Subduing the Enemy with Diplomacy Better than with War


A scarecrow stands guard at a Russian post along Russia-Chinese border post

A scarecrow stands guard at a Russian border post along Russia-Chinese border. Huanqiu.com photo

ABC News published an article titled “Analysis: Russia’s Far East Turning Chinese” on flood of Chinese immigration into Russia’s Far East.

Russia and China have a long history of hostility. The article says, “Russia took the territory in 1858 and 1860 with the Treaties of Aigun and Peking, respectively. Of all of the unequal treaties forced upon the Qing dynasty by outside powers in the 19th century, these are the only two China has not managed to overcome. China and Russia signed a border agreement in 1999, but the Beijing government has never formally accepted the Aigun and Peking treaties.”

The article describes Russia’s worry about Chinese illegal immigration into Russia’s Far East. In fact, those who know the history of Chinese immigration do not worry. In the 19th and 20th centuries, Chinese immigrants flooded Southeast Asia. They now dominate the economy of some countries there but have never turned those countries Chinese. Singapore people are more than 80% ethnic Chinese, but they are pro-America instead of pro-China.

However, there is indeed danger of war as lots of Chinese want a war with Russia to recover the 2 million square km of land in Russia’s Far East that China ceded to Russia under the two treaties mentioned in ABC News’ article.

Thanks to Obama, the war will be prevented as due to Obama’s pressure to contain both Russia and China, the two countries’ wise leaders have turned the two countries into good friends and indeed de facto allies with diplomacy that makes them strong enough to subdue the US with joint force.

Moreover, the diplomacy of win-win cooperation has turned potential enemies into good friends.

China follows its gifted strategist Sun Tzu’s teaching that subduing the enemy with diplomacy is better than with war. Putin seems also to have such wisdom. The two countries both turn a blind eye to the illegal immigration.

In fact Putin wants China to cooperate with it in developing Russia’s Far East as no Russians want to go there but Chinese people are fond of going there. Putin adopts the policy of allowing Chinese immigrants who have married Russian to naturalize. That will be good win-win cooperation.

Now, Putin has removed Russian border guards along Russian border with China in Russia’s Far East to allow Chinese immigrants free entry. The photo on top shows that a scarecrow is guarding the border at a border post.

Subduing the enemy with diplomacy is better than with war! Putin and Xi Jinping know that but Obama does not. I hope Trump does.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on ABC News’ article, full text of which can be viewed at http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=82969&page=1.


US Strengthens Russia- China De Facto Military Alliance


FILE PHOTO - A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful intercept test, in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency. U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency/Handout via Reuters/File Photo

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful intercept test, in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency. U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency/Handout via Reuters/File Photo

Reuters says in its report today, “China and Russia have agreed to take further unspecified ‘countermeasures’ in response to a U.S. plan to deploy an anti-missile system in South Korea, state news agency Xinhua reported on Friday.”

In spite of US claim that the anti-missile system THAAD is not installed to deal with China and Russia, China and Russia are unhappy as the system can indeed intercept the missiles within quite a large area covered by the system in Russia and China.

Therefore US deployment of the system gives China and Russia incentive to strengthen their military cooperation.

Perhaps, the US really wants to deploy the system to intercept Chinese and Russian missiles, but diplomatically is the deployment wise by strengthening Russia-China military cooperation?

It seems that US strategists are ignorant that subduing the enemy with diplomacy is better than with fighting.

Do they hope that in a war between the US and one of the two de facto allies, the other joins the war to fight the US?

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report “China, Russia agree on more ‘countermeasures’ against U.S. anti-missile system: Xinhua”, full text of which is reblogged below:

China, Russia agree on more ‘countermeasures’ against U.S. anti-missile system: Xinhua

China and Russia have agreed to take further unspecified “countermeasures” in response to a U.S. plan to deploy an anti-missile system in South Korea, state news agency Xinhua reported on Friday.

The countermeasures “will be aimed at safeguarding interests of China and Russia and the strategic balance in the region”, Xinhua said, citing a statement released after a China-Russia security meeting.

China and Russia held a joint anti-missile drill last May after Washington and Seoul began discussions over installing the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to counter any North Korean threats.

