12 June 2014

Recycling Muslim Decadence

By Tufail Ahmad

Published: 11th June 2014

Before he became prime minister, Narendra Modi assured Muslims to promote their economic development and preserve their culture, stating: “I want to see you, laptop in one hand, Quran in the other.” Typically, Muslims too look up to the government to fix their life. Every other day, newspapers carry stories in which Muslim leaders and well-intentioned Hindu politicians accuse the government of failing to address Muslim backwardness. For all problems confronting Muslims, the government alone is blamed.

However, a community’s development is a function of voluntary initiatives by its members. In societies throughout history, governments have never given jobs to all their citizens; people have largely depended on personal initiatives like cultivating farms, launching a business or starting a school for their development; even today most Indians do not earn their living from the government. But even in government-assisted situations in which Muslims can address their educational backwardness effectively, they are proactively engaged in reproducing mass ignorance for their next generations.

Let’s take the example of nearly 1,400 madrassas managed by the Bihar State Madrasa Education Board (BSMEB), which is about to add over 2,400 madrassas on the state government’s payroll. Under the Nitish Kumar government, teachers at madrassas began receiving salaries on par with their counterparts in government-run schools. Degrees obtained from madrassas are recognised for government jobs and admissions to colleges. However, instead of ensuring educational progress, Bihar’s madrassas are producing a dark future for Muslims.

Maulana Amiruddin, who has taught at a madrassa in West Champaran for three decades and now teaches at a school near Patna, narrates a sad picture of educational rot at madrassas: only 15 per cent students who appear for Fauqania (matriculation) are genuine, the rest being students who haven’t attended classes at madrassas where they are enrolled; 50-60 per cent of all students who appear at Wastania (8th grade) board are enrolled retrospectively for the entire academic session just before the examination. The statistics, even if estimates, reveal wide-scale trends. Some teachers were sacked for possessing fake degrees obtained simultaneously from schools and madrassas in a single year.

Russia Tilts Towards Pakistan

By Harsh V Pant

Published: 12th June 2014

In a far-reaching decision for Russia, India as well as the broader South Asian strategic landscape, Russia has decided to lift an embargo on supplying weapons and military hardware to Pakistan. Sergey Chemezov, head of Russian state-run technologies corporation Rostec, has suggested that Moscow is negotiating the delivery of several Mi-25 helicopter gunships to Islamabad. Moscow’s ambassador to India Alexander M Kadakin has tried to justify this by suggesting that Russia had never imposed any arms embargo on Pakistan and that its technical and military cooperation with the country dates back to the 1960s. This has angered sections of the Indian foreign policy establishment but this is something that New Delhi should have seen coming.

In an attempt to broaden its strategic space after the withdrawal of Western forces from Afghanistan post-2014, Russia has been making concerted attempts to reach out to Pakistan. Pakistan Army’s then chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited Russia in October 2012 in a renewed attempt to improve relations with Moscow. His visit had come after the cancellation of the visit of Russian president Vladimir Putin to Pakistan. This would have been the first-ever visit of a Russian president to Pakistan and, as such, was loaded with significance. Putin was also to participate in a quadrilateral meeting on Afghanistan with leaders of Tajikistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. In place of Putin, his foreign minister was sent to Pakistan. But despite that, the two nations continued to make efforts to reach out to each other.

As NATO forces prepare to leave Afghanistan, new alignments of regional powers are emerging. Pakistan-Russia ties are also taking a new turn, and this holds great significance for India and the South Asian region. Pakistan’s efforts to improve its relationship with Russia since the deterioration in relations between Pakistan and the United States have been evident for some time. Pakistan’s former president Asif Ali Zardari had visited Russia in May 2012, and the Russian president’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, visited Pakistan the following month. Islamabad finds itself with few friends across the globe. Even China has been circumspect in what it says it can offer its “all weather friend”. Pakistan hopes Russia will start selling it more substantial defence equipment as well.

Both countries are also trying to increase their presence in Central Asia. Russia wants stability in its Central Asian periphery and Pakistan remains critical in managing the region. Moscow’s outreach to Islamabad is an attempt to get a handle on the regional dynamic. Russia has taken note of Indian foreign policy’s changing priorities and the recent downturn in US-Pakistan ties. The US-India rapprochement has been problematic for Russia. As India moves away from Russia, especially as its dependence on defence equipment decreases, Moscow is also looking for alternatives. Moscow also recognises the importance of Pakistan in restoring stability to a post-2014 Afghanistan and larger Central Asia. So there are various factors at work here in this outreach. It was Putin who had publicly endorsed Pakistan’s bid to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and had offered Russian help in managing Pakistan’s energy infrastructure. He went on to suggest Russia views Pakistan as a reliable and very important partner.

Ministry to Hang Up On Anonymous Complaints that Delay Defence Deals

By N C Bipindra

Published: 08th Jun 2014

NEW DELHI: It has taken only a fortnight for the Narendra Modi government to pinpoint a major bottleneck in timely completion of defence projects. Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh made it clear that the new government’s focus will be on removing the existing bottlenecks and to tackle issues facing the defence deals that are stuck due to “investigation” into each and every complaint that lands in the Defence Ministry.

To remove hurdles in ensuring smooth supply of urgently required military equipment to the country’s 13.1-lakh armed forces, the Defence Ministry henceforth, will not cancel or stop the procurement process based on “frivolous” complaints. It will proceed with the process till a court of law found substance in them and pronounced a sentence.

In the previous UPA regime, then Defence Minister A K Antony made it a practice to put on hold procurement of military hardware, even on the basis of anonymous complaints.

“One particular issue we would like to address is the deals getting delayed or cancelled or sent to investigation over anonymous and frivolous complaints, as was witnessed during the previous UPA regime,” he said to a specific query.

