4 October 2021

Deterrence Theory– Is it Applicable in Cyber Domain?

Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)


The Deterrence Theory was developed in the 1950s, mainly to address new strategic challenges posed by nuclear weapons from the Cold War nuclear scenario. During the Cold War, the U.S. and the Soviet Union adopted a survivable nuclear force to present a ‘credible’ deterrent that maintained the ‘uncertainty’ inherent in a strategic balance as understood through the accepted theories of major theorists like Bernard Brodie, Herman Kahn, and Thomas Schelling.1 Nuclear deterrence was the art of convincing the enemy not to take a specific action by threatening it with an extreme punishment or an unacceptable failure.

Chinese Cyber Exploitation in India’s Power Grid – Is There a linkage to Mumbai Power Outage?

Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)


On Feb. 28, 2021 The New York Times (NYT), based on analysis by a U.S. based private intelligence firm Recorded Future, reported that a Chinese entity penetrated India’s power grid at multiple load dispatch points. Chinese malware intruded into the control systems that manage electric supply across India, along with a high-voltage transmission substation and a coal-fired power plant.

The NYT story1 gives the impression that the alleged activity against critical Indian infrastructure installations was as much meant to act as a deterrent against any Indian military thrust along the Line of Actual Control as it was to support future operations to cripple India’s power generation and distribution systems in event of war.

Is the India-Turkey Relationship Headed to Ruin?

Amalendu Misra

Turkey and India have shared bilateral ties for centuries. That age-old relationship, however, is on a downward spiral. Whatever historical and civilizational bond they share is declining so rapidly that both are now openly exchanging diplomatic blows at the global stage in full view of the public. Their heightened tensions are likely to have a bearing on their respective neighborhoods. What ails this centuries-old relationship? What is at the root of the falling out?

Erdogan’s Sins

The worsening of their fraught relationship was triggered by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s interference in India’s domestic affairs. Erdogan’s gripe against India centers on the latter’s treatment of its Muslim minority population and New Delhi’s control over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

Not particularly famous for his diplomatic flair, Erdogan has said in the past that “India right now has become a country where massacres are widespread. What massacres? Massacres of Muslims. By who? Hindus.”

Tehran views the rise of the Taliban with both glee and suspicion

Alireza Nader & Navid Mohebbi

The regime in Iran initially welcomed the triumph of the Taliban over the central government in Kabul, celebrating the humiliation of the U.S., their common foe. While Shiite Iran and the Sunni Taliban hold differing religious ideologies, the two have built strong relations since the Taliban’s initial defeat by U.S. forces in 2001. Anti-Americanism explains this partnership: Both seek to stymie U.S. influence in the Middle East and throughout the Muslim world.

Traditional tensions between the two could, of course, soon reemerge, especially if the Taliban continue to persecute the Persian-speaking Tajiks and the Hazara , the Afghan Shiite minority; interfere with Iran’s access to precious water resources; or allow Afghanistan to become a zone of influence for Pakistan, Turkey, or Qatar, the Islamic Republic’s regional rivals.

Historically, Tehran has had, owing to shifting circumstances, antagonistic and friendly relations with the Taliban. Before the group’s defeat by the U.S. in 2001, the two almost went to war over the Taliban’s killing of Iranian diplomats in 1998 and its brutal treatment of the Hazara.

Afghanistan and the Haunting Questions of Blame

Robin Wright

After the First World War, a conspiracy theory dubbed Dolchstosslegende—or “being stabbed in the back”— was popularized in Germany to explain its historic military defeat. The myth claimed that the war had actually been lost by weak civilians who had caved to the enemy, signed an armistice, and stabbed in the back a brave German military that would otherwise have won.

