20 June 2013

In the forthcoming Strategic Dialogue, India and the U.S. should focus on their long-term interests to take the bilateral relationship forward

The impression is now widespread that India-America relations are on a plateau, if not in the doldrums. This would not matter had they matured into a mutual understanding that allows two countries to be satisfied with nothing striking happening between them as welcome normalcy. Since the days when we hardly knew, and gravely suspected or even mistrusted each other, so much has developed between our two countries, and especially peoples, that we should not be at all bothered by the present situation, but for one reason: how well have we really learned to know each other, or shed earlier misgivings? Policymaking and specific measures of cooperation are still subject to deep doubts about just how good they are for either country. Convincing each other in these respects will continue to require periodic boosts by leaders for some years to come. This is what makes the coming Strategic Dialogue  important.

Need for objectivity

We in India need to approach international relations with hard-headed, dispassionate objectivity, concentrating on national interest. Emotional attitudes and downright prejudices affect public opinion and state policies everywhere, but they affect us excessively. The view that we are too inclined towards abstract considerations, unrealistic world views and outdated thinking is not unjustified. Particularly damaging has been our illusion about friendship in international relations.

States are often enemies but cannot be friends. Their peoples may have friendly feelings, but states can only develop greater or lesser closeness of views and cooperation. This is so obvious as to be almost banal, but we have ignored it to our cost — often going overboard supporting others to show our friendship, beyond their expectations or our benefit. With America it has been the opposite: leave alone friendship, for decades, to speak favourably about America was considered virtually unpatriotic and, curiously, the legacy prevails. Respected pollsters may find that Indians as a whole have the best feelings toward America. There may hardly be a politician, bureaucrat or professional without a sibling or offspring settled there (or an innate longing to follow suit) but berating America remains more than an  intellectual fashion, it spills over into a lack of cooperation.

Not that America has not done wrong: mistakes, deliberate misdeeds, behaviour and purposes that offend — all are there to make a formidable case for criticism and distancing. But that can be done against every state, definitely including some we call friends. Nobody has criticised America more sharply than Americans, and nowhere are there more forces at work for self-correction. In any case, international interactions have to be determined regardless of the virtues and vices of individual countries: if you find a state innately harmful to you, you must of course treat it as such, but howsoever horrible a regime, it is what it can do for or against you, not its nature, that must determine your handling of it.

India faces no such cruel choices today, nor any overnight external threat. There are only two foreseeable challenges to our territorial integrity, and two states to which a strong India is unwelcome, although one might take it in its stride. If either difference ever erupted in violent conflict, nobody would help us: we would be alone.

But our strength is surely the best hope of preventing any eruptions, and some states see their interests served by a strong India, and are willing to help us become so. Nobody does such things for ‘friendship,’ much less because we are so great or good that they ought to help — as, unfortunately, too many of us fondly imagine. Mutual benefit, so entrenched in our Panchsheel, means mutual trade-offs. There are no lack of advocates for seeking closeness with other countries, including those with whom we could have conflict, but oddly enough such an approach towards America remains suspect.

We also have vital interests beyond our immediate neighbourhood; the security of the Gulf, stability of Central Asia (especially after America’s cut-down in Afghanistan), the power balance to our East, tranquillity in the Indian Ocean. Our capabilities being limited, we surely need partners for all this. We must consider which powers have congruence with our objectives (assuming, perhaps too hopefully, that we know what our objectives are).

Commonality of objectives never precludes disagreements, even bitter ones, on ways of getting there: Gulf security, for instance, would involve obvious differences on how to deal with Iran, like the role of Pakistan in Afghanistan apropos Central Asia; and looming over everything is the universal ambivalence about dealing with China. There are many other issues on which our interest and views will differ basically from America’s; but there are enough issues with manifest commonalities calling for an intensified dialogue.

Another important commonality is hardly noticed. Everyone talks about the need for a world order with little idea as to its meaning or content. Ideas for making sovereign states abandon the brute dominance of power which persist in the intrinsic anarchy of international relations, and accept common rules of behaviour, have long been proposed, to little effect. Two World Wars initiated idealistic efforts to make states settle differences and develop cooperation through multilateral institutions and international law, based on equity and the sovereign equality of nations. Nothing of the sort actually happened; the great powers continued trying to impose their will, using the new “systems,” accordingly. India was perhaps the leading sincere believer in the ideal, though we objected to all the unfair old dominating machinations which were so vitiating it, and we continue to fight hard against them. Other states, also opposed to western control of what currently passes for “order,” want another one, but really seek to replace the West, recasting the order with themselves in control. India remains the one genuine believer in making the existing system conform to the ideals that it professed to embody, with a truly fair deal for the underprivileged states, truly based on equity. America might seem the last country from which to expect cooperation to that end, as the leading unilateralist in the multilateral institutions (the Indian  representatives who have had to endure its arm-twisting in the U.N., etc., are perhaps its strongest critics)) but it is also there that the ideas for betterment are most actively discussed. Power politics is not going to give way to the ideal world order soon, if ever; but the search for it finds more supporters in either country than in some one could name. It is a thought to bear in mind for the future.

Interest in partnership

While we should adopt a more purposeful approach, the other side should have a real interest in partnership. Much Indian dubiousness about better ties flows from resentment about being pressurised, and America’s so-called “transactional” attitudes: buy our planes, reform your investment rules, safeguard intellectual property our way, enact our climate change urgings; whereas much of what we want is perpetually blocked in Washington. Both sides could exchange complaints forever.

The Strategic Dialogue will doubtless avoid that, but the problem remains: the working machinery on which delivery depends is obstructed by such faultfinding, fuelling doubts and hesitations on both sides. Top-down guidance has helped, but how much of that is to be expected today? Both countries are so heavily preoccupied with domestic and other concerns, developing this relationship is not exactly a priority for either leadership. Delhi is heading for national elections, and Washington’s focus is elsewhere. Many decisions badly needed by New Delhi in their own right are long overdue, but won’t be risked for appearing as bowing while scepticism — “what has India ever done for us-or ever will” — never left the beltway.

