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  • Djibouti: The Organizing Principle of the Indo-Pacific

    This article is divided into seven parts. Following the introduction, the article locates Africa in the Indo-Pacific. It then explains the strategic importance of Djibouti and underscores how the tiny East African nation is now emerging as a playground for major powers. The bases of France and the United States at Djibouti were operational even before the reality of the Indo-Pacific became apparent. The key role in this regard is played by China’s and Japan’s military bases in Djibouti and their naval presence in the Gulf of Aden. The article considers the military and economic presence of these two Pacific Ocean powers in the Indian Ocean as facilitated by their bases in Djibouti. The article then moves to Russia and South Korea, two other important Pacific Ocean powers who have devoted considerable resources and energies to the Western Indian Ocean. Meanwhile, Taiwan’s deepening ties with Somaliland also add an interesting dimension to the evolving geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific. Then the article considers the role of India, as it remains pivotal to the making and remaking of the Indo-Pacific. Finally, the conclusion ties together all the arguments presented here. 

  • Evacuation Operations, Great-Power Competition, and External Operations Terror Threats in Post-Drawdown Afghanistan: Mapping Out the Path Ahead

    Our leaders cannot afford to look backward. Instead, we must understand the new operating environment and frame the threat landscape, which should incorporate three primary lines of effort (LOE): post-drawdown humanitarian aid and evacuations, confronting the GPC in theater, and countering nonstate armed groups and their operations. This white paper frames these three collective challenges to inform leaders and policy makers of potential solutions nested under current administration priorities, guidance, and policies.

  • “Securing the Northern Flank”: Reflections toward Establishing the Department of Defense’s Newest Regional Center: The Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies

    The National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 provided the Secretary of Defense (SecDef) the authority to assess, plan, and establish a new Department of Defense (DOD) Regional Center, specifically oriented to the Arctic. Following a period of analysis on the merits of creating such a center, the Secretary announced the establishment of the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies (Stevens Center or TSC) on 9 June 2021. As part of that announcement, SecDef Llyod Austin elaborated these key details: “The center will support the U.S. Interim National Security Strategic Guidance direction to work with like-minded partners and across the interagency to pool our collective strength and advance shared interests,” Austin said. “It will address the need for U.S. engagement and international cooperation to strengthen the rules-based order in the region and tackle shared challenges such as climate change.”1

  • Volume 04 Issue 7 - Special Issue 2021

    Volume 04 Issue 7 - Special Issue 2021

  • The Indo-Pacific Dimension in US Arctic Strategy

    The clear focus of US strategic thinking today is on China and the Indo-Pacific region. This reflects bipartisan consensus and continuity—at least in threat assessment—across presidential administrations. What does this focus on the Indo-Pacific mean for the Arctic? How does change in the Arctic affect the US strategic focus on the Indo-Pacific?

  • Book Review: Orders of Exclusion: Great Powers and the Strategic Sources of Foundational Rules in International Relations

    Book Review: Orders of Exclusion: Great Powers and the Strategic Sources of Foundational Rules in International Relations, by Kyle M. Lascurettes. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020. 353 pp.

  • Emerging Myths About the Afghanistan War

    Perhaps the toughest part of the post–Afghanistan War era will be an honest accounting of its implications. Two narratives are fast-emerging about the American pullout and the collapse of the Islamic Republic—yet after a cursory examination these narratives are closer to myth than reality.

  • Myanmar in the US Indo-Pacific Strategy: Why Is China Winning and What to Do about It?

    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.

  • Myanmar’s Military Coup: Security Trouble in Southeast Asia

    This article highlights the tyranny of the military junta and the backsliding of democracy in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), contending that Russia and China's unwavering support of Myanmar's military makes it difficult to restore the democratic process and reestablish peace and stability. It also proposes that the triangular nexus of China–Myanmar–Russia propels apprehensions for the rise of autocracy and its impact on South Asia and Southeast Asian security architecture and regional stability.

  • Volume 04 Issue 6 - Special Issue 2021

    Volume 04 Issue 6 - Myanmar Crisis Special Issue 2021

  • The Fall of Afghanistan

    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.

  • Why Does Canada Need an Indo-Pacific Strategy as Part of Its Foreign Policy?

    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.

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Disclaimer

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.