06/05/2021 News & Commentary – National Security

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

1. U.S. UFO Report Doesn’t Explain Mystery Sightings but Finds No Sign of Aliens

2. America’s allies and enemies will take note of Biden’s low-priority defense budget

3. Pentagon to keep ban on Pride, most other flags from being flown on military installations

4. FDD | Al-Qaeda Is Still in Afghanistan, and It’s Fighting for Victory

5. Rome Could Be Washington’s Ideal Partner on China

6. Nations in Southeast Asia want peace and trade, not war

7. Mr. Xi, policies are more important than narratives

8. Countering China’s Intimidation of Taiwan

9. Gen. Charles Flynn, brother of former national security adviser, takes reins of US Army Pacific

10. Force Structure for the Future – Key Issues for the Army

11. Xi Jinping’s Tiananmen Vision for Us All

12. Taiwan’s foreign minister plays down threat of war even as tensions soar

13. China: Two Key Questions

14. Rare awards show Nigerien valor in 2017 ambush of Army Green Berets

15. Iran’s Proxies in Iraq Threaten U.S. With More Sophisticated Weapons

16. **CORRECTED** Episode 0008: Guest Tamara Cofman Wittes / Human Rights & National Security (The Smell of Victory Podcast by Divergent Options)

17. Biden seeks State Department budget boost, but ambassador nominations lag

18. Can Rockets Deliver Supplies to War Zones? Space Force, Air Force Aim to Find Out

19. The Army’s Legendary Little Bird Might Be Flying Away for Good

20. Afghan allies need immediate evacuation to avoid danger, lawmakers warn

21.  Tiananmen Square embodies Chinese people’s confidence, pride: Global Times editorial

22. Why the Wuhan lab theory inquiry will help Biden heal a divided America

 

1. U.S. UFO Report Doesn’t Explain Mystery Sightings but Finds No Sign of Aliens

WSJ · by Gordon Lubold and Nancy A. Youssef

One of the best quotes I heard on a news show from an expert is that if it looks like something a human being would imagine and construct it was probably built by a human being and not an alien.  

 

2. America’s allies and enemies will take note of Biden’s low-priority defense budget

The Hill · by Dov S. Zakheim · June 4, 2021

This is a strong critique: “America’s allies and friends will be watching carefully as Congress responds to a defense budget that, for the first time in many years, is not a top administration priority; so too, and far more ominously, will America’s enemies.”

 

3. Pentagon to keep ban on Pride, most other flags from being flown on military installations

The Hill · by Ellen Mitchell · June 4, 2021

Policies must be consistent and enforced.

As an aside, and I do not mean this as a partisan comment, this administration is not totally rejecting everything implemented by the past administration. I recently spoke to some government officials who noted there is quite a bit of policy continuity in a number of areas (though obviously we have seen rejection of some of the more controversial and high visibility policies). While there may be new names to policies many of the policies are very much along the lines of the previous administration’s.  Our career professional government officials can see the continuity.

 

4. FDD | Al-Qaeda Is Still in Afghanistan, and It’s Fighting for Victory

fdd.org · by Thomas Joscelyn · June 4, 2021

A sober (or somber) assessment.

Conclusion: “America’s military presence in Afghanistan is coming to an end. Nothing written here will change that. And there’s much to criticize with respect to how this war was prosecuted. But the U.S. should understand what it is leaving behind.”

 

5. Rome Could Be Washington’s Ideal Partner on China

realclearworld.com · by James Jay Carafano and Stefano Graziosi

Excerpts: “What the United States needs is more European partners to build toward a stronger consensus. Under a new government, Italy might help tip the balance.

For starters, Rome’s relations with Beijing are frostier these days. And there are more factors at play.

 

6. Nations in Southeast Asia want peace and trade, not war

SCMP · by Alex Lo · June 4, 2021

I would hope so. Who wants war?

Excerpts: ““They do not want to see a heightened US-Chinese rivalry in Southeast Asia,” he wrote. “Asean countries do not want to be polarised … and see [their] cohesion undermined. [They] are hoping that the Biden administration will lower the temperature, tone, and tension … and keep the rivalry manageable.

“It is in the national interest of Asean countries to maintain good relations with both the United States and China. They all want to extract benefits from both powers.”

They understand they will be living next to China for a long, long time.

 

7. Mr. Xi, policies are more important than narratives

japantimes.co.jp · by Kuni Miyake · June 3, 2021

Or actions speak louder than words. 

Excerpts:I sincerely hope Beijing is currently wiser than Tokyo was then. History may not always repeat itself, but it does rhyme sometimes. Will you continue to let your “Wolf Warriors” bark at international institutions, further discrediting your excellency’s People’s Republic of China?

Or can you bravely modify your policies and start pursuing an exit from this fruitless advancement of hollow narratives? If you start making deals with the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden, his professional men and women will surely understand and not let China lose face.

As I told you three years ago, “The lesson Tokyo learned in 1945 is that you cannot always win by fighting, but you can win by avoiding a fight.” Ultimately, it is your choice.

 

8. Countering China’s Intimidation of Taiwan

afsa.org by Robert S. Wang

From the Foreign Service Journal.  

