Small Wars Journal

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04/21/2021 News & Commentary – National Security

News and Commentary by Dave Maxwell.  Edited and Published by Daniel Riggs

1. ‘Joe-Yoshi’ Spirit Buoys Japan-US Alliance in Turbulent Seas

2. Beijing’s Military-Heavy Approach to Taiwan Locks the US and China in a Security Dilemma

3. Why is China Aggressively Turning to the Sea Now? Former NSA Shivshankar Menon Explains

4. Japan troops won’t get involved if China invades Taiwan, PM Yoshihide Suga says

5. Threat of Chinese sanctions tests Japan's resolve on Taiwan

6. The case for a US missile strike on Myanmar

7. Afghans Don't Need U.S. Troops. They Need Islands of Stability.

8. Afghanistan: The U.S. Can Always Go Back

9. Not Just for SOF Anymore: Envisioning Irregular Warfare as a Joint Force Priority

10. US Agencies, Defense Companies Hacked Via VPNs

11. Hybrid War and What to Do About It

12. Japan says Chinese military likely behind cyberattacks

13. FDD | Biden Administration Fires Warning Shot with New Russian Sanctions

14. FDD | Re-Engineering America’s Cyber Glass House

15. U.S. chooses defeat in Afghanistan

16. China’s keyboard warriors like to fight . . . each other

17. Opinion/Owens: Accepting America’s founding principles

18. Opinion | George W. Bush: Immigration is a defining asset of the United States. Here’s how to restore confidence in our system.

19. Why Political Sectarianism Is a Growing Threat to American Democracy

20. George W Bush on Trump’s Republicans: ‘Isolationist, protectionist, nativist’

21. A cyber tool that started at DARPA moves to Cyber Command

22. Post-riot effort to tackle extremism in the military largely overlooks veterans

 

1. ‘Joe-Yoshi’ Spirit Buoys Japan-US Alliance in Turbulent Seas

thediplomat.com · by Scott W. Harold · April 20, 2021

This will be used to measure the Moon-Biden meeting next month. Koreans in particular will try to compare the two relationships.

Conclusion: In the end, the U.S. and Japanese leaders appear to have established a warm, personal rapport while communicating a clear vision of the importance of working together to end the pandemic, combat climate change, preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific, and defend democracy. Further opportunities to advance this agenda could come at the climate summit this week and at the G-7 summit hosted by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson June 11- 13, a session that may lead to a trilateral meeting with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, who himself will be coming to the United States for his own summit with Biden in late May. By grounding their relationship on the personal friendship and trust between the president and the prime minister, or “Joe” and “Yoshi,” as they referred to each other repeatedly, the Japan-U.S. alliance appears well-positioned to make progress on these and future challenges in the years ahead.

 

2. Beijing’s Military-Heavy Approach to Taiwan Locks the US and China in a Security Dilemma

thediplomat.com · by Jo Kim · April 20, 2021

Conclusion: This dilemma becomes more problematic considering China’s propensity to punish Taiwan rather than states that shore up ties with Taiwan. China has issued inconsistent and symbolic punishment of U.S. officials and foreign businesses over supporting Taiwan but has shown great resolve to coerce Taiwan over any perceived provocations. Since China considers its over 2,000 missiles aimed at Taiwan insufficient for deterring independence, and its huge market has not made unification a more favorable prospect for the Taiwanese, China and the United States are now locked in a security dilemma where China will increase military coercion against Taiwan regardless of the nature of the support the U.S. provides to Taiwan.

 

3. Why is China Aggressively Turning to the Sea Now? Former NSA Shivshankar Menon Explains

news18.com · April 21, 2021

A view from India.

 

4. Japan troops won’t get involved if China invades Taiwan, PM Yoshihide Suga says

SCMP · by Julian Ryall · April 21, 2021

I guess there will be no strategic ambiguity from Japan.

Japan troops won’t get involved if China 

invades Taiwan, PM Yoshihide Suga says

  • A recent statement by Suga and Biden calling for ‘peace and stability 
  • across the Taiwan Strait’ raised questions about possible Japanese 
  • military involvement
  • Analysts say Suga’s latest comments were Tokyo’s way of drawing 
  • a line under suggestions the government could use a different interpretation 
  • of the constitution to give it freer reign to dispatch the military

 

5. Threat of Chinese sanctions tests Japan's resolve on Taiwan

asia.nikkei.com

Excerpts: “The power struggle within Beijing is only expected to grow as Xi seeks a rare third term as China's leader at the Communist Party Congress next year. Retaliating against Japan could help the Xi administration ramp up pressure against the U.S. and its partners, while satisfying hawks at home amid a growing power struggle.

Japanese businesses would likely bear the brunt of the blow. They have suffered the consequences of diplomatic disputes in the past, from property damage caused by anti-Japan rallies to arrests. It remains to be seen how Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga plans to communicate with Japan's businesses and face political risks together -- one of many challenges that face Japan's alliance with the U.S.

 

6. The case for a US missile strike on Myanmar

asiatimes.com · by Anthony Davis · April 21, 2021

I did not see that one coming.

Interesting assessment here: "Ultimately, however, US military intervention in Myanmar could owe nothing to moral outrage and everything to a hard-headed assessment of American national interest. Even with its stated emphasis on democracy and human rights in guiding foreign policy choices, the calculus for the Biden administration would be complex."

But what would be the targets of a strike (author talks about Tomahawks) and what are the effects we would have a reasonable chance of achieving? And the author notes a military intervention could push Burma/Myanmar down the path of Syria.

Conclusion: “In that scenario, Tomahawk diplomacy might only serve to accelerate the descent into a Syria-like free-for-all in which a truncated national army operates as one of several players on an increasingly violent board.

Given the real prospect of unintended consequences, the risks for Team Biden in a theater that ultimately is not of critical strategic importance to the US are significant.

Indeed, for realists in Washington the massive and perhaps irreparable damage that the Tatmadaw has inflicted on China’s strategic objectives in Myanmar arguably already amounts to a significant win without a finger lifted.

In the wider geopolitical context, watching the metastasizing of a Southeast Asian disaster on China’s border without risking direct entanglement may have much to recommend it.

 

7. Afghans Don't Need U.S. Troops. They Need Islands of Stability.

Foreign Policy · by Michael F. Harsch, Taylor Whitsell · April 20, 2021

Islands of stability? A lot of theory here. Ink spots and government in a box too.

Excerpts:Our findings suggest that creating security at the regional level is a feasible and sustainable approach. Unlike peaceful villages that remain highly vulnerable to outside attacks, provinces like Balkh are large enough to defend themselves against most domestic threats; at the same time, they are small enough to enable local accountability and political representation. In the presence of long-standing, bounded leaders, the local population will be ready to share information with the provincial government. As a senior member of the provincial council, whose name we decided to keep confidential given the current political uncertainty in Afghanistan, told us, “except for a fringe minority, the majority of the people … cooperate with Balkh’s government. … When they see anything suspicious, they report it to the relevant authorities immediately.” This allows the authorities to counter threats effectively. An influential local academic, whose identity we are also keeping confidential, pointed out that as a result of this steady information flow, security forces are “able to identify the location … of insurgent groups who are active in Balkh. Therefore, whenever even a small destructive activity takes place, it is clear where the source of the activity lies.”

...

A region-driven approach contrasts with failed attempts by foreign forces to create local “ink spots” of government control in Afghanistan, including the delivery of “government in a box” to newly captured areas. Unlike these, islands of stability already exist or can emerge under local leadership. This stabilization process will be slower yet is more likely to result in lasting change than policies imposed by foreigners on a hostile population.

 

Balkh Province isn’t Bavaria, and local leaders and conditions in Afghanistan should not be romanticized. Still, islands of stability offer a path toward cultivating reasonably effective, inclusive, and accountable governments within a fragile state. They may represent the best hope for a more effective U.S. approach to stabilizing Afghanistan and other conflict-ridden regions of the world.

 

8. Afghanistan: The U.S. Can Always Go Back

WSJ · by Gil Barndollar

Yes, bring back the punitive expedition. Oh, that is right we conducted one between September and December 2001.

Conclusion: "For reasons of both risk aversion and misplaced humanitarianism, the U.S. has foolishly abandoned the punitive expedition. America can’t afford to garrison Afghanistan, or other failing states, against disorder endlessly. It can afford to inflict short and sharp punishment in response to threats that grow large and obstinate enough to warrant it. America successfully did that to the Taliban in the months after 9/11. We can do it again."

 

9. Not Just for SOF Anymore: Envisioning Irregular Warfare as a Joint Force Priority

mwi.usma.edu · by Michael P. Noonan · April 21, 2021

Everyone has a role in irregular warfare. The US military has been conducting irregular warfare since 1776 (and before).

Excellent discussion from Michale Noonan. I also commend his new book: Irregular Soldiers and Rebellious States: Small Scale U.S. Interventions Abroad

I think the 60-40% "metric" described here is wrong for SOF. First, there is not a clear line between the two and second the majority of SOF can be better employed as part of great power competition while in that context violent extremist organizations can still be addressed. As an example if we were to help the Philippines with its ISIS terrorist problem (VEO) and its communist insurgency both of which could destabilize the Philippine government and make it more vulnerable to Chinese malign influence and activities, would those forces be part oft he 60% or 40%?

Excerpt: “While the military will not be the sole component of such cooperation, the size and ability of forces to move, communicate, and, when necessary, shoot often make it a useful tool. However, this engagement should not be a SOF-centered endeavor. This will drive overuse and, as the commander of SOCOM General Richard Clarke recently testified, the threats posed by violent extremism remain the primary focus of these units (60 percent of deployed forces) as opposed to GPC (40 percent). Even if these forces were 100 percent committed to GPC, their size and need for dwell time, for example, would not allow them to optimize US engagement across these activities. The more limited systems and capabilities of SOF also do not make them ideally suited to be the main effort to cooperate with the conventional units of friends and allies. Smaller, more frequent deployments of ships, aircraft, and company-sized elements not only could enable engagement with regional allies and partners, but would also show US commitment to an open international system without being overly provocative, facilitate relationships necessary for the future, and, hopefully, share American ideals.

 

10. US Agencies, Defense Companies Hacked Via VPNs

breakingdefense.com · by Brad D. Williams

Now I wonder about the commercial VPNs we use to protect our own systems.

 

11. Hybrid War and What to Do About It

thestrategybridge.org · by Jeffrey Bristol · April 21, 2021

I kind of thought Frank Hoffman had the best articulation of hybrid war back in about 2007 long before Gerasimov: Conflict in the 21st Century: The Rise of Hybrid Wars  

And I am so glad that we have done away with the 6 phase construct in JP 5-0 so we can replace it with intellectual rigor in campaign planning. But even now the "Notional Phasing for Military Activities" too often serves a template "crutch."

 

12. Japan says Chinese military likely behind cyberattacks

ABCNews.com · by ABC News

 

13. FDD | Biden Administration Fires Warning Shot with New Russian Sanctions

fdd.org · by John Hardie · April 20, 2021

Conclusion: "This ambiguity may be intended to enhance deterrence by preventing Moscow from anticipating Washington’s response to new provocations. Yet this uncertainty may only encourage the Kremlin to inch ever closer to implicit red lines. The Biden team should therefore consider issuing more specific warnings and identifying graduated response options involving sanctions and other measures, as appropriate. The administration should also discuss these options in advance with Congress and America’s allies and partners."

 

14. FDD | Re-Engineering America’s Cyber Glass House

fdd.org · by Georgianna Shea and Samantha Ravich · April 20, 2021

Consequence-Driven, Cyber-Informed Engineering (CCE). Continuity of the Economy (COTE)

Excerpts:Just like CCE helps utilities, critical infrastructure providers, and other companies become resilient in the face of a determined attacker, COTE makes the nation as a whole more resilient. Through a structured prioritizing of essential functions, the United States will bolster its deterrence against cyber adversaries since the country will live to fight another day even after a large-scale attack.

The ability to recover after the glass breaks and ensure essential functions continue is what sets apart the vulnerable from the resilient. Whether or not it was indeed a cyberattack that brought Natanz to its knees, the United States should learn from Iran’s vulnerabilities. It is tempting to see only the upside to our adversaries’ weaknesses, but America must not forget that a determined, well-resourced actor will penetrate even the most secure systems, American critical infrastructure included. If the press stories are accurate, this time the cyber actor was a U.S. ally, but the next time, we may be the target.

 

15. U.S. chooses defeat in Afghanistan

washingtontimes.com · by Clifford D. May

Excerpts: “In 2011, President Obama’s top national security advisers recommended maintaining such a platform in Iraq. Unless a modest residual force remained, a jihadi resurgence was likely, they warned. Mr. Obama decided to declare victory and walk away. What followed was the rise of the Islamic State and the growth of Shia militias loyal to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Mr. Obama had to send American forces back to Iraq in 2014 — under much worse conditions.

One final concern: Because Afghan forces supported by the U.S. have been fighting the Taliban for two decades, millions of Afghans have been able to do things the Taliban had forbidden — like sending their daughters to school.

If we abandon them, such progress will likely come to an end and Americas’ Afghan allies may be slaughtered for the crime of having been America’s allies. Does President Biden understand that?

Announcing the American offensive against the Taliban and al Qaeda in 2001, President Bush vowed: “We will not waver, we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.” Twenty years later, President Biden has decided that, actually, we will waver, tire, falter and fail. It’s a lesson both our friends and our enemies will take to heart.”

 

16. China’s keyboard warriors like to fight . . . each other

Financial Times · by Yuan Yang · April 20, 2021

Excerpt: “It can be too easy to conclude from incidents such as the H&M blow-up that all patriotic sentiment online is manufactured. In fact, that outburst illustrated the complexity of Chinese nationalism on the internet: that while party organs placed a target on H&M’s head, the public anger was real. To better understand this complexity, one must explore the internet communities that exist away from the spotlight.”

 

17. Opinion/Owens: Accepting America’s founding principles

providencejournal.com

It is our founding principles that will save our Republic. But one of our unspoken principles that is baked into our Constitution through checks and balances and separation of powers (and the amendment process) is that we correct our mistakes. We have corrected our mistakes throughout our history and we will continue to do so in accordance with and keeping true to our founding principles. 

Conclusion: "Certainly, the United States has not always lived up to its own principles. Slavery persisted long after the founding of the United States. Even with its abolition, racial injustice continued in the form of Jim Crow laws and other systems of oppression. But the reality is that the best hope of achieving racial justice is to embrace, not reject, those principles."

