7 June 2020

Effective Social Media strategy is a must, in today’s time it helps win War

Lt. Gen. (Retd.) PR Kumar

In the summer of 2014, a motley but brutally violent group of approximately 1500 hardened terrorists/fighters fully armed (even swords) accomplished the impossible in military parlance. They drove away four army divisions and armed police–fully trained and equipped by the US–from Mosul and most parts of Northern Iraq, and later Eastern Syria, and established the caliphate of ISIS (ISIL/ISIS or Daesh in Arabic). This act is a classic case of the power of ‘Social Media’ winning a war. How did this happen?

Well, a propaganda handbook of the IS states that “Media weapons (can) actually be more potent than atomic bomb”. And they were not quiet about it, but announced it to the world months in advance. Theirs was no secret mission but a well-orchestrated, choreographed information and psychological campaign with social media being the pivotal tool. Internet and social media novices, boosted by die-hard fans and amplified by an army of Twitter bots, WhatsApp and Facebook posts covered their march. They even created a smartphone App, so that jihadi fans following along at home could link their social media accounts in solidarity, boosting the invaders’ messages even further.

Leader of Afghan Taliban Said to Be Gravely Ill With the Coronavirus

Source Link

The supreme leader of the Afghan Taliban has contracted COVID-19 and has possibly died while receiving treatment, according to Taliban officials. Confirmation that Mullah Haibatullah Akhunzada had contracted the virus, which has stricken a number of senior Taliban leaders, came Monday from a senior military official of the Islamist movement, Moulawi Muhammad Ali Jan Ahmed.

“Our leader is sick, but he is recovering,” Ahmed told Foreign Policy in an interview. However, three other Taliban figures in the Pakistani city of Quetta, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they believed Akhunzada had died of the illness. No official confirmation appeared to be forthcoming Monday.

A senior official in the Afghan government said other Taliban leaders, including many in the movement’s office in Doha, Qatar, who negotiated a bilateral deal with the United States that was signed in February, were also ill with COVID-19. Speaking on the condition that he not be identified, the official said: “Nearly all the Taliban leadership in Doha has the bug.”

“This is significant because if talks [between the Afghan government and the Taliban] are likely not to start within the next few weeks if they’re sick, how long will they keep up the cease-fire?” the official added.

The future of Asia: Decoding the value and performance of corporate Asia

By Chris Bradley, Wonsik Choi, Jeongmin Seong, Ben Stretch, Oliver Tonby, Patti Wang, and Jonathan Woetzel

The COVID-19 crisis is an unprecedented global challenge in the post–World War II period. The pandemic has proven to be not only a public-health crisis but also a major disruption to supply chains, which may permanently change long-standing business practices in the next normal. But Asia has come through crisis periods before and emerged stronger for it—and there is reason to believe it can do so again.

The dynamism, speed, and agility of companies in Asia have given the region resilience, enabling it to achieve macroeconomic stability in a volatile world. Corporations in Asia have grown rapidly and risen to global prominence over the past decade. However, bigger has not always meant better for economic profit (net of the cost of capital), a measure of value creation and companies’ ability to beat the market. As a group, companies in Asia lag behind their counterparts in the rest of the world. An external shock of the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic may accelerate the widening of the gap between underperforming and outperforming companies.

There are many opportunities for corporations in Asia to build their ability to sustain long-term growth in what will be a more volatile context in the wake of the COVID-19 shock. Corporations can accelerate digital adoption and thereby unlock productivity, build scale by exploring M&A and continued regionalization, and be bold and agile in the management of portfolios. In addition, business leaders need to manage for multiple time horizons, putting in place plan-ahead teams.

U.S. Continuous Ban on Huawei isn’t About Cyber Security, But 5G Leadership Race

The United States ban on Huawei is not greatly about cyber security and national security concerns as continuously stated. It’s all about the state of 5G leadership in the world to cripple the Shenzhen based technology company; Huawei, from dominating the world’s networks with its state of the art 5G architecture and equipment.

In May 2019, the United States Department of Commerce added Huawei on an entity list.

