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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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Featured Commentary

Brexit: How Much Contagion, How Many Strategic Consequences?

by Josef Joffevia Strategika
Friday, July 1, 2016

Will Britain’s departure from the EU set off a stampede, prompting other members to bolt? The probability ranges from “very low” to “nil.” Like Tolstoy’s oft-invoked unhappy family, every EU member is unhappy in his own way, but none will take the plunge. For one, everyone is feeling in his own body politic Britain’s buyer’s remorse on the day thereafter. The pound took the largest hit in more than thirty years.

Related Commentary

Brexit: Isolationism or Atlanticism?

by Max Bootvia Commentary
Monday, June 27, 2016

Britons might never have voted to leave the European Union had it not been for the refugee crisis that hit Europe as a result of the Syrian civil war. Even though Britain has accepted only some 5,000 Syrian refugees, German premier Angela Merkel agreed to take in 800,000, thus fueling fears across the continent of an influx of possible terrorists. 

Related Commentary

The EU-Progressive Paradigm is Falling Apart

by Bruce Thorntonvia FrontPage Mag.com
Monday, June 27, 2016

The rise of populist and patriotic passions.

The Classicist with Victor Davis Hanson:
Related Commentary

The Classicist: “Brexit and the Future of Europe”

interview with Victor Davis Hansonvia The Classicist
Friday, June 24, 2016

What the UK’s split from Brussels means for the future.

Related Commentary

Why Brexit alarms Britain’s Baltic allies

by Max Bootvia The Washington Post
Monday, June 20, 2016

The world is transfixed by Britain’s referendum Thursday over whether to stay in the European Union. Some of the most interested and anxious spectators of the “Brexit” debate are in the Baltic republics, where I recently spent a week meeting with political and military leaders as part of a delegation from the Jamestown Foundation.

Related Commentary

Learning What Not To Do: The North Korean Nuclear Example

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Strategika
Friday, May 27, 2016

There are no historical precedents to justify current American confidence that the treaty with Iran will prevent it from going nuclear. There are, however, historical precedents of how unauthorized and unhelpful secret back channels have derailed ongoing major U.S. governmental diplomatic initiatives and negotiations that involve difficult players.

Related Commentary

Blinded by the Light? What It Will Take for the Iran Deal to Succeed

by Bing Westvia Strategika
Friday, May 27, 2016

Before addressing history, it should be pointed out that the Obama agreement (it is not a treaty) provides Iran with the expertise, systems, and unimpeded bridge to nuclear weapons within about twelve years. Iran can abide by the agreement and still become a power with nuclear weapons.

Related Commentary

Iran Without Nuclear Weapons: We Can Only Hope

by Barry Strauss via Strategika
Friday, May 27, 2016

History suggests three ways to prevent a state that has the capacity of going nuclear from exercising that option. The first is a security guarantee in exchange for denuclearization. The former Soviet republic of Ukraine took this route in 1994, when it gave up its extensive nuclear stockpile and jointed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty upon a promise of respect for its territorial integrity from the United States, Britain, and Russia. 

Related Commentary

Reasons For Confidence In The Iran Deal

by Kori Schakevia Hoover Daily Report
Friday, May 27, 2016

There are historical precedents to justify current American confidence that the treaty with Iran will prevent it from going nuclear. In fact, Iran itself provides the most important precedents. Three factors have in the past caused Iran to curtail its nuclear weapons programs: high likelihood of exposure, belief the United States would destroy their weapons programs, and fear that military conflict with the United States would result in regime change in Iran.

Related Commentary

History Suggests the Iran Deal’s Chances for Success Are Slim

by Williamson Murrayvia Strategika
Friday, May 27, 2016

Unfortunately, there is little in the historical record to suggest that the current agreement with Iran that Secretary of State Kerry has recently concluded will in fact to do anything to prevent the Iranians from going nuclear when it suits their convenience and view of their strategic interests. For the moment, they will undoubtedly lie low and use the agreement to dismantle the sanctions that have represented such a major impediment to the successful functioning of their economy. 

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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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