 

18.  Opinion | George W. Bush: Immigration is a defining asset of the United States. Here’s how to restore confidence in our system.

The Washington Post · by George W. Bush · April 16, 2021

Conclusion: “As for the millions of undocumented men and women currently living in the United States, a grant of amnesty would be fundamentally unfair to those who came legally or are still waiting their turn to become citizens. But undocumented immigrants should be brought out of the shadows through a gradual process in which legal residency and citizenship must be earned, as for anyone else applying for the privilege. Requirements should include proof of work history, payment of a fine and back taxes, English proficiency and knowledge of U.S. history and civics, and a clean background check. We should never forget that the desire to live in the United States — a worldwide and as powerful an aspiration as ever — is an affirmation of our country and what we stand for. Over the years, our instincts have always tended toward fairness and generosity. The reward has been generations of grateful, hard-working, self-reliant, patriotic Americans who came here by choice.

If we trust those instincts in the current debate, then bipartisan reform is possible. And we will again see immigration for what it is: not a problem and source of discord, but a great and defining asset of the United States.

 

19. Why Political Sectarianism Is a Growing Threat to American Democracy

The New York Times · by Nate Cohn · April 19, 2021

 

20. George W Bush on Trump’s Republicans: ‘Isolationist, protectionist, nativist’

The Guardian · by Martin Pengelly · April 20, 2021

Three words that should be stricken from our political vocabulary.

 

21. A cyber tool that started at DARPA moves to Cyber Command

c4isrnet.com · by Mark Pomerleau · April 20, 2021

 

22. Post-riot effort to tackle extremism in the military largely overlooks veterans

The Washington Post · by Paul Sonne, Alex Horton and Julie Tate  · April 20, 2021

Excerpts:One solution — a frank discussion with service members about the challenges of plugging back into society — could be added to the materials and programs that service members already receive when they leave the military, Schake said.

Civil society can also embrace veterans in a more proactive way, she said, by looking to other examples as a road map. Religious groups foster connections among refugees settling in the United States, for instance, and leaders deliberately anchor them within communities, she said.

Groups such as American Legion chapters and Rotary Clubs could act as tributaries to direct veterans to positive connections.

“It’s going to take involvement of all levels of society to solve this problem,” including government, nonprofits and individuals, said Jeremy Butler, the chief executive of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a nonprofit advocacy group.

The Defense Department has unique power to bar active-duty service member involvement in extremist groups and weed out those who violate guidelines, Butler said. But VA can speak about the issue, he said, and “foster a culture . . . that disavows extremism and promotes racial justice.”

 

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

 

“And I have no doubt that the American people generally believe the world is safer, and that we are safer, when we are stronger”

- Jeane Kirkpatrick

 

“strategy formation walks on two feet, one deliberate, the other emergent.”

- Lawrence Freedman, Strategy: A History

 

"Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves."

- Ronald Reagan

DanielRiggs Wed, 04/21/2021 - 10:24am
04/21/2021 News & Commentary – Korea

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

1. After Trump ‘Failed,’ South Korean Leader Hopes Biden Can Salvage Nuclear Deal

2. In NYT interview, Moon urges Washington to resume dialogue with Pyongyang

3. Moon says public consensus needed for granting pardons to two jailed ex-presidents

4. What to Make of China’s New Special Representative on Korean Peninsula Affairs

5. N. Korea tightens antivirus measures in border city along China

6. Seoul court rejects sexual slavery claim against Tokyo

7. Stop controlling press (South Korea)

8. North Korea Working on Nampo Missile Test Stand Barge

9. Last-remaining int'l aid workers leave N. Korea: Russian official

10. FM calls N. Korea's cross-border firing a 'minor' violation of military peace deal

11. North Korea 'hiding existence of Covid-19 vaccines from public', claims Russian ambassador

12. Think the Coronavirus Is Curbing Kim’s Atomic Appetite? Think Again.

13. Why Kim Announced Another Arduous March and Why He Will Fail

14. COVID-19 Exacerbates North Korea’s Bad Choices

15. China Secretly Sends Food Aid to North Korea by Rail

16. In South Korea, Antagonism Toward China Is Growing

17. Innovating Our Approach to Human Rights in North Korea

18. Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid of Kim Jong-un

 

1. After Trump ‘Failed,’ South Korean Leader Hopes Biden Can Salvage Nuclear Deal

The New York Times · by Choe Sang-Hun · April 21, 2021

What is lacking in this interview is a discussion of President Moon's "peace agenda." I am surprised that he did not use this interview to discuss his vision and the author only offers this:

“Mr. Moon is not only scrambling to salvage his “Korean Peninsula Peace Process” but also arguably his greatest diplomatic legacy.

As his North Korea policy has faltered, critics have called him a naïve pacifist who bet too much on Mr. Kim’s unproven commitment to denuclearization.”

Excerpts: “I hope that Biden will go down as a historic president that has achieved substantive and irreversible progress for the complete denuclearization and peace settlement on the Korean Peninsula,” Mr. Moon said in the interview from Sangchunjae, a traditional hanok on the grounds of the executive residence, Blue House.

...

“I believe that if we build on what President Trump has left, we will see this effort come to fruition under Biden’s leadership,” he said.

...

But Mr. Moon’s team argues that the phased approach is the most realistic, even if it is imperfect. As his administration sees it, North Korea would never give up its arsenal in one quick deal, lest the regime lose its only bargaining chip with Washington.

The key​​, Mr. Moon said, is for the United States and North Korea to work out a “mutually trusted road map.”

American negotiators under Mr. Trump never made it to that point. Both sides could not even agree on a first step for the North and what reward Washington would provide in return.

 

2. In NYT interview, Moon urges Washington to resume dialogue with Pyongyang

en.yna.co.kr · by 이치동 · April 21, 2021

Yonhap's assessment of President Moon's NY Times interview.

 

3. Moon says public consensus needed for granting pardons to two jailed ex-presidents

en.yna.co.kr · by 이치동 · April 21, 2021

I did not expect to hear this from President Moon. Will public opinion demand their pardons?

 

4. What to Make of China’s New Special Representative on Korean Peninsula Affairs

38north.org · by Yun Sun · April 20, 2021

I guess the PRC-nK alliance will continue as closer than lips and teeth. An interesting assessment in the conclusion that China appears to be ready to ramp up diplomatic activities over north Korea.

Conclusion: This year marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty. The Treaty automatically renews every 20 years. Given that no advanced notice for cancellation has been announced by either side, the Treaty will continue for the foreseeable future. In light of the changes to US-China relations and the conditions in North Korea, China appears to be ramping up its personnel appointments, resources and efforts to prepare for diplomatic engagement over North Korea. The decisions are strategically timed to echo the completion of the Biden administration’s North Korea policy review. Beijing may not feel the ball is in its court and could wait for Washington to reach out first, but its interest and posturing are fully panned out.

 

5. N. Korea tightens antivirus measures in border city along China

en.yna.co.kr · by 이원주 · April 21, 2021

China-nK trade may resume with new safety measures but it seems the regime will continue to crack down on smuggling and other border activities. Will the legal trade be sufficient to relieve the suffering of the Korean people?

 

6. Seoul court rejects sexual slavery claim against Tokyo

AP · by Kim Tong-Hyung

 

7. Stop controlling press (South Korea)

The Korea Times · April 21, 2021

Excerpt: "The ruling camp is apparently seeking to introduce the bills to tame the media outlets ahead of the presidential election scheduled for next March. It is under attack for trying to prevent media companies from producing articles critical of the government and the DPK in the name of thwarting fake news. Former DPK Chairman Lee Nak-yon once said the party will closely monitor media outlets. Yet, it is totally improper to blame the press for its defeat in the by-elections. Ruling party members should first reflect on themselves and humbly acknowledge their mistakes. Above all, they must immediately stop their attempts to control the mass media."

 

8. North Korea Working on Nampo Missile Test Stand Barge

beyondparallel.csis.org · by Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha · April 20, 2021

Images at the link.  

 

9. Last-remaining int'l aid workers leave N. Korea: Russian official

en.yna.co.kr · by 강윤승 · April 21, 2021

Again this is because of Kim Jong-un decision making.

 

10. FM calls N. Korea's cross-border firing a 'minor' violation of military peace deal

en.yna.co.kr · by 김승연 · April 21, 2021

Note this is discussing an event from last May not recently.

But what I think is important is that the ROK wants to give the north a pass for the actions. It continues to try to paint the picture that the 2018 Comprehensive Military Agreement is working. The north has failed to live up to the agreement in multiple ways while the ROK has tried to implement all aspects of it in good faith. Rather than give the north a pass, the Foreign Minister ought to be calling out the north's (and lack of actions).

 

11. North Korea 'hiding existence of Covid-19 vaccines from public', claims Russian ambassador

Mirror · by Ryan Merrifield · April 20, 2021

Perhaps easy to do when the north has no vaccines.  

 

12. Think the Coronavirus Is Curbing Kim’s Atomic Appetite? Think Again.

The National Interest · by Soo Kim · April 20, 2021

We need to keep emphasizing this:Coronavirus or not, Kim’s appetite for nuclear and missile bargaining with the United States remain intact. For the Biden administration, this likely spells further weapons demonstrations from North Korea, with potentially longer-range, more power missile demonstrations to test Washington’s resolve in its nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang.”

 

13. Why Kim Announced Another Arduous March and Why He Will Fail

The National Interest · by Jihyun Park · April 19, 2021

We can see how Kim Jong-un has been laying the groundwork for blame on sanctions, COVID, and natural disasters over the past few months. 

But the conditions are much different than the 1990s and the way the regime was able to survive that place with aid from South Korea and the development of markets as a safety valve may no longer be viable "rescue adoptions."

 

14.  COVID-19 Exacerbates North Korea’s Bad Choices

The National Interest · by Bruce W. Bennett · April 20, 2021

And all the bad choices have been made by Kim and he will continue to make bad choices given the nature of the Kim family regime.

 

15. China Secretly Sends Food Aid to North Korea by Rail

rfa.org · by Jieun Kim

Things might be so bad that China had to activate its safety valve. Remember China's "3 No's" toward nK: No War. No instability and regime collapse. No nukes. two out of three is not bad. But seriously I think the Chinese fear nK instability and this may be one course of action to try to prevent it.

 

16. In South Korea, Antagonism Toward China Is Growing

voanews.com · by Jingyi Ge and William Gallo

Will this have any effect on the Moon administration foreign policy toward China?

 

17.  Innovating Our Approach to Human Rights in North Korea

YouTube

This 90 minute session is worth every minute of time spent listening to it. These escapees provide very powerful and important insights. Anyone who focuses on north Korea should watch this video.

 

18. Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid of Kim Jong-un

Anin Justice Mag · by Alexander Bird · April 20, 2021

This is one of the most unbelievable pieces of propaganda about north Korea (and China) that I have seen lately (that was not written by the regime's Propaganda and Agitation Department though I think they will be using the information and spin in this for their future messages).

I have to beg to differ with the author. He is not presenting "facts." It is all spin for some kind of agenda.

 

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

 

“And I have no doubt that the American people generally believe the world is safer, and that we are safer, when we are stronger”

- Jeane Kirkpatrick

 

“strategy formation walks on two feet, one deliberate, the other emergent.”

- Lawrence Freedman, Strategy: A History

 

"Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves."

- Ronald Reagan

DanielRiggs Wed, 04/21/2021 - 10:10am
04/20/2021 News & Commentary – National Security

News and Commentary by Dave Maxwell.  Edited and Published by Daniel Riggs

1. U.S. Defense Strategy After the Pandemic

2. What Makes a Happy Country?

3.  Competition and Decision in the Gray Zone: A New National Security Strategy

4. Biden selects first woman four-star admiral for the Coast Guard

5. Study of 400,000 Female Vets Links PTSD to Heart Disease

6. Biden Made the Right Decision on Afghanistan

7. The U.S. Military Needs Citizen-Soldiers, Not Warriors

8. In Special Warfare Milestone, Female Enlisted Airman to Enter Combat Controller Training

9. Why the Chip Shortage Is So Hard to Overcome

10. US-China competition not the same as a Cold War

11. Diplomacy or appeasement? New Zealand’s China policy risks undermining its commitments to human rights, democracy

12. Oath keepers official brags about having ‘active duty’ officers in far right group

13. Manila’s Images Are Revealing the Secrets of China’s Maritime Militia

14. Duterte Won’t Confront China at Sea Unless It Drills for Oil

15. Feeding Hate With Video: A Former Alt-Right YouTuber Explains His Methods

16. IntelBrief: QAnon – A U.S. National Security Threat Amplified by Foreign-Based Actors

17. FDD | The Flawed WHO Coronavirus Origins Study

18. Brett McGurk: A Hero of Our Time

19. Clausewitz and the Phantoms of War Without Victory

20. China Stresses ‘Family Values’ as More Women Put Off Marriage, Childbirth

21. Donald Trump, the 'shadow president'

 

1. U.S. Defense Strategy After the Pandemic

warontherocks.com · by Frank Hoffman · April 20, 2021

From one of our nation's leading strategic thinkers who has actually "done strategy."  I hope Secretary Austin and Dr. Karlin will be enlisting him for development of the next National Defense Strategy.

Conclusion:Coping with the social and economic costs of the pandemic will draw on significant resources for public health and economic recovery. This will constrain Pentagon funding more than is currently envisioned. Some policy experts might prefer to isolate defense spending from this crisis, as if the pandemic’s fatalities, the recession, and rising deficits are irrelevant to national security. However, the pandemic has made clear that there is a price for undercutting health services, emergency stocks, critical infrastructure, and advanced research and development too. At the same time, there are trade-offs in cutting defense spending, measured in terms of risk to U.S. interests and those of its allies. The government will have to reconcile the tensions between these competing priorities for years to come.

A reshaped and rebalanced security strategy would not necessarily be a disaster for the United States, particularly if it creates a stronger and more resilient foundation for the country’s strength over the long term. Even at lowered funding scenarios, the United States would remain the best funded and most tested military on the planet. But regardless of the ultimate budget, if that funding is not carefully and prudently targeted toward tomorrow’s competitors, U.S. forces will be unprepared in the years ahead. Under any scenario, “business as usual” is not the operative paradigm going forward.

 

2. What Makes a Happy Country?

The New York Times · by Johanna Lemola and Jenny Gross · April 20, 2021

Perhaps to start the day on a lighter note. "Don't worry. Be happy."

