24 June 2021

The PLA’s Developing Cyber Warfare Capabilities and India's Options

Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has made it clear that his objective for China is to emerge as a ‘cyber superpower’. China wants to be the world’s largest nation in cyberspace and also one of the most powerful. The information technology revolution has produced both momentous opportunities and likely vulnerabilities for china. China is home of largest number of ‘netizens’ in the world. It also hosts some of the world’s most vibrant and successful technology companies. It also remains a major victim of cyber crime. 

Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) believes that with the rise of the Information Age future wars will be contests in the ability to exploit information. Wars will be decided by the side who is more capable to generate, gather, transmit, analyse and exploit information.

China’s Nuclear and Missile Capabilities: An Overview

 Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)

Since China first conducted a nuclear weapon test in 1964, its nuclear doctrine has remained unchanged and is underpinned by two principles: a minimum deterrent doctrine and a No First Use (NFU) policy. China’s 2019 defence white paper states, “China is always committed to a nuclear policy of NFU of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and not using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones unconditionally.”

However, a recent U.S. Department of Defence (DoD) report claims that the scope of China’s nuclear modernisation and its lack of transparency “raise concern that China is not only shifting its requirements for what constitutes a minimal deterrence but that it could shift away from its longstanding minimalist force posture.” The data available show that China is modernising and expanding virtually every element of its nuclear forces, including each aspect of its nuclear weapons and missile, sea, and air delivery systems. What is not clear are China’s current and planned holdings of nuclear weapons, China’s future plans for deploying additional delivery systems, its commitment to some form of NFU, first preemption, or launch on warning, and the extent to which it will accept what might be called a form of ‘minimum assured destruction.

India: Explosive Intent Of Maoists – Analysis

Deepak Kumar Nayak*

On June 15, 2021, Security Forces (SFs) recovered explosives, including Improvised Explosive Device (IED) making materials, and a huge cache of arms, following an exchange of fire with Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres at a forest near Kulabeda village in Malkangiri District in Odisha. No casualty was reported.

On May 18, 2021, a Police head constable, identified as Kalendra Prasad Nayak, was killed and another constable received splinter injuries in an IED blast triggered by CPI-Maoist cadres in an area under the Kutru Police Station in Bijapur District, Chhattisgarh.

On April 25, 2021, CPI-Maoist cadres blew up a railway track with landmines near Lotapahar under the Chakradharpur Railway Division in West Singhbhum District, Jharkhand. Train operations in the Division on the Howrah-Mumbai main rail route was affected for a few hours, but was later restored.

India’s Economy and the Pandemic: Key Risks

Puja Mehra, Prachi Priya, and Abhijnan Rej

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to adversely impact lives, livelihoods, and the economy in India, with a devastating second wave wreaking havoc even as the threat of a third wave looms large. Rising uncertainty has reduced consumer and business confidence. Growth over the two-year period FY20 to FY22 could be zero percent or negative. This follows an economic slowdown during the three years preceding the pandemic. With investments and trade performance weak, the Indian economy was firing mainly on consumption, which the first and second waves of the pandemic have hit badly.

A new DRI Monthly Report examines the factors that are likely to shape the recovery from the impact of the pandemic and its interaction with existing structural economic bottlenecks. The report is based on interviews with eight senior experts on the Indian economy as well as secondary research.

Taliban enters Kunduz City, seizes control of more than 20 districts


The Taliban continues to drive Afghan security forces from districts throughout Afghanistan and has entered a northern city as Afghan forces are either surrendering or withdrawing from key administrative centers and security outposts. Twenty-one districts in 9 provinces have fallen under Taliban control between June 18 and June 21, while Taliban forces have entered Kunduz City.

The Afghan security forces have so far been unable to halt the onslaught, particularly in the north, where the Taliban has the momentum and is dictating the pace of the fighting. Afghan military and police units are either abandoning the district centers, and in some cases military bases, or are surrendering them to the Taliban. Afghan forces have only been able to retake control of six districts since May 1.

The Taliban’s offensive in the north is especially troubling, as these provinces are home to many important Afghan government power brokers. If northern provincial capitals remain under Taliban threat and entire provinces are left in danger of falling to the Taliban, the Afghan government will be forced to redeploy forces from the south and east, or risk losing large regions in the north.

Departure of U.S. Contractors Poses Myriad Problems for Afghan Military

Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt
Source Link

KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan Air Force UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, shelled while on the ground by the Taliban on Wednesday, sat helpless at a small outpost in the country’s southeast, its burning and damaged airframe displayed in a video on Twitter.

Even if it could get to the chopper to try to service it, the Afghan military would face another escalating problem: It is heavily reliant on American and other foreign contractors for repairs, maintenance, fueling, training and other jobs necessary to keep their forces operating, and those contractors are now departing along with the American military, leaving a void that leaders on both sides say could be crippling to Afghan forces as they face the Taliban alone.

The problem is especially acute for the Afghan Air Force. Not only does the small but professional fleet provide air support to beleaguered troops, but it is also essential to supplying and evacuating hundreds of outposts and bases across the country — the quickly thinning line that separates government and Taliban-controlled territory.

Afghanistan after American withdrawal: Part 3 — Where external actors have leverage

Vanda Felbab-Brown

U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan is about to usher in a new political and social dispensation in the country. Earlier in this three-part blog series, I detailed four possible scenarios for Afghanistan’s future and analyzed internal factors shaping their likelihoods. In this final piece, I analyze where external actors have leverage.

There is no solution from the outside to Afghanistan’s violence and the ascendance of the Taliban. International engagement is likely to influence developments in Afghanistan at the margins. Various countries have some capacity to shape the Afghan government, the Taliban, and the country’s powerbrokers. However, their actions are more likely to intensify violence, rather than temper it, even though all regional actors are against civil war, an Islamic emirate, or a government exclusively run by the Taliban.


The United States has the greatest leverage with Afghan government due to its funding of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). Reduction of this funding would result in a rapid collapse of the ANDSF and a swift expansion of Taliban power. Washington also helps fund the civilian administration in Afghanistan on which any future government will depend.

How China broke the Asian model

Gideon Rachman

“What do you think is unique about the China model?” That was the question posed to me by a television reporter, last time I was in Beijing. My answer was that I don’t think there was a specific Chinese economic model.

There is an east Asian development model of rapid, export-driven industrialisation that was pioneered by Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. What China did was to pursue the same model — at scale. I added that China’s one real innovation was that the country had not liberalised politically as it had grown richer. This sets China apart from the South Koreans and Taiwanese.

After we had finished talking, I asked the reporter if she would be able to use any of my answer. “No, I don’t think so,” she replied. “But it must be nice to be able to say what you think.”

Will I Return to China?

Scott Kennedy, Tracy Wen Liu, Edith Terry, James Mann

In April, ChinaFile sent a short questionnaire to several hundred ChinaFile contributors to get a sense of their feelings about traveling to China once COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease. Media reports at the time had suggested, anecdotally, that foreigners with longstanding professional ties to China felt reluctant to visit, in part owing to the passage of Hong Kong’s National Security Law, fear of detention, the recent trials for espionage of Canadians Michael Kovrig (himself an occasional contributor to ChinaFile) and Michael Spavor, as well as the harassment of BBC correspondent John Sudworth.

We asked respondents how likely they were to travel to China once COVID restrictions were lifted. We provided five choices: “Definitely Will Visit,” “Probably Will Visit,” “Unsure,” “Probably Won’t Visit,” and “Definitely Won’t Visit” and asked them to choose one response and then to elaborate on their choice if they wished. We received 121 responses, and while they do not constitute a scientific survey, they nevertheless suggest a significant shift in attitudes among a group of prominent figures in the China field.

Xi’s Gamble

Jude Blanchette

Xi Jinping is a man on a mission. After coming to power in late 2012, he moved rapidly to consolidate his political authority, purge the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of rampant corruption, sideline his enemies, tame China’s once highflying technology and financial conglomerates, crush internal dissent, and forcefully assert China’s influence on the international stage. In the name of protecting China’s “core interests,” Xi has picked fights with many of his neighbors and antagonized countries farther away—especially the United States. Whereas his immediate predecessors believed China must continue to bide its time by overseeing rapid economic growth and the steady expansion of China’s influence through tactical integration into the existing global order, Xi is impatient with the status quo, possesses a high tolerance for risk, and seems to feel a pronounced sense of urgency in challenging the international order.

Why is he in such a rush? Most observers have settled on one of two diametrically opposite hypotheses. The first holds that Xi is driving a wide range of policy initiatives aimed at nothing less than the remaking of the global order on terms favorable to the CCP. The other view asserts that he is the anxious overseer of a creaky and outdated Leninist political system that is struggling to keep its grip on power. Both narratives contain elements of truth, but neither satisfactorily explains the source of Xi’s sense of urgency.

The 2021 Party History Study Campaign Stresses Revolution and Sacrifice

Elizabeth Chen

On June 15, Qiushi, the leading theoretical journal of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) published an article by CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping (习近平) titled, “Taking history as a mirror, use history to demonstrate convictions, know history and love the party, know history and love the country” (以史为镜, 以史明志, 知史爱党, 知史爱国, yi shi wei jing, yi shi mingzhi, zhishi ai dang, zhishi aiguo) (Qiushi, June 15). Comprised of a collection of relevant quotes from Xi that date back to 2013, the article is the latest in a massive party history propaganda and education campaign on a scale unseen since the Mao era. The purpose of this campaign is clear—in Xi’s own words from 2015: “As long as we have a thorough understanding…[of history]…it is not difficult to realize that without the leadership of the Communist Party of China, our country and our people could not have achieved today’s accomplishments, nor risen to the position we currently occupy in the world” (Qiushi, June 15).

To summarize, the party history study campaign is aimed at indoctrinating a “correct” and progressive view of history that presents the CCP as the successful and legitimate leader of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Xi Jinping Thought as the scientific guiding force for the Sinicization of Marxism, shoring up domestic support for the party and bolstering its ideological competitiveness during a new era of enhanced great power competition.

Military Political Work at the CCP’s Centennial

Maryanne Kivlehan-Wise

The phrase “military political work” (军队政治工作, jundui zhengzhi gongzuo) is an overarching term that describes all the efforts and activities of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aimed at managing human capital and influencing the civilian environment in order to achieve the political and military objectives accorded to it by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).[1] Military political work focuses on the human dimensions of the PLA as an institution, the human dimensions of warfare, and civil-military relations in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). It broadly includes:

Party functions that help cement the relationship between the PLA and the party, such as establishing and directing party organizations in the PLA, conducting political values and ethics training for all PLA personnel, and enforcing party discipline.

Operational functions that support the PLA as warfighters, such as handling military public affairs, conducting and supporting information operations, and defending against adversary intelligence or psychological warfare operations directed against enemy forces through cooptation, coercion, and other activities aimed at degrading the enemy’s “will to fight.

Early Warning Brief: The PLA’s Military Diplomacy Under COVID-19

Kenneth Allen

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been responsible for conducting military diplomacy since the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949. In the 1950s, military cooperation was limited almost entirely to other communist nations and insurgent movements in Southeast Asia. In the late 1970s, the scope and tenor of China’s foreign military cooperation changed with the shift to commercial arms sales, attempts to gain some influence in Eastern Europe, and improvement in relations with the United States (U.S.) and Western Europe. By the 1980s, China had also developed close military ties with Egypt, Tanzania, Sudan, Somalia, Zaire, and Zambia in Africa. The change reflected China’s desire to counter Soviet influence, especially in Europe, as well as to develop relations with modern armed forces. Chinese military ties with Western European countries were strongest with Britain, France, and Italy. Chinese military relations with the U.S. developed rapidly in the 1980s and included exchanges of high-level military officials and working-level delegations in training, logistics, and education, as well as four foreign military sales (FMS) projects.[1]

China Isn’t Going to Take This Lying Down

Matthew Brooker

As it approaches its centenary, the Chinese Communist Party is obsessed with the specter of collapse. The world’s longest-surviving Leninist state is constantly on alert for potential challenges to its authority; for years, it has spent more on domestic security than on the rapidly expanding defense budget. How to counter a foe that refuses to stand up, though?

“Lying flat” is a potential threat, however ephemeral, to the social contract that has held China together for more than three decades. The phenomenon, which has gripped social media in recent weeks, describes the growing tendency of urban youths to opt out of the rat race and take unambitious, low-paying jobs or not work at all, eschewing conventional goals in favor of a minimalist, subsistence existence. It’s a social movement that is reminiscent of the West’s hippies in the 1960s or, more recently, the hikikomori hermits of Japan.

Ever since the Tiananmen crackdown of 1989, the Communist Party has tied its legitimacy to economic development. In essence, the implicit bargain has been: Refrain from demanding political reform or challenging the government’s grip on power, and the party will deliver constantly rising incomes and living standards. It has been spectacularly successful in this (even if the pace of progress owes something to a low base that was the result of the party’s own earlier policy disasters). Needless to say, a loss of economic vitality would pose a danger to this compact, which explains the government’s single-minded focus on maintaining high rates of growth. But so does a population that no longer desires the material advancements the party is offering.

US Withdrawal From the Middle East

George Friedman

The United States is withdrawing air defense capabilities from several Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait and Jordan, with most of the withdrawals being from Saudi Arabia. According to the report, the withdrawal will include Patriot missiles, some fighter aircraft and other unspecified weapons. Saudi Arabia was informed on June 2, with the withdrawals already beginning and to be completed this summer.

This is in keeping with the strategies of presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump of reducing U.S. forces in the Middle East in order to minimize risk. Trump, however, increased the United States’ air defense capabilities in the region after Iranian drones struck a Saudi oil facility in 2019. The Biden administration’s withdrawal appears to be driven by the need to deploy these weapons in other regions. Thus, the question is where are these weapons going, and has something happened to make the transfer necessary? It is difficult to believe that the transfer is designed for near-term threats, since the pending public transfer of significant defensive weapon systems might force a potential enemy to speed up the initiation of war, to get first strikes in before the weapons are installed. The threat may not be immediate, in which case it could be almost anywhere.

Beyond Forever Wars and Great Power Competition:Rethinking the U.S. Military Role in the Middle East

Michael Eisenstadt

To meet future security challenges, the United States will need to reassess how it deters adversaries and conducts security force assistance in the region, while becoming more proficient in gray zone operations and information activities. Addressing cultural factors and trends such as climate change will require solutions outside the traditional national security toolkit.

In the ninth in a series of TRANSITION 2021 memos, Michael Eisenstadt describes how even with a reduced military footprint, the United States can secure its interests in the Middle East while better positioning itself on the global stage.

Since taking office, the Biden administration has declared that it will right-size the U.S. military presence in the Middle East and end America’s involvement in the region’s costly “forever wars” in order to focus on Great Power competition. To meet future security challenges in the Middle East, however, the United States will need to rethink how it deters adversaries and conducts security force assistance, while becoming more proficient in gray zone operations and information activities. Simultaneously, to address the structural and cultural factors that produce regional instability, along with destabilizing trends such as climate change, the United States must look outside the traditional national security toolkit.

The Fly on the Elephant’s Back: The Campaign between Wars in Israel’s Security Doctrine

Eran Ortal

Senior officials within the IDF and the Israeli security establishment see the campaign between wars as an alternative to preparation for war. In their view, resources should be channeled to the campaign between wars, at the expense of building a more powerful war fighting machine. This paper challenges this idea and argues that the IDF’s ability to achieve decisive victory is the foundation for the deterrence that allows freedom of operation in the campaign between wars. Evidence of this can be seen in the main theaters of conflict, Gaza and Lebanon, where Israel is concerned about the possibility of escalation to war, and its operations are far rarer and far more covert. The firepower aimed at the Israeli home front is the enemy’s primary means of deterrence. Building decisive military capabilities focused on neutralizing the enemy’s firepower will enable the campaign between wars to be deeper, wider, and less restrained.


A fly rides on the back of an elephant in the African wilderness. The beasts in the savanna make way, trampling the low vegetation with their flight. The fly, in awe of the spectacle, whispers in the elephant’s ear, “Look at the all the dust we are kicking up.”


John McLaughlin

Now that the summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin is over, where does it leave U.S.-Russian relations? In a much better place in my view, and in a form that allows us to measure progress, or lack of it. During the last four years the relationship sunk to the lowest, and weirdest, level in decades. Yes, tensions with Putin have been on the rise since 2008, beginning with Russia’s intervention in Georgia. Any normal discourse was simply frozen, however, during the Trump years, due largely to the still-unexplained contrast between former President Donald Trump’s fawning attitude toward Putin and the disgust almost everyone felt about Moscow’s meddling in our elections.

