7 January 2018

Character Has Real Consequence

“Ensign, you’re going to stand right here and watch that boat,” my captain ordered me, “and you’re not going anywhere until they’ve moved away from the ship.”“Yes sir,” I replied and dutifully took my position at the rail to watch the small boat come alongside our ship and simulate planting a bomb as part of a scheduled drill. It was all very logical—the captain was a direct sort of man, and he did not trust the small boat not to ding up the side of his vessel. Our ship’s participation in the base security drill was limited to serving as the target, and this was a fairly easy task for me as a newly minted in-port officer-of-the-day—make sure they do not scrape our paint. Check. It unfolded as planned: The boat came alongside, its crew placed the “bomb” (a sticker), and they pulled away. As I turned to leave, the captain approached again, this time with four or five civilians in tow. “Why don’t you stop wasting time,” he asked, “and see if you can actually find some real work to do?” This type of over-the-top, public mistreatment of his junior officers was typical of this man, and I was unfazed by it. “Yes, sir,” I responded, as the captain began walking away with his visitors—presumably a very distinguished group if the commanding officer himself was escorting them. One of the civilians lingered and approached me as I turned to leave. He smiled and extended his hand, which I shook. “Now you know how not to treat people when you get there,” he said.

Brexit - What We Now Know

The Office for Budget Responsibility, established by Government to provide independent scrutiny of the UK’s public finances, says that the UK economy’s ability to grow has been negatively affected since the Brexit vote.“The renewed weakness of productivity growth over the first half of 2017 will almost certainly have been exacerbated by the Brexit Vote.” The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney has also stated that Brexit is already having a “noticeable impact” on the UK economy and is depressing the rate at which it can grow.

The U.S. Army Is Getting Ready for a Jungle War

Kris Osborn

Emerging waterways, lush terrain and tangled bushing make it more difficult for Soldiers to track, find and destroy hidden enemies in the jungle - a scenario which is inspiring a current Army effort to send a newly configured “jungle boot” to war.

A new Version 2 jungle boot is now being fielded to the Army’s 25th Infantry Division as part of a broader process to deploy a new, durable, high-tech, water resistant boot designed to enable maximum jungle combat capability.

Soldier field testing with the boot is expected to take place in the next few months, as a key step toward ultimately developing and deploying a new boot.

Adaptive Leadership and the Warfighter

By Reed Bonadonna

Over the past twenty years, a significant contribution to leadership studies has come under the heading of Adaptive Leadership, pioneered by Ron Heifetz in the seminal work Leadership Without Easy Answers. Heifetz and his colleague Marty Linsky continue to write, teach, and consult, and their courses at the Harvard Kennedy School are attended by an international student body of leadership educators and practitioners, including military officers and other government officials. Their approach to the art and practice of leadership has spawned a body of writings by various protégés and colleagues. The latest version of Army Doctrine Publication (ADP) 5-0, The Operations Process, shows some influence of Adaptive Leadership, but many of the concepts most relevant to military leadership and warfighting are left out. The Harvard/Heifetz/Linsky approach to leadership has great potential for the military leader trying to bring about or adapt to change in culture and organization.

Five Reasons The U.S. Army Must Modernize Faster To Avoid Catastrophe

Loren Thompson 

The famous Prussian military theorist and professional soldier Carl von Clausewitz said that war is the continuation of politics by other means. In contemporary Washington, politics sometimes seems like the continuation of war by other means. Partisan infighting has so thoroughly paralyzed federal policymaking that Congress has not completed a budget in time for the new fiscal year even once in the last 20 years. The most basic requirements of sound governance are neglected as politicians maneuver for electoral advantage.

6 January 2018

Five Biggest Cyber Security Stories of 2017

Five Biggest Cyber Security Stories of 2017
-- Maj Gen P K Mallick,VSM (Retd)

There has been cyber security stories in  2017. This year when cyber security’s role in global politics became undeniableand  the threats kept coming. Social media continued to be a battleground for voters but didn’t seem to play a significant role in the British, French or German elections. Ransomware is still the most common attachment in spam emails and the trojan became more potent on Macs and Androids. And the role of antivirus companies even became a global controversy.

F-Secure comes out with the  the current threat landscape and the larger trends that we will be forced to contend with in the new year and beyond.

1. The Internet of Things: If it’s smart, it’s vulnerable. It is  easy for hackers to use vulnerabilities make it to take control of a device. In 2018, the number of consumer IoT devices will likely exceed the human population of the earth. Meanwhile, there’s still no evidence that manufacturers are taking security seriously enough to sustain this sort of mass adoption safely.

