DEFENSE IN SPACE PRIORITY FOR US AND ALLIES

April 17, 2018

Fox News on April 16, 2018, published an article by US Secretary of the Air Force, Dr. Heather Wilson, calling for America and her allies to strengthen their self-defense in space. Excerpts below:

America is the best in the world at space, and our adversaries know it. They are developing and testing capabilities to deny us the use of space in crisis or war.

The Air Force is responsible for 90 percent of America’s military space assets and we see clearly where American interests are threatened. We are dramatically increasing our space budget this year and we are developing concepts and capabilities to deter and defeat any adversary who threatens our ability to freely operate in space.

While most Americans use space every day, few are conscious of it. It’s seamlessly woven into our lives. Air Force-operated GPS satellites give you the blue dot on your phone and provide the timing for banking, communications, and the stock exchange. One recent study showed that the Global Positioning System’s value to the U.S. economy was about $70 billion per year.

In the coming years, our military will undertake a number of steps to ensure our vital space capabilities are resilient so that our potential adversaries are deterred from attacking us. These steps include reducing the time to develop and to launch critical new satellites; creating warfighting tactics for our troops to train against satellite-jamming, laser attacks and other threats; and fielding defendable space systems and the capability to protect them.

Russia and China are developing anti-satellite capabilities that could become operational in the next few years. Our new National Defense Strategy correctly recognizes the reemergence of great power competition with China and Russia as the principal priority for the Defense Department.

There is much work to be done to ensure space continues to be open and accessible to the world and that our systems are secure from attack. It is an urgent national priority.

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CHINA STEALS AMERICAN TECHNOLOGY ON A MASSIVE SCALE

April 13, 2018

Washington Free Beacon on April 12, 2018, reported that experts tesitified to US Congress on massive theft of technology by China. Excerpts below:

China is engaged in large-scale theft of American research and technology from universities, using spies, students, and researchers as collectors, experts told Congress on April 11, 2018.

Compounding the technology theft, the administration of President Barack Obama weakened U.S. counterintelligence efforts against foreign spies by curbing national-level counterspy efforts, a former counterintelligence official disclosed during a House hearing.

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“Unfortunately, the backsliding continued under President Obama,” Van Cleave told two subcommittees of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

Van Cleave said a directive issued by then-DNI James Clapper in 2013 and still in force reduced the national counterintelligence program authority by directing all counterspy programs to be run by individual departments or agencies.

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“Gone was any dedicated strategic [counterintelligence] program, while elite pockets of proactive capabilities died of neglect,” she said.

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Several intelligence and security experts testified during the hearing that China poses the most significant threat of technology theft from an estimated $510 billion spent annually on U.S. research and development.

“China has a government-directed, multi-faceted secret program whose primary task is technology acquisition, as well as a highly refined strategy to develop and exploit access to advantageous information through the global telecommunications infrastructure,” Van Cleave said.

Along with Russian intelligence agents, Chinese technology spies have developed specific lists of technology for theft. Beijing uses clandestine agents, front companies, and joint research ventures in the theft program.

“Indeed, the United States is a spy’s paradise,” Van Cleave said. “Our free and open society is tailor-made for clandestine operations.”

Michael Wessel, chairman of the congressional U.S.-China Economic Security Review Commission, testified that the Chinese are focused on stealing American advanced technology related to artificial intelligence, robotics, and other cutting edge technology.

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“In the case of robotics and AI, two fields of study with the potential to fundamentally change the international economy as well as the future of war-fighting, China has released the Robotics Industry Development Plan and Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan with the goals of China assuming global leadership in the coming decades,” Wessel said.

China also is infiltrating American universities by funding language and cultural centers called Confucius Institutes that are being used as cover for technology theft. About 100 of the institutes are operating on American campuses and use their funding as part of “soft power” efforts in the United States.

China is also using some of the 350,000 Chinese students in the United States for intelligence work. Chinese spies recruit students with appeals such as “can you help China?” Wessel said.

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In 2009, Ruopeng Lieu, a researcher at Duke University, passed sensitive technology data to China. The information helped Beijing create the Kuang-Chi Science Ltd, a multibillion metamaterials company engaged in wireless internet and mobile payment fields.

In 2015, Chinese professors were among six defendants charged with economic espionage by the Justice Department. An indictment charged stolen American trade secrets were used to assist Chinese universities and state-run companies in China.

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Van Cleave, the former counterintelligence official, said greater efforts are needed to stem the loss of technology to China.

“Counterintelligence—identifying, assessing, and neutralizing foreign intelligence threats—has been little more than an afterthought in U.S. national security strategy, a legacy of neglect that has cost us dearly in lives lost, resources squandered, and dangers unchecked,” she said.

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Congress passed the Counterintelligence Enhancement Act in 2002 to fix the problems, but intelligence bureaucracies resisted the reforms and as a result counterspying has been weakened, not improved, Van Cleave said.

