14 December 2012

India’s Ocean?

A helicopter from INS Shivalik lands on PLA Navy warship, Ma'anshaan during exercises in June 2011 

by Ajai Shukla
CSCAP Regional Security Outlook 
Dec 2012 

On the 13th of June, four warships from the Indian Navy’s Visakhapatnam-based Eastern Fleet sailed into Shanghai, China on a four-day port visit. The four vessels --- INS Rana, Shivalik, Karmukh and Shakti --- had participated in JIMEX-12 (Japan-India Maritime Exercise - 2012), the inaugural bilateral maritime exercise, and were now patrolling the South China Sea. 

The same day, another Indian warship, INS Savitri, docked in Port Victoria, Seychelles. The Savitri had come to participate in Seychelles’ National Day celebrations and then spend two months patrolling the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of Seychelles and Mauritius, along with two Indian Navy Dornier aircraft stationed in those island nations at their request. 

Meanwhile, near the Gulf of Aden, an Indian guided missile frigate, INS Tabar, was engaged in convoy escort and anti-piracy patrols, coordinating with Japanese and Chinese warships under a joint mechanism called SHADE (Shared Awareness and De-confliction). Simultaneously, India’s Mumbai-based Western Fleet was sending a four-warship patrol to East Africa, the Red Sea and the Western Mediterranean[1]

Maldives’ Relations with India & China

Paper no. 5327 Dated 14-Dec-2012 

By B. Raman 

1. The decision of the Government of President Mohammad Waheed of the Maldives to terminate the contract given to a consortium headed by an Indian company to run the Ibrahim Nasser International Airport of Male has given rise to speculation that China might have nudged the Maldivian Government to terminate the contract and that Beijing might ultimately emerge as the beneficiary of the termination with a Chinese company being made responsible for the running of the airport. 

2. Apart from the fact that the termination of the contract was preceded by a visit to Male by the Chinese Defence Minister Gen. Liang Guanglie during the course of visits to Sri Lanka, the Maldives and India and was followed by a visit to Beijing by Mr. Mohammed Nazim, the Maldivian Minister for Defence, National Security and Transport, earlier this week, no other evidence has been forthcoming in corroboration of this speculation. 

3. The fact that Mr. Nazim handled the entire affair relating to the contract has added to suspicions that his visit to Beijing might have been utilized by him to brief his Chinese counterpart on the reasons and implications of the termination and to seek Chinese co-operation in running the airport. 

4. During his stay in Bejing, Mr. Nazim met on December 11, 2012, Gen. Xu Qiliang, Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission of Communist Party of China (CPC), followed by a metting with Gen. Liang. There are so far no reports of his having met Prime Minister Wen Jiabao or Mr. Xi Jinping, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), who is also the new Chairman of the CMC. 

Sonia: The Material Girl

Life inside the charmed circle of the Gandhis 
Excerpted from Durbar by Tavleen Singh, with permission from Hachette India 

Glimpses of a life before politics (Photo: CORBIS) 

During the Emergency, my social life seemed to become an endless series of dinner parties. The city had not extended as much as it has today. If we travelled to the still unfinished colonies of Shanti Niketan and Vasant Vihar, it was considered a long way. Vicky Bharat Ram lived in Shanti Niketan and I found myself invited to his house quite a lot. At his dinner parties there were nearly always the same people. One of them was Romi Chopra, who remains a devotee of the Gandhi family to this day. I remember him from those evenings as a shy, effeminate man. Someone who knew him from his Cambridge days once told me that he had wanted to become a ballet dancer but had ended up working for an advertising company in Delhi. When Rajiv and Sonia were not present he would talk to me about politics, but his political views were limited to the unashamed, unstinting, unquestioning worship of Mrs Gandhi. In his eyes she could do no wrong and the Nehru-Gandhi family had a divine right to rule India forever and ever. 

Vicky I remember as being full of bluster and social conversation. He was a lot richer than the rest of us, so at his dinner parties he would serve French wine and fine Scotch whisky at a time when Mrs Gandhi’s socialist economic policies made these things almost impossible to acquire. He was married at the time to a beautiful Mexican woman who hardly ever came to Delhi. This did not deter Vicky from giving wonderful parties in his house filled with antique Indian sculpture and exquisite paintings. His family was famous for their contribution to Delhi’s culture and some of the finest private concerts I have attended were in Vicky’s father’s house. 

Vietnam-India Strategic Partnership 2012: A Contextual Analysis

Paper no. 5328 Dated 14-Dec-2012 

By Dr Subhash Kapila 

“ In the current context, cooperation in this field(strategic ties) should be enhanced to cope with challenges, such as terrorism, transnational crimes, maritime security and safety, including the increased friendly exchanges between the two armed forces”.-----Vietnam President Truong Tan Song, October 09, 2011 

Introductory Observations 

The year 2012 is a highly significant one in terms of the Vietnam-India Strategic Partnership as it marks the 40th year (1972-2012) of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. It also marks the 5th year (2007-2012) of the Vietnam-India Strategic Partnership. 

