2 November 2016

*** Ageing Defence Forces: The Enemy Within

By Brig Amrit Kapur
31 Oct , 2016

The profession demands a younger profile, whereas due to the narrow pyramid of promotional avenues, the age profile in various command assignments continues to soar upwards, notwithstanding the Ajai Vikram Singh Committee report. There are now six to seven Lieutenant Colonels / Colonels in a major unit. If we continue in the same manner, we will end up very soon having units commanded by Brigadiers. Instead of addressing the core issues, we try to push the main problem under the carpet.

Instead of tackling the basic problem on a long-term basis, we end up carrying out up gradations giving temporary relief. This has resulted in an upside down pyramid, which means chaos and instability.

Quoting Central Police Organisations (CPOs), Central Para Military Forces (CPMF), State Police Force or State Armed Police, example of having a top-heavy rank structure is not going to solve the problem of an ageing profile of the Defence Forces in any way. The aim of this very exercise is not achieved, as there has been a marginal reduction in age profile in command assignments. Even the life expectancy in our country continues to soar upwards, further compounding and complicating the problem. The trend, therefore, is to keep increasing the average age up the ladder with a view to give employment till as late in life as is possible. On the face of it, it looks good but it militates against the needs of the job content.

This issue has been repeatedly raised in many a fora but to no avail. We don’t have the will and the desire to address contentious issues; we have the enemy within. We don’t have to wait for our adversaries to cut us to size by throwing up most experienced but older defence personnel.

** Fighting Militants In Pakistan: Who Is In Charge? – Analysis

NOVEMBER 1, 2016

The October attack on a police academy in Quetta that killed 61 cadets and wounded some 170 others, the worst such incident since an assault in December 2014 on a military school in Peshawar, has exacerbated tensions between the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the military, and the country’s intelligence service, the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI).

The attack occurred barely two months after a bombing virtually wiped out Baluchistan’s legal elite and less than two weeks after senior government officials, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, clashed with military commanders and intelligence leaders over counterterrorism policy. Sharif and his ministers warned their military and intelligence counterparts that Pakistan risked international isolation if it failed to implement a national counterterrorism action plan adopted in the wake of the attack in Peshawar two years ago. The civilians’ warning included the fact that the military and intelligence service’s selective crackdown on militants puts US$46 billion in Chinese infrastructure investments at risk.
Crucial Chinese Link

Pakistan constitutes a crucial link in China’s One Belt, One Road initiative designed to link the Eurasian land mass through infrastructure, transportation and telecommunications. The Baluch port of Gwadar is key to the maritime and land links China is trying to create that would give it geopolitical advantage, theoretically more secure routes for the import of badly needed resources and export of Chinese goods, and help Beijing develop economically the strategic but restive north-western Chinese province of Xinjiang.

** Why India Must Go All Out For A Stable Kabul – Analysis

By Harsh V. Pant 
NOVEMBER 1, 2016

Despite the continuing India-Pakistan tensions and a volatile border situation where Pakistani forces continue to violate the ceasefire, Islamabad has decided to take part in the Heart of Asia (HoA) conference on Afghanistan in Amritsar, on 4 December.

The conference aims at speeding up reconstruction in war torn Afghanistan and bringing peace and normalcy to the nation.

Though in India many would be tempted to focus primarily on the visit of the Pakistani delegation, the HoA conference will see participation from around 14 countries — Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the UAE.

The HoA process, which is being supported by the wider international community, originated under the aegis of the ‘Istanbul Conference’ in November 2011.

This underscored the need for regional cooperation and confidence-building to resolve underlying problems facing Afghanistan and anchoring the state’s development in a regional environment that is stable, economically integrated and conducive to shared prosperity.

India, too, has repeatedly underscored the need for improving connectivity in the region to help Afghanistan harness its trade and transit potential.

But for Pakistan, this participation will largely be about showcasing its positive involvement in the larger regional reconstruction.

After the Collapsed US-Russia Agreement, Advantage Assad

By Derek Verbakel
31 Oct , 2016

On 19 September, the Russia-backed regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad declared dead the flawed-but-hyped peace deal enacted a week earlier by the US and Russia. The agreement aimed to cease hostilities between warring groups; provide humanitarian aid to Syrians; reinvigorate political talks; and facilitate US-Russia cooperation in targeting Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (JFS, the recently rebranded al Qaeda affiliate in Syria) and the Islamic State (IS). None of this came to fruition. Instead, the unraveled peace agreement has allowed for the acceleration of processes already underway: it has empowered Assad and his backers, weakened the US and the more moderate opposition, and strengthened the jihadis. In this context, diplomatic talks such as those resumed on 15 October are likely not to resolve the conflict and to advantage the Assad regime and Russia.

