03/21/2021 News & Commentary – National Security
News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Daniel Riggs. 1. Japan, U.S. defense chiefs affirm cooperation over Taiwan emergency
2. GOP Hawks Warn against Repealing Iraq War Resolution ahead of Vote 3. The Clearest Sign the Pandemic Could Get Worse 4. Facing vaccine skepticism, one corner of the Army is trying something new
5. Looking for a Non-Kinetic Win? Invest in a Public Affairs Paradigm Shift 6. Opinion | The Pentagon is using China as an excuse for huge new budgets
7. In Syria, US Commanders Hold the Line — and Wait for Biden 8. Opinion | Asian-Americans Are Scared for a Reason 9. Duterte ‘happy’ to go to jail for killing human rights activists
10. Soldier Fights for Her Life to Serve in US Army 11. The Politics Behind China’s Belt and Road Initiative 12. State’s Influence on Foreign Policy: Is This Really as Good as It Gets?
13. The US and China are preparing for war — and Australia is caught in the crosshairs 14. Biden’s grand strategy for U.S.-China contested islands 15. Iran threatens US Army base and top general
16. Sparks Fly In The Alaska Snow – OpEd 17. Your Addiction to Outrage is Ruining Your Life 18. Rich Countries Signed Away a Chance to Vaccinate the World
1. Japan, U.S. defense chiefs affirm cooperation over Taiwan emergency asia.nikkei.com . March 21, 2021
Excerpt: “Tokyo has been reviewing the feasibility of issuing an SDF dispatch order to protect U.S. warships and military planes in case of a crisis between China and Taiwan given the strait’s geographical proximity and the possibility of an armed conflict there affecting the safety of Japanese citizens.” 2. GOP Hawks Warn against Repealing Iraq War Resolution ahead of Vote National Review Online . by Jimmy Quinn .
March 20, 2021 I think there are big differences between the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs. I wonder how far Congress is willing to go on this?
Conclusion:” If one thing is clear, though, it’s that Congress, which once laid dormant as the executive’s war powers ballooned, has entered a period of heightened interested in war powers reform — and this time, it might result in some concrete changes.” 3. The Clearest Sign the Pandemic Could Get Worse defenseone.com . by The COVID Tracking Project
Conclusion: In months past, we might have been able to make educated guesses about what might happen next as the situation worsens in Detroit: We would expect to see cases and hospitalizations increase statewide and also rise elsewhere in the region, as when the Dakotas and Wisconsin acted as sentinels for the deadly third surge of cases over the winter. We would also have seen deaths soar several weeks after cases rose, especially within nursing homes. But Michigan’s surge arrives in a national landscape altered by new viral variants and more than 100 million immune systems strengthened by vaccination.
We anticipate that state and federal vaccination efforts will increase in and around Detroit–and across the country–fast enough to prevent a regional or national reversal of our hard-won progress. What the numbers incontrovertibly show, however, is that we’re not going to see COVID-19 immediately disappear. As public-health experts have suggested for months, there will be continuing outbreaks this spring–likely as a result of B.1.1.7 becoming the dominant virus.
Now the question is how bad they’ll get and how far they’ll spread. 4. Facing vaccine skepticism, one corner of the Army is trying something new The Washington Post .by Alex Horton .
March 19, 2021 This is what leadership is all about. I hope it will increase the number of military personnel who will get vaccinated. 5. Looking for a Non-Kinetic Win?
Invest in a Public Affairs Paradigm Shift cimsec.org . by Matthew Stroup . March 20, 2021
The best PAOs I have known and served with (just like the best IO and PSYOP personnel) were strategic thinkers. They have to have a broad understanding of strategy and operational art. It is not just about being able to engage with the media. It is about helping to tell the right stories about our military operations and how they support our national security. It is interesting how the author brings in Peter Singer’s work to this essay. 6. Opinion | The Pentagon is using China as an excuse for huge new budgets
The Washington Post . by Fareed Zakaria . March 18, 2021 These number comparisons are always suspect.
But I do like this except: And the United States deploys this power using a vast network of some 800 overseas bases. China has three. China’s defense budget is around £200 billion, not even a third as large as that of the United States. Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution notes that “if China were in NATO, we would berate it for inadequate burden-sharing, since its military outlays fall well below NATO’s 2 percent minimum.”
7. In Syria, US Commanders Hold the Line — and Wait for Biden defenseone.com . by Katie Bo Williams . March 18, 2021
Excerpts: “Senior leaders and service members alike say the relationship with the SDF, damaged when Trump withdrew U.S. troops in advance of the Turkish incursion, has recovered. There are SDF fighters on every patrol, although they ride in their own pickup trucks and it is the Americans that lead the engagement in Hemzebeg.
We lost some places because of you, Stone is told by the villagers. But Erdogan is the real threat, the men say, and we need you. She is invited in for tea, but declines.
If the convoy is to be back on the small, isolated base before dark, they must leave now. Another patrol will head out the next day. “It’s remained the same,” Calvert said, asked if he had received new guidance from Washington after Biden’s inauguration on Jan.
20. “The policies in Syria are still the same.” 8. Opinion | Asian-Americans Are Scared for a Reason The New York Times . by the Editorial Board .
