28 December 2020

Is the RCEP China’s Gain and India’s Loss?

By: Rajaram Panda


On November 15, fifteen nations in the Indo-Pacific region — including China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and the ten ASEAN members Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines — signed the world’s largest trade agreement. Known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the new trading bloc will cover 2.2 billion people and its member states’ combined GDP of $26.2 trillion accounts for around 30 percent of total global GDP. The deal’s finalization comes about a year after India announced its decision to not join the grouping, based on its perception that the terms of the agreement were skewed in China’s favor. India also feared that the deal would allow Chinese goods to flood Indian markets, threatening domestic industries. Regardless of India’s withdrawal, the pact represents a milestone in China’s ambition to become a regional trade lynch-pin.

The RCEP, first proposed in 2012, was negotiated over the course of 46 trade representative meetings and 19 ministerial meetings. As the world continues to grapple with the economic impact of Covid-19, the RCEP has the potential to reshape the geostrategic landscape in the Indo-Pacific with dramatic consequences. The RCEP could come into effect as early as mid-2021, but resistance to the deal within the national parliaments of states that have yet to ratify would likely drive its date of implementation back to January 1, 2022. Australia (currently undergoing a tumultuous diplomatic and trade war with China), Malaysia, and Thailand are among the most likely to delay ratification (China Briefing, November 17; SCMP, November 16).

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Limited Role In Easing Tensions Between China and India

By: James MacHaffie


Recent clashes between India and China over the Line of Actual Control (LAC) have created a potential existential crisis for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The dispute flared up in May of this year, escalating in June and resulting in the first deaths of Indian soldiers at the hands of Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers since 1967. Both China and India are members of the SCO cooperative security framework, which faces pressure to resolve the stand-off. Such pressure is increased by the potential for the border dispute to expand into a greater conflict between the two nuclear-armed powers.

The crisis erupted when China pushed back against Indian road construction, with Chinese troops repeatedly intruding across the LAC and into de facto Indian territory at various points along the Galwan valley, Pangong Tso, Hot Springs, and Depsang in the eastern Ladakh region (Global Times, June 16; China Brief, July 15). On June 15, PLA troops clashed with Indian Army soldiers. No firearms were used, as they had been banned by previous agreements, but casualties occurred on both sides.[1] India and China traded blame for the outbreak of violence, and at the time of writing the specific origins of the incident remain uncertain (SCMP, July 2). Notably, the Galwan valley is an extension of the disputed Aksai Chin region, which China claims in its entirety (see image below). The Aksai Chin serves as a strategic corridor between China’s provincial-level Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR), and is seen by China’s leadership as being strategically vital to domestic security.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Role in Deescalating Tensions

China backing away from its initial financial promises to Pakistan under CPEC: Report

Islamabad: China appears to be backing away from its initial financial promises to Pakistan under Beijing-financed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a US$60 billion infrastructure building plan, amid rising corruption and militant attacks on Chinese engineers.

According to Asia Times, Pakistan Army is set to take near-total control of the CPEC in a bid to reassure Beijing that their investments will be more secure amid militant attacks on Chinese engineers and others facilitating the infrastructure projects.

The new bill comes at a time when reports suggest that China is slowly retreating from its promises.

Overall lending by the state-backed China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China declined from a peak of USD 75 billion in 2016 to just $4 billion last year. Provisional 2020 figures show that amount shrunk to around $3 billion in 2020, according to data of Boston University researchers in the United States.

The belt-tightening is believed to be in line with Beijing's so-called "rethink strategy" for its US$1 trillion BRI, which is under broad fire for "structural weaknesses" including opacity, corruption, overlending to poor countries resulting in "debt traps" and adverse social and environmental impacts, the Boston University research said.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, whose government is criticised for being under military control, is also facing flak in his country for not prioritising and expediting big-ticket Chinese infrastructure investments, Asia Times reported.

China’s antitrust regulator fines affiliates of Alibaba, Tencent and SF Holding for ‘monopolistic behaviour’

Yujing Liu

Beijing’s central business district. The regulator said that it acted after it received complaints about the three companies’ failures to report acquisitions of competitors between 2014 and this year. Photo: Reuters

China’s antitrust regulator has fined three of the country’s largest technology companies for failing to disclose acquisitions of smaller competitors, stepping up its enforcement against what it called monopolistic corporate behaviour to protect consumer interests.

A subsidiary of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, a unit of social-media and gaming juggernaut Tencent Holdings, and an affiliate of express delivery company SF Holding were fined 500,000 yuan (US$76,457) each for a breach of China’s anti-monopoly law, the State Administration for Market Regulation said in a statement on Monday.

“The online economy has become increasingly concentrated by market share, with resources fast concentrating in leading platforms,” the regulator’s anti-monopoly bureau said. “Complaints about platform monopoly have been increasing day by day, indicating competition risks and problems in the online economy.”

Would a Nuclear-Armed Taiwan Deter China?

By Alex Littlefield & Adam Lowther

With President-elect Joe Biden set to take office on 20 January, there’s little time to formulate a China policy, though it’s clear his administration’s approach to Beijing could have long-term implications for stability and peace in Asia. Unquestionably, the People’s Republic of China’s escalating aggression towards Taiwan will be the administration’s greatest strategic challenge.

Decisions made by the Biden administration will likely play a role in determining whether war between China and Taiwan becomes a reality and the lengths to which Taiwan feels it must go to defend its freedom.

Two years ago, President Xi Jinping publicly declared that China would use force to ensure Taiwan’s reunification if it refused to go peacefully. Since then, the People’s Liberation Army has expanded its harassment and testing of Taiwan’s defences through naval, air and cyber aggression.

For many Taiwanese, the recent crackdown on Hong Kong offers a window onto what may come if Taiwan reunifies with the mainland. It should come as no surprise, then, that support for reunification is at an all-time low among Taiwanese, with around 90% in opposition.

Weak security guarantees from the United States, coupled with escalating aggression from China, may soon present Biden with a Taiwan that believes its only option for survival is to take a page from the Israeli playbook and restart a covert nuclear weapons program. When Taiwan went down that path between 1967 and the late 1980s, the government in Taipei ultimately backed away from nuclear weapons because it appeared China was liberalising and heading toward democratisation.

The World China Wants

By Rana Mitter

Does China want to transform the global order to advance its own interests and to reflect its own image? That may be the most important question in geopolitics today, yet the answers it elicits tend to reveal more about modern biases than they do about what a future Chinese superpower would look like. Those who want to project forward to a malevolent, expansionist China point to evidence of aggression in Beijing’s posture today. Those with a less apocalyptic view highlight more accommodating features in Chinese policy or note that China will face plenty of challenges that will keep it from reshaping the world even if it wants to. Many Western observers see a burgeoning new Cold War, with China serving as a twenty-first-century version of the Soviet Union. 

Such projections are far too rigid and sweeping to usefully describe the complexity of China’s rise—either to capture the inherent uncertainty in China’s future aims or to recognize the essential elements that have shaped its aspirations. Chinese power today is a protean, dynamic force formed by the nexus of authoritarianism, consumerism, global ambitions, and technology. Call it the ACGT model: with the same initials as the nucleotides in DNA, these strands of Chinese power combine and recombine to form China’s modern political identity and approach to the rest of the world. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wants to firm up its grip on Chinese society, encourage consumerism at home and abroad, expand its global influence, and develop and export China’s own advanced technology. China’s current standing and future prospects cannot be understood without seeing all four of those goals together.

Competition With China Could Be Short and Sharp

By Michael Beckley and Hal Brands

In foreign policy circles, it has become conventional wisdom that the United States and China are running a “superpower marathon” that may last a century. But the sharpest phase of that competition will be a decadelong sprint. The Sino-American contest for supremacy won’t be settled anytime soon. Yet history and China’s recent trajectory suggest that the moment of maximum danger is just a few years away.

China has entered a particularly perilous period as a rising power: it has gained the capability to disrupt the existing order, but its window to act may be narrowing. The balance of power has been shifting in Beijing’s favor in important areas of U.S.-Chinese competition, such as the Taiwan Strait and the struggle over global telecommunications networks. Yet China is also facing a pronounced economic slowdown and a growing international backlash.

How Should Biden Engage China?