This is an appropriate time therefore contextually to view the Vietnam-India Strategic Partnership in a closer and deeper analytical framework so that futuristic initiatives could be better envisioned. More importantly, with the India-ASEAN Summit due in New Delhi next week, the substance of the Vietnam-India Strategic Partnership could come under closer scrutiny for ASEAN leaders to enable how far and how much India is capable of investing in a ‘Strategic Partnership’ with ASEAN as a regional grouping on India’s eastern doorstep. 

More than half a dozen Papers stand devoted by me on the value and strategic significance of close strategic ties between Vietnam and India from 2001 onwards. In between the initial and vigorous thrust by the NDA Government there was a noticeable lesser momentum, but it did pick up in the last few years. 

In Defence of Israel

Why do Indian intellectuals ignore the Jewish state’s side of the story? 

THE OTHER POINT OF VIEW Students demonstrate outside the Embassy of Israel in New Delhi on 19 November 2012 

I am a Franco-German. I have lived in Delhi and have travelled throughout India. I speak Hindi and understand Bengali. I know all the Madhuri Dixit songs. I consider Satyajit Ray one of my gods. I love reading Arundhati Roy. I have studied Economics and Philosophy at St Stephen’s college. I call myself a Buddhist, a seeker of the Sufi path, and I am also a Jew. 

Since 14 November, a war has been going on between Israel and the Hamas, which rules Gaza. Both the Israeli government and Hamas have an interest in these hostilities. Both are reluctant to see the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority submit a resolution to the UN calling for an independent state of Palestine. Both have done nearly nothing in the last four years for the welfare of their citizens. 

As I consider myself partly Indian and have a profound love for this country, I am upset to see again that many of my friends and people I admire here are so quick to point out the guilty party. Like India and many other places, Israel and Palestine have such a long and complicated history that quick judgments or simplifications are best avoided. 

Activism in India is vibrant. Members of civil society comment on the news and try to criticise and contest what they feel are opinions propagated by the powerful and accepted by the mainstream. That said, I have a hard time understanding the radical stance of a number of Indian intellectuals on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and on Israel more generally—a cut-and-paste of the anti-Zionist position of American academics like Noam Chomsky and Judith Butler, but without their knowledge and experience of Jewish history. 

SpyPhone: Pentagon Spooks Want New Tools for Mobile ‘Exploitation’


A U.S. soldier takes a picture with his cellphone, December 2010. The Pentagon’s spy corps is looking for better tools to collect and sift through data from mobile devices. Photo: U.S. Army

The Pentagon wants to upgrade its spy corps. And one of its first jobs will be finding out what’s on your iPhone. 

If the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) gets its way, it’ll send an expanded cadre of spies around the world to scope out threats to the U.S. military. And it won’t just be a larger spy team, it’ll be a geekier one. The DIA wants “technical exploitation” tools that can efficiently access the data of people the military believes to be dangerous once their spies collect it. 

That’s according to a request for information the DIA sent to industry on Wednesday. The agency wants better gear for “triage and automation, advanced technical exploitation of digital media, advanced areas of mobile forensics, software reverse engineering, and hardware exploitation, reverse engineering, and mobile applications development & engineering.” If the DIA runs across digitized information, in other words, it wants to make rapid use of it. 

Top five reasons Obama should pick Chuck Hagel for SecDef

Posted By Stephen M. Walt 
December 14, 2012

So the Beltway world is a-twitter (literally) with the rumor that President Obama will nominate former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Neb) to be the next secretary of defense. This is a smart move that will gladden the hearts of sensible centrists, because Hagel is a principled, intelligent and patriotic American who believes that U.S. foreign and defense policy should serve the national interest. Here are my top five reasons why Hagel would be an excellent choice for the job. 

1: He's a Republican realist. Like former defense secretary Robert Gates, Hagel is a realist from the moderate wing of the Republican party. He's a staunch advocate of a strong defense, yet he's clearly opposed to squandering U.S. power, prestige, and wealth on misbegotten crusades. He's also not prone to threat-inflation, which makes him almost unique. 

Hagel's candidacy is also something of a no-lose appointment for Obama. By nominating a well-known Republican, Obama can again demonstrate a genuine commitment to bipartisanship. And if Republican senators try to torpedo the nomination of one of their own, it merely underscores how petty, extreme, and out of touch they are. Either way, Obama wins. 

2: He thinks for himself. Unlike the usual inside-the-Beltway careerists with jelly for vertebrae and weathervanes for a conscience, Hagel is an independent thinker who wasn't afraid to challenge his own party when it started heading off the rails under President George W. Bush. Hagel showed real courage when he said that the Bush administration was the "most arrogant and incompetent administration"; he was telling it like it was. Washington could use more plain speaking these days, especially where foreign and defense policy are concerned. That's what Obama liked about Gates, and that's what he would get with Hagel. 

