Fdd's overnight brief

June 16, 2021

In The News


As Iranians prepare to head to the polls on Friday, the only way for the leading moderate candidate to make any headway against the hard-line presidential front-runner is to convince millions of Iranians to bother voting at all. – Wall Street Journal

The only reformist candidate in Iran’s upcoming presidential election dropped out of the race Wednesday on the last day of campaigning, state media reported, likely trying to boost the chances of a moderate candidate. – Associated Press

A top European diplomat said Tuesday he believes international negotiations with Iran will ultimately succeed in re-imposing limits on its nuclear program, but indicated that more time may be needed. – Associated Press

A prominent contender in Iran’s presidential election appealed Tuesday for better economic and political relations with the West, his most extensive attempt yet to attract reformist voters just days ahead of the poll. – Associated Press

Reentering the Iranian nuclear deal is a “death wish” for Israel and the world, former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned Monday. – Jerusalem Post

Iran said Tuesday that it has produced 6.5 kilograms (14.3 pounds) of uranium enriched to 60 percent purity and 108 kilograms of uranium enriched to 20% purity in five months, far ahead of the schedule set by a law passed earlier this year by Tehran. – Times of Israel

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi will fly to Washington on Saturday evening, a month after he was set to go to discuss the Iranian threat and other regional challenges. – Jerusalem Post

Farzin Nadimi writes: Indeed, the Iranian regime is well versed in eroding regional security and U.S. authority using asymmetric and gray-zone methods, so it should not be permitted to extend these methods to the East Mediterranean. And if the Makran voyage is an attempt at running accurate missiles or heavily armed fast-attack craft to America’s backyard, Washington should view it as a serious, intolerable threat—one that may be easier to forestall before it takes hold than after. – Washington Institute

Bobby Ghosh writes: You might think Khamenei would want that, too. But the preservation of the theocracy is more important to the Supreme Leader than easing the pain of his subjects. As his predecessor Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini famously sneered when asked about the state of the economy, “Iran’s Islamic Revolution was not about the price of melons.”  – Bloomberg

Jay Mens writes: The panopticonic dictatorship they hope to budge will treat them more harshly. And although the Biden administration seems to have tepid hopes for detente with the Iranian regime, it now stands to become an even more fearsome foe. Raisi will enable this while the Iran nuclear deal, with its sumptuous financial relief and sunset clauses, will enable Raisi. It is a grim outlook. – Foreign Policy


Israeli airstrikes struck Gaza in the early hours of Wednesday in retaliation for incendiary balloons that crossed into the country from Hamas-controlled territory — an exchange that highlights the fragility of a cease-fire in the region and poses a first test for Israel’s new government. – Washington Post

A new poll released Tuesday finds a dramatic surge in Palestinian support for Hamas following last month’s Gaza war, with around three quarters viewing the Islamic militants as victors in a battle against Israel to defend Jerusalem and its holy sites. – Associated Press

Gaza child YouTuber Majda Abu Al-Ros, a.k.a “Majda Daughter of Jerusalem,” blasted Egypt for “blowing out of proportion” the extent of its aid to Gaza during the recent armed conflict with Israel and in its aftermath. – Middle East Media Research Institute

The Palestinians have assembled a new team of negotiators, with the encouragement of the United States, for renewed peace talks with Israel, according to a television report Tuesday as the new Israeli government settled into office. – Times of Israel

U.S. President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Naftali Bennett only two hours after he was sworn in on Sunday, a timeframe orders of magnitude shorter than the near month-long wait between Biden’s own swearing in and his first call to former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in February. – Haaretz

William A. Galston writes: The best political speech in many years was not delivered. Instead, incoming Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid set it aside and reprimanded members of Benjamin Netanyahu’s departing coalition for their nonstop heckling of incoming Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, which was outrageous even by the standards of the Knesset. […]Although Mr. Lapid’s speech was not heard, it should be read—and remembered.- Wall Street Journal

Assaf Orion writes: Because such belligerent rhetoric has sometimes become a self-fulfilling prophecy for “resistance” groups, and because Gaza is still at risk of re-escalating, one cannot prudently exclude additional conflicts erupting in the Strip, Lebanon, or elsewhere. To prevent these conflicts and their attendant human devastation, all parties will need to address the fact that intentional upstream preparation of densely populated urban battlefields has become the main strategy practiced by Iran and its proxies. When the rockets start flying, it will be too late. – Washington Institute


