12 July 2018

Operation Tomorrow: Why Investing In Human Capital Is Crucial For The Indian Army

by Abhijit Iyer-Mitra

Much has been made in recent months of a supposed lack of funding for the military. This is not something new. Virtually, every government in independent India has been accused of this at some point during its tenure. World over, there is not a single military, not even the US military (whose defence budget dwarfs the next 10 high defence spenders), that does not complain about a paucity of funds. Yet, what we find in recent history is that the most innovative approaches to national defence come not from overfunded fat militaries, but rather those facing a cash crunch. Sweden and Taiwan, for example, are countries that have faced serious threats on their borders (Russia and China respectively) and managed a robust defence at relatively low cost. Sweden especially used technology at a very early stage, going from having the world’s third largest air force in the 1950s to a much smaller but more lethal force in the 1980s. France, lacking a proximate threat, similarly made the best of defence cuts by innovative solutions to their expeditionary capabilities.

India Should Be Ready To Reap Military Potential Of AI, It Can Redefine Warfare As We Know It

by R. Shashank Reddy

That artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to be central to economic and military power in the coming decades is by now a well-worn cliche. All major powers have jumped on the AI bandwagon in one way or another. In 2017, when Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that the nation that becomes the predominant leader in AI ‘will be the ruler of the world’, he only brought to public attention what was already being acknowledged in capitals across the world. Governments are beginning to see AI as a transformative technology that could enhance their military and economic capabilities, creating what has been called in popular media as an ‘AI arms race’.

India: ZUF Factional Feuds – Analysis

By M.A. Athul*

On June 28, 2018, Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF) militants shot dead a civilian, identified as Lanshinthui Kamei, at Gairilong Luangrang village in the Noney District of Manipur. The militants alleged that Kamei was an informer for the Security Forces (SFs). On May 3, 2018, two ZUF militants were killed in an internecine clash in the jungle area between Khamnang and Douban villages under the jurisdiction of the Mahur Police Station in the Dima Hasao District of Assam. According to reports, the clash was between two factions of ZUF, one led by S. Kamson and the other by Jenchui Kamei.

Pakistan’s Financial Crisis Puts Belt And Road On The Spot – Analysis

By James M. Dorsey

Increased Pakistani dependence on China to help it avert resorting to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to avoid a financial and economic crisis spotlights fears that the terms of Chinese investment in massive Belt and Road-related projects would not pass international muster. Concerns that China’s US$ 50 billion plus investment in Pakistani infrastructure and energy, the Belt and Road’s crown jewel dubbed the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), potentially amounts to a debt trap, compound suggestions that Pakistan increasingly will have no choice but to toe Beijing’s line. The concerns are reinforced by the vision spelled out in a draft plan for CPEC. The plan envisioned a dominant Chinese role In Pakistan’s economy as well as the creation of a Chinese style surveillance state and significant Chinese influence in Pakistani influence.

Pompeo In Unannounced Visit To Kabul, Urges Peace Talks With Taliban

(RFE/RL) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Taliban fighters to hold peace talks with the Afghan government, as he made an unannounced visit to the Afghan capital.
Pompeo’s July 9 trip — his first since becoming secretary of state– coincided with what officials hope will be a final operation to clear Islamic State fighters and other insurgents in a remote district in the eastern Nangarhar Province. Around 14,000 U.S. troops are currently stationed in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led mission, while also carrying out counterterrorism operations targeting Islamic State (IS) militants and Al-Qaeda. That was a clear sign of U.S. commitment, Pompeo said at a news conference alongside Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

The secret story of how America lost the drug war with the Taliban


As Afghanistan edged ever closer to becoming a narco-state five years ago, a team of veteran U.S. officials in Kabul presented the Obama administration with a detailed plan to use U.S. courts to prosecute the Taliban commanders and allied drug lords who supplied more than 90 percent of the world’s heroin — including a growing amount fueling the nascent opioid crisis in the United States. The plan, according to its authors, was both a way of halting the ruinous spread of narcotics around the world and a new — and urgent — approach to confronting ongoing frustrations with the Taliban, whose drug profits were financing the growing insurgency and killing American troops. But the Obama administration’s deputy chief of mission in Kabul, citing political concerns, ordered the plan to be shelved, according to a POLITICO investigation.