But wait a minute. If deep divisions remain, why do I say relations are in a better place? Because we have returned to a normal relationship with Moscow — meaning we have harsh, and on some issues, irreconcilable differences but can imagine cooperating on some areas where we have overlapping vital interests.

Pentagon Official Details US Missile Defense Strategy

David Vergun

Missile defense plays a key role in U.S. national security. However, as missile technology matures and proliferates among potential adversaries China, Russia, North Korea and Iran, the threat to the U.S., deployed forces, allies and partners is increasing, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy said.

Leonor Tomero provided testimony at a House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces hearing regarding the fiscal year 2022 budget request for missile defense and missile defeat programs.

To address these evolving challenges, the Defense Department will review its missile defense policies, strategies and capabilities to ensure the U.S. has effective missile defenses, Tomero said.

The review will contribute to the department’s approach on integrated deterrence, she said, noting that the review is expected to be completed in January.

The department recently initiated development of the Next Generation Interceptor, she said, adding that the NGI will increase the reliability and capability of the United States’ missile defense.

Repealing the 2002 AUMF Won't Be Enough To End Forever Wars


The House is expected to vote tomorrow on a bill introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D–Calif.) that would repeal the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). Passed as the United States geared up for war against Saddam Hussein's regime, the 2002 AUMF authorizes the president to "defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq," using the U.S. Armed Forces "as he determines to be necessary."

Authorizations like the 2002 AUMF empower the president to take military action without the approval of Congress, which is the sole body allowed to declare war according to the Constitution. Congress hasn't formally declared war since World War II, but over the years it has passed laws that have given the president increasing amounts of discretion in military conduct (with decreasing amounts of oversight).

President Joe Biden voted in favor of the 2002 AUMF as a senator—but he's now endorsing its repeal. "The administration supports the repeal of the 2002 AUMF, as the United States has no ongoing military activities that rely solely on the 2002 AUMF as a domestic legal basis," read a Monday statement. "Repeal of the 2002 AUMF would likely have minimal impact on current military operations."

The U.S. Must Prepare for Great-Power Competition Once Again


For almost five years now, the U.S. government, the think-tank community, and academics working in the field of international relations have been refocusing on the resurgence of great-power competition. The Trump administration articulated early on the changing strategic environment in its National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy, and, to judge from the Interim National Security Strategic Guidance released by the Biden administration in March, the overall focus on China and Russia as pacing threats is likely to remain at the center of our priorities. Still, despite the constant discussion of this topic, no consensus has emerged when it comes to our desired end state. This is a fundamental question, for without a clear sense of what victory looks like, we cannot credibly assess how to go about shaping the desired outcome and identify what resources we are willing to commit to it. As the cliché goes: If you do not know where you are going, any road will get you there.

Border Conflict Compels Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Look for Foreign Weapons

Fozil Mashrab

Neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan came close to seeing the outbreak of renewed border clashes on June 4. This danger of fresh violence emerged little more than a month after the so-called “three-day war” between the two countries, from April 28 to April 30—the most significant armed conflict between these two Central Asian states since the region gained its independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991. The late-April fighting resulted in wide-scale destruction of rural residential areas on both sides of the border and the killing of 36 Kyrgyzstani and 19 Tajikistani citizens, mostly civilians (see EDM, May 19, 26).

The latest crisis was triggered by the Tajikistani military installing container houses in the disputed border area, a deliberate provocation, as some officials from Kyrgyzstan asserted. Yet although the situation did not escalate into a larger conflict this time, both sides quickly mobilized large numbers of military personnel in response. Moreover, Kyrgyzstan’s government evacuated thousands of villagers living close to the disputed border areas. The involvement of senior-most security officials from both countries in deescalating the situation demonstrated how close the two neighbors came to another showdown along their non-delimited shared frontier. Moreover, the latest incident highlighted how these two countries’ attitudes toward each other have hardened after the April 28–30 fighting (Kabar.kg, June 4).