 

3. Competition and Decision in the Gray Zone: A New National Security Strategy

thestrategybridge.org · by Matthew Petersen · April 20, 2021

This is the key point: "there is a difference between “great power competition” and “preparing for great power war.”

I also find it hard to believe people cannot accept there is a gray zone.  Sure it is just another buzzword or catchphrase like so many that lead to definition and terminology paralysis but conceptually it is useful for understanding.

Conclusion: Great power competition is understood in American military circles, but there is a difference between “great power competition” and “preparing for great power war.”[23] An overarching National Security Strategy must clarify that the hybrid threats are the adversary great powers and that the gray zone is the space of great power competition. The document must further examine how the U. S. will compete in it. Hunter Stires explains: If American competition never rises beyond preparation for war, then competitors will never need to resort to war, for they will accomplish their objectives in the gray zone without it.[24]

Shaped by theory, informed by history, and grounded in reality, these are pressing problems for the new National Security Strategy. The U.S. will need to formulate a unified, military-civilian approach to understand gray zone competition, make decisions, define success, and then execute in this conflict space. The hybrid threat demands no less attention than either the traditional forces or irregular actions of the preceding decades. Evolution in the competitive environment warrants evolution in American process, and these questions must guide the National Security Strategy.

 

4. Biden selects first woman four-star admiral for the Coast Guard

Defense News · by Aaron Mehta · April 19, 2021

Hooah.

 

5. Study of 400,000 Female Vets Links PTSD to Heart Disease

military.com · by Jim Absher · April 19, 2021

Wow. This seems like an incredible finding.

 

6. Biden Made the Right Decision on Afghanistan

Foreign Affairs · by P. Michael McKinley · April 19, 2021

Only time will tell.

Excerpts: “Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Afghanistan on April 15 and reaffirmed the U.S. “security partnership” with Kabul. Military withdrawal should not stop the United States and its partners from assisting Afghanistan’s security forces and supporting its development, with a special emphasis on protecting the gains that women and girls have made over the past 20 years. Moreover, it should be possible for the United States to increase the level of its developmental aid, which the previous administration actually reduced at the Afghanistan donor conference in November 2020. The United States can continue to work regionally on countering terrorism and other potential threats. Not a single regional government, including Iran, is interested in seeing Afghanistan collapse or leaving the door open to al Qaeda. Afghanistan’s neighbors and even our adversaries have a strong stake in the country’s stability.

Sacrificing more American lives, however—which is what a continued military presence would mean—seems the wrong thing to do. As a coalition of veterans’ organizations recently wrote to the president, we should not be “asking our women and men in uniform to remain entangled in a conflict with no clear military mission or path to victory.” As I attended ceremonies for fallen American and coalition troops during my years in Kabul, and the Taliban continued to make gains on the battlefield, it was difficult not to share that sentiment.

There will be debate on the time frame the president has proposed, but the clock has run out on extended military engagement. The prior Republican administration acknowledged this reality when it set a May 1 deadline for complete withdrawal. The United States must now take on the other, more pressing national and international concerns that are on a scale not seen since 1945. Yesterday’s conflicts—and yesterday’s optics on what constitutes a security threat—do not help the country move forward. America’s future, wherever it leads, is not in continuing the “forever wars.”

 

7. The U.S. Military Needs Citizen-Soldiers, Not Warriors

Foreign Policy · by Bret Devereaux · April 19, 2021

Semantics or substantive?  Warrior is probably one of the most overused and  misunderstood concepts.  Does its use make a difference or have a real impact?

 

8. In Special Warfare Milestone, Female Enlisted Airman to Enter Combat Controller Training

military.com · by Stephen Losey · April 15, 2021

Hooah.  Some of the toughest training in our military.

 

9. Why the Chip Shortage Is So Hard to Overcome

WSJ · by Eun-Young Jeong and Dan Strumpf · April 19, 2021

It seems like this will not only a long economic impact but a strategic impact as well.

 

10. US-China competition not the same as a Cold War

asiatimes.com · by Urban C. Lehner · April 20, 2021

Certainly the major and probably most important difference is the interconnectedness of both sides to each other and the global economy. 

Perhaps we have another chance to test the theory of  Norman Angell in his 1909 work, The Great Illusion.  Will economic interdependence prevent war?  It obviously has not in the past.

 

11. Diplomacy or appeasement? New Zealand’s China policy risks undermining its commitments to human rights, democracy

SCMP · by Andrew Gillespie · April 20, 2021

Excerpts: “Without progress in the next six months, or if tensions escalate before then, sticking to the middle ground will look less like wise diplomacy and more like appeasement. The values New Zealand professes to stand for – human rights, democracy and the rule of international law – have to be more than lip service.

New Zealand can either act as a genuine intermediary in negotiations with China about what a new, stable global order might look like. Or it can make a stand, with both words and actions, next to like-minded countries.

Putting its hand up for the next Quad-plus exercise is perhaps not ideal, but it’s an option that needs to be debated.”

 

12. Oath keepers official brags about having ‘active duty’ officers in far right group

thegrio.com · by Stephanie Guerilus · April 19, 2021

This is not helpful.  This will further undermine trust in our law enforcement (and military as well due to the connections of former military personnel to this organization).

 

13. Manila’s Images Are Revealing the Secrets of China’s Maritime Militia

Foreign Policy · by Ryan D. Martinson and Andrew S. Erikson · April 19, 2021

Excerpt: "In sum, we have now conclusively identified some of the most readily visible ships that have been lashed up at Whitsun Reef. Together with our previous exposure of seven PAFMM vessels visiting the disputed South China Sea feature last month, this shows that Beijing’s public messaging regarding Whitsun can be disproven with open sources alone. Yet these vessels and their activities are but a small subset of China’s maritime gray zone operations, which the United States and its allies must follow and publicize more effectively in real time to get ahead of Beijing’s unrelenting effort to achieve below-radar gains. Continued analysis of Xinhui and other localities is essential, and information disclosure by the U.S., Philippine, and other governments is badly needed. Having persuasively advocated greater U.S. government release of South China Sea information as a scholar, Pentagon advisor Ely Ratner is now particularly well placed to apply these sensible recommendations in the Biden administration."

 

14. Duterte Won’t Confront China at Sea Unless It Drills for Oil

Bloomberg · by Andreo Calonzo · April 19, 2021

 

15. Feeding Hate With Video: A Former Alt-Right YouTuber Explains His Methods

The New York Times · by Cade Metz · April 15, 2021

How can we profess to love our country when we hate so many people in it?  I ask that to those on both extremes of the political spectrum who spew so much hate every day on social media.

 

16. IntelBrief: QAnon – A U.S. National Security Threat Amplified by Foreign-Based Actors

thesoufancenter.org · April 20, 2021

Important analysis and assessment here.

The 45 page report referenced in the article below can be downloaded here.

 

17. FDD | The Flawed WHO Coronavirus Origins Study

fdd.org · by Anthony Ruggiero · April 19, 2021

Conclusion: "Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, rejected crucial elements of the report during the press conference announcing it. He specifically called for greater access to data and rejected the report’s conclusion that a lab leak was “extremely unlikely.” Tedros flatly said that “all hypotheses remain on the table”. While the director-general deserves some credit for challenging the report, he did not go far enough. He should have put his concerns in writing or held the report until it met appropriate standards."

 

18. Brett McGurk: A Hero of Our Time

newlinesmag.com · April 19, 2021

An interesting gentlemen.

Conclusion: "Many of those who served under the U.S. flag in Iraq are haunted by the experience. McGurk probably spent more time than any senior official did in Baghdad. He could have gone off to make money at a fancy law firm at any time, but he stayed. (Short intervals at Harvard, the Hoover Institute, and MSNBC did not keep him from public service for any length of time.) McGurk’s critics, who spoke to me for this piece, don’t believe that diplomatic experience is, like a prison sentence, measured simply in time served. If the U.S. is not to keep making the same mistakes in the Middle East, the question is: What did Brett McGurk learn in Iraq?"

 

19. Clausewitz and the Phantoms of War Without Victory

realcleardefense.com · by James A. Russell

Conclusion: “At this juncture, the lack of reflection about the means and ends of so-called "forever wars" augurs poorly for the capacity of this nation to avoid an even worse trap in the years or even months to come.

Clausewitz might wish us to return to his enunciated basics of strategy to clarify our interests and objectives and carefully think about those which are worth fighting for. Surely more unwinnable “forever wars” would not withstand the rigor of this most basic criterion.

 

20. China Stresses ‘Family Values’ as More Women Put Off Marriage, Childbirth

WSJ · by Chao Deng and Liyan Qi

In China are "family values" code for oppression of women?

 

21. Donald Trump, the 'shadow president'

washingtontimes.com · by Jennifer Harper

Hmmm...

 

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

 

“The ability to persuade not only one's people but also allies and enemies was a vital attribute of the successful strategist. In this way, strategy required a combination of words and deeds, and the ability to manipulate them both. "

- Lawrence Freedman, Strategy: A History

 

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." 

- Chinese Proverb

 

"Glory belongs to the act of being constant to something greater than yourself, to a cause, to your principles, to the people on whom you rely and who rely on you."

-John McCain

DanielRiggs Tue, 04/20/2021 - 9:22am
04/20/2021 News & Commentary – Korea

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

1. Biden-Suga summit leaves Moon with few options

2. OMFV: Korea’s Hanwha Is Officially In

3. New policy approach for nuke-armed North Korea

4. Moon extends hand to China ahead of Biden’s summit

5. New Zealand deploying RNZDF Orion to patrol waters near North Korea

6. S. Korea considering various 'vaccine swap' options with U.S.

7. N.K.'s largest youth group to hold first congress in 5 years next week

8. N. Korea hands down order regarding issuance of trade certificates

9. Lazarus Group Uses New Tactic to Evade Detection

10. The Incredible Rise of North Korea’s Hacking Army

11. S. Korea again faces debate over female military draft

12. Another ‘Arduous March’ Would Be a Major Failure for Kim Jong-un

13. Majority of new houses in Pyongyang to be given to party cadres

14. U.S.-North Korea Relations will Follow Same Pattern Despite Coronavirus

15. B-52 Bombers are Back in Guam to Deter China and North Korea

16. North Korea Wants to Rebuild Its Economy but Will Keep Testing Weapons Anyway

 

1. Biden-Suga summit leaves Moon with few options

koreaherald.com · by Lee Ji-yoon · April 20, 2021

President Moon should not want to be the odd man out but strategic ambiguity could make him so and do damage to the ROK in the long term.

We will compare what happens in the Moon-Biden meeting next month with this excerpt: “It’s almost like the US and Japan have announced a set of new global orders,” said Park Won-gon, a professor of North Korean studies at Ewha Womans University. “Now the only option left for South Korea is whether to join the initiative or not.

“It had been widely expected that China issues would loom large in the summit. But discussions were much more direct and specific than expected,” he added.

Biden, three months into his term, has invested heavily in rebuilding ties with Japan and South Korea amid the growing influence of China in the Indo-Pacific region.

 

2. OMFV: Korea’s Hanwha Is Officially In

breakingdefense.com · by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

Know your target audience. See the last line. 

Excerpts:Hanwha is offering an evolution of the K21, the Redback – what it calls “the world’s most advanced Infantry Fighting Vehicle” – in a competition in Australia. The Korean company s already building Australia’s new self-propelled howitzer, the AS9, in the Geelong area outside of Melbourne.

Hanwha also makes a host of lighter armored vehicles, such as Korea’s K2000 tracked troop carrier, the 6×6 Tigon, and the 4×4 Barracuda , as well as a light tank version of the K21, the K21-105. (Korea’s main battle tank, the K2 Black Panther, is built by Hyundai Rotem).

Worldwide, the company says, “Hanwha Defense has provided over 7,000 cutting-edge combat vehicles to the Republic of Korea and exports to Malaysia, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Poland, Turkey, and India.” Now it’s making its big play for the US market.

Any vehicle bought by the US Army, however, “will be built in America with American labor,” Hanwha emphasized in a statement.

 

3. New policy approach for nuke-armed North Korea

The Korea Times · by Kim Sang-woo · April 20, 2021

For all the talk about the new administration policy toward Korea, whether engagement or pressure, small deals, phased approach, CVID, or implementation of all relevant UN Security council resolutions (or some combination of these and others), this paragraph contains the key concepts that must be the foundation for whatever policy is adopted and strategy is implemented.

 

4. Moon extends hand to China ahead of Biden’s summit

koreajoongangdaily.joins.com · by Sarah Kim

The shrimp among whales is walking a difficult tightrope. 

 

5. New Zealand deploying RNZDF Orion to patrol waters near North Korea

tvnz.co.nz

Some good news here. Happy to see an ally contributing to operations against north Korea even though we have some other strategic challenges with views toward China.

 

6. S. Korea considering various 'vaccine swap' options with U.S.

en.yna.co.kr · by 김승연 · April 20, 2021

 

7. N.K.'s largest youth group to hold first congress in 5 years next week

en.yna.co.kr · by 고병준 · April 20, 2021

If James Carville were advising Kim Jong-un, he would use the phrase, "Its the ideology, stupid."

For the Kim family regime ideology is the defense against and the solution for everything.

 

8. N. Korea hands down order regarding issuance of trade certificates

dailynk.com · by Seulkee Jang · April 20, 2021

The people need this. But it looks like trade and markets will not be the same as pre-COVID. The regime's population and resources control measures will hamper market activity. 

 

9. Lazarus Group Uses New Tactic to Evade Detection

darkreading.com

Kim's all-purpose sword has become his most important strategic tool of choice.

 

10. The Incredible Rise of North Korea’s Hacking Army

The New Yorker · by Ed Caesar · April 19, 2021

A long read but a very comprehensive look at north Korea's cyber activities.
 

11. S. Korea again faces debate over female military draft

en.yna.co.kr · by 이해아 · April 20, 2021

South Korea faces some severe demographic challenges though I am not sure drafting women will solve them. On the other hand one of the problems is Korean women are not having children until later ages or not having children at all. Maybe this would change decision making among women if giving birth would be an exemption from the draft.

 

12. Another ‘Arduous March’ Would Be a Major Failure for Kim Jong-un

The National Interest · by Robert E. Kelly · April 19, 2021

Or he thinks his grip on power is secure.

But this is why the people are suffering: the deliberate policy choices Kim Jong-un has made and will continue to make.

