17 January 2018

Gamechanger: The Digital Payment Boom In India

What does a shoe shiner in India have in common with central bankers and finance ministers? They both can appreciate the digital-payment boom. It’s sweeping the world but has accelerated in India, where last November the government demonetized - declaring that 86 percent of the country’s currency in circulation would cease to be legal tender. Mobile payment platforms like Paytm, stepped in to fill the void left by demonetization, and in the process­- are bringing more people into the banking fold. In this podcast, Paytm Chief Financial Officer Madhur Deora says he was not all that surprised when the invitation came to speak at the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings.

Sheer Stupidity Almost Led to the Sinking of India’s Only Ballistic Missile Submarine

Jared Keller

The modern submarine is not a simple machine. A loss of propulsion, unexpected flooding, or trouble with reactors or weapons can doom a sub crew to a watery grave. Also, it’s a good idea to, like, close the hatches before you dive. Call it a lesson learned for the Indian navy, which managed to put the country’s first nuclear-missile submarine, the $2.9 billion INS Arihant, out of commission in the most boneheaded way possible. The Hindu reported [4] yesterday that the Arihant has been out of commission since suffering “major damage” some 10 months ago, due to what a navy source characterized as a “human error” — to wit: allowing water to flood to sub’s propulsion compartment after failing to secure one of the vessel’s external hatches.

Teen Murti street renamed after Haifa: All you need to know about the historical battle

Unlike most British battles in the region, the one at Haifa was fought by cavalry regiments of the Indian Maharajas and not the British army.  The Teen Murti Chowk and the Teen Murti Marg will henceforth be known as the ‘Teen Murti Haifa Chowk’ after the Israeli city of Haifa. The move has been made few months ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel in July and is an effort to pay tribute to a lesser known aspect of the history of India-Israel relations. The three statues that is the focal point of the Teen Murti Chowk, often misinterpreted as having connections with Mahatma Gandhi, are in fact a symbol of tribute to three famous Indian state forces who were part of the British imperial service cavalry brigade during the First World War, and had played a crucial role in overcoming Ottoman rule in Israel. The battle to conquer Haifa is commemorated every year in Israel and special homage is paid to the Indian soldiers without whom the modern state of Israel would never have come into existence.

Russia is Looking to Engage the Taliban. Here’s Why.

By Samuel Ramani

In December, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Indian diplomats that Moscow supported diplomatic engagement with the Taliban. Lavrov’s justification for this bold pronouncement? He argued that no Afghan peace settlementcould proceed without the Taliban’s participation — and that dialogue with the Taliban would reduce the risk of terrorism diffusing from Afghanistan to Central Asia. That’s just part of the story, though. My research on Russia’s Afghan strategy suggests that Moscow’s diplomatic engagement with the Taliban actually aims to challenge internationally accepted rules of engagement with the Islamic extremist organization.

Why Pakistan won’t share intelligence with the US

Pakistan’s defence minister Khurram Dastgir Khan has announced that he has suspended intelligence sharing with the US - the latest twist in the US-Pakistan row. But how much does it matter? Relations between Washington and Islamabad have been in the spotlight since US President Donald Trump’s New Year’s Day tweet, where he accused Pakistan of “lies and deceit”. Since then, Washington announced it would halt all security assistance to Pakistan, and Pakistani politicians have been quick to express dismay - with the foreign minister saying that the two aren’t allies anymore, and the army chief saying he feels “betrayed”. But behind the rhetoric, both sides are actually responding more cautiously than you might expect. US officials have said that the suspension in security assistance is temporary, and that funds may still be reimbursed on case-by-case basis, depending on measurable co-operation extended by Pakistan.

