Monday, 20 November 2017
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China

By Jennifer Richmond and Roger Baker

China's National People's Congress (NPC) remains in session. As usual, the meeting has provided Beijing an opportunity to highlight the past year's successes and lay out the problems that lie ahead. On the surface at least, China has shown remarkable resilience in the face of global economic crisis. It has posted enviable gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates while keeping factories running (if at a loss) and workers employed. But the economic crisis has exposed the inefficiencies of China's export-dependent economic model, and the government has had to pump money into a major investment stimulus package to make up for the net drain the export sector currently is exacting on the economy.

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by Brad Glosserman

The United States has scaled back plans to deploy a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. While that decision reflects a new assessment of the Iranian threat to Europe, most attention is being paid to its impact on relations with Russia. But the decision has equally important implications for Asia. It underscores two critical facts: first, the notion of discrete "theaters" is a fiction; second, the U.S. has to closely engage its Asian allies as it develops its strategic doctrine.

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by Lisa Curtis

Testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission May 20, 2009

My name is Lisa Curtis. I am a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my own, and should not be construed as representing any official position of The Heritage Foundation.

Pakistan and China have long-standing strategic ties, dating back five decades. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari wrote in a

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by Tetsuo Kotani

China's possession of aircraft carriers is not a matter of "if," but "when." Last November, an official in China's Ministry of National Defense touched for the first time in a public venue on the possibility of his nation acquiring aircraft carriers. China has purchased three carriers built by the former Soviet Union and one built by Australia, gaining an opportunity to study their structures. One of those, the Varyag, was supposed to serve as a floating casino in Macao, but it is now moored at a shipyard in Dalian, where it has been painted the same gray as other naval vessels and an angled deck has been installed. The Varyag does not have engines and cannot be employed as China's first aircraft carrier, but it can be used for research/training purposes.

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By Rodger Baker and Jennifer Richmond

Due in large part to fears of dire consequences if nothing were done to tackle the economic crisis, China rushed through a 4 trillion yuan (US$586 billion) economic stimulus package in November 2008. The plan cobbled together existing and new initiatives focused on massive infrastructure development projects (designed, among other things, to soak up surplus steel, cement and labor capacity), tax cuts, green energy programs, and rural development.

Ever since the package was passed in November, Beijing has recited the mantra of the need to shift China's economy from

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By Tom French

With the recent apparent concessions by the Iranian government over death by stoning in the face of western pressure, this seeming victory for 'soft power', begs the question whether similar policies might work on North Korea (DPRK).

The EU seems to think so, having recently passed a resolution on human rights in North Korea, which included the appointment of a special representative and calls on the DPRK to 'abolish the death penalty and end to the ongoing grave, widespread and systematic human rights violations, public executions and extra-judicial executions'.

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By Adam Dempsey, Research Associate, UK Defence Forum

In an article in The Washington Times retired Admiral James A. Lyons suggests that with China's influence on the rise in the South China Sea, the United States should reinvigorate military ties with the Philippines. After the U.S. left the islands in 1991, China began laying claim to and occupying contested islands in the region. In 1995 China built a facility on Mischief Reef, a region recognised as within the Philippines' economic zone. According to Lyons, the Clinton administration's failure to effectively respond to China's illegal actions began fifteen years of regional policy inertia. Yet at the recent Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Hanoi, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton signalled a change in U.S. policy. In a challenge to China's bilateral approach to addressing territorial claims, the Secretary of State emphasised that Washington wished to see disputes resolved through collaborative diplomacy. Yet in the case of the Philippines, Lyons suggests the United States should be doing more.

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By Chris Newton

It has been a long, strenuous, and difficult summer in the Ministry of Defence. As part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), it and the entire defence community has been grappling with two fundamental questions about the future. What will the future strategic environment look like? And what does this mean for our Armed Forces? There are those commentators who can, with a remarkable degree of confidence, say that they can predict what the future character of conflict will look like. Future conflict will be similar to the wars we have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq, and 9/11 was a significant date that heralded a new kind of warfare.

But is this certainty in predicting the future justified when history always teaches us to expect the unexpected? History does not follow a linear, pre-determined path; it is about men and women making choices between alternative futures and scenarios. A gunshot in 1914, for example, completely destroyed an entire European and world order. So we should at the very least be open to alternative scenarios and future pathways. Moreover, there is another significant date has passed us by that could signal the change the world is about to face, and we could risk harming our future security and prosperity if we choose to ignore its significance.

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By Scott Stewart and Nate Hughes

Over the past decade there has been an ongoing debate over the threat posed by electromagnetic pulse (EMP) to modern civilization. This debate has been the most heated perhaps in the United States, where the commission appointed by Congress to assess the threat to the United States warned of the dangers posed by EMP in reports released in 2004 and 2008. The commission also called for a national commitment to address the EMP threat by hardening the national infrastructure.

There is little doubt that efforts by the United States to harden infrastructure against EMP and its ability to manage critical infrastructure manually in the event of an EMP attack have been eroded in recent decades as the Cold War ended and the threat of nuclear conflict with Russia lessened. This is also true of the U.S. military, which has spent little time contemplating such scenarios in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union. The cost of remedying the situation, especially retrofitting older systems rather than simply regulating that new systems be better hardened, is immense. And as with any issue involving massive amounts of money, the debate over guarding against EMP has become quite politicized in recent years.

We have long avoided writing on this topic for precisely that reason. However, as the debate over the EMP threat has continued, a great deal of discussion about the threat has appeared in the media. Many STRATFOR readers have asked for our take on the threat, and we thought it might be helpful to dispassionately discuss the tactical elements involved in such an attack and the various actors that could conduct one. The following is our assessment of the likelihood of an EMP attack against the United States.

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By George Friedman and Reva Bhalla

Strange statements are coming out of Cuba these days. Fidel Castro, in the course of a five-hour interview in late August, reportedly told Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic and Julia Sweig of the Council on Foreign Relations that "the Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore."

Once that statement hit the headlines, Castro backtracked. Dressed in military uniform for the first time in four years (which we suspect was his way of signaling that he was not abandoning the revolution), he delivered a rare, 35-minute speech Sept. 3 to students at the University of Havana. In addition to spending several minutes on STRATFOR's Iran analysis, Castro addressed his earlier statement on the Cuban model, saying he was "accurately quoted but misinterpreted" and suggesting that the economic model doesn't work anymore but that the revolution lives on.

Castro, now 84, may be old, but he still seems to have his wits about him. We don't know whether he was grossly misinterpreted by the reporter during the earlier interview, was acknowledging the futility of the Cuban model and/or was dropping hints of a policy shift. Regardless of what he did or did not say, Castro's reported statement on the weakness of the revolution was by no means revolutionary.

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