Israel and Hezbollah: The war nobody wants may be about to happen
It may already be too late to avoid another armed conflict in the Middle East. Iran has systematically upgraded Hezbollah’s ability to strike at strategic and civilian targets deep inside Israel. Increasingly, the only viable option for Israel’s military to neutralize this threat is another invasion of southern Lebanon.
Options for European defense
After three decades of continuous decline, European defense budgets are again on the rise. What kind of military capabilities will these investments provide? Money will only go so far without the right strategic choices.
Opinion: Defense is essential
Every state above a certain size needs armed forces to defend itself. Methods for their use vary, ranging from the Swiss model of territorial defense to the blue-water navies, foreign alliances and overseas bases deployed by superpowers. The one common element – essential to any sort of effective deterrence – is the political will to fight.
2018 Global Outlook: Four dangerous dynamics in the Middle East
Early 2018 finds the Middle East at a singular moment in its history. It is hard to recall a period when so many fundamental geopolitical shifts have occurred just as societies, states and alliances in the region were all starting to fall apart. Four disruptive trends can be identified, any one of which would have sufficed to produce regional instability in the not-too-distant past. Today, their combination creates a formidable dynamic for armed conflict.
Opinion: Jerusalem recognition narrows U.S. options on Iran
President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has hurt U.S. efforts to build a Sunni alliance against Iran. Given the risk of a region-wide conflict erupting near the Golan Heights or in southern Lebanon, its timing was also unfortunate. However, there could be a deeper logic behind the move.
2018 Global Outlook: The Euro-Atlantic relationship
The transatlantic relationship can be described as a family matter – with the United States as the mostly benevolent patriarch and Europe as the dependent relatives. Relations had been cooling for at least a decade, but this process is being expedited by the presidency of Donald Trump. Both sides seem to agree that Europe needs to grow up and take charge of its own destiny. If so, we could be headed for a stormy late adolescence.
U.S. missile defense tries to keep ahead of North Korea and Iran
The U.S. strategic missile defense program tends to speed up under Republican presidents and slow down under Democrats. This trend seems to be holding as the Trump administration puts renewed emphasis on missile defense as a cornerstone of its military strategy. Amid threats from North Korea, look for Washington to prioritize defending the homeland against nuclear missiles.
Opinion: A combustible pentagon in the Middle East
For security in the Middle East, the real Pentagon is not a building on the Potomac but the potential for a five-sided conflict involving Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Russia and Israel. To these forces on the ground, one can add two players by remote control: the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. The danger is not subsiding with Islamic State’s defeat and the reassertion of control by Syrian government forces. In some ways, it is getting stronger.
In naval deterrence, numbers matter
Chinese naval construction has far outpaced that of the United States for many years. By some measures, the lethality of its surface combatants is a match for comparable Western vessels – or even better. With the U.S. Navy already stretched thin in the East Asia, reliance on its traditional allies and long-time technological edge is not enough. There must be more hulls in the water.
GIS Dossier: Shinzo Abe’s Japan
Shinzo Abe is not popular, but this consummate political insider has become just the second prime minister in Japan’s history to win three general elections. He managed this feat by skillfully juggling factions in the dominant Liberal Democratic Party, stirring life into Japan’s stagnant economy, and pledging vigorous leadership in the face of a nuclear-armed Korea. Can Mr. Abe turn around a country widely seen to be in irreversible decline?