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Showing posts from November 18, 2018

Service Chiefs: One is Better Than Three!

Source ; TheCitizen.in MOHAN GURUSWAMY  | 20 NOVEMBER, 2018 ‘We need a Commander-in-Chief who can whip the 3 services into efficiency’  It was heartening to read the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, recently say: “all three services will have to adopt a coherent approach to effectively deal will all possible security threats facing the country”. Dhanoa said this in an interview with the Press Trust of India (PTI) that it was “imperative that the three services promote joint planning and exploit the strengths of the three services to help India win a war in the shortest possible time”. Way back in the early 1980’s at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, I took a survey course called “Current Issues in US Foreign Policy” which was taught by two top specialists in international security issues, Joseph Nye and Al Carnesale. In those days with the Cold War blowing hot the US and former Soviet Union together had over fifty thousand nuclear warheads

Probing the Baltic States: Why Russia’s Ambitions Do Not Have a Security Dimension

Emily Ferris Commentary , 21 November 2018 As a political and military reassurance, a recent NATO exercise in the Baltic region makes sense. But Russia’s real levers of influence over the Baltic states are not military, and NATO may not be the appropriate answer. On 7 November, NATO  conducted  military training drills with Poland which included, among others, relatively large contingents from the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Anaconda 2018 was an exercise in political reassurance and an effort to test the Alliance’s emergency response and reinforcement procedures. However, it is not clear that military exercises of this kind reflect the real security needs of the Baltic states. While Baltic state leaders are apprehensive about Russia’s intent towards their countries, it is unlikely that Russia has serious territorial ambitions there. Russia certainly maintains a serious interest in gaining deeper involvement in political, intelligence and business processes in al

The European Dimension of Nuclear Deterrence: French and British policies and future scenarios

DOWNLOAD PDF    Finnish Institute of International Affairs PUBLISHED 11/22/2018WORKING PAPER 106 While the idea of a “European nuclear deterrent” has a long history, it has recently made a comeback in the light of Russian aggression on the continent, growing tensions in the transatlantic relationship since the election of Donald Trump, as well as the British decision to leave the European Union. Voices are being heard in Germany in particular, arguing for stronger European nuclear autonomy. This paper analyses how the French and British deterrents could play a broader and stronger role in ensuring the security of the continent. Discarding the idea of a single “European deterrent”, it suggests possible credible pathways to enhance European nuclear cooperation based on French and possibly British forces, preferably outside the EU context. Furthermore, it suggests that future US decisions and policies towards Europe will be a critical factor in defining the range of realistic scenari

IRAQ'S AL-HASHD AL-SHA'ABI 'ON THE MARCH'

22 NOV 2018 - 11:29  DOWNLOAD PUBLICATION  (PDF)     FROM SOLDIERS TO POLITICIANS? It has become clear since Iraq’s May 2018 elections that many of the armed groups that make up the country’s Al-Hashd al-Sha’abi (aka Popular Mobilization Forces) intend to fully integrate into the Iraqi Security Forces and/or disband at some point now that the fight against the Islamic State (IS) has reached a much lower level of intensity. Several groups are less likely to do so, however, including those linked with Iran. Although all 50+ Hashd groups have been brought under the legal purview of the Iraqi state, in practice a number continue to operate autonomously. The fragmented nature of both the Iraqi state’s coercive capabilities and the country’s political landscape will make it difficult, in the short term, to compel reluctant groups to integrate into state security forces or disband. Pushing for enforcement of such compliance risks violence and is best avoided. At the same time, using a

U.S. and China race to “reborder” in new Cold War

Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios The global economic and tech system appears to be breaking in two, one led by the U.S. and the other by China, in an unfolding new world resembling the competing geopolitical spheres of the Cold War. The big picture:  One of the eeriest features of this apparent future will be new virtual and legal "borders," a formalization of attempts already afoot by the U.S. and China to bar the other from the sphere they themselves control. Show less "We will reborder" to keep unwanted Chinese companies out of U.S.-led parts of the world, Janice Gross Stein, political science professor at the University of Toronto, tells Axios. " China is already rebordering," walling off its people from the global internet, Stein said on the sidelines of the Halifax International Security Conference, a gathering of military and security officials from the world's democracies. Driving the news:  Lying behind this coming world of new border

The weird new soybean route

AXIOS FUTURE, Steve Levine Data:  Descartes Labs ; Map: Harry Stevens/Axios China has all but stopped buying American soybeans, which — in a circuitous new global legume market — are now going to South America, when they are not being thrown into storage in wait of an end to the trade war. Axios' Kaveh Waddell writes: U.S. soybean exports to China are  down 98% in 2018 , the result of the escalating U.S.-Chinese tension. The big picture:  With the reduced Chinese demand, the U.S. has begun exporting soybeans to Brazil and Argentina in larger volumes. Those countries, which produce  lots of soybeans themselves, have been using the imported soy for domestic products like oil and soymeal. In turn, they export their homegrown soybeans to China, said Farzad Taheripour, a professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University. The shift was captured  in   an analysis of changing shipping routes, shown above. Descartes Labs, a company that analyzes information from satellite imagi

