10 June 2016

China in Africa, Part III: The Ugly

A sign for Chinese telecom company Huawei in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Untangling the diverse threads that make up the “China in Africa” narrative is a herculean task.
By David Volodzko
June 09, 2016
The ugliest problem with regard to China’s role in Africa isn’t reconciling the good with the bad but reconciling perspectives on what’s considered good or bad. China colonizes Africa, rapes it of resources, empowers dictators—or it invests in Africa, builds infrastructure, pursues diplomatic engagement. Splitting the difference between these views is a big ask, even for seasoned insiders, and the media rarely helps.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said in February that when it comes to food, his nation needs to be self-reliant. Beijing then offered a $6 billion loan for agricultural development and said it would increase scholarships for Nigerian students seven-fold. One British news site ran the headline, “China adds Nigeria to its African Empire.”

By comparison, South Korean President Park Geun-hye completed a tour last month of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda to help communities become agriculturally self-reliant. Instead of pledging billions, she promoted a project providing food and medical services to rural communities, which also promoted so-called K-culture. The project consisted of just 10 vehicles, yet one headline read: “S. Korea: A giant Africa can learn from.”Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
One reason the media gives China’s efforts short shrift is that we recall Beijing’s aggression toward Taiwan and Hong Kong’s bids for freedom, its brutality at Tiananmen and in Tibet and Xinjiang, as well as its abuse of Falun Gong practitioners, Christians, reporters, activists, artists, and lawyers. And we’re reminded, as recently as this month, that Beijing is arrogantly unrepentant about its human rights record.

*** The US’ Distinct Approach to China and India

Reality Check
A daily explanation of what matters and what doesn't in the world of geopolitics.
June 9, 2016
By Jacob L. Shapiro
The two most populous nations have very different relationships with the United States.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi warmly addressed the U.S. Congress today – the high-point of his visit to the United States. Modi will return to New Delhi bearing gifts, among them promises of investment from major U.S. companies like Amazon, an agreement by Westinghouse Electric to move forward on the construction of six nuclear reactors in India and a formal designation as a major defense partner of the United States.
It is hard not to juxtapose the warmth and optimism of Modi’s visit to the U.S. with the recent meetings between senior Chinese and U.S. officials in Beijing, including Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Those talks were cordial and productive – but also contentious. The U.S. and China continue to butt heads over economic matters and competition in the South and East China seas.

There is a temptation to think of India and China as direct rivals. They are the two most populous nations in the world; China has been the high-growth economic engine of the world for the past 30 years, and as it falters, India seems the logical upstart to take over. India also is a player in the general Indo-Pacific region, and some of its moves have aligned it with other countries that are uncomfortable with China’s actions in the South and East China seas.
But U.S.-India ties are not about the U.S. stoking some kind of Sino-Indian rivalry. The U.S. and India find their interests converging. And the U.S. and China, while still dependent on each other, have a few key disagreements about issues important to both sides. To understand the broader implication of these developments, each relationship has to be analyzed on its own.
The U.S. relationship with India has been slowly warming since 2001. However, the relationship has not always been a rosy one. After India gained its independence in 1947, it was mostly aligned with the Soviet Union. The root of U.S. support for Pakistan came from the Indian-Soviet relationship. The U.S. feared that the Soviets would be able to either station naval assets at bases in India or help the Indians construct a navy strong enough to challenge American interests in the Indian Ocean.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, India opened up its economy, but was still wary of the United States. In 1998, India conducted five nuclear test explosions, which led President Bill Clinton to pull out the U.S. ambassador to India and levy economic sanctions against New Delhi.
The dynamic permanently changed after 9/11. The U.S. relationship with Pakistan became strained, and there was no fear of the Soviets or any other power using India against the U.S. Unlike regimes like North Korea or Pakistan, where the U.S. feared that the fruits of their nuclear programs would fall into the wrong hands, India presented no such concern for the U.S.
Less than two weeks after 9/11, President George W. Bush removed the last of Clinton’s sanctions, and economic and defense cooperation between the U.S. and India has been progressing ever since.
India today is still an extremely poor country in the sense that many of its people live in poverty, but it is rich in resources and potential. It therefore has a hunger for U.S. technology and investment. The U.S. has no competition in India now and views it as an important strategic partner in maintaining control over the Indo-Pacific. Washington is willing to look past some of India’s flaws in order to solidify the relationship. What India needs, it can get from the U.S. What the U.S. needs, India can give fairly easily.

The U.S.-China relationship is more complicated for two key reasons. The first and by far more important reason is economic. The second is military. On the heels of the eighth China-U.S. Strategic Economic Dialogue and seventh China-U.S. High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange, which concluded on Tuesday, there have been examples of both of these tensions at work.

*** The untold story


Indira Gandhi almost gave the go-ahead to a covert RAW mission to kidnap Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale months before she sent the Army into the Golden Temple in 1984.
Sandeep Unnithan
January 31, 2014 |
It was a blistering April afternoon in 1984. A white Ambassador car drove into the driveway of a modest Lutyens Delhi bungalow, 1 Safdarjung Road, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's residence. A tall bespectacled man got out. He was known only as DGS or director general security, a key official in the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) who controlled a small air force and two covert paramilitary units, the Special Frontier Force and the Special Services Bureau. Three years earlier, DGS had raised another unit, called the Special Group or sg, for clandestine counter-terrorist missions in Punjab and Assam. For the past two months, SG personnel, all drawn from the Army, had been training in secret at a base near Delhi for a critical mission.
Memories of Operation Bluestar

CRPF personnel take position for the siege of the Golden templeDGS was ushered into the living room where a pensive Mrs Gandhi sat with a salt-and-pepper-haired gentleman wearing thick black glasses-Rameshwar Nath Kao, 66, the reclusive spymaster who had built the external intelligence agency, RAW, in 1968 and used it to train Mukti Bahini guerrillas during the Bangladesh war in 1971. He had returned to government as Mrs Gandhi's senior aide in 1981 and was now her de facto national security adviser. More important, he was a key adviser on the Punjab problem. For over two years now, India's most prosperous state had been engulfed by communal violence. A radical group of Sikhs led by a fiery religious preacher Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, 37, had declared war against the state. His motley group of armed supporters had, by 1984, murdered over 100 civilians and security personnel. The radical militant leader had then been ensconced near the Golden Temple since 1981 with his heavily armed followers, shielded by his proximity to Sikhism's holiest shrine.