The Dubai Internet showdown

Posted By David Bosco 
December 13, 2012

In Dubai, the World Conference on International Telecommunications is hurtling toward its scheduled conclusion tomorrow. The conference has attracted worldwide media coverage (and a few hackers), mostly because of the potential for a showdown over control of the Internet. Tech giants, including Microsoft and Google, have pushed hard against proposals by some states that the UN's International Telecommunications Union (ITU) move into internet governance. Here's a roundup of recent reporting and reaction: 

The Economist's Babbage column describes the battle-lines: 

The main issue is still unresolved: to what extent the internet will feature in the new treaty (or in a separate, non-binding resolution). China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries want to give governments "equal rights to manage the internet", according to a draft proposal published earlier this week. Fearing that this would lead to more censorship online and allow governments to meddle with the internet’s very infrastructure, America—backed by many countries in Europe, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region—is pushing hard to limit the new treaty to old-style telecoms. 

Uphill Challenges: China’s Military Modernization and Asian Security

Ashley J. Tellis 

Read the full chapter below or download the free PDF.


This chapter provides an overview of the dramatic shifts in the Asian balance of power as a result of China’s military modernization over the last two decades and assesses the U.S. response. 

Main Argument 

The military advantages that previously allowed the U.S. to deny its great-power rivals hegemony over Asia also enabled Washington to dampen regional security competition and create a liberal economic order. This order was grounded in U.S. military superiority, economic power, and willingness to bear the costs of global leadership, as well as the inability of any Asian power to prevent the U.S. from operating along the Asian littorals in defense of its allies. China’s current military modernization, however, challenges the U.S. military’s ability to operate in proximity to the Asian land mass, thereby threatening the larger structure of regional stability built on American hegemony. 

Man with a Plan

Ashutosh Varshney : Fri Dec 14 2012

Why it is wrong to blame Nehru for turning away from markets and perpetuating poverty in India 

My recent column on Jawaharlal Nehru (‘Raising democracy’, IE, November 30), analysing his place in modern Indian history, generated enormous response. Clearly, many thought that a reassessment of Nehru was needed. In recent years, the cultural as well as the economic right has pilloried Nehru. The cultural right finds Nehru’s unfailing commitment to minority rights deeply problematic, and the economic right thinks that his preference for central planning and disregard for markets caused incalculable harm to India’s economic welfare. Both groups have ignored Nehru’s signal contribution to the birth and sustenance of India’s democracy. 

I would now like to engage the contemporary economic debate on Nehru. Was the edifice of central planning, put in place by Nehru, responsible for India’s failure to attack mass poverty in the first few decades of Indian independence? Was Nehru not only the father of Indian democracy, as I argued, but also the father of a wrong-headed economic policy? Was his political contribution monumental, but his economic contribution dismal? 

The economic facts are quite revealing. During 1950-1980, when central planning ruled India’s economy, the nation’s economic growth rate was 3.5 per cent per annum, which the late Raj Krishna famously — though, in retrospect, incorrectly — called the Hindu rate of growth. Since the annual population growth rate in this period averaged roughly 2.5 per cent, India’s per capita income grew at a mere 1 per cent per annum. 

India Military Must Fill Gaps To Become Top Pacific Power: The Four P's

Published: November 30, 2012

India has a long way to go before it becomes the security provider that Washington and the rest of Asia hope India will become. As most knowledgeable analysts and observers are aware, it takes much more than a large defense acquisition budget and occasional military presence to develop a credible and capable defense force. In the case of India, there are key lacunas in its defense modernization which point to a defense establishment that has a long way to go before it becomes a world class military force that can become, in the words of the U.S. Defense Department's strategic guidance, "a provider of security."

India's recent push for defense modernization has received a considerable amount of attention for the magnitude of its defense spending on a variety of weapons systems. These weapons procurements, combined with episodic displays of Indian military presence through counter-piracy patrols, disaster response, high profile naval exercises, and port visits, have led many observers to opine that India will play a pivotal role in promoting security and stability throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

India's defense modernization challenges can be best captured through four dimensions that either define the Indian defense environment or point to areas that require significant reform or change. Taken together, these four areas can be collectively called the Four P's of Indian defense modernization.

Public Apathy. Indian politicians do not typically win or lose elections based on their knowledge (or lack thereof) about defense and foreign policy. An Indian electorate that is overwhelmingly focused on issues of access to paani (water), bijli (electricity), and sarak (roads) has little interest in what elected leaders have done for the promotion of the nation's defense. Their electoral demands are highly personalized and focused on their immediate needs. Partly for that reason, there are few Indian parliamentarians that take a keen interest in Indian defense strategy and modernization.

Can Pakistan Lead Afghan Peace?

December 13, 2012 

Over the weekend, McClatchy’s Jonathan Landay wrote that the Afghan government is pursuing a peace initiative in which Pakistan, not the United States, would arrange direct talks for a coalition government in Kabul. Afghanistan would cede political control in its south and east to the Taliban and grant the group government posts. This so-called “Peace Process Roadmap to 2015” reflects the painful reality of power dynamics on the ground. There are also a number of critical factors that might hamper its success. 

