Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts

15 December 2017

In 1955, America Threatened China with Nuclear War

Sebatien Roblin

The United States remains legally committed to the defense of Taiwan, even though it no longer recognizes it as the government of China. Despite a recent spike in tensions, China-Taiwan relations are still massively improved, exchanging university students and business investments rather than artillery shells and aerial bombs. However, the capabilities of the PLA have drastically increased in the interval as well. In the event of military conflict, most believe China would use the modern equivalent of the tactics used at Yijiangshan: a massive bombardment by long-range missile batteries and airpower well before any PLA troops hit the shore. We should all hope that scenario remains strictly theoretical.

Andrew Bacevich, A Country Addicted to War

It's been going on for so many years -- Predators cruising, looking for their prey. Some attention has since been paid to the phenomenon and to the devastating effect their actions have had on their victims, but it hasn’t really mattered. The predation has only spreadOh, before I go any further, let me clear up one possible bit of confusion. I’m not talking about Charlie Rose, Roy Moore, Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, or any of that crew of predators. I’m talking about America’s robotic killers, the drones that long ago were grimly named Predators (retired this year) and their more advanced cousins, the Reapers (as in Grim...), who have taken a once-illegal American activity, political assassination, and made it the well-respected law of the land and increasingly of huge swaths of the globe.

11 December 2017

The U.S. and China Need to Start Cooperating in Space

By Cody Knipfer

Outer space, once a technological “battleground” between competing Cold War superpowers, is today an increasingly vibrant area of economic activity, scientific research, and exploration. Even among peer competitors, the incentive for cooperative interaction in space, rather than adversarial competition, is strategically compelling: working together builds mutual trust and confidence, prevents misunderstandings, and enables partners to collectively support each other in achieving common goals. Pursuing cooperation today is important, given the heightened value of space to a broader number of stakeholders than was the case in decades past.

The Problem With Building a U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem

The media is abuzz with speculation that one of U.S. President Donald Trump's first orders of business in office will be to relocate the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Actually doing such a thing, however, is not as easy at it may appear. A relocation would not sit well with Palestinians, who also lay claim to the holy city, nor would it be welcomed by countries such as Jordan and Egypt that have struggled to juggle friendly ties with the Palestinian territories, Israel and the United States. And no matter how well-protected the embassy itself may be, stoking ethnic and religious tension by transferring the diplomatic site to Jerusalem could bring U.S. missions and citizens in the restive region directly into the line of fire.

9 December 2017

US Must Bolster Its Presence In MidEast As ISIS Falls


The last ISIS-occupied towns in Syria and Iraq fell recently, but not to the U.S.-led coalition. While the United States and its allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) of Kurds and Sunni Arabs were liberating Raqqa, the Syrian regime and its backers launched an ambitious cross-country offensive into the neighboring resource-rich province of Deir ez Zour.  Assad’s ground troops included Iranian, Hezbollah, Iraqi and other Shia forces – reportedly under the direct command of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the IRGC’s Qods Force – backed by Russian air power. Even before Raqqa officially fell, Soleimani and the SDF were racing each other through Deir ez Zour province, that last ISIS holdout and the final missing piece of Iran’s envisioned land bridge connecting Tehran directly to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

5 December 2017

The Promise and Peril of Trump’s Cyber Strategy


Is Donald Trump’s cybersecurity policy humming along at the 10-month mark of his administration, a rare space of continuity amid myriad shifts and realignments? Or is Trump blazing a new path that could set dangerous precedents in cyberspace and leave the internet more ungovernable in the future? The answer, according to cyber analysts and former officials in Republican and Democratic administrations, might be both. When it comes to basic management of the government’s cybersecurity responsibilities, they say, it might be difficult to distinguish Trump’s cybersecurity program from his predecessor’s.

4 December 2017



On May 1, 1960, an American spy plane — having taken off from an airbase in Pakistan — was downed over Soviet skies, sparking a major Cold War crisis. As tensions grew, the prominent public intellectual Norman Cousins, a friend of U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower, invited a group of private American and Russian citizens to a meeting at Dartmouth College to discuss ways forward. This gathering, according to a 2011 Foreign Policy essay by Charles Homans, established a new form of diplomacy, known as Track II: discussions between nongovernment interlocutors meant to build trust and pursue cooperation during trying times for relations between countries. Track II dialogues have become a popular way for experts and former practitioners to try to lay the groundwork for smoother exchanges on official levels.

