Archive for April, 2018


April 30, 2018

The Times of Israel on July 26, 2016, published an article on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s love of maps. In April 2018 this was illustrated when Netanyahu met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photos of the two were taken in front of a Middle East map with surrounding areas (parts of Asia, Africa and Europe). Excerpts below

“May I reveal to the members of the press that there is a big map in my office, and it’s been made bigger,” [Netanyahu] said during a meeting with Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes in Jerusalem. “It used to be the Middle East. Now it encompasses a good chunk of the Eastern hemisphere.”

The map of the world Netanyahu brandished Monday at the Knesset State Control Committee… offers some valuable insights into his view of Israel’s place among the family of nations.

The map…[was] meant to highlight positive trends in Israel’s foreign relations. It divides the world’s countries into different categories: those with which Jerusalem has “recently developed/upgraded” relations are marked in red; states that entertain “good relations” with Israel are in blue; and “overtly hostile enemy states” are in black. With the rest of the world, in green.

The countries in red are those the prime minister sought to highlight as they ostensibly prove the success of his foreign policy. Those eye-catching red patches indicate improved ties with diplomatic and economic powerhouses such as Japan, China, Russia, South Korea, Singapore and India; increasing cooperation with Greece and Cyprus; normalization with Turkey; and robust ties with Azerbaijan, which Netanyahu plans to visit soon.

Ten countries in Africa are colored red: Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, (states Netanyahu visited earlier this month) Tanzania (which recently announced its intention to open its first-ever embassy in Israel), Guinea (which last week re-established diplomatic ties with Jerusalem after a 49-year hiatus), Chad (where Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold visited last week), South Sudan, Zambia and Ivory Coast.

Three countries [in South America] are marked red: Colombia, Paraguay and Argentina.

There are…some interesting inclusions among the countries colored blue on Netanyahu’s map, signaling “good relations” with Israel: The United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and all of Europe — East and West …

But two European countries are singled out as a little less friendly than the others: Sweden and Ireland appear in light blue, illustrating their particularly critical attitudes toward Israel. Sweden is the only Western European nation that recognized a Palestinian state…

“Today Israel is perceived more and more as an asset and an influencing element in the world because of our war on terror and our technological achievements,” Netanyahu told the State Control Committee .

”We have achieved free trade with China, a 30 percent increase in trade with India, an agreement with Japan on protecting rigs, military coordination with Russia, initial ties with a host of African countries, heads of state visiting Israel for the first time, the normalization of ties with Turkey, and every week I meet with four heads of state. Israel’s foreign policy is a great success,” he declared.

And what about those countries that do not perceive Israel as an asset and a positive influence?

On his map…only five countries are colored in black, thus identified as enemy states: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and North Korea. (Lebanon’s status is indiscernible). Perhaps most instructive about this category is those nations it does not include: Yemen, Saudi Arabia (both countries Israelis are forbidden by law from entering), Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Sudan, Pakistan, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Indonesia, Cuba, Venezuela and other states with which Israel does not have diplomatic ties.

Israel has plenty of friends in the world — about 30 old friends, 20 new friends, countless potential future friends — and very, very few enemies.

Comment: An interesting illustration of Netanyahu’s classical geopolitical thinking is that he in February 2018 described Iran as an empire as reported by Memo – Middle East Monitor (February 18, 2018):

Addressing the Munich Security event for the first time, Netanyahu urged gathered US and European officials and diplomats to counter Iran immediately, displaying a map showing what he said was Iran’s growing presence in the Middle East.

He said Iran was increasing its power as the US-led coalition against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria regains territory from militants.

“The unfortunate thing is that as ISIS compresses and Iran moves in, it is trying to establish this continuous empire surrounding the Middle East from the south in Yemen but also trying to create a land bridge from Iran to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza,” Netanyahu said.

“This is a very dangerous development for our region.”

The main challengers against the West (of which Israel is a part) at present are the three empires China, Russia and Iran on what British classical geopolitical theorist Halford Mackinder called the World Island (Eurasia and Africa). This cxould easily be illustrated on a map of classical geopolitics.


April 29, 2018

Washington Times on April 27, 2018, reported that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a news conference in Brussels said he believed Kim Jong-un was serious about a nuclear deal. Excerpts below:

…Mr. Kim and Mr. Moon had “agreed to gradually realize arms reduction when their military tension is removed and trust is practically established.”

…Mr. Pompeo said he wanted to “congratulate the Republic of Korea and North Korea on the historic meeting, and the Korean people’s aspirations for peace and prosperity.”

But the secretary of state went on to add: “Let there be no doubt: We would not be where we are today without President Trump’s maximum pressure campaign and the work that has been done all around the world to apply pressure to North Korea.”

The developments on April 27, 2018, set the stage for a historic face-to-face between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump expected later this spring. The prospects for such had already gotten a boost in recent weeks amid the revelation that Mr. Pompeo held a secret meeting with Mr. Kim in Pyongyang in early-April.

As the only Trump administration official to have actually met personally with the North Korean leader, Mr. Pompeo was asked by a reporter if he believed Mr. Kim is serious about reaching a deal on denuclearization.

”Yes, I did get a sense that he was serious,” Mr. Pompeo said, adding that the Trump-led global economic pressure that’s been placed on North Korea through sanctions has lead Mr. Kim “to believe that it’s in his best interest to come to the table and talk about denuclearization.”

But in a reference to failed past attempts at negotiating denuclearization with Mr. Pompeo said he’s “always careful.”

Comment: The only secure deal with North Korea on nuclear weapons is that the United States is allowed to bring all North Korean nuclear weapons to America including all equipment at the test site. Serious surveillance during the coming months is needed to find out if anything is brought into hiding from the test site. Reports that Mount Mantap at the test site in North Korea has collapsed has to be investigated.

For valuable information on North Korea the defector radio station Free North Korea Radio in South Korea is recommended as is the website ”38North”.


April 29, 2018

Washington Times on April 27, 2018, reported on Pompeo comments on the Iran deal. Excerpts below:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that it’s “unlikely” President Trump will stay in the Iran nuclear agreement if changes are not made.

“Absent a substantial fix, absent overcoming the shortcomings, the flaws of the deal, he is unlikely to stay in that deal past this May,” Mr. Pompeo said at a news conference in Brussels.

Comment: The final aim in relation to Iran should be to get the regime to denuclearize. If North Korea can be persuaded to abandon its nuclear weapons the chances may increase that the regime in Tehran can be persuaded to follow the North Korean example. Sanctions against Iran would in that case be needed.


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.


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.


“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.


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


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.


“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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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.”


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.


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.”

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.”


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.


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

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.


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.