A militia leader and nephew of Yemen’s late strongman president has acknowledged that his Emirati-backed troops are stationed on an island in a crucial maritime chokepoint where a mysterious air base is now under construction. – Associated Press

The U.N.’s outgoing special envoy for Yemen expressed “deep regret” Tuesday that he failed to mediate a cease-fire and peace talks between Yemen’s warring parties, but said he hoped a recent diplomatic effort by Oman “will bear fruit.” – Associated Press

The United Nations should keep negotiating with Yemen’s Houthi rebels but also look at other possible options to ensure that an oil tanker moored off the war-torn country’s coast loaded with more than 1 million barrels of crude oil doesn’t rupture or explode causing an environmental catastrophe, the U.N. envoy for Yemen said Tuesday. – Associated Press

Middle East & North Africa

Algeria’s FLN, long the country’s biggest political party, won the most seats in Saturday’s parliamentary election, the head of the electoral authority said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Foreign ministers from Arab countries called on the United Nations Security Council to hold an urgent meeting about Ethiopia’s Nile dam, demanding a binding agreement before the next phase of filling the mega-project’s reservoir. – Bloomberg

US-led forces are carrying out war games near the disputed region of Western Sahara, in exercises jointly organised with Morocco and touted by US Africa Command as its largest. – Agence France-Presse

Since the civil war, through wars with Israel, militant bombings and domestic turmoil, Lebanese have considered their military as an anchor for stability, one of the only institutions standing above the country’s divisions. But the military is now threatened by Lebanon’s devastating financial collapse, one of the worst the world has seen in the past 150 years, according to the World Bank. – Associated Press

A group of international and regional rights groups on Tuesday urged member states of the U.N. Human Rights Council to establish an investigative mission into last year’s massive deadly blast at Beirut’s port. – Associated Press

On June 6, 2021, Hamas’ representative in Yemen, Mo’az Abu Shamala, met with Muhammad ‘Ali Al-Houthi, a member of the Houthi Supreme Political Council. At the meeting, attended also by two other members of the Hamas office in Yemen – office head ‘Omar Al-Subakhi and political affairs director ‘Abdallah Hadi – Abu Shamala presented Al-Houthi with a shield of honor on behalf of Hamas, in appreciation for the Houthi’s support of the Palestinian cause. […]The meeting between the Hamas representative in Yemen and the senior Houthi official provoked rage in the Saudi media. – Middle East Media Research Institute

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Azerbaijan Tuesday for a two-day visit and, with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev, traveled to Shusha, a city that Azerbaijan recaptured from Armenian forces in last autumn’s war. – Associated Press

Enes Kanter writes: Thousands of Turkish dissidents have fled Erdogan’s oppressive regime in the past five years, and every single one of them is living in fear that they could be the next to be kidnapped. […]It is time for the United States to take the lead and marshal international support against such renditions, no matter who is doing it. Ignoring Turkey’s illegal actions in other countries only encourages other dictators to follow suit. – Washington Post

Fadi Hassan writes: To what extent a population should be put under strain in order to compel political change in a foreign country is an old and open question. But the inaction by the international community in finding a political solution to the crisis is no longer tolerable and the disastrous costs on the ground — which will only get worse — should not be forgotten. – Financial Times


China now faces a world that increasingly views its economic and military might as a threat that must be confronted, as NATO’s leaders made clear in their summit in Brussels. – New York Times

The Chinese government said on Wednesday that “about five” of the uranium fuel rods inside a nuclear power plant in southeastern China had been damaged, but added that no radiation had leaked out of reactors at the site. – New York Times

China does not tolerate foreign forces intervening in Taiwan issues and has to make strong responses to such acts of “collusion”, the government said on Wednesday after the island reported the largest incursion to date of Chinese aircraft. – Reuters

NATO’s new strategic concept will incorporate the threat from China in a way that seeks to learn from failures to counter Russia’s influence, security analysts told the Washington Examiner, noting China is watching Russia’s techniques to drive wedges and weaken the alliance. – Washington Examiner

