9 June 2019

Modi’s win will cement India’s multi-aligned foreign policy

By Brahma Chellaney 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s landslide win in national elections represents a fresh mandate for him to reinvent India as a more secure, confident and competitive country and forge closer ties with natural allies. Modi’s second five-year term in office will help cement India’s multi-aligned foreign policy, which has sought to build close partnerships with all powers central to long-term Indian interests.

Domestically, Modi’s big win has averted a nightmare scenario for Indian democracy — an indecisive election verdict fostering political paralysis. Faced with a choice between a stable, firm government and a possible retreat to political drift, voters in the world’s largest democracy reposed their faith in Modi and his Bharatiya Janata (Indian People’s) Party, or BJP.

Internationally, India’s profile has continued to rise under Modi. India appears to be moving from its long-held nonalignment to a globalized practicality — multi-alignment. A Cold War legacy, nonalignment implies a passive approach, including not taking sides and staying on the sidelines. Multi-alignment, by contrast, calls for a proactive approach.

Modi Reimagines India’s Role in the World


A week into Narendra Modi’s second term as India’s prime minister, he has already signaled his foreign-policy vision for the next several years. On May 30, he named Subrahmanyam Jaishankar to his cabinet. Jaishankar will serve as the powerful minister of external affairs. Typically, the post would go to a high-ranking party member or political ally. But Jaishankar, a former foreign secretary, is a technocrat. One of the most respected foreign service officers in recent times—he was India’s longest-serving envoy to Beijing, an ambassador to the United States, and a key player in the successful conclusion of the U.S-India civil nuclear deal under Modi’s predecessor, Manmohan Singh—he is not even a member of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). His appointment underscores Modi’s penchant for boldness, especially when the stakes are high.

Adm. William McRaven on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden

Adm. William McRaven oversaw the covert special operations team that stormed a compound in Pakistan in 2011 and killed Osama bin Laden. Now, the Navy veteran chronicles his 37-year military career in a new book, “Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations.” Adm. McRaven talks to Judy Woodruff about his adventurous spirit, the one thing Navy SEALS must do to survive training and the value of NATO.
Read the Full Transcript

Judy Woodruff:

It is the strike that made SEAL Team Six, a covert special operations unit, a household name.

They stormed a compound in Pakistan, killing Osama bin Laden, in 2011. Admiral William McRaven oversaw the mission. He now details his 37 years in the Navy in a new book, "Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations."

Admiral William McRaven, thank you very much for joining us.

Huawei’s PR Campaign Comes Straight From the Party’s Playbook


The recent announcement that U.S. companies will need licenses to sell to Chinese telecommunications provider Huawei may amount to an economic declaration of war against Beijing’s technological champion. China has already taken its own measures such as the announcement of an “unreliable entities” list. But it will also fight back using a frequently underrated weapon: its growing ability to shape opinion globally.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is applying—with increasing frequency and effectiveness—many of the techniques it uses to manage its domestic information space to the world outside China’s borders. By marrying China’s economic heft and an increasing presence in the world of corporate thought leadership with homegrown information warfare, the CCP has forged a formidable global apparatus for shaping the conversation on China, from the Davos elite to grassroots social media. Nowhere has the growing power and sophistication of this apparatus been more apparent than in the recent trans-Atlantic debate on Huawei.

Resolving the US–China Trade Impasse


Just a month ago, an agreement to end the US–China trade war was deemed likely. Then came a flurry of accusations and another round of tariffs that have put negotiations on hold. Why did this process unravel so quickly and what might be the endgame?

Beijing ostensibly recoiled after senior leadership saw the entire package of demands as an infringement on national sovereignty. Meanwhile, Washington became more unified in its objectives and sensed that politically it was not the right time to strike a deal. Under such conditions, many saw an enduring solution as unlikely given the complexity of the issues. Any agreement would have been more of a negotiated truce, transforming the process from an unruly to a more regulated trade war.

Huang is a senior fellow in the Carnegie Asia Program, where his research focuses on China’s economy and its regional and global impact.

This trade war began with US President Donald Trump’s fixation with bilateral trade deficits and his desire for a headline grabbing package of Chinese purchases. This concern is seen as misguided, as is the proposal to ask China to buy more from the United States and less from others, which would contravene World Trade Organization (WTO) regulations.

China’s ‘New Long March’


President Donald Trump takes part in a welcoming ceremony with China’s President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. (Damir Sagolj/Reuters)While American negotiators focus on trade and tariffs, President Xi is preparing his country for a painful economic retreat. The U.S. must plan accordingly.

The emerging consensus about the U.S.–China trade standoff is that both sides are settling in for “the long haul,” as suggested in recent headlines from around the world using precisely that phrase. It seems obvious, though, that the “the long haul” means very different things to the two sides.

In the U.S., the body politic and the media are already consumed by a presidential election that is still 18 months away. They see Chinese president Xi Jinping as a strongman with a lifetime appointment and control over the political, military, and financial levers of power in his country. The conventional wisdom seems to be that President Xi can wait out President Trump while pressuring various elements of Trump’s electoral coalition, including blue-collar manufacturing workers and farmers, in hopes that his bid for reelection will fail.

The U.S. Is Losing Europe in Its Battle With China


On a sunny afternoon in early April, about a dozen diplomats from European and other allied nations gathered with their American counterparts around a conference table at the State Department. In a month’s time, China’s President Xi Jinping would host a summit in Beijing to celebrate his grand infrastructure project, the Belt and Road Initiative. The Americans wanted to send Xi a message.

At the meeting in Washington, D.C., they pressed their allies to sign on to a joint statement condemning the Chinese plan. But it soon became clear that neither the Europeans nor a small group of other countries from Asia and Latin America were ready to fall in line.

“No one was willing to go along with it,” one European diplomat familiar with the details of the meeting, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations, told me. “We may agree that China is a strategic threat, but you can’t just put them in a corner.”

Have China’s Value Propositions Become More Attractive Than America’s?

Howard W. French

After my first book came out in 2004, I received a surprise phone call from an assistant to former United States Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, asking if I would meet with him to talk about Africa. Sitting together in his executive’s office at Citibank’s headquarters in Manhattan, he averred that if Al Gore were to win that year’s presidential election, he could return to a leading position in government, and he wanted to know if there was one initiative Washington could take to engage with Africa, what would I suggest?

This was a tall order, not least because I had not been told of his question in advance, but also because American diplomacy toward Africa has been marked for decades by a bipartisan failure of imagination—by neglect and by drift. 

If I had to stick to one thing, as he insisted, my suggestion to Rubin was that the United States launch a higher education initiative for Africa that would bring thousands of students from across the continent to American campuses for free or deeply subsidized college or graduate school education, with the proviso built into their visas that they would not be eligible to remain in the U.S. for a fixed period of time after their degrees. This would help ensure these newly trained young people would take their skills back to their home countries.

What Exactly Is the Story with China’s Rare Earths?

Paul Haenle

On May 29, the Communist Party newspaper the People’s Daily warned of the United States’ “uncomfortable” dependence on Chinese rare earths. “Will rare earths become a counter weapon for China . . ? The answer is no mystery,” it wrote. And on May 20, China’s Chairman Xi Jinping visited a rare earths facility in southern China, signaling that Beijing may strategically restrict its exports of rare earths to the United States. China produces roughly 70 percent of the world’s output of rare earths, a set of elements vital for the manufacturing of products like smartphones, electric vehicles, and wind turbines. (Deng Xiaoping reportedly said that while the Middle East has oil, China has rare earths.)

This isn’t the first time Beijing has politicized the export of rare earths. In late 2010, amid a dispute with Japan over uninhabited islands in the East Sea, Beijing restricted the exports of rare earths to the country. (Chinese officials denied there was a ban.) What does this mean for U.S. industries, and how should American policymakers respond? And what lessons can be learned from the 2010 trade spat between China and Japan? —The Editors

The U.S. and Chinese Presidents Should Go on a Weekend Retreat

By Thomas L. Friedman

If I had one wish it would be that the leaders and trade negotiators of the U.S. and China would go on a weekend retreat together — I’d suggest Singapore — with a facilitator — I’d suggest Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong — with no press or tweeting allowed and try to work out the basic trade and geopolitical understandings to govern their future ties.

Because if their trade tit-for-tats keep intensifying, they’re going to do something that they and the rest of the world will profoundly regret — fracture the foundations of globalization that have contributed so much to the prosperity and relative peace the planet has enjoyed since fighting two world wars in the last century.

The U.S. and China are the two most powerful countries and economies in the world. Their economies are also totally intertwined. If they start ripping out the telecommunications wiring, manufacturing supply chains, educational exchanges and financial investments that they’ve made in each other since the 1970s, we’ll all end up living in a less secure, less prosperous and less stable world.

