31 January 2017

*** Fielding the finest

JANUARY 30, 2017

We should introspect whether we are selecting the most meritorious as Army Commanders and putting forward only the best candidates for the selection of a chief
When the government appointed General Bipin Rawat as the new Army Chief, it triggered widespread debate as two of Gen. Rawat’s seniors were superseded in the selection. The debate also showed the importance of the appointment and the trust the people have in the armed forces. Here I must unequivocally emphasise that Gen. Bipin Rawat is an outstanding officer who will certainly lead the Army with distinction, just as the Army would be proud of being led by him. I wish him all the success. Having said that, let me also make it clear that the two passed-over Army Commanders have excellent records of service, and as stated by the Defence Minister himself, “their not being selected does not reflect on their performance”. Gen. Rawat’s special operation in Myanmar in 2015 and admirable performance as Vice Chief of Army Staff during the ‘surgical strike’ last year, among other achievements, helped him clinch the position.

In careers spanning four decades or so, it is inevitable that some will have more exposure to certain conditions than others. This despite the fact that officers above the level of Brigadier are exposed to various sectors and operational situations and acquire the experience and qualifications to handle all kinds of assignments. It would also be churlish to imagine rivalry between the Infantry and the Armoured Corps just because an infanteer has been nominated as the Chief. At this high level, to which arm you belong is not a crucial factor because all arms are equally important and have their roles cut out. One can never replace the other.

Service chiefs have to possess incisive vision and have deep insights into the broader politico-strategic complexities both at the national and international levels. Exercising acumen at a tactical level or having experience in one particular arm cannot be a criterion for appointment as the nation’s top military commander. Therefore, in all fairness, it is assumed that the government, even while departing from the normal convention of going by seniority, has taken the decision which in its judgment is best for the nation. It is therefore time to move on.

Seniority and merit

Notwithstanding that, people within and outside the armed forces are concerned that the time-tested principle of seniority should not be overlooked unless merit is overwhelmingly in favour of an officer lower down in the hierarchy. The tricky issue here is, how does the government weigh merit without playing favourites? An apolitical ethos of the services has been one of the strongest pillars of our democracy. Any possibility of senior commanders currying favour with the political leadership would therefore be fraught with grave risks for the nation and its military. Such a possibility must not be allowed to influence the selection of the Army Chief. This is an absolute sine qua non.

In 1984, Indian Air Force could have 'inflicted major damage' on Pakistan's nuclear facilities, CIA believed

Shailaja Neelakantan| Updated: Jan 30, 2017, 
In 1984, India's acquisition of MIG-29s was a better deal than Pakistan buying F-16s, as the former had superior ""medium-range capability", a 1984 CIA document reveals
It states further that if India attacked Pakistan's nuclear plants, it would take a while for Islamabad's nuclear program to get back on track

NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force (IAF) could have "inflicted major damage on Pakistan's most critical nuclear facilities", in 1984, says a secret CIA document from November of that year.
The secret "intelligence assessment", made soon after then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's assassination, also said that an attack by the IAF could "destroy or sufficiently damage the facilities to prevent Islamabad from producing nuclear weapons for several years."
Surprisingly, the CIA document also says that MIG 29s - which India at the time was awaiting delivery of - had "medium-range capability superior to" that of the F-16s, which were and still are made by the US. Notably, Pakistan possessed F-16s.

Because of "poor command, control, and communications, we judge that Islamabad could not blunt a massed Indian airstrike", the document says. It adds, though, that "surprise and speed" by the IAF were critical for a successful strike on Pakistan's 'most critical' nuclear facilities. According to the CIA, those facilities were the Kahuta Enrichment Plant and PINSTECH-New Laboratories facility, both of which were just 30 minutes away by plane from India.
India's air force was "larger and better" than Pakistan's, the 1984 CIA document says.
"We believe that the Pakistanis can neither provide effective air defense for their military and industrial targets against a concerted Indian air attack nor seriously threaten most strategic targets in India," it adds.

In the event of an IAF strike on Pakistan, the IAF would have most likely used its MIg-23s and its Jaguar aircraft, the CIA believed at the time.
Top CommentWhy did we not do that... Of course Congress would have never done that to appease their PET VOTEBANKS.... Alas, today we Hindus are paying the price of this endless torture... THE SAME MISTAKE PRIT... Read MoreRCH Ram
"The best window for a preemptive strike, in our opinion, would be during November through February. Low precipitation and lack of clods make visual target identification the easiest in this period," the CIA document explains.
The US intelligence agency document detailing this scenario is one of thousands of recently declassified CIA documents.

*** A Chinese Nuclear Deterrent Aimed at the U.S.

Deployments of nuclear-capable missiles always send a message, but it isn't always immediately clear who the target is. Chinese media reported Tuesday on the possible deployment of long-range Dongfeng-41 intercontinental ballistic missiles in northeastern China close to Russia, triggering speculation in Russian media about China's intent. One possibility that has been raised is that the move was in response to potential U.S-Russian negotiations over arms treaties. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rebutted the idea, adding that Russia does not consider China's positioning of the nuclear-capable systems in Heilongjiang province a threat. And with a quick look at the Chinese nuclear missile force structure, the Kremlin's reaction makes sense: The nature and capabilities of the Dongfeng-41, along with its deployment near the city of Daqing close to the Russian border, mean that the systems are far more likely intended as a nuclear deterrent against the United States. 

