Wars and Warfare

Interview

Why Syria’s War Grinds On

Robert S. Ford interviewed by Zachary Laub

As diplomatic efforts to broker a settlement to the civil war have so far come up short and the Islamic State retains a foothold in the east, a segmented Syria will likely experience reduced but persistent violence for years to come, says Ambassador Robert Ford. 

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News Release

Kurlantzick Chronicles the U.S. Secret War in Laos and Creation of a Paramilitary CIA in New Book

“Over the course of the war, U.S. bombing of Laos would become so intense that it averaged one attack every eight minutes for nearly a decade,” observes Joshua Kurlantzick in his new book, A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA. Kurlantzick, a Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia, mines extensive interviews and recently declassified Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) records to give a definitive account of the secret war in the tiny Southeast Asian nation of Laos, which lasted from 1961 to 1973, and was the largest covert operation in U.S. history. The conflict forever changed the CIA from a relatively small spying agency into an organization with vast paramilitary powers.

See more in Laos; Vietnam; Intelligence; Wars and Warfare

Op-Ed

Aleppo’s Sobering Lessons

Author: Richard N. Haass
Project Syndicate
After responding to Syria’s war with strong rhetoric but mostly tepid action, the United States must now set limited goals if it is going to accomplish even a limited amount of good, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass.

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Expert Roundup

Debating the Legality of the Post-9/11 ‘Forever War’

Authors: Michael J. Glennon, John B. Bellinger III, Elizabeth N. Saunders, and Samuel Moyn

The Authorization for the Use of Military Force, passed by Congress in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks, has been cited by the Bush and Obama administrations as sanctioning far-ranging military operations. Four scholars offer their perspectives on the AUMF’s legacy fifteen years on.

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Article

Future Warfare in the Western Pacific

Authors: Stephen D. Biddle and Ivan Oelrich
International Security

Adjunct Senior Fellow Stephen Biddle and his co-author, Ivan Oelrich, argue in the latest issue of the journal International Security that Chinese antiaccess/area denial is a real, but limited long term threat. It can allow China to gain control of its own airspace, it can deny the U.S. wartime freedom of movement across much of the South and East China Seas, and U.S. counter-efforts are unlikely to prevent this in the 2040 time frame on which we focus.

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Article

The Legal Legacy of Light-Footprint Warfare

Authors: Matthew C. Waxman and Jack Goldsmith
The Washington Quarterly

The expanded use of light-footprint warfare–including drones, cyber-operations, and Special Operations Forces–has established precedents constituting a remarkable legacy of presidential power to use military force, posing a distinctive challenge to U.S. democracy and military strategy ahead.

See more in United States; Wars and Warfare; Presidents and Chiefs of State

Foreign Affairs Article

Putin’s Power Play in Syria

Author: Angela E. Stent

At the end of September, Russia began conducting air strikes in Syria, ostensibly to combat terrorist groups. The strikes constitute Russia’s biggest intervention in the Middle East in decades. Its unanticipated military foray into Syria has transformed the civil war there into a proxy U.S.-Russian conflict and has raised the stakes in the ongoing standoff between Moscow and Washington.

See more in Russia and Central Asia; Wars and Warfare