21 May 2020

India’s Turn Toward Economic ‘Self-Reliance’

By Ankit Panda

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This week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a national address (full text here) that, among other things, was meant to provide a sense of relief to the country’s 1.3 billion people about how the government was managing COVID-19’s economic and health effects. Many analysts had anticipated that some sort of direct economic relief would be announced and they weren’t disappointed. Modi unveiled a $266 billion package, amounting to around 10 percent of Indian GDP—one of the largest stimulus packages to date by any country, certainly an emerging economy like India, in response to the effects of COVID-19.

The stimulus package was clear enough: It came with a price tag and Modi clarified some of the ends to which it would go. Along with the Reserve Bank of India’s moves to date and earlier relief in March, the Indian government is not holding back on big spending. The country’s COVID-19 response, however, has continued to face criticism for its inadequacies, particularly insofar as the poor and migrant workers are concerned. Tens of millions continue to find themselves untethered from opportunities for income, raising the stakes considerably day-to-day. Indian businesses, too, have taken a major hit across the board as the lockdown’s effect on demand has reverberated over the last nearly two months.

Some Traffic Returns to Roads as India Eases Virus Lockdown

By Sheikh Saaliq and Emily Schmall

People trickled outdoors and thin traffic returned to roads in some Indian states on Monday, a day after the federal government extended the nationwide coronavirus lockdown to May 31 but eased many restrictions to restore economic activity.

Small shops and other businesses were reopened in several states, including the capital, New Delhi, where the movement of private transport led to some traffic snarls. E-commerce companies started to deliver goods, including those considered nonessential, to places outside containment zones.

Metro service, flights, schools, shopping malls, colleges, hotels and restaurants, however, remain shuttered nationwide.

The ease in restrictions comes as the federal government gives states more control in deciding the nature of the lockdown and the power to classify areas as certain types of COVID-19 zones based on the spread and severity of cases.

In era of social distancing, India’s Ministry of External Affairs must reimagine diplomacy


How does diplomacy work in the age of social distancing and coronavirus?

In principle, diplomacy is about managing a country’s international affairs. It is also, to over-interpret the words of the Prussian General Carl von Clausewitz, an extension of politics. For historians of the 1950s, such as Humphrey Trevelyan, the success of a diplomat, and hence of diplomacy, was measured by the ability of these ‘envoys ordinary’ to ‘endure a regular diet of official parties’.

The diplomat, as a former British mandarin, Sherard Cowper-Coles, argues, represents their country where foreign policy happens. She or he, by definition, is a linguist, endlessly and often creatively interpreting the competing impetuses that are born and nurtured at ‘home’, alongside the international imperatives. In essence, and additionally, as William Burns – the former US Deputy Secretary of State – puts it, ‘diplomacy is a human enterprise’.

So, how do you win over the other at a time of gesture-less screen-presence during a pandemic? How would the real-world protagonists, dramatically depicted in the many Graham Greene and John le Carré novels, negotiate secrets at a time of solitude?

India’s Unheeded Coronavirus Warning


Like the rest of the world, India has endured dramatic upheaval during the coronavirus pandemic. The country’s first confirmed cases were three students who returned from Wuhan, China, in the middle of January. From that point, the total number of cases increased modestly until a spike on March 4, when twenty-two were reported in a single day. The number of new cases has since steadily climbed, even after the nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 24.

The Indian state’s inability to protect its most vulnerable citizens was a grave, and perhaps avoidable, policy failure. The lockdown was announced on short notice, catching many government officials by surprise. It seems almost certain that the government did not fully anticipate the breadth of the social and economic fallout, affecting the country’s poor and marginalized most of all. But the impact did not need to be this devastating. Indian government researchers had projected that less extreme measures could help curtail the virus, but their work may not have been factored into the policymaking process.


The first domestic models to assess the impact of the pandemic came from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), which falls under India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The ICMR employed a classic epidemiological model for the coronavirus that divided the population into categories: susceptible, exposed, infected, and recovered. This mathematical model was governed by rules for determining how the numbers in each category change over time.

Pakistan Discovers the High Cost of Chinese Investment

By Hussain Haqqani
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Pakistan’s desire to maintain strategic relations with China has resulted in the $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a set of infrastructure projects, being mired in insufficient transparency.

But a Committee formed by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to examine the causes for the high cost of electricity to Pakistani consumers has lifted the lid on corruption involving Chinese private power producers in Pakistan.

The report reveals that the Huaneng Shandong Ruyi (Pak) Energy (HSR) or the Sahiwal and the Port Qasim Electric Power Company Limited (PQEPCL) coal plants under CPEC inflated their set-up costs.

For Pakistan’s citizens, who are always told how China is their most reliable friend in the world, it was a shock to discover that China does business mercilessly and unscrupulously.

Successive civilian governments and Pakistan’s military have looked upon China as their principal backer against India.

The Next Pandemic Crisis Is Mental Health

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Lois has bipolar disorder and a 16-month-old baby. In normal circumstances, her condition is manageable. Under the United Kingdom’s lockdown, in which trips outside are tightly limited and seeing family or friends impossible, her mental health has deteriorated. No one is picking up the phone in her National Health Service (NHS) recovery team, part of a branch of mental health services for people with long-term mental health conditions, and the soonest appointment she can get with them is two months away.

Lois, as a young mother with a serious mental health condition, is at particularly high risk. But as lockdowns across the world continue because of the global coronavirus crisis, people with preexisting mental health conditions are seeing symptoms worsen. As Mental Health Awareness week begins in the UK, tens of thousands of people there are already painfully aware of the damage being done, even as the government overlooks psychological costs in favor of economic calculations. According to research from the charity Rethink Mental Illness, 80 percent of people living with serious mental illnesses such as borderline personality disorder and psychosis thought that their mental health was worse because of the impact of coronavirus. Twenty-eight percent described their symptoms as much worse.

Assessing China’s Assertiveness at Commodore Reef

By Christian Vicedo

The incident earlier this year between Philippine and Chinese naval vessels near Commodore Reef foreshadows dynamics that might characterize regional maritime security in the face of an increasingly assertive China. In this regard, it is essential to reexamine the incident through the lens of international law and good order at sea to understand its implications. 

Revisiting the Commodore Reef Incident

On February 17, 2020, the Philippine Navy corvette BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39) conducted a patrol mission near the Philippine-occupied Commodore Reef in the South China Sea (SCS). During the mission, it encountered a PLA Navy (PLAN) corvette with hull number 514. PS-39 radioed the Chinese Navy Ship (CNS)-514, which responded with the following statement: “The Chinese government has indisputable sovereignty over the SCS, its islands and its adjacent waters.” Subsequently, PS-39 instructed the CNS-514 to proceed directly to its next destination but the Chinese vessel simply repeated its earlier response and maintained its course and speed. 

Senator Marsha Blackburn: ‘President Xi Knew’ About the Danger Of Coronavirus

by Matthew Petti 

It’s not every day that a nuclear-armed communist state denounces an American by name.

But that’s what happened to Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R–Tenn.) last week, when the Global Times—the English-language edition of the Chinese Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily—ran an article slamming U.S. lawmakers and officials over their attempts to hold China liable for the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The article announced that four unnamed lawmakers and two “entities” in the United States would be subjected to “painful” economic sanctions. And it criticized by name the sponsors of the Stop China-Originated Viral Infectious Diseases (Stop COVID) Act, which would open the door to lawsuits against the Chinese government “for creating and worsening this worldwide pandemic.”

The National Interest spoke to Blackburn about her sponsorship of the Stop COVID Act, the future of U.S.-China relations, and her plans for pandemic preparedness. Below is a transcript of the conversation, lightly edited for clarity.

Thank you for your time, Senator.

Here's What the Coronavirus Means for the Future of Geopolitics and Trade

by Frank G. Wisner Matthew Kirk

Just three months ago, none of us imagined what the world would look like today. So it is with due recognition that prediction is an imprecise science that we offer the following thoughts from our respective sides of the Atlantic about what the reaction to the Coronavirus tells us for what may come next in geo-politics and geo-economics.