What Future For Tibet? – OpEd

By N. S. Venkataraman

As an ardent admirer of Tibet’s traditional and cultural values and a well wisher of Tibetan cause, I am submitting my loud thoughts in this article. This is not a criticism of state of affairs but a clarion call for redoubled efforts with sustained faith in the cause for liberation of Tibet from the stranglehold of unethical Chinese leadership. It is a distressing fact that many countries in the world including India seem to have concluded that Tibet would stay as a part and province of China for all time to come. None of them seem to be concerned that a grievous wrong has been done to Tibet, by China aggressively occupying the Tibetan territory and holding on to the ill gotten region for several decades now. Leadership of several countries in the world know in their heart of hearts that China has occupied Tibet in violation of human rights and without respecting Tibet’s sovereignty but they are suppressing such views in their anxiety to keep China in good humor for the sake of their economic and political gains.

Trump’s Trade War With China Is Officially Underway

By Ana Swanson

WASHINGTON — A trade war between the world’s two largest economies officially began on Friday morning as the Trump administration followed through with its threat to impose tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese products, a significant escalation of a fight that could hurt companies and consumers in both the United States and China. The penalties, which went into effect at 12:01 a.m., prompted quick retaliation by Beijing, which said it immediately put its own similarly sized tariffs on American goods. Previously, the Chinese government had said it would tax pork, soybeans and automobiles, among other products China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement that the United States “has launched the biggest trade war in economic history so far.”

Xi Jinping’s Great Leap Backward


Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s move to eliminate the two-term limit for the presidency and vice-presidency of the Chinese state reflects his belief, and the belief of cadres and officials, that the much-praised system of Chinese communist governance had failed. As Thomas Friedman of The New York Times wrote in May, “Xi’s allies argue that his crackdown on corruption; his repeal of term limits, which positions him to rule for what could be decades; and his tightening of the control that the Communist Party wields over every institution was urgent because collective rule did not work.”

Chinese Savers Won’t Save China Households have less money to spend than many think.

By Christopher Balding

Chinese are, in the popular imagination as well as some economic statistics, inveterate savers. According to the International Monetary Fund, the Chinese savings rate stood at an astonishing 46 percent in 2016, compared to a global average around 25 percent. Chinese planners have long sought to bring that ratio down in order to promote consumption and ease the economy’s overreliance on investment. If only Chinese would shop more, the thinking goes, China wouldn’t need to rely on smokestack factories and boondoggle infrastructure projects to drive growth.

40 Years Since Deng Xiaoping’s Reforms: The Chinese Economy’s Challenges and Prospects

Damian Wnukowski

After four decades of gradually opening the Chinese economy to the world and at the beginning of the Xi Jinping’s second term in office, China’s authorities are announcing deep reforms, including increasing market access for foreign entities. Despite strengthening Xi’s power, one should expect a further, selective opening of the market depending on the strength of Chinese enterprises in specific industries and their development needs. The announcements of the reforms provide an opportunity for the EU to put pressure on improving the situation of companies from Union countries operating in China.


Amanda Macias 
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· China is quietly testing electronic warfare assets recently installed at fortified outposts in the South China Sea, sources tell CNBC.

· Electronic warfare assets are designed to confuse or disable communications and radar systems.

· A Pentagon spokesperson declined to comment on intelligence matters.

A Chinese Naval officer stands guard beside a submarine at the Ngong Shuen Chau Naval Base in Hong Kong. China is quietly testing electronic warfare assets recently installed at fortified outposts in the South China Sea, according to sources who have seen U.S. intelligence reports.

China's Possible Next Steps in the Trade War

By Victor Ferguson

After a short-lived truce, the trade war between Washington and Beijing is back on — however, their weapons of choice are diverging. Following the White House’s lead, on June 15, both governments announced 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion worth of each other’s exports before U.S. President Donald Trump threatened an additional 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods. Unable to match Trump’s terms — total Chinese imports from the United States are well below $250 billion — China’s Ministry of Commerce instead threatened to “strike back” with “quantitative and qualitative” measures.