THAAD is now due to be deployed on a South Korean golf course, unsettling Moscow and Beijing, which worry that the system’s powerful radar will compromise their security and do nothing to lower tensions on the Korean peninsula.

China and Russia said in October they would hold a second drill this year.

“China and Russia urged the United States and South Korea to address their security concerns and stop the deployment of THAAD on the Korean Peninsula,” Xinhua quoted the statement as saying.

North Korea’s drive to develop nuclear weapons capability has angered China, Pyongyang’s sole major diplomatic and economic supporter. However, Beijing fears THAAD and its radar have a range that would extend into China.

On Thursday, South Korea’s trade minister said the South might complain to China about actions perceived to have been taken in retaliation for its decision to deploy the U.S. anti-missile system.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Paul Tait)

Note: This is Reuters report I reblog here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


A Nixon Strategy to Break the Russia-China Axis


President and Mrs. Nixon's arrival in China. Wikimedia Commons/National Archives and Records Administration

President and Mrs. Nixon’s arrival in China. Wikimedia Commons/National Archives and Records Administration

Doug Bandow January 4, 2017

Perhaps the greatest evidence of the hubris surrounding uber-hawks, both neoconservatives and liberal interventionists, is their willingness—even determination—to make multiple enemies simultaneously around the globe. Hence their constant refrain that the world is dangerous and military spending must go up, ever up.

The United States, apparently alone, since it cannot rely upon allies which are constantly whining for reassurance, must confront China, North Korea, Russia, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, the Islamic State, assorted terrorist movements and any anyone else who resists U.S. “leadership.” Neutral observers might find this disparate collection, several of whose members are at odds, somewhat less than a formidable threat compared to the United States, virtually every European nation, the majority of Asian industrial states, the most important and wealthiest powers in the Middle East, and the majority of the rest of the countries that are friendly to the West. Nevertheless, Americans are constantly told that the United States has never been more embattled—not, apparently, during the Civil War, Cold War, World War I, or even World War II.

Yet if the hawkish “perpetual threat” lobby really believes its rhetoric, it has only itself to blame. After all, increasingly treating both China and Russia as adversaries has achieved what was otherwise impossible: pushed the Cold War allies-turned-enemies into friends, and possible allies again.

Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union provided vital assistance to Mao Zedong’s Communist rebels. Without Moscow’s backing, especially turning over weapons and territory to the insurgents after Japan’s August 1945 surrender, Mao might not have had the opportunity to become a nation builder—and one of the greatest mass killers in human history.

Despite some natural tensions between the two states, Mao generally accepted Stalin’s leadership. For instance, with Stalin determined to avoid a military confrontation with America, Mao’s People’s Republic of China intervened in the Korean War to preserve North Korea, which began as a Soviet client state. However, the Soviet leader died in 1953, only four years after the PRC’s creation.

De-Stalinization by Nikita Khrushchev led to ideological disputes over which government offered an uncorrupted vision of Marxist-Leninism. Mao criticized Moscow’s willingness to accept “peaceful coexistence” with the West. The Soviet leadership worried about Mao’s reckless military measures against the remnant Nationalist government in Taiwan. By 1961 the Chinese Communist Party was denouncing Soviet leaders as “revisionist traitors.” The two countries created rival revolutionary and state networks and battled for influence within nominally Communist nations. The USSR backed India against China; the latter criticized Moscow’s willingness to compromise in the Cuban Missile Crisis and join in treaty limits on nuclear weapons.

In 1966 Beijing raised the issue of “unfair” treaties imposed by the czarist Russian Empire. Border conflict broke out three years later. Casualties were modest and fighting ceased later in the year, though a formal border agreement was not reached until 1991.

Chinese-Soviet tension continued around the world, as the two backed rival revolutionary factions in several African conflicts. They disagreed over Vietnam; Beijing supported Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime, which was ousted by Hanoi in 1978, and fought a brief war with the latter the following year. The two Communist giants also differed in Afghanistan. Although relations in later years were not nearly as hostile as during the Mao-Khrushchev era, the vision of a unified Communist bloc had been irretrievably destroyed.

The brief Sino-Russian shooting war apparently convinced Mao that he needed to reduce tensions with at least one of the PRC’s potential adversaries, opening the way for the Nixon administration. Rapprochement between the United States and China began with Richard Nixon relaxing trade and travel restrictions on the PRC in 1969. The same year, Beijing and Washington resuscitated the Sino-U.S. ambassadorial Talks. Nixon also used Pakistan as a diplomatic intermediary, which reported Chinese interest in improving bilateral ties.

