24 August 2020

Shifting Sands of Time: India’s Approach toward Israel

P. R. Kumaraswamy 

Over the past hundred years India’s policy toward Israel has faced numerous challenges and prompted different approaches. While there were no problems or disputes with Israel, India pursued a policy of recognition without relations. The end of the Cold War, the shift in Middle East dynamics after the Kuwaiti crisis (1990-1991), and India’s economic growth prompted India to chart a new course that better reflects its interests and its desire to project its strength. Although normalization has been in place for over a quarter of a century, relations between India and Israel continue to arouse much interest, both in India and abroad, primarily due to the gradualist approach and the efforts to integrate Israel into a wider Middle East policy. Under the Narendra Modi government, Israel is “special,” and India has successfully skirted the negative implications of relations with the Jewish state, but at the same time Israel is “normal,” given that India no longer fears overt relations.


In his campaign for the September 2019 Knesset election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used images of three international figures: United States President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Though a rather unlikely montage, the inclusion of the first two leaders is understandable. The US is Israel’s principal strategic ally, and bilateral ties have grown particularly strong under Trump, while the Russian immigrants comprise a sizable portion of the Israeli electorate. But why Modi? When the number of Israelis of Indian origin is insignificant, how many votes was Netanyahu planning to gain by playing the Modi card? Rather, instead of trying to lure voters, Israel’s longest-serving Prime Minister was conveying a powerful message: under his leadership, Israel was not alone but has been courted by important global personalities (PM Modi features in Netanyahu’s election campaign in Israel,” 2019). Intentionally or otherwise, Netanyahu has heightened India’s importance in Israel’s foreign policy calculus. How did this happen? Or was it always the case?

China’s dangerous Taiwan temptation

Robert Kagan

When the Japanese invaded Manchuria in 1931, and the United States and the League of Nations began peppering them with public notes and statements calling on them to desist, humorist Will Rogers observed that, “every time they get another note they take another town.” “We had better quit writing notes,” he suggested, or soon they “will have all China.” Six years later, the Japanese did try to take all of China, and more. A major reason was that Japanese leaders believed, and the Manchurian crisis offered the first clear evidence, that the United States was ultimately not prepared to back up its denunciations with force.

Today, we hurl condemnations and warnings at China for extinguishing freedom in Hong Kong, brutally oppressing the Uighur Muslim minority and making aggressive military moves along the Indian border, in the South China Sea and the East China Sea. We ban Chinese companies, engage in tariff wars and excoriate the Chinese for their role in spreading the novel coronavirus. Our political parties compete to outdo each other in anti-Chinese rhetoric and policy proposals. And so far, our words and sanctions have been cost-free. But if this confrontation were to move to the next level, would we be ready, materially and psychologically?

China Alone

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NEW DELHI – In his most recent New Year’s speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that 2020 would be “a milestone.” Xi was right, but not in the way he expected. Far from having “friends in every corner of the world,” as he boasted in his speech, China has severely damaged its international reputation, alienated its partners, and left itself with only one real lever of power: brute force. Whether the prospect of isolation thwarts Xi’s imperialist ambitions, however, remains to be seen.

Historians will most likely view 2020 as a watershed year. Thanks to COVID-19, many countries learned hard lessons about China-dependent supply chains, and international attitudes toward China’s communist regime shifted.

The tide began to turn when it was revealed that the Communist Party of China hid crucial information from the world about COVID-19, which was first detected in Wuhan – a finding confirmed by a recent US intelligence report. Making matters worse, Xi attempted to capitalize on the pandemic, first by hoarding medical products – a market China dominates – and then by stepping up aggressive expansionism, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region. This is driving rapid change in the region’s geostrategic landscape, with other powers preparing to counter China.

For starters, Japan now seems set to begin cooperating with the Five Eyes – the world’s oldest intelligence-gathering and -sharing alliance, comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. A new “Six Eyes” alliance would serve as a crucial pillar of Indo-Pacific security.

Let’s end the COVID-19 blame game: Reconsidering China’s role in the pandemic

Jamie P. Horsley

According to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, “today we’re all still wearing masks and watching the pandemic’s body count rise because the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] failed in its promises to the world.” This was the most prominent recent example of the Trump administration blaming China, particularly the Chinese Communist Party, for the COVID-19 pandemic that surfaced in Wuhan, Hubei Province at the end of 2019. China, in turn, has accused the United States of mismanagement and failure to take the pandemic seriously.

