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  • Author: Dr. W. Andrew Terill
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: In an unexpected effort to protect a key Middle Eastern ally, the Kremlin intervened in Syria with military forces in late September 2015. This effort was undertaken to protect the Bashar Assad regime from Islamist and secular rebels now threatening his regime. Moscow initiated this action with a limited force that may be primarily designed to prevent Assad’s ouster but does not have the capabilities to help him retake large tracks of the country from the rebel groups that are now holding them. The Russian leadership made the decision to use military units in Syria at some political cost, aware that it was poisoning relations with many conservative anti-Assad Arabs and complicating its troubled relationship with Western powers.1 At some point, the Russians will have to consider the questions of how well these efforts have met their goal of bolstering the regime and what will be their next moves. They may also be rapidly faced with pressure to escalate their commitment to support the regime, if current actions do not produce meaningful results. They may also learn the painful lesson of other great powers, that military intervention in the Middle East is often much more problematic than national leaders initially expect.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil War, Islam, Politics, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Dr. Don Snider
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Recently, one of the most respected voices of those who work and teach in the field of American civil-military (civ-mil) relations, Professor Peter Feaver, provocatively offered the following question: When it comes to national security, should one advise President Barack Obama on the best course of action or just the best course of action that he is likely or able to accept and implement?1 Thus, owing primarily to the Obama administration’s difficult civ-mil relations and what some consider to be ineffective policy implementation, particularly in Syria, this question is now sprouting up in journalistic reporting, academic journals, and in classroom discussions here at the U.S. Army War College. The import of the question for military professionals lies in the fact that it could lead one outside the traditional norms of American civil-military relations. These norms have in general held that the responsibility of senior military leaders is simply to give their best professional military advice – no shading allowed, and most certainly no shading that might make policy implementation less than fully effective. In fact in the Army’s new doctrine of the profession (ADRP 1 – The Army Profession),2 the principles are clearly stated: Military leaders offer their expertise and advice candidly to appropriate civilian leadership . . . Army professionals properly confine their advisory role to the policymaking process and do not engage publically in policy advocacy or dissent. Army professionals adhere to a strict ethic of political nonpartisanship in the execution of their duty.3
  • Topic: National Security, Politics, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Dr. M. Chris Mason
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan were lost before they began, not on the battlefields, where the United States won every tactical engagement, but at the strategic level of war. In each case, the U.S. Government attempted to create a Western-style democracy in countries which were decades at least away from being nations with the sociopolitical capital necessary to sustain democracy and, most importantly, accept it as a legitimate source of governance. The expensive indigenous armies created in the image of the U.S. Army lacked both the motivation to fight for illegitimate governments in Saigon, Baghdad, and Kabul and a cause that they believed was worth dying for, while their enemies in the field clearly did not. This book examines the Afghan National Security Forces in historical and political contexts, explains why they will fail at the tactical, operational and strategic levels of war, why they cannot and will not succeed in holding the southern half of the country, and what will happen in Afghanistan year-by-year from 2015 to 2019. Finally, it examines what the critical lessons unlearned of these conflicts are for U.S. military leaders, why these fundamental political lessons seem to remain unlearned, and how the strategic mistakes of the past can be avoided in the future.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Politics, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam
  • Author: Dr. Yannis A. Stivachtis
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The end of the Cold War, and especially the events of September 11, 2001, have led to the redefinition of the U.S. Army’s role. In this new environment, the purpose of the U.S. Army is not only to win a battle or a war, but also to be involved effectively in peace operations in post-conflict societies. To make the U.S. Army more effective requires prior knowledge about the political, societal, and cultural environment within which these operations would take place, as well as the acquisition of a new set of skills that would allow the U.S. Army to handle sensitive situations relevant to this environment. Due to the presence of several “weak” states in the international system, the United States needs to devise and employ strategies aimed at preventing and managing the outbreak of domestic conflicts that have the potential of undermining regional and international peace and stability. To avoid oversimplifications in the planning process, U.S. policymakers should have a comprehensive view of the relationship between the state experiencing domestic conflict and its society/citizens. For the design and effective implementation of peacemaking and peace/state-building policies, U.S. strategists should be fully aware of what constitutes a security issue for social groups and individuals in third countries. Thus, U.S. strategic planning and actions should be based on the adoption of the broaden definition of security as well as the idea of human security. Since international stability is based on the stability of states, the United States needs to assist the creation and maintenance of “strong” states.
