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  • Author: Clifford F. Thies, Christopher F. Baum
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: With the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was thought that major wars had become obsolete (Mueller 1989) and perhaps regional conflicts might be brought under control (Cederman, Gleditsch, and Wucherpfennig 2017). But, while the level of violence declined, the number of wars in the world appears to have reached a new steady state. A world that was once organized by East-West rivalry is now characterized by ethno-religious conflicts, as well as by spontaneously arising transnational terrorist organizations and criminal gangs. For various reasons, economists have become interested in investigating the causes and effects of war and other armed conflict (e.g., Coyne and Mathers 2011). This article uses a consistent measurement of these forms of violence across space and time to conduct a rigorous quantitative analysis of the effect of war on economic growth.
  • Topic: Cold War, War, History, Economic growth, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Carly Kabot
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: History is the storyteller that holds all truth, yet when she speaks, much of mankind closes its ears. Hasan Nuhanović, a survivor of the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide committed by a Bosnian Serb militia, narrates his family’s harrowing journey through Bosnia in The Last Refuge: A True Story of War, Survival, and Life under Seige in Srebrenica. Though Nuhanović’s story is tragic, it is not uncommon. He makes this clear from the beginning, writing, “I did not write this book to tell my own story” (5). Rather, his story embodies the experiences of eight thousand Bosniaks who were executed by Serb forces on July 11, 1995, and brings to mind the millions of genocide victims worldwide who have been mercilessly slaughtered in the past century.
  • Topic: Genocide, War, History, Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Europe, Bosnia, Eastern Europe, Serbia, Srebrenica
  • Author: Yuriy Danyk, Chad Michael Briggs, Tamara Maliarchuk
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The conflict in Ukraine has received renewed attention in Washington D.C., and it is worth considering the relevance of this conflict to US national security interests. The open conflict in eastern Ukraine since 2014 has been part of a larger hybrid war, including political and information warfare, cyber warfare, assassinations, promotion of corruption, and traditional (kinetic) warfare carried out by destructive geopolitical actors (DGAs) [1]. The conventional conflict cannot be taken out of context, and it is the less visible and “dark” aspects of hybrid warfare that should particularly worry the United States. Hybrid warfare consists of a wide spectrum of attacks, from conventional to covert, carried out to destabilize one’s opponent. Rather than being isolated incidents, cyber attacks often represent part of a wide spectrum of coordinated, offensive strategies against countries like Ukraine and the United States.
  • Topic: National Security, War, Cybersecurity, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: To help Ukraine find peace, the EU, NATO, and member states must seek new approaches to arms control discussions with Russia and European security as a whole. They should also consider a more flexible sanctions policy, such that progress in Ukraine may lead to incremental easing. What’s new? Russia’s Ukraine policy, including its military intervention, is driven both by Moscow’s goals in Ukraine itself and its longstanding desire to revise Europe’s security order. Western responses are similarly driven by both Ukraine-specific and Europe-wide interests. A sustainable peace plan must address both sets of factors. Why does it matter? Efforts to make peace in Ukraine by solving problems specific to Ukraine only will fail, because the causes of the conflict are both local and geostrategic. A truly sustainable peace should address European security as a whole to make Russia, its neighbours and the entire continent safer. What should be done? European states should engage Russia in discussions of European security, including regional and sub-regional arms limitations. They should also consider adjusting the current sanctions regime to allow for the lifting of some penalties if Russia contributes to real progress toward peace.
  • Topic: NATO, War, Sanctions, European Union, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Eighteen years after the U.S. war with Afghanistan’s Taliban began, all sides are taking the first formal steps toward a political settlement. From designating a neutral mediator to agreeing on “rules of the road”, Crisis Group lays out twelve prerequisites for keeping the talks going. What’s new? On 29 February, the U.S. and Taliban signed an agreement on a phased U.S. military drawdown, Taliban guarantees to sever ties with terrorist groups, and swift initiation of peace negotiations among Afghan parties to the war. These intra-Afghan negotiations could commence as soon as 10 March. Why does it matter? Intra-Afghan negotiations would be the first formal step to politically settle Afghanistan’s conflict since the U.S. toppled the Taliban regime in 2001. The U.S.-Taliban deal sets the stage for those talks, but it does not resolve issues among the Afghan parties that could prevent them from making progress. What should be done? All parties have crucial preparations to make, both before intra-Afghan negotiations start and during the talks’ early stages. Crisis Group has identified twelve key points that could make the difference between a successful beginning to a peace process and delays or early stagnation.
  • Topic: War, Taliban, Negotiation, Peace
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia
  • Author: Martha Crenshaw
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The 2011 civil war in Syria attracted thousands of fighters from at least seventy countries to join the Islamic State. Al-Shabaab carried out large-scale attacks on civilian targets in Uganda and Kenya as retribution for the deployment of peacekeeping forces in Somalia. In this report, Martha Crenshaw considers the extent to which civil war and foreign military intervention function as a rationale for transnational terrorism, and how understanding the connections between terrorism, civil war, and weak governance can help the United States and its allies mount an appropriate response.