First, the nation state is back. At a time of huge challenge and public fear, people look to their national leadership to guide them. Within the global order of nation states, things are shifting too. The crisis has accentuated the decline of the U.S. in relation to China—the most powerful country on earth cannot manage a pandemic as well as “emerging” China (even allowing for unreliable Chinese statistics). Russia is finding a new place too, snuck in alongside China. U.S. reluctance to treat allies as allies is weakening the transatlantic bond. Within the EU, the debate about the mutualization of Eurozone debt will be hard to resolve, and one of the pillars of European integration—a border-free Europe—disappeared at speed as the virus took hold.

Coronavirus Is Not a Bioweapon—but Bioterrorism Is a Real Future Threat

by Trushar R. Patel Michael Hilary D'Souza

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has far-reaching implications as Canadians face unemployment, diminishing returns on their purchasing power and the prospect of an ensuing recession.

These challenges will be faced in the coming year despite stimulus packages announced by the Canadian government to mitigate the downturn. Unsurprisingly, comparisons with the Great Depression and the 1918 flu pandemic have drawn parallels to receding markets and the pandemic.

Concerns over coronavirus being a bioweapon have flourished, despite being a novel, naturally occurring pathogen dispersed globally though free trade and international travel.

However, an equally dangerous incident involving bioterrorism should not be ignored.

The pandemic’s effect on the world isn’t a conventional attack on government targets or the military. Rather, it’s a widespread and indiscriminate attack on global citizens and the economy. This outbreak has directly impacted the lives of billions of people, making it the most effective model for future terrorist activities and a new model for circumventing the conventions of modern warfare.

How COVID-19 Challenges Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy

By Jeremy Huai-Che Chiang

Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy, the country’s “regional strategy for Asia” inaugurated by incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016, has been impacted by the global COVID-19 crisis, though not all in a disappointing direction. The NSP’s short-term stagnation is inevitable given the global economic downturn, but calls for supply-chain diversification from China have also never been that widely supported. It is, however, still up to Tsai’s government to rise up to the challenge and settle priorities moving into her second term. This will ultimately determine the final effects of COVID-19 on her signature foreign policy.

Short-Term Setbacks and Long-Term Strengths

After some gains in Tsai’s first term, Taiwanese banks reported a 15.23 percent decline in profit in New Southbound-targeted South Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand for the first quarter of 2020 compared with the same period last year, mostly attributed to pandemic-related reasons. And while the number of tourists from NSP-targeted countries rose by 2.7 million people last year, an impressive 6.8 percent growth rate from 2018, it is almost certain that COVID-19 will cause a downturn in that upbeat trend. The authorities are now funneling an estimated US$14.85 billion in financial aid just to keep the tourism sector afloat. The NSP seems to be an obvious casualty of the COVID-19 crisis at a first glance. 

Vietnam Halted Its COVID-19 Outbreak. Now Comes the Economic Fallout

Michael Tatarski 

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam—As countries around the world debate how quickly they should reopen their economies amid the coronavirus pandemic, Vietnam is largely ahead of the curve.

A national social distancing campaign that shut down non-essential businesses ended on April 22, and life has returned to a striking normalcy. Restaurants, bars, cinemas, barbers and other shops have reopened, though karaoke parlors and nightclubs are still closed. Sporting events and festivals are now allowed to resume as well, with the country’s top soccer league scheduled to hit the pitch next month. Domestic tourism is slowly picking up, as authorities ease social distancing regulations on planes, trains and buses, and airlines and hotels are desperately trying to regain business. Schools nationwide have resumed in-person classes after being closed since the Lunar New Year holiday in early February.

Emotions Can't Be Allowed to Guide US-China Policy

Even before the coronavirus swept the planet, claiming the lives of over 280,000 people and infecting another 4 million worldwide, the U.S. and China treated one another with an overriding aura of suspicion and competition. The 2018 U.S. National Defense Strategy, the Defense Department's policy blueprint, labeled China a "revisionist" power. Beijing's military modernization has proceeded with the U.S. very much in mind.

