Protecting America ' s Technology Industry From China
A Weekly Political News Magazine
Venezuela Attack Shows Drones Can Become Assassins
Putin ' s Plan to Russify the Caucasus
Issue 1708 - August 10/08/2018
U.S. Snapback Sanctions on Iran Kick In www.majalla.com
A Weekly Political News Magazine
Issue 1708 - August 10/08/2018
The Security Risks of a TradeWar With China 16
The Next Cyber Battleground
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Is Japan Becoming a 48 Country of Immigration? 24 Editor-in-Chief
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A deer stands on a road covered with fire retardant as the Carr Fire burns in the area near Redding, California. (Getty)
Swimmers watch on as Anna-Bella, 26, who was born in Peru and converted to Islam at age 20, walks along the seafront in Copenhagen. Denmarkâ€™s ban on the public wearing of face veils came into force on 1 August 2018 and Danish police issued the first fine on a woman for breaking the new law on August 4. (Reuters)
U.S. Snapback Sanctions on Iran Kick In A reeling Iranian economy faces a new wave of U.S. sanctions having lost a bid to regain 400$ million in cash from a bank in Germany by Joseph Braude* On August 7, a new round of U.S. economic sanctions went into effect against Iran. They stand to strictly curtail Iranian purchase of American currency and issue sovereign debt. They also make it harder for Iran to trade with other countries in steel, aluminum, gold, and other precious metals, and isolate the country’s airline and automotive industries.
business with the United States. I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!” The United States and Iran have been increasingly at odds over Iran’s growing political and military influence in the Middle East from Yemen to Syria and tensions between Tehran and Israel since Trump took office in January 2017.
Since the 1979 hostage crisis, the U.S. has imposed sanctions on Iran intermittently. The President Trump reminded Americans Monday 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or that he was merely restoring sanctions that had JCPOA, paused sanctions in exchange for curbs been lifted in the course of a “horrible, one-sided and regular checks on Iran's nuclear program. deal” that did not stop Iran’s nuclear program The deal – which was negotiated by the Obama but nonetheless “threw a lifeline of cash to a administration with the U.K., France, Germany, murderous dictatorship that has continued to Russia and China – has been sharply criticized spread bloodshed, violence, and chaos.” In a by Trump since he was a candidate for president. Tuesday tweet, he added, “These are the most The renewed sanctions were among those lifted biting sanctions ever imposed, and in November under the 2015 deal. Trump abandoned the deal they ratchet up to yet another level … Anyone in May. Heavier U.S. sanctions, aimed at Iran’s doing business with Iran will NOT be doing oil sector, are due in November.
Iranians walk by mural painting of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on the wall of the former US embassy in the Iranian capital Tehran on August ,7 2018. (Getty)
A European Union joint statement with the foreign ministers of France, Germany, and Britain said the parties “deeply regret” the reimposition of sanctions, and pledged to develop a “blocking statute” to reduce their impact on European businesses. In 2017, EU trade with Iran was valued at 23$ billion, with more than 75 percent related to energy deals, according to the European Commission. The sanctions “snapback” coincided with a significant step toward sanctions compliance in the German financial sector: The country’s central bank issued an order to freeze a 400$ million cash transfer from the Hamburg-based, Iranian-owned European-Iranian Trade Bank to Iran. The U.S. embassy in Berlin Tweeted, “Close partnership = results. Thank you to our German counterparts for acting to stop Iran’s activities.”
Trump reminded Americans that he was restoring sanctions that had been lifted in the course of a “horrible, one-sided deal” that “threw a lifeline of cash to a murderous dictatorship that has continued to spread bloodshed, violence, and chaos Within the United States, critics of the Trump Administration’s Iran policy marked the occasion of snapback sanctions with denunciation. “President Trump should not have ripped up a functioning agreement,” Tweeted Democratic Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee. “This
misguided decision against risks putting Iran back on the nuclear weapons development track and further distances us from our allies.” But National Security Adviser John Bolton insisted in an August 6 television interview that the administration’s policy was firm but measured: “Our policy is not regime change, but we want to put unprecedented pressure on the government of Iran to change its behavior, and so far, they’ve shown no indication they’re prepared to do that.” Bolton said the sanctions were already working, deterring European companies: “The European governments are still holding to the nuclear deal, but honestly their businesses are running from it as fast as they can so that the effect of the American sanctions really is proceeding regardless.” Few American companies do much business in Iran so the impact of sanctions mainly stems from Washington’s ability to block European and Asian firms from trading there. Among large European companies that have suspended plans to invest in Iran are France’s oil major Total and its big carmakers PSA and Renault. “We have ceased our already restricted activities in Iran in accordance with the applicable sanctions”, said German car and truck manufacturer Daimler.
The sanctions make it harder for Iran to trade with other countries in steel, aluminum, gold, and other precious metals, and isolate the country’s airline and automotive industries
Looking ahead to potential further sanctions Tuesday, Tzvi Kahn, a senior Iran analyst at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, proposed that the White House consider sanctioning Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, the country’s interior minister, noting that Fazli bears responsibility for a range of repressive measures taken in response to popular nationwide protests in recent months, in addition to complicity in electoral fraud. Kahn suggested the step would signal to all Iranian officials that following orders
A worker secures heavy lifting equipment at the Iran Aluminium Co. (Iralco) plant in Arak, Iran, on Tuesday, June ,19 2018. (Getty)
comes at a high price. Iranâ€™s rial currency has lost half its value since April under the threat of revived U.S. sanctions. The currencyâ€™s collapse and soaring inflation have sparked sporadic demonstrations in Iran against profiteering and corruption, with many protesters chanting anti-government slogans. Iran has already seen unrest since last December
over a poorly-performing economy. Rising food prices, unemployment and even poor water supplies have led to protests in a number of cities. Demonstrations in Tehran in June were said to be the capital's biggest since 2012. *Middle East specialist Joseph Braude is the author of Broadcasting Change: Arabic Media as a Catalyst for Liberalism (Rowman & Littlefield). He is Advisor to the Al-Mesbar Center for Research and Studies and tweets @ josephbraude.
Putin's Plan to Russify the Caucasus How Russia's New Language Law Could Backfire
By Neil Hauer Russia is undergoing a fundamental internal transformation. In a development lost amid headlines surrounding the World Cup, U.S. President Donald Trump’s Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Moscow’s ongoing row with the United Kingdom over the Sergei Skripal affair, on June 19 the Russian Duma adopteda bill that will profoundly affect the status of the country’s hundred-plus ethnic minorities. The bill makes education in 34 of Russia’s 35 official languages—
every language except Russian—optional, limiting instruction in ethnic-minority languagesto two hours per week. Previously, native-language instruction had been exclusively the purview of regional governments in Russia’s 26 ethnically defined autonomous republics and okrugs,which often offered at least the first years of primary education in their own official minority languages. This is now set to change by federal decree. The bill is the result of a new policy announced by Putin last July. At a press conference in Yoshkar-Ola, capital of the Mari El
By threatening the foundations of North Caucasian identity, Putin may be risking a blowback that even he cannot control Tatar authorities that he was unwilling to accept a new agreement along the same lines. The recent bill formalized this new policy. Yet the law is not only, or even primarily, directed at the Tatars. It is also intended to suppress minority identity in another region where Putin has long feared ethnic nationalism: the North Caucasus. The Kremlin’s new language policy represents an unprecedented escalation in its struggle to subjugate that region’s minority populations, which have long resisted the central authority of Moscow. By threatening the foundations of North Caucasian identity, however, Putin may be risking a blowback that even he cannot control.
CALMING THE CAUCASUS
Russian President Vladimir Putin (C), Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (R) and Commander in Chief of the Russian Navy Vladimir Korolev (L) watch a terrestrial globe while visiting Russia's Navy Headquarters during Navy Day in Saint Petersburg on July 2017 ,30.(Getty)
Republic (where the ethnic-minority Mari language shares official status with Russian), Putin veered into an unexpected diatribe on languages. He stated that the Russian language was “the spiritual framework”of the country, “our state language,” and that it “cannot be replaced with anything.” Teaching ethnic-minority languages would become optional, to avoid any possibility of “forcing someone to learn a language that is not native to him.” Although the impetus for these remarks was unclear at the time, they were soon revealed as part of a new effort to Russify the country’s many ethnic minorities. Since he came to power in 1999, one of Putin’s foremost priorities has been to centralize Moscow’s control over Russia’s regions. The one glaring hole in this campaign had been the Republic of Tatarstan, which had signed a special agreement on sovereigntywith Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1994 that granted it unique power over its natural resources and enshrined the official status of the Tatar language. That deal was renegotiated and renewed in 2007 before finally expiringin July 2017. Putin’s speech in Mari El was a message to
Putin’s long tenure in power has been defined by the reimposition of stability, reversing the chaos of the 1990s. Nowhere has this been felt more acutely than in the troubled republics of the North Caucasus. Putin’s first act as president was to launch the Second Chechen War, resulting in the destruction of the separatist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. The war saw a litany of unchecked abuses by the Russian armed forces, from indiscriminate bombardmentof urban areas to the mass execution of civilians, demonstrating the callous attitude of the new Russian leadership toward the region’s indigenous population. Moscow’s response to the spiraling insurgency that spread across the rest of the North Caucasus in the following years was similarly brutal. Since 2014, the security situation in the North Caucasus has largely stabilized. Yet Putin has continued to view the nonRussian populations of the region, with their strong local cultures and identities, as potential threats to Moscow’s authority. National minority languages in the North Caucasus were already under threat—facing budget reductions and federal efforts to reduce the public role of non-Russian languages, the last decade had seen education opportunities in minority languages reduced by as much as 50 percentin some areas—and the recent lull in fighting has opened the door for more ambitious plans to suppress their identities entirely. When the new language bill was tabled in the Duma, not a single North Caucasian representative voted againstit. This was no surprise, as most had been picked for their loyalty to the Kremlin. Yet civil society’s response was a different story. Just prior to the
bill’s adoption, a group of representatives from 12 of Russia’s ethnic republics, including five in the North Caucasus, called for the legislation to be blocked. When it was passed without a single dissenting North Caucasian vote, social media users across the region erupted, blasting their representatives as “cowards” without the courage to reflect the will of the population. Teachers in Chechnya called the measure unacceptable and “the beginning of the end”for minority languages in Russia. The International Circassian Organization called for the new law to be rescinded before it came into force. Civil society figures in Ingushetia, a republic in the North Caucasus, referred to the bill as “cynical discrimination”and noted the particular hypocrisy when compared with the situation of ethnic Russians in the Baltic states, where the Kremlin regularly presses for minority rights. North Ossetian leader Vyacheslav Bitarov vowed to keep the study of the Ossetian language compulsoryin his republic. Both ethnic Kabardins and Balkars decried the lawin their republic’s capital of Nalchik, with one Balkar elder stating that his grandchildren “do not know one word” of their native language even now. This reaction from North Caucasian activists was unsurprising. Despite a lack of state support, civil society groups in the region have made numerous grass-roots efforts to preserve and develop their languages, viewing them as a crucial part of their culture and identity. One group has translated the interface of the popular social media platform VKontakte into seven North Caucasian languages. In Ingushetia, activists have started a project to dub popular animated films into the Ingush language, releasing a translated version of The Lion Kingin May. The Circassian Union, based in Nalchik, has started a project to reconcilethe language’s western (Adyghe) and eastern (Kabardian) dialects in hopes of making it easier to study. Some activists have even suggested abandoning the Cyrillic alphabet, which is ill suited to the large consonant and vowel inventories of North Caucasian languages.
BAD NEIGHBORS Russia’s fraught relationship with the minority peoples of the North Caucasus dates back hundreds of years. The Russian empire’s final conquest of the region in 1864 was marked by the
With the new language law, Putin has decided to go a step further than his tsarist and Soviet predecessors by removing native-language education entirely
near destruction of its largest ethnic group, the Circassians, 90 percent of whom were either killed or forced into exile. A similar exodusoccurred on a smaller scale in Chechnya and Dagestan. For the rest of the tsarist period, locals were largely ignored, operating in a sort of apartheid scenarioin which they were treated as second-class citizens and forbidden from settling in major cities but allowed to continue their traditional way of life. The Soviet era was only slightly kinder. Although communist authorities in theory granted autonomy to ethnic-minority regions, the manner in which they did so was often arbitrary. For example, in 1922, Joseph Stalin, then the people’s commissar for nationalities, divided the Circassians into three groups, Adyghe, Cherkess, and Kabardian—a wholly artificial distinction marked only by slight differences in dialect. The largest tragedy came in the closing stages of World War II, when Stalin ordered the deportation of the entire Chechen, Ingush, Karachay, and other North Caucasian ethnic groups to the steppes of Kazakhstan in an attempt to destroy their identities entirely. Even after they were allowed to return home in 1957, North Caucasians found themselves marginalized in their own republics by the growing ethnic Russian population. Chechens and their language were particularly stigmatized, especially in the capital of Chechnya, Grozny, where ethnic Russians formed over half of the population. A Chechen colleague told me a story of growing up in Grozny in the 1980s: he and his friend were speaking Chechen on
to Moscow has fallen accordingly. The starkest example of this new colonial mindset is in Dagestan: last September, the Kremlin appointed Vladimir Vasilyev, an ethnic Russian from outside Moscow, as the republic’s new governor. Vasilyev, the first non-Dagestani to head the republic since 1948, has staffed his administrationwith other non-Dagestanis, eliminating any semblance of political participation on the part of the local population. Ingushetia is perhaps the one republic to buck the trend—local leader Yunus-Bek Yevkurov enjoys some genuine popularity and is seen to have local interests in mind. Yet he, too, has been criticized for a lack of effort to develop and preservethe Ingush language. Last year, he was embroiled in a scandal in which Ingush textbooks, having been printed and sent to the republic, sat inaccessible in a warehousesince the government had not allocated the funds to purchase them.
A child writes on the blackboard during a Tatar language lesson at No 13 Secondary School in Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia. (Getty)
a public streetcar when they were overheard by a Russian woman, who told them, in Russian, to “speak a human language, not that animal tongue.” Stories like this are unfortunately common, and their anti-Chechen sentiment is a reflection of the Kremlin’s traditional attitude: in contrast to every other autonomous ethnic region, the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was, until 1989, always headed by an ethnic Russian. Under the Soviets, however, the status of ethnic-minority languages was still relatively assured: alongside Russian, education was available in them through at least primary school. With the new language law, Putin has decided to go a step further than his tsarist and Soviet predecessors by removing nativelanguage education entirely.
There already exists an ominous precedent for the treatment of ethnic minorities under Putin. The Mari El Republic, where Putin gave his now infamous language speech last July, was ruled by an ethnic Russian, Leonid Markelov, from 2001 to 2017. Markelov, in the words of one local activist, “simply hated the Maris.”Under his rule, the Mari ethnic group, which speaks a language related to Finnish, experienced nearly two decades of policies targeted against their language and identity. Where Mari villages once had signs in both Russian and Mari, now only the former remain. In some districts, Mari children already receive only one hour of native-language instruction per week, guaranteeing that they will not have a strong command of the language. Now thoroughly Russified, local activists say Mari El is “a national republic in name only,” its cultural heritage systematically destroyed. Putin is hoping that the new law can achieve similar results in the North Caucasus, but the potential for blowback is dire. Although the Kremlin seeks to throttle any possibility of future ethnic mobilization, its policies are having precisely the opposite effect. Civil society has been resilient in the North Caucasus, growing during Putin’s third termdespite the near total destruction of the region’s armed insurgency. The clear danger to ethnic identity posed by the new law has already generated a wave of nationalism and activism, even among groups such as the Circassiansthat had previously been dormant.
Sadly, the language law is just the latest development in a longrunning process of estrangement between Moscow and the North Caucasus, with the former increasingly treating the latter as colonies. At the end of the Soviet period, ethnic Russians made up some 75 percent of the urban populationin the North Caucasus. Yet nearly 350,000 Russians had left the region by 1999, and their share of the population in Chechnya has since fallen to a mere 1.5 percent.
Although there is no direct link between this upsurge of nationalism and the region’s insurgency, many of the factors that induce individuals to participate in the former, such as a sense of political disenfranchisement and anger toward unresponsive authorities, overlap with the reasons they join the latter. With an ominous spike in violencein the region earlier this year, including conflict incidents in long docile republics such as Karachay-Cherkessia, the situation is potentially volatile. In attempting to assimilate the peoples of the North Caucasus, Putin is playing a dangerous game and jeopardizing the security of the entire region.
As Russians have departed, the North Caucasus’ relevance
This article was originally published on ForeignAffairs.com.
A DANGEROUS GAME
The Securi War With
Why the U.S. Shoul
By Ali Wyne Trade tensions between the United States and China continue to rise. In June, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration announced that it would impose tariffs of 25 percent on 50$ billion worth of Chinese exports, with the first wave targeting some 800 goods worth 34$ billion. China pushed back with its own set of tariffs targeting the U.S. agricultural sector and industrial heartland. In response, Trump has reportedly ordered his administration to consider a 25 percent tariff on an additional 200$ billion worth of Chinese exports. As the showdown escalates, many observers are understandably focused on the potential for a full-fledged trade war that could destabilize the world economy. But they should also consider secondorder, longer-term implications—in the security realm. Up until recently, the two nations’ economic ties had served as
an effective brake on escalating strategic distrust. A China less constrained by and invested in economic ties with the United States could pose a substantially greater challenge to U.S. foreign policy. For all the Trump administration’s frustrations with managing interdependence, the consequences of decoupling could mean even bigger headaches.
THE ROOTS OF TRADE TENSIONS The United States buys more exports of Chinese goods than any other country. China, meanwhile, is the United States’ largest trading partner and the fastest-growing market for its exports. Yet neither side considers these deep, multifaceted trade links an unalloyed plus. Trump often expresses irritation over the size of the U.S. trade deficit with China, but trade tensions between the two
ity Risks of a Trade China
The United States sees China’s technological progress as a growing national security challenge.
ld Be Wary of Economic Decoupling
The Arleigh Burkeclass destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) arrives at the Wusong military port on November 2015 ,16 in Shanghai, China. The ship is on a -5day official visit to Shanghai. (Getty Images)
As seen with the case of ZTE—until recently China’s second-largest telecommunications equipment maker— Beijing depends heavily on Washington for high-tech inputs. In mid-April, the U.S. Commerce Department issued an order banning companies from selling parts to ZTE for seven years. Although the justification was that ZTE had circumvented U.S. sanctions on Iran and North Korea, the more fundamental concern was that the company could use U.S. technology to engage in espionage or even conduct cyberattacks against Washington. Without chips from Qualcomm and Intel and optical components from Acacia and Lumentum, ZTE could not function, and in early May it announced it had ceased “major operating activities.” A few days later, Trump said he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to rescue the company, prompting the Commerce Department to soften its earlier decree, but a bipartisan group in Congress urged the agency to stick with its original order, barring firms from doing any business with ZTE through 2025.
countries are rooted less in deficit figures than in high-tech competition. The United States sees China’s technological progress as a growing national security challenge. One of Trump’s top economic advisers, Peter Navarro, warned recently that “China’s investment in strategic technologies may ultimately pose the gravest danger to America’s manufacturing and defense industrial base.” He argued that “tariffs will form a critical line of defense against predatory trade practices China has used to the detriment of American industries.” China, meanwhile, seeks to become a global leader in advanced manufacturing. Its Made in China 2025 initiative prioritizes ten industries—including information technology, aerospace equipment, and new materials—and aims to raise the domestically produced share of “basic core components and important basic materials” used in China to 40 percent by 2020 and 70 percent by 2025.
Although the company has just received a lifeline—the U.S. Senate passed a 716$ billion defense appropriations bill last week that omitted an amendment introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and his Democratic colleague Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) to reinstate Commerce’s ban on ZTE—Chinese leaders are increasingly convinced that Beijing will not be able to realize its full economic potential unless it becomes more self-reliant. China already saw the currency crisis that rattled the Asia-Pacific in the late 1990s and the global financial crisis that erupted a decade later as evidence that it needed to diversify away from U.S. consumption. Until recently, though, Beijing was primarily looking to shore up its own domestic resilience, and to do so by unwinding its embrace of Washington over time. Now China may seek a more rapid decoupling, less for economic reasons than for strategic ones. The country’s leaders believe that extant U.S. leverage over its economy could thwart the ambitions it has set out in Made in China 2025, which a ranking Communist Party official recently called “the guarantor” of China’s “sovereignty and prosperity.” In late April, Xi stated that in “the next step of tackling technology, we must cast aside illusions and rely on ourselves.” His conclusion parallels that of Trump, who believes that the United States has eroded its
competitiveness by buttressing the postwar order and joining multilateral trade agreements. The New York Times posits that this alignment of views may presage “a time when the economic engines of China and the United States are not so closely linked, particularly in high-tech industries.” A loosening of those links would have not only economic implications but also security ones.
A MORE REVISIONIST BEIJING? There are few factors, after all, besides trade interdependence that compel the two countries to exercise mutual restraint and carry on multifaceted cooperation. The United States is a young, racially diverse democracy whose self-conception is molded anew by each wave of immigrants; China is a five-millennia-old, predominantly ethnic Han civilization that clings to a largely immutable identity. The two countries have markedly different, sometimes explicitly antithetical, perspectives on domestic governance and foreign policy—divergences amplified by each one’s insistence upon its own exceptionalism. Absent economic interdependence, U.S.-Chinese ties may well have grown more strained, if not antagonistic, over the past four decades. In the long run, a China economically decoupled from the United States could scale back existing bilateral cooperation and take a more overtly revisionist attitude toward the postwar order. The Council on Foreign Relations’ Elizabeth Economy explains in her new book that Xi “is ambitious to lead but embraces globalization insofar as it controls the flow of ideas, as well as human and financial capital.” Beijing could steadily reduce its financial support for leading economic institutions such as the International Monetary Fund; prioritize the development of economic and security arrangements that presently leave out the United States (such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the Shanghai
China already saw the currency crisis that rattled the Asia-Pacific in the late 1990s and the global financial crisis that erupted a decade later as evidence that it needed to diversify away from U.S.
Cooperation Organization) and undertake to construct other exclusionary ones; more proactively attempt to drive wedges between the United States and long-standing allies by casting Washington as an inconsistent and unreliable steward of world order and asserting that Beijing is better suited to adapting that system to contemporary geopolitical realities; and make a more concerted push to challenge Washington on ideological grounds. Beijing could also further undercut the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign on North Korea. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testified in June that there has been a “modest amount” of backsliding in China’s enforcement of multilateral sanctions on Pyongyang, acknowledging that the Chinese are “not enforcing control over their crossborder areas as vigorously as they were six or 12 months ago.” That admission came shortly before reports of a new U.S. intelligence assessment, based on evidence collected after Trump’s historic Singapore meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, that Pyongyang not only seeks to “deceive the United States about the number of nuclear warheads” in its
The Arleigh Burkeclass destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) arrives at the Wusong military port on November 2015 ,16 in Shanghai, China. The ship is on a -5day official visit to Shanghai. (Getty Images)
arsenal but also may maintain more than one secret site for enriching fissile material. On Iran, in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, China could decline to join any U.S.-initiated effort to sanction the regime should it resume its pursuit of nuclear weapons. It might even go further, boosting energy ties with and increasing arms sales to Tehran while expanding the scope and depth of its alignment with Russia to frustrate U.S. foreign policy objectives in the Middle East and eastern Europe. It could also accelerate its ongoing militarization of a crucial maritime chokepoint, the South China Sea; more aggressively press its claims in the East China Sea; and increase preparations for an attack on Taiwan, appreciating that a United States that is already militarily overstretched has little desire for an armed confrontation with the country possessing the world’s second-largest economy.
WILL THE DECOUPLING CONTINUE? Given the breadth, complexity, and interconnectedness of global supply chains, the United States and China would
only be able to unwind their current interdependence very slowly. In 2013, when two-way trade totaled 562.2$ billion, the Brookings Institution’s Thomas Wright concluded that Washington and Beijing “have no way of significantly reducing trade with each other through protectionism without setting in motion a general unraveling of the global trading system that each relies upon.” That judgment holds even truer today, given that two-way trade was 13 percent higher in 2017 than it was in 2013. Still, China’s economic strength relative to the United States has increased significantly over the past decade, and it will continue to grow. Xi declared this past October, moreover, that “no one should expect China to swallow anything that undermines its interests.” In other words, expect an increase in both Beijing’s ability and willingness to absorb the pain of economic decoupling with the United States. Trump may well want to accelerate this trend, but the potential security consequences of doing so should give his administration pause. This article was originally published on ForeignAffairs.com.
The Next Cyber Battleground Defending the U.S. Power Grid From Russian Hackers by Rob Knake “The digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned starkly last week. Most commentators took his declaration that “the warning lights are blinking red” as a reference to state-sponsored Russian hackers interfering in the upcoming midterm elections, as they did in the 2016 presidential election. But to focus on election interference may be to fight the last war, fixating on past attacks while missing the most acute
vulnerabilities now. There’s reason to think that the real cyberthreat from Russia today is an attack on critical infrastructure in the United States—including one on the power grid that would turn off the lights for millions of Americans. We know what Russia is capable of because we can see what it’s done elsewhere. A staff report from the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations found evidence that ahead of 2016, Russia had attempted to manipulate elections in 18 other countries. Now intelligence
agencies and security companies have connected Russian hackers to the shutdown of a German steel mill, the cutting off of phone and Internet service to some 900,000 Germans, and most ominously, two disruptions of the power grid in Ukraine. The right takeaway from Russian interference in 2016 is not just that Washington needs to protect American elections; it’s also that what Russia does in cyberspace in its near abroad should be a warning about what can be done in the United States.
Trial Runs In December of 2015, Russian hackers turned off the lights in the Ivano-Frankivsk region of Western Ukraine, leaving some 230,000 customers in the dark. The attack shut down 30 power substations and disconnected them from communications systems so they could not be remotely restarted. A second attack a year later targeted substations in Kiev. Ultimately, the attacks were relatively contained: the 2015 power outage in IvanoFrankivsk lasted only six hours, and the 2016 attack affected just 20 percent of Kiev’s power for only about an hour. But the relatively limited nature of the Ukraine attacks should not be cause for comfort. It is possible that Russia intended to use the attacks to send a message to Ukraine rather than to inflict real harm. More ominously, they may have been trial runs to test Russian cyber-capabilities. Department of Homeland Security workers at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, Arlington, Virginia, January 2015. (Reuters)
To begin with, the attacks demonstrated a worrying level of competence and sophistication on the part of the Russian hackers. “To me what makes sophistication is logistics and planning and operations and … what’s going on during the length of it,” Robert M. Lee, an expert in control system security, told Wired. “And this was highly sophisticated.” The attackers undertook extensive research and reconnaissance operations to understand their target and then executed an attack in multiple stages against multiple targets simultaneously. Beyond their planning and operational capabilities, the attackers also developed better tools for carrying out these types of attacks. The malware used in the 2016 attack was far more sophisticated than that in the 2015 attack. Rather than reusing previously known malware designed for business systems, the attackers used malware that was purpose built and could be used to cause widespread outages against multiple targets. These
In December of 2015, Russian hackers turned off the lights in the Ivano-Frankivsk region of Western Ukraine, leaving some 230,000 customers in the dark technological improvements between the two attacks suggest that they provided an opportunity for Russia to use Ukraine as a testing ground. Given the extent of Russian cyber-capabilities, it is likely that if the Russian government had wanted to cause more widespread and longer-lasting outages in Ukraine, it could have—by, for example, deploying more teams to cause simultaneous shutdowns of multiple regions. But Russia has other leverage points in Ukraine—notably, a shared border and Ukraine’s large ethnically Russian and politically pro-Russian population—that offer other options for exerting influence in Ukraine. That adds to the theory that the cyberattacks were only trial runs, practice for when the capability to shut down a power grid would actually offer Russia a strategic or tactical advantage.
Diagnosing Vulnerability Several aspects of the attacks on Ukraine are alarming from a U.S. perspective. Those attacks relied on fairly basic tools: they began with spear-phishing emails, exploited known vulnerabilities, and used a family of malware that had been used previously. At this point, Russia has likely developed far more sophisticated cybercapabilities, akin to the Stuxnet malware that targeted Iran’s nuclear program and caused actual physical damage to centrifuges. In Ukraine, grid operators could only sit and watch as hackers virtually moved their mouse across the screens of their control units to shut down power systems, which at least alerted them to the fact a cyberattack was under way. In a more sophisticated attack, grid operators might be left completely mystified about why the power went out. Just how vulnerable is the U.S. grid to an attack akin to the one in Ukraine? According to the U.S. intelligence
community, very. In 2014, Admiral Michael Rogers, then director of the National Security Agency, told Congress that malware attributed to Russia had been found on critical infrastructure throughout the country. But Rogers pointed out that Russia and other adversaries at the time lacked a strong motive to carry out such an attack. In the event that Russia decides it is in its interest to turn off the lights, what we don’t know is whether utilities would be able to detect and thwart such an attack. Diagnosing vulnerabilities would require action from a federal agency, but so far nothing has been done. Grid operators have some ability to conduct their own security assessments but tend to be strapped for resources and plagued by disparities among different operators. Some utilities are investing millions in security, while others must choose between trimming trees along power lines or upgrading security equipment. Limits on rates set by utility boards simply do not allow some utilities to do both. Further, in a network such as the U.S. power grid, the potential for failures to cascade is very high. One illustrative example was the 2003 blackout of much of the northeastern United States and Ontario, which was caused by a local problem at one energy provider in Akron, Ohio. Thus, local utilities can invest in cybersecurity to prevent Russian attackers from disrupting their power directly, but the failure of other utilities to secure their systems still makes everyone vulnerable. It is also worth noting that, in at least one respect, the U.S. power grid is even more vulnerable than the
The right takeaway from Russian interference in 2016 is not just that Washington needs to protect American elections; it’s also that what Russia does in cyberspace in its near abroad should be a warning about what can be done in the U.S.
Ukrainian one. When hackers took out the grid’s electronic controls, the Ukrainians were able to revert to manual operation, a capability that many utilities in the United States have eliminated. Without the ability to revert to manual operations, a cyberattack could not only shut down the power grid—it could keep it down.
Defending the Grid There’s already ample evidence that Russia has been carrying out reconnaissance against the U.S. electric grid. A U.S. Department of Homeland Security bulletin published in March of this year warned critical infrastructure operators of the threat from Russian actors, stating that the campaign was “targeting industrial control system (ICS) infrastructure.” It noted a particular threat to six sectors of the economy including energy, nuclear facilities, and water, a critical dependency for power production. Given these threats, Washington must take urgent action. That should start with U.S. President Donald Trump moving quickly to deter foreign governments from engaging in the reconnaissance necessary to attack the grid. He must make clear that if the United States identifies foreign adversaries interfering with its power systems, it will view their presence as a hostile act subject to U.S. response. The sanctions levied on Russia
A staff report from the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations found evidence that ahead of 2016, Russia had attempted to manipulate elections in 18 other countries necessary funds.
Alex Moiseev, Chief Business Officer (L) and Alina Topchy, Deputy Chief Business Officer are seen at Kaspersky Lab Global Partner Conference 2018. (Getty)
in March of 2018 are, in part, a response to Russian probing of the energy sector, but on their own they are not sufficient for establishing a norm against such activity. The president should directly command foreign adversaries to get out of U.S. critical infrastructure and threaten consequences if they donâ€™t. Next, Washington will need to determine whether Russian or other foreign adversaries heeded this message. The intelligence community may be able to assess compliance, but the best way to ensure security is for government-appointed inspectors to directly verify whether utility networks have been compromised. (Trump will first need to determine whether his office or the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has the authority to order these inspections, and, if they do not, should seek permission from Congress to do so.) Utilities should be encouraged to cooperate on a voluntary basis as well. State regulators, who have authority over power distribution to homes and businesses, should also flex their regulatory muscle. These assessments might uncover signs of adversary activity, but whatâ€™s most important is that they will reveal vulnerable and misconfigured systems in need of increased protection and monitoring. Congress must then ensure that utilities have the resources necessary to protect themselves by passing legislation to provide
Mandating that utilities charge a dedicated security fee on each account, similar to the Universal Service fee charged on all phone accounts, would be the most direct and efficient way to ensure that they receive the funding necessary to build strong security programs. Concerns that the additional surcharge would be burdensome for low-income consumers could be addressed through additional federal funding of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Finally, if interference is confirmed, the president should make sure that U.S. Cyber Command is prepared to conduct counteroffensive operations against Russia and to coordinate that activity with the energy sector. Rapidly building out the mechanisms so that this coordination is possible when it is needed should be a priority of both Congress and the White House. Right now, Russia might not have a motive for carrying out an attack on the U.S. power grid. Judging by the headlines coming out of Moscow following the Helsinki summit, Russia is quite happy with its current relationship with the Trump administration. The honeymoon period between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin has lasted longer than many Russia experts predicted, but a souring of relations is likely imminent, as the two countries clash over Iran, Syria, and other foreign policy issues. When that souring occurs, Russia may decide to use what it learned in Ukraine against the United States. If there is a silver lining to the cozy relationship that Trump has built with Putin, it may be that he has bought the United States valuable time to secure its grid and other critical infrastructure against Russian cyberattacks. That time should not be squandered. This article was originally published on ForeignAffairs.com.
Is Japan Becoming a Country of Immigration? Why More Foreign Labor Doesn't Imply Liberalization 24
Although Japan is taking steps to fill labor shortages and de-ethnicize its migrant labor schemes, it is too soon to tell whether these signal a true liberalization of immigration policy Japan’s aging population, however, is creating a demand for foreign labor. Japan’s population peaked at 127.8 million in 2004 and has fallen by over 1.5 million since then, and its working-age population has dropped by over ten million since 1997. Nationwide, the ratio of job openings to applicants now stands at around 1.6, the highest it has been since the height of the so-called economic miracle over four decades ago. Workers in construction and mining, caretaking, food service, hospitality, and retail are in particularly short supply. In July 2018, the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which represents the country’s small- and medium-sized businesses, reported that around 65 percent of members had difficulty meeting labor requirements despite wage increases. In the face of these shortages, the administration of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has shifted toward a greater openness to foreign workers, although the word “immigration” remains taboo. Since 2015, the Ministry of Justice has dramatically expanded quotas and stay durations for construction workers in preparation for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The 2016 Japan Revitalization Strategy, an annual policy report published by the Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister, repeatedly mentions the need for “foreign talent” (gaikokujin jinzai), a term that includes unskilled labor, as a critical tool for economic recovery. And in May of this year, the administration announced its intention to admit up to 500,000 additional workers in agriculture, construction, lodging, nursing, and shipbuilding through 2025. Trainee housekeepers attend a training session at the Magsaysay Center for Hospitality and Culinary Arts in Manila the Philippines, on Monday, Dec. 19 2016 in preparation to work in Japan. (Getty)
By Yunchen Tian, Erin Aeran Chung As the only advanced industrial democracy that has closed its borders to unskilled migrant labor since the end of World War II, Japan has long been viewed as hostile to immigration. Although the number of foreign nationals in Japan has grown at a rapid pace in recent years—from 850,000 in 1985 to almost 2.6 million in 2017—foreign residents still make up less than two percent of the total population, compared with between eight and 25 percent in western European countries. And only one-fifth of Japan’s foreign workers hold visas explicitly intended for labor immigration, which is restricted to the highly skilled.
These changes have led some to argue that Japan, by opening the door to foreign labor at a time when other advanced industrial democracies are shifting toward more restrictive immigration policies, may finally be on its way to becoming a country of immigration. Yet this conclusion is premature. Although Japan is taking steps to fill labor shortages and de-ethnicize its migrant labor schemes, it is too soon to tell whether these signal a true liberalization of immigration policy rather than a tinkering with an illiberal status quo.
OPENING THE DOORS
Official discourse in Japan has, until recently, emphasized the virtues of a homogeneous national community. Public debates
over immigration have traditionally focused on the dangers that diversity poses to social stability and national security. In the 1960s, Japan, like other industrialized countries, faced serious labor shortages. Yet instead of importing foreign labor as their North American and European counterparts did, Japanese officials and corporations opted instead to automate, shift production abroad, and tap into alternative sources of domestic labor such as women, students, the elderly, and rural migrants. From the mid1980-s, Japan confronted a second labor shortage.This time, internal sources of domestic labor were depleted and rising urban land prices wereforcing workers to leave the cities. In response to this labor shortage, in 1990 the Japanese government amended the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, opening two legal loopholes for employers to import cheap labor without violating official closed-door policies, which admitted only a small number of skilled professionals, often from the West. The first was the teijusha (long-term resident) visa, which was available only to second- and third-generation Nikkeijin, the descendants of ethnic Japanese who had emigrated from Japan in the early twentieth century, mostly to Brazil, Peru, and the United States. The second loophole established visa categories for the various stages of the Technical Intern Training Program (TITP), allowing foreign “trainees,” usually from other Asian countries, to train and work in Japan for up to three years. The teijusha visa, which held tremendous appeal for the Latin American Nikkeijin, was renewable, allowing a recipient to live in Japan long enough to naturalize or become a permanent resident. Furthermore, it offered Nikkeijin the ability to move freely across the country and change jobs. On the other hand, the trainees and interns of the TITP were tied to the employer they were assigned to and were often threatened with deportation if they attempted to find
Although the number of foreign nationals in Japan has grown at a rapid pace in recent years - from 850,000 in 1985 to almost 2.6 million in 2017 - foreign residents still make up less than two percent of the total population
alternative arrangements. The extreme differences between these two programs reflected Japanese politicians’ own prejudice toward foreigners, which they assumed their constituents shared. Ethnically distinct workers from Asian countries were seen to be threateningly foreign, and Japanese politicians feared that they would seek to establish themselves in Japan just as Turkish and Yugoslav guest workers had found ways to permanently settle in Germany during the postwar period. On the other hand, they believed that Nikkeijin workers, who were at least partly Japanese by blood, would adapt quickly to life in Japan. Yet the teijusha and TITP programs had unintended consequences. Despite perennial complaints regarding labor abuses, the TITP program had been effective in directing workers specifically toward struggling small- to mediumsized businesses, which were often unattractive workplaces for native Japanese, particularly if located in a rural area. The government has rapidly increased the scale of the program in recent years, bringing in almost 20 percent more workers last year than in 2016. On the other hand, Japanese policymakers discovered that most Nikkeijin did not naturally assimilate— they continued to suffer from low rates of Japanese literacy and faced discrimination in the workplace. When many Nikkeijin lost their jobs during the first major recession of the early years of the twenty-first century, the government offered to pay for one-way tickets and relocation expenses for those who promisedto return to Latin America and not come back. By essentially walking back the teijusha program while expanding programs such as the TITP, Japan has
of co-ethnics, its restrictions and terms are closer to those of guest worker programs than those of the original teijusha visa.
A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS, OR JUST WORKERS? The sum of these changes has led to speculation that Japan is finally moving away from its restrictive immigration policies. In a recent paper, the migration scholars James F. Hollifield and Michael Orlando Sharpe labeled Japan an “emerging migration state” based on its growing capacity to manage migration as part of both its domestic and its international policies. Yet this growing capacity is coupled with a continued reluctance to commit to a clear road map for the future. In the meantime, Japan is attempting to tread the middle course, introducing temporary and ad hoc programs to cycle through foreign laborers while denying them a path to residency.
A tourist in front of Tokyo's Imperial Palace, November 2016. (Reuters)
significantly de-ethnicized its immigration preferences over the last decade. Unlike most Western democracies, however, it has done so without significantly liberalizing its immigration and integration policies. Although deepening labor shortages have required increased quotas for foreign workers, most of the restrictions on their rights remain unchanged. The new plan to accept half a million additional workers, for instance, introduces the possibility of allowing foreign workers to bring their families to Japan, but only after they have worked for at least five years. Likewise, although the new plan will allow some workers—those who perform well and learn Japanese—to work in Japan for up to ten years, it also periodically compels them to return to their home countries in order to prevent them from becoming eligible for permanent residency. Interestingly, the Japanese government has also moved to reengage with co-ethnics: on July 1, a new pathway was opened allowing fourth-generation Nikkeijin to seek employment in Japan. In a clear reaction to the failures of previous policies, fourth-generation Nikkeijin will be restricted to a maximum of five years in Japan under a “special activities” visa. Although they will be able to seek employment freely, their visas require annual renewals based on factors such as improvement in Japanese language ability, engagement with Japanese culture and/or the local community, and continued permission from a Japanese sponsor, who is responsible for regular supervision of the participant’s life. Despite the fact that this visa category was specifically created for a group
What would a comprehensive road map look like? One likely model lies just next door, in South Korea. Seoul abolished its analogue to the TITP at the end of 2006, replacing it with the Employment Permit System (EPS), explicitly designed for the temporary employment of foreign workers. By officially recognizing them as workers and not as trainees and interns, the EPS has granted guest workers more equal employee rights, access to benefits, and treatment under labor laws. The EPS has also made naturalization more common among marriage migrants and highly skilled workers who can reside in South Korea indefinitely. Japan could move in this direction through the stricter application of labor law in favor of TITP participants, who have often been denied legal protection. Closing the gap between how foreign and native workers are paid—and treated—would contribute to establishing a more standard guest worker system. It is also possible that Japan will further entrench an illiberal system that treats foreign migrants as a permanently disenfranchised underclass. Compared with Germany and other western European states, which eventually amended their guest worker programs to allow for family reunification and a path to citizenship, Japan has less competitive elections, a more insulated bureaucracy, and little in the way of judicial activism. Even civil society actors that have won victories for certain immigrant and minority groups have not pushed to convert them into universal norms. On its current path, Japan may go the way of some states, in which both high- and lowskilled foreign workers remain excluded from the national community and low-skilled workers are denied access to legal recourse in the event of labor disputes or rights abuses. Doing so, however, could endanger Japan’s reputation as one of the world’s liberal democracies. This article was originally published on ForeignAffairs.com.
The Path to Renewed Oil Sanctions on Iran
How Trump Can Significantly Reduce Tehran's Exports
By Peter Harrell On August 5, the Trump administration reinstated a first set of U.S. sanctions on Iran that had been suspended under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal. But the bulk of U.S. sanctions on Iran will not come back into force until November 180 ,5 days after Trump’s initial May 8 announcement that Washington would withdraw from the agreement. On that date, all of the U.S. sanctions suspended by the JCPOA will be reinstated, including the most important of all: the sanctions on Iran’s oil exports. Sanctions on oil exports have the potential to be economically devastating to Tehran. Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Habibollah Bitaraf said in June that Iran’s government took in an estimated 50$ billion from the sale of oil in fiscal year 2017 and that oil and petroleum products made up 70 percent of Iran’s total exports. With the value of Iran’s currency already falling 50 percent since Trump pulled the United States out of the JCPOA and street protests spreading against Iran’s government,
cutting off Tehran’s biggest source of cash has the potential to dramatically hit Iran’s already ailing government. If they play their hand well, Trump officials can secure large reductions in Iran’s oil exports. But doing so requires the administration to navigate both complex global oil markets and a multilevel diplomatic game involving both governments and global companies. Trump will have to manage deft diplomacy with Iran’s largest customer, China, which has made decisions on Iranian oil within the broader context of rising U.S.-Chinese trade tensions. He will have to maintain a relentless campaign against Iranian sanctions evasion. And he will have to deal with the fact that unilateral U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil purchases may hasten global efforts to build a mechanism that foreign countries can use to conduct trade despite U.S. sanctions in the future.
MINIMIZING MARKET IMPACTS The first challenge the Trump administration must navigate in
Many European shippers and importers of Iranian crude rely on British and European insurance companies in order to operate
A demonstrator hold up an Iranian flag during a protest against Hassan Rouhani, Iran's president, not pictured, outside the UN General Assembly meeting in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 2017 ,20. (Getty Images)
reimposing Iran’s oil sanctions is minimizing adverse impacts on global oil supplies. Iran produced approximately four million barrels of oil per day in 2017—roughly four percent of total global production—and exported 2.1 million barrels per day. Taking that much oil off the markets too quickly could have dramatic impacts on global oil prices. Fortunately, the U.S. oil sanctions were designed with global markets in mind. Instead of forcing countries to immediately eliminate oil imports from Iran, the president can offer countries an exception to continue importing Iranian crude, as long as the countries “significantly” reduce their volumes of Iranian oil imports every six months. The administration of former U.S. President Barack Obama used this flexibility to push for a phased reduction in Iran’s oil exports by one million barrels per day over a period of about 18 months. Trump should adopt a similar approach—even if he sets an even more aggressive target than Obama did for the absolute volume of reductions— and implement oil sanctions on a phased timeline that minimizes
impacts on global prices. With the Brent crude oil benchmark in the mid70$-s, current oil prices are well below the 100$ plus that a barrel of oil cost in late 2011 and 2012, when Congress and the Obama administration imposed the first round of oil sanctions on Iran. But prices are up nearly 50 percent over the past 12 months, driven by declines in crude oil output from Venezuela, where the oil industry is collapsing thanks to mismanagement and corruption, and instability in Libya and Iraq that creates intermittent supply disruptions. Markets have proven keenly sensitive to the potential impacts of U.S. sanctions on Iran. After a State Department official told reporters in late June that Washington might require all importers of Iranian crude to eliminate their purchases by November, oil prices quickly jumped by several dollars per barrel, before falling back after the Trump administration indicated it was open to at least some sanctions exceptions and OPEC announced plans to increase production. The United States has responded to the market challenges by pressing Saudi Arabia to increase production to offset Iranian reductions. At least in the short term, this approach appears to be keeping a lid on further price increases. But if the Trump administration presses to reduce the volume of Iran’s oil exports faster than markets expect, it faces a substantial risk that oil prices will resume their upward climb. Many energy analysts, including the U.S. Energy Information Administration, expect additional oil supplies to come online in late 2018 and the first half of 2019, driven by increasing production in Brazil, Canada, the United States, and elsewhere. This anticipated new production creates some potential future breathing space for reductions in Iran’s oil exports, and the Trump administration should peg the volume of the reductions it seeks in Iranian crude oil exports to the availability of these other projected supplies.
BREAKING THE HABIT The second challenge Trump faces in reinstating oil sanctions against Iran is convincing Iran’s primary customers to quit—or at least to significantly reduce the volume of their purchases. The United States will need to engage in multidimensional diplomacy that engages both governments and global companies. The Obama administration’s preferred approach to oil sanctions in 2012 and 2013 was to negotiate with foreign governments to cut their imports. The European Union, for example, agreed to end all imports of Iranian crude, while China, India, Japan,
Turkey, and South Korea all agreed to reduce their purchases in exchange for exceptions. This government-focused approach will probably still prove fruitful with Japan and South Korea, which together imported several hundred thousand barrels per day of Iranian crude in 2017. Neither wants to cut its imports of Iranian crude, and both have asked the Trump administration to let them continue importing at least reduced quantities of oil. But the Trump administration ultimately holds an ace card: both Tokyo and Seoul need Washington’s support to address the North Korean nuclear threat and to counter China’s increasingly assertive posture in Asia. Neither government wants to risk a major rift with Trump over Iran. The diplomatic situation looks different in Europe, where governments are adamantly opposed to the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the JCPOA and much less willing to negotiate reductions in their countries’ volumes of Iranian imports. Indeed, several European governments will see the very act of sitting down to negotiate over reductions as a concession and may refuse to talk. Government-to-government negotiations over European oil reductions are unlikely to yield much fruit. Trump officials, however, will find greater success with individual European companies. Major importers of Iranian crude in Europe include Italy’s ENI and Saras, Spain’s Repsol, France’s Total, and Greece’s Hellenic Petroleum. All of these companies depend on access to U.S.-dollar financing, global insurance markets, and U.S. suppliers, and several have significant operations in the United States. None of them want to risk being sanctioned over purchases of Iranian crude. If Trump requires these companies to cut or eliminate their imports, they almost certainly will. Indeed, press reports suggest that several of these companies are already planning to slash their purchases of Iranian oil before the U.S. sanctions come back into force. The Trump administration can bolster its negotiating position by using sanctions on key chokepoints in the oil business to disrupt shipments of crude to companies that are reluctant to cut their purchases. Many European shippers and importers of Iranian crude rely on British and European insurance companies in order to operate. Ports, for example, will typically not let an oil tanker unload crude oil unless the ship can show that it is insured. Trump can threaten these insurance companies with sanctions
Europe’s biggest retaliatory step to date has been to update a “blocking regulation” that legally prohibits EU companies from complying with U.S.
as a way of forcing the shippers and refiners to drop plans to keep purchasing Iranian oil. The administration has already made clear that it will sanction the banks that process payments for Iranian oil, complicating Iran’s ability to get paid even by refiners that want to keep purchasing. Taken together, these measures will likely force Europe into cutting its Iranian crude imports despite government objections. The biggest near-term diplomatic challenge for the Trump administration, however, will be the country that is Iran’s largest customer and whose companies have the greatest capacity to ignore threats of U.S. sanctions: China. China imports approximately 500,000 barrels per day of Iranian crude, or about a quarter of Iran’s exports, and officials in Beijing have given no indication that they plan to cut those volumes. China, unlike Europe, is also well prepared to resist threats of sanctions against its companies. A number of China’s smaller “teapot” refiners have essentially no business exposure to the United States and could keep importing Iranian oil even if Washington sanctioned them. China also has a number of domestic banks that could process payments for Iranian oil even if sanctioned. (Large Chinese oil companies, on the other hand, do have exposure to the United States and will likely seek to avoid running afoul of U.S. sanctions.) Indeed, Beijing has experience with this model. In 2012, Washington sanctioned China’s Bank of Kunlun for transacting with Iran despite U.S. sanctions. China responded by beginning to route billions of dollars of Iranian oil transactions through the Bank of Kunlun, which had little commercial exposure to the United States. This also meant that other, larger Chinese banks—banks that had significant U.S. exposure—could avoid Iran-related transactions. Given that China has commercial options to resist U.S. sanctions pressure, the question for Beijing is fundamentally political, not economic. China must decide if it wants to continue importing Iranian oil and fight with the Trump administration over Iran or whether it would prefer to reduce imports and avoid the conflict. Whatever Beijing decides, Chinese officials will make their
individuals and companies involved in evasion schemes in order to keep a lid on Iran’s sanctions evasion.
MANAGING THE GLOBAL FALLOUT
A crew man stands on the deck of the crude oil tanker 'Devon' as it sails through the Persian Gulf towards Kharq Island oil terminal to transport crude oil to export markets in the Persian Gulf, Iran, on Friday, March ,23 2018. (Getty Images)
call on importing Iranian crude within the context of overall heightened trade and commercial tensions with Washington. If leaders in Beijing decide that cutting imports of Iranian crude offers a low-cost concession to Trump that would win reciprocal U.S. concessions on trade or on regional issues in Asia, China will tell Tehran that it wants to buy less oil. On the other hand, if Beijing decides that cutting imports of Iranian crude would simply send Trump a message of Chinese weakness with little chance of winning reciprocal goodwill in Washington, China will likely continue to take in Iranian tankers.
STOPPING EVASION Even if Iran’s major customers agree to reduce their purchases of Iranian crude, the Trump administration will need to maintain a relentless pressure campaign against evasion techniques by Tehran. Between 2011 and 2015, Iran adopted a number of deceptive tactics to evade sanctions and find illicit markets for its crude. Iranian tankers, for example, would engage in ship-toship transfers, offloading crude into smaller tankers that would then falsely market their cargo as originating from someplace other than Iran. Tehran could also smuggle both oil and refined gasoline overland to neighbouring countries, including Turkey, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. These evasion tactics suffer from logistic challenges. Iran can’t replace the volumes of oil that sell via large oil tankers simply by sending pickup trucks filled with jerry cans into Pakistan. But it can nonetheless generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue through sanctions evasion. Limiting Iranian evasion is possible but will require sustained effort. The Trump administration will need to invest significant resources in tracking ships that load oil in Iranian ports and publicizing ship-to-ship transfers, similar to the way the administration has published information on suspected illicit coal shipments shipped out of North Korea. And the Treasury Department will have to rigorously sanction the
The Trump administration’s diplomacy and the liberal use of sanctions threats against energy companies in Europe are likely to drive a reduction in Iran’s oil exports, at least through 2019. But assuming Trump succeeds in this immediate goal, over the longer term his diplomacy could raise the specter that foreign countries will band together to develop mechanisms to enable trade that is insulated from U.S. sanctions—much as China can already do to some extent. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned in a 2016 speech that there is a “risk that overuse [of sanctions] could ultimately reduce our capability to use sanctions effectively” by driving global financial transactions and business away from the United States. To date, discussions of developing sanctionsresistant trading schemes have been largely confined to rogue regimes, including those of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and Russian President Vladimir Putin, that lack much global economic clout. But the U.S. reinstatement of sanctions on Iran is forcing U.S. allies in Europe to look at ways to fight back. Europe’s biggest retaliatory step to date has been to update a “blocking regulation” that legally prohibits EU companies from complying with U.S. sanctions on Iran. European companies, however, are still likely to comply in practice, if not in public statements, with U.S. sanctions despite the regulation, given that the penalties for violating U.S. sanctions are far more severe than the expected penalties under the blocking regulation. A few European governments appear keen on developing a more aggressive approach to resistance. Several European officials have discussed asking the European Central Bank or another European government-controlled bank to start handling payments for Iranian oil. The French government appears to be considering the feasibility of the government itself taking responsibility for importing Iranian oil as a way around U.S. leverage over French companies. France would face severe operational challenges setting up such a scheme before U.S. sanctions come back into force in November, and success in the near term is unlikely. But Trump’s approach to Iran risks spurring serious long-term EU and global discussions about ways to insulate companies from U.S. sanctions pressure over the long term. These risks are not immediate, and the hypothetical risk of a longterm erosion in the U.S. sanctions tool will not deter Trump from pursuing the priority of slashing Iran’s oil exports. But American diplomatic and sanctions officials looking over the horizon should take the threat seriously. After securing the oil reductions they seek, diplomats will need to work hard to restore frayed relationships, blunt the efforts of allies to insulate themselves from future U.S. pressure, and ensure that U.S. sanctions will remain as sharp a policy tool a decade from now as they are today. This article was originally published on ForeignAffairs.com.
Protecting America's Technology Industry From China Tariffs Aren't the Answer By Scott Kennedy
to more normal levels within the next six to nine months.
A month into U.S. President Donald Trumpâ€™s trade war with China, the conflict has generated only a flurry of rhetoric and threats, but further escalation looms. Both sides are close to implementing tariffs on another 16$ billion worth of goods, and the United States looks prepared to impose tariffs on a further 200$ billion worth as early as the end of August. So far, investors seem to see these tensions as temporary and believe that they wonâ€™t damage the overall U.S. economy. The stock market has barely budged, and futures prices for steel and agricultural goods caught up in the conflict show that traders expect prices to return
Yet the most important question is not how long the trade war will last but whether the U.S. frustrations that sparked it in the first place will be addressed. Unfortunately, the Trump administration is only partially focused on the right issues, and so it has reached for the wrong weapons. The heart of the commercial conflict between China and the United States is not metals and beans or trade balances but the commanding heights of any economy: high technology industries. The dangers to U.S. high-tech prowess are only loosely connected to trade. Thatâ€™s why tariffs should not be playing the starring role for which they have been cast.
More than 50 robots dance during the opening ceremony of the sixth Shandong Cultural Industries Fair (SDCIF) at Jinan International Convention & Exhibition Center on August 2016 ,25 in Jinan, Shandong Province of China. (Getty)
DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS One often hears that when it comes to the U.S.-Chinese commercial relationship, the Trump administration has the diagnosis right but the prescription wrong. That is largely true. The administration certainly deserves credit for raising the urgency of unfair Chinese practices. White House economic adviser Peter Navarro’s June report, “How China’s Economic Aggression Threatens the Technologies and Intellectual Property of the United States and the World,” is hyperbolic in much of its language, but it rightly identifies various Chinese actions that create an uneven playing field. Similarly, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s recent Section 301 investigation into the misappropriation of intellectual property appropriately zooms in on threats to the United States’ competitiveness. The Trump administration seems to appreciate the challenges that Chinese industrial policy targeted at high-tech industries creates for the United States, other advanced economies and the industries of the future. There are four main issues. The first comes from insufficient access to the Chinese market for exporters and investors. “Made in China 2025,” a government strategy to upgrade Chinese industry, and the larger 13th five year plan of which it is a part, focus on import substitution by creating specific targets for displacing foreign technologies. And as part of its One Belt, One Road project, China is pressing participating countries to buy Chinese high-speed trains, solar panels, and telecommunications equipment, which could reduce
The most important question is not how long the trade war will last but whether the U.S. frustrations that sparked it in the first place will be addressed opportunities for American businesses beyond China. The second consequence of Chinese policies is to undermine the value of intellectual property. China imposes long delays before awarding rights for foreign patents, copyrights, and trademarks; often insists on unfair licensing terms; demands that companies transfer technologies to Chinese firms in exchange for market access; buys foreign technology with a seemingly bottomless bucket of public money; and sometimes outright steals foreign commercial secrets. The third problem is overcapacity. China’s state-backed financing and other policy incentives regularly attract waves of corporate investment that far outstrip reasonable expectations of market demand. The result is a fall in prices and profitability, with good and bad firms both suffering. Chinese state-owned firms are better
able to endure these downturns than companies in market-based economies because the state has a habit of supporting them even in the absence of sufficient demand, destroying otherwise healthy foreign companies and their supply chains around the world. This phenomenon began in construction industries, such as steel and cement, but has spread to high-tech sectors that produce standard goods, such as solar panels and wind turbines. Electric cars are ripe to suffer the same fate. The final problem is the poor governance of data. Beijing is able to collect, process, and use data of all kinds on a massive scale. At the same time, the government not only places huge constraints on the ways multinational companies use data and on cross-border data flows, it also tilts the balance between privacy and state security much too far toward the latter. This is likely to damage businesses and consumers that rely on global data, e-commerce, and other online services and the development of artificial intelligence applications, such as autonomous vehicles.
TREATING THE WRONG SYMPTOMS Although the Trump administration’s complaints are in many respects on the money, its obsession with the bilateral trade balance has prevented it from finding genuine solutions. The administration regularly cites the U.S. trade deficit as the key problem to be resolved. According to a recent report, the U.S. bilateral deficit in advanced technology products with China grew from 109$ billion in 2011 to 135$ billion in 2017. But the great majority of the imbalance results from shifting global investment and transnational supply chains, not Chinese malfeasance. Reduced U.S. exports are not the only, or even the chief, malady caused by Chinese high-tech policy. The damage is much broader. Devalued intellectual property, overcapacity, and the abuse of data all stifle business investment and profitability in the
The heart of the commercial conflict between China and the United States is not metals and beans or trade balances but the commanding heights of any economy: high technology industries
short term and smother the drive to innovate over the long term. This translates into slower productivity growth, fewer high-wage jobs, less consumer choice, and fewer new technologies. In fact, by raising tariffs or striking a trade deal in which China expanded its imports, the United States could eliminate the trade deficit without touching Chinese industrial policy. But such steps would not address the most important consequences of China’s high-tech strategy. Conversely, constraining Chinese technology policies and allowing markets to play a greater role could well cause the United States’ overall bilateral deficit and its deficit in high-tech goods with China to rise. That is because a more open China would attract more foreign investment and some of that activity would result in more exports from China to the United States. The Trump administration, unfortunately, would likely balk at this outcome. The chances of escalation are higher than most appreciate. The Trump administration is preparing tariffs on an additional 200$ billion worth of goods, and Trump has threatened tariffs on all Chinese exports to the United States. If Chinese President Xi Jinping doesn’t then raise the white flag, it is not hard to imagine the administration revoking China’s most-favored-nation status under the WTO, a move that could send U.S. tariffs on Chinese
risk to China and other potential foes. Congress’ recent expansion of the scope of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States should help address this problem. Export controls on advanced U.S. technologies are also overdue for an update. But much more needs to be done. The United States should push for new international rules that govern the development, production, and sale of high-technology products and services. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Trump abandoned last year, would have filled in a lot of the blanks in this area. Moreover, the WTO has long been negotiating an agreement on trade in environmental goods and is considering a similar deal on e-commerce. The United States should embrace and lead these and other international initiatives. Taking this path would be far more likely to work in a globalized economy than trying to negotiate a long sequence of laborious bilateral arrangements one after another, as the Trump administration proposes. The framework on trade announced last week between the United States and the European Union, for example, is not a sufficient substitute for a broad international coalition and multilateral actions taken to counter Chinese practices.
Chinese workers assemble electronic components at the Taiwanese technology giant Foxconn's factory in Shenzhen, in the southern Guangzhou province. (Getty)
goods skyrocketing well beyond the current levels of between 10 and 25 percent that Trump has imposed. China would likely follow suit. American businesses, workers, and consumers would suffer, raising pressure on the Trump administration to provide far more in relief than the 12$ billion it has suggested handing out to farmers hit by the trade war. The danger would then be that the global economy would fracture as the world’s two largest economies cut ties with each other.
THE RIGHT MEDICINE Tariffs, no matter how high, cannot fix the real problems produced by China’s aggressive approach to technology. At most, they can get China’s attention and bring it to the bargaining table. But at some point the focus must turn to more appropriate remedies. To some extent, this will mean vigorously enforcing existing rules against dumping (the practice of selling goods abroad at a price below their domestic value), imposing countervailing duties to offset unfair subsidies, and strengthening safeguards against surges of Chinese imports. (The United States already has over 100 antidumping and countervailing duties against China in place.) It will also mean strengthening domestic rules to cut down on the leakage of technologies that would put national security at
The United States also needs to do more to develop its own hightech sector. The United States and other developed countries need to provide additional funding for basic research and for the infrastructure that will allow scientists and engineers to devise new technologies and businesses to deploy them. Governments not only need to incentivize the supply of new technologies, but also to encourage the demand for their adoption and diffusion. Western countries can’t expect to set the rules for technologies they don’t use. China’s emerging dominance in electric cars, for example, means that the industry—from raw material suppliers and battery makers to car manufacturers—is bending to Beijing’s preferences. The United States shouldn’t force every family to buy an electric car, but federal and state governments can radically raise emissions standards, eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, support companies that are building charging points, and offer incentives to develop and deploy better batteries, usable hydrogen vehicles, and more efficient power grids. Policies that promote technology pluralism and consumer choice—think tax incentives for shoppers, not subsidies for producers—will keep the United States in the driver’s seat. The Trump administration is right to sound the alarm bells on China’s policies. At 20 percent of global GDP, China matters: when Beijing intervenes in the Chinese market, people on the other side of the world feel the effects. And high-tech sectors, which are unusually globalized, are particularly vulnerable. The stakes mean that getting U.S. policy on Chinese technology exports right could bring huge benefits—and that the costs of getting it wrong are even greater. This article was originally published on ForeignAffairs.com.
Hiking Spain's wild coast By Doug Hansen Serendipity _ an unexpected delight _ is the word that comes to mind when describing the seven- day hike my wife and I recently did in the wild and undeveloped northwest coast of Galicia, Spain. Simply put, anyone who is adventurous, loves traveling to Europe and is fit enough to do -10mile hikes should seriously consider doing this hike. Before this experience, I had never heard about
On Foot Holidays' programs that allow hikers to go at their own pace, with maps and detailed hiking instructions, but without a guide or other travelers, while still enjoying a high level of local support. What initially caught my attention was an announcement about On Foot Holidays' newest hike, the Lighthouse Way or "Camino Dos Faros", which they accurately described as a journey along "the last unspoilt coast of Europe." Although the company has packaged nearly three dozen
So what made the hike so special? Organization: On Foot Holidays provided us an extensive pre-trip package containing a customwritten guidebook about the region and our hike, a set of detailed trail descriptions and maps for each day's route. In addition, they booked our lodging each night and arranged for a taxi to take our baggage to the next destination, so all we had to do was carry our daypack essentials. Each day we texted or spoke with the company's local expert who was available in case of emergency, but whose main function was to keep us informed about the daily weather forecast and to make special taxi arrangements when we opted to shorten a couple of -14mile hikes to less than 10 miles (a very nice and much appreciated option since my feet protested going more than ten miles.) We found that the cost was very reasonable considering the meals, lodging and transportation that the company provided. Getting there: We decided to splurge on business class seating for our British Air flight to Madrid, knowing that after an overnight flight we would feel refreshed for our hike. Having access to the British Air lounge made our Heathrow layover a pleasure, as did the fully reclining seats and deluxe meals we savored on the long transatlantic flight.
Santiago de Compostela's cathedral is the destination for thousands of pilgrims each year. (TNS)
tantalizing hiking routes in thirteen European countries, including Spain, Greece and Italy, this particular hike sounded both challenging and rewarding enough to warrant a try. The company offered -10day, -7day or -5day routes for this hike, so we opted for seven days which proved to be the right amount of time and distance for us. Afterwards, my wife and I agreed that this unique experience is one that we will always remember and treasure.
The hiking: The variety of the trails and scenery made every hike a delight. Single track trails in grassy meadows soon became double tracks that paralleled a wide bay before heading through pine and eucalyptus forests cloaked in rich, green ferns. One of our hikes followed a narrow trail along a steep, rocky cliff overlooking the steel-blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean that thrashed against jagged rocks hundreds of feet below us. We stopped to picnic and watch the only living things we saw that whole day: a herd of goats above us, and a group of dolphins cavorting in the waves below. In the distance, many of the mountain peaks sported gleaming wind turbines like candles on a cake. Later that same trail led across a two-mile long, curving sandy beach with nary a soul, nor structure, in sight before leading onward through rich farmland. Before long, we stopped at a small village cafe that served Estrella Galicia beer and freshly baked bread with cold cuts for less than 2$. While we did get lost briefly a couple of times, in general the instructions were adequate, and the trails
were amply marked with the official "Camino dos Faros" green dots, arrows or little feet pointing the way. Sights and sounds: During our mid-May journey, the profusion of flowers delighted us as we admired the intricate designs and colors of stately, purple foxgloves, dazzling yellow gorse (the spiny national flower of Galicia, covering entire hillsides), white daisies, and countless others. The ocean, however, was the star of the show. I felt diminutive in the presence of the Atlantic's powerful swells that rolled toward the shore in a steady procession from some unseen place, cresting and breaking with a ferocious intensity. A sad reminder of that oceanic power appeared in the gray mist, halfway through a long coastal hike _ the English Cemetary, where 172 of 175 British sailors, whose ship sank in 1890, were buried on this aptly named "Costa da Morte" or "coast of death." In fact, the name of our hike, the Lighthouse Way, derives from the series of lighthouses built along this treacherous coast. Silence and solitude were the hallmarks of each day's sojourn. The only sounds we heard were birds chirping, the wind blowing through trees or the waves breaking against the shoreline. The air was clean and the temperature brisk, with frequent intervals of cloudy, cool, windy and rainy weather interspersed with glorious bursts of sunshine. There was remarkably little litter, the exception being spots along the shore where ocean currents deposited mostly fishing items. People and food: Staying in pleasant small towns and villages that we would have never otherwise visited made our hike extra special. We noticed that virtually all homes were well-kept and neatly painted, mostly in shades of white with some in baby blue, light green or yellow hues that blended with their red tile roofs. While walking past rural homes, I was intrigued by the striking Galician rectangular, stone structures, called horreos, perched on top of mushroom-shaped stone pedestals, used for centuries to store grain for livestock during winter months. We found the local people to be friendly, welcoming
and honest; in one small shop I asked the owner about which bottle of Albarino wine he recommended, whereupon he took away my 8 euro bottle and replaced it with a 3 euro bottle, explaining that it was much better. Where else would that happen? During a sudden rainshower a man invited us into his home for tea or coffee. In Santiago, a woman walked a block out of her way to show us where to go. While Galicia is famed for its seafoods, the menus focus mainly on octopus, various types of shellfish, and their coveted delicacy, barnacles. The local beer was good, but we relished the ubiquitous fresh breads and cheeses. In the morning, we always had freshly squeezed orange juice; one of our hosts claimed that the juice wasn't as good unless it was hand-squeezed. Being a fan of white wine, I was happy to find that
The sun sets on the fishing village of Camelle, Spain. (TNS)
the majority of local wines were white varieties that tasted great and cost between two and five dollars. Pilgrims and El Camino: Although our hike was generally not part of the renowned walk called El Camino de Santiago, there were stretches where both trails overlapped, combining our green marks and the blue and yellow Camino trail signs with the scallop shell motif. Before and after our hike we spent a night in Santiago, the destination each year for tens of thousands of pilgrims (both religious and non-religious hikers). Coming from around the world, most of them appeared to be over 50 and had walked an average of 500 miles to reach that holy place. As small groups of hikers reached the main plaza of Santiago's ancient cathedral, they often
cried, hugged and took lots of photos of themselves with their large backpacks, worn hiking boots and walking staffs. A day or two in Santiago is a must. Most of the pilgrims I spoke with said that walking the Camino had changed their lives in profound ways. What I realized on our much shorter hike was that I could allow myself to slow down, appreciate the beauty around me, and let go of the urge to power walk from point A to point B. My wife and I realized that we, too, are pilgrims searching for meaning, awareness and joy on our journey through life and our Galician hiking experience had moved us further down that path in ways we won't forget. This was originally published by The San Diego Union-
Venezuela Attack Shows Drones Can Become Assassins Hereâ€™s How They Can be Grounded
by Samantha Masunaga As two explosives-laden drones flew toward Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at an event last weekend, the remotely controlled aircraft headed into an area rigged with equipment designed to jam radio signals.
That technology was credited by Venezuelan officials with partly foiling an assassination attempt on Maduro. One of the drones lost control, hit a building and detonated, leaving a scorch mark on the side; the other exploded over uniformed guardsmen, injuring seven. The attack - apparently the first of its kind -
The attack - apparently the first of its kind - confirms the fears of some security officials that cheap, commercially available drones could be used for violent acts bases and allies, said Mark Gunzinger, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments think tank. He said the Venezuelan drone attack was the first time he had heard of a drone being used like this against a public figure. The airspace around Washington, D.C., is the most restricted in the nation. Drone flight is prohibited within a -15mile radius of the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, unless an operator has specific authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration. Nonetheless, a quadcopter crashed on the White House lawn in 2015. Two years earlier, a drone crash-landed in front of German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a campaign event in Germany. “This is just another case where we’re seeing unmanned systems technology being used for just that purpose,” Gunzinger said. “I guess we should be surprised they haven’t been used before for that purpose.”
Security members protect Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after his speech was interrupted in Caracas, Venezuela on Saturday, Aug. ,4 2018. (TNS)
confirms the fears of some security officials that cheap, commercially available drones could be used for violent acts. And it highlights efforts to develop counter-drone technology, a market defense industry analysts expect will only grow. The Defense Department has spoken for years about new technologies that would give “non-state actors” the ability to strike against U.S. forces,
Jamming, or interrupting, the radio frequencies that link a specific drone with its controller is the most common anti-drone measure, said James Lewis, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank. That technology, which was used in Venezuela, can cause confusion and might be used to force the drone to the ground, however unpredictably. It is illegal for nongovernmental entities to use such jammers. Researchers at Aerospace Corp. in El Segundo, Calif., have been working to perfect a different type of control over the radio frequencies drones use to communicate. A team there has investigated
the possibility of isolating the exact frequency used by a drone at a specific time. In several tests, the researchers were able to successfully take over the unmanned aerial vehicle’s controls and land it safely. Nets are another common technique used to nab a drone in close proximity to a sensitive or high-risk area, Lewis said. And companies such as Raytheon Co. have developed directed-energy systems to shoot drones out of the sky. Raytheon’s Phaser uses high-powered microwaves to fry errant drones’ circuits. The microwaves of energy “induce very, very small surges of current in electrical circuits, disrupt it and burn it out,” causing the drone to lose guidance, Gunzinger said. Raytheon has billed its system as a way to potentially counteract swarms of dozens or hundreds of tiny drones. Boeing Co. has developed a compact laser weapons system that disabled a drone in about 15 seconds with a -2kilowatt laser during a demonstration several years ago. There are also less-aggressive options. Drone manufacturer DJI, the maker of the DJI M600 drone used in the Venezuela attack, has developed geofencing software that puts a virtual boundary around sensitive areas, such as wildfires, so that rogue drones can’t enter and are forced to hover in place if they attempt to fly through. The China company has also developed a remote identification system for its drones known as AeroScope. Using a box with two antennas
The U.S. will need to continue thinking broadly about how small, inexpensive drones could be used and what they might be able to do in the future
and an attached screen, airports, fire and police departments or other security agencies can listen to the radio link the drone uses to communicate with its handheld controller. That radio link has encoded information about the drone’s serial number, where it took off from, where it’s going and where the pilot is, said Adam Lisberg, DJI spokesman. He said the company has demonstrated that technology to various government agencies and had “productive discussions” about its remote identification platform with authorities in the
Venezuelan Defence Minister Padrino Lopez (C) flanked by the military high command, delivers a press conference in Caracas on August 2018 ,05, a day after an alleged attack using explosive-laden drones during a military parade took place. (Getty)
U.S. and Europe. “Security forces are looking for a tool that helps them shrink the size of a haystack so they can find that needle,” Lisberg said.
drones could be used and what they might be able to do in the future.
The FAA is also considering implementing a system for remote drone identification and tracking, which would send information such as the drone’s owner, a unique identifier for the craft and tracking details to an agency-approved internet database.
“We’re still on the very front end, the leading edge of this technology,” he said. “This technology is going to increase in sophistication. It’s going to proliferate more widely. And we need to really think hard about how we can protect not just our politicians and soldiers but the U.S. public against terrorists and others who might use this in harmful ways.”
But Gunzinger said the U.S. will need to continue thinking broadly about how small, inexpensive
This article was originally published in the Los Angeles Times.
For Zika-exposed babies, trouble may emerge in their first year By Melissa Healy The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that in their first year of life, 14 percent of babies exposed to Zika before birth had one or more health problems likely caused by the mosquito-borne virus. And for some of those babies, the toll of that gestational exposure was not evident at birth, the U.S. public health agency revealed. Microcephaly _ a smaller-than-usual head size _ has emerged as a hallmark of Zika exposure in babies. But in many babies whose mothers were infected by the Zika virus during pregnancy, follow-up care revealed health issues that were less immediately evident, including brain and eye damage, vision and hearing abnormalities and nervous system problems such as seizures. Many of those babies had appeared healthy at birth, and only as the babies grew older did those abnormalities become evident.
The rate of congenital abnormalities that are known to be caused by Zika virus infection (including microcephaly and eye damage) is roughly 30 times higher than would normally be seen in a population not exposed to the virus, the CDC said. That number could rise as experts establish that Zika is the clear cause of many of the less evident abnormalities seen among the babies, the authors of the new CDC report added. "We expect to learn more as these children grow and develop and additional problems are diagnosed," said Peggy Honein, who directs the CDC's Division of Congenital and Developmental Disorders. "As we learn more, we are likely to identify additional children with health problems. So the Zika story is not over and we have so much more to learn." Those findings emerged from an analysis of 1,450 infants born in U.S. territories and freely
U.S. officials reported that roughly 74 cases of local mosquito-borne transmission have been confirmed in 2018 in Puerto Rico. The CDC says that in 2018, it has found no evidence of local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission in the continental United States. The last confirmed cases of local mosquito-borne transmission in the U.S. were in Florida and Texas, where two and five cases, respectively, were reported in 2017. Zika is still a threat internationally, however, and the health agency recommends that women who are pregnant should not travel to a long list of countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, where mosquitoes are still transmitting the Zika virus. That list also includes Mexico and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. U.S. officials reported that roughly 74 cases of local mosquito-borne transmission have been confirmed in 2018 in Puerto Rico. The new figures offer a clearer picture of Zika's toll in cases where a woman carrying a developing fetus is infected by Zika, either because she was bitten by a virus-bearing mosquito or because she has had unprotected sex with a man infected in the last three months.
Maria Carolina Silva Floa, 20, holds her baby, Maria Gabriela Silva Alves, 2 months, who was born with microcephaly, as they wait for her physiotherapy appointment at Pedro 1 Municipal Hospital in Campina Grande,Brazil. (TNS)
On Tuesday, the CDC also unveiled new recommendations aimed at preventing the sexual transmission of the Zika virus. The agency had previously recommended that men infected associated states (including American Samoa, with the virus abstain from sex or use a condom Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, during sex for six months after they have shown Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) between symptoms of infection, including fever, rash, 2016 and early 2017, and who were tracked for at conjunctivitis, and joint or muscle pain. It now least a year after birth. Those babies were among says such protections are necessary for three some 4,800 children confirmed to have been months only. exposed in utero and who are now being tracked by the CDC. All of the tracked pregnancies in Honein said that the new findings do not offer the U.S. Zika Pregnancy and Infant Registry further clarity on how the timing of Zika infection during pregnancy affects a baby's health. While occurred between 2016 and 2018.
exposure during the first trimester of pregnancy appears to pose the greatest danger to a fetus, she said abnormalities were seen in babies born to mothers infected later in pregnancy as well. "We're still learning more everyday about the full impact" of the virus, Honein said on Tuesday. Of the 4,165 Zika-affected pregnancies that make up the CDC's study population, seven infants were excluded who reportedly died before reaching their first birthday. Three of those babies died during the first 14 days of life. Honein said the full picture of Zika's effects would be clearer if more of the babies born to Zika-infected mothers had undergone a complete battery of recommended tests after birth. Among the study's 1,450 children, only three-quarters had at least one developmental screening or evaluation, and 60 percent underwent recommended brain scanning after birth. Fewer than half were evaluated for hearing problems, and just 36 percent underwent a vision evaluation. That level of follow-up care came despite the fact that the children's outcomes were a subject of study, despite recommendations that full evaluations should be performed on all Zikaaffected babies, and despite solid evidence that prompt action can make a difference in a baby with neurodevelopmental problems.
Honein said the full picture of Zika's effects would be clearer if more of the babies born to Zika-infected mothers had undergone a complete battery of recommended tests after birth
In cases where vision or hearing problems are identified, for instance, corrective eyeglasses or hearing aides might boost a child's developmental prospects. But those conditions might go undetected if a Zika-affected child has no signs of microcephaly at birth. Brain scans or vision evaluation can detect such
Maria Ramirez Bolivar, a Venezuelan woman who lives in Doral but contracted Zika in her first trimester while traveling in Venezuela, holds her baby girl, Micaela Milagros Mendoza, -2months, on Aug. 2016 ,24. (Getty Images)
abnormalities in time to make a difference, Honein said Tuesday. "Because the full spectrum of adverse outcomes related to congenital Zika virus infection is not yet known, careful monitoring and evaluation of children born to mothers with laboratory evidence of
confirmed or possible Zika virus infection during pregnancy is essential for ensuring early detection of possible disabilities and early referral to intervention services that might improve outcomes," the authors of the new study wrote. This was originally published by The Los Angeles Times