The Pax Americana Institute's Writing

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Suggested Articles: 2-8 September 2018

Suggested Articles
2-8 September 2018

1. Bring Back the Drills

The Editors of The Weekly Standard provide an analysis of the recent issues arising from North Korea’s nuclear weapon development. The articles suggest that President Donald Trump should bring back the joint exercises between South Korea and the United States as a show of force and a form of diplomacy. The exercises are known to irritate the North Korean regime, rightfully giving them a sense of reality when faced with the world strongest military power. The Pax Americana Institute has been monitoring the North Korea situation, conveying the importance of a strong stance against the regimes nuclear weapon development to our conservative followers in the midwest and beyond.

2. Trump warns Assad, Syrian allies on a reported plan for Idlib province offensive

Fox News writer Edmund DeMarche gives a review of President Donald Trump’s warning to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad not to attack the Idlib province where some 3 million people are living. The al-Assad regime is known for their reckless actions against enemies, and innocent citizens alike and the possible execution of a massive military operation could cause a massive wave of refugees to the surrounding regions. PAI and its classical conservative followers know all too well the issues of international destabilization when regimes like that in Syria act irrationally or without regard for innocent human life.

3. Russia’s sending a fleet of warships to Syria to help secure a propaganda victory

Alex Hollings at NEWSREP provides review and analysis of Russia recent mobilization of 13 total warships to the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Syria. The group of Russian cruisers is said to maintain guided missile capabilities similar to the United States Tomahawk missiles. The mobilization of these forces shows both Russian aggression and the foreign policy desire to maintain influence in the middle east. Classical conservatives in the midwest and throughout the United States have actively been proponents of countering Russian aggression and influence; this situation is no different than the last. The Pax Americana Institute will continue to monitor and actively counter Russian imperialism.

4. U.K. Prosecutors: Two Russian Intel Agents Charged in Novichok Poisonings

The National Review’s Mairead Mcardle reports on the prosecution of two alleged Russian intelligence agents who were involved in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, an ex Russian spy, and his daughter Yulia. Executing prior agents has always been within the mission set of Russian intelligence agencies, showing both their belligerence and desire to protect possible state secrets. Like the article above about Russian warships, the actions abroad by Russia show their growing boldness and desire to spread influence. PAI and its classical conservative readers should head a defensive stance, countering Russian aggression and ideology.

Weekly Snapshot: 2-8 September 2018

Weekly Snapshot
2-8 Sept. 2018

1. US to cut funding for UN aid to Palestinian refugees

Reversing decades of policy of support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the Trump administration has decided not to give money to this agency. UNRWA is an agency that helps Palestinian refugees that the UN says have been displaced. The Trump administration is looking to change the refugee statues given by the UN due to most of todays Palestinians being descendants of the original refugees of the 1940’s. This is due to the “right to return” claim that refugees hold. Because Israel now controls the land and generations have grown up outside of that land, the status of refugee is a debated issue.

The ending of this support means the State Department will withhold $60 million dollars. In January of 2018, the State Department released $65 million to UNRWA, while withholding the additional $60 million while the administration made the decision whether or not to continue this policy.

2. Iran used civilian flights to smuggle weapons to Lebanon

Information has come to light that Iran has used civilian flights to smuggle weapons into Lebanon for use by Hezbollah. Intelligence agencies looking into several irregular flights from the Iranian air company Qeshm Fars Air, from Tehran to Beirut led to the findings that Iran was smuggling components for precision weapons, using civilian planes.

Iran and Hezbollah have a long history of working together. Starting with Iran’s creation of the terrorist group in the 1980’s. Since its inception, Iran has been the main financier and supplier to Hezbollah. Iran provides weapons, money, and social support for recruitment. In return, Hezbollah has partaken in several terrorist attacks on Israel and the United States on behalf of Iran.

3. Jalaluddin Haqqani has died

Haqqani was the founding militant and leader of the Haqqani network. A group of terrorist from Afghanistan, who have been affiliated with both the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and were officially labeled as a terrorist group by the United States in 2012. This network helped commite some of the worst suicide attacks on US and Afghan troops. This network started in the 1980’s to fight the Soviet Union, and was quickly turned against the US military in the early 2000’s.

With the death of the founder and leader, Haqqani’s son Sirajuddin, who has been the official leader for a few years, will now take the full role of leadership of this organization. This is a dangerous shift as the tactics of Sirajuddin are not as well known, and he may try to expand and increase operations. Those who find themselves in leadership positions in terrorist groups often feel the need to prove their worthiness with larger, bolder attacks. The dangers posed by this leadership change are threatening to those within the networks reach, specifically US forces in Afghanistan.

4. Iran Gives Ballistic Missiles to Iraqi Shiite Militias

Iran is widely known as the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world.This includes supporting and even creating groups with money, propaganda and military equipment. After Iran’s successful creation and operation of Hezbollah, they are looking to replicate that success with groups all around the middle east. This includes Shiite militias in Iraq.

Giving ballistic missiles to this group adds a layer of protection to Iran. If these missiles are used against their proposed targets of Israel and Saudi Arabia, Iran would have successfully engaged in military action without putting their own troops in contact and without reaching their own borders.

This tactic is not a new one. Iran has been known to give ballistic missiles to terrorist groups in Yemen that have already used them to attack Saudi Arabia. This shows the level of dedication that these groups have to their state sponsors. This not only helps Iran with unofficial attacks on other nations but also gives Iran political say in the countries these terrorists are from. By spreading their resources to several countries, they are growing their influence in the hopes of becoming a regional hegemon.

Honoring the life of an American hero and political maverick: a tribute to John McCain

Honoring the life of an American hero and political maverick: a tribute to John McCain

Christopher J. Schaefer, MA

August 29th 2018

“I have often observed that I am the luckiest person on Earth. I feel that way even now as I prepare for the end of my life. I have loved my life, all of it…Americans never quit, we never surrender, we never hide from history, we make history.” With those heartfelt, poetic words, Arizona senator John McCain bid farewell to a nation he loved and served for more than sixty years. Senator McCain succumbed to glioblastoma, an aggressive, malignant brain tumor, after a lengthy and courageous battle, on Saturday, August 25, 2018, nine years to the day that Senator Ted Kennedy, himself a larger than life figure in the nation’s most deliberative body, died as a result of the same form of brain cancer.

The son and grandson of Navy admirals and himself a Navy captain and Prisoner of War during Vietnam—McCain was shot down over Vietnam, resulting in shattering a leg, two broken bones, and two years of solitary confinement—was an American hero who commands admiration and respect from every God-fearing American. Despite serving more than thirty-five years in Congress, John McCain made it his foremost priority to place country ahead of party; a trait that endeared him to Republicans, Democrats, and unaffiliated voters. Perhaps no elected official in today’s hyper-partisan political environment, one in which vitriol and polemics have replaced civility and policy disagreements, was more revered than Senator John McCain.

A former member of the United States House of Representatives, Senate, and two-time presidential candidate, John Sidney McCain III dedicated his life to a service greater than himself: The United States of America. During his storied political career, McCain championed campaign finance reform, comprehensive immigration reform, bipartisanship, civility, and most importantly, an interventionist foreign policy based on primacy, preemption, prevention, and nation-building. Like his conservative brethren, McCain believed in spreading American values abroad by toppling dictatorial regimes and replacing them with allies of the United States. In fact, amidst the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression, the 2008 financial crisis, McCain remained steadfast in his support for the Global War on Terror, even advocating for a surge of American troops; the war was immensely unpopular and a losing issue for Republican candidates. Senator McCain’s decision to make victory in the Global War on Terrorism at a time when Americans were losing their homes, banks were collapsing, and the economic was dwindling on the precipice of collapse, the crux of his long-shot campaign, was a colossal blunder that contributed to his landslide defeat in the 2008 presidential election. The decision, however, was quintessential McCain: daring, bold, and the handiwork of a political maverick who placed duty, honor, and country ahead of all else.

McFadden (2018) in his epithet to the Arizona senator wrote of McCain’s presidential campaign, “In 2008, against the backdrop of a growing financial crisis, Mr. McCain made the most daring move of his political career, seeking the presidency against the first major-party African American nominee, Barack Obama. With national name recognition, a record for campaign finance reform and a reputation for candor—his campaign bus was called the Straight Talk Express—Mr. McCain won a series of primary elections and captured the Republican nomination” (p. 3). In June 2007, just two months after announcing his candidacy for the nation’s highest office, it appeared that McCain’s presidential ambitions would be halted in a Republican primary; his campaign was hemorrhaging cash, campaign manager and chief strategist resigned, and he had slipped to third or fourth place in primary polls. Political pundits and Republican officials had written off McCain, believing the aforementioned factors were impossible for the seventy-two-year-old senator to overcome; McCain, the eternal optimist and shrewd political operative, recognized that he could capture the Republican nomination and achieve his lifelong dream of becoming the nation’s commander in chief if he eschewed traditional campaigning and instead, employed the old-style tactics that he made famous during his 2000 Republican primary campaign: town hall meetings, bus tours, and debates. Akin to Donald Trump in 2016, John McCain relied on free media to rejuvenate his floundering presidential campaign and capture the Republican nomination.