Understanding Public Reactions To Cybersecurity Incidents – Analysis

Miguel Alberto Gomez*

It is fair to say that our understanding of how public opinion reacts to an incident in cyberspace has progressed significantly in the past few years. Contrary to previous assumptions, in which uncertainty and fear lead to a public reaction somewhere between panic and paralysis in the aftermath of cybersecurity incidents, current research points to an increased public knowledge about the limited societal or physical impacts of disruptive incidents. A greater knowledge undermines the narratives of securitisation that exaggerate the impact of incidents in the daily life of ordinary people. A better understanding of public reactions would help cybersecurity authorities to improve their communication and deterrence procedures about severe incidents.

Transcending panic and paralysis

Cybersecurity incidents that disrupt essential services or potentially contribute to the loss of life continue to reinforce narratives of the existential threat posed by malicious behaviour in and through this human-made space.1 Popular culture and high-profile incidents in recent years do little to curb the apparent validity of such claims. As observed by Jarvis, Macdonald & Whiting,2 these narratives frequently surface in the news despite limited evidence to support claims of wide-ranging damage following such cybersecurity incidents.

Top US general in Africa: ‘Wildfire of terrorism’ on march here

Mosa'ab Elshamy

TAN-TAN, Morocco (AP) — A senior U.S. general warned Friday that the “wildfire of terrorism” is sweeping across a band of Africa and needs the world’s attention.

He spoke at the close of large-scale U.S.-led war games with American, African and European troops.

The African Lion war games, which lasted nearly two weeks, stretched across Morocco, a key U.S. ally, with smaller parts held in Tunisia and Senegal.

The annual drills were skipped last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, head of the U.S. Africa Command, praised the work accomplished in joint operations, and painted a dark picture of threats besetting parts of Africa.

The Real Problem With Globalization

Zachary D. Carter

Few ideas today are more unfashionable than globalization. Across the ideological spectrum, a once-robust consensus about the liberating power of free trade and financial markets has transformed into the conviction that the world has spun out of control. Economic inequality is rising in developing and developed countries alike. Hopes for a global human-rights awakening have given way to frank assessments of the persistence of slave labor and extreme poverty. Climate change is accelerating, diplomatic relations between the United States and China have reached a new nadir, and the European Union has devolved into a forum for resentment. A project forged to spread democracy has brewed a new authoritarian politics on multiple continents.

These horrors were evident before the outbreak of COVID-19; the pandemic has escalated them all. But this is not the first time globalization has run aground. Seventy-six years ago, leaders of the world’s democracies gathered in the mountains of New Hampshire hoping to end the chaos and enmity spawned by the collapse of the global trading system known as the gold standard. Guided by the great British economist John Maynard Keynes, more than 700 delegates from 44 nations sought to establish a new international order in which democracies would cooperatively tame the excesses of high finance in the name of international harmony. The fruits of their labors would become known as the Bretton Woods Accord, and the 25 years of unprecedented prosperity that their effort inaugurated offer profound implications for our own age of calamity.

China links pose a threat to academic freedom in Britain

Tom Tugendhat

Cardiff University published a job advertisement last month with an unusual requirement: prospective applicants “must have native or near-native fluency in Mandarin”. Perhaps not so unusual in a language school, but this was for the position of lecturer in music composition.

Britain’s universities have changed. Over the past decade, our higher education system has become increasingly reliant on China for a steady stream of students, research partnerships and funding.

In 2019-20, there were nearly 142,000 students from China enrolled at UK universities. Chinese state media claims that the UK has now overtaken the US as the most desirable destination for Chinese students.

Is that a problem? Overseas students and international co-operation have an important role to play in a healthy higher education system. But there is reasonable cause for concern where the relationship tips into one of over-reliance.

Opinion — Who Is in Charge of Decolonizing Africa?

Christiane Ndedi Essombe and Benjamin Maiangwa

Africa is often portrayed as a continent that is riddled with contradictions, one that has struggled to maintain a consistent identity, philosophy, and or civilization. It has witnessed the rise and fall of many indigenous empires, along with the destruction of some important history and traditions. This owes partly to the contact with and invasion by the Arabs, and subsequently European colonization. The activities of the colonizers through exploits as slave trade, ‘tribal wars’, enforced starvation, and legislative brutality inflicted damning sores in the hearts of the people that have been passed on from generations to generations.