Beijing to Judge Every Resident Based on Behavior by End of 2020

Bloomberg News November 21, 2018, 2:18 PM GMT+5:30 China capital plans ‘social credit’ system by end of 2020 Citizens with poor scores will be ‘unable to move’ a step China’s plan to judge each of its 1.3 billion people based on their social behavior is moving a step closer to reality, with Beijing set to adopt a lifelong points program by 2021 that assigns personalized ratings for each resident. The capital city will pool data from several departments to reward and punish some 22 million citizens based on their actions and reputations by the end of 2020, according to a  plan  posted on the Beijing municipal government’s website on Monday. Those with better so-called social credit will get “green channel” benefits while those who violate laws will find life more difficult. The Beijing project will improve blacklist systems so that those deemed untrustworthy will be “unable to move even a single step,” according to the government’s plan. Xinhua reported on the proposal Tuesday,

Five Things Everyone Gets Wrong on Iran

Geopolitical Monitor OPINION  - November 12, 2018 By  Caleb Mills On November 5, the Trump Administration rolled out a host of  sanctions  targeting 50 Iranian banks and their subsidiaries, the national airline, and 200 members of the shipping industry. The purpose? Cut off Tehran’s oil revenue and damage the regime’s nuclear capabilities. It’s not exactly a secret that Iran has had a tense relationship with the Western world, dating back to the Islamic Revolution in the 1970s. Our goals are obviously not aligned, but if there’s anything we can both identify with, it’s being victims of consistent politically-motivated misconceptions. Actually, let’s not play with words here: blatant propaganda. We associate the word with negative connotations, but it’s a lot more common than you’d think. Any national government with an interest in morale and support either directly or indirectly has their hand in some sort of propaganda program aimed at boosting patriotism. It’s not even necessari

Machine learning and AI for media

AXIOS A study from one of the world’s biggest ad firms, its digital ad agency and a programmatic ad tech company suggests that digital ad campaigns optimized by machine learning tools outperformed campaigns managed by humans over the course of one month. Data:  Magna Global ; Chart: Axios Visuals Why it matters:  Although advertising has traditionally been a creative industry, stakeholders — like agencies, ad tech firms, and even brands — are pushing the effectiveness of their automation and machine learning tools, to lure clients that are focused on cost-efficient data-driven ad campaigns. Be smart:  Most of the advertising landscape has already adopted automated advertising placement and optimization as the digital standard, but automated creative is a different story. In total, 65% of digital media is expected to be programmatic in 2019, according to a new forecast from Zenith.Programmatic ad spend will grow 19% next year, reaching $84 billion. Between the lines:  Recent head

"Rebordering" in the new cold war

AXIOS FUTURE, Steve Levine Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios   HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — The global economic and tech system appears to be breaking in two, one led by the U.S. and the other by China, in an unfolding new world resembling the competing geopolitical spheres of the Cold War. One of the eeriest features  of this apparent future will be new virtual and legal "borders," a formalization of attempts already afoot by the U.S. and China to bar the other from the sphere they themselves control."We will reborder" to keep unwanted Chinese companies out of U.S.-led parts of the world, Janice Gross Stein, political science professor at the University of Toronto, tells Axios."China is already rebordering," walling off its people from the global internet, Stein said on the sidelines of the Halifax International Security Conference, a gathering of military and security officials from the world's democracies. Why it matters:  The main battleground   fo

U.S. military chief admonishes Big Tech

AXIOS FUTURE, Steve Levine Gen. Joseph Dunford. Photo: Smith/Gado/Getty   Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, is unhappy with the readiness of Big Tech to produce products for China while many company employees insist on not working with the U.S. military. Dunford, speaking in Halifax on Saturday, said that the American military needs the help of Big Tech companies to master artificial intelligence, which he said will lead to a battlefield advantage. But his remarks suggested that he continues to find resistance in Silicon Valley in helping the military get there. "This is not about doing something that's unethical, illegal or immoral," he said. "This is about ensuring that we collectively can defend the values for which we stand." The big picture:   In June, Google pulled back  from a Pentagon program called Project Maven after a massive protest by its employees, but it said it will not rule out future work with the military. 

New robot census

AXIOS FUTURE, Steve Levine Data:  Information Technology & Innovation Foundation ; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios A common way to measure the use of robots around the world shows that wealthy countries — like Korea, Singapore, Germany and the U.S. — are way ahead of the curve, while China flounders behind unlikely characters like Slovenia and the Czech Republic. Axios' Kaveh Waddell writes: Taking wages into account changes the landscape dramatically. When comparing countries’ actual robot adoption to the quantity one would expect based on their wage levels, Asian countries far outstrip Europe and the U.S. Details:  A new report  from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation created baselines for expected robot adoption using manufacturing workers’ pay. Then, ITIF compared each country's baseline to the actual number of robots there. The report's authors argue this measure is more useful than the more standard one: the number of industrial robots per 10,000

Modi, Ambani and Rafale: Mainstream Media

Today I will tell you a story of an Indian Company, which is making it's name in a Domain where Indian Companies used to be considered as Non-Players. Recently I read a news, which was extremely important, but don't know why Indian Media didn't give it any coverage at all. * The news is....America floated a tender for maintenance and services of its Navy's 7th Fleet, which monitors entire Asian Ocean Waters. This is an important Fleet as it contains more than 100 Vessels, and the maintenance used to be handled by Singaporean and Japanese Defence Organizations. This was a Huge order worth Rs. 15000 Crores ( more than 2 Billion USD) for 3 years. And you will be elated to know that an Indian Organization clinched this deal. USA sent its expert panel to India to conduct a Survey of this organization, and this expert panel reported that Indian Company's Service and Maintenance Facility and Infrastructure is at par with it's  Japanese and other counterparts. They