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  • Author: Terry Terriff, James Keeley, John Ferris
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The US and a coalition of allies are once again intervening in the Middle East. This time it is in response to the rapid military advancement of Daesh, the acronym Arabic speakers use for the Arabic name of ISIS, Al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham. Some ten weeks into the start of military operations a common view is that the coalition's aerial campaign has only had limited success at best. On the plus side, coalition air power coupled with local forces on the ground were able to save a great many Iraqi Yazidis who were being threatened by Daesh, but equally a great many of this sectarian minority were massacred and, in the case of women and girls, raped or sold into sexual slavery. The Kurds subsequent to the initial retreat of their much vaunted Peshmerga forces have been able to stabilize their fighting lines against Daesh and regain control of the important Mosul dam. This particular success is in part due to the Kurds themselves and in part due to the support of coalition air strikes and delivery of supplies, but it also appears to be due in part to Daesh turning its focus to Anbar and northern Syria. On the negative side, Daesh not only continues to hold Mosul, among many other Iraqi cities and towns, but it has also expanded its control of territory in Anbar province from where it now poses a potential threat to Baghdad and areas in and around the Iraqi capital city. Daesh also made significant advances in northern Syria where it threatened to overrun the Kurdish city of Kobane on the Syria-Turkey border, creating the looming prospect of the massacre of the fighters and civilians still there. Over the past few days the intensification of coalition air strikes in and around this city appears to have halted and at least partially pushed back the Daesh assault, but the city and its inhabitants are far from being safe as it could still fall in the days and weeks to come.
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Kurdistan
  • Author: Martin Samuels
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A former writer of British military doctrine, Jim Storr, recently lamented that, although many books explore what happens in war (history) or why wars happen (international relations), very few focus on how wars should be fought (warfare). He concluded this reflects warfare's status as 'a poorly developed discipline'. Consequently, 'It is incoherent, contains a range of poorly described phenomena and is pervaded by paradox.' The underdeveloped discourse concerning warfare, and within it the limited consideration of different approaches to command, may be considered an important contributor to the longstanding gulf between the doctrine of Mission Command espoused by the United States and British armies and actual operational practice, such that the doctrine is 'realized only in some places some of the time'.
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In America and the Rogue States, Thomas Henriksen lays out the relationships that exist, and have existed, between America and the states that made up George W. Bush's 'Axis of Evil.' Henriksen outlines the history of the interactions between the United States and North Korea, pre-invasion Iraq, and Iran, and through this draws out a number of themes. He also shows that the ways the relationships have played out are highly situational and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. In the last chapter, Henriksen explores American relationships with a number of states that were either once considered rogue or could become rogue, like Libya, Syria, and Cuba, referring to them as either “lesser rogues” or “troublesome states.” These states have remained “a puzzle for US foreign policy” (1) and are characterized by three things: autocratic governance, sponsorship of terrorism, and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). There is no clear definition provided by Henriksen for what can be considered a rogue state, making it difficult to judge what other states, if any, could be considered rogue. Henriksen seems to arbitrarily decide who is rogue and who is not: Cuba is a rogue state, while Myanmar is merely troublesome. Instead of synthesizing a clear definition of the term, something that could then be applied to other states in order to judge their 'rogueness,' Henriksen uses the Bush administration's criteria (the term itself was coined by President Bill Clinton in a 1994 speech in Brussels), which was outlined in the National Security Strategy of 2002 (NSS-2002). These were “brutality toward their own people; contempt for international law; determination to acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMD); advanced military technology; sponsorship of terrorism; rejection of human rights values; and hatred for the United States and 'everything it stands for'”. The use of the NSS-2002 definition allows for the 'Axis of Evil' to fit neatly into the term, which constitutes a problem of tautology, at least for the Bush administration. Further compounding this was that, according to Henriksen at least, the administration was set on going to war in Iraq prior to assuming office. This creates a situation in which it is hard to determine whether the idea of rogue states was created to justify this desire, or it informed the desire prior to the administration taking office.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, America, North Korea, Libya
  • Author: Rear Admiral Nils Wang
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In May 2008, the five Arctic coastal states - the United States, Russia, Canada, Norway and the Kingdom of Denmark, including Greenland and the Faroe Islands - signed the Illulissat Declaration. The declaration established that the 'Arctic Five' will lay claim to the sea territorial rights awarded to them by the 1982. United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and that they will settle disputes within the framework of existing international law. This was a very strong message to NGOs and external state actors, arguing that a protective treaty should govern the Arctic, just like the Antarctic.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, China, Canada, India, Norway, Denmark, United Nations, Italy
  • Author: Matsahiro Matsumura
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The world has seen the international distribution of power gradually shifting, driven in great part by China's rise and America's relative decline. Almost continuously for two decades, China has kept double-digit growth rates in defense spending and, consequently, made military build-ups that are unprecedented in modern international history. China has also demonstrated a series of increasingly assertive diplomatic and military actions as related to its irredentist claims to Taiwan, the Senkaku Islands, the Spratly Islands, and the Paracel Islands, among others. Although the regional security order of the East Asia and the Western Pacific appears sufficiently stable, the US and its major regional allies together have to deter and, if necessary, defeat possible China's armed aggression against the territorial status quo. Doing so is a challenge even for the hegemonic US, on the grounds that the aftermath of the 2008 Lehman Shock has seriously impaired the health of the US political economy, and that its defense spending is anticipated to undergo one major cut after another, at least, for a decade to come.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, America, Taiwan, East Asia
  • Author: Timothy Choi
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: On March 18th, 1915, a combined fleet of British and French battleships attempted to force their way through the Dardanelles, the southern half of the Turkish Straits that connected the Mediterranean with the Black Sea. "Attempted" is the key word, for it was a spectacular failure. Two of the greatest navies in the world had failed to enforce their will upon the puny and seemingly obsolete forces of the Ottoman Empire, sparking the infamous and bloody Gallipoli land campaign.
