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Showing posts from February 4, 2018

Belt and Road and the battle for global investment standards By  EMANUELE SCIMIA FEBRUARY 6, 2018 5:00 PM (UTC+8) 187 2 A new battle is taking shape on the world scene. It does not contemplate the use of cannons, warships, bombs or any other weaponry. Neither does it provide for the physical occupation of enemy territories and positions. It actually sees China and the West compete in affirming their respective investment standards around the globe. Beijing is considering the creation of “international” tribunals to manage trade and investment disputes arising from the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Chinese President Xi Jinping’s plan to boost connectivity throughout Eurasia and beyond. The dailyReport Must-reads from across Asia - directly to your inbox The Asian giant’s Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform, a political body chaired by Xi, recently approved  guidelines  about the establishment of BRI courts in Beijing, Xian and Shenzhen by the Supreme People’s Cou

Review of Andrew J. Bacevich’s “America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History” 

Forty Years of Failure A Review of Andrew J. Bacevich’s “America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History”  Jeb Smereck The Middle East is an erratic, tangled web of tense relationships, and by the time the average American picks up today’s newspaper, the world described within its pages could differ greatly from what they read last week. Currently, ISIS is losing power and territory, Iran threatens Europe with potential long-range missiles, and Saudi Arabia and Iran continue to sponsor civil war in Yemen and Syria. Americans generally show little interest in Middle Eastern politics. Consequently, looming questions remain unanswered or ignored: Why has the U.S. military fought here for 40 years? What has the U.S. done in the past to create its current enemies? Will the U.S. military stay here for the next 40 years? Can the U.S. even win? Andrew J. Bacevich, in his latest book, “America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History,” answers these questions in a

Post-hostilities planning: British India

Under the cryptic heading ‘PHP’ (post-hostilities planning ), certain War Staff files (IOR/L/WS/1/983-988) address the subject of India’s future. The discussions dwelt upon the country’s strategic importance. Government feared that British withdrawal would leave the wider region exposed: “History has shown that nature abhors a vacuum and if the British step out, we can expect the Russians to step in”. (L/WS/1/985, f. 87). Britain’s oil supplies in the Gulf, its Indian naval, army, and air bases, its access to India’s military forces: all were at risk if a post-Independent India were to turn hostile. To predict the future at this stage, as officials admitted, was next to impossible. The files include standard orders for action and confidently signed-off approvals. But the overwhelming sense that they convey is one of apprehension. 〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰 Top Secret., Printed for the War Cabinet, 6 June 1944. P.H.P. (44) 13 (O) Final., Copy No. 2 WAR CABINET. Post-Hostilities Planning S

Destined for Competition: An Analysis of Graham Allison’s Thucydides Trap Declan Sullivan     January 24, 2018 The ‘Thucydides Trap’ is a term coined by Harvard professor Graham Allison to ostensibly describe the tensions and conflict that occur when an existing great power is confronted with a rising state. According to Allison, as the new power rises, the two are more likely to engage in violent conflict as the new power displaces the old. [1]  He cites sixteen cases of power transition since the late 15th Century, of which twelve resulted in war between the two powers. Allison also cites Thucydides, and in particular the ancient Athenian author’s conclusion that the war between Athens and Sparta, chronicled in his  History of the Peloponnesian War , began: “…because they [the Spartans] were afraid of the further growth of Athenian power.” [2] Allison argues that the United States and China now face a Thucydides Trap scenario,

Failure to Communicate: U.S. Intelligence Structure and the Korean War Christian H. Heller     February 6, 2018 The seventeen different civilian and military intelligence organizations of the United States vary in coverage (collection targets and methods) and depth (from strategic, to operational, to tactical objectives). A variety of organizations working towards different purposes ensure that the intelligence community provides national decision-makers the best picture possible about situations around the world. Intelligence at all levels is an art form. Sources, corroborating or contradicting information, unknowns, and delays in time all result in varied levels of analytical confidence. Information coming from different means, methods, and areas requires a functioning structure to ensure senior national leaders have the best information to make the decisions. While strategic intelligence drives operations and national goals, milita

Are Europe and Turkey on board with China’s New Silk Road initiative? By  SALİH IŞIK BORA   Last month, French President Emmanuel Macron started his trip to China from the city of Xian. Macron is known for his apt use of symbolism and his choice of the historic Silk Road city was no different. This has to do with the Belt and Road Initiative, the central piece of President Xi Jinping’s mandate, a project aiming to connect the Eurasian supercontinent through infrastructure projects estimated to be worth up to $4 trillion by the Economist. The narrative surrounding the Belt and Road Initiative places it in a relation of continuity with the Ancient Silk Road, which lost its prominence when Europeans discovered sea routes to Asia. Currently, trade between China and Europe overwhelmingly takes place through sea routes and few land options exist. The Belt and Road Initiative is set to bring the Silk Road back. Both British P


WANT TO JOIN THE FOREIGN SERVICE? PREPARE NOW. Jan 29, 2018 by Conrad Turner Public diplomacy students often ask me if I think now is a good time to join the Foreign Service. The answer is, “Of course.” The next question is trickier: how does one get in? The usual uninspiring response is, “Take the annual Foreign Service test.” But there are many ways to get a foot in the door and gain precious experience while trying to land a permanent career. Chief among them is to be both stubborn and patient. I’m convinced that if you watch for opportunities, bust your butt, and are willing to do just about any kind of work to get in, you’ll succeed. That’s how I did it. You may have to temporarily park your higher degree, but everything in this career requires a long-term view. So getting in isn’t really the issue. It’s being effective once you’re there and finding ways to enjoy your job so you don’t burn out. It’s also standing out from the Foreign Service mob to get promoted and stay em

Regional connectivity stressed to benefit from CPEC Listen ISLAMABAD: Businessmen on Monday emphasised improvement in regional connectivity ahead of the 72nd executive meeting of SAARC CCI scheduled today. Industry officials said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor gives an immense opportunity to improve regional connectivity and enhance trade among member countries of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). “The SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) has been striving to boost the trade and investment among members since its inception, but without much success as the intra-regional trade figures continue to remain disappointing,” a chamber’s statement said. Intra-regional trade constitutes only 1.4 percent of the total world imports and 1.2 percent of exports, whereas merchandise trade is only 27.9 percent of GDP, the lowest in the world. SAARC comprises around three percent of the world’s area, 21 percent of the world

GCSC convenes in Lille

January 31st 2018 - 11:44 The Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace (GCSC), initiated by  The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, conducted its fifth meeting in Lille, France, on January 25, 2018. “We had a most productive session, deepening our commitment to international peace, security, and stability, exploring means of enhancing the general availability and integrity of the Internet, and setting out priorities for 2018,” said Marina Kaljurand, the GCSC’s Chair. The one-day meeting produced a commitment to elaborate on the “ Call to Protect the Public Core of the Internet ” which the Commission issued at its November meeting in New Delhi. “The Call to Protect is generating support from a variety of national and international public and private sector organizations,” said Michael Chertoff, GCSC Co-Chair. “We decided to increase buy-in by further explaining the implications of this foundational policy.” The Commissioners also examined the ways to promote the norm in c

Liberal Societies: Comparative chart

10 Years HCSS: Stability in Cyberspace since 2007: Quo Vadis?

February 5th 2018 - 11:52 Ten years ago, in the early summer of 2007, Estonia set out to remove a World War II memorial commemorating Soviet soldiers from the capital’s downtown, and inadvertently triggered what has been sometimes called the first strategic cyberattack in history. Over a three-week period, one of Europe’s most wired countries was paralyzed by a series of DDoS attacks against its government, media agencies, and financial institutions. It marked a watershed moment in the use of state-sanctioned cyberattacks to advance foreign policy goals. It also introduced a model for conflict in cyberspace fought by proxy to retain some degree of plausible deniability – even  when there is an overall consensus saying otherwise.  In the following years, more news about strategic cyberattacks events made headlines; ranging from events in  Georgia  in 2008,  Stuxnet  in 2011, attacks against  Sony Pictures  in 2014,  Tele5  (2015),  a German steel mill  or against the  Ukrainian Powe