10 September 2020

Blind spot

On September 3, The New York Times published an extraordinary article that detailed Richard Nixon’s loathing of Indians, especially Indian women. Its author, Gary Bass, who had earlier written The Blood Telegram, a book-length critique of US diplomacy during the 1971 war, based his piece on tapes recently declassified by Nixon’s presidential archive. In them, Nixon is heard saying at various times that Indian women are the most unattractive women in the world, that they are sexless, that they turn him off and there’s a particularly entertaining bit where he wonders how Indians reproduce at all, given how repulsive their women are. 

What are we to make of these revelations? The first thing to be said is that they shouldn’t be a great surprise. Tapes released more than 20 years ago established that Nixon was an equal-opportunity bigot. He was energetically anti-Semitic, for example. He used to complain that Washington “is full of Jews”, that “[m]ost Jews are disloyal” and that “...generally speaking, you can’t trust the b*****ds.” He was also racist and the tapes brim over with casual prejudice about minorities. 

Perhaps the more interesting revelation is Henry Kissinger’s complicity in Nixon’s bigotry, given the fact that Kissinger is Jewish and had been at the receiving end of Nazi racism himself. Annoyed by the assistance offered by Indira Gandhi to Bengali nationalists in East Pakistan in June 1971, Kissinger described Indians variously as “a scavenging people”, as “masters of subtle flattery”, as a people whose “...great skill is to suck up...” It’s fascinating how fluently Kissinger uses the stock phrases WASPs once used to disparage Jews (subtle, flatterers) to denigrate Indians. This great practitioner of realpolitik was happy to use second-hand colonial clichés about sub-continental types to characterize desis. So if Indians were clever suck-ups, Pakistanis were a “fine people but... primitive in their mental structure”.

India and the Deepening Sino-Pak Alliance

Chilamkuri Raja Mohan

As China and Pakistan deepen their strategic alliance and intensify their coordination on the Kashmir question and other regional issues, India’s relations with its two most important neighbours are likely to become more challenging now than before. The larger geopolitical churn among the major powers and the regional environment further complicates this challenge.


The second round of the strategic dialogue between China and Pakistan, led by foreign ministers Wang Yi and Shah Mahmood Qureshi in August 2020 in the Hainan province, did not produce any significant new initiatives. The focus was on the further consolidation of the all-weather partnership between Islamabad and Beijing across a broadening range of issues.

What makes this round of Sino-Pak strategic dialogue significant is the rapid deterioration of the India-China ties amidst the unresolved military standoff in eastern Ladakh. Coupled with the turbulence in the Middle East and the Indian Ocean, where China’s stakes are rapidly rising, and the sharpening contradictions between Beijing and Washington, the subcontinent’s geopolitical environment has arrived at a moment of discontinuity.

Revisiting India’s Neighbourhood Policy: Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka

Tridivesh Singh Maini

Key Points 

India faces serious challenges in its neighbourhood.

While all eyes have been on New Delhi’s tensions with Nepal, China has bolstered its economic and strategic links with Dhaka, and Colombo-Beijing ties already are robust.

There have been signs of a thaw between New Delhi and Kathmandu, and India has worked to strengthen its economic ties with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and to provide assistance.

New Delhi needs to look at its neighbourhood beyond the China factor, however, resolve domestic problems and address economic challenges. 


While in recent times rising tensions between New Delhi and Beijing have attracted the attention of regional and other observers, it is noteworthy that India’s ties with its neighbouring countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) grouping, especially those with Nepal, have rapidly deteriorated. It all began in May 2020, when Nepal objected to the inauguration of the extension of a road from the Indian state of Uttaranchal to Lipulekh near the India-Nepal-China junction by Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. The aim of the project, an 80 kilometre-long road, was to make the journey of Hindu pilgrims to the Kailash Mansarovar shrine in Tibet easier. Nepal reacted strongly to the road extension, stating that according to the Sugauli Treaty of 1816, Lipulekh and other territories east of the Mahanadi River – Limpiyadhura and Kalapani – belonged to Nepal, and that Kathmandu had reminded India of that in November 2019.


China’s Global Security Aspirations with Afghanistan and the Taliban

This paper details possible motives of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in forming new partnerships with Afghanistan through a historic lens, amidst the effects of COVID-19 and the U.S. withdrawal.


As the U.S. plans its departure from Afghanistan, China is using the COVID-19 pandemic as a backdrop to build regional ties in meetings with Afghanistan, Nepal and Pakistan that aim to extend the BRI. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, “We will actively promote the building of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the Trans-Himalayan Connectivity network, support the extension of the corridor to Afghanistan, and further unleash the dividends of regional connectivity.” As the new heightened intelligence-sharing arrangement between China and Pakistan accelerates, Beijing’s influence in Afghanistan will also expand.

Fewer Chinese investments in the US are raising national security concerns

Martin Chorzempa

The US bans on Chinese mobile phone applications TikTok and WeChat over national security concerns reflect a broad hawkish shift to rethink US relations with China regarding technology and security. Thus, it may seem counterintuitive that the number of Chinese investments in the United States facing a national security review has declined over the past few years. After years as the country whose investors faced the most scrutiny, it fell to the third most in 2019.

In 2019, only 28 transactions involving Chinese investors were reported to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the US government body that reviews foreign investments for national security threats. By contrast, in 2017, 60 transactions involving Chinese investors were covered, many more than from any other country.

CFIUS has become so hostile to Chinese investors that most now shy away from any investment that could be perceived as being related to national security. In the past, they would attempt to reach a compromise with CFIUS that alleviated its security concerns, such as limiting Chinese nationals' access to technology or data. Now that Chinese deals have plummeted, CFIUS is more likely to be reviewing investments from allies like Japan or EU nations than Chinese deals.

This PIIE Chart was adapted from Martin Chorzempa's blog post, "Trump's ban on WeChat and TikTok lacks clarity and will not solve our data security problems."

CO20160 | China and Panama: Penetrating America’s Backyard

Loro Horta

RSIS Commentary is a platform to provide timely and, where appropriate, policy-relevant commentary and analysis of topical and contemporary issues. The authors’ views are their own and do not represent the official position of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU. These commentaries may be reproduced with prior permission from RSIS and due recognition to the author(s) and RSIS. Please email to Mr Yang Razali Kassim, Editor RSIS Commentary at RSISPublications@ntu.edu.sg.


As tensions between Washington and Beijing rise at the global level, their rivalry is putting great pressure on small states. China’s growing presence in Panama has raised concerns at the highest levels of the Trump administration.

From Domination to Consolidation: at the Tactical Level in Future Large-Scale Combat Operations

The purpose of this study is to identify challenges regarding the transition from large scale combat operations to consolidation of gains as described in the 2017 US Army Field Manual 3-0 in order to inform the US Army in general and the Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate in particular in the process of developing new doctrine. For the first time, Field Manual 3-0 officially implements consolidation of gains and the related physical consolidation area as part of the operational framework into US Army doctrine. Thus, the thesis topic is significant to the military profession, because it intends to familiarize political and military leaders at all levels of war, particularly at the tactical level, with the doctrinal idea behind consolidation of gains as well as its related challenges, ramifications, and implications. In addition, combined arms doctrine directorate has not yet broken down the broad tactics and procedures from Field Manual 3-0 into more detailed techniques. This study will add to the endeavor of filling this gap. 

Hence, this manuscript focuses mainly on tactical to operational level considerations in order to help drive doctrine development. Issues The US Army has not fought conventional large-scale combat operations since the end of the Second Gulf War in 2003. Since then, the main emphasis of organizing, training, and equipping the force has been on stability operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition, the military has undergone several structural reforms, which has led to reduction in 2 both size and numbers. In the meantime, the current operating environment has changed significantly over the last 25 years. Near-peer threats have emerged such as Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. Those threats, as well as malicious non-state adversaries, have developed capacities and capabilities that challenge and partly overmatch US forces in land combat and also in other domains of warfare: air, maritime, space, and information environment. 