Old-style campaign tactics coupled with an inability by the other Republican candidates to make a compelling case as to why they were the best candidate to defeat the Democratic nominee in November, allowed McCain to capture the Republican nomination. Leadership, judgment, and foreign policy expertise served as the loadstars for McCain’s campaign during the preconvention stage of the campaign; the Democratic party had yet to select a candidate, a situation McCain took advantage of. Senator McCain believed that stressing these virtues during the preconvention stage of his campaign would prove beneficial and convince voters that he was uniquely qualified to serve as President of the United States. Two monumental events upended McCain’s presidential ambitions, however, rendering that strategy ineffectual: collapse of the United States financial system and the Democratic party’s nomination of Barack Obama, a charismatic, telegenic first-term senator from Illinois whose “Hope and Change” slogan resonated with an electorate longing for a repudiation of the status quo. In keeping with his “maverick” reputation and to infuse energy into a campaign that failed to gain traction with conservatives, McCain selected little-known Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Governor Palin, an avowed social conservative and self-proclaimed “maverick,” who championed traditional values, energy independence, gun rights and fiscal restraint, helped assuage concerns conservative voters had about McCain’s penchant for bipartisanship and ideological orthodoxy. Ultimately, McCain was defeated by Senator Obama fifty-three percent to forty-six percent, losing states such as Indiana, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Nevada, Colorado and Virginia, all of which, up to that point, had reliably supported Republican candidates in presidential elections, and 376-173 in the Electoral College.

Following his defeat, McCain returned to the United States Senate where he spent the next decade championing comprehensive immigration reform, his efforts resulted in the Senate’s passage of the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013; improved health care for veterans; and a restructuring of the Department of Defense and Armed Services Committee. Most of all, however, McCain relished his role as the chief critic of fellow Republican Donald Trump. McCain believed Trump’s comments, actions, and approach to governing was unbecoming of a president, causing an irreparable rift between the two men. Senator McCain’s vote against the Trump-administration backed “skinny” repeal of Obamacare, in dramatic fashion—McCain entered the Senate chamber after all of his colleagues had already voted—raised his hand and gave the Senate clerk a thumbs down, signifying his opposition to the proposal—was the final salvo in a perfervid imbroglio between two larger than life personalities.

Contemporary American politics is dominated by character assassinations, vitriol, petty squabbling over character and past transgressions, and untruths. John McCain stood above the pettiness and divisive rhetoric; he believed in working with his colleagues on all sides of the spectrum to advance legislation designed to improve the quality of life for every American. Senator McCain teamed up with Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold to pass the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act and joined forces with Connecticut Democrat-turned-independent and his best friend, Joe Lieberman, to ensure American service members possessed the tools and resources necessary to prevail in twenty-first-century military conflicts. Country was more important to McCain than party affiliation and ideology.

While this author had innumerable disagreements with Senator McCain he respected the Arizona senator’s unorthodoxy and unwillingness to compromise his time-honored principles, despite polling showing that many of them, particularly the Iraq War and troop surge were unpopular with large swaths of the electorate. McCain was correct in his farewell letter that America is a nation of decency, humility, and serves as a force for good in the world. John McCain was a statesman in the model of Adams, Washington, and Madison, a man whose decency, humility and commitment to service will forever be cemented in the annals of American history. Elected officials can learn a great deal from John McCain, particularly the virtues of respect, humility, and placing the interests of the nation ahead of career advancement or ideology. If America intends to remain the greatest beacon of hope and freedom our world has ever known, it is imperative that lawmakers place country above ideology and self-interest.

Christopher Schaefer, a presidential historian and political consultant, resides in Madison, Wisconsin, and is the author of four books: The Great President: The Policies that Shaped the Bush Legacy; 41 vs. 43: The Reluctant Realism of George H.W. Bush, the Primacy of George W. Bush, and the War in Iraq; The Presidential Simulation: A Student’s Guide to Understanding the American Presidency; and Project Mastodon: Building a Twenty-First Century Republican Party (2 vols.). Schaefer received his BA in Politics and Government from Ripon College and MA in Political Management from the George Washington University.


McFadden, R.D. (2018, August 25). John McCain, war hero, senator, presidential contender, dies at 81. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Weekly Snapshot: 26 August – 1 September

Weekly Snapshot
26 August – 1 September

1. Nuclear Talks are Slowing Between the United States and North Korea
Recently, President Trump has canceled a meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kim Jong-Un that was set for next week. This comes as negotiations have continued to be hindered by lack of Chinese support. It is likely that the increased economic tensions between the United States and China have weighed heavily on the lack of support from China.

Since the first meetings between the United States and North Korea, progress has continued to slow. North Korea continues to update and modernize their nuclear facilities despite continuing talks of shutting down those facilitates. This means that the threat from North Korea is still very much real and is continuing to grow.

2. European Union to Bail Out Iran
The European Commission has announced a support package for the country of Iran. This package includes 18 million euros for economic and social change projects (8 million euros going to the private sector). This is the first implementation of a wider package totaling 50 million euros in support of projects in Iran.

