Defense and Security
Ashton Carter has an unusual background for a secretary of defense. Before assuming the United States’ top military post in February, he studied medieval history and particle physics as an undergraduate at Yale, got a Ph.D. in physics as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford, and taught international affairs at Harvard. He also served as an assistant secretary of defense in the Clinton administration and as an undersecretary and then the deputy secretary of defense under President Barack Obama.
See more in United States; Defense Strategy
Peace talks, if not peace itself, may be close at hand in Afghanistan. Over the past few months, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Afghan Taliban have made unexpected strides toward talks.
See more in Afghanistan; Wars and Warfare
On March 17, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won reelection, thanks in part to a desperate last-minute pledge to his right-wing base that the Palestinians would never get a state so long as he was in power. After the election, he tried to walk his comments back, but Palestinian observers weren’t buying it.
See more in Palestine; Wars and Warfare
In 2008, the actress and activist Mia Farrow approached the private security company Blackwater and some human rights organizations with a proposition: Might it be possible to hire private military contractors to end the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan?
See more in United States; Defense and Security
Better safe than sorry. Gretchen West (“Drone On,” May/ June 2015) argues that the growing U.S. drone industry “faces a major regulatory obstacle” in the form of the Federal Aviation Administration. She’s right that the agency needs to make some basic decisions about how to regulate drones—and soon, lest the United States surrender its technological edge.
See more in United States; Drones
Until recently, most Europeans believed that their post–Cold War security order held universal appeal and could be a model for the rest of the world. This conviction was hardly surprising, since Europe has often played a central role in global affairs. For much of the last three centuries, European order was world order—a product of the interests, ambitions, and rivalries of the continent’s empires.
See more in Europe; Wars and Warfare
At the end of World War II, the United Kingdom built memorials to every military branch save one: the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command. The group had skillfully carried out its mission, leveling German cities in raids that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. But by 1945, the British public had developed second thoughts about the morality and efficacy of that mission.
See more in United States; Intelligence
In past years, Andrew Krepinevich, Jr., has argued for a U.S. military operational concept in the Pacific theater called “Air-Sea Battle.” This concept relies heavily on preemptive deep strikes in the early stages of a conflict and would have been highly escalatory.
See more in Asia and Pacific; Defense and Security
A close call. It is tempting to view the chaos in Libya today as yet one more demonstration of the futility of U.S.-led military interventions. That is precisely the case that Alan Kuperman makes in his article (“Obama’s Libya Debacle,” March/April 2015), which asserts that NATO’s 2011 intervention in Libya was “an abject failure” that set free Libya’s vast conventional weapons stockpiles, gave rise to extremist groups, and even exacerbated the conflict in Syria.
See more in Libya; NATO
See more in Middle East and North Africa; Intelligence
On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to New York to convince the world that the United States is working toward a world free of nuclear weapons. He has a stronger case than you might think.
See more in Global; Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament
Regulating the Rise of Post-Snowden Spyware
See more in Global; Cybersecurity
To deter Chinese expansionism, the United States must deny China the ability to control the air and sea around the “first island chain”—Japan, the Philippines, and Taiwan—and offset the PLA’s efforts to destabilize the region’s military balance.
See more in United States; China; Preparedness
Ten years from now, the CIA’s primary mission will be covert action; the NSA will move away from collecting personal data; and traditional espionage—the use of spies to gather human intelligence—will become less valuable than open-source intelligence.
See more in United States; Intelligence
Both Max Boot (“More Small Wars,” November/December 2014) and Rick Brennan (“Withdrawal Symptoms,” November/December 2014) provide insight into what the United States did wrong at an operational level in Iraq.
See more in United States; Iraq; Intelligence
In recent years, U.S. officials have grown increasingly fearful of a massive cyberattack, one capable of crippling infrastructure and crashing markets.
See more in United States; Cybersecurity
In describing what he characterizes as a bungled U.S. exit from Iraq, Rick Brennan (“Withdrawal Symptoms,” November/December 2014) presents an incomplete picture.
See more in Iraq; Defense and Security
Barry Blechman and Russell Rumbaugh (“Bombs Away,” July/August 2014) have revived an old argument: U.S. tactical nuclear weapons are militarily useless, and so there is no reason for Washington to keep them in Europe.
See more in Europe; Defense and Security
After 13 years of war, the loss of many thousands of lives, and the expenditure of trillions of dollars, what has the United States learned? The answer depends on not only who is asking but when.
See more in Afghanistan; Iraq; Wars and Warfare
For more than a decade now, U.S. soldiers have been laboring under a sad paradox: even though the United States enjoys unprecedented global military dominance that should cow enemies mightily, it has found itself in constant combat for longer than ever before in its history, and without much to show for it.
See more in United States; Wars and Warfare