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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Issue 53

U.S. Engagement with Russia
Background Essay
Background Essay

Toe-To-Toe With The Russkis: Is Realistic Engagement With The Russians Still Possible?

by Ralph Petersvia Strategika
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

In the greatest film ever made about the human dimensions of strategy, director Stanley Kubrick’s Cold-War masterpiece, Doctor Strangelove, an excited strategic bomber pilot speaks of “noo-cullar combat, toe-to-toe with the Russkis.” But the lengthy annals of Americans and Russians tramping on each other’s feet followed a brief interlude when we danced the light fantastic to our mutual benefit, with neither side’s dancing shoes scuffed.

Featured Commentary
Featured Commentary

The Way Forward With Putin And Russia

by Chris Gibson via Strategika
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

In late August 2016, I led a Congressional Delegation trip to Israel, Latvia, Poland, and Germany to gather information and build support for the POSTURE Act, a Bill to reverse the Obama administration’s drawdown of U.S. armed forces and deter further Russian aggression in eastern Europe. On day four of that trip we were in Latvia listening intently to Edgars Rinkevics, the Foreign Minister, explain his dismay with then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s recent comments questioning the relevancy of NATO. 

Featured Commentary

The United States And Russia: Opposite Personalities

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

In his famous 1947 “Long Telegram” and subsequent Foreign Affairs article, George Kennan described what he thought was the “political personality of Soviet power.” It was an effort at what he called a “task of psychological analysis” to discern a “pattern of thought” and the “nature of the mental world of the Soviet leaders.” 

E.g., 9 / 21 / 2018
E.g., 9 / 21 / 2018
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
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Issue 42

Europe: Death or Renewal

Background Essay

by Erik Jones Tuesday, June 20, 2017
article

Featured Commentary

by Ralph Peters Tuesday, June 20, 2017
article
by Bruce Thornton Tuesday, June 20, 2017
article

Related Commentary

by Bruce Thornton Thursday, March 5, 2015
article

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Featured Commentary

A Brief Guide To Strategy And Sanctions

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Thursday, March 29, 2018

Recently, the United States’ closest European allies, Britain, France, and Germany, proposed “fresh” economic sanctions on Iran as an effort to force Tehran to comply with both the letter and the spirit of the 2015 “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” meant to delay the Islamic Republic’s development of nuclear weapons. 

Featured Commentary

Do Economic Sanctions Work?

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Strategika
Thursday, March 29, 2018

Economic strictures are acts of war. Throughout history, the starvation and disease they have caused have killed more people than all other instruments of war. But like all other instruments, their effectiveness depends on the circumstances in which they are used and on the policies of which they are part.

Background Essay

Sanctions: The Record And The Rewards

by Josef Joffevia Strategika
Thursday, March 29, 2018

Why are sanctions so popular? Because “there is nothing else between words and military action to bring pressure upon a government,” explains Jeremy Greenstock, Britain’s long-term ambassador at the UN. It is bloodless—warfare on the cheap. Nonlethal means are the main attraction for democracies loath to go to war in remote places against states that do not pose an existential threat.

Featured Commentary

Committed To The Long Haul

by Max Bootvia Strategika
Monday, February 26, 2018

The situation in Afghanistan is frustrating and even enraging. Despite the death of more than 2,400 U.S. military personnel and the expenditure of billions, even trillions, of dollars over the past 16 years, the Taliban are as much of a threat as ever. They are well-funded—the United Nations estimates that opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan set a new record in 2017—and they have cross-border support from Pakistan, which has no intention of cutting them off despite the Trump administration’s cut-off of security assistance.

Featured Commentary

Afghanistan Options: Leave, Increase, Stand Pat, Or Cut Back?

by Bing West via Strategika
Monday, February 26, 2018

After 17 years on a treadmill, obviously no good option exists. But to pull out our troops would be to repeat Saigon in 1975. The consequences to America’s credibility would be crushing. Unlike in the Vietnam case, no domestic political movement is dedicated to insuring a total, humiliating withdrawal. Conversely, no American power center, bureaucratic or political, is lobbying to increase our force numbers.

Background Essay

Americanism In Afghanistan? A Flawed Design

by Hy Rothstein, John Arquillavia Strategika
Monday, February 26, 2018

Since the war in Afghanistan began in late 2001, three successive presidential administrations have claimed that the Taliban are on the verge of collapse, the Afghan military is close to securing the country, and Afghan leaders in Kabul are just one step away from providing legitimate governance. 

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!”

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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.