Ralph Peters

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Pakistan: Murderous Ally, Patient Enemy

by Ralph Petersvia Strategika
Thursday, April 26, 2018

Pakistan’s military and intelligence leadership—the country’s decisive elements—view the United States as a danger to be managed and a resource to be exploited. Its approach to bilateral relations is predicated on three things: The (correct) belief that U.S. interlocutors do not understand the region; the conviction that, eventually, the U.S. will leave Afghanistan; and Pakistan’s need for hegemony over Afghanistan—not only to check India’s strategic moves but, more importantly, to guarantee Pakistan’s internal cohesion.

Battle HistoryAnalysis and Commentary

David L. Preston, Braddock’s Defeat: The Battle of the Monongahela and the Road to Revolution (2015)

by Ralph Petersvia Classics of Military History
Thursday, March 29, 2018

Deservedly a winner of the Guggenheim–Lehrman Prize for Military History, this magnificent book is an instant classic. The author’s innovative research, ranging from French, British, and colonial records through Indian accounts and lengthy canoe trips down French logistics routes, resulted in a vivid account of a disaster that has sharp lessons for today’s military.

BiographyAnalysis and Commentary

Friedrich Katz, The Life and Times of Pancho Villa (1998)

by Ralph Petersvia Classics of Military History
Thursday, March 29, 2018

A masterpiece of historical research, this book is as revelatory as it is essential for serious students of North American history or military history. In remarkable detail, Katz chronicles the rise to power of a man who, far from being a mere bandit, for years commanded a battle-hardened army that defeated modern Federal forces in pitched battles fought over multiple days and dozens of miles, including the use of machine guns, barbed wire, and long-range artillery.

Autobiography & MemoirAnalysis and Commentary

Deneys Reitz, Commando: A Boer Journal of the Boer War (1929)

by Ralph Petersvia Classics of Military History
Thursday, March 29, 2018

This riveting account of the Boer War as experienced by a young Boer irregular balances out our through-English-eyes perception of this hard-fought, brutal conflict (which saw the first use of concentration camps, if not of the harshness later associated with the phenomenon).

Autobiography & MemoirAnalysis and Commentary

John Masters, Bugles And A Tiger (1956) And The Road Past Mandalay (1961)

by Ralph Petersvia Classics of Military History
Wednesday, March 28, 2018

These two autobiographical volumes from a former (British) Indian Army officer begin by capturing a lost world, that of the Raj in the years before World War II, in the grand imperial twilight (punishing Afghan tribes, downing gin, and shooting tigers), then move into the desperate war years that doomed the British Empire. Masters’ account of fighting in Burma is an even-rawer version of George MacDonald Fraser’s superb memoir, Quartered Safe Out Here.

Period Military HistoryAnalysis and Commentary

Lesley Blanch, The Sabres Of Paradise: Conquest And Vengeance In The Caucasus (1960)

by Ralph Petersvia Classics of Military History
Wednesday, March 28, 2018

For those who only know the Caucasus from recent conflicts—in Chechnya, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabagh and elsewhere—this book offers a vital historical perspective. Although Orthodox Russia battled Islamic powers on and off for centuries, Russia’s longest war, waged against hardline Islamists, lasted a full generation in the nineteenth century.

Period Military HistoryAnalysis and Commentary

Steven Runciman, A History Of The Crusades (Three Volumes, 1951-54)

by Ralph Petersvia Classics of Military History
Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Crusades are often invoked, but rarely understood. Runciman’s modern classic remains the benchmark for its objectivity, clarity and literary merit. Of immediate value for military officers and civilian analysts, this work explodes pernicious current myths, while reporting human valor and folly, treachery and brilliance with enthralling narrative style.

Related Commentary

Our Long Last Stand in Afghanistan

by Ralph Petersvia Strategika
Monday, February 26, 2018

Approved by the president in August, we have a “new” plan in Afghanistan. It will increase the U.S. troop strength to approximately 14,000 service members. Those 14,000 troops will be expected to achieve what 140,000 U.S. and allied troops could not achieve when the Taliban was weaker, al-Qaeda lay broken, and ISIS did not exist.

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Post-Modern Propaganda: The Gatekeepers Are Gone

by Ralph Petersvia Military History in the News
Friday, February 23, 2018

No plague in history spread with the speed of internet disinformation. We live in an age of hyper-charged propaganda, an onslaught of lies more pervasive than any that came before. Over millennia, propaganda changed minds. Today, it changes governments and subverts institutions. And this flood has burst the dams that, for centuries, kept the foulest waters in check.

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

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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