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey
  • Author: Edward Andrew Kaplan
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Revolutions in strategy and military affairs happen one step at a time. "Revolution" implies a sudden shift, with old and worn ideas, and the weapon systems they support, ceding ground to the fresh and modern. The medieval castle gives way to the trace italienne. Panzers rip through slow-moving, "methodical," infantry. Precision munitions guided by definitive intelligence eviscerate a veteran Iraqi Army. In retrospect, these "revolutions" can appear fated, but this paper argues that this is not always the case. The apparent discontinuity between one method of warfare and its so-called revolutionary successor is on closer inspection often filled with short-lived "failed" projects. They do not last long (or even reach active service), but they are essential evolutionary steps for later, more enduring, systems. Their most important contribution is to introduce novel ideas, often taken from outside conventional military circles, and they can be an important way for an organization to change its approach to core functions. When these intermediate systems are forgotten, they make the final step look like a revolutionary leap, as opposed to a steady advance of evolutionary development. This paper restores to visibility two overlooked parts of one such process, the movement from carrier-based seapower to nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Terry Terriff
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Today the US Army is engaged in the effort to learn the appropriate lessons from the wars it has been engaged in since the autumn of 2001 and to think through what type of force it needs to be, with what kinds of capabilities, in order to prepare for further future conflicts in the 21st Century. Estimating the character of future conflicts, and then preparing one's forces appropriately, is not an easy task. A critical line of argument today is that the vision of future warfare the Army developed in the decade plus following the end of the Cold War left it ill-prepared for the wars it found itself conducting in Afghanistan and Iraq. In an article published in 2007, US Army Lt. Col. Paul Yingling very pointedly, and very boldly for a serving officer, contended that, "throughout the 1990s our generals failed to envision the conditions of future combat and prepare their forces accordingly." The US Army's operational experiences in the first decade of this century, particularly in the early years of the long conflict in Iraq, suggest that it marched eyes wide shut through the decade of the 1990s into the 21st Century.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Deji A. Oguntoyinbo
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: All through the ages, Shakespeare's literary oeuvre has occupied a canonical status in world literature, primarily because of its universal relevance in terms of thematic preoccupation, characterization, and setting amongst several literary components. Though widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre- eminent dramatist, Shakespeare has been translated into every major living language and is performed more often than any other playwright. His dramatic works have been repeatedly adapted and rediscovered by new movements or perspectives in scholarship and performance. Even now, his plays remain highly popular and are constantly studied, performed and reinterpreted in various social, cultural and political contexts throughout the globe. One of these contexts is the Second World War. Regarded as the longest, bloodiest and deadliest conflict in history, World War II was fought predominantly in Europe and across the Pacific and Eastern Asia, pitting the Axis powers of Nazi Germany, fascist Italy and Japan against the Allied nations of Great Britain, France, China, United States and the Soviet Union. It is the most widespread war in history with more than one hundred million people serving in military units from over thirty different countries, and death tolls estimated to be between fifty and eighty-five million fatalities. Despite the fact that theatre stands as a “simulacrum of the cultural and historical process itself, seeking to depict the full range of human actions within their physical context, has always provided society with the most tangible records of its attempts to understand its own records” (3), the role of Shakespeare during the Second World War had not yet been given sustained, critical and detailed scholastic documentation. Herein lies the relevance and necessity of Shakespeare and the Second World War – as a writers' quota to fill the scholastic lacuna. Most of the war's belligerents showed affinity with Shakespearean works as a depiction of their society's self-image. Divided into fifteen illuminating, diverse, and yet coherent essays by seasoned and erudite academics, Shakespeare and the Second World War is a small sampling of reviewed and extended essays from “Wartime Shakespeare in a Global Context/Shakespeare au temps de la guerre” – an international bilingual conference that took place at the University of Ottawa in 2009. Within the spatial and temporal context of the war, Shakespeare's oeuvre is recycled, reviewed and reinterpreted in the chapters. In a Manichean manner, these essays cannot be collectively pigeonholed as either pro or anti–war. In fact, there is a sort of ambivalence with vacillating opinions by the writers.
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, Japan, China, France, Soviet Union, Germany, Italy
  • Author: Irakli A Geluk'ashvili
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The history of the Persian Gulf has always been characterized by conflict. It has been an arena for intervention by several world powers at one time or another. Many countries have defended their economic and political interests in this region, in no small part because it is one of the main oil reserves in the world. Moreover, it is also the largest exporter of oil. Therefore, it can be seen as the "jugular vein" of the global energy system, and so it has become an important area from a geostrategic point of view. The interests of several contemporary powers intersect here, from Western countries to emerging powers and neighbouring countries; the potential for conflict is easily imaginable.
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia