20 May 2018

India’s Nepal challenge

Brahma Chellaney

Nepalese Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his New Delhi visit in April 2018. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken the right decision to visit Nepal, just weeks after he hosted his Nepalese counterpart, Khadga Prasad Oli, who chose India for his first foreign trip. New Delhi’s traditionally close relationship with Kathmandu is today in need of urgent repair, in part because of the Modi government’s missteps in the past couple of years and because of the election of a China-backed communist coalition in Nepal. Landlocked Nepal has lurched from one crisis to another for more than two decades. Ever since it embarked on a democratic transition, it has been in severe political flux. It is too early to say if the Oli government will be able to bring political stability. The promise of an early merger of the two main Communist parties that have formed the government has given way to protracted negotiations and public squabbling.

The Nehruvian Style of Modi’s Foreign Policy


Brahma Chellaney

In the four years that he has been in office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has animated domestic politics in India and the country’s foreign policy by departing often from conventional methods and shibboleths. As he focuses on winning the next general election, the key question is whether the Modi era will mark a defining moment for India, just as Xi Jinping’s ascension to power has been for China. The answer to that question is still not clear. What is clear, however, is that Modi’s stint in office has clearly changed Indian politics and diplomacy. In domestic politics, Modi has a stronger record: He has led the Bharatiya Janata Party to a string of victories in elections in a number of states, making his party the largest political force in the country by far. Under his leadership, the traditionally urban-focused BJP has significantly expanded its base in rural areas and among the socially disadvantaged classes and spread to the country’s eastern and southern regions. His skills as a political tactician steeped in cold-eyed pragmatism have held him in good stead. Modi, however, has become increasingly polarizing. Consequently, Indian democracy today is probably as divided and polarized as US democracy.

Taliban’s 2018 Offensive Encompasses All Regions of Afghanistan

By Bill Roggio

The Taliban’s 2018 offensive, which it calls Al Khandaq Jihadi operations, has targeted Afghan government forces in nearly all of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. While Afghan security forces appear to be focusing on Taliban forces in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar – the birthplace of the Taliban and its traditional strongholds – the jihadist group is effectively counterattacking in the other regions of Afghanistan. The Taliban appears to maintain the initiative throughout Afghanistan, while the Afghan military is forced to react to Taliban offensives, such as the latest incursion into Farah City. Since the beginning of Al Khandaq Jihadi operations, the Taliban has overrun five district centers in Badakhshan, Badghis, Faryab, Ghazni, and Kunduz. These provinces span the western, northern, and southern Afghanistan.

China Tries to Bring Pakistan, Afghanistan Closer

Ayaz Gul

China has proposed hosting a new round of three-way talks with Pakistan and Afghanistan this month to continue with its diplomatic push in helping the two neighboring countries improve their strained bilateral ties. Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing told an unofficial conference of government representatives and experts from the three countries in Islamabad on Tuesday that Beijing had initiated the trilateral vice foreign ministers-level dialogue in 2015. He said that since then, several rounds of talks have taken place, with the mission of easing Kabul's tensions with Islamabad and promoting security, counterterrorism and economic cooperation among the three nations.

GE14 And Its Aftermath: Enter Malaysia’s New Political Order – Analysis

By Yang Razali Kassim*

Days after the political earthquake of a general election on 9 May, Anwar Ibrahim declared Malaysia “on the verge of a new golden era”. Will it be a mere change of government or a political transition to a new order? In the wake of the seismic change that was Malaysia’s 14th general election on 9 May 2018, two aftershocks are now playing out. The first, amid the euphoria of victory, sees the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition taking ground-breaking but cautious steps to put in place not just a new government but also the seeds of what could be a new political order. The second, as part of this changed landscape, sees the defeated Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition bracing for an unfamiliar and uncertain future, with its anchor party, UMNO, under threat of deregistration.

