Call/text: (617) 682-9697 | e: [email protected] | f: 617-391-3067
Arms Sales Daily (General)

Arms Sales Daily (General)

Saudi Arabia Daily Update    Taiwan Daily Update   China Daily Update 

US-China trade deal coming

Laura He, 9-12, 19, https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/11/investing/asian-market-latest-us-china-tariffs-stocks/index.html, The United States is delaying some tariffs on China. Markets are moving higher

Global stocks are mostly on the rise after the United States and China took small steps toward cooling trade tensions between each other. China announced Wednesday that it would waive tariffs on some US goods. US President Donald Trump followed with plans of his own to push back new tariffs on Chinese goods by two weeks. Chinese companies are also looking into the cost of buying US agricultural products — including major imports like soybean and pork, a spokesman for China’s Commerce Ministry said Thursday. On Thursday, China’s Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP) closed up 0.8%. Japan’s Nikkei (N225) also ended 0.8% higher. South Korean markets were closed for a holiday. US market futures also rose. Dow (INDU) futures gained 67 points after hours, or 0.25%. S&P 500 (SPX) futures were up 0.2% while Nasdaq (COMP) futures increased 0.4%. Trump declared the US tariff delays as a sign of “good will” toward China. He said that an increase of tariffs from 25% to 30% on $250 billion worth of goods will be pushed from October 1 — the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China — to October 15. The exemptions announced by China also indicate an “olive branch” that suggests the country’s willingness to end or at least de-escalate tensions between the two sides, said Stephen Innes, a market strategist for Asia Pacific at AxiTrader. United States and China will resume trade talks. But don't hold your breath for a major deal United States and China will resume trade talks. But don’t hold your breath for a major deal But weak economic data from both countries is likely fueling a desire to reach some sort of agreement, according to Innes and other analysts. American manufacturing, for example, shrank for the first time in three years this summer. That sector is “absolutely the chunk of the economy the president most wants to safeguard,” Innes wrote in a research note.

Arms sales end up with terrorists, cause arms races, trigger wars

Caroline Dorminey, 9-11, 18, https://www.cato.org/blog/2019-arms-sales-risk-index, The 2019 Arms Sales Risk Index

Over the past decade American weapons have wound up in the hands of the Islamic State and other terrorist groups, on the black market in Yemen and elsewhere, have been used by oppressive governments to kill their own people, and have enabled nations to engage in bloody military conflicts. More broadly American arm sales have helped prop up authoritarian regimes, have encouraged military adventurism, spurred arms races, and amplified existing conflicts. The reality is that the United States will sell weapons to almost any nation seeking them regardless of the potential risks involved.

Israel-US ties strong now

Ian Levingston, 9-12, 19, The US is pressuring Israel to rethink investment from China, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-12/the-u-s-is-pressuring-israel-to-rethink-investment-from-china

With national elections approaching on Sept. 17, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can ill afford to alienate the Trump administration on its signature international issue. Trump has endeared himself to Netanyahu by transferring the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognizing Israeli sovereignty in the disputed Golan Heights. Netanyahu reciprocated by naming a new Golan settlement after Trump and praising the American leader for, among other things, quitting the Iranian nuclear accord. “Over the years, Israel has been blessed to have many friends who sat in the Oval Office, but Israel has never had a better friend than you,” Netanyahu told the president during a March trip to the White House. An October Pew study found that 69% of Israelis had confidence in Trump’s performance as president, and many of Netanyahu’s campaign ads prominently feature the U.S. leader.

Russia-China ties increasing

Kamul Jaiffer, 8-30, 19, https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1171921/russia-news-vladimir-putin-china-xi-jinping-siberia-logging-donald-trump-spt

Putin struck several trade deals with his Chinese counterparts following the imposition of Western sanctions on Moscow in 2014. In doing so, he has gone some way to reigniting the Moscow-Beijing alliance that was last at its peak just after World War 2. Russia has allowed Chinese loggers and investors access to Siberia – as one million hectares of land has been set aside for Beijing’s soya bean cultivation. In return, Putin could ensure that Russia becomes China’s main gas supplier in an expanding energy market, as well as selling numerous arms to Beijing. The two have already cooperated on arms sales – last month 100 Chinese troops were invited to Russia to learn how to use Russian S-400 missile systems. Initially, diplomatic relations between the two were strengthened by a shared anti-Washington agenda. The two have cooperated in South America, with Beijing allying with the likes of Argentina, while Russia courts Venezuela and Cuba. There has also been a shared agenda with Iran and Turkey – two nations the Beijing-Moscow alliance has grown closer to amid increased tensions with the US. Putin and Xi Putin and Xi (Image: GETTY) RELATED ARTICLES EU blamed for Amazon rainforest fires: ‘A mockery of the Commission!’ Venezuela’s Maduro pledges ‘trench warfare’ against Trump coup attempt However, China’s logging in Siberia could have gone too far. The level of timber moving across the border has exploded in recent years thanks to a low tariff on ‘minimally processed timber’. Vita Spavak of the Carnegie Moscow Center said: “The Chinese forestry business successfully adjusted to the new circumstances: instead of importing expensive round timber, it started migrating to Russia, setting up sawmills there, and exporting the much cheaper minimally processed timber.” All the manufacturing is done in China. Timber exports reached £2.87billion from Russia to China last year – but environmental and trade concerns have risen in recent months. Russia now leads the world in forest depletion – 16.3 million acres of forest were lost last year, compared to just 9.1 million in the Amazon rainforest. Environmentalists have rallied against the alleged belligerence of the Chinese companies, but Moscow has resisted intervening for fear of ruining the Sino-Russian relationship. However, alongside an unwillingness from the Chinese to invest in the local economy, there are fears, according to Times analyst Roger Boyes, “that Putin may have signed up as a junior partner in a dangerously unequal partnership”. Local City Council member Irina Avdoshkevich asked local police and fire officials to intervene, but they did nothing to regulate the Chinese mills, she said. She added: “We understand we need investment. “But if we decided to be friends, it should be even. You get something, I get something. “I’m a resident of this city. Why should I tolerate these waste piles, these fires?” Chinese logging in Siberia Chinese logging in Siberia (Image: GETTY) Instead, she said, the Chinese timber barons simply ship as much wood as they can to China. Workers and Siberian residents alike have also noted China’s own domestic ban of commercial logging, citing the hypocrisy in slicing down Russia’s forests. Mr Boyes added: “To many proud Siberians, China comes across as an arch-hypocrite. “Vowing not to be the world’s dustbin, it refused to take plastic waste from the West. “But it has little compunction about outsourcing its own polluting practices to pristine Siberia.” Illegal loggers are successfully skirting the few regulations that do exist, further damaging the industry. China and Russia China and Russia are allies for now against the US (Image: GETTY) Eurasian expert Emanuel Pietrobon noted that the issue could be a sticking point between Putin and Xi going forward. He said: “Both the Kremlin and civil society have a point: the former is trying to circumvent the sanctions regime by having closer relations with the world’s largest emerging economy, even if this means closing one eye to some misconduct. “The latter experiences Beijing’s aggressiveness directly and daily, and it understands that China is using business to corrupt authorities and proceed silently to the conquest of Siberia and the Far East. “It is a game-changing unforecasted situation that can no longer be ignored, and one that is likely to shape Russia’s future attitudes toward China.”

Ukraine military aid important as a critical symbol of the US challenge to Russia

Caitlin Emma, 8-28, 19, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/08/28/trump-ukraine-military-aid-russia-1689531, Trump holds up Ukraine military aid meant to confront Russia

United States military aid to Ukraine has long been seen as a litmus test for how strongly the American government is pushing back against Moscow.

The Trump administration in 2017 approved lethal arms sales to Ukraine, taking a step the Obama administration had never done. The move was seen as a sign that Trump’s government was taking a hard-line approach to a revanchist Vladimir Putin despite the president’s public rhetoric flattering the Russian leader. Scaling back that assistance could expose Trump to allegations that his policies are favoring Moscow.

Political opposition to US security assistance to the Ukraine

Caitlin Emma, 8-28, 19, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/08/28/trump-ukraine-military-aid-russia-1689531, Trump holds up Ukraine military aid meant to confront Russia

But the White House explanation that Trump wants to ensure the money is being spent properly isn’t sitting well with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, where members of both parties have pushed to increase military assistance to Ukraine and U.S. military efforts to deter Russia in Eastern Europe. There is “an at least temporary effect,” said Rep. Tom Malinowski, a New Jersey Democrat who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “The bigger problem is that Trump is once again showing himself to be an asset to Russia.” Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, vowed that the administration’s move “will be met with fierce opposition in Congress.” “Enough is enough,” he said in a statement. “President Trump should stop worrying about disappointing Vladimir Putin and stand up for U.S. national security priorities.”

US support for the Ukraine has driven Russia into an alliance with China

Kent Calder, 2019, Kent E. Calder is a distinguished Edwin O. Reischauer Professor. He currently serves as the Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs and International Research Cooperation at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.  Super Continent: The Logic of Eurasian Integration, Stanford University Press, Kindle edition

East-West tensions over Ukraine have conversely enhanced Sino-European relations in several ways, as noted in both Chapters 3 and 7. These tensions have seriously alienated Russia from much of Europe, thus forcing the Russians into the arms of the more welcoming Chinese. Calder, Kent E.. Super Continent . Stanford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Sino-Russian alliance supports global multipolarity

Kent Calder, 2019, Kent E. Calder is a distinguished Edwin O. Reischauer Professor. He currently serves as the Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs and International Research Cooperation at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.  Super Continent: The Logic of Eurasian Integration, Stanford University Press, Kindle edition

Within Eurasia itself, as well as in Washington, the stability of Sino-Soviet relations were throughout the Cold War days considered to be an overriding critical uncertainty. To some extent that logic continues to prevail among seasoned observers. We have argued here, of course, that Sino-Russian relations are likely to remain stable and indeed to deepen, enhancing prospects for a global Crossover Point leading from American hegemony toward a more multipolar system of world affairs. Calder, Kent E.. Super Continent . Stanford University Press. Kindle Edition.

US power inevitably declining, world needs an alternative stabilzer

Kent Calder, 2019, Kent E. Calder is a distinguished Edwin O. Reischauer Professor. He currently serves as the Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs and International Research Cooperation at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.  Super Continent: The Logic of Eurasian Integration, Stanford University Press, Kindle edition

The US has, for more than 70 years, played central role as global stabilizer. Developments of the past decade—under both Obama and Trump, in different ways—suggest that its willingness and ability to play that classical role may be declining. The macroeconomic foundations of that preeminence, in particular, show some initial signs of erosion, especially in relation to China. America retains formidable underlying strengths in technology, food, energy, and military power, but Chinese trade dependence on the US has measurably declined from the high levels of the 1990s, especially since the fall of 2017 as US-China trade tensions have intensified.36

Calder, Kent E.. Super Continent . Stanford University Press. Kindle Edition…. Charles Kindleberger has stressed that every system needs a stabilizer,55 and this is especially true of multilateral organizations. If the United States, as appears increasingly evident, is not willing to serve as principal stabilizer—at some inevitable cost to its narrow interests—then who will play that role? That is a pressing question that the international system faces today. … In the post-post–Cold War world, a multipolar power configuration seems to be emerging, as China and India rise, Russia grows more assertive, and Europe develops new linkages that transcend the Atlantic. Calder, Kent E.. Super Continent . Stanford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Credibility of US assistance decreasing. Trump threating to gut it now

Zachary Cohen, 8-29, 19, https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/29/politics/trump-ukraine-military-assistance/index.html, Trump heavily considering blocking $250M in military aid to Ukraine

President Donald Trump is heavily considering a plan to block $250 million in military assistance to Ukraine, a move that would further ingratiate him to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Such a decision, which was first reported by Politico, would likely prompt bipartisan uproar from members of Congress who believe US aid is essential to countering Russia’s military involvement there. Multiple sources familiar with the issue tell CNN that the President has floated the idea of halting the funding program for weeks. The White House has recently notified relevant agencies and congressional committees of its intent to block the aid to Ukraine, one source said. However, that source said that there are still questions about what Trump will ultimately do and US officials are waiting to ee where he stands after next week’s expected meeting with the Ukrainian President. he push has been spearheaded by Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney but opposed by some within the State Department and national security council, according to another source. National security adviser John Bolton was in Kiev Wednesday, where he met with Ukrainian officials, but there is little indication he raised the possibility of blocking the funding. Trump’s public deference to Putin and Russia has alarmed US allies and lawmakers. The issue has only been amplified by Trump’s recent comments at the G7 summit, in which he seemingly downplayed Russia’s military incursion in Ukraine and suggested that Russia be reinstated into the group of leading global economies. Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted Wednesday that such a move would be “destructive to our national security.”

US allies moving on without Trump

Peter Nicholas, 8-27, 19, https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2019/08/americas-allies-seem-be-moving-without-trump/159461/?oref=d-river, America’s Allies Seem to Be Moving On Without Trump

At the G7 meeting, leaders seemed to have given up on an agreement with him on trade, climate, and even whether Russian President Vladimir Putin is friend or foe. The most striking photograph to emerge from the G7 summit meeting in Biarritz, France, is one of an empty chair. It’s the seat that President Donald Trump was supposed to occupy during a meeting today where world leaders talked about climate trends that could render parts of the planet uninhabitable if left unchecked. Trump skipped it. The White House put out a statement that Trump was busy talking to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and couldn’t make it—though both of those leaders found time to show up for the session. No one waited for Trump; the leaders of the world’s most economically advanced democratic nations went ahead despite his absence. With Trump at odds with much of the free world, the free world seems to be moving on without him. At the G7, leaders seemed to have given up on the prospect of forging a consensus with him on trade, climate, and even whether Russian President Vladimir Putin is friend or foe. The summit appeared to be organized in ways that diminished the likelihood of a Trumpian tantrum. Leaders ditched the tradition of ending the summit with a full-blown communiqué—a joint statement—reflecting common values and a strategy for confronting the most vexing problems. They may have been scarred by the blowup at the end of the G7 last year in Canada. Trump withdrew from the communiqué and, after leaving Canada, insulted the summit’s host, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, sending out tweets calling him “very dishonest and weak.” Nothing like that happened in this go-round (at least as of this writing. Sitting in his cabin on Air Force One for an eight-hour flight home, Trump had ample time to grab his phone and unburden himself of any grievances he might have suppressed over the long weekend). “They’re going out of their way to accommodate his [Trump’s] whims and wishes,” Thomas Wright, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told me. Still, Trump’s counterparts made clear that if he wasn’t willing to be a partner, they might go it alone. Trump has taken a hard-line position on Iran, pulling out of an agreement reached last year by the Obama administration aimed at curbing the country’s nuclear-weapons program. He has hit the Islamic Republic with rounds of sanctions, part of a pressure campaign that has weakened its economy. After Iran downed a U.S. drone in June, Trump came close to ordering a retaliatory military strike. But over the weekend, French President Emmanuel Macron, acting independently, invited the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, to the summit for private talks aimed at defusing tensions with the West. Trump didn’t talk to Zarif, but Macron did. The French president remains committed to the nuclear agreement that Trump has spurned, and wants to ensure that Iran respects the deal’s provisions, a French diplomat told The Guardian. At a joint news conference today, Trump and Macron sought to downplay any differences over Iran. “I did it on my own,” Macron said of Zarif’s appearance at the summit, adding that he kept Trump fully briefed on the diplomatic overture to Iran. Trump had also sought to persuade his G7 counterparts to readmit Russia to the club, from which it was suspended following its annexation in 2014 of Ukraine’s Crimea. The leaders argued about it during a dinner Saturday night. Trump’s view is that Russia’s presence would be helpful in resolving disputes. “A lot of people say having Russia, which is a power, having them inside the room is better than having them outside the room,” Trump said at the news conference with Macron. That argument fell flat. Even his newest G7 friend, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was unmoved. “We are opposed because we see no evidence from recent Russian behavior which would warrant readmission to the G7,” a British official told me. “There has been a pattern of malign behavior from Russia—whether it’s 2016 [U.S.] election interference, the chemical attack in Salisbury [England], the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, or actions supporting the Assad regime [in Syria]—which is at odds with the principles and broader ideas around the G7.” Next year, Trump may have more sway. The G7 will take place in the U.S., and Trump, as host, is free to invite guests, including Putin. “Would I invite him? Certainly I would invite him,” Trump told reporters.

Congress and public anti-China

Stephen S. Roach, a faculty member at Yale University and former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, is the author of Unbalanced: The Codependency of America and China, 8-29, 19, The South China Morning Post, https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3024595/trumps-incoherent-policies-take-aim-china-no-longer-exists?utm_content=article&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR093Gna6DRewrJ9SiskXv_2nwhNIjSMugFWzyl3Ypu4RN6wsHmquKyd9l0#Echobox=1567022771

From an ever-escalating tariff war and the weaponisation of trade policy by blacklisting leading Chinese technology companies, to Trump’s “order” to US companies to cease doing business with China and Vice-President Mike Pence’s declaration of a new cold war, the US political establishment has swung dramatically from viewing China as an opportunity to regarding it as an existential threat. And public sentiment has followed suit. A recent survey by the Pew Research Centre found that 60 per cent of Americans had an unfavourable view towards China – up 13 percentage points from 2018 and the most negative assessment of China since the Pew survey’s inception in 2005.

US providing armored vehicles to Thailand

Bloomberg, 8-27, 19, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-27/u-s-to-deliver-stryker-armored-vehicles-to-thailand-next-month

Thailand will receive a batch of U.S.-made armored vehicles next month, as ties between the two countries warm following the end of military rule in the Southeast Asian nation. The Strykers — eight-wheeled vehicles designed to move infantry — will be deployed at a base near Bangkok, Army Chief Apirat Kongsompong told reporters on Tuesday.

US Asian alliances push China and Russia together

Miller & Hardy-Chartrand,, 8-27, 19, J. Berkshire Miller is a senior fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs. He is also deputy director and senior fellow at the Macdonald Laurier Institute, Benoit Hardy-Chartrand is an Adjunct Professor on East Asian politics at Temple University Japan, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/russia-and-china%E2%80%99s-strategic-marriage-convenience-76466, Russia and China’s Strategic Marriage of Convenience

Further pushing two sides together is China’s gradual approach to look at Russia as a key partner to offset the pressure from the United States and its alliance network in Asia, especially with Japan—where relations have been tense as a result of their territorial row around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Chinese and Russian leaders espouse similar worldviews and the same opposition to the international liberal order, democracy and human-rights issues on which Japan and the United States stand at the opposite end of the spectrum. China and Russia also share the same immediate strategic objective of weakening the United States’ presence and undermining its alliances in the region. The air patrol and the reaction to it directly contributed to the latter goal.

China is a global totalitarian threat. The US (and its allies) must challenge it, not endorse it

Ben Shapiro, August 28, 2019,   Trump Is Right on the China Threat, https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2019/08/28/trump_is_right_on_the_china_threat_141108.html

Now, Trump’s trade policy may not be well-considered. His understanding of trade is rudimentary at best — he still operates under the assumption that mutually beneficial trade is actually a zero-sum game. And Trump’s rhetoric may be confusing — it’s unclear whether Trump wants tariffs or wants to alleviate them. But Trump does have one thing absolutely right: China is an imperturbable geopolitical foe. And the United States ought to be taking a serious look at a long-term strategy to contain and then reverse the dominance of the totalitarian communist regime. Trump is the only president of recent vintage to understand this simple truth. The Chinese regime is strengthening its totalitarianism; market forces have not opened up China’s politics. China’s attempts to strengthen its grip on Hong Kong, its forays into the complexities of Indian-Pakistani politics, its threats of sanctions against American firms over the sale of jets to Taiwan — all of this bespeaks the intent of the Xi Jinping regime, which has a philosophy of political revanchism. The supposed moderation of Dengism — the political philosophy of Deng Xiaoping, which supposedly prized pragmatism over doctrinal adherence to Marxist tenets — is being quickly reversed, with China’s economy placed at the mercy of political leadership. Dengism was always treated with too much optimism by the West: The same regime supposedly pushing for detente with the West stole hundreds of billions in intellectual property every year for years while continuing to build up its military. Still, Xi has moved away from even tepid moves toward openness. Two significant projects in recent years demonstrate the scale of China’s ambitions. First, there’s the so-called Belt and Road Initiative, in which China has helped subsidize building infrastructure in a bevy of countries throughout the world. Up to 68 countries are already taking part. The project is designed to place these countries in hock to the Chinese government; it’s also designed to maximize China’s naval power in the region. Then there is China’s heavy focus on government-subsidized building of 5G, using Huawei as the tip of the spear. China is offering 5G technology to developing countries at discounted prices, and those countries, hungry for the technology, have been accepting, likely at the cost of their own privacy and security. The goal, as always: maximization of China’s sphere of influence. Free trade isn’t going to cure this. China’s government has been willing to utilize mercantilism to prop up its global ambitions. Capitalism hasn’t opened China’s politics. Free trade has indeed benefitted China’s citizens, bringing hundreds of millions out of poverty, but the Chinese government has responded with more repression, not less. All of which means that the United States must be pursuing a thorough strategy of opposition to China’s ambitions. Trump seems to understand this. But if he fails to articulate that to the American people, his economic war with China will fail. That’s because if the American people are asked to shoulder an economic burden without being informed as to the rationale or the cost, they will rightly buck. Trump hasn’t explained that the burden exists, let alone why the American people should shoulder it. With that said, at least Trump recognizes the threat China represents. The chattering class has, for far too long, ignored that threat, to the detriment of the United States and her allies.

China-US war bad – China would win

Bhavan Jaipagras, 8-18 , 19, https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3023316/chinese-missiles-likely-cripple-asia-based-us-forces-event, Chinese missiles likely to cripple Asia-based US forces in event of conflict: report

If an armed conflict broke out between Beijing and Washington, China’s hi-tech ballistic missiles would likely cripple the United States’ military bases and naval fleet across the Western Pacific region within hours, a new report by Australia-based researchers has said. With China making rapid technological advancements and sharpening its hard power, the report urged the US and regional allies such as Australia and Japan to overhaul military investment and deployment plans, or face the prospect of American “military primacy” being undermined by the Asian power. The 104-page report by the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney assessed US military strategy, spending and alliances in the region. Lead author Ashley Townshend told This Week in Asia that the region’s changing balance of power should be of concern to all Asian states – including those seeking to maintain good relations with both superpowers – as it was in their interests to deter Beijing from wielding an “aggressive foreign policy”. “As its power rises, it may well be emboldened to make a play for parts of the first island chain, including Taiwan, which would seriously constrain the security horizons for all concerned,” said Townshend, referring to the arc of islands that stretches from the Japanese archipelago to the Southeast Asian island of Borneo. Chinese military analysts, however, brushed off that assertion – claiming that as it stood, Beijing continued to believe the US was the region’s superior power. “We respect the US’ reasonable presence in the Western Pacific … now and in the future, we hope the US will be a responsible player in the world, including in the Western Pacific,” said Zhao Yi, a former senior captain with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) navy and a visiting researcher at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS). Wu Shang-su, also a research fellow at RSIS, said while Beijing’s ability in “denial” – disrupting enemies’ use of space – may have been enhanced in recent years, that did not necessarily mean it was able to use that capability to control that space. Said Wu: “For example, to capture Taiwan, [the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands] or even further locations requires Beijing to establish control over specific air, sea and electronic space. The PLA’s firepower may deny the US military’s control, but the former needs to build up control to achieve its goals as well.” According to the authors’ independent calculations, the force has fielded an estimated 1,500 short-range ballistic missiles, 450 medium-range missiles, 160 intermediate-range missiles and hundreds of long-range ground-launched cruise missiles. These conventional ballistic missiles are able to make precision strikes on targets as far away from the mainland as Singapore – where the US has a major logistics facility – as well as mammoth American bases in South Korea and Japan. China is also in possession of so-called “carrier killer” missiles such as the DF-21D, which can hit moving US aircraft carriers at a range of up to 1,500km (932 miles). US-China battle for dominance extends across Pacific, above and below the sea Because of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty the US signed with the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1987, it was banned from deploying missiles with ranges from 500km to 5,500km. The deal is now dead after the US pulled out of it, citing Russian non-compliance, and Washington has signalled it wants to deploy these missiles – or more advanced versions of them – in the Asia-Pacific region. The capabilities of the PLA Rocket Force have previously been raised by the likes of military researcher Jim Fanell, a former top US navy officer, as well as by a Reuters special report published in April. The Australian think tank report – to be formally launched on Monday – said China’s “growing arsenal of accurate long-range missiles poses a threat to almost all American, allied and partner bases, airstrips, ports and military installations in the Western Pacific”. “As these facilities could be rendered useless by precision strikes in the opening hours of a conflict, the PLA missile threat challenges America’s ability to freely operate its forces from forward locations in the region,” it said. In such a scenario, American reinforcements are likely to take time to arrive – and will also have to “fight to get to the fight”. What’s the target of Trump’s Asia strategy? This means the US will be faced with a choice of entering a conflict that is potentially “enormously costly and dangerous” or choose not to intervene – giving rise to the possibility of a fait accompli victory for Beijing. “Because America’s interests in the security of its allies are ‘fundamentally secondary’ to its own survival, and arguably less tangible than the core interests Beijing has at stake in many of these flashpoints, Washington may ultimately wager that intervention is not worth the candle,” the report said. The report’s authors also pointed out that China’s advancements in military technology were not the sole reason for the waning might of the US’ forward deployed force in Asia. The PLA Rocket Force, the authors calculate, has fielded an estimated 1,500 short-range ballistic missiles, 450 medium-range missiles, 160 intermediate-range missiles and hundreds of long-range ground-launched cruise missiles Among internal factors flagged by the report were overuse of naval and aerial assets – partly due to the US’ commitments to wars in the Middle East – and a backlog in infrastructure maintenance funding to the tune of some US$116 billion. Some 23 per cent of US defence facilities are marked as being in “poor condition” with a further nine per cent labelled as “failing”, the report said, citing Pentagon data. At a time of a crucial need for defence funding, US government spending in the sector dropped by 21 per cent in real terms between 2011 and 2018. Last year President Donald Trump signed into law the biggest year-to-year increase in defence spending since 2003. Australia planning new port in north for use by US Marines Ideological differences about defence spending among lawmakers at both intraparty and inter-party levels was another factor viewed as a major issue. Among the recommendations by the report’s authors were for Australia to step up its contributions to regional security alongside Japan through a range of measures, including expediting submarine construction plans and acquiring land-based strike capabilities. It also urged Canberra to pare down the country’s naval deployments in the Middle East. This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: china can ‘wipe out asia-based u.s. forces’

China will sell the drones if the US stops

Roblin, 8-17, 19, https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/chinese-drones-are-going-war-all-over-middle-east-and-africa-74246, Chinese Drones Are Going to War All Over the Middle East and Africa, Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring

In the summer of 2019, China’s exported killer drones attained new notoriety—in both the dubiously positive and unquestionably negative sense. The cheap unmanned aircraft have proliferated across the Middle East and North Africa, executing hundreds of deadly attacks in Egypt, Libya, Nigeria and Yemen. But at least one type of “knock-off Reaper drone” seems beset by reliability issues. While every military on the planet is adopting long-endurance surveillance drone, until recently only a small subset possessed Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAVs) capable of launching lethal attacks. This is because—until 2018—Washington tightly restricted export of its MQ-9 Reaper UCAVs through its conventional arms transfers (CAT) policy for fear of how they might be misused. By contrast, China and Israel have few qualms about who buys their drones, or how they’re used. SIPRI records indicate China exported 163 UCAVs to thirteen countries 2008–2018 compared to fifteen MQ-9s delivered. Americans arms manufacturers complain their Chinese rivals are making a killing. That’s true in more than just an idiomatic sense. In violation of the UN embargo, the United Arab Emirates has not-very-covertly deployed Chinese-built Wing Loong-II drones to Al Khadim airbase in eastern Libya to support the LNA, a rebel army fighting the Tripoli-based General National Assembly faction. On August 4, 2019, one of the UAE-operated drones launched Chinese Blue Arrow-7 laser-guided anti-tank missiles in a “double tap” strike targeting a town hall in Murzuq hosting a meeting from a GNA-allied tribe, killing forty-six. The second volley killed guests from a wedding attempting to assist survivors of the initial attack. 10 SECONDS Do You Know What Happened Today In History? Earlier in April 2018, a Saudi Wing Loong-II fired a Blue Arrow to assassinate Houthi rebel leader Saleh Ali al-Sammad. Washington is not well-positioned to cast ethical stones, as it pioneered the use of UCAVs for targeted killings as well as air campaigns with broad rules of engagement treating all military-age males in a designated “kill box” as enemy combatants. Report Advertisement These tactics are only possible because, unlike heavier manned combat aircraft, UCAVs can circle over war zones at low speeds for hours upon hours, waiting for targets to expose themselves without risking the lives of their human operators. And drones are much cheaper to procure and operate then jet fighters. That explains why so many countries are eager to obtain UCAVs. Two medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) drone families have dominated China’s UCAV exports: the Wing Loong manufactured by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG), and the Cai Hong “Rainbow” built by the Chinese Aerospace Science & Technology Corporation (CASC). These use piston-engine pushers for propulsion, and can attack targets from relatively safe distances using small GPS-guided bombs, and AR-1 and Blue Arrow-7 laser-guided missiles weighing around 100 pounds. Both CAIG and CASC have developed progressively larger and more capable models carrying more weapons and sensors, improved satellite links so they can be remotely controlled from greater distances, and more powerful engines allowing them to fly higher, further and over longer periods of time. The V-tailed Wing Loong (“Pterodactyl”), first exhibited in 2010, is China’s original UCAV export success, with around sixty to one hundred sold abroad. The $1 million Wing Loong-I first combined weapons-carrying capability with the laser/electro-optical sensors in a chin-turret to acquire targets and guide the missile to them. The succeeding Wing Loong-II incorporates a ground-scanning synthetic aperture radar and capacity for up to twelve munitions weighing together up to a thousand pounds. It also can automatically takeoff and land on short runways without human direction. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have extensively used Wing Loongs to perform airstrikes in Yemen, while Egypt has used its Pterodactyls to kill insurgents in the Sinai. In 2017, Saudi Arabia struck a $10 billion deal to domestically manufacture as many as 300 Wing Loong-IIs. The Pakistan Aircraft Corporation is also slated to domestic joint-production of up to 48 Wing Loong-IIs. Meanwhile, the CH-4 in service with Egypt, Ethiopia, Jordan, Pakistan, Iraq and Myanmar bears an uncanny resemblance to the Reaper—perhaps as a result of industrial espionage—though with only two tail stabilizers instead of three. The strike-capable CH-4B model can carry up to 760-pounds of weapons on six hard points. By early 2018, the South China Morning Post reported that CASC had exported thirty CH-4B in package deals totaling $700 million. The manufacturer claimed the 1.5-ton drones had flown over a thousand sorties averaging ten hours each, and fired over 400 missiles, striking their targets 96 percent of the time. The early, tailless CH-3 first saw combat use by Nigeria against Boko Haram in 2015, with one crashed during operations. CASC also recently exhibited a 21-meter-wide CH-5 model capable of carrying an over 1-ton payload totaling up to sixteen missiles, and flying over 6,000 miles and enduring thirty hours or more. Reliability Issues China’s export drones aren’t believed to be as sophisticated as American Reapers when it comes to the robustness of their command links and their maximum operating altitude. The latter factor may explain losses to ground fire, including Wing Loong drones shot down in Libya and Yemen, as you can see in this video. But Chinese UCAVs may cost a quarter or less the price of a Reaper drone. For example, CH-4B drone individually costs only $4 million, while an MQ-9 Reaper has a fly-away cost of nearly $16 million in 2019. Nonetheless, some operators may prefer to pay more for greater reliability. For example, in 2016, the Jordanian Royal Air Force acquired six CH-4B drones in 2016, which entered service with its No. 9 Squadron. But just three years later in July 2019, the JRAF put all six up for sale, alongside aging transports, helicopters and jet trainers. Flight Global claimed the RJAF was “not happy with the [CH-4’s] performance”, but few more specific reasons have emerged. Earlier, Algeria had decided not to purchase the CH-4 after two had crashed during evaluation flights in 2013 and 2014, with a Rainbow-4 reportedly hit the ground 100 meters short during landing. In 2015 Iraq acquired the first of at least ten CH-4B drones. By December 2018, these reportedly had flown 260 strikes, engaging targets like armored kamikaze suicide trucks as seen in this video. But a Pentagon report assessing Iraqi operations against ISIS says that by 2019 the Chinese drones were no longer making much of a contribution. “…maintenance problems resulted in only one of Iraq’s more than ten CH-4 aircraft—Chinese unmanned aerial system (UAS) similar in design to the American MQ-9 Reaper—was fully mission capable.” To be fair, it’s possible this may be more a result of organizational rather than technical failing. The same report notes that Iraq’s ten Boeing ScanEagle drones had flow only twice since March. It’s not clear if the Wing Loong has the same unspecified problems. A piece in the South China Morning Post obliquely notes that Saudi Wing Loongs “had not performed well in the Arabian desert.” It’s too early to infer that recent bad press heralds a major reversal for Chinese export UCAVs. CAIG and CASC continue to offer larger and more capable models—most recently the sleek jet-powered Chengdu Yun Ying “Rainbow Shadow” drone, which can haul up to 7,000 pounds of ordnance at higher speed of 385 miles per hour. However, in 2018 the Trump administration indicated it will be opening up sales of UCAVs. Despite the steeper cost of Reaper drones, Washington’s traditional clients in the Middle East may jump at the chance to curry political favor, and deploy a more reliable and capable unmanned platform. Though a boon for U.S. arms manufacturers, it also means Washington will be held culpable for, and have to deal with the consequences of, how its exported drones are used by these clients.

US no longer a reliable security partner in the Gulf

Alexander Griffing, 8-21, 19, https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.highlight-israel-uae-trump-iran-1.7724525, On Trump and Iran, the UAE Shifts Strategy — and Israel Should Take Heed

For Israel, this should serve as a cautionary tale as these strains can give insight into its own relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump and Iran.

Dr. Yoel Guzansky, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, notes that recent UAE overtures to Iran are a way for the Gulf country to hedge its bets in the region. In conversation with Haaretz, he suggests that the UAE has been shifting strategy as the U.S. appear to no longer be the reliable security patron it once was…. Thirdly, the UAE’s actions are driven by concern over Trump. For all of his strong rhetoric, Guzanksy explains, the American president now carries a “small stick,” and all the various actors in the Middle East understand that he won’t pursue military action against Iran. From Great Britain and South Korea to NATO, Trump has shown himself to be a very temperamental ally who is willing to pursue his own agenda regardless of partners’ concerns — including security ones…. Trump has frequently called for stalwart U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia to start paying for their own defense, and in June even went so far as to question why the U.S. (in the Gulf) is “protecting the shipping lanes for other countries for zero compensation.”

Bipartisan support for Israel’s security

Alexander Griffing, 8-21, 19, https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.highlight-israel-uae-trump-iran-1.7724525, On Trump and Iran, the UAE Shifts Strategy — and Israel Should Take Heed

Israel’s security has been and remains a key bipartisan issue in Congress, despite its increasing politicization, particularly by Trump and left-wing, Israel-skeptic U.S. lawmakers.

US government is a death merchant and it’s driven by racism

Steppling, August 9, 2019, John Steppling is an original founding member of the Padua Hills Playwrights Festival, a two-time NEA recipient, Rockefeller Fellow in theatre, and PEN-West winner for playwriting. Plays produced in LA, NYC, SF, Louisville, and at universities across the US, as well in Warsaw, Lodz, Paris, London and Krakow. Taught screenwriting and curated the cinematheque for five years at the Polish National Film School in Lodz, Poland. A collection of plays, Sea of Cortez & Other Plays was published in 1999, and his book on aesthetics, Aesthetic Resistance and Dis-Interest was published by Mimesis International in 2016, August 9, 2019, https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/08/09/blood-in-our-eyes/

So, its sorta all about how you count. The point is that the U.S. is a machine that makes and sells weapons. We are history’s number one death merchant. Now, arms sales globally has increased over 40% since 2002 (according the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute). Britain and France are among those showing the largest growth. The Saudi market includes 31 billion dollars just in armored vehicle purchases. And its growing. (Although because under Obama there were so many fighter jets sold to the Saudis and other gulf state monarchies that sales figures are likely to dip in the near future due to saturation).

