11 July 2020

India and Pakistan Could Start a Nuclear War (And Billions Would Die)

by Sebastien Roblin
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Here's What You Need to Remember: Even a “limited” India-Pakistan nuclear war would significantly affect every person on the globe, be they a school teacher in Nebraska, a factory-worker in Shaanxi province or a fisherman in Mombasa.

Between February 26 and 27 in 2019, Indian and Pakistani warplanes launched strikes on each other’s territory and engaged in aerial combat for the first time since 1971. Pakistan ominously hinted it was convening its National Command Authority, the institution which can authorize a nuclear strike.

The two states, which have retained an adversarial relationship since their founding in 1947, between them deploy nuclear warheads that can be delivered by land, air and sea.

However, those weapons are inferior in number and yield to the thousands of nuclear weapons possessed by Russia and the United States, which include megaton-class weapons that can wipe out a metropolis in a single blast.

Some commenters have callously suggested that means a “limited regional nuclear war” would remain an Indian and Pakistani problem. People find it difficult to assess the risk of rare but catastrophic events; after all, a full-scale nuclear war has never occurred before, though it has come close to happening.

Indian, Chinese Soldiers Move Away from Site of Deadly Clash

Aijaz Hussain, Emily Schmall and Sam McNeil

Indian and Chinese soldiers have backed away from the site of a deadly clash last month in the Galwan Valley along the undemarcated border, Indian security officials said, a sign of the countries’ progress in disengaging from a months-long standoff.

The two sides also appeared to have dismantled recent construction along the river valley high in the Karakoram mountains, satellite images showed.

Three Indian security officials familiar with the developments said soldiers on both sides have moved back about a kilometer (0.6 mile) from the site of their clash on June 15, when military personnel fought with rocks, clubs and their fists in hand-to-hand combat that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter and in keeping with government regulations. 

China Has a Plan to Crush the Tibetan Diaspora

Gordon G. Chang 

The atheists in Beijing are eagerly waiting for him to die so that they can pick his successor. They will do almost anything to gain control of Tibetan Buddhism—and all religion in China for that matter. 

Tibetans wear the robes of tragedy. His Holiness fled China-controlled Tibet in 1959, crossing the Himalayas on foot into India just ahead of Chinese soldiers. He and his followers have now settled into the foothills of Dharamshala.

In that town and around the world, Tibetans are now celebrating the Year of Gratitude for His Holiness, which began July 1. The famed monk, despite the celebration, sees his work is not yet done. “I will also be there for around twenty years,” the Dalai Lama said on June 5, while giving the Bodhicitta empowerment, which is intended to cultivate an altruistic, awakened mind. 

June 5 was an auspicious holy day in the Buddhist calendar for it marked the birth, enlightenment, and death of Buddha.

America and China Are Entering the Dark Forest

Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was previously a professor of history at Harvard, New York University and Oxford. He is the founder and managing director of Greenmantle LLC, a New York-based advisory firm.

“We are in the foothills of a Cold War.” Those were the words of Henry Kissinger when I interviewed him at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Beijing last November. 

The observation in itself was not wholly startling. It had seemed obvious to me since early last year that a new Cold War — between the U.S. and China — had begun. This insight wasn’t just based on interviews with elder statesmen. Counterintuitive as it may seem, I had picked up the idea from binge-reading Chinese science fiction.

First, the history. What had started out in early 2018 as a trade war over tariffs and intellectual property theft had by the end of the year metamorphosed into a technology war over the global dominance of the Chinese company Huawei Technologies Co. in 5G network telecommunications; an ideological confrontation in response to Beijing’s treatment of the Uighur minority in China’s Xinjiang region and the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong; and an escalation of old frictions over Taiwan and the South China Sea.

China’s Class of COVID-19

By Thi Thuy Duong Pham and Dickson Agbaji

“I feel happy about graduating this year, but I am also scared about the uncertainties of the next stage of life and the virus since nobody knows when we will solve this problem,” said Hu Qixuan, a fresh graduate from Zhejiang University. These feelings are not unique to Hu. Many in the graduating class of 2020 in China and everywhere across the world hold similar positions.

