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Shield of the Republic: Security in the Indo-Pacific (with Charlie Edel)

Eliot and Eric welcome Charlie Edel, Australia Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, to discuss security in the Indo-Pacific, the role of Australia, the AUKUS partnership, John Quincy Adams and U.S. foreign policy—do the “restrainers” read Adams correctly?—and the role of literature in understanding history.

Analysis

The Lessons of Ukraine for Taiwan—and the U.S.

Although Ukraine’s potential membership in NATO has been discussed for more than a decade and half, it is not a member—and so the alliance is not committed to defend it, nor to attempt to deter attacks against it. (Indeed, a vote over whether to deter an attack against Ukraine would likely have splintered the alliance.) Vladimir Putin took full advantage of Ukraine’s living in this gray zone where its frequently voiced aspirations for NATO membership are not matched by a security guarantee. Still, after Russia’s invasion began, NATO’s guilty conscience prompted decisions to funnel arms and equipment into the beleaguered country; the Western anti-tank and anti-aircraft systems reinforced and enhanced the ability of Ukrainian defenders to wreak enormous damage on the Russian aggressor, rendering combat ineffective some 15 to 20 percent, if not more, of the Russian battalion tactical groups devoted to the operation.

In the News

Navy: New Multi-national Task force to ‘Enhance Security’ in Red Sea

Travis Sharp, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told Breaking Defense the Houthis “pose an active and persistent threat to freedom of navigation in the Red Sea.” He added that the circumstances in Yemen have made it increasingly difficult for the US to maintain situational awareness about the group’s capabilities. Sharp suggested Cooper’s unwillingness to connect CTF-153 with the Houthi attacks may be an issue of politics.

“If the United States were to propose an explicitly anti-Houthi task force, they might not get many countries in the region who would be willing to join that because the countries have varying perspectives on what’s happening in Yemen,” he said.

Analysis

LEADERLESS, CUT OFF, AND ALONE: THE RISKS TO TAIWAN IN THE WAKE OF UKRAINE

As policymakers and analysts evaluate the war in Europe for insights that might be applicable to Asia, they are reaching three early conclusions: It should serve as a cautionary tale for China, a model for Taiwan, and a playbook for the United States. But what if the conflict yields a more ominous set of lessons — lessons that Beijing could use to seize the island democracy?

Many observers have become more skeptical that China would launch an assault on its “wayward province” after seeing Russia struggle on the battlefield and suffer an economic backlash. Some have become more optimistic that Taiwan could defend its de facto sovereignty as Ukraine imposes heavy costs on invading forces. And others have become more confident that the United States can rely on “integrated deterrence” to manage the threat of Chinese aggression, which was beginning to appear close at hand.

Yet the war in Europe might instead convince Chinese leaders to double down on efforts to shatter Taiwan’s will to resist should deterrence break down. Indeed, Russian failures and Ukrainian successes to date might incentivize China to issue threats and use force earlier to make U.S. military intervention less likely and Taiwanese capitulation more so.

In the News

Biden’s record defense budget draws progressive ire over spending priorities

Dr Travis Sharp, budget studies director at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said the requested funding increase is more a reflection of how record-high US inflation has affected government agencies’ finances rather than the impact of the crisis in Ukraine.

“Providing a higher level of defense spending does help to correct for some of the decreasing buying power as a result of inflation,” Sharp said. “If you didn’t provide a higher level of defense spending, then you would be trying to support the same-sized military with less money, so that would force you to make some hard trade-offs.”