“There were echoes of that after the war in Vietnam,” Stephen Biddle, a Columbia University professor and the author of “Military Power: Explaining Victory and Defeat in Modern Battle,” told me this week, as top U.S. military leaders testified about America’s defeat in its longest war. “The loss in Vietnam was all President Lyndon Johnson and the feckless civilians who wouldn’t let us do it right.” Donald Trump invoked the same conspiratorial idea to explain just about everything that went wrong during his Administration, including his election loss. “Stab-in-the-back myths can be poisonous in all sorts of ways,” Biddle warned.

Afghanistan highlights link between religious soft power and Gulf security

James M. Dorsey

When Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed Abdulrahman Al-Thani this week described the Taliban’s repressive policies towards women and brutal administration of justice as “very disappointing” and taking Afghanistan “a step backwards,” he was doing more than holding Qatar up as a model of Islamic governance and offering the militants cover to moderate their ways.

Sheikh Al-Thani was seeking to shield the Gulf state from criticism should Qatari efforts fail to persuade the Taliban to shave off the sharp edges that marked their rule 25 years ago before they were toppled by US military forces and characterize their governance since they retook control of Afghanistan in mid-August with the US withdrawal.

The minister was implicitly referring to the Taliban’s refusal to allow Afghan female secondary school students to resume their studies two weeks after schools opened for boys and hanging the bloodied corpse of a man accused of kidnapping on a crane in the main square of the western Afghan city of Herat. Elsewhere in the city, three other men were also strung up for public viewing.


Erica De Bruin

During the Cold War, the United States undertook an extraordinary number of attempts to overthrow foreign governments. These interventions were mostly conducted in secret, and the majority failed to achieve their aims. One recent tally identified sixty-four covert operations and six overt ones between 1947 and 1989, with less than 40 percent of the covert operations installing a new regime in power. Some of these failures are quite well known. The Bay of Pigs intervention in Cuba, for example, not only failed to remove Fidel Castro from power, but also brought Cuba closer to the Soviet Union and helped precipitate the Cuban Missile Crisis. Even those operations that appeared successful at the time often had negative repercussions in the longer term. This was the case in Iran, where the United States helped oust Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh from power in 1953—but in doing so, also fueled anti-American sentiment and contributed to the 1979 revolution.

‘Speed equals safety’: Inside the Pentagon’s controversial decision to leave Bagram early


On a rainy day in early May, weeks after President Joe Biden announced the U.S. exit from Afghanistan, senior leaders from across the government gathered in the basement of the Pentagon for a broad interagency drill to rehearse the withdrawal plan.

During the exercise, top Pentagon leaders including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley stressed the need for American troops to get out of the country as quickly as possible to protect against renewed Taliban attacks.

Their plan called for the military to draw down to zero within 60 days of Biden’s official order, or roughly mid- to late-June — far sooner than the Sept. 11 deadline the president originally set. One of the most crucial decisions involved handing over Bagram Air Base to the Afghans as the last step of the withdrawal once U.S. forces were so depleted that they could no longer reasonably secure what had been the hub of the American military effort there for the past 20 years.

Milley's blunt private blame for the State Department

Jonathan Swan, Zachary Basu

In a classified briefing with senators on Tuesday, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley directly blamed the State Department for a botched evacuation from Afghanistan, saying officials "waited too long" to order the operation out of Kabul's airport, two sources with direct knowledge of the briefing told Axios.

Why it matters: Those private remarks were far more blunt than Milley's public testimony, in which the nation's top general said the issue of whether the order should have been given earlier is an "open question that needs further exploration."

The big picture: Two days of testimony from Milley, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, underscore the finger-pointing and deep divisions between the State Department and the Pentagon.

Lawmakers are demanding accountability over the Biden administration's chaotic exit from Afghanistan, including the failure to evacuate thousands of at-risk Afghan allies and leaving without evacuating all Americans.

Get the Generals Out of Pakistani-U.S. Relations

Adam Weinstein

On Sept. 27, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan penned an op-ed in the Washington Post asking the United States to stop scapegoating Pakistan. He has a point. Pakistan’s nefarious role in Afghanistan is very real, but scapegoating Islamabad also became a coping mechanism for Washington and Kabul to avoid confronting their own failures. Washington’s unhealthy reliance on Pakistan throughout its war in Afghanistan kept the relationship at a dysfunctional equilibrium, but now relations are at risk of degenerating sharply, and the two countries have only themselves to blame. Overcoming this requires both Washington and Islamabad to prioritize realistic areas of cooperation over rehashing tired narratives of blame.

Pakistan, once rattled by the United States’ arrival in Afghanistan, became comfortable with the status quo of gradual Taliban gains kept at bay by a stuck United States reliant on Pakistan’s help. Islamabad only began to show inklings of buyer’s remorse over its support of the Taliban as the U.S. withdrawal deadline grew closer.

Almost exactly one year earlier, Khan penned an op-ed in the Washington Post warning against a “hasty international withdrawal” from Afghanistan. It was a carefully worded paean to Pakistan’s efforts in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table. Khan concluded that “bloodless deadlock on the negotiating table is infinitely better than a bloody stalemate on the battlefield.” He got the deadlocked negotiations—but the result was anything but bloodless. Afghanistan descended into a tempest of Taliban-led fighting, unclaimed targeted killings with the Taliban quick to use Islamic State-Khorasan for plausible deniability, and diplomatic gridlock.

The Evergrande Dilemma and Beijing’s Credibility

Logan Wright

The time to be most concerned about China’s financial stability is when Beijing’s credibility is changing, when investors cannot be sure what assets Beijing is willing to guarantee its support, and when previously protected assets and industries are subjected to new policy-related uncertainties. This was one of the key findings of the CSIS report Credit and Credibility, released in late 2018, and one reason to argue that the current situation in China’s property sector and with its largest developer Evergrande is so meaningful for China’s economy and its future growth trajectory. Markets are now concerned that Beijing will finally be successful in its attempts to rein in China’s property sector after a decade of half-measures. And they are taking that threat to China’s economy more seriously because of the series of policy-led interventions into other industries over the past few months.

The debt problems at Evergrande emerged in the last couple of weeks as the central topic in global financial markets as the company moved closer to default, along with several other Chinese property developers. Speculation about whether Evergrande represents China’s “Lehman” moment obscures the fact that the discussions themselves show that global perceptions of China’s economic trajectory are shifting, and the world is now looking for the most appropriate historical analogy to describe China’s financial trouble. Now, the question is whether there will merely be a temporary slowdown in economic growth in China, a longer-term slowdown in growth led by a drag from the property sector, or a crisis similar to the bursting of the U.S. property bubble.

The CCP’s Culture of Fear

Perry Link

Roughly two thousand years ago, the arrival in China of Buddhism from India brought major changes not only to China’s belief systems but to many aspects of its daily life. Buddhism’s approach on the whole was gentle, and indigenous Chinese versions of it eventually flourished. Zen was a Chinese invention. Then, beginning about two hundred years ago, the only comparably large foreign cultural influence on China began with the arrival of British gunboats on the Chinese coast. This was more disturbing. To China the West seemed to say, “Catch up or perish.” How to modernize became a Chinese obsession that led to many things, including the fevered contortions that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has put the country through over the past seventy years.

One way to measure China’s urge to transform itself is to note how often the word new has been used by Chinese leaders. In 1902 the concept of the “new citizen” took hold in Liang Qichao’s New Citizen Journal. Twenty years later the May Fourth Movement came to be known as the New Culture Movement. In 1934 Chiang Kai-shek launched his New Life Movement. The Communist takeover in 1949 was the advent of New China, and the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s touted a “new socialist man.” After Mao Zedong died in 1976, the next few years were called “the new period.” Today, Xi Jinping’s watchword is “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.” It is important to note that new in these cases never refers to the same thing; each is a new new.

