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Understanding China’s Strategic Culture Through Its South China Sea Gambit

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Monday, May 9, 2016

While armed conflicts still rage in Syria, Iraq, and other troubled spots of the world, a major conflagration of epic proportions that may involve some of the world’s most powerful sovereign powers, including the United States, China, Japan, and even Russia, is brewing in earnest in the South China Sea. At the center of this conflict is China’s extravagant maritime and territorial claims for almost the entire South China Sea, riling most countries in the region, upsetting key stakeholders along the world’s busiest commercial shipping lanes, and challenging key international maritime laws and interpretative frames of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

North Korean Missiles And Greek Spears

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Friday, April 29, 2016

North Korea has launched three intermediate range ballistic missiles in the last two weeks. Each one was a failure and ended in an explosion or crash. The UN Security Council has banned such tests and issued a warning about increasing sanctions if such misbehavior continues. Indeed, there might be worse trouble in store. Many expect North Korea to conduct another nuclear test, its fifth. On May 6 the country is holding the first congress of its ruling Workers’ Party in 36 years.


by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Monday, April 25, 2016

Russia’s recent buzzing of NATO ships and planes in the Baltic points to something bigger. In the past several years Russia has engaged in a major naval and military buildup in the Baltic region. The epicenter is the city of Kaliningrad, Russia’s forward operating base, located on the south shore of the Baltic between Lithuania and Poland—about 600 miles southwest of St. Petersburg, Russia. The Kaliningrad area houses the Russian Baltic fleet and two air bases. It boasts Russia’s only year-round ice-free port on the Baltic Sea.

Uneasy Allies: America, Turkey, And The Kurds

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Friday, April 22, 2016

A small news item about Turkish-American relations and the latest stage of the Syrian civil war recalls the wisdom of Lord Palmerston, a mid-19th-century British prime minister. He said that England had no eternal allies or perpetual enemies but only eternal and perpetual interests. The same could be said of Turkey, the U.S. or any state.

Maskirovka And The Greeks

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Tuesday, April 19, 2016

On April 14, a Russian jet barrel-rolled over a U.S. reconnaissance plane doing a routine flight in international airspace over the Baltic Sea. That followed an incident on April 12 in the Baltic Sea, when Russian jets made close-range and low-altitude passes near a U.S. navy destroyer engaged in joint exercises with its NATO ally Poland. 

Europe: Old Front Lines, New Fractures

by Ralph Petersvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Despite all the media fuss about the European Union’s crisis in the face of mass Muslim migration, commentators miss a history-determined fault line: the one between the old front-line states that defended Christian Europe against centuries of Ottoman jihads, and the states to the west that never endured subjugation or faced worse than piracy at the hands of the Turks.

U.S. Ground Forces: Not Ready For A Big War

by Ralph Petersvia Military History in the News
Monday, March 21, 2016

This past week, we heard from multiple service chiefs that key components of our military, particularly our land forces, may not be ready for a “big war” of the sort we’d face with China or Russia—or for a combination-play conflict against two second-tier foes, such as Iran and North Korea.

Killing The Neighbors: 101 Years Of Genocide In Conflict

by Ralph Petersvia Military History in the News
Monday, March 14, 2016

The genocide against Middle-Eastern Christians approaches its endgame, while Western leaders look away as resolutely as they ignored the Holocaust when it was happening. In time, there will be crocodile tears and, perhaps, a museum designed by an in-demand architect. 

Putin And Patton In Syria

by Ralph Petersvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The term “culminating point” in military operations describes the stage of an offensive at which the heretofore successful attacker is about to outrun his advantages, whether in numbers, materiel or psychological leverage on the defender.

Guantanamo And The History Of Military Commissions

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Obama administration’s release of its plan to close the facility at Guantanamo Bay and bring the detainees to the United States has rekindled an intense political debate regarding the best way to deal with captured illegal combatants who lack allegiance to a nation-state. 


Wars, terrorism, and revolution are the daily fare of our globalized world, interconnected by instantaneous electronic news.

Military History in the News is a weekly column from the Hoover Institution that reflects on how the study of the past alone allows us to make sense of the often baffling daily violence, not by offering exact parallels from history, but rather by providing contexts of similarity and difference that foster perspective and insight—and reassurance that nothing is ever quite new.