By July 2020, about 9 million students will graduate from tertiary institutions in China’s “graduation season.” Now nicknamed the class of COVID-19, these graduates will enter the labor market in one of the most unfriendly times since the Great Depression. We talked with graduating students around China in the hope of understanding how the notorious pandemic is shaping their current state and plans for the future.

Early June, different Chinese municipal governments and universities, especially those in Beijing, allowed graduating students to return to their campuses. Initially, students in many schools returned to their universities in batches, with strict quarantine requirements. They hoped to finally reunite with their friends after months of social distancing. However, following reports of a cluster of cases in Beijing, the government issued a notice instructing the remaining graduating students who had yet to arrive to cancel their trips. The decision, without doubt, stirred up a collective sense of disappointment.

China’s Maritime Militia Vessels May Be Military Objectives During Armed Conflict

By James Kraska

Last year, outgoing Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richards warned his Chinese counterpart, Vice Adm. Shen Jinlong, that the United States was aware that China uses a militia fishing fleet to push its illegal claims in the East and South China Seas. Richards warned that the U.S. Navy would respond to aggressive acts by those ships as though they were part of the armed forces. Many of these fishing vessels are indistinguishable from China’s ordinary fishing fleet, as they engage in a variety of peacetime missions and receive military training to conduct operations during armed hostilities.

In the event of naval conflict in the region, the vessels of the Chinese maritime militia could be used to support some PRC military missions. Some of the maritime militia may be coastal fishing craft that are immune from capture during armed conflict but may be attacked if they assist the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) military effort in any manner. Most of the maritime militia vessels operate on high seas and are usually engaged in commercial fishing, but occasionally are called on to assist the PLAN or China Coast Guard (CCG). This class of ships may be captured as lawful prize during armed conflict and they also may be attacked for such time as assist the PLAN during hostilities. Finally, a third category of fishing vessels operate as de facto naval auxiliaries and operate in conjunction with the PLAN and CCG. There is no universal definition for naval auxiliaries, but such ships are subject to the same treatment as warships and during armed conflict may be sunk on sight outside of neutral waters. These ships are more formally incorporated into the operations of the PLAN. Distinguishing among the various units of the maritime militia and understanding their targetability during any naval war presents a challenge to naval intelligence collection and analysis to discern the nature of the vessels and their command and control structure.

Maritime Militia

See These Missiles? China Might Use Them To Someday Sink an Aircraft Carrier

by Sebastien Roblin

On October 1, 2019, the People’s Liberation Army rolled out an impressive procession of advanced new weapons systems to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the People’s Republic of China.

Still, many of the weapons officially debuted that day, like the DF-17, the first hypersonic missile to officially enter regular service, had been public knowledge for some time.

But that was not the case for the regiment of sixteen ten-wheel TEL trucks that came rolling past Tiananmen Square, each lugging two octagonal launch canisters with the designation ‘DF-100’ prominently stenciled on their sides. You can see the video footage here.

The DF, or Dongfeng (“East Wind”) designation, is mostly reserved for China’s many types of ballistic missiles, which arc high into the atmosphere before plunging down at tremendous speeds. But the existence of the DF-100 had never been reported before.

Curiously, the announcer seemed to ignore the DF designation.

After COVID-19: Rebooting Business in China

By Jennifer Choo, Jean Oi, Christopher Thomas, and Xue (Xander) Wu

China was the first country to experience the ravages of COVID-19, having lost 4,634 people to the pandemic with 83,565 confirmed cases to date. Draconian measures were used to bend the curve and essentially stop the spread of the disease, although reports indicate that recently new cases have emerged, including those stemming from a Beijing market. For the most part, however, China has loosened restrictions and re-opened large parts of its economy. Individuals scan government-mandated QR health codes with their smartphones, and daily life has been restored to some sense of normalcy with restaurants serving customers and retail shops open to shoppers.

