This article probes Washington’s relative lack of attention to Myanmar in its Asia rebalancing and Indo-Pacific strategies and its failure to reap the benefits of Myanmar’s reform and opening. The article also assesses the extent of the leverage of China’s power in Myanmar and its implications for Myanmar’s own ability to hedge its bets, and that of other major players to promote their interests in Myanmar. Lastly, the article analyzes the emerging trajectory of China’s role in Myanmar post the military coup and argues that Washington needs to soberly assess the value of Myanmar in its strategic calculus for the Indo-Pacific. Based on such an assessment, Washington needs to clarify the objectives of its approach to Myanmar and then arrive at its strategy to achieve those objectives, which might include recalibrating its reliance on ASEAN, its dynamics with China vis-à-vis Myanmar, and engagement with like-minded partners of the Indo-Pacific region.
The air war over Nagorno-Karabakh in autumn 2020 offers three broad takeaways (two material and one nonmaterial) for Singapore’s military planners as they fine-tune the city-state’s Island Air Defense (IAD) system going forward. The three lessons are: (1) an integrated air defense system is critical; (2) the role of electronic warfare should be accentuated; and (3) the human factor is key, and it underpins the other two factors. To be sure, these insights—which should be applicable to any state’s air defense—are hardly groundbreaking, for various other commentators have already made them—but only in relation to major powers such as the United States and medium powers in Western Europe. This analysis therefore adds to the discourse on the lessons of Nagorno-Karabakh 2020 by distilling what is pertinent from the war for Singapore.
Many airmen today have extensive counterinsurgency experience fighting on the ground, calling in airstrikes, and rescuing wounded troops from hostile insurgent strongholds. But there are no incoming aircraft to strafe their positions, or enemy artillery batteries hammering away at their trench lines day and night, or frontal assaults by infantry and armor. Supply is not an issue today, as American troops in the field benefit from secure routes of communication, supply, and support. Thus, few airmen today can comprehend the hardship their predecessors endured between December 1941 and April 1942 on Bataan, a tiny peninsula in the Philippines. Many will recognize the American struggle in the Philippines as the “Death March.” But that is only the aftermath of a desperate. In the end, a joint American–Filipino force was compelled to surrender, and that is the narrative we describe in this article.
India’s quest for attaining superior military technology has materialized in New Delhi’s purchase of the S-400 air defense system from Russia. Adhering to the principles of offensive realism, India is aspiring to accumulate maximum power and establish its hegemony in the region. The Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) obliges the US president to impose sanctions on any state making a significant arms deal with Russia. However, considering India’s strategic partnership with the United States, New Delhi is confident that it can circumvent CAATSA sanctions and secure a waiver. India’s acquisition of this state-of-the-art technology will have a negative impact on the strategic stability of the region, providing a robust false sense of security to the Indian policy makers to execute lethal adventures in the region, with the assurance that India is invulnerable from any retaliatory attack. India’s acquisition of the S-400 will alter the strategic stability momentarily; however, Pakistan has the capability to counter this perceived advantage and rebalance the shift in strategic stability.
Canada’s obligation to its allies and to the Afghan people evolved in several distinct phases. To bureaucrats and governmental apparatchiks, each phase came with its own goals, opportunities, and difficulties and were seen as natural responses to the commensurate threats facing the mission in Afghanistan. To the public, poor communication and divides in regional attitudes turned the populace’s perception of the conflict into an ungainly and unending military morass. From the wider strategic perspective, Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan must be viewed through the lens of the American unipolar moment at its imperious zenith, facilitating an international superstructure that permitted and encouraged such an outsized Canadian contribution.
This article compares the roots and perspectives of civilizational thinking in three cases (China, Russia, and India) to chart the complex interplay between the rise of domestic “civilizational factions” among a state’s intelligentsia and non-Western elites and the subsequent effects of this thinking on each state’s behavior and strategic posture in the realm of its external affairs. Through rigorous cross-comparative examination and process-tracing along the defined parameters, this case study seeks to contribute to the nascent scholarly literature on the emerging civilization-state phenomena, offering some conclusions on how the emic repackaging of ancient historical epistemologies under hypermodern frameworks may go on to redefine plurilateral order throughout the dynamic twenty-first century and beyond.