China’s Plan in Latin America

Hemant Chandak
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The US may be involved in trade wars, but the rest of the world is not. As China expands its presence in Latin America, so should we. Anyone who has been following the global trade and economy news over the last couple of months must have noticed allegations, tit-for-tat tariff implementations, infighting between developed nations, and growing anxiety among the developing countries led by China. No one knows how the events will play out as the year unfolds. Announcements, allegations, counter-allegations and feisty negotiations among the many countries under looming elections are ongoing. ‘Trade’ is the new face of the conflicts among nations.

Trump’s Message to NATO

This looked like it could presage a repetition of what happened at last month’s G7 summit in Canada. U.S. officials had said ahead of time that despite differences among group on free trade, there would be consensus on most, even if not all, issues at the summit. But it all unraveled after Trump took umbrage at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s criticism of U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum; called the Canadian leader “dishonest and weak;” and retracted his administration’s endorsement of the joint communique he signed at the end of the meeting. Expect something similar at the NATO summit in Brussels. Hutchison and other U.S. officials might try to persuade U.S. allies that their bond is strong, but ultimately, as Trump himself put it last year, he “is the only one that matters.” On Thursday in Montana, he returned to a familiar theme: how Europe—and Germany, in particular—takes advantage of the U.S. in commerce and defense. 

The Lesson of the Great War: Stay Engaged, America


There are the wars we remember, and the wars that seem to drift away. Korea is one such, but at least there is a monument in Washington to the startled World War II veterans recalled from the post-1945 American recovery to do battle on those cold and barren hills. The doughboys of World War I do not even have that yet, although commissions and architects are actively bickering about what one might look like. Worse yet, to the extent Americans remember World War I at all, it is as a futile war, a massive, utterly senseless butchery of a damned generation. That was not the way Americans at the time conceived it. More controversially, it is an excessively simple way of conceiving it even now.

The US-Launched Trade War: Its Wide-Ranging Impact – Analysis

By Vincent Mac*

The United States under President Trump has in effect launched a trade war with its announcement of new tariffs targeted at imports from US allies and China. But this strategy could backfire, with devastating effects that reverberate far beyond the US. The United States’ recent imposition of new tariffs on aluminium and steel has fuelled fears of a trade war between the US and the rest of the world. This potential war is largely politically driven, whether for the purpose of fulfilling election promises or reciprocating political threats. But the economic rationale against a trade war is clear, and the repercussions would be felt globally. The imposition of tariffs is only an effective economic weapon if the targeted goods can be easily sourced domestically. If importing goods from an international source is more costly, vendors would be inclined to buy from a domestic source.

Is Trump's Protectionism The Death Knell For Global Free Trade?

Trade: First, President Trump hit China, Canada, Mexico and the EU with trade tariffs. Now, the world is hitting back. Will a burgeoning trade war with our closest trading partners be the undoing of global free trade and Trump's own domestic agenda? Don't count on it. Here's the action so far: President Trump already slapped 10% to 25% tariffs on aluminum and steel imports. In retaliation, Canada has hit U.S. imports with an estimated $12.6 billion in tariffs in retaliation. Next, some $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods are set to go into effect later this week, which China vows will not go unanswered.

Global Economic Prospects, June 2018

Published semiannually, Global Economic Prospects includes analysis of topical policy challenges faced by developing countries. Global activity is firming broadly as expected. Manufacturing and trade are picking up, confidence is improving, and international financing conditions remain benign. Global growth is projected to strengthen in 2018-19, in line with January forecasts. In emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs), growth is predicted to recover in 2017-19, as obstacles to growth in commodity exporters diminish amid moderately rising commodity prices, and activity in commodity importers remains robust. Risks to the global outlook remain tilted to the downside. These include increased trade protectionism; elevated economic policy uncertainty; the possibility of financial market disruptions; and, over the longer term, weaker potential growth. A policy priority for EMDEs is to rebuild monetary and fiscal space that could be drawn on were such risks to materialize. Over the longer term, structural policies that support investment and trade are critical to boost EMDE productivity and potential growth.

