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

1.  How China’s Digital Silk Road Is Leading Countries Away from the United States

2.  Who Should Lead Paramilitary Operations? – Picking the Right Fight

3. U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress Updated February 22, 2021

4. Pressure mounts on Beijing in the South China Sea

5. Get More Americans Working at the United Nations

6. Can the US under Biden change the UNHRC? – opinion

7. China’s Weaponization of Rare Earths Is Bound to Backfire

8. Secretary Blinken: Remarks at the High-Level Segment of the Conference on Disarmament

9. George Kennan and the Long Telegram – 75th Anniversary

10. Pentagon Gives A Glimpse Of Special Forces’ Secret Hand-Launched Jammer Drone

11. Why the Kremlin’s Anti-Navalny Strategy Just Might Work

12. Don’t Knock Yourself Out: How America Can Turn the Tables on China by Giving Up the Fight for Command of the Seas

13. A New African Counter-Terrorism Strategy: An Opportunity For Biden Administration

14. The Burning City Upon a Hill

15. Four Flashpoints in the China-U.S. Cold War

16. German special forces mistaken for terrorists after training mix-up in Arizona

17. Pentagon budget must prioritize the Navy, Air Force and cyber, lawmakers say

18. Elements of first HIMARS long-range rocket launcher arrived in Romania

19. The One Area Where the US COVID-19 Strategy Seems to Be Working

20. A Simple Way to Reduce Polarization: Learn the Other Side Thinks of You in Surprisingly Positive Ways

21. Americans’ Lust To ‘Cancel’ One Another Should Spark Soul Searching

 

1.  How China’s Digital Silk Road Is Leading Countries Away from the United States 

defenseone.com · by Patrick Tucker

I hate to beat a dead horse but this article seems to illustrate much of this statement: China seeks to export its authoritarian political system around the world in order to dominate regions, co-opt or coerce international organizations, create economic conditions favorable to China alone, and displace democratic institutions.

How China’s Digital Silk Road Is Leading Countries Away from the United States

 

2. Who Should Lead Paramilitary Operations? – Picking the Right Fight

Small Wars Journal · Ian McConnell

 

3. U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress Updated February 22, 2021

Small Wars Journal· February 22, 2021

 

4. Pressure mounts on Beijing in the South China Sea

asiatimes.com · by Richard Javad Heydarian · February 23, 2021

Excerpts:

“Beijing’s new maritime law has provoked outrage among US’ allies in Asia, since it calls on China’s massive fleet of coast guard forces, along with auxiliary paramilitary vessels, to use “all means necessary,” including shooting at “intruders,” across the contested waters.

The latest moves by the US in the contested area came on the heels of US President Joe Biden’s characterization of the Asian powerhouse as America’s “most serious competitor” because of its allegedly direct assault on the post-World War II “global governance” structures established under Washington’s leadership.

Though expressing his openness to “work with China when it benefits the American people,” the new US president has largely adopted the former Trump administration’s agency.’

 

5. Get More Americans Working at the United Nations

realclearworld.com · by Morgan Lorraine Viña

I do think it would be good to have more Americans working at the UN in the right capacities of course.

But keep in mind the UN oath:

“As UN staff members, the UN Charter calls on us to uphold the highest levels of efficiency, competence and integrity. This commitment is reflected in the Oath of Office we all took when we began our UN careers:

I solemnly declare and promise to exercise in all loyalty, discretion and conscience the functions entrusted to me as an international civil servant of the United Nations, to discharge these functions and regulate my conduct with the interests of the United Nations only in view, and not to seek or accept instructions in regard to the performance of my duties from any Government or other source external to the Organization. I also solemnly declare and promise to respect the obligations incumbent upon me as set out in the Staff Regulations and Rules.”

 

6. Can the US under Biden change the UNHRC? – opinion

Jerusalem Post· by Itzhak Levanon · February 22, 2021

This Is the key question: can we do more from the inside or more by withdrawing not only our participation but our funding as well?

