2 September 2020

China Is Taking Advantage of India’s Intelligence Failures

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In June, soldiers from India and China engaged in a violent skirmish along the two countries’ unmarked border in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh. At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed, along with an unspecified number of their Chinese counterparts, in what was the first such confrontation since 1975 that resulted in fatalities.

New Delhi and Beijing have now embarked on a fitful process of de-escalation. But even as the two parties seek to restore some semblance of normalcy along their shared border, a critical question lingers: Why was India’s security establishment seemingly blindsided by China? Local officials in Ladakh have in fact been sounding the alarm about Chinese forays into Indian territory for years, a fact that points to a complete breakdown in New Delhi’s intelligence gathering and risk assessment.

It wouldn’t be the first time. And India doesn’t seem to be learning crucial lessons from previous security failures.

Indian Military, Government Data Faces Threat from Notorious Cyber Espionage Group: Kaspersky

Indian military and government personnel are reportedly facing the threat of spear phishing and advanced cyber snooping tactics from noted cyber espionage and crime collective, Transparent Tribe. According to a report by cyber security firm Kaspersky, Transparent Tribe has been known to have been active since 2013, and specialises in cyber espionage of critical sectors including government departments, as well as military and defence. While the report does not offer detailed numbers in terms of how severe Transparent Tribe’s activities in India have been, it states that the group has a signature, advanced remote access trojan (RAT), Crimson, which has been spotted since 2017, which it uses to snoop on critical, top secret data. 

Kaspersky states that India is among the most heavily targeted nations by Transparent Tribe (alongside Pakistan and Afghanistan). To carry out acts of cyber espionage, the group reportedly uses spear phishing – a tactic where emails are sent from typically known or trusted contacts, therefore maximising the changes of the recipient interacting with the email. These emails typically carry attachments such as a Microsoft Word or any other Office document, which in turn have embedded macro elements containing the group’s signature Crimson RAT. Once these documents are downloaded, the RAT then enables the attackers to take over file systems, and in turn gain access to sensitive information. Explaining the sophistication of the snooping campaign from the secretive threat actor, Giampaola Dedola, cyber security expert at Kaspersky, says, “Transparent Tribe continues to run a high amount of activity against multiple targets. 

Here’s what China is doing in Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan. It doesn’t look good for India


The Chinese are not just inside Indian territory, they seem to be closing in and around India as well. From Afghanistan in the north-west to Nepal in the north to Bangladesh in the east, the Chinese are no longer just expanding influence in South Asia, they are close to becoming its pre-eminent power.

Less than 24 hours ago, India received another jolt to her regional ambitions as Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi invited China’s special envoy to Afghanistan, Liu Jian, to Islamabad to help end the 19-year-war in that country. Qureshi is today meeting a Taliban delegation, led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar – who the Pakistanis kept in a jail safe-house for more than eight years before releasing him back to the Taliban in 2018 – to set the stage for the meeting with Liu.

Back in the east, in Bangladesh, the Chinese have been wooing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her powerful army long enough for her to consider an equidistance between Beijing and New Delhi.

Pakistan’s Saudi marriage not over. But with China on its side, MBS mood swings won’t work


Islamabad is abuzz with chatter about the army and Inter-Services Intelligence chiefs’—General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed—listless visit to Saudi Arabia. A three-day stay in Riyadh did not result in an audience with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The duo had gone to placate Riyadh after Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s aggressive comments that had indicated an urge to part ways with Saudi Arabia. What is also at stake is a $6 billion Saudi credit line—approximately $3 billion provided to shore up Islamabad’s foreign currency reserves and another $3 billion in deferred oil payments.

As the top two men of the Pakistani security establishment flew back, Islamabad responded with its own rap on Riyadh’s knuckles—not only did Qureshi save his job, but he also fervently advertised his departure to China to attend an important conference. The signal here being that as Saudi Arabia diversifies relations, Pakistan, too, will re-evaluate Riyadh’s strategic worth. Notwithstanding Pakistan’s earlier knee-jerk reaction of December 2019 when Prime MinisterImran Khan declined to attend a summit in Malaysia due to Saudi pressure, Islamabad has now re-assessed its own position.

