1 May 2020

Should India Foster Ties With Taliban Despite Its Past Misdemeanors?

P. Stobdan

Taliban’s spokesperson Mohammad Suhail Shaheen recently told to an Indian audience through a webinar speech that it wants to build ties with India and even willing to enact a law against foreign terror groups conducting operations against any other country.

Should India take the Taliban seriously? No doubt, the Taliban was created by Benazir Bhutto and her Interior Minister Naseerullah Babar in 1992 when they decided to revamp General Zia’s and Hamid Gul’s Afghan policy by abandoning the old Afghan Mujahideen networks. They did it with the patronage of traditional Jamaat-ul-Ulema-Islam (JUI) led by Maulana Fazlur Rahman.

When the Rabbani regime refused to toe Islamabad’s line, the ISI, CIA and Saudi General Intelligence Presidency (GIP) militarily worked to get the Taliban to power in October 1996.

Incidentally, Taliban was raised by ISI in the year when the Durand Line Treaty of 12 November 1893 was set to run out its 100-year validity in 1993. As per the treaty, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was to be returned to Afghanistan on the lines of Hong Kong’s return to China in 1997. Delhi strangely kept mum on it!

One Land, Two Rules (10): Three case studies on Taleban sales of state land

Fazl Rahman Muzhary 

As the Taleban have expanded their areas of control around the country, anecdotal reports have been popping up of Taleban commissions and commanders in several provinces selling state land. However, a closer look into the three most prominent examples – Helmand, Uruzgan and Takhar – reveals a murkier picture than media reports and claims by government officials have suggested. Although it is clear that the Taleban have been involved in ‘land management’ – including redistribution, leasing and taxation of land, as well as the establishment of new bazaars and townships – there is no clear evidence that they have been systematically selling off state land. This does not mean their interventions are not problematic, not least because of the absence of a proper system of documentation or even clarity as to whether the land was given away, sold, leased or rented out. AAN’s Fazal Muzhary (with input from Christian Bleuer) notes that if the Taleban ever become part of a new government, they will need to deal with the confusion and disputes they are currently sowing.Some of the once desert land in Nad Ali district in Helmand, which local residents say was distributed by the Taleban. Photo: Alcis, 2008

Service delivery in insurgent-affected areas started as a joint research project by the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) and the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). All publications in the series can be accessed here.

State land, sales and distribution

5G Is Old News: China Wants 6G For Its Military

by Peter Suciu

While most consumers still have yet to upgrade to 5G wireless service around the world, and its deployment is still only in the "rolling out" stages, in Beijing plans could be underway to develop 6G wireless technology. This wouldn't be for faster streaming for consumers in China, or even as a way to better track its populace – as has been done increasingly since the outbreak of the coronavirus that first emerged in the city of Wuhan.

Rather, the Chinese are developing 6G for use by its military.

The Express newspaper in the UK reported that the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology are working on a close to zero latency 6G Internet network, which would be rolled out for the military before eventually benefiting consumers in China. Earlier this month the People's Liberation Army's (PLA's) National Defence News published an article, "If 6G Were to be Used in the Future Battlefield," and this piece noted the distinct technological edge and rich potential for military applications compared to 5G.

Modest multilateralism is in America's interest, and China’s too

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WASHINGTON – Great global traumas have a way of revealing the gap between the sort of international system we might like and the sort of international system we actually have. The coronavirus pandemic is no exception.

One lesson of the crisis is that strengthened global cooperation will be critical to preventing future outbreaks. Another lesson, however, is that we’re not likely to have a “one-world” moment anytime soon. Rather than attempt to remake the international order after the virus, U.S. policymakers should promote a modestly strengthened multilateralism — an uninspiring goal, but one that may actually be achievable, and which would still make the world a safer place.

The coronavirus reminds us that many cliches about a globalized world are true. Pathogens and the pandemics they cause don’t care much about geopolitical dividing lines. Economic shocks that begin in one country rarely end there. International organizations are critical to meeting shared challenges. It is hard for even a superpower to remain healthy, physically or economically, in an unhealthy world. Our current trial, writes former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, teaches “a lesson we should have learned long ago: that to thrive, people of every nationality must combine strengths.”

Coronavirus: What Comes Next?

By Kurt Volker

A Conversation with former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt and Ambassador Kurt Volker. 

