• Pentagon Leaks Suggest China Developing Ways to Attack Satellites – Here’s How They Might Work

    The recent leak of Pentagon documents included the suggestion that China is developing sophisticated cyber attacks for the purpose of disrupting military communication satellites. Disruption of civilian satellite communication would be disruptive, but disruption of military communication would be much more dangerous and debilitating.

  • World Military Expenditure Reaches New Record High as European Sending Surges

    Total global military expenditure increased by 3.7 per cent in real terms in 2022, to reach a new high of $2240 billion. Military expenditure in Europe saw its steepest year-on-year increase in at least 30 years. The three largest spenders in 2022—the United States, China and Russia—accounted for 56 per cent of the world total.

  • Militaries, Metals, and Mining

    The U.S. aerospace and defense industries need access to critical minerals. Securing these minerals today may be an even more-complex task than it was during the cold war: the task requires more than deploying audacious subterfuge, as the CIA did in the 1960s to get titanium out of the Soviet Union. These minerals are now very much in the public eye, and they are also needed for the clean energy technologies that will help combat climate change.

  • U.S., Taiwan Defense to Firms Explore Weapons Co-Production

    Defense contractors from the U.S. and Taiwan will next month resume in-person conversations to explore possibilities of co-producing weapons, a move likely to ignite protests from China. The Taiwan-US Defense Industry Forum will meet on May 3 in Taipei, with a focus on co-production, integrating Taiwan’s industrial capabilities, and a range of defense cooperation issues.

  • The U.S. Is About to Blow Up a Fake Warship in the South China Sea – but Naval Rivalry with Beijing Is Very Real and Growing

    As part of a joint military exercise with the Philippines, the U.S. Navy is slated to sink a mock warship on April 26, 2023, in the South China Sea. For its part, China is holding its own staged military event involving actual warships and fighter jets deployed around Taiwan. More than a century after President Theodore Roosevelt made the United States the preeminent maritime power in the Pacific, that position is under threat. China is seeking to displace it. The next time a warship is blown up in the South China Sea, it may not be just a drill.

  • Iraq: Twenty Years On, Two Narratives Emerge

    Twenty years on, discussions of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq offer two distinct yet incongruent narratives. Most, if not all, veterans of “Iraqi Freedom” tell an inward-facing story focusing on tactical and operational “lessons” largely devoid of political context. Meanwhile, Iraqi scholars and civilians look at the political and social upheaval, concentrating far more on the costs of war than on the supposed benefits of U.S. interventionism.

  • The Time to Prevent Shortfalls in Critical Materials Is Now

    Rare earth elements are—despite their name—everywhere. They’re in your cellphone, your car, maybe even in a crown in your mouth. They’re in satellites, wind turbines, night-vision goggles, laser-guided missiles, and fighter jets. All of which makes China’s near-total domination of the rare earth market a matter of economic and national security concern.

  • A Balancing Act: What to Do About Taiwan

    If one of the world’s liberal democracies were to be taken over by a neo-totalitarian superpower, what would this imply for the future of freedom in Asia? What should we make of China’s claims about Taiwan? Should the U.S. replace its current policy of “strategic ambiguity” with a more explicit commitment to Taiwan’s defense?

  • The Iraq Invasion, Twenty Years Later

    Last week marked the 20th anniversary of the United States-led invasion of Iraq. Code-named “Operation Iraqi Freedom” by the George W. Bush administration, the goal was to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, topple Saddam Hussein, and remake Iraq into a democracy. What lessons should we learn from the war and its aftermath?

  • Western “Self-Deterrence” is Aiding Putin’s War of Aggression

    Putin’s only viable strategy is to outlast Western patience by pursuing a bloody and brutal war of attrition. But the West should not relent in its support of Ukraine, becasue “Stopping attempts to change borders by force is the right thing to do, as the founders of the United Nations agreed almost 80 years ago. It is also a powerful signal to other ambitious autocrats who are eyeing their neighbors and dreaming of annexation through force,” Erlingur Erlingsson and Fridrik Jonsson write.

  • Surge in Arms Imports to Europe, While U.S. Dominance of the Global Arms Trade Increases

    Imports of major arms by European states increased by 47 percent between 2013–17 and 2018–22, while the global level of international arms transfers decreased by 5.1 percent. The United States’ share of global arms exports increased from 33 to 40 percent while Russia’s fell from 22 to 16 percent.

  • Taiwan’s High-End Semiconductors: Supply Chain Interdependence and Geopolitical Vulnerability

    What are the geopolitical implications of Taiwan’s dominance in global semiconductor production? How would the peaceful annexation or outright invasion of Taiwan by China affect the United States, its allies and partners, and the global economy? What are the United States’ options for mitigating or reversing the unfavorable effects of either unification scenario?

  • Australian Government Needs to Go ack to Basics to Build an Australian Rare-Earths Industry

    China has moved well beyond an aspiration to monopolize the production of rare earths. It aims for leadership in the production of the full range of goods making use of rare earths—from electric cars to wind turbines, MRI scanners, lasers and rocket motors.

  • Garland Would Not Object to Designating Wagner a Foreign Terrorist Organization

    Founded in 2014, the Wagner Group is run by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a sanctioned oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. With an estimated 50,000 fighters in Ukraine, the majority recruited from Russia’s prisons, the paramilitary force has become a veritable arm of the Russian military in Ukraine.

  • The U.S. Needs to Ditch Its America-First Approach to Critical Minerals

    More and more countries with advanced economies have begun to prioritize the supply and value chains for critical minerals and rare-earth elements because of their links with advanced and low-emissions technologies. In some countries, governments have responded to the critical minerals challenge by adopting a new version of economic nationalism. But unilateral responses will not produce secure or reliable supply chains. Indeed, economic nationalism may actually aggravate the problem.