Small Wars Journal

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9/28/2020 News & Commentary - National Security

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 11:15am

News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Duncan Moore.

1. SECDEF promotion guidance - INDOPACIFIC

2. U.S. tells Iraq it's planning to pull out of Baghdad embassy

3. What the intelligence community doesn't know is hurting the US

4. How China masters the art of propaganda

5. The United States can't quit on the UN

6. Military suicides up as much as 20% in COVID era

7. Nearly 1M who died of COVID-19 also illuminated treatment

8. One of the nation's last OSS spies, Patricia Warner, dies at 99

9. Countering insurgencies and violent extremism In South and Southeast Asia

10. Business as usual on K Street

11. Proclamation on Gold Star Mother's and Family's Day, 2020

12. China's military might, aggressive policies spur talks of creating 'Asian NATO'

13. NYPD officer accused of spying for China puzzled city's Tibetan groups

14. The inconvenient truth about Taiwan's place in the world

15. National security adviser: after Hong Kong, China will target Taiwan next

16. With Russia, it is time to restart speaking softly and putting away the big stick

17. Trump, Pentagon collide over anti-diversity training push

18. One of first females to join the silent service: 'I'm excited to see the day when women being on submarines is not a surprise to people.'

19. Reporter's notebook: Navy SEAL admiral survives San Diego hot seat, moves on to SOCOM job

20. Don't let China conclude its opportunity is 'now or never'

 

1. SECDEF Promotion Guidance - INDOPACIFIC

US Department of Defense · September 22, 2020

After serving 25+ years in the Indo-Pacific region, it would have been nice to have this promotion guidance when I was still on active duty!!

Seriously though, some are rightly skeptical after the AFPAK hands personnel management debacle.

As an aside, notice this is only addressed to the Military Departments and not to the COCOMs or to USSOCOM which is supposed to have oversight of and input into service promotions and assignments, but it does not have any authority over them.

 

2. U.S. tells Iraq it's planning to pull out of Baghdad embassy

Washington Post · by Louisa Loveluck, Missy Ryan, & John Hudson · September 28, 2020

Big changes coming for the Iraq-US relationship?

 

3. What the intelligence community doesn't know is hurting the US

Center for American Progress · by Katrina Mulligan, Matt Olsen, & Alexandra Schmitt · September 18, 2020

Interesting critique of the IC.

 

4. How China masters the art of propaganda

Cipher Brief · by William O-Hara · September 21, 2020

Important assessment here.

 

5. The United States can't quit on the UN

Foreign Affairs · by Kristine Lee · September 24, 2020

 

6. Military suicides up as much as 20% in COVID era

AP · by Lolita C. Baldor & Robert Burns · September 27, 2020

Not a good sign for us.

 

7. Nearly 1M who died of COVID-19 also illuminated treatment

AP · by Marilynn Marchione · September 27, 2020

The way to honor the sacrifice of these 1 million is to learn from them so we can help others. And for those 1 million, this is not a hoax and we should not disrespect them by calling it one.

 

8. One of the nation’s last OSS spies, Patricia Warner, dies at 99

Boston Herald · by Joe Dwinell · September 27, 2020

 

9. Countering insurgencies and violent extremism in South and Southeast Asia

Eurasia Review · by Vikram Sood · September 27, 2020

 

10. Business as usual on K Street

International Policy Digest · by Scott Morgan · September 27, 2020

I am sure glad I work on M Street and not K Street.

 

11. Proclamation on Gold Star Mother's and Family's Day, 2020

White House · by Donald J. Trump · September 25, 2020

I missed this announcement. Our deep condolences and great respect for our Gold Star Mother's and Families.

 

12. China's military might, aggressive policies spur talks of creating 'Asian NATO'

Washington Times · by Guy Taylor · September 27, 2020

My comments, among many others, below.

 

13. NYPD officer accused of spying for China puzzled city's Tibetan groups

Wall Street Journal · by Shan Li & Ben Chapman · September 27, 2020

This is a bizarre case. Any country with a United Front Work Department should be considered a threat to the free world.

 

14. The inconvenient truth about Taiwan's place in the world

National Interest · by Paul Heer · September 27, 2020

 

15. National security adviser: after Hong Kong, China will target Taiwan next

National Interest · by Bill Gertz · September 27, 2020

This article covers more than China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

 

16. With Russia, it is time to restart speaking softly and putting away the big stick

Strategy Bridge · Alexander Grinberg · September 28, 2020

 

17. Trump, Pentagon collide over anti-diversity training push

Hill · by Rebecca Kheel · September 27, 2020

 

18. One of first females to join the silent service: 'I'm excited to see the day when women being on submarines is not a surprise to people.'

The Day · by Julia Bergman · September 25, 2020

I have great respect for any submariner regardless of gender.  Their ability to live and work in that environment is beyond my comprehension. 

My father worked at Electric Boat in Groton when I was growing up. We went to a lot of submarine launches in the 1960s. I also took many school trips to the submarine base in New London and taking a tour of the inside of a submarine is why I went into the Army. But I did think The Hunt for Red October was a pretty cool movie and maybe if that had come out in the 1960s at the same time as the Green Berets, I might have made a different choice! :-)

 

19. Reporter’s notebook: Navy SEAL admiral survives San Diego hot seat, moves on to SOCOM job

San Diego Union-Tribune · by Andrew Dyer · September 27, 2020

Survived?  How about he exercised superior leadership?

 

20. Don't let China conclude its opportunity is 'now or never'

USNI · by James Holmes · September 27, 2020

Interesting analysis from Naval War College professor James Homes.

 

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."

- Elie Wiesel

"While other animals look downwards at the ground, he gave human beings an upturned aspect, commanding them to look towards the skies, and, upright, raise their face to the stars."

-Ovid ('Metamorphoses')

   "The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."

- Chinese Proverb

9/29/2020 News & Commentary - Korea

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 10:41am

News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Duncan Moore.

1. Washington also strongly condemns North Korea: "The South Korean Government Must Now Revise Its North Korea Strategy"

2. Why does North Korea's apology letter have South Korean spellings and style, and why was the letter changed?

3. Defector: Kim Jong Un likely knew of plans to execute South Korean

4. NK could be lying about shooting: US defense analyst

5. Deputy security adviser recently visited U.S. for talks on alliance, N. Korea: Cheong Wa Dae

6. No time for silence

7.  U.S. arms control envoy to hold talks in Seoul about China threats

8. Why Is the gov't so eager to defend Kim Jong-un?

9. Moon expresses condolences over death of S. Korean official in shooting by N. Korean troops

10. S. Korea closely watching for additional word from N.K. over death of its citizen: ministry

11. No unusual N.K. movement detected near maritime border: JCS

12. After slaying S. Korean official, N. Korean patrol boat crew commended for "hard work"

13. S. Korea, U.S. agree to hold high-level arms control talks in Washington

14. Tours to inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom to resume soon: UN command

15. Pyongyang should agree on joint investigation rather than reacting unreasonably

16. Moon calls for restoring communications with the North after killing at sea

17. Korea becomes diplomatic battlefield between US, China

18. Moon criticized for subdued message toward North Korea

19. Seoul, Washington to discuss North Korea's civilian killing, ending Korean War

20. N. Korea unresponsive to S. Korea's call for reopening military hotline

 

1. Washington also strongly condemns North Korea: "The South Korean Government Must Now Revise Its North Korea Strategy"

Dong-A Ilbo · by Lee Jeong-Eun · September 26, 2020

Yes, a number of us are condemning North Korea and I call on the Moon Administration to revise their policy and strategy (after assessing its assumptions about North Korea are erroneous).

 

2. Why does North Korea's apology letter have South Korean spellings and style, and why was the letter changed?

East Asia Research Center · by Tara O · September 26, 2020

A tough critique here from Dr. O.

 

3. Defector: Kim Jong Un likely knew of plans to execute South Korean

UPI · by Elizabeth Shim · September 26, 2020

I defer to my good friend and escapee, Hyun Seung, Lee. He provides some very important analysis. I have learned a lot from Hyun and his father over the past couple of years.

 

4. NK could be lying about shooting: US defense analyst

Korea Herald · by Kim So-Hyun · September 27, 2020

We should understand retaliation (see below). We conduct operations in self-defense and we conduct operations to prevent further attacks. Had the ROK military known a South Korean civilian was in danger, they could have legitimately attempted to defend him. But given the circumstances and likely timeline that was not feasible.

But it is this talk of fear of escalation that continues to cause strategic paralysis on the Alliance side and that allows the Kim family regime to continue to get away with political warfare and blackmail diplomacy. Now I am not advocating a military response such as an attack of North Korea in this case in response to this MURDER (we should remember that this is what occurred, and not be afraid to call it a murder of a Korean citizen). But we need to show Kim Jong-Un that there are consequences for these actions and we could undertake a number of actions that could hurt Kim - starting from simply supporting escapee/defectors information operations, to withdrawing from the CMA and conducting ISR in the vicinity of the DMZ and restoring live firing training in the frontline areas, to conducting large scale combined air, land, and sea exercises. All of these actions will undermine Kim Jong-Un's legitimacy and power. And then there are financial actions targeting Kim funds, cyber operations, as well as interdiction of ship to ship transfers. We (the ROK/US alliance) just need the will to take such actions. By our not doing so, Kim will only be emboldened to make more demands and we only need to pay attention to the Propaganda and Agitation department to see how the regime is spinning this.

 

5. Deputy security adviser recently visited U.S. for talks on alliance, N. Korea: Cheong Wa Dae

Yonhap News Agency · by sshluck@yna.co.kr · September 27, 2020

This must have been a low-profile visit. The regional public health initiative is interesting but last week the regime might have bitten the hand that could feed it.

But this week appears to be a busy one for the alliance in both Seoul and Washington.

 

6. No time for silence

Korea Joong Ang Daily · September 27, 2020

The Joongang Ilbo calls it a homicide and severely criticizes the Moon administration.

 

7. U.S. arms control envoy to hold talks in Seoul about China threats

Yonhap News Agency · by Kim Seung-Yeon · September 28, 2020

As I said, a busy week in Seoul and Washington. How about Yonhap’s choice of photos? Can you hear me now?

 

8. Why Is the gov't so eager to defend Kim Jong-un?

Chosun Ilbo · by Editorial Board · September 28, 2020

Simply put, because the Moon administration persists with the assumption that Kim Jong-Un wants peace and reconciliation in accordance with the same vision as President Moon. When an assumption is proven false, you must change your policy and strategy.

 

9. Moon expresses condolences over death of S. Korean official in shooting by N. Korean troops

Yonhap News Agency · by Lee Chi-Dong · September 28, 2020

Tepid. Almost as if he is blaming the victim. Please condemn the Kim family regime and the NKPA for the murder of a Korean citizen.

 

10. S. Korea closely watching for additional word from N.K. over death of its citizen: ministry

Yonhap News Agency · by kokobj@yna.co.kr · September 28, 2020

The North is going to ignore the South's demand and make further threats. It will eventually demand concessions to reduce tensions (tensions that are, of course, the result of North Korean action).

 

11. No unusual N.K. movement detected near maritime border: JCS

Yonhap News Agency · by scaaet@yna.co.kr · September 28, 2020

Not surprising. Note the spokesman stresses the Northern Limit Line (NLL) is the de facto boundary. As we know it is not an internationally recognized boundary and was simply imposed as a post-Armistice control measure to ensure South Korean vessels did not go North.

 

12. After slaying S. Korean official, N. Korean patrol boat crew commended for "hard work"

Daily NK · by Jang Seul Gi · September 28, 2020

No surprise here.  The members of this crew are heroes to the North.

 

13. S. Korea, U.S. agree to hold high-level arms control talks in Washington

Yonhap News Agency · by Kim Seung-Yeon · September 28, 2020

I understand why we are having these negotiations, but wouldn't it be better to put more effort into arms-control negotiations with our adversaries and those who threaten regional and international security?

 

14. Tours to inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom to resume soon: UN command

Yonhap News Agency · by graceoh@yna.co.kr · September 28, 2020

Probably the least likely location for a deliberate incident.

 

15. Pyongyang should agree on joint investigation rather than reacting unreasonably

Dong-A Ilbo · September 28, 2020

Should, if it was a responsible member of the international community. Of course, a responsible member of the international community would not have murdered and immolated an innocent victim.

 

16. Moon calls for restoring communications with the North after killing at sea

Korea Joong Ang Daily · by Ser Myo-Ja · September 28, 2020

Kim does not want to maintain regular communications. That should be one indicator that Kim does not share Moon's vision for peace and reconciliation.

 

17. Korea becomes diplomatic battlefield between US, China

Korea Times · by Kang Seung-Woo · September 28, 2020

I am always reminded of the Korean adage that it is a shrimp among whales (and, of course, when whales wrestle, shrimp die). But on a serious note, we must learn from the THAAD deployment debacle.  If we take an action that results in Chinese economic warfare against the South, we had better be prepared to help our ally defend against such economic warfare.

 

18. Moon criticized for subdued message toward North Korea

Korea Times · by Do Je-Hae · September 28, 2020

Peace at any cost. In this case, the cost is the life of a civil servant.

 

19. Seoul, Washington to discuss North Korea's civilian killing, ending Korean War

Korea Herald · by Ahn Sung-Mi · September 28, 2020

How does an end of war declaration work? What about negotiating a peace treaty between the two belligerents or the aggressor and the victim (North and South, respectively?)

 

20. N. Korea unresponsive to S. Korea's call for reopening military hotline

Yonhap News Agency · by scaaet@yna.co.kr · September 28, 2020

North Korean SOP. It will communicate when it has a need to or when it can exploit certain conditions.  And North Korea demonstrates disrespect for the South. Again.

 

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."

- Elie Wiesel

"While other animals look downwards at the ground, he gave human beings an upturned aspect, commanding them to look towards the skies, and, upright, raise their face to the stars."

-Ovid ('Metamorphoses')

   "The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."

- Chinese Proverb

09/27/2020 News & Commentary - National Security

Sun, 09/27/2020 - 12:02pm

News and Commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and Published by Riley Murray.

 

1. Reforming Tokyo’s Ballistic Missile Defense is a Priority for Japan’s New Prime Minister

2. US congressman urges end to 'morally bankrupt and failed one China policy'

3. Earth to Washington and Beijing: It’s not all about you

4. PH Air Force eyes 21 second-hand Huey choppers from South Korea

5. Statement by President of Russia Vladimir Putin on a comprehensive program of measures for restoring the Russia – US cooperation in the filed of international information security

6. Taiwanese prepare to defend themselves from Chinese invasion

7. FBI Feeds Intel to DoD for Offensive Cyber Ops, Director Tells Congress

8. Star Wars is Bullsh*t! – Lies Science Fiction Taught Me About Strategic Planning

9. Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

10. Going Global: The F-35 Is Taking Over The World

11. Unmanned aircraft that saw heavy combat in the global war on terrorism are now headed to sea

12. 117 remains of Chinese soldiers killed in Korean War casketed in the ROK

13. 2 Abu Sayyaf members surrender in Sulu

14. Dress right and cover down (1st Special Forces Group and PPP)

15. USSOCOM Awarded 46 IDIQ Contracts Worth $950 Million for Special Operations Forces Support

16. RBG's Trainer, Army Vet Bryant Johnson, Does Push-Ups in Front of Her Casket

17. One of first female Ranger School graduates leads Honor Guard for Justice Ginsburg

18. The Replacements: Why and How “Acting” Officials Are Making Senate Confirmation Obsolete

19. Do our generals and admirals like war too much?

20. The Terrorist Lists: An Examination of the U.S. Government's Counterterrorism Designations Efforts

21. Harvard professor: Trump is not a dictator ... he only plays one on TV

 

1. Reforming Tokyo’s Ballistic Missile Defense is a Priority for Japan’s New Prime Minister

The National Interest · by Matthew Ha · September 26, 2020

From my colleague Mathew Ha. And as Mat mentions, an integrated missile defense system in Northeast Asia would be even better but I know that is a bridge too far (at least it is before the shooting starts).

 

2. US congressman urges end to 'morally bankrupt and failed one China policy'

taiwannews.com.tw · by Taiwan News

Here is a link to the Congressman's OpEd referenced in the article below. https://dailycaller.com/2020/09/24/tiffany-its-time-to-end-americas-failed-one-china-policy/

 

3. Earth to Washington and Beijing: It’s not all about you

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/politico-china-watcher?- by David Wertime – 24 September 2020

A Sunday morning read for all China watchers. This is quite a roll-up of a broad array of commentary.

Earth to Washington and Beijing: It’s not all about you

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/politico-china-watcher?

 

4. PH Air Force eyes 21 second-hand Huey choppers from South Korea

newsinfo.inquirer.net · by Frances Mangosing · September 25, 2020

Security Assistance among two of our allies.  I have flown quite a few hours in a PAF Hueys.  Some of them still had Budweiser beer cans from patching the bullet holes from the Vietnam era.  But the PAF pilots were good.  We did pinnacle landings on the highest point in Basilan and we once flew with a fuel gauge indicating zero fuel yet the pilots knew exactly how long they could fly before we actually ran out of fuel!  

 

5. Statement by President of Russia Vladimir Putin on a comprehensive program of measures for restoring the Russia – US cooperation in the filed of international information security

en.kremlin.ru · September 25, 2020

Security cooperation between the US and Russia?  Very interesting timing for this statement from Putin.  Russian political warfare.  Politics is warfare by other means.  We would do well to remember that.

 

6. Taiwanese prepare to defend themselves from Chinese invasion

The Telegraph · by Nicola Smith

As they must but I hope they never have to.

 

7. FBI Feeds Intel to DoD for Offensive Cyber Ops, Director Tells Congress

defenseone.com · by Mariam Baksh – 26 September 2020

Yes, it is a brave new world.  This is excellent interagency cooperation.  Cyber may be the most important battlespace now and in the future.

 

8. Star Wars is Bullsh*t! – Lies Science Fiction Taught Me About Strategic Planning

angrystaffofficer.com · by KR Paul · September 27, 2020

I have never been a Star Wars aficionado but this should be required reading in SAMS and all PME schools! :-)

 

9. Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

The Hill · by Morgan Gstalter · September 24, 2020

I guess Trump and Putin will duke it out in Norway.

 

10. Going Global: The F-35 Is Taking Over The World

The National Interest · by Dan Goure · September 27, 2020

I hope Dr. Goure means the free world!

 

11. Unmanned aircraft that saw heavy combat in the global war on terrorism are now headed to sea

Stars and Stripes – by Seth Robinson – 26 September 2020

 

12. 117 remains of Chinese soldiers killed in Korean War casketed in the ROK

chinadaily.com.cn · by 刘小卓 – 26 September 2020

How many South Korean soldiers has China returned to South Korea? How many ROK Soldiers (and US and UN soldiers) died in Chinese prison camps in China and have been returned to their home countries?

 

13. 2 Abu Sayyaf members surrender in Sulu

philstar.com · by Roel Pareño

I remember when 17 ASG members surrendered in Basilan in 2002.  But this is even more critical now as we need to separate the ASG from the Islamic State and its influence.   Is the AFP and the Philippine government executing a PSYOP campaign to exploit these surrenders and encourage more?

 

14. Dress right and cover down (1st Special Forces Group and PPP)

https://www.army.mil/article/239394/dress_right_and_cover_down - by Margaret C. Roth – 25 September 2020

Tremendous work by 1st Special Forces Group (and Natick , et el). Great initiative. But note also the equipment and techniques available in the Group as well as the various processes and organizations that came together on this initiative.

I am proud of 1st SFG but this is representative of what the American military writ large can do in the face of crisis, especially an unconventional ones (the essence of unconventional warfare is to solve, or assist in solving complex political-military problems - not that this is an unconventional warfare situation but unconventional warfare thinking can help to solve or assist in solving myriad diverse problems.

