Recent Events

US President Donald J. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on December 1 agreed to a truce in their trade war in order to allow time for negotiations. In what is a significant de-escalation of a conflict that has been marked by tit-for-tat tariffs, Trump and Xi put on hold threatened tariff increases for ninety days.

The agreement was reached during a dinner meeting between the two leaders after the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
George H.W. Bush, the forty-first president of the United States, died on November 30. He was ninety-four. In addition to serving as president, Bush was a vice president, director of Central Intelligence, US ambassador to the United Nations, and representative for Texas’ seventh congressional district in the US House of Representatives.
US President Donald J. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are scheduled to have a highly anticipated meeting on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Buenos Aires later this week.

The meeting will take place against a backdrop of sharp trade acrimony that has been marked by tit-for-tat trade tariffs. The Trump administration, for now, plans to raise existing tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent on January 1, 2019.  Trump has also threatened to impose tariffs on an additional $267 billion of Chinese goods.

G20 leaders will meet in Argentina on November 30 and December 1.

Robert A. Manning, a resident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, will be keeping an eye on the Trump-Xi meeting. Here’s what he expects.

Presidential anger would risk United States being blamed for Pyongyang’s actions

A report released this week that exposes the existence of more than a dozen hidden missile bases in North Korea may not be news to intelligence services in Seoul and Washington, but the exposure has important political implications for US negotiations with the North, and indeed stability on the Peninsula. Equally, it highlights the power of crowdsourcing, open-source intelligence gathering, and analysis by the public at large. This, too, has implications for policy making well beyond the report’s findings.    

The Washington Post reported on November 12 on how a small group of Korea experts pieced together publicly available satellite imagery and interviews with North Korean defectors and government officials to identify thirteen undeclared missile bases. They conclude more bases may be hidden. The Washington Post reported on July 30, 2018, that North Korea could be constructing new missiles at the same factory that produced its first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States. 
The Great War ended one century ago. Like the Korean and Afghan Wars, it is one of the forgotten wars of American history. Our remembrance of the Great War is colored by its moral ambiguity, by our knowledge that it did not resolve its underlying causes, and by the fact that it ended up causing more problems by how it ended. But the war is enormously influential in American history because it set a template for how Americans forget wars when we forget why they were fought.
Amid rising tensions between China and the United States, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will “attempt to put a floor on the relationship” when they meet with Chinese officials in Washington on November 9, according to Robert A. Manning, a resident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.

The two US officials will meet Chinese politburo member Yang Jiechi and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe as part of an annual framework to discuss security and political issues. Mattis was supposed to have this meeting in Beijing in October, but Chinese officials postponed it after the United States imposed sanctions on a Chinese company for purchasing weapons from Russia and Washington approved a $330 million military equipment deal with Taiwan.
If US President Donald J. Trump moves to replace Secretary of Defense James Mattis after the midterm elections in November, as he has signaled his want to do, the effect will be significant for government decision-making at home and for our defense activities abroad. 

A post-Mattis Department of Defense (DoD) will align more closely with the president’s worldview and act accordingly. We can expect more muscular and high-risk military posturing,  alliances coming under new strain, and the United States’ reputation for unilateralism deepening.
If there is one thing most arms control experts can agree on it is this: Russia has for many years been violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

Another thing they agree on: US President Donald J. Trump’s intention to walk away from the treaty signed by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987 has created the impression that it is the United States that is at fault.
US President Donald J. Trump confirmed on October 20 that the United States will withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). The agreement, signed between the Soviet Union and the United States in 1987, sought to ban both countries’ armed forces from keeping ground-based nuclear missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.


    

RELATED CONTENT