Efforts at recreating a decolonized identity for the continent began with the granting of political independence to most African states in the period following the end of the Second World War. Yet, 76 years after, anybody who believes that colonization is a phenomenon of the past with no relevance to present realities is either misinformed, uninformed or in denial.

Beyond the Humanitarian Rhetoric of Migrant Information Campaigns

Juliette Howard

Recently mediatized images of capsizing boats and dangerous maritime crossings have become symbols of Western nation-states’ difficulties to control their borders and manage undocumented migration, despite intensifying governmental efforts (Townsend & Oomen, 2015). Indeed, increased irregular migration flows combined with the struggle to implement durable solutions and an ever-widening gap between policy and outcomes have rendered irregular migration a key challenge for Western countries (Optekamp, 2016). This has prompted governments to include information campaigns in their ‘comprehensive’ approach to pre-emptively intervene in migration flows (Carling & Hernández-Carretero, 2011). Implemented since the 1990s in European countries, Australia and the United States (Musarò, 2019), the so-called ‘refugee crisis’ renewed interest in this ‘preventive’ migration policy instrument (Optekamp, 2016).

Out of a vast array of migration management tools, information campaigns are deemed ‘attractive’ (Optekamp, 2016). Often cheaper and easier to implement, they generate less negative press than other policy instrument such as harsher border enforcement efforts or increased state power (Weiss & Tschirhart, 1994). Rather than changing the legislation or authority system, information campaigns work through spreading ideas and information to alter attitudes and behaviours towards a stated desirable outcome (Weiss & Tschirhart, 1994): in this case, to prevent more migrant fatalities (Schans & Optekamp, 2016).

A Successful Military Strategist Is a Successful Salesperson

James Holmes

Here's What You Need to Know: Strategic branding is about conveying ideas persuasively.

“Branding,” or labeling, people, ideas, and things is a competitive sport in Washington, DC, and America has a president who delights in it. For two Harvard Business School professors branding means learning to “strategically craft powerful, resonant, and unique brand positions to help products stand out amidst the cacophony of the marketplace.” Entrepreneurs search for that memorable image, catchphrase, or tagline that lodges in the brains of influential folk—and earns influence for producers of goods and services.

Nor are strategists exempt from marketing their ideas. Far from it: we’re like marketers on Madison Avenue, forever on the hunt for the strategic counterpart to the Most Interesting Man in the World or the GEICO Gecko—the jingle or ad campaign that administration officials, congressmen, or whatever important audience we’re targeting can’t get out of their heads. “Containment,” “offshore balancing,” “restrainment,” “congagement,” “frenemies,” and of course “Thucydides trap” are just a few catchphrases strategic entrepreneurs have dreamt up over the decades.

Missile Defense Agency Lays Out How It Plans To Defend Against Hypersonic Threats


The Missile Defense Agency, or MDA, has offered a glimpse into how it plans to spot, track, and intercept hypersonic boost-glide vehicles, or HGVs, in a new animated video presentation recently posted online. The animation lays out, step-by-step, its latest “multi-layered solution to defend against the next generation of hypersonic glide vehicles.” Most notably, this animation offers a new look into how it will integrate the Glide Phase Interceptor, or GPI, a still-in-development weapon aimed at defeating HGV threats in the glide phase of their trajectories, into this larger concept of operations.

The new video depicting this system, titled “MDA Concept for Regional Hypersonic Missile Defense: Technology to Defeat the Threat,” describes MDA’s plans “to protect the US, its deployed forces, and allies against regional hypersonic threats using a multi-layered solution to defend against the next generation of hypersonic glide vehicles,” according to the video’s description. The MDA's current concept for a Regional Hypersonic Missile Defense system combines Aegis Combat System-equipped surface vessels with both space-based and ground-based sensor systems, and ties them together with various integrated fire control and sensor fusion networks. The aforementioned GPI, along with the increasingly capable Standard Missile 6 (SM-6), a multi-purpose weapon that already has the ability to engage certain ballistic missiles in the terminal stage of their flight, would then be used to prosecute the incoming HGVs.