22 June 2018

India And China In The Era Of Donald Trump

by Harbir Singh

In these uncertain times, China has a reason to reconsider its relationship with India and its policy of keeping up a hostile, damaging posture. It may be time for China to start looking for cooperation and mutual benefit everywhere it can, while it tries to find a sure footing to grapple with the American sumo.  China’s economic growth and its rise as an industrial powerhouse have been nothing short of staggering. What is vital to note is that China became a powerful rival to the United States (US) without bothering with democracy, human rights, freedom of speech, intellectual property rights, or political dissent. When China opened itself for business, arranging labour, infrastructure, subsidies, and policies to make Chinese labour a hugely scalable export commodity, American companies got busy thumping the Bibles of free trade and globalisation, shipping off their manufacturing to China and raking in bonuses for chief executive officers (CEOs) and the profits for Wall Street. The American government got busy borrowing money from China to finance American spending on everything from Chinese-made consumer electronics to its wars without end.

Islamic State Emboldened in Afghanistan

By: Farhan Zahid

From its establishment in September 2014, Islamic State’s arm in Afghanistan, its Khorasan province entity (IS-K), found itself the target of attacks by Afghan Taliban forces and strikes by the U.S. military in conjunction with the Afghan security forces. The group weathered significant losses and entrenched itself in the districts of eastern Afghanistan. In recent months, however, an improvement in relations with the Taliban has allowed it to focus on carrying out a series of bloody attacks.


China is spending billions on its foreign-language media

ON THE 26th floor of an iconic glass skyscraper, nicknamed the “Trousers”, in Beijing’s main business district, half a dozen casually dressed 20-somethings gather in a rainbow-coloured lounge, chatting away on ergonomic chairs. The office has the vibe of a hip tech startup. In fact, it is the headquarters of the country’s foreign-language television service, which rebranded itself in 2016 as China Global Television Network (CGTN). The young staff are Chinese who have studied abroad and are proficient in one of the network’s five languages—English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Russian. CGTN is at the forefront of China’s increasingly vigorous and lavishly funded efforts to spread its message abroad. Xi Jinping, the president, has told the station to “tell China stories well”.

Avoiding the Sino-American Technology Trap


The Trump administration is right to push back against China's violations of world trade rules, particularly with regard to advanced technologies. But US high-tech industries' ability to weather the challenge posed by China will depend less on curbing China’s progress, and more on supporting innovation at home. With its ambitious Made in China 2025 strategy, China has made clear its objective to secure global economic leadership in advanced technology industries. This places it in direct competition with the United States – which currently leads in those industries – in what is emerging as an undeclared but intensifying cold war over technologies with both commercial and military applications.

Trump Turns Tide on Chinese Theft by Trade

Christian Whiton

After decades of artfully swindling American experts and businesses, the Chinese government is beginning to face a reckoning. Last week, President Trump announced that tariffs in response to China’s systematic theft of U.S. intellectual property will commence on July 6th. The levies of twenty-five percent will apply at first to $34 billion in Chinese imports, later expanding to $50 billion. That will only affect about ten percent of what America imports from China each year, but the move marks a fundamental turning point. At long last, something is being done about trade and intellectual property theft by China. Ever since commerce between China and the West began in earnest, foreign officials and businessmen have been unable to resist the allure its huge market of would-be consumers—currently numbering 1.4 billion. This siren’s call continues to be answered despite unending evidence that China would never allow “barbarians” a major stake in its domestic economy, and indeed wants handsome compensation just for access to this market.

China’s Nuclear Arsenal Continues to Slowly Grow

China is pushing ahead with modernising its nuclear weapon delivery systems and has added to its arsenal as it boosts military expenditure, according to a report released by an independent think tank on Monday. As of January, the country had 280 warheads, up from 270 a year earlier, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in an annual report. But it said none of the nuclear warheads were deployed on missiles or located on bases with operational forces. They were instead classified as “other warheads” – meaning they are being stored or have been retired. China is the world’s second biggest spender on military, allocating US$228 billion for defence last year – up 5.6 per cent from 2016. That was its lowest increase in military spending since 2010, but was in line with gross domestic product growth and inflation.

