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Category: Strategic Insights

April 27, 2020

Beyond 1918: Bringing Pandemic Response into the Present, and Future

The current pandemic gives us an opportunity to envision new tools, methods, and response policies that leverage emerging technologies, which, if adopted and prudently employed, would enable capability to far better predict, prepare, if not prevent the “next” biosecurity war, and not merely repeat the errors of the “last”. 

April 23, 2020

Today the Spratlys and Paracels, Tomorrow…

Our alliances and regional strategic partnerships must be the foundation of a concerted effort, led by the United States, to push back against China’s on-going efforts to unilaterally change the status quo and incrementally chip away at the existing international order. 

April 10, 2020

Ready or Not: Regaining Military Readiness during COVID19

The COVID19 pandemic has critically shaken the health, civil society, and economic security of the United States.  It also has tested the readiness management processes of the U.S. Defense Department. While we wait for treatments, the Department of Defense needs to maintain readiness of the force in the interim. Force readiness and management will be improved by rapidly deploying a point of care serological test to all in the U.S. military. 

Feb. 4, 2020

Qassem Soleimani: Moscow's Syria Decision – Myth and Reality

On January 3, 2020, Iran’s Special Forces leader– IRGC Quds Force – Major General Qassem Soleimani, was killed by an American drone strike outside of the Baghdad International Airport in Iraq. Commentators noted that Soleimani had been the subject of a United Nations (UN) travel ban and an asset freeze by the United Nations Security Council (UNSCR) since 2007.  Soleimani had, however, traveled frequently to Syria, Iraq and Lebanon in the decade since these prohibitions. Notably, Soleimani also reportedly made a covert trip to Moscow in July of 2015 that was conspicuous for its flouting of UN travel restrictions and for the lore associated with it having facilitated what became a precipitous escalation in Russian intervention into the Syrian civil war.

Oct. 8, 2019

Putin Heads For Riyadh

At their summit later this month, Putin and his Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) hosts will highlight progress on the economic agenda laid out during King Salman’s October 2017 visit to Moscow.  Questions about the American commitment to protect the free flow of energy from the region will play in the background, and Putin will lobby the Saudis to buy Russian air defense systems.  The Russian president will use the September 14 strikes on Saudi energy facilities and the lengthy Yemen conflict to advance Moscow’s Concept for Collective Security in the Persian Gulf and encourage peace talks.  Moscow and Riyadh will underscore their intent to continue working together in OPEC+ to stabilize global oil prices, and use the Riyadh summit to bolster the room for independent action on the world stage of their energy tandem.  

May 30, 2019

The Mueller Report: The Missed Accelerants to Putin’s Interference

The March 2019 Mueller Report – discussed by Mueller himself in a brief, televised press conference on May 29, 2019 - provides enormous detail on the patterns and impacts of Russian interference in America’s 2016 election that were authorized by the very top leadership in Moscow.  However, the report does not explore the context behind Moscow’s choice for this brazen course of action.  Combining Mueller’s insights and my past research and writing about President Vladimir Putin’s increasing appetite for foreign policy risk taking, this Strategic Insight contends that three main accelerants and one huge contextual factor encouraged Putin’s fateful early 2014 choice to meddle in and manipulate the US electoral process. 

April 25, 2019

Europe's Responses to the Migration Crisis: Implications for European Integration

Is Europe under siege?  Maybe not.  But the ongoing European migration crisis has reinforced pre-existing centripetal forces generated by serious economic imbalances in the European Union (EU), especially in the financially fragile states at the EU’s external borders.  Unless all twenty-eight states of the EU agree to harmonize their approach and resource commitments to border security, asylum laws, and equitable distribution of the migration burden, fragmentation and growing disunity will cause serious damage to European integration. 

March 11, 2019

The Gilet Jaune Crisis

The gilet jaune movement seemed to come out of nowhere, shook the very foundations of the French Fifth Republic, but now seems trapped in a dance of death, unable to free itself from its own contradictions. It began by calling attention to the forgotten men and women of la France profonde; it is ending with a display of its sad permeability to conspiratorial thinking, hate, and anti-Semitism. It remains to be seen if the crisis will have an impact on French President Emmanuel Macron’s presumed leadership of the forces defending European integration over the forces of continental fragmentation.

March 6, 2019

Moscow Advances Ties to Iran's Regional Rivals

In INSS’s Strategic Perspectives No. 27 – “Between Russia and Iran: Room to Pursue American Interests in Syria,” I argued that Russia’s solution to restraining Iranian behavior in Syria has been one of addition and mediation rather than subtraction. Since then, there have been dramatic developments in the region and in U.S. policy on Syria. Despite -- and at times thanks to -- these twists and turns, Moscow has kept its ties with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey on track, while doing little more than marching in place in its management of relations with Iran. Here are the recent highlights and the future implications for American policy in Syria.

Dec. 3, 2018

The National Defense Strategy Commission Calls Attention to the “Quiet” Cross Functional Team Revolution in the National Security System

Is there a hidden gem in the recently released National Defense Strategy Commission report? Distinguished Research Fellow Dr. Christopher Lamb thinks so. The report recommends cross-functional teams (CFTs), which have the potential to transform the national security system. But few people are aware of what is happening, what is at stake and what it will take to ensure the success of CFTs.