Even with cyber security and national security as the top claims banning Huawei from the Central North American country, the U.S. further extended Huawei’s ban to May 2021, after a full year of compliance and no-Involvement in the country’s business and tech ecosystem.

This proves that cyber security is not the core claim, given the time frame of the ban, but rather a goal to limit Huawei from procuring necessary components to up its 5G division, and general technology equipment catalogue.

As a result of the ban, Huawei as a fast pace company has since 2019 devised ways to serve its customer base and continue to blend as a 5G industry leader. The company’s roadmap includes, a custom operating system to power its smartphones; HarmonyOS, and procurement of technology components from other countries and suppliers like Samsung in South Korea.

Who Will Intervene in the World’s Hot Spots?

As conflicts and crises persist around the world, there is growing uncertainty about how—or if—they will be resolved. The international order is fraying, generating uncertainty about who will intervene and how humanitarian responses might be funded.

There are interminable conflicts, like the situations in Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria, which have produced years of violence, countless thousands of deaths and even more refugees. Then there are the emerging hotspots, including Mali and Burkina Faso, and any number of potential flashpoints, including in the South China Sea, which is dogged by territorial disputes. Even situations where there was some tenuous hope of reconciliation—such as the Central African Republic, where 14 armed groups signed a peace deal early last year—are in danger of unraveling.

At the same time, the nature of terrorism is also changing. The Islamic State is in the midst of a tactical shift following the loss of its caliphate in western Iraq and Syria, and more recently the death of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The group appears to be transitioning to guerilla-style tactics and dispersed terrorist attacks, while shifting its focus to new theaters of operation, like Southeast Asia. But it is unclear if Western powers have the appetite for mounting the kinds of counterinsurgency campaigns needed to meet these new challenges.

A Global Survey of US-China Competition in the Coronavirus Era

Eric B. Brown, Patrick M. Cronin, H.R. McMaster, Husain Haqqani

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has introduced a series of new stresses and factors in the US-China relationship. While the world has struggled to contain the pandemic and its tragic repercussions, the People’s Republic of China has used the outbreak to launch a global campaign of misinformation, further its economic coercion through the Belt and Road Initiative, and continue military expansion efforts in the South China Sea.

China’s attempt to exploit the pandemic for political, strategic, and economic gain is problematic in the current environment, yet it is consistent with, and a continuation of, China’s long-term strategy. This report offers a global survey and assessment of attempts by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to expand its influence, including by exploiting the pandemic.

As the United States and its allies focus on combatting the virus and salvaging their economies, there is an opportunity to better understand China’s strategy and develop a unified response.

Planning for the Post-COVID-19 Workforce: Four Scenarios

Significant uncertainty surrounds what the “new normal” could look like for firms beyond the COVID-19 crisis, particularly in terms of human capital. But scenario thinking can help organizations better anticipate and adapt to dramatic changes, increase agility and resilience, and turn uncertainty into advantage, write Scott A. Snyder, Eric Skoritowski, Jarrad Roeder and Alex Libson in this opinion piece. Snyder is a senior fellow at Wharton and partner, digital and innovation, at Heidrick & Struggles. Skoritowski is engagement lead at Heidrick Consulting, and Roeder and Libson are principals at the firm.

As Edward Lorenz postulated in his 1963 paper on Chaos Theory, “Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil cause a tornado in Texas? Substitute a bat in a Wuhan wet market for the butterfly and the spread of the coronavirus for the weather, and you have the same effect showing how fragile and uncertain our world is. In his efforts to model such phenomena, Lorenz realized that the imprecision inherent in human measurement could become magnified into wildly incorrect forecasts. Things are not much different in the business world.

WTH is going on in the world? Secretary of State Pompeo on China, Iran, Venezuela and partisan politics at home

How does the Trump administration plan to counter China’s growing aggression? Following Beijing’s announcement that it would impose a new national security law threatening Hong Kong’s freedom, the administration said it would begin the process of rolling back America’s special relationship with the city.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joined Dany and Marc to explain the administration’s strategies toward China, Iran, and Venezuela. He also touches on the International Criminal Court’s investigation into alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan as well as partisan attacks on his office.

