18 February 2018

India in a corner: Beneath the foreign policy bluster is a great floundering

By Pratap Bhanu Mehta

The vigour of PM Narendra Modi’s travels can barely disguise the fact that in terms of India’s security objectives, he is looking very weak indeed. 

India finds itself increasingly cornered into a strategic cul-de-sac. Even as its diplomacy expands, its political options seem to decrease; even as it reaches out to look east and look west, the strategic space to address its core concerns does not seem to be expanding; and even as its bluster about a strong state grows, doubts about its military capabilities are growing equally louder. So, paradoxically, India finds itself in this position that even as it is globally recognised, it looks more helpless in its own backyard.

Maldives Crisis Could Stir Trouble Between China and India


COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — As the Maldives’ autocratic president, Abdulla Yameen, cracks down on opposition to consolidate power ahead of another election, analysts and diplomats warn that the small nation’s troubles could provoke a larger crisis that draws in China and India, which have long competed for influence in the Indian Ocean region.

Mr. Yameen, who this month declared a state of emergency and rounded up Supreme Court judges and opposition leaders, has cozied up to China. He has invited heavy investment into the Maldives as part of Beijing’s ambitious “One Belt, One Road” initiative, the infrastructure program reviving land and sea trading routes that China is using to spread its influence around the globe.

India Gains Access to Oman's Duqm Port, Putting the Indian Ocean Geopolitical Contest in the Spotlight

By Ankit Panda

Duqm adds an important node to a growing network of facilities in the Indian Ocean held by actors with interests in preserving the status quo.

As a result of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent trip to Oman — part of a broader Middle Eastern tour — New Delhi and Muscat finalized an agreement that will see India gain access to the strategically located port of Duqm, on Oman’s southern coast. The port sits on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean and also provides easy access onward into the Red Sea through the Gulf of Aden.

Why India no longer cares about Pakistan's nuclear threats


For over quarter of a century, Pakistan’s undeclared war on India has centred on two pillars. The first is export of terror. The second is nuclear sabre-rattling. The strategic calculus of the Pakistanis is simple.

The terrorists are pushed into India without any fear of a similar pushback from India. This is so because unlike Pakistan, India doesn’t use terrorists as an instrument of state policy. India’s capacity to hit back using its conventional superiority has been severely constrained by the second pillar of Pakistani policy — nuclear weapons.

Pakistan to send troops to Saudi Arabia to train and advise

Reuters Staff, 

KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistan is sending troops to ally Saudi Arabia on a “training and advise mission”, the military said, three years after it decided against sending soldiers to join the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen.

The exact role the troops will play was unclear, but a statement from the army’s press wing on Thursday stressed they “will not be employed outside” the kingdom.

Pakistan’s retired army chief, General Raheel Sharif, commands the new Saudi-led Islamic military alliance to fight terrorism, though it was not immediately clear whether the new troops would participate in that coalition.

Relations between Washington and Islamabad? It’s Complicated

Bottom Line: Current U.S.-Pakistan relations remain strained as the U.S. maintains that Pakistan’s security and intelligence services are doing the minimum to hunt America’s militant enemies within its borders. Pakistani officials have told The Cipher Brief that they have been searching for a way to restart relations despite public humiliation by President Donald Trump earlier this year. Each side wants to keep the other from seeking alternative support – with China wooing Pakistan, and the U.S. growing closer to India.

Background: U.S-Pakistan bilateral ties have been a rollercoaster from the start.

US Demands Pakistan Arrest “Hit List” of Top Haqqani & Taliban Leaders


The Trump administration has given Pakistan a new “hit list” of nearly a dozen top militants to detain, to show its willingness to fight terrorism, but the U.S. won’t share intelligence that would help lead to their capture, and has snubbed Pakistani requests to meet CIA chief Mike Pompeo in Washington, a senior Pakistani official tells The Cipher Brief.

