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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Issue 55

The Structure of World Power
Background Essay
Background Essay

The Structure of the Contemporary International System

by Josef Joffevia Strategika
Thursday, November 15, 2018

A monopoly obtains when one firm is free to set prices and output while keeping ambitious newcomers out of the market. The best example is Standard Oil in the late 19th century. Ruthlessly undercutting competitors, the company ended up controlling 90 percent of refined oil flows in the United States. The United States never had that kind of overweening power in the international “market.” It may have come close to unipolarity in the 1990s when its mortal rival, the Soviet Union, had committed suicide. Yet the contemporary world is no longer unipolar. Neither is it bi- or multipolar.

Featured Commentary
Featured Commentary

Seeking Stability In The Structure of Power

by Seth Cropseyvia Strategika
Thursday, November 15, 2018

The global strategic landscape is moving away from the primacy that America achieved over the last century. New terrain includes the possibility of great power competition, a return to the bipolarity that policy-makers in the immediate post-Cold War said must never happen again. Current sentiment in the U.S. illustrates that there are worse possibilities than bipolarity.

Featured Commentary

The Vagaries Of World Power

by Nadia Schadlow via Strategika
Thursday, November 15, 2018

By traditional measures—military strength, economic wealth, population size—the United States remains the world’s preeminent superpower. Its economy continues to expand; it deploys the largest military in the world; it is home to a growing population; and American laws and capital flows encourage a vibrant ecosystem for innovation.

E.g., 12 / 8 / 2018
E.g., 12 / 8 / 2018
Hoover Archives Poster collection: US 2814
Saturday, June 1, 2013

Issue 03

Should Women serve in front line combat units?

Background Essay

by Kori Schake Saturday, June 1, 2013
article

Featured Commentary

by Josiah Bunting III Saturday, June 1, 2013
article
by Kiron K. Skinner Saturday, June 1, 2013
article

Related Commentary

by Victor Davis Hanson Saturday, June 1, 2013
article
by Admiral Gary Roughead Saturday, June 1, 2013
article
by Bruce Thornton Saturday, June 1, 2013
article
Hoover Institution Archives Poster Collection: IR 54
Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Issue 02

Can Iran be prevented from obtaining nuclear weapons by sanctions, or ultimately will it require preemptive military action? If Iran becomes nuclear, can it be contained?

Background Essay

by Edward N. Luttwak Wednesday, May 1, 2013
article

Featured Commentary

by Williamson Murray Wednesday, May 1, 2013
article
by Ralph Peters Wednesday, May 1, 2013
article

Related Commentary

by Victor Davis Hanson Wednesday, May 1, 2013
article
Hoover Archives Poster collection: UK 3297, Britain's Land Offensive, Syria, The
Monday, April 1, 2013

Issue 01

Should the United States Intervene in the Syrian Civil War?

Background Essay

by Mark Moyar Monday, April 1, 2013
article

Featured Commentary

by Kimberly Kagan Monday, April 1, 2013
article
by Angelo M. Codevilla Monday, April 1, 2013
article

Related Commentary

by Bing West Monday, April 1, 2013
article
by Bruce Thornton Monday, April 1, 2013
article
by Thomas Donnelly Monday, April 1, 2013
article
by Kiron K. Skinner Monday, April 1, 2013
article
by Victor Davis Hanson Monday, April 1, 2013
article

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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 West via 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. 

Related Commentary

The Iran Deal Offers Little Hope for Optimism

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Strategika
Friday, May 27, 2016

On April 2, 2015, President Barrack Obama stepped to the microphone in the White House Rose Garden and declared, “Today, the United States—together with our allies and partners—has reached a historic understanding with Iran, which, if fully implemented, will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” Regrettably, history provides little comfort that the accord will prevent a determined Tehran from acquiring the bomb. 

Featured Commentary

A Year After the Iranian Deal

by Victor Davis Hansonvia Strategika
Friday, May 27, 2016

The July 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to limit Iranian nuclear proliferation is now nearly a year old. Until recently, the urgency to complete the “Iran deal” had been explained by the Obama administration as an effort to capitalize on a new group of Iranian reformers who came to power with President Hassan Rouhani in August 2013.

Background Essay

Iran: The Contrast Between Sovereignty And Moral Legitimacy

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Friday, May 27, 2016

In June of 2014, as the forces of the Islamic State swept toward Baghdad, President Barack Obama began to recommit American military forces to Iraq. He also observed that “Iran can play a constructive role, if it sends the same message to the Iraqi government that we’re sending, which is that Iraq only holds together if it is inclusive.” 

Strategika: “Military Readiness In An Age Of Uncertainty,” With Thomas Donnelly

interview with Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Sunday, May 22, 2016

Is the US ready for global threats?

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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.