China doubles down on Russia ties to offset US pressure

MOSCOW -- Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed Wednesday to continue working to denuclearize North Korea and combat protectionist tides around the world, deepening their ties in the face of growing rifts with the U.S.

"Protectionism and unilateral approaches are on the rise, and a policy of force and hegemonism is increasingly taking hold," Xi said in a veiled attack against U.S. tariffs levied against Chinese exports at a joint news conference.

Beijing and Moscow have become closer as each has had its own clashes with Washington. Russia has come under fire after being accused of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election while China has been mired in a trade war with U.S. that has seen the world's two largest economies engage in tit-for-tat tariffs and the blacklisting of companies over the past few months.

What to do about China?

J. Bradford DeLong

US accelerating its decline

In a recent issue of The New York Review of Books, the historian Adam Tooze notes that, “across the American political spectrum, if there is agreement on anything, it is on the need for a firmer line against China.” He’s right: On this singular issue, the war hawks, liberal internationalists, and blame-somebody-else crowd all tend to agree. They have concluded that because the United States needs to protect its relative position on the world stage, China’s standing must be diminished.

But that is the wrong way to approach the challenge. In the near term (1-4 years), the US certainly could inflict a lot of damage on China through tariffs, bans on technology purchases, and other trade war policies. But it would also inflict a lot of damage on itself; and in the end, the Chinese would suffer less. Whereas the Chinese government can buy up Chinese-made products that previously would have been sold to the US, thereby preventing mass unemployment and social turmoil, the US government could scarcely do the same for American workers displaced by the loss of the Chinese market.

The 2019 Shangri La Dialogue: Not Quite The Land Of Peace And Harmony – Analysis

By June Teufel Dreyer*

(FPRI) — Each year since its founding in 2002, high-ranking officials of Asian-Pacific states gather for what is billed as the area’s premier defense summit to debate the region’s most pressing security challenges and, according to its website, “come up with fresh solutions together.” Named for the Singapore hotel in which delegates assemble, rather than the mythical Himalayan utopia of James Hilton’s Lost Horizons, the summit attracts attention more for the grievances being aired than for any solutions achieved.

This year’s iteration attracted special attention since, for the first time since 2011, China agreed to send its defense minister. At the close of the meeting eight years ago, Beijing accused the United States and Japan of ganging up on the People’s Republic in order to impose their vision of world order, and only lower level Chinese officials attended thenceforth. It is not clear what Xi Jinping’s reasoning was for this change of heart, since the states Beijing perceived as ganging up on China have not become more complaisant. Although the surface appearance of Sino-Japanese relations has improved, each country has expressed continuing concern over the military posture of the other, and each has reinforced its defenses accordingly. China and the United States are in an ongoing bitter trade dispute, and tensions in the region concerning contested territorial claims, trade imbalances, and fishing rights continue unabated.

The Growing U.S.-China Conflict: Why, and Now What?

by Zhiqun Zhu

The trade war between the United States and China launched by President Donald Trump has been escalating in recent weeks with Trump threatening to raise tariffs on all Chinese imports and declaring a national emergencyshutting Huawei out of the U.S. market. Observers of U.S.-China relations have become increasingly concerned about the future of this most consequential bilateral relationship. Why has the relationship deteriorated? What exactly went wrong? And how can the two powers step out of the dilemma?

First of all, it is wrong to assume that Trump is solely responsible for the current status of the U.S.-China relationship. He exacerbated the tensions but did not start it.

China Fighting a Losing Battle against US in Indo Pacific Region-2019

By Dr Subhash Kapila

Perceptional battles which today constitute the main ingredient of foreign policies of major Nations indicates that China is losing out to United States in the Indo Pacific Region in 2019 going by the ‘lonesome’ statement of intent asserted by China in response to assertion of forceful intent on upholding Indo Pacific security by United States at the ongoing Shangri-La Dialogue commencing May 31 2019.

Overall balance of power in Indo Pacific Asia is heavily tilted in favour of the United States supported by Asia’s two Emerged Powers—Japan and India, both contending powers with China and a history of China-inflicted territorial disputes. It is for the United States how adroitly it encashes this political dividend by not getting embroiled in trade disputes with Japan and India.

Notwithstanding, China’s Defence Minister General Wei Feng Hai at Singapore said that China’s military has been ordered and is ready to act forcefully to prevent external interference to Taiwan’s reunification with Communist China and that China is ready to forcefully repel any challenges to China’s sovereignty (read usurpation) of South China Sea Islands, though the ground realities are otherwise.

Vietnam Looks To Be Winning Trump's Trade War

by Brad W. Setser

The Trump administration cares about the bilateral trade balance. And the bilateral deficit with Vietnam is rising fast.

Vietnam, like China, exports a lot of manufactures to the United States—and guess what, some exports have surged in the first quarter. Steve Johnson of the Financial Times has a lot of useful detail.

China’s Tiananmen Reckoning


The 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre is a reminder that the free ride China has enjoyed internationally in recent decades is ending. It should also serve as a warning to the Communist Party that its continued reliance on brute power to keep China’s citizens in line could eventually leave it on the ash heap of history.

The 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre of at least 10,000 people is significant for several reasons. For one thing, the deadly assault on student-led demonstrators remains a dark and hidden chapter in China’s communist narrative. For another, the Chinese government’s arbitrary exercise of power against its own citizens has not only continued since the massacre, but has become more methodical, sophisticated, and efficient, with the country’s internal-security budget now officially surpassing its mammoth defense spending. Yet at the same time, this reliance on brute force carries an ominous message for the Communist Party of China (CPC) itself.

Action needed to save the world’s rivers, especially in China

Brahma Chellaney

Urgent action is needed to save the world’s rivers, including improving agricultural practices, which account for the bulk of freshwater withdrawals

Vessels head for the lock of the Three Gorges Dam in Yichang, in central China’s Hubei province. Sediment build-up in the dam’s reservoir stems from the silt flow disruption in the Yangtze River, Brahma Chellaney writes. Photo: Xinhua

Thanks to excessive damming and drastic overuse of water resources, an increasing number of major rivers across the world are drying up before reaching the sea. Nowhere is this more evident than in China, where the old saying, “Follow the river and it will eventually lead you to a sea,” is no longer wholly true.

While a number of smaller rivers in China have simply disappeared, the Yellow River – the cradle of the Chinese civilisation – now tends to run dry before reaching the sea. This has prompted Chinese scientists to embark on a controversial rainmaking project to help increase the Yellow’s flow. By sucking moisture from the air, however, the project could potentially affect monsoon rains elsewhere.

Jihadists Head Home Thousands of Westerners Joined ISIS. Should They Be Allowed to Return?

By Jytte Klausen

When Westerners arrived in the caliphate, they would burn their passports, ceremonially rejecting their national identity, and brag of the act on Twitter. Now that the Islamic State, or ISIS, has lost its last stretches of land in Iraq and Syria, hundreds of these Westerners and their children are stuck in camps and prisons in northern Syria and Iraq, often hoping to return to their home countries. Their governments, however, don’t want to take the jihadists back—and are resorting to dubious measures to keep them out.

Take the case of Shamima Begum. In 2015, at the age of 15, Begum and two school friends, both also teenagers, ran away from home in east London and flew to Istanbul. From there, they took a bus to the Syrian border, eventually reaching Raqqa, where they joined ISIS. At the time, the girls epitomized the phenomenon of “jihadi brides:” vulnerable young women groomed by online recruiters to marry Islamist fighters in Syria.

Time for Strong New EU Leaders


The EU’s Game of Thrones, which will play out in the coming weeks, will be lacking in blood and sex, but will easily equal the TV series in complexity. Following the European Parliament elections that took place on May 23–26, EU leaders must now choose the next presidents of the European Commission, European Council, European Parliament, and European Central Bank (ECB) as well as a new EU foreign policy chief.

Essentially, there will be three games running in parallel, but they will all have to come together in the end.


The first game is between the EU’s institutions. The European Parliament pulled off a constitutional coup in 2014 by imposing the lead candidate (known by the German term Spitzenkandidat) of the largest party group, Jean-Claude Juncker, as European Commission president. According to the EU treaties, it is the national leaders in the European Council who should propose a candidate to the parliament, “taking into account the elections.”

Europe’s Strength Lies In The True Diversity Of Its Nations – OpEd

Kai Weiss*

When Britain decided to leave the European Union on June 23, 2016, shockwaves undoubtedly went through Brussels and Europe in general. The EU has, of course, been going through many crises over the last decades, and especially in the years of the euro crisis, dissatisfaction was high in many member states. But the fact that one of the largest and most important member states decided to leave the project outright was a precedent.

At first, Brussels was in a state of utter shock — for many, it seemed as if the end of the EU was nigh. The crucial question then was how to recover from Brexit. Which direction should continental Europe take without Great Britain, its old love-hate relationship which decided to exit?