Pakistan pits CENTCOM commander against Trump administration

In a conversation with Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, the Pakistani military claimed CENTCOM commander General Joseph Votel said the idea that the Taliban uses Pakistan as a safe haven is “undermining … Pakistan’s contributions in war against terrorism” in Washington. Pakistan’s characterization of the conversation would seemingly pit General Votel directly against the Trump administration, which has decided to take a hard line against Pakistan for its ongoing support of jihadists in Afghanistan. CENTCOM declined to comment to FDD’s Long War Journal on Pakistan’s view of Votel’s conversation but said it remains “in continuous communication with the Pakistan military.”

A More Radical Way for Trump to Confront Pakistan

By David Rohde

Last week, President Trump conducted an extraordinary week-long public rebuke of a country that he has previously ignored. At 7:12 a.m., on Monday, January 1st, Trump made Pakistan the focus of his first tweet of the New Year, accusing that nation’s leaders of giving the United States “nothing but lies & deceit” in return for thirty-three billion dollars in aid since 2001, and of providing “safe havens for the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan.” He added, “No more!” On Friday, at 11:19 p.m., he ended the week with a retweet of a proposal by Senator Rand Paul, calling on the United States to cut off all aid to Pakistan and to spend that money on building roads and bridges in this country. “Good idea Rand!” Trump wrote.

Cyber Security In Pakistan: Myth Or Reality

By Zaheema Iqbal*

Over the last few decades, the exceptional innovation and use of the cyber space has taken place, giving rise to a inter-connected world and brought people together from all spheres of life on one platform. The majority of modern nations have ridden themselves of manual systems of infrastructure vital to their national economy and shifted to enhance their systems to digitization. But this huge development and progress has a cost to pay. The nature of digital systems are vulnerable to cyber-attacks by malevolent groups, or individuals, with enhanced and serious repercussions for nations of all over the world.

Pentagon maintaining close ties to Pakistan, despite harsh White House sanctions

Carlo Munoz

U.S. military leaders are continuing to maintain close contact with their counterparts in Pakistan despite the White House’s latest round of harsh economic sanctions against the South Asian nation. Central Command chief Gen. Joseph Votel and Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, head of Pakistan’s Army have remained in “continuous communication” in the weeks following the Trump administration’s announcement of plans to block millions in foreign aid and military support to Pakistan“We value mutual understanding of interests and concerns that we need to consider and might lead to a positive path forward,” command spokesman Col. John Thomas told Reuters Friday, regarding the current state of relations between the Pentagon and Islamabad.

China’s Creditor Imperialism

Just as European imperial powers employed gunboat diplomacy, China is using sovereign debt to bend other states to its will. As Sri Lanka’s handover of the strategic Hambantota port shows, states caught in debt bondage to the new imperial giant risk losing both natural assets and their very sovereignty. Unlike International Monetary Fund and World Bank lending, Chinese loans are collateralized by strategically important natural assets with high long-term value (even if they lack short-term commercial viability). Hambantota, for example, straddles Indian Ocean trade routes linking Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to Asia. In exchange for financing and building the infrastructure that poorer countries need, China demands favorable access to their natural assets, from mineral resources to ports.

China’s Evolving Nuclear Strategy: Will China Drop “No First Use?”

By: Nan Li

The PLA Rocket Force is continuing to upgrade its missile forces and shift its emphasis from a posture of immobile and vulnerable positions hidden deep in mountains to a highly mobile and more survivable mode. A new CCTV documentary also reveals that China’s multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV)-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) DF-41 will begin active service in 2018 (PLA Daily, December 25, 2017; People’s Daily Online, November 28, 2017). While China’s strategic nuclear capabilities are changing, there is still a high level of uncertainty among analysts about the specifics of China’s nuclear strategy. Though China vigorously censors information about its missile forces, examination of a body of relatively authoritative military texts provides useful context to help understand China’s nuclear strategy beyond the more visible changes in equipment. Importantly, it is evident that as China modernizes its nuclear forces, it is also debating a shift in strategy, including the abandonment of its No First Use (NFU) policy.