This support package is designed to help Iran as their economic situation continues to worsen after the US sanctions were replaced with the ending of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. This new plan undermines the sanctions placed by the United States, giving Iran more resources to continue to fund terrorism abroad and develop their nuclear arsenal that would threaten not only the United States but the world.

3. Largest Russian Military Exercise Since Soviet Union
Statements made by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu have several countries in Asia and around the world concerned. Russia is set to partake in a massive military exercise called Vostok-2018 (East-2018). Yearly the Russian military engages in a military exercise in one of their regions, North, East, South and West, but this year is said to be the biggest since the the Zapad exercises of 1981 (West-81).

Russian military exercises always draw a level of concern from countries around the world after their 2014 annexation of Crimea that followed to the Zapad-2014 exercises. Usually estimates about Russian troop levels and involvement are over exaggerated. However these new claims are coming right from Russia itself.

Russia is to be cooperating with the Chinese and Mongolian armies incorporating over 300,000 troops, 1000 military aircraft, two Russian naval fleets and all of Russia’s airborne units. This has brought great concern from Japan who has talked of ongoing Russian military build-ups in the Far East.

These exercises are set to take place from 11-15 September and are going to cost the Russians a lot of money in a time of economic difficulties. However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that these war games are essential for Russia. This is a good indication that continuing to grow militarily is one of the main priorities of the Russian government.

4. El Salvador Cuts Diplomatic Ties With Taiwan
Last week, the government of El Salvador officially cut ties with the government of Taiwan, while establishing ties with China. This is starting to be a recurring theme for Taiwan as in 2017 Panama broke ties and in May of this year, the Dominican Republic did as well.

This erosion of diplomatic ties to Taiwan is in large part due to the Chinese One Belt – One Road initiative. An initiative that was supposed to connect Asia and Europe both economical and through new infrastructure seems to have spilled over into global infrastructure projects. Joseph Wu, Taiwan’s foreign minister, is said to have received a proposal from El Salvador for a port project. After Taiwanese engineers decided the project was economically feasible, it appears El Salvador has gone to China for the money.

With El Salvador breaking ties, Taiwan now only has 17 nations that diplomatically recognize them. With an increase in Chinese aggression towards Taiwan, it is likely China will lure more allies away from Taiwan.

Suggested Articles: 19-25 August 2018

Suggested Articles
19-25 August 2018

1. Russia Open to Talks with US on Strategic Weapons

Jacqueline Thomsen of The Hill provides feedback on the recent statements from Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov about the country being open to talks about strategic weaponry. The openness to discourse stems from Russia’s development of new nuclear weapons and missiles which Vladimir Putin initiated after the Helsinki Summit. The Pax Americana Institute and Midwestern conservatives recognize the danger in Russia’s recent actions. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Soviet-era mindset is cause for concern to the United States and the world and should be closely monitored by classical conservatives everywhere.

2. The Turkish Hostage Crisis

Editor for The National Review, Rich Lowry, writes about the detainment of American Christian Pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey. Brunson has been detained in Turkey since October of 2016 on the basis that he committed “dire crimes” against the Turkish state which include supporting a foreign terrorist organization. None of Bronson’s crimes have been proven with substantive evidence. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been fairly blunt about the situation in alluding to the fact that he is detaining Brunson only until Fethullah Gulen is returned to Turkey. Turkeys hostage taking poses an issue not just for the United States but also the other NATO countries affected by Erdogan’s irrational Islamic fundamentalist authoritarianism. Classical conservatives and followers of the Pax Americana Institute recognize that Turkish foreign and domestic policy does not mesh with the western world and maintaining them as a NATO ally makes condemning their actions a predicament all its own.

3. Horrifying details released in the investigation of ‘extremist Muslim’ compound that allegedly conducted school-shooting training

Fox News reporter Matt Richardson covers the latest details on the extremist Islamic training site found in New Mexico which was allegedly being used to train children how to carry out school shootings and other heinous acts. Abdul-ghani Wahhaj, one of the children taken hostage at the camp, was killed during an exorcism type ceremony carried out by Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, the man in charge of the site’s operations. Though located in New Mexico, this situation is cause for concern across the United States and even in the Midwest. Midwestern conservatives cannot afford to turn a blind eye to radical Islam, as was described in PAI’s article Terrorism Hits Wisconsin.

4. Editorial: China to Buy American Manufacturer?

The Editors of The Weekly Standard provide analysis and prediction of the current situation surrounding American piano manufacturing company Steinway. The Poly Group of China is looking at acquiring the company and adding it to its long list of holding in “defense manufacturing, real estate, and the arts.” The selling of this historically American company poses an ideological issue as well and an economic one. Ideologically, the selling of a distinct manufacturing business shows a possible “moving on” in the American industrial realm. Economically the issues start to pile up from the ability to produce wealth to the fact that China’s economy is held up on a government-owned business model which manipulates the currency in order to produce false outcomes. The more companies which are acquired by Chinese ownership, the deeper the United States gets pulled into their false economy. The Pax Americana Institute and classical conservatives in the Midwest understand the issues posed with this possible purchase and those like it.

