9 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.

Social Media in Violent Conflicts – Recent Examples

 Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)

Alan Rusbridger, the then editor-in-chief of the Guardian in his 2010 Andrew Olle Media Lecture, stated, “News organisations still break lots of news. But, increasingly, news happens first on Twitter. If you’re a regular Twitter user, even if you’re in the news business and have access to wires, the chances are that you’ll check out many rumours of breaking news on Twitter first. There are millions of human monitors out there who will pick up on the smallest things and who have the same instincts as the agencies—to be the first with the news. As more people join, the better it will get. ”

The most important and unique feature of social media and its role in future conflicts is the speed at which it can disseminate information to audiences and the audiences to provide feedback.

White House Quiet as U.S. Allies Rehabilitate Assad. Congress Should Not Be.

David Adesnik

King Abdullah of Jordan spoke by phone on Sunday with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the first public contact between the two leaders since the conflict in Syria began in 2011. Their call marks the culmination of increasingly high-level contacts between the Syrian regime and its neighbors over the past two months, driven by a perception that the Biden administration tacitly supports Assad’s rehabilitation.

The Jordanian king met with President Joe Biden at the White House in July, where Abdullah reportedly pushed for a “road map to restoring Syrian sovereignty and unity.” Also in July, Arab diplomats began to press the Biden administration to let Syria participate in a multi-state deal to export gas and electricity to Lebanon, an arrangement that would require Biden to waive human rights sanctions mandated by the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019.

The following month, the United States informed the Lebanese government that it would approve the energy deal, including Syrian participation. Whereas its predecessor had enforced the Caesar Act aggressively, designating more than 100 individuals and entities in the latter half of 2020, the Biden administration has sanctioned only a handful of targets, none of which are economically significant.

What the War in Afghanistan Could Never Do

Adam Serwer

Even in the context of war, attacking fleeing civilians is a depraved act. The Islamic State’s attack on Kabul’s airport during the American evacuation of Afghanistan, which killed nearly 200 Afghan civilians and 13 U.S. service members protecting the facility, was bound to draw a military response. “The Kabul airport massacre compounds the humiliation of the botched Afghan withdrawal and will further embolden jihadists,” The Wall Street Journal editorialized.

Days later, the U.S. executed a drone strike on what it said was an ISIS operation that threatened the final evacuations out of Kabul—a strike General Mark Milley called “righteous.” Several weeks later, General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. apologized, acknowledging that the strike had killed 10 civilians. “I offer my profound condolences to the family and friends of those who were killed,” McKenzie said on September 17. In early September, Ahmad Fayaz, a relative of one of those killed, told The Washington Post that the U.S. “always says they are killing [the Islamic State], al-Qaeda or the Taliban, but they always attack civilian people and children … I don’t think they are good people.”

After the deadly error in Afghanistan, maybe drones shouldn’t be used to kill at all

Almost three weeks after a U.S. military drone attack supposedly killed an Islamic State terrorist in Kabul on Aug. 29, the Defense Department acknowledged a tragic error: The victim was a longtime Afghan aid worker. He died along with nine members of his extended family, including seven children.

Zamarai Ahmadi, the 43-year-old aid worker, was desperate to move to the United States with his family as Kabul fell to the Taliban amid the chaotic U.S. withdrawal. I know, because a few days before he died, I filed paperwork seeking his emergency evacuation.

The fact that Ahmadi was killed by the U.S. military even as he sought to gain refuge in the United States underlines how horribly things can go wrong with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for combat operations.

As a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant general, I know about the importance of force protection. The drone strike, three days after a car bomb at the Kabul airport killed 13 U.S. service personnel, was intended to stop another attack. But I also know about targeting and the use of ordnance in combat — and the care with which operations are carried out when the lives of young men and women of the U.S. armed forces are on the line.

Pakistan got its way in Afghanistan. Now what?

UNTIL 2013 Salma Tanveer ran a private school in a suburb of Lahore, Pakistan’s second biggest city. She and her husband, a civil engineer, were pious Muslims who had travelled to Mecca six times. Then things went wrong. The preacher in a local mosque accused her of blasphemy, claiming she had suggested that Muhammad might not have been the last of prophets. On September 27th a lower court in the city pronounced its verdict. Ms Tanveer is to be fined 50,000 rupees ($290), and also “hanged by her neck until death”.

That may never happen. So far no one sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan has actually been executed—although of the nearly 2,000 people charged with the crime since the law was made more ferocious in the 1980s, angry mobs have killed 128. In Ms Tanveer’s case it is the supposed experts who have run amok: in 2014 a panel of psychiatrists had declared her mentally ill and so unfit for trial, only to change its mind five years later.

Ms Tanveer’s situation is extreme, yet her predicament is in some ways a reflection of the peculiar, precarious balance that Pakistan itself has long sustained. In one avatar it is a nuclear-armed modern state that can hold elections, rely on scientific advice from highly qualified professionals and run courts where simple decency sometimes prevails. Yet its other face is a country of cruel and primitive laws, ill-educated mobs and people in power who are happy to make use of both.

Afghanistan Is No Treasure Trove for China

Matthew P. Funaiole

In the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, a popular narrative has emerged that paints the war-torn country as a geopolitical prize ripe for China to take. According to this logic, Beijing is greedily eying Afghanistan’s vast mineral wealth, and Chinese policymakers are chomping at the bit to cut deals with the Taliban. Much of this concern is hyperbolic. Afghanistan is no treasure trove, and viewing it through the narrow lens of great-power competition with China constrains policy options in Washington.

Current discourse on China’s ambitions follows a familiar narrative. Foreign powers have long eyed Afghanistan’s mineral resources. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, imperial Britain and Germany performed large-scale geological surveys of the country. The Soviets conducted their own systematic surveys during the Cold War. More recently, the U.S. Defense Department released the findings of a 2010 study that concluded Afghan deposits of copper, rare earths, lithium, and various minerals could be worth more than $1 trillion.

Mining the Future, a special report by FP Analytics, is the first systematic and comprehensive assessment of China’s accumulation of control and influence over a range of critical metals and minerals, and the supply chains upon which the future of the high-tech industry depends. 
None of these powers marshaled the will to tap Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, but many analysts now speculate that, with the United States out of the picture, China may be the first to do so. This concern is somewhat understandable. Chinese companies use enormous quantities of mineral resources and hunger for more. China is already the world’s top producer of electric cars, and consolidating its advantage in that growing industry will require even larger amounts of lithium. Similarly, many industries critical to China’s push to become a science and technology superpower rely on rare earths, a collection of 17 minerals with unique chemical properties.


Melissa Lee

In the fall of 2001, just over a month after the first US troops arrived in the country, the United States and its allies seized control of Afghanistan, driving the Taliban from Kabul and out of power. Twenty years later saw the stunning reversal of the events of 2001: after a summer offensive that netted the Taliban territorial gains across the country, they captured Kabul on August 15, 2021. One minute before midnight on August 30, the last American troops departed Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport on a C-17 cargo plane. After two decades of fighting that killed 2,461 US troops and more than one hundred thousand Afghans, and that cost American taxpayers some $824 billion, the longest war in American history had formally ended.

How did it go so wrong? Contrary to some accounts, the US intervention in Afghanistan was not doomed to failure. Rather, the fundamental mistake was to allow the intervention to transform from a narrowly defined counterterrorism mission to an expansive, ill-defined liberal state-building mission.

Twenty years of failed state building and an unhelpful detour in Iraq make it easy to forget that the United States had limited goals in the fall of 2001: kill Osama bin Laden, destroy al-Qaeda, and punish the Taliban for permitting al-Qaeda to base itself on Afghan territory. Even after bin Laden eluded the US military and its allies, escaping across the border into Pakistan, the United States could have stuck to the mission. Instead, it pivoted to a much broader goal: it sought to make Afghanistan inhospitable to terrorism in the future.

In Africa, Mercenaries Are Part of the Problem, Not the Solution

Howard W. French

In 1997, after his longtime Western backers, Belgium and the United States, had abandoned him, Mobutu Sese Seko, the ruler of the country then known as Zaire, turned to mercenaries from Serbia and Ukraine in a desperate bid to beat back an accelerating insurgency.

In the middle of that war, I flew to Kisangani—the famous, centrally located river-port city that is a gateway to the vast country’s west—to watch the mercenaries drill Zairian troops and take up positions to repel an impending attack on the town. The mercenaries looked fearsome and seemed to have everything they needed to defend the city, from mortars and artillery to attack helicopters. The Zairian general in charge of the operation sounded sure of prevailing. “This is where their offensive ends,” he said of the Rwandan-backed rebels.

