Daily Dump: Spheres of Influence, Taiwan and the Greater Pacific, War and Disease, The Betrayal and More: January 21, 2022

Daily Dump: Spheres of Influence, Taiwan and the Greater Pacific, War and Disease, The Betrayal and More: January 21, 2022

Ukraine and Taiwan dominate the headlines today and their stories, rightly or wrongly, are being linked together but I agree with the basic premise of the War on the Rocks: Taiwan Is Not Ukraine: Stop Linking Their Fates Together.

In the current geopolitical moment, the differences between Ukraine and Taiwan are far more important than their similarities — and linking together the security threats that the two countries face can make both situations worse.

The article is very good and definitely worth your time, but to hammer home the difference between the two:

To see why this comparison obscures more than it clarifies, first consider the history of U.S. involvement with each country. American security support for Ukraine is recent, limited, and subsumed under broader concerns about Russia’s challenge to the post-Cold War European security order.

For more on Taiwan and Asia in general here are two other excellent articles if that is where you to go:

Being a Better Partner in the Pacific – War on the Rocks

Can America Rebuild Its Power in Asia? – Foreign Affairs

Today however, we are going back to Ukraine to focus on the conflict there where the debate has been drawn into two clear camps arguing for and against a sphere of influence for Russia. Because this is generally the minority position in the headlines, we will first go to: Two Cheers for Spheres of Influence – Real Clear Defense where they let the great geopolitical theorist Halford Mackinder do the heavy lifting:

The concept of “spheres of influence” is, in reality, as old as diplomacy itself. It is a concept based on geography, history, and the balance of power at any given time. It is very much an aspect of the “realist” world view, and perhaps its greatest practitioner was Prussia’s (later Germany’s) 19th century Chancellor Otto von Bismarck.

The article continues with a more contemporary case and Winston Churchill:

In an effort to promote stability and peace based on the balance of power, Churchill famously proposed to Stalin what became known as the “percentages deal.” On October 9, 1944, Churchill proposed the following to Stalin: “Let us settle about our affairs in the Balkans. Your armies are in Rumania and Bulgaria. We have interests, missions, and agents there. Don’t let us get at cross purposes in small ways. So far as Britain and Russia are concerned, how would it do for you to have ninety percent predominance in Rumania, for us to have ninety percent of the say in Greece, and go fifty-fifty about Yugoslavia?”

And then, George Kannan:

“Interventions on moral principle can be formally defensible,” Kennan wrote in “Morality and Foreign Policy” (Foreign Affairs, Winter 1985-86), “only if the practices against which they are directed are seriously injurious to our interests, rather than our sensibilities.” And he explained further that “[t]he mere fact that a country acquires the trappings of self-government does not automatically mean that the interests of the United States are thereby furthered.”

For the counter argument we will go to Foreign Affairs: Keep NATO’s Door Open to Ukraine: Washington Shouldn’t Grant Putin the Sphere of Influence He Wants which argues the exact opposite:

One of the few positive outcomes of recent exchanges among U.S., European, and Russian diplomats has been the firm rejection by the Biden administration and its allies of Kremlin demands that NATO “never, never, ever” admit Ukraine as a member. Acquiescing to such a demand would leave Ukraine and Georgia in a dangerous gray zone, neither with NATO nor with Russia…

And yet a sphere of influence is exactly what Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks.

The article continues but here is their main argument against a sphere of influence:

These arguments are flawed and should be rejected once and for all. To follow their recommendations would be to reward Putin for his aggression and assign blame for the current state of affairs not to the Russian leader, where it belongs, but to the enlargement of NATO, which has helped stabilize the European continent for more than seven decades. Putin invokes NATO enlargement as a convenient excuse when his real fear is the emergence of successful, democratic, Western-oriented countries along Russia’s borders—especially Ukraine.

And then a little history:

In 2008, Ukraine and Georgia requested a membership action plan (MAP) as a step toward eventual membership. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was firmly opposed and worked out a compromise with President George W. Bush in the Bucharest summit declaration, which stated that the two countries would become members without specifying when and how. Five months later, Russian troops invaded Georgia, even though that country had not been offered a MAP.

For a more middle ground on the argument, I suggest this podcast that we discussed a few days ago Inching Toward War in Europe – Horns of Dilemma. Will war actually break out? I don’t think anyone really knows but Popular Mechanics tackles reading those tea leaves with Russia Won’t Start a War With Ukraine Out of the Blue. Look For These 8 Warning Signs. The article is really good and considers: Cyber Warfare, GPS Jamming, Attack Submarines and others.

For the Ukrainian side, Al Monitor reports that Turkish drones boost Ukrainian spirits amid fears of Russian invasion and according to Radio Free Europe the civilians are ‘Like Mice In A Frying Pan’: Civilians In Eastern Ukraine Take Their Fears To Social Media  .

