Xi Jinping’s Strategy of Conflict
By Dan Blumenthal & Cindy Chen, 1945: "As the People’s Republic of China marks its 20th party congress this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping is poised to shepherd both the Chinese Communist Party and the nation into a new and dangerous era."
Why Biden’s National Security Strategy Is Destined to Fail
By Mackenzie Eaglen, 1945: "The Biden administration’s newly released National Security Strategy (NSS) calls for a military that can essentially do it all – from “backstopping diplomacy, confronting aggression, deterring conflict,” to fighting and winning the nation’s wars."
Truth or consequences The Saudi crown prince has some legitimate grievances
Permanent Rupture: The European-Russian Energy Relationship Has Ended with Nord Stream, by Emily Holland
Iraq’s political class must address 'crisis of trust,' says PM
In an exclusive interview, Mustafa al-Kadhimi also discusses Iraq’s shift to regional hub for diplomacy and economic progress despite strong political headwinds.
Latest PRO Memo: NEOM’s ambitious concepts present funding, feasibility challenges for Saudi Arabia
Robert Mogielnicki examines the likely scenarios for the trajectory of Saudi Arabia's planned futuristic megacity.
Arrest of officials, politicians in Tunisia raises controversy
Tunisian authorities arrested a number of officials linked to Ennahda, the main opposing party to President Kais Saied, in connection with the deportation of Tunisians to fight in Syria.
Until He Ran Out of Fight: How Gorbachev’s Convictions Shaped the End of the Cold War
, by James Graham Wilson
Rumors Are Swirling That Iran’s Khamenei Is Near Death. Time to Pause Nuke Negotiations.
Michael Rubin | 19fortyfive.com
The US Should Support the Tigray Defense Forces
Michael Rubin | 19fortyfive.com
The Threat of Terror at Home and Abroad
Katherine Zimmerman | Council on Foreign Relations
Invoking the major questions doctrine is the wrong way to enforce nondelegation concerns.
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Gradually and Then Suddenly: Explaining the Navy’s Strategic Bankruptcy, by Christopher Dougherty ~ from Doyle Hodges
China Seeks ‘Naval Outpost’ in Nicaragua To Threaten U.S., Taiwan Warns
By Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner: "China aspires to open a “naval outpost” in Nicaragua as part of a plan to dominate the Indo-Pacific, Taiwan has warned."
Opposite Sides of the COIN:
Understanding Unlikely Insurgent Successes and Failures
By Joshua Damir, Strategy Bridge: "There appears little continuity in what leads insurgents to victory and what results instead in their failure."
Time to Rethink America’s Nuclear Strategy
By Francis J. Gavin, Foreign Affairs: "How to Learn the Right Lessons From the Cold War"
Funding the Indo-Pacific Pivot
By Rob Wittman, War on the Rocks: ". . . U.S. efforts to truly align resources accordingly have been frustrated since President Barack Obama’s administration first acknowledged that a shift was required."
Muqtada al-Sadr Retires: What Next in Iraq? by Seth J. Frantzman
The Jerusalem Post
August 30, 2022
Is Iraq on the brink of a new civil war?
Followers of Iraqi Shi'a cleric and political leader Muqtada al-Sadr and those of the Iran-aligned Coordination Framework clashed in downtown Baghdad on Aug. 29. Iraqis spent that evening wondering whether the country was descending into an intra-Shi'a civil war.
Pakistan at 75: The clock has run out for business as usual
On Aug. 14, Pakistan marked its 75th independence day, like many of the preceding 74, in a state of political and economic crisis. Days later, epic floods would befall the country, submerging a third of it under water. Pakistan can no longer afford business as usual.
On 9/11 Anniversary, End the Self-Delusion About America’s Enemies
Al Qaeda once again has a safe haven in Afghanistan, endangering Americans.
Egypt to issue bonds in China’s currency yuan
The US dollar may be losing its dominance in the Middle East to the yuan.
