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

23 February 2018

Restoring equilibrium: U.S. policy options for countering and engaging Russia


Lenin was famously, perhaps apocryphally, asked how to advance a political cause. He’s reported to have answered, “Probe with a bayonet; if you meet steel, stop! If you meet mush, then push.” To date, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s political advances into Europe and military advances into the Middle East have encountered largely mush. In January 2018, Bruce Jones, director of the Brookings Foreign Policy Program, convened eight Brookings experts—Sergey Aleksashenko, Pavel Baev, Michael O’Hanlon, Steven Pifer, Alina Polyakova, Angela Stent, Strobe Talbott, and Thomas Wright—to discuss an effective U.S. strategy for countering Russian aggression and deterring future offenses. The edited transcript below reflects the group’s judgments on Russian foreign policy, U.S. and NATO strategy toward Russia, Russia’s economic and political future, and recommendations for addressing the war in Ukraine as well as Russia’s interference in U.S. and European elections.

Don’t Waste the New US Water-Security Strategy

BY DAVID REED

President Trump should order the inclusion of water issues — a major driver of security problems — in the national defense and security strategies. 

In his State of the Union address, the President once again called for stronger responses to global security crises and significant new investments in security along our southern border. And yet, one of the drivers behind both of these issues – namely, water security – has received little attention to date.

Will the U.S. Go to War With China Over Taiwan?

By TED GALEN CARPENTER

It's time to rethink our defense commitments. Risking a catastrophic conflict is too great a price for Taiwanese independence.

While America’s attention has been focused on the North Korea crisis, diverted occasionally to developments in the South China Sea, another volatile East Asia confrontation has reemerged. China is adopting a growing number of measures to intimidate Taiwan, including emphasizing that any hopes the Taiwanese people and government have to perpetuate the island’s de facto independence are unrealistic and unacceptable. Hostile actions include a renewed effort to cajole and bribe the small number of nations that still maintain diplomatic relations with Taipei to switch ties to Beijing, extremely explicit warnings that China will use force if necessary to prevent any “separatist” moves by Taiwan, and a sharp increase in the number and scope of military exercises in the Taiwan Strait and other nearby areas.

21 February 2018

China Warns It May Retaliate If U.S. Imposes Metal Tariffs


China said proposed U.S. tariffs on imported steel and aluminum products are groundless and that it reserves the right to retaliate if they are imposed.

The U.S. recommendations, unveiled by the Commerce Department on Friday, aren’t consistent with the facts, Wang Hejun, chief of the trade remedy and investigation bureau at China’s Ministry of Commerce, said in a statement posted on its website.

20 February 2018

China vs. America - Uniformity vs. Diversity

by Frank Li

China and America are diametrically different, from history to ideology. In this post, I will highlight a key difference between them: China's uniformity vs. America's diversity.

1. The Roman Empire vs. the Chinese Empire

The image below highlights the key difference between the Roman Empire and the Chinese Empire.

Simply put, while the Roman dream of uniformity was always elusive, the Chinese successfully implemented their uniformity rule of ruling more than 2,000 years ago. As a result, not only was the Chinese Empire at least as powerful as the Roman Empire, including the Byzantine Empire (aka "the [Eastern] Roman Empire"), it also lasted much longer.

U.S.-Turkish Relations Continue to Rapidly Deteriorate

Robbie Gramer
Foreign Policy

The Trump administration appears to have pulled relations with NATO ally Turkey away from a “crisis point” after a slew of high-level meetings over the past week. But sharp disagreements on everything from the war in Syria to Russia’s role in the Middle East make it unlikely that the United States can restore warm ties any time soon with a country long seen as the southern flank of the Western alliance in Europe.

“We’re not going to act alone any longer. We’re not going to be U.S. doing one thing and Turkey doing another,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at a press conference on Friday in Ankara after meetings with Turkish officials, including Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan .

18 February 2018

What The U.S. Needs If It Is To Win The Current Great-Power Struggle

by Benn Steil

"The United States is confronted with a condition in the world which is at direct variance with the assumptions upon which [our foreign] policies were predicated. Instead of unity among the great powers . . . there is complete disunity."

