A few defense and security links to wrap up the first week of the new year:
A recent Australian poll found that 71 percent of respondents think that Australia should remain neutral in the event of a conflict between China and Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, even with the United States backing Japan. The poll goes against general trends in Australia-Japan bilateral relations. Under the two most recent Australian governments, the two countries have grown closer together. Australia, at the same time, does maintain close relations with China. Australia is considering awarding a major submarine contract to Japan’s Soryu-class offering.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) received its first overhauled Sukhoi Su-30 MKI. The Su-30 MKI is a major cornerstone of the IAF’s fighter fleet and the overhaul of the MKI will improve its capabilities as a multi-role fighter. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) noted in a press release that “After the overhaul, the Su-30MKI aircraft (SB 027) is ready for IAF’s use. The serviceability levels of Su-30 MKI fleet will enhance greatly resulting in strengthening of air defense capabilities.” I explored the importance of the Su-30 for the IAF in a potential two-front war scenario last year for The Diplomat.
Over at Foreign Policy, Mark Lawrence Schrad takes a look at the similarities between the U.S. “Republican Party’s libertarian fringe” and Putin’s supporters in Russia. The piece appears to have been motivated by recent comments from U.S. conservative commentator Pat Buchanan that Putin is “one of us” — as Schrad notes, “a paleoconservative defender of traditional Christian values and a foe to ‘homosexual marriage, pornography, promiscuity, and the whole panoply of Hollywood values’ personified by Barack Obama’s America.”
Over at the Council on Foreign Relations, Micah Zenko tries to answer a deceptively simple question: if cyberattacks are terror, who’s the biggest terrorist? The discussion delves into the broader conversation around the wisdom of the United States placing North Korea on a list of state sponsors of terrorism when it hasn’t explicitly sponsored terrorist acts since the late-1980s.
Although I have some major disagreements with this piece, this provocative argument over at The Week is worth a read if you’re interested in a hypothetical U.S. invasion (yes, that’s right) of North Korea.
Also, readers may have noticed a new face here at Flashpoints: Franz-Stefan Gady. Franz is a new associate editor here at The Diplomat. His first few pieces have focused on, among other things, perceptions of the U.S. military, cyber warfare, and the capabilities of the Afghan army.