Opinion: Aurora 17 marks a new dawn for Swedish defense and NATO
Russia’s recent Zapad-2017 military exercises made plenty of headlines, but at least as significant were the drills held by Sweden’s armed forces around the same time. Held in conjunction with NATO partners, the maneuvers had Sweden flexing its military muscle for the first time in decades. They could tilt the Baltic security map decisively in NATO’s favor.
Russia writes new rules for post-Cold War rivalry with NATO
Russia has been honing its conventional and nuclear forces for Hybrid Cold War confrontations with potential enemies, especially NATO. An important role in its new strategic toolbox is reserved for “safety valves”: Russia’s doctrine of first use of tactical nuclear weapons and the increased mobility of its conventional forces. At present, NATO has no effective countermeasures for either, dangerously adding to international instability.
Will Duterte end the Philippines-U.S. alliance?
President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has made a splash for many reasons, one of the most important being his suggestions that Manila will work toward a new strategic alignment. While shunning the United States, he has called for new alliances with Russia and China. How likely is this shift to take place in the all-important South China Sea region?
Vietnam’s balancing act
Vietnam has traditionally sought a maximum degree of autonomy. However, its geopolitics are dominated by competition between the United States and China, as well as Russia. How the machinations between these powers play out in the region will determine the choices Hanoi makes, as it tries to balance the benefits it receives from its alliances with its desire to hold back external influence.
Beijing’s sway over Thailand grows
Since Thailand’s May 2014 coup, China’s influence in the country has increased at the expense of Bangkok’s long-standing alliance with the United States. China’s success is rooted in its nonideological foreign policy, as well as increasing economic and political leverage. Looking forward, economic, historical, cultural, geographic and political factors all favor a deepening of the Sino-Thai partnership.
Missile controversy as Russia’s navy seeks to restore past glories
Russia’s navy became severely neglected after the collapse of the USSR in 1991. This culminated in the loss of the submarine Kursk and its 118 crew in 2000. Now Moscow is spending billions of dollars on upgrades, but a questionmark hangs over equipment at the centre of the project. This is regarded by some experts as its only truly modern component. ...
Russia takes aggressive stance to Nato as relations with US cool
Russia is taking an increasingly aggressive stance against Nato. And the key issue - which overshadows the already fragile East-West detente – is the acrimonious dispute over Nato missile defence sites in Central Europe. The Kremlin says these are a threat to its own strategic nuclear deterrent. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin made his point by excusing himself ...