1 September 2015

Time to move from posturing to dialogue

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani Counterpart Nawaz Sharif at the Ufa meet.

The Pakistani leadership and its establishment need to realise that with the arrival of Prime Minister Modi on the scene, they need to revise their foreign policy template towards India.

Every sane individual — both in India and Pakistan — is convinced that it spite of the acrimony and decades of mistrust, it is in the strategic interest of both these nations to live in peace and friendship. With a common geography, heritage, culture and language, good relations and harmony should come naturally to the two neighbours but it seems that the baggage of Partition continues to dominate our thinking and actions.

Over the decades, there have been numerous efforts to hold a ‘meaningful dialogue and discuss all outstanding issues’ but with almost zero results. Even during the most recent meeting between the two Prime Ministers at Ufa in Russia, emphasis was again on discussing all outstanding issues but the so called dialogue collapsed even before it began.

What is the reason for the failure of the so-called dialogue process, even though in almost all such attempts in the past, each dialogue process was based on a common understanding about the broad objectives to be achieved?

Charting a new Asian history

September 1, 2015

Rich dividends in terms of peace and development can be reaped if India and China work together to synergise the proposed regional cooperation projects that interconnect Bangladesh, Pakistan and other neighbouring countries.

All history is geographically located and influenced. Similarly, all geography is shaped, defined and redefined by history. This is evident not only from world history but also from the history of Asia — the glory of old Asia, its decline in colonial times, and its more recent rise again.

The dialectic between history and geography manifests itself through the interplay of three factors — geopolitical, geo-economic and geo-cultural/civilisational. In the case of Asia, for nearly three centuries, the geopolitical and geo-economic realities were negatively impacted by Europe and the West in general. However, that is largely a thing of the past. Asia has begun to write its own destiny now. The 20th century was marked by Asia’s liberation from colonial rule and imperialist subjugation. The history of the 21st century will chiefly be the story of Asia’s rise, a process that is already underway in some parts of the continent. The other underdeveloped parts of Asia, especially in South Asia and South-East Asia, are craving to become a part of this story.

Is India really an emerging power?

August 30, 2015

The writer is a former caretaker finance minister and served as vice-president at the World Bank
Narendra Modi, the Hindu nationalist, inspired the Indian electorate to hand him an unprecedented victory in the elections of May 2014. His Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won a majority in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian parliament. He was able to form a government without any support from outside the BJP. The voters bought his rhetoric in the campaign.

Modi had done well in the state of Gujarat in India’s west, which he had led for a dozen years as its chief minister. The state had a well-deserved reputation for entrepreneurship. With the private sector in the lead, Modi’s state had performed better than the rest of India, and done so by a wide margin. He promised to bring the Gujarat model to New Delhi and the electorate believed him. Late last May, he was installed as prime minister in a ceremony performed not inside an office, as was the custom, but outside in the open with thousands of admirers watching. Among those who attended the well-choreographed ceremony, were the heads of state and governments from the Saarc nations. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also attended. Modi had begun well.

1965 War: Ceasefire and Tashkent Agreement

By Gen KV Krishna Rao
31 Aug , 2015

The Secretary General of the United Nations, U. Thant, had been endeavouring ever since the Pakistani infiltration started into Jammu and ‘Kashmir on August 5, to bring the fighting to an end and to have the Ceasefire Line respected by both sides. In his Report to the Security Council on September 3, he stated that on the advice of General Nimmo, the Chief Military Observer, he summoned the representatives of both sides separately.

He asked the Pakistani representative to convey to his Government, his “very serious concern about the situation that was developing in Kashmir, involving the crossing of the CFL from the Pakistan side by numbers of armed men and their attacks on military positions on the Indian side of the line, and also his strong appeal that the CFL be observed”. He asked the Indian representative to convey to his Government, “my urgent appeal for restraint as regards any retaliatory action from their side”. Subsequently, the Secretary General reported that he was unable to get necessary assurance from Pakistan, but received an assurance from the Indian representative’ that India would act with restraint and respect the CFL, if Pakistan did so.

