24 June 2018

Artificial Intelligence and International Affairs: Disruption Anticipated

This report examines some of the challenges for policymakers that may arise from the advancement and increasing application of AI. It draws together strands of thinking about the impact that AI may have on selected areas of international affairs – from military, human security and economic perspectives – over the next 10–15 years. The report sets out a broad framework to define and distinguish between the types of roles that artificial intelligence might play in policymaking and international affairs: these roles are identified as analytical, predictive and operational.

WP315 | Is Use of Cyber-Based Technology in Humanitarian Operations Leading to the Reduction of Humanitarian Independence?

Martin Searle

Technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) are being tested and adopted at a significant rate in humanitarian emergency response. However, the crossing of physical, biological, and cyber domains that characterises these technologies threatens the independence of humanitarian organisations. This is occurring in an environment in which the value and purpose of independence is already seriously questioned, both in practice, and in principle. This paper argues that the loss of independence stems from two related trends. First, several 4IR technologies are improving the capacity of humanitarian organisations to gather, synthesise, and analyse data, resulting in the production of information of increasingly strategic, political or military value. Second, the cyber component of these technologies simultaneously renders that information more vulnerable to unauthorised access by third parties with relevant political, military or economic agendas. This parallels the “capability/ vulnerability paradox” identified in literature discussing cybersecurity in relation to the military or so-called “smart cities”. In conflict and disaster settings, this paradox increases the likelihood of humanitarian actors functioning as appendages of other organisations. This loss of independence potentially has operational implications relating to access, and material impact on the ongoing debate around the importance of independence in humanitarian work.

Bending the Internet: Iran Brings the National Information Network Online

Wary of the internet's power as a tool for political dissent and even revolution, Iran's conservatives have pushed for more stringent oversight online. Part of the strategy involves banning foreign apps and services, such as Telegram, and offering users closely monitored domestic alternatives. Iran's intranet, the National Information Network, will help authorities in this endeavor by giving them greater control over internet users, internet service providers and online content.

Bending the Internet: How Governments Control the Flow of Information Online

As the internet matures, states will continue to refine their techniques for managing the flow of online information to their citizens. Nearly every national government exerts some level of control over domestic internet use, but the extent of the manipulation, and the tactics used to achieve it, varies widely from state to state. Four countries — Iran, China, Turkey and Russia — merit special attention for their efforts to break Western hegemony on the internet and, by extension, to challenge the free internet model.


By the middle of the 21st century, ground forces will employ tens of thousands of robots, and the decisions of human commanders will be shaped by artificial intelligence; trends in technology and warfare make this a near certainty. The military organizations of the United States and its allies and partners must plan now for this new era of warfare.

23 June 2018

3 new Tibet airports near border pose threat

Claude Arpi

India should not fall back into a “Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai” mood, even if a “reset” of bilateral relations is necessary. On June 9, the Civil Aviation Administration of China and the Tibetan Autonomous Region’s (TAR) government announced that Tibet will soon have three new airports. A communiqué said: “Construction of three airports, all above the altitude of 3,900 metres, should begin in 2019.” Xinhua, the Chinese official news agency, gave the rationale: “Tourist travel will be more convenient and economic development in Tibet’s agricultural and pastoral areas will also be assisted.” The announcement came during a conference on Civil Aviation System Supporting Tibet Airport Construction Development held in Lhasa a day earlier.

Thirsty Days Ahead: Pakistan’s Looming Water Crisis

By Muhammad Mohsin Raza

Pakistan is currently facing an acute water shortage that is likely to wreck havoc in the country in the coming years. Recently, the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) highlighted a grave water shortagein the Indus Basin irrigation system (IBIS), the world’s largest contiguous irrigation system, for the summer cropping season. The timing of the crisis is critical and had delayed the sowing of the country’s main cash crops, including cotton. Experts believe the authorities were aware of the approaching acute water shortage because of shortages during the winter cropping season.

Mapping Taliban Control in Afghanistan

by Bill Roggio & Alexandra Gutowski

Description: For nearly two decades the government of Afghanistan, with the help of U.S. and coalition forces, has been battling for control of the country against the ever-present threat of the Afghan Taliban. FDD’s Long War Journal has been tracking the Taliban’s attempts to gain control of territory since NATO ended its military mission in Afghanistan and switched to an “advise and assist” role in June 2014. Districts have been retaken (by both sides) only to be lost shortly thereafter, largely resulting in the conflict’s current relative stalemate. However, since the U.S. drawdown of peak forces in 2011, the Taliban has unquestionably been resurgent.

Inching For A Trade War: Worst Is Yet To Come – Analysis

By Kaewkamol Pitakdumrongkit*

Although the prospect of a trade war between US and other economies looms large, the actual confrontation could still be evaded. But even if a trade war does not occur, the world is not off the hook as the US is having another tool in the pipeline which may in the future be wielded against friends and foes alike. Few other things are making headlines as much as a potential trade war after President Donald Trump declared that the United States would impose tariffs on steel and aluminium from Canada, Mexico, the European Union (EU) and China. Such a move unsurprisingly has created uproar around the world.

China is building its new Silk Road in space, too

Echo Huang

Half a century ago, China launched its first satellite, the very first objectto be sent into space by the Communist party-ruled country. Now, satellites have become a central part in China’s ambitious globe-spanning infrastructure push. The Belt-and-Road Initiative (BRI), a pet project of China’s leader Xi Jinping, aims to build trillions of dollars of infrastructure from Asia to Africa to Europe, and along sea routes too. Involving roughly 70 countries so far, it entails massive spending (and lending) by China on railroads, ports and energy projects, highways—and, increasingly, satellite launches. China has been exporting satellites for over a decade, but it’s become easier to think of them as “infrastructure” in recent years as capabilities increased without costs going up, according to Blaine Curcio, founder of Orbital Gateway Consulting, a Hong Kong-based satellite market research firm. Apart from providing critical time-keeping and weather forecasts, satellite internet service has become much more viable.

China-North Korea Relations After the Trump-Kim Summit

By Xie Tao

One way to describe the historic Trump-Kim summit is to twist the famous line of Neil Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the moon. The unprecedented meeting represents “one giant leap for both Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, one small step for peace on the Korean Peninsula.” It is one giant leap for the two leaders, because merely half a year ago they were exchanging a barrage of nuclear threats and personal insults. It would have been dismissed as a wild fantasy if anybody had suggested back then that the two antagonists would meet in person, with handshakes and smiling faces under the global spotlight.

Putin on the Ritz in China

By Nicholas Trickett

Over the last few years it’s become commonplace for Russia watchers and political scientists to compare Vladimir Putin to Leonid Brezhnev. Both leaders held power over the course of an entire generation and, now for Putin, share the misfortune of having overseen deepening economic and social stagnation. After Putin issued decrees naming his new presidential administration, Carnegie Moscow fellow Alexander Gabuev quipped on Twitter that since 80 percent of the team wasn’t changing, “it’s brezhnevization, but with more advanced medical services for the top leadership.”

China Data Indicates Broad Slowing Of Economy

Unlike events that happen in Las Vegas that has prompted the slogan, “anything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”, things that happen in China do not stay in China. This is obvious from the huge amount of wealth fleeing the country over the last few years. Chinese money and wealth flowing across porous borders can be seen in soaring house prices in Vancouver and most of Australia; however, the subject we want to focus on at this time has to do with recent data from China indicating a broad slowdown in activity. Data recently released points to the slowest investment growth in over 22 years which is a clear indication that regulatory crackdowns in the banking sector are starting to filter through to the broader economy.

Growth In China Is Expected To Slow 

Are Countries Prepared for the Increasing Threat of Engineered Bioweapons?

Ranu S. Dhillon Devabhaktuni Srikrishna David Beier

Amid current outbreaks of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Nipah virus in India, an even scarier threat looms. Last year, researchers recreated an extinct smallpox-like virus with DNA bought online for just $100,000 and published how they did it. Their feat heightens concerns that rogue regimes and terrorists could similarly modify or engineer pathogens and use them as weapons. Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter warned that such biological artillery might come to rival the destructive power of nuclear arms. If a highly contagious agent were released in a major city, it could spread far and wide and kill thousands before it is even clear what is happening. Responding effectively to such threats will require a paradigm shift towards approaches that are faster and more agile and decentralized than what exists now.

Is Europe Prepared for a New Wave of Migrants?

