9 December 2013

Impending Japan-China war has the makings of a Clancy classic

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/12/07/national/impending-japan-china-war-has-the-makings-of-a-clancy-classic/#.UqV45VM2XIV
Dec 7, 2013 
On Nov. 23, China announced the creation of a newly expanded air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea, overlapping a large expanse of territory also claimed by Japan. The move has produced a visceral reaction in the Japanese vernacular media, particularly the weekly tabloids. Five out of nine weekly magazines that went on sale last Monday and Tuesday contained scenarios that raised the possibility of a shooting war. 

One can only wonder what sort of tale American “techno-thriller” writer Tom Clancy — author of “The Hunt for Red October” (1984, involving the Soviet Union) and “Debt of Honor” (1994, involving Japan) — might have spun from the scenario that’s now unfolding in the East China Sea. 

Alas, Mr. Clancy passed away of an undisclosed illness on Oct. 1, so instead the task has fallen to Japan’s gunji hyōronka (military affairs critics) or gunji jānarisuto (military affairs writers), whose phones have been ringing off the hook. 

First, let’s take Flash (Dec. 17), which ran a “Simulated breakout of war over the Senkakus,” with Mamoru Sato, a former Air Self-Defense Force general, providing editorial supervision. Flash’s scenario has the same tense tone as a Clancy novel, including dialog. On a day in August 2014, a radar operator instructs patrolling F-15J pilots to “scramble north” at an altitude of 65,000 feet to intercept a suspected intruder and proceeds from there. 

Sunday Mainichi (Dec. 15) ran an article headlined “Sino-Japanese war to break out in January.” Political reporter Takao Toshikawa tells the magazine that the key to what happens next will depend on China’s economy. 

“The economic situation in China is pretty rough right now, and from the start of next year it’s expected to worsen,” says Toshikawa. “The real-estate boom is headed for a total collapse and the economic disparities between the costal regions and the interior continue to widen. I see no signs that the party’s Central Committee is getting matters sorted out.” 

Left behind

Pratap Bhanu Mehta :
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/left-behind/1205221/0
Mon Dec 09 2013,The Congress is identified with a tottering, corrupt and incompetent old order.
India has witnessed an unprecedented set of elections. We can torture the statistics till they confess, we can be ingenious in our interpretations, but it would be churlish to deny some broad trends. The first is the triumph of democracy. In response to worries about institutions and cynicism about politics, Indian democracy widened participation and emerged stronger. This is also a riposte to all those who have exaggerated fears about authoritarianism running triumphant over India; unmeaning phrases like emerging middle-class fascism were being dropped far too freely to do justice to Indian democracy. Does this look like a country that will easily give up democracy? Despite occasional ups and downs, in the end, this is a democracy that will make everyone dance to its tune rather than be railroaded by anyone.

But the great churning is now producing stunning new possibilities. There is no question that an anti-Congress wave is gathering momentum. The Congress is identified with a tottering, corrupt and incompetent old order. Incumbent Congress governments not just lost, but lost heavily. It bears reminding Sheila Dikshit and Ashok Gehlot are not disastrous performers in comparative terms. There is something new emerging in how voters judge governance that is hard to describe in simple terms. One element of a post-identity formula was to concentrate on delivering a few schemes well. This is what many successful chief ministers had done well, Dikshit and Gehlot included. But there is also something more ineffable required: the projection of overall being-in-charge and general trustworthiness, and the ability to respond to crises. There is a trigger that is a tipping point in that loss of credibility. Looking back, all the chief ministers who lost will identify such moments, where, despite the good they did, they projected a loss of control. No amount of schemes can overcome the overall loss of credibility.

The Aam Aadmi Party's absolutely spectacular political debut is a reminder that India's progressive moment is ripe for being seized through political creativity and imagination. There will be new experiments with ideas, people and organisational forms. There is now a search for a new politics at many different levels. There is the search for a post-identity politics, which the AAP exemplified. Not only was its vote share spectacular, its cross class and caste basis was also impressive. In a paradoxical turn, the party that was accused of being anti-politics has rejuvenated politics to a degree no one could have imagined. It has reminded us that there is nothing deterministic about politics. It is the traditional conception of politics, with its encrusted commitment to identity and venal interest, that was the real anti-politics. Arvind Kejriwal's decision to contest against Dikshit also demonstrated that politics is all about taking risks. The contrast with Rahul Gandhi could not be starker. It is the risk-averseness of the Congress that makes it look like a fossil; it cannot get rid of its dead weight. The AAP's biggest success has already been to change the tenor of politics. Its presence will force new conversations. Can it make a bigger mark at the national stage? At one level, it is already forcing others to change their game. But the possibility of a bigger role for the AAP should not be discounted. In Delhi, the AAP did not just devour the Congress vote, it also consolidated the floating vote. Even in a state like Rajasthan, this is more than 25 per cent of the electorate, and if it finds a focal point, it will consolidate. But its growing success will delegitimise the Congress more than the BJP.

