Op-Ed

A New Military Strategy for Japan

Eric Heginbotham and Richard Samuels Foreign Affairs

Japan confronts an increasingly difficult security environment. Despite the current media attention on North Korea, a very real but largely one-dimensional nuclear threat, Japanese strategists are concerned primarily with the broader and more multidimensional challenge posed by the rise of China and its territorial ambitions in the East China Sea.

What the G7 Fiasco Means for Japan

Mina Pollmann The Diplomat

Japan’s goals — maintaining the U.S.-Japan alliance and upholding the liberal international order — have never been more at odds.

Japan and the Shangri-La Dialogue

Mina Pollmann The Diplomat

At this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue, Japan could rest assured that – with the twin foci on reintroducing the “Indo-Pacific” concept and spotlighting Chinese rule-breaking behavior (as Ankit covers excellently here) – many of its concerns are shared by the rest of the region and the world. Maritime issues were front and center in many of Japan’s sideline meetings, including the trilateral meeting with the United States and Australia on Saturday and with the U.S. and South Korea on Sunday.

Between Two Caesars: The Christians of Northern Iraq

Roger Petersen and Matthew Cancian Providence

Religious and ethnic minorities live a precarious existence during civil wars. In a war between the incumbent state and an insurgent challenger, minority group leaders may pick one side over the other. However, if they choose the loser they will be open to charges of collaboration and become vulnerable targets of vengeance.

The Rise of Illiberal Hegemony

Barry R. Posen Foreign Affairs

Grand strategy is a slippery concept, and for those attempting to divine the Trump administration’s, its National Security Strategy—a word salad of a document—yields little insight. The better way to understand Trump’s approach to the world is to look at a year’s worth of actual policies.

With friends like these: Japan-ROK Cooperation and US Policy

Eric Heginbotham & Richard Samuels The ASAN Forum

Heginbotham and Samuels 1) briefly assess the record of security cooperation since North Korea’s 2006 nuclear test and how the discontinuation of the Six-Party Talks in 2009 highlighted the growing gravity of the threat, 2) examine several areas of underperformance, and 3) close by recommending measures that may, at the margins, improve the prospects for meaningful cooperation.

South Africa's Healthy Democracy: Why Zuma's Resignation Is a Good Sign

Daniel de Kadt, Evan Lieberman, and Philip Martin Foreign Affairs

Democracy in South Africa is in tatters. Or at least that’s the widespread view following President Jacob Zuma’s forced resignation on February 14, which ended his almost-nine-year tenure in office.

The Price of War With North Korea

Barry R. Posen The New York Times

During his first official trip to Asia last month, President Trump issued a stern warning to North Korea: “Do not underestimate us. And do not try us.” But for his part, Mr. Trump should not underestimate the steep human cost of initiating a war against Pyongyang.

Why Zimbabwe's Military Abondoned Mugabe

Philip Martin Foreign Affairs

In 2016, when Zimbabwe was rocked by a summer of protests and a social movement gone viral, I argued in Foreign Affairs that the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) was unlikely to break ranks with President Robert Mugabe and his ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).

What Political Science Tells Us About the Risk of Civil War in Spain

Sara Plana War on the Rocks

Observers should not fall into the mistake of underestimating the prospects of civil war — as many were wont to do before the last major civil war on the European continent, over twenty years ago in the former Yugoslavia. In fact, political science research suggests there are more reasons to be pessimistic than optimistic. The political and economic dynamics of the standoff between Spain and Catalonia portend the worst-case scenario of civil war.

Deadly Overconfidence: Trump Thinks Missile Defenses Work Against North Korea, and That Should Scare You

Vipin Narang and Ankit Panda War on the Rocks

Could a president’s overconfidence in U.S. defensive systems lead to deadly miscalculation and nuclear armageddon? Yes. Yes, it could. Last Wednesday, referring to potential American responses to North Korea’s missile and nuclear program, President Donald Trump told Sean Hannity “We have missiles that can knock out a missile in the air 97 percent of the time, and if you send two of them it’s gonna get knocked out.” If Trump believes — or is being told — that American missile defenses are that accurate, not only is he factually wrong, he is also very dangerously wrong. This misperception could be enough to lead the United States into a costly war with devastating consequences.

What a Nuclear Launch Might Look Like

Vipin Narang and Ankit Panda War on the Rocks

A new nuclear state, in a major crisis with a conventionally superior nuclear-armed adversary, contemplates and prepares to move nuclear assets in the event it has to use them. Who controls the nuclear forces? Who decides when they might be assembled, mated to delivery vehicles, moved, and launched? Who has nominal authority to order those decisions? Who has the physical ability to implement them even without proper authorization? How experienced are the relevant units in these operations? What could go wrong?

Welcome to the H-Bomb club North Korea

Ankit Panda, Viping Narang War on the Rocks

After months of anticipation, it finally happened. On Sunday morning, September 3, at precisely noon local time, North Korea detonated its sixth nuclear device ever to test a presumably new thermonuclear bomb design.

Revisit NIH biosafety guidelines

Kenneth A. Oye, Maureen O’Leary, Margaret F. Riley Science

To celebrate the anniversary of an arcane federal guideline is a rare event. For an agency to use that moment to invite reflection on modifying policies is even rarer. Last month, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH)  did just that, with a workshop that marked the 40th anniversary of its Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules. The meeting was an inspiring start for charting future oversight of nonclinical applications.

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