A Study of Russian Strategy in Syria, the Middle East and Its Implications
By Harrison Manlove, Strategy Bridge: “Russian strategy in Syria and the broader Middle East consists of supporting what it considers legitimate institutions through extensive foreign aid programs, including economic and security assistance, political support and, as seen in Syria, direct military intervention. However, there are caveats to this strategy that include history, policy goals, and the ability to exploit lack of foreign attention to Russian activities and capabilities. ”
The myth of authoritarian competence
(The Atlantic ) Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been at the leading edge of a global trend. Just as a wave of democratization swept the planet beginning in the mid-1970s—overturning dictatorships from Portugal to South Korea and, eventually, the Soviet empire—the past 15 years have witnessed a rising tide of strongman regimes worldwide.
Kazakhstan Is Moving Away From China
by Gordon G. Chang via The Caravan
Chinese leaders think they can imprison hundreds of thousands of Muslim citizens, attempt to eradicate their religion and culture, and maintain good relations with Central Asian countries and other Muslim-majority societies. The test of this breathtaking proposition is Kazakhstan.
Ishaan Tharoor writes: Trump has repeatedly insisted that the “maximum pressure” campaign compelled Kim to come to the table and paved the way for a potentially historic peace. But skeptics point to the dizzying, confused trajectory of White House strategy — which alternated threats and flattery, and insists on a “complete denuclearization” few have faith will ever come to pass — as a sign of an administration without a real plan. Now, Trump appears to be losing what leverage he had. - Washington Post
Micheal J, Green, Sue Mi Terry, and Victor Cha write: Kim no doubt hopes that an eventual peace treaty with the United States can be used in the future to discredit the UN Command, [...]and possibly even lead to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea and the withdrawal of the U.S. nuclear umbrella over South Korea, ultimately resulting in the end of the U.S.-South Korea alliance. - Center for Strategic and International Studies
Five Ways U.S. Nuclear Strategy Might Fail
By Loren Thompson, Forbes: “U.S. nuclear strategy rests on a foundation of fear. Its core precept is that if adversaries know they cannot avoid retaliation, they will not attack. That is why Washington spends billions of dollars each year sustaining a strategic force no enemy can destroy in a surprise attack. It is the fear of what follows that deters nuclear aggression.”
Seth Cropsey and Jun Isomura writes: China, to achieve its goal of global superpower status by the mid-twenty-first century, has sought to contest and change the status quo across the Indo-Pacific region[...]. In the face of a rising PRC challenge, the United States and Japan have in recent years streamlined and strengthened their security cooperation. - Hudson Institute
Weakness into Strength:
Overcoming Strategic Deficits in the 1948 Israeli War for Independence
By Christian H. Heller, Strategy Bridge: “Israel’s success in overcoming its imbalances in 1948 provides important lessons for the development of national strategy.”
The Must-Haves of the Next Strategic Nuclear Bomber
// Patrick Tucker
Air Force officials opened up — just a bit — about at the thinking that's informing the design process.
Fighting Small Wars While Preparing for Big Ones
By Gary Anderson, Small Wars Journal: “Except for the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003, America has been fighting small, counterinsurgency wars since 9-11. This begs the question of whether fighting small wars inhibits or enhances our readiness to transition to large, high-intensity conflicts against peer or near peer competitors? The answer is complicated and somewhat ambiguous.”
Asia in the Second Nuclear Age
By Paul Bracken, DEFENSE.info: “First, nuclear weapons are altering Asia’s strategic geography. At one time Asia could be divided up into regions, like South Asia, Southwest Asia, Northeast Asia, and Southeast Asia. These divisions arose from the vocabulary of the Cold War.”
COMMANDING HIGH END NEAR PEER FIGHTS & STRATEGY, EVOLUTION AND WAR; WHAT SHAPES A NATIONS WILL TO FIGHT
What Shapes a Nation's Will to Fight?