The Role of Political Leaders

By George Friedman
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Regardless of the issue, many people seem obsessed with the question of what political leaders will do next. Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong Un and many others are expected to make the decisions that will determine the course our lives. It’s a comforting thought – we want someone to be in control, someone to praise or blame, someone to analyze and psychoanalyze. The world is too vast, impersonal and unknowable to face without the belief that someone – a leader or perhaps in some cases a hidden conspiracy – is causing the events that shape our lives. And politicians seeking power nurture the idea that they are uniquely qualified to guide millions or hundreds of millions to happiness. Monarchs want to rule, and we want monarchs to rule. This model of political power cushions reality but falsifies it as well.

RIP the Trans-Atlantic Alliance, 1945-2018

BY JAMES TRAUB

The Atlantic alliance, built to contain the Soviet Union in the aftermath of World War II, began to die when the Cold War ended. What kept it alive over the last three decades has been less strategic necessity than a convergence of values — the values of the liberal postwar order. Now, the senior partner of the alliance, the United States, has lost interest in those values. The alliance was already a corpse, but Donald Trump drove the last nail into its coffin when he decided this week to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran.

Trump is wrong over Iran, but Europe can’t afford to divorce the US

Bruno Tertrais

In 2003 a US-led war in the Middle East fractured western unity and divided the European family. It was a trauma of historic proportions, a watershed in some ways comparable to the 1956 Suez crisis. With Donald Trump’s decision on Iran, we may be on the verge of another such moment. On the surface, things may not look as bad as they did in early 2003. At this point, US military action against Iran is a worst-case hypothesis – not a plan. No 180,000-strong force is being built up near Iranian territory. Nor are Europeans split into two camps. In this current crisis, and despite Brexit, Europeans look like they’re sticking together.

The Iran Deal Exposes Europe’s Weaknesses as a Global Power

Judah Grunstein

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Last week, in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, German Chancellor Angela Merkel solemnly declared that from now on Europe would have to take its destinyin its own hands. It’s hard to disagree with Merkel. But that was already true the first time she expressed the sentiment in May 2017, in the aftermath of Trump’s first visit to Europe as president. In the meantime, Europe has not done anything to fundamentally address the challenge of managing trans-Atlantic relations under Trump. As a result, a week after the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal—officially the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA—it is becoming increasingly clear that Europe will be hard pressed to back up its outrage with actions to defend the agreement—and its interests. ...

The U.S. Army Could Revolutionize Long-Range Fires


In kick-starting its efforts to prepare for future high-end conflicts, late last year the U.S. Army identified six modernization priorities: Long-Range Precision Fires, Next Generation Combat Vehicles, Future Vertical Lift, the Network, Air and Missile Defense and Soldier Lethality. To support this plan, the Army stood up Cross-Functional Teams (CFTs) for each of these areas focused on speeding up the process of developing requirements and ensuring that the programs in each of these areas are achievable, affordable and effective. The bulk of the Army’s Science and Technology resources were refocused on these six priorities.

The Necessary U.S. Response to Russia’s Nuclear Doctrine

By Bradley A. Thayer

After decades of neglect, the decline of the United States’ nuclear arsenal is being addressed by the Pentagon. This is driven in large measure by the growth and modernization of the Chinese and Russian nuclear arsenals. Their nuclear doctrines are salient as well. While Chinese nuclear doctrine remains deliberately opaque—which is, in itself, worrisome and a threat to strategic stability—Russian doctrine and statements from officials have emphasized the need to maintain their nuclear arsenal and evinced a willingness to use nuclear weapons in a conflict. 

Should the U.S. Break Up Amazon?

DEREK THOMPSON

Introducing Crazy/Genius, a new podcast from The Atlantic with Derek Thompson. Eight bold questions—and eight smart answers—about how tech is changing the world. Listen and subscribe to the podcast. Some time later this year, Amazon could become the first trillion-dollar company in American history. Its valuation has already doubled in the last 14 months to about $800 billion, and Jeff Bezos, its founder and CEO, is officially the richest man on the planet.  There are ways in which Amazon seems to be the greatest company in American history. It’s revolutionized the global shopping experience and expanded into media and hardware, while operating on razor-thin margins that have astonished critics. But some now consider it the modern incarnation of a railroad monopoly, a logistics behemoth using its scale to destroy competition. So what is Amazon: brilliant, dangerous, or both? That’s the subject of the latest episode of Crazy/Genius, our new podcast on technology and culture.

