Washington, DC, United States

Center for Strategic and International Studies

csis.org/
Washington, DC, United States
SEARCH FILTERS
Time filter
Source Type

Globalization and the international rules-based order that underpins it are under siege. Bunkering down and hoping the flames of populism burn out as economic growth picks up is not a winning strategy. The crisis of confidence in the benefits of globalization and multilateralism likely will persist as long as rates of social and economic inequality remain stubbornly high. The best defense of multilateralism and the rules-based order is a good offense. Addressing inequality and updating the rules of the global economy to reflect the needs of the 21st century must guide the agenda for this week’s International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank spring meetings. The finance ministers and central bank governors gathered for the spring meetings should focus on new approaches to reduce inequality and increase resilience, not just on new language for press releases and other official statements. A number of steps to restore faith in the system should be considered, including improving the rules shaping international trade, developing a shared vision for effective regulation of technology, and ensuring the IMF and multilateral development banks (MDBs) are prepared to help prevent and respond to crisis. The post-second world war period has produced the greatest economic expansion in world history, including a dramatic reduction in extreme poverty. Yet the institutions, norms and rules that form the backbone of the economic order have proven remarkably slow to change. The most prominent example was the inability of global financial regulation to keep pace with the innovation and evolution of the financial system, contributing to the most severe global recession since the Great Depression. The rise of a global populist strand that seeks to draw economies apart rather than bring them together also represents an existential threat to multilateralism and the rules-based order. While protectionism makes for good political soundbites, history is littered with examples of the failure of these policies. Yet it is true that changes to the international trading system are needed, especially non-tariff barriers to trade that harm fair competition. All credible ideas should be on the table, including potential penalties for countries with persistently large current account surpluses, particularly those that intervene in the foreign exchange market. While global supply chains may reduce the impact exchange rates have on trade, it is still critical we find new ways to address the unfair advantage some derive from manipulating their currency. The IMF can and should do more to hold countries accountable. A multilateral approach to addressing imbalances will be far more effective and less draconian than any unilateral or regional solution. And additional reforms to the international trading system are needed, including faster resolution of disputes between countries, increased transparency, and improved technical assistance to developing countries. Advances in technology are radically transforming the global economy. The lack of global policy coordination to address technologies that often live outside the borders of any one jurisdiction is already having a negative impact on innovation and regulation. While issues related to taxation have dominated the discussion at previous spring meetings, there are several other subjects deserving of attention. Reducing data localization – the requirement that data is stored, managed and handled within a country’s borders – especially as it pertains to financial data, needs to be addressed. Maintaining information in unnecessary jurisdictions creates a barrier to entry for many smaller firms and slows innovation by way of machine learning with the ability to transform fields like financial inclusion which are central to reducing inequality. A major hurdle to reducing data localization is formulating a global framework for managing data privacy issues. The EU–US Privacy Shield is already providing a structure for the United States and Europe, but officials need to focus on building a framework that includes far more of the global economy. As the memory of the global financial crisis fades, it is critical that the lessons we learned from facing the abyss continue to impact our policy choices. While post-crisis reforms have made the global financial system more resilient, in many ways governments have fewer tools today to protect the system from another crisis. This is one of many reasons it is essential the MDBs and IMF are well resourced. The World Bank’s ability to lend during the Great recession helped ensure it did not become a depression. Those leading the justified efforts to optimize MDB balance sheets should carefully consider how resources can be stretched while maintaining the ability to lend during a crisis. The IMF lending toolkit should not be overly constrained by inflexible requirements that limit its ability to prevent and respond to a crisis. Fears that all but the most rigid standards will put taxpayer money at risk are significantly exaggerated. The IMF has never lost a dollar of taxpayer money, and should maintain the flexibility needed to protect the global economy. After nearly a decade responding to the financial crisis and its economic aftershocks, officials must now devote the same level of creativity and ambition to addressing the crisis of confidence in the international economic order. Protectionism and a retreat from international cooperation is clearly not the answer, but policy makers minimize the underlying mistrust of globalization and multilateralism at their peril. In order to promote sustainable and inclusive growth, policymakers must focus on tangible changes that are responsive to the challenges we face. Wally Adeyemo is a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and previously served as deputy national security adviser for international economics during the Obama administration.


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. warship carried out a "maneuvering drill" when it sailed within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, to show Beijing it was not entitled to a territorial sea around it, U.S. officials said on Thursday. The operation near Mischief Reef on Thursday, Pacific time, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals over which China has disputes with its neighbors, was the boldest U.S. challenge yet to Chinese island-building in the strategic waterway. It drew an angry response from China, which President Donald Trump has tried to court in recent weeks to persuade it to take a tougher line on North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. [nL1N1IQ2FH] Analysts say previous U.S. "freedom-of-navigation operations" in the Spratly archipelago involved "innocent passage," in which a warship effectively recognized a territorial sea by crossing it speedily, without stopping. On Thursday, the destroyer USS Dewey conducted a "man overboard" exercise, specifically to show that its passage within 12 nautical miles was not innocent passage, U.S. officials said. "USS Dewey engaged in normal operations by conducting a maneuvering drill inside 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef," one official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "The ship’s actions demonstrated that Mischief Reef is not entitled to its own territorial sea regardless of whether an artificial island has been built on top of it." Commander Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman, said that freedom of navigation operations are not specific to one country and the Defense Department would release summaries of these operations in an annual report and not sooner. "We are continuing regular FONOPS, as we have routinely done in the past and will continue to do in the future," Ross said, using an acronym for freedom of navigation operations. The Pentagon has not confirmed the most recent operation. China claims nearly all of the South China Sea and Washington has criticized its construction of islands and build-up of military facilities there, concerned they could be used to restrict free movement and broaden Beijing's strategic reach. U.S. allies and partners in the region had grown anxious as the Trump administration held off on carrying out South China Sea operations during its first few months in office. Greg Poling of Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank said that under international law, Mischief Reef was not entitled to a territorial sea as it was underwater at high tide before it was built up by China. "This was a statement to the Chinese," he said. "The previous two freedom-of-navigation operations only challenged China's demand for prior notification for innocent passage through the territorial sea; this one asserted that there is no territorial sea at all." The Trump administration vowed to conduct more robust South China Sea operations after President Barack Obama was criticized for potentially reinforcing China's claims by sticking to innocent passage. Even so, this was the first freedom-of-navigation operation since October and since Trump took office in January. It comes ahead of a visit to Singapore next week by U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to discuss security with regional counterparts. Beijing said two Chinese guided-missile warships had warned the U.S. vessel to leave the waters and that it had lodged "stern representations" with the United States. China's claims in the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year, are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.


News Article | May 25, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

This was the first such operation in the disputed region under Donald Trump’s presidency, according to reports. A U.S. Navy warship carried out a Freedom of Navigation (FON) operation in the South China Sea, reports said Wednesday. This was the first such operation in the disputed region under Donald Trump’s presidency, and the move was reportedly intended to show China U.S. wants to keep the South China Sea open. China claims the entire South China Sea. Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam have overlapping claims. The guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey sailed within 12 nautical miles of artificial Mischief Reef in the South China Sea's Spratly Islands, Reuters reported, citing U.S. officials. China has built an artificial outpost, which has an airfield too. The Defense Department did not confirm the reports. “U.S. forces operate in the Asia-Pacific region on a daily basis, including the South China Sea,” Defense Department spokesman Jamie Davis said in a statement, according to Bloomberg. The U.S. has been conducting regular freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea, angering Beijing. While the U.S. has continued to oppose China’s growing aggression in the disputed region, Beijing has held Washington responsible for creating tensions in the South China Sea region. Other claimants of the South China Sea have blamed China of militarizing the region. However, Beijing defended its actions saying its military equipment will help in the safety of the region, from where about $5 trillion worth of trade passes every year. In March, the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), a branch of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), released satellite images showing China finishing the construction of its military infrastructure on the South China Sea islands. According to AMTI, the images showed China’s naval, air, radar and defensive facilities were nearing completion. Following this, China’s military aircraft would be able to fly over almost all of the South China Sea with the help of three air bases in the Spratly Islands, and one on Woody Island, the largest of the Paracel Islands. “The same is true of China’s radar coverage, made possible by advanced surveillance/early warning radar facilities at Fiery Cross, Subi, and Cuarteron Reefs, as well as Woody Island, and smaller facilities elsewhere. China has maintained HQ-9 surface-to-air missile systems on the Woody Island for more than a year and has on at least one occasion deployed anti-ship cruise missiles to the island,” the Washington, D.C.-based think tank said in the report. In March, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stressed the defense equipment on the artificial islands were to maintain freedom of navigation in the region. "Even if there is a certain amount of defense equipment or facilities, it is for maintaining the FON," Keqiang said. "Because without such freedom or without stability in the South China Sea, the Chinese side would be among the first to bear its brunt," he added. The premier also said his country is not militarizing the South China Sea. "With respect to the so-called militarization, China never has any intention to engage in militarization in the South China Sea," Keqiang said at the time.