  • Topic: Terrorism, War, Non State Actors, Islamic State, Transnational Actors, Peace, Al-Shabaab
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Kenya, Africa, Middle East, Syria, Somalia, United States of America
  • Author: Heidi Peltier
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: This infographic displays an estimate of the raw number of service members from each state operating in the United States post-9/11 wars in 2019 and the relative burden borne by each state in making this contribution. The ‘post-9/11 wars’ refers to U.S. military operations around the world, including in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere, that have grown out of President George W. Bush’s “Global War on Terror” and the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The color coding on the map shows the broader context of each state’s contribution of service members in relation to its population size. The darkest color, for instance, shows that South Carolina, Hawaii, Alaska, Florida, and Georgia send the highest numbers of troops, per capita, to war. Since there is no publicly available government data that lists service members involved in the U.S. post-9/11 wars by their state of origin, the research team estimated the figures using a combination of various government data sources. The Methodological Appendix, below, lists sources and methods.
  • Topic: Demographics, War, Armed Forces, Military Affairs, 9/11, War on Terror, Statistics
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Heidi Peltier
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: Throughout the 18 years the U.S. has been engaged in the “Global War on Terror,” mainly in Iraq and Afghanistan, the government has financed this war by borrowing funds rather than through alternative means such as raising taxes or issuing war bonds. Thus, the costs of the post-9/11 wars include not only the expenses incurred for operations, equipment, and personnel, but also the interest costs on this debt. Since 2001 these interest payments have been growing, resulting in more and more taxpayer dollars being wasted on interest payments rather than being channeled to more productive uses. This paper calculates that the debt incurred for $2 trillion in direct war-related spending by the Department of Defense and State Department has already resulted in cumulative interest payments of $925 billion. Even if military interventions ceased immediately, interest payments would continue to rise, and will grow further as the U.S. continues its current military operations.
  • Topic: Debt, War, Military Spending, 9/11
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Iraq, Middle East, Yemen, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Can Eyup Cekic
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Turkish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
  • Institution: Turkish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
  • Abstract: This study aims to expose the ways in which leading officials of the Committee of Union and Progress (the CUP) interpreted, internalized, and questioned the conditions of their mission in Arab lands during World War I (WWI). It builds on the memoirs of Falih Rıfkı, aide-de-camp of Commander-in-Chief Cemal Pasha, and Halide Edip, an ardent supporter of the social and educational reforms of the CUP government. Both written after the war, these memoirs reflect not only nostalgia and regret but also the complicated relationship between Turkish officials and Arabs on the eve of their breakup from one another as citizens of the Ottoman State. The study also questions the orthodox argument that the Turkist and anti-Arabic ideology of the CUP government in general and Cemal Pasha’s wartime crusade against Arab nationalists in particular triggered the emergence of Arab nationalism. By contemplating the memoirs of CUP members in Arab lands, this study argues that Falih Rıfkı, Cemal Pasha, and Halide Edip tried to understand the region and its people in order to create a mutual future for Turks and Arabs within the Ottoman Empire.
  • Topic: Nationalism, War, Citizenship, World War I
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Asia, Ottoman Empire
  • Author: Hanan Shai
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: The conquest of southern Lebanon in Operation Peace for Galilee, and Israel’s long sojourn in the area, had political and military justification. But defects in the IDF’s deployment during the operation, and later in its protracted security activity, culminated in the May 2000 hurried withdrawal that continues to this day to negatively affect Israel’s national security.
  • Topic: National Security, War, Conflict, Hezbollah, Israel Defense Forces (IDF)
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: As tens of thousands more refugees are shunted by Turkey toward Europe and a new phase of the brutal Syrian war unfolds, Russia, Turkey, the EU, and the international community are being handed the bill for a flawed short-term approach to the nine-year conflict that lacked empathy for the millions of victims and was likely to magnify rather than resolve problems.
  • Topic: War, Refugees, Syrian War, International Community
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: Although all indications are that most of the principal players favour a political resolution, the military situation will remain volatile as long as Haftar’s forces are in Sirte and remain in control of the economically vital oil region.
  • Topic: War, Natural Resources, Conflict, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Libya, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The utilization of mercenaries has become one of the key predicaments in the Middle East, particularly in the hotbeds of armed conflict, including Libya, Yemen and Syria. Such militia are usually transferred through the use of civil flights, crossing land borders or smuggling through organized crime networks. This has been reflected by numerous evidence including the escalating tensions between the international powers such as ‘France’ and regional ones such as ‘Turkey’, even affecting the mutual hostility between the ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ and Ankara, and the latter's policy aiming at disturbing Libya's neighboring countries. In the case of Yemen, the Houthi militia and Islah party have also used African mercenaries. It is further evident in the warning given by the Yemeni government to ‘Tehran Mercenaries’ against turning Yemen into a battlefield after the murder of Qassem Soleimani.
  • Topic: War, Non State Actors, Houthis, Militias, Mercenaries
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, France, Libya, Yemen, North Africa, Syria
  • Author: Mitchell Lerner, Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, Arissa H. Oh, Zachary M. Matusheski, Peter Banseok Kwon, Monica Kim
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR)
  • Abstract: A Roundtable on Monica Kim The Interrogation Rooms of the Korean War: The Untold History
  • Topic: International Relations, Cold War, War, History, Military Affairs, United States , Korean War, Diplomatic History
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North Korea, Korea, Korean Peninsula
  • Author: Michael Mousseau
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Permanent world peace is beginning to emerge. States with developed market-oriented economies have foremost interests in the principle of self-determination of all states as the foundation for a robust global marketplace. War among these states, even making preparations for war, is not possible, because they are in a natural alliance to preserve and protect the global order. Among other states, weaker powers, fearing those that are stronger, tend to bandwagon with the relatively benign market-oriented powers. The result is a powerful liberal global hierarchy that is unwittingly, but systematically, buttressing states' embrace of market norms and values, moving the world toward perpetual peace. Analysis of voting preferences of members of the United Nations General Assembly from 1946 to 2010 corroborates the influence of the liberal global hierarchy: states with weak internal markets tend to disagree with the foreign policy preferences of the largest market power (i.e., the United States), but more so if they have stronger rather than weaker military and economic capabilities. Market-oriented states, in contrast, align with the market leader regardless of their capabilities. Barring some dark force that brings about the collapse of the global economy (such as climate change), the world is now in the endgame of a five-century-long trajectory toward permanent peace and prosperity.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, War, Hegemony, Peacekeeping, Global Security, Liberal Order
  • Political Geography: United States, United Nations, Global Focus
  • Author: Deborah Jordan Brooks, Stephen G. Brooks, Brian D. Greenhill, Mark L. Haas
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The world is experiencing a period of unprecedented demographic change. For the first time in human history, marked disparities in age structures exist across the globe. Around 40 percent of the world's population lives in countries with significant numbers of elderly citizens. In contrast, the majority of the world's people live in developing countries with very large numbers of young people as a proportion of the total population. Yet, demographically, most of the world's states with young populations are aging, and many are doing so quickly. This first-of-its kind systematic theoretical and empirical examination of how these demographic transitions influence the likelihood of interstate conflict shows that countries with a large number of young people as a proportion of the total population are the most prone to international conflict, whereas states with the oldest populations are the most peaceful. Although societal aging is likely to serve as a force for enhanced stability in most, and perhaps all, regions of the world over the long term, the road to a “demographic peace” is likely to be bumpy in many parts of the world in the short to medium term.
  • Topic: Demographics, War, International Security, Democracy, International Relations Theory
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, China, Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Joost Jongerden
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: While Trump always advocated disengagement from Syria, Turkish mainstream opinion and political leadership have never accepted Kurdish self-rule of territory on its Syrian border, which Turkey treats as an existential threat and dismisses with the trope of “terrorism.” Thus, Turkey’s military intervention should hardly be surprising. Indeed, not only is the assault an upscaled version of last year’s intervention and occupation of Afrin—a pocket in the western part of northern Syria—but it also fits a wider pattern of Turkish military aggression. Looking back over the past four years, we see Turkey repeatedly waging war for a “strong” state construction and regional power development.
  • Topic: War, Conflict, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, State Building
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria, Kurdistan
  • Author: Jacques Singer-Emery
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: This is the second of a three-part essay series on the different paths the U.S. Congress might take to limit Washington’s support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. As explained in Part 1 of this series, the Trump administration’s continued support for the Saudi coalition’s war in Yemen has triggered a range of Congressional responses. Although Congress faces challenges in passing new legislation to denounce Saudi Arabia’s actions in Yemen and its killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the White House’s Saudi policy implicates at least four pieces of existing legislation: the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), the War Powers Resolution, the Foreign Assistance Control Act (FAA), and the Leahy Laws. These laws were all passed during the Cold War to curtail the executive’s increasing ability to unilaterally sell arms, supply military aid, and order U.S. troops to assist allies in a theater of war. The executive must abide by these laws. If the President refuses or cuts corners, Congress can bring him to heel directly via impeachment, or indirectly through court orders that force executive branch agencies to halt the restricted activity.
  • Topic: Government, War, Law, Courts, Legislation
  • Political Geography: Yemen, Saudi Arabia, North America, United States of America, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Stephen J. Blank
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Wherever one looks, Russia is carrying out aggressive military and informational attacks against the West in Europe, North and South America, the Arctic, and the Middle East. This “war against the West” actually began over a decade ago, but its most jarring and shocking event, the one that started to focus Western minds on Russia, was the invasion of Ukraine in 2014. Given this pattern, the National Security Council (NSC) in 2014 invited Stephen Blank to organize a conference on the Russian military. We were able to launch the conference in 2016 and bring together a distinguished international group of experts on the Russian military to produce the papers that were then subsequently updated for presentation here.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Authoritarianism, Cybersecurity, Vladimir Putin
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Asia, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Antulio J. Echevarria II, Hew Strachan, Seth A. Johnston, Howard Coombs, Martijn Kitzen, Christophe Lafaye, Conrad C. Crane, Alexander G. Lovelace
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The Autumn issue of Parameters opens with a Special Commentary by Sir Hew Strachan concerning lessons Western militaries learned, or ought to have learned, during their campaigns in Afghanistan. His commentary sets up this issue’s first forum, Afghanistan’s Lessons: Part I. In the opening article, Seth Johnston’s “NATO’s Lessons” underscores the importance of the Alliance’s role as a facilitator of multinational collaboration. He presents a favorable view, arguing NATO’s established processes succeeded in enabling countries with limited resources to participate fully in the mission in Afghanistan. Howard Coombs follows with a contribution concerning “Canada’s Lessons.” Among other things, he maintains Canada’s whole-of-government approach resulted in great gains while Canadian Forces were actively involved in combat. Nonetheless, Canada seems uninterested in maintaining this capability as a framework for responding to other crises. The third article in this forum is Martijn Kitzen’s “The Netherlands’ Lessons,” which highlights the benefits of having a small military that enjoys networked learning. Although the Dutch military seems to be reverting to enemy-centric thinking, the author encourages its leaders to retain an adaptive mindset that will facilitate adopting a more population-centric approach when necessary. In “France’s Lessons,” Christophe Lafaye explains how combat in Afghanistan contributed to the tactical and doctrinal evolution of the French Army. With decades of relative peace since the Algerian War, French soldiers began their service in Afghanistan with little experience and inadequate materiel. They quickly developed into a combat-ready force capable of responding rapidly to a variety of military emergencies as the need arose. Our second forum, World War II: 75th Anniversary, features two contributions concerning famous US generals. Conrad Crane’s, “Matthew Ridgway and the Battle of the Bulge” illustrates examples of Ridgway’s strategic thinking at work during the German’s surprise attack and ensuing crisis. Alexander G. Lovelace’s “Slap Heard around the World: George Patton and Shell Shock” analyzes Patton’s possible motives for slapping two soldiers in during the Sicily campaign in 1943.
