12 January 2018

Two borders, two disputes

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by Sushant Singh

While India-Pakistan shooting matches continue along the clearly-demarcated Line of Control, the last shot was fired 50 years ago on the far less well-defined Line of Actual Control with China.

The two major disputed borders India has are with China and Pakistan. With Pakistan, the disputed border falls in Jammu and Kashmir, a legacy of the 1948 war. When India and Pakistan agreed to a ceasefire on January 1, 1949, the two sides agreed to a ceasefire line (CFL). This line was not just marked on a map but was also agreed upon by the two sides on the ground with a joint survey by the two armies. The CFL, with minor variations, was converted into the Line of Control (LoC) during the Simla Agreement, following India’s victory in the 1971 Bangladesh War. Agreed upon both on the ground and on the map, the new nomenclature was meant to show that J&K was a bilateral dispute and some kind of final answer for the Kashmir problem would be found around the LoC.

A Blueprint for Ending India's Naxal Rebellion

By Swaptik Chowdhury

New Delhi should look at the Colombia peace deal as a model for bringing peace to its heartland.

During his May 2017 visit to Naxal (Maoist) hotbed Dantewada in Chhattisgarh, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi requested that Naxal rebels lay down their weapons and return to the negotiating table. However, he failed to follow up this request with any governmental commitment and the attacks and ambushes by Naxal rebels continued, causing immense loss of lives and property. In two major attacks in April and March of 2017, Naxal rebels ambushed and killed a total of 36 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and injured many more. The attack of April 2017, which occurred at Sukuma in Chhattisgarh, surpassed the casualty count of the deadly attack of 2013, in which 25 leaders, including a state minister, were killed.

India rejects US solar claim at WTO, explores new defence


US had argued that India had failed to abide by a ruling that it had illegally discriminated against foreign suppliers of solar cells and modules.

India said it had changed its rules to conform with the ruling and that a US claim for punitive trade sanctions was groundless.

GENEVA: India hit back on Monday at Washington's latest legal assault on its solar power policies+ at the World Trade Organization, rejecting a US legal claim and exploring possible new protection of India's own solar industry.

Trump May Push, but Pakistan Won't Budge


The new year has brought renewed troubles for the already faltering relationship between the United States and Pakistan. On New Year's Day, U.S. President Donald Trump issued a tweet accusing Pakistan of "lies & deceit" despite receiving $33 billion in U.S. aid for its cooperation in the war in Afghanistan. The next day, the White House announced that it would continue to withhold the $255 million worth of aid that had been earmarked for Pakistan in 2016, citing insufficient action against anti-NATO militants. And on Jan. 4, the White House said it would suspend $900 million in security assistance promised in 2017 and place Pakistan on a list of countries violating religious freedom.

Pakistan Will Try to Make Trump Pay

BY C. CHRISTINE FAIR

The country has banked on being treated as too dangerous to fail. But this time could be different. 

Before the news cycle—and the president himself—got consumed with the new White House tell-all last week, Donald Trump made a good foreign policy decision, albeit seemingly in haste. The administration announced it was suspending security assistance to Pakistan, on the grounds that the country is continuing to arm, assist, fund, and provide sanctuary to a wide array of Islamist militant groups that are murdering U.S. troops and their allies in Afghanistan. Well-placed sources involved with calculating the relevant funds have told me that this was not a planned policy and took the other agencies, not to mention the Pakistanis, by complete surprise. Rather it was an ex post facto response to Trump’s January 1, 2018 tweet vituperatively repining that:

Why Did France's Macron Start His China Trip in Xi’an?

By Charlotte Gao

French President Emmanuel Macron is ready to embrace China’s Belt and Road Initiative. French President Emmanuel Macron is currently in China for a state visit. It is also his first visit to China since he took office. Interestingly, rather than Beijing, he chose Xi’an — the capital city of Shaanxi Province in central China — as his first destination.

During an exclusive interview with China.org.cn ahead of his trip, Macron explained the reasons behind this decision. He said : I’m very aware of the mutual fascination that ties China to Europe, woven along the ancient silk routes that connected Xi’an to the eastern Mediterranean. Our relationship is anchored in time, and in my opinion is based on civilization, in the sense that France and China are two countries with very different cultures but which both have a universal calling. They are two countries that have always been eager, across distances, to meet and recognize each other. It’s for all these reasons that I wanted to start my state visit in Xi’an – it’s a way to experience ancient China.

China's Approach to North Korea Sanctions

By Samuel Ramani

China isn’t abandoning North Korea; rather, it wants to reset the relationship on Beijing’s terms.

On January 5, 2018, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced its decision to impose a cap on oil suppliesto North Korea and ban imports of North Korean steel. Many U.S. policymakers praised these measures as proof that China is moving toward full compliance with United Nations sanctions against North Korea and taking steps to abandon its long-standing alliance with Pyongyang.

IS JAPAN READY FOR THE QUAD? OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR TOKYO IN A CHANGING INDO-PACIFIC

YUKI TATSUMI

On Aug. 22, 2007, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke in front of the Indian Parliament and articulated a vision for the Indo-Pacific region. He spoke of a “confluence of the two seas,” seeking to draw a strategic link between the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Abe posited that Japan and India had a shared responsibility, as maritime nations located at the opposite edges of the “two seas,” to ensure the maintenance of peace and prosperity anchored by democratic principles.

Saudis watch Iran protests intently

Bruce Riedel 
While Saudi Arabia's economy is suffering due to low oil prices and discontent at home grows, the kingdom is following the protests in Iran with great interest, hoping national issues will distract from Iran's regional advances.

Saudi Arabia is following the unrest in Iran with intense interest, hoping it will force its regional rival to turn inward. The Saudis have little capacity to influence Iranian domestic developments, however, and share many of the same problems as Tehran. The Iranian question is unlikely to help resolve Riyadh’s biggest foreign policy challenge: the expensive quagmire in Yemen that is only getting worse. 

Iraq After ISIS: The Other Half of Victory

By Anthony H. Cordesman

The United States, its allies, and international organizations are just beginning to come to grips with the civil dimensions of "failed state" wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, the Sudans, Syria, and Yemen. In each case, it is clear that the civil dimension of the war will ultimately be as important as the military one.

Any meaningful form of "victory" requires far more than defeating the current extremist threat in military terms, and reaching some temporary compromise between the major factions that divide the country. The current insurgent and other security threats exist largely because of the deep divisions within the state, the past and current failures of the government to deal with such internal divisions, and the chronic failure to meet the economic, security, and social needs of much of the nation's population.

The Myth of the Limited Strike on North Korea

By Abraham M. Denmark

Faced with the rapid advance of Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile capabilities, Americans have begun to debate the possibility of a limited, preventive U.S. strike against North Korea—one that could deter the regime from further testing while avoiding a full-blown war. One possibility is a so-called bloody nose strike, which would involve destroying a North Korean missile launch site (bloodying the regime’s nose, as it were) in order to demonstrate the United States’ resolve. Some have gone even further, calling for “air and missile strike[s] against all known DPRK nuclear test facilities and missile launching and support facilities” in the event of a North Korean atmospheric nuclear test over the Pacific Ocean.

Who is attacking Russia’s bases in Syria? A new mystery emerges in the war.

By Liz Sly

BEIRUT — A series of mysterious attacks against the main Russian military base in Syria, including one conducted by a swarm of armed miniature drones, has exposed Russia's continued vulnerability in the country despite recent claims of victory by President Vladimir Putin.

The attacks have also spurred a flurry of questions over who may be responsible for what amounts to the biggest military challenge yet to Russia's role in Syria, just when Moscow is seeking to wind its presence down.

Waiting for the Bomb to Drop

BY ELIOT A. COHEN

There are sounds, for those who can hear them, of the preliminary and muffled drumbeats of war. 

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.

HASC EW Expert Bacon: US ‘Not Prepared’ For Electronic Warfare Vs. Russia, China

By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR.

WASHINGTON: The US military is “not prepared” to conduct radio and radar jamming against high-end adversaries, a veteran electronic warfare officer now in Congress says. We have made major progress jamming terrorist communications in Afghanistan and Iraq, says Rep. Don Bacon, a retired one-star general who recently visited both countries. But even against such low-tech foes, he told me, we’re hampered by aging equipment — like the EC-130H Compass Call he flew — and outdated doctrine.

If You Thought 2017 Was Bad, Just Wait for 2018

BY HAL BRANDS

Last year, Trump corroded U.S. foreign policy, but avoided disaster. This year, there are powerful reasons to think that matters will worsen.

Is 2018 the year when President Donald Trump finally pulls it together in the realm of foreign policy, or is it the year when the train goes fully off the rails, with potentially disastrous consequences? As I argue in my new book, American Grand Strategy in the Age of Trump, the first year of Trump’s presidency has been plenty corrosive to U.S. power and influence, because Trump has steadily undermined a number of qualities that made American statecraft effective in the past. Trump has often seemed determined to erode longstanding pillars of U.S. diplomacy: America’s reputation for steadiness and reliability, commitment to a positive-sum global order in which all countries that play by the rules can prosper, soft power and identification with the advancement of universal values, and image as a dependable ally and a country committed to solving the world’s toughest problems. Meanwhile, the administration has struggled (to say the least) with systematic policy formulation and execution. The combination of internal disorganization and understaffing, erratic presidential behavior, and very public disputes between Trump and his cabinet secretaries has made 2017 one of the messiest first years ever.

The Brexit options, explained

Douglas A. Rediker

After struggling for most of 2017 to find common ground, Great Britain and the European Union finally agreed last month to the material terms of their “divorce.” Negotiations will now proceed to discuss the terms of their post-Brexit relationship. Together, the EU document and the guidelines issued days later by the remaining 27 EU leaders severely narrow the path forward for the future U.K.-EU relationship. They also highlight the wide gaps between British political expectations and the almost inevitable outcome of the next round of negotiations. 

Helping Europe Help Itself: The Marshall Plan

BY AMY GARRETT

On the eve of its 70th anniversary, the Marshall Plan remains one of the most successful foreign policy initiatives in U.S. history and a model of effective diplomacy. From left to right, President Harry S Truman, General George Marshall, Paul Hoffman and Averell Harriman in the Oval Office discussing the Marshall Plan, Nov. 29, 1948.The European Recovery Program, better known as the Marshall Plan, is often cited as one of the most effective U.S. foreign policies of modern times. When there is a natural disaster, a humanitarian crisis or a national struggle with a social or economic challenge that demands immediate attention, American politicians and opinion-makers often call for “another Marshall Plan.”

Cybersecurity Showdown: Why the Military Is Preparing for a New Kind of War

Benjamin Dynkin, Barry Dynkin
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Congress wants to ensure that cybersecurity becomes a “baked-in” concept throughout the Department of Defense.

The drafting, negotiation, and passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is an annual event that sets the annual budget for the Department of Defense. During this time Congress is able to exert control over the priorities, guiding principles, and issues that will be addressed by the department in the coming year. The 2018 incarnation of the NDAA, which has just been signed into law by the president, includes, nested in Title XVI, Subtitle C, provisions, a requirement that the White House and the DOD meaningfully investigate, consider, and establish national standards and guidance in the cybersecurity and cyber-warfare space. They must explore the development of a national posture for these issues.

Losing the Information War and How to Win

by Michael Anderson

We are losing the information war. We face an enemy ideology that crafted and shaped an enduring, effective message, near perfecting dissemination and application to relevant target audiences- the disaffected around the globe- while we remain, at best, reactive and, at worst, counter-productive in our own messaging. The extremist ideological message of groups across the Islamic spectrum from Sunni to Shia, Al-Qaeda and affiliates, or ISIL, and other splinter group across the Levant, Maghreb, and the world, are even drawing adherence from developed nations. To secure the proliferation of Western ideals and values of freedom and free-thinking, there must be increased focus on the information war, reshaping the approach to messaging, bringing it on equal or superior footing to the physical efforts across the globe combating the enduring tide of extremist thought infecting the world’s disaffected.

How the (Likely) Next NSA/CyberCom Chief Wants to Enlist AI

BY PATRICK TUCKER

A look at Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone’s public statements about artificial intelligence, offense, and defense. 

The Army general likely to be tapped to head U.S. Cyber Command and the NSA has some big plans for deploying cyber forces and using artificial intelligence in information attacks.

Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, who currently leads U.S. Army Cyber Command, is expected to nominated in the next few months to replace Adm. Michael Rogers, as first reported by The Cipher Brief (and confirmed by the Washington Post and a Pentagon source of our own). But caution is in order: the rumor mill says several other contenders are in the running, including Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville. Neither Cyber Command nor the Pentagon would comment about the potential nomination.