8 June 2020

Analysis | China’s Belt and Road Initiative fuels Ladakh standoff

Atul Aneja

This April 28, 2018 file picture shows Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping interacting in a house boat, at East Lake, in Wuhan. | Photo Credit: AFP

When India abrogated Sections of Article 370 and separated Ladakh as a Union Territory from Jammu and Kashmir, China appears to have activated its plan-B, culminating in its latest intrusion

China’s latest intrusion in Ladakh, apparently to fortify Aksai Chin may have its roots in the Wuhan informal summit of 2018, after which, Beijing has juggled with a range of options to engage and restrain India to protect its core interests.

After the Wuhan informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in April 2018, China activated the diplomatic track in order to arrive at an understanding with India on managing the shared interests of Beijing and New Delhi in their neighbourhood. This initiative was in tune with Beijing’s broader aspiration of expanding international support for its Eurasia-centered Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

But just in case diplomacy did not work for many reasons, including India’s growing ties with the United States under the Indo-Pacific doctrine, a plan-B also began to take shape, with heavy reliance on Pakistan.

Lt Gen. (Dr) Rajesh Pant on India's National Cyber Security Strategy, Indo-US cooperation, end-to-end encryption and more

By Aditi Agrawal and Nikhil Pahwa
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On May 29, we interviewed Lt Gen. (Dr) Rajesh Pant, India’s National Cyber Security Coordinator, over the phone. We discussed the role of the Coordinator, what to expect from the National Cyber Security Strategy, the impact of COVID-19 on cybersecurity, India’s submission to the UN Open-ended Working Group, the Personal Data Protection Bill and much more. (Note that the interview has been lightly edited for clarity.)

On the role of the National Cyber Security Coordinator

MediaNama: What are the functions and powers of the office of the National Cyber Security Coordinator? Does it only cover national security, or does it also cover cybercrime?

Lt General Pant: In 2013, the cabinet had approved the National Cyber Security Policy. In that, there were a number of new institutions that were proposed. For example, there is an institution called the NCIIPC — National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre — for the CII [critical information infrastructure]; then, for threat analysis, there was the NCCC — National Cyber Coordination Centre; for cybercrime, there was the I4C — Cyber Crime Coordination Centre under the MHA; and as a coordinator of all these aspects, there was an appointment created called the National Cyber Security Coordinator [NCSC]. This was part of the Policy.

Govt asked to recover Rs100bn from ‘corrupt’ IPPs

By Ahmad Ahmadani

ISLAMABAD: An inquiry committee formed by the prime minister to unearth losses in the power sector has recommended that the government should force independent power producers (IPPS) to cough up more than Rs100 billion for alleged malpractices in the signing of the contracts.

The nine-member committee submitted a 278-page long report, ‘Committee for Power Sector Audit, Circular Debt Reservation, and Future Roadmap’, to PM Imran Khan, which put the blame of these losses on the violation of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that include the cost of the installation of IPPs, government agreements, alleged embezzlement in fuel consumption, power tariff, guaranteed profit in dollars, and certain conditions of power purchase.

The committee included the offices of eight organisations, which surprisingly included the premier spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) as well.

Over the eight-month-long period of the probe, the inquiry committee scrutinised documents pertaining to the cost and tariff of more than 60 power plants and submitted an inquiry report without a single note of dissent.

According to the report, the IPPs were earning an unbelievable 50-70 per cent annual profits in contrast to 15pc limit set by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) which led the circular debt to balloon to Rs1800bn due to wrong agreements.

The National People’s Congress 2020: The Hong Kong National Security Law and China’s Enhanced Presence

Eyal Propper
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The National Security in Hong Kong Law, adopted recently at the annual gathering of the Two Sessions ("Lianghui") of the People’s Congress in China, reflects Beijing’s interest in preserving Chinese sovereignty in face of “concerns regarding foreign intervention” in territories that are defined as a “core interest.” After the law’s enactment, the United States, Britain, Australia, and Canada issued a joint statement expressing deep concern regarding the legislation. Still, their response was relatively moderate and included no practical aspects. President Donald Trump stated that the United States will no longer recognize Hong Kong’s status of a special international trade zone. The law’s significance goes beyond the context of Hong Kong alone; it is a clear message that China will take all measures it deems necessary to maintain stability, unity, and Chinese sovereignty. For Israel, Hong Kong still constitutes a bridge for trade with Asia, as well as an additional commercial gate of entry into China. Thus far, Israel has not made a public statement regarding the disturbances in Hong Kong, and it is advised to continue this reticence.

The annual gathering in Beijing of the Two Sessions ("Lianghui") of the People’s Congress was attended by thousands of representatives from around China and concluded on May 28, 2020. The assembly was postponed from its regular date in early March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its convening constituted a declarative measure by the Chinese government indicating the return to a "new routine." Discussions were conducted amidst concerns regarding a second wave of infection throughout China, deep uncertainty regarding the pandemic’s impact on the economy and society, the widening rupture in relations with the United States, and in particular, a new and significant round of demonstrations on the streets of Hong Kong against the intensification of China’s control over the special autonomous region.

Esper Opposes Insurrection Act Use

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Trump has threatened to invoke the act in order to use active duty troops to police protests.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday announced his opposition to deploying active duty military personnel into ongoing nationwide protests to act as law enforcement — for now — as President Donald Trump has threatened to do to quell unrest related to the death of George Floyd.

The defense secretary’s unusually public point of departure from the president came as he also explained that he did not know he was being led to Trump’s controversial photo op at St. John’s church outside of the White House, following a forcible clearing of peaceful protestors there. 

Invoking the Insurrection Act is a deeply controversial step that would allow Trump to deploy active duty military personnel to conduct law enforcement. The 1878 Posse Comitatus Act prevents U.S. troops from performing such domestic duties in normal times.

The law should only be invoked “as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire situations,” Esper told Pentagon reporters during a press briefing. “We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”

9 predictions for 2020–2029

Ben Longstaff

I like to think about the future a lot, so this year I decided to make some predictions.

My predictions for this decade

Federated Learning will unlock value from previously inaccessible sensitive data.

Deepfakes will impact democracy and bring about a need for publisher certified content.
Nationalism will rise around the world, the internet will splinter.

eSports will take a huge chunk of attention and advertising dollars from sports.

Blockchain will get adoption in enterprise. Mainstream adoption will struggle until there is a key custody solutions that everyone can use.

Self driving cars will open up new business models. Regulations will be the main barrier to adoption.

Welfare systems will get strained.

Digital currencies and negative interest rates will open pandoras box.

Search will get reimagined.

1. Federated learning

Fast-forward China: 30 ways companies are reactivating business and reimagining the future beyond COVID-19

By Nick Leung, Joe Ngai, Jeongmin Seong, and Jonathan Woetzel

As the first country to suffer the outbreak of COVID-19, the Chinese economy was severely affected, with official statistics declaring first-quarter year-on-year GDP growth at negative 6.8 percent. Leading companies across sectors responded swiftly with a range of measures aimed at protecting their employees’ health and safety, and engaged in creative ways to protect their business. Well before the outbreak subsided and lockdowns were lifted, they worked hard to find ways to reactivate business activities, identify new platforms for growth, and position themselves to survive the crisis—and thrive beyond it. Some firms doubled sales during the crisis, while others acquired tens of millions of new customers.

To understand what leading companies did to reactivate their business and adapt to a post-COVID-19 world, we conducted a study of more than 200 examples of initiatives taken by companies from across 15 industries in China, which we then sorted into 30 categories (Exhibit 1). These represent just a sample of the millions of microeconomic actions taken by individual companies that, when viewed in the aggregate, drove the acceleration of five major macroeconomic trends during the few months that COVID-19 “pressed the pause button” on the world’s second-largest economy: digitization, declining global exposure, rising competitive intensity, maturing consumers, and the stepping up of the role of the private and social sectors.

6 charts that show what employers and employees really think about remote working

Nick Routley
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COVID-19 has lead to more and more employees working from home.

98% of people surveyed said they would like the option to work remotely for the rest of their careers.

But not everything is positive, with workers finding the biggest challenge is 'unplugging' from work.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly one-third of the U.S. workforce, and half of all “information workers”, are able to work from home. Though the number of people working partially or fully remote has been on the rise for years now, the COVID-19 pandemic may have pressed the fast-forward button on this trend.

With millions of people taking part in this work-from-home experiment, it’s worth asking the question – how do people and companies actually feel about working from home?

The flex life

Chinese Perspectives on International Relations in the Xi Jinping Era

by Ren Xiao and Liu Ming
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This NBR Special Report offers perspectives from two Chinese scholars on the intellectual framework that structures current discussions within China about the international order. The first essay by Ren Xiao (Fudan University) surveys the growing importance of area studies within China and argues that this trend reflects the country’s increasing interests in the wider world. The second essay by Liu Ming (Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences) examines the implications of Xi Jinping’s concept of a “community with a shared future for humankind” for China’s role as a rising power willing to take on more international responsibility.

On Tiananmen Anniversary, Hong Kong Protesters Brace for Their Chinese Crackdown


Hong Kong's Victoria Park will be largely empty today—unlike last year, and the year before that, and the 28 years before that. Usually on June 4th the park is thronged with crowds commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, perhaps the most infamous single atrocity committed by the Chinese Communist Party since the death of Mao Zedong nearly a half-century ago.

Hong Kong and Macau—the two semi-autonomous regions of China—are the only places in the country that have been allowed to mark an event the Party has tried to scrub from the national memory: the killing of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pro-democracy activists by Chinese soldiers. But this year, for the first time, Hong Kong authorities refused permission for the Victoria Park event. They cited concerns about the coronavirus. For pro-democracy activists, though, the cancellation is a portent of Hong Kong's dark future, one in which Beijing extends ideological control over the former British colony despite mass protests and international condemnation.

Democracy advocates already foresee the end of a Hong Kong with (relatively) free speech and free trade. Just last week, Chinese legislators approved draft national security legislation that would effectively criminalize anti-Beijing dissent in the restive territory.

The world failed after Tiananmen Square. We must not fail Hong Kong now.

By Josh Rogin

Thirty-one years ago, the Chinese government massacred thousands of pro-democracy protesters in Beijing, but the international community moved on in relatively short order. Today, this same regime is killing the freedom of 8 million people in Hong Kong. The survivors of the Tiananmen Square massacre are warning the world not to repeat the mistakes it made in 1989.

On June 4, 1989, Chinese troops imported from outside the Beijing region slaughtered protesters petitioning for reforms as the world watched in horror. The following day, then-British Ambassador Sir Alan Donald penned a secret cable back to London estimating 10,000 innocent civilians had been murdered and detailing gross atrocities, including crowds of people run over by tanks and their “remains incinerated and then hosed down drains.” Similar scenes played out in cities across China.

International condemnation was swift, sanctions were imposed, and the Chinese leadership was treated as a pariah, for a little while. But while President George H.W. Bush publicly condemned the massacre, privately he quickly and quietly resumed his drive to pursue friendly relations with Beijing, signaling to Chinese leaders their brutal crackdown would have little long-term cost.

Is Hong Kong Still Autonomous? What to Know About China’s New Laws

By Jerome A. Cohen

China’s legislative body, the National People’s Congress, approved the introduction of new legislation that will be drafted over the next two months and is expected to take effect in September. The laws would effectively prevent, stop, and punish any acts occurring within Hong Kong that are aimed at splitting China, subverting state power, organizing and carrying out terrorist activities, or otherwise seriously endangering national security. Such acts include activities by foreign or external forces that interfere in Hong Kong’s affairs.

The legislation will eventually be inserted into Annex III of Hong Kong’s Basic Law and promptly promulgated and implemented by the Hong Kong government, bypassing Hong Kong’s Legislative Council.

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To make certain these new laws will actually safeguard national security, the decision also authorizes national security organs to set up institutions in Hong Kong “as necessary.” The Ministry of State Security, the Ministry of Public Security, and secret police organizations that rule mainland China but have been formally precluded from Hong Kong until now can begin to operate openly in Hong Kong.

Will China Set Up an Air Defense Identification Zone in the South China Sea?

by Alexander Vuving
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On May 4, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense reportedly confirmed that China is planning to set up an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea. According to a source from within China’s military, plans for the South China Sea ADIZ have been in the pipeline since 2010, the same year Chinese authorities told a Japanese delegation visiting Beijing that they were considering establishing an East China Sea ADIZ. Ever since China announced its first ADIZ in the East China Sea in November 2013, a Chinese ADIZ has hung like a sword of Damocles over the South China Sea. On the day China declared its East China Sea ADIZ, the Chinese Ministry of Defense’ spokesman proclaimed, “China will establish other air defense identification zones at an appropriate time after completing preparations.” 