The secretary of state concluded that the Russians were “doing everything possible to achieve a complete breakdown." The president called for unilateral action to counter U.S. adversaries. “If we falter in our leadership," he told Congress, “[we will] surely endanger the welfare of this nation."

17 February 2018

All Guns, No Butter Trump’s budget is a return to the let-’er-rip era of defense spending.


By FRED KAPLAN

U.S. Marines prepare themselves before going training with Afghan National Army soldiers in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on July 6. 

Back in 2013, when Gen. James Mattis was head of the U.S. Central Command, he told the Senate, “If you don’t fully fund the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition.”

On Monday, President Trump proposed cutting this year’s State Department’s budget by 26 percent. Fulfilling his own prediction, Secretary of Defense Mattis is proposing a 28 percentincrease in spending for missiles and munitions—a 50 percent increase over the sum for those items in President Obama’s last budget.

15 February 2018

This is America's Top-Secret Plan to Crush North Korea in a War

Michael Peck

For years, the expectation had been that a second Korean War would resemble with the first, a big-unit conventional war with U.S. and South Korean forces first stopping the enemy and then counterattacking into North Korea. But OPLAN 5015 reportedly takes a more twenty-first century approach of limited war, special forces and precision weapons. Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported in 2015 that the plan resembled guerrilla warfare, with special forces assassinations and targeted attacks on key facilities. The goal was to consolidate several older war plans, minimize casualties in a war and even prepare for the possibility that the North Korean regime might collapse.

Is There a Deep State?

Jacob Heilbrunn

IN ALFRED Hitchcock’s 1959 movie North by Northwest, the protagonist Roger Thornhill, a genial New York advertising man played by Cary Grant, is suddenly swept up into clandestine Cold War machinations. Only after he encounters an American spymaster named the Professor, who is based on CIA director Allen Dulles, the brother of John Foster Dulles and a charter member of the American Establishment, does Thornhill begin to decipher the turbulent series of events, including a harrowing encounter with the anonymous pilot of a crop duster, that have put his life in jeopardy. “I don’t like the games you play,” Thornhill declares. “War is hell, Mr. Thornhill,” the Professor retorts, “even when it’s a cold one.” Thornhill is enraged. “Perhaps you ought to start learning,” he says, “how to lose a few cold wars.”

14 February 2018

There's a Crack Between the U.S. and Europe Over China


In several new strategy documents, the Trump administration argues that America needs to gear up for prolonged geopolitical competition with China. This shift in U.S. policy is welcome -- even if it so far remains mostly rhetorical -- because it reflects the growing threat that a revisionist, authoritarian China poses to American interests in the Asia-Pacific and to the liberal international system more broadly. Yet even though U.S.-China competition is primarily a transpacific matter, a transatlantic divergence may hamper American strategy on how to handle Beijing. America’s European allies have long been its most important partners, but today, Europeans and Americans often see the China challenge in very different ways.

China Is Gaining on the United States. What Are We Doing About It?

By ORIANA SKYLAR MASTRO and ELY RATNER 

President Trump needs to devote real resources to re-establishing U.S. dominance in Asia. 

America’s military advantage over China is rapidly eroding. This fact was underscored by the Trump administration’s first National Defense Strategy recently released by Defense Secretary James Mattis, who declared that “great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of U.S. national security.” This pronouncement of China as a top priority is well-considered, long overdue, and—potentially—historic.

Tech entanglement—China, the United States, and artificial intelligence

Elsa B. Kania

In Washington and Beijing’s complex bilateral relationship, artificial intelligence has emerged as a new domain of both cooperation and competition. Even as China and the United States increasingly compete in artificial intelligence on the national level, the two countries’ business and technology sectors are deeply entangled, competing and collaborating by turn.

13 February 2018

Tit-for-tat cycle with China will hurt U.S. economy

Ryan Hass

There are legitimate reasons for growing public frustration with China, writes Ryan Hass. The Chinese have overstepped in key areas, and it is appropriate and necessary for the United States to push back against problematic Chinese behavior. But before doing so, the administration owes the American people an honest accounting of the stakes involved in the U.S.-China relationship. This piece originally appeared in the Seattle Times.

