28 June 2020

India Is Paying the Price for Neglecting its Neighbors

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As India manages the fallout from its deadly clash with China last week—the first border skirmish in which there were troop fatalities since 1975—it would do well to take a step back and assess its broader regional situation. And if it does so, New Delhi would realize that its problems are by no means limited to Beijing: India’s relations with each of its neighbors are in shambles.

Things could so easily have been different. In May 2014, shortly after being elected to office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited his counterparts from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka—members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)—to his inauguration. It was a deft exercise in public diplomacy, as no previous prime minister had made such a grand gesture. It was also in keeping with his Bharatiya Janata Party’s campaign manifesto, which had promised to improve ties with India’s neighbors.

Modi used the occasion to announce his “neighborhood first” initiative, a new focus on prioritizing relations with SAARC member states. The project, had it come to fruition, would have given a much-needed boost to regional trade and investments and led the way in addressing geopolitical tensions. It would have also provided a natural—and lasting—bulwark against China’s relentless attempts to expand its footprint across the region, especially with its Belt and Road Initiative.

China accused of 'plotting mass terrorist cyber-attacks' to 'manipulate' easy targets

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A Singapore cyber firm, Cyfirma, warned China may be attempting to launch cyberattacks on media houses in India. Times Now hosts Rahul Shivshankar and Navika Kumar claimed China was attempting to change the narrative being pushed by global media on the secretive nation. Both hosts claimed China could be planning further attacks on Indian media houses as the tension between the two countries escalates.

Mr Shivshanker said: "We are being told there is a cyber terror offensive taking place.

"The cyber warfare model is suggestive of what the Chinese want to do.

"China wants to try and plant news stories to try and change the narrative in India.

"I think that some people are beginning to fall for it and this has been exposed by a top Singapore based agencies that have sounded an alert saying media houses are being penetrated in these cyber-terrorist attacks."

Both Times Now hosts claimed China could be planning further attacks on Indian media houses as the tension between the two countries escalates. (Image: GETTY)

India’s Education System Feels a Digital Divide Amid the Pandemic

By Vidhu Pandey

Among its many effects, the COVID-19 lockdown has also been a dampener on India’s conventional education system. All educational institutions have been closed for almost three months now. While private schools are getting creative and teaching through conference calls, students in government schools are being left behind. It took a pandemic for the Indian government to realize that its approach to education needs a huge technology boost.

Take for instance the government of the state of Chhattisgarh in India’s center-east. It launched the Padhai Tuhar Dwar (Education at Your Doorstep) portal. School teachers and their students can register on the portal through their mobile numbers and some basic information. It allows teachers to conduct online classes and upload study material. But the sudden digitization has not been an easy leap for all.

“We have no smartphones or computers at home so I used our neighbor’s phone to register on the portal,” Dolly, a Class 10 student in a government school in the state’s Raigarh district, said. “But I haven’t been able to attend any online classes because I cannot keep borrowing their phone to log in.”

Who Is Winning the US-China Power Battle?

By Monish Tourangbam and Anand. V

In a championship match, the stakes are always higher for the reigning champion trying to defend the title, compared to the contender, who has less to lose and more to gain with an upset win. Even when the match is a draw, there is more to lose for the champion in terms of status and position. In the U.S.-China great power tussle, it needs no explanation as to who is the defending champion and who is the contender for the top spot in the international system. 

The United States has much to uphold to save the foundations of the post-war security and financial order that it engineered, the so-called liberal international order. From its old alliances and new partners in the Indo-Pacific to its long-running transatlantic alliances, from its hemispheric influence in the Americas to saving its assets in an uncertain Middle East and maintaining its diminishing returns in Africa, Washington has its hands full. Compared to trying to become the hegemon, being the hegemon and maintaining that status is a more difficult spot to be in. 

China, on the other hand, has shown the ability and the intention to increasingly close its power gap with the United States, economically around the world, and militarily in its strategic backyard, the western Pacific. In the geopolitical hotspots of the South and East China Seas, Beijing seems to be putting into practice Sun Tzu’s stratagem of subduing the enemy without fighting. Without becoming involved a kinetic form of war, where U.S. military firepower would be currently hard to match, Beijing has attempted to militarize the geopolitical space in the western Pacific and make it costlier for the United States to stay the course. 

Silicon Valley Can’t Be Neutral in the U.S.-China Cold War

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If there is a silver lining to the coronavirus, it is that Americans are finally alert to the threat that an ambitious, authoritarian China poses. Polling shows that the U.S. public has become significantly more hawkish on China since the crisis began; a bipartisan consensus is coalescing around the idea that the Chinese Communist Party’s aims and values are incompatible with America’s. Unfortunately, some of the United States’ major tech companies are still trying to sit on an increasingly uncomfortable fence.

I know this issue well, because for several years I served as a policy advisor at Google. There, I learned that a company’s policies, like a society’s laws, reflect its most basic values. The problem today is that tech companies that are based in the United States but also operate in China are struggling to comply with values that are fundamentally at odds.

In the U.S. system, laws are legitimate insofar as they are conceived by what Jean-Jacques Rousseau called “the general will” of the people, expressed through the workings of a democratic political system. Laws that are arbitrary or imposed by the will of a single person of authority are illegitimate. Yet the Chinese system rests on the idea that the sole source of legitimacy is the CCP, which represents—it claims—the will of the Chinese nation in its entirety and violently suppresses challenges to its authority. This sharp tension between the political value systems that prevail in the two countries is a primary cause of the spiraling bilateral competition. Tech companies confront this tension when they are tasked to comply with Chinese laws, by enabling the arrest of dissidents for “subversion of state power” or the mass surveillance of Uighurs, which are rightly viewed by most Americans as immoral and illegitimate.

The World Is Awakening to China’s Sharp Power

By Simon Shen

A term coined by Juan Pablo Cardenal in 2017, “sharp power” is wielded by authoritarian regimes to “manipulate and co-opt culture, education systems, and media.” This approach takes advantage of the asymmetry between free and unfree systems, allowing regimes to limit free expression and distort political environments in democracies while simultaneously shielding their country from outside influence. China’s foreign policy has transitioned in recent years from attraction-based soft power to sharp power, leveraging its economic might. The world’s democracies have felt the pain of China’s sharp power over the issues of the Hong Kong protests, Uyghur internment camps, and now the COVID-19 pandemic. However, China is unlikely to withdraw this foreign policy because of the domestic climate, fueling further tensions in its relationship with the United States and other democracies.

Before China’s breach into the West, Hong Kong was the test site for sharp power. When the Hong Kong entertainment industry reached its pinnacle in the 1990s, Cantonese music icons were able to co-host the June Fourth 10th anniversary Memorial Vigil with no political repercussions. Similarly, the late Taiwanese diva Teresa Teng, despite being labeled as a Chinese “traitor” for her politically sensitive songs, was invited by China to perform in the 1980s. Politics rarely got in the way of individual liberty and artistic expressions for artists based outside mainland China.

The Uneven Effects of US Restrictive Immigration Policy for Chinese Nationals

By Robert Farley

U.S. President Donald J. Trump has issued an executive order to sharply curtail the issuance of visas for foreign workers in the United States. Trump and Stephen Miller, the chief voice within the administration for restrictive immigration policies, have argued that the economic downturn accompanying the coronavirus pandemic necessitate limiting immigration because of the need to favor American workers. In fact, Miller and Trump have long opposed such immigration, even as unemployment approached record lows. Trump has largely ignored complaints from U.S. industry, and also some complaints from within his own party.

Andrew Kennedy’s book Conflicted Superpower examined the issue from the perspective of immigration policy in the United States, and emigration policy in China and India. Kennedy makes the case that technology innovation has increasingly become a global, transnational project, and that it depends on the movement of workers and ideas across borders. He argues that policy in both China and India has increasingly favored the increasing circulation of students and workers to a from the United States, as both countries have concluded that such circulation improves the health of their national innovation systems. He also argues that policy in the United States has largely been driven by domestic concerns, with different interest groups arguing for tight or lax regulations on students and workers for largely economic reasons.

How Xi Jinping is Ruining China's Dream of a Century of Dominance

by Azeem Ibrahim

When Xi Jinping ascended to power in China in 2013, there was no doubt that this century would be China’s century. The country was an undisputed economic heavyweight on a historically unparalleled upward trajectory. And the rest of the world mostly welcomed the steady and peaceful shift of global power from West to East. But all that has changed now, and almost all of it can be traced back to Xi himself.

The problem with Xi and his entourage is that they perceive China’s history and future trajectory from a Han-nationalist point of view. In that frame of thought, China rise since the economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping are not merely a triumph of reform and governance which has served the Chinese people well, but they are a revanche. Success is “payback” for the two centuries of “humiliation” that China, the rightful leader of the world, and the Han people have suffered at the hands of the West.

It is therefore not enough for China to win the global geo-political game within the global rules-based system, as China had so successfully done in the three decades leading up to Xi’s accession to the presidency. Rather, now China had to “assert” itself.

It started benignly enough: the Belt-and-Road initiative whereby China would build the trade infrastructure to serve the next century of Eurasian trade is a good idea in principle, and could have been a huge boon to many developing countries along the routes between China and Western Europe. But within just a few years, that degenerated into a crude mechanism of “debt diplomacy” reminiscent of nineteenth-century European imperial practice, complete with demands for territorial concessions.

Water Wars: The Pandemic’s Great Power Competition at Sea

By Sean Quirk 

As the world continues its fight against the coronavirus, the U.S. and Chinese militaries are testing each other’s limits in the Indo-Pacific region. Beijing is bristling at its neighbors, engaging in aggressive behavior while most countries are preoccupied with the pandemic. In response, the Pentagon is operating in overdrive to show Beijing that the U.S. military remains ready—on, above and below the Pacific.

At sea, three U.S. carrier strike groups were underway in the Pacific by mid-June: USS Nimitz (CVN 68) operated in the Eastern Pacific, while USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) sailed in the Western Pacific.

In the air, an expanded and well-advertised military presence has been flying across the region. On April 30, two U.S. B-1 bombers flew a 32-hour round-trip mission from South Dakota to the South China Sea. The next day, four U.S. B-1 bombers returned to Guam for “strategic deterrence missions” in the Indo-Pacific region. The U.S. Air Force said that the bomber task force serves to provide “operational unpredictability,” two weeks after ending 16 years of continuous bomber presence on Guam. The unpredictability of U.S. bombers on the island serves to complicate Chinese military planning in a wartime contingency. Then, on June 9, a U.S. military C-40A transport plane flew over Taiwan, with permission from the Taiwanese government. Chinese Su-30 Flankers briefly entered Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) soon afterward.

China puts final satellite into orbit to try to rival GPS network

BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Tuesday successfully put into orbit its final Beidou satellite, completing a navigation network years in the making and setting the stage to challenge the U.S.-owned Global Positioning System (GPS).

The idea to develop Beidou, or the Big Dipper in Chinese, took shape in the 1990s as China’s military sought to reduce its reliance on GPS, which is run by the U.S. Air Force.

Coverage was limited to China when the first Beidou-1 satellites were launched in 2000. Now Beidou-related services such as traffic monitoring have been exported to about 120 countries.

As use of mobile devices expanded, China in 2003 tried to join the Galileo satellite navigation project proposed by the European Union but later pulled out to focus on Beidou.

The second generation of Beidou-2 satellites went into operation in 2012, covering the Asia-Pacific region.

In 2015, China began deploying the third generation of Beidou-3 satellites aimed at global coverage. The one launched on Tuesday was the 35th Beidou-3 satellite - with analysts looking at the system’s reliability and how it is rolled out.