2. Internet Service Providers in the U.S. can now sell your browsing history without your consent. In April, the U.S. reversed a regulation that prevented ISP’s from selling your browsing history without your consent. This move shifted regulation of providers from the Federal Communication Commission to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Cable companies prefer FTC regulation because it puts them on a more equal footing with the firms that dominate web advertising, Google and Facebook. However, it also means all your web traffic may be sold so advertisers can more effectively target you. 

3. WannaCry and NotPetya Explode. In May and June, we saw the two largest ransomware outbreaks ever — WannaCry and then NotPetya. Both used vulnerabilities that have been stockpiled by the U.S’s National Security Agency and then leaked into the public. And both exploited unpatched systems to spread like worms through networks. Luckily, both threats didn’t do nearly as much damage as they could due to flaws in their design. While both reminded the world of the importance of basic security hygiene like installing updates and designing networks to prevent worms from spreading, they both also raised numerous questions, like why did someone release ransomware like NotPetya when it didn’t seem capable of collecting ransoms? 

4. Breaches from Hell.If you’ve used the internet in the last decade or have a credit card, chances are you were somehow caught up in the breaches that were reported in 2017. Over 143 million Americans had data compromised in the Equifax breach alone. For businesses, breaches are becoming even more crucial to prevent and manage. This is not just true because trust destroyed by hacks can potentially do catastrophic damage to a brand but because of the rise of the the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which enters full force on May 25th. There are many myths surrounding the GDPR, but in general these regulations may be good news for consumers’ data privacy and potentially a huge opportunity for businesses that take a proactive approach to cyber security.

5. Bitcoin Boom. Ransomware has been around for years and years, way before Bitcoin. But the megatrend that really made ransomware such a problem is crypto-currencies like Bitcoin.” As the year neared its end, the price of Bitcoin exploded, at one point hitting over $19,000. It’s unclear what this means for ransomware crooks, given how difficult it may be to run a business with a payment method that gains or loses $1,000 in a day. And using Bitcoin to purchase real world items can be difficult. But it’s clear there’s a hunger for virtual currency that’s not subsiding as we head into 2018.

Behind the ‘enemy’ line: the borders of J&K

Happymon Jacob

“Why do you want to visit our side of the Line of Control (LoC)?” a senior Pakistan army officer asked me. My request to go on a field trip to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir with the Pakistan army for research on ceasefire violations along the India-Pakistan border was still being reviewed by the higher echelons of the Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi when this question was posed to me. He wanted to know the source of my interest (or ‘angle’). I am not sure if he was convinced by my reply about my hope that my research would contribute to bilateral peace, but an invitation came through a few weeks later.

India needs to work harder, both in its own backyard and in its near-abroad

While there is absolutely no doubt that Donald Trump has on more than one occasion sent harsh warnings to Islamabad – calling upon Pakistan to give up its support for terrorist groups or face the consequences – Trump’s predecessors had begun to reduce aid to Pakistan. During the Obama years, for example, American aid to Pakistan dropped from over 2 Billion USD in 2014, to a little over 1.1 Billion USD in 2016. In his latest tweet, Trump minced no words, saying that Pakistan had fooled the US all these years, and that US will not take this lying down: The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!

It's Time to End Pakistan's Double Game

President Trump, in his tweet about Pakistan, called a spade a spade. Since 9/11, Pakistan has consistently played a double game, providing just enough sporadic assistance in capturing members of Al Qaeda and logistical support for our forces to give an impression of helpfulness, while at the same time harboring, training, and assisting violent extremist groups such as the Taliban and the Haqqani network that have killed thousands of American, Coalition, and Afghan soldiers and an even greater number of innocent Afghan civilians.

Staying the Course in Afghanistan How to Fight the Longest War

By Kosh Sadat and Stanley McChrystal

The cigarette glowed red as he took a drag, and the smoke rose rapidly as he exhaled. It had been a long afternoon. It had been a long war. It was February 2010, and after months establishing a relationship, Pakistan’s chief of army staff, Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and one of us, Stan McChrystal, were having the kind of conversation senior military commanders are supposed to have, discussing the role of the NATO-led coalition’s efforts in Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan. We’d spent hours alone, each laying out in detail a strategy for the conflict. While not quite my second home, the Pakistani army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi was now familiar ground, and Kayani, a colleague with whom I spoke easily. Nothing, however, could soften the blow of his message to me. “For the mission you’ve been given, you have the right strategy,” he told me. “But it won’t work, because you don’t have enough time.”

The New Geopolitics of Central Asia: China Vies for Influence in Russia's Backyard

Philippe Le Corre

What will it mean for Kazakhstan?

China’s emerging Belt and Road Initiative—BRI, or the so-called “New Silk Road”—aims to improve dramatically trade connectivity between growing industrial production in China and lucrative European markets. As part of the initiative, Beijing also promises to deliver outcomes for transit countries. China is said to be spending several billions of dollars per year in 60-odd countries.Kazakhstan is a critical node and is now on the verge of China’s embrace. Not surprisingly, the government in Astana is keen to benefit from the project: It seeks to diversify its economy away from exporting oil and natural resources and wants to improve its road and rail infrastructures in order to expand its logistics sector. If successful, this could help Kazakhstan move from being a middle-income to a high-income country.


by Davide Monteleone

The Silk Road was established during the Han dynasty, beginning around 130 B.C. Markets and trading posts were strung along a loose skein of thoroughfares that ran from the Greco-Roman metropolis of Antioch, across the Syrian desert, through modern-day Iraq and Iran, to the former Chinese capital of Xian, streamlining the transport of livestock and grain, medicine and science. In 2013, President Xi Jinping announced that the Silk Road would be reborn as the Belt and Road Initiative, the most ambitious infrastructure project the world has ever known—and the most expensive. Its expected cost is more than a trillion dollars. When complete, the Belt and Road will connect, by China’s accounting, sixty-five per cent of the world’s population and thirty per cent of global G.D.P. So far, sixty-eight countries have signed on.

Stratfor: Iran’s Mullahs face their greatest challenge

Larry Kummer

Summary: Iran’s Mullahs led it to a draw with Iraq, withstood four decades of sanctions, Israeli assassination of their nuclear scientists, and the collapse of oil prices after 2008. Now Stratfor describes the Mullahs’ greatest challenge: their own people.Unrest in Iran. Stratfor/AFP/Getty Images.
“The Voices of Discontent in Iran Crank Up the Volume, to a Point”

The Crisis in Iran: A Broader Perspective

BY Anthony H. Cordesman

It is easy to take a strong position on the level of current unrest in Iran, and some of the motives behind it. The fact is, however, that it is far from clear how it will develop, or how much support it really has. Iran scarcely permits the kind of polling that would expose its internal divisions, and many Iranians would be more than cautious if such polling was ever attempted. As a result, many see what they want to see in latest round of unrest, particularly those who want the regime to fall. It is far from clear, however, that a regime that controls the security forces, the justice system, the media, and much of the economy is all vulnerable. The current uprisings in Iran have so far been relatively limited, although they have been broadly distributed throughout the country, have grown in scope, and have taken place in spite of the major improvement in internal security that has taken place in recent years.

The Battle for Iran Change will not come easily, peacefully, or soon.


Protest movements in the Middle East face enormous repressive hurdles and rarely have happy endings. Even when protesters “succeed” in toppling an autocrat, they’ve rarely succeeded in ending autocracy. In Iran, the obstacles to success are daunting. Whereas most Middle Eastern countries are ruled by secular autocrats focused on repressing primarily Islamist opposition, Iran is an Islamist autocracy focused on repressing secular opposition. This dynamic—unarmed, unorganized, leaderless citizens seeking economic dignity and pluralism, versus a heavily armed, organized, rapacious ruling theocracy that espouses martyrdom—is not a recipe for success. 

Waiting for the Bomb to Drop


The decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem makes a war in Korea more likely. Not because there is any direct connection between the two, nor because it was a bad idea, recognizing as it did the simple fact that the western part of Jerusalem has been Israel’s capital for over 70 years and will most assuredly remain so. The dangerous bit, rather, was when pundits and diplomats wrung their hands and predicted calamity and (far more predictably) nothing happened. The Arab street grumbled, while Cairo, Riyadh, and Abu Dhabi looked the other way, and Donald Trump could be forgiven for thinking that his instincts had been proven entirely correct.

Don’t panic: Fears of nuclear escalations and cyber warfare are overblown

First, the potential for North Korea to weaponise a nuclear missile, and then escalate the probability of actually firing it. The second is that Hezbollah will launch a conventional missile attack – from its arsenal of 120,000 – on Israel, ordered by its masters in Iran. The third threat is that jihadists will fly drones into major demographic concentrations – such as football stadiums – and detonate biological or chemical devices. Finally, there is the threat of a seismic cyber attack which takes down the economy, such as on the US electricity grid. All of these are scary prospects, but what are the odds of them actually happening?

Preventive Priorities Survey 2018

By Paul B Stares

The Center for Preventive Action’s annual Preventive Priorities Survey (PPS) evaluates ongoing and potential conflicts based on their likelihood of occurring in the coming year and their impact on U.S. interests. The PPS aims to help the U.S. policymaking community prioritize competing conflict prevention and crisis mitigation demands.

What If... Conceivable Crises: Unpredictable in 2017, Unmanageable in 2020?

This collection of essays focuses on eleven scenarios that may appear unlikely today, but which could come to pass in the near future. The primary aim of each text is to highlight the EU’s current strengths and weaknesses, specifically in its decision-making processes and crisis management structures. Some of the potential crises include 1) a repeat intervention by Russia in Ukraine; 2) the disintegration of Bosnia-Herzegovina; 3) the so-called Islamic State taking over an enfeebled African state; 4) the toppling of Cameroon’s government; 5) Japan acquiring nuclear weapons; and 6) India and Pakistan stumbling into another armed conflict.