What drives some governments to persevere in war at any price while others give up the fight? The answer has important implications for U.S. efforts to assess and influence both security partners and adversaries. A new RAND report on the "will to fight" identifies key variables to help understand this critical aspect of war. Read more »
Air Force Special Ops Pivots Strategy to Near-Peer Adversaries
By Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven: “Drawing upon these Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs), Air Force Special Operations Command is accelerating a strategic shift from its recent counterinsurgency focus to preparing for “high-end” combat - or major force-on-force warfare against a technologically advanced enemy.”
The Psychology of Strategy & Strategy, Evolution, and War
By T. Greer, Strategy Bridge: “Humans, in contrast, fight and die for the sake of individuals who share very little of their genes. Any account of human evolution that emphasizes war must find a way to explain this evolutionary paradox.”
Stop Fighting a War Against a Tactic
By Abigail Gage, Small Wars Journal: “The United States is engaged in an unusual global war, fighting a tactic rather than an enemy nation.”
ARMY SEEKS 1,000 MILE MISSLE: TARGET IS CHINA & RUSSIA & AIR FORCE LAYS OUT STRATEGY TO COMPETE WITH NEAR PEER COMPETITORS
Army Seeks 1,000-Mile Missiles Vs. Russia, China
By Sydney Freedberg, Breaking Defense: “One Army weapon would be a hypersonic missile, tearing through missile defenses at Mach 5-plus to kill critical hardened targets such as command bunkers. The other would use a gun barrel to launch cheaper, slower missiles at larger numbers of softer targets like radars and missile launchers.”
Air Force chief lays out future fight against peer-level adversaries
(Air Force Times) If the U.S. can use all domains — land, sea, air, space and cyberspace — to bring capabilities together in ways an enemy could never counter, then it will have achieved "21st century deterrence," says Gen. Dave Goldfein.
Train like an Athlete to Accelerate Readiness
By Renato DePaolis II, Proceedings Magazine: “Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’s concept of dynamic force employment envisions the Navy “banking” readiness to decrease predictability, increase maneuver, and systematically increase the Navy’s sea-going presence.
What Military Education Forgets: Strategy Is Performance
By Celestino Perez, Jr., War on the Rocks: “The 2018 U.S. National Defense Strategy charges that military education “has stagnated, focused more on the accomplishment of mandatory credit at the expense of lethality and ingenuity.””
Strategic Superiority for the Modern Era
By Krisjand Rothweiler, Strategy Bridge: “ ... the adversaries of today are still human, and the threats of today may not be so conceptually different from those of the Cold War.”
Strategika Issue 53: U.S. Engagement With Russia
Strategika Issue 53 is now available online. Strategika is an online journal that analyzes ongoing issues of national security in light of conflicts of the past—the efforts of the Military History Working Group of historians, analysts, and military personnel focusing on military history and contemporary conflict.
The United States And Russia: Opposite Personalities
by Thomas Donnelly via Strategika
In his famous 1947 “Long Telegram” and subsequent Foreign Affairs article, George Kennan described what he thought was the “political personality of Soviet power.” It was an effort at what he called a “task of psychological analysis” to discern a “pattern of thought” and the “nature of the mental world of the Soviet leaders.”
Robert G. Rabil writes: Yet these perceptions are grounded in the assumption that the terms as defined by terrorist groups also reflect broader Sunni and Shi’a conceptions of the concepts. This mischaracterization both hinders the public understanding of Islam as a multifaceted religion and U.S. security understanding of terrorist threats motivated by specific and extremist concepts of jihad and takfir. - Washington Institute
Robert G. Rabil writes: By historicizing extremist definitions of jihad and refusing to legitimate extremists’ claims that they provide an ahistorical and ‘correct’ interpretation of jihad and takfir, U.S. officials can help to reduce the oversized influence extremist groups have had on certain western understandings of Islamic concepts and the ideological appeal of extremism for those lost and searching for authentic interpretations of Islam. - Washington Institute
Reviewing Always at War
By Michael Hankins, Strategy Bridge: “What emerges is what he calls an “evolutionary view of SAC,” in which pre-World War II assumptions about the nature of air power became core values, which then led to the formation of physical artifacts (aircraft and associated equipment) and reinforced in rituals (official procedures for various tasks)..”