Defense Strategy

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Will China extend its influence in the Indian Ocean by building a naval base in Gwadar, Pakistan?

Asked by Hassan, from National University Of Sciences and Technology

To date, Chinese officials have asserted that their interest in Gwadar is strictly a commercial effort to provide another energy corridor for Middle East oil, and Pakistani government officials stridently affirm this position. New Delhi, on the other hand, has expressed "concern" about the true motivations in developing Gwadar, suspecting that it is a Sino-Pak effort at encirclement.

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Primary Sources

French Government: White Paper on Defense and National Security

The French government published a white paper on June 17, 2008, which, according to its introduction, "substantially redefines French strategy in a 15-year perspective, embracing both defense and national security." On April 29, 2013, the government released its fourth defense reform paper, which freezes the budget, further reduces personnel and equipment in addition to 2008 cuts, and focuses on intelligence gathering, cyberwarfare, and drones.

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How important is 'command of the commons' to U.S. defense strategy going forward?

Asked by Jason Thomas

The diplomatic strength and economic power of the United States depend upon a functioning global order and a system of international trade based on uncontested access to the global commons—the world's shared land, sea , air, and space—for all. Command of the global commons is what makes the United States a super power.

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Primary Sources

Secretary Hagel's Policy Speech at National Defense University, April 2013

Author: Chuck Hagel

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel delivered his first major policy speech as Pentagon chief at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., April 3, 2013. The speech outlined potential departmental changes in acquisition, personnel, and organization, especially with the sequester, and addressed U.S. responses to North Korean threats.

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Foreign Affairs Article

The Lost Logic of Deterrence

Author: Richard K. Betts

For half a century, deterrence was the backbone of U.S. national security strategy. But now, Washington doesn't seem to know how and when to use it properly. The United States has needlessly applied deterrence to Russia, failed to apply it when it should have against Iraq and Iran, and been dangerously confused about whether to apply it to China. U.S. policymakers need to relearn the basics of deterrence in order to apply it successfully in the appropriate circumstances.

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What should the red lines be for the Iranian nuclear program?

People love to talk about "red lines" for all sorts of challenges, and the Iranian nuclear program is no exception. The United States can, in principle, threaten stronger sanctions if Iran crosses certain red lines. It can threaten military action if Iran crosses others. But it's not clear that setting red lines—particularly in public, where failing to follow through on threats can be costly—is a productive course.

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