  • Topic: NATO, War, History, Armed Forces, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, Canada, North America, Netherlands, United States of America
  • Author: M. Chris Mason, John Crisafulli, Fernando Farfan, Aaron French, Yama Kambiz, Bryan Kirk, Matthew Maybouer, John Sannes
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The United States will soon enter the 18th year of combat operations in Afghanistan. During that time, multiple approaches to stabilize the country have been tried, including support to regional security initiatives, “nation-building,” counterinsurgency, counternarcotics, counterterrorism, and “train and equip.” The constellation of anti-government elements known collectively as the Taliban continues to refuse reconciliation or a negotiated peace under the existing Afghan constitution.
  • Topic: War, History, Armed Forces, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Elizabeth G. Troeder
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: This monograph provides an assessment of gray zone tactics used by the most active U.S. adversaries and builds the case for requiring U.S. Federal agencies to request that the Deputy National Security Advisor convene a National Security Council/Deputies Committee (NSC/DC) meeting whenever any Federal agency deems a gray zone approach to an international issue is appropriate. It also recommends that the United States should pursue the development of a standing National Security Council/Policy Coordination Committee (NSC/PCC) for gray zone solutions, with sub-NSC/PCCs for each component of the 4+1 (Russia, China, Iraq, North Korea, and violent extremist organizations) so that experts can be quickly assembled in times of crisis.
  • Topic: Government, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Gray Zone
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Tami Davis Biddle
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: In this monograph, Tami Davis Biddle analyzes the historical record of air power over the past 100 years. Her monograph, designed for the student of strategy, is intended to provide both a concise introduction to the topic and a framework for thinking intelligently about air power, particularly aerial bombing. Her primary aim is to discern the distinction between what has been expected of air power by theorists and military institutions, and what it has produced in the crucible of war. Aerial bombing, Biddle argues, is a coercive activity in which an attacker seeks to structure the enemy’s incentives—using threats and actions to shape and constrain the enemy’s options, both perceived and real. It is an important and much-utilized military instrument for both deterrence and compellence. In addition, it is a powerful tool in the arsenal of the joint warfighter. Its ability to achieve anticipated results, however, varies with circumstances. Students of strategy must be able to discern and understand the conditions under which aerial bombing is more or less likely to achieve the results expected of it by those who employ it.
  • Topic: War, History, Armed Forces, Military Affairs, Air Force
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Michael A. McCarthy, Matthew A. Moyer, Brett H. Venable
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The United States lacks a cohesive strategy to deter Russian aggression. Despite being militarily and economically inferior, Russia has undermined the United States and its allies by exploiting the “gray zone,” or the conceptual space between war and peace where nations compete to advance their national interests. In dealing with Russia, the United States must shift its strategic framework from a predominantly military-centric model to one that comprises a whole-of-government approach. The holistic approach must leverage a combination of diplomacy, information, military, and economic (DIME) measures. In this timely and prescient monograph, three active duty military officers and national security fellows from the Harvard Kennedy School look to address this contemporary and complex problem. Through extensive research and consultation with some of the nation’s and academia’s foremost experts, the authors offer policymakers a menu of strategic options to deter Russia in the gray zone and protect vital U.S. national security interests.
  • Topic: National Security, War, Military Affairs, Economy, Peace, Deterrence, Gray Zone
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Robert J. Bunker
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: This monograph focuses on an understudied, but yet a critically important and timely component of land warfare, related to the battlefield use of chemical weapons by contemporary threat forces. It will do so by focusing on two case studies related to chemical weapons use in Syria and Iraq by the Assad regime and the Islamic State. Initially, the monograph provides an overview of the chemical warfare capabilities of these two entities; discusses selected incidents of chemical weapons use each has perpetrated; provides analysis and lessons learned concerning these chemical weapons incidents, their programs, and the capabilities of the Assad regime and the Islamic State; and then presents U.S. Army policy and planning considerations on this topical areas of focus. Ultimately, such considerations must be considered vis-à-vis U.S. Army support of Joint Force implementation of National Command Authority guidance.
  • Topic: War, Islamic State, Conflict, Syrian War, Army, Chemical Weapons
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Joel D. Rayburn, Frank K. Sobchak, Jeanne F. Godfroy, Matthew D. Morton, James S. Powell, Matthew M. Zais
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Originally commissioned by Chief of Staff of the Army General Raymond T. Odierno, The U.S. Army in the Iraq War is the Army’s interim examination of military operations in Iraq from 2003 to 2011. This study, published in two volumes, is a narrative history that tells the story of U.S. forces in Iraq, mainly from the perspective of the theater command in Baghdad and the operational commands immediately subordinate to it. It focuses at the operational level of war, exploring the decisions and intent of the senior three- and four-star commanders and how these decisions effected the course of the war over time. This work was built from over 30,000 pages of previously unavailable declassified documents and hundreds of hours of interviews with senior defense leaders. While the Army will eventually publish a comprehensive, official “Green Book” history that describes Operation Iraqi Freedom in greater depth, this study is being released now in order that key lessons, insights, and innovations from this period of the conflict are available to the next generation of Soldiers and leaders to study, learn from, and adapt to ensure the future readiness of our Army and the Joint Force.
  • Topic: War, History, Military Affairs, Army, Iraq War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Joel D. Rayburn, Frank K. Sobchak
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The Iraq War has been the costliest U.S. conflict since the Vietnam War. To date, few official studies have been conducted to review what happened, why it happened, and what lessons should be drawn. The U.S. Army in the Iraq War is the Army’s initial operational level analysis of this conflict, written in narrative format, with assessments and lessons embedded throughout the work. This study reviews the conflict from a Landpower perspective and includes the contributions of coalition allies, the U.S. Marine Corps, and special operations forces. Presented principally from the point of view of the commanders in Baghdad, the narrative examines the interaction of the operational and strategic levels, as well as the creation of theater level strategy and its implementation at the tactical level. Volume 1 begins in the truce tent at Safwan Airfield in southern Iraq at the end of Operation DESERT STORM and briefly examines actions by U.S. and Iraqi forces during the interwar years. The narrative continues by examining the road to war, the initially successful invasion, and the rise of Iraqi insurgent groups before exploring the country’s slide toward civil war. This volume concludes with a review of the decision by the George W. Bush administration to “surge” additional forces to Iraq, placing the conduct of the “surge” and its aftermath in the second volume. This study was constructed over a span of 4 years and relied on nearly 30,000 pages of hand-picked declassified documents, hundreds of hours of original interviews, and thousands of hours of previously unavailable interviews. Original interviews conducted by the team included President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretaries of Defense Leon Panetta and Robert Gates, Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and every theater commander for the war, among many others. With its release, this publication, The U.S. Army in the Iraq War, represents the U.S. Government’s longest and most detailed study of the Iraq conflict thus far.
  • Topic: Government, War, History, Conflict, Army, Iraq War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jacqueline Wilson
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since the beginning of South Sudan's civil war in 2013, the country's religious actors have sought to play an active role in turning the tide from war and violence to peace and reconciliation. Drawing on interviews, focus groups, and consultations, this report maps the religious landscape of South Sudan and showcases the legitimate and influential religious actors and institutions, highlights challenges impeding their peace work, and provides recommendations for policymakers and practitioners to better engage with religious actors for peace.
  • Topic: Civil War, Religion, War, Violence, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Sudan
  • Author: Suzanne Fiederlein
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: tries in the world, even after thirty years of clearance operations supported extensively by the United Nations and a number of major donors, including the United States. Long after armed conflicts are over, explosive remnants of war continue to cause harm to unsuspecting civilians and cost governments millions of dollars to clear and neutralize. Landmines can remain a threat that affects the population living around them for decades to come. When calculating the costs of waging war, the post-conflict clearance of leftover weapons scattered about the battlefields generally is not included. These costs can last for generations; Belgium, for instance, continues to remove large quantities of explosive shells from its World War I battlefield sites one hundred years after the end of that conflict.4 In the case of a country like Afghanistan, where armed conflict has continued for decades, adding additional explosive ordnance to the landscape on an ongoing basis, the clearance task becomes doubly challenging. The need to remove ordnance is crucial when attempting to provide a secure environment for war-weary civilians and returning refugees and to rebuild infrastructure and create opportunities for economic development – all essential ingredients for establishing and maintaining a stable and effective nation state.
  • Topic: War, Weapons , Civilians, Casualties, Landmines
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Catherine Besteman
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: Although the United States has not formally declared war in Somalia and the US Congress has not formally approved US military engagements in Somalia, US intervention in Somalia has rapidly expanded under the Trump Administration. US airstrikes against the Somali terrorist group known as Al-Shabaab have skyrocketed, from between 15 and 21 drone strikes and other covert operations in Somalia during the period from 2007-2014 to a record high of 46 strikes in 2018 alone, which killed 326 people, to an astonishing 24 strikes in just the first two months of 2019, killing at least 252 people. Recent reports suggest other entities, such as the CIA, are also carrying out an unknown number of additional airstrikes, and the US currently has about 500 troops, mostly Special Operations, stationed in Somalia. According to a recent investigation by Amnesty International and a subsequent review by AFRICOM, the United States Africa Command, some of the US airstrikes have killed civilians. Tens of thousands of Somalis have fled areas targeted by air strikes, crowding into miserable displaced persons camps outside Mogadishu. Civilians who have lost family members or been injured by strikes have no recourse, and there is no accountability for those carrying out the strikes. In short, without a formal declaration or any particular acknowledgement or interest from the US Congress, a war is being waged in Somalia.
