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.
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.
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.
After Mosul and Raqqa, risks multiply
As the battle for Mosul concludes, the battle for Raqqa is entering its initial phase. From a military perspective, the fall of these twin bastions of Daesh was never in doubt. But tactical victories can only be turned into long-term strategic gains if a political process is put in place. Otherwise, we will see a “son of Daesh” and worse in Syria and Iraq.
U.S. nuclear review could test force posture
One of President Donald Trump’s first decisions as commander in chief was to order a review of the country’s nuclear strategy. The result could be a significant departure from the previous U.S. emphasis on nonproliferation and weapons reduction. Instead, there could be more funds for upgrading strategic forces and a readiness to let arms control agreements like New START expire.
Opinion: Military situation heats up on China’s perimeter
The main threat to world peace can be found not in Eastern Europe or the Middle East, but along a 6,000-mile stretch of land and sea on Asia’s eastern and southern rim. As China’s push for access to the sea runs up against a picket line of U.S. allies and bases, potential conflicts are brewing.
Russia’s five circles of empire
The Soviet Union was regarded by many as a closed historical chapter. But a quarter century later, we are not so sure. The Chechen War saved the Russian empire’s territorial core, while Vladimir Putin and his associates preserved its key institutions – the army and the security services. This old guard is now guiding a re-expansion into the outer circles of empire.
Trump’s Middle East blueprint: an Israeli view
Donald Trump took a scattershot approach to the Middle East in his election campaign. At times, he advocated greater involvement, at others he leaned toward isolationism. On balance, however, the new president will have no choice but to jettison Barack Obama’s policy of disengagement. The most probable outcome is active intervention.
What Russia’s military is good for
Russia’s military potential is dwarfed by the West’s, but it is surprisingly well-prepared for the limited wars it is most likely to fight. Key new technologies have been developed to keep NATO at arm’s length, but the Kremlin’s greatest edge may be its mindset.
No rest for NATO strategists
Nobody – not NATO, not Europe, not even Russian President Vladimir Putin – wants another Cold War. But we have one anyway: a new, 21st century hybrid that has been creeping into our security establishment for almost a decade. NATO is still in the early stages of a necessary strategic adjustment, which may be delayed by elections and new governments in the United States and Europe.