The Pentagon is considering establishing a permanent naval task force in the Pacific region as a counter to China’s growing military might, according to two people familiar with internal discussions. – Politico

China will send the first astronauts to its self-developed space station on Thursday. The Shenzhou-12 spacecraft carrying three astronauts will be launched atop a Long March 2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China, on Thursday at 9:22 a.m. local time. – CNBC

Dan Murtaugh writes: Problems at a Chinese nuclear power plant near Hong Kong probably aren’t cause for any concern, experts said. Some of the politics behind the situation just might be. […]What’s perhaps more disquieting is the seeming lack of communication between state-owned CGN and Electricite de France SA, the designer and minority owner of the plant. An EDF unit alerted the U.S. government on the issue, and on Monday the parent firm called for CGN to provide more information and to meet to discuss the operation’s issues. – Bloomberg

Joseph Bosco writes: Article VI of the Genocide Convention calls for a trial of those accused of genocide, either in a court where the crimes occurred or in an “international penal tribunal.” China certainly will not conduct such a proceeding, so the United States and others must muster the courage to begin arrangements for such a tribunal. The Genocide Convention and the Responsibility to Protect doctrine provide the least painful of the painful alternatives the Chinese government has placed before the international community. – The Hill

Kathrin Hille writes: That means Manila remains crucial. “The maths for the US is brutal. China dominates the South China Sea in every domain,” said Poling. “The only way you can change that maths is long-range fires from territory nearby. Lose the Philippines and you lose the South China Sea.”Washington’s only hope that will not happen lies in the fact that Duterte’s presidential term is coming to an end in May 2022. – Financial Times

Matthew P. Funaiole, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Brian Hart write: Recent commercial satellite imagery reveals that China has made substantial progress in the construction of its third aircraft carrier, commonly known as the Type 003. The vessel is slated to become the largest surface combatant in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and significantly upgrade China’s naval capabilities.- Center for Strategic and International Studies


As the U.S. military completes its withdrawal from Afghanistan in the coming weeks, the Biden administration says it is adding staff to hurry up the visa process for Afghans who worked for the U.S. government and want to flee to avoid Taliban reprisals. – Reuters

With Afghan troops in retreat and soon to lose vital American air support, Taliban commanders are voicing exuberance about quickly seizing full control of the country and re-establishing their version of an Islamic state. – Agence France-Presse

Max Boot writes: Watching the chaotic, humiliating scuttle from Afghanistan, I find it hard to argue with the assessment of one of Washington’s wise men. Leon Panetta, who served as CIA director and defense secretary under President Barack Obama, said recently: “Frankly, right now, the appearance of it is that since we didn’t have a plan, we basically have said, ‘To hell with Afghanistan.’” – Washington Post


Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, issued a rare warning about a “tense” food situation brought about by extensive flooding, the coronavirus pandemic and international sanctions, the state news media reported on Wednesday. – New York Times

A militia group in Myanmar’s conflict-torn Kayah State announced a halt to attacks on military targets on Tuesday, after appeals from local communities to cease fighting that had damaged homes and displaced more than 100,000 people. – Reuters

Twenty-eight Chinese air force aircraft, including fighters and nuclear-capable bombers, entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on Tuesday, the island’s government said, the largest reported incursion to date. – Reuters

Macau’s government said on Wednesday it would suspend operations at its representative office in Taiwan, following in the footsteps of Hong Kong, which made a similar move last month in response to Taipei’s support for pro-democracy activists there. – Reuters

Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan said his government is bolstering its legal arguments before potentially asking the World Trade Organization to resolve its wine-tariff trade dispute with China. – Bloomberg

Prosecutors in the trial of deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi presented arguments on Tuesday that she incited public disorder and flouted coronavirus restrictions, part of a package of charges the ruling military junta is seen as using to discredit her and consolidate its control. – Associated Press

Emil Avdaliani writes: Engagement with Central Asia could certainly help, and its absence would simply hand over Central Asia to the two powers. The region is in a dire need of rebalancing, and more room to maneuver. Both Russia and China are appreciated and feared in Central Asia. The West’s position will be critical though, and it must formulate a coherent strategy for economic and political engagement with Central Asia, or be locked out. – Center for European Policy Analysis


