Small Wars Journal

20200525 News & Commentary – National Security

Mon, 05/25/2020 - 1:38pm

1. Looking at War Across 2,500 Years

2. Trump's 'New Cold War' aims to hold China at bay

3.  The G7 must stand up for Hong Kong's freedom

4. China's domestic politics hamstring its diplomacy

5.  The End of the New World Order

6.  Building the Post-Pandemic World

7. New security law is a masterstroke (China - Hong Kong)

8. Secret military mission uncovered in Libya

9.  Coronavirus: Experts warn of bioterrorism after pandemic

10. Memorial Day: A Retired Army Ranger Reflects on War and Life

11. Honor our fallen by understanding their missions

12. The significance of Trump's hostility toward VOA

13. The Retired U.S. Senator and Diplomat Shilling for China's Propaganda Machine

14. Hong Kong Is Becoming Ground Zero in the New Cold War


1. Looking at War Across 2,500 Years

The New York Times · by Thomas E. Ricks · May 22, 2020

I was surprised not to read the quote, "Only the dead have seen the end of war." (Santayana, I think rather than Plato) This could be a summer reading list as Tom Ricks has review a half dozen or so books that look at war through the ages, in various forms (including resistance) right up to today's stealth technology

2. Trump's 'New Cold War' aims to hold China at bay · by Richard Javad Heydarian · May 25, 2020

We need to face China for the competitor, revisionist power, or threat that it is.  It is conducting political warfare - unrestricted warfare and the three warfares of psychological warfare, legal warfare/lawfare, and media warfare/public opinion warfare. We must conduct a superior form of political warfare while maintaining our nuclear and conventional dominance to deter war.

I do believe the Economic Prosperity Network (EPN) ( and the and the Blue Dot Network ( be essential elements of a political warfare strategy.

If there is a new Cold War it will be authoritarian regimes versus those who believe in freedom and liberty, liberal democracy, free market economies, and human rights.  This will be the major conflict of the 21st century.

3.  The G7 must stand up for Hong Kong's freedom

Financial Times · by Chris Patten · May 24, 2020

The international community needs to take a stand and hold Xi and the CCP accountable. Of course it is not only Hong Kong. It is Tibet, and the Uighurs, and Taiwan and all the minorities in China who have their human rights denied so the Chinese Communist Party can prosper and remain in power.  Perhaps it is time for the G7 to figure out how not to allow the CCP to prosper.

4. China's domestic politics hamstring its diplomacy · by Denny Roy · May 25, 2020

A China hand once told me that the basic "equation" for Chinese security is "energy security =economic growth = domestic political security = the Chinese Communist Party remaining in power." Has China overextended itself and will the Party react to domestic politics by restraining its foreign activity or doubling down?  And of course the Pandemic (otherwise known as the Wuhan Coronavirus)  threw another variable into the equation which can be negative for domestic politics but can also be exploited for its foreign affairs strategy.

This provides an interesting analysis of the Chinese failure of diplomacy in 2020.  This is certainly something that should be exploited by a superior political warfare strategy.

5.  The End of the New World Order

Opinion | The New York Times · by Ross Douthat · May 23, 2020

It is interesting how the "New World Order"  contribute to such a conspiracy theory.  It was mentioned to describe a new Post-Cold War World that was no longer a bi-polar competition between the West and the USSR and the Warsaw pact.  But it was turned into a a theory for global government.  And now it is taking on a new life in the coronavirus pandemic.

The question is do we protect the sovereign nations state system and the Post WWII institutions that have supported it (and that have been very good for US security and prosperity)?  Or do we retreat into a isolationist nationalist construct that will surely have severe negative economic consequences?  Without global markets we are going to suffer and a global market system needs to be rules based.  Do we want China and authoritarian regimes establishing those rules?

6.  Building the Post-Pandemic World

by James Jay CarafanoKurt Volker

A useful list of agenda items from Jim Carafano and Ambassador Volker.  In short (my assessment) we need to to build strong relationships with friends, partners and allies who are like minded and believe in freedom and individual liberty, liberal democracy, free market economy, and human rights to counter the revisionist and rogue powers (and violent extremist organizations) described in our National Security and National Defense Strategy.

But this is very Eurocentric I think the relationship with all five treaty allies in the Asia Pacific need to be reinforced.  And I think the Free and Open INDOPACIFIC strategy should be emphasized (along with the Economic Prosperity Network and Blue Dot network).

Lastly, they make a good point about alliances.  I think alliances are so important we should reframe our elements of national power to DIME-A - diplomatic, informational, military, economic, and Alliances.

7. New security law is a masterstroke (China - Hong Kong)

Alex Lo Published: 9:00pm, 24 May, 2020

This is an excellent piece of propaganda.   It works so well because there are plenty of elements that are accurate.  But the spin on them is masterful. The "problem" is not with China but with the Hong Kong protestors (and the support they receive from Washington).  This new security law will solve that problem.  This should be studied by PSYOP and Public Diplomacy professionals. 

8. Secret military mission uncovered in Libya · May 25, 2020

Private military corporations: the way of the future?  We should all read Sean McFate's recent scholarship (non-fiction research and  his novels)Whose interests were these contractors serving?  I would love to read their "campaign plan."  What were their ends and objectives?  

9.  Coronavirus: Experts warn of bioterrorism after pandemic

DW · by Deutsche Welle (

We should be treating the Wuhan coronavirus as a rehearsal for a biological weapons attack, especially the military,  depending on how we come through this state and non-state actors with  biological weapons capabilities may be emboldened.  And while a virus is not necessarily a good bio weapon some adversaries may not be concerned with the blowback or lack of control over the use of bio weapons and may only seek to sow chaos and disorder that they can exploit.  Just consider the domestic and international political turmoil this has caused so far. In many ways we have let the coronavirus get the better of us.  The coronavirus pandemic should be a huge wake-up call.

10. Memorial Day: A Retired Army Ranger Reflects on War and Life · by Jariko Denman · May 23, 2020

Words to reflect upon today.

11. Honor our fallen by understanding their missions

Washington Examiner · by Tommy Meyerson · May 25, 2020

Let us reflect on our brothers and sisters who gave their last full measure in these places of continuing conflict as well as those where are nation has fought around the world and on our own soil.

12. The significance of Trump's hostility toward VOA

I strongly recommend watching this 7 minute video.

When Matt Armstrong speaks on the USGMA, VOA, RFA, etc., as well as psychological warfare, political warfare, and propaganda, I listen. He is one of our nation's true experts on all things related to influence operations in support of US national security objectives. Most people have no clue how important is VOA, RFA, RFE/RL, MBN is supporting US national security. This is a simple succinct tutorial.

13. The Retired U.S. Senator and Diplomat Shilling for China's Propaganda Machine

National Review Online · by Zachary Evans · May 25, 2020

There ought to be a law.  I suppose he has registered as a foreign agent so I assume he is in compliance with that law. Has the former Senator/Ambassador drunk the Kool Aid from the CCP?

14. Hong Kong Is Becoming Ground Zero in the New Cold War · by Brian C.H. Fong · May 25, 2020

I fear Hong Kong has already "fallen."  It did so in 1997.  While no one can logically argue that any country should go to war over Hong Kong (because it is after all, China's) it does not mean the international community cannot put pressure on the CCP to provide basic political rights to the citizens of Hong Kong.  BUu more importantly Hong Kong is part of the larger problem of authoritarian rule of the CCP and how Tibet, the Uighurs, Taiwan and other ethnic minorities are treated by the CCP.  The CCP has to be held accountable and pay an economic price for its actions.  This will not be a kinetic battleground but it will be one of political warfare.



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Categories: News