Small Wars Journal

8/9/2020 News & Commentary - National Security

Sun, 08/09/2020 - 12:42pm

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

1. Why Trump's troop withdrawal from Germany is only the beginning

2. Abolish the police? Those who survived the chaos in Seattle aren’t so sure

3. Brent Scowcroft taught a generation how to manage foreign policy

4. US-China relations: is Azar’s visit to Taiwan a sign of Washington’s disregard for Beijing?

5. China’s art of strategic incrementalism in the South China Sea

6. Unwanted truths: inside Trump’s battles with U.S. intelligence agencies

7. I used my bomb training to report on the Beirut explosions

8.  Venezuelan court sentences two former U.S. Green Berets to 20 years for role in botched raid

9. U.S. government contractor embedded software in apps to track phones

10. The overmilitarization of American foreign policy

11. Pro-Beijing influencers and their rose-tinted view of life in Xinjiang

12. Harvard lecturer: ‘No specific skill will get you ahead in the future’-but this ‘way of thinking’ will

13. General Frank J. Toney has died at age 70

14. TikTok, Twitter held talks about sale of popular video app, says report

15. US response to the virus is met with incredulity abroad

16. MDO and the nuclear elephant in the room

17. The China challenge and America's founding principles

18. Red Dawn 2012 remake tainted Sony and MGM in China for years

19. Long before Zoom, British soldiers used technology to stay connected during World War II

20. Traditional Chinese conceptions and approaches to secrecy, denial, and obfuscation

 

1. Why Trump's troop withdrawal from Germany is only the beginning

National Interest · by Max Bergmann · August 8, 2020

I think the subtitle explains the President's views toward alliances.

 

2. Abolish the police? Those who survived the chaos in Seattle aren’t so sure

New York Times · by Nellie Bowles · August 7, 2020

I think those who came up with the catch phrase to "defund the police" rather than calling for police reforms have probably made one of the largest strategic errors in information and influence operations.  It will be the equivalent of the pro-choice advocates versus the pro-life advocates (e.g., if you are not in favor of pro-life you must support killing babies). It is events like those described and articles like this one that will discredit those who call for defunding the police instead of substantive police reforms. The use of defund undermines the legitimacy of their cause because it is an IO failure.

 

3. Brent Scowcroft taught a generation how to manage foreign policy

Washington Post · by David Ignatius · August 7, 2020

The loss of a great American

 

4. US-China relations: is Azar’s visit to Taiwan a sign of Washington’s disregard for Beijing?

South China Morning Post · by Lawrence Chung · August 9, 2020

This is not unprecedented.

 

5. China’s art of strategic incrementalism in the South China Sea

National Interest · by Patrick Mendis & Joey Wang · August 8, 2020

Incrementalism works when it goes unchecked.

 

6. Unwanted truths: inside Trump’s battles with U.S. intelligence agencies

New York Times · by Robert Draper · August 8, 2020

This is not good. I would like to read a counter to this analysis that does not include the words "fake news."

 

7. I used my bomb training to report on the Beirut explosions

New York Times · by John Ismay · August 6, 2020

 

8. Venezuelan court sentences two former U.S. Green Berets to 20 years for role in botched raid

Washington Post · by Anthony Fiaola · August 8, 2020

An embarrassment for the SF Regiment.

 

9. U.S. government contractor embedded software in apps to track phones

Wall Street Journal · by Byron Tau · August 7, 2020

I am sure this will be exploited by Chinese propaganda, e.g. if you think Tik Tok is bad, check out Anomaly Six.

 

10. The overmilitarization of American foreign policy

Foreign Affairs · by Robert M. Gates · August 3, 2020

 

11. Pro-Beijing influencers and their rose-tinted view of life in Xinjiang

.coda · by Isobel Cockerell · August 7, 2020

Wow. I cannot imagine walking in Jerry Grey's shoes.