If China sets up an ADIZ in the South China Sea, then it would not be the first in that theater. Early in the Cold War, the Philippine established its ADIZ in 1953, and South Vietnam also had one during the Vietnam War. Today, however, the Philippine ADIZ is inoperative, and the South Vietnamese ADIZ died forty-five years ago with the state that created it.

What The Iraq War Can Teach Us About Better Policing

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One lesson: if you treat a neighborhood like a battlespace, you’re well on the way to losing the war.

When armed contractors from Blackwater Security Consulting encountered an angry crowd at Baghdad’s Nisour Square, they wound up killing 17 people and injuring another 20. In part, they were the wrong team with the wrong training in the wrong place.

“These guys were part of a set of teams that took a heavy-handed…approach. They got into hundreds of firefights in that period, doing that kind of work,” said David Kilcullen, who served as chief strategist in the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the U.S. State Department in Iraq and as Gen. David Petraeus’ chief counterinsurgency advisor during the 2007-08 troop surge. 

Kilcullen noted that another private security firm, Aegis Defence Services from the United Kingdom, “did hundreds of missions without getting into a single firefight. They had a completely different approach to working by, with, and through the population.” 

The Influence of Coronavirus on Diplomatic Relations: Iran, China, Gulf Arabs, and India

Manjari Singh

During the pandemic, Iran’s first reported cases on February 19 in the Qom province—the eventual epicentre for Iran— have demonstrated that Iran is not as isolated as it is often believed to be. Iran’s health minister reported that the novel virus was brought there by an Iranian merchant who had recently traveled to Wuhan. While Iran was hit early, it is now second in the region to Turkey in terms of total infections—though Iran’s reported death toll still remains the highest in the region. The virus—and Iran and other regional leaders’ responses to it—has also laid bare some interesting features of Iran’s precarious yet notable place in international politics. As the spread of the virus highlighted the interconnectivity of today’s world, the ways in which regional and international actors have responded to Iran’s crisis says much about where Iran stands in the eyes of the international community.

The effect of the virus among Iran’s upper echelons has been particularly notable, suggesting a terrible miscalculation within decision-making in Tehran; it seems that there continues to be information about the crisis hidden from the public eye—as well as the international community. In any case, it is clear that Iran’s upper echelons were deeply impacted; 8 percent of Iran’s Members of Parliament, including Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Irar Harirchi, tested positive for the virus. About a dozen of the country’s eminent office-bearers and ministers have succumbed to the pandemic—including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Chief Advisor, Seyyed Mohammad Mirmohammadi.

The U.S. Election Will Determine Assad’s Future


The economic impact of the Syrian civil war has battered the country and threatens a new round of unrest. As economic conditions similarly worsen in Iran—Syria’s main financial backer, whose support surpasses even that of Russia—Syria has been forced to rely on its own limited resources, to little effect. Now, the survival of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime ironically rests on the outcome of the U.S. presidential election this November and what it will mean for U.S.-Iranian relations.

The deterioration of the Syrian economy has largely been a consequence of the destruction of civilian infrastructure since the beginning of the civil war in 2011, coupled with harsh economic sanctions imposed by the United States. The World Bank reported in August 2019 that the country’s GDP had declined to almost one-third of its pre-conflict level, and, according to the report, 64 percent of the negative growth had been a result of the destruction of physical capital.

The Generals Are Speaking Up. Is That a Good Thing?

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Scholars are warning about what others are celebrating as a necessary corrective to a commander in chief gone wrong.

The generals are speaking up.

Over the past three days, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, and all of the service chiefs, have issued messages to their troops — on racism, the Constitution, and the role of the military in America — that are starkly at odds with the language of the elected president of the United States. 

Their implicit differences with the commander in chief have been joined by explicit condemnation by several prominent retired four-stars, including Trump’s first defense secretary. On Wednesday, Jim Mattis excoriated the president over his handling of the crisis convulsing the nation following the death of George Floyd. Three other prominent retired generals — former Joint Chiefs chairmen Mike Mullen and Martin Dempsey, and retired Marine general John Allen — issued their own public missives condemning the militarized response to the protests and unrest.

Many of Trump’s critics — including at least one GOP lawmaker, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska — have celebrated this upswell of military voices on Trump’s actions. Mattis’s words, she told reporters, were “true and honest and necessary and overdue.” 

