Newsmax: Ghosts of Eastern Europe Still Haunt US Policy

The president is accused of acting lethargically over the crisis in Eastern Europe, advised by an overly cautious secretary of state regarding a part of the world that few Americans understand.

This was the situation in 1849 when 200,000 Russian troops crushed the democratic revolution in Hungary. The secretary of state became the future president, whose administration was often dubbed the “worst in American history.” This man was the Democratic President Buchanan.

In the 20th century, another Democratic president would be pulled into the Eastern European vortex of unrealistic expectations on the one hand and perceived false promises on the other. That president, Woodrow Wilson, was desperate for reasons to justify American military intervention against the new Soviet regime.

Meanwhile, our British and French allies were urging more aggressive action. Wilson led a rallying cry to save the “lost” Czech Legion who had sided with allies during World War I. In part, American troops intervening in Russia would ensure that the Czech allies made it safely home.

This half-hearted attempt to, as Winston Churchill stated, “strangle Bolshevism in its cradle” failed miserably.

A third Democratic administration made a fatal mistake. During the waning days of World War II, American troops made it to the outskirts of Prague but were forbidden from liberating the country due to the Yalta Agreement with the USSR.

The Yalta Agreement, ironically in Crimea, was governed by FDR’s appeasement to a Soviet sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. This is a decision that reverberates to this day. FDR’s unwillingness to stand against Russian/Soviet foreign policy aims constructed the snare that the United States still faces today.

Yalta ceded de facto control of Eastern Europe to Soviet aims, leading to their ultimate control by Moscow until 1990. This meant that the Soviet Union had achieved what Russian foreign policy for centuries could not, a western buffer zone against the west that included Ukraine, Poland, eastern Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, and the Baltic States.

It cemented in the Russian/Soviet mindsets their right to control the destiny of this region. This grand mistake, resting on the more minor errors made by Buchanan and Wilson, is the specter that has haunted American foreign policy for generations.

In essence, it doomed multiple generations of eastern Europeans to tyranny and abuse.

The last gasp of American foreign policy came under the new Republican administration of Dwight Eisenhower. Along with the Dulles brothers, one as secretary of state and the other as director of CIA, Eisenhower came into office preaching a policy of “liberation and rollback” to counter Harry Truman’s containment.

The problem was that Truman’s policy was equally based on liberation as it was on containment, and Eisenhower was never willing to transform rhetoric into reality.

The year 1953 saw anti-communist (and anti-Russian) uprisings in East Germany that were quickly squashed. In 1956, Hungary went into an open and successful revolution, breaking free of communist and Soviet control and declaring independence.

The idea of freeing Eastern Europe, including Ukraine and the Baltic, went beyond rhetoric. In 1947 the CIA’s Office of Policy Coordination began planning and training émigré units to be inserted into Eastern Europe with the ultimate goal of liberating them from communist control.

The first significant attempt to do this was Operation Valuable in Albania in 1949, which turned into a fiasco due to Soviet penetration of British intelligence. By 1950, The Ukrainian Resistance Army numbered 40,000 and was seen as an avenue for CIA assistance. Unfortunately, this also did not materialize into a success.

Nevertheless, the CIA continued to expand the program, eventually creating the Volunteer Freedom Corps (VFC), with aspirational strength of 250,000 Eastern European soldiers under American leadership. The VFC plan was given a considerable boost by events in East Germany in 1953. Thus, Operation Red Sox/Red Cap was born.

The CIA would use the VFC forces to create an insurgency and ultimately liberate Eastern Europe. The test occurred when Hungary successfully overthrew its communist government and temporarily pushed the Soviets out.

However, in the 11th hour, the Eisenhower administration decided that a total commitment to Red Sox/Red Cap could mean an all-out war, possibly nuclear in nature, against the Soviet Union. Consequently, Hungary was reconquered by the Soviets, and aside from the brief attempt by the Czechs in 1968, the region was doomed to Soviet control until 1990.

Thus, the checkered past of U.S foreign policy, especially the Yalta Accords, has placed the United States on a defensive posture that we are haunted by today. Americans should keep this in mind as we attempt to make decisions now that will create the conditions for the 21st century.

Only through robust and dynamic American primacy can American foreign policy be successful.

Newsmax: Another Scourge From Syria: Drugs That Back Hezbollah

I have written about the Syrian Civil war for over 10 years. Primarily, it is important to highlight two related catastrophes. The first is the immense death toll of civilians and world leaders’ general indifference to these deaths unless weapons of mass destruction were involved.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights estimates that there have been 350,000 civilians killed between March 2011 and March 2021. The number killed by chemical weapons is around 2,000, many of those happening after the failed Obama era agreement.

The second catastrophe is the insidious toxic triangle between a corrupt and evil Syrian government and her Iranian and Russian patrons. This allowed Iran to pursue her Shiite imperial designs and Russia to regain some of her Soviet-era influence in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

The second catastrophe is the insidious toxic triangle between a corrupt and evil Syrian government and her Iranian and Russian patrons

The latest installment of the tragic Syrian story revolves around a drug. The drug’s name is Captagon (fenethylline hydrochloride). It is an amphetamine the stimulates the central nervous system, making users feel euphoric, fearless, powerful and even creating a mentality of bloodlust.

How does this relate to Syria? As is well known by those who study foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs), there are direct links between FTOs, rogue regimes (like Iran, Syria, and North Korea), and drug cartels.

For example, it is believed that at least 30% of Hezbollah’s budget is from drug trafficking. A public relations campaign attempted to educate Americans who purchased narcotics during the Bush administration. By doing this, you are assisting the enemies of the United States who kill American soldiers.

Unfortunately, the following administrations have failed to continue to highlight this link to the electorate. In Syria, we add the element of Russian adventurism.

It is believed that at least 30% of Hezbollah’s budget is from drug trafficking

Syria’s Fourth Army division controls most of the Captagon factories in Syria, generating huge blood profits. The drug is often exported out of the ports of Tartus and Latakia, where the Russian military operates.

The Russians control the security of shipments out of these ports, and a Russian company, STG Engineering, facilitates the business of Syria’s Fourth Division. The Center for Operational Analysis and Research (COAR) reported that the Syrian-produced Captagon had a street value of at least $3.5 Billion in 2020. This would be five times more than the value of Syria’s legitimate exports.

It is also assumed that Iran’s client terror state, Hezbollah, whose past facilitation and use of the hashish and opium markets are also being used for selling and distributing Captagon. It appears that Hezbollah helps smuggle raw material for Captagon into Syria and helps to smuggle Captagon out of Syria to other locations. Hassan Daqo who has ties with Hezbollah and the Syrian Fourth Division.

Daqo, the “King of Captagon,” was arrested by Lebanese authorities in the Bekaa valley in 2021. He was accused of establishing a laboratory and then smuggling Captagon into Greece and Saudi Arabia.

Two administrations later, we must deal with the aftermath of collapsed American leadership due to timidity and incompetence

This should be of great concern to the United States and its allies for multiple reasons. First, it solidifies the toxic triangle between Russia, Iran, and Syria. Second, the profits can be used both to expand Syria’s military, including her weapons of mass destruction program.

Third, the profits can support terrorism. Fourth, it amplifies the cancer of drug availability on our streets. Finally, it is another example of a rogue country embracing a role as a narco-state.

The Syrian policy under the Obama administration was one of its worst foreign policy failures in an ocean of foreign policy disasters. Two administrations later, we must deal with the aftermath of collapsed American leadership due to timidity and incompetence.

This is simply another road marker that should teach American policymakers that we can avoid these political and humanitarian disasters through clear American leadership and primacy.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 18 January 2022.

Washington Times: China’s new blue water naval phase

Its projection of power in the third world shows ambitions beyond Earth

One of the significant metaphors among national security experts is the use of color to explain naval capability. Brown water describes nations that can only operate in their own river ways and estuaries; green water is those navies that can operate near and around their coastal waters and, finally, blue water, which projects power internationally, militarily, economically and within the political realm.

It is important to note that blue water capability is not just the ability for a warship to cross oceans but to knit together and stabilize a nation’s overseas economic and trade interests. It creates a synergy between economics, diplomacy and military needs and wants. 

The last time China was willing and able to do this was the 15th century during Admiral Zheng He’s “Ming treasure fleet voyages.” From 1405 to 1433, the fleet projected Chinese power into South Asia, the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. It combined military combat, diplomacy and trade to establish dominance. China established military bases, trade routes and a tribute system. It ended by choice because of China’s internal political and diplomatic shift in priorities.

Blue water capability is not just the ability for a warship to cross oceans but to knit together and stabilize a nation’s overseas economic and trade interests.

