News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Andrew Narloch

1. ‘Significant shift’: Trump driving ‘the Quad’ to unite against rising China threat

2. China’s embrace of hostage diplomacy is no idle threat

3. Marines vs. China – the Corps just put these tactics to the test

4. Is Esper’s New Plan for the Navy Enough for the Indo-Pacific?

5. Resource-Sustainable Counterterrorism in an Era of Great Power Competition

6. The Night that the Lights Went Out in Taipei

7. The Real Divide in America Is Between Political Junkies and Everyone Else

8. U.S. Diplomats and Spies Battle Trump Administration Over Suspected Attacks

9. Top Universities Took Billions in Unreported Foreign Funds, U.S. Finds

10. U.S. Spy Agency Warns That Chinese Hackers Target Military, Defense Industry

11. Exclusive: Indonesia rejected U.S. request to host spy planes – officials

12. Russia’s military intelligence is behind Olympics cyberattacks

13. The spread of conspiracies and disinformation by women on social media

14. Power in Asia in five charts

15. FDD | UN Secretary-General Condemns Iran for Human Rights Abuses

16. Revision of the Commandant’s Professional Reading Program

17. Analysis | Even if they haven’t heard of QAnon, most Trump voters believe its wild allegations

18. College students struggle to spot misinformation online as 2020 election approaches

19. How U.S. Spy Flights Against China Undermine the International Order

20. Gabbard Leaves Hawaii National Guard for California Unit

21.  Reinventing the Leader Selection Process

1. ‘Significant shift’: Trump driving ‘the Quad’ to unite against rising China threat

washingtontimes.com · by Guy Taylor

My comments below.  I think the Quad (and Quad Plus) is the right way forward for US and our mutual national security interests.  But I do not envision a MATO like structure and I would be cautious of comparing it to NATO.  We need an Asia-unique security architecture. 

2. China’s embrace of hostage diplomacy is no idle threat

Axios · by Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian

Hostage Diplomacy, Wolf Diplomacy.  What other names can we find to describe the PRC?  I would be cautious traveling to China these days.

3. Marines vs. China – the Corps just put these tactics to the test

marinecorpstimes.com · by Philip Athey · October 20, 2020

4. Is Esper’s New Plan for the Navy Enough for the Indo-Pacific?

warontherocks.com · by Mark Montgomery · October 21, 2020

From my FDD colleague. It is all about the “Benjamins.”  How do we fund it?  We need a strong, large, and extremely capable Navy. Conclusion: “Esper has described a naval force structure designed to deter, and if needed, defeat China, one that will be equally applicable to national security decision-makers in a Biden or second Trump administration, but he has left the critical question about how to fund it unanswered. The next administration will have to answer this question if it wants to prepare the military for great-power competition with China. In the meantime, Congress can immediately help the Department of Defense achieve some momentum on this by adding the second Virginia-class submarine back into the FY2021 budget and providing the offset from non-Navy funding. It will be an initial signal to Beijing that the United States will match its words with deeds.”

5. Resource-Sustainable Counterterrorism in an Era of Great Power Competition

Small Wars JournalKevin Bilms and Douglas A. Livermore-10/20/2020

Yes, change is hard. As the saying goes: “The only thing harder than getting a new idea into a military mind is getting an old one out.”Conclusion: Change is hard. But realizing the changes necessary to adopt a resource-sustainable approach to CVEO, as prescribed by the NDS IW Annex, does not have to be painful. The framework provided by the NDS IW Annex allows the Department to align its CT efforts more closely with other elements of the U.S. Government, and calls for enabling partner nations to assume their share of the burden. Meanwhile, it allows the Department to redirect its focus on returning to steady-state activities against state competitors. These directives fully align with the NSS and NDS. If implemented alongside the NDS IW Annex’s direction to institutionalize IW as a long-standing competency for DoD, these changes should position the Defense Department and the nation to compete against all challenges in an increasingly complex security environment.

6. The Night that the Lights Went Out in Taipei

Small Wars JournalBrent W. Thompson10/20/2020

Isn’t there a song about this?  Seriously we must beware of Chinese subversion and operations below the threshold of conflict.  Conclusion: “The United States has insisted it would assist Taiwan in the event of an unprovoked attack.55 It is much less clear what the United States would do if China were able to conceal its coercive behavior or competed at a level below armed conflict. The United States has long stated it supports peaceful unification of China and Taiwan.56 If China and Taiwan integrate under unclear or more-or-less peaceful circumstances, the United States may have little appetite to risk a bloody war to make a moral statement. In such a case, China would have fulfilled another adage from Sun Tzu: “To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”

7. The Real Divide in America Is Between Political Junkies and Everyone Else

The New York Times · by Yanna Krupnikov and John Barry Ryan · October 20, 2020

Well now this explains everything.  It puts it all in perspective 🙂

8. U.S. Diplomats and Spies Battle Trump Administration Over Suspected Attacks

The New York Times · by Ana Swanson · October 19, 2020

It is like everything else from Agent Orange to Gulf War Syndrome to burn pits.  Our government never seems to believe that those who serve our nation are victims and suffer either from our own mistakes or the attacks of our enemies.

9. Top Universities Took Billions in Unreported Foreign Funds, U.S. Finds

WSJ · by Aruna Viswanatha and Melissa Korn-Oct. 20, 2020

This pains me to read.  Why is Georgetown such a target?  Its School of Foreign Service is one of the largest contributors of graduate students to the intelligence community.  School is a good place to being cultivating long term relationships.

Excerpt: “The report said a school, identifiable as Georgetown University, has worked with the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, “derived $2,360,807” from an arrangement that demonstrated “significant intermingling” with China, and supported an academic exchange with Communist officials through the central committee’s Party School. A Georgetown spokeswoman said the school’s tax filings show a nearly identical dollar amount in expenditures in the region, but not gifts or contracts from foreign entities, and that the details in the report were “a bit puzzling to us.”

10. U.S. Spy Agency Warns That Chinese Hackers Target Military, Defense Industry

WSJ · by Dustin Volz

Should be no surprise but it is important to provide this information and “evidence.”

11. Exclusive: Indonesia rejected U.S. request to host spy planes – officials

Reuters · by Tom Allard · October 20, 2020

This is certainly a disappointment. I guess we have a ways to go to rebuild trust.

12. Russia’s military intelligence is behind Olympics cyberattacks

donga.comYoun-Jong Kim-October. 21, 2020 

The Russians target everyone.  I remember the attacks.  The question is how well did South Korea defend against them? It seemed like it was able to react and mitigate the effects quickly and pretty well. 

13. The spread of conspiracies and disinformation by women on social media

19thnews.org · Mariel Padilla-October 19, 2020

I admit this article caught me off guard.  I guess for some naive reason I thought men were more susceptible to conspiracy theories and responsible for spreading them. (though as the article notes even though more than half the spread on Instagram is caused by women, many do so unintentionally).

14. Power in Asia in five charts

lowyinstitute.org · by Alyssa Leng

There is a lot of data at this “power index.”  https://power.lowyinstitute.org/. Please go to the link to view the charts. I have to admit that the data and charts require some serious thought for understanding (at least for me!).

15. FDD | UN Secretary-General Condemns Iran for Human Rights Abuses

fdd.org · by Tzvi Kahn Research Fellow · October 20, 2020

From my  FDD colleague.

16. Revision of the Commandant’s Professional Reading Program

marines.milDavid H. Berger, General, U.S. Marine Corps10/20/2020

17. Analysis | Even if they haven’t heard of QAnon, most Trump voters believe its wild allegations

The Washington Post · By Philip Bump-October 20, 2020

I do not think this is accurate.  Although my “evidence” is anecdotal, most all of the Trump voters I know or observe on social media do not believe the QAnon conspiracy theories.

18. College students struggle to spot misinformation online as 2020 election approaches

USA Today · by Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY

We need our college students to do better.

19. How U.S. Spy Flights Against China Undermine the International Order

lawfareblog.com · October 20, 2020

Sigh.. We need to conduct ISR operations.  I think the PRC is doing a lot more to undermine the international order.

Conclusion:Despite U.S. denials and obfuscations, some spy flights may indeed violate international norms that are important components of the international order. Also, after years of persuasion, China finally agreed to the U.S.-proposed nonbinding Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea that strives to prevent incidents or their escalation. But if these latest allegations of flying false electronic flags are true, why should China abide by the code – or trust the U.S. regarding future “confidence-building” agreements? Indeed, the Global Times, a Chinese Communist Party sponsored newspaper, has reported that the agreement may be close to collapsing.If the suspicious flights do not violate norms, the U.S. should explain why they do not and release details so that neutral observers can judge for themselves. By not explaining its actions and apparently violating such norms in the South China Sea, the U.S. undermines its public policy campaign against China for doing the same.                                             

  20. Gabbard Leaves Hawaii National Guard for California Unit                                                

military.com · by The Associated Press · October 19, 2020          

21.  Reinventing the Leader Selection Process

HBRby Everett SpainNovember-December 2020

The Army gets its leadership assessed in Harvard Business Review.

——

“Big groups solve small problems; whereas small groups solve big problems, and guess what?  We have a lot of big problems.”

– Adrian Bogart

“The freedom to criticize ideas, any ideas – even if they are sincerely held beliefs – is one of the fundamental freedoms of society.”

– Rowan Atkinson

“Have you ever stopped to ponder the amount of blood spilled, the volume of tears shed, the degree of pain and anguish endured, the number of noble men and women lost in battle so that we as individuals might have a say in governing our country? Honor the lives sacrificed for your freedoms.”

– Richelle E. Goodrich

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