Call for a Native Indian Military Doctrine

By Lt Gen Gautam Banerjee
31 Aug , 2015

It is historically recognised that the conduct of war has much to do with intellect, creativity and initiative. From this angle, it is imperative to devote attention towards the conceptual inquisition of the strategic complexions of warfare that may confront the Indian defence forces in the coming years. There are fundamental disputes in the neighbourhood, and even if it takes two to fight, just one is enough to start it. India, therefore, has no choice but to be ready to secure herself with the available and affordable resources. A new-look Doctrine may just help her do that.

“Organisations created to fight the last war better are not going to win the next.” —General James M Gavin

If the nation’s political leadership is unable to set its military goals, professionals cannot leave the matter in a limbo…

Native Military Theology

Indo-Pak War 1965: Are Commemorations Due?

By Lt Gen JS Bajwa
28 Aug , 2015

“We live in a wondrous time, in which the strong is weak because of his scruples and the weak grows strong because of his audacity.” —German Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck.

Fifty years ago, Pakistan muddied the waters by initiating a spate of belligerent actions in the area of Rann of Kutch that led to a war between India and Pakistan on the former’s Western borders. India claims it was the victor. Equally vociferous is Pakistan’s claim to victory. Neutral military historians grade it as a ‘stalemate’. How is victory measured – by the political objectives achieved, or territory captured or by equipment and wherewithal destroyed and captured or by tactical and operational level military victory? One needs to dispassionately analyse these to come to a conclusion.

A limited war to wrest Kashmir was likely to bear fruit before India had completed full augmentation of its forces in the wake of the 1962 debacle…

Ignorance of military matters in modern India

By Col Gopal Karunakaran
29 Aug , 2015

I Love the Indian Army – but I must leave Now!
I stumbled into the Indian Army in the late seventies. The School which admitted us mid-session, when we returned from Singapore, where my father had a brief teaching stint at the Singapore University, was The Army Public School, Dhaula Kuan. With teenage sons of Army officers as friends, it was natural to apply to join the National Defence Academy. A friend filled my form and even paid the application fee. I wasn’t serious at all of pursuing a career in the military – much like Hrithik Roshan in Lakshya. I saw a movie with my friends, after each of the four NDA entrance papers, and argued with my father when he questioned me on my lack of commitment to the exam.

Are we as a nation doing enough to ensure that we have the best men and systems in place to guard our sovereignty and security interests?

Modernisation of the Indian Infantry

By Lt Gen Prakash Katoch
30 Aug , 2015

It is important to note that in 21st century conflict situations not only will operations be increasingly inter-agency involving greater applications of ‘all elements of national power’, but our adversaries will also endeavour to employ hi-tech irregular forces against us. If we can achieve soldier modernisation within the Security Sector and network this cutting edge at the national level, we can be sure to win future conflict situations. Modernisation of the infantry has not been given its due in past decades. This must be treated as an ‘emergent’ requirement in consideration of the emerging threats within and surrounding the country especially considering the rate at which terrorists are achieving sophistication.

Advancements in science and technology are converting fiction to reality. This, coupled with advent of space wars, cyber, laser, plasma, electro-magnetic and precision guided munitions tend to make armies forget the infantryman – big ticket weapon systems overshadowing the cutting edge foot soldier. Having invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, US forces discovered this and underwent course correction post an army level study focused on this very issue.

Advancements in science and technology are converting fiction to reality…

1965 War: Ceasefire and Tashkent Agreement

By Gen KV Krishna Rao
31 Aug , 2015

The Secretary General of the United Nations, U. Thant, had been endeavouring ever since the Pakistani infiltration started into Jammu and ‘Kashmir on August 5, to bring the fighting to an end and to have the Ceasefire Line respected by both sides. In his Report to the Security Council on September 3, he stated that on the advice of General Nimmo, the Chief Military Observer, he summoned the representatives of both sides separately.