The European migrant crisis that erupted in 2015 caught the Continent completely off guard.
It divided the EU into two camps: those that willingly took in migrants and agreed to Brussels' quota system, and those that did not. The former includes Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel continues to champion an open-door policy to European migration. The latter includes countries such as Hungary and Italy. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban campaigned on the threat that refugees would overrun his country if he were not elected, and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has denounced illegal migrants living in Italy as a “social time bomb.” Anti-immigration politicians have been able to expand their power bases by tapping into the concern that migrants are exploiting Europe’s generous social programs.

Trump Doesn't Need a Grand Strategy

By Ionut Popescu

Of all the criticisms raised against the foreign policy of U.S. President Donald Trump, the most predictable is to deplore his lack of a grand strategy. For instance, Rebecca Friedman Lissner and Micah Zenko have criticized Trump’s “anti-strategic” foreign policy and inability to “develop and execute a purposive course of action over time.” Others concede that although Trump does indeed have a grand strategy, it is ill conceived and insufficient. Colin Kahl and Hal Brands write that Trump’s “America first” platform, though recognizably strategic, is “plagued by internal tensions and dilemmas that will make it difficult to achieve the president’s stated objectives.” 

Limiting Foreign Investment to Protect U.S. Economic Security: Business Implications

By John Taishu Pitt

On May 23, 2018, legislation to reform the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) was passed in the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee. There has been broad bipartisan support for the proposed legislation which would reform CFIUS to expand its jurisdiction. While many support the reform to fill the gap in oversight pertaining to foreign direct investment (FDI) into important U.S. sectors, others have raised the broader concern that the increased restrictions may send the world a message that the U.S. is closed for business — especially in light of the Trump administration’s increased unilateral protectionism.

Why Moderates Support Extreme Groups It's Not About Ideology

By Barbara F. Walter

One of the big surprises since the end of the Cold War has been the growth of radical Islamist groups, especially those that adhere to Salafi jihadism, an ultraconservative reform movement that seeks to establish a transnational caliphate based on sharia law. These organizations reject democracy and believe violence and terrorism are justified in pursuit of their goals. Before 1990, there was only a handful of active Salafi jihadist groups. By 2013, there were 49.

Belarus and Russia Have Become Frenemies

by Yuri Tsarik

On 4 June, Russian veterinary and food inspectors announced a temporary ban on imports of Belarusian milk and dairy products in retail containers larger than 2.5 litres, effective 6 June. This initiated yet another dispute in Belarusian-Russian relations, which have been deteriorating following Belarus’s refusal to participate in the Kremlin’s foreign policy adventurism. Moscow is reviewing its policy towards Belarus, while Minsk is trying to work out an adequate response to the new Russian strategy.

In Moscow’s arms

Blockchain beyond the hype: What is the strategic business value?

By Brant Carson, Giulio Romanelli, Patricia Walsh, and Askhat Zhumaev

Companies can determine whether they should invest in blockchain by focusing on specific use cases and their market position. Speculation on the value of blockchain is rife, with Bitcoin—the first and most infamous application of blockchain—grabbing headlines for its rocketing price and volatility. That the focus of blockchain is wrapped up with Bitcoin is not surprising given that its market value surged from less than $20 billion to more than $200 billion over the course of 2017.1Yet Bitcoin is only the first application of blockchain technology that has captured the attention of government and industry.

It’s time to rein in the data barons

by Martin Giles

When Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Congress earlier this year to discuss how the now-defunct political-data company Cambridge Analytica acquired data of up to 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge or consent, one of the few pointed questions came from Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator from South Carolina. “Who’s your biggest competitor?” Graham demanded. After Zuckerberg replied that Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft all had some overlap with various Facebook products, Graham chafed at the answer.

Keeping America first in quantum computing means avoiding these five big mistakes

by Martin Giles

Two separate pieces of legislation being floated in Congress would boost federal spending on quantum research and encourage more public-private partnerships in the field. A big focus of the legislative proposals is on quantum computing, which could eventually produce machines that make today’s most powerful supercomputer seem like an abacus. Unlike conventional machines, which process data in bits that represent either 0 or 1, quantum computers harness quantum bits, or qubits, which can represent both values simultaneously. While adding a few extra bits to a classical computer makes a modest difference in its capability, adding a few qubits increases a quantum machine’s computational power exponentially.

Trump's 'Space Force' Motivated By Russian, Chinese Threats To Critical U.S. Orbital System

Loren Thompson 

If you thought President Trump was just musing when he publicly broached the subject of a U.S. "space force" in recent months, guess again. On Monday, he disclosed at a meeting of the National Space Council in Washington, D.C. that he is directing the establishment of a sixth military branch to address operations in space. And he didn't mince words about what he had in mind: "We are going to have a Space Force. An Air Force and a Space Force. Separate, but equal."

An Assessment of Information Warfare as a Cybersecurity Issue

By Justin Sherman, Anastasios Arampatzis, Paul Cobaugh

Justin Sherman is a sophomore at Duke University double-majoring in Computer Science and Political Science, focused on cybersecurity, cyberwarfare, and cyber governance. Justin conducts technical security research through Duke’s Computer Science Department; he conducts technology policy research through Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy; and he’s a Cyber Researcher at a Department of Defense-backed, industry-intelligence-academia group at North Carolina State University focused on cyber and national security – through which he works with the U.S. defense and intelligence communities on issues of cybersecurity, cyber policy, and national cyber strategy. Justin is also a regular contributor to numerous industry blogs and policy journals.

Cyber Security in the Cloud: One or Multiple Cloud Service Providers?

By William Schneider Jr.

The inconsistent security protocols across the federal government's decentralized IT architecture have made its entire information system a particularly inviting target for attacks by adversary states and rogue insiders. There are compelling reasons for federal departments and agencies to move from a decentralized, ad hoc IT architecture to a cloud-based architecture. Decentralized systems are especially prone to computer-hygiene gremlins, such as when users' fail to apply software security updates consistently and practice poor password discipline. Such lapses present a low bar for hackers trying to propagate cyber malware or steal data. This hygiene problem is largely absent from centrally administered cloud-based architectures. Enforced uniformity of security practices among all users of the cloud creates a preferable outcome from a security perspective. 

Former NATO Commander Envisions New Cyber Branch of Military

By Adam Janofsky

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Retired U.S. Navy Admiral James Stavridis said Tuesday that there should be a new branch of the military that focuses exclusively on defending the public and private sectors against cyberthreats. Cyberattacks carried out by nation states such as Russia and North Korea increasingly are sophisticated and brash, said Mr. Stavridis, the current dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. A dedicated cybersecurity unit would help critical infrastructure operators, for example, prevent and respond to attacks that could cause widespread destruction, he said, speaking at the Gartner Security and Risk Management Conference here.

Why Hackers Aren’t Afraid of Us

By David E. Sanger

WASHINGTON — Ask finance ministers and central bankers around the world about their worst nightmare and the answer is almost always the same: Sometime soon the North Koreans or the Russians will improve on the two huge cyberattacks they pulled off last year. One temporarily crippled the British health care system and the other devastated Ukraine before rippling across the world, disrupting shipping and shutting factories — a billion-dollar cyberattack the White House called “the most destructive and costly in history.” The fact that no intelligence agency saw either attack coming — and that countries were so fumbling in their responses — led a group of finance ministers to simulate a similar attack that shut down financial markets and froze global transactions. By several accounts, it quickly spun into farce: No one wanted to admit how much damage could be done or how helpless they would be to deter it.

Training Cyberspace Maneuver

Andrew Schoka

The principle of maneuver in military operations has dominated strategic military thinking for over two thousand years. Foundational to the understanding of maneuver theory is the concept of warfighting domains, the fundamental environments in which military forces engage in warfare. As the development of ships heralded the introduction of the ocean as a warfighting domain, maneuver theory evolved to incorporate the employment of naval forces. Likewise, the development of aviation necessitated the inclusion of the atmosphere as a warfighting domain and brought about the consideration of aerial assets into maneuver thinking. Space followed, presenting a highly technical domain to be considered within the context of military operations. Maneuver theory has now evolved to consider the first man-and-machine-made domain, in which cyberspace, as an artificial information domain, overlaps, intersects, and engages with the four other warfighting domains. The unique nature of the cyberspace warfighting domain presents a host of distinct challenges and considerations to maneuver thinking, requiring a change to the approach of training maneuver warfare principles for military cyberspace leaders.

In Germany, Politics Recollects History

By George Friedman

Throughout her 13 years in Germany’s highest office, Chancellor Angela Merkel has been the linchpin of German politics. Given Germany’s pre-eminence in the European Union, she is arguably the linchpin of European politics, too, having shepherded her country through crisis after crisis. From the 2008 financial crisis came an economic crisis, which in turn led to a social crisis and then, finally, a political crisis. The European Union, once a beacon of cooperation and progress, is rife with political parties that oppose many of the things the EU embodies – transnationalism, technocratic elite, etc.

The U.S. Army Culture is French!

Donald E. Vandergriff

When taken in its entirety, the American Army had a simple and extremely consistent intellectual framework for war and the battlefield from its inception in 1814 through its replacement in 1940-1941. This intellectual framework provided the Army with a consensus on the nature of war, of organization, and of technology, so that for over a century the American Army had a distinctive way of war. This way of war was, at its heart, based on the elements and intellectual framework of the French Combat Method.[i] 

22 June 2018

India And China In The Era Of Donald Trump

by Harbir Singh

In these uncertain times, China has a reason to reconsider its relationship with India and its policy of keeping up a hostile, damaging posture. It may be time for China to start looking for cooperation and mutual benefit everywhere it can, while it tries to find a sure footing to grapple with the American sumo.  China’s economic growth and its rise as an industrial powerhouse have been nothing short of staggering. What is vital to note is that China became a powerful rival to the United States (US) without bothering with democracy, human rights, freedom of speech, intellectual property rights, or political dissent. When China opened itself for business, arranging labour, infrastructure, subsidies, and policies to make Chinese labour a hugely scalable export commodity, American companies got busy thumping the Bibles of free trade and globalisation, shipping off their manufacturing to China and raking in bonuses for chief executive officers (CEOs) and the profits for Wall Street. The American government got busy borrowing money from China to finance American spending on everything from Chinese-made consumer electronics to its wars without end.

Islamic State Emboldened in Afghanistan

By: Farhan Zahid

From its establishment in September 2014, Islamic State’s arm in Afghanistan, its Khorasan province entity (IS-K), found itself the target of attacks by Afghan Taliban forces and strikes by the U.S. military in conjunction with the Afghan security forces. The group weathered significant losses and entrenched itself in the districts of eastern Afghanistan. In recent months, however, an improvement in relations with the Taliban has allowed it to focus on carrying out a series of bloody attacks.


China is spending billions on its foreign-language media

ON THE 26th floor of an iconic glass skyscraper, nicknamed the “Trousers”, in Beijing’s main business district, half a dozen casually dressed 20-somethings gather in a rainbow-coloured lounge, chatting away on ergonomic chairs. The office has the vibe of a hip tech startup. In fact, it is the headquarters of the country’s foreign-language television service, which rebranded itself in 2016 as China Global Television Network (CGTN). The young staff are Chinese who have studied abroad and are proficient in one of the network’s five languages—English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Russian. CGTN is at the forefront of China’s increasingly vigorous and lavishly funded efforts to spread its message abroad. Xi Jinping, the president, has told the station to “tell China stories well”.

Avoiding the Sino-American Technology Trap


The Trump administration is right to push back against China's violations of world trade rules, particularly with regard to advanced technologies. But US high-tech industries' ability to weather the challenge posed by China will depend less on curbing China’s progress, and more on supporting innovation at home. With its ambitious Made in China 2025 strategy, China has made clear its objective to secure global economic leadership in advanced technology industries. This places it in direct competition with the United States – which currently leads in those industries – in what is emerging as an undeclared but intensifying cold war over technologies with both commercial and military applications.

Trump Turns Tide on Chinese Theft by Trade

Christian Whiton

After decades of artfully swindling American experts and businesses, the Chinese government is beginning to face a reckoning. Last week, President Trump announced that tariffs in response to China’s systematic theft of U.S. intellectual property will commence on July 6th. The levies of twenty-five percent will apply at first to $34 billion in Chinese imports, later expanding to $50 billion. That will only affect about ten percent of what America imports from China each year, but the move marks a fundamental turning point. At long last, something is being done about trade and intellectual property theft by China. Ever since commerce between China and the West began in earnest, foreign officials and businessmen have been unable to resist the allure its huge market of would-be consumers—currently numbering 1.4 billion. This siren’s call continues to be answered despite unending evidence that China would never allow “barbarians” a major stake in its domestic economy, and indeed wants handsome compensation just for access to this market.