In 1971 the two countries engaged in so-called “ping-pong diplomacy,” with the visit of an American table tennis team to China, while Nixon eliminated the last travel limits. National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger surreptitiously visited Beijing as part of an official trip to Pakistan in July 1971, setting in motion a second visit in October and U.S. support for the PRC’s entry into the United Nations and possession of the Chinese Security Council seat. Richard Nixon’s famed visit to China came in February 1972. He told Mao: “You are one who sees when an opportunity comes, and then knows that you must seize the hour and seize the day.” Actually, both leaders did so.

Although formal diplomatic ties (which required ending official relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan) did not come until 1979, under President Jimmy Carter, the United States and PRC continued to expand contacts and commerce. In no way were the two countries military allies. But Washington effectively neutralized one potential security threat and prevented the recreation of a Sino-Soviet coalition against the United States. Geopolitically, America gained flexibility and leverage in confronting the USSR. Washington could enjoy global preeminence, if not dominance, at lower cost.

Chinese-Russian relations improved as the Cold War ended and ideological conflicts waned. But tensions remain real. Beijing shows as little respect for intellectual property when it comes to Russian weapons as it does for Western consumer goods. The Central Asian republics were part of the Soviet Union, but increasingly are drawn to China economically. Russia’s Far East is virtually unpopulated, giving rise to fears of Chinese territorial absorption.

However, under President Barack Obama, the United States has courted conflict with both powers. To constrain China, the administration staged the “pivot” or “rebalance.” Washington strengthened alliance ties, added troop deployments and increased military maneuvers. The resources involved have been sufficient to irritate but not enough to scare the PRC. Beijing perceives that Washington hopes to contain China, whether or not the former is willing to admit the obvious.

Against Russia, the United States has followed what appears to be an overtly hostile policy: dismissing the former’s Balkan interests, especially breaking apart historic Slavic ally Serbia (which imperial Russia backed in World War I); bringing old Warsaw Pact members and even Soviet republics into NATO, with invitations seeming likely for Georgia and Ukraine (the latter an integral part of both the Russian Empire and Soviet Union); supporting “color” and street revolutions against Russian-friendly governments in Georgia and Ukraine; pushing regime change, including by Islamist insurgents, against Moscow’s Syrian ally; imposing economic sanctions against Russia; and building up U.S. military forces in Europe. Washington might believe all of these policies to be warranted, but no serious Russian patriot could view them as friendly.

The result has been greater cooperation between China and Russia. They are not formal military allies, but have found their dislike and distrust of Washington to be greater than their bilateral disagreements. In the short term, that means cooperating to limit American influence.

Ultimately the objective could become to deter U.S. military action against both nations. Although Washington, with allied support, today should be able to simultaneously defeat the two (short of unconditional surrender), American dominance will fade. Should Russia and China forge closer military bonds, the United States eventually might find itself facing a much less hospitable international environment. That likely would constrain Washington’s responses, and increase the costs and risks if conflict resulted.

America is a great power. But it should not needlessly create enemies and encourage them to ally with each other. If Donald Trump succeeds in improving relations with Russia, he would have the salutary side effect of discouraging creation of a common Russo-Chinese front against the United States. Richard Nixon’s China policy offers a model for the incoming Trump administration: Make up with at least one of the important powers potentially arrayed against America. The United States should not feel the need to take on the rest of the world.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and a former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan.

Source: Reuters “A Nixon Strategy to Break the Russia-China Axis”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Russia Delivered 4 of the 24 Su-35 Fighter Jets Bought by China


According to Our City website of Komsomolsk, the city where Russia’s most advanced fighter jet Su-35 is produced, 4 Su-35 fighter jets flew from the city to China as partial delivery of the 24 Su-35s bought by China.

The contract of purchase was signed last year and Russia has to deliver all the 24 Su-35 fighter jets by 2018.

Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Russia discloses delivery of first batch of 4 Su-35 fighter jets to China: Experts say it’s an act of gilding refined gold” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)


Defending Networks Emerges As Top Battlefield Priority


By Stew Magnuson January 2017

The first target Russia or China will go after in a shooting war may not be an F-35, an air base, or even an aircraft carrier. These peer competitors will probably attempt to take down the U.S. military’s communications enterprise first.

And if they don’t succeed on the first day, they will attempt to do so again, again and again, senior defense leaders recently said.

“Our adversaries will intentionally and frequently try to take down our network as an asymmetric means to get after our combat power. They are going to do it,” said William T. Lasher, deputy chief of staff, G-6, at U.S. Army Forces Command headquarters.

“We are watching them do it in other areas, so we know this is coming,” he said at the Milcom conference in Baltimore, Maryland.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley in October introduced the multi-domain battlefield concept, where he said ground forces of the future would have to be prepared to fight in the air, at sea and cyberspace.

Maj. Gen. John B. Morrison, commanding general of Fort Gordon, Georgia, and the U.S. Army cyber center of excellence, said the latter will be a challenge.

“We will be operating against a near peer in a congested and contested environment. … Quite frankly, we have seen some of these near peers bringing integrated capabilities to the battlefield and having tremendous operational effects,” he said.

Milley’s vision “flips how the Army operates in the future on its head,” said Morrison. It recognizes that cyberspace is an operational domain that the Army needs to maneuver in, he added.

To that end, the Army is bringing its cyber, electronic warfare and signals capabilities under one command, a Cyber Directorate located at the Pentagon, he said. While that is the beginning of a doctrinal and organizational construct, there is a lot of work to do on the technical side, where systems created separately in silos means that integration has a long way to go.

“The technologies we deployed with to Iraq in 2003, 2004 and 2005 are nothing like what we have today,” Morrison said. One of the major differences is that strategic and tactical communications networks are now blended. There has been progress protecting the network on the higher end, but not so much on the tactical side, he said.

For example, the creation of joint regional security stacks has taken the number of security enclaves from about 1,000 down to the 20s, he said. That reduces the portals and avenues of attack for adversaries on the Non-classified Internet Protocol Router Network, better known as the NIPRnet, and about the same number on secure networks, he said.

The Army in a joint program with the Air Force and the Defense Information Systems Agency is coming up with acquisition paradigms where cybersecurity is “baked in” to new applications instead of being something tacked on. It also trains enlisted personnel to take the place of contractors to install security updates, which make the process more agile.

The Army is building a more modernized, capable and secure network that three years ago existed only on PowerPoint but now has 300,000 users, he said.

But operations are driving the Army to more distributed mission commands. That means the network is proliferating on the battlefield down to tactical units. “The days of a strategic network and a tactical network are long gone. Operations have blown right by that construct,” he said.

“That paradigm needs to get pushed into the tactical space because everything that we are doing is end to end,” Morrison said.

The Army recognizes that the network is the foundation for all cyberspace operations and electronic warfare operations and that it needs to integrate those operations from a doctrine perspective and a requirements perspective, he said.

“What we cannot have are siloed capabilities being built and then we turn around and force the integration back onto our operational units,” he said.
“In many respects that’s where we are at. We are trying to bolt together siloed requirements into an integrated capability. We need to bring that together on the front end,” he added.

On the technical side, “We should not have a network box sitting right beside a cybersecrity box sitting right beside an EW box. They should all operate off this foundational integrated network baseline and then we can apply the right capabilities at the right time,” Morrison said.

Lasher is a proponent of network maneuverability and flexibility, which will keep adversaries guessing on how to attack in cyberspace.

“We have got to take a look at our current architecture — at least the way we have implemented our tactical systems — and ask ourselves, ‘Are we ready?’” Lasher said.

The U.S. military has gotten into some bad habits over the past 15 years of war. Being placed in forward operating bases where personnel assume that they can use fixed infrastructure, or they can set up a satellite link that will support them for an indefinite period, may not be the scenario in this new kind of warfare.

“We have got to start thinking how to maneuver against an agile enemy who we know is going to come after our networks … to get after our combat power,” he said.

In the Cold War era, signals personnel came in every morning and dialed in a new radio frequency based on instructions. Had the enemy discovered the frequency the previous day, they wouldn’t know where it was the next day, he noted.