March 18, 2021 9. Duterte ‘happy’ to go to jail for killing human rights activists rappler.com .
Pia Randa . March 18, 2021 Hard to comment on the craziness of Duterte.
10. Soldier Fights for Her Life to Serve in US Army army.mil . by Liane Hatch .
March 18, 2021 An incredible story of the journey of an American who became an American soldier. This is what makes America great always. 11. The Politics Behind China’s Belt and Road Initiative
thewire.in . by Prem Shankar Jha Good overview and background on One Belt One Road updated from last summer. 12. State’s Influence on Foreign Policy: Is This Really as Good as It Gets?
afsa.org . by Keith W. Mines Excerpts:
“In the end, the system is ever in flux, and each change in administration presents new opportunities. There are immense challenges ahead for our country and for the Foreign Service, and there are those days when it might seem that the execution of policies more creative and politically connected individuals devise is more than sufficient. But the assessment that “many of the most serious challenges the United States will face in 2021 and beyond will require our diplomats to take the lead” causes the Belfer Center report authors to urge the president and Congress to “restore the State Department’s lead role in … foreign policy.”
They are mindful, as we all are, that exclusion of the organization that has had the most direct connection with the issues being decided–whose members meet frequently with the foreign minister, imbibe the smell of the foreign prison cell, drink tea with warlords and tepid bottles of Coke with gang leaders, observe the voting at the polling station, walk the factory floor–would be foolish. There is a good amount of rebuilding to be done, and some risks to be taken; but, meanwhile, we should keep our dish right side up and grab the opportunities for greater policy influence as they come. As George Kennan put it: “If State doesn’t take the initiative, others will.”
13. The US and China are preparing for war — and Australia is caught in the crosshairs ABC.net.au . by Stan Grant . March 20, 2021
Excerpts: “For all America’s economic and military might, it is a deeply damaged nation seeking to recapture its former glory in a world where it meets a rival of enormous and growing strength. China remembers the Korean War while America tries to forget it.
The ghosts of wars past are stirring again. Yet there is another lesson of history: America helped open up China; its markets made China rich. China even at its most bellicose and belligerent knows war with America would be catastrophic.
The two nations have been better as “friends” than “enemies”. The US and China are preparing for war — and Australia is caught in the crosshairs.” 14. Biden’s grand strategy for U.S.-China contested islands
washingtontimes.com . by John Stilides Excerpts: “A Chinese military assault near the island chain’s shipping lanes could lead to a cutoff of Chinese maritime access to the Indian Ocean’s maritime superhighway, damaging its domestic economy and triggering massive anti-CCP social unrest.
India needs credible national and allied naval counter-forces to anti-ship ballistic missiles based in western China to secure its regional interests and future defense capabilities with confidence. Mr. Biden and other world leaders focused on the key geopolitical and geo-economic issues of the day need to keep sharp eyes on these island contests to prevent seemingly minor diplomatic disputes from escalating into major strategic crises.”
15. Iran threatens US Army base and top general Daily Mail . by Associated Press . March 21, 2021
Now the recent request for increased security and control of boat traffic on the Potomac near Fort McNair makes sense. But why are the Iranians focused on the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army???? (assuming the intelligence is accurate. 16. Sparks Fly In The Alaska Snow – OpEd
eurasiareview.com . by Andrew Hammond . March 21, 2021 Can there be any optimism?
Excerpts: “Amid all the disagreements, what remains unclear is the degree to which the Biden team may seek to work with Beijing in areas where there are clearly defined common interests, such as climate change. Tackling global warming is a key political priority of both nations and there may be a window of opportunity for a US-China initiative in this area before the UK-hosted UN climate summit in November.
It is sometimes forgotten that a key precursor for the Paris deal in 2015 was a US-China agreement. So, with climate-skeptic Donald Trump out of the White House, this could become a rejuvenated topic of conversation for Beijing and Washington. Another possible area of collaboration, building on the Stage 1 trade deal negotiated in 2018 and 2019, is the possibility of further economic agreements between the two.
The scope for this is underlined by the fact that the Trump agreement covers few of the areas where China is often accused of misdemeanors, from currency manipulation to intellectual property theft. If the two sides can find such areas of agreement, it will demonstrate that the direction of Washington’s relations with Beijing need not inevitably be a force for greater global tension. Moreover, this may even provide a pathway toward a deeper, strategic partnership that underpins relations in the post-pandemic era.
17. Your Addiction to Outrage is Ruining Your Life Medium . by Pete Ross This is an old essay but perhaps more relevant than ever with both extremes of the political spectrum focused on employing anger to further their agendas.
I see so much anger on social media. It really is depressing. But I really do think many do find pleasure in their anger. 18. Rich Countries Signed Away a Chance to Vaccinate the World The New York Times . by Selam Gebrekidan and Matt Apuzzo .
March 21, 2021 ———— “When evil men plot, good men must plan.
When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love. Where evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “I think the important thing about my appointment is not that I will decide cases as a woman, but that I am a woman who will get to decide cases.”
– Sandra Day O’Connor “Nothing is more false than the notion that the triumph of Communism is inevitable or that the Communists are steadily pushing the free world into a corner.” – Robert F.