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  • Author: Gregory L. Schulte
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: After a decade of war in afghanistan and Iraq, the Obama administration has adopted a new defense strategy that recognizes the need to limit our strategic ends in an era of increasing limits on our military means.1 the strategy calls for armed forces capable of conducting a broad range of missions, in a full range of contingencies, and in a global context that is increasingly complex. It calls for doing so with a smaller defense budget. Opportunities for savings come from reducing the ability to fight two regional conflicts simultaneously and from not sizing the force to conduct prolonged, large-scale stability operations. Seemingly missing from the new defense strategy are the types of wars we fought in afghanistan and Iraq. Both started with forcible changes in regime – the armed ouster of the taliban and Saddam Hussein from their positions of power. In each case, the rapid removal of leadership was followed by lengthy counterinsurgency operations to bring security to the population and build up a new government. the duration and difficulty of these operations and their cost in deaths, destruction, and debt were not understood at their outset.
  • Topic: NATO, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq
  • Author: Jacob Heilbrunn
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: The prophet armed, Samantha Power, has now drafted Obama into her crusade against mass slaughter. Liberal hawks and neocons, reunited. Make way for a profound foreign-policy transformation.
  • Topic: NATO, Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Middle East
  • Author: Michael L. Ross
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Summary: No state with serious oil wealth has ever transformed into a democracy. Oil lets dictators buy off citizens, keep their finances secret, and spend wildly on arms. To prevent the “resource curse” from dashing the hopes of the Arab Spring, Washington should push for more transparent oil markets -- and curb its own oil addiction. MICHAEL L. ROSS is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the author of the forthcoming book The Oil Curse: How Petroleum Wealth Shapes the Development of Nations. Even before this year's Arab uprisings, the Middle East was not an undifferentiated block of authoritarianism. The citizens of countries with little or no oil, such as Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia, generally had more freedom than those of countries with lots of it, such as Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, and Saudi Arabia. And once the tumult started, the oil-rich regimes were more effective at fending off attempts to unseat them. Indeed, the Arab Spring has seriously threatened just one oil-funded ruler -- Libya's Muammar al-Qaddafi -- and only because NATO's intervention prevented the rebels' certain defeat. Worldwide, democracy has made impressive strides over the last three decades: just 30 percent of the world's governments were democratic in 1980; about 60 percent are today. Yet almost all the democratic governments that emerged during that period were in countries with little or no oil; in fact, countries that produced less than $100 per capita of oil per year (about what Ukraine and Vietnam produce) were three times as likely to democratize as countries that produced more than that. No country with more than a fraction of the per capita oil wealth of Bahrain, Iraq, or Libya has ever successfully gone from dictatorship to democracy. Scholars have called this the oil curse, arguing that oil wealth leads to authoritarianism, economic instability, corruption, and violent conflict. Skeptics claim that the correlation between oil and repression is a coincidence. As Dick Cheney, then the CEO of Haliburton, remarked at a 1996 energy conference, "The problem is that the good Lord didn't see fit to put oil and gas reserves where there are democratic governments." But divine intervention did not cause repression in the Middle East: hydrocarbons did. There is no getting around the fact that countries in the region are less free because they produce and sell oil.
  • Topic: NATO, Government, Oil
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Ukraine, Middle East, Kuwait, Libya, Vietnam, California, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Tunisia
  • Author: Paul K. MacDonald, Joseph M. Parent
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States can no longer afford a world-spanning foreign policy. Retrenchment -- cutting military spending, redefining foreign priorities, and shifting more of the defense burden to allies -- is the only sensible course. Luckily, that does not have to spell instability abroad. History shows that pausing to recharge national batteries can renew a dominant power's international legitimacy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Washington
  • Author: Jon Western, Joshua S. Goldstein
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: No sooner had NATO launched its first air strike in Libya than the mission was thrown into controversy -- and with it, the more general notion of humanitarian intervention. Days after the UN Security Council authorized international forces to protect civilians and establish a no-fly zone, NATO seemed to go beyond its mandate as several of its members explicitly demanded that Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi step down. It soon became clear that the fighting would last longer than expected. Foreign policy realists and other critics likened the Libyan operation to the disastrous engagements of the early 1990s in Somalia, Rwanda, and Bosnia, arguing that humanitarian intervention is the wrong way to respond to intrastate violence and civil war, especially following the debacles in Afghanistan and Iraq. To some extent, widespread skepticism is understandable: past failures have been more newsworthy than successes, and foreign interventions inevitably face steep challenges. Yet such skepticism is unwarranted. Despite the early setbacks in Libya, NATO's success in protecting civilians and helping rebel forces remove a corrupt leader there has become more the rule of humanitarian intervention than the exception. As Libya and the international community prepare for the post-Qaddafi transition, it is important to examine the big picture of humanitarian intervention -- and the big picture is decidedly positive. Over the last 20 years, the international community has grown increasingly adept at using military force to stop or prevent mass atrocities. Humanitarian intervention has also benefited from the evolution of international norms about violence, especially the emergence of “the responsibility to protect,” which holds that the international community has a special set of responsibilities to protect civilians -- by force, if necessary -- from war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and genocide when national governments fail to do so. The doctrine has become integrated into a growing tool kit of conflict management strategies that includes today's more robust peacekeeping operations and increasingly effective international criminal justice mechanisms. Collectively, these strategies have helped foster an era of declining armed conflict, with wars occurring less frequently and producing far fewer civilian casualties than in previous periods.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, NATO, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Libya, Rwanda, Somalia
  • Author: Edward Burke
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: The militarization of aid in conflict zones is now a reality and is likely to increase exponentially in the future. Stability operations are critical to the success of any viable counterinsurgency strategy. Yet in much of Afghanistan and Iraq, civilian officials working alone have proven incapable of successfully distributing and monitoring stabilization funds or implementing associated operations; thus, they have required close cooperation with the military. Many North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries have not adequately addressed deficiencies in models of civil-military cooperation, with severe repercussions for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and some government development agencies complain that the delivery of aid by the military can exacerbate the targeting of civilian aid workers. Highlighting the failure of civilian agencies to cooperate effectively with the military may provide temporary vindication to skeptics within the NGO community, but such criticism does not solve the critical dilemma of how to deliver reconstruction and humanitarian assistance to the most violent parts of Afghanistan and Iraq or other nonpermissive environments.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, NATO
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq
  • Author: Michael O'Hanlon
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: How can we make sense of where the United States is in Afghanistan today? A poor country, wracked by 30 years of civil war, finds itself at the mercy of insurgents, terrorists, and narco-traffickers. NATO's economy-of-force operation there has attempted to help build a nation with very few resources. Yet, overall levels of violence remain relatively modest by comparison with other violent lands such as the Congo, Iraq, and even Mexico. Economic growth is significant and certain quality of life indicators are improving, though from a very low base. The United States is committed to Afghanistan and over the course of 2009 will roughly double its troop strength there. The international community is also seriously committed, with a number of key countries such as Canada, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom fighting hard and applying solid principles of counterinsurgency.
  • Topic: NATO, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, United Kingdom, Canada, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mexico, Netherlands
  • Author: James S. Robbins
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Journal of International Security Affairs
  • Institution: Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
  • Abstract: As the conflict in Iraq winds down, the “forgotten front” of the War on Terror, Afghanistan, has moved back into the forefront of the national security debate. Operation Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan (hereafter OEF) is aptly named, since the conflict will endure long into the next administration. Whoever takes the oath of office in January of 2009 will face the same types of challenges in Afghanistan that have bedeviled the current administration since 2001, and to an extent have been characteristic of Afghan politics for decades. The primary strategic challenge that the new administration will face is arriving at a definition of success—or perhaps victory—in Afghanistan similar to that used in Iraq, and seeking a means eventually to declare the mission accomplished and bring the troops home. This is unlikely to take place in the foreseeable future, however.
  • Topic: NATO, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq