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After last week’s U.S. Naval patrol near China’s claimed Subi Reef in the South China Sea, several Lawfare authors considered the implications of the operation. Asking how far the United States went with the freedom of navigation operation, David Bosco pointed out that the operation raised questions about both “the traditional U.S. interpretation of the right of innocent passage (even by warships) through territorial waters” and whether or not artificially constructed islands like the Subi Reef can are entitled to territorial water claims. He suggested that the “United States may be choosing to leave the scope of its challenge to Chinese claims ambiguous.”
Adam Klein and Mira Rapp-Hooper noted the lack of clarity concerning whether or not the U.S. operation constituted innocent passage pose problems for U.S. foreign policy and for international law. They urged the Pentagon to clarify what precisely occurred during the naval patrol and what message the maneuver intended to send as perceived innocent passage could be “damaging for the future development of international maritime law.” In attempting to answer "the innocent passage mystery," they confirmed that the U.S. Lassen's passage was consistent with innocent passage and further theorize on the ship’s operations.
Julian Ku argued that if the United States did, in fact, conduct innocent passage in the South China Sea, it may have actually “strengthened China’s sketchy territorial claims” over the Subi Reef and other claimed Chinese islands. He asked why the United States would have pursued innocent passage if the intent of the operation was to challenge Chinese territorial claims.
Zack Bluestone posted the latest Water War, in which he shed light on more of the negative Chinese response to the U.S. naval patrol in the South China Sea. He also rounded up the recent developments in Water War related news, discussing other countries’ responses to developments in the South China Sea and Chinese expansionary trends as well as Xi Jinping’s visits to Vietnam and Hanoi.
Matthew Dahl asked what effect Chinese military reorganization could have on the recent cyber agreement between the United States and China. He pointed out that the agreement did not prohibit cyber espionage in national security intelligence gathering capacities
Ben posted the “Did You Miss Us” edition of Rational Security, in which the Rational Security crew discusses President Obama’s decision to send special forces to Syria, the anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, and C. Christine Fair’s debate over drone use with Glenn Greenwald, among other topics.
In this week's Foreign Policy Essay, the National Defense University’s Denise Natali challenged the claim that now is the time for Kurdish independence and instead argues “that a deeper look into the Iraqi Kurdish trajectory reveals a more complicated and interrupted scenario defined by legal, economic, and geopolitical constraints.”
Reflecting on the Iran deal and the recent wave of anti-American sentiment that has come from the country in recent weeks, Jack suggested that the responsibility for the deal lies with President Obama and the deal’s supporters in Congress.
Cody shared the newest edition of the Lawfare Podcast, which features Marvin Kalb on “Putin’s Imperial Gamble.” Kalb discusses his latest book, Imperial Gamble: Putin, Ukraine, and the New Cold War, questioning whether recent Russian aggression is indicative of attempts to start a new Cold War or merely to bolster Putin’s macho personality.
Speaking of Putin’s macho projections, Ben posted the latest coverage of his martial arts challenge to Vladimir Putin: WBUR interviewed Ben for its program "Here & Now," while the Canadian Broadcasting Company also featured a segment on Ben’s challenge.
Ben shared the trendy, stylish “Support Assad!” shirts now being sold in Moscow.
Ellen Scholl shared the latest energy and security related news in Hot Commodities, shedding light on the Islamic State’s electricity supply, scorching temperatures in the Middle East, and the effect of record low crude prices in Venezuela. She also tells us to watch for the effect that the recent electoral victory of the Poland’s right wing party could have on European energy and climate policies, the possible rechauffement of conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno Karabakh, and the mounting tensions between Turkey and Armenia, as well as possible energy-related motives for China's expansionary tendencies in the South China Sea.
Herb Lin wrote on large-scale geoengineering, “attempts to modify the planetary system in such a way as to mitigate the effects of global warming,” and the potential threat that it poses to national security.
Cody provides a riveting summary of last Thursday’s 9/11 trial hearing, which addressed the question of whether Walid Bin Attash could fire his attorney among a series of other issues. With the last of the hearings over, Cody also linked to the Chief Prosecutor’s closing statement in this month’s military commission pre-trial hearings.
Ben provided the latest edition in his “correction column” for New York Times editorials, concerning the release of Shaker Aamer from Guantanamo Bay. And the, a bit embarrassed, he later corrected one of his own points before reemphasizing his other corrections.
Jack highlighted a new story by Charlie Savage on the debate within the Obama administration regarding executive power and the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.
Jack and Ben invited you to the next Hoover Book Soiree in Washington, D.C, which will take place on November 10th. In the second Hoover Book Soiree, Jack will interview Charlie Savage about his new book, Power Wars: Inside Obama’s Post-9/11 Presidency.”