The most important — but least discussed — consequence of Trump’s foreign policy

By David Ignatius 
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President Trump’s dismissive treatment of Europe is beginning to erode the transatlantic alliance, which for many decades has been the central pillar of U.S. national security policy. The growing European-American rift may be the most important but least discussed consequence of Trump’s foreign policy. His disruptive style is usually seen as destabilizing to distant adversaries in Pyongyang, Tehran and Beijing. But the diplomatic bombs have also been exploding here in the capital of the European Union — as well as in Paris, Berlin and London — and they appear to be causing real damage.

Russian air defenses were beaten badly by Israeli forces in Syria on video - here are its excuses

DANIEL BROWN

Moscow offered two explanations on Monday as to why Russian-made Pantsir S-1 missile defense system took a direct hit during an Israeli airstrike last week. "One is that it had already used up its ammunition reserve," Aytech Bizhev, the former deputy commander-in-chief of the Russian Air Force, said, according to RT. "The other is that it was simply turned off; it wasn't battle ready." Whatever the reason, the incident wasn't good advertizing for the Russian system. Moscow offered two explanations on Monday as to why its Russian-made Pantsir S-1 missile defense system embarrassingly took a direct hit during an Israeli airstrike last week.

Russian Analytical Digest No 219: Russia in the Middle East

By Mark N Katz and Nikolay Kozahanov for Center for Security Studies (CSS)

In this edition of the RAD, Mark N Katz first examines how President Putin’s Russia seeks to maintain good relations with multiple actors in the Middle East that consider one another as adversaries, and the limits to this policy. Nikolay Kozhanov then considers the Russia-Saudi Arabia relationship, noting that the efforts to promote better relations between the two have not as yet been derailed by various stress-tests in their relations. The two articles featured here were originally published by the Center for Security Studies (CSS) in the Russian Analytical Digest on 3 May 2018.

Violence in Gaza: “An Ugly Witch’s Brew”


Since the United States declared the opening of its new embassy in Jerusalem, violence has broken out along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, where thousands of protesters have gathered for months for what they have dubbed “The Great March of Return” [to Israel]. Earlier this week, Israeli troops fired into the crowd from across the border fence, killing at least 58 Palestinians and wounding more than 2,700. Israel has faced international backlash for its heavy-handed approach to the protests, including Turkey expelling its ambassador and a number of countries calling for an investigation of the bloodshed. However, what’s just as interesting is which voices are missing in the conversation.

Panel: U.S. Needs Non-Military Options to Handle ‘Gray Zone’ Warfare from Russia, China, Iran

By: John Grady

The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) conducts routine patrols in international waters of the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands as the People’s Liberation Army-Navy [PLA(N)] guided-missile frigate Yancheng (FFG 546) sails close behind, on May 11, 2015. US Navy photo.The United States is nowhere close to deterring Russia from spreading fake news, disinformation, and propaganda through social media, or even convincing the American public that such a Kremlin campaign to drive wedges through society exists, a panel of “gray zone” warfare experts said Tuesday.

Perception and Misperception on the Korean Peninsula

By Robert Jervis and Mira Rapp-Hooper

North Korea has all but completed its quest for nuclear weapons. It has demonstrated its ability to produce boosted-fission bombs and may be able to make fusion ones, as well. It can likely miniaturize them to fit atop a missile. And it will soon be able to deliver this payload to the continental United States. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, has declared his country’s nuclear deterrent complete and, despite his willingness to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump, is unlikely to give it up. Yet Washington continues to demand that Pyongyang relinquish the nuclear weapons it already has, and the Trump administration has pledged that the North Korean regime will never acquire a nuclear missile that can hit the United States. The result is a new, more dangerous phase in the U.S.–North Korean relationship: a high-stakes nuclear standoff.

Google's march to the business of war must be stopped

Lucy Suchman, Lilly Irani and Peter Asaro

‘Should Google proceed despite moral and ethical opposition by several thousand of its own employees?’ A US remotely piloted aircraft in Iraq, 2015. Project Maven uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyse the vast amount of footage shot by US drones. Should Google, a global company with intimate access to the lives of billions, use its technology to bolster one country’s military dominance? Should it use its state of the art artificial intelligence technologies, its best engineers, its cloud computing services, and the vast personal data that it collects to contribute to programs that advance the development of autonomous weapons? Should it proceed despite moral and ethical opposition by several thousand of its own employees?

White House eliminates top cyber adviser post

By ERIC GELLER

The Trump administration has eliminated the White House’s top cyber policy role, jettisoning a key position created during the Obama presidency to harmonize the government's overall approach to cybersecurity policy and digital warfare. POLITICO first reported last week that John Bolton, President Donald Trump's new national security adviser, was maneuvering to cut the cyber coordinator role, in a move that many experts and former government officials criticized as a major step backward for federal cybersecurity policy. According to an email sent to National Security Council staffers Tuesday, the decision is part of an effort to “streamline authority” for the senior directors who lead most NSC teams. “The role of cyber coordinator will end,” Christine Samuelian, an aide to Bolton, wrote in the email to NSC employees, which POLITICO obtained from a former U.S. official.

Who Can Spy the Best?

By Vickie Zisman

Well, in the wake of all Facebook scandals, it’s an appropriate title, isn’t it? And the answer to the question is? – Neither; because the best spies go undetected. Social networks are a treasure trove of information – both junk and useful combined. Facebook has profited from it immensely, as I suppose has its Internet peers: Google, Twitter “and the rest”. But, what the recent scandal showed is that their profit is our loss. I will not regurgitate all the info that leaked out since FB gross misconduct surfaced, however, I would like to focus on the solutions – to combat potentially harmful criminal activity and facilitate greater business efficiency on the Net. Cyber Intelligence is a field generally wrapped in an aura of mystery and a Q style brilliance. I would like to take dispel this claim – and translate it into practical tools and applications. Namely, how you safeguard Public Safety and execute a preventive strike to potentially hostile elements lurking on the NET and various other applications. I refer to OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) tools only.

Spies Are Going After US Supply Chains, Intel Agencies Say

BY PATRICK TUCKER

President Trump astounded many in Washington on Sunday by vowing to rescue ZTE, the Chinese manufacturer whose mobile phones are viewed as a security threat by the U.S. intelligence community. America’s own spies have been warning that China and other potential adversaries might seek to weaken U.S.security through the electronic goods and services it buys. “The most critical CI threats cut across these threat actors: influence operations, critical infrastructure, supply chain, and traditional as well as economic espionage. Regional actors such as Iran and North Korea, and nonstate actors such as terrorist groups, transnational criminal organizations, and hackers/hacktivists are growing in intent and capability,” William Evanina, who leads the National Counterintelligence Security Center, told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. “For example, a growing set of threat actors are now capable of using cyber operations to remotely access traditional intelligence targets, as well as a broader set of U.S. targets including critical infrastructure and supply chain, often without attribution.”

Service Meant to Monitor Inmates’ Calls Could Track You, Too

By Jennifer Valentino-DeVries

Thousands of jails and prisons across the United States use a company called Securus Technologies to provide and monitor calls to inmates. But the former sheriff of Mississippi County, Mo., used a lesser-known Securus service to track people’s cellphones, including those of other officers, without court orders, according to charges filed against him in state and federal court. The service can find the whereabouts of almost any cellphone in the country within seconds. It does this by going through a system typically used by marketers and other companies to get location data from major cellphone carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, documents show.