It was only after Russia’s intervention just over a year ago that Assad’s mounting territorial losses were reversed. Sidelining Iran’s patronage, Russia gained leverage over Assad, whose rule secures Moscow’s perceived existential strategic imperatives in the region; and by extension, globally.

Assad, now determined to regain control of the country by all means necessary, has capitalised on the political process attending the September agreement. The collapsed ceasefire is widely associated with the targeting by Russian airstrikes of a UN aid convoy destined for the rebel held eastern Aleppo city on 19 September. Yet, just two days prior, US bombs ostensibly meant for the IS killed 62 Syrian government soldiers in Deir al-Zour. This gave the regime – which never stopped blocking aid shipments and striking rebel held areas – a pretext to cite the US as well as rebel violations as justification to renounce the ceasefire. Since then, joined by Russian planes and Iranian-backed Shia fighters from several countries, Assad has stepped up vicious assaults on Aleppo neighbourhoods under the control of the JFS and aligned groups.

Australia's wake-up call on China isn't just hysterical

Peter Hartcher
Source Link

Former foreign affairs minister Bob Carr has said that Australia went through an "anti-China panic" and anti-China "hysteria" recently.

This was a reference to the reporting of events such as Labor senator Sam Dastyari's decision to ask a Chinese company to pay his personal bills. Dastyari, admitting an error of judgment, resigned his frontbench position. And events such as Treasurer Scott Morrison's decision to veto Chinese bids to buy control of Ausgrid, NSW's main power distributor, on national security grounds.

Duterte goes big on his state visit to China

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives in Beijing for a four-day state visit to improve ties with its Asian neighbour.

And events such as the decision of a pro-Beijing group of Chinese Australians to hold concerts in Sydney and Melbourne to glorify the life of Chairman Mao, only to be pressured into cancelling.

Was Australia gripped by an anti-China hysteria?

Dastyari, a close factional ally of Bob Carr's, is still a senator. A Chinese company has since been allowed to buy the equivalent of 20 per cent ownership of the Port of Melbourne, among other things.

The group that opposed the Mao concerts is a rival association of Chinese Australians who say they want to "protect Australian values" against the encroachments of the Chinese Communist Party, according to spokesman John Hugh.

Facing the China menace

By Peter Morici 
October 30, 2016

The trade imbalance and a possible showdown in the South China Sea loom large

The new president will face immediate challenges — the war against ISIS, fixing Obamacare and boosting sluggish growth — but the economic and geopolitical challenges posed by an increasingly assertive China are perhaps the most vexing and far reaching for the American economy and global leadership.

Over the last three decades, China has accomplished hyper growth by supplying western consumers with inexpensive products and attracting western investment to participate in the export boom and sell to its growing middle class. Accomplishing all this, it has hardly played fairly according to the established norms of global trade.

According to Hillary Clinton, China subsidizes exports, manipulates its currency and more to the detriment of American workers. She promises to appoint a special trade prosecutor to enforce U.S. rights under international agreements.

Donald Trump would slap on 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports to force renegotiation of those agreements to get a better deal for Americans.

If they are serious, it’s about time.

The $320 billion annual deficit on trade in goods and services with China slashes demand for American-made products, curtails funding for U.S.-based R&D, kills millions of jobs and depresses wages, and is a principal cause of the blight in communities like Reading, Pennsylvania and Hickory, North Carolina.

Australia and Indonesia consider joint patrols in South China Sea

OCTOBER 31 2016 

Jakarta: Australia and Indonesia are considering joint patrols in the highly sensitive South China Sea amid escalating tensions in the region over the hotly-contested waters.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea, through which about $US5 trillion worth of maritime trade passes each year, but five other countries have conflicting claims.

Australia's new strategic reality

Military escalation in the South China Sea is having a powerful influence on Australia's strategic environment, explains David Wroe.

Indonesian Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said he had proposed a "peace patrol" with Australia in the South China Sea to "bring peace" and combat illegal fishing when the two countries' defence ministers met in Bali last week.

"It's a joint patrol or coordinated patrol, it's the same thing," Mr Ryamizard told reporters. "There are no intentions to disrupt the relationship (with China). It is called a peace patrol, it brings peace. It is about protecting fish in each other's areas."

Defence Minister Marise Payne told Fairfax Media the ministers had agreed to explore options to increase maritime cooperation.