  • Topic: War, Military Intervention, Al-Shabaab
  • Political Geography: Africa, North America, Somalia, United States of America
  • Author: Neta C. Crawford
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: If climate change is a “threat multiplier,” as some national security experts and members of the military argue, how does the US military reduce climate change caused threats? Or does war and the preparation for it increase those risks?
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Climate Change, War, International Security, Military Spending, Fossil Fuels
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Heidi Garrett-Peltier
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: All types of federal spending have ripple effects throughout the economy. As funds are spent on war, there is demand not only for soldiers and for DOD personnel, but for the goods and services that support these positions. Likewise, if we focus on a sector such as clean energy, spending that is channeled directly to an industry such as solar or wind also creates secondary effects, what we call indirect employment, in industries such as hardware manufacturing, electronics production, and trucking. To capture the full effect of any federal spending, then, we need to estimate not only the direct jobs that are created by any type of spending, but also the indirect jobs that are supported throughout the supply chain.
  • Topic: War, Labor Issues, Economy, Military Spending, Job Creation
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Christos G. Frentzos
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: After the United States, the Republic of Korea sent more troops to Vietnam than any other nation. Approximately 325,000 South Korean soldiers served in Vietnam between 1964 and 1973. Although the Korean military and economy benefited substantially from the conflict, the war also left some deep scars on the national psyche. While the government did not permit public criticism of the war in the 1960s and 1970s, South Koreans have now finally begun to confront their troubled Vietnam legacy. Often referred to as Korea’s “forgotten war,” the Vietnam Conflict has recently made its way into Korean popular culture through movies, novels and songs about the war. Increased freedom and democracy has created an environment where both the Korean government and the people have begun to openly discuss issues such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and alleged wartime atrocities committed by South Korean servicemen. This paper will analyze some of the more controversial aspects of Korea’s involvement in the Vietnam War and examine how South Koreans themselves have addressed these issues both officially and within their popular culture during the last few decades.
  • Topic: War, History, Culture, Media, Conflict, Atrocities, Vietnam War, Veterans
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Vietnam, United States of America
  • Author: Shoko Kohama
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: This study investigates how territorial acquisition through war affects the durability of a successive ceasefire and determines what type of territorial acquisition is more detrimental to post-war peace. Despite the wealth of literature on recurrent war and on territory, the effect of territorial acquisition on war resumption has been understudied. This study shows that territorial acquisition creates expectations among adversaries for future power shifts, which results in a commitment problem that hinders peaceful revision of the existing ceasefire. Indeed, duration analysis of ceasefires following interstate wars since World War II shows that territorial change in war, especially acquisition of large and densely populated territories that have potential utility for greater power shifts, makes ceasefires more prone to failure. The analysis of Sino-Vietnamese ceasefires following militarized incidents over land and sea borders also illustrates the importance of territorial acquisition and the potential utility of the territory.
  • Topic: War, Territorial Disputes, Ceasefire
  • Political Geography: Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Julie A. Eadeh
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: For MAAS alum Julie Eadeh, diplomacy is all about human relationships, whether building connections with local communities or helping Americans abroad in times of crisis.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, War, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Arkadiusz Legieć
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In none of the conflicts in the post-Soviet area have so many foreign fighters participated than in the conflict in eastern Ukraine since 2014. It is estimated that more than 17,000 fighters from 55 countries have fought there on either side. Those fighting on the Russian side pose a special challenge to Ukraine’s security and to neighbouring countries because these fighters can engage in terrorism or other radical actions and are part of Russia’s hybrid warfare.
  • Topic: War, Bilateral Relations, Armed Forces, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Hamzeh al-Shadeedi, Nancy Ezzeddine
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: National politicians and international actors cannot ignore the resilience of premodern tribalism in Libya. Libyan governance structures have historically relied on the top-down distribution of favours to selected tribal allies, rather than on inclusive and representative governance. Such arrangements took the shape of cyclical processes of selective co-optation, exclusion, rebellion and, again, new forms of selective co-optation. Even the uprisings of 2011, which symbolise the appearance of a national Libyan polity, was mobilised and organised along tribal lines. Accordingly, efforts to build a new Libyan state today should take into account the strong tribal character of Libya and should look into integrating tribal forces into the state in a manner that favours the central state project while simultaneously allowing for true representation and inclusion of all local and tribal entities. In this policy brief authors Al-Hamzeh Al-Shadeedi and Nancy Ezzedine provide recommendations on how to realistically and effectively engage with tribal actors and traditional authorities for the benefit of the current central state-building process while avoiding past mistakes.