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Van Cleave urged going on the offense against foreign spies by penetrating and disrupting foreign intelligence organizations before they reach the United States.

The goal is to degrade foreign spy services and their ability to conduct operations against the United States.

“We can chase individual spies or technology thieves case by case, or we can target the services that send them here,” Van Cleave said. “In short, we can go on offense but national leadership must be willing to direct and empower America’s counterintelligence enterprise to carry out that vital mission.”

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The hearing was a joint session of the committee’s research and technology subcommittee and oversight subcommittee.

Oversight subcommittee chairman Ralph Abraham (R., La.), told the hearing China is the most aggressive at stealing U.S. technology but the problem involved other foreign nations as well and the activities must be stopped.

“Essentially, China steals our fundamental research and quickly capitalizes by commercializing the technology,” he said.

Research and technology subcommittee chairman Rep. Barbara Comstock (R., Va.) said the theft of American technology is a serious problem.

“It is imperative that our academic institutions not close their eyes to the very real threat posed by foreign intelligence spies,” she said. “They cannot be blinded by naiveté or ignorance when distinguishing between friend and foe.”

US NATIONAL DAY FOR THE VICTIMS OF COMMUNISM

April 12, 2018

On November 7, 2017, the White House declared November 7 the National Day for the Victims of Communism. For official text see below:

Today,the National Day for the Victims of Communism, marks 100 years since the Bolshevik Revolution took place in Russia. The Bolshevik Revolution gave rise to the Soviet Union and its dark decades of oppressive communism, a political philosophy incompatible with liberty, prosperity, and the dignity of human life.

Over the past century, communist totalitarian regimes around the world have killed more than 100 million people and subjected countless more to exploitation, violence, and untold devastation. These movements, under the false pretense of liberation, systematically robbed innocent people of their God-given rights of free worship, freedom of association, and countless other rights we hold sacrosanct. Citizens yearning for freedom were subjugated by the state through the use of coercion, violence, and fear.

Today, we remember those who have died and all who continue to suffer under communism. In their memory and in honor of the indomitable spirit of those who have fought courageously to spread freedom and opportunity around the world, our Nation reaffirms its steadfast resolve to shine the light of liberty for all who yearn for a brighter, freer future.

COUNTERING COMMUNIST CHINA IMPORTANT FOR THE UNITED STATES AND INDIA

April 9, 2018

Washington Times on April 8, 2018, published an article on how the United States and India can work together to counter communist China’s aggressive economic and military moves across Asia. Excerpts below:

How might the United States and India, the world’s largest democracies, work more effectively together toward countering communist China’s increasingly aggressive economic and military moves across Asia?

That question loomed over a private, in-depth diplomatic conference this weekend on the future of U.S.-Indian relations.

The second annual U.S.-India forum played out under strict, off-the-record rules on reporting comments to foster what organizers said they hoped would be the most honest dialogue between high-level current and former officials and others from both countries.

But several in attendance spoke openly on the sidelines with The Washington Times about a China-inspired urgency for increased U.S.-Indian military ties and a more robust democracy- and capitalism-driven development and foreign investment plan to counter Beijing’s surging regional influence.

The Trump administration sent Alice G. Wells, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, among others. Ms. Wells voiced concern about China’s fast-moving One Belt One Road initiative, through which Beijing pumps cash into infrastructure projects to buy access to resources around the region.

Ms. Wells told The Times that the initiative — laden with billions of dollars worth of China-funded projects in countries on every side of India, from Sri Lanka to Nepal to Pakistan — “lacks transparency and sustainability” and is saddling those nations with “predatory debt.”

But for all of our concerns about One Belt One Road, we have to have a positive vision,” she said.

“India and the United States and Japan and Australia and others have to stand for something, and we have to be able to provide countries with alternatives, options and sensible financing that meets the highest standards,” she said.

Ms. Wells and others stressed that President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi see eye to eye on the matter.

Several at this weekend’s conference told The Times that the U.S. and India need to get serious about expanding their military-to-military alliance to make clear who controls the Indo-Pacific.

“China’s activities create a large amount of impetus for a more focused and more action-oriented India and U.S. navy-to-navy, maritime-to-maritime, country-to-country engagement,” former Indian Vice Adm. Pradeep Chauhan told The Times.

Nitin Pai, co-founder of an Indian think tank on international policy, went further, telling The Times that there is “no choice. We’ve got to be able to manage China’s increasing influence in the Indian Ocean region, including the military aspect of it.”

In Mr. Pai’s mind, a dangerous military strategy undergirds Beijing’s expanding investment in regional seaports, though China presents the investment as purely economic and benevolent.

He argued that India should more deeply engage in operations beyond the Indian Ocean — more toward Chinese-claimed waters near East Asia — through joint exercises with the U.S. and others, including Japan, Australia, South Korea and Vietnam.