"This could include coordinated activities in the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea consistent with Australia's policy of exercising rights of freedom of navigation in accordance with international law and our support for regional security," she said.

Foreign policy experts have warned joint patrols could antagonise China, which has built up military facilities in the South China Seaand built artificial islands on reefs to buttress its territorial claims.

Deciphering Rodrigo Duterte's China Triangulation

October 31, 2016

“I’ve realigned myself in [China’s] ideological flow … there are three of us against the world: China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way,” exclaimedPhilippine president Rodrigo Duterte during his four-day trip to China. Not short of theatrics, he also bid “goodbye” to America, vowing “separation” from the Philippines’ sole treaty ally.

As far as rhetoric is concerned, we are witnessing potentially the biggest overnight volte-face in history of geopolitics. In a matter of months, the Philippines has gone from China’s leading regional critic to, at least verbally, a potentially ally, with the century-old U.S.-Philippine alliance suddenly hanging in the balance.

This was Duterte’s first major state visit, breaking with a long tradition of Philippine leaders visiting Washington and Tokyo ahead of Beijing. And he achieved practically everything he sought. Duterte managed to secure $24 billion in economic pledges from China. Around $15 billion are business-to-business deals between Filipino business tycoons, mostly of Chinese descent, and their mainland counterparts. The remaining $9 billion are soft loans, a third of which will be devoted to infrastructure investment in the Philippines, including Duterte’s home island of Mindanao, which has been racked by a four-decade-long conflict and the country’s highest incidence of poverty.

To Duterte’s delight, China also offered assistance to his signature “war on drugs” campaign, which has drawn heavy criticism from Washington and rapidly become a huge bone of contention in bilateral relations with Manila. The two former rivals also managed to arrive at a set of confidence-building measures in the South China Sea, including hotlines between their Coast Guard forces and a provisional joint fishing arrangement in the Scarborough Shoal. The neighbors are also negotiating a twenty-five-year military agreement, which allows Manila to purchase Chinese weapons on favorable terms. Slowly but surely, Asia hands in Washington are beginning to ask: “Who lost the Philippines?”

(Taiwan) Is Not Made In China – OpEd

By Thomas Shattuck* 
NOVEMBER 1, 2016

(FPRI) — Recent incidents continue to demonstrate how the People’s Republic of China is attempting to isolate Taiwan from the international community. These actions (both on the micro and macro level) bode ill for how China is going to engage with Taiwan under President Tsai Ing-Wen, whose election Beijing opposed.

Reports from a Shanghai bookstore show the nonsensical lengths that some people in China will go to “exclude” Taiwan. Bookstores are ripping “Taiwan” out of the Merriam-Webster dictionary before customers have the opportunity to purchase it. Other shops simply black out Taiwan-related entries. This “correction” removes any hint of recognition of a “Republic of China” or “Taiwan,” at the expense of other words beginning with the letter “T.” It is a crude method of censorship that boggles the mind—if Merriam-Webster produces dictionaries with apparently offending entries, why does the Chinese government allow them to be sold? It already bans Western social media websites and movies that promote “Western values.” Why risk the embarrassing news story? Ridiculous does not come close to describing these actions.

@remonwangxt @freedomandlaw 前兩天在上海外文書店買了本英英字典,買之前發現所有的包裝都是拆開的,店員說”裡面有問題,拆開做了一下處理”,買回來仔細研究了一下發現被整齊地撕掉了兩頁,看來是不知什麼詞彙違反了當局 pic.twitter.com/I8IF3Xefhv

— Taylor Wang (@taylorwang789) October 7, 2016

Death And Life Inside The World’s Most Terrorized City

As the increase in ISIS-related terrorist attacks triggers panic and backlash in cities worldwide, they’re just part of day-to-day life in Baghdad. Borzou Daragahi goes inside the year’s deadliest, speaking to those whose lives were forever changed by a bombing that left more than 300 people dead.posted on Oct. 30, 2016, at 6:40 p.m.

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Dhulfiqar Oraibi hadn’t even wanted to leave the house that Saturday night.

He was tired. Earlier that day, the 16-year-old and his 26-year-old brother, Muthana, had gone to Baghdad’s International Airport to pick up their father, back from a business trip to Italy. It had been hot outside, with temperatures well above 90 degrees for much of the day. All were cranky from fasting dawn to dusk during Ramadan. Dhulfiqar was taking an evening nap when his father felt drawn to his youngest son’s second-floor bedroom to check on him.