He asked the Pakistani representative to convey to his Government, his “very serious concern about the situation that was developing in Kashmir, involving the crossing of the CFL from the Pakistan side by numbers of armed men and their attacks on military positions on the Indian side of the line, and also his strong appeal that the CFL be observed”. He asked the Indian representative to convey to his Government, “my urgent appeal for restraint as regards any retaliatory action from their side”. Subsequently, the Secretary General reported that he was unable to get necessary assurance from Pakistan, but received an assurance from the Indian representative’ that India would act with restraint and respect the CFL, if Pakistan did so.

India’s Sub-Conventional Warfare Deficit

By Special Correspondent
28 Aug , 2015

National security strategies should aim at the creation of national and international political conditions favourable to the protection or extension of vital national values against existing and potential adversaries. Unfortunately, in spite of having been subjected to terrorism for over three decades, neither have we defined a national security strategy nor discussed how to go about establishing credible deterrence to Pakistan’s proxy war. We have failed to acknowledge the strategic significance of sub-conventional warfare. In today’s world, one cannot guard one’s house without patrolling the streets, no matter what barricades are erected.

For the umpteenth time, Pakistan’s proxy war was at display on December 05, 2014, in the Kashmir Valley through three almost simultaneous terrorist strikes including one targeting an army camp in Uri. To count the number of terrorist incidents India has faced over the past three decades, is a mathematical exercise, but India is presently at the sixth position on the Global Terrorism Index 2014 and as per the US State Department, India suffers two per cent of the global casualties on account of terrorism annually albeit having 17.5 per cent of world population. What is more significant is that we are being subjected to sub-conventional war by both Pakistan and China including through territories of our neighbouring countries.

Afghan Forces Retake Musa Qala District in Helmand Province from Taliban

August 30, 2015

Afghan Forces Regain Control of a Symbolic District in South

LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan — Afghan government forces, backed by NATO air strikes, have regained control of a key district in volatile Helmand province after days of fierce fighting with Taliban insurgents, provincial officials said on Sunday.

The fall of Musa Qala in Helmand to the Taliban on Wednesday put government forces under more pressure than at any time since most NATO combat troops withdrew at the end of last year, with no sign of violence abating.

Helmand province in the south has seen some of the fiercest battles over the course of the war that began almost 14 years ago. British forces lost more than 400 men trying to defeat the Taliban and some 350 U.S. Marines were also killed there.

“A comprehensive operation led by chief of the army staff, managed to retake Musa Qala in which 220 enemies were killed and wounded,” Afghanistan’s defense ministry said in a statement.

U.S. Wants Pakistan to Do More to Combat Terrorism

Saeed Shah
August 30, 2015

Rice to Press Pakistan on Antiterror Vigilance

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—U.S. national security adviser Susan Rice is set to arrive in Pakistan on Sunday to press the country’s government to do more to prevent terrorists from using its territory as a base for attacks on its neighboring states, an American official said.

Washington has warned Pakistan that its stands to lose $300 million in military aid if it doesn’t step up efforts to combat the Haqqani network, an Afghan insurgent group that U.S. officials says is based in Pakistan and has close ties to Islamabad’s military intelligence agency.

The Haqqani network is blamed by U.S. and Afghan intelligence for a series of bombings in Kabul earlier in August.

Ms. Rice is due to meet with Pakistan’s top civilian and military leadership for discussion that will include “terrorist and militant attacks emanating from Pakistani soil,” the U.S. official said.

Xi's Military Parade Fans Unease in Region Already Wary of China

David Tweed
August 31, 2015

As Xi Jinping presides over thousands of goose-stepping troops marching down Beijing’s Changan Avenue -- or “Eternal Peace Street” -- on Thursday, the Chinese president will also proclaim his commitment to the world’s peaceful development.

It’s a message China’s neighbors may find hard to swallow as it flexes its military muscle from the East China Sea to the Indian Ocean. The parade marking the 70th anniversary of World War II’s end -- or “Victory of the Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War" -- will put on display much of what has frayed nerves throughout the region.

