RUSI – The region faces superpower rivalry that demands more active maritime aspirations and wider defence alliances.
Category Archives: Geopolitics
Assessing the US Pacific Partnership Strategy For a Free and Open Blue Pacific
CIMSEC – Last September, Washington published the Pacific Partnership Strategy (PPS), the first ever U.S. government strategy dedicated to the Pacific Islands after decades of American disengagement.
Leaning on the Big Switch in the Pacific: Why the United States Dominates Pacific Telecom Infrastructure
CIMSEC – A combination of the United States’ nascent modern industrial policy, diplomacy, and aligned governmental and commercial interests have set the conditions for it to pull ahead in the race to control vital telecommunications infrastructure in the Pacific.
US seeks deal on Philippines bases to complete arc around China
BBC – If you look at a map of East Asia, you can see an arc of US alliances stretching from South Korea and Japan in the north to Australia in the south. But smack in the middle of that is a missing link – the Philippines, which borders two of the biggest potential flashpoints, Taiwan and the South China Sea, or the West Philippine Sea as Manila insists on calling it. America hopes to finally stitch that gap when Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin meets Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr in Manila on Thursday.
How Gray-Zone Ops in the Yellow Sea Could Trigger a Maritime Crisis
Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies – The body of water dividing the People’s Republic of China and the Koreas has inherent geostrategic importance and military operational significance. It’s long been a complex, congested, contested water space: an overfished area beset by conflicting historical narratives and sovereignty claims.
Chinese Investment in Western Hemisphere Raising Concerns for U.S., Says SOUTHCOM Commander
USNI News – The United States is facing increased competition in a number of sectors, especially from China in the Western Hemisphere, raising new security concerns, the head of U.S. Southern Command said Thursday.
Taiwan Prepares to be Invaded
The Atlantic – If China wants to do something drastic, President Tsai Ing-wen told me, “Xi has to weigh the costs. He has to think twice.”
A Dangerous Game Over Taiwan
New Yorker – For decades, China has coveted its island neighbor. Is Xi Jinping ready to seize it?
An excellent introduction as well as a thorough review of the current state of play, especially from the Taiwanese side.
Japan’s hope of reclaiming Kuril Islands sinks as Russia’s war in Ukraine raises animosity in the Pacific
The Globe and Mail – Since the Soviets invaded this archipelago in 1945, Moscow and Tokyo have struggled to agree on who controls what. Now, seeing the militarization of their former home, ex-islanders and their descendants in Japan fear for the future.
How to Make the Most of the Israeli-Lebanese Maritime Deal
War on the Rocks – After years of stalling and hedging, a major economic collapse in Lebanon, multiple unstable governments in Israel, and threats of violence, the United States has successfully brokered a maritime border agreement between Beirut and Jerusalem. War has been averted, and everyone is happy. At least for now.
The Next Mediterranean Front Line
War on the Rocks – From migration to energy and food security, the Mediterranean has emerged as an overlooked front in Russia’s war with the West. As its name suggests, the Mediterranean is a sea that sits between lands. For better or worse, it connects Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, transporting fuel, grain, and refugees from one shore to another. As such, it can serve as a source of stability for Europe or as a site of disruption for actors like Russia that seek to threaten that stability.
Israel and Lebanon reach ‘historic’ maritime border deal
The Guardian – Lebanon and Israel have reached a historic agreement demarcating a disputed maritime border between the countries.
Why Erdogan Might Choose War With Greece
War on the Rocks – A myriad of issues divide Athens and Ankara, but Erdogan has now focused his rage upon Greece’s militarization of its Aegean islands. While the Greek military presence there has remained largely consistent over the last several decades, Ankara insists that it is in violation of the 1923 and 1947 treaties that established Greece’s sovereignty over the islands.
