Steven Metz

Steven Metz is a research professor of national security affairs and director of research at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute. He is the author of “Iraq and the Evolution of American Strategy,” and his work has appeared in many journals and magazines. You can follow him on Twitter @steven_metz.

Articles written by Steven Metz

Strategic Horizons

For Hint of Iraq’s Future, Take Another Look at Vietnam War

By Steven Metz
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Although it was common to hear ominous warnings of “another Vietnam” as Iraq devolved into insurgency in 2004, many soon concluded that the Vietnam analogy did not apply to Iraq. But Iraq’s unraveling over the past year suggests the Vietnam conflict may provide indications of Iraq’s future after all. more

Strategic Horizons

Robotic Revolution Opens New Front for Homeland Security

By Steven Metz
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The growing interest in robots among the world’s militaries has potential dangers, among them that autonomous “killer robots” might someday be used against humans. While this certainly deserves concern and attention, there is an even greater risk: the adoption of robots by “dark organizations.” more

Strategic Horizons

Will the U.S. Military Continue to Win the Innovation Contest?

By Steven Metz
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Strategic superiority is not simply a matter of who has the most troops and weapons. It is also about who wins the ongoing contest of military innovation to possess tomorrow’s winning ideas. A few decades ago the U.S. was the undisputed master of this contest. Today, the playing field has leveled. more

Strategic Horizons

Iran Deal Opponents Have Forgotten the Logic of Arms Control

By Steven Metz
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Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama unveiled a diplomatic framework designed to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. But after several decades with no major arms control agreements, the American public and its elected representatives no longer understand the complex logic of arms control. more

Strategic Horizons

Hard Choices Await Next U.S. President on Middle East

By Steven Metz
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In January 2017, a new U.S. president will move into the White House. He or she will immediately instruct the National Security Council to assess American national security strategy and provide policy options. No assessment will be more complex and important than the one dealing with the Middle East. more

Strategic Horizons

Contrasting Strategic Cultures Drive U.S.-Israel Split on Iran

By Steven Metz
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Unlike Israel, the United States has far-ranging, interconnected global concerns and a uniquely idealistic strategic culture. How the U.S. deals with Iran reverberates outside the Middle East, and done badly, it might advance Israel’s security while degrading American interests elsewhere in the world. more

Strategic Horizons

To Fight Boko Haram and IS, Build Resilient Regional Networks

By Steven Metz
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Frustrated by 50 years of failed nationalism, today’s most dangerous insurgents rely instead on a transnational ideology drawn from religion. The only thing that can defeat adaptive transnational extremists like Boko Haram and the Islamic State are resilient transnational counter-extremist networks. more

Strategic Horizons

On Iran, U.S. Torn Between Supporting Israel and Fighting IS

By Steven Metz
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the U.S. Congress this week slammed the Obama administration’s quest for a nuclear agreement with Iran. That the U.S. has been unable to manage its conflict with Iran, or even implement a coherent policy, reflects the intricate complexity of the issue. more

Strategic Horizons

Making Libya a U.N. Protectorate Would Be Wise but Impossible

By Steven Metz
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Libya is a mess and rapidly getting worse, as the Islamic State moves in. Only one option has even a theoretical chance of turning Libya around: a United Nations protectorate. But there are very few nations with enough surplus military power to commit to what could be a very long-term operation. more

Strategic Horizons

The U.S. Must Prepare for the Dissolution of Iraq

By Steven Metz
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Iraq is an artificial creation cobbled together from provinces of the old Ottoman Empire by outsiders. Dissolution into three parts—a Sunni Arab west, a Kurdish north and a Shiite section in the south—is so likely that American strategists should be thinking about how to respond. more

Strategic Horizons

U.S. Civil-Military Relations’ Neglected Component: Congress

By Steven Metz
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When Americans think of civil-military relations, what jumps to mind is the interaction of the armed services and the president. But in many ways, the relationship with Congress is more complicated, since it lacks the clear chain of command that defines the military’s dealings with the executive. more

Strategic Horizons

The Case for a Punitive Expedition Against the Islamic State

By Steven Metz
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From the moment the U.S. took on the so-called Islamic State (IS), whether or not to use ground forces has been one of the most contentious issues. A modern-day version of historical punitive expeditions might alter the behavior of IS even if airstrikes and local forces cannot do the job alone. more

Strategic Horizons

The Paris Attacks and the Logic of Insurgency

By Steven Metz
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To understand last week’s horrific terrorist attacks in Paris first requires understanding the core logic of insurgency. Because insurgents are weaker than the government, they need help from the other side, even if it is unintentional. Whoever planned the Paris attacks is counting on this. more