PUTIN READY FOR OFFENSE: UKRAINE
Catherine Harris, Frederick W. Kagan and Kimberly Kagan write: Russia continues to build up and prepare its military forces for possible offensive operations against Ukraine from the Crimean Peninsula and the east. […]ISW therefore assesses that Russia has the capability to go on the offensive in Ukraine imminently and is conducting military maneuvers consistent with that intent. – Institute for the Study of War
SYRIAN CONFLICT BECOME INTERNATIONALIST & CHALLENGES FOR THE NEXT DEFENSE SECRETARY
Isolationists won in Syria, but internationalists can prevail
Frederick W. Kagan | The Hill
Liberal and conservative internationalists must now make up their minds. Shall we continue with the mutual accusations, partisan bickering, and self-canceling rhetoric? Or shall we put aside our policy differences in defense of the principle that the US must remain engaged in the world?
Fredrick W. Kagan writes: Trump has set the retreat in motion with his decision to declare victory in Syria and withdraw, as well as to withdraw from Afghanistan for no clear reason whatsoever. The isolationists who have condemned the United States involvement in the Middle East and rest of the world for decades are about to get their wish. […]Our size and geographic advantages make our defeat improbable, yet those on both sides of the political aisle who see these dangers, as well as the need for America to rebuild a world in which we wish to live, must unite. – The Hill
U.S., TURKEY, SYRIA:
Will U.S. Exit From Syria Change Terrain of Turkey's Roadmap?
By Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor: “For almost four years, Ankara’s supreme priority in northern Syria has been to erode, if not totally eliminate, the military capacity of Kurdish militias it considers to be terrorists or terrorist-linked — specifically the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the People's Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey says is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.”
Israel Attacks Weapons Depot Near Syrian Capital
By Bassem Mroue, AP: “Israeli warplanes flying over Lebanon fired missiles toward areas near the Syrian capital of Damascus late Tuesday, hitting an arms depot and wounding three soldiers, Syrian state media reported, saying that most of the missiles were shot down by air defense units.”
DUERTE KILLS OFF CATHOLIC CLERGY
THE GERMAN FRANCO CRACKUP IS COMING
The Coming Franco-German Bust-Up
Mark Leonard sees the marriage at the center of the European Union collapsing just when it is needed the most.
Decision Time for Europe
Carl Bildt warns that the European Union's success in muddling through crises can no longer be taken for granted.
Bolivia demonstrates yet again why institutions matter
Ryan C. Berg | AEIdeas
AL-QAEDA IS GROWING THROUGHOUT THE ISLAMIC MAGHREB while iran sets off a missile in defiance
Iran has confirmed a recent ballistic missile test that was condemned by the United States. The semi-official Fars news agency on Tuesday quoted Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh as saying the test was an “important one.” Hajizadeh, who leads the Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace division, said the American outcry “indicates that the test was very important to them.” – Associated Press
Russia Sends 2 Nuclear-Capable Bombers to Venezuela
By Vladimir Isachenkov, AP: "Two Russian nuclear-capable strategic bombers arrived in Venezuela on Monday, a deployment that comes amid soaring Russia-U.S. tensions."
WHAT'S GERMANY AFTER MERKEL?
Succession Politics In Post-Merkel Germany
by Josef Joffe via The American Interest
While Europe’s key powers—Britain, France and Italy—are succumbing to the populists in the streets and in parliament, Germany is the default anchor of continuity and stability.
Merkel Protege Kramp-Karrenbauer Succeeds Her As German CDU Leader
quoting Josef Joffe via US News
Germany's Christian Democrats elected Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on Friday to replace Angela Merkel as party leader, a decision that moves her into pole position to succeed Europe's most influential leader as chancellor.
Merkel Protege Kramp-Karrenbauer Succeeds Her As German CDU Leader
quoting Josef Joffe via UK Reuters
Germany’s Christian Democrats elected Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on Friday to replace Angela Merkel as party leader, a decision that moves her into pole position to succeed Europe’s most influential leader as chancellor.
CHINA'S SUPERPOWER BIDS GO STEALTH WHILE SUPPLY CHAINS SEEK AN ALTERNATIVE TO CHINA IN VIETNAM
The stealth superpower
Oriana Skylar Mastro | Foreign Affairs
China has no interest in establishing a web of global alliances, sustaining a global military presence, sending troops thousands of miles from its borders, leading international institutions that would constrain its own behavior, or spreading its system of government abroad. But to focus on this reluctance, and the reassuring Chinese statements reflecting it, is a mistake.
Is the US-China economic relationship about to permanently shrink?
Derek Scissors | The International Economy
The US & China: A Colder Peace or Thucydides’ Trap?
In the race to lure companies looking for alternative sites amid the U.S.-China trade war, Vietnam wields a slew of advantages over its rivals. Vietnam was ranked No. 1 among seven emerging Asian countries as manufacturing destinations by Natixis SA, which looked at demographics, wages and electricity costs, rankings in doing business and logistics, and manufacturing as a share of total foreign direct investment. – Bloomberg
Paramilitary Activity: The Unintended Consequences of America’s Undeclared War Against Assad by Aaron Stein
Will Xi Jinping Tighten His Grip on Power in 2019? by Kerry Brown
New Horns of a Dilemma: How the Cold War Created Trump, Putin, and Xi Jinping by Arne Westad
Does a New US Goal for Syrian Training Portend a Longer Mission?