Britain Must Step Up to the Global Stage to Protect Hong Kong

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The 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration was the brainchild of two formidable political leaders, China’s Deng Xiaoping and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Since the handover of Hong Kong in 1997, the international treaty has generally worked well for China, Hong Kong, and the rest of the world. But from the beginning, Hong Kong’s Basic Law—the city’s de facto constitution—presented a serious conflict between the demands of Article 39, which entrenched the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights into local law, and the requirement under Article 23 that introduced such charges as “subversion,” “secession,” and “collusion with foreign political powers” into local legislation. This was the catalyst for major protests in 2003 and has made national security legislation a hot-button issue ever since.

The impasse in Hong Kong is a geopolitical watershed. Alongside unrest over the extradition bill, China has moved to unilaterally enact national security legislation, a course of action that the British government and many of its international counterparts consider to be in direct conflict with Hong Kong’s Basic Law and the original treaty. Hong Kong, once a bridge between East and West, could become a fresh fault line.

Given the speed at which the Chinese Communist Party is attempting to pass the law—no doubt in anticipation of another victory for pro-democracy candidates in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council elections in September—diplomatic avenues must be prioritized, as escalation is in no one’s interests.

Japan heightens vigilance against Chinese vessels’ incursions

The Yomiuri ShimbunA submarine that sailed around Amami Oshima island in Kagoshima Prefecture is “presumed to belong to China,” Defense Minister Taro Kono said on Tuesday.

Japan’s government has heightened its vigilance against the continuing incursions by China into Japan’s territorial waters and connecting waters.

The submarine sailed underwater through Japan’s connecting waters on June 18. It is unusual to disclose the nationality of such submarines, because information on these vessels is highly confidential.

“In light of the recent situation, including that in the Senkaku Islands, I’ve decided that its nationality should be made public,” Kono said.

Four Chinese government vessels entered Japan’s territorial waters in the vicinity of the Senkaku Islands for about four hours on Monday afternoon, shortly after the city assembly of Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture, passed a bill to rename an area of the Senkaku Islands, putting the word “Senkaku” in the name. China is believed to have objected to this.

How Hegemony Ends

By Alexander Cooley and Daniel H. Nexon

Multiple signs point to a crisis in global order. The uncoordinated international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting economic downturns, the resurgence of nationalist politics, and the hardening of state borders all seem to herald the emergence of a less cooperative and more fragile international system. According to many observers, these developments underscore the dangers of U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America first” policies and his retreat from global leadership. 

Even before the pandemic, Trump routinely criticized the value of alliances and institutions such as NATO, supported the breakup of the European Union, withdrew from a host of international agreements and organizations, and pandered to autocrats such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He has questioned the merits of placing liberal values such as democracy and human rights at the heart of foreign policy. Trump’s clear preference for zero-sum, transactional politics further supports the notion that the United States is abandoning its commitment to promoting a liberal international order. 

Some analysts believe that the United States can still turn this around, by restoring the strategies by which it, from the end of World War II to the aftermath of the Cold War, built and sustained a successful international order. If a post-Trump United States could reclaim the responsibilities of global power, then this era—including the pandemic that will define it—could stand as a temporary aberration rather than a step on the way to permanent disarray. 

Trump Administration Unveils Security Council Resolution Extending Iran Arms Embargo

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The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump introduced a long-awaited U.N. Security Council (UNSC) draft resolution extending an arms embargo on Iran that is due to expire in October, setting the stage for a great-power clash and likely veto in the U.N.’s principal security body, according to a copy of the draft obtained by Foreign Policy.

The U.S. draft resolution would oblige nations, including the United States, to take active measures to prevent Iran from supplying, selling, or transferring arms to other countries, unless the Security Council committee overseeing U.N. sanctions approves such transfers. The measure would also require all U.N. member states to inspect cargo transiting through their territory to check for illicit arms imports or exports from Iran, and grant them authority to seize and destroy such weapons.

It would also impose an asset freeze and travel ban on individuals responsible for violating the arms embargo, and authorize states to “seize, inspect, freeze (impound), confiscate, and dispose of any vessel in their ports.” In an effort to ratchet up pressure on Iran, the resolution would request that U.N. Secretary General António Guterres report any attacks by armed groups that threaten regional stability or interference in the freedom of navigation in the region. The resolution would also establish a special council committee to monitor compliance with the sanctions and appoint a panel of eight experts to investigate and compile information on potential violations of the embargo.