“This feeling came to me and just drew me upstairs,” said Ghanim Oraibi, a former star defender on Iraq’s national soccer team, who rarely climbed stairs because of a nagging knee injury. “I spent five minutes watching him sleep and had this feeling it would be the last time I would see him.”

The explosion struck three hours later, at about a quarter to one in the morning of July 3, a walloping boom that shook the ground beneath the central and southwest neighborhoods of the Iraqi capital. Ambulance and police sirens erupted throughout the city. A plume of thick black smoke rose, filling the night sky. Oraibi, woken by the explosion, searched for his sons but couldn’t find either of them. He tried both of them on their phones, finally reaching Muthana. Over the din, all he could make out was “pray for us” before the line went dead.

The Insane D.I.Y. Weapons of the ISIS War

11.01.16 10:30 AM ET

The coalition assault on Mosul has steadily chipped away at ISIS’s last and biggest major stronghold in Iraq. A reported 100,000 Iraqi, Kurdish, and coalition troops—including American commandos, air-controllers, and artillerymen—have attacked from south and east, respectively, aiming to dislodge an estimated 10,000 ISIS fighters in the northern city of 1.5 million people.

The stakes couldn’t be higher—and both sides know it. ISIS and the U.S.-led coalition have both deployed their latest, best and—in a few cases—most desperate weaponry. From city-block-smashing rocket-tanks to DIY killer robots, these are the defining weapons of the battle for Mosul.

Soviet-Era Rocket-Tanks

In 1988, the Soviet army introduced a fearsome new weapon—the TOS-1 rocket-tank. Built on the chassis of a T-72 main battle tank, the TOS-1 boasts a 24-pack of roughly 9-inch-diameter rockets in place of the tank’s turret. Each of those rockets lugs 220 pounds of explosives and can hit targets from up to 3 miles away. Ripple-firing all 24 rockets could blanket an area the size of two city blocks in munitions.

And not just any munitions. The TOS-1’s rockets are thermobaric weapons. Where traditional warheads count on instantaneous explosive force for their destructive power, thermobaric weapons are slower and more insidious in nature—and potentially much more destructive, pound for pound. The TOS-1’s rockets spread a cloud of flammable gas then ignite the cloud, burning up all the oxygen for hundreds of feet in all directions and producing a devastating blast effect.

Spooked by Russia, Tiny Estonia Trains a Nation of Insurgents

OCT. 31, 2016
Members of the Estonian Defense League set off for a patrol competition near the town of Turi in central Estonia. The events, held nearly every weekend, are called war games, but they are not intended to be fun. CreditJames Hill for The New York Times

TURI, Estonia — Her face puffy from lack of sleep, Vivika Barnabas peered down at the springs, rods and other parts of a disassembled assault rifle spread before her.

At last, midway through one of this country’s peculiar, grueling events known as patrol competitions, she had come upon an easy task.

Already, she and her three teammates had put out a fire, ridden a horse, identified medicinal herbs from the forest and played hide-and-seek with gun-wielding “enemies” in the woods at night.

By comparison, this would be easy. She knelt in the crinkling, frost-covered grass of a forest clearing and grabbed at the rifle parts in a flurry of clicks and snaps, soon handing the assembled weapon to a referee.

A team loaded and removed cartridges from rifle magazines in a timed test. CreditJames Hill for The New York Times

Russia falls back in love with Ivan the Terrible


The Ivan the Terrible statue is unveiled in the city of Oryol, Russia | Alexander Ryumin/TASS via Getty Images

ORYOL, Russia — In 1947, Josef Stalin summoned film director Sergei Eisenstein to the Kremlin to discuss his movie, “Ivan the Terrible.”

While Stalin had enjoyed the first installment of the masterpiece, released three years earlier, he intensely disliked the sequel, then in production, which depicted the czar’s descent into paranoia and bloodthirsty madness.

According to a transcript of the meeting, Eisenstein was mostly silent as Stalin delivered a history lecture. In a comment that would later become infamous, the Soviet leader told Eisenstein that Ivan the Terrible was, in fact, “a great and wise ruler.” Stalin’s henchmen, Vyacheslav Molotov and Andrei Zhdanov, also present, nodded along in agreement.

The second part of Eisenstein’s “Ivan the Terrible” was not released for another nine years, after the deaths of both Stalin and Eisenstein.

Stalin was the first leader in Russian history to trumpet a positive appraisal of the 16th century tyrant. And with his demise, such views returned to the fringes of the historical profession.

Until now. In Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Ivan the Terrible’s star is once again on the rise.

