03/22/2021 News & Commentary – National Security
News and Commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and Published by Daniel Riggs. 1. SAS shakeup: UK targets ‘hostile state actors’
2. South China Sea: alarm in Philippines as 200 Chinese vessels gather at disputed reef 3. The U.S. and China Finally Get Real With Each Other
4. The State of (Deterrence by) Denial 5. Cyber attack tied to China boosts development bank’s chief
6. Can the Quad Transform Into an Alliance to Contain China? 7. The War on Terror 20 Years on: Crossroads or Cul-De-Sac?
8. In Burma, ‘they have come for the poets’ 9. The Real Reasons the U.S. Can’t Win Wars Anymore
10. Opinion | Biden’s global, muscular liberalism is an indefensible foreign policy in 2021 11. The Science of Making Americans Hurt Their Own Country 12. The U.S.
Military Is Getting Ready to Fight A New Kind of War 13. A Fatal Error Inspired a Plan to Reduce Friendly Fire, but the Military Isn’t Interested 14. Criminals Use Covid-19 To Launch New Wave of Cyber Threats
15. Bathroom Politics: Male Special Forces Rebuff Unisex Restrooms to Keep Men-Only Status Quo, Study Finds 16. QAnon Supporter Crashed Army Reserve Base After Threatening to Unleash ‘Crazy Stupid’ Plan: Docs 17. Evidence in Capitol Attack Most Likely Supports Sedition Charges, Prosecutor Says
18. Special Operations News Update – Monday, March 22, 2021 | SOF News 1. SAS shakeup: UK targets ‘hostile state actors’ asiatimes.com . by Dave Makichuk .
March 21, 2021 In the immortal words of the SNL church lady, “Well isn’t that special?” Seriously (and snarky comments aside), this is quite a revamp of British special forces.
2. South China Sea: alarm in Philippines as 200 Chinese vessels gather at disputed reef The Guardian . March 22, 2021
What do you do now Lieutenant??? 3. The U.S. and China Finally Get Real With Each Other The Atlantic . by Thomas Wright .
March 21, 2021 I certainly hope Mr. Wright is right in the subtitle that Alaska was a necessary step to better relations, but…
But this is a troubling excerpt: “The rules-based international order is now over. Beijing and Moscow concluded long ago that a world in which China and Russia generally acquiesced to U.S. leadership, as they did in the 1990s and 2000s, was untenable, a Western trap designed, in part, to undermine authoritarianism. They were not entirely wrong about that–many Americans saw globalization and multilateralism as having the desirable side effect of encouraging political liberalization around the world.
The truth is that the United States does pose a threat to the Chinese Communist Party’s interests (although not necessarily those of the Chinese people), while the CCP surely poses a threat to liberal democracy and U.S. interests. Ultimately, Washington and Beijing will have to acknowledge this to each other. That will be difficult for the Biden administration, which is accustomed to assuming that American interests are not a threat to any other government, but broadly benefit all major world powers. It will be even harder for Beijing, which goes to great lengths to conceal its revisionism behind a shield of insincere platitudes.
Such an acknowledgment will allow a truly frank strategic conversation to occur about how these two countries’ systems will relate to each other as they compete. These systems are incompatible in many respects, but they are also intertwined in a myriad of ways. The goals of U.S.-China diplomacy should initially be modest, to avoid unintentional provocations and to facilitate transactional cooperation on shared interests.
Eventually, if China’s behavior and the geopolitical conditions are favorable, the two sides could explore broader cooperation and even the possibility of a detente–a general thawing of tensions–but that is a long way off. Historically, the most volatile periods of rivalry between major powers is in the early stages; think of the late 1940s and the 1950s in the Cold War. The red lines become apparent only through interactions in crises.
The greatest risk is for either side to miscalculate the resolve or intentions of the other. By getting real in Anchorage, both sides have taken the important first step toward a more stable relationship by acknowledging the true nature of their relationship. 4. The State of (Deterrence by) Denial
warontherocks.com . by Elbridge Colby and Walter Slocombe . March 22, 2021 Excerpts: “In short, absent an effective American forward defense, China will be able to advantageously wield its military strength over key states in the region.
Beijing need not necessarily actually launch such aggression. It could progressively use the perception of this capability to coerce and divide states in the region until any coalition to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific falls apart, leaving an Asia under China’s hegemony — with dire and very direct implications for Americans, who would then be subject to a far more powerful China that has clearly shown its willingness to coerce other countries and intervene in their internal affairs. Conversely, the most reliable form of deterrence would stem from the demonstrable capacity of the United States and its allies and partners to deny China the ability to subjugate one of them.
In other words, the best deterrence in this situation is deterrence by denial, which essentially here requires an effective forward defense. … Indo-Pacific Command’s request is, of course, not gospel.
Parts, perhaps important ones, may not be necessary or advisable — other measures may be more effective. Technology may offer ways to meet the requirements better than is possible with existing systems. And doing what is necessary will demand resources — whether from increases in overall defense resources or shifts of effort from other geographic theaters and missions, or some combination thereof.
Nor should the request detract any support or focus from the need to make longer-term changes and investments to contend with China. Rather, it should serve as a near-term measure to enable an effective defense as the Defense Department more fundamentally overhauls the Joint Force. But what is clear is that the United States — alongside its allies and partners’ own efforts — needs to spend money and bend metal to strengthen its forward defense alongside its confederates in the Western Pacific — and do it now. £4.6 billion now and £22.7 billion in the future is a lot of money — but it is a small part of the overall defense budget and roughly equivalent to what has been spent on the European Defense Initiative.
More to the point, China just announced it was increasing its own defense spending by 6.6 percent this year. There will be no cheap way to meet this challenge — so hard choices in other theaters and for other requirements will be obligatory. But failing to do so will be the most expensive mistake of all.”
5. Cyber attack tied to China boosts development bank’s chief AP . by Joshua Goodman . March 22, 2021
Excerpts: “Claver-Carone, the former National Security Council’s senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs, chaired last week in Colombia his first annual meeting of the IDB since he was elected last fall over the objections of Democrats and some regional governments who complained he was breaking the longstanding tradition of a Latin American being at the helm. A geopolitical ideologue, Claver-Carone seems in no rush to abandon his disdain for Beijing’s growing influence in Washington’s backyard. In sharp contrast to his predecessor, Luis Alberto Moreno of Colombia, who eagerly promoted Chinese investment in the region, Claver-Carone recently floated the possibility of inviting Taiwan, the island democracy claimed by the communist Beijing government as part of its territory.
In curtailing China’s influence, Claver-Carone is looking to curry favor with Democrats who question his leadership but share his mistrust of Beijing. If he succeeds, they can help him deliver on what was the main pledge of his unorthodox candidacy: U.S. support for a capital increase so the bank can help the region dig out from a pandemic-induced recession that’s the worst in more than a century. 6.
Can the Quad Transform Into an Alliance to Contain China? The National Interest . by James Holmes . March 21, 2021
Of course a first question is: can China be contained? Then, is containment our strategy? Is it the best strategy? 7. The War on Terror 20 Years on: Crossroads or Cul-De-Sac? institute.global. by Bruce Hoffman .
March 21, 2021 Conclusion: “Accordingly, absent this recognition, the American-led war on terror will remain stuck in the cul-de-sac it finds itself in today: inherently reactive rather than proactive – deprived of a capacity to recognise, much less anticipate, important changes in our enemies’ modi operandi, recruitment and targeting. Success in this war’s third decade will therefore depend on our ability to harness the technological mastery and overwhelming kinetic force of the US military as part of a more dedicated and comprehensive effort to better counter the ideology and narrative of our enemies and equip our regional and local friends and allies with the tools to also better resist these threats.”
8. In Burma, ‘they have come for the poets’ dallasnews.com . by Christopher Merrill . March 21, 2021
Excerpts: “One poet told me the Tatmadaw had tied Suu Kyi’s hands from the beginning of her rise to power, destroying any hope of a national reconciliation process — which is why she thinks civil war is looming. Another Burma watcher believes the Tatmadaw have miscalculated, arguing that their use of water cannons, stun guns, rubber bullets and snipers with live ammunition will only backfire, bringing yet more protesters into the streets. Of Maung Yu Py’s court case, a poet said, “If we win, he’ll be out.
If not, we’ll be in.” Their fate may depend on what steps are taken by the Biden administration to restore some semblance of democracy. The signal role played by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in bringing about change may offer a road map for American re-engagement in Myanmar/Burma — a country I can’t help thinking of as “Always Repairs.”
9. The Real Reasons the U.S. Can’t Win Wars Anymore National Review Online . by Lawrence Korb .
March 21, 2021 A follow-up to Bing West’s recent essay. Excerpts: “Korb – While I have some experience in each of these conflicts, having served in Vietnam and having visited Iraq three times and Afghanistan once, it does not match that of Bing, who is one of the bravest people I have ever known.
However, I still believe that he presents a sometimes incomplete and misleading picture of why we lost these three wars. … How bad will it be if we agree to leave on May 1, as Trump agreed to, and the Taliban takes over, especially for women?
When I visited Afghanistan in 2011, I asked a Taliban official how they would treat women if or when they took over. He told me not to worry — that they would not treat them any worse than our allies, the Saudis. Bing’s article should be read by all those who believe that the U.S. can develop and sustain democracies by using military power.
However, they should keep in mind that there are some other factors that also play into this decision. 10. Opinion | Biden’s global, muscular liberalism is an indefensible foreign policy in 2021 The Washington Post . by Elbridge Colby .
March 21, 2021 Conclusion: “For the first time in a long time, the United States is not overwhelmingly predominant. That means we cannot afford to be profligate with our power, wealth and resolve.
Rather, we must manage the threats we face — above all China — in ways that promote U.S. power and well-being, rather than vainly expending them in a global ideological struggle or retreating in hopes that the world will favorably stabilize on its own. Such a course is the only option responsive to the needs and risk tolerances of the great bulk of Americans. It is thus the only responsible foreign policy for our democracy in this day and age.”