Conclusion: North Korea is now substantially cut-off from the world economy, yet it will not alter its political economy—specifically, by reducing its military spending—to accommodate that cut-off and help roll it back. In other words, this is another self-induced wound from an elite that simply does not care if its population suffers. It is not sanctions, but the choices of the regime elite that has brought North Korea to the brink again: let them eat cake if that is what’s necessary for the Kims to have nuclear weapons.

 

13. Majority of new houses in Pyongyang to be given to party cadres

dailynk.com · by Lee Sang Yong · April 20, 2021

Another of the regime's "show projects." (how is that new modern hospital in Pyongyang doing? - i was supposed to be finished last October) 

Is it true here is no class system in the socialist workers paradise of nK? That's right, there are 51 classes of society (in the classless society) in the Songbun system of north Korea. There are certainly haves and have nots among the regime.

 

14. U.S.-North Korea Relations will Follow Same Pattern Despite Coronavirus

The National Interest · by Denny Roy · April 19, 2021

Lucy and the football and blackmail diplomacy.

 

15. B-52 Bombers are Back in Guam to Deter China and North Korea

19fortyfive.com · by Peter Suciu · April 19, 2021

 

16. North Korea Wants to Rebuild Its Economy but Will Keep Testing Weapons Anyway

The National Interest · by Malcolm Davis · April 19, 2021

Deliberate policy choices of Kim Jong-un are responsible for the suffering.

The subtitle highlights the long con and Kim's blackmail diplomacy.

 

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

 

“The ability to persuade not only one's people but also allies and enemies was a vital attribute of the successful strategist. In this way, strategy required a combination of words and deeds, and the ability to manipulate them both. "

- Lawrence Freedman, Strategy: A History

 

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." 

- Chinese Proverb

 

 

"Glory belongs to the act of being constant to something greater than yourself, to a cause, to your principles, to the people on whom you rely and who rely on you."

-John McCain

DanielRiggs Tue, 04/20/2021 - 8:57am
04/19/2021 News & Commentary – National Security

Body

News and Commentary by Dave Maxwell.  Edited and Published by Daniel Riggs

1. Biden’s withdrawal the ‘worst of both worlds’

2. Afghanistan withdrawal plan could involve small troop surge

3. From Moral Responsibility to Magical Thinking: How Biden Changed His Mind on Afghanistan

4. America’s Longest War: A Visual History of 19 Years in Afghanistan

5. With Afghanistan decision, Biden restores foreign policymaking process that Trump had largely abandoned

6. Mara Karlin selected to lead Pentagon strategy office

7. New bill aims to give Coast Guard voting seat in Joint Chiefs of Staff

8. SOCOM Keeps Pushing for New Armed Overwatch Aircraft

9.  Biden’s Defense Budget Squeeze

10. New Zealand 'uncomfortable' with expanding the scope of Five Eyes alliance

11. Advocates Hope First Female Army Secretary Brings Change

12. FastTake: What’s missing from US Intel’s 2021 Threat Assessment

13. Taiwan says its seeking long-range cruise missiles from U.S.

14. Joe Biden sees Japanese leader Yoshihide Suga as his new "Ally in Chief" as China tensions rise

15. FedEx shooter Brandon Hole was obsessed with ‘My Little Pony’: report

16. Quad partners push supply chain resilience

17. Wuhan officials identified Huanan market as a pandemic risk at least five years before Covid emerged

18. Perspective | America’s mission in Afghanistan isn’t accomplished

19. UN ambassador: America's ability to acknowledge its 'imperfections' is 'our strength'

20. Assessing the Value of the Lariat Advance Exercise Relative to the Louisiana Maneuvers for Preparing the U.S. Army for Large-Scale Combat Operations

21. Update the Small Wars Manual for the 21st Century

22. Some charged with storming U.S. Capitol try to use defense that they were there to record history as journalists

23. How Hard Is It to Indoctrinate Religion-Soaked Special Operations Troops Into QAnon Extremist Views?

24. Oath Keepers: How a militia group mobilized in plain sight for the assault on the Capitol

25. The Fort Bragg Murders

26. Special Operations News Update - Monday, April 19, 2021 | SOF News

 

1. Biden’s withdrawal the ‘worst of both worlds’

The Australian · by David Kilcullen · April 17, 2021

Excerpt:Indeed, a smart but cynical approach for President Biden would have been to go ahead and withdraw but blame Trump, forcing the former president to shoulder the responsibility for any negative consequences. Biden began his speech in that vein—saying that, like it or not, the US needed to honour Trump’s agreement—but then spent the rest of the speech justifying the decision to leave. By the end, he had so aligned himself with the decision that, whatever happens next, he now owns the outcome. It’s also probably only a matter of time before someone asks the obvious question: if it was so essential to pull American troops out of Afghanistan in order to end the forever wars and focus on China, what about the thousands still deployed in Iraq and Syria? Shouldn’t they come home too? Trump’s answer would have been a resounding “Yes”. What is Biden’s? With the midterm elections still almost two years away, there is plenty of time for any negative outcome in Afghanistan, or any inconsistency on Iraq, to harm President Biden politically.

 

2. Afghanistan withdrawal plan could involve small troop surge

militarytimes.com · by Meghann Myers · April 16, 2021

For how long and at what political price?

Excerpt: “American troops will leave behind some 300,000 Afghan security forces, for which Austin said Wednesday the Pentagon will likely continue to cover payroll.

 

3. From Moral Responsibility to Magical Thinking: How Biden Changed His Mind on Afghanistan

Foreign Policy · by Michael Hirsh · April 16, 2021

Excerpts: “Biden’s announcement could also accelerate the end of “forever wars” against other terrorist groups around the world like the Islamic State if they are no longer deemed to pose a strategic threat to the United States. In his speech, the president cited the rise of new challenges such as China and global health, saying, “We’ll be much more formidable to our adversaries and competitors over the long term if we fight the battles for the next 20 years, not the last 20.”

In the end, Biden said, his decision was about ending the needless sacrifice of young Americans like his late son Beau, who served in Iraq and whom he mentioned in his speech.“

War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multigenerational undertaking,” he said. “We were attacked. We went to war with clear goals. We achieved those objectives. [Osama] Bin Laden is dead and al Qaeda is degraded in Afghanistan. And it’s time to end the forever war.”

 

4. America’s Longest War: A Visual History of 19 Years in Afghanistan

WSJ 

View the photos at the link.

5. With Afghanistan decision, Biden restores foreign policymaking process that Trump had largely abandoned

The Washington Post · by Karen DeYoung and Missy Ryan · April 18, 2021

Does a disciplined process lead to the best decisions?

Excerpts:But the bottom line, according to several senior administration officials, is that Afghanistan is no longer a high U.S. priority, as it was in 2001, compared with the threats of 2021, including Chinese and Russian aggression, terrorist surges elsewhere in the world, climate change, global health and nonproliferation. Public opinion has strongly supported withdrawal.

The administration has pledged it will continue paying for Afghanistan’s own security forces, pressing for inter-Afghan negotiations, providing humanitarian assistance, and using diplomatic and economic tools to keep the Taliban from returning to the draconian policies and repression of women and minorities that characterized the last time it controlled Afghanistan, from the mid-1990s until the 2001 U.S. incursion in pursuit of Osama bin Laden that quickly became war with the Taliban.

In an interview Sunday with ABC’s “This Week,” Blinken seemed to accept an inevitable militant takeover. If the Taliban has “any expectation of getting any international acceptance, of not being treated as a pariah,” he said, “it’s going to have to respect the rights of women and girls” or risk the withdrawal of “international recognition” and “international status.”

 

6. Mara Karlin selected to lead Pentagon strategy office

Defense News · by Aaron Mehta · April 16, 2021

Chief military strategist.

 

7. New bill aims to give Coast Guard voting seat in Joint Chiefs of Staff

wearethemighty.com · by Jessica Manfre · April 15, 2021

I missed this. But the Coast Guard is not part of the DOD (except in war time).

 

8. SOCOM Keeps Pushing for New Armed Overwatch Aircraft

nationaldefensemagazine.org · by Yasmin Tadjdeh

Excerpts: “If you look at what ... a Reaper costs in order to keep top cover over a small contingent of folks — and you have that capability 24 hours a day — you’re going to need three or four drones,” he said. “You’re going to need at least two cycles of air crew that are on watch all the time.”

The drones will also require runways that are pristine and debris free, whereas some light-attack aircraft can fly out of more rugged airfields, Venable noted.

Additionally, the areas in which SOCOM plans to use the aircraft will not be high threat environments where they will face surface-to-air missiles that are radar guided, he said. It’s possible they could encounter shoulder-launched SAMs but there are countermeasures that light-attack aircraft could deploy, he added.“

You don’t want to put aircraft and aircrew at risk unnecessarily, but when you have Americans [on the ground] that are doing their job and they are in harm’s way, you’re going to put everything you need” in the air to protect them, Venable said. “That’s what airmen do and that’s what we need to have the ability to do.”

Lawmakers must act quickly to give AFSOC the capability it is asking for, he said.

“The SOF community does not need another study,” Venable said. “They need to go out and grab these airplanes and start fielding them now to give their folks top cover. That needs to be urgent.”

 

9. Biden’s Defense Budget Squeeze

WSJ · by The Editorial Board

Welfare state versus defense.

Will we save any money from our withdrawal in Afghanistan? Is there ever really a "peace dividend?"

Excerpts: “Perhaps the Administration will wring money from the Army after its withdrawal from Afghanistan. But the modest savings aren’t enough to compensate for an overall spending decline. The current fleet simply can’t meet U.S. commitments in the Indo-Pacific in addition to the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf. The Navy has aging submarines to upgrade and the Congressional Budget Office said last month that “required maintenance is projected to exceed the capacity of the Navy’s shipyards in 25 of the next 30 years.”

To its credit, the White House budget outline mentions money for long-range weapons “to bolster deterrence and improve survivability and response timelines.” One of the People’s Liberation Army’s assets is its large arsenal of precision missiles designed to destroy American ships in the Pacific. More American long-range fires—especially if they are portable and ground-launched—can help the balance of power at relatively low cost.

Yet some of the Pentagon funds will also go to “mitigate impacts of climate change.” That leaves even fewer resources for core fighting capabilities. Washington can’t ask the military to deter emboldened great powers and fight climate change on a declining real budget.

 

10. New Zealand 'uncomfortable' with expanding the scope of Five Eyes alliance

sbs.com.au · by Updated Updated 5 hours ago

Really? My guess is New Zealand probably makes the smallest contribution to the Five Eyes.

 

11. Advocates Hope First Female Army Secretary Brings Change

defenseone.com · by Tara Copp

Excerpt: “I hope she [Wormuth] will continue some of the reforms that [former Secretary] Ryan McCarthy and [Chief of Staff Gen. James] McConville have started with the Army,” Thornberry said. “I think this is a challenging time for all the services. They're all going to have to rethink how they do business.”

 

12. FastTake: What’s missing from US Intel’s 2021 Threat Assessment

atlanticcouncil.org · by Ronald Marks and Barry Pavel · April 16, 2021

As Cohen and Gooch wrote, all military (and I would expand to say all national security failures) are a failure of three things: failure to learn, failure to adapt, and failure to anticipate. And anticipating is the hardest s of all.

 

13. Taiwan says its seeking long-range cruise missiles from U.S.

japantimes.co.jp · April 19, 2021

Something else to stick in the eye of the CCP/PRC.

 

14. Joe Biden sees Japanese leader Yoshihide Suga as his new "Ally in Chief" as China tensions rise

Newsweek · by Bill Powell · April 18, 2021

Excerpts:The biggest flashpoint in the region, of course, is Taiwan. Analysts noted that the statement issued by the two sides in March mentioned Taiwan specifically—a seemingly innocuous line that read: "The Ministers underscored the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait." The mention of Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a renegade province, angered the PRC. Biden and Suga did not discuss Taiwan in great detail during Friday's getting-to know-you meeting. But current and former U.S. defense officials and diplomats believe Japan needs to be brought more into the conversation about how the U.S. and its allies would respond should Beijing move against Taipei.

The problem is, that's something Japan may not yet be ready for. As Toshihiro Nakayama, professor of American politics and foreign policy at Tokyo's Keio University, says, "let's be honest, Japan is the only ally that could play an active role in a Taiwan contingency." But the issue for Suga and the current political leadership in Tokyo is straightforward. "Are we really willing to play an active role," asks Nakayama. "It's not something we've really talked about in Japan yet. The conversation needs to be initiated by the political leaders."

But the conversation is constrained by Japan's so-called "peace constitution," originally drawn up under the occupation of General Douglas McArthur after World War II, which still effectively limits Japan from doing anything militarily except defending the homeland. Talking with Newsweek, Suga said it remains the Liberal Democratic Party's position to amend the constitution to allow Tokyo to play a more robust defense role in the region. But he also acknowledged it would be a laborious effort to get that done, and as such, "we must admit that the situation is very difficult."

Japan's diplomatic renaissance, its position as Washington's Number One ally in the 21st century's central geopolitical issue—how to deal with Beijing—comes with risks, analysts say. The possibility of a sudden conflict with Taiwan illustrates those risks. "If it actually happens, and Japan is not forthcoming in playing an active role, it might be a crisis moment for the alliance," says Nakayama.

 

15. FedEx shooter Brandon Hole was obsessed with ‘My Little Pony’: report

foxnews.com · by Gabrielle Fonrouge

What a weird world we are living in.

 

16. Quad partners push supply chain resilience

ipdefenseforum.com · by Felix Kim · April 13, 2021

Excerpt:Beijing has used its position as a dominant supplier of rare earth elements, which are vital to electronics manufacturing, to pressure its trading partners. In 2010, for example, the PRC limited the export of rare earth elements to Japan because it detained a Chinese fisherman for fishing illegally in Japanese waters.

The recent chip shortage exposed an overreliance on the PRC for critical supplies, Michael Harris, founder of Cribstone Strategic Macro in London, told FORUM.

“There was already a preexisting objective in the U.S. to minimize reliance on China for geopolitical reasons,” he said, adding that it makes sense for countries to collaborate on diversifying their supply chains.

 

17. Wuhan officials identified Huanan market as a pandemic risk at least five years before Covid emerged

The Telegraph · by Sarah Newey,

But this is true of every "wet market" anywhere in the world.

Excerpt: “Dr Holmes, who now works at the University of Sydney, said the visit was part of a wider project to hunt for new pathogens with pandemic potential in China.

“The Wuhan CDC took us there, and here’s the key bit, because the discussion was: ‘where could a disease emerge?’ Well, here’s the place – that’s why I went,” Dr Holmes told The Telegraph in an interview.

“I’ve been to a few of these markets, but this was a big one – it felt like a disease incubator, exactly the sort of place you would expect a disease to emerge”.

Live animals held in Wuhan's Huanan market in October 2014, taken by Dr Eddie Holmes during a visit to the site Credit: Eddie Holmes

 

18. Perspective | America’s mission in Afghanistan isn’t accomplished

The Washington Post · by Bradley Bowman · April 17, 2021

Excerpts: “These threats won’t just go away once we leave. Rather than looking for the exits, then, the prudent course would be to view a modest U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, with troop levels roughly comparable to the coalition presence there now, as part of America’s enduring global military posture, a manageable investment in American security. To put it in perspective, U.S. strength in Afghanistan today is around 10 percent of the U.S. force stationed in South Korea.

Clearly, we must always ensure our troops have what they need to defend themselves and carry out their mission. And we certainly shouldn’t keep our service members in harm’s way a day longer than America’s interests require. Every military casualty is a tragedy, as is every death here at home from a terrorist attack. But given the continued threats in Afghanistan and the benefits of retaining a modest force there, the burden of proof rests with anyone — including members of Congress and the president — making the case to the American public that we can safely withdraw in September.

 

 

19. UN ambassador: America's ability to acknowledge its 'imperfections' is 'our strength'

The Hill · by Joseph Choi · April 18, 2021

I subscribe to what Congressman Clyburn of South Carolina says, what makes us a great nation is that we can and do correct our mistakes. (I am paraphrasing). It is what our noble experiment is all about.

 

20. Assessing the Value of the Lariat Advance Exercise Relative to the Louisiana Maneuvers for Preparing the U.S. Army for Large-Scale Combat Operations

divergentoptions.org · by James Greer · April 19, 2021

"Lariat Advance." I remember one of the Lieutenants in our battalion in the early 1980s coming in late for the alert and almost missing movement because his wife answered the phone (remember the old phone trees for alerts?) and heard Lariat Advance and replied with "Larry who? There is no Larry here" and hung the phone and went back to sleep and did not wake her husband.

Assessing the Value of the Lariat Advance Exercise Relative to the Louisiana Maneuvers for Preparing the U.S. Army for Large-Scale Combat Operations

 

21. Update the Small Wars Manual for the 21st Century

19fortyfive.com · by James Holmes · April 18, 2021

There are lots of publications out there that have pieces and parts of the Small Wars Manual (re ARIS project at USASOC - a number of publications at JSOU just to start). But there has never been a single manual as comprehensive as the Small Wars Manual.

 

22. Some charged with storming U.S. Capitol try to use defense that they were there to record history as journalists

KTLA · by Associated Press · April 18, 2021

Some irony here. I would bet most of these people hate the media and journalism with all their hearts.

 

23. How Hard Is It to Indoctrinate Religion-Soaked Special Operations Troops Into QAnon Extremist Views?

laprogressive.com · by Chris Rodda · April 16, 2021

This is getting out of hand. There are no more extremists in SOF than anywhere else in the military. In my 30 years in the military and more than 2 decades in SF I have never seen anything on the scale that is in the spin below. And this is also an insult to all the great Chaplains in our military.

But I guess we should expect this from a publication called LA Progressive.

 

24. Oath Keepers: How a militia group mobilized in plain sight for the assault on the Capitol

CBS News

Excerpt:Photos and phone records place Stewart Rhodes on the Capitol steps on January 6, communicating with Oath Keepers before they breached the doors. But no charges have been brought against him.

Rhodes declined to speak with 60 Minutes to tell his side of the story. He did appear again last month, on "Infowars," this time from his car, saying he didn't order Oath Keepers to enter the Capitol, but defended the members who are now in jail and criticized those who put them there.

One Oath Keeper has pled guilty and agreed to cooperate in the ongoing investigation as new evidence suggests members stashed weapons at a nearby hotel as part of a 'quick-reaction force' – evidence a federal judge says is among the most troubling he has seen. Sources tell us prosecutors are looking to build a case against Stewart Rhodes and possible separate charges against the national organization.

 

25. The Fort Bragg Murders

Rolling Stone · by Seth Harp · April 18, 2021

Some tragic and depressing data. I had no idea.

 

26. Special Operations News Update - Monday, April 19, 2021 | SOF News

sof.news · by SOF News · April 19, 2021

 

---------

 

"But in my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should “have his head examined,” as General MacArthur so delicately put it." 

- Robert M. Gates, February 25,2011 at West Point

 

“The brain consumes 20 percent of the body’s energy, far more than any other organ, while making up only 2 percent of an adult’s body weight.”

- Lawrence Freedman, Strategy: A History

 

“It is more important to out-think your enemy, than to outfight him.”  

- attributed to Sun Tzu (though I have not found this quote in any of the 13 chapters and myriad translations. Wise words nonetheless)

 

DanielRiggs Mon, 04/19/2021 - 9:24am
04/19/2021 News & Commentary – Korea

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

1. Moon left mired in tricky issues prior to his visit to Washington

2. S. Korea seeking to toughen regulations on internet-based exchanges with N. Korea

3. N.K. propaganda outlet denounces S. Korea's weapons purchase plans

4. N. Korea likely to ramp up cyber attacks against S. Korea, U.S. this year amid prolonged sanctions: expert

5. A Quiet Arms Race Is Rapidly Heating Up Between the Two Koreas

6. Moon's Approval Rating Keeps Plummeting

7. N.Korean Regime Loses Grip on Younger Generation

8. Moon urges move toward 'more mature' democracy in S. Korea on historic anniversary

9. N. Korea's imports from China surge in March: data

10. U.S. Condemnation of Leaflet Ban Leaves Gov't Red-Faced

11. Moon indicates some policy changes, seeking new start following election rout

12. Civil and Political Rights in the Republic of Korea:Implications for Human Rights on the Peninsula

13. Commission ordered reinvestigation of Cheonan sinking

14. Moon to join Biden-hosted climate summit this week

15. Female S. Korean diplomat stationed in Costa Rica dies in apparent suicide: ministry

 

1. Moon left mired in tricky issues prior to his visit to Washington

donga.com

Alliance management takes a lot of work. And there is still a lot of work to be done.

 

2. S. Korea seeking to toughen regulations on internet-based exchanges with N. Korea

en.yna.co.kr · by 고병준 · April 19, 2021

Wow. These are the kinds of issues that cause significant alliance friction. The Moon administration is doubling down on its "anti-leaflet law."

It is difficult for me to believe the Moon administration does not see how this can only be viewed as appeasement of the north and an action that directly supports the survival of Kim Jong-un and the Kim family regime. Information is an existential threat to the regime. This action contributes to protecting Kim Jong-un.

 

3. N.K. propaganda outlet denounces S. Korea's weapons purchase plans

en.yna.co.kr · by 장재순 · April 18, 2021

It is jealous of South Korea's advanced military capabilities. 

 

4. N. Korea likely to ramp up cyber attacks against S. Korea, U.S. this year amid prolonged sanctions: expert

en.yna.co.kr · by 이원주 · April 19, 2021

A logical assessment.

 

5. A Quiet Arms Race Is Rapidly Heating Up Between the Two Koreas

The New York Times · by Choe Sang-Hun · April 19, 2021

Really? An arms race? I would argue that a failure to modernize and improve military capabilities in the South and within the alliance will weaken deterrence and make conflict more likely. The one thing I think we can know with some certainty is that the north will not attack into strength - its entire strategy is based on weakening and ending the ROK/US alliance and being able to have military superiority so that it can execute the full range of its strategy that is based on subversion, coercion/extortion *blackmail diplomacy) and when the conditions are right the use of force to achieve its objective to dominate the peninsula to ensure the survival of the Kim family regime.

Strengthening the ROK military and the alliance contributes to deterrence and defense and reduces the likelihood of conflict save for an in extremis decision by Kim Jong-un when he is so threatened by internal instability that he may believe his only option is to execute his campaign plan as the only hope to survive.

 

6. Moon's Approval Rating Keeps Plummeting

english.chosun.com · April 19, 2021

Again this happens with every one term South Korean president who is a lame duck from the day he or she is inaugurated. The question for us is whether this will affect South Korean national security and foreign policy?

 

7. N.Korean Regime Loses Grip on Younger Generation

english.chosun.com · April 19, 2021

Perhaps in the mind and will (as opposed to hearts and minds). But Will this have an effect? Can the security services (and the oppressive system of Songbun) maintain social control? It is certainly an indicator that very much bears watching but we should not jump to conclusions. It should inform us that there is a target audience in the north that should be very receptive to alliance information and influence activities if the South Korean government would support it.

 

8. Moon urges move toward 'more mature' democracy in S. Korea on historic anniversary

en.yna.co.kr · by 이치동 · April 19, 2021

Maturity needs to start at the top and the first thing to help mature the democracy would be to end the anti-leaflet law that is patently un-democratic.

 

9. N. Korea's imports from China surge in March: data

en.yna.co.kr · by 오석민 · April 18, 2021

The Chinese safety valve or relief mechanism kicking in?

 

10. U.S. Condemnation of Leaflet Ban Leaves Gov't Red-Faced

english.chosun.com

A self-inflicted wound or own goal by the Moon administration and the ruling party. Do the right thing and rescind it. Do not double down on it by restricting internet communications and electronic media.

 

11. Moon indicates some policy changes, seeking new start following election rout

en.yna.co.kr · by 이치동 · April 19, 2021

Excerpt: "I will consider the reprimand from the people as a bitter medicine, look back on the overall state affairs and use it as a turning point for a fresh start," he said during a weekly meeting with his senior Cheong Wa Dae aides.

But will this result in any national security and foreign policy changes - especially as they pertain to north Korea? I fear not.

 

12. Civil and Political Rights in the Republic of Korea :Implications for Human Rights on the Peninsula

onekoreanetwork.com · April 17, 2021

This was the statement for the record that was referenced at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing last week.

 

13. Commission ordered reinvestigation of Cheonan sinking

koreajoongangdaily.joins.com · by Park Yong-Han and Michael Lee

 

This is a despicable action and fortunately it was rescinded. What an insult to the 46 sailors murdered by north Korea and their families.

 

14. Moon to join Biden-hosted climate summit this week

The Korea Times · April 19, 2021

 

15. Female S. Korean diplomat stationed in Costa Rica dies in apparent suicide: ministry

en.yna.co.kr · by 김승연 · April 19, 2021

Condolences to her MOFA colleagues and her family.

 

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

 

"But in my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should “have his head examined,” as General MacArthur so delicately put it." 

- Robert M. Gates, February 25,2011 at West Point

 

“The brain consumes 20 percent of the body’s energy, far more than any other organ, while making up only 2 percent of an adult’s body weight.”

- Lawrence Freedman, Strategy: A History

 

“It is more important to out-think your enemy, than to outfight him.”  

- attributed to Sun Tzu (though I have not found this quote in any of the 13 chapters and myriad translations. Wise words nonetheless)

DanielRiggs Mon, 04/19/2021 - 9:06am
04/18/2021 News & Commentary – National Security

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

1. Opinion | Biden Ditches the Generals, Finally

2. Montenegro mortgaged itself to China. Now it wants Europe’s help to cut it free.

3. President Biden Announces His Intent to Nominate Eight Key Administration Leaders

4. Biden Rebuffed Commanders’ Advice in Decision to Leave Afghanistan

5. Xinhua Commentary: U.S., Japan should stop colluding against China

6. A 'Worst Nightmare' Cyberattack: The Untold Story Of The SolarWinds Hack

7. FDD | America’s mission in Afghanistan isn’t accomplished

8. On foreign policy decisions, Biden faces drag of pragmatism

9. “I Felt Hate More Than Anything”: How an Active Duty Airman Tried to Start a Civil War

10. Teacher in America's wealthiest county blasts Critical Race Theory

11. Biden’s Afghan Pullout Is Risky Politics and Geopolitics

12. Biden's blinking red lights: Taiwan, Ukraine and Iran

13. Afghanistan withdrawal will likely dismantle a CIA intelligence network built up over 20 years

14. West Point cadets expelled over worst cheating scandal in 40 years

 

1. Opinion | Biden Ditches the Generals, Finally

The New York Times · by Maureen Dowd · April 17, 2021

Is it is civil-military relations crisis when the president makes a decision that goes against the general's advice?

 

2. Montenegro mortgaged itself to China. Now it wants Europe’s help to cut it free.

The Washington Post · by Michael Birnbaum · April 17, 2021

Chinese debt trap diplomacy.

 

3. President Biden Announces His Intent to Nominate Eight Key Administration Leaders

Officer of the President ·  April 16, 2021 · Statements and Releases

 

4. Biden Rebuffed Commanders’ Advice in Decision to Leave Afghanistan

WSJ · by Michael R. Gordon, Gordon Lubold and Vivian Salama

Perhaps this was the reason President Biden did not select Ms. Flournoy as the SECDEF (though I think she will likely be Secretary Austin's successor).

Excerpt: “I totally understand and support the notion that U.S. involvement in this war has to end at some point,” said Michele Flournoy, who served as a senior Defense official under Mr. Obama and was a candidate to serve as defense secretary for Mr. Biden. “But we are in a position where our forces are like the boy with the finger in the dyke, and when we remove that finger I think that the flood is going to come.”

“My worry is that civil war will heat up again. You’ll see a lot of Afghan deaths and persecution of women,” she added.

 

5. Xinhua Commentary: U.S., Japan should stop colluding against China

xinhuanet.com

Colluding. I wonder why they chose that word?

Excerpts: “Also, the U.S.-Japan alliance is misjudging the international situation. In the age of globalization, the two governments still appear stuck in an outdated Cold-War mentality. Their audacious attempt to incite confrontation and form an anti-China bloc runs counter to the worldwide aspiration for peace, development and cooperation.

China, a staunch force to uphold peace in the region and the world, pursues friendship and partnership with its neighbors and seeks to bring amity, security and common prosperity to the region.

As regards the normal development of U.S.-Japan relations, China has no intention to comment on it, but the United States and Japan should not underestimate China's determination and resolve to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests.

 

6. A 'Worst Nightmare' Cyberattack: The Untold Story Of The SolarWinds Hack

NPR · by Dina Temple-Raston · April 16, 2021

Excerpts: “A federal review might help with one of the issues that has plagued cyberspace up to now: how to ensure software and hardware vendors disclose hacks when they discover them. Could a review board take the sting out of the reputation damage of admitting publicly you've been hacked? Would it give companies like Volexity and Palo Alto Networks somewhere to go when they see a problem?

Ultimately, the goal is to connect the dots and respond in a way that makes us safer. And the impetus for all of this might be that tainted routine update. That's one of the key reasons SolarWinds decided to go public, Ramakrishna said.

"We went out and published the entire source code because what we wanted people to do, no matter the vendor, whether it could be a competitor of ours or not, is to check your software, make sure you don't have a situation like this, and if there is, clean it up," he said. "So while it was unfortunate that we were the subject of this attack, my hope is, by us learning from it, we can also help the broader community."

Even so, there are parts of this story that may sound familiar: missed opportunities, hints of a problem that were ignored, the failure of U.S. intelligence officials to connect the dots. Who would have thought a routine software update could launch a cyberattack of epic proportions?

"This was an intelligence collection operation meant to steal information and it's not the last time that's going to happen," Adam Meyers warned. "This is going to happen every day. ... And I think there's a lot that we all need to do to work together to stop this from happening."

 

7. FDD | America’s mission in Afghanistan isn’t accomplished

fdd.org · by Bradley Bowman · April 17, 2021

Excerpts: “Americans should understand that there is a real risk that civil war could erupt once the U.S.-led coalition withdraws, and we could eventually see a Taliban-controlled, al-Qaeda-influenced country bordering nuclear-armed Pakistan.

These threats won’t just go away once we leave. Rather than looking for the exits, then, the prudent course would be to view a modest U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, with troop levels roughly comparable to the coalition presence there now, as part of America’s enduring global military posture, a manageable investment in American security. To put it in perspective, U.S. strength in Afghanistan today is around 10 percent of the U.S. force stationed in South Korea.

Clearly, we must always ensure our troops have what they need to defend themselves and carry out their mission. And we certainly shouldn’t keep our service members in harm’s way a day longer than America’s interests require. Every military casualty is a tragedy, as is every death here at home from a terrorist attack. But given the continued threats in Afghanistan and the benefits of retaining a modest force there, the burden of proof rests with anyone — including members of Congress and the president — making the case to the American public that we can safely withdraw in September.

 

8. On foreign policy decisions, Biden faces drag of pragmatism

AP · by Aamer Madhani · April 17, 2021

And pragmatism is a bad thing?

Excerpt: "Yet, as this past week has shown, Biden is finding that when it comes to the painstaking process of statecraft, the drag of pragmatism can slow the sprint toward big-picture aspirations."

 

9. “I Felt Hate More Than Anything”: How an Active Duty Airman Tried to Start a Civil War

ProPublica · by Gisela Pérez de Acha, Kathryn Hurd, Ellie Lightfoot

Excerpts:Over two hours of interviews, Carrillo himself did not attribute any of his actions to mental illness. Instead, he forthrightly proclaimed his support for the Boogaloo Bois and repeatedly challenged what he views as misconceptions about the group.

“I just want to say, the Boogaloo movement, you know, there’s a lot in the paper that I feel like people don’t understand,” he said. “And that is the Boogaloo movement, it’s all inclusive. It includes everyone. It’s not a thing about race. It’s about people that love freedom, liberty, and they’re unhappy with the level of control that the government takes over our lives. So it’s just a movement, it’s a thought about freedom. It’s just a complete love for freedom.”

Meanwhile, as Carrillo sits in jail awaiting trial, his political evolution continues. In a letter he wrote to reporters in October, he referred to Joe Biden as a man who “sniffs kids,” echoing QAnon, a pro-Trump conspiracy theory that falsely accuses the Democratic Party of running a Satan-worshipping child sex-trafficking ring.

Carrillo’s defense lawyers declined to comment.

Amaya continues to stand by Carrillo. “I know him, and I think he can change,” she said.

On Christmas Day the couple exchanged vows through a video call from the Santa Rita Jail. “I love your lips, baby,” Carrillo told her.

She promised to love him “forever and always.”

 

10. Teacher in America's wealthiest county blasts Critical Race Theory

Daily Mail · by Andrew Court · April 17, 2021

 

11. Biden’s Afghan Pullout Is Risky Politics and Geopolitics

Bloomberg · by Hal Brands · April 18, 2021

The subtitle is an interesting question: "Are Americans so sick of the "forever wars" that they will put up with a resurgent terrorist threat?"  I guess only time will tell.

 

12. Biden's blinking red lights: Taiwan, Ukraine and Iran

Axios · by Dave Lawler

Excerpt: What to watch: Just about all that’s missing from this cocktail of crises is another North Korean missile test.

 

13. Afghanistan withdrawal will likely dismantle a CIA intelligence network built up over 20 years

CNN · by Zachary Cohen, Katie Bo Williams and Barbara Starr

I have to believe that we know how to adapt this network and protect it and continue to exploit it.  We cannot allow intelligence to be dependent on a military presence.  That said, our military presence is a double edged sword.  It provides opportunities for aggressive intelligence operations.  On the other hand, we developed networks and conducted operations that became dependent on the military presence.

 

14. West Point cadets expelled over worst cheating scandal in 40 years

CBS News · by Eleanor Watson

Again, this is so troubling.

 

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

 

"The mind is everything. What you think you become." 

- Buddha

 

"It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

   "The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity." 

- Amelia Earhart

 

DanielRiggs Sun, 04/18/2021 - 12:53pm
04/18/2021 News & Commentary – Korea

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

1. Opinion | How this Biden nominee can pull off a deal with North Korea where others failed

2. The Most Urgent North Korean Nuclear Threat Isn’t What You Think

3. South Korea’s No Good Very Bad Year

4. DNI: Cyber Is The Common Weapon Among Top Adversaries

5. Ruling or fleeing North Korea's hell

6. International human rights groups urge Biden to highlight rights issue in North Korea policy

7. S. Korean, Japanese activists, religious leaders urge US to change its N. Korea strategy

8. Kim Jong-un branded 'modern day Hitler' by furious North Korean defector

9. Kerry says U.S. intervening in Japan's water dumping is not 'appropriate'

10. U.S. lawmakers ask Korea to reconsider the anti-leaflet law

11. Court orders Tokyo to pay 'comfort women' legal fees

12. How to Stop North Korea From Becoming a Nuclear Weapons Superpower

13. North Korea's New Arduous March: What Biden Should Do (And Not Do)

 

1. Opinion | How this Biden nominee can pull off a deal with North Korea where others failed

NBC News · by Christine Ahn · April 17, 2021

I certainly hope the DEPSECSTATE does not adopt the Christine Ahn appeasement strategy.

I wonder why Ms. Ahn uses so many north Korean talking points.  Perhaps it is her connection to the north Korean United Front Department

But it is a real reach to assess the Perry Policy review proposals that would have led to a breakthrough even if Gore had won the 2000 election. The Perry Policy was a good test of the regime and the regime failed the test and from that point on we should have realized the nature, objectives, and strategy of the Kim family regime.

I certainly want peace, reconciliation and unification on the Korean peninsula.  However, we will never get there by appeasing the regime and allow Kim to successfully execute his long con, political warfare strategy, and blackmail diplomacy which is what Ms Ahn's advice will lead to if followed.

 

2. The Most Urgent North Korean Nuclear Threat Isn’t What You Think

carnegieendowment.org · by Toby Dalton

Spoiler alert: Proliferation.

We need to either aggressively implement the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) or develop a new program that will shut down proliferation. This must be conducted regardless of the status of negotiations with north Korea.  This is one of the most dangerous violations of the UN Security Council Resolutions and it must be enforced.  And to bet the horse more dead this is just another indication of the nature, objectives, and strategy of the Kimfamily regime and it is difficult to accept that the regime will conduct any negotiation in good faith as it continues its proliferation activities.

 

3. South Korea’s No Good Very Bad Year

inkstickmedia.com · by Mason Richey · April 16, 2021

A tough critique on South Korea and the pandemic.

And a sober conclusion: “Fortuna’s wheel will turn again, but South Korea has seen better days. Of course, the Lord helps those who help themselves, and the question is: “What can South Korea do to help its cause?”

The ship has sailed on fast-track vaccine procurement, so South Koreans will need patience until herd immunity. But the wait will be easier if the Moon administration shows humility in the face of popular anger and focuses on its original campaign pledge: Fighting corruption, helping the middle class and small business, and chastening the oligopolistic conglomerates dominating the local economy. On the foreign policy front, improving relations with the United States, an important ally, while focusing less on quixotic breakthroughs with North Korea would be a start. Placing more emphasis on effective participation in multilateral regional and global engagement could restore some lustre to South Korea’s fading star.

 

4.  DNI: Cyber Is The Common Weapon Among Top Adversaries

airforcemag.com · by John A. Tirpak · April 17, 2021

Including Kim Jong-un's "all purpose sword."

Excerpts:North Korea continues to see nuclear weapons as its guarantor of survival against foreign intervention and attack, and the intel community believes that Kim Jong Un thinks he will “over time … gain international acceptance and respect as a nuclear power.” He is apparently not swayed by pressures to change course in this regard. Kim is also building his conventional forces and cyber capabilities as further deterrents and coercive capabilities.

Haines said North Korea’s conventional military power will pose “an increasing threat to the United States, South Korea, and Japan.” Pyongyang paraded its growing missile capability in January 2021 and October 2020.

Although North Korea ended its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear weapons and ICBM testing in late 2019, it hasn’t conducted any new tests of such systems since.

“Kim may be considering whether to resume long-range missile or nuclear testing this year to try to force the United States to deal with him on [his own] terms,” the DNI said.

In cyber, North Korea “probably possesses the expertise” to cause “temporary, limited disruptions of some critical infrastructure … and business networks” in the U.S. and may be able to disrupt software supply chains. It has conducted cyber theft operations “against financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide,” and likely has gotten away with stealing “hundreds of millions of dollars,” which it‘s likely using to fund missile development, the DNI said.

 

5. Ruling or fleeing North Korea's hell

The Korea Times · April 18, 2021

I pay attention to Lee Seo-hyun (and her brother and father).  I recommend watching their YouTube channel for important and unique insights into north Korea.

Such as this insight: “Pyonghattans are the wealthiest people in North Korea, but they may also be the most watched people in the world. No matter where Pyonghattans are, at their organizations, at work, at home, they are being watched, and they know it. Every word and move is watched, even if they cry hard enough for the dictators. A higher position means higher levels of surveillance. It's very normal for Pyonghattan residents to have their phones and their homes tapped. I remember my mom and I whispering into each other's ears at home about Kim Jong-il having many wives. It's been six years since my family left North Korea, but my mom still sometimes whispers directly into my ears. And I remind her every time: "Mom! We're not in North Korea anymore!"

North Korea brainwashes us with propaganda and lies, tries to scare us about the outside unknown world, and makes it so difficult to escape. It puts one final barrier in our brains: guilt.

Once we learn how cruel the regime is, we realize what can happen to those left behind if we leave. It is another moral dilemma that the cruel regime forces on us with its "guilt by association" strategy of punishing entire families for the actions of one person.

 

6. International human rights groups urge Biden to highlight rights issue in North Korea policy

The Korea Times · April 18, 2021

We must have a human rights upfront approach.  I think those who advocate for focusing on denuclearization and setting aside human rights out of fear that it will prevent reaching denuclearization are mistaken.  We must not neglect the human rights of 25 million Koreans in the north. It is a moral imperative and a national security issue.

 

7. S. Korean, Japanese activists, religious leaders urge US to change its N. Korea strategy

Hani · by  Cho Yeon-hyun · April 16, 2021

You certainly can't argue with peace as an objective. But we must approach peace on the Korean peninsula with a realistic assessment of the nature, objectives, and straggly of Kim Jong-un and the Kim family regime.

These proposals for declaring the end of the war or establishing some kind of peace regime without radical changes to the military posture in the north are actually putting the region on a path to conflict.  As painful as it sounds, the status quo based on deterrence and defense is much more likely to prevent conflict than a premature end of war declaration.  Kim only will accept an end of war declaration if he thinks it can set the conditions for his successful strategy.  However, he is more interested in sanctions relief through coercion and blackmail diplomacy.  He certainly does not want an end of war declaration just for the sake of an elusive "peace". He does not seek peace.  He seeks domination.

Excerpts: ““Any political compromise that sets aside the issue of historical awareness will destabilize Korea-Japan relations and fail to bring about lasting peace in the region,” said the letter, which was reportedly sent to Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and the leaders of more than a hundred nonprofits and religious groups, representing Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims.

“We hope the Biden administration will consolidate its efforts to improve the relationship between the two Koreas, between Korea and Japan, and between Korean and the US by advancing the peace process on the Korean Peninsula. We also hope that Korea will not be included in the QUAD alliance that will strengthen the new Cold War system in Northeast Asia and strengthen the division system on the Korean Peninsula,” the KJ Platform said in its letter.

“We reiterate that an agreement to end the Korean War cannot be a diplomatic card calling for the denuclearization of the DPRK [North Korea]. This is ending the disastrous history of war and the history of division on the Korean Peninsula.”

 

8. Kim Jong-un branded 'modern day Hitler' by furious North Korean defector

dailystar.co.uk · by Michael Moran · April 17, 2021

This is a much different YouTuber who has become a successful capitalist with her sensational videos on YouTube.

 

9. Kerry says U.S. intervening in Japan's water dumping is not 'appropriate'

koreajoongangdaily.join.com · Sarah Kim

 

10. U.S. lawmakers ask Korea to reconsider the anti-leaflet law

koreajoongangdaily.join.com · Sarah Kim

Excerpts:Rep. Christopher Smith, a Republican of New Jersey and a co-chair of the commission, in his opening remarks labeled the South's anti-leaflet law the "anti-Bible and BTS balloon bill," noting that the balloons carry religious information and items related to Korean pop culture such as K-pop band BTS across the border.

 He said that he believes that the new law, currently under review by the Korean Constitutional Court, "unduly infringes upon freedom of expression under both the Korean constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."

 Smith added that the supermajority of President Moon Jae-in's Democratic Party (DP) in the National Assembly has "led to a gross overstepping of authority" and criticized the "harassment" of defector groups that send balloons to the North.  

