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  • Author: Peter Liberman
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: By showing that mass vengefulness helps democratic leaders bring their nations to war, this wonderful book significantly advances our understanding of how cultural values affect international politics. Its most important contribution is demonstrating that democracies that retain death penalty laws were significant more likely to initiate the use of force than non-death-penalty democracies in the 1945–2001 period. The finding is robust to a variety of control variables and specifications, although skeptics may wonder whether it might be inflated by ethnocentrism, beliefs about the utility of violence, or other unmeasured potential covariates. Rachel Stein attributes the belligerence of death penalty states to cross-national differences in vengeful cultures, on the grounds that citizens’ vengefulness predicts both cross-sectional support for the death penalty and cross-national differences in the penalty’s retention. Her rigorous analysis greatly strengthens the case that the unusual bellicosity of retributivists, observed by Stein and other researchers, affects actual interstate conflict.
  • Topic: War, Prisons/Penal Systems, Leadership, Book Review, Elites, Capital Punishment
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Pavel K. Baev
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The recent incidence of war in the Caucasus has shown that, when facing deep domestic troubles, Russia and Turkey demonstrate strikingly different patterns of international behavior. While Russia has become more cautious in responding to external challenges, Turkey has embarked on several power-projecting enterprises. Its forceful interference in the long-smoldering conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh took Russia by surprise and effectively secured a military victory for Azerbaijan. Moscow has assumed the main responsibility for terminating hostilities by deploying a peacekeeping force, but its capacity for managing the war zone and its commitment to deconflicting tensions with Turkey remain uncertain. The United States and the European Union have few levers for influencing this interplay of clashing agendas of local actors and regional powers and fewer reasons to trust Russian and Turkish leaders to put peacebuilding ahead of their ambitions.
  • Topic: Security, War, Geopolitics, Grand Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Turkey, Caucasus, Middle East
  • Author: Adam Weinstein
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Abstract: October 2021 will mark the 20th anniversary of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. The United States currently finds itself at an inflection point, as it determines whether to withdraw its remaining troops by May 1, as required by a 2020 agreement with the Taliban, or to remain militarily involved in the conflict. The Biden administration should take the following steps to best support a negotiated settlement to end the war, while also bringing U.S. troops home.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War, Military Affairs, Taliban, Peace, Troop Deployment
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • 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: Jon Bateman
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Cyber insurance is a promising way to contain the havoc cyber attacks wreak, but endless lawsuits hamper its effectiveness. Reforms and new solutions are sorely needed. Insurance is one of the most promising tools for addressing pervasive cyber insecurity. A robust market for insuring cyber incidents could, among other things, financially incentivize organizations to adopt better cyber hygiene—thereby reducing cyber risk for society as a whole. But cyber insurance is not yet mature enough to fulfill its potential, partly due to uncertainty about what kinds of cyber risks are, or can be, insured. Uncertainties in cyber insurance came to a head in 2017, when the Russian government conducted a cyber attack of unprecedented scale. Data-destroying malware called NotPetya infected hundreds of organizations in dozens of countries, including major multinational companies, causing an estimated $10 billion in losses.1 NotPetya showed that cyber risk was greater than previously recognized, with higher potential for “aggregation”—the accumulation of losses across many insurance policies from a single incident or several correlated events. NotPetya also exposed a serious ambiguity in how insurance policies treat state-sponsored cyber incidents. Some property and casualty insurers declined to pay NotPetya-related claims, instead invoking their war exclusions—long-standing clauses that deny coverage for “hostile or warlike action in time of peace and war” perpetrated by states or their agents.2 War exclusions date back to the 1700s, but they had never before been applied to cyber incidents. This novel use of the war exclusion, still being litigated, has raised doubts about whether adequate or reliable coverage exists for state-sponsored cyber incidents. Some observers have asked whether such incidents are insurable at all, given the potential for aggregated cyber losses even more catastrophic than those of NotPetya.3 And while the war exclusion has attracted the most attention, another exclusion—for terrorism—presents similar challenges to cyber claims.
