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The National Interest online seeks to provide a space for vigorous debate and exchange not only among Americans but between U.S. and overseas interlocutors. This is the new home for informed analysis and frank but reasoned exchanges on foreign policy and international affairs.
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20 июня, 03:11

How a Very Deadly Submarine Did the Unkthinkable to Japan During World War II

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Sebastien Roblin Security, Asia A legendary U.S. submarine toting a rocket launcher began its own campaign of coastal terror that foretold the future of naval warfare. At midnight on July 23, the Barb slipped up to within a kilometer of the shore, and a landing party commanded by Lt. William Walke, paddled quietly to the beach. While three men took up guard positions—they encountered a sleeping Japanese guard in a watchtower, whom they left unharmed—the other five buried the demolition charge and managed not blow themselves up jury-rigging the detonation circuit. They were furiously rowing back to the Barb when a second train passed. In the closing months of World War II, heavy losses and depleted fuel stocks kept many of Japan’s remaining combat aircraft grounded and warships in port, awaiting an anticipated amphibious invasion. Starting in July 1945, Allied battleships embarked on a series of naval bombardments of coastal cities in Japan in an effort to draw these forces out to battle—with little success. However, a week before the battleships began lobbing their massive shells, a legendary U.S. submarine toting a rocket launcher began its own campaign of coastal terror that foretold the future of naval warfare—and also engaged in the only Allied ground-combat operation on Japanese home-island soil. Recommended: The Colt Python: The Best Revolver Ever Made? Recommended: Smith & Wesson 500: The Gun That Has As Much Firepower As a Rifle Recommended: Smith & Wesson's .44 Magnum Revolver: Why You Should Fear the 'Dirty Harry' Gun Read full article

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20 июня, 03:04

A Fact: Viet Cong Commandos Sank an 'Aircraft Carrier'

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Sebastien Roblin Security, Asia The sinking of the Card was stunning victory for the Viet Cong, yet little remembered today In the meantime, the Navy sent the salvage vessel USS Reclaimer and the tug USS Tawakoni to Saigon Port to begin pumping water out of the sunken vessel. Despite poor diving conditions and numerous equipment malfunctions, salvage crews raised Card in a little more than two weeks. Soon, both Reclaimer and Tawakoni towed Card out of Saigon harbor on their way to the U.S. Navy port of Subic Bay in the Philippines for repairs. Naval vessels are very flexible ships capable of recuperating from serious battle damage. Apparently, Card was no exception — ships are often “re-purposed” in the U.S. Navy and enjoy long lives in service, Holmes said. It was shortly after midnight when two Viet Cong commandos emerged from a sewer tunnel that emptied into Saigon Port, each man carrying nearly 90 pounds of high explosives and the components needed to make two time bombs. Their target was the largest American ship in port, USNS Card. An escort carrier that saw distinguished service as a submarine-hunter in the North Atlantic during World War II, during the early morning hours of May 2, 1964, Card was part of U.S. Military Sealift Command. The ship supported an escalating military commitment of the South Vietnamese government that occurred well before the Tonkin Gulf Incident. Since 1961, Card had transported both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters to the beleaguered nation as well as the U.S. pilots and support crews need to operate them. Recommended: Stealth vs. North Korea’s Air Defenses: Who Wins? Recommended: America’s Battleships Went to War Against North Korea Recommended: 5 Places World War III Could Start in 2018 Read full article