The Chinese party-state did mishandle aspects of the initial outbreak. But based on what we now know about COVID-19’s early and asymptomatic transmission and many countries’ ineffective responses, it is not clear that greater transparency in the first weeks would have prevented its spread overseas. Given both this uncertainty and that COVID-19 is the most devastating global health and economic crisis since World War II, the United States and China should end the blame game over the pandemic, collaborate to conquer it, and lay the groundwork for more effectively handling future outbreaks.


An Answer to Aggression

By Aaron L. Friedberg
The Chinese Communist Party’s initial mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent attempts to exploit the crisis have produced enduring problems for the rest of the world. But the CCP’s behavior has also helped clarify the threat that China poses to the security, prosperity, and well-being of other countries. Public opinion polls show that over 60 percent of Americans of both political parties now hold a negative view of Beijing’s leadership and intentions, and similar attitudes can be found across the democratic world. This heightened awareness of a shared danger creates an opportunity for the United States and its allies to formulate a new and more effective strategy for dealing with China.

For the past four decades, Western democracies have hoped that engagement with China would cause its leaders to abandon any revisionist ambitions they might harbor and accept their country’s place as a “responsible stakeholder” in the U.S.-led international order. Expanding flows of trade and investment would, it was thought, also encourage Beijing to proceed down the path toward greater economic and political openness. The policy of engagement was not absurd on its face; it was a gamble rather than an outright blunder. But as has become increasingly obvious, the West’s wager has failed to pay off.

Why Palestinians Need to Reclaim the PLO

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The COVID-19 pandemic and the Israeli government’s plans to further annex occupied Palestinian territories have shown the Palestinian leadership—once again—what it means to run a government without sovereignty. The recently announced deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is further evidence of the leadership’s inability to influence events that shape the fate of the Palestinian people.

These recent developments underscore the failure of the Palestinian Authority (PA) statehood project, and with it the two-state solution paradigm. Israel’s annexation plans—which are still on the table, according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—would leave fragmented West Bank enclaves under nominal PA control, with ultimate control exercised by Israel, as has been the case since the occupation began in 1967.

Similarly, Hamas would rule the Gaza Strip within the narrow confines of the Israeli siege imposed in 2007 and supported by Egypt. These outcomes are neither what the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leadership envisaged when it signed the Oslo Accords with Israel beginning in 1993, nor what the international community intended to sponsor when it agreed to support peace efforts in the region.

Why Israel-UAE deal doesn't merit the hype

Republicans and Democrats have hailed the Israel-UAE normalization agreement, with some observers going so far as to call it a geopolitical earthquake. But does the agreement merit the hype?

One way to look at the question is to consider what genuine regional shakeups have looked like in the past. An “earthquake” must involve some transformational regional or even global realignment. Consider the first earthquake in Arab-Israeli diplomacy. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s dramatic visit to Jerusalem in 1977 led not only to Israel’s first peace treaty with an Arab state, but it also caused Egypt to exit the Soviet orbit and join an American-backed axis. It also paved the way for a return of territory (the Sinai) and ended hostilities with Israel after fighting multiple regional wars, some of which risked direct conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Or consider the 2003 American invasion of Iraq, which led to the removal of Iran’s most formidable Arab adversary and a shifting balance in the sectarian leadership of the country. Iraq went from a Sunni-Arab balancer of Iran to a country whose new leadership had taken refuge in Iran. The ensuing wars provoked not only regional alarm about rising Iranian power but also, separately, civil strife that planted the seeds for the rise of the Islamic State.

So yes, the Middle East has faced transformative moments. But the Israel-UAE agreement is not one of them.

The West's Role in Belarus

by William Courtney and Michael Haltzel

Belarus may be moving to the verge of political change. Mass demonstrations and labor strikes protesting President Alexander Lukashenko's re-election, which is widely seen as fraudulent, along with police brutality are powering the shift. Whether any transition is peaceful and improves governance may depend in part on the West. If allowed to help, the West might facilitate dialogue and a stable power transfer while defusing geopolitical risks.…

The remainder of this commentary is available at realclearworld.com.

William Courtney is an adjunct senior fellow at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation and was U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan, Georgia, and a U.S.-Soviet commission to implement the Threshold Test Ban Treaty. Michael Haltzel, Chairman of the Transatlantic Leadership Network and Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins University, is former European Policy Advisor to then-Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

This commentary originally appeared on RealClearWorld on August 17, 2020. Commentary gives RAND researchers a platform to convey insights based on their professional expertise and often on their peer-reviewed research and analysis.