  • Topic: Terrorism, War, Cybersecurity, Non-Traditional Threats
  • 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: Rahma Dualeh
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Five years have passed since the UN global mandate on preventing violent extremism (PVE) was launched and rapidly adopted by the Horn of Africa (HoA) countries. Since then, mostly small and medium international organizations funded by foreign, largely Western, donors have pioneered work in this space. Notably, the African Union (AU) Peace & Security Council has tried to lead the region’s path to PVE – it has championed the inclusion of youth and called for gender mainstreaming in programming. The AU has also attempted to connect East and West Africa’s lessons learned in combatting violent extremism. Yet, challenges remain with regard to implementing both regional and international PVE-related commitments.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, War, Violent Extremism, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Horn of Africa
  • Author: Wilder Alejandro Sanchez
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since achieving its independence after the fall of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has maintained warm relations with the United States. The country regards the United States both as a potential source for trade and investment and as a partner to balance the influence of Russia and China in Central Asia, a perspective which underlines the importance of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s February visit to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. During the visit, Pompeo was generous in his praise for Kazakhstan and highlighted the importance of bilateral ties, while criticizing China’s detention of hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs, Kyrgyz, and ethnic Kazakhs in so-called “re-education” camps.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, War, Bilateral Relations, Conflict, Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, 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: Afrah Nasser
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: After Yemen’s 2011 uprising broke out, the country went through a series of political upheavals and cycles of violence that tore the country apart, including the start of a full-scale civil war in 2014 and the Saudi- and UAE-led intervention in 2015. In a context where civilians have been deliberately attacked by all sides, COVID-19 has added a new layer to the unspeakable suffering for millions of civilians in Yemen, whilst Europe has reacted with development aid but has thus far failed to support need for accountability in the conflict.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Health, War, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Jyrki Kallio
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Speculation is rife that China could take advantage of the potential confusion during the US presidential election and invade Taiwan. Although China has never relinquished the military option for resolving the Taiwan issue, there are sound reasons to downplay the risk of a military confrontation at the present time.
  • Topic: War, Military Strategy, Elections, Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan, Asia, North America
  • Author: Gian Piero Siroli, Gotz Neuneck, Paolo Cotta-Ramusino
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  • Abstract: Since its foundation, the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs (Pugwash) has continued to bring together, from around the world, influential scientists, scholars, experts and public figures concerned with reducing the dangers of armed conflict, especially regarding nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, and with understanding the new threats related to new technologies, while seeking cooperative solutions. Pugwash held three workshops on the topic of cyber security and warfare between December 2018 and January 2020, gathering a total of about 60 experts and practitioners from Europe, North and South America, and Asia, focusing on a broad set of specific themes. The first workshop (Geneva, Switzerland, December 2018, hosted by the GCSP) discussed battlefield digitalization and offensive cyber capabilities, weapon-system vulnerabilities, and the implications of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The second workshop (Bariloche, Argentina, October 2019, supported by INVAP, Global Security Foundation and KPMG) focused on “Cybersecurity in Latin America”. The third workshop (Geneva, Switzerland, January 2020, sponsored by the Mission of Brazil to the UN Office in Geneva) focused on “Cyber Security and Warfare,” and included discussions on international cooperation, the multi-stakeholder approach, and implications of AI and autonomous weapons systems. Reports are available on the Pugwash website1. The participants, who came from many countries, carried out an analysis and reflection on various aspects of the cyber ecosystem in the context of international stability and security, and reviewed current initiatives included within the international agenda. Better definitions, a common nomenclature, and reliable communication between responsible stakeholders—based on the principles of International Humanitarian Law and the experiences of arms control for risk reduction, self-restraint and crisis management--might be useful or necessary. Sound technical analysis and forensics are a precondition to understanding the different threats and vulnerabilities of the cyber-sphere. Detailed proposals for discussion and implementation were elaborated during the workshops.
