The Hoover Institution launched today a new online journal, Strategika, which assesses ongoing issues of national security in light of conflicts of the past. Strategika is published by Hoover’s newly convened Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict, which examines how historical military operations intersect with contemporary public policy decisions concerning prevailing conflicts. Led by Hoover’s Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow Victor Davis Hanson, the working group brings together a diverse group of distinguished military historians, security analysts, military veterans, and military practitioners.
Every few weeks, Strategika will offer two short opinion editorials on a current crisis or controversy in the news—sometimes offering quite different conclusions—followed by a longer background essay. From time to time, members of our working group may provide additional commentary. Finally, the journal will include a brief section with suggestions for further study and discussion questions for educators on particular issues that arise from the posted essays. An interactive poll will be included with each new issue. The poll in this inaugural issue questions whether the US should intervene in Syria.
“Our board of scholars shares no ideological consensus other than a general acknowledgment that human nature is largely unchanging,” says Hanson. “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.”
The inaugural issue concerns the Syrian civil war: Should the United States intervene? Mark Moyar, senior fellow at the Joint Special Operations University, authors the background essay. Kimberly Kagan, founder and president of the Institute for the Study of War, provides the case for intervention, and Angelo Codevilla, professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University, makes the argument against involvement. Hoover fellows Victor Davis Hanson and Kiron Skinner provide additional commentary. Upcoming issues will address the threat of a nuclear Iran and women serving in frontline combat units.
The careful study of military history offers a way of analyzing modern war and peace that is often underappreciated in this age of technological determinism. Yet the result leads to a more in-depth and dispassionate understanding of contemporary wars, one that explains how military successes and failures of the past can be germane, sometimes misunderstood, or occasionally irrelevant in the context of the present.
For a list of members of the Institution’s Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict, click here. For more information on the Hoover Institution, go to Hoover.org or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Scribd (keyword: Hoover Institution). Sign up here for email notification regarding new issues.