For one, the Taliban claimed responsibility for last week’s suicide bombing that wounded Asadullah Khalid, the chief of Afghanistan’s intelligence service. The attack hardly bodes well for the Taliban’s commitment to peace, much less the capabilities of Afghan intelligence. 

Second, putting Pakistan in charge of a negotiated settlement contradicts the State Department’s official stance of ensuring that any peace process be Afghan-led. Having Pakistan in the driver’s seat not only reveals the real balance of power in the conflict, but also the extent to which competing interests between Islamabad and Washington augment the mission. Neither the United States nor Pakistan views the other as a reliable ally, and that the United States has had enormous difficulty reconciling Pakistan’s interests with its own. 

That tension has been one of the biggest underlying sources of the Afghan mission’s vulnerability. Whereas years ago, Washington felt that it controlled the conflict and could pressure Islamabad as it saw fit, the situation seems to have reversed: Pakistan has come to feel that it can control the terms of reconciliation, and it is that perception that has tempered its eagerness to be more accommodating toward the United States. Elements of its military and intelligence establishment have colluded with militants they viewed as vital to country’s strategic interests, and for years they were reluctant to tackle their Afghan-bound militants more vigorously. 

In addition, it is unclear how the majority of Afghans will feel about having their peace process led by a neighboring state that acts as a de facto sanctuary for armed militants ravaging their country. If anything, this peace plan rewards elements within Pakistan for their self-defeating support of Islamist proxies. 

Afghan ‘Roadmap’ to Peace—A Dead End for Human Rights?

By Rachel Reid
Thursday, December 13, 2012 

Pakistan has accepted an Afghan "roadmap" for peace, according to news reports this week. If true, this would be quite a breakthrough given the setbacks of the last year, such as the suspension of talks by the Taliban in March, cross-border shelling into eastern Afghanistan, and recent allegations that Pakistan was involved in an assassination attempt on the Afghan intelligence chief last week. Ending a conflict that has claimed so many thousands of Afghan lives is desperately needed, and signs of a shift in Pakistan's attitude to talks could be a positive step towards that. However, a recently leaked copy of the Afghan High Peace Council's "Peace Process Roadmap to 2015,"[posted here], which has not yet been made public, lays out a trajectory that does little to assuage fears that a deal with the Taliban could erode women's rights and human rights in general. 

The roadmap contains five steps. The first includes an end to cross-border shelling, the transfer by Pakistan of Taliban prisoners to Afghanistan or a third country, and pressure on the Taliban to sever ties with al-Qaeda. Phase Two (slated for the first half of 2013) includes safe passage for Taliban negotiators to unspecified countries, contact with Taliban negotiators, agreement on the terms of a peace process, and further delisting of Taliban by the United States and the United Nations. 

China asks army to be ready for regional war

Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times
Zhuhai (South China), December 13, 2012 

China said it was normal for its marine surveillance aircraft to fly over the disputed Diaoyu islands after Japan scrambled fighter jets to intercept the Chinese aircraft early on Thursday.

Within hours of the incident, Communist Party of China (CPC) general secretary was quoted by the state media as ordering the largest armed forces in the world, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to be ready to win “regional wars.”

China and Japan are locked in a dispute over the ownership of the Diaoyu (which the Japanese call Senkaku) islands in the East China Sea but it was for the first time that aircraft from both countries were involved in the row. 

Thursday also marked the 75th anniversary of the beginning of an episode known as the Nanjing Massacre, when the Japanese Imperial Army troops entered Nanjing, the then-Chinese capital and triggered large-scale violence. 

Earlier in the day, eight Japanese F-15 fighter jets flew out after a Japanese coast guard ship spotted the Chinese aircraft over the islands. 

Agencies from Tokyo said four maritime surveillance vessels were logged in waters around the islands earlier in the day, the coastguard said, adding it had ordered them to leave. 

Such confrontations have become commonplace since Japan nationalised the East China Sea islands in September, a move it insisted amounted to nothing more than a change of ownership of what was already Japanese territory. 

But Beijing later dismissed the incident. 

“The Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islets are an inalienable part of China’s territory, and it’s completely normal for a Chinese marine surveillance plane to fly over them,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular press conference in Beijing. 

He also urged Japan to stop its illegal operations in the waters and space concerning the islands. 

Hong pointed out that the current severe difficulties in China-Japan relations are the result of Japan’s illegal purchase of the Diaoyu Islands, and he called on the Japanese government to correct its mistakes by showing sincerity and taking action through dialogue and negotiation. 

Meanwhile, Xi also the head of the powerful Central Military Commission has ordered the PLA to intensify its “real combat” awareness to win regional wars, state-run Xinhua reported on Thursday.

The Interview: Stephen M. Walt

PoliticsSecurityTopic December 14, 2012 
By Zachary Keck 

Stephen M. Walt discusses American alliances in Asia, U.S. - China relations, Iran and more. 