Why is this important today? This 15th-century template that China uses to project power in the 21st century in the third world will be its template for its ambitions beyond earth.

The One Belt One Road initiative is well known. What is not as well known is how far afield Chinese ambitions are taking it. I have written about Chinese expansion into the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden in articles past. Unfortunately, an evolution of this policy is now with us. This is illustrated by Chinese actions in the West African country of Equatorial Guinea. 

The story here mirrors events already played out in South Asia where Chinese predatory loans, diplomatic pressure and the shadow of military coercion combine with corrupt regimes to make these nations semi-vassals of Chinese ambition. 

One of China’s more advanced expansion methods is diplomatic and economic institution building

For example, Equatorial Guinea is ranked the fourth most corrupt government by Transparency International, and her debt to China surpasses 49% of GDP. Thus, it is of great concern to American interests that the Chinese constructed Port of Bata will be used as a Chinese military base where her warships can repair, rearm and refit. 

In addition, Bata can be used as a staging ground for operations in and around Africa. American intelligence has reported to Congress that China is considering base-building with Kenya, Seychelles, Angola and Tanzania.

One of China’s more advanced expansion methods is diplomatic and economic institution building. An excellent example of this is the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, created in 2000. This is an attempt to create a pan-Africa system of economic and military dependence on Beijing under the guise of development and security. But, unfortunately, its use of predatory loans to create debt enslavement is already in place in many nations worldwide. We can see this alive and well in Africa in Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Congo, Zambia and Cameroon.

China’s predatory acts, illustrating the naked ambition to gain world hegemony, are a precursor of further destabilizing behavior and an attack on American vital and national interests

China trains and equips the national police and is highly interested in its oil reserves. Thus, China is well on its way to a naval base in the Atlantic Ocean. Meanwhile, we see similar behavior in the Caribbean Basin on the other side of the Atlantic. As Tom Tugendhat, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British Parliament, stated, “Beijing had actively sought to undermine London’s historical status as a key partner with Caribbean nations.” China is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and establishing military-to-military relations.

China’s predatory acts, illustrating the naked ambition to gain world hegemony, are a precursor of further destabilizing behavior and an attack on American vital and national interest, Western civilization and democratic values. Its actions in the Caribbean blatantly violate the Monroe Doctrine, which the United States has effectively enforced when it has chosen to do so since 1823. This doctrine declared that the Western hemisphere was a forbidden zone to America’s enemies and a pivotal pillar of American foreign policy.

We have successfully protected American interests when we have chosen to enforce it and have suffered greatly, along with the Americas as a whole when we have not. We are now at that point again. We cannot allow 15th-century Chinese maritime strategy ghosts to reappear on a grander scale. We again are at a crossroads of decision-making. A choice of weakness will result in generational disaster.

This piece originally ran on The Washington Times digital edition on 17 January, 2022.

Newsmax: Biden-Xi Exemplifies Bad Version of Theatrical Summits

There is pageantry and expectation related to summits between the United States and other powers. However, summits have usually produced serious policy decisions agreed upon conceptually by the principal players, whose specifics are worked out prior, during or immediately after by deputies.

Therefore, presidential administrations should be extremely cautious in using the word summit and even more careful in engaging them.

Summits have not often gone well for the West and, in particular, the United States. This is especially true of the Second World War conferences, especially the agreement at Yalta in the winter of 1945.

Summits, like the one at Yalta, become entities in and of themselves. These summits create an atmosphere of national and worldwide expectations that can never deliver.

This momentum leads foreign policymakers, particularly American ones, to absorb a mindset that they must engage summits and produce something. President Ronald Reagan boldly held the line at Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1986, rather than give in to the evil empire.

The age of U.S. and Soviet summits, starting in 1955, became benchmarks for American foreign policy. Unfortunately, these rarely served the interests of the United States.

Examples here were the Nixon/Brezhnev summit of 1972 with the disastrous ABM treaty, hampering U.S. national security for decades or the morally bankrupt Helsinki Accords of 1975. The 1988 Moscow Summit, hailed by some as very tangible diplomacy, resulted in the finalization of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, which Russia continues to violate.

However, the summit created an environment that this flawed agreement was a sacred cow that could not be challenged. Finally, a host of Middle East-oriented summits resulted in declarations of peace and stability, primarily ignored once the pageantry was over.

As bad as many of these summits were, there was at least some attempt at producing results. This is why the Biden-Xi summit is so baffling. One would be hard-pressed to create a list of anything productive. As bad as many past summits have been, this one is a theatrical version of bad summits.