News Article | May 25, 2017
Site: www.forbes.com

The South China Sea lies squarely in the tropics. You’ll find a few hundred reefs and atolls in the 3.5 million-square-kilometer tract of water extending from Taiwan nearly to the equator. Six governments claim all or parts of the sea known for its fisheries and undersea reserves of oil and gas. Speaking of gas, China says it turned up a valuable stash of ice. If you said, "huh," you’re right. China, the most militarily and economically powerful among the six maritime title holders, has collected samples of what it calls combustible ice. The Chinese state-controlled news website Global Times last week described the ice-like substance a gas hydrate that contains methane. When melted it turns into natural gas – the search for which is one reason for the broader, multi-country South China Sea sovereignty dispute. Combustible ice sometimes turns up in the tundra but also sometimes in sea beds. Although the extraction of combustible ice won't cut into the waters claimed by other countries, it could still chill overall Sino-Southeast Asian relations that have thawed over the past year as Beijing eagerly negotiates with its neighbors, some scholars argue. Extraction of 16,000 cubic meters of ice per day from May 8-15 took place 320 kilometers southeast of Zhuhai in Guangdong province near Hong Kong. That’s in China’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone, which means not technically disputed by the further-flung rival claimants Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam or the Philippines. The news website quotes China's land and resources minister calling the ice finding "a major breakthrough that may lead to a global energy revolution." Ice emits less pollution than other energy sources. China plans to commercialize it by 2030. Here's where things get icy for other countries. Combustible ice is tricky and expensive to extract, by all accounts. The stuff officially known as methane hydrate is usually under sea beds or inside Arctic permafrost. Reserves range from 280 trillion to 2,800 trillion cubic meters, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. China says it has mastered the extraction technique after 20 years of efforts. Other countries with South China Sea claims may get the same idea about exploring for combustible ice in waters off their coasts. They would need to hire foreign technical assistance, likely from experienced contractors in India or the United States -- countries that China doesn’t want to find in the sea that it calls its own despite objections from neighbors and a world arbitration court. “It requires the foreign partner to stick around at the risk of angering China,” says Collin Koh, maritime security research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. “Involving foreign partners may even prompt China to do more in this area,” he says. “Therefore, it doesn't make sense for ASEAN claimants to try to do anything, unless it's possible to talk about harvesting combustible ice as a joint development initiative among the claimants, a prospect one shouldn't rule out.” Joint development gets talked about a lot but usually doesn't happen because governments or their people might see it as a sovereignty concession. Another thing: The countries with competing maritime claims may resent China for exploiting the new gas source in its economic zone while complaining when others probe for fossil fuel in their own zones, says Gregory Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative of American think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies. China’s nine-dash line claim to 90% of the sea overlaps the zones of all four Southeast Asian nations. “It raises an issue of hypocrisy,” Poling says. “China gets exclusive rights within 200 nautical miles of its coast but bellows and threatens when any of the neighbors do the same.” The Southeast Asian stakeholders lack capacity to look for combustible ice, he says, and “they're far more concerned about the substantial reserves of conventional natural gas off their coasts that China might prevent them from accessing.”