This Clingendael Report explores whether and how China’s approach to the six non-European Union (EU) countries of the Western Balkans (the WB6) relates to EU interests. It focuses in particular on the question of whether China’s influence affects the behaviour of the WB6 governments in ways that run counter to the EU’s objectives in the region. China engages with the Western Balkans primarily as a financier of infrastructure and a source of direct investment. This is in line with China’s main strategic objective for the Western Balkans – that is, to develop the Land–Sea Express Corridor, a component of its Belt and Road Initiative, aimed at improving China–EU connectivity.

This report proposes a number of actions based on recognising the developmental needs of countries in the Western Balkans, and accepting that China’s economic involvement is inevitable and potentially beneficial for such developmental needs. In particular, the EU should maximise accession conditionality as a tool to influence the conditions under which China is involved in the region.

China’s Use of AI in its COVID-19 Response

Emily Weinstein

The current global pandemic has given China a chance to amplify its efforts to apply artificial intelligence across the public and private spheres. Chinese companies are developing and retooling AI systems for control and prevention. This data brief assesses the types of AI technologies used to fight COVID-19 and the key players involved in this industry.

Xi Jinping has made artificial intelligence a primary focus of China’s innovation and high-tech development since 2012. Policies released under his leadership touch on various aspects of AI, from military applications to manufacturing, ecological preservation, and healthcare. High-level guiding policies like the 2017 “Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan” (新一代人工智能发展规划) call for increased AI usage in the development of intelligent medical care and health and elder care systems.1

The emergence of COVID-19 in December 2019 has amplified these efforts, as Chinese companies of all sizes across AI-related sectors have developed and retooled AI systems for epidemic control and prevention. The State Council’s June 2020 White Paper, entitled “Fighting COVID-19: China in Action,” states that China has “fully utilized” artificial intelligence to not only research, analyze, and forecast COVID-19 trends and developments, but also to track infected persons, identify risk groups, and facilitate the resumption of normal business operations.2

Great-power competition and the rising US-China rivalry: Towards a new normal?

The United States and China are posited to be at the epicenter of an emerging and – by most accounts – intensifying rivalry. This report delves into the theoretical underpinnings as well as the geostrategic and geo-economic dynamics driving this great-power competition. It explores future prospects for contestation and engagement in key issue areas, such as arms control, trade and sanctions. The chapters in this volume also examine the Indo-Pacific as the immediate regional frontline of the unfolding great-power contest and explore the role that Europe has to play in this game.

As the world is crossing the threshold into a new age of great-power competition, the debate on the US-China rivalry reveals the complex and contested nature of the meanings, causes, policy implications and future prospects of what is set to become the “new normal” in global politics.

China-Taiwan Competition over Somaliland and Implications for Small Countries

Over the past two months, the very public rivalry between China and Taiwan has moved into the Horn of Africa over representation in unrecognized Somaliland. On July 1, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it had signed a deal with Somaliland to establish reciprocal representative offices to foster greater cooperation in “agriculture, education, energy, fisheries, health, information and communications, and mining.” The opening of offices and the exchange of diplomatic staff were delayed by COVID-19 restrictions—with the Somaliland office in Taipei scheduled to be opened in September 2020—even though talks between the two sides had been going on for months prior to the July announcement.

On August 17, the “Taiwan Representative Office” opened in Hargeisa. President Tsai Ing-wen recorded a video to mark the occasion; the opening ceremony was attended by Somaliland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Yasin Hagi Mohamoud. This office is the only one of Taiwan’s that uses “Taiwan” in the official office name, instead of Taipei (generally for offices in countries that it does not have formal relations) or Republic of China (generally for offices in countries that it maintains formal diplomatic relations with). For outside observers, the use of “Taiwan” in a diplomatic office might not seem like that big of a deal, but considering that it is the only instance that the country’s unofficial, but widely used, name appears, it should be viewed as a win—especially since in international fora Taiwan is often forced to use “Chinese Taipei” to have a chance at a seat.

