ASPI suggests

The world

Fasten your seatbelts, dear readers, and get ready for a bumpy ride through transatlantic and European security.

The NATO summit in Brussels is over already, and we haven’t seen a Trump tweet backpedalling from the communiqué—yet (although he did ask, ‘What good is NATO … ?’). The US president began his summit appearance with some bold statements, mainly targeting Germany, as Vox analysis and a short CNN clip show. Carnegie Europe provides the details from an eventful second day. As a picture is often worth a thousand words, check out The Guardian’s NATO summit in pictures.

Defence spending and that pesky 2% (or 4%?) goal seem to be Trump’s main preoccupation, so we’ve rounded up some articles that give you more insight. IISS shows America’s defence outlays in the context of European expenditure; a group of German analysts take a close look at reasons for, and the prospects of, increasing European defence budgets by 2024; and this War on the Rocks analysis provides alternative measures for burden-sharing. Finally, a German Marshall Fund policy brief explores what NATO and the EU can do to increase their effectiveness (spoiler: more diverse boots on the ground).

President Trump is now making headlines in the UK, telling the Sun newspaper that PM Theresa May’s revised Brexit plan will probably kill any bilateral trade deal with the US. After a trip to Windsor to meet the Queen and a lightning visit to Scotland he heads for Helsinki, where he’s due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday. In under three minutes, Judy Dempsey and Alexander Gabuev share what not to expect from the meeting, while in the New Statesman, David Reynolds and Kristina Spohr dismantle past summit meetings between US presidents and their Russian counterparts.

There’s also an interesting interview with former US Air Force secretary Deborah Lee James on the NATO summit and Trump’s pivot to Russia. Plus, if you want to understand Putin’s grand plan for the West, read Steven Hall’s analysis of the ‘Perils of a Putin–Trump summit’ in the Cipher Brief.

Meanwhile, you may find these reads intriguing: Foreign Affairs on how history helped make Putin popular, the Wall Street Journal’s assessment of Russia’s nostalgia for the times of Genghis Khan, and Johan Goldberg’s explanation of the Trump doctrine in the Los Angeles Times.

Another hot European security topic is the Western Balkans. The region’s future in Europe was being discussed in London earlier this week (a critical summary in The Economist), and this week also marked the 23rd anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. This short clip explains what led to the violence. The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, penned a passionate piece on why the genocide can’t be forgotten and how the education system in Bosnia and Herzegovina is hindering truth-telling. Meanwhile, Foreign Policy remembers the fate of a young couple in sieged Sarajevo and notes that opposition to a memorial for them is just one example of the struggle of how to respond to the country’s collective trauma.

And last but not least, the New York Times Magazine spoke to C.C. Tsai, who illustrated Sun Tzu’s The art of war in comic-book style, creating a bestseller.

Tech geek

In keeping with this week’s security theme, what might a future military crisis between NATO and Russia look like? The Suwalki Corridor is a 65-kilometre stretch of land between Russia’s Kaliningrad and Belarus and is the new Fulda Gap for the 21st century. It’s the link between Poland and the Baltic states and would be a key target for any Russian military attack on NATO. Find out the risks and how NATO would respond in a new report by the Center for European Policy Analysis. The implications of war are quite serious, as a story on Johnson’s Russia List titled ‘They will die in Tallinn’ makes clear.

With this menace in mind, concerns are mounting as Trump heads to his summit in Helsinki with Putin. One big issue on the agenda is whether to extend the New START arms control treaty, which is due to expire in 2021. Here are the cases for and against extending the agreement.

Also have a look at XX Committee’s John Schindler’s analysis of how Putin manufactures conflict between nations. And there’s a great look at Russian approaches to political and information warfare in The Strategy Bridge.

Russia looks set to test its Kinzhal (‘Dagger’) hypersonic missile with the Tu-22M3 Backfire bomber. The Khinzhal is a Mach 10 air-launched missile based on the Iskander ballistic missile, and is currently carried on a specially converted MiG-31 Foxhound. If tests are successful, it would significantly boost the strike capability of the Backfire against NATO, as well as in Asia and the Middle East.


This photo essay from UN Women in Asia and the Pacific captures members and achievements of the Male Advocates Club in Vietnam, which works with men to prevent gender-based violence and promote gender equality.

Remote is a documentary about drones. It has it all: the history of air power, drone war, AI and much more. [33:16]

Ethiopia and Eritrea have been at war for 20 years but are now taking slow steps towards peace. Al Jazeera’s Inside Story looks at the challenges that need to be overcome if it’s to last. [25:20]


Life on the Line does podcast interviews with Australian war veterans. The latest episode features Vice Admiral Peter Jones AO, DSC (Retd), now the president of the Australian Navy Institute, and his experiences serving in the RAN, including command of maritime interception operations in the Arabian Gulf. [37:35]

This War on the Rocks podcast discusses European perceptions of America’s role in the world in the age of Trump. [49:46]


Sydney, 16 July, 6–7.30 pm, University of Sydney/Sydney Ideas: ‘Gaza: Settler-colonialism and war’. More info and registration here.

Canberra, 17 July, 6–7 pm, Australian Institute of International Affairs: ‘The end of the rules-based liberal international order’. Tickets here.

Melbourne, 23 August, 12–1.30 pm, Centre for Innovative Justice: ‘Julia Gillard on passion, politics and power’. Free registration (hence the early inclusion in Suggests).