A day or two later, I flew back to Zaire’s capital, Kinshasa, drawn by urgent news there. As it happened, that was the day the rebels chose to attack Kisangani, and they made quick work of the government’s defense. “Around 7 P.M. all of the mercenaries disappeared from the hotel they were staying in, and next thing we knew all of the airplanes at the airport were in flames,” said a United Nations official I quoted in my report in the next day’s New York Times. “There have been bombs going off and lots of gunfire,” he added. “According to our information, the city is being looted right now.” A Zairian official I quoted in the same piece told me, “All of the generals have left Kisangani, by boat, by ground, by whatever means. Who knows what will happen here tomorrow?”

China could be ready to mount a 'full-scale' invasion of Taiwan by 2025, island's defense minister says

Eric Cheung

(CNN)China could be capable of mounting a "full-scale" invasion of Taiwan by 2025, the island's defense minister said Wednesday -- days after record numbers of Chinese warplanes flew into Taiwan's air defense zone.

"With regards to staging an attack on Taiwan, they currently have the ability. But [China] has to pay the price," Chiu Kuo-cheng, the defense minister, told Taiwanese journalists on Wednesday.

But he said that by 2025, that price will be lower -- and China will be able to mount a "full-scale" invasion.

Chiu's comments came after China sent 150 warplanes, including fighter jets and nuclear-capable bombers, into Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) since October 1.

At a parliament meeting Wednesday, Chiu described cross-strait military tensions as "the most serious" in more than 40 years since he joined the military, Taiwan's official Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

Militarizing U.S.-China competition is fraught with danger

Minxin Pei

The strategic competition between the United States and China is supposed to be a three-dimensional contest over security, economy and ideology.

In theory, maintaining a proper balance between these three main prongs seems both attractive and practicable, especially to Washington, which possesses significant advantages in all three domains.

In reality, unfortunately, security has a way of trumping economic and ideological competition because of its zero-sum nature and appeals directly to our survival instincts.

The latest manifestation of how security increasingly dominates U.S.-China strategic competition is the surprise announcement that the U.S. will share its nuclear-powered submarine technology with Australia so that Canberra can provide a more effective counterweight to China's burgeoning military power.

The dynamic in which security competition dominates great power competition is easy to understand but difficult to stop.

Maintaining a military advantage to deter an adversary is a basic tenet of national security strategy. As a result, each move taken to improve one's military capabilities has tactical or strategic merits, as in the case of equipping Australia with attack nuclear submarines.

However, cumulatively, individual measures aimed at underscoring the resolve and boosting the military capabilities of one country usually elicit countermeasures from its adversaries, inexorably shifting the center of gravity toward security competition. Militarizing U.S.-China competition only makes it look more and more like the Cold War.

With one rival's gain in military advantage a net loss for their adversary, who will respond then with their own military buildup, the only constraints on such an arms race are financial resources and technology.

In a full-blown arms race between the U.S. -- and its allies -- and China, Washington is likely to prevail because of the combined financial and technological heft. But a China armed to the teeth would still be a fearsome opponent. Even if an arms race favoring the U.S. achieved its strategic objective of deterring China, two other potential outcomes could unleash their own dangerous consequences.

The first would be the modernization and expansion of China's nuclear arsenal, which is currently a fraction of America's. Any significant increase in its nuclear capabilities by China would unavoidably force India to increase its own, a development that would surely motivate Pakistan to expand its nuclear arsenal as well.

The other likely consequence would be the spillover effects of an intensifying arms race on nuclear nonproliferation and control of the spread of destructive technologies. One competitor's efforts to arm its allies and partners to gain an advantage will give its opponent the motivation and justification to do the same.

Indeed, as security competition overshadows U.S.-China relations, it will be nearly impossible for them to cooperate even on issues of mutual interest, such as climate change and future pandemics. All bilateral issues will be viewed only through the lens of national security and evaluated in terms of whether modest cooperation might strengthen the other's security.

One simple but illustrative example is energy security, which is part of national security. Clean energy technologies will likely be grouped in the same category as other critical technologies -- and subject to stringent export controls -- at the expense of popularizing such technologies and reducing emissions.

Politically, national security hawks hold privileged positions in both political systems. In the U.S., they are entrenched in the military-industrial complex, Congressional pork-barrel politics and the right-wing media.