From Pivot to Deance: American Policy Shift in the South China Sea

Shortly after his inauguration, President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement. That raised concerns among U.S. allies in the Asia-Pacific as to whether the new American president was intent on further retrenchment from the region at a time when his predecessor’s “pivot to Asia” had already proven disappointing. But the Trump administration’s headline-grabbing efforts to remake the terms of America’s economic relations around the world obscured its increasing willingness to challenge China not only on trade, but also in terms of security. Nowhere has that been truer than in the South China Sea, where China is embroiled in disputes with Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam. In July 2020, the United States shed the last remnants of its hands-off policy in the region and formally rejected Chinese maritime claims there.
Gathering Momentum

For decades, the United States had pursued a policy that was once described as “scrupulous noninvolvement” in the maritime disputes of the South China Sea.[1] But China’s growing assertiveness in those waters during the early 2010s eventually led President Barack Obama’s administration to begin shifting American policy towards a firmer stance. In 2013, it stationed a U.S. Navy littoral combat ship on a rotational basis in Singapore. The next year, it published maps that cast doubt on China’s “nine-dash line” claim. And the year after that, it resumed the U.S. Navy’s freedom of navigation operations within 12 nautical miles of Chinese outposts in the South China Sea.[2] Unfortunately for the administration, its incremental approach did little to deter Beijing. By the time Obama left office, China was well on its way to completing several artificial islands in the Spratly archipelago and fitting them with airfields, ports, radars, and other military facilities (contravening Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping’s own pledge not to militarize the islands).

Xi Jinping and the Administrative Hierarchy and Subdivisions in China

Mrittika Guha Sarkar
Source Link

China under Xi Jinping has witnessed systemic changes with emphasis on central control, urbanization and industrialization.

Policies such as the National New-Type Urbanization Plan (2014–2020) have enhanced urbanization in China by reaching a rate of 60.6 percent, with a 11 percent increase from 2010.

Initiatives such as the anti-corruption campaign have enabled consolidation of power and have re-emphasized on central control.

China’s leadership under Xi Jinping has witnessed fundamental changes in its administrative hierarchy and subdivisions with a major focus on centralization. Xi’s consolidation of power and marginalization of factional voices within the government through initiatives such as the anti-corruption campaign have so far proven to be potent. His efforts to reassert central control are driving the administration to usher into a new era of industrialization and urbanization, enabling China to modernize and fulfil its two centenary goals of (a) establishing a moderately prosperous society by 2021 and (b) establishing a “strong, affluent and modern country” by 2049. At the same time, Xi’s efforts to focus on urbanization and industrialization is supporting economic development, which is allowing China to attain its core objectives, and the overarching goal often described as the “Chinese Dream” of national rejuvenation.

Competing With China: A Strategic Framework

David Moschella Robert D. Atkinson 

China will likely be the biggest business disruptor of the 2020s, but the discussion about how to respond has yet to take shape. A strategic framework should rebalance the global supply chains, bolster competitiveness, adjust to China’s market size, and solidify the West’s appeal.


China has long sought to become self-reliant in semiconductors, software, telecom equipment, mainframes, and databases—and over the last few years it has made great progress toward that goal.

Its disruptive economic impact stems from its unique position as the world’s largest market for many products, the leading supplier of many more, the toughest competitor, and the West’s chief geopolitical rival.

Because of its multidimensional presence, China has already exceeded the economic impact of earlier rivals the West has faced, and going forward it will be much more difficult to counter.

The COVID-19 pandemic and recent actions by the Chinese government have finally coalesced long-standing Western concerns about China, focusing on self-sufficiency, national security, trade deficits, business ethics, and human rights.

Chinese companies operating in the West and Western companies operating in China both are likely to come under closer government and public scrutiny in the near term.

Although tensions could defuse, U.S.-China relations increasingly look like a win-lose economic struggle that will test which nation is stronger and which is likely to prevail in specific industries.

