5 February 2013

Fumbling soft state: Forget Pakistan, for South Asian countries India is fair game

13 January 2013

When Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal coined the phrase "soft state" in the early 1960s, he did have countries such as India in mind. 

What he was speaking of was states that had low expectations from its citizens. 

Today, the phrase is used to refer to countries like India in a different way - as states which, despite their size and power, are unable to exercise the influence that should by right be theirs. 

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers patrol along the India-Bangladesh border at Fulbari on the outskirts of Siliguri
China has invested heavily in the Burmese army

Geography gives Pakistan a big advantage in the post-American pullout phase in Afghanistan

India is larger than all the other South Asian nations combined, but despite its size and economy, it looks like a pitiable giant in the neighbourhood. 

Whether it is Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or Nepal - leave alone Pakistan - cocking a snook at India is par for the course.

Take Sri Lanka, a country for whose security more than 1,000 soldiers and officers of the Indian Peacekeeping Forces (IPKF) laid down their lives. 

Yet, today, Colombo keeps New Delhi at an arm's length and ignores the politically sensitive Indian concern over the rehabilitation of its Tamil minority. 

Defence Technology Development Models in India

By Karanpreet Kaur
04 Feb 2013

The setback in the Sino-Indian War of 1962 and the Kargil episode of 1999 had exposed deficits in combat preparedness of the defence forces. Various models were adopted to make India self reliant in military technology out of which only a few have worked satisfactorily. Despite opening up of the defence sector for private participation in 2001, India still depends on imports to meet 74 per cent of its defence requirements. The goal of increasing indigenous component to 70 per cent of India’s defence requirements still seems to be a distant dream. 

Despite the fact that India has been following licensed production route for decades for large scale projects like tanks (T-55, T-72 and T-90), aircrafts (MiG series, Jaguar), ICVs etc., no genuine and substantial technology has been transferred to India. Licensed production model could not make major inroads into indigenisation, particularly in the field of design and development. According to a case study by Bonn International Center for Conversion, from 1960s to 1980s an over emphasis on licensed production led to a situation of under-supply, forcing the government to opt for immediate short term measures in terms of imports. 

With a view to carry out holistic indigenous development, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was set up in 1958. However, an analysis in the last two decades indicates that only one-third of the products/ solutions developed by DRDO have been used by the Armed Forces. DRDO’s unflattering track record, in terms of timelines to design and develop major defence solutions like the LCA, Arjun MBT, Kaveri engine etc. are examples of underperformance. A recent audit by the Comptroller General of Defence Audit (CGDA) highlighted the fact that DRDO has been developing equipment which are either sub-standard or have extended deadlines and additional budgets. An analysis carried out of the research being done by DRDO indicates that a large segment of R&D is devoted to non-critical technologies. Technologies like preservation of food items, juices, mosquito repellents etc. can be hived to the private sector leaving DRDO to concentrate on core technologies. Similarly, the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) have also been spending enormous amount of money for production of defence equipment, most of which are available off the shelf. But, when it comes to indigenous development of military solutions in conjunction with DRDO, OFB and DPSUs have not been able to upgrade their facilities and expertise to match the global standards. DRDO needs to invest more time and resources for continuous development of critical technologies, which have long gestation periods, to reach a stage of fruition. The private industry players find it very difficult to develop core products for the military as they are hampered by the tedious acquisition processes and a lack of conducive operating environment. 

J&K: A Deepening Peace

Ajit Kumar Singh ,Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management 

05 Feb 2013

Prospects of an enduring peace in the State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) gained further momentum through 2012, with a steep decline in terrorism-related fatalities, from 183 in 2011 to 117 in 2012. The year also witnessed fewer terrorism-related incidents: 118 in 2012 as compared to 195 in 2011. Crucially, this was achieved in spite of the Inter-Services Intelligence’s (ISI, Pakistan’s external intelligence agency) relentless efforts to derail the peace through its various proxies – both terrorist and separatist. 

According to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal database, as many as 16 civilians, 17 Security Force (SF) personnel and 84 militants were killed in 70 incidents of killing in 2012; as against 34 civilian, 30 SF personnel and 119 militants in 122 incidents of killing in 2011. Thus, civilian, SF and terrorist fatalities recorded a decline of 52.94 per cent, 43.33 per cent and 29.41 per cent, respectively.

Jammu and Kashmir: Key Indicators (2006-2013)
Civilian Fatalities
SF Fatalities
Terrorist Fatalities
Total Fatalities
Source: SATP, *Data till February 3, 2013

Fatalities in 2012 were reported from 13 of the State’s 22 Districts, with Kupwara recording the highest number of (34); followed by Baramulla (32); Srinagar, Ganderbal and Kishtwar (eight each); Pulwama and Poonch (seven each); Kulgam (six); Anantnag (two); and Bandipora, Samba and Ramban (one each). While civilian fatalities were recorded from seven of these 13 Districts, with Srinagar registering the maximum number (six), eight Districts witnessed the killing of SF personnel [the highest was Kupwara, with seven]. Terrorist fatalities were reported from 10 Districts, with both Baramulla and Kupwara recording the highest number, at 27 each. 

The Growth of Islamism in the Pakistan Army

By Jason Roach

January 30, 2013

Islamization of the Pakistan Army is of significant concern to the National Security of the United States. Success in the United States’ campaign against global terrorism rests in large part with the fate of Pakistan. Many actors are at work within its borders to turn that nation and its army decisively against the United States and its interests in the region. Understanding these forces will allow American decision and policy makers to identify risks to the status quo and help mitigate threatening outcomes of Pakistan’s internal struggles. This essay first defines the history of those risks and the significance behind them. 

Islamization of the Pakistan Army has been occurring in some form since its birth in 1947. The nation was founded on the unity of a common religion. This religious identity was ingrained in the Army as a way of distinguishing itself from its Hindu counterpart. Officials accomplished this in superficial ways initially.