China’s “digital natives”: How the post-’90s generation is transforming the country

Cheng Li

The digital revolution has transformed all lives in China, but it has affected most profoundly the post-1990s age cohort, which is made up of “digital natives” (hulianwang yuanzhumin), writes Cheng Li. This piece is an adapted excerpt from the author’s introduction, “China’s Millennials: Navigating Socioeconomic Diversity and Disparity in a Digital Era,” in Li Chunling’s new Brookings Institution Press book, “China’s Youth: Increasing Diversity amid Persistent Inequality.” An earlier version appeared in the South China Morning Post.

The digital revolution has transformed all lives in China, but it has affected most profoundly the post-1990s age cohort, which is made up of “digital natives” (hulianwang yuanzhumin). Like their counterparts elsewhere, China’s digital natives were born around the time that the commercial use of computers was becoming widespread, and they grew up alongside mobile phones and the internet.

As the prominent Chinese sociologist Li Chunling, the author of the new book “China’s Youth,” emphatically points out, the internet has become “enmeshed within every aspect of young people’s lives.” In turn, the massive generational cohort born in China in the 1990s, totaling about 175 million people, has fundamentally changed the country’s social structure, social space, and social connections.

China’s crypto ban fuels new U.S. wedge issue


A group of GOP lawmakers see electronic gold in making the U.S. a global cryptocurrency hub after China's recent ban of crypto transactions.

The congressional members are pushing back on the Biden administration’s moves to regulate crypto circulation in the U.S., currently valued at $2 trillion. That tussle creates a new wedge issue that GOP crypto advocates portray as a battle: the defense of financial freedom and innovation versus Democratic nanny state financial market control.

The role of cryptocurrency in the U.S. economy is already a white-hot topic on Capitol Hill. But China’s ban last week adds an ideological element to congressional anti-China sentiment that may obstruct or derail U.S. Federal Reserve plans to regulate the use of cryptocurrencies, which the Fed and financial sector experts say is essential to protect the U.S. financial system.

“China’s draconian restrictions on crypto exposes the weaknesses of their flawed economic system that routinely stifles innovation and creativity,” U.S. Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.), ranking member on the House Financial Services subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy, told China Watcher. “This decision provides an opening for the U.S. to leverage our free-market principles and unleash the American entrepreneurial spirit to capitalize on [China’s] mistake.”

The Unreality of U.S. Policy in Syria


There was a time in the not-so-distant past when Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad was ostracized from the global community and scowled upon as a man who would do literally anything—starve, shell, bomb, torture and gas—to remain in the presidential palace. The Assad government's war strategy amounted to a no-holes-barred approach, where cities were reduced to rubble in order to push rebel units (many of them extremist in orientation) out of urban neighborhoods. A 2019 study published by the Global Public Policy Institute found that Syrian government forces used chemical weapons hundreds of times during the course of the war.

As horrible as those incidents were, there was an assumption in U.S. foreign policy circles that Assad would eventually have to jet out of town. When Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, she remarked that it was only a matter of time before the dictator would have to pack up his personal belongings and leave the country.

Reality, however, has a funny way of inserting itself into the picture. Unknown to U.S. policymakers at the time was the length to which Assad's external supporters, Russia and Iran, would go to ensure its client in Damascus survived. Heavy Russian bombing, in addition to Iranian ground troops and the deployment of Tehran-sponsored Shiite militia units, have penned in what is left of the anti-Assad opposition to a patch of territory in the northwest. Assad, who many believed would be killed or driven into exile, has won the vicious civil war in his country.

AUKUS Reverberations

Seth Cropsey & Harry Halem

Although thankfully rescinded now, France’s recall of its American ambassador risked transforming the diplomatic row over AUKUS, the newly-formed Australian-British-American security agreement, into a full intra-NATO crisis. The AUKUS pact’s central aspect – the cancellation of Australia’s contract with France to construct 12 conventionally-powered Attack-class submarines and its planned contract with the U.S. or UK to procure eight nuclear-powered attack submarines – drew understandable ire from the U.S.’ strongest and most reliable NATO maritime partner, France. Whatever the broader strategic merits of the pact, AUKUS demonstrates a distinct American inability to manage a coherent anti-Chinese coalition.

