NewsMax: The Crisis Makes the Man

September 11, 2011 will be remembered and commemorated for many reasons. Most in the nation will focus on those killed and those who risked all during those first few hours and days.

America was blessed that it had the exact right president for this same period in time.

As anyone who studies this period knows, President Bush was offered the easy way out, following “on-the-shelf” plans to retaliate with cruise missiles, limited airpower and some possible special forces operations.

He chose to reshape American national security, and the current administration has squandered all that was achieved.

Presidents are judged great by their ability to handle national security crises. They are equally judged disastrous by the same yardstick. We do not assess any president great on any other topic.

Historically, a majority of presidents have faced national security crises, and all modern ones have. Presidents McKinley and T. Roosevelt successfully met the massive stress of America entering the stage as a great power.

Taft, Wilson, Coolidge, and Hoover all botched their turn at bat successively with the Philippines, World War I, Mexico and Japan. The next, Roosevelt (FDR) struggled with a domestic national security crisis at home and a growing threat abroad.

Johnson and Carter could never come to grips with using American power because they had little understanding of the ultimate goal.

Presidents Truman, Reagan and G.W. Bush illustrated how a great man could come into his own as a great president facing existential threats to the United States that went far beyond other national security crises, akin to a degree to what presidents Washington and Lincoln had done before.

We have seen our share of contemporary disasters with Clinton, Obama, and now President Biden. The common thread goes well beyond political party and plumbs the depths of the roots of American ideology.

If a president rejects his nation’s underlying anchor and rudder, how can he be expected to steer the ship of state? Politics runs downstream from culture, and culture runs downstream from faith.

Presidents who reject the absolute world of Judeo-Christian good and evil can hardly be expected to have a moral compass regarding national security decision-making.

This explains why many of our contemporary presidents have been unable to make the right decisions regarding any particular crisis. However, it also helps to explain why there is no consistent and credible direction.

All of the presidents who fail at national security had little interest in American grand strategy. They did not embrace an over-the-horizon picture of where America needs to be in five, 10, 25 or 50 years.

They had lost faith in America because it is doubtful they ever believed in America to begin with.

Let us dismiss the notion that America is defined by its diversity, cited by so many in academia and the media. This is the most self-destructive lie out there.

It is precisely the opposite; very specific values define America that anyone can ascribe to regardless of race or ethnicity. It is here that many American presidents lost faith.

They lost faith in America’s destiny, its exceptional nature that emanated from God, and therefore its mission. They ran scared from such talk for fear that they would be accused of suggesting that American civilization was superior, losing sight of the fact that American values are as universal as they are divinely inspired.

Some of these values would have avoided the worst of what we are witnessing in Afghanistan. Namely, America should never abandon the innocent, its own, or its allies. It never shrinks from a conflict; it imposes its will, not because it can, but because it is in the right.

9/11 reminds us of the role of the president. First and foremost, he is armed with faith in the greatness of America, enabling him to handle national security crises and ensure American success in the future.

This is the fundamental job of the president. There is nothing else that should interfere with that primary task.

If a president fails here, he fails always and forever.

This article first appeared on NewsMax on Friday, 10 September.

Newsmax: Sophomoric US Foreign Policy Lacks Strategic Vision

The shame of Afghanistan looms.

Twenty years of blood, sweat, and tears are lost not because of American involvement but lack thereof. Today is the day that a wholesale revaluation of American foreign policy is needed.

The following sentiment may anger more than it heartens, but the truth exists regardless of numbers or popularity.

The United States has not had a coherent and strategic foreign and national security since President George W. Bush.

Twelve years is a long time for a ship to be without an engine, a rudder, or an anchor.

Instead, it has been the strategy of Richard Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman,” (“Der Fliegende Holländer”)  going nowhere — shrouded in mystery.

I don’t want to confuse the reader.

There have been some good and specific national security policies and many more bad ones during this time.

A good individual policy, such as President Trump’s decision to move the American embassy to the rightful capital of Israel, Jerusalem, is not the same as a strategic vision.

We can all look at those numerous policy decisions and make judgments about whether or not they advanced American interests or not.

However, a series of good or bad policies on individual, often disparate issues, is not a strategy that engages American interests with trajectory, velocity, or destination.

When they are demonstrated, these strategic visions are expressed in grand strategy prescriptions known as Presidential doctrines.

We have had 16 presidents out of 46 that have come close to having doctrines of any kind.

Seven of these doctrines can be called successful, and two were mixed.

Seven more had the moniker of doctrine, but little else.

These seven successful doctrines, these strategic visions that served American grand strategy, shared many variables.

They all had a full-throated defense of American exceptionalism at home and abroad, the desire for military primacy, the promotion of democratic values, and a style of warfare that promoted total victory without boundaries.

The apex of this success occurred under the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. In short, both Republican, conservative, Christian presidents melded the severe nature of hard power politics, advancing American vital and national interests, with her classical liberal values of democracy promotion, human rights, and the Christian view of the inherent value of the individual and their liberty.

The favorite mantra of President Bush during the war years of that time was when he expressed the “non-negotiable demands of human dignity.”

President Obama reveled in defeatism and declineism.

If one is to call it that, his doctrine was expressed in “leading from behind,” perhaps one of the top ten most torturous phrases created in the English language.

It was the singularly worst presidency in American history, with the possible exception of James Buchanan. President Trump fixed some of the problems of this administration and attempted an American First strategy.

Still, it was so focused on looking inward that it failed to understand that American security has always depended on the generosity of her footprint abroad.

Realists have always understood this, but they have been unable to realize that only when American power is melded with American ideals does an overall American strategy succeed.

The “lessons learned” (another sophomoric phrase) over Afghanistan will first be about creating a cover for individual decisions, blame assigning, and then hand-wringing about how we should never have been involved to begin with.

If we wish to avoid the post-Vietnam demon from being summoned, a serious offensive by conservative internationalists (not globalists) must not only be proclaimed publicly, but the conservative internationalists need to retake control of the Republican Party.

Afghanistan has played a strategic role for the great powers for centuries.

During the 19th to 20th centuries, this was primarily played out between the British and the Russians. In 1979, the Soviets invaded and took over for Soviet foreign policy goals.

This led to the rise of the Taliban and their eventual victory, creating a Theocratic dictatorship that granted a safe haven to the enemies of the United States, most infamously al-Qaida.

The Bush administration knew that unless you changed the regime in Afghanistan, it would continue to be a safe harbor for terrorism.

The Bush doctrine was centered on four pillars: preemption, prevention, primacy, and democracy promotion.

It melded realism and liberalism and offered a strategic vision for the future.

It was the only strategic vision that upheld American interests with American values.

The Obama vision did neither.

The failure of the United States in Afghanistan and almost in Iraq was not that America intervened. It was that America allowed too much independence too quickly. Germany and Japan were models of successful American intervention.

First, you win the war, then establish full security, next create foundations and institutions, and finally remain with a large enough force to ensure the ground gained.

If Germany and Japan were models that took about a decade to achieve, what did people think would be the case in Iraq or Afghanistan?

Certainly not twenty years, and indeed not if you failed to establish security with overwhelming force.

In the end, American foreign policy can’t be measured for years or even decades.

The currency of alliances is credibility.

Unfortunately, this coin has been significantly tarnished by the decisions made now.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 17 August, 2021.

Space Force Journal: Great Power Strategic Competition on Earth and in Space

By Lamont Colucci and Joshua Carlson

Abstract

The United States Space Force was established due to rising threats in space, a domain that is vital to U.S. national security and economic interests. Strategic competition among great power on Earth and in space is likely in the coming decades. This paper analyzes strategic competition among great powers to make predictions about future conflict in space.

Great power conflict has for millennia been earth-based.[1] However, humanity is now at a pivot point where the great powers may take their conflicts into space. The United States must maintain its military primacy to deter adversaries from starting disputes resulting in catastrophic conflicts.[2] The recent Space Capstone Publication, “Spacepower,” summed up the U.S. Space Force’s main challenge: “The U.S. must adapt its national security space organizations, doctrine, and capabilities to deter and defeat aggression and protect national interests in space.”[3] The document cites the late U.S. Air Force General Bernard Schriever, who notably stated in 1957 that “our safety as a nation may depend upon our achieving space superiority.”[4]

Following the end of the Cold War, some international relations (IR) and foreign policy scholars, such as Francis Fukuyama, argued that great power conflict was a relic of the past and that liberal democracy would continue to flourish.[5] President Barack Obama similarly argued that great power conflict is passé and the United States should prioritize multilateral issues such as terrorism, climate change, nuclear proliferation, pandemics, energy, and migration.[6] However, many of the global flashpoints today are great power motivated.[7] Space may intensify and amplify these flashpoints. Space itself may become the ultimate flashpoint.

The changes today are alarming. The first change is the United States’ slow disengagement from the dominating role after WWII, marked by a rollercoaster of lowering or increasing its defense spending and commitments.[8] During the Trump administration, America considered retreating from its leadership role in the rules-based liberal international order.[9] The fringes of the two major U.S. political parties, for different reasons, call on the United States to have either a light or a non-existent footprint across much of the globe.[10] This is not only a military footprint but also a cultural, economic, and diplomatic role.

The United States has begun a global recoil, as evident in the calls for a drawdown in Europe, Iraq, Afghanistan, and South Korea. There are calls in America’s body politic to withdraw further. This American withdrawal coincides with the second change. Four of the current great powers, such as Russia, China, India, and Japan, are re-evaluating, amplifying, or changing aspects of their grand strategy, especially as it applies to space. That last change is what this article discusses.

Russia Resurgent

The Global Firepower 2021 Military Strength Index ranks Russia second out of 140 countries ranked worldwide. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Russia ranks fourth globally in defense spending, with a defense budget of $61 billion in 2019.[11] Russia also spent nearly $4.2 billion on space programs in 2018.[12]

Creating and exploiting the “constellation of forces” to benefit “Mother Russia” governed Soviet grand strategy.[13] Russian strategic thinking today is dominated by several factors, all of which provide a window into their quest for space power. These factors include the border it shares with Eastern Europe, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) expansion, its border with China, a blessing and curse of natural resources, military modernization, nuclear weapons, and national pride. One of its greatest fears is an attack along its periphery. This requires the creation of buffers between itself and potential adversaries. Russia can do this by claiming to protect ethnic Russians in what it often calls the “near abroad,” where Russian minorities are large and loyal to Moscow.[14] One can postulate that the desire for strategic buffers will carry over into space.

Russian space strategy reflects its current and historical grand strategy. The U.S. and its allies and partners such as NATO, South Korea, Japan, and Anzus are preoccupied with the rise of China.[15] This preoccupation is a mistake for many reasons. China is the most severe threat to allied geopolitical interests, but that is different from dismissing Russia. Despite its relative weakness in comparison to China, Russia has a history of overcoming privation, setback, disaster, and incompetence. In the words of Edward Luttwak, “Drunk they defeated Napoleon, and drunk again they defeated Hitler’s armies and advanced all the way to Berlin.”[16] Drunk they could win against NATO.

President Vladimir Putin is attempting to reinvigorate the Russian space program that has been in decline following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Citing threats from U.S. missile defenses and programs like the X-37B experimental spaceship, Vladimir Putin restarted various counter space programs to prevent Russia from falling behind.[17] Russia will also likely continue to deploy new anti-satellite weapons within the next few years that will threaten U.S. space assets.[18] Some national security experts have contended that Russia is far more aggressive in threatening American satellites than China.[19]

According to Vladimir Putin, Russian’s intentions in space are “to drastically improve the quality and reliability of space and launch vehicles … to preserve Russia’s increasingly threatened leadership in space.[20] Russia’s space strategy includes essential modern warfare critical components such as space access and denial. Russia has begun the genesis of creating an organization that is similar to a space force.

The Russian Aerospace Forces is in many ways a three-branch service combining elements of the space forces, air forces, as well as air and missile defense forces under a single command.[21] The Russians are developing enhanced jamming and cyberspace capabilities and advanced weaponry such as directed energy weapons, on-orbit capabilities, and ground-based anti-satellite missiles that can achieve a range of reversible to nonreversible effects.[22] The service will monitor space objects and identify potential threats, attack prevention, and carry out spacecraft launches and placing into orbit controlling satellite systems.[23]

The United States has taken notice. Earlier this year, General John “Jay” Raymond, the service chief of the U.S. Space Force, detailed how Russian satellites were tailing American spy satellites.[24] However, a even more significant strategic concern is Russia’s plans to establish a moon colony between 2025 and 2040.[25] Russia recently signed a memorandum of understanding with China to construct a lunar research station on the moon’s surface or in lunar orbit.

The current Russian space doctrine can be titled the 3 Ds: disparate, desperate, and dynamic. Globalnaya Navigazionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema (GLONASS) is an excellent example of the establishment, fall, and rise of their independent global positioning system (GPS). Russian resilience and its willingness to endure deprivation and long-term sacrifice will likely spoil this myopic view. Russia may rise to turn out to be the more significant threat to international safety and stability, and one that the west may pay a high price for ignoring.

The Dragon Reborn-China

China’s strategic doctrine since the Deng Xiaoping era has been defined by the phrase “to preserve China’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.”[26] In recent years, other slogans and statements have been added, such as desiring a “harmonious world” system and taking advantage of a period of “strategic opportunity.”[27] The Global Firepower 2021 Military Strength Index ranks China third in overall military strength internationally.[28] The IISS ranks China second in military spending with a defense budget totaling $181 billion, of which the space budget is estimated to be around $8 billion.[29]

The Mao Zedong era attempted to destroy the “olds” of Chinese Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity, and classical Confucianism. China is filled with bellicose nationalism and wounded pride.[30] The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its allies in the People’s Liberation Army use aggressive nationalism to unify them. There is no difference between the party, the government, and large Chinese business enterprises.[31]

Under President Xi Jinping, China has resurrected neo-Maoist evangelism and appealed to third-world Marxists. Xi’s ideology is anti-democratic, self-righteous, and revanchist. In many ways, China is restoring Ming and Qing dynasty ambitions by trying (with much difficulty) to create semi-vassal states in Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, and North Korea. If the battle in Russia was between Slavophiles and Westernizers, the struggle in China is between the “Yangtze River” mentality and the “Pacific Ocean.” The former desires to sit behind the Great Wall like the late Ming and Mao periods. The latter desires domination through adoption and expansion exhibited by Zheng He’s treasure fleet and the current President Xi Jinping. Nothing could be more evident than this latter view concerning the space front.

Space provides critical capabilities for China: China wants “cislunar space supremacy.”[32] China is obsessed with “First Presence” and currently exhibits the world’s second-largest space budget.[33] In addition to reaching Mars in 2021, China’s goals include sending probes to asteroids, Jupiter, and Uranus, developing quantum satellites, building a scientific research station in the moon’s southern polar region, and establishing a sophisticated large-scale space station within ten years.[34] In 2019, China continued to develop its space launch capabilities, providing cost-savings through efficiency and reliability, extending its reach into multiple Earth orbits, and improving its capacity to reconstitute space capabilities in low Earth orbit rapidly.[35] In 2020, China reached total operating capacity with its BeiDou-3 constellation, providing worldwide positioning, navigation, and timing capabilities to its users and additional command and control for the PLA, reducing China’s dependence on U.S. GPS.[36]

China plans to place a permanently operating space station in orbit by 2022. By 2025, China plans to construct a lunar research station to develop into an established crewed lunar research and development base before 2050.[37] They are using a similar timeline to pursue space-based solar power.[38] Under the current schedule, China will be the following country after the United States to send an astronaut to the moon by 2030 and is pursuing a Mars base, which they are currently testing the prototype of on Earth.[39]

China’s privatized space industry is flourishing, as are the private-military partnerships. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation states that China plans to become the most developed space power by 2045.[40]

China’s development of a space force is beyond that of the other great powers. The Chinese equivalent of the U.S. Space Force has identified space as a vulnerability for the United States and is doing everything it can to capitalize on that vulnerability by advancing its space capabilities.[41] The creation of the People’s Liberation Army Strategic Support Force (PLASSF) in 2015/2016 made one organization responsible for developing the PLA’s space and information warfare forces.[42] This will allow China to integrate its capabilities into a space force by enabling long-range precision strikes and denying other militaries the use of overhead command, control, communications, computer intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems.[43]

The PRC continues to strengthen military space capabilities despite a propaganda public stance against the weaponization of space.[44] China claims to be building a “nuclear fleet” of carrier rockets.[45] Reusable hybrid-power carriers will be ready for “regular, large scale” interplanetary flights and carrying out commercial exploration and exploitation of natural resources by the mid-2040s.[46] According to state media, they will have the ability to mine resources from asteroids and build solar power plants in space soon after.[47] “The nuclear vessels are built to colonize the solar system and beyond,” Wang Changhui, associate professor of aerospace propulsion at the School of Astronautics at Beihang University in Beijing, stated.[48]

If Russia is the 3 Ds, China is the 3 A(s): adventurous, advanced, and aggressive. The Biden administration is considering its options about China to include an aggressive containment strategy.[49] Any discussion of China’s power politics will weigh space as a significant factor.

Japan- Rising or Setting Sun?

Japan is not usually considered a great power. However, it remains an economically powerful nation with space ambitions. Japan solidified its great power status in the late 19th century. Japan is at the cusp of recapturing aspects of that period as it faces rising rivals and the threats of the new frontier of space. Japan perceives the world as hostile due to Chinese imperial dreams in Asia, North Korean aggression, and Russian resurgence.

