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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Issue 50

Pakistan's Partnership with the United States
Background Essay
Background Essay

The United States And Pakistan: Frenemies On The Brink

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Strategika
Thursday, April 26, 2018
For much of its short seventy-year history, Pakistan has managed to thoroughly mismanage its strategic relationships with great power patrons, regional competitors, and non-state clients. It has waged and lost four wars with a larger and more powerful India, supported terrorist organizations that have destabilized Afghanistan and conducted deadly attacks in neighboring India, and alienated its long-time American ally.
Featured Commentary
Featured Commentary

Pakistan: Murderous Ally, Patient Enemy

by Ralph Petersvia Strategika
Thursday, April 26, 2018

Pakistan’s military and intelligence leadership—the country’s decisive elements—view the United States as a danger to be managed and a resource to be exploited. Its approach to bilateral relations is predicated on three things: The (correct) belief that U.S. interlocutors do not understand the region; the conviction that, eventually, the U.S. will leave Afghanistan; and Pakistan’s need for hegemony over Afghanistan—not only to check India’s strategic moves but, more importantly, to guarantee Pakistan’s internal cohesion.

Featured Commentary

Pakistan: Neither Ally, Nor Enemy

by Bing West via Strategika
Thursday, April 26, 2018

Last April, Ambassador Robert D. Blackwill, a distinguished diplomat, summarized American policy toward Pakistan. “Every time a new administration in Washington comes to office,” he said, “they get worried about Pakistan, which has a stockpile of nuclear weapons. The US Secretary of State then visits Pakistan and meets the top leadership.

E.g., 6 / 24 / 2018
E.g., 6 / 24 / 2018
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Issue 46

Conventional War Against North Korea

Background Essay

by Michael R. Auslin Wednesday, November 15, 2017
article

Featured Commentary

by Thomas Donnelly Wednesday, November 15, 2017
article
by Miles Maochun Yu Wednesday, November 15, 2017
article

Related Commentary

by Angelo M. Codevilla Wednesday, November 15, 2017
article
by Josef Joffe Wednesday, November 15, 2017
article
by Peter R. Mansoor Wednesday, November 15, 2017
article
by Barry Strauss Wednesday, November 15, 2017
article
by Miles Maochun Yu Wednesday, November 15, 2017
article
by Victor Davis Hanson Thursday, September 28, 2017
article
by Thomas H. Henriksen Thursday, August 24, 2017
article
Thursday, September 28, 2017

Issue 45

The Practice of Principled Realism

Background Essay

by Josef Joffe Thursday, September 28, 2017
article

Featured Commentary

by Robert G. Kaufman Thursday, September 28, 2017
article
by Angelo M. Codevilla Thursday, September 28, 2017
article

Related Commentary

by Bruce Thornton Wednesday, August 30, 2017
article
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Issue 44

Preemptive Strikes and Preventive Wars

Background Essay

by Williamson Murray Tuesday, August 29, 2017
article

Featured Commentary

by Barry Strauss Tuesday, August 29, 2017
article
by Max Boot Tuesday, August 29, 2017
article

Related Commentary

by Kori Schake Thursday, August 10, 2017
article
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Issue 43

The Middle East: Terrorism Forever?

Background Essay

by Reuel Marc Gerecht Wednesday, July 26, 2017
article

Featured Commentary

by Bing West Wednesday, July 26, 2017
article
by Thomas Donnelly Wednesday, July 26, 2017
article

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Related Commentary

U.S. Aid to Afghanistan Remains Critical

by Mark Moyarvia Strategika
Monday, February 26, 2018

Abandonment of Afghanistan at this time would be highly inadvisable because of the inordinate risks of abetting Islamic extremism and generating higher outflows of narcotics and people. The strategy of 2013-2017, in which small numbers of American troops advised Afghan forces and conducted raids, prevented the Kabul government from falling, but it failed to prevent insurgents from retaking much of the country. Military setbacks heightened infighting among Afghan elites and impeded the development of a viable national government.

Related Commentary

Afghanistan: No Choice but to Remain

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Monday, February 26, 2018

Quite unlike Great Britain or the Soviet Union, the United States has never had a coherent strategy for its engagement in Afghanistan. No amount of military operational acumen or diplomatic experience can make up for that deficiency; it hardly matters what we do if we have no idea why we’re doing it.

Related Commentary

Our Long Last Stand in Afghanistan

by Ralph Petersvia Strategika
Monday, February 26, 2018

Approved by the president in August, we have a “new” plan in Afghanistan. It will increase the U.S. troop strength to approximately 14,000 service members. Those 14,000 troops will be expected to achieve what 140,000 U.S. and allied troops could not achieve when the Taliban was weaker, al-Qaeda lay broken, and ISIS did not exist.

Featured Commentary

Cornstalks, Calvinball, And The Bridges At Toko Ri: Rightsizing The U.S. Navy

by Admiral James O. Ellis Jr. via Strategika
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The main street of Washington, Georgia, is called Toombs Avenue in honor of the Georgia senator and Civil War general who was born nearby. In promoting the South’s secession as the war approached, Toombs reportedly claimed, “We can beat those Yankees with cornstalks!”

Background Essay

The Sinews Of Empire

by Seth Cropseyvia Strategika
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Modern scholars of politics revel in their complex descriptions of state action. Rather than oversimplifying and reducing the state to a unitary body, they separate its internal components and assess each of their relative strengths. There’s something to this.

Related Commentary

The Status of U.S. Navy Readiness: Too Small, Too Old, and Too Tired

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Seventeen sailors have been killed this year in accidents involving two destroyers, the USS John S. McCain and USS Fitzgerald.

Featured Commentary

A Stretched Navy And A Fiscal Disconnect

by Admiral Gary Rougheadvia Strategika
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Last year, within two weeks’ time, two deadly collisions of U.S. Navy ships in western Pacific sea-lanes brought home the reality of a Navy in increasing demand yet stretched precariously thin. The captains and those responsible on watch those nights, as they operated in congested Asian waters, were held to account, but it remains the nation that has allowed and accepted the conditions that led to those tragic events and the loss of 17 sailors.

Featured Commentary

Reasonable Conventional Options In A Second Korean War

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Strategika
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

While the world is abuzz about North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, it is Pyongyang’s conventional capabilities that are not given sufficient attention. As mentions of a general war with North Korea are hardly absent on a daily basis, this indolence on seriously dealing with Kim’s conventional forces is alarmingly dangerous, because, despite the global focus on Kim’s nascent nuclear weapons and missile programs, the actual fighting will remain overwhelmingly conventional, primarily because Kim knows that his strength lies preponderantly in his conventional capabilities, not nuclear or thermonuclear ones.

Related Commentary

North Korea: Diplomacy or Military Solution?

by Barry Strauss via Strategika
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

North Korea is not going to give up its nuclear weapons short of war. Diplomacy, however, can improve the terms of an eventual deal. A nuclear-armed North Korea is a frightening thought, but we are probably past the point where a military solution is bearable.

Related Commentary

Deterring Kim Jong-un’s North Korea

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Strategika
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Kim Jong-un’s goal is to survive and pass his regime on intact to a successor, presumably a yet-to-be-born son. He has relentlessly pursued this goal by assassinating would-be competitors to power in fairly creative ways, such as blasting his uncle apart with an anti-aircraft gun and having his half-brother poisoned with a nerve agent. He has learned the lesson of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya: Survival comes not from the barrel of a gun, but from a nuclear-tipped missile capable of killing hundreds of thousands of people, preferably Americans, with the push of a button. 

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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.