Prior to serving as Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo was the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from January 2017 to April 2018. He served as a congressman from Kansas from 2011-2017, and served on the House Intelligence Committee, Energy and Commerce Committee, and House Select Benghazi Committee.

The United Kingdom’s Policy U-Turn on Huawei

As a biographer of Winston Churchill, British prime minister Boris Johnson is quite familiar with Churchill’s views on the United Kingdom’s position in the 1956 Suez crisis, during which the country at first challenged the Eisenhower administration’s policy, and was then forced to backtrack. “I would never have dared,” said Churchill, “and if I had dared, I would never have dared stop.” On Huawei, Johnson has dared both to challenge and to stop.

In their last visits to the United States in March before the pandemic prohibited transatlantic travel, British ministers continued to insist that Britain’s decision on Huawei was immovable. Senior government officials dismissed concerns from their U.S. counterparts that giving Huawei no more than a 35 percent share of the UK 5G “non-core” market would still allow China to infiltrate a critical Five Eyes intelligence partner. Despite repeated private and public U.S. threats to curtail intelligence-sharing by the Trump administration and senior members of Congress, London shrugged. When other Five Eyes partners, such as Australia, noted that the United Kingdom’s plan to “keep China out of the most sensitive part of the network” revealed a misunderstanding of how 5G functions, London noted that it had full confidence in its ability to monitor Chinese activity.

On May 22, Prime Minister Johnson dared to stop and announced that he had asked government officials to develop a plan that would reduce Huawei’s access to the UK market to zero by 2023 at the latest.

What the End of One Country, Two Systems Means for Hong Kong, Taiwan and the World

By Rodger Baker

Beijing's decision to impose a long-delayed security law on Hong Kong reflects the mainland’s growing concern with challenges to national unity. 
Hong Kong will face an acceleration of reintegration, and a more rapid erosion of its special status, while Taiwan will face increased economic and military pressure from the mainland. 
China will use its political, economic and, if need be, military might to assert its sovereignty over its periphery, including Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Beijing's decision to impose a long-delayed security law on Hong Kong reflects the mainland’s growing concern with challenges to national unity ahead of next year's 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. But it is more immediately driven by the rising violence in Hong Kong and the political evolution in Taiwan. Despite international criticism, China will strengthen efforts to fully integrate Hong Kong and to further isolate Taiwan internationally. 

The issues of Hong Kong and Taiwan are intimately linked for Beijing. Hong Kong was intended to be a model of effective unification under one country, two systems, to entice Taiwan to rejoin the motherland and bring to fruition the post-World War II rebuilding of China. But Hong Kong's integration has grown increasingly fractious over the past decade, and this has reinforced sentiment in Taiwan that reintegration with China would see a similar erosion of Taiwan's political and social structures. 

A New Level in the Cyber War between Israel and Iran

David Siman-Tov, Shmuel Even
Source Link

In cyber warfare, an attack on essential civilian infrastructure is considered a serious attack. According to media reports, Iran attacked Israel’s water infrastructure, and Israel responded with a cyberattack against infrastructure at the Iranian port in Bandar Abbas. While these were not the first attacks between the two countries, they illustrate that the conflict theater includes essential civilian infrastructure. Israel has so far managed to deal with cyberattacks against civilian infrastructure without suffering much damage, but it may become more vulnerable as the cyber arms race accelerates and Iran gains more sophisticated capabilities. Israel must assume that in the cyber realm, there will be further and more sophisticated attempts to attack than those that have been seen thus far.

Cyber warfare is conducted secretly and anonymously, unless one of the sides in the confrontation has an interest in exposing it. The attacks are generally launched without claiming responsibility or with denying responsibility, if at all ascribed. In the vast majority of cases, identifying the source of the attack is difficult. Attacks in cyberspace are considered to suit a "campaign between wars," since they enable the attacker to operate from afar, secretly, and avoid human casualties on both sides in order to avoid escalation. Cyberattacks allow information collection to enable cognitive warfare, send deterrent messages, increase pressure on military and civilian systems in order to achieve defense and political goals, and launch preventive actions. The Stuxnet attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities, which was revealed in 2010, was a formative event regarding military cyberattacks on infrastructure. The attack on the command and control systems of essential civilian infrastructure is considered to be at a high level on the scale of seriousness of cyberattacks. The most serious attacks of this sort are those that endanger large civilian populations, for instance due to water pollution or accidents that result from attacks on transportation systems.

