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Network Concerns

by Mark Moyar featuring Niall Fergusonvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The publication this month of Niall Ferguson’s new book The Square and the Tower has illuminated both the power of networks and the human tendency to overstate the power of networks. For longer than one might expect, tech enthusiasts, corporate executives, social scientists, and military theorists have proclaimed that networks will revolutionize some, if not all, aspects of human existence, generally for the better. As Ferguson’s book explains in devastating detail, their lofty visions have been repeatedly confounded by reality.

The Legacy Of Operation Desert Storm

by Mark Moyarvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

On January 16, 1991, President George H. W. Bush announced the start of armed hostilities with Iraq. Operation Desert Storm, as the Americans called the offensive, followed the five months of Operation Desert Shield, during which American and allied forces from around the world had sailed to the Persian Gulf to evict Iraqi forces from Kuwait.

Wilson’s Fourteen Points

by Mark Moyarvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

One hundred years ago this week, Woodrow Wilson delivered his Fourteen Points address to a joint session of Congress.

The Lessons Of Dien Bien Phu

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Friday, December 22, 2017

The most consequential military engagement in Southeast Asia in the 20th century is the 1954 Battle of Dien Bien Phu. It was fought ostensibly between the French and the communist-led Vietmin at Dien Bien Phu, an obscure valley bordering China, in the remote northwestern part of what was then French Indochina. The battle ended with a humiliating defeat for the French, which brought down the French government, ended French colonial rule in Asia, ushered in America’s epic military involvement in the region for decades to come, and fundamentally changed the global geostrategic landscape.

China’s Achilles Heel

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The best political commentary out of East Asia last week is the one published on December 15 by South Korea’s second largest newspaper, Dong-A Ilbo. The paper’s editors asked a question on the mind of the entire Korean nation after their president had been outrageously snubbed by the Chinese leadership during his four-day state visit to the communist country, and Korean reporters accompanying their president’s visit were savagely beaten by thuggish Chinese security guards: “China should reflect on this question: why is it that for such a big country, there is hardly any neighbor that can be described as China’s friend?”

A Dangerous Triangular Liaison—How To Avoid The Next War In East Asia

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Thursday, December 14, 2017

Today, China is having tense, and often explosive, territorial and maritime disputes with many of its neighbors including Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, and India. The threats of wars are routinely reported in the news.

It’s Time To Change America’s Alliance Approach In Asia

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Last week marks the 63rd anniversary of the signing of the Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States of America and the Republic of China. The historic mutual defense treaty, signed on December 2, 1954 in Washington, provided an ironclad guarantee to keep Taiwan from being invaded by the People’s Republic of China between 1955 and 1979. Since President Jimmy Carter unilaterally terminated the vital treaty on January 1, 1979, Taiwan has been subjected to constant threats of invasion by the communist government in Beijing, as the subsequent Taiwan Relations Act does not guarantee direct military assistance to Taiwan if China invades the island democracy.

“Justice Served For War Crimes In The Balkans”

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Monday, November 27, 2017

On Wednesday, November 22, a United Nations tribunal convicted former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladić, the “butcher of Bosnia,” of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, and sentenced him to life in prison. The charges stem from his role in the Srebenica massacre along with ethnic cleansing and deliberate targeting of civilians during the Bosnian civil war. 

Pilgrims And Power—The Military Aspects Of Thanksgiving

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, November 21, 2017

As Americans celebrate their unique holiday of Thanksgiving this week, they might pause for a moment and reflect on the pilgrims who emigrated from Europe to the New World in search of opportunity and religious freedom. When the pilgrims established their colony at Plymouth Bay in December 1620, the odds were stacked against them. Disease wiped out half of the 100 or so colonists within three months of arrival.

Propaganda Wars: The Rise And Fall Of The ISIS Media Machine

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Thursday, November 16, 2017

During World War II English-speaking female broadcasters taunted Allied soldiers, who nicknamed the anonymous radio personalities “Tokyo Rose” and “Axis Sally.” GIs would often listen to the broadcasts for the entertaining music, mostly ignoring the outlandish claims and overt propaganda directed their way.

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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.