The government is essentially a branch of the death industry. Peter Castagno wrote just this year (At Truthout)…. “After the resignation of Gen. James Mattis, Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan filled the post as interim head of the Defense Department. Before joining the Trump administration, Shanahan spent three decades working for Boeing — a blatant conflict of interest for the person responsible for overseeing federal contracts with private defense contractors. Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, called Shanahan “a living, breathing product of the military-industrial complex,” and asserted that “this revolving door keeps the national security elite very small, and very wealthy, and increasing its wealth as it goes up the chain.” One egregious example of that revolving door is Heather Wilson, who has been secretary of the Air Force since 2017. In 2015, Lockheed Martin paid a $4.7 million settlement to the Department of Justice after the revelation it had used taxpayer funds to hire lobbyists for a $2.4 billion contract. One of the lobbyists was former New Mexico Representative Wilson, ranked as one of the “most corrupt members of Congress” by the nonprofit government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Wilson was later confirmed as Air Force secretary in the Senate by a 76-22 vote. Mark T. Esper, the secretary of the Army, worked as vice president of government relations for Raytheon before joining the Trump administration in 2017. The Hill recognized Esper as one of Washington’s most powerful corporate lobbyists in 2015 and 2016, where he fought to influence acquisition policy and other areas of defense bills. Esper’s undersecretary, Ryan McCarthy, is a former Lockheed executive.” So, back to El Paso and Dayton. First thing to note is that the narrative (as always) emphasizes the ‘lone wolf’ gunmen idea, mentally unstable, a loner teased by classmates, bad haircut, etc. They might add he takes anti depressants (and often, or hell, almost always, they do) but rarely is the writing or the social connections and influences that shaped these young men investigated. In Norway, the Breivik story still tends to minimize the fascist connections that mass killer had throughout Europe. Whatever the truth of these shootings (as in, some witnesses saw three men dressed in black, etc) the one certainty is that the state will follow a clear storyline and hit home certain key points… lone wolf, mentally ill and now terrorist (more on that below). The second thing that will happen for certain is more calls for “gun control” — you know, that three trillion dollar industry in death led by the United States. Remember here that some seventy thousand plus civilians have died in Yemen since the Saudi/U.S. assault on that nearly defenseless nation. The poorest in the Arab world. Remember the millions upon millions who have been murdered across Africa in wars and conflicts often directly orchestrated by the U.S. And using American made weapons. “US military aid to the rebels channeled (unofficially) through the illicit market, is routine and ongoing. In December 2015, a major US sponsored shipment of a staggering 995 tons of weapons was conducted in blatant violation of the ceasefire. According to Jane’s Defense Weekly, the U.S. … “is providing [the weapons] to Syrian rebel groups as part of a programme that continues despite the widely respected ceasefire in that country [in December 2015].” – Michael Chossudovsky (Global Research, 2019) One of the secondary effects (I suspect intentional) of the government and law enforcement narrative on mass shooting incidents (sic) is one that emphasizes a need to control the mentally unstable (a fluid definition that likely will include you and me at some point). Since the Philip K. Dickian idea of *future crime* is now relatively mainstream the focus on mass state quarantines of those who serve as potential threats is clearly implied in the master narratives on these shootings. The bourgeoisie respond to the death of white people (and OK, a few hispanics, too) with exaggerated horror. They do not show such horror at the atrocities in Yemen or Syria or Libya, committed by US/NATO. But then the lone gunman story is containable and easily grasped by their truncated moral GPS. The white liberal does not scream gun control when cops execute another unarmed young black man (or woman). Just as gun makers are ignored in the gun control logic, so are cops. The anti gun lobby seems ok with the idea that only steroid crazed racist policemen can carry guns. I have to tell you, I’m not so OK with that. The familiarity of the rhetoric that surrounds these shootings has come to have a numbing effect. Still, it is important to note that as Adorno and Horkheimer observed that anti semitism grew in the U.S. after the defeat of the Nazis. So the love of guns and death seems to grow after each of these mass shootings. But the rise in gun related deaths contains another less advertised fact; “While much of the public attention is on the intense tragedies of gun massacres in the US – 2017 saw the deadliest mass shooting by an individual to take place in the country in modern history, when 58 people died in the 1 October rampage on the Las Vegas Strip – in fact most suffering takes place in isolated and lonely incidents that receive scant media coverage. Of those, suicide is by far the greatest killer, accounting for about 60% of all gun deaths.” –Ed Pilkington (The Guardian, 2018) Gabor Mate, after the attack at the synagogue in Pittsburgh, wrote that the shooter’s “anger [that] has got nothing to do with what they think they are angry about. They are just angry because of what life has done to them as children and then they find external targets.” And this is what Fascism does, too, of course. Its provides an explanation, and a direction for the inarticulate rage. And the U.S. ruling class helps set as a default direction for these disenfranchised young men the fascist ideology of white supremacism. The U.S. is a stunningly sick society. I have grown weary of writing this fact because one finds oneself repeatedly in situations where this obvious truth must be stated..again. That sixty percent of gun deaths are suicide is a stunning statistic. The irrational hatred of the ‘other’ is always equally a self hatred. And you have to see these narrative themes cropping up again and again in only indirectly related issues. I’ve noted the racist eugenics backdrop to the overpopulation fear, a backdrop that finds partial expression in the work of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation in Africa — where the theme is sterilization. The west as regards Africa, arms conflicts they, the U.S., start and at the same time work to stop reproduction on the continent. Its like the Gates Foundation laboratory for fecundity — or rather sterility. Eradication of the dark skinned other is a theme that cuts across all these white psycho shooters and it cuts across the story of western capital. Jews, blacks, Arabs, Hispanics — this is the legacy of colonialism and Manifest Destiny and European whiteness. American exceptionalism. The very good Belen Fernandez (Al Jazeera, 2019) wrote… “the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conducted a test of Rekognition, Amazon’s facial recognition software, which compared images of all the members of the US Congress with a database of mugshots. The results, according to Rekognition: 28 US Congresspeople were identified as criminals. And what do you know: the false matches pertained disproportionately to people of colour. Now imagine the complications that might arise when you have such technology in the hands of US law enforcement officials who have already proven themselves predisposed to shooting black people for no reason. In addition to marketing its product to officials from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other notoriously abusive entities, Amazon has also pushed for Rekognition’s use in police body cameras – which would presumably only increase the chances of pre-emptive misidentification by trigger-happy forces of law and order. ( ) The arms industry comes to mind, which has helped to eradicate countless lives from Iraq to Yemen and beyond. And as Raja stresses, it is important to remember in the US context that “what happens abroad matters and vice-versa”. Case in point: “Technology is often tested on the bodies of Black and Brown people, perfected and then applied locally.” As it turns out, the US is also one of a group of countries opposing a UN-proposed ban on the development of so-called “killer robots”: lethal autonomous weapons systems that use artificial intelligence – think facial recognition-equipped swarms of drones.” The reality is that the violence of Dylann Roof or Jared Lee Loughner or James Holmes is one with the violence of Fallujah or Afghanistan. The US occupies several countries as I write this, and has military bases spread across the world. Surrounding each base one will find spikes in public intoxication, fights, domestic abuse, rape and drug abuse. Nobody in those places want the U.S. military there. For the military is not only the expression of historical American violence and racism, but it also horribly pollutes the areas in which it is located. For this is only another aspect of the violence. A contempt for the land of others. It is also a psychic pollution, an emotional toxicity that is embedded in the uniform and the various repressions that entails. The military is the violence of the ruling elite made operative. I am reminded of two quotes of George Jackson’s… “I’m convinced that it is the psychopathic personality that searches out a uniform. There’s little doubt of what’s going on in that man’s head who will voluntarily don any uniform.” (Prison Letters) and “Intellectuals still argue whether Amerika is a fascist country. This concern is typical of the Amerikan left’s flight from reality. … This is actually a manifestation of the authoritarian process seeping into its own psyche.” (Blood in My Eye) Suggesting mental illness as the cause of these shooters violence is to distract from the institutional and class violence that exists all around them. In which each grew up. To focus disproportionately on their isolation or loneliness is almost ironic given they live in a society of acute crippling loneliness and in which suicide is rampant. A society in which isolation is manufactured by the state as only another strategy of control. Collectively breeds radicalization, if people start to talk to each other they might start to dissent from these master narratives. Best to stop all institutions of the collective. Best to deride any political form of collectivity…like, oh, communism. Best to refer to socialism as something practiced by war monger Bernie Sanders or pseudo progressive shill Alexandria Ocasio Cortez… that way the real socialism of a, say, Antonio Gramsci or Rosa Luxemburg will not be investigated. Best to encourage stories of individualism and triumph over social adversity. Not stories of tearing down systems of oppression. Why is history being re-written? Vietnam, Korea, World War 2. Ask yourselves that rather simple question. Or the history of the Soviet Union, or Cuba, or Mao or Ho Chi Minh? Treat global pollution and climate change as if it were a Hollywood disaster movie. Stigmatize asking questions, ridicule dissenting voices, shame those who will not submit to the official narrative. And the question here in the shadow of El Paso is not the truth or falsity of the narrative but the insistence on a submission to it. This is the same logic you would find at Jonestown if you went back in time. The very same. Or Synanon, or Heaven’s Gate. People are actually volunteering to stop having children. To stop flying. Voluntarily. Here is a clue, the U.S. military hasn’t stopped flying. And whenever the ruling class is talking to you — you should distrust what they say. Full stop. And to underscore the racism so incrusted in American society and the climate discourse…. The populace today is encouraged to trust in consensus. Trust in popularity. If a movie is popular, well, it must be good. If everyone says something is true, well, it must be. As Norman Mailer said years ago, Americans are incapable “of confronting a book unless it is successful.” Are the police who beat or abuse or kill blacks and hispanics and native Americans…are they lonely and mentally ill? I mean I’d say yeah, but that’s not the official narrative. And how many of those murderous policemen were veterans of the American military? The U.S. teaches violence. It glorifies it and romanticizes it and sexualizes it. Of course people are going to shoot each other. As daily life becomes more unreal, and more intolerable, the suffering will find an outlet. And the one that is met with least resistance is the buying of guns. Young men are trained to think in martial terms. And this is where Trump can be seen as the perfect foil for the ruling class and why he will be re-elected. When Trump starts to tweet his concerns about public safety he will (I predict) also begin a normalizing of martial law and internment camps. I mean camps are already mostly in use, albeit in small ways still. But martial law has been tested already with the Boston marathon shooting and subsequent hunt for the bombers. An entire city was shut down with almost unanimous public approval. Barry Grey (WSWS, April 2013) wrote.. “The events in Boston have laid bare the modus operandi for the establishment of dictatorial forms of rule in the US. One or another violent act carried out by disoriented or disaffected individuals, perhaps with the help of elements within the state, is declared a terrorist event. A state of siege is imposed suspending democratic rights and establishing military-police control.” And it occurred after Hurricane Katrina when the governor declared an ‘state of emergency’ — evacuations were ordered and people were forced out of their homes and many businesses were closed. People were, in fact, removed to FEMA camps. Trump would meet with only symbolic objections by the Democratic Party. Some hand wringing and measured words of concern from Pelosi or Shurmer or Biden…and no doubt support from ex cop Harris and crypto fascist Warren. It’s for your own good, after all. In fact it’s for the good of those put in these camps. This is a nation, remember, where the government already flies surveillance drones to spy on its own citizens, and helicopters patrol areas targeted as potentially high crime (black and poor mostly) and SWAT teams increasingly are called out for routine offences — and where even small towns and some Universities have military surplus armoured fighting vehicles at their disposal. On September 29, 2006, President Bush signed the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The law expanded Presidential authority to declare Martial Law under revisions to the Insurrection Act. The law was rolled back slightly in 2008 but Obama then signed a new version of NDAA that would allow the arrest and detention of U.S. citizens without due process. Obama also oversaw a federal policing report (in 2012) that suggested use of the military to supplement domestic police departments in times of social unrest. The creation of NORTHCOM (Northern Command) was really to draw up plans for civil unrest throughout north America. As Patrick Martin wrote (WSWS) back in 2005.. “While Northcom was established only in October 2002, its headquarters staff of 640 is already larger than that of the Southern Command, which overseas US military operations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. { } The reality is that the military brass is intensely interested in monitoring political dissent because its domestic operations will be directed not against a relative handful of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists—who have not carried out a single operation inside the United States since September 11, 2001—but against the democratic rights of the American people.” The ‘lone wolf’ shooter is now a domestic terrorist. Liberals are way out front on this designation, too. The terrorist tag opens the way to the further removal of all due process. So both a mentally ill misfit AND a domestic terrorist. Much as Osama bin Laden was an evil mastermind AND a cave dwelling primitive. If martial law comes it won’t be called martial law. It will be called Emergency Protective Sanctuary or some other Madison ave opaque and Orwellian term. Israel has rather perfected this stuff, though they seem today to barely care about global opinion. The climate crises plays into this, too, of course. It is useful to take the time to find the source of whatever dire warnings you are being told. Much of it has direct connections to the U.S. military in all its branches. Mike Pompeo even said, the melting arctic presents a great business opportunity. Trump is not an aberration or anomaly. He is the logical outcome of a three hundred years of white supremacist values, arrogance, and class oppression. One need look back no further than Ronald Reagan to see the origins of much of what Trump is about. The Democrats are to the right of Trump on most of his foreign policy, and they will increasingly attack him from the right throughout this coming electoral season. Meanwhile the last shreds of civil liberties and due process are being removed. Fear is a great distraction. Its the governments three card monte game — and liberals and democrats are completely behind anything that is labeled green or about safety. Well, the safety of white people, mostly. And that doesn’t mean the homeless of course. They are in fact another health and hygiene threat that needs to be dealt with. For their own good, naturally.

Case? Stop arms sales exports to Hong Kong

Straits Times, 8-4, 19, https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/us-urged-to-shelve-sales-of-crowd-control-gear-to-hk-police, US urged to shelve sales of crowd control gear to Hong Kong police

WASHINGTON • A bipartisan group of US lawmakers on Friday urged the Trump administration to suspend future sales of munitions and crowd control equipment to Hong Kong police, which have been accused of using excessive force against anti-government protesters. A Hong Kong democracy activist, Mr Joshua Wong, last week tweeted pictures of tear gas shells and rubber bullets he said were used by police against protesters. Representatives Christopher Smith and James McGovern, who chair a congressional human rights commission, made their request in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. ADVERTISEMENT “We ask that you suspend future sales of munitions and crowd and riot control equipment to the Hong Kong Police Force and publicly announce the US will not contribute to the internal repression of peaceful protest in Hong Kong,” they wrote. They also urged the secretaries to push back “against the Hong Kong and Chinese governments’ efforts to characterise the demonstrations as ‘riots’ and to blame the US for political instability which they alone created”. Mr Wong said on Twitter: “All these weapons are imported from the United States. Given the innumerable proof of police brutality in recent protests, all countries should call a halt to the sale of arms to the notorious Hong Kong Police”. ADVERTISING Related Story More clashes as Hong Kong braces itself for strike Protests against a proposed Bill that would allow people to be extradited to stand trial in mainland China have grown increasingly violent, with police accused of excessive use of force and failing to protect protesters from suspected gang attacks. The human rights commission is composed of more than 40 members of the US House of Representatives. Mr Smith is Republican and Mr McGovern a Democrat.

Countries can get arms from the UK

Darakshan Anum, 8-5, 19, UK Retains its Position as the World’s Second-Largest Arms Exporter, https://www.researchsnipers.com/uk-retains-its-position-as-the-worlds-second-largest-arms-exporter/

UK Retains its Position as the World’s Second-Largest Arms Exporter 1 week ago Darakhshan Anjum In 2018, British defense exports ascended to Pounds 14bn selling to Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and other Middle Eastern countries reckoning for approximately 80%. It is observed that Britain was ‘arming and supporting repressive regimes’. Department for International Trade (IDT) verified UK had returned to its position as the world’s second-largest arms exporter after the US. Interesting: Pakistan to make $9 billion arms deal with Russia The orders increased by pounds 5bn to pounds 14bn. It is the leading year since 1983. The boost was from the order of Typhoon fighters made by BAE Systems and Paveway missiles from Raytheon that are partly made in the UK. The campaign was started against Arms Trades and ‘exposed the rank hypocrisy at the heart of UK foreign policy. The government claims to stand for human rights and democracy, but is arming and supporting repressive regimes and dictatorships around the world’. Sales to Saudi Arabia are leading an ongoing legal battle. Ministers have filed a case in the Supreme Court about the illegal selling of arms to Riyadh. In June, the court assumed the sales of arms to be unlawful because ministers failed to provide any evidence in violating the International Humanitarian Law (IHL). IDT estimates the UK’s share of the defense export industry to be about 19%, as of 2014 report. Russia is on 3rd and France is on 4th. The US is the world leader shares about 40% of the economy.

Arms industry should be banned

Blerim Mustafa, August 11, 2019, Manilla Times, The moral responsibility for arms trade, https://www.manilatimes.net/the-moral-responsibility-for-arms-trade/598464/

GENEVA: “I don’t want to see a single war millionaire created in the United States as a result of this world disaster.” These were the words of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on May 22, 1940 when he learned of individuals profiting because of the booming arms trade industry during World War 2. Seven decades down the line, President Roosevelt’s warning against the rise of the military-industrial complex and war profiteers is more relevant than ever and a telling testimony that for many in safe places, war means profit. But should the pursuit of economic profit be allowed to supplant ethical considerations, especially when weapons often end up in the hands of terrorists, human rights violators and criminal governments? There is no doubt that the global arms market remains a lucrative business. Arms trade raises numerous ethical issues both for the exporting and for the importing country. War profiteers operate with scant concern for ethical and moral considerations, being guided by the search for power or profit for their corporations. Those who produce and sell arms have been called “merchants of death.” Pope Francis said it was hypocritical to speak of peace while fuelling the arms trade, which only serves the commercial interests of the arms industry. It is of course the inalienable right of States to exercise their right to self-defense as stipulated in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and to maintain independent military strength to deal with periodic armed conflict or threats that may emerge. Experience shows that arms exporters fuel conflict and create an atmosphere not at all conducive to peace and development in the world. A business model that feeds on armed conflict, violence and instability must be banned in the 21st century. According to recent statistics from the Stockholm Peace Institute, arms sales of the world’s 100 largest arms-producing and military services companies totaled $398.2 billion in 2017. That is more than the nominal cumulative GDPs of South Africa, Denmark, Singapore, Egypt, Algeria and Malaysia, a group of countries that is home to more than 200 million people. Since 2002, annual arms sales have surged 44 percent and are expected to continue growing in the years to come. In other words, international arms trade is “big business” and a vector for economic growth in some countries, reminiscent of John Maynard Keynes’ vision of “Military Keynesianism.” In the Middle East, the irregular and black-market arms trade — estimated at $10 billion a year — have weaponized extremism and fuelled instability. Disturbing images of civilian infrastructure being bombed and destroyed by extremist groups are telling testimonies that the flow of arms and weapons continues to exacerbate violent conflict in the Arab region. This is particularly the case in Syria, Libya and Iraq where the supply of weapons to the warring sides has prolonged the fighting and adversely affected the civilization population. The rebuilding of societies affected by armed conflict and violence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is estimated at $250 billion — a price tag that the next generations in the MENA region will have to repay for decades to come. In this connection, world civil society must take action to curb future arms proliferation in regions prone to armed conflict and violence. Governments and arms traders must commit to respecting and to fulfilling the provisions set forth in the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights of the United Nations. The aim should be to identify, prevent and mitigate as the case may be, the human rights-related risks of business activities in conflict-affected areas. Civilians should not have to bear the brunt, as they do now, of the devastating consequences of military conflict. The greed involved in the arms trade must be kept in check. As foreseen in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the promotion of just, peaceful and inclusive societies rests on the ability of world society to promote a climate conducive to peace and sustainable development. According to the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, the countries that are furthest from achieving the targets of the SDGs are in, or emerging from, armed conflict and violence. The best investment to peace and prosperity therefore rests on the ability of decision-makers and governments to curb arms trade, prohibit economic gains from war, armed conflict and human suffering and instead commit to rally for a world where peace and justice prevails. The simple motto for all should be “disarmament for development.” What is most needed is a conversion strategy that will gradually transform war economies into sustainable peace economies.

Arms exports do not sustain US jobs

Harris, 8-5 19, Nia Harris is a Research Associate at the Center for International Policy. Cassandra Stimpson is a Research Associate at the Center for International Policy. Ben Freeman, a TomDispatch regular, is the Director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy and Co-Chair of its Sustainable Defense Task Force, https://original.antiwar.com/ben_freeman/2019/08/04/the-military-industrial-jobs-scam/, The Military-Industrial Jobs Scam

Lockheed Locks Down Taxpayer Dollars, While Cutting American Jobs To test Trump’s and Hewson’s argument, we asked a simple question: When contractors receive more taxpayer money, do they generally create more jobs? To answer it, we analyzed the reports of major defense contractors filed annually with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Among other things, these reveal the total number of people employed by a firm and the salary of its chief executive officer. We then compared those figures to the federal tax dollars each company received, according to the Federal Procurement Data System, which measures the “dollars obligated,” or funds, the government awards company by company. We focused on the top five Pentagon defense contractors, the very heartland of the military-industrial complex, for the years 2012 to 2018. As it happened, 2012 was a pivotal year because the Budget Control Act (BCA) first went into effect then, establishing caps on how much money could be spent by Congress and mandating cuts to defense spending through 2021. Those caps were never fully adhered to. Ultimately, in fact, the Pentagon will receive significantly more money in the BCA decade than in the prior one, a period when the American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were at their heights. In 2012, concerned that those caps on defense spending would cut into their bottom lines, the five top contractors went on the political offensive, making future jobs their weapon of choice. After the Budget Control Act passed, the Aerospace Industries Association – the leading trade group of the weapons-makers – warned that more than one million jobs would be at risk if Pentagon spending were cut significantly. To emphasize the point, Lockheed sent layoff notices to 123,000 employees just before the BCA was implemented and only days before the 2012 election. Those layoffs never actually happened, but the fear of lost jobs would prove real indeed and would last. Consider it mission accomplished, since Pentagon spending was actually higher in 2018 than in 2012 and Lockheed received a sizeable chunk of that cash infusion. From 2012 to 2018, among government contractors, that company would, in fact, be the top recipient of taxpayer dollars every single year, those funds reaching their zenith in 2017, as it raked in more than $50.6 billion federal dollars. By contrast, in 2012, when Lockheed was threatening its employees with mass layoffs, the firm received nearly $37 billion. So what did Lockheed do with those additional $13 billion taxpayer dollars? It would be reasonable to assume that it used some of that windfall (like those of previous years) to invest in growing its workforce. If you came to that conclusion, however, you would be sorely mistaken. From 2012 to 2018, overall employment at Lockheed actually fell from 120,000 to 105,000, according to the firm’s filings with the SEC and the company itself reported a slightly larger reduction of 16,350 jobs in the U.S. In other words, in the last six years Lockheed dramatically reduced its U.S. workforce, even as it hired more employees abroad and received more taxpayer dollars. So where is all that additional taxpayer money actually going, if not job creation? At least part of the answer is contractor profits and soaring CEO salaries. In those six years, Lockheed’s stock price rose from $82 at the beginning of 2012 to $305 at the end of 2018, a nearly four-fold increase. In 2018, the company also reported a 9% ($590 million) rise in its profits, the best in the industry. And in those same years, the salary of its CEO increased by $1.4 million, again according to its SEC filings. In short, since 2012 the number of taxpayer dollars going to Lockheed has expanded by billions, the value of its stock has nearly quadrupled, and its CEO’s salary went up 32%, even as it cut 14% of its American work force. Yet Lockheed continues to use job creation, as well as its employees’ present jobs, as political pawns to get yet more taxpayer money. The president himself has bought into the ruse in his race to funnel ever more money to the Pentagon and promote arms deals to countries like Saudi Arabia, even over the nearly unified objections of an otherwise incredibly divided Congress. Lockheed Is the Norm, Not the Exception Despite being this country’s and the world’s top weapons maker, Lockheed isn’t the exception but the norm. From 2012 to 2018, the unemployment rate in the U.S. plummeted from roughly 8% to 4%, with more than 13 million new jobs added to the economy. Yet, in those same years, three of the five top defense contractors slashed jobs. In 2018, the Pentagon committed approximately $118 billion in federal money to those firms, including Lockheed – nearly half of all the money it spent on contractors. This was almost $12 billion more than they had received in 2012. Yet, cumulatively, those companies lost jobs and now employ a total of 6,900 fewer employees than they did in 2012, according to their SEC filings. In addition to the reductions at Lockheed, Boeing slashed 21,400 jobs and Raytheon cut 800 employees from its payroll. Only General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman added jobs – 13,400 and 16,900 employees, respectively – making that total figure look modestly better. However, even those “gains” can’t qualify as job creation in the normal sense, since they resulted almost entirely from the fact that each of those companies bought another Pentagon contractor and added its employees to its own payroll. CSRA, which General Dynamics acquired in 2018, had 18,500 employees before the merger, while Orbital ATK, which General Dynamics acquired last year, had 13,900 employees. Subtract these 32,400 jobs from the corporate totals and job losses at the firms become staggering. In addition, those employment figures include all company employees, even those now working outside the U.S. Lockheed is the only top five Pentagon contractor that provides information on the percentage of its employees in the U.S., so if the other firms are shipping jobs overseas, as Lockheed has done and as Raytheon is planning to do, far more than 6,900 full-time jobs in the U.S. have been lost in the last six years. Where, then, did all that job-creation money really go? Just as at Lockheed, at least part of the answer is that the money went to the bottom-line and to top executives. According to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, a consulting firm that provides annual analyses of the defense industry, “the aerospace and defense (A&D) sector scored record revenues and profits in 2018” with an “operating profit of $81 billion, surpassing the previous record set in 2017.” According to the report, Pentagon contractors were at the forefront of these profit gains. For example, Lockheed’s profit improvement was $590 million, followed closely by General Dynamics at $562 million. As employment shrank, CEO salaries at some of these firms only grew. In addition to compensation for Lockheed’s CEO jumping from $4.2 million in 2012 to $5.6 million in 2018, compensation for the CEO of General Dynamics increased from $6.9 million in 2012 to a whopping $20.7 million in 2018. Perpetuating the Same Old Story This is hardly the first time that these companies have extolled their ability to create jobs while cutting them. As Ben Freeman previously documented for the Project On Government Oversight, these very same firms cut almost 10% of their workforce in the six years before the BCA came into effect, even as taxpayer dollars heading their way annually jumped by nearly 25% from $91 billion to $113 billion. Just as then, the contractors and their advocates – and there are many of them, given that the weapons-making outfits spend more than $100 million on lobbying yearly, donate tens of millions of dollars to the campaigns of members of Congress every election season, and give millions to think tanks annually – will rush to defend such job losses. They will, for instance, note that defense spending leads to job growth among the subcontractors used by the major weapons firms. Yet research has repeatedly shown that, even with this supposed “multiplier effect,” defense spending produces fewer jobs than just about anything else the government puts our money into. In fact, it’s about 50% less effective at creating jobs than if taxpayers were simply allowed to keep their money and use it as they wished. As Brown University’s Costs of War project has reported, “$1 billion in military spending creates approximately 11,200 jobs, compared with 26,700 in education, 16,800 in clean energy, and 17,200 in health care.” Military spending actually proved to be the worst job creator of any federal government spending option those researchers analyzed. Similarly, according to a report by Heidi Garrett-Peltier of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, for every $1 million of spending on defense, 6.9 jobs are created both directly in defense industries and in the supply chain. Spending the same amount in the fields of wind or solar energy, she notes, leads to 8.4 or 9.5 jobs, respectively. As for the education sector, the same amount of money produced 19.2 jobs in primary and secondary education and 11.2 jobs in higher education. In other words, not only are the green energy and education areas vital to the future of the country, they are also genuine job-creating machines. Yet, the government gives more taxpayer dollars to the defense industry than all these other government functions combined. You don’t, however, have to turn to critics of defense spending to make the case. Reports from the industry’s own trade association show that it has been shedding jobs. According to an Aerospace Industries Association analysis, it supported approximately 300,000 fewer jobs in 2018 than it had reported supporting just three years earlier. If the nation’s top defense contractor and the industry as a whole have been shedding jobs, how have they been able to consistently and effectively perpetuate the myth that they are engines of job creation? To explain this, add to their army of lobbyists, their treasure trove of campaign contributions, and those think tanks on the take, the famed revolving door that sends retired government officials into the world of the weapons makers and those working for them to Washington. While there has always been a cozy relationship between the Pentagon and the defense industry, the lines between contractors and the government have blurred far more radically in the Trump years. Mark Esper, the newly minted secretary of defense, for example, previously worked as Raytheon’s top lobbyist in Washington. Spinning the other way, the present head of the Aerospace Industries Association, Eric Fanning, had been both secretary of the Army and acting secretary of the Air Force. In fact, since 2008, as the Project On Government Oversight’s Mandy Smithberger found, “at least 380 high-ranking Department of Defense officials and military officers shifted into the private sector to become lobbyists, board members, executives, or consultants for defense contractors.” Whatever the spin, whether of that revolving door or of the defense industry’s publicists, the bottom line couldn’t be clearer: if job creation is your metric of choice, Pentagon contractors are a bad taxpayer investment. So whenever Marillyn Hewson or any other CEO in the military-industrial complex claims that spending yet more taxpayer dollars on defense contractors will give a jobs break to Americans, just remember their track record so far: ever more dollars invested means ever fewer Americans employed.

If the US gun industry cannot sell to Mexico, it will collapse

Hackbarth,August 2019, https://jacobinmag.com/2019/08/el-paso-shooting-us-mexico-weapons-arms, An $8 Billion Murder Industry

For all of its zeal in policing immigration across the border, the United States is strikingly less assiduous about weapons traveling in the other direction. A 2016 study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that fully 70 percent of the arms seized in Mexico in previous years originated in the United States — a figure reinforced by a 2017 ATF study. The police chief of Tijuana recently told KPBS Radio that, of the other two-thousand arms seized in his city since 2016 — including AK-47s, AR-15s, and Glocks — “nearly all” were American-made. Hundreds of thousands of US arms flow freely in Mexico every year, to the extent that nearly half of American gun dealers, according to a 2013 report by the University of San Diego, depended upon these sales to survive.

US arms exports to Mexico increasing

Hackbarth,August 2019, https://jacobinmag.com/2019/08/el-paso-shooting-us-mexico-weapons-arms, An $8 Billion Murder Industry

Add to this the official exports of firearms from the United States — far and away the world’s top arms exporter — and the picture looks even bleaker. Under the aegis of the Merida Initiative, arms exports to Mexico exploded under the Obama administration, with an average of over $30 million in sales per year that at times topped $40 million. The Trump administration, which has kept up the pace, is also in the process of turning the export control process from the State Department over to the Commerce Department. Meanwhile, the president is ending congressional oversight of many international gun sales. Lockheed Martin and Textron sell Black Hawk and Bell Helicopters, respectively, to the Mexican military; New Hampshire-based Sig Sauer sells pistols, assault rifles, and machine and submachine guns; the local police who repressed the student protestors of Ayotzinapa had been provided with AR-15 assault rifles sold by Connecticut’s Colt Firearms; the list goes on. These weapons filter their way down to federal, state, and local police forces in Mexico, where they have been used in massacres, killings, and disappearances across the country.

US arms exports killing hundreds of thousands of Mexicans

Hackbarth,August 2019, https://jacobinmag.com/2019/08/el-paso-shooting-us-mexico-weapons-arms, An $8 Billion Murder Industry

One way or another, through cushy contracts or untracked, uncharted smuggling, America is supplying a nonstop flow of weapons to all sides of Mexico’s armed struggle — to cops and cartels, to soldiers and street thugs, to generals and kingpins alike. American weapons are literally being trained on each other, killing Mexicans on both sides of the divide by the hundreds of thousands since 2006 alone. Indigenous protestors in Chiapas, student demonstrators in Mexico City, union strikers in the maquiladora zone — all of them, at one time or another, have found themselves looking down the barrel of an American firearm. At protests throughout the Calderón and Peña Nieto era, a grim hobby was to identify the American manufacturer addresses on spent tear-gas canisters. This, then, is the other, the invisible, the obscene terror: US-manufactured weapons being used to arm a country (and a region) to the teeth, facilitating the repression of social protest, impeding the ability to organize against international predators such as the mining industry, and keeping the nation as a whole conveniently susceptible to attempts at destabilization — all while notching up GDP points and enhanced employment figures back at home. At the same time, the Trump administration and its far-right sympathizers such as Patrick Crusias contend that the Hispanics are the problem and their invasion must be halted.

Defense industry has bought off the US government

Crime Reporter, August 7, 2019, William Hartung on Raytheon United Technologies and the Military Industrial Complex, https://www.corporatecrimereporter.com/news/200/william-hartung-on-raytheon-united-technologies-and-the-military-industrial-complex/, William D. Hartung, the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy.

He is is the author, most recently, of a Nation magazine article titled Defense Contractors Are Tightening Their Grip on Our Government. “When you build one of those huge, industrial defense conglomerates like we have in Lockheed Martin, they multiply their power,” Hartung told Corporate Crime Reporter in an interview last week. “They have more money to make campaign contributions, more money to spend on lobbying, they have more facilities in more states and Congressional districts and thus they have leverage over more members of Congress. They can drive a better bargain for themselves with the Pentagon.” “And also, you have the revolving door. Most notably you have a former Raytheon lobbyist, Mike Esper, who is now Secretary of Defense. You had a former Raytheon lobbyist, Charles Faulkner, at the State Department, who lobbied for arms sales for Saudi Arabia – bombs – Raytheon products – they were going to use in Yemen. He left under a cloud.” “This is just a small proportion of what is out there. Hundreds of people go back and forth every year – either from the Pentagon to the major contractors or from the contractors into government. The revolving door swings both ways. You have this elite that works back and forth. If you are at the Pentagon and used to work at Lockheed Martin you might look more favorably on Lockheed Martin. If you come from the Pentagon and go to Lockheed Martin, you can use your connections with your former colleagues to try and get a better deal for your company.” “And perhaps most insidious, if you are at the Pentagon and are looking ahead to employment in the defense industry, you may go lightly on the companies because you are going to turn around in a few years and be asking them for a job where you will make a lot more money than in government.” Who are the top five Pentagon contractors? “Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics split about $100 billion of Pentagon spending a year. They are the huge corporate beneficiaries.” When we started this publication more than thirty years ago, a major issue we covered was defense contractors ripping off the Pentagon and being brought to justice under the False Claims Act. That’s the law that allows whistleblowers to recover a bounty if they blow the whistle on corporations defrauding the government. You see very few of those cases in the defense procurement field anymore. Why is that? “I’m not sure why there haven’t been more of those kinds of cases. I know the Project on Government Oversight works closely with whistleblowers. They try to help whistleblowers protect themselves. And there have been whistleblowers on things like overpriced Coast Guard combat ships and the F-35. As for these kinds of False Claims Act cases, they do seem to be reduced, even though there is a new wave of revelations about fraud, waste and abuse.” “Under Reagan, there was a big scandal on overspending on spare parts – hundreds of dollars on toilet seats, thousands of dollars for a coffee maker for a transport aircraft. Stories like that are coming back. There is a company called Transdigm which has been charging the Pentagon many multiples of what things should cost.” “That case has gotten a little bit of attention. The Project on Government Oversight has done a report on how prevalent this practice has been in recent years. The Pentagon hasn’t cleaned up its act on that front decades later.” Defense attorneys say that in fact the reason there has been a decline in False Claims Act cases in this area is that contractors have cleaned up their act and there are stricter compliance programs within the companies. “You may not have as many cases of outright fraud and illegal activity. Much of the waste is because of poor management procedures at the Pentagon. And it’s a little harder to proportion blame. Is it primarily the Pentagon? Or is the greedy contractors? It seems to be a symbiotic relationship between the two.” Support for the Pentagon budget is a bipartisan issue on Capitol Hill. “Trump came in initially at $700 billion. Under pressure from the industry and the hawks, he went up to $750 billion. The Democrats in the House said – oh, no, let’s do $733 billion. It was only a couple of percentage points difference. And part of that was a dispute over whether Trump’s border wall should be paid by Pentagon funds”. “Now it is true that the number that the Democrats came up with was an increase over the prior year, from $716 billion to $733 billion, even though it was already at historically high levels.” “There are also a lot of cases of members trying to increase funding in weapons systems built in their districts – more than the Pentagon has asked for. That includes the F-18, more F-35s, more combat ships, more transport planes. Sometimes that pushes up the top line. And sometimes they just steal it from other parts of the budget like operations and maintenance.” “It is kind of ironic because there is this standard complaint about readiness – not enough spare parts, not enough training, not enough flight hours. And as a result, there are accidents. Yet Congress periodically dips into the operations and maintenance accounts where some of those readiness funds reside and throws those funds at big ticket weapons built in their districts.” “If there is a readiness problem, which is substantially overblown, Congress has been complicit.” You said that the primary objection to the Raytheon United Technologies merger is the concentration of corporate power. But corporate power has been effectively written out of the antitrust laws. There were people like former Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas who wanted to put curtailing corporate power as a goal of antitrust laws. You wouldn’t just look at consumer welfare, but also at the question of corporate power. Is there an antitrust review of the merger? “I believe there is a review ongoing. But I don’t think anyone thinks the government will block the merger. There is some overlap of businesses, but the solution will be divestment of certain units if necessary.” “Raytheon focuses heavily on bombs and missiles. United Technologies makes military aircraft engines through its Pratt and Whitney division. At least on the big items, there is no clear overlap. If you take a narrow question – is there going to be less competition in the defense industry, where there is very little competition left anyway? the answer is probably going to be no.”

