Concept of Sovereignty
World Order 2.0
From Richard N. Haass, The Strategist (ASPI): “For nearly four centuries, since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 ended the Thirty Years’ War in Europe, the concept of sovereignty—the right of countries to an independent existence and autonomy—has formed the core of the international order. And for good reason: as we have seen in century after century, including the current one, a world in which borders are forcibly violated is a world of instability and conflict.”
Stephen Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn write: President Obama attempted to unilaterally declare an end to the 9/11 wars. To justify their counterterrorism strategy, Obama and his advisers saw the enemy they wanted to see, not the one they were actually fighting. They routinely ignored the first rule of warfare: The enemy gets a vote. There's no telling how many current intelligence assessments have Obama's misunderstandings baked into them. The Trump administration will have to correct and replace any Obama-style analyses that outlive his presidency. – The Weekly Standard
Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory
From Cody L. Zilhaver, Strategy Bridge: “Since World War I, powerful nations victorious on the field of battle struggled to achieve political objectives because their post war settlements set conditions that facilitated future conflicts instead of ensuring lasting peace. Beginning at Versailles in 1919, victorious emissaries planted the seeds of World War II by creating a punitive treaty so harsh on Germany that Adolf Hitler channeled German discontent into a fierce nationalism that led to World War II. Likewise, at the conclusion of World War II, Allied emissaries embraced a short sighted and haphazard post war settlement approach by largely ignoring percolating tensions in Korea and Indochina that eventually led to new wars for France and the United States. Military strategist B. H. Liddell Hart emphasized the point of shaping a lasting peace after war when he said, “The object in war is a better state of peace—even if only from your own point of view. Hence, it is essential to conduct war with constant regard to the peace you desire.” Consequently, the victorious strategist must not only ensure their pre-war political objectives are codified in the post war settlement, but the emissaries must also take great care and vigilance to end the war with strategic foresight that translates the military victory into lasting peace.”
Carrying "A Big Stick" Is't Enough — America Has To Use It
From Sarah Sicard, Task & Purpose: “National security expert Eliot Cohen suggests that soft power isn’t always enough. A great deal of post-election speculation has centered on issues of American national security. With a president who is relatively inexperienced in foreign policy, the rise of China’s military, continued global terrorist activity, and heightened Russian aggression, the new administration will no doubt face a number of militaristic challenges in the coming years.”
THE ART OF POLICY AT NATIONAL, PRESIDENTIAL LEVEL
Best Practices in the Art of National Security Policymaking
From Kori Schake & William F. Wechsler, Amercan Progress: “Most modern presidents have found that the transition from campaigning to governing presents a unique set of challenges, especially regarding their newfound national security responsibilities. Regardless of their party affiliation or preferred diplomatic priorities, presidents have invariably come to appreciate that they cannot afford to make foreign policy decisions in the same manner as they did when they were a candidate.”
The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force
From Eliot A. Cohen, The Cipher Brief: “Strange as it may sound, the jihadi threat, is the easiest to manage. That is in part because the role of military power is important but secondary. We use it to eliminate key leaders of these groups, and we can bolster partner armed forces. But critical though military power is to that fight, lots of other things – including what used to be called political warfare – matter just as much. The hardest challenge is that posed by a China that, because of its wealth, ambition, and in some cases belligerence, intends to assert regional hegemony, effectively shouldering us out of Asia.”
Eliot Cohen writes: The choice between global engagement and America First is bogus. As in the last century, our choice is whether to lead wisely, firmly and usually peacefully while we can, or to send men and women into harm’s way belatedly and bloodily when we must. Let us hope that the new president comes to understand that we need the “big stick” not “to make America great again,” but to keep a peace that is precious, fragile and worth protecting. – Los Angeles Times
Walter Russell Mead writes: Not since the 1960s has the world been this dangerous, and not since the 1930s and ’40s has the debate over American foreign policy been as unpredictable as it is today. In the midst of such uncertainty, Mr. Cohen’s lucid book is a must-read for anyone interested in military might—and how it can help us maintain the edge we need in this treacherous age. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
Martha Simms writes: Eliot Cohen’s new book, The Big Stick….argues for the enduring importance of hard power, the global role America must play to maintain stability and ensure freedom of movement, the need for new and better thinking about military strategy, and the importance of individuals more than institutions or theories in determining military outcomes. In a despairing age, he also makes a case for optimism about the United States’s economic, academic, demographic, and, military prospects. – Washington Free Beacon
DALE HERSPRING: CIVIL MILITARY RELATIONS, NEW BOOK
Civil-Military Relations and Shared Responsibility
From Conrad Orr, Small Wars Journal: “The 2013 book Civil-Military Relations and Shared Responsibility by Dale Herspring is a valuable and deeply researched source that provides a rarely-so-comprehensive comparative analysis of civil-military relations across four distinct nations; Canada, Russia, Germany, and the United States. Given the critical importance of Civil-Military relations in preparing for and conducting warfare for all nations, such a comparative analysis of countries big, small, rediscovering their heritage, updating their doctrine, or defining themselves for the first time, is extremely valuable. The specific concept explored is a situation of ‘shared responsibility’ between the military leadership and civilian leadership in working to set defence, procurement, or international policy, as well as in strategic decision making. While a seemingly obvious approach to government, such a situation exists only fleetingly in contemporary history, and Herspring brings key moments in each of the four nation’s civil-military histories under inspection in order to test for its existence and determine if it lasted; The particular lenses applied are those of interpersonal, group, and institutional interactions, and through these Herspring provides an engaging historical narrative and compelling analysis of a potentially very useful theory.”
CIA Publishes Its History, Nearly 13 Million Pages of Documents Online
From Paul P. Murphy, CNN: “The documents shed some light on the agency's activities throughout the Vietnam, Korean and Cold War conflicts. It even includes documents pertaining to purported UFO sightings and the organization's "Star Gate" program investigating possible psychic abilities and what could be done with them.”
Shadi Hamid writes: As his tenure wound down, Obama seemed as resistant as ever to adapting his views, despite everything that had happened under his watch, whether at home or abroad. The president believed that history moved with him, but in an era of resurgent ideology and nationalism, he was the one who increasingly seemed like an outlier, out of place and out of time. – The Atlantic
Clausewitz, Vietnam, and the Roots of Strategic Confusion
From Robert Cassidy and Jacqueline Tame, War on the Rocks: “In a matter of weeks, this country will see a change in presidential administrations. President-elect Donald Trump will inherit a country that has been committed in overseas wars directly or indirectly during every decade from Vietnam until the present. Thispiub is a country that will be seeking strategic definition and direction. Those who follow national and international security issues closely will be seeking a rationale for the way ahead that will allay concerns about the state of the world and their place in it. A question that persists is, with unmatched wealth and military prowess, why has America seen such poor outcomes in many of its wars from Vietnam to today?”
A Noble Cause: American Battlefield Victories In Vietnam Oct 6, 2015
by Douglas Niles
"In the tradition of We Were Soldiers Once…and Young, A Noble Cause is a stirring tribute to the valor and courage of the allied forces in the Vietnam War and a vivid re-creation of hard-won battles from Ia Drang Valley to Khe Sanh and Hamburger Hill…
Celebrating the skill and bravery of the United States armed forces and their South Vietnamese allies, A Noble Cause presents a gripping chronicle of both large and small unit successful combat engagements, including the Battle of Dong Xoai (1965); the Battle of Ia Drang Valley (1965), the first major ground battle of the Vietnam War; the Battle of Loc Ninh (1967) by the Cambodian border; the Battle of Khe Sanh (1967–1968) leading up to the Tet Offensive; the Battle of Dong Ha (1968); the bloody siege on Hamburger Hill (1969); and the Battle of An Loc (1972), sixty-five miles north of Saigon, which contributed to the failure of the Vietcong’s Eastertide Offensive.
Documenting the invaluable role of a tireless and determined infantry as well as air cavalry divisions and B-52 “Arc Light” air strikes, A Noble Cause chronicles the crucial strategic decisions that led to victory—often against steep odds—and honors the bravery of every soldier who stood his ground, faced the enemy, and gave his all."
Douglas Niles is the author of MacArthur’s War: The Invasion of Japan and other novels, as well as a fantasy game designer. He lives in Delavan, Wisconsin.
Grab Their Belts to Fight Them: The Viet Cong's Big Unit-War Against the U.S., 1965-1966 May 15, 2011 by Warren Wilkins
“During 1965 and 1966,” wrote Dale Andrade, a historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History, “the Communists fought the Americans toe to toe, making little effort to act like guerillas.” Indeed, despite pronounced disadvantages in firepower and mobility, the Communist Vietnamese endeavored to crush South Vietnam and expel the American military with a strategy predicated on “big unit” war. Orchestrated by a militant clique in Hanoi, the “big unit” war was designed to yield a quick and decisive victory over South Vietnam. Exploiting an extensive array of Communist Vietnamese sources, including seldom utilized unit histories and battle studies, Grab Them by Their Belts chronicles in rich detail the formation, development, and participation of the Viet Cong in the opening stanza of the Communist big unit war against the Americans, and how the ultimate failure of that war profoundly influenced the decision to launch the Tet Offensive.
Grab Them by their Belts, unlike much of the existing body English literature on the Vietnam War, mined the expansive Communist historiography on the conflict to craft an authentic and accurate account of the big unit war from a Communist perspective. Communist memoirs, unit histories, and battlefield studies were extensively consulted to reconstruct the formation and deployment of major VC/NVA military units, battles and campaigns, and the overarching strategic debates that informed the big unit war. Additionally, Grab Them by Their Belts recounts how the Communist big unit war reflected the desire to crush South Vietnam quickly and decisively, and how the failure of that war influenced the decision to launch the Tet Offensive.
EXAMPLE OF SUCCESS IN U.S. FOREIGN POLICY ACE VENTURA
PAUL RAHE: REALISM IN FOREIGN AFFAIRS, SPARTA
CONSCIENCE & TEMPORAL AUTHORITY
POSITIVE LAW vs. CONSCIENCE