Under Xi Jinping’s leadership, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), directed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is pursuing a grand strategy to achieve national rejuvenation. Its strategy incorporates various malign influence methods to control, persuade, intimidate, and manipulate foreign entities and citizens to support this vision. In its insidious infiltration, the CCP is leveraging economic coercion and interference in domestic affairs in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States to implement its national grand strategy of rejuvenation that, if left unchallenged, could have detrimental consequences. The United States should prepare now and implement a united, interagency cooperative posture that also extends across applicable institutions and national governmental echelons to prevent an imbalance in favor of the PRC. Diplomacy is encouraged, but it requires transparency resulting in an overt, legitimate display of intentions and behavior that also includes reciprocity between participating nations. Open, free democracies should not be at a disadvantage because they implement soft power in alignment with their enduring principles, values, and international standards. While this article will not attempt to cover all aspects of the grand strategy pursued by the CCP, it will attempt to explain that its seemingly innocuous and insidious use of malign influence and interference needs to be recognized and countered by the United States and its allies.
The US Coast Guard possesses a unique set of authorities and operational capabilities that make it particularly effective in gray-zone operations, which could allow the United States to exert a less escalatory military presence that bridges gaps between the high-intensity warfighting capabilities of other armed services and the diplomatic arm of the Department of State. Consequently, the US Coast Guard should be employed as a key cog for aligning US efforts with other armed services and partner nations in the region to provide more flexibility and capability in the gray zone of great-power competition.
This article investigates capabilities Taiwan should prioritize to repel such an invasion. Based on an analysis of three stages of a hypothetical PRC invasion (blockade and bombing, amphibious invasion, and island combat operations), Taiwan should maximize its ability to withstand and repel the amphibious invasion phase of any operation by prioritizing mines and minelayers, antiship missiles, and mobile long-range artillery systems.
This article examines the political, military, and economic dynamics of the great-power competition between the United States and the People’s Republic of China in the Indo-Pacific and how it has impacted the American alliance structure since the beginning of the Cold War. The author reviews the rise of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) following the demise of the American-sponsored Southeast Asian Treaty Organization, and the challenges facing the United States in establishing a new multilateral defense treaty organization to confront growing Chinese military assertiveness in the region. The author then compares three potential alliances structures to advance American interests in the region with an eye toward current and emerging strategic landscapes.
The China–Pakistan Economic Corridor has been billed as the “flagship” project of China’s vast Belt and Road Initiative. Beginning in 2014, Pakistan and China have formulated a plan to invest 62 billion USD on improvements to the Gwadar Port complex near the Iranian border, upgrades to Pakistan’s energy and transportation infrastructure, and a series of special economic zones throughout the country. There have been some early modest successes; however, Pakistan has been unable to provide further security for these improvements and the workers building them. This, in addition to the pervasive corruption in the country, means that the project is unlikely result in the dramatic economic growth necessary to prevent Pakistan from incurring the debt complications that other nations have faced after accepting Chinese credit in hopes of bettering their economies. Consequently, the project is unlikely to either result in Pakistan achieving many of its ambitious goals or in forging the kind of strategic relationship between China and Pakistan the United States and the West fear most.
This article demonstrates that India has the advantage in Ladakh over the air and land despite current deficiencies and even after considering the missile threat. However, India must make up its mind what it wants as a nation: Defend its territory, or retake Aksai Chin? If the latter, then without a doubt it must boldly face the Indian public and explain it needs to spend money on raising necessary military assets for the defense of Ladakh and the recapture of Aksai Chin. In this case, India must not worry about the money, or else India shall need to worry about its honor. Not only that: someone should also wield a whip to raise two new corps for Ladakh at a galloping pace—a mountain corps to hold existing positions and territory, in which India is deficient; and another to strike deep into Aksai Chin, and probably also Tibet and Xinjiang. Consequently, a new military command, which normally consists of three corps, is necessary to defend Ladakh and recapture Aksai Chin.
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