10 April 2019

India is Regulating Amazon and it Shows the Future of E-commerce

Michael K. Spencer

Amazon and Walmart have invested considerably in India’s fast growing E-commerce market. Walmart acquired Flipkart for $16 billion in the world’s largest Ecommerce deal to date in 2018. Amazon has invested around $6 Billion in India, but new rules are coming. New restrictions put on India’s burgeoning e-commerce sector could potentially affect the way Amazon does business in the country. The restrictions may compel companies such as Amazon and Walmart to look for alternative business models and to reevaluate the sellers they work with at the moment. This is sort of a big deal since India’s e-commerce market will exceed $100 billion by 2022, with online retail and travel holding more than 90 percent share, according to global consultancy PwC.

The revised e-commerce regs curbs kicked in on Feb. 1, 2019.

Amazon vs. Flipkart in India Looks Messy

New federal rules, which bar companies from selling products via vendors in which they have an equity interest, forced Amazon India to remove hundreds of thousands of products from its site last week.

The policy has spooked Amazon and Walmart-owned Indian rival, Flipkart, as it is forcing them to alter their business structures, according to Reuters.

Trump's Republican Base Is Wary of India

by Pratik Chougule

The U.S. decision to remove India from the Generalized System of Preferences program last month, citing its lack of “equitable and reasonable” market access, was the toughest action of the Trump presidency against the country. It may also be a sign that a decade of growing U.S.-India partnership is entering a new normal with lingering economic and trade disputes taking center stage. Stronger measures against India by Congress and the president are indicative of a broader anxiety in the Republican Party that views India as a source of domestic U.S. troubles.

The Trump administration is not the first to use the GSP program to pressure New Delhi. Given that India is the top beneficiary of GSP benefits, Washington has seen the program as a source of leverage to address unfavorable Indian trade practices. The latest U.S. decision will affect $5.6 billion of Indian exports— close to 12 percent of U.S. imports from India.

Afghanistan Is Paying a Steep Price for its National Security Advisor's Behavior

by Michael O'Hanlon

During a visit last month to Washington, the Afghan government’s national security advisor, and former ambassador to the United States, threw a fit. During an official appearance at the U.S. Institute of Peace, and in private conversations during the same week, the thirty-six-year-old Hamdullah Mohib repeatedly excoriated the United States—and in particular, its special envoy for Afghanistan peace talks, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. His core charge was that Washington was going over the head of the Afghan government, led by President Ashraf Ghani, to negotiate a peace deal directly with the Taliban. As Mohib said about Khalilzad, “he is ostracizing and alienating a very trusted ally and partner.” Worse, Mohib accused Khalilzad, himself Afghan-born, of wanting to become viceroy of the country in a way that would shunt aside Ghani’s constitutionally-elected government.

Few people doubt that Mohib was acting on Ghani’s orders in making these assertions. The mild and erudite Mohib—born in Afghanistan, educated in London, married to an American, successful in his tenure as ambassador in Washington—is no unreconstructed Afghan warlord. I have known him for years and never so much as heard him raise his voice.

CPEC Emboldens China and Pakistan’s Joint Effort to Manage Militancy

By Saira H. Basit

Chinese General Zhang Youxia, vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), chose to describe military cooperation as the “backbone” of China-Pakistan relations in a meeting with the Pakistani Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa in September 2018. Security cooperation has become an increasingly important aspect of China’s some $62 billion investments in Pakistan, made under the umbrella of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Chinese workers and infrastructure face a continuous threat of attacks by militant groups on Pakistani territory. In just two years after the 2015 launch of CPEC, militants had killed 44 workers on related projects and injured more than 100. The Pakistanis have thus made vast efforts to secure the Chinese.

Countering militant groups has become a fundamental part of Sino-Pakistani security cooperation at the bilateral, regional, and international levels. Despite Chinese security reports deeming several projects under CPEC to be at serious risk of failure, and the continuous risk of militant attacks, both the Chinese and Pakistanis have been pushing forward wherever progress and cooperation is possible.

Donald Trump has done much to alter U.S. influence in Asia.

by James Jay Carafano

Obama talked of pivoting to Asia. Donald Trump made Asia pivot to America.

In the last two years, Trump has done much to increase U.S. influence in the Indo-Pacific region. But much more needs doing. A fast start is well and good, the Indo-Pacific contest is a marathon, not a sprint.

Washington needs to seriously think how the United States can sustain the regional strategy over the long term—well past 2020. The goal is simple. Beijing has to respect America as a formidable Asian power—and concede that the United States is not going anywhere. And what the United States does there must be part of an overall strategy to stabilize key regions of the world and ensure the freedom of the commons (air, sea, space and cyberspace) that benefits the United States and all nations.

The Venus de Milo is discovered on the Aegean island of Melos.

Retired tennis great Arthur Ashe announces that he has AIDS, acquired from blood transfusions during one of his two heart surgeries.

Mixed Messages

How China tried and failed to win the AI race: The inside story

By Alison DeNisco Rayome 

China's aggressive artificial intelligence plan still does not match up to US progress in the field in many areas, despite the hype.

Chances are you've seen the stories, with headlines like "AI-driven technologies reshape city life in Beijing" or "Robots serving up savory food at Chinese artificial intelligence eateries" splashed across the page, a photo of a robot ominously beckoning you to believe one message: China is winning the artificial intelligence (AI) race in its quest to become the global superpower.

You would be wrong.

Since 2017, China has made an aggressive push to position itself as a global AI superpower, with a government plan investing billions of dollars in the field. But upon digging deeper, it's not difficult to find that the US remains at the forefront of the AI race, with more investment sources, a larger workforce, more thorough research papers, and more advanced chipsets.

Does Russian Military Aviation Have Anything Left to Offer China?

By Abraham Ait

Since the Soviet Union’s collapse, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been a leading client for high-end Russian military hardware. Such imports played a key role in revolutionizing China’s aerial warfare capabilities, in particular during the 1990s with acquisition of the most capable Russian air defense systems, air-to-air missiles and air superiority fighters available. While China at the time retained a negligible domestic military aviation industry, which was more than a generation behind its Russian and U.S. counterparts, heavy investments in research and development and a good deal of reverse engineering over 20 years meant that by the 2010s the PLA’s reliance on high-end Russian equipment was reduced considerably. The future of Russian arms exports to the country, a vital source of revenue for Russia’s defense sector, has thus been brought to serious question on repeated occasions — perhaps best epitomized by Russia’s inability to market more than two dozen of its latest Su-35 fighter jets to the PLA in 2015, an offer which had to be accompanied by generous technology transfers to be accepted.

Are Russia and China Really Forming an Alliance?

By Leon Aron

In March of 1969, Chinese troops ambushed and killed a Soviet border patrol on an island near the Chinese-Russian border. Fighting on and near the island lasted for months and ended with hundreds of casualties. Fifty years later, the ferocity of the skirmish between Mao Zedong’s China and Leonid Brezhnev’s Soviet Union seems to belong to a very distant past—so distant, indeed, that many foreign-policy experts are convinced that an anti-U.S. alliance between the two countries is emerging. Yet even half a century on, such an assessment stretches the evidence beyond what it can bear. On closer inspection, Chinese-Russian economic, foreign policy, and military cooperation is less than impressive. The history of relations between the two countries is fraught, and they play vastly different roles in the world economy, making a divergence in their objectives all but unavoidable. In short, reports of a Russian-Chinese alliance have been greatly exaggerated.

THE ECONOMIC REALITY

Economic relations between Russia and China are rapidly expanding, and some experts have cited these ties as evidence of a growing closeness between the two countries. Indeed, just last year, bilateral trade increased by at least 15 percent compared to 2017 and reached a record $100 billion. Yet asymmetries in the scale and structure of bilateral commerce suggest caution: although China is Russia’s second-largest trading partner (after the EU) and Russia’s largest individual partner in both exports and imports, for China the Russian market is at best second-rate. Russia ranks tenth in Chinese exports and does not make it into the top ten in either imports or total trade.

South China Sea on a precarious strategic edge

By RICHARD JAVAD HEYDARIAN, MANILA

When Chinese fighter jets violated neighboring Taiwan’s airspace by crossing for the first time in decades the “median line” separating the two countries on March 31, the move immediately raised speculation about how the island nation’s American ally might respond.

The provocation came after Chinese President Xi Jinping declared earlier this year that Taiwan’s incorporation into Greater China is “inevitable” and that he will “make no promise to give up the use of force and reserve the option of all necessary means.”

The maneuver marks China’s latest escalation in the South China Sea, a contested maritime area the United States has vowed to keep open and free for international navigation.

A series of tit-for-tat provocations at sea and in the skies hint at a coming confrontation in the area that could bring the US and China into armed conflict and send security shock waves across the wider region.

How to make the most of China’s accidental rise as a European power

Emilian Kavalski Maximilian Mayer

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker (left), Chinese President Xi Jinping, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel gather in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace ahead of a meeting in Paris on March 26. The past three years have seen increasingly vocal European criticism of China’s involvement in the continent. This culminated in March with the European Commission’s designation of China as a  systemic rivalWhat is behind such hostility? Is it China’s  growing global footprint through its gargantuan “Belt and Road Initiative”? Is it Beijing’s bonhomie with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe?

Of all the factors that explain European wariness, the underlying one is the realisation that China is here to stay. What is peculiar, however, is that China’s rise as a power in Europe came by accident, rather than design.

Does China have feet of clay?

Joseph S. Nye

Chinese President Xi Jinping seems to be on a roll. He has sent a rocket to the dark side of the moon, built artificial islands on contested reefs in the South China Sea and enticed Italy to break ranks with its European partners and sign on to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump’s unilateralist posture has reduced America’s soft power and influence.

China’s economic performance over the past four decades has been truly impressive. It is now the main trading partner for more than a hundred countries compared to about half that number for the United States. Its economic growth has slowed, but its official 6% annual rate is more than twice that of the US. Conventional wisdom projects that China’s economy will surpass that of the US in size in the coming decade.

Perhaps. But it is also possible that Xi has feet of clay.

Misplaced Confidence? The US Private Space Sector vs. China

By Namrata Goswami

When China landed on the far side of the lunar surface early this year, Americans tended to dismiss the achievement. Either they said some version of “been there, done that, 50 years ago,” or commented that it was nothing to be concerned about. China would have to contend with not the U.S. government sector in space led by NASA, but the vibrant and successful U.S. private space sector led by Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

Certainly, the U.S. private space sector today has a significant advantage. But China is hot on their heels — encouraging their own billionaires and private space companies (Onespace, Landspace, iSpace, Linkspace) to enter the sector. To enable this, President Xi Jinping and the Chinese state have created a supportive environment. While the U.S. private space program has a 19 year head-start with the founding of Blue Origin in 2000, the Chinese private space sector that took off around 2015 drew an investment of $2 billion in 2018 alone [China’s state funded space program takes about $6 billion annually] and is growing rapidly.

The world’s left-wingers are feeling the Bern


Bernie Sanders has a base that no other 2020 U.S. presidential candidate can claim: left-wing politicians around the globe.

From South America to Europe to the Middle East, leftist leaders are celebrating his candidacy, viewing him as an iconic democratic socialist with the potential to lead a worldwide progressive movement at a time when right-wing populism is on the rise across the map.

Their regard for Sanders burnishes the Vermont senator’s foreign policy bona fides at a time when he is trying to shake the reputation he received in 2016 as a lightweight on international affairs. But it also carries risks for an American politician who will need to broaden his appeal and insulate himself against attacks on his progressive ideals to win the White House.

"There is a danger to collecting maybe not endorsements, but positive reviews from far-left politicians around the world when American voters are still not quite sure about how they feel about democratic socialism,” said Jennifer Holdsworth, a former staffer for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 bid and the ex-campaign manager for Pete Buttigieg’s run for Democratic National Committee chairman. “And this is not just a Democratic primary conversation, this is also a general election conversation."

The WTO’s First Ruling on National Security: What Does It Mean for the United States?


On April 5, 2019, a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel issued a landmark ruling in a dispute between Russia and Ukraine in which Russia claimed it had taken trade-restrictive measures for the purpose of protecting its national security. Central to the dispute was the so-called “national security exception,” which allows WTO members to breach their WTO obligations for purposes of national security. In the Russia-Ukraine dispute, Russia invoked the exception to justify measures that blocked trade between Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and the Kyrgyz Republic that transited through Russia. Russia claimed it had adopted those measures in response to escalating events in Ukraine after political turmoil there in 2014.

Q1: Why does this dispute matter for the United States and the WTO overall?

A1: The United States has invoked the WTO national security exception, laid out in Article XXI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), to justify its tariffs on steel and aluminum. The European Union, Turkey, Switzerland, Russia, Norway, Mexico, Canada, India, and China have filed disputes against the United States at the WTO and claim that there is no legitimate or plausible national security rationale for the tariffs. The Trump administration, however, has an ironclad view that measures taken by members for the purposes of national security cannot be reviewed by a WTO dispute settlement panel. In fact, the Trump administration sided with Russia in the complaint brought by Ukraine for the same reason, despite backing Ukraine in the conflict there. The outcome of the Russia-Ukraine dispute offers a glimpse into how future WTO panels could handle other disputes involving the Article XXI national security exception, including the U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs. Observers of the WTO have long seen a dispute over Article XXI as a lose-lose proposition. There is concern that a ruling upholding the U.S. view of the national security exception could inspire other countries to impose protectionist measures in the name of national security, while a ruling that limits a country’s ability to use the exception could be seen an unacceptable breach of national sovereignty, which would discredit the WTO and perhaps lead members such as the United States to withdraw from the body.

Donald Trump's 'cost plus 50 percent' overseas base plan doesn't make dollars or sense

Michael O'Hanlon

In recent weeks, President Donald Trump has introduced a new element into his longstanding dispute with many American allies over military burdensharing. Mr. Trump is right that most American allies don't do enough for their own defense; a new NATO report shows that just 7 of 29 members meet the agreed alliance standard that 2 percent of gross domestic product should be devoted to military budgets. To help redress the situation, Trump wants allies such as Korea and Japan, as well as Germany and Italy and the UK — the five countries where America stations most of its overseas forces in Northeast Asia and Europe — to fully reimburse the U.S. Treasury for all costs incurred by basing American forces in their countries. Then, for good measure, he wants to add a premium of some 50 percent, above and beyond full reimbursement, if those nations want American forces to remain. This concept has recently been used to help persuade Seoul, already a conscientious American ally that spends 2.6 percent of GDP on its armed forces, to modestly increase funds in support of the 28,000 GIs stationed in South Korea.

Rethinking Trade: Global Competitiveness Through Regional Cooperation

By Matthew Rooney

Thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement, U.S. annual trade with our neighbors has increased by $800 billion since 1990. Our trade with the rest of the world rose by an even greater $2.3 trillion. These are big numbers that represent real wealth creation for Americans. During that period our economy has almost doubled in size and we have created more than thirty million net new jobs

Building off NAFTA’s success, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, improves access to the Canadian and Mexican markets for U.S. products, modernizes provisions for the digital age, and strengthens protection of intellectual property. These provisions play to the particular strengths of the United States.

Unfortunately, the Agreement also responds to concerns about globalism that threaten the economic benefits that American consumers and businesses enjoy as a result of low barriers to trade. In particular, its more restrictive requirements for regional content of imported cars will probably have unpredictable effects on the global competitiveness of the U.S. auto industry. 

Hypersonic Weapons Are Coming. The Pentagon Needs To Spend More On Defending Against Them.

Loren Thompson

In the year since Russian President Vladimir Putin declared to the world that his nation had successfully tested a hypersonic weapon, funding for similar weapons in the U.S. has greatly increased. The Pentagon now plans to spend an average of over $2 billion per year through 2024 on developing hypersonic systems for the Air Force, Army and Navy.

Hypersonic weapons typically move at over five times the speed of sound, meaning faster than a mile per second. But it isn’t just sheer speed that makes them different from existing weapons. Unlike long-range ballistic missile warheads that can approach 25 times the speed of sound as they reenter the atmosphere, emerging hypersonic weapons can glide and maneuver.

That makes them devilishly hard to track or intercept, because they don’t follow a predictable trajectory the way that the warheads from an intercontinental ballistic missile might. Once launched, their path to targets is unpredictable, and thus it will not be clear until very late in their flight what the intended target is. At that point, it is too late for defensive preparations.

Reimagining U.S. Diplomacy for a Changing World


How the practice of diplomatic relations by the U.S. and the rest of the world is evolving. 

In recent years, many American officials have regarded withholding diplomatic relations as a way to punish countries for actions ranging from human rights abuses, to failure to abide by international law, to specific treaty violations and acts of war. But withholding diplomatic relations usually doesn't work, and can seriously handicap America's ability to achieve major foreign policy and national security goals. 

What's more, re-establishing diplomatic relations with a country after they have been severed is no simple matter for the Department of State. U.S. administrations have a great track record of painting themselves into a corner by curtailing relations with considerable brio, with the result that the path is blocked when it is in the national interest to resume normal relations.

Americans Vulnerable to Cyber War Under Trump: Ex-CIA Director


With the threat of destructive cyber attacks on the U.S. increasing, the federal government and the private sector need to establish an effective partnership to defend Americans from a “cyber Pearl Harbor,” warns a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

In an op ed column published earlier this week in The Hill, Leon Panetta, who served as CIA director and Defense Secretary during the administration of President Barack Obama, wrote that plans established by the current administration to protect the electric grid against cyber sabotage “distract from the real solutions that would truly protect American critical infrastructure.”’

The column, co-authored with former Sen. James Talent (R-Mo.) called on Congress to go beyond 2015 legislation aimed at fostering communication between private companies and the government about vulnerabilities, and to double down on other structural changes such as the establishment of a cybersecurity agency within the Department of Homeland Security.

5G is a war the US is about to lose warns DoD


The US Department of Defense has warned that America could find itself conceding the guiding hand on 5G – and, as a result, wireless security in general – to China, if wide-reaching policy changes aren’t put into place soon. A new study, developed by the Defense Innovation Board at the DoD, outlines the risk America faces if China takes pole position as 5G matures.

“The 5G Ecosystem: Risks & Opportunities for DoD” was published today, and explores the potential for the US to shape – or be shaped by – fifth-generation wireless technology over the coming years. In particular, it examines how the US’ focus on mmWave spectrum, coupled with the rise in Chinese firms building infrastructure hardware along with 5G mobile devices, could end up backfiring.

America is still trying to win the last cyber war

BY CHRISTOPHER PORTER

During a DHS-run conference in New York City in July of last year, Vice President Mike Pence promised that the Trump Administration would give the American people “the strongest possible defense” in cyberspace to address a “cyber crisis” that was “inherited” from the previous administration.

Since that announcement, the White House has rolled out a new National Cyber Strategy and the Pentagon has implemented a complementary Defense Cyber Strategy. Between the two documents and other official public announcements from the military and intelligence community, three key themes emerge: A newfound bias toward action in cyberspace to counter adversaries’ cyber operations, an emphasis on threats to the U.S. economy as the preeminent national security threat caused by those cyber operations, and a tougher approach to securing the supply chain on which the U.S. military and civilian critical infrastructure rely. Even though it is still early days, from where I sit in the private sector, the change in strategy mostly makes good sense for the American people but with a few key deficiencies left to be addressed.

The most important change to U.S. policy in cyberspace has been the move toward “persistent engagement” by U.S. cyber warriors. No longer confined to their cyber barracks, U.S. forces are now expected to “defend forward” and engage hostile foreign cyber threats anywhere worldwide before they can launch attacks, or to disrupt especially harmful espionage operations in progress.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Call to Regulate Facebook, Explained

By Mike Isaac

Here’s why the Facebook chief executive invited Congress to regulate his company in a post on Saturday. 

Facebook's chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, at Senate hearings last year. With the expectation that personal data handling and content restrictions are coming, Facebook tries in an op-ed piece to set the playing field.CreditTom Brenner/The New York Times

Facebook has faced months of scrutiny for a litany of ills, from spreading misinformation to not properly protecting its users’ data to allowing foreign meddling in elections.

Many at the Silicon Valley company now expect lawmakers and regulators to act to contain it — so the social network is trying to set its own terms for what any regulations should look like.

That helps explain why Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post on Saturday laying out a case for how he believes his company should be treated.

Love me today, love me tomorrow? Millennials and NATO

Will Moreland

As NATO leaders commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Washington Treaty, talk of crisis again swirls around the alliance. Yet, against President Trump’s continued skepticism and reports lamenting the lapse in American leadership, signs for optimism surface. Surveys reveal relatively high public support for NATO. The 2019 Munich Security Conference saw the largest, and bipartisan, congressional delegation. Yet, today’s groundswell of public support is likely to instill false confidence in the future of Americans’ sentiments. Backing the alliance is easy today, particularly among the rising millennial generation, as opposition to unpopular policies of Donald Trump. However, when examined in the context of millennial foreign policy priorities, questions emerge as to NATO’s role vis-à-vis the issues that motivate them—and, therefore, the long-term support for the alliance.

SOME GOOD NEWS

Despite Trump’s longstanding inclinations, NATO today is in a relatively good place with the American body politic. As the most recent Chicago Council survey finds, not only do “a majority of Americans continue to favor maintaining (57 percent) or increasing (18 percent) the U.S. commitment to NATO…the 18 percent of Americans who want to increase the U.S. commitment to NATO is the highest level ever recorded in Chicago Council surveys.”

Artificial Intelligence Can Now Emulate Human Behaviors - Soon It Will Be Dangerously Good

by Ana Santos Rutschman

When artificial intelligence systems start getting creative, they can create great things - and scary ones. Take, for instance, an AI program that let web users compose music along with a virtual Johann Sebastian Bach by entering notes into a program that generates Bach-like harmonies to match them.

Run by Google, the app drew great praise for being groundbreaking and fun to play with. It also attracted criticism, and raised concerns about AI’s dangers.

My study of how emerging technologies affect people’s lives has taught me that the problems go beyond the admittedly large concern about whether algorithms can really create music or art in general. Some complaints seemed small, but really weren’t, like observations that Google’s AI was breaking basic rules of music composition.

INFORMATION APOCALYPSE, PART III: THE WAR ON REALITY

By Mari Eder

[Americans] are latching onto narratives that they want to believe, regardless of how untruthful it may be

The war on reality is taking its toll. Daily, millions of people find there is somewhere they would rather be than the here and now. Numerous companies, states, and non-state actors provide a never-ending array of alternatives to reality, benefiting from the desperate desire to escape the negatives of every-day life. This is the third facet of the information apocalypse, following the systematic breakdown of trust in societies and institutions, and the increasingly personal attacks on the character of those left in the wreckage behind. Alternative realities are becoming more and more attractive, and increasingly do more than distract or entertain. Of course, the desire to escape reality is not new, from “bread and circuses” in ancient Rome, to narcotics and television in the 20th century. Yet today’s virtual escapes somehow hold even more potential to supplant reality, as we immerse ourselves in video games, construct Instagram-optimized versions of ourselves, and pass the hours in endless other diversions in the “black mirror” world (to borrow writer Charlie Booker’s term) of smartphones. These false, technological narratives can replace failed relationships, ease disappointments, build new worlds, and absorb us entirely. What we don’t see are the lies and deceit that often mask their true nature.

Why Israel's Military Could Crush Anyone: Think Nuclear Weapons

by Robert Farley

It is unlikely, but hardly impossible, that Israel could decide to use nuclear weapons first in a future conflict. The best way to prevent this from happening is to limit the reasons why Israel might want to use these weapons, which is to say preventing the further proliferation of nukes. If Israel ever does use nuclear weapons in anger, it will rewrite the diplomatic and security architecture of the Middle East, and also the nonproliferation architecture of the world as a whole.

Israel’s nuclear arsenal is the worst-kept secret in international relations. Since the 1970s, Israel has maintained a nuclear deterrent in order to maintain a favorable balance of power with its neighbors. Apart from some worrying moments during the Yom Kippur War, the Israeli government has never seriously considered using those weapons.

The most obvious scenario for Israel to use nuclear weapons would be in response to a foreign nuclear attack. Israel’s missile defenses, air defenses, and delivery systems are far too sophisticated to imagine a scenario in which any country other than one of the major nuclear powers could manage a disarming first strike. Consequently, any attacker is certain to endure massive retaliation, in short order. Israel’s goals would be to destroy the military capacity of the enemy (let’s say Iran, for sake of discussion) and also send a message that any nuclear attack against Israel would be met with catastrophic, unimaginable retaliation.

Will today's Global Trade Wars Lead to World War III?

Daniel W. Drezner

You might not know about a minor trade skirmish in the Balkans that started late last year. But you should, because it signals a worrying shift in how national security considerations are altering the fabric of globalization in ways eerily similar to how they did at the dawn of the 20th century. That first shift helped start World War I, so in case you're wondering, yes, I'm going there: The current rise in protectionism could be the precursor to World War III.

The story starts in 2008, when the small southeast European nation of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia after nearly a century of being bound to its larger neighbor, followed by a war for secession that ended only after NATO intervened. The Serbian government refused to recognize the breakaway province and, as part of this diplomatic position, late last year successfully pressured members of Interpol to not admit its former territory as a member.

In response, Kosovo decided to impose a 10 percent tariff on Serbian imports. As the dispute escalated, it raised the tariff rate to 100 percent, even though Serbia is the country's most important trading partner. Both the United States and the European Union pressed Kosovo to drop the tariffs and negotiate a reduction in tensions. Instead, its government widened the levies to include Bosnia and Herzegovina, since that country also does not recognize Kosovo's independence.

The military leads all other professions in the number of days spent drinking per year, study claims

By: J.D. Simkins

Whether it’s shutting down an entire country’s beer supply, going on a beer-only diet for Lent, or reaching a state of intoxication so severe that one breaks into someone’s home, gets naked and takes a shower, the association between service member and alcohol is well established.

It should come as no surprise, then, that data pulled from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and analyzed by the Delphi Behavioral Health Group revealed that service members consume alcohol on more days of the year than any other profession.

Close to 27,000 people across 25 different industries responded to surveys on alcohol consumption during the period of 2013 and 2017, with the average person reportedly consuming at least one drink 91 days per year.

The U.S. military has a long-established relationship with the nectar.

4 New Weapons for Urban Combat: Part 2 of 2

Michael Gladius

In part 1 two new weapons platforms were suggested as a way to incorporate drones into traditional weapons platforms. In this article, we will look at four platforms which can be developed using existing technology in order to prepare America’s Army for urban combat.

Urban Combat Vehicles (UCV)

A new UCV would resemble the baby of an M50 Ontos and a D9 bulldozer. Vehicles designed for urban combat have a unique set of requirements: high protection, high- elevation guns, maneuverability in confined spaces, and sloped armor on all sides. Bulldozer elements are optional but desirable, as the vehicle could then be used to destroy fortifications and clear rubble. When fighting alongside dismounted infantry, UCVs must be able to fight at close range and fire at both high and low elevations. Consequently, they should utilize short-barreled guns for better maneuverability in narrow streets, and these should be able to fire both HE rounds and munitions designed to penetrate concrete walls. Speed is less of an issue in urban combat, so these vehicles can afford to be slower than tanks or Bradleys so long as they still have a small turn radius.

The Latest in Military Strategy: Mindfulnes

By Matt Richtel

As commander of the coalition forces in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Walter Piatt juggled ruthless pursuit of enemies and delicate diplomacy with tribal leaders, using a trove of modern weaponry and streams of tech-generated data.

But his best decisions, he said, relied on a tool as ancient as it is powerful. Maj. Gen. Piatt often began daily operations by breathing deliberately, slack-jawed, staring steadily at a palm tree.

Mindfulness — the practice of using breathing techniques, similar to those in meditation, to gain focus and reduce distraction — is inching into the military in the United States and those of a handful of other nations.

This winter, Army infantry soldiers at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii began using mindfulness to improve shooting skills — for instance, focusing on when to pull the trigger amid chaos to avoid unnecessary civilian harm.