The 2020s will likely be the decisive decade. To succeed, the United States and its allies should focus on rebalancing global supply chains, bolstering competitiveness, adjusting to China’s market size, and solidifying the West’s appeal.

Why Iran Is Turning East

By Emil Avdaliani

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: US pressure might have been an immediate impetus behind the recently leaked Iran-China deal, but the two states have deep historical and ideological ties that drive them together. With that said, the Iranian regime’s ultimate goals will not allow for outsized Chinese influence. Any attempts by Beijing to thwart Iran’s progress toward those goals will not be tolerated by Tehran, meaning the success of the deal is far from guaranteed.

Beijing and Tehran are preparing a whopping 25-year economic and security deal according to which China would invest up to $400 billion in Iran. We need not go into details on the proposed agreement as it has already been discussed at length, but it is worthwhile to delve into the geopolitical and historical background that drives the two countries toward one another.

When the provisional document was leaked, many analysts expressed the opinion that China and Iran are now more closely aligned because of increased US pressure. This is an understandable assumption, but there is much more going on. Iran’s turn to China did not appear out of the blue; it has been in preparation for years. The deal represents a logical reaction of the Iranian political elite to the changing geopolitical order in Eurasia, namely the rise of China.

Islamic State’s Use of Gamification and Low-Tech Terror Tactics

By Sammie Wicks

Islamic State (IS) and other violent extremist organisations continue to proliferate on online platforms despite efforts from major online platforms to combat the spread of online terrorist material. The exploitation of social media is particularly concerning due to a reported surge in Facebook usage and usage across other communication platforms. While not all of this increased usage (or even most of it) can be attributed to online extremist activity, it does mean that people are spending more time online and could potentially increase their chances of interacting with terrorist propaganda.

Incite the Believers

On 26 July 2020, IS’s Al Hayat Media Center released a new video calling for terrorist attacks in the United States. The video was posted in both Arabic and English and disseminated on RocketChat, Hoop, and Telegram. The content advocates for low-technology terrorist attacks after highlighting offenses committed against Muslims in Muslim-majority countries. It acknowledges that it is difficult for some of its followers to come to theatres of jihad and recognises that explosives and firearms may be hard to obtain. The propaganda video suggests arson and specifically encourages targeting agriculture as well as forested areas for a number of reasons: it is easy to carry out while also avoiding detection and it is economically damaging.

Combating Terrorism Center (CTC)

Engineered Pathogens and Unnatural Biological Weapons: The Future Threat of Synthetic Biology

A View From the CT Foxhole: Gilles de Kerchove, European Union (EU) Counter-Terrorism Coordinator

Inside the Foreign Fighter Pipeline to Syria: A Case Study of a Portuguese Islamic State Network

The Islamic State’s Strategic Trajectory in Africa: Key Takeaways from its Attack Claims


Richard H. Shultz and Gen. Richard D. Clarke 

During the Iraq war America’s special operations forces (SOF) demonstrated a remarkable capacity to innovate to accomplish a mission for which they were not prepared—finding and dismantling al-Qaeda in Iraq’s (AQI) network of secret cells, which served as the backbone of the insurgency. It did so by developing new operational methods to uncover and eradicate a critical mass of AQI’s mid-level commanders and managers, the linchpins of those secret networks.

In Iraq, SOF Task Force 714 was able to adapt to this unexpected mission through organizational transformation, interagency collaboration, and the adoption of cutting-edge software applications. This turned Task Force 714 into an intelligence-driven organization capable of analyzing and exploiting “big data” through state-of-the-art data integration tools.

Since the United States withdrew from Iraq in 2011, the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has continued to innovate, adapting to an ever-changing war zone in the second decade of this century. And, most recently, USSOCOM and its subordinate commands have played important roles in the Department of Defense pathfinder effort to employ artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in the fight against ISIS, al-Qaeda, and their geographically dispersed proxies.

