Pre-COVID Fiction: India Wins US-China War Imagined For 2034

In a recently published fiction imagined for 2034 by former top US Admiral James Stavridis and Elliot Ackerman, China and the United States go to war that ends in India's victory. The authors portray Indians as heroes whose statesmen-ship de-escalates World War III, negotiates peace and helps India emerge as the new global superpower. Patel, the Indian uncle of the Indian-American deputy national security advisor Sandeep Chowdhury tells him, "America’s hubris has finally gotten the better of its greatness." The authors imagine the United Nations headquarters moves from New York to Mumbai after the war. Had this book been written after watching thousands of Indian victims of COVID19 gasping for breath and dying daily on the streets of New Delhi, I think Ackerman and Stavridis would have conceived  and developed a completely different plot line for their novel.  

2034 Book Cover

Elliot Ackerman and James Stavridis, authors of "2034: A Novel of the Next World War", imagine a series of incidents in South China Sea and the Persian Gulf. These incidents trigger cyber warfare, global internet outages and the use of tactical nuclear weapons fired from warplanes and warships. The military conflict results in millions of deaths in the cities of San Diego and Shanghai. India intervenes at this point by attacking and destroying Chinese and American fighter planes and ships to stop the war. 

The end of active fighting is followed by New Delhi Peace Accords arranged by the Indian government. The United Nations headquarters is moved from New York to Mumbai. At one point in the conflict, the authors have Patel lecture his nephew Sandeep Chowdhury, the US deputy national security advisor: 

"America’s hubris has finally gotten the better of its greatness. You’ve squandered your blood and treasure to what end? For freedom of navigation in the South China Sea? For the sovereignty of Taiwan? Isn’t the world large enough for your government and Beijing’s? Perhaps you’ll win this war. But for what? To be like the British after the Second World War, your empire dismantled, your society in retreat? And millions of dead on both sides?"

Rising Positivity Rates of COVID19 Tests in South Asia. Source: Our...

Some reviewers of the book have speculated that China may want to take Taiwan by force for one particular technology company, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) which is currently the world's most advanced semiconductor technology company. Semiconductor components underlie all cutting edge applications from artificial intelligence (AI) and smartphones to self-driving cars and advanced military equipment.

The possibility of war between China and the United States can not be dismissed. However, the book's portrayal of India's emergence as a global superpower is pure fantasy.  Had this book been written after watching thousands of Indian victims of COVID19 gasping for breath and dying daily on the streets of New Delhi, Ackerman and Stavridis would have conceived  and developed a completely different plot line for their novel.  

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Comment by Riaz Haq on April 30, 2021 at 9:00am

#India's Scientists Beg #Modi to Stop Hiding #COVID Data amid fear that info on variants, tests carried out, recovered patients & #vaccine efficacy secret suggests that the 18.7 million cases reported and 208,330 deaths might be a radical understatement https://www.thedailybeast.com/indian-scientists-beg-narendra-modi-t...

More than 350 scientists in India have signed a petition begging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to publicly release crucial COVID-19 data in a desperate attempt to mitigate the spread and predict the next surge.

Some fear that Modi’s desire to keep such vital information on variants, tests carried out, recovered patients and vaccine efficacy secret suggests that the 18.7 million cases reported and 208,330 deaths might be a radical understatement of the scale of the problem.


India logged an astonishing 386,452 new cases Friday as new appeals for more space and firewood for cremations compounded the lack of hospital beds and oxygen.

The petition asks Modi to release “granular” data, the Associated Press reports. That data could be used to help mitigate future surges to better prepare with hospital beds, oxygen and even intensive care units. Without sufficient data, scientists are unable to do anything but stand by and watch the situation get worse.

The appeal also blames Modi’s drive to make India self reliant by importing medical raw materials rather than full vaccines and supplies, calling his government’s actions an obstacle. “Such restrictions, at this time, only serve to impede our ability to deal with COVID-19,” the appeal says, according to the AP.

India’s army chief M.M. Naravane has also offered the use of military hospitals to help take pressure off public facilities, telling desperate families to go to nearby bases to ask for help in a move that Modi originally resisted.