Operation Bluestar: Night of blood
DGS briefed Mrs Gandhi on a surgical mission that fell short of a military strike to evict the rebels. Operation Sundown, he explained, was a 'snatch and grab' job: Heliborne commandos would enter the Guru Nanak Niwas guesthouse near the Golden Temple and abduct the militant leader. The operation was so named because it was timed for past midnight when Bhindranwale and his guards would least expect it.

SG operatives had earlier infiltrated the Golden Temple, disguised as pilgrims and journalists, to study its layout. Then, for several weeks, over 200 SG commandos had rehearsed the operation on a wood and Hessian cloth mock-up of the two-storeyed resthouse at their base in Sarsawa in Uttar Pradesh. Commandos would rope down from two Mi-4 transport helicopters onto the guest house and make a beeline for Bhindranwale. Once they captured him, he would be spirited away by a ground assault team which would drive in. There was a possibility of a firefight with the militant leader's bodyguards and civilians who could rush in to protect him.

Click here to EnlargeMrs Gandhi's listened to the details impassively. She had just one question. "How many casualties?" Twenty per cent of the commando force and both helicopters, dgs replied. Mrs Gandhi grimaced. She wanted to know how many civilians would die. The RAW official did not have an answer. No one did. That was it. Mrs Gandhi said no and Operation Sundown died before the first helicopter could take off.

*** The Rise Of Manufacturing Marks The Fall Of Globalization

-- this post authored by Rebecca Keller
Whether you're reading this article on a smartphone, tablet or laptop, chances are the device in front of you contains components from at least six countries spanning three or more continents. Its sleek exterior belies the complicated and intricate set of internal parts that only a global supply chain can provide. Over the past century, finished products made in a single country have become increasingly hard to find as globalization - weighted a term as it is - has stretched supply chains to the ends of the Earth.
Now, anything from planes, trains and automobiles to computers, cellphones and appliances can trace its hundreds of pieces to nearly as many companies around the world. And its assembly might take place in a different country still.
Opportunities for producing and assembling products and their components have spread worldwide, making it is easier for countries to climb the production value ladder. States at the bottom, extracting raw materials, can gradually move up, first making low-value components and then progressing to higher-value ones or basic assembly. But just as technology spurred globalization and the shifts in international trade that followed, so, too, will it revolutionize how countries again do business with one another. Compounded by the economic and demographic changes taking place today, automation, advanced robotics and software-driven technologies are ushering in a new era - one of shorter supply chains that will provide fewer opportunities for the developing world. Regions once labeled "emerging economies" may instead stagnate, and the divide between the haves and have-nots within and among nations could widen further.
The Dawn of Globalization and Trade

Globalization in its current form may be only a few decades old, but international trade is not a new concept. From antiquity, technology has driven and enabled transformations in the global order.Caravel ships and the compass, for instance, brought about the age of European exploration, the journeys of which were only sped up by steam power. Even so, few would have guessed that something as simple as a box would form the cornerstone of the latest era.
Sixty years ago, Malcom McLean, an American businessman and entrepreneur, launched the first container ship from a New Jersey port, forever changing how goods move around the world. By using a standard-sized container that could be transported from ship to rail or truck, McLean made shipping goods between two points far more efficient. Rather than taking days or weeks to unload a ship, it now took hours. Though another decade passed before McLean's methods were used on an intercontinental voyage, and several years more before the technology reached Europe, his experiment altered the way the world worked. The first container ship, Ideal X, set sail carrying just 58 trailer units in spring 1956; today, ships have become so large that the biggest can carry nearly 20,000 units.

*** Do We Want Powerful Leaders

Joseph S. Nye,
Joseph S.Nye, Jr., a former US assistant secretary of defense and chairman of the US National Intelligence Council, is University Professor at Harvard University. He is the author of Is the American Century Over?
 JUN 3, 2016 10
CAMBRIDGE – A trend toward greater authoritarianism seems to be spreading worldwide. Vladimir Putin has successfully used nationalism to tighten his control over Russia and seems to enjoy great popularity. Xi Jinping is regarded as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, presiding over a growing number of crucial decision-making committees. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, recently replaced his prime minister with one more compliant with his drive to concentrate executive power. And some commentators fear that if Donald Trump wins the US presidency in November, he could turn out to be an “American Mussolini.”
Abuse of power is as old as human history. The Bible reminds us that after David defeated Goliath and later became king, he seduced Bathsheba and deliberately sent her husband to certain death in battle. Leadership involves the use of power, and, as Lord Acton famously warned, power corrupts. And yet leaders without power – the ability to cause others to do what we want – cannot lead.

The Harvard psychologist David C. McClelland once distinguished three groups of people by their motivations. Those who care most about doing something better have a “need for achievement.” Those who think most about friendly relations with others have a “need for affiliation.” And those who care most about having an impact on others show a “need for power.”
This third group turned out to be the most effective leaders, which brings us back to Acton. But power is not good or bad per se. Like calories in a diet, too little produces emaciation, and too much leads to obesity. Emotional maturity and training are important means of limiting a narcissistic lust for power, and appropriate institutions are essential to getting the balance right. Ethics and power can be mutually reinforcing.

But ethics can also be used instrumentally to increase power. Machiavelli addressed the importance of ethics for leaders, but primarily in terms of the impression that visible displays of virtue made upon followers. The appearance of virtue is an important source of a leader’s soft power or the ability to get what one wants by attraction rather than coercion or payment. Indeed, for Machiavelli, a prince’s virtues should only be apparent, never real. “I will even venture to affirm that if he has and invariably practices them all, they are hurtful, while the appearance of having them is useful.”

* Secret Report Shows UK Spy Agencies Are Drowning in Data

Facing Data Deluge, Secret U.K. Spying Report Warned of Intelligence Failure
Ryan Gallagher
The Intercept, June 7, 2016
A secret report warned that British spies may have put lives at risk because their surveillance systems were sweeping up more data than could be analyzed, leading them to miss clues to possible security threats.
The concern was sent to top British government officials in an explosive classified document, which outlined methods being developed by the United Kingdom’s domestic intelligence agency to covertly monitor internet communications.
The Security Service, also known as MI5, had become the “principal collector and exploiter” of digital communications within the U.K., the eight-page report noted, but the agency’s surveillance capabilities had “grown significantly over the last few years.”
MI5 “can currently collect (whether itself or through partners …) significantly more than it is able to exploit fully,” the report warned. “This creates a real risk of ‘intelligence failure’ i.e. from the Service being unable to access potentially life-saving intelligence from data that it has already collected.”

A draft copy of the report, obtained by The Intercept from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, is marked with the classification “U.K. Secret” and dated February 12, 2010. It was prepared by British spy agency officials to brief the government’s Cabinet Office and Treasury Department about the U.K.’s surveillance capabilities.
Notably, three years after the report was authored, two Islamic extremists killed and attempted to decapitate a British soldier, Lee Rigby, on a London street. An investigation into the incident found that the two perpetrators were well-known to MI5, but the agency had missed significant warning signs about the men, including records of phone calls one of them had made to an al Qaeda-affiliated radical in Yemen, and an online message in which the same individual had discussed in graphic detail his intention to murder a soldier.
The new revelations raise questions about whether problems sifting through the troves of data collected by British spies may have been a factor in the failure to prevent the Rigby killing. But they are also of broader relevance to an ongoing debate in the U.K. about surveillance. In recent months, the British government has been trying to pass a new law, the Investigatory Powers Bill, which would grant MI5 and other agencies access to more data.
Silkie Carlo, a policy officer at the London-based human rights group Liberty, told The Intercept that the details contained in the secret report highlighted the need for a comprehensive independent review of the proposed new surveillance powers.
“Intelligence whistleblowers have warned that the agencies are drowning in data — and now we have it confirmed from the heart of the U.K. government,” Carlo said. “If our agencies have risked missing ‘life-saving intelligence’ by collecting ‘significantly’ more data than they can analyze, how can they justify casting the net yet wider in the toxic Investigatory Powers Bill?”

** The Forgotten Legacy of the Six-Day War

Reality Check
A daily explanation of what matters and what doesn't in the world of geopolitics.
June 7, 2016
By George Friedman
Israel’s belief in its military invincibility might be its downfall.
Forty-nine years ago this week, Israel fought Egypt, Syria and Jordan in the Six-Day War. As a result of this war, Israel captured the West Bank (which had belonged to Jordan), the Golan Heights (which had belonged to Syria) and the Sinai Peninsula (which had belonged to Egypt).
Israel waged the perfect war, as much as this is possible. It had superb intelligence, struck with strategic and tactical surprise, rapidly broke the Egyptian command structure, and then systematically secured both the West Bank and the Golan Heights. In doing this, Israel secured something it never had: strategic depth. It forced Egypt across the Suez Canal, drove Jordan behind the Jordan River and forced Syria back off the Golan Heights and out of artillery range of Israeli settlements.

As important, the Israelis established a reputation for military invincibility that remains today. It uses this reputation to shape the psychological framework of the region. Israel’s performance in the war was an extraordinary military achievement. It was also the last time Israel either maintained control at the beginning of a war or achieved its intended strategic outcome.
The 1967 war did not end hostilities. In 1969, the Egyptians imposed the War of Attrition along the Suez. Then, in 1973, only six years after Israel’s destruction of the Egyptian army, Egypt (along with Syria) struck Israel in a stunning assault. Egypt carried out a complex canal crossing with multiple divisions, taking Israel by strategic and tactical surprise. In six years, Egypt reconstructed its entire military.
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But it was on the Golan Heights that the most threatening battle for Israel was fought. During the first night, the Syrian army almost recaptured the Golan Heights, opening the door for an invasion of the Galilee. The army was stopped that night by a handful of tanks – all that was available since Israel was taken completely by surprise and hadn’t mobilized.
The Israelis held on the Golan by the sheer will of its defenders. Protecting the homeland by will and courage, rather than by a capable and appropriate military force, is obviously dangerous. In the Sinai desert, the Egyptians declined to go toward the passes, preferring to stay under the protection of their air defense system, which imposed severe casualties on the Israeli air force. 

Remember This: India Was A Victim Of The MTCR For Decades

Swarajya Staff June 8, 2016,
The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is a consensus group of 35 countries. It was established in 1987. The regime’s aim is to prevent the proliferation of missile technology and unmanned delivery systems for nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction.
Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) member countries.
Since India wasn’t a member of the MTCR, it had to face sanctions and restrictions on the import of military technologies and systems it needed. While these sanctions impaired India’s defence projects high-end defence tech continued to flow into Pakistan from China.
In 2003, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had flayed the double standards of this group of countries. He highlighted the inequitable and discriminatory practices by those who already possess these capabilities and their reluctance to lend a helping hand to India.
These restrictions forced Indian scientists to ‘go local’. Since hi-tech materials and systems were denied to India, nearly everything had to be developed locally.
A Sivathanu Pillai, who headed the BrahMos project describes India’s struggle for indigenisation as nothing short of a mini freedom struggle. He sees the MTCR as a blessing in disguise. He writes in his book:
Resultant of MTCR, all the systems had to be home-grown.

What's India Got Over China? Plenty.

When Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, speaks to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on June 8, he may find it hard to convince lawmakers of his country's promise. He shouldn't: As China, Russia and Brazil slow down, India is barreling ahead. It's one of the brighter spots among all the emerging markets.
True, India's economic growth in the last 25 years has been slower than China's. India's growth rose to almost 11 percent of U.S. gross domestic product in 2014 from about 4 percent in 1990, while China’s vaulted to 60 percent from 9 percent in the same period. But unlike China, India never became an export-driven manufacturing juggernaut and so its growth has been steadier.  Last year it was 7.5 percent.
India's Aspirations
India also didn't benefit as much as China when manufacturing shifted from the West to developing countries, and thus the decline in offshoring is hurting India less than China.
India certainly has its problems -- notoriously slow bureaucracies, a lack of good infrastructure, and too much regulation and corruption to name a few -- that need to be addressed before economic growth can explode. Modi has sought reforms for many of these issues, though with limited success so far.
Reliable data measuring India's economy are fuzzy, to say the least. Most businesses are tiny and unregulated; many people are employed off the books. India also uses wholesale, not final, prices to deflate nominal GDP. Due to lower oil prices, the wholesale price index has been falling for 17 straight months while retail prices are still rising at a 5 percent annual rate. So the reported real GDP numbers are overstated.
Still, India has major advantages over China. China's one-child policy, while now relaxed, will result in fewer entrants into the labor force for decades. That could choke growth: Younger people tend to be more geographically mobile and flexible in terms of occupation and ability to learn new skills.
By contrast, India has had few constraints on population growth. The dependency ratio -- the number of children and seniors relative to the working-age population -- will continue to fall in India as it rises in China. As of 2015, India had 1.25 billion people versus China’s 1.37 billion. It won't be long before India's population is bigger.
Say what you want about colonialism, but British control of India for centuries left a vigorous democracy and a parliamentary form of government, which is useful for running a large, diverse country.
The British also left India with a railway system that facilitates the movement of people and goods over a vast geography. By contrast, China is reluctant to grant resident status to farmers who move to urban areas in search of work.
And of course the British gave India the English language -- useful in a world that conducts most business in English and as a unifying force in a country with hundreds of languages and dialects. India also inherited a free press and a legal system from the U.K. As a result, India's rule of law is vastly better than the Communist party-dominated courts of China, complete with show trials and forgone convictions.