By Yan Liang

The Biden administration’s strategy with China is widely anticipated to be a change in style but not substance from the Trump presidency. President-elect Joe Biden will arguably still perceive China as a major competitor, but his approach to deal with Beijing is bound to be less mean-spirited and arbitrary than Trump’s — more consistent and measured. Biden has promised to rebuild U.S. alliance with like-minded countries to pressure China into making changes. He will also likely broaden the litany of demands for changes, from market access to state involvements in the economy, from human rights issues to regional geopolitical conflicts. Biden will move beyond the simple transactional calculations of the Trump administration to command China’s good behavior. 

Alas, if Biden’s ambition is still to wage a pressure campaign to gain concessions from China, he will face a number of formidable challenges. 

First, to build an anti-China coalition is by no means an effortless task. The damages to U.S. leadership in the multilateral system under Trump are beyond easy and quick fixes. Trump backed out from the Paris Agreement, the World Health Organization, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership; belittled the NATO; paralyzed the World Trade Organization; and imposed trade barriers on Washington’s close allies. It is not clear that Biden will be able to gather sufficient bipartisan support to return to, or solidify, any of these multilateral arrangements. On some fundamental issues, such as regulations on data privacy and digital trade, the U.S. and the EU share deep disagreements. On trade and the economy, countries like Australia, Japan and South Korea find China an incredibly beneficial partner despite existing difficulties.

Turkey's Future Will Rely Neither on Russia Nor the West

by Connor Dilleen

Recent analysis of Turkey’s foreign policy tends to focus on several complementary narratives. Ankara is seen to be slowly moving away from its NATO partners and towards Russia. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears to be pursuing a strategy of balancing the West and Moscow against each other, but this balancing act is viewed as likely to fail, leaving Turkey without friends or allies. In response, the EU and the US are perceived as needing to maintain an equilibrium by reining in a recalcitrant and increasingly assertive Turkey while keeping it within the NATO tent and out of Moscow’s orbit.

Turkey’s continued membership of NATO remains an important objective for both Brussels and Washington, despite Ankara’s increasingly antagonistic attitude towards its NATO partners and its destabilising military adventurism in Syria, Iraq, Libya, the eastern Mediterranean and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Brussels’ and Washington’s willingness to make concessions to preserve Ankara’s participation in NATO was evident in the twin packages of sanctions announced in early December. Both packages stopped short of the full suite of measures initially under consideration in the US and the EU, reflecting their enduring desire to limit the risk of further alienating Ankara and pushing it away from its NATO allies.

But, unlike the US and the EU, Turkey doesn’t necessarily view its future as a binary choice between the West and Russia. For Ankara, this likely represents a false choice between two options that would likely constrain rather than enable its ambitions.

Israeli Drones are Exploding in Popularity Across the West

by Seth J. Frantzman

In Israel’s early years the country marked its defense milestones through the purchase of arms from Western countries. Arms from Czechoslovakia came to Israel as the state was being born in 1948 and French arms deals helped secure Israel in the 1950s. Today the situation is reversed and Israeli defense technology is playing a major role throughout Europe, the United States, and into Canada where Israel’s unique innovations, from air defense to precision targeting capabilities, surveillance, and improvements on the digital battlefield, are needed by hi-tech militaries.

This revolution has taken decades to reach fruition and Israel faces difficult competition from large Western defense giants. In some cases, Israeli companies have partnered with these companies, such as Rafael Advanced Defense Systems working with Raytheon. In other cases, Israeli defense systems, such as the Spike family of missiles, have become so ubiquitous they have a European version. Israel competes at the highest levels for contracts, from Poland’s tank destroyer program to the Spanish army seeking new software-defined radios.

Greece Could Usurp Turkey’s Role As Leading NATO Air Power In Eastern Mediterranean

By Sarah White

Officially, Greece and Turkey are allies, both being members of NATO. Historically, this relationship has been much more hostile. A hot-and-cold pattern of war and reconciliation has characterized their interactions since the first Byzantine-Ottoman conflicts.

Turkey and Greece have disputed territorial claims and rights to resources in the Eastern Mediterranean over the last several decades. This is to say nothing of the problem with Cyprus, which was divided into a Greek side and a Turkish side in 1963, ultimately resulting in the creation of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognized only by Turkey.