// Paulina Glass
The military's top general raised expectations for the Syrian Democratic Forces — and lowered them for a quick exit for U.S. troops.
MAY'S BREXIT FALTERS, HERE'S WHY
Brexit: 'No Deal' Is Ideal
Editorial of The New York Sun | January 16, 2019
Theresa May's Declaration of IndependenceWith Apologies to Thos. Jefferson etc.
Editorial of The New York Sun | December 11, 2018
How Theresa May blew Brexit
Shakespeare famously wrote of the “sceptered isle” of Britain acting as a moat “against the envy of less happier lands.” Lately, the less happier lands are winning in a rout….
European Union leaders on Wednesday called on Britain to give them a clear plan to split from Europe amid concern that the political chaos that led to a historic defeat for British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan could lead to an uncontrolled departure. May was widely expected to lose Tuesday’s vote in the British Parliament on the withdrawal agreement she negotiated with the E.U. – Washington Post
Prime Minister Theresa May narrowly survived a vote of no-confidence in Parliament on Wednesday, but that did little to quell the turmoil gripping the British government over her plan to leave the European Union, coming a day after she suffered a historic defeat on that proposal. – New York Times
TRADE WAR WITH CHINA HEATS UP OVER IRAN & THE LATEST POLICY IDEAS ON US CHINA RELATIONS
Xi walks a trade war tightrope
BY SEBASTIEN FALLETTI
Vocal pro-market voices are challenging Xi’s strategy as the Chinese Communist Party celebrates 40th anniversary of the opening up of the country
Meng arrest a huge provocation to China
US, China sleepwalking into a conflict at sea
Chinese intellectual property theft: Where trade policy meets security policy
Claude Barfield | AEIdeas
It is unlikely that China will ease its campaign of intellectual property theft, but the US should respond with precise, targeted responses rather than a self-defeating fortress mentality.
You can’t be pro-jobs without being pro-trade
Michael R. Strain | Bloomberg Opinion
The solution to the challenges brought by international trade is not to erect walls around the US. Instead, public policy needs to do a better job of helping workers manage the difficult adjustments that are required by a dynamic economy.
The trade deficit widens despite Trump’s best, misguided efforts
Desmond Lachman | The Hill
NIGERIA EMBODIES WHAT'S WRONG WITH US POLICY IN AFRICA FOR THE LONG WAR, AFRICA'S RISING MIDDLE CLASS & NEW AFRICOM WAR POLICY EMERGING
RUSSIA, UKRAINE & AZOV
AMERICAN CRISIS IN SCIENCE, ENGINEERING & WHAT TO THINK ABOUT AMAZON'S LATEST MOVE
The American crisis in science and engineering
EDWARD R DOUGHERTY
In a series of recent articles, David Goldman has argued that the United States needs to respond to the Chinese technological challenge by focusing university financial support on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and utilizing its national and industrial research laboratories to provide the innovation necessary to maintain industrial competitiveness. He asks us to look back to US president Dwight D Eisenhower’s response to Sputnik in the 1950s and president Ronald Reagan’s response to the...
Amazona in Crystal City: Threat and opportunity for the Pentagon
(War On The Rocks) Amazon’s recent announcement that it has chosen two locations for its second headquarters has been greeted with a general deflation of enthusiasm mixed with pique. Despite the Cinderella dreams of the many people who wanted the behemoth to choose a city beyond the Acela corridor, it looks like Amazon will use its magic wand to transform already glutted metropolitan areas into even more glutted metropolitan areas.
Huawei reveals the real trade war with China
(Bloomberg) If the U.S. loses its lead in furniture making, big deal. The same can't be said of high tech.
WHAT IS THE ALT-RIGHT IN EUROPE
Civilizationist Trends in Europe
David Horowitz Freedom Center
November 17, 2018
WHY TRUMP'S TARIFFS WON'T WORK, WHY CHINA TAKES PANAMA & THE STORY OF HOW CHINA FUNDS IRANIAN SUBVERSION
SOUTH SUDAN CONTINUES TO BOIL OVER
Amir Idris writes: South Sudan now trembles constantly from political instability. The United States should care because it has interconnected interests in South Sudan. These are focused on three strategic policy objectives: countering terrorism, utilizing development, and promoting democracy and governance. […]the United States must recognize the threat of changing regional dynamics, and seek to engage in finding solutions for sustainable peace in South Sudan that could present openings for U.S. democracy and governance programs in the region. – The Hill
Shabaab claims assassination of Somali generals
Shabaab killed two Somali generals who were leading a military offensive against the group in the Lower Shabelle region, south of Mogadishu.
Serbia’s prime minister suggested on Wednesday that any creation of a standing army in Kosovo could provoke a military intervention by Belgrade, two decades after Kosovo Albanians’ uprising against Serbian rule. – Reuters