The Strategist

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The Chinese Incursion into Vietnam's EEZ and Lessons from the Past

By The Strategist 2019-08-20 21:10:03

[By Huong Le Thu] The Haiyang Dizhi 8, a survey vessel belonging to a Chinese government-run corporation, began surveying a large swath of seabed on July 3 northeast of Vanguard Bank, which falls within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone. The ship has been escorted by other vessels, including from the China Coast Guard and maritime militia. At the same time, China Coast Guard ships have been harassing Vietnamese drilling operations to the south. Chinese incursions into Vietnam’s EEZ are by no means a...

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Sanctions and Tariffs: The New Economic Battlefield

By The Strategist 2019-08-06 20:50:32

[By David Uren] Economic warfare is being fought with an intensity not seen since the period leading up to World War II as countries deploy tariffs, embargoes and economic sanctions to force policy changes or punish their adversaries. Free trade is coming off second best, and global trade has stalled. There’s been no growth in trade volumes since late 2017, contributing to a slowing world economy. The World Trade Organization, as the upholder of global trading rules, looks increasingly impotent. Its...

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Study: "Hidden" Chinese Loans May Sow Seeds of Debt Crisis

By The Strategist 2019-07-19 14:46:31

[By David Uren] Tonga, a nation of 170 islands and just over 100,000 people, is carrying a heavier Chinese debt burden than any other nation except Djibouti, the strategic port at the mouth of the Red Sea. Official figures show Tonga owes China $108 million or about 25% of its GDP, but hidden debts raise the total to closer to 40%. In Djibouti, hidden financing raises its Chinese debt burden from 88% to over 100% of its GDP. The International...

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Should China Help Secure the Strait of Hormuz?

By The Strategist 2019-07-03 16:21:09

US President Donald Trump’s recent tweet on the Strait of Hormuz, in which he said that Asian countries ‘should be protecting their own ships’ prompts some serious questions—setting aside some customary Trumpian bravado and factual inaccuracy. Since the US is set to become a net energy exporter, and has moved decisively away from energy dependence on the Middle East, should China be encouraged to take up the slack as a maritime security provider in the Strait of Hormuz, through which one-fifth of the world’s petroleum is...

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Australian Pilots Targeted by Lasers in South China Sea

By The Strategist 2019-05-29 16:59:56

[By Euan Graham] I recently sailed onboard the landing helicopter dock and Royal Australian Navy flagship HMAS Canberra from Vietnam to Singapore, as one of several academic sea-riders invited to observe Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019 (IPE 19), which has now concluded after three months at sea. A key question about this operation was what did the People’s Liberation Army Navy make of so much Australian activity in waters that China claims? Sailors tend to have a healthy professional regard for each other. The good...

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Will U.S.-Iran Tensions Disrupt Global Oil Markets?

By The Strategist 2019-05-13 21:47:09

[By David Uren] The global oil market has largely shrugged off the saber-rattling in the Middle East as the United States seeks to halt Iran’s oil exports. The oil price actually fell by two percent following the Trump administration’s announcement that it would end all exemptions to the US sanctions on Iranian oil purchases, suggesting that the market was more impressed by a rise in US oil stocks than by the threat of conflict in the Middle East. That threat is...

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Could Drone Subs Undermine Nuclear Deterrence?

By The Strategist 2019-05-08 10:10:39

[By Sylvia Mishra] Nuclear deterrence rests on the ability of strategic assets to survive an enemy’s first strike and to retaliate, ensuring mutually assured destruction. Nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines (SSBNs) are considered to be the most survivable of all nuclear platforms due to their stealth capabilities, mobility and discretion. Placing nuclear assets underwater puts them at a safer distance from a crippling first strike. But as technology improves and the ocean battlefield becomes more complex, these advances could undermine the survivability...

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Maritime Sector Could Help Revitalize Australia's Northern Territory

By The Strategist 2019-04-28 17:50:45

[By Paul Barnes] It’s hard to argue against the importance of a modern coastal city in Australia’s Top End to geopolitics, the economy and the nation’s security. Darwin’s long history as a military post attests to that. Populations thrive when people live in viable ambient environments, have access to prosperous local economies and can participate in community life. In recent years, Darwin’s economy has struggled in key areas. The challenges faced by the Northern Territory (NT) government are significant and...

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India Invests in Russia's Arctic Offshore Oil and Gas Industry

By The Strategist 2018-10-24 10:55:01

[By Stephen Blank] When people discuss Indo-Russian relations, they generally focus on Russia’s arms sales to India. However, India’s energy relations with Moscow also possess considerable and, arguably, growing significance. This was revealed at the latest bilateral summit this month during Vladimir Putin’s visit to India, where both sides pledged to cooperate in oil and gas projects in Russia, including Russia’s Arctic shelf, and the shores of Pechora and Okhotsk Seas. (Russia is already supplying India with Arctic liquefied natural gas, while...

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U.S. FONOPS Aren't Just About the South China Sea

By The Strategist 2018-10-09 17:22:26

[By James Goldrick] The recent close encounter between USS Decatur and the Chinese Luyang II–class guided-missile destroyer Lanzhou has attracted much attention in the media. There’s little doubt that the Chinese ship created a dangerous situation in breach of the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, which requires a vessel that is overtaking another to keep out of its way until ‘finally past and clear’. For a 7,000-tonne displacement ship to pass within 45 yards of another of 8,000 tonnes—an allegation...

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