“India should be sending its naval forces east of Singapore so that we play an active role in the balance of power in the Western Pacific,” he said. “In my view, we have no choice but to do this.”


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Many say Mr. Trump’s popularity here stems from his recent halt on all nonessential U.S. aid to India’s rival, Pakistan. But Mr. Mehta told The Times that Indians were excited about the U.S. president before he cut aid to Pakistan.

Rajan Navani, who manages an organization pushing digital-sector international trade for India, [said]: “It makes complete sense for India and the U.S. to align geopolitically when it comes to China.”

James Carafano, the head of national security and foreign affairs research at The Heritage Foundation, told The Times that he has “misgivings about India’s ability to think as a global power.”

“India knows it can’t live in a world where Beijing is the new London, and basically what Beijing is doing right now is an attempt to re-create the British Empire in reverse,” Mr. Carafano said. “The Indians know they can’t compete with China without technology that only the U.S. is likely to deliver, and they know that’s why they should work us.

“As for why we should work with them, look, the U.S. has to be strong in Europe, the Mideast and in Asia, simultaneously, and we just can’t do that without partners,” he said. “From a military strategic standpoint, the biggest thing we get from partnering with India is geography. It’s control of the Indian Ocean, which most of the world’s stuff travels through. We have a joint notion with India to keep it open to all, while the Chinese want to control it.”

Michael Pillsbury, the head of Chinese strategy at the Hudson Institute, said: …New Delhi realized the gravity of the situation last summer during a standoff between Indian and Chinese troops along a disputed Himalayan border territory after Beijing suddenly begun building a road through the area.

“I predict more U.S. military sales to India very soon,” Mr. Pillsbury said.

Total U.S.-Indian trade continues to rise, hitting nearly $120 billion last year, and Indians are by far the top recipients of H-1B visas, which provide highly skilled, educated Indian labor to the U.S. tech sector.

At the same time, economic expansion in India, whose population of 1.3 billion is projected to soon eclipse China as the world’s largest, presents what many see as a vital growing market for U.S. companies.

Ms. Wells, meanwhile, stressed that the wider alliance known in diplomatic circles as “the Quad” — the U.S., India, Japan and Australia — is suited to grow such a framework but needs to think more creatively about how to increase private investment.

“How do we tap our private sectors, which is a huge asset that we have?” said Ms. Wells. “[We must] work with our private sectors through trade development authority and feasibility studies and provide the private sectors with the information they need to be able to tap into what is a huge demand for infrastructure in this region.”

THE NEW AND OLD GLOBAL STRATEGIC GEOGRAPHY

April 8, 2018

”The Return of Marco Polo’s World and the U.S. Military Response” is an essay by journalist turned geopolitical author Robert D. Kaplan. It was published by the Center of New American Strategy (CNAS) in 2018 being originally a paper by Kaplan for the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment (ONA). Kaplan (b. 1952) is a senior fellow of CNAS and advises the Eurasia Group. He is a member of the U.S. Navy’s Executive Panel. In March 2018 Kaplan published the book ”The Return of Marco Polo’s World: War, Strategy and American Interests in the Twenty-first Century”.

Geography matters and Kaplan has defended this view in a number of books (he has published eighteen in all). More and more foreign policy is a matter of what is happening in Eurasia. It is the old Eurasian Question. The Eurasian supercontinent is home to old and now rising empires – the Russian, Chinese, and Iranian. The existing crisis from Eastern Europe to the Chinese modern empire challenging the West is interlinked and turning into one singular battlespace.

It is however not only a question of empires but of civilizations. As a string of pearls they are from east to west the Chinese, the Indian, the Babylonian, the Egyptian and Western civilizations. The presently leading civilization, Western civilization’s roots, go back to the legacies of ancient Greece and Rome but also Jerusalem. One could argue that NATO actually is a cultural phenomenon based on the idea of protecting the West. The Atlantic is however not any longer the central battlespace, It is Eurasia.

It is time, in this connection, to go back to the geographer Sir Halford Mackinder. His view that whoever controls the world island (Eurasia and Africa) controls the world. (for more on Mackinders views on this subject see Halford J. Mackinder, ”Democratic Ideals and Reality”, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1919, National Defense University edition 1942), pp. 45–49) is once more central in grand strategy.

When thinking in global strategic terms the American admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan focused on sea power as an answer to empires rising in Eurasia. The American geopolitician Francis P. Sempa in an article in The Diplomat (”The Geopolitical Vision of Alfred Thayer Mahan”, December 30, 2014) wrote:

Mahan also grasped as early as 1901 the fundamental geopolitical realities of the Cold War that emerged from the ashes of the first two world wars. In The Problem of Asia, Mahan urged statesmen to “glance at the map” of Asia and note “the vast, uninterrupted mass of the Russian Empire, stretching without a break . . . from the meridian of western Asia Minor, until to the eastward it overpasses that of Japan.” He envisioned an expansionist Russia needing to be contained by an alliance of the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, and Japan, which is precisely what happened between 1945 and 1991.

Similarly, in The Problem of Asia, Mahan depicted a future struggle for power in the area of central Asia he called the “debatable and debated ground,” and identified the “immense latent force” of China as a potential geopolitical rival. “[I]t is scarcely desirable,” Mahan wrote, “that so vast a proportion of mankind as the Chinese constitute should be animated by but one spirit and moved as a single man.” Mahan knew that Western science and technology would at some point be globalized and wrote that under such circumstances “it is difficult to contemplate with equanimity such a vast mass as the four hundred millions of China concentrated into one effective political organization, equipped with modern appliances, and cooped within a territory already narrow for it.”

In geopolitical theory the United States is a large island and a maritime power. The mission is to defend free trading. Like the British Empire America is protecting the global commons. It supports free enterprise and democracy. This strategy is supported by allied Indo-Pacific nations because the United States has no territorial ambitions in that region.

So what is the United States protecting around Eurasia? Mainly it is the navigable rimland of Eurasia (rimland being a term used by American geopolitician Nicholas Spykman for the coasts along the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean). In addition to a strong navy the United States needs strategic strongpoints where supplies can be pre-positioned and long strikes conducted (Oman, Diego Garcia, India, and Singapore. Land strategy is secondary and would follow from air and naval strategy.

Kaplan’s focus is on the dominating importance of geography in the complexity on the modern foreign policy stage. In addition it is of importance to use classical geopolitics as a theoretical model for grand strategy. Geopolitical analysis should be central to the study of international relations, foreign policy, and strategy. This view is expressed by American geopolitician Phil Kelly in his book ”Classical Geopolitics – A New Analytical Model” (2016).

To create better understanding of classical geopolitics Kelly recommends that by a serious study of the subject the distorted image of the science could be erased. It is necessary then to legitimize the study of geopolitics. Also it is important to emphasize the classical over the critical, postmodern geopolitics, the latter being a distortion and dominated by leftist political ideas. Furthermore classical geopolitics should be separated from the theory of realism in international relations. Also an appropriate geopolitics definition should be agreed upon. Kelly’s own definition is that geopolitics is the study of the impact or influence of certain geographic features – positions and location of regions, states and resources, in addition to topography, climate, distance, demography, states’ shape and size – as these may condition states’ foreign policies and actions as an aid to statecraft. Accordingly, this study lends itself both to theory and to policy.” (Kelly, pp. 168-169).

Finally Kelly calls for a university to initiate study and research in the field of geopolitics with the addition of a professional journal focused on research and information related to the classical version of geopolitics. Some connection with foreign ministries could lend support as well.

Both Kaplan and Kelly have in the passed few years contributed greatly to the revival of classical geopolitical thinking. Their contributions have helped in understanding why the three empires of China, Russia and Iran/Persia on the world island are the main challengers to the West.

SOUTH KOREA TO DEVELOP AI MILITARY TECHNOLOGY

April 7, 2018

The Korea Times on February 25, 2018 reported on Hanwha Systems and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) will carry out studies on technologies for future battlefields. Excerpts below:

Hanwha Systems, the country’s leading defense business, and state-run science research university Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have launched a project to co-develop artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to be applied to military weapons, joining the global competition to develop autonomous arms.

The two parties recently opened a joint research center at KAIST, where researchers from the university and Hanwha will carry out various studies into how technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution can be utilized on future battlefields.

Twenty-five researchers from KAIST will participate in the center, while the defense arm of Hanwha Group will dispatch its researchers in accordance with subjects of research, according to a PR official from the firm.

AI arms, which would search for and eliminate targets without human control, are called the third revolution in the battleground after gunpowder and nuclear weapons.

Such weapons would include an AI-based missile that can control its speed and altitude on its own and detect an enemy radar fence in real time while in flight. AI-equipped unmanned submarines and armed quadcopters would also be among autonomous arms.

The Hanwha official said the joint research center will focus on four tasks by priority _ developing an AI-based command system, an AI algorithm for an unmanned sub’s navigation, an AI-based aviation training system and an AI-based object-tracking technique.

Chang Si-kweon, CEO of Hanwha Systems, said his company is well-prepared to lead the development of defense technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, based on its advanced skills and achievements it has made so far in the area of defense electronics.

“We will make our full efforts and keenly cooperate with KAIST to provide innovative AI technologies to our customers,” he said. “We will also work to secure technology competitiveness in global markets.”

Major countries such as the United States and Russia have already been in competition to develop AI weapons.

Washington has reportedly applied AI features to its new, long-range anti-ship missiles that will replace the Harpoon. For its part, the Pentagon is increasingly testing experimental AI technologies from drone swarms and ground robots to naval ships.

Advocates for AI weapons say such arms can help reduce defense costs and casualties in warfare.

Washington’s development of robots for military use is taking place based on the concept of intelligence augmentation (IA), not AI. This also reflects the position that humans should make the final decision, while robots are used to conduct reconnaissance missions or dispose of explosives.

Fred Kennedy, deputy director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Tactical Technology Office, the Pentagon’s research arm, has made clear the Pentagon’s goal, saying, “Autonomy is going to be our asymmetric approach to how we fight,” according to Military.com.

Comment: The reported research development will strengthen South Korean efforts in defense against North Korean aggression. United States and Western allies should support advances in South Korean and Japanese in the military technological field. For years there has been a growing similarity between North Korean and Chinese aggressive military activities in East Asia and the situation in Europe in the 1930s. For too long West European politicians allowed Nazi German expansion hoping that war could be avoided. Appeasement resulted in a destructive Second World War. It is now time for a stronger Western response to the rise of China and the nuclear threats of North Korea.

US NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY BASED ON CLASSICAL GEOPOLITICS NEEDED

April 6, 2018

On January 9, 2018, leading American geopolitical expert Francis P. Sempa in RealClear Defense argued that geopolitics ought to play a greater role in US National Security Strategies. Excerpts below:

What is crucial is that the nation’s foreign and defense policies be rooted in an appreciation and understanding of classical geopolitics. This means that U.S. policymakers should have a knowledge of history in its geographical settings and a familiarity with the works of the greatest geopolitical scholars: Alfred Thayer Mahan, Halford Mackinder, and Nicholas Spykman.

Alfred Thayer Mahan graduated from the Naval Academy in 1859, served in the Union Navy during the American Civil War, and ended up teaching at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, between the 1880s and his death in 1914. He authored 20 books and hundreds of articles on history and naval strategy. He achieved world renown for his book “The Influence of Sea Power upon History” (1890).

His most important geopolitical work was “The Problem of Asia” (1901), but his geopolitical insights can also be found in “The Influence of Sea Power Upon the French Revolution and Empire” (1892), “The Interest of America in International Conditions” (1910), and “Naval Strategy” (1911).

Mahan understood that the United States was effectively an island or insular continental power with no potential peer competitor in the Western Hemisphere but with several such potential competitors in the Eastern Hemisphere. Because the U.S. was separated from the Old World by two great oceans, sea power was essential to its national security.

Mahan viewed the United States as the geopolitical successor to the British Empire. He studied how insular Britain repeatedly used its sea power and economic might to support coalitions of powers on the Eurasian landmass against potential continental hegemons such as the Austrian-Spanish Hapsburgs, Louis XIV’s France, and Napoleon’s empire.

Halford Mackinder was a British geographer, lecturer, and statesman who wrote three of the most important and influential geopolitical analyses between 1904 and 1943. The first, “The Geographical Pivot of History” (1904), was an address to the Royal Geographical Society in London, which later appeared in the Geographical Journal. The second, “Democratic Ideals and Reality” (1919), was written immediately after the end of the First World War and urged the statesmen of the world to construct a peace based on geopolitical realities rather than utopian ideals. The third, “The Round World and the Winning of the Peace,” appeared in Foreign Affairsin 1943 in the midst of the Second World War.

His geopolitical map of the world consisted of the Eurasian-African continent that he called the “World-Island,” because it potentially combined insularity with unmatched population and resources; the surrounding islands, including North America, South America, Great Britain, Japan, Australia and lesser islands; and the world ocean.

The Eurasian landmass or “great continent,” contained most of the world’s people and resources. The “pivot state” or “Heartland” of Eurasia was the inner core region stretching east-to-west from the Lena River in Siberia to the edge of Eastern Europe between the Black and Caspian Seas and north-to-south from just below the arctic circle to Inner Mongolia and the northern Central Asian republics. The Eurasian Heartland was geographically impenetrable to sea power but suitable for mobile land power.

Abutting the Heartland or pivot state on the Eurasian landmass, according to Mackinder, was a vast crescent-shaped region or coastland, which included Western Europe, the Middle East, Southwest Asia, India, China, and the continental nations of the Far East, all of which was accessible to sea power.

Mackinder rounded-out his map with an outer or insular crescent of powers, which included Britain, Japan, Africa south of the Sahara Desert, Australia, Indonesia, North America, and South America.

In 1919, he colorfully suggested that some “airy cherub” should whisper into the ear of Western statesmen: “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland: Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island: Who rules the World-Island commands the world.”

In 1943, Mackinder suggested that a Heartland-based power could be contained by a coalition of powers based in the “Midland Ocean,” which included the United States and Canada, Great Britain, and the nations of Western Europe, a remarkable and prescient description of the NATO coalition that formed six years later in response to a Heartland-based Soviet empire’s expansionist policies. In this latter paper, Mackinder hoped for a “balanced globe of human beings, [a]nd happy because balanced and thus free.”

