16 October 2018

How India can crack open the Chinese fortune cookie

New Delhi: Indians had a romanticized view of China in the years immediately after independence, influenced largely by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s thinking and the writings of Chinese travellers Fa Hien and Hiuen Tsang, who visited India in the 4th and 7th centuries AD, respectively. Both Chinese visitors were deeply impressed by what they saw in India and by the warmth with which they were received. The spread of Buddhist influence to China, which now has a Buddhist population of around 240 million, followed these visits. There were also visits to India and its Indian Ocean neighbourhood, in the 15th century, by a Chinese fleet headed by Admiral Zheng He. The Admiral, a Mongolian eunuch, ever ready to use coercion, dealt cruelly with a Sri Lankan ruler whom he took as prisoner to China, along with the holy “tooth relic” of Lord Buddha.

Not China, 1962 war called India’s bluff


India must not forget the catastrophic defeat of 1962 war with China, when our Army was routed in just 10 days of actual battle in two phases of five days each in October and November. The whole of North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) and 50 per cent of Ladakh were shamefully abandoned. To add insult to the injury, after achieving its political and military aims, China unilaterally declared a ceasefire and withdrew. 
So complete was our defeat that for the next 24 years, we did not dare to deploy our Army on the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Not until the mercurial General K. Sundarji forced the issue after the Sumdorong Chu incident in 1986.

Pakistan Seeks I.M.F. Bailout as Government Sends Mixed Messages

By Maria Abi-Habib

NEW DELHI — After Pakistan’s government signaled that it would seek a bailout from the International Monetary Fund, Prime Minister Imran Khan this week did the exact opposite of the austerity measures the global body is demanding: He inaugurated a public-housing project to deliver five million homesThat tension — between Mr. Khan’s campaign promises to build the social welfare state and the prescriptions to help set Pakistan’s devastated economy right — is leaving investors at home and internationally guessing about the policies he truly intends to pursue. But investors typically detest such uncertainty and responded this week by offloading the Pakistani rupee, which hit a historic low, while hammering the stock market with a sell-off, wiping $2 billion off the index’s value.

Pakistan's Failing Economy Arises from Oversized Pak Army's Budget

By Dr Subhash Kapila
Source Link

Pakistan in 2018 has ended up as a ‘Economically Failed State’ chiefly due to massive appropriations by Pakistan Army GHQ in Rawalpindi with no questions dare asked nor accountability called for by Pakistan’s elected/nominated Prime Ministers sitting in Islamabad. Pakistan’s gullible populace is sedated by Pakistan Army hierarchy that this is required to face Pakistan’s threats emanating from both flanks.Afghanistan and India over the decades have not posed any military threat to Pakistan or threatened it as such. It is the Pakistan Army flush with ‘black money’ diverted from Pakistan’s national exchequer has financed and trained Islamic Jihadi terrorist monsters inflicting terror and suicide bombings in Afghanistan and India.

The Pakistan Army also in the absence of any credible military threats from India or Afghanistan maintains an oversized military machine and an expanding nuclear weapons arsenal. This has drained a limited economy of Pakistan of vast funds which could have been usefully used for stimulating Pakistan indigenous economic activity and for economic and social upliftment of the Pakistani population.
It is commonly said that the Pakistan Army and not the Prime Minister that controls Pakistan’s foreign policy but it would be equally true to assert that the Pakistan Amy has a stranglehold on Pakistan’s economy and has distorted Pakistan’s economic priorities and its international economic directions by selective selection of Pakistan’s economic partners who toe Pakistan Army’s agenda.

Paddling Upstream: Transboundary Water Politics in South Asia


Analysis about South Asian geopolitics tends to gravitate toward the often-competitive ties between China and India. This tendency can be seen on many newsworthy issues, such as rival attempts to establish blue-water navies; competitive efforts to shape how the region’s roads, bridges, and ports are funded and built; and the omnipresent Pakistan issue. Such topics are undoubtedly important. But other practical, everyday policy concerns like water sharing and usage often receive less attention, are combined with larger security or border concerns, or are dealt with only when natural disasters occur. Yet water politics has far-reaching consequences for the prosperity and security of China, India, and other neighboring countries alike. And while this transboundary issue is integral to the national development policies of these countries, it is not analyzed enough or well enough understood.

Power Play: Addressing China`s Belt and Road Strategy

This report contextualizes China's “One Belt, One Road” in China’s grand strategy. The authors argue that the “Belt and Road” will cement China’s global power status and at the same time threaten the world economy and global democratization efforts. In response, they suggest that the US and its allies should adopt a coherent and common strategy that seeks to shape the “Belt and Road”, compete when necessary, and most critically, promote a positive economic vision.