Key point: “There are risks to maintaining the strategy of ambiguity as Chinese military power builds up in the coming years. First, this strategy will not reduce Beijing’s increasing assertiveness toward Taiwan and the region. From my own involvement in many years of negotiations with Chinese officials, it is my view that Beijing will see a U.S. effort to hang on to this strategy simply as a sign of weakness and fear, not clever diplomacy, and will seek to exploit this weakness by increasing the pressure and pushing for concessions from both Taiwan and the United States. I believe we are seeing this play out today. In time, the lack of a clear U.S. commitment will allow Beijing to succeed in sowing doubts about U.S. credibility—not only among the people of Taiwan, but in the region and the world as a whole.

Beijing will continue to escalate its military pressure as it senses uncertainty and weakness on the part of the United States.

 

9. Gen. Charles Flynn, brother of former national security adviser, takes reins of US Army Pacific

Stars and Stripes · by Wyatt Olson · June 5, 2021

I wonder when the change of command will take place in Korea.

I feel bad for General Fynn. Every article about him will have a comment or tie in to his brother.

Excerpt:Flynn — the younger brother of Michael Flynn, who briefly served as national security adviser under former President Donald Trump — took the reins from Gen. Paul LaCamera, who will move on to command U.S. Forces Korea.

 

10. Force Structure for the Future – Key Issues for the Army

realcleardefense.com · by Travis Wright

A focus on the Army National Guard.

 

11. Xi Jinping’s Tiananmen Vision for Us All

pjmedia.com · by Claudia Rosett · June 4, 2021

Few are as critical of China as Cluadia Rosett in such blunt writing (except perhaps Gordon Chang). She pulls no punches.

Excerpts: “But you can’t have both in Xi Jinping’s China, where in order for the Communist Party to keep control, wealth and power must be constantly segregated from any “misled” impulses toward freedom, democratic choice and individual dignity. These are affronts and threats to the party, whether they arise at home or as inspiring examples abroad.

 

Thus did China’s communists transform Tiananmen from a place of democratic hopes in the spring of 1989, to a heavily guarded showplace where the China’s communist can entertain dignitaries and parade the tanks and missiles with which plan to shore up plans for sharing their system with the world, like it or not.

 

Thus do we see China’s transformation of Hong Kong’s Victoria Park, on June 4, 2021, from a place for people to honor freedom and those who died for it, to an empty reflection of the nihilist core of Xi’s grand China dream: a vacant park, walled off by police, overlooked by state security, off limits to the humanity all that massive “national security” is officially supposed to serve. Next on the list is quite likely Taiwan, though Xi has made clear it’s not just East Asia, but a global order he aspires to lead along this path of “remarkable progress.” Unless we stop it, that’s the CCP’s China Dream, coming for us all.

 

12. Taiwan’s foreign minister plays down threat of war even as tensions soar

americanmilitarynews.com · by Jesse Johnson  · June 5, 2021

Excerpts:However, the top Taiwanese diplomat attempted to make clear that Taipei was first and foremost “absolutely committed” to its own self-defense, while also vowing to continue to re-examine with partners any security shortcomings.

“We need to engage with the United States in security discussions … to see what is the blind side of Taiwan that we need to improve upon,” Wu said. “So far, the discussions … have been going very well.”

Still, he emphasized that Taiwan views its defense as its own responsibility.

 

13. China: Two Key Questions

democracyjournal.org  · Sheena Chestnut Greitens · June 1, 2021

Analysis of the Biden Administration’s interim National Security Strategic Guidance (NSSG) regarding China.

Excerpts: “There two key questions that this strategy will have to address in the coming months: one about how regional allies and partners will respond to this strategy, and one about how China itself is likely to respond.

Democracy commonly plays a major role in American national security strategy, and under the Biden Administration, early national security strategy documents have framed democracy both as a core value and institution to be defended, and a strategic asset to be deployed. In Asia, that has meant a considerable focus on the challenges posed by China, and behavior by the Chinese party-state that has grown increasingly repressive at home and assertive or combative abroad. The key questions facing the Biden Administration in articulating such a strategy are how it will navigate collaboration with security and economic partners who are either undemocratic or do not equally prioritize democracy as a shaping force in foreign policy, and how to address the way that this framing will interact with a national security concept on the Chinese side that sees ideological security as an important objective and assertion of democracy and human rights as a potential offensive threat to that ideological security. In the years ahead, these two questions will do much to shape the outcomes of the strategy that the Biden Administration has proposed.

 

14. Rare awards show Nigerien valor in 2017 ambush of Army Green Berets

armytimes.com · by Kyle Rempfer · June 4, 2021

 

15. Iran’s Proxies in Iraq Threaten U.S. With More Sophisticated Weapons

The New York Times · by Jane Araf Eric Schmitt · June 4, 2021

Not so highly secretive.

Excerpts: “At least three times in the past two months, those militias have used small, explosive-laden drones that divebomb and crash into their targets in late-night attacks on Iraqi bases — including those used by the C.I.A. and U.S. Special Operations units, according to American officials.