In China, the military guarantees the Communist Party's ability to hold onto power, while the emotional issue of Taiwan seldom fails to elicit neuralgic reflexes from a broad swath of elites and ordinary people alike. Their voices -- and their noisy opposition -- could doom even the most innocuous forms of bilateral cooperation.

Xi Jinping is displayed on a screen as Chinese battle tanks roll across during a parade in Beijing in September 2015; the military guarantees the Communist Party's ability to hold onto power. © AP

The last inevitable consequence of a fully militarized U.S.-China competition is the acceleration of economic decoupling. To be sure, this process is already well underway. Heightened antagonism due to increased military insecurity might therefore strengthen the case for cutting off economic ties altogether.

In the U.S., the argument that Washington must stop "strengthening the enemy" is likely to become more appealing, while the call to reduce America's economic leverage will sound increasingly compelling in China. As both countries take steps to harden their military security, their highly strained economic ties will deteriorate further.

Although this nightmare scenario is one most of us would want to avoid, unfortunately, it may be the one most likely to unfold in the years ahead, because when it comes to great power competition, the security imperative traditionally overwhelms all other considerations.

Great Britain and Germany had a higher level of economic interdependence on the eve of World War I than the U.S. and China today. In 1900, imports from the British Empire accounted for 21.5% of total German imports, while German exports to the British Empire accounted for 22.8% of its total exports.

In 2020, merchandise imports from China amounted to 18.6% of total U.S. imports, while imports from the U.S. accounted for only 6% of total Chinese merchandise imports.

But as we well know, as security competition came to increasingly dominate German-British rivalry, bilateral relations became so hostile that they triggered a catastrophic conflict that neither power wanted. The challenge for China and the U.S. today is not to repeat another such epic calamity.

Saudi Arabia-Bangladesh Relations: Development, Assistance And Economic Ties – OpEd

Pathik Hasan

Bangladesh-Saudi Arabia relations officially began in 1976 when Saudi Arabia recognized Bangladesh as an independent and sovereign country, which gained independence in 1971. At present, the relations between the two countries are fraternal, strong and evolving. Although the Saudi government supported Pakistan during the Great War of Liberation in 1971, that attitude changed over time and Saudi Arabia became a close friend of independent Bangladesh by standing by the side of the people in various crises. In independent Bangladesh, diplomatic relations were first established between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia centered on the Hajj.

In that communication, Saudi Arabia’s response to Bangladesh’s call also paved the way for new relations. Saudi Arabia provided financial assistance for the development of Bangladesh at different times. Saudi Arabia provides financial assistance and loans for the development of Bangladesh Railways, expansion of industrial, educational, scientific and technical knowledge, and development of communication systems. Besides, it plays an effective role in agriculture, flood control, housing construction, improving the living standards of the workers.
Trade relations:

Nakasone Now Sees Ransomware, Influence Ops As ‘National Security’ Threats


WASHINGTON: The head of US Cyber Command and the National Security Agency said his idea of “national security” issues for the US in cyberspace has expanded, specifically now including ransomware attacks and online influence operations.

“When I was here two years ago, if someone asked me about ransomware, I would say that’s criminal activity, and the FBI handles ransomware,” Gen. Paul Nakasone said on Tuesday at the 2021 Mandiant Cyber Defense Summit. But now, “when ransomware affects critical infrastructure, it’s a national security issue,” he said, referencing the Colonial Pipeline incident and other ransomware attacks earlier this year.

Ransomware attacks may be primarily carried out by criminal gangs, but when they’re protected by the nation-states in which they live, that’s also a national security issue. Speaking alongside Nakasone and other Intelligence Community leaders last month, FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate said, “There is no evidence to suggest Russia is cracking down on ransomware operators [inside Russia]. We’ve seen no action. I’d say nothing has changed.”

Taiwan says U.S. commitment is 'rock solid' after Biden remark on China's Xi

WASHINGTON/TAIPEI, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday Washington had reassured them that its approach to the island had not changed, a day after President Joe Biden said that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to abide by the "Taiwan agreement."

The Foreign Ministry said it had sought clarification from the United States about Biden's comments and were reassured the commitment to Taiwan was "rock solid" and that Washington will continue to help Taiwan maintain its defenses.

"Facing the Chinese government's military, diplomatic and economic threats, Taiwan and the United States have always maintained close and smooth communication channels," it said.

In his comments on Tuesday evening, Biden appeared to refer to a 90-minute call he held with Xi on Sept. 9 and the long-standing policy under which Washington officially recognizes Beijing rather than Taipei, as well as Taiwan Relations Act.

