Russia in Africa: the ‘covert action’ strategy
While China has received much attention for its diplomatic and economic efforts in Africa, Russia has been quietly seeking a foothold in the Central African Republic. Years of chaos and a violent civil war have set the stage for Russia’s entrance in the country, where it is now plying security expertise and pursuing investments in the mining sector. Russia’s discreet, low-stakes approach may help ensure its success.
India decides on force to break a pointless cycle
The latest round of fighting on the India-Pakistan border reveals a changed mood in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to order an air strike deep inside Pakistan in reprisal for a terrorist attack is evidence of a more muscular policy taking shape. If Mr. Modi is reelected in a few months, it can be assumed that India will be brandishing a bigger stick at its Western neighbor.
The Trump maritime strategy
After two decades of engagement in Afghanistan and Iraq, where land and air power ruled supreme, the U.S. Navy is again on the leading edge of American foreign policy. Freedom of Navigation missions and bold forward deployments of carrier task groups are just part of a new policy to challenge expansion by strategic adversaries such as China and Russia. Yet for the Trump maritime strategy to work, it must be sustained by effective communications and diplomacy, and by an accelerated naval construction program.
The future of Russia’s Special Operations Forces
Russia’s special forces have gained prominence and valuable combat experience in recent years playing crucial roles in Crimea and Syria. Now they are training to engage their NATO counterparts. As a result, Western militaries have been forced to change the way they approach this threat. Though Russian special forces are still playing a game of technological catch-up, they are a tool the Kremlin is increasingly likely to use.
Strategic defense: NATO’s conventional deterrent
The undeclared neo-Cold War between Russia and the West mixes 21st-century techniques – below-the-threshold operations, cyberattacks, information warfare through social media – with more traditional forms of military confrontation. As arms races, proxy wars and nuclear blackmail stage a comeback, NATO must rethink conventional deterrence. Yet even a beefed-up force will prove ineffective if the alliance chooses the wrong defensive strategy.
Japan’s new outreach in Asia
China’s rise as an economic and military colossus has transformed the geopolitics of East Asia. Its most powerful neighbor, Japan, has embarked on a more self-reliant course, even as it continues to lean heavily on its alliance with the United States. Tokyo is expanding its contacts, both economic and strategic, with Southeast Asia, India and Australia.
2019 Global Outlook: The Fertile Crescent
The single most important development in the Middle East has been the end of Syria’s civil war, which was unequivocally won by the Baath regime. Even the hammer blows of a determined religious opposition could not destroy the post-World War I system that created Syria, Iraq and Jordan as Arab states. But with the announced U.S. withdrawal from Syria and the victory of the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian sponsors, the way could be cleared for an explosive confrontation with Israel.