With ISIS Resurgent, Can Iraq’s New Government Avoid a Repeat of the Past?

Sajad Jiyad 

BAGHDAD—The Islamic State is stepping up its attacks in Iraq, fulfilling the expectations of many analysts that the extremist group would mount a comeback after the Iraqi government declared victory over it in 2017. While the Islamic State has yet to show the same capabilities it had at its peak in 2013 and 2014, when it gained control of several provinces and population centers—including Mosul, one of Iraq’s largest cities—the tempo of attacks has been increasing for over six months. This coincides with a period of domestic unrest due to widespread anti-government protests. The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State has also reduced its aerial activities due to heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran following the U.S. assassination of Iran’s top military commander, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, in January.

The Islamic State has been ramping up a campaign of violence in rural parts of Iraq since the second half of 2019, focusing on Diyala, Kirkuk and Salahaldin provinces, to the east and north of Baghdad. Both the frequency and character of the attacks have been steadily increasing, and there is data that suggests the Islamic State is moving skilled fighters to the area from Syria to stoke a new insurgency. If true, this would be reminiscent of the group’s buildup in 2012 and 2013. In April, the Islamic State staged 108 attacks in Iraq, including against an intelligence building in Kirkuk. A large assault targeted the paramilitary Popular Mobilization Forces on May 1 near the city of Samarra, showing that the Islamic State is willing to move beyond guerilla tactics and engage in coordinated and sustained fighting.

The Pentagon Distances Itself From Trump

Source Link

Confronted with fierce criticism from retired senior military officials, Defense Secretary Mark Esper insisted on Wednesday that the U.S. Defense Department was not playing politics and distanced himself from suggestions by President Donald Trump that the military might be used to quell domestic unrest under the two-century-old Insurrection Act. 

“The option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act now,” Esper said at a news conference. Esper also said, “I do everything I can to stay apolitical.”

The comments came after Esper’s much-criticized statement to NBC News that he was not aware of Trump’s intentions when the Pentagon chief joined the president for a photo-op at St. John’s Episcopal Church on Monday after the forcible clearing of peaceful protesters near the White House. The latest remarks suggested that Esper was consciously distancing himself from Trump, even though the New York Times reported on Tuesday that the defense secretary had himself advocated for the invocation of the 1807 Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty forces. Esper also prompted criticism by calling on governors to “mass and dominate the battlespace” in reference to containing rioters. 

Towards an ‘American Spring’ of Justice and Equality?

Source Link

The Arab Spring, Black Lives Matter, MeToo movement, Pussyhat marches, protests in Hong Kong, Chile, France, Beirut, Baghdad, and Barcelona constitute the zeitgeist of the previous decade. In recent years, the depth and variety of global social movements that are committed to issues of social justice and new democratic politics have exploded and transcended national borders, races, ethnicities, and genders. Most of us are familiar with the butterfly effect: the idea that the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil may cause a tornado in Texas. The butterfly effect is a metaphor to show that the seemingly disconnected are connected and that the small can create the large. “Butterfly politics,” is defined by Catharine Mackinon, who states that “the right small human intervention in an unstable political system can sooner or later have large complex reverberations”. We invite you to reflect upon the remarkable influence that the protests in Tahrir Square had on the Occupy Wall Street Movement in terms of rhetoric and mobilization tactics. Also consider the thousands of people who protested in London, Berlin and New Zealand in solidarity with protesters in the United States demonstrating against the death of a Black man (George Floyd), shown gasping for breath in a video clip, as a white policeman knelt on his neck in Minneapolis. A domino effect seems to be occurring as we are writing: demonstrators sought to highlight similar cases of police brutality and systemic racism in France.