All of these advantages have led to large, sophisticated companies, such as the Tata complex, that compete globally. China, on the other hand, is burdened with government-controlled banks and other inefficient, state-owned enterprises that still produce half the country's output and employ a quarter of the workforce.
For the first half-century of independence, Indian politics were dominated by the Congress Party with its socialist orientation and attempts to emulate the Soviet Union. In the 1950s, steel, mining, water, telecommunications and electricity generation were effectively nationalized.
The Industries Act of 1951, which required all businesses to get licenses from the government before they could launch, expand or change their products, stifled innovation. The “licence raj” reigned. The government imposed import tariffs in the name of encouraging domestic production, and domestic firms were prohibited from opening foreign offices. Foreign investment dried up under stringent restrictions.
As a result, manufacturing never blossomed and the economy grew at what Indian officials accepted as the “Hindu rate of growth” of 3 percent to 4 percent -- subpar for a developing economy -- while other Asian economies blossomed. Between 1950 and 1973, the Indian economy annually grew 3.7 percent, or 1.6 percent per capita. Japan’s economy grew 10 times faster and South Korea’s five times faster. China grew at a sustained 8 percent annual rate. All that began to change dramatically in 1991 with the shift toward capitalism.
Even so, India has historically had more of a free-market orientation than other large, developing countries, notably Russia and China. Its film industry, Bollywood, cranks out movies that range from excellent to awful, while in China, films are propaganda tools. State-controlled enterprises in India account for only 13 percent of GDP compared with 29 percent in China.
Fortunately for India, the pharmaceutical and technology sectors never suffered the burdensome regulations that bogged down the steel and airline industries. Also helpful is the Indian natural bent toward technology. Its booming information-technology sector relies more on new technologies such as satellite transmission, and is able to leapfrog Indian-regulated utilities and the crumbling infrastructure.
American and European firms outsource many back-office and even legal and medical services to India. Outsourcing revenue is now $95 billion a year and accounts for a fifth of Indian exports. India's lower wages and English-speaking ability are the attractions.
Many Indians have strong entrepreneurial inclinations, and the economic growth they can spark is vital to reducing high poverty rates and corruption as economic power shifts from politicians to entrepreneurs. But many reforms are still needed. Bribe demands are routine, the bureaucracy is byzantine and the infrastructure is backward. All of this impedes entrepreneurial activity.
India also has a culture that penalizes risk-taking. Business is concentrated among long-existing and well-connected conglomerates with close ties to the government, much like the state-owned enterprises in China and the chaebols in South Korea.
When it comes to the cost of starting a business, India is off the charts -- ranked 173rd out of 189 countries, according to the World Bank -- compared with the U.S., Germany, the UK and even China. Only China tops India for the amount of time it takes to start a company. India also ranked 130th for the ease of doing business, behind the notoriously difficult Russia (51st) and Brazil (116th). Even China, at No. 84, ranks higher.
Opening the economy to entrepreneurs remains a long-run challenge for India, as does the education of hundreds of millions of students. About 90 percent of children enter school but more than half drop out before completing high school. Cheating on tests and bribing teachers for passing grades is rampant.
China is moving slowly to open its financial and currency markets to foreigners. The yuan, however, remains tightly controlled. It's allowed to appreciate in good times but is held stable whenever the economy is weak. The rupee, by contrast, has been relatively free of government intervention. The Reserve Bank of India, the central bank, is largely independent of government influence, while the People’s Bank of China is completely government controlled.
In contrast to China’s 36 percent consumer spending component of GDP in 2014, India's consumers are responsible for 59 percent of the economy, despite an equally high savings rate. This is a better balance in a world where exports and capital spending are no longer the easy route to economic growth for developing countries. India's exports were a sizable 23 percent of GDP in 2014, and that percentage had risen despite the global recession and slow recovery. Chinese exports, on the other hand, were about the same percentage of GDP -- much lower than the 35 percent level in 2006.
Change comes slowly to India, whose culture is heavily influenced by a Hindu philosophy that doesn’t emphasize urgency. Hinduism teaches that after death comes reincarnation in another form of life, so Hindu followers don’t need to get everything accomplished in this life since they can get more done in later lives.
But with improved education, faster deregulation and other reforms, India's many advantages could translate into higher productivity and faster economic growth than in China. That should be Modi's message when he visits America next week. 

India's Future


posted on 05 June 2016
by John West, Asian Century Institute

Can India follow East Asia's industrialisation path? John West reports on discussions at the Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting in 2016.
India is the world's fastest growing large economy, with GDP increasing by 7½%, according to the Asian Development Bank. But looking back over the past couple of decades, India's economic performance has been a disappointment, especially compared with China and some other East Asian economies, in part due to an inability to develop its manufacturing sector.
Hun Kim, Director General for South Asia at the Asian Development Bank, said:
"The only successful model of modern economic development is that of East Asia. The East Asian model involves a structural transformation of the economy as low-productivity rural labour moves to urban areas to work in export-oriented factories."
But East-Asian style urbanisation and industrialisation has not taken place in India, despite the country's relatively strong economic performance.
Mr Kim said:
"India's manufacturing sector has been stuck at around 15% of GDP. The services sector, especially business process outsourcing and tourism, has been a key driver of the economy".
Today, industrialisation could play an important role in India's development, since it faces the challenge of creating jobs for millions of semi-skilled young people entering the labour market.
Mr Kim said:
"Fortunately, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government wants to develop its manufacturing sector. India is very keen to join the global value chains of Southeast and East Asia, following in the footsteps of Bangladesh's success."
Mr Kim said:
"Major investments are being made in improving the country's logistics in areas like coastal shipping, highways, and railways, which would help move products around. Inspired by the government's "Look East" policy, these efforts are being concentrated on the eastern side of the country, which is close to fast-growing Bangladesh and Southeast Asia. Special economic zones and economic corridors are also being developed."
The government has liberalised some policies for FDI, including through a "Make in India" initiative, and net flows of FDI surged to $32 billion in 2015, nearly 26% higher than in the previous year, according to the Asian Development Bank. Leading companies like Foxconn, Softbank and Microsoft all have plans to invest in India.

Mr Kim said:
"Korean companies have been very successful in India. Koreans are like jazz-players, they know how to improvise in different markets."

The World's Largest Media Companies

by Felix Richter, Statista.com

Over the past decade, the internet has replaced print media to become the second most important advertising medium behind television.
The rise of digital advertising is reflected in Zenith Optimedia's annual ranking of the world's largest media companies.
The five digital companies ranked in the Top 30, namely Google, Facebook, Baidu, Yahoo and Microsoft who represent 65 percent of the global internet advertising market, now account for more than one third of all revenues generated by the Top 30 media owners in the world. The ranking includes all revenues from businesses that support advertising including non-ad-revenues such as circulation revenues.

As the below chart illustrates, Google far outranks any other company in the world in terms of media revenue. The company generates tens of billions of dollars every year selling advertising across its popular online services, most importantly Google Search.
This chart ranks the Top 10 media companies in the world based on their media revenue in financial year 2014.

* Ukraine Shows Signs of Stability

By Stratfor
June 06, 2016
This week there were several positive signs for the stability of Ukraine's government, which is normally known for its disunity. On June 2, 355 members of the 450-seat Ukrainian parliament voted to approve constitutional changes that will enable key judicial reforms. Then on June 3, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced that the next tranche of an International Monetary Fund loan, which had been dependent on Ukraine following through with reforms, would be disbursed as scheduled in the coming months.

These events show significant progress for a government that just months ago was debilitated by infighting and rumored to be heading toward early elections. After coming to power following the Euromaidan uprising at the beginning of 2014, the ruling coalition lost many of its allies over differences, causing the IMF to freeze the assistance necessary to repair Ukraine's battered economy. In early April, then-Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk resigned amid the turmoil, and Poroshenko loyalist Volodymyr Groysman replaced him a few days later. The new administration has since faced intense pressure to deliver on the promised reforms or risk another collapse.
Despite the pressure, Groysman has made impressive strides, raising household utility prices even higher than the IMF mandated and laying the groundwork for major reform with the June 2 constitutional amendment vote. Groysman was able to push the amendment through because of support from Poroshenko's and Yatsenyuk's parties — which remained in the ruling coalition even after Yatsenyuk resigned — and from a large number of independents in parliament. That Groysman has proved adept at making short-term alliances to pass key legislation bodes well for future reforms. Moreover, Yatsenyuk drove through many controversial economic reforms during his two-year tenure as premier, leaving Groysman to field more popular reforms, such as increasing independence in making judicial appointments.
If the reform drives continue, they will be an important step toward unlocking IMF financial assistance and other Western funding, which would lend the Groysman government greater legitimacy. In turn, this could contribute to further political stability in Kiev, something that has been in short supply over the last year as high inflation and growing unemployment drove the Ukrainian economy into deep recession. If the Ukrainian economy begins to grow again in 2016, as it is projected to do, it could empower Grosyman's government to enact even more reforms.

Poser To CJI: And Who Will Step In When The Judiciary Fails To Do Its Job?

R Jagannathan, June 7, 2016, 1:22 pm
How is the judiciary fulfilling its constitutional duty when it sits in judgment on every other pillar of a constitutional democracy while holding itself unaccountable to anybody?
Chief Justice of India TS Thakur has said that the judiciary intervenes only when the executive fails. He said: “The extent of judicial interference in governmental issues depends on how effectively and efficiently the government does its job. Which court would want to intervene if the government works efficiently and sincerely? The courts only fulfil their constitutional duty and need would not arise if governments do their job,” The Indian Express quotes him as saying.

There cannot be a more self-serving argument for a judiciary that has been meddling repeatedly in executive or legislative areas while remaining largely unaccountable itself. The CJI’s statement should, therefore, be parsed for inconsistencies so that a mirror can be held to a rampant judiciary.
First, what is the judiciary’s yardstick or metric to decide the executive has failed? Does it know when it should intervene in an air pollution case (as it did in Delhi) and when not to? Or whether it should direct a black money probe on its own or allow the government and investigative agencies to do their jobs?
The answer is probably that the judiciary’s interventions are often arbitrary, and not decided by objective criteria.

Second, the CJI went on to say that “the extent of judicial interference in governmental issues depends on how effectively and efficiently the government does its job”. So the argument has moved from government failure to more debatable areas like “efficiency”. How is efficiency to be measured? Will the Supreme Court decide whether a government is efficient or not or leave it to the people to judge, as our constitution’s writers intended? Implied in this sentence is an assumption that the judiciary knows when effectiveness and efficiency have been impaired. When judges are essentially trained in law, and when pending cases in the judiciary run into crores and cases get decided over decades, can one presume the judiciary knows a thing or two about effectiveness and efficiency? When this strength is not visible in judicial functioning, how has the CJI decided - rather prematurely - that the judiciary can do better than an elected government and its army of advisors and experts?

Third, the CJI asked: “Which court would want to intervene if the government works efficiently and sincerely?” He only has to look at recent judgments of our superior courts to find the answer. Courts have got themselves involved in questions like where IPL matches should be held, how bank defaulters should be handled, what ads elected governments can release, and even how a private body like the Board of Control for Cricket in India should be run. And these are only a few examples. Where have the courts shown restraint in where and when they choose to interfere in areas beyond pure interpretation of the law?

Afghanistan Needs a Settlement, Not Another Troop-Withdrawal Deadline

JUNE 7, 2016
The U.S. objective in Afghanistan is not to leave; it is to end the war on terms Americans and Afghans can live with.
The new commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, will soon complete an assessment that is expected to call for more U.S. troops than the Obama Administration has planned. Current policy calls for reducing theU.S. presence in Afghanistan from today’s 9,800 troops to 5,500 by the end of this year. Security has deteriorated sharply since theU.S. ended its official combat role in 2014, however, and Nicholson is expected to favor slower U.S. drawdowns. If so, the general is right. But what’s needed isn’t a slower timetable for withdrawals – it’s the end of timetables altogether.

In fact, ending the U.S. pattern of war-by-the-clock matters more than any particular troop count. The U.S. objective in Afghanistan is not to withdraw – if so, Washington could meet its goal immediately. The objective is to end the war on terms Americans and Afghans can live with. But calendar deadlines and fixed withdrawal schedules make this almost impossible.
The range of plausible outcomes in Afghanistan is now very narrow. The Afghan government could lose the war outright, or it can negotiate a compromise settlement with the major insurgent factions. There is no longer any meaningful prospect to defeat the Taliban. The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) are barely holding the line; they are not going to take the offensive and drive the Taliban from the country. Nor can they outlast the Taliban in an indefinite stalemate. Afghanistan’s security forces cost far more than Kabul can afford without foreign assistance: the ANDSF’s FY 2013 operating budget of $6.5 billion was more than twice the Afghan government’s entire federal revenue. Most of this money comes from the U.S. Congress, which will not keep writing multi-billion-dollar annual checks for faraway Afghanistan indefinitely. A few more years, yes; forever, no. Eventually this aid will be trimmed, and it won’t take much of a budget cutback before the ANDSF breaks up along factional lines and the Kabul government falls. As the Taliban say, Americans have the clocks but the Taliban have the time. If the war becomes a contest in stamina between the Congress and the Taliban, then I’d bet on the Taliban. The only alternative to eventual collapse is thus a negotiated settlement to end the war before this happens.