Nicholas Spykman taught international relations at Yale University in the 1930s and 1940s. He wrote two geopolitical masterpieces, “America’s Strategy in World Politics” (1942) and “The Geography of the Peace” (1944), that latter of which was published posthumously. Spykman accepted the geopolitical division of the world as described by Mackinder, but differed with Mackinder about the power potential of the world’s regions.

For Spykman, the world’s most powerful region was not the landlocked Heartland, but the crescent-shaped area bordering the Heartland that he renamed the “Rimland.” In “The Geography of the Peace”, he issued a counter-dictum: “Who controls the Rimland rules Eurasia, who rules Eurasia controls the destinies of the world.”

Spykman nevertheless agreed with Mackinder that the postwar struggle would potentially pit a Heartland-based Russia against the maritime power of the United States for control of the Rimland, and so it turned out to be. Spykman even foresaw that China would one day be a “continental power of huge dimensions,” and her size, geographic position, natural resources and population would force the United States into an alliance with Japan to preserve the Asian balance of power.

Indeed, Mahan, Mackinder and Spykman all understood that China’s geographical position, resources, immense population, and access to the sea made her potentially a formidable power on the Eurasian landmass. All three scholars understood that American and Western national security depended on the political pluralism of Eurasia—what Mackinder called a “balanced globe of human beings.”

President Trump’s first formal National Security Strategy speaks of the need to preserve a favorable balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region, Europe, and the Middle East, which roughly approximates Spykman’s Rimland. It recognizes that the two most likely global competitors of the United States are China and Russia, both continental-sized powers situated in or near Mackinder’s Heartland. It expresses the need for greater investment in naval power in order to maintain and increase our access to allies and bases on the Eurasian landmass, consistent with the teachings of Mahan. In these ways, it reflects an understanding of classical geopolitics.

History and experience always trump theory…An understanding of classical geopolitics will not enable U.S. policymakers to shape the world to their liking, but it may enable them to, in Bismarck’s words, “float with and steer” the “current of events.” The best we can and should hope for is a prudent National Security Strategy that seeks geopolitical balance based on the political pluralism of Eurasia.

American Francis P. Sempa is the author of “Geopolitics: From the Cold War to the 21stCentury”, “America’s Global Role: Essays and Reviews on National Security, Geopolitics and War”,…. He has written lengthy introductions to two of Mahan’s books, and has written on historical and foreign policy topics for [various journals and magazines]. He is an attorney, an adjunct professor of political science at Wilkes University…

Comment: Sempa is correct in his view that classical geopolitics should be the basis of US national strategy. Varldsinbordeskriget has since 2009 numerous times pointed out the importance of meeting the challenge of China, Russia and Iran/Persia poses to the United States and the rest of the West. These totalitarian and authoritarian empires are based on Mackinder’s World Island. If they combine the challenge would be even graver. From time to time Russia and China declare that they will cooperate to challenge American influence. At present it seems as if Russia, Iran/Persia and Turkey is forming an alliance to guide the future of Syria. Sempa correctly argues in his article that the Trump administration recognizes China and Russia as the two most likely comnpetitors. He should have added Iran/Persia.

AN AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY AGENDA

April 4, 2018

Washington Times on April 3, 2018 published a commentary by Jed Babbin, a former US deputy undersecretary of defense, on a new foreign policy agenda for the United States. Excerpts below:

There are at least four policy matters that could comprise an initial agenda for Mr. John Bolton, each of which would significantly assist the president in bolstering our national security.

In August 2016 Mr. Trump,…, said, “Just as we won the Cold War, in part, by exposing the evils of communism and the virtues of free markets, so too must we take on the ideology of Radical Islam.”

Mr. Trump was right and strategically so. Radical Islamic terrorism is motivated by a religiously-based ideology. It can only be won by the defeat of that evil ideology.

[Mr. Bolton] will be able to assemble the best psychological warfare…to craft and commence the campaign. He will be able to guide the president and other government leaders, to play their critical roles in defeating the Islamist ideology.

The ideological fight will take many years, perhaps decades, to win but there is no prospect of defeating this enemy unless it is won.

The next big item on Mr. Bolton’s agenda should be Mr. Obama’s 2015 nuclear weapons deal with Iran. Mr. Bolton, from the outset highly critical of the deal, can be expected to press the president to do the right thing and cancel the deal in May.

[The new national security advisor] steps into his new job at an opportune moment to address a third item on his agenda. The president is supposed to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in the next few weeks. Mr. Bolton will be able to advise the president on the pitfalls of any proposed agreement with Mr. Kim. When the meeting ends, as it almost certainly will with no agreement other than to talk again, he will be able to convince the president to do far more than has been done to improve our defenses against ballistic missile attacks.

One of the ways to improve our ballistic missile defenses is a space-based system called “Brilliant Pebbles” first unveiled in the 1990s. It is a system of small interceptor missiles, linked to our satellite missile tracking systems, which — even with 1990s technology — would have made America almost penetration-proof against such attacks. Modern technology would make the system even more effective depriving many adversaries, not just North Korea, of a “first strike” capability.