China has had a nuclear missile capable of reaching the United States since the early 1980s, the Dongfeng-5, but it has issues that have limited its recent effectiveness as a credible deterrent. Its liquid fuel propellant means that it must undergo a lengthy fueling process before it can be launched, and its lack of mobility renders its silos vulnerable to strikes by increasingly accurate munitions. Those threats to its survivability reduce its value as a minimum credible deterrence. China needed to upgrade to a more survivable missile inventory given its historically smaller nuclear arsenal and no-first-use doctrine. 

*** Pakistan Is the Crisis Flying Under the Radar


The set of foreign-policy challenges headed like a freight train at the Trump administration is obvious: the Islamic State and the associated tragedy of Syria; a bubbling North Korea led by an unpredictable dictator with a fistful of nuclear weapons; an angry China hypersensitive about Taiwan and the South China Sea; and Russian cyber-activity roiling domestic political waters alongside Moscow’s ongoing occupation of Crimea and destruction of Syria. But flying under the radar is a dangerous problem not receiving a great deal of attention: Pakistan.

As the sixth-most-populous country in the world (ahead of Nigeria, and behind Brazil), Pakistan is home to more than 200 million people and, by some accounts, the world’s second-largest city, Karachi. When Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was elected in May 2013, the country marked its first democratic transition between political parties since partition in 1947. Recently, the strength of the country’s nascent democracy has been questioned as Sharif confronts protests in response to the Panama Papers, which revealed that his family hid wealth in overseas accounts to avoid paying taxes. This highlights the ongoing challenge of corruption (Transparency International rates the country 117 out of 168 on its Corruption Perception Index) that threatens Pakistan’s democratic stability and long-term growth potential. The nation also faces a virulent terrorism problem from the Pakistani Taliban, which has killed tens of thousands of civilians and troops over the past five years. Since 2006, more than 60,000 Pakistanis have been killed in terrorist events — essentially two 9/11 tragedies per year in a country with a population much smaller than the United States.

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Looming over all of this are the issues associated with Pakistan’s long, unsettled relationship with India. Tensions between India and Pakistan have been especially high since September, when Pakistani terrorists attacked an Indian army base in Kashmir, leaving 19 soldiers dead; the two countries have since exchanged daily cross-border fire, leading to the deaths of soldiers and civilians on both sides. Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal probably contains over 100 warheads, existing as a hedge against a similar Indian arsenal. 

While under a reasonable level of military security at the moment, the nuclear weapons represent the world’s least-stable nuclear capability — with the possible exception of North Korea.

While under a reasonable level of military security at the moment, the nuclear weapons represent the world’s least-stable nuclear capability — with the possible exception of North Korea.

** How to Secure a Smartphone for the Tweeter-in-Chief

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By Anupam Joshi, 

In this Feb. 18, 2016 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens to his mobile phone during a lunch stop in North Charleston, S.C. Trump’s approach to Twitter has been as unorthodox as his presidential campaign. The billionaire’s use of the social media service has been unpredictable and unfiltered, sometimes brilliant and occasionally typographically challenged. He has celebrated the support of scores of accounts that appear almost solely dedicated to him. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) 

As President Donald Trump takes office, he has also taken up a new, digital symbol of the presidency. Before, during and since the campaign, he used an Android smartphone to conduct his business and tweet prolifically, directly reaching millions of followers. But when he was inaugurated, Trump surrendered that device and accepted in its place a smartphone that has somehow been made more secure.

It is a key move for a man who might now be not only the 45th commander-in-chief but also America’s first president with such devotion to Twitter. Many private companies deal with issues like this, in which employees joining the ranks already have a mobile phone they use for their personal life. Should that device be connected to company systems? Or should workers be issued a cumbersome second phone for work-only purposes? There are federal recommendations about that, but few firms are handling data as sensitive as the president’s phone might be.

A presidential smartphone is probably the most attractive target imaginable for foreign governments’ hackers. Attacking the phone could provide access to the highest secrets of national security, and near-constant real-time information about exactly where the president is, raising the potential for physical threats. Securing a phone like that requires several layers of protection.

Exactly what has been done to protect the president’s phone is intentionally left unclear to the public. But as a scholar of mobile security, I know that beyond overall network security measures, there are several technological approaches to securing a smartphone for special use. The most secure, however, is also among the least practical and least likely: ensuring the phone cannot connect to the internet at all. So how might have government cybersecurity specialists locked down Trump’s new phone?
Hiding key information


Speaking to the Army War College in early 2015, Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work charged the Army with developing a new operational concept to account for the changing character of war, a concept he termed “AirLand Battle 2.0.” The Army went even further with its work on what it calls multi-domain battle — a vision for future combined arms operations against advanced adversaries. Multi-domain battle (MDB) is an emerging warfighting concept initiated by the Army and Marine Corps, but coordinated across all services. It aims to account for new technologies and adversaries able to contest the United States in all domains, including in cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum.

Yet a recent article at War on the Rocks by Air Force Col. Mike Pietrucha contends that MDB seeks to marginalize the air and sea arms of the joint force in favor of the ground forces. His argument largely comes down to one about sequencing of air and sea fights, before ground fights. Alongside that, he concludes that the Army has little role to play in cracking the anti-access nut.

There is a tendency in the Department of Defense to water down emerging concepts to ensure they are coordinated and properly vetted across the services. That way of thinking can stymie creative thought, new ideas, and more innovative ways of warfighting. It would be truly regrettable if the promising ideas coming together under the nascent multi-domain battle concept were to suffer from yet another inter-service tussle. Indeed, it would also be ironic as a real strength of MDB is the recognition shared by all the services that the future operational environment will be dramatically different than the one the American military has encountered in the various conflicts since the end of the Cold War.

This changing character of warfare will demand entirely new ways of warfighting. Deputy Secretary Work has been beating this drumbeat since he came into office. He believed the Department of Defense had grown complacent during an extended period of unrivaled military superiority. By virtue of its early and aggressive adoption of guided munitions in the second offset, the United States enjoyed a substantial advantage against potential state actors for at least the past 25 years. That comfortable tactical and operational overmatch has steadily eroded.

Near-peer competitors have studied the U.S. way of operating and invested heavily in capabilities to challenge America’s ability to both deploy forces into theater and operate once there (the so-called anti-access/area denial threat). These competitors now approach rough parity in guided munitions warfare. In such an environment, reinforcing U.S. forces will have a more difficult time fighting their way into a theater and will be targeted by dense salvoes of guided weapons once there. In addition, future operations will be conducted in highly contested cyber and electronic environments. In close combat, ground forces will face tactical systems uncomfortably close to America’s performance.

** Mikhail Gorbachev: 'It All Looks as if the World Is Preparing for War'

Mikhail Gorbachev

The former head of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev speaks during a ceremony to hand over three paintings by Russian artists to the Museum of Russian Impressionism in Moscow, on Dec. 16, 2016. Vasily Maximov—AFP/Getty Images

Mikhail Gorbachev was the president of the Soviet Union and is the author of The New Russia

The world today is overwhelmed with problems. Policymakers seem to be confused and at a loss. 

But no problem is more urgent today than the militarization of politics and the new arms race. Stopping and reversing this ruinous race must be our top priority. 

The current situation is too dangerous. 

More troops, tanks and armored personnel carriers are being brought to Europe. NATO and Russian forces and weapons that used to be deployed at a distance are now placed closer to each other, as if to shoot point-blank. 

While state budgets are struggling to fund people’s essential social needs, military spending is growing. Money is easily found for sophisticated weapons whose destructive power is comparable to that of the weapons of mass destruction; for submarines whose single salvo is capable of devastating half a continent; for missile defense systems that undermine strategic stability. 

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Madras Engineers win best marching contingent in Republic Day parade

By Pradip R Sagar

68th Republic Day parade| Shekhar Yadav 

NEW DELHI: Madras Engineer Group won the best marching contingent amongst the Services participated in 68th Republic Day parade on Thursday.

Announcing the result on Saturday, the ministry of defence claimed that in the category of Para-Military Forces and other auxiliary marching contingents, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) contingent has been adjudged the best marching contingent.

While in the tableau category, depicting the cultural diversity of India, total 23 tableaus including six from Union Ministries / Departments took part in this year’s Republic Day Parade. And the first position has gone to Arunachal Pradesh tableau, which depicted the Yak dance, one of the most famous pantomimes of the Mahayana sect of Buddhist tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. Tripura’s tableau based on ‘Hojagiri’ dance, representing Reang tribal dance was adjudged the second best, while the third position was shared by Maharashtra and Tamilnadu.

The tableau of Maharashtra depicted the commemoration of the 160th birth anniversary of the honoured freedom fighter, Lokmanya Balgangadhar Tilak. The Tamilnadu tableau portrayed the popular folk dance ‘Karagattam’ which forms an important event in temple festival celebrations, especially in Amman temple festivals in the rural areas of Tamilnadu.

In the category of Union Ministries/Departments, the first prize was awarded to the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship which depicted the theme ‘Transforming India through Skill Development’, and highlighted the achievements of the Ministry and its programmes. The tableau presented by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) depicting the concept of ‘Green India-Clean India’ was selected for a special prize by the jury.

In the competitive category of school children items, the dance presented by Kendriya Vidyalaya, Pitampura, Delhi has been adjudged the best children item for their performance to express how our National Flag has been a witness to the glorious tales of our freedom fighters, establishment of Indian democracy, the endless affection of Indians, women’s empowerment and such countless achievements.

A Consolation Prize has also been awarded to South Central Zone Cultural Centre, Nagpur for their performance of the ‘Saila Karma’ dance which is a popular dance of the Gond Tribe of Dindori district in Madhya Pradesh.

Jobs And Jallikattu: Why Youth Mutinies Are Careening Out Of Control

R Jagannathan

When unemployment and underemployment among youth is the norm, we are not going to find any shortage of protesters, whether for jallikattu or reservations or Cauvery waters.

There are enough people with no jobs or hopes of jobs to make a fight of any issue.

The violence in Tamil Nadu, which continued well after it was clear that the state government would pass a bill to enable jallikattu, a traditional bull-taming sport, demonstrates two things: one, there are too many malcontents and trouble-makers in society willing to resort to violence if given half a chance; and two, the growing cohort of unemployed youth is rapidly turning into a demographic disaster in the absence of fast jobs growth.

Somewhere between 2011-12 and now, India’s jobs machine ground to a near halt. An economy that was creating 7-8 million non-agricultural jobs between 1999-2000 and 2011-12 suddenly blew a fuse and stopped generating them in the numbers needed (12 million per annum is the annual increase in workforce). A Labour Bureau report of 2013-14 showed that barely six out of every 10 people in the working age population got year-round work. But – here’s the link to India’s youth-led mutinies – unemployment is highest for new or younger job market entrants, ranging from 10.2 per cent for 15-17 year-olds, 9.4 per cent for 18-29 year-olds, and less than 1 per cent for 30-plus adults. It is only in the 30s that the unemployment rate drops dramatically, says this op-ed in The Hindu.

Is it any wonder that Jats (Haryana), Marathas (Maharashtra), and Patidars (Gujarat) went on the rampage demanding reservations over the last one year? With agriculture increasingly getting mechanised, jobs have to be created in the non-agriculture sector, and this is where it is faltering. Youth unemployment may be part of the explanation for the stone-pelting mobs in Jammu and Kashmir, where jihadi terrorism has probably destroyed normal job-creating trades, leaving stone-throwing as the most viable paid occupation. This is also probably the case in West Bengal, where extortion by party cadres and illegal cross-border trade are major sources of income for unemployed youth. Little wonder, Mamata Banerjee was livid with demonetisation, robbing as it did her cadres and voter base of cash incomes.

When unemployment and underemployment among youth is the norm you are not going to find any shortage of protesters, whether for jallikattu or reservations or Cauvery waters. There are enough people with no jobs or hopes of jobs to make a fight of any issue.

Is War Against China Justified?

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Anders Corr , 

There is increasing talk of U.S. military options against China in military, economic, academic, and government venues. This discussion follows chiefly from China’s incrementalist military tactics of territorial acquisition in places like the South China Sea, East China Sea, and the Arunachal Pradesh region of India. It also stems from China's support of North Korea, which increasingly threatens the U.S., South Korea, and Japan with provocative statements and nuclear weapons development. China’s actions and allies threaten international stability and the rule of international law. Because China is increasingly powerful and takes an explicit position against values like democracy and universal human rights , China threatens foundational enlightenment principles, including as instituted in European and American forms of government.

This aerial photo taken through a glass window of a military plane on May 11, 2015 shows China's alleged on-going reclamation of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. China’s campaign of island building in the South China Sea might soon quadruple the number of airstrips available to the People’s Liberation Army in the highly contested and strategically vital region. That is bad news for other regional contenders, especially the U.S., the Philippines and Vietnam. Ritchie B. Tongo/Pool Photo via AP, File.

Defensive military options short of war, such as naval blockades and acquisition of nuclear weapons by Japan and South Korea, entail risk of uncontrollable escalation into military confrontation. So, states considering these risky steps should consider whether such risk of war is justified.

Just war theory finds that states have a responsibility to protect the territory of their citizens, uphold international law, and defend justice. Wars should have a just cause, be the last resort, have right intentions, possess a reasonable chance of success, and have a means proportional to the end.

Consider one example -- China’s continued occupation of Mischief Reef, which is in the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as recognized by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The Philippines has an obligation to defend the territory of its citizens, such as maritime territory , so should do that to the best of its ability, including by requesting assistance from the U.S., its treaty ally. This satisfies just war theory’s recognition of the responsibility of the state to protect its citizens and territory.

Defense of an ally upholds international law, defends justice, and has right intentions. The Philippines is a U.S. treaty ally per the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951. China occupied Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands in 1995. In compliance with the UNCLOS dispute resolution process, the Philippines brought China to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague in 2013. This satisfies the last resort requirement of just war theory, as well as the requirement of the Mutual Defense Treaty (Article 1) that,

“The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international disputes in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.”

Contrary to what many commentators said in the press, China can not reasonably claim the U.S.-Philippine blockade, quarantine, or other denial of access of Mischief Reef as an act of war, tantamount to war, or a casus belli (cause for war). Rather, China violated the dignity and sovereignty of the Philippine state when it occupied the reef in 1995, and a blockade would be a reasonable attempt at enforcing international law. The Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration confirmed Philippine sovereignty over the feature in the 2016 findings when it states:


Source Link
By Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer 

Chinese Internet via Hongjian

This weapon, which can pump out high-powered microwaves from a relatively small platform, could be the start of a new chapter in Chinese electronic warfare.

For over 6 years, Huang Wenhua and his team at the Northwest Institute of Nuclear Technology in Xi'an have been working on a potent microwave weapon. This one, which recently won China's National Science and Technology Progress Award, is small enough to fit on a lab work bench, making it theoretically portable enough for land vehicles and aircraft.

Said another way: it's small enough to be convenient, but powerful enough to totally down enemy electronics. A microwave weapon like this could even be fitted to a missile (like the U.S. CHAMP electronic warfare missile) or drone.

Generally, microwave weapons shut down electronic systems (even those with traditional shielding against EMP) by bombarding the target with energy pulses between 300 and 300,000 megahertz. This amount of directed energy interferes with and overloads electronic circuits, causing them to shut down. The higher the energy produced by the system, the greater the disruption (and even physical damage for some very high-powered microwave weapons) of the targeted electronic systems like engines and communications systems.