Hacker Breaches Securus, the Company That Helps Cops Track Phones Across the US

Joseph Cox

A hacker has broken into the servers of Securus, a company that allows law enforcement to easily track nearly any phone across the country, and which a US Senator has exhorted federal authorities to investigate. The hacker has provided some of the stolen data to Motherboard, including usernames and poorly secured passwords for thousands of Securus’ law enforcement customers. Although it’s not clear how many of these customers are using Securus’s phone geolocation service, the news still signals the incredibly lax security of a company that is granting law enforcement exceptional power to surveill individuals. “Location aggregators are—from the point of view of adversarial intelligence agencies—one of the juiciest hacking targets imaginable,” Thomas Rid, a professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University, told Motherboard in an online chat.

Army asks industry for enabling technologies to detect explosive chemicals at standoff ranges

By John Keller 

abnormal behaviors, chemicals, and vapors that could indicate the presence of vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) at standoffdistances. Officials of the Army Contracting Command, on behalf of the Army product manager for force protection systems (PdM-FPS) at Fort Belvoir, Va., issued a sources-sought notice (W909MY-18-R-C009) earlier this month for the Countering Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (CVIED) project.

19 May 2018

Where’s the Value? An Inside Look at Walmart’s Flipkart Deal


Rajat Kumar, COO of ABP Digital, who previously had a leadership role at the Indian e-commerce company Snapdeal and was a consultant at McKinsey, writes in this opinion piece that Walmart’s $16 billion deal to buy online retailer Flipkart says a lot about India’s e-commerce ecosystem. Walmart’s much-anticipated $16 billion acquisition of Flipkart, India’s top e-commerce retailer, which was announced last week, brings to mind the opening lines from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” The deal is all those things — and more.

China in Afghanistan: A military base in the offing?

KABIR TANEJA
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As the political and security situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, China’s role in the war torn nation has come into sharp relief. Though China and Afghanistan share a border barely stretching 76 km, Beijing’s worries about the deteriorating security landscape there have continued to grown. As a major global power with its perhaps only ‘all-weather’ ally on the planet, Pakistan, in the region, the preponderance of jihadist narratives are counter-productive to the country’s Xinjiang region, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan, and has a suppressed Uyghur Muslim population in a region widely considered to be one of the most surveilled in the world.

Afghanistan-Pakistan Finalize Joint Action Plan for Peace


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Tuesday said that diplomats from Afghanistan and Pakistan have wrapped up their fourth meeting in Islamabad on the joint action plan between the two countries. The plan is known as the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS). Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to draw up a plan in April following Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s trip to Kabul where he held talks with Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani. The two leaders agreed to seven key principles to finalize the action plan.

The two leaders agreed to the following:

On China’s New Silk Road, Democracy Pays A Toll

BY RICHARD FONTAINE, DANIEL KLIMAN
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Great power competition is back. And China is now combining its vast economic resources with a muscular presence on the global stage. One of Beijing’s key efforts is the Belt and Road Initiative, a trillion-dollar endeavor to link together Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe through a web of mostly Chinese-funded physical and digital infrastructure. Much of Washington has fretted over China’s mercantilist approach to economics in general and views the Belt and Road Initiative largely through this lens. Yet the concerns over Beijing’s current approach should go beyond dollars and yuan. By fueling debt dependency, advancing a “China First” development model, and undermining good governance and human rights, the initiative offers a deeply illiberal approach to regions that contain about 65 percent of the world’s population and one-third of its economic output.

China Has Decided Russia Is Too Risky an Investment

BY MAXIMILIAN HESS
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On May 4, the planned investment by the Chinese company CEFC China Energy into Russian state oil giant Rosneft fell apart, eight months after it was first announced. The tie-up’s failure reveals the strict limits on the potential for energy cooperation between China — which is in the process of taking ownership of CEFC — and Russia, and with it a broader political alliance between the two countries. Beijing has come to view Rosneft more as a tool of the Russian state than a traditional oil company, and to the extent the two countries don’t share political priorities, China has little interest in any significant economic relationship. Although China is actively searching for new political and economic partners around the world, it seems to have decided the Russian government is too risky a political investment.

A Primer on Countering Terrorism

By Isaac Kfir

This article was published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) on 2 May 2018.

