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

25 May 2017

A Realist Explanation for India’s Rejection to the US Offer of Mediation

There are many recent events that suggest that Indian-Pakistani ties are returning to a hazardous level of mutual hostility. Despite some attempts to create diplomatic dialogues, both countries still see themselves as rivals. Recently, a Pakistani military court had sentenced an Indian to death for espionage and New Delhi accused Pakistani officials of killing and mutilating two Indian officials in Kashmir. Moreover, non-state actors’ actions make this context more complicated. Terrorist attacks against Indian military units and riots in Kashmir against security forces repression hamper bilateral solutions. For those reasons, the United States ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, member of Indian-American community, stated that Trump’s administration considers to assist India and Pakistan to de-escalate their historical conflictual relationship. It is not the first time that an external international actor offered to mediate this question; but, as usual, Indian government readily refused any direct third-party role in resolving it.

During the presidential campaign, Trump attended to a Hindu-American rally in New Jersey and praised Narendra Modi. Not only Trump’s willingness to lure the Indian-American community, but also his similarities with Modi’s political strategy induced analysts to try to interpret what would represent a concomitant government of two nationalists for their countries’ ties. Indeed, their campaign were very similar: they both ran a national campaign against a “corrupt establishment”, faced a member of a traditional political family, criticized the government for being “too soft” on fighting terrorism, heavily used social media, and spoke as the ordinary people’s representative. Moreover, Trump’s proclaimed acquiescence with Indian concerns over terrorism in Asia expressed in a phone call with Modi, which the American president considered the Asiatic country a “truly friend”, provided arguments for those who affirmed that two heads of State could boost Indian-American relations due to their closeness in terms of ideology.

24 May 2017


This week in China the forum "One belt, one way" was completed, in which 28 heads of Eurasian countries took part. One of the main guests of the forum was the Russian President Vladimir Putin. China has demonstrated that it seeks to become a new pole of power in the global arena and looks forward to an alliance with Russia. The US, in turn, is restoring relations with its allies. Donald Trump on May 19 for the first time will travel outside the country as president of the United States, visiting Israel and Saudi Arabia, NATO summits and the "Big Seven" summit.

20 May 2017

The United States Is Losing Asia to China


With Washington in disarray, the Belt and Road Forum kicking off this weekend in Beijing should be a blaring wake up call that U.S. leadership in Asia is in peril. For two days, China will play host to more than 1,200 delegates from 110 countries, including 29 heads of state. The event will be centered on China’s “One Belt, One Road” program — more recently rebranded as the “Belt Road Initiative” (BRI) — which aims to provide much-needed infrastructure to connect Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

Announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, BRI is nothing if not ambitious, with plans to involve upwards of 65 countries and marshal in the neighborhood of $1 trillion. While skepticism is warranted about the novelty, value, and feasibility of many of the proposed projects, leaders around the world — with nary a better prospect of satisfying their development needs — are pining to take part. This is only the latest manifestation of Chinese leadership at a time when U.S. commitment to the region is less certain than ever.

Confirm Mark Green as USAID Administrator

When President Donald Trump nominated Ambassador Mark Green to run USAID on Wednesday, it was the absolute best choice…

19 May 2017

Next Steps For U.S. Cyber Security In The Trump Administration

By Paul Rosenzweig

The failure of the government to provide adequate protection has led many cybersecurity analysts, scholars, and policymakers to suggest that there is a need for private-sector self-help. The 2016 Republican platform even included a provision regarding active cyber defense.3 If the government is unable or unwilling to take or threaten credible offensive actions to deter cyberattacks or to punish those who engage in them, it may be incumbent upon private-sector actors to take up an active defense. In other words, the private sector may wish to take actions that go beyond protective software, firewalls, and other passive screening methods and instead actively deceive, identify, or retaliate against hackers to raise their costs for conducting cyberattacks.

While these private-sector actions take many forms, they go by the collective name of “active cyber defense” and include actions that are commonly referred to as “hack back.” In essence, it is the idea that private-sector actors may push back at the hackers who are attacking them. Before the United States authorizes such activities by private-sector actors, it is important to consider not only how to manage effects of these actions within U.S. domestic law, but also foreign and international law governing cyberspace and the implications of such laws for U.S private actors that engage in active cyber defense.

13 May 2017

Is America a Failing State?


We have the tin-pot leader whose vanity knows no bounds. We have the rapacious family feathering their nests without regard for the law or common decency. We have utter disregard for values at home and abroad, the disdain for democracy, the hunger for constraining a free press, the admiration for thugs and strongmen worldwide.

We have all the makings of a banana republic. But worse, we are showing the telltale signs of a failing state. Our government has ceased to function. Party politics and gross self-interest has rendered the majority party oblivious to its responsibilities to its constituents and the Constitution of the United States. On a daily basis, Republicans watch their leader violate not only the traditions and standards of the high office he occupies, but through inaction they enable him to personally profit from the presidency, promote policies that benefit his cronies and his class to the detriment of the majority of the American people, and serially attack the principles on which the country was founded — from freedom of religion to the separation of powers.

12 May 2017

Critical Assumptions and American Grand Strategy

What are the dominant assumptions that have undergirded American grand strategy in the post-Cold War era? Are they now passé or do they merely need to be reinforced? According to this text’s authors, US leaders should address these questions by first interrogating and stress-testing the strategic assumptions that are currently in place, both at the global and regional levels. They should then take six specific steps to make American grand strategy and strategic planning more resilient.

7 May 2017

India Ready to ‘Plug and Play’ into the US Network

Atul Bhardwaj

The United States (US) wants the flow of big data, and its security, storage and analysis to operate under a network-centric architecture erected and owned by it. The privacy of its own data is the prime obsession of the US. However, it pays scant respect to the privacy of others. It imposes restrictions and demands on its allies to comply with its data protection laws. It not only expects money from the importer of its arms and ammunitions, but also stringent commitment for protecting its intellectual property rights, crucial codes and data contained in the systems. The US often issues diktats to allies regarding what they ought not to export to countries on the US hit list.

As early as 1951, India was apprised of the provisions of the Battle Act, 1951 (Mutual Defense Assistance Control Act), a US municipal law that debarred countries cooperating with the US from exporting to the Soviet Union and other Eastern bloc countries that threatened US supremacy. In 1953, when India exported a small quantity of thorium nitrate to China, the US protested and reminded India of the Battle Act, 1951. In the late 1950s, when India was strategically aligned with the US on the Tibet issue, its commercial dealings with the communist countries were moderated by the US. On 31 March 1959, James B Burns, Third Secretary (Economics) of the US embassy in India, handed over an aide-memoire, which spelt out the changes in the list of items that were prohibited for export to communist countries under the Battle Act. It also made India aware of the restrictions on the use of arms imported from the US. Although India was under no legal obligation to comply with the list, it remained sympathetic to US concerns throughout the 1950s.

4 May 2017

*** America and China’s strategic relationship

After seven decades of hegemony in Asia, America now has to accommodate an increasingly powerful China, says Dominic Ziegler. Can Donald Trump’s administration manage that?

THE LAST TIME China considered itself as powerful as it does today, Abraham Lincoln was in the White House. At that time, and against the mounting evidence of Western depredations, the emperor still clung to the age-old belief that China ruled all under heaven, a world order unto itself. It never had allies in the Western sense, just nations that paid tribute to it in exchange for trade. Both China and “the outside countries”, he wrote to Lincoln, constitute “one family, without any distinction”.

Today, after a century and a half that encompassed Western imperial occupation, republican turmoil, the plunder of warlords, Japanese invasion, civil war, revolutionary upheaval and, more recently, phenomenal economic growth, China has resumed its own sense of being a great power. It has done so in a very different world: one led by America. For three-quarters of a century, America has been the hegemon in East Asia, China’s historical backyard.

** Commercial Logistics Critical to U.S. Global Power Projection

When government officials and defense experts speak of the ability of the U.S. to project military power globally they usually make reference to this nation’s dominance in warfighting capabilities, such as aircraft carriers, amphibious warfare ships, strategic bombers, advanced fighters, mobile air and missile defenses or military space systems. Without question, all of these capabilities, along with forward deployed and rapidly deployable Army and Marine Corps units, are important constituent elements of a superpower military. However, it takes logistics for these U.S. fleets, systems and capabilities to go anywhere, fight anyone and stay there, for years and decades.

One area where this country has a significant advantage over any putative adversary is in logistics. Over the past several decades, even as the bulk of forward deployed U.S. forces came home from their overseas bases, the military not only retained but improved its ability to conduct overseas operations, deploy and sustain joint forces worldwide. No other nation on Earth has this ability. It is particularly significant to the operations of a military that is largely continental-U.S. (CONUS)-based but tasked with multiple security responsibilities around the globe.

** US Military Spending Still Makes China, Russia Look Small

By Rob Garver

For the decade that ended with 2016, the United States’ two major geopolitical rivals doubled their spending on defense, a new analysis from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute shows. That only leaves them several hundred billion dollars per year behind what the US spends.

Between 2007 and 2016, China increased the amount it spends on defense each year by 118 percent, to $215 billion, and Russia over the same period increased its military spending by 87 percent to $69.2 billion, the SIPRI report states.

But as an indication of the extraordinary amount of money the U.S. pours into the Pentagon each year, they still spend less than half of what the Pentagon gets from U.S. taxpayers every year. In 2016, the US spent about $611 billion on defense, according to SIPRI estimates -- more than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, the UK, Japan and Germany combined.

The U.S. Army Has Big Plans If a War with Russia or China Ever Went Down

Kris Osborn

The Army is now crafting new combat “operations” doctrine designed to better position the service for the prospect of large-scale, mechanized, force-on-force warfare against technologically advanced near-peer rivals – such as Russia or China - able to substantially challenge US military technological superiority.

Rigorous examination is now underway among Army leaders and service doctrine developers in preparation for a new or evolved concept, called “FM 3.0 Operations,” slated to emerge this coming October.

It is intended as a supplement or adjustment to the Army’s current “FM 3.0 Full Spectrum” Field Manual, Rickey Smith, Deputy Chief of Staff, US Army Training and Doctrine Command, told Scout Warrior in an interview.

“We are working on the next iteration of a field manual for operations, which looks at where we are and where we are going. You cannot view the current force as the only answer. Things are evolving and you do not want to wait for some perfect end state,” Smith said.

While the emerging “operations” doctrine adaptation does recognize that insurgent and terrorist threats from groups of state and non-state actors will likely persist for decades into the future, the new manual will focus intently upon preparedness for a fast-developing high-tech combat environment against a major adversary.

2 May 2017

How H-1B Visa Changes Could Benefit Indian Professionals

President Trump has issued an executive order directing some U.S. agencies to review the nonimmigrant, H-1B work visa policies, which at present allow companies to hire “skilled” foreign workers when employers say they cannot find qualified Americans. Trump has questioned the impact of the program, saying that it represses American wages by paying foreign workers less. The U.S. issues 85,000 H-1B visas annually, and extends or reissues another 100,000 visas, according to Forbes. Last year, nearly 127,000 visas went to Indian nationals, about 21,700 to Chinese workers and 2,540 to Mexicans to round out the top three.

Should the review lead to curtailing the visas, on first glance it looks likely to hit Indian professionals — and Indian tech companies in particular — the hardest. But in this opinion piece, Ignatius Chithelen argues that some Indian visa holders could actually end up ahead. He is the author of Six Degrees of Education: From Teaching in Mumbai to Investment Research in New York, and the founder and managing partner of Banyan Tree Capital Management.

Keeping America´s Innovative Edge: A Strategic Framework

Given the rise of China and India as key technological competitors to the US, this report provides a strategic framework that’s designed to preserve America’s innovative edge. After diagnosing four distinct drivers of US innovation – R&D universities, human capital and intellectual property – the report’s authors focus on five key policy objectives the country should pursue, including the creation of sustainable entrepreneurial environments for startups and the promotion of commercialized research.

1 May 2017

#GailForce: Has the U.S. experienced the long predicted Cyber Pearl Harbor?

by Gail Harris

There is no need to wage a kinetic war or even to use debilitating cyber attacks on critical infrastructure if you can sway an election to elect a candidate or a party friendly to your interests or to defeat one you don’t like.

– Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia (2006-2016)

What if in August of 2015, the FBI received credible intelligence that Russian operatives were planning to blow up the DNC headquarters building, and physically harm the Democratic Presidential candidate? What if the DNC headquarters was then attacked in June of 2016, an attempt was made to harm the Democratic nominee, and there was conclusive evidence from the intelligence community that the Russians were behind it all? What would have been the reaction of the U.S. government, the military, and the public?

In the above scenario, I’m describing what military strategists refer to as a “kinetic attack”. What actually happened in June 2016 is called a “non kinetic” attack. There are many who still argue that unless death or destruction results, a cyber incident should not be considered an attack or an act of war. What they are missing is that cyber space has given nation states, or transnational groups, or single threat actors, the capability to effectively use information as a devastating weapon. The current buzzword is “weaponized narrative”. As the 2014 North Korean hack against Sony Pictures highlighted, cyber space is also a security arena where a private corporation may have to defend itself against an attack by a nation state.

30 April 2017

*** What Trump’s Next 100 Days Will Look Like

By Reva Goujon

As U.S. President Donald Trump approaches his 100-day benchmark on Saturday, a media deluge has already begun bemoaning the demise of the liberal order, celebrating waves of deregulation or simply blaming the president's rocky start on the "disaster" he inherited on taking office. Rather than wade into that predictable morass, we prefer to focus instead on what the next 100 days hold in store.

A Slippery Slope in Trade

Trump is often described as a "transactional" president who sees the world as one big negotiating table where he can leverage his business experience to exact better terms and conditions for American workers and corporations. Trump will therefore try to keep his core agenda focused on what he regards as his sweet spot: U.S. economy and trade. But even though the domestic economy may be the thing closest to the president's comfort zone, it's also where he comes up against a wall of institutional barriers. As a result, his much-touted tax overhaul attempting a steep reduction in the corporate tax rate will remain gridlocked in congressional battles over health care and the budget.

The End of the Trump Administration

Author: William S. Lind 

After just three months, the Trump administration appears to be over. The agenda which got President Trump elected is being tossed over the side, replaced with the usual Republican establishment policies that don’t work. It looks as if we are in for more immigration, more free trade that wipes out middle class jobs, more political correctness, and more avoidable foreign wars where we have no real interests at stake. As for Donald Trump himself, he is rapidly being relegated to the role of the crazy uncle who lives in the attic.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seems to know less about grand strategy than he does about Maya glyphs. He has set us back on an anti-Russian foreign policy course where the U.S. is to promote Jacobin concepts of “human rights” while bombing anyone and everyone around the world. Both actions work to the advantage of our Fourth Generation, non-state enemies. Coupled with a failure to reform our Second Generation armed forces, we are on the same road to over-extension and collapse that every other Power seeking world dominion has followed. Donald Trump ran against all of this, and won. But what the public wants counts for nothing to the Republican establishment.

The drumbeat of bad news for those who voted for Trump because they wanted reform grows louder daily. The New York Times can hardly contain its glee. On April 13 it reported that Steve Bannon, the highest-placed anti-establishment figure in the Trump administration, may be on his way out. Coming in, according to the Times, is Kevin Hassett, who will serve as head of Trump’s Council of Economic Advisors and who is rabidly pro-immigration. He has denounced the Republican Party for becoming the “Party of White.” Wall Street, which wants cheap labor, will be delighted.

29 April 2017

*** An American Recession and the World

By George Friedman

A recession in the United States is likely to come in the next two years. It is difficult to determine when a recession will occur based solely on economic activity. Economists argue about the precursors to a recession as a matter of course. I am not making the case that one will happen because I believe I am competent to enter that debate. Rather, I am making the case that one is increasingly likely simply by looking at the frequency with which they occur.

The last recession started in 2007 and ended in 2009. The one before that started and ended in 2001. The two previous recessions ran from 1990 to 1991 and from 1981 to 1982. In these cases, the time between the end of one recession and the start of another was about eight years on average. Between 1945 and 1981, recessions were much more frequent, but obviously something has happened to extend the time between them.

Newspapers are seen for sale at a newsstand Sept. 16, 2008 in New York City. The previous day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 4.4 percent or 504 points, the worst single-day loss since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Mario Tama/Getty Images

America's Innovation Edge Is at Risk

Peter Engelke

It seems a growing number of people refuse to accept living in a post-fact world. Saturday’s March for Science was billed by its organizers as necessary “to defend the vital role science plays" in our health, safety, economies, and governments.”

It is no coincidence that the march was held during the opening weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency, and on Earth Day to boot. Many of the nation’s scientists fear a serious threat to both science itself and federal policies rooted in science. Look no further than the hatchet the Trump administration hopes to take to the federal government’s research and development budgets, or to its goal of eviscerating or weakening evidence-based regulations across a number of areas, most prominently in environmental policy.

How has it come to this? The fact that scientists feel a need to organize mass marches is a sign of something gone very wrong. As in so many areas of contemporary American life, science has become a political football. For whatever reason, a sizable portion of our body politic no longer equates science with progress and prosperity. That sentiment has been years in the making.

28 April 2017

U.S. Air Force invests millions this month on cyberweapons projects

Patrick Howell O'Neill

Three of the United States’ largest military contractors each won multimillion-dollar projects in the last month to boost American offensive power in the cyber domain.

Raytheon, Northrop Grunman and Booz Allen Hamilton have all seen their stock prices rise 10 to 20 percent since the November 2016 U.S. election. Investors sprinted to military contractors based on Trump’s promises for higher spending on — among other warfighting capabilities — the cyber domain. Many of the world’s biggest weapons manufacturers are expanding aggressively into offensive and defensive cybersecurity in search of the same level of profitability found in building conventional weapons systems.

Raytheon will build the Air Force’s newest Cyber Command and Control Mission System (C3MS) operating location — at San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force Base — after winning an $8.5 million contract this week. Lackland is home to the 24th Air Force, the organization tasked with operating and defending the Air Force’s networks. It’s currently commanded by Maj. Gen. Christopher Weggeman.

The C3MS system is designed, by the military’s description, to extend the U.S. Air Force’s “global reach, power and vigilance” into the cyber domain by providing permanent operational support to combatant commanders around the world. In addition to securing Air Force networks and information processing systems, C3MS includes offensive cyberspace operations, expansive real-world and cyber domain surveillance capabilities and close coordination with other key cyber domain commands including the United States Cyber Command.

Time for America to Follow China’s Lead

By Kishore Mahbubani

Kishore Mahbubani is a former Singaporean diplomat who served twice as ambassador to the United Nations. Currently, he is the dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He is the author of “The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World.” This piece is part of a special RCW series on the U.S.-China geopolitical relationship. The views expressed here are the author’s own.

In a 2005 speech before the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, former World Bank President Robert Zoellick famously called upon the Chinese government to become a responsible stakeholder in the global system, and to work with other international powers to maintain stability and security around the world. One can assume that when Zoellick delivered his speech on that fall day in New York, there was no doubt in his mind -- nor in the minds of most American leaders and policymakers -- that the United States was in fact the responsible stakeholder in the international system, and that China was not. 

However, last year’s election of Donald Trump has spurred a remarkable reversal in global perceptions of the United States and China. President Trump has loudly proclaimed that he will pursue unilateralist “America First” policies, and he has also threatened to withdraw the United States from the World Trade Organization. In a 2016 interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Trump said, "[W]e’re going to renegotiate or we’re going to pull out. These trade deals are a disaster. The World Trade Organization is a disaster." By contrast, after the two brilliant speeches delivered by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Davos and in Geneva in January 2017, China has projected itself as a defender of the prevailing multilateral order. Zoellick would not be able to deliver his 2005 speech in 2017. The roles have reversed.

Clinton's Subtle Warning

This need not and should not have happened. As a power that is, by the president’s own admission, in relative decline, it is increasingly in the national interest of the United States to strengthen multilateral rules and processes. Articulating this truth in a visionary 2003 speech at Yale University, Former President Bill Clinton said: