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A Man Of His Times

by Giselle Donnellyvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The passing of president George Herbert Walker Bush has, inevitably, recalled his role in the most momentous moments of the late 20th century: the fall of the Berlin Wall in the fall of 1989 and the complete collapse of the Soviet empire two years later. That this came about peacefully is still something of a wonder, and is alone more than enough to enshrine our 41st president as a superb statesman.

Will America or China Prevail in the Trade War?

by Bing West via Military History in the News
Friday, November 30, 2018

While the Constitution vests in the Congress the power to declare war, American presidents wield great discretion in initiating hostilities. Lyndon B. Johnson dribbled troops into combat in Vietnam in a series of halfway measures that led to disaster. After taking care to build a broad alliance, George H. W. Bush ordered the assault that threw the Iraqi forces out of Kuwait in 1991. His son, George W. Bush, orchestrated the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, after gaining the support of Congress. And recently, without involving the Congress, President Donald Trump has shifted the field of battle to economics by declaring a trade war against China.

Defending the Nation: Resources

by Bing West via Military History in the News
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

It is unremarkable to observe that America will fight a future war against an enemy much stronger than Islamist terrorists. War continues to be a central feature of world history due to the immutable nature of the human being. Understanding this, the leaders of all nations maintain armies to protect their nation states.

Fighting To Leave: The Devolution Of The American War Aims In Afghanistan

by Bing West via Military History in the News
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

In early winter of 2001, an invading force of fewer than 10,000 American soldiers, Marines, Special Forces, and CIA operatives stampeded the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces across Afghanistan. A punitive campaign of historic brevity and one-sided casualties was about to end. Then our most senior officials made two disastrous decisions. First, General Tommy Franks, the commander of the invasion, refused to employ American forces to seal off the al-Qaeda remnants, including Osama bin Laden, hiding in the Tora Bora mountains. Instead, General Franks handed the fight over to unreliable Afghan warlords, who let bin Laden and al-Qaeda escape into Afghanistan.

U.S. Government Passivity In Cyber Space

by Bing West via Military History in the News
Friday, November 9, 2018

In 2015, President Obama held a press conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping. “I indicated that it [cyber theft] has to stop.” Both governments agreed not to engage in or support online theft of intellectual property.

The Bloodiest Battle In American History

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Thursday, September 27, 2018

One hundred years ago this week doughboys of the American Expeditionary Forces went over the top in the Meuse River–Argonne Forest region of France, marking the beginning of what would become the bloodiest battle in American history. More than 1.2 million American soldiers took part in the six-week battle, part of a larger Allied effort known as the Hundred Days Offensive. By the time the battle concluded with an armistice on November 11, 1918, more than 26,000 U.S. soldiers—half of American combat fatalities in the Great War—would lie dead on the blood-soaked fields of France, with another 100,000 wounded-in-action.

Hama Rules Revisited

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Monday, September 24, 2018

In 1982 the Muslim Brotherhood launched an uprising against the rule of Hafez al-Assad, the authoritarian ruler of Syria. The rebellion never stood a chance. After initial attacks on February 3 killed scores of Ba’athist leaders and rebels seized the city of Hama, the Syrian government reacted by sending 12,000 troops to besiege and retake the city. 

Fort Trump—A Permanent U.S. Military Base in Poland?

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Following a meeting in the Oval office on September 18, President Donald Trump said he is considering a request from Polish President Andrzej Duda to permanently station American troops in his country. Duda even offered to name the military facility “Fort Trump” and to provide more than $2 billion to help finance it. Poland desires the protection and stability that a permanent U.S. presence on its soil offers. One can sympathize with the Polish desire for a superpower security umbrella.

Will China One Day Dominate the Seas? History Provides Some Clues

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Monday, September 10, 2018

China has recently launched its first domestically built aircraft carrier, doubling its embryonic capacity to project power on the world’s oceans. A third carrier is under construction, with more to follow in due course. China has militarized its artificial islands in the South China Sea, extending its security barrier away from the Asian coast. It has fielded anti-access area denial weapons, including so-called “carrier killer” ballistic missiles that can reach Guam, to keep foreign warships away from Chinese waters should war come to East Asia. 

Europe’s Deep Localism And Populism

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Military History in the News
Thursday, August 23, 2018

On June 25, 1183, representatives of Italy’s Lombard League met Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa on Lake Konstanz to receive his signature on a charter promising to respect the effective independence of the League’s component cities, as well as the League’s right to continue defending that independence by force of arms.

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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.