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Friday, December 27, 2019

Issue 62

Is the Mediterranean Still Geo-strategically Essential?
Background Essay
Background Essay

Is The Mediterranean Still Geo-Strategically Essential?

by Barry Strauss via Strategika
Friday, December 27, 2019

The Mediterranean Sea is today, as it has always been, a crossroads. The name itself testifies to that, as it means “the sea in the middle of the earth,” a Latin term reflecting an earlier Greek belief. We know better, or do we? From Syria to Libya and on the high seas, and with outside players including China, Iran, Russia, and the United States, the Mediterranean has re-emerged of late as a cockpit of conflict. 

Featured Commentary
Featured Commentary

The Wrong Side Of The Pillars Of Hercules: The Mediterranean Just Doesn’t Matter Much Anymore

by Ralph Petersvia Strategika
Friday, December 27, 2019

The United States is an Atlantic and Pacific power by virtue of geography, strategic necessity, and economic opportunity. A forward defense of the far littorals—Europe and the East-Asian barrier states facing China—is the essential requirement for our security. All else is not only secondary or tertiary, but often an ill-advised and grossly costly drain on our resources.

Featured Commentary

Europe’s Mediterranean Frontier

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Strategika
Friday, December 27, 2019

The Mediterranean abruptly separates Europe’s civilization from those of Africa and the Middle East. On one side, reaching North to Scandinavia and East to the Bering Strait, some seven hundred million mostly prosperous people live according to principles derived from Judeo-Christianity, Greek philosophy, and Roman law. Their number is shrinking. 

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Okhrana Records, Box 237, Hoover Institution Archives.
Background Essay

Proper Military Balance As A Hedge Against An Uncertain Future

by Andrew Robertsvia Strategika
Thursday, May 1, 2014

The only thing that is predictable in warfare is its unpredictability. As soon as experts, general staffs, and politicians decide what they believe will be the nature of the next war in order to prepare for it properly, an entirely different kind of conflict happens. The witness of history is so uniform in this regard that it needs to become a general law of warfare: The war we expect and plan for is never the one we’re called upon to fight.

Okhrana Records, Box 237, Hoover Institution Archives.
Featured Commentary

Be Prepared For Conventional War, Even If It’s Unconventional

by Frederick W. Kaganvia Strategika
Thursday, May 1, 2014

Kharkov. Dnepropetrovsk. Odessa. Mariupol. Sites of great armor battles seven decades ago, these cities are once again the front line of war. Tanks are massed but remain idle. Protesters, separatists, and “little green men” are the foot soldiers in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Snipers are the most effective weapons. Ukraine may fall to this “invasion” more easily than to an armored assault. Is this quasi-war the ultimate proof of the irrelevance of conventional forces today?

Okhrana Records, Box 237, Hoover Institution Archives.
Featured Commentary

The Continuing Relevance of Conventional Military Forces

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Strategika
Thursday, May 1, 2014

In his magisterial treatise On War, Prussian military philosopher Carl von Clausewitz wrote that war may have its own grammar, but not its own logic. By this he meant that wars are fought for political purposes, and although the means by which they are waged changes over time, the nature of war remains constant. History has witnessed a number of revolutions in military affairs, periods of time in which the grammar of war has changed significantly.

Poster Collection, RU/SU 2321.9, Hoover Institution Archives.

Strategika: “The Perils of Abandoning Afghanistan” with Kimberly Kagan

by Kimberly Kaganvia Strategika
Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Institute for the Study of War’s Kimberly Kagan examines the problems that could emanate from a premature US departure from Afghanistan.

Poster Collection, INT 503, Hoover Institution Archives.

Strategika: “Is Failure in Afghanistan Inevitable?” with Max Boot

by Max Bootvia Strategika
Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Max Boot looks at Afghanistan’s history as the “graveyard of empires” and considers whether America still stands a chance of succeeding there.

Poster Collection, IR 132, Hoover Institution Archives.

Strategika: “What’s Good Enough in Afghanistan?” with Joe Felter

by Joseph Felter via Strategika
Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Retired Colonel Joseph Felter explains the problems facing America in Afghanistan and what the United States can do to address them.

Poster Collection, CC 75, Hoover Institution Archives.

Strategika: “The Implications of Chinese History” with Edward Luttwak

by Edward N. Luttwak via Strategika
Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Edward Luttwak explains how Chinese history should color our perceptions of that nation’s modern ambitions.

Hoover Archives poster collection: CC 89

Strategika: “Can America Manage China’s Rise?” with Gary Roughead

by Admiral Gary Rougheadvia Strategika
Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Retired Admiral Gary Roughead looks at America’s options to keep the rise of China from causing global instability.

Hoover Archives poster collection: CC 94

Strategika “Can China Be a Cooperative Power?” with Ian Morris

via Strategika
Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ian Morris looks at which variables may determine whether China is aggressive or peaceful in the future.

Poster Collection, US 2706, Hoover Institution Archives.
Related Commentary

Provocation in a Time of Uncertainty

by Colonel Eric Shirleyvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, April 8, 2014

As was widely anticipated, the 2015 defense budget proposal follows the narrative of the postwar drawdown of the U.S. Army. As Secretary of Defense Hagel rightly states, “The world is growing more volatile, more unpredictable, and in some instances more threatening to the United States.” 


The Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict strives to reaffirm the Hoover Institution's dedication to historical research in light of contemporary challenges, and in particular, reinvigorating the national study of military history as an asset to foster and enhance our national security. Read more.

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Strategika is an online journal that analyzes ongoing issues of national security in light of conflicts of the past—the efforts of the Military History Working Group of historians, analysts, and military personnel focusing on military history and contemporary conflict.

Our board of scholars shares no ideological consensus other than a general acknowledgment that human nature is largely unchanging. Consequently, the study of past wars can offer us tragic guidance about present conflicts—a preferable approach to the more popular therapeutic assumption that contemporary efforts to ensure the perfectibility of mankind eventually will lead to eternal peace. New technologies, methodologies, and protocols come and go; the larger tactical and strategic assumptions that guide them remain mostly the same—a fact discernable only through the study of history.

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The opinions expressed in Strategika are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hoover Institution or Stanford University.