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20 июня, 02:49

The Rise of Russia's Military

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Dave Majumdar Security, Europe After feeling betrayed at the end of the Cold War, the Kremlin is using the military as its premier tool to achieve policy goals and weaken the West. With relations at the lowest point in decades, the United States and Russia have embarked on what appears to be a new Cold War. But this new confrontation is fundamentally different from the original standoff with the Soviet Union that engulfed the world for the better part of five decades after the end of the Second World War. Unlike during the original Cold War, there is no all-encompassing global ideological struggle between Washington and Moscow to dominate a largely bipolar international system. Outside the realm of nuclear weapons, post-Soviet Russia can hardly be considered a peer to the United States by any measure. Russian weakness relative to the United States and its allies might make this new conflict even more dangerous and unstable compared to the original Cold War. The 2014 crisis in Ukraine, Moscow’s intervention in Syria starting in September 2015 and the alleged nerve gas attack on GRU defector Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the United Kingdom on March 4, 2018 signal the beginning of a renewed long-term standoff with Russia. The new standoff is not a return to the original Cold War, it is a new conflict—but one that is rooted in the ashes of the old struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union. In many ways, this new conflict with Moscow can be explained by Russia’s geography and lack of natural defensive terrain features. Over the course of two centuries, Russian emperors starting with Peter the Great created an enormous ring around their spiritual capital of Moscow, as Tim Marshall described in his essay Russia and the Curse of Geography, published in The Atlantic in 2015. That ring started in the Arctic and stretched down through the Baltics, Ukraine, the Carpathian Mountains and eventually to the Black Sea. Taken further, the ring arches down through the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea and eventually comes back past the Urals mountains and returns to the Arctic, as Marshall described. The idea was to create strategic distance to keep the enemy as far away from the Russian heartland as possible. As Empress Catherine the Great put it: “I have no way to defend my borders but to extend them.” Read full article

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20 июня, 02:46

The Singapore Summit Suprise

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Lawrence J. Korb, Matthew Feng Security, Asia The United States and North Korea have been the focus of coverage, but China, despite sitting on the sidelines, has been, and will continue to be, the real winner. The highly anticipated summit in Singapore on June 12 fell woefully short on substance and undermined American national security. While an agreement to complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization (CVID) between American and North Korean officials was nothing but a pipe dream, there was hope that President Donald Trump would be able to extract significant commitments from Kim Jong-un in return for simply agreeing to meet him. Instead, North Korea walked away with major unilateral concessions, including the freeze on joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises by the United States—which played right into the hands of the Chinese-promoted “freeze for freeze” strategy and cast doubt over American security guarantees to our allies across the region. Exactly a week after the Singapore summit, Kim Jong-un made his third visit to China to meet with President Xi Jinping, highlighting an increasing trend of formal ties between the two countries. Official Chinese Foreign Ministry remarks praised Kim for his progress toward denuclearization and emphasized Chinese support for North Korean economic development. The United States cannot stand idly by as China establishes normal relations with North Korea or modernizes its economy before actual, concrete steps are taken toward denuclearization and peace on the peninsula. The United States and North Korea have been the focus of coverage, but China, despite sitting on the sidelines, has been, and will continue to be, the real winner. The summit not only relieved significant pressure on North Korea but also scaled back the American military threat in China’s backyard. Crucially, the longer the North Korea saga lingers and the more diplomatic attention is fixed on their nuclear weapons program, the more China avoids harsher scrutiny from the international community. The international community must avoid complacency with what minimal objectives have been accomplished and must recognize that, until it has achieved its end goals on the Korean Peninsula, China will quietly bide time, build up its military and economic capacity, and eventually challenge the United States. Make no mistake: the danger that China poses to American economic and security interests around the world will not dissipate without a concerted effort from the United States free of distractions. Read full article

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20 июня, 02:40

Incorrigble Corbyn

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Andrew Stuttaford Politics, Europe What the Corbynistas have done to Labour, Labour will do to Britain. If Britian is now on a track that may see its democracy endangered, an outbreak of carelessness, complacency and quite astounding stupidity in the summer of 2015 will bear much of the blame. In the general election held in May that year, David Cameron, a Conservative who had led a coalition government for five years, won the Tories a surprising absolute majority. It was not large, but it meant he could not use the excuse of coalition to renege on his promise of a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. That was a drama for later. What mattered that summer was that Labour leader Ed Miliband had stood down. His successor was a bolt from the red: Jeremy Corbyn, an extreme (in all senses of the word) representative of what Orwell called that “dreary tribe of…sandal-wearers and bearded fruit-juice drinkers who come flocking towards the smell of ‘progress’ like bluebottles to a dead cat.” Naturally, the bearded Corbyn has been spotted in sandals, and drinks very little or, possibly, no alcohol (“my secret is apple juice or coconut water”). But back to Miliband: the most interesting thing about him is that he was ruthless enough to beat his brother David, a former foreign minister and the favorite for the job, in the previous contest for the Labour leadership. Nevertheless, he was a consequential leader in two key respects. The first was the mere fact of his election. ‘Red Ed’s’ Caining of his more Blairite brother accelerated Labour’s move away from the legacy of its electorally most successful prime minister. Read full article

