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…

America’s Post-Oil Grand Strategy

Thomas P.M. Barnett – Thomas P.M. Barnett’s latest opinion on what America’s grand strategy should be going forward.

Reinforcing Deterrence on NATO’s Eastern Flank: Wargaming the Defense of the Baltics

RAND – Russia’s recent aggression against Ukraine has disrupted nearly a generation of relative peace and stability between Moscow and its Western neighbors and raised concerns about its larger intentions. From the perspective of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the threat to the three Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania — former Soviet republics, now member states that border Russian territory — may be the most problematic of these. In a series of war games conducted between summer 2014 and spring 2015, RAND Arroyo Center examined the shape and probable outcome of a near-term Russian invasion of the Baltic states. The games’ findings are unambiguous: As presently postured, NATO cannot successfully defend the territory of its most exposed members. Fortunately, it will not require Herculean effort to avoid such a failure. Further gaming indicates that a force of about seven brigades, including three heavy armored brigades — adequately supported by airpower, land-based fires, and other enablers on the ground and ready to fight at the onset of hostilities — could suffice to prevent the rapid overrun of the Baltic states.

Europe’s New Medieval Map

Wall Street Journal – Robert D. Kaplan writes that if you look at any map of Europe from the Middle Ages or the early modern era, before the Industrial Revolution, and you will be overwhelmed by its dizzying incoherence — all of those empires, kingdoms, confederations, minor states, “upper” this and “lower” that. It is a picture of a radically fractured world. Today’s Europe is, in effect, returning to such a map.

Military to Military

London Review of Books – Seymour M. Hersh on US intelligence sharing with the Syrians in the Syrian war.

Why America isn’t winning its wars

Christian Science Monitor – It’s easy to blame presidents for a lack of strategy, but a growing number of officials are saying that the fault lies with a lack of vision in the Pentagon.

The Economics of War With China: This Will Hurt You More Than It Hurts Me

War on the Rocks – The robust trade relationship between the United States and China dwarfs the limited trade between the United States and the Soviet Union, leading many analysts to conclude that open conflict today is unrealistic because of a presumed equal economic impact on both sides. A cursory analysis reveals that the reality is entirely different: Sino–American economic ties are asymmetrically interdependent rather than mutually dependent. This would strongly favor the United States in any conflict.

Is China Pursuing Counter-Intervention?

Washington Quarterly – The term “counter-invention” has become burdened with conflated meanings and thus controversial in describing aspects of Chinese national and military strategy. Yet, the term should be retained although refined in two ways to help U.S. policymakers and planners devise appropriate responses to Chinese behavior aimed at undermining U.S. leadership in Asia.

Building a Mediterranean Arc of Stability for America’s Long War

USNI News – As it turns to rely on airpower for solutions to national security problems, the United States would be well served to reconsider the placement of additional overseas basing infrastructure on territories held by consistent and reliable allies. The reinforcement and expansion of existing airbases along NATO’s southern flank will greatly enhance our ability to respond to emerging threats and maintain a long-term presence at acceptable cost.

The Turkish-ISIS Alliance

Traditional Right – William Lind with an interesting insight on why did Turkey shoot down a Russian fighter-bomber.

The Key to Henry Kissinger’s Success

The Atlantic – The statesman understood something most diplomats don’t: history—and how to apply it.

The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War?

The Atlantic – In 12 of 16 past cases in which a rising power has confronted a ruling power, the result has been bloodshed.

Yours, Mine, and Moscow’s: Breaking Down Russia’s Latest Arctic Claims

USNI – On August 4th, the Russian Federation’s Foreign Ministry reported that it had resubmitted its claim to a vast swath (more than 1.2 million square kilometers, including the North Pole) of the rapidly changing and potentially lucrative Arctic to the United Nations. In 2002, Russia put forth a similar claim, but it was rejected based on lack of sufficient support. This latest petition, however, is supported by “ample scientific data collected in years of arctic research,” according to Moscow.