Analysis & events

The Vandenberg Coalition

Honest Candor

Senator Vandenberg called for “honest candor” in discussions on U.S. foreign policy. The Vandenberg Coalition is proud to continue this tradition by sharing the best analysis from across the country.

Indo-Pacific

How Biden’s Foreign Policy Approach Builds on Trump’s

By Lisa Curtis

CNN

March 12, 2021

 

Bottom Line: The Biden administration is right to continue the Trump administration’s focus on strengthening the “Quad” – a loose alliance between Australia, India, Japan, and the United States.

 

What to Do: Bolster the Quad to deter China from hostile behavior, such as the recent clashes with India and Australia; use the Quad to lead efforts for alternative supply chains that bypass China; pool Quad resources and expand information and data exchange to enhance maritime security in the Indo-Pacific; consider expanding Quad discussions to include South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and others on an issue-by-issue basis.

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Grand Strategy

Key Republican Lessons for Biden’s Global Agenda

By Michael J. Green, A. Wess Mitchell, Amanda J. Rothschild, Kori Schake, Daniel Twining

Foreign Policy

February 3, 2021

 

Bottom Line: Five former officials from the Trump and George W. Bush administrations share their foreign-policy advice for the new team.

 

What to Do: Impose strategic discipline on the national security team; reform the NATO alliance to prepare for rivalry with Russia and China; don’t abandon key achievements from the Trump administration; avoid making defense excessively subservient to domestic goals; leverage America’s democratic edge to undercut authoritarian rivals.

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Defense

A Good Battery Is the Best Defense Against a Military Assault

By Arthur Herman and Nadia Schadlow

The Wall Street Journal

March 30, 2021

 

Bottom Line: The development and manufacturing of batteries is likely to become a modern-day arms race. Advanced batteries provide energy that can help the Pentagon execute multiple missions across long distances unhindered by the obstacles posed by adversaries. The United States will need to invest in a secure innovation and production base for advanced battery technology.

 

What to Do: The Defense Department must work closely with battery manufacturers and other parts of government, such as the Energy Department, to reshore this key part of America’s defense innovation base.

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Defense

The Downsides of Downsizing: Why the United States Needs Four Hundred ICBMs

By Matthew Kroenig, Mark J. Massa, Christian Trotti

Atlantic Council

March 29, 2021

 

Bottom Line: Downsizing the ICBM force to three hundred missiles would undermine the major goals of U.S. nuclear strategy by reducing the U.S. ability to achieve its goals if deterrence fails, increasing the risk that adversaries initiate and escalate military challenges, and hindering U.S. ability to hedge against an uncertain future.

 

What to Do: The Department of Defense should add missiles to fill existing, unused silos, which would be a treaty-compliant and cost-effective way to strengthen U.S. nuclear posture; the United States should modestly increase the size of its ICBM force by deploying an additional twenty-five ICBMs among its existing fifty empty silos in accordance with New START limits.

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Middle East

The Abraham Accords Hold the Key to Biden’s East Med Policy

By Matthew Zais

MENASource

April 6, 2021

 

Bottom Line: The natural gas debate between climate idealists and energy realists in the Biden administration threatens to diminish the potential and power of America’s international energy diplomacy. Leadership in the East Mediterranean Gas Forum provides the United States an opportunity to bolster its international energy diplomacy in the region and champion the geopolitical power of energy cooperation.

 

What to Do: The United States should actively participate and be a leader in EMGF in order to: reduce global emissions through natural gas solutions; challenge Turkish aggression by enabling regional energy cooperation and expanding beyond gas and the Mediterranean; counter Russia and China by coupling diplomatic efforts through the EMGF with a re-commitment to U.S. financial institutions like the DFC and EXIM to leverage American energy dominance and realize effective international energy diplomacy.

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Iran

Is Iran Being Turned into a Chinese Gas Station?

By Elliott Abrams

National Review

March 30, 2021

 

Bottom Line: The figures cited in the recent agreement for China to invest $400 billion in Iran over 25 years should be viewed with skepticism. Either the amounts are mostly propaganda to boost both the Chinese and Iranian regimes, or if the amounts are accurate, the regime, suffering under U.S. sanctions, is selling the country to China.

 

What to Do: Foreign policy experts and officials should further scrutinize the numbers in the China-Iran deal. The Iranian people should seek more transparent information about what has been agreed to in this partnership.

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