Resetting the way we teach science is vital for all our futures

COVID-19 has forced more than 1 billion students and youth out of school, triggering the world’s biggest educational technology (edtech) implementation in history, almost overnight. Schools and universities are scrambling to redesign their teaching and learning to allow for students of all ages to study from home. While this raises huge practical and logistic issues for students, teachers and parents (especially women), it opens up a world of opportunities to reimagine what learning looks like in the 21st century.

The pressures that individuals, organisations and societies face in this crisis are accelerating the Fourth Industrial Revolution, blurring the boundaries between the physical, digital and biological worlds. Are our educational systems preparing students for a world driven by disruptive scientific and technological advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, biotechnology, clean energy, or quantum computing? Are we encouraging students to think critically about how science, technology and innovation can help address - or aggravate - economic, geopolitical, environmental or societal challenges?

In many industries and countries, the most in-demand occupations or specialties did not exist 10 or even five years ago, and the pace of change is set to accelerate. Up to 65% of children entering school today will have a job that does not yet exist. Our educational systems around the world were failing before COVID-19 and will continue to fall behind unless we change the way we teach and learn science.

Nearly half of Germany's electricity has come from wind and solar this year

A new report shows that wind and solar power accounted for 10 percent of global electricity generation in the first six months of 2020.

This is a impressive improvement on the situation five years ago when it accounted for just five percent.

Independent climate think tank Ember has published a new report showing that wind and solar power accounted for 10 percent of global electricity generation in the first six months of 2020. That figure represents an impressive leap on the situation five years ago when it accounted for just five percent.

Germany is well above the global figure with wind and solar generating an impressive 42 percent of its electricity from January through June of this year. The United Kingdom has also made strides in recent years and its figure is 33 percent. The world's strongest economies still have work do with wind and solar generating 12 percent of U.S. electricity, along with 10 percent in China, India and Japan.

What the Experts Who Predicted Trump's 2016 Win Think Will Happen In 2020


Ahead of the 2016 election, most polls and analysts projected that former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton would beat President Donald Trump, but there were a few election experts with models that projected the GOP candidate's upset victory.

Now, about two and a half months before election day on November 3, most polls show Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leading Trump. Many analysts once again are suggesting that the Democratic candidate will likely beat out his Republican rival. But what do four experts who predicted Trump's election in 2016 think about the upcoming election? It turns out their predictions are mixed heading into this year's presidential contest.

Academics Allan Lichtman, a history professor at American University, Helmut Norpoth, a professor of political science at Stony Brook University, Ray Fair, a professor of economics at Yale University, and Alan Abramowitz, a professor of political science at Emory University, all put forward separate models ahead of the 2016 election, each showing Trump beating out Clinton, despite the mainstream consensus. Their projections don't all align in 2020, but here's a look at the insights their models provide.

Meghan Markle's Most Political Speech Yet Calls for 'Change We All Need'


Meghan Markle warned if you are not "voting then you're complicit" in her most political speech yet for a Michelle Obama-backed registration drive.

The Duchess of Sussex spoke of "the change we all need and deserve," adding that "we all know what's at stake this year" during an event for When We All Vote and the United States of Women.

She spoke of the danger of voter suppression as she introduced the "Couch Party," ahead of a speech by Valerie Jarrett, a former Barack Obama senior adviser.

Meghan said: "We vote to honor those who came before us and to protect those who will come after us.

"Because that's what community is all about and that's specifically what this election is all about.

"We're only 75 days away from election day. That is so very close and yet there's so much work to be done in that amount of time.

"Because we all know what's at stake this year. I know it.

Disinformation as a wicked problem: Why we need co-regulatory frameworks

Molly Montgomery

As the harmful effects of disinformation and other online problems on individuals and societies become increasingly apparent, governments are under pressure to act. Initial attempts at self-regulation via mechanisms such as voluntary codes of conduct have not yielded the desired results, leading policymakers to turn increasingly to top-down regulation. This approach is destined to fail.

Disinformation and other online problems are not conventional problems that can be solved individually with traditional regulation. Instead, they are a web of interrelated “wicked” problems — problems that are highly complex, interdependent, and unstable — and can only be mitigated, managed, or minimized, not solved.

Recognizing this wicked web of disinformation and related online problems requires a new mindset, which leads to a different solution set. The most effective strategy to manage wicked problems is co-regulation, a multi-stakeholder approach that requires governments and platforms to increase collaboration among themselves, with each other, and with civil society in a joint effort to balance the benefits of a free and open internet with the need to protect citizens and democratic institutions.

Counterterrorism in a time of COVID

Daniel L. Byman and Andrew Amunson

The global spread of COVID-19 is transforming politics, as are the wide-ranging responses from governments and communities worldwide. The implications will endure well after the pandemic is behind us. Both jihadi-linked terrorism and counterterrorism are likely to change as well. The pandemic, however, offers new opportunities for terrorists and poses distinct challenges for the governments that seek to combat them.


The pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in eight decades and the global economy is expected to lose $8.5 trillion in output over the next two years. The economic fallout will be especially devastating to countries in the developing world and those dependent on oil revenue — characteristics of many Western counterterrorism partners in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Developing economies are already saddled with fiscal deficits and high levels of public debt, while oil-producing states have suffered a collapse of oil demand and prices.

Hard road back to power for Germany’s Social Democrats

Constanze Stelzenmüller

Germany's Social Democrats have enhanced their chances to lead the next German government by nominating Finance Minister Olaf Scholz as their chancellor candidate, while Germany's politics have not been so open in a long time, Constanze Stelzenmüller argues. This post originally appeared in the Financial Times.

Last week, Germany’s Social Democrats surprised the nation — and possibly themselves — by nominating finance minister Olaf Scholz as their candidate for chancellor, and thereby kicking off next year’s election campaign.

With Angela Merkel in her 15th year as chancellor, guiding Germany’s six-month spell in the EU’s rotating presidency and enjoying 70 percent approval for her calm and effective pandemic management, one might almost forget that her country is not a monarchy. But Merkel has ruled out running for a fifth term. Inexorably, the Age of Angela is drawing to a close.

Germany thus faces its most consequential vote in a decade and a half in autumn 2021. (The election must take place between August 25 and October 24.) It was no mean feat for the Social Democrats, well known for vicious infighting and toppling their own leaders, to pull together and become the first party to nominate its candidate. But does Scholz stand a chance — with his party, and with the nation?

US Cyber Command Gets New Operational Tools

Sarah Coble 

A new set of cyber-operational tools has been successfully integrated into US Cyber Command's virtual cyber-training platform, the Persistent Cyber Training Environment (PCTE).

Col. Tanya Trout, outgoing director of the Joint Cyber Training Enterprise, said that newly integrated operational tools will be used during missions.

Cyber Command’s warriors can log in to the PCTE from anywhere in the world to conduct individual or collective cyber-training and rehearse missions. The platform was launched in February, and the environment was used for the first time in June for Cyber Flag, Cyber Command’s premier annual tier 1 exercise.

In July, the platform joined an integration pilot program with the program offices of the Unified Platform system and the Joint Cyber Command and Control system. 

Speaking during a virtual industry day for PCTE on August 19, Trout said: “This integration allowed for execution of small team tactics while performing active hunt of advanced persistent threat within a post-compromised range environment."

She added that the integrated PCTE enabled teams "to train and rehearse using available Joint Cyber War-fighting Architecture (JCWA) that gives us really the ability to train as we fight."

America’s Crumbling Strategy Needs (Literally) Machiavellian Answers

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Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) has been called the father of modern political philosophy. If Americans remember him at all, though, it is more likely as the Father of Lies: the political schemer with an eponymous adjective thanks to The Prince, his manual of amoral advice to rulers. That’s unfortunate because Machiavelli is uncannily relevant today—and not because his maxims make easy fodder for books about office politics. His writings go far beyond the book he became infamous for and speak to us directly about the sorts of problems we confront today.

Like us, Machiavelli lived in an interstitial age. For him, it was a world that was no longer medieval but not quite yet modern, either. For us, it is clear that the post-industrial 20th century is over, but we’re not exactly sure what comes next. Both were marked by the crumbling of old institutions without new ones to take their place, and by a growing sense of inadequacy and dread.

We typically mark the beginning of the modern state system with the 1648 Peace of Westphalia. Those treaties ratified the ideas of sovereignty and territorial integrity that serve as its foundations to this day. Machiavelli called for similar reforms nearly a century and a half earlier —anticipating the need for a restructuring of a political order that was then already falling apart.