President Biden and his aides have been careful to lower expectations for the blockbuster part of his first trip abroad as president: his meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. – New York Times

After years of promises and some limited cooperation, Russia and China have begun to draw up ambitious plans for missions that would directly compete with those of the United States and its partners, ushering in a new era of space competition that could be as intense as the first. – New York Times

The Russian president’s one-on-one with NBC has been widely aired and much discussed across state media platforms. In it, Putin dropped a Russian schoolyard rhyme in response to one question and alluded to the satirical Soviet novel “The Little Golden Calf” in another — references for a Russian audience rather than an American one. – Washington Post

Russian police have removed Belarusian opposition politician Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya from their wanted list at the initiative of the Belarusian authorities, the RIA news agency reported on Tuesday. – Reuters

An American president won’t side with Moscow over his own intelligence agencies. There will be no talk of a “reset” in Russian relations. And it is highly doubtful that anyone will gaze into Vladimir Putin’s eyes and discuss his soul. – Associated Press

A few dozen supporters of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny have staged a colorful, cheeky rally in Geneva, in the hope of sending a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin ahead of his summit with U.S. President Joe Biden. – Associated Press

The parents of a former U.S. Marine languishing in a Russian prison are hopeful that President Biden and Vladimir Putin can reach an agreement to secure his freedom after nearly two years in detention. – Fox News

In advance of his hotly anticipated sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Joe Biden is taking cues from a group of outside Russia experts, including former Trump administration officials, according to reports. – Washington Examiner

According to the US state department, the Montreal-based non-profit is anything but independent. Instead, it said in a report published last year, the organisation is “deeply enmeshed in Russia’s broader disinformation and propaganda ecosystem”. – Financial Times

Editorial: However frosty the relationship, the Geneva meeting offers a potential chance to launch initiatives useful to both sides in discrete areas such as curbing ransomware crime or beginning to renew the arms control architecture that has been partially dismantled in recent years. In perilous times, jaw-jaw still has some value. But it must be backed with clarity and determination. – Financial Times

Josh Rogin writes: Biden and Putin have a crowded agenda for Wednesday’s meeting in Geneva, but this issue ought to be on it, along with other human rights issues, such as Putin’s ever-increasing appetite for jailing his political opponents, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny. President Donald Trump made clear to Putin that he personally didn’t care about any of these things. Biden’s task is to convince Putin that the United States as a country still does. – Washington Post

Elena Chernenko writes: With this legacy, no American president would have a substantial audience in Russia. Secure internally and with little to lose, Vladimir Putin is ready for President Biden. As for his image in the United States and the rest of the West, it’s fair to assume — after years as their arch-villain and evil mastermind — that Mr. Putin couldn’t care less. – New York Times

Jonah Goldberg writes: To his credit, Biden seems to be sincerely interested in propagating the faith of democracy, the rule of law and Western resolve. He won’t be able to persuade Putin of any of that. But that’s not the audience that matters. There are people throughout Russia who need to hear it — and in America, too. – Los Angeles Times

Andrew Weiss writes: In other realms, the most we can hope for probably is the re-establishment of a handful of channels of communication, along with decent risk management and efforts to avoid conflict in areas where we may bump into each other.The Biden team has many pressing issues on its agenda. They may soon find that the only stable and predictable element in the relationship with Moscow is the corrosive force of mistrust and disappointment. – Financial Times


After just a year of negotiations, Britain and Australia have agreed “in principle” to a free-trade agreement, the governments of the two nations announced on Tuesday. The relatively swift deal will eventually eliminate tariffs between the two countries. – New York Times

Britain’s trade minister on Wednesday called on the European Union to be responsible and reasonable in a row over the implementation of Northern Ireland Protocol of the Brexit divorce deal. – Reuters

Ireland expects that Britain’s approach to Brexit talks with the European Union are likely to change and improve following pressure exerted by international partners at the Group of Seven summit at the weekend, Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said. – Reuters

U.S. and European Union officials are planning for a high-tech divorce from China, with the launch of a council that could enable the transatlantic alliance to establish a “common market” unstained by Beijing’s espionage and human rights abuses. – Washington Examiner

The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo on Tuesday resumed EU-brokered negotiations aimed at resolving a long-lasting dispute that remains a source of tensions in the volatile Balkans. – Associated Press