  • Topic: Politics, International Security, Peacekeeping, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Colin S. Gray
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: To define future threat is, in a sense, an impossible task, yet it is one that must be done. The only sources of empirical evidence accessible are the past and the present; one cannot obtain understanding about the future from the future. The author draws upon the understanding of strategic history obtainable from Thucydides’ great History of the Peloponnesian War. He advises prudence as the operating light for American definition of future threat, and believes that there are historical parallels between the time of Thucydides and our own that can help us avoid much peril. The future must always be unpredictable to us in any detail, but the many and potent continuities in history’s great stream of time can serve to alert us to what may well happen in kind.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Politics, War, History
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Mohammed El-Katiri
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: In this monograph, Dr. Mohammed El-Katiri focuses on the variety of challenges that face reform attempts in the post-revolution Arab countries. He examines underlying factors that have prevented new political elites and post-revolution institutions from successfully implementing essential reforms. He explains how these failures have affected the building of these countries' political legitimacy. Dr. El-Katiri concludes with a series of specific policy recommendations, with the aim of preventing further deterioration to the detriment of U.S. interests.
  • Topic: Politics, Popular Revolt, Reform
  • Political Geography: Arab Countries
  • Author: Col. Douglas Mastriano
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The strategic calculus changed in Europe with the 2014 Russian seizure of Crimea and its ongoing war against Ukraine. Compounding the dilemma of an aggressive Russia, is the application of ambiguity to create a clock of uncertainty that prevents a decisive response to counter its destabilizing activities. However, this application of ambiguity is easily defeated, if nations are willing to take concerted efforts now to preempt and deter further Russian aggression. Project 1704 provides an honest assessment of the tenuous strategic environment that now envelopes Eastern Europe and offers specific recommendations on how to continue the 70 years of unparalleled peace that most of Europe has enjoyed.
  • Topic: Politics, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Crimea
  • Author: Keir Giles
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: This monograph, completed ahead of the November 2014 deadline, examines some of the underlying factors which will be constant in dealing with a nuclear capable Iran under President Hassan Rouhani, and which will help determine the success or failure of talks in 2015. It analyzes Rouhani's eventful first year in office in order to provide pointers to what may be possible—and to some key limiting factors—for Iran under his leadership. During that time, Rouhani has been forced to balance his own progressive instincts with the instinctual caution of more conservative elements of the Iranian ruling elite. As a result, foreign hopes for his influence on Iran’s place in the world have moved from initial optimism to a more sober assessment of the options available to him. This monograph provides an essential backdrop to the forthcoming renewed negotiations with Iran by providing an introduction to the complex interplay of issues and interests which constrain the Iranian leadership
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Politics, Treaties and Agreements, Nuclear Power, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Dr. Colin S. Gray
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: American Landpower is a strategic instrument of state policy and needs to be considered as such. This monograph explores and explains the nature of Landpower, both in general terms and also with particular regard to the American case. The monograph argues that: (1) Landpower is unique in the character of the quality it brings to the American joint team for national security; (2) the U.S. has a permanent need for the human quality in Landpower that this element provides inherently; (3) Landpower is always and, indeed, necessarily strategic in its meaning and implications—it is a quintessentially strategic instrument of state policy and politics; (4) strategic Landpower is unavoidably and beneficially joint in its functioning, this simply is so much the contemporary character of American strategic Landpower that we should consider jointness integral to its permanent nature; and, (5) notwithstanding the nuclear context since 1945, Landpower retained, indeed retains, most of the strategic utility it has possessed through all of history: this is a prudent judgment resting empirically on the evidence of 70 years’ experience. In short, the strategic Landpower maintained today safely can be assumed to be necessary for security long into the future. No matter how familiar the concept of strategic Landpower is when identified and expressed thus, it is a physical and psychological reality that has persisted to strategic effect through all of the strategic history to which we have access.
  • Topic: National Security, Politics, History, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Landpower
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Elizabeth Carter
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Economists assume increased producer flexibility creates production advantages. So why do inefficient French quality wine producers dominate their flexible, efficient Italian counterparts? French AOC wine producers created “corporatist” producer organizations which served three purposes: encouraged increased product quality information across the supply chain; allowed for the emergence of a unique production style; and enabled producers to define their production methods as “quality” via state regulation. Italian DOC wine producers have fragmented political structures at both the regional and national levels, causing producers to rely more on the price mechanism and less on political structures to coordinate supply chain transactions. Market asymmetries persist across the supply chain, making it difficult for producers to guarantee quality and adversely shaping their potential production and brand strategies. Solving supply chain problems through representative political institutions yields superior economic outcomes than uncoordinated market transactions because the former corrects market power asymmetries.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Politics, Regulation
  • Political Geography: France, Italy, Global Focus