Weekly Snapshot: 19-25 August 2018

Weekly Snapshot
19-25 August 2018

1. Increase to US Cyber Attack Response Capabilities

Earlier this week President Trump reversed a set classified rules set up by the Obama administration limiting how the United States could respond to cyber attacks. The new order allows the US to more easily conduct cyberattacks in response to like attacks on the US infrastructure such as the power grid system.

In the 21st century, military attacks are beginning to be waged in the cyber world. Several countries and terrorist groups have turned to cyber operations to disrupt and attack. This is because the cost of such an attack is far less than conventional warfare. With a computer and some skills, hackers can threaten power grids, communications capabilities, and our national security in general.

Without the threat of retaliation, hacker groups and rogue regimes would have little risk in committing such attacks. With the new order from the White House, America will be able to deter attacks before they happen and respond appropriately if attacked.

2. Long-Term Peace Is On The Horizon In Gaza

In previous weeks, PAI has highlighted some of the fighting that has once again sparked up between the Palestinians and the Israelis in the Gaza strip. Several ceasefires have been initiated, all ending with the fighting continuing. Now it appears that lasting peace may be coming.

A proposal, being brokered by Egypt, between Israel and the leaders of the terrorist organization of Hamas, looks to achieve long-term peace for Gaza. The plan has several phases including Israel fully opening the Kerem Shalom goods crossing and increasing fishing zones off the coast. Hamas would then cease all violence and arson style attacks on the border. Another aspect of the proposal would be a prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel.

This is a dangerous path to go down for the Israelis as dealing with terrorist organizations is never a sure bet, as terrorist organizations and supportive regimes habitually roll back on their deals in an attempt to gain power. This is why the United States has adopted a policy of not negotiating with terrorists. It is shocking that Israel would look to strike a deal with an organization that openly says they “resist the Israeli occupation” and seeks to “liberate the Palestinian land.”

Ending violence and conflict is always something to strive towards. However, Israel should not jeopardize what their country stands for in doing so. If a plan for peace can be struck between these two sides, it would be unlikely to last, and Israel would have given formal recognition that Hamas is the leaders of the Palestinian movement (a negative perspective in the long run).

3. Turkey is Hitting back at the US

Earlier this week it was announced that Turkey would be boycotting electronics from the United States. This comes as the Turkish Lira continues to fall in response to US sanctions and tariffs.

The United States has placed sanctions and tariffs on Turkey in response to the detainment of American Christian pastor Andrew Brunson. He was captured by the Turkish authorities for having connections to an outlawed political group; however, little evidence supports these claims. Pastor Brunson has been in captivity for almost two years, and now the new administration has started to take action.

The tensions between the United States and Turkey, a NATO ally, have continued to grow as Turkey continues to become more fundamentalist and anti-Western. For a more in-depth look into the US-Turkey relationship look at the PAI intelligence brief covering 15-31 August 2018.

4. Iran Continues to Build Up Military

This weekend the defense minister of Iran, Amir Hatami, has said that Iran is set to unveil a new fighter jet next week and also reaffirmed that developing missile capabilities is a top priority. The Iranian navy has also announced that they have mounted an advanced defensive weapons system to a warship for the first time. This coming a week after Iran’s naval exercises and the testing of a ballistic missile.

As the United States continues to put pressure on Iran in the form of economic, trade, scientific and military sanctions, Iran continues to grow its military. The buildup of an enemy country is cause for concern for the United States military assets in the Middle East and naval assets in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

With Iranian rhetoric being so threatening towards the United States, and a continual increase in Iranian military capabilities, the situation in the Middle East looks to only be getting more dangerous.

Intelligence Forecast: 16-31 August 2018

Intelligence Forecast
16-31 August 2018

1. US Second Fleet to be formally re-established

In May of 2018, a plan to re-establish the United States Second Fleet was officially brought to the desk of Admiral John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations. This plan would bring back the US Navy’s fleet in charge of the east coast and north Atlantic. The fleet was reactivated in Norfolk on 1 July 2018 and is set to have a formal establishment ceremony later this month with admiral Richardson presiding. The Second fleet command structure was eliminated due to cost-saving measures in 2011. This left the forces on the east coast not reporting to any numbered fleet, leaving gaps in communication and cohesion. However, the threat from Russia has continued to grow to force the United States to rethink its military strategies in coalition with its NATO allies.

This plan comes in conjunction with a new push from NATO, as the commander of the second fleet will also serve as the new NATO joint forces commander of the Atlantic. The plan to create the new NATO command was established earlier this year and will be headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia. The command is designed to increase communications between NATO allies. In the case of war with Russia or China, communications between the United States and our European allies could get cut off. This new command will ensure that joint operations between NATO allies will be successful in the chaos of war. This is just one more point in the increase of military preparedness that the United States and its European allies have been partaking in.

All of these new commands come as the threat from Russia continues to grow. The strategic location of the command center in Norfolk is no coincidence. After a rash of Russian military surveillance ships being spotted off the east coast of the United States, specifically around Norfolk (a major Naval base), the United States is looking to protect our shores from enemy surveillance and possible military operations. NATO has also been under extreme pressure from the rising Russian threat. The NATO defence ministers have taken note of the increase in military activities of Russia including the 2014 invasion of Crimea, the 2017 ZAPAD military exercises that put thousands of Russian soldier on the border of several NATO nations, and the increase of Russian maritime and submarine activities in waters around the northern Atlantic and off the coast of the United States.

Because of the increase in threat from Russia, the United States, and its NATO allies have felt the need to increase military preparedness. This is a good sign that this administration is finally taking national security seriously and will not be caught off guard if and when war breaks out.

2. The United States Space Force is starting to take shape

For the first time since the mention of a new branch of the armed forces, the White House has opened up about its plan to create a Space Force. In a speech by Vice President Mike Pence at the Pentagon, it was revealed that the White House is pushing for the creation of the Space Force by the year 2020. They are seeking funding in the congressional budget for that year, allowing for the creation of this new branch.

In the meantime, the Trump administration is continuing to work on laying the groundwork for when funding becomes available including creating a civilian position, Assistant Secretary of Defense of Space, but did not name a nominee for the position. The speech by the Vice President also outlined several other combatant commands including the U.S. Space Command, the Space Operations Force and a joint organization called the Space Development Agency.

The creation of this new branch is ultimately dependent upon congressional approval. As of right now, there are a lot of mixed views on the new Space Force, primarily divided between party lines. However several key Republicans (including the number two Republican in charge of the Senate Armed Services Committee, James Inhofe) are opposed to the idea of creating the Space Force. If Senator John McCain (who is the current chair of the committee) is unable to perform his duties next year and the Republicans remain in power in the Senate, it would be up to Senator Inhofe to manage the bill through Senate. This would leave the management of the bill up to a senator who has been opposed to the idea.

There is still a long way before the United States has a Space Force, but it is reassuring that this issue is still at the pinnacle of the government’s attention. Space is a growing issue for national security, and if the United States does not take it seriously, they will soon be outgunned by our adversaries in the final frontier.

3. NATO – Turkish Relations on the Decline

The relationship between Turkey and the other members of NATO, to include the United States, has been on rocky soil since current Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took power in 2014. Today, the connections between Turkey and its allies seem to be dwindling, with the most recent quarrels coming from economic sanctions imposed by the United States.

The US sanctions were imposed by the Trump Administration in an attempt to free Pastor Andrew Brunson from Turkish authorities. Brunson, an American Christian pastor, has been held since 2016 as a pawn for Erdoğan to use in his attempt to gain leverage over the United States. The results of the imposed sanctions have been devastating to the Turkish economy, causing the Lira to hit record lows. Though these actions give the United States a “leg up,” they have significant implications.

(Kabul, Afghanistan) Two Turkish soldiers salute while the Afghan National Army band plays the national anthems of Turkey and Afghanistan. Turkey has an outstanding relationship with Afghanistan and continues to support recovery and sustainment. (U.S. Navy photo by MC2 (SW) Christopher Hall)

The United States and other NATO nations have used Turkey as their middle ground for the wars raging in the Middle East, finding safe haven for military equipment and personnel. Today, an anti-ISIS coalition still runs out of Incirlik Air Base, a location which has only ever been used for NATO staging an intervention. If Turkey were to withdraw from NATO, it would put Incirlik in a bind and likely result in Turkey expelling the forces operating there. Stepping away from NATO would also give leeway to Erdoğan to further his own radical actions, domestic and international, which stem from his desire to recreate the Ottoman empire.

Though Turkey removing itself from NATO in most likely far from fruition, the degrading of Turkish relations with the US and others are rapidly evolving. Erdoğan is not a rational leader, as seen by both his past and present, refusing to accept accountability for his actions. The fundamentalist Islamic dictator cannot be trusted as an international actor, especially when he maintains nuclear weapons capabilities which could easily be turned on his “allies.” Also dangerous is the Russia-Turkey connection, which has been growing stronger seemingly due to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s disdain for NATO. The delicate situation of Turkey is something which could have massive implications and cannot be taken lightly.

Weekly Snapshot: 12-18 August 2018

Weekly Snapshot
12-18 August 2018

1. Agreement on the Caspian Sea
On August 12th, the five countries surrounding the Caspian Sea are set to meet about the status of the contested body of water. Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan have been debating the status of the Sea since the fall of the Soviet Union. Until the 1990’s only the Soviet Union and Iran had claims to the Sea, but with the breakup of the Soviet States, now five countries are in the mix.

The Caspian Sea is extremely important to the region for its natural resources. It is believed to have trillions of dollars of hydrocarbons, around 50 billion barrels of untapped oil and almost 9 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. All of these resources could reshape the dynamics of the region, politically and economically, and have the potential to bring wealth to some of America’s adversaries including Iran and Russia.

The point of the meeting, where all five of the countries presidents are attending, is to decide whether the Caspian is a sea or a lake. This has ramifications in that if the Caspian is ruled a lake, the countries would have to divide up the resources equally, where if it is a sea, the countries will draw lines extending from their shores to reach midway points with their neighbors. That means if a country has more shoreline, they will get more resources.

2. Iranian Ballistic Missile Test
Last week, PAI reported on Iranian naval exercises in the Straits of Hormuz. During the exercise, Iran shot a missile over the Strait of Hormuz from the Bandar-e-Jask base in southeastern Iran.

The anti-ship Fateh-110 Mod 3 ballistic missile flew over the Strait of Hormuz to a test range in the Iranian desert approximately 100 miles away. This is the first time in 2018 that Iran has tested a ballistic missile after testing several throughout 2017. This recent test and naval exercises come amidst the reintroduction of US sanctions on Iran after the ending of the 2015 nuclear deal.

3. Possible Human Rights Abuses in China
Representatives from the United Nations have received reports that one million ethnic Uighurs in China are being held in internment camps. These camps are clouded in secrecy by the Chinese government, but several credible reports have come to the UN’s attention.

It is believed that some 2 million Uighurs and other Muslims in China have been forced into political camps for indoctrination. China has imprisoned these people in the name of state security, saying they face serious threats from Islamic militants and separatists who plot against the government.

This is the same mindset that lead the Chinese government to detain over 100 Uyghur students who were returning to China from studying abroad in places such as Egypt and Turkey. During the detainment, the treatment was so horrific that some of the students ended up dying in custody says Gay McDougall, a member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

4. Update On US Space Force
For the first time since the mention of a new branch of the armed forces, the White House has opened up about its plan to create a Space Force. In a speech by Vice President Mike Pence at the Pentagon, it was revealed that the White House is pushing for the creation of the Space Force by the year 2020. They are seeking funding in the congressional budget for that year, allowing for the creation of this new branch.

In the meantime, the Trump administration is continuing to work on laying the groundwork for when funding becomes available including creating a civilian position, Assistant Secretary of Defense of Space, but did not name a nominee for the position. The speech by the Vice President also outlined several other combatant commands including the U.S. Space Command, the Space Operations Force and a joint organization called the Space Development Agency.

The creation of this new branch is ultimately up to congressional approval. As of right now, there are a lot of mixed views on the new Space Force, primarily divided between party lines. However several key Republicans (including the number two Republican in charge of the Senate Armed Services Committee, James Inhofe) are opposed to the idea of creating the Space Force. If Senator John McCain (who is the current chair of the committee) is unable to perform his duties next year and the Republicans remain in power in the Senate, it would be up to Senator Inhofe to manage the bill through Senate.

There is still a long way before the United States has a Space Force, but it is reassuring that this issue is still at the precipice of the government’s attention. Space is a growing issue for national security, and if the United States does not take it seriously, they will soon be outgunned by our adversaries in the final frontier.

Suggested Articles: 12-18 August 2018

Suggested Articles:
12-18 August 2018

1. Time to Revive Brilliant Pebbles!

PAI Board of Advisors Member and Chairman of High Frontier, Ambassador Henry Cooper, provides a summary of the Brilliant Pebbles missile defense system and its possible revival under the Trump administration. Brilliant Pebbles is a space-based interceptor which has the ability to destroy intercontinental ballistic missiles all throughout their flight, from boost to reentry. With North Korean missile production continuing, and the looming threat of Russia, China, and Iran as prominent as ever, conservatives both in the Midwest and across the United States understand the necessity of a capable missile defense system. The Pax Americana Institute will continue to monitor this situation and those like it, always pushing for a brighter defensive future.

2. Understanding Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 73 Years Later

Dan Mclaughlin of The National Review provides insight and historical analysis of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Much of Mclaughlin’s article addresses the historical inaccuracies which seemingly plague not only modern-day conversation of the bombings but also how students learn of them in early education. The decision to drop the bombs was not made lightly and was made with the intention of ultimately saving lives on both the American and Japanese sides. PAI and its classically conservative followers understand the gravity of the situation and know that history needs to be taught and analyzed correctly in order to learn from it. Midwestern conservatives recognize the necessity of reflection, especially this week, which marked 73 years since the bombings, and know full well that lasting peace with Japan was a result of them.