In response, senior U.S. administration officials would only say that Washington has asked Pakistan to take “specific” action against the Taliban and the Haqqani network, which have been blamed for recent violent attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan. The officials tell The Cipher Brief that Pakistan’s intelligence service and military have failed to sever ties with either militant group and continue to protect their top leaders within Pakistani territory.

Why Trump’s Troubling Pakistan Policy Dooms Afghanistan Peace

By Touqir Hussain

The administration’s approach to Islamabad undermines potential solutions in Afghanistan.

For a 16-year-long war in Afghanistan, whose failure lies in an endless list of complex causes – including flawed strategy, incoherent war aims, return of the warlords, rise of fiefdoms and ungoverned spaces, corruption, power struggles and a competitive and conflict-prone regional environment – U.S. President Donald Trump has one simple solution: get rid of the Haqqani Network and Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan. And if Pakistan does not oblige, cut off aid.

Can Ancient Chinese Military Strategy Bring Success in Cyber Conflict?

Drew Robb

Can Ancient Chinese Military Strategy Bring Success in Cyber Conflict?

Without an understanding of who the enemy really is, how they operate, and the many techniques they use to gain entry, successful defense is unlikely.

Sun Tzu, the Chinese military strategist and philosopher who wrote The Art of War, famously said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”

The Tech Giants Growing Behind China’s Great Firewall

Source Link

Every day, your feeds are likely dominated by the latest news about Silicon Valley's biggest tech giants.

Whether it’s Facebook’s newest algorithm changes, Amazon’s announcement to enter the healthcare market, a new acquisition by Alphabet, or the buzz about the latest iPhone – the big four tech giants in the U.S. are covered extensively by the media, and we’re all very familiar with what they do.

However, what is less commonly talked about is the alternate universe that exists on the other side of China’s Great Firewall. It’s there that four Chinese tech giants are taking advantage of a lack of foreign competition to post explosive growth numbers – some which compare favorably even to their American peers.

The Tibetan 'gangsters' in the net of Mr Zhao?

At the end of 2017, it was reported that China had received Prof Samdhong Rinpoche, former Prime Minister of the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala and now Special Envoy of the Dalai Lama to ‘negotiate’ an eventual visit of the Tibetan leader to Wutai shan (Mount) in Shanxi province of Northern China.

Mount Wutai is said to be one of the Four Sacred Mountains in Chinese Buddhism. Each of the mountains is viewed as the abode of one of the four great bodhisattvas. Wutai is the home of Manjusri, the Bodhisattva of wisdom. It is believed that Manjusri has been associated with Mount Wutai since ancient times.


By Yang Sheng

It is reasonable and necessary for China to strengthen its maritime power as it is becoming stronger, Chinese experts said after People’s Daily published three articles on a whole page to emphasize the importance of building China into a strong maritime country.

“Building China as a maritime power fits China’s development, the global trend and is the necessary choice for realizing the Chinese Dream of the national rejuvenation,” read one article published on People’s Daily on Sunday under the topic “It’s about time to build a strong maritime country.”

Understanding China’s Response to the Rakhine Crisis

Following attacks on police posts by an armed Rohingya militia in August 2017, reprisals by the Burmese government have precipitated a humanitarian crisis. More than six hundred thousand Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh, where they face an uncertain future. Publicly stating that the root cause of conflict in Rakhine is economic underdevelopment, China—Burma’s largest neighbor and closest trading partner—has put itself in a position to promote its large-scale infrastructure investments as a means of conflict resolution. This Special Report examines the reason why Chinese engagement is likely to continue to prioritize a narrow range of issues in Rakhine that reinforce its own economic and diplomatic interests, but fail to influence the complex drivers of the current humanitarian conflict or the Burmese government’s involvement in human rights abuses. 