In this pivotal and important time, with streams of foreign policy arguments and opinion pieces sharply analyzing current U.S.-China geopolitical tensions continuing to pour forth, we at the Stanford China Program wanted to take stock of how businesses and the overall economy are coping as China tries to reopen its businesses and reboot its economy. Toward this effort, we conducted a collaborative survey of 135 senior executives in China from May 13-26. The survey was designed to help us better comprehend the variation in how Chinese businesses are reopening as well as how Chinese business leaders are viewing their prospects for the future. The research findings, based on one of the largest surveys to date of senior executives in China, helped us explore the following types of questions: What kinds of businesses have done better and what kinds have done worse? What role has the government played in economic assistance and business reopening? And how do China’s business leaders view the deterioration in U.S.-China relations, the possibility of decoupling, and even future access to technology?

Overall Picture of China’s Economic Recovery

Illusion, Awakening, Rage, and Response: The United States Strategic Approach to China

Assaf Orion
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On May 20, 2020, the White House released a document titled “United States Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China,” which describes China's challenge to the United States and the US response strategy. Overall, the document is a direct extension of President Donald Trump’s National Security Strategy of December 2017, which focuses on the strategic "great power competition.” On May 29, President Trump delivered a speech in which he attacked China's policy and conduct with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic and to Hong Kong. The President described the United States response and spared no criticism of his predecessors, whose policies, he maintains, enabled China to harm American interests. Although the document and the speech reflect the positions and style of the Trump administration, large portions express positions that are well established in both parties and across the American establishment. The COVID-19 pandemic and the widespread protests against racial discrimination are currently drawing a great deal of attention, but they do not eclipse China’s position at the heart of the US agenda. On the contrary, in the midst of an election year, these developments serve to polarize and radicalize positions, including on China. For Israel, the document and the speech clarify the United States’ view of China – including the narrative, the mood, and the emotional dimension involved in this approach – and explain the strategic context within which Jerusalem must examine and recalculate its policy route with both powers.

In a document titled “United States Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China,” released by the White House on May 20, 2020, and even more so in President Donald Trump’s speech on May 29 in the same context, the United States presented the history of its policy toward China, which since the 1970s was based on hope that engagement would lead China to economic, social, and political openness, and to its growth into a responsible and constructive international actor. According to the US, this policy proved to be a groundless illusion and was replaced with a clear-eyed assessment: not only has China not fulfilled this expectation, but it has exploited the aid provided by the United States to undermine and weaken the benefactor. Beyond cold interests, this description reveals an emotional layer of dashed hope and insult stemming from the sense of being taken advantage of, ingratitude, being misled, and betrayal.

China’s Sticks and Carrots in Central Europe: The Logic and Power of Chinese Influence

A new comparative study of the MapInfluenCE project has revealed that China has been using a targeted mix of ‘carrots’ and ‘sticks’ to increase its influence in Central European countries. Findings reveal that China does not use a ‘one size fits all’ approach towards the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, instead relying on varying local political climates, existing geopolitical standing and level of bilateral interactions to shape its strategy and tactics in the region. The study was undertaken by the MapInfluenCE project and involved collaborative research across these four Central European nations.

Understanding China’s ‘carrots’ and ‘sticks’ strategy in Central Europe is especially important following the announcement that the President of the Czech Senate, Miloš Vystrčil, plans to visit Taiwan in August 2020. The question of whether China will retaliate against the Czech Republic and how is now a burning question in Prague.

This extensive study, which has mapped China’s strategy and tactical approach in Central Europe in the past fifteen years, reveals that the mix of ‘carrots’ and ‘sticks’ differs greatly across the region. In Hungary, China has managed relations exclusively with ‘carrots’, without the need to apply ‘sticks’. In Poland, it has employed mainly ‘carrots’, while in the Czech Republic, a state with a tradition of opposing China, the Chinese party-state has used a mixture of ‘carrots’ while recently increasing its use of ‘sticks’. For specific reasons, in Slovakia, China’s influence at a level where the notion of ‘carrots’ and ‘sticks’ is applied only in a limited way as Beijing continues to remain on the sidelines of that country’s geopolitical interests.