All this points to marking time — a perfectly normal situation in most relationships but potentially retrogressive in this instance because of the persistent negativisms. There are major long-term interests to be served; they will be one day, if both sides focus on them, and manage interim differences instead of throwing them at each other.

(K. Shankar Bajpai is former Ambassador to Pakistan, China & the U.S., and Secretary, External Affairs) 

India's Economic Rise Is A Firm Rebuke Of Joseph Stiglitz, Brad DeLong, And The World Bank

The triumph of the great free-market liberalization that took place in India in 1991 is stunning, an advancement for human well-being that is one of the greatest stories ever told. Life expectancy has risen from less than 45 years to more than 60. The poverty ratio, still over 50 percent as recently as 1977-78, has fallen to 20 percent. There were only 5 million phones in India in 1990-91; today there are hundreds of millions, with more than 15 million phones being activated a month.

Who could question this dizzying success? Lots of people, it turns out. Including Nobel laureates Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz, economist-blogger Brad DeLong and the World Bank. All of them and many other prominent theorists harboring suspicions about the marketplace have questioned aspects of the Indian boom, many of them counseling more centralization and less freedom. And all of them get briskly corrected in the new book Why Growth Matters: How Economic Growth in India Reduced Poverty and the Lessons for Other Developing Countries.
The book by Columbia University economists Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya is a point-by-point rebuke of India’s doubters. Brad DeLong, for instance, is a proponent of the myth that growth was not a result of the post-1991 reforms but instead can be traced back to the  1980s.  In the ’80s some mild reforms were first introduced, but on a much smaller scale relative to the 1991 liberalization, when at a stroke India devalued its currency, eliminated most of its licenses and quotas, opened industries to foreign capital, cut taxes, privatized many industries and freed up foreign trade, quadrupling GDP in 20 years. In an introduction to the book containing DeLong’s essay, Harvard economist Dani Rodrik elaborated that “the change in official attitudes in the 1980s,” meaning encouragement of entrepreneurship and further engagement with the world, “may have had a bigger impact on growth than any specific policy reforms.”

A great deal of agreement

Pratap Bhanu Mehta : Thu Jun 20 2013, 

Indian politics is beset by too much consensus, not too little Related

It is often said that the besetting sin of Indian politics is lack of consensus. This lack of consensus makes decisions difficult; everything is subject to a thousand negotiations. We are diverse in so many ways, that a dissensus-producing cacophony seems our natural condition. There is some truth in this superficially correct view. But as often, the surface of Indian politics hides a deeper truth: that our besetting sin may not be lack of consensus, it is too much consensus. We do not get much done because we agree too much.

All societies need some degree of consensus, particularly on constitutional essentials. But our consensus in political matters runs much deeper than that. For all the hoopla over reforms, the development models of all political parties look pretty much the same: the particular differences are due to the timing and context when they were in power. The standard contrast that the BJP cares for growth and the Congress for welfare is so overstated that it cannot even be considered seriously. Both are incremental reformers. Both reform largely when impelled by crisis, and the variations in their stances are variations of circumstance not conviction. Both believe in the rhetoric of the poor first. After all "antyodaya" was a Jan Sangh invention. Both believe in a welfare state, and will gladly expand a range of entitlements, as BJP governments have been doing in states. Both have a roughly similar approach to major subsidies. Both have socialists who turned liberalisers and vice versa. Neither believes in small government. Even Narendra Modi, with his slogan of less government and more governance, was at pains to make it clear that he did not mean small government. Both have roughly the same approach to institutions: they are instruments to be used by those in power, not instruments to protect against them. Both have come around to the same model of affirmative action. Even on secularism, where you might trust the BJP less, their practices are closer to each other than debates over trustworthiness might suggest. The list could go on. Neither has cared much about sanitation. Both think the environment is of secondary concern, both have equally confused and marginalising policies on tribals; in foreign policy there is also more continuity than discontinuity. These similarities actually extend to most political parties.

At the state level, even governing styles look similar: excessive reliance on strong chief ministers to deliver the goods. But these similarities extend even deeper, to subtler aspects of our policy imagination: the conceptual imagination that drives Modi's Ahmedabad does not look very different from Delhi's. Tier two and three towns across India look more alike than dissimilar, almost as if a common failure of imagination has gripped us. There may be some genuine disagreement over federalism. But even here, it is probably less a clash of developmental models than a clash of interests that is producing a logjam. No one would argue that the GST is a bad idea, but they will contest who gets what.

There may be good reasons for this consensus. Contrary to what its critics suggest, the first-past-the-post system may not distort representation as much as we like to believe. By making every small group potentially relevant, it creates the conditions of a consensus-oriented politics. It may be that theoretical options actually narrow down in practice: power mitigates intellectual differences.

But the consensus paradox is this. There is actually more fierce contestation and blocking of decisions precisely because there is so much underlying agreement. When there is deep consensus, the ground of the conflict is no longer disagreement. It is harder to differentiate yourself on the basis of ideas. On most things, it is not open to the opposition to say that that the ideas and policies that underlie a government's stance are wrong. The grounds for criticism are usually different. The grounds for criticism are that the government has been a general failure, that there are implementation issues, that a government is being moved by ulterior motives, that the government is corrupt and so on. If Parliament actually functioned, most parties would find themselves in a great deal of agreement. So the only way in which you can create space for yourself, or measure your own success, is not by defeating someone else's idea; it is by blocking its implementation. You may sometimes need to feign a disagreement in order to do that, but the disagreement is never a genuine contest of ideas. Often, people are surprised at how protean Indian politicians can be in their stances: for FDI one minute, and against it the next. But this is entirely the consequence of a deep consensus: the only game you can play is thwarting, and your tactics will shift accordingly.

It is not an accident that in the coming election you will not see a huge contest of ideas. Even in the debate on Modi, there is a subtle shift. It is something of a tribute to Indian democracy that he has tried to shift the ground of his appeal away from Hindutva, though not surprisingly, the Congress wants to keep moving back to that ground. The debate has shifted to something else. There is contestation over his claims to being efficient. Again, efficiency is another one of those terms that signifies deep consensus: the ground is not what decisions someone takes, but whether they implement them. Or the debate is over his authoritarian personality. Most of those opposing him have few qualms about his ideas; they do worry about what his success might do to India's power structure.