Israel sells weapons to the worst human rights abusers world-wide

Jehron Muhammed, August 6, 2019, The history of Israel’s illicit covert global arms trade, https://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/World_News_3/The-history-of-Israel-s-illicit-covert-global-arms-trade.shtml

A 2018 press release issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury cited retired Israeli Defense Forces Major General Israel Ziv as using an agricultural company as a “cover” for the sale of $150 million worth of weapons to the government of South Sudan. “Through bribery and promises of security support,” he reportedly, to increase his profits, organized attacks by opposition mercenaries on the country’s oil fields and infrastructure, “in an effort to create a problem that only his company and affiliates could solve.” An investigative piece, penned by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), a media organization funded by private foundations, Google and the governments of the U.S. Britain and Sweden, revealed that Ziv used international oil trader, Trafigura, to cover his tracks. South-Sudan-soldiers_08-13-2019.jpg In this file photo taken April 14, 2016, government soldiers follow orders to raise their guns during a military parade in Juba, South Sudan. Escalating violence in South Sudan is casting a light on Israel’s murky involvement in that raging conflict, with the government’s use of Israeli arms and surveillance equipment drawing criticism from human rights activists and a lawmaker who are demanding that Israel halt such transfers to the embattled African country. The scrutiny comes as Israel has been forging new ties with countries across Africa, hoping their support will counter Palestinian diplomatic offensives at the United Nations. The U.S. alleged “Ziv has been paid through the oil industry (Trafigura) and has had close collaboration with a major multinational oil firm.” OCCRP’s investigation discovered leaked internal documents, emails and other records showing that Trafigura transferred at least $140 million to South Sudan’s central bank. The records “also show that the government then transferred nearly the same amount to Global CST,” one of Ziv’s three companies that are also subject to U.S. government sanctions. Ziv, according to Electric Intifada, has been pressing the Israeli defense ministry to lobby the U.S. government to lift the sanctions against him and his three companies. In March of this year, the Israeli arms export agency supplied an “undoubtedly helpful letter” to the arms dealer, stating that “as of this day, the Ministry of Defense has not found evidence of unlawful activity in regards to defense exports by Israel Ziv or his companies.” To add to Ziv’s support, and which proves that he was a part of this scheme, reported the Israeli business publication Calcalist, no less a figure than South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir wrote Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just days after U.S. sanctions had been imposed. Kiir urged the Israeli PM to intercede in Ziv’s behalf. According to Mondoweiss, the news and opinion publication that focuses on Israel and Palestine, “Ex-general Ziv is hardly the first Israeli to commit crimes in Africa with no punishment in Israel. Dan Gertler, an Israeli billionaire, has teamed up with Joseph Kabila, the former president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, to loot that desperately poor country of billions. Another Israeli super-wealthy businessman, Beny Steinmetz, was mixed up in corruption over mining deals in the West African nation of Guinea.” To get more of an appreciation of the apparent importance of Israel’s illicit arms trade to the Jewish state’s economy, which includes Israeli privately-owned companies, all you need is a Google search. In a 1995 Foreign Policy piece, by Duncan Clarke, a professor of international relations and coordinator of the U.S. Foreign Policy field, School of International Service at American University, wrote in a comprehensive report titled, “Israel’s Unauthorized Arms Transfers:” “Evidence shows that Israel has systematically circumvented U.S. restrictions on the re-export of U.S. defense products, components, and technical data.” Other countries have been apprehended “evading U.S. re-export controls, but Israel’s case appears unique. Not only is it the beneficiary of massive U.S. support, but it is also by far the principal offender and foremost concern of U.S. officials responsible for implementing the laws on re-export of U.S. defense products,” he said. “Unauthorized Israeli re-transfers of U.S. defense items and technology are of particular concern for several reasons, say U.S. officials: Israel re-exports much more often than do other allies and with more sensitive technology; it sells to ‘pariah’ states with which the United States refuses to deal; its sophisticated defense industry makes retransfers harder to track.” A recent report by Amnesty International indicts Israel for its “absence of monitoring and transparency (that) have for decades let Israel supply equipment and defense-related knowledge to questionable states (like South Sudan) and dictatorial or unstable regimes that have been shunned by the international community.” According to Amnesty, often the exported weapons “reach their destination after a series of transactions, thereby skirting international monitoring and the rules of Israel itself.” It cites the presence of Israeli-made Galil Ace rifles in the South Sudanese army as an example. “With no documentation of sales, one cannot know when they were sold, by which company, how many, and so on,” the report says. Another recent report, published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), says Israel, which is the world’s 8th largest arms exporter, exports arms to all regions of the world, with the exception of the Middle East. Israel, says the report, “has been accused of selling weapons and military services to human rights violators around the world for decades, including to apartheid South Africa, Rwanda during the 1994 genocide and in recent years to South Sudan, despite a near-universal arms embargo over the bloody civil war there.” In addition, SIPRI says, “Israel is one of a range of smaller suppliers of major weapons and other military equipment to sub-Saharan Africa. It has long sold or given weapons to a host of developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, and the deals are often accompanied by serving or retired Israeli military personnel (like retired Major General Israel Zev) and Israeli civilian contractors as instructors. Although Israeli arms exports, especially of major weapons, to sub-Saharan Africa are limited, Israeli weapons, brokers and instructors are likely to sometimes have a more significant impact than mere numbers of supplied weapons imply.” In recent history Israel has been accused of supplying Myanmar with “advanced weapons” during the country’s ethnic cleansing campaign against its Rohingya Muslims. The Foreign Ministry admitted last year to selling Myanmar weapons in the past, but said, if it is to be believed, that it had frozen all contracts in 2017. In a 2016 speech, War Resisters’ International intern Taya Govreen-Segal delivered an inspiring and informational speech to the “Britain and Palestine: Past History and Future Role” conference held at Sarum College, Salisbury, UK. “Israel has the largest security industry in relation to the economy of any country in the world, exporting weapons to 130 different countries. Israel refuses to join the 82 states that have ratified the Arms Trade Treaty and commit to not selling weapons that will be used for genocide, crimes against humanity and violation of human rights, since it fears signing it will lead states to stop trading with Israel,” she said.

Most violence in Mexico is due to ILLEGAL imports from the U

Jason Lemon, 8-11, 19, https://www.newsweek.com/nearly-all-mexico-violence-fueled-illegal-us-guns-1453694, NEARLY ALL OF MEXICO’S GUN VIOLENCE IS COMMITTED WITH ILLEGAL FIREARMS COMING FROM U.S., OFFICIALS SAYS

American and Mexican law enforcement officials say nearly all of the gun violence in Mexico is fueled by the illicit import and sale of U.S. firearms. The underground trade of weapons to Mexico is worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually—with American guns used to kill tens of thousands of Mexicans each year. In addition to weapons from the States working better, Mexico cartels view firearms as status symbols, retired DEA agent Jack Riley told The San Diego Union-Tribune: “It is really important to these criminal organizations, who stay in business by the threat of violence and through the use of violence; and the tools that they prefer to do that with are American-made guns.” Tijuana’s Director of Public Safety, Marco Antonio Sotomayor, says most of the guns flowing into his city come from north of the border. “There’s no way for people to buy guns like these in Mexico. They’re American-made guns,” Sotomayor told the Union-Tribune. “We know they’re being illegally trafficked through California into Tijuana.” Mexico guns Mexican marines escort five alleged drug traffickers of the Zeta drug cartel in front of a seized RPG-7 rocket launcher, hand grenades, firearms, cocaine and military uniformson June 9, 2011 at the Navy Secretaryship in Mexico City

Trade war with China good – causes Trump to lose the election

Jim Jones, 8-10, 19, https://www.postregister.com/opinion/columns/trump-maneuvers-china-into-a-strong-position-in-the-trade/article_71a92cfe-9291-5092-bf3f-00cf8e4099e0.html, , Trump maneuvers China into a strong position in the trade war

It is apparently dawning on the president that the Chinese may well hold the key to his reelection in 2020. Trump has painted himself into a corner in the trade war he started with China, and he now has two unpalatable options — either cut a deal favorable to the Chinese or double down and lose a bunch of his farm vote. Jim Jones Jim Jones This all started with Trump’s meat-ax approach to unfair Chinese trade practices, primarily its pirating of American technology. Rather than rallying our allies to target the Chinese tech sector, the president set up a tariff wall against $250 billion worth of Chinese imports, many of which were not involved in the dispute. That has hurt American consumers and businesses as much or more than the Chinese. It was predictable that the Chinese would retaliate against some of the most lucrative American exports, including America’s immensely productive agricultural sector. America’s farmers were caught directly in the crossfire. The Chinese knew this was a soft spot for Trump, due to his strong farm support in the 2016 election. Farmers have sustained great economic injury as a result of Trump’s ill-conceived trade war. They have lost tens of billions of dollars in sales of soybeans and a wide array of other agricultural products, including many Idaho farm products. But the greatest injury has been the loss of markets that were painstakingly built up over the course of many years. Those markets may be lost to foreign agriculture producers for the longterm. Farmers have been giving the president the benefit of the doubt, hoping against hope that he has a long-term strategy that will benefit them and the rest of the economy. The problem is that bluster is no strategy at all. The president has been playing Candy Land, while the Chinese have been playing chess. Trump did not understand that the Chinese government controls that country’s economy and it can sustain any amount of short-term monetary injury in order to achieve its long-term goals. By keeping the pressure on American farmers into the 2020 election, it might be able to achieve a regime change in America. Or it may be able to force Trump to back down and cut a sweetheart deal before the 2020 election. The Chinese leaders are undoubtedly aware that Trump has come to realize that he is in a trade box and must come up with some deal, any deal, that he can point to as a victory in order to stop the bleeding of America’s farm sector. Trump has taken several actions lately that are designed to placate the Chinese — giving the Xi regime a pass on its brutal suppression of demonstrators in Hong Kong, holding up an arms sale to Taiwan that the Chinese government vehemently opposes, softly whimpering in opposition to the despotic treatment of the Uighur population in western China. These concessions are designed to get the Chinese re-engaged in trade talks and, hopefully, get them to put something on the table that will somewhat resemble a victory. There is no question that the Chinese are in the catbird seat. They were maneuvered there by our president, who is now on the hot seat — either cut a deal that lets the Chinese largely off the hook for their trade piracy in the tech sector or face possible loss of the farm vote. The president has been flailing around in search of a strategy. On July 30, he first demanded that the Chinese cut a deal before the 2020 election or suffer the consequences but conceded a few hours later that they might not. Two days later, he threatened to impose a 10 percent tariff on an additional $300 billion of Chinese imports. That would cost each U.S. household about $200 per year, in addition to the $830 per-year cost of his previous tariffs. In response, China rattled world financial markets by devaluing its currency, showing that every nation stands to lose from Trump’s trade war. China announced on Aug. 6 that it would stop buying American farm products and might impose retaliatory tariffs, which will further devastate American farmers, including Idaho dairies, wheat growers, orchard operators and other ag producers. The American Farm Bureau president called it a “body blow” to our farmers and ranchers. I hope that they can survive the machinations of the self-professed “Tariff Man.”

Turn—Isolating the US from our allies means we can’t compete with China – their population is 4X the US population

Matthew Petti is a national-security reporter at the National Interest, 8-1, 19, U.S.-China Competition Meets the Climate Challenge, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/us-china-competition-meets-climate-challenge-70651?page=0%2C1

He added that U.S. efforts to keep the Chinese tech giant Huawei away from American allies’ information infrastructure could create “technology blocs,” proposing a “much stronger technology component to many of our alliances.” “If we’re a nation of 300 million people, and we’re in a state of competition with a nation of 1.3 billion people, and our per capita income is slowly converging, our ability to leverage our alliances only becomes more important,” he concluded.

US position in Asia not credible to allies

Petti, July 26, 2019, Matthew Petti is a national-security reporter at the National Interest, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/are-america-and-china-collision-course-69517, Are America and China on a Collision Course?

The second part of the question proved contentious. Kurt Campbell, Chairman and Chief Executive Office at the Asia Group and a former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, was unequivocal. He argued that the U.S. position in Asia “has been substantially eroded.” His counterpart, Michael Robert Auslin, disagreed. Auslin, the Payson J. Streat Fellow in Contemporary Asia at the Hoover Institution, depicted China, not the United States, as the primary driver of events. In Campbell’s view, U.S. leadership has had the “worst possible preparation” for a pivot to Asia from a “fifty-year Cold War and then twenty years of hot fighting in the Middle East.” He stated that the Cold War paradigm of two opposing blocs cannot anticipate how smaller states will “maneuver” between the United States and China, and that Asian states are now worried about U.S. “unreliability.” Auslin, countered that “the more fundamental substratum of what [U.S.] policy means hasn’t changed,” pointing towards increased U.S. freedom of navigation missions and trade negotiations between the United States and Japan. He agreed with Campbell that Asian countries no longer see alliances with the United States as a bedrock but preferred the term “uncertainty” to “unreliability…. “What I’m more concerned about is that we do not have a collective government strategy that involves all aspects of our diplomacy, our aid in dealing with the Asia-Pacific region,” Campbell said. “We have one institution of our government that is on steroids, our military. The rest of our government is on life support.Asian countries “view us, in some respects, militarily as unpredictable. What they want is a stabilizing presence,” he said, saying that Trump’s public questioning of the value of alliances has upset the “delicate” issues allowing for the U.S. presence in the region. “It is incredibly hard for one democracy to station the forces of its military on the land of another democracy”… Former Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy, who is currently a distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Institute’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, focused on a related area of concern. He pointed to the issue of American reliability. Could allies in Asia count on America? “When I arrived in Indonesia in 1996, I couldn’t find a single member of the Indonesian foreign-policy elite that did serious thinking about what would happen after [President] Suharto,” the former Ambassador to China and Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, said. Nowadays, “the Asians, for the first time in the post–Cold War period, have to think about an unreliable United States.”.. Campbell was unsparing in his analysis of American sway in East Asia. “The period in which the United States was the undisputed dominant power in Asia, that period is likely over. I’m not sure we fundamentally understand or recognize that,” Campbell warned. “The best we can hope for is that the United States has a leading position, and that our best options for good outcomes is going to be working with close partners.” “Competition will be the watchword in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said. “But competition for what? What are we competing towards?” Cautioning that both the American and Chinese militaries have “deep confidence in their abilities,” Campbell predicted that any armed confrontation “would be a disaster, and it would spread and escalate rapidly.”

Arms exports critical to Russia’s defense industrial base

Matthew Bodner, 7-22, 19, https://www.defensenews.com/top-100/2019/07/22/influence-or-profit-russias-defense-industry-is-at-a-crossroads/, Influence or profit? Russia’s defense industry is at a crossroads

Russia has long been one of the world’s largest arms dealers, reporting about $15 billion in sales annually. It is an important business for Moscow, especially in times of economic strain on its defense budget. Foreign sales help keep the industrial base healthy and working, and Russian hardware is renowned for being comparable to Western wares at lower prices. It also helps that Russia is willing to sell to just about anyone. But global arms sales have always had a political element, and Russia is no different. Many of Moscow’s friends and allies are more cash-strapped than the clients typically enjoyed by Western defense firms. And if a regime is close enough to the Kremlin, Russian state banks and corporations will often provide loans to finance large purchases of Russian hardware. Click here to see the Top 100 global defense companies. “Often, loans are provided for politically driven arms contracts,” said Robert Lee, a former fellow at the Russian think tank Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, who is currently studying for his doctorate in war studies at Kings College London. “Russia generally won’t make a profit off of these contracts, but they do provide work for Russian defense companies by supporting employment, keeping production lines running and lowering costs for domestic procurements,” he added.

US gun exports increasing

John Lindsay-Poland coordinates the project to Stop U.S. Arms to Mexico of Global Exchange, July 22, 2019, https://fpif.org/the-u-s-is-flooding-the-world-with-guns-congress-can-stop-that/, The U.S. Is Flooding the World With Guns. Congress Can Stop That.

Gun manufacturing in the United States fell sharply in the first year of the Trump presidency, by more than 27 percent — a change widely attributed to gun buyers’ confidence that Trump would maintain or expand commercial access to firearms, limiting the impulse to stock up over a short period of time. Gun imports into the United States have also dropped significantly, with pistol imports falling by over 20 percent from 2016 to 2018. But reduced gun production was partly compensated by a record level of U.S. gun exports to other nations, which grew by nearly 30 percent in 2017. U.S. gun companies dramatically increased their firearms exports globally — to 488,300 guns in 2017, more than in any year on record, according to a report by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). The United States exported even more firearms in 2018, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, and the Trump administration seeks to expand such exports even more. Last year, the administration proposed a regulatory change to transfer the export licensing of guns to the much looser rules of the Commerce Department, which industry leaders expect will “significantly expand their opportunities,” while removing congressional oversight and severely reducing the capacity to control the end uses of exported weapons. The proposed rule would apply to sniper rifles, semi-automatic assault rifles, and other weapons used in warfare around the world. The change would also effectively deregulate the production of 3D-printed weapons, which are currently considered exports. But the proposed change was set back on July 11, when the House of Representatives approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA) to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that prohibits taking gun exports off the State Department’s U.S. Munitions List. The State Department Trashed Its Own Authority to Control Weapons Sales The growth in U.S. gun sales outside the country occurred as the Trump administration’s weapons export licensing agency was understaffed and in devastating disarray, according to a State Department Inspector General report in February. The report found that the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, which reviews and issues licenses to export weaponry, was 28 percent understaffed. The agency also had failed to notify Congress of arms sales as required by law, scrapped a unit for training officers, failed to consult the State Department’s regional and human rights bureaus on proposed arms exports, and mistakenly approved an export license (later revoked) for more than a billion dollars of firearms to the Philippines. Philippines police and military forces are credibly alleged to have committed thousands of extrajudicial killings under current President Rodrigo Duterte. Yet the United States shipped more than 86,000 semiautomatic handguns to the Philippines in 2018, more than six times as many as the previous year, according to U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) records. Nearly all of these weapons were Glock handguns exported from Georgia, a comparison of ATF and Census Bureau data reveals. Like other European gun producers, Glock has much moved its production from Austria to the United States to take advantage of the enormous U.S. police and civilian market as well as looser export laws. Practically the entirety of the uptick in 2017 in foreign gun sales comes from pistols exported by New Hampshire-based Sig Sauer Inc., which more than doubled in number from 2016 to 177,414 pistols in 2017. Sig Sauer accounted for 64 percent of all pistols exported from the U.S. in 2017. New Hampshire pistol exports amounted to $41.8 million in 2017, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. (Sig Sauer was virtually the only company to export pistols from New Hampshire in 2017, according to the ATF report.) The largest buyers were Thailand ($15 million), followed by United Arab Emirates (UAE, at $4.8 million), Canada, and Germany. Foreign Gun Sales Were Even Higher in 2018 ATF doesn’t publish detailed gun manufacturing and export data until a full year has passed, but the Census Bureau and U.S. International Trade Commission post the data monthly. Exports accounted for 6 percent of U.S. gun production in 2017, a portion that nearly doubled from 2016, when it was only 3.3 percent. The increased exports in 2018 suggest that portion has grown even more. And total pistol exports from New Hampshire in 2018 grew to more than $64 million, about half more than in 2017. The biggest buyers in 2018 were Thailand — which received a whopping $39.5 million worth of pistols from New Hampshire — and UAE, which purchased $5.9 million worth. The UAE is waging war in Yemen, which has led to thousands of deaths and a humanitarian catastrophe. In 2017, Congress was notified of two licenses for exporting 9mm pistols to Thailand valued at $93.9 million, as well as $48.6 million for five export licenses in various types of firearms to UAE. Meanwhile, the U.S. exported more than 72 million bullets (valued at $125 million) to Afghanistan in 2018, far more than any other country, and more than eight times the dollar value of bullets exported to Afghanistan in 2017. Most of the ammunition was exported to Afghanistan from Kentucky and Indiana, Census Bureau data shows. Four of the top ten recipients of ammunition last year were countries with relatively low levels of violence (Canada, Australia, Germany, and UK). But Israel received more than $26 million worth of bullets, while the Philippines received more than $14 million in ammo (most of it exported from Missouri).

US has no credibility on human rights. One policy change won’t solve

Paul Pillar, July 22, 2019, Paul R. Pillar is a contributing editor at the National Interest and the author of Why America Misunderstands the World., Mike Pompeo’s Human Rights Problem, https://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/mike-pompeos-human-rights-problem-68477

The obvious backdrop to anything the Trump administration pronounces about human rights is an administration foreign policy that gives short shrift to human rights. by Paul R. Pillar Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been justly criticized for his creation of a Commission on Unalienable Rights, with the mission of redefining human rights. The move appears designed to base the redefinition on religious doctrine that Pompeo infuses into his conduct of official business. The religious orientation is reflected in the membership of the commission, the common thread of which is a focus on religious issues, often with an openly sectarian coloration. One of the members, for example, contends that Christianity is the foundation of human rights, at least as those rights are understood in the West. Creation of the commission, which will be nested under the Policy Planning Staff, constitutes an end-run around the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, which includes the office that has long monitored human-rights issues worldwide from a nonsectarian perspective. The obvious backdrop to anything the Trump administration pronounces about human rights is an administration foreign policy that gives short shrift to human rights. This disconnect is most visible in President Donald Trump’s friendly hobnobbing with dictators from Egypt, North Korea, and other countries with harsh authoritarian rule. It is reflected in Trump’s joking with Russian president Vladimir Putin about the inconvenience of a free press and how nice it would be to get rid of bothersome journalists. The administration also gives low priority to human rights in ways that go beyond the president’s relations with autocratic buddies. Last year, for example, the administration stopped participating in the United Nations Human Rights Council, as part of its practice of shaping its conduct in such international organizations according to what the government of Israel would want. Even regarding religious liberty—the focus of the new commission—human rights have taken a back seat to other administration objectives. This is most obvious in the administration’s deference to the Saudi Arabian regime run by Mohammed bin Salman, which not only murders bothersome journalists but also prohibits the open practice of any religion other than Islam. The one valid idea in Pompeo’s introduction of the commission is that the concept of human rights, as with other important political and moral concepts, can get diluted and ultimately weakened if too many causes and issues are added to it. But that still does not explain the need for any redefinition today, let alone one with the specific orientation of this commission. Pompeo claims to be an originalist, but why should his appointees be expected to do a better job of defining the core of unalienable rights than the founding fathers did in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? Indeed, the heavy religious emphasis of this commission goes against what the founding fathers said. The only mention of religion in the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, is that government ought to stay out of it, per the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Internationally, there is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Pompeo mentioned in his statement announcing the commission. Why shouldn’t that declaration still stand as a consensus definition of human rights? Adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948, it is recent enough to have placed Enlightenment concepts in a modern context, but not so recent as to reflect newer fads of what should constitute a “right.” A U.S. presumption to do better than this will just add to the international perception of U.S. hypocrisy when the administration’s words are contrasted with its policies. How any foreign ministry, including the Department of State, should define human rights is related to the question of why human rights should be a major part of foreign policy. There are multiple reasons that it should. One is the moral imperative that all persons should be treated with the respect for human dignity and individual well-being that any other persons enjoy. Another is that the place human rights occupy in a nation’s foreign policy is an expression of what that nation stands for and of the character of its citizens.

US racism undermining its global soft power

Michael Hirsh, July 17, 2019, The decline in U.S. soft power didn’t start with Trump, but he accelerated it this week with his racist tweets., https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/07/17/americas-road-to-reputational-ruin-donald-trump-moon-landing-anniversary-soft-power/

The grainy images of Neil Armstrong’s famous “small step” onto the moon, observed raptly in real time around the world, marked one of the high points in America’s soft power—meaning the global influence of its ideas and values, and its ability to persuade other nations to stand behind it. Though the Vietnam War was raging and domestic headlines spoke of civil violence and assassination, the United States earned its keep that week as the champion of the free world, dramatically besting its Cold War adversary in the technological rivalry of the space race—which it was seen as losing only a few years before. Moreover, the Americans added a touch of humility to the great deed, emphasizing its universality. “We came in peace for all mankind,” said the plaque left in the Sea of Tranquility, and even President Richard Nixon got a little gooey, saying later that summer that with the moon landing, “the people of this world were brought closer together.” There were other high points in U.S. influence later on, of course, none more so than the successful conclusion to the Cold War, in which America’s once-formidable rival, the Soviet Union, simply ceased to exist, exhausted by its efforts to keep up with democracy and freedom—including the freedom to create better technology—in the face of the Reagan Revival. There was the Gulf War, when the United States led a global coalition in enforcing United Nations norms against aggression and launched the smart bomb era. And then, a few years later, Washington engineered the rescue of Bosnia and Kosovo while the Europeans dithered. But things started to go downhill after that. Much of the world began to seriously question Washington’s judgment with the fraudulently justified 2003 Iraq invasion and the forever war that followed, and then the entire nation’s judgment with the election of a career huckster who seems to be a living, walking antithesis of the idea of universality. Now we appear to have reached another reputational low point. Last Sunday, a president who rose to political power with frequent dog whistles to racists and xenophobes—and who has spent the last two and a half years denigrating U.S. allies and many nonwhite nations—gave unabashed expression to those beliefs in public. On Twitter, Trump urged an ethnically diverse group of Democratic congresswomen to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” He falsely said that they “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe”—even though, of the four Democrats, only one, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, isn’t native born, and all of them are Americans. Trump later denied he was being racist, but with his words he appeared to be endorsing Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s claim that the true slogan of his presidency is not “Make America Great Again” but rather “Make America White Again.” And to many people around the world, it was yet more proof that a country so politically and socially broken can hardly be seen as a global influencer. Is this loss of influence a permanent condition? Trump’s behavior has plainly cost the United States dearly, reducing the lone superpower’s ability to use moral and geopolitical suasion to bring other nations over to its side, whether the issue is isolating China by seeking a ban on Huawei products or pressuring Europe, Russia, and China to impose fresh sanctions on Iran. But the Harvard University scholar Joseph Nye, who coined the term “soft power,” said that while “Trump has definitely had a major negative effect on American soft power,” it’s still possible to recover. “It’s worth remembering that at the same time technology gave us the moon shot, America was wildly unpopular because of the Vietnam War,” Nye told Foreign Policy. “The good news, and this is relevant to the effect of Trump, is that we were able to recover our soft power after that very bad period in Vietnam, and basically Watergate.” Soft power, Nye noted, doesn’t rest “only on what the government does. It rests on civil society, on technology. It’s a lot of things.” Even so, he said, there is the danger of permanent damage if the racism, divisiveness and hatred associated with the Trump administration are broadly reaffirmed by American society—as they appear to have been by the Republican Party this week. Only one Republican senator, Joni Ernst of Iowa, said that the president’s comments were racist, and all but four House Republicans on Tuesday voted against a Democratic resolution condemning Trump’s comments. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, dismissed the negative reaction to Trump’s comments as a matter of “politics and beliefs of ideologies.” In the end, Nye and other experts in soft power said, much will depend on the outcome of the 2020 election and whether the world will someday view Trump and his crude sowing of nativist hatred and international anomie as an aberration that can be forgiven—or as part of a long-term trend leading to an enduring loss of reputation. “That’s much more worrisome, and of much greater concern—the question whether Trump is exacerbating the polarization in society and making American society less attractive,” Nye said. “If so, it may be that recovery after Trump will not be as easy as the recovery after Vietnam.”

READ MORE A worker washes one of two M1A1 Abrams tanks that are loaded on rail cars at a rail yard in Washington on July 2. It’s Trump’s Fourth of July Now The president’s military parade only furthers his vision of a dumbed-down America that may no longer be up to the task of global leadership. ESSAY | MICHAEL HIRSH Nicholas Cull, a British historian at the University of Southern California and the author of the recently published Public Diplomacy: Foundations for Global Engagement in the Digital Age, agreed that “the problem is not so much Trump but what he represents and the ongoing damage this will do other aspects of American life and society. The problem isn’t Trump—it’s American racism.” But Cull too stressed that all is hardly lost, based on international ratings systems that track soft power, such as the Anholt Ipsos Nation Brands Index, according to which Germany is now seen as the No. 1 nation in global reputation, while its former Axis ally in World War II, Japan, is No. 2. The United States is steady at No. 6. “Reputation is surprisingly unvolatile,” Cull said. “There is movement in the reputation of the United States based on Trump, but it’s on the order of a kind of adjustment. The U.S. has gone to being seen as six or seven in the world. It’s not No. 21. Nobody thinks China or Russia or India is more attractive.” Cull also sees 2020 as a crucial test: “When something goes on for longer, it starts to be understood as part of the nature of the country. The reelection is more dangerous than the election.” If Trump wins, Nye said, “a lot of people who have been allies and who’ve been more or less holding their breath, I think we’ll find will no longer hold their breath.”

US supported deterrence in the Gulf critical to prevent the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, which would destroy the global economy and trigger nuclear escalation

FromHerz, 7-17, 19, ALLEN JAMES FROMHERZ is Professor of History and Director of the Middle East Studies Center at Georgia State University. He is the author of Qatar: A Modern History, Why the Strait of Hormuz Is Still the World’s Most Important Chokepoint

The Strait of Hormuz links the majority of the world’s people who live along the shores of Asia and East Africa to the heart of the Middle East. Long before the discovery of oil, it was the world’s carotid artery. Cut off the blood supply almost anywhere else and the world would adapt. Here, however, an interruption could be fatal: 90 percent of oil exported from the Gulf, about 20 percent of the world’s supply, passes through Hormuz. Shipping through the strait, which is a mere 21 nautical miles wide at its narrowest point, is concentrated and hazardous. In Musandam, the Omani exclave on the strait’s southern side, you can hear Persian radio from Iran as often as Arabic. Along the rocky shorelines, islets and peninsulas thrust precipitously into the sky. Heat, humidity, and a scorching wind make the climate inhospitable; many mountain ranges and valleys near Hormuz remain sparsely inhabited. Although Persia tried to claim it, no one group has ever actually controlled the entire Strait of Hormuz. On Musandam, Shihuh mountain groups and Dhahoori fishermen have historically maintained some autonomy from Muscat. On the northern, Persian side, Iran is as vulnerable to disruption as are many of the ships that pass through the strait. Iran based its oil terminal on Larak Island, in the strait, after Iraq attacked its previous installation on Kharg Island further inside the Gulf. Larak, Hormuz, Qeshm Island, and the Persian Gulf coast of Iran are inhabited by a mixture of Persians and Sunni Arabic speakers who migrated there from the Arabian Peninsula before the rise of international maritime boundaries and who differ from the majority population in Iran. There has long been trouble for Iran brewing in the hills. The Baluchis inhabit mountains nearby and the Makran Jundallah (Soldiers of God), a Sunni Baluchi separatist movement, have mounted deadly attacks against Iran, including killing 15 members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in a 2009 bombing. The diversity on land is eclipsed only by the sheer number and variety of ships passing through the strait. Without a single controlling power, it is in the interest of the United States, as the foremost naval power in the world, to serve as the ultimate guarantor of trade through Hormuz. Historically, that has meant preventing the pendulum from swinging too far in one direction or the other. In 1987, the United States intervened in the Iran-Iraq War to prevent attacks against Kuwaiti ships. In 1988, the United States sank Iranian warships and patrol boats during the so-called tanker war. Just a few years later, the United States began the first Gulf War to stop Iraq from seizing Kuwait. Iran has learned from that history, realizing that the most effective strategy, in its attempt to gain a better negotiating posture and to end crippling sanctions, is not outright conflict but subterfuge. It has begun sending small, lightweight vessels to harass and attack huge tankers and container ships. No one group has ever actually controlled the entire Strait of Hormuz. The stakes in the strait today are much higher than they were in the 1980s and 1990s, as a confrontation over shipping could lead to a full-blown war between Iran and the United States, one that could even turn nuclear. Instead of assuring the region’s security, however, the United States has pursued short-term benefits, selling arms to Gulf partners and taking sides in largely fruitless inter-Gulf squabbles, driving partners such as Qatar toward Iran and allowing the Saudis to take too many risks, such as by intervening in the Yemeni civil war. One reason for this destabilizing opportunism may be the faulty assumption by U.S. policymakers that the Carter Doctrine, under which the United States vowed to use military force to protect its interests in the Gulf, no longer applies. As the United States consumes less oil from the Middle East, the argument goes, its need to ensure the security of the region also decreases. That, however, misunderstands both history and geopolitics. The United States depends on Gulf security for more than oil. First, and most crucially, the rising possibility of nuclear conflict, as Iran has rapidly started enriching uranium after the United States pulled out of the nuclear deal, has changed the security dynamic in the region. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are both now more interested in acquiring nuclear technology, and have better access to it, as even the United States has provided them with sensitive nuclear materials and know-how. The security of the strait now matters not simply because of trade; a conflict in Hormuz could spark a firestorm that could quickly spread beyond the Gulf. Second, the amount of trade that passes through Hormuz has grown rapidly with the rise of the wealthy oil states along the Gulf. Finally, the United States has invested heavily in naval bases, in Bahrain, Qatar, and elsewhere, that are accessible by sea only through Hormuz. The Strait of Hormuz will remain the world’s most valuable and vulnerable trade and maritime chokepoints, no matter how much oil prices might decline. The persistence of U.S. commitment to the region is difficult for many Americans to accept. Given how many lives and how much money the United States has sacrificed in the Middle East, many Americans on the right and the left want to abandon the region altogether. But no matter how much petroleum American and Canadian producers extract, the United States will still be on the hook for Gulf security. The global system of trade on which U.S. prosperity depends simply cannot function without the safe passage of ships through the Strait of Hormuz and the prevention of any further nuclear escalation in the region. Most Read Articles When Stalin Faced Hitler Who Fooled Whom? Stephen Kotkin Trump’s Incendiary Rhetoric Is Only Accelerating Immigration The Crisis at the Border Is of Washington’s Own Making Tom Nichols The Carter Doctrine is, therefore, still necessary but it is not perfect. Although the United States has the most powerful military in the region, it often does not take into account the complex human geography of the strait. Unlike the United Kingdom, which secured Gulf trade routes from 1820 to 1970, the United States does not have deep relationships with non-state actors. This applies to both sides of the strait. To the south, Oman, the Switzerland of the Gulf, has served as a crucial intermediary between the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. But the incumbent sultan, Qaboos bin Said, is 78 and has no clear successor. The British kept a telegraph station on Musandam and the peninsula is still probably a listening post for Oman, which likely shares it with allies including the United States. Washington would be wise to better understand the complex political and social dynamics of the Musandam Peninsula in the unlikely event that there is not a smooth transition after the death of Sultan Qaboos. It is unlikely, but possible, that many factions and groups within Oman and Musandam could start to assert some sort of autonomy if the transition leads to turbulence. Washington can prepare for the post-Qaboos era by fostering and supporting other potential negotiating partners, such as Kuwait, and by further agreeing to support Qaboos’ successor if he or she agrees to continue the Sultan’s current policies toward the Strait. Qaboos’ stabilizing and wise leadership will not be easily replaced. Washington should not take it for granted. When it comes to the northern, Iranian side of the Strait, the United States should develop a more nuanced understanding of the many factions and fractures that divide Iran. Crude U.S. policies toward the Iranian people might drive those who oppose the regime toward Tehran. There are many instances of foreign threats, such as the Iran-Iraq War, that helped solidify the rule of the Ayatollah, when diverse Iranians united against an outside aggressor. Attacking Iran along the Gulf coast or at the Larak Island military base and oil terminal where many Omanis emigrated in the past and where a mix of Arab and Persian Iranians live and work, might, turn potential dissidents on the coasts into supporters of Tehran. The United States has little interest in repeating the role of the British Empire or the protectorate it created with the Gulf states beginning in 1853 and ending in the 1970s. But it has every interest in continuing, with its partners, the role of umpire. The United States’ tense history with Iran means that not everyone in the region will see Washington as an impartial arbiter. But no other power can keep the Strait of Hormuz clear of interference and no other power has the ability to stop the game from getting too far out of bounds on either side. Without an umpire, games can quickly turn into wars that no one wants. Most of the players in the Gulf, from Qatar to Saudi Arabia to Iran, share a desire to keep the game from getting out of control. Despite crushing sanctions, Iran knows that it would not benefit from a war. That’s why Tehran has often vehemently denied responsibility for the recent attacks on Western shipping in the strait. Yet to avoid escalation at the last minute, as President Donald Trump did when he rightly called off an attack on Iran in reaction to the downing of a U.S. unmanned drone, is not enough. Hormuz needs a steady guarantor of security, even an imperfect one.

German weapons exports, including those to the UAE, are up

Focus Information Agency, July 11, 2019, http://www.focus-fen.net/news/2019/07/11/440649/deutsche-welle-german-arms-export-approvals-spike.html, Deutsche Welle: German arms export approvals spike

German Economy Ministry data obtained by opposition Greens foreign policy spokesman Omid Nouripour itemized ?5.3 billion ($6 million) worth of government approvals for arms sales between January and June, Deutsche Welle reports. That total for the first half of 2019 surpasses the ?4.8 billion in arms export approvals for the whole of 2018. Hungary topped the 2019 current recipient list with ?1.76 billion in arms, followed by Egypt receiving ?800 million and South Korea ?278 million. Sixth on the list was the United Arab Emirates with ?206 million. Hungary, whose nationalist prime minister, Viktor Orban, has been at odds with EU and NATO partners on various issues, vowed in May to double his government’s spending on Hungary’s military Egypt and the UAE are members of a Saudi Arabia-led alliance of Arab states that since 2015 has fought Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. The impact on Yemenis has been described by the UN as the worst humanitarian disaster in the world.

Arms sales do not strengthen our allies

Arabia, July 15, 2019, Christina Arabia is the Director of the Security Assistance Monitor program at the Center for International Policy where she leads research efforts to identify and analyze challenges and risks in U.S. military and police assistance and arms sales worldwide. She has previously worked as a consultant for the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC). https://www.lawfareblog.com/disappearing-transparency-us-arms-sales, Dissapearing Transparency in US arms sales

In the nearly two decades since 9/11, the United States has increasingly relied on security assistance programs to train, advise and equip foreign military and police forces in an effort to fight threats before they reach the United States. These programs, mainly funded by the State Department and implemented by the Defense Department, have continued to expand in scope, cost and global reach under the assumption that the enhanced capabilities of foreign partners would benefit U.S. national security. Between fiscal years 2001 and 2018, the United States spent about $310 billion through security assistance and delivered more than $330 billion in U.S.-made weapons. But despite such staggering sums, there is little evidence that such programs have made the U.S. any safer According to a 2016 RAND Corp. report, the rapid and piecemeal expansion of Defense Department-funded security aid programs—referred to as “security cooperation” or “building partner capacity” by the Pentagon—led to redundancies, limitations, gaps and incoherent strategy. Problematic in their own right, these issues also hindered Congress from providing effective oversight. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the aftermath of the attack that killed four U.S. troops in Niger in October 2017, when it was revealed that a number of senators were completely unaware that the Defense Department had been conducting security cooperation with Nigerien counterterrorism units What’s more, there is evidence that U.S. security assistance programs are fraught with problems that, in some cases, have increased the threats that the assistance was intended to combat—undermining U.S. goals in the process. In many countries, American weapons have been used to commit serious human rights violations, increasing anti-American sentiment around the world. They have contributed to the wasting of tens of billions of dollars worth of taxpayer money as foreign governments use U.S. weapons improperly or divert them to U.S. adversaries. These setbacks have prolonged U.S. military engagements in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, putting more American lives at risk. Many of these setbacks come from U.S. policies and programs that focus on containing immediate security risks in fragile states yet fail to align those goals with critical long-term strategies such as strengthening governance. The “quick-fix” nature of security assistance often means that programs are not tailored to the country’s political context or the structure of its security forces.

Trump reducing regulatory controls on firearm exports

Arabia, July 15, 2019, Christina Arabia is the Director of the Security Assistance Monitor program at the Center for International Policy where she leads research efforts to identify and analyze challenges and risks in U.S. military and police assistance and arms sales worldwide. She has previously worked as a consultant for the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC). https://www.lawfareblog.com/disappearing-transparency-us-arms-sales, Dissapearing Transparency in US arms sales

At the beginning of this year, the Trump administration notified Congress of its plans to loosen the regulatory controls on some U.S. firearms exports and transfer jurisdiction of these exports to the Commerce Department. This move means that Congress will lose its oversight role on important and deadly U.S. weapons, which in the past had allowed them to stop certain problematic exports to Turkey and the Philippines. If anything, U.S. weapons exports deserve higher scrutiny, rather than being treated as mere business transactions and reduced to a streamlined export process similar to that of tractor exportation.

Unilateral decision-making in arms sales is an abuse of executive power

Arabia, July 15, 2019, Christina Arabia is the Director of the Security Assistance Monitor program at the Center for International Policy where she leads research efforts to identify and analyze challenges and risks in U.S. military and police assistance and arms sales worldwide. She has previously worked as a consultant for the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC). https://www.lawfareblog.com/disappearing-transparency-us-arms-sales, Dissapearing Transparency in US arms sales

Controversies surrounding the recipients, use and diversion of arms sales are by no means a new phenomenon. What makes Trump’s policies and abuse of power so dangerous is the new precedent his administration has set allowing the executive branch to make foreign policy decisions unilaterally. In effect, arms sales are now driving U.S. foreign policy instead of being used as a tool for it. The repercussions from this reversal could be disastrous. On top of eroding American values and diminishing U.S. credibility among its partners, some countries have learned how to leverage our own “tool” against us. Both Turkey and Saudi Arabia have used their geostrategic position to extract American arms, manipulate the terms of U.S. arms sales, and play the United States against other powers all while their human rights violations continue unabated. And it’s not just foreign governments that are finding it increasingly easy to manipulate U.S. foreign policy; the Trump administration’s policies allow the U.S. defense industry, already highly adept at playing this game, to maximize its profits at the expense of conflict and turmoil around the world.

Pro-Democracy leadership/pressure fails

Joshua Kurlantzick is senior fellow for Southeast Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is the author, most recently, of A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA., July 10, 2019, Saving Asia’s Democracies, https://thediplomat.com/2019/07/saving-asias-democracies/

While autocracy – illiberal populism of both the right and the left, military dictatorship, and major autocratic powers like China – is clearly on the rise globally and in Asia, a Cold War-style, grand ideological campaign against authoritarianism in general is unlikely to halt democracy’s global regression. It is true that many illiberal regimes share attributes, and that democratic leaders have been slow to recognize the growing power of autocrats. But a Cold War-style frame probably will not work. For one, it is unclear whether, at this time of political gridlock and declining interest in foreign policy among citizens in established democracies, including the United States and leading Asian democracies, such an ideological battle is even politically possible. But even if the United States and other democracies could convince their citizens to launch a global, Cold War-style campaign against autocracy, a broad and sweeping effort might actually backfire. Many authoritarian regimes now bolster their legitimacy by defining themselves as opposed to liberal democracy, with its increasingly tarnished brand – like the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte, autocrats relish an enemy to rail against.

China a growing threat in Asia, and it can threaten the US

Ankit Panda, July 14, 2019, https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3018520/how-chinese-missile-tests-could-stakes-us-south-china-sea Pandit is a Senior Editor at the Diplomat, South China Morning Post

In the final days of June, soon after the G20 encounter between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping in Japan, the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force conducted missile tests in a disputed part of the South China Sea. The tests took on particular significance in light of reports that the weapons fired were anti-ship ballistic missiles. While the US has long known that China was developing these capabilities, previous tests have been conducted over the Chinese mainland and this marked the first known time the missile had flown over open waters. Though the missiles tested remains unknown, the most likely candidates are the DF-21D – long known as China’s “carrier killer” – and the anti-ship variant of the DF-26, a much longer-range missile. The first has an estimated range of about 1,500km (930 miles) and the other has a range of up to 4,000km – which has seen it branded the “Guam killer” because of its ability to reach the US overseas territory from the Chinese mainland. Anti-ship ballistic missiles distinguish themselves from ordinary ballistic missiles in their ability to manoeuvre as their payloads descend toward the earth’s surface. SUBSCRIBE TO US CHINA TRADE WAR Get updates direct to your inbox your email SUBMIT Where a more rudimentary ballistic missile payload might follow a simple parabolic trajectory back to a preordained target, with minimal corrective guidance, anti-ship ballistic missile payloads need sophisticated guidance to hit a moving, albeit slow, target. Chinese vessel ‘mainly to blame’ for sinking of Philippine boat While it remains unclear if China tested these missiles against dummy vessels or other targets, the message will have been clear to the United States. That these missiles splashed down in the South China Sea made the event a realisation of a long-standing American concern: that China would use these burgeoning capabilities to hold at risk American naval assets in the disputed waters off its course. While both countries remain keen to avoid a one-on-one military confrontation, conflict and escalation can be unpredictable. American military planners have long expressed anxieties about their ability to sustain long-range naval operations to, for instance, support Taiwan or the Philippines, a US treaty ally, in the Spratly Islands. Anti-ship ballistic missiles – even with conventional payloads – may cancel out the expeditionary advantage the United States has long enjoyed. The US currently enjoys the naval advantage in the region. Photo: AFP The US currently enjoys the naval advantage in the region. Photo: AFP Share: The PLA Rocket Force may hope that its demonstration of these capabilities will serve to deter the United States in a possible pre-war crisis, where a risk-averse president in Washington may choose to keep American carriers out of range of Beijing’s anti-ship missiles. The concept of victory then is simple for the PLA: win without fighting by promising the United States that any clash would be far too costly with uncertain benefits. Washington’s reaction to the tests has been unusually muted, with limited criticism and concern seeping out via multiple press reports. In 2018, Washington took Beijing to task for its militarisation of disputed features in the South China Sea, for instance by disinviting the Chinese navy from the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercises. While the latest tests did not use the artificial islands Beijing built in the contested waters, they do contribute to the ongoing militarisation of the South China Sea. While China practised normal precautionary measures in its missile testing by issuing a notice to air craft, Washington might have more forcefully protested at its establishment of a large maritime exclusion zone where the missiles splashed down. Missile tests aimed at boosting Beijing’s bargaining power Moreover, given the density of civilian shipping and aviation in the South China Sea, these sorts of demonstrations should be avoided as a matter of principle. While the challenge posed for the United States by these Chinese missiles is not insurmountable, one of the messages the rocket force may have sought to convey is that it is already too late for the United States to catch up in a meaningful way. Already efforts are under way to refurbish and build new US bases in the Pacific to hedge against the possible loss of Guam in wartime. Separately, debates are under way in Washington on how the expiration of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty next month might open up previously foreclosed options to complicate Chinese military planning. Given that freedom of navigation – civilian and military – remains a core US objective in the waters of the Asia-Pacific, including the South China Sea, it will take more than a capability demonstration to shift the needle as far as policy is concerned. But China’s most recent missile tests underscore that a new strategic reality is taking shape in the South China Sea.

Preventing China’s rise will trigger war

Nathan Levine is a fellow on U.S.-China relations at the Asia Society Policy Institute, July 15, 2019, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/china%E2%80%99s-vision-victory-67192

Toward the end of his book, Ward criticizes Graham Allison’s concept of “Thucydides’ Trap,” which suggests that China’s rise, and the fear this has instilled in America, will create structural tensions that push the two countries inexorably toward war. He believes Allison is more concerned with avoiding war than with “avoiding Chinese victory” and brushes over the possibility of conflict by suggesting that war can be prevented if China is held down by economic containment and a strong military deterrent. But this is overly simplistic, if not disingenuous. Ward himself documents in detail how the dream of China’s “restoration” is “not the Communist Party’s alone,” but is the iron thread uniting two hundred years of deep Chinese nationalism and strong feelings of historic victimhood into an overwhelming sense of destiny. For China’s leaders, fulfilling this vision is a matter of life and death. The likelihood that China will greet its cancellation with sullen acceptance is low.

China is ready to export global authoritarianism

Nathan Levine is a fellow on U.S.-China relations at the Asia Society Policy Institute, July 15, 2019, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/china%E2%80%99s-vision-victory-67192

Thus the book helpfully illustrates, even for those who agree with Ward, how critical it will be to get the messaging right on what the real problem is with China’s rise. Focusing less on China’s growing prosperity, prestige, and power, and more on the Chinese Communist Party’s widespread human rights abuses and dystopian political ideology seems like it would be a much stronger platform for winning over the democratic world. That’s because this shouldn’t be a terribly hard case to make—after all the CCP, guided by quantifiably the most murderous ideology in human history, has now established a near perfect authoritarian system, complete with almost limitless state power, revolutionary digital totalitarianism, and a vast re-education camp archipelago into which millions of the country’s Muslim minority have already disappeared. And this system is packaged and ready for export.

Ukraine needs to buy modern arms from the US to compete with advanced Russian weapons

Levon Sevunts, ,Radio Canada International,July 13, 2019, https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/ukraine-canada-russia-defence-weapons-sales-1.5210632, Defence policy first, weapons later, Canada tells Ukraine

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine inherited a vast military industrial complex capable of producing everything from tanks and armoured vehicles to aircraft and ballistic missiles. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in 2018 Ukraine ranked as the world’s 12th largest arms exporter — well ahead of Canada, which ranked 23rd. But without sustained investment in research and development, Ukraine’s defence industry has fallen behind both Western nations and the Russian military industrial complex with which it was closely intertwined prior to the 2014 crisis and Russian military intervention in Eastern Ukraine. “The Russian military has modernized and reformed, especially over the last ten years, rather prodigiously and prolifically,” Carpenter said. To defend itself, Ukraine needs capabilities that can match Russia’s sophisticated new weaponry, he said. “For certain types of military equipment, like anti-tank weapons, like air defence systems, they really need to purchase or receive those systems from Western partners.”

Russia-US war risks increasing

Lyle Goldstein, 7-10, 19, Lyle J. Goldstein is Research Professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) at the United States Naval War College in Newport, RI. In addition to Chinese, he also speaks Russian and he is also an affiliate of the new Russia Maritime Studies Institute (RMSI) at Naval War College. You can reach him at [email protected] The opinions in his columns are entirely his own and do not reflect the official assessments of the U.S. , Europe Is Stuck between the United States and Russia, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/europe-stuck-between-united-states-and-russia-66411

Navy or any other agency of the U.S. government.

Still, it seems U.S.-Russia relations are hardly out of the woods. Many foreign-policy aficionados did not take kindly to President Donald Trump appearing to share a joke over alleged election meddling with President Vladimir Putin at the G20 in Osaka. All joking aside, the reality is that this most fundamental relationship continues to list badly and is in real danger of sinking in the abyss. Despite having a U.S. president that is allegedly pro-Russian, the United States and Russia have now witnessed the dangerous escalation of military conflicts in both Ukraine and Syria, the deployment of more U.S. forces into Eastern Europe, along with ever larger NATO exercises along Russia’s flanks, not to mention the near complete collapse of essential arms control initiatives, along with a dangerous political crisis over the future of Venezuela.

De-escalating Ukraine tensions will help peacefully integrate Russia into Europe

Lyle Goldstein, 7-10, 19, Lyle J. Goldstein is Research Professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) at the United States Naval War College in Newport, RI. In addition to Chinese, he also speaks Russian and he is also an affiliate of the new Russia Maritime Studies Institute (RMSI) at Naval War College. You can reach him at [email protected] The opinions in his columns are entirely his own and do not reflect the official assessments of the U.S. , Europe Is Stuck between the United States and Russia, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/europe-stuck-between-united-states-and-russia-66411

Instead of Americans trying every form of stunt to decouple Russia from Europe, they should alternatively strive for enhanced interdependence and an inclusive European security architecture that offers Moscow a seat at the table. It is not all that far-fetched as the recent news regarding Russia’s reinstated voting rights at the Council of Europe suggest. Positive movement on the delicate issue of Ukraine can help along the process of reconciliation, moreover. Russia’s early 2019 agreement to enable German and French experts to monitor the Kerch Strait is certainly a move in the right direction….As any military analyst knows well, the “fog of war” is intense and civil wars are particularly cruel. Aware of that fundamental reality, Europe, Russia and the United States should join together to salve the wounds of the last five years, putting aside the stampede to place all blame on one side or the other. Volodymyr Zelensky appears to have defied the “experts,” and been elected with a landslide victory on a platform of peace and compromise. If and when such a peace initiative genuinely materializes, that effort should be supported to the utmost. The peoples of Eastern Europe, and Ukraine in particular, need healing and reconciliation, not further escalation, nor irrational and inefficient economic “decoupling.”

Their Russia threat evidence is exaggerated by those who profit from the Russia threat

Lyle Goldstein, 7-10, 19, Lyle J. Goldstein is Research Professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) at the United States Naval War College in Newport, RI. In addition to Chinese, he also speaks Russian and he is also an affiliate of the new Russia Maritime Studies Institute (RMSI) at Naval War College. You can reach him at [email protected] The opinions in his columns are entirely his own and do not reflect the official assessments of the U.S. , Europe Is Stuck between the United States and Russia, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/europe-stuck-between-united-states-and-russia-66411

Still, more than a few opportunists, on both sides of the Atlantic, continue to try to stoke hostilities with Russia. One shudders to think how many cyber-security firms would be put out of business if Russia’s relationship with the West were to substantially improve. Many Washington think tanks would also have to shed legions of young “hybrid warfare” experts.

Congress must increase its authority over arms sales in order to limits the President’s use of “emergency” power and restore the separation of powers.

Elias Yousif is an arms trade and security assistance researcher with the Center for International Policy’s Security Assistance Monitor. Yousif previously worked in foreign affairs research and human rights advocacy at the Atlantic Council and Crisis Action, July 9, 2019, Congress needs more authority in international arms sales, https://thehill.com/opinion/international/452290-congress-needs-more-authority-in-international-arms-sales

Like no other time in recent memory, Congress is losing the war for its rightful place in American governance. President Trump’s distaste for the norms that have traditionally limited the authority of his office have battered the separation of powers, a founding principle of American political life and an essential bulwark against presidential overreach. And when it comes to the weighty decision to transfer American weapons beyond our shores, our president has shown that the balance of power between the executive and legislative branches has come to list dangerously to one side. Indeed, the president’s unflinching and unrestrained determination to send armaments to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — over the objections of lawmakers, civil society and the public at large — illustrates perfectly that, in the battle for the weapons of war, Congress has stumbled into its Waterloo. If nothing else, the president’s recent efforts reflect just how much of Congress’ historical oversight of U.S. arms sales has been based on norms rather than laws, and on policy rather than on statute. In May, Trump, laying bare just how feeble Congress’ grip on the arms sales process really is, declared an “emergency” that bypassed the legally required congressional review process and expedited the transfer of weapons to Abu Dhabi and Riyadh that will likely find their way to the frontlines of Yemen’s civil war. Though the invocation of the president’s emergency authority was a flagrant breach of traditional norms, it offers a revealing insight: We have endowed Congress with insufficient statutory authority to play a meaningful role in overseeing and scrutinizing the arms sales process. Under the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), the principal piece of legislation governing the U.S. arms trade, Congress is enshrined as an important arbiter in the arms sales process. While the executive branch develops arms sales proposals, it is through Congress that the public gets its so sole input into the process. Congress is where elected officials, representing the American people, can voice their concerns. Unfortunately, the structure of the law effectively ensures that, when the administration wants to push guns, bombs and other weapons systems to far-flung parts of the world, there is little lawmakers can do to stop them. Under the law, Congress must receive a 30-day formal notification before a sale can proceed, giving them an opportunity to block the sale through a joint resolution of disapproval, requiring a majority in both bodies of Congress to take effect. As if passage of bicameral legislation was not enough of a barrier, the bill can then be vetoed by the president who, presumably, supports his or her own proposed arms sale. Congress must then muster a two-thirds majority in both houses to override the president, something that has occurred in fewer than 10 percent of all presidential vetoes and has never successfully been done with respect to arms sales. Under previous administrations, an informal negotiation process between Congress and the White House moderated the overwhelming statutory power of the executive branch. The normative system ensured that sales were only introduced once a consensus had formed that lawmakers would approve them. Congressional concerns were addressed before the formal notification and accounted for within the administration’s deliberations. Though imperfect, the practice acted as a check on an administration’s sales authority and theoretically gave Congress the power to indefinitely prevent certification. But because this was an informal system, predicated on executive deference to its co-equal branch of government, we should not be surprised that Trump has shown little patience for it. Instead, we are forced now to rely on the letter of the law — which all but ensures that this administration, and any subsequent one, can sell arms when and to whom it wants without respect to the wishes of Congress or the public. That has to change. The humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where precision munitions provided by the United States have killed scores of civilians, is just the latest theater of war where American armaments are contributing to abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law, and it is unlikely to be the last. Congress was granted a role in the arms sales process for good reason. Public scrutiny of arms sales is an indispensable insurance policy against irresponsible transactions that, for the sake of momentary expedience, risk ethical, moral and strategic compromises. For the American people, it is our sole window into an otherwise opaque world. We can’t allow it to be closed. Lawmakers who are now working to retroactively block arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE should consider adding caveats to the president’s emergency authority. The Saudi Arabia False Emergencies (SAFE) Act, recently taken up by the Senate, is a good start, and a promising opening salvo for their recuperation of authority over arms transfer decision-making. More importantly, the bipartisan frustration with the president’s insistence on sending weapons over the heads of lawmakers should catalyze a serious conversation on how the sales process is vetted under the watchful gaze of the public eye, and just how much power should be vested in the executive branch. Wednesday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the president’s emergency declaration that expedited arms shipments to the Gulf should serve as the new frontline in Congress’s tug of war with the White House. Lawmakers should not only demand answers on this specific episode, but also draw a line in the sand for their own authority in the broader arms sales process. Ultimately, in an era of partisanship, enshrining a more direct role for lawmakers in the arms sales process is a good opportunity for bipartisan consensus. With a president who has shown norms to be insufficient a check on executive power, it is high time that lawmakers make a final stand for their role as arbiters of the exports that enable warfare and conflict across the globe.

UAE withdrawing from Yemen now

Cipher Brief, July 8, 2019, https://www.thecipherbrief.com/column_article/abu-dhabi-looks-to-separate-from-riyadhs-disastrous-policies

Even though the UAE is a close ally of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi is now seeking to distance itself from Riyadh on key issues of foreign policy. First, following a string of tanker attacks believed to be perpetrated by Iran, the UAE cited a lack of evidence and declined to blame Tehran, breaking with both Washington and Riyadh.. Next, in a far more high-profile decision, the UAE began withdrawing its troops and military hardware from Yemen. After four years, Abu Dhabi is cutting its losses in Yemen and seeking to extricate itself from the disastrous war… The withdrawal of Emirati forces from Yemen is important both symbolically and practically. By choosing to publicly distance himself from the Saudi-led campaign, MBZ is making it known that he is aware of how the international community perceives this conflict. Moreover, losing Emirati support will hurt the Saudi effort, as Abu Dhabi had contributed to the air campaign, supplied ground troops, and offered critical intelligence gathering capabilities

(T-Reduce) A request for arms is not a contract

Defense Industry Daily, July 5, 2019, https://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/taiwans-unstalled-force-modernization-04250/

Note that DSCA requests are not contracts; those are separate announcements, and sometimes years pass between the two events.

Russia using hard power to keep pressure on the Ukraine

Patrick Tucker, June 12, 2019, US Intelligence Officials and Satellite Photos Detail Russian Military Buildup on Crimea, https://www.defenseone.com/threats/2019/06/exclusive-satellite-photos-detail-russian-military-buildup-crimea/157642/?oref=d-river

In Ukraine, where Russia’s gray zone operations were heralded as the Kremlin’s new way of waging war, traditional hard power ultimately proved decisive. The Russian military had undergone large-scale reforms in response to major shortcomings that were evident during the 2008 war with Georgia. Smaller, nimbler, and with upgraded capabilities, the new-look Russian military focused on asserting and protecting Russia’s so-called sphere of interest around its periphery, in line with the Primakov doctrine. The reformed military was critical to Russia’s seizure of Crimea and its operations in eastern Ukraine. Today, hard power helps the Kremlin keep the pressure on Kyiv. Russia increasing its military build-up in Crimea Russia has added troops, aircraft, and weapons to Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in what amounts to a “significant” buildup of forces over the past 18 months, according to U.S. intelligence officials, observers, and new satellite photos that reveal the locations of new S-400 air defense systems and improvements to Soviet-era bases. Those officials and observers of the region say the additional firepower gives Moscow greater defensive control over the Black Sea and puts offensive fighters and ships closer to the Middle East. The photos, taken between January 2018 and April 2019 by private satellite imaging company Planet Labs and provided to Defense One, show five S-400 batteries, five S-300 air-defense systems, and fighter jets at four locations. They also show improvements to Soviet-era military installations. In recent interviews, two U.S. intelligence officials authorized to speak only on background detailed Russia’s recent activity on Crimea. One said that it is the assessment of their agency that Russia was engineering “a deliberate and systematic buildup of their forces on the peninsula.” Both declined to confirm or deny what the Planet Labs photos purport to show. Observers said the development likely means that Moscow has no near-term intention of returning the Ukrainian territory it seized in 2014, which the United States has said is required before it will resume normalized relations. Instead, that buildup “suggests that Russia is interested in being able to exercise more control over the Black Sea, which then affords them the ability to project power beyond their immediate environment,” said Sarah Bidgood, the director of the Eurasia Nonproliferation Program at Middlebury College’s James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. “This is a significant buildup. NATO is going to be under increasing pressure from allies in the region to show that it’s able to push back against Russian attempts to gain greater control of the Black Sea. To Western leaders are concerned Russia is positioning its military to be able to shut down the sea lane into the Mediterranean, a key supply route for its Syria operations. Some U.S. lawmakers have called for a greater Western military presence to counter that possibility. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., speaking at the GLOBSEC security forum in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Saturday said “I’ve called for a multinational freedom of navigation operation in the Black Sea to show, when Russia aggressively is using military action, makes incursions into the West, [and] does not abide by its own commitments, in terms of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, [that] we need to respond military as well — not with kinetic military action, but with a very strong show of strength and resolve.” The Buildup Since 2014, Russia has added an airborne battalion to the naval infantry brigade that has guarded Crimea since the 1990s, doubling the total force there to an estimated 30,000 troops. Moscow plans to add another 13,000 within four years, said the first U.S. intelligence official. The Russian military now has 81 airplanes and helicopters in Crimea. “The combat radius covers all Ukraine and beyond the Black Sea. It significantly increases their strike options, potentially extending to the Middle East,” the official said. Russia’s Black Sea Fleet recently added 10 warships that can launch the Kalibr cruise missile: six-diesel electric Kilo-class attack submarines and four surface ships, the official said. The current versions of the Kalibr can hit targets up to 1,500 miles away; and Russia claims to be working on a new variant with a range of 2,800 miles. The second U.S. intelligence official said the Kalibrs will allow the fleet “to strike targets beyond the Black Sea, including southern Europe and Syria, without even departing Sevastopol.” In November, Russian officials announced they would be moving a fourth S-400 battery into Crimea. But Planet Labs’ photos show five S-400 batteries: one apiece near Kerch, Feodosia, Sevastopol (here’s a closeup), Dzhankoi, and Yevpatoriya. A Planet Labs graphic provided to Defense One last week shows the location of the S-400s, whose range would cover much of coastal Ukraine and the Black Sea.

US must strengthen partner military capacity to deter Russia in the Middle East. Without US equipment, partners will turn to Russia.

MAJ Adam Dyet U.S. Army, J5-Policy USCENTCOM, Dr. R. Evan Ellis U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, ), May 2019, Russian Strategic Intentions, https://www.politico.com/f/?id=0000016b-a5a1-d241-adff-fdf908e00001

The US military has several effective ways to compete with Russia “below the level of armed conflict” in the Middle East. Security cooperation programs are valuable for strengthening partnerships and attracting new partners – a focal point of the 2018 National Defense Strategy. These programs provide a level of assurance to existing partners, and serve to develop partner military capacity and capability. From a military standpoint, this allows regional partners to better defend against violent extremist organizations (VEOs) and domination by a foreign power not friendly to the United States. Partner cooperation also provides a venue for the exportation of US soft power, for example, by cultural exchanges and International Military Education and Training. These programs often facilitate sales of US military equipment in lieu of Russian equipment, and provide the United States with both peacetime and contingency access to basing and infrastructure in partner nations. Security cooperation programs and exercises with partners are ways to show commitment and interest beyond what Russia is able to do. The United States currently provides about half of the military hardware for the Middle East, generating a great deal of revenue for the United States (Macias, 2018). Overwhelming Foreign Military Sales put the United States in a more advantageous position when it comes to leveraging influence, as military sales deals often come with long-term training, maintenance contracts, and monitoring provisions. While Foreign Military Sales is a Department of State run program, the Department of Defense is the facilitator and executor of any agreements made. US military equipment is generally preferred over Russian equipment. However, the high cost, support requirements, and legal and bureaucratic processes required to attain US military hardware are sometimes a hinderance to buyers. In contrast Russian military equipment is often offered with no strings attached as well as less robust maintenance and logistics requirements. …t. The methods that the United States uses to compete should always be aligned with the ultimate objective of preserving these vital interests, assuring stability, and achieving an equilibrium of influence that favors the United States. Perceived neglect by partners may lead to even more reliance on a newly accessible Russia, potentially leading to governments in the region shifting APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE Dyet APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE 115 to support Russian interests over US interests. In the Middle East, the United States can achieve an ideal scenario if it can maintain a favorable, stable equilibrium with Russia. A favorable equilibrium for the United States is one that allows it to preserve its vital national interests in the region while applying minimal resources to that end. In the worst-case scenario, the United States would lose influence in the region to the point that vital national interests were threatened

UAE transferring US weapons to Libyan rebels

AFP, March 3, 2019, https://www.france24.com/en/20190702-us-senator-says-libya-shipments-could-end-uae-arms-sales, US senator says Libya shipments could end UAE arms sales

A Democratic senator warned Tuesday that the United States could cut off arms sales to the United Arab Emirates over a report that the US ally shipped US missiles to Libyan rebels. In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, demanded an investigation and asked for explanations by July 15 on arms agreements with the United Arab Emirates.

US increasing arms sales to Europe

Andrea Shahall, June 23, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-airshow-usa-arms/u-s-arms-makers-see-booming-european-demand-as-threats-multiply-idUSKCN1TO0WF, U.S. arms makers see booming European demand as threats multiply

PARIS (Reuters) – U.S. arms makers say European demand for fighter jets, missile defenses and other weapons is growing fast amid heightened concerns about Russia and Iran. A Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter of the Belgian Air Force performs at the 53rd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France June 22, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol The U.S. government sent a group of unusually high-ranking officials including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to the Paris Airshow this year, where nearly 400 U.S. companies were showcasing equipment as the United States and Iran neared open confrontation in the Persian Gulf. Lockheed Martin, Boeing and other top weapons makers said they had seen accelerating demand for U.S. weapons at the biennial air show despite escalating trade tensions between the United States and Europe. “Two Paris air shows ago, there weren’t a lot of orders,” said Rick Edwards, who heads Lockheed’s international division. “Now … our fastest growth market for Lockheed Martin in the world is Europe.” Many European nations have increased military spending since Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine in 2014, bolstering missile defenses and upgrading or replacing ageing fighter jet fleets. NATO members agreed in 2014 to move toward spending 2% of gross domestic product on defence. Eric Fanning, chief executive of the Aerospace Industries Association, said the NATO pledge and European concerns about Russia were fueling demand. “I do think it reflects the increasing provocations of Russia,” he said. Industry executives and government officials say growing concern about Iran’s missile development program is another key factor. Tehran’s downing of a U.S. drone came late in the air show, but executives said it would support further demand. ADVERTISEMENT “Iran is our best business development partner. Every time they do something like this, it heightens awareness of the threat,” said one senior defence industry executive, who asked not to be named. Edwards said Lockheed’s F-35 stealth fighter, selected by Belgium, is poised to win another new order from Poland, while Bulgaria, Slovakia and Romania are also working to replace Soviet-era equipment. Edwards and other executives say they see no impact from the ongoing trade disputes between U.S. President Donald Trump and the European Union. U.S. Army Lieutenant General Charles Hooper, director of the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), said Europe accounted for nearly a quarter of the $55.7 billion in foreign arms sales his agency handled in fiscal 2018. Hooper said the U.S. government was making concerted efforts to speed arms sales approvals and boost sales to help arm allies with U.S. weapons. Ralph Acaba, president of Raytheon Co’s’s Integrated Defense Systems business, said the company was boosting automation and working to deliver the Patriot missile system and other weapons in half the five-year period previously typical. “Europe is really big for us now, and that’s a big change in just the last few years and even the last 18 months,” he said. ADVERTISEMENT In addition to wooing new Patriot customers, Raytheon is upgrading existing systems for customers like Germany, which is likely to finalize a contract worth potentially hundreds of millions of dollars to the company in coming months. Thomas Breckenridge, head of international sales for Boeing’s strike, surveillance and mobility programs, is eyeing contracts wins for Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets in Germany, Switzerland and Finland. “There’s a huge appetite in Europe for defence as a whole,” he said.

US increasing military aid to the Ukraine

US News & World Report, 6-18, 19, https://www.usnews.com/news/world-report/articles/2019-06-18/us-to-send-250-million-in-lethal-aid-to-ukraine, U.S. to Send $250 Million in Lethal Aid to Ukraine

THE TRUMP administration will deploy $250 million worth of military aid and equipment – some of it lethal – to Ukraine’s armed forces as it seeks to deter Russian aggression amid a recent spike in hostile acts, the Defense Department confirmed Tuesday. [ READ: Russia Blasts U.S. Plan to Send Troops to Middle East ] The new equipment the U.S. will provide includes sniper rifles for Ukraine’s special operations forces, as well as grenade launchers, counter-artillery radars and equipment to detect and protect against electronic warfare. The Obama administration and initially President Donald Trump balked at sending lethal weapons to Ukraine reportedly for fear of provoking Moscow, despite pressure from Congress. Trump authorized sending Javelin anti-tank missiles in 2017. The U.S. will also increase its support to the Ukrainian navy and maritime troops, following last year’s crisis at the Kerch Strait resulting in Russia’s capturing 24 Ukrainian seamen, who remain in detention under the auspices of criminal proceedings. The new aid, which Congress authorized and has pushed the Trump administration to disperse, brings the total U.S. support to Ukraine to $1.5 billion since it began in 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimea peninsula and began its ongoing support for separatist militias in Ukraine’s eastern region, known as the Donbas. Ukrainian soldiers continue to die during isolated skirmishes and intermittent sniper and artillery fire in the simmering conflict.

US pushing arms sales to India

Russia Today, 6-13-19, Pompeo woos India with ‘secure’ 5G, arms sales & nuke project after recent tensions, https://www.rt.com/news/461750-pompeo-india-trip-offers/

As the US warns India against buying Russian anti-air systems, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is gearing up for a trip to New Delhi, where he will try to sell American 5G tech, LNG gas, and arms to Narendra Modi’s government. Adamant that India and the US share a common vision “throughout the Indo-Pacific,” Washington wants New Delhi to prove its commitment to US interests by purchasing an entire lineup of US products and services, Mike Pompeo hinted on Wednesday ahead of his trip to the country on June 25. Pompeo also wants India to end its reliance on Venezuelan and Iranian crude by purchasing Liquefied Natural Gas and constructing six US-made nuclear power plants. “We want to complete the Westinghouse civil nuclear project, and deliver more LNG and crude,” Pompeo told the US-India Business Council. “These steps will give Indians reliable, affordable, diversified energy independence so they will no longer have to rely on difficult regimes like those in Venezuela and in Iran.”

Arms sales to Taiwan undermine Taiwan’s own defense industrial base and aren’t what is needed

John Grady, 6-12, 19, John Grady, a former managing editor of Navy Times, retired as director of communications for the Association of the United States Army. His reporting on national defense and national security has appeared on Breaking Defense, GovExec.com, NextGov.com, DefenseOne.com, Government Executive and USNI News, https://news.usni.org/2019/06/12/experts-say-arms-sale-to-taiwan-answer-defense-needs-but-spur-new-questions, Experts Say New Arms Sales to Taiwan answer defense needs but spur new questions

A pending sale of F-16 fighters, Abrams tanks, anti-armor and anti-aircraft missiles, to Taiwan drew rebukes from Beijing but also set off alarms on the island about its ability retain talent and develop home-made defenses, one of its leading security experts said Wednesday. I-Chung Lai, president of the Taiwan-based Prospect Foundation, said the large arms, aircraft and ship sales of the 1980s and again in the 1990s inadvertently set off “a brain drain” from the island and threatened its defense industrial base. “Our capabilities and talents started to filter away” to Korea, he said while speaking at the Heritage Foundation. Shipbuilders and engineers started working for businesses and industries in Korea that were direct competitors with Taiwan but also “filtered into civilian industries,” especially in technology where the island’s expertise is well-respected. “How can we avoid these things happening again,” Lai asked? Aside from considering what such sales do to the Taiwanese industrial base, another question is whether these the right weapons Taipei needs to defend itself from an aggressive Beijing. Scott Harald, from RAND’s Asia-Pacific policy center, said the danger is Taiwan’s believing it needs a “one to one” match with China in weapons and systems. Instead, Harald suggested the island needs “dynamic, agile, survivable, lethal” forces, not necessarily airfields and ports that would be subject to long-range Chinese missile or air strikes, to deter or defend against an all-out assault. Taiwan should consider truck-based anti-ship missile systems, air-launched cruise missiles, mines, helicopters armed with anti-armor missiles to attack landing craft, fast attack missile boats “over big shiny thing” that costs billions, Harald said. Taiwan also needs to decide what type of submarine is necessary; one built domestically or bought overseas. Meanwhile, Taiwan needs to assess the current and future levels of military threats. China already operates its navy east of Taiwan and routinely flies strike aircraft around the island. Taiwan must understand whether China could mount a cross-strait invasion and provocations and incidents similar to the late 1970s confrontations between China and Vietnam. Taiwan also needs to understand Beijing’s short-term goals beyond Taiwan and determine President’s Xi Jin-ping’s timeline for achieving reunification with the mainland, Harald and Lai said. “Is the fight primarily in the heads of people?” of Taiwanese citizens, leaders of foreign nations and international organizations, Harald asked. Szu-chien Hsu, Taiwan’s deputy minister for foreign affairs, said Beijing’s military intent is clear and it is “breaking through the First Island Chain,” closest to mainland China to achieve its “very evident … global strategic ambitions” of being the leading superpower.

Beijing is a threat to Taiwan

John Grady, 6-12, 19, John Grady, a former managing editor of Navy Times, retired as director of communications for the Association of the United States Army. His reporting on national defense and national security has appeared on Breaking Defense, GovExec.com, NextGov.com, DefenseOne.com, Government Executive and USNI News, https://news.usni.org/2019/06/12/experts-say-arms-sale-to-taiwan-answer-defense-needs-but-spur-new-questions, Experts Say New Arms Sales to Taiwan answer defense needs but spur new questions

Several speakers detailed how Beijing started ratcheting-up pressure militarily in the South China Sea, threatening neighbors with economic retaliation for trading with Taiwan and wooing away Taiwan diplomatic partners through its Belt and Road infrastructure initiative. China has also sought to dominate international organizations like the World Health Organization and shuts out Taiwan officials from its meetings. The goal is to isolate Taiwan by creating “new norms” of behavior that go unchallenged, Hsu said. China started escalating its threats toward Taiwan in the late 1990s when democratic governments replaced what had been an autocratic rule on the island, Hsu said. The election of Tsai Ing-wen, whose party has favored remaining apart from the mainland, brought on new waves of pressure from Beijing militarily, economically and diplomatically to bring the island under its control. Beijing started contributing to opposition parties and using bots on social media to influence elections and public opinion on a host of domestic issues. “Disinformation plays right into most divisive issues” that China uses to its advantage, Hsu said. “The Chinese Communist Party is good at making coalitions with lesser enemies to attack larger enemies.” Beijing also works to project a positive image among Taiwanese by inviting school parties to the mainland and supporting events for local organizations on the island. Beijing also touts the mainland as the land of opportunity for young people looking for careers in advanced technology, engineering and finance. “Taiwan’s democratization created new dynamics [that weakened its] coherent response to Chinese threat,” Lai said. Harald added, “the non-kinetic aspect [of applying pressure to achieve what it wants] is China’s approach. It has not given up hope” in achieving reunification that way.

Defense industrial base answer – The link is absurd. The US government just purchased $35 billion worth of planes. The plan is a drop in the bucket

Aaron Gregg, 6-11, 19, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/06/11/pentagon-lockheed-martin-reach-tentative-billion-deal-hundreds-f-fighter-jets/, Pentagon and Lockheed Martin reach tentative $34 billion deal for hundreds of F-35 fighter jets

The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin have reached a tentative agreement to procure 470 new F-35 fighter jets for the Air Force, Navy and Marines and allied militaries, the Defense Department announced Tuesday. A finalized contract award is expected in August, officials said. If the massive order for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters is finalized, it will be the largest procurement in the history of the Defense Department. Its value is estimated at $34 billion. The $34 billion agreement “marks the largest procurement in the history of the Department and provides a best value for our warfighter and taxpayer, incentivizes industry to continuously improve their performance and achieves the lowest F-35 unit prices per aircraft to date,” Vice Adm. Mathias Winter, F-35 program executive, said in an email to reporters.

US hegemony is dead, multiple causes

Zakaria, July/August 2019, Foreign Affairs, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2019-06-11/self-destruction-american-power?fa_package=1124383, The Self-Destruction of American Power

Sometime in the last two years, American hegemony died. The age of U.S. dominance was a brief, heady era, about three decades marked by two moments, each a breakdown of sorts. It was born amid the collapse of the Berlin Wall, in 1989. The end, or really the beginning of the end, was another collapse, that of Iraq in 2003, and the slow unraveling since. But was the death of the United States’ extraordinary status a result of external causes, or did Washington accelerate its own demise through bad habits and bad behavior? That is a question that will be debated by historians for years to come. But at this point, we have enough time and perspective to make some preliminary observations. As with most deaths, many factors contributed to this one. There were deep structural forces in the international system that inexorably worked against any one nation that accumulated so much power. In the American case, however, one is struck by the ways in which Washington—from an unprecedented positionmishandled its hegemony and abused its power, losing allies and emboldening enemies. And now, under the Trump administration, the United States seems to have lost interest, indeed lost faith, in the ideas and purpose that animated its international presence for three-quarters of a century…. Just as American hegemony grew in the early 1990s while no one was noticing, so in the late 1990s did the forces that would undermine it, even as people had begun to speak of the United States as “the indispensable nation” and “the world’s sole superpower.” First and foremost, there was the rise of China. It is easy to see in retrospect that Beijing would become the only serious rival to Washington, but it was not as apparent a quarter century ago. Although China had grown speedily since the 1980s, it had done so from a very low base. Few countries had been able to continue that process for more than a couple of decades. China’s strange mixture of capitalism and Leninism seemed fragile, as the Tiananmen Square uprising had revealed. But China’s rise persisted, and the country became the new great power on the block, one with the might and the ambition to match the United States. Russia, for its part, went from being both weak and quiescent in the early 1990s to being a revanchist power, a spoiler with enough capability and cunning to be disruptive. With two major global players outside the U.S.-constructed international system, the world had entered a post-American phase. Today, the United States is still the most powerful country on the planet, but it exists in a world of global and regional powers that can—and frequently do—push back. The 9/11 attacks and the rise of Islamic terrorism played a dual role in the decline of U.S. hegemony. At first, the attacks seemed to galvanize Washington and mobilize its power. In 2001, the United States, still larger economically than the next five countries put together, chose to ramp up its annual defense spending by an amount—almost $50 billion—that was larger than the United Kingdom’s entire yearly defense budget. When Washington intervened in Afghanistan, it was able to get overwhelming support for the campaign, including from Russia. Two years later, despite many objections, it was still able to put together a large international coalition for an invasion of Iraq. The early years of this century marked the high point of the American imperium, as Washington tried to remake wholly alien nations—Afghanistan and Iraq—thousands of miles away, despite the rest of the world’s reluctant acquiescence or active opposition. Iraq in particular marked a turning point. The United States embarked on a war of choice despite misgivings expressed in the rest of world. It tried to get the UN to rubber-stamp its mission, and when that proved arduous, it dispensed with the organization altogether. It ignored the Powell Doctrine—the idea, promulgated by General Colin Powell while he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War, that a war was worth entering only if vital national interests were at stake and overwhelming victory assured. The Bush administration insisted that the vast challenge of occupying Iraq could be undertaken with a small number of troops and a light touch. Iraq, it was said, would pay for itself. And once in Baghdad, Washington decided to destroy the Iraqi state, disbanding the army and purging the bureaucracy, which produced chaos and helped fuel an insurgency. Any one of these mistakes might have been overcome. But together they ensured that Iraq became a costly fiasco. After 9/11, Washington made major, consequential decisions that continue to haunt it, but it made all of them hastily and in fear. It saw itself as in mortal danger, needing to do whatever it took to defend itself—from invading Iraq to spending untold sums on homeland security to employing torture. The rest of the world saw a country that was experiencing a kind of terrorism that many had lived with for years and yet was thrashing around like a wounded lion, tearing down international alliances and norms. In its first two years, the George W. Bush administration walked away from more international agreements than any previous administration had. (Undoubtedly, that record has now been surpassed under President Donald Trump.) American behavior abroad during the Bush administration shattered the moral and political authority of the United States, as long-standing allies such as Canada and France found themselves at odds with it on the substance, morality, and style of its foreign policy.

China is a threat, the US needs to contain it

Robert D. Blackwill is the Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and a distinguished scholar at the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins University. He was deputy national security advisor for strategic planning, presidential envoy to Iraq, and ambassador to India in the George W. Bush administration, May 7, 2019, Foreign Policy, Trump Deserves More Credit for His Foreign Policies, https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/05/07/trump-deserves-more-credit-for-his-foreign-policies/

U.S. President Donald Trump’s actions over the course of his first two years in office have often been rash, ignorant, and chaotic. But pundits too often concentrate on his deeply flawed personality and his proclivity to announce policies on Twitter, at the expense of examining analytically the substance of his foreign policy. In fact, as I argue in a new Council on Foreign Relations report, some of his individual foreign policies are substantially better than many of his opponents assert. Critics typically show no sympathy for the challenges the president faces in trying to deal with the deteriorating world order that he inherited. China rises in disagreeable ways. Europe withdraws, for the first time in five centuries, from a leadership role in global affairs. Russia revives, which has destabilized its neighbors. NATO debates its role. The Middle East revisits ancient enmities—and witnesses newer ones. India equivocates over its international responsibilities. Global governance falls short. Autocrats on several continents successfully disparage democratic values. Technology outstrips our ability to manage it. The United States moves in perceived retreat. Not a single U.S. politician has a coherent and convincing set of policies to cope with this eroding world order, but Trump receives nearly all the blame and virtually no credit for his policies, except from his most ardent political admirers. Trending Articles Moldova’s Governments Go Head to Head One of Europe’s poorest countries plunges into crisis. Powered By For example, long before Trump took office, successive U.S. administrations pursued approaches to China that misread Beijing’s strategic intentions. While U.S. presidents crafted optimistic statements about the relationship over a nearly 20-year period, Beijing implemented a grand strategy designed to undermine U.S.-Asian alliances. China used geoeconomic tools to coerce its neighbors and others into its sway, most recently through the Belt and Road Initiative. It violated international commercial practices, including by committing massive theft of U.S. intellectual property. It manipulated its currency for trade benefits, threatened Taiwan, built up its military forces to push the United States beyond Japan and the Philippines, constructed and militarized artificial islands in the South China Sea in violation of international law, systemically and brutally violated the human rights of its own people, and patiently and incrementally built its power and influence with the strategic goal of replacing the United States as the primary power in Asia. This U.S. misunderstanding of China’s objectives over nearly two decades ranks as one of the three most damaging U.S. foreign-policy errors since the end of World War II, along with the 1965 military escalation in Vietnam and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Indeed, this prolonged failure in China policy could turn out to be the biggest U.S. policy deficiency in the past seven decades, given the accumulating dangerous strategic consequences of the rise of Chinese power for world order as well as for the United States and its allies and friends. To its credit, the Trump administration has adopted a much more clear-eyed approach to China that breaks with many of the errors of the past. The president’s confrontational trade policy could lead to concessions from the Chinese government that his immediate predecessors sought but could not get through traditional diplomatic means.The president’s confrontational trade policy could lead to concessions from the Chinese government that his immediate predecessors sought but could not get through traditional diplomatic means. And on Oct. 4, 2018, Vice President Mike Pence delivered the toughest speech on U.S.-China relations by a U.S. administration since former U.S. President Richard Nixon opened up the relationship. “China now spends as much on its military as the rest of Asia combined, and Beijing has prioritized capabilities to erode America’s military advantages on land, at sea, in the air, and in space,” Pence said. “China wants nothing less than to push the United States of America from the Western Pacific and attempt to prevent us from coming to the aid of our allies.” Although his withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and constant confrontations with U.S. allies have weakened his administration’s China policy, Trump’s political push to address the increasing dangers of Chinese power is more important—because his successor can remedy these mistakes. Without the president’s initiative, Washington might well have continued sleepwalking as Beijing drew large parts of Asia into its orbit and away from the United States Trump should also be given credit for his policies toward North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Afghanistan, India, and Venezuela, among others. Regarding North Korea, Trump’s strategy to this point has calmed the situation and reinvigorated the negotiating track through the first meetings at the highest level in the history of the relationship. He has addressed, at least temporarily, what matters most to vital U.S. national interests: the suspension of North Korea’s nuclear and intercontinental missile tests, which represent direct threats to the U.S. mainland. At a minimum, he has delayed the moment when a U.S. president would have to either stand by while North Korea progressively expanded its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile capabilities or attack its nuclear and missile sites, which could lead to a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula and beyond. Moreover, after the killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a flood of U.S. criticism called for sanctions against Riyadh, an end to U.S.-Saudi military cooperation with the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, an end to arms sales, and an overall rupture of the intensity and substance of the bilateral relationship. As the Washington Post editorial page put it, “Who needs Saudi Arabia?” Trump’s answer is that the United States does, and he is right

US effectively deters the China threat now

Peter Harris is an assistant professor of political science at Colorado State University, May 27, 2019, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/when-will-unipolar-world-end-59202 When Will the Unipolar World End?

Put simply, the United States occupies today a geopolitical position similar to that enjoyed by the Soviet Union in 1945: political and military primacy in the most important regions of Eurasia. In Europe, the U.S.-led NATO alliance stretches from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Finland and the Black Sea. In Asia, the United States boasts a string of alliances and informal partnerships that almost completely encircles its primary geopolitical challenger, China.

US hegemony depends on it sustaining its alliance commitments

Peter Harris is an assistant professor of political science at Colorado State University, May 27, 2019, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/when-will-unipolar-world-end-59202 When Will the Unipolar World End?

Either way, the bottom line is that the American Century—the unipolar moment—critically depends on the United States maintaining deep political and military engagement in core regions of Eurasia, especially in Europe and the Asia-Pacific. It was the Soviet retreat from these regions in 1991 that left the United States preponderant in global affairs in the first place. It will be America’s retreat from them—whether forced or voluntary—that signals unipolarity is over. The unipolar moment is not over yet, even if its demise is well within sight. The critical question for today’s foreign policy analysts is not “What sort of international system will emerge once unipolarity is over?” but rather, “What will it take for unipolarity to be over?” This is because the eventual collapse of the unipolar system will not so much foreshadow a reorganization of world politics as it will serve as confirmation that such restructuring has already taken place.

US needs to maintain dominance to keep the world open and free. We aren’t arguing for a hegemonic making of the world in the image of the US but just protecting its opened and freedom

Kori Shake, Back to Basics, How to Make Right What Trump Gets Wrong, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2019-04-16/back-basics?fa_package=1124201, KORI SCHAKE is Deputy Director General of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the author of Safe Passage: The Transition From British to American Hegemony. She served on the National Security Council and in the U.S. State Department in the George W. Bush administration.

Since the election of U.S. President Donald Trump in 2016, it has become commonplace to bemoan the fate of the U.S.-led liberal international order—the collection of institutions, rules, and norms that has governed world politics since the end of World War II. Many experts blame Trump for upending an otherwise sound U.S. grand strategy. They hope that once he is gone, the United States will resume the role it has occupied since the fall of the Soviet Union: as the uncontested hegemon ruling benevolently, albeit imperfectly, over a liberalizing world. It won’t. Washington’s recent dominance was a historical anomaly that rested on a rare combination of favorable conditions that simply no longer obtain, including a relatively unified public at home and a lack of any serious rivals abroad. American leaders must recognize this truth and adjust their strategy accordingly. Stay informed. In-depth analysis delivered weekly. SIGN UP Although the post–Cold War order was never a monolith, it aspired to a form of liberal universalism. U.S. leaders assumed that gradually, the rest of the world would come to accept the basic premises of the liberal order, including democracy, free trade, and the rule of law. And with a level of economic and military power unrivaled in human history, the United States could pursue a foreign policy that sought to preclude the emergence of great-power rivals. By 2008, however, the United States was stumbling. U.S. missteps in the Middle East, followed by the global financial crisis, signaled to would-be competitors that Washington was no longer invulnerable. Today, rival powers such as China and Russia actively participate in the liberal order even as they openly challenge the primacy of liberalism. Technological advances in computing and artificial intelligence (AI) are giving weaker actors the means to compete directly with the United States. And domestic divisions and global rivalries are making international cooperation harder to sustain. Liberal universalism is no longer on the table. Instead, the United States should make the defense of openness the overarching goal of its global strategy. This will mean preventing the emergence of closed regional spheres of influence, maintaining free access to the global commons of the sea and space, defending political independence, and abandoning democracy promotion for a more tempered strategy of democracy support. Washington should continue to pursue great-power cooperation where possible, through both global institutions such as the UN and the World Trade Organization (WTO) and regulatory regimes such as the one set out in the Paris climate accord. But in domains not already governed by international rules, such as AI, biotechnology, and cyberspace, it must prepare to compete with its rivals while working with its allies to establish new rules of the road. An openness-based strategy would represent a clear departure from the principles of liberal universalism that have guided U.S. strategy since the end of the Cold War. Instead of presuming the eventual triumph of liberalism, it would signal U.S. willingness to live alongside illiberal states and even to accept that they may take a leading role in international institutions. Such a strategy would preserve existing structures of the liberal order while recognizing that they will often fall short; and when they do, it would call on the United States and like-minded partners to create new rules and regimes, even if these lack universal appeal. Harboring no illusions about geopolitical realities, an openness-based strategy would prepare to defend U.S. interests when cooperation proved impossible. But it would define those interests selectively, sharpening the nation’s focus and eschewing the unending crusades of liberal universalism. Rather than wasting its still considerable power on quixotic bids to restore the liberal order or remake the world in its own image, the United States should focus on what it can realistically achieve: keeping the international system open and free. THE RETURN OF RIVALRY For nearly three decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States had no significant geopolitical rivals. Today, it has two. The first, Russia, is a revanchist power, but its economic stagnation renders it more a spoiler than a genuine challenger. With an acute dependency on oil and a projected economic growth rate hovering around two percent, Russia is likely to see its international power decline over the next decade. Yet Russia is far more economically and politically stable today than it was in the 1990s, allowing it to project power far beyond its borders. And Russian President Vladimir Putin has played a bad hand well: he has integrated Russia’s significant hybrid warfare, cyberwar, and nuclear capabilities into an asymmetric defense strategy that lets the country punch well above its weight. Moscow will never truly challenge U.S. dominance, but it will disrupt the democratic processes of EU and NATO members and threaten former Soviet states for the foreseeable future. The United States’ second rival, China, is on track to become its only real peer competitor. During the 1990s and the first decade of this century, the United States benefited from Chinese leaders’ fixation on economic growth and internal stability at the expense of geopolitical power. But since President Xi Jinping assumed office in 2012, Beijing has explicitly sought to reestablish its regional hegemony in Asia. China is now on track to be the world’s largest economy by 2030 in terms of GDP, and China’s technology sector already approaches that of the United States in both research-and-development spending and market size. By the early 2020s, China’s military power in Asia will rival that of the United Traditional measures of power are only part of the story, thanks to disruptive technologies such as AI. AI is likely to spread quickly but unevenly, and it may encourage escalation by lowering the costs of conflict, as militaries become less dependent on manpower and destruction becomes more precisely targeted. Countries such as China, with its government access to massive citizen databases, state control over media, and lack of privacy rights and other individual freedoms, may create new forms of “digital authoritarianism” that allow them to fully exploit AI for military and political uses.

States, although the U.S. military will retain considerable global advantages… THE OPEN ROAD The emerging world order is one in which the United States will face major internal and external constraints. The country will remain tremendously powerful, continuing to dominate the international financial system and maintaining a level of military and economic power enjoyed by few nations in history. Yet its capabilities will be more limited, and the challenges it faces, more diffuse. A shrewd strategy must therefore be discerning in its priorities and guided by clear principles. Washington’s first priority should be to maintain global openness. Rather than attempting to spread liberal economic and political values, that is, the United States should focus on a more modest goal: ensuring that all countries are free to make independent political, economic, and military decisions. Geopolitically, a commitment to openness means that Washington will have to prevent a hegemonic adversary or bloc from controlling Asia, Europe, or both through a closed sphere of influence. If a competitor came to dominate part or all of Eurasia in a manner that displaced the United States, it would pose a direct threat to U.S. prosperity and national security. The greatest challenge to openness can be found in the Indo-Pacific, where China will increasingly assume regional leadership. In some respects, this is only natural for a country that has grown in power so much over the last four decades. But accepting Beijing as a regional leader is not the same as accepting a closed Chinese sphere of influence. China, for instance, has already become the dominant trading and development partner for many nations in Southeast Asia; if it were to use the artificial island bases it has built to block freedom of navigation in the South China Sea or attempt to coerce its partners using the leverage it has acquired through its infrastructure investments, a closed sphere would be in the offing. To keep the Indo-Pacific region open, the United States should maintain its military presence in East Asia and credibly commit to defending its treaty allies in the region, including Japan, the Philippines, and South Korea. It must also support regional states’ political autonomy by recommitting itself to regional diplomacy and working with multilateral coalitions to ensure that any rules that Beijing seeks to set are transparent and noncoercive. In Europe, the threat is less severe. Russia is in no position to dominate Europe, nor can it engage in sustained regional peer competition with the United States. Yet Moscow still has formidable military capabilities—particularly its nuclear arsenal—and the country’s physical proximity to eastern Europe allows it to exert considerable influence there. It is deeply opposed to the U.S.-led security order in Europe and has demonstrated a high tolerance for risk in pursuit of its core interests. Ultimately, however, Russia lacks the ability to craft a closed sphere of influence. U.S. interests therefore lie in deterring Russia’s attempts to play spoiler—something Washington has failed to do since 2016, thanks to the Trump administration’s pathological warmth toward Moscow and tense relations with the United States’ European allies. Washington should also prioritize openness in the global commons, particularly the sea and space. Maritime openness, or the ability of ships to pass unrestricted through international waters, is essential to global trade and commerce and thus U.S. national interests. Although China has not blocked commercial shipping near its shores (and is unlikely to do so in the future), it has regularly violated international law by obstructing military freedom of navigation in the South China Sea—something that the United States should refuse to accept. In space, which has become part of the commons thanks to the profusion of satellite technology, maintaining openness requires spacecraft to be allowed to operate unhindered. In 2007, for example, China destroyed one of its own satellites as part of an antisatellite missile test, polluting space with thousands of pieces of debris that continue to threaten commercial, civilian, and military spacecraft. This is precisely the sort of activity that an openness-based strategy should seek to prevent. In newer domains, such as cyberspace, however, there are no existing legal or normative edifices comparable to those governing the sea and space, and the United States cannot expect others to forge global arrangements that reflect its unilateral preferences. Managing threats in these areas will be more a matter of deterrence than multilateral agreement. REUTERS Chinese astronauts exit from the reentry capsule of their spacecraft after landing in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, June 2013 Promoting openness will require a newfound emphasis on political independence as a foundation of U.S. strategy and as an organizing principle of international politics. Political independence is one of the foundational premises of the UN Charter, and most states, even authoritarian ones, claim to value it. Yet revisionist states, such as China and Russia, shroud their grievances in the rhetoric of sovereignty while freely violating the sovereignty of others. In order to credibly promote political independence, the United States will have to forgo efforts at regime change, such as those in 2003 in Iraq and 2011 in Libya, and stop aggressively promoting democracy overseas, as the Trump administration is currently attempting to do with its Iran policy. It should continue to support democracy, but it should do so by providing assistance to democracies when they seek it and working with partners to help them preserve their sovereignty against encroachments by rival powers. This means accepting the lamentable fact that, for now, authoritarianism will reign in Beijing, Moscow, and elsewhere. Even as U.S. relations with China and Russia become more adversarial, however, it would be a mistake to allow them to become completely zero-sum. The world is not entering a new Cold War pitting liberal democracies against authoritarian regimes: China and Russia are revisionist participants within the existing international order, not enemies standing outside of it. They share interests with the United States on international challenges such as terrorism, disease, and climate change, and Washington must work hard to capitalize on these opportunities for great-power cooperation. The UN, and the UN Security Council in particular, has a major role to play in enabling such collaboration. Beijing and Moscow are both highly invested in the council’s legitimacy, and although it will be paralyzed on the most divisive geopolitical questions, it can serve as a useful coordinating mechanism on issues where great-power interests overlap, especially if it is reformed to include states such as Germany, India, and Japan. Trade offers another potentially promising avenue for cooperation. China, Russia, and the United States are all members of the WTO. Their membership implies at least notional agreement that principles such as reciprocity and nondiscrimination should govern the international economic order. But currently, China subsidizes domestic industries and promotes state-owned enterprises in violation of those principles. Such policies are antithetical to the operation of an open system. Washington should not expect China to fully reform its economy, but neither should it allow the country to enjoy the benefits of trade while shielding Chinese companies from international competition. Changes to the WTO—for instance, reforming the appellate bodies that regulate disputes among member states—may help the trade regime function more efficiently in areas where significant agreement exists. But given its reliance on consensus, the WTO is unlikely to force Beijing’s hand. The United States and its allies should thus be prepared to exert multilateral pressure on China and other rule breakers, including through new agreements that disincentivize unfair trade policies. In addition to departing from liberal universalism, an openness-based strategy would differ from contemporary efforts to transform the liberal international order into a coalition of democratic states united in their opposition to rising authoritarianism. The liberal international relations scholar Michael Mandelbaum has argued that the United States and its democratic allies should adopt a “triple containment” strategy toward its three illiberal rivals, China, Iran, and Russia; the conservative analysts Derek Scissors and Daniel Blumenthal, meanwhile, have exhorted Washington to “begin cutting some of its economic ties with China” in a move toward decoupling. Ostensibly, such efforts aim to prevent the formation of authoritarian spheres of influence; in fact, they would help bring those spheres about. Instead of attempting to prevent its illiberal rivals from gaining any formalized influence whatsoever, Washington should press them to accept the principles of openness and independence as a condition of continuing to operate within the existing institutions of the old liberal order—and of creating new ones. Preserving the older institutions, including through reforms to the Security Council and the WTO that enhance those institutions’ international legitimacy, will be essential to preserving a venue for great-power cooperation. Accepting that U.S. rivals will have some influence is not the same as ceding the field to them. To defend against traditional forms of aggression, the United States must retain the military strength to deter China from making a violent bid for dominance in Asia and Russia from forcibly upending the status quo in Europe.

US-Russia conflict will stay low level, won’t escalate

Kori Shake, Back to Basics, How to Make Right What Trump Gets Wrong, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2019-04-16/back-basics?fa_package=1124201, KORI SCHAKE is Deputy Director General of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the author of Safe Passage: The Transition From British to American Hegemony. She served on the National Security Council and in the U.S. State Department in the George W. Bush administration.

Although war will remain a threat, renewed great-power competition is more likely to manifest itself in persistent, low-level conflict. Post–World War II international law prohibits aggressive conventional and nuclear war but says nothing about coercion below the threshold of military force. States have always tried to pursue their interests through coercive means short of war, but in recent years, interstate competition has flourished in new domains, such as cyberspace, that largely operate beyond the reach of international law. China and Russia possess devastating conventional and nuclear capabilities, but both wish to avoid a full-scale war. Instead, they will pursue disruptive strategies through subtler means, including hacking, political meddling, and disinformation. Sustained competition of this sort has not been seen since the Cold War, and U.S. strategy will need to prepare for it.

Multilateralism dead, plan can’t overwhelm

Kori Shake, Back to Basics, How to Make Right What Trump Gets Wrong, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2019-04-16/back-basics?fa_package=1124201, KORI SCHAKE is Deputy Director General of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the author of Safe Passage: The Transition From British to American Hegemony. She served on the National Security Council and in the U.S. State Department in the George W. Bush administration.

As new forms of conflict emerge, traditional forms of cooperation are unlikely to keep pace. The United States is striking ever-fewer formal international agreements. During the Obama administration, the United States ratified fewer treaties per year than at any time since 1945. In 2012, for the first time since World War II, the United States joined zero treaties, and then it did the same in 2013 and 2015. The international community has similarly stalled in its efforts to pass new multilateral accords. Issues such as digital commerce and cyberconflict remain un- or undergoverned, and their sheer complexity makes it unlikely that new international rules on them will be passed anytime soon.

Arms sales involve manufacturing and co-production

Diana Ohlbaum and Rachel Stohl, 6-6-19, Diana Ohlbaum (@dohlbaum) is senior strategist and legislative director for foreign policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, leading a team of 10 lobbyists seeking a more ethical and effective U.S. approach to national and global security. She also chairs the board of the Center for International Policy, Rachel Stohl (@rachelstohl) is the managing at the Stimson Center and directs the Center’s Conventional Defense Program. Her areas of expertise focus on issues relating to the international arms trade, including drones, small arms and light weapons, and children in armed conflict, , An “Emergency” Arms Deal: Will Congress Acquiesce in Another Blow to Its Authority? https://www.justsecurity.org/64413/an-emergency-arms-deal-will-congress-acquiesce-in-another-blow-to-its-authority/

Other sales in the package bear no clear relationship to the emergency being declared about Iran. One would permit the transfer of bombs from UAE to Jordan, and another is designed for use in UAE counterterrorism operations. Some involve manufacturing and coproduction agreements, which would take years to bear fruit and would benefit countries that are not directly affected by heightened tensions in the region, such as Spain, France, Italy, Korea and Australia.

Reducing delivery is distinct from reducing a sale

Diana Ohlbaum and Rachel Stohl, 6-6-19, Diana Ohlbaum (@dohlbaum) is senior strategist and legislative director for foreign policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, leading a team of 10 lobbyists seeking a more ethical and effective U.S. approach to national and global security. She also chairs the board of the Center for International Policy, Rachel Stohl (@rachelstohl) is the managing at the Stimson Center and directs the Center’s Conventional Defense Program. Her areas of expertise focus on issues relating to the international arms trade, including drones, small arms and light weapons, and children in armed conflict, , An “Emergency” Arms Deal: Will Congress Acquiesce in Another Blow to Its Authority? https://www.justsecurity.org/64413/an-emergency-arms-deal-will-congress-acquiesce-in-another-blow-to-its-authority/

Congress is not without options in responding to this assault on its powers, however. Republican and Democratic senators are joining together to disapprove all 22 “emergency” sales proposed by the president. Even if there is insufficient time to pass resolutions of disapproval for these particular sales before the agreements are signed, Congress could pass a law to prohibit the delivery of these weapons systems

New drone sales, arms sales include spare parts

Reuters, June 4, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-defense-drones/u-s-to-sell-34-surveillance-drones-to-allies-in-south-china-sea-region-idUSKCN1T42ST U.S. to sell 34 surveillance drones to allies in South China Sea region

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration has moved ahead with a surveillance drone sale to four U.S. allies in the South China Sea region as acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Washington will no longer “tiptoe” around Chinese behavior in Asia. A ScanEagle drone is shown during an Insitu customer event in Mazagon, Spain May 15, 2018, Courtesy Insitu/Handout via REUTERS The drones would afford greater intelligence gathering capabilities potentially curbing Chinese activity in the region. Shanahan did not directly name China when making accusations of “actors” destabilizing the region in a speech at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Saturday but went on to say the United States would not ignore Chinese behavior. The Pentagon announced on Friday it would sell 34 ScanEagle drones, made by Boeing Co. to the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam for a total of $47 million. ADVERTISEMENT China claims almost all of the strategic South China Sea and frequently lambastes the United States and its allies over naval operations near Chinese-occupied islands. Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have competing claims. The Pentagon said Friday’s sales included spare and repair parts, support equipment, tools, training and technical services and work on the equipment was expected to be completed by March 2022. As many as 12 unarmed drones and equipment would go to Malaysia for about $19 million. Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country would buy eight drones, the Philippines eight, and Vietnam six. In 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration rolled out a long-awaited overhaul of U.S. arms export policy aimed at expanding sales to allies, saying it would bolster the American defense industry and create jobs at home. ADVERTISEMENT That initiative eased rules for exporting some types of lethal as well as non-lethal U.S.-made drones to potentially dozens more allies and partners. There is no armed version of the ScanEagle, but Insitu, the division of Boeing that makes the drone, also makes the RQ-21A Blackjack which is an optionally armed drone used by U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

Arms sales to Taiwan critical to deter China

Frank Fang, June 2, 2019, https://www.theepochtimes.com/pentagon-indo-pacific-report-highlights-chinas-ambitions-and-taiwans-significance-in-us-strategy_2947673.html, Pentagon Indo-Pacific Report Highlights China’s Ambitions, Taiwan’s Significance in US Strategy

Taiwan’s role in the region was brought up in Shanahan’s Singapore speech and the Pentagon report. According to Taiwanese news site Focus Taiwan, Shanahan said that Washington would continue to supply Taiwan with military equipment, in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), for the island’s self-defense. “This support empowers the people of Taiwan to determine their own future,” he added. Beijing considers Taiwan as a renegade province, despite the latter being a de facto independent country with democratically elected officials and a separate constitution, military, and currency. Diplomatic relations between Taiwan and Washington were severed after the latter switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing in 1979. Since then, Washington and Taiwan have maintained non-official relations based on the TRA, which former U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed into law in April 1979. For years, U.S. arms sales to Taiwan have been crucial for the island to fend off China’s military intimidation, which takes the form of military exercises and Chinese bombers and jets flying close to Taiwan. The Pentagon report reiterated that Washington “is committed to providing Taiwan with defense articles and services” in order to resist China’s “use of force or other forms of coercion.” Since 2008, the United States has conducted more than $22 billion worth of foreign military sales to Taiwan, the report added. The U.S. military also hinted at a strengthened partnership with Taiwan, naming the island nation, along with Mongolia, New Zealand, and Singapore, as “natural partners of the United States” in defending the region’s stability. “All four countries contribute to U.S. missions around the world and are actively taking steps to uphold a free and open international order. The strength of these relationships is what we hope to replicate in our new and burgeoning relationships in the Indo-Pacific,” the report stated. In response to Shanahan’s comments in Singapore, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its gratitude for the continued U.S. support, noting that the Taiwanese government would continue to work with neighboring like-minded countries, to contribute to the long-term stability, peace, and prosperity of the region, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency. Alexander Huang, assistant professor at the International Affairs and Strategic Studies in Taiwan’s Tamkang University, told local public broadcaster PTS that it’s very significant that Pentagon has placed such emphasis on Taiwan in its latest report. “It highlights the fact the current U.S.–Taiwan relationship is gradually warming,” Huang said.

New drone sales, arms sales include spare parts

Reuters, June 4, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-defense-drones/u-s-to-sell-34-surveillance-drones-to-allies-in-south-china-sea-region-idUSKCN1T42ST U.S. to sell 34 surveillance drones to allies in South China Sea region

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration has moved ahead with a surveillance drone sale to four U.S. allies in the South China Sea region as acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Washington will no longer “tiptoe” around Chinese behavior in Asia. A ScanEagle drone is shown during an Insitu customer event in Mazagon, Spain May 15, 2018, Courtesy Insitu/Handout via REUTERS The drones would afford greater intelligence gathering capabilities potentially curbing Chinese activity in the region. Shanahan did not directly name China when making accusations of “actors” destabilizing the region in a speech at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Saturday but went on to say the United States would not ignore Chinese behavior. The Pentagon announced on Friday it would sell 34 ScanEagle drones, made by Boeing Co. to the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam for a total of $47 million. ADVERTISEMENT China claims almost all of the strategic South China Sea and frequently lambastes the United States and its allies over naval operations near Chinese-occupied islands. Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have competing claims. The Pentagon said Friday’s sales included spare and repair parts, support equipment, tools, training and technical services and work on the equipment was expected to be completed by March 2022. As many as 12 unarmed drones and equipment would go to Malaysia for about $19 million. Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country would buy eight drones, the Philippines eight, and Vietnam six. In 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration rolled out a long-awaited overhaul of U.S. arms export policy aimed at expanding sales to allies, saying it would bolster the American defense industry and create jobs at home. ADVERTISEMENT That initiative eased rules for exporting some types of lethal as well as non-lethal U.S.-made drones to potentially dozens more allies and partners. There is no armed version of the ScanEagle, but Insitu, the division of Boeing that makes the drone, also makes the RQ-21A Blackjack which is an optionally armed drone used by U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

US should cut support to the Phillipines

Drew Elizarde-Miller, Azadeh Shahshahani, June 3, 2019, Congress: Stop Funding Duterte, https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/06/03/congress-stop-funding-duterte

U.S. military aid, often through secretive and unaccountable conduits in the name of the War on Terror, is only making this internal conflict and the overall human rights crisis worse. U.S. military aid does not serve to defend the Philippines against invaders — rather, it is being turned against the vulnerable and marginalized, the journalists and human rights defenders, the dissenters. History has shown that when the U.S. has made geopolitical calculations at the expense of people’s human rights, that has only fomented insecurity in the form of utter collapse. As the biggest military power around the globe by far, the U.S. should prioritize stopping support to Duterte. An overblown military presence in Asia Pacific only invites an arms race with China. We must stop relying on militarization to ensure security.

Saudi, UAE, Jordan drones come from China

James Reinl, June 3, 2019, https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-06-03/cheap-drones-are-changing-calculus-war-yemen, Cheap drones are changing the calculus of war in Yemen

Hi-tech military drones are currently built, deployed and exported by Israel, Turkey and Iran. Other countries — such as Saudi, the UAE, Jordan and Iraq — possess UAVs, often bought from China.

Arms sales to Taiwan critical to deter China

Frank Fang, June 2, 2019, https://www.theepochtimes.com/pentagon-indo-pacific-report-highlights-chinas-ambitions-and-taiwans-significance-in-us-strategy_2947673.html, Pentagon Indo-Pacific Report Highlights China’s Ambitions, Taiwan’s Significance in US Strategy

Taiwan’s role in the region was brought up in Shanahan’s Singapore speech and the Pentagon report. According to Taiwanese news site Focus Taiwan, Shanahan said that Washington would continue to supply Taiwan with military equipment, in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), for the island’s self-defense. “This support empowers the people of Taiwan to determine their own future,” he added. Beijing considers Taiwan as a renegade province, despite the latter being a de facto independent country with democratically elected officials and a separate constitution, military, and currency. Diplomatic relations between Taiwan and Washington were severed after the latter switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing in 1979. Since then, Washington and Taiwan have maintained non-official relations based on the TRA, which former U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed into law in April 1979. For years, U.S. arms sales to Taiwan have been crucial for the island to fend off China’s military intimidation, which takes the form of military exercises and Chinese bombers and jets flying close to Taiwan. The Pentagon report reiterated that Washington “is committed to providing Taiwan with defense articles and services” in order to resist China’s “use of force or other forms of coercion.” Since 2008, the United States has conducted more than $22 billion worth of foreign military sales to Taiwan, the report added. The U.S. military also hinted at a strengthened partnership with Taiwan, naming the island nation, along with Mongolia, New Zealand, and Singapore, as “natural partners of the United States” in defending the region’s stability. “All four countries contribute to U.S. missions around the world and are actively taking steps to uphold a free and open international order. The strength of these relationships is what we hope to replicate in our new and burgeoning relationships in the Indo-Pacific,” the report stated. In response to Shanahan’s comments in Singapore, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its gratitude for the continued U.S. support, noting that the Taiwanese government would continue to work with neighboring like-minded countries, to contribute to the long-term stability, peace, and prosperity of the region, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency. Alexander Huang, assistant professor at the International Affairs and Strategic Studies in Taiwan’s Tamkang University, told local public broadcaster PTS that it’s very significant that Pentagon has placed such emphasis on Taiwan in its latest report. “It highlights the fact the current U.S.–Taiwan relationship is gradually warming,” Huang said.

China is a threat

Frank Fang, June 2, 2019, https://www.theepochtimes.com/pentagon-indo-pacific-report-highlights-chinas-ambitions-and-taiwans-significance-in-us-strategy_2947673.html, Pentagon Indo-Pacific Report Highlights China’s Ambitions, Taiwan’s Significance in US Strategy

Chinese ambitions are threatening to undermine the rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific region, according to a newly released Pentagon report. “Today, the Indo-Pacific increasingly is confronted with a more confident and assertive China that is willing to accept friction in the pursuit of a more expansive set of political, economic, and security interests,” warns the report, which was released on June 1. The scathing criticisms of China coincided with acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan’s visit to Singapore to attend the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia’s biggest security summit, which took place May 31 to June 2. While there, Shanahan blasted China for its “toolkit of coercion,” including stealing technologies from other countries and militarizing manmade outposts in the South China Sea, according to the Associated Press. “The Indo-Pacific is our priority theater,” Shanahan said on June 1. The United States currently has a strong military presence in the Indo-Pacific. According to an article on the Pentagon website that covered Shanahan’s speech in Singapore, the country has more than 370,000 service members in the Indo-Pacific, training and working alongside allied and partner forces in the region. The U.S. military also has more than 2,000 military aircraft and more than 200 ships and submarines to ensure freedom of navigation in the region, according to the article. All in all, Shanahan concluded that the U.S. Pacific Command “has four times more assigned forces than any other geographic combatant command.” The Indo-Pacific is an important region for commercial activities. According to the Pentagon report, nine of the world’s 10 busiest seaports are located in the region. In terms of trade volume, a quarter of U.S. exports go to the region, while a third of all global shipping passes through the South China Sea alone. China’s Role The report warns that “as China continues its economic and military ascendance, it seeks Indo-Pacific regional hegemony in the near-term and, ultimately global preeminence in the long-term.” China mainly achieves that through “leveraging military modernization, influence operations, and predatory economics to coerce other nations” in the region, the report stated. For example, China has sent maritime law enforcement ships and aircraft to patrol near the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands, in an act of intimidation that “undermines regional stability.” The Senkaku Islands, located in the East China Sea, are controlled by Japan, but both China and Taiwan claim the island as part of their territory. Meanwhile, Chinese investments in countries throughout the region are “one-sided and opaque.” An example provided in the report was how China has built infrastructure projects in the Maldives “at significantly inflated prices compared to what was previously agreed.” In December last year, Maldives Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer said at a press conference that the country’s national debt stood at $3.7 billion, which equaled 53 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to the local broadcaster Raajje TV. Of the $3.7 billion, $1.4 billion were owed to China, mostly for funding “One Belt, One Road” projects as part of China’s foreign policy initiative. In addition, the report stated that Beijing’s predatory economics comes in the form of “converting unsustainable debt burdens of recipient countries” into “strategic and military access, including by taking possession of sovereign assets as collateral.” For example, Beijing seized control of the seaport of Hambantota in Sri Lanka for 99 years, after the latter defaulted on Chinese loans for building it. China took advantage “of Sri Lanka’s need for cash when its government faced daunting external debt repayment obligations,” the report said. The Pentagon is also worried that China “is seeking to establish bases or a military presence on [Cambodia’s] coast, which would “challenge regional security.” Beijing has invested heavily in the Cambodian city of Sihanoukville, which is home to the country’s only deepwater port. Chinese warships have repeatedly visited the port in recent years. “China’s coercive behavior is playing out globally, from the Middle East and Africa to Latin America and Europe,” the report concluded.

US-China tensions could trigger a wider conflict resulting in war

China’s defense minister on Sunday rejected U.S. allegations of aggressive behavior in Asia and vowed Beijing would take military action to defend its claims over Taiwan and the contested South China Sea. Wei Fenghe defended China’s construction of “limited military facilities” on man-made islands in the South China Sea, rejecting smaller neighbors’ challenges of Beijing’s wide-ranging territorial claims in those waters. “There is no dispute as to China’s legitimacy to build facilities on its own territories,” Wei told an audience at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a security conference in Singapore. Rising U.S.-China tensions dominated the annual gathering of Asian defense chiefs and policymakers, where a day earlier acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan accused Beijing of stealing other nations’ technology, trapping smaller countries in debt with unfair infrastructure deals and threatening force against its neighbors to assert territorial claims. “Behavior that erodes other nations’ sovereignty and sows distrust of China’s intentions must end,” Shanahan said. The two defense chiefs held what both sides described as a “constructive” meeting on the sidelines of the conference, where they found common ground on issues such as enforcing North Korean sanctions. But their sharp public comments underscored the depth and breadth of the disputes dividing the world’s biggest powers. Against the backdrop of a widening trade war, Wei’s closely watched speech – the first by a Chinese defense minister at the conference in eight years – reiterated longstanding Chinese policies but in an unapologetic tone that surprised U.S. officials and many of the delegates gathered in a cavernous chandeliered ballroom at Singapore’s five-star Shangri-La hotel. “We hold different views with the U.S. on several issues, and strongly oppose its wrong words and actions concerning Taiwan and the South China Sea,” Wei said. He called the warships and aircraft deployed by the U.S. and its allies near disputed islands – intended to demonstrate freedom of navigation – “the most serious destabilizing and uncertain factors” in the strategically vital and resource-rich South China Sea. China’s construction of military facilities in the waterway “is for self-defense,” Wei said. “In the face of heavily armed warships and aircraft, how can we not?” Wei also cited U.S. arms sales to Taiwan – the self-governed island that Beijing maintains is part of China – as a hostile act. “If anyone tries to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs – at all costs – for national unity,” he said. Wei accused the U.S. of unfairly targeting the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, which has been barred from doing business with U.S. entities because of alleged links to China’s Communist Party. Pentagon officials have said they might cease sharing information with allies that use Huawei technology because it could be used for espionage – an allegation Beijing denies. For the U.S. and China, it’s not a trade war anymore — it’s something worse JUN 01, 2019 | 8:20 PM “Huawei is a private company,” Wei said. “China is opposed to the attempts of other countries to impose sanctions on a private company.” The frictions have escalated since the Trump administration declared in late 2017 that competition between “great powers” – the U.S., China and Russia – was a cornerstone of its foreign policy. The shift has raised concerns across Southeast Asia, a region with close security, economic and diplomatic ties to the U.S. but increasingly important trade links with its giant neighbor, China. Many regional states openly voiced fears that the U.S.-China rivalry, if not resolved, could trigger a military conflict that could draw in smaller countries. “The rivalry of the big powers aggravates tensions in the South China Sea,” said Malaysian Defense Minister Mohamad Sabu. “As a result, there is a greater risk of naval ships and aircraft encounters … that could spark major conflicts.” The Philippines, which has been the most assertive country in challenging China’s militarization of the South China Sea, said it was still seeking greater assurances from the U.S. over a decades-old mutual defense treaty. Some Philippine officials worry that the treaty would require the country to join the U.S. in any conflict with China, a possibility that Manila says has become more likely as U.S. warships make more frequent passages through the South China Sea. “We have to revisit it to be sure that it is still relevant in these modern times,” said the Philippine defense secretary, Delfin Lorenzana. He called the “great power rivalry” between the U.S. and China “a dangerous distraction” from serious challenges such as battling climate change and transnational terrorism. The U.S. position hasn’t been helped by a disjointed diplomatic approach to the Asia Pacific region. The Trump administration has tried to rebrand the region as the Indo-Pacific, signaling its desire to more deeply involve India as a counterweight to Chinese influence – but its ties with India were damaged when Trump abruptly withdrew the country’s preferential trade status last week over a tariff dispute. The U.S. also has left many diplomatic positions in the region unfilled, including 11% of overseas posts in East Asia and the Pacific and 21% in South and Central Asia, according to a March report by the Government Accountability Office. Several Asian officials said that in meetings, Chinese diplomats have begun to make reference to the vacancies, citing them as a sign of a diminishing U.S. commitment to Asian affairs.

US support for Israel enables oppression and apartheid

Sjursen, May 30, 2019, Danny SjursenMajor Danny Sjursen is a US Army strategist and former history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has written a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. He lives with his wife and four sons near Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. NOTE: The views expressed in this article are those of the author in an unofficial capacity and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Command and General Staff College, Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the US government, The Nation, America’s Allies in the Middle East Are the Real ‘Troika of Tyranny’https://www.thenation.com/article/americas-allies-in-the-middle-east-saudi-arabia-israel-egypt-the-real-troika-of-tyranny/

Some will be surprised, even offended, that I include Israel in this imaginary troika. Certainly, on the surface, Israel’s democracy bears no relation to the political worlds of Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Still, scratch below the gilded surface of Israeli life and you’ll soon unearth staggering civil-liberties abuses and a penchant for institutional oppression. After all, so extreme have been the abuses of ever more right-wing Israeli governments against the stateless Palestinians that even some mainstream foreign leaders and scholars now compare that country to apartheid South Africa. And the label is justified. Palestinians are essentially isolated in the equivalent of open-air prisons in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip—not unlike the bantustans of South Africa in the years when that country was white-ruled. In the impoverished, refugee-camp atmosphere of these state-lets, Palestinians lack anything resembling civil rights. They can’t even vote for the Israeli prime ministers who lord it over them. What’s more, the Palestinian citizens of Israel (some 20 percent of the population), despite technically possessing the franchise, are systematically repressed in a variety of ways. Evidence of an apartheid-style state is everywhere apparent in the Palestinian territories. In violation of countless international norms and UN resolutions, Israel imposes its own version of a police state—functionally, a military occupation of land legally possessed by Arabs. It has begun a de facto annexation of Palestinian land by building a “security wall” through Palestinian villages. Its military constructs special “Jewish only” roads in the West Bank linking illegal Israeli settlements, while further fracturing the fiction of Palestinian contiguity. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not only refused to withdraw those settlements or halt the colonization of Palestinian territory by Jewish Israelis, but during the recent Israeli election promised to begin the actual annexation of the West Bank in his new term. Israeli military actions are regularly direct violations of the principles of proportionality in warfare, which means that the ratio of Israeli to Palestinian casualties is invariably absurdly disproportionate. Since last spring, at least 175 Palestinians (almost all unarmed) have been shot to death by Israeli soldiers along the Gaza Strip fence line, while 5,884 others were wounded by live ammunition. Ninety-four of those had to have a limb amputated. A staggering 948 of the wounded were minors. In that period, just one Israeli died and 11 were wounded in those same clashes. Life in blockaded Gaza is almost unimaginably awful. So stringent are the sanctions imposed that one prominent official in a leaked diplomatic cable admitted that Israeli policy was to “keep Gaza’s economy on the brink of collapse.” In fact, back in 2012, one of that country’s military spokesmen even indicated that food was being allowed into the blockaded strip on a 2,300-calories-a-day count per Gazan—just enough, that is, to avoid starvation. Through it all, with President Trump at the wheel, Netanyahu can feel utterly assured of the near limitless backing of the United States. The Trump team has essentially sanctioned all Israeli behavior, thereby legitimizing the present state of Palestinian life. Trump has moved the US embassy to contested Jerusalem—admitting once and for all that Washington sees the holy city as the sole property of the Jewish state—recognized the illegal Israeli annexation of the conquered Syrian Golan Heights, and increased the flow of military aid and arms to Israel, already the number-one recipient of such American largesse. Sometimes, in the age of Trump, it almost seems as if “Bibi” Netanyahu were the one guiding American policy throughout the Middle East. No wonder Israel rounds out that troika of tyranny.

US supports Egyptian repression

Sjursen, May 30, 2019, Danny SjursenMajor Danny Sjursen is a US Army strategist and former history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has written a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. He lives with his wife and four sons near Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. NOTE: The views expressed in this article are those of the author in an unofficial capacity and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Command and General Staff College, Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the US government, The Nation, America’s Allies in the Middle East Are the Real ‘Troika of Tyranny’https://www.thenation.com/article/americas-allies-in-the-middle-east-saudi-arabia-israel-egypt-the-real-troika-of-tyranny/

The United States also backs—and Trump seems to love—Egypt’s military ruler Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. At a press conference at the White House in September 2017, the president leaned toward the general and announced that he was “doing a great job.” Hardly anyone inside the Beltway, in the media, or even on Main Street batted an eye. Washington has, of course, long supported Egypt’s various tyrants, including the brutal Hosni Mubarak who was overthrown early in the Arab Spring. Cairo remains the second-largest annual recipient of American military aid at $1.3 billion annually. In fact, 75 percent of such aid goes to just two countries, the other being Israel. In a sense, Washington simply bribes both states not to fight each other. Now, that’s diplomacy for you! So, how’s Egypt’s military using all the guns and butter the United States sends its way? Brutally, of course. After Mubarak was overthrown in 2011, Mohammed Morsi won a free and fair election. Less than two years later, the military, which abhors his Muslim Brotherhood organization, seized power in a coup. Enter General al-Sisi. And when Morsi supporters rallied to protest the putsch, the general, who had appointed himself president, promptly ordered his troops to open fire. At least 900 protesters were killed in what came to be known as the 2013 Rabaa Massacre. Since then, Sisi has ruled with an iron fist, extending his personal power, winning a sham reelection with 97.8 percent of the vote, and pushing through major constitutional changes that will allow the generalissimo to stay in power until at least 2030. Washington, of course, remained silent. Sisi has run a veritable police state, replete with human-rights abuses and mass incarceration. Last year, he even had a show trial of 739 Muslim Brotherhood-associated defendants, 75 of whom were sentenced to death in a single day. He also uses “emergency” counterterrorism laws to jail peaceful dissidents. Thousands of them have gone before military courts. In addition, in US-backed Egypt most forms of independent organization and peaceful assembly remain banned. Cairo even collaborates with its old enemy Israel to maintain a stranglehold of a blockade on the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which the United Nations has termed “inhumane.” Yet Egypt gets a hall pass from the Trump administration. It matters not at all that few places on the planet suppress free speech as effectively as Egypt now does—not since it buys American weaponry and generally does as Washington wants in the region. In other words, a diplomatic state of marital (and martial) bliss protects the second member of the real troika of tyranny.

Japan to buy 105 F-35s

Japan Today, May 27, 2019, https://japantoday.com/category/politics/japan-to-buy-105-f-35-us-stealth-warplanes-trump, Japan to buy 105 F-35 U.S. stealth warplanes: Trump

Japan plans to buy 105 U.S.-made stealth warplanes, Donald Trump said on Monday, which the U.S. President said would give Tokyo the largest F35 fleet of any US ally. Trump, in Tokyo for a state visit, said Japan “has just announced its intent to purchase 105 brand new F35 stealth aircraft. Stealth, because, the fact is you can’t see them.” “This purchase would give Japan the largest F35 fleet of any U.S. ally,” added the president.

Poland will buy F-35s from the US

Reuters, May 28, 2019, https://news.yahoo.com/poland-plans-buy-32-f-075759944.html Poland plans to buy 32 F-35A fighters – minister

Poland plans to buy 32 Lockheed Martin F-35A fighters to replace Soviet-era jets, Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Tuesday, amid the growing assertiveness of neighbor Russia. “Today we sent a request for quotation (LOR) to our American partners regarding the purchase of 32 F-35A aircraft along with a logistics and training package,” Blaszczak tweeted. The United States is expected to expand sales of F-35 fighters to five nations including Poland as European allies bulk up their defenses in the face of a strengthening Russia, the Pentagon said last month. https://reut.rs/2ExdnD1 Poland is among NATO member countries that spend at least 2% of GDP on defense. Warsaw agreed in 2017 to raise defense spending gradually from 2% to 2.5% of GDP, meaning annual spending should nearly double to about 80 billion zlotys ($21 billion) by 2032. U.S. arms sales to foreign governments rose 13 percent to $192.3 billion in the year ended Sept. 30, the U.S. State Department said in November. F-35A fighters are estimated to cost $85 million each. During a televised statement on Tuesday, Blaszczak also said Poland was making progress in convincing the United States to increase its military presence on Polish soil.

International demand for F-35 purchases

Yasmin Tadjeh, 5-24, 19, http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2019/5/24/international-market-for-f-35-heats-up SALES TAKING OFF: International Market for F-35 Heats Up (UPDATED)

Twelve countries have committed to orders of the F-35 joint strike fighter either as formal partner nations or through foreign military sales. As production of the fifth-generation systems ramp up, the joint program office and manufacturer Lockheed Martin are looking to expand their global footprint even further. Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey and the United Kingdom currently are in formal partnership with the United States on the F-35 program. Israel, Japan and South Korea have made orders through the foreign military sales process. Belgium also recently signed on to purchase platforms. Vice Adm. Mathias Winter, program executive officer for the F-35 joint program office, said his team is currently examining a number of new potential FMS candidates. These include nations such as Singapore, Greece, Romania, Spain and Poland, he said in written testimony to the House Armed Services subcommittee on tactical and land forces in April. Additionally, “the F-35 FMS team is also focused on responding to formal requests for proposals from both Finland and Switzerland, with U.S. government response expected in August and November, respectively,” he said. Winter also noted that in December, Japan announced that it plans to purchase an additional 105 aircraft. That will include 63 F-35As and 42 F-35B short take-off and vertical landing platforms. Lockheed Martin and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries operate a final assembly and check-out facility, or FACO, in Nagoya. “With this anticipated purchase, Japan will be the largest international customer of F-35s with 147 planned aircraft,” Winter said. More than 390 F-35s are currently in the global fleet, Winter said. That number will swell to nearly 500 by the end of 2019. Production will ramp up as operational testing concludes in the fall of 2019 and the program enters full-rate production, he added. “To prepare for increased quantities, production experts from across the United States government are working with our industry partners to deliver quality parts on time and at affordable costs,” he said. “To achieve efficiencies, the program has incorporated a number of performance initiatives and incentives across the entire supply chain to support F-35 production lines in Italy, Japan and the United States.” In November, the F-35 joint program office awarded Lockheed Martin an undefinitized contract action for low-rate initial production Lot 12. That obligated $6 billion — $3.5 billion from the United States and $2.5 billion from international countries — in funding for a total of 255 aircraft. That includes 89 systems for international partners and 60 F-35s for foreign military sales. Deliveries of Lot 12 are scheduled to begin in January 2020. Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord said the F-35 joint program office is in contract negotiations with prime contractor Lockheed Martin regarding the LRIP Lot 12 buy and hopes to have a contract in place by July. Lockheed has said it is offering the F-35A for less than $80 million per plane by Lot 14, which is lower than the price tag of $89 million per aircraft that was part of the deal signed for Lot 11. This increased activity bodes well for the future of the aircraft, said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of the Teal Group, a Fairfax, Virginia-based defense and aerospace market analysis firm. Aboulafia said he was initially concerned that the price tag for the platform would make it an unattractive option for many cash-strapped nations. There are “a very limited number of customers willing to sign for a $90 million fighter, but they’ve been doing better than expected,” he noted. Historically, there have been seven or eight global customers willing to pull the trigger on purchasing a similarly priced fighter. There about 30 or 40 nations that are willing to buy a fighter with the same price point as the F-16, which typically costs around $50 million, he said. “But they’ve made significant inroads with some customers,” he said. Lockheed and the joint program office have been “making the argument that it’s OK to have fewer [aircraft] and pay more.” For example, he noted that when Israel signed on as an FMS customer it chose to substantially reduce the number of new aircraft it planned to buy in favor of fewer, but more advanced and costly F-35s. Overall, the global fighter market has been changing to emphasize the procurement of fewer, but more capable and expensive planes, Aboulafia said. But while that sea change has so far been paying off for Lockheed, the next round of FMS customers will really test the proposition, he noted. “The real test [is selling to] the Polands and Greeces of the world,” he said. Lockheed Martin sees Europe as a key market opportunity, said Steve Over, director of F-35 international business development at the company. “Europe is probably the seat of interest for the F-35,” he told National Defense. “I see a future in the 2030 timeframe, where, just like the F-16 today is the NATO standard fighter of choice, you’re seeing NATO allies recapitalize those F-16s with F-35s.” By the 2030s, Over said he expects there will be more than 500 joint strike fighters in NATO nation inventories. Poland is a strong area of interest for Lockheed Martin, Over said. “Poland has recently announced their intent to move forward with an F-35 acquisition, which we’re really excited about,” he said. Key to that will be working with the Polish government and industry on ways for indigenous industrial participation in the program, he said. “We’re working on that right now with [the] Polish government and Polish industry … [but] those conversations just haven’t matured to a level where … we can divulge exactly where we are on those,” he said. A company spokesperson noted that Lockheed already has a foothold in Poland. Because of its acquisition of Sikorsky — which was completed in 2015 — Lockheed acquired PZL Mielec which is based in the country. PZL Mielec is Lockheed’s largest manufacturing facility outside of the United States. The facility manufactures the S-70i Black Hawk utility helicopter and the M28 twin turboprop aircraft. Additionally, it employs 1,700 people directly and sustains work for 5,000 others in its Polish supply chain, according to the company. Lockheed plans to leverage PZL Mielec’s broader knowledge of the Polish defense industry as it pursues an F-35 contract, the spokesperson said. Industrial participation — where a nation has a stake in building parts or components of a weapon — has become increasingly important as U.S. manufacturers pursue international opportunities. For Lockheed, arranging that is a key strategy, Over said. “Industrial benefits are an essential ingredient as every nation moves forward to try to purchase the F-35,” he said. Whether a country is “looking for direct manufacturing opportunities on the F-35 program or other indirect industrial opportunities, … Lockheed has a history and a well-established track record of satisfying those types of requirements.” Poland — as a former member of the Warsaw Pact — has long been interested in shucking off its Soviet-era equipment, said Dan Darling, senior military markets analyst at Forecast International, a Newtown, Connecticut-based market consulting firm. “They are getting rid of everything that is of Russian origin,” he said. It is almost guaranteed that the nation will opt for the F-35 as it pursues new fighter jets, he added. Not only have government officials been talking about the system consistently, but the nation has been steadily increasing its defense budget over the years. Additionally, Warsaw is a strong U.S. ally and the purchase of the F-35 would more closely align it with Washington, he said. While Europe and Asia are key focus areas for Lockheed, the Middle East may soon be a hotspot should the U.S. government allow the company to sell to partner nations in the region, Aboulafia said. Historically, there has been a five-year gap between when Israel purchases a high-end U.S.-made weapon system and other Middle Eastern nations can buy it, he noted. “You’re coming up on that and that’s going to be really interesting,” he said. Whether or not the United Arab Emirates will purchase the system is still a big question mark, Aboulafia said. Ultimately, it is possible the country may choose to purchase a mix of F-35s and a foreign-made fourth-generation fighter — such as the French-made Rafale — “so they don’t put all their eggs in the U.S. basket, which of course is politically very difficult there.” Nations such as Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states will also likely be interested when the opportunity to purchase the F-35 arrives, he said. “Given the warmer relations between the Gulf countries and Israel, it’s going to be a lot easier these days,” he said. It’s “no longer the adversarial ‘70s and ‘80s dynamic.” However, as the joint program office and Lockheed look to extend the sales of the fifth-generation fighter globally, a political battle over the F-35 is underway between the United States and Turkey. Turkey is one of the program’s original nine partner countries and, according to Winter, currently accounts for 6 to 7 percent of the aircraft’s supply chain. But a recent move by Ankara to purchase the Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile defense system has put Turkey’s future F-35 participation into question. In a recent op-ed titled, “A U.S. Fighter Jet or a Russian Missile System. Not Both,” published in the New York Times in April, Sens. Jim Inhofe, Jack Reed, Jim Risch and Bob Menendez said Turkey will have to choose between the S-400 and the F-35. Inhofe, of Oklahoma, and Reed, of Rhode Island, are the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, respectively. Risch, of Idaho, and Menendez, of New Jersey, are the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, respectively. “By the end of the year, Turkey will have either F-35 advanced fighter aircraft on its soil or a Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defense system,” the senators said. “Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 would be incompatible with its commitments to NATO and reduce its interoperability with allies. Purchasing the S-400 would create an unacceptable risk because its radar system could enable the Russian military to figure out how the F-35 operates.” The senators noted that the S-400 issue has already resulted in the Defense Department suspending some F-35 activities associated with Turkey. In April, Acting Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Charles E. Summers Jr., said until Turkey forgoes the delivery of the S-400, the United States has suspended deliveries and activities associated with the stand-up of Turkey’s F-35 operational capability. The senators noted that Turkey has legitimate air defense needs and suggested the U.S.-built Patriot system could be an alternative, but Ankara had rejected that offer. “With the S-400 scheduled to arrive in Turkey in July and the F-35s scheduled to arrive in November, it is time for President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan to choose,” they said. “It is our hope he will choose to abandon the S-400, defend Turkish skies with the Patriot system and save the F-35 arrangement.” Should Turkey not forgo the S-400, sanctions would be imposed via the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which would hit the country’s economy hard, they noted. “No F-35s will ever reach Turkish soil,” they said, adding that the country had planned to purchase more than 100 platforms. “Turkish participation in the F-35 program, including manufacturing parts, repairing and servicing the fighters, will be terminated, taking Turkish companies out of the manufacturing and supply chain for the program.” The lawmakers noted that Turkey already has invested more than $1.25 billion into the joint strike fighter program. Winter, speaking during the HASC hearing, said that there had not yet been a disruption to the supply chain. Turkish-built parts, as well as those from other partners nations, continue “to flow to not only Forth Worth but to Cameri in Italy and Nagoya in Japan,” he said. “What we need to make sure is that any disruption to the supply chain — no matter where it comes from — we are putting in place the appropriate mitigation steps.” Lord recently noted that Turkey’s exit from the program could cause problems down the line. “We see a potential slowing down of some deliveries over the next two years, some potential cost impacts,” she told reporters during a briefing at the Pentagon in May. “But right now, we believe we can minimize both of those and are working on refining” that analysis. While the S-400 issue may be causing headaches in Ankara and Washington, it is unlikely that the impasse will have any negative ramifications on future potential F-35 foreign military sales, Aboulafia said. “I think other countries are very mindful this is uniquely Erdogan dysfunction,” he said. “It really is beyond dysfunctional.” Darling said the situation between the United States and Turkey is an extraordinary circumstance that won’t affect the F-35’s FMS prospects. “Everybody who purchases … through FMS, they are aware of the politics of it,” he said. Countries that purchase military equipment from Western nations — such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom — are always at the mercy of foreign suppliers, he added.

Defense industrial complex now controls US arms exports and foreign policy

M Waqas Jan, May 25, 2019, The Encroaching Impact of Arms Trade on South Asia’s Geopolitics , Modern Diplomacy, https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2019/05/25/the-encroaching-impact-of-arms-trade-on-south-asias-geopolitics/

In his famous farewell address to the American Public in 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower had both defined and warned against the encroaching influence of what was then termed as the US’s ‘Military-Industrial Complex. ’Speaking of the growing synergy between the US Military and the US’s fast rising defense and arms industry, President Eisenhower (himself a highly decorated former US General) had taken both time and considerable thought to highlight what he believed was a grave threat to the ideals of peace and prosperity for which the United States had stood for within the Post-War scenario. What’s more, he had said it right in the middle of the Cold War at a time when the US was engaged in an arms race for survival with the Soviet Union. Six decades later, as one surmises the far-reaching impacts of the same Military Industrial Complex on the present day’s international politics, President Eisenhower’s warning seems more like the realization of a cryptic prophecy more than anything. In fact it has become increasingly difficult to find a parallel to the way the intersection of money and power affects global peace and prosperity, the way it is affected by the intersection of defense and foreign policy at the hands of the world’s arms industries. This is best exemplified today by how lucrative arms contracts at the state level have increasingly come to take growing precedence over key foreign policy decisions, particularly by the world’s major powers. Thus, it is no secret that the world’s foremost arms importers enjoy considerably close ties with their suppliers. This is markedly apparent in the long history of close ties between the United States and Saudi Arabia which have increased manifold since the latter recently took over India as the World’s largest arms importer. The importance given to Saudi Arabia’s defense contracts in the US is such that the entire diplomatic fallout from the Jamal Khashoggi affair last year was presented as an unnecessary inconvenience by none other than President Trump himself. The same bonhomie is also visible in the US’s growing defense and strategic ties with India. As the top importer of arms for the entire previous decade, India’s lucrative market for arms contracts is fuelled by its fast rising economy as well as its need to modernize its aging soviet-era platforms. Whereas the bulk of India’s military hardware is sourced from Russian defense manufacturers, US defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing have consistently eyed gaining a wider share of the Indian market. This includes the delivery of the first of 22 Apache attack helicopters and 15 Chinook helicopters made to the Indian Air force earlier this month. It also includes a similar deal that was recently signed between the United States and India to purchase 24 Sea Hawk helicopters to further expand the latter’s naval capabilities. Yet, perhaps the most lucrative opportunity for US defense contractors coming out of India is the Indian Air Force’s latest tender for 114 fighter aircraft to replace its soviet era MiG squadrons. Worth around $18 billion, the Indian government’s requirements are based around developing an indigenous production base built on large-scale transfers of technology, training and maintenance operations. With the long-term goal of reducing its dependence on imports and developing its own local arms industry, India’s requirements thus extend beyond the mere procurement of platforms. Instead, they involve a unique opportunity for the world’s foremost arms manufacturers to gain a long-term foothold within the Indian market, while simultaneously investing in the country’s rapid economic growth. These aspects are clearly evident in Lockheed Martin’s most recent sales pitch to India regarding the F-21 Fighter Aircraft. Offered as an exclusive India only upgrade of the widely used F-16fighter aircraft, the F-21 is being marketed as a highly viable solution to India’s modernization needs. With its production line planned on being based in India, Lockheed is aiming to build on last year’s announcement that it would be transferring the production of the F-16’s wings to its joint facilities in India by 2020. If carried through, these developments are likely to have a serious impact on the trajectory of US-India relations for many decades to come. This in turn would also significantly affect both China’s and Russia’s approach to South Asia, particularly with respect to Pakistan. In fact much of the discourse on the development of Indo-US military ties is already based directly on the US’s strategic rivalry with China over the Indo-Pacific region. They very raison d’être for the Quadrilateral alliance, and the re-designation of the US Military’s Pacific Command to the ‘Indo-Pacific Command’ are all cases in point. However, going back to President Eisenhower’s warning over the encroaching influence of the US’s Military-Industrial Complex, the above developments assume a slightly different context when viewed from the perspective of the US’s powerful defense lobby. That while the benefits of supplanting Russian defense contractors with US ones within India’s growing arms industry may not be stated as an explicit policy objective by the US State Department or the White House ;there are definitely many in Washington that would wholeheartedly welcome such a scenario. From a purely realist perspective, many would consider the above developments simply as one of the many instances of real politik that characterize our world today. However, for the few idealists left amongst us, it is becoming increasingly difficult to assess whether the US’s major arms agreements are serving as a subordinate corollary to, or a key determining factor of its foreign policy choices. As a super-power that has long predicated its actions on the ideals of maintaining peace, freedom and stability, it is quite troubling to witness its foreign policy so increasingly and unabashedly driven by power, greed and profitability, especially in this day and age.

US arms exports to India increasing, creating geostrategic competition with China

M Waqas Jan, May 25, 2019, The Encroaching Impact of Arms Trade on South Asia’s Geopolitics , Modern Diplomacy, https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2019/05/25/the-encroaching-impact-of-arms-trade-on-south-asias-geopolitics/

This is best exemplified today by how lucrative arms contracts at the state level have increasingly come to take growing precedence over key foreign policy decisions, particularly by the world’s major powers. Thus, it is no secret that the world’s foremost arms importers enjoy considerably close ties with their suppliers. This is markedly apparent in the long history of close ties between the United States and Saudi Arabia which have increased manifold since the latter recently took over India as the World’s largest arms importer. The importance given to Saudi Arabia’s defense contracts in the US is such that the entire diplomatic fallout from the Jamal Khashoggi affair last year was presented as an unnecessary inconvenience by none other than President Trump himself. The same bonhomie is also visible in the US’s growing defense and strategic ties with India. As the top importer of arms for the entire previous decade, India’s lucrative market for arms contracts is fuelled by its fast rising economy as well as its need to modernize its aging soviet-era platforms. Whereas the bulk of India’s military hardware is sourced from Russian defense manufacturers, US defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing have consistently eyed gaining a wider share of the Indian market. This includes the delivery of the first of 22 Apache attack helicopters and 15 Chinook helicopters made to the Indian Air force earlier this month. It also includes a similar deal that was recently signed between the United States and India to purchase 24 Sea Hawk helicopters to further expand the latter’s naval capabilities. Yet, perhaps the most lucrative opportunity for US defense contractors coming out of India is the Indian Air Force’s latest tender for 114 fighter aircraft to replace its soviet era MiG squadrons. Worth around $18 billion, the Indian government’s requirements are based around developing an indigenous production base built on large-scale transfers of technology, training and maintenance operations. With the long-term goal of reducing its dependence on imports and developing its own local arms industry, India’s requirements thus extend beyond the mere procurement of platforms. Instead, they involve a unique opportunity for the world’s foremost arms manufacturers to gain a long-term foothold within the Indian market, while simultaneously investing in the country’s rapid economic growth. These aspects are clearly evident in Lockheed Martin’s most recent sales pitch to India regarding the F-21 Fighter Aircraft. Offered as an exclusive India only upgrade of the widely used F-16fighter aircraft, the F-21 is being marketed as a highly viable solution to India’s modernization needs. With its production line planned on being based in India, Lockheed is aiming to build on last year’s announcement that it would be transferring the production of the F-16’s wings to its joint facilities in India by 2020. If carried through, these developments are likely to have a serious impact on the trajectory of US-India relations for many decades to come. This in turn would also significantly affect both China’s and Russia’s approach to South Asia, particularly with respect to Pakistan. In fact much of the discourse on the development of Indo-US military ties is already based directly on the US’s strategic rivalry with China over the Indo-Pacific region. They very raison d’être for the Quadrilateral alliance, and the re-designation of the US Military’s Pacific Command to the ‘Indo-Pacific Command’ are all cases in point.

US will sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Jordan, circumventing Congress

Jerusalem Post, May 25, 2019, https://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Pompeo-US-arms-sales-to-Saudis-UAE-Jordan-needed-to-deter-Iran-590614, POMPEO: U.S. ARMS SALES TO SAUDIS, UAE, JORDAN NEEDED TO DETER IRAN

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday the Trump administration had decided to proceed with arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan in a move bypassing Congress because any delay could increase risk for U.S. partners at a time of instability caused by Iran. “These sales will support our allies, enhance Middle East stability, and help these nations to deter and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Pompeo said in a statement, adding the decision to circumvent Congress was meant to be a “one-time event.”

US restraints don’t create norms, countries will turn to alternate suppliers

Ted R. Bromund, Ph.D., is a senior research fellow in Anglo-American Relations in The Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation, May 23, 2019, https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/445254-trumps-rejection-of-the-arms-trade-treaty-is-based-on, Trump’s rejection of the Arms Trade Treaty Is based on reality

If nations around the world want to not sell arms to dictators, all they need to do is not sell. No treaty is necessary. If nations want to control their borders to prevent illicit arms imports, the same is true. We don’t need a treaty. We need more democratic, competent governments. Without them, no treaty can work. With them, no treaty will be necessary. The argument that progressives offer is that if the U.S. stops making arms sales the left dislikes, this will create influential “norms.” If you truly believe that Russia will become responsible if the U.S. simply does things that progressives like, good luck to you. But there is no basis for this belief. It’s a fantasy, and a self-disarming one at that. The progressive focus on the U.S.’s arms sales isn’t a coincidence. Iran’s arms sales don’t much bother the treaty’s advocates. But they really hate the West’s. If you doubt this, look at what they do. When the progressive group behind the ATT wanted to quote a foreign condemnation of the president’s decision, to whom did they turn first? To Press TV, the mouthpiece of the Iranian regime. The treaty’s friends have sued the British government to stop its arms sales. They leak assiduously against the French government. They vehemently oppose U.S. arms sales, and — like Trevor Thrall in these pages — support the treaty as a way to stop those sales. But they do and say nothing about the dictators. When Rachel Stohl, one of the treaty’s most vehement defenders, wrote about the missiles that shot down flight MH-17 in 2015, who did she blame for supplying them? Vladimir Putin No. She blamed “today’s globalized environment.”

US paying countries not to buy weapons from Russia

Blake Stillwell, May 21, 2019, https://www.wearethemighty.com/gear-tech/us-stops-russian-arms-sales, The US will pay countries not to buy arms from Russia

It was a program designed by the State Department to help the former Warsaw Pact countries break away from dependence on the Russian economy – the United States would straight up pay the newly liberated former Soviet Union allies to buy American-made weapons instead of buying them from their former patron. That program is back, and the United States is expanding it. A Russian-built Hind helicopter in the Macedonian Air Force It’s called the European Recapitalization Incentive Program and Eastern Europe is signing on for arms made in the good ol’ US of A. But the U.S. isn’t stopping at limiting Russian influence through arms sales, the American government is using the program to limit arms sales from China too. It’s a function of the State Department working hand-in-hand with the Pentagon in an effort to project American economic power and military goodwill. “The goal is to help our partners break away from the Russian supply chain [and] logistics chain that allows Russian contractors and service personnel, and Russian-manufactured spare parts onto either NATO allied bases or partner military bases,” a State Department official told Defense One. A Russian-built T-72 tank in the Slovakian Army. The countries signing on to the revitalized program can’t just promise not to buy Russian or Chinese weapons from now on. They will also need to get rid of their old ones as well as purchase new American replacements. So instead of gifting these countries a hodgepodge of military arms or vehicles, the countries can invest in American military power while getting rid of old systems and updating their military capabilities. Some of the partner countries are still using Soviet-built weapons. In the past year, the U.S. State Department has signed on six former Soviet Bloc countries to the program to the tune of $190 million, including Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Greece, North Macedonia, and Slovakia. The program will even bring these countries up to NATO standards in many areas. If successful, the U.S. will expand the program beyond Eastern Europe to help other countries break free of Chinese and Russian dependence.

US may sell arms to Hungary

URDU Point, May 19, 2019, https://www.urdupoint.com/en/world/us-in-discussions-with-hungary-over-arms-sale-618518.html

The United States has been in discussions with Hungary over potential arms sales as the Eastern European country plans to increase its defense spending to two percent of GDP by 2025, a senior US administration official told reporters on Friday. “There’s a real market share there that we think we can exploit, assuming that they are moving to increase their defense budget. There are some arms sales under discussion,” the senior administration official said. On Monday, President Donald Trump will host Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Washington to discuss a range of issues concerning trade and security.

It’s getting easier to export hand guns and 3D guns

The Crime Report, May 14, 2019, New Rules for Gun Exports Smooth Path for 3D Weapons Overseas, Groups Warn, https://thecrimereport.org/2019/05/14/new-rules-for-gun-exports-smooth-path-for-3d-weapons-overseas-groups-warn/

The Trump administration’s proposals to ease restrictions on firearms exports will create “new and unacceptable risks of exacerbating gun violence, human rights abuses, and armed conflict,” a coalition of 100 organizations warned in an open letter to Congress Tuesday. Under a proposed rule change sent to Congress last month, firearms manufacturers would no longer need to register for a license from the State Department to export semi-automatic weapons and other small arms. Instead, they would only have to apply to the Department of Commerce, where the process is simpler and less costly. The proposed new rules would also make it easier to sell technical information and blueprints for 3D-printed guns, which are also currently under State Department license, making such weapons “readily available to terrorist groups and other criminal elements, and endanger American embassies, military bases, and passenger aircraft at home and abroad,” the letter said. “Although proponents of the proposed changes argue that small arms are less dangerous because many can be bought in U.S. retail outlets, the fact is that armies are built from these firearms,” the organizations declared, noting that the proliferation of small arms has fanned conflicts in regions like Central America, as well as Congo, Burma and Mexico. The letter was signed by a wide network of religious groups, national and state gun violence prevention organizations in 14 states, as well as human rights groups. The groups said Congressional oversight over sales of all types of weapons and ammunition was in the interests of all Americans. “Congressional notification has been an imnportant backstop, helping forestall firearms transfers to repressive forces, such as those in Turkey and the Philippines,” the letter said, noting that Congress is informed of all weapons sales valued at $1 million or more authorized by the State Department are “No such notification requirements will exist if these weapons are transferred to Commerce control.” The proposed changes will go into effect this month unless Congress blocks them.

Ukraine depends on US arms sales to defend itself from Russia

Josh Mitchell, May 10, 2019, https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/this-shocking-abuse-of-office-continues, , This Shocking Abuse of Office Continues, US In Discussions With Hungary Over Arms Sales – Senior Official

As you know, Ukraine remains highly dependent on the United States, diplomatically, economically and even militarily, at least in the sense of arms sales. Russia continues a de facto occupation/insurgency in the country’s east. Crimea has already been annexed by the Russian Federation

US may sell arms to Hungary

URDU Point, May 19, 2019, https://www.urdupoint.com/en/world/us-in-discussions-with-hungary-over-arms-sale-618518.html

The United States has been in discussions with Hungary over potential arms sales as the Eastern European country plans to increase its defense spending to two percent of GDP by 2025, a senior US administration official told reporters on Friday. “There’s a real market share there that we think we can exploit, assuming that they are moving to increase their defense budget. There are some arms sales under discussion,” the senior administration official said. On Monday, President Donald Trump will host Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Washington to discuss a range of issues concerning trade and security.

Russia increasing arms sales to India

Fpiskopos, 5-15, 19, Mark Episkopos is a frequent contributor to The National Interest and serves as research assistant at the Center for the National Interest. Mark is also a PhD student in History at American University, https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/russia-just-sold-750000-ak-203-rifles-what-you-need-know-57582

Russia Just Sold 750,000 AK-203 Rifles: What You Need To Know How good is it? But the deal, signed for a whopping 750,000 AK-203 rifles with 40,000 to be directly imported, is no less significant from the perspective of the Russian arms export business. Would it have been more profitable in the short term to simply sell India 750,000 AK-203’s? From air defense systems to nuclear submarines, the Soviet Union has enjoyed a longstanding, profitable defense export relationship with India. However, both the USSR and its Russian successor state have historically struggled to break into the Indian small arms market. After decades of impasse, it appears that the Kremlin has found a solution in the form of Kalashnikov’s new AK-203 rifle. 0 SECONDS Do You Know What Happened Today In History? (This first appeared in March 2019.) Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a new, jointly-administered AK-203 production venture at the Korwa small arms production plant in Northeastern India. Report Advertisement President Putin greeted the occasion with a celebratory telegram, stressing the ways in which Russian defense technology complements India’s national security interests: “The new joint venture will manufacture world-famous Kalashnikov assault rifles of the newest 200 series and eventually will reach full localization of production. Thus, the Indian defense-industrial sector will have the opportunity to fulfill the needs of national security agencies in this category of small arms, resting upon advanced Russian technologies.” The Kalashnikov venture marks the end of New Delhi’s long, tortured search for a successor to the unreliable INSAS rifle that has served as the mainstay of the Indian armed forces since 1998. The AK-203, a 7.62х39 export variant of Kalashnikov new AK-12, boasts across-the-board performance improvements as compared with its INSAS counterpart. Report Advertisement The AK-203 eschews the infamous jamming and temperature operability problems plaguing the INSAS rifle, while boasting superior a lighter weight, shorter length, and modern assault rifle ergonomics. The latter includes polymer handguards, a picatinny rail, and an adjustable buttstock; while individually negligible, these features add up to an overall improved handling experience. But the deal, signed for a whopping 750,000 AK-203 rifles with 40,000 to be directly imported, is no less significant from the perspective of the Russian arms export business. Would it have been more profitable in the short term to simply sell India 750,000 AK-203’s? Perhaps, but Rosoboronexport– Russia’s official defense exporting agency– hopes that this deal will give Kalashnikov a foothold in the Indian firearms industry for decades to come. As Rosobornexport CEO Alexander Mikheev points out, the AK-203 is just the speartip of Kalashnikov’s plans for the Indian market: “The capacity of the plant is sufficient to arm the personnel of all security agencies in India. Should it become necessary, the parties will be able to ratchet up the production output and upgrade the facility to manufacture future models based on Kalashnikov’s unique design.” Kalashnikov’s previous efforts to expand into the Indian market stalled, among other reasons, due to the Indian preference for assault rifles chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO. Why, then, did New Delhi settle for the AK-203 in 7.62х39? There are few military reasons to opt for the smaller 7.62×39 casing, as 7.62×51 rounds will generally travel faster and farther under similar circumstances. Rather, India’s change of heart likely comes from the logistical and financial benefits of the joint production arrangement between Kalashnikov and India’s Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) production organization. In specific, OFB will hold a 50.5 percent stake in the joint venture. A majority share gives the Indian government access to Kalashnikov’s considerable supply chain and technical expertise, while still retaining long-term political decision-making power over the course of the project. The joint venture nonetheless marks an early milestone for Russia’s AK200 series, cleared for export in early February just prior to IDEX 2019. It also illustrates what Kalashnikov is sure to take as a positive affirmation of their expansive small arms export strategy, offering their flagship rifle in two different sizes and three distinct chambers so as to appeal to as wide a range of importers as possible. Report Advertisement Mark Episkopos is a frequent contributor to The National Interest and serves as research assistant at the Center for the National Interest. Mark is also a PhD student in History at American University.

Ukraine depends on US arms sales to defend itself from Russia

Josh Mitchell, May 10, 2019, https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/this-shocking-abuse-of-office-continues, , This Shocking Abuse of Office Continues, US In Discussions With Hungary Over Arms Sales – Senior Official

As you know, Ukraine remains highly dependent on the United States, diplomatically, economically and even militarily, at least in the sense of arms sales. Russia continues a de facto occupation/insurgency in the country’s east. Crimea has already been annexed by the Russian Federation

US selling $3 billion in Arms to Qatar

Global Village Space, May 10, 2019, https://www.globalvillagespace.com/us-selling-arms-to-saudi-arabs-enemies/, US selling arms to Saudi Arab’s enemies

The US State Department has given the nod to a potential $3bn sale of 24 Apache attack helicopters and related equipment to Qatar, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. The manufacturer- Boeing Co and other major defence contractors, including Lockheed Martin Corp, General Electric Co and Raytheon Co will take part in the project if a deal is eventually reached, DSCA said in a statement.

China is the world’s 4th largest arms supplier

Forecast International, May 10, 2019, https://dsm.forecastinternational.com/wordpress/2019/05/10/chinas-arms-exports-up-up-and-away-2/ China’s Arms Exports: Up, Up and Away – VIDEO

Beijing continues to build its stature as a global arms exporter, according to the Pentagon’s annual report to Congress on the military and security developments of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Per Department of Defense research, China completed over $25 billion worth of arms sales between 2013 and 2017, thereby rising to the level of world’s fourth-largest arms supplier.

Grant aid is distinct from sales

Miller & Binder, May 10, 2019, Andrew Miller is the deputy director for policy at the Project on Middle East Democracy and served as the director for Egypt and Israel military issues at the U.S. National Security Council from 2014 to 2017. Seth Binder is the advocacy officer at the Project on Middle East Democracy. Previously he served as the program manager and research associate at the Center for International Policy’s Security Assistance Monitor program, where he focused on U.S. security assistance and arms sales policy, The Case for Arms Embargoes Against Uncooperative Partners, https://warontherocks.com/2019/05/the-case-for-arms-embargoes-against-uncooperative-partners/

The efficacy of withholding military assistance, including grant aid and arms sales, to modify the behavior of recipient countries is a hotly debated topic in the U.S. foreign policy community.

Arms reductions do reduce conflict – empirics prove

Miller & Binder, May 10, 2019, Andrew Miller is the deputy director for policy at the Project on Middle East Democracy and served as the director for Egypt and Israel military issues at the U.S. National Security Council from 2014 to 2017. Seth Binder is the advocacy officer at the Project on Middle East Democracy. Previously he served as the program manager and research associate at the Center for International Policy’s Security Assistance Monitor program, where he focused on U.S. security assistance and arms sales policy, The Case for Arms Embargoes Against Uncooperative Partners, https://warontherocks.com/2019/05/the-case-for-arms-embargoes-against-uncooperative-partners/

First, the empirical record does not support Rounds’ contention that arms embargoes do not deliver. While these suspensions are not a silver bullet, there is ample evidence to demonstrate that they can be effective in changing the policy of a target country. For example, in 2005, the United States successfully used the suspension of a joint weapons project to persuade Israel to cancel a proposed sale of drone equipment to China. In another example, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson secured commitments from Egypt to resolve a longstanding criminal case against 41 foreign NGO workers, including Americans and Europeans, and to suspend military cooperation with North Korea in exchange for releasing $195 million in suspended military aid. More recently, the legislative hold Sen. Robert Menendez placed on an arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, when combined with threatened legislation to impose further restrictions on transfers to Saudi Arabia, helped pressure the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen to re-engage in negotiations with the Houthis, resulting in an imperfect but still important deal on the port of Hodeidah.

The author’s argument that arms embargoes do not work cites the 2013 suspension of U.S. military aid to Egypt following that country’s military coup. This policy clearly failed to reverse the military coup led by current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, but there are good reasons to question the validity of the example. Proponents of the suspension argue with good reason that it was not given a fair chance to work. Shortly after the decision was announced, senior U.S. officials told the Egyptians the aid would soon be restored, undercutting the coercive value of the suspension. From the perspective of the Egyptian government, it would have been irrational to make serious concessions in response to what they believed was an idle threat. Just as important, due to a plethora of exceptions and carve-outs, some U.S. military assistance to Egypt continued throughout the suspension period, including maintenance and sustainment, sparing the Egyptian military from the full force of the hold. Despite undercutting its own suspension, the hold still produced some good. U.S. diplomats were able to leverage the policy to deter the Egyptian government from enforcing an arbitrary September 2014 deadline for NGOs to register under Egypt’s draconian 2002 NGO law. And, although Egypt released U.S. citizen Mohamed Soltan from prison two months after aid was resumed, Cairo was partly motivated by the concern that the Obama administration could reverse its decision to resume arms shipments. To be sure, these accomplishments were relatively limited, and we should be careful not to overestimate the efficacy of arms holds. A foreign government is unlikely to fundamentally change its position on what it views as an existential issue. But prior suspensions have yielded tangible gains, and they should remain part of the U.S. foreign policy toolkit.

Arms sales cuts do not undermine US influence

Miller & Binder, May 10, 2019, Andrew Miller is the deputy director for policy at the Project on Middle East Democracy and served as the director for Egypt and Israel military issues at the U.S. National Security Council from 2014 to 2017. Seth Binder is the advocacy officer at the Project on Middle East Democracy. Previously he served as the program manager and research associate at the Center for International Policy’s Security Assistance Monitor program, where he focused on U.S. security assistance and arms sales policy, The Case for Arms Embargoes Against Uncooperative Partners, https://warontherocks.com/2019/05/the-case-for-arms-embargoes-against-uncooperative-partners/

Second, Rounds also overstates the costs of suspending arms transfers. He is particularly focused on the potential for losing “access,” a term that encompasses relationships with the recipient country’s military leadership; insight into their views, organization, and doctrine; and permission for the U.S. military to use that country’s bases and airspace. These are legitimate concerns, but suspensions do not automatically compromise access. Egypt, for instance, never curtailed the U.S. military ability to use the Suez Canal or Egyptian airspace while arms transfers were on hold. And, while intelligence about a foreign military is valuable, we often have other, clandestine ways to acquire such information. Moreover, we should not conflate access with influence. U.S. military officials had access to their Egyptian counterparts during the events of 2013, but those channels were of no use in deterring Egypt’s military from removing the country’s democratically elected president. Nor has U.S access reduced civilian casualties from Saudi-coalition bombing in Yemen. In these cases, access without influence does not absolve the United States of complicity.

Arms sales cuts will not cause shifts in sales to Russia and China

 

Miller & Binder, May 10, 2019, Andrew Miller is the deputy director for policy at the Project on Middle East Democracy and served as the director for Egypt and Israel military issues at the U.S. National Security Council from 2014 to 2017. Seth Binder is the advocacy officer at the Project on Middle East Democracy. Previously he served as the program manager and research associate at the Center for International Policy’s Security Assistance Monitor program, where he focused on U.S. security assistance and arms sales policy, The Case for Arms Embargoes Against Uncooperative Partners, https://warontherocks.com/2019/05/the-case-for-arms-embargoes-against-uncooperative-partners/

The author’s other major concern is that arms suspensions could result in the loss of arms sales to strategic competitors like Russia or China. The jobs created by such sales are not trivial matters, but studies have found that they do not provide the economic benefits or jobs that are often touted. Nor are these sales necessary to maintain the military industrial base, which is powered by billions of dollars each year from domestic purchases, except in rare cases. Fundamentally, the author’s implicit argument — that if the United States reliably supplies weapons to strategically important countries, they won’t seek them elsewhere — is suspect. Countries, including close partners like Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, have long sought to diversify their weapons stockpiles, and in an increasingly multipolar world, more countries are seeking to diversify their arms suppliers to maintain their own independence. While U.S. arms will continue to compete with Russian or Chinese counterparts on a sale-by-sale basis, it will become increasingly unrealistic to be the exclusive supplier of any partner country, irrespective of how reliable the United States is.

Multiple examples of Trump undermining multilateralism(Trump)

Pablo Arrocha Olabuenag, May 8, 2019, Why the Arms Trade Treaty Matters – and Why It Matters That the US Is Walking Away, https://www.justsecurity.org/63968/why-the-arms-trade-treaty-matters-and-why-it-matters-that-the-us-is-walking-away/

If anything, Trump’s announcement is congruent with his administration’s foreign policy approach, which has consistently attacked multilateralism and challenged international law. Examples of this pattern of conduct are the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement in June 2017; the withdrawal from UNESCO in October 2017; pulling out from the negotiations on the Global Compact on Migration in December 2017; the unilateral military attacks, together with France and the United Kingdom, against Syria in violation of the UN Charter in April 2018; pulling out of the U.N.’s Human Rights Council in June 2018; the withdrawal of both the Optional Protocol of the 1961 Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations and of the 1955 Treaty of Amity with Iran in October 2018; the withdrawal in February from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia; or the recent decision to revoke the entry visa to the U.S. of Fatou Bensouda, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. In the case of U.S. withdrawal from the ATT, in addition to the political considerations associated with it, the decision is based on a clear misconception of what the treaty is and what it does. To better understand the gravity of this misguided decision, it is important to take a look at the history behind the treaty and at its content, especially its object and purpose.

Military expenditures increasing

Pablo Arrocha Olabuenag, May 8, 2019, Why the Arms Trade Treaty Matters – and Why It Matters That the US Is Walking Away, https://www.justsecurity.org/63968/why-the-arms-trade-treaty-matters-and-why-it-matters-that-the-us-is-walking-away/

In contrast, military expenditure is on the rise. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the U.S. continues to be the top global exporter of arms and the 13th global importer (with Saudi Arabia holding the first position), with a total military expenditure in 2018 of $6.5 billion. This is more than 120 times the U.N. budget for the period 2018-2019.

The Arms Transfer Treaty (ATT) is not topical – it doesn’t reduce sales

Pablo Arrocha Olabuenag, May 8, 2019, Why the Arms Trade Treaty Matters – and Why It Matters That the US Is Walking Away, https://www.justsecurity.org/63968/why-the-arms-trade-treaty-matters-and-why-it-matters-that-the-us-is-walking-away/

The ATT at a glance What does the ATT do? As indicated by its name, the Arms Trade Treaty regulates the international licit trade of arms. Its object and purpose, which is clearly spelled out in Article 1, is the following: “The object of this Treaty is to: Establish the highest possible common international standards for regulating or improving the regulation of the international trade in conventional arms; Prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and prevent their diversion; for the purpose of: Contributing to international and regional peace, security and stability; Reducing human suffering; Promoting cooperation, transparency and responsible action by States Parties in the international trade in conventional arms, thereby building confidence among States Parties.” Other relevant aspects of the treaty to be highlighted are: i) its scope includes small arms and light weapons; ii) State Parties have the obligation to establish and maintain a national control system to regulate the export of ammunition/munitions; iii) the treaty establishes a system to conduct an assessment, including the consideration of possible mitigation measures, before authorizing an export of weapons; iv) it includes measures to prevent the diversion of arms, and v) it includes a yearly reporting mechanism of authorized or actual exports and imports of conventional arms. In a nutshell, the ATT sets out global standards to conduct legal and rightful activities in a transparent manner. This, in turn, helps to identify where and how arms are diverted into the illicit market and raises the bar regarding accountability for irresponsible transfers of arms. What does the ATT not do? It is not a disarmament treaty nor a treaty for the reduction of arsenals; it does not prohibit the international trade in arms, and; it does not regulate, in any way, internal transactions, in particular the acquisition of arms by civilians. Contrary to what Trump has declared, the treaty explicitly reaffirms “the sovereign right of any State to regulate and control conventional arms exclusively within its territory, pursuant to its own legal or constitutional system.” In other words, the ATT is absolutely silent on controls, regulations, limitations, rights or obligations regarding the domestic sale of arms. Therefore, claiming that the ATT breaches sovereign rights of States, specifically the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution, is not a matter of misinterpretation: It is simply not true.

New arms sale to Bahrain, including Patriot missile defense interceptors

Albawaba Gulf News, May 5, 2019, https://www.albawaba.com/news/us-approves-6-billion-weapons-sales-bahrain-and-uae-1283949 US Approves $6 Billion Weapons Sales to Bahrain and UAE

The US State Department announced the deal could see Bahrain potentially buy various Patriot missile systems and related support and equipment for an estimated cost of $2.48 billion. The deal could include 36 Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missiles known as GEM-T, an upgrade that can shoot down aircraft and cruise missiles, Reuters reported. Bahrain was also approved for a deal that would include a range of weapons to support its F-16 Block 70/F-16V aircraft fleet for an estimated cost of $750 million. That package included 32 AIM-9X missiles, 20 AGM-84 Block II Harpoon missiles and 100 GBU-39s which are 250-pound small diameter bombs and other munitions Separately, the UAE was given an initial approval for $2.73 billion worth of Patriot missiles and related equipment including 452 Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) Missiles Segment Enhanced (MSE) and related equipment.

Russia’s defense industrial base is in decline now, rebound critical to Russian military power projection.   Arms sales are critical to the base, but those sales are also declining now

Stratfor Worldview, May 5, 2019, https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/russia-makes-some-deadliest-weapons-earth-there-problem-55812 Russia Makes Some of the Deadliest Weapons on Earth (But There Is a Problem) DOA: 5-5, 19

Russia’s defense industry is face to face with a major foe, but it’s not a foreign military power. The Kremlin has been striving to modernize all branches of the Russian military, but the country’s defense industry is struggling thanks to decreasing volumes of orders, difficulties in attracting high-skilled talent and limits to its technological capabilities. According to recent figures, the performance of Russia’s aerospace sector is declining precipitously. In 2018, for instance, Russian aircraft and spacecraft makers produced 13.5 percent less than in 2017. And there’s been no letup in 2019 either: In the first two months of the year, aerospace output plummeted 48 percent year on year. The decline in Russia’s defense output raises concerns about the competitive strength of Russia’s defense industry in general, whose health is critical if the country is to project itself as a military power in the longer term. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov attributed the reduction in output to a slowdown of orders for military systems, but projections suggest the slowdown is not just a short-term fluctuation; in fact, it’s expected to become even worse in the future. The downturn in oil prices has taken a bite out of Russia’s bottom line, squeezing spending for the military — all at a time when the country’s arms manufacturers have lost their competitive edge in the global arms market. Together, these factors ensure that Russia’s defense industry will struggle to get out of its funk. Suffering From a Dearth of Funds 10 SECONDS Do You Know What Happened On This Day? This dire picture stands in stark contrast to Russia’s frequent presentation of sensational new platforms. In reality, however, just a few of the big-ticket weapon systems — such as the T-14 main battle tank or the Su-57 fighter aircraft — find buyers, as the rest remain mere prototypes. Russia has prioritized some hardware, such as the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, due to their strategic relevance to the country’s overall military posture, but Moscow has failed to fully develop other programs or only introduced them on a limited scale. Under pressure from a limited government budget, the Kremlin even started reducing its military spending in 2017 — a strong indicator that, despite the modernization push, Russia’s financial challenges are taking a toll on the country ambitions. Economically, the plunge in oil prices at the end of 2014 hurt Russia’s bottom line, depriving the country of essential revenue and forcing it to dip into its reserves to bridge the gap. Today, more than four years on, Russian oil revenues are rising, yet the country is continuing to deal with the consequences of the lean years. Beyond that, low revenues from taxes, which have forced Russia to raise taxes and the retirement age, and Western sanctions over Moscow’s activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, have shrunk the financial pool available to military planners. Report Advertisement But the Kremlin’s problems don’t end there. In the past, Russia has benefited from its position as a major global arms exporter to fuel further military development. During the 1990s, for example, such sales were critical to the country as it faced severe economic hardship. While Russia remains the world’s second-largest arms exporter (only the United States sells more), the actual value of those exports has been decreasing significantly. Between 2014 and 2018, their total value dropped by as much as 17 percent. Again, budgetary limits are somewhat to blame: In the past, Russia frequently used arms exports as a political tool, offering weapons at a heavy discount, if not entirely free. But with Russia no longer able to offer customers a good deal on its fighter jets and other defense products, the country is losing business.

Countries that can’t buy US arms will switch to Russia

Ray Rounds, April 16, 2019, THE CASE AGAINST ARMS EMBARGOS, EVEN FOR SAUDI ARABIA, https://warontherocks.com/2019/04/the-case-against-arms-embargos-even-for-saudi-arabia/ Lt. Col. Ray Rounds is a U.S. Air Force F-15E pilot and a Ph.D. candidate at Georgetown University in International Relations. He is a U.S. Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies graduate and a former Mirage 2000 exchange pilot with the French Air Force

Senior U.S. government officials involved in the arms transfer process that I interviewed over the past year during the course of my research have echoed similar sentiments. This is also borne out by previous research providing evidence that using arms transfers as situationally coercive tools is rarely successful. Interestingly, coercion attempts using arms transfers are least likely to be successful when used as a punishment or threat against an autocratic regime, such as Saudi Arabia. Instead, punishments in the form of an embargo can often push a client to diversify sourcing rather than to change behavior. Consider Indonesia and Egypt. In 2015, Egypt agreed to purchase nearly 50 Russian MiG-29M/M2s and more than two-dozen French Rafales. This represented a shocking turn of events after more than three decades of purchasing only American-made fighter jets. It was also driven largely by the U.S. embargo put in place in 2013, after the Egyptian army’s removal of then-President Mohamed Morsi, who had won the presidency in a 2012 election. The embargo caused significant tension between the two states driven by “an Egyptian sense that they were at a point of mortal peril” while the United States was moralizing about democratic reforms. Remarkably, the United States lifted the embargo in 2015 with virtually no change in Egyptian policies, no official U.S. “democracy certification”, and Egyptian military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. The U.S. arms embargo as a tool of coercive change was an abject failure. A similar story played out in Indonesia more than a decade prior. A long-time arms client of the United States with no history of Russian imports, Indonesia announced a deal with Russia in 2003 to purchase Russian Su-27/30s. While Indonesia was always far more politically neutral than Egypt, this remarkable turnaround in arms sourcing diversification appears to be the result of a U.S. arms embargo implemented in 1999 in response to Indonesia’s apparent human rights violations carrying out heavy-handed military actions in East Timor. Furious at U.S. meddling in something the government considered a domestic issue, Indonesia looked instead to Russia with the specific intent to “overcome the effects of [U.S.] arms sales restrictions.” In other words, Indonesia looked to diversify, not capitulate. Indonesia continued sourcing Russian arms even after the United States lifted the embargo in 2005. Perhaps most remarkably, even after the United States agreed to give Indonesia 24 F-16s in 2012, the archipelago state still agreed to purchase 11 Russian Su-35s. The U.S. attempt at coercion not only failed but continues to perpetuate negative strategic effects today.

Russia competes with the US for sales. Reducing sales creates a greater opportunity for Russia

NNicholas Parasie, April 6, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-and-china-target-middle-east-arms-deals-11554555600, Russia and China Target Middle East Arms Deals

Russia has sold missile systems to the U.A.E. and military rifles to Saudi Arabia in return for the right to produce the weapons in the kingdom. Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. have also bought Chinese military drones. Big Spenders Countries in the Middle East and their NorthAfrican neighbors are ramping up defensespending, including for more hardware .billion Defense spending Military equipment spending 2010 ’12 ’14 ’16 ’18 ’20 ’22 0 50 100 150 200 $250 China and Russia are willing to sell arms and equipment, such as drones, to some Mideast countries when other countries are reluctant to do so because of weapons-proliferation concerns, or, in the case of the U.S., a policy of giving its ally Israel a military edge. The arms competition reflects growing tensions between the U.S. and its strategic rivals China and Russia over trade, security and other matters in a region the U.S. has long considered its sphere of influence. The U.S. Department of Defense isn’t only concerned about the threat to U.S. arms sales but also that China and Russia are trying to gain know-how about advanced military equipment and commercial technologies by working with U.S. allies, Pentagon officials said. These officials say the shift complicates future deals with Washington’s Persian Gulf allies since the competing hardware may be incompatible with Western systems. Russia and China have been laying down both military and economic roots in the region. This 2017 image shows Chinese People’s Liberation Army members attending the opening ceremony of China’s military base in Djibouti, not far from a U.S. facility. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES In the past couple of years, China set up a military base in the East African nation of Djibouti, across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen, in proximity to a U.S. facility the Pentagon uses for sensitive military operations, including drone strikes and special operations missions. Defense spending Source: IHS Markit Note: Data are estimates. Defense spending includescost of troops, operations, infrastructure andequipment. .billion Beijing has also pressed for closer economic ties, hosting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in February and announcing a flurry of agreements ranging across energy, investment and counterterrorism. Last year Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the U.A.E., signing 13 deals. “In terms of technology [the Chinese] are incredibly good, and they have more financial strength” than many rivals, said Alessandro Profumo, chief executive of Italian aerospace and defense equipment maker Leonardo SpA, which has sold combat aircraft and military helicopters in the Middle East. Such strength allows China to offer flexible payment terms for its customers, helping it to clinch deals particularly in less wealthy countries. Russia, the world’s second-biggest arms exporter after the U.S., has made its own push for influence in the Middle East following its military action in Syria since 2015 to keep President Bashar al-Assad in power. Russian oil companies like PAO Rosneft have struck deals from Iraq to Libya, while Kremlin-connected firms have pushed for Syrian reconstruction business. The Trump administration has made arms sales to Persian Gulf allies, particularly Saudi Arabia, a centerpiece of its foreign policy. President Trump has resisted U.S. senators’ calls to restrict arms transfers to Saudi Arabia following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which the Central Intelligence Agency said was likely ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Saudi Arabia denies that. U.S. officials say they believe American technology gives its contractors an edge in the region. They have warned their Middle East allies not to become too enamored with the Chinese and Russian partnerships, saying it could threaten cooperation with the U.S. military, industry officials said. The pressure has had mixed results. Washington failed to persuade Turkey to abandon the purchase of Russia’s S-400 air- and missile-defense system. Its manufacturer, Rostec State Corp., says it can shoot down aircraft at a range of up to 240 miles. Saudi Arabia has held talks with Russia over buying the system, too. Prince Mohammed, left, spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a G20 summit in Buenos Aires in November. PHOTO: NATACHA PISARENKO/ASSOCIATED PRESS Sergey Chemezov, Rostec’s chief executive, recently told reporters he wouldn’t discuss the status of those talks because of the pressure Washington has placed on prospective buyers of Russia equipment. Representatives for Saudi Arabia didn’t respond to requests for comment. Mr. Chemezov said Rostec is in talks with the U.A.E. about the company’s new warship-based antiaircraft system. China North Industries Group Corp., known as Norinco, meanwhile, announced plans in February to join forces with U.A.E. defense company International Golden Group PJSC to set up a research joint venture. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Under the pact, the two partners will open a facility in Abu Dhabi staffed by Chinese and Emirati engineers. The program will develop weapons and training with the help of Chinese and Emirati universities and in cooperation with the U.A.E. armed forces. The center’s first project will focus on drones that can be used for both surveillance but also offensive purposes, an Emirati official said.

Russia will not impose conditions for arms sales exports

Fazan Hashaimi, May 5, 2019, https://www.urdupoint.com/en/world/russia-does-not-set-extra-political-economic-613358.html, Russia Does Not Set Extra Political, Economic Conditions For Arms’ Sales – Official

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 05th May, 2019) Russia is the only country on the arms’ market which does not set additional political, or economic conditions for sales of weapons, Maria Vorobyeva, the spokeswoman of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC), said on Sunday.

“In the dynamically developing countries of Asia and Latin America, the public now demands from its leadership transparency and independence in matters of military-technical cooperation and national security… [Russia is] the only [country] among the leaders of [the arms’ sales] market which does not set additional political or economic conditions when striking contracts,” Vorobyova said. According to the official, Russia is ready for an open dialogue with all legitimate governments in all areas and formats.

Russia lags far behind the US in arms sales now

Radio Free Europe, March 11, 2019, https://www.rferl.org/a/us-russia-lead-world-global-arms-exports/29814176.html, U.S. Remains World’s Top Arms Exporter, With Russia A Distant Second

The United States remained far and above the rest of the world as the globe’s leading arms exporter, with Russia a distant second, a leading research group says. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a March 11 report that the gap between the United States and the rest of the world widened further in the most recent five-year period of 2014-18, with American exports rising to 36 percent of the global total from 30 percent in the previous period. “The U.S.A. has further solidified its position as the world’s leading arms supplier,” said Aude Fleurant, director of the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Program. “[It] exported arms to at least 98 countries in the past five years; these deliveries often included advanced weapons such as combat aircraft, short-range cruise and ballistic missiles, and large numbers of guided bombs.” The report highlighted the widening gap between Washington and Moscow in arms exports. “U.S. exports of major arms were 75 percent higher than Russia’s in the 2014–18 period, while they were only 12 percent higher in 2009-13,” SIPRI said in its report of global arms transfers. “More than half (52 percent) of U.S. arms exports went to the Middle East in 2014-18,” it added. SIPRI said Russia’s arms exports fell 17 percent in the 2014-18 period, with a reduction in arms imports by India and Venezuela the major factors in the decline. The report said France (6.8 percent of the world total) was the third-highest arms exporter, followed by Germany (6.4 percent), and China (5.2 percent). The top five countries accounted for 75 percent of the world total, the report said. The combined total of European Union nations came to 27 percent of the global figure. Among arms importers, Saudi Arabia was the leader, with 12 percent of the world total, up from 4.3 percent in the previous five-year period. Its total imports rose 192 percent in the most-recent period. “Arms imports by some Arab states of the Gulf rose sharply [during the period],” the report said. “Among the key reasons behind these increases were the mutual distrust between Iran on the one hand and Saudi Arabia and the [United Arab Emirates] on the other.” It also cited the conflict in Yemen, considered by many to be a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and the hostilities between a Saudi-led Arab coalition against tiny Gulf state Qatar. Pakistan was the 11th top importer with 2.7 percent of the global total, but it represented a sharp decline from 4.8 percent previously. Its main suppliers were China (70 percent), the United States (8.9 percent), and Russia (6 percent). Its rival India was the second-largest importer, with Russia (58 percent), Israel (15 percent), and the United States (12 percent) the top suppliers. In a report released in December 2018, SIPRI said arms exports by U.S. companies in 2017 amounted to $222.6 billion, while Russia had $37.7 billion in arms exports for that one year.

Maintenance is a part of Direct Commercial Sales

Ryan Goodman, 10-22, 18, https://www.justsecurity.org/61172/effective-ineffective-congressional-responses-saudi-arabia-arm-sales-sanctions-khashoggi/,

Options for Congress to Respond to Saudi Transgressions: Here’s What Works according to Former Senior U.S. Officials [Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) is founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security. He is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-16). Ryan is also a Professor of Politics and Professor of Sociology at NYU. He was the inaugural Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Harvard Law School. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Ph.D. from Yale University, and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the US Naval War College’s Board of Advisers for International Law Studies, and a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law.]

I focused my conversations with former U.S. officials and other experts on the following set of options: Bar future foreign military sales(FMS) relating to air-to-ground strike capabilities for operations in Yemen (e.g., precision-guided munitions) Suspend existing Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) licenses relating to air-to-ground strike capabilities for operations in Yemen (e.g., for maintenance and sustainment of fighter aircraft)

Sanctions don’t stop sales

Tomoyo Ogawa, February 3, 2019, https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Russia-vies-with-US-as-it-steps-up-arms-exports-to-Southeast-Asia, Russia vies with US as it steps up arms exports to Southeast Asia DOA: 5-5-19,

Even after international economic sanctions were imposed on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine in 2014, arms exports have remained a steady revenue source for Moscow.

Non-unique: Russia can’t compete with China

Stratfor Worldview, May 5, 2019, https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/russia-makes-some-deadliest-weapons-earth-there-problem-55812 Russia Makes Some of the Deadliest Weapons on Earth (But There Is a Problem) DOA: 5-5, 19

And Russia’s arms industry faces an even greater problem in the years to come: reduced competitiveness. Russia has long dominated some of the market by offering affordable military equipment without attaching any conditions regarding human rights, but the rise of China’s military industry, as well as several smaller producers around the world, has made it much more difficult to compete for contracts.

Declining sales snowball – lower sales increase cost of production, meaning higher prices and low sales

Stratfor Worldview, May 5, 2019, https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/russia-makes-some-deadliest-weapons-earth-there-problem-55812 Russia Makes Some of the Deadliest Weapons on Earth (But There Is a Problem) DOA: 5-5, 19

Ultimately, the loss of export opportunities not only complicates Russia’s efforts to finance its defense industry, it also reduces the scale at which the defense industry produces, which, in turn, decreases scale-dependent savings that accompany higher levels of production. In effect, this means that the more Russia fails to find foreign customers for specific weapon systems, the more it will become burdened with a higher relative cost per unit as it seeks to meet its own needs. The conundrum, in turn, will further limit Russia’s ability to competitively price weapons systems for export, thereby perpetuating the effect.

Russia wants to export more SU-27s

Stratfor Worldview, May 5, 2019, https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/russia-makes-some-deadliest-weapons-earth-there-problem-55812 Russia Makes Some of the Deadliest Weapons on Earth (But There Is a Problem) DOA: 5-5, 19

This is why, for example, India’s withdrawal from the joint development and production of the Su-57 fighter aircraft last year has cast doubt on Russia’s ability to sustain the program in a meaningful way or at an acceptable cost. As a result, Russia has sought — albeit unsuccessfully so far — to export the Su-57 more widely in an effort to find a partnership that would make the aircraft viable.

Russia’s defense industry can’t support itself through civilian production

Stratfor Worldview, May 5, 2019, https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/russia-makes-some-deadliest-weapons-earth-there-problem-55812 Russia Makes Some of the Deadliest Weapons on Earth (But There Is a Problem) DOA: 5-5, 19

Russia, accordingly, has been considering other solutions to safeguard its defense sector and improve its overall industrial performance. One possible remedy centers on what amounts to burden sharing across sectors. In this, the country is looking to harness the defense industry’s strengths for civilian production, similar to the way Western enterprises such as Boeing or Airbus operate. By producing non-military products for domestic and foreign civilian markets, Russian defense manufacturers could sustain themselves even if their military goods are earning less revenue. Unfortunately for Russia, the chances that such a gambit will succeed are low — even for domestic consumption. Although Moscow has been pushing an import substitution program amid the West’s sanctions, Russian firms continue to privilege foreign, instead of domestic, components. In 2018, 38 percent of Russian industrial enterprises purchased equipment from abroad; two years before, the figure was just 6 percent. Ultimately, if Russian arms producers are failing to find sales for defense customers at home, they’re unlikely to find any more of a domestic civilian market for their wares. As a great power, Russia has lofty ambitions for the modernization of its military. Budget constraints, more competition from elsewhere and other issues, however, mean many of the army’s most ostentatious projects never make it past the showroom. And moving forward, the Russian defense industry’s plight is unlikely to improve as it faces a vicious circle that is leaving it worse for wear.

6 Billion in new missile defense sales

Reuters, May 3, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-defense-arms/state-department-oks-nearly-6-billion-in-weapons-sales-to-gulf-allies-idUSKCN1S924P. State Department OKs nearly $6 billion in weapons sales to Gulf allies

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department has approved a possible $6 billion worth of weapons sales to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in three separate packages, the Pentagon said on Friday after notifying Congress of the certification. The United States depends on allies in the region, including Saudi Arabia, to counter Iranian influence. In April, the U.S. moved ahead with part of a THAAD missile defense system sale to the kingdom. In one of the notifications sent to Congress on Friday, Bahrain could potentially buy various Patriot missile systems and related support and equipment for an estimated cost of $2.48 billion. That potential Bahraini deal included 36 Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missiles known as GEM-T, an upgrade that can shoot down aircraft and cruise missiles.

China’s arms sales increasing

Secrecy News Now, May 3, 2019, Rising China Sells More Weapons, https://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/2019/05/china-weapons/

“In 2018, China’s arms sales increased, continuing a trend that enabled China to become the world’s fastest-growing arms supplier during the past 15 years,” according to the 2019 China Military Power report published by the Department of Defense. “From 2013 through 2017, China was the world’s fourth-largest arms supplier, completing more than $25 billion worth of arms sales.”

China uses arms sales to promote political influence

Secrecy News Now, May 3, 2019, Rising China Sells More Weapons, https://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/2019/05/china-weapons/

“Arms transfers also are a component of China’s foreign policy, used in conjunction with other types of military, economic aid, and development assistance to support broader foreign policy goals,” the Pentagon report said. “These include securing access to natural resources and export markets, promoting political influence among host country elites, and building support in international forums.”

Middle East defense spending very high – 10% of GDP

Micah Halpern, May, 2, 2019 Halperin is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded “The Micah Report” and hosts “Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern” a weekly TV program and “My Chopp” a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact,, https://www.newsmax.com/micahhalpern/trump-weapons-sales-saudi-arabia-yemen/2019/05/02/id/914313/ The Complicated Story of Weapons Sales in the Middle East

Most countries in the Middle East spend approximately 10%, sometimes even more, of their GDP on defense — especially on the purchasing of weapons. Oman spends 11% and Saudi Arabia spends 10.8%. Afghanistan spends 10.1% of its budget on defense Seven out of the top ten defense spenders are Middle East countries and ten out of the fifteen largest spenders are from the Middle East and North Africa.

US controls 36% of the global arms trade

Micah Halpern, May, 2, 2019 Halperin is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded “The Micah Report” and hosts “Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern” a weekly TV program and “My Chopp” a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact,, https://www.newsmax.com/micahhalpern/trump-weapons-sales-saudi-arabia-yemen/2019/05/02/id/914313/ The Complicated Story of Weapons Sales in the Middle East

Weapon sales in the Middle East are up 87% according to a study on global weapons by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). In the breakdown U.S. sales to the Middle East increased by 29%. Russia increased their sales dramatically, too. But the United States still maintains a significant lead in the world market share of weapon trade, controlling 36% of world trade while Russia sits at 21%.

US weapons are given away to others

Micah Halpern, May, 2, 2019 Halperin is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded “The Micah Report” and hosts “Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern” a weekly TV program and “My Chopp” a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact,, https://www.newsmax.com/micahhalpern/trump-weapons-sales-saudi-arabia-yemen/2019/05/02/id/914313/ The Complicated Story of Weapons Sales in the Middle East

The biggest worry with the sale of weapons in general is that that the weapons sold to certain countries are then resold or simply given away. And when that happens those weapons may — and sometimes do, end up in the hands of enemies of the West Transferring, selling or in any way giving U.S. weapons that were officially purchased from the United States is a violation of numerous agreements as well as a violation of the weapons deal itself. But that itself is not enough of a deterrent for many nations. And besides, most of the purchased weapons are not essential and not needed for the defense of the countries that purchased them

Arms sales substantially boost defense industry profits

Mike Stone, 4-25, 19,     https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3007446/beijing-says-washingtons-us500-million-arms-sale-taiwan, Trump’s Policies Lift Lockheed Martin’s Profit, Shares Surge

Lockheed Martin Corp. reported better-than-expected quarterly profit on April 23 as President Donald Trump’s looser policies on foreign arms sales boosted demand for missiles and fighter jets.

ADVERTISING The Pentagon’s biggest weapons supplier is the first major defense company to report quarterly earnings this week, which Wall Street expects to be higher than a year ago as global demand for arms rises. Trump’s administration has proposed an increase in U.S. defense spending for the next fiscal year. Lockheed shares rose nearly 7 percent in their best one-day percentage rise since October 2016. Investors bet on similar results from the whole sector, pushing Northrop Grumman Corp., Raytheon Co., and General Dynamics Corp. shares up more than 2.7 percent. Lockheed’s Missiles and Fire Control business, which makes missile defenses like the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), was one of its best-performing units. On April 1, in a deal that was partially brokered by Trump, the unit was awarded a THAAD interceptor missile contract worth $2.4 billion, many of which are slated to be delivered to Saudi Arabia. Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Possenriede told investors on a post-earnings conference call that profits for the unit for the rest of the year would not be as strong, “a little north of 13 percent margin,” because of investments in future programs. Overall, the Bethesda, Maryland-based company said its earnings rose to $1.70 billion, or $5.99 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $1.16 billion, or $4.02 per share, a year earlier. That was partly helped by a $75 million dollar boost from additional tax deductions on foreign military sales, part of Trump’s tax cut that came into effect last year. Excluding that one-time gain, Lockheed reported $5.73 per share profit, well ahead of the $4.34 per share that Wall Street had expected, on average, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. The company had a 12.4 percent tax rate in the first quarter but Possenriede said he expected its 2019 tax rate to be 15.5 percent. Lockheed’s overall net sales for the quarter rose 23 percent to $14.34 billion. The company’s sales backlog grew to $133.5 billion, up 3 billion over the quarter.

Arms sales sustained by global capitalism, it’s the root cause

Vijay Prashad, 4-25, 19, https://therealnews.com/if-war-is-an-industry-how-can-there-be-peace-in-a-capitalist-world-the-seventeenth-newsletter-2019, If War Is an Industry, How Can There Be Peace in a Capitalist World? The Seventeenth Newsletter (2019).

Global military spending is over $2 trillion, with the United States by itself spending almost half this amount. Total US military spending is now at $989 billion. This number includes not only the formal expenditure on the US military, but also expenditure on the Veteran’s Administration, the Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration, the Cybersecurity component of the Department of Justice, Homeland Security and the military aspects of the State Department. It does not include the immense secret budget of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency. Add these up and the US military budget is already over $1 trillion, as our friends at Monthly Review found in 2007. The United States spends more on its military than the next nine highest-spending countries combined: China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, India, France, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and South Korea. ‘Security’ or ‘deterrence’ are not the main aims of such formidable military spending. A world awash with weapons leads to tragedies, such as the recent massacre in Sri Lanka, where military-grade explosives were used in the terrible murder of over three hundred and fifty innocent people. Focus on the arms industry is sporadic, with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and others like it lonely in their work. Recent reports from SIPRI show that the volume of arms transfers – a major part of the business of the arms trade – has been rising over the years, with the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China as the biggest exporters of weapons (they account for 75% of all world arms sales). The United States, by itself, sells 36% of the world’s arms – with a focus on combat aircraft, short-range cruise missiles and ballistic missiles and guided bombs. The top ten arms companies in the world are: Lockheed Martin ($44.9 billion) [USA] Boeing ($26.9 billion) [USA] Raytheon ($23.9 billion) [USA] BAE Systems ($22.9 billion) [UK] Northrop Grumman ($22.4 billion) [USA] General Dynamics ($19.5 billion) [USA] Airbus Group ($11.3 billion) [Europe] Thales ($9 billion) [France] Leonardo ($8.9 billion) [Italy] Almaz-Antey ($8.6 billion) [Russia] Why do governments spend such a vulgar amount on weapons? In his monumental Grundrisse (1857), Karl Marx made the offhand, but accurate remark, ‘The impact of war is self-evident, since economically it is exactly the same as if the nation were to drop a part of its capital into the ocean’. A permanent war economy is a waste, even if there are massive profits to be made by these warfare companies. So much can be done with $2 trillion – a mere $30 billion per year to end world hunger, as the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation noted in 2008. Last year, the UN began a campaign to raise $10 billion to eradicate illiteracy. But even these meagre funds have been impossible to raise, the promise of ‘billions into trillions’ from the much-heralded public-private partnerships falling flat. There is always money for war, but never enough money to build the scaffolding for peace. There is always the illusion that military spending is for security, when it appears to be more for profit. The entire industry is lubricated with bribes. Joe Roeber of Transparency International said that the arms trade is ‘hard-wired for corruption’. ‘In 1997, I was told in Washington that a mid-nineties report by the CIA concluded’, he wrote, that ‘arms trade corruption then accounted for 40-45% of the total corruption in world trade’. The national security argument, Roeber suggested, ‘throws a veil of secrecy around arms deals’, whose scale is so large that even small percentages of bribes make for large dollar amounts. Bribery is normal, the deals that are revealed are startling – bribes running from $300 million (the South African-BAE deal from 1997-98) to $8 billion (the Saudi-BAE deal from 1985-2007).

Base link – Trump withdrew from the arms sales treaty to pander to his base

Mark Porubcansky has been a foreign correspondent and editor for 30 years, serving until recently as foreign editor of the Los Angeles Times, April 29, 2019, https://www.minnpost.com/foreign-concept/2019/04/trumps-decision-to-pull-out-of-the-arms-trade-treaty-a-cynics-guide/ Trump’s decision to pull out of the Arms Trade Treaty: a cynic’s guide

There are three ways to think about President Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of an agreement regulating the conventional arms trade. Each will feed your inner cynic, but only two seem true. One in particular explains a lot about how the world works. Trump announced the decision Friday at the annual convention of the National Rifle Association, which long has argued that the treaty signed by President Obama in 2013, but not ratified by the Senate, could affect Americans’ gun rights. “We will never allow foreign bureaucrats to trample on your Second Amendment freedoms,” Trump declared. The announcement was an easy win for the NRA, and shifted some attention from its dire financial troubles. (The battle between Oliver North and Wayne LaPierre for control of the NRA that broke into the open at the convention is just the tip of a very large iceberg, and if you haven’t read Mike Spies’ eye-opening investigation into NRA finances in the New Yorker this month, it’s well worth your time.) Briefly, the Arms Trade Treaty requires countries to monitor arms sales and prohibits them from selling arms in violation of U.N. embargoes, if it’s likely the weapons would be used to commit war crimes or fall in the hands of terrorists or organized crime groups. Its effect has been fairly limited. The Arms Control Association says the treaty “does not place restrictions on the types or quantities of arms that may be bought, sold, or possessed by states. It also does not impact a state’s domestic gun control laws or other firearm ownership policies.” In other words, it’s a Second Amendment issue only if you believe the Constitution gives Americans the right to sell virtually any weapon to anyone anywhere in the world at any time. So perhaps the whole point of Trump’s announcement was to pander to his base. In a bit of political showmanship, he signed a request for the Senate to return the treaty to him while on the NRA stage and then tossed the pen into the crowd. Pandering probably is part of the explanation. But it’s not the only reason, and perhaps not the main one.

US dominates the global arms sales market, US sales decreasing

Mark Porubcansky has been a foreign correspondent and editor for 30 years, serving until recently as foreign editor of the Los Angeles Times, April 29, 2019, https://www.minnpost.com/foreign-concept/2019/04/trumps-decision-to-pull-out-of-the-arms-trade-treaty-a-cynics-guide/ Trump’s decision to pull out of the Arms Trade Treaty: a cynic’s guide

The United States is by far the world’s largest arms seller. And you can’t blame Trump for that. At least you can’t solely blame Trump for that. U.S. arms sales grew rapidly under Obama. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which monitors global arms sales, said in a March report that the U.S. accounted for 36 percent of global exports of major weapons in the period 2014-2018, up from 30 percent in the previous five-year period. It sold major weapons to 98 countries. Russia had 21 percent of the market, a significant drop from the previous period. No other country supplies more than 7 percent.

Firearms exports are dangerous and the arms could end up in the hands of terrorists

Bloomberg Opinion, 3-22, 19, https://www.ohio.com/opinion/20190422/other-views-dont-ease-export-rules-on-firearms Other Views: Don’t ease export rules on firearms

President Donald Trump, who has received unprecedented support from America’s gun lobby, seems determined to make it easier to export firearms and harder to keep track of whether they’re destined for terrorists or rogue regimes. He proposes to do this by shifting oversight of the export of semi-automatic and non-automatic firearms, as well as of various gun components and some types of ammunition, from the Department of State to the Department of Commerce. The change threatens to undermine national security and public safety around the world. Congress should stop it from taking effect. The U.S. is already the world’s biggest firearms exporter, shipping roughly $7.5 billion worth of guns, artillery and ammunition from 2013 to 2017. Some of this equipment has ended up with al-Qaida fighters and other terrorists, undermining the struggle to keep lethal weapons out of the hands of America’s enemies. Under the current system, State Department licensing officers too often approve export applications that lack required information, a department inspector general has found. In one instance, approval was granted to sell 400,000 rifles, along with more than 500 million rounds of ammunition and other equipment, to the Philippines Bureau of Customs – without notification to Congress, as required by law. Subsequent investigation found that licensing information was missing and the transaction’s intermediary had “disappeared.” If licensing responsibility shifts to the Commerce Department, such lapses stand to become more frequent. Commerce lacks the specialized staff and expertise to vet arms sales, and has no plan to acquire them. Commerce officials have already indicated they will not feel obligated to notify Congress, as the State Department must, when gun exports are valued at more than $1 million. It’s unclear whether the Commerce Department would even suspend sales to a buyer found to be operating illegally or in contravention of U.S. foreign policy aims. The Trump administration also plans to end State Department oversight of the publication of computer code enabling 3D printable guns. That would make it easier for people inside and outside the U.S. to make untraceable firearms at home and, like the change to gun-export authority, make guns more plentiful and difficult to regulate. Democratic Reps. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and Norma Torres, D-Calif., are proposing legislation to block the changes to oversight of weapons for export and 3D printable guns. Congress should pass it without delay.

Aid to Israel is used to purchase US weapons

Mitchell Plitnick, April 22, 2019, https://lobelog.com/u-s-aid-to-israel-what-you-need-to-know/, U.S. Aid To Israel: What You Need To Know

The changes Obama made to the U.S. aid arrangement increase the urgency for any activists who want to try to pressure Israel through aid. The Israeli defense budget for 2019 is 63 billion shekels, or roughly $17.5 billion. U.S. aid represents about 22 percent of that budget, making aid a tempting target. But it’s a goal that is not so easy to achieve. U.S. military aid to Israel has always been, to a large degree, a government subsidy to U.S. weapons and military equipment industries. Under the Bush MOU, that subsidy was 73.7 percent of $3 billion each year, or $2.211 billion. Now, it will be 100 percent of $3.8 billion by 2028. There is also the aid money to Egypt and Jordan, which derives from their respective peace agreements with Israel. Arms sales to the Gulf states also rise as Israel’s own military capabilities improve. These factors will mean even more intense lobbying from the defense industry to maintain the status quo and, therefore, the perceived need for a heavily armed Israel.

Strong political support for aid to Israel, requiring the expenditure of political capital

Mitchell Plitnick, April 22, 2019, https://lobelog.com/u-s-aid-to-israel-what-you-need-to-know/, U.S. Aid To Israel: What You Need To Know

U.S. military aid to Israel has always been, to a large degree, a government subsidy to U.S. weapons and military equipment industries. Under the Bush MOU, that subsidy was 73.7 percent of $3 billion each year, or $2.211 billion. Now, it will be 100 percent of $3.8 billion by 2028. There is also the aid money to Egypt and Jordan, which derives from their respective peace agreements with Israel. Arms sales to the Gulf states also rise as Israel’s own military capabilities improve. These factors will mean even more intense lobbying from the defense industry to maintain the status quo and, therefore, the perceived need for a heavily armed Israel. The new aid terms will also deepen Israel’s need to make sure that Congress remains fully on board with the annual aid package. The loss of the OSP exception means the discontinuation of some $780 million injected annually into Israel’s weapons industry. In the long term, that could end up strengthening Israel’s economy, developing its private sector more robustly, especially through increases in the already deep partnerships with American corporations. But in the short term, it will be a key loss. The elimination of the OSP exception and the increase in aid will make Israel’s defense budget more dependent than ever on the United States. Israel’s private-sector efforts to merge with U.S. corporations and to establish U.S. subsidiary corporations might eventually mitigate that loss, but for the next few years, Israel will be more vulnerable to pressure. That’s not a concern now, with Donald Trump in the White House, firm Republican control of the Senate, and pro-Israel Democrats entrenched in the House leadership. But in 2020, the calculus could begin to shift, given the growing unease with Israeli aggression among younger and more progressive Democrats. As counter-intuitive as it might seem, the time to challenge aid to Israel, if that is the strategic choice, is now, during the Trump administration. The current Democratic leadership will not be moved on aid to Israel, of course. But beginning the discussion now—which AOC has just begun—can help create leadership more disposed to putting material pressure on Israel. However, any fight to cut or end aid to Israel will provoke a response not just from advocacy groups like AIPAC and Christians United for Israel (CUFI) but from some of the most powerful industries in this country. Their arguments will be the tried-and-true ones: that any attack on aid to Israel could lead to the annihilation of the Jewish state and will also cost jobs in vulnerable areas of the United States that depend on the defense industries. These obstacles mean that any challenge to U.S. aid to Israel requires a much larger political lift. But that doesn’t necessarily argue against a campaign that shines a spotlight on that aid. There are exploitable areas, such as regulations in U.S. law governing arms exports and human rights violations. Although it is not clear how often Israel uses U.S.-made weapons in the occupied territories, advocates have made accusations of their use, with supporting evidence, from time to time. Sustained efforts at investigating these violations will not change Israeli practices, but the additional publicity would have obvious benefits for advocates of Palestinian rights. A campaign to reduce or eliminate U.S. aid to Israel, or narrower campaigns to tie that aid to specific policy demands, could do a lot to promote dialogue about U.S. policy toward Israel, even if it doesn’t achieve its broader objectives. If advocates undertake campaigns with that understanding, they may find the collateral benefits worth the effort.

Congress has to act for aid to Israel to be cut

Mitchell Plitnick, April 22, 2019, https://lobelog.com/u-s-aid-to-israel-what-you-need-to-know/, U.S. Aid To Israel: What You Need To Know

That’s just one obstacle to cutting U.S. aid to Israel. The MOU is a sort of promise between the White House and Israel, but it is Congress that must authorize the aid in every annual budget. That is where the various lobbying forces are most powerful. But even if advocates could get Congress to change its view on aid to Israel—a quixotic task—they face certain legal challenges.

Congress is bound by law to ensure that Israel maintains its “qualitative military edge” (QME) in the region. This was defined, in the Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2008, as “the ability to counter and defeat any credible conventional military threat from any individual state or possible coalition of states or from non-state actors, while sustaining minimal damage and casualties.” The same act requires the president to judge any arms sales to other countries in the region, whether they are in conflict with Israel or not, in light of maintaining Israel’s QME. All of this was reinforced by legislation passed in 2012 and 2014. Before even getting to the point of a congressional challenge to the MOU’s commitment of annual aid to Israel, Congress would first need to revise or reverse these laws.

US exports to Europe force France to export to the Middle East

France24 Live, 4-20, 19, https://www.france24.com/en/20190420-france-arms-exports-yemen-saudi-uae-khashoggi-disclose France under pressure to come clean over Yemen arms exports

Preserving sovereignty through an independent arms industry has long been a cornerstone of French defence policy, an imperative that often overrides ethical concerns about the way French arms are used.

“The trouble is France’s army is too small for the amount of weapons produced,” said Élie Tenenbaum, a research fellow at the IFRI Security Studies Centre in Paris, in an interview with FRANCE 24. “To remain profitable, French firms have to focus on exports. They would rather export to Europe, but the market is dominated by US competitors. So they have to turn to the Middle-East.”

France undermining the ATT

France24 Live, 4-20, 19, https://www.france24.com/en/20190420-france-arms-exports-yemen-saudi-uae-khashoggi-disclose France under pressure to come clean over Yemen arms exports

France’s lucrative arms exports to the Gulf came under renewed scrutiny this week following the release of a classified report showing that the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has made much wider use of French arms than officials in Paris acknowledge. ADVERTISING On October 3, 2018, a day after journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, never to be seen again, French President Emmanuel Macron received a highly classified intelligence note, detailing the position of French-made arms used by the Saudi-led coalition fighting a bloody war in Yemen. The 15-page note by France’s DRM military intelligence agency showed that French arms including tanks and laser-guided missile systems sold to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are being used in the conflict, and that swathes of Yemen’s civilian population live within their range. Though intended only for Macron, his prime minister, and the foreign and defence ministers, the document was eventually leaked to the independent investigative website Disclose, which published it in full on Monday, casting unwanted attention on France’s involvement in the war devastating Yemen. ADVERTISING The report prompted renewed criticism from opposition politicians and NGOs, with the head of Human Rights Watch in France, Bénédicte Jeannerod, stating that “the government can no longer deny the risk of complicity in war crimes”. Macron’s government has repeatedly claimed that French arms sold to Saudi Arabia and its allies are used solely for defensive purposes, a stance that has become increasingly hard to maintain as the death toll from the devastating conflict continues to rise. “To my knowledge, French weapons are not being used in an offensive capacity in the war in Yemen,” Defence Minister Florence Parly told Radio Classique on Thursday, sticking to the official line. “I do not have any evidence that would lead me to believe that French arms are behind civilian victims in Yemen,” she added. But according to Sébastien Nadot, a French lawmaker and former member of Macron’s LREM party, the classified document proves that Parly and her colleagues in government have been deliberately concealing the facts. “Ministers are in possession of a document that shows they have been lying for months – and the source is our own intelligence service!” Nadot, who caused a kerfuffle in parliament last month by displaying a “France kills in Yemen” banner, told FRANCE 24. “How can we speak of weapons of defence when we know French-made tanks are deployed 800 kilometres [into Yemeni territory]?” asked the now-independent lawmaker, whose calls for a parliamentary investigation into the use of French arms in Yemen’s conflict have been dismissed. ‘We don’t sell weapons like they’re baguettes’ Pieter Wezeman, a Senior Researcher at Stockholm-based SIPRI, an independent Swedish institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament, said the French intelligence note confirms earlier findings about the extensive use of Western weapons in war in Yemen. “The simple fact is that if you sell weapons to Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates, there is a very significant chance they have been, or will be, used in Yemen,” Wezeman told FRANCE 24. “What is interesting is that French intelligence were given the assignment to compile this document,” he added, referring to the classified report. “It suggests there is enough concern within government circles for them to want to know more about what is going on in Yemen.” Pitting a Saudi-led coalition against Iranian-backed Houthi militias, the four-year conflict in Yemen has shattered the country’s economy and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations, whose investigators say both sides may have committed war crimes. More than 10,000 civilians have been killed during the conflict and some 10 million people have been driven to the brink of famine. The scale of the bloodshed, coupled with the outrage prompted by Khashoggi’s brutal murder, has prompted growing criticism of the Western powers – chief among them the US, Britain and France – that arm the Saudi coalition. France is the world’s third-biggest arms exporter, its sales having increased fourfold under Macron’s predecessor, François Hollande. Between 2008 and 2017, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were, respectively, its second and sixth biggest export markets, according to the French defence ministry. But in an interview with France Inter radio station in January, Parly described French exports to Saudi Arabia as “relatively modest” and subject to tight restrictions, adding: “We don’t sell weapons like they’re baguettes.” ‘Not on the front line’ The DRM’s intelligence document states that Caesar cannons, manufactured by French company Nexter and deployed along the Saudi-Yemeni frontier, conduct defensive shelling of Houthi forces as well as back-up “loyalist troops and Saudi armed forces in their progression into Yemeni territory”. Cougar transport helicopters and the A330 MRTT refuelling plane have also seen action, and two French-built ships are serving in the blockade of Yemeni ports that has led to food and medical shortages, the document added, casting a pall over Parly’s assertion that “it is a priority for France that humanitarian aid gets through”. A second, six-page DRM intelligence report distributed more widely, according to Disclose, showed Leclerc tanks were deployed in defensive positions in a handful of bases in south-eastern Yemen. Disclose claimed its study of satellite images, video and photographs taken by civilians showed some of the French tanks bought by the UAE had taken part in coalition offensives, including the campaign for control of the Houthi-held port of Hodeidah. The six-page report also said Emirati Mirage fighter jets equipped with a laser-guided system made by French multinational Thales, known as Damocles, were possibly being used in Yemen. In response to questions sent by Disclose, the French prime minister’s office neither confirmed nor denied the report, nor questioned the authenticity of the leaked documents. It said France adopted rigorous safeguards when issuing export licences and supported UN efforts to broker peace in Yemen. “To our knowledge, French arms possessed by coalition forces are placed for the most part in defensive positions, outside of Yemeni territory or under coalition control, but not on the front line,” Prime Minister Édouard Philippe’s office wrote, adding that France was not aware of Yemeni civilians being killed by French arms. While the defence ministry, which oversees the DRM, has not commented on the intelligence report, the foreign ministry stressed in a written response to French media that “all arms sales comply with [France’s] international commitments”. Those commitments include abiding by the terms of the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which regulates the international trade of conventional weapons and bans the sale of weapons that fuel human rights violations or war crimes, and which came into force in 2014. Critics of the French government say it is in clear breach of its obligations under the ATT, but Wezeman says such breaches are very hard to prove. “The ATT doesn’t require signatories to stop exporting weapons to countries that go to war. It requires only that governments carry out assessments that their weapons don’t contribute to war crimes,” Wezeman explained. “In this case, France has presumably concluded that there is not enough reason to stop its exports.” He added: “Even if you did prove [French] weapons were used [against civilians], you would still have to prove it was intentional or the result of gross negligence. International law says you have to be very careful, but it is very hard to prove one hasn’t been careful.” Franco-German spat The sensitive issue has put France at odds with its key partner Germany, which imposed an embargo on arms exports to Riyadh in the wake of Khashoggi’s murder. The move sparked stinging criticism from Paris and London, with Macron accusing the German government of “demagoguery”. In an unusually strong-worded op-ed published on the website of Germany’s Federal Academy for Security Studies, Anne-Marie Descôtes, the French ambassador to Berlin, warned that the “unpredictability of German policy on arms export controls” carried “major consequences for [Franco-German] defence cooperation and the construction of European sovereignty”. Preserving sovereignty through an independent arms industry has long been a cornerstone of French defence policy, an imperative that often overrides ethical concerns about the way French arms are used. “The trouble is France’s army is too small for the amount of weapons produced,” said Élie Tenenbaum, a research fellow at the IFRI Security Studies Centre in Paris, in an interview with FRANCE 24. “To remain profitable, French firms have to focus on exports. They would rather export to Europe, but the market is dominated by US competitors. So they have to turn to the Middle-East.” Some critics of Germany’s decision to halt exports have argued that Berlin had less to lose than France, but SIPRI’s Wezeman rejects the argument. “Germany would have profited considerably from arms deals with Saudi Arabia, which was very interested in German arms, particularly German tanks. The stakes were just as important,” he said, suggesting Berlin’s policy change reflected a cultural difference. “In Germany and in several Nordic countries there is traditionally much stronger political pressure to be more careful with arms exports,” Wezeman added. French lawmaker Nadot believes that instead of admonishing the German government, France would be better advised to follow the example set by its European partner, particularly at a time when US President Donald Trump’s administration is undermining the rules-based international order. What’s more, Nadot notes that France is sapping the spirit of the ATT treaty it once championed. When the treaty came into force in 2014, “France was rightly proud of the fact that 60 countries had ratified it, with more to follow,” he said. “And yet, we are now trampling on its principles.”

US reducing arms export restrictions and pushing to expand exports

Law 360, 4-19, 19, https://www.law360.com/aerospace/articles/1151392/state-dept-eases-gov-t-arms-export-restrictions?copied=1

Law360 (April 19, 2019, 7:56 PM EDT) — The U.S. Department of State expanded an exemption from arms export licensing requirements for federal agencies in a final rule published Friday, allowing the exemption to cover not only temporary exports but also permanent exports and those made by third parties on behalf of the government. Under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, or ITAR, importers and exporters of arms and “defense services” are, with limited exceptions, required to get a license from the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, or DDTC, before making any arms transfers. Federal agencies and their employees — acting as part of their official duties — were previously exempt from those licensing requirements if their arms transfers involved a temporary import or export in circumstances such as when the government intends to use an item itself, or as part of an international assistance, security cooperation, or sales or loan program. The new final rule, formally published in the Federal Register on Friday and effective immediately, expands that exemption to also cover permanent exports and reexports — where a foreign country transfers an arms export to another foreign country — as well as covering transfers made by third parties acting for the government, such as federal contractors operating in a government-controlled facility. There is also scope for the exemption to apply to other activities of contractors, if requested by a federal agency and approved by the deputy assistant secretary of state for defense trade controls, according to the rule. However, “authorization to export does not absolve parties of the requirement to comply with any applicable U.S. Government processes, procedures, or practices, including the need for exports of items on the [Missile Technology Control Regime] Annex to receive the case-by-case review called for by the MTCR Guidelines,” the State Department said. That also applies to arms transfers that are subject to other legal restraints, such as a U.S. or United Nations Security Council arms embargo, the agency claimed. Additionally, any change to the intended end-user of an otherwise exempt export would require DDTC approval, and — as with the existing licensing exemption — the expanded exemption does not apply when the government is acting as an agent of a private party, according to the final rule. Addressing comments it had received on its earlier proposed version of the rule, the State Department said it made minor tweaks in response to that feedback, as well as confirming that the new rule still allows for exports of defense technical data, despite removing a specific reference to technical data from its previous rule. Technical data is a type of “defense article” and is therefore covered under the broader general clause covering exports of defense articles, the agency claimed, saying the previous reference to technical data was “redundant and confusing.” The new rule comes as part of a broader effort under the Trump administration to ease ITAR restrictions, including a pair of complementary rules proposed in May 2018, intended to make it easier to export small arms that are not considered to give the U.S. a military advantage or otherwise deemed “inherently military.The administration has also pushed to top the foreign military sales record achieved under the Obama administration, where there were about $300 billion in foreign arms deals across those eight years — the highest for any administration going back to at least World War II.