The fourth item on Mr. Bolton’s agenda should be to recommence sending captured terrorists to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Gitmo, isolated and secure, is a place where terrorists can be interrogated at length. Such interrogations, which take place over months and even years, have proven to be a consistent source of actionable intelligence.

Under the law of war, we can hold prisoners until the conflict is over. It has never been demonstrated that Gitmo benefits terrorist recruitment, but so what if it does? Gitmo — and the fact that no prisoners are tortured there, a fact that is verified by frequent inspections by international groups — is another weapon we should use in the ideological war.

Comment: In addition to the war against terrorism the West is at present facing three major imperial challengers: China, Iran/Persia and Russia. Of Mr Babbin’s policy recommendations two deal with the war on terrorism, one with Iran and one with the threat of missile attacks by North Korea, China and Russia. The two latter recommendations are helpful in the case of the challenges the West is today facing from empires in the rimland of Eurasia and the Russian heartland.

CHINA EXPERT: CHINA WILL LOOSE TRADE WAR WITH USA

April 3, 2018

Daily Beast on March 26, 2018 published an article by leading China expert Gordon G. Chang. Chang said that China would risk the falling apart of their economy and political system if opposing the United States. Excerpts below:

…President Donald Trump has imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from various countries, including China, pursuant to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

…he has signed a memorandum that will soon lead, pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, to the levying of tariffs on perhaps $60 billion of Chinese goods. At the same time, he directed the Treasury Department to consider the imposition of curbs on Chinese investment.

It certainly looks like a trade war is brewing. China’s Ministry of Commerce [has] announced tariffs of 15 percent and 25 percent on almost $3 billion of American products in 128 categories, retaliation for Trump’s Section 232 tariffs.

At the same time, Chinese officials have been making threats, especially promising to not buy American agricultural products or to reduce purchases of U.S. Treasury debt.

[USA holds the winning cards.] First, [China] is growing more dependent on access to the American market. In 2016, a stunning 68.0 percent of China’s overall merchandise trade surplus related to sales to the U.S. In 2017, that figure increased to 88.8 percent. Trade-surplus countries, as history shows, generally suffer more in trade wars.

Beijing, therefore, is generally vulnerable to being pushed around by Washington.

Second, the American economy is far bigger than the Chinese one. Beijing claimed gross domestic product of $12.84 trillion in 2017. America’s economy, by way of contrast, clocked in at $19.39 trillion last year.

China’s GDP numbers are surely overstated because, especially during the last two years, the country’s growth was less than half that reported by the official National Bureau of Statistics. America’s larger economy is, at the moment, in fact growing at a faster clip than China’s.

Third, the American economy, for all its faults, is stable, and China’s, by most accounts, is on the verge of a debt crisis. China’s debt-to-GDP ratio looks like it is somewhere, depending on the amount of so-called hidden debt, between 350 percent and 400 percent.

Chinese concern about the state of the economy led to extraordinary capital flight in 2015 and 2016, with net capital outflow probably reaching $2.1 trillion in the two-year period. Only the imposition of draconian capital-control measures beginning in the fall of 2016 stopped the outbound torrent of capital.

In this regard, Beijing has been, on balance, selling American Treasury obligations since the middle of 2014 in order to defend its currency, the renminbi, and this has not caused any noticeable effect on the ability of the U.S. to finance deficits.

In addition to ignoring the fundamental balance of power between China and the U.S., experts in recent days have been making specific arguments that are particularly unconvincing.

[A false argument is] when American retailers, politicians, and others contend that Trump’s tariffs will punish Americans, who have become accustomed to buying cheap goods.

Yet China, as its promoters have told us for a half-decade, is no longer the lowest-cost producer of many items. Take… [the]example of apparel. At the beginning of this century, about 90 percent of apparel sold at Walmarts was made in China. By the end of 2012, that balance between China and the rest of the world essentially reversed.

Trump’s tariffs on apparel or other items, even if they make Chinese goods more expensive or unavailable, will not result in significant cost increases beyond a month or two. Americans will soon be buying their low-cost items from other producers, which are already, if I may use the phrase, beating the pants off China.

…consumption is ultimately not the driver of growth in China. The ultimate driver remains investment. Consumption in China falls whenever Beijing reduces the flow of state-directed investment. And because of debt concerns, Chinese technocrats are losing the ability to create growth by investing.

For decades, Chinese leaders have staked their legitimacy primarily on the continual delivery of prosperity. Trump not only threatens the Chinese economy but also the Communist Party’s political system. That gives China’s leaders great incentive to hold back retaliatory moves.

Boeing executives and American soybean producers are right to be nervous [about Chinese moves], but they surely know how global markets work. If China does not buy soybeans from the American heartland and purchases them from Brazil instead, American producers will sell soy to Brazil’s customers.