If the U.S. Doesn’t Control Corporate Power, China Will

Last week, Bloomberg broke the news of a hack by the Chinese military of critical hardware assembled by an American company in China, affecting Apple, Amazon, and the U.S. Defense Department. While there is controversy over the story, no one doubts two key facts. Chinese hacking of Western corporations and governments is systemic, and China has a virtual monopoly over the manufacture of high-technology products, which it uses to its own advantage. The same day as Bloomberg published the expose, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence gave a speech discussing China. Espionage, he said, was just one of a range of tricks China uses. Others include tariffs, forced technology transfers, arm-twisting of corporate leaders to lobby the U.S. government, and censorship of Hollywood through enticing Western media companies with promises of reaching Chinese audiences.

U.S. - China Trade Tariffs Are Reaching Their Limit

by Martin Armstrong

The U.S. announced the latest round of trade tariffs to be imposed on imports from China on Monday, with the affected goods valued at around $200 billion per year. The tariffs will come into force on September 24 while a Chinese retaliation of $60 billion worth of tariffs has also been threatened. Should this threat be carried out, the U.S. is said to be preparing tariffs on an extra $267 billion worth of imports. As our chart shows, using U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by the BBC, the Trump administration has now imposed penalties on about half of all imports from China and would actually exceed the 2017 total import figure if the proposed $267 billion of new tariffs prove to be needed. The road is also starting to run out for China. If all proposed tariffs are put into place, that would leave Xi Jingping with only around $20 billion worth of U.S. imports to penalise when comparing to last year's total trade figure.

How President Trump is helping Beijing win in the South China Sea

By Robert D. Kaplan

For years now, China has been at war against the United States in the South China Sea — only Washington didn’t notice until the process was well underway. The Chinese way of war, modeled after the philosopher of middle antiquity, Sun Tzu, is to win without ever having to fight. Thus, the Chinese have been proceeding by microsteps: reclaim an island here, build a runway there, install a missile battery in a third place, deploy an oil exploration rig temporarily in disputed waters, establish a governorate, and so on. Each step is designed to create a small fact, but without eliciting a military response from the other side, since the Chinese know they may be a generation away from matching the U.S. Navy and Air Force in fighting capability.

Chinese authorities launch 'anti-halal' crackdown in Xinjiang

Lily Kuo 

Authorities in Xinjiang have launched a campaign against the “spread of halal”, claiming the growing number of halal products is encouraging religious extremism in the heavily monitored Chinese region. Party officials in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, which is home to about 12 million people from Muslim minorities, on Monday called on government officers to strengthen the “ideological struggle” and fight “halalification” or the “pan-halal tendency,” a post on the Urumqi People’s ProcuratorateWechat account said. The term refers to extending halal labelling – food that adheres to Islamic law – to non-food items to appeal to Muslim consumers. Officials and state media say the growing number of products labelled halal allows Islamic rituals to penetrate secular life in China.

How a Saudi Journalist's Disappearance Could Have a Global Impact

The mere suggestion that Jamal Khashoggi was murdered will have a chilling effect on all Saudi citizens who criticize Riyadh's policies. Saudi Arabia might calculate that any move against dissidents is unlikely to produce too many international consequences, but it could jeopardize much-needed foreign investment. If Riyadh and Ankara's stories continue to clash, however, relations could sour with Turkey, a key regional influence in the Sunni world. Jamal Khashoggi only needed to take care of some routine paperwork. On Oct. 3, the respected Saudi journalist and government critic arrived at his country's consulate in Istanbul to finalize divorce proceedings as his fiancee waited outside. Khashoggi, however, failed to reappear. And three days later, Turkish authorities announced that they had reason to believe a 15-person Saudi security team had tortured, murdered and dismembered the Washington Post journalist. The bombshell has given the unsettling disappearance a drastic, new level of seriousness that is sure to have repercussions across the region.

Stop Military Aid to Saudi Arabia


By now you’ve seen the headlines: An American resident, a Saudi Arabian journalist who wrote for The Washington Post, has gone missing abroad and is presumed dead. Jamal Khashoggi was last seen walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and Turkish security officials believe he was killed “on the orders of the Saudi royal court,” according to The New York Times. He was a vocal critic of the lack of free speech in Saudi Arabia, which makes his sudden disappearance all the more suspicious given the Saudis’ aversion to public dissent.

Lessons From An Islamist Neighbourhood Of London In The 1990s: Why ‘Urban Naxals’ Are The Wrong Kind Of ‘Safety Valves

by Pritam Banerjee

Anyone who lived in north London in the late 1990s, and wasn’t biased to Islamism, would tell you that the propaganda that went unchecked there should have been nipped in the bud. Justice Chandrachud’s reference to dissent as a form of safety valve in democracies is undoubtedly well meant and pertinent. But as any engineer would tell you, safety valves need to be well designed. Otherwise they can lead to all kinds of lethal accidents. To allow dissent without discernment is dangerous to the very fabric of civilian engagement and compromise that modern democracies embody. I am speaking from personal lived experience from late 1990s United Kingdom. Living as a student in London in 1999-2000, I found cheap lodgings with a Bangladeshi immigrant family in Bounds Green area of north London. This stretch of the city from around Finsbury Park northwards had a large immigrant population, South Asian, Turkish, and West African, which was predominantly Muslim. These were pre 9/11 days, and mosques, ‘social clubs’, and shops brazenly displayed poster exhorting the faithful to jihad, and the destruction of the infidel in Kashmir and Chechnya.

How a Saudi Journalist's Disappearance Could Have a Global Impact

The mere suggestion that Jamal Khashoggi was murdered will have a chilling effect on all Saudi citizens who criticize Riyadh's policies. Saudi Arabia might calculate that any move against dissidents is unlikely to produce too many international consequences, but it could jeopardize much-needed foreign investment. If Riyadh and Ankara's stories continue to clash, however, relations could sour with Turkey, a key regional influence in the Sunni world.

In the future of work it's jobs, not people, that will become redundant

Leena Nair

I am likely stating the obvious but it needs to be stated as often as possible – the world is changing and it is changing fast. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is blurring the lines between the real and the technological world and challenging what it means to be human. Yet people are clearly at the heart of all organizational transformations generated by this phenomenon. We see this, both in the transformation we are driving within Unilever but also when we look outside, across and beyond our industry. All of this is affects how people will experience work, whether it’s new operating models that challenge hierarchy, new career models that allow for different experiences, a borderless workplace that allows for flexible resourcing, hyper-personalization in the workplace or the need to close a growing skills gap through a culture of lifelong learning.

What worries me about the U.S. economy

By Raghuram Rajan
Source Link

The U.S. economy certainly appears as if it is in an ideal place: unemployment is at its lowest in nearly half a century, and the number of people voluntarily leaving jobs to find new ones, an indicator of their confidence in the economy, is at a 20-year high. Economic growth this year is likely to be around 3 percent, more than what most economists think the economy is capable of in the medium term. Inflation is moderate. But as the current stock market nosedive reminds us, there are risks that could jolt the economy out of its strong position. They have to do with three related factors: timing, debt and slowing growth in the rest of the world.

Berlin’s untenable foreign-policy strategic vacuum

Josef Janning 

Berlin can no longer afford to float ideas that have no practical consequences, and keep muddling through There is a striking contrast between the magnitude of change in Germany’s foreign policy environment and the triviality of the country’s strategic debate. This change has three dimensions that fundamentally challenge the current position and practice of German foreign policy. Firstly, the European Union, though a principal framework of German policy, is more politically fragmented than ever, and lacks a stable centre. The bloc appears ever less able to act as the lever of German strength that Frank-Walter Steinmeier, during his tenure as foreign minister, believed it could be. The permissive consensus on Europe is long gone, and “sovereigntism” is shaping the discourse on the EU in many countries, including Germany.

Ironically, the GRU Gets Bitten by the Internet

By Scott Stewart

Seven Russian intelligence officers have been indicted in the U.S. in connection with hacking operations against a variety of targets in several countries. These officers have also received a great deal of embarrassing attention from activists on the internet and social media. This case illustrates how technologies such as social media, often used as a weapon by intelligence agencies, can also be turned against them.

The AI Column: Time For A Moral Reckoning Down In Silicon Valley

The recent revelation that China’s security services had successfully compromised the servers of thousands of leading tech’ firms cloud computing platforms has sent shockwaves through the tech world. The hardware hack may have compromised some of the most sensitive computer systems used by the military and intelligence services. While the scope and sophistication of the operations were alarming, it was no surprise to some in national security circles.

This reckoning was a long time coming.

Defensive Protection Systems Leading Army Modernization

The modern battlefield has become a complex theater of threats, from powerful anti-armor and anti-aircraft missiles to the dawn of small but lethal unmanned aircraft. The Army and Marine Corps know these threats are not just in the hands of organized armies, but have proliferated and will be a part of any potential future conflict the U.S. military faces. To counter these threats, a major modernization effort to incorporate defensive protection systems for troops, aircraft and ground vehicles is underway. The need for troops to have access to most state-of-the-art EO/IR technologies mounted on vehicles, helmets or handheld is essential to keep the edge over increasingly advanced adversaries around the world.  Technologies like the Leonardo DRS handheld Joint Effects Targeting System is a smaller next-generation EO/IR technology giving forward observers the ability to protect their fellow soldiers with extremely accurate calls for fire.

The AI Column: Time For A Moral Reckoning Down In Silicon Valley

The recent revelation that China’s security services had successfully compromised the servers of thousands of leading tech’ firms cloud computing platforms has sent shockwaves through the tech world. The hardware hack may have compromised some of the most sensitive computer systems used by the military and intelligence services. While the scope and sophistication of the operations were alarming, it was no surprise to some in national security circles.

This reckoning was a long time coming.

The Military’s Cyber Defenses Are in Appallingly Bad Shape


I have just read one of the most appalling national security reports that I’ve seen in quite a while, an account of such neglect and malfeasance inside the Pentagon and the defense industries that, if we were to get into a major war, the trillions of dollars that we’ve spent on advanced weapons over the years might be all for naught. Our ability to win such a war may be in doubt. The report, by the Government Accountability Office, is called Weapon Systems Cybersecurity: DOD Just Beginning to Grapple With Scale of Vulnerabilities. It’s the subtitle that should make jaws drop. They should have begun to grapple with them decades agoIn 1967, at the dawn of the internet, a handful of computer scientists warned that networks, which allow access to information from many unsecured locations, would produce inherent vulnerabilities.

Defense Buildup: Where Are the Forces?

Mark F. Cancian

The Trump administration increased spending for defense by $95 billion between FY 2016 and FY 2019, but even with such a large increase, there was no escaping the trade-offamong readiness, modernization, and force structure. Readiness came first so that forces could meet a minimum standard. The next priority was to increase modernization by expanding production of existing systems, upgrading these systems, and enhancing research and development for future systems. Expanding force structure came last in priority, so the increases were smaller than had been expected. This aligns with the new national defense strategy but collides with day-to-day deployment demands for ongoing conflicts, crisis response, and engagement with allies and partners. To meet these demands, the services are retaining more legacy systems and moving towards a de facto high-low mix.

The Baltics fear European “strategic autonomy”

PERHAPS nowhere in Europe was John McCain mourned more deeply than in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. He had been one of a small group of American senators who in the 1990s called for NATO to encompass the Baltic states after four decades of Soviet rule. “He was always ready to listen to us and relate our problems and challenges to the US administration, Republican or Democrat,” says Juri Luik, Estonia’s defence minister. “He understood the role of NATO enlargement as part of the reunification of Europe; not everyone in Washington shared that.” Mr Luik has called for NATO’s new headquarters in Brussels to bear his name. Intentionally or not, such tributes also read like rebukes to President Donald Trump, whose commitment to transatlantic security remains as hazy as McCain’s was crystal-clear.

Army Building 1,000-Mile Supergun


RAP: Rocket Assisted Projectile (current M549A1 or future XM1113). ERCA: Extended Range Cannon Artillery. GMLRS-ER: Guided Multiple-Launch Rocket System – Extended-Range. ATACMS: Army Tactical Missile System. PRSM: Precision Strike Missile.

SOURCE: US Army. SLRC and Hypersonic Missile ranges as reported in Army Times.

15 October 2018

The Reality of Armed, Commercial Drones

October 13, 2018 
The combination of availability and munition capability makes the armament of commercial drones a significant civilian and military concern.
Motivated by the threat of terrorist drones, the House recently approved the “ Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018 ” and the Senate is expected to follow suit. The bill allows Homeland Security and the Justice Department to detect, track, and even destroy an unmanned aircraft. This law comes on the heels of the drone-based assassination attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. By refashioning a surveillance drone to include munition capability, this attack highlights the ability of state and non-state actors to repurpose commercial drones into a DIY armed drone. As a result, security forces both inside and outside of the military must be prepared for this reality.

The old distinction between armed and reconnaissance drones is rapidly diminishing; while it used to be that only large, military-specific drones were armed, smaller commercial and hobbyist drones are increasingly capable of carrying munition. As the Venezuela incident demonstrates, hobbyist, commercial UAVs are readily available and demonstrably capable of conducting limited attacks, not just on the battlefields of Iraq and Syria, but in a public assassination attempts. The technology is dual-use, so it has commercial and civilian applications in addition to military ones. Gradually, organizations outside of the military are purchasing traditionally commercial UAVs for various purposes including law enforcement and disaster relief. With the increased demand, private sector companies are incentivized to improve the technology’s capabilities to expand their markets and profits.

Security in a World of Physically Capable Computers

It's no secret that computers are insecure. Stories like the recent Facebook hack, the Equifax hackand the hacking of government agencies are remarkable for how unremarkable they really are. They might make headlines for a few days, but they're just the newsworthy tip of a very large iceberg.
The risks are about to get worse, because computers are being embedded into physical devices and will affect lives, not just our data. Security is not a problem the market will solve. The government needs to step in and regulate this increasingly dangerous space.

The primary reason computers are insecure is that most buyers aren't willing to pay -- in money, features, or time to market -- for security to be built into the products and services they want. As a result, we are stuck with hackable internet protocols, computers that are riddled with vulnerabilities and networks that are easily penetrated.
We have accepted this tenuous situation because, for a very long time, computer security has mostly been about data. Banking data stored by financial institutions might be important, but nobody dies when it's stolen. Facebook account data might be important, but again, nobody dies when it's stolen. Regardless of how bad these hacks are, it has historically been cheaper to accept the results than to fix the problems. But the nature of how we use computers is changing, and that comes with greater security risks.

Russia has been cultivating ties with the Taliban to increase its influence in Afghanistan three decades after Moscow’s humiliating defeat there helped hasten the Soviet Union’s collapse.

Russian engagement with the militants drew attention, and some flak, when the Kremlin invited Taliban representatives to Moscow for a meeting in September. That invitation was rescinded — at least temporarily — after the Afghan government objected, saying it must take the lead in any talks.

But the diplomatic kerfuffle laid bare the Kremlin’s effort to reassert itself in Afghanistan, an initiative that has included discreet contacts with Taliban leaders and a military buildup along the country’s northern edge.

Moscow has also sought to reclaim its role as regional power broker, convening secret discussions with the United States, Iran, Pakistan, India and China and seeking to ensure any finale to the conflict suits Russian interests…

Maldives: India should not rest on its oars


Following President Abdulla Yameen’s surprise defeat in the Maldivian election, the air of self-congratulation that pervades in New Delhi risks obscuring the challenges. India ought to learn from its experience with Sri Lanka, where China has retained its influence and leverage even after authoritarian President Mahinda Rajapaksa was thrown out by voters in early 2015. In the Maldives, China may be down, but it’s not out and could, as in Sri Lanka, re-establish its clout through debt-trap diplomacy.
The Maldivian archipelago, despite its tiny population, is of key importance to Indian security, given that it sits astride critical sea lanes through which much of India’s shipping passes. From the Indian naval station on the Lakshadweep island of Minicoy, the Maldives’ northernmost Thuraakunu Island is just 100 kilometers away.

The election victory of opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih against an increasingly autocratic Yameen cannot by itself roll back the deep strategic inroads China made during the incumbent president’s rule. To be sure, the outcome represents a triumph of Indian patience. Had India militarily intervened in the Maldives, it could have provoked a nationalistic backlash and strengthened Islamist forces in a country that has supplied the world’s highest per-capita number of foreign fighters to terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq.

Why suppress right to historical knowledge?

Thursday, 11 October 2018 | Claude Arpi

While India has touched benchmarks in many fields, the fact that the Government continues to confiscate modern Indian history not only demonstrates immaturity but shows lack of self-confidence

One of the biggest failures of the present Government has been its ignorance of the importance of post-Independence history. Four years after it was elected to bring about some transparency, hardly anything has changed in this field. Take for example the VK Krishna Menon Papers, held at the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library (NMML); they are still kept under wraps and remain inaccessible to researchers and scholars.

The situation is so ridiculous that when the Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru published a large corpus of historical documents (more than 300 pages) related to Zhou Enlai’s visit in India in April 1960, the crucial meetings with Menon were unavailable. Why should the fact that Menon often humiliated competent Armed Forces’ officers, in some cases with the backing of the Prime Minister, be kept secret?

In many ways, Menon with his well-known arrogance and brashness was responsible for the debacle against China in 1962, but nothing has been done to unearth the ‘truth’. Why has the Government not bothered to open the Krishna Menon Papers? The reality is that very few politicians or bureaucrats are interested in modern history (it has sadly been true for all Governments since Independence); the distant past of the Mahabharata is perhaps too attractive.

China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ Gamble; Will it Bring the World to China?

October 12, 2018
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China is using its influence to build a global economic network for trade and development, with itself as the driver. China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative—known as OBOR as well as the Belt and Road Initiative, and unveiled by President Xi Jinping in 2013—has been touted as the blueprint for this new global vision. Beijing’s aspirations are clear in its claims to want to reshape world commerce through new trade routes and transportation links. 

Yet even as China gears up to rain hundreds of billions of dollars on projects spanning Asia, Europe and Africa in the years ahead, it is far from clear what its vision is, or how it will make this plan a success. As a business-led initiative, OBOR looks like an obvious win-win for all involved. Most of the countries expected to receive Chinese investment badly need new infrastructure, but lack the financing and know-how to build it alone. And with growth slowing at home, China needs other markets for its homemade steel and cement, as well as construction contracts for its companies and workers. 
But in making investments abroad, China’s record is far from perfect. China stands to reap handsome rewards, helping many "One Belt, One Road" countries develop in the process. But unless Beijing reconsiders its approach in light of past missteps, it could set itself up for more failed investments and future diplomatic troubles. 

The Bugs in the Architecture of China’s ‘Belt and Road’

Five years after Chinese President Xi Jinping introduced the Belt and Road Initiative to the world, the ambitious multitrillion-dollar infrastructure scheme is experiencing major growing pains. Months of harsh media scrutiny, criticism from the United States and Europe, some surprising grumbling domestically, and backtracking from key partner countries have put a dent in what had been promoted as a seamless chain of China-funded transportation and development projects spreading out across the Asian continent. Xi’s signature foreign policy initiative now faces skepticism in the country that has been its most enthusiastic cheerleader and most willing testing ground: Pakistan.

Marine Commandant On Female Infantry: ‘You’re A Marine, Do Your Job’

By JARED KELLER on October 12, 2018
With women slowly trickling into Marine Corps combat arms positions, Commandant Gen. Robert Neller has a simple message on the matter: Just do your damn job.
“You have to be qualified,” Neller told Marine Corps Times on Wednesday when asked about the gender integration in occupational specialties previously closed to women. “You’re a Marine, do your job.”
There are just 27 female Marines serving in infantry military occupational specialties, a spokeswoman for the Corps’ Manpower and Reserve Affairs confirmed to Task & Purpose on Friday. The breakdown is one officer, and 26 enlisted Marines.

When asked about the relatively slow pace of integration compared to the Army (where, Marine Corps Times notes, nearly 800 women are serving in previously-closed combat arms jobs compared to the Corps), Neller was unsurprised.
“I didn’t think there would be a lot and the numbers we’ve gotten so far are small,” Neller told reporters, adding that when it comes to boosting female candidates for to combat arms jobs. “We don’t go out there to recruit anybody.”
This is an unsurprising mindset. “The Corps, while not immune from some of the racial and discriminatory issues facing the nation, generally sees its members as only one thing: Marines,” as Marine combat vets Mariko & Caesar Kalinowski IV recently wrote in Task & Purpose. “To the Marines, personal attributes or preferences always take a backseat to the needs of the Corps.”
Neller’s comment came weeks after Secretary of Defense Mattis toldreporters that the “jury was out” on the effectiveness of female infantry.
“The military has got to have officers who look at this with a great deal of objectivity and at the same time remember our natural inclination to have this open to all,” he said. “But we cannot do something that militarily doesn’t make sense.”

The Trump Administration Has Escalated Its Conflict with China Even Further. Here’s What Needs to Happen to Stay Out of War

By JAMES STAVRIDIS, October 10, 2018

Admiral Stavridis (Ret.) was the 16th Supreme Allied Commander at NATO and is an Operating Executive at The Carlyle Group.
Those preoccupied last week with concerns over the effect Justice Brett Kavanaugh would have on the Supreme Court for decades were actually, it turns out, being too near-sighted — as the Trump Administration made a move that could significantly affect an international relationship that will last centuries. In a little-noticed pivot, the Administration set up China as the major geopolitical opponent of the United States in no uncertain terms, led by a speech from Vice President Mike Pence. This change in position — not to be confused with the far more benign “Pacific Pivot” of the Obama Administration — has set off alarm bells ringing from Tokyo to Melbourne.

We are seeing China bursting with new power and political purpose in global economics (with the one-belt, one-road strategy); aggressive political strategies aimed at hold-out democratic enclaves like Hong Kong and Taiwan; deep cultural accomplishment (featuring a dynamic film industry and a powerful state-sponsored sports culture); a muscular control over international Chinese figures (arresting the head of Interpol and a globally famous film star); and a far more assertive approach in international organizations (including creating the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank). The recent reports of China’s inclusion of intelligence devices into internationally sourced motherboards is a dramatic indicator of their intent to increase their control of global cyber supply chain — the real Silk Road of the 21st century. And having spent much of my long naval career in the Pacific, it is fascinating to watch China transform from the third-rate naval power of a couple of decades ago to a robust, highly capable maritime foe — one that has integrated offensive cyber warfare into their training and readiness far more effectively than the United States.

An End to the War in Afghanistan

For the first time in history, Afghanistan's neighbors have joint interests in seeing the country become stable.
As violence from Taliban attacks in Afghanistan remains unabated, and the hoped for ceasefire during Eid al-Adha did not materialize, it is worth reflecting on how ripe the conditions are for peace are in Afghanistan and how a rare geopolitical window of opportunity has opened up for the more powerful countries that regularly intervene in Afghanistan.
The Taliban came close to agreeing to another ceasefire, deciding against doing so only to attempt to demonstrate that the stepped-up bombing campaign of the United States and its NATO allies was not forcing the terrorist group to the negotiating table. There had been ample expectation on both sides that they could agree upon a brief truce that offered the prospect of prisoner releases and possibly more.

After all, an unprecedented breakthrough ceasefire occurred as recently as the end of Ramadan in June. In a series of dramatic moves and scenes, rank and file Taliban fighters across the country entered Afghan cities and appeared to engage in spontaneous gestures of peace and national camaraderie. Taliban fighters were filmed kibitzing with Afghan soldiers, eating candy and ice cream in public squares, and even taking selfies with those they had previously tormented, including women—not only in Kabul, but up and down the country.
These scenes took nearly everyone by surprise. They helped to create a fresh understanding that after nearly two decades of a civil war/insurgency the Taliban, the government, and the Afghan people are apparently poised to adopt some form of peace—if to varying degrees. Skeptics remain, however, for this year also happens to constitute the bloodiest year since the 2001 initiation of the conflict when measured in terms of civilian deaths.

India and the Dalai Lama's Successor

October 09, 2018 

'While wishing the Tibetan leader a long and healthy life, one can hope for a 'selection' of the Tibetan leader in the Indian Himalayas.'
'It is vital for Tibetan Buddhism, but it is also in India's political interests,' says Claude Arpi.

Recently, an article titled 'The Dalai Lama has chosen his successor' appeared on an Indian Web site.
Tibet watchers did not take the content seriously because the same author had earlier announced the Dalai Lama's imminent death.
One has just to look at the report of the Dalai Lama's recent visit to Europe to understand that the Tibetan leader's health is fine even if he may have less energy than a few decades ago.
Who of his age would not?
However, the Dalai Lama's succession is a subject which concerns India as the religious leader took refuge in this country in March 1959 and more than a lakh of his followers live in India today.
Whether the Dalai Lama decides not to reincarnate (which is doubtful), or to take a new body or else to 'emanate' during his own life time into a young child, Delhi and the people of India are personally and politically concerned.
In this sense only, the article cited above is relevant.
While the situation around his 'return' is rather unclear, the Dalai Lama remains a rock of serenity, virtues and stability in the chaotic world of Tibetan Buddhism.
It is not necessary to mention here the scandals which have recently rocked the Tibetan Buddhist world, with some so-called high Lamas being accused of sexual misbehavour and debauchery.

US Foolish To Start Another Cold War, Says Jack Ma

By Kalinga Seneviratne

U.S. will suffer more from the current trade war with China, warned Alibaba founder Jack Ma addressing over 1000 business leaders, government officials and economic experts from Malaysia and across the region attending the China Conference here on October 10-11. He added that America has been growing and unemployment has been on the decline, even with the deficit in the trade balance with China.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly cited the huge trade deficit with China as the reason for putting up tariff walls against Chinese goods. Ma warned that such trade wars could cause problems for anyone who trades with China or the U.S.

“This trade war is going to be long (and) solution will come from technology,” warned Ma, who spoke via a teleconferencing link from overseas. “We need to work together to solve problems,” he added.
Ma, who founded what is today the world’s largest e-commerce platform, pointed out that while governments in Asia are embracing technology, Europe is trying to regulate it. “In Europe people worry about how to control the Internet. Asia is different, governments are embracing technology,” said Ma. “Today Asia has a big advantage in Internet competence.”


Seeking to inject new energy into the long-stalled Afghan peace process, the top American diplomat charged with helping find a way to end the war has met with Taliban representatives in Doha, Qatar, officials and a Taliban source said on Saturday.

The Friday meeting between the American diplomat, Zalmay Khalilzad, and the Taliban was the second time that senior American officials have met with Taliban representatives in Qatar since the White House ordered direct talks this summer in the hopes of jump-starting the peace process. On Saturday, Mr. Khalilzad flew to Kabul to meet with the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani.

The Taliban have long demanded that they meet with Americans directly instead of the Afghan government, which has made Afghan leaders wary of being sidelined in the process. Western diplomats have described the Americans’ direct contact with the Taliban as “talks before talks” that could then grow into negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government…

Washington’s Silent War against Hezbollah in Latin America

by Joseph M. Humire, The Hill, October 08, 2018

On July 11, 2018, the government of Argentina took its first action against Hezbollah by freezing the financial assets of 14 individuals belonging to the Barakat clan in South America. Last week, Brazilian Federal Police arrested the leader of this clan, Assad Ahmad Barakat, who was sanctioned by U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in 2004 and is considered one of Hezbollah’s most important financiers. These recent actions against Hezbollah in Latin America signal a shift in the priorities of regional governments, with Washington’s help.

Hezbollah’s presence in a sub-region of South America known as the Tri-Border Area (TBA), at the crossroads of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, long has been known to regional authorities, but recently factors have prompted action. One element was the June 2017 extradition from Ciudad Del Este to Miami of Lebanese-Paraguayan Ali Issa Chamas, for shipping cocaine through U.S. ports and airports.

Many circumstances contribute to a high-level extradition but, fundamentally, both nations need the political will to carry out this type of operation. The Obama administration repeatedly failed to extradite Hezbollah operatives when given the opportunity. For example, Obama’s Department of Justice and State Department failed in 2011 to bring Syrian-Venezuelan drug trafficker Walid Makled to the United States after he provided significant evidence of Hezbollah’s ties to Venezuelan officials shipping drugs to Europe and America. And, in 2016, Ali Fayad, a Lebanese-Ukrainian arms dealer charged in a New York court with “conspiracy to kill officers and employees of the United States,” was released from prison in the Czech Republic and returned to Lebanon.

America Must Realize It Has No Say in Syria's Future

The reality on the ground is that there is no good reason for a continued U.S. military presence.
Damascus is large and busy, as befits Syria’s capital. The city hosts the nation’s elite and is filled with government buildings and security forces. President Bashar al-Assad’s image adorns virtually every street. There is no doubt who is in charge.
But drive just a few minutes, and you enter a neighborhood only recently recovered after bitter fighting. Wrecked buildings stand as silent sentinels amid a sea of rubble. The carnage of seven years of horrid civil war reached even Damascus.

At long last, the conflict is winding down. Assad has won, and Washington has lost. However, the war’s impact will linger for years, perhaps decades. I just spent a week in the war-ravaged state (at my organization’s expense). America’s approach has been a disastrous failure.
Like Lebanon decades ago, the Syria conflict was an unusually complicated civil war. The fighting was brutal all around, with multiple warring forces to blame for an estimated half-million deaths. Indeed, past casualty breakdowns, admittedly of unknown accuracy, reported more combat than civilian deaths and more government than insurgent deaths.
Assad survived because he had—and still has—serious, even fervent support. He receives strong backing from his fellow Alawites, a minority sect and Shia offshoot. They commonly display pictures of him and speak of his humanitarian virtues. Other religious minorities, such as Christians, also tend to support his government. They saw the U.S.-inspired revolution in Iraq and didn’t like the ending. After all, even an American occupation didn’t prevent sectarian cleansing and slaughter, and many of the survivors fled to Syria.

How U.S.-China Disputes on Trade, Taiwan, and the South China Sea Are Driven by Washington’s New Generation


OCTOBER 10, 2018

As the trade war commences between the United States and China, many Western commentators are noting that Beijing can blame itself for a lot of the tension rising in economics and beyond. China’s authoritarian and mercantilist drift at home and aggressiveness abroad are discrediting American advocates of engagement and bolstering proponents of a new cold war across a broad political spectrum.

One aspect of this transition in relations that I have not seen noticed by my Chinese friends is something that was driven home to me vividly this past summer during seminars with officials who recently left the US government. An important generational milestone has been passed without drawing attention to itself.

Across the American government, in every agency and regardless of party identification, those with experience with pre-reform China have retired and been replaced by much younger officials with no personal memory of the “three communiqués” that are the foundation of US-China relations. They did not witness Deng Xiaoping’s “hide and bide” low-key approach to foreign affairs. They did not see how the Chinese people escaped the extremes of the Cultural Revolution.
Most serving American officials today have worked on China-related issues for about 10 years or less. The China they know started with the eye-popping Beijing Olympics in 2008, not with Nixon’s bold trip to open relations with an impoverished, backward nation. The context is not that of Nixon, seeking to counter the Soviet Union while extricating the US from Vietnam, but of a strong, rising China striving to reshape Asia at American expense.

The Cold War Choice (with China)

October 13, 2018 
Americans need to insist that they have choices for how to manage geopolitical power struggles apart from the status quo reflexive military defense.
The current atmosphere in U.S.-China relations recalls the early years of America’s long confrontation with the Soviet Union—and not only because the phrase “cold war” is increasingly used with abandon. Then, as now, a conciliatory Washington, DC consensus was breaking apart in the face of apparent Eurasian treachery. Then, as now, U.S. government policies and pronouncements began to reflect and respond to the requirements of confrontation, rather than cooperation. And yet, as a newly adversarial poise crystallizes in the bipartisan collective consciousness of the Beltway, it is worth highlighting a crucial difference: back then, Americans had a clearer choice.

Between the end of World War II in 1945 and the start of the Korean War in 1950, America retained an institutional bias against interventionism. The Truman Doctrine, George Kennan’s “X Article,” Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech in Fulton, Missouri, and Secretary of State George Marshall’s Harvard University speech outlining the European Recovery Program were rhetorical volleys designed to provoke nationwide debate and spur a traditionally insular political system to assume long-term international responsibilities. Concurrently, prominent political figures voiced skepticism of foreign entanglements. On the left Henry Wallace, FDR’s second vice president and Harry Truman’s first commerce secretary, publicly broke with the White House over its confrontational policies toward the USSR. On the right Senator Robert Taft of Ohio nearly won the 1952 Republican presidential nomination on a platform of non-interventionism and opposition to NATO.