In nearly all defence deals, anonymous and frivolous complaints come on behalf of arms firms that have lost a tender or a contract. Such complaints usually raise questions on the procurement procedure followed or the winner‘s product not meeting the set standards. “Many a times, the complaints are from the defence firms that have lost a tender or a contract. They complain against procedures followed in the selection or try to mar the selection process itself in favour of their rival company. These complaints and anonymous letters delay the acquisition process,” Rao Inderjit Singh noted.

On other occasions, there are complaints of bribery or pecuniary benefits obtained by those officers who are part of the selection process.

While the armed forces are looking at quick procurement in view of the criticality of the situation and the urgent requirement that they have, their needs do not get fulfilled due to the long-drawn investigation into those complaints.

As of now, several key procurement projects of the armed forces are stuck over complaints, both anonymous and some frivolous.

One such procurement stuck over a decade now, after being cancelled once previously in these years, is the 197 Light Utility Helicopters for the Army and Air Force. In the latest tendering process, which began in 2008, has been moving forward in spurts and starts, getting derailed in the middle of 2013 again.

Pakistan Expands Defense Budget

Pakistan is expanding its defense budget by 11 percent to $7 billion in FY2014-2015.

June 12, 2014

Pakistan recently announced its defense budget for fiscal year (FY) 2014-2015, which will be 11 percent larger than last year’s defense budget. The total defense budget for the coming year will stand at $7 billion. According to Defense News, the bulk of the budget, $3.4 billion, will head to Pakistan’s Army, its largest and most regularly used branch military, and the remainder will go to the Air Force and the Navy with roughly a 2:1 ratio ($1.5 billion for the Air Force and $725 million for the Navy). Furthermore, the Inter-Services Organizations (including the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate) and the Defense Production Establishment have been allocated $1.5 billion each. The defense budget accounts for 18 percent of Pakistan’s national budget at 2.36 percent of national GDP.

The budget increase comes as Pakistan faces an increasingly severe domestic threat from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The organization was temporarily in negotiations with the civilian government but has punctured any attempts at reconciliation with a sudden terrorist attack. Most recently, TTP-affiliated fighters attacked Karachi International Airport, killing scores. Pakistan’s military budgets have traditionally also been a function of the degree to which the country feels threatened by India. This latest budget was likely finalized after the results of the 2014 Indian general election became known and Narendra Modi and the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in India. While India’s right-wing politicians tend to be more hawkish on Pakistan in general, Modi’s election has actually resulted in a brief period of rapprochement between the two countries following Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s trip to New Delhi for Modi’s inauguration.

The purpose of the defense budget increase is likely to compensate for growing operating costs for the Pakistan military. Additionally, Pakistan will likely ramp up domestic military manufacturing projects, including the JF-17 Thunder multi-role combat aircraft project (jointly undertaken with China). Experts remain skeptical that the budget increase is sufficient to allow the Pakistani military to engage in any new or serious procurements. Salma Malik, a Pakistani defense export cited by Defense News, states that the higher budget is merely a “smokescreen.” “If we look at the economic profile realistically, I doubt there is any definite improvement other than a cosmetic facelift for the economy; for defense outlays, there is a need for substantial outlays and reforms,” she adds.

Arm the Services

Jun 11, 2014
Inder Malhotra

Everything about the national security system is in the deepest possible mess, be it management of higher defence or the military’s virtual exclusion from the decision-making process

All through the painfully protracted and unquestionably nastiest election campaign, there was just one speech that expressed some concern for national defence and security.

It was delivered by Narendra Modi, then the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate and now a strong and decisive Prime Minister. This makes it rather ironic that he has not yet appointed a full-time defence minister but has entrusted the vital portfolio of defence to finance minister Arun Jaitley as an “additional charge” for the time being. Not a man to dilly-dally, Mr Modi must have some serious reason to delay the decision. However, so great is the importance of the ministry of defence (MoD) and so urgent its tasks ahead that the Prime Minister should live up to his reputation of overcoming all obstacles and give the country without further delay a defence minister with a grasp of complex security issues and a high enough stature to be able to deter those who love playing ducks and drakes with national security.

Let us face it. Our security system does not merely have some deficiencies and gaps that can be rectified and filled by a few minor reforms. The bitter truth is that everything about the national security system is in the deepest possible mess, be it management of higher defence, the military’s virtual exclusion from the decision-making process, lack of inter-services coordination, the shocking shortage of weapons, equipment and ammunition needed by the three armed forces because of the inadequacy of domestic defence production so shameful that 67 years after Independence we have to import 70 per cent of the military hardware we need. Nothing short of a thorough overhaul of the system would do.
What lends a sharper edge to this lamentable situation is that despite its total inaction, even the Manmohan Singh government was not unaware of the urgent need for national security reforms. Indeed, it had appointed a Task Force, headed by Naresh Chandra, a former Cabinet Secretary who had earlier served as defence secretary, to suggest what should be done.

A doctrine of economic levers, soft power

Published: June 12, 2014

Amitabh Mattoo

Those who had expected the Modi foreign policy doctrine to be defined by a new muscularity will probably be disappointed. Instead, it suggests a thoughtful understanding of smart power, an integrated approach that will best serve India in a complex, interdependent world

Power is the ability to influence the behaviour of others. In international relations, as the Harvard academic, Joseph Nye, reminds us, power can be exercised in three ways: by threatening or actually using military force, by offering economic incentives or imposing economic sanctions, or by building what Nye famously dubbed “soft power.” That is, the “soft power” of nations to persuade others based on the attractiveness of their technology, politics, culture, ideas or ideals.Modi doctrine’s five elements

If President Pranab Mukherjee’s opening address to Parliament is anything to go by, the foreign policy of the new government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi will likely employ a nuanced combination of all three of Nye’s instruments of international influence. All those who had expected the Modi foreign policy doctrine to be defined by a new muscularity or even machtpolitik — the wielding of the conventional stick — will probably be disappointed. Instead, there will be a renewed emphasis on using the carrots of economic levers and soft power. This suggests a thoughtful understanding of the importance of what Nye terms “smart power”: a clever combination of the tools of conventional hard, or military and economic, power and soft power. It is this integrated approach that will best serve India in a complex, interdependent world, which is defined as much by conflict and competition as it is by cooperation and the need for greater coordination in confronting common global threats.

The incipient Modi doctrine has five key elements. First, and most important, is the idea that a strong, self-reliant and self-confident India will pursue a foreign policy of “enlightened national interest.” National interest is a contested term; enlightened national interest even more so. Often national interest is defined as raison d'état, or “reason of state,” and can be viewed as the selfish pursuit of national ambitions, mostly as defined by the government of the day. Enlightened national interest adds a moral prism to the policy. When Alexis de Tocqueville wrote his masterly,Democracy in America, in the early 19th century, he described enlightened self-interest as that which made the United States unique: the ability of its citizens to work for the common good because the pursuit of a better life for everyone serves the self-interest of all.

In international diplomacy, enlightened national interest is arguably the recognition that the narrow pursuit of self-interest in an interdependent world can lead to suboptimal policy outcomes. In Asia, Japan — a nation Mr. Modi clearly admires — has used the term enlightened national-interest to define many of its policies, including those steering its overseas development assistance. Through supporting other nations via giving and via attractive development funding and loans, Japan has greatly increased its regional influence. The concept opens up the possibilities of creating cooperative outcomes for many issues, even those traditionally seen as difficult, zero-sum conflicts by realists in the establishment.

Chinesetakeaway: String of Pearls

C. Raja Mohan | June 11, 2014

Some have dismissed the notion of Chinese bases in the Indian Ocean as fanciful.

The latest American assessment of Beijing’s military power underlines the growing reach of the PLA navy in the Indian Ocean and the prospect of China acquiring naval facilities in the littoral. That China is seeking a permanent presence in the Indian Ocean through a “string of pearls”, or a network of bases, has been debated for a while.

India, however, has been divided in its assessment. Some have dismissed the notion of Chinese bases in the Indian Ocean as fanciful. Others argue that China’s rising naval profile is a serious long-term threat to the littoral that India must start addressing now. Many were content to assume that Beijing would remain preoccupied in the Pacific Ocean for a long time and would not threaten Delhi in the Indian Ocean.

There is a widespread sense today that the world has underestimated the pace of China’s military modernisation, the intensity of its naval buildup and the consequences for the Indian Ocean. It is quite clear China has a two-ocean strategy. Although the immediate threats to China are in the Pacific, Beijing is keen to overcome its geographic limitations in the Indian Ocean. More broadly, China’s rising maritime profile in our maritime neighbourhood fits in with the historic ebb and flow of foreign naval presence in the Indian Ocean. Like many great powers in the past — Portugal, Netherlands, France, Great Britain and the US — China too will establish military bases in the Indian Ocean. The question is not “if” but “when”.

Projecting Power
Since the dawn of the modern maritime age, bases have been essential to the projection of military power, control of critical choke points, and securing the sea lines of communication.

Amidst the rise of modern capitalism, emergence of global markets and advances in seafaring, all trading states recognised the importance of powerful navies in establishing access to far-flung resources, bringing them to production centres and shipping them out to globally dispersed consumers. In the colonial age, naval bases in the Indian Ocean were critical for the maintenance of European empires in the east. For postwar superpowers America and Russia, military presence in the Indian Ocean was part of their global contestation for primacy. The end of the Cold War has not necessarily obviated the need for bases in the Indian Ocean.

*** An Inconvenient Book

 JUNE 2014

How is it that a tome of 700 pages, full of statistics, endnotes, founded on equations — and written by a French academic — became a bestseller in the United States, more popular on Amazon.com than crime novels and spy stories? Part of the answer is that Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century is a masterpiece of historical and economic analysis, a book that, in ambition and originality, aspires to become an instant economic classic. And its theme — income inequality — is at center stage in American politics. It helps the general reader that Piketty is at once relentlessly pedagogical and entertaining, drawing his evidence not just from the research of the likes of Simon Kuznets but also from the adventures of elites in 19th-century England and France, as brought to life in the novels of Jane Austen and Honoré de Balzac. 


A Bright Future for World Trade? Piketty's central messages are simple: Income inequality has historically been very high, with elites earning at least 30 or 40 times the average wage, and wealth — a combination of housing and financial assets — even more unequally distributed. While the top 10 percent own 60 percent (and sometimes up to 90 percent) of national wealth, the bottom half of the population owns practically nothing. But over at least the last two centuries — since reliable records became available first in France and then in England shortly after the French revolution — the rate of return to wealth (4 percent to 5 percent) has outstripped the rate of growth of national income (2 percent or so) by a wide margin, except during the war and Depression years of 1914 to 1945. Since the wealthy can live very well without consuming significant amounts of their wealth, it follows that wealth accumulates and grows faster than national income. Piketty shows that wealth relative to income is now — at around 5 to 6 times — not far from the records achieved in the 1920s, and its rising weight means that both wealth and income inequality are likely to become even more pronounced in the future.

To complicate matters, a lot more wealth is inherited than earned. Such extreme and rising income inequality is inconsistent with democracy, and, Piketty argues, the political breaking point may soon be reached, as happened during periods of extreme inequality in the past. According to him, the most efficient policy response is the imposition of a progressive wealth tax, and such a tax has to be applied globally to avoid evasion. He acknowledges that his recommendation is utopian but insists on it as a necessary response, and one whose time may soon come, perhaps starting with an agreement among the European nations. 

In Piketty's comprehensive historical account, the United States stands out in important ways from the general picture: It is even more unequal than Europe because, even though wealth is smaller relative to output (land is much more abundant in the U.S. and real estate is cheaper), wage inequality — fueled by the rise of hyper-remunerated "supermanagers" — is much greater. Moreover, the high cost of American education and healthcare, where the nongovernment sectors play a much bigger role than in Europe, and weaker American safety nets tend both to aggravate inequality and reduce social mobility relative to Europe. 



By Dr. Subhash Kapila

India’s ‘China Policy’ formulations call for imperatives of hard-nosed pragmatism and ‘realpolitik’ and not be carried away by misplaced Indian euphoria generated by China’s rhetoric attending Chinese Foreign Minister’s ongoing visit to India.

So as the Chinese Foreign Minister calls on the Prime Minister and has meetings with the Indian Foreign Minister and the National Security Adviser, one needs to undertake a brief strategic reality check so that India-China existing state of relationship is contextualised and India does not fall into the Chinese trap of “China stands by you on your side in reforms and development.”

Economics and development cannot be the bedrock of relationships between two powerful Asian nations with competing strategic interests. It is the degree of “Strategic Trust” existent that will determine the future course of India-China relations.

Will China publicly ever affirm like some other major powers have done that China will assist India to emerge as a key global player?

Also, the Chinese Foreign Minister is reported to have stated to the effect that there is more strategic consensus between China and India than strategic differences. I would like to assert that “There are more strategic differences and distrust in China-India relations than strategic consensus,”

Strategic reality check of China-India relations would reveal the following stark realities:
China and India stand locked since 1962 and will continue as such in an adversarial and conflictual relationship.
“Strategic Distrust” lurks deeply in China-India relationship as China has not carried out any mid-course corrections in its policy formulations on India.
China’s “Strategic Distrust” of India incorporates India’s strategic partnerships with United States, Japan and India’s Look East Policy. More significantly Tibet hovers ominously over China-India relations.

The Tibetan Plateau under Chinese military occupation is highly militarised and threatening to Indian security. Associated with this are the water issues of rivers originating from the Tibetan Plateau.
China unabatedly continues with its strategy of creating/adding strategic pressure points against India in multiple comprehensive thrusts especially in the Indian Sub-Continent and its peripheries.
China has signed multiple Border Defence and Border Tranquillity Agreements with India without honouring each one of them and in the process multiplying the “Strategic Distrust” with India.

China in view of the foregoing, therefore, cannot be expected to ‘stand by India’ in any form. The reality is that China consistently adopts and stands against India and Indian national security interests.

China is a major neighbour of India and emerging as a powerful Asian power. Good relations would be welcome but not appeasement of China as India practised in the preceding ten years.

India After English?

Piyal Adhikary/epa/CorbisA man reading a Bengali newspaper with a story about Narendra Modi, Calcutta, India, May 17, 2014

In the days since the decisive victory of Narendra Modi and his conservative Bharatiya Janata Party in India’s national election, many Indian commentators have perceived a turning point in Indian politics. Modi’s critics sense, in his sweeping mandate, an ominous revival of Hindu nationalism; his supporters maintain that he won because of his robust economic record in Gujarat, where he was Chief Minister from 2001 to 2014. Few on either side, though, dispute that Modi’s political rise signals, in part, a rejection by voters of India’s traditional political elite. 

Modi is the consummate self-made man; behind him lie a childhood spent helping his father sell tea at a railway station, university degrees earned through part-time courses, and a career spent climbing laboriously up the ladder of state politics in Gujarat. In speech, he rarely departs from Hindi and Gujarati; his English is serviceable but never elegant. During the campaign, a swaggering rival, Mani Shankar Aiyar—an entrenched member of the Congress Party who speaks a plummy, refined English—dismissed Modi as a chaiwallah. But it was Aiyar who lost his parliamentary seat, while Modi went on to become Prime Minister. 

Aiyar’s disdain for Modi was part of an attitude that India’s privileged could once comfortably hold: that only the poorly educated, or the provincial-minded, or those from the lower classes preferred to speak an Indian language instead of English. But Modi’s victory has coincided with a surge of confidence in India’s regional languages—one that has played out not only in politics but also in the dramatic shift occurring in India’s newspaper business. 

For a couple of decades now, the rise of English-language journalism was assumed to be a natural consequence of India’s steady gains in literacy and rapidly growing middle class, which now includes more than 200 million people. In 1990, India had 209 English dailies; two decades later, the number had increased nearly seven-fold, to 1,406. “If I were young,” The Daily Beast’s Tina Brown told students of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2009, “I would go to India.” 

Japan's rise is good for India

Manoj Joshi
10 June 2014

In the past week, the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific Roundtable in Kuala Lumpur have focused on the future geopolitics of the Asia Pacific. 

Not surprisingly, the key discussions have centered on the rising tensions between Asia's has-been power, Japan, and rising power China. This is a rivalry poisoned by history, and it is threatening the peace of a region which is the engine of the world's economic growth. 

In the past five years, China has been flexing its muscles in the South and East China Seas raising the hackles of its neighbours. Not only is Beijing undertaking a massive military build up, but the Communist Party of China under the leadership, of Xi Jinping, is taking an active role in promoting a proactive national security posture.

A consequence of this has been the US decision to 'rebalance' itself towards Asia to reassure key allies like South Korea, Japan and the Philippines. But perhaps more dramatic, and in its own way worrisome, has been the 'return' of Japan to the high-stakes table. 

This has been evident in the platform of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the foundations of whose policy is an economic revival of Japan based on the 'three arrows' of Abenomics: A bold monetary policy with a view of easing monetary conditions to encourage an inflation rate of 2 per cent; a flexible fiscal policy which includes an economic stimulus package and fiscal consolidation; and finally a growth strategy dependent on promoting private investment, targeting new markets and working out new trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. 

Equally significant has been Japan's new diplomacy which has sought to, first and foremost, strengthen the US-Japan alliance. A subset of this is the push to work out a modus vivendi with South Korea which retains historical suspicions of Japan. 

The second pillar of Japanese diplomacy involves promoting links with the ASEAN, Australia and India. The third is to deepen ties with EU and Russia and finally, take a more active role in global issues such as climate change, millennium development goals etc. 

But the most dramatic changes are likely to show up in Tokyo's security policy, which is based on deep reform of its security infrastructure. In December 2013 Japan set up a National Security Council and within weeks, came up with a new National Security Strategy which sees Japan as a 'proactive contributor to peace based on the principle of international cooperation'.



The Pakistan government’s peace negotiations with the TTP appear to be an exercise in futility as the group and its allies are anti-democratic, fighting to overthrow the system. This is further complicated by the government’s confusing and over-simplistic approach and the disconnect between the government and the military leadership.

By Abdul Basit

After coming to power in Pakistan in a landslide victory in the May 2013 general election, the incumbent Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) government made the decision to initiate a peace dialogue with the Pakistani Taliban to tackle issues of extremism, militancy and terrorism. On 9 September 2013, the government convened an All Parties Conference (APC) that consensually approved the government’s strategy of negotiating with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the umbrella group of the Pakistani Taliban.
Since then, the government has been engaged in a series of peace talks with the TTP, albeit without making any major breakthrough. So far, the best outcome of this eight-month long peace process has been a 40-day ceasefire from 1 March to 10 April 2014. The TTP, however, did not extend the ceasefire further, stating that the government was insincere and not serious in their efforts to secure peace. The government in turn blamed the TTP for being inflexible and deceitful.
Why Negotiate with TTP?

Notwithstanding the widespread local, regional and international opposition to negotiations with the TTP, the Pakistani government is compelled to engage them in a peace process due to the pledges made to the masses during its election campaign. During the election campaign, the PML-N party vowed to find a peaceful solution to issues of militancy and terrorism. The fundamental justification driving this approach was the limitations and failures of the heavily militarized measures over the last decade.

The government argues that the current wave of terrorism and
extremism befell on Pakistan when it willy-nilly became part of the US-led war on terrorism. It blames the then military regime of General (Retired) Pervez Musharraf (2002-2007) of not only bringing the US war inside Pakistan’s borders, but also of sending Pakistani army troops to fight under US command in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Thus, for the Pakistani government, the starting point of finding a long-term solution to
militancy and terrorism in Pakistan involves disengaging from the US-led war and looking for local political solutions.

The government leadership is convinced that the US military campaign in Afghanistan and the Pakistani army’s military operations in FATA have neither achieved a strategic victory over the Afghan or Pakistani Taliban, nor a reduction in the rising tide of extremism. On the contrary, the government believes that the overly militarized approach to tackling terrorism and extremism has been counter-productive, and that it has subdued the possible political avenues in overcoming these challenges. The present government of Pakistan considers military operations to be only one component of a wider, less expensive and more sustainable political strategy to combat terrorism and extremism.
Challenges to Peace Talks: Islamic Caliphate vs. the Nation-State


June 11, 2014 · 

We know that Washington is very worried about Pakistan’s terrorism problem. This is clear from public statements,intelligence estimates, and travel warnings.

And yet the State Department’s latest annual global terrorism report is remarkably muted in its expressions of concern about Pakistan. Generalists—and non-Pakistan specialists—may conclude that all is not so bad in the militancy-ravaged country after all.

Alas, that would be the wrong conclusion. Pakistan’s terrorism problem remains very serious indeed, and the report understates this seriousness. In particular, it minimizes the threat of Pakistan’s sectarian violence, and it minimizes Pakistan’s troubled record on law enforcement responses to terrorism more generally.

Minimizing the threat of sectarian violence

References in the report to this form of terrorism—violence directed against Pakistani Shias, Christians, Hindus, and other religious minorities—are relatively limited in number and subdued in tone. The focus is largely on other forms of terrorism—mainly violence directed against the state. In the report’s main Pakistan section, we are told only that terrorist groups have “engaged in sectarian violence” (with a few passing references to terrorist attacks on religious minorities). The only time Pakistan’s sectarian terrorism is discussed with any great urgency anywhere in the report is in a “Key Terrorism Trends in 2013” box. Global terrorism, it says, “was increasingly fueled by sectarian motives, marking a worrisome trend, particularly in Syria, but also in Lebanon and Pakistan.”

Pakistan’s sectarian terrorism is more than “worrisome;” it is downright terrifying. Religious minorities are routinely targeted at home and at work, at their centers of worship, in marketplaces and recreation centers, and on public transport. The nearly 700 sectarian killings in 2013—the year covered by the report—marked a 22 percent increase from 2012. Last year, prominent Pakistani commentators even described the anti-Shia Muslim dimensions of sectarian terrorism as “genocide.”

Sectarian militancy enjoys broad reach in Pakistan. Its most vicious practitioner, the al-Qaeda-affiliated Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, has staged attacks in all four Pakistani provinces. Unlike the Pakistani Taliban, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is neither degraded by counter-militancy offensives nor undermined by internal fractures. Additionally, Pakistani public opinion demonstrates considerable support for the underlying views of sectarian extremists. In a recent poll, more than 40 percent said Shias are not Muslims.

Afghanistan or Talibanistan?

April 2, 2014 

Afghan National Army soldiers learn to medevac casualties at Camp Shorabak in Helmand Province on Feb. 19, 2014. For many, this was the first time they had been aboard a helicopter. (U.S. Marine Corps)

Will the country see relative stability and freedom after 2014?
Col. Robert M. Cassidy
This year will see a set of key events in Afghanistan: variables of pivotal magnitude that may well determine whether it succeeds as a state or succumbs to another Taliban takeover.
If Afghanistan succeeds and endures, the struggle will have ultimately been the good war of the last 12-plus years: in terms of the justification for going to war, in the way the coalition ultimately prosecuted it, and in the context that the international community will have fulfilled a post-war moral commitment to the Afghan allies we supported and fought alongside.

The value of the political object, the morality of the war, and the perception of victory or defeat comprise the most compelling logic of the contest of wills there. There are impediments that increase the risk of failure, yet also momentum that favors success. And there is history, and the history of wars in Afghanistan does not suggest that catastrophic failure is inevitable – if the coalition continues to support Afghanistan after 2014.

The political object, and its perceived value, guide war. The value of the political object of the Afghan War – dismantling, defeating, and denying al-Qaeda sanctuary – derives from the horrific consequences of the 9/11 raids. The political object, when achieved and sustained, will prevent this from happening again. However, the perceived value of the object has diminished in the eyes of the supporting polities because of the costs and duration of this war. In other words, the political and domestic will to persevere have waned.

The Taliban, al-Qaeda, and Islamist zealots of similar cloth have endured significant disruption, displacement and dismantling of their capacity to carry on, yet their will to continue has not relented. This is because of the fanatical religious creed that animates these enemies, and because of the physical and materiel sanctuary and support they benefit from in Pakistan’s border areas. Generous funding from Saudi Arabia and other gulf states also helps. For the likes of the Quetta Shura and the Haqqanis, their mantra is ‘Islam or death.’ For Western polities, it is, ‘bring the troops home.’

Pakistani security elites believe they can counter their existential nemesis, India, by supporting the Taliban and using the Haqqanis to foment insurgency in Afghanistan. Although this notion of strategic depth is a figment of these elites’ febrile and fertile imaginations, their cost-benefit strategic calculus is not likely to change unless there is a huge shift in how the U.S. and the West confront Pakistani duplicity. In other words, in the minds of the Pakistani security leadership that decides strategy, the benefits of supporting and protracting the insurgency in Afghanistan outweigh the costs.

Starkly, there are still two potential, but not inevitable, outcomes: a revived Talibanistan or a strengthened Afghanistan. Giving up potential victory by quitting the field precipitously might see the Taliban eventually overwhelm and undermine the Afghan government and its security forces. And, if the Taliban were to revive an Islamist emirate in Afghanistan, there is every reason to forecast a future with more attacks against the West, planned and prepared, with increasing scope and intensity, from Afghanistan’s and Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Disasters and Displacement: What We Know, What We Don’t Know

Elizabeth Ferris | June 9, 2014 9:18am

Climate change is expected to increase the number of sudden-onset disasters caused by natural hazards and as a consequence we can expect more disaster-induced displacement around the world. As experts gathered last week for a meeting of the KNOMAD working group on environmental change and migration, it was clear that while there is much that we know, there is even more we don’t know about the nature of such displacement.
Thanks to the good work of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), we know that large numbers of people are displaced every year due to sudden-onset disasters (32.4 million in 2012), that most such displacement is due to weather-related events (98% in 2012), that in the last five years or so that 80% or so of thesedisplacements occurred in Asia. We know that most displacement occurs within national borders and that disaster-induced displacement can be protracted (as in the Philippines, where reports are that 2 million are still displaced 7 months after Typhoon Haiyan). 
We also know that displacement from disasters is increasing and is likely to increase in the future. According to IDMC, 144 million people were displaced by sudden-onset disasters in the last five years. One of the perhaps unheralded success stories of the past few decades has been the dramatic decrease in fatalities associated with sudden-onset disasters. While the figures vary from year to year, trends over the past twenty years indicate that more people are being affected by disasters and economic costs of property damage is increasing but fewer people are dying. When people survive, but their homes are destroyed, they are displaced. 
Displacement from sudden-onset disasters is likely to increase in the future as a result of the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has reported that sudden-onset disasters related to weather are expected to increase in intensity and unpredictability. However, we should also note though that climate change may also bring an increase in sudden-onset disasters that do not displace large numbers of people, for example, heat waves which have received relatively little attention from researchers – or the humanitarian community (remember that some 70,000 people died in Europe in 2003 as a result of a heat wave). But heat waves generally don’t destroy property or displace people. 
While the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement offer a normative framework for those who are internally displaced by disasters, the solutions for those displaced by disasters may differ from those displaced by conflict or other reasons, particularly when a community is destroyed or rendered uninhabitable because of the disaster – e.g. landslides, earthquakes. 

Creative Disruption: Technology, Strategy, and the Future of the Global Defense Industry

June 5, 2014 
Ben Fitzgerald, Kelley Sayler 

“Creative Disruption: Technology, Strategy, and the Future of the Global Defense Industry” identifies trends in the technology, security and business environments; highlights the disruptive effects of these trends; and offers recommendations for improving the United States’ ability to harness new sources of innovation. This report is the culminating effort of Creative Disruption: The Task Force on Strategy, Technology and Global Defense Industry, a months-long research agenda, co-chaired by the Honorable William J. Lynn III and ADM James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), that included numerous working groups, interviews and surveys.

Authored by Senior Fellow and Director of the Technology and National Security Program Ben FitzGerald and Research Associate Kelley Sayler, with a foreword by Creative Disruption Task Force co-chairs Mr. Lynn and ADM Stavridis, the report highlights the "growing disconnect" between Defense Department (DOD) needs and what the existing business climate and acquisition strategy and structures are able to provide. The report concludes with strategic-level recommendations for increasing DOD’s ability to access and leverage shifting sources of innovation, emanating from both the commercial and traditional defense sectors, including both domestic and international suppliers.

The Man Who Took Omaha Beach Seventy years after D-Day, the incredible story of the daring officer who almost single-handedly averted a fiasco.

June 2014

Colonel George Taylor knew amphibious warfare. He had helped mastermind the Allied landings in North Africa, and he had led the 16th Infantry into Sicily. In that 

olonel George Taylor knew amphibious warfare. He had helped mastermind the Allied landings in North Africa, and he had led the 16th Infantry into Sicily. In that time, he had developed two strong opinions about any invasion: The beach was death and inertia was the mortal enemy of success.

“In a landing operation, there are two classes of men that may be found on the beach,” he wrote several months before D-Day, “those who are already dead and those who are about to die.”

This notion was never far from his mind, almost to the point of obsession. On the beach, men were like penned animals, just waiting for the slaughter. Taylor had already seen too much death in this war and he had no wish to see any more. His troops were like family. The idea of a beach choked with their dead, shattered bodies was horrifying. Taylor was an unambiguous, rather clear-thinking man who believed that excellence came through simplicity. In the aftermath of one pre-invasion exercise back in England, Gen. Clarence Huebner, who would lead the storied 1st Infantry Division in the assault on Omaha Beach, had huddled with his commanders for a critique. One by one, they spoke glowingly of the training exercise, especially the overall plan. In stark contrast to his colleagues, Taylor, Huebner’s deputy, said that such a plan would never work. “Why not?” Huebner asked.

“Because it’s too damned complicated,” Taylor replied curtly.

He was a thinker and a doer, the sort of soldier who felt equally comfortable in a front-line foxhole or a seminar room at an Army staff college. “He was a good officer and really should have been a general by then,” Private Pete Lypka, who had served under him since Sicily, said, “but he had a habit of saying what was on his mind in as few words as possible. He was no apple-polisher.” Taylor knew that the true antidote for slaughter on Omaha beach was rapid movement, though he admitted that maneuvering against powerful defenses “was almost impossible in modern combat.”

The 45-year-old West Pointer had spent more than half his life in the Army. Shades of gray crept over his close-cropped hair now, and crow’s-feet spidered from the corners of his penetrating blue eyes, though his face retained a boyish sheen. Like many other effective combat leaders in the Army, he was diminutive in height at five feet seven, but somehow large in physical presence. An infantryman to the core, he was steeped in the commonsense world of field soldiering, both peacetime and wartime. “Beneath all the officer veneer,” Corporal Sam Fuller wrote, “Colonel Taylor had a heart of gold. I loved the guy.”

Col. George Taylor led the first wave of troops on Omaha Beach. | U.S. Army 

Taylor loved the Army, though his fertile mind had generated several dozen ideas about how it could be, and should be, run much better. One idea stood above the others. Taylor believed that senior officers were too distant from soldiers, too reluctant, or perhaps unable, to teach and show their subordinates what to do, especially in combat. “What we lack, and need more of, is the worm’s eye view of leadership,” he once wrote. “No one ever tells the junior officer just exactly what he should do, and how he should do it.”

As Colonel Taylor, in charge of the very first wave of troops, approached Easy Red—the code name for a sector of coastline in the center of Omaha Beach—with the rear command post at 8:15 a.m. on June 6, 1944, he was determined to do just that. In this circumstance, he was certain that this would mean getting them to move, so this notion preoccupied his mind. He knew he would be greeted by sights of carnage, destruction, confusion and inertia. Indeed, the evening before, aboard the USS Samuel Chase, Taylor had told war correspondents Don Whitehead, Robert Capa and Jack Thompson, “The first six hours will be the toughest. This is the period during which we will be the weakest. But we’ve got to open the door.”

His words were prophetic, probably more so than even he himself appreciated. When he and his command group landed, the various inland fights were raging in full force. Much of the beach was still under intense fire from German artillery, machine-gun nests and mortars.

Taylor’s rear command post consisted of two boats, an LCM and an LCVP. Unlike many that day, the two boats landed without loss, though they were under machine-gun fire. Taylor and the others waded, under fire all the way, about 50 yards through chest-high water to the beach. “It was a helpless feeling wading while shot at,” Taylor later said. When he reached the beach, the scene that greeted his eyes was even grimmer than he had expected. Wrecked Higgins boats floated aimlessly on the crashing surf. The water was colored a muddy pink from blood; the sand was dotted and splotched with lines and circles of crimson. Body parts—everything from arms and legs to heads and fingers—littered the sand and stones. Angry-looking obstacles still honeycombed the beach, seemingly oblivious to the prodigious and costly efforts of the Gap Assault Teams to clear them. Blood-soaked bandages, discarded equipment and sand-choked rifles lay in random clusters. Dead and wounded men—some face-down, some face-up on arched backs—littered the waterline and the sands. Other figures lay huddled at the bank of shingle just above the tide line. Some looked dead. Others howled for medics. Several tanks were burning or immobilized. Mortar and artillery shells exploded—oily puffs of smoke, dust or sand floated in the wake of the explosions. Bullets snipped against the sand and stones of the beach.

Taylor emerged from the water and, in the recollection of Private Warren Rulien, a member of the intelligence and reconnaissance (“I&R”) platoon, the colonel came under accurate machine-gun fire. “He laid down on his stomach and started crawling towards shore,” Rulien said. The young private chuckled at the sight of the mighty colonel crawling ashore. He overheard Taylor say to one of his officers, “If we’re going to die, let’s die up there,” pointing at the bluffs. The colonel and the men around him got to their feet and crossed the beach. The natural tendency of nearly every person who was entering this inferno, including many in Taylor’s command group, was to gravitate toward the faux safety of the shingle. Not Taylor, though. He remained upright and strode purposefully to the left in the direction of the E-3 draw, a small valley on the beach where he and Mathews had planned to situate their command post. “It soon became evident that no such command post existed and most elements [were] pinned on the beach,” a post-battle report stated.

Taylor was not surprised. All that really mattered now, he knew, was getting his people into motion, off this beach. He was consumed by this idea; he understood what to do and he knew he must tell them in no uncertain terms. He moved west along Easy Red beach and roared at his men to get moving. As he did so, he gathered members of his headquarters into a veritable entourage, following him everywhere he went. Major Charles Tegtmeyer, his regimental surgeon, was lying against the shingle bank, wet and shivering from the landing, catching his breath and gathering his medics, when he spotted Taylor. “He passed us walking erect, followed by his staff and yelled for me to bring my group along,” the doctor recalled. Major Tegtmeyer had become seasick during the ride to shore. The rocking of the boat, combined with the stench of exhaust fumes and the sight of Captain Lawrence Deery, the regimental chaplain, munching contentedly on an apple, had caused Tegtmeyer to throw up the entire contents of his stomach. He was worried that the invasion was a complete failure and that any minute the Germans would stream down from the bluffs and overwhelm them. The idea of retreating back into the icy sea was repugnant. “I’ll be damned if I go back into that water even if Hitler himself should order me,” he exclaimed sardonically to the men around him.

On D-Day, the mere act of moving was exhausting. 

New Energy, New Geopolitics: Background Report 2

Geopolitical and National Security Impacts 
By Sarah O. LadislawMaren Leed, Molly A. Walton 
JUN 5, 2014 

The second background report in theNew Energy, New Geopolitics series, this report lays out some of the geopolitical adjustments being made around the world in response to energy changes (both actual and perceived), and what these adjustments—in terms of energy markets and geopolitics—have meant for U.S. national security. 

ISBN 978-1-4422-2851-1 (pb); 978-1-4422-2852-8 (eBook) 


Are Cooler Heads Prevailing in the East China Sea?

China and Japan appear motivated to find common ground after last weekend’s fireworks. 

After regional tensions boiled over last weekend at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Japan and China have begun to make attempts to reduce the strain on an already overwrought relationship. These attempts have come from different sources in both large and small forums. While no official agreement to improve ties has emerged, there are signs that at least the Japanese leadership is interested in opening discourse between the two sides.

As The Diplomat noted earlier today, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on China at the G7 summit this week to agree to a summit meeting between the two, saying the door to dialogue is always open, and calling on China to help ensure regional stability. This is so far the most overt sign of reconciliation from either country and the request to talk appears to have been made without reservation, which in itself is a noticeable change.

China and Japan also resumed talks (albeit informally) at the New Japan-China Friendship Committee for the 21st Century in Nagasaki on Thursday. The Japanese side is led by Taizo Nishimuro, current president of Japan Post Holdings Co. and former president of Toshiba, while the Chinese is led by former state councilor Tang Jiaxuan. While Tang lost no opportunity to criticize Abe for his controversial visit to Yasukuni Shrine last December, both sides also opened the door to future dialogue. Nishimuro emphasized reducing mutual distrust, and that “communication is important, especially when there are problems… I expect China to open the door for dialogue as well,” the Japan News reported.

Murphy's Law: Shadow Warriors

June 2014: For the second time this year a European air force was unable to send a jet fighter into the air to confront an aerial intruder. The latest incident was on May 20th when Russian warplanes entered Finnish air space and while these intruders were detected, there were no pilots available to take up an F-18 fighter to confront the Russians. The reason given was budgetary problems, specifically an overtime cap that made it impossible to have pilots and ground crews available 24/7 to deal with intruders everywhere on Finland’s long border with Russia. 
The earlier episode took place in February when Swiss F-18s failed to take off and intercept a hijacked Ethiopian Boeing 767 that was known (for several hours) to be headed their way. Two Italian fighters intercepted and escorted the 767 as it entered Italian air space near Sicily. When the 767 entered French air space on its final approach to Switzerland two French fighters took over and as the airliner entered Swiss air space the French fighters stuck with it. Swiss F-18s would normally take over at this point but, as was later explained, budget cuts and noise rules prevented the Swiss F-18s from taking off. Switzerland already had rules in place that would allow French fighters to enter Swiss air space in such an emergency. However, the French fighters could not fire their weapons without Swiss permission. The 767 landed at Geneva and the copilot, who planned to request political asylum, was arrested. 
Swiss officials explained that because of budget cuts the air force could no longer afford 24/7 availability of its F-18s for emergencies. Exceptions could be made, but in this case they weren’t. That was apparently because there are also noise restrictions on F-18 use and since the 767 was arriving before 8 AM, the jets taking off would have been in violation of local aircraft noise rules. The Swiss did not see any problem with all this because they knew the hijacker wanted asylum and a French fighter escort would do. 
With the Finns there was also a problem with the extent of the border with Russia (over 1,300 kilometers) and the expense of having fighters available for interception everywhere all the time. During the May incident another Russian aircraft came close to the border in the south and the Finns intercepted that one. This incident resonates with the U.S. because now Finland wants to join NATO and gain the benefits of the NATO mutual defense pact to deal with an increasingly aggressive Russia. NATO membership often involves fellow members sending jet fighters in for “trainin”. That also sends a message to any local threats. 
Americans, and many Europeans, were appalled at the Swiss attitude, but a little more understanding of the Finnish situation. The Finns have long sought to placate rather than confront their enormous and often cranky neighbor. Switzerland, on the other hand, has managed to maintain its neutrality with all its neighbors for over two centuries. Nevertheless, the Finns don’t like this kind of publicity, which spotlights their usual attitude towards occasional Russian reminders of why Finland should fear their former master (Finland was part of Russia from 1809 to 1917). 
Because of local politics, and the enormous expense of maintaining modern forces the politics of paying for and using military forces are different in Europe, especially since the end of the Cold War. The United States has been alarmed with these developments and has had little success in getting its European allies to organize their armed forces to be more effective. This is becoming a growing problem for the United States. For a long time the European nations took for granted that the United States would always show up to supply key military capabilities, just as the Swiss depended on France to put fighters in the air when the Swiss could not. 
During the Cold War (1947-91) the U.S. accepted these European attitudes, in part because they were not as dysfunctional as they are now. Since the 1990s the U.S. has increasingly resented this growing burden and has been uncharacteristically undiplomatic over the last few years in discussing logistical and equipment shortcomings of its NATO allies. Switzerland is not a NATO ally, but as the 767 hijacking made clear, there are situations where the Swiss are involved with NATO in military matters whether they want to be or not.