As national security practitioners, we ask: What are the imperatives to enable this kind of competition within the gray zone? Specific to air, space, and cyber power, the United States must apply new ideas, innovate new technology, and reorganize its forces to meet the imperatives of the gray zone. Each of these imperatives is best understood through I. B. Holley’s classic framework on the evolution of warfare as relating to either ideas, tools, or groups. This article interprets the framework as application (ideas), technology (tools), and organization (groups). First, the United States and its allies must leverage the full range of air, space, and cyber power in proactive ways to create dilemmas and uncertainty for the Chinese government and, if necessary, impose costs. Next, they must develop airpower technology focused on dispelling ambiguity, increasing attribution, and illuminating malign activity. And finally, the United States must orient a portion of its air, space, and cyber forces toward frustrating China’s coercive gradualism.
After two decades, the Taliban returned to power through brute force. Chaos and fear engulfed the city of Kabul and surrounding areas, with tens of thousands of people stuck and trying to escape harm’s way. The collapse of Afghanistan left the Afghan people in distress and servitude under the Taliban's rule. The Afghanistan crisis threatens to embroil the entire region with chaos and mayhem. The question then arises: how will the Taliban’s return to power impact the rest of South Asia?
The current state of Afghanistan is an illusion of Western diplomacy, a conflagration of religious and ethnic groups unwillingly forced together in formation of a “nation” as the United Nations and the predominant powers within prefer to establish a world on a rules-based order. As a country, in its current form, it is not the end of 20 years at war but instead the continuation of a century of conflict with the West, first colonized by the British and then falling under the incompetent tutelage of Soviet meddlers. This latest episode of conflict comes at the tail-end of a millennium of invasion, conquest, subjugation, and submission to foreign powers and ambitious leaders beginning with the likes of Darius I of Persia and Alexander the Great of Macedonia. In short, Afghanistan possesses a history of conflict the United States cannot even imagine, and yet, for Afghans today, the current state is nothing new in their history.
Many Canadians see the plethora of problems in the Indo-Pacific region through the NIMBY lens—Not in My Back Yard so it is not our problem. In reality though, what happens in the Indo-Pacific matters for Canada. This is especially the case if China is successful in creating and shaping “an ideological environment conducive to its rise and counter Western values.” If successful, Canada will be less secure, less prosperous, and more vulnerable to a might-is-right approach to regional and international affairs.
A selective engagement strategy in East Asia requires diplomatic and economic cooperation and confrontation, as well as information and military competition. This article will provide a background on China’s growing influence in East Asia, outline a grand strategy of selective engagement, and describe how the United States should utilize the instruments of national power to realize its interests.
Book Review: 2034: A Novel of the Next World War, by Elliot Ackerman and James Stavridis. New York: Penguin Press, 2021. 320 pp. ISBN: 9780593298688.
In this third installment of Indo-Pacific Perspectives, Dr. Peter Harris and his assembled scholars tackle the issue of Sino-Indian border conflicts.
Dr. Harris introduces this issue of Indo-Pacific Perspectives, in which six scholars—some based in the region, the rest longtime analysts of Sino-Indian relations—put the recent border Sino-Indian border clashes in context.
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.
The views and opinions expressed or implied in JIPA are those of the authors and should not be construed as carrying the official sanction of the Department of Defense, Air Force, Air Education and Training Command, Air University, or other agencies or departments of the US government or their international equivalents. See our Publication Ethics Statement.