9 September 2020

The truth of Galwan must come out, unlike the 1965 battle with Pakistan in Khemkaran


On 11 August, The Economic Times reported that the Army had conducted a court of inquiry with respect to the Galwan valley incident of 15 June in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed in action and 76 were wounded in violent “unarmed combat” with China’s People’s Liberation Army, or the PLA. The Army was quick to deny the report, raising more questions about the circumstances of the unfortunate incident.

The circumstances were unusual, and in fact, unprecedented in history of the Army. The key question being who gave the orders for the soldiers to not carry weapons? Or if the soldiers were carrying weapons as announced by the Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar, who gave the orders not to use them? More so, when nothing in the 1996 border management agreement or subsequent border management protocols bars the use of fire arms in self-defence or to safeguard our territory?

Logically, the militaries should and do inquire into lapses in battle to learn lessons and fix accountability. Any attempt not to do so implies that a cover-up is being attempted for an error of judgement by the hierarchy, or with respect to systemic lapses in leadership, training, tactics and weapons/equipment. More often than not, by default, the commander on the spot and their unit gets blamed, and in a regimented system, carries the cross forever. On the eve of the 55th anniversary of 1965 India-Pakistan War, I prove the point with an example.

Asim Bajwa Exposé Underlines the Corruption Linking the Pakistan Army and CPEC

By Kunwar Khuldune Shahid
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A week after an investigative story into his alleged corruption was published on an alternative media website, Lieutenant General (retired) Asim Saleem Bajwa on Thursday decided to step down from his position as the special assistant to the prime minister on information and broadcast. However, Bajwa said he will continue in his more lucrative role as the chairman of the China Pakistan Economic Authority (CPEC) Authority.

This selective resignation by Bajwa, who issued a press release on Thursday categorically denying allegations of financial misappropriation as a senior military officer over the past two decades, not only weakens his own rebuttal, it adds more credence to calls for a change in leadership of the CPEC Authority. But even that half-baked decision to step down has been unraveled by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s “refusal” to accept the resignation.

With millions of dollars’ worth of financial misappropriation already uncovered in the economic corridor that is still under construction, it makes little sense for CPEC to be spearheaded by an individual accused of such large-scale corruption. But common sense usually takes a backseat whenever questions centering around the army are posed in Pakistan.

The Political Storm in Nepal Seems to Be Over – For Now

By Sudha Ramachandran

The Nepal Communist Party (NCP) government in Kathmandu has secured a fresh lease on life with Prime Minister and NCP chief Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli and party co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka “Prachanda” agreeing to bury the hatchet. Under the terms of a settlement, Oli will continue as prime minister for the full term while Dahal will play an “expanded role” as the NCP’s executive chairman.

The possibility of the ruling NCP splitting has somewhat receded and calls for Oli’s resignation as prime minister have subsided. However, this could be just a temporary lull in the stormy and intrigue-ridden world of Nepali politics.

The NCP was formed in 2018 with the merger of the Oli-led Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) and the Dahal-led Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center). Apparently, there was a tacit understanding that the prime minister’s post would alternate between Oli and Dahal; the two leaders would head the government for two-and-a-half years each. However, as the deadline for handing over the reins to Dahal approached, Oli denied that any post-sharing deal had been agreed upon.

In November last year, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari brokered a deal under which Oli was to remain prime minister for the full five-year term while Dahal would become the NCP’s executive chairman. In effect, this meant that Oli would run the government and Dahal would be in charge of party affairs. However, Oli refused to loosen his control over the party, insisting that he was the party’s “other executive chairman” and also its “senior chair.”

The Ideology Delusion

By Elbridge Colby and Robert D. Kaplan
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Bipartisanship is exotic these days in the United States, but the two parties do share something: a deep concern about China. Asked in February at the Munich Security Conference whether she agreed with U.S. President Donald Trump’s China policy, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi remarked dryly but tellingly: “We have agreement in that regard.” Legislation supporting Hong Kong and Taiwan and sanctioning Chinese officials easily passed Congress this year. Unlike in the past, today China has few—if any—friends in the corridors of power in Washington.

