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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Issue 43

The Middle East: Terrorism Forever?
Background Essay
Background Essay

“Pushing Back” Iran

by Reuel Marc Gerechtvia Strategika
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

On both the left and the right, there is a consensus in Washington that the United States needs to “push back” against the Islamic Republic’s nefarious actions in the Levant, Iraq, and Yemen. The clerical regime largely controls the ground war in Syria: Tehran’s foreign Shiite militias, imported from Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and Iranian-directed native forces lead the battle against the Sunni insurrection. 

Featured Commentary
Featured Commentary

The Middle East: Terrorism Forever?

by Bing West via Strategika
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The short response is yes. Crime forever? Also, yes. Turbulence, terror, pestilence, famine, love, procreation, taxes, families, sunsets, rain, shine, etc.—all are components of the human condition. There is no arc toward perfection in human nature.

Featured Commentary

Beyond The Terror War

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Since the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the story of the Middle East has been one of inconclusive struggles of the weak against the weak. That the Ottomans lasted as long as they did is in substantial measure a testament to the constant chaos of Arab and Persian politics. 

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Related Commentary

Preserve What We Inherited

by Victor Davis Hansonvia Strategika

There were various reasons why our grandparents sought to limit the availability of nuclear weapons in general and in particular among even our allies. I can think of three.

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A Clear-Eyed Assessment of ISIS

by Max Bootvia Commentary

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is certainly a growing menace–in fact the most immediate threat that we face in the Middle East.

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The Defense Budget vs. History

by Max Bootvia Commentary

Traditionally, military planners have operated under a worst-case scenario: i.e., what do we need to have in place to respond if nothing goes as planned? 

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Who Possesses Nuclear Weapons, Not the Weapons, Is the Question

by Bruce Thorntonvia Strategika

Since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear weapons have attracted an apocalyptic glamour that has confused and distorted the strategic calculations that should determine their production and deployment. The same sort of irrational response greeted the development of bombers in the 20s and 30s, when lurid scenarios of the civilization-ending power of strategic bombing––popularized in novels like H.G. Wells’ Things to Come and exploited by pacifists––convinced British military planners and politicians that they should avoid war at all costs, for as Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin famously, and erroneously, proclaimed to the “man in the street,” “There is no power on earth that can protect him from being bombed,” for “the bomber will always get through.”

Related Commentary

Sunni-stan Rising

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Library of Law and Liberty

Sunni fighters from around the Muslim world, having failed to conquer all of Syria from the Assad regime’s Alewites (a branch of Shia Islam) have been pushed eastward into majority-Sunni areas.

Related Commentary

Sect and Power in Syria and Iraq

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Library of Law and Liberty

Important as it is to keep in mind that sectarian socio-religious hate is what drives the vast bulk of the people engaged in today’s Muslim-world war, understanding that war requires taking into account those who provide the contending forces’ military organization.

Related Commentary

Madness in Mesopotamia

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Library of Law and Liberty

President Obama’s order for air strikes that are to last “several months” against the northern and eastern edges of the Islamic State In the Levant (ISIL) is a small part of a political effort to promote a “more inclusive” Iraqi government in Baghdad.

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If You Want To Stop ISIS, Here Is What It Will Take

by Angelo M. Codevillavia The Federalist

Killing the Islamic State requires neither more nor less than waging war.

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Another Iraq war is coming – the only question is whether we want to win

by Max Bootvia The Spectator

A successful military intervention isn't just possible; it's essential

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The Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict strives to reaffirm the Hoover Institution's dedication to historical research in light of contemporary challenges, and in particular, reinvigorating the national study of military history as an asset to foster and enhance our national security. Read more.

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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.

Our board of scholars shares no ideological consensus other than a general acknowledgment that human nature is largely unchanging. Consequently, the study of past wars can offer us tragic guidance about present conflicts—a preferable approach to the more popular therapeutic assumption that contemporary efforts to ensure the perfectibility of mankind eventually will lead to eternal peace. New technologies, methodologies, and protocols come and go; the larger tactical and strategic assumptions that guide them remain mostly the same—a fact discernable only through the study of history.

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The opinions expressed in Strategika are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hoover Institution or Stanford University.