Has China gained an edge on the US in the Gulf?

This week brought more economic bad news for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised downward its forecasts for economic contraction this year as a result of both COVID-19 and declining oil prices, as we report here

The IMF now projects a 7.6% contraction in gross domestic product, a key measure of economic output, for the GCC in 2020, compared with its April forecast that there would be a 3% decline this year.

Contributing to the drop is a projection that Saudi Arabia’s economy will shrink 6.8%, nearly tripling the April estimation of a 2.3% decline.

The downturn in GCC economies has limited the prospects and planni

The annexation conversation is far from over

Annexation by Israel of occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank was never likely to happen on July 1, as many observers assumed. The date was not a deadline; it was a window opened by the Israeli government to carry out annexation before US President Donald Trump leaves office.

Unhappily for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that window could slam shut in a matter of months, if current polling trends continue and Mr Trump loses the presidential election in November.

Certainly, the fact that no dramatic move took place last week does not indicate that annexation is off the table. Indeed, following meetings in Israel with US officials last week, Mr Netanyahu’s office suggested that a US announcement on annexation could happen within days.

The dithering, according to the Israeli media, reflects divisions inside the US administration – despite the fact that its so-called “Middle East peace plan”, published earlier in the year, approved Israel’s annexation of as much as a third of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.

Don't Be Fooled: Iran's So-Called 'Stealth Fighter' Can't Actually Fly

by Sebastien Roblin
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Here's What You Need to Remember: Tehran’s predilection for fabricating easily disproven evidence of its military capabilities testifies to the revolutionary state’s enduring sense of insecurity.

There can be such a thing as posturing too hard.

Iran’s aviation industry has accomplishments to boast about despite operating under heavy sanctions for nearly forty years. It has managed to keep once state-of-the-art U.S.-built F-4 Phantom and F-14 Tomcat fighters in operational condition for decades, including nine years of high-intensity aerial warfare with Iraq, despite being cut off from spare parts from the United States. It has refurbished the rusting hulks of old F-5 Freedom Fighters into twin-vertical stabilizer Saeqeh fighters, reverse-engineered their J85 turbojet engines, and created a variety of viable capable drones.

All of these scrappy-underdog accomplishments fall far short of developing a working stealth fighter. Russia, which possesses a mature military aviation industry, has basically thrown the towel on its Su-57 stealth fighter program (at least on the short term) because the expenses and technical challenges have proven so prohibitive. Much wealthier countries ranging from France, Germany, India, Japan and the UK are only in the early stages of developing their own.

Scant Foreign Policy Choices for a Troubled and Divided Russia

By: Pavel K. Baev

For months, and particularly during the end of June and start of July, Russian politics was centered on ensuring the desired result in the vote on the set of amendments to the constitution. By resorting to crude manipulations and fraud, President Vladimir Putin secured his “triumph” and can now claim yet another (his fifth) presidential term in the elections scheduled for 2024 (see EDM, July 2). His rule, however, much like the blatantly falsified vote, is shaped by gross distortions of facts and figures (Novaya Gazeta, July 2). The official data on the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic—which shows a gradual decline from 11,000 new infections a day in the first half of May to 6,500 cases presently, with very low mortality—entirely fails to reflect the real scope of the disaster (Meduza.io, July 1). Economic indicators are also carefully doctored: even as real incomes and household consumption keep contracting, government forecasts continue to predict a fast recovery (Rosbalt, June 30). Putin cannot order the recession to stop, but he also does not want to lead the struggle against the coronavirus; therefore, he has turned to the area where he used to thrive—foreign policy.

The most immediate problem is growing in neighboring Belarus, where President Alyaksandr Lukashenka faces unexpectedly determined opposition in the forthcoming presidential elections and has opted to put his contenders behind bars (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, July 1; see EDM, June 23, July 1). Seeking to show his continued good rapport with Russia, Lukashenka attended the parade in Moscow on June 24 and then stood next to Putin at a ceremony for opening a huge monument at the site of the tragic 1942 Battle of Rzhev (Kommersant, June 30). Putin may have mixed feelings about the maverick Belarusian head of state, but much the same way as in domestic politics, the Kremlin leader’s preference vis-à-vis Minsk is for “cementing” autocratic control rather than experimenting with unpredictable changes.