The first-of-its-kind victory celebration will show the world the military might Xi has put at the center of his Chinese Dream for national rejuvenation. The pageant will feature 12,000 soldiers, almost 200 of China’s latest aircraft and mobile ballistic missile launchers capable of delivering nuclear warheads to the continental U.S.

Can President Xi's September Visit Save US-China Relations?

August 29, 2015

U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice arrived in China on Friday for a two-day visit expected to finalize preparations for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States in September. On Friday, Rice met with Xi as well as with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and General Fan Changlong, a vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission.

According to the White House, on her visit, Rice will “underscore the United States’ commitment to building a more productive relationship between our two countries as well as discuss areas of difference in advance of President Xi’s state visit to the United States in September.”

Chinese Airlines Are in It for the Long Haul

By Marc Szepan
August 28, 2015

Amid turmoil in China’s stock market and concerns about the health of the Chinese economy, bullish views on China’s long-term prospects appear refreshingly contrarian. Earlier this week, Boeing released its latest market outlook, which forecasts China’s domestic air travel market to become the largest in the world and China’s commercial aircraft fleet to almost triple by 2034. This opportunity for Western – and indeed Chinese – aircraft manufacturers, however, represents a significant competitive challenge for Western airlines.

Boeing’s View of the Chinese Market

Once a year Boeing updates its Current Market Outlook (CMO), which forecasts the development of the global aviation industry and global aircraft demand 20 years into the future. In its latest CMO for the years from 2015 through 2034, Boeing remains optimistic about the long-term development of the Chinese economy in general and China’s domestic aircraft demand in particular. For China, Boeing expects annual GDP growth of 5.6 percent and growth rates for passenger traffic and airfreight of 6.6 percent and 7 percent respectively, making China the world’s largest domestic air travel market. Boeing forecasts this growth to result in almost tripling China’s domestic commercial aircraft fleet, from 2,570 aircraft in 2014 to 7,210 aircraft in 2034. Including replacements for retired aircraft, this growth is forecasted to generate a net demand of 6,330 aircraft with a market value of $950 billion. China’s domestic widebody fleet is projected to grow from 460 aircraft in 2014 to 1,680 aircraft in 2034 or from about 18 percent to 23 percent of China’s total domestic aircraft fleet.

China’s Economic Slowdown Ups Global Risks

August 27, 2015

A strong rally today notwithstanding, China’s stock shock has wiped trillions of dollars from market valuations, triggering the biggest correction in global markets since the European sovereign debt crisis of 2011. For sharemarket “bears” though, it is only the latest in the numerous risks facing a sluggish global economy.

After a “Black Monday” in which global stockmarkets, currencies, commodities and bonds all felt the impact of Beijing’s bearishness, Tuesday’s intervention by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) helped to stem further losses on overseas markets. The PBOC cut the reserve requirement ratio and benchmark interest rates, responding to its sharemarket rout as well another disappointing reading on manufacturing, which last week fell to a six-year low.

Yet despite calls for further monetary easing, analysts such as the Australian Financial Review’s Angus Grigg said the Chinese Communist Party appeared more interested in “what shiny weapons they’ll show off at next month’s military parade in Beijing.”

Is China Getting Ready to Develop the World's Fastest Plane?

August 28, 2015

China’s military over the last twenty years has worked at breakneck speed to develop weapons platforms that have created a certain amount of concern in capitals all over Asia and in Washington. And if reports prove correct, Beijing might be able to add one more military marvel to its list of accomplishments—the world’s fastest plane.

According to various reports, China is planning to develop a domestically crafted turbofan ramjet engine. Such an engine—at least in theory—could be the foundation for a jet faster than the legendary U.S. SR-71 spyplane, the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft, retired in the late 1990s.

“An Aug. 25 report in Beijing-based newspaper China Aviation News praised the engine division of Xi'an-based aeronautic and aerospace firm AVIC Qingan Group for its achievements in several projects, raising speculation that China may be preparing to develop an aircraft with a higher speed than the US Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird strategic reconnaissance aircraft, according to Shanghai-based news web portal New Outlook.