 

12. Harvard lecturer: ‘No specific skill will get you ahead in the future’-but this ‘way of thinking’ will

CNBC · by Vikram Mansharamani · June 15, 2020

 

13. General Frank J. Toney has died at age 70

Celebrities Deaths · by Okoro John · August 7, 2020

BG Toney kept the UW flame alive in SF when he was Commander of the US Army Special Forces Command.

A truly great American. I am sure we have all many "BG Toney stories." He was larger than life and one of a kind. I have a few but here is one. He demanded to come visit us in Okinawa on the same day as the G8 Summit with 8 world leaders and when everything was locked down. I tried to politely suggest he chose another date because we would not be able to get him from the airport to Torii station due to security restrictions (e.g., no US military movement off base on the day of the summit). He not so politely told me that I am SF and to just figure it out because he was coming and he did not give a damn who else was going to be there (such as 8 world leaders in July of 2000). Fortunately, we had great SF NCOs to make it happen: they got him in and out and none of the US leadership on the island had any idea there was an SF general officer on the island and that we were breaking the rules. I wonder if his language training will serve him well where he is now. After all he does speak two languages: 7.62 and 5.56. He will be missed but never forgotten.

 

14. TikTok, Twitter held talks about sale of popular video app, says report

CNET · by Edward Moyer · August 8, 2020

That would have been quite a marriage. While China would collect data for nefarious purposes, Twitter would gather data that would be a boon for advertisers.

 

15. US response to the virus is met with incredulity abroad

AP · by Nicole Winfield & Lisa Marie Pane · August 9, 2020

We could get ourselves isolated. Countries getting the virus under control will not want Americans traveling. In my non-scientific analysis I think international travel will likely be the reason why this virus survives and will have the opportunity to evolve (mutate) to get stronger. And if ever there were a need for a global approach to a security problem (that is also a public health problem), it would seem to be this virus. We have not been talking much about the national security impact of this pandemic. Yes, our economic instrument of power is being severely impacted and, while it appears the military has done a good job trying to contain the virus, I understand that in places like Afghanistan our forces are very vulnerable. I saw one comment – but I have no evidence – that said half the Afghan population has or had the coronavirus. This could have significant impact on the US military.

 

16. MDO and the nuclear elephant in the room

Real Clear Defense · by Jeremiah Rozman · August 8, 2020

Back to Cold War nuclear defense training? Can we fight through a nuclear, chemical, or biological environment?

But the author challenges two key multi-domain operation assumptions.

 

17. The China challenge and America's founding principles

Real Clear Politics · by Peter Berkowitz · August 8, 2020

A very powerful conclusion. All Americans should reflect on the questions in the concluding paragraph.  The answers to those questions will determine our way forward and not just toward China.

 

18. Red Dawn 2012 remake tainted Sony and MGM in China for years

Bleeding Cool · by Rich Johnston · August 8, 2020

Sony and MGM should be ashamed of themselves for this. But everyone needs to learn from this. China is seeking to wield great cultural influence over us (and the world) through entertainment – both in movies and video games. Most of the people who read my messages are not video game players but much of our youth is decisively engaged in video games and the narratives that are developed by the dominant game designers are really influenced behind the scenes by China and very subtly executed.  Again, we do not observe this since we do not play these video games.

 

19. Long before Zoom, British soldiers used technology to stay connected during World War II

Washington Post · by Sophie Atkinson · August 9, 2020

Some fascinating history.

As an aside: before cell phones and the internet, our communications sergeants would set up calls home through ham radio operators while we were deployed.

 

20. Traditional Chinese conceptions and approaches to secrecy, denial, and obfuscation

Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 64, No. 1 · by Ralph D. Sawyer · March 2020

 

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices."

- William James

"History teaches us that wars begin when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap."

- Ronald Reagan

"In this sad world of ours sorrow comes to all and it often comes with bitter agony. Perfect relief is not possible except with time. You cannot now believe that you will ever feel better. But this is not true. You are sure to be happy again. Knowing this, truly believing it will make you less miserable now. I have had enough experience to make this statement."

 - Abraham Lincoln

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