Russia and China’s Alliance of Convenience

China and Russia conducted a six-day military exercise last week. The exercise simulated attacks on both countries from ballistic and cruise missiles. The Chinese Ministry of Defense declined to identify which country was the simulated aggressor in the exercise, but it’s not hard to figure out that it was the United States. A few days into the exercise, the Trump administration published its National Security Strategy. The document is 68 pages long, but one line in particular from the second page has been quoted endlessly in the media: “China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests.” These two developments raise the same question: Is a Sino-Russian alliance emerging?

The Early Returns of China’s Military Reforms

By Ying Yu Lin

Mainland China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has grown stronger since the 2016 military reforms, which have gradually been expanded to cover units “from the neck down.” The PLA’s reforms were aimed at streamlining units with overlapping functions and re-organizing components into a force with integrated joint operations capabilities, a goal yet to be reached. Despite that, the integration of units has gradually shown its impact, which can be seen in the PLA’s extension of reach beyond borders.The transformation of the former army-centric seven military regions into the current five theater commands to reach a balance of power between services is especially meaningful and so is the integration of militia forces through the National Defense Mobilization Department (NDMD) of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of Communist Party of China (CPC).

China’s Hybrid Warfare and Taiwan

By Ying Yu Lin

Former U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Director Vincent R. Stewart notes that modern war has entered the age of fifth-generation warfare, which entails a combination of military and non-military means and the employment of information and public opinion control to achieve strategic high grounds. From this emerges a new term: hybrid warfare. Russian operations in the Crimea campaign in 2014 are a typical example, in which the combined use of non-conventional methods (subversive activities and cyberattacks) and conventional forces was applied to achieve geopolitical strategic goals.

Cambodia and China: Rewriting (and Repeating) History

By Alex Willemyns

Now entering his 34th year in power, 65-year-old Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has had more than half his life to refine and update the canonical story of how he and a ramshackle squad of Khmer Rouge defectors helped overthrow Pol Pot in January 1979. Many elements have remained the same, while others have slowly drifted over time. Then, as now, the story goes, Hun Sen fled to Vietnam in June 1977 to avoid Pol Pot’s purges; then, but not now, a large share of the responsibility for the evils of the regime lay with China.

Income And Living Standards Across China

by Yi Wen

There are many ways to measure income and cost of living. In this post, we’ll look at a few of them to analyze income and living standards across China. A common measure for gauging the living standard of a nation is real per capita gross domestic product (GDP). Real per capita GDP is the average amount of goods and services produced per person in a nation in a given year at constant prices.The figure below shows real per capita GDP across the world in 2014 in terms of the dollar in 2011 at chained purchasing power parities.

Robots, AI, Quantum Computing: How China Is Preparing for a New Generation of War


WASHINGTON, DC — China has developed a plan to “overtake” the United States in the race to militarize artificial intelligence, robotics, and quantum computing, an expert from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) warned lawmakers, noting that the communist nation is “rapidly closing the gap” with America. In written testimony prepared for a hearing held Tuesday by the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, William Carter, the deputy director for CSIS’ technology policy program, said:

Clausewitz Takes Down the Caliphate: The Center of Gravity in the Destruction of the State of the Islamic State

by Michael J. Mooney

On June 29, 2014, the spokesman for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, proudly announced to the world that the “the sun of jihad has risen…the flag of the Islamic State…a dream that lives in the depths of every Muslim believer,” now represented more than an arcane, ideological underground movement. “Our caliphate” he said, “has indeed returned with certainty.”  1,206 sunrises later, on October 17, 2017, another announcement was made to the world. However, this one was not from al-Adnani. The target of a coalition air strike, al-Adnani had been dead almost 14 months. Issued by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the message was simple: the city of Raqqah, Syria, had been liberated from the Islamic State (IS). The Commanding General, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) was more definitive with his words: “Today… Raqqa is free. The ISIS caliphate has crumbled. Their capital is lost.” 

Jihadism and Information Warfare beyond Daesh

By Dounia Mahlouly for European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed)

Dounia Mahlouly argues that social-media based propaganda may have been essential in the development of the so-called Islamic State’s (ISIS) transnational recruitment efforts and successes. However, she also points out that the reach of ISIS’ propaganda had decreased significantly since 2015, meaning we should broaden our focus when it comes to information warfare strategies in the Middle East. For instance, Mahlouly contends it’s now essential to recognize the potentially negative implications of regional political elites’ current information strategies, which are capitalizing on the fear of terrorism and radicalization.

President Trump's "Ultimate Deal:" Is Israeli-Palestinian Peace Possible?

Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes took part in a January 11 panel discussion on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC, appearing alongside Rep. Ron DeSantis, former Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams, and Heritage Foundation Senior Research Fellow James Phillips. In reply to the above question, my answer is yes. But I propose a completely different approach from the current one to achieve it. The existing approach of a "peace process," which goes back 30 years, is not working. It can be improved, which the Trump administration is doing, but it ultimately will crumble because it depends on Palestinian acceptance of Israel, which has not come about, and is not coming about. And that is the problem that needs to be addressed, a problem that cannot be addressed by diplomacy. It needs to be addressed in a very different way.

The Lingering Dream of an Islamic State


It was inevitable, a young lawyer in Tunisia told me, that the first attempts at a modern Islamic state would flounder. Young Muslims had grown up under the paradigms of nationalism, European racism and harsh police states, he said. They carried these inherited behaviors into the caliphate formed by the Islamic State, a place that was supposed to be just and colorblind but instead reveled in violence and was studded with mini neocolonial enclaves, where British Pakistanis lorded over local Syrians, and Saudis lorded over everyone. It would take one or two generations to unlearn these tendencies and deconstruct what had gone so wrong, he said. But he remained loyal to the idea — partly because the alternative he currently lives under is worse. “When the police become the state itself,” he said, “it is truly terrifying.”

Behind North Korea´s Olive Branch: An Alternative View

By Graham Ong-Webb

IN A televised New Year speech, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un delivered a two-prong message of trepidation and hope. He warned the United States of the “reality” of North Korea’s nuclear deterrent. He also called for peace on the Korean peninsula, adding that his representatives should start talks with their South Korean counterparts “as soon as possible”. The purpose would be to discuss sending a delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympics, to be hosted in South Korea next month.

Military Quietly Prepares for a Last Resort: War With North Korea

Across the military, officers and troops are quietly preparing for a war they hope will not come. At Fort Bragg in North Carolina last month, a mix of 48 Apache gunships and Chinook cargo helicopters took off in an exercise that practiced moving troops and equipment under live artillery fire to assault targets. Two days later, in the skies above Nevada, 119 soldiers from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division parachuted out of C-17 military cargo planes under cover of darkness in an exercise that simulated a foreign invasion. Next month, at Army posts across the United States, more than 1,000 reserve soldiers will practice how to set up so-called mobilization centers that move military forces overseas in a hurry. And beginning next month with the Winter Olympics in the South Korean town of Pyeongchang, the Pentagon plans to send more Special Operations troops to the Korean Peninsula, an initial step toward what some officials said ultimately could be the formation of a Korea-based task force similar to the types that are fighting in Iraq and Syria. Others said the plan was strictly related to counterterrorism efforts.

Who's Got The Biggest Nuclear Button?

At the top of the list, as compiled by the Federation Of American Scientists (FAS), are of course Russia and the U.S. With a combined arsenal of over 13,000, this particular hangover from the Cold War is still plain to see. Up to now the two have been undergoing programmes of disarmament - of this 13,400, over 5,000 are officially retired and awaiting dismantlement. In Kim Jong-un's New Year's Day speech, he claimed that North Korea's nuclear forces are now "completed", stating that the nuclear launch button is always within his reach. The FAS does indeed estimate that the country is in possession of between 10 to 20 warheads. In response to the claim, U.S. President Trump fired back, pointing out that his button is "much bigger & more powerful" - something which can not be disputed, as our infographic shows.


Source Link

Every day, the Defense Department thwarts 36 million emails full of malware, viruses and phishing schemes from hackers, terrorists and foreign adversaries trying to gain unauthorized access to military systems. Extrapolated over one year, the Pentagon’s receives 13 billion such emails, which are automatically scanned for suspicious content and other telltale signatures and “dumped on the floor” before they ever reach an inbox, according to David Bennett, director of operations for the Defense Information Systems Agency.

16 January 2018

A Delhi traffic circle, a faraway port, and a tale of rare heroism, gallantry

by Sushant Singh

In September 1918, the Hyderabad, Jodhpur and Mysore Lancers won one of the most celebrated battles of World War I, capturing the present-day Israeli city of Haifa from the Ottoman Army. A century on, neither the Indian Army nor the children of Haifa have forgotten the bravery of the ‘Teen Murti’. The controversy around the renaming of Teen Murti Marg and Teen Murti circle in the heart of New Delhi — the New Delhi Municipal Council moved last week to include ‘Haifa’ in the names, but subsequently deferred the decision — has had an unintended consequence: it has reminded people of a slice of recent Indian history which has been all but forgotten now. It is the history of the armies of the princely states in British India, which contributed to the war effort of the British Empire.

For A Second Term Please Do The Right Things, Mr Prime Minister!

by Minhaz Merchant

This year will be crucial for the Narendra Modi government. His strategy must take into account the complex electoral math that will confront him in April-May 2019 and at the same time focus on a strong economic and governance agenda in the final year of his tenure.  The 2019 Lok Sabha election will set India’s political and economic agenda for the next decade. If the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is returned to office, it can execute many of the reforms it has begun. If the Congress, buoyed by its resurgence in the Gujarat assembly election, manages to stitch together a coalition government, India could be in for a spell of political instability.

A More Radical Way for Trump to Confront Pakistan

By David Rohde

Last week, President Trump conducted an extraordinary week-long public rebuke of a country that he has previously ignored. At 7:12 a.m., on Monday, January 1st, Trump made Pakistan the focus of his first tweet of the New Year, accusing that nation’s leaders of giving the United States “nothing but lies & deceit” in return for thirty-three billion dollars in aid since 2001, and of providing “safe havens for the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan.” He added, “No more!” On Friday, at 11:19 p.m., he ended the week with a retweet of a proposal by Senator Rand Paul, calling on the United States to cut off all aid to Pakistan and to spend that money on building roads and bridges in this country. “Good idea Rand!” Trump wrote.

The C.I.A.’s Maddening Relationship with Pakistan

Nicholas Schmidle

Thirteen years ago, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld arrived in Pakistan with a list. He pulled it from his shirt pocket during a meeting with President Pervez Musharraf, and told the general how, during a recent Oval Office gathering, President George W. Bush had expressed bewilderment and annoyance that most of the terrorists on the list were suspected of hiding out in Pakistan—an ostensible American ally. Musharraf promised to look into the matter, according to a participant in the meeting. And, less than a month later, Pakistan’s military intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, or I.S.I., arrested one of the men atop the list. “Here’s the truth,” a former senior U.S. intelligence official told me. Pakistan has been “in many ways” America’s best counterterrorism partner, the official said. “Nobody had taken more bad guys off the battlefield than the Pakistanis.”

Ask Huawei About The "Coming" U.S.-China Trade War

Dan Ikenson,

Speculation is rampant that President Trump will soon announce sanctions against China for its heavy-handed intellectual property and technology transfer policies, cavalierly thrusting us into a deleterious trade war. Huawei Technologies has news for these speculators: For over a decade, Washington and Beijing have been waging a tit-for-tat technology trade war, which is escalating and claiming victims as you read. The latest hostilities occurred Monday when AT&T, poised to deliver its longgestating plan to sell smart phones produced by Chinese technology giant Huawei, instead abruptly announced that it was aborting that plan. If history is any guide, AT&T likely was compelled to change course by U.S. policymakers with leverage to affect the telecom’s fortunes.

Africa is changing China as much as China is changing Africa

Lily Kuo

Eight years ago I watched the movie “2012,” named after the year the Mayan calendar supposedly ends. In the film an American geologist learns that a solar flare is heating the core of the earth and causing its tectonic plates to shift drastically. Before long, mass earthquakes and tsunamis are annihilating mankind. Los Angeles slips into the Pacific Ocean. The White House gets wiped out by a giant wave, with the president still inside. Soon, most of the earth is submerged in water.

China's Great Awakening How the People's Republic Got Religion

By Ian Johnson

For decades, outsiders have thought of China as a country where religion and faith play marginal roles. Images of Chinese people overwhelmingly involve economics or politics: massive cities sprouting up, diligent workers laboring in vast factories, nouveaux riches flaunting their wealth, farmers toiling in polluted fields, dissidents languishing in prison. The stories about faith in China that do exist tend to involve victims, such as Chinese Christians forced to worship underground or groups such as Falun Gong being repressed by the government.

Danish intelligence: al-Qaida could grow as IS weakens

Danish intelligence: al-Qaida could grow as IS weakens 

Danish intelligence officials say al-Qaida “still has ambitions to attack the West,” adding that support for the extremist network may increase as the Islamic State group weakens. Finn Borch Andersen, head of Denmark’s Security and Intelligence Service, says al-Qaida’s capability primarily lies in North, West and East Africa and in Yemen but the network has also “a significant presence” in Syria that may pose a threat to the West. Borch Andersen says foreign fighters who have left Syria and Iraq represent “a terror threat” but added access to Europe is “restricted by increased security measures,” such as border controls within the European Union. In the agency’s terror threat assessment for Denmark, presented Friday, he said the threat to the country remains significant and “is primarily posed by militant Islamism.”

From Bad To Worse? 5 Things 2018 Will Bring To The Middle East

by James L. Gelvin

After all, few experts foresaw Anwar al-Sadat’s trip to Jerusalem in 1977, which led to the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab state, nor did they predict the Iranian Revolution of 1978-79 or the Arab uprisings of 2010-11. Having taught and written about the Middle East for three decades, however, I feel confident in making the following forecast for the region in 2018.

1. The Syrian conflict will drag on without resolution.

Are Jihadi Motives Really a Mystery?

by Raymond Ibrahim

The mainstream media would have us believe that Akayed Ullah's bombing of a New York City subway on December 11 was motivated by concern for Muslim refugees in Bangladesh. The so-called mainstream media's approach to and apologias for Islamic terrorism have become as predictable as they are farcical. In a recent piece titled, "A Mysterious Act of Mercy by the Subway Bombing Suspect," the New York Times' Jeffrey Gettleman portrays would-be suicide bomber Akayed Ullah—whose foiled attempt at Times Square subway last month could have massacred countless Americans—as just another Muslim youth angered at and responding to the mistreatment of Muslims, that is, a Muslim with legitimate "grievances." This is clear from the opening sentences:

MILITARY AND POLICE Putin’s New Cyber Weapon May Be GPS Spoofing

By Bart Marcois 

Imagine the chaos and destruction that can be caused in modern warfare if a guided missile can be misdirected by a false GPS signal. That may well be the goal of Russian cyber warfare engineers, as they aim to nullify a longtime U.S. advantage. It’s called GPS Spoofing, and it may be about to arrive on the battlefield.The issue received attention this week because Russian taxi passengers have been tweeting about comically high fares in taxicabs in Moscow. Some were presented fares as high as $5,000 for rides from the suburbs to downtown. The taxi meters use GPS to determine fares, and they had registered signals indicating the cars were in distant provinces or countries. One car registered as being in Romania.

North Korea Plans to Defeat the U.S. Army in a War. Here's How.

Michael Peck

Normal military doctrine says that an attacker should outnumber the defender by at least three to one at the point of attack. But since when is North Korea normal? The Korean People's Army (KPA) believes that it only needs to amass a two to one edge on the battlefield to defeat U.S. and South Korean troops. What's more, North Korea seems to believe that it can win using the same tactics that Chinese troops successfully employed in the Korean War.

Why Is Japan Populist-Free?

Contemporary Japan may have its flaws, but it is now much more egalitarian than the United States, India, or many countries in Europe. By remaining a country of, by, and for the middle class, where the most affluent tend to be discreet, Japan has avoided the dangerous politics roiling developed and developing countries alike. TOKYO – Even as a wave of right-wing populism is sweeping Europe, the United States, India, and parts of Southeast Asia, Japan has so far appeared to be immune. There are no Japanese demagogues, like Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump, Narendra Modi, or Rodrigo Duterte, who have exploited pent-up resentments against cultural or political elites. Why?2

Shake-Up at Pentagon Intelligence Agency Sparks Concern


The director of the agency responsible for analyzing satellite imagery says he wants to modernize the work. Some employees fear they’re being replaced by artificial intelligence. When Kim Jong Un gears up to launch a ballistic missile, analysts at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency comb through satellite imagery, looking for distinct signs on the the ground in North Korea indicating test preparations are underway.

The Wolfowitz Doctrine

by Dan Steinbock

Despite continued nuclear threats, all US postwar presidents have failed to reset relations with Russia. Why? The “New Cold War" between the US and Russia began a decade ago. The elevated tensions in the Korean Peninsula are only a part of the collateral damage around the world. But what led to the new friction? The simple response is the Wolfowitz Doctrine.

The Wolfowitz Doctrine

North Korea's Nuclear Infrastructure

by Martin Armstrong

At a time when tensions between the United States and North Korea are only getting higher, the threat of an armed conflict erupting has arguably not been greater since the sinking of the ROKS Cheonan and the bombardment of Yeonpyeong island in 2010. Two major differences between 2010 and 2017 though, are a somewhat unpredictable president sitting in Washington and the apparent advancement of North Korea's nuclear programme. In this new climate, our infographic uses information from Nuclear Threat Initiative to show where Kim Jong-un's nuclear infrastructure is located.

Draft Nuke Review: Big NC3 Changes, LRSO OK’d, Small Yield Nukes Back


That’s the most essential message of the leaked Nuclear Posture Review. (Kudos to my colleague Ashley Feinberg at Huffington Post for getting this one.) The Pentagon immediately issued a statement saying it’s pre-decisional and they don’t comment on such documents and it could change, etc. etc. However, as one who has read a number of such documents over the years, this appears to be a very mature draft since it includes the Defense Secretary’s introduction, has no spelling mistakes I could find and is well written in a consistent voice.To our readers, the biggest news is that it charges Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, to deliver a plan to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on to change how the Nuclear Command, Control and Communications (NC3) “to ensure its effective functioning and modernization.”

The Euro in Decline How the Currency Could Spoil the Global Financial System

By Kathleen R. McNamara

When the euro was created some 15 years ago, there was speculation that the new currency might come to challenge the dominance of the U.S. dollar as the international reserve currency of choice. But the euro’s guardian, the European Central Bank (ECB), had little appetite for such a role. Likewise, foreign exchange markets showed little support for supplanting the dollar’s hegemony with the euro, despite a move into euro-denominated bonds and a strengthening of the value of the euro over the 2000s. This has meant that the EU has, in large part, played a “helper” role in U.S. financial hegemony throughout the postwar era to today.

How do we make the electrical grid more resilient?