Anger grows in Philippines over China’s control of shoal


A protester at a rally on the Philippines' 120th Independence Day at the Chinese consulate in Manila on June 12, 2018. The protests focused on China's bullying and militarization in the West Philippine Sea. Once again, the Scarborough Shoal dispute is threatening to torpedo Philippine-China relations. Two years into office, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is facing a widespread public backlash over reports that the Chinese coast guard is controlling the contested shoal and surrounding areas and routinely harasses Filipino fishermen.

Putin’s Economic Dilemma


Despite Western sanctions and oil-price volatility, Russia is currently on sturdier economic footing than most of its critics ever could have imagined just a few years ago. But while prudent fiscal and monetary policies have laid the groundwork for long-term sustainable growth, the government must resist the temptation of short-term stimulus. MOSCOW – Russia has a way of illustrating universal problems. Consider the goal of economic development. Political leaders have an interest in delivering economic prosperity very quickly, and yet the policies needed to enable sustainable long-term growth can take quite a while to bear fruit. The political and policy clocks are rarely synchronized.

Energy for the Common Good


Aristotle famously contrasted two types of knowledge: “techne” (technical know-how) and “phronesis” (practical wisdom). Scientists and engineers have offered the techne to move rapidly from fossil fuels to zero-carbon energy; now we need the phronesis to redirect our politics and economies accordingly. The climate crisis we now face is a reflection of a broader crisis: a global confusion of means and ends. We continue to use fossil fuels because we can (means), not because they are good for us (ends). This confusion is why Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew are spurring us to think deeply about what is truly good for humanity, and how to attain it. Earlier this month, the pope and patriarch each convened business, scientific, and academic leaders, in Rome and Athens, respectively, to hasten the transition from fossil fuels to safe renewable energy.

There Were No Losers at the Singapore Summit

By Chung-in Moon

Immediately after U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed a joint declaration at the end of last week’s summit in Singapore, I received a harsh assessment of the meeting from a conservative colleague in South Korea. In his view, the summit was “a total failure. They failed to agree on CVID [complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization]. It is a victory for North Korea.” Other experts in Seoul raised concerns about the future of the U.S.–South Korean alliance following Trump’s abrupt announcement that South Korean–U.S. “war games” would be suspended, as well as his decision not to raise the issue of human rights with Kim. In this sense, there is a paradoxical similarity between South Korean conservatives’ and the American liberal mainstream’s criticisms of Trump and his agreement with the North Korean leader.

There’s Been a Global Increase in Armed Groups. Can They Be Restrained?

By Kenneth R. Rosen

Raiding among cattle-herding tribes is a traditional part of life in South Sudan, but in the past five years, the skirmishes have become more violent and unrestrained. Small armed bands that traditionally guarded their communities’ livestock have been drawn into bitter proxy battles between the country’s two largest tribes: the Dinka, who hold power in Juba, the national capital, and the Nuer. No longer limited to raiding each other’s villages and herds, these bands of well-armed tribal fighters have carried out massacres and atrocities, with women and children increasingly among the victims. The violence has worsened in both scale and frequency since 2013, according to South Sudanese who have witnessed the ravages of a civil war that started just two years after their country gained independence from Sudan.

France and Germany Far Apart on EU Reform

The cabinets of Germany and France are set to meet on Tuesday, but the two countries remain far apart when it comes to eurozone reform. Paris is disappointed with Germany's response to Emmanuel Macron's proposals. The staging was similar to that of French President Emmanuel Macron's groundbreaking speech on the need for European Union reform delivered at the Sorbonne last fall. Surrounded by a handpicked audience, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas spoke last week about the lessons that Europe must draw from the policies being pursued by U.S. President Donald Trump. Maas demanded that Germany "join forces with France" and said that, "given the uncertainty in trans-Atlantic relations in particular, it must be absolutely clear that we are working hand in hand."