But even within small group deliberations in government, this dynamic obtains. The most intractable conflicts are often not over what should be done, but who should do it. They often involve not disagreement over ideas, but judgements of trust. I may agree with you on what should be done, but don't trust a particular agency to do the thing in question well. The other paradox of consensus is that consensus requires a negation of ego; if all agree, all should get credit. But the structure of competition in these settings is such that it requires you to differentiate yourself. But what will that ground be, if not ideas? And so the ground shifts to more inchoate fears.

It is precisely because we agree so deeply that we are less able to resolve small differences. For it is only in those small differences that we distinguish ourselves. Our besetting sin is not deep disagreement, but the narcissism of small differences. The solution to that may not be more consensus, but more contestation.
The writer is president,Centre for Policy Research, Delhi, and a contributing editor for 'The Indian Express' 

A Junior Officer's Perspective on Brain Drain

by Darrell Fawley

June 17

The debate about the Army losing its best junior officers between LTG (R) Barno and LTG Hodges on ForeignPolicy.com has been followed eagerly by many of my current and former (those that have left the service) peers.  While both have different views on the issue, both regard retaining the top 10-20% of officers as something important for the Army’s future.  As a junior officer who has performed in the top 10% of my peer group and decided to remain in the Army, I’d like to add to this discussion.  While I cannot speak for my entire demographic, I can provide insight.

I don’t believe that the majority of officers that make up this demographic expect the Army to put together some sort of bonus package to retain them.  I’ve never seen statistics on the bonus payments the Army made a few years ago, but I’ve only met one person who took the money that wasn’t already convinced he would stay in the Army.  I believe that most officers that stay in through a captain-level key assignment (generally command positions and primary staff roles) are not motivated by money or tangible benefits.  However, these officers want to feel like they are not just cogs in the wheel.  They have a level of experience way beyond what their superiors had at similar career points.  We are just now seeing battalion commanders who commanded companies in Iraq or Afghanistan.  Further, the complexity of their positions is way beyond that of what it is for their superiors in similar positions in the 1990’s.  These officers want trust, meaningful education and a voice, they want to be able to rise above their peers who perform below them and they want to see the Army progress not regress.

Many of our top officers had wide latitude to conduct combat operations and solve complex problems while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  However, they find themselves back at home station “reestablishing garrison systems” and being micromanaged.  Gone is their freedom.  Top performers for the most part possess ingenuity, innovative thinking, independence and drive.  While some top performers are just really good at executing orders, most are able to execute an OODA loop without much guidance.  They can plan, lead and solve complex issues without much help from their superiors.  And, they have done this in complex environments.  But now they find themselves having to put together lists and trackers and brief every aspect of their command and their soldiers to superiors.  Gone is their independence because their senior leaders don’t trust them.

Forcing leaders to fill out pages of high risk trackers to be briefed to generals rather than allowing commanders to own their companies is just one example.  Having COMET teams run around post stopping vehicles to ensure they have their warning triangles is another.  Carrying around a standards book as an inspectable item?  Does that show trust?  Most senior leaders might consider these examples inane, but to a junior officer in command, they are not.  An officer leaving command is at the  last good point in his career to get out before time served is greater than time left to retirement.  He is making choices about whether or not to stay in. When he was trusted more with live ammunition and a hundred million dollars worth of property than he is when he is out of combat, he has much incentive to decide to bolt for a corporation that values his independent ways.  He wants to see coupled actions, regulations and policies that have a specific focus and that work, not shotgun blasts that don’t fix the problem and show a lack of trust. 

Meaningful Education
LTG Hodges uses the Congressional Fellow program as an example of providing officers a chance to get an advanced degree.  However, this program takes 23 officers a year, roughly half of the number of officers in key assignments in just a single brigade.  The three branches most likely to produce strategic leaders (Infantry, Armor, and Field Artillery) have the fewest opportunities to earn a master’s degree and there are no slots for them to participate in Training with Industry.  While many of these officers will earn the standard Master’s of Military Art and Science while attending Command and General Staff College, most top performers want something more.  Further, they want to interact with civilians, their constituents if you will, and they want to seek degrees that are meaningful – ones that improve the military’s knowledge  base and improve them as individuals.  While it benefits the Army, given the complexity of the future, to have a bevy of top performing Infantry, Armor and Field Artillery officers versed in Behavioral Sciences, International Relations, Economics, and International Development among others, there is no system in place to do this unless these officers compete for and earn a fellowship or go on to teach at an academy, taking them out of the fight for at least five years.  Nor is there a meaningful academic fellowship system for those officers with advanced degrees to spend a year or two thinking and writing, developing perspective and improving their field.  I’d even venture to say that many top performers would jump at the chance to learn a foreign language and develop cultural awareness – something the Army recognizes as important- but outside of the Olmstead Scholarship there is no real Army-sponsored way to do this.

Unmanned Aircraft Proponents See Future Beyond Battlefields

 17 June 2013 

By Yasmin Tadjdeh 
Modified Hummingbird UAVs equipped with lights flew in formation 

to promote a recent Star Trek film release in London Flying over London’s Tower Bridge and the Thames River, dozens of small unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with lights flew in formation displaying the iconic Starfleet Academy emblem in the night sky.

The demonstration, which took place in March, was an advertisement concocted by Paramount Pictures and Ars Electronica, an Austria-based company, to promote the recently released Star Trek Into Darkness film.

The light-hearted promotion stands in contrast to the images of war that UAVs often conjure and is an example of a growing interest to use unmanned aircraft for non-military purposes.

“The ability for us to utilize this technology is unbelievable,” said Michael Toscano, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. “It’s almost like the Industrial Revolution or when we made a determination that we would go to the moon. This has some real, tremendous capabilities.”

The agriculture industry would be one of the first to adopt commercial UAVs. They could help end global hunger, he said.

Precision agriculture carried out by UAVs could increase harvest yields significantly and feed rising populations, Toscano said during a panel discussion at the New America Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

“That’s where there is going to be a tremendous ability for us to be able to produce more food. So when you think that you will be able to feed … hundreds of millions of people, you can almost do away with starvation on the planet by utilization of this technology,” said Toscano.

Over the next five to 10 years, the agriculture industry will come to rely on UAVs, said Missy Cummings, an associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a former fighter pilot.

“What’s happening right now is kind of a quiet revolution,” Cummings said. “This is an industry where we just can’t get enough people to do the job that we need done, and farmers desperately need the technology both for healthy crop surveillance [and] being able to see what’s happening with the tractors in the field.”
UAVs could also aid in the movement of goods.

In Afghanistan, Lockheed Martin’s K-MAX unmanned cargo system is already proving its worth. Two helicopters have delivered over 3.2 million pounds of supplies for the military since 2011.

The K-MAX, which has dual intermeshing rotors, can rapidly transport myriad items, including food, water, medical supplies and ammunition.

Domestic cargo companies will likely follow suit, Cummings said.

“I think that you will see the civilian cargo community go that way as well. There is certainly a lot of interest from FedEx and UPS, who can reduce costs quite a bit and possibly improve safety,” said Cummings, who predicted it would take about 15 years for the industry to adopt the technology.

For the moment, companies or agencies interested in using UAVs are stuck in limbo as they await new regulations and guidance. The Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 mandated that the FAA integrate unmanned aircraft into the domestic airspace by 2015. A key deadline establishing six pilot sites by August 2012 was not met.

Initially, UAVs allowed to fly in national airspace will be small — they will have to be less than 55 pounds and flown below 400 feet. Their introduction would be a boon for countless industries, said Toscano. Within three years of integration, 70,000 new jobs will be created and $14 billion dollars will be pumped into the economy, he said.

Dynamics of Asia Pacific Strategy and Missile Defence: Implications for India

At the recently concluded Shangri La security conference, the emerging security scenario in the Asia Pacific was the main theme for discussions. Interposed between many plenary sessions on regional security and military transparency issues was an entire session devoted to the question of missile defence. Chuck Hagel , the US Defence Secretary, in his first appearance at the conference, while dwelling on the American approach to regional security stated that “With Japan, we have agreed to review the Defense Guidelines that underpin our Alliance cooperation, and are making substantial progress in realigning our force posture and enhancing Alliance missile defense capabilities; With the Republic of Korea, we are working to implement the Strategic Alliance 2015 and discussing a shared vision for a more globally-oriented Alliance out to 2030;… Similarly, the United States is working to build trilateral cooperation with Japan and India.”

On the other hand, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov, speaking at the same forum, observed that “We are concerned about the unilateral deployment of anti-ballistic missile defense elements [in the Asia-Pacific Region]. We believe such actions could undermine the foundation of the strategic balance and lead to a polarization of powers in the region.” The Russian leader needed firm guarantees to prove that “the missile shield potential is adequate to the declared goals and will not upset global and regional balances.”

Lt. Gen. Qi Jianguo, Deputy Chief of General Staff, PLA, in his exposition on ‘New Trends in Asia-Pacific Security’ spoke only in platitudes like ‘peaceful, cooperative and win-win development’ and chose to skip any substantive military and security issue. However, Maj. Gen. Yao Yunzhu, Director, Center for China-America Defense Relations, China’s Academy of Military Science, PLA, expressed her apprehensions about the US missile defence architecture being created in the Asia Pacific region. Not only this, she confronted Chuck Hagel to better explain the US military‘s Asia pivot in the question and answer session after his speech which included a warning to China over cyber warfare. So far as the US Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) is concerned, China remains unconvinced that missile defence deployments have not been designed with China in mind.

In fact, the US Defence Strategic Guidance of January, 2012 observes that “States such as China and Iran will continue to pursue asymmetric means to counter our power projection capabilities, while the proliferation of sophisticated weapons and technology will extend to non-state actors as well”. The document also stresses that the U.S. military will invest as required to ensure its ability to operate effectively in anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) environments. This will include developing a new stealth bomber, improving missile defences, and continuing efforts to enhance the resiliency and effectiveness of critical space-based capabilities.

Further, the US, as part of the military aspect of its Asia-Pacific strategy, has paid great attention to the missile defence component of its military deployments in the region. With 60 percent of its naval fleet being deployed in Asia-Pacific, the US would eventually have six Carrier Strike Groups (CSG) based in the region. These CSGs would have integral components of Aegis destroyers and cruisers armed with Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) systems along with advanced surveillance sensors and missile interceptors. The U.S. Army Air and Missile Defence Command (AAMDC) is in the process of deploying a missile defense task force in Guam. This would include a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery and a PAC-3 battery for ballistic missile defence. Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have been included in the emerging BMD architecture in the Asia-Pacific.

US forces in Japan have deployed a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) battalion in Okinawa. For some years now, the US has been deploying BMD capable Aegis destroyers armed with Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors in and around Japan. This is in addition to four Japanese destroyers armed with Aegis SM-3 (which would eventually go up to eight ships) systems and a number of PAC-3 batteries of its own. South Korea has also acquired Aegis ships and PAC-3 batteries and opted to cooperate with the US on BMD.
Though ostensibly the missile threat is painted to be from North Korea, the strengthening of missile defence in the Asia-pacific is largely driven by the rising capabilities of China in missile warfare domain. There are also some reports that China’s Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) has reached the stage of operationalisation. ASBM with maneuvering re-entry vehicle warhead and termed as a Carrier –Killer would be a potent addition to China’s Anti-Access/Area Denial capabilities. Further, the testing of China’s DF-41 ICBM last July with 12000 km range and multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) capability besides missile threats emerging from North Korea (including a nuclear test this February) has moved the US to plan for deploying additional 14 ground based missile defence interceptors in Alaska and California by 2017. Earlier, the plan called for deploying 30 ground based interceptors on the US West Coast; with the latest developments, the total number of interceptors would go up to 44.

What has been China’s response the US moves on missile defence? Since the unveiling of the US plans for national missile defence in May 2001 China along with Russia has been a strong opponent of the missile defence. Both China and Russia argue that missile defence dilutes the value of their strategic deterrence. The American argument is that missile defence is only meant for rogue nations like North Korea and Iran that can launch attacks with a limited number of missiles as larger size of missile attack would overwhelm the missile defences.

Peering pressure: The secret battle to control the future of the internet


photo: Peer1
The latest fight between ISPs and over-the-top providers is taking place deep in the network, away from the eyes of regulators and consumers. Welcome to the world of peering fights.
There is a fierce battle going on to control the future of the internet, and consumers are the innocent bystanders.
Reports have been filtering in during the last few days that consumers on Verizon and Time Warner Cable’s network are experiencing degraded service when they try to watch Netflix or YouTube videos. It may seem trite to whine about someone’s Arrested Development episode buffering, but the real issue is how big ISPs are trying to remake the agreements that underpin how the internet works.
As they do so, they are taking agreements that used to be negotiated by engineers based on web traffic and changing them into disputes negotiated behind closed doors in boardrooms, executives fighting over who has access to the end consumer. This could fundamentally change the way the internet works — making it more expensive to do business and erecting unnecessary barriers to innovation.
This is the new battle for the internet. The telcos and cable providers, intent on protecting their margins and their pay TV businesses, have taken network neutrality from the public world of consumer pricing and throttling to the data centers. Instead ofbanning Skype, or charging more for it on their networks, they want to change they way they charge content providers, demanding that they pay more for ports on the network when traffic starts filling them up.
The weapon in this battle is a concept known as peering. Peering is essentially an arrangement between two bandwidth providers — the companies that control the physical backbone of the internet — in which they send and receive traffic from each other for free. The logic is that the traffic sent from one network to another is reciprocated without adding extra costs and hurdles. This makes the web more efficient and redundant because companies don’t need to build out a network to connect every single service to every person who wants to consume that service.

How Chinese Strategists Think

By  James R. Holmes

June 19, 2013

Toshi Yoshihara joins me (or I join him) over at Investor's Business Daily to refocus attention on the human dimension of the U.S.-China strategic competition. Followers of these pages pixels know that Toshi and I are true believers in the idea that competition is a human enterprise. As Colonel John Boyd liked to say, people, ideas, and hardware — in that order — are the determinants of competitive endeavors like power politics.

People, not stuff, fight.
That's not to say hardware is unimportant. Not for nothing did author Hilaire Belloc ascribe British imperial dominance over subject peoples to the fact that "we have got the Maxim gun, and they have not." Too great a material advantage, then, can translate into an insurmountable competitive advantage. And this mismatch holds true beyond colonial wars against outgunned antagonists. World War I proved that there were limits to men's capacity to stand against fire, even when peer army faced peer army.

But human ingenuity is crucial even in the material dimension, isn't it? It's the common denominator among all of Boyd's elements of competition. People with ample resources concoct gee-whiz engines of war. People not blessed with such abundance can work around material shortcomings, devising asymmetric tactics and weaponry to get more bang out of scarce materiel. Look no further than the improvised explosive device, a homemade landmine that has given high-tech militaries fits in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Only expensive countermeasures have kept the IED menace at bay, and imperfectly so at that.

Which is a roundabout way of getting back to China. As red-blooded 'Mercans, my wingman and I have little sympathy with Beijing's goals. But as professors we've come to admire how assiduously our Chinese counterparts do their homework. They look to history, and to the greats of strategic theory, to guide their thinking and illuminate their strategic discourses. Mahan is a fixture in debates over sea power, however improbable that might seem. Corbett puts in the odd appearance. And, unsurprisingly, Sun Tzu and Mao are regulars.

In a sense Chinese scholars are running a Far Eastern campus of our Strategy and Policy Department. We read theory with our students, use strategic precepts to evaluate history, and see where the analysis takes us. Strategists in China read theory, apply it to history — as in the Rise of the Great Powers books and TV series– and see where the process takes them. In short, these are strategic competitors worth taking seriously. And their playbook is strikingly similar to ours.

Western commentators err badly if they reduce the U.S.-China competition to GDP figures, numbers of ships, warplanes, and other widgets, or other quantitative measures. Colonel Boyd would disapprove — and rightly so.

Pray that we have the sense to read China

Claude Arpi, 

 20 June 2013
Perhaps Saint Antony can deliver us from the dilemma: How do we tackle an increasingly belligerent Beijing without ruffling its oh-so-sensitive feathers? As we debate, our neigbour adds more strength to its air power.

In Europe, there is a belief that if you have lost something, whether it is a material object or a dear one who can’t be traced, or even if you face too many hurdles in a particular project, the best way to solve your predicament is to pray to Saint Antony, who is venerated for his many miracles and his capacity to redeem any lost situation.
India seems to have lost its capacity to stand up to China; most defence deals are missing (not even in action) in the dust of babudom; further, the country has misplaced its capacity to innovate. Can Saint Antony intervene?
Why should there be such an urgency to pray to the saint of Padova?
While India is struggling to modernise its armed forces, China has never been so innovative (helped by ‘borrowing’ from others, in President Barack Obama’s opinion); the Middle Kingdom is fast-moving in all domains, but particularly in ‘defence preparedness’, forcefully advocated by President Xi Jinping. And when Beijing can’t innovate, it acquires.
On Jun 6, the Chinese edition of The Global Times reported that a Chinese delegation was in Moscow to discuss with Russian arms export officials the purchase of the latest Sukhoi SU-35 fighter jet. A day earlier, the Russians had given the Chinese delegation, a grand demonstration of the multipurpose jet’s capacities. The Global Times said: “The primary mission of the visit was to determine and assess the technical capabilities of the new multifunctional fighter jet.” While both sides refused to reveal the number of jets in the deal, a Russian official hinted that it would be a “very sizable” number.
Interestingly, Russian Govt officials have also confirmed that this would be a ‘supply contract’ and no manufacturing license would be given to China. The Russian media said that the political decision had already been made, the two parties were just negotiating the payment schedules which should not be too much of a problem.
As the pressure on India keeps increasing, news agencies announced that France will start delivering its first Rafales to India by 2016. If true, this is good news for New Delhi and Paris. The financial daily, Les Echos, quoted French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian as saying that Dassault will stop production of Rafale for 18 months - from 2013 for an export contract (Read: For the IAF).
Let me explain. France has a Defence Planning Law called ‘Loi de Programmation Militaire’. it is a five-year plan which takes care of the country’s military requirements. The French Budget said that in 2016, the Dte Gen of Armament and the Ministry of Def have planned to acquire only four Rafales (leaving 11 for India). Dassault Aviations, the manufacturer of the Rafale, has an order with the French Air Force for 180 Rafales, out of which 119 have already been delivered. The factory produces some 11 planes in a year, though there is an agreement that if Dassault gets an export order, the delivery of Rafales to the French Air Force may be stopped to enable the delivery chain to work for the export.
If one considers that it takes three-and-half years to produce a Rafale, and the delivery of the first of the 18 planes to be built in France is scheduled for 2016, one can deduct that the production of the ‘Indian’ Rafales will have to start latest by the end of this year. Can Mr Le Drian manage a miracle à la Saint Antony and accelerate the negotiation process between the Ministry of Def and Dassault Aviation when he visits India in July? It is a one-billion Euro question!
Under the proposed deal, Dassault is to supply 18 Rafales in ‘fly-away’ condition (off-the-shelves) ; then the Govt of India undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd will manufacture the remaining 108 planes in Bangalore (or elsewhere in India). But from the start, Dassault had some doubt about the ‘indigenous’ capacities of HAL. Hence, separate contracts for the 18 and the 108 have apparently been proposed by Dassault. This may not be acceptable to the Indian Govt which is aware that a ‘middle path’ solution needs to be found. During a Press conference at the Aero Show 2013 in Feb in Bangalore, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne spoke of a possibility: HAL would outsource parts of the ‘assembly’ of the plane to Indian private companies, but would keep the overall monitoring of the project. But is this agreeable to South Block babus?
Last week, Mr Eric Trappier the chairman of Dassault, said in an interview: “We are actively working on the Indian contract... But it does not mean just selling planes; we have also to conclude an agreement for license production... The discussions are about ‘who does what’, ‘who is responsible for what’.”
It is not that the Russian contract for the SU-35 to China is without hurdles. Russia wants to protect its intellectual property rights over the 117S engine of its fighter jet, especially after Beijing is suspected to have borrowed engine technology from Su-27SK to produce its J-11 jet. This time, China appears to have made concessions and dropped the technology transfer, while Russia may agree to sell China 24 Su-35s, rather than 48, the threshold for an ‘economical’ transfer. The Russian Federation will probably demand further guarantees from China; a Russian Ministry of Def official told Kommersant, a business publication: “Moscow is not only aiming to ensure its presence on the Chinese market but also attempting to prevent the potential copycat production of Russian aircraft for subsequent sales to third parties with predatory pricing.” Even China’s friends do not always trust the PLA! But for Moscow as well as Beijing, the Su-35 contract demonstrates the new strategic co-operation reaffirmed during President Xi’s visit to Russia in March. The new Chinese Def Minister told his Russian counterpart that bilateral defence co-operation was a key part of Sino-Russian relations.
What should truly worry New Delhi and add to the urgency of signing the Rafale deal are the repeated Chinese air exercises on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Last year, news agencies reported that China tested its multi-role J-10 fighter jets for the first time at high altitude. According to Chinese media, in Mar 2012, the PLAAF conducted a first of its kind ground attack training on the Tibetan plateau. The PLA Daily published some photos showing the ground crew of J-10 regiment fuelling the fighters and loading ammunition at an altitude of 3,500m with temperatures below -20 C. The Chinese jets could attack targets with conventional as well as laser-guided bombs, it says.

In two or three years’ time, Su35, far superior to the J-10, will probably be seen in the Himalayan sky. Will India then be able to match China with a few Rafales? If it is New Delhi’s desire, it should move now. The French prayers to Saint Antony may not be enough to seal the Rafale deal; Indian gods will probably have to be called in for the finalisation of the contract.

The Foreign Policy Impact of Iran's Presidential Election

By Michael Nayebi-Oskoui and Kamran Bokhari

JUNE 18, 2013 

Iranians went to the polls Friday to elect outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's successor. Candidates reported few serious problems with the process, and the losers sent congratulations to the eventual winner, Hassan Rouhani.
Compared to the political instability that followed Ahmadinejad's 2009 re-election, this process was relatively boring. But however the news media felt about the election, Iran needs domestic stability if it is going to change its foreign policy in a very challenging geopolitical environment.

