The Four Plus One and Global Mega Trends

CIMSEC – General John Allen outlines the threats the US will face in the future.

The Asia Pacific and Europe’s Maritime Security Strategy

CIMSEC – In the aftermath of the July 2016 ruling by the United Nation’s Permanent Court of Arbitration that broadly found China’s demarcation claims in the South China Sea to be without legal merit, it became apparent that legal decisions alone would do little to influence the status quo. Considering The Hague’s ruling against the strategic backdrop of power politics in the Asia Pacific, the need for a global maritime presence became clear. This presence connotes a significant maritime challenge for the European Union (EU), which remains a peripheral actor in the maritime security of the Asia-Pacific as several major powers oversee the geopolitical reordering of this critical region.

Baltic Grey Zone Threats on NATO’s Northern Flank

CIMSEC – The governments and peoples of the Baltic States recognize that, following Russia’s takeover of Crimea and intervention in eastern Ukraine, they are once again in the Kremlin’s sights facing the prospect of Russian destabilization and even outright invasion.

The Case for a Constant NATO SCG Presence in the Mediterranean

CIMSEC – NATO should maintain a continuous Carrier Strike Group (CSG) presence in the Mediterranean. A CSG patrolling the Mediterranean, especially in the eastern Mediterranean near Tartus, would be an overt display to Russia that NATO has not forgotten about the Mediterranean.

Arctic Security and Legal Issues in the 21st Century: An Interview with CDR Sean Fahey

CIMSEC – The changing Arctic is a topic of increasing interest to the maritime security community. Rapidly receding sea ice and increasingly navigable waters combined with the promise of rich natural resource deposits have made investment in the Arctic – particularly military and infrastructure investment – a priority for Arctic nations and other parties that stand to benefit from the region. To discuss these issues and more, CIMSEC interviewed Commander Sean Fahey, USCG of the U.S. Naval War College Stockton Center for the Study of International Law for his expert insight on legal and security issues in the High North in the 21st Century.

Why Mattis Headed East: Time For China Strategy

Breaking Defense – Why is newly confirmed Defense Secretary Jim Mattis making his first overseas trip to the Western Pacific to confer with two of America’s key allies, Japan and South Korea?

America cannot disengage from the rest of the world

Gulf News – Robert D. Kaplan writes that its geography fiercely argues for a balance: Be wary of nation-building, but remember the global responsibilities of a maritime nation.

A Bigger Problem than ISIS?

New Yorker – The Mosul Dam is failing. A breach would cause a colossal wave that could kill as many as a million and a half people.

Egypt’s Failed Revolution

New Yorker – President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has unwittingly revealed more about his country’s political structures than anybody could have imagined.

After the Islamic State

New Yorker – As the caliphate crumbles, rival movements struggle for the soul of Sunni jihadism.

Dangerous Waters: the Situation in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait

CIMSEC – On 25 October 2016, the Spanish-flagged merchant tanker Galicia Spirit came under fire when a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) was fired at it from a small speedboat that had interdicted the vessel. The tanker was then attacked with small arms fire. The merchant vessel escaped catastrophic damage, and was able to continue its journey onward. However, only two days later, the liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker Melati Satu was attacked in the same area, also with RPGs. The Tuvalu-flagged Melati Satu’s crew sent out a distress call, were rescued by a Saudi Arabian naval vessel, and were subsequently escorted to safety. Both ships had been traversing the Bab el-Mandeb strait between south-western Yemen and north-eastern Djibouti. This small waterway must be negotiated to access or egress the Egyptian-controlled Suez Canal, which sits at the northern end of the Red Sea.

China’s Great Leap Backward

The Atlantic – James Fallows writes that China has become repressive in a way that it has not been since the Cultural Revolution. What does its darkening political climate—and growing belligerence—mean for the United States?

The Lessons of Henry Kissinger

The Atlantic – The legendary and controversial statesman criticizes the Obama Doctrine, talks about the main challenges for the next president, and explains how to avoid war with China.

US, Israel, and Seapower in the East Med

CIMSEC – Disengagement is always tempting for great powers. The “Weary Titans” of international politics have an ear for their politicians’ rhetoric of exhaustion and weariness. This encourages isolationism, the cutting of “entanglements,” and the desire to define “national interest” as purely homeland defense. But laying down our burdens rarely works. Enemies’ animosity and ambition is spurred, not deflected if states that benefit from the international order look the other way.

Think Tragically to Avoid Tragedy

Washington Free Beacon – An interview with Robert D. Kaplan: What America can expect in an age of ‘great power anarchy’

China’s High Seas Ambitions

Der Spiegel – With its Maritime Silk Road, China is tapping the world’s oceans for its own strategic purposes. It’s a bold plan that is causing unease in India and the United States — and also has implications for Europe.

Deglobalization Will Change the Mission of Naval Forces

CIMSEC – This article will argue that the convergence of new technologies is dramatically changing how we make things, what we make, and where we make them. These technologies plus trends in energy production, agriculture, politics, and internet governance will result in the localization of manufacturing, services, energy, and food production. This shift will significantly change the international security environment and in particular the role of the U.S. naval forces.

What if the Ocean Was Transparent?

The Economist – The ability to peer unhindered into the deep would reveal a host of wonders—and have huge practical consequences.

Wat in the World

American Interest – Robert D. Kaplan writes that Aleksander Wat’s life and work stand as warning that the totalitarian temptations of the 20th century have yet to run their course.

The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru

New York Times Magazine – A fascinating look at who actually makes the U.S. foreign policy and how they do it.

Baltic Sea Heating Up as Friction Point Between U.S., NATO and Russia

USNI News – The Baltic Sea region has emerged as one of the friction zones between an aggressive Russia and the United States and its NATO allies in northeastern Europe. Recently the USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) was twice buzzed by Russian Sukhoi Su-24 Fencers during an exercise in the Baltic Sea. The Cook incident is just the most recent of a string of close encounters between Russia and the West at sea and in the air over the Baltic Sea over the last two years.

Assured Resolve: Testing Possible Challenges to Baltic Security

Center for a New American Security – In the report, CNAS senior fellows Julianne Smith and Jerry Hendrix examine possible security challenges in effort to prepare the United States and Europe for future existential threats posed by Russia. Smith and Hendrix note that although Europe’s security situation was largely considered stable for much of the last 10 to 14 years, that premise no longer holds true.

Barack Obama’s Revolution in Foreign Policy

The Atlantic – Niall Ferguson writes that when you think you’re the smartest person in the room, it’s tempting to make up your own grand strategy.

Can ‘Quad Plus’ Flex Its Muscles Against China?

National Interest – It remains to be seen whether the four Quad countries will ever convene regularly at an official level to caucus on security matters…