5 June 2020

Is India still the neighbourhood’s education hub?

Constantino Xavier, Aakshi Chaba, and Geetika Dang


India has long been an education hub for students from its neighbourhood.[2] Besides economic benefits, India’s capacity to attract students from neighbouring countries has helped it to form closer political ties and spread its cultural influence and values to the surrounding region. India’s ability to provide quality higher education is a form of soft power that, subtly but surely, enhances India’s connectivity with its neighbours. Some of the South Asian leaders who have benefited from an education in India include Nepal’s former Prime Minister B.P. Koirala, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi and Afghanistan’s former President Hamid Karzai. In 2018, however, only three serving world leaders had studied in India, compared to 58 in the United States.[3]

China and India Brawl at 14,000 Feet Along the Border

By Jeffrey Gettleman and Steven Lee Myers
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NEW DELHI — High in the Himalayas, an enormous fistfight erupted in early May between the soldiers of China and India. Brawls at 14,000 feet along their inhospitable and disputed frontier are not terribly unusual, but what happened next was.

A few days later, Chinese troops confronted Indian soldiers again, this time at several other remote border points in the Himalayas, some more than 1,000 miles apart. Since then both armies have rushed in thousands of reinforcements. Indian analysts say that China has beefed up its forces with dump trucks, excavators, troop carriers, artillery and armored vehicles and that China is now occupying Indian territory.

No shots have been fired, as the de facto border code dictates, but the soldiers have fought fiercely with rocks, wooden clubs and their hands in a handful of clashes. In one melee at the glacial lake Pangong Tso, several Indian troops were hurt badly enough that they had to be evacuated by helicopter, and Indian analysts said Chinese troops were injured as well.

Nobody thinks China and India are about to go to war. But the escalating buildup has turned into their most serious confrontation since 2017 and may be a sign of more trouble to come as the world’s two most populous countries increasingly bump up against each other in one of the bleakest and most remote borderlands on earth.

India’s limited trade connectivity with South Asia

Riya Sinha and Niara Sareen


Despite geographical proximity and the existence of bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements (FTAs), South Asia is one of the least economically integrated regions in the world. Owing to protectionist policies, high logistics cost, lack of political will and a broader trust deficit, intra-regional trade in South Asia remains well below its potential at 5% of the region’s global trade.[2] This makes South Asia one of the most disconnected regions in the world, especially when compared with other regions such as East Asia and the Pacific, where intra-regional trade accounts for approximately 50% of total trade, and Sub-Saharan Africa, where intra-regional trade has improved over the years to 22% due to the steps taken by governments to create transparent mechanisms for trade facilitation.[3] Intra-regional trade in the South Asian region (including Myanmar) amounts to only 5.6% (2017).[4]

Enhancing intra-regional trade is necessary to increase connectivity in the South Asian region. Facilitated by the flow of goods, services, people, and knowledge, such an initiative would provide access to new markets as well as attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in diverse sectors. The ensuing economic growth would also play a key role in bridging the trust deficit in the region and raise the opportunity cost of conflict.[5]

Protection of Civilians from the Perspective of the Soldiers Who Protect: Ghana and India in United Nations Peacekeeping

Author Peter Albrecht, Sukanya Podder
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How do countries like Ghana and India – two of the main contributors of troops to UN peacekeeping missions – define, approach, and experience the task of protecting civilians? What do they consider the key components of such protection to be? And what do they think is required to protect civilians? In this report, Peter Albrecht and Sukanya Podder address these questions and more, concluding that the individual combat experience of troop-​contributing countries is a defining feature of how protection of civilians is approached in peacekeeping missions.

Afghan Govt's Release of Taliban Will Continue: ONSC

The Afghan government will continue the release of Taliban prisoners to begin intra-Afghan negotiations and to help the announced reduction in violence go on, said the National Security Council on Sunday.

President Ashraf Ghani on May 24 pledged to release 2,000 Taliban prisoners as a goodwill gesture in response to the Eid ceasefire announced by the Taliban. So far, the government has released 1,700 detainees of this latest pledged tranche, bringing the total number of Taliban released to 2,700. 

The release of prisoners is part of the US-Taliban agreement and is intended to pave the way for the start of the intra-Afghan negotiations, for which the Afghan government has shown a readiness to begin. 