Monuments have always been bitterly fought over in Russia, where the symbolism of busts, statues and memorial plaques is not easily separated from the nature of the regime that erects them, or tears them down.

Defense Contractors Credited for Finding a Russian Export Scheme

Tips from defense companies to a Pentagon office that monitors contractor security and protects classified data led to the arrest this month of three people accused of shipping sensitive microelectronics to Russia, according to the program’s director.

The five “suspicious contact” reports to the Defense Security Service in that case were among 45,941 submitted by industry in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, director Dan Payne said in an interview. Of the reported contacts, 19 percent resulted in solid counter-intelligence reports, Payne said.

The Russian case underscored what Payne described as the most attempts to steal, purchase or otherwise obtain sensitive U.S. technology uncovered during his 34 years of counter-intelligence work, which included years at the Central Intelligence Agency.

The 45,941 reports from industry last year was up from 7,002 reports in fiscal 2009 and 39,442 in fiscal 2015, according to agency figures. The reports led to 1,117 active intelligence community investigations or leads of counterintelligence cases and export control violations, Payne said.

“We are in a knife fight” with adversaries, Payne told a panel sponsored by Bloomberg Government last week on supply-chain security. He said in the interview that his message was “we can’t do it all” in government so “we almost have to have a unified front” with industry. “Thus far, industry has been very good with the reporting.”

The Justice Department said in a statement Oct. 6 that three people representing two Russian-affiliated front companies based in Brooklyn, New York, were arrested for buying and then shipping sensitive equipment to Russia. The department alleged that a naturalized U.S. citizen from Russia living in Brooklyn conspired with two Russian nationals based in Denver to ship microelectronics “used in a wide variety of military systems, including radar, and surveillance systems, missile guidance systems and satellites.”

Hillary Clinton and Nuclear Weapons: More Dangerous Than Trump?

October 31, 2016

With his customary keen insight, the Financial Times commentator Edward Luce recently observed that GOP nominee Donald Trump’s Achilles heel is a lack of character. Because of this, Trump’s opponents argue, he cannot be trusted with oversight of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn (D. Ga.) asserted that of the two presidential candidates, only Hillary Clinton has “experience, judgment and skills” to have a finger on the figurative “nuclear button.”

At the third presidential debate, Clinton herself argued that Trump is unfit to be commander-in-chief. Specifically alluding to Trump’s proposal that Japan and South Korea develop their own nuclear arsenals, she charged that he is “very cavalier, even casual about the use of nuclear weapons.” Clinton may have scored a debating point here, but her foreign policy record demonstrates that - even if for different reasons - her views on nuclear weapons are at least as reckless as Trump’s. To understand why, we need to go back to the Cold War, when the United States used its nuclear arsenal to protect Western Europe from a potential Soviet attack.

After World War II, nuclear strategists distinguished between two different types of deterrence: direct deterrence and extended deterrence. Direct deterrence is the use of U.S. nuclear weapons to dissuade an adversary from launching a premeditated strike on U.S. territory. Effective direct deterrence is easy, not hard. It requires only that the United States retains what is called a secure second strike retaliatory force - an arsenal capable of inflicting unacceptable damage even if an adversary attacks the United States first. Direct deterrence works because other states understand the consequences of attacking American soil: they would be subjected to devastating U.S. retaliation. That is a risk that adversaries will not run. After all, states and the regimes that govern them want to survive, not to kill themselves. In this sense, the much lampooned Cold War strategic doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) remains robust.

Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton: The Trade-Policy Paradox

October 31, 2016

Donald Trump has gotten a great deal of attention this year for his harsh rhetoric about trade and lost jobs. When his campaign has delved into more specific policies, however, he doesn’t offer much that’s different from Hillary Clinton. They both oppose new and old trade agreements, and they both want to use domestic trade laws and international dispute mechanisms more aggressively. Until now, the “debate” over trade has been mostly about trust, with Clinton accusing Trump of being a hypocritical “outsourcer” and Trump accusing Clinton of secretly supporting trade deals she publicly opposes.

With just a few weeks left in the campaign, the candidates have finally stumbled upon divergent concrete policy proposals regarding trade. Unfortunately, both proposals amount to nothing more than meaningless fluff meant to sound like thoughtful reforms.

Clinton says she will create a “trade prosecutor” position “for the first time in history” to make sure our trade agreements are “enforced.” This proposal is surely meant to appeal to trade critics on the left who commonly complain that past presidential administrations have let foreign countries violate trade commitments without consequence.