Giving Up on God

By Ronald F. Inglehart
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In the early years of the twenty-first century, religion seemed to be on the rise. The collapse of both communism and the Soviet Union had left an ideological vacuum that was being filled by Orthodox Christianity in Russia and other post-Soviet states. The election in the United States of President George W. Bush, an evangelical Christian who made no secret of his piety, suggested that evangelical Christianity was rising as a political force in the country. And the 9/11 attacks directed international attention to the power of political Islam in the Muslim world. 

A dozen years ago, my colleague Pippa Norris and I analyzed data on religious trends in 49 countries, including a few subnational territories such as Northern Ireland, from which survey evidence was available from 1981 to 2007 (these countries contained 60 percent of the world’s population). We did not find a universal resurgence of religion, despite claims to that effect—most high-income countries became less religious—but we did find that in 33 of the 49 countries we studied, people became more religious during those years. This was true in most former communist countries, in most developing countries, and even in a number of high-income countries. Our findings made it clear that industrialization and the spread of scientific knowledge were not causing religion to disappear, as some scholars had once assumed.

The Pandemic Hurts Countries That Don’t Value Workers

By Jacob Leibenluft
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In recent years, academics and policymakers in the United States have struggled with an economic mystery. Why, even as the U.S. economy has grown in the past few decades, have wages remained relatively stagnant? Many scholars have landed on one reason in particular: the decline in the bargaining power of U.S. workers due to shrinking union membership and the rise of subcontracting. Workers have benefited less from economic growth as their ability to bargain for higher wages has withered. Instead, major gains have gone to investors and managers, and inequality in the United States has soared. 

Other industrialized countries have also seen rising inequality, but the decline in worker power is particularly acute in the United States. From the 1980s to the late 2010s, the labor share of income in the United States—essentially, the percentage of overall income that ends up going to workers—fell by four percentage points, in effect a decline of hundreds of billions of dollars per year. Over the same period, U.S. workers lost key protections: collective-bargaining agreements cover less than 12 percent of workers (and only seven percent of private-sector workers) in the United States, compared with 98 percent in France, 80 percent in Italy, and 56 percent in Germany.

Why America Must Lead Again

By Joseph R. Biden, Jr

By nearly every measure, the credibility and influence of the United States in the world have diminished since President Barack Obama and I left office on January 20, 2017. President Donald Trump has belittled, undermined, and in some cases abandoned U.S. allies and partners. He has turned on our own intelligence professionals, diplomats, and troops. He has emboldened our adversaries and squandered our leverage to contend with national security challenges from North Korea to Iran, from Syria to Afghanistan to Venezuela, with practically nothing to show for it. He has launched ill-advised trade wars, against the United States’ friends and foes alike, that are hurting the American middle class. He has abdicated American leadership in mobilizing collective action to meet new threats, especially those unique to this century. Most profoundly, he has turned away from the democratic values that give strength to our nation and unify us as a people.

Meanwhile, the global challenges facing the United States—from climate change and mass migration to technological disruption and infectious diseases—have grown more complex and more urgent, while the rapid advance of authoritarianism, nationalism, and illiberalism has undermined our ability to collectively meet them. Democracies—paralyzed by hyperpartisanship, hobbled by corruption, weighed down by extreme inequality—are having a harder time delivering for their people. Trust in democratic institutions is down. Fear of the Other is up. And the international system that the United States so carefully constructed is coming apart at the seams. Trump and demagogues around the world are leaning into these forces for their own personal and political gain. 

Civil Rights International

By Keisha N. Blain
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On June 13, 2020, Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square to call for the eradication of racism and white supremacy. With their fists raised high, the activists, mostly dressed in black, chanted, “Black power!” Were it not for the face masks, which they wore to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the scene could have been taken straight from the 1960s. In that earlier era, activists around the world connected their own struggles to those of African Americans who challenged segregation, disenfranchisement, poverty, and police brutality—just as their successors do today. Meanwhile, Black American activists agitated for human rights and called attention to the devaluation of Black lives not only in the United States but all over the world, including in places under colonial rule.

Many tend to think of that era’s push for civil rights and Black power as a distinctly American phenomenon. It was, in fact, a global movement—and so is BLM today. By linking national concerns to global ones, BLM activists are building on a long history of Black internationalism. Indeed, Black Americans have always connected their struggle for rights to fights for freedom in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and elsewhere. 

