Defense and Security

Foreign Affairs Article

The Good War?

Author: Peter Tomsen

In the concluding pages of his fascinating memoir, War Comes to Garmser, Carter Malkasian, a Pashto-speaking U.S. diplomat who was stationed in a volatile region of Afghanistan in 2009–11, voices a fear shared by many of the Westerners who have participated in the Afghan war during the past 13 years: "The most frustrating thing about leaving Garmser in July 2011 and now watching it from afar is that I cannot be certain that the [Afghan] government will be able to stand on its own. ... The British and the Marines had put the government in a better position to survive than it had enjoyed in the past. What they had not done was create a situation in which the government was sure to win future battles against Taliban [fighters] coming out of Pakistan."

See more in Afghanistan; Defense and Security

Foreign Affairs Article

A Reunified Theory

Authors: John Delury, Chung-in Moon, and Sue Mi Terry

North Korea’s implosion is imminent, South Korea’s absorption of the North will represent a boon to all, and policymakers in Washington and Seoul should start planning for a military intervention to reunify the Korean Peninsula -- at least according to Sue Mi Terry (“A Korea Whole and Free,” July/August 2014).

See more in North Korea; Regional Security

Foreign Affairs Article

An Army to Defeat

Author: Kenneth M. Pollack

Syria is a hard one. The arguments against the United States’ taking a more active role in ending the vicious three-year-old conflict there are almost perfectly balanced by those in favor of intervening, especially in the aftermath of the painful experiences of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

See more in Syria; Military Operations

Foreign Affairs Article

Reforming the NSA

Authors: Daniel Byman and Benjamin Wittes

The long-running debate over the tradeoffs the United States should make between national security and civil liberties flared up spectacularly last summer, when Edward Snowden, a National Security Agency contractor, handed journalists a huge trove of heavily classified documents that exposed, in excruciating detail, electronic surveillance programs and other operations carried out by the NSA. Americans suddenly learned that in recent years, the NSA had been acquiring the phone and Internet communications of hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens, as well as collecting massive volumes of bulk telephone records known as "metadata" -- phone numbers and the time and length of calls.

See more in United States; Intelligence

Foreign Affairs Article

Hypocrisy Hype

Authors: Martha Finnemore and Michael Cohen

In their essay "The End of Hypocrisy" (November/December 2013), Henry Farrell and Martha Finnemore argue that the biggest threat from leakers of classified information such as Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden is that "they undermine Washington's ability to act hypocritically and get away with it."

See more in United States; Intelligence

Foreign Affairs Article

Is Cyberwar Real?

Authors: Jarno Limnell and Thomas Rid

Thomas Rid ("Cyberwar and Peace," November/December 2013) describes cyberattacks as somehow separate from conventional warfare because they fail to meet all three of Clausewitz's definitions of war as violent, instrumental, and attributable to one side as an action taken for a political goal.

See more in United States; Cybersecurity

Foreign Affairs Article

Running the Pentagon Right

Author: Ashton B. Carter

War inevitably presents unexpected challenges. From Germany's use of mustard gas during World War I to North Vietnam's surprisingly effective use of its air defense system during the Vietnam War, the United States has always faced unanticipated threats in combat that have required agile responses.

See more in United States; Defense and Security

Foreign Affairs Article

Accepting Austerity

Author: Cindy Williams

Instead of hoping that a political miracle will spare the Pentagon from the budget ax, American defense officials need to start preparing for the inevitable. That means bringing personnel costs under control, getting on with strategic planning, and reshaping the forces for today's missions.

See more in United States; Defense Budget

Foreign Affairs Article

Cyberwar and Peace

Author: Thomas Rid

Cyberwar Is Coming!" declared the title of a seminal 1993 article by the RAND Corporation analysts John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, who argued that the nascent Internet would fundamentally transform warfare.

See more in United States; Cybersecurity