America’s Strategy in Oceania: Time For a Better Approach

War on the Rocks – Despite the Biden administration’s growing interest in Oceania, the U.S. government does not have a comprehensive strategy for the Pacific island nations, and time is running out.

Overcoming the Diego Garcia Stalemate

War on the Rocks – The lack of convergence in the interests of Mauritius, the United Kingdom, the United States, and India has produced a stalemate over the status of the Chagos Archipelago. 

Remembering the Geography in Geopolitics and Indo-Pacific Discourse

Strategy Bridge – While a global superpower like the United States is capable of rapidly deploying small forces abroad, the logistical demands of sustaining such a force incurs greater costs and requires greater international acquiescence than that of a state within the same region. Thus, it remains an imperative that the United States cultivate and support regional allies as meaningful security partners, a fact made even more crucial as it enters a new era of great power rivalry.

Offshore Balancing with Chinese Characteristics

StrategyBridge – The conventional wisdom in Washington today is that China is committed to achieving global supremacy. But that conventional wisdom is built on the dubious assumption that China’s economic growth of the past several decades will continue unabated into the future. The reality, however, is quite different. China is not destined to continue its meteoric rise as an economic power. Indeed, China’s economy is already beginning to stall. This being the case, China is unlikely to be able to pursue a revisionist policy of upending the liberal international order, even if the current leadership continues to pursue an assertive foreign policy while it is able to do so. But while the U.S. foreign policy establishment ought to plan for a period of turbulence as China’s leaders reluctantly come to grips with the reality of peak China, the more pressing need is to begin a conversation about the future of American grand strategy that takes as its jumping off point the fundamental reality that China’s rise is coming to an end.

Synthetic Bioweapons Are Coming

USNI Proceedings – The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed critical weaknesses in the human domain of warfare at just the moment technology has emerged that gives bad actors new power to exploit those weaknesses. Developments in synthetic biology will create next-generation bioweapons, “human-domain fires” that will fundamentally change the strategic environment and create a threat naval planners must consider now, before it is encountered at sea.

A U.S. Security Strategy For the Arctic

War on the Rocks – In order to better position the United States for geopolitical competition in the region, the Biden administration should write and publish a new national security strategy for the Arctic.

Improve NATO’s Black Sea Maritime Posture Through Operation Sea Guardian

CIMSEC – NATO must find a solution to address the current limitations of its Black Sea maritime posture, in particular the Montreux Convention, but also the low capacity of Black Sea NATO navies and the lack of sufficient NATO maritime command and control in the region.

Envisioning a Dystopian Future in the South China Sea

CIMSEC – It is clear that the status quo or retrenchment will have negative consequences for the United States, the region, and the world. It is equally clear that Washington must act now to turn the tides in the SCS and avert a dystopian future when Beijing exerts administrative control and jurisdictional authority of the strategic waterway.

The China model: why is the West imitating Beijing?

The Spectator – Niall Ferguson states that “It is one thing to compete with China. I firmly believe we need to do that in every domain, from artificial intelligence to Covid vaccines. But the minute we start copying China, we are on the path to perdition.”

The Baltic Sea is Not Las Vegas: The Mare Balticum in Broader Context

CIMSEC – “The Baltic Sea has grown to a never-seen strategic significance in the past years.” This is how Vice Admiral Andreas Krause, former Chief of the German Navy (2014-2021), described the current situation of what is sometimes referred to as a ‘flooded meadow’ in naval circles.

Worldwide Ocean Governance: Protecting the Most Vulnerable Assets – Ports and Harbors

CIMSEC – Worldwide “Ocean Governance” asks the important question: “How can navies and coast guards better coordinate with local governments and international agencies in countering violence at sea? What lessons can be learned from instances of good onshore/offshore collaboration? How are governments working together across jurisdictions and in international waters to counter this threat?”

What Napoleon Can Teach Us About the South China Sea

War on the Rocks – In trying to understand America’s “great power competition” with China, observers have offered a range of historical analogies. Graham Allison invoked the “Thucydides Trap,” referring to Athens and its war with Sparta, while a recent compilation asked, in reference to World War I, if a U.S.-Chinese clash could be the next great war. But perhaps the Napoleonic Wars offer a better analogy.

Do Russia Or China Have ‘Limited’ Or ‘Unlimited’ Political Goals?

1945 – James Holmes asks – Riddle me this: does a contender intent on overthrowing the international system harbor “limited” or “unlimited” political goals?

The Longest Telegram: A Visionary Blueprint For the Comprehensive Grand Strategy Against China We Need

War on the Rocks – In February 1946, the diplomat George Kennan — then serving as charge d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow — authored a 5,000-word telegram analyzing the sources of Soviet conduct and laying out the case for what would become the Cold War strategy of containment. Seventy-five years later, as the United States enters a new era of great-power competition with the People’s Republic of China, War on the Rocks is pleased to publish a landmark essay in this same tradition by acclaimed international relations strategist and renowned Sinologist C. Lea Shea, drawing on his decades of scholarship and service in Democratic and Republican administrations alike.

A New Great Game Finds the South Atlantic

War on the Rocks – In March, the South Atlantic witnessed an unusual scene: a U.S. ship turning around and sailing for home, having been refused docking rights and services by the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From January to March, the U.S. Coast Guard deployed one of its newest cutters, the USCGC Stone, to the South Atlantic, with the mission to strengthen maritime security relations and help curb illegal fishing — predominately Chinese — off the South American coast. This was the Coast Guard’s first such regional deployment in over a decade, and its first three-quarters were a success, training and cooperating with the maritime forces of Guyana, Brazil, and Uruguay. In Argentina, however, the mission hit a snag when the government refused to provide the dock services that are routine for such a visit.The press paid little attention to this kerfuffle, but it was yet another sign that a tectonic shift is underway. In the South Atlantic, former U.S. security partners are building stronger ties with China, a shift that presents critical future risks for Washington and the inter-American community.

The Longer Telegram – Toward a new American China strategy

Atlantic Council – Today the Atlantic Council publishes an extraordinary new strategy paper that offers one of the most insightful and rigorous examinations to date of Chinese geopolitical strategy and how an informed American strategy would address the challenges of China’s own strategic ambitions.

Predictable Unpredictability? U.S. Arctic Strategy and Ways of Doing Business in the Region

War on the Rocks – The U.S. Navy approach toward the Arctic appears to be fraught with contradiction. Its new strategic plan for the region, Blue Arctic: a Strategic Plan for the Arctic, was published in January 2021 and calls for a stronger U.S. footprint and greater influence in the region. In line with the tri-service maritime strategy, it highlights an increased urgency to strengthen Arctic deterrence without undermining stability, reducing trust, or triggering conflict. The Navy, however, seems to be pursuing the two main goals — deterrence and stability — with contradictory methods at times.