Jeff Terry

This week, a US federal commission said “no” to a proposed rule that would have paid a premium to coal and nuclear power plants. The rule, put forward by Energy Secretary Rick Perry with the goal of protecting the electricity grid from power outages, was controversial. Critics said it unfairly favored two flailing industries over renewable energy. Perry argued, though, that only power plants capable of storing at least 90 days’ worth of fuel onsite—in other words, coal and nuclear—are reliable enough to keep the US grid resilient through the worst winter storms.

Pentagon Panel Urges Trump Team to Expand Nuclear Options

John M. Donnelly

A blue-ribbon Pentagon panel has urged the Trump administration to make the U.S. arsenal more capable of “limited” atomic war.m The Defense Science Board, in an unpublished December report obtained by CQ Roll Call, urges the president to consider altering existing and planned U.S. armaments to achieve a greater number of lower-yield weapons that could provide a “tailored nuclear option for limited use.” The recommendation is more evolutionary than revolutionary, but it foreshadows a raging debate just over the horizon. Fully one-third of the nuclear arsenal is already considered low-yield, defense analysts say, and almost all the newest warheads are being built with less destructive options. But experts on the Pentagon panel and elsewhere say the board’s goal is to further increase the number of smaller-scale nuclear weapons — and the ways they can be delivered — in order to deter adversaries, primarily Russia, from using nuclear weapons first.

US Military Eyes New Mini-Nukes for 21st-Century Deterrence


The future of nuclear weapons might not be huge and mega destructive but smaller, tactical, and frighteningly, more common. The U.S. Air Force is investigating more options for “variable yield” bombs — nukes that can be dialed down to blow up an area as small as a neighborhood, or dialed up for a much larger punch. The Air Force currently has gravity bombs that either have or can be set to low yields: less than 20 kilotons. Such a bomb dropped in the center of Washington, D.C., wouldn’t even directly affect Georgetown or Foggy Bottom. But a Minuteman III missile tipped with a 300-kiloton warhead would destroy downtown Washington and cause third-degree burns into Virginia and Maryland.

How the Eurozone Might Split

By Mark Blyth and Simon Tilford

In February 2016, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development opined that developed country growth prospects had “practically flat-lined” and that only a stronger “commitment to raising public investment would boost demand and help support future growth.” Fast-forward some 24 months, and despite Brexit, the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, and the rise of the populist Alternative für Deutschland in Germany, the euro seems to be a much better bet than it has been in a long time. But has the euro really weathered the crisis and come out stronger? In this article, we make two interrelated arguments about the future of the eurozone.

Those Who Wrote Off Merkel Were Wrong Again

Leonid Bershidsky 

How many world leaders can go 24 hours non-stop, debating policy minutiae with bitter rivals and truculent allies -- and hammer out a deal more or less on their own terms? Certainly not many, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is one of them. For the umpteenth time, she proved she was being written off too early by reaching a preliminary coalition deal with the Social Democratic Party (SPD).

This is already the longest post-World War II period in which 

Amazon Vs. Google - The Battle For Smart Speaker Market Share

Steve Rabuchin, the VP of Amazon Alexa, has a vision.

He dreams of customers having a conversation – not just with voice-enabled devices like the Amazon Echo, but with appliances, cars, and everything in between. Though that dream may not be realized in the short term, sales of smart speakers are increasing as people warm up to the idea of using voice-assisted devices in their homes. 

Don’t fear the robopocalypse: Autonomous weapons expert Paul Scharre

Lucien Crowder

Paul Scharre, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, has pretty good credentials when it comes to autonomous weapons. If you’ve ever heard of Directive 3000.09, which established the Defense Department’s guidelines for autonomous weapons, Scharre led the working group that drafted it. And he’s got a relevant book due out in April: Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of WarFor what it’s worth, Scharre also led a Defense Department team that established guidelines on directed energy technologies. And another on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. Prior to his time in the Pentagon, he served as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan and as a civil affairs specialist in Iraq.