  • Topic: Security, War, Cybersecurity, Conflict, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mark Balboni, John A. Bonin, Robert Mundell, Doug Orsi
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: This research monograph explores the Army’s emerging concept of multi-domain operations and its implications on the mission command approach. The transition to multi-domain operations changes the traditional view of how Army commanders and staffs conduct operations in the physical environment to include simultaneously operations in the information environment within the competition continuum. This monograph will utilize the introduction of the aircraft during World War I as a historical case study for the integration of new domains. The Army has integrated new domains in the past and this example provides the historical context for the challenges involving integration of new domains. An overview and analysis of what multi-domain operations are will provide a baseline understanding of how multi-domain operations are changing not only how we fight but also how the Army must change roles and responsibilities to allow the Joint force to compete across the competition continuum, especially below armed conflict. The transition to multi-domain operations will require new processes. Changes will be required not only to the physical systems employed but also to Joint professional military education, Joint and Army doctrine, and headquarters staff structures as leaders and their staffs will require different skills to operate in this new environment.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, War, Military Strategy, World War I, Peace
  • Political Geography: Europe, United States of America
  • Author: C. Anthony Pfaff
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: As is well known, then acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly fired Captain Brett Crozier, captain of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, after he wrote a letter arguing that all but ten percent of the crew should disembark the ship to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Doing so, he acknowledged, would diminish the carrier’s readiness and slow its response time in a crisis. Justifying that decision, however, he argued, “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors.”1 The problem for the captain, of course, was not the content of the letter as much as it was the subsequent leak to the San Francisco Chronicle. Setting aside the fiasco that resulted in his firing, and led to Modly’s sudden resignation, 2 the captain raises some important concerns regarding what the risks sailors, soldiers, airmen, and marines3 should be required to take in peacetime. Because it is peacetime, he argues, “[W]e … cannot allow a single Sailor to perish as a result of this pandemic unnecessarily.”4 Of course, even in war no one should die unnecessarily; however, the captain raises a good question: “what risks are necessary in peacetime?” To answer that question it is first important to understand what risks are necessary in wartime
  • Topic: War, Armed Forces, Military Affairs, Risk, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • 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: Zainab Saleh
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: For decades, U.S. policy actions towards Iraq have had devastating consequences for the Iraqi people. This paper situates the U.S. “war on terrorism” in Iraq since 2003 within a longer trajectory of U.S. intervention in that country since the 1960s and shows that we can only understand the full human costs of current interventions when we see them in broader historical context. The author, Zainab Saleh, an assistant professor of anthropology at Haverford College, was born in Iraq and lived there until 1997. Later, she conducted ethnographic research with Iraqis who had migrated to London since the late 1970s. The Iraqis she knew and met felt they were pawns at the mercy of global powers. When the U.S. invaded Iraq and brought down Hussein in 2003, Iraqis saw the United States' true motive as continuing a well-established pattern of pursuing U.S. economic interests in the region. Since the 1960s, Iraqi arms purchases have bolstered American military-industrial corporations and stable access to Middle East oil has secured U.S. dominance in the global economy. The paper tells the story of one Iraqi woman, Rasha, who was forced by the violence in her country to flee to London. Rasha’s displacement and her family’s history of dispossession – her father imprisoned, her family impoverished, friends murdered and her own life threatened – show the deep human effects of decades of U.S. intervention. In 1963, under pretext of protecting the region from a communist threat, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency backed a coup by the Arab nationalist Ba‘th party after Iraq nationalized most of its oil fields. During the 1980s, the United States supported Saddam Hussein’s regime and prolonged the Iran-Iraq War in order to safeguard its national interests in the region, including weakening Iran to prevent it from posing a threat to U.S. power. After Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, U.S. policy shifted from alignment to “dual containment” of Iraq and Iran, a posture which culminated in the Gulf War of 1991 to drive Iraq out of Kuwait. In the 1990s, the United States justified its imposition of economic sanctions by claiming a goal of disarming Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and protecting allies. In 2003, the U.S. packaged its invasion of Iraq as delivering U.S. values—namely, freedom and democracy—to the Iraqi people. Saleh writes, “The imperial encounter between Iraq and the United States has made life deeply precarious for Iraqis. For decades, they have lived with fear for their own and their family’s lives, the loss of loved ones and homeland, the realities of economic hardship, and the destruction of the fabric of their social lives.”
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War, History, Counter-terrorism, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jessica Katzenstein
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: Six years after the germinal United States protests against anti-Black police violence in Ferguson, MO, and months after the 2020 police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, police in mine-resistant vehicles have once again occupied both the streets and mass public attention. In 2014, images from the Ferguson protests—of snipers pointing semiautomatic rifles into crowds and officers tear-gassing unarmed civilians—prompted activists and politicians to compare the St. Louis suburb to occupied Gaza, Ukraine, or Iraq. During the summer of 2020, as the U.S. witnessed its largest public uprisings since the 1960s, police militarization again came under scrutiny. The Department of Homeland Security flew surveillance aircraft over protests in 15 cities, as officers on the ground deployed flash-bang grenades, sound cannons, rubber bullets, and tear gas against peaceful demonstrators. Since protests began, at least 14 local law enforcement agencies in 10 states have received free mine-resistant vehicles built for the U.S. military. In response, some lawmakers have revived efforts to curtail such transfers of military equipment. Reform groups are advocating to demilitarize the police by limiting when and how they can use armored vehicles and camouflage uniforms.
  • Topic: War, Law Enforcement, Protests, War on Terror
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Heidi Peltier
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: Since September 11, 2001, United States military spending has grown rapidly, as has the portion of that spending that pays for military contractors. These contracting companies engineer and manufacture equipment, build and repair infrastructure around the world, provide services like cafeterias and other facilities support, and even replace troops in many war zones. In 2019, the Pentagon spent $370 billion on contracting – more than half the total defense-related discretionary spending, $676 billion, and a whopping 164% higher than its spending on contractors in 2001. Over nearly two decades, government officials, private companies, and conservative think tanks have sold the idea that military contractors are a cost reducer, yet in reality, the growth in military contracting—or what I call the “Camo Economy”—has actually increased the overall cost of this country’s military operations. It’s a Camo Economy because the U.S. government has used the commercialization (often mislabeled “privatization”) of the military as camouflage, concealing the true financial and human costs of America’s post-9/11 wars. Regarding human costs, in 2019, there were 53,000 U.S. contractors compared to 35,000 U.S. troops in the Middle East. Since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, an estimated 8,000 U.S. contractors have died, in addition to around 7,000 U.S. troops. America’s post-9/11 wars, which the Costs of War project defines as U.S.-led military operations and other government programs around the world that have grown out of President George W. Bush's "Global War on Terror" and the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, have cost U.S. taxpayers over $6.4 trillion. Defense spending now accounts for more than half of all discretionary spending, a category that also includes education, transportation, and healthcare – virtually everything the government does other than Medicare and Social Security. Most of these inflated costs are due to payments to overly expensive military contractors.
  • Topic: War, Armed Forces, Military Affairs, Economy, Commercialization
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Heidi Peltier
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • 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. War is expensive — in terms of lives lost, physical damage to people and property, mental trauma to soldiers and war-zone inhabitants, and in terms of money. The expense of war is not restricted to the annual budgetary costs of the war spending itself, but also depends upon the way in which war is financed. When war is financed through debt, the costs are much greater than when it is financed through taxation or other revenues, since interest payments must be made as long as the debt is outstanding. In fact, interest payments can sometimes grow to beyond the level of the debt itself, as will likely be the case with the post-9/11 wars. If war spending ceased immediately, interest payments on the $2 trillion of existing war debt would rise to over $2 trillion by 2030 and to $6.5 trillion by 2050. These interest payments will grow larger as the U.S. continues its post-9/11 military interventions and continues amassing debt to pay for the costs of war.
  • Topic: Debt, War, Armed Forces, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ian Anthony
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: The inadequate response to the use of chemical weapons by a state against its own population was an important catalyst leading to the creation of the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). A great deal has been achieved under the CWC, which is an important example of how multilateral cooperation can succeed. Recent cases of confirmed use prove that the task of eliminating chemical weapons is not complete. Chemical weapons are once again being used on the battlefield and as terror weapons. Moreover, their use in targeted attacks against politically exposed persons presents a new challenge to the commitment made by CWC states parties that chemicals will be developed and produced exclusively for peaceful use. When they come together to review the CWC in late 2020, the states parties will have to assess whether their response to the challenges posed by the use of chemical weapons has been proportionate to the threat. If not, then they will have the responsibility to create the new capacities, invent the new instruments and develop the new initiatives that will make their efforts more effective. This SIPRI Policy Paper provides an explanation of the context for some important recent decisions and an analysis of them. It also proposes some actions that CWC states parties could take together in support of the effort to eliminate the threat of chemical weapons.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, War, Weapons , Disarmament, Chemical Weapons
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Michael Horton
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Neutrality is one of Oman’s greatest assets. Under the leadership of the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Oman successfully navigated the fall of the Shah in Iran, the Cold War and its end, the U.S.-led War on Terror, and the Arab Spring. Through all these global and region shape events, Oman has maintained its neutrality and independence. Oman, for example, maintains longstanding relationships with the United States and Great Britain while, at the same time, it enjoys constructive relations with Iran. Moreover, although Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are aligned against Iran, Qatar, and Turkey, Oman has managed to work with all of these countries to address regional issues.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War, Non State Actors, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Alberto Gasparetto
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Rest: Journal of Politics and Development
  • Institution: Centre for Strategic Research and Analysis (CESRAN)
  • Abstract: This paper focuses on Turkey’s foreign policymakers’ attitudes in the context of the 2003 US decision to wage war against Iraq. The main goal is to assess and downplay the impact of religion in relation to security-related concerns. Drawing on official speeches, interviews, declarations by key figures in the foreign policy process, the paper argues that religion is nothing more than an intervening factor in the case of Turkey’s approach to the 2003 war in Iraq. Therefore, notwithstanding the role of Islamist elites in the foreign policy decision-making of Turkey, Turkey’s foreign affairs were rather inspired by realist behaviour, driven by pragmatic considerations, aimed at pursuing rationalist goals.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, War, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, 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: Sakarya University (SAU)
  • 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: Aaron Stein
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: The United States has an interest in allowing the Russian Federation to “win” an outright victory in Syria, so long as it secures from Moscow an agreement that is favorable to the Syrian Kurds, builds in negative consequences for an external actor targeting the Syrian Democratic Forces, and establishes a “deconflict plus”-type mechanism to continue to target Islamic State- and Al Qaeda-linked individuals in Syria. A forward-looking policy that the incoming Biden administration could consider is to deprioritize the nascent threat of the Islamic State as a key factor in driving U.S. national security strategy, and instead focus more intently on long-term competition with great powers. This approach would seek to shape how Moscow spends finite defense dollars—at a time of expected global defense cuts stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic—in ways that are advantageous to the United States. It also would seek to limit the cost of the U.S. presence in Syria—to include secondary and opportunity costs not accounted for in a basic cost breakdown of the U.S. war against the Islamic State. This approach is not without risk, particularly from a nascent Islamic State insurgency in Russian-controlled territory, but seeks to match U.S. strategic priorities with action and to impose upon a long-term competitor the costs of victory for its intervention in Syria.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, War, Syrian War, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Syria, United States of America
  • Author: Robert E. Hamilton
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: On August 26, Politico reported that U.S. service members were injured after an altercation with Russian forces in northeast Syria. This pattern of Russian challenges to U.S. forces was enabled by the Trump administration’s decision to retreat from parts of northern Syria in 2019, allowing Russia to fill the void. Until this decision was made, the two countries had agreed to make the Euphrates River the deconfliction line to keep U.S. and Russian forces separated. Russia stayed on the west side of the river, and the United on the east side, where this incident took place. Robert Hamilton, Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, commented on the story and warned that it will not be a one-off incident: “We need to respond to this immediately and forcefully. Russian forces deliberately escalated against U.S. partners when I was running the ground deconfliction cell for Syria in 2017, but tended to be careful when U.S. forces were present. Unless we make it clear that we’ll defend ourselves, these escalations will continue with dangerous and unpredictable results.” Below, we offer readers an excerpt from a chapter written by Robert Hamilton from a forthcoming edited volume on Russia’s Way of War in Syria.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Troop Deployment
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Syria, United States of America, North America
  • 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: Michael Flynn, Andrew Rhodes, Michael F. Manning, Scott Erdelatz, Michael Kohler, John T. Kuehn, B. A. Friedman, Steven A. Yeadon, Matthew C. Ludlow, Terje Bruøygard, Jørn Qviller
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Advanced Military Studies
  • Institution: Marine Corps University Press, National Defense University
  • Abstract: In 2019, the 38th Commandant of the Marine Corps released his planning guidance that laid out the strategic focus and future direction of the Marine Corps. General David H. Berger’s intent for the following four years concurred with the analysis of the previous Commandant and the necessary alignment of the Corps with the National Defense Strategy for the future needs of the Fleet by focusing on five areas: force design, warfighting, education and training, core values, and command and leadership. General Berger cogently noted that the coming decade will be characterized by conflict, crisis, and rapid change—just as every decade preceding it. And despite our best efforts, history demonstrates that we will fail to accurately predict every conflict; will be surprised by an unforeseen crisis; and may be late to fully grasp the implications of rapid change around us. Berger’s primary concern is that the Marine Corps is not fully prepared— equipped, trained, or organized—to support the naval force. To that end, force design became the priority for Marine Corps efforts to fulfill its role for the Fleet as prescribed by the U.S. Congress. The level of change required to integrate the Corps of the future with the naval forces of today would not happen overnight and certainly not without a great deal of growing pains to ensure the Corps is equipped and prepared for the future security environment. When Force Design 2030 was released in March 2020, the Marine Corps was prepared to make the force-wide changes necessary to partner with the Navy and serve as the country’s naval expeditionary force. Our current force design, optimized for large-scale amphibious forcible entry and sustained operations ashore, has persisted unchanged in its essential inspiration since the 1950s. It has changed in details of equipment and doctrine as technology has advanced toward greater range and lethality of weapon systems. In light of unrelenting increases in the range, accuracy, and lethality of modern weapons; the rise of revisionist powers with the technical acumen and economic heft to integrate those weapons and other technologies for direct or indirect confrontation with the U.S.; and the persistence of rogue regimes