 He continued, "But perhaps even more significant than the bending of the knee toward North Korea are efforts to equidistance Korea from the United States and toward China," as Washington has pressured Beijing over rights issues and its growing assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region.  

Smith added, "Korea must resume its commitment to civil and political rights in particular, and human rights in general."  

 

11. Court orders Tokyo to pay 'comfort women' legal fees

koreajoongangdaily.join.com · by Michael Lee

More ROK-Japan friction.

 

12. How to Stop North Korea From Becoming a Nuclear Weapons Superpower

The National Interest · by Doug Bandow · April 18, 2021

When did we last intervene in north Korea? Oh yes, in 1950-53 when north Korea attacked the South.

I do not think Mr. Bandow has any appreciation for our alliance structure and that we have built it to support our interests and not solely for the defense of allies.

But we should test the statement in the conclusion: Are we more secure in the US that at virtually any point in history?

Excerpts: Equally important, the United States must consider the price it is willing to pay to defend its allies. Especially in a world in which most of America’s friends are well able to protect themselves and are not critical to America’s survival. The only existential military threat facing the United States today is nuclear war. Thus, there is nothing more important for Washington than precluding, deterring, thwarting, or otherwise defeating such an attack. Which requires avoiding involvement in any war which the DPRK perceives as posing an existential threat, meaning any conflict with America.

Despite a world filled with conflict and upheaval, the United States is more secure today than at virtually any other point in American history. The primary dangers come from getting entangled in other nations’ conflicts, such as on the Korean Peninsula. The results were awful in 1950. If the DPRK creates a nuclear arsenal numbering in the hundreds, then the consequences could be cataclysmic for the United States, unless Washington abandons its interventionist addiction.”

 

13. North Korea's New Arduous March: What Biden Should Do (And Not Do)

The National Interest · by Ted Galen Carpenter · April 18, 2021

This is appeasement and will only cause Kim to double down on his long con, political warfare strategy, and blackmail diplomacy.  His proposal does not recognize the nature of the Kim family regime.

Excerpts: “Indeed, the Biden foreign policy team should adopt the opposite approach. Kim’s language conveys a tacit admission that North Korea’s chronic policy of self-isolation has not served the country, or the regime, particularly well. Minimizing interaction with the outside world did not even shield North Korea from the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.

That realization may well make Kim more receptive to productive negotiations on an array of issues. The Biden administration should seize that opportunity by making timely concessions and seeking to achieve some attainable goals. The demand for complete denuclearization, though, is not on the list of such goals; it remains, as it always has, a poison pill that terminates any prospects for constructive diplomacy.

A key timely concession would be the easing of economic sanctions. In addition to being one creative component of a wiser foreign policy, such a move would constitute basic humanitarianism—especially if North Korea is facing a crisis comparable to the horrible famine of the 1990s. That concession also would facilitate negotiations on other important issues.

 

-----------

 

"The mind is everything. What you think you become." 

- Buddha

 

"It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

   "The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity." 

- Amelia Earhart

 

 

 

 

DanielRiggs Sun, 04/18/2021 - 12:41pm
04/17/2021 News & Commentary – National Security

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

1. The Russia Bounty Story Was Always Murky

2. A Platoon Leader’s Takeaways from the Anti-Extremism Stand-Down

3. Remarks by President Biden and Prime Minister Suga of Japan at Press Conference

4. Ukraine’s Unconventional Warfare Plan to Resist a Russian Invasion

5. How Delta, Rangers, and the Green Berets' unique training would pay off in an Arctic war with Russia

6. The simple reasons online disinformation may never be fixed

7. America’s Come-From-Behind Pandemic Victory

8. 'A long way to go:' Why TikTok still has a QAnon and COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy theory problem

9. Unconventional Supply Network Operations: A New Frontier in Global Competition

10. Huawei was able to eavesdrop on Dutch mobile network KPN: Report

11. How State’s Disinformation-Fighting Arm Uses Artificial Intelligence

12. What America’s Vaccination Campaign Proves to the World

13. Norway to allow U.S. military to build on its soil in new accord

14. The U.S. Marines Just Gave Us a Preview of How They Would Fight China

15.  Eight cadets at West Point expelled for cheating, over 50 set back a year

16. US should accept that its FONOPs have political implications

17. Biden Delegation Pledges US Support for Taiwan Self-Defense

18. Hard strategic realities keep US and Japan apart

19. The Contradiction That Doomed America’s Mission in Afghanistan

20. Trump-era Efforts to Boost Military Readiness Produced Mixed Results, GAO Finds

21. Trumpism lives on in new thinktank – but critics say it’s ‘just a grift’

22. The Claremont Institute’s Counterrevolution to Save America

23. Opinion | How Kash Patel rose from obscure Hill staffer to key operative in Trump’s battle with the intelligence community

 

1. The Russia Bounty Story Was Always Murky

vitalinterests.thedispatch.com · by Thomas Joscelyn

Excerpts: “From the beginning, the U.S. intelligence community wasn’t really sure whether the Russians actually paid for any anti-American operations. In other words, they didn’t know whether the alleged bounty offers had any real effect.

...

The reality is that the U.S. intelligence community is inundated with “low to moderate confidence”-type reporting all the time. Why did the alleged Russian bounties deserve front-page attention? It’s natural to suspect that anything Russia-related stood out to officials during the Trump years, when the president was widely accused of being a Russian asset and a Kremlin hook could instantly hype any story.

...

Again, the U.S. government should be forward leaning when it comes to protecting American troops, especially as they are withdrawn from Afghanistan. But that doesn’t mean this story deserved all the attention it received.”

The more I think about this entire incident the ​more I think this was a successful information and influence operation to exploit the existing divide in our country as well as the gullibility of the biased press on one side of the political divide. And the biased press on the other side will make the same hay over these recent intelligence assessments.

 

2. A Platoon Leader’s Takeaways from the Anti-Extremism Stand-Down

fromthegreennotebook.com · by Connor Collins · April 16, 2021

This platoon leader answered the proverbial LT questions: "What do you do now, Lieutenant?" Agree or disagree with this him, he did something.

Conclusion: “Therefore I offer three simple suggestions for junior leaders to act on personally and with their units. Each one flows from my three main points. First, peruse the Constitution once a year and talk honestly with colleagues about its (in)significance to you. Second, talk politics and be prepared to listen to different opinions. And third–perhaps the hardest of the three–examine yourself as a citizen of the internet. If small unit leaders can do these things personally, and perhaps even encourage their subordinates to do the same, our military will be better prepared for the wide range of challenges it will face in the coming decades.”

 

3. Remarks by President Biden and Prime Minister Suga of Japan at Press Conference

Office of the President of the United States  • APRIL 16, 2021 

Key excerpts: Prime Minister Suga:

“On North Korea, we confirmed our commitment to the CVID of all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges, and agreed to demand North Korea to fulfill its obligations under Security Council resolutions.

On the issue of abduction, we reaffirmed that it is a grave human rights issue, and that our two countries will work together to seek immediate resolution by North Korea. Encountering North Korea, and for the peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific, both of us recognize that trilateral cooperation, including the ROK, has never been as important as today, and agreed to promote such collaboration.”

President Biden: “We committed to working together to take on the challenges from China and on issues like the East China Sea, the South China Sea, as well as North Korea, to ensure a future of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Again note the reference to UN Security Council resolutions as well as trilateral ROK-Japan-US cooperation on north Korea. Prime Minister Suga is "on message."

 

4. Ukraine’s Unconventional Warfare Plan to Resist a Russian Invasion

coffeeordie.com · by Nolan Peterson · April 13, 2021

The employment of resistance. Possibly to achieve unconventional deterrence (Robert Jones, Deterring “Competition Short of War”: Are Gray Zones the Ardennes of our Modern Maginot Line of Traditional Deterrence? https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/deterring-competition-short-war-are-gray-zones-ardennes-our-modern-maginot-line 

Here are some references that apply for those who want to look at the concept of resistance against revisionist powers. These provide the intellectual foundation for studying and understanding resistance.

JSOU: Resistance Operating Concept (ROC) by Otto C. Fiala Foreword by Major General Kirk Smith Brigadier General Anders Löfberg: https://jsou.libguides.com/ld.php?content_id=54216464

SOCEUR: Resistance Operating Concept: https://nsiteam.com/social/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/U-SMA-Brief-SOCEUR-Resistance-Operating-Concept.pdf

USASOC ARIS Project:

Resistance Manual: https://www.soc.mil/ARIS/books/pdf/resistance-manual.pdf

Science of Resistance: https://www.soc.mil/ARIS/books/pdf/science-resistance.pdf

Understanding States of Resistance: https://www.soc.mil/ARIS/books/pdf/understanding-states-resistance.pdf

Tactical Pocket Reference - Resistance: https://www.soc.mil/ARIS/books/pdf/tactical-states-reference.pdf

Resistance and the Cyber Domain: https://www.soc.mil/ARIS/books/pdf/resistance-cyber.pdf

 

5. How Delta, Rangers, and the Green Berets' unique training would pay off in an Arctic war with Russia

Business Insider · by Stavros Atlamazoglou

 

6. The simple reasons online disinformation may never be fixed

sciencefocus.com · by Nina Jankowicz

Depressing but probably accurate.

Excerpts: “I used to use the term ‘media literacy’, but now I talk about ‘information literacy’. Being information literate is broader than understanding how social media platforms work and how they target you. It’s about the whole ecosystem that a consumer of information online needs to understand to have the full context, like why am I being targeted with this?

In terms of how we fight this, there’s no easy solution. Fact checking people individually doesn’t work. People tend to stand their ground when they see something that tells them that they’re wrong.

I’ve found that getting into a conversation has some success. Ask them, “Why do you believe this article? What appeals to you about it?” Understand where they’re coming from and then hopefully equip them without saying, “you’re wrong.” Instead, we can say, “I know you care about child trafficking. Here is a better source than that.” And then, over time and with better evidence, they come to change their minds.

The emotional approach takes so much more time and energy, but it’s what you need to do to counteract disinformation online.”

 

7. America’s Come-From-Behind Pandemic Victory

Foreign Policy · by Hal Brands · April 16, 2021

Very interesting assessment from our Grand Strategy expert, Hal Brands:How much of this is a direct result of COVID-19? Probably quite a lot. National security hawks had been trying to convince Americans for years that China was a dangerous rival, but it was only during COVID-19 that the proportion of Americans who see Beijing as the country’s greatest enemy more than doubled, from 22 percent to 45 percent. In 9 of 12 countries surveyed, negative views of Xi increased by double digits between 2019 and 2020. Granted, international audiences also think the United States did a horrible job handling the pandemic. But the United States has an opportunity under new leadership to rebuild its credibility. Xi is not going anywhere, and the worst characteristics of China’s COVID-19 response—particularly the secrecy and vicious dishonesty that have been there from the start—are intrinsic to the Leninist, one-party system he runs.

In retrospect, COVID-19 may loom largest as the moment when Beijing, in more openly revealing its ambitions and tactics, also unintentionally helped to derail them. This argument may sound ridiculous after a year when the United States lost so many of its own citizens. And the United States hinges on its ability to make the most of the opportunities before it—after a period when the country’s reputation for pursuing the bold, positive policies that are needed today has itself taken a beating.

But COVID-19 would hardly be the only example of an international crisis that ultimately produced geopolitical outcomes at variance with first, or even second, impressions. The pandemic is not done tormenting the United States just yet. It is, however, moving into a new phase that is less likely to reveal a struggling superpower and more an impressively resilient one.”

 

8. 'A long way to go:' Why TikTok still has a QAnon and COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy theory problem

USA Today · by Jessica Guynn

These ideas are not limited to TikTok. I see them all the time on social media (and among "closed" Facebook groups!). And there are non-QAnon adherents who believe and further disseminate these ideas.

The latest QAnon and COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy videos on TikTok advanced debunked theories that members of the U.S. government are trying to “overthrow our constitutional government,” and that Bill Gates and Dr. Anthony Fauci caused COVID-19 to profit from it.

 

9. Unconventional Supply Network Operations: A New Frontier in Global Competition

realcleardefense.com · by Daniel Egel and Ken Gleiman

From two of my favorite unconventional strategic thinkers.

Conclusion: “Building cross-functional, multi-domain strategies, tactics, and organizational models designed to dynamically map, monitor, and then either manipulate or attack these complex, adaptive supply networks could be one of the next great challenges of international security. The United States lacks appropriate operational frameworks, strategies and tactics, as well as the accompanying advanced tools to, at speed and scale, gain the necessary forensic understanding for these operations.

 

10. Huawei was able to eavesdrop on Dutch mobile network KPN: Report

nltimes.nl

Sure, Huawei is not a security threat.

 

11. How State’s Disinformation-Fighting Arm Uses Artificial Intelligence

nextgov.com 

Technology is great and fighting disinformation is important but what about offensively getting our superior message out? Our values? Our desired American narrative? When are we going to be proactive instead of reacting and trying to counter the narratives of the revision and rogue power and violent extremist organizations?

But as Clint Eastwood said, "A man's gotta know his limitations." This is the most frank and honest and accurate assessment I have read by a US government official. Kudos to Mr. Kimmage.

“If I could really use one word to characterize the whole philosophical approach of the Global Engagement Center, its partnerships,” he added. “We realize that the U.S. government is, in most cases, not the most effective communicator with most audiences, and the U.S. government is not always going to be the most innovative, because there are all kinds of constraints in a big bureaucracy. So, what we try to do is identify and support partners who are at the cutting-edge of innovation, who are thinking creatively about what's going to happen next.”

So much of the activity GEC tracks is on digital platforms via technical tools. The center established a technology engagement team that works with the officials in the tech sector to identify innovative tools that could be put to use to combat the threats. They maintain a testbed and have biweekly demonstrations.

“We've reviewed over 200 tools,” Kimmage said. “We've done more in-depth testing on 25 tools and some of those are now being put to work by some of our partners.”

GEC also maintains an online platform and community of interest—disinfocloud.com—to connect with relevant stakeholders.

“We’re very eager to engage,” Kimmage said.