Terrorism’ is usually defined as the real or threatened use of violence by a non-state actor against non-combatants or civilians to achieve political, religious or ideological objectives. This definition underlines the fact that the term carries many additional connotations. (The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies has established a database of legislation that defines terrorism.) With Daesh adjusting to a huge loss of territory and al-Qaeda resurrecting itself, we need to recognise the existence of several factors involved in terrorism if we are to respond to it effectively. There are two additional elements. One is that terrorist groups will seek to justify their actions by presenting them as a response to state oppression (the state is always the stronger party).

Fighting terrorism and storing intel in the age of big data

By: Jen Judson  
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AMMAN, Jordan — Several companies in attendance at the Special Operations Forces Exposition last week didn’t bring missiles, rockets, helicopters or drones, but rather laptops or other devices with software designed to make sense of the huge amount of data and intelligence flowing in for counterterror operations in the Middle EastThe fight against terrorism has become more complicated in a data-rich and data-dependent, international stage. Terrorists have adeptly used avenues through social media to spread philosophy and recruit members while engaging in campaigns of misinformation to influence communities.

Why Trump Can Safely Ignore Europe

By Jeremy Shapiro

Europe has reacted swiftly and with great fury to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision last week to pull out of the Iranian nuclear deal. The problem is not simply that the Trump administration has undermined one of the signature achievements of European foreign policy but that his inherent volatility, his unpredictability, and most of all his lack of commitment to the transatlantic alliance mean that any act of U.S. disruption is now possible. Righteous indignation is the language of the day, and predictions about the death of the transatlantic alliance abound. But laments and indignation do not add up to strategy. The real question is not whether Europeans are pissed off but whether they will do anything in response to Trump’s actions. The answer is most likely no.

Generals Worry US May Lose In Start Of Next War: Is Multi-Domain The Answer?

By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR

Defense of the Baltic States and Poland against a notional Russian missile barrage. (CSBA graphic)

QUANTICO: Russia or China could “overrun” US allies at the outbreak of war, senior military leaders fear, and our plan to stop them is very much a work in progress. Iraq and Syria have given sneak previews of how the US can combine, say, hackers, satellites, special operators, and airstrikes in a single offensive, but we’re not yet ready to launch such a multi-domain operation against a major power.

Tech Companies Are Ruining America’s Image

BY JOSHUA A. GELTZER, DIPAYAN GHOSH

Not long ago, Americans used to worry — constantly and loudly — about what their country’s main cultural export was and what it said about them. In the 1990s, after the Iron Curtain came down, many Americans wondered whether the appealing lifestyles the world saw on U.S. sitcoms and blockbusters deserved some credit for energizing global resistance to communism. Then, as the optimism of the ’90s gave way to the shock and horror of 9/11, Americans asked, with palpable chagrin, whether the materialism and vulgarity of their TV shows and movies were contributing to the virulent anti-Americanism that had spread throughout much of the globe.

Examining Civil Society Legitimacy

SASKIA BRECHENMACHER, THOMAS CAROTHERS

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace gratefully acknowledges support from the Ford Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and the UK Department for International Development that helped make this study possible. Civil society is under stress globally as dozens of governments across multiple regions are reducing space for independent civil society organizations, restricting or prohibiting international support for civic groups, and propagating government-controlled nongovernmental organizations. Although civic activists in most places are no strangers to repression, this wave of anti–civil society actions and attitudes is the widest and deepest in decades. It is an integral part of two broader global shifts that raise concerns about the overall health of the international liberal order: the stagnation of democracy worldwide and the rekindling of nationalistic sovereignty, often with authoritarian features.

Friends With Benefits

FRANCES Z. BROWN, MARA KARLIN

What does an “America first” national security strategy look like in action? The White House provided a hint in April, when news broke that National Security Adviser John Bolton had asked Arab nations, including Egypt and possibly Saudi Arabia, to supply ground forces to replace U.S. troops in Syria. (This came only weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump announcedhis desire to “bring our troops back home.”) Although details are scarce, Bolton’s new initiative appears to mirror a broader talking point coming from the Trump administration: rather than putting American lives at risk, the United States will work “by, with, and through” local forces to achieve its national security objectives.

At Least Do No Harm: The Negative Effects and Unforeseen Consequences of US Contracting Practices on the Afghan Local Community and its Influence on the Perception of US Forces and Americans

Greg Kleponis

Introduction

In the medical profession they abide by the edict, “Primum non nocere.” This Latin phrase simply means "first, do no harm." Another way to state it is that, "given an existing problem, it may be better not to do something, or even to do nothing, than to risk causing more harm than good." 1 It reminds the health care provider that they must consider the possible harm that any intervention might do. It is invoked when debating the use of an intervention that carries an obvious risk of harm but a less certain chance of benefit. This axiom might be applied to the entire idea of intervention in foreign countries already riddled with conflict. This paper takes a more precise look at one element of the overall intervention/stability effort in Afghanistan that many believe is having perversely, the opposite effect of that which it is intended- contracting. 

A Competitive Strategy To Counter Russian Aggression Against NATO

By Daniel Gouré

The world has entered a new era of great power competition. The 2017 U.S. National Security Strategy declared: After being dismissed as a phenomenon of an earlier century, great power competition returned. China and Russia began to reassert their influence regionally and globally. . . They are contesting our geopolitical advantages and trying to change the international order in their favor.[i] Building off the concept of a renewed great power competition, the U.S. National Defense Strategy took a broad view of the necessary actions to ensure national security:

US crude supply: longer market, lower prices

By Tim Fitzgibbon
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The US closed 2017 with crude supply up by approximately 1 million barrels/day. This put production back at the previous peak seen in 2015 at 9.6 million barrels/day, a major turnaround from the low point of 2016 at 8.6 million barrels/day. Most of this growth is coming from the Permian Basin in West Texas and New Mexico where producers were optimizing efforts to produce at below $50/bbl. And virtually all the incremental volumes are flowing to the Gulf Coast. Over-investment in pipeline capacity to the coast has provided plenty of capacity to move additional supply. While refiners on the coast have upped their intake of domestic crude to the limits that its lighter quality allows – this has still resulted in a big growth in exports, up to 1.4 million barrels/day by the end of the year.

The Problems of Defence Planning

Lt Gen Prakash Menon
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The new Defence Planning Committee needs to overcome structural flaws to be successful.
The recent establishment of the Defence Planning Committee (DPC) provides proof that the development of India’s military power is in dire need of political direction. For the most part, the Armed Forces, bereft of adequate political guidance, have been formulating their own schemes and plans based on their service-specific interpretations to shape themselves. The result has been a skewed development of the different sub-systems of military power, whose critical components have lacked integration, prioritisation, synergy and optimal utilisation of scarce resources. Coupled with a weak defence industrial base, the contemporary narrative cannot but project the notion that India is militarily ill-equipped to meet the threats posed by the growing global and regional geopolitical tensions.

Separating Better Data from Big Data: Where Analytics Is Headed


Ten years ago, the most forward-thinking companies were just starting to dive into the potential of data and analytics. Since then, brands have moved from using analytics to answer what customers are doing to exploring the how and why, and also to figure out what they will do in the future. The Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI) is celebrating its 10thanniversary this year and has seen every step of that evolution. Knowledge@Wharton recently sat down with Wharton marketing professors Eric Bradlow, Peter Fader and Raghuram Iyengar to discuss how the field has developed over time, and what they expect to be the key trends over the next decade. Bradlow and Fader are the founding directors of WCAI, and Bradlow and Iyengar are the current co-directors.

Spy Games: Ex-Mossad Chief’s Cybersecurity Startup Counters Attacks With A Hacker’s Mindset

By Ido Levy, NoCamels

For decades Tamir Pardo worked in the shadows, in a career that began in the Israeli military’s most elite commando unit and culminated in him leading the Mossad, one of the world’s most feared espionage organizations. Now, the former Mossad chief is in his second act – as a cybersecurity startup founder. After completing his term as head of the world-renown Israeli spy agency in 2016, Pardo, a veteran of the IDF’s Sayeret Matkal who served under the command of Yoni Netanyahu in Operation Entebbe in 1976, founded XM Cyber, a cybersecurity company that has since developed an automated advanced persistent threat simulation platform and whose tagline is “defense by offense.”