The Taliban has also released over 420 prisoners, 73 of them during the last few days from Balkh, Logar, Kunduz, Paktia, Paktika and Khost provinces. 

“The process will continue so that based on President Ghani’s decree, 2,000 prisoners are released,” said Javid Faisal, a spokesman for National Security Council.

A Weekend of Anger and Defiance Across New York City

By Emily Witt
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On Friday evening, a local manifestation of the nationwide protests against police brutality, sparked by the killing of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, began at the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, around six. According to photographs widely shared on social media, hundreds of cops had begun gathering there in the late afternoon, standing in formation across the front entrance of the arena. As anyone who has ever gone to a march or demonstration in New York City will know, the N.Y.P.D. excels at crowd control, at corralling groups into smaller groups, and slowly dismantling those groups until the protest is diminished. To protest in the city is usually to navigate a maze of metal barricades with obscure entry and exit points. By the time I arrived, around 8 p.m., the plaza between the arena and the entrance to the Atlantic Avenue subway station had been cleared of people and barricaded off—a process that, as videos posted online revealed, had involved knocking people down, pepper-spraying, and making dozens of arrests. A crowd of a few hundred people remained on the sidewalks on either side of Atlantic Avenue. In between them was the territory of dozens of police officers, who were milling around and loading arrested protesters onto M.T.A. buses. This made for surreal reënactments of the crowded rush hours that no longer exist—one bus was full only of police officers; in another, all the passengers were arrested protesters, with officers hanging from the rails, overseeing them. (The president of the Transit Workers’ Union soon voiced an official objection to the practice.) As for social distancing: there was no social distancing.

Hong Kong security law: China weighs risk US will go for ‘nuclear option’ and cut Beijing from the dollar payment system

Karen Yeung and Zhou Xin
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A new and troubling question is suddenly looming for Beijing: will the Trump administration abuse the power of the US dollar to hurt China following Beijing’s plan to impose a new national security law in Hong Kong?

While the probability remains very low that China will be treated like Russia or Iran, and US President Donald Trump has not mentioned sanctions against Hong Kong or Chinese financial institutions, the risk of a financial war – including being cut off from the US dollar system – is no longer “unthinkable” for China.

If Washington were to sever China’s corporate and financial system from the US dollar payments system, which is underpinned by infrastructure such as the Swift international payments messaging system and the Clearing House Interbank Payments System (Chips), it could start a financial tsunami that would lead global finance into unchartered territory, officials and analysts said.

“It’s clearly a nuclear option for the US,” said a Chinese official who has been briefed on internal discussions about Beijing’s response to the possible US reaction to the 
national security law in Hong Kong. “It would hurt China, but it would probably hurt the US more.”

The COVID-19 Pandemic and Geopolitics

By James L. Regens and John S. BeddowsJune 01, 2020

“If a pandemic disease emerges, it probably will first occur in an area marked by high population density and close association between humans and animals, such as many areas of China and Southeast Asia, where human populations live in close proximity to livestock.”

—U.S. National Intelligence Council, State of the World 2025[1]

The COVID-19 pandemic is taking place during a transitional period in geopolitics.[2] The survival of liberal internationalism and America’s leadership role—related but distinct geopolitical concerns—have become increasingly questioned as the pandemic has progressed. Liberal internationalism has been based on expanding trade and increasing globalization under a system tied to western-centric norms and values. From 1945 through the first two decades following the Cold War’s end, the United States was the primary, but not sole, advocate for this approach to structuring political and economic relations. In essence, liberal internationalism provided the basis for a relatively stable, multi-decade geopolitical equilibrium grounded in free market economies. The world today, however, is much different politically, economically, socially, and culturally than it was in 1991. As a result, given changes in the global order over the past 30 years, is liberal internationalism as it has existed since World War II possible without continued American pre-eminence?[3]
U.S. and China in the time of COVID (The Nation Thailand)

Factbox: China's numerous diplomatic disputes

BEIJING (Reuters) - China is engaged in diplomatic disputes on numerous fronts, from acrimony with the United States to a backlash over its clampdown on Hong Kong, a border dispute with India and criticism over its handling of the novel coronavirus.

Following are some of the main points of contention between China and other countries:


From disputes over trade and technology, to U.S. criticism over the coronavirus outbreak and China’s accusation of U.S. backing for protests in Hong Kong, ties between the world’s two biggest economies are at their lowest point in decades.