In the Balkans, a Chance to Stabilize Europe

By George Soros and Alexander Soros

It has taken almost 25 years to get an agreement between the governments in Athens and Skopje on what to call the entity once known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. It would be a mistake to dismiss this as a minor development — particularly now, when the unity of the trans-Atlantic alliance is at its lowest point since World War II and the unity of the European Union is under challenge in every national election. In fact, the historic compromise to rename the country the Republic of Northern Macedonia, thus softening a rivalry over national histories, opens a window of opportunity for leaders in Europe and the United States to defy current trends and begin shaping a secure future for the Balkans, an achievement that would help secure stability for all of Europe.

The Success of the Western World

By Markus Ziener

The Western world owes its success since the end of the Second World War to its well-functioning system of institutions. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization protects against military aggression; the World Trade Organization establishes rules on how to do business with each other; and the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank help stabilize international finance and fight economic and humanitarian crises. Finally, the United Nations and the G-7 safeguard a platform for crucial conversations among world leaders as tensions loom -- they ensure that problems are faced before they escalate.

Thinking About the Balkans

By George Friedman

The week’s news from the Balkans has been ominous. Serbia is making demands on Kosovo and its supporter, Albania. Serbia continues to see Kosovo as a threat to its national interest. The Russians have gone out of their way to express their support not only for the Serbs but also for the Serbs living in Bosnia. Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Serbia’s president in Moscow. Meanwhile, the U.S. friendship with Albania is deep, making the Serbian claim on Kosovo even more dangerous. Far less ominous but no less important, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a campaign rally last month in Sarajevo, the predominantly Muslim capital of Bosnia and home to a large number of Turkish expat voters, to win their support and to show voters at home that Turkish influence was spreading into the Balkans.

Merkel and Macron: Edging towards Change?

By Josef Janning

Now is not a comfortable time for a country like Germany – or at least, a government like Germany’s. With states large and small challenging multilateral agreements, and a disintegrating “international community” standing apart from regional conflicts even as they spill across the world, any country relying on order, rules, and due process is taking a gamble at best. This situation is particularly unsettling to Germany, which is a sizeable actor but whose history and contemporary political culture make it a power dependent on working with others. The country certainly has significant leadership potential, but Germany best applies this in process management and incentivising other players that follow a similar order-centric rationality. Because of Germany’s global economic links and through the vulnerability of its primary habitat of the European Union, the political class here is particularly sensitive to changes in the international climate. The nervousness within government circles is growing.

Too Late for North Korea Denuclearization

WEST LAFAYETTE, INDIANA: After canceling a summit with North Korea, President Donald Trump must set realistic goals. Most urgently, he must back off from the idea that Pyongyang might be amenable to discarding its nuclear weapons or missile-delivery systems. At best, Kim Jung-un's definition of "denuclearization" is limited to temporarily halting his country's already effectively completed schedule of nuclear testing. Although Kim has made vague hints in the past that his country would consider eliminating its nuclear weapons in tandem with "denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula, there is little reason to believe that he would go meaningfully beyond a promised cessation of nuclear weapons testing.

Our Infant Information Revolution


In the middle of the twentieth century, people feared that advances in computers and communications would lead to the type of centralized control depicted in George Orwell’s 1984. Today, billions of people have eagerly put Big Brother in their pockets. Information revolutions are not new. In 1439, Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press launched the era of mass communication. Our current revolution, which began in Silicon Valley in the 1960s, is bound up with Moore’s Law: the number of transistors on a computer chip doubles every couple of years. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, computing power cost one-thousandth of what it did in the early 1970s. Now the Internet connects almost everything. In mid-1993, there were about 130 websites in the world; by 2000, that number had surpassed 15 million. Today, more than 3.5 billion people are online; experts project that, by 2020, the “Internet of Things” will connect 20 billion devices. Our information revolution is still in its infancy.

Four Ways 3D Printing May Threaten Security

Design by Chrissy Sovak

3D printers already produce everything from prosthetic hands and engine parts to basketball shoes and fancy chocolates. But as with any technological advance, new possibilities come with new perils.​​​​​​​ A new RAND paper, Additive Manufacturing in 2040: Powerful Enabler, Disruptive Threat, explores how 3D printers will affect personal, national, and international security. The paper is part of RAND's Security 2040 initiative, which looks over the horizon to anticipate future threats. The same technology that might one day custom-print heart valves can just as easily produce gun parts. The same machines that allow astronauts on the international space station to print their own tools might also help a state like North Korea print military or industrial equipment to get around international sanctions. Here are four areas to watch as 3D printing makes the leap from high tech to home tech.
Hackers Could Use Printers to Cause Real-World Damage

Toy Drones and Twitter: The Ability of Individuals to Wreak Large-Scale Havoc

by Colin P. Clarke

Drawing upon decades of experience, RAND provides research services, systematic analysis, and innovative thinking to a global clientele that includes government agencies, foundations, and private-sector firms. The Pardee RAND Graduate School (PRGS.edu) is the largest public policy Ph.D. program in the nation and the only program based at an independent public policy research organization—the RAND Corporation.  In late April, a toy drone buzzed past the palace of the king of Saudi Arabia, leading Saudi security forces to shoot it down. Online, a story spread quickly across the Internet that the Saudi royal palace was under siege and a full-fledged coup was in progress. Given the recent crackdown and imprisonment of wealthy and influential Saudis engineered by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, the news was believable—at least initially. But in the end, just like the commercial drone, the story of the coup plot was also shot down, proved to be false and just another piece of the ubiquitous disinformation flotsam populating the World Wide Web.

In a world of digital nomads, we will all be made homeless

John Harris

The office-space empire WeWork was founded eight years ago in New York. It currently leases 240,000 sq metres of real estate in London alone, which reportedly makes it the city’s largest user of offices after the British government. The basic deal is simple enough: you can either pay to put your laptop wherever there is space, or stump up a little more for a more dependable desk or entire office – and, in either case, take advantage of the fact that, with operations in 20 countries, WeWork offers the chance to traverse the planet and temporarily set up shop in no end of locations.

Pentagon Puts Cyberwarriors on the Offensive, Increasing the Risk of Conflict

David E. Sanger

The Pentagon has quietly empowered the United States Cyber Command to take a far more aggressive approach to defending the nation against cyberattacks, a shift in strategy that could increase the risk of conflict with the foreign states that sponsor malicious hacking groups. Until now, the Cyber Command has assumed a largely defensive posture, trying to counter attackers as they enter American networks. In the relatively few instances when it has gone on the offensive, particularly in trying to disrupt the online activities of the Islamic State and its recruiters in the past several years, the results have been mixed at best.

Pentagon Puts Cyberwarriors on the Offensive, Increasing the Risk of Conflict

By David E. Sanger

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has quietly empowered the United States Cyber Command to take a far more aggressive approach to defending the nation against cyberattacks, a shift in strategy that could increase the risk of conflict with the foreign states that sponsor malicious hacking groups. Until now, the Cyber Command has assumed a largely defensive posture, trying to counter attackers as they enter American networks. In the relatively few instances when it has gone on the offensive, particularly in trying to disrupt the online activities of the Islamic State and its recruiters in the past several years, the results have been mixed at best.

There’s Been a Global Increase in Armed Groups. Can They Be Restrained?

By Kenneth R. Rosen – New York Time's At War

Raiding among cattle-herding tribes is a traditional part of life in South Sudan, but in the past five years, the skirmishes have become more violent and unrestrained. Small armed bands that traditionally guarded their communities’ livestock have been drawn into bitter proxy battles between the country’s two largest tribes: the Dinka, who hold power in Juba, the national capital, and the Nuer. No longer limited to raiding each other’s villages and herds, these bands of well-armed tribal fighters have carried out massacres and atrocities, with women and children increasingly among the victims. The violence has worsened in both scale and frequency since 2013, according to South Sudanese who have witnessed the ravages of a civil war that started just two years after their country gained independence from Sudan.

Considering Defense Reform? Read This First

by John Nagl and Paul Yingling – AUSA

Kenny Rogers’ country classic Coward of the County portrays advice from an old man who spent his life fighting. The advice was simple: Don’t do it. The intended recipient was a young man who ignored that advice. We are old men who spent the better part of two decades fighting on the battlefields of the Middle East and in the halls of the Pentagon. In the Middle East, our enemies were insurgents. In the Pentagon, we were the insurgents: pushing the Army to adapt to the challenges of irregular warfare. Our goal here is not to refight those old battles. Instead, in the great tradition of Kenny Rogers, we’d like to offer some advice to young leaders who are considering fighting the battle for defense reform…

21 June 2018

Deadly Tensions Rise as India’s Water Supply Runs Dangerously Low

By Maria Abi-Habib and Hari Kumar

SHIMLA, India — The people of Shimla haven’t agreed on much lately. A drought in the Himalayan resort has had residents blaming farmers, the tourism industry and one another for depleting the strained water supplies. And everyone’s been angry at the key men. Shimla’s decrepit network of water pipes, built under British colonial rule more than 70 years ago, depends on the civil servants known as key men to open and close the valves that supply each neighborhood. The current shortage, which in May left some homes without water for 20 days, has led to such fury toward the key men — accused, in just about every neighborhood, of depriving it of its fair share — that a court ordered police protection for them.


By Chad Pillai

There is a growing strategic competition underway in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea between India and China focused on acquiring commercial ports and military facilities. It is a race for strategic access, leverage, and influence for energy resources, markets, and national security. This competition between two relative new naval powers in the region will directly influence the U.S. and its regional partners in the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) Area of Responsibilities (AORs), beyond the usual purview of Pacific Command (USPACOM) whose AOR India lies within. For the U.S., this represents a strategic opportunity to compete against China’s growing influence by expanding its relationship with India in the CENTCOM and AFRICOM AORs.

Why Drug Gangs, the Taliban, and Pakistani Covert Interference Make Peace in Afghanistan Next to Impossible

Afghanistan: Tradition And All That

Most Afghans want peace but progress in achieving that has been blocked by the drug gangs, Pakistan and some troublesome traditions. Achieving peace requires all the help it can get and most Afghans understand that. For example, on June 4th the Afghan Ulema Council (the top religious authority in the country) met in Kabul. The 2,000 Islamic scholars and senior clerics rarely hold such large meetings but this one was considered urgent because of the continued damage being done by the drug gangs, their Taliban hired guns and the Pakistani support for all this. So the Council issued a fatwah (religious ruling) condemning suicide attacks and supporting peace talks. The council also called for a ceasefire.

Trump's China Deal is the Worst Ever

by Edward Alden

If nothing further is done, the U.S.-China trade deal reached this month will be remembered, to quote a phrase coined by the current president of the United States, as "the single worst trade deal" ever negotiated. Instead of tackling Chinese industrial policy practices that have distorted many sectors of the global economy, Donald Trump has enthusiastically embraced a quick fix that economist Brad Setser, of the Council for Foreign Relations, has called nothing more than "a commitment on China's part to buy more of the things that it likely would buy more of no matter what: agricultural products and energy."

China Steps Up

Nishant Rajeev

The Trump-Kim Summit was not just about the USA and North Korea. China was in the thick of things. When the recent thaw in relations between North and South Korea was first announced, China was not in the picture. In fact, some countries in the region had been uneasy about the pace with which the new found detente was progressing. However, after the conclusion of the summit, it is quite evident that one of the clear winners has been China. Despite its absence in Singapore, China has now positioned itself as one of the key stakeholders in the talks, and reaffirmed the need for countries in the region to engage with it more as these talks progress.

The East Is Red: The Chinese Threat Is Expanding on All Fronts

The West sees China as a threat, as do China’s neighbors. What bothers many non-Chinese is what exactly are the Chinese up to. China doesn’t really need all the territory they are laying claim to. What does China need with the South China Sea, large chunks of India and, rather quietly, the Far Eastern Russian territories. These adjacent land areas can be seen as the traditional Chinese way of expanding but China has tended, for thousands of year, trying to absorb areas not populated by Han (ethnic Chinese) people. While the traditional “Chinese lands” are now incorporated into communist China what, the question is, to the Chinese want and why?

The Long Shadow of 9/11

By Robert Malley and Jon Finer

When it comes to political orientation, worldview, life experience, and temperament, the past three presidents of the United States could hardly be more different. Yet each ended up devoting much of his tenure to the same goal: countering terrorismUpon entering office, President George W. Bush initially downplayed the terrorist threat, casting aside warnings from the outgoing administration about al Qaeda plots. But in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, his presidency came to be defined by what his administration termed “the global war on terrorism,” an undertaking that involved the torture of detainees, the incarceration of suspects in “black sites” and at a prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, the warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens, and prolonged and costly military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Just the Fear of a Trade War Is Straining the Global Economy

By Peter S. Goodman, Ian Austen and Elisabeth Malkin

LONDON — Only a few months ago, the global economy appeared to be humming, with all major nations growing in unison. Now, the world’s fortunes are imperiled by an unfolding trade war. As the Trump administration imposes tariffs on allies and rivals alike, provoking broad retaliation, global commerce is suffering disruption, flashing signs of strains that could hamper economic growth. The latest escalation came on Friday, when President Trump announced fresh tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods, prompting swift retribution from Beijing.

SIPRI: Nuclear weapons are still being developed

The vision of a world without nuclear weapons is history. In its annual report, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has criticized the ongoing development of new nuclear weapons. Last year was a special year for those in favor of nuclear disarmament. A total of 122 UN member states signed a pledge not to produce or possess nuclear weapons.However, this has not brought the goal of a nuclear-free world much closer. According to the latest estimates by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), 14,465 nuclear weapons still exist, in the hands of just nine states: the US, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. Although internationally these nine countries are in the minority, they have absolutely no intention of giving up their nuclear weapons.



Many high-level meetings of security experts and officials in Israel have tried over the past few weeks to come up with policy directives regarding the future of Gaza. This is a positive development, especially because over the past 11 years there has not been a serious review of Israel’s strategic goals in Gaza. Even after three wars with Gaza, the Israeli policy has been to leave a weakened Hamas in power. When the policy of “isolation” (bidul in Hebrew) of Gaza began – after the Hamas coup d’etat against the Palestinian Authority in June 2007 – the basic idea was to advance the peace process in the West Bank and its economic development while closing off Gaza, so that Palestinians could easily see the difference between the two regimes, their interaction and openness to Israel and to the world. Those were the days when Dr. Salam Fayyad was prime minister in Ramallah. Though he was the “darling of the United States and the West” whom some Israelis called “the Palestinian Ben-Gurion,” prosperity and peace did not appear.

The Myth of the Liberal Order

By Graham Allison

Among the debates that have swept the U.S. foreign policy community since the beginning of the Trump administration, alarm about the fate of the liberal international rules-based order has emerged as one of the few fixed points. From the international relations scholar G. John Ikenberry’sclaim that “for seven decades the world has been dominated by a western liberal order” to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s call in the final days of the Obama administration to “act urgently to defend the liberal international order,” this banner waves atop most discussions of the United States’ role in the world. 

A conversation about the North Korea summit with Sig Hecker

By Janice Sinclaire

Siegfried Hecker talks about his first-hand interactions with North Korean nuclear scientists, what went wrong in past dealings with Kim dynasty, and the best possible outcome of the Trump/Kim summit, in a 27-minute conversation with Lynn Eden of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board.

Inside the early days of North Korea's cyberwar factory

North Korea is a bizarre country that almost seems frozen in time -- a bizarre, frozen-in-time, armed-to-the-teeth, crazy-dangerous country. We take a deep look at the early cyberwar efforts of an increasingly aggressive cyberwar player. Today's security threats have expanded in scope and seriousness. There can now be millions -- or even billions -- of dollars at risk when information security isn't handled properly. Author's note: This article was originally published in Counterterrorism Magazine in 2012, reprinted here with permission. Although Kim Jung-Un's leadership has solidified since that time, our knowledge of the rogue nation's cyberwar operations remain quite similar to what was explored in this briefing, except that, if anything, Kim Jung-Un's cyber efforts have increased dramatically.

'The Perfect Weapon' Tells The Story Of Growing Cyber War That The U.S. Is Fighting


This week, we've heard a lot about what was discussed at the summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un - nuclear weapons, military exercises, returning the remains of U.S. troops killed in the Korean War. As David Sanger filed his stories from Singapore, he noticed something very big missing. Sanger is a national security correspondent for The New York Times whose new book is all about cyberweapons. DAVID SANGER: Cyber is not included in any of these discussions with North Korea. They want to do nuclear, bio, chem. And yet cyber is the only weapon that they've actually used against us and used effectively.

The View From Olympus: The Big One

William S. Lind

The 2008-09 financial crisis was a warning Washington has not heeded. We have continued in our profligate ways, increasing our federal deficit and national debt. Far from bringing back Glass-Steagal and adding new measures to keep banks from pursuing risky business, we have de-regulated them while offering new incentives for moral hazard. Seemingly secure in the knowledge they can buy enough Members of Congress to privatize profits while socializing losses, banks and other financial companies are doing everything that brought on the previous crisis. The party is still roaring, the champagne is flowing, and everybody is still wearing a lampshade. But in the east, the sky is beginning to brighten.

Russian Election Interference: Europe’s Counter to Fake News and Cyber Attacks

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Russia’s aggressive campaign targeting the 2016 U.S. election revealed not only the extent to which information and communications technologies are being used to undermine democratic processes but also the weaknesses of protection measures. The U.S. government was effectively caught off guard, once again highlighting that such interference presents a rising global threat. Comprehensive strategies and tools are clearly needed as part of a long-term, holistic approach to building resilience, but to be effective, they should be informed by the regular sharing of best practices and lessons learned between countries.

Foreign influences on North Korea’s ballistic missile program

Rahul Krishna

In November 2017, North Korea conducted the last of many missile tests that year, launching the powerful Hwasong-15 into Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone. US Defense Secretary James Mattis acknowledged that this missile poses a worldwide threat and demonstrates the extent of North Korea’s progress in missile development. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, if Japanese reports on the test missile’s trajectory are correct, they indicate that the Hwasong-15 has sufficient range to hit “any part of the continental United States.” While there is still some debate over whether North Korea has the capability to deploy a nuclear warhead on this missile, reports suggest that, according to American and Japanese intelligence assessments, Pyongyang may be able to miniaturize a warhead fit for deployment.

Trump and Kim Break With the Past

By Rodger Baker

Summits are not contests to determine winners or losers. What the U.S.-North Korea summit did was change the way the two countries manage relations — and crises — offering a respite from the heightened unease on the Korean Peninsula. In breaking past the barrier of demanding change before dialogue, the United States is in a better position to manage tensions with North Korea even if denuclearization is never completed. North Korea appears to have empowered its negotiators to make concessions without having to come back to Pyongyang, allowing for more meaningful and productive talks.

What About the Decybernization of North Korea?

James Carlini

Donald J. Trump made history with his Singapore Summit with Kim Jong-Un of North Korea, but did their promise for total denuclearization of North Korea exclude the promise for its decybernization of its electronic cyber weapons? That is a huge question to pose to the President, his diplomatic staff, and to all his critics who have no idea of what weapons we should be concerned about. It is also a question for the Mainstream Media to ponder as all their criticism seems devoid of any valid questions about this real and growing threat.

The Nukes You Never Hear About: Russia’s Air-Delivered Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons

Mark B. Schneider

Before starting a discussion of Russian non-strategic or tactical air-delivered nuclear weapons, it is important for the reader to understand that these weapons do not exist in isolation. They are part of what amounts to a Russian non-strategic nuclear Triad composed of: 1) ground-based nuclear capable short- to intermediate-range ballistic and cruise missiles; 2) a sea-based force of nuclear-capable cruise missiles carried on both surface ships and submarines; and 3) an air-delivered non-strategic nuclear force of Backfire bombers and a variety of long-range fighter aircraft which carry both nuclear bombs and nuclear-capable ballistic and cruise missiles. Russia’s non-strategic nuclear Triad has the same resilience, flexibility, survivability, and defense penetration ability of Russia’s better known strategic Triad. Only Russia, and apparently China, have a non-strategic nuclear Triad. Russia is secretive about its non-strategic nuclear capabilities, particularly its low-yield weapons; hence, it is unlikely that the picture derived from open sources is complete.

Cyber Sovereignty and the PRC’s Vision for Global Internet Governance

By: Elliott Zaagman

Over the past eighteen months, major Western media outlets have followed every step of Facebook’s slow and painful fall from grace, including the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal. However, while the stories focus heavily on Trump and Putin, it is CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping who may benefit the most from a collective loss of faith in Western cyber systems and institutions. While the world’s attention has focused on accusations of collusion and election hacking, the Chinese leader has been promoting a homegrown PRC approach to technology, the internet, and governance, one that seeks to embed the PRC’s concept of “cyber sovereignty” (网络主权) in the institutions of global internet governance.

Top 5: Reasons it's hard to think rationally

By Tom Merritt

Most of us like to think our thought and decision-making processes are based on objectivity and science, but that's not always the case. Here's why.

1. Anecdotes

A recent study showed, no matter your education, a good anecdote will lower your ability to think clearly. What is a TED Talk but essentially one big long anecdote? Think about it.
2. Graphs! Charts! Formulas!

Space Is Truly the Final Frontier (For the Next Great War)

Zachary Keck
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Those are the major conclusions that can be taken from a new study by Brian Chow published in Strategic Studies Quarterly, the strategic journal of the United States Air Force. Chow is formerly a senior physical scientist for twenty-five years at the RAND Corporation and described the inevitability of space weaponization in his article “Space Arms Control: A Hybrid Approach." He argues that this will be the result of spacecraft that can remove debris and service existing satellites. These dual-use spacecraft are necessary for peaceful space activities. However, they can be quickly refashioned for military purposes—with devastating consequences.

Machine Strategists & the Future of Military Operations

By Thomas Keelan
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What do drunk Google searches and war have in common? They’re both chaotic, incoherent and occasionally regrettable. They are also both more effectively solved by machine learning. Modern technology has made military strategy more complicated than ever – just look at China’s recent installation of cruise missiles on its artificial islands in the South China Sea. It’s becoming harder and harder for humans to keep up. Far away from the “tactical edge” of soldiers and weapons, smart algorithms like Google’s RankBrain will soon be needed to analyze the mountains of data and invent new military strategies. 

Changing change while it changes: The rise of disruptive military thinking (Part 1 of 3)

Many of the seemingly successful mechanical planning processes of the last two centuries are now holding us back. We lack critically thinking about our methodologies; the military must incorporate reflective practices and an ability to transform processes towards a more flexible and dynamic form of sensemaking and acting in a complex reality.
Approximate reading time: 17 minutes

An interview with Ben Zweibelson