Bolton’s Book Is a Terrifying Warning About What Trump Could Still Do

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Americans’ notorious lack of geographic knowledge has given rise to a staple of television comedy: the person-in-the-street ambush interview, where the hapless victim is often asked to point out countries or U.S. states on a map. Hilarity ensues. Former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s book, The Room Where it Happened, features another hapless American wrestling with geographic questions, such as whether Finland is part of Russia. The problem with this comic setup, of course, is that the scene is playing in the White House, and the not-so-hapless victim is the president of the United States.The problem with this comic setup is that the scene is playing in the White House, and the not-so-hapless victim is the president of the United States.

Geopolitical ignorance ceases to be funny when pratfalls impact U.S. national security. Trump’s ignorance about the role allies and NATO play in U.S. national security has led him to say and do things in Europe that have led allies’ trust in the United States to plummet. His earliest interaction with NATO in 2017 had him question the U.S. commitment to the alliance’s mutual defense guarantee—Article 5, its very reason for existence—and it got worse from there. His ignorance of how NATO is funded and of where allies are in fact deficient has led him to charge that allies are taking advantage of the United States.

COVID-19 Threatens to Derail an Unsteady Democratic Transition in Sudan

Yasir Zaidan 

More than a year after the fall of dictator Omar al-Bashir’s regime, the coronavirus pandemic is hitting Sudan’s still-fragile democratic transition. Differences between the civilian and military leaders in the transitional, power-sharing government are growing, as the military consolidates its authority due to restrictive security measures that went into effect in April, including a ban on public gatherings and protests around the country, with particularly harsh restrictions in effect in the capital, Khartoum. COVID-19 has also brought chaos to Sudan’s troubled economy, damaging the transitional government’s credibility and popularity.

The road had not been smooth since last August, when Sudan’s powerful military agreed to an interim constitution, officially known as the Constitutional Declaration, with the Forces for Freedom and Change, an umbrella group of activists that had led the protest movement to end Bashir’s 30-year rule. The Constitutional Declaration inaugurated a three-year power-sharing period until national elections could be held, but it did not take long for relations between the civilian and military sides of the transitional government, known as the Sovereign Council, to come under strain


Jon Schwarz

IS JOHN BOLTON’S new memoir of his days in the Trump administration, “The Room Where It Happened,” an accurate account of what he saw in the White House as national security adviser? The answer is almost certainly yes, making it a valuable historical record. Journalists may be particularly interested to learn that Donald Trump said that we “should be executed.”

We can believe what Bolton says not because he has a long track record of honesty. On the contrary, he’s one of the most deceitful individuals ever to hold high office in the U.S. However, Bolton is also extremely intelligent by the standards of the right-wing and has a keen sense of his own self-interest. His lies in the past have always been about people and nations weaker than him, who couldn’t exact a price for his mendacity. By contrast, when he takes on those more powerful than him, such as a sitting president, we can be sure he’s careful to have reality on his side.

But whatever the merits of Bolton’s new book, it’s important to remember that he is no truth-telling hero. Here’s a short list of just some of his dreadful actions over his long and destructive career.

Nearly 9 Million Americans With Coronavirus Went Undiagnosed in March, Study Suggests

by Ethen Kim Lieser

New research from Penn State University is suggesting that the number of U.S. COVID-19 cases in March may have been 80 times greater than what was originally believed.

The findings, which were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, have revealed that there were more than 8.7 million coronavirus cases that health officials and the public never knew existed.

Many epidemiologists believe that the initial COVID-19 infection rate was undercounted due to testing issues, asymptomatic spreaders and high false-negative rates.

“Our results suggest that the overwhelming effects of COVID-19 may have less to do with the virus’ lethality and more to do with how quickly it was able to spread through communities initially,” the study’s co-author Justin Silverman, an assistant professor at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology and Department of Medicine, said in a release.

“A lower fatality rate coupled with a higher prevalence of disease and rapid growth of regional epidemics provides an alternative explanation of the large number of deaths and overcrowding of hospitals we have seen in certain areas of the world.”

Russia's Anti-Air S-400 System Can Kill Almost Anything in the Sky

by Charlie Gao

Key Point: This missile system is feared by pilots around the world. Everyone knows that this weapon is no joke.

The S-400 is one of the most controversial missiles in the world currently. The United States has imposed economic sanctions on countries simply for buying the system, but many of the world’s powers are interested in it, with India signing deals in September 2018 and China in April 2018. But what exactly makes the S-400 such a hot ticket item in the world today? How did it evolve from the earlier S-300?

The S-300 began development in the 1960s as a follow-up to a multitude of prior surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems. The primary missile it planned to replace is the S-75 (SA-2) missile system, which was famously used against the U-2 spy plane and deployed in Cuba and Vietnam. The missile underwent testing in the 1970s and entered service in 1978.

The primary improvement of the S-300 compared to earlier systems would be the ability to be multichannel—to utilize multiple guidance beams to guide missiles to different targets simultaneously. The earlier S-25 system was also multichannel, but it was extremely heavy and only deployed in stationary mounts. The American SAM-D (which would become the MIM-104 Patriot) was the first American land-based SAM with multichannel technology; it entered service three years later in 1981.

How America Can Maintain Its Alliances Even During the Coronavirus Pandemic

by Ryan Ashley Abby Bard 

In the midst of the coronavirus, the United States must adapt to the new “normal” imposed by the pandemic as it manages its alliances and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific. The pandemic has slowed down operational tempo, sidelined key U.S. naval assets, and limited America’s ability to conduct joint exercises. Military readiness is at stake. However, alliances aren’t just about sharpening the tactical edge, they’re also about the people that run them. As the coronavirus inhibits traditional alliance management activities, the United States should invest in nurturing the personal relationships that drive our relationships in the Indo-Pacific.

Management of U.S. alliances in the Indo-Pacific requires cooperation and trust between government and military officials located across the Pacific Ocean. As any experienced alliance hand knows, these relationships are often underpinned by the informal social events that are usually planned around alliance engagements. These seemingly lighthearted gatherings can be just as important to alliance relationships as the training or exercises themselves. In building personal bonds during times of peace, military members on all sides of alliances develop the interpersonal trust needed for 2:00 AM phone calls when conflict seems likely.

Putin’s New History of Europe and the Rehabilitation of Stalin

By George Friedman

Russian President Vladimir Putin likes to argue that World War II, and much of the suffering wrought by it, was the responsibility not just of Nazi Germany but of governments that went against it. He has made this argument before, but the most recent version delivered during Russia’s annual Victory Day celebration was the most comprehensive yet. He shifted the responsibility for Germany’s invasions and atrocities to other countries, and used that to minimize the Soviet Union’s responsibility for the war.

Previously, Putin had charged that the British and French agreement at Munich for German occupation of part of Czechoslovakia laid the groundwork for World War II, that U.S. trade with Germany before the war strengthened Germany, and that the Polish government caused the mass slaughter in Poland after its occupation by fleeing. All of this is designed to reduce the importance of the Hitler-Stalin pact and the Soviet invasion of Poland. It is in his telling no more consequential than many other events.

To be polemical for a moment, let me take each charge one at a time. The government did flee Poland as did governments of other countries after German occupation. Trying to create a government in exile was what many did. The idea that by leaving the country they were responsible for what happened is absurd. Poland was occupied by German and Soviet troops. The Germans rapidly began rounding up and executing any possible resistance, and the Soviets carried out the murder of thousands of Polish army officers they captured. The idea that the presence of Polish government officials in country would have stopped Hitler and Stalin in their tracks is self-evidently wrong.

The climate change evidence right before our eyes. And a note on COVID-19

By John Mecklin

There is an entire literature focused on improved communication of accurate information on climate change to general audiences, particularly general audiences at least sprinkled with – and in the United States, sometimes dominated by – climate change deniers. The advice from those who research climate change communication goes in many directions. To better reach those unconvinced that Earth is warming and human activity is the cause, one might try reducing use of the term “climate change,” instead speaking in terms of “resilience” to natural disasters of the sort climate change causes. One could employ non-scientist messengers, using, for example, trusted Republican or conservative spokespeople to communicate the reality of climate change to Republican or conservative audiences. Most anyone who has dealt much with the issue knows it also helps to include some sense of hope in your climate stories, and if possible, action items ordinary citizens can use to make a difference. After all, convincing your audience that climate change is real and caused by human activity – mainly, the burning of fossil fuels that release the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – won’t do much good, if at the same time you convince your readers that the fight to arrest climate change is a lost cause.

For this issue of the Bulletin, I decided to try what I call the “so deny this” approach, asking our authors to offer concrete, indisputable evidence that climate change is happening right now, right before our eyes, along with clear explanations of why that physical evidence can’t reasonably be explained, except as a result of warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions. The climate change they describe is not some vague theoretical effect that will come in the year 2100. It is here, now:

Trump’s Anti-Immigration Crusade Is About to Strike at the Heart of the U.S. Economy

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The United States and China are in a growing competition for technological leadership. China is seeking to match or surpass its main rival in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, quantum computing, and other sectors vital to future economic and military prowess. But if U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has its way, it could dismantle the United States’ most potent weapon—its ability to attract and retain the best science and engineering talent from across the planet.If Trump has his way, he could dismantle the United States’ most potent weapon—its ability to attract the best science and engineering talent from across the planet.

According to the Wall Street Journal and other reports, the administration is preparing to suspend all employment-based visas for foreign workers, including the H-1B visa used by many foreign engineers and scientists working in the United States. The administration is also considering curbing a program that allows foreign students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to work in the United States for up to three years after they finish their studies at a U.S university; more than 200,000 foreign graduates each year work under the program. Trump administration officials argue that the spike in unemployment during the coronavirus pandemic justifies tough restrictions on foreign workers so that any new jobs coming out of the downturn only go to Americans.

New global data reveal education technology’s impact on learning

By Jake Bryant, Felipe Child, Emma Dorn, and Stephen Hall

The promise of technology in the classroom is great: enabling personalized, mastery-based learning; saving teacher time; and equipping students with the digital skills they will need for 21st-century careers. Indeed, controlled pilot studies have shown meaningful improvements in student outcomes through personalized blended learning.1 During this time of school shutdowns and remote learning, education technology has become a lifeline for the continuation of learning.

As school systems begin to prepare for a return to the classroom, many are asking whether education technology should play a greater role in student learning beyond the immediate crisis and what that might look like. To help inform the answer to that question, this article analyzes one important data set: the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), published in December 2019 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Every three years, the OECD uses PISA to test 15-year-olds around the world on math, reading, and science. What makes these tests so powerful is that they go beyond the numbers, asking students, principals, teachers, and parents a series of questions about their attitudes, behaviors, and resources. An optional student survey on information and communications technology (ICT) asks specifically about technology use—in the classroom, for homework, and more broadly.

An Unlimited Attack on Limited War Draws a Counterattack on Theory

By Patrick Brady

A limited or small war, one Iraq War veteran quipped, “is one in which you’re getting shot at, but no one cares." Since colonial days, Americans have fought small wars, but only after World War II, have they called them limited. Donald Stoker, in Why America Loses Wars: Limited War and U.S. Strategy from the Korean War to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 2019), tells us that America loses wars because many tenets of limited war are wrong. His book has drawn favorable reviews, with a particularly perceptive one by Adam Wunische; and scattered criticism, with some calling it too theoretical to influence leaders, a put-down that seems at odds with the considerable sway that limited-war theory itself has long held over those same leaders. 

Seven Decades of Limited War with Limited Results

Ideas of limited war evolved during the Cold War, as a constrained but ill-defined form of armed conflict meant to avoid triggering a nuclear conflagration. In the global context, the United States defended South Korea and South Vietnam to deter Communist aggression elsewhere. Yet the Cold War setting led the United States to restrain how it fought, lest China or the Soviet Union intervene, as China did in Korea and could have again in Vietnam