6 June 2020

India Should Go Global to Defend Against China

By Mohamed Zeeshan

In his assessment of the ongoing India-China border standoff, the venerable Ashley Tellis said that India has three options ahead of it: one, give in to China’s border demands; two, physically push the Chinese out and risk a war; or three – his recommendation – play “tit for tat.”

Tellis pointed out that there are locations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto border between the two countries – where India has a relative advantage over the Chinese. The Indian army should ensconce itself in these places, Tellis said, in order to force Beijing to negotiate.

The situation on the ground is unclear and confusing, but some reports have suggested that India is trying to do precisely this. Border standoffs between India and China ebb and flow regularly and Beijing has often been seen as the more powerful of the two. Over the past many years, India has tried to compete by making significant progress in developing its own border infrastructure. Some analysts have suggested that this was, in fact, how the latest standoff began: India has laid a series of roads and air strips along the border and the Chinese are now seeking to counter that threat.

From China to India

By George Friedman

U.S.-China relations have been in decline for a long time. The United States had for years provided China with relatively free access to the American market. The United States wanted equivalent access to the Chinese market, but China was unable to grant this. Its industrial base produced more products than the Chinese people could consume, in terms of quantity, price and the types of products produced. China was a compulsive exporter because only exports could sustain its industrial base and hence its economy and financial system. Giving the United States broad access to the Chinese market, on the financial order of Chinese exports to the United States, would have undermined the financial foundations of the Chinese system – a system that had to a great extent funded the creation of China’s industrial system, and depended on both domestic consumption and foreign sales to balance it.

Under Pressure

China’s financial system had been under pressure since before 2008. And so the Chinese could not permit the U.S. to have equivalent trading rights, leading to the imposition of U.S. tariffs. The Chinese were in no position to agree to America’s demands because of the financial consequences it would have, and the United States was in no position to drop the tariffs because of social realities within the U.S. Many industries benefited greatly from reduced production costs and access permitted selectively to the Chinese market, even though Chinese imports had devastated some American industries. Each represented different social groups, and partly define the tensions in the American economy.

Indian Democracy: The Envy of Islamic Supremacist Pakistan

Amjad Ayub Mirza

The constitution of Pakistan bars anyone who is not a Muslim from becoming the head of the state. Ahmedi Muslims were declared non-Muslims by a parliamentary amendment in the constitution in 1974 and are not allowed to participate in the general elections unless they sign an oath proclaiming the finality of the prophet Muhammad. Hence a Hindu, or an Ahmedi or a Christian or Sikh cannot hold the highest civil office in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Yet every other Pakistani TV anchor, populist politician, and an array of Islamic demagogues point their finger towards India criticising her for an imaginary religious discrimination, claiming that Muslims in India face widespread persecution and discrimination on the basis of their faith.

The constitution of the Republic of India guarantees equal rights for all of her citizens without any kind of discrimination, hence, Dr Zakir Hussain, RK Narayan (a Dalit), and Abdul Kalam became presidents of the Republic of India in 1967, 1997 and 2002 respectively. The systemic persecution of Hindu community and other religious minorities in Pakistan is an everyday occurrence.

With Summer Heat Waves, Hurricanes, and Flooding on the Horizon, Disaster Responders Grapple with Planning for Extreme Weather in the Time of COVID-19

This week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted an above-normal 2020 hurricane season, with the possibility of three to six major hurricanes this summer looming over millions of Americans. In Michigan, record rainfall caused two dams to fail in quick succession, triggering an evacuation of over 10,000 nearby residents. In the time of COVID-19, crowding into an emergency shelter with thousands of others seems unsafe, if not impossible.

At a recent National Academies webinar on extreme events and the COVID-19 pandemic, disaster preparedness experts discussed how their go-to preparedness plans for the hurricanes, heat waves, and wildfires that come with warmer weather will survive this new reality.

Any weather anomaly that happens during the COVID-19 outbreak will create a compound extreme event, explained panelist Jane W. Baldwin, a Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory postdoctoral fellow. A compound extreme event occurs when one disaster is layered on another, requiring special preparation. In other words, Baldwin says, it is “a series of events that are worse than the sum of their parts.” A power outage after a windstorm will make it difficult for people to stay home for an extended period. Wildfire pollution will hurt indoor air quality for those self-isolating. Compound extreme events will put particular stress on the medical system: “What do we do with all the patients in hospitals in a disaster zone, particularly if they are hooked up to life-saving respiratory equipment?” Baldwin asked.

