US-Japan alliance: experts point to America’s strategic reliance on Japan in Asia

Richard Armitage and Joseph Nye, long time pillars of the Washington national security policy elite, are the lead authors of a new report from CSIS on the US-Japan alliance, with a suggested “new agenda for the challenges and opportunities on the horizon”. It is deeply refreshing to see them acknowledge, albeit somewhat wistfully, that there is no going back to US hegemony. To exercise influence the US will have to partner with other states.

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US-led global arms sales grew 8.5% in 2019, Australia top host of foreign arms companies (SIPRI)

New data from SIPRI’s Arms Industry Database shows that arms sales by the world’s 25 largest arms companies totalled US$361 billion in 2019, an 8.5 per cent increase over 2018. The top five arms companies were all based in the United States: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics. Outside of North America and Western Europe, the largest number of foreign arms company entities are hosted by Australia (38).

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Strategic capitalism, strategic autonomy and Australia

The Biden administration will be unable to avoid continuing America’s fierce competition with China. It also will find that, like-minded and democratic or not, most states will have distinct national interests and will seek to act autonomously, dancing between the feet of the battling giants, trying to extract or leverage the best price for their allegiance and alignment in the Chinese-US competition. With a deep past investment in the US hegemony, Australia is awkwardly placed as this new age of strategic capitalism unfolds.

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The metrics of strategic competition with China don’t add up

The recent Belfer Center report by RAAF Group Captain Jason Begley, Winning Strategic Competition in the Indo-Pacific, offers important insights into the strategic thinking of the Australian military. The author’s analysis of the strategic competition with China in which the US and Australia have engaged far surpasses the level of the policy arguments offered in the Australian government’s 2020 Defence Strategic Update.

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Mike Pompeo urges working together to address Turkey, Donald Trump considers a strike on Iran

In Paris on Monday,16 November 2020, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US administration and Europe need to work jointly on addressing recent “aggressive” actions led by Turkey – before continuing his 7-country tour, landing in Istanbul on Monday night. In Washington, a US official confirmed that last week US President Trump considered a strike on Iran’s main nuclear facility.

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Biden says US should align with other democracies to set global trade rules to counter China’s influence

On Monday [16 November 2020], US President-elect Joe Biden said that the United States needed to negotiate with allies to set global trading rules to counter China’s growing influence – but declined to say whether the US would join the 15-country Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, the new trade pact that includes China, which was signed in Hanoi on Sunday [15 November 2020].

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The open secret of US war plans: what does Australia know?

The influence of the US in Eurasia will continue to falter, and as its economic, diplomatic, and moral potency dwindles, America’s military will become its primary asset. In America’s strategic logic, loss of leadership demands a military response – and the nature of the military preparations for war on a recognised emerging Asia hegemon are now well known. While the trajectory to war is not irreversible, and the step to launching a war is huge, the consequences would be calamitous. Is Australia complicit in the preparations?

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Strategic autonomy in the face of competing US and China technology strategies: a European perspective (IFRI)

An invaluable introduction to the complex and critical struggle for technological superiority which will the characterise the geopolitical environment for decades to come. This report sets out all the key issues and addresses the question of how the EU could maintain strategic autonomy in the face of this competition between China and the US.

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Chinese, US military chiefs hold crisis communication amid heightened South China Sea tensions

It is reported that officials from China and the US held a video conference meeting about crisis communication on 28-29 October, amid amid heightened tensions in the South China Sea. According to Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper denied a media report suggesting the US was “studying” a plan to attack Chinese islands and reefs in the South China Sea using an MQ-9 drone.

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US and India sign Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement on Geospatial Cooperation

Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement on Geospatial Cooperation As anticipated, the United States and India have today [27 October 2020] signed an agreement for the sharing of sensitive satellite data during a biannual “2+2” security dialogue in New Delhi. According to Indian defence sources, the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) on Geospatial Cooperation will provide India with access to a range of topographical, nautical and aeronautical data necessary for more accurate use of missiles

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US State Department approves a further $2.37 billion in potential arms sales to Taiwan

The US State Department is reported to have approved the potential sale of 100 Boeing-made Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems to Taiwan, at a cost of up to US $2.37 billion. The move comes days after the State Department approved the potential sale of three other weapons systems to Taiwan, as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China in the runup to the November presidential election.

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