Netanyahu orchestrates merger between far-right Israeli parties
In an effort to guarantee a 61-seat majority at the Nov. 1 elections, opposition head Benjamin Netanyahu mediated and pushed far-right Religious Zionism and ultranationalist Itamar Ben-Gvir to run on one ticket.
How realistic is Erdogan’s vision for security belt from Syria to Iraq?
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he is bent on creating an “end-to-end” security belt along Turkey’s southern borders with Syria and Iraq — a vision too ambitious given the political and topographic conditions of the areas in question.
Oman’s economy surges with higher oil prices, fiscal reform
The Omani economy is benefiting from both higher oil and gas revenues and the country’s fiscal policies and discipline.
Amid increasing tensions between militias, Muqtada al-Sadr calls for reforming the PMU
Rival Shiite armed factions took their fight to Iraq’s key port city as leaders officially called for calm and closed offices.
Turkey’s inflation tops 80% as poverty deepens
Even though Turkey’s economy continued to expand in the second quarter, the share of payments to employees dropped to the lowest level since Erdogan’s party came to power two decades ago.
Western Sahara dispute spills into Tunisia
A diplomatic crisis is brewing in the Maghreb region amid tension between Morocco and Tunisia after President Kais Saied received the leader of the Polisario Front.
Power struggle continues in Libya
Recent deadly clashes have alarmed regional and international powers, as civilians fear displacement and a shortage of medicine and food.
The Case Against Assad
by Nawaf Obaid, Joel D. Rayburn via The CaravanFor more than eleven years there has been precious little accountability as Bashar al-Assad and his Syrian regime have committed the worst atrocities of the twenty-first century, but mounting documentary evidence of Assad’s deliberate policy of mass murder and torture may change that.
Syria: A Dictatorial Regime And Its Continuing Crimes
by Anwar Al-Bunni Via The CaravanThe Syrian regime is guilty of terrible war crimes - the killing of civilians, destruction of property, and the use of chemical weapons against defenseless civilian populations.
Erdoğan Protects ISIS Network in Turkey by Abdullah Bozkurt
September 5, 2022
The Underestimated Insurgency: African States at Risk for Salafi-Jihadi Insurgencies
Emily Estelle | American Enterprise Institute
The proliferation and expansion of African Salafi-jihadi groups will fuel regional disorder, humanitarian crises, and a persistent and likely increasing global terror threat.
The Economic Cost of Terrorism in Africa
The Underestimated Insurgency: African States at Risk for Salafi-Jihadi Insurgencies
The Next Salafi-Jihadi Wave: Capabilities, Resources, and Opportunity
Confronting Islamist Insurgencies in Africa: The Case of the Islamic State in Mozambique
Vasilis Petropoulos writes: Algeria is perhaps in the most critical period in its diplomatic history since the end of the civil war in the 1990s. Pressing challenges on one side and promising opportunities on the other form the current geopolitical environment. Algeria must recognize this, and that as the war in Ukraine continues to reshape broader multilateral relations, Algiers must determine whether it maintains neutrality or drifts further into the revisionist camp—a decision that will affect its position in the regional and the international systems. – Washington Institute
Ruodan Xu writes: Despite its many advantages and Western countries’ support, it is unlikely that India can replace China in the global manufacturing supply chain for the foreseeable future. […]Politically, India’s market restrictions make its business environment less favorable and decrease its industrial labor supply. Meanwhile, protectionist traditions hinder India’s ability to adopt an export-oriented growth model and integrate itself into the global supply chain. – The National Interest
Rupert Stone writes: Many expressed frustration with Pakistan’s role in the twenty-year Afghan conflict and must have hoped that the United States could finally hit delete on the relationship when the war ended. But Islamabad is now emerging as the closest thing the West has to a counterterrorism partner among Afghanistan’s immediate neighbors. – The National Interest
DB Des Roches writes: The battlefield success of the Patriot and THAAD systems is undeniable. These are truly game-changing weapons. But they still rely on trained and adaptable operators who can sense and understand developments in warfare and minimize the confusion of the battlefield. As always in warfare, the victory is dependent upon the soldier as well as his equipment. Hopefully, the professional development of regional air-defense forces will continue to keep pace with equipment improvements. – Middle East Institute
Israeli military forces killed Palestinian militant Ibrahim al-Nabulsi on Tuesday following a prolonged exchange of fire, along with another militant and a 16-year-old. At least 40 others were injured, including four in serious and critical condition, according to Palestinian reports. – Haaretz
Nilofar Sakhi writes: The Taliban takeover has emboldened terrorist groups and provided a safe haven for their reorganization. Prominent terrorist groups include Tehrek-Taliban Pakistan, an alliance of militant networks with historically close ties to Al Qaeda; Jamaat Ansarullah, an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist organization in Tajikistan; and the Haqqani Network, which has ties to Al Qaeda and is one of the most lethal and sophisticated insurgent groups. – The National Interest
The ‘forever war’ against the West
America wins a battle against al Qaeda, Israel against Islamic Jihad
“Win the War Before the War?”: A French Perspective on Cognitive Warfare, by David Pappalardo
States Take the Initiative
The already-high-stakes 2022 election season will also feature a host of state ballot measures on hot-button issues.
Chinese Leaders Know They Have No Claim to Taiwan
Michael Rubin | National Interest
Joe Biden’s top aides may encourage Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to back down, but this would be a mistake.
If one wants to avoid the pitfalls of integralist or progressivie statism, De Regno’s vision of politics has much to teach us.
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MARK P. MILLS
All of the Above
The right energy strategy for today’s uncertain conditions doesn’t pick favorites
Why Millennials Are Dropping Out
Joel Kotkin, Unherd
Turkish Aggression Threatens Syria's Most Vulnerable
by Clifford Smith, Richard Ghazal and Diliman Abdulkader
The National Interest
July 20, 2022
The Liberation of the Arabs From the Global Left
by Hussein Aboubakr Mansour
July 11, 2022
Explainer: How Sadr's Shiite rivals became largest bloc in Iraq's parliament
General strike in Tunisia prompts warnings of imminent social tension
Ultranationalist lawmaker's popularity soars among Israeli ultra-Orthodox
The ultra-Orthodox parties are more concerned about ultranationalist lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir, who appears to enjoy growing popularity among their voters, than anti-clerical politicians like Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman.
Putin: From Frank Sinatra to Leonid Brezhnev by Amir Taheri
Arab political party unprepared for new elections in Israel
If new elections are called this week, the opposition Joint List will be hard pressed to convince its electorate it has its own agenda worth supporting.
A Conservative Revolutionary
Brad Littlejohn | National Affairs
As conservatives today confront unhappy election results, along with rampant atheism and fanaticism in the halls of power, it's time they learned anew from John Jay's serene confidence and tireless labors to give a fractured nation a new lease on life.
Price Stability Is More Than Enough for the Fed—No New Mandates
Paul H. Kupiec | Hill
Assigning the Fed more mandates, especially ones as politically charged as combating climate change, implementing an “equity” agenda, and designing and issuing a new retail Federal Reserve digital dollar, would guarantee it fails on its primary task of achieving price stability with maximum employment.
Michael Rubin writes: His strategy has backfired. Iran has replenished its foreign reserves. Its hijacking of ships and hostage-taking have resumed. Its proxies struck ever deeper at critical infrastructure in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and its nuclear program is at risk of a breakout. Iranian diplomats avoid meeting their American counterparts directly. At the most recent talks in Qatar, Iranian diplomats showed zero interest in reaching an agreement. – Washington Examiner
Bryan Clark writes: A naval force with greater adaptability, sustainability, and scalability would allow U.S. leaders to surprise Beijing and calibrate responses to Chinese hybrid or gray zone offensives. This would enable an approach to naval operations like that used by U.S. Cyber Command in its strategy of forward defense. By persistently engaging opposing operators and hackers inside their networks, U.S. cyber forces keep adversaries on the defensive, learn enemy tactics and capabilities, and create uncertainty for opposing leaders. – U.S. Naval Institute
The Divided Kingdom? by helen dale
Devolution's quasi-federalism may end up cracking the Union apart.