Even beyond Congress, though, there is wide agreement forming across the political spectrum about why China poses a threat to the United States. For many, it is above all because China is an oppressive one-party state, governed by a Marxist-Leninist cadre, whose leader, Xi Jinping, has amassed more personal power than anyone in Beijing since Mao Zedong. Both the Trump administration and Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden have lambasted China for its execrable human rights record, which includes, among other brutalities, putting a million Uighur Muslims in concentration camps. The leading Democratic Party-aligned foreign policy thinkers Kurt Campbell and Jake Sullivan wrote in these pages last year: “China may ultimately present a stronger ideological challenge than the Soviet Union did. . . . China’s rise to superpower status will exert a pull toward autocracy. China’s fusion of authoritarian capitalism and digital surveillance may prove more durable and attractive than Marxism.” 


Chinese investment in the Maldives is a frequent subject of concern. The archipelagic nation is strategically located along major Indian Ocean shipping routes. Its former president has very publicly speculated that China is being allowed to buy up whole islands and extend loans that the government cannot afford. And media articles in India, long the most important external partner for the Maldives, often assume that prominent Chinese investments are a stalking horse for military access. The most frequently cited example of late is a resort development on Feydhoo Finolhu island. But the available data suggests these fears, and those surrounding other Chinese projects in the Maldives, are overblown.

Feydhoo Finolhu

Feydhoo Finolhu is a tiny islet just 0.5 square miles in area, located 3 nautical miles from the Maldivian capital, Malé. An undisclosed Chinese company received a 50-year lease to the island in December 2016 for a bargain price of $4 million. Its strategic location—the islet would be well positioned to monitor traffic to and from the nearby international airport on Malé, for instance—combined with the low price tag led to speculation that this was more than just a commercial development. The developer remains a mystery, which has only fueled the rumor mill. The company began dredging and landfill work to expand Feydhoo Finolhu in December 2017. That work accelerated the following year, leaving observers worried that the expansion was to make room for a wharf, airstrip, or some other facility with dual civilian and military uses. But that is clearly not the case.

China's 'Carrier-Killer' Missiles: What Everyone Is Missing

by James Holmes

The “carrier killer” strikes again. This week the Pentagon released its latest annual report on Chinese military power, warning that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has accumulated “staggering amounts of new military hardware.” Among its new panoply are DF-21D and DF-26B medium-range ballistic missiles, each of which comes in a ship killing variant. The report estimates the firing range of the DF-21D at over 900 miles. Meanwhile, the DF-26 can reputedly target moving ships nearly 2,500 miles distant.

That’s a lot of sea space. All of Southeast Asia—and far beyond—now lies within missile reach.

As though to preface and punctuate the Pentagon report, PLA rocketeers lofted a DF-21D and a DF-26 into the South China Sea in the days prior to its release. The missile tests came shortly after two U.S. Navy aircraft-carrier expeditionary forces cruised the embattled sea to dispute China’s claim to sovereignty over most of it. Commentators widely—and accurately—interpreted the tests as a reply to the U.S. deployment.

Passing the Buck to China in the Middle East

by Sumantra Maitra

Acurious puzzle in international relations that might one day launch a thousand PhDs in the future is why the Islamic world is notoriously silent about Chinese brutality of the Uighurs and Chinese hegemony in general. Recently, a Turkish doctor examined around 300 Uighur women refugees and found out that 80 of them have been sterilized. Consider for a moment something similar taking place in the United States, Britain, India, or Australia, and imagine the outrage it would rightly inspire. Add to that hundreds of videos on social media of thousands of men bound in chains guarded by uniformed men, and taken in trains to unknown destinations, and this silence sounds even more puzzling.

There are, of course, sporadic individual protests. But not only Turkey, the self-declared leader of the Islamic world and ethnically closest to the Uighurs, but also Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan, and the entirety of Central Asia, are yet to sever diplomatic ties with China. There are no embassy burnings, no mass protests, no threats of war, and no jihadist attacks on increasing Chinese material interests and establishments across the globe. Why is that so? Does this open subservience stem from the desire for more Chinese financial carrots, or the logical fear of Chinese sticks, and the worry that Chinese retribution would be far more merciless than lily-livered Western rules of engagement which still broadly aspires to follow human rights and minimize civilian casualties? China, it is feared, still goes by pre-Second World War rules; its wars, punitive, and its hegemony, imperial.

China vs. America: A New Cold War Means New Great Power Blocs

by Yao-Yuan Yeh Charles K.S. Wu Austin Wang Fang-Yu Chen

On July 22, 2020, the State Department announced that it has directed China to close its consulate in Houston for the purpose of “protecting intellectual property and private information of U.S. citizens.” This incident happened in the midst of a diplomatic event—a Chinese visiting scholar at Stanford University is now charged with visa fraud for hiding her People’s Liberation Army (PLA) membership to obtain entry into the United States. Meanwhile, another Chinese researcher was allegedly charged by the FBI for lying about her affiliation with the PLA and has taken refuge in the Chinese consulate in San Francisco. Reacting to this series of events, Senator Marco Rubio tweeted, “…China's consulate in Houston is not a diplomatic facility. It is the central node of the Communist Party's vast network of spies & influence operations in the United States.”

In addition to the diplomatic scuffle, recently, the Trump administration also objected to China’s claims of the South China Sea, marking it the first time the U.S. government is taking a stance on the South China Sea dispute. To show its resolve, the United States has deployed two U.S. aircraft carriers battle groups (USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz) to the area for military drills. In response, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, rebuffed that the United States “is creating divisions among nations in the region and militarizing the South China Sea.”

Pakistan and the Belt and Road: New Horizons for a Globalized RMB

By Muhammad Tayyab Safdar and Joshua Zabin
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China and Pakistan have often used slogans to highlight the importance of their relationship. Talk of a bond “higher than the Himalayas, deeper than the deepest ocean, and sweeter than honey” runs deep. Given the historical strength of Sino-Pakistani relations, Pakistan emerged as a natural location for China to pilot its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Pakistan, faced with persistent security issues, infrastructure shortages, and governance problems, struggled to attract foreign investment from the West and embraced Chinese largesse with open arms. It seemed like a good location for China to highlight the BRI and, at the same time, to take tentative steps toward the internationalization of China’s currency, the renminbi (RMB) – two important policy goals.

Out of this collective serendipity emerged the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), launched in 2015 to address Pakistan’s persistent power sector and infrastructure woes. CPEC’s long-term plan ultimately envisages connecting western China with the Arabian Sea via Balochistan. As the most developed section of the BRI to date, CPEC is particularly important for China as it has the potential to demonstrate the promise — or peril — of the BRI to other countries. In Pakistan, CPEC has repeatedly been heralded as a “game-changer” that will “take Pakistan to new heights [of prosperity].”

Biden and the Democrats: Standing Up to China on Trade?

By Andrew Samet

The cynical among us might tend to dismiss party platforms as a guide for future policy. But according to some political scientists, they can be a valuable reference for post-election governance. 

If so, what does the 2020 Democratic Party platform tell us about the trade policy that a President Joe Biden would pursue?

In speculating, we ought to also recall the words of former aide to President Ronald Reagan Scot Faulkner: “personnel is policy.” To wit, the Biden trade policy will be framed by the trade team that is appointed. 

There will likely be those from the “globalist” outlook – which generally considers trade agreements as aligned with preserving and advancing the liberal international economic order, and a counter-force to “protectionist” tendencies. We might also expect others will have more iconoclastic and skeptical views about trade liberalization, its impact on the middle class, and its relationship to income and wealth inequality. 

Consider how U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and White House aide Peter Navarro, who have served all four years in the current administration, align with President Donald Trump’s critical view of prior trade agreements. Meanwhile, former National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, labeled a “globalist” for his trade views by Trump, lasted just a year. 

China’s Crackdown on Mongolian Culture

By Antonio Graceffo
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“Mongolia’s language is part of what makes a person Mongolian and if a person loses their language they lose their national identity.” So read a protest banner opposing the Chinese government’s recent decision to curtail bilingual education in Inner Mongolia.

After World War II, the southern part of Mongolia was annexed by China, becoming the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Since that time, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has gradually eroded the culture and independence of the region’s ethnic Mongolian population. Beijing has encouraged Han Chinese to relocate to Inner Mongolia, where they now outnumber Mongolians nearly 6 to 1. They have decreased seats in bilingual public schools from 190,000 to 17,000 and have allowed Han children to fill them.

In August, the government announced that when the school year began in September, classes in Mongolian would be sharply curtailed. Under the new regulations, literature, politics and history will all now be taught in Mandarin. It has been reported that similar programs are being carried out in the Tibet Autonomous Region and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, home to the Tibetan and Uyghur ethnic groups respectively.

Europe Just Declared Independence From China

Andreas Kluth
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China’s diplomats were already having a terrible year in Europe, but this week they managed to make it even worse. At this rate, Chinese President Xi Jinping may achieve the dubious feat of alienating the Europeans faster and further than even U.S. President Donald Trump is doing.

Xi’s overarching objective in the region is to prevent the European Union and the U.S. from ganging up against China. He was hoping for a breakthrough at a summit with EU leaders scheduled for Sep. 14. Originally slated to take place in Leipzig, it’ll be a video conference instead, owing to the pandemic. But the stakes are high. So Xi this past week dispatched his foreign minister, Wang Yi, to five European countries for some preparatory sweet talk. Talk there was; it just wasn’t sweet.

Wang showed up hoping to hear the softer tones to which he’s accustomed from Europeans, who remain more eager than the Americans to keep trading and doing business with China. Instead, he was surprised at the amount of resistance he was picking up underneath the formal niceties.

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. 

Power-Hungry Turkey May Push the Eastern Mediterranean Into an Armed Conflict

by Yaakov Amidror

Heightening tensions over energy reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean, which recently led to a collision between Greek and Turkish warships, have cast renewed attention on Turkey’s aggressive regional policy.

The country hosts senior Hamas operatives and allows them to plot terrorist attacks against Israel from Istanbul. It sent troops to Qatar after Doha was accused of supporting terrorism by Arab countries and blockaded. It attacked Kurds in Syria who helped the United States fight ISIS. And it threatened to cut ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the recently announced peace deal with Israel—even though Turkey has an embassy in Tel Aviv.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has extended this belligerent approach to the Mediterranean, sending soldiers to war-torn Libya and tipping the scales in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood-influenced Government of National Accord (GNA), which is fighting the Egypt and UAE-backed Libyan National Army. He reached a maritime agreement with the GNA to delimit their exclusive economic zones (EEZ), which utterly ignored the rights of Cyprus and Greece—the latter of which is Turkey’s NATO ally.

Turkey: War with Greece 'just a matter of time'

Head of Turkish National Movement Party Devlet Bahçeli has declared that war with Greece is “just a matter of time”, The New Khaleej reported on Friday.

“It is inconceivable to turn our backs on our historical interests in the Mediterranean and the Aegean,” Bahçeli announced in a statement reported by the Arabic news website.

“It seems that Greece’s appetite and desire to be thrown into the sea has swelled again,” stressing that war in the Mediterranean and the Aegean is “just a matter of time”.

He added: “Greece’s goal is to come again and occupy our lands from where we threw them out 98 years ago. We are facing a new invasion plan.”

The Turkish politician, who is an ally of the Turkish ruling party, continued: “From now on, the attitude and behaviour of Greece will be what will determine the increasing tensions that will cause bleeding or an abominable confrontation.”

Turkey and Greece are at odds over the demarcation of sea borders in the Mediterranean and the right to explore hydrocarbon resources there.

Terrorism Research Initiative (TRI)

Perspectives on Terrorism, August 2020, v.14, no. 4

Illicit Trade and Terrorism

Breaking Hezbollah’s ‘Golden Rule’: An Inside Look at the Modus Operandi of Hezbollah’s Islamic Jihad Organization

ISIS Resurgence in Al Hawl Camp and Human Smuggling Enterprises in Syria: Crime and Terror Convergence?

The Use of Terrorist Tools by Criminal Organizations: The Case of the Brazilian Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC)

Cartel-Related Violence in Mexico as Narco-Terrorism or Criminal Insurgency: A Literature Review

Network vs. Network: Countering Crime-Terror by Combining the Strengths of Law Enforcement, Military and Academia

Bibliography: Terrorism and Organized Crime in Latin America

Counterterrorism Bookshelf: 28 Books on Terrorism & Counter-Terrorism-Related Subjects

Bibliography: Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh)

Recent Online Resources for the Analysis of Terrorism and Related Subjects

Winners and Losers of the Pandemic Economy


MILAN – Much economic commentary nowadays focuses on “divergence”: while broad equity-market indices are at or near all-time highs, much of the wider economy struggles to recover from one of the most severe downturns ever. Whereas the Russell 2000 is still down 5.4% year to date, the S&P 500 and the Russell 3000 have fully recovered to their pre-pandemic levels, and the Nasdaq, which tilts toward digital and technology companies, is up some 26%. 

Many have concluded that the market is unmoored from economic reality. But, viewed another way, today’s equity markets may be partly reflecting powerful underlying trends amplified by the “pandemic economy.” Equity prices and market indices are measures of value creation for the owners of capital, which is not the same thing as value creation in the economy more broadly, where labor and tangible and intangible capital all play a role.

Moreover, markets reflect the future expected real returns to capital. When it comes to measuring the present value of labor income, there simply is no comparable forward-looking index. In principal, then, if there is a significant anticipated economic rebound, the outlooks for capital and labor income could be similar, but only capital’s expected future would be reflected in the present.

Farewell, Big City?

Large urban areas have defied existential threats many times before, and current pandemic-fueled predictions of their demise also may turn out to be exaggerated. But COVID-19 will likely prompt many knowledge workers to reconsider where they live, work, and play – with potentially significant consequences for both cities and the global economy.

In this Big Picture, Edoardo Campanella of IE University in Madrid thinks a permanent shift to remote working could induce skilled workers to leave rich urban areas for smaller and mid-size towns, thus reducing regional economic disparities. But the University of Oxford’s Ian Goldin and Robert Muggah of the Igarapé Institute are more sanguine about big cities’ prospects, arguing that COVID-19 may lead to a more advanced and inclusive urbanism as mayors seek to do more with fewer resources.

To achieve that, however, Princeton University’s Harold James argues that megacities must address not only the coronavirus but also deeper sources of malaise such as poverty, soaring inequality, and unaffordable housing. And the architect Patricia Viel says making cities better-prepared for emergencies will require incorporating unanticipated risks into the design of shared spaces.

Meanwhile, MIT’s Carlo Ratti hopes that the pandemic will lead to the rebirth of more open, dynamic workplaces as businesses recognize that face-to-face interaction is more likely to foster innovative ideas than remote exchanges are. Likewise, Harvard’s Ricardo Hausmann warns that the pandemic-induced shutdown of business travel will hit the global economy hard by substantially reducing cross-border knowledge transfers.

How (Not) to Fight COVID-19

MELBOURNE/TUCSON – When COVID-19 first appeared, strict quarantine requirements and short, tight lockdowns would have been a small price to pay to keep it at bay. Now that the pandemic has infected over 26 million people in 213 countries and territories, we need to find new ways to control it that are not just effective, but also efficient.

To avoid inflicting more pain than necessary, we should target stay-at-home orders as precisely as possible to those who are most likely to pose a risk to others. This requires not just tracing the contacts of those who are infected, but also distinguishing which of their contacts are most likely to have been infected.

Here, technology can help. We should combine new apps that notify people when they have been exposed to a risk of infection with new testing methods that are fast, easy, and as readily available as pregnancy tests. Contact tracing cannot work without fast test results, but it can work well even if more rapid tests are not as accurate as the ones we have now. Apps can improve not only the scalability of contact tracing, but also, importantly, its speed.

Contact tracing, whether conducted manually or by app, recommends quarantine to the close contacts of those who test positive. In the United States, rules issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that 15 minutes spent within six feet (1.8 meters) of a person during their infectious period warrants a 14-day quarantine. Under these rules, we can expect an average of 59 close contacts per infected person. It is plausible that 2% of US residents are infected today. Multiply that by 59 and most people in the US who aren’t staying home already will need to be quarantined.

What to Know About the Race to Lead the WTO

by Jennifer Hillman
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The World Trade Organization (WTO) was left leaderless on Monday when Director-General Roberto Azevedo stepped down with a year left in his term. His departure comes at a pivotal moment for the governing body of international trade, which was in trouble even before the coronavirus pandemic upended the global economy.

Eight candidates are in the running to replace Azevedo. Meanwhile, WTO members were too divided to even agree on an interim director, in part due to the United States’ insistence that they be an American.

The succession process is designed to reach a consensus on a new director-general by November 7. However, some slippage in the date, particularly given the U.S. election on November 3, is likely. The process involves a winnowing down of the candidates in successive rounds beginning on Labor Day, known as “confessionals,” in which the selection committee will hear the preferences of all 164 WTO members. Developed in 2002, the process has worked so far to reach a consensus, but now, gridlock among the biggest economies increasingly hampers the WTO’s operations.
What does the director-general do and why is the role important? 

The World This Week

Will Germany Set the Tone Again for Europe’s Asia Policy?

By Laurens Hemminga

In European politics it has become something of a truism that Germany is first among equals. Where Germany goes, so goes Europe, as a leadership role is ascribed to Berlin in a variety of issues from the Eurozone crisis of 2012 to dealing with COVID-19 and its economic consequences. There are signs that the German government, long reluctant to openly pick up the mantle of leadership, may be gradually warming to the idea of playing a leading role. To give a recent example, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s vocal response to the poisoning of Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny certainly suggests her government has concluded that it should confront Russian transgressions when it cannot count on Washington to take the lead in this respect.

Germany’s policies with regard to China may also shape the policies of the European Union (EU) toward the Asian superpower. For example, the German decision on whether and to what extent to allow Huawei to build the country’s 5G network is expected to reverberate across the EU, although by now its influence may be diminished as France, the U.K., and others have already made their choice. Regardless, a tougher approach toward China is taking shape in Berlin. Perhaps this is why Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s press conference with his German counterpart Heiko Maas on September 1 went less than smoothly.

America Is Betting Big on the Second Island Chain

By Derek Grossman

Late last month, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper visited Palau and Guam (after a stop in Hawaii), underscoring the exceptional geostrategic value the U.S. places on Second Island Chain nations and territories. As U.S.-China great power competition continues to ramp up, Washington has grown uneasy about Beijing’s power projection capabilities, particularly its conventional ballistic and cruise missiles, that can now saturate the First Island Chain and increasingly threaten U.S. military positions in the Second Island Chain.

Hence, Washington is very likely to continue shoring up its defensive posture in the Second Island Chain to support joint operations in First Island Chain theaters, including in the Taiwan Strait, East China Sea, and South China Sea. To accomplish this task, Washington will almost certainly seek to strengthen security cooperation with Pacific Island states in the Second Island Chain and bolster defensive positions on U.S. territories in the region. Ultimately, Washington probably believes it needs to retain exclusive access to the Second Island Chain as an insurance policy in the event that Beijing successfully denies the U.S. and allies access to the First Island Chain theater or, even worse, repels them from it.

These geostrategic concerns are what likely motivated Esper’s recent trip to the Second Island Chain.

The Middle East Just Doesn’t Matter as Much Any Longer


Aaron David Miller served as a State Department Middle East analyst, adviser and negotiator in Republican and Democratic administrations and is the author of The End of Greatness: Why America Can’t Have (and Doesn’t Want) Another Great President.

Richard Sokolsky is currently a non-resident senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He was a member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Office from 2005-2015 and served in the State Department in six administrations.

Joe Biden has made clear that he wants America “back at the head of the table” to “rally the free world to meet the challenges facing the world today. ... No other nation has that capacity.”

While it is essential for the United States to restore U.S. leadership and credibility on issues that are vital to national security and prosperity—most notably, global health cooperation, combating global warming and pushing back on China’s predatory trade practices—there is one region that simply isn’t as important as it used to be: the Middle East.

Army Unveils Hacker HQ For Offensive Cyber, Info War


The new HQ for Army Cyber Command, Fortitude Hall on Fort Gordon, Ga.

WASHINGTON: Army Cyber Command’s new $366 million headquarters at Fort Gordon, Ga. isn’t just a big building with a lot of computers in it. “This is a purpose-built weapons system,” Lt. Gen. Steve Fogarty, the ARCYBER commander, told reporters yesterday. “We are going to take a much more direct role in [cyber] attack.”

In 2018, the Trump White House gave the military much greater authority to infiltrate and attack foreign networks that threatened the US. But actually using that authority requires a highly-trained workforce – uniformed military, government civilian, and contractor – and a lot of technology.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, chief of Army Cyber Command, addresses fellow senior officers.

8 weird DARPA projects that make science fiction seem like real life

Harm Venhuizen
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From outer space to the human brain, DARPA funds research that keeps the military on the leading edge of technology. Pictured here are some of the 250 robots that participated in a robot swarming exercise at Camp Shelby. (DARPA)

The agency responsible for the internet, GPS and stealth aircraft has produced a whole lot of weird in the 62 years since its foundation.

For every one of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s wild successes, there seem to be a plethora of wild failures – projects like mechanical elephants or telepathy research. What makes DARPA so unique is its ability to go outside the red tape of bureaucracy to innovate. DARPA isn’t subject to the same acquisition rules as other agencies, which means it has fewer restrictions on the scientists and innovators it can hire and the salaries it can offer.

The agency also has fewer financial limitations, enabling it to invest in longshot projects with the hopes they’ll pay off – they’re basically the military’s innovative venture capitalists.

Here are some of the more interesting projects to come out of DARPA’s “high-risk, high-reward” environment.

1. Plant-eating robots