Forget Russia, Pakistan's Tactical Nuclear Weapons Are A Real Threat

by Kyle Mizokami

Here's What You Need To Remember: Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, particularly tactical nuclear weapons, are seen as an asymmetric means of offsetting India’s advantage in conventional forces. Even if a Pakistani Army offensive into India fails and the Strike Corps counterattacked, tactical nuclear weapons could blunt their spearheads, ideally halting them in their tracks. 

Of all the countries in the world, just nine are believed to have developed nuclear weapons. One member of this exclusive club is Pakistan, a country that occupies a unique strategic position on the Indian subcontinent. An ally of the United States and China and archenemy of India, Pakistan has developed a nuclear arsenal to suit its own particular needs. Unusually among the smaller powers, Islamabad has developed an arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons designed to destroy enemy forces on the battlefield.

Pakistan began developing nuclear weapons in the 1950s, but the country’s nuclear program accelerated in the mid-1970s after the detonation of “Smiling Buddha”, India’s first nuclear weapons test. Enemies since the end of the British Raj in 1947, India and Pakistan fought again in 1965 and 1971. In Pakistan’s view as long as India was the sole owner of nukes it could engage in nuclear saber-rattling and had the ultimate advantage.

What-If Nuclear War? This Is How America Could Wage War On Pakistan

by Kyle Mizokami
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In the U.S. television series Homeland, the United States and Pakistan are brought to the brink of war. In real life, the two countries are allies, albeit strained ones at that, and many Americans believe Islamabad often actively works against Washington’s interests. If the relationship turned poisonous, how would the United States prosecute a war against Pakistan?

In order to proceed, let’s sketch out two war scenarios. In one, we’ll assume that the United States is pursuing an air-only campaign, in order to punish the country or strip it of some vital capability—nuclear weapons being a prime example. In the second scenario, the United States seeks to topple the country’s government entirely, including the occupation of the capital, Islamabad.

A prolonged U.S. air campaign would be a difficult proposition. Unlike past campaigns against Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, and Afghanistan, Washington would find regional allies who could provide air bases a difficult proposition. Pakistan enjoys warm relations with most of the Sunni states, particularly the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, both of whom have air bases capable of hosting U.S. tactical aircraft, as well as Saudi Arabia and Oman.

China’s “One Road, One Plague” Tragedy

by Richard Javad Heydarian
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In their groundbreaking “Dialectic of Enlightenment” (1944), Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno meticulously analyzed how the best intentions of modernity have descended into the horrors of the twentieth century. While the Enlightenment project is “understood in the widest sense as the advance of thought,” which is “aimed at liberating human beings from fear and installing them as masters,” they explain, “the wholly enlightened earth is radiant with triumphant calamity.” 

A similar theme runs through the works of other intellectual luminaries of the time, from Karl Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945) to Georg Lukacs’s The Destruction of Reason (1952), which placed these monstrous perversions of Fascism and Stalinism as a symptom of totalistic understanding of truth, namely the idea that fallible men could politically superimpose a contrived utopia on complex human societies. 

In many ways, the globalization project is the manifestation of a similar form of totalistic understanding, whereby the compression of time and space through advanced technology and economic interdependence would supposedly guarantee the greatest possible peace and prosperity on earth. Though the West, particularly the United States, served as the torchbearer of globalization in the twentieth century, China has emerged as its latest and most enthusiastic advocate. Through the trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Communist China has sought to present itself as the vanguard of globalization, albeit with new characteristics. 

Xi Jinping: The second emperor of China


“Let China sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake up the world.”

Nearly two centuries ago, with those famous words, Napoleon Bonaparte warned the world, particularly the West, about the potential of China. Despite this early warning, many Westerners, especially Americans, have chosen to ignore Napoleon’s words. Today they are finding it hard to adjust to the current realities that a country that three decades back was way below their economic league has now by orders of magnitude risen to challenge their status quo and aspire to lead them.

That’s mainly due to the complete ignorance and lack of acknowledgment among Western policymakers about Chinese history and its role in the current rise. For most of the last 5,000 years, China was the world’s center of wealth, culture, technology, and power backed by strong empires. The 19th and 20th centuries were a brief aberration.

Of the 13 Chinese dynasties during that 5,000-year period, most were ruled by Xia, Shang, Zhou, Qin and Han, and all of them focused on creating a more unified and stronger China. These long dynastic periods provided much-needed stability and ability to maintain the previous legacy.

