The prospects for peaceful unification of China and Taiwan continue to dim. Nothing Beijing has tried to woo or coerce Taiwan has worked. For those determined to compel Taiwan's unification, military subjugation remains a last option. But it would only worsen China's security environment.
To regain military superiority the Pentagon has suggested a strategy that focuses on emerging technologies and deterrence. But it will need more than new technologies to deter and respond to aggression; it should also take into account grand strategy and acquisition considerations and keep countering Russia and China a top priority.
While media coverage has focused on Syria and Iraq, Afghanistan remains an important frontline state in the fight against terrorism. The Trump administration should aim to prevent the Taliban from overthrowing the Afghan government, encourage political reconciliation, and pursue terrorists that threaten the United States.
War between the United States and China seems far-fetched. But complacency would be a mistake. Washington and Beijing should keep a direct channel open between their defense ministers to defuse any potential crises or escalation.
President Trump has proposed an increase of $54 billion in defense spending, about 10 percent more than the current budget. But what is the national security strategy that supports this reallocation of resources? A comprehensive discussion of threats to U.S. interests and strategies to address them is in order.
The struggle against jihadist terrorism has a long way to go. All courses of action come with risks, but are not mutually exclusive. The U.S. could escalate the fight, work with state partners in the Middle East, or withdraw from the region.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis will need to lay the intellectual groundwork to fulfill President Trump's promise of “a great rebuilding” of the United States military. History suggests that how the strategies are developed may be as important to their success as what they say.