Archive for the ‘Coalitioning’ Category

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Will Ukraine crisis push neutral Sweden into NATO?

May 8, 2014

In response to resurgent Russian militarism in Ukraine, two recent analyses have laid out the need for both Sweden and Finland to join NATO.  First, in the online edition of the journal Foreign Affairs, Jan Joel Andersson, a senior research fellow at the respected and influential Swedish Institute of International Affairs (SIPRI), laid out the case for both Nordic nations to finally join the Atlantic Alliance.    This week, Andrei Akulov from the Russian think tank Strategic Culture Foundation, has detailed a number of military and political signals from within the Swedish government that indicate a renewed willingness to examine NATO membership.

 

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How the US Lost the Naval War of 2015

April 9, 2014

That is the title of a 2010 journal article by James Kraska:

By 2015, U.S. command of the global commons could no longer be taken for granted. The oceans and the airspace above them had been the exclusive domain of the U.S. Navy and the nation’s edifice of military power for seventy-five years. During the age of U.S. supremacy, the Navy used the oceans as the world’s largest maneuver space to outflank its enemies. Maritime mobility on the surface of the ocean, in the air and under the water was the cornerstone of U.S. military power. The United States was able to utilize its maritime dominance to envelop and topple rogue regimes, as it demonstrated in Grenada and Panama, and use the maritime commons to ferry huge ground armies to the other side of the world and sustain them indefinitely, as it did in Vietnam and twice in Iraq. The unique capability to project decisive power rapidly in any corner of the world gave the United States deterrent power and unrivalled military influence.

All that changed in 2015, when the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington, forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, sunk to the bottom of the East China Sea. More than 4,000 sailors and airmen died and the Navy lost eighty aircraft. A ship that would take seven years and $ 9 billion to replace slipped into the waves. The incident upset not just the balance of naval power in Asia, but ushered in a new epoch of international order in which Beijing emerged to displace the United States.

If you have never read Kraska’s article, read it now.  If you have, read it again.  And ponder it while listening to senior US and Chinese officials trade tough talk over maritime disputes in the Western Pacific.

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Putin’s Eurasianism

March 3, 2014

I have posted several times on Eurasianism and Russian geopolitical thinker Aleksander Dugin.  Students of either are unsurprised by Russia’s actions in the Ukraine.  Dugin has always seen the world as a contest between land and maritime powers, and the contemporary world as a contest between Russian-led Eurasianism and Anglo-American Atlanticism.  Ukraine is and always has been a core geopolitical interest for Russia, and she was never going to meekly allow that nation to simply walk away from Russia and become a member of The Atlantic Alliance.  The current crisis, or something like it, would be fully anticipated by Long Cycle Theory as a part of the Coalitioning phase.

Writing at National Review, Bob Zubrin has a brief but acceptable review of Dugin’s theories.  Read it, and the various posts I have made on Dugin and Eurasianism, to get a handle on the deeper geopolitical meanings of the current situation.

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India becomes largest purchaser of US weapons

February 26, 2014

This story is big on two counts:  first, it shows that India and the US are becoming ever more closely tied together on defense issues and, second, it shows that India is being pulled from Russia’s orbit.

Arms sales have always had a geopolitical component, but in the era of network-centric warfare, where weapons and weapon platforms are interlinked and dependent on a host of sophisticated systems and support to work to their full functionality, it is even more so.  The number of nations in the Indo-Pacific region who are increasingly reliant on US weapons systems is a clearer indication of an informal alliance system aimed at containing China than are any amount of treaties,memoranda of understanding and public announcements.

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South America’s Pacific Coast Nations enter a new era

February 24, 2014

The Pacific Alliance among Mexico, Columbia, Peru and Chile (and soon to expand to Costa Rica and possibly more nations) contains some of the most competitive and fastest growing economies in the world.   Taken together, they would represent the worlds 8th largest nation and 7th largest exporter.  Chile, in particular, has long been on my own personal list for a possible retirement landing spot.  The Pacific Alliance is taking the Pacific Century, and thus the need to pivot to Asia, more seriously than in is the US, where the Trans Pacific Partnership is captive to politics on the one hand and to a failure in presidential leadership on the other.

The Atlantic has a good discussion on how our neighbors to the south are outperforming us in this area.  America’s TPP partners in Asia are moving ahead; might there end up being a greater Trans Pacific Partnership without the US among its members?

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Japan’s New National Security Strategy

January 9, 2014

The new document released last month is the clearest official signal yet of Japan’s intent to leave its post-war semi-pacifism behind.  It also deeply and firmly enmeshes Japan into the US-led alliance system designed to check Chinese ambitions.  There is a clear arc around China – Japan, Australia, and India (although India has no formal alliance with the US, they have deepened their ties with Australia and Japan).

English translation here.

 

 

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Canada’s Arctic Grab

December 12, 2013

Canada has made formal claims to an area of the Arctic sea bed equivalent in size to the entire US mountain west.  This will put them in direct dispute with the other four Arctic nations  (Denmark, Norway, Russia and the US) and especially with Russia, an even more eager Arctic claimant.  Read more details at Walter Mead’s American Interest blog, which includes the map below.  I am of the opinion that, while power is still centered elsewhere, the Arctic will the single most important geostrategic region in the globe this century.  It resources are both vast and largely untapped, while the potential for the seasonal opening of new shipping routes is a literal sea change in global maritime calculations.  In this era of diminished resources, the US should fully support both Canadian claims in the Arctic as well as their supremacy in Arctic policy – we need to support this kind of burden sharing wherever it makes sense, and this is a good place to start.

Arctic jurisdictional boundaries