In his new book, The Assault on International Law, Jens David Ohlin of Cornell University debunks the Bush administration's legal philosophy by arguing that nations should obey international law out of rational self interest.
Matthew R. Stevens finds that the industrious Syrian refugees living in Jordan are stoking resentment from their Jordanian hosts, yet also reframing our preconceived stereotypes of refugees as helpless victims.
Colonel (Ret.) Eric Jorgensen on whether "strategic patience" will work or if America will face "mission creep" yet again in its latest project against ISIS in Iraq.
Chris Miller attempts to unravel the complexities of intelligence failure in order to explain what it is and why it is inevitable.
Colonel (Ret.) Philip Lisagor argues that the provocative terrorist violence used by ISIS in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere should not distract us from other political violence nor be the deciding factor on if, when, and where the U.S. decides to act.
A new report examines how to mitigate against the health risks of human waste during wartime. An inside expert, Navy Captain (Ret.) James Need, finds the U.S. policy on open-air burn pits lacking.
Chris Miller on the warnings to Russians from Nikita Khrushchev on the 59th anniversary of his 'Secret Speech' on the dangers of the Cult of Personality Josef Stalin built in the Soviet Union -- much like the one Vladimir Putin has built in Moscow today.
Ike Cagan, active in the struggle for democracy in the former-Czechoslovakia, explains why Vladimir Putin is not a mystery or suffering from mental illness. Rather it is the West who has thus far failed or refused to see him clearly.
Army Captain Justin Lynch on the debate over how America should apply military force in the modern world between supporters and critics of "Total War" and more population-centric methods applied in counterinsurgency.
Army Colonel (Ret.) Ellen Haring examines the case the Marine Corps may be building against allowing women in infantry roles ahead of a Department of Defense deadline to submit data to justify their exclusion.
Nicolaus Mills on his book, Every Army Man is With You, and the story of the 1964 Army football team that defeated Navy, but went on to fight less certain and more costly battles as officers in the Vietnam War.
Chris Miller argues that suggestions of turning Ukraine into a 'buffer state' as part of an effort to appease Russia will embolden Vladimir Putin to employ the same tactic again in future. America and the West should not suggest a new 'Ukraine Wall' be built in Europe.
Major John McRae touches on what can be a 'third rail' for military leaders: The benefit of drawing lessons in innovation and leadership for the military at all levels from business, academia, and elsewhere in American civil society--and vice versa.
Joseph Sarkisian examines funding sources for al Qaeda and ISIS, now the world's richest terrorist group, and finds that interdicting their income sources is easier said than done.
Arnold Isaacs reviews Nazila Fathi's new memoir, The Lonely War: One Woman's Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran, in which she explores the Islamic Republic's "different personalities."
Jeff Bridoux, co-author of a new book on Democracy Promotion, discusses this controversial concept in the post-9/11 era following George W. Bush's 'Freedom Agenda', the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Arab Spring uprisings.
Logan Isaac argues that shallow controversy around Michael Moore's comments on the film American Sniper has not touched on the deeper issues of 'Just War' theory and morality in war, a discussion his fellow veterans are best equipped to lead.
Chris Miller says that the greatest challenge to America's global position does not come from climate change, terrorism, China, or Russia, but rather from the broken, gridlocked system it rests upon that means it is adrift without a grand strategy.
Kate Cronin-Furman writes that on one key set of issues it’s not clear that regime change in Sri Lanka heralds progress: post-war reconciliation and accountability for crimes committed during the country's brutal civil war.
Dan Kaszeta reviews Roger Moorhouse's book, The Devils' Alliance, which sheds new light onto the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, creating an alliance between Stalin's USSR and Hitler's Germany, an agreement some in Moscow would rather forget today.
William Quinn, a former U.S. Army interrogator, on why, in the wake of the Senate report on CIA's Enhanced Interrogation Program, the United States should not use torture despite the arguments some make in its favor.
Jessie Daniels writes on the interaction of identity, society, and national security in France following the Paris attacks.
Peter Storey reviews Louis DiMarco's 'Concrete Hell' on the history of 20th century urban warfare and finds the analysis wanting in respect to new contributions to the subject despite the author's clear in-depth knowledge of the subject.
