On December 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US Congress declared war on Japan. Two weeks after al Qaeda attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, the CIA was on the ground in Afghanistan.
The Russian attack on US democracy in 2016 was not deadly, but it was similarly harmful to US national security. The West, however, has still not pushed back strongly enough to stop the hybrid war Moscow continues to wage against the United States and its European allies.
Massive cyberattack targets politicians, celebrities, and journalists in Germany
The personal information and correspondence of hundreds of German politicians, celebrities, journalists, and public figures has reportedly been leaked on Twitter since early December 2018. German media reports that the leaks were first discovered late on January 3 and that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is among the targets.
The targeted leaks “[look] like a clear attempt to disrupt German politics,” said Ben Nimmo, an information defense fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab).
The detention of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei, in Canada in December at the request of the United States heightened tensions in an already fraught US-China relationship. Huawei has been the target of the ire of China hawks in the United States dating back to the early 2010s amid scandals tied to sanctions evasion in Iran and concerns about possible espionage. Yet in the buzz about its ties to China’s People’s Liberation Army, the company’s extensive dollar exposures have received little coverage.
US President Donald Trump has an uncanny ability to divide both Americans and the United States from its democratic allies. The first two years of his administration have seen intense polarization within the United States and unprecedented slights against American friends around the world. Despite these divisions, the United States and its allies are more strategically aligned in grand strategy – endorsed by Republicans and Democrats – than they have been since 9/11, if not 1989.
Read Mattis’ words closely and they serve to both define and narrow the range of his possible successors to those who better embrace President Trump’s world view. The President will be looking for an individual who will share in his suspicion of allies (who he believes don’t carry sufficient defense burden while enjoying unfair trade benefits), and who will be more willing to work with adversaries, particularly Russia.
Trump’s Afghan withdrawal coincides with an ongoing effort, kicked off with the appointment of Zalmay Khalilzad as the US special representative in September, to end the seventeen-year-old war in Afghanistan. If not coordinated, the withdrawal of US troops could hinder Khalilzad’s efforts and bolster the Taliban’s negotiating position. This, in turn, could weaken the positions of the US and Afghan governments, including political elites in Afghanistan, domestically as well as at the regional level.
Wilson had set out US war aims—his famous Fourteen Points—in January 1918. These challenged the imperial, balance-of-power system of the European powers (on both sides) that had started the war, and at the same time took on the revolutionary alternative which Lenin’s Bolsheviks had proclaimed. The French, British, and Italians, US allies, had fought for territorial prizes, spelled out in secret treaties between them.
Wilson was trying to have none of that.
Frankly I was mystified. NATO has two supreme commanders, SACEUR (Supreme Allied Commander Europe) and SACT, and in all my thirty-eight years on the NATO international staff I have never known either of these individuals to call on an official below the rank of secretary general, the chairman of the Military Committee or the NATO ambassadors on the North Atlantic Council. At that time I was the director of the Policy Planning Unit. If he had an issue at my level, Mattis would normally dispatch an aide or one of his section chiefs. What could I contribute that would make our new SACT wish to come to see me in person?