possessing enough of those attributes to threaten United States interests, I am convinced that the defining attributes of our current force design are no longer what the nation requires of the Marine Corps. Berger’s plan pointed to specific areas of change required to make force design a reality: the size, capacity, and capability of the Corps. In an austere fiscal environment, the Marines must assess their current capabilities to achieve a smaller footprint with broader reach—do more with less. As the reality of COVID-19 and the 2020 U.S. presidential election have so poignantly reminded us all, these tasks cannot and should not rest on any single shoulder and any response should be well considered and intended to benefit the greater good. This issue of the Journal of Advanced Military Studies (JAMS) will address elements of the Commandant’s Planning Guidance, particularly the concept of naval integration and what it means for the Services, especially the Marine Corps. Our authors look to the past for relevant examples of military successes and failures of integration, but they also discuss how future warfare will play out based on these concepts. The authors explore the topic from a variety of perspectives, including those for and against, and they offer analyses of past and current attempts and what naval integration may mean for the future of the Corps. The following articles present the capabilities that will be required to shift from a traditional power projection model to a persistent forward presence and how the Marine Corps can exploit its positional advantage while defending critical regions. Our first author, Dr. Matthew J. Flynn, presents a historical approach to the topic in his article “The Unity of the Operational Art: Napoleon and Naval Integration.” Flynn’s research calls for greater coordination between the sea and land domains to improve U.S. national security. His article draws parallels between Napoleon Bonaparte’s defeat and the importance of naval integration for military success: “Napoleon’s fate reveals a great deal about naval integration and how it explains France’s defeat and, most importantly, that there is but one operational art—not one for land and one for sea.” Our second author, Andrew Rhodes, also relies on a historical example with his discussion of the salient lessons that can be learned from the Sino-Japanese War. Rhodes encourages professional military educators and planners who are developing future operational concepts to look beyond simply retelling history and consider how the legacy of this conflict might shape Chinese operational choices. He reinforces From the Editors 9 Vol. 11, No. 2 the concept that military history is not simply a resource for answering concerns about future conflict, but it encourages us to ask better questions about the role of the sea Services and how they can handle uncertainty when preparing for the future. Lieutenant Colonel Michael F. Manning’s “Sea Control: Feasible, Acceptable, Suitable, or Simply Imperative” offers a historical review of early twentieth century Japanese naval battles as a framework to model possible future contests for control of the maritime domain. Manning believes that control of the maritime domain is a prerequisite for assured access and sets the condition for successful Joint operations. Manning believes that “nations not only have to compete with their enemy’s major air and naval capabilities but must also defend against land-based airpower; missiles; torpedoes; short-range, antisurface warfare assets; and coastal mines.” Colonel Scott Erdelatz (Ret) and his team of coauthors focused on an old approach for a new era of naval integration that acknowledges the long-term threat posed by China but also considers how much of what we know as the Marine Corps should be retained to fulfill other missions. Erdelatz et al. also analyze how radical integration might incur significant risk for the Marine Corps if long-term force structure decisions are based on still-evolving concepts and unproven technologies. Major Michael Kohler’s article, “The Joint Force Maritime Component Command and the Marine Corps: Integrate to Win the Black Sea Fight,” discusses how most current Marine and Navy integration takes place at the Service-chief level and primarily focuses on the Pacific. Kohler, however, believes that naval integration is also an important component of a successful defense against Russian expansion in the Black Sea region. Dr. John T. Kuehn shifts the focus to carriers and amphibious operations with his article “Carriers and Amphibs: Shibboleths of Sea Power.” Dr. Kuehn argues that aircraft carriers and Amphibious Ready Groups (ARGs) with an embarked Marine Expeditionary Unit represent shibboleths of seapower that conflate a deeper understanding of where the U.S. Fleet belongs now and where it needs to go in the future to face the challenges of the twenty-first century. Major B. A. Friedman’s article, “First to Fight: Advanced Force Operations and the Future of the Marine Corps,” then circles back to the traditional Marine Corps stance as always first to fight and the need for advanced force operations in the Corps of the future. Steven A. Yeadon’s article, “The Problems Facing United States Marine Corps Amphibious Assault,” rounds out the current perspective with a review of issues the Marine Corps has faced with amphibious assaults. Yeadon offers actionable information on current limitations and vulnerabilities of U.S. amphibious forces to chart a way forward for a robust forcible entry capability from the sea. The discussion closes with two articles looking to the future of naval in- 10 From the Editors Journal of Advanced Military Studies tegration and the Marine Corps. Major Matthew C. Ludlow’s article, “Losing the Initiative in the First Island Chain: How Organizational Inefficiencies Can Yield Mismatched Arsenals,” presents what may be considered a losing proposition of initiatives in China’s First Island Chain; however, strategic gaps in capabilities have emerged that could dramatically impact the ability to execute an island-defense strategy. The final article by Lieutenant Colonels Terje Bruøygard and Jørn Qviller, “Marine Corps Force Design 2030 and Implications for Allies and Partners: Case Norway,” offers a larger discussion of Force Design 2030 and its future implications for American allies with a case study on Norway. The authors encourage the Department of Defense to consider greater interoperability between and among Services and allies, including increased communication with allies on changes happening at the Service and national level of the U.S. armed forces. The remainder of the journal rounds out with a review essay and a selection of book reviews that continues our focus on naval integration, but it also highlights continuing challenges in national security and international relations. The coming year will be busy for the JAMS editors as we work to provide journal issues on a diverse range of topics relevant to the study of militaries and defense.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, War, History, Military Strategy, Power Politics, Armed Forces, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Europe, Norway, Asia, North America, United States of America, Black Sea