In its early years, the Pakistan Army was very proud of its ability separate religion from the conduct of its internal business. Initially, the Pakistan Army’s actions were characteristic of a capable conventional military force, focused on preservation of the nation. The promotion of officers was based solely on their leadership ability and understanding of the art of war. 

Military organization and structure was left unaffected through the first 30 years of its existence, despite the Army’s reliance on Islamists and Militant Islam to affect both foreign and domestic issues. Since then the institution has gone through change, at times significant change, which began to alter the way the Army operated. More important, this change has affected the mindset of the officers and soldiers of the organization. 

Shortly following the creation of the state, the Pakistan Army realized that they were the disadvantaged force when engaging in direct conventional conflict with the massive Indian Army.[2] Starting with the First Indo-Pakistan War in 1947, the Pakistan Army used Militant Islamists as a weapon against the Indian military. The Army used Islamist rhetoric to mobilize Pashtun tribesmen from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and urged clerics to issue fatwas ordering their clans into Kashmir.[3] This was the beginning of the perpetual patron-client relationship between the Pakistan Army and Militant Islamists. 

China’s New Military Leadership and the Challenges It Faces

By Greg Chaffin
January 18, 2013 

An Interview with Roy Kamphausen 

Following the announcement of a new slate of leaders in China’s Central Military Commission (CMC) in early November, new CMC chairman, Communist Party general secretary, and soon-to-be president Xi Jinping conducted several engagements with China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA). These included an extensive inspection of troops and units in the Guangzhou Military Region in southern China. Likewise, the new chief military policy interlocutor with the United States, Lieutenant General Qi Jianguo, completed his inaugural trip to Washington, D.C., for the 13th U.S.-China Defense Consultative Talks in mid-December. 

In the wake of these developments, Roy Kamphausen, Senior Advisor for Political and Security Affairs at NBR, comments on the changes in China’s military leadership and examines the issues that this new slate of PLA leaders will encounter.

How has the composition of the new Central Military Commission (CMC) come together? 

New Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping was announced as CMC chairman. Additionally, army general Fan Changlong and air force general Xu Qiliang were promoted to positions as vice chairmen of the CMC—Fan from Jinan Military Region commander and Xu from air force commander. Other members of the new CMC include General Chang Wanquan, who will become the next Minister of National Defense when that position is confirmed in early spring 2013; General Fang Fenghui, chief of the General Staff Department (GSD), who previously had been Beijing Military Region commander since 2007; General Zhang Yang, director of the General Political Department (GPD), who comes to the job from the Guangzhou Military Region political commissar position and is the first new GPD director in at least twenty years who was previously not a GPD deputy director; General Zhao Keshi, director of the General Logistics Department (GLD), formerly commander of the Nanjing Military Region; General Zhang Youxia, who is director of the General Armaments Department (GAD), the former commander of the Shenyang Military Region, and the son of a famous Chinese general who had served with Xi Jinping’s father, making Zhang a “princeling”; Admiral Wu Shengli, commander of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, who retained the same position on the CMC despite expectations that he might become a CMC vice chairman; General Ma Xiaotian, commander of the PLA Air Force and formerly the deputy chief of general staff in charge of strategic relations; and General Wei Fenghe, commander of the Second Artillery, China’s missile force. 

China’s Soft Power in East Asia: A Quest for Status and Influence?

By Chin-Hao Huang 

PDF free through March 10, 2013 


This report examines China’s use of soft power as a foreign policy tool and analyzes the strategic, economic, and political implications for U.S. policy in East Asia. 

Main Argument 

The practice of soft power has become an attractive policy option for China to help demonstrate its commitment to a “peaceful rise.” This has resulted in Beijing’s attempt to use an increasing array of foreign policy tools beyond material hard power in its interactions in East Asia, including development assistance, trade, and cultural exchanges. However, China’s massive push to project soft power has not directly translated into more supportive views of its quest for status and legitimacy. This limited appeal derives from (1) Beijing’s decision to demonstrate its resolve on regional territorial disputes with military coercion and (2) the lack of serious political reform in China. With respect to the latter, it will be increasingly difficult for the government to prevent its domestic record on political and civil freedoms from affecting China’s international credibility. As the new leadership charts its foreign policy priorities, it will have much to contemplate about why it remains so difficult to generate and sustain soft power commensurate with China’s remarkable economic might. 

Policy Implications 

Chinese soft power can be a positive force multiplier that contributes to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific and thus provides Beijing an opportunity to reset the direction of its foreign policy more generally. If Beijing decides to do so, Washington should strengthen existing security and economic architectures to discourage China’s more bellicose tendencies and ensure that it embraces multilateralism. 

At the same time, Washington should be cognizant of the frustrations that are bound to occur in bilateral relations if Beijing continues to define national interest in narrow, self-interested terms. The U.S. should engage more deeply with regional partners to persuade and incentivize China to take on a responsible great-power role commensurate with regional expectations. 

Regional Perspectives on U.S. Strategic Rebalancing

By Abraham M. Denmark, Yan Xuetong, Noboru Yamaguchi, Chaesung Chun, Alexander Chieh-cheng Huang, C. Raja Mohan, Barry Desker, Kitti Prasirtsuk and Peter Jennings 

This Asia Policy roundtable brings together experts in Australia, China, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand to offer regional perspectives on the U.S. policy of strategic rebalancing toward the Asia-Pacific. 

