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  • Commentary posted January 2, 2014 by Jim Talent From Russia with Love

    Vassily Kashin, who is a Russian senior research fellow and China expert at the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow, recently posted an article on the website of the Voice of Russia, in which he discusses the shifting balance of power in the Pacific. An account of his commentary was reported here on the Taiwanese website Want China Times. For…

  • Commentary posted December 20, 2013 by Jim Talent Power and Purpose

    Recently I posted here on China’s unprecedented military buildup and the reasons for it. The Chinese Communist leaders are pursuing a “coercive but non-kinetic” policy – essentially bullying the smaller countries in the region with the threat of armed conflict – and rapidly developing the means to deny the American military access to the East and South China Seas, which…

  • Commentary posted December 5, 2013 by Jim Talent The Equilibrium of East Asia

    Last week China escalated, yet again, the conflict over the Senkaku islands. It announced an air-defense identification zone over the islands, and indeed over much of the East China Sea; according to the announcement, aircraft must get permission from China before entering the zone and must obey the rules China has established, or face “defensive emergency measures.” The…

  • Special Report posted October 31, 2013 by Jim Talent, Honorable Jon Kyl A Strong and Focused National Security Strategy

    Executive Summary When President Obama took office, the armed services of the United States had already reached a fragile state. The Navy had shrunk to its smallest size since before World War I; the Air Force was smaller, and its aircraft older, than at any time since the inception of the service. The Army was stressed by years of war; according to Secretary of Defense…

  • Commentary posted September 10, 2013 by Jim Talent Weak, Late

    On balance, the president did a good job making the weak case for military action over the violation of his red line. Perhaps the administration has now learned why presidents typically don’t draw such lines: They encourage would-be aggressors to believe they can take any action short of the line with impunity, and they deprive the United States of operational flexibility…

  • Commentary posted June 14, 2013 by Jim Talent Carter and Obama Militaries Quickly Becoming Synonymous

    As the military absorbs round after round of defense cuts, congressional and Pentagon sources have frequently invoked the specter of a “hollow military.” The term came from General Shy Meyer during a 1980 House Armed Services subcommittee hearing, at which Meyer declared: “Right now, as I have said before, we have a hollow Army. Our forward deployed forces are at full…

  • Commentary posted May 24, 2013 by Jim Talent Not Doing 'Whatever It Takes'

    Shortly after the president’s speech yesterday, a friend of mine who is an expert on counterterrorism e-mailed me the following: “That speech was pretty much every constitutional-law class he ever taught. A moral argument with himself.” I couldn’t have said it better. The speech raises more questions than it answers. Herewith, some observations: AL-QAEDA The speech…

  • Commentary posted April 22, 2013 by Jim Talent Necessary Spending

    This year’s defense budget is coming into focus, and the picture isn’t pretty. Congress and the president will probably agree to increase defense spending by a small amount, but they will probably also take money away from future defense budgets. This will allow them to say that they have increased defense spending while in reality the wholesale unraveling of American…

  • Commentary posted April 8, 2013 by Jim Talent Strength Will Deter Provocations by North Korea

    There’s a reason rogue regimes such as North Korea try so hard to acquire nuclear capability. It empowers their conventional aggression by protecting them from reprisals that threaten to remove them from power. That’s because the civilized world knows that, if pushed too far, the regimes can use nuclear weapons against undefended targets. Even if the threat to launch is a…

  • Commentary posted April 1, 2013 by Jim Talent Our Growing Security Risks

    The last few months have made crystal clear what was increasingly evident anyway: that every category of primary risk to American security is growing. In January, a Chinese vessel locked a radar fix on a Japanese ship. That’s equivalent to a sniper fixing a laser sight on the forehead of a prospective target. It was a deliberately provocative act, and it comes on the…

  • Commentary posted February 12, 2013 by Jim Talent Failing to Fund Defense Will Have Consequences

    The United States typically maintains two carrier groups in the Persian Gulf at the same time. That number was not picked out of a hat; it turns out that, among other important missions, it is much easier to protect the Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping lane, with one carrier group inside the Strait and another positioned in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, or nearby…

  • Commentary posted January 31, 2013 by Jim Talent Chuck Hagel, Israel, and American Power

    Most of the debate over the Hagel nomination has focused on his views regarding Israel, and understandably so. The United States has a long history of strong support for the Jewish state. That policy has expressed itself in material aid to Israel, close partnership with the Israelis on defense and intelligence, public support for Israel’s basic strategy in dealing with…

  • Commentary posted December 13, 2012 by Jim Talent A Fiscal-Cliff Primer

    It’s time for a status report on the state of negotiations over the fiscal cliff. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers. 1) Q. What is the fiscal cliff? A. Under existing law, $494 billion in tax increases are scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2013. There are three main categories of tax increase that are coming. About a third of the…

  • Testimony posted July 19, 2011 by Jim Talent Budgeting for America's National Security

    Prepared Statement Committee on the Budget U.S. House of Representatives July 7, 2011 Mr. Chairman, I am former Senator Jim Talent, from Missouri. I served in the United States Senate from 2002–2007 and I was privileged to be a member of the House from 1993–2001. During my years of service, I was a member of the Armed Services Committees in…

  • Commentary posted July 7, 2011 by Mackenzie Eaglen, Jim Talent The Dangers of Defunding Defense

    The storms of war have broken in Afghanistan and are gathering in the Pacific, South Asia, the Middle East, eastern Europe, and even in south and central America. Not since the end of World War II has America more urgently needed honest and clear thinking about its enduring national interests and a bipartisan commitment to building up the capabilities—civilian and…