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In spite of its present difficulties, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will remain united.
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by helen dale
A lawyer's response to psychiatrist, a philosopher, and an historian about the state of the United Kingdom.
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Avoided the Fate of Russia's Military Contractors, So Far
China's approach to private security contractors is much more limited in scope and effects than Russia's use of private military contractors. But indicators suggest that Chinese planners see benefits in expanding and maturing China's use of private contractors, which creates the potential for dangerous results for China and the rest of the world. Read more »
Building Better Government Acquisition Programs: Q&A with William Shelton
A "Time Capsule" From Mont Pelerin, 1947
Seth J. Frantzman writes: Qatar plays a kind of double game, pretending that its interest is merely de-escalation, while also trying to be friends with all sides. […]The question for countries in the region and the US is whether Qatar’s double-game can also actually bring real results or if the talk of de-escalation is also a way to position Qatar as the key to every conflict so as to increase its power and profit. – Jerusalem Post
Dustin Walker writes: For too long, the Pentagon has moved too slowly to achieve its ambitions of a distributed and resilient force posture in the Indo-Pacific, with dangerous consequences for American security. Urgent change at a significant scale is required, and that starts with the secretary of defense declaring, “I am Spike.” – War on the Rocks
Erdoğan's Neo-Ottoman Ambitions Turning Eastward by Burak Bekdil
Turkey’s central bank continues window dressing with currency swaps
Hit by a foreign reserves drain, Turkey’s central bank eyes fresh currency swap deals, including with the central banks of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Libya.
Why Putin Has Not Been Deterred
by Victor Davis Hanson via American Greatness
Exasperated Americans fear Vladimir Putin is deterred neither by sanctions nor by arms sales but follows only his own sense of cost-to-benefit self-interest.
How Russian moves in Syria are linked to Moscow's Ukraine strategy
Large-scale exercises in the Mediterranean are meant both to increase capabilities in Syria and to send a message to NATO.
Iranian Attacks in Iraq Reflect Weakness, Disarray by Jonathan Spyer
The Jerusalem Post
January 20, 2022
The Missing Component in US Counterterrorism Efforts in Africa
Michael Rubin | RealClearDefense
Éric Zemmour: France's Last Chance for Survival? by Guy Millière
Hal Brands argues in Foreign Affairs that America has become an "overstretched superpower." As threats from Russia and China mount, he thinks it's clear that the "relentless diplomacy" adopted by the Biden administration is not sufficient to protect American interests and credibility around the world. The US, Brands says, can do "more with less" by reevaluating its capacity to wage two wars at once.
Theodore Roosevelt: Back to the Badlands
Editorial of The New York Sun | January 21, 2022
Three steps to help defense innovation break free from its shackles
(Defense News) The United States simply cannot meet the national security challenges it faces over the next decade if the resource allocation process is not brought into the 21st century.
A Year of Unforced Errors for Biden in the Middle East
Jonathan Schanzer — The Dispatch
One year into his presidency, Joe Biden endeavors to pivot away from the Middle East. The Middle East simply won’t let him. Like his predecessors, the president continues to struggle with the right approach to this important and perilous region. To date, many of Biden’s approaches have amounted to unforced errors. A number of them are likely to haunt him. Afghanistan: Though the country is not technically not part of the Middle East, Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan last year continues to impact how states in that region view America’s role in their neighborhood. Read
US Sanctions Bosnian Serb Leader Dodik. The US Treasury Department imposed new targeted sanctions on Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik and other officials for acts of corruption and destabilization in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The department also sanctioned media outlet Alternativna Television for links to Dodik. Bosnian Serb leaders have been working to withdraw Serbian territories from state institutions, reviving concerns of possible Bosnian disintegration.