A day after Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted NATO leaders had “confirmed” it would become a member, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made clear no such action was imminent. – Defense News

Germany’s federal intelligence agency on Tuesday released a report detailing security threats faced by the federal republic in 2020, ranging from Iran’s drive to obtain illicit technology for its nuclear weapons program to its increased attempts to secure material for its missile program. – Jerusalem Post

In an article titled “Hezbollah weaves its web in France” for the magazine, the investigative journalist Rachel Binhas reported the French government authorized the extradition of the Lebanese national Mazen al-Atat, who is alleged by the US to be an agent for Hezbollah. – Jerusalem Post

Janan Ganesh writes: All UK governments get things wrong about the US. My favourite is their inflated sense of how many Americans have an ancestral link to Britain (even the white ones are more likely to be Germans than “cousins”). But this one stands at a particularly odd angle to the White House.You have to be in at least the September of your life to remember when it was the US chiding the UK to honour global norms. If those days are back, the junior nation should not assume it will be costless. – Financial Times


The Pentagon is developing a proposal to send dozens of Special Forces trainers back to Somalia to help local forces combat Al Shabab, the terrorist group affiliated with Al Qaeda — a step that would partly reverse President Donald J. Trump’s abrupt pullout of nearly all 700 American troops from the country in January. – New York Times

Sudanese authorities adjourned talks on Tuesday with the most powerful rebel leader from the country’s south, saying they had agreed on more than three-quarters of a framework peace deal. – Reuters

Sudan’s prime minister warned on Tuesday of the risk of chaos and civil war fomented by loyalists of the previous regime as he sought to defend reforms meant to pull the country out of a deep economic crisis and stabilise a political transition. – Reuters

Eritrean troops in Ethiopia’s Tigray region are expected to “definitely leave soon,” Ethiopia’s U.N. envoy said after a top U.N. official told the Security Council on Tuesday that Eritrea’s soldiers were using starvation as a weapon of war. – Reuters

Sudan is disappointed with the outcome of the normalization agreement with Israel amid insufficient US investment in the African country, according to an Israeli report Wednesday morning. – Times of Israel

Editorial: The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, is among those warning of another massive Ethiopian famine. “We cannot make the same mistake twice,” she said last week. “We cannot let Ethiopia starve.” Mr. Blinken pledged “further actions from the United States” if “those responsible” for the crisis did not “reverse course.” Though Ethiopia has been a valuable U.S. ally, the Biden administration now has no choice but to take that action. – Washington Post

Jacob Kurtzer, Judd Devermont, and Kelly Moss write: While Shekau’s death is a significant setback for Boko Haram, it also has ramifications for the humanitarian crisis in northeast Nigeria. In the past year, humanitarian access has deteriorated, and aid workers have increasingly found themselves the direct targets of armed groups. Given JAS’s hostility toward aid workers, unless ISWAP’s strategy shifts, these conditions are unlikely to change in the aftermath of Shekau’s death. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

The Americas

The leaders of a protest movement that has rocked Colombia for seven weeks on Tuesday called off demonstrations amid a spike in Covid-19 cases that the government partly blames on the mass mobilizations. – Wall Street Journal

Nine days after a divisive presidential election, Latin America’s once-admired economic star, Peru, is grappling with political upheaval as the trailing candidate insists the vote was stolen and her establishment supporters are demanding a new election. – Wall Street Journal

A car bomb explosion at a military base in the Colombian border city of Cucuta injured 36 people on Tuesday, the defense minister said, casting blame for the attack on leftist rebels. – Reuters

Charles Lane writes: So far, the post-election standoff has been blessedly peaceful, perhaps because not even those who voted for either Castillo or Fujimori like them enough to fight for them. The United States should do everything it can — starting with generous supplies of coronavirus vaccine — to speed Peru’s recovery and support its democrats. One Venezuela is enough. – Washington Post

United States

President Joe Biden on Tuesday used his first major batch of foreign ambassador nominations to signal a desire to strengthen U.S. relationships to deal with challenges in the Middle East, Central America and with Russia. – Reuters

The union that represents CUNY professors has passed a one-sided anti-Israel resolution that accuses Israel of “apartheid” and being a “settler colonial state” and that alleges Israel committed a “massacre” of Palestinian Arabs. – Arutz Sheva