Security and Stability in Turkey

By Fabien Merz

Fabian Merz contends that Turkey has witnessed a significant deterioration of stability and security in recent years. So what’s behind this development and what might the future hold for Turkey’s stability? In this article, Merz provides answers by looking at the driving factors that have contributed to Turkey’s current security situation, including 1) Turkey’s growing authoritarianism; 2) the 2016 military coup attempt and its aftermath; 3) jihadist terrorism related to the war in Syria, and 4) the reignition of the Kurdish conflict.

Recent developments in Turkey have far-reaching implications. Domestic political instability, jihadist terrorism related to the war in Syria, and the newly inflamed Kurdish conflict have led to a marked deterioration in the country’s security situation over the last few years. What are the causes of this development, and what does the future hold in terms of Turkey’s stability?

Russian Military Power in the Indo-Asia–Pacific

By Alexey Muraviev

Current perceptions of Russia as a power factor in the Indo-Asia–Pacific (IndAsPac) geopolitical system are very much influenced by established post–Cold War assumptions that Moscow is no longer able to influence the regional geostrategic landscape because of its reduced military power and limited economic engagement with the region, and thus should be disregarded as a player worth considering and factoring into any strategic calculus.

The (Former) Soviet Empire Strikes Back

Richard Sokolsky, Paul Stronski

Russia’s meddling in the U.S. political system is part of a broader global campaign to undermine what the Kremlin sees as a Western-dominated international order.

It took quite a while but the Trump administration, in the recently released National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy, is finally talking about Russia as a strategic competitor. But before the national-security bureaucracy gathers a head of steam to wage Cold War 2.0, Washington should take a deep collective breath and approach this challenge with patience, realism, prudence and restraint to avoid overreaching as it seeks to protect core American interests.

Syria’s War Is Fueling Three More Conflicts

Source Link

As ISIS evaporates, the buffer zones between armed combatants of several opposing groups and nations have disappeared.

When an Israeli jet crashed after being shot down over Syria over the weekend, it marked a serious escalation in the Syrian Civil War. But it also reflected an ongoing reality, one that is growing more dangerous: Syria’s war encompasses at least three other international conflicts, each of which are heating up.

Why South Africa matters to the world

Gideon Rachman

During the 1980s and 1990s, the struggle against apartheid made headlines all over the world. Nelson Mandela’s dignity, first as a prisoner and then as president, gave him the international status of a Gandhi. Events in post-apartheid, post-Mandela South Africa, were always likely to seem relatively humdrum.

What The U.S. Needs If It Is To Win The Current Great-Power Struggle

by Benn Steil

"The United States is confronted with a condition in the world which is at direct variance with the assumptions upon which [our foreign] policies were predicated. Instead of unity among the great powers . . . there is complete disunity."

The secretary of state concluded that the Russians were “doing everything possible to achieve a complete breakdown." The president called for unilateral action to counter U.S. adversaries. “If we falter in our leadership," he told Congress, “[we will] surely endanger the welfare of this nation."

How can policy keep pace with the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

In today’s era of transformative scientific and technological advances, businesses are not only creating new products and services. They are reshaping industries, blurring geographical boundaries and challenging existing regulatory frameworks.

The industries being powered by advanced technologies like IoT, artificial intelligence and blockchain are developing so quickly that it can be difficult for industry analysts and experts to keep pace.

Revitalizing manufacturing through AI

Andrew Ng

Dear Friends,

I am excited to announce Landing.ai, a new Artificial Intelligence company that will help other enterprises transform for the age of AI. We will initially focus on the manufacturing industry.

AI is already transforming the IT industry. In my work leading Google Brain and Baidu’s AI Group, I’ve been fortunate to play a role in the transformation of two great Internet companies, and see firsthand the benefits modern AI brings to these businesses and to their users. It is now time to build not just an AI-powered IT industry, but an AI-powered society. One in which our physical needs, health care, transportation, food, and lodging are more accessible through AI, and where every person is freed from repetitive mental drudgery. For the whole world to experience the benefits of AI, it must pervade many industries, not just the IT industry.

When might Cyber Command and the NSA split? Good question

By: Mark Pomerleau 

This is the second part of a series exploring the future of Cyber Command. For previous installments, see part one.

Already tasked with making Cyber Command a full unified combatant command, national security leaders are working on a separate, but parallel effort: splitting of the dual hat relationship between Cyber Command and NSA.

There is no timeline either mandated or charted for a split.

Congress, however, has outlined specific metrics DoD, Cyber Command and NSA must meet in order for the split to occur. These include ensuring each organization has sufficient operational infrastructure to operate independently, guaranteeing the missions of each won’t be impacted by the division and requiring the cyber mission force achieves full operational capability, among others.

When might Cyber Command and the NSA split? Good question.

By: Mark Pomerleau 

This is the second part of a series exploring the future of Cyber Command. For previous installments, see part one.

Already tasked with making Cyber Command a full unified combatant command, national security leaders are working on a separate, but parallel effort: splitting of the dual hat relationship between Cyber Command and NSA.

There is no timeline either mandated or charted for a split.

Congress, however, has outlined specific metrics DoD, Cyber Command and NSA must meet in order for the split to occur. These include ensuring each organization has sufficient operational infrastructure to operate independently, guaranteeing the missions of each won’t be impacted by the division and requiring the cyber mission force achieves full operational capability, among others.


Bill Gertz

U.S. intelligence leaders warned Congress Tuesday that China poses a major security threat by stealing and buying sensitive American technology.

Chinese companies linked to the Beijing government are using a variety of methods, including cyber attacks and acquisitions of American companies to gain access to cutting edge know-how, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Daniel Coats said during an annual threat briefing for the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Manpower, Parts Shortages Would Hinder Navy In Wartime


Faced with erratic funding from Congress, the Navy has pursued cost-efficiency so rigorously that it has cut corners and compromised peacetime safety and, very possibly, wartime performance. Crews are shorthanded and spare parts stockpiles are low.

The Ticonderoga-class cruiser Shiloh in dry dock in Yokosuka, Japan.

The Army's next network strategy: halt, fix, pivot

By: Mark Pomerleau 

The Army submitted a report to Congress last month, as mandated by the 2018 defense authorization bill, that requested the Army’s strategy for “modernizing air-land ad-hoc, mobile tactical communications and data networks.”

Following a highly contentious review, the Army announced last year it would make major changes to its tactical network, the $6 billion program known as Warfighter Information Network, citing operational concerns.

17 February 2018

India´s Response to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative

By Christian Wagner and Siddharth Tripathi 

According to Christian Wagner and Siddharth Tripathi, the threat posed by China’s Belt and Road Initiative has induced significant shifts in India’s foreign policy. For instance, India has now adopted a willingness to cooperate with other states like the US within South Asia, meaning it has dispensed with its policy of viewing the region as its natural sphere of influence. Further, India is also addressing China’s challenge by intensifying its efforts to cooperate with other states across its extended neighborhood in Asia, something that could create new opportunities for Germany and Europe.

Relations between Washington and Islamabad? It’s Complicated

Bottom Line: Current U.S.-Pakistan relations remain strained as the U.S. maintains that Pakistan’s security and intelligence services are doing the minimum to hunt America’s militant enemies within its borders. Pakistani officials have told The Cipher Brief that they have been searching for a way to restart relations despite public humiliation by President Donald Trump earlier this year. Each side wants to keep the other from seeking alternative support – with China wooing Pakistan, and the U.S. growing closer to India.

India warns Pakistan that it will pay for a deadly militant attack on an Indian army camp in Kashmir

NEW DELHI/SRINAGAR,India (Reuters) - India has warned Pakistan that it would pay for a deadly militant attack on an Indian army camp in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, the latest violence in the disputed region to stoke tension between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Pakistan responded by saying it was “fully committed and capable of defending itself against any act of aggression” and India had unfairly blamed it for the attack “without a shred of evidence”.