  • Topic: War, Governance, Conflict, Tribes
  • Political Geography: Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Jason Pack
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: In early April 2019, General Khalifa Haftar instructed the Libyan National Army (LNA) to take Tripoli by force, initiating Libya’s Second War of Post-Qadhafi Succession. Drawing upon the Libya-Analysis proprietary real time militia mapping project, this paper examines the main armed groups involved in the war: ascertaining their strengths, weaknesses, command and control structures, motivations, alliances, military capacities, and financing. It illustrates how all armed groups in Libya exploit the country’s dysfunctional war economy. Unappreciated by most international policymakers, the current conflict has actually increased their leverage to pry Libya out of this downward spiral. Major international players have the tools to prevent Libya from becoming permanently enshrined as a kingdom of militias, but only if they transcend their divergent approaches and rally together to cut off the belligerents’ purse strings. Failure to act is facilitating the growth of global jihadi movements, migrant flows to Europe, and the tragically avoidable humanitarian catastrophe currently engulfing Libya.
  • Topic: War, Proxy War, Humanitarian Crisis, Khalifa Haftar
  • Political Geography: Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Louis René Beres
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: On core matters of peace and security, two closely interrelated questions must be asked: 1. What precisely does Donald Trump have in mind regarding any potential armed conflict with Iran? 2. What might such a possibility portend for Israel, a US ally? Answers to these questions must extend beyond narrowly partisan simplifications. They should be nuanced and subtly overlapping. At a minimum, once a shooting war were underway, the Israeli armed forces (IDF) could become involved, possibly to a substantial degree. In a worst case scenario, clashes would involve unconventional weapons and directly affect Israel’s civilian population. The worst of the worst could involve nuclear ordnance.
  • Topic: Security, War, Nuclear Power, Peace, Israel Defense Forces (IDF)
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America, Israel
  • Author: Dayyab Gillani
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: The following paper attempts to analyze the ongoing insurgency in Afghanistan by critically evaluating the insurgent ideology, its past, current and future relevance. The paper draws on lessons from the recent Afghanistan history and discusses the irrelevance for the future of Afghanistan. It traces the success of Taliban insurgency by highlighting the role of „mullahs‟ and „madrasas‟ in the Afghan society. It argues that the US policy in Afghanistan thus far has failed to isolate the public from the insurgents, which poses serious present and future challenges. By drawing parallels between the sudden Soviet withdrawal in the early 1990s and a potential US withdrawal in the near future. It also points out that an untimely US withdrawal from Afghanistan may entail an end of US engagement but it will not be an end of war for Afghanistan itself. The essay stresses the importance of a consistent long-term US policy aimed at addressing the very root causes of insurgency in the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War, Military Strategy, Insurgency, Taliban, Islamism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, Central Asia, Punjab, United States of America
  • Author: Rina Bassist
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Rina Bassist examines new alliances between international powers as a result of the ongoing Libyan civil war. The April 4 offensive launched by Gen. Khalifa Haftar and the National Libyan Army (LNA) to take control of Tripoli is now, as of May 2019, in its second month; regional actors are becoming fearful of a bloody stalemate. While the ongoing civil war in Libya has pitted mostly local forces against each other, countries such as Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia have allied against Italy and Great Britain, in an intensified diplomatic battle primarily being waged at the UN Security Council. In fact, the ongoing Libyan crisis has shattered traditional alliances. The usual global camps have been turned upside down, replaced instead by new, improbable partnerships. This article will deal with these new emerging alliances which are replacing, in this particular context, the long-established balance of power in the UN Security Council and the international arena. More particularly, we will look into the motives behind the strategic shift, and why world powers have abandoned their initial objectives for Libya.
  • Topic: War, Alliance, Crisis Management, Proxy War
  • Political Geography: Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Burak Bilgehan Özpek
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: Grand theories of international relations seek to produce general patterns, which are supposedly valid across time and space, yet fail to address particular actors and cases. According to Benjamin Most and Harvey Starr “general” and “universal” models, which only operate under certain explicitly prescribed conditions, do not suffice to generate a systemic understanding of foreign policy decisions and international phenomenon. The pre-theoretical framework of “opportunity and willingness,” which Most and Starr develop, produces a general model to analyze world affairs in a consistent way. This framework does not highlight any concrete factor such as power preponderance, regime type, and composition of elite or polarity as a condition for an international phenomenon. Instead, “opportunity and willingness” is more interested in what these factors represent and how these factors shape state behaviors. In other words, the “opportunity and willingness” framework suggests a model that still enables generalizations but also has power to explain particular cases.
  • Topic: International Relations, War, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Paul Dibb
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: We’re in an era when the risks of major-power conflict are growing. The most likely contenders are China, the rising power, and the US, the formerly dominant power that’s now in relative decline. The other worrying contingency is conflict between Russia and US-led NATO. But what about the third possibility: the prospect of China and Russia collaborating to challenge American power? The most dangerous scenario for America would be a grand coalition of China and Russia united not by ideology, but by complementary grievances. This paper examines Russian and Chinese concepts of great-power war in the 21st century, their views of the West and its military capabilities, and what risks they might both take to regain lost territories. The paper concludes by examining how America might react, the implications of all this for the West, including Australia, and what sort of armed conflict might be involved.
  • Topic: War, Partnerships, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Benjamin H. Friedman
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Defense Priorities
  • Abstract: The war in Afghanistan—now America’s longest at nearly 18 years—quickly achieved its initial aims: (1) to destroy the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization and (2) to punish the Taliban government that gave it haven. However, Washington extended the mission to a long and futile effort of building up the Afghan state to defeat the subsequent Taliban insurgency.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War, Military Strategy, Peacekeeping, Military Affairs, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Daniel Maxwell, Peter Hailey, Lindsay Spainhour Baker, Jeeyon Janet Kim
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Since 2014, Yemen has been engaged in a civil war between the Houthi group and supporters of Yemen’s internationally recognized government. By the end of 2018, the UN estimated that 15.9 million people—more than half the population—were facing severe acute food insecurity and in need of immediate food assistance. This report analyzes the challenges facing famine analysis in Yemen, including the Famine Risk Monitoring system recently put in place, and the integrated Phase Classification (IPC) system, used globally. The IPC is managed by a technical working group with the support of the food security and nutrition clusters and close involvement of the Yemeni authorities. Following the analysis, the report offers recommendations for ways to improve data collection and analysis on famine and famine risk in Yemen.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, War, Food, Food Security, Refugees, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, North Africa
  • Author: Dyan Mazurana, Anastasia Marshak, Teddy Atim
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Few large-scale, structured surveys have been conducted on the prevalence of alleged war crimes or crimes against humanity committed by warring parties against civilians and how this relates to disability. Using data from a panel survey carried out in 2013, 2015, and 2018 that is representative of all of Acholi and Lango sub-regions in northern Uganda, this working paper reports the prevalence of alleged war crimes or crimes against humanity for individuals and households; their association with disability; and the resulting effects over time on people’s lives in terms of food security, wealth, access to basic services, and healthcare. The study contributes to an understanding of people who have experienced alleged war crimes or crimes against humanity that affect them physically and psychologically; the relationship between experience of these alleged crimes and their experience of disability; the effects of these crimes on their wealth, food security, and access to livelihood and social protection services; the effects of these crimes on their access to basic and therapeutic healthcare; and a better understanding of the key obstacles faced by victims of these alleged crimes when they are unable to receive basic and therapeutic healthcare.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, War, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Edward Newman, Gëzim Visoka
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: Kosovo’s small size belies the major impact it has had on the evolving international order: the norms and institutions that shape the behavior and practices of states and other international actors. In three controversial policy areas— humanitarian intervention, international peacebuilding, and international recognition—Kosovo has been the focus of events and debates with far-reaching and globally significant effects. This article will present and discuss these three subjects, and then conclude by considering how Kosovo’s future may continue to be tied to the shifting contours of international order in the context of renewed great power geopolitical rivalry.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War, Humanitarian Intervention, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: Kosovo, Yugoslavia
  • Author: Luis da Vinha
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: In his memoirs of his final years as one of the United States’ most prominent foreign policy decision-makers, Henry Kissinger offers an anecdote involving President Nixon and the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Seewoosagur Ramgoolam. As part of the celebration of the UN’s twenty-fifth anniversary, Ramgoolam was invited to dine with Nixon at the White House on 24 October 1970. The gathering nearly created a diplomatic faux pas due in large part to the admin- istration’s confusion regarding the geography of Africa. According to Kissinger, the national security staff mistook the country of Mauritius—U.S. ally and island nation located in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar—for Mauritania, a northwestern African nation that had broken diplomatic relations with the United States in 1967 as a result of U.S. support for Israel during the Six-Day War.
  • Topic: International Relations, War, Geopolitics, Peace, Cartography
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Global Focus
  • Author: Feng Jin
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pacific Forum
  • Abstract: The issue of gray zone conflict between the US and China has attracted much attention in recent years. “Gray” indicates actions below the threshold of war, yet beyond normal diplomacy. The fundamental characteristics of gray zone activity include that they are well-planned, designed to be ambiguous amid strategic competition, and intended to leave opponents unable to launch an effective response. What demands special attention is that gray zone activity could cause unintended escalation, and that assertive responses to them may not be the best option. For instance, the United States’ gray zone retaliation to China’s activities in the South China Sea is hardly helpful to contain China’s activities, but certainly slow the pace of resolving the South China Sea dispute through negotiation and dialogue and jeopardize bilateral strategic stability. In the United States, current studies on the gray zone issue view the activity conducted by “measured revisionists” (such as Russia, China and Iran) as a major challenge to US national interest and the US-led international order. Today, as China and the United States are dancing on the precipice of a trade war, the geopolitical rivalry between the two countries raises major concerns and the possibility of a new Cold War has been discussed with increasing frequency. Although the United States and China are highly interconnected in many ways, entanglement also creates friction. In this context, the gray zone issue between China and the United States has a significant role in the relationship. How do we understand gray zone conflict? What challenges does the current gray zone activity pose to China and the United States? What measures should be taken to address such challenges?
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Diplomacy, War, Peace
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Amanda Demmer, Richard A. Moss, Scott Laderman, Luke A. Nichter, David F. Schmitz, Robert K. Brigham
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR)
  • Abstract: A Roundtable on Robert K. Brigham, Reckless: Henry Kissinger and the Tragedy of Vietnam
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, War, History, Vietnam War, Diplomatic History
  • Political Geography: United States, Vietnam