For many, it seemed obvious that the time had come to make a U-turn, to do less in the future. After all, the British did not vote to leave because too little integration had taken place at the European level. The euro crisis seemed to be another prime example that the EU had gone too far. In addition, the migration crisis demonstrated the inability of the member states to find a common denominator even in the most urgent crises. Meanwhile, Eurosceptic forces were gaining steam all over the continent.

American Foreign Policy Adrift

By Brett McGurk

In a May 11 speech at the Claremont Institute in Beverly Hills, entitled “A Foreign Policy from the Founding,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo quoted John Quincy Adams to explain how Donald Trump’s foreign policy is grounded in a “realism” that eluded his predecessors, particularly George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Adams, then Secretary of State, wrote in 1821 that America “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.”

According to Pompeo, Trump’s foreign policy is grounded in this prudent tradition of the United States’ founding generation, with an emphasis on “realism, restraint, and respect.” Trump, Pompeo said, “has no aspiration to use force to spread the American model.” Instead, he aims to lead by example. “The unsurpassed attractiveness of the American experiment is something I market every day,” Pompeo said, describing his role as America’s top diplomat. He then quoted George Washington, who predicted that the United States’ democracy might ultimately inspire “the applause, the affection, and the adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it.”

Asian countries fear China but many won’t side with America

What do you buy the Asian defence minister who has everything? How about a “beautiful” photo-book of North Korean ships illegally transferring oil at sea? Patrick Shanahan, America’s acting defence secretary, presented the collection of grainy aerial shots to his Chinese counterpart, General Wei Fenghe, at the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual gathering of military bigwigs in Singapore from May 31st to June 2nd.

It was an emollient gesture in fractious times. When Banyan asked Mr Shanahan what he planned to say to General Wei in private, the answer was not a tirade about Huawei or the South China Sea. Instead Mr Shanahan said he was “excited” to explore areas of cooperation. North Korean sanctions-busting—which often occurs in Chinese waters—was top of the list. Such collaboration would show that America and China could “compete in a constructive way”.

Trump Pulls Back in the Middle East

by Curt Mills

The primaveral speculation that the Trump administration could lead the United States into a fresh war in the Middle East is looking short-sighted. The administration, led on this score by the president himself, is signaling a pump on the brakes.

The White House’s approach—a wholesale rejection of political Islam and Iran’s Islamic Republic—had brought the United States seemingly on the brink of military exchange in the Persian Gulf. For nearly thirty months, U.S. policy had been a Sunni autocrat’s delight.

Now, in Washington, there’s new hesitation. Here’s the evidence.

Mohandas Gandhi commits his first act of civil disobedience.

The Lateran Treaty is ratified, bringing Vatican City into existence.

Facts Versus Opinions

by Jennifer Kavanagh

Over the past 30 years, the ways that Americans consume and share information have changed dramatically. No longer do people wait for the morning paper or the evening news. Instead, equipped with smartphones or other digital devices, the average person spends hours each day online, looking at news or entertainment websites or using social media and consuming many different types of information.

Although some of the changes in the way news and information are disseminated can be quantified, far less is known about how the presentation of news—that is, its style and linguistic characteristics—has changed over this period and differs across media platforms1.

The RAND Corporation in 2019 sought to fill that knowledge gap with a new report, News in a Digital Age: Comparing the Presentation of News Information over Time and Across Media Platforms. A team of researchers sought to identify and empirically measure how the presentation of news—particularly the use of, or references to, facts or authoritative information—in U.S. news sources has changed over time and how news presentations differ across media platforms.

The US Needs an Industrial Policy for Cybersecurity


Government intervention is needed to fend off the steady barrage of attacks on the digital infrastructure of U.S.-based companies and public agencies.

President Trump’s recent Executive Order restricting the use of Huawei’s telecommunications equipment was hardly the first time the U.S. government has intervened in the private sector for purposes of national security. During World War II, for example, the U.S. government pumped investment into the American steel industry to ensure the military had a sufficient supply to build tanks, ships, and other armaments. 

In the ensuing decades, however, other industries made more far-fetched claims for intervention. The American wool industry argued in the 1950s for government protection of domestic production by claiming that up to 200 million woolen blankets could help the population survive an atomic war. Oil industry lobbying in the 1950s led the government to impose oil quotas, which ended up draining American reserves and contributing to the oil spike of 1973. Just last year, Trump’s tariffs on steel made by U.S. allies, levied in the name of national security, drew protests from the American defense industry.

Drawing Lines On The Internet: Border Conflicts And The Politics Behind Digital Maps’ Sound Acceptable? – Analysis

By Malvika Mahesh*

At the Belt and Road Initiative Summit 2019, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce displayed a map of BRI routes which showed all of Jammu and Kashmir, and Arunachal Pradesh as a part of the Indian territory. To many, this was a curious development, as earlier as a month. Various news agencies had widely reported the destruction of nearly 30,000 maps that depicted Arunachal Pradesh as part of India. China is not prone to ‘errors’ of this nature, and though the map was later taken down from the government website, it has led to the speculation whether this was a deliberate move by the Chinese government to earn some goodwill of India, given Delhi’s boycott of the BRI Summit for the second time in line.

Slip or no slip, the reports once again underscore the relevance of maps in a seemingly borderless world, driven by technology, and speed of light communication that allows the easy travel of information and ideas between nations and their peoples. After all, maps are not neutral, irrespective of the purpose for which they are used. The very act of referring to a country’s map is often a political statement.

Witnesses to D Day

By Roger Angell

On June 6, 1944, D Day, I was an Air Force sergeant in the Pacific, half a world away, but, like almost everyone around the globe, I followed the extraordinary event with acute interest. Some future New Yorker colleagues of mine had a closer look. Gardner Botsford, a top-level editor at the magazine for almost forty years, was a young infantry officer aboard a landing craft at Omaha Beach, and he can be seen clearly in one of the most famous photographs of the day, on the starboard side of the picture, in left profile, standing tensely behind the soon-to-be-dropped gate. As he revealed in a memoir, “A Life of Privilege, Mostly,” he had a double task that day, since he was also on an intelligence mission to make contact, within two days, with members of the French underground, at a farmhouse a mile or two inland. He did indeed perform this mission, along with much more, including extended combat, which he talked about only late in life, and with extreme reluctance. The price of this could be seen sometimes during the course of a passing thunderstorm, when he would fall silent and grip his chair.

Cross-Channel Trip

By A. J. Liebling

Three days after the first Allied landing in France, I was in the wardroom of an LCIL (Landing Craft, Infantry, Large) that was bobbing in the lee of the French cruiser Montcalm off the Normandy coast. The word “large” in landing-craft designation is purely relative; the wardroom of the one I was on is seven by seven feet and contains two officers’ bunks and a table with four places at it. She carries a complement of four officers, but since one of them must always be on watch there is room for a guest at the wardroom table, which is how I fitted in. The Montcalm was loosing salvos, each of which rocked our ship; she was firing at a German pocket of resistance a couple of miles from the shoreline. The suave voice of a B.B.C. announcer came over the wardroom radio: “Next in our series of impressions from the front will be a recording of an artillery barrage.” The French ship loosed off again, drowning out the recording. It was this same announcer, I think—I’m not sure, because all B.B.C. announcers sound alike—who said, a little while later, “We are now in a position to say the landings came off with surprising ease. The Air Force and the big guns of the Navy smashed coastal defenses, and the Army occupied them.” Lieutenant Henry Rigg, United States Coast Guard Reserve, the skipper of our landing craft, looked at Long, her engineering officer, and they both began to laugh. Kavanaugh, the ship’s communications officer, said, “Now what do you think of that?” I called briefly upon God. Aboard the LCIL, D Day hadn’t seemed like that to us. There is nothing like a broadcasting studio in London to give a chap perspective.



Seventy-five years ago, the Allies stormed the Normandy beaches to confront Nazi totalitarianism and liberate Europe. D-Day, June 6, 1944, was a watershed event in World War II and arguably the defining moment of the 20th century in the West. To paraphrase Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower: American soldiers, in conjunction with America’s allies, came for one purpose only, not to gain anything for themselves, not to fulfill any ambitions that the United States had for conquest, but to preserve freedom—systems of self-government in the world … to make sure that Hitler could not destroy freedom in the world. It just shows what free men will do rather than be slaves.

By any standard, D-Day was the most complex and daring military operation in the history of Western warfare. By the time the full moon rose above the blood-stained French beaches, nearly 156,000 Allied soldiers had been deposited on the Continent. It was the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany. But why is D-Day relevant to today’s American Army? What lessons can our fighting force derive from what Eisenhower termed “the Great Crusade”?

Importance of Coalition Warfare