Saturday’s attack on the camp near Jammu, in the Indian-controlled part of the Muslim-majority Himalayan region, was the worst in months with six soldiers and the father of a soldier killed. At least three militants were killed, according to Indian officials.

Pentagon thinks China could be a partner in Afghanistan

By: Kyle Rempfer 

As bombing in Northern Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province dials in on a little known terror group called the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), U.S. officials are eyeing a potential partnership with China.

ETIM operates near the Afghan border with China and Tajikistan, and has been highlighted as a security concern by the Chinese government.

In a series of U.S. airstrikes, Taliban training camps and fighting positions that supported terrorist operations inside Afghanistan, as well as ETIM operations across the border, were destroyed, according to a press statement from NATO’s Resolute Support mission.

How should India deal with Pakistan?

'We need to be in a perpetual state of aggression, and able to swiftly change the goal posts to keep Pakistan in a state of imbalance,' argues Sanjeev Nayyar.

Over the weekend, terrorists attacked the Sunjwan army cantonment in Jammu, and six army personnel made the supreme sacrifice. Soon after, on Monday, February 12, the CRPF camp in Srinagar was attacked, in which one one jawan was killed.

Chinese Envoy Says It's ‘Dangerous’ for U.S. to Confront Beijing

By Keith Zhai

China’s ambassador to the U.S. warned the Trump administration against adopting a confrontational approach to the world’s second-biggest economy.

“It’s certainly paranoid to fear that a China that follows its own path of development would be confrontational to the United States,” Cui Tiankai told a gathering of more than 700 people at the embassy on Tuesday, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency. “And it’s dangerous to advocate any strategy for confrontation.”

What does China’s declassification of patents reveal about its defence strategy?

China's release of thousands of national defence patents in early 2017 was intended to spur innovation in the civilian sector and forms part of a bold military modernisation drive. But can such moves realistically bring China closer to achieving its strategic goals? A new research report offers a detailed analysis.

During the 19th Party Congress in October 2017, China’s President Xi Jinping outlined a bold set of reforms designed to mould the People’s Liberation Army into a ‘world-class’ force by 2050.

Where Is Rural Rejuvenation Leading China?

By Xinling Wang

Rather than addressing market distortions, China’s government is turning to a more comfortable strategy. 

The Chinese Communist Party recently rolled out a long-term policy on rural and agricultural developments, sending mixed signals for the economy. Calling for rural rejuvenation, the policy unveils the Party’s plan to repair the severely damaged and long neglected sector. The government seems ready to expand infrastructure investments from urban to rural China as part of its emphasis on equal development for the countryside.

A Weapon Without War: China’s United Front Strategy

June Teufel Dreyer

“United Front Work is an important magic weapon for the victory of the party’s cause.” – Xi Jinping, October 2017

Less headline-grabbing than China’s military advances and expanding economic reach is China’s united front activities, which have become an increasing cause for concern among countries in Asia, particularly U.S. allies. Not as benign as the name might sound, united front work aims to influence the policies of foreign states toward Chinese ends, through means that may be legal, illegal, or exploit gray areas. The term has a long history, going back to Vladimir Lenin’s desire to unite all enemies of colonialism and imperialism as an intermediate stage toward the ultimate triumph of communism, after which the colonialists and imperialists could be discarded. In his successor Joseph Stalin’s colorful phrase, they would have been squeezed out like lemons and dropped into the dustbin of history.

China at the gates: A new power audit of EU-China relations

Since 2009, the time of the European Council on Foreign Relations’ first Power Audit, China has become more present and influential within Europe. This is no longer only about a massive trade surplus; it is also about investment, lending, and financial power which serves China’s public diplomacy. What has not changed is the asymmetry claimed by China as a developing economy, even as it reaches the first rank among global economies. And it explains the increasing quest for reciprocity by Europeans.

Pulling Back the Curtain on China’s Rocket Force

By David C. Logan

What can we learn about China’s most secretive military branch by examining the career paths of its senior officers? 

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Rocket Force is both one of China’s most important military organizations and, regrettably for scholars of Chinese security issues, one of its most opaque.

The PLA Rocket Force commands China’s conventional and nuclear land-based missiles. Some have even speculated that the organization could eventually control all legs of a future Chinese nuclear triad, including the long-range bombers and ballistic missile submarines (though a review of official documentssuggests this is unlikely).

Putin Is Struggling to Keep His Wars Separate

Source Link
Leonid Bershidsky

The troops who died in Syria are called mercenaries, not heroes. Will the Russian people buy that?

Late on Feb. 7 and early on Feb. 8, U.S. forces in Syria likely killed the greatest number of Russians since the end of the Cold War -- more than 200 soldiers. There will, however, be no international repercussions, nor will any of the Russians get posthumous medals like Roman Filipov, the fighter pilot who was shot down over Syria earlier this year and resisted capture until he was forced to blow himself up with a hand grenade.

In 1992, a Russian Nuclear Attack Submarine Crashed into a U.S. Sub

Source Link
Sebastien Roblin

The Russian submarine would also have had little chance of detecting the quieter Los Angeles–class submarine. More powerful fixed antisubmarine sensors might only have been effective at ranges of three to five kilometers in such conditions, too short to reach the Baton Rouge’s position. Submarines can also deploy towed sonar arrays behind them to increase their sonar coverage, but these are difficult to control in shallow waters and were therefore not in use during the incident.

Bloody Noses and Black Eyes: What's in a Limited Strike on North Korea?

By Rodger Baker

Support is building within Washington for a limited strike against North Korea over its pursuit of nuclear arms.

A U.S. strike could have serious ramifications but inaction is not without its risks.

Because of the lack of firm knowledge on North Korea's inner workings, it is impossible to deduce how Pyongyang would react to a so-called bloody nose strike.

Turkey and Iran Push and Pull Over Syria

With its military operation in Afrin and its deployment in Idlib, Turkey has ramped up its involvement in the Syrian conflict.

This greater Turkish push into Syria will drive Iran to retaliate, intensifying the countries' proxy war in Syria.

But given wider strategic considerations, Iran will pursue a pragmatic and compartmentalized approach toward its relationship with Turkey, cooperating with Ankara in several domains even as it pushes back in others.

Israel, Hizbollah and Iran: Preventing Another War in Syria

What’s new? A new phase in Syria’s war augurs escalation with Israel. As the Assad regime gains the upper hand, Hizbollah probes the south west and Iran seeks to augment its partners’ military capacities, Israel has grown fearful that Syria is becoming an Iranian base.

Why does it matter? “Rules of the game” that contained Israeli-Hizbollah clashes for over a decade have eroded. New rules can be established in Syria by mutual agreement or by a deadly cycle of attack and response in which everyone will lose. A broader war could be one miscalculation away.

What should be done? Russia should broker understandings that bolster the de-escalation agreement distancing Iran-backed forces from Syria’s armistice line with Israel; halt Iran’s construction of precision missile facilities and its military infrastructure in Syria; and convince Israel to acquiesce in foreign forces remaining in the rest of Syria pending a deal on the country’s future.

All Guns, No Butter Trump’s budget is a return to the let-’er-rip era of defense spending.


U.S. Marines prepare themselves before going training with Afghan National Army soldiers in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on July 6. 

Back in 2013, when Gen. James Mattis was head of the U.S. Central Command, he told the Senate, “If you don’t fully fund the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition.”

On Monday, President Trump proposed cutting this year’s State Department’s budget by 26 percent. Fulfilling his own prediction, Secretary of Defense Mattis is proposing a 28 percentincrease in spending for missiles and munitions—a 50 percent increase over the sum for those items in President Obama’s last budget.

Global Trade: Looking at the Big Picture

By Mark Fleming-Williams

Global trade is in flux after the United States has made clear that it is no longer willing to take the lead.