  • Author: Nilsu Gören, Wolfgang Pusztai, Jason Pack, Mohamed Htweish, Florence Gaub
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Over the last year, a new form of extraterritorial air war has proved extremely decisive in military conflicts in both Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh. In both instances, the Turkish backed side has emerged victorious, despite initially being on the backfoot. In 2019, it seemed Tripoli was on the verge of falling to the forces of General Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA.) The LNA had received military assistance in the forms of drones, mercenaries, and diplomatic support from the UAE, Egypt, and Russia. However, following an announced ceasefire, Turkey utilized the brief pause of fighting to turn the tide of battle by backing Haftar’s rival, the General National Council. The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to launch a recent publication, “Turning the Tide: How Turkey Won the War for Tripoli.” Why did Turkey decide to fully engage in Libya’s Second Civil War? What strategies and tactics did Turkey establish throughout its involvement? Which modern military technologies helped shape the outcome of the War for Tripoli? What are the next likely steps in the international community’s mediation efforts in Libya?
  • Topic: Defense Policy, War, Drones, Conflict, Proxy War
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Ben Hodges, Tony Lawrence, Ray Wojcik
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: NATO’s ability to efficiently move large and heavy armed forces into and across Europe is a key aspect of its deterrence and defence posture. In establishing the enhanced Forward Presence in Poland and the three Baltic states, NATO leaders acknowledged that credible deterrence would also require these small multinational forces to be underpinned by a robust reinforcement strategy. In this report, we examine this key aspect of NATO’s defence and deterrence posture as it relates to the Baltic region. In a crisis, military movement in Europe is likely to be confronted by legal and procedural obstacles, by the limited capacity of infrastructure, and by issues related to coordination, command and control. The severity of these problems would vary according to the type of crisis. For an operation to restore Alliance territory following an armed attack, the sheer scale and breadth of NATO’s requirements for military movement would present a major challenge to Europe’s transport infrastructure, and to prioritisation and coordination efforts. NATO has had little practice in reinforcing Allies at scale since the end of the Cold War. A preventative deployment to respond to a potential crisis, meanwhile, would put a premium on speed of movement. In this case, legal and procedural obstacles may be more problematic as timescales for dealing with the bureaucracy would be similar to the timescales for the movement itself. NATO and the EU have cooperated widely to mitigate the legal and procedural challenges of moving armed forces across the European continent, but the processes in place remain numerous and complex. NATO and the EU have also collaborated on the harder task of ensuring that transport infrastructure is suited to military needs. Movement would be challenged by both physical constraints, such as weight limits on roads and bridges and traffic volume restrictions for rail transport, and procedural ones, such as the limitations of the contractual arrangements necessary to enable the use of civilian railway wagons and heavy equipment transporters for military purposes. Such constraints, while manageable in peacetime, may make it difficult to meet the armed forces’ requirements for large-scale movement during crisis. Furthermore, the Baltic region also lacks supporting logistics infrastructure, for example for receiving and staging (and sustaining for extended periods) forces that have arrived in the region. A third set of challenges arises from the need for coordination among the multiple agencies involved in the movement of armed forces. Even amongst movement specialists there is no clear picture of how these agencies would work together during crises or of how movements would be prioritised to serve the operational needs of the Joint Force Commander.
  • Topic: NATO, War, Military Strategy, Deterrence, Political Crisis
  • Political Geography: Poland, Baltic States
  • Author: Konrad Muzyka
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: Since Vladimir Putin declared the fall of the Soviet Union to be the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century, prompting concerns that Moscow would seek to rebuild its influence by conquering territories on its borders, Russia has deployed combat troops into Georgia, Ukraine and Syria, and inserted private military companies into the Central African Republic, Libya, Mozambique, South Sudan and Venezuela. But there is little consensus among analysts about the meaning of Russia’s military behaviour, or how far it might go in pursuing its interests. Is it trying to rebuild a version of the former Soviet Union? Does it have the will and capability to go to war? Under what circumstances might it be ready to commit combat troops? And how do these questions relate to its immediate neighbourhood, in particular to the Baltic region? This analysis examines Russia’s fundamental motives for going to war in the ‘near abroad’, describes how Russia might wage war in the Baltic states, and identifies some of the indicators that might suggest it is preparing to do so.
  • Topic: War, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Syria, Baltic States
  • Author: Thiago Rodrigues, Tadeu Maciel, Joao Paulo Duarte
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Contexto Internacional
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Abstract: The 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in December 2018 created a need to problematise its precepts and their political consequences in contempo- rary times. Drawing on Michel Foucault’s genealogical approach to power, this article analyses the normative inscription of the UDHR as the emergence of a juridical-political device that produces new modulations of biopolitics. As such, it is not based on peace, as is commonly argued, but on the permanent reinscription of war, sometimes in dimensions that go beyond the boundaries of sovereignty.
  • Topic: Human Rights, United Nations, War, Intellectual History, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Cristiano Mendes, Karina Junqueira
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Contexto Internacional
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Abstract: Based on the theoretical frameworks of Carl Schmitt (hostis and inimicus), Giorgio Ag- amben (field and homo sacer), and Grégoire Chamayou (hunter-states and kill boxes), and being seen through the theoretical lens of post-structuralism in International Relations, this article aims to analyse the use of drones, especially Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs), in the ‘War on Terror’ led by the USA. In this context, we seek to demonstrate how the use of drones has affected the logic of current warfare scenarios in three different, but related aspects. First of all (Act One), the use of drones makes the construction of political otherness of the enemy impossible, and thus identity construction by counterpoint impracticable. Then (Act Two), this paper demonstrates how there is an attempt to move the enemy to the externality of the International Community, relegating their status to banishment and marginalisation. Finally (Act Three), the authors analyse the role of kill boxes and how the solution given by this phenomenon subverts the traditional notions of sover- eignty, challenging the very raison d’être of politics.
  • Topic: Sovereignty, Terrorism, War, Counter-terrorism, Drones, Conflict
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • 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: Evan Perkoski
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: Will the COVID-19 pandemic increase or decrease conflict around the globe? Across myriad blog posts and op-eds, a consensus appears to be emerging: in the short term, the global community may experience a pax epidemia, as Barry Posen refers to it, where “the odds of a war between major powers will go down, not up.” But the opposite may be true for intrastate conflict—e.g. civil wars and insurgencies—where conditions seem ripe for more turbulent subnational politics.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, War, Conflict, COVID-19, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sebastian Horn, Carmen M. Reinhart, Christoph Trebesch
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: Official (government-to-government) lending is much larger than commonly known, often surpassing total private cross-border capital flows, especially during disasters such as wars, financial crises and natural catastrophes. We assemble the first comprehensive long-run dataset of official international lending, covering 230,000 loans, grants and guarantees extended by governments, central banks, and multilateral institutions in the period 1790-2015. Historically, wars have been the main catalyst of government-to-government transfers. The scale of official credits granted in and around WW1 and WW2 was particularly large, easily surpassing the scale of total international bailout lending after the 2008 crash. During peacetime, development finance and financial crises are the main drivers of official cross-border finance, with official flows often stepping in when private flows retrench. In line with the predictions of recent theoretical contributions, we find that official lending increases with the degree of economic integration. In crises and disasters, governments help those countries to which they have greater trade and banking exposure, hoping to reduce the collateral damage to their own economies. Since the 2000s, official finance has made a sharp comeback, largely due to the rise of China as an international creditor and the return of central bank cross-border lending in times of stress, this time in the form of swap lines.
  • Topic: Debt, International Political Economy, War, History, Financial Crisis, Trade, Banking
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Farid Shafiyev
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Caucasus Strategic Perspectives
  • Institution: Center of Analysis of International Relations (AIR Center)
  • Abstract: The current issue of the Caucasus Strategic Perspectives (CSP) journal entitled “Armenia and Azerbaijan: Between Failed Peace and War” is dedicated to the latest 44-days war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the NagornoKarabakh conflict zone with focus on different aspects of the conflict and the war. The CSP’s new issue includes 6 articles, 7 commentaries and 2 book reviews. In the framework of Armenia-Azerbaijan confrontation, the CSP’s current authors analysed the role of ideology, western media coverage, economic issues, illegal activities, multilateral diplomacy, international reaction, as well as humanitarian and geopolitical issues.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, War, Geopolitics, Media, Multilateralism, Ideology, Humanitarian Crisis, Armed Conflict , Legal Sector
  • Political Geography: Armenia, Azerbaijan
  • 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