Al Jazeera Politico Reuters
North Korea Says Hypersonic Missile Tested. North Korea claims it successfully launched a hypersonic missile on Wednesday as part of its “strategic” military modernization efforts, according to state media. It is the North’s second known test-launch of a hypersonic missile, with its first occurring last September. The launch indicates Pyongyang will continue to focus on military development rather than return to stalled disarmament talks. Associated Press Reuters Wall Street Journa
The new conquistadores U.S. adversaries are becoming South American hegemons
The Case For Colonialism In The Middle East
by Bruce Gilley via The Caravan Notebook
Modern European colonialism in the Middle East took many forms and intensities, making impossible any generalizations about its effects. Therefore, the dominant anticolonial mindset that grips studies of the region is misplaced. Any case for colonialism in the Middle East rests on evidence from places that were creations of colonialism or where deterioration of the colonial legacy has been directly proportional to the degree of postcolonial catastrophe.
Gordon G. Chang writes: The Chinese military, from all indications, is now building a nuclear “war-fighting” capability, probably hoping to intimidate others into submission. […]There is no defense against hypersonic glide vehicles. Soon, China will be able to drop a nuke on America in the blink of an eye. Americans think strategic nuclear weapons are unusable. Chinese strategists obviously do not agree. – Newsweek
Succeeding Xi Jinping by Nan Li
What to Expect When You’re Expecting a National Defense Strategy
by Thomas Spoehr, Bradley Bowman, Bryan Clark, and Mackenzie Eaglen
Algerian court sentences two ex-PMs
An Algerian court on Monday handed down additional prison sentences for two former prime ministers charged in a major corruption case. Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal were sentenced to six and five years, respectively, for money laundering, wasting public money and abuse of office. In December 2019, a court sentenced Ouyahia to 15 years in prison and Sellal to 12 years on charges of corruption in financing the election campaign of late President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Mass protests erupted in 2019 against Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth term, forcing him to resign. Despite his exit from politics, Algerians continued to demand the trial of figures linked to the former regime. Read More
To Deter China, Relearn The Lost Art of Dissuasion
Threats of denial or punishment will not deter a peer adversary fighting at home.
AUKUS: Good Goals, Bad Implementation
Now begins the real work for the United States and its democratic allies: cooperating to strengthen their eroding deterrence in the Indo-Pacific
Nagorno-Karabakh: A year of US failure in the South Caucasus
Michael Rubin | The National Interest
Treat Pakistan like China on military and sensitive exports
Michael Rubin | Washington Examiner
Going Back to the Future on Defense Acquisition
By Christine Fox & Sarah Stevenson , Proceedings: "The U.S. Navy’s submarine community was in near-crisis; its long superiority in acoustics detection fading."
China Tests Both Taiwan and the U.S.
By Seth Cropsey & Harry Halem, RealClearDefense: "PLA incursions into Taiwanese airspace should come as no surprise to observers of international events. In 2020, PLA aircraft violated Taiwanese airspace 380 times on 91 separate days."
America Cannot Take On China and Russia Simultaneously
By David T. Pyne, The National Interest: “U.S. concerns about the risks of fighting a coming war with Russia and China are well-grounded, given it is unprepared to fight even a purely conventional war with them.”
The Inevitability of Tragedy
By Mark Schell, Strategy Bridge: “Few public figures generated as much controversy in the last half of the 20th century as Kissinger, a man admired by some and reviled by others for his substantial role in shaping U.S. foreign policy."
Five Eyes wide shut
Zack Cooper | Korea on Point
Leaders in Washington and Seoul must be realistic that adding South Korea to the Five Eyes is ultimately unlikely. Instead, Seoul’s best opportunity for closer intelligence sharing is with its neighbors in East Asia, not the Five Eyes countries.