3 December 2017

Why the Trump administration’s policy on Pakistan is likely to fail

Madiha Afzal

Thousands of Pakistani protesters, supporters of the hard-line Tehreek-e-Labaik Islamist party that demands strict adherence to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, have blocked a main entrance to Islamabad for more than two weeks. They have accused Zahid Hamid, the country’s law minister, of blasphemy after a change last month in the oath for parliament that they construe as blasphemous (and that has since been reversed), and are demanding his resignation. Under Pakistan’s blasphemy law, offending remarks against the Prophet Muhammad are deemed blasphemous and can result in a mandatory death penalty. The change in the oath dealt with wording surrounding the belief in the finality of the Prophet Muhammad, and was considered to be a concession to Ahmadis, a group declared non-Muslim by Pakistan’s constitution.

28 November 2017

What Are Trump's Views On China

by Dyfed Loesche

Before Trump became President, he blamed China in very stark words for taking advantage of the United States. However, on his visit to China he toned down the rhetoric, saying he didn't blame the country for "taking advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens". He also said, him and President Xi had "great chemistry". Though, at first sight, Trump seems to be turning on his previous verbal assaults, there is a grain of consistency - if you argue that Trump wants to put his country first himself, in a gloves-off economic competition, where it's not about cooperation but all-out competition. This is epitomized in his remark about "taking advantage of another country to the benefit of its citizens". And, in Trump's previous remarks there has also been a grain of admiration for Chinese tactics, as in: "You can win against China if you're smart."

27 November 2017

Newly Declassified Documents Prove America's North Korea Strategy Has Failed

Daniel R. DePetris

The situation with North Korea was getting critical. The lights, to use the worn-out phrase, were blinking red.

The State Department, the Defense Department and the White House were increasingly concerned either that the North Korean regime was hiding components of its plutonium program from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), or that it would exploit any negotiating track to stall the international community while improving its nuclear capacity. The motives of the Chinese, Pyongyang’s biggest trading partner and bankroller by far, were unclear—adding more complication to a problem that was already far too complicated.

The Future of American Power

By Joseph S. Nye Jr.

The twenty-first century began with a very unequal distribution of power resources. With five percent of the world's population, the United States accounted for about a quarter of the world's economic output, was responsible for nearly half of global military expenditures, and had the most extensive cultural and educational soft-power resources. All this is still true, but the future of U.S. power is hotly debated. Many observers have interpreted the 2008 global financial crisis as the beginning of American decline. The National Intelligence Council, for example, has projected that in 2025, "the U.S. will remain the preeminent power, but that American dominance will be much diminished."

24 November 2017

America Shouldn’t Take Sides in the 1,400-Year-Old Sunni-Shia Conflict


On November 1, CIA Director Mike Pompeo released thousands of files found by SEAL Team Six in Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Many documents detailed ties between al-Qaeda and Iran. Ned Price, former CIA analyst and de factoObama administration official, accused Pompeo of releasing the documents to torpedo the Iran deal and drum up support for regime change in Iran. In rushed The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes to claim the documents show how the Obama administration—Ned Price included—covered up the Iran and al-Qaeda ties for political purposes.

22 November 2017

Dunford: U.S. Military Advantage Over Russia, China Eroding

By Jim Garamone

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks with a student after a moderated discussion at the Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Medford, Mass., Nov. 14, 2017. The chairman spoke about challenges facing the Defense Department and answered questions from students, faculty, and alumni. DoD photo by Army Sgt. James K. McCann Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford -- an alumnus of the school -- said Russia and China have examined U.S. operations since the Gulf War and invested in capabilities and doctrines to counter America's conventional overmatch.

21 November 2017

Pentagon data leak: Massive trove of global social media data left accidentally exposed online

By India Ashok 

The Pentagon accidentally exposed classified US Department of Defense (DoD) databases containing information that the US gathered on social media users across the world. A security expert found three "publicly downloadable" Amazon S3 servers, one of which contained nearly 1.8 billion social media posts made by people across the globe, including Americans, which appears to have been collected by the DoD over nearly eight years.

