– USNI Proceedings – Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd —in his keynote address at the New China Challenge conference in October—considered the strategic competition between the United States and China. This article is adapted from his speech.
– USNI Blog – What is Putin’s government up to? Oddly enough, counterinsurgent theory helps explain Russian motives and actions. So does thermodynamics.
– BBC – Does crisis beckon in the Black Sea? Could Russia and Nato even come to blows?
– CIMSEC – The Sea of Azov is a tiny and small sea that historically has not often earned much strategic attention from the countries that possessed it. However, history reveals that the strategic importance of the sea periodically rises when at least two countries possess the shores of this sea.
– War on the Rocks – What is the future of U.S.-Chinese relations? Will a rising China seek to overturn the U.S.-led international order? What is China doing inside the first island chain? In cyberspace? Orbital space? Is China more like Imperial Germany or is it more like France in the late 19th century? Dean Cheng and Brad Carson explore these questions and many more.
– New York Times Magazine – Saudi Arabia thought a bombing campaign would quickly crush its enemies in Yemen. But three years later, the Houthis refuse to give up, even as 14 million people face starvation.
– RUSI – The House of Commons Defence Committee has released a report looking at defence developments in the High North. It should serve as a timely reminder of defence priorities, both among decision-makers in London and the general public.
– USNI Blog – The Naval War College convened its second “Newport Arctic Seminar” this week to debate “principles of sea power” that ought to regulate interactions in the polar sea and along adjacent seacoasts…
– Washington Post – Robert D. Kaplan says that there is a direct contradiction between Trump’s aggressive economic nationalism and his administration’s commitment to defend the South China Sea. The South China Sea is not the United States’ home waters; it is China’s. Geography still matters. And because the United States is so far away, its only hope is to offer an uplifting regional vision that anchors its military one.
– War on the Rocks – Competition over critical infrastructure isn’t just confined to the maritime realm. In fact, access to airfields is just as essential to allow military aircraft to cover the vast distances across the Indian Ocean. This is why China and its competitors are paying ever more attention to securing access to airfields and to deny access to others.
– National Interest – America pushed Britain out of the Western Hemisphere, more or less, by the turn of the twentieth century. It did so by making itself the strongest contender in the New World, harnessing its burgeoning industrial might to build a navy able to command the waters Washington cared about most.
– CIMSEC – The value of maritime activity is derived from its connectivity. Occupying or dominating a maritime space but disconnecting it from other parts of the global oceans is a misuse of power born from the historical experience of landpower applied to the maritime theater.
– Army Times – With less than 60,000 people spread across more than 830,000 square miles, Greenland relies heavily on air transport to move supplies and people up and down its coast.
So when the local government issued a solicitation to build three new airports, the move made sense from a business perspective. The project would be expensive, but would improve commerce and make life on the island easier for its residents.
Then a Chinese company — owned by the government in Beijing, and once blacklisted by the World Bank — put forth a bid, and a simple request for proposals transformed into a project with international diplomatic ramifications.
– US Naval War College Review – There may be no greater potential flash point in Europe today than the Baltic Sea region (BSR). The convergence of the Kaliningrad outpost; the riparian powers, neutrals, NATO allies, and Russia; and economics and military force in general makes for an explosive brew that may merely simmer—or may boil over and ignite a larger conflict. While much of the debate focuses on the Baltic littorals and hinterlands, it is the Baltic Sea itself that sits, physically and strategically, at the center of the issue. It is critical for naval policy makers and scholars today to understand the history of the BSR.
– War on the Rocks – When analyzing the clash between Russia and the West, it is common to speak of a contest for influence in the post-Soviet space. That is not quite true. Only certain post-Soviet states have become real battlegrounds, and all are located along the shores of the Black Sea. Consider, for example, the frozen conflicts that emerged from the Soviet collapse and that have been sustained with Russian help. Of these conflicts — Moldova’s breakaway Transnistria region, Georgia’s ongoing disputes with its Abkhazia and South Ossetia territories, and now the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine — all ring the Black Sea.
– CIMSEC – It is critical to analyze economic drivers and political factors across the High North in order to evaluate the economic potential of the region, understand national security interests, and develop appropriate Arctic policy.
– Breaking Defense – So are Chinese ambitions racing ahead of Arctic realities? “It seems the chickens are being counted before the eggs are hatched,” Sun admitted, “but the Chinese position is, ‘if the eggs are going to hatch, we want to make sure we’re there to collect the chickens.'”
– Breaking Defense – Russia’s threats have not cowed the Nordic states. Instead, they have strengthened their relationship with Washington, with each other through enhanced cooperation and plan focused to mobilize their entire societies to deal with the Russian efforts to intimidate.
– CIMSEC – Due to India’s growing dependence on oil and energy resources, any interference in the stability or peace of the Indian Ocean will have a cataclysmic impact on the economic and political stability of the nation. A peaceful and reliant Indian Ocean is the responsibility of the littoral and island states in this region to an extent that the “overall political character of the Indian Ocean had changed from one of European dominance to that of local assertion.”
– New Yorker – How the President, Israel, and the Gulf states plan to fight Iran – and leave the Palestinians and the Obama years behind.
– War on the Rocks – While many eyes are on China’s port investments in the Indian Ocean, Japan has also been busy. The scale of its infrastructure investments in the region rivals, and sometimes exceeds, that of China. But Japan argues that its growing presence in the Indian Ocean is qualitatively different, focused on transparency, economic sustainability, and a rules-based order that should become part of regional norms.
– CIMSEC – As Robert Kaplan, author of Monsoon, has noted, the Indian Ocean represents the fulcrum between American Power in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific, and its growing relationship with India will shape its desire to remain atop the global order against a rising China.
– USNI Proceedings – China sees itself and the United States as key power brokers in Asia, but on regional issues, it often views the United States as an interloper.
– Washington Free Beacon – China’s large-scale military buildup, regional coercion, and economic aggression are part of plan for global domination, experts told Congress on Thursday.
– CIMSEC – Although the Chinese government likes to say that it has an ancient and historical claim to the reefs and rocks in the South China Sea, a detailed examination of evidence shows that it actually emerged in the first half of the twentieth century. It also changed during a 40-year period 1907-1947. The whole process was filled with confusion and misunderstanding. A few mistakes by a small number of poorly-informed Chinese officials and academics back in the 1930s have created lingering confusion that still poisons the politics of Southeast Asia to this day.