As the world still struggles with the immediate impacts of COVID-19, it is important to think through the longer-term consequences, and how to address them. To gain insights on these longer-term issues, RCW Editor-at-Large and BGR Senior International Advisor Kurt Volker spoke with former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt. Following are key excerpts of their conversation. The full transcript and a video of their conversation is here

Kurt Volker: So Carl, you have been prime minister, you have been foreign minister, you're a senior European statesman. I thought it would be interesting for people on this side of the Atlantic to get a perspective on what you're seeing. 

What is it like in Sweden now? Some people are saying, “Sweden is doing this herd immunity thing, and that’s right, because it has kept the economy going.” Others have said, “No… they're going to get higher deaths now, and it's going to be worse.” How do you see it, and how do you see Sweden comparing with the rest of Europe? 

Carl Bildt: It remains to be seen, of course. We are fairly closed down, but not as closed down as some other countries. The economy is at a standstill. It is a completely integrated European, Nordic, global economy. So, if there is a standstill in one place, there is a standstill everywhere. 

How China Sees the World


I. The Forbidden City

On November 8, 2017, Air Force One touched down in Beijing, marking the start of a state visit hosted by China’s president and Communist Party chairman, Xi Jinping. From my first day on the job as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, China had been a top priority. The country figured prominently in what President Barack Obama had identified for his successor as the biggest immediate problem the new administration would face—what to do about North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. But many other questions about the nature and future of the relationship between China and the United States had also emerged, reflecting China’s fundamentally different perception of the world.

Since the heady days of Deng Xiaoping, in the late 1970s, the assumptions that had governed the American approach to our relationship with China were these: After being welcomed into the international political and economic order, China would play by the rules, open its markets, and privatize its economy. As the country became more prosperous, the Chinese government would respect the rights of its people and liberalize politically. But those assumptions were proving to be wrong.

Freedom and privacy in the time of coronavirus

Robert E. Litan and Martin Lowy

“Opening up America” is about restoring the health of our society, not only about getting people back to work. A contact-tracing app, coupled with wider (though not universal) diagnostic testing, would enable more Americans to prudently go back to work, to school, and to ordinary life far more quickly than is now currently possible.

We argue here that the social benefits of an anonymized contact-tracing system are well worth the temporary privacy costs, but also that tracing must be mandatory in order to have the greatest likelihood of success in achieving the goal of opening up our economy and society. The details are important. 

The ravages of the COVID-19 virus have forced nations all over the globe to curtail their citizens’ freedom of movement. The U.S. and its municipalities have been no exceptions. To combat the virus, people have been required to remain at home, to refrain from going to work or school, and to engage in the new process of social distancing. Never in American history has our freedom been so restricted.

We think most Americans agree that these restrictions on our freedom to move, to interact socially and to work have been necessary.

Polarization and the Pandemic



The coronavirus is subjecting countries around the world to a punishing test of solidarity at a time when many were already consumed with harsh political and societal divisions. As we argue in our recent book Democracies Divided, political polarization has in recent years been tearing at the seams of a large and growing number of democracies globally. The ultimate outcome of this solidarity test is highly uncertain. On the one hand, a grave public health emergency may draw a country together and give leaders a chance to rise above and even heal chronic partisan divides. Yet on the other, heightened public anxiety, strained governance capacities, and the differential impact of the virus on particular groups may exacerbate long-standing fissures. What is the balance sheet so far?

We address this question through ten short country case studies, authored by political experts from around the world. These studies focus primarily on countries already beset by severe political and societal polarization, including India, Poland, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, and the United States. But some examine other types of cases, either where deep-seated divisions appeared to be in flux (as in Kenya) or where polarization, though previously on the rise, was still only incipient (as in Brazil, Chile, and Indonesia). Although these countries vary significantly in how hard they have been hit by the coronavirus, in all of them the pandemic is now the dominant issue in their political and social life.

What Coronavirus Could Mean for China

By Emil Avdaliani

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: States all over the world stand to lose a great deal economically from the coronavirus pandemic. But in the case of China, there is an additional significant dimension to the crisis: the West will grow increasingly distrustful of Beijing, which will further widen an already gaping geopolitical divide. Calls in the West for an economic decoupling from China as well as increasing demands that Beijing comply with Western economic, health, and political standards could complicate China’s global aspirations.

Economic troubles

The coronavirus pandemic will undoubtedly have an impact on China’s economy. Consider, for example, the US-China trade deal, the first phase of which took effect in February. That phase stipulates that Beijing will have to buy an additional $200 billion in US goods over the next two years. Though the Chinese government has said the country will comply with this requirement, it remains to be seen whether Beijing will be able to follow through on this and other commitments contained in the deal.