China's DF-21 And DF-26 'Carrier Killer' Missiles: How Dangerous?

by Harry J. Kazianis

Here's What You Need To Remember: China’s “carrier-killer,” just like many of Beijing’s weapons systems must be thought of as part of a larger anti-access strategy. If a conflict with Washington or another great power ever occurred, China is betting on using such weapons platforms to make any sort of intervention in the Taiwan strait, East or South China Seas as painful as possible.

Question: how much should America or anyone else fear China's supposed super missiles, the DF-21D or DF-26?

The “carrier-killer” has been a favorite topic of mine for some time now. The weapons are launched from a mobile truck-mounted launcher into the atmosphere, with most likely over-the-horizon radar, satellite tracking and possibly unmanned aerial vehicles each providing guidance to a target in the open oceans. It also incorporates a maneuverable warhead, or MaRV, to help find its target.

The DF-21D would be instrumental in striking a vessel in the open ocean or denying access to a potential opponent in transiting to a conflict zone, like in the East or South China Seas. An August 2011 report by Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense warned that: “A small quantity of the missiles [was] produced and deployed in 2010.”

Explanation: What Is The Secret Behind China's Two 'Carrier-Killer' Missiles?

by Andrew S. Erickson
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Here's What You Need To Remember: In developing the DF-21D, Chinese engineers drew quite heavily on concepts and technologies from the U.S. MGM-31B Pershing II theater ballistic missile fitted with maneuvering reentry vehicles (MaRV). The highly accurate, terminally maneuvering American missile was similar enough to be highly useful for China’s purposes—although substantial modifications of its control surfaces, sensor interface and other aspects were almost certainly required to produce a missile capable of hitting a noncooperative moving sea-surface target.

(With news breaking regarding China's recent missile tests, we re-present this important analysis from 2015.) 

Yesterday’s Beijing V-Day parade addressed multiple audiences. Among them, clearly—the U.S. Navy, the U.S. military writ large and their regional allied and partner counterparts. After years of foreign speculation and surprising skepticism about an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM), China has for the first time officially revealed two variants: the DF-21D and DF-26.

The U.S. Navy Has No Good Answer For China's 'Carrier-Killer' Missile Threat

by Zachary Keck

Here's What You Need To Remember: Beijing would view destroying America’s military installations here as crucial to preventing the United States from intervening in a conflict between China and one of its neighbors, most likely Taiwan. That said, China’s ability to attack places closer to the Chinese mainland is much greater compared to those that can threaten Guam.

This week Chinese state media reported that a new brigade of Beijing’s most advanced intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) has been “activated.”

(Considering breaking news regarding China's recent two anti-ship missile tests, we re-present this article from back in 2018).

The newly commissioned brigade is armed with the Dong Feng-26 (DF-26) IRBM. According to the Diplomat, “Video footage carried in Chinese state media showed at least 22 integrated six-axle DF-26 transporter-erector-launchers along with their crews.” What do we know about this missile?

Does Chinese State Media Pose a Threat to the United States?

By Joshua Kurlantzick

As Washington and Beijing’s relationship deteriorates, the White House has cracked down on China’s state media outlets in the United States. This comes amid Washington’s increasingly tough approach to Beijing’s power over information, which has included curbs on WeChat, TikTok, and Huawei.
Washington’s Crackdown

The Donald J. Trump administration and many Democrats worry that Chinese state media outlets will use propaganda to shape Americans’ views and possibly collect intelligence. They fear Beijing could use its growing power over information to inject conspiracies [PDF] into U.S. discourse and affect U.S. politics. Indeed, in recent years, China has increasingly promoted false narratives online and via state media. 

To reduce China’s power over information, Washington has forced major Chinese state outlets operating in the United States, such as newswire Xinhua and broadcasting company China Global Television Network (CGTN), to register under the Department of Justice’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The Trump administration has made multiple Chinese outlets register as foreign missions, which allows Washington to obtain information about their operations. It has also capped the number of Chinese nationals who can work in the United States for Beijing’s major state media outlets.

Inside the Chinese military attack on Nortel

By Sam Cooper 
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In 2004 Nortel cyber-security advisor Brian Shields investigated a serious breach in the telecom giant’s network. At the time Nortel’s fibre optics equipment was the world’s envy, with 70 per cent of all internet traffic running on Canadian technology. 

And someone wanted Nortel’s secrets.

Shields found that a computer in Shanghai had hacked into the email account of an Ottawa-based Nortel executive. Using passwords stolen from the executive the intruder downloaded more than 450 documents from “Live Link” — a Nortel server used to warehouse sensitive intellectual property.

Shields soon found the hacker controlled the accounts of at least seven Nortel executives. This was no random cybercriminal. But who was it?

Analysis of the US-China Tech Competition from a Theoretical Perspective

By Sirish Paudel
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In an era, when the world is increasingly getting digitalized and every aspect of state and non-state entities are embedded with technology – it is without a doubt that technology has become a crucial element of national power. Technical innovation has the potency to significantly alter the economic and military landscape. Thus, China and the US are competing over the next breed of technology. According to scholars, today, the US and China are locked in a ‘tech-war’ .The driving force behind this competition is the ‘quest for technological superiority’ . Among others, major factors that led the Trump administration to imposing trade tariffs against China is considered to be the American perception that China is involved in the ‘forceful transfer of technology’ as well as ‘theft of intellectual property’ ownership of American companies in China. Likewise, the US government also alleges that the Chinese state-entities are actively involved in act of ‘Cyber Espionage’ that involves breach of Cyber-Security of American firms and gaining unauthorized access to ‘sensitive data’ such as ‘trade secrets’ and other vital information .The main theme of this essay is to elucidate basic background of the US-China technology competition and provide an analysis from theoretical perspective.

As with any great power competition, the technological battle between the United States and China is not just limited to these great powers. It is increasingly brining other actors into play; forcing both other state entities (US allies) as well as non-state actors (primarily tech companies) to select sides in the tussle for technological supremacy. We can already see how direct and indirect US pressure on its allies are already forcing them to distance from Chinese technologies and companies. One of the biggest casualties of this confrontation has been the 5G communications network and pioneers of this technology Huawei. The US has accused Huawei of aiding Chinese Government in act of spying by allowing them to have unauthorized access to user data and have imposed sanctions against the company. In the last month, ‘Huawei along with another Chinese tech company ZTE were officially labelled threat to the US national security’ . As a result of US sanctions, ‘Huawei is running short on Chips for its smartphones’ . Just recently, following on the footsteps of the US, United Kingdom have also banned Huawei from their 5G network infrastructure and more similar decisions are anticipated from other European allies. While threat to US national security is unfounded, sanctions against Huawei can be seen as a way to halt China’s march towards becoming a global leader in 5G technology. It can be considered that the Trump Administration is increasingly weaponizing the notion of ‘threat to national security’ to pursue its end of hurting Chinese companies and in-turn the Chinese economy which is evident from the launch of Trump’s Trade War on China [[i]]. 

Chinese universities share resources to boost R&D capacity of cyber security

The cyber security schools of two top Chinese universities in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, will share their education resources on the same campus to enhance the R&D capacity of cyber security core technologies and promote the industrialization of scientific research results. 

The shared campus of the two schools of cyber science and engineering of Wuhan University and Huazhong University of Science and Technology, both leaders in the training of cyber security personnel, will be set up at the Wuhan Airport Economic Development Zone in Dongxihu district, occupying an area of 289,000 square meters. 

Both universities' subject settings, teachers, books, and laboratory equipment will be shared by more than 1,300 students and over 140 members of the two universities' faculties from this September. 

The two universities will have their own respective teaching buildings and dormitory buildings, but will share canteens, libraries, stadiums, underground garages, outdoor standard playgrounds, and basketball, badminton and tennis courts. 

How to Confront China’s Regional Ambitions

By Willis Krumholz

China recently passed a national security law that may be used to crack down on foreign companies operating in China. According to the law, even tacit support for Hong Kong’s autonomy from China can subject a person or entity anywhere in the world to sanctions. Of course, right now China can only target businesses that have operations in China or Hong Kong. These include a significant number of American multinational corporations.

That’s not a great option for China, either. China still needs outside investment, so a crackdown won’t happen. But Beijing has big plans. They seek to emulate America. Sort of.

The United States currently sanctions and fines all sorts of international businesses for running afoul of American law, even in regions friendly to the United States. Washington can do this because of the dollar’s global dominance. And it’s not just foreign companies—Washington has crippling sanctions on whole countries, including Iran, Syria, and Russia.

Because of this, China and Russia have long sought to escape the dollar’s grasp. They’ve done this by setting up a way to do transactions with each other without using dollars. But both countries still have banks and international trade that rely on dollars. This is thanks to the dollar’s reserve-currency status, which means countries the world over are more than happy to sit on dollars to back their own currencies and to use the dollar as a means of exchange.

China Fires Missiles Into South China Sea, Sending U.S. a Message

By Steven Lee Myers and Keith Bradsher
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China has fired a barrage of medium-range missiles across considerable distances into the South China Sea, Beijing’s latest move to demonstrate its strategic dominance and sovereignty over the disputed waters.

The missile launches on Wednesday punctuated a series of military exercises that China has conducted this month at a time of rising tensions with the United States over its territorial claims in the South China Sea and its attempts to pressure Taiwan, the self-governing island democracy that Beijing claims as its own.

Senior Col. Wu Qian, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, did not mention the missiles on Thursday but confirmed that China had carried out long-planned drills over an area that stretched from Qingdao in northeastern China to disputed islands in the South China Sea known as the Spratlys.

“The above exercises are not directed at any country,” Colonel Wu said at a regularly scheduled briefing in Beijing.

The Four Paths of US-China Relations


ANN ARBOR – There is no bilateral diplomatic relationship more consequential than the one between the United States and China, which affects not only the two countries but all of humanity. And now, the future of this relationship hinges on who will lead each country in the years ahead.

In the US, the next presidential election is barely two months away, and – barring complications – either the Republican incumbent, Donald Trump, or his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, will be sworn in on January 20, 2021. In China’s case, however, almost everyone assumes that President Xi Jinping will hold the reins of power indefinitely. But while a change in the top Chinese leadership seems improbable, it is not impossible. As such, we should really be considering the possibility of four separate scenarios in Sino-American relations.

First, suppose that Biden wins and China remains under Xi’s leadership for the long term. In a commentary for Foreign Affairs earlier this year, Biden promised that his main foreign-policy priority as president would be to restore America’s global leadership and democratic alliances. He wants to invest in infrastructure, education, and research and development. With a Biden administration, one could expect less drama and inflammatory rhetoric toward China.

All in the Family: Leadership Changes in the Gulf

Yoel Guzansky, Eran Segal

The hospitalization in July of the world's oldest leaders, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, 84 years old, and Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, the 91-year-old Emir of Kuwait, has rekindled fears regarding the stability of the six Arab monarchies in the Gulf. These monarchies are ruled by extended families that control most of the centers of power in their countries. As long as these families succeeded in cultivating consensus among their different branches, this centralized power has, over the years, contributed to the relative stability of the monarchies. However, struggles within the ruling families, especially regarding monarchial succession, constitute a weak point with the potential to endanger regime stability, particularly when the family in question is a large one. In some countries, the designated heir is not young or is not healthy, which could shorten the duration of his rule and spark an ongoing struggle over succession. In any event, in addition to the fear of Iranian aggression, the rise of a younger generation of leaders in the Gulf states appears to explain their policies, which are more assertive than traditional policies, and include an increasing openness and willingness to cooperate with Israel.