China’s plan to impose national security legislation on Hong Kong provoked U.S. retaliation and disapproval from other Western capitals. The city’s former colonial ruler Britain said it would offer extended visa rights to British national overseas (BNO) passport holders from Hong Kong.


Lessons from China: This is how COVID-19 could affect globalization

Coronavirus has disrupted global value chains that connect producers across multiple countries.

Comparative figures between the first two months of 2019 and the first two months of 2020 reveal a collapse in Chinese trade with the EU and US.

Researchers have studied data from China to see which imports and exports have been the most affected.

The COVID-19 pandemic is now expected to trigger the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Many argue it could unravel globalisation altogether.

Globalisation relies on complex links – global value chains (GVCs) – that connect producers across multiple countries. These producers often use highly specialised intermediate goods, or “inputs”, produced by only one distant, overseas supplier. COVID-19 has severely disrupted these links.

4 more years of Trump may accelerate China’s rise, says former UN Security Council president


Relations between the U.S. and China are at their lowest point in decades.

The two countries are trading barbs over China’s new national security law in Hong Kong and fighting over who should bear responsibility for the COVID-19 pandemic. And, after the two-year U.S.-China trade war eased in January with a phase 1 agreement, prospects for further negotiation seem bleak in the aftermath of the outbreak.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has escalated tensions between the two sides. Yet, as the November U.S. election approaches, China may be hoping for four more years of Trump in office, argues Kishore Mahbubani, former president of the United Nations Security Council and current scholar at the National University of Singapore’s Asia Research Institute.

In a discussion with Fortune’s Clay Chandler on Wednesday, Mahbubani argued that Trump's reelection would continue to diminish the U.S.'s standing globally and provide China the opportunity to take a stronger role on the international stage. Mahbubani also discussed his new book Has China Won?, which argues that the U.S. may be more vulnerable than it thinks in its geopolitical contest with China, as well as East Asia's response to the coronavirus and Beijing's proposed national security law in Hong Kong. The Q&A below has been edited for length and clarity.

World cannot ignore Chinese aggression in South China Sea

James Stavridis
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Admiral James Stavridis was 16th Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and 12th Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He spent the bulk of his operational career in the Pacific, including multiple command assignments.

For the past two decades, China's strategy in the South China Sea has been reminiscent of ancient general and strategist Sun Tzu, who said: "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." In this turbulent time, that patience is beginning to change as China, emboldened by the U.S.'s abdication of leadership and by a distracted world, gains in aggression.

Most recently, China has been using its naval forces to pressure the littoral nations, especially Vietnam and the Philippines. A month ago, China sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel, a maneuver that was roundly condemned by the international community.

China is increasing its push against U.S. warships, using aggressive signaling; dangerously close maneuvering; illuminating U.S. ships with fire-control radar, which suggests the imminent launch of weapons; and overflying at very close range.

Great-power competition and COVID-19

How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the dynamics of great-power competition? As major powers are seemingly seeking to establish new levels of ‘pandemic deterrence’, Nick Childs contends that the current crisis might lead to lasting changes in how major-power militaries operate and interact with each other. 

Naval commands are generally very shy about discussing submarine whereabouts, so it was an unusual step on 8 May when the United States Pacific Fleet publicly stated that all its forward-deployed submarines were, amid the current global pandemic, at sea conducting operations. This was a riposte to the suggestion that COVID-19 has weakened the US Navy in the western Pacific, most particularly by sidelining a forward-deployed aircraft carrier. It is also an example of how COVID-19 fallout is affecting the dynamics of great-power competition.

Major power manoeuvres

Many militaries have curtailed normal operations to focus on responding to the pandemic or attending to their own virus-related vulnerabilities. At the same time, the war of words between Washington and Beijing over the virus may have an enduring impact on that relationship and is only adding to other countries’ sense of strategic uncertainty.

Win Without Fighting

By Hunter Stires
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The prioritization of China as the Department of Defense’s pacing threat and the renewed emphasis on the core naval function of contending for command of the sea are welcome developments. Yet, what this means in terms of how the Sea Services should be equipped, trained, and employed remains unsettled. In the rush to embrace the new paradigm of great power competition, the services risk going in the wrong direction. 