Indian varsities lag behind in research Bincy Mathew



Published: December 8, 2013
http://www.thehindu.com/features/education/indian-varsities-lag-behind-in-research/article5433479.ece?homepage=true&css=print


Aligarh Muslim University ranks 50


IIT Delhi ranks 37.


Phil Baty








China and Taiwan have taken the top spots in the Times Higher Education Ranking 2014 for universities in BRICS and emerging economies. India has ten of its universities on the list, with Punjab University ranking the highest at 13. PHIL BATY, editor, Times Higher Education Rankings, shares his views on the rankings.

Why was Peking University, China, selected number 1? Did it meet the overall 13 indicators? In which particular indicator does it stand out?

To be really high in these rankings you have to show strong performance across all areas. But Peking University in particular has got the maximum score for industry income. It has been successful in attracting money from industry and businesses for carrying out research and development. The single best indicator in the rankings is the research impact, and here Peking performs pretty well — one of the strongest performances of any university.

A2/AD and Wars of Necessity

http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/a2-ad-wars-necessity-9524?page=show
Sam J. Tangredi |
December 8, 2013

The ongoing and often contentious debate concerning AirSea Battle has focused on whether the concept constitutes an adequate “strategy” for the United States. Moving beyond the simple observations that a concept in itself is not a strategy, and that most aspects of the Pentagon’s AirSea Battle effort remain (at least publicly) unclear, the debate tends to conflate proposals for methods of countered anti-access strategies with the necessary planning for potential wars of necessity. Unlike wars of choice, wars of necessity can’t just hurt America or our economic or political standing in the world—but can literally destroy us. To understand how the debate gets off track requires us to examine, first, the history-spanning strategy that is anti-access warfare, and, second, the reality that anti-access warfare is but one aspect of a much larger planning challenge—how to deter or, if unfortunately necessary, successfully fight a major war against a hoping-to-someday-be-a-near-peer-competitor opponent. Hopefully, the AirSea Battle effort is more about the latter rather than merely the former, as important as it is.

Wars of Necessity

Those number of nations against which we could potentially fight a war of necessity remains mercifully small: China; Iran; North Korea; Russia in the “near abroad” or in the eastern NATO states. Most other conflicts that we could potentially intervene or get drawn into by our own political decisions are indeed wars of choice. Syria, for example, is a humanitarian disaster with tremendous suffering, but if the United States does not intervene, the effects on us remain indirect. At worse, an Assad victory will result in greater Iranian influence in areas where they already have influence. Morality or support for democracy aside, it will not shake our position in this world. This is not to say that it may not be appropriate to intervene, only that we should not build or optimize our armed forces to fight in Syrias. We should optimize our military strength to break through the anti-access networks that will constitute the initial and (if we are successful) dominant operational phase of a war of necessity. Given the relative global military power today and for the immediate future—at least the next twenty years—any war of necessity (and some wars of choice) will require a U.S. capability to defeat anti-access/area-denial weapons and strategies.

What Makes the Concept of Anti-Access Warfare Unique?

Anti-access and area denial are modern terms referring to war-fighting strategies focused on preventing an opponent from operating military forces near, into or within a contested region. Today anti-access and area-denial strategies—sometimes combined as anti-access/area denial or abbreviated as A2/AD—are designated in our national strategic guidance as primary strategic challenges to the international security objectives of the United States and its allies and partners. However, in addition to anti-access and area denial being modern terms and strategic challenges, they are techniques of strategy that have been used throughout military history. They are also historical components of grand strategy, having been used or attempted by Imperial Japan, Argentina after capturing the Falklands/Malvinas, Nazi Germany in the later stages and Great Britain in the opening phases of the Second World War, Ottoman Turkey, Elizabethan England, ancient Greeks versus the Persian Empire, and others. Along with the obvious military aspects, anti-access strategies include political, diplomatic and economic tactics, something that official documents, such as the CJCS Joint Operational Access Concept (JOAC), acknowledge but have not examined.