Excerpts:

“Two steps, if taken, will allow both the US and Israel to live in peace with the council. The first is to annul the article which singles Israel out for criticism. Israel shall be equal to all members of the UNHRC. Like all others, Israel will face the scrutiny of the council – fairly.

The second step would be to change the process of the election of members of the council for three years. Today this election takes place on a regional basis. Instead, the countries should be elected on their merits, their performance in regard to human rights. That way, we will put an end to the farce that rogue countries such as Syria, Iran, Cuba and others sit without impunity on the stage of the council.”

 

7.  China’s Weaponization of Rare Earths Is Bound to Backfire

Bloomberg · by David Fickling · February 22, 2021

“That which does not kill me makes me stronger.”

 

8. Secretary Blinken: Remarks at the High-Level Segment of the Conference on Disarmament

geneva.usmission.gov · by U.S. Mission Geneva

 

9. George Kennan and the Long Telegram – 75th Anniversary

nsarchive.gwu.edu · February 22, 2021

Yesterday was the anniversary.

 

10. Pentagon Gives A Glimpse Of Special Forces’ Secret Hand-Launched Jammer Drone

Forbes · by David Hambling · February 18, 2021

 

11. Why the Kremlin’s Anti-Navalny Strategy Just Might Work

The Moscow Times · by Alexander Baunov · February 18, 2021

Published in the Moscow Times.

 

12. Don’t Knock Yourself Out: How America Can Turn the Tables on China by Giving Up the Fight for Command of the Seas

warontherocks.com · by Paul van Hooft · February 23, 2021

Interesting thesis and conclusion:

“Finally, if the United States continues to want to actively uphold deterrence and reassurance in the Western Pacific, it should prepare for a war of attrition. The United States needs more shooters rather than more ships. Some of the proposed measures in the tri-service strategy go in that direction, specifically putting “greater numbers of distributable capabilities over fewer exquisite platforms,” relying more on unmanned vehicles, and investing in sealift and logistics. Yet, stand-off weapons alone will not suffice to reassure without a simultaneous land-based physical presence to address the asymmetry in stakes. The United States would need to accept its vulnerability over a prolonged period of time to demonstrate its willingness to incur costs, or simply to ensure it has enough forces and materiel in the region. Indeed, the new defense secretary seems to believe that more bases are required. Dispersion across more locations within the region, as well as mobile launchers, would increase the survivability of U.S. forces without lowering the American stake in the region. However, it remains unclear whether the American public would or should accept such risks.

In short, the United States should not trap itself by framing the rise of China as an existential struggle between two titans that depends on the United States retaining command of the Western Pacific. Continuing on the current path allows China to focus all of its capabilities in its backyard, while the alternative forces China into solving multiple problems. In any case, the United States should avoid placing all its bets on a decisive confrontation or one where escalation is unpredictable. Against a near-peer competitor that can bring both its land- and sea-based assets to bear, this is unnecessary and too great a risk. The American ship would be a fool to fight a Chinese fort.”

 

13. A New African Counter-Terrorism Strategy: An Opportunity For Biden Administration

breakingdefense.com · by Murielle Delaporte

Excerpts:

“The Biden Administration could increase its support for the G5 Joint Force in Sahel, a fully-owned African solution that demonstrates how Western and African forces can work together to not only contain, but eradicate terrorist violence and control illegal trafficking. Western boots on the ground could simply lead to another endless war; ending Western engagement in the region would only fuel terrorism in Africa, Europe and beyond.

As the new administration reviews its military footprint under Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin supervision (including probably the consolidation of U.S. Army Europe and U.S. Army Africa into a new command called U.S. Army Europe and Africa – USAREUR-AF – announced last November and planned for the end of 2022), the lessons learned from relying on local forces who have the best knowledge of the contingencies they face on territories they know intimately should be brought to light.

Supporting a toolset such as the G5 Joint Force in Sahel constitutes in that sense a genuine springboard for future transnational stability, accountability and peace, as its main focus is cross-border operations coordination, the key to defeating the terrorist group’s current strategy.”

 

14.  The Burning City Upon a Hill

warontherocks.com · by Hilde Eliassen Restad · February 23, 2021

Quite provocative.

Conclusion:

“The United States is neither John Winthrop’s “city upon a hill” nor Reagan’s “shining city.” Rather, it is a burning city on a hill. While that was always the case to some extent at home, rarely did the fire spread to U.S. foreign policy. The bipartisan foreign policy consensus that characterized much of post-World War II U.S. foreign policy lies now in ashes. While it was probably time to end this historical era of U.S. foreign policy, the question becomes: Now what? By the time the United States figures out how to build back a better foreign policy, the rest of the world may have moved on.”

 

15.  Four Flashpoints in the China-U.S. Cold War

Bloomberg · by Hal Brands · February 22, 2021

An interesting grouping.

A sobering conclusion:

“Finally, the U.S. faces a harder road in this contest than many Americans realize. China’s global favorability ratings have taken a swan dive due to its role in the Covid-19 epidemic and the brutish tendencies of the Communist regime. But Beijing wields a combination of economic carrots and coercive sticks more impressive than anything the Soviet Union commanded; it has made inroads not simply with developing countries but with some of America’s key allies.

“We are in the midst of a fundamental debate about the future direction of our world,” Joe Biden declared at last week’s Munich Security Conference, between rival superpowers that represent rival systems of government. For generations, America has been an unbeatable competitor because it leads a free-world posse that gives it a preponderance of global power. Yet if Washington can’t keep the pivotal states onside in the coming years, it may get a bitter education in what it is like to lose a great-power rivalry.”

 

16. German special forces mistaken for terrorists after training mix-up in Arizona

news.yahoo.com · by Justin Huggler · February 22, 2021

Oops.  But at least people are being vigilant.

 

17. Pentagon budget must prioritize the Navy, Air Force and cyber, lawmakers say

Defense News · by Joe Gould, David Larter · February 22, 2021

 

18. Elements of first HIMARS long-range rocket launcher arrived in Romania

actmedia.eu · by ACTMedia – Romanian Business News· February 22, 2021

Excerpt:

“Having in view the diversity of situations in which the Romanian Army must participate with troops, both on the national territory and particularly abroad, equipping the structures of the Land Forces Staff with high-performance enhanced-capability support means specific to both classical and unconventional warfare is a must. The long-range multiple rocket launching system is capable of providing combat support both during the participation of the forces in military actions, as well as during the training process. The multiple rocket launcher systems, which are an important part of the ground artillery system, will act independently or integrated with the other systems for the accomplishment of the missions,” the National Defense Ministry states.”

 

19. The One Area Where the US COVID-19 Strategy Seems to Be Working

defenseone.com · by Olga Khazan · February 22, 2021

 

20. A Simple Way to Reduce Polarization: Learn the Other Side Thinks of You in Surprisingly Positive Ways

allsides.com· by Rolf Hendriks · February 22, 2021

A public service announcement!

 

21. Americans’ Lust To ‘Cancel’ One Another Should Spark Soul Searching

Reason · by Liia Galimzianova · February 19, 2021

 

——–

 

“Americans need to face the truth about themselves, no matter how pleasant it is.”

– Jeane Kirkpatrick

 

“I disapprove of what you say,

but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” 

– S.G. Tallentyre

 

“You didn’t wait six months for a feasibility study to prove that an idea could work. You gambled that it might work. You didn’t tie up the organization with red tape designed mostly to cover somebody’s ass. You took the initiative and the responsibility. You went around end, you went over somebody’s head if you had to. But you acted. That’s what drove the regular military and the State Department chair-warmers crazy about the OSS.” 

– William Casey on the OSS

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