Technical issues and manpower constraints have plagued Australia’s current Collins-class submarines since their procurement began in 1990: only since 2016 has Australia operated all six boats. Replacing the Collins submarines has been as difficult as operating them. Australia took seven years to select a provider and design, in April 2016, ultimately choosing a conventionally-powered variant of France’s Barracuda-class attack submarines constructed in partnership with the partly state-controlled Naval Group. Four months later, Naval Group suffered a cyberattack targeting its Scorpéne-class submarine program. Australia signed a contract with Naval Group later that year for $50 billion AUD (approximately $38 billion USD in 2016).

Is US-Turkey alliance at a breaking point?

The obligatory references to the US and Turkey as NATO "allies" and "partners" increasingly fall flat, as bilateral relations may be approaching the breaking point over differences on Russia and Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who met on Sept. 29 with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, said that Turkey is not only going ahead with the purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system, which has led to US sanctions, but is considering deeper defense cooperation with Russia, including development of aircraft engines, ship building and warplanes, as we report here.

As for Turkey’s role in the US F-35 fighter jet program, which cost Turkey a reported $1.4 billion, Erdogan adopted a take it or leave it stance on Sept. 30, saying "either they will give us our planes or they will give us the money."

Erdogan: US-Turkey trajectory ‘does not bode well’

Erdogan’s meeting with Putin followed what Erdogan perceived as a snub from US President Joe Biden during the UN General Assembly meetings in New York last month.

We Now Know Why Biden Was in a Hurry to Exit Afghanistan


There was a moment in Tuesday’s Senate hearing on the withdrawal from Afghanistan when it became clear why President Joe Biden decided to get the troops out of there as quickly as possible.

It came when Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, explained why he and the other chiefs—the top officers of the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines—all agreed that we needed to pull out by Aug. 31. The Doha agreement, which President Donald Trump had signed with the Taliban in early 2020 (with no participation by the Afghan government), required a total withdrawal of foreign forces. If U.S. troops had stayed beyond August, Milley said, the Taliban would have resumed the fighting, and, in order to stave off the attacks, “we would have needed 30,000 troops” and would have suffered “many casualties.”

And yet, as Milley also testified on Tuesday, he, the chiefs, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and other military officers advised Biden to keep 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond the Aug. 31 deadline. The difference is that those troops wouldn’t be attached to any “military mission.” Instead, they would “transition” to a “diplomatic mission.”

The agonizing problem of Pakistan’s nukes

Marvin Kalb

“This is a new world,” President Joe Biden declared, when justifying his pullout from Afghanistan and explaining his administration’s war on global terrorism in an August 31 speech. It will go “well beyond Afghanistan,” he alerted the world, focusing on “the threats of 2021 and tomorrow.”

The president will not have to look too far. Bordering Afghanistan, now again under Taliban rule, is Pakistan, one of America’s oddest “allies.” Governed by a shaky coalition of ineffective politicians and trained military leaders trying desperately to contain the challenge of domestic terrorism, Pakistan may be the best definition yet of a highly combustible threat that, if left unchecked, might lead to the nightmare of nightmares: jihadis taking control of a nuclear weapons arsenal of something in the neighborhood of 200 warheads.

Ever since May 1998, when Pakistan first began testing nuclear weapons, claiming its national security demanded it, American presidents have been haunted by the fear that Pakistan’s stockpile of nukes would fall into the wrong hands. That fear now includes the possibility that jihadis in Pakistan, freshly inspired by the Taliban victory in Afghanistan, might try to seize power at home.