In his latest book, Lords of Secrecy, legal expert Scott Horton writes that government secrecy and lack of public input are undermining the democratic process of going to war.
Colonel (Ret.) Philip Lisagor argues that America's leaders and intelligence community missed the inevitable rise of ISIS because of organizational drift to from a 'gatherer' to a 'hunter' culture and a focus on 'actionable intelligence' to the detriment of analysis.
Jeff Danovich argues the controversial ICC system and its poor track record in war crimes prosecutions shows that only prosecutions in U.S. courts will send the message that America is serious about stopping torture from becoming government policy ever again.
Lieutenant Colonel Douglas A. Pryer calls Charles Krohn’s "The Lost Battalion of TET: Breakout of the 2/12 Cavalry at Hue" an Army "classic."
CFR's Clint Hinote warns that demand for "Ebola Fighters," the very heroes that Time Magazine has honored, may soon outstrip the supply.
Benjamin Kirkup argues that if an insurgent, much like a microbe, has a useful role to play in the community, there is ultimately no reason to remove it post-infection, which may explain why our COIN strategies often fall short.
Commander (Ret.) John T. Kuehn argues that the operational benefits of a carrier group in the narrow Persian Gulf have caused America to overlook the risks this entails and that shifting the group to the Mediterranean allows for the same capabilities with less risk.
Colonel (Ret.) Philip Lisigor argues the exponential expansion of the Department of Defense, its corporatization, and embrace of management over warrior culture have contributed to a decline of the State Department and its inability to articulate foreign policy.
Flemming Rose on his book, Tyranny of Silence, and how a cartoon published in his Danish newspaper ignited violent protests throughout the Muslim world and an international debate about censorship and the boundaries of freedom of speech.
Chris Miller argues America's national leaders making policy decisions for the world's most capable national security complex are woefully under qualified and this accounts for much of America's post-9/11 experience.
Army Majors Matt Cavanaugh, Nathan Finney, and John McRae discuss 'Milblogging' forums that are driving online discussions on military leadership, doctrine, and innovation and providing valuable tools to today's leaders.
Peter Storey evaluates Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S. military advisory mission to Iraq now several months in duration, and analyses the prospects of another quagmire or success.
With recent cases of religiously motivated violence in Jerusalem, Ottawa, and elsewhere, Jason Klocek finds that policymakers frequently use overwhelming force against insurgents motivated by religion.
CBRN expert Dan Kaszeta argues that the possibilities, capabilities, and advantages of developing unmanned CBRN systems to perform reconnaissance, detection, and decontamination functions should not be ignored.
Joseph Sarkisian argues that even if the P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran do not bear fruit, the very idea of talking directly with Tehran is beneficial in and of itself.
Colonel (Ret.) Philip Lisagor explores classic war and strategy literature and more recent COIN offerings in an attempt to explain the course of America's 'War on Terror.'
Yaniv Barzilai, author of 102 Days of War: How Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda & the Taliban Survived 2001, discusses our early missteps in the war on terror.
IT security expert Richard Stiennon explains how the U.S. military's adoption of Network-centric Warfare (NCW) set the stage for inevitable cyberwarfare in future conflicts between modern states.
Col. Clint Hinote argues that while the effect of sequestration on the military appears small now, it will have a greater impact on readiness in the future. There must be a better way to solve America's budget issues.
Jordan Bravin explains how counterinsurgency operations, 'hybrid war', and asymmetric conflicts of the 21st century are leading to the development of new measures of how to define victory.
Historian Jeffrey Bloodworth reviews Lawrence's Wright's Thirteen Days in September, a book about far-sighted peacekeeping and the hopes, however dim, for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Ron Capps discusses his memoir, Seriously Not All Right, which recounts his experience serving America as a soldier and civilian in five wars in ten years, his struggle with PTSD, and how he has coped and recovered.
Colonel (Ret.) Eric Jorgensen holds that we should not lose sight of the fact that the size and needs of the U.S. Army should be determined first and foremost by one factor: Victory.
John Kuehn on why the (possible) Russian submarine trapped off the coast of Sweden is Cold War history repeating and why the West should take notice when it comes to naval strategy.