How the world can ‘reset’ itself after COVID-19 – according to these experts

Kate Whiting
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The Great Reset is a new initiative from the World Economic Forum and HRH the Prince of Wales to guide decision-makers on the path to a more resilient, sustainable world beyond coronavirus.

The economic fallout from COVID-19 dominates risk perceptions, but there is a unique opportunity to reshape the global economy.
Greenpeace International’s Jennifer Morgan, IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath and ITUC head Sharan Burrow discuss how they perceive a reset.

There won’t be many among the 7.7 billion people on Earth who haven’t been affected in some way by COVID-19.

From sickness and the death of loved ones to work shortages and school closures, the pandemic’s ramifications have touched every part of society – and thrown inequalities into sharp relief.

As lockdowns are starting to ease, governments and organizations across the globe are turning their attention to the recovery process – and the opportunity it provides to rebuild in a different way. One that makes the world better for everyone and addresses the other great crisis of our time: climate change.

U.S. Allies Look on in Dismay While U.S. Rivals Rejoice

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When German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week declined an invitation to join U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington for a star-crossed meeting of the G-7, and then British Prime Minister Boris Johnson rebuffed Trump’s plans to bring Russia back into the group, it underscored how profoundly U.S. allies and partners have soured on American leadership amid a mishandled pandemic and a violent crackdown on protesters.

Merkel’s rebuff, like similar chidings from other German and European officials aghast at the scenes of White House-encouraged violence they’ve watched over the last week, is just the latest indicator that U.S. allies are fed up with an America they see drifting closer to authoritarianism and away from the core values Washington had always preached.

U.S. rivals, meanwhile, are rejoicing. “It’s kind of a feast for the Chinese Communist Party, and for the Kremlin, and all those other strongmen that are really insecure,” said Sascha Lohmann, an expert on U.S. domestic and foreign policy at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. China has gleefully used U.S. racial tensions, protests, and violent crackdowns to push back against U.S. criticism. Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman offered sympathy to Americans standing up to “state oppression.” Even Venezuela is piling on.

How Police Became Paramilitaries

Michael Shank
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Military might has always paraded in America’s streets. But it wasn’t until this century that it became an often daily presence. In the 2000s, local law enforcement agencies began to adopt the type of military equipment more frequently used in a war zone: everything from armored personnel carriers and tanks, with 360-degree rotating machine gun turrets, to grenade launchers, drones, assault weapons, and more. Today, billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment—most used, some new—has been transferred to civilian police departments. As the ACLU has documented, this has led to the militarization of American policing.

It is now commonplace to see a Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle, or MRAP, respond to the protests in Minneapolis, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. MRAPs resemble Humvees but are even larger, more heavily armored—and more intimidating. Many police forces acquired them free-of-charge from the Pentagon as part of a program established by the National Defense Authorization Act under President Clinton that transfers surplus equipment—or “excess property,” as it’s called—from combat deployments to police departments across the US.

This Defense Department initiative, known as the 1033 program, requires that law enforcement agencies make use of such equipment within a year of acquisition, effectively mandating that police to put it into practice in the public space. The Department of Homeland Security also has a terrorism grant program that has given tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to local police forces to purchase military equipment directly.

This next-gen AI chip could be a major instrument in advancing the tech

Faisal Khan
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California based chip giant Nvidia recently unveiled its artificial intelligence chip Nvidia A100 — designed to cater to all AI workloads. Chip manufacturing has seen some major innovations in recent times. Last summer, I covered another California-based chip startup Cerebras, which raised the bar with its innovative chip design dubbed as “Wafer-Scale Engine” (WSE).

As the need for supercomputing systems gathers pace, chip manufacturers are scrambling to come up with futuristic chip designs that can cater to the needs of processing complex calculations on such systems. Intel, the biggest chip manufacturer is working on powerful “neuromorphic chips” that use the human brain as a model. This design basically replicates the working of brain neurons to process information smoothly — with the proposed chip having a computational capacity of 100 million neurons.

More recently, the Australian startup Cortical Labs has taken this idea one step further by designing a system, using a combination of biological neurons and a specialized computer chip — tapping into the power of digital systems and combining it with the power of biological neurons processing complex calculations.