The Predictable Volatility of Iran and North Korea

By Jacob L. Shapiro

GPF’s 2018 forecast predicted that the world’s two most volatile regions would be the Middle East and East Asia. So far, so good. Popular frustration in Iran over the country’s economic performance boiled over at the end of last week and has continued into the new year. It’s at the point that it threatens the position of the region’s most influential actor in 2018. Meanwhile, on New Year’s Day in East Asia, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un suggested that North Korea and South Korea should meet urgently to discuss his country’s participation in the Winter Olympics in February in Pyeongchang, South Korea. This raised the serious question of whether North Korea is finally open to negotiations on its nuclear program.

America Still Needs an Asia Strategy

By Sandy Pho & Michael Kugelman

North Korea’s November 28 missile test, which involved an intercontinental ballistic missile that may be capable of reaching the United States, underscores the clear and present danger that Pyongyang poses to America. It also provides a resounding reminder about the dangerous implications for the United States of not having a clear, comprehensive and, above all, workable Asia strategy. After President Donald Trump returned to the United States following a 12-day trip to Asia last month, he boasted of working with regional actors toward the goal of eliminating North Korea’s nuclear weapons. “We have to denuclearize North Korea,” he insisted.

Ukraine: Will the Centre Hold?

What’s the issue?

While the war in Ukraine’s eastern region of Donbas rumbles on, the regions of Polissya and Zakarpattya in the country’s west are corroded by systemic state corruption. Resentment toward Kyiv in these peripheral regions is pushing many into the shadow economies and exacerbating state fragility.

Why does it matter?

Widespread corruption in Ukraine’s western regions demonstrates that state fragility is not limited to areas controlled by Kremlin-backed separatists. This is undermining Kyiv’s capacity to withstand Russian aggression and restore its sovereignty over Donbas, meaning Moscow’s withdrawal from eastern Ukraine will not necessarily lead to national cohesion.

Speak to the Heartland: Lessons from Kissinger’s Defense of Détente

By Matthew F. Ferraro

Twice in October 2017, Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) spoke eloquently to public audiences about the liberal world order that his and his father’s generation helped to build and the moral obligation the United States has to defend it from threats at home and abroad. Battling terminal cancer, McCain has entered the twilight of his public life. But in these speeches, McCain has called for a national, not a personal, convalescence. He has sought to rally a weary nation to a view of American morality and purpose in the world consistent with the internationalism that the country practiced with great effect from 1945 until the past year. 

Researchers Found Two Major Security Flaws In Processors That Affect Most Of The World's Computers

Blake Montgomery

Cybersecurity researchers have discovered two flaws in microprocessors that could grant hackers access to the entire memory stored on practically any computer in the world. On a website created to explain the flaws, researchers wrote that they "don't know" if hackers have exploited the bug. Researchers said they named one flaw "Meltdown" because it "basically melts security boundaries which are normally enforced by the hardware." The name "Spectre" for the second flaw came from the fact that there is no easy fix, which means it will likely "haunt us for quite some time."

Google discovers ‘serious’ flaws in Intel and other chips

Security researchers at Google say they’ve discovered serious security flaws affecting computer processors built by Intel and other chipmakers. Google’s Project Zero team said Wednesday that the flaw could allow bad actors to gather passwords and other sensitive data from a system’s memory. The tech company disclosed the vulnerability not long after Intel said it’s working to patch it. Intel says the average computer user won’t experience significant slowdowns as it’s fixed. Both Intel and Google said they were planning to disclose the issue next week when fixes will be available. Tech companies typically withhold details about security problems until fixes are available so that hackers wouldn’t have a roadmap to exploit the flaws. But in this case, Intel was forced to disclose the problem Wednesday after British technology site The Register reported it, causing Intel’s stock to fall.

Report: Most agencies vulnerable to phishing

By: Jessie Bur 

Nearly half of federal agency email domains have adopted policies to collect data on unauthorized emails, a move mandated by the Department of Homeland Security in October, according to a report by cybersecurity company Agari. The new policies do not block malicious emails or prevent employees from receiving phishing emails, but instead allow email domain owners, such as CIOs, to receive reports on unauthorized messages sent through their domain.

To fight cyber crime, we need swords, not just shields


For three decades after the Cold War ended, Americans lived with confidence that their lives and assets were protected by the unchallenged U.S. military and the deeply established rule of law. That era is over. We’re now engaged in asymmetrical warfare, fighting super-empowered individuals and groups that are wreaking havoc on American society from abroad.Relentless cyberattacks over the past year have exposed the confidential personal information of at least half of all Americans; undermined faith in fundamental pillars of our democracy; and penetrated the electronic fortresses protecting some of our most highly-classified secrets.

