Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts

23 July 2018

Why is America so bad at information wars?


Are financial and cyber crises alike? Trump says he accepts evidence of Russian meddling Trump’s defence of Russia sparks outrage in US Mueller charges 12 Russian intelligence officers Opinion FT Magazine Why is America so bad at information wars? ‘Russian-backed groups began populating US social media from the autumn of 2015 onwards’ GILLIAN TETT Add to myFT Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) Save Save to myFT Gillian Tett JULY 18, 2018 Print this page97 While fighting al-Shabaab in 2011, Kenyan army officer Major Emmanuel Chirchir noticed that the Somali-based Islamist group was using donkeys to transport weapons. He dispatched a message via Twitter, warning the local Kenyan population: 

The Helsinki Summit: A Good Idea Turns Bad


Expectations were low heading into the Helsinki summit, but the United States and Russia still managed to sail their listing bilateral ship directly into the rocks of the Russian cyber-meddling controversy. Repairing the damage will be difficult during the Trump presidency. The chief challenge the two countries now face is not normalizing relations, but preventing tensions from spiraling disastrously out of control.
The political formula for getting past the cyber controversy had long been obvious: Russia and America agree to disagree over Russian electoral meddling, Washington imposes targeted sanctions incentivizing good behavior, and the two presidents task their governments with laying out ground rules limiting future interference in domestic affairs. President Putin played his part in that awkward dance, rejecting accusations that Russian state actors interfered in the 2016 election but tacitly acknowledging that non-state actors did, while suggesting that a U.S.-Russian cyber working group begin to establish rules of the game for cyber operations. But President Trump failed to use the opportunity afforded by Special Counsel Mueller’s recent indictments of GRU cyber operators to condemn Moscow’s actions unequivocally, choosing instead to voice doubts about whether Russia was involved at all.

Thinking About the Trump-Putin Meeting

George Friedman

By and large, high-level summits don’t matter. Agendas are set weeks in advance. A series of agreements – mostly symbolic – are negotiated ahead of time, with documents ready to be signed. Private meetings usually involve several aides to help the leaders and to ensure that they stick to the script. President Donald Trump approaches summits differently from his predecessors. Rather than months of preparation at lower levels, he enters meetings prepared to improvise. He has been deeply criticized for this approach, particularly by those officials who would normally be called upon to prepare for meetings, but it isn’t clear that the old method worked. It tended to minimize gaffes, but it also homogenized the meetings, tying the hands of the president – who was elected, after all, whereas the minions were appointed. Trump’s desire to be free to interact and deal is not inherently a bad idea, as it would turn summits into authentic meetings, but the complexities of domestic and foreign politics require discipline.

Global manufacturing scorecard: How the US compares to 18 other nations

Darrell M. West and Christian Lansang

Manufacturing is enjoying a resurgence in the United States. After years of falling output and a diminishing percentage of the labor force, the last few years have seen renewed growth. According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the catalysts for this revival include factors such as the strengthening economy, workforce quality, tax policies, the regulatory environment, and transportation and energy costs. Yet in order to move forward, it is important to see how American manufacturing compares to that of other nations. In this report, we develop a global manufacturing scorecard that looks at five dimensions of the manufacturing environment: 1) overall policies and regulations; 2) tax policy; 3) energy, transportation, and health costs; 4) workforce quality; and 5) infrastructure and innovation.

22 July 2018

Why Trump Is Getting Away With Foreign-Policy Insanity

BY STEPHEN M. WALT

If U.S. President Donald Trump wanted to provoke most of the foreign-policy establishment into a feeding frenzy, then his bizarre, baffling, and in many ways pathetic performance at the Helsinki meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday was a success. But his behavior is still hard to fathom: A guy who is trying to convince us that he isn’t Putin’s puppet and likes to portray himself as tough, strong, and “like, really smart” ended up exposing himself (again) as inarticulate, ill-prepared, gullible, and seemingly incapable of standing up to his Russian counterpart. If this were any other presidency, he’d be toast.

Trump’s ‘America First’ Policy Could Leave U.S. Defense Industry Behind

BY LARA SELIGMAN

Signs that President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy could harm U.S. businesses and curb the United States’ clout around the world surfaced this week in an unexpected place—a small town outside London, during the world’s largest civil and military air event. The biennial gathering at the Farnborough International Airshow in the United Kingdom brings together military officials, diplomats, and arms dealers from around the world for plane-watching and deal-making. In other years, the United States has sent the Defense Department’s top weapons buyers, and top-end American products, such as the F-35 stealth fighter jet, have taken center stage.

U.S., Russia: What to Make of the Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki

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U.S. President Donald Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16. The meeting was the first official summit between the two leaders and included a one-on-one session as well as a group-level discussion with senior Cabinet officials from both sides. As Stratfor stated in the 2018 Third-Quarter Forecast, Russia will attempt to break a negotiating stalemate with the United States to talk sanctions, military build-ups and arms control. Moscow will likely promote its ability to mediate in the Syrian conflict, but as we previously stated: Don't hold your breath for a breakthrough. As Stratfor anticipated, no major agreements came out of the summit, though some of the key topics of discussion were highlighted in a joint press conference following the meeting.
Addressing Nuclear Arms Control

Robert Mueller Is Fighting a War

BY MARK GALEOTTI

The recent indictment from Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, naming 12 officers from the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, makes for compelling reading. But it would be a mistake to treat it as simply a law-enforcement instrument. It’s also the latest offensive, and an especially effective one, in an ongoing information war. At a time when Russia is involved in activities from allegedly poisoning people in the United Kingdom to backing divisive populists, the Mueller indictment offers valuable lessons to other democracies facing Moscow’s implausibly deniable campaigns of political subversion.

21 July 2018

Trump’s Helsinki Disgrace

Eli Lake

Eli Lake is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering national security and foreign policy. He was the senior national security correspondent for the Daily Beast, and covered national security and intelligence for the Washington Times, the New York Sun and UPI. Nearly a year after Donald Trump crippled his presidency by saying there was “blame on both sides” after a scrum between white nationalists and anti-racist protesters in Virginia, he has created another Charlottesville moment. This time it was on the world stage.

Trump and Putin vs. America

By Thomas L. Friedman

From the beginning of his administration, President Trump has responded to every new bit of evidence from the C.I.A., F.B.I. and N.S.A. that Russia intervened in our last election on his behalf by either attacking Barack Obama or the Democrats for being too lax — never President Vladimir Putin of Russia for his unprecedented cyberhit on our democratic process. Such behavior by an American president is so perverse, so contrary to American interests and values, that it leads to only one conclusion: Donald Trump is either an asset of Russian intelligence or really enjoys playing one on TV.

Putin-Trump Summit: Untangling the Knots

Amb Anil Trigunayat

Ensuring Peace is a global good and a responsibility of all countries and stake holders. But it is more so of the Hyper and Super powers, who always indulge in the political chess games and move their rooks adroitly and sometimes bluntly, to ensure their fiefdoms, areas of influence and critical strategic interests through alliances, diplomacy and military and economic power. In the past decades the global hot spots have proliferated along with increasing mistrust among the major international players. A major fallout of narrow national interests blunting efforts is the reverberation of extremism and terrorism, which ideally should have seen a unified international response, but have not been met with the requisite force. In a free for all, competition theatres have become breeding grounds of more extremism and rabid terrorism like Daesh (ISIS). War and destruction continues apace.

The True Power of Trump's Tweets

by Chris Davis

President Donald Trump’s mastery of mass communication is unprecedented in our history. Within an hour after President Trump took the Oath of Office, he launched his first post–inauguration communication to millions of followers through his personal Twitter account. In the following weeks, Twitter would become the president’s chosen medium for projecting policy, announcing personnel movements, and settling scores with leaders both domestically and abroad. Doubling down on their legitimacy, the White House staff quickly proclaimed that the tweets served as official statements from the president. Given the authority of the president’s office and the weight of official communications, it begs the question do presidential tweets carry the full authority and legitimacy of the Office of the President?

Communication from the President

20 July 2018

U.S.-China Trade War: How We Got Here


For understanding trade law, I rely on the work of others. A trade war[1] is, among other things, a legal process—at least in the United States. Congress has delegated a lot of authority over the regulation of international commerce to the executive branch, which has given the Trump Administration a lot of latitude. But Trump and his team are still working within the framework of U.S. trade law (“232s”, “301s,” “201s,” etc.). And they are not working, rather consciously, fully within the framework of the World Trade Organization. The big cases—the 301 versus China, the (coming?) 232 versus autos—are being pursued through U.S. law, and they will be subject to a challenge in the WTO. An alternative strategy—challenging China in the WTO for violation of its WTO commitments—hasn’t been the administration’s focus.

Three Recommended Papers

The Coming American-Russian Alliance Against China

By HARRY J. KAZIANIS

Both nations have a reason to fear a coming change in the international order that will impact them both. And as history shows us time and again, a rising power that seeks to overturn the international system can make the most dedicated enemies join forces—and fast. I can only be talking about one thing: a growing and more powerful China. No one should be shocked by such an assertion. The simple fact is that we could very well be at the start of a colossal shift in how America and Russia view each other as they gear up to take on a much bigger foe. And we should be clear: if projections hold, the Chinese economy will someday surpass America’s and Russia’s—combined. As economic power translates into clear military strength, the writing could be on the wall for what may come. 

Putin’s Attack on the U.S. Is Our Pearl Harbor


O n December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched a surprise conventional attack against the U.S. Pacific Fleet moored at Pearl Harbor. The Japanese operation was part of a larger strategy: cripple the United States — in capability, naval manpower and mentality — so that we would be prevented from interfering as Japan continued military operations throughout Southeast Asia. Almost 3,500 Americans were killed or wounded; eight U.S. battleships were damaged and four were sunk; and more than 300 aircraft were damaged or destroyed. To this day, the wreckage of the USS Arizona is a monument to loss of life and totality of destruction. The attack happened without a declaration of war and without explicit warning, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt responded the next day.

At Helsinki summit, Trump defers to Putin at expense of U.S. security


At his Helsinki summit with President Trump, Vladimir Putin argued for letting bygones be bygones and opening a new era in U.S.–Russia relations, something Trump was happy to embrace. Trump went on to indulge in some unfortunate moral equivalence by stating that both countries bore the blame for the poor state of their relationship. Why it matters: As was the case in Singapore, Trump exaggerated what had been accomplished at the summit. Indeed, little appeared settled in the way of policy other than perhaps a revival of arms control talks. Simply by taking place, the summit further normalized Russia’s ties to the outside world, which have atrophied since its annexation of Crimea in 2014. Putin’s call for greater humanitarian help for Syria won the day’s chutzpah award given all that Russia has done to create that humanitarian crisis in the first place.

18 July 2018

Trump and Putin’s unholy alliance could lead to war with Iran

Simon Tisdall

They were right to be worried. Within hours of arriving in Europe, Donald Trump was busy insulting America’s closest friends and threatening to dismember Nato. He publicly humiliated Theresa May and did his importunate best to force regime change in Westminster, before halfheartedly apologising. Now he takes his ugly brand of rogue-male politics to Helsinki for a meeting with his best buddy, prominent campaign supporter and fellow narcissist, Russia’s Vladimir Putin. This is an ominous, possibly watershed moment for Europe, full of fear and loathing.

12 July 2018

The Lesson of the Great War: Stay Engaged, America

BY ELIOT A. COHEN

There are the wars we remember, and the wars that seem to drift away. Korea is one such, but at least there is a monument in Washington to the startled World War II veterans recalled from the post-1945 American recovery to do battle on those cold and barren hills. The doughboys of World War I do not even have that yet, although commissions and architects are actively bickering about what one might look like. Worse yet, to the extent Americans remember World War I at all, it is as a futile war, a massive, utterly senseless butchery of a damned generation. That was not the way Americans at the time conceived it. More controversially, it is an excessively simple way of conceiving it even now.

The US-Launched Trade War: Its Wide-Ranging Impact – Analysis

By Vincent Mac*

The United States under President Trump has in effect launched a trade war with its announcement of new tariffs targeted at imports from US allies and China. But this strategy could backfire, with devastating effects that reverberate far beyond the US. The United States’ recent imposition of new tariffs on aluminium and steel has fuelled fears of a trade war between the US and the rest of the world. This potential war is largely politically driven, whether for the purpose of fulfilling election promises or reciprocating political threats. But the economic rationale against a trade war is clear, and the repercussions would be felt globally. The imposition of tariffs is only an effective economic weapon if the targeted goods can be easily sourced domestically. If importing goods from an international source is more costly, vendors would be inclined to buy from a domestic source.

11 July 2018

The US-India Partnership and Its Discontents: Managing Trump-Era Turbulence

By Harsh V. Pant

In the end it was much ado about nothing, really. All the recent hyperventilation of the Indian strategic community was really an exercise in vanity. Grand deductions were being made about why the United States canceled the much anticipated “2+2 talks” with India, set for July 6. It turned out that it was indeed a scheduling problem with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo actually having to go to North Korea to salvage that diplomatic process, which is seemingly on the verge of collapse. Trump’s outreach to North Korea is his signature foreign policy achievement so far and he would want to preserve at the least the appearance that it retains some traction. It’s not surprising, therefore, that India would be asked to wait. Nikki Haley’s visit to India last week is no coincidence either. It was meant to convey that even as the 2+2 was postponed, India will remain an important focus area for the United States.