Fotros: Iran Has Killer Drones That Can Loiter over a Battlefield for a Day

by David Axe 
Source Link

The ground-combat branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed it’s acquiring long-range drones.

Col. Akbar Karimloo, commander of the IRGC Ground Force’s drone division, in late April 2020 told state media that the IRGCGF soon would receive Fotros drones.

The Fotros is Iran’s answer to the American Predator and Reaper drones. Like the Predator and Reaper, the Fotros can carry weapons and loiter over a battlefield for as long as a day.

Karimloo said his division would get the drones from the Iranian defense ministry. Iran fields two separate armies. The regular armed forces technically are secular and train to defend Iran. The IRGC has a religious mandate and carries out missions on foreign soil on behalf of Iran’s “Islamic revolution.”

“Following extensive meetings with the defense ministry and evaluation of features of the homegrown drone, the IRGC Ground Force’s drone division has decided to utilize Fotros in operational zones,” Tasnim News Agency stated.

Crisis in Yemen as Aden separatists declare self-rule

Patrick Wintour 

Fighters with Yemen’s separatist Southern Transitional Council drive past a separatist flag as they deploy in the southern city of Aden. Photograph: Saleh Al-Obeidi/AFP via Getty Images

The Saudi Arabian-backed government in Yemen has warned of a catastrophe if the country’s powerful separatist movement forges ahead with its declaration of self-rule over the key port city of Aden and other southern provinces.

The Southern Transitional Council’s armed forces were deploying on Sunday in Aden, the interim seat of the internationally recognised government backed by the Saudi-led military coalition that had until now included the STC.

The United Arab Emirates, unlike Saudi Arabia, has backed the STC, so the move has the potential to create tensions between two close Gulf allies against one another, complicate the task of securing a national agreement to end to the five-year civil war, and possibly restore the geographical division that existed in the former British colony before unification of Yemen in 1990.

The U.S.-Iran Showdown: Clashing Strategic Universes Amid a Changing Region

Ross Harrison
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The United States and Iran are poised for a showdown. Understanding where we are today with this conflict and where we are likely to go in the future requires that we look at the conflicting strategic doctrines between the United States and Iran against a backdrop of a shifting Middle East.

Figuring out where the U.S.-Iran relationship is today requires that we go deeper than focusing on the immediate issues. This paper will show how the United States and Iran drifted over time into two wildly different strategic universes. The United States for much of its history with Iran has operated within the prism and strategic doctrine of the Cold War, even long after that conflict ended. Within such a doctrine, placing U.S. troops in the region deters Iran and economic sanctions weaken its capabilities to sow regional mischief. Iran’s lens on reality is very different, based on its centuries-old historical experience of having its sovereignty threatened by great powers. Lacking the ability to use conventional means to cope with greater powers directly, it has developed a “whole of region” approach since its 1979 revolution that fuses together ideology with unconventional military means. 

This paper will also argue that once the Middle East regional order collapsed under the weight of the Arab Spring and the ensuing civil wars, Iran’s view of strategic reality gave it an edge that it lacked during earlier periods of its history. Within this changed regional order, the United States, which had built its doctrine around combatting a global threat from the Soviet Union, found itself flatfooted in dealing with a regional phenomenon like post-revolutionary Iran. Despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s attempt to cower Iran by withdrawing the United States from the JCPOA nuclear deal and re-imposing punishing sanctions, Iran has distinct strategic advantages in the region that the United States lacks. The United States can injure Iran, but it is unlikely to be able to compromise Iran’s regional influence. This paper will also argue that at the end of the Cold War, regional dynamics in the Middle East were such that the United States, at the height of its power, could at least claim that it was containing Iran. The focus will be on the evolution of two very different lenses on reality, and how regional transformation in the Middle East has altered which country has a proper claim on strategic advantage in the present day.

Drone Killings Don’t Work, According to This Book

by David Axe 

David Axe: "America isn’t supposed to assassinate people — Pres. Ronald Reagan had banned the practice. But after the 9/11 attacks, Washington started doing a lot of things it isn’t supposed to do. Assassination — “targeted killing,” in government parlance — was already standard practice in America’s disastrous campaign against Latin American drug kingpins when it also began driving post-9/11 counterterrorism and counterinsurgency strategies."

On the night of March 2, 2002, a team of U.S. Navy SEALs flew onto a mountaintop along the Shahikot Valley in eastern Afghanistan. They were an advance force for a large American contingent targeting Taliban leader Saifur Rahman Mansoor and his fighters occupying fortifications along the valley.