Abraham M. Denmark 

Strategic Cooperation without Mutual Trust: A Path Forward for China and the United States 
Yan Xuetong 

A Japanese Perspective on U.S. Rebalancing toward the Asia-Pacific Region 
Noboru Yamaguchi 

U.S. Strategic Rebalancing to Asia: South Korea’s Perspective 
Chaesung Chun 

Taiwan in an Asian “Game of Thrones” 
Alexander Chieh-cheng Huang 

India: Between “Strategic Autonomy” and “Geopolitical Opportunity” 
C. Raja Mohan 

The Eagle and the Panda: An Owl’s View from Southeast Asia 
Barry Desker 

The Implications of U.S. Strategic Rebalancing: A Perspective from Thailand 
Kitti Prasirtsuk 

The U.S. Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific: An Australian Perspective 
Peter Jennings

Meeting the True Fiscal, Social and Political Challenges to U.S. National Security

By Anthony H. Cordesman

Feb 4, 2013 

We need to reform the ways we spend on national security. We need to debate our levels of spending on defense, foreign aid, and dealing with terrorism. Few doubt that defense spending grew far too fat over more than a decade of wartime increases, that every aspect of defense spending needs to be examined, reshaped and made more efficient, and we urgently need to control the spiraling costs in defense procurement. We need to reexamine the balance between military spending and foreign aid at a time when political upheavals in the Middle East illustrate the need to use such aid as a tool in bring political and economic stability. We need to ask why the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimates we are now spending nearly $80 billion a year on homeland defense and the war on terrorism. 

There are equally good reasons to focus on the overall structure of federal spending. The moment one moves away from partisan political polarization, it becomes all too clear that we need to both raise taxes to provide more revenue and to make cuts in entitlement spending. Moreover, it becomes clear that we need to think in terms of the total mix of federal, state, and local programs, and not simply the current debate over federal revenues and spending. The issue is not simply national security spending as a percent of federal spending; it is national security relative to the total tax burden, the total cost of civil governance, and their impact on our overall economy. 

Read the Full Report at :

'The Yearning For Democracy Is A Bad Joke'

By David Barsamian

04 Feb 2013

'The principle on which the international system is based is that the United States is entitled to use force at will. To talk about the United States violating international law or something like that is amazingly naive, completely silly.' 

[This piece is adapted from “Uprisings,” a chapter in Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire, Noam Chomsky’s new interview book with David Barsamian (with thanks to the publisher, Metropolitan Books). The questions are Barsamian’s, the answers Chomsky’s.] 

Does the United States still have the same level of control over the energy resources of the Middle East as it once had? 

The major energy-producing countries are still firmly under the control of the Western-backed dictatorships. So, actually, the progress made by the Arab Spring is limited, but it’s not insignificant. The Western-controlled dictatorial system is eroding. In fact, it’s been eroding for some time. So, for example, if you go back 50 years, the energy resources -- the main concern of U.S. planners -- have been mostly nationalized. There are constantly attempts to reverse that, but they have not succeeded. 

Take the U.S. invasion of Iraq, for example. To everyone except a dedicated ideologue, it was pretty obvious that we invaded Iraq not because of our love of democracy but because it’s maybe the second- or third-largest source of oil in the world, and is right in the middle of the major energy-producing region. You’re not supposed to say this. It’s considered a conspiracy theory. 

The United States was seriously defeated in Iraq by Iraqi nationalism -- mostly by nonviolent resistance. The United States could kill the insurgents, but they couldn’t deal with half a million people demonstrating in the streets. Step by step, Iraq was able to dismantle the controls put in place by the occupying forces. By November 2007, it was becoming pretty clear that it was going to be very hard to reach U.S. goals. And at that point, interestingly, those goals were explicitly stated. So in November 2007 the Bush II administration came out with an official declaration about what any future arrangement with Iraq would have to be. It had two major requirements: one, that the United States must be free to carry out combat operations from its military bases, which it will retain; and two, “encouraging the flow of foreign investments to Iraq, especially American investments.” In January 2008, Bush made this clear in one of his signing statements. A couple of months later, in the face of Iraqi resistance, the United States had to give that up. Control of Iraq is now disappearing before their eyes. 

An America cramped by defensiveness

By Peter J. Munson
February 2, 2013

Peter J. Munson a major in the Marine Corps, is the author of “War, Welfare & Democracy: Rethinking America’s Quest for the End of History.” The views expressed here are his own. 

A week before I deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, my wife and I volunteered for a few hours at our daughter’s elementary school. As we left, her teacher told the students that I was an officer in the Marine Corps about to leave on deployment. “A nation does not survive,” he said, “without men like that.” 

It was a heartfelt statement. I thought of it often while in Afghanistan; it felt most poignant when my detachment of transport aircraft flew each one of the 119 bodies out of Helmand province between June and December 2010 to make their final trip home. Near the end of our deployment, I asked my fellow Marines to always remember the fallen. I asked the living to honor the sacrifices of their dead. Not by mourning forever, nor by seeking vengeance, but by honoring their comrades’ sacrifices in the choices and actions of their own lives. I asked them, in the words of Oliver Stone’s movie about another war, to find a meaning and goodness in this life. 

Since I returned home, a darkness has grown in me as both I and our nation have failed to live up to the sacrifices of these young men and women. I had no expectation of “victory” in Afghanistan or Iraq, whatever that would mean. Nor did I expect some epiphany of strategic insight or remorse from the nation’s brain trust. 

I just found that I could not square the negativity, pettiness and paranoia in the discourse of our country’s elders with the nobility and dedication of the men and women I had seen and served with in Afghanistan.

Over time, as I listened to the squabbling, I realized that about the only thing Americans agree on these days is gratitude bordering on reverence for our military. It troubled me that the sum total of consensus in our discourse is deference toward the defenders of our nation. 

The Force of Tomorrow

FEBRUARY 4, 2013

The Army's top general on the future of war. 
Over the past 11 years of continuous combat, the Army made great strides at the tactical and operational levels of war. We evolved our tactics, fielded new equipment, and modified our organizations, all while combating determined enemies. These changes were necessary, and they produced an Army without peer on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. However, they do not fully prepare us for the diverse array of challenges our nation faces in the coming years. Changes in the character of modern conflict demand that we continue to evolve as an institution, even as we remain focused on our primary task -- to fight and win our nation's wars. 

Throughout the course of history, world events have always presented militaries with both complexity and unpredictability. Today's environment sustains this norm, but adds the unprecedented speed at which events unfold and information travels. The pace of change is accelerating. There are emerging factors at work in today's strategic environment that we cannot ignore. The sheer number of connections between people and societies has increased exponentially. An ever-present global media can instantly elevate local actions to matters of strategic import. Technology and weapons once reserved to states can now find their way into the hands of disaffected individuals and disruptive groups. International tolerance for civilian casualties and collateral damage from military operations has decreased while the capabilities to inflict such damage have spread to a growing number of illicit actors. 

Israel’s ‘Gatekeepers’

By Dan Ephron
Feb 5, 2013

Six Shin Bet chiefs air their views on peace with Palestine. 

In the hierarchy of Israeli intelligence agencies, the Shin Bet is the equivalent of the blue-collar worker. While Mossad handles the dazzling overseas operations abducting a former Nazi or assassinating nuclear scientists the Shin Bet for almost a half century has managed the dirty work of Israel’s dominion over millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Most Palestinians view Israel as a colonial intruder, the way, say, Algerians viewed France. To tamp down Palestinian rebellions and foil attacks on Israelis, Shin Bet operatives have regularly engaged in some unsavory measures rough interrogations and targeted killings, to name twoall in the service of maintaining Israel’s grip over territories it captured in the 1967 war.
Ami Ayalon, appointed to head the Shin Bet after Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, as shown in the new documentary. (Ami Ayalon/Sony Pictures Classics) 

So it comes as something of a surprise to hear not just one but six retired Shin Bet chiefs articulate exceedingly pragmatic views in The Gatekeepers, an Oscar-nominated Israeli documentary being released in the U.S. on Feb. 1. The six, who sat down for interviews with filmmaker Dror Moreh, believe Israel has paid a steep political and moral price for its occupation of the West Bank (Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005). To varying degrees, all six think Israeli leaders should be doing more to advance peace with the Palestinians. “I know about plenty of junctures since 1967 when in my view ... we should have reached an agreement and ran away from there,” Yaakov Peri, who headed the Shin Bet from 1988 to 1994, says in the film. “But ... it’s not part of the mandate of an agency chief to persuade a prime minister [to make peace].” 

Uncle Spam Wants You!

FEBRUARY 5, 2013 

Can the U.S. military find a few thousand good hackers? 

The reported call last week to quintuple the size of the U.S. Cyber Command -- to about 5,000 hackers and other alpha-geek types -- poses a daunting challenge if the ranks are to be filled. The services do not have anywhere near these numbers of IT experts with the requisite skills on active duty. Redeploying those they do have to Cybercom would still leave enormous shortfalls, and gaps in the units whence they came. The many education and training programs, including Cyber Corps sites -- my school is one of them -- have throughput levels that, even at full throttle, would take decades to bring the number of cyberwarriors up to the desired level. In short, it seems that there are few ways to meet the pressing demands for more digital soldiers. 

Unless there is a willingness to try innovative recruitment methods for seeking out those with the necessary talents. 

One creative way to proceed with recruiting would be to convince skilled IT industry techs to join up and click for their country. This need not be a typical recruitment requiring several years of active duty. Instead, the focus could be on bringing talented men and women into Reserve and Guard formations, perhaps even forming up new, purpose-built cyber units. These could be sited strategically, near IT hubs. 

Size Matters

FEBRUARY 4, 2013 

The miniaturization of U.S. foreign policy. 

The British military has become the first to deploy tiny drones the size of sparrows on the front lines. According to a report from Sky News, the mini-eyes in the sky, dubbed "Black Hornets," are helicopters approximately 4 inches long that send full-motion video and still images to soldiers so that they can check out potential risks and enemy locations. 

The Brits' new nanocopters were developed as part of a $31.5 million contract with a Norwegian supplier that will result in the production of 140 of the small wonders. That comes out to about $225,000 each. (If only I had known about projects like these when I was building model airplanes as a kid.) 

Despite the small size of the members of the Black Hornet fleet, the project represents two of the biggest trends in defense right now -- drones and nanotech. But the bigger question is whether, at the same time, it also hints at a size problem that is bedeviling Western -- and particularly American -- policymakers at the moment: whether our ideas are shrinking at roughly the same speed as our technologies. 

On the one hand, the vaunted move toward smaller-footprint strategies is at the heart of what has become known as the "Obama doctrine," which has some clear advantages over the alternatives we have seen recently. Using tools like drones, smaller special operations units, and even the smallest warriors of them all -- the electrons that are our front-line "troops" in cyberwarfare -- reduces the risks and costs associated with our overseas interventions, such as those involved in combating terrorists. (Or, in the case of the Black Hornets, fighting in hostile terrain against entrenched insurgents.) As we have also seen, by reducing those risks and costs, we reduce impediments to taking action via these means. This can make for a nimbler, more assertive foreign policy. 

Doomsday Preppers

FEBRUARY 4, 2013 

At a new center in Cambridge, a philosopher, an astronomer, and a software pioneer are looking for ways to save humanity from itself. 

"Sometimes I feel I'm irrationally optimistic," says Huw Price. This is, perhaps, an unlikely statement for the co-founder of an organization dedicated to studying scenarios for the end of life as we know it. Price, an Australian philosopher known for his work on time and cosmology, is working to build the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) -- a proposed new think tank at Cambridge University with the ambitious goal of "ensuring that our own species has a long-term future." A less cheery way of putting it is that the center will study possible ways that humanity is planting the seeds of its own destruction. "One of the problems we need to deal with is to find ways of coping with our own optimism," Price says. 