The biggest problem with Clinton’s proposal is that this position already exists. U.S. efforts to bring dispute settlement cases at the World Trade Organization or under various other free-trade agreements are currently directed by theGeneral Counsel at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

What’s more, this office has been quite busy over the years representing the United States in dozens of cases brought by and against the United States at the WTO. In 2016 alone, the Obama administration brought two new cases against China over farm subsidies and export restrictions while securing favorable rulings in ongoing cases concerning local content requirements in India and aircraft subsidies in Europe. Clinton has given no indication that her proposal amounts to anything more than renaming that existing office and hiring some more people to work in it.

The U.S. Cyberwar With Russia Will Wait for President Hillary Clinton

10.27.16 10:33 AM ET

After U.S. intelligence agencies and the Homeland Security Departmentpublicly blamed Russia for a campaign of cyber espionage designed to interfere with the presidential election, the Obama administration promised a response “to protect [the country’s] interests at a time and place of our choosing.”

But that response seems unlikely to come before Election Day. The question of how to retaliate for Russia’s unprecedented meddling in the U.S. political system has been the subject of meetings among national security officials, but as of now those plans are still being worked out, according to four officials knowledgeable about the deliberations.

Rather, the administration is likely to work in concert with the president-elect to fashion a response, one official said, like the others speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations. It would, after all, fall to that new commander in chief to deal with the repercussions or retaliating against Russia.

If polls are predictive, that person is likely to be Hillary Clinton, who is sure to have her own thoughts on how to respond to an espionage campaign that was partly designed to undermine her candidacy. Handing her a cyber campaign in progress—without her input—wouldn’t be that wise. Nor would dumping a cyberwar in President Donald Trump’s lap be the brightest idea, considering he has consistently denied any link between the hackers and the Kremlin, despite 17 intelligence agencies’ claims to the contrary.

In an interview, Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said that he was not aware of the administration’s plans for responding to Russia or how it might coordinate with the president-elect. But he urged the White House to hold its fire until after Nov. 8.

History Of Russia’s 1917 Revolution Now In Danger? – OpEd

NOVEMBER 1, 2016

On February 21, 1918, faced with a German advance, Lenin proclaimed that “the socialist fatherland is in danger” and that it was the duty of all those loyal to the workers’ state to come to its defense. Now, 98 years later, some Russian historians are suggesting that the history of the 1917 revolution is under threat and must be defended.

In an article in today’s “Kommersant,” Irina Nagornykh and Viktor Khamrayev report that the scientific council of the Russian Security Council have discussed preparations for the centennial of the Russian revolution and the need to oppose efforts to distort the meaning of that and other events in Russia history (kommersant.ru/doc/3131019).

The experts in that body are calling for the establishment of a new government center to conduct that effort, a center which would take up the role of the commission for preventing attempts at the falsification of history that was disbanded in 2012. But both the Russian Historical Society and the Presidential Administration are opposed to that step.

Participants at the experts council said that “the basic threats” to the understanding of Russian historian events were “the information campaigns of foreign governments, the historical illiteracy of young people, and the disappearance of historical scientific-popular books as an independent literary genre.”

US Non-Security Foreign Aid: The Swamp Of Misguided Good Intentions – Analysis

By Dr. Matthew Crosston*
NOVEMBER 1, 2016

The United States spends approximately 42.4 billion USD per year in foreign assistance. While it is easy to point out that 42.4 billion is actually barely 1% of the overall US budget (4.15 TRILLION USD) and use that figure to try to fight conventional wisdom worry that America spends too much helping other people in other lands solve their problems while not trying to solve its own problems, the real-term reality is that 42.4 billion is a lot of money. Anywhere. To anyone.

It might even be surprising to people to learn that of that 42.4 billion, significantly less than half (16.8 billion USD) is allotted to ‘security.’ Fully 60% of the American foreign assistance budget goes to ‘economic and development’ initiatives all over the world. These initiatives run the gamut of well-intentioned policies, from migration and refugee assistance (2.8 b) to development assistance (3 b) to economic support funds (6.1 b) to global health programs (8.6 b). At face value it is difficult to argue with the theory and philosophy of humanitarian outreach underpinning these financial allotments. But if one begins to scratch below the surface of this humanitarian outreach, layers upon layers of illogic and negligence is revealed. At the very least, the methodology for determining recipients and structures in place for financial oversight seem to be deeply troubled.

Brexit And An Uncertain World: Some Implications For South Asia – Analysis

By Shahid Javed Burki2 
NOVEMBER 1, 2016

Confidence and uncertainty are two variables that worry all economists when they reflect about the future. Since they are difficult to quantify, they don’t make into their equations and the models they work with. That notwithstanding, both figure prominently when economists reflect on Britain’s future following the Brexit vote? It is not only the United Kingdom that would be affected but also the European Union. In fact there are likely to be consequences for the entire world economy.