There are only so many soybeans in the world at the moment, and the same principle generally holds for commercial aircraft. Airlines and leasing companies are unlikely to wait years longer because Airbus’ production has been diverted to China to fill orders that would have gone to Boeing. In most cases, Airbus customers will opt for Boeing craft to fill needs.

In short, Trump holds the high cards when it comes to China, and, unlike his predecessors, he knows it.

CHINESE TRADE AND INVESTMENT PRACTICES HARMFUL TO UNITED STATES

March 31, 2018

The Diplomat on March 29, 2018 reported on growing American concern about Chinese harm to national interests in the trade and investment area. Excerpts below:

[President Donald] Trump’s increasing anti-Chinese turn on U.S. industrial policy [has largely gone unnoticed].

Over the last five years, Chinese acquisitions in the United States boomed. As reported by the Rhodium Group, during this period Chinese companies invested $116 billion in the United States, raising the overall investments in the country to $138 billion. This sharp increase has produced several concerns in Washington, leaving many questioning the real intentions of the investors and their possible connections to the Chinese government.

A good share of these investments, indeed, have been directed toward strategic sectors with a high concentration of advanced technologies. Concerns stemmed from the possibility that these acquisitions could enable China to transfer cutting-edge technologies to its own companies, reinforce its high-tech industry, and pose a significant challenge to Washington’s technological supremacy.

Central to the reshaping of the relationship is the Committee on Foreign Investment of the United States (CFIUS), an interagency committee tasked with reviewing inbound investments for national security concerns. Among its members, CFIUS includes the heads of the Department of Treasury (who chairs it), Commerce, Energy, State, Homeland Security, Defense, and other offices. Although usually working behind closed doors, it has the power to block multibillion dollar deals if they are judged detrimental to national interests.

The first evidence of the administration’s change of approach came last September, when CFIUS did not approve the acquisition of U.S. chipmaker Lattice by Canyon Bridge, a semiconductor investment fund sponsored by a Chinese state-owned asset manager.

Since December, the administration made its stance even more clear regarding the high-tech industry. The National Security Strategy document released that month labeled China as a “strategic competitor”and fixed as a priority the protection of the U.S. “innovation base” from IP theft by the Chinese in order to preserve the United States’ long-term competitive advantage.

Therefore, since January, a string of interventions highlighted this new outlook. First, the deal for Moneygram, the second biggest money transfer provider globally, came under fire. The acquisition for $1.2 billion had been agreed with Ant Financial, the financial arm of Alibaba specializing in internet and mobile payments. Alex Holmes, director general of Moneygram, acknowledged the changes in the geopolitical environment as one of the reasons behind CFIUS’ refusal to give the green light.

Shortly after, CFIUS discreetly raised its voice once more when it put on hold two investments by the Chinese conglomerate HNA into U.S. hedge fund SkyBridge Capital and miner Glencore until the the buyer provided adequate information about its shareholding structure.

A month later, the committee intervened again in order to make clear that it was unlikely that it could approve the acquisition of Xcerra, a U.S. semiconductor testing company.

Only a few days after the Moneygram deal collapse, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei was going to announce a deal with U.S. telecom carrier AT&T, marking a breakthrough for its penetration into the U.S. market, when suddenly the partner company backed away.

Indeed, Washington has a long record of mistrust toward Huawei and the last move appears motivated by concerns over Beijing’s espionage and presence in a strategic sector like telecommunications.

…the most prominent chapter of this saga occurred this month, when CFIUS took some unusual steps to kill the biggest deal ever in the technology industry. Broadcom, a Singapore-based formerly U.S. tech company, offered $117 billion for the acquisition of rival Qualcomm, one of the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturers and a prominent developer in the race for the next-generation high-speed wireless network known as 5G. Before the deal was even concluded, CFIUS made clear that it might not let the acquisition go through and soon Trump, building on the committee’s decision, issued an order to block the takeover.

This is probably the most interesting case to date because it shows a shift in how CFIUS thinks about the protection of national security.

After all, the massive bank borrowing required for the deal did anything but assuage that concern. Against that backdrop, CFIUS warned that China would be able to fill any void left by a “hostile” Qualcomm takeover: reducing its competitiveness and its standard-setting abilities, the committee said, would have a negative impact on U.S. national interests as Chinese companies such as Huawei would finally be able to take the lead in the development of the most advanced technologies. This, of course, could bear great military implications.

Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill to reinforce CFIUS’ scrutiny powers. The reform, which appears to have bipartisan backing, would expand its jurisdiction to outbound investments from U.S. companies in order to fight China’s practices of forcing foreign enterprises to share their technologies in exchange for market access.

…economic tensions between Washington and Beijing are heightening. Despite Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s latest endeavors to reassure his counterparts, the U.S. perception that Chinese trade and investment practices are unfair and harmful for national interests is highly unlikely to go away and Trump’s announcement of a new round of tariffs last week proves that.