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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.