The Global Firepower 2021 Military Strength Index ranks Japan fifth in global military power.[50] The IISS ranks Japan eighth in military capability and international status with a defense budget of $48.6 billion.[51] Japan’s space budget is estimated to be $4 billion.[52] Unlike the other great powers, Japan’s constitution, written by the United States, hampers its military, and it depends on the United States for its national defense.[53] Then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the most critical prime minister of the 21st century, continued the evolution away from this dependency by slowly returning Japan to its intrinsic geopolitical imperatives.[54] If America retreats, Japan will accelerate its strategic independence. Traditionally, Japan’s need to protect its sea lanes of communication to provide raw resources to fuel its economy at home dictated its grand strategy.[55]

Under Abe’s direction in 2013, the Japanese cabinet approved Japan’s first national security strategy, resulting in creating a Japanese National Security Council.[56] In response to China’s aggressive moves in the Pacific areas such as the Senkaku Islands, the strategy argues that Japan needs to make a more “proactive contribution to peace,” and thus it needs to contribute more to its military alliance with America despite its pacifist constitution.[57]

Japan’s national security space ambitions have been limited compared to Russia and China. The government exploration agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), has stated that it does not intend to militarize space. The Basic Space Law of 2008 emphasized that Japan will “guarantee international peace and security as well as ensuring the security of the country” within the framework “of the pacifist principles of the Constitution,” while the Space Act of 2016 encouraged and defined the role of the private sector and space. These offer other windows into Japanese space thinking.[58] The Japanese government is currently working on a ground-based space tracking system expected around 2023.[59] The unit’s main task will be to monitor space debris, threats of attacks, or interference by other countries’ satellites.[60] Cooperation between the United States and Japan is crucial for the new space race because their primary goal for space is democratic control.

Japan’s Space Force is currently limited. There is a space operations squadron as part of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces; however, it has less than 100 members.[61] Japan’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has revealed that it will assign 100 military personnel to its space domain mission unit expected to be stood up by their fiscal year 2022 and probably merged with the space operations squadron.[62] This began when Japan announced its desire to launch a military space force by 2019 with the initial tasking of protecting satellites from dangerous debris orbiting the Earth.[63] The move to a Japanese space force aims to strengthen Japan-U.S. cooperation in space and comes after the countries pledged to boost joint work on monitoring space debris.[64] The number of personnel assigned to the space domain mission unit may increase over the coming years as Japan participates in a growing number of space-centric joint operations with allies such as the United States and some European countries. In August of 2020, Abe met with Raymond. They agreed to enhance bilateral defense cooperation in outer space between the U.S. Space Force and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s Space Operation Squadron.[65]

Japan’s space posture mirrors its overall grand strategy, tied to the United States in almost all areas.[66] Its geopolitical imperative is based on its negative WWII legacy, its inherent natural resource problem, and its robust alliance with the United States. Both Tokyo and Washington, D.C. must enhance this alliance into space to counter adversarial power.

India- Expanding Power or Regional Hostage?

While not yet a global power, India is a regional power and a strategic competitor to China. India also has space ambitions. India spent much of its post-independence history as a nominal leader of the non-aligned movement, though it has recently dedicated minimal attention to articulating a grand strategy. The Global Firepower 2021 Military Strength Index ranks India fourth in military capability.[67] The IISS ranks India fifth in military spending with a defense budget of $60.5 billion.[68]

India’s strategic outlook is within the context of Hinduism and Hindu nationalism, using concepts like Niti (Difficult choices, unworthy means to achieve good ends), Artha (prosperity), Dharma (Moral obligations, duty), Mandala (geopolitical configuration), and Danda (force and punishment).[69] General V. K. Singh’s “Transformation Study” created a window into India’s new strategic thinking by envisioning an Indian military able to fight on “two-and-a-half fronts” – namely, against China, Pakistan, and an Islamic insurgency at home.[70] However, India has been unable to develop a consistent policy for its three major geopolitical issues: Pakistan, China, and the Indian Ocean.

India’s decision over the Indian Ocean will determine its pathway as a great power. A new generation of policymakers has indicated that they want to consider the Indian Ocean as an Indian lake.[71] India’s naval power projection buildup continues, despite the nation spending only $60.5 billion on defense. It has two aircraft carriers, and by 2022 intends to have a third.[72] This would give it the largest carrier fleet in the eastern hemisphere, aside from the United States. India’s challenge will be to build the technological and military capabilities of great power without a clear goal or strategy. In conceiving such a strategy, India may align itself with the United States and the West, which it has avoided since independence. That choice will dramatically affect the worldwide geopolitical situation and likely increase tensions with China.

India is on the cusp of becoming a space power but spends only $1.2 billion on space.[73] The Indian space force is rudimentary. India’s first military application of space was surveillance of Pakistan.[74] This is potentially one of India’s most serious handicaps, not only in space but in geostrategy. She is a prisoner of her adversarial relations with Pakistan. India is forming a space force equivalent to its tri-service Defense Space Agency (DSA) of the Indian Armed Forces.[75] In April 2019, India formed the DSA to command its military space assets, including its anti-satellite capability.[76] The DSA is also in charge of formulating a strategy to protect India’s interests in space, including addressing space-based threats. India successfully tested an anti-satellite weapon in March 2019.[77]

The DSA’s integrated space cell uses the country’s space-based assets for military purposes and defends these assets from various threats.[78] India proclaims that it remains committed to the non-weaponization of space. Still, there is the emergence of offensive counter-space systems and anti-satellite weaponry seen as new threats to counter.[79]

India’s participation in the global space arena has primarily focused on making scientific advancements and discoveries, not on military development of space, as evident in the Chandrayaan project, which, so far, has sent two probes to the moon.[80] India strives to launch its astronauts into space by 2022, becoming just the fourth country behind the United States, China, and Russia.[81] It is also increasingly collaborating with the United States on lunar exploration.[82] India is also becoming more autonomous with its Indian Regional Navigation System and its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, launching satellites from India, the United States, and Brazil in 2021. Indian grand strategy needs cohesion and foundation and is attempting to straddle realism with Hindu nationalism.

Conclusion

Conflict is fully rooted in the international relations system because most great powers use realist theory. Religion, history, and cultural influences also shape some great powers’ realism.[83] Strategic culture is a product of grand historical strategy, and national security policies are both.

Space is an organic extension of great power conflict. All great powers are engaging in space force creation, and powers that have a thriving space strategy will, by definition, have a grand strategy for the future. Russian and Chinese grand strategies are on hostile trajectories with the United States and allied nations.

A multi-polar world and a less engaged United States will result in more chaos and instability on Earth and space. The creation of the U.S. Space Force in December 2019 signaled that the United States wants to retain strategic leadership in space. Whether the Space Force will be funded and manned to compete with the increasing ambitions of great power rivals is a critical concern with significant implications for the security, safety, and stability of space and the world.

This paper originally ran on The Space Force Journal on 20 July, 2021.

NOTES

[1] A great power is defined as a nation, rather than a state, with global reach and scale. It influences the international relations system as a whole, can exert hard power and aspects of soft power, and go beyond DIME (Diplomatic/Informational/Military/Economic) instruments of power to include cultural and religious influence.

[2] General Charles Q. Brown, Jr., “Accelerate Change or Lose,” U.S. Air Force, August 2020, https://www.af.mil/Portals/1/documents/2020SAF/ACOL_booklet_FINAL_13_Nov_1006_WEB.pdf.

[3] “Space Capstone Publication: Spacepower, Doctrine for Space Forces,” U.S. Space Force, June 2020, page vi, https://www.spaceforce.mil/Portals/1/Space%20Capstone%20Publication_10%20Aug%202020.pdf.

[4] “Space Capstone Publication: Spacepower, Doctrine for Space Forces,” U.S. Space Force, June 2020, page 27 https://www.spaceforce.mil/Portals/1/Space%20Capstone%20Publication_10%20Aug%202020.pdf.

[5] Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (New York: Free Press, 1992)

[6] Noah Rothman, “Flashback: In Russia, Obama Declared ‘great Power Conflict’ a Thing of the Past,” Mediaite, March 3, 2014, https://www.mediaite.com/online/flashback-in-russia-obama-declared-great-power-conflict-a-thing-of-the-past/; “Remarks by President Obama to the United Nations General Assembly,” The Obama White House, September 28, 2015, https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2015/09/28/remarks-president-obama-united-nations-general-assembly.

[7] The list includes the Euro-Russian frontier, the Baltics, the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula, the Sea of Japan, the Indian Ocean, the Sino-Indian Border, the Taiwan and Korea/Tsushima straits, and the Middle East, specifically Syria and Iraq.

[8] “U.S. Military Spending/Defense Budget 1960-2021,” Macrotrends, accessed March 23, 2021, https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/USA/united-states/military-spending-defense-budget.