Microsoft, the NSA, computer users, and the nature of computer science all bare a portion of the blame. Indian Defense Minister Arun Jaitley agreed in Tokyo on Monday to increase military cooperation with Japan, which could potentially complicate U.S. policy in the region. Jaitley, who doubles as India’s finance minister, told Tomomi Inada, his Japanese counterpart, that India intends to pursue a strategic partnership with Japan. “This is all reflective of the level of cooperation our armed forces have with each other,” Jaitley said. And, in a sign of that deepened cooperation, the two will join with the United States for a trilateral naval exercise in July. Traditionally, the United States has cheered closer Indian and Japanese military cooperation, and previous U.S. administrations have tried to push this policy, Sarah Watson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told Foreign Policy. India is sometimes hesitant to work with the United States, a hegemon, but has fewer issues with Japan, a close U.S. ally with constitutional limits on military engagement. That may be changing, however. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has already pushed through reforms to make Japan more able to defend itself or engage its military. Abe said on May 1 he believes the 70-year-old constitution should be changed to amend the article that specifies Japanese pacifism. There’s another potential key player in the Japanese-Indian-U.S. relationship: China. “For Japan and India,” Watson said, “obviously China is in the background of all these discussions.” Abe has sought to bolster Japan’s military capabilities in light of rising threats from China and North Korea. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also sparred with Beijing over cyber threats, Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean, China’s relationship with Pakistan, and even a recent Dalai Lama visit to northern India. U.S. President Donald Trump, however, has said he now wants to work with China to put pressure on North Korea. Following his early April meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump has softened his rhetoric on Chinese trade and military buildup in the South China Sea. Could that mean that this administration looks less fondly on Indian-Japanese cooperation than his predecessors have? It doesn’t seem to, Watson said. And if it does, the people who would be making and taking that decision aren’t in their offices yet. Trump has yet to nominate anyone for 465 of the the 556 key positions requiring Senate confirmation. But when they do come in, they will likely support closer military ties between India and Japan, even with the softer stance on China. “If you’re within the universe that previous administrations have been in, or in the ballpark,” Watson said, “this is something the U.S. would support.”


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

FILE - In this April 14, 2017, file photo, Afghan commandos arrive at Pandola village near the site of a U.S. bombing in the Achin district of Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan. As the administration of President Donald Trump weighs sending more troops to Afghanistan, the 16-year war grinds on in bloody stalemate. Afghan soldiers are suffering what Pentagon auditors call “shockingly high” battlefield casualties, and prospects are narrowing for a negotiated peace settlement with the Taliban. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File) WASHINGTON (AP) — As the Trump administration weighs sending more troops to Afghanistan, the 16-year war grinds on in bloody stalemate. Afghan soldiers are suffering what Pentagon auditors call "shockingly high" battlefield casualties, and prospects are narrowing for a negotiated peace settlement with the Taliban. The insurgents may have failed to capture and hold a major city, but they are controlling or influencing ever more territory. "The situation is deteriorating," said Stephen Biddle, a George Washington University professor and close Afghan war observer. This grim picture forms the backdrop for administration deliberations on a way ahead in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops are supporting beleaguered Afghans against the Taliban insurgency and stepping up attacks on an extremist group considered an Islamic State affiliate. The three most recent U.S. deaths in Afghanistan were in combat last month against the IS affiliate, which also was the target of a much-publicized U.S. airstrike April 13 using the "mother of all bombs." President Donald Trump will receive a proposed new approach to the war within a week, according to Theresa Whelan, a Pentagon policy official. "The interest is to move beyond the stalemate," she told senators, offering as a preview little more than an echo of the Obama administration's goal that Afghanistan "reaches its potential." Whereas Trump called for significant changes to how the U.S. fights IS in Iraq and Syria, he has said far less about the much longer U.S. war in Afghanistan. The basic pillars of President Barack Obama's strategy — supporting Afghan forces rather than doing the fighting for them and seeking a political settlement with the Taliban — are likely to remain in place, defense officials said. Testifying on Capitol Hill with Whelan, Gen. Raymond Thomas, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, said the new strategy could include more U.S. troops and changes in what the military calls "rules of engagement," laying out when force can be used. The U.S. combat role officially ended in December 2014. Thomas' troops operate separately, targeting al-Qaida and IS fighters. The Pentagon is considering a request for roughly 3,000 more troops, as the U.S. commander in Afghanistan has advocated, mainly for training and advising. The larger question is what they would do and how they'd fit into a broader strategy for stabilizing Afghanistan. Sen. John McCain, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, has warned the administration that it is risking failure. Referring to the stalemate, he told Thomas, "If the present status quo prevails, then there's no end to it." But it's unclear what Trump can do. Biddle said the Taliban have little incentive to negotiate a peace deal and "the battlefield trend is against it." Anthony Cordesman, a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Afghan forces aren't capable of securing the country. Unless Trump adopts "a far more decisive approach," security could collapse "either slowly and painfully over years or as a result of some shattering military defeat or critical political power struggle at the top that divides the security forces and the country," he said. Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, wants an infusion of U.S. and allied troops to bolster support for the Afghan army. But his request took a back seat to a broader administration review of Afghan policy and a push for NATO to contribute more troops. Both of those matters will be discussed at a NATO summit May 25. The U.S. says it has 8,400 troops in Afghanistan, one-quarter of which are for the counterterrorism mission. Fatigue may be setting in. The war is now in its third U.S. presidency and American taxpayers have committed $66 billion to equipping and supporting Afghan security forces. Although Afghans have become more effective in recent years, they've been unable to break the Taliban's grip on substantial amounts of territory. The government controls 60 percent of the country's 407 districts, slightly up over the past several months. But in January 2016, the government controlled 71 percent. The Taliban's total now stands at 29 percent, according to a Pentagon inspector general report last month. It cited a "shockingly high" figure of 807 Afghan troops killed in just the first two months of this year.


FILE - In this April 20, 2015 file photo, municipality workers walk past a billboard showing pictures of Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, with Pakistan's President Mamnoon Hussain, left, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on display during a two-day visit by the Chinese president to launch an ambitious $45 billion economic corridor linking Pakistan's port city of Gwadar with western China, in Islamabad, Pakistan. China's new Silk Road initiative is ramping up as President Donald Trump focuses on domestic issues, downplaying foreign affairs. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash, File) BEIJING (AP) — In a mountain valley in Kashmir, plans are under way for Chinese engineers guarded by Pakistani forces to expand the lofty Karakoram Highway in a project that is stirring diplomatic friction with India. The work is part of a sprawling Chinese initiative to build a "new Silk Road" of ports, railways and roads to expand trade in a vast arc of countries across Asia, Africa and Europe. The Asian Development Bank says the region, home to 60 percent of the world's people, needs more than $26 trillion of such investment by 2030 to keep economies growing. The initiative is in many ways natural for China, the world's biggest trader. But governments from Washington to Moscow to New Delhi worry Beijing also is trying to build its own political influence and erode theirs. Others worry China might undermine human rights, environmental and other standards or leave poor countries burdened with debt. India is unhappy Chinese state-owned companies are working in the Pakistani-held part of Kashmir, the Himalayan region claimed by both sides. Indian leaders see that as an endorsement of Pakistani control. "We have some serious reservations about it, because of sovereignty issues," said India's finance and defense minister, Arun Jaitley, at an Asian Development Bank meeting this month in Yokohama, Japan. China has previously said its highway work "targets no third country." China's initiative is ramping up as President Donald Trump focuses on domestic issues, downplaying foreign affairs. American officials say Washington wants to work with China on infrastructure. But some political analysts say Beijing is trying to create a political and economic network centered on China and push the United States out of the region. Trump's decision to pull out of the proposed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership deprives China's neighbors of a tool they hoped would counter its rising influence, said Max Baucus, the U.S. ambassador to Beijing until January. "Southeast Asian countries would tell me 'we want you, we want the TPP, then we can balance China with the United States,'" Baucus told The Associated Press. Dubbed "One Belt, One Road" after ancient trade routes through the Indian Ocean and Central Asia, the initiative is Chinese President Xi Jinping's signature project. Details such as financing are vague. But since Xi announced it in 2013, Beijing has launched dozens of projects from railways in Tajikistan, Thailand and Kenya to power plants in Vietnam and Kyrgyzstan. Countries including Pakistan and Afghanistan welcome it as a path out of poverty. India, Indonesia and others want investment but are wary of Chinese strategic ambitions. Indonesia's political elite have a "fear of regional hegemony" by China, said Christine Tjhin, senior researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta. Moscow worries Beijing is diluting Russian influence in Central Asia by linking Uzbekistan and other countries more closely to China's more dynamic economy. Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded by proposing a "Great Eurasia Project," with Beijing leading on economics and Moscow on politics and security. "This vision enables the Kremlin to maintain an appearance that it retains the political initiative in its neighborhood," said a report by the Center for Eastern Studies, a Warsaw think tank. In a possible effort to defuse unease, China has invited governments to a two-day forum starting Sunday and led by Xi. Leaders from 28 countries including Russian President Vladimir Putin are due to attend, but none from major Western countries. Chinese officials reject suggestions the initiative is a power play by Beijing. "The Chinese government has never wished to control any other country's government," a Cabinet official, Ou Xiaoli, told The Associated Press. "We feel in contacts between countries, we need to talk about studying benefits, studying mutual profit." The bulk of Chinese financing is to be loans, which Ou said will be mostly on commercial terms based on "market principles." That might add to debt burdens in countries where dealing with Beijing can be politically sensitive. The state-run China Development Bank announced in 2015 it had set aside $890 billion for more than 900 "One Belt, One Road" projects across 60 countries in gas, minerals and other sectors. The government's Export-Import Bank of China said it would finance 1,000 projects in 49 countries.