China’s Nuclear Arsenal Continues to Slowly Grow

China is pushing ahead with modernising its nuclear weapon delivery systems and has added to its arsenal as it boosts military expenditure, according to a report released by an independent think tank on Monday. As of January, the country had 280 warheads, up from 270 a year earlier, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in an annual report. But it said none of the nuclear warheads were deployed on missiles or located on bases with operational forces. They were instead classified as “other warheads” – meaning they are being stored or have been retired. China is the world’s second biggest spender on military, allocating US$228 billion for defence last year – up 5.6 per cent from 2016. That was its lowest increase in military spending since 2010, but was in line with gross domestic product growth and inflation.

Anger grows in Philippines over China’s control of shoal


A protester at a rally on the Philippines' 120th Independence Day at the Chinese consulate in Manila on June 12, 2018. The protests focused on China's bullying and militarization in the West Philippine Sea. Once again, the Scarborough Shoal dispute is threatening to torpedo Philippine-China relations. Two years into office, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is facing a widespread public backlash over reports that the Chinese coast guard is controlling the contested shoal and surrounding areas and routinely harasses Filipino fishermen.

Putin’s Economic Dilemma


Despite Western sanctions and oil-price volatility, Russia is currently on sturdier economic footing than most of its critics ever could have imagined just a few years ago. But while prudent fiscal and monetary policies have laid the groundwork for long-term sustainable growth, the government must resist the temptation of short-term stimulus. MOSCOW – Russia has a way of illustrating universal problems. Consider the goal of economic development. Political leaders have an interest in delivering economic prosperity very quickly, and yet the policies needed to enable sustainable long-term growth can take quite a while to bear fruit. The political and policy clocks are rarely synchronized.

Energy for the Common Good


Aristotle famously contrasted two types of knowledge: “techne” (technical know-how) and “phronesis” (practical wisdom). Scientists and engineers have offered the techne to move rapidly from fossil fuels to zero-carbon energy; now we need the phronesis to redirect our politics and economies accordingly. The climate crisis we now face is a reflection of a broader crisis: a global confusion of means and ends. We continue to use fossil fuels because we can (means), not because they are good for us (ends). This confusion is why Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew are spurring us to think deeply about what is truly good for humanity, and how to attain it. Earlier this month, the pope and patriarch each convened business, scientific, and academic leaders, in Rome and Athens, respectively, to hasten the transition from fossil fuels to safe renewable energy.

There Were No Losers at the Singapore Summit

By Chung-in Moon

Immediately after U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed a joint declaration at the end of last week’s summit in Singapore, I received a harsh assessment of the meeting from a conservative colleague in South Korea. In his view, the summit was “a total failure. They failed to agree on CVID [complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization]. It is a victory for North Korea.” Other experts in Seoul raised concerns about the future of the U.S.–South Korean alliance following Trump’s abrupt announcement that South Korean–U.S. “war games” would be suspended, as well as his decision not to raise the issue of human rights with Kim. In this sense, there is a paradoxical similarity between South Korean conservatives’ and the American liberal mainstream’s criticisms of Trump and his agreement with the North Korean leader.

There’s Been a Global Increase in Armed Groups. Can They Be Restrained?

By Kenneth R. Rosen

Raiding among cattle-herding tribes is a traditional part of life in South Sudan, but in the past five years, the skirmishes have become more violent and unrestrained. Small armed bands that traditionally guarded their communities’ livestock have been drawn into bitter proxy battles between the country’s two largest tribes: the Dinka, who hold power in Juba, the national capital, and the Nuer. No longer limited to raiding each other’s villages and herds, these bands of well-armed tribal fighters have carried out massacres and atrocities, with women and children increasingly among the victims. The violence has worsened in both scale and frequency since 2013, according to South Sudanese who have witnessed the ravages of a civil war that started just two years after their country gained independence from Sudan.

France and Germany Far Apart on EU Reform

The cabinets of Germany and France are set to meet on Tuesday, but the two countries remain far apart when it comes to eurozone reform. Paris is disappointed with Germany's response to Emmanuel Macron's proposals. The staging was similar to that of French President Emmanuel Macron's groundbreaking speech on the need for European Union reform delivered at the Sorbonne last fall. Surrounded by a handpicked audience, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas spoke last week about the lessons that Europe must draw from the policies being pursued by U.S. President Donald Trump. Maas demanded that Germany "join forces with France" and said that, "given the uncertainty in trans-Atlantic relations in particular, it must be absolutely clear that we are working hand in hand."