How will Brexit play out in the drama the script of which is still being written? The political dust raised by the referendum of June 23 will take time to settle down. Much has already happened. Prime Minister David Cameron has left office and has been succeeded by the new leader of the Conservative party Mrs Theresa May who appears to follow a hard line on Brexit. Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London and a colourful advocate of the exit move from the European Union, decided not to take part in the contest for succession to David Cameron.

The impact of Brexit on party politics in Britain has been quite significant. The Labour Party has been convulsed. The majority of its backbenchers have rebelled against Jeremy Corbyn the party’s leader. They voted against him but were not able to persuade him to resign his position. He has, since, been re-elected. Those who voted for Britain’s exit did not think that they were producing a major earthquake in British politics but that is precisely what has happened. Political uncertainty always has negative economic consequences and that will be the case with the Brexit move.

Lebanon's New Hezbollah-Led Political Order

October 31, 2016

Following two and a half years of political deadlock that left Lebanon with no president, parliamentarians elected a Hezbollah-aligned leader as head of state this Monday. It is a stunning political development, even for a country long infamous for its complex web of sectarian politics, Faustian bargains and foreign meddling in its domestic affairs. More importantly, it allows Iran the opportunity to consolidate its grip on this Mediterranean nation, bolstering its regional influence at the expense of the United States and its allies.

The story of how Michel Aoun became president is emblematic of dynamics throughout the Middle East. Western-leaning politicians in Beirut, led by former prime minister Saad Hariri, enjoyed a parliamentary majority and have long opposed Aoun’s election. They insisted that legislators fulfill their constitutional duties by attending parliament and electing a president. Instead, Hezbollah and its allies boycotted and paralyzed state institutions, until Hariri finally acquiesced.

In this war of political attrition, the Western-leaning majority could have prevailed over the illegal obstructionism of Iran and its allies—but they were abandoned and systematically deprived of meaningful political and financial support. While Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah repeatedly boasted about the bountiful financial and military assistance his party is receiving from Tehran, Hariri was left unable to pay even the salaries of his own staff.

Local factors, including political incompetence and financial mismanagement, surely played a role, but it was the undeniable withdrawal of foreign backing that resulted in such a remarkable reversal of fortunes. With the Obama administration widely perceived as accommodating Iranian encroachment throughout the region, and a Saudi leadership preoccupied with internal reforms and the war in Yemen, Hariri and his allies were practically forced to cut a deal. To survive they had to accept becoming Hezbollah’s junior partners in running the affairs of the Lebanese state.

Print Your Precinct Before the Web Gets Hacked

11.01.16 5:30 AM ET

Some of the biggest names in tech are warning against a cyber attack that could, at least intermittently, shut down major portions of the internet in the United States on Election Day. News websites have been sounding an alarm about hacks of electronic voter rolls, voting booths, and even the power grid.

But what if a much more boring cyber attack—one that happened just two weeks ago—could affect you in a much simpler way?

Adam D’Angelo, the CEO of Quora and former Chief Technology Officer at Facebook, is worried about just that. And that’s why he has some advice before Nov. 8.

Find out where your precinct is before Election Day on Nov. 8. Write down the address. Print out or screenshot some directions to it. (You can do all of those things right here.)

You might not be able to access this information easily—especially if you’re in a rush next Tuesday morning—if the web is under the same kind of attack it’s encountered a few times before.

“Everybody should do screenshots on your phone, or just memorize it,” D’Angelo told The Daily Beast. “People who are campaigning, knocking on doors, those people should be prepared.”

Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A “Vision” of the Future

The U.S. Army’s Operating Concept 2016-2028 was issued in August 2010 with three goals. First, it aims to portray how future Army forces will conduct operations as part of a joint force to deter conflict, prevail in war, and succeed in a range of contingencies, at home and abroad. Second, the concept describes the employment of Army forces at the tactical and operational levels of war between 2016 and 2028. Third, in broad terms the concept describes how Army headquarters, from theater army to division, organize and use their forces. The concept goes on to describe the major categories of Army operations, identify the capabilities required of Army forces, and guide how force development should be prioritized. The goal of this concept is to establish a common frame of reference for thinking about how the US Army will conduct full spectrum operations in the coming two decades (US Army Training and Doctrine Command, The Army Operating Concept 2016 – 2028, TRADOC Pamphlet 525-3-1, dated 19 August 2010, p. iii. Hereafter cited as TD Pam 525-3-1. The Army defines full spectrum operations as the combination of offensive, defensive, and either stability operations overseas or civil support operations on U.S. soil).