FILE - In this April 20, 2015 file photo, municipality workers walk past a billboard showing pictures of Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, with Pakistan's President Mamnoon Hussain, left, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on display during a two-day visit by the Chinese president to launch an ambitious $45 billion economic corridor linking Pakistan's port city of Gwadar with western China, in Islamabad, Pakistan. China's new Silk Road initiative is ramping up as President Donald Trump focuses on domestic issues, downplaying foreign affairs. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash, File) BEIJING (AP) — In a mountain valley in Kashmir, plans are under way for Chinese engineers guarded by Pakistani forces to expand the lofty Karakoram Highway in a project that is stirring diplomatic friction with India. The work is part of a sprawling Chinese initiative to build a "new Silk Road" of ports, railways and roads to expand trade in a vast arc of countries across Asia, Africa and Europe. The Asian Development Bank says the region, home to 60 percent of the world's people, needs more than $26 trillion of such investment by 2030 to keep economies growing. The initiative is in many ways natural for China, the world's biggest trader. But governments from Washington to Moscow to New Delhi worry Beijing also is trying to build its own political influence and erode theirs. Others worry China might undermine human rights, environmental and other standards or leave poor countries burdened with debt. India is unhappy Chinese state-owned companies are working in the Pakistani-held part of Kashmir, the Himalayan region claimed by both sides. Indian leaders see that as an endorsement of Pakistani control. "We have some serious reservations about it, because of sovereignty issues," said India's finance and defense minister, Arun Jaitley, at an Asian Development Bank meeting this month in Yokohama, Japan. China has previously said its highway work "targets no third country." China's initiative is ramping up as President Donald Trump focuses on domestic issues, downplaying foreign affairs. American officials say Washington wants to work with China on infrastructure. But some political analysts say Beijing is trying to create a political and economic network centered on China and push the United States out of the region. Trump's decision to pull out of the proposed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership deprives China's neighbors of a tool they hoped would counter its rising influence, said Max Baucus, the U.S. ambassador to Beijing until January. "Southeast Asian countries would tell me 'we want you, we want the TPP, then we can balance China with the United States,'" Baucus told The Associated Press. Dubbed "One Belt, One Road" after ancient trade routes through the Indian Ocean and Central Asia, the initiative is Chinese President Xi Jinping's signature project. Details such as financing are vague. But since Xi announced it in 2013, Beijing has launched dozens of projects from railways in Tajikistan, Thailand and Kenya to power plants in Vietnam and Kyrgyzstan. Countries including Pakistan and Afghanistan welcome it as a path out of poverty. India, Indonesia and others want investment but are wary of Chinese strategic ambitions. Indonesia's political elite have a "fear of regional hegemony" by China, said Christine Tjhin, senior researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta. Moscow worries Beijing is diluting Russian influence in Central Asia by linking Uzbekistan and other countries more closely to China's more dynamic economy. Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded by proposing a "Great Eurasia Project," with Beijing leading on economics and Moscow on politics and security. "This vision enables the Kremlin to maintain an appearance that it retains the political initiative in its neighborhood," said a report by the Center for Eastern Studies, a Warsaw think tank. In a possible effort to defuse unease, China has invited governments to a two-day forum starting Sunday and led by Xi. Leaders from 28 countries including Russian President Vladimir Putin are due to attend, but none from major Western countries. Chinese officials reject suggestions the initiative is a power play by Beijing. "The Chinese government has never wished to control any other country's government," a Cabinet official, Ou Xiaoli, told The Associated Press. "We feel in contacts between countries, we need to talk about studying benefits, studying mutual profit." The bulk of Chinese financing is to be loans, which Ou said will be mostly on commercial terms based on "market principles." That might add to debt burdens in countries where dealing with Beijing can be politically sensitive. The state-run China Development Bank announced in 2015 it had set aside $890 billion for more than 900 "One Belt, One Road" projects across 60 countries in gas, minerals and other sectors. The government's Export-Import Bank of China said it would finance 1,000 projects in 49 countries.


News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Security experts suggest Russian officials or media members could have brought surveillance equipment into the Oval Office during a White House visit with President Donald Trump this week. Following a meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in which only Russian press was allowed to attend, several former intelligence officials have raised the possibility that surveillance equipment may have been smuggled into the White House. The possibility a Russian bug may have made its way into the White House with the Russian media member was raised by former Deputy CIA Director David S. Cohen, who was asked on Twitter if it was “a good idea” to let a Russian government photographer and their equipment into the Oval Office. Cohen responded to the question by saying, “No, it was not.” Read: Who Is US Spying On? Russian Ambassador, Flynn Wiretapped, Moscow's Top Diplomat Claims The photographer who accompanied the Russian diplomats was the official photographer for Lavrov, but also a journalist for Russian state-owned media outlet Tass. While it may seem brazen for a foreign nation to sneak surveillance equipment into the offices of another nation’s highest political officials, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Vice President James Lewis told International Business Times such surveillance efforts are common. “This is standard practice. Lots of countries do it,” said Lewis, a former officer at the Department of State and Department of Commerce. Yolonda Smith, the director of Product Management at cybersecurity firm Pwnie Express, told IBT with the accessibility of internet-connected devices including smartphones, a foreign actor wouldn’t have to smuggle or hide listening devices to spy. She said a temporary bug “is definitely in the realm of the possible.” Read: Russian Spying: U.S. Officials Concerned Kaspersky Lab May Be Compromised By Russian Government Lewis described the devices that could be used to bug an office as “pretty small” and said they can easily be stuck under a table “like a piece of gum.” The devices have technical limitations, including signal range and battery life, but can be effective in providing an ear in areas where potentially sensitive conversations take place. Smith said that even relatively simple tools like pin and button cameras can collect video and audio, and many include cellular and Wi-Fi radios that can instantly send the feedback over the internet to a file server or website. Jayson Street, an information security ranger at Pwnie Express, told IBT spy equipment is relatively easy to afford and conceal. “You can find a hidden camera pin on eBay for under $50,” he said. “If you have a budget of hundreds of thousands, can you imagine what kind of things you can find?” Street even suggested the camera used by the Russian photographer could be used for more than filming and photography. “It could be wired to look for thermal or infrared signals as well, which would be able to help assess what is going on behind those wood panels,” he said, though he noted it’s "a very rare occurrence for a camera of possible or questionable origin to have that kind of access to the Oval Office.” He suggested an actor may want to use a secondary piece of equipment, such as a camera attachment, to house spying equipment. Street said a battery case or lighting attachment could be equipped with a Pineapple device — a penetration tool that can be used to target insecure wireless connections. “I would primarily focus on smart TV's in the area with open Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections,” Street said. “But, printers with wireless interfaces would also be good targets.” Bugs have been discovered at a number of U.S. agencies, Lewis said, and have originated from a number of nations, not just Russia. Lewis said it is advisable to “always do a sweep after a meeting in any place where you let the Russians, the Chinese or a few other friends pay a visit.” “The White House employs Technical Surveillance Countermeasures Offices to conduct regular bug sweeps,” Smith said, but noted those sweeps are “point in time assessments” — they may prevent long-term spying efforts, but would not be able to pre-emptively stop a short-term bug.


Aldy J.E.,Center for Strategic and International Studies
Climatic Change | Year: 2015

Inadequate policy surveillance has undermined the effectiveness of multilateral climate agreements. To illustrate an alternative approach to transparency, I evaluate policy surveillance under the 2009 G-20 fossil fuel subsidies agreement. The Leaders of the Group of 20 nations tasked their energy and finance ministers to identify and phase-out fossil fuel subsidies. The G-20 leaders agreed to submit their subsidy reform strategies to peer review and to independent expert review conducted by international organizations. This process of developed and developing countries pledging to pursue the same policy objective, designing and publicizing implementation plans, and subjecting plans and performance to review by international organizations differs considerably from the historic approach under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. This paper draws lessons from the fossil fuel subsidies agreement for climate policy surveillance. © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

Loading Center for Strategic and International Studies collaborators
Loading Center for Strategic and International Studies collaborators