US Intelligence, the Coronavirus and the Age of Globalized Challenges

Calder Walton 

This essay is published as part of CIGI's Security, Intelligence and the Global Health Crisis series, which focuses on the role that security and intelligence institutions will play in protecting societies against future pandemics.

The US government's response to the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, has been one of the worst failures in modern US history. At the time of writing this essay, the coronavirus response has led to more American deaths than all US combat operations since the Korean War. It has also caused more damage — more quickly — than any contemporary hostile state or act of terrorism. The US administration's catastrophic failure to provide an effective, coherent public policy response to the coronavirus represents a failure to recognize the changed nature of threats to national security in the twenty-first century — and the intelligence needed to counter them. This century, national security threats will come from great power rivalries, in particular between the United States and China, amid the "return of history" they represent following claims that history had ended a quarter of a century ago, after the Cold War. However, threats will also come from fundamentally new globalized challenges: biological threats, such as pandemics, and climate change. This century will be an age of globalized threats.

This essay makes three arguments. First, the US government will need to establish a coronavirus commission, similar to the 9/11 commission, to determine why, since April 2020, the United States has suffered more coronavirus fatalities than any other country in the world. Second, the COVID-19 pandemic represents a watershed for what will be a major national security theme this century: biological threats, both from naturally occurring pathogens and from synthesized biology. Third, intelligence about globalized challenges, such as pandemics, needs to be dramatically reconceptualized, stripping away outmoded levels of secrecy. Reflecting the significance of open-source intelligence that already exists in today's digital world, and will only increase as future societies become more interconnected, the US intelligence community will need to become more open-facing, like its underlying intelligence today. Just as the Central Intelligence Agency was established in 1947 to confront a new threat (the Soviet Union), the United States needs to establish a new kind of public-facing intelligence to anticipate globalized threats, such as pandemics, hiding in the open....


by Andrew Oros

Andrew Oros, professor of political science and international studies at Washington College, explains that “While, Japan’s military capabilities may be said to have improved despite demographic decline, the size of its military appears to be more directly affected, and the outlook for funding the military is unclear.” 

Japan is one of the first major countries in the contemporary world to experience population decline. Today there are about one and a half million fewer Japanese than a decade ago, a decline in population that will dramatically intensify in the coming years; declining roughly eight million in the 2020s and ten million in the 2030s alone.

Some, such as Brad Glosserman in Peak Japan: The End of Great Ambitions, argue that Japan’s changing demographics will lead to a more inward-looking Japan in the coming years. The record thus far does not bear this out. As I argued in Japan’s Security Renaissance, though Japan experienced its first decade both of population decline and what demographers now call “super-aging” (where over 20% of the population is over 65) in the 2010s, Japan’s military forces grew to be more capable than ever during this period. Recent defense discussion in Japan envisions further increases in capabilities, including perhaps crossing the Rubicon by developing strike missiles to enhance deterrence.

Strategic Cyber Warfare Heats Up

It's "anything goes," according to renowned hacker the Grugq, who drew a bright line between cyberwar and cyber warfare at this week's virtual Disclosure Conference.

When tens of millions of Korean pop music sensation BTS superfans descended on the Internet in June in support of Black Lives Matter, some described them as a virtual army. But for renowned hacker the Grugq, the impact of that army was very real. By taking online action to support racial justice at the behest of BTS, their fans were engaging in the kind of cybercraft that analysts often attribute to nation-states, he said.

"People with this level of devotion, who spend $50 on a lightbulb that's the same color as their neighbor's lightbulb and can be controlled by the management of the band, these people are operating in cyberspace. I think that's awesome. But that also means that cyber power belongs to a K-pop band," Grugq said in his opening keynote on the subject of cybercraft and cyber warfare at the virtual Disclosure Conference on Wednesday. 

Grugq drew a bright line between cyberwar, which uses Internet-connected computing devices in the service of a traditional war with real-world impact on infrastructure and lives, and cyber warfare, which, as part of cybercraft, has allowed nation-states to engage each other antagonistically without directly killing people. 