The planned assault on Mansoor was part of the Pentagon’s evolving “High Value Target” strategy, which assumes that armies, insurgencies and criminal networks depend on a small number of key leaders for their existence — and that killing these leaders will collapse an organization.

How COVID-19 is testing American leadership

Joseph S Nye, Harvard University

Under the influence of the information revolution and globalisation, world politics has changed in a way that means that even if the United States remains the largest power, it cannot achieve many of its international goals acting alone. But the Trump administration is failing this test. Its national security strategy (and budget) is focussed almost entirely on great power competition, particularly with China.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, transnational interdependence is increasing. Regardless of potential setbacks to economic globalisation, environmental globalisation will continue to grow. Climate change and rising sea levels will affect the quality of life for everyone, but Americans cannot manage the problem alone. In a world where borders are becoming more porous to everything from drugs to infectious diseases to terrorism, nations must use soft power to develop networks and build regimes and institutions to address shared threats and challenges.

This is why the size of the United States will continue to matter in global politics. A classic problem with public goods (like clean air, which all can share and from which none can be excluded) is that if the largest consumer does not take the lead, others will free-ride and the public goods will not be produced.

The End of the Harvard Century


Teng Biao, who has cropped black hair and rectangular, wire-framed glasses, was preparing to drive to Logan International Airport on March 10, 2015, when he received a phone call from a “powerful person” at Harvard.

Teng was then a visiting fellow at Harvard Law School. A Chinese dissident and human rights lawyer, he has criticized the Chinese Communist Party for human rights violations since the early 2000s.

“Because of my work, I was disbarred and put on a ban from teaching, and eventually fired from [China University of Political Science and Law] University,” Teng says. “I was put under house arrest from time to time, and disappeared a few times — kidnapped by Chinese secret police, and detained and tortured.”

In February 2011, Teng and several other human rights advocates met in Beijing to discuss the arrest of another dissident, Chen Guangcheng. Teng “disappeared” three days later; the Chinese government released him in April after U.S. officials voiced concerns about Teng’s detention.

Remembering Elie Kedourie: How One Analyst Spoke Truth to Power in the Middle East

by Robert D. Kaplan
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EVER SINCE the nineteenth century, when so-called reforms were initiated in the Ottoman Empire, there have not been wanting western ministers and diplomats to look on middle eastern politics with hope and expectancy. It is quite common knowledge that in the last hundred years the middle east has seen no quiet, that disturbance has succeeded disturbance … It might therefore seem more prudent to assume that the distemper of the modern east is not a passing one, that its political instability is rather the outcome of a deep social … crisis which the schemes of the reformer … can scarcely assuage or mollify. And yet … [t]he prevalent fashion has been to proclaim the latest revolution as the herald of a new day…

It goes on like that for almost four hundred more pages, in which every detail of political turmoil in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, and every Western failure there since the late Ottoman Empire to the middle-Cold War years, is excruciatingly recounted, almost day by day, with virtually every large-scale cruelty established, with little respite, so that all the violence and turbulence achieves a thick, undeniable reality that no idealism or social science theory can ameliorate; with the only solution to anarchy appearing to be strong, no-nonsense rule: whether by a local dictator or by an imperial power. The writer, Elie Kedourie, who passed away in 1992, published The Chatham House Version and Other Middle-Eastern Studies—perhaps the most challenging, dissident work of area studies in the twentieth century—exactly fifty years ago. Chatham House, or the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and its director of studies for three decades, Arnold Toynbee, become in Kedourie’s book illustrative of an elitist British sentimentality toward the cultures of the Middle East (and to Arab nationalism in particular) that hid from, rather than faced up to, the impure, realist requirements of politics and necessary force.

Reinstate Capt. Crozier to USS Roosevelt, Navy Tells Esper


Senior Navy officials have recommended to Defense Secretary Mark Esper that Capt. Brett Crozier, the commander who was fired after warning that the crew of the coronavirus-stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt was in danger, be restored to command of the aircraft carrier.

“Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday has presented recommendations to the Acting Secretary of the Navy James McPherson. Secretary McPherson is continuing discussions with Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. No final decisions have been made,” a Navy statement said.

The decision now rests with Esper, who received the recommendation verbally and will wait to make a decision until he reviews the written report, according to a statement from top Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman. 

