The CSS Blog Network

Europe Needs to Make Some Hard Choices in 2020

Image courtesy of Sara Kurfeß/Unsplash

This article was originally published in the ASPI’s The Strategist on 21 January 2020.

For the first time since 1957, Europe finds itself in a situation where three major powers—the United States, China and Russia—have an interest in weakening it. They may squeeze the European Union in very different ways, but they share an essential hostility to its governance model.

The European model, after all, is based on the principle of shared sovereignty among states in crucial areas such as market standards and trade. That liberal idea is antithetical to the American, Chinese and Russian view of sovereignty, which places the prerogative of states above global rules and norms of behaviour. Shared sovereignty is possible only among liberal states; unalloyed sovereignty is the preserve of populists and authoritarians.

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What the End of the INF Treaty Means for China

Image courtesy of US Department of Defense

This article was originally published by the Carnegie Moscow Center in December 2019.

Beijing perceives the U.S. withdrawal from the INF and possible deployment of ground-based missiles to Asia as part of Washington’s broader campaign to contain China. Overall, China can be fairly confident regarding its chances in a potential missile race in Asia, thanks to several advantages.

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China´s Maritime Silk Road Initiative

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has both a land-based and a maritime component. This graphic provides an overview of the maritime element, the Maritime Silk Road Initiative (MSRI) which connects connects China to Europe and Africa via the Middle East. For an insight into the BRI in the Middle East, including its implications for China’s impact on the region, read Lisa Watanabe’s recent CSS Analyses in Security Policy here.

Denmark’s China Challenge

Image courtesy of M Woods

This article was originally published by the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) on 29 October 2019.

A common refrain in Denmark is that China is too far away to be a threat to Danish economic, foreign and security policy interests. This is no longer the case. Danish policy-makers acknowledge that China’s rise as a global superpower presents Denmark with new challenges. However, transforming this strategic thinking into practice is no simple task.

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Hypersonic Weapons: Tactical Uses and Strategic Goals

Image courtesy of DVIDS

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 12 November 2019.

Hypersonic flight is not new. The V-2 rocket and the vast majority of the ballistic missiles that it inspired achieved hypersonic speeds (i.e., speeds faster than the speed of sound or Mach 5+) as they fell from the sky, as did crewed aircraft like the rocket-powered X-15. Rather than speed, today’s renewed attention to hypersonic weapons owes to developments that enable controlled flight. These new systems have two sub-varieties: hypersonic glide vehicles and hypersonic cruise missiles. Glide vehicles are the cousins of ballistic warheads: they are lofted on high velocity boosters, separate, then use momentum and control surfaces to skip and glide through the upper atmosphere before crashing onto their targets. The cruise missiles use an advanced propulsion system (a SCRAMJET) for powered flight. While the descriptions are straightforward, the engineering needed to accomplish the guidance and maneuvering (not to mention survivability) of these weapons is far from clear.

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