Sept. 30, 2014
Deterrence with China: Avoiding Nuclear Miscalculation
As China rises and the United States seeks to maintain its global dominance, the world is faced with a new historical phenomenon: a dramatic shift in power between two nuclear-capable nations. As the relative power of each nation nears parity, tension is inevitable and the character of the evolving Sino-U.S. relationship poses a risk of nuclear miscalculation. Nuclear use between China and the United States would be a catastrophe, but China is an independent actor, and the United States can only influence, but not control, the crossing of the nuclear threshold. If U.S. policymakers neglect this risk, miscalculation is more likely.
Opportunities in Understanding China’s Approach to the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands
In 2010, two Japanese coast guard vessels and a Chinese fishing boat collided in the disputed waters near the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, sparking increasingly confrontational behavior by both China and Japan. The pattern of escalation continued in 2012 when Japan nationalized several of the disputed islands by purchasing them from the private owner. China promptly responded by sending warships to the area in a show of force. Although escalation to the point of war is unlikely, these incidents underscore the destabilizing regional effects of the disputed islands and associated maritime boundaries. China’s territorial claims are rooted in historical context, nationalism, national security, and economic interests.3 By understanding China’s perspectives, motives, and approaches to resolving this dispute, the United States can anticipate the current pattern of escalation, forecast future Chinese behavior, and identify opportunities for conflict management and eventual de-escalation to improve strategic stability in the region.
A Potent Vector: Assessing Chinese Cruise Missile Developments
The numerous, increasingly advanced cruise missiles being developed and deployed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have largely flown under the public’s radar. This article surveys PRC cruise missile programs and assesses their implications for broader People’s Liberation Army (PLA) capabilities, especially in a Taiwan scenario.
July 1, 2014
Tailored Deterrence: Strategic Context to Guide Joint Force 2020
U.S. deterrence is neutered by not clearly defining national security threats and aligning resources accordingly, as in favoring offensive Air-Sea Battle against China against defensive A2/AD capabilities with partners, or preparing sufficiently against regional players such as North Korea and Syria. Plans must accord with actual defense policies and dangers.
The Role of U.S. Land Forces in the Asia-Pacific
Washington must not yield to fiscal pressures that erode its legitimacy as a global leader. Its forces must remain capable across the spectrum from the smallest to the largest security challenges and control procurement accordingly, using existing resources and allies in a flexible approach the Army will continue to pursue.
June 1, 2014
The U.S. “Rebalance” and Europe: Convergent Strategies Open Doors to Improved Cooperation
European concerns regarding U.S. disengagement have dissipated but not entirely disappeared over the past 2 years. Still, U.S. readiness to lead politically and militarily in Europe— for example, in response to the ongoing crisis involving Russia and Ukraine—and adjoining regions remains under close scrutiny. Furthermore, while many Europeans agree in principle that renewed American focus on Asia-Pacific issues should encourage Europeans to assume a greater share of security-related responsibilities in their neighborhood, there is little evidence to date of a sea change in European attitudes toward defense spending and overseas military deployments.
April 1, 2014
Airpower and Globalization Effects: Rethinking the Five Rings
The Five Rings theory may not provide quick wins against large countries with modern air defense systems, but an escalatory strategic interdiction strategy relying on capable air and navel forces to affect the most critical and vulnerable elements would apply to many crises with its nonlethal and reversible options.
Sun Tzu in Contemporary Chinese Strategy
Sun Tzu’s The Art of War cuts both ways. Its tenets work against enemies but can also strike against China. Using the general’s maxims, we can uncover inconsistencies in the grandly moral stance assumed by Chinese leaders. For instance, claims made for public consumption can be juxtaposed with demonstrable fact.
A Low-Visibility Force Multiplier: Assessing China’s Cruise Missile Ambitions
China’s military modernization is focused on building modern ground, naval, air, and missile forces capable of fighting and winning local wars under informationized conditions. The principal planning scenario has been a military campaign against Taiwan, which would require the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to deter or defeat U.S. intervention. The PLA has sought to acquire asymmetric “assassin’s mace” technologies and systems to overcome a superior adversary and couple them to the command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems necessary for swift and precise execution of short-duration, high-intensity wars.
Jan. 1, 2014
Strategic Implications of the Afghan Mother Lode and China's Emerging Role
China has the technology, know-how, and capital to exploit Afghanistan's mineral resources and capitalize on its location, which could make it a transportation hub; concurrently, Beijing sees the risks of dealing with a country with corruption at all levels and with the further problems of primitive infrastructure, low education and expertise levels, potentially hostile neighbors, scarcity of water, and forbidding terrain. Afghan analysts themselves see the need to build economic and social stability as trumping other security and military needs. Meantime, U.S. and NATO forces are spending trillions to prepare Afghanistan for China and other countries to reap the benefits. This outcome, while controversial, may be the easiest way for Kabul to rise above its disorder and poverty.