The Diplomat's Zachary Keck spoke with Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government Professor Stephen M. Walt. 

You have written a lot about alliances in your academic work. I am wondering how important you believe alliances will be in U.S. Asia Policy as Washington seeks to deepen its commitment to the region in the years and decades ahead? 

Alliances will be central to America’s Asia policy. The United States is a hegemon in the Western Hemisphere, but our ability to operate in other theatres — including Asia — depends on support from allies. Furthermore, given that our main strategic goal in Asia is to maintain a regional balance of power, supporting key allies is an inescapable element of our entire approach. 

Some people have expressed concern that certain U.S. allies in the region—such as the Philippines and Japan—have acted in overly provocative ways towards China, potentially “entrapping” the U.S. in disputes with China in which America has little at stake. The Diplomat’s James Holmes, for instance, recently drew a potential parallel between Athens’ alliance policy in the Peloponnesian War and the U.S. in Asia today. Do you share these concerns? What can U.S. policymakers do to ensure that U.S. allies don’t drag it into conflict with China? 

Beijing’s Agenda: The Taiwan Strait or the China Seas?

Lucio Blanco Pitlo III
Graduate Student, University of the Philippines 

While tensions in the East and South China Seas had received much limelight in recent times, outgoing President Hu Jintao, in his just concluded report to the 18th Party Communist Party of China Congress, clearly identified where Beijing’s foreign policy priority still resides – notably in the peaceful reunification with Taiwan.

China’s persistent maritime row with its neighbours never figured in the lengthy report made by Hu. The only possible references, that may have any bearing to it, were his mention of the development of a deep sea submersible as one of the country’s major technological breakthroughs; and, the huge significance he attached with maritime security. Whilst these two may indeed have serious implications on the on-going sea disputes - as can be seen in the China National Offshore Oil Corporation’s efforts to drill deeper into the South China Sea (SCS) for oil and gas; as well as in the recent empowerment of Hainan provincial authorities to embark upon vessels believed to be illegally encroaching on Chinese territorial waters - cross-Strait relations still received more weight, meriting a separate section in the report. Thus, although there remains some debate as to whether the SCS had already become a core interest of China, there is no contention that Taiwan had long been, and still remains, a core interest for the Beijing leadership.

Technically, both de facto independent countries Beijing and Taipei, traditionally competed with one another for the sovereign right of legitimately representing the Chinese people. Chiang Kai Shek initially vowed to retake the mainland from his island bastion of Taiwan but present realities may have rendered this objective already obsolete on account of its impossibility. But, while many in Taiwan had begun to drop the idea of ever uniting China under its banner (despite Constitutional constraints in doing so), Beijing continued to regard Taiwan as a renegade province that has to be reunited with the mainland by all means, if necessary. However, in recent years, China had toned down its rhetoric and began to take a more pragmatic and long-term approach in dealing with Taiwan.

China: Japan Asserts China Violated Japanese Airspace

The disputed islands are in the area of the red arrow. See here

Eight F-15 fighters were dispatched, according to this:

Japan scrambled eight fighter jets on Thursday after a Chinese state-owned plane breached its airspace for the first time, over islands at the center of a dispute between Tokyo and Beijing.

It was the first incursion by a Chinese state aircraft into Japanese airspace anywhere since the country’s military began monitoring in 1958, the defense ministry said.

The move marks a ramping-up of what observers suggest is a Chinese campaign to create a “new normal”—where its forces come and go as they please around islands which Beijing calls the Diaoyus, but Tokyo controls as the Senkakus.

It also comes as ceremonies mark the 75th anniversary of the start of the Nanjing Massacre, when Japanese Imperial Army troops embarked on an orgy of violence and killing in the then-Chinese capital.

High Stakes for China in Xinjiang

China's autonomous province of Xinjiang is a predominantly Uighur (Turkic Muslim) region that has experienced decades of ethnic conflict led by an independence movement against Chinese government forces. The scale and frequency of ethnic unrest and conflict in Xinjiang has risen in recent years. In July 2009, for example, an estimated 200 people were killed and 1,700 wounded during the worst ethnic violence in decades. If the independence movement was to finally achieve its long-term objective, an independent Xinjiang would have significant implications for China's development, stability, and long-term energy sustainability. 

Precious Commodities
Ting Xu China
Pakistan Iran

First, an independent Xinjiang would mean a loss of one sixth of China's land area, equivalent to the size of Iran and at least twice the size of most European countries. This area is highly rich in resources: over 40 percent of it is suitable for the development of agriculture, forestry and animal husbandry. It is among the top five grazing areas of China, and has 250 million cubic meters of timber reserves. It is rich with diverse wildlife and minerals, some of which are the largest reserves of the nation. The area also has large reserves of water and energy. Xinjiang alone is estimated to have over 2,580 billion cubic meters of water locked in glaciers, 38 percent of the national total coal reserves, and more than 25 percent of the national total petroleum and natural gas reserves. The region is set to become China's largest oil and gas production and storage base by 2015 and China cannot afford to lose it. 

