Dissolving the Leviathan in Lebanon

cc Mahdi Shojaeian, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Damages_after_2020_Beirut_explosions_1.jpg

The mismanagement of Lebanon is almost criminally negligent. But perhaps that’s the point.

Kazakhstan Moves to Ease Water Conflict in Central Asia

A boat near the shrinking Aral Sea, Uzbekistan; cc Anton Ruiter, Flickr, modified, https://flickr.com/photos/antonruiter/6317973207/in/photolist-aCigjx-2iEcVy4-2jz5sjq-24QEhq4-2faRRcS-aCi1Mg-aChR3R-aCih9H-aChSkp-2gcsBGm-2k9SNen-2m9kJnC-2kCPuvH-2i8ii1e-2hX7VL5-2k42J5Z-2kYMauC-2jopMA9-cCg8bm-2hnpAQZ-2hY95JU-2jyiyUr-25dwdMi-2jDAo6Z-2m4MZKY-SZfvD7-aCi37Z-aCi9ER-aCiezz-aCi88P-aCkR6d-aCiapZ-aChXgK-aCkwjQ-aCifuF-aCkSUq-aChYND-2eqh3EX-aChY4H-ajpCjG-aChUB8-aCkA6S-aCi5uT-aCkAS9-aCkNus-aCkLYJ-z95CY3-ajpCEC-aCkL7U-aCi4iF

A new proposal from President Tokayev takes aim at one of the most pressing, albeit often understated, issues facing the region.

Good Morning America: US-Vietnam Relations Ready for Strategic Partnership

USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) arrives in Da Nang, Vietnam. DA NANG, Vietnam (March 5, 2018) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) arrives in Da Nang, Vietnam for a scheduled port visit. The Carl Vinson Strike Group is in the Western Pacific as part of a regularly scheduled deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Devin M. Monroe/Released)180305-N-BS159-0039, cc US Navy, https://flickr.com/photos/usnavy/26762606268/in/photolist-GQt629-2hV8n1F-GLVms1-2iCvpPM-24Yef2D-29U79uz-JwA7PD-LBaYWr-c89tdh-aCXHNx-2kpv84Z-22B8WEC-2jNABgq-hwLWC7-2jNBtZk-BFFRv4-CbWNSb-o5mBB6-Lzx8he-24WQaFM-GY3eeJ-wBonDF-23zKzLt-24WQd4x-23VawvN-FkNjuz-22gUa4A-GMi8vA-GS8H23-22gUak7-FkNk2X-23CPvZe-23CPx4t-252QPAV-23VauYj-22eX6Rj-23CPqVX-FkNkek-23CPtbt-24V5MdH-23CPssV-24V5M2R-FkNkWH

The recent visit by Vice President Harris reinforced a growing US-Vietnam strategic partnership that is de facto if not de jure, at least for the time being.

The Twilight of Pax Americana

KABUL, AFghanistan (Sept. 11, 2010) Fire Controlman 1st Class Andrew Eden, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Joint Command disclosure officer, right, and French Air Force Sgt. Lydia Briand prepare to raise the American Flag at Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joseph Swafford/released)

The United States bears many of the hallmarks of a hegemon in decline.

The Cycle Begins Anew in North Korea

cc Flickr Trump White House Archiv, modified, - https://flickr.com/photos/whitehouse45/48164810697/in/photolist-2goafbD-2go9QQe-2go9QNa-2goafha-2goag4L-2gnYrsU-2gnY3MH-2aR2qYA-2goafGP-pSTvKQ-2goafZx-2goafpE-2gnY3ST-2goag2S-2goag2G-2gnY3YE-2gnY456-2goagdD-2go9RvT-2goafzj-2go9R3i-2goafTW-2goafKu-2gnY4ZH-ie9ze1-2mfuTRq-2gnY3Ei-2go9Rhr-ipgfMY-ZdaiQC-Hr72GK-oRNy4u-XTrPoc-DCDdaA-JebySr-27T1Mvn-26vpRWp-JebyFV-22VpJBT-2hbYJJS-p3iVta-2iMfX34-2icKqSQ-2i8kJFZ-cmgzT9-DwgyR4-RUXCeS-24n4jRR-ec4Epu-SPh8Jb

A desperate regime gives rise to hope and ultimately bitter disappointment, as the diplomatic cycle on the Korean Peninsula churns forward once again.

What Does Afghanistan Mean for US Allies in East Asia?

210818-M-TU241-1001 HAMID KARZAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Afghanistan (August 18, 2021) Marines with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) search luggage during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 18. U.S. Marines are assisting the Department of State with an orderly drawdown of designated personnel in Afghanistan., U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Isaiah Campbell/U.S. Central Command Public Affairs , modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Search&redirs=0&search=kabul%20airport&fulltext=Search&ns0=1&ns6=1&ns14=1&title=Special:Search&advanced=1&fulltext=Advanced%20search#/media/File:Marines_with_the_24th_Marine_Expeditionary_Unit_(MEU)_search_luggage_during_an_evacuation_at_Hamid_Karzai_International_Airport,_Kabul,_Afghanistan,_Image_6_of_8.jpg

The fall of Kabul is causing some to question Washington’s commitment to its East Asian allies.

VP Harris Visit: Poor Timing in Washington’s Courting of Vietnam as Strategic Partner

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Vietnamese Defense Minister Phan Van Giang enter conduct bi-lateral discussions at the Vietnam Ministry of Defense, Hanoi, Vietnam, July 29, 2021. Austin is on a week-long trip to reaffirm defense relationships and conduct bilateral meetings with senior officials in Vietnam, Singapore and Manila, Philippines. (DoD photo by Chad J. McNeeley), cc U.S. Secretary of Defense, modified, https://www.flickr.com/photos/secdef/51343158874/in/photostream/rg/licenses/by/2.0/

The Kabul-Saigon comparison touches a nerve in US-Vietnam reconciliation, and reinforces doubts over the level of US commitment to Southeast Asia.

Colonial Pipeline Attack: A Warning for the US Military

ccU.S. Army Corps of Engineers, modified, Solar panel arrays form a canopy at a construction site in Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., March 12, 2013. The construction site is for phase 1 and 2 of a solar microgrid project at the installation, managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District. Phase 1 was completed in April 2012 and generates one megawatt of power, enough energy to power 250 to 300 homes. Phase 2, scheduled for completion in May 2013, will generate an additional one megawatt of power and is expected to be the second of four at the post. The Sacramento District awarded contracts of $8.4 million for phase I and $9.7 million for phase 2. Along with the energy production, the cover provided by the panel arrays will shade the majority of the post’s vehicles. Fort Hunter Liggett is one of six pilot installations selected by the U.S. Army to be net-zero energy, meaning the installation will create as much energy as it uses. (U.S. Army photo by John Prettyman/Released), https://www.flickr.com/photos/usacehq/8580148034

The Colonial Pipeline attack should be a warning for defense leaders: Make sure your bases have resilient energy infrastructure or that vulnerability will be used against you.

UNCLOS Remains the Gold Standard in Maritime Security Cooperation

cc flickr sanjitbakshi, modified, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

With mounting disputes around the world, the treaty is arguably more important than ever for maritime security.

Why Is the Post-WW2 Non-Annexation Norm So Weak?

cc Patrick Gruban, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:UN_General_Assembly_hall.jpg

The answer may lie the Latin truism: quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi. Or “What’s permissible for Jupiter is not permissible for an ox.”

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