Recent statements by senior leaders suggest that U.S. strategy and force design vis-à-vis China has up to now been based on the following sequence of thought:

1. The principal threat from China is a high-intensity war of aggression.

2. War with China is expected between 2030 and 2035, giving the United States 10–15 years to prepare.

3. The best way to preserve U.S. interests, therefore, will be to field a force that can win (and thus hopefully deter) a high-intensity war in the western Pacific by 2030 or 2035.

The Memory of Tiananmen

By Sarah Ruger

Under pressure from Beijing, Hong Kong is extending its COVID-19 lockdown through June 4, which happens to be the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre of peaceful protesters by the Chinese military. The annual Hong Kong vigil is typically the largest such gathering in China, and the new restrictions leave in doubt its residents’ ability to commemorate the 1989 tragedy.

In addition to using the pandemic to crack down on this year’s anniversary observances, government censors annually block Chinese citizens from searching online for keywords related to the massacre. Even terms as simple as "June 4” are blocked on the mainland. Now Beijing is pushing to amend the de facto constitution of Hong Kong, granting mainland authorities broad power to classify protest and free speech activities as “subversive” to national security. This has implications for protesters, journalists, and everyday citizens who simply express dissatisfaction with Beijing.

Leveraging the current pandemic for repression is cynical and manipulative. But it is also ironic. The Communist Party justified its actions 31 years ago, and continues to justify censorship of the massacre, by saying it’s necessary to “immunize” the country against turmoil.

National security law: blue or yellow, Hong Kong lawmakers have let down Hongkongers

Alice Wu
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Democratic Party legislator Ted Hui Chi-fung throws what he says is a bottle of rotten plants during a debate in the Legislative Council on May 28. 

Hong Kong’s constitutional obligations to enact laws on our own to prohibit treason, secession, sedition, subversion and a whole slew of espionage activities had been simmering on the back burner since 2003, and it was only a matter of time before 

In 2018, Tam Yiu Chung, Hong Kong’s sole delegate to the National People's Congress Standing Committee, the top echelon of the national legislature, came away from the Two Sessions gatherings with some thoughts.

He aired concerns that Hongkongers chanting slogans calling for an end to “one-party dictatorship” on the mainland could one day be disqualified from running in elections. He was giving Hongkongers a sense of what Beijing meant by implementing the “one country, two systems” policy “comprehensively and accurately”, and it foretold what transpired at the NPC last week.

Hong Kong and the Price of Freedom


Beijing’s attempt to impose a national-security law on Hong Kong that would vitiate the city’s semi-autonomous status and undermine its common-law system is the most important political story in the world right now.

Why? Because it demonstrates a lesson we all need to internalize. The West long ago convinced itself that Chinese economic development would eventually lead to Chinese political liberalization, having previously applied the same theory to Warsaw Bloc countries in the later stages of the Cold War. In Poland and Czechoslovakia, history proved the theory to be precisely backward: Political revolution preceded economic reform. In China, a West-enabled economic boom has coincided with the Communist Party’s predatory capture of industries and the skills that go with them, which in turn has made the Party’s grip on political power and its influence over neighboring countries and the West only stronger.

For doe-eyed analysts of the 1990s, political and trade liberalization were two sides of the same coin; free nations would necessarily have an easier time accessing capital, manufacturing goods, and achieving prosperity. But China’s rise hasn’t worked like that. At the time of the peaceful handover of Hong Kong from the British in 1997, the city accounted for nearly 20 percent of the entire Chinese economy. Now, it accounts for less than 3 percent. Beijing recognizes the strong leverage that decline affords it, and has set out to make Hong Kong choose between prosperity and freedom: The city’s massive civic-protest movement against mainland subversion has been incredibly disruptive to its economy.

The Future of the American Military Presence in Iraq at the Center of the US-Iraq Strategic Dialogue

Eldad Shavit
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The US administration, considers the appointment of Iraqi National Intelligence Service head Mustafa al-Kadhimi as Prime Minister of Iraq as an opportunity to reinforce the US hold in Iraq and counter Iran's efforts to consolidate its influence there. The strategic dialogue expected to take place soon between the United States and Iraq is a critical juncture in their relations, in part because the outcome is likely to affect the future of the American military presence in Iraq. Israel has a clear interest in the success of this dialogue, because an American withdrawal from Iraq will likely leave Iran with no significant rival as the dominant player in this theater. Beyond the need for a dialogue with the United States on the subject, Israel should exercise caution, and take into account the possibility that military operations in Iraq are liable to damage American interests and affect the results of the US-Iraq strategic dialogue.