Senate votes to reinstate net neutrality — but it has a long way to go

By Jacob Kastrenakes@jake_k 
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In a 52–47 vote today, senators voted to overturn the Federal Communication Commission’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which took net neutrality rules off the books. They were able to do so using the Congressional Review Act, or CRA, which allows Congress to reverse recent decisions by government agencies. Republican control of Congress means that such a measure wouldn’t normally even make it up for a vote; but the CRA allows senators to force a vote by obtaining 30 signatures.

Air Force Electronic Warfare Push Gains Steam; C-5 Gets 3-D Printed Door Handles

By COLIN CLARK
We will probably never know much about it, but the Air Force's top Electronic Warfare task force has completed its first scrub and should report to top service leaders in the next month or so.The woman who leads the Air Force’s effort, Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, started the Strategic Development Planning Experimentation unit to find gaps in the service’s capabilities. Once the gap is found, the service creates an Enterprise Capability Collaboration Team (ECCT) to examine the best ways to fill it. The EW ECCT was stood up last year. While most of what it’s doing is classified, we know that cyber, which had been deemed outside its purview, is now a solid part of the work.

TEL AVIV DIARY: HAMAS IS DESPERATE—AND DESPERATE PEOPLE DO STUPID, SELF-DESTRUCTIVE THINGS | OPINION

BY MARC SCHULMAN 

When I began writing this article, I had just returned from Rabin Square (the central square in Tel Aviv), where tens of thousands gathered on Monday (May 14) to celebrate the Saturday night victory at the annual Eurovision song competition by Israeli pop sensation Netta Barzilai. During the congratulatory festivities, Netta belted out her winning balad TOY, as did a dozen other Israeli former Eurovision contestants—both winners and losers. This was the second celebration of Israel’s Eurovision victory that took place within two days. Saturday night, immediately following the announcement that Netta had won, ten thousand joyous people gleefully streamed to the main square, at 2am in the morning. Rarely have I seen teeming crowds so jubilant.

Inside Google, a Debate Rages: Should It Sell Artificial Intelligence to the Military?

Mark Bergen

Last July, 13 U.S. military commanders and technology executives met at the Pentagon's Silicon Valley outpost, two miles from Google headquarters. It was the second meeting of an advisory board set up in 2016 to counsel the military on ways to apply technology to the battlefield. Milo Medin, a Google vice president, turned the conversation to using artificial intelligence in war games. Eric Schmidt, Google’s former boss, proposed using that tactic to map out strategies for standoffs with China over the next 20 years. A few months later, the Defense Department hired Google’s cloud division to work on Project Maven, a sweeping effort to enhance its surveillance drones with technology that helps machines think and see.

Will the future of work be a utopia or a dystopia?

Jack Karsten
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Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics will have a dramatic impact on the future of work. Already, today’s most valuable technology companies employ about one-fifth as many workers as the most valuable companies in the 1960s. Estimates of workforce displacement due to automation range from the OECD’s 14 percent of current jobs to the European think tank Bruegel’s 54 percent. Automation will disproportionately affect low-skill workers that are least able to adapt to these changes. On May 14, Center for Technology Innovation Founding Director Darrell West unpacked these trends in a presentation and a panel discussion held at Brookings based on his new book “The Future of Work: Robots, AI, and Automation.

Here’s how a defense committee wants to better understand the future battlefield

By: Mark Pomerleau  

The House Armed Services Committee passed its annual defense policy bill for fiscal 2019 on May 10. Included in the bill are a series of provisions related to future battlefield technologies. Here’s what to watch as the bill moves through the legislative process this summer. - The bill requires the administration to submit a report on the effects of cyber-enabled information operations on U.S. national security. The report should include a summary of actions taken by the government to protect against those threats and a description of resources needed.