ASPI suggests
14 Feb 2014|

Simultaneous application of A2/AD keeps the U.S. out, and the Chinese inWe’re kicking off today’s round-up with a useful primer from the Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC) on five strategic architectures that can be applied to the case of US–China confrontation. For an illustration of one of the concepts, check out the map above (click to enlarge, source: via CIMSEC).

Also on CIMSEC, Zachary Keck has just published a piece on the limits of AirSea Battle (ASB) and what this means for the United States. He argues that China’s recent successes in expanding influence in the South and East China Seas (known as ‘small-stick diplomacy’) using non-naval assets renders ASB inadequate. Read more here.

What’s it like to be an ‘alliance manager’? Over at War on the Rocks, Patrick Cronin from CNAS takes a look at a day in the life of Japan’s Foreign Minister, Fumio Kishida, who also has the unenviable task of managing US–Japan relations amidst diplomatic challenges that include Prime Minister Abe’s recent visit to Yasukuni shrine.

Indonesia’s defence industry has made gains in recent years. According to this New York Times piece, this is the result of a boost to the defence budget by the current President as well as a 2012 law that stipulates TNI must buy all its weaponry, with some exceptions, from domestic contractors. For more on these developments, keep reading here.

Sticking with Southeast Asia, Trevor Wilson has a lengthy piece over at New Mandala that explores China’s reaction to Myanmar’s reforms. The piece sheds further light on the complexity of the relationship between China and Myanmar and is useful for those contemplating the extent of US influence in the region and the implications of developments in Myanmar.

This week on The Diplomat, Robert Farley asked, how much do strategic thinkers affect US policy anyway? While Farley breaks down the case of Stephen Walt and President Obama, his broader point is pertinent to those thinking about strategy in the Australian case:

… it remains difficult to draw clear lines between strategic thinkers and actual policy, especially in the short term.  No theory of foreign policy can long survive contact with the messy mechanisms of diplomatic statecraft.

Strategist contributor Scott Bentley also has a new piece in The Diplomat on a Chinese documentary on a 2007 incident between Chinese and Vietnamese government vessels in the South China Sea. Bentley notes:

… this incident provides conclusive evidence that the impetus for the collisions originated with very specific orders from the upper levels of the organization’s central leadership back on the Chinese mainland.

For more detail on this documentary and its implications, keep reading here.

And lastly, military working dogs are apparently smarter than junior Army officers (courtesy of the rather irreverent Duffel Blog – don’t believe anything here unless it also appears in a reputable source like The Onion).


Canberra: Dr Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, will be speaking about US foreign policy, arguing America should de-emphasise the Middle East but concentrate on Asia and North America. Hosted by the ANU, it’s on Wednesday 26 February at 4pm. Register here.

Natalie Sambhi is an analyst at ASPI and editor of The Strategist