Although surges of Black internationalism have often been led from the top—through the efforts of politicians and diplomats—some of the most dynamic and enduring movements have developed at the grassroots, often led by Black women and involving working-class and impoverished Black people. During the twentieth century, Black internationalists organized on the local level, frequently in urban centers, to give voice to the concerns of ordinary people. Utilizing diverse strategies and tactics, they articulated global visions of freedom by working collaboratively and in solidarity with Black people and other people of color across the world. BLM activists have carried on this tradition, often using social media as a vehicle to forge transnational alliances. 

Raising the Flag

by Kimberly Jackson
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Research Questions

What professional experiences and other characteristics do the services' G/FOs tend to share as a result of each service's approaches to personnel management and other related factors, such as service culture?

How might these characteristics and experiences influence G/FO approaches to institutional leadership and management, and the type of strategic-level advice they might provide to civilian decisionmakers?

The 2018 National Defense Strategy directed the U.S. Department of Defense to rethink how it prepares and leverages its personnel to confront emerging global security challenges, particularly with regard to education and strategic decisionmaking. To help understand whether military leadership might need to change to better serve national security objectives, the authors of this report analyzed how the military services' approaches to personnel management might influence the ways in which general and flag officers (G/FOs) in each service lead, manage, and advise.

Despite worldwide oil glut, Trump releases plan to open Arctic to drilling

By Emily Holden

Editor’s note: This story was originally published by The Guardian. It appears here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

The Trump administration is taking the final steps to let oil and gas companies drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—which environmental advocates call the nation’s “last great wilderness.”

The US interior department will auction leases before the end of the year, secretary David Bernhardt told the Wall Street Journal. That could make it harder for Democrats to reverse the decision if Joe Biden wins the election in November.

The 19-million-acre refuge in north-east Alaska, known as ANWR, is a wellspring for wildlife. The move will open up the 1.6 million-acre coastal plane, where polar bears and foxes reside and to or through which millions of migratory birds fly. The porcupine caribou herd is critically important to the indigenous Gwich’in people, many of whom make their homes on or near its migration route.

“This is our nation’s last great wilderness,” said Adam Kolton, the executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League. “Nowhere else in the five-nation circle polar north do you have such abundant and diverse wildlife.”

Former IDF cyber chief warns of red-lines being crossed and the erosion of Israel’s democracy

Sophie Shulman

As the Israeli government continues to employ the Internal Security Agency (better known as the Shin Bet) to track the cellular signals of residents in order to monitor potential interactions between Covid-19 patients and the public, Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Avner Paz Tzuk explains how democracies are whittled away using the salami method.

“A dangerous line has been crossed. As someone who knows about Israel’s cyber capabilities from the inside, I am disturbed by the fact that the government is operating its national security tools to track its own citizens. The justification is extremely borderline and it is a slippery slope. It’s a line that is most difficult to cross the first time. Next time it will be crossed for less justifiable purposes and once we’ve crossed it, it can always be pushed further back,” Paz Tzuk said in an interview with Calcalist.

What is the significance of the line being crossed?

“It means that the wall that was vigilantly protected has been cracked and now, if they chose, they will be able to read your emails and your WhatsApp messages, monitor what you do with your phone and where you are at any given moment. This should worry everybody because today the government orders the gathering of location data for health reasons, but tomorrow it can be another type of information for a completely different reason.”

Could 2020 Spawn '70s-Style Radicals and Violence?

by Brian Michael Jenkins
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Armed conflicts fuel plagues: Until very recently in history, disease killed more people in wars than battle. But plagues can also fuel conflict, and COVID-19 may be no exception. The conditions facing the United States today are reminiscent of those that gave rise to the radicalism of the 1970s and could once again lead to political violence, including terrorism.

It's not that the pandemic gives extremists or terrorists new capabilities or points them to a path they hadn't thought of before. Instead, the pandemic creates a psychologically upsetting environment that encourages fanatics to do crazy and possibly violent things, and those actions will have greater impact on an already frightened public.…

The remainder of this commentary is available at nbcnews.com.

Brian Michael Jenkins began researching terrorism for the nonpartisan, nonprofit RAND Corporation in 1972. He is a senior adviser to the president of RAND and directs the National Transportation Security Center at the Mineta Transportation Institute.

This commentary originally appeared on NBC News THINK on August 16, 2020. Commentary gives RAND researchers a platform to convey insights based on their professional expertise and often on their peer-reviewed research and analysis.