 

15.  USSOCOM Awarded 46 IDIQ Contracts Worth $950 Million for Special Operations Forces Support

news.clearancejobs.com · by Katie Keller · September 26, 2020

As I have said if you want to understand the direction of the US military just follow the contracting process.  So much can be gleaned not only from procurement contracts but also service contracts.  And of course, construction contracts provide information about long term plans for basing.  All of this can be combined to understand the direction of future military strategy.

 

16. RBG's Trainer, Army Vet Bryant Johnson, Does Push-Ups in Front of Her Casket

Military.com | By Hope Hodge Seck – 25 September 2020

Pretty classy.  I had no idea of the veteran connection.  30 years in the Army. I am not sure what "Special Forces Airborne Unit” he was a member of. Video at the link.

RBG's Trainer, Army Vet Bryant Johnson, Does Push-Ups in Front of Her Casket

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/09/25/rbgs-trainer-army-vet-bryant-johnson-does-push-ups-front-of-her-casket.html
 

17. One of first female Ranger School graduates leads Honor Guard for Justice Ginsburg

wrbl.com · by Chuck Williams · September 25, 2020

I had no idea as well.  I was struck when I heard the commands in a female voice as I watched the ceremony.  In the old days I would have been shocked, but it seems so natural and normal today.  But I did not realize Captain Haver is serving in the Old Guard.

 

18.  The Replacements: Why and How “Acting” Officials Are Making Senate Confirmation Obsolete

The 28 page report can be downloaded here. https://ourpublicservice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/The-Replacements-1.pdf

 

19. Do our generals and admirals like war too much?

The Brookings Institution · by Michael E. O'Hanlon · September 21, 2020

Spoiler alert. Do not be misled by the clickbait title (I was - based on the title I was ready to take Michael O'Hanlon to task because I assumed the answer to the question might be different).

His conclusion: We would be wrong to put our military leaders on pedestals and assume that they can solve the nation’s problems on their own. But I see no evidence they are trying to hoodwink the country into following some predetermined and overmilitarized foreign policy. President Trump has that one wrong.

 

20.  The Terrorist Lists: An Examination of the U.S. Government's Counterterrorism Designations Efforts

ctc.usma.edu · September 24, 2020

The very comprehensive 105 page report can be downloaded here.  Great work by West Point's CTC.  This may be very useful to researchers.  This is an excellent academic reference.

PDF

 

21. Harvard professor: Trump is not a dictator ... he only plays one on TV

https://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2020/09/26/will-prejudice-against-the-less-educated-impact-election.cnn

I know I am taking a great risk among many of you for posting a video link to CNN. However, if you can overlook the partisan aspect of this (and I post this with no intent to make a partisan statement) I think it accurately describes some of the fundamental problems we have in today's society (which at the end of the piece the professor notes both Republicans and Democrats contribute to), e.g., the concept of "credentialism." The most important aspect of this short video is the call to return to the dignity of work - whatever work you do that contributes to the public good.  And the contribution of dignified work is not measured in income.  However, what the Professor did not note but in my opinion he is describing,  is that human nature has not changed from the time of Thucydides when he said, "The strong do what they will, and the weak suffer what they must."  Today the rank and file are filled with grievance and resentment and fighting back against the elite. Again, please do not take this as a partisan offering.  I urge you to listen to this and reflect on what the professor says.  I just ordered his book and I look forward to reading it.

 

“No matter what anyone says or does, my task is to be good.”

- Marcus Aurelius

 

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”

- Harry S. Truman

 

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear."  

- Marcus Tullius Cicero (42B.C.)

09/26/2020 News & Commentary - National Security

Sat, 09/26/2020 - 11:29am

News and Commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and Published by Riley Murray.

 

1. The Vise Tightens on the Dollar

2. The next financial crisis may be coming soon

3. China Hits Back at Pompeo’s Espionage Allegation Against New York Consulate

4. The Man Who Can Get Us Out of Afghanistan

5.  Republicans as Avengers? Dan Crenshaw goes all Captain America in new political ad

6. UK develops cyber weapons that could take out power grids in enemy states

7.  How the U.S. Military is Prioritizing Great-Power Competition

8. The Blob Meets the Heartland: Foreign policy should work better for America’s middle class.

9. Deployment of US forces to Taiwan means war: Global Times editorial

10. Air Force Betting on New Robotic Wingman

11. Places and Names: On War, Revolution and Returning

12. Trump’s team plots his departure - even if he won’t

13. Navigating the Asia-Pacific Threat Landscape: Experts Dive In

14. U.S. Commandos Use Secretive Missiles to Kill Qaeda Leaders in Syria

15. Ospreys draw eyes over Ukraine during special ops exercises

16. In a First, 100 Mexican Firefighters Arrive in California to Help Battle Wildfires

17. Dire Straits - Should American Support for Taiwan Be Ambiguous?

 

1. The Vise Tightens on the Dollar

project-syndicate.org · by Stephen S. Roach · September 25, 2020

Troubling news.  Quote: "In short, the vise is tightening on a still-overvalued dollar. Domestic saving is now plunging as never before, and the current-account balance is following suit. Don’t expect the Fed, focused more on supporting equity and bond markets than on leaning against inflation, to save the day. The dollar’s decline has only just begun."

 

2. The next financial crisis may be coming soon

Financial Times · by Gillian Tett · September 24, 2020

More troubling news.  We must protect our economic instrument of power. Quote: "Of course, such a disruption might not merit blazing headlines, given all the other more immediately worrying pieces of news right now. But investors should remember this: if lenders react to a stealthy rise in defaults - and, most important, a fear of future stress - this could tighten credit conditions despite central banks’ policies."

 

3. China Hits Back at Pompeo’s Espionage Allegation Against New York Consulate

caixinglobal.com · by Lu Zhenhua – 26 September 2020

China doth protest too much.  But of course, no country would admit its routine espionage activities even though it is what everybody does.  Admit nothing, deny everything, make counteraccusations.

 

4. The Man Who Can Get Us Out of Afghanistan

spectator.org · by Jeremy Lott · September 26, 2020

Based on this essay it does seem likely this man will shake things up.  But if President Trump is not re-elected, he will have little time.

 

5. Republicans as Avengers? Dan Crenshaw goes all Captain America in new political ad

expressnews.com · September 25, 2020

The 4 minute video is at this link on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wd6b_8OlwXU

I have never seen a more over the top political ad. :-). I do not offer this as a political statement or endorsement.  It is just an entertaining ad.

 

6. UK develops cyber weapons that could take out power grids in enemy states

Sky News – by Deborah Haynes

Sometimes there is just too much information out there. Or General Sanders is executing an influence operation. Of course, this should not be surprising and I doubt the UK is the only country with or developing this capability. This might be right out of the Chinese Unrestricted Warfare.

Note this article: Energy Grid Supply-Chain Risks and U.S.-China Entanglement https://www.lawfareblog.com/energy-grid-supply-chain-risks-and-us-china-entanglement

 

7. How the U.S. Military is Prioritizing Great-Power Competition

The National Interest · by Michael O'Hanlon · September 25, 2020

Of course, this article is focused on Naval power and rightly so as it is a critical component of great power competition.  And of course, one of the key aspects of strategy is the prioritization and allocation of resources.

But I think we are missing major elements of great power competition:

Problem: We face threats from political warfare strategies supported by hybrid military approaches. 

Gray Zone, Hybrid Conflict, Unconventional Warfare, Counter-Unconventional Warfare, Revolution, Resistance, Insurgency, Terrorism, Civil War ll may occur in the context of Great Power Competition.

In short:

  • Competition equals Political Warfare
    • Most likely
  • State on state warfare less likely
    • Most dangerous
  • Consider lessons from the OSS to operate in the modern era of the Gray Zone and Political Warfare
  • But we must always be prepared for also major theater war

 

8. The Blob Meets the Heartland: Foreign policy should work better for America’s middle class.

defenseone.com · by William J. Burns

An interesting essay. Here is a the link to the Carnegie report: https://carnegieendowment.org/2020/09/23/making-u.s.-foreign-policy-work-better-for-middle-class-pub-82728

This excerpt jumped out at me.  This is what our foreign policy and national security professionals should consider and understand.  But it is also important for our allies to understand this as well. Quote: "Most of those we interviewed saw the value of America’s allies and our country’s active global leadership, but they expected other countries to invest more in their own military and contribute a greater share of the costs of securing peace. They were also skeptical of Washington’s foreign-policy extremes-its episodic crusading impulses as well as its bouts of isolationism."

 

9. Deployment of US forces to Taiwan means war: Global Times editorial

globaltimes.cn

From a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party.  The folks at Leavenworth should be happy with the shoutout for Military Review. Someone besides military professionals is reading their work! 

This is an interesting interpretation of US military and strategic thinking.

But the conclusion gives us an idea of how the CCP views its own actions and how it views the Taiwan-US relationship. And I guess the CCP thinks of itself as "god-like" that can punish sinners.  But I suppose that is how one feels when you think the Middle Kingdom should dominate the region if not the world.

 

10. Air Force Betting on New Robotic Wingman

nationaldefensemagazine.org · by Jon Harper – 25 September 2020

But can you take this wingman to the officer's club for a beer at happy hour for saving your a**?  Seriously though this seems like a pretty cool capability.

 

11. Places and Names: On War, Revolution and Returning

realcleardefense.com · by John Waters

Of course, the title was clickbait for me.  It was not the article I expected but interesting, nonetheless. I have read a lot from Eliot Ackerman, but I was unaware of his background.

 

12. Trump’s team plots his departure - even if he won’t

Politico – 24 September 2020

This is a fascinating read. Again, I do not offer this as a partisan statement but to illustrate what goes on behind the scenes in all administrations and what is required by law.  

 

13. Navigating the Asia-Pacific Threat Landscape: Experts Dive In

darkreading.com

The cyber domain is "key terrain" in great power competition.  Key point: "Both experts agree nation-state groups based out of China pose a major threat to the region. While these attackers typically dominate threats against telecommunications, El-Nabawi says threat intelligence indicates they have also targeted food and beverage, healthcare, manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals, in addition to telecommunications and tech companies."

