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Showing posts from June 16, 2013

Let Banks Go Bankrupt

How Iceland Overthrew The Banks: The Only 3 Minutes Of Any Worth From Davos

"Why do we consider banks to be like holy churches?" is the rhetorical question that Iceland's President Olafur Ragnar Grimson asks (and answers) in this truly epic three minutes of truthiness from the farce that is the World Economic Forum in Davos. Amid a week of back-slapping and self-congratulatory party-outdoing, as John Aziz notes, the Icelandic President explains why his nation is growing strongly, why unemployment is negligible, and how they moved from the world's poster-child for banking crisis 5 years ago to a thriving nation once again. Simply put, he says, "we didn't follow the prevailing orthodoxies of the last 30 years in the Western world." There are lessons here for everyone - as Grimson explains the process of creative destruction that remains much needed in Western economies - though we suspect his holographic pass for next year's Swiss fun will be reneged.

E3+3 coercive diplomacy towards Iran: Do the economic sanctions add up?

Uncertainty about the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme still poses a major challenge to the international community, and to the Middle East in particular. More than ten years of negotiations have brought no resolution to the dispute, so in recent years the EU and the US have upped the pressure on the Islamic Republic. In January 2012 the EU adopted an unprecedented sanctions package, mainly directed at the Iranian oil industry. Together with US measures, this strike at the centrepiece of the Iranian economy was intended to force the Iranian regime to agree to demands of the international community in the framework of the ‘E3+3’ (Germany, France, the UK, plus the US, China and Russia) negotiations, conducted under the auspices of EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton. The aim of this Policy Brief is to assess how effective the current economic sanctions policy is and whether it could contribute to a negotiated resolution of the nuclear standoff. Eighteen

European RPAS Roadmap Is Published & Available Online

vvdddcvvvFrom:   UVS International 86 rue Michel Ange 75016 Paris France Tel.: 33-1- Fax: 33-1-            To:       The International RPAS Community Re:       European RPAS Roadmap Is Published & Available Online   Dear Friends,   On 20 June 2013, the European RPAS Roadmap remittance ceremony took place in the GIFAS Chalet (GIFAS = Grouping of French Aerospace Manufacturers) at the Paris Air Show.   After a short welcome by a GIFAS representative, the opening speech was giving by Philippe Brunet (DG Enterprise & Industry). In his speech Mr Brunet explained the context, the start up of the European UAS Panel that was announced at that the Paris Air Show in 2011, and the subsequent establishment of the European RPAS Steering Group. Mr Brunet also stressed the positive influences the opening of the RPAS market would have on

Balochistan: Bullets & Bullies

By Johar Ali Bugtti, London “If you see the sun red… any redness in flowers. These must be the blood of my people” (Ghulam Rasool Mulla (1939-)). With a rich and colourful history stretching back over some 2000 years the Baloch people have become accustomed to struggling against the overtures of outside powers and would-be rulers. Their resistance is a sad, unending tale of suffering, the latest chapter of which started in 1947 with the creation of Pakistan. Even today the Baloch continue to resist through whatever means are at their disposal including constitutional dialogue and armed struggle, as they strive for autonomy and recognition of their inalienable rights. The current impasse between the Pakistani state and Balochistan is the result of a series of broken promises, unsuccessful military operations carried out to subdue the Baloch and a failure to absorb the Baloch identity into a larger, more comprehensive, Pakistani identity. Set this against a backdrop of exploit

India places its Asian bet on Japan

By Peter Lee   Asia Times 20 June, 2013 In a dismaying week for the People's Republic of China (PRC), India turned away from it, and gave further signals that it is ready to move beyond the narrative of Japanese World War II aggression that has informed China's Asian diplomacy and anchored the US presence in Asia for over half a century in favor of a view of Japan as a leading and laudable security actor in East Asia. I don't know if there is a term in the diplomatic lexicon for "deep tongue kiss accompanied by groans of mutual fulfillment", but if there is, it seems it would be illustrated by the encounter between Indian President Manmohan Singh and Japanese PM Abe Shinzo in Tokyo on May 27-29, 2013. Speaking to an assembly of Japanese government and corporate worthies in Tokyo, Singh said: Asia's resurgence began over a century ago on this island of the Rising Sun. Ever since, Japan has shown us

