War and Conflict Articles

Global Insights: With Eye on Moldova, NATO Must Shore Up Southeastern Front

By Richard Weitz
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The standoff in eastern Ukraine is far from resolved, but whatever its outcome, NATO needs to take urgent measures to deter Russian military intervention in Moldova and reinforce its security guarantees to NATO members Bulgaria and Romania. These two countries are vulnerable to Russian pressure, and their strong support is needed to advance Western goals in the Balkans, the Caspian region and Central Asia. more

Strategic Horizons: In Ukraine, Russia Reveals Its Mastery of Unrestricted Warfare

By Steven Metz
, on , Column

Russia is on the hunt again, determined to engulf another part of Ukraine. Moscow’s complex, multidimensional offensive uses intimidation, misinformation and any organization or group that can serve its interests. For a beleaguered Ukraine, pressure is coming in many ways and from many directions. And that is exactly what Vladimir Putin intends. Moscow has adopted, even mastered, a form of unrestricted warfare. more

World Citizen: For Israel-Palestine, a Weak Peace Process is Better Than None

By Frida Ghitis
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From the start of John Kerry’s push for a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for success were dim. Kerry declared confidently he expected a comprehensive deal within nine months. Everyone else responded to his optimism with little more than a benign smile. Eight months later, what the parties have reached instead of an agreement is a deep impasse. The inevitable question arises: What’s next? more

Strategic Horizons: Amid Debate, U.S. Shares Drone Approach With Partners

By Steven Metz
, on , Briefing

While Americans debate when and where the U.S. should use drones to strike at insurgents and terrorists who cannot be reached by other means, they may be overlooking an important trend: the move to supply a targeted killing capability to allied nations. The decision to provide technology and advice to Colombia and Yemen is only the beginning, as more states will field drones with or without American help. more

Renewed Push, Public Weariness Puts Closing Gitmo Within Obama’s Reach

By Ken Gude
, on , Briefing

Advocates working to end a sad chapter in American history were given new hope last year when President Barack Obama renewed his push to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. The diminished risks of closing the prison, combined with public war-weariness, mean that what seemed a hopeless and nearly forgotten project for Obama a year ago—closing Guantanamo by the end of his administration—now seems achievable. more

Central African Republic a Crisis Too Far for Chad’s Regional Security Ambitions

By Celeste Hicks
, on , Briefing

With Chad’s April 3 announcement that it would pull its peacekeepers out of the CAR, the country finally seemed to be bending to widespread criticism of the actions of its soldiers. Things had deteriorated for Chad’s armed forces since last year, when their role in support of France’s Operation Serval in Mali was widely praised. The CAR may have forced Chad to recognize the limits of its regional ambitions. more

Special Report: The Ukraine Crisis’ Regional Fallout

By The Editors
, on , Report

The effects of Russia’s military takeover of Crimea are being felt far beyond Ukraine’s now-disputed borders. The crisis has put a spotlight on NATO, placing it once again at the center of European security discussions. For Russia, the move into Ukraine comes with great risk, as Moscow’s control of European energy supplies has weakened in recent years while a long-running military modernization program has yet to transform Russian forces. And in Washington, next steps depend on an assessment of exactly where U.S. interests lie. This special report reviews the key regional actors in the Ukraine crisis through recently published articles. more

Crimea Highlights Risks, Uncertainties of Georgia’s Turn to West

By Michael Cecire
, on , Briefing

In the wake of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, Georgia appears isolated and exposed. Just over a month ago, the context looked remarkably different. Georgia had managed to arrest the acrimony of the period following its own 2008 war with Russia in an effort to reduce prospects for renewed conflict. But the fragile sense of security painstakingly crafted by Tbilisi now seems to have been shattered. more

Strategic Horizons: Planning the U.S. Military Response to Russian Revanchism

By Steven Metz
, on , Column

When the Cold War ended, the days of imperial expansion seemed to go with it. No one expected the revanchism of bygone empires to shape the 21st-century global security system. But that is exactly what is happening. Now that Russia seized a large chunk of Ukraine, policymakers, military strategists and security specialists are dusting off old ideas about imperial revanchism and reconsidering how to stop it. more

Improving the Odds: Battlefield Medicine in Iraq and Afghanistan

By Robert Beckhusen
, on , Feature

During the course of two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military has succeeded in reducing the mortality rate of soldiers injured in combat through a radical shift in doctrine, procedures and medical technology. Early on in the conflicts, the rate of preventable deaths was little different from 30 years prior. More than a decade later, a wounded soldier is much more likely to survive. These military practices are now being adopted in civilian settings, to the benefit of civilian medical providers. more

Global Insights: Global Nuclear Security Agenda at Pivot Point

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

President Barack Obama’s whirlwind visit to Europe began yesterday against the looming shadow of the Ukraine crisis. While Obama will seek to rally Western resistance to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and affirm the administration’s strong commitment to European security, the trip was initially scheduled to coincide with the third Nuclear Security Summit, which focuses on preventing nuclear terrorism. more

Unsafe Spaces: Trends and Challenges in Gender-Based Violence

By Janie Leatherman, Nadezda Griffin
, on , Feature

There is not sufficient evidence to determine whether the use of sexual violence in conflict is increasing or decreasing. However, evidence indicates it is widespread. Despite the prevalence of sexual violence in conflict today, we are no longer living in an era of silence and impunity. Nevertheless, the risks of sexual violence are shifting along with changes in the patterns of conflict and the spaces in which it takes place, requiring new approaches to support affected members of communities. more

Aid Under Fire: Health Care and the Costs of Conflict

By Hannah Vaughan-Lee
, on , Feature

In recent years, the security threats facing humanitarian aid workers have been the subject of headlines and debates. The humanitarian advocacy community has also been filled with discussions of a perceived increase in the politicization of humanitarian aid. But the debate over violence and politicization in turn raises another important and complex question that requires greater attention: Are the costs of conflict now greater for affected populations, particularly when it comes to health? more

Full-Spectrum Diplomacy: Crimea Crisis Shows That Norms Still Matter

By Heather Hurlburt
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The Crimea crisis has given realists a field day for attacking the belief structures of rules-based internationalists. Ukraine just paid the price of giving up its nuclear weapons 20 years ago, we hear. Integrating Russia into international economic institutions proved meaningless. Human rights and the rule of law don’t matter when great power interests are at stake. The reality, however, is more complicated. more

The Realist Prism: Is America Prepared to Sacrifice for Crimea?

By Nikolas Gvosdev
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For U.S. policymakers, the focus now needs to be on formulating a new policy toward Russia situated within an overarching framework of U.S. interests. The U.S. must determine how great a threat Moscow’s unilateral action in Crimea poses, and in turn whether reversing it or pushing for a long-term settlement is the right course. If reversal is the goal, the question is, what costs is the U.S. prepared to pay? more

As Ukraine Crisis Escalates, NATO Reinforces Its Eastern Front

By Richard Weitz
, on , Briefing

The Ukraine crisis has presented NATO with both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is to reassure its nervous members and partners while deterring further Russian military aggression. The opportunity is that the crisis may rescue the alliance from perceived irrelevancy after the end of the Afghanistan War and against the backdrop of the ongoing U.S. military focus on East Asia and the Middle East. more

Strategic Horizons: How the U.S. Military Might Get Involved in a Megacity

By Steven Metz
, on , Column

Last week I wrote about the challenges that the future U.S. military might face if ordered to intervene in the type of sprawling, coastal megacities that are emerging around the world. Critics object that the resources to develop a force for megacities might be better spent elsewhere. But the important point is that the U.S. could find itself involved in these increasingly important places whether it wants to or not. more

Global Insights: Turkey’s Russia Policy Put to the Test by Ukraine Crisis

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

Over the past few years, Turkey’s “zero problem with neighbors” policy has become something of a joke, with Turkey now the only major country without ambassadors in Egypt, Syria and Israel simultaneously. One major exception was arguably Turkey’s relations with Russia, which have remained solid. Now the Crimea crisis has confronted Turkey with the most serious challenge to its Russian policy since the Cold War. more

In Ukraine Crisis, Central Asia Sees Twofold Threat

By Joshua Kucera
, on , Briefing

Central Asia has looked with alarm to the events in Ukraine, where massive protests led to the overthrow of a Kremlin-backed dictator and the Russian invasion of Crimea. The region’s autocrats are worried that street protests were able to oust a strongman in a fellow ex-Soviet state. At the same time, Russia's intervention has unsettled Central Asians, who see themselves as Moscow’s next potential target. more

Diplomatic Fallout: The European Union’s Bait-and-Switch in Ukraine

By Judah Grunstein
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As has become increasingly evident, we live in a Gramscian moment of crisis, where between an old order on its deathbed and a new one not yet born, “a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” The latest of these symptoms is on display in Ukraine, where Russia’s armed intervention highlights the waning power of the post-Cold War liberal order, even as consensus over what should replace it remains elusive. more

The Realist Prism: On Ukraine, Obama Tethered to Domestic Politics

By Nikolas Gvosdev
, on , Column

Acting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk traveled to Washington on Wednesday to plead for urgent U.S. help for his country. But two newly released public opinion polls will be little comfort to U.S. pundits pushing for vigorous assistance for Ukraine. As midterm congressional elections approach, the Obama administration is highly sensitive to a growing unwillingness to engage in adventures abroad. more