Recent changes in leadership in the Gulf began in early 2020 in Oman, with the death of Qaboos bin Said, who shaped the sultanate in his image. Qaboos's cousin Haitham bin Tariq, who is 65 and served as the country's Minister of Heritage and Culture, was appointed to succeed him. Thus far, Haitham appears to enjoy the support of his family, but his appointment began at a particularly challenging time, coming on the eve of two major crises, the drop in oil prices and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Abe Era Ends, Cheering China, Concerning Washington

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Perhaps the timing was coincidental, but in the very week that Shinzo Abe became Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, he resigned. The cause was the same that prematurely ended his first premiership, in 2007: chronic ulcerative colitis. Despite slumping polls, a stubbornly sluggish economy, and a nagging scandal over the 2016 sale of land for a school in Osaka, Abe nonetheless towered over Japanese politics since returning to the top office in 2012, and from that position he remained a staunch ally of the United States for nearly a decade. Losing that partnership just as the U.S.-Chinese geopolitical competition heats up is a worrisome prospect for Washington. Who will succeed Abe, whether Japan will slip back into political paralysis or instability, and whether the next leader will have as energetic a foreign and defense policy as their predecessor are the key questions facing not only Japan, but also its allies and competitors.

After three consecutive terms as prime minister and nearly eight years atop Japanese politics, it is difficult to remember how moribund Japan seemed when he retook office in 2012. Abe’s first resignation in 2007 had led to five more one-year leaders, including a stint in which Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lost power for the first time since 1955 (apart from a very brief period in the early 1990s). From the ashes of his failed first term as prime minister, Abe turned himself into the most consequential Japanese politician since the power brokers Kakuei Tanaka and Yasuhiro Nakasone in the 1970s and 1980s.

In Syria, The Pentagon Got A Real Taste Of Russian Information Warfare

by Kris Osborn
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Here's What You Need To Remember: Harrigian went on to explain that regular contact with the Russians, likely intended to deconflict airspace and avoid confrontation, greatly informed U.S, intelligence gathering operations. While he of course did not elaborate, likely for security reasons, he did refer to the general character of the interactions.

“It was information warfare every day.”

That is how the Commander of Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS described his force’s communication with Russians during ongoing operations over Syria and Iraq.

“When they were saying things, they were unhindered by the truth,” Gen Jeffery Harrigian, Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe; Commander, U.S. Air Forces Africa; Commander, Allied Air Command, told the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies in a conversation with its Dean, Retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula.

Harrigian went on to explain that regular contact with the Russians, likely intended to deconflict airspace and avoid confrontation, greatly informed U.S, intelligence gathering operations. While he of course did not elaborate, likely for security reasons, he did refer to the general character of the interactions.

Could the United States Defeat Russia in a Land War?

by Kyle Mizokami
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Here's What You Need To Remember: American and Russian infantry would never fight alone. Both would fight as part of an integrated team with armor, mortars, heavy artillery, air support, and electronic warfare all contributing to win the battle. Still, in a matchup between American and Russian infantry forces American forces have a decisive advantage in firepower.

The United States and Russia field two of the most powerful armies in the world. Heavily mechanized and salted with combat veterans, the U.S. Army and Russian Ground Forces have spent the better part of the last fifteen years not only chasing guerrillas from Afghanistan to Syria, but also fighting conventional-style wars in Iraq and Georgia. Now, as tensions between the NATO and Russia place U.S. and Russian ground pounders in the same country (Syria) or just across the border from one another (the Baltics), the question is: in a head to head matchup, which side would prevail?

The backbone of U.S. Army infantry is the infantry squad. In light infantry—including air assault, airborne and mountain units—a squad consists of nine soldiers that further divide into a squad leader and two fire teams. Each fire team of four soldiers consists of a fire team leader, rifleman, grenadier, and an automatic rifleman equipped with two M4 carbines, an M4 carbine equipped with the M320 underbarrel grenade launcher and the M249 squad automatic weapon. Individual soldiers will carry single-shot AT-4 light antitank weapons as issued.

