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  • Author: Melvyn P. Leffler
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States is now in a period of austerity, and after years of huge increases, the defense budget is set to be scaled back. Even those supporting the cuts stress the need to avoid the supposedly awful consequences of past retrenchments. “We have to remember the lessons of history,” President Barack Obama said in January 2012. “We can't afford to repeat the mistakes that have been made in the past -- after World War II, after Vietnam -- when our military policy was left ill prepared for the future. As commander in chief, I will not let that happen again.” Similarly, then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told Congress in October 2011, “After every major conflict -- World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the fall of the Soviet Union -- what happened was that we ultimately hollowed out the force. Whatever we do in confronting the challenges we face now on the fiscal side, we must not make that mistake.”
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Soviet Union, Vietnam, Korea
  • Author: Thomas Rid
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Cyberwar Is Coming!” declared the title of a seminal 1993 article by the RAND Corporation analysts John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, who argued that the nascent Internet would fundamentally transform warfare. The idea seemed fanciful at the time, and it took more than a decade for members of the U.S. national security establishment to catch on. But once they did, a chorus of voices resounded in the mass media, proclaiming the dawn of the era of cyberwar and warning of its terrifying potential. In February 2011, then CIA Director Leon Panetta warned Congress that “the next Pearl Harbor could very well be a cyberattack.” And in late 2012, Mike McConnell, who had served as director of national intelligence under President George W. Bush, warned darkly that the United States could not “wait for the cyber equivalent of the collapse of the World Trade Centers.”
  • Topic: Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jose W. Fernandez
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: International development has moved beyond charity. Gone are the days when the United States would just spend its seemingly bottomless largess to help less fortunate or vanquished countries, as it did after World War II. International development has reached a new, globally competitive stage, bringing with it enormous strategic and economic implications for the United States in the years ahead.
  • Topic: Development, War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Enrique Krauze
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico. By Amy S. Greenberg. Knopf, 2012, 344 pp. $30.00 (paper, $16.95). Every country sooner or later confronts the sins of its past, though rarely all at once. In recent decades, historians of the United States have revealed and explored the sins of American imperialism, recounting in detail Washington's interventions in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Yet they have largely overlooked American meddling in Mexico. Consequently, few in the United States recognize that the Mexican-American War (1846–48) was Washington's first major imperialist venture. Fewer still would understand why future U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant, who fought in Mexico as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, would come to see it as the country's most “wicked war.”
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Latin America, Mexico, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Michael O'Hanlon
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Stephen Biddle and Karl Eikenberry are outstanding public servants and scholars, but their respective articles on Afghanistan (“Ending the War in Afghanistan” and “The Limits of Counter­insurgency Doctrine in Afghanistan,” September/October 2013) convey excessively negative assessments of how the war is going and of Afghanistan's prospects. Their arguments could reinforce the current American malaise about the ongoing effort and thereby reduce the odds that the United States will continue to play a role in Afghanistan after the current NATO-led security mission there ends in December 2014. That would be regrettable; the United States should lock in and solidify its gains in Afghanistan, not cut its losses.
  • Topic: NATO, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: David Harris
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After reading the compelling case made by Yosef Kuperwasser and Shalom Lipner in “The Problem Is Palestinian Rejectionism” (November/December 2011), it was quite jarring to read the companion piece, “Israel's Bunker Mentality,” by Ronald Krebs. Krebs' argument boils down to this: Israel was doing quite nicely as a liberal, secular state until 1967, when a war mysteriously descended on it, and since then an illiberal, ethnocentric nationalism has taken over and redefined the country. In the process, Krebs contends, Israel became enamored with the occupation of territories acquired during the Six-Day War, helped along by a growing ultra-Orthodox community and large-scale Russian immigration.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: C.J. Chivers
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: As U.S. marines fought in Marja last year, they captured the weapons used by Taliban fighters. These arms -- from British Lee-Enfields to Soviet Kalashnikovs to Czech vz. 58s -- tell the story of how many modern wars are fought.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Charles Glaser
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Realist international relations theorists usually would predict that the basic pressures of the international system will force the United States and China into conflict. But properly understood, realism offers grounds for optimism in this case, so long as Washington can avoid exaggerating the risks posed by China's growing power.
  • Topic: International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Leah Farrall
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Al Qaeda is stronger today than when it carried out the 9/11 attacks. Accounts that contend that it is on the decline treat the central al Qaeda organization separately from its subsidiaries and overlook its success in expanding its power and influence through them.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Peter Bergen, Katherine Tiedemann
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the wake of Islamabad's decision to ban the United States from using the Shamsi airbase to launch drone attacks, Washington will need to rethink its drone program. Unless the strikes become more transparent and control over them is transferred from the CIA to the military, they won't help Washington win the larger war.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: Mark A.R Kleiman
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Neither intensifying the drug war nor legalizing all drugs offers much hope of reducing drug abuse in the United States or lessening violence in Mexico. The key to changing outcomes on both sides of the border is changing the incentives facing dealers and users.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Mexico
  • Author: Elliott Abrams, Oded Naaman, Mikhael Manekin
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A HEALTHY OBSESSION Oded Naaman and Mikhael Manekin In "The Settlement Obsession" (July/ August 2011), Elliott Abrams argues:  In the end, Israel will withdraw from most of the West Bank and remain only in the major blocs where hundreds of thousands of Israelis now live. Israelis will live in a democratic state where Jews are the majority, and Palestinians will live in a state -- democratic, one hopes -- with an Arab Muslim majority. The remaining questions are how quickly or slowly that end will be reached and how to get there with minimal violence. For Abrams, there can be no other end; all that politics can do is postpone this end or bring it about. Although it would be preferable to end the conflict as soon as possible, there is no immediate need to do so. Any sense of immediacy, Abrams writes, is overblown: he claims that nongovernmental organizations and some in the international community unjustly point to a humanitarian crisis to create unwarranted urgency. In reviewing our book, Occupation of the Territories, Abrams attempts to assuage worries about the need for urgent action, going so far as to compare Israel's military behavior during its 45-year occupation of the West Bank -- in which Israel has expropriated land, seized natural resources, and settled its own population there -- to the United States' behavior during in its ten-year occupation and massive reconstruction of Germany after World War II. Abrams then implies that Breaking the Silence does not provide reliable or sufficient evidence for the claim that, in his words, "the presence of Israeli settlers and IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers in the West Bank is laying waste to the area, reducing it to misery."
  • Topic: Government, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Germany
  • Author: Matthew Moten
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In June, U.S. President Barack Obama acted swiftly and wisely in relieving General Stanley McChrystal of command of the war in Afghanistan. In removing McChrystal for making disparaging comments about civilian leaders in a Rolling Stone article, the president reasserted the constitutional principle of civilian control of the military. He also immediately appointed General David Petraeus as the new commanding general in Afghanistan, with the U.S. mission continuing as before. Republicans did not try to exploit the situation for political advantage. There was no crisis, no rending of the fabric of political-military relations, and no threat to the U.S. Constitution. In fact, the current state of relations between the United States' highest civilian and military leaders is quite good. This is a welcome change, and it began with the tenure of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who changed the climate at the Pentagon from one of suspicion to one of collaboration. Gates has established an atmosphere of trust and respect, combined with an unflinching demand for accountability. Although Donald Rumsfeld had a reputation for leading by fear and intimidation, in his six years as secretary of defense, he fired only one service secretary, Army Secretary Thomas White -- largely over personal differences -- and no flag officers (the hundreds of generals and admirals who compose the country's senior military leadership). In contrast, Gates has dismissed two service secretaries, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the air force chief of staff, the commanding admiral of Central Command, two commanding generals in Afghanistan, and the surgeon general of the army. Yet Gates and Obama have also shown forbearance. Last October, in the midst of the administration's review of the country's Afghanistan policy, McChrystal publicly warned of "mission failure" if a significant infusion of U.S. troops was not made. But instead of removing McChrystal, who had become commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan less than three months earlier, Gates and Obama gave McChrystal a clear message about his place in the political-military partnership. Obama had a private chat with the general on Air Force One, and Gates delivered a highly publicized speech in which he reminded his listeners that "it is imperative that all of us taking part in these deliberations -- civilian and military alike -- provide our best advice to the president candidly but privately."
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Nicholas Eberstadt
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Global demographics in the twenty-first century will be defined by steep declines in fertility rates. Many countries will see their populations shrink and age. But relatively high fertility rates and immigration levels in the United States, however, may mean that it will emerge with a stronger hand.
  • Topic: Economics, United Nations, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Beijing
  • Author: Anne-Marie Slaughter
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States' unique ability to capitalize on connectivity will make the twenty-first century an American century.
  • Topic: War, Communications
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, America, Georgia