Ending the romance with Maoists Paper No. 5511                                          Dated 17-Jun-2013 Col R Hariharan [This article includes points made by the author in a discussion on a TV news channel on Maoist violence beamed on June 14, 2013.] The Maoist attack on Dhanbad-Patna Intercity Express at Jamui - one of Bihar's seven Maoists-hit districts on May 13 killing three persons, is a rude reminder that the state is yet to win its war against Maoist extremism, despite winning many battles on other fronts. The attack comes even as the nation is recovering from the gruesome killing of Chattisgarh Congress President Nand Kumar Patel and his son, as well as the well-known Adivasi leader Mahendra Karma, and 20 others by Maoists near Suguma in Southern Bastar District earlier. The two incidents underline the need to shed the romantic notions many of us nurture about Maoist extremism. Ironically the Congress leaders were on a “Parivartan yatra” as a par

French Lessons From Mali: Fight Alone, Supply Together

  Murielle Delaporte French forces appear to have succeeded in Mali. They blunted the mad progress of Islamist forces during Operation Serval for those who dont know, the Serval  s a gorgeous, sleek and fast African cat known for grabbing hidden prey from rocks and holes) drove them back to the northern mountains and seem to have broken the back of the evil ones, some of whom blew themselves up rather than surrender once faced with sure defeat. Murielle Delaporte, respected French military analyst, was embedded with French forces in Mali for 10 days in later April and offers this early look at lessons learned, by France and by her allies. The Editor. The first phase of Operation Serval, as the French incursion into Mali is known, has been a genuine military success. Maybe, as one former French Foreign Legion officer observes, Serval stands as one of the few French military victories since the Cold War. During three months of fighting France lost six soldiers and suffered 200 wo

India’s Strategic Failure in Central Asia

CENTRAL ASIA | POLITICS | INDIA June 11, 2013By Stephen Blank As Western forces depart the region, New Delhi will need to act to translate potential into reality. India’s political, cultural, and historical ties to Central Asia date back to antiquity. But contemporary circumstances, namely the quest for energy and the threat of terrorism, have imparted a new urgency, adding strategic realities to historical tradition. Indeed, Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid has said that India’s energy requirements are growing at a “terrifying pace.” Consequently, India’s government recently announced that it refuses to lay down a quota for importing oil (and presumably gas) from any country, including Iran. Instead, India will buy oil (and, again, presumably gas if not other energy sources) from wherever “it gets the best deal.” In this context it is even looking at the Arctic for energy sources. Not surprisingly in this context the Caspian basin is seen as an “important source” of hydrocarbon

Teaching People To Overcome Biases With Games At Origins, Global Intelligence Forum

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 Inspired by the announcement of Intelligence Advanced Research Project Agency's  Sirius Program  a couple of years ago, I set out to design a tabletop (i.e. card) game that would help people learn more about cognitive biases and hopefully learn to limit the effects of some of the worst of them. My first two attempts were ... OK ... but I couldn't quite get them to work.  Either they took too long to play or playtesting suggested that the learning effects were too small. One day, though, it hit me - a design that was both manageable in terms of time and had good evidence to suggest that it would teach people not only how to identify bias situations in real life but also to apply effective strategies for mitigating the effects of those biases!  In short, I had a good game with proven mechanics and a testable hypothesis -- I was off to the races! This sum

The Foreign Policy Impact of Iran's Presidential Election

Geopolitical Weekly TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 2013 - 04:02  Stratfor By Michael Nayebi-Oskoui and Kamran Bokhari Iranians went to the polls Friday to elect outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's successor. Candidates reported few serious problems with the process, and the losers sent congratulations to the eventual winner, Hassan Rouhani. Compared to the political instability that followed Ahmadinejad's 2009 re-election, this process was relatively boring. But however the news media felt about the election, Iran needs domestic stability if it is going to change its foreign policy in a very challenging geopolitical environment. Domestic Stability Domestic stability has been the first goal for any regime that would project power from Iran's central highlands. The Persian Empire first emerged only after a central power subjugated the various groups of Indo-Iranian, Turkic and Semitic peoples within its borders. The suppression of 2009's Green Movement is only a recent exampl

Raman Ji ,Good Bye with tears.

Vikram Sood remembers his friend and mentor B Raman, who passed away on Sunday. In our trade and profession we hunted together -- my friend and mentor, Bahukutumbi Raman and I. Today I miss him and in grieving for him, actually I grieve for myself. My friend for 40 years, not 30 as I had Tweeted in my grief, Raman was a core professional. But he was more. Strong on loyalty and professional excellence. Loved irreverent gossip yet immensely secretive professionally. A man seriously and earnestly devoted to his profession for whom detail was everything. A very private man, it took a while to get to know him after I was sent to understudy him and eventually take over from him, in 1972. There would be days he would be very quiet, not rude, just immersed in whatever he was doing. I could sit there all day and read volumes of intelligence material and leave quietly without even a word