How Russia Wins the Climate Crisis

New York Times Magazine – Climate change is propelling enormous human migrations, transforming global agriculture and remaking the world order — and no country stands to gain more than Russia.

Where Will the Next War Be Fought?

USNI Proceedings – Anyone attempting to predict the future is well-advised to first examine the past, for if history is not always a prelude to the future, its parallels often are uncomfortably close.

A Berlin Strategy: How Should America Respond to China’s Taiwan Threats

National Interest – James Holmes writes how a now nearly forgotten flashpoint during the Cold War could help Washington form a response if tensions rise around the Taiwan Strait.

A Looming Calamity: Will Secretary Pompeo Seal the Fate of the Red Sea?

CIMSEC – Over the past five years, the people of Yemen have endured famine and warfare. Now, as they and their Red Sea neighbors face the imminent likelihood of overwhelming oil spillage from the abandoned tanker FSO Safer, the means to avert a regional catastrophe may be stripped away.

New Great Game at Sea

War on the Rocks – The ever-expanding exercises and basing locations in the Indian Ocean represent the emergence of a new “Great Game” at sea, where rising navalism threatens to further destabilize the broader Indo-Pacific and beyond. 

The Underground Movement Trying to Topple the North Korean Regime

New Yorker – Adrian Hong says he leads a group of “freedom fighters” conducting a revolution. Has the U.S. already betrayed them?

Why the Arctic is Not the ‘Next’ South China Sea

War on the Rocks – Overall, the South China Sea and the Arctic are very different maritime regions with distinct geopolitical characteristics. China is clearly borrowing from the great-power exceptionalism playbook in the South China Sea. Yet while Beijing has articulated a clear strategic interest in the Arctic, a replication of its South China Sea play book in the Arctic is highly unlikely.

A world without alliances

The Hill – James Holmes asks what would a world without U.S. alliances look like? It’s a worthwhile thought experiment. President Trump is famously leery toward foreign alliances and standing military commitments of all types. 

Between Scylla and Charybdis: ASEAN and the U.S.-China Contest for the South China Sea

CIMSEC – ASEAN and its members are in an increasingly dangerous dilemma. They are under mounting pressure to choose between the U.S. and China in their competition for political and military preeminence in the region. In response, ASEAN member states are maneuvering to maintain their ‘neutrality’ and pursue ASEAN ‘centrality’ in international affairs affecting the region. Their perspectives and roles in this great power competition merit closer examination, as well as how they are adapting to it, and what—if anything—ASEAN can do.

The Pathway Toward Containment: Fleet Actions for the United States and ASEAN Plus 5

CIMSEC – The coalition model in the Gulf of Aden helped offset the investment the U.S. had to make in terms of military capability and national treasure. As global commerce routes travel through the Gulf of Aden, it rightfully took a globally-sourced solution to solve the situation. Now as the rules-based system is being challenged in the region of Southeast Asia, it should take a Southeast Asian solution, with outside partners offering help. Only with partners and allies can nations begin to push back the tide of revisionist China and uphold the international rule of law.

Unraveling China With Soft Balancing: Malaysia, ASEAN, and the South China Sea

CIMSEC – If China follows the international rule of law it will grow stronger and become more respected. Its growing integration with the region need not be accompanied by a growing sense of mistrust. China needs ASEAN to maintain its growth, and ASEAN needs China and the U.S. for both growth and security, respectively. Once this is understood and reflected in the policies of great powers, new dynamics will not only benefit ASEAN Members, but ultimately China and the U.S. as well.

The Mediterranean Sea Is One Dangerous Place

National Interest – James Holmes writes that Russia’s navy conducts live-fire exercises. Greek and Turkish ships collide while staking claims to undersea resources. Civil war rages in Libya and smolders in Syria, drawing in outside powers with competing agendas and little love for one another. European coast guards and navies struggle to stem a flood of refugees fleeing unrest in North Africa and the Levant. And on and on. While military and maritime folk rightly focus on managing events in maritime Asia, the headlines serve notice that the Mediterranean Sea is far from placid. Newsworthy events are commonplace of late.

A South Pacific Island-Led Approach to Regional Maritime Security

CIMSEC – Given the strong influence of the maritime space on the national economies and local communities within the South Pacific, the deleterious effects of non-traditional threats to human security in the maritime domain are of significant concern to the island nations.

The Great Fishing Competition

War on the Rocks – A Chinese fleet of 340 fishing trawlers just south of the Galapagos Islands is causing outrage from Quito to Washington. For Latin American nations like Ecuador, the presence of the state-subsidized distant-water fishing fleet offers a glimpse into the future of a dangerous combination: China’s increasing demand for resources, extractionist policies, disregard for maritime sovereignty, and irresponsible environmental practices. How can the United States best support regional partners like Ecuador, who despite siginificant economic ties to China are becoming increasingly aggravated at Chinese revisionist behavior off their shores? It is this simple: Follow their lead.

Navigating Sino-Russian Defense Cooperation

War on the Rocks – In recent years, however, cooperation between China and Russia has grown. The alignment of their interests and convergence of their efforts is amplifying the challenge they pose to the United States. This is especially true for China, which has been able to leverage its relationship with Moscow to fill gaps in its capabilities and complement its efforts to undermine U.S. global leadership.

Using Geospatial Data to Improve Maritime Domain Awareness in the Sulu and Celebes Seas

CIMSEC – Sprawling archipelagos and limited government resources make comprehensive maritime domain awareness (MDA) challenging in the Sulu and Celebes Seas. To improve their information gathering capabilities, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines have invested in advanced geospatial data acquisition technologies like unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and satellites. Integrating the resulting datasets into existing databases for an aggregate analysis greatly enhances regional MDA. Incorporating geospatial information provides authorities with a deeper understanding of the Sulu and Celebes Seas’ physical environment and how maleficent actors like insurgent groups, human smugglers, and arms traffickers threaten security. These information assets assist law enforcement agencies in prioritizing the deployment of their limited maritime assets and are some of the more critical capabilities in the regional toolkit for ocean governance.

Ocean Governance and Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea

CIMSEC – Ocean governance is not only obligatory but also compulsory on nations that are contiguous to the oceans and other major water bodies around the world.

South China Sea dispute: Australia says Beijing’s claims have no legal basis

BBC – Australia has formally rejected China’s territorial and maritime claims in the South China Sea, aligning itself more closely with the US as tensions rise.

Stop Seabed Mining Now

CIMSEC – The deep sea is rapidly approaching an era reminiscent of the gold rush period of the American West, when pioneers could potentially strike it big solely by venturing out to where few others wanted to go. The risk is high, but the rewards are potentially massive – if one could get seabed mining to scale. The problem is that nobody should be mining the seabed anytime soon. The looming environmental cost is monumental, and the race for seabed resources could reinvigorate any number of maritime disputes. Is seabed mining really worth the trouble?

India, Australia, and Containing the China Challenge

War on the Rocks – Australia’s strategy on engaging India has long revolved around the so-called “three Cs:” cricket, curry, and the Commonwealth. In light of the changing status of bilateral relations in 2020, let’s add a couple more Cs to the list: China, and containment of.

How Significant Is the New U.S. South China Sea Policy?

CSIS – The statement marks a significant clarification of prior U.S. positions but not a radical break from past policy. It makes explicit things that had been implied by previous administrations. And in that, it sets the stage for more effective diplomatic messaging and stronger responses to China’s harassment of its neighbors.