Why Did Washington Wait So Long To Take Its Drone War to Baluchistan?

Michael Kugelman
June 7, 2016
The Hellfire missile that incinerated Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mansour on May 21 set a major new precedent: It marked the first time we know of that a U.S. drone strike was used in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan.
The United States has executed more than 400 drone strikes in Pakistan, according to New America Foundation data. The vast majority of them have occurred in a limited part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, or FATA. The others have hit nearby Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Baluchistan is an unforgiving place. It is bone-dry, water-starved, deeply impoverished, and home to a festering ethno-separatist insurgency that prompts brutal Pakistani military crackdowns.
Baluchistan has also long served as the sanctuary for the Quetta Shura—the top leadership of the Afghan Taliban (Quetta is the province’s capital). Baluchistan became the adopted home of the group’s leadership back in 2001, when the U.S.-led intervention in Afghanistan drove it out of that country.

Pakistan’s security establishment has always allowed the group to make itself at home in Baluchistan. The military and intelligence communities have long viewed the Afghan Taliban as useful, given its ability to push back against Indian influence in Afghanistan. Additionally, Pakistan, fearing (correctly) the onset of heightened instability and political volatility in Afghanistan amid the foreign troop withdrawal, has wished to maintain links with the Taliban as a hedging strategy. Finally, providing a sanctuary to the Quetta Shura on its soil has enabled the Pakistani security establishment to enjoy a measure of leverage over the Taliban
A Strong Rationale for an Earlier Strike

The Afghan Taliban’s long-standing presence in Baluchistan raises a logical question: Why did U.S. drones not target the group in Baluchistan earlier on, particularly between 2009 and 2014, when the drone war was in full force and U.S. troops were fighting an aggressive campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan? In other words, why was Baluchistan – the political and military headquarters of an enemy organization – off limits to drones until May 21, 2016?

Breaking the Pakistan-Taliban Alliance

This is the ‘golden hour’ when the U.S. can finally secure Islamabad’s help in stopping al-Qaeda-linked terrorists and the Taliban.

Zalmay Khalilzad June 7,
In foreign policy, there are key moments—“golden hours”—when events create a finite window in which to achieve important things. Sometimes they are obvious, like in the aftermath of a successful military operation. More often golden hours are fleeting and apparent only in retrospect, when policy makers realize that they missed an opportunity.
Based on my discussions with President Ashraf Ghani and other senior Afghan officials in Kabul in recent days, I believe that the killing over the May 21 weekend of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a U.S. drone strike has created a golden hour in which to finally secure Pakistan’s cooperation in stopping support for the Haqqani network terrorists and for the extremist Taliban.
To have such a decisive effect on Pakistani policy, however, the U.S. and Afghanistan must follow up on Mansour’s death with additional steps that escalate pressure on Islamabad. Otherwise the opportunity will dissipate.

Opportunities have come and gone before. The last golden hour that could have secured a verifiable Pakistani break with the Taliban was after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. From the moment the U.S.-led coalition overthrew the Taliban in 2001, through 2004, when Afghans voted in a landslide for the election of President Hamid Karzai, U.S. credibility was sky high.
Washington then squandered this opening. When initial indications emerged that Pakistan was offering sanctuary to the Taliban on its soil, Washington was reluctant to take decisive steps. As a senior official in the George W. Bush administration, I participated in countless circular debates on whether such sanctuaries even existed, whether they had been authorized by Pakistan’s then-president, Pervez Musharraf, and whether the issue was important enough to risk rocking the boat with Islamabad.
My view was that Pakistan was playing a perfidious and dangerous double game and needed to be called on it. But because of factors such as the (actual or supposed) important Pakistani contribution to the fight against al Qaeda, Pakistan’s role as transit route for supplies to our troops in Afghanistan, and its own (however halfhearted) campaign against Pakistani Islamist extremists—senior U.S. officials either ignored evidence of Pakistani support for the Afghan Taliban or treated it as a cost worth tolerating. One result: Senior Taliban leaders were soon living openly in Pakistani cities like Peshawar, Karachi and Quetta.

The New York Times Trips Up on India and the NSG

India must be held accountable for the commitments it made in 2005, when the nuclear deal with the United States was first struck, and not for the sins of others.

The New York Times office in New York. Credit: Torrenegra/Flickr

The New York Times is free to take whatever position it likes on any issue and if it believes India should not be admitted into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, it has every right to write an editorial advocating ‘No Exceptions for a Nuclear India’.

What it ought not to do is build its argument on faulty analysis, misrepresentation and factual inaccuracies. What follows is a paragraph-by-paragraph explanation of how the newspaper – that I have read and liked for years – has gone wrong, horribly wrong in this editorial.

Para 1

America’s relationship with India has blossomed under President Obama, who will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week. Ideally, Mr. Obama could take advantage of the ties he has built and press for India to adhere to the standards on nuclear proliferation to which other nuclear weapons states adhere.

Here, the NYT makes a huge assumption: that there are “standards on nuclear proliferation to which other nuclear weapons states adhere” and to which India doesn’t. The ‘other nuclear weapons states’ are the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain (the N-5). The main standard to which the N-5 are meant to adhere is the prescription set out in Article 1 of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to not provide nuclear weapons or knowhow or assistance to non-nuclear weapon states. Article 6 also applies to them but is non-binding: to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”


JUNE 7, 2016

The Hellfire missile that incinerated Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mansour on May 21 set a major new precedent: It marked the first time we know of that a U.S. drone strike was used in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan.

The United States has executed more than 400 drone strikes in Pakistan, according to New America Foundation data. The vast majority of them have occurred in a limited part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, or FATA. The others have hit nearby Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Baluchistan is an unforgiving place. It is bone-dry, water-starved, deeply impoverished, and home to a festering ethno-separatist insurgency that prompts brutal Pakistani military crackdowns.

Baluchistan has also long served as the sanctuary for the Quetta Shura—the top leadership of the Afghan Taliban (Quetta is the province’s capital). Baluchistan became the adopted home of the group’s leadership back in 2001, when the U.S.-led intervention in Afghanistan drove it out of that country.

