Heads of state and top government ministers will be listening to the Chinese sales pitch with much more skepticism than in previous years at the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, a three-day conference that got underway in Beijing on April 25.

Established in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) seeks to improve international trade connections, infrastructure, and development throughout Asia, Europe, and Africa, with specific focus on connecting China to these international markets. According to the Chinese government, the program has already resulted in an investment of $80 billion in partner countries and Beijing has signed agreements with 122 nations and twenty-one international organizations.

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Our current age of “automation anxiety” is nothing new. Writing in 1930, John Maynard Keynes was concerned with the onset of “technological unemployment” and the “temporary phase of maladjustment” which would ensue. In 1964, US President Lyndon Baines Johnson commissioned a study on “technology, automation, and economic progress” which outlined recourse for the government to act as “employer of last resort (EOLR).” More than half a century later, economists, executives, and policy makers are consumed with “brilliant technologies” and the impact on employment in the “second machine age.”

It is the pace of change happening now—the onset of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and robotics—unfolding contemporaneously with large social undercurrents of inequality, populist movements, and an increase of protectionism that has induced an almost pervasive sense of distress in advanced economies today.

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Despite increased, coordinated international pressure on Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, he continues to cling to power. Maduro’s staying power has outlasted the Trump administration’s optimistic timeline, but, in this case, the stated goal of regime change is one worthy of perseverance. The need for a timely solution is exacerbated by the extreme humanitarian crisis – created by years of Maduro regime mismanagement – that has already prompted 3.7 million Venezuelans to flee. In order to achieve its policy objective, the Trump administration’s strategy should be broadened beyond sanctions.

Sanctions are a useful tool when incorporated into a broader strategy, but rarely can sanctions—particularly primarily unilateral sanctions as in the case of Venezuela—fully achieve their stated objective. Even less likely a result from the application of unilateral sanctions is a timely outcome. The Trump administration is nearing the limits of what it can achieve in Venezuela through sanctions alone and a reconsideration of the current strategy is warranted.

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As strong supporters of the International Criminal Court (ICC), we believe that an independent assessment of the Court’s functioning by a small group of international experts is badly needed.


The rejection of an investigation of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan by the Court’s judges on April 12, citing a lack of confidence that the Court could successfully carry out the job, is a prime example of why.

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A few miles from NATO’s headquarters in Brussels last summer, four-year-old Mohammed from northern Iraq cheered for Belgium during the World Cup soccer semifinal against France. Every time a Belgian player got close to the goal, Mohammed excitedly waved the Belgian flag. Sixty days before, his two-year-old sister, Mawda, was shot dead by Belgian forces as his family, along with other refugees, tried to cross over to France. Now, finally granted asylum in Belgium after the tragedy, Mohammed is growing up as a Belgian.

With the defeat of the Islamic State (ISIS) other Iraqi children will hopefully no longer have to undertake the treacherous journey Mohammed and his family were forced to make. Since ISIS’ defeat in Iraq in 2017 and in Syria this year, the flow of migrants from the Middle East slowed. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 4.1 million refugees (of a total of nearly six million displaced Iraqis) had, in fact, returned to Iraq as of October 2018.

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A tweet can reveal your location, an Apple Watch monitors your health, a grocery chain loyalty card allows the supermarket to track your purchases. All of this constitutes what Michael Chertoff describes as “digital exhaust”—data that we constantly and unconsciously emit. The challenge this poses is how to protect that data in an increasingly interconnected world.


Even as governments grapple with this challenge, “we also should consider the next generation of technology that is going to support the Internet—and that is 5G,” said Chertoff, who served as secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security from 2005 to 2009.

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In the year since the US Cyber Command was elevated to a unified combatant command there has been an “increase in clarity” on the US cyber strategy, specifically on the Department of Defense’s role, and an “alignment in the law,” US Air Force Brig. Gen. Timothy D. Haugh, commander, Cyber National Mission Force at US Cyber Command, said in Washington on April 23.

“What we are focused on in terms of military activities in cyberspace is…not about what the Department of Defense’s role is, it’s how can we enable our international partners, our domestic partners, and industry to be able to defend those things that are critical to our nation’s success,” said Haugh.

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One of the United States’ top cybersecurity officials noted the progress the US government has made in engaging potential domestic and international targets of cyberattacks, but argued that “information sharing is the minimum bar” the federal government should clear. According to Christopher Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the Department of Homeland Security, “we have to get beyond information sharing… to operationalizing information security.”

Krebs, who spoke at the eighth annual International Conference on Cyber Engagement (ICCE) in Washington, DC, on April 23, argued that more action is needed to defend US businesses and critical infrastructures as hostile nation states are ramping up their attacks on US entities.

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US and international cybersecurity officials called for greater international cooperation to combat Internet crime and malign cyber activity during the 8th annual International Conference on Cyber Engagement (ICCE) in Washington, DC, on April 23.

David Koh, who serves as commissioner of cybersecurity, chief executive of the Cyber Security Agency, and defense cyber chief in Singapore’s Ministry of Defense, called for likeminded nations to establish “a rules-based cyberspace based on applicable international law and the adoption of voluntary operational norms.” Koh argued that other global common spaces, such as maritime and aviation, are governed by complex international rule systems, and “cyberspace should not be any different from the physical domains.”

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US President Donald J. Trump’s apparent support for Khalifa Haftar, the leader of the self-styled Libyan National Army, has muddied the waters in a dangerous part of the world. But does it signal a shift in the US position?


Karim Mezran, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, said: “The United States, so far, along with Italy and Britain, has had a very straightforward position: there is no military solution possible in Libya, only a UN-backed negotiations process.”

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