Iranian Sanctions Easing to Benefit India

A major beneficiary of the Iranian nuclear agreement with the P5+1 powers in Geneva will be – India.
By John Daly
December 07, 2013
http://thediplomat.com/2013/12/iranian-sanctions-easing-to-benefit-india/
Seizing on the potential opening of Iran’s economy and energy sector in light of the easing of international sanctions, on November 26 Indian national security adviser Shivshankar Menon chaired a strategy session with finance, shipping and petroleum ministry senior officials, who focused on India-Iran issues where New Delhi could try to improve relations with Iran. First out the starting gate, India is the first of Iran’s four main buyers to say it is looking to buy more oil from Iran after the agreement in Geneva.

India will investigate purchasing additional oil from Iran over the coming six months covering the Geneva agreement, as well as explore the possibility of joint ventures in Iran’s oil sector. Although the agreement does not allow Iran to increase its oil sales for six months, India has room to ramp up its imports after they fell roughly 40 percent this year to below even what was permitted by sanctions. As a result, earlier this year Iran slipped to third position behind Saudi Arabia and Iraq as India’s supplier of oil imports. Despite this, India and China have remained the top two destinations for Iran’s oil.

While some officials underlined the difficulties in working with the Iranians, Menon reproached them for failing to exploit opportunities with Iran that could be exploited instead by the U.S. and the West once they returned to that country. Underwriting New Delhi’s rising interest in Iran’s energy sector, India is now the world’s fourth largest energy consumer after the United States, China, and Russian Federation. The U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration projects that India and China will account for the biggest share of Asian energy demand growth through 2035. Accordingly, the primary focus of India’s energy policy is securing energy sources to meet the needs of its growing economy, as India’s primary energy consumption more than doubled between 1990 and 2011.

What is not in doubt is that Iran is eager to boost its oil sales to India, which pays 45 percent of its oil payments to Iran in rupees, a valuable source of foreign revenue in light of the increasing pressure from sanctions. The sanctions have increasingly hobbled Iran’s economy. Iran, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, ranks among the world’s top four holders of both proven oil and natural gas reserves, but last year Iran saw unprecedented drops in its oil exports as U.S. and European Union sanctions were tightened, targeting Iranian oil export revenues. Preliminary data compiled by the EIA placed Iran in fifth rank in terms of crude oil and condensate exports, which was in contrast to its third position in 2011.

India shows there can be life beyond the great liberator

Indians call Mandela a true Gandhian. And as South Africa contemplates its future, it could do worse than look to them


Jonathan Freedland in Delhi
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/07/life-beyond-great-liberator-lessons-from-india


Women walk past a sand sculpture paying tribute to Nelson Mandela on the beach at at Puri in eastern India. Photograph: Reuters
There are to be five days of national mourning for Nelson Mandela – not in South Africa, but in India. I know because I happened to wake to the news of his death in Delhi, where the grieving for Mandela is as intense as anywhere outside South Africa. Like so many other nations, the Indians have been quick to claim the great Madiba as their own. "He was a true Gandhian," said prime minister Manmohan Singh, casting the ANC leader as an apostle of non-violence, despite Mandela maintaining his belief in the armed struggle to the end, even restating it on his release from jail in 1990.

You can hardly blame Singh for wanting to see a parallel. India, like post-apartheid South Africa, is a nation whose foundation story tells of a long struggle against oppression – led by a virtual saint – that eventually brought liberation and democracy. That narrative, so cherished in Johannesburg, also endures in Delhi. Indeed, as South Africans contemplate their future, they could do worse than look to the dilemmas now gripping India – and that goes for the rest of us, too.

At first glance, Indian democracy is in rude health. This week I witnessed a record turnout in state-level elections, including 67% in Delhi, as voters jostled to have their say. The young especially were represented in big numbers, either manning the wooden trestle tables outside polling stations or lining up to get their fingers marked with the ink that says they've voted. But don't be misled into thinking that it represents enthusiasm for the current political order.

