How ‘National Security’ Took Over America | Defense One


Invoke national security, and unpopular policies become law—or the law itself may even be suspended.

One act of legal levitation was George Bush’s suspension of habeas corpus for foreigners, a move that enabled the Defense Department to lock up so-called “enemy combatants” in Guantanamo Bay without trial, indefinitely. Uttering the magic phrase can make other things disappear. Shelf upon shelf of government documents vanishes from public sight after being shrouded in security classifications. Poof!

One might think that states have always been obsessed with national security. But Americans didn’t begin using the phrase with any frequency until the 1940s, when Edward Mead Earle, a historian based at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study from the 1930s to the ‘50s, helped popularize the concept among policy elites and ordinary Americans alike.

Source: How ‘National Security’ Took Over America – Defense One

Why the Whistle Was Blown | Defense One


On Thursday morning, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released the declassified whistle-blower complaint against the president of the United States, and millions of national-security experts suddenly tweeted out in terror. The substance of the memorandum is deeply troubling. At the same time, a vocal segment of social media reacted just as viscerally to the violations of processes it detailed.

I spent 10 years at the Pentagon and the National Security Council. Foreign-policy veterans are particular about the execution of our craft, believing there is a way things are done and all else is simply wrong.

Trump has offended our sense of propriety, betraying little evidence that our professional rulebook confines him, or that he’s even aware of it. We cling to the processes we execute because they have worked for us, because they seem derivative of the rule of law, and because it’s easier than questioning them. But examine them closely, and they look different: a practical manifestation of norms and values.

Source: Why the Whistle Was Blown – Defense One

Trump cranks up grievance machine | POLITICO


Donald Trump’s campaign aides expected months ago that Democrats would try to impeach the president — and he needed a way to exploit it.

So this summer, Trump 2020 officials spliced news clips of Democrats discussing impeachment into a 90-second video montage, punctuated by the president imploring supporters to help him “stop this nonsense.” Aides quietly filed the spot away until last week, when it was released as part of an online counteroffensive to the impeachment push that brought in 50,000-plus new donors and raked in $8.5 million in two days — the campaign’s biggest digital haul since its June launch.

Source: Trump cranks up grievance machine – POLITICO

Five things to know as Ukraine fallout widens for Trump | TheHill


President Trump‘s July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the White House’s handling of the call records have ignited a firestorm on Capitol Hill, with Democrats moving full steam ahead on their impeachment inquiry.

The controversy has engulfed a host of administration officials, prompted vigorous defenses from Trump and laid the foundation for a bruising impeachment battle.

Here are five things to know about Trump’s interactions with Ukraine and the widening fallout.

Source: Five things to know as Ukraine fallout widens for Trump | TheHill

America Needs a New Strategic Triad to Face the 21st Century | Time

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For decades, nations have thought about the strategic triad as the integration of three systems to deliver nuclear weapons: land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles; long-range strategic bombers like the B-52, B-1 and B-2; and nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines.

As this turbulent 21st century unfolds, a new sort of strategic triad is clearly emerging, recently illustrated by the sophisticated strikes on key Saudi oil fields in the Middle East, which knocked out 5% of the daily global oil supply with low-cost drones and likely used Google Earth for GPS coordinates.

This new strategic triad is composed of unmanned vehicles (in the air, but also under and on the sea), offensive cyberstrikes and special forces.

All of these are relatively inexpensive, present far lower barriers to entry and can be “equalizers” allowing an asymmetric advantage that a nongreat power (or even a nonstate actor) can utilize.

Source: America Needs a New Strategic Triad to Face the 21st Century | Time

Hong Kong Marks China’s National Day With Citywide Unrest | Time


China’s national day was marked in Hong Kong Tuesday with citywide unrest, as pro-democracy protesters fought running battles with police in a stark repudiation of Beijing’s sovereignty over the enclave.

Protesters gathered in at least a dozen districts across the territory, building barricades, setting fires and throwing petrol bombs and rocks at police, who responded with baton charges and tear gas. At one stage, smoke from several fires could be seen above Hong Kong Island’s iconic skyline.

Source: Hong Kong Marks China’s National Day With Citywide Unrest | Time

Global China


From a potential “responsible stakeholder” to a “strategic competitor,” the U.S. government’s assessment of China has changed dramatically in recent years. China has emerged as a truly global actor, impacting every region and every major issue area.

To better address the implications for American policy and the multilateral order, Brookings scholars are undertaking a two-year project—“Global China: Assessing China’s Growing Role in the World”—intended to furnish policymakers and the public with a new empirical baseline for understanding China’s regional and global ambitions.

Areas of focus will include the trajectory of China’s domestic institutions and foreign policy; strategic competition and great power rivalry; the emergence of critical technologies; East Asian security; China’s influence in key regions from Europe to Southeast Asia; and China’s impact on global governance and norms.

Source: Global China

The Controversy Over U.S. Strikes in Somalia | Council on Foreign Relations


A surge in the number of U.S. air strikes in Somalia is raising questions about Washington’s mission there, the risk it poses to civilians, and whether Congress should pull back the reins on increasingly opaque military operations in Africa and elsewhere.

The Trump administration is facing increasing scrutiny over the U.S. presence in Somalia from human rights groups, which say that civilian deaths have been increasingly obscured.

Source: The Controversy Over U.S. Strikes in Somalia | Council on Foreign Relations

The Chinese Communist Party | Council on Foreign Relations


The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is the founding and ruling political party of modern China, officially known as the People’s Republic of China. The CCP has maintained a political monopoly since its founding nearly a century ago, overseeing the country’s rapid economic growth and rise as a global power while facing challenges at home and abroad.

Since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, he has consolidated his control over the infamously opaque party, with many experts calling him the most influential Chinese leader since Mao Zedong.

Inspired by the Russian Revolution, the CCP was founded in 1921 on the principles of Marxism-Leninism. Tensions between the Communist party and the nationalist Kuomintang, its primary rival, erupted into a civil war from which the Communists emerged victorious in 1949.

Despite China’s market reforms in the late 1970s, the modern Chinese state remains a Leninist system, like those of Cuba, North Korea, and Laos.

Source: The Chinese Communist Party | Council on Foreign Relations

Communist China’s Painful Human Rights Story | Council on Foreign Relations


China has much to celebrate.

After suffering 150 years of humiliation due to internal issues and intrusions by Western powers and Japan, China has again become the dominant power in East Asia and emerged as a world superpower. Most of the country’s 1.4 billion people enjoy the benefits of growing prosperity, including a higher standard of living, improved public health, better education, expanded career options, and increased opportunities for travel. Life for the country’s majority Han ethnic group has stabilized, giving many a feeling of greater personal security.

But almost erased from Chinese public memory is what China suffered to get here. When Chairman Mao Zedong and his comrades seized power in 1949, they initiated decades of loss and pain.

In recent years, President Xi Jinping’s increasingly repressive policies have reawakened fears that China’s social and economic progress has again come at the cost of individual freedoms and personal security.

Source: Communist China’s Painful Human Rights Story | Council on Foreign Relations