Is Putin about to make a costly mistake in Belarus?

Steven Pifer

From 2001 to 2004, as a deputy assistant secretary of state, I was the senior American official to visit Belarus. The United States and European Union were thoroughly dissatisfied with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s authoritarianism, and US policy mandated that no official higher than a deputy assistant secretary travel to Minsk. EU officials and EU member states observed comparable restrictions.

Washington had no particular geopolitical interest in Belarus, and trade was minimal. During my first visit in February 2002, the primary objective was to persuade the Belarusian government to ease up on repression, respect human rights, and allow a bit more political space. We presented Belarusian officials two lists. List A enumerated actions the US government wanted Belarus to take; List B laid out steps that Washington could take to improve bilateral relations. We told our counterparts that if they indicated what things from List A they would do to improve human rights and the political atmosphere, we would tell them what actions from List B the United States would take in response.

The Belarusians gave us nothing.

My second visit to Minsk came in March 2004 on a joint US-EU mission to encourage the Belarusian government to improve its human rights record. My EU colleagues and I presented a coordinated position. We noted our readiness to improve relations, including taking steps sought by Belarusian officials, provided that the government ease domestic repression. Once again, the Belarusians gave us nothing to work with.

Japan and cyber capabilities: how much is enough?

As it faces burgeoning cyber threats from China, North Korea and Russia, Japan is struggling to operationalise its defensive and offensive cyber capabilities. What are some of the financial, legal, and organisational barriers facing Tokyo as it tries to realise its growing aspirations in cyberspace?

Japan is increasing investment in its military cyber capabilities. In the near term, it will grow the personnel numbers of its Cyber Defence Group by one-third, with further restructuring to follow. Like other countries, however, Japan is grappling with the twin challenges of determining what constitutes adequate funding for its cyber aspirations, and clarifying the boundaries between the civil, military and inter-service spheres of cyber responsibilities and operations.

Japan’s cyber capabilities at a glance

The Japan Self-Defense Forces’ (JSDF) Cyber Defence Group (CDG), part of the JSDF’s Command, Control, Communication & Computers (C4) Systems Command, will increase its personnel from 220 to 290 by the end of March 2021. Spending on cyber more than doubled between 2018 and 2019 following the adoption of the 2018 defence strategy, rising from JP¥11 billion (US$100 million) to JP¥25.6bn (US$235m). However, this growth was from a very low base: the 2019 spending figure was less than half a percent of the country’s defence budget. Whether this level of expenditure is sufficient to provide the cyber capabilities Japan seeks is open to question.

Is Putin’s Russia Seeking a New Balance Between China and the West?

By Stanislaw Skarzynski and Daniel Wong

A recent article in the South China Morning Post posited that “[c]racks are opening in the Russia-China relationship.” Indeed, the list of differences between Moscow and Beijing has grown significantly in the past few months.

First, the commemoration of the 160th anniversary of Vladivostok was taken as an affront to China, as the city is the capital of the region annexed by the Russian Empire in 1860 after China lost the Second Opium War. Second, Russia signed an arms deal with India shortly after New Delhi and Beijing entered a military confrontation along their disputed border in the Himalayas. In the meantime, China still awaits delivery of its S-400 anti-aircraft missile-system, which was first “delayed” due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic but then labelled “suspended” by Moscow.

Yet, the most significant of these cracks is the suggestion, allegedly from New Delhi, that Russia could join the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific grouping, something that – according to SCMP’s Maria Siow – is perceived by Chinese commentators as a “betrayal of China” and an “idea as explosive as asking Russia to join NATO.”

From NATO to China – and Back?

