorest regions (de Waal 1989, 7). Governments possess the ability to preserve, store, transport and distribute food in mass quantities over vast distances during times of acute food shortage (Malk 2017, 1). On closer inspection however, the continued existence of famine can be accounted for by the Malthusian lens through which international actors ‘understand’ the phenomenon.

Until the publication of Amartya Sen’s seminal Poverty and Famines in 1981 the causes and solutions to famine were conceived solely in terms of food availability decline (FAD). Sen’s monograph challenged this discourse, arguing instead that theories of food entitlement decline (FED) offer more comprehensive accounts of famine causation. In short, Sen convincingly demonstrates that people’s inability to access raw foodstuffs, not a lack of it in absolute terms, leads to the onset of famine. Although FED was initially understood in economic terms as a consequence of market failures, a body of literature on famine research has built upon Sen’s work to illustrate that FED can also occur due to political decision-making (Devereux 2001; Rubin 2009a).

How to Analyze the Cyber Threat from Drones

by Katharina Ley Best

What are the cybersecurity implications of the rapid growth in UAS, in terms of both UAS as cyber weapons and UAS as cyber targets?

What are some conceptual approaches that can enable the enumeration and categorization of drone-related cyber threats?

What are the industry trends related to cybersecurity and UAS and the implications thereof?

What threats exist related to cybersecurity and UAS, from the perspective of the Department of Homeland Security?

This work explores approaches for understanding, inventorying, and modeling cybersecurity implications of the rapid growth in unmanned aerial systems (UAS), focusing specifically on current vulnerabilities and future trends. The authors propose conceptual approaches meant to enable the enumeration and categorization of UAS-related cyber threats and explore some of the potential benefits and challenges of modeling the commercial UAS threat. These approaches are applied to real-world threat scenarios to test their validity and illustrate the types of attacks that are currently feasible. Industry trends and the implications of these trends for cybersecurity are presented. Finally, the authors consider the UAS-related cybersecurity threat from the perspective of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Specifically, the authors describe the vulnerability of particular DHS components to the threats described in this report and suggest possible means of threat mitigation.

Key Findings

Barred from Combat, These Women Rose to the Top of Military Intelligence

Source Link

In candid interviews, five senior officers reveal the challenges and opportunities they've faced, from sexism to mentoring today's rising leaders.

When Lt. Gen. Karen Gibson was a young Army officer, she made a choice that many of her female colleagues were also making: she decided to go into intelligence.

The reason was simple. In the days before the Defense Department began opening more combat roles to women, it was the best way to get close to the action. 

“It struck me that I could get closest to war-fighting as a woman by choosing this field,” said Gibson, a former deputy Director of National Intelligence. “It was an area where the sharpest women could excel, because we weren’t allowed to go to infantry, or armor, or real artillery units.”

Today, Gibson and other female colleagues hold many of the top jobs in military intelligence. But some three decades after they joined the service, there still appear to be a few glass ceilings yet to crack.