Archive for the ‘Asia’ Category

U.S. National Security Forecast: The Next Four Years

December 12, 2012

The election is over.  President Obama’s administration will be in charge of national security policy for the next four years.  The product of this tenure will have long lasting consequences for American security, for good or for ill.

The next issue of the National Strategy Forum Review presents a comprehensive and succinct overview of what lies ahead for the next four years—trends, options, and consequences.  It is our forecast of the major issues and challenges that will shape U.S. national security discussion in 2013 and beyond.  Articles in this issue include:

  • The Threat Array: Knowns and Unknowns: Given that there are many unknown emerging threats, it may be prudent to develop national resilience rather than to counter every known threat to U.S. national security.
  • Military Policy in a Time of Fiscal Retrenchment: The U.S. military is in a state of flux as a result of the Afghan and Iraq wars. U.S. military resources and doctrine must adapt to asymmetry, terrorism, insurgency, and a constrained defense budget.
  • Pivot to Asia: Calculus and Consequences: The American destiny may lie more with countries in the Asia-Pacific than with traditional Western European orientation.  What are the consequences and how can this shift be managed?
  • Flashpoint Mediterranean: Middle Eastern conflicts are continuing and are unresolved.  There is a Mediterranean connection that should be explored, resulting in potential amelioration of the conflict.  The realistic goal is political stability rather than peace.
  • The National Security Benefit of Good Neighbors – Canada And Mexico: America’s backyard is composed of Canada, Mexico, and Latin America.  These states are expanding their economic and political stability.  Although the U.S. has not been an exceptionally good neighbor, there is opportunity for the U.S. to initiate actions that could result in an enhanced relationship.
  • Proactive Asymmetry: To counter ongoing terrorist threats, the U.S. needs to “think small”—an asymmetric, proactive offensive doctrine.

The National Strategy Forum mission is to assist our members to become more informed about U.S. national security issues through our lecture series, conferences, and publications.  It is our hope that this new issue of the National Strategy Forum Review proves useful to you.

National Security Forecast: The Next Four Years can be read online at the link here.

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The U.S.-China Relationship

December 9, 2011

The U.S.-China relationship is the most important international relationship today.  Our countries are linked economically and the security and stability of the international system depends on actions that we take collectively or unilaterally.  However, greater friction is occurring today as a result of China’s rise and the decrease of U.S. supremacy abroad.  Neither sees eye to eye on many important international issues, and the prospects for cooperation and rapprochement are strained.

The National Strategy Forum Review has published a report about the status of the U.S.-China relationship.  We compiled a series of interviews with our contacts in Beijing and Shanghai, and have synthesized the substance of these discussions into a report about China’s strategic objectives and the means to improve the U.S.-China relationship.  This report serves as a baseline for ongoing discussions with our Chinese counterparts on how to guide the U.S. and China through tense diplomatic waters.  Cooperation is not a foregone conclusion, but the U.S. and China must first understand what each other wants before we can accommodate cooperation that is mutually beneficial.  We argue that the U.S. and China are bound to compete for influence in the Asia-Pacific, but this competition can be directed in constructive ways if the interactions are based upon established rules of the game.  The report, “The U.S.-China Relationship: Building Constructive Competition,” is now available online.

In addition to the report, we asked Drs. Bernard Cole and Cynthia Watson from the National Defense University to discuss China’s military modernization and strategic objectives in East Asia.  Their insights are unique and valuable contributions to the discussion.  Finally, Mr. Mark Frazzetto wrote a review of Joel Brenner’s new book on cyber security titled, America the Vulnerable.

These articles and the entire issue of the National Strategy Forum Review: Fall 2011, Volume 20, Issue 4  are now available online.

US-Cambodia Policy

November 9, 2011

Most of the time most nations are insignificant to the interests of the United States.  However, from time to time one such insignificant nation seems to step into the limelight of American interests and the crossfire of history.  Cambodia once occupied the latter and now enjoys the tranquility of the former.  Nevertheless, it remains a part of the complex international system and will play an important role in American policy objectives in Southeast Asia.

What are the critical issues facing the United States?  How does Cambodia play a role in those issues?  What policies does that role call for?  What developments are likely or possible within Cambodia and the international system that will affect U.S. policy with Cambodia?

To read this NSFR Special Report, click below:

U.S.-Cambodia Policy: Probabilities and Possibilities

By Ed Bacharach

Why Taiwan Matters

August 30, 2011

U.S.-PRC-ROC relations are heating up, with rumors of a proposed F-16 fighter jet sale to Taiwan being debated in Washington.  Taiwan, also called the Republic of China (ROC), punches above its weight class in many respects.  For example, it is the world’s 19th largest economy, and one of the largest trading partners of the U.S. and PRC, despite being roughly the size of Maryland and Delaware combined.  However, Cross-Strait relations between the PRC and ROC have wide ranging implication for global politics, and particularly U.S. national security strategy.

Professor Shelley Rigger’s new book, Why Taiwan Matters: Small Island, Global Powerhouse, is an insightful look at this disproportionate impact this tiny island has on world politics.

For a book review and summary on this topic, by Eric S. Morse, please click here.

Breeding Grounds for Terrorism and Transnational Crime

July 19, 2011

As the U.S. is withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Department of Defense and Pentagon are cutting excess programs, security analysts are faced with the challenge of doing more with less.  How can the U.S. best use its resources, military, and intelligence tools to focus in on the major threats to U.S. national security?

Fine tuning what too look for and where to look for it is key to this process.  A team of analysts at Syracuse University’s Global Black Spots—Mapping Global Insecurity Project (GBS-MGI) is developing a new research methodology that goes beyond the traditional state level analysis to find “Black Spots,” or areas of insecurity that are beyond government control.  The team probes the local-level characteristics of a region using open source information to determine where terrorism and transnational crime may develop in the future.  Their findings provide a map of global insecurity that is being applied by U.S. intelligence agencies.

The Summer 2011 issue of the National Strategy Forum Review shares this process with our readers.  The case studies below are a sample of the estimated 600+ Black Spots operating around the globe.  This unique research demonstrates that traditional security analysis must add a deeper, more local component to the search for future security threats.

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President Ma’s Cross-Strait Strategy: The Tiger’s New Posture

June 6, 2011

On May 12, 2011, President Ma of Taiwan gave a speech via videoconference to a National Strategy Forum audience in Chicago and a Center for Strategic & International Studies audience in Washington, DC.  The substance of the speech was Ma’s strategy for managing the Cross-Strait negotiations, with wide-ranging implication for the China-Taiwan and U.S.-Taiwan relationships.

For a summary and analysis of the speech, read the article:

President Ma’s Cross-Strait Strategy: The Tiger’s New Posture

Missiles and the Balance of Power

February 9, 2011

Missiles are again prominent in international news.  This time, however, it is not the United States or Russia that is making headlines, as was the case during the Cold War, but rather small and rising powers across the globe.  The ramifications of diffuse missile technology is altering the face of geopolitical power and causing advanced countries to rethink their strategies.  Developing countries with small military forces are finding that they can effectively counter-balance larger, more advanced militaries by deploying low-tech missile technology.

There are four recent examples of missiles changing the balance of power in the international system.  Read the analysis in the article below.

Missiles and the Balance of Power

By Eric S. Morse

Fighter Gaps: Why the Chinese J-20 Matters for U.S. Air Power

January 27, 2011

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates laid out a comfortable air defense scenario in a July 16, 2009 speech to the Economic Club of Chicago:

“[B]by 2020, the United States is projected to have nearly 2,500 manned combat aircraft of all kinds. Of those, nearly 1,100 will be the most advanced fifth generation F-35s and F-22s.  China, by contrast, is projected to have no fifth generation aircraft by 2020. And by 2025, the gap only widens…”

Mr. Gates went back to China in January 2011.  U.S. and international news sources reported test flights during his trip for a “J-20” fighter, whose external appearance, at least, resembled the U.S. F-22 Raptor.  Old fighter program data and old relative power projections for 2015-2025 may need revision.

The past few weeks have seen a significant re-evaluation of U.S. air power strategy.  The J-20 appears to have caught the U.S. militay by surprise and it is questionable how they will adapt their strategy to meet this new challenge.

William A. Price evaluates the F-22 fighter program in an National Strategy Forum Review: Special Report titled Fighter Gaps.  Mr. Price’s detailed analysis of the F-22 and F-35 strike fighter programs, the U.S. Air Force procurement strategy, and comparisons of aircraft capabilities pose some striking questions.  Is the U.S. adequately preparing for the air superiority challenges of the future?

Fighter Gaps

By William A. Price

Implications of China’s J-20 Stealth Aircraft

January 6, 2011

(Update: William A. Price has written an insightful analysis of the F-22 and J-20 issue.  For more details, read the article: Fighter Gaps.)

The Wall Street Journal ran a front page article yesterday about China’s new stealth plane, the J-20 (picture is from WSJ).  The article, “A Chinese Stealth Challenge?“, describes how the Chinese have made strides in developing a domestically produced stealth fighter plane similar to the F-22.  U.S. officials claim to have had knowledge of this development for some years.  There are three issues to ponder with this revelation.  No doubt analysts will be debating these issues over the coming days and well into the future.

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Geopolitics in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean Region

August 30, 2010

The recent Pentagon analysis of China’s military development noted that China is increasing its reach into the South China Sea and Indian Ocean Region.  Southeast Asian countries and India are concerned about this development.  Meanwhile, the U.S. is seeing its naval power decline as China grows stronger.  These trends present strategic opportunities for U.S. foreign policy in the region.  In many ways, increased U.S. involvement in the region and support for multilateral collaboration could turn these lemons into lemonade.

Geopolitics in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean Region: Tiny Ripples or Shifting Tides?
By Eric S. Morse