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.
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.
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.
Killer robots: resistance is futile
Autonomous weapons are set to be a prominent feature of the battlefields of the future. These robots, also known as lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), are machines capable of identifying, selecting and attacking targets independent of any human in the decision-making process. Many governments are working hard on developing the technology, but there is an international effort underway to curtail or outright ban it. This effort is likely to fail.
U.S. defense procurement to change after presidential election
For the rest of this election year, the United States military will endure a funding squeeze as politicians try to hold down federal spending. But rising demand for forces to operate against Daesh, (also known as Islamic State or ISIS) in the Middle East and South Asia is putting pressure on the Pentagon. Once the November elections are resolved, persistent public ...
Girl bands, revenge and North Korea’s hydrogen bomb
On the morning of January 6, 2016, the people in the Yanbian region of China’s Jilin province felt the earth rumble. Tables and chairs in the buildings moved 20 centimeters. Cracks appeared on the playground at a local school. Students taking an exam hurriedly fled their classroom in search of safety. No one knew what had happened until a few hours later, when the ...
Focus on Mongolia: walking the foreign policy tightrope (Part 2)
Over the past 25 years Mongolia has benefited substantially from its ‘multi-pillar’ foreign policy. The country prioritised relations with its two powerful neighbours – Russia and China – creating a geopolitical context that has enhanced its security and economic growth. At the same time, Mongolia developed the concept of ‘third neighbours’ – large, global powers w...
Japan and India inch towards alliance as China asserts itself in Asia
For a long time after World War II, India attracted little interest from Japan. New Delhi was on the wrong side of the Cold War in Tokyo’s eyes, and its autarkic economic policies left little space for Japanese trade or investment. In time, Japan became India’s largest aid supplier and continues to lead donors. Over the past eight years, though, the two countries h...
Russia 'unprepared' for modern war pushes forward nuclear option
Russia’s handling of recent security challenges demonstrates its military capabilities are in no state to cope with invasion and sustained warfare, despite the Kremlin’s huge spending on upgrading its forces. This reflects poorly on the outcome of the military reform designed to create modern ‘permanent readiness’ units. Russia may be a force to be reckoned with ag...