China's early missteps in containing the virus, however, have turned relations between the two largest economies from competitive to downright adversarial in a short four months. Those in the Beltway who believe the U.S. would succeed in an environment where intensive rivalry dominate the U.S.-China relationship in every domain dangerously overestimate Washington's power, underestimate Beijing's capacity to retaliate, and callously dismiss the financial, geopolitical, and diplomatic costs such a rivalry would wreak on both the U.S. and the world.

Unfortunately, Washington has yet to prove it is willing or even able to see beyond the current cycle of noise and bombast. U.S. and Chinese officials are using the coronavirus crisis as a cudgel in an antagonistic, geopolitical clash-of-wills -- this, when a pandemic should be bringing the intellectual and scientific communities of the two powers together in search of effective treatments and a vaccine.

The Miner’s Canary: COVID-19 and the Rise of Non-Traditional Security Threats

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To face them, we need new definitions of security and a global approach.

COVID-19 is not a black swan. For years, foresight experts have been warning about the potential emergence of a pandemic, while public health experts have been calling the attention of the international community to the dangerous security impact of global outbreaks.

The novel coronavirus is, however, a canary in the coal mine. The pandemic is the harbinger of a security landscape marked by the rise of non-traditional security threats. These challenges will act as threat multipliers, further exacerbating existing security dilemmas and the complexity of the 2020s. COVID-19 is the template for what lies ahead, that is, unless we take action. The sooner we understand the fundamental transformation ahead of us, the sooner we can adapt our concepts and institutions to guarantee the safety of people, states, and the international community.

In many ways, COVID-19 is a threat foretold. As early as the 1970s, policy experts have been calling for attention towards a new category of threats. Their realization, as intuitive as it was conceptually novel, was that insecurity stems from much more than outright conflict, and threats to people’s wellbeing can have security implications for communities and states alike. The awareness that there is an indelible, yet complex link between development, peace and security caught on unequally in the policy world, getting the most traction in capacity-building and stabilization missions.

Writing About Displaced People in the Time of Coronavirus


As I sit and write this article, large parts of the world are living under lockdown amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. In Wales (UK), where I currently live, we are allowed out twice a day to exercise, something which must begin and end at our homes. This is a change from the previous week when we were allowed outdoors only once a day. This is expected to continue for the next few weeks, after which there will be a phased relaxation of the rules, but there will still be limits lasting for a considerable period of time. No one is sure when things will be ‘normal’ again, if ever. Amidst all this, I am writing an academic book, supported by a research fellowship from the British Academy, about people who are forcibly displaced from their homes or places of habitual residence – refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced people, those fleeing extreme poverty or disasters or climate events. While I am locked in my home, sheltering from what is out there in the world, we know that record numbers of people have been displaced from theirs. According to the latest available UNHCR figures, there are 70.8 million forcibly displaced people throughout the world. But what is it like to be displaced during these times?

Forced displacements always give rise to difficult and challenging experiences for people, but the COVID-19 pandemic is presenting new difficulties and challenges, with the threat of terrible consequences if they cannot be met. There will, undoubtedly, be academic articles and books written about the impacts of the pandemic on the forcibly displaced in the future, as we do not yet fully know what those are. But still, there are briefings and blogs emerging in these early days (it is unsettling to remember that these are early days). The main concerns are about displaced people living in encampments or being held in detention centres of some sort. Writing in The Lancet, Hans Henri P. Kluge, Zsuzsanna Jakab, Josef Bartovic, Veronica D’Anna and Santino, Severoni comment:

The Global South in Times of Crisis: A China–Africa Relations View


The human tragedy of Covid-19 and the predicted effects of the outbreak on the global economy are putting a strain on the very fabric of our societies. Other looming issues, such as climate change, contribute to a picture that is all but bleak, and which will require brave choices and strong international leadership. In the current crisis, developing countries are faced with additional challenges, including shortages of healthcare workers, lack of fiscal and monetary capacity, income losses, poor urban planning, and overpopulation. As people in most Global South countries are likely to suffer the impact of such crisis more than in the developed world, solidarity beyond borders is being invoked and South-South solidarity is increasingly called upon as a necessary means to achieve global development, even by leaders of multilateral organisations such as the World Bank. In the past, the idea of a Global South has proved a successful source of identity for developing countries, incapsulating the common experience of colonialism and imperialism, and it has been used as a mobilising strategy based upon a critique of the inequalities of the current international system. China’s leadership often draws on this rhetoric to strengthen its own official discourse of a ‘shared community with a common destiny’.

In the face of current struggles, can the Global South and the values it claims to represent offer reasons for hope? Are there any lessons learned? Crises such as the outbreak of Covid-19 urge us to move beyond what are too often empty slogans and make concrete progress. China-Africa relations, which have been at the centre of many recent debates around the pandemic, offer an example of the potential of South-South cooperation, as well as what doesn’t work with it. Based on the events of the past few weeks, a few key issues have emerged as central to China-Africa relations and offer a glimpse on what the future of these ties holds: racism; the youth; social media & digital connectivity; debt; and narrative power.


Iran's Navy Is Dying a Slow Death

by Michael Rubin

The Iranian sailors onboard the Dutch-built Hendijan-class Konarak in the Gulf of Oman never saw the missile coming. It struck with devastating impact, killing 19 onboard and wounding many more. The fire was so intense that the Konarak was still on fire as it was towed into the Iranian port of Chahbahar, not far from the Pakistani border.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei sent his condolences and, in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Iranian armed forces, ordered an investigation. “The pain of losing loved ones for their families, and the loss of these sincere, hardworking youth for the naval forces is immense and difficult to bear,” he declared. He might have added that the Iranian Navy is getting used to such mishaps.

The Iranian navy has a proud past. During the 8th century, Persian pirates burned Canton (modern Guangzhou) to the ground. As the Spanish and Portuguese began exploring “the New World,” Persian ships were already plying the Indian Ocean and East Africa. Indeed, Nowruz—the Persian New Year—is still celebrated in some parts of Somalia, even though locals may not remember its roots. In 1971, as the British Navy withdrew from the Persian Gulf, the Shah sent the Iranian Imperial Navy to capture Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tonb Islands. After Saddam Hussein’s forces invaded Iran in September 1980, the newly formed Islamic Republic of Iran Navy had its greatest—and last—victory. In a coordinated air and sea assault of which neither Iraqis nor Western military analysts believed Iran capable, the Iranian Navy successfully carried out Operation Morvarid (Pearl), destroying oil rigs and most of Iraq’s small navy at Mina al-Bakr.

Iran Is Increasing Its Military and Cyber Activity, Report Says

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Few countries were hit as hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as Iran, which has seen more than 114,000 confirmed cases. But in recent weeks, open-source intelligence gleaned from Persian- and Arabic-language sources, as well as commercially available location data from mobile devices, suggests that Iranian military activity did not drop off as severely as civilian activity, according to data analytics company Babel Street. Both types of activity picked back up in May, and Iran’s support for offensive cyber operations and proxy forces in Yemen and Iraq didn’t show any signs of waning at all.

Babel Street’s analysis drew on commercial telemetry data, or CTD, gleaned from things like apps that collect users’ locations. They compared the data year-on-year in March, April, and May at facilities in Bushehr and the Strait-of-Hormuz port of Bandar Abbas, including air bases, naval bases, and the Bushehr nuclear facility.

In a report released Thursday and obtained exclusively by Defense One, they found that civilian activity dropped more than 90% during parts of March and April, as measured from data collected at the Tehran Grand Bazaar and elsewhere. Military activity dropped 30% to 50% compared to last year.

Oil and gas after COVID-19: The day of reckoning or a new age of opportunity?

