Defence

Lawless on the High Seas: Why the U.S. Can and Must Ratify UNCLOS

Out in the middle of the South China Sea, several islands now exist where none did before. Indigo Funk Brown Political Review What were once simple reefs and shoals are now full-fledged islands that host massive Chinese military bases, thanks to a government initiative that used thousands of tons of sand to achieve the goal. The Chinese government’s justification is that they own most of the South China Sea due to “historical claims” that only date back to 1942. It’s ... Read More »

As Kurdish fighters move on last Isis-controlled town in Syria, Turkey threatens attack

Syria’s main Kurdish parties called Turkey’s warnings a ‘declaration of war’ Richard Hall Independent Kurdish forces are on the brink of capturing the last town under Isis control in Syria – but before that battle is over they might have to face a Turkish invasion. The town of Hajin, on the banks of the Euphrates river in eastern Syria, is Isis’s last holdout in the country. After three months of intense fighting, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced on Friday that it had taken most of the ... Read More »

Book Excerpt – Red Star Over the Pacific: China’s Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy.

Toshi Yoshihara and James Holmes present the second edition of their important work on this timely topic. China has a dream. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials tell us so. Toshi Yoshihara and James Holmes The National Interest President Xi Jinping, who ranks first among them, made “Chinese Dream” his credo soon after ascending to China’s top post in 2012. And this is no mere slogan; it encapsulates CCP officialdom’s vision of China’s purposes and aspirations, first and foremost of which ... Read More »

What Pearl Harbor Still Has to Teach Us

Once again we’re seeing some of the same drivers of the conflicts of the 1930s bubbling to the surface Peter Zwack The National Interest Thinking about Pearl Harbor and avoiding inevitable war, I recently revisited the solemn Arizona battleship memorial at Pearl Harbor while on a brief layover in Hawaii, after… Returning to such hallowed American waters and ground on the heels of my trip to Northeast Asia brought home to me the unsettling fact that events like Pearl Harbor—a… Once that ... Read More »

U.S. Military Tests Russia at Sea Days After Warning From China

The U.S. military has sent a message to Russia by sailing through a disputed waterway near Japan. Tom O’Connor Newsweek The move came only a week after China mobilized its own vessels in response to a perceived transgression by the Navy. Navy Lieutenant Rachel McMarr, a spokesperson for the Pacific Fleet, told CNN Wednesday that Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS… The Navy considered the move one of its “freedom of navigation” operations, which are outlined in the 1982 United Nations Convention on ... Read More »

Transatlantic defence industrial cooperation matters more than ever

2019 marks the 70th birthday of NATO, the most successful defensive alliance in history. But new threats are appearing and collaboration among allies remains essential, writes Chris Lombardi. Chris Lombardi is the vice president of European Business Development at Raytheon. EURACTIV At the signing ceremony of the Washington Treaty on April 1, 1949, U.S. President Harry S. Truman described the new pact as a way “to establish freedom from aggression and from the use of force in the North Atlantic Community.” ... Read More »

Ukraine-Russia clash: Nato’s dilemma in the Black Sea

Does crisis beckon in the Black Sea? Could Russia and Nato even come to blows? Jonathan Marcus BBC That – at least for now – is probably unlikely. But the recent seizure of two Ukrainian gunboats and a tug in the approaches to the Kerch Strait, by vessels of the Russian Border Guard, has inevitably brought security in the Black Sea to the forefront of Nato’s agenda at their meeting in Brussels on Tuesday. The Black Sea has long had ... Read More »

The Pentagon Doesn’t Know Where Its Money Goes

The military finally submits to an audit, and the results are poor. The Editorial Board The New York Times After decades of ducking the legal requirement that it undergo a thorough financial audit, the Pentagon finally opened up its books to 1,200 outside accountants and analysts. The report was recentlycompleted, and here’s the good news: The Army Corps of Engineers (most of it, anyway) and the Military Retirement Fund passed the audit. The bad news: The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines and most other ... Read More »

Six Steps to Make the Most of the U.S. Senate’s Yemen Vote

By an unexpectedly large margin, the U.S. Senate voted on 29 November to move ahead with a bill to end U.S. involvement in the Yemen war. ICG Crisis Group calls on the key actors to seize this opportunity to suspend the fighting and… The U.S. Congress is notoriously reluctant to take tough decisions on matters of war and peace, which makes the Senate’s 29 November vote on the conflict in Yemen all the more remarkable. The Senate voted by a ... Read More »

Ukraine urges Nato to deploy ships amid standoff with Russia off Crimea coast

‘Put Putin in his place,’ Kiev diplomat tells Germany Tom Embury-Dennis Independent Ukraine’s president has urged Nato to deploy naval ships to the Sea of Azov amid a stand-off with Russia. “We hope that states within Nato are now ready to relocate naval ships to the Sea of Azov in order to assist Ukraine and provide security,” Petro Poroshenko said in an interview with German newspaper Bild. Mr Poroshenko’s request comes after the Russian coastguard on Sunday fired on and seized three Ukrainian vessels trying to pass through the Kerch Strait, which separates Russia’s mainland and ... Read More »

Goodbye Grotius, Hello Putin

Russia’s provocations in the Kerch Strait aren’t just a challenge to Ukraine. Like Beijing in the South China Sea, Moscow is seeking to undermine international maritime law. James R. Holmes FP Sunday’s encounter between Russian and Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait, the entryway to the Sea of Azov east of the Crimean peninsula, revived an age-old question in international politics: Can a coastal nation own the sea? International law says no; authoritarian states such as China and Russia say ... Read More »

Merkel warns ’no military solution’ to Ukraine conflict

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday there is “no military solution” to the Ukraine conflict after President Petro Poroshenko asked for NATO naval support in his country’s standoff with… BERLIN – AFP Berlin Blaming Russia for the tensions, Merkel said: “We ask the Ukrainian side too to be sensible because we know that we can only solve things through being reasonable and through dialogue because there is no… Russia fired on and then seized three Ukrainian ships on Sunday, accusing them of illegally entering its waters in ... Read More »

Pentagon Moves Closer To Cutting Turkey’s Role In The F-35 Program If It Buys S-400 SAMs

Turkey remains steadfast in its plans to purchase the air defense systems as its relations with the United States remain cool Joseph Trevthick TheDRIVE The U.S. government could reportedly reexamine Turkey’s participation in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program if that country goes ahead with its purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia. But even if that particular issue is resolved, there could still be major hurdles in unfreezing deliveries of the jets to the Turkish Air Force. The ... Read More »

Slovenia appoints first female army chief

Slovenia has appointed its first-ever female army chief, also the only woman in charge of a NATO country’s military. BELGRADE – Anadolu Agency Hurriyet Maj. Gen. Alenka Ermenc, 55, will officially take the reins of the Slovenian Armed Forces from her predecessor Alan Geder in a ceremony on Nov. 28. Slovenian President Borut Pahor expressed his belief that Ermenc will help strengthen the nation’s military capabilities. Ermenc last week was promoted to general, also the first Slovenian woman to reach that rank. Ermenc has served in the ... Read More »

Through confusion and panic, Ukraine digests what martial law will mean

Increased security around ports and stations already being reported, but consequences for ordinary Ukrainians are unclear Oliver Carroll Independent A day after the Ukrainian parliament voted to introduce martial law across 10 border regions, there was little clarity about what it would actually mean in practice. With parts of the government on different pages, and the introduction of measures that could cover most aspects of life, even family, some areas of the country bordered on panic mode. In the southern city of Odessa, there ... Read More »

The Coming War over Ukraine?

The danger of escalation is real and must be treated as such On November 25, Russian warships attacked and seized three Ukrainian navy boats that tried to cross the Kerch Strait. Jonas J. Driedger The National Interest The Ukrainian navy reports that Russian vessels opened fire and wounded at least six Ukrainian naval officers. On the same day, Ukrainian President Poroshenko and his Military Cabinet passed a resolution to impose martial law in Ukraine. The Ukrainian parliament is scheduled to decide on ... Read More »