Greece and Turkey’s induction into NATO was assumed to come with the understanding that being part of the alliance would neutralize their conflicts of interest and thus minimize the possibility of violence breaking out in the Mediterranean. But a multilateral alliance cannot undo that history on its own.

The most recent dispute between Turkey and Greece has created a disturbance within the alliance that was supposed to deter such conflicts. In September of 2020, Turkey began to actively search for oil and natural gas deposits close to Cyprus, quickly escalating into a quarrel over boundaries similar to those in the past.

It was seen as serious enough to elicit intervention both by NATO and the European Union. NATO quickly implemented a mechanism to deter fighting from breaking out between Greece and Turkey. On December 10 of this year, the European Union, supported by the U.S., voted to place sanctions on Turkey for its drilling activity.

Erdogan's political challengers are getting tougher


For much of 2020, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan relied on foreign-policy adventurism to divert attention from Turkey’s economic crisis and his AK Party’s political travails. His aggressive forays in Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh and the Eastern Mediterranean helped overshadow the political reversals of the previous year, when the AKP lost local elections in major cities — none more embarrassing than that of Erdogan’s old stronghold of Istanbul — and a significant decline in membership.

But the strategy may have reached its limits: Neither investors nor the general public seem to be buying Erdogan’s promise of a new economic era. More generally, the president and his party seem to be losing the confidence of large political constituencies, including urbanites and young conservatives.

Now, with the coronavirus pandemic proving more resilient than expected, and hopes for a smart economic rebound in 2021 crumbling, Turkey’s opposition parties are gunning to regain the initiative. Erdogan may ignore their calls for early general elections — they are scheduled for the summer of 2023 — but he can expect his political rivals to press him every step of the way.

Azerbaijan’s difficult road to reconciliation after victory in the Nagorno-Karabakh war


Arriving in Azerbaijan, the oil-rich nation wedged between Russia and Iran on the Caspian Sea, my plane touched down at Heydar Aliyev Airport, renamed in 2004 after the country’s former president. On the way to my hotel in the capital Baku, my driver zipped along Heydar Aliyev Avenue, the main road leading to the city, past the Heydar Aliyev Museum, an undulating white shell designed by the British-Iraqi starchitect Zaha Hadid. The driver pointed out the Heydar Aliyev Palace, a Soviet-era music venue, next to Heydar Aliyev Park. 

That’s the kind of state Azerbaijan is. Heydar Aliyev ran the South Caucasian country for a decade soon after independence from the Soviet Union. After his death in 2003, his son Ilham Aliyev took over and has been the country’s president since, winning elections always with around 80 per cent of the vote. In the process, he amassed vast wealth and created a cult of personality around his family. In 2017, he even named his wife, Mehriban Aliyeva, vice president. Freedom House, a watchdog, ranks Azerbaijan the joint 11th least free country in the world, below Yemen and Russia. 

I’m here on the invitation of the government which, in September, directed a spectacularly successful campaign to regain the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, a majority-Armenian enclave that had been controlled by separatists since the early 1990s. In 44 days of fighting, Azerbaijan ended almost three decades of perceived national humiliation, capturing swathes of Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as surrounding districts historically populated by Azerbaijanis until their expulsion by Armenian forces during the first Nagorno-Karabakh war. Only a Russian-brokered ceasefire deal put an end to the brutal conflict, which killed more than 5,000 soldiers on both sides. 

Try as It Might, America Cannot Stop Foreign Cyber Snooping

by David V. Gioe

Americans concerned about cybersecurity and foreign influence operations may have been tempted to collectively exhale a sigh of relief in the immediate aftermath of the recent presidential election. Years of investment in election security seemed to have paid off. Over a month after the 2020 election, there have been no confirmed cases of foreign entities penetrating America’s electoral infrastructure to change vote tallies. Before he was abruptly fired, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Christopher Krebs claimed his agency had no evidence that the election was tampered with by foreign adversaries.

Any hopeful feelings that the United States may have turned a corner in cybersecurity or that Russian intelligence officers were either deterred from targeting the United States or simply snoozing at their keyboards were dashed this week when the Trump administration acknowledged a massive cybersecurity breach that may have enabled Russian intelligence to steal enormous amounts of information from across key federal agencies and departments, including the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, Treasury, Commerce, and parts of the Pentagon.

While the impact of the recent hack will not be known for some time, two things should be immediately deduced from recent events. The first is that election security is only one piece of a still lacking comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy. Second, history reminds us that foreign intelligence activity—in elections and beyond—remains an enduring national security threat that will never be completely put to rest.

Why Joe Biden Will Confront the Limits of American Power

by Barry Gewen

PRESIDENT-ELECT Joe Biden’s initial task when he enters the Oval Office and begins directing American foreign policy is to avoid temptation—actually, two temptations. The first is the impulse to think nostalgically, to believe that after the Donald Trump interregnum, it is possible to return to the years after World War II, when the United States was the world’s preeminent power, or after the fall of Communism, when the country was the world’s only superpower. Both of these conditions were artificial and temporary. We are no longer the leader of the “free world,” whatever that is. We are no longer the “exceptional nation,” whatever that means. Who these days believes that the United States is an ethical paragon for the rest of the world to emulate, or that American ideals are universal aspirations? Hell, American ideals are not even an aspiration for millions of Americans. The days of “pay any price, bear any burden” are gone forever.

Many people reading these words—and that includes some in the Biden administration—will respond that such thoughts are “defeatist” or “isolationist.” They are not. They are defeatist only to those unwilling to admit that the world has changed profoundly in the last two decades and that a reassessment of America’s global position and global aims is a dire necessity. We once believed that we could exert our will wherever we chose; it wasn’t true when we believed it, and it certainly isn’t true now. As for the charge of isolationism, it ignores the lesson that everyone should have learned by now—namely, that there are limits to American power and that wise American statesmen will recognize and accept that fact. But to say that the United States can’t do everything doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t do anything. What it does mean is that in the future the United States will have to pick and choose. Some of those choices will be terrible, and won’t reflect America’s professed ideals. That’s the way it is.

Early Warning Brief: Beijing’s Blunt Message to President-elect Joe Biden

By: Willy Wo-Lap Lam


The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has sent a polite but blunt message to the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joseph R. Biden, urging the resumption of high-level ties while at the same time showing off China’s military and economic might. In his belated congratulatory message to President-elect Biden, PRC President Xi Jinping, who is also General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), said that it was in the common interest to “promote [the] healthy and stable development” of bilateral relations. “We hope both countries [will] uphold the spirit of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation,” Xi added (Xinhua, November 25). The nationalistic party tabloid Global Times said with cautious optimism that a Biden presidency might “bring changes to deteriorating bilateral relations that have been trapped in a vicious circle under the Trump administration” (Global Times, November 8).

Chinese Foreign Policy Experts Weigh In

Jin Canrong, associate dean of the Renmin University School of International Studies in Beijing, predicted that Biden would usher in a “buffer period” for China-U.S. relations,” adding that, “relations may still worsen, but not as quickly.” Professor Jin said that “Biden will be more moderate and mature in handling foreign affairs” (Business Standard, November 9). However, most Chinese experts do not expect the Biden team to relax on the issue of tariffs (which now affect some $370 billion worth of Chinese imports), or lift sanctions on dozens of PRC corporations. “It’s too early to make a call [over Biden’s trade policies on China] and we should keep watching,” said Xu Hongcai, a senior scholar at the Beijing-based think tank, the China Association of Policy Science (SCMP, December 4).

Culture Eats Strategy: Personal Incentives Set the Menu

“Ideally all this should work beautifully and harmoniously…[E]verything is planned and anticipated in advance, there is simply no way for shortage to occur…[T]his isn’t the market, where the producers work without knowing the precise size of society’s needs. And in the end, if a shortage somehow occurs owing to force majeure, isn’t it possible to correct the plan? The answer is simple to the point of banality: no, it is not possible.” — Prof Nikoli Shmelev and Vladimir Popov, Senior Soviet economists, on a hierarchical command economy, 1989.

One of the largest experiments in controlling a complex environment with top-down planning was the communist Soviet Union. A planned economy seems more plausible than the chaos of the markets, but history has demonstrated that markets better serve the system as a whole. So, why do militaries believe that a top-down hierarchy will be the most efficient resource allocation structure? And how does this structure influence and incentivise individuals further down the structure to innovate and adapt?

Adam Smith was one of the first to successfully describe the complexity of economic systems, famously describing that the self-interest of individuals creates a coherent network. Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ is an emergent quality, as the system allocates resources more efficiently and effectively than individuals could plan. As part of a King’s College London Masters by Research, I sought to understand bottom-up adaptation within a military context, looking at individual actors and their incentives as the basic building block. The current COVID-19 crisis has to some extent limited the data gathered by the study, but several challenges appear when considering barriers to innovation, adaptability and agility.
Challenge 1: The Explore – Exploit Dilemma.



The lack of conclusive “upstream” intelligence about Russia’s long-running, recently discovered “digital espionage” effort suggests a need to rethink how the U.S. is organized to meet cyber threats — and in particular, the “dual-hat” leadership of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command.

To be sure, the United States has worked to improve its national security focus on cybersecurity in recent years, spurred by Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election and recognition that more adversaries can and will want to use offensive cyber methods and tools. These efforts include strategy documents, executive orders, and legislation — yet more work remains to be done. Insights about the SolarWinds attack underscore a number of cybersecurity gaps and vulnerabilities that were exploited. These include shortcomings in virtual supply chains from the private sector to the government, incomplete information-sharing between and within both these sectors, and the limitations of federal cyber threat detection measures like the Department of Homeland Security’s Einstein program

The next step should be acting on a long-debated proposal to split the job of leading the NSA and CYBERCOM. On Dec. 19, officials with the lame-duck Trump administration sent the Joint Chiefs of Staff a plan to do so. The plan would need the defense secretary and Joint Chiefs Chairman to certify that it meets Congressional requirements; it is not clear whether they will do so before the next administration begins.

Biden Has a Long Way to Go to Restore America’s Human Rights Reputation

Frida Ghitis 

As the world watches the chaotic countdown to a new president in Washington, one anticipated policy shift after Joe Biden’s inauguration is causing anxiety in some quarters and optimism in others: the return of human rights to the global agenda.

Donald Trump’s open disdain for human rights was one of the earliest signs that his presidency would look like no other in the White House. Defending human rights around the world has always required a complicated balancing act, often—though not always—with a tradeoff between American interests and values. Under Trump, values consistently took a back seat. The only time he brought up human rights abuses was when he thought he could extract a personal political benefit, as in the cases of Cuba and Venezuela, whose human rights violations remain a top concern for voters in the key electoral state of Florida.

The Hidden Costs of Cybercrime

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in partnership with McAfee, presents The Hidden Costs of Cybercrime. As the global losses from cybercrime approach $1 trillion, this report focuses on the costs of cybercrime that organizations may be less aware of, such as opportunity costs, downtime and damaged staff morale. After surveying 1,500 decisionmakers in government and businesses, the report also assesses the internal challenges in adequately facing these threats.DOWNLOAD THE REPORT

New EU Cybersecurity Strategy and new rules to make physical and digital critical entities more resilient

Today, the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy are presenting a new EU Cybersecurity Strategy. As a key component of Shaping Europe's Digital Future, the Recovery Plan for Europe and the EU Security Union Strategy, the Strategy will bolster Europe's collective resilience against cyber threats and help to ensure that all citizens and businesses can fully benefit from trustworthy and reliable services and digital tools. Whether it is the connected devices, the electricity grid, or the banks, planes, public administrations and hospitals Europeans use or frequent, they deserve to do so with the assurance that they will be shielded from cyber threats.

The new Cybersecurity Strategy also allows the EU to step up leadership on international norms and standards in cyberspace, and to strengthen cooperation with partners around the world to promote a global, open, stable and secure cyberspace, grounded in the rule of law, human rights, fundamental freedoms and democratic values. 

Furthermore, the Commission is making proposals to address both cyber and physical resilience of critical entities and networks: a Directive on measures for high common level of cybersecurity across the Union (revised NIS Directive or ‘NIS 2'), and a new Directive on the resilience of critical entities. They cover a wide range of sectors and aim to address current and future online and offline risks, from cyberattacks to crime or natural disasters, in a coherent and complementary way.

Trust and security at the heart of the EU Digital Decade

Regulations For 3D Printing – Analysis

By Ambika Khanna*

3D printing (3DP), a critical emerging technology, has come into the limelight in the last decade. Industries such as pharmaceuticals, bio-medicine, aviation and automobiles have rapidly adopted 3D printing. Space agencies such as NASA and India’s ISRO have been using 3DP components in spacecrafts. Its use is becoming so pervasive, that the 3DP industry is expected to grow dramatically from $9.9 billion in 2018 to $42.9 billion by 2025.[1]

However, in spite of its huge potential and significance for the digital economy, there is no global policy on 3DP. While it has mostly escaped relevant regulation in countries such as India, in some countries the regulation is centered only around singular sectors such as medical devices. Now, industries across the board and round the world are looking at 3DP to define the future of technology, and governments must focus their attention on regulating 3DP as a whole, and sector-wise wherever the need arises. This is especially relevant as different countries are at different stages of adoption of 3D technology, greatly varying from sector to sector.

The countries leading in the implementation and regulation of 3DP are China, the U.S. and the EU. China, has been working extensively to develop its 3DP market and the regulations to govern it. In 2017, it formulated an action plan for the development of the 3DP industry ‘Additive Manufacturing Industry Development Action Plan (2017-2020)’.[2] A year later, China’s Center of Medical Device Evolution, issued guidelines[3] for the regulation and registration of 3DP medical devices including custom-built additive-produced medical devices. China has since released several guidelines for different 3DP medical devices including a 2020 technical guidance for 3D printed artificial vertebrae[4] and an acetabular cup.[5]

Amazon and Walmart have raked in billions in additional profits during the pandemic, and shared almost none of it with their workers

Molly Kinder and Laura Stateler

The COVID-19 pandemic has generated record profits for America’s biggest companies, as well as immense wealth for their founders and largest shareholders—but next to nothing for workers. In a report published last month, we found that many of America’s top retail and grocery companies have raked in billions during the pandemic but shared little of that windfall with their frontline workers, who risk their lives each day for wages that are often so low they can’t support a family.

This is especially true of Amazon and Walmart, the country’s two largest companies. Together, they have earned an extra $10.7 billion over last year’s profits during (and largely because of) the pandemic—a stunning 56% increase. Despite this surge, we ranked Amazon and Walmart among the least generous of the 13 large retail and grocery companies studied in our report. The two companies could have quadrupled the extra COVID-19 compensation they gave to their workers through their last quarter and still earned more profit than last year.

Here's Every Aircraft Carrier in the World


Only a handful of countries have aircraft carriers in their arsenals. They form an exclusive club of members that have decided their interests stretch so far from their own waters, they need to put air power at sea.

Broadly speaking, there are three aircraft carrier types today: larger carriers that carry both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters; smaller carriers that operate helicopters; and amphibious ships that have full-length flight decks, hangars, and carry helicopters.

Some of the world's carriers are new, bristling with planes and capable of circumnavigating the globe without refueling. Others, meanwhile, are at least a half-century old and carry just a handful of obsolete planes, rarely leaving base.

Here's a comprehensive look at the world's fleet.


Steve Blank

Editor’s note: Stanford University is hosting a brand-new class this fall—Technology, Innovation, and Modern War. Steve Blank, who teaches the course along with Joe Felter and Raj Shah, is writing about each class session—offering Modern War Institute readers an incredible opportunity to learn about the intersection of technology and war and hear from remarkable guest speakers. Read about previous sessions here.


Our speaker for our final class was former Secretary of Defense Gen. Jim Mattis, who gave an inspiring talk about service to the nation. Gen. Mattis joined the Marine Corps back in 1969, and he has led Marines, and later Joint forces, from every level from platoon commander as a lieutenant all the way up to combatant commander as the four-star commanding general of US Central Command. He recently led our entire US Defense Department as the twenty-sixth secretary of defense. We’re fortunate to have him back here at Stanford at the Hoover Institution.

Below are select excerpts from a riveting Q&A session with the teaching team and our students. Gen. Mattis shared a range of compelling experiences and insights that underscored many of the themes of the course.

How do we as a nation compete against China?