While the United States wants to shake up international commerce, China wants to preserve the status quo, and Europe wants to continue on the post-war path.

The divergent interests of other countries and blocs, including China, Japan and the European Union, will make substantial alignment without the United States difficult.

The World's Busiest Air Routes

by Niall McCarthy

When most people think about the busiest air routes around the world, New York to Los Angeles or London to Paris spring to mind.

Russia by Cyber, North Korea by Nuke: A New Batch of Grim Warnings from US Intel

Questioning on Russian election interference and how the Trump White House handles staff clearances dominated the worldwide threat hearing Tuesday, as the Senate intelligence committee grilled leaders of the FBI, CIA, NSA, DNI, DIA and NGA over the contents of the 2018 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Cipher Brief experts who used to contribute to, compile or testify on the annual threat assessment weigh in below.

The global space race, 2.0

By Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan 

NEW DELHI — The recent launch of the SpaceX rocket Falcon Heavy is a good illustration of the entry of efficient and innovative private players into an arena long considered the preserve of national governments. But this does not mean that national competition in outer space is disappearing. If anything, it is actually accelerating in Asia. China’s growing space prowess is leading to a space race with India and Japan, which are beginning to pool their resources to better match Beijing.

US government can't compete in information war, warns RAND Corporation

By Tamlin Magee 

The RAND Corporation's Dr Rand Waltzman speaks with Techworld on the state of 'cognitive security' in the world and the 'democratisation of weapons of mass disruption'

"Every asshole on the face of the planet has complete and open and unrestricted access to our public social media data – everybody except the United States government." 

That's the verdict of senior information scientist at the RAND Corporation, Dr Rand Waltzman, speaking about the state of 'cognitive security' in the world, amid all the controversy on 'fake news', machines weaponised to spread disinformation, and the resulting flak that has deeply permeated media, politics and society. 

261 M1 Tanks Getting Trophy Anti-Missile System As Army Reorients To Major Wars


PENTAGON: The Army’s 2019 budget will upgrade 261 M1 tanks, enough for three brigades, to carry Israeli-made Trophy Active Protection Systems (APS) to guard against anti-tank missiles, service officials said this morning. That’s just one of many funding changes — from buying more howitzer shells to intensifying training exercises — meant to reorient the Army from its counterinsurgency-era focus on light infantry and helicopters to “great power competition” to deter a potential Russian blitzkrieg.

The future of war

IN THE PAST, predictions about future warfare have often put too much emphasis on new technologies and doctrines. In the 19th century the speedy victory of the Prussian army over France in 1870 convinced European general staffs that rapid mobilisation by rail, quick-firing artillery and a focus on attack would make wars short and decisive. Those ideas were put to the test at the beginning of the first world war. The four years of trench warfare on the western front proved them wrong.

The theory and practice of war termination Assessing patterns in China's historical behavior

Whether China will rise peacefully is hotly debated in both academic and policy communities. Power transition theory presents the possibility of conflict as largely dependent on relative power, with the most dangerous stage emerging when the rising power is approaching parity with the dominant power. Conflict can erupt then either because the rising power is dissatisfied with the current system and seeks to change it in its image, or because the declining power launches a preventive war as a last-ditch attempt to hold onto its position in the international system (Organski and Kugler 1980, Gilpin 1981, Copeland 2000). Offensive realism focuses on balance of power more broadly, and how increased power—and the expanding military capabilities that tend to accompany it—will inevitably encourage revisionist and expansionist behavior (Mearsheimer 2001). Scholars have tried to understand Chinese behavior through these theoretical lenses, most recently by evaluating the degree to which China harbors revisionist intentions, with a particular focus on its assertiveness in territorial disputes (Johnston 2013, Mastro 2014). Leveraging international relations theory on how crises escalate to war has also been a fruitful avenue for evaluating the likelihood of conflict between China and the United States (Goldstein 2013, Swaine and Zhang 2006).