Delayed by almost two months due to the pandemic, Nvidia released its 54 billion transistors monster chip, which packs 5 petaFLOPS of performance — 20 times more than the previous-generation chip Volta. The chips and the DGX A100 systems (video below) that used the chips are now available and shipping. Detailed specs of the system are available here.

“You get all of the overhead of additional memory, CPUs, and power supplies of 56 servers… collapsed into one. The economic value proposition is really off the charts, and that’s the thing that is really exciting.”

Global Health Security Turns to Confront Cyber Threats

by David P. Fidler

On May 19, the World Health Assembly adopted a new resolution calling upon all member states to confront cyber threats to global health. Such a resolution is unprecedented in the history of the World Health Organization, and developing effective policies against cyber threats will be a daunting challenge for the global health community. 

On May 19, the World Health Assembly—the most important decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO)—adopted a new resolution [PDF] at its virtual meeting that addressed responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Media coverage focused on the assembly’s authorization of an “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of the pandemic response and the resolution’s call for equitable global access to technologies for combating COVID-19, especially vaccines. However, the resolution is important for another reason. It demonstrates that WHO and its member states recognize the need to confront cyber threats more systematically as part of strengthening global health security.

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Digital and Cyberspace Policy program updates on cybersecurity, digital trade, internet governance, and online privacy. Bimonthly.

Will China reinvent the Internet?


In a world where interdependence is increasingly being ‘weaponized’, more attention is being paid to hidden levers of control embedded in transnational technological design and infrastructure. In an environment of growing suspicion towards China, the role of Chinese actors in this regard is increasingly scrutinised. But while the Chinese Party-state has political goals for technological development, these should not be the sole lens through which the actions of Chinese firms are perceived. The case of design for the future Internet illustrates how excessive focus on Chinese political motivations can obscure many other interests and factors involved.
Exporting digital authoritarianism?

Recent reporting by the Financial Times (FT) claims that China is on a “mission to reinvent the Internet”. It concerns a proposal made last September to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for a ‘New IP’ to replace the current Internet Protocol (IP), which determines how data is transmitted across the Internet. Chinese interests allegedly plan to “push through the standardization of New IP” at the ITU conference this November

Citing inadequacy of the Internet’s current architecture to meet future requirements, the Huawei-led proposal advocates a ‘top-down design’ to replace the extant modular architecture. The FT paints a picture of closed-door efforts by China Inc. to “embed a system of centralised rule enforcement” through the state-dominated ITU, giving telecoms operators, and hence governments, control over access to the Internet at the expense of civil society. The result would be to “bake authoritarianism into the architecture underpinning the web”.

The Stakes Are High, and We Must Be Better Than This

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On Wednesday, current and former military leaders came out with powerful messages against President Donald Trump’s calls to deploy the U.S. military to quash nationwide protests against racial injustice, set off by the gruesome killing of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police.

What would soldiers putting down protests mean for the United States? Foreign Policy asked six former military leaders and security experts to weigh in.

The American People May Soon Find Themselves the ‘Enemy’

by John Allen, president of the Brookings Institution, a retired U.S. Marine Corps four-star general, and former commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan.

Every member of the U.S. military—be they active duty, National Guard, or reserve—swears an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Deploying the military against U.S. citizens sends the wrong message at the wrong moment and is antithetical to everything America represents.That is their solemn vow and at the heart of their service to America. History has shown that there are indeed periods when domestic threats or unrest reach such a level that they require the direct involvement of federal troops to keep the peace. Now, however, is not one of those moments.

Approaches for Strengthening Total Force Culture and Facilitating Cross-Component Integration in the U.S. Military

by Agnes Gereben Schaefer

While all U.S. military services have strived to achieve greater total force integration and a stronger total force culture across their active and reserve components, significant impediments limit the achievement of these objectives. Thus, the issue continues to capture the attention of policymakers who seek ways to overcome these impediments and facilitate greater integration.

This priority has been addressed most recently by national commissions addressing the future of both the Army and the Air Force. While each of these sets of proposals provides ideas for enhancing integration and providing a greater total force culture, the proposals are neither complete nor fully reflective of all potentially relevant policies and practices. Further, the policy prescriptions are service specific and do not reflect broader insights that cut across services. Last, none of these efforts clearly define the desired purpose and end state for integration against which integration initiatives can be evaluated. For these reasons, a more comprehensive analysis is needed of policies and practices that can contribute to the ultimate objective of improving total force integration and achieving a total force culture.