There are plenty of other stories that cover the conflict there from many different angles including this piece from the Modern War Institute – As Ukraine Faces Russian Aggression, What Should Small Countries Take Away from the Crisis?

Moving on, the medic in me could not let this go without at least mentioning it, The Future and Past of War and Disease from RAND.

War and disease have a long and wretched history. The Athenians battled plague in addition to Sparta. In the late Middle Ages, disease contributed to the fall of the Venetian Empire. Napoleon benefited from Venice’s fall, but his own empire was brought low by disease. The Grande Armée that invaded Russia was hurt more by typhus than by the Russians (PDF).

Disease has also played a role in American military history. In 1777, George Washington inoculated the Continental Army against smallpox. More than 60% of casualties on both sides of the American Civil War were attributed to disease. In World War I, the 1918 influenza pandemic hampered efforts to mobilize the American Expeditionary Forces.

And for your looooong read of the day how about Joe Biden’s Saigon: The Betrayal – The Atlantic. I don’t know if I can do it. All of this and so much more in Today’s Daily Dump!!

Inspired by the Cognitive Raider Initiative, The Cognitive Warrior Project has put together a daily list of diverse articles that can easily be chosen from to play a part in developing a more mentally agile warfighter that embraces the adaptation required for tomorrow’s battlefield. Our intent is to create a space where you can choose one or two articles a day (about 10 minutes) instead of mindlessly scrolling social media.

As a reminder: The Cognitive Warrior Project is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Special Operation Forces, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government. None of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, DoD or Space Force have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It’s just a media site that happens to cover the U.S Military, DoD and other National Intelligence Assets.

January 31, 2022

Two Cheers for Spheres of Influence – Real Clear Defense

Hackers for Hire: Proxy Warfare in the Cyber Realm – The Modern War Institute

Be All You Can Be: Why the Marine Corps Should Look to the Army for Lessons on Force Design – The Modern War Institute

Podcast: How Capable is Ukraine’s Military? – MWI

Beyond War and Peace: The PLA’s “Non-War Military Activities” Concept – The Modern War Institute

As Ukraine Faces Russian Aggression, What Should Small Countries Take Away from the Crisis? – The Modern War Institute

Pressing Questions: Offensive Cyber Operations and NATO Strategy – The Modern War Institute



#Reviewing The Blind Strategist: John Boyd and the American Way of War – The Strategy Bridge

Melting the SOT Snowman: #Reviewing On Operations – The Strategy Bridge

Podcast: Episode 1: The View from Iran – Mind the Gulf Podcast

Russia’s Demands: It’s Not About Ukraine, It’s About Recreating an Empire – RUSI

Watch: Challenges to 21st Century Deterrence (Part I) – NSI

The Future and Past of War and Disease – RAND

U.S. Department of Defense Civilian Casualty Policies and Procedures – RAND

Shaping China’s Ambitions – RAND

Houthis Renew Attack on Abu Dhabi With Ballistic Missiles – Long War Journal

Are European Navies Ready for High-Intensity Warfare? – War on the Rocks

Why Intermediate-Range Missiles Are a Focal Point in the Ukraine Crisis – War on the Rocks

Being a Better Partner in the Pacific – War on the Rocks

The Pentagon Is in Desperate Need of an Intervention From the Top – War on the Rocks

Taiwan Is Not Ukraine: Stop Linking Their Fates Together – War on the Rocks

How Long Can Biden Muddle Through on China? – War on the Rocks

Countering Hybrid Warfare: Mapping Social Contracts to Reinforce Societal Resiliency in Estonia and Beyond – Texas National Security Review

Commandant for a Day: Preparing War Colleges for the Future – The Forge

Train to Outthink, Outmaneuver, and Outfight the Enemy – Small Wars Journal

Nonlinear Warfare: Is Russia Waging a Silent War in Latin America? – Small Wars Journal

A Brief Look at Chinese Cyberwarfare – Small Wars Journal

1/27/2022 National Security and Korean News and Commentary – Small Wars Journal

1/31/2022 National Security and Korean News and Commentary – Small Wars Journal

Oil Market Cannot Afford to Lose Russian Supplies – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Filling In the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Will Russia Recognize the Self-Declared Separatist Republics in Eastern Ukraine? – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Can America Rebuild Its Power in Asia? – Foreign Affairs

Master of Deterrence: What Washington Could Learn From Robert Powell – Foreign Affairs

Keep NATO’s Door Open to Ukraine: Washington Shouldn’t Grant Putin the Sphere of Influence He Wants – Foreign Affairs