 

Three days later, another drone struck just after midnight at an airfield in Harir, north of Erbil, that is used by the military’s highly secretive Joint Special Operations Command. The explosive-laden drone crashed, causing no injuries or damage, coalition officials said, but fueled the growing worries.

 

16. **CORRECTED** Episode 0008: Guest Tamara Cofman Wittes / Human Rights & National Security (The Smell of Victory Podcast by Divergent Options)

Divergent Options

A very interesting podcast. But I especially like the accompanying graphic on human rights. If it does not come through in the message please go to this link to view it.  

 

17. Biden seeks State Department budget boost, but ambassador nominations lag

americanmilitarynews.com · by Jacqueline Feldscher · June 4, 2021

Excerpt: “One area where Biden is getting it right is consistently messaging that his top diplomats have his full trust and speak for him, said Bradley Bowman, senior director of the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

“The trust that [the president]…demonstrates in his secretary of state is important. When Secretary Blinken shows up in this or that country, the first question that his interlocutors are going to ask is does this person have the trust and authority of the U.S. president,” Bowman said. “That matters, because that helps people decide whether they should take what Blinken says as serious and substantive.”

Still, Bowman, who spent nine years on Capitol Hill, worried about the proposed cuts to the defense budget, saying that diplomacy is at its best when it’s backed up by a strong military deterrent, especially against aggressive threats such as China, North Korea, Russia, and Iran.

“You can have the most eloquent communiques and press releases from Foggy Bottom, but if we’re learned anything over the years, it’s that Putin’s not impressed with diplomatic communiques. It takes hard power,” he said.

 

18. Can Rockets Deliver Supplies to War Zones? Space Force, Air Force Aim to Find Out

defenseone.com · by Tara Copp

Now this is a logistics concept we need to get behind. Game changer would not be a strong enough description.

Excerpt: “AFRL will look at whether reusable commercial rockets that can carry up to 100 tons of cargo could be used to deliver gear to a conflict in an hour or less. The Air Force is also considering the cargo for humanitarian missions and disaster relief.”

 

19. The Army’s Legendary Little Bird Might Be Flying Away for Good

Popular Mechanics · by Kyle Mizokami · June 4, 2021

Oh no! What a great little helicopter. Can it really be replaced by something better?

 

20. Afghan allies need immediate evacuation to avoid danger, lawmakers warn

militarytimes.com · by Leo Shane III · June 4, 2021

A bipartisan issue (at least among Congressmen who are veterans).

 

21. Tiananmen Square embodies Chinese people’s confidence, pride: Global Times editorial

globaltimes.cn  · June 4, 2021

Fascinating and bold propaganda from the Chinese Communist Party.

I wonder who is the target audience for this?

Unbelievable statements here: “If the incident 32 years ago has any positive effect, that is, it has inoculated the Chinese people with a political vaccine, helping us acquire immunity from being seriously misled. China underwent a “color revolution,” but wasn’t brought down by it. The leadership of the Communist Party of China has saved the fate of the nation at a critical juncture.

 

The Chinese people have the most say about this country and to define what the Tiananmen Square means. The Square nowadays is packed with visitors throughout the year. The flag-raising ceremony held here every day undoubtedly is the one that has attracted the most audiences in the world. The ceremony on October 1, the National Day, is particularly grand, and often attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators.

 

Tiananmen Square embodies the Chinese people’s confidence and pride in the politics of the country, and it is a symbol of China’s unity as well as the country’s independence and increasing prosperity. The Chinese public’s understanding of the incident 32 years ago has undergone a fundamental change. We laugh at those posturing “commemorative” activities and political stunts orchestrated by outside forces.

 

22. Why the Wuhan lab theory inquiry will help Biden heal a divided America

The Telegraph · by Leslie Vinjamuri

Excerpts:Public attitudes don’t determine China policy, but they restrict the space in which policymakers operate. Negative public attitudes towards China could make it harder for the US to achieve its purported goal to compete but also cooperate with China. A widely shared anti-China bias also means that careful stewardship is critical in securing a fact-based investigation.

The stakes couldn’t be higher, since China holds the key to tackling climate change and preventing future pandemics and US businesses remain keen to work in China.

There are other reasons to be sceptical of the significance of the US investigation. International agreement on the origins of Covid-19 will be harder to achieve on the basis of a national investigation alone, even one that UK intelligence officials are actively contributing to. The failure of the US Congress to agree to a Commission to review the Jan 6 attack on the US Capitol will not inspire international confidence in America’s commitment to independent investigation.

But the significance of a serious national investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, one that has been mired in partisan politics, is still a step forward for science and for democracy in the US.

 

————-

 

“Democracy alone, of all forms of government, enlists the full force of men’s enlightened will.”

– Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

“Democracy, like liberty, justice and other social and political rights, is not “given”, it is earned through courage, resolution and sacrifice.”

– Aung San Suu Kyi

 

“Conflicts may be the sources of defeat, lost life and a limitation of our potentiality but they may also lead to greater depth of living and the birth of more far-reaching unities, which flourish in the tensions that engender them.”

– Karl Jaspers

DanielRiggs
Sat, 06/05/2021 – 1:21pm

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