The Labs that protect against on line warfare

By Christian Borys 

Several months after the WannaCry cyber-attack, much of the world still seems to be asleep to the potential catastrophic effects of cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure systems. The first nation state-level cyber-attack on critical infrastructure, widely attributed to a joint collaboration between American and Israeli intelligence against Iran, was uncovered in 2010. Known as the Stuxnet virus, the attack aimed to take down Iran’s nuclear program. The virus failed to achieve its mission. But by destroying nearly 1,000 uranium-enriching centrifuges, it was unprecedented for having caused physical damage by way of virtual attack. And it ushered in a new era of conflict: that of offensive cyber-warfare. 

Going Underground: The U.S. Government’s Hunt for Enemy Tunnels

In April of last year, the U.S. military dropped the most powerful non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat on a tunnel complex in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. The airstrike targeted the Islamic State’s Khorasan branch. The use of the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast weapon, the so-called “Mother of All Bombs,” highlighted the growing threat posed by adversaries’ underground structures.

TRADOC chief: Army needs to break free from ‘tyranny of training’

By: Jen Judson

When the U.S. Army first needed to figure out how to make its AirLand Battle concept operational to focus more on the central plains of Europe and the threat from the Soviet Union after the Vietnam War, it used training to drive the combined-arms maneuver concept into the service, according to Gen. David Perkins, the commander of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command. mAnd now the Army is poised to use training again to bring its new Multi-Domain battle concept to life. But the service’s approach, Perkins said at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference on Tuesday, must be different from what it did post-Vietnam when the Army stood up exquisite combat training centers, beginning first with the National Training Center in California, which used top-of-the line equipment and instrumentation and duplicated a world-class opposing force.

2018 Forecast: Can The Army Reinvent Itself?


WASHINGTON: Over the next few weeks, US Army leaders will make major decisions about the Futures Command they’re standing up this summer. The new organization will be the biggest departure in how the Army buys weapons in 40 years. Important as it is, however, it’s also just one of many changes the Army must make in 2018. One of the unsung stories of 2017 was how the US Army made big down payments towards progress on multiple fronts: new weapons, new concepts, new organizations. But reinventing a huge institution takes years, and the post-Cold War Army in particular has tended to take two steps forward and 1.9 steps back. Under the irrepressibly energetic Gen. Mark Milley, who became chief of staff in 2015, the largest service seems to be overcoming inertia at last. The challenge is keeping the momentum.

5 January 2018

Pakistan Has All the Leverage Over Trump

Pakistan Has All the Leverage Over Trump
                                                                        --  Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd)

Over the last several decades, U.S aid to Pakistan has fluctuated depending on Washington’s regional objectives. For example, during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War, the U.S. decreased its aid to Pakistan, only sending $26 million to the country. Alternatively, during the 1980s, the U.S. significantly increased its assistance to Islamabad to upwards of $5 billion as Pakistan helped funnel weapons and funds to anti-Soviet rebel fighters in Afghanistan.Between 2002-2017, the U.S. provided more than $33 billion in total aid to Pakistan.
Bill Milam, former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan said :

“The U.S. started withholding our goodies from Pakistan in 1965, when President Lyndon Johnson cut off most of our military assistance to Pakistan when it attacked India. We cut off most assistance, both military and aid, when President George H. W. Bush could no longer certify, as required by the 1985 Pressler Amendment, that Pakistan did not possess a nuclear device. And when those sticks didn’t work, we tried to use a huge assistance package as an irresistible carrot to get Pakistan to conform completely to our way of thinking in the fight against terrorism, including in Afghanistan. The results are clear – none of it worked. Pakistan marches to its own beat.”

The U.S. has turned to Pakistan for vital cooperation in rooting out militant groups, such as the Taliban and the Haqqani network, that regularly orchestrate violence in neighboring Afghanistan. At the same time, however, the U.S. has repeatedly accused Pakistan of harboring these groups to promote their own regional interests.

During the late 1970s and 1980s, Washington used Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) as a conduit to funnel arms and money to rebel groups fighting the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. Following the Soviet Union’s withdrawal, however, the ISI helped support the Taliban’s rise to power in Afghanistan during the 1990s. Today, it is widely believed that the ISI continues to protect and assist the Taliban, the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), all designated as terrorists by the U.S. government, as part of its strategy to keep Afghanistan on unstable footing and advance its ambitions in the disputed Kashmir region bordering India and Pakistan.

Pakistan has assisted with U.S. efforts to dismantle al-Qaida. Pakistani intelligence facilitated the 2003 apprehension of Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, and has provided information that helped target other key figures by CIA drone strike. Yet questions still linger about whether the Pakistani government knew of Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts after the al Qaida leader’s compound was raided in close proximity to a Pakistani military facility in May 2011.

The Pakistani government has permitted the CIA and U.S. military to use bases inside Pakistan for drones and even launch drone strikes in Pakistani territory. In 2017, at least eight such strikes were conducted, which resulted in the deaths of several Taliban militants. However, many in the U.S. still accuse the Pakistani government of harboring leaders of the Taliban and the Haqqani network, although Pakistani officials have repeatedly rejected such accusations.

After rescuing an American-Canadian family from the Haqqani network in October, the Pakistani military captured one of the organization’s members but reportedly refused to grant the U.S. access to the man. The Haqqani network is still believed to be holding at least two other Americans hostage.

Anthony Cordesman, Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy, CSIS said :

“The practical issues affecting any hardline approach towards Pakistan are (a) what can the U.S. actually do that will matter enough to really change Pakistani behavior, and (b) what will happen if the Pakistanis respond by limiting U.S. access to Pakistan’s airspace, ports and land routes; giving more freedom of action and support to the Taliban and other threats to Afghanistan; and/or titling even more towards China.”

It is unlikely that Trump’s decision to withhold aid from Pakistan in and of itself will lead Pakistan to amend its approach, as Islamabad boasts a track record of withstanding such maneuvers. However, by implementing a multifaceted strategy that extends beyond U.S. fiscal leverage to include a greater alignment of the two countries’ core interests, the Trump administration may begin to chip away at the barriers preventing enhanced and honest cooperation.

Dan Markey, Academic Director of the Global Policy Program, Johns Hopkins SAIS said :

“There are a couple of things that are missing from the Trump Administration’s approach right now. One is evidence of a commitment by the administration to just how far it is willing to push. The Pakistanis are pretty skilled at girding themselves for irritations from the U.S. and aid cutoffs or slowdowns. They can weather all of that. The question is, do we have other pressure tactics that we’re actually willing to use – things like denying them access to international financial institutions and resources that go well beyond U.S. assistance. Just how mean are we willing to get? On the other side, just how committed are we to the fight in Afghanistan in ways that would get Pakistan, over time, to see that its interest is [in] aligning itself with what our strategy is? That is, if they began to believe that the most likely solution in Afghanistan was one in which the Afghan Taliban were either brought to the table and brought into a political process or ultimately defeated, then they would probably be more inclined to get behind that effort themselves and support it. But for the time being, and for as long as I can remember, I think they’ve suspected that the U.S. would leave with a job half-finished and would leave the problem in their lap. Given those assumptions, the idea that they would turn [against] some of their militant allies like the Afghan Taliban and that Haqqani network, seems less compelling. So that’s where we’re stuck.”

C. Christine Fair is assistant professor in the Peace and Security Studies Program in Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. She is author most recently of "Why the Pakistan Army Is Here to Stay: Prospects for Civilian Governance" in International Affairs.

She is the foremost Pakistan specialist from USA. Recently she has published a paper " 
Pakistan Has All the Leverage Over Trump" in Foreign Policy.

For me it is the finest paper on US - Pakistan relation in recent time. It is a must read for all who are interested in Pakistan.  I like it when she writes : Logistics will beat strategy every time.

The paper is reproduce below.

The president can tweet all the threats he wants, but Pakistan’s leaders aren’t worried.

Pakistan responded as it has in the past for being called out for its mendacity and perfidy: It rallied its trolls; it summoned the U.S. ambassador in Islamabad for a démarche; and, in all forums possible, it denied the allegations of nefarious deeds with all of the sincerity and credibility of the wholesome human resources manager of the Chicken Ranch.

Even as the tweet continued to titillate Trump enthusiasts in India and at home, however, the responsible members of Trump’s government were strategizing how to roll it back. Later that same day, a White House National Security Council spokesperson explained what, specifically, to expect: “The United States does not plan to spend the $255 million in FY 2016 foreign military financing for Pakistan at this time.” This is not the sweeping cutoff that Trump implied in his braggadocios tweet.

In fact, there is little that is, or ever will be, new in Trump’s Pakistan policy.
That’s true for two simple reasons: the logistics of staying the course in Afghanistan and the night terrors triggered by imagining how terrifying Pakistan could be without American money.

Obama did the same thing, too, and nothing changed

Trump is not the first U.S. president to express distaste for Pakistan’s actions. In August 2007, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama threatened to undertake unilateral military strikes against the terrorists harbored by Pakistan. Obama, upon being president, took the fight to Pakistan with his zealous use of airstrikes by remotely piloted aerial vehicles. Moreover, in March 2009, when Obama announced his so-called Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy, he specifically identified the latter as a terrorist safe haven. You know, eventually those snakes are going to turn on whoever has them in the backyard.” And it was Obama who ordered U.S. Navy SEALs to unilaterally attack a compound near Pakistan’s famed military academy in which Osama bin Laden had been residing in plain sight for numerous years.

The Obama administration also withheld funds from Pakistan for several years. It did so because the U.S. Congress passed legislation that authorized $1 billion in coalition support funds (CSF) but rendered $300 million hostage to Pakistan taking decisive action against the Haqqani Network and in later years against the Lashkar-e-Taiba. This money could only be paid if the administration certified that Pakistan had complied with the requirements. On several occasions, it demurred to do so.

It is also worth noting that Trump’s tweet only reinforced what the New York Times reported on Dec. 29, that the Trump administration was going to withhold — wait for it — $255 million in foreign military financing (FMF). FMF funds enable partner countries to buy “U.S. defense articles, services, and training” and are provided either as a nonrepayable grant or on a loan basis. This is hardly a sweeping punishment that will persuade Pakistan to begin acting against terrorism. Historically, FMF funds have not been the mainstay of the American dole to Pakistan. Out of the more than $33 billion given to Pakistan since fiscal year 2002, FMF has accounted for less than $4 billion. The most lucrative payouts have been through the CSF program, which totals more than $14.5 billion.

America’s preferred roads to Afghanistan go through Pakistan

Why is it that the United States continues to make huge payouts to Pakistan even though it is widely recognized that the country continues to fund the very organizations — such as the Haqqani Network, the Taliban, and groups like the LeT — that are killing U.S. troops and allies in Afghanistan? Why can’t the United States simply take its checkbook and let China take over paying Pakistan’s bills as Pakistan continually threatens will happen should the United States walk away from this abusive relationship for good? There are several important reasons, none of which are easily ignored.

First, Pakistan has the fastest growing nuclear program in the world, which includes efforts to develop so-called tactical nuclear weapons (I prefer to call them “battlefield nuclear weapons,” as even the smallest nuclear bomb will have strategic effects if used). Given Pakistan’s well-known reputation for black market nuclear trafficking, well-publicized reports of moving its warheads around in unescorted soft-skin vehicles (such as ordinary vans), and a petting zoo of every kind of domestic, regional, and transnational Islamist terrorist organization thriving under its protection, America and its allies are rightly concerned that any instability in Pakistan may result in terrorists getting their hands on Pakistan’s nuclear technology, fissile material, or a nuclear device. This is Washington’s worst nightmare. Ironically, Pakistan has invested in both its nuclear and terrorist arsenals on Washington’s time and dime. Yet, even as the continued payments to Pakistan intensify the country’s nuclear coercion, American officials in virtually all branches of government fear that a complete breakoff in aid will hasten the worst-case outcome.

Second and related to the first, the United States worries about Pakistan’s solvency. If it really wanted to bring Pakistan’s to its terrorism-loving knees, it would let the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut the country off when it reneges on its own commitment to financial reform. Soon, international contributors to the IMF will essentially be subsidizing Pakistan’s exorbitant loan repayments to the Chinese. This alone should be adequate reasoning to let the IMF cut Pakistan off. However, this is unlikely to happen. Pakistan has essentially developed its bargaining power by threatening its own demise.

With any economic collapse of Pakistan, Washington again fears that the specter of a nuclear-armed terrorist group rising up from Pakistan will materialize.

Finally, the United States has placed itself in an unwinnable position in the Afghan war. One can argue that the United States lost the war in Afghanistan when it went to war with Pakistan, one of the states most committed to undermining U.S. efforts there. Whereas the United States wants a stable Afghan government that can resist its predatory neighbors and keep Islamist militants out of the government and prevent these militants from using Afghanistan as a sanctuary to train, recruit, and plan terrorist attacks in the region and beyond, this is precisely the Afghanistan that Pakistan wants. The only way Washington could have had any hope of avoiding the situation in which it finds itself is if then-President Bush had capitalized on the opening with Iran that President Mohammad Khatami offered.

In 2001, Iran was incredibly supportive of the American effort in Afghanistan. U.S. Ambassador James Dobbins, who was present at the talks in Germany that led to the Bonn Agreement, has attested to Iran’s productive role in trying to secure a democratic future for Afghanistan. The United States instead spurned Iran and even labeled it a founding member of the Axis of Evil. The Bush administration was clueless about Pakistan’s interests and had believed that then-President Pervez Musharraf was sincere in offering his country’s help in defeating its own proxies in Afghanistan. We know now that this was a preposterous assumption. Yet the die had been cast. The United States became singularly reliant on using Pakistan’s air and land corridors to move supplies for the war effort. Its efforts to cultivate a so-called northern distribution route failed to materialize.

Over the years, I have offered reminders that Americans could work with Indian contractors to move goods from Chabahar to Afghanistan, thus providing an opportunity to further consolidate the two countries’ fast-growing ties with India. This would require using Iran’s port in Chabahar, which the Indians have helped to develop along with the road and rail lines connecting it to Afghanistan.

But most Americans recoil at the suggestion of cooperating with Iran, arguing that Tehran is a potential nuclear-proliferating sponsor of terrorism. Needless to say, Pakistan is an actual nuclear-proliferating sponsor of terrorism. Moreover, Pakistan is actually more dangerous than Iran: Tehran’s terrorist proxies are regional menaces rather than the international, hydra-headed scourges cultivated by Islamabad.

Under the Obama administration, the United States made unprecedented progress in thawing relations with Iran with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, which opened up at least the possibility of exploring the idea of moving supplies from the port in Chabahar. In fact, India just completed its first shipment of 1.1 million tons of wheat to Afghanistan that traveled through Chabahar. However, Trump has made it clear that he prefers to scrap the JCPOA entirely.

Without an alternative port, the United States will have no choice but to continue working with Pakistan if it wants to remain engaged in Afghanistan, as Trump intends to do. (The proposed troop surge is now complete with about 14,000 U.S. troops in the country.) While Trump can tweet whatever he wants about Pakistan or Iran, the professionals on his staff know the truth: U.S. policy in Afghanistan requires a port with road or rail access to Afghanistan. This administration — like each one before — has cast its lot with Pakistan. And this administration will confront the same failures as its predecessors. Logistics will beat strategy every time.

India must tread with caution at Davos meet

D. Ravi Kanth

Can India become “magnetized” for global industry, finance, and trade in 2018? That is the question Prime Minister Narendra Modi could face when he meets the “Davos Man” (DM) on 23 January. DM is a term popularized by controversial political scientist Samuel Huntington of The Clash of Civilizations fame to denote the international movers and shakers of industry, finance, and trade. The sole demand of the DM is the elimination of national boundaries that act as obstacles/barriers to their profits touching stratospheric levels.

Russia's Afghanistan Strategy How Moscow Is Preparing to Go It Alone

By Julia Gurganus

For the last decade and a half, Russia and the United States have had largely similar aims in Afghanistan: preventing chaos and the reemergence of a safe haven for terrorists. That convergence has allowed the two countries to work together. But beneath the surface, there are important differences. Although both want stability, they define it in very different ways. The U.S. approach is founded on creating a strong central government in Kabul and a well-equipped and well-trained national security force; Russia, meanwhile, works with a wide range of actors, some of which compete directly with the government in Kabul. Moscow has even reached out to the Taliban, legitimizing a group that continues to threaten the security of both the Afghan government and U.S. and NATO forces.

Why the Taliban Isn't Winning in Afghanistan

By Seth G. Jones

We must face facts,” remarked Senator John McCain in August 2017, “we are losing in Afghanistan and time is of the essence if we intend to turn the tide.” He is not the only one who has argued that the Taliban are on the march. “The Taliban are getting stronger, the government is on the retreat, they are losing ground to the Taliban day by day,” Abdul Jabbar Qahraman, a retired Afghan general who was the Afghan government’s military envoy to Helmand Province until 2016, told the New York Times over the summer. Media outlets have likewise proclaimed that “The Taliban do look a lot like they are winning” and that this is “The war America can’t win.”

How Pakistan Is Responding to Trump


Pakistan once was the focal point of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s attention, when Adm. Mike Mullen personally made it his mission for years to keep U.S. relations open and active with Islamabad’s top general and intelligence chief. But in the years since those players left office, President Barack Obama downsized the war, declared an official end to combat operations in Afghanistan, and the ISIS war in Iraq and Syria took the spotlight. Pakistan — specifically, U.S.-Pakistani national security relations, as an issue — has gone relatively quiet.

1,700 Planes Ready for War: Everything You Need To Know About China's Air Force

Sebastien Roblin

Roughly 33 percent of the PLAAF and PLANAF’s combat aircraft are old second-generation fighters of limited combat value against peer opponents, save perhaps in swarming attacks. Another 28 percent include strategic bombers and more capable but dated third-generation designs. Finally, 38 percent are fourth-generation fighters that can theoretically hold their own against peers like the F-15 and F-16. Stealth fighters account for 1 percent. However, the technical capabilities of aircraft are just half the story; at least as important are training, organizational doctrine and supporting assets ranging from satellite recon to air-refueling tankers, ground-based radars and airborne command posts.

Where China leads, the rest of the world follows

Enrique Dans

A highly recommended article in The Wall Street Journal, “Twelve days in Xinjiang: how China’s surveillance state overwhelms daily life”, details the findings of a team the paper sent to Xinjiang, the vast province in the northwest of the country and home to a Muslim Uyghur majority that has been fighting for greater autonomy from Beijing over its affairs. In response, the Communist Party has deployed vast resources to monitor the population.