The three publicly exposed S3 buckets were discovered by UpGuard security researcher Chris Vickery and were named "centcom-backup," "centcom-archive," and "pacom-archive."

Why America Loses Every War It Starts

Most Americans believe that their military is the finest in the world, a belief well-founded by several measures. Yet if the U.S.military were a sports team, based on its record in war and when called upon to defend the nation since World War II, it would be ranked in the lowest divisions. Consider history. The United States won the “big one”: the Cold War. But every time Americans were sent to wars that it started or into combat for reasons that lacked just cause, we lost or failed. Korea was at best a draw, ended not by a peace treaty but a “temporary” truce. Our record in subsequent conflicts was too often no better, and too often worse. Vietnam was an outright and ignominious defeat in which over 58,000 Americans died. George H.W. Bush’s administration deserves great credit in the first Iraq War and in handling the collapse of the Soviet Union. But the Afghanistan intervention begun in 2001 is still going with no end in sight. The Second Iraq War, launched in 2003, was rightly termed a fiasco. Even far smaller interventions — Beirut and Grenada in 1983, Libya in 2011 — failed.

19 November 2017

Trump - The Merchant of Weapons

President Trump has turned into a merchant of weapons, coaxing nations to buy American weapons and warfare systems. Inevitably, modern U.S. presidents are obligated to support the manufacturers of warfare systems. The Republican presidents do it openly whereas the Democratic presidents do it through deceptive quietude. Trump has been most assertive in his rambunctious ways to push the sale of lethal weapons. (Recall how Trump, the realtor, boasts fooling Libya’s Gadhafi by overcharging him for pitching a tent on Trump’s New York City estate.) The U.S. warfare establishment sees war as a necessary evil that must always remain the prime factor in foreign policy.

Warfare Establishment

18 November 2017

From Proxy Wars to Direct War Between Iran and Saudi Arabia: America’s Options

by Masoud Kazemzadeh and Penny Watson

The Middle East appears on the precipice of a great war. The fundamentalist rulers of Iran are confident that their goal of establishing a coalition of Shia countries and regions under their control is nearing fruition. Saddam’s invasion of Iran in 1980 was a response to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s policy of overthrowing the ruling regimes in Iraq and much of the Middle East. By 1988, that war ended not by victory of one side over the other, but by the exhaustion of Khomeini’s regime and the recognition that no end was in sight. The 1988 ceasefire has been but a respite in the warmongering policy of the fundamentalists, whereby despite military adventurism, many members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) still express bitterness over the acceptance of the ceasefire.

16 November 2017

How America and Its Indo-Pacific Allies Will Redefine Regional Security

Even before Trump headed off on his Asian grand tour, the shape of things to come started to emerge. The present administration’s foreign policy will place adequate emphasis on Europe and the Middle East, but America won’t be pivoting away from the Asia-Pacific. Meanwhile, the region presents more challenges than ever. An emerging China is increasingly upsetting the status-quo; North Korea remains as rambunctious as ever, and transnational Islamist terror threats appear ever-present. How the administration manages these problems will go a long way toward determining our status as an Asian power.

How Americans Became Vulnerable to Russian Disinformation

ATLANTA – As the United States marks the first anniversary of President Donald Trump’s election, the question of how Trump won still commands attention, with Russia’s role moving increasingly to center stage. Each new revelation in the investigation of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 campaign brings the vulnerability of the US democratic process into sharper focus.

Last week, Congress unveiled legislation that would force Facebook, Google, and other social media giants to disclose who buys online advertising, thereby closing a loophole that Russia exploited during the election. But making amends through technical fixes and public promises to be better corporate citizens will solve only the most publicized problem.

15 November 2017

Trump must stop Chinese power grab before we’re at all-out war


The communist nation continues to boost defense spending. The People's Liberation Army now enjoys a $151 billion budget, up from less than $10 billion in 1997. Beijing's investments have yielded fifth-generation fighter jets and hypersonic missiles capable of sinking U.S. aircraft carriers.  China also plans to wage war in cyberspace. State-sponsored hackers have carried out thousands of cyberattacks on America — often to steal military and commercial technology or probe for vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure such as electric grids. These cyberattacks cause hundreds of billions of dollars in economic damage.