Defense Strategy

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Is it true that arming rebels has little or no record of success in modern history?

Asked by Stephen Winningham, from London

Actually, arming rebel groups has had a pretty good record of success. In fact, as I point out in my book, Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present, there is no more consistent determinant of the success or failure of any insurgency than the degree to which it receives outside support.

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Will China extend its influence in the Indian Ocean by building a naval base in Gwadar, Pakistan?

Asked by Hassan, from National University Of Sciences and Technology

To date, Chinese officials have asserted that their interest in Gwadar is strictly a commercial effort to provide another energy corridor for Middle East oil, and Pakistani government officials stridently affirm this position. New Delhi, on the other hand, has expressed "concern" about the true motivations in developing Gwadar, suspecting that it is a Sino-Pak effort at encirclement.

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How important is 'command of the commons' to U.S. defense strategy going forward?

Asked by Jason Thomas

The diplomatic strength and economic power of the United States depend upon a functioning global order and a system of international trade based on uncontested access to the global commons—the world's shared land, sea , air, and space—for all. Command of the global commons is what makes the United States a super power.

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What should the red lines be for the Iranian nuclear program?

People love to talk about "red lines" for all sorts of challenges, and the Iranian nuclear program is no exception. The United States can, in principle, threaten stronger sanctions if Iran crosses certain red lines. It can threaten military action if Iran crosses others. But it's not clear that setting red lines—particularly in public, where failing to follow through on threats can be costly—is a productive course.

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HBO History Makers Series with Stanley A. McChrystal (Audio)

Speaker: Stanley McChrystal
Presider: Tom Brokaw

Stanley A. McChrystal, former commander of the United States and International Security Assistance Forces Afghanistan and Joint Special Operations Command's premier military counterterrorism force, discusses his experiences in Afghanistan.

This meeting is part of the HBO History Makers series.

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Media Conference Call: U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan After Osama bin Laden

Speaker: Stephen D. Biddle

Osama bin Laden's killing by U.S. forces in Pakistan raises questions about the U.S. relationship with Pakistan and the war in Afghanistan. CFR Senior Fellows Stephen Biddle and Daniel Markey discuss the implications of bin Laden's death on U.S. policy and the continued challenges in the region.


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Navigating America’s Foreign Policy in an Uncertain World (Audio)

Speakers: Joseph S. Nye Jr. and Gideon Rachman
Presider: Richard N. Haass

Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs commentator at Financial Times, and Joseph S. Nye Jr., university distinguished service professor at Harvard Kennedy School, discuss new variables that are changing America's foreign policy strategies including the diffusion of power as technology empowers nonstate and nongovernmental actors, as well as the power transition from West to East.

See more in United States; Defense Strategy; Technology and Foreign Policy