Biden’s era of ‘strategic competition’


Welcome to National Security Daily, your guide to the global events roiling Washington and keeping the administration up at night.

Make sure to join POLITICO on Thursday for our inaugural defense forum, where we’ll talk to the decision-makers in the White House, Congress, military and defense industry who are reshaping American power abroad and redefining military readiness for the future of warfare. Alex is moderating the China panel, so assure your spot now by registering here.

Programming Note: National Security Daily will not publish Monday, Oct. 11. We’ll be back on our normal schedule Tuesday, Oct. 12.

FIRST IN NATSEC DAILY –– Goodbye, “great power competition.” Hello, “strategic competition.”

A Defense Department spokesperson confirmed to our own DANIEL LIPPMAN and LARA SELIGMAN that the Pentagon will use the new phrase to describe its approach toward China — explicitly moving away from the Trump-era framework.

Predicting The Unpredictable

When a ballistic missile is launched, its trajectory is very clear. Experts have spent decades learning the launch sites and flight paths of various threats so, once a threat is launched, they usually know where it will land and what will happen when it does.

But a newer and much more unpredictable threat has taken to the skies: unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), more commonly called drones. They’re maneuverable, they come in many types, and they can launch from anywhere. And, they have the U.S. Department of Defense seeking quickly deployable defenses.

Tailoring the response

There are five UAS categories, based on their ceiling, speed and size. Each group poses unique threats that require tailored responses. So, in 2020, the Defense Department set up a Pentagon team led by Army Maj. Gen. Sean Gainey to assess all classes of drones and examine the threats they pose to military bases and other critical infrastructure.

US Presses Israel On Haifa Port Amid China Espionage Concerns: Sources


TEL AVIV: American officials have continued to press their Israeli counterparts about espionage concerns related to a Chinese-built port in Haifa, suggesting that the Israelis conduct regular inspections of heavy machinery there to ensure nothing nefarious is afoot, Israeli defense sources told Breaking Defense.

The renewed warnings have come in the weeks since CIA Director William Burns reportedly raised similar concerns with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett last month about Chinese infrastructure projects. In February Israel refused an American request to inspect the Chinese port in Haifa itself, as the Israeli daily Haaretz first reported.

Israeli sources told Breaking Defense that security officials here share Washington’s concerns, as the Israeli navy maintains its largest base adjacent to the port. The US Navy also frequents Haifa.

Between E-3 And Eyes In Space, The Air Force Needs A Bridge, Now


The Air Force has valiantly breathed life into the decades-old E-3 Sentry platform, but as top service officials recently suggested, it can no longer wait for the jump to space-based systems, the authors write in this op-ed. The Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Bradley Bowman, Maj. Lauren Harrison and Ryan Brobst argue that as Russia and China progress on their own rival systems, the Air Force must act quickly.

Defeating adversaries in the future will require the U.S. military to detect and strike targets more quickly than its opponents can. The E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) plays a pivotal role in this sequence of activities known as closing the “kill chain.” The E-3, however, is increasingly outdated and outmatched — requiring urgent replacement.

Ideally, the Air Force could immediately begin a transition from the E-3 to space-based airborne moving target indicator (AMTI) capabilities. That could potentially provide a persistent, near global, and more survivable means to sense, track, and identify air targets.

Is the US sleepwalking towards war with China?

Joseph S. Nye

As US President Joe Biden’s administration implements its strategy of great-power competition with China, analysts seek historical metaphors to explain the deepening rivalry. But while many invoke the onset of the Cold War, a more worrisome historical metaphor is the start of World War I. In 1914, all the great powers expected a short third Balkan war. Instead, as the British historian Christopher Clark has shown, they sleepwalked into a conflagration that lasted four years, destroyed four empires and killed millions.

Back then, leaders paid insufficient attention to the changes in the international order that had once been called the ‘concert of Europe’. An important change was the growing strength of nationalism. In Eastern Europe, pan-Slavism threatened both the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires, which had large Slavic populations. German authors wrote about the inevitability of Teutonic–Slavic battles, and schoolbooks inflamed nationalist passions. Nationalism proved to be a stronger bond than socialism for Europe’s working classes, and a stronger bond than capitalism for Europe’s bankers.