Editorial: President Biden is telling the world in Europe this week that “America is back” as the leader of global democracies. Sounds good. But China, Iran and Vladimir Putin would be more impressed if Mr. Biden wasn’t cutting America’s defense even as he rightly stresses the challenge from the world’s authoritarians. – Wall Street Journal


When it comes to cyber diplomacy, America is back. That’s one of the key messages President Biden is sending as he this week jets across Europe in a series of top-level diplomatic meetings. – Washington Post

Now, as President Biden prepares to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin here in Geneva on Wednesday, for the first time cyberweapons are being elevated to the top of the agenda. – New York Times

The White House’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2022 will seek significant increases in cybersecurity funding for most federal agencies. Cybersecurity, the budget plan asserted, is “a top priority” for the Biden administration. While the White House deserves praise for these allocations, the budget missed significant opportunities, which congressional appropriators will need to address. – The Hill


A prediction last year that China could attempt to invade Taiwan in the next six years has put increased pressure on talks between lawmakers and U.S. Navy leadership over how to prioritize fiscal 2022 spending needs. – Defense News

The agency in charge of the nation’s spy satellites launched three classified satellites June 15 into low Earth orbit aboard a Northrop Grumman Minotaur I rocket. – C4ISRNET

The U.S. Army selected two companies to design and build prototype sensors for its next-generation airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system, according to a June 14 announcement. – C4ISRNET

The Advanced Battle Management System appears to be reeling after Congress slashed its funding earlier this year. Originally pitched as a replacement for the E-8C JSTARS surveillance aircraft, ABMS slowly morphed into an Internet of Things modernization program — connecting sensors and shooters, processing data with AI and unlocking new capabilities with emerging technologies. – C4ISRNET

While the Army slashed its overall budget request $5 billion, the service asked for an increase of about $1.8 billion for modernization efforts, a priority that it noted will “enable our forces to effectively fight and win in Joint All Domain Operations.” – C4ISRNET

Experts picked up signs in the Navy’s budget about its joint war-fighting priorities despite a lack of details because most related spending lines are classified. – C4ISRNET

The number of ships in the fleet, now at 296 ships, will decrease if the Navy continues to have flat or declining budgets, the service’s top officer told Congress today. – USNI News

David Barno and Nora Bensahel write: Serious cracks have emerged in the ethics and discipline of U.S. special operations forces as they have grown in size and importance. Yet the demands on this small part of the military will only increase, as special operations forces remain engaged in many of their current missions while also preparing for the possibility of great-power conflict. Maintaining the health and sustainability of this critical piece of the force is essential, and demands far stronger civilian oversight than the current structure can provide. – War on the Rocks

James Holmes writes: Is the “ship” still the arbiter—and the proper unit of measurement—of naval power? Perhaps not. Maybe fleet designers need to shatter their fealty to tradition and do something altogether new to win future high-seas wars. They may need to fashion a new U.S. Navy “fleet” that incorporates ships alongside such not-strictly-naval implements as unmanned vehicles prowling sea and sky, U.S. Air Force bombers unleashing anti-ship missiles or minefields, or even U.S. Army rocketeers equipped to pummel enemy ships and warbirds. Artfully constituted, this hybrid fleet will bring to bear any asset able to shape events at sea. – The National Interest

Maj. Gen. Punch Moulton (ret.) and Maj. Gen. Francis Mahon (ret.) write: With the upcoming debates on budget, there are sure to be opponents who will challenge the investment in our missile defenses. The issue is not how much the defense costs; the question is how much risk are you willing to buy as nuclear weapons fly toward America. Deterrence is clearly the best approach. America needs a robust and credible layered missile defense system to deter and, if necessary, defeat a North Korean missile attack on our homeland. – Defense News

Brent D. Sadler writes: The Navy’s false choice of investing in future capability misses the reality facing it today. America must invest in both growing today’s fleet in numbers and staying ahead of our competitors’ technologies. Our national security demands that we sustain our critical network of allies and compete with China and Russia. The administration’s proposed Navy budget does neither. Let us hope Congress will act more responsibly and deliver a budget that responds to current challenges and the dangers ahead. – Defense One