Iraqi National Intelligence Service director Mustafa al-Kadhimi was officially appointed Prime Minister of Iraq in May 2020, after former Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi served as acting Prime Minister in the preceding months. His appointment was welcomed by the United States, despite support for him by Iran, which managed to thwart the appointment of another candidate regarded as having close ties with the United States. The US administration is in close contact with al-Kadhimi, evidenced by the telephone calls from President Donald Trump and twice from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Immediately following al-Kadhimi's appointment, the administration extended Iraq's exemption from the American sanctions against Iran for an additional two months, so that Iraq could continue buying natural gas from Iran. In April 2020, before al-Kadhimi was appointed, Pompeo declared that the United States and Iraq were planning to conduct a "strategic dialogue" (slated to begin in June 2020) about the future of the bilateral relations.

When Civilian Protest Is Labeled ‘Urban Warfare’

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When state officials say they face "a sophisticated network of urban warfare,” they're looking through the lens of a militarized police force.

This is what escalation looks like. “The situation on the ground in Minneapolis & St. Paul has shifted & the response tonight will be different as a result,” the Minnesota Department of Public Safety tweeted as businesses boarded up their windows and the Saturday sun sank low over the Twin Cities. The National Guard and law-enforcement presence would “triple in size,” the state agency warned, “to address a sophisticated network of urban warfare.”

“Urban warfare” is a striking choice of words for a state agency, and one that cable-news anchors seized on and repeated in the fiery hours that followed. For the fifth straight night, Americans marched and chanted—and some rioted and looted—overwhelmed with frustration and rage by the Monday killing of George Floyd, who died while a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Prosecutors charged Chauvin with manslaughter and third-degree murder on Friday, but three other police officers involved in the incident remain free. And the current protests are about not one black man’s death, but thousands of them, and centuries of discrimination, dehumanization, and denial of basic civil rights.

An American Uprising

By David Remnick

“Ariot is the language of the unheard.” This is how Martin Luther King, Jr., explained matters to Mike Wallace, of CBS News, in 1966.

That language is now being heard across the United States with an uprising that began in Minneapolis and has spread to dozens of American cities, where there have been hundreds of arrests, curfews declared, National Guard troops summoned. The proximate cause is the video images of yet another black man killed by an officer of the law, the death of George Perry Floyd outside Cup Foods, on Thirty-eighth Street and Chicago Avenue South. Floyd joins Breonna Taylor, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Sandra Bland, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice—a lineage that goes back decades in the American story.

But before he was a horrific video image, an entry in the history of injustice, George Floyd was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and came to Houston with his mother when he was very young. He was raised in the Cuney Homes, a housing project in the Third Ward, a historically black neighborhood. In 1981-82, a woman named Waynel Sexton was Floyd’s second-grade teacher, at Frederick Douglass Elementary School. After hearing of Floyd’s death, Sexton posted on Facebook a facsimile of her pupil’s composition for Black History Month: “When I grow up, I want to be a Supreme Court Judge,” Floyd wrote. “When people say, Your honor, he did rob the bank, I will say, Be seated. And if he doesn’t, I will tell the guard to take him out. Then I will beat my hammer on the desk. Then everybody will be quiet.”

Under Trump, the U.S. Has Become an Irresponsible Stakeholder

Stewart M. Patrick 

Fifteen years ago this September, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick famously challenged the People’s Republic of China to become a “responsible stakeholder” in the international system. For too long, he suggested, China had been freeriding on the stable, open world created by the United States and its Western allies, while failing to internalize and embrace some of its most important norms and standards of conduct. It was time, Zoellick argued, for China to become a custodian of the rules-based international order, rather than a mere participant or bystander.

The premise behind Zoellick’s argument was the “Spiderman rule”: With great power comes great responsibility. Nearly three decades after Deng Xiaoping took steps to end China’s isolation, it had become a motor of globalization and a member of multiple international organizations, to the great benefit of its at the time 1 billion inhabitants. What it had failed to do was to abide by international trade rules or help provide global public goods.