China's Xi says laid-off soldiers will be found work

Reuters, Jun. 7, 2016,
BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese soldiers who are demobilized in the course of military reforms will be found other work, President Xi Jinping said, describing the process as an important political task.
Xi unexpectedly announced last September that he would cut troop numbers by 300,000, or some 13 percent of the world's biggest military, currently 2.3-million strong.
The cuts come at a time of heightened economic uncertainty in China as growth slows and the leadership grapples with painful economic reforms.
Xi, in comments carried by the official Xinhua news agency late on Tuesday, told a meeting that providing demobilized soldiers with civilian jobs was a political task closely linked to military reform.

Demobilized soldiers are "treasures of the party and the state" and their re-employment should be handled well so that they can continue to have active lives, Xi said.
"It is not allowed not to provide positions for demobilized officers under any pretext," he added.
The government in December told state-owned companies they must help absorb soldiers laid off due to military reforms, as part of their contribution to the army's modernization and social stability.
China has previously faced protests from demobilized soldiers, who have complained about a lack of support finding new jobs or help with financial problems.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)

China bans Ramadan fasting in mainly Muslim region

Civil servants, students and teachers prevented from fasting and restaurants ordered to remain open in Xinjiang region.
18 June 2015

Chinese Uighurs defy Ramadan ban
China has banned civil servants, students and teachers in its mainly Muslim Xinjiang region from fasting during Ramadan and ordered restaurants to stay open.
Most Muslims are required to fast from dawn to dusk during the holy month, which began on Thursday, but China's ruling Communist party is officially atheist and for years has restricted the practice in Xinjiang, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur minority.
"Food service workplaces will operate normal hours during Ramadan," said a notice posted last week on the website of the state Food and Drug Administration in Xinjiang's Jinghe county.
Officials in the region's Bole county were told: "During Ramadan do not engage in fasting, vigils or other religious activities," according to a local government website report of a meeting this week.

Each year, the authorities' attempt to ban fasting among Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang receives widespread criticism from rights groups.
China imposes restrictions on Muslim Uighurs
Uighur rights groups say China's restrictions on Islam in Xinjiang have added to ethnic tensions in the region, where clashes have killed hundreds in recent years.
China says it faces a "terrorist threat" in Xinjiang, with officials blaming "religious extremism" for the growing violence.
"China's goal in prohibiting fasting is to forcibly move Uighurs away from their Muslim culture during Ramadan," said Dilxat Rexit, a spokesman for the exiled World Uyghur Congress.
"Policies that prohibit religious fasting is a provocation and will only lead to instability and conflict."
As in previous years, school children were included in directives limiting Ramadan fasting and other religious observances.
The education bureau of Tarbaghatay city, known as Tacheng in Chinese, this month ordered schools to communicate to students that "during Ramadan, ethnic minority students do not fast, do not enter mosques ... and do not attend religious activities".

Russia’s Pacific pivot: The Moscow-Beijing shadow boxing continues Russia’s Pacific pivot: The Moscow-Beijing shadow boxing continues


By AT Editor on May 27, 2016 in Asia Times News & Features, China

By Miles Maochun Yu
Squeezed in Europe by U.S-led sanctions and robust NATO reactions in the aftermath of the annexation of Crimea, Russia is now finding itself in a prime position to exploit the unfolding geopolitical dramas stirred up by China in East and Southeast Asia. Moscow has proactively demonstrated its determination to play a leading role in shaping the outcome of the highly explosive regional conflicts, at the expense of Beijing and potentially Washington as well.
Until recently, President Vladimir Putin’s strategic priorities had heavily favored Europe and the Middle East, culminating in his reckless actions in destabilizing Ukraine, and his wholesale political, diplomatic, and military backing of Syria’s Assad regime. Asia Pacific has always been an important component of the Kremlin’s geopolitical calculation, but due to Russia’s multi-layered economic and strategic interests with regional states at rivalry with each other, it had been relatively content to adopt a balanced approach to various hot-button issues. Russia’s general tendency has been not to articulate positions on territorial disputes and to refrain from active association with one side or the other, thus leaving China and the U.S. to play the dominant roles in deciding the outcome of the region’s many conflicts.

Russian Navy warships
That Russian approach changed in late April when Russian and Chinese Foreign Ministers, Sergei Lavrov and Wang Yi, issued an unprecedented joint statement in Beijing, voicing—among other things—common objection to the U.S. role in settling the South China Sea disputes, thereby breaking the Kremlin’s pattern of avoiding joint positions with Beijing on China’s various territorial issues.

‘Old Cold War warrior’ imagines war with Russia

Old Cold War warrior’ imagines war with Russia
Retired British general and former NATO deputy commander insists his fictional scenario is ‘entirely plausible.’
Richard Martyn-Hemphill
Retired British general and former NATO deputy commander insists his fictional scenario is ‘entirely plausible.’

LONDON — A blow-by-blow of Russia’s invasion of the Baltic States in May 2017, and the nuclear Armageddon it could unleash, is already available in hardback.
Splayed across a red cover illustrated with tanks and exploding warheads, the title reads: “2017: War with Russia — An Urgent Warning from Senior Military Command.”
General Sir Richard Shirreff, a retired British Army officer and former NATO deputy supreme commander for Europe, describes his first literary foray as a “slightly racy novel.” It sketches out a fictional war that includes cyberattacks, fighter jets, and nuclear missiles — a scenario he claims is “entirely plausible.”
Shirreff’s career move from military man to doomsday prophecy novelist comes at a time when relations between Russia and NATO show little sign of thawing, and Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev warns the world has entered a “new Cold War.”
His 37-year military career spanned the First Gulf War, three tours in Northern Ireland and peacekeeping missions in Kosovo and Bosnia. He also served in Iraq from 2006 to 2007, a time of heightened conflict. His experience informed the novel, but he was keen to keep the contents “firmly in the pages of fiction.”

“2017: War with Russia” is a blend of genres: part spy novel, part think-tank paper, and part satirical memoir, the novel is heavily influenced by John Le Carré and the films of Peter Sellers. (“Dr. Strangelove,” in which the world charges madly towards nuclear conflict, comes to mind.)
The book has its fair amount of cheesy pantomime villainy and comic book heroism. Its cast is a jumble of pseudo-fictional officials, spies, jet pilots, provocateurs, and kidnapped soldiers. But, if the book is unlikely to attract much literary praise, it is eminently readable — and often downright gripping.