"NATO is at a Crucial Decision Point"

NATO is at a crucial decision point. The Alliance has made significant progress since 2014 in strengthening deterrence against a revisionist Russia and countering threats from the south. But continued questions about unequal sharing of burdens across the Atlantic threaten to erode the unity and common purpose that are the Alliance's center of gravity. It is political solidarity, now and in the future, that is the true defense against any and all adversaries. Only then will the Alliance be armed with the necessary strategic ambition needed to succeed in what is clearly going to be a challenging century for all of the Allies. Such ambition will only be realized if it is embedded in a new, more balanced transatlantic relationship in which the United States continues to afford its European Allies with the defense guarantee and security support vital to Europe’s stability, in return for European Allies plus Canada, conscious of the pressing and changing needs of American and global security, becoming more able and willing to help meet those needs, as they did in the wake of 9/11. 

How Artificial Intelligence Will Reshape the Global Order

By Nicholas Wright

The debate over the effects of artificial intelligence has been dominated by two themes. One is the fear of a singularity, an event in which an AI exceeds human intelligence and escapes human control, with possibly disastrous consequences. The other is the worry that a new industrial revolution will allow machines to disrupt and replace humans in every—or almost every—area of society, from transport to the military to healthcare. There is also a third way in which AI promises to reshape the world. By allowing governments to monitor, understand, and control their citizens far more closely than ever before, AI will offer authoritarian countries a plausible alternative to liberal democracy, the first since the end of the Cold War. That will spark renewed international competition between social systems.

Twitter is sweeping out fake accounts like never before, putting user growth at risk

By Craig Timberg and Elizabeth Dwoskin

SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter has sharply escalated its battle against fake and suspicious accounts, suspending more than 1 million a day in recent months, a major shift to lessen the flow of disinformation on the platform, according to data obtained by The Washington Post. The rate of account suspensions, which Twitter confirmed to The Post, has more than doubled since October, when the company revealed under congressional pressure how Russia used fake accountsto interfere in the U.S. presidential election. Twitter suspended more than 70 million accounts in May and June, and the pace has continued in July, according to the data. The aggressive removal of unwanted accounts may result in a rare decline in the number of monthly users in the second quarter, which ended June 30, according to a person familiar with the situation who was not authorized to speak. Twitter declined to comment on a possible decline in its user base. 

Train, promote and lose: The battle for retention

By: Jan Kallberg   

The United States is an engineering country where technical solutions are born, and solutions are thought up, in an innovation-friendly environment of academia and industry. There are gaps, but the United States is highly adaptive and able to face technological challenges due to its research capacity and industrial base. The more substantial challenges are retention, maintaining an able workforce and transferring the willingness to serve to the next generation. The cost for the Department of Defense to recruit and train, or transition a mid-career officer, are high. Equally challenging is the time to replace an officer that decides to leave the armed forces. This is a simple math problem: If the armed forces seek to create a more significant force, recruitment and training will only meet demand if retention is high; otherwise, the inflow is only compensating the outflow from the service.

The coming cyberbattle will be worse than people think

By: John Spencer 

The U.S. military has made great strides to develop a cyber workforce. For the Army, this has included creating a cyber command, cyber schools and a cyber military occupational specialty for enlisted soldiers, along with commissioning officers directly into a new cyber branch and sending cyber and electromagnetic activity teams and planners down to the brigade level — just to mention a few developments. But the military services have historically been very resistant to major change. The full integration of cyberwarriors and the ability to integrate cyber capabilities into the core functions of war fighting still face many cultural battles that could slow momentum.

Amit Yoran Interview: Cyberattacks Targeting Critical Infrastructure Must Be Addressed


Current Tenable Chairman and CEO Amit Yoran’s career is beyond impressive. Yoran is a cybersecurity rock star. In this exclusive interview, we provide a glimpse into his security past, Tenable’s current technology priorities and future cybertrends. His immediate focus: Critical infrastructures are facing daily cyberattacks and our cyberexposure to system vulnerabilities must be an urgent priority. According to TheHill.com: “The bill offered by Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) would codify work the Department of Homeland Security is currently doing to identify cyber threats to industrial control systems and mitigate them. Industrial control systems are used to run critical services in the United States, including the electric grid, water systems, and manufacturing plants.”

11 July 2018

The US-India Partnership and Its Discontents: Managing Trump-Era Turbulence

By Harsh V. Pant

In the end it was much ado about nothing, really. All the recent hyperventilation of the Indian strategic community was really an exercise in vanity. Grand deductions were being made about why the United States canceled the much anticipated “2+2 talks” with India, set for July 6. It turned out that it was indeed a scheduling problem with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo actually having to go to North Korea to salvage that diplomatic process, which is seemingly on the verge of collapse. Trump’s outreach to North Korea is his signature foreign policy achievement so far and he would want to preserve at the least the appearance that it retains some traction. It’s not surprising, therefore, that India would be asked to wait. Nikki Haley’s visit to India last week is no coincidence either. It was meant to convey that even as the 2+2 was postponed, India will remain an important focus area for the United States.

India's unofficial recycling bin: the city where electronics go to die

In Moradabad, whole communities subsist by processing waste created by the world’s love affair with electronic goods. In this extract from their book, Assa Doron and Robin Jeffreyinvestigate the impact of this dangerous trade  Hazardous e-waste material exported from the affluent developed world continues to plague cities in developing countries. From the road one could see locals washing the ash from burned e-waste and using sieves to recover fragments of metal. Women and children broke apart and segregated the printed circuit board components, prying open the object and separating the gold, silver and copper-plated components. Locals in Moradabad in western Uttar Pradesh described [to us] the process of recycling this hazardous material. Once the basic dismantling and separation were achieved, different methods of extraction followed: typically burning, grinding, washing and bathing in acid.

Can China Mediate Between Pakistan and India?

By Samuel Ramani

On June 29, 2018, the deputy chief of the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, Lijian Zhao, told reporters that China was holding talks with Indian officials on the de-escalation of bilateral tensions between India and Pakistan. Zhao justified China’s support for an India-Pakistan rapprochement by stating that both countries would benefit greatly from suspending their arms buildups, and participating in joint economic development initiatives. 

Although Zhao’s calls for improved India-Pakistan relations were met with skepticism in India, China has assumed an increasingly important role in the preservation of stability in South Asia. At last month’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized the importance of “unity” among the organization’s members, when he welcomed Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the gathering. On June 20, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang described India and Pakistan as China’s neighbors and friends. This statement prompted speculation that China would host a trilateral dialogue between itself, India, and Pakistan on regional security.

The Struggle for the Indo-Pacific: In Search of Shangri-La

By Roncevert Ganan Almond

The approach into Nepal’s Tribhuvan International Airport requires carefully navigating the encompassing mountains, some rising nearly 10,000 feet. At altitude, Kathmandu’s magnificent pagodas, stupas and palaces are lost amidst a maze of haphazard multicolored tenements, the flowering cover of the developing world. Mount Everest, named for the former surveyor general of India, hovers, white in the near distance. As always, China is over the horizon – and in the market.

Billions of Dollars Wasted on a Fight Which We Should Have Won: The secret story of how America lost the drug war with the Taliban

Josh Meyer

As Afghanistan edged ever closer to becoming a narco-state five years ago, a team of veteran U.S. officials in Kabul presented the Obama administration with a detailed plan to use U.S. courts to prosecute the Taliban commanders and allied drug lords who supplied more than 90 percent of the world’s heroin — including a growing amount fueling the nascent opioid crisis in the United States. The plan, according to its authors, was both a way of halting the ruinous spread of narcotics around the world and a new — and urgent — approach to confronting ongoing frustrations with the Taliban, whose drug profits were financing the growing insurgency and killing American troops. But the Obama administration’s deputy chief of mission in Kabul, citing political concerns, ordered the plan to be shelved, according to a POLITICO investigation.

The U.S. Mission in Afghanistan Is Not Making Us Safer—It’s Time to Bring It to an End

by Daniel L. Davis

At his confirmation hearing to be the 17 th U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Austin Miller told senators he could not say when the war would end, but claimed the mission “is about protecting U.S. citizens,” by preventing Afghanistan from being used as a platform to attack America. The obvious reality, however, is that the mission has nothing to do with that goal. As someone who served two combat tours in Afghanistan, it is especially difficult to watch as Lt. Gen. Miller follows the seemingly identical script used by the parade of generals who have preceded him. All claim we have to “win” in Afghanistan, because if we don’t, they imply, we’ll suffer another orchestrated attack on the homeland. These claims rest on two assumptions, both of which are demonstrably false.

China Installed Military Jamming Equipment on Spratly Islands, U.S. Says

By Michael R. Gordon

Jamming equipment located on Mischief Reef in the South China Sea in a satellite photo taken by DigitalGlobe, a commercial space imagery firm. The photo was commissioned by the U.S. military, which added the color inset showing the type of equipment installed on the outpost in the Spratly Islands. China has installed equipment on two of its fortified outposts in the Spratly Islands capable of jamming communications and radar systems, a significant step in its creeping militarization of the South China Sea, U.S. officials say. The move strengthens China’s ability to assert its extensive territorial claims and hinder U.S. military operations in a contested region that includes some of the world’s busiest shipping routes.

Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras

By Paul Mozur

ZHENGZHOU, China — In the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, a police officer wearing facial recognition glasses spotted a heroin smuggler at a train station. In Qingdao, a city famous for its German colonial heritage, cameras powered by artificial intelligence helped the police snatch two dozen criminal suspects in the midst of a big annual beer festival. In Wuhu, a fugitive murder suspect was identified by a camera as he bought food from a street vendor. With millions of cameras and billions of lines of code, China is building a high-tech authoritarian future. Beijing is embracing technologies like facial recognition and artificial intelligence to identify and track 1.4 billion people. It wants to assemble a vast and unprecedented national surveillance system, with crucial help from its thriving technology industry.

Amid US-China Trade War, Beijing Worries About Its Financial Sector

By Charlotte Gao

Chinese financial authorities insist China is capable of “winning big battles” and “tackling external risks.” 

The trade war between the United States and China — the two largest economies in the world — officially started last week. Yet even before both countries began imposing tariffs on each other’s goods, China’s financial markets had been experiencing serious fluctuations. Faced with such a gloomy market outlook, Chinese financial authorities repeatedly vowed that China will “resolutely prevent systemic financial risks.” So far, China’s currency and stock market have been under considerable pressure.

Xi Jinping’s Great Leap Backward


Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s move to eliminate the two-term limit for the presidency and vice-presidency of the Chinese state reflects his belief, and the belief of cadres and officials, that the much-praised system of Chinese communist governance had failed. As Thomas Friedman of The New York Times wrote in May, “Xi’s allies argue that his crackdown on corruption; his repeal of term limits, which positions him to rule for what could be decades; and his tightening of the control that the Communist Party wields over every institution was urgent because collective rule did not work.”

Whither Wahhabism? – Analysis

By James M. Dorsey

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Salman could well dash expectations that he is gunning for a break with Sunni Muslim ultra-conservatism rather than a shaving off of the rough edges of Wahhabi ideology that has been woven into the kingdom’s fabric since its founding more than eighty years ago.

Prince Mohammed has fuelled expectations by fostering Islamic scholars who advocate a revision of Wahhabism as well as by lifting a ban on women’s driving and creating space for entertainment, including music, theatre, film, and, for conservatives, controversial sports events like wrestling.

Iran’s Nuclear Deal, Oil and US Sanctions

Amb D P Srivastava

A meeting of the Joint Commission established under Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) took place in Vienna on 6th July. The Joint Commission was set up as the mechanism to resolve any disputes arising out of implementation of the Iran nuclear deal. This was the first such meeting held after US withdrawal from JCPOA announced by President Trump on 9th May. It was convened on Iran’s request. With the exception of UK, all other countries – France, Germany, Russia, China, and Iran - were represented at the level of Foreign Ministers. The UK was represented by the Minister of State for the Middle East, Alistair Burt. The Joint Commission was chaired by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini.

North Korea Declares U.S. Diplomacy “Gangster-Like”

By Robin Wright

The first sign that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s trip to Pyongyang wasn’t going quite as expected came in a casual but pointed question from the lead North Korean negotiator on Saturday morning. Had the Secretary slept well? Kim Yong Chol wanted to know. “I did, I did,” Pompeo replied, adding his gratitude for the accommodations at a government guesthouse. As a pool of American reporters looked on, the North Korean shot back, “But we did have very serious discussions on very important matters yesterday. So, thinking about those discussions, you might have not slept well last night.” Pompeo replied that he had “slept just fine.” The American reporters noted an edge in his voice, however.

Brexit, defence, and the EU’s quest for ‘strategic autonomy’

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Nick Witney 

There is more joy in heaven (or so we are told, on the best available authority) over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine already-righteous folk. On that basis, fatted calves in the vicinity of Brussels should have been keeping a very low profile as the British, after long years decrying and obstructing European defence integration, have rediscovered an unconditional commitment to Europe’s security, and pressed for the closest possible post-Brexit partnership.

Lessons Learned From 25 Years of Negotiating with North Korea

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is resetting expectations for a denuclearization timeline for North Korea, saying Monday that it will take ‘decades’ to get North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program. 

In a Tweet on Monday, President Donald Trump reaffirmed his confidence in the North Korean leader, saying that he believes Kim Jung Un will keep his promises.

Ambassador Joseph DeTrani is one of the few people who has decades of experience negotiating with North Korean leaders. The former Director of the Counterproliferation Center and Former Special Envoy for Six Party Talks with North Korea filed this Cipher Brief, focused on what he has learned from those years of experience:

A Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Makes a Mockery of Trump

Ahumanitarian disaster is unfolding in southern Syria, where hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing heavy fighting and finding borders locked tight. More than three hundred thousand civilians are on the move—some on tractors, some on foot—trying to escape a Russian-backed Syrian army offensive aimed at reconquering the city of Dara’a and the surrounding area, where the rebellion against the regime of Bashar al-Assad began seven years ago.

What Will Lopez Obrador Do About Mexico's Corruption?

By Reggie Thompson

Thanks to a congressional majority, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will become the strongest Mexican president in decades, but questions remain about how he will wield that power. Lopez Obrador's big win, as well as the success of his party in Congress, gives him a mandate to tackle corruption, but he will find it easier to stamp out graft at the federal level than among lower-level officials. As a politician who has acted pragmatically in the past, Lopez Obrador could abandon a far-reaching campaign against corruption in favor of a targeted anti-graft drive.

Trump Is Right: The U.S. Can’t Lose a Trade War

by Salvatore Babones

The conventional wisdom of the international expert class is that “you can't win a trade war.” What they really mean is that you can't win a trade war in a fair game . If all sides start in balance, the rules are the same for everyone, and no player has coercive power over any other, the winning strategy is for everyone to cooperate. Economics 101. But if one country starts with a massive trade deficit, the existing rules are written to favor its opponents. And when the country with the trade deficit just happens to be the most powerful country in the world, it's safe to say that there are multiple paths to victory. Despite being widely ridiculed in the press, the homespun wisdom encapsulated in President Donald Trump's April 4 tweet that “When you’re already $500 Billion DOWN, you can’t lose!” is essentially correct. The only thing incorrect was the figure. The U.S.trade deficit was $568 billion in 2017, and that figure incorporates America's trade surplus in services. America's trade deficit in goods alone was a whopping $811 billion.