 

14. U.S. Commandos Use Secretive Missiles to Kill Qaeda Leaders in Syria

The New York Times · by Eric Schmitt · September 24, 2020

Excerpt: "But in an opposite corner of the country, where the United States has no troops on the ground, the military’s secretive Joint Special Operations Command, with help from the C.I.A., is carrying out a shadow war against a different terrorist threat - a small but virulent Al Qaeda affiliate - that American officials say is plotting attacks against the West."

I guess it is not cliche to say this is one helluva missile: "But the modified Hellfire missile carries an inert warhead. Instead of exploding, it hurls about 100 pounds of metal through the top of a target’s vehicle. If the high-velocity projectile does not kill the target, the missile’s other feature almost certainly does: six long blades tucked inside, which deploy seconds before impact to slice up anything in its path... The Hellfire variant, known as the R9X, was initially developed nearly a decade ago under pressure from President Barack Obama to reduce civilian casualties and property damage in the United States’ long-running wars on terrorism in far-flung hot spots such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Yemen."

 

15. Ospreys draw eyes over Ukraine during special ops exercises

airforcetimes.com · by Stephen Losey · September 25, 2020

One of my regrets is that I never flew on a CV-22 while on active duty.

 

16. In a First, 100 Mexican Firefighters Arrive in California to Help Battle Wildfires

kqed.org · by Matthew Green

This is an amazing development on multiple levels.  Thank you to our Mexican neighbors for supporting the US in fighting this disaster.

 

17. Dire Straits - Should American Support for Taiwan Be Ambiguous?

Foreign Affairs – by Bonnie S. Glaser, Michael J. Mazarr, Michael J. Glennon, Richard Haass, and David Sacks - September 24, 2020

To be ambiguous or not to be ambiguous.  That is the question.

A very thoughtful debate/discussion below.

 

 

“The framers of the Constitution took deliberate steps to ensure that treason trials would not be used as political weapons against opponents. Article 3, Section 3 defines the crime very narrowly: ‘Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.’ This language is drawn from an English statute from 1351 that was also intended to limit the scope of treason. Speaking against the government, undermining political opponents, supporting harmful policies or even placing the interests of another nation ahead of those of the United States are not acts of treason under the Constitution.”

- Carlton F.W. Larson

 

"Until you learn to teach yourself you will never be taught by others."

- J.F.C. Fuller

 

“Our own generation is unique, but sadly so, in producing a school of thinkers who are allegedly experts in military strategy and who are certainly specialists in military studies but who know virtually nothing of military history”

- Bernard Brodie, "The Continuing Relevance of On War"

09/26/2020 News & Commentary - Korea

Sat, 09/26/2020 - 11:12am

News and Commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and Published by Riley Murray.

 

1. US joins Seoul in condemning North Korea for killing South Korean official

2. North apologizes for 'suspected' killing of South Korean civil servant

3. N. Korea breached inter-Korean military pact: experts

4. N.K. leader wished S. Koreans health, happiness in letter to Moon, Cheong Wa Dae says

5. N. Korea's killing of S. Korean citizen doesn't seem to have been ordered by Kim Jong-un: spy chief

6. Reports on official killed by N. Korea show discrepancies

7. N. Korean apology for killing incident a 'helpful step':State Dept.

8. What did our nation do for 3 days between civilian’s missing and gov’t announcement?

9. Moon briefed 4 times on killed civil servant, UN message too late to be changed: Cheong Wa Dae

10. U.S. flies spy aircraft over South Korea after N.K.'s killing of Seoul official

11. S. Korea to demand N. Korea make additional probe into killing

12. Kim Jong-un 'apologises for killing of South Korean official'

13. New virus cases fall back below 100 as nation vigilant ahead of key holiday (South Korea)

14. U.S. will support S. Korea's missile defense but decision is up to Seoul: U.S. diplomat

15. Colin Powell downplays threat from North at military conference

16. North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Center: Drying Off

17. The Rise of Women Leaders in North Korea

 

 

1. US joins Seoul in condemning North Korea for killing South Korean official

The Korea Times · September 25, 2020

We should all heed my good friend Greg Scalatoiu's words here. Human rights are a moral imperative and a national security issue.

 

2. North apologizes for 'suspected' killing of South Korean civil servant

koreaherald.com · by The Korea Herald · September 25, 2020

This article illustrates the non-apology, apology.

One of the best explanations in addition to this article comes from Professor Sung Yoon Lee from Tufts who says that Kim Jong-un is playing a "great leader mind -trick" on South Korea with this apology and this apology is actually rebuke of South Korea.

I recommend listening to the 2 minute interview with Professor Lee here on PRI: https://www.pri.org/file/2020-09-25/rare-apology-north-korea

 

3. N. Korea breached inter-Korean military pact: experts

koreaherald.com · by The Korea Herald · September 25, 2020

It is time to recognize the regime has never lived up to the letter and spirit of the 2018 Comprehensive Military Agreement which is formally known as "Agreement on the Implementation of the

Historic Panmunjom Declaration in the Military Domain.  I recommend those with an interest in Korean issues to re-read the agreement and judge north Korean actions (and non-actions).

https://www.ncnk.org/sites/default/files/Agreement%20on%20the%20Implementation%20of%20the%20Historic%20Panmunjom%20Declaration%20in%20the%20Military%20Domain.pdf
 

4. N.K. leader wished S. Koreans health, happiness in letter to Moon, Cheong Wa Dae says

en.yna.co.kr · by 이치동 · September 25, 2020

I wish Woodward had interviewed President Moon so we could see the contents of this letter. I guess Trump is not the only one conducting unconventional, experimental, top-down, pen-pal diplomacy.   But on a serious note this is the Kim family regime's political warfare in action. Of course, the killing of the South Korean civil servant was not planned but any incident that may have occurred would be exploited in some to support Kim Jong-un's political warfare with juche characteristics. The excerpts below illustrate the foundation for future demands for concessions and humanitarian aid  even as the regime will blame the South for the COVID outbreak (the "re-defector" or north Korean operative who returned to Kaesong and conveniently tested positive for COVD-19)

 

5.  N. Korea's killing of S. Korean citizen doesn't seem to have been ordered by Kim Jong-un: spy chief

en.yna.co.kr · by 박보람 · September 25, 2020

While I agree that it is unlikely Kim order this killing. It was a chance encounter.  The unit did not call back to Pyongyang for permission to murder this South Korea.  It was likely operating within defense orders.  It illustrates the internet brutality that is endemic in the north Korean People's Army which is shaped by the party.

But NIS Director Park should not be attempting to let Kim Jong-un off the hook in hopes of sustaining the slight chance for north-South engagement.  What he should be focusing on is how Kim Jong-un is exploiting the chance incident in support of his blackmail diplomacy and political warfare.  The South must protect itself from being "played" again by the north.

 

6. Reports on official killed by N. Korea show discrepancies

donga.com – by Kyu-Jin Shin – 26 September 2020

I think the ROK government is going to come under a lot of criticism.

 

7. N. Korean apology for killing incident a 'helpful step': State Dept.

en.yna.co.kr · by 변덕근 · September 25, 2020

It is helpful for us to understand and expose north Korea's political warfare strategy.

 

8. What did our nation do for 3 days between civilian’s missing and gov’t announcement?

donga.com – 26 September 2020

More basis for criticism of the ROK government and its actions (or lack of timely actions).

 

9. Moon briefed 4 times on killed civil servant, UN message too late to be changed: Cheong Wa Dae

koreaherald.com · by The Korea Herald · September 25, 2020

People are not going to accept this.  A speechwriter could have quickly added a paragraph to his speech along the lines of - "Despite our strong desire for peace and to end the Korean War, north Korea and the mafia like crime family cult known as the Kim family regime continues to conduct brutal hostile operations against the Korean people of the South as well as the continued horrendous human rights abuses against the Korean people in the north. I have just learned that the north Korean People's Army has murdered a Korean from the South who was helplessly floating at sea.  After murdering him they burned his body using the excuse they had to prevent the possibility of the spread of COVID 19.  I call on Kim Jong-un to cease all human rights abuses and come to the negotiating table to seek peace and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula."  That took me about 2 minutes.  I am sure his speech writers could have done it even faster (though would not have used my over the top rhetoric about the regime!).

 

10. U.S. flies spy aircraft over South Korea after N.K.'s killing of Seoul official

en.yna.co.kr · by 오석민 · September 26, 2020

Prudence.

 

11. S. Korea to demand N. Korea make additional probe into killing

en.yna.co.kr · by 오석민 · September 26, 2020

I doubt the regime will respond favorably to this unless it thinks it can somehow exploit this to demand concessions from the South.

 

12. Kim Jong-un 'apologizes for killing of South Korean official'

BBC · September 25, 2020

More analysis on the non-apology, apology.  There may be a perfect storm brewing on the peninsula and in the region.

 

13. New virus cases fall back below 100 as nation vigilant ahead of key holiday (South Korea)

en.yna.co.kr · by 오석민 · September 26, 2020

Some good news.  Chuseok will be the test.

 

14.  U.S. will support S. Korea's missile defense but decision is up to Seoul: U.S. diplomat

en.yna.co.kr · by 변덕근 · September 26, 2020

But ideally, we will develop integrated missile defense capabilities (and even more ideal if we can do it trilaterally!)

 

15. Colin Powell downplays threat from North at military conference

koreajoongangdaily.joins.com

With all due respect to the general I do not think downplaying the threat (from nuclear and missile, to conventional, to regime instability and collapse, to provocations, to weapons proliferation to cyber-attacks, to human rights abuses, to global illicit activities and more) is not helpful.  Never assume the enemy will not attack (or collapse). Make yourself invisible." Sun Tzu.

Colin Powell downplays threat from North at military conference

 

16. North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Center: Drying Off

38north.org · by Peter Makowsky · September 25, 2020

 

17. The Rise of Women Leaders in North Korea

https://www.38north.org/2020/09/ddraudt092520/ - by Darcie Draudt – 25 September 2020

Darcie Draudt is doing important work. This is even more timely and relevant given the rise of Kim Yo-jong.

 

 

“The framers of the Constitution took deliberate steps to ensure that treason trials would not be used as political weapons against opponents. Article 3, Section 3 defines the crime very narrowly: ‘Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.’ This language is drawn from an English statute from 1351 that was also intended to limit the scope of treason. Speaking against the government, undermining political opponents, supporting harmful policies or even placing the interests of another nation ahead of those of the United States are not acts of treason under the Constitution.”

- Carlton F.W. Larson

 

"Until you learn to teach yourself you will never be taught by others."

- J.F.C. Fuller

 

“Our own generation is unique, but sadly so, in producing a school of thinkers who are allegedly experts in military strategy and who are certainly specialists in military studies but who know virtually nothing of military history”

- Bernard Brodie, "The Continuing Relevance of On War"

9/25/2020 News & Commentary - National Security

Fri, 09/25/2020 - 11:33am

News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Duncan Moore.

1. The Pentagon is eyeing a 500-ship Navy, documents reveal

2. Services to consider removing all identifying information from promotion board packets

3. Expert panel tells lawmakers U.S. needs to do more to counter Chinese Pacific expansion

4. Automatic US citizenship restored for all military children born overseas

5. America’s top Marine says the US must shake up its military presence in the Pacific

6. Thousands of Xinjiang mosques destroyed or damaged, report finds

7. Xi vs. Trump at the United Nations

8. Inside the Army’s fearless, messy, networked warfare experiment

9. Virus crisis accelerates debates over China, digital divide, panel says

10. US–China rivalry ramps up pressure on the Pacific islands

11. Marines weigh closing Parris Island and San Diego to open new coed boot camp

12. Two steps President Trump could take now to secure missile defense improvements

13. U.S. military, spies and allies fight fake news on social media with wit and humor

14. 8 surviving members of famed Merrill’s Marauders to receive Congressional Gold Medal

15. Weeks before election, Facebook shuts down alleged Russian military intelligence operation

16. Bias in U.S. military promotions cited as senators offer measure

17. US bill halts military aid to PH over rights issue

 

1. The Pentagon is eyeing a 500-ship Navy, documents reveal

Defense News · by David Larter, Aaron Mehta · September 24, 2020

Can we afford this? I believe we need a strong Navy, but are we going to be able to pay for this? 

 

2. Services to consider removing all identifying information from promotion board packets

Military Times · by Meghann Myers · September 24, 2020

I really wonder how this will work. Is it practical? Evaluation reports will have to be edited (think of the use of gender pronouns throughout evaluations as one example), but those reports combined with assignment history (with dates of assignment) will still provide identifying information, especially as personnel become more senior. It is relatively simple to determine who people serving in battalion command and above are.

 

3. Expert panel tells lawmakers U.S. needs to do more to counter Chinese Pacific expansion

USNI News · by John Grady · September 24, 2020

 

4. Automatic US Citizenship Restored for All Military Children Born Overseas

Military.com · by Richard Sisk · September 24, 2020

It is unbelievable that this was even necessary. It was a relatively simple process for us to ensure our daughter's citizenship in 2000 when she was born in Seoul (121 Hospital in Yongsan). The rules put in place in 2019 are just an indication of how certain people really view the US military personnel and civil servants serving their country overseas. Those who enacted these rules or directed the enactment of these rules should be ashamed of themselves.

 

5. America’s top Marine says the US must shake up its military presence in the Pacific

Defense News · by David Larter · September 24, 2020

We need strategic flexibility and our Korean allies do need to understand this. We cannot give up our commitment to Northeast Asia, but we have to have strategic flexibility for all US forces.

That said, Northeast Asia is the most militarized and (potentially) most dangerous region in the world. It is the nexus of the 2d and 3d largest economies of the world, some of the largest armies in the world (China, North Korea, South Korea, Russia, and even Japan), two nuclear powers (China and Russia), and a rogue state that possesses nuclear weapons (nNorth Korea). What happens on the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia will have global effects economically and can have catastrophic national security effects. So, while I agree with the Commandant in many respects, we cannot neglect the fact Northeast Asia will remain the potential flashpoint for the world.

 

6. Thousands of Xinjiang mosques destroyed or damaged, report finds

Guardian · by Helen Davidson · September 25, 2020

China's human rights abuses cannot go unchallenged by the international community.

 

7. Xi vs. Trump at the United Nations

FDD · by Thomas Joscelyn · September 23, 2020

 

8. Inside the Army’s fearless, messy, networked warfare experiment

Defense One · by Patrick Tucker · September 24, 2020

 

9. Virus crisis accelerates debates over China, digital divide, panel says

Washington Times · by Guy Taylor · by September 24, 2020

 

10. US–China rivalry ramps up pressure on the Pacific islands

East Asia Forum · by Denghua Zhang · September 25, 2020

Will we establish bases in the Pacific Islands (e.g., Palau?)

 

11. Marines weigh closing Parris Island and San Diego to open new coed boot camp

Military.com · by Gina Harkins · September 24, 2020

Close the iconic recruit depots? Wow. The Marines are shaking things up.

 

12. Two steps President Trump could take now to secure missile defense improvements

Defense News · by Trey Obering & Rebecca Heinrichs · September 23, 2020

Missile defense and missile attack are arguably two of the most important capabilities for the future.

 

13. U.S. military, spies and allies fight fake news on social media with wit and humor

Newsweek · by Naveed Jamili & Tom O’Connor · September 24, 2020

 

14. 8 surviving members of famed Merrill’s Marauders to receive Congressional Gold Medal

Military Times · by Claire Barrett · September 24, 2020

Some good news. Better late than never.

 

15. Weeks before election, Facebook shuts down alleged Russian military intelligence operation

CNN · by Donie O'Sullivan · September 24, 2020

We must be more aggressive than the Russians in shutting these down.

 

16. Bias in U.S. military promotions cited as senators offer measure

Bloomberg · by Josyana Joshua · September 24, 2020

Again, how practical will this really be? The truth is future general officers are identified early in their career by other general officers. The words "must select for general officer" (or other "code words") written by general officers on evaluation reports throughout an officer's career do more to determine promotion to general officer than race or gender or anything else. If you do not have those words consistently written in your evaluation reports throughout your career, you are unlikely to be promoted to general officer.

 

17. US bill halts military aid to PH over rights issue

Inquirer.net · by Philippine Daily Inquirer · September 25, 2020

Obviously, this could have a serious impact.

 

"Because arrogance is born in personal vanity, arrogant people are driven without mercy. They can never get enough power to fill the soul's needs or enough respect to overcome the fear that they deserve less than they are getting."

-Lewis B. Smedes

"Remind me to write an article on the compulsive reading of news. The theme will be that most neuroses can be traced to the unhealthy habit of wallowing in the troubles of five billion strangers."

- Robert A. Heinlein

"Foreknowledge cannot be gotten from ghosts and spirits, cannot be had by analogy, cannot be found out by calculation. It must be obtained from people, people who know the conditions of the enemy."

- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

9/25/2020 News & Commentary - Korea

Fri, 09/25/2020 - 10:16am

News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Duncan Moore.

1.  N.K. leader apologizes to S. Koreans for 'unsavory' shooting case: Cheong Wa Dae

2. The unrepentant brutality of the Kim regime

3. North Korea commits act of brutality

4. Gov't and military are in dereliction of duty

5. What was S. Korea doing for 34 hours after its civilian was killed by N. Korea?

6. 3 fall Army brigade deployments to Afghanistan, South Korea and Europe announced

7. Fertilizer factory explosion claims eight deaths in S. Pyongan Province

8. N. Korea and China recently signed agreement aimed at easing border tensions

9. Repatriated North Korean escapee asks police to send her back to prison

10. North Korea arrests two for using fake money to buy food

11. Moon vows firm response to threats to S. Koreans' lives, safety

12. New defense minister holds first meeting with USFK commander

13. N.K.'s apology shows hotline between Seoul, Pyongyang spy agencies possibly in operation

14. Pyongyang General Hospital: a bright white beacon after the rains

15. Moon's adviser suggests N.K. leader hold summit with Moon and explain about killing

16. For North Korea, UN membership is a key link to larger world

17. What would Trump do with North Korea if he wins a second term?

18. North Korea's nuclear fishing lesson

 

1. N.K. leader apologizes to S. Koreans for 'unsavory' shooting case: Cheong Wa Dae

Yonhap News Agency · by lcd@yna.co.kr · September 25, 2020

What military has their soldiers carry blank rounds while on active duty guarding their nation? Firing two blanks and then 10 live rounds? 

Notice the admonition in this apology - the South should be helping with the suffering from the coronavirus.

We should not be duped by this "apology." Kim is conducting his usual political warfare with Juche characteristics. Yes, it is unusual to receive such a message so quickly. It may be because Kim is facing so many internal problems and he is preparing for future blackmail diplomacy to coerce aid from the South after blaming it for any COVID outbreak in the North (recall the re-defection of the likely North Korean operative who returned to Kaesong who the North said had tested positive for COVID?). The North is likely going to make demands of the South in the near future so this is a necessary step to prepare for that.

So, they only burned the material but never recovered the body? Note the letter counters what the North calls the regrettable that the South Korean military would say they burned the body. (I would bet the signal intercepts confirm the burning).

This is in no way a sincere apology. Again, this is political warfare. And this action by North Korean soldiers is an indication of the nature of the Kim family regime.

I fear this unusual apology will be misinterpreted as Kim is changing his ways and will actually be used as justification for advancing engagement with the North because Kim has apologized and express sincere regret. The only thing Kim regrets is that he has not yet extorted sufficient concessions from the South.  But he will spin (and is spinning) this incident in a way to set up getting such concessions.

 

2. The unrepentant brutality of the Kim regime

HRNK · by Greg Scarlatoiu · September 24, 2020

Statement from our Executive Director of the Committee on Human Rights in North Korea on North Korea's brutality. We should not forget that the Kim family regime is the worst human rights abuser in the modern era. And we should not believe that the North's rapid "apology" indicates any sincere repentance.

 

3. North Korea commits act of brutality

Dong-A Ilbo · by Editorial Board · September 25, 2020

The Dong-A Ilbo editorial board weighs in.

 

4. Gov't and military are in dereliction of duty

Chosun Ilbo · by Editorial Board · September 25, 2020

Questions on this tragic event's timeline. I think that, despite the regime's apology and, frankly, bulls**t explanation (e.g., firing blank rounds??), I am pretty confident there are intelligence intercepts that capture the NKPA describing what happened in real time. But there are some difficult and important questions for the South Korean military and government.

 

5. What was S. Korea doing for 34 hours after its civilian was killed by N. Korea?

Dong-A Ilbo · by Kyu-Jin Shin · September 25, 2020

A key question. Obviously, this undermines confidence in the military and the government. It also reinforces the perception the South wants engagement to support peace at all costs. The costs of peace can be catastrophic in blood and treasure if that peace is not built on a foundation of resolute strength and the commitment to national security above political agendas.

 

6. 3 fall Army brigade deployments to Afghanistan, South Korea and Europe announced

Army Times · by Kyle Rempfer · September 24, 2020

I am waiting for the shoe to drop on Korea. Cancelling the brigade rotation to Korea and bringing home the current rotational brigade with no replacement would be an October surprise to say that we are reducing forces because Korea will not pay for the US presence. It would not technically violate the NDAA, which says no funds will be appropriated for withdrawal of forces unless the SECEDEF certifies such withdrawal will not harm the national security of the US and its allies. Fortunately, I have not heard any discussion of this idea but, for those with a political agenda rather than a national security agenda, I could see this idea as one they would consider.

 

7. Fertilizer factory explosion claims eight deaths in S. Pyongan Province

Daily NK · by Jong So Yong · September 25, 2020

It is dangerous to work in fertilizer factories anywhere but especially in North Korea. And, of course, fertilizer can be dual use. 

But note how the Socialist Workers Paradise of North Korea and the Kim family regime treats its people.

 

8. N. Korea and China recently signed agreement aimed at easing border tensions

Daily NK · by Jang Seul Gi · September 25, 2020

Ease tensions but not trade restrictions? Note the subtitle. Failure to re-open the border means the 400+ markets will continue to be severely impacted, which will contribute to the widespread suffering of the Korean people in the North.

 

9. Repatriated North Korean escapee asks police to send her back to prison

Radio Free Asia · by Jien Kim, Leejin Jun, & Eugene Whong · September 23, 2020

The suffering many Korean in the North endure is just unimaginable.

 

10. North Korea arrests two for using fake money to buy food

Radio Free Asia · by Hyemin Son, Leejin Jun, & Eugene Whong · September 23, 2020

North Korea is arguably the most proficient nation in the world at counterfeiting money (e.g, US one hundred-dollar bills). So, I guess it follows that it should be good at spotting counterfeits used among the population. But the real story is how much the Korean people are suffering and how desperate they are to survive.

 

11. Moon vows firm response to threats to S. Koreans' lives, safety

Yonhap News Agency · lcd@yna.co.kr · September 25, 2020

I have not been able to visit the new Special Warfare Command at Icheon. It is interesting that President Moon gave his address there.

But this statement begs the question: what actions will he take?

 

12. New defense minister holds first meeting with USFK commander

Yonhap News Agency · scaaet@yna.co.kr · September 25, 2020

I wish he had met with the ROK/US Combined Forces Command commander as well as the United Nations Command commander.  (note my attempt at humor for those who understand the complex command relationships in Korea)

 

13. N.K.'s apology shows hotline between Seoul, Pyongyang spy agencies possibly in operation

Yonhap News Agency · julesyi@yna.co.kr · September 25, 2020

I will bet there is even international cell phone connectivity. I bet the head of the NIS in the South and the head of the UFD and the RGB in North Korea have exchanged cell phone numbers. The "hotline" concept may be outdated. But it is fun for the press to speculate about it.

 

14. Pyongyang General Hospital: a bright white beacon after the rains

38 North · by Samantha J. Pitz · September 24, 2020

If and when complete, will the regime begin to announce that it has a coronavirus outbreak?

 

15. Moon's adviser suggests N.K. leader hold summit with Moon and explain about killing

Yonhap News Agency · by elly@yna.co.kr · September 25, 2020

Only Moon Chung-In could try to spin the North's brutal act (as well as its previous demolition of the liaison office) as a way to create a summit opportunity. But I doubt the North would come to a summit and "explain" its actions to President Moon.

 

16. For North Korea, UN membership is a key link to larger world

Miami Herald · by Foster Klug · September 24, 2020

 

17. What would Trump do with North Korea if he wins a second term?

National Interest · by Wallace C. Gregson · September 24, 2020

Good question. But what I want to know is what Kim Jong-Un will do if he is elected for a 2d term or if Biden wins.

 

18. North Korea's nuclear fishing lesson

Washington Examiner · by Tom Rogan · September 24, 2020

An interesting assessment. I disagree with the characterization of being erratic. I think the military was acting as it was trained and within its orders. It may seem erratic to us, but I think it is an indication of the mindset that has been instilled in the military. But does that mean Kim is going to launch an ICBM with a nuclear warhead at the US? No one can know for sure, which is why we must never assume the enemy will not attack, but make ourselves invincible (Sun Tzu).

 

"Because arrogance is born in personal vanity, arrogant people are driven without mercy. They can never get enough power to fill the soul's needs or enough respect to overcome the fear that they deserve less than they are getting."

-Lewis B. Smedes

"Remind me to write an article on the compulsive reading of news. The theme will be that most neuroses can be traced to the unhealthy habit of wallowing in the troubles of five billion strangers."

- Robert A. Heinlein

"Foreknowledge cannot be gotten from ghosts and spirits, cannot be had by analogy, cannot be found out by calculation. It must be obtained from people, people who know the conditions of the enemy."

- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

9/25/2020 News & Commentary – Korea

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 10:35am

News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Daniel Riggs

1. N. Korea shoots S. Korean official to death at sea, burns his body: defense ministry

2. Moon calls N. Korea's killing of S. Korean official 'shocking,' not tolerable for any reason

3. Inter-Korean ties thrown into abyss following N. Korea's killing of S. Korean citizen

4. New virus cases over 100 for 2nd day, sporadic cluster infections still worrisome

5. Unification ministry strongly condemns N. Korea's killing of S. Korean as 'inhumane act'

6. Unification Ministry suspends investigations into human rights in N. Korea

7. North Korean Provocations Likely Around U.S. Presidential Election

8. Missiles, Submarines and More: How North Korea Supplies Iran With Weapons

9. Kim Jong-un 'narrowly avoided assassination attempt' by North Korean foes

10. Moon pleads for UN to end the Korean War

11. Donald Trump’s Second-Term North Korea Strategy: A Deal or Ignore Kim?

12. There Isn’t A Military Solution to North Korea (And The American Public Agrees)

13. Pompeo to visit S. Korea next month

14. How Coronavirus Impacts North Korea's Nuclear Program

15. How Extreme Flooding in the DPRK Affects Daily Life

16. Japan PM tells South Korea it’s time to fix strained ties

17. Warner Bros. to Cut Operations in South Korea (Report)

 

1. N. Korea shoots S. Korean official to death at sea, burns his body: defense ministry

en.yna.co.kr · by 오석민 · September 24, 2020

This is quite a response to President Moon’s call for an end of war declaration and a peace process for the Korean peninsula.

 

2. Moon calls N. Korea's killing of S. Korean official 'shocking,' not tolerable for any reason

en.yna.co.kr · by 이치동 · September 24, 2020

President Moon please reassess your assumption that Kim Jong-un desires your vision of peace on the Korean peninsula.  This is an indication of the true nature of the Kim family regime though I am sure the regime will blame this on "rogue elements."  While that may be so in this case but they were acting in accordance with their training indoctrination. Would South Korean military personnel have done this?  It is time to assess the Kim family regime as it really is and not as we would wish it to be.

 

3. Inter-Korean ties thrown into abyss following N. Korea's killing of S. Korean citizen

en.yna.co.kr · by 고병준 · September 24, 2020

north-South relations have been in an abyss for 7 decades or at least since the Pyongyang Declaration in 2018.  Kim Jong-un has no intention of pursuing peace in accordance with President Moon's vision. Regardless of the olive branches the South offers the regime will always be the Scorpion - "because it is my nature."

 

4. New virus cases over 100 for 2nd day, sporadic cluster infections still worrisome

en.yna.co.kr · by 주경돈 · September 24, 2020

Cope, contain, and manage.  The coronavirus is a virus like the Kim family regime.  One that just will not go away and cannot yet be cured or eradicated. 

 

5. Unification ministry strongly condemns N. Korea's killing of S. Korean as 'inhumane act'

en.yna.co.kr · by 이원주 · September 24, 2020

Pro forma from the MOU.  But is this a human rights abuse?

 

6. Unification Ministry suspends investigations into human rights in N. Korea

donga.com· September 16, 2020

I want to reprise this article to emphasize how the Ministry of Unification views human rights in north Korea.  Human rights in north Korea is a moral imperative and a national security issue and cannot be overlooked, sidelined, minimized, or neglected.

 

7. North Korean Provocations Likely Around U.S. Presidential Election

CSIS  · by Victor Cha

I am not so sure this time due to what is happening inside north Korea, but this is some excellent background on provocations.

 

8. Missiles, Submarines and More: How North Korea Supplies Iran With Weapons

The National Interest · by Mark Episkopos · September 23, 2020

It is good the author is linking to Dr. Bruce Becthol's work.

 

9. Kim Jong-un 'narrowly avoided assassination attempt' by North Korean foes

dailystar.co.uk · by Robin Cottle · September 23, 2020

A sensational report from the UK Daily Star that should be taken with a big grain of salt.  This is also being reported by the Japanese Self Defense Forces.

If we are going to think about possible assassination of Kim Jong-un I would call attention to the research and analysis of Dr. Sungmin Cho.  This is a less likely scenario.

 

10. Moon pleads for UN to end the Korean War

asiatimes.com · by Andrew Salmon · September 23, 2020

I doubt the UN will move on this.  And I think the only way to bring an end to the Korean War is for the north and South to negotiate an end to the war.  Perhaps the UN could offer to facilitate negotiations but we should keep in mind the UN Security Council Resolutions 82-85 which are still in effect.  The UN identified north Korea as the aggressor who attacked the sovereignty of the South and the UN called on members states to come to the defense of the Republic of Korea's freedom.  The two belligerents are the north and South.  The UN provided a UN Command and member states to help defend the South under UN authority and the UN flag.  The PRC provided the Chinese People's Volunteers to support the north.  The US did not declare war on north Korea.  So an end of war declaration should be concluded between the north and South.  And the only effective way for that to occur should be through a peace treaty properly negotiated and approved by the north and South, which of course poses constitutional problems for both north and South since they do not recognize the existence of the other and both claim sovereignty over the entire peninsula and all Korean people.

 

11. Donald Trump’s Second-Term North Korea Strategy: A Deal or Ignore Kim?

The National Interest · by Robert E. Kelly · September 23, 2020

A pessimistic view from Professor Kelly.  Either broad possibility is problematic and I hope we will find a more effective way forward (whomever wins the election).

 

12. There Isn’t A Military Solution to North Korea (And The American Public Agrees)

The National Interest · by Jessica Lee · September 23, 2020

First of all there is always a military solution.  There are multiple military solutions to north Korea; however, it is unlikely we want to expend the blood and treasure to implement them unless the north forces our hand.  

But it is this kind of analysis that undermines diplomacy and peaceful solutions because it undermines deterrence.  Kim Jong-un must know that we are always preparing military options and depending on the conditions that we have the capability and the will to execute them.

There are pundits who claim the north wants security guarantees and to be left alone which is why it has built the 4th largest army in the world and developed nuclear and ICBM capabilities.  That is only half right.  While it claims deterrence and the desire for its own security, it wants to be left alone so that it can have its way with South Korea and dominate the entire peninsula. 

One of the basic traits of the Kim family regime is that it exploits weakness and respects strength.  And strength deters the regime.  It is arguments such as this that undermines that strength and shows weakness that will be exploited by the regime.

But let me be clear as to my personal beliefs:

  • I support peace on the Korean peninsula
  • I support a diplomatic solution to the north Korean nuclear threat
  • I support ROK engagement with the north
  • I do not support a weakening of the ROK and ROK/US defensive capabilities
  • I believe there cannot be success for US, ROK, and Japanese interests without strong ROK/US and Japan/US alliances
  • Despite the above I think we have to accept that north Korea may have a continued hostile strategy and therefore while we prioritize diplomacy we have to remain prepared for the worst cases.  I hope I am wrong here and that Kim Jong-un will dismantle his nuclear weapons and seek peaceful co-existence.
  • There are no ”experts” on north Korea – it is the most difficult intelligence target – the proverbial “hard target”
  • At best we are students trying to understand the nature of the regime and the security problem on the Korean peninsula
  • Anything I say can and should be challenged
  • However, now that I am retired I am no longer constrained by doctrine, funding, or a chain of command so I can tell you how I really feel

 

13. Pompeo to visit S. Korea next month

en.yna.co.kr · by 김보람 · September 23, 2020

What is on the agenda? China? Quad Plus? Special Measures Agreement?  north Korea?

 

14. How Coronavirus Impacts North Korea's Nuclear Program

The National Interest · by Yong-Chool Ha · September 23, 2020

 

15. How Extreme Flooding in the DPRK Affects Daily Life

38north.org · by 38 North · September 23, 2020

 

16. Japan PM tells South Korea it’s time to fix strained ties

apnews.com · by Mari Yamaguchi

It takes two to solve this problem.  Are Moon and Suga willing to pledge that they place national security and national prosperity first priorities while pledging to manage the historical issues.

 

17. Warner Bros. to Cut Operations in South Korea (Report)

Variety · by Patrick Frater · September 23, 2020

 

---------------

 

"Perhaps the most central characteristic of authentic leadership is the relinquishing of the impulse to dominate others."

- David Cooper

 

"The young always have the same problem - how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have solved this by defying their parents and copying one another."

- Quentin Crisp

 

"Read, observe, listen intensely. As if your life depended upon it."

- Joyce Carol Oates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9/25/2020 News & Commentary – National Security

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 10:33am

News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Daniel Riggs

1. Three Ways to Clean Up the Toxic Minefields of Social Media

2. The Mysterious Case of the Missing 250-Ton Chinese Power Transformer

3. Sen. Tammy Duckworth introduces bill to ban camouflage for federal agents

4. Secret Service consults with Cyber Command, private sector in updated approach to financial crime

5. Cyber Airmen Trained for a China-Taiwan Conflict That Unfolds Online

6. PACAF: Chinese Propaganda Targeting Andersen AFB is an Attempt to Intimidate

7. These Marine Expeditionary Forces are creating new war plans with Navy fleets to counter China

8. CIA clamps down on flow of Russia intelligence to White House

9. An Asian NATO? The U.S. Has Better Options for Its Allies

10. FBI, DHS Warn of 'Likely' Disinformation Campaigns About Election Results

11. FBI and CISA PSA: Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) | Foreign Actors and Cybercriminals Likely to Spread Disinformation Regarding 2020 Election Result

12. (Philippine) Army captain named as operator of fake Facebook accounts

13. Op-Ed: Retired military leaders shouldn’t endorse presidential candidates. America is divided enough

14. Navy SEAL Chief Who Defied Trump Steps Down For New Assignment

15. What U.S. Troops Are Really Doing In Syria

16. The US is preparing for a fight with China in the Pacific. Here's how Army special operators will fit in

17. New Game, the First Offered by RAND to Public, Challenges Players to Design Defense Strategies for Uncertain World

 

1. Three Ways to Clean Up the Toxic Minefields of Social Media

defenseone.com · by Welton Chang, Dowan Lee and Peter W. Singer

Key points: " Recent actions taken by platforms like Facebook and Twitter to ban political ads, demonetize hateful content, and put disclaimers on certain types of content that is broad reaching and verifiably false, show that social media companies can, in fits and starts, make changes for the better. Yet their approach is woefully late and lacking. It is often characterized by an ex-post response, lack of sustained action, and insufficient sense of urgency.

 

2. The Mysterious Case of the Missing 250-Ton Chinese Power Transformer

Vice

It is a mystery. I would err on the side of caution despite Mr. Lee's research paper debunking the backdoor myth.  I think this could be a page out of Unrestricted Warfare and I think it is a god thing this transformer is not attached to our electrical grid.

 

3. Sen. Tammy Duckworth introduces bill to ban camouflage for federal agents

Newsweek · by Jeffery Martin · September 23, 2020

Police should wear the uniforms of police. The military should wear the uniforms of the military.

 

4. Secret Service consults with Cyber Command, private sector in updated approach to financial crime

cyberscoop.com · by Shannon Vavra · September 23, 2020

Interagency coordination: "Meanwhile, Secret Service also has been staffing up at Cyber Command facilities to gather information from the military’s work about foreign hackers, said Jeremy Sheridan, a deputy assistant director at the agency."

And a "whole of society" effort: "Known as the Cyber Investigations Advisory Board (CIAB), the group met last week for the first time and is expected to provide insights on how the Secret Service must adapt to a rapidly changing criminal underground. The agency is best known for protecting public officials, but it has a long history of fighting financial crime, too."

 

5. Cyber Airmen Trained for a China-Taiwan Conflict That Unfolds Online

airforcemag.com · by Rachel S. Cohen · September 23, 2020

I wonder if the war has already begun in the cyber domain.

 

6. PACAF: Chinese Propaganda Targeting Andersen AFB is an Attempt to Intimidate

airforcemag.com · by Brian W. Everstine · September 23, 2020
China's three warfares: psychological warfare, legal warfare or lawfare, and media or public opinion warfare.  Politics is war by other means and China is conducting political warfare.  Can we compete in this form of Great Power Competition?

 

7. These Marine Expeditionary Forces are creating new war plans with Navy fleets to counter China

marinecorpstimes.com · by Todd South · September 23, 2020

Key point:  "Commandant Gen. David Berger’s guidance has shifted the Corps' focus to a lighter force teamed with its Navy partner to provide combat capabilities that the fleet needs to deter and defeat China along a spectrum of conflict.  And that has all eyes on III MEF, as it sits within firing distance of China."

 

8. CIA clamps down on flow of Russia intelligence to White House

Politico

  1.   A lot of accusations in this. Troubling , if true.

 

9. An Asian NATO? The U.S. Has Better Options for Its Allies

Bloomberg · by Hal Brands · September 23, 2020

What is old is new again. We have tried SEATO and NEATO before.

I think there is merit to some new arrangements in the Aisa-Pacific but they have to be based on the unique political, cultural, geographic, and security conditions and situations that exist.  I would like to see a community of democracies that come together because they share the common values of liberal democracy, individual freedom, free market economy, rule of law, and human rights and who want to protect those values rather than coming together to simply counter the China threat.  But we must also consider the arrangements in a broader context than military and security.  We must also secure ourselves against political warfare, economic warfare, information and influence warfare, cultural warfare and coercive diplomacy or punishment diplomacy.  We should learn a lesson from our deployment of THAAD to the Korean peninsula.  We did that for valid security purposes to protect US and Korean military forces from north Korean missile attacks and because of the nature of the system protects the South Korea population as well.  But as we know China objected and conducted economic warfare against the ROK and ROK business as well as "punishment diplomacy." We did not come to the defense of our ally.  If a new architecture is to be championed it must include mutual defense against the full spectrum of warfare. 

But I agree with Professor Brands that we must shore up our bilateral alliances.  And I would say that only when those alliances are shored up can we consider a broader architecture.

 

10. FBI, DHS Warn of 'Likely' Disinformation Campaigns About Election Results

darkreading.com

Again we have to stop the argument of which candidates are our adversaries trying to support and all agree that they are trying to undermine the legitimacy of our democratic process.  All sides of the political spectrum should be united in defending against these external threats and protecting our electoral process and our nation.

 

11. FBI and CISA PSA: Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) | Foreign Actors and Cybercriminals Likely to Spread Disinformation Regarding 2020 Election Result 

ic3.gov

We need to understand, expose, and counter these threats.  We need to be prepared against the disinformation that will inevitably proliferate as we count votes between the November 3d election and the meeting of the Electoral College on December 3d to determine the next president.

 

12. (Philippine) Army captain named as operator of fake Facebook accounts

rappler.com· Camille Elemia· September 23, 2020

 

13. Op-Ed: Retired military leaders shouldn’t endorse presidential candidates. America is divided enough

Los Angeles Times  · by  ML Cavanaugh· September 23, 2020

 

14. Navy SEAL Chief Who Defied Trump Steps Down For New Assignment

kpbs.org · by Steve Walsh· September 23, 2020

My comments below. I think the headline editor made two errors - Rear Admiral Green is not a "Navy Chief" but he obviously meant "Chief" of the Navy Seals.  And while he is technically "stepping down" from command of NAVSPECWARCOM I think some might interpret the title to mean his new job as Chief of Staff of USSOCOM is a step down (though I think we all know that anything following a command and going from a command to a staff positions feels like a step down. 

 

15. What U.S. Troops Are Really Doing In Syria

The National Interest · by Michael Hall · September 23, 2020

A strong negative critique: "U.S. policy toward Syria is defined by an absurdity that can’t be neatly untangled—a low-intensity regime change mission defined as anything other than its central mission. Every now and then, we’re offered a new explanation for why our troops are in Syria. At this point, the best response is to say, “enough is enough. ”We don’t need to keep playing this game of roulette where Washington spins the wheel and tells us why our troops are there—it’s a racket and should be recognized as such. Syria’s problems aren't our problems and the only sensible option that comports with U.S. interests is a full withdrawal of American forces."

 

16. The US is preparing for a fight with China in the Pacific. Here's how Army special operators will fit in

taskandpurpose.com · by Stavros Atlamazoglou, Business Insider

The two SOF "trinities" apply across the spectrum of Great Power Competition in the Asia Pacific and around the world.

 

  • Irregular Warfare
  • Unconventional Warfare
  • Support to Political Warfare


The Comparative advantage of SOF:

  • Governance
  • Influence
  • Support to indigenous forces and populations

And of course the exquisite CT and DA capabilities will remain a no-fail national requirement

 

17. New Game, the First Offered by RAND to Public, Challenges Players to Design Defense Strategies for Uncertain World

RAND

 

-------------------

 

"Perhaps the most central characteristic of authentic leadership is the relinquishing of the impulse to dominate others."

- David Cooper

 

"The young always have the same problem - how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have solved this by defying their parents and copying one another."

- Quentin Crisp

 

"Read, observe, listen intensely. As if your life depended upon it."

- Joyce Carol Oates

9/23/2020 News & Commentary – National Security

Wed, 09/23/2020 - 10:02am

News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Daniel Riggs

1. How to Counter the Chinese Communist Party by H. R. McMaster

2. The world is losing the money laundering fight

3. Who is a terrorist, actually? by Daniel L. Byman

4. Marine Corps’ Builds New Littoral Regiment, Eye On Fake Chinese Islands

5. The Military’s Latest Wearables Can Detect Illness Two Days Before You Get Sick

6. Why skepticism -- not China -- may be the greatest threat to US Pacific strategy

7. Biden Wants to Keep Special Ops in the Mideast. That Doesn’t Mean More ‘Forever Wars,’ His Adviser Says

8. Duterte Gets Tough on China, Leaning Back to Old Ally America

9. Rodrigo Duterte: The Weak Strongman of the Philippines

10. Facebook deletes several fake Chinese accounts targeting Trump and Biden, in first takedown of its kind

11. How Serious Are Threats to the U.S. Homeland?

12. Formal Ties With U.S.? Not For Now, Says Taiwan Foreign Minister

13. China is escalating its punishment diplomacy

14. US strategic clarity on Taiwan could deter China

15. A consensus-driven joint concept for all-domain warfare will fall short

16. The Transformation of Diplomacy- How to Save the State Department

17. China's New War Game Doesn't Prove It Could Successfully Invade Taiwan

18. We Need to Bridge the Gap Between the COIN Generation and the Next Generation

 

1. How to Counter the Chinese Communist Party by H. R. McMaster

National Review Online · by H. R. McMaster · September 22, 2020

Just received his book last evening from Amazon.  Looking forward to reading it this weekend.

 

2. The world is losing the money laundering fight

The Sydney Morning Herald · by Elisa Martinuzzi · September 22, 2020

Does not sound good.  We have to protect our financial systems.

 

3. Who is a terrorist, actually? by Daniel L. Byman

The Brookings Institution · by Daniel L. Byman · September 22, 2020

I hope this is read objectively but it likely will not be by the political tribes.

 

4. Marine Corps’ Builds New Littoral Regiment, Eye On Fake Chinese Islands

breakingdefense.com · by Paul McLeary

Fake Chinese islands!! A Marine will say my grandfather captured Iwo Jima and all I got was a fake Chinese island. (Apologies for the attempt at humor)

 

5. The Military’s Latest Wearables Can Detect Illness Two Days Before You Get Sick

defenseone.com · by Patrick Tucker

A fascinating capability.  I hope it works.

 

6. Why skepticism -- not China -- may be the greatest threat to US Pacific strategy

Washington Examiner · by Craig Singleton · September 23, 2020

Key point:  "Contrary to headlines about the importance of new Department of Defense investment in the region, America’s success in the Western Pacific will ultimately rise and fall based on positive political outcomes as much as it will by military ones."

For our adversaries politics is war by other means.  We must understand that is the essence of Great Power Competition even as we want to define Great Power Competition as state-on-state warfare.

 

7. Biden Wants to Keep Special Ops in the Mideast. That Doesn’t Mean More ‘Forever Wars,’ His Adviser Says

TIME · by Kimberly Dozier · September 23, 2020

A long read on SOF from Kim Dozier. Extensive quotes from Colin Kahl and LTG (RET) Mike Nagata.  This is worth the read for Mike's quotes and observations on SOF in Syria alone.

 

8. Duterte Gets Tough on China, Leaning Back to Old Ally America

Bloomberg · by Philip Heijmans and Andreo Calonzo · September 23, 2020

 

9. Rodrigo Duterte: The Weak Strongman of the Philippines

thediplomat.com · by Mong Palatino · September 21, 2020

Key points: "Duterte has so far sought to overcome these various crises by launching ferocious attacks on activists, shutting down of critical media networks and passing a draconian anti-terror law.  Duterte’s health is deteriorating but he seems hellbent in defending his presidency. But if Duterte’s health continues to decline, or he is otherwise perceived to be ailing, this could be a quandary for the ruling party as the nation moves toward the 2022 presidential elections."

 

10. Facebook deletes several fake Chinese accounts targeting Trump and Biden, in first takedown of its kind

The Washington Post · September 22, 2020

I think we need to purge our biases that say China, Russia, Iran and others want one candidate to win over the other.  Their actions are not really focused on supporting candidates for the purposes of them winning.  Their intention is solely to sow division in the US and undermine the legitimacy of the American democratic process.  And of course they want to harm democracies beyond the US as well.

But this is an interesting connection to the Philippines.

 

11. How Serious Are Threats to the U.S. Homeland?

lawfareblog.com · by Daniel Byman and Seamus Hughes · September 18, 2020

Conclusion: "Action by counterterrorism professionals at the FBI and the National Counterterrorism Center is vital not only for keeping the country safe but also for allowing Americans to mobilize to discuss contentious issues and advocate for their preferred positions without the specter of violence hanging over them. Violence and the fear of it can contaminate politics, leading to the dismissal of different viewpoints as extremist and to calls for government crackdowns on legitimate dissent. At the same time, the more divided the country is, the easier it is for even small attacks to have a disproportionate effect on America and further weaken national cohesion."

 

12. Formal Ties With U.S.? Not For Now, Says Taiwan Foreign Minister

NPR · by John Ruwitch · September 22, 2020

Excellent statement form Minister Wu: "Taiwan is on the front line of the democracies fighting for freedom, democracy and democratic way of life. We have the responsibility to make sure that democracy is successful, and if we want to make sure that democracy in Taiwan is a success, I would certainly urge the international community to voice more support for Taiwan."

 

13. China is escalating its punishment diplomacy

Financial Times · by Jamil Anderlini · September 23, 2020

Key point:  "Today, China claims to be the biggest trade partner to 130 countries and regions and the demonstration effect  - “killing the chicken to scare the monkeys” as it is known in China - is often enough to cow others into compliance."

 

14. US strategic clarity on Taiwan could deter China

asiatimes.com · by Urban C. Lehner · September 23, 2020

 

15. A consensus-driven joint concept for all-domain warfare will fall short

Defense News · by Mark Gunzinger · September 18, 2020

I take his point but if we do not have consensus how do we expect to employ the concept?  And if we cannot get consensus perhaps there is something wrong with the concept.

 

16. The Transformation of Diplomacy- How to Save the State Department

Foreign Affairs · by William J. Burns and Linda Thomas-Greenfield · September 23, 2020

Commitment to public service. (and respect for those who commit to public service)

Conclusion: "Through it all, however, we still remember vividly the sense of possibility and shared commitment to public service that drew the two of us and 30 other proud Americans to our Foreign Service entering class all those years ago. Today, there is a new generation of diplomats capable of taking up that challenge—if only they are given a State Department and a mission worthy of their ambitions and of the country they will represent."

 

17. China's New War Game Doesn't Prove It Could Successfully Invade Taiwan

The National Interest · by Kris Osborn · September 22, 2020
 

Beijing left out certain important possibilities and there are many unknown unknowns.

 

18. We Need to Bridge the Gap Between the COIN Generation and the Next Generation

fromthegreennotebook.com · by Scott Kelly · September 21, 2020

 

-------------------

 

"A room without books is like a body without a soul."

- Cicero

 

"There is no friend as loyal as a book."

- Ernest Hemingway

 

 "I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing."

- Socrates