The news was so desperate for a takeaway that they focused on renewing journalistic visas and establishing so-called “guard rails.” What were these rails guarding?

The administration could have used this opportunity to make a clear defense of Taiwanese’s sovereignty and democracy. It could have ended the bluster-inducing policy of “strategic ambiguity.”

Instead, a November 23rd freedom of navigation operation by the USS Milius now passes for being strong on China. This is hardly a substitute for actual strategy, and if anything, emboldens the Chinese.

In other words, if this is the best we can come up with, how serious are we about security in the region? This could easily be compared to the days when America stood clearly against Chinese expansionism, as Eisenhower used nuclear weapon diplomacy in both 1954 and 1958.

There has been much discussion about the summit regarding the “one-China policy.” The United States has never accepted China’s definition of the so-called “one-China policy.”

The United States has consistently refused to recognize the PRC’s sovereignty over the Republic of China on Taiwan. The critical diplomatic word in the original language was “acknowledge.”

The U.S. position has been that we acknowledge the Chinese position that Taiwan is part of China. You and I can acknowledge that you believe you are the god-emperor of Dune, and that is where the conversation will end.

If one looks at this from a strategic lens, the U.S. can often do more harm to itself by participating in hollow summitry than in no summits. The word carries diplomatic baggage and creates expectations of serious results.

The nature of the discussion that was recently had may be the stuff of mid-level diplomats, and that is a stretch.

As long as American foreign policy is driven by false expectations and worships at the altar of deal-making at any cost, engaging in summits that are nonstarters from the beginning is exponentially dangerous when credibility is being questioned. Engaging in summits with a morally bankrupt tyranny that seeks both global and beyond earth domination is a prescription for disaster.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 29 November, 2021.

NewsMax: How Christopher Columbus Can Help America Today

Columbus Day 2021 mostly went unnoticed. The holiday, once an iconic staple on the American calendar, has descended into apathy or antipathy. Those Americans with Italian family names (notice I did not use the woke hyphenated “Italian-American”) argue that it is the only holiday celebrating Italian heritage in a country where they accounted for over 10% of American soldiers in both world wars.

Although attacks on Columbus Day are only secondary attacks against those with Italian names, the depth of the hatred of Columbus has darker roots.

The hatred for Columbus is often justified in some minds by the excesses engaged in by European colonization. This includes the laundry list of human rights abuses and exploitation that occurred during the Age of Exploration and Discovery.

The center of gravity of this criticism emanated from Howard Zinn’s, A People’s History of the United States, a Marxist, distorted, ideologically driven fiction designed to belittle American civilization.

Zinn was not demonizing Columbus merely because he represented everything Zinn hated, namely Christian civilization, but felt that if he could bring Columbus down, he could cause a domino effect through the panoply of American history. Destroy the first American hero, and you poison all the fruit from that tree.

In other words, by destroying Columbus, you have light lifting when it comes to Washington and Lincoln. Zinn and many modern academics embrace an Orwellian view of the universe that is so driven by a monolithic ideology that it easily rivals the most intense religious zealotry.

It should go without saying that Columbus represented his time, and any attempt to use a 21st-century yardstick is childish at best and dishonest at worst. Further, it reduces his achievement to nothing.

This week, Star Trek merged with reality as the actor William Shatner went into space.

Star Trek of the mid-20th century was the fictional Columbus story of its time. Thus, the hero of many a boy from both the boomer and Generation X cohort, Captain James T. Kirk, became a new kind of hero as the 90-year-old William Shatner did on October 13.

Kirk/Shatner are heroes in a society engaged in a civil war about the role of heroes. Columbus was a hero.

He defied the thinking of his time, defied the odds, defied the tyranny of small minds, and through his faith in God, embarked on an adventure that changed the entire course of human history for the better.

His voyages led to the colonization of America (named notably after another Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci) and the creation of the United States. Columbus seized his destiny, and no attempt by lesser mortals who are best known for virtue-signaling can change that.

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan said it best: “He was a dreamer, a man of vision and courage, a man filled with hope for the future and with the determination to cast off for the unknown and sail into uncharted seas for the joy of finding whatever was there. Put it all together, and you might say that Columbus was the inventor of the American dream.”

This is represented by the iconic photograph taken in 1992 of replicas of the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria sailing by the Kennedy Space Center launchpad.

America stands at the crossroads of a new age of discovery, exploration, and expansion. The new distant shore is the Moon and Mars. We are in this race, as Spain was with Portugal in the 15th century, and the U.S. was with the Soviet Union in the 20th century.

Twenty-first century America is in a race with a myriad of potential adversaries that want to create a new order of control by seeking dominance in space. It will require America to harness the heroic qualities of Columbus, unabashedly, to emerge victorious, not only for itself but for all free peoples.

This piece originally ran on NewsMax on Friday, 15 October 2021.

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


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.


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.


[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,

[3] “Space Capstone Publication: Spacepower, Doctrine for Space Forces,” U.S. Space Force, June 2020, page vi,

[4] “Space Capstone Publication: Spacepower, Doctrine for Space Forces,” U.S. Space Force, June 2020, page 27

[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,; “Remarks by President Obama to the United Nations General Assembly,” The Obama White House, September 28, 2015,

[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,

[9] Charles Kupchan, “America First Means a Retreat from Foreign Conflicts,” Foreign Affairs, Septemgber 2019,

[10] Robin Niblett, “Liberalism in Retreat-The Demise of a Dream,” Foreign Affairs, January/February 2017.

[11] Béraud-Sudreau, Lucie. “Global Defence Spending: The United States Widens the Gap,” International Institute for Strategic Studies, February 14, 2020,

[12] Simon Seminari, “Op-Ed | Global Government Space Budgets Continues Multiyear Rebound,” SpaceNews, November 24, 2019,


[14] Martin McCauley and Dominic Lieven, “Ethnic relations and Russia’s ‘near-abroad’,” Britannica, accessed March 23, 2021,

[15] Maheera Lodhi, “America’s China Preoccupation,”, 21 June 2021,

[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,

[18] Todd Harrison, Kaitlyn Johnson, and Thomas G. Roberts, Center for Strategic & International Studies, accessed March 23, 2021,


[20] Caleb Henry, “Putin Challenges Roscosmos to “drastically Improve” On Space and Launch,” SpaceNews, July 20, 2018,

[21] “Structure: Aerospace Forces,” Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, accessed March 23, 2021,


[23] “Space Forces,” Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, accessed March 23, 2021,

[24] W.J. Hennigan, “Exclusive: Strange Russian Spacecraft Shadowing U.S. Spy Satellite, General Says,” Time, February 10, 2020,

[25] “Joint Meeting of the Scientific and Technical Council of Roscosmos and the Space Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences,” Roscosmos, November 28, 2018,

[26] “Independent Foreign Policy of Peace,” Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China, accessed March 23, 2021,

[27] Richard E. Poole, “China’s ‘harmonious world’ in the Era of the Rising East,” Inquiries Journal 6, no. 10 (2014),

[28]“2021 Military Strength Ranking,” Global Firepower, accessed March 22, 2021,

[29] Béraud-Sudreau, Lucie. “Global Defence Spending: The United States Widens the Gap,” International Institute for Strategic Studies, February 14, 2020,; Charlie Campbell, “From Satellites to the Moon and Mars, China Is Quickly Becoming a Space Superpower,” Time, July 17, 2019,

[30] Natalie Colarossi, “Temples, Opera, and Braids: Photos Reveal What China Looked Like Before the Cultural Revolution,” Business Insider, March 4, 2020,

[31] Stephen Olson, “Are Private Chinese Companies Really Private?,” The Diplomat, September 30, 2020,

[32] Giulio Prisco, “The West Needs Bold, Sustainable, and Inclusive Space Programs and Visions, or Else,” The Space Review, September 14, 2020,

[33] Campbell, “From Satellites to the Moon and Mars, China Is Quickly Becoming a Space Superpower,” Time, July 17, 2019,

[34] “Hearing On China in Space: A Strategic Competition?,” United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission, April 25, 2019, pages 80-90,

[35] “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2020,” Department of Defense, September 1, 2020,

[36] “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2020,” Department of Defense, September 1, 2020,

[37] “Hearing On China in Space: A Strategic Competition?,” United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission, April 25, 2019, page 90,

[38] “Hearing On China in Space: A Strategic Competition?,” United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission, April 25, 2019, pages 76-89,

[39] Mike Wall, “China Just Landed On the Moon’s Far Side — and Will Probably Send Astronauts On Lunar Trips,”, January 5, 2019,; “China’s Mars Simulation,” National Review, accessed March 23, 2021,

[40] Namrata Goswami, “China’s Grand Strategy in Outer Space: To Establish Compelling Standards of Behavior,” The Space Review, August 5, 2019,

[41] Douglas Mackinnon, “The Looming Threat from China in Space,” April 11, 2020,

[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.

