Sunday, August 28, 2011

Saudi Goes Nuclear

As reported by the energy collective
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) plans to build 16 nuclear reactors over the next 20 years spending an estimated $7 billion on each plant. The $112 billion investment, which includes capacity to become a regional exporter of electricity, will provide one-fifth of the Kingdom’s electricity for industrial and residential use and, critically, for desalinization of sea water.
and the ever subtle Turki al-Faisal makes the obvious observation

Saturday, August 27, 2011

China - DoD Annual Report to Congress

MIL INT has been busy lately and this is just a drive by listing for future reference

  1. Report is here
  2. Wired's DR analysis here - good summary of recent developments
  3. Army Times - China's overreaction
  4. Army Times summary here

Monday, August 15, 2011

Afg - Amrullah Saleh - Ex Spy Master

A piece in today's Telegraph of London worth reading
But since quitting his post last year, he now has even more reason to fear – after forming an influential new opposition group that has denounced the plans of President Hamid Karzai and the West for a political settlement with the Taliban. "Very simply, the Taliban are our killers, they are not our brothers," Mr Saleh told The Sunday Telegraph last week.
Mr Saleh was forced to resign along with his ally, the former interior minister Hanif Atmar, after the Taliban attacked a peace conference last summer – but while the official reason was because of the failure to prevent the assault, behind the scenes there had been growing tensions with Mr Karzai himself, whom Mr Saleh accuses of being not just corrupt, but also beholden to neighbouring Pakistan, the Taliban's chief sponsor.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

PME: Thinking v Groupthink

MIL INT works in a double bureaucracy - it is both a military and an educational bureaucracy. As happens from time to time, such organizations think about their direction. PME has internal and external challenges as readers will know from earlier PME stories. To what extent will the administration allow new ideas? What will make the graduating officer capable of inspired leadership? Is it more important to make the trains run on time or is the direction of the tracks more important?

Afg - More Alternative Views

FP AfPak Channel has a book review of Sherard Cowper-Coles' Cables from Kabul that includes this gem:
The book is structured very much like a diary, and is at its freshest and funniest when describing events in Kabul -- including Afghan president Hamid Karzai's threat to invade Pakistan
The content of the book as presented in the review (MIL INT has not got it yet) is reminiscent of US Ambassador Eikenberry's famous cables back when the Obama Administration was conducting the long review of US policy in 2009. These join other alternative perspectives presented in this blog,  including Rory Stewart's recent TED speech and Gen Keane's assessment to HASC.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chinese Aircraft Carriers

Remember the old Varyag that the Chinese bought to be a casino? It puts to sea for trials this week. Now a series of "chinese businessmen" want to buy a British carrier - to be transformed into the "world's largest floating exhibition platform for high-end appliances and luxury products". You buying?  Andrew Erickson has pushed a lot of good analysis on this topic.

New Publication: Intelligence Adaptation

Of possible interest - summary only - a subscription or library database account will be necessary to read in full.

Intelligence Adaptation: The Bin Laden Raid and its Consequences for US Strategy

RUSI Journal, Aug 2011, Vol. 156, No. 4
By Adam Cobb

In the aftermath of the Bin Laden raid, Adam Cobb argues that the integration of strategic intelligence assets coupled to Special Operations Forces has created a new operational paradigm for the US. The intelligence-driven global counter-terrorism strategy provides the US with a long-term, cost-effective means to continue to fight Al-Qa’ida with a reduced military footprint.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

An Incredibly Sad Day for America

If you read this on Saturday Aug 6, there are 31 families in states all around the Union that are opening their front doors this morning to find sailors and chaplains in dress uniforms on their doorsteps. Right now as you read this, somewhere in America a wife is screaming "NO" over and over again on her living room floor as her five year old daughter asks "what's wrong Mommy?". We will never know the agony these great American families face, but we owe them an incalculable debt. MIL INT is humbled by the sacrifice of this - our very own greatest generation - and offers its sincere condolences to the families and friends of the fallen.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Abbottabad - New Yorker story challenged

This story could be subtitled: A Journey into Hackistan... This has become a juicy DC academic-policy wonk gossip mongers delight. At first it seems like a substantive debate and then on closer inspection it quickly slides into tweet v tweet. It will probably end there. However in the interests of giving readers an insight into the ramifications of that story the following is offered FYSA.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Afg - Opinion - Great Graphic

From Afg Study Group, hat tip to Checkpoint Washington for the find. Roll your cursor over names for more information.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Abbottabad - more details in New Yorker

New story in the New Yorker - Hat tip to DR for picking this up.

China-Pakistan: Troubles Ahead? Opportunities for America?

When Americans assess the relationship with Pakistan, one of the motivators for continued engagement is the idea that if the US withdraws, the PRC will step in and that such a development would be bad for US interests in the region. This line of thinking has always stuck MILINT as naive. The PRC has a long established relationship with Pakistan that remains close irrespective of what the US does. Pakistan has enjoyed that unique position of being in the middle of two great powers - a position ripe for manipulation and profit. It has generally played that hand quite deftly. Yet as normality continues to lose its grip in Pakistan, the potential for increased tensions with China exist.

America is having a hard time convincing Pakistan to get its house in order for a variety of reasons: distance (physical, political, cultural), economic crisis at home, comparatively small military footprint WRT Pakistani territory, questionable will to seriously confront Pakistan and so on. China does not have any of those problems. If China assesses that the Islamist threat in its west is getting out of control and emanates from sanctuary in Pakistan, its old ally better look out. The Chinese wont care if its reaction (read: use of force) offends anyone in or outside of Pakistan, it wont be limited to individually targeted strikes against specific high value targets, and it wont stop, for financial, political or moral reasons until the job is done. This is yet another area where US and Chinese interests are coalescing. The question is will Washington grasp the opportunity and use it creatively?

China - Microblogging and Internal Control

Xinjiang has long been challenged by Muslim Uigher separatist. Sporadic attacks happen with some frequency. The NYT has a good piece on a recent attack in the context of attacks within the last few years with links to related stories - good for researchers to get an all in one look at the issue in recent years. An interesting feature in this story, as with the recent MILINT post on assessing China in light of the peoples reaction to the high speed rail crash, is the degree to which micro-blogs as they are call there, are replacing traditional news media and are becoming harder and harder to control.

This morning the rail piece was updated thus: China imposed Media Blackout to Calm Anger- a hint of things to come?