US Policy Changes Vol.11 (National Security Vol.1)

Here are articles on national security. Excerpts are on our own.

Cyber
Security News This Week: What Trump’s Win Means for Cybersecurity (11/12/2016) | @a_greenberg (@lilyhnewman) @wired
A man…who even reportedly eavesdropped on calls between guests and staff at his Mar-a-lago hotel, would control the world’s most powerful surveillance capabilities.
– Silicon Valley Is Worried Trump Will Demand Their Data
– Rudy Giuliani Eyes Cybersecurity Post in Trump Administration
– Russian Hackers Follow Trump’s Win With More Cyberattacks
– How to Protect Yourself Online in Trump’s America
– Trump Will Inherit Surveillance Powers Enshrined By Obama

NATO
Trump’s national security adviser wants to water down U.S. NATO commitments. Here’s what that means. (11/20/2016) | @JimGoldgeier @monkeycageblog
… NATO is a 20th-century model and needs to be retooled for 21st-century threats that we collectively face, you know cyber is one of them. …
In the 1949 Washington Treaty that established NATO, Article 5 stated, “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.” …
Since the end of the Cold War, the alliance has gone to war not to defend a member state from armed attack but for the purpose of humanitarian intervention, first in Kosovo in 1999 and later in Libya in 2011. …
… NATO accepted the Bush administration’s request to assume leadership of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan in August 2003. … Nearly 50 nations, including Azerbaijan, Finland and the United Arab Emirates, sent troops to Afghanistan in support of ISAF’s mission.
… But Russia’s intervention also produced anxiety in the Baltic countries and in Poland about the certainty of NATO’s collective-defense commitment. …
… NATO increased sea patrols in the Baltic and Black seas and stepped up its air defense over its eastern territory. …
… Russia has made its aggressive posture toward Europe clear, and its invasion of Ukraine has undermined the bipartisan effort over the past quarter-century in the United States to build a Europe “whole, free and at peace.” … Uncertainty may be a great form of leverage in a business negotiation but is disastrous for maintaining a strong alliance. …

Brexit
The US President-elect Donald Trump is a real gift to Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations – The Sun columnist argues that with the president-elect on your side, Britain is now in a stronger position than before (w Video; 11/12/2016) | @JGForsyth @TheSun
… Brexit’s critics used to claim that quitting the EU would leave this country isolated on the world stage.
But you can’t claim that when the President-elect of the most powerful country on Earth is in favour of it.
… Gone is all the talk about Britain going “to the back of the queue” after Brexit, to be replaced by warm words about Trump’s desire for a spectacular relationship with the UK.
Mrs May has a chance to create a strong relationship with Trump before other European leaders even start trying.
French and German elections next year mean their leaders will use Trump as a domestic punch-bag. …
… This isn’t about liking Trump or endorsing his views. It is simply being realistic: He is the next US President and Britain has to deal with him.
After all, working with Trump is far less compromising than cooperating with the undemocratic Chinese government.
… If the US starts backing away from its obligation to defend other Nato members from attack then Britain’s nuclear deterrent and military forces will become far more important than before to Europe’s security.
“If you’re the Baltics, you’re more concerned than ever to have a relationship with the UK post-Brexit that maintains security cooperation…

Europe
How President Trump Could Actually Reduce Danger Of War In Europe For The U.S. (11/21/2016) | @lthompsonlex @Forbes
… Russia’s military would have so many advantages in a regional conflict that the West might have to resort to using nuclear weapons to avert defeat. It might also have to attack targets inside Russian borders, which under Moscow’s current military doctrine could result in its own use of nuclear weapons. With only one working missile-warning satellite, Russia could easily misinterpret NATO moves. If Trump bolsters U.S. conventional forces while also scaling back commitments, that could slow the drift toward an uncontrollable nuclear exchange.