[43] “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2020,” Department of Defense, September 1, 2020,

[44] “Challenges to Security in Space,” Defense Intelligence Agency, February 11, 2019,

[45] Avery Thompson, “China Wants a Nuclear Space Shuttle by 2040,” Popular Mechanics, November 16, 2017,

[46] Avery Thompson, “China Wants a Nuclear Space Shuttle by 2040,” Popular Mechanics, November 16, 2017,

[47] “Hearing On China in Space: A Strategic Competition?,” United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission, April 25, 2019, pages 88-89,

[48] Eric Rosenbaum and Donovan Russo, “China Plans a Solar Power Play in Space That Nasa Abandoned Decades Ago,” CNBC, March 17, 2019,; “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,,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,

[50] “2021 Japan Military Strength,” Global Firepower, accessed March 23, 2021,

[51] United States Widens the Gap,” International Institute for Strategic Studies, February 14, 2020,

[52] Peter B. de Selding, “Japanese Government Seeks to Reorient Space Spending,” SpaceNews, September 28, 2010,,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,

[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,

[57] “National Security Strategy,” Office of the Prime Minister of Japan, December 13, 2013, page 5

[58] Matignon, Louis, “All About Japanese Space Law”, Space Legal Issues, June 5, 2020,

[59] “Japan Launches New Squadron to Step up Defense in Outer Space,” Japan Times, May 18, 2020,

[60] “Japan Launches New Squadron to Step up Defense in Outer Space,” Japan Times, May 18, 2020,

[61] “Japan Launches New Squadron to Step up Defense in Outer Space,” Japan Times, May 18, 2020,

[62]“Japan to Assign 100 Personnel to New Satellite Monitoring Unit,” Japan Times, May 14, 2019,

[63] Miriam Kramer, “Japan’s Military to Track Space Junk by 2019: Report,”, August 5, 2014,

[64] Mari Yamaguchi, “Japan Launches New Unit to Boost Defense in Space,” DefenseNews, May 18, 2020,; Junnosuke Kobara, “US and Japan Join to Tidy up Space-junk-cluttered Orbit,” Nikkei, September 10, 2019,

[65] Elizabeth Shim, “Shinzo Abe Meets with u.s. Space Commander After Hospital Visit,” United Press International, August 27, 2020,

[66] John Wright, “Where No Alliance Has Gone Before: US-Japan Military Cooperation in Space,” The Diplomat, February 4, 2020,

[67] “2021 India Military Strength,” Global Firepower, accessed March 23, 2021,

[68] International Institute for Strategic Studies, February 14, 2020,

[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,; Sushant Singh, “Can India Transcend Its Two-Front Challenge?,” War on the Rocks, September 14, 2020,

[71] Meia Nouwens, “India treats the Indian Ocean Region as its ‘own lake’, but China has different plans,” The Print, April 25, 2018,

[72] “Indian Navy Seeks Third Aircraft Carrier with 57 Fighter Planes Worth $25 Billion,” Defense World, January 16, 2018,

[73] K.S. Jayaraman, “India Allocates $1.2 Billion for Space Activities,” SpaceNews, March 9, 2015,

[74] Dinshaw Mistry, “The Geostrategic Implications of India’s Space Program,” Asian Survey, November/December 2001,

[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,

[77] Doris Elin Urrutia, “India’s anti-satellite missile test is a big deal. Here’s why.,”, March 30, 2019,

[78]Amit Saksena, “India and Space Defense,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs, March 23, 2014,

[79] Vivek Raghuvanshi, “India to Launch a Defense-Based Space Research Agency,” DefenseNews, June 12, 2019,

[80] Manveena Suri and Swati Gupta, “India’s Polar Moon Mission Puts Chandrayaan-2 in the History Books,” CNN, September 5, 2019,

[81] Meghan Bartels, “India Will Launch Its Own Astronauts to Space by 2022, Government Says,”, August 29, 2018,

[82] Elizabeth Howell, “Trump Hails India’s ‘impressive strides’ On Moon Exploration, Pledges Greater Cooperation On Space,”, February 27, 2020,

[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.