In naval deterrence, numbers matter
Chinese naval construction has far outpaced that of the United States for many years. By some measures, the lethality of its surface combatants is a match for comparable Western vessels – or even better. With the U.S. Navy already stretched thin in the East Asia, reliance on its traditional allies and long-time technological edge is not enough. There must be more hulls in the water.
GIS Dossier: Shinzo Abe’s Japan
Shinzo Abe is not popular, but this consummate political insider has become just the second prime minister in Japan’s history to win three general elections. He managed this feat by skillfully juggling factions in the dominant Liberal Democratic Party, stirring life into Japan’s stagnant economy, and pledging vigorous leadership in the face of a nuclear-armed Korea. Can Mr. Abe turn around a country widely seen to be in irreversible decline?
China’s expanding space program
China started its manned space program four decades after the United States, but it is making great strides while the American effort stagnates. Beijing has long-term plans for a manned lunar base and is testing antisatellite weapons at record altitudes. There appears to be little will in Washington to commit to a multi-decade program needed to stay ahead of the Chinese, and no other country appears able to compete on equal terms.
Boom or bust for Russian arms exports?
The Russian weapons business is facing a critical juncture. Once coequal with the United States as the world’s biggest arms exporter, Russia must now advance technologically or be displaced by rising competitors. The biggest threat is posed by two countries that were traditionally Russia’s best clients – China and India.
The U.S. military’s skeptical response to hybrid warfare
Hybrid warfare has been a hot concept in the military and security community since the mid-2000s. But it has not made much of a dent on U.S. military doctrine, which is more concerned with urban warfare and its own theory of “multi-domain battle.” At the strategic level, American planners do not consider hybrid warfare as an operating principle – just one of a plethora of threats they must face.
Cloudy skies for China’s aviation industry
China's commercial aircraft market will soon be the world's largest, but its domestic industry is not well positioned to take advantage. Engine technology is lagging, while safety, maintenance and other performance issues have set back the development of new aircraft. The outlook for military aviation is even worse unless endemic corruption can be stamped out.
India and Germany draw closer
India and Germany may seem like an odd couple. But a recent flurry of diplomatic consultations suggest that the two countries may be beginning to form a strategic relationship. What animates them is a belief that second-tier powers need to work more closely together to shore up an international order threatened by an assertive China and a whimsical United States.
After Mosul and Raqqa, risks multiply
As the battle for Mosul concludes, the battle for Raqqa is entering its initial phase. From a military perspective, the fall of these twin bastions of Daesh was never in doubt. But tactical victories can only be turned into long-term strategic gains if a political process is put in place. Otherwise, we will see a “son of Daesh” and worse in Syria and Iraq.