21 January 2016

Security demands strategy before action

Jan 20 2016 
Ali Ahmed
The National Security Adviser is an oddity in the Parliamentary system, since he only owes accountability to his appointing authority, the Prime Minister. This further empowers the Prime Minister''s Office, detracting from India''s parliamentary democracy by making it resemble a presidential system 
Accounts of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Ajit Doval, as a man of action have only been reinforced by his response to the terrorist attack at the Pathankot airfield early this month. While a laudable quality in an operational-level commander, however, when this trait (to take action) is present in abundance in a person required to function at the strategic level, it may be problematic. 

Perhaps, the most onerous responsibility of the NSA is his duty as Secretary to the Political Council of India's Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) and as Chair of its executive council. The appointment requires a cool, reflective, person to tenant it. The Pathankot episode throws up the question: Whether Doval is the best man for this sensitive job.
On this score, the criticism attending the response to the Pathankot terror attack should not be spin-doctored into oblivion. The Prime Minister on a visit to the site, and the Army Chief in his Army Day press conference, have tried to restore confidence in the system. Acknowledging a few home truths would better serve the system. 
A key point was brought forth by the previous NSA, Shivshankar Menon. He observed the cancellation of the NSA’s trip to China for strategic-level talks, implying this was an instance of misplaced priorities. Second, an NSA getting involved in essentially a tactical-level operation is liable to miss the wood for the trees. Third, the NSA's bypassing of institutions such as the Home and Defence Ministries and the military serves to sap traditional chains of command and constitutionally ordained authority. 
Since the NSA is at the fulcrum of India's nuclear command and control, these observations have implications for India's nuclear command and control. 

What does lower oil prices mean for India?

Shebonti Ray Dadwal,  January 18, 2016

A decade ago, any political turmoil in the West Asian region would have an immediate impact on the oil market with a concurrent rise in prices. Now, despite growing tensions set-off by the execution of respected Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr by Riyadh on charges of fomenting terrorism, the subsequent attack by Iranian protestors on the Saudi embassy in Tehran and growing tensions between Iran on one side and Saudi Arabia and its GCC allies on the other, there has been no impact on oil prices. In fact, oil prices continued their slide, with Brent falling below USD 30 per barrel for the first time since 2004 after scaling USD 115 in June 2014. Nor do projections by the IEA and other energy agencies indicate that a recovery in oil prices is likely in the near future.

On the demand side, there has been a continuing decline in developed countries both due to slowing economies as well as climate change concerns. While the slowdown in the Chinese economy has raised fears that Beijing may cut oil consumption, the fact remains that China’s oil demand rose seven per cent to about 11 million barrels a day (mb/d) in 2015, and is expected to grow by two per cent in 2016. India, on the other hand, is emerging as the bright spot in an otherwise dismal oil market. It has doubled its crude oil imports to almost four mb/d in the past decade, and has overtaken Japan, Germany and South Korea to become the world’s third biggest importer, after China and the United States, and the second largest after China in Asia. Nevertheless, even strong growth in Indian demand will not dent an oversupplied market.

It is the strategy employed by the producers, notably Saudi Arabia, that has led to the current state of oversupply. Unlike in the past, when a sustained fall in prices would see OPEC cut production to shore up prices, this time around at the OPEC’s December 4, 2015 meeting, the Saudis persuaded other members to sustain production at around 31.7 mb/d, indicating a strategy of prioritising market share over price. While the decision was perceived as a ploy to drive out competition from non-OPEC producers like American shale and other higher cost alternates, the move was also aimed at Iran, which is poised to re-enter the market with fresh volumes this year, thus reaping financial gains and positioning itself to challenge Saudi leadership in the region. With the writing writ large that oil may be close to the end of its reign, the Saudis are looking to grab as much of the market as they can from their competitors, be it other oil producers or alternate energy resources, for as long as they can. They can afford to gamble because they hold the largest reserves of the lowest production cost oil and a massive sovereign wealth fund. As Saudi oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, said in an interview to MEES in December 2014, “If the price falls, it falls, you cannot do anything about it. But if it goes down, others will be harmed greatly before we feel any pain.” He went on to say that the Saudi marginal cost (of production) will at most be USD 10 a barrel in 10 or 20 years’ time. Further, he also stated that while the core Gulf producers could withstand around two to three years of low prices, there were many things in the energy market apart from the oil market that would determine prices in the future.

A tale of two economists

January 19, 2016 
The Hindu/Reuters
Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian publicly differed with RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan and took a bet on accelerating growth. He is clearly losing
Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) Arvind Subramanian started 2015 on an over-optimistic note. He is likely to have ended it in disappointment. The economy is slowing down: in the first six months of the financial year, real GDP grew 7.2 per cent, slower than the 7.5 per cent in the corresponding earlier-year period. In 2016-17 too, GDP growth will not be significantly greater unless some specific steps are taken, the CEA has said. Thankfully, there are few takers in the government for the main measure he is suggesting: a further pause on fiscal deficit reduction.

About a year ago, barely months into his job in the Finance Ministry, Dr. Subramanian projected a sharp recovery with growth of up to 8.1-8.5 per cent. He forecast the acceleration even though he did not expect any big-bang reforms (on this count, his forecast was correct). In his scheme of things, the spurt in growth would come from incremental policy pushes, such as to subsidy reforms, direct benefit transfers, and financial inclusion of the poor.
The brave outlook underestimated the weakness in the exports sector. It relied on the Rs. 70,000 crore of public investment that was earmarked in the year’s budget — as suggested by him — for building infrastructure to stimulate private investments. The stimulus he had designed was implemented. It proved insufficient to generate the growth impulses needed to kick-start the over $2 trillion economy and rekindle animal spirits gone numb in the dying years of the United Progressive Alliance’s 10-year stint due to policy paralysis and corruption scandals.

As things stand, it seems unlikely that industrial growth will cross 5 per cent. Growth in lending by banks to industry, a proxy for investment sentiment, hasn’t budged from a 20-year low. Corporate balance sheets are burdened with mountains of debt. The worst exports performance since 1952-53 is inevitable.

Jaish ‘arrests’ a Pak military trial balloon?

