Security

Can Boris Johnson deliver on his colossal naval expectations?

Boris Johnson’s ebullient pronouncements last week on a future Royal Navy freedom of navigation ‘operation’ in the Indo-Pacific region have attracted attention, but also criticism. Euan Graham Interpreter At the press conference following the “2+2” meeting of Australian/UK defence and foreign ministers (AUKMIN), on 27 July, Mr Johnson initially said this: ‘One of the first things we will do with the two new colossal aircraft carriers that we have just built is send them on a freedom of navigation operation ... Read More »

US, NATO wait to see if Russia-Turkey defense deal goes through

Turkey’s plans to procure an advanced long-range air and missile defense system (LORAMIDS) has been dragging on for 10 years, but now it could be leading to a profound crisis of confidence between Turkey and the US-Western security blocs. Author:  Metin Gurcan  Translator: Timur Göksel The latest indicator was a July 23 statement by Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford at an Aspen, Colorado, security forum: “[Turkey has] not bought the S-400 air defense system from Russia. ... Read More »

Why is Turkey buying the Russian S-400 missile defence system?

Why is Turkey buying the Russian S-400 missile defence system? TRT World and agencies Ali Topchi Turkey, which boasts the second-largest army in NATO, announced last week, on Tuesday, it had inked a deal to buy an S-400 (NATO version SA-21 Growler) missile defence system for $2-3 billion from Russia. The deal led NATO members to question Turkey’s move and what it means for their alliance with NATO. The parties did not share the details of the S-400 agreement due to its… Why is Turkey… Read More »

North Korea’s new ICBMs change little about threat to the US

Pyongyang’s development of a missile capable of reaching most of the continental US is not a game-changer that everyday citizens should worry about. ROBERT E. MCCOY Asia Times North Korea’s launch of an ICBM (inter-continental ballistic missile) in early July, followed by another even longer-range missile 24 days later, has generated a lot of buzz. While the detailed analyses of those launches have yet to be published, we do know that both missiles are clearly of a class whose range is at least 3,400 ... Read More »

The Week Donald Trump Lost the South China Sea

Vietnam’s capitulation shows China’s neighbors fear the U.S. no longer has their backs Bill Hayton Foreign Policy Vietnam’s history is full of heroic tales of resistance to China. But this month Hanoi bent the knee to Beijing, humiliated in a contest over who controls the South China Sea, the most disputed waterway in the world. Hanoi has been looking to Washington for implicit backing to see off Beijing’s threats. At the same time, the Trump administration demonstrated that it either ... Read More »

Chinese spy ships: The devil in the detail

Recent posts in The Interpreter (by Iain Henry, Euan Graham and James Goldrick) have commented on the presence of a Chinese intelligence-gathering ship off the Queensland Coast during Exercise Talisman Sabre. Sam Bateman The Interpreter All these posts are broadly correct – the incident suggested Chinese hypocrisy with its objections to foreign military activities in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), specifically its objections to American surveillance and intelligence-collection in its EEZ. However, we need to be careful in making assessments ... Read More »

How many people are killed by terrorist attacks in the UK?

London has been rocked by a fourth terror attack in three months, when a man drove a van into a crowd of Muslim worshippers in Finsbury Park. Ashley Kirk The Telegraph Prime Minister Theresa May has chaired a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergency committee in response to the attack, condemning the “terrible incident”. How many people… Read More »

The good, the bad and the ugly of the Gulf crisis

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently embarked on a two-day trip to the Gulf, in the latest international effort to help resolve the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and the… Sinem Cengiz Arab News The trip included Saudi Arabia and Qatar, both actors in the crisis, as well as Kuwait, the main mediator, whose role is difficult and should be appreciated. The good, the… Read More »

Sri Lanka signs Hambantota port deal with China

Billion-dollar agreement reached despite trade union opposition and protests over security fears, including from India. Al Jazeera and news agencies<imgheight=”1″width=”1″style=”display:none”src=”https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=968100353246427&ev=PageView&noscript=1″/> Sri Lanka has signed a $1.12bn agreement with a state-run Chinese firm to operate a port in the southeast of the country, despite security concerns and protests from trade unions. According to the long-delayed deal reached in the capital Colombo on Saturday, Sri Lanka Ports Authority agreed to sellΒ a 70 percent stake in the Hambantota port to China Merchants Ports ... Read More »

Iran’s Newest Benefactor: China

Is Iran becoming a Chinese proxy? More than two years after Secretary of State John Kerry and his European Union counterpart Federica Mogherini acquiesced to the last Iranian demands and signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, has the… MICHAEL RUBIN Commentary Iran’s ballistic missile program continues to expand rapidly. Yesterday, Iran inaugurated its new launch facility by sending a rocket into low earth orbit. The same technology could be used to launch an intercontinental ballistic… Iran’s Newest Benefactor… Read More »

Japan joins US in imposing new sanctions on North Korea

Foreign minister says assets of five groups, including two from China, to be frozen, as well as nine individuals. Source: Reuters news agency Al Jazeera Japan will impose additional sanctions on North Korea for its weapons programmes, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said on Friday, just hours after the US Senate also voted for new sanctions on the secretive state. US media reported this week that the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Pentagon spy agency, had assessed that North Korea would ... Read More »

A Himalayan spat between China and India evokes memories of war

FOR nearly six weeks, armed contingents of two of the biggest military forces in the world have faced off in a high-altitude game of chicken in the Himalayas. The Economist Roughly 300-400 Indian soldiers and an equal number of Chinese border guards are stuck glowering at one another over a scrubby patch of land at a “tri-junction”, where the two countries and the tiny kingdom of Bhutan all meet. Analysts cannot see how either side might easily stand down. Memories ... Read More »

When in doubt, nuke China

A situation in which the US military feels ‘unhampered’ has precedent – and, as General MacArthur’s endeavors in Korea prove, it’s something to be afraid of Pepe Escobar Asia Times The current collapse of the unipolar world, with the inexorable emergence of a multipolar framework, has enabled a terrifying subplot to run amok – the normalization of the idea of nuclear war. The latest exhibit comes in the form of aΒ US admiral assuring everyone he’s ready to follow President Trump’s ... Read More »

How Long Can China Ignore Its Growing Debt Pile?

Beijing has been reluctant to tackle reforms to politically sensitive state-owned enterprises, fearing the potential for popular discontent. Anthony Fensom The National Interest Quarter after quarter, China’s gross domestic product numbers keep coming in nearly perfectly on Beijing’s forecasts. The trouble for the world’s second-biggest economy, however, is that its debt keeps on rising while necessary reforms take a back seat to the… According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, GDP expanded by 6.9 percent in the second quarter from ... Read More »

Putin signs Syria base deal, cementing Russia’s presence there for half a century

President Vladimir Putin has signed a law ratifying a deal with the Syrian government allowing Russia to keep its air base in Syria for almost half a century, official documents show. Moscow – Reuters Hurriyet The original deal, signed in Damascus in January, sets out the terms under which Russia can use its Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province which it has used to carry out air strikes against forces opposing President Bashar al-Assad. Putin approved the agreement on July ... Read More »

Open Letter to the UN Secretary-General on Peacekeeping in DRC

While the presence of the UN peace operation MONUSCO in the DRC is crucial, it needs to adapt to the deepening crisisΒ as violence escalates in parts of the country, and recognise President Kabila’s role in the… The UN should use its forthcoming strategic review to adjust the mission to these challenges. Jean-Marie Guehenno * ICG Your Excellency, The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is facing its deepest crisis since the end of the 1998-2003 war. Prospects for a peaceful transfer ... Read More »