[9] Charles Kupchan, “America First Means a Retreat from Foreign Conflicts,” Foreign Affairs, Septemgber 2019, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2019-09-26/america-first-means-retreat-foreign-conflicts.

[10] Robin Niblett, “Liberalism in Retreat-The Demise of a Dream,” Foreign Affairs, January/February 2017. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2016-12-12/liberalism-retreat.

[11] Béraud-Sudreau, Lucie. “Global Defence Spending: The United States Widens the Gap,” International Institute for Strategic Studies, February 14, 2020, https://www.iiss.org/blogs/military-balance/2020/02/global-defence-spending.

[12] Simon Seminari, “Op-Ed | Global Government Space Budgets Continues Multiyear Rebound,” SpaceNews, November 24, 2019, https://spacenews.com/op-ed-global-government-space-budgets-continues-multiyear-rebound/.

[13] https://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/media/documents/publication/OP%2005.pdf

[14] Martin McCauley and Dominic Lieven, “Ethnic relations and Russia’s ‘near-abroad’,” Britannica, accessed March 23, 2021, https://www.britannica.com/place/Russia/Ethnic-relations-and-Russias-near-abroad.

[15] Maheera Lodhi, “America’s China Preoccupation,” Dawn.com, 21 June 2021, https://www.dawn.com/news/1630604.

[16] Edward Luttwak, Strategy and History (Transaction Books, 1985), 230.

[17] Holly Ellyatt, “Putin Fears the Us and Nato Are Militarizing Space and Russia Is Right to Worry, Experts Say,” CNBC, December 5, 2019, https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/05/nato-in-space-putin-is-worried-about-the-militarization-of-space.html.

[18] Todd Harrison, Kaitlyn Johnson, and Thomas G. Roberts, Center for Strategic & International Studies, accessed March 23, 2021, https://csis-website-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/190404_SpaceThreatAssessment_interior.pdf.

[19] https://www.space.com/new-report-russia-china-anti-satellite-space-threat

[20] Caleb Henry, “Putin Challenges Roscosmos to “drastically Improve” On Space and Launch,” SpaceNews, July 20, 2018, https://spacenews.com/putin-challenges-roscosmos-to-drastically-improve-on-space-and-launch/.

[21] “Structure: Aerospace Forces,” Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, accessed March 23, 2021, https://eng.mil.ru/en/structure/forces/spaceforces/structure.htm.

[22] https://www.dia.mil/Portals/27/Documents/News/Military%20Power%20Publications/Space_Threat_V14_020119_sm.pdf

[23] “Space Forces,” Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, accessed March 23, 2021, http://eng.mil.ru/en/structure/forces/cosmic.htm.

[24] W.J. Hennigan, “Exclusive: Strange Russian Spacecraft Shadowing U.S. Spy Satellite, General Says,” Time, February 10, 2020, https://time.com/5779315/russian-spacecraft-spy-satellite-space-force/.

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[30] Natalie Colarossi, “Temples, Opera, and Braids: Photos Reveal What China Looked Like Before the Cultural Revolution,” Business Insider, March 4, 2020, https://www.businessinsider.com/photos-china-before-communism-cultural-revolution.

[31] Stephen Olson, “Are Private Chinese Companies Really Private?,” The Diplomat, September 30, 2020, https://thediplomat.com/2020/09/are-private-chinese-companies-really-private/

[32] Giulio Prisco, “The West Needs Bold, Sustainable, and Inclusive Space Programs and Visions, or Else,” The Space Review, September 14, 2020, https://www.thespacereview.com/article/4023/1.

[33] Campbell, “From Satellites to the Moon and Mars, China Is Quickly Becoming a Space Superpower,” Time, July 17, 2019, https://time.com/5623537/china-space/.

[34] “Hearing On China in Space: A Strategic Competition?,” United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission, April 25, 2019, pages 80-90, https://www.uscc.gov/sites/default/files/2019-10/April%2025%202019%20Hearing%20Transcript.pdf.

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[36] “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2020,” Department of Defense, September 1, 2020, https://media.defense.gov/2020/Sep/01/2002488689/-1/-1/1/2020-DOD-CHINA-MILITARY-POWER-REPORT-FINAL.PDF.

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[39] Mike Wall, “China Just Landed On the Moon’s Far Side — and Will Probably Send Astronauts On Lunar Trips,” Space.com, January 5, 2019, https://www.space.com/42914-china-far-side-moon-landing-crewed-lunar-plans.html; “China’s Mars Simulation,” National Review, accessed March 23, 2021, https://www.nationalreview.com/photos/c-space-project-mars-simulation-base-china/#slide-1.

[40] Namrata Goswami, “China’s Grand Strategy in Outer Space: To Establish Compelling Standards of Behavior,” The Space Review, August 5, 2019, https://thespacereview.com/article/3773/1.

[41] Douglas Mackinnon, “The Looming Threat from China in Space,” April 11, 2020, https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/492260-the-looming-threat-from-china-in-space.

[42] Kevin Pollpeter, Michael Chase, Eric Heginbotham, “The Creation of the PLA Strategic Support Force and its Implications for Chinese Military Space Operations,” Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2017. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2058.html.

[43] “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2020,” Department of Defense, September 1, 2020, https://media.defense.gov/2020/Sep/01/2002488689/-1/-1/1/2020-DOD-CHINA-MILITARY-POWER-REPORT-FINAL.PDF.

[44] “Challenges to Security in Space,” Defense Intelligence Agency, February 11, 2019, https://www.dia.mil/Portals/27/Documents/News/Military%20Power%20Publications/Space_Threat_V14_020119_sm.pdf.

[45] Avery Thompson, “China Wants a Nuclear Space Shuttle by 2040,” Popular Mechanics, November 16, 2017, https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/rockets/a13788331/chinas-future-space-plans/.

[46] Avery Thompson, “China Wants a Nuclear Space Shuttle by 2040,” Popular Mechanics, November 16, 2017, https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/rockets/a13788331/chinas-future-space-plans/.

[47] “Hearing On China in Space: A Strategic Competition?,” United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission, April 25, 2019, pages 88-89, https://www.uscc.gov/sites/default/files/2019-10/April%2025%202019%20Hearing%20Transcript.pdf.

[48] Eric Rosenbaum and Donovan Russo, “China Plans a Solar Power Play in Space That Nasa Abandoned Decades Ago,” CNBC, March 17, 2019, https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/15/china-plans-a-solar-power-play-in-space-that-nasa-abandoned-long-ago.html; “Statement of dr. Namrata Goswami Independent Senior Analyst and Author 2016-2017 Minerva Grantee Before the U.s.-China Economic and Security Review Commission,” U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, April 25, 2019, https://www.uscc.gov/sites/default/files/Namrata%20Goswami%20USCC%2025%20April.pdf#:~:text=Wang%20Changhui%2C%20Associate%20Professor%20of%20aerospace%20propulsion%20at,top%20space%20policy-making%20body%2C%20the%20CNSA%20and%20CA.

[49] Alex Leary and Bob Davis, “Biden’s China Policy Is Emerging-and it Looks a lot like Trump’s,” Wall Street Journal, June 10, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/bidens-china-policy-is-emergingand-it-looks-a-lot-like-trumps-11623330000.

[50] “2021 Japan Military Strength,” Global Firepower, accessed March 23, 2021, https://www.globalfirepower.com/country-military-strength-detail.php?country_id=japan

[51] United States Widens the Gap,” International Institute for Strategic Studies, February 14, 2020, https://www.iiss.org/blogs/military-balance/2020/02/global-defence-spending.

[52] Peter B. de Selding, “Japanese Government Seeks to Reorient Space Spending,” SpaceNews, September 28, 2010, https://spacenews.com/japanese-government-seeks-reorient-space-spending/#:~:text=The%20Japanese%20space%20budget%20totals%20about%20%244%20billion,directed%20toward%20JAXA%2C%20and%20the%20remaining%20one-third%20.

[53]Emma Chanlett-Avery, Caitlin Campbell, and Joshua A. Williams, “The U.S.-Japan Alliance,” Congressional Research Service, June 13, 2019, https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL33740.pdf.

[54] He was the longest serving of the post war era. In a short time frame, he has pivoted Japanese strategic thinking back to some of its pre-contemporary underpinnings like no other before him.

[55] Christopher Hughes, “Japan’s Grand Strategic Shift From the Yoshida Doctrine to and Abe Doctrine?,” Power, Ideas, And Military Strategy in the Asia-Pacific, Strategic Asia, 2017-2018.

[56] “National Security Strategy,” Office of the Prime Minister of Japan, December 13, 2013, http://japan.kantei.go.jp/96_abe/documents/2013/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2013/12/17/NSS.pdf

[57] “National Security Strategy,” Office of the Prime Minister of Japan, December 13, 2013, page 5 http://japan.kantei.go.jp/96_abe/documents/2013/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2013/12/17/NSS.pdf

[58] Matignon, Louis, “All About Japanese Space Law”, Space Legal Issues, June 5, 2020, https://www.spacelegalissues.com/all-about-the-japanese-space-law/.

[59] “Japan Launches New Squadron to Step up Defense in Outer Space,” Japan Times, May 18, 2020, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/05/18/national/sdf-launches-space-operations-unit/.

[60] “Japan Launches New Squadron to Step up Defense in Outer Space,” Japan Times, May 18, 2020, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/05/18/national/sdf-launches-space-operations-unit/.

[61] “Japan Launches New Squadron to Step up Defense in Outer Space,” Japan Times, May 18, 2020, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/05/18/national/sdf-launches-space-operations-unit/.

[62]“Japan to Assign 100 Personnel to New Satellite Monitoring Unit,” Japan Times, May 14, 2019, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/05/14/national/science-health/japan-assign-100-personnel-new-satellite-monitoring-unit/.

[63] Miriam Kramer, “Japan’s Military to Track Space Junk by 2019: Report,” Space.com, August 5, 2014, https://www.space.com/26737-japan-military-space-force.html.

[64] Mari Yamaguchi, “Japan Launches New Unit to Boost Defense in Space,” DefenseNews, May 18, 2020, https://www.defensenews.com/global/asia-pacific/2020/05/18/japan-launches-new-unit-to-boost-defense-in-space/; Junnosuke Kobara, “US and Japan Join to Tidy up Space-junk-cluttered Orbit,” Nikkei, September 10, 2019, https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/US-and-Japan-join-to-tidy-up-space-junk-cluttered-orbit.

[65] Elizabeth Shim, “Shinzo Abe Meets with u.s. Space Commander After Hospital Visit,” United Press International, August 27, 2020, https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2020/08/27/Shinzo-Abe-meets-with-US-space-commander-after-hospital-visit/3271598545563/.

[66] John Wright, “Where No Alliance Has Gone Before: US-Japan Military Cooperation in Space,” The Diplomat, February 4, 2020, https://thediplomat.com/2020/02/where-no-alliance-has-gone-before-us-japan-military-cooperation-in-space/.

[67] “2021 India Military Strength,” Global Firepower, accessed March 23, 2021, https://www.globalfirepower.com/country-military-strength-detail.php?country_id=india

[68] International Institute for Strategic Studies, February 14, 2020, https://www.iiss.org/blogs/military-balance/2020/02/global-defence-spending.

[69] Namrata Goswami and Peter A. Garretson, Scramble for the Skies: The Great Power Competition to Control the Resources of Outer Space (Lexington Books, 2020), 258.

[70] Nitin Gokhale, “India’s Doctrinal Shift?,” The Diplomat, January 25, 2011, https://thediplomat.com/2011/01/indias-doctrinal-shift/; Sushant Singh, “Can India Transcend Its Two-Front Challenge?,” War on the Rocks, September 14, 2020, https://warontherocks.com/2020/09/can-india-transcend-its-two-front-challenge/.

[71] Meia Nouwens, “India treats the Indian Ocean Region as its ‘own lake’, but China has different plans,” The Print, April 25, 2018, https://theprint.in/opinion/for-india-indian-ocean-region-is-its-own-lake-this-conflicts-with-chinas-belt-and-road-initiative/52676/.

[72] “Indian Navy Seeks Third Aircraft Carrier with 57 Fighter Planes Worth $25 Billion,” Defense World, January 16, 2018, https://www.defenseworld.net/news/21763#.YFouP4lKiCS.

[73] K.S. Jayaraman, “India Allocates $1.2 Billion for Space Activities,” SpaceNews, March 9, 2015, https://spacenews.com/india-allocates-1-2-billion-for-space-activities/.

[74] Dinshaw Mistry, “The Geostrategic Implications of India’s Space Program,” Asian Survey, November/December 2001, https://online.ucpress.edu/as/article-abstract/41/6/1023/91794/The-Geostrategic-Implications-of-India-s-Space?redirectedFrom=fulltext.

[75] Namrata Goswami and Peter A. Garretson, Scramble for the Skies: The Great Power Competition to Control the Resources of Outer Space (Lexington Books, 2020), 258.

[76] Vivek Raghuvanshi, “India to Launch a Defense-Based Space Research Agency,” DefenseNews, June 12, 2019, https://www.defensenews.com/space/2019/06/12/india-to-launch-a-defense-based-space-research-agency/.

[77] Doris Elin Urrutia, “India’s anti-satellite missile test is a big deal. Here’s why.,” Space.com, March 30, 2019, https://www.space.com/india-anti-satellite-test-significance.html.

[78]Amit Saksena, “India and Space Defense,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs, March 23, 2014, https://mea.gov.in/articles-in-foreign-media.htm?dtl/23139/India+and+Space+Defense.

[79] Vivek Raghuvanshi, “India to Launch a Defense-Based Space Research Agency,” DefenseNews, June 12, 2019, https://www.defensenews.com/space/2019/06/12/india-to-launch-a-defense-based-space-research-agency/.

[80] Manveena Suri and Swati Gupta, “India’s Polar Moon Mission Puts Chandrayaan-2 in the History Books,” CNN, September 5, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/04/world/india-moon-lunar-chandrayaan-2-explainer-scn/index.html.

[81] Meghan Bartels, “India Will Launch Its Own Astronauts to Space by 2022, Government Says,” Space.com, August 29, 2018, https://www.space.com/41657-india-will-launch-astronauts-in-2022.html.

[82] Elizabeth Howell, “Trump Hails India’s ‘impressive strides’ On Moon Exploration, Pledges Greater Cooperation On Space,” Space.com, February 27, 2020, https://www.space.com/trump-hails-india-moon-missions-us-space-cooperation.html.

[83] Such as Pan Slavism for Russia, neo-Maoism for China, and Hindu Nationalism for India.

Newsmax: Christians in the Culture Wars: Root and Branch

For decades I have taught, written, and spoken about international affairs and national security. I have written multiple books, journal articles, and public press articles on issues ranging from North Korean nuclear weapons, al Qaeda and terrorism, and strategic space policy.

Occasionally I have written about so-called “culture-war” topics, such as the malevolent nature of woke counter-culture, the strange obsession with the darker side of modern epics such as the empire in Star Wars, and often about issues of human rights and persecution, especially that of Christians.

In 2015 I coined the phrase “red puritanism” long before the word woke entered the mainstream. It referred to an intolerant, humorless creed couched in a self-serving relativism that was primarily directed at the heart of western civilization.

However, as important as all of the topics are concerning national security, one must be reminded of the root and not continuously focus on the branch. It was this that finally pushed me to write a book I have been thinking about for decades: The International Relations of the Bible, published by Posthill.

This venture was in many ways the culmination of my thinking that we need to return to the headwaters.

I am often a participant in discussions, conferences, and research that drill down into specific policy options and recommendations. When someone is droning on (a common occurrence with both academics and policymakers), I let my mind and spirit reflect on matters much more important.

As someone who has devoted their entire career in one way or another to American national security, I wonder if my colleagues think about why this is so important. Those of us who are open conservatives often follow the leftwing down the black hole of policy minutiae.

We and I are just as guilty of this. We get enraged at the left’s willingness to sacrifice American interests for their own immaturity on almost every major issue; we forget the importance of America as a whole.

We argue about their attacks on American foreign and defense policy, their acquiescence to America’s adversaries, and their misguided views on diplomacy that we forget what is really at stake. When one does that, one realizes how marginal and misguided secular-leftist ideology really is.

I would encourage any reader who cares about this country and his or her relationship with God to think about this issue in the following way. The United States was created through the hand of God, gifted as a land for Him to shape the destiny of mankind.

God inspired Christians to carve out from the wilderness a place for Him to be worshiped free from the control of others. He stretched forth his spirit in writing the Mayflower Compact, the first of our American state papers.

“Having undertaken for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country,.. do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together in a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony.”

It is the foundation of our nation, and any deviation from this is a deviation from the covenant of this New Jerusalem.

This was entirely reaffirmed in the most pivotal of all of our pillars, the Declaration of Independence. It was here where we pledged our collective loyalty to the absolute value of God’s will through natural law. It was here that the United States committed itself to a clear American identity that transcended ethnicity, race, or gender that was starker and more demanding than any other nation.

In an exact opposite of the false leftist narrative, American identity is crystal clear and sharper in how it defines itself with its submission to God’s will and through his divine hand granting mankind with life, liberty, and property.

This all comes with a warning that the international relations world of the Bible teaches in unambiguous terms. Each time the people of Israel rebelled against God’s will through the worship of false idols and doctrines, they were severely punished by God removing His hand of protection.

This culminated in an ancient apex when God transformed the persecutors of the faith and made Rome into the great evangelizer of the faith.

American national security is important, and our vital and national interests are critical, but they are only essential because America is the defender of Western civilization, culture, and tradition. Western civilization is only important because it is below the headwaters of the faith.

God blessed what we call western civilization by making it His instrument for what is good and right in the world, and America is the champion of that. Any time this is corrupted by those who wish to use it for ill or those seeking to destroy it, American civilization will suffer.

This should serve as a reminder to Christians that they are either an active participant in this clash, or they are a passive enabler for the other side. Edmund Burke, the forefather of all conservative thought, once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Each time our adversaries can persecute the innocent, each time God’s name is erased from our schools, each time we cede ground to another power, it is not only an American failure; it is a failure of any Christian who has retreated from the world.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 19 July 2021.

Newsmax: It is US Duty to Lead in Space Technology

As I have previously written, dominance in space will determine dominance on earth. In order to silence flawed thought from the start, one needs to understand the following premises.

First, space has been and is being militarized, with or without the United States. Second, the new space race based on geo and astropolitics is already under full throttle.

Third, Russia and China are making aggressive moves while the E.U. has been relegated to a state of passivity and chaos. Each year that passes, the space race will overshadow conflict on Earth to determine the winner on Earth.

Fourth, there will be a pivot point of no return at some point and there is much speculation on this. In other words, there is a future date whereby any nation that is not in the prime position will be unable to attain it and will be relegated to a peripheral or tertiary power.

This race will first be determined by will. Second, it will be determined by strategy. Third, it will be determined by a synthesis of sound economic policies and the securing of strategic technologies.

One of those technologies that the United States needs to develop is called Superconductor-based Magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters, known as SUPREME.

One of the massive problems for utilizing, exploring, exploiting and conquering space is the cost of transportation. Ultimately, the ability to move cargo and material from the Earth, the moon, Mars and beyond will determine who wins the military and economic space domain.

There are two primary systems for providing propulsion, chemical and electric. Most of the readers are familiar with chemical, having witnessed the space programs of NASA and companies like SpaceX.

These chemical systems push high thrust, but at the cost of increased fuel consumption, use around 2/3 of the spacecraft for fuel while being cost-prohibitive when trying to carry large amounts. On the other hand, electric propulsion is much more energy-efficient but falls short on thrust and maneuverability.

A new alternative, SUPREME using argon gas (100 times less expensive than the current xenon), can be one of the game-changers for the new space economy. The savings to transporting goods is literally astronomical when one compares transport to the moon.

Compared with chemical propulsion (think space shuttle or SpaceX), savings of up to $1.3 billion per cargo transfer from Low Earth Orbit (LEO, below 1,200 miles) to the moon.

Compared with conventional electric propulsion technology like the Hall Effect Thrusters (current electric propulsion), the savings can be around $100 million.

When we look at the case for Mars, the savings would be even higher, up to $10 billion compared with chemical propulsion and up $350 million compared with electric propulsion. Further, MPD is recognized as the most compatible technology to be used with nuclear reactors.

This system would be most beneficial for cargo transport, satellites for secured communications, asteroid mining, human exploration, space tugs and ultimately nuclear-powered ships.

One of the leading companies, Neutron Star Systems, winner of the New Space Business Plan Competition at the New Worlds Conference in Austin, Texas, is developing this technology right now and is promoting its relevance for security and defense, not just an economic one.

Founder of Neutron Star, Manuel La Rosa, put it this way, “SUPREME technology offers a unique opportunity to build in a platform that is scalable over a wide range of power and that it can serve as the standard for supporting operations not only in near-Earth domain but also in the moon, Mars and other planets of the solar system, it is of paramount importance that this technology is developed and commercialized. The USA is the only country in the world that offers the necessary conditions to successfully develop this technology.”

MPD is one of the many new space technologies that the United States will need to develop to continue its preeminence in space and prevent adversaries, not only to itself but also of democratic values from dominating.

The beneficiaries of these new technological and engineering marvels are not just the private enterprises that produce them, but the American entrepreneur and consumer who will have a new frontier to profit by, protected by the United States and her allies.

THis piece originally ran on Newsmax on 13 July 2021.

Newsmax: Israel-Palestinian Conflict Proves Nothing New Under the Sun

Death, violence, turmoil, strife and fire reigning down from the sky are the current headlines from the Middle East. It should strike no one as surprising that the roots of this chaos are historical, but it may surprise some readers how far back this mayhem goes.

One of the most exciting ways I have drawn parallels in foreign policy in my new book, The International Relations of the Bible, is through a story about CIA officer James Fees and then-National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger.

The year was 1973, the same year as the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) War, where Fees informed Kissinger that a memo existed detailing the turmoil in the Middle East, including the problems in the Sinai and Iranian expansion into places like Yemen.

Kissinger was shocked. He assumed someone was leaking classified information until Fees revealed to him that the memo was written in 700 B.C. We are reminded of the book of Ecclesiastes 1:9: “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”

In 2021, we see the parallels of all three events, the one from 700 B.C., from 1973 and this week. The same geopolitical entities that shaped the Middle East for millennia continue to do so now.

Iran was the root of the problem in 700 B.C. and is the number one sponsor of Hamas today. The strategy is also the same; the Arab armies used a religious event to surprise attack Israel in 1973 and Hamas began its rocket barrage around Shavuot.

In another parallel to 700 B.C., my mind went back to a counter-terrorism conference I was part of in Israel in 2009, where one of the speakers said, “If Yemen is set on fire, the Gulf will burn.”

International relations dominate the Bible and, through God’s hand, determined the fate of the Jewish people and Israel today. Whether it was the Babylonian and Egyptian Empire, the influence of Greek Hellenism or the critical role of the Romans, international affairs are an omnipresent backdrop.

There can be no story of Exodus, no Babylonian captivity, no consistent crossroads of war, no publicans or Roman governors, no judgment by Pontius Pilate and no St. Paul’s story as a Roman citizen, without considering the role of international affairs.

A few examples highlight the multi-millennial depths we must extract to understand the events in the Middle East today. The battles between the Hyksos and the Egyptians set the stage for enslavement and the Exodus. The Jews engage in crusades against heathen kingdoms such as the Hittites, Amalekites and Canaanites.

Israel’s geopolitical situation was comprised of a three-way division that arguably still dominates the Israel-Palestinian conflict today. The first area was the coastal plain, which evolved into a more cosmopolitan, trade-oriented and worldly.

Second, there was a hilly northern region dominated in part by the harder, warlike Galileans. It was where invaders would be funneled into the Megiddo plain (Armageddon).

Lastly, two deserts helped to protect Israel from invaders. The problem area for Israel primarily came from the north, which provides few natural barriers except for the Litani River.

Israel was an international affairs convergence zone for any land empire expanding southward or eastward. The period in the Bible where a unified Kingdom of Israel exists dates from circa 1020 B.C. to 930 B.C. This encompassed the kingships of Saul, David and Solomon.

The Philistines (where we get the word “Palestine”) were warlike and pagan people. They occupied Canaan and posed an existential threat to Israel. This is how far we must reach into antiquity to understand the roots of today’s events where words like rockets and iron dome replace spears and shields.

There were attempts by some Jewish rulers to enter the great game of international politics by trying to play Egypt and Assyria off each other, often becoming vassals of one or the other. This was further exacerbated by the enmity between the northern and southern kingdoms.

The period where biblical international relations focused on the Kingdom of Judah showed a dangerous typology of international affairs and the Jews. It was one where there was a rebellion against God and a miscalculation in foreign affairs, where the people were crushed and the kingdom despoiled.

This Persian period illustrates another typology, the Persian model, where the Jewish people allied themselves with a greater imperial power in exchange for autonomy. The Persian Wars that liberated the Jews were also the wars that would lead to the downfall of the Persians and the conquest of Israel by the Greeks.

The Hellenization of Israel and the reaction against it serves as one of the most telling aspects of the Old Testament and international relations. The Jews, who had been favored subjects of the Persians, fell under the Greek world. This led to the establishment of larger Gentile colonies, which were often populated by Greek veterans.

Great power conflict in international relations again determined the fate of the people of Israel. They were caught between two Greek empires due to Alexander’s death and here is where a new player emerges: Rome.

Civil war among the Jews played a huge role during this period and their attempts to ally Rome on one side or another was another point of international affairs history that did not end well for them.

It was ended only by Roman intervention by Pompey the Great in 63 B.C, who was frustrated with all Jewish factions. When these factions attempted to resist Rome, Pompey became even more aggravated. This led to his decision to take Jerusalem and incorporate what would now be known as Judea into the province of Syria.

Rome was now the master of the people of Israel. Four hundred years pass between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament. Many Christians term this period the intertestamental time.

The entire New Testament revolves around Jesus, who is born, lives, dies and is resurrected during Roman rule. It is, therefore, impossible to explain the international relations, foreign policy and diplomacy of this period without a complete understanding of Roman rule.

Three factors led to the Romans dominating the region. The first was the aforementioned civil war, where both sides invited them in to restore order; the second was the dissolution of the Greek empires and last was the rise of Parthia (Iran).

The biblical lands changed hands between Parthia and Rome. They were caught up not only in the Roman-Parthian conflict but also in Rome’s civil wars following the assassination of Julius Caesar.

The international relations world changed in 31 B.C. due to the Battle of Actium, where Octavian triumphed. It secured the Roman Empire for the Julio-Claudian dynasty, changing Rome into an imperial monarchy and becoming the reigning superpower on the planet.

The New Testament begins under the reign of the first Roman emperor, Augustus. He was the emperor at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ. Augustus ordered the census that brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem under the authority of his governor, Quirinius.

The ministry of Jesus occurs during the Roman occupation and the shadow of the Parthians. The trial of Jesus must be seen in the context here described. Rome looked through a grand strategy lens, with order being the primary goal.

Rome would initially have had no interest in a Jewish religious leader that did not preach violence or revolution. Pilate would ultimately be recalled to Rome. The trial he presided was the most important legal trial in history, including its impact on international affairs.

The end of the Bible and international relations ends with the coming Great Revolt of the Jews. The city finally fell in 71 A.D, fulfilling the prophecy made about Jerusalem by Jesus.

The end of the revolt concluded with the destruction of the Temple, the very Temple at the heart of the conflict this month. This resulted in the diaspora of the Jewish people and the destruction of a Jewish homeland until the re-creation of Israel in 1948.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 20 May 2021.

Newsmax: Free Trade Is More Than Trade

Lost in the desert that is now called public discourse regarding trade are the nontrade benefits of free trade arrangements.

Like so much that is polarized about American politics, the extreme camps dominate the public discourse. We have taken the complex universe of trade and attempted to box all positions into either “Free traders” or “Protectionists.”

It is granted that extremists on both ends usually can be revealed easily since their positions on economics supersede the nation’s needs. Free trade extremists, acolytes of the religion of globalization, would sacrifice national security interests for profit. At the other end of the spectrum, extreme protectionists would ensure that failing industries, that would eventually hurt the nation, continue under government largesse.

Often lost in this swamp is one of the principal benefits of actual free trade, which increases security and diplomatic power. The common-sense approach realizes that free trade, which is based on mutual benefit, secured against government corruption, predatory pricing and lending, dumping and over-regulation, is a net positive.

Needless to say, China engages in all of those harmful practices, making it the most flawed example of free trade on the planet.

One free trade agreement that would knit together economic, security, diplomatic and cultural alliance is the one between the U.S. and the U.K.

One of the potential positive outcomes of Brexit is to reignite the need for this economic union. What comes to mind is Winston Churchill’s famous quote of 1940, “We must be united, we must be undaunted, we must be inflexible. Our qualities and deeds must burn and glow through the gloom of Europe until they become the veritable beacon of its salvation.”

Many economists have focused on the failed attempt from 2013 to 2016 to create a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), which failed primarily due to the EU overregulation and protectionist practices in areas such as agriculture and automobiles.

Prior to Brexit, any free trade arrangement with Great Britain would have had to be under an EU umbrella. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was vilified by many on the U.S./U.K. leftwing for supporting Brexit, though few would trade the U.K.’s response to the COVID pandemic with that of the E.U.

As a result of Brexit, President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Johnson engaged in five negotiation sessions which started on May 5, 2020, to hammer out a U.S./U.K. FTA.

The Trump administration envisioned the benefits of such an agreement to expand economic opportunities in all sectors, create better-paying jobs for Americans and eliminate tariffs and nontariff barriers between the two. In addition, the U.K. felt that such an agreement would enliven British GDP and consumer choice.

Although there are many more positives than negatives, there are hurdles to overcome. For example, British food standards that oppose particular GMOs, chemical, antibiotic and hormone use by U.S. producers are a clear issue on their side of the Atlantic, while Americans view the British National Health Service (NHS) effectively undercuts American pharmaceuticals through government support. There are also sticking points over digital service taxes.

This U.S./U.K. FTA would join the world’s first- and sixth-largest economies and promote military and defense sales and technology exchange when anti-Western adversaries are growing in strength. More importantly and beyond the scope of any economic calculation, such an FTA would strengthen the Anglo-American special relationship at a time when Churchill’s dream of the destiny of the “English-speaking peoples” is needed more than ever.

It would fulfill the fifth clause of the 1940 Atlantic Charter between President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill: “Fifth, they desire to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field with the object of securing, for all, improved labor standards, economic advancement and social security;”.

This is not merely the concrete military and diplomatic link which is the strongest between two nations, perhaps in history, but a bond of history, law, culture, religion and society.

Such an agreement is the natural and organic outgrowth of the Anglosphere as the center of gravity of western democratic and Judeo-Christian values whose influence over democracy promotion, human rights, the rule of law, the free flow of goods, services and ideas are the very cornerstones needed for a bright 21st century.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 6 May, 2021.

Newsmax: It’s Time the Biden Administration Recognizes That Space Force Is No Farce

There seems to be a cottage industry developing around the White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, and her gaffes and mischaracterizations.

For example, when asked about the Biden administration’s support for the new military branch, the United States Space Force, Psaki was caught off guard.

A reporter asked about the Biden administration’s commitment to keeping Space Force, and she responded, “Wow. Space Force. It’s the plane of today.”

The reporter pushed back, and Psaki continued by saying, “It is an interesting question. I am happy to check with our Space Force point of contact. I’m not sure who that is. I will find out and see if we have any update on that.”

House Armed Services ranking member Mike Rogers was blunt when he remarked, “It’s concerning to see the Biden administration’s press secretary blatantly diminish an entire branch of our military as the punchline of a joke, which I’m sure China would find funny,” Psaki later walked the comment back.

The White House confirmed their “full support” for Space Force.

However, most analysts agree that space-national security is not a top priority of this administration.

As one of the presenters and authors of Space Command’s, The Future of Space 2060, it is incumbent on those enmeshed in space strategy to comment during this genesis period for the new U.S. Space Force.

Space Force is under siege by various factions with drastically different ideologies, ranging from left-wing secular progressives that believe Space Force will militarize an already militarized space to libertarians who believe that it is a colossal waste of money.

These two vastly different groups share two traits: firstly, they want to characterize Space Force as a “Trump vanity project.”

Secondly, they have zero understanding of the strategic precipice America is walking on. Thus, these groups focus on cosmetic attacks because they are entirely out of their depth on strategy.

They make fun of the uniforms, the name “guardians,” the use of the delta insignia (which pre-dates Star Trek), and the general absurdity via a Netflix series.

A review of the fundamental issues is in order. There were long-standing debates about the need for a military space branch. Ultimately, these debates distilled down to arguments over the concepts of “Guard,” “Corps,” and “Force.”

The third idea, a Space Force, would be an independent branch after transitioning from the U.S. Air Force.

These debates were held among space and military professionals in niche areas and did not include the broader national security elite or the electorate. This is one reason why the extremists have controlled the narrative and may offer cover to those in the new administration that want to stall Space Force rather than eliminate an already existing institution.

In an interview with the NYT on March 8th, General Raymond, U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations, summarized the new branch’s importance: “I think it’s really important for the average American to understand access to space and freedom to maneuver in space is a vital interest.”

The benefit to the American people protected by our Space Force Guardians is immeasurable. Any professional looking at the future of American national security realizes that this security will depend on which power exercises military primacy and space governance.

Thus, there will no longer be a separation between what we call national security and space strategy, to be precise. They will literally and figuratively be the same. Let that sink into any reader as one evaluates the need for the U.S. Space Force. The benefits and threats from space will dwarf those on Earth.

All of those benefits and threats on Earth will ultimately be decided by space strategy.

The mightiest Carrier Task Force, tank platoon, or bomb squadron will be utterly vulnerable to space-based threats just as the medieval fortress became almost useless versus mobile artillery and, later on, warplanes.

China and Russia are embarked on complimentary space policies to beat us in space. They already have their versions of a militarized space branch, and more importantly, space dominance doctrines that are specifically designed to dethrone the United States from its military and economic position.

Thus, a newsflash for opponents or those that mock Space Force is this: space was militarized long ago and continues to be militarized. Russia and China fully intend to amplify this regardless of American efforts, including diplomacy and or negotiations.

The coming economic revolution, the revolution of “New Space,” the revolution of the “triplanetary economy,” will unleash economic forces and powers that will extend economies and resources beyond anything in human history. This econosphere will either be protected by Space Force or left to be exploited by America’s adversaries.

The new space economy will need to be protected, communication will need to be managed, travel and spacecraft control maintained, and debris will need to be cleared. No economic system can exist without the protection of the law, private property, contracts, and protection from hostility, violence, chaos, and criminality.

The future of WMD defense, cyber defense, energy production, environmental protection, and democratic values will be entirely dependent on American space strategy.

The creation and success of Space Force now signal to America’s adversaries the seriousness in which we take American security beyond rhetoric.

The Space Force is the foundation to build this security for the future.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 29 March 2021.

Washington Times: Building America’s future in space will strengthen national security

‘Star Trek’ hit the airwaves 55 years ago, but the U.S. future in space will be equally as innovative

In September 2019, the then-U.S. Air Force Space Command (before the re-creation of U.S. Space Command and creation of the Space Force) sponsored a workshop titled “The Future of Space 2060 and Implications for U.S. Strategy.” As one of the many authors, presenters and participants, I can attest to this exercise’s value for the future of American national security. 

Therefore, it is not surprising that we titled the best outcome for the United States (out of eight future paths, two of which would spell catastrophe for the United States) “Star Trek.” This 2060 future was one where there will be a robust human presence in space. There will be an enormous economic opportunity and, most importantly, it will be led by the United States and our alliance partners.

Now, in 2021 we are observing the 55th anniversary of “Star Trek,” and one can expect a panoply of odes, eulogies, parodies and parallels. Space Force has already been accused of copying Star Fleet’s delta, whereas “Star Trek” copied the delta used before “Star Trek” by the Army Air Force and NASA.

This is a great example, albeit cosmetic, of the problem that critics have of Space Force. They believe that by linking the U.S. Space Force to “Star Trek,” they will somehow discredit the organization. Perhaps, they are trying to take a page from attacks on President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative when instead of debating its many merits, they thought they would castigate it with the moniker “Star Wars.” 

We can pause here and offer a lesson in strategy and tactics. If you want to discredit something associated with space in the American public’s eyes, especially potential recruits, don’t use the two most fantastic visions of space and space opera to do it. One would have loved to be in the meetings where someone voiced their proposal and said, “We don’t want Space Force, so what you need to do is convince all those children that if they join, they will be going warp speed and wielding lightsabers.” 

If your demographic is people with no vision and imagination, you have yourself a winner.

William Shatner’s article, “William Shatner wants to know: What the heck is wrong with you, Space Force?” Military Times, Aug. 26, 2020, created a stir as he advocated naval instead of Army and Air Force rank by using science fiction standards. His more profound argument revolved around the need for heroes in the public mind, and this would best be done by linking Space Force with science fiction like “Star Trek.”

“Star Trek” offered a vision that was a victory for democratic values. It served and continues to serve as a foil to the anti-hero dystopia that passes for much futurism today. Star Trek exhibited the absolute nature of American values by recoiling at the horror of genocide (“The Conscience of the King”), harpooning futuristic tyrants (“The Apple”) and hippie culture (“The Way of Eden”).

More importantly for Americans is that “Star Trek” represented an American vision of the future. This is not merely a representation of American patriotism but the universal values America champions. This ranged from the cosmetic where Capt. James T. Kirk was from Riverside, Iowa, to “Star Trek” promoting the values of liberty, right reason, frontier spirit and the dignity of human rights.

Star Fleet played the role of a futuristic military and exploration mission. This was akin to the American Army and Navy’s 19th-century exploits and was the sword and shield of these values. Star Fleet promoted a neo-manifest destiny broadening Thomas Jefferson’s “Empire of Liberty” adversaries like the Klingons and Romulans are totalitarian and authoritarian dictatorships bent on destruction and conquest.

My favorite episode that expresses all of this is –- ”The Omega Glory,” where the USS Enterprise’s landing party finds itself thrust into a planetary war between the Yangs (Yankees) and the Kohms (Communists). The Yankees eventually defeat the Communists, and Kirk discovers that their worship words are the American Pledge of Allegiance and the U.S. Constitution. In the famous ending speech, Kirk states: “Among my people, we carry many such words as this from many lands, many worlds. Many are equally good and are as well respected, but wherever we have gone, no words have said this thing of importance in quite this way. Look at these three words written larger than the rest, with a special pride never written before or since … 

“‘We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. These words and the words that follow were not written only for the Yangs, but for the Kohms as well!”

I have read countless reviews of this episode from pseudo-intellectual critics who decry the episode as “the worst.” They complain that it is overly patriotic, racist, and impossible for a planet to develop such a parallel conflict. 

Kirk, whose hero was Abraham Lincoln, is a good starting point for dismissing this episode’s critics and a “Star Trek” link to the American future. Lincoln, whose classical conservative roots stressed the Declaration of Independence’s universality, founded under the fatherhood of God and under God’s natural law. Lincoln understood that these values transcended time and space and were literally universal. One has to pity the uneducated rabble for their mistakes of ignorance. It is precisely the point that a space dominated by western powers will be a space dominated by the universal values based on the natural law of life, liberty and property.

The creator of “Star Trek,” Gene Roddenberry, a former bomber pilot and policeman, was incredibly proud of “The Omega Glory” when he stated, “It is deserving of a bit of promotion because of its unusual nature and an unusual patriotic theme toward the end of it, plus an unusual aspect involving East-West conflict.”

The Star Fleet of the 1960s upheld the classical liberal values of America’s founding, with statecraft’s classical conservative tools. We should embrace it as the template for the future, an unabashedly American-led one.

This piece originally ran on The Washington Times on 18 March 2021.

Newsmax: US Must Draw Red Line Amid China Saber Rattling

China engaged in high-level saber-rattling and boldness when Chinese Politburo member and State Councilor Yang Jiechi used the muscular red-line term in diplomacy.

“We in China hope that the United States will rise above the outdated mentality of zero-sum, major-power rivalry and work with China to keep the relationship on the right track,” Yang said on February 2, 2021, in a speech to the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

He exhorted the U.S. to stop “harassing Chinese students, restricting Chinese media outlets, shutting down Confucius Institutes and suppressing Chinese companies.” He said Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, and Xinjiang affairs were a “red line that must not be crossed.”

As I have written about before, the famous diplomatic red line’s origins transport us back to the Roman Republic. It revolved around a meeting between the Roman ambassador and the King of the Seleucid Empire, threatening Egypt’s Roman protectorate in 168 B.C.

The meager Roman mission was to force the king to return to Syria. The exchange between the two, as the story itself, has many variations. Initially, the Seleucid’s laugh at such a paltry show of force until the lone-old ambassador draws a line in the sand and says that he had better be marching toward Syria when he steps across the line, not Egypt.

The king retreated, and the red line was born. The concept of a red line was reborn in the contemporary period during the Obama administration when on August 20, 2012, Obama declared an American red line if Assad used chemical weapons again. The Assad regime continued to use them, and there were no dire consequences. The administration had failed in their weak attempt to learn from antiquity.

This vacillation was the bane of the Obama years. The diminishment of American credibility abroad, the self-loathing of American exceptionalism, and the inability to take a firm stand against the worst tyrants, all while hollowing out the U.S. military.

If we parse Communist bombast, we are left with the following: China, which wishes to be the sole superpower by the 100th anniversary of the PRC’s founding in 2049, hopes for the USA to stop an “outdated mentality.”

America should allow Chinese companies to engage in economic espionage, propagandize through our media, and ignore the grossest violations of human rights on the planet. This is all within the context of China’s subjugation of Hong Kong, the ethnic cleansing of the Uighurs, the internal colonization of Tibet, and the intimidation of Taiwan.

If there was ever a self-evident difference between the kind of nation the United States is versus others, it is here. We issued a red line to stop an evil regime from using weapons of mass destruction on their people, and China issues a red line to engage in the same style of evil at home and abroad.

The China red-line speech reflects a very typical Chinese diplomatic style: mix threat, friendliness and victimhood in the same statement and policy.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken responded by stating, “that the United States will work together with its allies and partners in defense of our shared values and interests to hold the [People’s Republic of China] accountable for its efforts to threaten stability in the Indo-Pacific, including across the Taiwan Strait, and its undermining of the rules-based international system.”

China responded by dialing up the temperature on its original red-line rhetoric when Ambassador for the PRC to the United States Cui Tiankai belittled America in an interview stating that America “still shows the example of power rather than the power of example. You don’t have an effective foreign policy just by talking tough or playing tough. This is not the right way of doing diplomacy.”

China has recently escalated its hostile posture toward Taiwan with continuous probing into Taiwanese airspace. It further plans to engage in a “trilateral naval exercise” with Russia and Iran in the Indian Ocean.

China’s neo-Maoist ideology, combined with anti-democratic propaganda, a self-righteous persona, mixed with revanchist psychology, is a toxic atmosphere that the United States must stand against at every point globally. China needs to be taught the real meaning of a Roman red line.

This post first appeared on Newsmax on 11 February 2021.