To that end, he has partnered with two thinkers who couldn't really be described as glass-half-full guys. Martin Rees, a Cambridge astrophysicist who serves as Britain's royal astronomer, is the author of Our Final Century, a 2002 book predicting that, due to a lethal combination of possible natural and man-made catastrophes, our civilization has only a 50 percent chance of surviving through the year 2100. (In the United States, the book was published as Our Final Hour, because, Rees jokes, "Americans like instant gratification.") A veteran of the nuclear disarmament movement, he has also predicted that by 2020, "bioterror or bioerror will lead to 1 million casualties in a single event." 

Here's the email to DoE employees notifying them of a cyber attack

By John Reed
February 4, 2013

Below is the email that the Department of Energy sent to its employees notifying them that the personal information about several hundred DoE staff and contractors at the department's Washington headquarters (shown above) may have been accessed by hackers. 

You'll notice that DoE mention who might have been responsible for the attack and it makes no mention of whether classified information regarding nuclear-anything was accessed. 

(Several media accounts have said Chinese hackers were to blame and that the cyber attack didn't access nuclear-related information.) 

You can also see that DoE is in the early stages of figuring out the details and full extent of the attack. From the early reports, it sounds like this could have been a spear phishing email attack. If that's the case, an employee at DoE likely got a professional sounding email with a special file attached that contained malware, once the staffer clicked on the file, the hackers were into the department's networks. What would hackers/spies want with staffers' and contractors' email and the info contained within? For one thing, they could use it to crack security safeguards to other networks that contain classified information. 

Employee Notification 

The Department of Energy (DOE) has just confirmed a recent cyber incident that occurred in mid-January which targeted the Headquarters' network and resulted in the unauthorized disclosure of employee and contractor Personally Identifiable Information (PII). 

A peacekeeping body at war with itself

By Christopher Meyer 
20 October 2012 

Interventions: A Life in War and Peace Kofi Annan

Allen Lane, pp.384, £25, ISBN: 9781846142970

It takes less than an hour to fly from Washington DC to New York City. But, if you are a diplomat, you might as well be travelling to a distant planet, such is the gulf in diplomatic culture between America’s capital and the United Nations’ headquarters. Whenever I went to see my opposite number at the UN, Jeremy Greenstock, I felt that I was entering a hermetically sealed universe, where ambassadors marched to an arcane beat governed by the mysteries of multilateral diplomacy. During my time in Washington, a new French ambassador arrived, who had been transferred directly from the UN. He confessed to me that, of all his postings, he had the greatest difficulty getting used to Washington, only 200 miles or so down the road from Manhattan. 

There is more than a whiff of an unreal world in Kofi Annan’s memoir of his lifetime inside the United Nations. ‘Stepping into a UN hall’, he says, ‘often felt like entering a time machine.’ It is hardly surprising. In its central mission — to keep, and sometimes make, the peace in violent areas around the world — the UN has largely failed since its creation. Vast amounts of time are spent in the negotiation of documents and declarations. Meanwhile, in the real, Hobbesian world of Darfur, Central Africa or the Middle East, people are slaughtered in murderous conflicts. In the UN’s parallel universe diplomacy has become for the most part a form of air-conditioned displacement activity. ‘I draft, therefore I am’, a young British diplomat at our UN mission once said to me. 

Of course, peacekeeping is not all the UN does. It implements huge programmes of variable quality in areas like health, food, and children’s welfare. But this is marginal to the organisation’s founding rationale. The UN is supposed to have learnt the lessons of the abject failure of the League of Nations to stop wars in the 1930s. In some ways it has. Unlike the League, it has universal membership (193 sovereign states, bar the Vatican) and a 15-member Security Council to decide on matters of war and peace, including the imposition of economic sanctions on recalcitrant governments. The curious feature of this otherwise sensible arrangement is that the five permanent members of the Security Council, that is those who have a right of veto, are the selfsame as at its first meeting in 1946 in London — America, Russia, China, France and Britain, the victors of the second world war. No one can agree who might replace them or be added to their number. 

Free Trade: You're Doing It Wrong

FEBRUARY 4, 2013 

Want to make progress on trade? Pay off the losers. 

The World Trade Organization made news last month because of the record number of candidates seeking to be its new director-general. Alas, they're probably in it more for the salary and prestige than for any résumé-building accomplishments. After all, the WTO has done little to open global markets since the Doha round of trade talks began in 2001. The reason is simple: Its members are doing free trade all wrong. 

That's too bad, because basic economics teaches that two people who trade with each other always end up better off. Why else would they trade in the first place? Putting aside issues of coercion and uncertainty, the idea is that there are gains from trade to both sides whenever a transaction occurs. Realizing those gains by buying and selling goods, services, assets, and labor is one of the keys to economic growth. 

The same is true for countries, but there's a wrinkle: Though two countries that trade with each other will also achieve gains from trade, their people won't necessarily share those gains equally. Indeed, both countries will be better off overall, but inside each country there will be winners and losers. This is why people ranging from Korean farmers to American autoworkers turn out in numbers to protest free trade agreements. 

But free trade needn't be such a divisive issue. At the national level, the benefits from free trade always outweigh the losses; this has to be true, since each new transaction creates its own gains from trade. Put another way, a country that opens its markets is always richer as whole. And so here's the genius part: It should be possible for the winners to compensate the losers so that everyone is better off, or at least no worse off than they were before. 

Fuel Cells Seen as Potential Way to Lighten Soldier Loads

By Yasmin Tadjdeh 

05 Feb 2013

More efficient portable power sources are needed to help lighten the load of soldiers and Marines, military experts agreed on Jan. 30.

“We have to get the combat development process to align with the individual combatant’s [priorities],” said George Solhan, deputy chief for naval research for expeditionary maneuver warfare at the Office of Naval Research.

One of the biggest problems at the Defense Department currently is that it focuses more on big systems like vehicles, radar and missiles over equipment for dismounted troops, said Solhan at the 6th Annual Soldier and Marine Modernization Meeting in Arlington, Va. 

A major issue that the Defense Department needs to solve is lightening the load, and one way to do it is reducing the need for multiple batteries to power the various pieces of gear a soldier wears, he said.

“The users of power all the sites, all the sensors, all the communications devices need to start designing in high-energy efficiency right up front,” said Solhan.

Patrick McGrath, a science and engineering technical advisor at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), said one solution to reduce gear weight and increase fuel efficiency may be the solid oxide fuel cell.

The fuel cell, which has been tested by DARPA for various missions, including increasing fly time for small unmanned aerial vehicles, would be an ideal way to charge portable electronics, he said.


By Jagdish Bhagwati
Feb 5, 2013

Al Gore mispredicts our future by misunderstanding our present. 

The two Democratic leaders who have recently earned, for their achievements, the Nobel Prize for Peace, Jimmy Carter and Al Gore, are international icons. Carter introduced human rights into American foreign policy; Gore took up the cause of global warming. (President Obama, of course, also received a Nobel but can hardly be said to have earned it.)

The problem Gore faces in the bulk of [his book] is that his identification of problems, and his proposed solutions, are not compelling. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca) 

The career trajectories of the two have been very different. Carter had the advantage of having been the president. Carter therefore had political success on his CV. But Gore, a man of exceptional talent, had failure on his; and that surely lit the fire under him for overarching success in some other way. So while Carter continued working for human rights, as in his bold writings on the Middle East peace process, and even went so far as to build huts for the poor in Central America, Gore chose a different career path, deciding to think and write big. 

He surely succeeded beyond his wildest expectations as the author of An Inconvenient Truth. But his phenomenal success had little to do with science (which has remained somewhat controversial: many of us remember for instance the not-too-distant scare about global cooling, also from climate scientists) and much to do with the photographs of polar bears caught on drifting ice as glaciers melted. An image like that is what we all need when we push our pet agendas. Alas, none of us is so fortunate. Nor is Gore as he turns now to writing about our future. 

Governing Haiti: Time for National Consensus

Latin America/Caribbean Report N°46
4 Feb 2013


Haiti is in a race against time to convince its own people, donors and potential investors that progress and stability are achievable. Continued delay in holding free and fair elections may well pose the greatest immediate challenge, but President Michel Martelly, already struggling to govern the broken and divided nation for one and a half years, lacks the stable political base (also denied to his predecessors) to obtain buy-in to his proposed Five-E development strategy: employment, état de droit (rule of law), education, environment and energy. To finally start the long-promised transformation, he should build on the tenuous Christmas Eve 2012 agreement for a credible electoral body to hold much delayed Senate, municipal and local polls quickly. He also should bring key actors into a national dialogue on selecting the Constitutional Council and resolving credibility questions about the appointment of the president of the Supreme Court and the Superior Judicial Council, as well as on pursuing other critical short- and longer-term public policies.

Ending the elections imbroglio is essential but insufficient. Follow-on reforms are required to avoid political paralysis during Martelly’s term. The long and difficult path to the recently concluded constitutional amendment process and still inconclusive debate over formation of the Permanent Electoral Council (CEP) are testament to the deficit of confidence and absence of political consensus. Haiti needs a national accord to manage reconstruction and development, particularly as it enters a difficult electoral period, whose calendar is still unknown. Many sectors espouse national dialogue rhetorically but do not pursue it seriously. The intensifying debate around organisation of Senate, municipal and local elections in 2013, however, may offer an opportunity to pursue a governance accord that could finally mobilise domestic forces and better secure donor support for the transformation that has been touted ever since the 2010 earthquake. After several failed efforts to reach domestic agreement on basic issues, even strong donor supporters are becoming frustrated by the lack of leadership, governance and accountability.

Decades of government inaction, growing frustration and decreasing citizen tolerance leave little margin for error. The Haitian brand of politics in effect virtually excludes the majority of citizens, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for any administration to govern effectively. The electoral calendar laid down in the constitution is never respected, so the terms of elected officials expire without replacement, giving rise to institutional instability. Elections are largely a contest between political and economic elites, as a myriad of parties give voice to few, fail to mobilise the electorate and fragment parliament. Voter participation has been falling since 2006, along with public confidence.

A costly error on terror

By Shankar Roychowdhury
5 Feb 2013

Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s statement has provided aid and comfort to the enemies of this country and bolstered their resolve to inflict further hurt

It is a fact that military commanders do not suffer fools gladly. One of the most pre-eminent amongst them, a German panzer general, famously classified his officers into “lazy and stupid” (harmless and to be ignored), “hardworking and intelligent” (excellent subordinates), “intelligent and lazy” (the most successful commanders), and, finally, the “stupid and industrious” (a menace, to be eliminated as fast as possible).

The question is: Should politicians in India be similarly graded?

The query suggests itself after no less a person than home minister Sushilkumar Shinde made his loyalty statement at the Congress Party’s Chintan Shivir in Jaipur. On January 20, Mr Shinde publicly projected the issue of “saffron terrorism” and alleged the existence of a direct nexus between “Hindu terrorism”, i.e. religion-based terrorism by Hindus, and the ideology and agenda of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the country’s main Opposition party.

Mr Shinde accused the BJP and its traditional mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, of conducting training camps for “saffron terrorists” in the country. Obviously, it was a pre-election brickbat aimed at the principal political opponents of the Congress, something that is in the nature of politics itself and should not be seen as in any way extraordinary.