China and America: The Disputes Also Matter

August 30, 2015
In his National Interest article of Aug. 26, China’s ambassador to America, Cui Tiankai, correctly points out that the U.S.-China relationship encompasses extensive cooperation across a broad spectrum of activities, including trade, education, combating climate change, and managing global peace and stability. Indeed, the bilateral relationship is mostly about cooperation. Yet, tragically, the relatively narrow sector of U.S.-China strategic disagreements threatens to overwhelm the relationship as a whole. Ironically, Cui’s plea for managing these disagreements unintentionally demonstrates how intractable they are.

In a prescription for “finding solutions” on “controversial issues” that divide Beijing and Washington, Cui makes three points.


AUGUST 31, 2015

President Obama has often stated, regarding Iran’s potential nuclear weapons ambitions, that “all options are and will remain on the table” and that the United States would be able to deal with such an eventuality because “we preserve all our capabilities … our military superiority stays in place.” Administration officials have likewise claimed that the inspection regime agreed to in the nuclear deal with Iran would increase America’s insight into Iran’s declared nuclear infrastructure, greatly enhancing the effectiveness of a military strikeshould it someday be deemed necessary.

Further scrutiny, however, raises questions regarding whether political and military dynamics set in train by the nuclear deal with Iran will in fact make preventive military action an even more problematic, and therefore unlikely, option for the United States.

How Restraint Leads to War


President Obama argues that his nuclear agreement with Iran means “every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off.” He says, moreover, that it sets the stage to “incentivize them to behave differently in the region, to be less aggressive, less hostile, more cooperative, to operate the way we expect nations in the international community to behave.” It will be “a lot easier,” he predicts, “to check Iran’s nefarious activities, to push back against the other areas where they operate contrary to our interests or our allies’ interests if they don’t have the bomb.”

The approach is a signature feature of Obama’s foreign policy. He has counted on diplomacy in a whole host of other areas to reduce tensions and preempt military conflict. And this approach has failed him repeatedly.
He reset relations with Russia—and Moscow annexed Crimea and invaded eastern Ukraine. He launched a strategic partnership with China—and Beijing occupied and built military installations on disputed islands in the East and South China Seas. He extended an open hand to the Muslim world—and radical Islam erupted. Will the agreement with Iran be the next Obama initiative to invite more violence rather than less?

The Iran Deal & the Missile Threat

August 30, 2015

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran Deal, includes far more than just an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program. One of the most crucial provisions is the cessation of ballistic missile embargoes against Iran 8 years after the JCPOA goes into effect. The implications of this provision will prove to be dire regardless of whether or not Iran chooses to go nuclear.

Robert Fulford: ISIL is an evil we have not yet begun to comprehend

August 28, 2015 

The man on the French train with a Kalashnikov last week has become a symbol of the new terrorism across Europe. Three young Americans thwarted his attempt to murder his fellow passengers on the Amsterdam-Paris Express but this private act of bravery only emphasized the helplessness of civilization in the face of freelance terror.

“We are still vulnerable,” President François Hollande of France said. It didn’t much matter whether the gunman turned out to be ISIL-connected or ISIL-inspired. In either case, he had all the people on the train at his mercy. He carried nine cartridges of 30 bullets each for his gun. He was part of the emerging style of terrorism, attacks by single assassins on “soft targets,” like trains or shopping malls. Western intelligence services are better prepared to protect large institutions; disabling them requires teams of terrorists, whose numbers and internal communications make them vulnerable to the usual mistakes of gangs.

Ayoub El Khazzani, a 26-year-old Muslim, was known to Spanish and French police for his drug-dealing convictions and his frequent attendance at a radical mosque. A Morrocan, he had a Spanish residency card allowing him to travel freely throughout the European Union. He was on watch lists, but the lists contain far more names than police can track.

3 Huge (And Dangereous) Myths about ISIS

August 30, 2015

Since its meteoric rise to global infamy by mid-2014, the group that now calls itself the “Islamic State” (or, ISIS) has occupied a central place in the minds of policymakers and analysts, establishing itself as international public enemy number one.