Vladimir Putin: Russia's weak strongman

By Shannon Gormley
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Vladimir Putin inspires many thoughts (“He is an evil man,” thinks John McCain in his memoirs; “Will he become my new best friend?” thinks Trump in a tweet), but none so common as two competing ideas of the Russian president’s power, each ruminated upon by his adversaries but each seeming to oppose the other: “Putin is weak,” think some; or, think others, “Putin is strong.”

In fact Putin is both weak and strong. The relationship between each quality is more dynamic than mere coexistence, and his frailty reinforces his menace and his menace reinforces his frailty, as Russia-watchers have observed. The more insecure Putin becomes, the more frightened he becomes; the more frightened he becomes, the more aggressive he becomes; the more aggressive he becomes, the more reckless he becomes; the more reckless he becomes, the more insecure he becomes—and so on and so forth as Crimea is annexed, American elections are meddled with, Syria is sacrificed.

And Putin has perhaps never been more insecure than he is at this moment; naturally, he has just made a grab for lifelong power. As his popularity has declined, he has held a referendum to extend presidential term limits that could allow him to rule into his 80s. It is out of weakness that he has attempted to ensure he can rule as a strongman for life.

The F-35 Is Going Nuclear (And That's Bad News For America's Enemies)

by Sebastien Roblin
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Here's What You Need To Remember: Decisions to escalate to tactical nuclear warfare—that is, using smaller nuclear weapons against frontline military target—may become less appealing, when the likelihood of a deadly riposte by nuclear-armed F-35s must be considered. On the downside, it might also motivate nuclear preemptive strikes on F-35 bases.

After years of expensive development, the first fully combat-capable Block IIIF F-35 stealth fighter are due to enter service in 2019. However, the Pentagon is already looking ahead to adding dozens of additional capabilities to a follow-up model called the Block 4—an upgrade so ambitious, its already budgeted to cost a whopping $16 billion.

A companion article details the major software and hardware upgrades to the F-35’s sensors, communication and propulsion systems, as well as Block 4’s troubled financial footing. Here, we’ll look at the new weapon systems due to be integrated in the Block 4 that will significantly expand the F-35’s maritime strike, air-to-ground capabilities and air-to-air lethality.

Congress Shouldn't Pass Another Coronavirus Bailout: Here's Why

by Rachel Greszler
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Following job gains of 2.7 million in May, the economy added 4.8 million more jobs in June.

And even as the labor force grew by 1.7 million workers, the unemployment rate fell by 2.2 percentage points, from 13.3% to 11.1%.

While unemployment is still high, the faster-than-expected turnaround and record gains show the resiliency of the American economy and prove that this is not another Great Recession.

The American economy just added more jobs in two months than it did in the 46 months after the height of unemployment during the Great Recession.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans have shown their willingness and desire to return to work, to stores, to religious services, and to medical appointments.

Moreover, the report indicates that Americans are weaning off of federal supports such as Paycheck Protection Program loans, paid family leave, and unemployment insurance benefits.

Can the U.S. Stop Syria’s Kurds From Selling Oil to Assad?

by Matthew Petti 
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The United States should provide the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurds a waiver to sell their oil on the international market, the head of a Syrian Kurdish news agency argued.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces currently control the largest oil fields in Syria, which President Donald Trump has sent U.S. troops to protect. But the Kurdish-led opposition is unable to sell the oil legally, forcing them to deal with Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad, whom the United States has condemned as a dictator.

Thomas McClure, head of the Rojava Information Center, said that the Kurdish-led administration has repeatedly asked the U.S. government for exemptions to the U.S. economic sanctions blocking Syrian oil exports.

“Why is it that here in the Northeast the administration can provide bread, can provide basic shelter? It’s because of the oil,” he said at a Tuesday videoconference hosted by the Los Angeles World Affairs Council. “If the administration here doesn’t want to let its people starve, it has to sell its oil to the regime.”

U.S. sanctions dating back to 2011 make it illegal to invest in or import Syrian oil. The sanctions include an exemption for older, mostly-defunct Syrian rebel groups, but make no mention of the Syrian Democratic Forces currently in control of northeastern Syria.

Why Ending the Korean War Within 5 Years Is Not Possible

by Jung Da-min 

Editor’s Note: As the world commemorates the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, the Center for the National Interest‘s Korean Studies team decided to ask dozens of the world’s top experts a simple question: Do you believe that the Korean War will finally come to an end before its next major anniversary in 2025? The below piece is an answer to that question. Please click here to see even more perspectives on this important topic. 

Although the Korean Armistice Agreement put an “end” to the 1950-53 Korean War between North and South Korea, the Koreas are still technically at war seven decades later.

Days before the two Koreas marked the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War this June, tensions on the Korean Peninsula started to mount again with North Korea beefing up its criticism against the South over the issue of propaganda leaflets. The North proceeded to demolish the inter-Korean liaison office in the border city of Kaesong as a retaliatory measure against the sending of propaganda leaflets by defector groups based in the South, and warned of taking additional military actions. The South Korean government has also taken a stern stance, with the South Korean military warning the North that it would pay a “price” if it carries out any provocative actions.

Reverting Back to 'Cold War' Thinking: The Real Nuclear Danger Everyone Is Missing

by Zack Brown
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American policymakers “have reverted back to Cold War thinking” on US nuclear weapons, argues former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry in his new book with Ploughshares Fund’s Tom Collina, “The Button: The New Arms Race and Presidential Power from Truman to Trump.” 

In the book, the two authors make the case that “today’s military leaders have learned the wrong lessons from the Cold War and are keeping the most dangerous aspects of US nuclear policy when they no longer need to.” 

Chief among these is the hyper-focus on a “bolt-from-the-blue” Russian nuclear attack, a threat around which American nuclear forces - with their reliance on presidential sole authority and missiles on hair-trigger status - have long been designed to counter, said Perry and Collina on an interview with the Ploughshares Fund podcast, Press The Button

But this danger, if it ever existed, is now “vanishingly small,” they wrote. “Smaller, indeed than the risk that we might start a nuclear war by mistake. And once you make that mental shift - that the real threat is blundering into war - you come to see existing nuclear policy as very, very dangerous.” 

The European Union and the search for digital sovereignty: Building “Fortress Europe” or preparing for a new world?

by Frances Burwell, Kenneth Propp
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When the new European Commission took office under President Ursula von der Leyen, enhancing digital capabilities across the European Union immediately emerged as a top priority. Even in her first statement before being confirmed as European Commission president, von der Leyen called for Europe to achieve “technological sovereignty in some critical technology areas.” Despite the priority given to technological or digital sovereignty, there has been little clear definition of what the term actually means. But it was clearly much more than a rhetorical flourish—by March 2020, the European Commission had outlined new legislative proposals covering the development and use of artificial intelligence, the participation of “high-risk” vendors in critical networks, and the management of data.

The COVID-19 pandemic has since only elevated the debate about Europe’s digital sovereignty. Combined with geopolitical concerns, including growing sensitivity about China’s rapidly increasing role in the European economy, the pandemic is prompting a review of Europe’s strategic position and appears to be strengthening a belief that Europe should seek greater “strategic autonomy”. However the EU redefines sovereignty post-COVID-19—including technological or digital sovereignty—the impact will not be limited to Europe and European companies. Indeed, many of these EU initiatives could run counter the strong position of US and Chinese digital companies in the European market and will inevitably impact the transatlantic partnership.

