Ralph Peters

Ralph Peters


Ralph Peters is the author of twenty-nine books, including works on strategy and military affairs, as well as best-selling, prize-winning novels. He has published more than a thousand essays, articles, and columns. As a US Army enlisted man and officer, he served in infantry and military Intelligence units before becoming a foreign area officer and global scout. After retiring in 1998, he covered wars and trouble spots in the Middle East and Africa. He now concentrates on writing books but remains Fox News’s strategic analyst. His latest novel, Hell or Richmond, a gritty portrayal of Grant's 1864 Overland Campaign, follows his recent New York Times best seller, Cain at Gettysburg, for which he received the 2013 Boyd Award for Literary Excellence in Military Fiction from the American Library Association. Video: Ralph Peters on the importance of military history education in the militaryPeters is also the author of the Civil War novel, The Damned of Petersburg.

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Recent Commentary

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The Mud-Level Reason Our Nation-Building Fails

by Ralph Petersvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Our military leaders have just proclaimed a renewed, more-effective policy for Afghanistan, which they assure us will turn around the decaying situation.

We’ll see…

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The Real Lesson Of The Thirty Years' War For Today

by Ralph Petersvia Military History in the News
Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Thirty Years’ War in the German states between 1618 and 1648 has been invoked repeatedly in discussing the Syrian conflict, with commentators focusing on the multiple sides in the struggle and the interference by great powers. While those are surface similarities, there have been plenty of multi-sided conflicts and competitive great power interventions. The real lessons we might take to heart are that it’s far easier to get into conflicts that mingle dynastic ambitions, competing faiths, and quarrelsome ethnicities than it is to get out of them; that extended periods of warfare impose disproportionate casualties on civilian populations; and that late entrants have the best chance of winning.

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Border Walls, Battles, And Ghosts: The Mexican-American War's Lasting Legacy

by Ralph Petersvia Military History in the News
Friday, February 2, 2018

One hundred and seventy years ago, on February 2, 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo expanded the territory of the United States by over 500,000 square miles, not only making it inevitable that we would become a Pacific power, but setting the stage for what may be the most complex border relationship between any two nations. The treaty formally ended our War with Mexico, but accelerated our headlong plunge toward the Civil War, intensifying the debate over the geographical expansion of slavery into our newly acquired territories. 

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State Of The European Union: God Bless The Bureaucrats

by Ralph Petersvia Strategika
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

In the immediate wake of the Brexit vote, a normally astute talk-show host declared, gleefully, that “the European Union is dead.” One begged, and begs still, to differ. The EU is a bureaucratic monster that interferes absurdly with “the structures of everyday life.” Its grand rhetoric masks expensive inefficiencies and military powerlessness: In global affairs, it’s a chatroom. On the economic side, its attempt to establish a common currency, the Euro, was folly, unleashing some economies but debilitating others.

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Chicken Soup for the Russian Soul

by Ralph Petersvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 24, 2017

A strongman with a messianic streak, Vladimir Putin might almost have stepped from the pages of Russian history. 

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Mosul, Paris, Jerusalem: Faith, Ideology, And Slaughter

by Ralph Petersvia Military History in the News
Monday, February 27, 2017

As you read this, a ragged alliance of rival forces fights to wrest Mosul’s western half from the grip of the Islamic State. The besiegers represent different ethnic and religious factions jockeying for power in the ruins. The defenders are religious fanatics of an apocalyptic faith. Hundreds of thousands of civilians are captive in their midst.

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Vladimir Putin And The Reichswehr

by Ralph Petersvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategic mischief reveals him to be an astute student of history. While every Russian knows something about the Red Army’s heroics in the “Great Patriotic War,” Putin, a former KGB man, studied the enemy. 

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The Folly Of Harnessing Snakes

by Ralph Petersvia Military History in the News
Thursday, February 9, 2017

In its degenerate grandeur, the Umayyad dynasty that had subdued the Iberian Peninsula found itself too weak of arms and will to fight its own battles. The caliph imported fellow Muslims as mercenaries, Berber warriors whose ferocity had not been dulled by civilization. Then the Cordoba caliphate imported still more Berber troops. And more. They were, after all, fellow Muslims.

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Charlie In Afghanistan, Taliban In ‘Nam

by Ralph Petersvia Military History in the News
Thursday, February 2, 2017

Live long enough and you’ll be certain you saw the movie before. Recent conclusions that the Kabul government controls barely sixty per cent of Afghanistan (and much of that only by daylight) conjures memories of our failed efforts in Vietnam fifty years ago. We won every firefight—and lost.

Related Commentary

Russia’s Borders In Thirty Years: A Vision, Not A Certainty

by Ralph Petersvia Strategika
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

We cannot project with any assurance where Russia’s boundaries will lie in thirty years. There are far too many variables, from the Islamist contagion to China’s appetite and others yet unknown. But we do know roughly what Russia’s current czar would like those borders to be, should an enervated world continue to bow to Moscow’s will.