The Pentagon’s ‘deterrence’ strategy ignores hard-earned lessons about the balance of power

Mike Gallagher

The Biden administration’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan has called into question the credibility of U.S. commitments and the state of conventional military deterrence. But even before the Afghanistan surrender, the Biden Pentagon was already wrestling with increasingly unfavorable military balances of power, particularly regarding China.

In April, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin outlined a new model he called “integrated deterrence.” The concept, which will likely be the cornerstone of the Biden Pentagon’s forthcoming National Defense Strategy, includes admirable goals. Unfortunately, though, it ignores important lessons from recent administrations about what really works.

First, the defense secretary wants to integrate military and nonmilitary instruments of national power, especially diplomacy, across five domains of competition (air, land, sea, space and cyberspace), for use at the time and manner of our choosing. As Austin explained in a Post op-ed in May, integrated deterrence could “mean employing cyber effects in one location to respond to a maritime security incident hundreds of miles away.”

The Age of America First

Richard Haass

Donald Trump was supposed to be an aberration—a U.S. president whose foreign policy marked a sharp but temporary break from an internationalism that had defined seven decades of U.S. interactions with the world. He saw little value in alliances and spurned multilateral institutions. He eagerly withdrew from existing international agreements, such as the Paris climate accord and the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and backed away from new ones, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). He coddled autocrats and trained his ire on the United States’ democratic partners.

At first glance, the foreign policy of U.S. President Joe Biden could hardly be more different. He professes to value the United States’ traditional allies in Europe and Asia, celebrates multilateralism, and hails his administration’s commitment to a “rules-based international order.” He treats climate change as a serious threat and arms control as an essential tool. He sees the fight of our time as one between democracy and autocracy, pledging to convene what he is calling the Summit for Democracy to reestablish U.S. leadership in the democratic cause. “America is back,” he proclaimed shortly after taking office.

The Soviet Water Legacy in Central Asia

Asel Murzakulova

The Soviet water and energy legacy has been a painful issue for the countries of Central Asia for a long time. But the dynamics of relations between the countries of the region in the last five years demonstrate a shift in which that legacy is an important element both in conflict and cooperation, and the struggle to mitigate the stresses of climate change. Also adding new complexity to an old issue was the introduction of land ownership in disputed territories following the region’s independence.

Water Infrastructure and Conflicts Over Borders

Following World War II, Soviet authorities intensively built water and energy infrastructure based on the topographic features of territory, crossing administrative boundaries between the constituent Soviet republics. This wasn’t a problem until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, which left separate independent states sharing a complex network of critical infrastructure. After gaining independence, the countries of the Central Asian region began to dispute the ownership of a significant number of water and energy facilities, particularly in the Fergana Valley, located across the border territories of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Between 2000 and 2016, a back-and-forth game played out in the Fergana Valley, with the neighboring states contesting control of irrigation infrastructure shared across the border regions. In 2002, around 100 Tajik military personnel took control of the reservoir dam at the Farhad hydroelectric power station, which after 1991 had been occupied by the Uzbek military. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan were at an impasse regarding the ownership of the dam. A Tajik participant in the events of 2002, Rustam Saidov, the head of the district police department, told Tajik news outlet Asia-Plus in 2011: “We detained 82 soldiers and officers, including one with the rank of major general of the border troops of Uzbekistan. The people [from the surrounding villages] were surprised, in the morning they were on the territory of Uzbekistan, and by noon in Tajikistan […] At night, at the ‘Dam’ post, an artist painted our tricolor instead of the Uzbek flag.”

The situation between the countries changed dynamically in 2016 after the death of long-time Uzbek President Islam Karimov and the rise to power of Shavkat Mirziyoyev. In 2018, the dispute over the Farhad dam was resolved, and the countries agreed on its joint use. Uzbekistan lowered the tone of its commentary about the controversial construction of the Rogun hydropower plant in Tajikistan and in 2021 countries signed an agreement on the construction of two new hydro-power stations on the Zarafshan River.

Between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, the situation regarding the use of three reservoirs has remained controversial. Two – Kerkidan and Kempir-Abad – are located in the border areas. The third reservoir, Orto-Tokoy (also called Kasan-Sai), is located in the interior of Kyrgyzstan around three miles from the border and does not have the status of a border object. However, dispute over access to the reservoir has repeatedly provoked tensions on contested sections of the border between the two countries.

Global Digital Governance: Here’s What You Need to Know

Daniel F. Runde & Sundar R. Ramanujam

Q1: What is “global digital governance”?

A1: Digital and internet technologies are pervasive in modern life and enable the near-limitless generation, storage, and exchange of private data and information. Global digital governance encompasses the norms, institutions, and standards that shape the regulation around the development and use of these technologies. Digital governance has long-term commercial and political implications. Naturally, there is an ongoing contest between democratic and illiberal actors, with each side seeking to impart its vision on the digital economy.

Q2: Is there a historical parallel to governing key economic sectors globally?

A2: Sectors critical to the global economy are subject to international cooperation frameworks and pacts. Therefore, the idea of setting up a single multilateral organization with a mandate to govern the digital economy is not unprecedented. Global aviation has been regulated since 1903 when the International Commission for Air Navigation (ICAN) first met, subsequently replaced by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 1947. Similarly, the modern international banking system is governed by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), an institution initially set up in the interwar period in 1930 to oversee Germany’s reparations to the Allies under the Treaty of Versailles. The BIS acquired a more global mandate beginning in the 1950s and is now partially responsible for global financial stability.

These 7 advances in natural climate solutions are gaining momentum

Eron Bloomgarden, Bill Winters and Izabella Teixeira

Natural climate solutions (NCS) could provide up to one-third of the emissions reductions needed to achieve a 1.5-degree pathway. For this to happen, stakeholders in the public and private sectors will need confidence that NCS can be effective in addressing local needs as well as global challenges. Technical and conceptual hurdles that presently limit uptake of NCS.

This agenda mapped out in the final Nature and Net Zero report from the World Economic Forum and McKinsey, won’t be easy to execute—but change is accelerating. The year 2021 has seen several noteworthy developments that could help speed the growth of NCS.

This is why China finally halted its bitcoin boom

Source Link

Every time Beijing announces a crackdown on their industry, the running joke among the crypterati is that China has already banned cryptocurrency 18 times. Chinese government agencies have issued a string of increasingly restrictive but never conclusive legal prohibitions of various aspects of crypto since 2013; all the while, China’s crypto industry has thrived. Turns out the nineteenth time might be the charm.

On September 24, China’s central bank and its National Development and Reform Commission issued two documents. One outlawed cryptocurrency mining following an earlier crackdown in May, the other declared all cryptocurrency transactions illegal and all companies providing cryptocurrency trading services to Chinese citizens as engaged in illicit financial activity. Some of the usual nonplussed aplomb was deployed on crypto-Twitter, but the general reaction to the ban is that this time China is serious.

“The ban is sweeping, absolute, comprehensive, it is not focused on some partial aspect,” says Jonathan Padilla, a co-founder and deputy director of Stanford University’s Future of Digital Currency Initiative, who has conducted field research at China’s central bank. “And it seems that top-level government officials are taking this on.” The authorities signing off at least one of the two documents include the Ministry of Public Security, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate – suggesting that aggressive enforcement is likely.

National Security and the Innovation Ecosystem

James Andrew Lewis

Technological leadership has been a key part of U.S. power for decades. However, the requirements for leadership have changed. Emerging technologies are reshaping economies, societies, and warfare, but this technology will be designed by the private sector for commercial markets. The United States may not be the leader in all, and it faces intense competition.

This change in how the United States creates new technology has also changed the relationship between national security and innovation. Previous reports in this series showed that innovation in the United States is strong but has shifted to the private sector. The national security community needs new approaches to acquire innovative commercial technologies.

This is not a report on acquisitions reform—a complex issue where there has been progress but much still needs to be done. This report examines how to better connect the national security community to the dynamic U.S. innovation system, a goal first set in 2015 by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, and lays out recommendations on the changes in funding, processes, and culture to strengthen that connection.



IN THE SUMMER OF 1956, a group of mathematicians and computer scientists took over the top floor of the building that housed the math department of Dartmouth College. For about eight weeks, they imagined the possibilities of a new field of research. John McCarthy, then a young professor at Dartmouth, had coined the term "artificial intelligence" when he wrote his proposal for the workshop, which he said would explore the hypothesis that "every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it."

The researchers at that legendary meeting sketched out, in broad strokes, AI as we know it today. It gave rise to the first camp of investigators: the "symbolists," whose expert systems reached a zenith in the 1980s. The years after the meeting also saw the emergence of the "connectionists," who toiled for decades on the artificial neural networks that took off only recently. These two approaches were long seen as mutually exclusive, and competition for funding among researchers created animosity. Each side thought it was on the path to artificial general intelligence.

A look back at the decades since that meeting shows how often AI researchers' hopes have been crushed—and how little those setbacks have deterred them. Today, even as AI is revolutionizing industries and threatening to upend the global labor market, many experts are wondering if today's AI is reaching its limits. As Charles Choi delineates in "Seven Revealing Ways AIs Fail," the weaknesses of today's deep-learning systems are becoming more and more apparent. Yet there's little sense of doom among researchers. Yes, it's possible that we're in for yet another AI winter in the not-so-distant future. But this might just be the time when inspired engineers finally usher us into an eternal summer of the machine mind.

How Does China’s Military View India?

Adhiraaj Anand

The Indian military sees China as its biggest threat, as Chief of Defense Staff Bipin Rawat made clear in an interview in June 2021. The Indian Army has moved 50,000 troops to its border with China in 2021, with about 20,000 troops in the Ladakh sector. So how does the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) view India? The PLA’s media, including the newspaper PLA Daily and the TV program “Defense Review,” offer some insights. It views India’s growing military cooperation with the United States with some concern but generally does not consider India a major threat.

Since 2018, in its articles and videos about India, the PLA’s online media have focused mainly on India’s partnership with the U.S., discussing the topic 23 times. It has featured India’s defense industry and arms purchases, discussed 21 times. India’s growing ties with the U.S. have often been juxtaposed with its relations with Russia, which have been discussed 13 times. By contrast, there were surprisingly few in-depth analyses or opinion pieces about the Sino-Indian border dispute, even during the Ladakh skirmish in 2020, with most articles about the issue being brief press releases about meetings to resolve the issue and using language such as “easing tensions,” “maintaining communication,” and “avoiding misunderstandings.”
Charli Carpenter

The military coup that deposed Myanmar’s civilian government in February has created an escalating humanitarian crisis and left the country teetering on the brink of civil war. As the junta continues to target the population with violence, including torture and sexual assault, the opposition movement has also begun to question the effectiveness of its largely peaceful protests, especially in the absence of international support for the pro-democracy struggle.

How Control of the World’s Oceans Shapes the Fate of the Superpowers

Catherine Putz

In “To Rule The Waves,” Bruce Jones, director and a senior fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution, charts three geopolitical struggles playing out on the Earth’s oceans: increasing competition between the United States and China; the unceasing flow of global commerce; and the science of a changing climate.

These struggles, complex individually and inextricably intertwined, define the critical role of the world’s oceans in global power politics. In this interview with The Diplomat’s Managing Editor Catherine Putz, Jones summarizes the ways the key dynamics of global power – trade and military might – are shaped by the seas and the ways in which climate change will present both challenges and opportunities, complicating cooperation along the way.

The dynamics of global power – trade and military might – have been shaped for hundreds of years by the sea. What struggles are being played out on the oceans of today?