 

12. What America’s Vaccination Campaign Proves to the World

The Atlantic · by Anne Applebaum · April 10, 2021

Excerpts: “But an opportunity for the U.S. might lie precisely here, in the authoritarian drive to politicize the vaccines. The best answer to Russian and Chinese strongmen who offer thousands of vaccines to countries that say nice things about them is to flood the market with millions of American doses, helping everyone regardless of what they say about the U.S. or anyone else. After Trump, the American political system won’t win much admiration again anytime soon. But if American democracy is no longer a trusted product, American efficiency could be once again. Within a matter of weeks, a majority of American adults will have had their first dose of a vaccine. What if the U.S. then begins to pivot from mass-vaccinating its own citizens to mass-vaccinating the rest of the world? Americans can’t do social trust, but we can do vaccines, plus the military logistics needed to distribute them: planes, trucks, cold-storage chains. The best cure for propaganda and disinformation is real-life experience: If people see that the vaccines work, they will eventually get one. We can end the global pandemic, improve the economy for everybody, protect ourselves and everyone else, and create the relationships that can help us deal with crises to come.

The U.S. might even have an opportunity to turn a mass-delivery effort into something more permanent. If the World Health Organization has become too bureaucratic and too reliant on China to enjoy the complete confidence of the rest of the world, then let’s use this moment to build COVAX into something new, something more trustworthy: an institution that provides smarter delivery systems, more efficient biomedical cooperation, and links among production centers in Europe, India, Africa, and elsewhere in the world. Vaccine nationalism is small-minded, self-centered, and ultimately self-defeating, because COVID-19 will not cease to be a problem until no one has it. This is the moment to think big, the moment for generosity and big ideas. As our massive logistical investment in refrigerated transport begins to pay off, the question for Americans is not just how we can enter the game, but how we can change it.”

 

13. Norway to allow U.S. military to build on its soil in new accord

Reuters

Another issue for all the anti-US overseas base haters to protest over.

 

14. The U.S. Marines Just Gave Us a Preview of How They Would Fight China

19fortyfive.com · by Caleb Larson · April 16, 2021

 

15.  Eight cadets at West Point expelled for cheating, over 50 set back a year

USA Today · by Tom Vanden Brook

Oh no. Not again. But I suppose the military remains a microcosm of our society.

 

16. US should accept that its FONOPs have political implications

asiatimes.com · by More by Mark Valencia · April 17, 2021

Perhaps this is part of an IO campaign to show the US is not solely focused on "containing" China and is asserting FON rights regardless of the country. Of course I would hope this kind of action would be coordinated behind closed doors with India if that were the case

 

17.  Biden Delegation Pledges US Support for Taiwan Self-Defense

thediplomat.com · by Nick Aspinwall · April 17, 2021

Emphasis on "self?"

 

18.  Hard strategic realities keep US and Japan apart

asiatimes.com · by Andrew Salmon · April 16, 2021

Again to paraphrase Clint: "A country's got to know its limitations or the limitations of its allies."

 

19. The Contradiction That Doomed America’s Mission in Afghanistan

The New York Times · by Max Fisher · April 17, 2021

 

20. Trump-era Efforts to Boost Military Readiness Produced Mixed Results, GAO Finds

defenseone.com · by Elizabeth Howe

The question is do we need a new way to measure readiness? Or even to define what is readiness? And readiness for what?

 

21. Trumpism lives on in new thinktank – but critics say it’s ‘just a grift’

The Guardian · by David Smith · April 17, 2021

AFPI.

 

22. The Claremont Institute’s Counterrevolution to Save America

realclearwire.com · by Mike Sabo

Conclusion: By reasserting Americans’ control over their political institutions, Claremont seeks to help recover republican government.

 

23. Opinion | How Kash Patel rose from obscure Hill staffer to key operative in Trump’s battle with the intelligence community

The Washington Post · April 16, 2021

With all due respect to the many great young political appointees and civil servants serving in our government the Africa resource mission by the SEALs indicates how youth and inexperience can hinder real world operations and lead to tragedy.

Excerpt: “Anger toward Patel within the national security bureaucracy mounted after an Oct. 31, 2020, hostage rescue mission in Nigeria. The incident, never previously reported in detail, was described by four high-level sources.

It was a rescue mission that was nearly aborted partly because of inadequate coordination by Patel. SEAL Team Six had been assigned to rescue 27-year-old Philip Walton, a missionary’s son who had been kidnapped by gunmen in Niger, near the border with Nigeria. Patel, as a senior counterterrorism adviser, had assured colleagues that the mission had a green light, according to several sources. The SEALs were ready to parachute into the rescue site from high altitude (one source estimated 30,000 feet) when there was a last-minute hitch.

But as the SEALs were about to jump, military commanders and State Department officials realized that one necessary item hadn’t been completed: The Nigerian government hadn’t been informed prior to the operation inside their country, as required.

A frantic last-minute effort to obtain the necessary permission ensued. The SEAL team’s aircraft held over the target, flying in a racetrack pattern, for about 45 minutes while the State Department tried to locate a Nigerian national security official who could receive the official notice. Finally, just 15 minutes before the operational window closed, the Nigerians were given word, the SEALs parachuted down, and the hostage was rescued.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were angry that, in their view, Patel had prematurely said the operation was fully cleared, according to knowledgeable officials. One senior Pentagon official said he was “incensed” at Patel. A second senior Pentagon described Patel’s actions as potentially “dangerous” for the SEALs.

 

Young political appointees and civil servants would do well to remember General Schoomaker's adage: "Don't ever confuse enthusiasm with capability." This is also worth a read

 

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

 

“One can define their way to failure, but one must understand their way to success.”  

-Robert Jones

 

"I do not agree with a word you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

- Voltaire

 

“Having a strategy suggests an ability to look up from the short term and the trivial to view the long term and the essential, to address causes rather than symptoms, to see woods rather than trees.”
- Lawrence Freedman, Strategy: A History

 

DanielRiggs Sat, 04/17/2021 - 1:04pm
04/17/2021 News & Commentary – Korea

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

1. The Case for Maximizing Engagement With North Korea

2.  U.S.- Japan Joint Leaders’ Statement: “U.S. – JAPAN GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW ERA”

3. SOCKOR Dedicates Headquarters Campus After Medal of Honor Recipient

4. Suga says he is prepared to meet N. Korean leader Kim to address abduction issue

5. U.S., Japan committed to complete denuclearization of N. Korea: leaders

6. FM Chung, U.S envoy hold dinner talks on climate change cooperation

7. U.S. congressmen call for amendment of anti-leaflet law

8. North Korea Gives Extra Food to Veterans for Former Leader’s Birthday

9. What can Joe Biden do about North Korea that Trump didn't do?

10. Russian envoy says 'no famine' in North Korea, describes 'extra-harsh' COVID-19 restrictions

11. Is North Korea Returning to Diplomacy?

12. Kim Jong Un attends concert with North Korea's first lady

13. North Koreans don masks to celebrate birth of country's founder

14. 7 Years After Sewol Ferry Disaster, Bereaved Families Still Urge Government to Reveal the Truth

15. How South Korean Soldiers and YouTube Catapulted a K-Pop Girl Group to Fame

 

1. The Case for Maximizing Engagement With North Korea

38north.org · by Frank Aum · April 16, 2021

I am for engagement.  But first Kim has to want to engage.  Second, we have to have the right balance between engagement and protecting South Korea, seeking stability, stopping proliferation, halting global illicit activities, and putting pressure on the regime to halt its human rights abuses.  Third, engagement must be focused on a long term goal such as resolving the "Korea question."  Lastly, we must understand that engagement without pressure (and without accountability for malign actions) will be assessed as appeasement and success for Kim's long con, political warfare strategy, and blackmail diplomacy.

I am for engagement as long as we engage Kim Jong-un with the full understanding of the nature, objectives, and strategy of the Kim family regime.

I think the Biden administration is going to support engagement with its new Korea policy; however, it seems apparent that it is going to base the policy on the requirement for full implementation of all relevant UN Security Council resolutions. 

Conclusion: “To be sure, North Korea also has a say in whether engagement is possible. Its government faces significant constraints and sometimes can take months to respond to proposals. Also, Pyongyang—even more than Washington—can act cautiously out of fear. It often retreats into its shell during periods of crisis, like the current COVID pandemic, restricts the movement of foreigners and citizens to maintain strict control, and can sometimes create an inhospitable environment through its harsh treatment of foreigners suspected of threatening behavior. But just as often, North Korea is eager to engage, invite foreign delegations, seek meetings to discuss the potential for peacebuilding, and explore academic and scientific exchanges. The United States needs to be ready when North Korea reemerges from its COVID lockdown. Better yet, it should encourage the North’s reemergence by signaling a robust commitment to peace and engagement and reinvigorating offers for COVID assistance. As North Korea has noted, in a message of both warning and invitation, it will respond to the US based on “power for power and goodwill for goodwill.”

The future of US-DPRK relations is still to be determined. If the United States continues a policy of isolation and pressure, North Korea will likely remain a hostile and inscrutable security threat, a chronic hotspot draining attention and resources from other priorities, and, in the worst case, one miscalculation away from precipitating a nuclear catastrophe. By shifting to a comprehensive engagement policy, however, Washington could work together with Pyongyang to develop more nuanced understandings of each other, enhance mutual trust and reduce threat perceptions, manage and decrease nuclear and conventional risks, and cultivate the North’s ability to participate as a more responsible member of the international community.”

 

2. U.S.- Japan Joint Leaders’ Statement: “U.S. – JAPAN GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW ERA”

APRIL 16, 2021 • STATEMENTS AND RELEASES

Key excerpt: “The United States and Japan reaffirmed their commitment to the complete denuclearization of North Korea, urging North Korea to abide by its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions, and called for full implementation by the international community. We intend to strengthen deterrence to maintain peace and stability in the region and will work together and with others to address the dangers associated with North Korea’s nuclear and missile program, including the risk of proliferation. President Biden reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to the immediate resolution of the abductions issue.

The common refrain in all recent allied (and Quad) statements has been about implementing or abiding by all relevant UN Security Council resolutions which of course calls for the denuclearization of north Korea, et el (while mentioning the desire for the denuclearization of the of the Korean peninsula).

 

3. SOCKOR Dedicates Headquarters Campus After Medal of Honor Recipient

dvidshub.net

I am glad they are able to honor COL Howard this way.  I remember meeting COL Howard for the first time when he was the SOCKOR Commander in 1989. We were out training with the 5th ROK SF Bde conducting live fire training. And when he came to observe the training the range caught on fire and he was able to watch an ODA and about 100 Korean SF try to put it out over the next hour.

You should be able to access other photos of the ceremony and the HQ here.  

And for a truly incredible and inspiring story please read this about COL Howard: "How Colonel Robert Howard Got to his Medal of Honor Ceremony." 

 

4. Suga says he is prepared to meet N. Korean leader Kim to address abduction issue

en.yna.co.kr · by 변덕근 · April 17, 2021

But the regime would really have to come clean after all its lies to Japan about this issue.  Will it ever do so?

Interestingly, Japan is the only major country Kim has not met with in the region.

 

5. U.S., Japan committed to complete denuclearization of N. Korea: leaders

en.yna.co.kr · by 변덕근 · April 17, 2021

Through implementation of all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.

 

6. FM Chung, U.S envoy hold dinner talks on climate change cooperation

en.yna.co.kr · by 송상호 · April 17, 2021
 

7. U.S. congressmen call for amendment of anti-leaflet law

donga.com · April 17, 2021

And going beyond the amendment, the ROK/US Alliance should initiate a comprehensive, sophisticated, and holistic information and influence campaign focusing on the resolution of the Korea question, influencing the 2d tier leadership, and preparing all Koreans for unification.  But I know that is a naive wish. But one can dream.

 

8. North Korea Gives Extra Food to Veterans for Former Leader’s Birthday

rfa.org  · by Hyemin Son

Does the regime really think these actions make it look good?  Or that the people don't realize what an empty gesture this really is?

Excerpts: “The central government ordered local authorities to provide bonus food to veterans who were injured in the line of duty, or who fought in the 1950-53 Korean War, during which about 406,000 North Korean military personnel and 600,000 North Korean civilians were killed.

In the impoverished country where life expectancy for men is about 68 years, few veterans of that conflict are still alive, meaning most receiving this year’s food bonus are so-called “honored veterans”—former soldiers of any age who became disabled in the line of duty.

As North Korea reveres Korean War veterans, the authorities ordered that they be given slightly more food than the injured veterans, a point of contention for the latter group.

 

9. What can Joe Biden do about North Korea that Trump didn't do?

NBC News · by Ken Dilanian and Carol E. Lee · April 17, 2021

My recommendation: Play the long game and conduct a superior form of political warfare focusing on solving the Korea question, implementing all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, using a human rights upfront approach with a sophisticated information and influence campaign resting on a foundation of the strongest possible alliance deterrence and defense capability.

 

10.  Russian envoy says 'no famine' in North Korea, describes 'extra-harsh' COVID-19 restrictions

washingtontimes.com · by Guy Taylor

While there may not be a famine (at least not yet on sale of the Arduous March of 1994-96), the "extra-harsh" COVID 19 restrictions and their effects are what very well may cause internal instability.

 

11. Is North Korea Returning to Diplomacy?

thediplomat.com · by IsozakiI Atsuhito · April 16, 2021

We should remember that the concept of north Korean diplomacy (with Juche characteristics) is one of the long con, political warfare, subversion, coercion/extortion or blackmail diplomacy to establish the condition to achieve unification under the domination of the Guerrilla Dynasty and Gulag State to ensure survival of the Kim family regime.  So if it is "returning to diplomacy" we need to keep in mind what that means.

 

12. Kim Jong Un attends concert with North Korea's first lady

upi.com · by Elizabeth Shim

But no military parade.

 

13.  North Koreans don masks to celebrate birth of country's founder

Daily Mail · by Lydia Catling · April 16, 2021

Lots of photos at the link.

 

14.  7 Years After Sewol Ferry Disaster, Bereaved Families Still Urge Government to Reveal the Truth

thediplomat.com · by Mitch Shin · April 16, 2021

This is a wound that will not heal either in the Korean psyche or Korean politics.

 

15.  How South Korean Soldiers and YouTube Catapulted a K-Pop Girl Group to Fame

thediplomat.com · by Jenna Gibson · April 15, 2021

Soft power.

 

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

 

“One can define their way to failure, but one must understand their way to success.”  

-Robert Jones

 

"I do not agree with a word you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

- Voltaire

 

“Having a strategy suggests an ability to look up from the short term and the trivial to view the long term and the essential, to address causes rather than symptoms, to see woods rather than trees.”
- Lawrence Freedman, Strategy: A History

DanielRiggs Sat, 04/17/2021 - 12:44pm