Guarding the Pacific: How Washington Can Counter China in the Solomons and Beyond
War on the Rocks – The lesson of the last several years in clear: Beijing is determined to gain a foothold in the South Pacific, posing a direct threat to long-term U.S. and allied interests. Without a coherent strategy of denial and the projection of appropriate U.S. power across this region, fundamental American interests will be threatened. It is time for the United States to support a robust array of defense initiatives across Oceania, including in countries where we remain openly, and rightly, concerned about democracy. By increasing our presence in and political connections to this dynamic region, the United States is more likely to play a constructive role in promoting good governance than if it continues to cede the field to Beijing and its proxies. By deploying more resources now, Washington has the opportunity to prevent an entirely unnecessary strategic surprise in the future.
The Fourth Taiwan Strait Crisis is Just Starting
War on the Rocks – The Chinese military exercises that began on Aug. 3, 2022, have initiated the Fourth Taiwan Strait Crisis. The most immediate reason for this was Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei. But this is a bigger crisis, driven by bigger factors. There has been a steady erosion in Sino-American relations and — not unrelated — a shift in the nature of U.S.-Taiwan relations that Beijing finds deeply threatening. As a result, expectations of a rapid resolution to the crisis are chimeric, as too are blithe expectations of a quick return to the status quo ante.
Pushing Back Against China’s New Normal in the Taiwan Strait
War on the Rocks – It would be a mistake — perhaps a deadly one — for Washington to dismiss Beijing’s reaction to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as just another temper tantrum.
Inside the War Between Trump and His Generals
New Yorker – How Mark Milley and others in the Pentagon handled the national-security threat posed by their own Commander-in-Chief.
Moving On After AUKUS: Working With France in the Indo-Pacific
War on the Rocks – As relationships thaw in the aftermath of establishing AUKUS, now is an opportune moment to consider ways that France might join the non-nuclear aspects of the framework.
MBS: despot in the desert
The Economist / 1843 – A volatile millennial wields absolute power in Saudi Arabia. What will he do next?
General Anthony Zinni (ret) on Missed Opportunities, Integrated Deterrence, and Ill-Advised Red Lines.
CIMSEC – This is Part IV of our conversation series with General Anthony Zinni, USMC (ret.) on leadership, strategy, learning, and the art and science of warfighting. In this iteration, we focus on how the decline in strategic thinking following the end of the Cold War, which we discussed in Part I, helped lead to the situation in Ukraine, how to construct credible red lines, and what integrated deterrence may mean.
The Bay of Bengal Could Be The Key to a Free and Open Indo-Pacific
War on the Rocks – The Bay of Bengal now has considerable — and growing — strategic importance for Asia, and for the world as a whole. In many ways, the Bay of Bengal lies at the core of the Indo-Pacific region — a centerpiece of the broader Indo-Pacific concept and the place where the strategic interests of the major powers of East and South Asia intersect.
China launches empire building exercise in Pacific theatre
The Sunday Guardian – China’s plan for the Pacific.
Jomini and Naval Special Operations Forces—An Applied-Competition Approach to Russia
US Naval War College Review – A version of Jomini’s campaigning theory, in combination with maritime special-operations capabilities, offers a convincing maritime approach for contesting Russia’s malign activity in Europe while remaining below the level of armed conflict and supporting a broader conventional effort to prepare a war-fighting environment by using irregular warfare to secure advantages prior to conflicts.
The Limits of Sea Power
US Naval War College Review – Sea powers have many handicaps that often are forgotten, resulting in a dangerous overestimation of their safety, influence, and staying power in a competitive world. A more clear-eyed assessment of sea power—one less enamored of the grandeur associated with naval might—reveals that often their hopes were unwarranted and ended up having tragic results.
Letter from Port Moresby
US Naval War College Review – As the world shifts away from the global war on terrorism toward renewed great-power rivalry, areas previously considered strategically peripheral offer the United States and its allies both opportunity and challenge. Papua New Guinea (PNG), with its strategic location in the southwest Pacific, is poised to play a role in this new “Great Game.”
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