4 July 2018

The Long Shadow of 9/11

By Robert Malley and Jon Finer

When it comes to political orientation, worldview, life experience, and temperament, the past three presidents of the United States could hardly be more different. Yet each ended up devoting much of his tenure to the same goal: countering terrorismUpon entering office, President George W. Bush initially downplayed the terrorist threat, casting aside warnings from the outgoing administration about al Qaeda plots. But in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, his presidency came to be defined by what his administration termed “the global war on terrorism,” an undertaking that involved the torture of detainees, the incarceration of suspects in “black sites” and at a prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, the warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens, and prolonged and costly military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

What the world's biggest naval exercise reveals about shifting balances of power

Hosted by the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet and due to get under way on 27 June, this year's Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), exercise is notable, so far, for the fact that the US has disinvited the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). Routinely dubbed ‘the world’s largest international maritime exercise’, RIMPAC 2018 will be the 26th in the series of biennial naval manoeuvres. In broad terms, this year’s event is on a par with two years ago – 26 participating nations, 47 surface ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel. But a look behind the numbers reveals real differences.

China disinvited

3 July 2018

Is Mining Doomed in India?

Sandip Sen

Mining in India is rife with vested interests and corruption. The Indian citizen is an ignored stakeholder. This exhaustive essay illustrates these problems through the stories of two plants. In this article we look at two closed plants from the point of view of the Indian citizen. These are plants where millions of dollars have been invested, but which are closed due to two entirely different reasons. The first plant is Anrak Aluminum, a joint-sector FDI project with investment from UAE that has been completed in 2013 in Vishakapatnam, but lying idle. It has been closed due to non supply of bauxite by Andhra Pradesh Mining Development Corporation that has cited opposition to bauxite mining in tribal areas among other reasons. 

Congress member wants Modi's response to Hafiz Saeed's war rants

New Delhi: A Congress member on Monday raised in Lok Sabha the issue of reported "war" rants by Pakistan-based Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed an "interference" by China in the Kashmir affairs and demanded a response from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Narendra bhai chuppi sadhe hua hai (We are sitting in Parliament, and Hafiz and Sharif are displaying brotherhood and threatening a war and Narendra Modi is silent)," Chowdhury said. He said China has also started interfering in Kashmir matter and is adopting a rude attitude. "Chin bhi humare khilaf rukhe tewar apna raha hai aur dakhal de raha hai," he said. Chowdhury said after Parliament held a debate on unrest in Kashmir, Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited the valley but no one knows what he got from there.

Why a Nuclear-Armed Vietnam Is in India’s Interest

Akshay Alladi

This seemingly radical suggestion would thwart China’s dominance, and increase the chances of peace in the neighbourhood. Nuclear proliferation and its risks have again become a major issue in geopolitics, both due to the repudiation of the nuclear deal with Iran by President Trump, and with the sabre-rattling and subsequent diplomatic outreach to North Korea. At such a time, it may seem like a crazy foreign policy idea to suggest that a nuclear-armed Vietnam is in India’s interest, and something that India should actively enable! Yet, I believe that sober cost-benefit analysis would show that this is in India’s interests.

First, the assessment of the potential risks and costs.

The Battle for Bangladesh: India vs. China

By Shakil Bin Mushtaq

The India-China tug-of-war for influence in Bangladesh began on August 31, 1975 when China became one of the last countries to recognize independent Bangladesh. India had been Bangladesh’s clear partner, deploying its military to fight alongside the forces pushing for Bangladesh’s (then East Pakistan’s) independence. Now the Chinese-Indian rivalry for Bangladesh is in the news again as the Indian navy chief recently stopped in Bangladesh to inaugurate the first ever coordinated patrol (CORPAT) from the port city of Chittagong. Last year, two Chinese-made attack submarines were commissioned in the port, an event India watched unhappily.

Chinese spy satellites keep a close eye on Taiwan from outer space

Thanks to a recent surge in launches, the number of People’s Liberation Army’s spy satellites continues to expand rapidly. With many of them boasting high-definition imaging capabilities, the satellites are being deployed in the name of surveying or scientific research. However it is thought that many of them can be converted to military reconnaissance use “at the push of a few buttons”. The Hong Kong-based Kanwa Defense Review reported that the resolution of panchromatic images from these satellites had been greatly enhanced to 0.3 meters or higher, meaning that objects on the ground as small as 30 centimeters can be accurately distinguished.

Beijing’s Drive Towards Global Technological Supremacy

Source Link

National security experts agree that the long-term threat China poses to U.S. national security is significant. It may be hard to see that often as the world focuses on North Korea and Iran and the immigration issue in the U.S., but last week on Capitol Hill, Senator Marco Rubio addressed the Chinese threat head on.

Last chance for US, China to lay down their trade war weapons


After many months of reality show-style talk about potential tariffs, the U.S.-China trade conflict is about to get real. On July 6, the United States and China are each scheduled to impose tariffs on $34 billion worth of imports from the other. Unless the two sides can reach agreement before then or very soon after, a dangerous, long-lasting, escalating trade war may be under way. But it is not too late to avoid it, if each country is willing to put down its tariff weapons and use a bit more diplomacy.

A New World Order

Manoj Kewalramani

A weekly bulletin offering news and analysis related to the Middle Kingdom. This week, Xi outlines his vision for a new world order, as China and India become unusual bedfellows.

1. Xi’s New Foreign Policy

China will look to “build a more complete network of global partnerships, so that new advances will be made in major country diplomacy.” This was the overwhelming message from President Xi Jinping’s speech at the Central Foreign Affairs Work Conference in Beijing over the weekend. Xi has termed his foreign affairs vision and approach as “thought on diplomacy of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era,” and outlined 10 key aspects of this approach.