"All they are corrupt," Abdul Farid, 23 and a student, told me as a crowd of young men gathered to nod their agreement. He wished a plague on both the current houses – the governing Congress party dominated by the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty and the opposition Hindu nationalists of the BJP – and was trying the new Common Man party, active only in the capital and founded by a former tax inspector. But India's pundit class is convinced that the current wave of disenchantment will carry the BJP to power in next spring's general election, deposing Congress after a decade in power.

The immediate explanation for voter disaffection is not hard to fathom. India's economy is slowing: growth that sat regularly at 9% or more is now less than 5%. Prices are up, investment and industrial production are down and wages are static: it's that 1970s throwback, stagflation.

Rising Power India Sees No U.S.-Style Gulf Security Role


By REUTERS
Published: December 7, 2013 at 5:16 PM ET
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2013/12/07/world/middleeast/07reuters-gulf-security-india.html?ref=world&_r=0
MANAMA — Rising naval power India has no intention of becoming a U.S.-style protector of Gulf Arab states, even if the region's states asked it to take on that role, its foreign minister said on Saturday, citing his country's avoidance of foreign military deployments not mandated by the United Nations.
Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid added without elaborating that any effort by fellow Asian powers Japan and China to become a strategic security partner of the Gulf would not necessarily help secure the region, where deployed U.S. forces are currently the dominant military power.

Khurshid was speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of a security conference in Bahrain that debated whether a United States increasingly self reliant in oil might show less commitment to safeguarding the Strait of Hormuz, the world's main energy artery through which 40 percent of the world's sea-borne oil exports pass.

"We have never played the classical role of intervening with military assistance in the same way that the U.S. has been doing," he said.

"Because of the philosophical constraints that we impose on ourselves, we don't see ourselves as a replacement for any other power. We certainly don't believe that the presence of any other power, such as China or Japan, or what have you, would necessarily contribute to the security of the region."

Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel told the meeting on Saturday that the United States has a proven and enduring commitment to Middle East security, backed by diplomatic engagement as well as warplanes, ships, tanks, artillery and 35,000 troop.

Nonetheless, unfamiliar strains have appeared in the relationship between the wealthy states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the United States, partly because a decline in Washington's energy imports from the region has stirred speculation it may reduce its military footprint in the region.

Another reason for strain is progress in negotiations on Iran's dispute nuclear programme, a development that raises the possibility of a rapprochement between the United States and Iran, a country some GCC states view as a troublemaker, after more than 30 years of hostility.

That has led some Gulf Arab analysts and officials to speculate that the GCC states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar are casting around for new security partners, possibly the rising military powers of Asia that have long been the main buyers of oil from the Gulf states.

Khurshid told Reuters India would not play this role, although it would always be ready to help train, exercise and share intelligence with Gulf Arab forces.
Doing military exercises was one thing, he said.

China’s ADIZ and the Japan-US response


 



Japan and the U.S. will need to carefully calibrate their response to China’s new Air Defense Identification Zone.
By Robert Dujarric
December 07, 2013
http://thediplomat.com/2013/12/chinas-adiz-and-the-japan-us-response/
Beijing’s creation of a new Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) is the latest challenge to Japanese control of the Senkaku (Diaoyu) islands. More significantly, it fits into the rollback strategy against the American military dominion in the western Pacific.

The ADIZ move is not confrontational compared to the intrusions of Chinese government vessels into Senkaku territorial waters, although if the PLA Air Force were to take hostile measures in international air space against foreign aircraft, the consequences would be more serious. So far, it has not.

Japan and the United States can respond in several ways. They can take a minimalist approach. This entails refusing to comply with the ADIZ for military and official (such as coast guard) aircraft, but otherwise abstaining from action. A maximalist approach would make life harder for Chinese airlines in Japan and the U.S. (inspections, delays at immigration, tedious security checks for the crews), embargoing critical U.S.-made spare parts for Chinese Boeing and Airbus jetliners, and so forth.

If the Chinese Communist Party is on a warpath against what it sees as an American empire in decadent decline, harsh countermeasures are needed to make it obvious that the U.S. and its partners won’t cave. If China is not about to start a fight, then there is no need to add fuel to the fire. Unfortunately, Clausewitz’ insight that “three quarters of the factors on which action in war is based are wrapped in a fog of greater or lesser uncertainty” applies to diplomacy as well. The Prussian thinker continued, calling for a “A sensitive and discriminating judgment (…) to scent out the truth.”