Russia
Michael Flynn & Russia: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know (11/17/2016) | @dsl89 @Heavysan

Turkey
Trump must properly assess YPG threat to Turkey: expert – Incoming US president needs to realize PYD/YPG threat for better relations with Turkey, think thank leader says (11/22/2016) | Esra Kaymak Avci @anadoluagency
…@InsightTurkey…
… The PKK is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and EU, but Washington does not consider the PYD/YPG as a terrorist entity but a “reliable partner“ in Syria to fight Daesh. …
… According to Kanat, the Obama administration emphasized that Daesh was a bigger threat to Turkey than the PYD/YPG and underestimated the significant threat terrorist groups posed to Turkey’s national security.
…the experts agreed Trump would push for the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) ringleader Fetullah Gulen’s extradition from U.S. in an effort to foster better relations between the two countries. …

Syria
What will Trump do on Syria?: Trump’s “America first” is likely to make him cooperate with Putin on Syria. (w Video; 11/11/2016) | @ramikhouri @AlJazeera
… Trump also has not explicitly criticised Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea, suggesting that he might be comfortable with returning to a Cold War-type unofficial agreement on spheres of influence for the two great powers.
…his preference to refrain from criticising human rights violations in increasingly authoritarian regimes in the region and to keep the US out of local conflicts that only destabilise countries (such as Libya, Yemen, and Syria).
… His main aim seems to be to resume some calm in war-torn lands in a manner that allows the US to withdraw its troops from them, even if this means maintaining regimes such as Assad’s and ceding big power influence there to Russia.

Iraq
Will Trump bring better future for Iraqis? (Nov 2016) | @AliMamouri @AlMonitor
… Once the announcement came that Trump had won, many Iraqi politicians and citizens expressed joy. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi…
Iraqi President Fuad Masum and parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri…
The government-funded Iraqi Media Network…
Muwaffaq al-Rubaie…
…Maliki insisted that a number of US troops remain to ensure security…
…@Nahren707…

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia contemplates Trump (Nov 2016) | Bruce Riedel @AlMonitor
… The royals’ longtime connections to America’s two family dynasties, the Bushes and the Clintons, were on the wrong side of history. … The Saudis are nervous about what they see as rising Islamophobia in America.
… Riyadh would like to see more aggressive moves against Tehran. The United Nations-endorsed nuclear deal with Iran is not Riyadh’s priority; instead, the Saudis want international attention and sanctions focused on Iranian subversion. They will welcome calls for regime change in Tehran and efforts to de-legitimize the Islamic Republic.
… (King) Salman will press the incoming administration to get more deeply involved in getting rid of Assad. The Saudis believe Damascus is the place to upset Iranian influence in the region. … Assad, not the Islamic State (IS), is the top priority for the kingdom.
… The king and his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman argue that they have prevented Iran from getting a foothold on the Arabian Peninsula by going to war against the pro-Iranian Zaydi Houthis and the loyalists of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, but they recognize the war is increasingly costly. …
… Another attempt at a cease-fire collapsed this week. A sudden crisis in the war could be an early test for the new US administration in February 2017.
… Salman is a strong defender of the Islamic identity of Jerusalem. He has been involved in fundraising for supporting the Palestinian cause in Jerusalem since 1967…
… The congressional override of President Barack Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) means our oldest and strongest ally in the Arab world is going to be the target of what Saudis believe to be unnecessary and dangerous lawsuits. …

Israel
Jerusalem said to welcome Trump’s ‘pro-Israel’ security picks (11/19/2016) | @TimesofIsrael
… @RepMikePompeo has been one of the leading critics of last year’s deal with Iran that traded sanctions relief for a nuclear rollback, aligning him with much of the centrist and right-wing pro-Israel communities.
… Unlike the majority of Republicans, who single out “Islamists” or “radical jihadists” or some variation thereof, @GenFlynn emphatically targets the entire faith. In August, he spoke at an event in Dallas hosted by the anti-Islamist group Act for America, calling Islam a “cancer” and a “political ideology” that “definitely hides behind being a religion.”
… Flynn reportedly has alarmed intelligence officials who have blamed cyberattacks on Russia. Flynn has been paid for a speech in Moscow and attended an official dinner with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The closeness of a national security adviser to a regime that has joined Iran in a loose military alliance with the Assad rule in Syria is sure to rattle some in Israel’s security establishment.
… Flynn’s consulting firm has also done work for Turkish clients.
… Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the right-wing, pro-settler Jewish Home party, said that Trump’s win was also a chance to end of any possibility of a Palestinian state.

Egypt
Egypt’s Sisi is first leader from Arab world to congratulate Trump: Trump previously told Sisi that ‘the United States of America will be a loyal friend, not simply an ally, that Egypt can count on’ (11/9/2016) | @MiddleEastEye
… Egypt is in talks to allow Russia use of military bases across the country, including an air base on the Mediterranean coast close to the border with Libya, Russian media reported last month.
Russia is especially keen to renovate an ex-Soviet naval base in the coastal town of Sidi Barrani, which was used until 1972 to monitor US warships in the Mediterranean, Russian foreign and defence ministry sources told local daily Izvestia. …

Libya
Trump’s challenge: Can he sort out the mess left in Libya? (w Videos; 11/9/2016) | @NicRobertsonCNN @CNN
… Egypt wants to gain strategic depth in eastern Libya, and it has the support of the UAE and Saudi Arabia in backing the former internationally recognized government’s military commander General Haftar in the east. …
… Europe and the US, on the other hand, are backing the UN government…
Can Trump fix this in the first term?
No, for many reasons. If Libya was Trump’s number one priority, one term could be enough to put the country back on track, but it is not. … Egypt will be a big player in fixing Libya, but that country’s relations with the US are not the best…
…Libya would require not just massive diplomatic heavy-lifting, but also the development of a powerful national security force.

Yemen
Trump and the War on Yemen (11/22/2016) | @DanielLarison @amconmag
Michael Brendan Dougherty…
If there is one thing that seems to unite Trump and his various advisers, it is hostility to Iran. The Saudis and their allies have sold the war on Yemen as an intervention against supposed Iranian “expansionism,”… Maybe if someone explained to him that the war has strengthened Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), he would see how U.S. support for the war is undermining our security and that of the region…
If Trump saw U.S. backing for the war as a bad deal, perhaps he could be persuaded to cut off the Saudis and their allies anyway, but there doesn’t appear to be anyone in Trump’s circle that views it this way. …

Iran
Trump’s National Security Picks Are No Fans of Iran or the Nuclear Deal (11/21/2016) | @patrickcnsnews @cnsnews
…from… assurances to Iran on the tightening of the U.S. visa waiver program; to… “delayed and weak” response to Iran’s ballistic missile launches; to secret “side deals” between Iran and the U.N. nuclear watchdog; to the administration’s transfer of $1.7 billion in cash to Iran.
Last January… rejected claims that it amounted to a “ransom,” saying that the money, plus another $1.3 billion in cash paid later, was settlement of a long-outstanding Iranian legal claim.
…Federica Mogherini, who serves as overseer of the JCPOA… pointed out that it is a multilateral deal, enshrined in a U.N. Security Council resolution. …

Afghanistan
President Trump and the War in Afghanistan: What You Need to Know – A situation report on the current terrain. (11/21/2016) | Shawn Snow @Diplomat_APAC
…political complacency could turn the region into a hotbed for al-Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS) offshoots and potentially waste more than $600 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars spent to rebuild Afghanistan.
… According to a recent report published by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), “approximately 63.4 percent of the country’s districts are under Afghan government control or influence as of August 28, 2016, a decrease from the 65.6 percent reported as of May 28, 2016.” However, according to General John Nicholson, commander of the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, those districts under Afghan government control contain the majority of the Afghan population, roughly 70 percent.
… The new administration has the ability to capitalize on some of Afghanistan’s progress by maintaining support to the Afghan military, engaging key stakeholders, and spearheading Afghanistan’s international efforts to cultivate shared economic interests with its neighbors, ensuring the landlocked nation does not revert back into a cycle of warlordism, instability and a safe haven for terrorist groups. Now is not the time to abandon Afghanistan.

India
India-Pakistan ‘tinderbox’ to test Donald Trump’s foreign policy (11/20/2016) | @Siddhantmt @WashTimes

East Asia
Donald Trump likely to ask Australia to send ship to South China Sea: ex-Defence official Peter Jennings (11/17/2016) | @SabraLane @ABCaustralia

Japan Stands Firm on Senkaku Islands in East China Sea (9/15/2016) | Michael Hart @GPMonitor

Homeland
A Trump hopeful’s homeland security plan includes a Muslim registry and changes to voting laws (11/21/2016) | @ananya116,@HeathaT @qz

Donald Trump’s team is reportedly considering plans for a registry of Muslim immigrants (11/16/2016) | @ismat @qz

Intelligence
DONALD TRUMP HOPES TO ABOLISH INTELLIGENCE CHIEF POSITION, REVERSE CIA REFORMS (11/18/2016) | @matthewcole,@JennaMC_Laugh @theintercept
…the DNI was never a solution to the 9/11 attacks.
…removing the wall between analysts and spies, putting them together in mission centers, rather than geographic divisions, as had been the organization since the agency was created. The new structure was largely modeled after the Counterterrorism Center, which had become the agency’s dominant section after 9/11. Critics from inside the agency complained that it weakened the core skill of the agency — human espionage — and removed expertise. …
It’s a law… part of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act; …they would have to pass a new law unwrapping all the things in that law.

Budget
US Budgetary Costs of Wars through 2016: $4.79 Trillion and Counting (PDF; Sep 2016) | @netaxt @WatsonInstitute
… As of August 2016, the US has already appropriated, spent, or taken on obligations to spend more than $3.6 trillion in current dollars on the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan,Pakistan and Syria and on Homeland Security (2001 through fiscal year 2016). To this total should be added the approximately $65 billion in dedicated war spending the Department of Defense and State Department have requested for the next fiscal year, 2017, along with an additional nearly $32 billion requested for the Department of Homeland Security in 2017, and estimated spending on veterans in future years. When those are included, the total US budgetary cost of the wars reaches $4.79 trillion. …

DoD
Top Trump Military Advisers Detail GOP Candidate’s Defense Plan (10/30/2016) | @CavasShips,@reporterjoe @Defense_News
Sen. Jeff Sessions: Trump’s views are that the United States should advance peace through strength. He believes that the military has been degraded. It needs to be rebuilt. …
Trump’s first commitment militarily is the destruction of ISIS. He said he would have his military produce a plan within 30 days. It would involve military action, cyber, financial, ideological and diplomatic efforts to focus on the destruction of ISIS. …
He indicates and has said repeatedly he is proud of the American way. He will not apologize for that around the world, but will celebrate our achievements. …
Specifically with the Defense Department… He proposes that the Army should be sustained at 540,000 troops.
… He just believes that we should have a Navy that is capable of providing American presence in different areas of the globe. …
Rep. Randy Forbes: … we are going to have an international defense strategy that is driven by the Pentagon and not by the political National Security Council. …
…will not create the military strategy…
… President Trump is going to return the direction on our capacity and capability so that president has more options. …
Sessions: … He also was very explicit and strong about missile defense with Iran and North Korea. And North Korea with nuclear bombs and Iran able to get them in a short period of time. …
… But we need to attempt to, because Russia – if you look at it in a realist approach. Look at it according to what our national interests are. The United States and Russia should be able to be far more harmonious than we are today. But things have really deteriorated. China is also asserting itself dramatically. The Japanese have been having to launch aircraft to intercept Chinese aircraft. They are very close to Japan on a regular basis at record levels. …
Forbes: … Because one of the things Mr. Trump realizes is you don’t build your national defense on what you think the other players’ intent might be. Intent can change in 48 hours. You build it on capacity and capability.
Sessions: … The world needs to know that we are not going to be a second-rate military power. You are not going to surpass us. I think that kind of strength allows us to do a better job of maintaining peace in the world.
Sessions: Well, we are going to need to continue our ballistic missile defense system. We already have the technology to put in a much better guidance system for those missiles. …