China can find a wide variety of uses for an electronics killing ray. Defensively, microwave weapons could be part of electronic warfare booby traps, ambushing and disabling enemy vehicles and robots. At close ranges, it can be mounted on vehicles, warships, and even aircraft, to disable and distract missiles, small UAVs and even the personal and vehicular electronics of hostile forces.

China won’t run from a fight with Trump

Michael Auslin

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Credit: Reuters

Watching warily as Donald Trump takes office, China’s leaders are contemplating the prospect of a more assertive U.S. president willing to upend decades of Sino-U.S. relations. Trump’s Asia policy represents the first major reshaping of U.S. policy toward China since the normalization of diplomatic relations in 1979, and, from Beijing’s perspective, it is currently on a worst-case trajectory, heading toward a trade war and a military standoff over China’s basic interests in Asia, including Taiwan.

The 45th president presents a potentially unique challenge for China — but not one wholly unanticipated. Already having strenuously opposed former President Barack Obama’s “pivot” to Asia, Chinese leaders likely view the shift to Trump more as one of degrees, if extreme, than in kind. The tenor of U.S.-China relations has worsened in recent years, despite the regularity of high-level diplomatic engagements and public expressions of common interests.

What Beijing is unused to, howaever, is Trump’s willingness even before taking office to publicly excoriate China, link economic and security issues, and muse about ending diplomatic bedrocks such as the “One China” policy. In briefly seizing a U.S. Navy underwater drone last month in international waters near the Philippines, the Chinese were making clear that both Obama’s pivot has been ineffective and that Trump’s rhetoric does not scare them. Yet their repeated warnings to Trump that he is flirting with potential disaster indicate that they take his statements seriously and are trying to deter him from harming Chinese interests. Nobody yet knows what either side will do if Beijing fails in that attempt and a more direct confrontation becomes inevitable.

Trump’s approach, even before taking office, has been to keep China off balance. After four decades of U.S. presidents acting largely deferentially toward Beijing, China’s leaders are undoubtedly flummoxed by Trump. His statements challenging the status quo have been paired with signals that he intends to pursue a more normal relationship. His appointment of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad as ambassador was welcomed in Beijing, given Branstad’s past connections with Chinese President Xi Jinping and long-standing economic ties to China. The subtext of Trump’s meeting with Jack Ma, one of China’s wealthiest businessmen and founder of internet retailing giant Alibaba, was that trade and investment between the two countries are already flourishing. And Beijing saw plenty to welcome in Trump’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a move that gave China an edge in creating a broad, regional trade pact while relegating America at best to a series of bilateral pacts — even if it was not intended as an olive branch to China.

Everything I Need to Know about Russia’s Internet Interference I Learned Through College Pranks


One February, as a snowstorm headed for the Carolinas, a Raleigh television station debuted a Web form meant to allow local schools and businesses to send cancellations and snow delays straight to the live TV feed. Someone posted the URL to an unofficial university message board, and within minutes, mayhem erupted in the margins of the nightly news: 

CLOSED: Tutone Industries (For more info, call Jenny at 867-5309
All Your Base Are Belong to Us. Take off every ZIG for great justice. 

CLOSED: PWNT Industries. Raleigh PWNT. 

But while our antics caused little damage aside from a few embarrassed faces in the newsroom, not everyone uses fake news for lulz. As recent events show, sinister actors use the same tricks to spread misinformation and deception — with potentially disastrous consequences.

The Fake News Ecosystem

After dropping out of college in 2006, Ryan Holiday worked as a media strategist for celebrities and corporations. Holiday, author of Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator, used every trick of the trade to confuse, baffle, and outright deceive. He created dozens of fake email accounts and Internet personas to stir up controversy, and publicity, for a movie based on Tucker Max’s book, “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.” He dangled lucrative stories sympathetic to his employers in front of desperate bloggers looking for recognition from big-name media outlets. (Think of sponsored content before the mainstream media cut out the middleman and started doing it themselves.) And as Holiday recounts, it’s not just the media who nibble on misinformation — it’s all too easy to get big-name celebrities to Tweet almost anything for the right price.

Russian propaganda outlets use many of the same techniques, with “troll farms” and “bot nets” peddling Russian-backed news stories in an attempt to have them picked up by larger, more influential social media accounts. Starting last summer, their efforts may have been magnified by an algorithm shift at Facebook, which fed users articles and posts more from friends and fewer from mainstream media. A sharper example popped up this month, when American social media accounts began to parrot a half-truth spread by a media outlet in Eastern Ukraine claiming the U.S. shipped thousands of tanks to Europe in an attempt to start World War III, a report based on just a small sliver of truth

The Atlantic alliance has been renewed and revived TELEGRAPH VIEW

Source Link

President Donald Trump (R) and British Prime Minister Theresa May (L) participate in a joint press conference at the East Room of the White House January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. 


How things have changed. A few months ago, Barack Obama came to Britain and told us that the UK would go to the back of the queue on future trade deals if it voted to the leave the EU. Yesterday, Theresa May and Donald Trump stood in the White House and heralded the beginning of a new era of military, political and economic cooperation. The two leaders were even photographed holding hands. The trans-Atlantic alliance is renewed. 

The role of Britain, as it was in the past, is once again to steady the powerful American ship, if it threatens to veer off course into dangerous waters. 

Sometimes when British prime ministers go to Washington it is uncertain whether or not the president will even mention the special relationship. Mr Trump began by talking about it. It is, he said, “one of the great forces in history” – and he is absolutely right. Bonded by blood spilt in war, the two nations have stood side by side for a century, and this story clearly means a lot to

Mr Trump, who is himself half-Scottish. A bust of Winston Churchill has been returned to the Oval Office; an invitation to visit the UK has been delivered on behalf of the Queen. The prospect of royal recognition is key to understanding what Mr Trump gets out of this.

Mrs May confers credibility upon the new regime in Washington. The British Government understands why he won, she said, and that he wants to defend the interests of working people. And yet Mr Trump has faced isolation at home and abroad – people have challenged the legitimacy of his election win and suggested that he does not govern for all Americans. To be seen standing with Mrs May proves that his movement is understood by someone of importance, and that his status as leader of the free world is in no doubt. “I’m delighted to be able to congratulate you,” said the Prime Minister, “on what was a stunning election victory.”

Trump the Braggart, His Disconnect From Reality, and His Escalating Tsunami of Lies

David Barstow

As a businessman, Donald J. Trump was a serial fabulist whose biggest-best boasts about everything he touched routinely crumbled under the slightest scrutiny. As a candidate, Mr. Trump was a magical realist who made fantastical claims punctuated by his favorite verbal tic: “Believe me.”

Yet even jaded connoisseurs of Oval Office dissembling were astonished over the last week by the torrent of bogus claims that gushed from President Trump during his first days in office.

“We’ve never seen anything this bizarre in our lifetimes, where up is down and down is up and everything is in question and nothing is real,” said Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity and the author of “935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity,” a book about presidential deception.

It was not just Mr. Trump’s debunked claim about how many people attended his inauguration, or his insistence (contradicted by his own Twitter posts) that he had not feuded with the intelligence community, or his audacious and evidence-free claim that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote only because millions of people voted for her illegally.

All week long, news organizations chased down one Trump tall tale after another. PolitiFact, a website devoted to checking the veracity of claims by public officials, published 12 “of the most misleading claims” Mr. Trump made during his first White House interview. The Chicago Tribune found that Mr. Trump was incorrect when he claimed two people were shot and killed in Chicago the very hour President Barack Obama was there delivering his farewell address. (There were no shootings, police records showed.) The Philadelphia Inquirer found that Mr. Trump was incorrect when he said the city’s murder rate was “terribly increasing.” (The murder rate has steadily declined over the last decade.) The indefatigable fact checkers at The Washington Post cataloged 24 false or misleading statements made by the president during his first seven days in office.



What was that brutal indictment offered by French President Jacques Chirac in response to American inaction in addressing the Bosnia crisis in the mid-1990s? “The position of leader of the free world is vacant.” A great many people around the world probably felt that way on January 20, 2017. The title “leader of the free world” is normally bestowed upon the American president. Yet the newest person to hold that office, Donald Trump, ushered in his administration by invoking the plausible-sounding but poisonous message of “America first,” and thereby rejecting — implicitly but unmistakably — the notion that America has any stake in defending the liberally oriented international order it has led for the past 70 years.

It was, no doubt, an alarming message for many U.S. and foreign observers, precisely because it was delivered so stridently and unapologetically. But years from now, with the benefit of hindsight, perhaps we will recognize that by stating his position so vociferously and so early in his presidency, Trump actually did those of us who support America’s longstanding global leadership role a favor. For he has shown with stark clarity precisely how fully he intends to upend three generations’ worth of U.S. foreign policy. And he has thus summoned the many and diverse groups of American internationalists to join the battle for the soul of U.S. statecraft now under way.

This would not, of course, be the first time that an inaugural has served as a clarifying moment. In January 1961, John F. Kennedy gave his immortal pledge to “pay any price, bear any burden…to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” That promise crystallized Kennedy’s desire to reenergize American statecraft after the (alleged and exaggerated) torpor of the Eisenhower years. It prefigured both the ethos and many of the errors of his presidency. Twenty years later, amid a severe economic downturn and a years-long crisis of national self-confidence, Ronald Reagan reminded Americans that “we have every right to dream heroic dreams.” That message presaged the high ambitions — and, in foreign affairs, many of the great accomplishments — of Reagan’s tenure.

Donald Trump’s inaugural address was also remarkably clarifying, but in all the wrong ways. It has been reported that Trump and his speechwriters mined the inaugural speeches given by Reagan and Kennedy for ideas in the run-up to this inauguration. If so, the irony is endless, for Trump’s inaugural turned the basic messages of both Kennedy and Reagan on their heads. Trump’s America has no right to dream heroic dreams. It is, according to him, a dystopian hellscape only he can redeem. Trump’s America need not heed the opinions or promote the freedom and wellbeing of others around the world. In his accounting, the country has no mission beyond the pursuit of its own naked, narrowly defined, and misconstrued self-interest.

Three´s Company? France, Germany, the UK and European Defense Post-Brexit

Daniel Keohane 

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This paper critically analyzes France’s and Germany’s calls for post-Brexit EU defense policy reform. Given that Britain’s departure from the EU could strain relations among already dissonant European allies, the text’s author calls for constructive cooperation between these three states in order to maximize regional security.



Daniel Keohane 





© 2017 Elcano Royal Institute of International and Strategic Studies 

America defeats itself

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Nitin Pai

There will be fewer takers for US promises in Asia now

As promised, Donald Trump has pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a regional preferential trade agreement that his predecessor put together to secure American primacy in East Asia against a rising China. It does not matter that the TPP had not yet been tabled for Congressional approval. It does not matter that the TPP might not have yielded the outcomes its proponents claimed it would.

What matters is that in one stroke of a pen, President Trump has confirmed the lingering fears among East Asian countries that the United States is unreliable as a partner in their attempts to manage an aggressively rising China. Barack Obama’s ‘pivot’ to Asia–of which TPP was an important plank–was itself a response to similar fears during his first term. That pivot was at best a promise that the United States will remain engaged in the region, realists in East Asia tended to suspect that it was reassurance without adequate credibility.

The thinking within the Trump establishment appears to be that the United States can take on China on world trade and militarily in the waters of East Asia. Rex Tillerson, who will head the State Department, took a hawkish line on the latter, suggesting that the United States might deny China access to the islands it claims. Mr Trump and his colleagues seem to believe they can confront China in trade and in East Asian waters while eschewing economic engagement with the countries of the region. They will soon find out how mistaken they are.

Economics is the bloodstream of East Asian geopolitics. China is a major actor in the region not because it has gunboats and missiles, but because it has deep and growing economic relationships with almost all countries of the region. The economies of East Asia, South East Asia and Australia depend on China for their prosperity to various extents. Whatever disputes they might have with Beijing, if they do not see an alternative to China-driven growth, they are unlikely to support President Trump’s moves against China. The United States is likely to find itself isolated if it contemplates escalating conflict levels in the region.

It is likely that the powers in the region will seek protection by increasing their military capacity, and the bigger ones might even contemplate nuclearisation. Most will try to make their peace with China—to the extent possible, as long as it is possible. They will look towards India as a potential actor that can help balance China: to what extent this will work depends on how much and how fast New Delhi liberalises the Indian economy. Unfortunately, there is no indication that the Modi government is prepared to accelerate domestic liberalisation at a pace that can reassure its Asian neighbours.

888 4th Generation Warfare Is Groundless

By William Pitch

“War has changed” has become a common refrain in modern pop culture. Defence analysts and armchair generals alike tell us that the character of modern war is unlike that of any previous era. Where once the primary form of warfare was counterforce, with armies fighting armies, the primary form of modern war is that of armies fighting insurgencies, or so the theory goes. The idea that modern war is significantly different from any type of historical war can be found in places as diverse as scholarly articles and popular films. Two prominent advocates of this idea have been the strategic theorist William S. Lind, and the Israeli strategist Martin van Creveld. Both are exponents of 4th Generation War theory, namely the idea that war has been evolving through the centuries in successive “generations.” Lind describes these generations of warfare.[1]

 1st Generation: Relies on the line and column as the primary formation and the smoothbore musket and bayonet as its primary weapon. 

2nd Generation: Still relies on linear fire, but with the genesis of maneuver emerging and the single-shot bolt-action rifle as the primary weapon. 

3rd Generation: Uses basic infiltration techniques to bypass enemy defences as well as defence in-depth, with magazine-fed bolt-action rifles and machine-guns as the primary weapons. 

4th Generation: Modern insurgency and counterinsurgency, which features states facing off against evolved, technologically sophisticated insurgents who use terrorist attacks to strike directly at the vulnerable points of modern nations. 

An examination of the 4GW theory shows that its authors and exponents do not seem to believe war as a concept existed prior to the invention of gunpowder, despite the generations of complex warfare carried out by ancients.[2] In Fourth Generation War and Other Myths, Dr. Antulio J. Echevarria II argues 4GW theory is overly technologist, based on a simplistic view of blitzkrieg theory, and overly focused on predicting the future.[3] Lind, himself an apostle of the “German technological/strategic superiority” viewpoint, certainly based his theories in large part on those of the Wehrmacht Heer during the Second World War.[4]


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As Gen. (ret.) Jim Mattis transformed into Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, many across Washington, the country, and the world were relieved. Here is a man with almost unmatched experience in military affairs who can, we are told, provide some stability to the erratic hand steering the ship of state — that of President Donald Trump. I have always been an admirer of Mattis, if not a member of the cult, and believed that in a normal world, he would be an excellent choice for secretary of defense.

But we are not in a normal world.

From the time Mattis was mooted, I have been worried that Trump and his inner circle would exploit Mattis’ pristine brand to get away with things they might not otherwise have the political cover to get away with. If you agree this is a fair concern, then Trump’s stop at the Pentagon yesterday should have, at the very least, fazed you.

Trump crossed the Potomac and visited the Pentagon to watch Vice President Mike Pence swear in Mattis as secretary of defense and to sign two executive orders. The second of the two actions ends immigration from Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and Libya — including re-entry of existing green card-holders — and indefinitely suspends the admission of refugees from Syria, the vast majority of whom have been women and children.

Standing over Trump’s left shoulder as he signed this order was Jim Mattis. This all unfolded in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes. As Trump signed these orders, he sat in front of the hall’s large mockups of our nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor. This medal is awarded for valor in combat. All of its recipients put themselves at mortal risk so that others might live and accomplish the mission at hand. Many gave what Abraham Lincoln described as “the last full measure of devotion.” The medal honors sacrifice and the elevation of the mission and the people to your left and right above all.

Prospects for the Rule of Law in Cyberspace

By Keir Giles

The application of international law and legal principles in cyberspace is a topic that has caused confusion, doubt, and interminable discussions between lawyers since the earliest days of the internationalization of the Internet. The still unresolved debate over whether cyberspace constitutes a fundamentally new domain that requires fundamentally new laws to govern it reveals basic ideological divides. On the one hand, the Euro-Atlantic community led by the United States believes, in broad terms, that activities in cyberspace require no new legislation, and existing legal obligations are sufficient. On the other, a large number of other states led by Russia and China believe that new international legal instruments are essential in order to govern information security overall, including those expressed through the evolving domain of cyberspace. Russia in particular argues that the challenges presented by cyberspace are too urgent to wait for customary law to develop as it has done in other domains; instead, urgent action is needed.

This Letort Paper will provide an overview of moves toward establishing norms and the rule of law in cyberspace, and the potential for establishing further international norms of behavior.

The Growing Clout of Rural Consumers

Almost half the world’s population is non-urban. More than three billion people live in the sprawling rural regions of Asia, Africa and other developing countries. Companies and governments cannot afford to ignore these consumers if they want to be successful, writes Vijay Mahajan in his recent book, Rise of Rural Consumers in Developing Countries: Harvesting 3 Billion Aspirations. Mahajan, a professor of marketing at the University of Texas at Austin, examines the main factors driving growth in rural markets, its major barriers, and how these can be overcome.

In a conversation with Knowledge@Wharton, Mahajan notes that because of increased information flow thanks to rural migrants and communications technology, rural consumers have similar aspirations as their urban counterparts do. Still, there is a lot still left to understand about consumer behavior in rural areas, like family relationships and the importance of religious and social events.

An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

Knowledge@Wharton: What inspired you to write this book?

Vijay Mahajan: When I was working on my last book The Arab World Unbound, it was the first time I had gone to 18 countries, including the Persian Gulf countries. I kept seeing the organizations and the infrastructure. And the moment I got out of the Gulf countries and went to Jordan and then to Egypt and Morocco, it hit me that I had missed a very important component of the developing countries. This was the fact that apart from the Gulf countries, the rest of the world was predominantly rural.

I started talking to companies, especially in Egypt and in Morocco, about what the consequences are of the urban versus rural divide. Although I gained some data I really did not investigate much. I also realized that for my book titled The 86% Solution, as well as for Africa Rising, I had mostly gone to major urban centers because that’s where the headquarters are [of companies like] Coca-Cola and Unilever. They took me to all the major urban centers because they wanted to showcase what they were doing.

Trump’s Draft Cyber Order: Review Vulnerabilities, Adversaries, Options

By Mark Pomerleau
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President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) 

In what has been a busy first week of laying out potential policy agendas for the 45th presidency, President Daonald Trump is taking aim at cybersecurity, a stated, yet vague promise of his for some time.

A draft executive order, obtained by the Washington Post, notes “America’s civilian government institutions and critical infrastructure are currently vulnerable from both state and non-state actors.”

The order provides a three-pronged approach toward addressing cyberspace in the form of reviews, plus an additional report on how to encourage cybersecurity in the private sector.
Review of cyber vulnerabilities 

Deliver initial recommendations for protection of national security systems within 60 days of the order. 

Deliver initial recommendations for enhanced protections of civilian federal government, public and private sector infrastructure and national security systems with 60 days of the order. 

Recommendations will include steps to ensure agencies are organized, tasked, resourced, and provided with necessary legal authority to meet mission needs. 

Co-chaired by the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Homeland Security, Director of National Intelligence, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. 

Review of cyber adversaries 

Deliver a first report on identities, capabilities and vulnerabilities of principal cyber adversaries within 60 days of the order. 

Narrative, Cyberspace and the 21st Century Art of War

By Fifth Domain

In February 2013, an article insipidly entitled “The Value of Science in Prediction” appeared in the Russian publication Military-Industrial Courier. The article was penned by Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff of the Russian Federation. Few in the West recognized the article at all, much less its significance, at the time of its publication.

In the article, Gerasimov analyzed “new-type conflicts.” These conflicts entail an array of strategies and tactics employed in the gray zone to achieve national interests, even military, without a declaration of war and without crossing the threshold that would provoke a kinetic response.

“The very ‘rules of war’ have changed,” Gerasimov wrote.

Dr. Mark Galeotti, an expert on Russian history and security issues who annotated an English translation of Gerasimov’s article, identified the most important line as, “The role of nonmilitary means of achieving political and strategic goals has grown and, in many cases, they have exceeded the power of force of weapons in their effectiveness.”

Gerasimov’s “nonmilitary means” included “broad use of political, economic, informational, humanitarian and other nonmilitary measures – applied with the protest potential of the population.”

Experts see one hybrid tactic – narrative and cyber – playing an increasingly prominent role in current conflicts.