The Putin Doctrine: A Move on Ukraine Has Always Been Part of the Plan – Foreign Affairs

When the Chips Are Down: Gaming the Global Semiconductor Competition – CNAS

North Korea tests biggest missile since 2017, U.S. calls for talks – Reuters

Russia keeps door open to talks as U.S. rejects key security demands – Reuters

Russian official says missile crisis unavoidable without arms curbs – Reuters

Analysis: Portuguese snap election points to rocky road ahead – Reuters

Guards clash again on Kyrgyz-Tajik border, no casualties reported – Reuters

Ukraine crisis updates: What to know amid the fears of war – AP

African Union suspends Burkina Faso after coup last week – AP

Danish troops to leave Mali after call from country’s rulers – AP

Ukraine crisis updates: What to know as tensions rise – AP

EU launches WTO action against China over Lithuania dispute – AP

Press freedom rapidly deteriorating in China — report – DW

‘Never Again’: Memorials of the Holocaust – DW

The Ukraine civilians taking up arms amid Russia border tension – DW

US: Nord Stream 2 will not move forward if Russia invades Ukraine – DW

Mysterious object ‘unlike anything’ seen before, discovered in Milky Way – DW

Turkish drones boost Ukrainian spirits amid fears of Russian invasion – Al Monitor

Egypt skeptical of Ethiopia call for cooperation on Nile dam – Al Monitor

Syrian prison battle leaves hundreds dead and many IS free – Al Monitor

How Russian moves in Syria are linked to Moscow’s Ukraine strategy – Al Monitor

Ukraine backs US response to Russia’s security demands: Live news – Al Jazeera

Burkina Faso army warns ex-officials in talks over transition – Al Jazeera

Ukraine crisis: From Belarus to Japan, where do countries stand? – Al Jazeera

US-Taiwan contacts spark China war threat – Asia Times

Star Wars: the outer space race to kill hypersonics – Asia Times

Time is not on Russia’s side in Ukraine – Asia Times

Myanmar junta in toys-for-the-boys weaponry splurge – Asia Times

Why Russia will likely intervene in Ukraine – Asia Times

The case against a Russia invasion of Ukraine – Asia Times

In Search of a Better Life, Thousands of Russians Are Crossing the Mexican Border to America – The Moscow Times

Russian Military Drills Off Irish Coast to Go Ahead Despite Ukraine Tensions – The Moscow Times

Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan Border Guards Exchange Fire – The Moscow Times

What Are Russian State Media Saying About Ukraine? – The Moscow Times

Live Updates: U.S. Faces Off With Russia at U.N. as Ukraine Standoff Continues – The New York Times

Video of Mentally Ill Woman Chained in Shack Stirs Anger in China – The New York Times

U.S. Allies Retake Control of Prison in Syria, Subduing ISIS Fighters – The New York Times

‘Like Mice In A Frying Pan’: Civilians In Eastern Ukraine Take Their Fears To Social Media  – Radio Free Europe

 Can Ukraine’s Economy Withstand Russian Pressure? It’s Better Prepared This Time Around. – Radio Free Europe

At The Front Lines, Ukrainian Soldiers And Civilians Endure Cold, Wait For A Possible War With Russia – Radio Free Europe

Uganda, Rwanda border reopens after three-year closure – Africa News

60 militants killed ahead of Burkina coup – France – Africa News

Europe Must Shed Its Illusions About Russia – Foreign Policy

Latin America’s Leftists Aren’t Who You Think – Foreign Policy

How America Learned to Love (Ineffective) Sanctions – Foreign Policy

As Russia menaces Ukraine, eastern European countries grow nervous – The Economist

Retailers Quietly Deploying Controversial Technology To Combat Crime Spree – Forbes

Joe Biden’s Saigon: The Betrayal – The Atlantic

Book Review – Ralph Honner: Kokoda Hero, by Peter Brune – Grounded Curiosity

Sowing Darkness for Military Advantage: Deception – Wavell Room

US Army’s tactical network must overcome several challenges, says Pentagon weapons tester – Defense News

Mutually assured surveillance at risk: Anti-satellite weapons and cold war arms control – Taylor and Francis Online

Options to Address the Risk from Elected Officials Concurrently in the National Guard or Reserves – Divergent Options

Putin’s Coercion on NATO Goes Beyond Its Open Door Policy – Just Security

Cyberattack Targets Belarus’ Rail Network To Slow Flood Of Russian Forces Into The Country – The Drive

Russia Won’t Start a War With Ukraine Out of the Blue. Look For These 8 Warning Signs. – Popular Mechanics

The Army’s New Rifle Scope Can Predict the Path of a Bullet – Popular Mechanics

Hiking 101: Everything You Need to Head for the Hills – Wired

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