In the Balkans, a Chance to Stabilize Europe

By George Soros and Alexander Soros

It has taken almost 25 years to get an agreement between the governments in Athens and Skopje on what to call the entity once known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. It would be a mistake to dismiss this as a minor development — particularly now, when the unity of the trans-Atlantic alliance is at its lowest point since World War II and the unity of the European Union is under challenge in every national election. In fact, the historic compromise to rename the country the Republic of Northern Macedonia, thus softening a rivalry over national histories, opens a window of opportunity for leaders in Europe and the United States to defy current trends and begin shaping a secure future for the Balkans, an achievement that would help secure stability for all of Europe.

The Success of the Western World

By Markus Ziener

The Western world owes its success since the end of the Second World War to its well-functioning system of institutions. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization protects against military aggression; the World Trade Organization establishes rules on how to do business with each other; and the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank help stabilize international finance and fight economic and humanitarian crises. Finally, the United Nations and the G-7 safeguard a platform for crucial conversations among world leaders as tensions loom -- they ensure that problems are faced before they escalate.

Thinking About the Balkans

By George Friedman

The week’s news from the Balkans has been ominous. Serbia is making demands on Kosovo and its supporter, Albania. Serbia continues to see Kosovo as a threat to its national interest. The Russians have gone out of their way to express their support not only for the Serbs but also for the Serbs living in Bosnia. Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Serbia’s president in Moscow. Meanwhile, the U.S. friendship with Albania is deep, making the Serbian claim on Kosovo even more dangerous. Far less ominous but no less important, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a campaign rally last month in Sarajevo, the predominantly Muslim capital of Bosnia and home to a large number of Turkish expat voters, to win their support and to show voters at home that Turkish influence was spreading into the Balkans.

Merkel and Macron: Edging towards Change?

By Josef Janning

Now is not a comfortable time for a country like Germany – or at least, a government like Germany’s. With states large and small challenging multilateral agreements, and a disintegrating “international community” standing apart from regional conflicts even as they spill across the world, any country relying on order, rules, and due process is taking a gamble at best. This situation is particularly unsettling to Germany, which is a sizeable actor but whose history and contemporary political culture make it a power dependent on working with others. The country certainly has significant leadership potential, but Germany best applies this in process management and incentivising other players that follow a similar order-centric rationality. Because of Germany’s global economic links and through the vulnerability of its primary habitat of the European Union, the political class here is particularly sensitive to changes in the international climate. The nervousness within government circles is growing.

Too Late for North Korea Denuclearization

WEST LAFAYETTE, INDIANA: After canceling a summit with North Korea, President Donald Trump must set realistic goals. Most urgently, he must back off from the idea that Pyongyang might be amenable to discarding its nuclear weapons or missile-delivery systems. At best, Kim Jung-un's definition of "denuclearization" is limited to temporarily halting his country's already effectively completed schedule of nuclear testing. Although Kim has made vague hints in the past that his country would consider eliminating its nuclear weapons in tandem with "denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula, there is little reason to believe that he would go meaningfully beyond a promised cessation of nuclear weapons testing.

Our Infant Information Revolution


In the middle of the twentieth century, people feared that advances in computers and communications would lead to the type of centralized control depicted in George Orwell’s 1984. Today, billions of people have eagerly put Big Brother in their pockets. Information revolutions are not new. In 1439, Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press launched the era of mass communication. Our current revolution, which began in Silicon Valley in the 1960s, is bound up with Moore’s Law: the number of transistors on a computer chip doubles every couple of years. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, computing power cost one-thousandth of what it did in the early 1970s. Now the Internet connects almost everything. In mid-1993, there were about 130 websites in the world; by 2000, that number had surpassed 15 million. Today, more than 3.5 billion people are online; experts project that, by 2020, the “Internet of Things” will connect 20 billion devices. Our information revolution is still in its infancy.

Four Ways 3D Printing May Threaten Security

Design by Chrissy Sovak

3D printers already produce everything from prosthetic hands and engine parts to basketball shoes and fancy chocolates. But as with any technological advance, new possibilities come with new perils.​​​​​​​ A new RAND paper, Additive Manufacturing in 2040: Powerful Enabler, Disruptive Threat, explores how 3D printers will affect personal, national, and international security. The paper is part of RAND's Security 2040 initiative, which looks over the horizon to anticipate future threats. The same technology that might one day custom-print heart valves can just as easily produce gun parts. The same machines that allow astronauts on the international space station to print their own tools might also help a state like North Korea print military or industrial equipment to get around international sanctions. Here are four areas to watch as 3D printing makes the leap from high tech to home tech.
Hackers Could Use Printers to Cause Real-World Damage

Toy Drones and Twitter: The Ability of Individuals to Wreak Large-Scale Havoc

by Colin P. Clarke

Drawing upon decades of experience, RAND provides research services, systematic analysis, and innovative thinking to a global clientele that includes government agencies, foundations, and private-sector firms. The Pardee RAND Graduate School (PRGS.edu) is the largest public policy Ph.D. program in the nation and the only program based at an independent public policy research organization—the RAND Corporation.  In late April, a toy drone buzzed past the palace of the king of Saudi Arabia, leading Saudi security forces to shoot it down. Online, a story spread quickly across the Internet that the Saudi royal palace was under siege and a full-fledged coup was in progress. Given the recent crackdown and imprisonment of wealthy and influential Saudis engineered by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, the news was believable—at least initially. But in the end, just like the commercial drone, the story of the coup plot was also shot down, proved to be false and just another piece of the ubiquitous disinformation flotsam populating the World Wide Web.

In a world of digital nomads, we will all be made homeless

John Harris

The office-space empire WeWork was founded eight years ago in New York. It currently leases 240,000 sq metres of real estate in London alone, which reportedly makes it the city’s largest user of offices after the British government. The basic deal is simple enough: you can either pay to put your laptop wherever there is space, or stump up a little more for a more dependable desk or entire office – and, in either case, take advantage of the fact that, with operations in 20 countries, WeWork offers the chance to traverse the planet and temporarily set up shop in no end of locations.

Pentagon Puts Cyberwarriors on the Offensive, Increasing the Risk of Conflict

David E. Sanger

The Pentagon has quietly empowered the United States Cyber Command to take a far more aggressive approach to defending the nation against cyberattacks, a shift in strategy that could increase the risk of conflict with the foreign states that sponsor malicious hacking groups. Until now, the Cyber Command has assumed a largely defensive posture, trying to counter attackers as they enter American networks. In the relatively few instances when it has gone on the offensive, particularly in trying to disrupt the online activities of the Islamic State and its recruiters in the past several years, the results have been mixed at best.

Pentagon Puts Cyberwarriors on the Offensive, Increasing the Risk of Conflict

By David E. Sanger

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has quietly empowered the United States Cyber Command to take a far more aggressive approach to defending the nation against cyberattacks, a shift in strategy that could increase the risk of conflict with the foreign states that sponsor malicious hacking groups. Until now, the Cyber Command has assumed a largely defensive posture, trying to counter attackers as they enter American networks. In the relatively few instances when it has gone on the offensive, particularly in trying to disrupt the online activities of the Islamic State and its recruiters in the past several years, the results have been mixed at best.

There’s Been a Global Increase in Armed Groups. Can They Be Restrained?

By Kenneth R. Rosen – New York Time's At War

Raiding among cattle-herding tribes is a traditional part of life in South Sudan, but in the past five years, the skirmishes have become more violent and unrestrained. Small armed bands that traditionally guarded their communities’ livestock have been drawn into bitter proxy battles between the country’s two largest tribes: the Dinka, who hold power in Juba, the national capital, and the Nuer. No longer limited to raiding each other’s villages and herds, these bands of well-armed tribal fighters have carried out massacres and atrocities, with women and children increasingly among the victims. The violence has worsened in both scale and frequency since 2013, according to South Sudanese who have witnessed the ravages of a civil war that started just two years after their country gained independence from Sudan.

Considering Defense Reform? Read This First

by John Nagl and Paul Yingling – AUSA

Kenny Rogers’ country classic Coward of the County portrays advice from an old man who spent his life fighting. The advice was simple: Don’t do it. The intended recipient was a young man who ignored that advice. We are old men who spent the better part of two decades fighting on the battlefields of the Middle East and in the halls of the Pentagon. In the Middle East, our enemies were insurgents. In the Pentagon, we were the insurgents: pushing the Army to adapt to the challenges of irregular warfare. Our goal here is not to refight those old battles. Instead, in the great tradition of Kenny Rogers, we’d like to offer some advice to young leaders who are considering fighting the battle for defense reform…