Striking the Balance: US Army Force Posture in Europe, 2028—A Study Sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of the Army

Authors: J.P. Clark and C. Anthony Pfaff

Within the context of Europe, the US Army must develop a force posture that best navigates the tensions between deterring or defeating armed conflict at acceptable cost, successfully competing below armed conflict, and maintaining global responsiveness and institutional flexibility through the global operating model and dynamic force employment. While Russia’s economy, and consequently military capability will likely shrink over the next 10 years, which can make them more dangerous as the Kremlin continues to try to punch above its weight. The ideal force posture needs to accomplish a range of on-going and contingency missions and also be adaptive enough to remain viable despite any number of potential swings in resources, military balance, or the domestic politics of allies. This study recommends five possible strategic approaches and specifies what conditions and priorities optimize each.

The principal investigators recommend invest in a multidomain alliance. This strategic approach enables the joint force and multinational partners to get the most of their capabilities and makes best use of the Army’s top modernization priorities, such as long-range fires in a way that alters the strategic balance of a theater to avert a potentially catastrophic, albeit low probability, scenario of armed conflict. More importantly, this strategic approach is far more stable in a crisis, as it does not place policymakers in having to rush this critical, escalatory capability into theater at a moment of high tension. Moreover, invest in a multidomain alliance has the flexibility to allow a later build-up of heavy forces if conditions still warrant.

The role of technology in online misinformation

Sarah Kreps

States have long interfered in the domestic politics of other states. Foreign election interference is nothing new, nor are misinformation campaigns. The new feature of the 2016 election was the role of technology in personalizing and then amplifying the information to maximize the impact. As a 2019 Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report concluded, malicious actors will continue to weaponize information and develop increasingly sophisticated tools for personalizing, targeting, and scaling up the content.

This report focuses on those tools. It outlines the logic of digital personalization, which uses big data to analyze individual interests to determine the types of messages most likely to resonate with particular demographics. The report speaks to the role of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and neural networks in creating tools that distinguish quickly between objects, for example a stop sign versus a kite, or in a battlefield context, a combatant versus a civilian. Those same technologies can also operate in the service of misinformation through text prediction tools that receive user inputs and produce new text that is as credible as the original text itself. The report addresses potential policy solutions that can counter digital personalization, closing with a discussion of regulatory or normative tools that are less likely to be effective in countering the adverse effects of digital technology.

The Philippines Anti-Terrorism Act: Who Guards the Guardians?

By Ronald U. Mendoza and Dion L. Romano

In a move that surprised many, in early June 2020 amid the Philippines’ COVID-19 pandemic challenges, President Rodrigo Duterte certified as “urgent” the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. In just a matter of days, the House of Representatives dispensed with any further review process and accepted the Senate version of the bill, then promptly sent it to the president for signature. On July 3, Duterte signed this bill into law, notwithstanding calls for him to veto it.

Early on, the bill generated extensive backlash and critique from different sectors across youth groups, academia, church, business, and civil society. Critics had a number of objections: ill timing; credibility issues among the implementing agencies; the risk of abuse; and potentially unconstitutional provisions. The law created division when it should have unified the country against the rising threat of terrorism. This article provides a sober review of terrorism issues in the Philippines, and hopefully helps promote a better understanding toward a unified way forward.

Terrorism Risk in the Philippines Is Real and Increasing

The Evolution of U.S. Military Policy from the Constitution to the Present, Volume IV

by M. Wade Markel, Alexandra Evans, Miranda Priebe, Adam Givens, Jameson Karns, Gian Gentile

Tracing the evolution of the U.S. Army throughout American history, the authors of this four-volume series show that there is no such thing as a "traditional" U.S. military policy. Rather, the laws that authorize, empower, and govern the U.S. armed forces emerged from long-standing debates and a series of legislative compromises between 1903 and 1940.

Volume IV covers the period from 1970 to 2015, from changes to U.S. military policy that resulted from the Vietnam War through years of persistent conflict following the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks. In spite of significant changes in the strategic context during this period, the fundamental laws underpinning U.S. military policy remained largely unchanged. Volume IV also discusses how the demands of persistent conflict since the 9/11 terrorist attacks have led to increased use of individuals and units from the reserve components.