3. Iranian President tells North Korea that US is ‘Untrustworthy

Brett Samuel, a reporter for The Hill, give an analysis of a Reuters report which claimed that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had made statements to a North Korean diplomat that the United States is “untrustworthy” and “does not meet any of its obligations.” The Iranian anti-US sentiment comes as no surprise but remains ironic for the belligerent Middle Eastern nation. It is important to employ realism to the Iran and North Korea situations, keeping in mind their dangerous and belligerent past. The Pax Americana Institute has analyzed the actions of Iran before and will continue to do such until their compliance with international norms is met.

4. Israel Orders ‘Strong Action’ Against Hamas as Rocket Fire from Gaza Persists

Samuel Chamberlain of Fox News reviews the tension-filled situation between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip. Last week, the Pax Americana Institute provided a snapshot of the current situation in Gaza which saw tension again rise between the IDF and Palestinian militants. Hamas, a known and labeled terrorist organization, continues to derail efforts in peacemaking by launching new attacks on Israel. Midwestern conservatives who follow PAI want peace to be the outcome of the Arab-Israeli conflict but recognize that Hamas’ action is inhibiting both sides from moving forward. The depth by which Hamas and its supporters drive the Arab-Israeli conflict cannot be taken lightly and classical conservative across the United States recognize this issue.

Suggested Articles: 5-11 August 2018

1. In Soviet Echo, Putin Gives Russian Army a Political Wing

Andrew Osborn, writing for Reuters, reports on one of the newest directorates by Vladimir Putin to foster patriotism and nationalism within the Russian military. The presidential decree from Putin is an attempt to “ensure soldiers’ loyalty,” parallelling similar moves made by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. For the United States, this establishment reflects not just the mindset of our adversary but also their willingness to battle an ideological enemy. The move also follows suit with PAI’s very own piece on the changes being made to the Russian Intelligence community, “Putin’s KGB: The Coupling of the FSB and SVR.” The Pax Americana Institute and its Midwestern conservative followers know the dangers of a growing pro-Russian ideology, both within Russia and outside of it. Classical conservatives stand ready to fight the ideological terrors associated with Soviet-era thinking.

2. The U.S. Should Work with Mexico to Stem Central American Migration

Dan Crenshaw, in an article from The National Review, provides an analysis of the recent comments by Mexican president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Obrador had announced that the border security on the south of his nation would be a priority for his administration. Crenshaw suggests that a “reboot” of the Mexican-American partnership would be helpful in the United States’ fight over its own southern border. For classical conservatives everywhere, state sovereignty is important and relies in part, on strong border security. The Pax Americana Institute and its followers understand the necessity for diplomacy, especially with Mexico concerning the illegal immigration situation and the problems it brings.

3. Pentagon Creates ‘Do Not Buy’ List of Russian, Chinese Software

Patrick Tucker reports on the recent Pentagon development of a “Do Not Buy” list for Russian and Chinese operational software. The article in Defense One covers the list which was released about six months ago and, at this point, is under continual revision. PAI and its Midwestern conservative followers, though perceivably further away from the threats of Russia and China, know full well the hazards which are posed by technology developed by foreign nations which are hostile to the United States. Conservatives everywhere, including those who follow the Pax Americana Institute, continue to monitor the issues which may arise from foreign technologies.

4. Are You Kidding Me? An ICE Official Had To Give Illegal Immigration 101 To A Democratic Senator

Townhall writer Matt Vespa provides an analysis of the recent Senate hearing on child separation at the border, a topic which has been under major scrutiny by the American left after the Trump administration took office in 2016. Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono claimed she was “confused” at the reasoning for why illegal immigrants had to be detained at the border. Following up her comments with the statement, “they have broken a law only as deemed so by the president.” This irrational thought process, which has been a seemingly recurring trend with the American political left today, is just one of many cases where the reality of the situation is discarded in order to push an agenda. The Pax Americana Institute and its classically conservative Midwestern followers know all too well the current political climate and the importance in combating such irrational thinking.

5. North Korea Possibly Constructing New ICBMs, Missile Program Moving on Business as Usual,’ Official Says

Benjamin Brown and Lucas Tomlinson coauthor an article for Fox News, reporting on the newest developments concerning North Korea. United States intelligence has revealed that the Kim regime is currently in the development stage of a new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. The Pax Americana Institute has been closely monitoring the situation in North Korea, and our midwestern conservative followers understand the problems it poses for the world today. Conservatives across the United States know the necessity for applying realism to the situation at hand. North Korea poses a lasting threat to American national security.

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