Starting Saturday, all Indian citizens over 18 will eligible for a vaccine where they are available. Health Minister Harash Vardhan said aid sent by 40 countries has started to take some pressure off the collapsed health system. On Friday, the first of the the $100 million worth of supplies from the U.S. arrived, including a first shipment of the pledged 1,000 oxygen cylinders, 15 million N95 masks and 1 million rapid antigen tests.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 1, 2021 at 8:20pm

#COVID Test Positivity Rate in Double Digits in #SouthAsia: #India 21.2%, #Pakistan 10.2% https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus/country/pakistan?country=~PAK


https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1388693540323004421?s=20

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 1, 2021 at 9:25pm

#India’s #Modi’s rise and failures as seen through Time Magazine Covers 2014-2021. #BJP #Hindutva #India #COVID

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1388705221921034243?s=20

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 2, 2021 at 10:14am

#Modi’s #BJP party loses #WestBengalElections2021 by a wide margin amid #COVID19 #pandemic; #India sees 3,689 deaths , a new record in 24 hours. There were 390,000 new infections in 24 hour period. #CoronavirusPandemic #ModiResign #MamataBanerjee https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/05/02/india-covid-coronav...

The holding of elections over the past month even as the number of new cases mushroomed has drawn scrutiny in India. The Madras High Court even went as far as to slam the country’s Election Commission for not stopping political rallies that were flouting coronavirus protocols. Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee called the organization “singularly responsible” for the new surge in cases.

During the past month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held several massive campaign rallies attended by tens of thousands of people in the eastern state of West Bengal where his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, or the BJP, was in a close race with an opposition party led by a woman. Modi and his powerful deputy, Amit Shah, addressed more than 50 rallies in Bengal, according to NDTV.

By evening, it was clear Modi’s party had lost the bitterly fought election battle. The BJP was on track to lose in two other south Indian states where they weren’t in the reckoning. The party is set to retain power in the state of Assam.

Modi has been panned by critics for sending the wrong message by holding rallies at a time when India was on its way to becoming the worst-affected country in the world by the pandemic, but losses in these elections may signify only a limited test of the impact of the unfolding crisis on his support.

Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of Bengal, known for her streetfighter reputation, asked her supporters to remain at home. “Covid is my first priority,” Bannerjee said in her victory speech. The state capital, Kolkata, has in recent days seen a climbing positivity rate with every second person being tested for the coronavirus turning out to be positive.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 2, 2021 at 10:48am

Indian Billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries, considered a bellwether for the broader #Indian #economy, warns of more pain unless the surge in #coronavirus cases is quickly curbed. #India #Modi #BJP #COVID19 #Hindutva #Islamophobia https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-04-30/ambani-s-relianc... via @markets

Reliance Industries Ltd., India’s largest company by market value and one that’s considered a bellwether for the broader economy, said it hasn’t escaped a devastating new wave of the coronavirus and warned of more pain unless the surge is quickly curbed.

“The outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic globally and in India is causing significant disturbance and slowdown of economic activity. The Group’s operations and revenue during the period were impacted due to COVID-19,” the company, led by Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest person, said in a footnote in its earnings statement Friday. It added that the group has accounted for the possible impact of the outbreak in preparing its financial results.


The disclosure underscores the impact India’s deep humanitarian and health care crisis is having on its citizens -- billionaires or not -- either through desperate pleas on social media for oxygen or via the earnings of large conglomerates. India has reported more than 300,000 new infections for the last nine days, making it the world’s fastest surging outbreak that can potentially derail the nation’s economy.

‘It’s Like a War’: Inside an India Hospital Desperate for Oxygen


Reliance, whose earnings missed analysts estimates for the March quarter, has signaled more pain in the days ahead unless the virus wave peaks out soon.

“Fresh lockdowns will impact demand growth for fuels,” V. Srikanth, the company’s joint chief financial officer said in the post-earnings call Friday, adding that the resurgence of infections in end of March had hurt the business.