The British Clerk Who Tried to Spark a Chinese Revolution

By David Leffman

It was 1891, and foreign communities across China were reeling from a spate of attacks against them. Fifty years earlier, the British had barged into the country with gunboats and very little diplomacy, forcing opium, Christianity, and one-sided trade agreements on the insular, self-assured Chinese. Humiliated and destabilized, the Qing court lost popular support and was soon struggling to keep the country from being torn apart by civil war. Meanwhile, the British – joined by the French, Germans, Russians, and Americans – carved out self-contained concession areas within Chinese cities known as “Treaty Ports,” where they built European-style homes, civic buildings, parks, and clubs.

China’s “debt trap” is even worse than we thought

Tim Fernholz

An egotistical president, an influx of foreign cash, and a massive pile of debt led to Sri Lanka handing over an entire port to China in December 2017, on a century-long lease. That handover gave China a strategic foothold just 100 miles from its rival India, akin to how the Soviet Union’s foothold in Cuba raised US blood pressure during the Cold War. Chinese submarines have already appeared there. But now new details have emerged, including the news that despite ceding the port, Sri Lanka is more indebted to Beijing than ever thanks to the high interest rates on its existing loans. This year, the country owes nearly $13 billion, out of a forecast revenue of less than $14 billion.

China Is Spearheading the Future of Agriculture

By Craig Moran

China is facing a number of growing pains, but one in particular has proved more taxing than most: How can China feed its rapidly growing population as the land suitable for cultivation disappears? The country’s agriculture industry has long been rife with inefficiency, but now the government is doing something about it, ploughing billions into agricultural technology, or AgTech, as a means of maximising resources –and a raft of private-sector companies are following this lead. With the global population expected to pass 10 billion by the end of 2050, such actions are only set to become more critical with time. And if China, the world’s biggest agricultural producer, can manage to produce more with less, they can help teach the rest of the planet how to feed itself long into the future. 

How China Got Sri Lanka to Cough Up a Port

By Maria Abi-Habib
Source Link

HAMBANTOTA, Sri Lanka — Every time Sri Lanka’s president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, turned to his Chinese allies for loans and assistance with an ambitious port project, the answer was yes. Yes, though feasibility studies said the port wouldn’t work. Yes, though other frequent lenders like India had refused. Yes, though Sri Lanka’s debt was ballooning rapidly under Mr. Rajapaksa. Over years of construction and renegotiation with China Harbor Engineering Company, one of Beijing’s largest state-owned enterprises, the Hambantota Port Development Project distinguished itself mostly by failing, as predicted. With tens of thousands of ships passing by along one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, the port drew only 34 ships in 2012.

Trump is trying to destabilize the European Union

By Josh Rogin

As President Trump heads to Europe next month for the NATO summit and then a historic meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, his personal attacks on the European Union and other pillars of the Western order are overshadowing his own administration’s attempts to reassure allies that the United States still believes in the transatlantic project it has led since the 1940s. During a private meeting at the White House in late April, Trump was discussing trade with French President Emmanuel Macron. At one point, he asked Macron, “Why don’t you leave the E.U.?” and said that if France exited the union, Trump would offer it a bilateral trade deal with better terms than the E.U. as a whole gets from the United States, according to two European officials. The White House did not dispute the officials’ account, but declined to comment. 

History tells us we've got GDP wrong. Here's why

It’s been nearly 80 years since British economists James Meade and Richard Stone devised a method of national income accounting that would become the global standard. Today, we call it a country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Their method was intended to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date picture of an entire national economy, by estimating the monetary value of all “economic” production that took place in a country in a given year. Like most economic statisticians of the day, Meade and Stone focused almost entirely on measuring the value of goods and services that were actually bought and sold.

Beyond fragility: Syria and the challenges of reconstruction in fierce states

Steven Heydemann

Beginning as early as 2012, the Bashar Assad regime in Syria has worked to put in place the legal and regulatory authorities to implement an ambitious vision of reconstruction as a process of authoritarian stabilization. With its military victory close at hand, the regime’s intent is to use reconstruction to reimpose its authority, tighten its control over Syria’s society and economy, and fundamentally alter Syria’s demography to achieve what Assad himself has characterized as a “healthier and more homogenous society.”

Donald Trump Hasn't Changed America's Grand Global Strategy - And He Won't

by Patrick Porter

In the wake of the Singapore Summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, BBC reporter Anthony Zurcher claimedthat international politics had suddenly been “turned upside down". Trump, too, claims he is breaking with the past, while his critics castigate him for breaking faith with a traditional, US-led world order, eroding alliances and coddling adversaries.

The Palestinians and Nuclear Weapons

by Paul R. Pillar

The significance of the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long been the subject of tendentious debates. The right-wing government of Israel, not wanting to relinquish the conquered land whose relinquishment would be necessary for peace, often contends, along with its sympathizers, that peace in that conflict doesn’t really matter much anymore. The region has become preoccupied with other things, goes the argument, and even most Arabs care less about the Palestinians’ situation than about other problems. The kernels of truth in the argument are that the Middle East does indeed have many other troubles independent of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that many Arab governments haven’t exactly been steadfast in upholding the interests of their Palestinian brethren.

There are two ways to read, but one is useless

BY Zat Rana

Homer, Shakespeare, Voltaire, Flaubert, Tolstoy, Woolf, Hemingway—these are names without a living body. We can’t talk to them, nor touch them, but their thoughts are immortalized through the written word. Aristotle’s logic, Kepler’s astronomy, Newton’s physics, Darwin’s biology, Wittgenstein’s philosophy—these are memes without living originators. They no longer champion their ideas, and yet, we still talk about them.