A key and understudied aspect of full spectrum operations is how to conduct these operations within American borders. If we face a period of persistent global conflict as outlined in successive National Security Strategy documents, then Army officers are professionally obligated to consider the conduct of operations on U.S. soil. Army capstone and operating concepts must provide guidance concerning how the Army will conduct the range of operations required to defend the republic at home. In this paper, we posit a scenario in which a group of political reactionaries take over a strategically positioned town and have the tacit support of not only local law enforcement but also state government officials, right up to the governor. Under present law, which initially stemmed from bad feelings about Reconstruction, the military’s domestic role is highly circumscribed. In the situation we lay out below, even though the governor refuses to seek federal help to quell the uprising (the usual channel for military assistance), the Constitution allows the president broad leeway in times of insurrection. Citing the precedents of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and Dwight D. Eisenhower sending troops to Little Rock in 1957, the president mobilizes the military and the Department of Homeland Security, to regain control of the city. This scenario requires us to consider how domestic intelligence is gathered and shared, the role of local law enforcement (to the extent that it supports the operation), the scope and limits of the Insurrection Act--for example maintaining a military chain of command but in support of the Attorney General as the Department of Justice is the Lead Federal Agency (LFA) under the conditions of the Act--and the roles of the local, national, and international media.

The Scenario (2016) 

Predicting The Proliferation Of Cyber Weapons Into Small States – Analysis

By Daniel Hughes and Andrew M. Colarik*
NOVEMBER 1, 2016

Recent analysis of cyber warfare has been dominated by works focused on the challenges and opportunities it presents to the conventional military dominance of the United States. This was aptly demonstrated by the 2015 assessment from the Director of National Intelligence, who named cyber threats as the number one strategic issue facing the United States.1 Conversely, questions regarding cyber weapons acquisition by small states have received little attention. While individually weak, small states are numerous. They comprise over half the membership of the United Nations and remain important to geopolitical considerations.2 Moreover, these states are facing progressively difficult security investment choices as the balance among global security, regional dominance, and national interests is constantly being assessed. An increasingly relevant factor in these choices is the escalating costs of military platforms and perceptions that cyber warfare may provide a cheap and effective offensive capability to exert strategic influence over geopolitical rivals.

This article takes the position that in cyber warfare the balance of power between offense and defense has yet to be determined. Moreover, the indirect and immaterial nature of cyber weapons ensures that they do not alter the fundamental principles of warfare and cannot win military conflicts unaided. Rather, cyber weapons are likely to be most effective when used as a force multiplier and not just as an infrastructure disruption capability. The consideration of cyber dependence—that is, the extent to which a state’s economy, military, and government rely on cyberspace—is also highly relevant to this discussion. Depending on infrastructure resiliency, a strategic technological advantage may become a significant disadvantage in times of conflict. The capacity to amplify conventional military capabilities, exploit vulnerabilities in national infrastructure, and control the cyber conflict space is thus an important aspect for any war-making doctrine. Integrating these capabilities into defense strategies is the driving force in the research and development of cyber weapons.
The Nature of Cyber Warfare

It’s Now Possible To 3-D Print Your Own Baby Universe

OCTOBER 31, 2016

Researchers have created a 3D printed cosmic microwave background – a map of the oldest light in the universe – and provided the files for download.

The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is a glow that the universe has in the microwave range that maps the oldest light in the universe. It was imprinted when the universe first became transparent, instead of an opaque fog of plasma and radiation.

The CMB formed when the universe was only 380,000 years old – very early on in its now 13.8 billion-year history.

The Planck satellite is making ever-more detailed maps of the CMB, which tells astronomers more about the early universe and the formation of structures within it, such as galaxies. However, more detailed maps are increasingly difficult to view and explore.

To address this issue, Dr Dave Clements from the Department of Physics at Imperial, and two final-year undergraduate students in Physics, have created the plans for 3D printing the CMB. A paper describing the process is published today in the European Journal of Physics.

According to Dr Clements said, “Presenting the CMB in a truly 3D form, that can be held in the hand and felt rather than viewed, has many potential benefits for teaching and outreach work, and is especially relevant for those with a visual disability.

“Differences in the temperature of the CMB relate to different densities, and it is these that spawned the formation of structure in the universe – including galaxies, galaxy clusters and superclusters.