Domestic Stability

Domestic stability has been the first goal for any regime that would project power from Iran's central highlands. The Persian Empire first emerged only after a central power subjugated the various groups of Indo-Iranian, Turkic and Semitic peoples within its borders. The suppression of 2009's Green Movement is only a recent example of a strong state apparatus quelling internal dissent. For millennia, various Persian regimes have sought to keep such domestic pressures at bay while foreign powers have sought to exacerbate these tensions to distract Iran or make it vulnerable to invasion.
In today's Iran, structural economic stresses that have persisted under decades of sanctions are coming to a head while sectarian competition in the region has halted the expansion of Tehran's regional influence. The clerical regime that currently rules the Iranian mountain fortress understands the threats from beyond its borders, but like its predecessors, it must make peace at home before it can address external challenges.
Much of the Western, and especially U.S., coverage of the Iranian elections centered on Rouhani, a figure known to many in the West. He took part in the Islamic Revolution and had ties to Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic. He also has ties to Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran's second clerical president, and is a representative of the current supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, on the Supreme National Security Council. Rouhani served as secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council for 16 years. As an extension of this position, he was Iran's chief nuclear negotiator from 2003 to 2005. It was during this period when Rouhani's foreign policy credentials became best known in the United States and Europe. It was also during this period when Western and Iranian nuclear negotiators came closest to reaching a deal. 
Paradoxically, Rouhani combines conservative and reformist tendencies. As a cleric, he does not seek fundamental changes in Iran's power structure of the sort Ahmadinejad sought, but he also advocates cooperation with, and outreach to, other branches of Iran's power structure such as the military and civilian politicians. While defending Iran's nuclear program and regional agenda, he understands that simply issuing ultimatums to the West and escalating tensions rather than striking compromises will not win relief from sanctions. In this regard, he resembles the reformist former President Mohammed Khatami, under whom Rouhani served as chief nuclear negotiator. Rouhani can be expected to adopt a less incendiary tone in foreign policy than Ahmadinejad and to cooperate with other domestic power centers, like those of the supreme leader and the military and security forces.
Iran's domestic woes give it an incentive to pursue the kind of pragmatic engagement and dialogue with the West Rouhani was known for, especially on issues such as Iran's nuclear program and Tehran's interests in the Levant, Iraq and Afghanistan. This means Friday's election represents a relative success for the Islamic republic, though it denied the West's desire for a disruptive election that would see Iran's clerical regime fall.
Ahead of any meaningful traction on its foreign policy agenda, the Iranian government had to re-engage its electorate, something it has accomplished with this election. Tellingly, aside from current nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, seven of the eight candidates approved to run in this election campaigned on moderate or even reformist platforms, in stark contrast to the nationalist rhetoric of the firebrand Ahmadinejad.
Although largely unaffected by the regional unrest in 2011, the clerical regime needed to demonstrate both to its citizens and foreign capitals that the Iranian people could still bring about change at the ballot box, not just through the streets. Given the choice, the Iranian people chose pragmatism in relatively free and fair elections.
Though the Islamic republic cannot be changed overnight -- long-term structural changes are needed to revive the Iranian economy -- Rouhani's campaign and election have provided a relatively immediate, low-cost way to lessen some of the domestic pressures on the regime. Large-scale demonstrations in support of the president-elect following the announcement of his victory took place in Tehran and throughout many of Iran's urban centers, without the involvement of state security forces. For now at least, this suggests Iran's large and increasingly frustrated electorate seems to have been appeased
While it is, of course, too early to know how his presidency will play out, the Rouhani administration at the very least will not begin its tenure plagued with doubts regarding its legitimacy of the sort that greeted Ahmadinejad's second term. Also unlike Ahmadinejad, the president-elect has the opportunity to bridge deep divisions within the clerical elite. With clerical authority and the supreme leader no longer under attack from the presidency, and with convincing electoral support behind him, Rouhani has already overcome the largest hurdles to amending Iranian policy at home and abroad.

Foreign Policy Shifts

It is in this framework that the West hopes to eventually re-engage Rouhani and Iran. Fiery rhetoric aside, Ahmadinejad also sought a strategic dialogue with the West, especially as his competition with the supreme leader prompted him to seek foreign policy wins. But the infighting that resulted from Ahmadinejad's attempts to undermine the pro-clerical structure of the republic impeded any progress in this arena.
If Rouhani can get the clerics behind him and accommodate the interests of Iran's military and security forces and the broader electorate, his chances of reaching a dialogue or negotiated settlement with the West will be much improved.
Guiding much of this will not be just the change in personalities but Iran's shifting geopolitical environment. Since it is no longer on the regional offensive, Tehran's previous defiant rejection of American interests is now incompatible with long-term Iranian goals in the region.

A Wider View of India’s Foreign Policy Reveals Clear Strategy


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, left, with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the latter's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, on May 29.Toshifumi Kitamura/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, left, with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the latter’s official residence in Tokyo, Japan, on May 29.
Shinzo Abe has ruffled quite a few feathers since his return as Japan’s prime minister in December. His cabinet ministers’ visit in April to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan’s war dead, was condemned by China and South Korea, and in no time, Japan became the target of North Korean saber-rattling and American finger-wagging.  So it ought to have elicited more surprise when Abe’s soft-spoken Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, plainly declared his comfort with his host’s worldview on a recent visit to Tokyo.

“India and Japan have a shared vision of a rising Asia,” Mr. Singh said in a prepared speech. “Our relations draw their strength from our spiritual, cultural and civilizational affinities and a shared commitment to the ideals of democracy, peace and freedom,” he said, adding,  “Prime Minister Abe and I will work together to strengthen our strategic partnership.” The declaration, which was accompanied by a rare private dinner between the two prime ministers, was seen in many quarters as an unambiguous signal to China.

The last year has been a tough one for India under Mr. Singh’s embattled leadership. His government has come to be perceived as ineffective – even absent, when it comes to responding to popular concerns such as the tragic gang rape of a student in Delhi — and venal, linked to one massive corruption scam after another, including a scandal over coal allocations that threatened to taint the prime minister personally.  The once-booming Indian economy has slowed drastically, with growth recently forecast to have dropped under 5 percent. A brazen attack by Maoists in the central state of Chhattisgarh last month and an incursion by Chinese troops in northern Ladakh have drawn global attention to the government’s inadequate handling of internal and external security challenges.

Criticism of all sorts has mounted. The Economist ran a cover story in March which argued that the country’s lack of strategic culture promises to constrain its rise. The influential magazine Foreign Affairs published an article by the Boston University professor Manjari Chatterjee Miller which declared that New Delhi lacked strategic ambition.  However, as Mr. Singh’s speech in Tokyo hinted, such assertions about India’s emergence may be more than a little misleading.

India’s enigmatic foreign policy
There are many reasons why India’s foreign policy remains something of an enigma to analysts, scholars, and reporters — both in India and abroad. The Indian government is averse to publishing strategic documents of the kind regularly released by the United States, most European states and even China. A careerist bureaucracy and hypercompetitive national politics encourage secrecy in decision-making. Policymakers have traditionally been distrustful of researchers and journalists, both Indian and foreign.  And the views of disgruntled critics outside of government resonate far more loudly than bland official pronouncements do. But it is nonetheless clear that India’s objectives since the end of the Cold War have remained remarkably consistent, and its performance surprisingly effective.

In essence, New Delhi’s goals have been characterized by three features. The first is internal balancing: basically, attempts at increasing the country’s resources and capabilities. This has involved the establishment and enhancement of economic and trade links with various countries in India’s neighborhood and beyond. Almost 20 years after announcing a “Look East” policy, India agreed to lower tariffs with Japan, South Korea, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, while enjoying steadily deeper commercial relations with the United States, China and the European Union. Such efforts appear to have borne dividends: since 1997, India’s total trade has grown more than sevenfold, about 60 percent faster than its economy.

Economic growth also requires stability, and Indian leaders have spoken repeatedly of their objective of maintaining a conducive regional environment for growth. This has been largely responsible for New Delhi’s attempts at normalizing its relations with Pakistan and not intervening as aggressively in places like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. India has also made conscious attempts to enhance its technological capabilities. The centerpiece of New Delhi’s new strategic relationship with Washington was a civil nuclear agreement, an attempt at gaining access to embargoed nuclear know-how.

A light combat aircraft of India performing at the opening ceremony of Aero India 2011 in Yelahanka, Karnataka, on Feb. 9.Aijaz Rahi/Associated Press A light combat aircraft of India performing at the opening ceremony of Aero India 2011 in Yelahanka, Karnataka, on Feb. 9.

The second facet that has marked India’s external relations is deterrence, the dissuasion of others from using or threatening force.   India withstood widespread international opprobrium after conducting five nuclear tests in 1998, a decision that enjoyed support across the country despite being portrayed as a nationalistic endeavor. In time, India’s nuclear capability has helped stabilize relations with both  Pakistan and China, countries with which it had fought wars in the past. In recent years, the Indian armed forces have also sought to diversify and gradually modernize their conventional weaponry, including combat aircraftsubmarines and artillery. All of this has had positive effects. India’s relations with China now exhibit many of the characteristics of normalcy. Manmohan Singh has also followed his predecessor Atal Bihari Vajpayee in managing relations with Pakistan, including through a back-channel dialogue that seems to have come close to a grand bargain.

The third aspect of Indian foreign policy is autonomy, ensuring that the country is not unduly dependent on any one ally or partner. Thus, India has sought to diversify its sources of energy and other natural resources beyond a handful of suppliers in the Middle East to exporters in Africa and Latin America, among other places. Similarly, it sources much of its military equipment from Russia, Israel, Europe, and – increasingly – the United States. Diplomatic engagement with other major powers has also been active, as attested to by the regularity of two-way bilateral visits. In just one two-month period in late 2010, India received   President Barack Obama of the United States, then-President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, then-Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China and then-President Dmitri Medvedev of Russia.

Consistency in pursuing India’s primary objectives has generally risen above individual leaders and governments. A Congress-led government under P.V. Narasimha Rao oversaw preparations for a nuclear test in December 1995, even though tests were eventually carried out under the Bharatiya Janata Party. Similarly, Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s B.J.P. government sought a nuclear agreement akin to the deal secured by Manmohan Singh. Both Mr. Vajpayee and Mr. Singh also made concerted attempts at normalizing ties with Pakistan and China. While never overtly declared as doctrine, India’s quest for growth, security, and balanced relationships is intuitive to many members of its strategic community and its patterns of behavior largely consistent.

India’s successes have by no means been categorical. Implementation has often been found wanting, as with its difficulty in concluding trade and security agreements.  India’s policymakers are also conscious of the country’s severe limitations, making them reluctant to commit to ambitious endeavors.  And India, not unlike other rising powers, is often content to “free ride” on others, making it all the more eager to downplay its own capabilities.

At the same time, there is no question that the country has made extraordinary strides in achieving its goals over the past two decades. India has far more resources, security, and friends than it did in 1991, the year it was confronted by a balance-of-payments crisis, several conflagrating insurgencies and the collapse of its primary ally, the Soviet Union. Perhaps there is more to India’s strategic culture – and strategic ambition – than meets the eye.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during a business summit in Mumbai, Maharashtra, on May 21.Rajanish Kakade/Associated Press Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during a business summit in Mumbai, Maharashtra, on May 21.

What next?
An absence of further liberalization promises to jeopardize India’s international clout, while providing real constraints on its ability to acquire the tools required of a great power. A further change may be brought about by China’s behavior as it continues its rapid evolution into a global superpower. As the incursion in April by a few dozen Chinese soldiers into disputed territory along the border showed, indications of China’s aggressive intent could galvanize Indian public opinion, push New Delhi towards adopting harder positions with Beijing and compel India to cooperate more closely with other countries that share its concerns about China’s rise.

Additionally, India is undergoing a series of unprecedented social and political revolutions that, collectively, could alter its overall approach to international affairs. A new, post-Cold War generation of leaders could well adopt very different positions than their predecessors did. India’s massive military may want to have a greater say on matters of national security.  In Kashmir, for example, the army has resisted changes to its legal protection regime that were being advocated both by the cabinet and the state’s chief minister.  A competitive media environment could constrain or coerce India’s leaders, preventing them from collaborating more closely with the United States, on the one hand, or forcing India to respond to Pakistani provocations on the other.

The diffusion of political power to regional parties, combined with coalition governments at the center, has already shown signs of altering India’s approach towards its neighbors, for better and for worse. In recent years, regional parties have adopted strong positions on relations with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, contrary to New Delhi’s stated objectives. India’s thriving private sector is only now becoming a  player on matters of foreign policy, compelling the Indian government to become a bigger advocate of Indian business interests abroad, including on such matters as immigration legislation in the United States. And an increasingly activist-oriented diaspora – with stronger links than ever to its country of origin – is beginning to feature prominently in India’s international relations. The External Affairs Ministry, for example, weighed in recently on the treatment of Indian students in Australia and a shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

It is easy to take a superficial look at India’s international behavior and see little more than haphazard decision-making and reticence. Foreign observers – and indeed many Indian commentators – have been doing so for years. The Indian government has not always helped itself with its failure to articulate its positions clearly. But taken together, India’s behavior over the past two decades has demonstrated remarkable consistency, clarity and success. Perhaps it is time the rest of the world paid attention.

Dhruva Jaishankar is a transatlantic fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Washington. Follow him on Twitter at @d_jaishankar.