Military History/Contemporary Conflict Working Group

Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict

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Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

The Destruction Of ISIS

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Analysis
Friday, December 9, 2016

The goal of the United States and its allies must be the total eradication of the Islamic State. Destroying ISIS begins with eliminating its self-styled caliphate in Iraq and Syria. This can be accomplished by arming local actors and assisting them with advisers, forward air control teams, and airpower. More importantly, the United States must work with regional partners to knit together a political solution to provide Iraqi and Syrian Sunni Arabs a measure of autonomy to prevent the reemergence of ISIS or its ideological successor. The United States must also wage a holistic campaign to combat ISIS elsewhere in the world. Means include pressuring ISIS affiliates through drone strikes and by strengthening partner states, using financial and legal means to impede terrorist financing, combating radicalization in cyberspace and on social media platforms, and focusing intelligence capabilities to uncover ISIS operatives seeking to conduct terror attacks in Europe and the United States.

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Implementing Stability In Iraq And Syria

by Max Bootvia Analysis
Thursday, December 8, 2016

The campaign against ISIS is making significant progress. The end is in sight for the Islamic State. But its demise will not necessarily produce a lasting victory over terrorism. Unless the U.S. takes the lead in stabilizing Iraq and Syria, the territory that ISIS loses may simply be taken by other extremist groups, both Shiite and Sunni. To prevent continued violence and instability, the U.S. should push to oust Bashar Assad in Syria and to recognize the rights of Sunnis in Iraq. Otherwise we may well see ISIS 2.0 emerging out of the ruins of the Islamic State.

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A Future For NATO And The European Union

by Paul Rahevia Analysis
Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union are in disarray. The former has fulfilled its mission. Were it not for Russia’s seizure of the Crimea and invasion of Ukraine and the refugee crisis in Europe spawned by the sectarian Muslim conflict raging in Iraq and Syria, it would be an empty shell without any obvious function. The latter has overreached. A great success as a customs union, it is a disaster as a currency union; and the attempt to turn it into a federation—oligarchic in governance and equipped with an intrusive administrative apparatus—will end in tears.

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Why NATO Matters And How to Revive It After Brexit

by Robert G. Kaufmanvia Analysis
Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A robust NATO remains a vital interest of the United States.  The greatest threat to its credibility comes not from Brexit, but the dangerous erosion of American power and purpose eight years of President Obama's Dangerous Doctrine has wrought. The restoration of American military power is the single most important measure the United States can take to ensure that NATO serves its essential purpose of keeping Putin out of Central Europe, keeping Germany pro-Western, and keeping the United States engaged as the default power in Europe and globally.  Paradoxically, Donald Trump's Presidency may spell the revival of NATO if he follows through on his commitment to increase defense spending substantially and sheds his illusions about Putin.

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Who Runs The World?

by Josef Joffevia Military History in the News
Monday, December 5, 2016

According to the conspiracy theorists, it is, or used to be, the Jews, the Freemasons or the Bolsheviks who ran the world. Or Bilderberg and the Council on Foreign Relations. Wrong. It is Goldman Sachs, as a very sober, factual piece in the Financial Times has it.

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Interests First: Discarding Bad Agreements

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Monday, November 21, 2016

The news that General Mike Flynn has become National Security Advisor has worried some Americans but delighted others, not least (for both groups) because of his stated objections to the Iranian nuclear deal signed by the Obama administration on July 14, 2015. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is just that, a plan of action. It is not a treaty, which would never have won the two-thirds Senatorial approval necessary, but merely a presidential “executive agreement,” which could therefore be reneged upon merely on a nod from the future President Trump.

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Lest We Forget Lithuania

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Friday, November 18, 2016

“Russia is not a superpower, it’s a super problem,” the Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Linas Linkevičius, said on November 18, ten days after Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States. “As a child I still remember the sound of the tanks rolling through the streets of Vilnius, so even my generation—and I’m 34—still remembers when the Russians were here as a Soviet army. But they were Russian troops and they were invading us, so the last thing we are on this subject is naïve.”

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Russia’s Meddling In The U.S. Elections

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The 2016 American presidential election, which has just produced the greatest political upset in living memory, is hard to find precedents for in recent history, but that is not true of the intervention in the American political process by Russia. The decision taken at the highest levels of Moscow’s decision-making apparatus first to hack into the Democratic National Committee’s emails and then to make the spoils public via WikiLeaks, was a deliberate attempt to interfere in domestic American politics.

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NATO, Brexit, And America’s Security

by Bruce Thorntonvia Analysis
Monday, October 31, 2016

The Brexit, along with Donald Trump’s criticisms of NATO, have raised questions about what a dissolution of these two multinational institutions might mean for the security and interests of the U.S. Despite justified criticisms of European NATO members’ failure to meet their financial obligations, NATO is unlikely to unravel. The British departure from the EU is more portentous. Longstanding problems with the EU reflect structural deficiencies that may not be amenable to further policy adjustments. A breakdown of the EU, however, could free up European nations to craft defense pacts and increase defense spending that would benefit America’s security.

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EU And NATO: Obsolete Or Obstinate?

by Josef Joffevia Analysis
Monday, October 31, 2016

Could the European Union fall apart? Would that end NATO, too? Or will the EU’s troubles lead to a more robust defense? “No” to all of the above. To begin, Brexit will not unleash mass defection because a) the 27 remaining nations are far more deeply integrated, and b) they regard the benefit-cost ratio far more favorably than does Britain. At heart an American alliance, NATO will endure, as it has for 70 years, as long as the U.S. guarantee holds. Precisely for that reason, the Europeans will not move toward an autonomous defense. Yet if the U.S. withdraws its umbrella, it is just as likely that Europe would seek safety in accommodating Russia.

Pages

Chair
Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow
Member
Williams-Griffis Fellow in Contemporary Asia
Research Fellow
Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow
Senior Fellow
Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow
Milbank Family Senior Fellow
Distinguished Visiting Fellow
Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow
Roger and Martha Mertz Visiting Fellow
Robert and Marion Oster Distinguished Military Fellow
W. Glenn Campbell Research Fellow
Research Fellow

The Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict examines how knowledge of past military operations can influence contemporary public policy decisions concerning current conflicts. 


As the very name of Hoover Institution attests, military history lies at the very core of our dedication to the study of "War, Revolution, and Peace." Indeed, the precise mission statement of the Hoover Institution includes the following promise: "The overall mission of this Institution is, from its records, to recall the voice of experience against the making of war, and by the study of these records and their publication, to recall man's endeavors to make and preserve peace, and to sustain for America the safeguards of the American way of life." From its origins as a library and archive, the Hoover Institution has evolved into one of the foremost research centers in the world for policy formation and pragmatic analysis. It is with this tradition in mind, that the "Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict" has set its agenda—reaffirming 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. By bringing together a diverse group of distinguished military historians, security analysts, and military veterans and practitioners, the working group seeks to examine the conflicts of the past as critical lessons for the present.

Victor Davis Hanson on War in the Contemporary World — WATCH

The careful study of military history offers a way of analyzing modern war and peace that is often underappreciated in this age of technological determinism. Yet the result leads to a more in-depth and dispassionate understanding of contemporary wars, one that explains how particular military successes and failures of the past can be often germane, sometimes misunderstood, or occasionally irrelevant in the context of the present.

The working group is chaired by Victor Davis Hanson with counsel from Bruce S. Thornton and David L. Berkey, along with collaboration form the group’s distinguished scholars, military historians, analysts, journalists, and military officers.