17 December 2012

“Spillover” in the Sino-Indian Relationship: An Indian Perspective

Publication: China Brief Volume: 12 Issue: 24 
December 14, 2012
Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru Meets Troops Near the Front in 1962 

The recent unveiling of a new Chinese passport that contains a map marking territory disputed with India has emerged as a renewed source of tension between the two countries (Sina.com, November 25; Indian Express, November 24). While the passport issue is unlikely to be a lasting source of tension, the underlying source of friction—the Sino-Indian territorial dispute—remains alive and well. In the context of their overall bilateral relationship the strategic significance of the territorial dispute, however, is declining amid the rise of both countries as major regional and potentially global powers. This is revealing new theaters of interaction and potential competition. 

The changing nature of the Sino-Indian relationship is made evident by the contrast of the current state of bilateral relations with their state during the month-long border conflict that took place 50 years ago. Future hostilities between both countries, however, are unlikely to be confined to their disputed border. Rather, with both countries acquiring more tools and platforms of interaction, renewed hostilities will likely spill over beyond the confines of their bilateral relationship with greater repercussions for the regional and global security architecture. Amid the growing strategic importance of trade and imported resources to fuel their economies, the most likely theaters of this “spillover” are both countries’ third-party relations and their growing interests in the maritime domain. 

Beijing Leverages “All-Weather” Friends 

The potential “spillover” is most evident in third-party relationships. Notably, China’s “all-weather” relationship with Pakistan has been complemented by deepening relations with other states around India’s periphery (Far Eastern Economic Review, October 2, 2009). These deepening relations have been evidenced in China emerging as a leading trade partner, source of diplomatic support and provider of military hardware to several countries in the region. More specifically, Chinese investment in several strategically important projects—ranging from port projects at Gwadar in Pakistan, Hambantota in Sri Lanka, and Sonadia Island in Bangladesh, a railway link between China and Nepal as well as an oil and gas pipeline from the Burmese port of Kyaukryu to Yunnan—has raised Indian fears that these projects could facilitate Chinese encirclement (Asia Times, September 29; April 23; Xinhua, September 10, 2010). 

India’s Limited War Doctrine: The Structural Factor


IDSA Monograph Series No. 10 2012 

The aim of the monograph is to examine the structural factor behind the development of India's Limited War Doctrine. At the structural level, the regional security situation has impacted India's strategic posture - primarily the threat posed by Pakistan, India's revisionist neighbour. Given its revisionist aims and relative lack of power, Pakistan covertly went nuclear. This has accounted for its prosecuting a proxy war against India. India was consequently forced to respond albeit with restraint, exemplified by its response during the Kargil War, Operation Parakram and in the wake of 26/11. Emulating Pakistan's proactive posture at the subconventional level, India reworked its conventional war doctrine to exploit the space between the subconventional level and the nuclear threshold for conventional operations. This has been in accordance with the tenets of the Limited War concept. In discussing India's conventional war doctrine in its interface with the nuclear doctrine, the policy-relevant finding of this monograph is that limitation needs to govern both the conventional and nuclear realms of military application. This would be in compliance with the requirements of the nuclear age. 
About the Author 

Dr. Ali Ahmed is currently political affairs officer in the UNMISS.
The monograph was completed during his fellowship at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi in 2010-12. 

The Dragon's Shadow


The GMR airport contract cancellation in Maldives leads to speculation about the role China may have played 

The decision of the government of President Mohammad Waheed of the Maldives to terminate the contract given to a consortium headed by an Indian company, to run the Ibrahim Nasser International Airport of Male has given rise to speculation that China might have nudged the Maldivian government to terminate the contract and that Beijing might ultimately emerge as the beneficiary of the termination with a Chinese company being made responsible for the running of the airport.

Apart from the fact that the termination of the contract was preceded by a visit to Male by the Chinese Defence Minister Gen.Liang Guanglie during the course of visits to Sri Lanka, the Maldives and India and was followed by a visit to Beijing by Mr Mohammed Nazim, the Maldivian Minister for Defence, National Security and Transport, earlier this week, no other evidence has been forthcoming in corroboration of this speculation.

The fact that Mr Nazim handled the entire affair relating to the contract has added to suspicions that his visit to Beijing might have been utilized by him to brief his Chinese counterpart on the reasons and implications of the termination and to seek Chinese co-operation in running the airport.

During his stay in Bejing, Mr Nazim met on December 11, 2012, Gen.Xu Qiliang, Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission of Communist Party of China (CPC), followed by a metting with Gen.Liang. There are so far no reports of his having met Prime Minister Wen Jiabao or Mr Xi Jinping, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), who is also the new Chairman of the CMC.

After Rehman Malik’s Visit to India: The Continuing Farce

Paper No. 5329 Dated 17-Dec-2012 

By B. Raman 

1. There is no need for one to be surprised by the trail of controversies and anger created by Mr. Rehman Malik, Pakistan’s Interior Minister, during his three-day visit to India from December 14, 2012. 

2. What he sought to convey was that India cannot escape its share of the blame for the 26/11 terrorist strikes. That is why he sought to connect the Babri Masjid incident in December 1992, the explosion in the Samjotha Express in 2007 and the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai. He subsequently tried to deny any intention to project them as connected, but he was clearly trying to minimize the gravity of the 26/11 strikes by bringing in the Babri Masjid incident and the Samjotha explosion. By announcing the arrest of another suspect in the Samjotha explosion during his visit, we have unwittingly given him an opportunity to go back to Pakistan and claim to the fundamentalists and the Army that he succeeded in forcing India to act against the remaining suspects in the Samjotha case. This shows how naïve we can be in matters concerning Pakistan. 

3. On the basis of the various statements made by him regarding expediting the trial against the Pakistan-based chief conspirators of the 26/11 strikes, we should not nurse any illusions regarding the sincerity of Mr. Malik. He is an ex-police officer who heads a police Ministry. The Pakistani police has never had the courage and powers to act against the jihadi terrorists created and used by the Pakistan Army and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).We saw it in the case of the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl, the US journalist, by a group of terrorists headed by Omar Sheikh, who was in touch with Brig. Ejaz Shah of the ISI, in 2002.Ten years after Pearl was murdered, the case is still going on and the appeal filed by Omar Sheikh against the death sentence awarded to him by a lower court has not been disposed off. 

4. Similarly, the Pakistani Police has not been able to expedite the trial of the suspects in the Benazir Bhutto murder case five years after she was assassinated. Before the assassination, Benazir had named some officers of the Army, including Ejaz Shah, as posing a threat to her security. The police has been dragging its feet in the case because of the alleged involvement of the Army and the ISI. 

Big Decision on Afghanistan

Published: December 16, 2012 

One only has to read the Pentagon’s progress report on the Afghanistan war effort released last Monday to understand how pointless it is to keep 68,000 American troops there any longer. The mounting evidence makes it clear that they should be pulled out as soon as it can be done safely, instead of waiting until the end of 2014, the date set by the United States and NATO. 

Yet the White House is now signaling that the decision on how quickly they will come home will not be made before next year. 

The United States has spent a decade and $39 billion to recruit, train and equip a 350,000-member Afghan security force, including the army and police, that is supposed to defend the country when the Americans leave. President George W. Bush gave the effort short shrift when he shifted focus to Iraq. But even after President Obama’s considerable investment, the Pentagon says that only one of the Afghan National Army’s 23 brigades is able to operate independently, without air or other military support from the United States and NATO. 

Although the report said Afghan forces are “increasingly taking over responsibility for securing Afghanistan,” that doesn’t mean keeping troops there will do anything but delay the inevitable. According to the American timetable, the Afghans are supposed to lead all operations by June 2013, just six months away. Even getting them ready to take over by the end of 2014 will be a challenge, a Pentagon official said at a briefing. 

The problems are deep rooted, and unlikely to be solved in the next half-year. Most recruits are illiterate and have to be taught to read, in addition to martial skills. The units still depend heavily on the Americans for critical components of modern warfare — air power, communications, intelligence gathering, logistics and leadership. A Congressional study issued in September said that 20 percent of the troops are still deserting the army, and units typically are at only half their authorized strength. Problems with the police, where corruption is rampant, are worse. 

Taliban launch sophisticated attack on Peshawar airport

By Jennifer Rowland
December 17, 2012

Complex attack 

Taliban militants launched a multipronged attack on the airport in Peshawar on Saturday evening, beginning with rocket fire that blasted a hole in the perimeter wall, followed by the approach of a vehicle carrying armed militants, which exploded before it could breach the wall of the airport, killing all five militants inside (NYT, Reuters, AP, CNN, AJE, ET, Post). Finally, security guards at the airport engaged in a firefight with a second group of militants who had been hiding in a nearby building. Four civilians were also killed. 

Peshawar police officers launched an operation in a nearby village on Sunday, and killed five more militants believed to have been involved in the airport attack the day before, while the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack (The News, ET, Tel, AJE). 

A massive car bomb was detonated by remote control near government offices in the town of Jamrud in Khyber Agency on Monday, ripping through the women's waiting area of a bus stop and killing at least 17 people and wounding over 40 (NYT, BBC, Dawn). 

Iron Resolve: A Vision of Future War

RUSI Journal, Dec 2012, Vol. 157, No. 6 By R D Hooker, Jr 

Is state-on-state war really a thing of the past? R D Hooker, Jr imagines what could happen in a Middle East not far removed from that of today should Israel strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran’s retaliatory move of invading Iraq triggers in turn a series of regional and international responses that culminates in a US-led coalition fighting a conventional ground war against Iran – and the power dynamics of the region being unexpectedly rewritten. 

With images by Pedro Velica. 

201212 Jnl Hooker (1498 Kb)

The North Korea Problem

December 16, 2012 

Pyongyang has successfully tested a long-range rocket. What may happen next -- including missiles someday armed with nuclear warheads -- could make matters worse. 

After announcing that its rocket was facing technical difficulties that might delay its impending test, North Korea surprised the international community by abruptly launching a three-stage rocket on Wednesday morning local time. Even more surprising than the timing was that the “Unha” (the Korean word for “galaxy”) rocket appears to have successfully placed the Kwangmyongsong-3 (“Shining Star-3”) satellite into orbit, albeit there are reports that it is encountering difficulties. 

But space enthusiasts have nothing to cheer. Under the guise of developing a space launch vehicle, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is pursuing an intercontinental-range missile (ICBM) capability that would allow it reach targets as far away as California and Alaska. Long-range rockets designed as space delivery vehicles and long-range ballistic missiles intended to carry warheads use similar engines, boosters, and other technologies, though a satellite can be made lighter than a nuclear warhead, which needs a dense heat shield to withstand the high temperatures encountered in reentering the earth’s atmosphere. The Kwangmyongsong-3 weighs an estimated 100 kilograms, whereas a typical nuclear warhead weighs ten times more, though a good designer can make them far smaller and therefore lighter. 

Why India Will Displace China as Global Growth Engine

By A. Gary Shilling Dec 17, 2012

Most of us still look at China, the world’s second-largest economy, as the undisputed leader among major developing countries. In the long run, however, I’m betting on India to emerge as the more significant global economy. 

Those who are dazzled by China often forget that much of the rapid growth before 2008 was caused by the shift of global manufacturing from Europe and the U.S., not by domestic-oriented activity. China’s economy remains export-driven, with consumers accounting for only 38 percent of gross domestic product, far below the levels of many developing and developed countries. 

Chinese leaders are working to shift toward a more domestically directed economy. They want households to spend more and save much less than the current rate of almost 30 percent. One of the reasons that savings play such a big role is the high value Confucian society puts on providing for one’s family. The Chinese also save to pay for education for their children and to cover health care and retirement costs because there is no equivalent of Medicare and Social Security. 

In 2010, the Chinese government promised basic health care for all by 2020. That’s eight years from now, and basic care remains pretty basic. In some rural hospitals, a practical nurse is the most highly trained medical practitioner. 

Ahead of Putin’s visit, India to iron out differences with Russia

Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 16

The stalemate over Russian telecom giant Sistema's over $3billion investment in India and differences between the two countries over the civil nuclear cooperation threaten to cast a shadow over President Vladimir Putin's visit to India for the annual India-Russia Summit on December 24.

Official sources said the two sides were in regular touch, trying to overcome the differences and pave the way for a ‘result-oriented’ meeting between Putin and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Ahead of the visit, Russian conglomerate Sistema has cautioned India that a lack of progress in the dispute over the telecom’s licences was putting bilateral relations at risk.

The issue has been hanging fire ever since the Supreme Court passed an order in February cancelling all 122 licences (including that of Sistema Shyam Teleservices) following allegations of bribery and corruption in the allocation of 2G spectrum.

Sistema has challenged the court order and wants the Indian government to find an alternative solution to avoid international arbitration.

Sino-Indian border deadlock raises tensions; ambiguity of past accords hinders settlement

Special to The Japan Times 

LONDON — Indian national security adviser Shivshankar Menon went to Beijing the week before last to have his last formal meeting with his Chinese counterpart, State Councilor Dai Bingguo, who will be retiring in March next year. 

When they had met earlier this year in January, the two had decided to come up with a joint record of negotiations and to look at the future trajectory of these talks. The aim of the latest talks was to ensure continuity with Dai's successor. 

After the meeting, Menon suggested that the two sides have now reached a "common understanding" on the progress made so far in the border talks that will provide a framework for drawing a "fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable" boundary. This was basically another way of saying that nothing substantive was achieved and the talks would continue in fits and starts. 

These boundary negotiations started in 2003 when then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed on a new framework for the resolution of the border dispute. Vajpayee's visit to China in June 2003 was the first such visit by an Indian premier in a decade. The two states appointed special representatives to impart momentum to the flagging border negotiations, with the prime minister's then principal secretary becoming India's political negotiator. 

Apache choppers will be for the IAF, says Browne

Press Trust of India : New Delhi, Mon Dec 17 2012

As many as 22 Apache helicopters, which are in process of being acquired from the US, will be for the IAF, Air Force chief N A K Browne said on Sunday. 

“The Apaches are going to be with us as it is an ongoing acquisition process,” Air Chief Marshal Browne said. The Defence Ministry had recently allowed the Army to have combat choppers and said all future acquisitions will be for it. 

“The government has decided to let the Army have its own heavy duty attack helicopters. The decision to vest the future inductions of attack helicopters with the Army has been taken keeping in view the operational requirements in the field,” Defence Minister A K Antony had told Parliament. 

Browne said the Apaches are not just for taking out enemy tanks or for air-to-ground operations but they can be used for multiple tasks such as taking out enemy radar stations and for air-to-air missions.

Terrorism’s decline - to celebrate or not

Author: Ajey Lele 

Terrorism is on the wane worldwide and Indians savoured unbelievable peace in 2012. But this could be an illusion as experts warn we could be seeing a tactical pause with worse awaited in the form of financial, economic and biological destruction 

Statistics for 2012 clearly indicates a dip in terrorist activities. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has recently stated that there has been a “significant decline” in terrorist violence in Jammu and Kashmir. Even during 2011 there was a continuous decline in terrorist violence in the troubled state, and, in fact, 2010 was the “most peaceful year” in over two decades of insurgency in the region. 

The good news is that in year 2012 this trend has persisted. The writing on the wall is that India was able to keep terrorism under check. In fact global terrorism data bases indicate that this could be a global phenomenon. Terrorism is on the wane worldwide. Actually, the overall numbers of attacks have started declining substantially since 2007 and the trend is found continuing over last few years. The fourth lie It is important to appreciate that at times statistics hides more than it reveals. In regards to terrorism statistics there are various databases available and different methods of defining the events exist. At time, what counts as a terrorist attack or a terrorist fatality is controversial because different people define terrorism differently. However, in spite of such limitations it could be safely said particularly in the Indian context that there has been a visible decline in terrorism activities. This is not to say that terrorism has taken a halt.

In fact the incident in Pune which luckily could not achieve the desired results for the terrorists is a reminder that all is still not well. India continues to face a high degree of terrorist threats on several fronts, in particular from the cross-border terrorism. It is also important for India not to undermine the potency of home-grown terrorism. 


A rising status quo power is a contradiction in terms. By N.V. Subramanian (5 December 2012)

New Delhi: Whilst for any policy mess the incumbent government and the minister concerned must take blame, the Maldives-GMR crisis is a lot more complicated for reflexive finger-pointing at UPA-2, although the new foreign minister, Salman Khursheed, could have shown less haste in coming to the defence of the Indian company which does not enjoy a great reputation at home. Insofar as power projection and leveraging are concerned, India is no better placed than when it failed with the IPKF intervention in Sri Lanka, and it is by far in a worse position than when it took fast and sensible steps to foil a coup in Maldives a year later, in 1988. 

A rising power is synonymous with a growing business. A growing business needs maximum efforts and more and more investments to expand. In business, if you don’t grow and expand, you are dead. Business does not suffer plateaus. The same is the case with a nation’s rise. A state cannot be rising and still quest to be a status quo power. Those two things do not go together. Power knows no vacuum. This is true of domestic and international power politics. If one nation does not exercise clout commensurate with its cumulative national strength, then another state will make up for the shortfall, naturally hurting the interests of the first nation. A big nation such as China which knows India’s weaknesses regarding power projection and leveraging takes due advantage with its string of pearls and other strategies. It has inserted itself in a far-reaching way in Sri Lanka and is taking the correct steps in Maldives, the real cause of India’s flare-up with Male. But even an inferior power such as Pakistan is capitalizing on India’s known foreign-military policy fumblings, and is right behind China in both Sri Lanka and Maldives. 


India is not up to facing the Sino-Pak challenge. By Gautam Sen (26 November 2012)

London: India’s endeavours in relation to China and Pakistan epitomize a continual straining of hope against experience. Mordant experience periodically reasserts itself because actual warfare breaks out. Yet, the most egregious acts of terrorism still fail to provoke an enduring re-orientation of India’s underlying perspectives. Persistent amnesia overwhelms most Indian politicians and its bureaucracy, lapsing into deluded Gandhian coma. Despite these perverse impulses, the reinforcement of India’s armed forces, after the intrusion of hard reality in 1962, indicates a paradoxical confession of self-doubt. It is apparently the sturdy bridge of realism between the reverie of fantasies and the perils of dire reality. 

The imperative of searchingly assessing the enemy’s intentions has long been overwhelmed by desire, the so-called aman ki asha, evidently an Indian variant of the Stockholm syndrome. It instigates yearning to gratify the tormentor and highlights a measure of self-loathing. Indians are also apt to write indigestible tomes arguing the enemy’s case, as one protagonist has done recently over the border dispute with China. He is now a cherished participant in the on-going Track 2 engagement with Pakistan that the Indian armed forces fear might insist Indian territory in Siachen be demilitarized A serious reflection on the enemy’s goals threatens to create cognitive dissonance for many Indians, susceptible to petty self-aggrandizement and thorough intellectual bewilderment, by introducing them to unwelcome home truths. But it is unavoidable. 

In the case of Pakistan, three goals were espoused before its inception or immediately after realization of the dream of sectarian purity that has turned into a nightmare of death and delusion. The first is the aspiration to compete with India as an equal if not superior nation, against all the evidence of its intrinsic infeasibility. A second goal regularly asserted by Islamist ideologues in Pakistan and their financial sponsors in the Middle East is the restoration of a Caliphate to rule India. Mohammed Ali Jinnah himself, for whom some Bharatiya Janata Party leaders now evince special affection, had proposed to the British to ‘cut out the Hindus’ and rule India conjointly with them, without the vexation of Congress participation. The ignorant lawyer had imagined Hindu political involvement was a novelty until the arrival of the British in India and Mughal rule untrammelled In fact the Maratha Confederacy controlled three quarters of India before Britain’s reprise. The third Pakistani goal is to wrest Kashmir from Indian control. 

World India Maldives diplomacyinternational relations

After the GMR fiasco in the Maldives, India needs to engage its neighbours in a mutually beneficial way 

The Indian Ocean has been receiving a fair amount of, admittedly long overdue, attention in recent weeks, with Indian Navy chief D.K. Joshi surprisingly willing to protect India’s fair name and interests in the South China Sea. But with the waters far more agitated in India’s immediate vicinity, in and around the Maldives, the question that remains is: how far Delhi is prepared to go to protect its reputation in a region it has often asserted it is the leader of?

By Saturday morning, armed with justification by the Singapore Supreme Court, the Maldivian government of Mohamed Waheed had revoked the 25-year licence of the Indian infrastructure company GMR, to build and operate a new airport in the Maldivian capital, Male.

India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid sought to distance the impact of the cancellation of the contract from the larger bilateral relationship, arguing that it was the prerogative of the sovereign Maldivian government to do what it wanted, and implying that there was a limit to which New Delhi could defend a commercial enterprise if it got into trouble, even if it were Indian.

Mr. Khurshid’s impeccable, if somewhat helpless, remarks are no doubt lifted straight from the best textbooks on diplomacy. More to the point, at this late stage in the dispute, there was little he could have done without exacerbating the damage already caused to the relationship. The Maldives is so polarised today, between the self-avowedly pro-India former President Mohamed Nasheed and the man who replaced him in February’s bloodless coup, current President Waheed, that there is no way India can appear to take everyone along without taking sides.

Between Delhi and the deep blue ocean


APCHOPPY WATERS: The Maldives is so polarised between the self-avowedly pro-India Mohamed Nasheed (in picture) and President Waheed that there is no way New Delhi can appear to take everyone along without taking sides.

The HinduAnti-GMR banners at Artificial Beach in Male. Photo: R.K. Radhakrishnan

The president’s pleasure

With no constitution, Nepal is running on the wishes of its parties and Ram Baran Yadav

Nepal showed a further slide on the corruption index as the annual report of Transparency International placed it 139th out of 176 countries. It was listed the second most corrupt country in South Asia after Afghanistan. Prolonged transition and instability is the readymade excuse advanced by Nepal’s political parties for this humiliation.

A week after the report was published, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai appointed his sister-in-law chairperson of the ambitious but corruption-ridden Melamchi drinking water project. “We are a very educated and qualified family,” was the statement Bhattarai’s wife, Hisila Yami, gave in response to various charges of corruption against her.

While the party leadership is being criticised for rampant corruption by its own cadre, the country is suffering from the flight of capital in substantial amounts — a half-billion dollars on average every year. The auditor general’s office and donors have objected to the “plunder” of about 40 billion rupees allocated for “local development”, which has been spent on the recommendation of the leaders of the four big parties as there has been no local elections for the last 16 years.

Congressional Research Service Reports (CRS) and Issue Briefs

Shia Days of Rage

Frederic Wehrey Foreign Affairs, December 10, 2012 


Saudi Arabia may have at first appeared untouched by the 2011 Arab uprisings, but the apparent calm belies a simmering crisis. Shia and Sunni sectarian tensions are arguably at the highest level since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and a harsh government crackdown is mobilizing radical elements in the Shia community and undercutting its pragmatists. The United States faces no shortage of crises in the region, but it would do well to not let this one slip too far off the radar. Aside from obvious concerns about human rights and reform, the continued unrest in in the predominantly Shia Eastern Province of the Sunni-led kingdom presents a potential strategic threat to U.S. interests. Iran has historically sought to aid beleaguered Shia communities in its neighborhood, and, as evidenced by the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing and, more recently, the cyberattack on Saudi Aramco in August of this year, it has the capability and intent to hit Saudi Arabia. Currently, there is little evidence of Iranian material support of Shia groups in the Eastern Province, but continued unrest could change that. The mounting frustrations of Saudi youth could translate into a ready pool of recruits, or prompt the reincarnation of the Saudi Hezbollah. 

Comprising ten to 15 percent of the kingdom's population, Saudi Shia have long faced religious discrimination, political marginalization, and economic hardship. Although the Eastern Province contains the majority of Saudi oil reserves, the Shia population there has yet to benefit economically, especially when compared with Sunnis living in the central Najd region, the historic seat of Saudi power. It is therefore unsurprising that the 2011 revolts in Tunis and Cairo reverberated strongly in the east. 

The World’s Worst War

December 15, 2012 

LAST month, as I was driving down a backbreaking road between Goma, a provincial capital in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Kibumba, a little market town about 20 miles away, I came upon the body of a Congolese soldier. He was on his back, half hidden in the bushes, his legs crumpled beneath him, his fly-covered face looking up at the sun. 

The strangest thing was, four years ago, almost to the day, I saw a corpse of a Congolese soldier in that exact same spot. He had been killed and left to rot just as his comrade would be four years later, in the vain attempt to stop a rebel force from marching down the road from Kibumba to Goma. The circumstances were nearly identical: a group of Tutsi-led rebels, widely believed to be backed by Rwanda, eviscerating a feckless, alcoholic government army that didn’t even bother to scoop up its dead. 

Sadly, this is what I’ve come to expect from Congo: a doomed sense of déjà vu. I’ve crisscrossed this continent-size country from east to west, in puddle jumpers, jeeps and leaky canoes. I’ve sat down with the accidental president, Joseph Kabila, a former taxi driver who suddenly found himself in power at age 29 after his father was shot in the head. I’ve tracked down a warlord who lived on top of a mountain, in an old Belgian farmhouse that smelled like wet wool, and militia commanders who marched into battle as naked as the day they were born and slicked with oil — to protect themselves from bullets, of course. And each time I come back, no matter where I go, I meet a whole new set of thoroughly traumatized people. 

Some are impossible to forget, like Anna Mburano, an 80-year-old woman who was gang-raped a few years ago and screamed out to the teenage assailants on top of her: “Grandsons! Get off me!” 

Dreams in Infrared The Woes of an American Drone Operator

By Nicola Abé 

A soldier sets out to graduate at the top of his class. He succeeds, and he becomes a drone pilot working with a special unit of the United States Air Force in New Mexico. He kills dozens of people. But then, one day, he realizes that he can't do it anymore. 

For more than five years, Brandon Bryant worked in an oblong, windowless container about the size of a trailer, where the air-conditioning was kept at 17 degrees Celsius (63 degrees Fahrenheit) and, for security reasons, the door couldn't be opened. Bryant and his coworkers sat in front of 14 computer monitors and four keyboards. When Bryant pressed a button in New Mexico, someone died on the other side of the world. 

The container is filled with the humming of computers. It's the brain of a drone, known as a cockpit in Air Force parlance. But the pilots in the container aren't flying through the air. They're just sitting at the controls. 

Bryant was one of them, and he remembers one incident very clearly when a Predator drone was circling in a figure-eight pattern in the sky above Afghanistan, more than 10,000 kilometers (6,250 miles) away. There was a flat-roofed house made of mud, with a shed used to hold goats in the crosshairs, as Bryant recalls. When he received the order to fire, he pressed a button with his left hand and marked the roof with a laser. The pilot sitting next to him pressed the trigger on a joystick, causing the drone to launch a Hellfire missile. There were 16 seconds left until impact. 

"These moments are like in slow motion," he says today. Images taken with an infrared camera attached to the drone appeared on his monitor, transmitted by satellite, with a two-to-five-second time delay. 

Published on The Weekly Standard (http://www.weeklystandard.com

Al Qaeda Lives 
The real story behind Benghazi and the other attacks of 9/11/12 
Thomas Joscelyn 
December 24 - December 24, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 15 

What actually happened in Egypt and Libya on September 11, 2012? The story from the U.S. government has changed many times in an effort to craft a narrative that causes as little damage as possible to the Obama administration. Now the administration seems to have settled on something approaching a final version. 

It goes like this: 

On September 11, and in the days that followed, citizens in countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa gathered to protest The Innocence of Muslims, a video on YouTube produced in California that was disrespectful to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. Protests that began peacefully outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo and elsewhere grew more violent as extremists decided to take advantage of the unrest.If the violence wasn’t justified, the demonstrations were understandable, given the deeply offensive content of the video. During his speech before the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, for example, President Obama argued that the video “must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity.” And while the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, did not grow out of street demonstrations there, as initial reports had suggested, they did come in response to the protests in Cairo, which were sparked by the offensive film. 

White House press secretary Jay Carney summarized this version of events during a November 27 briefing. “There was no protest outside the Benghazi facility,” he conceded. “To this day,” he continued, “it is the assessment of this administration and of our intelligence community and certainly the assessment of your colleagues and the press who have interviewed participants on the ground in the assault on our facilities in Benghazi that they acted at least in part in response to what they saw happening in Cairo and took advantage of that situation.” 

Alien nation: The new census reveals a Britain that would be unrecognisable even to our grandparents

Peter Hitchens says that the Census is not just a description of the state of things on a day in 2011 but a prophetic document telling us where we are going

Christianity is on the decline while Islam is on the up and fewer of us are married for the first time ever 

PUBLISHED: 15 December 2012 

Unrecognisable: Peter Hitchens argues that a real and irreversible transformation has only just begun 

The future will be another country. They will do things differently there. 

The Census is not just a description of the state of things on a day in 2011, it is a prophetic document telling us where we are going, whether we like it or not. I don’t.

For the past 60 years or so, we have lived in a nation that was more or less familiar to anyone who had grown up in the pre-war Britain of 1939. 

Even the devastation of conflict had not transformed it out of recognition. 

People behaved, thought, worked, laughed and enjoyed themselves much as they had done for decades. 
They lived in the same sorts of families in the same kind of houses. Their children went to the same kinds of schools.

And they had grown up in a land that was still identifiably the same as their grandparents had known. 

And so it went back for centuries. 

As recently as 1949, the prices of most goods were roughly the same, and expressed in the same money, as the prices of 1649. 

A short-distance time-traveller between 1912 and 2012 might be perplexed and astonished, but he would not be lost. 

At the receiving end of fanaticism

Anita Joshua 

TOPICS World Pakistan

As chilling as the killing of Shias by Pakistani terrorists, who want them to be declared non-Muslims, is the general acceptance of sectarian violence 

Pakistan’s Shias are so regularly killed in targeted attacks that counting the numbers who were thus killed in 2012 is an uphill task. But just to give an idea, even before the start of the Muharram month, when anti-Shia violence is usually routinely anticipated and accepted as a given, the numbers killed had crossed 389 — the number of people the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says died in sectarian violence in 2011. 

This time, the terrorists were emboldened enough to announce their intent. Ahead of Muharram, a number of Shias received text messages saying ‘Kill, Kill Shias.’ Sure enough, the self-appointed deciders of who is or is not a Muslim struck, killing 23 in two separate bomb blasts early on in the Muharram month. 
Relentless targeting 

Through the year, terrorists have been relentless in going after Shias; be it in Parachinar along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, Gilgit-Baltistan, Quetta, Karachi or the garrison town of Rawalpindi. The clinical manner in which the terrorists have been going about their “mission” has been chilling, generating enough disquiet among the members of the community to take to the streets on December 8 outside the United Nations headquarters in New York protesting the “genocide in Pakistan.” 

In "Cyber Warfare" - Education is Key

Posted By LongTabSigO • [December 14, 2012] 

An interesting, if truncated, piece in the Huffington Post caught my attention this morning. 

In a discussion about the difference between "training" and "educating", a professional colleague once shared this idea with me: You train to deal with the "knowns"; you educate to prepare for the "unknowns". 

Now, I generally bristle at the overuse of the term "cyber war" since there is so much baggage that the geeknosenti tends to ignore (as they've learned via their World of Warcraft/Call of Duty combat training). 

In this article, Dr Susan Talley, a Dean at the School of Technology at Cappella University, makes her pitch for the need for an educated workforce as a necessary to deal with the brave new world that is cyberspace.  

I found this part interesting: 
  • A new kind of war needs a new kind of "army." 
  • So how do we prepare for cyber war? Past wars involved recruiting young men to fight in foreign lands. Now the enemy is in virtual space and must be fought everywhere. In previous conflicts, we needed soldiers who were tough enough to succeed in battle. But physical strength is no longer a requirement; instead, the fight requires a sophisticated knowledge of computer security and code. Cyberwar has different requirements--requirements that we can meet by capitalizing on things we already have in place. 
She presents her solution in three parts: 
  • Increase the number of IT professionals with security certifications. 
  • Develop more IT leaders with cyber security expertise. 
  • Draw upon current military personnel. 
What i see here is a call for a lot of people to "do" cyber stuff. A mass of people with skills means nothing without cogent policy and useful organization. Otherwise all you have is a flash mob without the choreography. And phrases like "Cyber 9/11", "Cyber Pearl Harbor" and "Cyber Katrina" do not help. In fact, they cause otherwise well-intentioned officials to stop thinking and acting rashly so as to be seen "doing something". 

In Cyber Warfare, Education is Our Most Powerful Weapon

Posted: 12/12/2012

If you've seen recent headlines about cyber attacks, you've had to consider some troubling questions: How real is the threat? How serious are the consequences? How prepared are we? 
In a recent speech, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta described a dire scenario--a "cyber Pearl Harbor". He outlined what would happen if a coordinated cyber attack derailed trains filled with lethal chemicals, shut down air traffic control screens while thousands of planes were in the air, and brought our financial trading systems to a standstill. In the blink of an eye, the world would become a bleak place.

Unfortunately, scenarios like these are backed up by the facts. And we're not as prepared as we should be. 

A clear and present danger. 

Cyber warfare isn't just a future threat; it's happening right now. On August 21st, the Huffington Post Fact of the Day highlighted a 680 percent increase in cyber security breaches against the federal government in the last six years. A recent, blatant attack by the Chinese on sensitive Google networks--which followed other attacks on the New York Stock Exchange and the Pentagon--has led to escalating concern about our cyber security. Concern isn't the only thing that's growing: In fiscal 2011 alone, Washington spent $13 billion to protect information technology from attack. And this number doesn't include the amount spent in the defense budget to increase digital warfare capacity.

And the U.S. isn't just concerned about cyber defense; many are exploring the offensive potential of cyber attacks. The New York Times reported that the U.S. debated using cyberwar tactics in Libya, with the goal of disabling Libyan communications networks and preventing their early warning systems from detecting NATO warplanes. 

After Hegemony: America's Global Exit Strategy

By Kenneth Weisbrode

What will America look like in a post-American world? The National Intelligence Council, with its just-released Global 2030 forecast, has become the latest voice to join the chorus of thosewho see U.S. hegemony giving way to a leading but less-dominant position. It is worth considering what the loss of hegemony is likely to mean for America in terms of its trade, influence, reach and voice in international forums. What impact will these and any other consequences have on the way America engages with the world, as well as on its ability to provide the kinds of leadership that make it a hegemon? And how will all this affect the ways Americans live? 

Examinations of hegemonic decline have historically focused on the world beyond the imperial center. The barbarian invaders get most of the glory and attention, with the subjects of historical empires who lived in what is called the “metropole,” that is, the imperial center or “homeland,” as understudied as the nature of these places following a hegemonic collapse. In fact, the fate of some more-recent metropoles has been relatively positive over the long run. Austria, Turkey, Britain and even Russia continue to survive as viable countries. Some of them even thrive and may offer useful lessons. Austria, for example, is a small, prosperous, secure and mainly conservative imperial successor state. So is Japan. The question is how Americans will cope with such a changed condition.

EDITORIAL: China's provocations could lead to armed conflict

On Dec. 13, an airplane belonging to China's State Oceanic Administration intruded into Japanese airspace over the disputed Senkaku Islands. This is a highly provocative act that could lead to an armed conflict between the two countries.

Since the Japanese government purchased the Senkaku Islands from a private landowner in September, Chinese government ships have repeatedly intruded into Japanese territorial waters around the islands as a way to assert China's territorial claims there. But this is the first time that a Chinese plane has intruded into Japanese airspace.

Such intrusions could take the territorial spat between the two countries to a seriously dangerous new phase.

Unlike intrusions into territorial waters, which are in principle responded to by the Japan Coast Guard, the country's maritime police, intrusions into airspace inevitably trigger defensive responses by the Self-Defense Forces, a military organization.

And indeed, the SDF scrambled eight fighter jets in response to the Chinese action.

The Chinese aircraft had already left the area by the time the SDF fighters reached it, but such mobilization of the SDF entails the risk of escalating the territorial dispute into a military confrontation.

A turning point in East Asia

NEW DELHI — Political transitions in East Asia promise to mark a defining moment in the region's jittery geopolitics. After the ascension in China of Xi Jinping, regarded by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) as its own man, Japan seems set to swing to the right in its impending election — an outcome likely to fuel nationalist passion on both sides of the Sino-Japanese rivalry.

Japan's expected rightward turn comes more than three years after voters put the left-leaning Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in power.

By contrast, South Korea's election — scheduled for Dec. 19, just three days after the Japanese go to the polls — could take that country to the left, after the nearly five-year rule of rightist President Lee Myung Bak, who proved to be a polarizing leader.

These political transitions could compound East Asia's challenges, which include the need to institute a regional balance of power and dispense with historical baggage that weighs down interstate relationships, particularly among China, Japan and South Korea. Booming trade in the region has failed to mute or moderate territorial and other disputes; on the contrary, it has only sharpened regional geopolitics and unleashed high-stakes brinkmanship. Economic interdependence cannot deliver regional stability unless rival states undertake genuine efforts to mend their political relations.

The scandals surrounding the top aides to Lee — nicknamed "the Bulldozer" from his career as a construction industry executive — have complicated matters for the ruling Saenuri Party's candidate, Park Geun Hye, and buoyed the hopes of her leftist rival, Moon Jae In of the Democratic United Party. Park is the daughter of former president, General Park Chung Hee, who seized power in a military coup in 1961.