"'Cyber' used to mean that it only gave you strategic surprise," which is why cybercraft is so often compared to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he said. "But now cyber warfare is [the ruleless game] Calvinball. Anything goes."

Strategic Studies Institute (SSI)

COVID-19 and Brazil: Why the US-Brazil Relationship Matters More Than Ever

Post-COVID Transformation: DOD Goes into the Matrix?

Not So Fast: Why the Call to Expand the Reserve Components is Premature

Tell Me How This Ends: The US Army in the Pandemic Era

Domestic Politics and the Military’s COVID-19 Response

COVID-19: Shaping a Sicker, Poorer, More Violent, and Unstable Western Hemisphere

Outbreak: COVID-19, Crime, and Conflict

The Impact of COVID-19 on Civil-Military Relations

Recruiting in a Post-COVID-19 World

“Hole” of Government: What COVID-19 Reveals about American Security Planning

Scenarios for a Post-COVID Middle East

COVID-19 and Indo-Pacific Strategy: Korea is Up, China is Down, and the US (For Now) is Out

Memorandum for SECDEF: Restore “Shock” in Strategic Planning

Long-Term Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic for the US Army

After COVID-19: American Landpower in Transatlantic Context

COVID-19 and the Ethics of Military Readiness

“Disaster Diplomacy” and the US Response to COVID-19

Four myths about the cloud: The geopolitics of cloud computing

by Trey Herr

Executive summary

Cloud computing is more than technology and engineering minutia—it has real social and political consequences. Cloud services are becoming the battleground for diplomatic, economic, and military dispute between states. Companies providing these cloud services are substantially impacted by geopolitics. This paper pokes holes in four recurrent myths about the cloud to provide actionable advice, intended to increase the transparency and security of the cloud, to policymakers in the United States and European Union and practitioners in industry. 

Commerce and Trade: Amazon retains a lead in the cloud market, but it, Microsoft, and Google are pushing data/infrastructure localized friendly products that might well undermine the economics of their business in years to come. 

National Security: If the United States and China are battling over the security of 5G telecommunications technology, which is still barely in use, what kind of risk will this great-power competition have for cloud computing? 

Tech Policy: Cloud providers like Microsoft and Amazon are seeing userbases grow so large, and include ever more government users, that they are increasingly host to cyberattacks launched and targeted within their own networks. 


In accordance with Executive Order 13865, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—through CISA and in coordination with the interagency—is taking key actions to address known EMP-related vulnerabilities to critical infrastructure.

The EMP Program Status Report addresses efforts taken by DHS to foster increased resilience to EMP events through vulnerability assessments, testing and pilot programs, data analysis and validation, risk assessments, and public and private sector coordination.


This paper is published by the author in conjunction with ongoing research and partnership with the Army Music Analytics Team and the West Point Music Research Center. What is published here is a condensed version of a longer work, originally written for the completion of his National Security Master’s Thesis at American Military University in 2019.

“It is not the strongest nor the most intelligent of species that survives, but the one that is most adaptable to change.”
-Charles Darwin (1809–1882)

Using research methodologies to examine and synthesize expansive ideas, this paper will present a comprehensive understanding of music in relation to the military world. The overall purpose is to look at military bands to see if there is a justification for the use of military music in defense of the nation. 

Noise, sound and music are all distinct, but they play essential roles to one another. From the perspective both of the creator and of the recipient, noise, sound and music can vary drastically. Primarily, noise is usually considered unwanted or unintended sound capable of negatively affecting both communication and thought, e.g., the multitude of conversations in an auditorium, traffic or a passing train. In contrast, intentional sound is defined as something that has bright, distinguishable, vibratory patterns with a somewhat set duration. The “ding” on a microwave, the “chirp” of a bird and a crying baby are all sounds that catch attention. In the modern era, sounds function as shortened forms of communication. Music, finally, is defined as a combination of sounds with distinct characteristics—dynamics, pitch, rhythm, texture and timbre. While music may be desirable, unwanted music can be perceived as noise by the recipient.