11. The Science of Making Americans Hurt Their Own Country The Atlantic . by Anne Applebaum . March 19, 2021
We have met the enemy and he is us. I hate to beat the dead horse: (From the 2017 NSS): “A democracy is only as resilient as its people. An informed and engaged citizenry is the fundamental requirement for a free and resilient nation.
For generations, our society has protected free press, free speech, and free thought. Today, actors such as Russia are using information tools in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of democracies. Adversaries target media, political processes, financial networks, and personal data.
The American public and private sectors must recognize this and work together to defend our way of life. No external threat can be allowed to shake our shared commitment to our values, undermine our system of government, or divide our Nation.” 12. The U.S.
Military Is Getting Ready to Fight A New Kind of War The National Interest . by Kris Osborn . March 21, 2021
New??? 13. A Fatal Error Inspired a Plan to Reduce Friendly Fire, but the Military Isn’t Interested texasmonthly.com .
March 18, 2021 Excerpts: “Hayles sees a touch of destiny in his path: from waiting in the prisoners’ tent hours after firing the missiles that killed two Americans in 1991, to the years he spent refining his combat ID system, to reimagining how Flashlight could blossom into a new 5G project. If Hayles’s vision leads to a significant expansion in the nation’s 5G capability, it would be a technical triumph–and hugely enriching. “He’s not entirely altruistic in this,” a colleague observed.
More than money, however, it seems that Hayles yearns for validation, a legacy defined not by his fatal mistake in the desert but by his breakthrough work since. For the man who was once Gunfighter Six, all the long nights spent obsessing over technical solutions to friendly fire, the tinkering with prototypes and recalculating of radio frequencies, the endless struggles with Army bureaucracy–all of it will feel justified if his 5G idea pays off. But it’s not clear that Hayles and his new enterprise, the American Antenna Company, can squeeze into the mobile network business.
For well over a year, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon have been adding to their 5G networks the same low-frequency spectrum that Hayles has championed. And the major telecoms are increasingly using antennas that can digitally steer multiple beams, which they say is an advantage over Hayles’s single-focus Luneburg lens model. Hayles’s concept is a good one, an outside expert said, but not good enough to convince the telecoms to set aside what they’ve already got.
But Hayles is undaunted. “With my antenna, I can get more distance and better performance,” he told me. “Sooner or later, somebody will screw up and start putting my antenna up, and all of a sudden, customers are happier and costs are less.” Hayles is convinced his network design simply outperforms the alternatives. And once that becomes apparent, he hopes, even the military will recognize the value of Flashlight.” 14. Criminals Use Covid-19 To Launch New Wave of Cyber Threats
thefintechtimes.com . by Francis Bignell . March 20, 2021 Criminals are exploiters and entrepreneurs.
15. Bathroom Politics: Male Special Forces Rebuff Unisex Restrooms to Keep Men-Only Status Quo, Study Finds military.com . by Patricia Kime .
March 21, 2021 Wow! 16. QAnon Supporter Crashed Army Reserve Base After Threatening to Unleash ‘Crazy Stupid’ Plan: Docs
The Daily Beast . March 20, 2021 More craziness from the QAnon cultists.
17. Evidence in Capitol Attack Most Likely Supports Sedition Charges, Prosecutor Says The New York Times . by Katie Benner . March 21, 2021
Seems to meet the definition to me. 18. Special Operations News Update – Monday, March 22, 2021 | SOF News
sof.news . by SOF News . March 22, 2021
————– “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, conn a ship, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve an equation, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
– Robert Heinlein “In the course of this struggle against factional opponents, for the first time Kim began to emphasize nationalism as a means of rallying the population to the enormous sacrifices needed for post-war recovery. This was a nationalism that first took shape in the environment of the anti-Japanese guerrilla movement and developed into a creed through the destruction of both the non-Communist nationalist forces and much of the leftist intellectual tradition of the domestic Communists. Kim’s nationalism did not draw inspiration from Korean history, nor did it dwell on past cultural achievements, for the serious study of history and traditional culture soon effectively ceased in the DPRK. Rather, DPRK nationalism drew inspiration from the Spartan outlook of the former Manchurian guerrillas. It was a harsh nationalism that dwelt on past wrongs and promises of retribution for “national traitors” and their foreign backers. DPRK nationalism stressed the “purity” of all things Korean against the “contamination” of foreign ideas, and inculcated in the population a sense of fear and animosity toward the outside world. Above all, DPRK nationalism stressed that the guerrilla ethos was not only the supreme, but also the only legitimate basis on which to reconstitute a reunified Korea.” – Adrian Buzo, Guerrilla Dynasty, p 27
“Inside, I’m assaulted by the evening propaganda broadcasts coming over the apartment’s hardwired loudspeaker.
There’s one in every apartment and factory floor in Pyongyang”
– Adam Johnson, The Orphan Master’s Son