The second direct impact on China lies in the demographic composition of the region. Xinjiang is no longer predominantly a Uighur province. The Uighur population, once over 80 percent of the province's total, is now reduced to around 40-45 percent. In the event of severe instability or independence, the region may experience serious and prolonged ethnic conflict involving 9 million Uighurs and an almost equal amount of Han Chinese. This could create a refugee crisis in which Han Chinese would flee to China's heartland. For perspective, the potential North Korean refugee crisis has been a major concern for China for a long time and Xinjiang represents a similar population with more complex ethnic relationships. 

Israel’s China challenge

The world’s second-largest economic power knows very little about Israel, although those who wish us ill have been telling it plenty. We should and can change that, and the sooner the better 

By David Horovitz December 11, 2012

BEIJING — How much of a country can you know after barely three days dashing around its vast capital city? Only a very little. 

How effectively can you judge the nuances of your interactions with some of its leading academics, researchers and journalists? Not terribly well. 

How much of its media can you assess after three days, snatching glances at its domestic stations and, because you don’t speak a word of its language, relying on its English-language news channel? Again, of course, the answer is next-to-nothing. 

So that’s where I am after three days in Beijing. But there’s a fair bit, it seems to me, that you don’t need to be a China expert to work out. 

This is a country in the midst of an astounding transformation, a great power on the rise. Its capital Beijing is sprawling before our eyes like one of those fast-motion nature documentaries — the high-rises ascending, the roads and highways expanding, the swarms of bicycles replaced by swarms of cars replaced by traffic jams. 

China’s Small-Stick Diplomacy Goes Airborne

By James R. Holmes December 14, 2012 

Yesterday Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force scrambled F-15 Eagle fighter jets and an E-2C airborne early-warning aircraft after a Japan Coast Guard ship spotted a Chinese plane near the Senkaku/Diaoyu archipelago. China’s State Oceanic Administration described the flight of its B-3837 patrol plane as part of air-sea operations around the islands. And indeed, such missions may become a regular feature of the Senkakus dispute. 

China’s small-stick diplomacy, it appears, has taken on an aviation component. Beijing wants to show that it — not Tokyo — administers the contested real estate effectively. There are advantages to routine flights. Aircraft can operate over the waters around the archipelago, much as ships from China’s nonmilitary sea services have for months. Planes can also overfly the Senkakus directly, whereas landing personnel on the islets could trigger a conflict. That’s a low-risk way to make a high-impact statement. In effect Beijing can dare Tokyo to do something about it. 

Aloft as at sea, showing the Chinese flag in Chinese-claimed waters and skies cultivates the image of normalcy. Military forces fight for disputed objects; the outcome is often in doubt or reversible. By contrast, policing the skies is a prerogative, and indeed the duty, of a sovereign state. Portraying itself as the rightful sovereign over the Senkakus and the adjoining seas and airspace is precisely the point for Beijing. That’s why police services like the State Oceanic Administration are the face of Chinese policy in the Senkakus, at Scarborough Shoal, and in other territorial controversies. 

What Is Japan’s Clout?

By David Boling 
December 14, 2012 

Lady Gaga’s Klout score is 93 out of 100. Many readers are probably familiar with Klout. For those who aren’t, Klout is a webpage that measures a person’s social media “clout” and assigns a numerical value to it. One can check one’s Klout score to see whether it has decreased or increased within the last seven days, thirty days, or ninety days. 

My Klout score, on the other hand, is merely 49. I was told by a social media expert that a minimum score of 50 is required to be considered an “influencer”. I tried not to take it personally. 

In the world of social media, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are three of the principal sites that Klout analyzes to determine a person’s score. Similarly, in the world of geopolitics there are ways to measure a nation’s clout. Economic power, military power, and political power are three of the principal types of power that determine a nation’s clout. 

So what is Japan’s clout these days? Is it decreasing or increasing? 

Selling flak jackets in the cyberwars

December 14, 2012
Gerry Shih 

Matthew Prince, chief executive, CloudFlare, in his office in San Francisco December 10, 2012. Photo: REUTERS/Gerry Shih 

When the Israeli army and Hamas trade virtual blows in cyberspace, or when hacker groups like Anonymous rise from the digital ether, or when WikiLeaks dumps a trove of classified documents, some see a lawless internet. 

But Matthew Prince, chief executive at CloudFlare, a little-known internet start-up that serves some of the web's most controversial characters, sees a business opportunity. 

Founded in 2010, CloudFlare markets itself as an internet intermediary that shields websites from distributed denial-of-service, or DDoS, attacks, the crude but effective weapon that hackers use to bludgeon websites until they go dark. The 40-person company claims to route up to 5 per cent of all internet traffic through its global network. 

Sri Lanka: War is Over but Tensions Run High

By Sudha Ramachandran 

Three years after the Tamil Tiger's defeat, the underlying issues that caused Sri Lanka's civil war are once again coming to a head. 

Jaffna, the capital of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province and once the bastion of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), is once again experiencing unrest. 

Violent clashes broke out on November 27, Martyrs' Day for Tamil, between students of Jaffna University and Sri Lankan security forces. Each year Tamils use Martyrs' Day to honor friends and family members who were killed in the Sri Lanka Civil War (1983-2009). 

The civil war pitted the Tamil militant group, the LTTE (often called the Tamil Tigers), against the Sri Lankan government forces. The conflict was essentially an ethno-political struggle that had its roots in the early years of Sri Lanka's independence when Sinhalese leaders effectively transformed the country into a Sinhala-Buddhist state through a series of laws such as the controversial Official Language Act No. 33 of 1956, which made Sinhala the official language. The excluded Tamil population protested and demanded a government based on federalism where the Tamils in the east and north of the country would enjoy greater autonomy. When these calls went unheeded for decades, some Tamils formed the Tamil Tigers and began taking up arms against the government in 1983. 

The 26-year civil war that ensued, which ended with the LTTE’s military defeat in 2009, would come to claim the lives of between 80,000 and 100,000 people, according to the UN. Some non-governmental organizations like the International Crisis Group say the number of deaths was actually much higher. 

Impeaching a chief justice, Sri Lankan style Marwaan Macan-Markar

AP NOT PAKISTAN: The number of supporters on Shirani Bandaranayake’s side is still very few and far from the required critical mass for a movement to defend the independence of the judiciary. File Photo 

There are questions whether the parliamentary select committee observed due process in its inquiry of the charges against Shirani Bandaranayake 

There has been an air of inevitability in the current showdown between the administration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and its latest bête noire, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake. Her fall from grace shows that the Rajapaksa juggernaut does not warm up to dissent easily, even if, as in this case, it measures up to the expected norms of checks and balances in a self-described democracy. 

Not in ‘string of pearls’: Sri Lanka

R. K. Radhakrishnan 

The Hindu Hambantota Port East Sri Lanka Oct 2012 Photo R.K.Radhakrishnan 

In a spirited defence of Chinese investments, Defence and Urban Development Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said the Hambantota port is not part of a Chinese ‘string of pearls’ to surround India.

China built the deep-water port in the southern tip of Sri Lanka, in the constituency from where President Mahinda Rajapaksa hails. Only one phase is complete and the port has not been receiving as many ships as expected. 

“Placing the Hambantota port within the paradigm of the ‘string of pearls’ theory is not correct…From Sri Lanka’s perspective, I wish to clarify that the Chinese investment in the Hambantota port is a purely economic one,” said Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa. He added that most of the larger companies setting up operations at the Hambantota port were “actually Indian”.

Some online victims of Project Blitzkrieg From McAfee Labs

December 13th, 2012 

By Pam Benson 

Some of the nation's biggest banks are at risk of a massive cyber attack next year that could potentially siphon funds from unsuspecting customers, according to a leading digital security firm. 

The fraud campaign, known as Project Blitzkrieg, is a credible threat, the Internet security firm McAfee Labs concluded in a new report. 

The malware has been lying dormant in U.S. financial systems and is scheduled to go active by the spring of 2013, McAfee researchers concluded. 

The project "appears to be moving forward as planned," the report states. 

People familiar with the study said some 30 financial institutions are targets of the campaign. 

What the Syrian internet outage tells us about the ultimate dual-use technology

Posted By Thomas E. Ricks
December 12, 2012

By Irving Lachow 

Best Defense cyberwar correspondent 

Last week, a front page story in the Washington Post began: "Syria's civil war went offline Thursday as millions of people tracking the conflict over YouTube, Facebook and other high-tech services found themselves struggling against an unnerving national shutdown of the Internet." Despite denials from the Syrian government, there is strong evidence that they were in fact responsible for this attempt at isolating the country from the global information commons. This was most likely accomplished by the state-run Syrian Internet service provider called Telecommunications Establishment, which appeared to have altered its routing tables to prevent both incoming and outgoing traffic from reaching its desired destinations. Although the timing of this action may have been sudden, the fact that the Syrian government would attempt to control rebel access to the Internet is not surprising. Egypt and Libya took similar actions during recent conflicts and Syria has been controlling access to the Internet on and off for many months. 

Does what commanders choose to measure create perverse incentives in war?

Posted By Thomas E. Ricks 
December 12, 2012 

That's the suggestion made by Leo Blanken (of the Naval Postgraduate School) and Jason Lepore (of Cal Poly) in a paper I read on the flight home from Kansas City. As they put it, "the manner in which one measures progress incentivizes the behavior of those who are conducting the war." 

For example, they say, the use of the "body count" in Vietnam "incentivized large-scale killing and destruction, which worked against the goal of building a viable political regime in the South." 

But I am not sure I agree with their assumption that the "principal" (the policymaker back in Washington) "possesses more strategic information about the conflict" than does the "agent" (the commander in the field). Looking at Iraq, I would say that with the first three commanders in Iraq, neither side had more strategic information. Then, when Petraeus took over, he actually knew more strategically than his bosses (Gen. Peter Pace, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and President Bush) did. 

BTW, if you plan to read this paper, it helps to like math. 

PME: Too few civilian academics? Or too many? Here's how to get to 'just right'

Posted By Thomas E. Ricks 
December 13, 2012 

By Joan Johnson-Freese 
Best Defense office of saving PME 

My recent book on Professional Military Education (PME), Educating America's Military, advocates including experienced career academics in administrative positions at the nation's war colleges, which, currently, rarely occurs. But the October 2012 Navy Inspector General (IG) report that resulted in the firing of the president and provost at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) largely faulted civilian academic administrators for the myriad issues they found there. Though these recommendations may seem to contradict each other, I would contend otherwise. Rather, I contend they point out unaddressed difficulties PME institutions face while attempting to commingle two very different cultures as they aim for ambiguous goals, thus setting up circumstances that consistently lead towards extremes, rather than getting it "just right." 

There are important differences between war colleges and the NPS. Admiral James Stavridis stated his view on war college goals in his 2011 convocation speech at the National War College. "I knew what I was good at...but also sensed what I did not know or understand well: global politics and grand strategy; the importance of the ‘logistics nation'; how the interagency community worked; what the levers of power and practice were in the world -- in essence how everything fits together." The goal of the war colleges should be to educate students in the areas beyond their comfort zones, to broaden their horizons from largely technical and operational backgrounds. The NPS, on the other hand, offers graduate technical degrees in areas such as engineering and oceanography. According to the IG report, more than 42 percent of entering students have a background in liberal arts. Faculty composition is an important ramification of this difference. Whereas war college faculties can be and are significantly populated by individuals, including active duty and retired military officers, with little or no academic background in areas they teach, it is more difficult to bluff your way through teaching an engineering course than it is a history or economics course. To accomplish their mission, the NPS inherently needs and is therefore dominated by, a higher percentage of civilian academics. 

David and Paula

The Petraeus affair may be over, as far as the media circus is concerned. But its baleful aftereffects linger on. 

While the spate of ink over the scandal that toppled former CIA director David Petraeus has abated a bit, there is little sign that the public significance of the episode has penetrated. Both Petraeus and Paula Broadwell let it be known through surrogates that they "screwed up," that they are personally "devastated," and that they are working to repair the damage done to their families. But I have not heard either of them or any of us for that matter -- members of the national security community -- weigh our public responsibilities in the drama and its impact on institutions we claim to cherish. 

Plenty of people were pleased to consider themselves acquaintances of Dave Petraeus. I have known him for about four years; we corresponded frequently about Afghanistan, and I served in his Kabul headquarters on loan from the Joint Staff during his transition into command in the summer of 2010. While real affection clearly infused some of these relationships, most were also transactional. People made professional mileage on their links to Petraeus; he used them to get his views out. They served him in one way or another; he rewarded them with positions, connections, or implicit endorsements. 

The Baby Boom and Financial Doom

Monday, Dec. 24, 2012 
By Fareed Zakaria 

The American left has trained its sights on a new enemy: Pete Peterson. The banker and private-equity billionaire is, at first glance, an obvious target--rich and Republican. He stands accused of being the evil genius behind all the forces urging Washington to do something about the national debt. "The Peter G. Peterson Foundation is deficit-scold central," writes columnist Paul Krugman. 

But for a deficit scold, Peterson does not seem very concerned about today's budget. "The current deficit is not the problem," he told me recently. "I wouldn't enact any measures to reduce it until the economy recovers properly." In fact, he is even in favor of additional stimulus spending, "as long as it's well designed and paid for," he notes. "My overriding concern has always been the long-term outlook, the massive structural deficits that we face as the baby boomers start retiring in large numbers. That's the problem we've simply refused to confront." 

The facts are hard to dispute. In 1900, 1 in 25 Americans was over the age of 65. In 2030, just 18 years from now, 1 in 5 Americans will be over 65. We will be a nation that looks like Florida. Because we have a large array of programs that provide guaranteed benefits to the elderly, this has huge budgetary implications. In 1960 there were about five working Americans for every retiree. By 2025, there will be just over two workers per retiree. In 1975 Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid made up 25% of federal spending. Today they add up to a whopping 40%. And within a decade, these programs will take up over half of all federal outlays. 

Some argue that Peterson has been banging this drum for years--decades --and yet the grim reaper has not arrived. But we have postponed the problem by borrowing heavily for three decades, and there is a limit to how long we can keep increasing debt, which now stands at 100% of GDP. The budgetary strains are already apparent. Federal spending on everything other than entitlements and defense has been steadily shrinking for decades. Cities and states are in a downward spiral. A recent report from the National Governors Association points out that Medicaid is now the single largest item on state budgets and has grown by over 20% each of the past two years. As a result, spending on everything else is being slashed, from police and poverty programs to public education.