* * *
Without giving too much away, the story is set post British exit from the European Union. The U.S. has just elected a new president (a vague mash-up of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton). Emboldened by signs of frailty and disunity in the West, the Russian president — a crafty, callous adrenaline addict and Shakespeare enthusiast — re-engages in the war in Ukraine and activates a plan to invade the Baltics. Russia claims to want to protect Russian-speakers living in the region, but what the Kremlin really wants, it turns out, is to discredit an already flailing NATO Alliance. Russia deploys a variety of non-conventional war tactics — cyberattacks and disinformation designed to confuse and delay NATO’s response — while it presses ahead with a full scale attack.

NATO, meanwhile, is bogged down in a series of painful deliberations over whether to invoke its Article 5 on common defense. Here, Shirreff reveals his own longstanding exasperation with the interminable squabbling of Brussels diplomats at NATO headquarters. If the story has a moral, it is this: Hollow out defense spending at your peril, because NATO will take too long to react to a serious threat and the nuclear option is not a credible one.

Deterrence, Sherriff argues, is as important now as it was during the Cold War. But must be done differently. Unless NATO beefs up its defenses in the Baltic region, the vacuum will needlessly tempt Vladimir Putin, whose regime has already shown its willingness to break international security agreements. He cites Russia’s war in Georgia in 2008, its seizure of Crimea in March 2014 and incursions in eastern Ukraine.

The gloomy geopolitical backdrop, and Shirreff’s clamorous, brash and undiplomatic literary style, has left the U.K. government bristling over Shirreff’s decision to swerve beyond a modestly conventional retirement route of memoirs, lecture circuits and golf courses.

“Inflammatory,” U.K. Foreign Minister Philip Hammond said of the general’s work, criticizing the author’s “quite irresponsible language.”

Hammond harshly dismissed the soldier’s warnings. “I don’t think there’s anybody serious around who thinks the kind of scenario he is postulating is remotely likely,” he told reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

“None of us should be complacent about what the future might hold,” Shirreff responded, in an interview with POLITICO at the Cavalry and Guards Club in Mayfair.

This was just the latest in a series of lively public crossfires between the two men. They reportedly clashed over cuts to the armed services when Hammond was defense minister. When Shirreff called the cuts “a hell of a gamble,” Hammond threatened to have him court-martialled, Shirreff recalled. Hammond has denied this.

“Some people may say that a retired general, writing a book saying that we are in danger of war and therefore we need to bolster our defenses, is an old Cold War warrior looking for a return to good old days,” Shirreff said. “Well, far from it, actually.”

His book’s basic premises, Shirreff maintains, are based on the findings of recent war games and reports focused on NATO’s northeastern flank, some of which Shirreff himself helped draw up. Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia — EU and NATO members since 2004 — are widely considered to be vulnerable flashpoints in the ongoing standoff between NATO and Russia, which has been re-militarizing in the region and probing Baltic air and sea space over the last few years, often conducting snap drills close by.

* * *

Concerns over NATO’s ability to respond to Russian expansionism is widespread, and Shirreff is by no means a lone voice on the subject. A recent report by RAND Corporation, a think tank with ties to the U.S. military, suggested current NATO forces deployed in the Baltics would be outgunned “within days” of a potential Russian invasion. The BBC show “Inside the War Room” dramatized NATO attempts to cool off a hypothetical pro-Russian separatist movement a majority Russian-speaking part of a Baltic country.

“It’s in our interests to see the Baltic states are properly defended so we avoid the ghastly events that I outline,” said Shirreff.

He is heavily skeptical of NATO countries who rely too heavily on the Alliance’s nuclear deterrence capabilities or Rapid Reaction force to deter a possible Russian invasion. A nuclear response would be disproportionate, he argued, and a rapid reaction force would always to be too slow onto the scene.

“If the first recourse you have is to nuclear,” he asked, “is that really credible? Much, much better to be able to match deterrence at every level.”

NATO must station forces on the ground to deter Moscow, Shirreff argues, waving aside concerns about whether this would contravene the NATO-Russia Founding Act, which, some claim, included a commitment to Russia that no substantial permanent NATO force could ever be stationed in the Baltics. He points to the number of international agreements Russia has already contravened, and to ambiguity in the language of the agreement.

The book is a military man’s rallying cry of the likes of Sir John Hackett’s 1979 “The Third World War.” Ultimately Shirreff wants the novels to be preventative, rather than prescient. His book, he says, is not “fiction as such:” It is “fact-based prediction, very closely modeled on what I know.”

Still, the novel form, Shirreff has come to believe, is the only way to keep his message from drowning in the morass of think-tank papers, while Whitehall policymakers, keen to cut back on defense spending, look on with indifference.

“In a democracy, these are issues that people need to think about and need to understand,” he said forcefully. “It’s not something you can just relegate to specialists and experts.”

The next Balkan wars

6 June 2016
Europe is facing a new, potentially violent crisis as territorial and ethnic tensions reignite in the troubled south-east of the continent.
By Timothy Less
After some years of peace, the western Balkans are again descending into instability. Across the region, people are taking to the streets, demanding the resignation of governments. Thousands are fleeing abroad in search of jobs and opportunities. A violent strand of Wahhabism is taking hold among the region’s Muslim population. Perhaps most worryingly of all, the threat of disintegration is returning, as malcontent minorities try to divide their states.
Bosnia has long been the most dysfunctional state in the region, wasted by civil war in the 1990s and afflicted by ethnic divisions ever since. The Serbs and Croats have never abandoned their goal of separation. Milorad Dodik, the president of Republika Srpska (Bosnia’s Serbian “entity”), is being squeezed by political rivals at home and investigated by police in Sarajevo for alleged money laundering. To shore up his position, he has threatened a referendum on independence for Republika Srpska, scheduled for 2018.

Not far behind is Kosovo, an impoverished plateau in the Šar Mountains. It is unrecognised by half of the world, run by a corrupt elite and saddled with an embittered Serb minority. After years of resistance, Kosovo’s Serbs have recently extracted the right to territorial autonomy from the country’s notional EU supervisors. This has provoked a ferocious backlash from Albanian nationalists, who have attacked the parliament and held a series of violent street demonstrations.
Meanwhile, Macedonia is in chaos following the leaking of tapes that led to accusations that the former prime minister Nikola Gruevski had spied on the population and had been involved in corruption, electoral fraud and outright criminality. This has outraged the unhappy Albanian minority, which blames its leaders for upholding an illegitimate government instead of its community rights. In response, this group is demanding the federalisation of the state, auguring its potential disintegration. In the Balkans, it all eventually comes back to nationalism.