The U.S. Gets Serious About Catching Up to China in R&D

Noah Smith
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For a few years now, commentators (including myself) have been calling for a big boost in research spending by the U.S. federal government. In their book “Jump-Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream,” economists Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson called for devoting $100 billion a year to develop a network of new research centers around the country. A team at the Brookings Institution came up with a more modest but still substantial plan for $10 billion a year, funneled through universities.

Big ideas like this often tend to languish for years or decades before legislators decide to take a stab at implementing them — if they ever do. In this era of partisan posturing, that seems especially likely to happen. But amazingly, a bipartisan group of legislators is acting on the idea of major new research spending. The Endless Frontier Act would spend more than $20 billion a year on upgrading the National Science Foundation, to be renamed the National Science and Technology Foundation, with greatly expanded missions, powers and facilities.

The Planet After the Pandemic


BASEL – Scientists have little doubt: the destruction of nature makes humanity increasingly vulnerable to disease outbreaks like the COVID-19 pandemic, which has sickened millions, killed hundreds of thousands, and devastated countless livelihoods worldwide. It also will impede long-term economic recovery, because more than half of the world’s GDP depends on nature in some way. Could the COVID-19 crisis be the wake-up call – and, indeed, the opportunity – we need to change course?

The mass protests sweeping the United States following the death of George Floyd are born of many factors, but chiefly reflect frustration and rage at America's long history of racist law enforcement. Addressing that problem will require reducing the pressures on both urban communities and those tasked with policing them.3Add to Bookmarks

While some politicians have claimed that a pandemic of this scale was unforeseen, many experts believed that it was all but inevitable, given the proliferation of zoonotic diseases (caused by pathogens that jump to humans from other animals). More than 60% of new infectious diseases now originate in animals.

We Are Hong Kong


LONDON – In my final speech as Hong Kong’s governor on June 30, 1997, a few hours before I left the city on Britain’s royal yacht, I remarked that, “Now, Hong Kong people are to run Hong Kong. That is the promise. And that is the unshakable destiny.”

The mass protests sweeping the United States following the death of George Floyd are born of many factors, but chiefly reflect frustration and rage at America's long history of racist law enforcement. Addressing that problem will require reducing the pressures on both urban communities and those tasked with policing them.

That promise was contained in the 1984 Joint Declaration, a treaty signed by China and the United Kingdom and lodged at the United Nations. The deal was clear, and the guarantee to Hong Kong’s citizens was absolute: the return of the city from British to Chinese sovereignty would be governed by the principle of “one country, two systems.” Hong Kong would have a high degree of autonomy for 50 years, until 2047, and would continue to enjoy all the freedoms associated with an open society under the rule of law.1

But with his recent decision to impose a draconian new security law on Hong Kong, Chinese President Xi Jinping has ridden roughshod over the Joint Declaration and directly threatened the city’s freedom. Defenders of liberal democracy must not stand idly by.

COVID-19: The Impact on China-Africa Debt

By Mercy A. Kuo

The Diplomat author Mercy Kuo regularly engages subject-matter experts, policy practitioners, and strategic thinkers across the globe for their diverse insights into U.S. Asia policy. This conversation with Linda Calabrese – research fellow and development economist at the Overseas Development Institute in London – explores China’s loans to African countries, and the impact COVID-19 (and the resulting economic crisis) could have on debt payments.

Explain the impact of COVID-19 on African countries’ debt vis-à-vis China.

With their economies hit by the COVID-19 crisis, African countries face a double health and economic challenge: they need to allocate resources towardS protecting the health of their citizens, while trying to minimize the negative economic outcomes of the pandemic. At the same time, they are burdened by their debt. Many African countries are paying back what they borrowed and have little room to divert these resources towards more pressing health and economic needs.

To Compete with China, the US Needs a Better Narrative Than a ‘New Cold War’

By Hunter Marston

There’s been a steady drumbeat building concerning the arrival of a new U.S.-China cold war. This narrative ignores today’s more diffuse balance of power, plays into the hands of those advocating a more confrontational approach to China, and reflects U.S. insecurity instead of confidence. The story we tell matters because it lays the foundation for competent strategy.

Today’s headlines echo a steady stream of commentary from the Chinese Communist Party accusing the United States of harboring “a cold war mindset.” The tunnel vision inherent in this debate is dangerous because it locks analysts as well as practitioners into narrow and overly deterministic view of the Sino-American relationship. Like the “Thucydides trap” metaphor popularized by Graham Allison in his book by that title, it encourages unnecessary fatalism and determinism, and it serves the political purposes of war hawks.

This frame is overly narrow and inaccurate for several reasons, as I’ve explained elsewhere. For one, the world isn’t as bipolar as we may imagine. Take Southeast Asia for example, the locus of the most acute U.S.-China competition. Washington is seeing its long-held influence as the region’s security provider (it has alliances with the Philippines and Thailand) challenged by an increasingly powerful Beijing. China is the region’s largest trading partner, and it has increased its security cooperation with the regional Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). But Southeast Asia remains remarkably multipolar.

Is the ‘1992 Consensus‘ Fading Away in the Taiwan Strait?

By Derek Grossman

For nearly 30 years, China has routinely touted Taiwan’s recognition of the “1992 Consensus” as the sole basis for maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. However, the consensus — an alleged agreement between Taiwan’s then-governing and now opposition Kuomintang (KMT) and Beijing on the existence of only “one China” — may hold less relevance for both sides today than in the past.

Significantly, during his delivery on May 22 of a government work report to China’s National People’s Congress (NPC), Premier Li Keqiang left out the 1992 Consensus — the first time this has happened in nine years, dating back to KMT President Ma Ying-jeou’s tenure when he laid the issue to rest by recognizing the agreement. But subsequent NPC work reports on May 23 and 26 reinserted 1992 Consensus language, suggesting it remains Chinese policy. On the Taiwan side, in her inaugural address on May 20 newly re-elected President Tsai Ing-wen omitted any mention of the 1992 Consensus, whereas she spent three paragraphs explaining her views of the consensus during her first inaugural address in 2016.

China’s mixed messages on the consensus and Taiwan’s elimination of it entirely are likely rooted in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s January 2019 speech commemorating the 40th anniversary of a “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan.” In his speech, Xi for the first time conflated the 1992 Consensus with the “one country, two systems” arrangement. This arrangement, under which both Hong Kong and Macau are governed, would entail Taiwan’s recognition of the existence of only one China as ruled from Beijing in exchange for maintaining semi-autonomous status.

What Trump’s Latest Moves on Hong Kong Really Mean for the City

By Brian Wong

At a press conference on Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump made a series of unprecedented – albeit expected – remarks on the Hong Kong situation. After denouncing what he viewed as Beijing’s assertion of more control over and interference in Hong Kong’s internal affairs, Trump turned to declaring a series of proposed changes to U.S.-Hong Kong relations (as well as abruptly announcing the United States’ withdrawal from the World Health Organization). Besides calling for sanctions on mainland Chinese and Hong Kong officials deemed to be affiliated with the planned national security law, Trump also called for the removal of Hong Kong’s special status – increasing tariffs on imports from Hong Kong and treating it as a homogenous entity with the rest of China in terms of customs and travel restrictions.

Trump’s statement followed stern remarks and rebuking from both sides of the Pacific. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared on May 27 that “Hong Kong does not continue to warrant treatment under United States laws in the same manner as U.S. laws were applied to Hong Kong before July 1997.” These statements have culminated from escalating tensions between China and the United States, which range from the lengthy trade war to new questions over China’s alleged responsibility for the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as concern over Hong Kong’s level of autonomy and judiciary independence. On the other hand, Chinese diplomats and bureaucrats have retaliated, alleging that Pompeo and Trump’s statements were “arrogant” and “hysterical,” as well as an unjust interference with China’s domestic affairs.

This Is Trump's Best Chance To Punish China Over Coronavirus

by James Holmes

Huh. All the best people assured me that only conspiracy theorists could entertain the possibility that the coronavirus might have escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan. Wuhan, the city where the outbreak started. From a laboratory where the staff was known to be working on coronaviruses. A laboratory where precautions against such a release were reportedly spotty. Occam’s Razor rules out such a farfetched confluence of circumstances.

But humor me. Let’s think about the unthinkable. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that Chinese researchers did release the coronavirus into the populace, spawning effects we have all come to know personally and intimately. And let’s assume it was an inadvertent release. That is a safe assumption. If the pandemic is a biological-warfare attack, it’s the clumsiest one imaginable using the clumsiest delivery system imaginable—China’s populace. It’s utterly indiscriminate—an assault on the entire world. And the attack could circle around back to China via cross-border travel or trade. It could prove self-defeating.

The reality of the 'new cold war' with China

Noah Millman
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It's a good time to be a China hawk. Beijing's new national security law for Hong Kong, the latest effort to neuter the region's promised autonomy, has rung alarm bells across the political spectrum about China's intentions. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has already declared that the move would justify revoking the various special trade and financial agreements the United States has with the territory, and Biden advisers have announced that the presumptive Democratic nominee would impose even greater sanctions on China. While America's options for helping the people of Hong Kong are distinctly limited, that's unlikely to stop us from trying, even if an ineffectual move could backfire. The logic of confrontation appears to be taking over.

It's important, though, to understand why.

The "great unwinding" of America's economic entanglement with China has deep causes, and, more proximately, the novel coronavirus has revealed in stark terms how important it is from a national security perspective for the United States to reduce its outright dependence on the People's Republic. But that process need not lead to confrontation — indeed, it would be perfectly compatible with a policy of global retreat that would probably make China feel more secure.

What the G20 Should Do Now


LONDON – The time is right for G20 leaders to hold a second meeting to discuss measures to advance the implementation of the G20 Action Plan, and agree to a more strongly coordinated global response to the health, economic, and social emergencies we face. The G20 has demonstrated that it can bring people together around a common set of actions. What it decides next on the COVID-19 response will have a direct bearing on the future of the world economy.

The mass protests sweeping the United States following the death of George Floyd are born of many factors, but chiefly reflect frustration and rage at America's long history of racist law enforcement. Addressing that problem will require reducing the pressures on both urban communities and those tasked with policing them.3Add to Bookmarks

Our world is at a critical moment. On May 30, the highest daily figure was recorded for new cases of COVID-19 worldwide. On every continent, countries are attempting to stop the transmission of the virus. Compared to pre-crisis levels, the International Labor Organization estimates a 10.5% decline in the number of hours worked, equivalent to the loss of more than 300 million full-time jobs. For the first time this century, global poverty is on the rise.

On Hong Kong, South Korea Is Caught Between China and US

By Tae-jun Kang

South Korea’s concerns are deepening as the United States and China each seek support from other countries over their positions. The conflict between two nations is escalating over Beijing’s decision to introduce the controversial decision giving its legislature power to pass a Hong Kong national security law.

Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Xing Haiming said in a recent interview with China’s state-run CCTV that the Chinese side would actively communicate with Seoul over the Hong Kong law and he believed that it would gain “understanding and support” from the Korean side. It is unprecedented to see China asking for support on the Hong Kong issue, since China’s principle has been not to allow outside intervention in Hong Kong.

According to diplomatic sources, meanwhile, the United States also recently invited a group of Washington-based diplomats from its key allies to explain the U.S. position regarding the national security law. South Korean diplomats were among those invited.

This is a difficult situation for South Korea, which has maintained “strategic ambiguity” between the countries.

Feeding the world sustainably

Aburst of technology in the 1960s—the Green Revolution—raised agricultural output significantly across developing economies. Since then, rising incomes have boosted protein consumption worldwide, and elevated new challenges: greenhouse-gas emissions from agriculture are increasing (more than a fifth of all emissions worldwide), while a host of practices, from waste to overfishing, threaten the sustainability of food supplies. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought these concerns to the fore: the disease has disrupted supply chains and demand, perversely increasing the amount of food waste in farms and fields while threatening food security for many.

As agriculture gradually regains its footing, participants and stakeholders should be casting an eye ahead, to safeguarding food supplies against the potentially greater and more disruptive effects of climate change. Once again, innovation and advanced technologies could make a powerful contribution to secure and sustainable food production. For example, digital and biotechnologies could improve the health of ruminant livestock, requiring fewer methane-producing animals to meet the world’s protein needs. Genetic technologies could play a supporting role by enabling the breeding of animals that produce less methane. Meanwhile, AI and sensors could help food processors sort better and slash waste, and other smart technologies could identify inedible by-products for reprocessing. Data and advanced analytics also could help authorities better monitor and manage the seas to limit overfishing—while enabling boat crews to target and find fish with less effort and waste. Agriculture is a traditional industry, but its quest for tech-enabled sustainability offers valuable lessons.

Want to Reverse ‘America First’? Start by Rejoining the TPP

Edward Alden 

Editor’s Note: Guest columnist Edward Alden is filling in for Kimberly Ann Elliott, who will be back next week.

The first rule when you find yourself stuck down a hole is to stop digging. After more than three years of the Trump administration’s go-it-alone “America First” strategy, the United States now finds itself in a very deep hole indeed. ...

Pentagon Says Guard Did Not Tear-Gas Protesters; Downplays Role In Militarized Response


National Guard troops who helped forcibly clear peaceful protesters from a Washington, D.C., square near the White House on Monday night were not equipped with tear gas or rubber bullets, a senior defense official said Tuesday, tacitly deflecting blame for the widely condemned assault onto law enforcement.

“The National Guard forces do not have tear gas, do not have rubber bullets, so they did not do any of the firing,” the official said. (The U.S. Park Police has also denied firing the tear gas on protesters.)

Two senior defense officials who called a press conference on Tuesday morning sought to downplay the Pentagon’s extraordinary role in the response to the roiling protests in the nation’s capital. One of the two officials, both of whom insisted on anonymity, said that Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley “were not aware” that President Donald Trump had ordered the clearing of Lafayette Square — in anticipation of an imminent photo op at a nearby church — and left the White House with the president to “view troops who were outside.”

“An Abuse of Sacred Symbols”: Trump, a Bible, and a Sanctuary

By Evan Osnos

As the hours ticked down to prime time, the White House prepared its unholy production. It was Monday afternoon, and President Trump was getting ready to deliver his first speech on the massive protests sweeping the country. After unflattering reports that he had spent Friday evening in a bunker, Trump summoned the press corps to the Rose Garden for maximum effect. Never mind that the chaos had given way to peaceful demonstrations outside the White House. Men and women, along the sunny edge of Lafayette Park, chanted and knelt. A young boy and girl, flanking their father, held protest signs. A vender touted coronavirus masks bearing the grim slogan of our time: “I Can’t Breathe.”

In the course of the day, the city had started mending the wounds of the night before. A worker power-washed graffiti from the stone wall of a steak house. Crews mounted plywood over the shattered windows of a jewelry store and a battered A.T.M. Spray-painted slogans—“George Floyd” and “Fuck the Police” and “Free the People”—offered a condensed history of yet another grievous week in America, which began on May 25th, when Floyd died, on video, with the knee of a Minneapolis police officer on his neck.

Trump Plays Macho Man as America Burns

By Susan B. Glasser

There was a moment on Saturday afternoon when President Trump stood on a rooftop in Florida for what could have been a sorely needed moment of national unity. A made-in-the-U.S.A. spacecraft was about to blast off from Cape Canaveral, bound for the International Space Station with astronauts aboard, the first time an American craft had done so in nine years. Trump was so eager to witness the launch that he had flown to Florida twice, first for a scrubbed effort, on Wednesday, and then a return, on Saturday. In the short time between launch attempts, the country, already struggling with the death of a hundred thousand Americans from covid-19 and concurrent economic devastation, had exploded over the police killing of George Floyd. Captured on video, the horrific act in Minneapolis led to days of protest, chaos, and looting. When Trump arrived in Cape Canaveral, though, he seemed to want a campaign ad, not a moment of American reconciliation, and soon after he walked onto the rooftop, the song “Macho Man,” by the Village People, a staple of his campaign rallies, began blaring from the speakers. The spectacle of a florid disco tribute to the President at such a time could not have been more discordant, or the message clearer: it’s all about Trump. It always is.

Here Is the Army's Hyper-Networked Vision of Future War

by Kris Osborn

An aerial drone finds an enemy target buried beneath a ridge maneuvering to attack, and passes the specifics to a small column of forward operating reconnaissance and weapons-robots. These robots then traverse the rugged terrain, maneuver through hostile territory and get in position for counterattack. Soldiers, operating in the role of command and control, receive navigational and targeting data from “networked” robots and forward intelligence for approaching manned and unmanned armored vehicles and air attack platforms. Armed and informed, the force can immediately fire upon the enemy units and fortifications before an adversary gets into position to attack

These kind of robot-to-robot linkages represent a new phase of research, experimentation and autonomy for the Army, which continues to explore options for future war. The initiative involves extensive collaboration between the Army, industry innovators and academic institutions such as The University of Texas and Carnegie Mellon University. The University of Texas, located in Austin near the headquarters of Army Futures Command, made a $50million investment to build a new robotics laboratory