“What if we did that with IP space? You may have mapped my network yesterday, but now the entire space has changed. In fact with software defined networking, not only did we change the IP space, but we essentially changed the architecture of where the tiers are, what the router and switch configurations look like,” Lasher said.

Army personnel will have to do this in a manner that doesn’t “confuse ourselves to death,” he added. “That is probably the bigger challenge.”
Communications backbones on which the networks are carried must also be nimble, Lasher said.

“We need to be maneuverable in spectrum” and bandwidth, he said. When U.S. forces go overseas into a sovereign nation, they have completely different regulations for spectrum. U.S. systems must be able to adapt.

There must be an automated means of prioritizing and allocating bandwidth to traffic, which is difficult to do today, Lasher said.

“We essentially plug in a router and whoever puts demands on a router, whether they are important or not, takes the bandwidth,” he said.

A soldier in his tent could be watching YouTube or ESPN and might be taking up the bandwidth when it’s critical to receive a full-motion video feed from somewhere else, he noted. “Tools are needed to allow us to guard bandwidth for particular users or prioritize bandwidth when it comes time to maneuver the network toward the commander’s priorities on the battlefield,” he said.

There also must be redundant transport systems for delivering the network. Along with taking advantage of whatever local infrastructure might be available, the military needs the ability to quickly change its links to space-based communications systems, if needed, he said.

“We have got to able to have redundant satellite connectivity,” he said. If one satellite system is under attack, commanders should be able to quickly change to another.

“The days of us plugging in on one constellation and not being maneuverable off that constellation I suspect are numbered,” Lasher said.

Retired Maj. Gen. Earl D. Matthews, former director of cyberspace operations and chief information security officer in the office of the secretary of the Air Force, asked, “Do we have any weapons today that are not cyber related?”

The only one he could find was the 7.62 mm rifle. “Everything else is dependent on cyber. If someone can prove me different, I would like to know,” said Matthews, who is now vice president of enterprise security solutions at Hewlett Packard.

“Everything will be integrated into a grid and that grid is going to be impacted by performance,” he said.

“We have got to move way left in order for us to win this game in the next conflict. Control and denial of the electromagnetic spectrum is going to be the key to victory,” he said.

Complexity is the friend of the adversary, he noted. Networks have been put together over the course of 20 to 25 years in a stovepiped fashion, and then were integrated, he noted.

Reducing complexity will help protect the network, he asserted.

“Moving to the cloud provides us with some less complexity if we don’t have all these legacy systems,” he said.

“The cloud is the next great do-over for this domain,” he said. “If we move to the cloud — and we treat it with a sense of urgency — which we are not … we will put ourselves in a better posture,” Matthews said.

Lasher said there are problems industry can help solve by driving in automation and simplicity.

The Army needs to do more with fewer soldiers especially within the signal and cyber domains. It needs to be as small, efficient and agile as it can. Remote operations should also be encouraged so they don’t have to always be in any particular spot, Lasher said.

Vendors need to hide complexity from the warfighters.

“Their primary focus needs to be prosecuting the war. Finding an enemy. Defeating an adversary,” Lasher said. They can’t be buried in instructions to tell them how to operate “a box,” and not focused on the fight, he added.

Rick Skinner, director of global strategy and mission solutions at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, said given the right personnel and some internal development funds, industry is adept at coming up with solutions to some of these hard problems. They could be solved in as little as 18 months of work. The problem is that the military takes three years at the beginning of the process to come up with requirements, then takes another three years afterwards for test and evaluation.

“You take something that takes two years and you bookend it with six years, you are back to where you started from,” he said.

“We need a rapid security office to complement our rapid capabilities office,” he suggested.

Source: National Defense Magazine “Defending Networks Emerges As Top Battlefield Priority”

Note: This is National Defense Magazine’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


5 Places World War III Could Start in 2017


An A-10C Thunderbolt II at Moody Air Force Base. Photo: Flickr/U.S. Air Force

An A-10C Thunderbolt II at Moody Air Force Base. Photo: Flickr/U.S. Air Force

Robert Farley December 17, 2016

The Trump administration enters office in an unsettled time. For a variety of reasons (some directly connected to Trump’s rhetoric), the great powers face more uncertainty than at any time in recent memory. In the first few months of Trump’s presidency (indeed, perhaps even before his presidency begins) the United States will have to navigate several extremely dangerous flashpoints that could ignite, then escalate, conflict between the US, Russia, and China.

Korean Peninsula

Reportedly, President Obama suggested to President Trump that North Korea policy would represent the first big test of his administration. North Korea continues to build more and more effective ballistic missiles, as well (most analysts suspect) to expand its nuclear arsenal. While the economy and political system remain moribund, the state itself has shown no inclination to collapse.

Moreover, South Korea has mired itself in a serious political crisis of its own. Conflict could erupt in any of several ways; if the United States decides to curtain North Korea’s ballistic missile programs with a preventative attack, if North Korea misreads US signals and decides to preempt, or if a governance collapse leads to chaos. As was the case in 1950, war on the peninsula could easily draw in China, Russia, or Japan.

Syria

Recent Russia victories in Syria appear to have paved the way for the Assad regime to shift the civil war to a new phase. The United States declined to intervene in defense of Aleppo, instead concentrating its forces on Iraq and the fight against ISIS. The Obama administration will not contest Russia’s support of Assad, and there is little to indicate that the Trump administration will seek confrontation.

But while the most dangerous moments may have passed, US and Russian forces continue to operate in close proximity of one another. The US airstrike near Deir al-Zour, which killed sixty-two Syrian troops, derailed the prospect for US-Russian cooperation in Syria. A similar event, launched either by Russian or American forces, could produce retaliatory pressures in either country. Moreover, the presence of spoilers (terrorist groups and militias on either side, as well as a variety of interested states) serves to increase complexity, and the chances for a miscalculation or misunderstanding.

“War” in Cyberspace

The United States, Russia, and China are not at “war” in cyberspace, notwithstanding the success of Russian efforts to intervene in the US Presidential election, or the ongoing Chinese efforts to steal intellectual property and technology from US companies. However, the US security establishment may feel an increasing need to respond to what it views as Russian and Chinese provocations, if only to deter other attacks against critical US cyber-assets.

Specialists disagree over whether even a serious escalation over current activity would constitute a cyber-“war.” And the agencies delegated with responsibility over offensive cyber-capabilities have proven loathe to use them; attacks on critical vulnerabilities often only work once. Still, if China, Russia, or other actors come to believe that they can attack the US without fear of response, they may end up pushing the US government into costly responses that could create an unfortunate escalatory spiral.

South Asia

Initial reports suggested that President Trump might continue the policy of the Bush and Obama presidencies to push for an increasingly deeply US-India relationship. Indeed, Trump’s campaign scored an unlikely degree of support from Hindu nationalists in the United States, who tend to favor confrontation with Pakistan.

Trump’s phone call with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif threw these assumptions into chaos. Trump seemed to suggest a role for himself as mediator in the Kashmir dispute, a position that goes strongly against Indian preferences. Analysts in India and the United States worry that Pakistan might take this message as a green light for increasing militant operations in and around Kashmir, and for taking other escalatory steps. On the other hand, India might feel the need to pre-empty perceived Pakistani preparations by conducting its own operations along the line of control. And if either side decides to escalate, then the US and China could easily find themselves drawn into a conflict.

Baltic Sea

Perhaps the greatest chance of danger lies in the Baltic region. Allegations about President Trump’s connections to Russian intelligence have flown fast and furious over the past weeks. What is not in doubt is that Trump has put America’s commitment to the NATO security guarantee into doubt. Potentially, this could have several salutary effects; it could convince the Europeans to increase their own defense expenditures, it could de-escalate tensions with the Russians, and it could ameliorate the perceived over-extension of US defense commitments.

In the short run, however, opportunities for miscalculation loom large. Moscow could underestimate the commitment of the US security establishment to the Baltics, and undertake inflammatory measures under the assumption that the Americans will back down. This would put a core US defense commitment to the test; if Moscow judges Trump (or the broader American security establishment) wrongly, serious conflict could result.

A Path to World War III in 2017?

Uncertainty drives all of these concerns. No one has a good handle on what the Trump administration will do (not Moscow, and not even Washington), on major foreign policy questions. This leaves many countries facing difficult calculations of risk and opportunity. And political scientists, among others, have long argued that misperception, uncertainty, and disagreement about risk tend to drive conflict. President Trump’s advisors will have to work very hard to steer him through these potential crises.

Robert Farley, a frequent contributor to TNI, is author of The Battleship Book. He serves as a Senior Lecturer at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. His work includes military doctrine, national security, and maritime affairs. He blogs at Lawyers, Guns and Money and Information Dissemination and The Diplomat.

Source: National Interest “5 Places World War III Could Start in 2017

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Pentagon to Create Hypersonic Missile Defense Program


Provision of defense bill mandates effort to counter maneuvering high-speed missiles

By Bill Gertze December 16, 2016 4:57 am

The Pentagon is being forced to set up a dedicated program targeting the growing threat of high-speed maneuvering missiles under development by China and Russia.

A section of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017, passed by Congress last week, requires the Missile Defense Agency to create the program focused on countering the emerging hypersonic missile threat.

A blue-ribbon panel of Air Force experts concluded in a study made public last month that the Obama administration and the military have failed to adequately address the new hypersonic threat.

The study found that the Pentagon has no well-resourced program for either developing hypersonic missiles or countering them.

China has conducted seven tests of a new high-speed strike missile and Russia also is developing hypersonic weapons that are designed to defeat U.S. missile defenses.

The authorization bill is expected to be signed by President Obama in the next several days.

Once a public law, the Pentagon must create a program “to develop and field a defensive system to defeat hypersonic boost-glide and maneuvering ballistic missiles,” the law states.

The initial amendment that was added to the legislation, drafted by missile defense advocate Rep. Trent Franks (R., Ariz.), would have placed restrictions on funding for the office of the secretary of defense until the hypersonic defense program is created. That part of the legislation was dropped during negotiations between the House and Senate on the bill.

The legislation requiring hypersonic missile defenses is a slap at the Obama administration, which despite spending billions of dollars on missile defense programs has not focused on the hypersonic missile danger.

Current U.S. missile defenses, including those designed to shoot down long-range and short-range missiles, currently are designed to strike ballistic missiles that travel in predictable flight paths.

Missiles traveling at speeds of between Mach 5 and Mach 10—3,836 miles per hour to 7,672 miles per hour—that change course cannot be tracked or struck by current missile defenses and sensors.

The study by Air Force experts stated that “the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation are already flight-testing high-speed maneuvering weapons (HSMWs) that may endanger both forward-deployed U.S. forces and even the continental United States itself.”

“These weapons appear to operate in regimes of speed and altitude, with maneuverability that could frustrate existing missile defense constructs and weapon capabilities.”

The report said the new threat is not overblown. “This is no mere tweaking of an existing threat,” the report said. “Rather, [high-speed maneuvering weapons] can combine speed and maneuverability between the air and space regimes to produce significant new offensive capability that could pose a complex defensive challenge.”

The panel of experts stated that it “could find no formal strategic operational concept or organizational sense of urgency” regarding the threat.

“Further, the committee believes there is a lack of leadership coordination to provide efficiency and direction for the development of possible countermeasures and defensive solutions across the Department of Defense.”

A Missile Defense Agency spokesman declined to comment on the defense authorization bill’s provision for a new hypersonic missile defense program.

However, MDA Director Vice Adm. James Syring disclosed during a congressional hearing earlier this year his agency has no programs focused on the threat of hypersonic missiles.

A laser weapon is being researched that may have capabilities against hypersonic missiles but will not be tested until 2021, he said.

China’s multiple test launches of the DF-ZF hypersonic glide vehicle are an indication the weapon is a high-priority for Chinese arms developers.

Russia announced in August that its hypersonic missiles will be designed to penetrate U.S. missile defenses and the first systems could be deployed by 2020.

Russia flight-tested its experimental Yu-71 hypersonic glider in April atop a SS-19 missile.

Rep. Franks said earlier this year he introduced the legislation over worries about hypersonic arms developments in China and Russia.

“The hypersonic age is upon us,” Franks said in an interview. “And it is imperative that America not only compete but excel in this area because our enemies are certainly taking the technology seriously and are developing it effectively.”

An enhanced version of the Army’s Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, is being considered as one system capable of countering hypersonic missiles.

Update 4:40 P.M.: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the report was published by the National Science Foundation.

Source: Washington Free Beacon “Pentagon to Create Hypersonic Missile Defense Program”

Note: This is Washington Free Beacon’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.