In so many ways, ISIS has also constituted a source of embarrassment for the security community. First, very few, if any at all, of the same experts who are quite literally obsessed with the group today foresaw the rise of ISIS to prominence in Iraq and Syria until it actually happened. Second, despite all the intellectual energy devoted to understanding “what ISIS really is” (or, what it really wants), we still do not know considerably more about the organization than we did more than a year ago.

Consequently, there is little agreement in the security community over the true nature of ISIS and the proper strategy to effectively “degrade and destroy” the organization. Put bluntly, for all the pride that the security community takes in its predictive, explanatory, and prescriptive capabilities, it has failed (with a capital F) over the puzzle that ISIS poses.

The Risks of a 'Better Deal' with Iran

August 30, 2015

At the crux of the debate over the nuclear deal with Iran is the question of whether there is a better alternative. President Obama has argued that the choice is between the deal and war. His opponents have claimed he could haveheld out for—and should still press for—an ill-defined “better deal.” Given that some of these critics, by their own admission, opposed the current deal before even reading it, it’s reasonable to wonder whether they really would judge an improved version on its merits. Even so, it remains important to ask what would have happened if the United States had walked away from negotiations, doubled down on sanctions and tried to negotiate a better deal in a year or two.

Myanmar's backsliding leads to doubt about U.S. diplomacy strategy


The State Department's second-ranking diplomat flew to Myanmar in May to urge the country's leaders not to adopt a tough "population-control" law apparently aimed at halting growth of persecuted ethnic minorities.

President Thein Sein listened politely to Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken. And hours after Blinken departed Yangon, he signed the bill into law.

Myanmar's leaders have repeatedly rebuffed U.S. appeals this year despite a public commitment to reform that led the White House to restore full diplomatic relations in 2012, and to drop most sanctions on the authoritarian government.

Administration officials consider the diplomatic opening to the long-isolated nation, also known as Burma, a marquee achievement in President Obama's first term. In her presidential race, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is expected to portray the thaw as one of her top diplomatic accomplishments.

The US Still Runs the World

AUG 28, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – Reports of the death of American power have often been greatly exaggerated. In the 1950s the Soviet Union was thought to have surpassed the United States; today, the Soviet Union no longer exists. In the 1980s, Japan was widely regarded as on the verge of overtaking the US; today, after more than two decades of Japanese stagnation, no one would take this scenario seriously. And in the 1990s, monetary union was considered likely to propel Europe to greater global prominence; today, the European economy is frequently in the world’s headlines, but not in a good way.

Now it is China’s turn. Until recently, China, in many people’s view, was poised to assume global leadership, if it hadn’t done so already. Today, doubts about the Chinese economy’s long-term prospects are rattling stock markets worldwide (including in the US).

China matters, and its economic policy, including how the exchange rate is managed, must be taken seriously. But China does not run the world, and it is unlikely to do so anytime soon. The potential for global leadership still rests, believe it or not, with the US.

The best case for taking China seriously as a world power is made in Arvind Subramanian’s best-selling book Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China’s Economic Dominance, published in 2011. (The author, now Chief Economic Adviser at India’s finance ministry, and I were colleagues and sometimes co-authors at the International Monetary Fund and the Peterson Institute for International Economics.)

The Lethal A-10 Warthog: A Nuclear Bomber?

August 29, 2015

Despite what the Pentagon and senior Air Force leaders might say, the A-10 Warthog is far from a “single-purpose airplane.” But dropping nuclear bombs might be one of the things the low- and slow-flying attackers actually can’t do.

But the Air Force once briefly considered the idea.
In December 1975, Secretary of Defense Bill Clements wanted to know how much it would cost to modify F-15 and F-16 fighter jets so they could carry atomic weapons. Two months later, the Air Force sent back data on what it would take to upgrade those two types of aircraft—or the A-10—with nukes.

“For your information, we have also provided similar cost data on the A-10 aircraft,” states an unclassified memo War Is Boring obtained from the Air Force Historical Research Agency. “The estimated cost to make 275 A-10s nuclear-capable is $15.9 million.”

The total amount—equivalent to more than $65 million today—would cover developing and testing the required equipment, and installing it on the Warthog fleet.

Russia and China: Planning to Build Aircraft Carriers Together?

August 28, 2015

Could Beijing and Moscow’s budding friendship be moving towards the joint development of some of the most sophisticated types of naval vessels on the planet?

A recent report may indicate that China and Russia might be considering a big leap in military cooperation: the possibility of jointly developing an aircraft carrier.

Such an idea was raised in a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal near the very end of an article detailing Moscow’s struggles to develop advanced military hardware thanks to economic challenges.

The piece states specifically, “Russia has touted what it calls a strategic alliance with China, which may develop into plans to build a joint aircraft carrier.”

The articles continues, explaining that:

“A defense industry official, however, said China is raising its demands, and wants a controlling stake in the project.

Cyber Spying Rising Rapidly in Latin America

August 30, 2015

Latam cyber attacks rise as Peru, Brazil hackers link up with Russians

Cyber attacks and cyber espionage are on the rise in Latin America, and the source of much of it is Brazilian hackers and Peruvian recent university graduates linking up with Russian-speaking experts, according to internet security analysts.

The region has seen a massive rise in ‘trojans’ - disguised malicious software - especially in the financial sector, and other online threats, said Dmitry Bestuzhev, Latin American head of research for security firm Kaspersky Lab.

The main producers of the malware are Brazil and Peru, he said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday following a regional cyber crime conference.

“Criminals from those two countries produce the majority of malicious code and attack not only their countries but also neighboring ones,” he said, adding that their attacks spread as far as Spain and Portugal.

Appeals Court Rules for NSA on Eavesdropping Case on a Technicality, But the Case Is Still Very Much Alive

Jenna McLaughlin
August 30, 2015

Court: We Can’t Rule on NSA Bulk Data Collection Because We Don’t Know Whose Data Was Collected

On Friday, an appeals court overturned a U.S. District Court decision last May that had declared that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records was beyond the authorization of the law. The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit kicked the matter back to the lower court for additional deliberation.

The decision did not declare the NSA’s program, which was revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013, to have been legal or constitutional. Rather, it focused on a technicality: a majority opinion that the plaintiffs in the case could not actually prove that the metadata program swept up their own phone records. Therefore, the plaintiffs, the court declared, did not have standing to sue.

“Plaintiffs claim to suffer injury from government collection of records from their telecommunications provider relating to their calls. But plaintiffs are subscribers of Verizon Wireless, not of Verizon Business Network Services, Inc.—the sole provider that the government has acknowledged targeting for bulk collection,” wrote Judge Stephen F. Williams.

European Nations Plan to Increase Security on Trains

August 30, 2015

Europe to Bolster Railway Security After Thwarted Train Attack

PARIS — European countries have agreed to increase security checks in railway stations and on trains, and are calling for improved cooperation among intelligence services, France’s interior minister said Saturday after an emergency meeting of European officials in Paris.

The meeting was called after a group of passengers that included two off-duty American servicemen helped thwart a gunman on a high-speed train that was carrying 554 people from Amsterdam to Paris on Aug. 21.

The interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, reading from a joint statement after the meeting, said the countries had agreed to increase the number of ID and baggage checks in stations and on trains “when it is necessary,” and to use mixed-nationality police patrols on international lines more often.

Mr. Cazeneuve also said the countries would consider ways to ensure that international tickets bear passenger names, and to allow railway police officers to use “relevant databases” when necessary.

Is It Time to Bring Back the Battleships?

August 29, 2015

Is it time to bring back the battleship? 
For decades, naval architects have concentrated on building ships that, by the standards of the World Wars, are remarkably brittle. These ships can deal punishment at much greater ranges than their early 20th century counterparts, but they can’t take a hit. Is it time to reconsider this strategy, and once again build protected ships? This article examines how these trends came about, and what might change in the future.

Why We Build Big Ships

As Adversaries Test America, We Need a Leader Who Is Tested

August 30, 2015

America and its allies who embrace and defend freedom are being continually challenged. With each passing day, it seems the world becomes an even more dangerous and violent place.
Under the Obama-Clinton administration foreign-policy doctrine of retreat and disengagement, of "leading from behind," our allies no longer trust us and our adversaries no longer fear us.

To turn the tide, America needs a president who embodies the leadership qualities of Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill—someone who will not be intimidated by international bullies who suppress and conquer. We need a leader who will stand up and say enough is enough.

There is no hope that such a president will emerge from the field of Democratic hopefuls. President Obama’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will continue Obama’s status-quo of appeasement and weakness. Like President Obama, Clinton will indeed continue to "lead from behind" and retreat in the face of challenges.


AUGUST 31, 2015

U.S. policymakers have learned a lot of hard lessons since the invasion of Afghanistan months after 9/11. One of them is that no realistic inducements or threats of coercion are likely to change the Pakistan military’s strategic calculus regarding support for militant groups like the Haqqani network. The most lethal arm of the Taliban insurgency and a critical ally for the Pakistan military, the Haqqanis became the bête noire for the United States in Afghanistan. Most U.S. forces have withdrawn from Afghanistan, but the group nevertheless was a major subject of discussion over the weekend in Islamabad, where U.S. national security advisor Susan Rice met with Pakistani civilian and military leaders.

The visit came on the heels of an announcement that U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter declined to certify that Pakistan had taken adequate steps against the Haqqani network, which is believed to be responsible for a recent spate of attacks in Afghanistan. Unless Carter reverses this decision, Pakistan’s military is out $300 million in what is called “Coalition Support Funds.” That still leaves $600 million in authorized money on the table for the fiscal year, and that money is unlikely to be withheld. The financial loss of $300 million is not inconsequential, but the political symbolism of the decision is the real story.

Why We Pay

The Pope and the Planet

Pope Francis visiting typhoon survivors in Tacloban, the Philippines, January 2015
On a sprawling, multicultural, fractious planet, no person can be heard by everyone. But Pope Francis comes closer than anyone else. He heads the world’s largest religious denomination and so has 1.2 billion people in his flock, but even (maybe especially) outside the precincts of Catholicism his talent for the telling gesture has earned him the respect and affection of huge numbers of people. From his seat in Rome he addresses the developed world, much of which descended from the Christendom he represents; but from his Argentine roots he speaks to the developing world, and with firsthand knowledge of the poverty that is the fate of most on our planet.

So no one could have considered more usefully the first truly planetary question we’ve ever faced: the rapid heating of the earth from the consumption of fossil fuels. Scientists have done a remarkable job of getting the climate message out, reaching a workable consensus on the problem in relatively short order. But national political leaders, beholden to the fossil fuel industry, have been timid at best—Barack Obama, for instance, barely mentioned the question during the 2012 election campaign. Since Francis first announced plans for an encyclical on climate change, many have eagerly awaited his words.

Invisible Cloak for Military UAV’s, I’ll Have Some

Researchers are working to create a new design for the Harry Potter-esque invisibility cloak, which will conceal objects, making them more difficult for adversaries to detect.

Scientists are working on creating a new design for a technology that redefines what the public views as imaginary. Inspired by the well-known Invisibility Cloak from Harry Potter, electrical engineers at the University of California, San Diego have created a new design for their cloaking device, using a Teflon substrate, studded with cylinders of ceramic, that is thinner than any prior development and does not alter the brightness of light around concealed objects. The Teflon has a low refractive index, while the ceramic’s refractive index is higher, which allows light to be dispersed through the sheet without any absorption. Compared to an invisibility cloak, this technology has not only the ability to conceal, but the ability to increase optical communication signal speed and to collect solar energy.


August 28, 2015

What’s the best way to shoot down a drone? For many in the defense industry, the solution to flying robots is as futuristic as the threat itself: lasers. Yesterday Boeing released video of its “Compact Laser Weapons System” destroying a drone. Like other directed energy weapons, the laser focuses light to burn a hole through its target. Here, watch it burn through the tail of a drone at “a tactical range”: