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.

World War II Teaches Us How World War III Could Happen (And Would Be Hell)

National Interest – Bottom line, there’s a whiff of the 1930s in the air in East Asia today.

The South China Sea Is Overrated

USNI Proceedings – Assigning the South China Sea geostrategic importance based on its popular sea lanes or assumed oil and gas reserves is suspect.

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.

Strategy on Top of the World Part 1: The Outlook for Arctic Competition

CIMSEC – The Arctic, with great potential for development and cooperation, is also a theater of growing tension. For this reason, the U.S. must give much greater priority to the Arctic.

What Does Putin Really Want?

New York Times Magazine – Russia is dead set on being a global power. But what looks like grand strategy is often improvisation — amid America’s retreat.

China and Russia Want to Control the ‘World Island’

Bloomberg – Increasing military cooperation helps both sides now, but in the long run Beijing will rule.

From Engagement to Rivalry: Tools to Compete with China

Texas National Security Review – To arrive at a new consensus, the United States needs to address the weaknesses in Americans’ knowledge of China while rethinking the connections between the ways China is analyzed and how policy is made.

China’s Multifaceted Arctic Strategy

War on the Rocks – At the recent Arctic Council ministerial meeting in Finland, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo proclaimed that the Arctic “has become an arena for power and for competition.” He singled out China, saying, “China’s words and actions raise doubts about its intentions” in the region.

Pacific Island Nations Want More U.S. Engagement

USNI News – Islanders have the impression they “have been tacked on at the end,” as an “afterthought” when the United States announces a strategy that covers Oceania.

National Security Risks Are Rising With Sea Levels

Bloomberg – A study says climate change will cause 1 million species to go extinct. It could also lead to war.

Persian Gulf is vital enough for US to go to war

The Hill – Would America fight if Iran closes the Persian Gulf to shipping? Confides the Magic 8-Ball: “Signs point to yes.” Presidential administrations of both parties long have reserved the right to use force in the Gulf region when vital diplomatic, economic or military interests are in peril. And they always seem to be in peril in the Gulf.

Hiding in Plain Sight: Chinese Expansion in Southeast Asia

War on the Rocks – Beijing’s geopolitical moves continue to obfuscate its larger designs, surprise observers, and render the United States and its allies reactive. The prospect of a Chinese naval base in Cambodia offers a case in point.

U.S. Advance and Russia’s Deep Concerns: The Operations Center in Ochakiv

USNI Blog – Russia has been carefully observing the activities of the U.S and British navies in the Black Sea region. It protested through diplomatic channels that the main thrust of Sea Breeze 2018, a Black Sea exercise with Ukraine, was anti-Russian. And according to the Russian Institute of Strategic Research, it was not a coincidence when after Sea Breeze 2017, the United States revealed plans to build a maritime operations center in Ochakiv, a small city located between Crimea and Odessa at the mouth of the Dnieper River.

China’s Arctic Policy and its Potential Impact on Canada’s Arctic Security

CIMSEC – China’s Arctic policy has to be examined in the context of its domestic politics and its geopolitical and geostrategic concerns.

The Great Game Moves to Sea: Tripolar Competition in the Indian Ocean Region

War on the Rocks – Three major powers — which together account for nearly half of the global economy — are vying for influence in the Indian Ocean arena. India, China, and the United States each view the region through their own geostrategic frameworks, ensuring intense jostling at best or conflict at worst. India has the “Security and Growth for all the Region” framework, a combination of its Act (or Look) East and the Think West policies. China has the Maritime Silk Road, which is half of the Belt and Road Initiative. The United States has the Indo-Pacific Strategy (also known as the Free and Open Indo Pacific), a natural successor to the Asia-Pacific rebalance.

Sister Islands in the Indian Ocean Region: Linking the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to La Reunion

War on the Rocks – History has time and again highlighted the importance of islands in establishing naval dominance. In the 21st century, maritime affairs have returned to prominence on the geopolitical stage. As countries debate an emerging security architecture in the Indo-Pacific, a key area is missing from the discussion: the role of islands. Much as they did in the past, islands will come to play a critical role in shaping the new order in the Indian Ocean region.

Niall Ferguson: This is what happens if China wins the new cold war

Financial Review – The winter of a new cold war is coming between the US and China, renowned Hoover Institution and Harvard historian Niall Ferguson warned this week. Winning it might decide the 2020 US election. Losing it might be the end of a US dollar-dominated global financial system, if not worse.

Is the United States about to lose control of its secretive Diego Garcia military base?

CNN – The secretive Diego Garcia military base may be 1,000 miles from the nearest continent, but it has all the trappings of a modern American town…

China’s Aging Population Is a Major Threat to Its Future

Time – Amateurs talk tactics, generals talk logistics – is China’s looming demographic crisis a reason why it is not a long term threat to the U.S.?

A New Cold War Has Begun

Foreign Policy – Robert D. Kaplan argues that the United States and China will be locked in a contest for decades. But Washington can win if it stays more patient than Beijing.

Why Russia is swallowing the Black Sea and won’t stop until it has ‘choked out Ukraine’

Army Times – The Kremlin has proved that geographic boundaries can be redrawn without much more than stern words from the West. But absent harsher measures and greater push-back, the former commander of U.S. Army Europe warns that the Russian Federation won’t let up.

5 Big National Security Predictions for 2019

National Interest – James Holmes says trouble with Russia and China top the list.