Beware of Pandemic America

National Interest – James Holmes writes: Note to China and Russia: despite appearances, the time of coronavirus may not be an opportune time for you to chisel away at America’s global standing.

Nonalignment Nuances: America Is Laying the Groundwork for a Stronger Relationship With India

National Interest – Nonalignment remains a powerful strain in Indian foreign policy. Still, India and the United States have fashioned placeholders in case things take a drastic turn for the worse in South Asia—one that might prompt New Delhi to tilt toward Washington.

Is the U.S.-Philippines Alliance Dying?

National Interest – Terminating the U.S.-Philippine Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) could ripple throughout Southeast Asia to the detriment of not just the Philippines’ defense but U.S. maritime strategy toward China.

Donald Trump must split up Putin and Xi, the new odd couple

Niall Ferguson – Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of Henry Kissinger’s secret flight to Beijing, which set in motion the opening of relations between America and China. It was the pivotal moment of the Cold War, exploiting the Sino-Soviet split by effectively aligning Washington and Beijing against Moscow.

The ultimate goal of American strategy in the 2020s must be to achieve a mirror image of that manoeuvre, driving Putin and Xi apart and drawing Russia into that western configuration which alone can save declining Russia from being swallowed up by rising China.

Indo-Pacific Strategy: Shaping a Hybrid Regional Order

War on the Rocks – What does Japan want in the Indo-Pacific? It can be tough to tell, because at the moment, Tokyo seems to be pursuing incompatible aims. Japan is trying to check China geopolitically while deepening economic engagement. At the same time, it wants to deepen its strategic coordination with its closest security partners — the United States, Australia, and India — through the Quad, and it also wants to ensure the participation of a maximum number of countries in its Free and Open Indo-Pacific initiative.

Adm. Davidson, Indo-Pacific commander: ‘We’re not asking people to choose between us and China’

Defense News – Adm. Philip Davidson, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, spoke to Defense News earlier this month in an exclusive interview during the Reagan National Defense Forum about China’s tactics and the role of the United States in supporting regional allies.

A Bump in the Belt and Road: Tanzania Pushes Back Against Chinese Port Project

CIMSEC – China’s Maritime Silk Road ambitions suffered a setback after Tanzanian officials refused to budge over stalled negotiations to build what would be the largest deep-water port in Africa.

The Icebreaker Gap Doesn’t Mean America is Losing in the Arctic

War on the Rocks – Using relative icebreaker fleet sizes as a key metric for the state of strategic competition in the Arctic is flawed. While they are an important platform, icebreakers do little to create or address the most commonly identified defense challenges in the region. Instead, analysts should focus on the nature of the military risks in the Arctic, the role of allies and partners, and economic interests in a broader geopolitical context rather than comparing specific capabilities.

Exploring the Role Nuclear Weapons Could Play in Deterring Russian Threats to the Baltic States

RAND – The insights derived from the research highlight the reality that, even if NATO makes significant efforts to modernize its nonstrategic nuclear weapons, it would have much stronger military incentives to end a future war than Russia would. That is, Russia would still enjoy escalation dominance.

Top Military Officers Unload on Trump

The Atlantic – Mark Bowden writes that the commander in chief is impulsive, disdains expertise, and gets his intelligence briefings from Fox News. What does this mean for those on the front lines?

Is Russia Preparing For An Invasion of This Important Piece of the Arctic?

National Interest – More then Greenland, Donald President Trump should know that the real Arctic prize is Svalbard (formerly known as Spitsbergen). At least that’s what renewed murmurs of Russia seeking to invade the Svalbard archipelago highlight. And these rumors die hard. A Russian-annexed Svalbard is a peripheral fear, which is anchored by historical precedent.

Five Things To Do Now To Secure Alaskan Waters From China And Russia

Forbes – As both Russia and China encroach upon the Earth’s lightly-populated polar regions, both the North and South Poles are enjoying a resurgence of American interest.

The U.S. Can’t Buy Greenland But Thule Air Base Is Set To Become More Vital Than Ever Before

War Zone – With Russia drastically expanding its capabilities above the Arctic Circle, the frigid base will be key to America’s own plans for the region.

Why the Senkaku / Diaoyu Islands are Like a Toothpaste Tube

War on the Rocks – Consisting of five core islands and several minor features in the East China Sea, the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands (Japan calls them Senkakushotō, while the China uses the name Diaoyudao) are not much in terms of size — the biggest is only a bit larger than New York City’s Central Park. But they loom large as a potential cause of armed conflict — if not war – between the region’s major powers.

How geopolitics make the U.S. Navy’s plans for major Arctic operations so complicated

Arctic Today – The U.S. Navy will conduct some kind of Arctic operations this summer — but it hasn’t said exactly what. Every option comes with potential issues.

Strategy on Top of the World Part 2: Regional Arctic Perspectives

CIMSEC – The High North will almost certainly be a zone of competition. If Russia can take a hegemonic role there, it will lean on its military presence and the relative lack of international rules and norms for it to control the region. The Chinese are not far behind. American absence from the Arctic has weakened its stance with respect to great power competition and serves to upend the Navy’s stated mission of freedom of navigation.

Mauritius Scores a Pyrrhic Victory in the Indian Ocean

War on the Rocks – In zealously pursuing an anti-colonial agenda, Mauritius and India may unintentionally hand the keys to the Indian Ocean to China, accelerating India’s southern containment and Mauritius’ neo-colonization as a Chinese vassal.