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20 июня, 02:38

The Unconventional Plan for Dealing With China

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Hugh Harsono Security, Asia There are a variety of alternative ways that the U.S. military can influence Chinese foreign policy—ways that are not necessarily driven by the U.S. military. Military-to-military relationships continue to play an important role in foreign policy, though these roles have changed throughout time. Previously, these relationships were as simple as several military forces allying themselves to defeat a common enemy. In the present, the dynamics of soft power and hard power have changed the ways military forces interact, adding additional certain nuances to these relationships. Military relationships between the United States and China are particularly important, specifically because both nations are so closely aligned on economic fronts. However, because of differing and occasionally opposing viewpoints on foreign policy, America and China are simply limited when conducting traditional military-to-military techniques. Therefore, what steps can America—specifically America’s military—take to counter Chinese political and military responses? Also, how can U.S. forces influence cooperation with these Chinese counterparts to ensure lasting positive benefits for all? Limitations of Conventional Techniques to Building Nation-State Military Relationships The United States approach to improving U.S.-Chinese relationships currently lies in two direct military efforts: exchange programs and joint exercises. These methods are extremely limited in the benefits that they provide the United States and China due to the political and economic competition that the two nations have with one another. That is something particularly underlined in American legislation such as the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which defines an official American relationship with the Chinese-unrecognized Taiwan. Additionally, the 1991 Foreign Relations Authorization Act banned U.S. arms exports to China and the 2000 National Defense Authorization Act set specific rules governing U.S.-China military-to-military relations. Read full article

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20 июня, 02:35

How The NSA Can Use Blockchain To "Connect The Dots" Securely—With Smart Contracts

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Salvatore Babones Security, Americas Mass security breaches like the 2013 Snowden data dump could be prevented by putting classified documents on the blockchain. When National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden walked off with 1.5 million classified documents in May 2013, he exposed the weakness of the U.S. government's jerry-rigged security systems. Instead of iron-clad double-key encryption, the NSA relied on home remedies like regular password changes and the prohibition of thumb drives. When your home network has better security than the NSA, something has to change. That change may come from an unlikely source: Bitcoin. No, the NSA is not likely to start making its analysts mine Bitcoins to pay for data access. But the NSA could adopt Bitcoin's underlying database architecture, the encrypted blockchain database management system. In a typical database structure, each user needs a password to access the database. Once in, users can access anything their security clearances allow. The security is on the user, not on the data. The files themselves, like those stolen by Snowden, are not encrypted. Blockchain databases reverse that logic. The blockchain lets anyone in -- you can view the entire Bitcoin database right now -- but all the data are encrypted. The files are useless to anyone who doesn't have the right encryption key. More importantly, blockchain also supports the use of smart contracts for access to data files. A typical smart contract for a classified government document might allow access only if two keys are presented at the same time: the user's key and the current NSA system key. The NSA system key could be updated every minute according to a seemingly random algorithm generated by a super-secure server. So even if a future Snowden were somehow able to download millions of documents, they would be locked forever once taken offline. Read full article

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19 июня, 21:52

Bannon: Trump Right on Migrant Separations, North Korea (Video)

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Curt Mills Politics, North America The former White House chief strategist defended the president’s controversial moves on immigration and North Korea, in a video interview with the National Interest. “I think it’s interesting that the permanent political class that runs this city are up in arms this week about President Trump’s zero-tolerance policy on the border,” Steve Bannon told me Monday afternoon. “If you go back to what Trump has said for years, and particularly, when came down… the escalator [announcing his campaign for president]. He was seventh at the top of the escalator. That night… He was number one, and never looked back.” The former White House chief strategist sat down with the National Interest earlier this week at the “Breitbart embassy” where he once headed that publication, and plotted to bring the American right to power. “Virtually every important moment, or a lot of the important moments, in the populist-nationalist movement happened in this house. … This is where we had the famous dinner for [former United Kingdom Independence Party leader] Nigel Farage. … Where we had [now-Attorney General] Jeff Sessions, and [now-primetime Fox host] Laura Ingraham,” Bannon said, adding: “Here is where Sessions, [now-Senior White House Counselor], myself and Steven Miller, back in 2013, walked through the results of the 2012 campaign, and came up with this assessment of what it was going to take to win in 2016.” In our discussion, Bannon staunchly defends President Trump’s policies not only at the border, but he also lends cover to Trump’s trip to Singapore to meet with Kim Jong Un. On North Korea, “He was dealt a terrible hand of cards,” Bannon said. “The central part of the Trump doctrine: He’s not going to just manage a process,” Bannon said, defending his unorthodox approach to diplomacy. And for Bannon, North Korea is but an opening salvo in what he sees as the broader U.S.-China confrontation. “[North] Korea is a vassal state to China. OK?” Bannon said. “[Kim Jong Un] gets on the armored train, he goes to China, and they release three pictures. One of those pictures, he’s taking notes. Emperor Xi is talking, he’s giving dictation, and [Kim] is taking notes.” Curt Mills is a foreign-affairs reporter at the National Interest. Follow him on Twitter: @CurtMills. Image: Reuters Read full article

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19 июня, 21:48

Russian Naval Aviation Is In Deep Trouble. Could China Come to the Rescue?

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Dave Majumdar Security, Given that Russia and China are drawing closer geopolitically, it is possible that Beijing would entertain the idea of allowing the Kremlin’s naval aviators to train onboard Liaoning. With Russia’s sole remaining aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov entering into dry dock for an extend period of repairs and overhaul this year, Moscow’s naval aviators will not have a vessel available to train onboard. Naval aviation—especially the art of landing on a real carrier at sea—is a perishable skill, which the Russian Navy might lose if it does not find an alternative ship to train onboard until 2021 or 2022 when Kuznetsov is officially expected to return to the fleet. The Kremlin hopes that shore-based training at the Ground-Based Test-Training Aviation Complex (NITKA), which is located in Novofedorovka on the Crimean peninsula, will help to retain the skills of their naval aviators. However, the Russians seem to be aware that such training is no substitute for being onboard a real carrier at sea. “If they don't takeoff from an actual aircraft carrier deck even once for another five years—any flying skills of the unique Russian carrier-pilots will crumble to dust, either with the NITKA simulator or without it,” writes Svobodnaya Pressa defense correspondent Vladimir Tuchkov in a recent Russian language column. Recommended: China's H-6K: The 'Old' Bomber That Could 'Sink' the U.S. Navy Recommended: Why an F-22 Raptor Would Crush an F-35 in a 'Dogfight' Recommended: Air War: Stealth F-22 Raptor vs. F-14 Tomcat (That Iran Still Flies) Read full article

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19 июня, 20:47

The Real North Korea Nightmare Isn't Nuclear War (Think Collapse Instead)

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Jamie Metzl Security, Asia And it would be horrific.  Recognizing the potential for reduced Chinese assistance, Pyongyang has begun looking for other financial options. Its longtime friend Russia, relishing these days in poking the West, would be a good choice but for its ongoing financial crisis. South Korea, which once provided significant aid to the North for little in return under former President Kim Dae Jung’s “Sunshine Policy,” will not be fooled again without significant concessions. With few options for aid, economic reform will by default become the North’s only real choice. As a member of the U.S. National Security Council staff in the later 1990s, I worked with colleagues on plans for responding to the potential collapse of the North Korean government. As a self-induced famine ravaged the country, we considered what we might do when the regime finally succumbed to the inevitable consequence of its own insanity. Almost twenty years later, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is still there and those predicting its imminent collapse have continually been proven wrong. But today, the North Korean madness may well be nearing its endgame. I predict it will be gone within a decade. The continued survival of North Korea’s government is based on its ability to harness absolute terror against its population, its possession of nuclear weapons, and its access to economic resources. Although North Korea requires all three of these to survive, contradictions between what it takes to secure each will make the regime’s demise all but inevitable over time. Recommended: Air War: Stealth F-22 Raptor vs. F-14 Tomcat (That Iran Still Flies) Recommended: A New Report Reveals Why There Won't Be Any 'New' F-22 Raptors Recommended: How an ‘Old’ F-15 Might Kill Russia’s New Stealth Fighter Read full article

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19 июня, 20:25

These Are the 5 Most Dangerous Rifles and Revolvers on Planet Earth

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Kyle Mizokami Security, The real deal.  Sturm Ruger’s other line of popular revolvers has a distinctly Old West flavor to it. The Ruger Blackhawk line of pistols look similar to the old Western Colt Single Action Army revolvers of the nineteenth century, but with a host of modern features to keep them viable in the twenty-first. Cold hammer-forged barrels and a stout, beefy frame make the Blackhawk a manageable firearm in .357 Magnum, .41 Remington Magnum, the traditional cowboy calibers .45 Colt and, unusually, the World War II–era .30 Carbine. Like old-time cowboy revolvers, the Blackhawk’s cylinder must be loaded through a loading gate. The following is a two-part post.  Part One: Rifles Warfare in the post-9/11 period is primarily infantry-focused, with ground troops taking part in small-unit actions against insurgents and guerrillas. Fought on a wide variety of terrain, from arid desert regions to jungles and even cities, infantrymen have relied on their service rifles to get the mission done. Here are five of the best weapons, and how the wars of the twenty-first century changed them. M4 Carbine: Originally developed by Colt to fulfill a contract for the UAE, the M4 carbine was later accepted into U.S. Army and Marine Corps service. The M4 carbine is very similar to the M16A2 assault rifle, but features a shorter 14.5-inch barrel as opposed to the twenty-inch barrel of the M16. Like the M16A2, the M4 carbine fires the 5.56-millimeter round from a thirty-round magazine and has both semiautomatic and three-round-burst modes. Recently, as a result of battlefield experience with the M4, the U.S. Army decided to upgrade the weapons to the M4A1 standard. The -A1 carbines have thicker barrels for accuracy retention during sustained fire, an improved trigger, ambidextrous safety controls and the ability to fire on full automatic. Recommended: The Colt Python: The Best Revolver Ever Made? Read full article

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19 июня, 18:10

Would Navy Aircraft Carriers Be Useless in a War Against Russia?

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Dave Majumdar Security, Europe This might be a big problem.  Earlier this month, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers embarked aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) to take part in an annual multinational exercise called Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2018 on June 6. While BALTOPS has been an annual exercise since 1972 in the middle of the Cold War, what is remarkable about this year’s war games is that Harry S. Truman was sailing in the Adriatic Sea—off the coast of Italy—during the exercise. That means that U.S. Navy aircraft—assigned to Carrier Air Wing One (CVW) 1—flew north across the width of the European continent to participate in the Baltic Sea exercise. Indeed, as the Navy itself notes, this was the first instance of American carrier-based assets participating in BALTOPS since its inception. “The ability to operate in the Adriatic and support allies in the Baltic region demonstrates that we have the capabilities to match our resolve,” Rear Adm. Gene Black, commander of Carrier Strike Group 8, said in a statement released earlier this month. “It is further proof of the flexibility and agility we bring to the fight, and reaffirms our commitment to regional security and cooperation to our partners and allies.” Recommended: How an ‘Old’ F-15 Might Kill Russia’s New Stealth Fighter Recommended: How China Plans to Win a War Against the U.S. Navy Read full article