Behind China’s Cyber Curtain Visiting the country's far reaches, where the government shut down the Internet

DECEMBER 5, 2013
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115709/chinas-aba-county-where-government-shut-internet
BY CHRISTOPHER BEAM

On the bus ride from Chengdu, the teeming capital of Sichuan Province, to Aba County in northern Sichuan, my cell phone signal flickered in and out. The ten-hour journey winds through some of China’s most dramatic landscapes, from conifer hills to sprawling red plains backdropped by snowy mountains—not exactly mobile-friendly terrain. The 2008 Sichuan earthquake made things worse, paralyzing phone networks that in some areas have been spotty ever since. But as we approached Aba County, something changed. I stopped getting messages on WeChat and QQ, China’s most popular mobile apps. My Instagram feed wouldn’t refresh. When I tried to load e-mail, an error occurred: “Could not authenticate cellular data network: PDP authentication failure.” I still had a signal—the little 3G icon was there and everything. But the signal didn’t seem to contain any data.

China is famous for its Great Firewall, an Internet censorship program designed to filter the results of politically sensitive search terms and block certain websites—Facebook and Twitter and The New York Times are all off-limits. But venture into Aba County, about 300 miles from the Tibetan border, and you encounter information control of a different order. Here, the government has taken the nuclear option and turned the Internet off altogether.

Aba was first stripped of its connection in 2008, after riots in Tibet led to unrest in this place known for its wide grasslands and Buddhist monasteries. Both mobile phone signals and the Web have been erratic ever since, coming back for months at a time only to disappear again, usually after a Tibetan monk sets him or herself on fire in protest. For example, the Internet returned last December and January and then, according to residents, disappeared again in February. With politically charged “incidents” occurring as recently as September, no one knows when—or if—the information blackout will end for good.
He knew that I knew that he knew, but neither of us felt like we could mention it.

As our bus pulled into Aba station, I saw the usual hallmarks of a small Chinese town: a main drag lined with freshly painted three-story buildings, ornate yet cheap-looking hotels, hole-in the-wall dumpling shops, tractors everywhere. But there were also differences. Colorful prayer flags hung down from building facades, and signs were written in both Mandarin and Tibetan script, a reflection of the county’s 90 percent Tibetan population. A Chinese national flag flew from every lamppost, as if to remind us all where we were. Every twentieth vehicle or so was a police car.

Maybe a little more paranoid than necessary—but not a lot more—I put up my hoodie so as not to advertise my blond hair and big nose, and hopped into a three-wheeled vehicle to meet my host, a garrulous 22-year-old named Shuangquan Zou. Over tea, he told me that he arrived in Aba last year and found the transition jarring. He had missed some big announcements—his friends threw a huge graduation party without him, because he never saw the invitation—and had trouble keeping in touch. Relationships, he explained, become stratified by communications tools: There are close friends and family, whom you call; less intimate friends, whom you text; then still less intimate ones, whom you message on QQ or WeChat. Removing social media doesn’t mean you start texting and calling those less intimate friends. It just means you lose touch. The lack of Internet also affects how people hang out. From what I saw, group conversations almost never devolved into silent collective phone-staring sessions. But they were constantly interrupted by phone calls, which the receiver always answered.

Time To Get Tough With China



By Leslie H. Gelb
December 8th 2013
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/12/08/time-to-get-tough-with-china.html

Vice President Biden cooled tensions in his talks with Chinese leaders, but many in Asia and the U.S. now question whether that’s the right course.

“We’re being too soft on China”—such are the increasingly audible whispers of an ever mounting number of China’s neighbors and U.S. foreign policy experts. They are still mostly whispering because of the enormity of such a change in policy direction. And they certainly don’t wish to trigger crises. But they do feel that the U.S. needs to get tougher with Beijing. To them, China unilaterally asserts its rights and demands, doesn’t budge, wears everyone down, waits and waits until everyone shrugs and goes along. Vice President Joe Biden handled his visit with Chinese rulers in the traditional manner: that is, he was strong in defending American values and concerns, but always far short of confrontation. And perhaps, Chinese leaders mistook his care as weakness. Perhaps they’ve seen this as weakness all along.

Or as Winston Lord, a former ambassador to China, put it: “The Chinese do not shy from provocation and count on eventual foreign forebearance. It is time to parry this pattern and be willing to risk some dustups."

Such commentary on the Biden visit did not rise above murmurs here and there. Those pushing for a tougher line toward China realize such a policy shift takes time, and can’t be decided upon in the space of a week or so, the time it took to digest China’s imposition of its new Air Defense Identification Zone or ADIZ over the disputed islands in the East China Sea. If Washington is to adopt a tougher stance toward Beijing, it needs a lot of methodical calculation. And U.S. diplomats would have to ensure beforehand that Asian nations would follow suit, so that Washington did not string itself out alone. The Obama administration is not near such a policy departure. And so, Biden deftly carried out his prescribed paces, perhaps disturbing no one greatly beyond the Japanese. Japan is less and less inclined to let Beijing push it around. In this regard, they’re out in front of the U.S. government, but they are not alone.

With Iran, Obama can end America’s long war for the Middle East

By Andrew J. Bacevich, Published: December 6
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/with-iran-obama-can-end-americas-long-war-for-the-middle-east/2013/12/06/4ab56fd4-5c3e-11e3-95c2-13623eb2b0e1_print.html

Andrew J. Bacevich is a professor of history and international relations at Boston University and the author of “Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country.”

What Jimmy Carter began, Barack Obama is ending. Washington is bringing down the curtain on its 30-plus-year military effort to pull the Islamic world into conformity with American interests and expectations. It’s about time.

Back in 1980, when his promulgation of the Carter Doctrine launched that effort, Carter acted with only a vague understanding of what might follow. Yet circumstance — the overthrow of the shah in Iran, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan — compelled him to act. Or more accurately, the domestic political uproar triggered by those events compelled the president, facing a tough reelection campaign, to make a show of doing something. What ensued was the long-term militarization of U.S. policy throughout the region.

Now, without fanfare, President Obama is effectively revoking Carter’s doctrine. The U.S. military presence in the region is receding. When Obama posited in his second inaugural address that “enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war,” he was not only recycling a platitude; he was also acknowledging the folly and futility of the enterprise in which U.S. forces had been engaged. Having consumed vast quantities of blood and treasure while giving Americans little to show in return, that enterprise is now ending.

Like Carter in 1980, Obama finds himself with few alternatives. At home, widespread anger, angst and mortification obliged Carter to begin girding the nation to fight for the greater Middle East. To his successors, Carter bequeathed a Pentagon preoccupied with ramping up its ability to flex its muscles anywhere from Egypt to Pakistan. The bequest proved a mixed blessing, fostering the illusion that military muscle, dexterously employed, might put things right. Today, widespread disenchantment with the resulting wars and quasi-wars prohibits Obama from starting new ones.

Successive military disappointments, not all of Obama’s making, have curbed his prerogatives as commander in chief. Rather than being the decider, he ratifies decisions effectively made elsewhere. In calling off a threatened U.S. attack on Syria, for example, the president was acknowledging what opinion polls and Congress (not to mention the British Parliament ) had already made plain: Support for any further military adventures to liberate or pacify Muslims has evaporated. Americans still profess to love the troops. But they’ve lost their appetite for war.

Two centuries ago, the Duke of Wellington remarked that “nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won.” In our day, great battles are rare, while wars have become commonplace. Victory, meanwhile, seems a lost art. Nothing is half so melancholy as to compare the expectations informing recent American wars when they began — Enduring Freedom! — with the outcomes actually achieved. So in Obama’s Washington, moralism is out, and with good reason. Only nations with a comfortable surfeit of power can permit themselves the luxury of allowing moral considerations to shape basic policy.

'There Is a Clash of Civilizations'



12/06/2013
French Philosopher Finkielkraut
Interview Conducted by Mathieu von Rohr and Romain Leick

French society is under threat, argues philosopher Alain Finkielkraut in a controversial new book. The conservative spoke to SPIEGEL about what he sees as the failure of multiculturalism and the need for better integration of Muslim immigrants.

Alain Finkielkraut is one of France's most controversial essayists. His new book, "L'Identité Malheureuse" ("The Unhappy Identity," Éditions Stock ), has been the subject of heated debate. It comes at a time when France finds itself in the midst of an identity crisis. But rather than framing things from a social or political perspective, Finkielkraut explores what he sees as a hostile confrontation between indigenous French people and immigrants. He was interviewed in his Parisian apartment on the Left Bank. SPIEGEL: Mr. Finkielkraut, are you unhappy with today's France?

Finkielkraut: I am pained to see that the French mode of European civilization is threatened. France is in the process of transforming into a post-national and multicultural society. It seems to me that this enormous transformation does not bring anything good.

SPIEGEL: Why is that? Post-national and multicultural sounds rather promising.

Finkielkraut: It is presented to us as the model for the future. But multiculturalism does not mean that cultures blend. Mistrust prevails, communitarianism is rampant -- parallel societies are forming that continuously distance themselves from each other.

SPIEGEL: Aren't you giving in here to the right-wingers' fears of demise?

Finkielkraut: The lower middle classes -- the French that one no longer dares to call Français de souche (ethnic French) -- are already moving out of the Parisian suburbs and farther into the countryside. They have experienced that in some neighborhoods they are the minority in their own country. They are not afraid of the others, but rather of becoming the others themselves.

SPIEGEL: But France has always been a country of immigrants.

Finkielkraut: We are constantly told that immigration is a constitutive element of the French identity. But that's not true. Labor migration began in the 19th century. It was not until after the bloodletting of World War I that the borders were largely opened.

SPIEGEL: Immigration has had more of a formative influence on France than on Germany.

Finkielkraut: Immigration used to go hand-in-hand with integration into French culture. That was the rule of the game. Many of the new arrivals no longer want to play by that rule. If the immigrants are in the majority in their neighborhoods, how can we integrate them? There used to be mixed marriages, which is crucial to miscegenation. But their numbers are declining. Many Muslims in Europe are re-Islamizing themselves. A woman who wears the veil effectively announces that a relationship with a non-Muslim is out of the question for her.

SPIEGEL: Aren't many immigrants excluded from mainstream society primarily for economic reasons?

Finkielkraut: The left wanted to resolve the problem of immigration as a social issue, and proclaimed that the riots in the suburbs were a kind of class struggle. We were told that these youths were protesting against unemployment, inequality and the impossibility of social advancement. In reality we saw an eruption of hostility toward French society. Social inequality does not explain the anti-Semitism, nor the misogyny in the suburbs, nor the insult "filthy French." The left does not want to accept that there is a clash of civilizations.

Britain has an ethnic problem: the English

Doug Saunders

The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Dec. 07 2013,
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/britain-has-an-ethnic-problem-the-english/article15792740/

Let’s face it: Britain has an ethnic problem. Its patchwork of peoples, once the envy of the world, has become frayed, its harmony devolving into anger and xenophobia. And, we should be honest, the problem is rooted in one ethnic group – one large but troubled people who are failing to integrate into modern postindustrial society.

While some of its more ambitious members have found success in politics and business, this community is falling behind educationally and economically as a whole, self-segregating into ethnic enclaves, becoming increasingly prone to violence, rioting and substance abuse. More troubling, in recent years they have begun to vote for ethnic extremist parties that threaten to undermine basic British values.

Who are these people? The English. Once a tolerant, welcoming people who thrived in scholarship and commerce, they have become a drag on British society.

They have become Britain’s problem group. Government figures show that “white English” students are now outperformed in school results by British children of Bangladeshi, Ghanaian, Indian, Sierra Leonean, Chinese, Sri Lankan, Vietnamese and Nigerian ancestry.

This was not always the case: A decade ago, it seemed as if Britons with darker skin colours were trapped behind the English in education and income. But it’s all changed: In 2009, Bangladeshi-British kids soared ahead of the English; black African kids caught up with them in 2010 and Pakistani kids are on course to pass them this year.

Unlike the island’s other ethnic groups, low-income members of the English community seem determined to stay poor and uneducated. Britain’s Department of Education has published figures listing how many low-income children achieved passing grades in secondary school in 2012. Sixty per cent of black African and Bangladeshi students did, about half of Pakistanis and black Caribbean kids did, 40 per cent of Indians did – and only three in 10 “white British” (mainly English) kids did, putting them at the bottom of the list.

Capitalism: The Right Way to Promote Democracy

Zachary Keck


 
If the U.S. is going to promote democracy, it has a moral responsibility to get better at it.

By Zachary Keck
December 07, 2013
http://thediplomat.com/2013/12/capitalism-the-right-way-to-promote-democracy/

One of America’s top foreign policy goals, particularly since the end of the Cold War, has been promoting democracy across the world. In the minds of American foreign policy elites, there are both moral and strategic imperatives for spreading democracy.

Regarding the former, Westerners in general, and Americans in particular, believe that liberal democracies are morally superior to other forms of government. As for the strategic rationale, American elites point to the fact that liberal democracies don’t go to war with one another, even if they aren’t any less warlike (and may be more warlike) when interacting with non-democracies. One can quibble with these rationales, but they are deeply held by American elites and, to a much lesser extent, Americans in general. Thus, as Suellen Aguiar pointed out on The Diplomat this week, the U.S. is likely to continue promoting democracy despite the setbacks it has encountered in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But if the American foreign policy community is going to continue trying to promote democracy, it must come to terms with one simple irony: it has become less successful at spreading democracy even as it has made democracy promotion a greater priority in U.S. foreign policy.

Although it held itself up as the leader of the free world during the Cold War, the U.S. was much more willing to stand by non-democratic governments so long as they were not communists and promised an iota of stability. Furthermore, when democracy and stability were at odds, the Cold War-era United States was usually more willing to side with the latter. Although the U.S. today still supports its fair share of non-democratic governments, its tolerance for them has lessened.

At the same time, the U.S. has become less successful at promoting democracy in the post-Cold War era. Consider that, throughout the course of the Cold War, nearly all of Western Europe and Eastern Asia became shining examples of democracy. By contrast, America’s experiments in democracy today are more likely to end in anarchy than democracy.

Here’s What the Army Thinks War Will Look Like in 2030

Stephanie Gaskell December 5, 2013

http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2013/12/heres-what-army-thinks-war-will-look-2030/74969/?oref=d-interstitial-continue
Even with new innovations and evolving threats, the Army’s vision of what war might look like and the challenges they would face in the year 2030 isn’t all that different than today.

Army leaders recently conducted a “deep future” war game to play out a military conflict 15 years from now, coined “Unified Quest,” and held at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pa. Defense One was invited to listen in as dozens of Army brass and civilian and foreign counterparts conducted an after-action review at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.
Stephanie Gaskell is associate editor and senior reporter for Defense One. She previously covered the Pentagon for Politico. Gaskell has covered war, politics and breaking news for nearly 20 years, including at the Associated Press, the New York Post and the New York Daily News. She has reported ... Full Bio

Here’s the scenario they used: There’s been a chemical attack inside the United States and the terrorists responsible for the deadly attack are from a nuclear-armed landlocked nation surrounded by some less-than-supportive neighbors.

The U.S. military has strong ties with one of the enemy’s bordering neighbors, who also happens to have a port, and through a “coalition of willing” and a U.N. Security Council vote approving military action, others bordering nations offer access as well. The Marines swoop in, followed by several divisions of a now smaller Army. Navy ships steam toward the region.

The U.S. is still facing budget constraints in 2030 and the Army and is leaner, “doing more with less,” but there have been investments in new innovations on the battlefield in the Army’s “best-case” scenario. There are ground combat vehicles that weigh just 30 tons, helicopters that can fly faster and longer, extended-range missiles and ammunition with advanced sensors, hybrid-powered rechargeable equipment and a massive vertical lift aircraft capable of moving an entire battalion.

It takes the Army just five days to get in. Their mission is to secure and stabilize the enemy’s cache of chemical weapons. There’s plenty of combat, but within 24 days, there’s a cease-fire and the WMDs are secured, yet the enemy regime remained in power. (The war game ended there and did not address whether U.S. soldiers stayed to hold their gains or do any post-conflict nation-building operations or simply turned around and went home.) There were major shortages of fuel, however, and being lighter and more maneuverable paid off at first, but the Army’s tail quickly became difficult to build and sustain.

That was one scenario.

But knowing that most of these imagined and costly new weapons and vehicles are unlikely to debut on the battlefield in the next years, the Army simultaneously war gamed a second 2030 scenario without their wish list. The results were markedly different. This time, the Army took four weeks to enter the imaginary country, and after 85 days of combat, the WMDs were lost.

What’s interesting to note is that the enemy the Army sees itself fighting at all. Despite the Pentagon’s much-touted pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, the Army’s future adversary resembles Syria and Pakistan more than China or North Korea. The 2030 war game isn’t all that different from what unfolded this summer as President Obama stared down the Assad regime after it used chemical weapons. While there was never a threat of putting American boots on the ground and no direct attack against the United States, many of the challenges are the same.