Footfalls in Reliance’s retail stores dropped to 40% of pre-Covid levels in April compared to 88% in the March quarter, according to Dinesh Thapar, who heads Reliance’s retail unit. “We have reshaped our priorities for this quarter to address new Covid wave challenge,” Anshuman Thakur, head of strategy at Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. told reporters.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 2, 2021 at 12:25pm

Is There a War Coming Between China and the U.S.?

by Tom Friedman

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/27/opinion/china-us-2034.html


.....just a few miles away from China sits the largest and most sophisticated contract chip maker in the world: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. According to the Congressional Research Service, TSMC is one of only three manufacturers in the world that fabricate the most advanced semiconductor chips — and by far the biggest. The second and third are Samsung and Intel

Most chip designers, like IBM, Qualcomm, Nvidia, AMD (and even Intel to some extent) now use TSMC and Samsung to make the microprocessors they design.

But, just as important, three of the five companies that make the super-sophisticated lithography machines, tools and software used by TSMC and others to actually make the microchips — Applied Materials, Lam Research Corporation and KLA Corporation — are based in the United States. (The other two are Dutch and Japanese.) China largely lacks this expertise.

As such, the American government has the leverage to restrict TSMC from making advanced chips for Chinese companies. Indeed, just two weeks ago, the U.S. made TSMC suspend new orders from seven Chinese supercomputing centers suspected of assisting in the country’s weapons development.


The South China Morning Post quoted Francis Lau, a University of Hong Kong computer scientist, as saying: “The sanctions would definitely affect China’s ability to keep to its leading position in supercomputing,” because all of its current supercomputers mostly use processors from Intel or designed by AMD and IBM and manufactured by TSMC. Although there are Korean and Japanese alternatives, Lau added, they are not as powerful.

China, though, is doubling down on research in the physics, nanotechnology and material sciences that will drive the next generation of chips and chip-making equipment. But it could take China a decade or more to reach the cutting edge.

That’s why — today — as much as China wants Taiwan for reasons of ideology, it wants TSMC in the pocket of Chinese military industries for reasons of strategy. And as much as U.S. strategists are committed to preserving Taiwan’s democracy, they are even more committed to ensuring that TSMC doesn’t fall into China’s hands for reasons of strategy. (TSMC is now building a new semiconductor factory in Phoenix.) Because, in a digitizing world, he who controls the best chip maker will control … a lot.

Just read “2034.” In the novel, China gains the technological edge with superior A.I.-driven cybercloaking, satellite spoofing and stealth materials. It’s then able to launch a successful surprise attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

And the first thing China does is seize Taiwan.

Let’s make sure that stays the stuff of fiction.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 2, 2021 at 7:49pm

Chip shortage highlights U.S. dependence on fragile supply chain - 60 Minutes - CBS News

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/semiconductor-chip-shortage-60-minutes...


Lesley Stahl: Should Americans be concerned that most chips are being manufactured in Asia today?

Mark Liu: I understand their concern, first of all. But this is not about Asia or not Asia I mean, the shortage will happen no matter where the production is located because it's due to the COVID.

Lesley Stahl: But Pat Gelsinger at Intel talks about a need to rebalance the supply chain issue because so much, so many of the chips in the world now are made in Asia.

Mark Liu: I think U.S. ought to pursue to run faster, to invest in R&D, to produce more Ph.D., master, bachelor students to get into this manufacturing field instead of trying to move the supply chain, which is very costly and really non productive. That will slow down the innovation because-- people trying to hold on their technology to their own and forsake the global collaboration.

Within the world of global collaboration there's intense competition. Days after Intel announced spending $20 billion on two new fabs, TSMC announced it would spend $100 billion over three years on R&D, upgrades, and a new fab in Phoenix, Arizona, Intel's backyard, where the Taiwanese company will produce the chips Apple needs but the Americans can't make.

Mark Liu: That was a big investment.

But there's a looming shadow over TSMC, which supplies chips for our cars, iPhones, and the supercomputer managing our nuclear stockpile: China's President Xi Jinping, who has intensified his long-time threat to seize Taiwan.

China's attempts to develop its own advanced chip industry have failed and so it's been forced to import chips. But last year, Washington imposed restrictions on chipmakers from exporting certain semiconductors to china. Both Liu and Gelsinger fear the escalating trade war with China may backfire, and in Intel's case: could hurt business.

Lesley Stahl: Are they your biggest customer?

Pat Gelsinger: China is one of our largest markets today. You know, over 25% of our revenue is to Chinese customers. We expect that this will remain an area of tension, and one that needs to be navigated carefully. Because if there's any points that people can't keep running their countries or running their businesses because of supply of one critical component like semiconductors, boy, that leads them to take very extreme postures on things because they have to.

The most extreme would be China invading Taiwan and in the process gaining control of TSMC. That could force the U.S. to defend Taiwan as we did Kuwait from the Iraqis 30 years ago. Then it was oil. Now it's chips.

Lesley Stahl: The chip industry in Taiwan has been called the Silicon Shield.

Mark Liu: Yes.

Lesley Stahl: What does that mean?

Mark Liu: That means the world all needs Taiwan's high-tech industry support. So they will not let the war happen in this region because it goes against interest of every country in the world.

Lesley Stahl: Do you think that in any way your industry is keeping Taiwan safe?

Mark Liu: I cannot comment on the safety. I mean, this is a changing world. Nobody want these things to happen. And I hope-- I hope not too-- either.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 3, 2021 at 10:39am

On CBS 60 Minutes show aired May 2, 2021, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger speculated about unilateral US technology sanctions against China triggering "extreme postures". CBS reporter expanded on it by talking about "China invading Taiwan and in the process gaining control of TSMC", She said, "The most extreme would be China invading Taiwan and in the process gaining control of TSMC. That could force the U.S. to defend Taiwan as we did Kuwait from the Iraqis 30 years ago. Then it was oil. Now it's chips".

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/semiconductor-chip-shortage-60-minutes...


Why has US fallen behind? It can mainly be attributed to Intel's failure to stay ahead s a result.

Intel has recently fired its Indian-American chief engineer Venkata Murthy Renduchintala, who also served as Group President of the Technology, Systems Architecture and Client Group (TSCG), for failure to deliver 7 nanometer semiconductor technology on schedule, according to Reuters. The news has knocked the market value of Intel by tens of billions dollars. The American company, the biggest global chip manufacturer with in-house fabrication plants, has also decided to outsource manufacturing. This could deal a serious blow to America's global leadership in chip manufacturing which is fundamental to all other computer and communications related technologies.

https://www.riazhaq.com/2020/07/has-intels-indian-american-techie.html

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 3, 2021 at 1:38pm

Shortage of #semiconductors, dubbed the 'new oil,' could dent #GDP growth, boost #inflation. "While semiconductors account for only 0.3% of US output, they are an important production input to 12% of GDP” #technology #SiliconValley #Intel #TSMC #Samsung https://cnb.cx/2RVCitw


KEY POINTS
A variety of factors have converged to make coveted semiconductors scarce.
Goldman Sachs says the GDP hit from the shortage could be 0.5% this year while price increases could hit 3% for affected goods.
TS Lombard economist Rory Green calls semis the “new oil” for the global impact that disruptions can cause.

Economic growth could slow and inflation is likely to see at least a momentary bump higher as the semiconductor shortage worsens, economists say.

A variety of factors have converged to make the coveted computer chips scarce. Soaring demand coupled with supply bottlenecks have led to a situation in which orders for everything from cars to televisions to touch-screen computers and more are on backup for six months or more.

With semis at the core of so much U.S. economic activity, the ongoing supply problems are likely to have ripples.

Goldman Sachs economists say that for the bulk of 2021, the shortage will translate into an inflationary tax that could result in prices rising as much as 3% for affected goods. That would boost inflation as much as 0.4 percentage points through the rest of the year, the firm said.

“Taken together, while we see relatively modest implications of the semiconductor shortage for GDP growth and the industrial sector, it represents another reason to expect core goods inflation to remain firm this year,” Goldman economist Spencer Hill said in a note.

Even though the hit won’t cause a dramatic slowdown to an economy expected to roar in 2021, the impact could still be noticeable. Goldman said the impact could reach as high as a 1% subtraction from activity, but likely will be closer to 0.5%.

Disruptions to the ‘new oil’
“While semiconductors account for only 0.3% of US output, they are an important production input to 12% of GDP,” Hill said, nothing that the shortage could cut auto production by 2% to 6% this year.