It’s Time to Listen to the Doomsday Planners

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For a moment earlier this month, the West Wing seemed like a vector of disease. First came the news that Donald Trump’s personal valet had tested positive for the coronavirus. Then the vice president’s spokeswoman, who is married to another senior White House staffer, fell ill with COVID-19. Through it all, the president downplayed the risk of his exposure, openly flouting his top health agencies’ social-distancing guidelines. Trump is fine, but these brushes with the virus raise the question: What’s the plan if the whole White House becomes infected?

The answer typically lies with the government’s so-called doomsday planners—the officials at every major agency who are tasked with preparing and rehearsing the nation’s classified continuity-of-government plans. For decades, doomsday planners’ presence has been tolerated, their recommendations have been stashed in policy documents, and their warnings about dark tidings have been for the most part unheeded. The Trump administration has taken an actively hostile approach, though, decimating the institutional engines of catastrophe planning, including at the National Security Council. As a consequence, the U.S. government was not only ill-prepared for the pandemic, but willfully blinded to its potential size and shape, leaving federal agencies in the position of having to confront a fast-moving hurricane without radar to determine where it was headed or a plan to quickly restore essential functions.

Wars without end: why is there no peaceful solution to so much global conflict?

by Simon Tisdall

Libya’s civil war entered its 7th year this month with no end in sight. In Afghanistan, conflict has raged on and off since the Soviet invasion in 1979. America’s Afghan war is now its longest ever, part of the open-ended US “global war on terror” launched after the 2001 al-Qaida attacks.

Yemen’s conflict is in its sixth pitiless year. In Israel-Palestine, war – or rather the absence of peace – has characterised life since 1948. Somalis have endured 40 years of fighting. These are but a few examples in a world where the idea of war without end seems to have become accepted, even normalised.

Why do present-day politicians, generals, governments and international organisations appear incapable or uninterested in making peace? In the 19th and 20th centuries, broadly speaking, wars commenced and concluded with formal ultimatums, declarations, agreed protocols, truces, armistices and treaties.

Neat and tidy endings, even if sometimes illusory, are rarer these days. According to a survey published last week by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, 60% of armed conflicts have been active for at least a decade and peace-making prospects globally are in decline.

Would the White House consider a national cyber director?

Andrew Eversden
Members of a commission that recommended a reorganization of the federal government’s cybersecurity operations are hoping several of their policy recommendations will become law this year, but at least one proposal is expected to cause a headache: establishing a national cyber director in the White House.

The recommendation for the new position comes from the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, a group that tasked by Congress with recommending changes to the federal government’s cyber strategy. The national cyber director would be a Senate-confirmed position who would be housed within the Executive Office of the President and have budget and policy authority to coordinate cyber policy across the federal government.

The commission’s members have touted the bipartisan nature of its work and the executive branch’s participation in meetings. But the White House’s receptiveness to a new to cyber official is also in question. In 2018, the White House eliminated the cybersecurity coordinator position and it has not been reinstated since, much to the chagrin of some lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Asked during a May 29 webinar hosted by the German Marshall Fund if the White House was receptive to a national cyber director, Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., acknowledged it could be a difficult path.

Over 60% of armed conflicts ongoing for over ten years shows IISS’s Armed Conflict Survey

60% of armed conflicts have been active for at least a decade, with the proliferation and sophistication of non-state groups leaving slim prospects for resolution in 2020, finds the Armed Conflict Survey 2020 (ACS), published today (27 May) by The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

The ACS finds that in 21 of 33 of active armed conflicts across the globe, the number of non-state armed groups involved exceeds the number of state groups. More armed groups are operating with a decentralised chain of command and adapting to new challenges by experimenting with new technologies and exploiting business opportunities, obstructing any hopes of reconciliation and resolve.

While violence and hostilities have started to decrease in the Central African Republic, Sudan, and South Sudan, the conflicts in Libya and the Sahel were marked by an unprecedented level of violence in the past year. These conflicts show no signs of resolution due to the fragmentation of negotiating parties representing different factions, economic interests and agendas, often backed by different international actors.

Covering the key political, military and humanitarian developments in 33 conflicts across six global regions in the past year, the ACS highlights the changing nature of armed groups and emerging trends that characterise their operations.