How to Avoid Nuclear Escalation in the Middle East | The Strategic Battle to Secure Undersea Cables | Bibi's Post-War Plan, and more

Navigating the Depths: The Strategic Battle to Secure Undersea Cables  (Nima Khorrami, National Interest)
The crisis in the Red Sea, highlighted by Houthi assaults on commercial ships and Iran’s proxy strategies, also brings to light the critical issue of undersea cables’ vulnerability. These cables are essential for EU-Asia digital communication and trade, and their disruption could severely impact the global economy and EU’s economic security. The article discusses the strategic importance of these cables, the limited repair capacities within the EU, the geopolitical challenges of cable maintenance, and the straightforward methods by which such cables can be targeted. It underscores the necessity for comprehensive maritime security that includes undersea cable protection, urging a unified NATO approach and the exploration of alternative data routes through the Arctic for enhanced digital resilience.

Bibi’s Post-War Plan: No Reconstruction in Gaza without Demilitarization  (Barak Ravid, Axios)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s post-war plan for Gaza, which was unveiled Thursday, doesn’t rule out a role for the Palestinian Authority and stresses Israel will only allow reconstruction to take place after the enclave is demilitarized.
It’s the first time Netanyahu has presented any written position on his plans for the day after the war in Gaza. But the principles laid out in Thursday’s document are short on concrete details and largely based on Netanyahu’s public statements from the last few months.

Taiwan’s Wait for $19 Billion in US-Made Weapons Compounds China Threat  (Micah McCartney, Newsweek)
Taiwan is waiting on the U.S. for nearly $20 billion worth of arms sales as the gap between the self-ruled island’s and China’s military capabilities continues to widen.
Just over 57 percent of this backlog is comprised of “traditional” weapons like tanks, U.S. think tank the CATO Institute said on Monday about the $19.2 billion in weapons still outstanding as of last month. “Asymmetric” weapons like HIMARS rocket launchers make up 28 percent, and “munitions” account for the remaining 14.9 percent.
American industrial capacity has been overextended by arms shipments to Ukraine to aid in its defense against Russia, as well as to Israel for its offensive in Gaza. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has said getting the approved weapons platforms into Taiwan’s hands is a priority.
Some analysts have said not enough is being done to gird Taiwan for a potential invasion as China, which has vowed to annex the self-ruled island—through force if necessary—continues its rapid military buildup.

Chinese ‘Monster’ Ship Keeps Pressure on Vietnam’s Oil Fields  (RFA)
China Coast Guard ship 5901, known as “The Monster” for its size, has returned to the waters near Vanguard Bank in the South China Sea, where Vietnam has some important oil and gas fields.
The 12,000-ton CCG 5901, currently the world’s largest coast guard vessel, switched on its AIS, or automatic information system, on Feb. 20 near the bank, a known South China Sea flashpoint between Vietnam and China.
Data provided by the Marine Traffic website, which uses AIS signals to track ships, shows it is still at the location.
While conducting “intrusive patrols among Vietnam’s offshore oil & gas fields,” the Chinese ship is being shadowed by Vietnam’s fisheries surveillance vessel Kiem Ngu 261, said Ray Powell, director of the U.S.-based SeaLight project, who was the first to spot it.

Return of the Triptiz Trap: Is Indian Ocean Becoming Another South China Sea?  (Punsara Amarasinghr, Modern Diplomacy)
Chinese territorial expansion is often viewed as the modern-day equivalent of the British East Indian Company by many Western critics. The robust presence of Chinese vassals in the Indian Ocean under the guise of different purposes is akin to how China began its grip over the South China Sea. China gazes both the Pacific and Indian oceans with equal importance as Beijing strives to secure the chain of maritime routes. The imperative of both the Indian and Pacific oceans was first coined by the German geopolitical thinker Karl Haushofer in 1920, with the academic reference “ Indopazifscher Raum” ( Indo-Pacific Space ). On the whole, the security aspirations of the US and China have grown in the Indo-Pacific regions due to the mutual threat perception. The very reason that leverages Chinese interest in the Indian Ocean is not different from their interest in the Pacific Ocean as both oceans play a crucial role in China’s quest to emerge as the next superpower.
A careful observer would identify the growing security dynamics in the Indian Ocean are encompassing the Indian subcontinent and the problem confronting the Indian Ocean cannot be addressed by aggression as it could worsen the consequences. The most recent incident, which made a stir in the regional security architecture was the visit of China’s research ship Xiang Yang Hong 03 in Maldives. Chinese ship was granted the permission by Maldives as China affirmed the position of the ship for a peaceful purpose and aimed at contributing to the scientific understanding of the ocean. Visit of Xiang Yang Hong 03 is connected with the growing Sino-Maldivian pact after the election of Maldives new president Mohamed Muizzu, who recently completed a successful visit in China. Maldives tilt towards China hampers Indian regional security framework in the Indian Ocean by adding one more burden to its security concern. From a vantage point, the deviation of Maldives from Delhi’s orbit resembles how Sri Lanka developed a rapport with China under Rajapaksa regime, which resulted in a formidable Chinese presence in India’s backyard.
The Chinese sphere of influence has now enlarged and gradually altered the Indian Ocean space by making a fiasco for Indo-US strategic partnership. Maldives’ decision to welcome Zian Yang Hong 03 brought its subsequent effects within a few days as India arrested a group of fishermen from Maldives within their own Exclusive Economic Zone indicating India’s rage. In the Sri Lankan front, an Indian Navy Submarine INS Karanj arrived in Colombo port ahead of Sri Lankan independence marking its first overseas port call since its commissioning.  The visit of INS Karanj is timed to coincide with Colombo’s decision to ban Chinese research vassals from docking at its ports or operating within its Executive Economic Zone, for one year, which came into effect after the request made by the apex diplomatic channels in New Delhi.
Before his demise, Kissinger warned that if present US-China tension continues, world will slide into a situation similar to World War 1. The history shows how German naval expansion irked Britain paving the path for the Great War and the current Chinese naval ambitions are tantamount to the Triptiz Trap faced by Imperial Germany under Kaiser in the early 20th century.