Politicians and their politics are seen as fair game for all types of allegations and innuendoes, true or false. But in this particular case did Mr Shinde choose his words carefully enough? Or did he just fire off whatever random thoughts came to his mind? Because, had he paused to consider, Mr Shinde would undoubtedly have realised that the colour saffron his speech chose to besmirch is the traditional Indian symbol of selflessness and sacrifice. It is one of the constituent colours of the national flag on which the Indian soldier takes his oath of allegiance to defend the country against all enemies.

How a Chaotic Hostage Rescue Foreshadows Afghanistan’s Post-American Future

By David Axe
04 Feb 2013

U.S. Army soldiers patrol Paktika province in 2011. Photo: Army

On the morning of Jan. 10, 2012, five Taliban insurgents wearing stolen army and police uniforms stormed a government complex in Sharana, the capital of restive Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan. Their goal: to strike a meeting of the province’s top civilian, police, military and intelligence officials essentially decapitating the provincial government of one of Afghanistan’s most important regions. 

They failed barely. Defeating just five insurgents barricaded in a stairwell required a chaotic seven-hour gun battle up and down three stories of a telecommunications building. Two civilian hostages and three policemen died in the tumult of the assault’s first few hours, as impatient Afghan leaders whom the U.S.-led coalition deliberately allowed to take the lead  sent lightly armed cops on an almost suicidal frontal attack aimed at retaking the captured facility. Even that required the firepower of supporting U.S. Army troops and the intervention of a Polish commando unit, along with their Afghan trainees. 

The obscure Sharana battle, reconstructed by Danger Room over the past year, offers a preview of what Afghanistan will look like after 2014, when all but a handful of U.S. and NATO troops leave. To temper expectations of how Afghan forces will perform when they’re in charge of the war, U.S. officials often use the term “Afghan good enough.” Tom Donilon, President Obama’s national security adviser, told The New York Times that the goal of “Afghan good enough” is an Afghanistan that “has a degree of stability.” 

The Pivot Didn't Cause China's Misbehavior

By James Holmes
February 4, 2013 

You've pulled a nifty diplomatic hat trick when you convince your main competitor to blame himself for your bad behavior and to consider canceling his opposition to that misbehavior to mollify you! Yet China might pull off such a feat if it protests so long and loudly against the Obama administration's "pivot" to Asia that Washington desists from supporting its allies there. And acting put-upon is a task at which Chinese officials and pundits excel. Once isolated, weaker Asian nations would find it hard if not impossible to buck China's willwhich is precisely the point for Beijing. 

Accordingly, incoming Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry, and the rest of the foreign-policy community should resist being taken in by a meme that's making the rounds among China-watchers. Writing in Foreign Affairs last fall, Boston College professor Robert Ross established himself as the leading spokesman for this school of thought. In a nutshell, analysts of Ross's leanings maintain that Washington's pivot is fanning paranoia in Beijing. It has goaded an increasingly fretful, increasingly jingoistic leadership into acting against weaker neighbors emboldened by U.S. diplomatic and military support. 

War could result should these governments persist in standing up for themselves. Reaffirming its support for Japan, the Philippines, or other Asian partners could embroil the United States in a conflict not of its making and deeply inimical to its interests. Better for Washington to curtail this misbegotten, self-defeating enterprise before things turn ugly in the East China Sea or South China Sea. 

Not Rising, But Rejuvenating: The “Chinese Dream”

February 05, 2013 

By Zheng Wang 

Many talk of China "rising." Chinese view their fortunes as a return to greatness from a "century of humiliation" -- and not a rise from nothing. 

Since taking over as the new leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in November, Xi Jinping has created a heated discussion in China and abroad over his use of the phrase, “Chinese Dream.” In his various public speeches, he has repeatedly emphasized that achieving the Chinese Dream of a "great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation" was his government’s main objective. While this has been applauded enthusiastically at home, people outside of China have struggled to ascertain the precise meaning of Xi’s statement. This is unfortunate because the Chinese Dream is essential for understanding how a “rising” China views itself and its role in the world. Failure to understand its meaning will thus heighten the chances for misunderstanding, with potentially devastating consequences for all parties involved. 

Although outsiders almost always speak of China’s “rise,” the Chinese like to refer to their impressive recent achievements and future planned development as “rejuvenation” (fuxing). The use of that word underscores an important point: the Chinese view their fortunes as a return to greatness and not a rise from nothing. In fact, rejuvenation is deeply rooted in Chinese history and the national experience, especially with regards to the so-called “century of national humiliation” that began with the First Opium War (1839–1842) and lasted through the end of the Sino-Japanese War in 1945. China’s memory of this period as a time when it was attacked, bullied, and torn asunder by imperialists serves as the foundation for its modern identity and purpose. 

China’s People Problem

By Eve Cary 
February 5, 2013 

On January 18th, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced that China’s working age population (ages 15-59) had declined in 2012 by 3.45 million, or 0.6 percent, marking the first decline in working population “in a considerable period of time.” 

The head of NBS, Ma Jiantang, admitted: "I can't deny that I'm worried about this problem.” Indeed, the problem is perhaps more serious than originally thought. HSBC co-head of economics Frederic Neumann commented in the Financial Times, “Most projections . . . estimated that the decline in the working age population would start around the middle of this decade…but [the numbers] show it has already happened, which suggests the decline over the next few decades will be faster than expected.” UN figures showed that China’s total population would start declining after 2030, a number that senior Communist Party officials are now revising to 2020, by which point the China Development Research Foundation estimates that the working age population will decrease by another 29 million. 

This means the end of the demographic dividend, which is a productive advantage brought about by a large labor force and a low dependency ratio–lower numbers of those not in the labor force vs. those in the labor force. China has already begun to see the consequences of a smaller labor force and the end of the demographic dividend. A number of provinces, especially those on the coast, have experienced labor shortages, and have even lobbied the central government to relax the one child policy to alleviate the crunch. A smaller labor force could push even more manufacturing jobs to move to countries like Myanmar, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia, and a change in the dependency ratio poses a significant burden to a country in terms of health care costs (among other social service costs). And China is certainly aging quickly: in 1982, the 60 and over population was 8 percent of the total–a number that has grown to 14.3 percent. It is estimated that China's elderly population will hit 360 million by 2030, from about 200 million in 2013. 

China’s Navy Aims for Transparency

By J. Michael Cole
February 5, 2013 

As it becomes more mature and self-confident, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in recent years has held exercises at sea with increased frequency, and further out in the West Pacific. In 2012 alone, it held seven such drills beyond the first island chain, with surface ships and submarines often passing through channels that lie close to the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islets, its warships have held various drills in waters in Taiwan’s rear. While China seeks to position itself as an ocean-going navy to protect its maritime interests and territorial integrity, its efforts continue for the most part to be marred by a lack of transparency, which only serves to aliment fears with its neighbors. That might be about to change. 

Last week, China embarked on its first naval exercises of 2013, amid rising tensions between Tokyo and Beijing over an island row in the East China Sea. The Chinese Ministry of National Defense announced on January 30 that despite the tensions, it would proceed with a scheduled deep-water series of navy drills in the West Pacific in early February. 

Three vessels from the PLAN’s North Sea Fleet the Type 052 guided-missile destroyer Qingdao, and two Type 054A missile frigates, the Yantai and Yancheng, left the port of Qingdao on January 29th on their way to conduct exercises in the Pacific. State-run Xinhua news agency said the vessels would conduct as many as 20 drills simulating maritime confrontation, open-sea mobile combat, law enforcement missions and open-sea naval commanding, in a large body of international water including the Yellow, East and South China seas, the Miyako Strait, the Bashi Channel, as well as areas north, south and east of Taiwan. 

Erdogan and his generals

Feb 2nd 2013

Turkey and its army

The once all-powerful Turkish armed forces are cowed, if not quite impotent

IMAGINE a country with NATO’s second-largest army that counts Iraq, Iran and Syria as neighbours and is encircled by the Aegean, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean—but has nobody to command its navy. Just such a situation looms in Turkey after this week’s resignation of Admiral Nusret Guner, the number two in the navy who was expected to take over when its incumbent head steps down in August. There are no other qualified candidates, not least because more than half of Turkey’s admirals are in jail, along with hundreds of generals and other officers (both serving and retired), all on charges of plotting to oust Turkey’s mildly Islamist Justice and Development (AK) government. 

Admiral Guner’s resignation came after prosecutors claimed that 75 naval officers being tried for allegedly running a sex-for-secrets ring had planted a spy camera in his teenaged daughter’s bedroom. In an emotional speech the admiral said he believed in his colleagues’ innocence. 

The series of cases known as Ergenekon has left Turkey’s once omnipotent armed forces weak and divided. At last count one in five Turkish generals, including Ilker Basbug, a former chief of the general staff, was behind bars. This ought to be a triumph for Turkish democracy. But the trials are dogged by claims of spiced-up evidence and other discrepancies. 

The families of over 250 defendants given long prison terms in September 2012 in another alleged coup plot, Sledgehammer, are taking their case to the UN Human Rights Council. They insist the evidence was doctored. Independent forensic experts back their claims. Jared Genser, a lawyer based in Washington, DC, who has worked for such luminaries as Vaclav Havel and Desmond Tutu, says he agreed to act for the Sledgehammer defendants because he “firmly believes” in their innocence and because the evidence against them “was demonstrably forged”. 

Burma: Risk in The Golden Land

By Christian Lewis

February 4, 2013

Two years ago this month, Burma’s current government took office amid broad international condemnation for the rigged election replete with fraud and intimidation that put it there. Despite this inauspicious start, Burma politics have opened in the last year and a half, and the country’s economy has liberalized more quickly than any other on earth. 

In many respects, it’s as though the global economy has discovered a new planet, one that is geostrategically located, not to mention rich with natural resources, a young labor force, and a population of roughly 60 million consumers. Uncovering and developing Burma’s vast potential will be expensive and dangerous, requiring an appetite for risk, though structural advantages do set Burma apart from its smaller Southeast Asian neighbors such as Laos and Cambodia. The International Monetary Fund optimistically calls Burma Asia’s “final frontier.” 

Burmese president Thein Sein’s government deserves credit for the country’s ambitious political and economic liberalization program, but there is still a non-negligible risk that Burma’s reform process will fall apart, or serious risk that it will stall. Last week, the Paris Club of donor nations wrote down $6 billion of the $11 billion owed by Burma for development projects dating back to the 1980s, and the multilateral financial institutions and regional development banks received payment from Japan to clear arrears, a prerequisite to new lending. As a result, there will be plenty of opportunities for businesses to capitalize on projects funded by lending programs from international institutions, bilateral subsidized loans, and foreign aid. While the risks from endemic corruption and an erratic, unskilled bureaucracy are real, Burma faces even greater risks from three longstanding tensions. Ethnic conflict, the military’s remaining influence, and the country’s strategic position between spheres of influence could threaten to constrain growth, disrupt stability, and shut the door on political freedom. 


Most of the memorable moments in Burmese politics have been tragedies. Nationwide uprisings led by students in 1974 and 1988 and monks in 2007 were violently crushed by the military. Special Branch Police and the notorious Military Intelligence division had eyes everywhere; no social space was safe. Hushed conversations about politics or the economy became too risky for public spaces, and for private spaces with friends or even family who might not be trustworthy. If Burma had a national character at this time, it was paranoia. Inadvertently, however, this repression has helped to consolidate the ethnically, geographically, and socioeconomically diverse opposition under a single pro-democracy mantle.