By Filipe Barbosa, Giorgio Bresciani, Pat Graham, Scott Nyquist, and Kassia Yanosek

The oil and gas industry is experiencing its third price collapse in 12 years. After the first two shocks, the industry rebounded, and business as usual continued. This time is different. The current context combines a supply shock with an unprecedented demand drop and a global humanitarian crisis. Additionally, the sector’s financial and structural health is worse than in previous crises. The advent of shale, excessive supply, and generous financial markets that overlooked the limited capital discipline have all contributed to poor returns. Today, with prices touching 30-year lows, and accelerating societal pressure, executives sense that change is inevitable. The COVID-19 crisis accelerates what was already shaping up to be one of the industry’s most transformative moments.

While the depth and duration of this crisis are uncertain, our research suggests that without fundamental change, it will be difficult to return to the attractive industry performance that has historically prevailed. On its current course and speed, the industry could now be entering an era defined by intense competition, technology-led rapid supply response, flat to declining demand, investor scepticism, and increasing public and government pressure regarding impact on climate and the environment. However, under most scenarios, oil and gas will remain a multi-trillion-dollar market for decades. Given its role in supplying affordable energy, it is too important to fail. The question of how to create value in the next normal is therefore fundamental.

US Navy, Marines Conduct Integrated Operations in Pacific

By Ankit Panda

U.S. Navy and U.S. Marines Corps units have been conducting operations in early May in the Asia-Pacific, the U.S. 7th Fleet said in a statement. The activities have occurred throughout the 7th Fleet’s area of operations, which extends from the middle of the Pacific Ocean to the western coast of India, encompassing most of the Indian Ocean. The ongoing operations are focused on increasing interoperability between the two services.

“These operations at sea focus on interoperability to further develop warfighting concepts, improve distributed maritime operations, and enable real-world proficiency and readiness in response to any contingency,” the 7th Fleet said in a statement.

“Our forward-deployed naval forces at sea are spread from the Sea of Japan to operations in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean,” Capt. Steven De Moss, commodore of the U.S. Navy’s Destroyer Squadron 15, said in a statement.

“I am excited to bring some of those forces together to conduct a large scale integration of this nature. It sharpens our warfighting readiness, while continuing to support regional security, stability, and international norms,” he added.

Coronavirus Is Increasing the Toll on America's Caregivers

by Erin E. Kent
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Immunocompromised people, seniors with dementia and anyone with a chronic disease are more likely to experience the most severe COVID-19 symptoms. Caregivers face new worries due to the coronavirus, including whether they can still assist their vulnerable relatives and friends and what they should do if they themselves or someone they live with gets sick.

This quandary affects about 21.3% of Americans. The total number of Americans doing this unpaid work has reached an estimated 53 million in 2019, according to the latest data collected by the National Alliance for Caregiving, an advocacy and research organization, and AARP. That number, which excludes people caring for children without disabilities, is up from 43.5 million, the previous estimate made in 2015.

Trump sets goal of hundreds of millions of coronavirus vaccine doses by January, but scientists doubt it

By Carolyn Y. JohnsonLaurie McGinleyJosh Dawsey and Christopher Rowland

President Trump formally unveiled an initiative Friday afternoon aimed at making hundreds of millions of doses of a coronavirus vaccine broadly available by year’s end — a goal that many scientists say is unrealistic and could even backfire by shortchanging safety and undermining faith in vaccines more broadly.

The Rose Garden news conference added to a week of confusing and contradictory remarks about the prospects and timeline for a vaccine, which is seen as the key to returning to normal life. A day earlier, a former top U.S. vaccine official testified before Congress that he was doubtful about the 12-to-18-month time frame frequently touted as a goal. The head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases testified Tuesday that 12 to 18 months was possible but there was no guarantee a vaccine would work at all.

But Trump and other officials projected certainty Friday that an effective vaccine would be widely available by year’s end from among 14 promising candidates that had been winnowed from a field of more than 100. The chief scientist of the new initiative, pharmaceutical industry veteran Moncef Slaoui, even teased that he had seen early clinical data from an unspecified vaccine trial that gave him hope.

New Warfare Domains and the Deterrence Theory Crisis


Currently, we witness a volatile, polarized and destabilizing international security environment that has exposed us to the grey zones of war and peace. Security challenges arising from both hybrid threats and hybrid warfare (both multiple and synchronized threats that aim to target states’ vulnerabilities at different levels covering domains other than military) seem to have held front seat on the global security agenda thereby altering the relevance of nuclear deterrence. Deterrence is generally understood as an ability to dissuade a state from embarking upon a course of action prejudicial to one’s vital security interests, based on demonstrative capability. The nuclear deterrence theory, as propounded by Brodie (Brodie 1946, p. 76), which is grounded in political realism, enriches our thought process to comprehend the potential character of nuclear weapons. The focus of nuclear deterrence was on averting wars through the psychological manipulation of an adversary’s mind. Thus, it is argued that renewed warfare domains and non-military threats seems to have marginalized the relevance of deterrence theory. Therefore, new mechanisms are required to defend societies and build a correlation between deterrence and evolving wide-raging threats that are non-military in nature. It is further argued that a long-term holistic approach to deterrence as an instrument is needed that focuses on both current military and renewed non-military threats which cover political, economic, social and digital landscape.

Evolving Nature of Nuclear Deterrence

The end of World War II, for instance, witnessed the innovation of nuclear weapons along with their delivery means, which redefined the character of warfare. The introduction of nuclear weapons by the US, and later their use generated extensive debates in political and academic circles on the concept of deterrence. Although the world has never witnessed a two-sided nuclear war, nuclear competition between the US and the Soviet Union (now Russia) during the Cold War, taught us difficult lessons. In this context, US–based think tanks such as RAND and leading Western scholars such as Brodie (1946), Shelling (1966, p.22) and Wohlstetter (1959, pp. 211-234) made substantial contributions to the understanding of the character and role of nuclear weapons.

Can Marxism in International Relations Offer Solutions to the Eco-Crisis?


The destruction of earth’s life systems under capitalism “is arguably the most fundamental challenge facing humanity today” (Benton, 2018). Persistent warnings from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) about global temperature rises in the Anthropocene (age of humans) are evidence that a new framework is needed to conceptualise the issue.

Climate change has been neglected in the field of IR, this is particularly evident from the lack of related journal articles in the field (Underdal, 2017, p. 170). Karl Marx, regarded as the leading critic of capitalism, has nonetheless been labelled as insensitive to international climate and environmental issues (Bellamy Foster and Burkett, 2001, p. 451) with disagreement amongst scholars (Breen, 2014, p. 6). Consequently, twenty years ago an ‘ecosocialist’ approach may have seemed unconventional.

Having explored ecological aspects and interpretations of Marx, I have a certain level of sympathy with ‘revisionists’. Although nature was foundational to Marx, reconceptualisation of his concepts may be beneficial in order to address environmental challenges that he may have struggled to conceive of (Grundmann, 1991a, p.103 in Breen, 2014, p.1). Uneven and Combined Development (UCD) has been regarded as a promising Marxian IR approach yet it still ignores ecological issues.

Bombers In Space? The Military Once Wanted Manned ICBMs Bomb The Russians

by Michael Peck

Here's What You Need To Remember: In many ways, it seems to echo the early Cold War debate over whether America's nuclear strike force should consist of bombers or missiles. The bomber barons fought to the last aircraft, and there is no doubt that a manned aircraft -- or rocket -- is more flexible than an unmanned ICBM. But ultimately, the ICBM proved the faster and more efficient way of delivering a nuclear weapon.

The first American astronauts had to show their "right stuff" in Atlas and Titan ICBMs converted from lofting bombs on to Moscow into lofting people into orbit. By all accounts, it wasn't the most comfortable way to ride into space.

But in 1952, the U.S. military considered launching men on real ICBMs to bomb Moscow.

The Bell Aircraft Corporation's Bomi (Bomber-Missile) would have used a rocket to send a bomber into space, after which the bomber made an unpowered glide back through the atmosphere and over the target. If this sounds familiar, it's because 30 years later, the Space Shuttle used the same concept.