The Japan Shinzo Abe Has Left Behind


DUBLIN – Shinzo Abe’s sudden resignation (on health grounds) ends the tenure of Japan’s longest-serving prime minister. The country’s most internationally recognized statesman since 1945, Abe has been, among other things, the world leader most keen on playing golf with US President Donald Trump.

Though he leaves with a still-weak economy, Abe has made Japan stronger and more autonomous in matters of defense and foreign policy. Whoever succeeds him will likely continue on that path, which is good news for proponents of peace in East Asia and of the rules-based international order more generally.

Abe’s current term was set to end in September 2021, but his approval ratings had fallen to historic lows, making another run for the premiership a non-starter. The manner of his departure, after nearly eight continuous years in office, thus reflects an old principle of political life. For a long-serving party leader who knows the end of his political career is nigh, it is better to set the terms of one’s own departure than be pushed out by dagger-wielding rivals.

Since his youth, Abe has suffered from ulcerative colitis, a debilitating condition that forced him to resign once before, in 2007, after serving one year as prime minister. That previous departure also coincided with serious political difficulties, making his return to power in 2012 all the more remarkable. Given two recent well-publicized hospital visits, Abe’s renewed health problems are likely genuine. And yet, with the Tokyo Olympics having been postponed to next summer, it is hard to believe that he would choose to step down now unless he also felt serious political pressure.

What is a Nation-State Attack? Why you should be very afraid

A nation-state attack is a calculated cyber-attack either by a foreign government or professional hackers financed by one.

A nation-state attack usually focuses on another country’s government, military, or critical infrastructure. It wants to know what politicians, advisors and influencers are thinking and use that to influence policy or subvert elections. Or to obtain the key codes to start a meltdown or to control infrastructure.

It is all about knowledge is power. “Know thy enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles, you will never be defeated” – Sun Tzu.

New Wars and the Fallacies of Traditional Deterrence Approaches

By Madina Ali Zamani
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1945 – the year when the whole world witnessed the catastrophe of nuclear weapon use, their indiscriminate effect and their immense destructive power, has altogether altered the course of warfare. Old warfare strategies became almost obsolete and new trends soon emerged at the limelight of global security structure. Traditionally, where the victory lied in winning a war suddenly transformed into avoiding it. As it became unthinkable to instigate an all out war in the presence of a devastating nuclear arsenal, states resorted to small scale wars and limited conflicts. Consequently prompted states to pursue there goals through means other than a total war. This changing nature of warfare led to a paradigm shift in international security domain where traditional Westphalian model of nation-state system has been seriously compromised. The shift from a state centered approach, brought to the centrestage the role of non-state actors. State’s sovereignty and it’s writ has been challenged as result of the emergence of new forms of conflicts following the cold war and the post cold war era. State vs non-state conflicts seemed to have dominated the battlefield.

Such a deviation from conventional approach has not only undermined the Westphalian notion of state system but has also incorporated new agents and structures, that paved a way for new forms of conflicts and warfare. Drifting from traditional notion of war and warfare, the battlefield in the post 1945 is dominated by cold wars, proxy wars, trade wars, psychological wars, cyber wars, informations wars and hybrid warfare. It implies that mostly such forms of warfare are characterised by an ever growing role and influence of non-state actors.

Evolution of the Communist Party of Vietnam’s Control Over the Military

By Bich T. Tran

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam is preparing for its most important event in five years — the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam, which is expected to take place in late January 2021. The Congress’ key documents will set the agenda for all aspects of the country in the coming years, including Party-military relations. 

The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) exercises “absolute, direct and all-round leadership” over the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) through a system of Party organizations and political organizations. The Central Military Commission (CMC) — the highest Party organization in the VPA — for example, is appointed by the Politburo, the highest body of the CPV. The CMC’s members come from the Party Central Committee both within and outside the VPA. The General Political Department (GPD), led by the CMC, is the top political organization in the VPA. It guides, trains and inspects all units in the VPA to carry out political propaganda and ideological education, among other tasks. The goal of the CMC and the GPD is to make the VPA strong in politics and ideology.