Is America’s Balancing Act in the Gulf Sustainable?

Source Link
BENNETT SEFTEL 

Bottom Line: As the ongoing dispute between Qatar and Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates enters its eighth month, the U.S. has been forced to strike a delicate balance in its dealings with critical allies in the Middle East. At the same time, the volatility triggered by this divide has paved the way for Iran to expand its subversive regional activity without encountering resistance posed by a unified Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). To this point, the U.S. appears to have taken a neutral position, but increasingly risks jeopardizing ties to both sides as Iran continues to build momentum in its quest to form a Shia crescent spanning the Middle East.

Sealing the border redux: American universities are losing international students

Dick Startz

One year ago, I wrote on these pages: “If new border controls prevent the entry of foreign students, or simply makes them feel unwelcome so they go elsewhere, American jobs and American students pay the price.” I regret to report that we have now started down that path.

First, the fact: College enrollment of international students is down for the first time in a long time. The drop is large, but not overwhelming—at least not yet. We’ve seen a one-year decrease of about 30,000 students, which isn’t massive. However, Department of Education data suggests that foreign-student enrollment had risen consistently for the last 35 years. Here’s a picture based on NSF data. (A nice article in Inside Higher Edgives more details.)

America’s Unimportant, Unserious Wars

by John Bolton
Source Link

For America, brewing risk in its financial system, economy, and the wellsprings of national strength was far greater than anything that terrorists or other global rivals could muster.

-- David Rothkopf

American soldiers spent another holiday season fighting what Foreign Affairs recently called “America’s Forgotten Wars.” Having spent my career serving in an Army at war, I would add unimportant and unserious. Though their last real peacetime holiday was 17 years ago, most Americans regard their seemingly perennial wars as an abstraction at best. The nation has ignored these wars beyond the most superficial attention and supercilious “Support the Troops” platitudes. America lacks both serious consideration about the ends America seeks in deploying its sons and daughters across the globe and the way it is achieving our stated ends.

12 February 2018

America Needs to Prepare for a Great Power War

Alan L. Gropman

Planning for mobilization is cheap, but failing to do so could be outrageously expensive.

Mobilization of American society for World War II was a major factor in the Allied victory. More importantly, it was the foremost reason for the extreme disparity between American military deaths and those of our enemies. Germany lost ten times more military killed in action than the United States, and Japan lost nine times as many. The raw figures are 292,000 Americans and 2,900,000 Germans—and Germany had a population only 60 percent of that of the United States. The ratio with Japan was similar. The United States also out produced both enemies, building double the combined Axis output. That industrial output (a generous part of which went to our allies) mattered immensely, as the figures above indicate.

11 February 2018

On Northern Syria Front Line, U.S. and Turkey Head Into Tense Face-off

By ROD NORDLAND

MANBIJ, Syria — Two senior American generals came to the front line outside the Syrian city of Manbij on Wednesday flying outsized American flags on their vehicles, in case pro-Turkish forces just the other side of the no man’s land, 20 yards away, did not realize who they were.

“We’re very proud of our positions here, and we want to make sure everybody knows it,” said Maj. Gen. Jamie Jarrard, the Special Operations commander for the American-led coalition in Iraq and Syria.

If the message to Turkey was not clear already, the overall coalition commander accompanying General Jarrard, Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, elaborated. “You hit us, we will respond aggressively. We will defend ourselves.”

Admiral Stavridis: Our Troops Deserve Better Than Trump's Big Parade An unidentified rocket is displayed during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang on April 15, 2017. An unidentified rocket is displayed during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang on April 15, 2017. Ed Jones—AFP/Getty Images By JAMES STAVRIDIS February 7, 2018 IDEAS Admiral Stavridis was the 16th Supreme Allied Commander at NATO and is Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University When I showed up at the Naval Academy, the first thing they did after shaving my head was to teach me to march. Over the next four years as a Midshipman, I marched in countless parades, generally a couple every week. Like every other Midshipman to pass through the gates of Annapolis, I hated it. They are a lot of work to rehearse, don’t do anything for morale, and are expensive in terms both of time and preparation. Every time there was a parade scheduled, the entire Brigade of Midshipmen literally prayed to the rain gods to send a downpour and thus cancel the parade. And those were for relatively simple parades of 4,000 Midshipman who were already living within a five-minute march of the parade field — no missiles, tanks, trucks or jet aircraft being towed around. I thought after I was commissioned I had left serious marching behind, and I was glad to do so. But now we have a President who evidently wants a military parade “like the one in France” — meaning their Bastille Day celebrations. I am very respectful of French culture and the French military, but the idea of a big, showy, expensive parade reminds me less of our French allies and more of the old Soviet Union “Who has the biggest missile?” extravaganzas, or the truly creepy North Korean jitterbug marching style galas, with the even creepier “young leader,” Kim Jung Un, urging his nation of sycophants on in wildly over-the-top applause, which has a clap-hard-or-die feel to it. Now let me be honest – the Navy is no doubt the service that is least attuned to the idea of marching. And I am all for doing things that honor our brave troops, especially those who have fought so bravely in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa. But I would respectfully submit that ordering a spectacle down Pennsylvania Avenue is not the best option. The last time we did a big parade like this was several decades ago and it cost over $10 million. Some estimates have the cost of a big one today topping $20 million, which would include moving all the tanks, missiles, jets, helicopters and military bands to Washington. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has correctly stopped handing out little “challenge coins” from his office — symbolic tokens that officers in our armed forces give to troops. As he told me, they don’t contribute to readiness or combat capability — why waste the money? That is the Jim Mattis I know, and I’d say he’s got it right on the challenge coins. I’d recommend we apply the same logic to this kind of parade. For the men and women who have to put in the time planning, rehearsing, creating a security plan (a parade would be an extraordinarily juicy target for the Islamic State or Al Qaeda, by the way), setting up the stands, cleaning up, taking down the stands, and getting all their gear back home would, frankly, not be having a lot of fun. This would no doubt fall on a holiday weekend (Memorial Day, Fourth of July or Veteran’s Day, of course) so there goes their hoped-for and much deserved weekend break. Would they enjoy walking down Pennsylvania Avenue and hearing the applause? I guess. Would they enjoy a nice weekend off at the lake, among their friends and families, even more? That’s my bet. We know that we have the best-funded, most war-experienced, highest morale military in the world. That is not a threat or a boast — it is a fact. We don’t need a puffy parade to show the world we can fight. Believe me, the world knows that already. I know this isn’t an either/or situation, but I’d prefer to see our Department of Defense, which is so well led by Jim Mattis, focus on planning for war, pushing the VA to improve, funding military families with good medical and childcare benefits, and honoring our fallen with ceremonies as they are laid to rest. Those are the best ways we can honor them. On a smaller scale, local parades make a lot more sense — they connect to communities and help recruiting. Or here’s an idea: instead of the big parade, how about a cookout honoring the troops? With rib-eye steaks, BBQ chicken, ribs and cold beer, civilians buying, cooking and cleaning up afterward? Or just continue to say, sincerely, “Thank you for your service,” when you meet active duty troops or veterans? Let’s leave the missiles in the silos where they belong, and be quietly confident in the lethality, professionalism, and integrity of our military — no parade necessary.

By JAMES STAVRIDIS

When I showed up at the Naval Academy, the first thing they did after shaving my head was to teach me to march. Over the next four years as a Midshipman, I marched in countless parades, generally a couple every week. Like every other Midshipman to pass through the gates of Annapolis, I hated it. They are a lot of work to rehearse, don’t do anything for morale, and are expensive in terms both of time and preparation.

Every time there was a parade scheduled, the entire Brigade of Midshipmen literally prayed to the rain gods to send a downpour and thus cancel the parade. And those were for relatively simple parades of 4,000 Midshipman who were already living within a five-minute march of the parade field — no missiles, tanks, trucks or jet aircraft being towed around. I thought after I was commissioned I had left serious marching behind, and I was glad to do so.