Strategy & Conflict

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Snapshot,
David Brown

Vietnam once hoped to manage China's regional ambitions by showing Beijing deference. But Hanoi now has a new strategy: cozying up to its one-time enemy, the United States.

Postscript,
Joshua Yaffa

Late last week in Minsk, negotiators representing Ukraine, the separatist forces, and Russia agreed to a ceasefire. If this deal holds -- plenty of earlier ceasefires have fallen apart as soon as they were signed -- then the active phase of fighting in eastern Ukraine will have come to end on terms favorable to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Snapshot,
Eric Lorber

A Russia with a sophisticated military and a cratered economy would pose a substantial threat to its neighbors, especially since many of those neighbors possess large amounts of valuable natural resources. In other words, although sanctions may be intended to deter Russia from adventurism in its near abroad, they could end up doing just the opposite.

Snapshot,
Nathaniel Zelinsky

What does an ISIS militant mean when he raises his index finger? Or an Egyptian activist who raises four? Although Western observers have largely ignored them, such gestures provide a unique window into the evolving politics of the Middle East.

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. 

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