Strategy & Conflict

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Snapshot,
Alexander J. Motyl

If Ukraine does manage to pacify the Donbas, it will be saddled with a devastated, unstable, and permanently insecure rust belt that will continue to do what it has done since independence in 1991: serve as a channel for Russian influence on Ukraine’s internal affairs and a home to political forces that oppose reform and integration with the West.

Snapshot,
Mohsen Milani

It is not particularly surprising that the United States is on the verge of rapprochement with Iran. What is surprising, however, is how it's coming about -- not through negotiations over the fate of Tehran’s nuclear program, but as a result of the battle against ISIS.

Snapshot,
Arthur Herman

Compared with the most sophisticated weapons systems in use today, tunnels have withstood the test of time. There’s no way to know how long drones or lasers or anti-missile defense systems will last, but as long as there is warfare, tunnels will almost certainly be part of the fight.

Snapshot,
Steven Simon

Despite the pandemonium in the Middle East, Sykes-Picot seems to be alive and well. That shouldn’t be surprising. Land borders settled via negotiation, especially when sealed by treaty, tend to be stable, even where relations between the neighboring states remain volatile or even hostile.

Essay, SEPT/OCT 2014
John J. Mearsheimer

Conventional wisdom in the West blames the Ukraine crisis on Russian aggression. But this account is wrong: Washington and its European allies actually share most of the responsibility, having spent decades pushing east into Russia’s natural sphere of interest.

Essay, SEPT/OCT 2014
Kenneth M. Pollack

Washington’s current efforts to resolve the conflict in Syria will not break the stalemate. The only way to restore peace without committing U.S. troops is to build a new Syrian army capable of defeating both the Assad regime and the extremists. 

Review Essay, SEPT/OCT 2014
Paul Kennedy

Lawrence Freedman’s massive, ambitious new book, Strategy, offers a personal take on an important term, one so overused that it has become almost meaningless.

Snapshot,
Barak Mendelsohn

It is hard to believe ISIS did not understand that threatening the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan would mean directly challenging the U.S. alliance with the Kurds and potentially provoking it to fight. Indeed, it is likely that ISIS viewed the possibility as a win-win.

Snapshot,
Michael O'Hanlon

After containing ISIS with air strikes, the United States will need to consider what comes next. And here, Obama must be fair to his critics and avoid suggesting that those in favor of doing more want to return to the Iraq mission of 2003–2011. In fact, there are many options in between an all-out use of U.S. combat forces and the limited measures employed in recent days.

Snapshot,
Robin Simcox

Washington's Iraq strategy is backward. If the United States wants to influence the political situation in Iraq, it must first make itself an indispensable military player there.

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