Madeleine Albright: ‘The things that are happening are genuinely, seriously bad

Andrew Rawnsley

Madeleine Albright has both made and lived a lot of history. When she talks about a resurgence of fascism, she says it as someone who was born into the age of dictators. She was a small girl when her family fled Czechoslovakia after the Nazis consumed the country in 1939. After 10 days in hiding, her parents escaped Prague for Britain and found refuge in Notting Hill Gate, “before it was fancy”, in an apartment which backed on to Portobello Road. Her first memories of life in London are of disorientation. “I didn’t have a clue. My parents were very continental European and I didn’t have siblings early on. I felt isolated.” As Hitler unleashed the blitz, “every night we went down to the cellar where everybody was sleeping.”

The Problem With Farm Loans

Ashutosh Datar

The government ensures credit to farmers with the best intentions. But they lead to horrible outcomes. In his budget speech every year, the Finance Minister lays down an indicative target of farm credit to banks. Banks have an explicit target for agriculture lending as part of their overall priority sector lending target. Banks must give at least 18% of their total loans to agriculture (and related activities allowed by the RBI). The underlying, unflinching belief is that farmers need more institutional credit as against credit from money lenders. Loans from formal financial institutions are cheaper and they do not resort to unscrupulous recovery practices. Crop loans are generally available at a four percent interest rate due to a subsidy from the central government, and some states provide a subsidy on top of it, making crop loans effectively interest-free.

Explaining the Hype Around Hypersonic Weapons

Countries around the world are in the process of developing hypersonic weapons technology, and the United States and China are leading the pack. With the technology needed for hypersonic missiles growing ever more feasible and accessible, we anticipate that both countries will have mature designs in the near future. The new missiles will be much faster than any current cruise missiles, and they will be extremely hard to detect. As the world adjusts to this evolving weaponry, the way countries approach offensive arms development and preemptive strikes is set to change dramatically.

Is it better to defend the Army’s network in the field or from afar?

By: Mark Pomerleau 

U.S. Army commanders are coming to grips with the need to more robustly defend their tactical networks from intrusions from highly sophisticated enemies.

A pilot program at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin in California integrates cyber planners and tactical cyber operators with brigade combat teams doing their rotations through the center as part of their normal brigade training. For the sake of the pilot, a defensive cyber planner is embedded with the brigade staff to help coordinate with the brigade’s organic network operators. The planner acts as a liaison with the brigade between remote defensive capability provided by the cyber protection brigade.

Cyber in movies is cool, but can the Army do it?

By: Mark Pomerleau 

Leaders on an Army team that experiments with bringing cyber weapons to the battlefield say their top priority is managing commanders’ expectations.

The Army is testing giving brigade commanders direct authorities of cyber capabilities, a new concept that includes offensive and defensive planners on the brigade staff.

Army Cyber Command is using a pilot program, Cyber and Electromagnetic Activities Support to Corps and Below, to test the infrastructure changes necessary to insert tactical cyber teams within brigades.

Guess which world leader is urging cybersecurity cooperation

MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin on Friday called for closer international cooperation in fending off cyberattacks.

Addressing a cybersecurity conference in Moscow, Putin said it’s important to develop common cybersecurity standards that take into account interests of all nations. He noted that cyberthreats have mounted around the world.

“Cyberthreats have reached such a scale that they could only be neutralized by combined efforts of the entire international community,” Putin said.

“We have repeatedly seen that some nations’ egoism, their attempts to act squarely to their own advantages, hurt the global information stability,” he added without specifying.

Encryption Is the Key

By Carl M. Cannon

In this series of articles running through July, RealClearPolitics and RealClearDefense take an in-depth look at the intersection of cybersecurity, technology, and warfare in the 21st century. Below is Part 9.

Although the bad blood between President Trump and James Comey helped shape our current contentious political environment, on one highly charged policy issue both men were in complete agreement during the brief time Comey served under Trump. That issue relates to cybersecurity and the pitched battle between law enforcement and the tech industry over encryption.

The president and the former FBI director have been equally vehement in their denunciation of Silicon Valley tech giants for building encrypted software code that protects users of computers and mobile phones from intrusion -- even from law enforcement officials pursing criminals.