Belt and Road Meets Build Back Better

Keith Johnson

Last week marked senior Biden administration officials’ first visits to developing countries to scout potential investments in infrastructure projects. Under the rubric of “Build Back Better World,” it was the opening salvo in a battle to counteract China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative.

The U.S. junket comes just a couple of weeks after the European Union formally unveiled, in embryonic form, its own answer to Beijing’s development challenge. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented the new “Global Gateway” initiative in mid-September, which promises amped-up European investment in building the sort of developing world infrastructure China has been happily, if haphazardly, meeting for almost a decade.

Both the U.S. plan—which ropes in G-7 members as well as countries like Australia, India, and Japan—and the EU program aim to hit the ground running in early 2022. Taken together, these disparate efforts to revitalize development aid and assistance represent the clearest answer yet to what has become the signature foreign-policy item of Chinese President Xi Jinping: the so-called Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to invest hundreds of billions, perhaps trillions, of dollars in roads, rails, power plants, ports, and digital networks across Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Who Will Intervene in the World’s Hot Spots?

The international order is fraying, generating uncertainty about who will intervene to resolve persistent conflicts, and who will fund humanitarian responses to human-made and natural disasters. Meanwhile, emerging crises, proxy wars and multiple hot spots pose new risks, even as the nature of transnational terrorism is evolving. Learn more when you subscribe to World Politics Review (WPR).

As conflicts and crises persist around the world, there is growing uncertainty about how—or if—they will be resolved. The international order is fraying, generating uncertainty about who will intervene and how these interventions might be funded.

There are interminable conflicts, like the situations in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan, which have produced years of violence, countless thousands of deaths and even more refugees. Then there are the emerging hot spots, including northern Mozambique and the China-India frontier, and any number of potential flashpoints, like the Eastern Mediterranean. Even in situations where there is some tenuous hope of reconciliation, there is also uncertainty—such as South Sudan, where a 2018 peace deal that put an end to years of civil war is for now holding, even as widespread violence continues to plague the country.

U.S. Won't Follow China in Banning Crypto, SEC Chief Says


U.S. House, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler told Congress on Tuesday that his agency would not move to implement a ban on cryptocurrencies.

The topic was addressed after North Carolina Representative Ted Budd, a supporter of cryptocurrencies, asked whether the SEC would move forward in instituting a ban on the digital currencies like China instituted last month. To this, Gensler said:

"No, that would be up to Congress." He added, "I am technology-neutral. I think that this technology has been and can continue to be a catalyst for change, but technologies don't last long if they stay outside of the regulatory framework."

While Gensler has expressed concern over the crypto market, worrying that "people will be hurt," his recent comments fall in line with those of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who told members of Congress during a September 30 hearing that he had "no intention" of barring cryptos.

This time it’s the economy: Mapping the issues that produced the German federal election result

The 2021 German federal election was a showcase for electoral volatility – not just in terms of the result, but also in relation to changes in the polling during the campaign. But while the strengths and weaknesses of the leading candidates were clearly of great importance, what were the key issues that actually drove the result? Given the importance of the election, we would expect new issues to play a role and also potential changes in the salience of issues for voters and parties alike.

While this question is of paramount importance, in previous elections it has often been left without a clear and rigorous answer. We attempt to address this gap by leveraging an innovative research design based on two methodological innovations. First, rather than focusing on vote choice, we focus instead on vote change, that is, the shift from a party in the previous election to another in the current election. By focusing on vote change we can directly analyse the individual-level mechanism producing aggregate gains or losses for a party. Second, we employ an original, issue-rich survey dataset covering a large number of issues (31 in this case) with country-specific framing and wording.

Using this approach, we have estimated party-specific logistic regression models of vote inflows for each party based on the credibility respondents assigned to each party on a given issue. This effectively allows us to identify which issues attracted respondents to switch to a particular party. Hence, we can draw a comprehensive map of the issues that drove volatility in the election and help inform future research on parties’ electorates as a whole, as well as studies focusing on the effects of party campaign strategies.

Hypersonic Missiles: The Alarming Must-have In Military Tech

Agence France Presse

North Korea's test of a hypersonic missile last week sparked new concerns about the race to acquire the alarming technology that is hard to defend against and could unsettle the global nuclear balance.

Russia, which said Monday it had test-launched a hypersonic missile from a submerged submarine for the first time, leads the race, followed by China and the United States, and at least five other countries are working on the technology.

Hypersonic missiles, like traditional ballistic missiles which can deliver nuclear weapons, can fly more than five times the speed of sound.

But ballistic missiles fly high into space in an arc to reach their target, while a hypersonic flies on a trajectory low in the atmosphere, potentially reaching a target more quickly.

Addressing 5G National Security Risks Must Include Satellite Security


What does the security, resilience, and defensibility of satellite systems have to do with the fifth generation of mobile (5G) networks? Far more than you may think.

Much of our collective national security focus in the United States has been on the security concerns stemming from the terrestrial components of 5G networks (e.g. the radio access network, the Internet of Things, undersea cables, etc.). Comparatively little attention has been paid to national security concerns associated with the evolving role of satellite communication systems within this “network of networks.”

The result is a potentially overlooked gap in our approach to 5G to date. Importantly, this gap also represents a critical opportunity for the United States. If we chose to seize it, we can significantly bolster the security, resilience, and defensibility of our communications networks now and in the future.

What Happened to Facebook, Instagram, & WhatsApp?

Doug Madory is director of internet analysis at Kentik, a San Francisco-based network monitoring company. Madory said at approximately 11:39 a.m. ET today (15:39 UTC), someone at Facebook caused an update to be made to the company’s Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) records. BGP is a mechanism by which Internet service providers of the world share information about which providers are responsible for routing Internet traffic to which specific groups of Internet addresses.

In simpler terms, sometime this morning Facebook took away the map telling the world’s computers how to find its various online properties. As a result, when one types Facebook.com into a web browser, the browser has no idea where to find Facebook.com, and so returns an error page.

Nakasone Now Sees Ransomware, Influence Ops As ‘National Security’ Threats


WASHINGTON: The head of US Cyber Command and the National Security Agency said his idea of “national security” issues for the US in cyberspace has expanded, specifically now including ransomware attacks and online influence operations.

“When I was here two years ago, if someone asked me about ransomware, I would say that’s criminal activity, and the FBI handles ransomware,” Gen. Paul Nakasone said on Tuesday at the 2021 Mandiant Cyber Defense Summit. But now, “when ransomware affects critical infrastructure, it’s a national security issue,” he said, referencing the Colonial Pipeline incident and other ransomware attacks earlier this year.

Ransomware attacks may be primarily carried out by criminal gangs, but when they’re protected by the nation-states in which they live, that’s also a national security issue. Speaking alongside Nakasone and other Intelligence Community leaders last month, FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate said, “There is no evidence to suggest Russia is cracking down on ransomware operators [inside Russia]. We’ve seen no action. I’d say nothing has changed.”

Blockchain Technology Could Provide Secure Communications For Robot Teams

Eurasia Review

Imagine a team of autonomous drones equipped with advanced sensing equipment, searching for smoke as they fly high above the Sierra Nevada mountains. Once they spot a wildfire, these leader robots relay directions to a swarm of firefighting drones that speed to the site of the blaze.

But what would happen if one or more leader robots was hacked by a malicious agent and began sending incorrect directions? As follower robots are led farther from the fire, how would they know they had been duped?

The use of blockchain technology as a communication tool for a team of robots could provide security and safeguard against deception, according to a study by researchers at MIT and Polytechnic University of Madrid, which was published today in IEEE Transactions on Robotics. The research may also have applications in cities where multirobot systems of self-driving cars are delivering goods and moving people across town.

A blockchain offers a tamper-proof record of all transactions — in this case, the messages issued by robot team leaders — so follower robots can eventually identify inconsistencies in the information trail.

What is Serbia trying to achieve with its military buildup?

Mersiha Gadzo

In 2019, Serbia made headlines by overtaking NATO member Croatia as the Balkan region’s biggest military spender, spending $1.14bn, an increase of 43 percent from the previous year.

This year, Serbia’s defence budget almost doubled from the 2018 figure of $700m to about $1.5bn, according to open-source intelligence specialists at Janes Defence Budgets.

As the pandemic intensified last year, many Serbians questioned the country’s priorities when it was reported in November that more money was being spent on weapons than setting up COVID-19 hospitals.

Meanwhile, displays of military power have become regular.

In September, as Serb unity was celebrated as part of a new national holiday, President Aleksandar Vucic said the army was “five times stronger” than a few years ago, as he announced greater expenditure.

Chinese PLA Soldiers Raise Flag At Galwan Valley; Satellite Image Shows Rapid Development Of Crucial Airbase Near LOC



Gilgit-Baltistan is a strategically important location from a military perspective. It is open to outflanking moves against Ladakh from the West. G-B is the northernmost territory administered by Pakistan. It is the country’s sole territorial frontier with China, where it meets the Xinjiang Autonomous Region.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has made the region a vital spot for both these countries. The region is especially important to China due to the presence of the 3,000 kilometers long Karakoram Highway here. This highway is expected to be China’s economic lifeline for international trade.

Recent satellite imagery from Skardu Airbase in Pakistan. (via d-atis Twitter handle)

According to experts, India’s declaration of its intention to re-take G-B is something that Beijing is extremely displeased with, the signs of which are visible in its ongoing aggression against India on the LAC.

Since 2011, China has reportedly been deploying close to 10,000-15,000 troops in this area. It will be able to bring in more troops from the Xinjiang region by using the Karakoram Highway. More importantly, the Skardu Airfield located here would be crucial in case of an air war against India.

The Skardu Airfield

The Skardu airbase is almost 200 kilometers from both Leh and Srinagar in India. This airbase not only offers Pakistan strategic capability extension in the area but also provides a standpoint to keep an eye on the crucial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.

Some reports indicate that China has recently deployed around 40 J-10 aircraft in Skardu. The presence of these warplanes could play an important role in the event of an air war with India in eastern Ladakh. Moreover, a Chinese IL-78, which is an aerial refueling aircraft for fighter jets, has also been spotted in Skardu.

A file photo of a Pakistan International Airlines plane at Skardu Airport. (Wikipedia)

There is no doubt that in case a necessity arises, the Skardu base could be used as a launching pad for land operations, as well as an airbase by China, a military expert talking to The EurAsian Times believes.

Skardu airbase could offset the Chinese disadvantage of longer distances of its airbases in Tibet and Kashgar of Xinjiang, the expert who did not wish to reveal his identity, added.

Recent Developments

Intelligence agencies’ reports have asserted that Pakistan is moving its fighter aircraft to the forward airbase of Skardu. These agencies have spotted at least three Pakistani C-130 Air Force transport aircraft bringing equipment to the base.

The country is also expected to deploy its JF-17 fighter aircraft here. In the past, the airbase has been used by Pakistan to support its Army operations along the border with India.

More recently, open-source intelligence analyst @detresfa_ posted satellite pictures showing that Pakistan is upgrading the Skardu airbase. The country has almost finished work on a second runway at Skardu.

The Galwan Valley conflict

The Galwan valley is a tension-ridden area in eastern Ladakh. It has strategic importance due to its closeness to the crucial link to the Indian Air Force base at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO)- the world’s highest landing ground, close to the LAC. It is an important aerial supply line.

India has been engaged in building border infrastructure in this region. This includes the all-weather Darbul-Shayok-DBO road that is 255 kilometers long. This strategic road runs almost parallel to the LAC and extends up to the base of the Karakoram pass.

Upon completion, this pass is expected to reduce the travel time from Leh to DBO from 48 hours to just six. Road and bridge construction works have recently been speeded up.

Facing eastwards, the control over the Galwan valley provides access to the Aksai Chin plateau. The important Xinjiang-Tibet highway passes through this area.

On June 15 last year, there was a violent clash between the Indian and Chinese armies in the Galwan Valley, resulting in the death of 20 Indian soldiers. The number of casualties that China suffered remains disputed with the official number being around 4 and Indian media claiming over 40.

This was one of the worst flare-ups in as many decades. The clash led to a military standoff between the two countries. At least 11 rounds of military talks have been conducted to facilitate the disengagement process.

However, this tense situation does not seem to be improving much. Not only did China recently conduct multiple drills at high altitudes in the Tibet region with the latest equipment but it also released a video of a flag-raising ceremony at the Galwan Valley on the occasion of its 72nd National Day.

Additionally, on August 30, more than 100 Chinese troops allegedly transgressed into Indian territory through Uttarakhand. It was reported that the Chinese troops entered more than 5 kilometers into the Indian territory. They did so by crossing the Tun Jun La in the area.

Infrastructure and military build-ups in contested Pakistani and Chinese regions, alongside huge incursions and symbolic gestures such as drills and a flag-raising ceremony, reveal that there is immense pressure building upon New Delhi on both these fronts — China and Pakistan border regions. How that will pan out for India is up to speculation.