December 29th, 2011
03:30 PM ET

The top ten events that shook Asia in 2011

Editor's Note: Elizabeth C. Economy, C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies, is an expert on Chinese domestic and foreign policy, and U.S.-China relations. Adam Segal is the Ira A. Lipman Senior Fellow for Counterterrorism and National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

By Elizabeth Economy and Adam Segal, CFR.org

If there were one word to describe Asia in 2011, it would likely be tremors—not only the physical ones that devastated Japan, but also the political ones that reverberated throughout the region shaking India, China, and Thailand, waking up Burma, and further unsettling North Korea.

1.  So Long Earthlings

After a stroke in 2008 and years of poor health, Kim Jung-il was not long for this world. Yet few anticipated that the Dear Leader’s 17-year ruinous reign would end in December 2011 due to the “great mental and physical strain caused by his uninterrupted field guidance tour” while sitting on a train. With his platform shoes, puffy hair, and love of film, he was an easy target for others’ mockery (see Greetings, earthlings, a classic cover from The Economist). Yet he consistently managed to outmaneuver Washington, Beijing, Tokyo, and Seoul - testing nuclear devices, launching missiles, and demanding food and energy aid - all the while impoverishing his country. It is too early to predict whether Kim Jung-un, Kim Jong-il’s inexperienced and untested son and heir, will do anything differently - the rest of the world and the North Korean people, in particular, can only hope. FULL POST

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Topics: Asia
Why a cybersecurity treaty is a pipe dream
October 27th, 2011
02:01 PM ET

Why a cybersecurity treaty is a pipe dream

Editor's Note: Adam Segal is the Ira A. Lipman Senior Fellow for Counterterrorism and National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Matthew Waxman, also a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, is Associate Professor at Columbia Law School and member of the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law.

By Adam Segal and Matthew Waxman - Special to CNN

With companies and governments seemingly incapable of defending themselves from sophisticated cyber attacks and infiltration, there is almost universal belief that any durable cybersecurity solution must be transnational. The hacker – a government, a lone individual, a non-state group – stealing valuable intellectual property or exploring infrastructure control systems could be sitting in Romania, China, or Nigeria, and the assault could transit networks across several continents. Calls are therefore growing for a global treaty to help protect against cyber threats.

As a step in that direction, the British government is convening next week the London Conference on Cyberspace to promote new norms of cybersecurity and the free flow of information via digital networks. International diplomacy like this among states and private stakeholders is important and will bring needed attention to these issues. But the London summit is also likely to expose major fault lines, not consensus, on the hardest and most significant problems. The idea of ultimately negotiating a worldwide, comprehensive cybersecurity treaty is a pipe dream. FULL POST

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Topics: Internet • Security
Responding to John Kao on innovation in China
An inkblot pattern similar to those used in the Rorschach inkblot test, a test used in psychology to determine underlying personality structure.
September 19th, 2011
04:00 PM ET

Responding to John Kao on innovation in China

Editor’s Note: Adam Segal is the Ira A. Lipman Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of Advantage: How American Innovation Can Overcome the Asian Challenge. He blogs at Asia Unbound.

By Adam Segal, CFR.org

John Kao has a six-part series over at CNN's Global Public Square on China as an innovation nation. Just back from a study trip, Kao is a little breathless in his admiration of Chinese policymakers’ embrace of innovation.  At least in my view, he doesn’t add very much to the debate about how innovative the country truly is.  In fact, he seems pretty torn himself since he sees China’s ambitious planning and government intervention as great both a strength and a major pothole.  The whole series is a kind of Rorschach test: those already skeptical will find further evidence of weakness in the Chinese system, those sure of China’s rise will find some new awe-inspiring stories. FULL POST

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Topics: China • Innovation
Curbing Chinese cyber espionage
May 9th, 2011
01:07 PM ET

Curbing Chinese cyber espionage

Editor’s Note: Dr. Adam Segal is the Ira A. Lipman Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of Advantage: How American Innovation Can Overcome the Asian Challenge.

By Dr. Adam Segal – Special to CNN

According to public reports, over the last several months computer hackers have stolen proprietary information from DuPont, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, RSA, Epsilon, NASDAQ, and at least a dozen other firms.  Many of these attacks have been traced back to networks in China, but it is unclear whether criminals, government agencies or some combination of the two are responsible for the attacks.

U.S State Department cables obtained by Wikileaks further describe attacks code-named Byzantine Hades on U.S. technology and defense companies that appear to be the work of China’s People’s Liberation Army.

Regardless of the source of the attacks, the United States must work independently and, when possible, cooperatively with China to reduce the threat.

FULL POST

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Topics: China • Innovation • Internet • Security • Strategy • Technology • Uncategorized • United States
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