Jeff Danovich argues that following the Ottawa attack, we should not hand ISIS a victory for their propaganda machine, keeping in mind that the goal of terrorism is to force change in how we live our lives.
In his latest book, Lives in Common: Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Hebron, Menachem Klein describes how segregated these two communities have become.
Reviewing Barry Posen's new book, Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy, Michael Page argues that the ability of the U.S. to extract itself from a leadership role in addressing regional conflicts like Syria appears unlikely.
Chris Miller explores the U.S. Intelligence-Policymaker relationship and explains why their different approaches and interests cause 'friction' which affects American national security policy.
Bing West talks counterinsurgency policy and his latest book, One Million Steps, the story of a platoon of U.S. Marines he embedded with as they engaged in one of the most important and deadly battles of the war in Afghanistan.
Army Major John McRae argues that the military must take a balanced approach to the concept of "adaptive leadership," understanding there is still a need for more traditional and technical leadership forms. Applying the right form at the right time is crucial to the force in war and in peace.
Koma Gandy, a Navy veteran, reviews Geoff Dyer's Another Great Day At Sea and finds the book wanting.
General (Ret.) Mohammed al-Samarae says that for the U.S. to successfully and decisively defeat ISIS, it must change the balance of power and momentum on the ground, something it cannot achieve with airstrikes alone.
Paul Staniland, author of Networks of Rebellion, discusses the organization of insurgencies, ways to fix COIN and fight ISIS, as well as recent accusations against IR scholars for not being policy-relevant.
In this book excerpt, Michael Levi identifies a ‘wild card’ that could force us to rethink the relationship between energy developments and the broader world: Great Power war.
Chris Miller argues that the 'No boots' mentality and 'economy of force' have led to deeply unpopular and indecisive wars since 9/11, strategies President Obama seems determined to follow against ISIS. It's time to bring back the Powell Doctrine.
Robert Howse reexamines Leo Strauss in his own works and lectures and finds a 'Man of Peace' with a balanced philosophy as to use of force, not the 'warmonger' or intellectual forefather Bush-era Neoconservatives adopted him as.
Katrin Park believes that rather than establish a new UN counterterrorism body, existing structures should be made fit for that purpose. Getting members to agree on how to counter terror is yet another matter.
ISIS exists partially because of the president's hands-off approach, a philosophy that has limited U.S. options for shaping outcomes. Eric Jorgensen assesses the risk ISIS poses.
Gen. (Ret.) Mohammed al-Samarae argues that a new 'Sunni Awakening' would help push ISIS out of Iraq, but U.S. needs to press Baghdad to grant the Sunnis meaningful gains--something the Maliki government refused to do.
Huw Bennett, author of 'Fighting the Mau Mau', talks about the British COIN experience in 1950s Kenya and being called as a historian and expert witness in the landmark legal case brought by Mau Mau victims against the UK government.
Daniel Lakin asks: Is a new reactionary 'Holy Alliance' forming in the Middle East among Egypt, Saudia Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates?
Col. S. Clinton Hinote argues that by occupying territory and grabbing the world's attention ISIS has also made itself vulnerable to attack, something the U.S. and its partners should take advantage of now.
Eric Jorgensen writes on Full-Spectrum Engagement: The mindset necessary to pair both civil and military engagement to preserve strategic victories in the long term in the peace, or "space", between wars.
Lionel Beehner ponders the inconsistent and indifferent reaction of the American public to massacres, genocide, and mass violence in places like Syria and Iraq and closer to home in Newtown, Aurora, and inner-city Chicago.
Laura Kasinof, author of Don't Be Afraid of the Bullets, describes life as an "accidental war correspondent" in Yemen.
Michael Page writes that prevailing Realist rhetoric on 'restraint' and 'containment' coming from Washington underestimates the gathering threat ISIS poses to regional stability and international security.
It's doubtful Cicero would agree that Putin's incursion into Ukraine constitutes a "just war," argues Lionel Beehner. But there are commonalities between the Roman Empire and Putin's Russia.
In her book, Humanity's Law, New York Law School professor Ruti Teitel describes a shift in how power operates and is legitimated based on a new discourse of law and legalization.
Chris Miller argues that the roots of failure in Afghan nation building lie in an unfinished war and an underestimated will for independence among Afghans -- mistakes America has made before.
Anjan Sundaram describes the dangers of being a press "stringer" in the Congo, the attraction of Africa and war, and the future of foreign journalism.
Nicholas Seeley, author of A Syrian Wedding, discusses life inside Jordan's largest Syrian refugee camp.
There are many ways to restructure our armed forces to match current budgetary conditions. Finding the right balance between risks and benefits poses challenges for policymakers, writes Eric Jorgensen.
Arnold R. Isaacs reviews Mary L. Dudziak's new book, War Time, but finds that her misreading of history mars what is otherwise an important book on war.
Kayla Williams talks PTSD/TBI, veterans, and life and recovery in the aftermath of war in her new book, Plenty of Time When We Get Home.
Joshua Rovner of Southern Methodist University talks about his book, Fixing the Facts, on the intelligence-policy relationship and "politicization" of intelligence during the Iraq War and throughout U.S. history.
Lieutenant Colonel Paul Darling argues that the U.S. military must rethink its dated benefits system and how it attracts troops and structures their benefits in order to meet the nation's fiscal challenges today.
CBRN expert Dan Kaszeta argues the terms "Weapons of Mass Destruction" and WMD are undefined, unclear, and unhelpful and should be retired from the lexicon.
WWI and the "July Crisis" of 1914 hold lessons for today's conflicts in Gaza, Ukraine, and the Middle East, argues Chris Miller.
As the world finds itself concerned with Russian missiles once again, Chris Miller revisits SNIE 85-3-62, the crucial--and wrong--U.S. intelligence estimate that Nikita Khrushchev would not place nuclear missiles on Cuba.
When it comes to the use of force, America cannot let bad decisions in Iraq stand in the way of decisionmaking in Syria, Ukraine and other conflicts today, especially if it wants to tackle obstacles in the larger strategic environment and pivot to the East.
Ahron Bregman talks about his latest book, Cursed Victory, on the history of conflict in Israel, Palestine, Gaza and the occupied territories, drawing on high-level sources and interviews revealed for the first time.
Chris Miller on the latest German-American spying scandal and why Berlin and Moscow considering going back to paper shuffling and typewriters to counter electronic intelligence gathering may not be as crazy as it sounds.
Following Edward Snowden's NSA disclosures and renewed clashes between Washington and Berlin over espionage, Chris Miller discusses Cold War lessons in counterintelligence still applicable to national security challenges today.
The dominant narrative of the Cold War focuses on the conflict in the West between Washington and Moscow, forgetting about the lessons learned in the "hot" war in Southeast Asia. These lessons are worth another look, argues Chris Miller.
U.S. military advisors have a long history of "mission creep." Don't be surprised if the ones redeployed to Iraq serve in a combat role against ISIS, writes Chris Miller.
Christopher Coker, author of Can War Be Eliminated?, says we may be 'sleepwalking' into another Great Power war.
Jacquelyn Schneider and Julia MacDonald list the merits of manned versus unmanned aircraft, or drones, in military effectiveness. Neither is a silver bullet.
Lt. Col. Douglas A. Pryer, looking back at classical literature and his own experience in Iraq, makes the case that "moral injury" better explains some psychological symptoms than PTSD. This is the first of a two-part essay.
Chris Miller argues that Russia's claim that NATO verbally agreed never to expand in the 1990s is nonsense. If NATO expansion was as vital an issue to Russia then as is claimed today, Moscow would have insisted on a clear statement of it in writing.
Morten G. Ender, coauthor of a new book that examines millennials' attitudes on the military, says he is optimistic about future generations' views on war and argues there is a narrowing of the civilian-military gap in this country.
Mike Matthews writes in a new book that "moral trauma" and PTSD are occupational hazards of combat, but that military personnel tend to be resilient. His research suggests that psychological wounds may be as medal-worthy as physical ones.
COIN theorists tend to hold up the British as exemplar counterinsurgents because of their successful operation in Malaya. But Peter Storey writes that operations in Ireland from 1916 to 1921 should receive greater attention from military historians.