In the course of the past decade, socio-political movements that were deemed revolutionary have swept the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. The ‘Arab Spring’ dismantled autocracies, challenged Samuel Huntington’s theory, “the Clash of Civilizations,” as well as conceptualizations of emancipation in the MENA region. In the same vein, ‘Black Lives Matter’ has been pushing the national dialogue on police violence and systemic racism in the U.S. It has become a community reflex to record interactions with police—a habit that is empowering— even as it highlights black vulnerability. Cornel West, Philosopher, former Princeton professor, and a wide known supporter of the Black Lives Matter Movement states in his work “Race Matters” that conservative and liberal views of race both see black people as a ‘problem people’. Instead of questioning these views, they try to find ways to control black people in America; ways that the Black Lives Matter movement are bringing to light.

‘Nonlethal’ Anti-Protest Weapons Can Cause Serious Harm

TENS OF THOUSANDS of people have demonstrated against police brutality in dozens of cities across the United States over the past few days, sparked by the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died in law enforcement custody in Minneapolis on May 25. While many of the ongoing protests have been peaceful, videos shared on social media and in news reports have shown police using “crowd-control” weapons like pepper spray, tear gas, and rubber bullets. The footage captures officers deploying the tools against demonstrators, journalists, bystanders, and at least one child, often unprovoked and without any prior warning. While similar weapons have been used by police around the world for decades, research shows that these “nonlethal” tools are not safe—and can be deadly.

“Calling tear gas and rubber bullets nonlethal weapons is flat-out wrong,” says Rohini J. Haar, an emergency medicine physician at the Kaiser Medical Center in Oakland and a lecturer at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health who has studied the use of crowd-control arms. “Like all weapons, their lethality depends on how they are used or misused. When you see that their use is so widespread, so prevalent, you will inevitably get fatalities and serious injuries.”

In Minneapolis, Neighbors Are Mobilizing—Offline

ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON, under a cloudless Minneapolis sky, thousands of people flocked to a 50-block stretch of Lake Street, where for the previous three days, mass protests over the police killing of George Floyd sparked riots and violent standoffs with police and National Guard. Some came with brooms and buckets. Some drove trucks full of freshly cut plywood and portable drills for boarding up the businesses that were left. Many carried hand-painted signs saying “Stop killing black people” and “Justice for George.” Almost everyone wore a mask. And everywhere you looked, people were pointing cell phones—capturing protesters chanting, citizens sweeping up broken glass, and buildings still smoldering for audiences on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to see.

At a gathering a few blocks to the south in Martin Luther King Jr. Park, the ground rules were very different: no livestreaming, no social media posts, only share things directly with people you trust. It may have seemed a bit paranoid to the 300 people, mostly white families and retirees, who had shown up to participate in a neighborhood defense planning meeting. But then again, scores of shops, restaurants, and community buildings in the city had been damaged or set on fire in the past 24 hours. And they had reason to believe that this night would be even worse.

Protests Renew Scrutiny of Tech's Ties to Law Enforcement

THE COLLECTIVE OUTRAGE over the murder of George Floyd has led to nationwide protests, renewed calls for police reform, and uncharacteristically swift support for racial equity from Silicon Valley leaders.

The backlash has been swift as well. Critics are calling out many companies now pledging support for Black Lives Matter, accusing them of failing to stop racist language on their platforms and, in some cases, enabling the over-policing and surveillance that protesters now march against.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos took to Instagram last week to share an essay by the writer Shenequa Golding, commenting on the “long reach” of racial trauma. The next day, the official Amazon account tweeted a message “in solidarity with the black community.” Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy tweeted last week, “What will it take for us to refuse to accept these unjust killings of black people?”

But Amazon furnishes surveillance tools to police, including the widely criticized facial recognition product, Rekognition. The tool misidentifies darker-skinned people more often than lighter-skinned people, according to a report from AI researcher Joy Buolamwini. In 2018, the ACLU found the tool misidentified members of Congress as criminals, misidentifying black officials more often than white ones.

James Mattis Denounces Trump as a Threat to the Constitution

Source Link

In an extraordinary condemnation, the former defense secretary backs protesters and says the president is trying to turn Americans against one another.

James Mattis, the esteemed Marine general who resigned as secretary of defense in December 2018 to protest Donald Trump’s Syria policy, has, ever since, kept studiously silent about Trump’s performance as president. But he has now broken his silence, writing an extraordinary broadside in which he denounces the president for dividing the nation, and accuses him of ordering the U.S. military to violate the constitutional rights of American citizens.

“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled,” Mattis writes. “The words ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.” He goes on, “We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.”

Who Are They? Unmarked Security Forces in DC Spark Fear

Source Link

Mistaken for mercenaries, armed personnel from federal agencies refuse to identify themselves to street protestors and media.

The presence of unmarked federal law enforcement officers, dressed in paramilitary uniforms and wearing no identifying insignia, quickly spread among protesters marching through Washington, D.C.’s streets on Tuesday and Wednesday, causing concerned protesters and officials to ask: Who are they?

In some locations, security personnel refused to identify themselves to journalists and protesters who asked which agency sent them, answering only that they worked for the federal government. In other places, they identified themselves as working for the Department of Justice. Some carried rifles, or were equipped with body armor, riot shields, and pepper spray canisters.

Two such clad security members in Washington on Tuesday night identified themselves to Defense One as part of a specialized emergency response force run by the Bureau of Prisons — part of the Justice Department — to help maintain security at correctional facilities. They and others are part of what’s known as the bureau’s Special Operations Response Teams, or SORTs. NPR reported on Monday that Attorney General Bill Barr had ordered BOP to send its specialized riot response teams to assist with the local D.C. law enforcement with the civil unrest that has engulfed downtown Washington this week.

How Taiwan Can Turn Coronavirus Victory Into Economic Success

Source Link

Taiwan has earned the world’s admiration for its fast and highly effective response to the coronavirus pandemic. As of June 1, Taiwan had only 443 confirmed infections and 7 deaths among a population of 24 million—and even has a functioning professional baseball league. This comes despite early modeling that projected Taiwan to have one of the highest risks of importing cases from China.

Taiwan’s coronavirus success was based on efficient coordination across the public and private sectors coupled with innovative deployment of advanced technology.The central ingredients of Taiwan’s success have been efficient coordination across the public and private sectors coupled with innovative deployment of advanced technology—the very same recipe that has delivered decades of steady economic growth. Taiwan has also stood out for its ability to learn and apply the lessons from its bitter 2003 experience with the SARS outbreak in order to coordinate an effective governmental response. But the most notable component of Taiwan’s success has been its successful use of artificial intelligence and big-data applications, helping it to integrate its national health insurance database with its immigration and customs database, classify infection risks among inbound travelers, and monitor cell phones to undertake contact tracing and enforce quarantines.

With Scenes of Police Brutality, America’s Beacon to the World Winks Out

Source Link

Aworld that once looked to the United States to champion democracy and human rights watched with dismay and alarm as police departments across the nation unleashed violent crackdowns on anti-police protesters, targeting looters, demonstrators, and journalists alike, even as President Donald Trump on Monday criticized state governors for their “weak” response. 

Meanwhile, from Canada to New Zealand, tens of thousands of people gathered around the world to protest the killing of an African American man, George Floyd, who was suffocated on May 25 in Minneapolis by a white police officer who kneeled on his neck. The officer has since been charged with murder. Floyd’s death a week ago touched off U.S. demonstrations that swiftly turned into riots in more than 100 American cities. But memorials also sprouted up in cities around the globe, from a candlelight vigil in Mashhad, Iran, to a mural painted on the Berlin Wall bearing Floyd’s likeness along with his dying plea: “I can’t breathe.”

What shocked observers around the world more than anything was the often brutal response of police, some of whom were videotaped ramming demonstrators with SUVs and tasing college students in their car. One heavily armed Minneapolis police officer fired paint rounds Saturday night at a resident watching the events unfold from her porch while another officer called out, “Light ’em up.”

The Overmilitarization of American Foreign Policy

By Robert M. Gates

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to go it alone in responding to the coronavirus pandemic is but the latest manifestation of the United States’ waning global leadership. Even before the virus struck, there was broad bipartisan agreement that Washington should reduce its commitments abroad and focus on problems at home. The economic and social toll of the pandemic will only reinforce that position. Many Americans—and not just the president’s supporters—believe that the United States’ allies have taken advantage of the country. They think that the costs associated with international leadership have been too high. They have lost patience with endless wars and foreign interventions.

The United States remains the most powerful country in the world, in both economic and military terms. Yet nearly three decades since its victory in the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, it faces challenges on multiple fronts. China and Russia are strengthening their militaries and seeking to extend their influence globally. North Korea poses an increasingly sophisticated nuclear threat in East Asia, and Iran remains a determined adversary in the Middle East. After 19 years of war, thousands of U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Islamic State (or ISIS) continues to conduct terrorist attacks. Deep divisions have beset the United States’ strongest allies in Europe. And now, nearly every country on earth is grappling with the devastating consequences of the pandemic. 

Economic Scars for Decades to Come

By Markus Dettmer, Frank Hornig, Anton Rainer, Thomas Schulz, Gerald Traufetter and Robin Wille
Source Link

Perhaps it's just this diffuse fear of the future that seems to lie over the country like a fog, but sometimes Yavuz Dașkin worries that everything was in vain: the six years of study at universities in Giessen and Hamburg, the semester abroad in Oslo, half a dozen internships. He finally wanted to start his career and write his master’s thesis while working in a company this fall. He has written application letters to a number of companies, but has received one rejection letter after the other, and the response is always the same: There are no more jobs for students because of the coronavirus pandemic. "I have to completely rethink things,” Dașkin says.

Similar stories from students leaving high school or university are everywhere these days. Of the cancelled traineeship at the travel agency, the cancelled trainee post in event marketing, of the future hotel management trainee who nobody needs right now. Or of the engineer trainee who isn’t getting that dream job at German flag carrier Lufthansa. Of the non-university prep high school graduates who are in a state of panic because very few of them are landing training positions.

Pentagon Says It Doesn’t Want Active Duty Troops Facing Protesters


WASHINGTON: The Pentagon is distancing itself from President Trump’s suggestion to use active duty troops to quell the protests and rioting that have erupted across the country, even as more National Guard forces from around the country pour into the nation’s capital. 

A senior defense official told reporters at the Pentagon today that “we really would like all of this to stay a National Guard response. We don’t want to see Title X forces. That’s not what we want to do.” The official spoke on the condition of anonymity. Title 10 is the law that governs the active duty military, while Title 32 is the legislation under which the National Guard is normally mobilized by governors of the states.

The remarks come as Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley come under fire from civilians and several recently retired generals for remarks made Monday comparing US cities to a battlefield, and for following the president through Lafayette Park just after it was cleared of peaceful protesters by federal police firing tear gas, using flashbangs and driving protesters back.

Service Chiefs Acknowledge Racism in the Ranks, Pledge Dialogue, Change

Source Link

After days of civil unrest and several Esper missteps, each one of the service branch chiefs has begun to speak out.

After a week of widespread civil unrest, U.S. military leaders of every service branch have emerged from a Pentagon-imposed silence to speak out publicly about racism in society and within the ranks — and obliquely, about the proper role of armed forces in a country roiled by protest.

Their statements came after President Donald Trump vowed on Monday to put “heavily armed” U.S. troops on city streets to confront protesters and quell violence, had National Guard and federal security personnel forcibly clear peaceful protestors away from the White House, and then surprised onlookers by walking with Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, and other administration officials through Lafayette Square for a photo op. 

Esper, following intense criticism for calling the protests a “battlespace” and participating in the stunt, stepped out to cameras at the Pentagon briefing room on Wednesday morning to claim he was not privy to the decision to clear the park, nor to the plans for Trump’s photo op. Then he announced he had sent a memo to the force about racism, which he hoped would give “space” for other leaders to do the same.