Indeed, multiple automakers have curtailed production due to lack of chips vital to their vehicles.

Stellantis NV said it will be temporarily laying off workers at its Detroit Jeep plant, while Volvo also has said the chip issues will cause it to shut some plants until the situation is resolved.

The knock-on impacts of any disruptions in the semiconductor industry are becoming increasingly apparent.

“As the world becomes more interconnected, more automated and greener, each unit of GDP growth will contain a higher content of semiconductors. Integrated circuits are becoming the key commodity input for economic activity,” wrote TS Lombard economist Rory Green.

Green calls semis the “new oil” for the global impact that disruptions can cause.

“The current severe shortage of semiconductors, which is halting automotive production worldwide, underscores the speed and scale of the changes under way,” he said. “Chips have always been an important part for manufacturing and consumer electronics, but their use will broaden to transport and digital services.”

Still, Goldman’s Hill said the inflationary impact likely won’t last far as supply increases later this year and into 2022. But the shortage now “represents another reason to expect core goods inflation to remain firm this year,” he said.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 3, 2021 at 5:40pm

#India #Covid Crisis: The End of #Modi’s Global Dreams. The mishandling of the #pandemic has dealt #NewDelhi a weaker hand in ongoing talks with #Islamabad and border negotiations with #Beijing. #BJP #Coronavirus #Hindutva #Islamophobia #China #Pakistan https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/05/03/india-vishwaguru-modi-second-w...


Indians are currently dealing with a humanitarian catastrophe of Modi’s making. New Delhi’s ambitions to be a global power have been dealt a blow. Under Modi, Jaishankar once boasted, diplomacy “is having many balls up in the air at the same time and displaying the confidence and dexterity to drop none.” Now that all the balls are lying on the floor, the country will need humility, honesty, and extraordinary effort to pick them up and start again.
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Modi, who has consistently campaigned on virulent nationalism captured by the slogan “Atmanirbhar Bharat” (or self-reliant India), has been forced to abruptly change policy. Last week, with images of people dying on roads without oxygen and crematoriums for pet dogs being used for humans’ last rites as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmed the country, his government accepted offers of help from nearly 40 other nations. Its diplomats have lobbied with foreign governments for oxygen plants and tankers, the arrival of medicines, and other supplies hailed on social media. “We have given assistance; we are getting assistance,” said Harsh Vardhan Shringla, the country’s top diplomat, to justify the embarrassing U-turn. “It shows an interdependent world. It shows a world that is working with each other.”

The world may be working with each other, but it is not working for Modi in the realm of foreign policy. Rather, this is a moment of reckoning, triggered by the rampaging coronavirus. After seven years as prime minister, Modi’s hyper-nationalistic domestic agenda—including his ambition of making the country a “Vishwaguru” (or master to the world)—now lies in tatters.

India, which has been envisaged since former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration became the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue’s lynchpin and focused other efforts in the Indo-Pacific strategy to counter China, will have to work harder to justify that role. Meanwhile, China has redoubled its efforts in India’s neighborhood since the second wave began, strengthening its existing ties with South Asian countries and contrasting its strength and reliability with India’s limitations.

----------------

In March, when the second wave of the pandemic started unfolding in India, Jaishankar’s ministry was busy issuing official statements and organizing social media storms against popstar Rihanna and climate change activist Greta Thunberg. On Thursday, at the peak of the health crisis, Jaishankar’s focus in a meeting with all the Indian ambassadors to various global capitals was on countering the so-called “one-sided” narrative in international media, which said Modi’s government had failed the country by its “incompetent” handling of the second pandemic wave.

Until recently, Jaishankar was also the most enthusiastic promoter of the government’s Vaccine Maitri (or “Vaccine Friendship”) program, under which New Delhi supplied around 66.4 million doses of the India-made AstraZeneca vaccine to 95 countries in packing boxes marked prominently with large pictures of Modi. These vaccines were either commercially contracted, given as bilateral grants, or transferred under the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) scheme for poorer countries. Meanwhile, India’s own vaccination rollout has been dismal. Around 2 percent of Indians have been fully vaccinated, despite the country being the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer—a misstep that has emerged as one of the key culprits for India’s uncontrolled second wave.

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