Jan 19 2016,   Ayesha Siddiqa
Pakistan generals are not keen to rush into any initiative that would then be tantamount to neutralising the military’s influence in power politics or threatening Pakistan’s ideological and political relevance
THE news of Masood Azhar’s possible detention in Pakistan left me with the same feeling I had when reading a story in my childhood about Sheikh Chilli, a man who built castles in the air. What if he hadn’t shaken his head so violently that the basket of eggs didn’t come crashing down, as did his dreams? 
Even as I sat down for an interview soon after, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Privatisation claimed the news of the Jaish-e-Mohammed chief’s detention was not verified. He had come from a meeting with other ministers in which none vouched for the news of the arrest. In fact, the minister stated that the Ministry of Interior had advised him to be non-committal. The statement from the office of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif spoke of action against the JeM but was guarded about any specifics. So why did someone in authority leak the news of Azhar’s detention to the Pakistani media?
By January 15 evening, it was clear that the story needed to be approached with great caution. Sources from Bahawalpur, where the JeM is stationed, talked about the authorities taking 13 JeM members into custody from various cities in Punjab. However, what is more interesting is the report of Masood Azhar and his brother Mufti Rauf being picked up from Islamabad. Didn’t the government say for years that Azhar did not live anywhere in Punjab but had disappeared somewhere in the tribal areas?

Despite the news, his men in Bahawalpur seemed calm and contained. Though news came of the JeM’s offices being shut down, one wondered what they were talking about since the JeM has no office. It is not a political party which would require an office. Its entire business is conducted from the madrasa Usman-o-Ali in Bahawalpur and another huge madrasa being built on the main highway outside the city. Closing down these seminaries would draw attention and create excitement, which was not observable. It certainly makes one wonder if the news was a trial balloon to see India’s reaction – just like some believe the Pathankot attack was meant to test New Delhi’s red lines.
The JeM folks were of the view that all of this would wash away in 10 days. Throughout the evening when news was spread about the Pakistan government taking action, there was nothing happening in Bahawalpur. The only thing which has happened thus far is that the JeM’s website and magazine are no longer available online, which is very different from what happened with LeT/JuD.

West Bengal at risk of jihadi extremism. Mamata must help Bangladesh fight terror

It is in India’s own national security interest that it should extend all possible aid to prime minister Sheikh Hasina.

Most Bangladeshis would welcome the Supreme Court’s confirmation of death sentence awarded to Motiur Rahman Nizami, Ameer of Bangladesh’s largest Islamic fundamentalist party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) for leading the Al Badr Bahini to carry out the massacre of innocent civilians and other crimes in collusion with Pakistan army during the liberation war in 1971. Those of us who took part in the war and witnessed the gruesome tragedy would also welcome it.
On November 21, 2015, two other collaborators - Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mojaheed, JI General Secretary - were executed after the Supreme Court rejected their appeal against a Chittagong special court that sentenced them to death for acts of genocide and murder in Chittagong in 1971.
It had not been an easy task for her to prosecute the collaborators of Pakistan army, particularly after Major General Ziaur Rahman seized power after the founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who started their prosecution, was assassinated on August 15, 1975.

Zia not only stalled the prosecution of collaborators, but also lifted restrictions on collaborators like Nizami to return to Bangladesh in 1975. Though fundamentalist parties like JI commanded less than ten percent votes, they wielded a strong influence over sections of conservative Muslims. Zia’s intention was to muster their support for the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) to counter the huge popularity the Awami League (AL) enjoyed.
It was an anachronism that for political gains, Zia, who led his Bengal Regiment battalion to join the fight for freedom against Pakistan army, chose to ignore the crime of collaborators who carried out systematic genocide of two to three million innocent civilians and raped an estimated 2,00,000 women, mostly Hindus. We had seen at first hand the traumatic effects of the massacres when we marched into Dhaka.
I still remember the chilling sight of a grinning human skeleton hung at the entrance of the Al Badr interrogation centre in Mohammedpur, a posh suburb of Dhaka, when we went there after the battle to collect evidence of war crimes. We also met many families of intellectuals killed by the militia. A doctor from Tangail recounted his brush with death at the hands of the militia and the Pakistan army when he and over 60 other intelligentsia of the town were lined up and shot dead. Luckily, others who fell dead upon the doctor saved him from the bullets!

Scores of young Hindu women came in palkis and met us in Cox’s Bazar (in the Southeast tip of Bangladesh) when I stayed on to carry out counter insurgency operations in Chittagong. They tearfully recounted the atrocities they were subjected to, including rape, at the hands of lumpen militia elements during the war.
Begum Khaleda Zia, who came to power after Zia’s assassination, accommodated fundamentalist parties including the JI in the BNP’s ruling coalition and legitimised the role of collaborators like Nizami in mainstream politics. He used the opportunity to emerge as an influential member of the coalition cabinet from 2001 to 2006.

Slowing dragon, steady tiger

China’s economy grew at a 25-year low in 2015. The IMF sees India as the world’s fastest growing large economy in 2016-17
The International Monetary Fund said that India and the rest of emerging Asia are generally projected to continue growing at a robust pace. Photo: Bloomberg
New Delhi: China’s economy grew at its slowest pace in a quarter of a century last year, raising expectations of a further devaluation of the yuan to boost its exports—a move that may erode India’s export competitiveness and fuel currency-market volatility.
Separately, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday kept its growth forecast for India unchanged at 7.5% in 2016-17 and lowered its global growth projection in an update to the World Economic Outlook (WEO) released in October, maintaining that China remains a source of uncertainty.
China grew 6.9% in 2015 after fourth-quarter expansion slowed to 6.8%, capping a tumultuous year in which the world’s second-largest economy was hit by capital outflows and a summer stocks crash.

For long a driver of global growth, the rapid slowing of the Chinese economy is triggering fears of a fresh global setback.
IMF kept China’s growth projection unchanged at 6.3% in 2016, but lowered its global growth forecast to 3.4% from the October projection of 3.6% for the same year.
India is projected to remain the fastest growing major economy for the second year in a row. To be sure, the Chinese economy, at $10.4 trillion, is little over five times the size of the Indian economy, estimated at $1.9 trillion in 2014-15.
“India and the rest of emerging Asia are generally projected to continue growing at a robust pace, although with some countries facing strong headwinds from China’s economic rebalancing and global manufacturing weakness,” IMF said.
In 2015-16, India is estimated to grow 7.3%. In the first half of 2015-16 (April-September), India’s economy grew 7.2%.

Saudi Arabia may go broke before the US oil industry buckles

It is too late for OPEC to stop the shale revolution. The cartel faces the prospect of surging US output whenever oil prices rise
 By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard,  05 Aug 2015
If the oil futures market is correct, Saudi Arabia will start running into trouble within two years. It will be in existential crisis by the end of the decade.
The contract price of US crude oil for delivery in December 2020 is currently $62.05, implying a drastic change in the economic landscape for the Middle East and the petro-rentier states.
The Saudis took a huge gamble last November when they stopped supporting prices and opted instead to flood the market and drive out rivals, boosting their own output to 10.6m barrels a day (b/d) into the teeth of the downturn.
Bank of America says OPEC is now "effectively dissolved". The cartel might as well shut down its offices in Vienna to save money.
If the aim was to choke the US shale industry, the Saudis have misjudged badly, just as they misjudged the growing shale threat at every stage for eight years. "It is becoming apparent that non-OPEC producers are not as responsive to low oil prices as had been thought, at least in the short-run," said the Saudi central bank in its latest stability report.
"The main impact has been to cut back on developmental drilling of new oil wells, rather than slowing the flow of oil from existing wells. This requires more patience," it said.
One Saudi expert was blunter. "The policy hasn't worked and it will never work," he said.

By causing the oil price to crash, the Saudis and their Gulf allies have certainly killed off prospects for a raft of high-cost ventures in the Russian Arctic, the Gulf of Mexico, the deep waters of the mid-Atlantic, and the Canadian tar sands.
Consultants Wood Mackenzie say the major oil and gas companies have shelved 46 large projects, deferring $200bn of investments.
The problem for the Saudis is that US shale frackers are not high-cost. They are mostly mid-cost, and as I reported from the CERAWeek energy forum in Houston, experts at IHS think shale companies may be able to shave those costs by 45pc this year - and not only by switching tactically to high-yielding wells.

China's strategic push in the Middle East

January 19, 20
Why is Xi Jinping visiting Saudi Arabia, Egypt and China this week?
Former RA&W officer Jayadeva Ranade explains the significance of China's outreach to the Middle East.
Timed to coincide with expanding potential commercial opportunities and a gradually dwindling US interest, Chinese President Xi Jinping embarked on a five-day tour to the three key Middle Eastern countries of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran on January 19.
There are indications that Xi Jinping's visit will herald a phase of new and more active Chinese engagement with this region. China issued its first Arab Policy Paper on January 13. The five-part paper mentioned cooperation in 36 specific sectors including civilian nuclear co-operation, international affairs etc. and appreciated Arab nations for their support on Taiwan, which it noted is an area of China's 'national core interest.'

A Xinhua despatch of January 13 observed that 'Those calling China a bystander in the Middle East will see Beijing take a proactive approach to the region.'
A Chinese president has not visited Saudi Arabia since 2009 when Hu Jintao traveled to the kingdom. In August 2012, then Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi indicated China's importance for Egypt's foreign policy by travelling to Beijing to meet then Chinese president Hu Jintao before visiting Washington. It was also his first official trip outside the Middle East. Jiang Zemin was the last Chinese president to visit Iran and he travelled there in 2002.
A factor in the timing of Xi's visit is undoubtedly the broad negative opinion about the US in the Middle East. The visit comes at a time when the relations of these countries with the US has weakened and negative sentiment against the US among the local populace is high.
In Egypt, barely ten per cent of its people had a favourable view of the US in 2015. Elsewhere in the region too, those critical of the US significantly outnumber those with a positive attitude. In comparison, China overall has a substantively more positive image.

Since taking over as China's president Xi has adopted an assertive foreign policy aimed at furthering China's strategic and commercial interests and influence. He is already the most travelled Chinese leader since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 -- Xi visited 14 countries in 2015 alone and has visited 30 countries since 2012.
The inclusion of three vice-premiers and six ministers in Xi's entourage for this visit along with a large business delegation suggests that the focus will be on exploring strategic business opportunities, including the flagship 'One Road, One Belt.' As in the past with each of these countries, the sales of military hardware and technology will almost certainly be on the agenda.
Riyadh's concerns about the deterioration in its regional security environment and rapid development of its secretive Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force make it reasonable to expect that agreements on sales and increased military cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia will be concluded.


by Todd Crowell 01/16/2016
When China’s navy looks beyond its coastal waters, which it increasingly does, it sees a kind of Great Wall. The Chinese call this the “First Island Chain,” a line of islands, some small, others huge, extending from the Japan archipelago to the north, the Ryuku island chain past Taiwan, and the Philippines to the south. The waters within this arc are considered an integral part of China itself.
Increasingly, China’s sailors are penetrating this barrier through various choke points to gain access to the broader Western Pacific Ocean. In late November, a large formation of Chinese long-range bombers and support craft passed through the gap between Okinawa and the island of Miyako, the so-called “Miyako Channel".
The Miyako Channel is strategically vital for China because it is one of the few international waterways through which the Chinese navy and air can access the Pacific Ocean without violating somebody’s space. It is also located close to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands which are also claimed by China.

The first time a Chinese H-6K bomber passed through the channel was September, 2013; the first multi-plane formation to use this passageway was in May this year, and late this year an unusually large formation of eight bombers and support aircraft passed through the gap, flew around the Pacific, and then returned to home base through the channel.
The H-6K is a modified and much improved version of an old Soviet Tu-22 bomber, known as a “Badger”. It has been configured to hold cruise missiles under its wings or in its bomb bay. The planes reportedly flew about 620 miles into the Pacific before returning to their home base near Shanghai.

Both the Chinese navy and the air force are learning to conduct extended maritime operations far from home waters and into the wider Western Pacific. Of course, China has maintained a permanent, rotating flotilla of two destroyers and a supply ship in the waters off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden since 2009. Unlike Japan, it does not have a permanent base in that region, although it is seeking one.
In March, 2014, two Chinese warships docked at Abu Dhabi, the first time a Chinese fleet had made a port call on the Arabian Peninsula since the days of the Treasure Ships of Admiral Zheng He. In 2013, the Chinese navy made its first goodwill visit to South America, and it stationed a guided missile frigate in the Mediterranean to help escort ships removing chemical weapons from Syria.

Is ISIS Operating a Secret High-Tech Weapons Lab?

Dave Majumdar, January 18, 2016
New video footage seems to reveal that the Islamic State (ISIS) operates its own research lab that is developing weapons of unprecedented sophistication for a nonstate actor. If the footage is confirmed, ISIS poses a much more lethal threat than first thought, not only against ground attacks, but also against airpower.

New video footage obtained by the Sky News—a British satellite news network—reveals that Islamic State operates what can only be described as a 'Jihadi technical school' in the Syrian city of Raqqah. In the video, which does not appear to be a typical propaganda film, the terrorist group looks to be developing a host of complex weapons including remotely controlled car bombs and—most surprising—surface-to-air missiles that might be capable of hitting low-flying combat aircraft.

The video reveals that the Islamic State has the ability to refurbish thousands of retired guided missiles. The terrorist group, it appears, has developed a way to replace a missile’s thermal battery—which is extremely difficult—and reactive many of these derelict weapons. It’s a feat that no terrorist group has accomplished previously.
Perhaps most worryingly, Islamic State technicians were shown working on reactivating Soviet-built R-13 Atoll air-to-air missiles—which presumably came from either Syrian or Iraqi stocks. The terrorist group is apparently attempting to jury-rig these weapons into a rudimentary anti-aircraft system that would be similar in concept to the Chaparral or AN/TWQ-1 Avenger air defense system.

The Chinese Plans to Nuke America

A recent publication details the fallout from a strike on the United States.
Lyle J. Goldstein, January 19, 2016
When one reads enough Chinese naval literature, diagrams of multi-axial cruise missile saturation attacks against aircraft carrier groups may begin to seem normal. However, one particular graphic from the October 2015 issue (p. 32) of the naval journal Naval & Merchant Ships [舰船知识] stands out as both unusual and singularly disturbing. It purports to map the impact of a Chinese intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) strike by twenty nuclear-armed rockets against the United States.

Targets include the biggest cities on the East and West Coasts, as well as in the Midwest, as one would expect. Giant radiation plumes cover much of the country and the estimate in the caption holds that the strike “would yield perhaps 50 million people killed” [可能造成5000 万死亡]. The map below that graphic on the same page illustrates the optimal aim point for a hit on New York City with a “blast wave” [火风量] that vaporizes all of Manhattan and well beyond.
That makes the North Korean “threat” look fairly insignificant by comparison, doesn’t it? But what’s really disturbing is that the scenario described above envisions a strike by China’s largely antiquated DF-5 first generation ICBM. In other words, the illustration is perhaps a decade or more out of date. As China has deployed first the road-mobile DF-31, then DF-31A and now JL-2 (a submarine-launched nuclear weapon), China’s nuclear strategy has moved from “assured retaliation” to what one may term “completely assured retaliation.”

Support For Isis In Muslim Countries

by Felix Richter, Statista.com -- this post authored by Niall McCarthy
Which countries in the Muslim-majority world support the so-called Islamic State the most?
Generally, Muslims have an overwhelmingly negative view of the terrorist group with no more than 15 percent of people in countries with significant Muslim populations (besides Syria) holding a favourable view of the group.

This chart shows the percentage of the population with a favourable view of Isis in 2015.

You will find more statistics at Statista

Will the Muslim Brotherhood Survive Its Latest Defeat in Egypt Or Is It Just a Relic Now?

The Brotherhood Breaks Down: Will the Group Survive the Latest Blow?
Eric Trager & Marina Shalabi
Foreign Affairs, January 17, 2016
Muslim Brothers call Mahmoud Ezzat the “Iron Man.” The stoic 71-year-old deputy supreme guide earned that nickname on account of his lifelong struggle on behalf of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, including over a decade spent in Egyptian jails, during which he burnished his reputation for toughness as one of the foremost enforcers of discipline within the organization’s rigid hierarchy. Following the July 2013 ouster of Egypt’s first elected president, Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi, Ezzat’s legend within the organization grew as he evaded the crackdown that landed most top Brotherhood leaders in prison, and then hid within Egypt even as other Muslim Brothers fled into exile. “He has the ability to hide because he was imprisoned prior to this for about ten years,” Brotherhood youth activist Amr Farrag said during an October 2014 interview in Istanbul. “He can sit for something like five years without speaking to anyone, sitting in only a closed room. He can do this.” Farrag added that Ezzat asked his Brotherhood colleagues not to contact him, presumably to avoid detection within Egypt.

Ezzat’s strategy for self-preservation ultimately worked: Egyptian security forces did not capture him. But in his absence, the Brotherhood’s internal discipline collapsed, and a severe internal rift exploded into the open in the spring of 2015. After initially attempting to resolve these divisions from within Egypt, Ezzat suddenly reappeared in Turkey in mid-November and declared himself the Brotherhood’s acting supreme guide. Yet the Iron Man had lost his touch: Many Muslim Brothers rejected his power play, and the rift has deepened considerably in the past few months.
Ezzat’s failure to assert his control reflects a significant change in the organization’s internal culture. For much of the past two decades, the Brotherhood was dominated by a hardline faction known as the “Qutbists”—followers of the radical Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb, whose call for global jihad later inspired al Qaeda and other terrorist movements. Like other Brotherhood leaders of his generation, Ezzat was imprisoned with Qutb prior to Qutb’s execution for plotting to overthrow Gamal Abdel Nasser’s government in 1966. Although Ezzat downplays the more extreme elements of Qutb’s writings, he and his fellow Qutbists embrace Qutb’s call for creating a “vanguard” that would “keep itself somewhat aloof” from the broader society until it can establish Islamist rule. Until the January 2011 Arab Spring uprising that ended Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year reign, the Qutbists viewed the Brotherhood’s pursuit of power as a long-term goal, and worked in the interim to build an ideologically cohesive organization by recruiting only the most dedicated followers and preparing them for power when the time was ripe. The Qutbists typically argued against political cooperation with non-Islamists, fearing that doing so would force the Brotherhood to compromise on its Islamist principles.

Iran Nuclear Deal: India Needs a Sherpa to Harness the Most of It

C Uday Bhaskar
The US government on Saturday announced that a wide range of economic, fiscal and trade sanctions imposed on Iran for its decade-long nuclear transgressions had been lifted. US President Barack Obama reiterated that the IAEA had confirmed Teheran’s compliance with its ‘roll-back’ commitments, which had been agreed to in July 2014 after protracted negotiations between Iran and the US-led P5+1.
This complex modus vivendi between the US and Iran marks a significant rapprochement – however nascent and limited – between the two countries which have a history of bitter hostility since 1979 when the Shah of Iran was overthrown by a Shia theocracy. The US was long seen as the enemy of the Iranian people for its dubious role in thwarting democracy in Iran in 1953 – and the label of the ‘Great Satan’ has since been accorded to Washington.

Uncle Sam’s Equation with Iran
The flip side – the US projected Iran as a major threat to regional peace and stability and enabled Baghdad under President Saddam Hussein to wage a murderous war of attrition against Iran that included the use of chemical weapons.
However the January 1990 US-led war against Kuwait and its subsequent military campaign against Iraq in 2003 for its purported WMD transgressions led to a radical regional strategic re-arrangement. This ultimately proved to be advantageous to the Ayatollah-led Tehran.
In one of those paradoxes of ill-advised pol-mil certitude that has long term disastrous consequences – the current blood-bath in Syria is but one example – US President George Bush toppled the Saddam Hussein regime with tragic consequences for the stability of Iraq, thereby making Iran the ultimate strategic winner in the region.

Iran’s Nuke Deal: What It Means for India
Sanctions being lifted on Iran are crucial as billions of frozen US dollars will be returned; restrictions have affected Iran’s economy for a large part of this decade.
Many nations, including India, can look forward to robust trade and economic engagement with Tehran.
Strategic opportunities for India go beyond the immediate availability of more oil at lower prices.
Delhi can try and tap Tehran’s abundant natural gas reserves too by devising a well-thought energy strategy
India’s tie-up with Iran to develop a port at Chabahar likely to give a boost to trade ties with landlocked Afghanistan

** The Sykes-Picot Agreement at 100

Steven L. Foster, January 19, 2016
The Historical Implications of Defining Sovereignty in the Middle East
“This blessed advance will not stop until we hit the last nail in the coffin of the Sykes–Picot conspiracy” - Islamic State Leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, July 2014
The violence occurring in the Middle East is the result of a revisionist movement, namely the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which seeks to conquer the greater region and expand its caliphate. A group that knows no geographical boundaries, its rapid rise is a symptom of what is widely regarded as the post-Westphalian trend the world has taken. Further, the volatility accompanying years of sectarian division has only been exacerbated by western involvement in the region, a century-old pattern of attempts to dictate the direction of governance dating back to World War I. This year is the 100th anniversary of the agreement that defined the borders within the Middle East as we know them, the Sykes-Picot Agreement, named for the two men who led the negotiations. Many historians mark the 1916 deal as the first in a series of Western missteps in the region, and that the borders created in the deal failed to adequately consider the ethnic and religious divisions within the various countries they created, thus furthering the potential for conflict. Consequently, many consider that the lines drawn along the remnants of the former Ottoman Empire are no longer relevant, and the current state of play in the Middle East will lead to a redefinition of those borders. Such ideas undermine the complexity of the situation and, in fact, preserving these lines may help delegitimize ISIS’s casus belli in its desire for regional conquest.
The Men Behind the Deal
Throughout World War I, Britain and France were embroiled in conflict not only in Europe but across the Turkish imperial territory. After the disaster at Gallipoli, the British knew they needed to shift the offensive momentum against the Turks, but did not have the means to do this without French assistance. The French were reluctant to spend any more blood and treasure than they had to without good cause, as early 1916 brought about the battle of Verdun, one of the deadliest engagements of World War I. To gather French support, the British would have to sweeten the deal, and dividing the future remnants of the Ottoman Empire in a manner that served both British and French interests was one way to do it. Between December 1915 and March 1916, British and French diplomats began to lay the groundwork for how the territories would be divided amongst them.

Iran And Goodwill

Can Tehran can provide peace to the Middle-East by counteracting Wahhabism and the Islamic State?
N V Subramanian,  N.V.Subramanian is the Editor of www.newsinsight.net and writes on politics and strategic affairs.
19 Jan, 2016
Can Tehran can provide peace to the Middle-East by counteracting Wahhabism and the Islamic State?
The Iran sanctions have gone. Will it bring peace to the Middle East? The two issues seem divergent. They are in fact related.
Iran was an international pariah after the split with the United States and the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini. Its nuclear ambitions worsened its miseries. The direct gainer was Saudi Arabia.
For more than 35 years, Wahhabism was on the ascendant because Saudi power grew in the absence of counteracting Shia Iran. The hand of Wahhabism in the 9/11 attacks did not mortally damage Saudi power, or indeed the expulsion of the Al-Qaeda from Afghanistan and the death of Osama Bin Laden in a US raid. The Al-Qaeda morphed to a deadlier form of Wahhabism called Islamic State which has Saudi backing.
This state of Sunni ascendancy was hardly uniform. Setbacks were frequent. The major one was the loss of Iraq to Shia rule. This was the unintended consequence of Saddam Hussein’s deposition. The loss of Iraq was offset by the rise of the Islamic State which declared a caliphate in the Sunni areas of Iraq and Syria. Yemen cut deeper in a sense. Overall, however, Wahhabism was growing dominant, and sanctions’ constrained Iran was a powerful factor. This will now change.

The change is already seen. As if Saudi Arabia feared an Iran unconstrained by sanctions, it executed a Shia cleric, provoking a breakdown in diplomatic relations. Their proxy wars in the Middle East will escalate. In earlier times, Saudi Arabia could have counted on Western support. If Iran plays its cards well, this may no longer be the case.
What does this entail? Iran must build on the goodwill generated by voluntary abdication of military nuclear ambitions. This must, for one, continue indefinitely to have effect. It will give Iran the image of a responsible regional power compared to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is not helping its cause.
Its deputy crown prince has been outed as a trouble-maker. The German intelligence service has targeted him for most of the troubles in the Middle East. The execution of the Shia leader seems his idea. He has played right into Iran’s hands. Iran couldn’t have scripted it better.

Iran is hugely benefited by a moderate President. Moderation is the key to Iran’s rise. It was moderate not to embrace a military nuclear regime. It must lead by example as a moderate Islamic power. It would provide the sharpest contrast to Saudi Wahhabism.
The world needs rest from Wahhabism and the Islamic State. It needs an Islam of moderation, accommodation and peace. Iran can provide that. It could do so to such a degree that Sunni kingdoms are compelled by their subjects to become moderate and democratic. It could catalyze profound changes in the region.

The ugly truth: Defeating the Islamic State will take decades

By David Ignatius Opinion writer January 18
There’s a scary disconnect between the somber warnings you hear privately from military leaders about the war against the Islamic State and the glib debating points coming from Republican and Democratic politicians.
The politicians fulminate about defeating the terrorists, but they don’t talk much about the costs or sacrifices that will be required. The generals and admirals, who have been at war for 15 years, know that success can’t be bought cheaply. Defeating this enemy will require a much larger and longer commitment by the United States than any leading politician seems willing to acknowledge.

My visit here last week to the headquarters of Central Command, which oversees all U.S. military activities in the Middle East, came as part of a conference organized by the Center for Naval Analyses, which provides research to the Navy and other services. The ground rules prevent me from identifying speakers by name, but I can offer a summary of what I heard. It’s not reassuring.
Military leaders know that they are fighting a ruthless adversary that has adjusted and adapted its tactics as the United States and its partners have joined the fight over the past 18 months. The jihadists have lost about 25 percent of the territory they held in mid-2014, but they have devised innovative methods to compensate for their weakness.

Some examples illustrate the agility of Islamic State commanders: They have used tunnels and other concealment tactics to hide their movements; they have developed super-size car bombs, packing explosives in bulldozers and other heavy equipment and sending them in waves against targets; they have deployed small drones for reconnaissance and may be preparing armed drones; they have used chemical weapons, such as chlorine and mustard gas, on the battlefield and may expand use of such unconventional weapons.
U.S. commanders have learned how difficult it will be to create a Sunni force that can help clear and hold territory in Iraq and Syria that’s now controlled by the Islamic State. Sunni tribal leaders mistrust the United States and doubt U.S. staying power. U.S. efforts to avoid casualties and resist “boots on the ground” reinforce the sense that the United States is pursuing a strategy of containment, not victory.

Ramadi is No Model For Fighting ISIS

Is a city really 'liberated' if it is mostly destroyed and emptied of its inhabitants?
John Ford,  January 18, 2016
After months of fighting, the Iraqi Army has finally wrested control of Ramadi away from ISIS. Understandably, this has been hailed as a great victory. Unfortunately, there is not as much cause for celebration as appears at first glance. In a very real sense, Ramadi was not 'liberated' because ISIS had already destroyed it.
A city is more than the physical structures that occupy a particular location on a map. A city is its people and the economic and social connections that bind these people together. The physical location of Ramadi has been taken back from ISIS but the society that once was there has been damaged, perhaps irreparably. Ramadi was once home to 450,000 people. Today, it is estimated that only 4,000 to 10,000 people remain in the city.

Some of this damage resulted from the violence that gripped the country after the 2003 invasion. Nothing, though, has done more damage to Ramadi than the eight months that ISIS held Ramadi in repressive grip. Iraq’s defense minister recently admitted that 80 percent of the city has been destroyed by the struggle to take it back. What remains is cluttered with IEDs and unexploded ordnance. Basic utility services like water and electricity have been rendered non-functioning for much of the city because of battle damage. The displaced former residents now live mostly in camps. The lucky ones have been put up in hotels in nearby Habbaniyah, a resort town built for tourists in an area made perilous for visitors and locals alike.
The pattern has been more or less repeated across the areas of western Iraq that have fallen to ISIS. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, there are now 3.9 million Iraqis who are internally displaced in addition to the nearly 400,000 who have been forced into refugee camps in neighboring countries. If they were a city, Iraq’s displaced population would be the country’s second largest after Baghdad. Fallujah has been nearly as devastated as Ramadi—only about 3,000 families remain there. Mosul, the largest city still under ISIS control suffered a fate nearly as devastating as that suffered by Ramadi. Since the summer of 2014, ISIS has forced about a third of Mosul’s population, over 500,000 people, out of the city. ISIS’s campaign of terror inside the city has ethnically cleansed the once predominantly Kurdish city and turned it into a Sunni Arab enclave.

Pick Your Fights Carefully—with China, Iran or Anyone

Paul R. Pillar.  January 18, 2016

The dramatic and fast-moving events in U.S.-Iranian relations over the past few days underscore, among other lessons, the following two. One is that results matter. No matter how hard the naysayers have striven to say nay, they have offered no alternative to actual U.S. policy that could have yielded results as favorable. And it's not as if there hasn't been ample experience to test what alternatives might have done. With regard to Iran's nuclear program, years of nothing but pressure and sanctions brought only years of an expanding program with ever more centrifuges spinning. It was only through engagement, negotiation and compromise that the most strenuous restrictions on, and monitoring of, a national nuclear program that have ever been negotiated were achieved. As for Iranian-Americans who were unjustly imprisoned, they and perhaps others as well would have been imprisoned whether or not U.S.-Iranian relations were in a deep freeze. (A couple of the men just released by Iran had been arrested before the nuclear negotiations even began.) They were freed only because the relationship thawed. As for the naval encounter in the Persian Gulf, despite the erroneous attempts by critics of the administration to depict as an Iranian provocation an incident that instead consisted of U.S. Navy craft making a still not fully explained incursion into Iranian territorial waters, it is hard to imagine an outcome as favorable as the one that ensued if there were not the diplomatic channel, established in the course of the nuclear negotiations, to achieve that outcome. Again, past experience strongly suggests that with a frozen relationship the outcome would have been worse.

A second major lesson concerns the mistake of treating relations with any country customarily labeled as an adversary as if the entire relationship were zero-sum, leading to policies that try to oppose the other country at every turn, no matter what that country is doing and no matter how what it is doing actually does or does not relate to U.S. interests. This mistake has arisen regarding U.S. policies toward some other countries besides Iran. Joshua Kurlantzick of the Council on Foreign Relations makes a thoughtful argument in a recent articlethat the Obama administration has committed this mistake in its policy toward China, in which the administration's "Asia strategy has been to fear and combat nearly every move by China to flex its muscles." The ill-advised nature of such a strategy is illustrated by the feckless U.S. attempt to dissuade other states from participating in the new China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. A better strategy, says Kurlantzick, would be to save opposition to China for those issues on which Beijing's behavior really does run up against important U.S. interests, such as the unjustified Chinese attempt to stake vast territorial claims in the South China Sea.

On Iran, the corresponding mistake has been made not by the Obama administration but instead by its critics who believe that Iran ought to be opposed everywhere, all the time, no matter what it is doing, thus treating anything in Iran's interests as if it were by definition against U.S. interests. Some of the chief underpinnings of this posture have to do with idiosyncrasies of current American politics: the influence of the right-wing Israeli government, which wants to keep Iran forever ostracized for reasons that do not correspond to U.S. interests; and the impulse in the Republican Party to oppose anything Obama proposes. Also underlying the posture, however, is a more general American tendency to view the outside world in black-and-white terms with a rigid division between foes and friends. The Obama administration has pushed back against these tendencies with its nuclear diplomacy on Iran, but the tendencies are so strong that the administration still has had to bow to some of the Iran-is-always-bad mindset as a way of husbanding its political capital and protecting its most important achievements.

Putin’s self-destructing economy

By Vladislav Inozemtsev January 17
Vladislav Inozemtsev is a visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington and director of the Center for Post-Industrial Studies in Moscow.
A little more than a year after “Black Tuesday,” when the ruble lost a quarter of its value in a day, the state of the Russian economy is still uncertain. During the past 12 months, gross domestic product declined 3.9 percent, less than many analysts anticipated a year ago, and the government managed to get inflation below 13 percent. But early official forecasts promising a return to growth by the third quarter of 2015 went unrealized, and subsequent projections of growth resuming later this year also look unrealistic.

Both the international financial institutions and Russia’s economic ministry now agree that the economy will not grow in 2016; the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank projected a 0.6 percent decline in December, while last week Russian authorities said they expected a 0.8 percent contraction. Nonetheless, the current consensus is that the economy will resume expanding in 2017. If that indeed happens, one may say that the whole thing was another ordinary economic downturn caused by falling oil prices and Western sanctions.
But if growth doesn’t return, then what?
I would argue that Russia’s economy is doing much worse than it was even in 2009. Real disposable incomes are down significantly, and nominal wages — recalculated in dollars at current exchange rates — are below where they were in 2005. Retail sales have dipped twice as deeply as they did in 2009. Federal budget receipts, also in dollars, are at 2006 levels. The average price for a new apartment in Moscow has fallen 16 percent below 2014 levels in rubles, and by more than by half in dollars. Office rents in Moscow and St. Petersburg have been pushed back to 2002 rates. The Russian economy suffers from both the effects of diminishing oil revenue and growing bureaucratic pressure, not to mention the country’s paranoid foreign policy.

Three hours of facing the press - are the Russian public reassured after his marathon annual news conference? That's what President Putin hopes. The troubled economy was high on the agenda. (Reuters)
Assessing the Russian economy since the early 2000s, one can see two distinct periods. The first runs from 2000 to 2007, when the economy grew by about 7 percent a year, the RTS stock market shot up and average incomes more than tripled. Taxes were lowered and international cooperation increased. Russia rose.

Bringing Big Data to War in Mega-Cities

Robert Dixon, January 19, 2016

As the U.S. Army prepares for the future, it has become increasingly aware that operations are more and more likely to take place in large cities. The number and size of cities continues to grow, and they are quickly becoming the dominant form of human habitation. Belligerent actors, aware of the West’s growing anxieties about collateral damage, have good reason to place forces in or around cities. Further, advanced sensing and weapons systems employed by modern militaries make hiding in remote areas of the world less and less attractive to non-state enemies of advanced powers.
America’s enemies see the advantages of the seemingly impenetrable clutter that dominates the modern city. The Army’s current approach to learning about this environment is to seek the diamonds scattered amidst this clutter. What we are missing, though, is that the clutter itself is the jewel. Enormous amounts of readily available data can reveal more about a city, its population, and the nefarious actors residing there than we could have imagined before. To truly understand this environment the Army must fundamentally change its approach to understanding the environment: It must adopt a holistic approach enabled by big data analytics.
The Army, however, seems hesitant to embrace 21st-century data analysis, instead relying largely on the same micro-level methods it has used for decades. This must change if the Army wishes to maintain the ability to “see first” and “understand first” in the modern urban arena.

The Urban Challenge
Political leaders and security forces have always gathered data to better understand their environment. Yet cities have presented a particular challenge to data gathering with their constantly changing infrastructure, myriad subcultures and ample places to “hide in plain sight.” Censuses and geographic mapping are centuries-old techniques, and have always been time-consuming and lacking in accuracy. Time delays between gathering and analyzing data and presenting conclusions have too often produced unreliable and out-of-date information, making well-informed, real-time decision-making difficult at best. Even in today’s operations, the U.S. Army still relies heavily on traditional methods of individual (scout, leader observation, etc.) as well as platform (imagery and intelligence) observation, two-dimensional mapping, and population surveying. In the past, these methods were deemed sufficient as there were no alternatives.

How the World Overpowered Piracy in the Horn of Africa

Between 2007-2008, the rates of piracy in the Horn of Africa skyrocketed. Civilian mariners were increasingly targeted, hostages were taken, and ransoms paid. Countries around the world were threatened. This phenomenon was created by the weak state of Somalia and fueled by the inherent lawlessness that combined to sow vast instability in the region. Piracy grew exponentially and after several high-profile attacks and hijackings it was clear that something had to be done. But just how did the world tackle one of the most challenging and dangerous threats in the region? The answer is that they utilized effective collaboration; together, nations from around the world, in conjunction with the private sector, devoted the necessary resources to combat this multinational threat.

This was not an easy task. There seemed to be nothing that could stop piracy from flourishing in the Horn of Africa. The payment of ransom money was an incredible incentive that stimulated piracy to levels never before seen. As the rates of piracy increased so did the ransom payments. In 2005 a $350,000 ransom was paid for the Hong King ship Feisty Gas and ransoms continually increased over the next several years, peaking at $9,500,000 paid for the Greek tanker Smyrni and her crew of 26 in 2013.

But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves; the problem back in 2008 was that pirates were wreaking havoc in one of the most travelled sea transit corridors in the world, and the lack of a standing presence enabled them to operate with impunity. In 2008, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) documented 111 attacks in the waters off the Horn of Africa, almost twice the number in 2007 at the beginning of the surge. The Center for Strategic Studies noted that attacks became increasingly more violent and between 2004-2008 there was a 244 percent increase in ship hijacks and a 212 percent increase in hostage-taking over the same period. Around this time, the UN produced several resolutions that gave nations the authorization to combat the threat of piracy.

World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends


January 14, 2016 — The global launch event of the World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends has ended. Stay tuned for the video recording. Read More »

Digital technologies have spread rapidly in much of the world. Digital dividends—that is, the broader development benefits from using these technologies—have lagged behind. In many instances, digital technologies have boosted growth, expanded opportunities, and improved service delivery. Yet their aggregate impact has fallen short and is unevenly distributed. For digital technologies to benefit everyone everywhere requires closing the remaining digital divide, especially in internet access. But greater digital adoption will not be enough. To get the most out of the digital revolution, countries also need to work on the “analog complements”—by strengthening regulations that ensure competition among businesses, by adapting workers’ skills to the demands of the new economy, and by ensuring that institutions are accountable.

Download (pdf):

FALLING STAR : Pentagon May Demote David Petraeus

Written byNancy A. Youssef Shane Harris
The defense secretary is looking to clamp down on misbehaving generals. Pentagon insiders say Petraeus could be the next general to face the consequences.
The Pentagon is considering retroactively demoting retired Gen. David Petraeus after he admitted to giving classified information to his biographer and mistress while he was still in uniform, three people with knowledge of the matter told The Daily Beast.
The decision now rests with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, who is said to be willing to consider overruling an earlier recommendation by the Army that Petraeus not have his rank reduced. Such a demotion could cost the storied general hundreds of thousands of dollars—and deal an additional blow to his once-pristine reputation.
“The secretary is considering going in a different direction” from the Army, a defense official told The Daily Beast, because he wants to be consistent in his treatment of senior officers who engage in misconduct and to send a message that even men of Petraeus’s fame and esteemed reputation are not immune to punishment.
Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook told The Daily Beast that Carter had requested the information ex-Army Secretary John McHugh had when he made his recommendation on the matter, before reaching a final decision. McHugh had recommended taking no action against Petraeus.
“The Department of the Army is still in the process of providing the secretary with information relevant to former‎ Secretary McHugh’s recommendation,” Cook told The Daily Beast. “Once the secretary‎ has an opportunity to consider this information, he will make his decision about next steps, if any, in this matter.”
Carter could also recommend other actions that don’t result in Petraeus losing his fourth star. Or the defense secretary could simply allow the Army’s previous recommendations to stand.
Petraeus, arguably the most well-known and revered military officer of his generation, retired from the Army in 2011 with the rank of a four-star general, the highest rank an Army officer can achieve. If Carter decides to strip Petraeus of his fourth star, he could be demoted to the last rank at which he “satisfactorily” served, according to military regulations.

Regulating the Digital Economy

Special Reports
Dec 11 2015

The internet economy is changing at a pace so fast, that governments have to strive to keep up with determining its role in relation to the industry. This report highlights key themes from a panel discussion on "Regulating the Digital Economy", hosted by ORF and Google in New Delhi in November 2015.

Agenda SecDef: Crafting the Next Defense Strategy

Shawn Brimley and Loren DeJonge Schulman
January 19, 2016
When the next secretary of defense arrives in the Pentagon in January 2017, he or she must show up with a fairly well-developed agenda in order to properly seize the various levers of power and influence inside the Pentagon, rather than be seized by them. If past is prologue, the secretary should not wait for the perennially late National Security Strategy before diving into an actionable defense agenda. At the risk of oversimplification, this effort should span the strategic spectrum of ends, ways, and means.
Typically a secretary and his or her key staff will inherit a Quadrennial Defense Review process — or Defense Strategy Review, as it is now known — that is already underway and carrying considerable historical baggage. Recent QDRs have been accused of being public affairs exercises catering to external audiences; carefully word-smithed platforms on which to hang major programs; or the “most pointless and destructive planning effort imaginable.” According to a saying frequently quoted inside The Building, “if God really hates you, you may end up working on a QDR.”

These criticisms are not wholly wrong. Since the Bottom-Up Review in 1993 and the first QDR in 1997, this congressionally mandated process has been gradually but fully captured by the defense bureaucracy (even though it is “quadrennial,” some of the military services have permanent QDR offices). What was intended as a “top-down leadership exercise that sets clear priorities, makes hard choices, and allocates risk,” driven by the agenda of the president and secretary, has become a “routinized, bottom-up staff exercise that includes hundreds of participants and consumes many thousands of man-hours.”
Regardless of what is required by Congress, the next SecDef needs to take full advantage of the opportunity to develop strategic guidance very early in his or her tenure. He or she should be ready to use the QDR process or its successor to start pulling the various Pentagon levers to move the bureaucracy in meaningful ways.

The secretary of defense has the unique responsibility and convening power to force debates within and across ends, ways, and means that the bureaucracy may be incentivized or too exhausted to do more than gloss over. The following ideas are not meant to raise every question that must be addressed by the next strategic review, but instead provide the next SecDef with a foundation of how to set clear expectations and parameters for that process.

At the strategic level, the overall objectives of our defense strategy have remained relatively constant since the end of the Cold War — and in many ways, since the end of World War II. And yet, a significant portion of the mental energy of past defense strategy debates has been dedicated to their proper articulation and prioritization, mindful primarily of public audiences. This is a poor use of time and energy. Better to use the opportunity of the QDR to surface the toughest choices and drive actual change. For this and many other reasons, we strongly recommend that the next SecDef work with Congress to adjust the requirement for an unclassified QDR, and instead produce a classified strategy with a brief defense white paper for public consumption. This removes the incentive to agonize over how external audiences will perceive the ranking or word count of particular elements of the strategy. It should also incentivize the framing of key choices and the articulation of real challenges posed by real adversaries — current or plausible.