“The Navy’s inquiry covered a complex timeline of communications between Naval officers, as well as response efforts spanning a dozen time zones and multiple commands,” said one senior defense official who was not authorized to speak on the record during an ongoing and sensitive inquiry. “Although many in the media are focused on one aspect of the initial inquiry, it is in fact about more than one person. The Secretary wants to ensure that the report is thorough and can stand up under the rightful scrutiny of Congress, the media, the families and the crew of the Theodore Roosevelt, and the American people.”

Trump’s Latest Immigration Restrictions Are Ill-Advised—and Un-American

Stewart M. Patrick 

Late on the night of April 20, President Donald Trump abruptly announced on Twitter that he would “temporarily suspend immigration to the United States” as the toll from the coronavirus pandemic continued to rise. Trump cast the decision as a response to COVID-19 and its economic devastation—“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens,” as he tweeted. The move, which caught his own administration off guard, elicited fevered commentary over his legal authority to do so, and its potential economic costs. After an outcry from business leaders, Trump retreated somewhat: His executive order signed on April 22 halted only new green cards, not guest worker programs, and would be reviewed after 60 days. If made permanent, the ban would reduce U.S. immigration by an estimated 30 percent.

It’s clear that public health played little role in the president’s decision. More than 600,000 Americans had already contracted the coronavirus—a third of all reported global infections—suggesting immigration would have negligible impact on the virus’s spread in the country. As always, Trump’s motivations were political. The pandemic was yet another opportunity to rile up his nationalist, populist base in the name of “America First.” It would also advance a core objective of nativists in his administration, not least senior adviser Stephen Miller: preserving the nation’s ethnic and racial composition, to ensure the continued societal dominance of its white population

Don’t Bash Globalization—It Will Rescue Our Economies After the Pandemic


Aglobal recession is deepening as one major economy after another falls prey to the coronavirus pandemic. China’s economy shrunk for the first time in decades—a downturn that not even the country’s notoriously rosy economic statisticians can hide. U.S. unemployment is approaching 20 percent, close to Depression-era levels. Travel restrictions have killed global tourism and plunged the oil industry into pandemonium. Auto production has virtually ceased, retail has moved online, and restaurants are closed almost everywhere.

Just about the only companies doing well out of the coronavirus pandemic are medical equipment makers, video streaming services, and Amazon.

In this coronavirus winter of our discontent, it’s hard to imagine that a glorious economic summer may be just a few months away.

In this coronavirus winter of our discontent, it’s hard to imagine that a glorious economic summer may be just a few months away. People are buying nothing but toilet paper, and pundits, as usual, are proclaiming the end of capitalism. Economic forecasts for this year range from sharp recession to protracted depression; the International Monetary Fund forecasts global GDP to contract by 3 percent in 2020 and the GDP of the advanced economies of Europe, North America, and East Asia to contract by 6 percent.

Why America is cracking up

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American Secession: The Looming Threat of a National Breakup, by Francis H. Buckley. Encounter Books, 2020. 170 pages with index. US$23.99

Francis Buckley, a professor of law at George Mason University in Virginia, is the closest thing America has to a Jonathan Swift, the great 18th-century Anglo-Irish satirist. His writing on politics is the most entertaining of any present commentator I have read on US politics, and his humor illuminates rather than obscures fundamental issues.

I read American Secession when it appeared earlier this year and thought it overstated. Re-reading it after the pandemic brought America to a virtual standstill, it now seems that Buckley pulled his punches.

Buckley, to be sure, does not want the US to crack apart, and initially intended the secession thesis as an ironic foil for his own views, in the spirit of Swift’s Modest Proposal. What he sees in today’s America, though, is alarming.

Don’t Bash Globalization—It Will Rescue Our Economies After the Pandemic

Source Link

Aglobal recession is deepening as one major economy after another falls prey to the coronavirus pandemic. China’s economy shrunk for the first time in decades—a downturn that not even the country’s notoriously rosy economic statisticians can hide. U.S. unemployment is approaching 20 percent, close to Depression-era levels. Travel restrictions have killed global tourism and plunged the oil industry into pandemonium. Auto production has virtually ceased, retail has moved online, and restaurants are closed almost everywhere.

Just about the only companies doing well out of the coronavirus pandemic are medical equipment makers, video streaming services, and Amazon.

In this coronavirus winter of our discontent, it’s hard to imagine that a glorious economic summer may be just a few months away.
In this coronavirus winter of our discontent, it’s hard to imagine that a glorious economic summer may be just a few months away. People are buying nothing but toilet paper, and pundits, as usual, are proclaiming the end of capitalism. Economic forecasts for this year range from sharp recession to protracted depression; the International Monetary Fund forecasts global GDP to contract by 3 percent in 2020 and the GDP of the advanced economies of Europe, North America, and East Asia to contract by 6 percent.

Medical, Economic, Social, Military: The State of Play

By George Friedman

A riot broke out in a poor, predominantly Muslim neighborhood north of Paris over the weekend. The immediate cause was a traffic offense and a violation of the coronavirus lockdown. The deeper cause was the belief that police were using the lockdown as an excuse to attack Muslims. In Berlin, more than 100 people were arrested after demonstrators protesting lockdown rules confronted police. In Israel, ultra-Orthodox Jews clashed with police while protesting coronavirus restrictions. In Pakistan, there have been demonstrations sparked by fears that steps to tackle the outbreak will result in hunger. In the United States, the state of Georgia has abandoned most legal controls imposed over the coronavirus and other states are similarly considering using a staged exit approach. In many parts of the world, small numbers of individuals are reportedly beginning to ignore social distancing and quarantine rules.

The resistance to the lockdown results primarily from feelings that have reemerged after the first two months of relative submersion. The tension between Muslims and the Parisian police is an old story. So too is the refusal of the ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel to submit to secular law and medical regulations. The Berlin demonstrations and the shifts in a number of U.S. states are rooted in a deep distrust of the national governments of those countries. The virus is seen by some as an excuse by the elite to seize control of society.

Returning to work during the pandemic

By Michael Shoebridge
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National Cabinet is meeting to begin the pathway to get Australia back to work and school. That's while we are still in the midst of 'flattening the curve' and in a world without a vaccine or even effective therapeutic treatment to reduce death rates from the virus.

So, how might Australia return to work without getting back on the elevator of exponentially growing infection and deaths? This Strategic Insight sketches out that path, with the answers involving mass testing, and companies funded and supported to do rapid testing, data collection and analysis. It will rely on smartphone apps for data collection to enable outbreak suppression and contact tracing. Critically, national cabinet must communicate how this new approach will work alongside the existing social distancing restrictions, which will need to remain in place for months to come.

The hygiene and distancing protocols for this 'return to work' will be easier for advanced manufacturing workplaces, it turns out, as those workplaces are already pretty socially distant, with low levels of staffing and high levels of automation. A lot of construction work is mainly outdoors and is also now more mechanised than labour intensive. And a regime of testing workers on arrival, combined with strict workplace health protocols, will probably be feasible for many other manufacturing, large-scale agricultural and white collar workplaces—including our parliaments.

24 Million 5G Smartphones Were Sold Worldwide in the First Quarter. Who Sold the Most?

by Stephen Silver

Smartphones with 5G capability are seen by many as a technology of the future, although they’re certainly available in the present. The next generation of wireless technology has even been at the center of outlandish conspiracy theories involving the spread of coronavirus, which have even led to the destruction of 5G towers in multiple countries.

Another indication that 5G has arrived is that millions of smartphones equipped with the technology have already been sold. According to a report by research firm Strategy Analytics, 24.1 million 5G smartphones were sold worldwide in the first quarter of 2020. Demand is highest in China - despite the coronavirus pandemic ravaging that country during that same quarter — but also growing in such markets as the U.S., South Korea, and Europe.

The market, at least so far, is a race between the South Korea-based Samsung and several China-based rivals.

Global military expenditure sees largest annual increase in a decade—says SIPRI—reaching $1917 billion in 2019

World military expenditure, by region, 1988–2019

(Stockholm, 27 April 2020) Total global military expenditure rose to $1917 billion in 2019, according to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The total for 2019 represents an increase of 3.6 per cent from 2018 and the largest annual growth in spending since 2010. The five largest spenders in 2019, which accounted for 62 per cent of expenditure, were the United States, China, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia. This is the first time that two Asian states have featured among the top three military spenders. The comprehensive annual update of the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database is accessible from today at www.sipri.org.

Global military spending in 2019 represented 2.2 per cent of the global gross domestic product (GDP), which equates to approximately $249 per person. ‘Global military expenditure was 7.2 per cent higher in 2019 than it was in 2010, showing a trend that military spending growth has accelerated in recent years,’ says Dr Nan Tian, SIPRI Researcher. ‘This is the highest level of spending since the 2008 global financial crisis and probably represents a peak in expenditure.’

United States drives global growth in military spending