In early March, India’s national security adviser announced that Mauritius and Seychelles had expressed an interest in joining the trilateral maritime security cooperation arrangement among India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives known as IO-3. Should they join, it would mean the consolidation of an Indian maritime domain awareness network in the island states of the Indian Ocean region (IOR) where India has historically had influence. However, while these island states look to India to meet nontraditional security threats, India sees them primarily as sites for sensor chains that can monitor Chinese naval movements in the IOR. Indeed, India’s embrace of […]

The Ukraine crisis has once again highlighted a fundamental weakness of the U.S. national security process: its inability to hold to long-term planning in the midst of short-term crises. The entire Crimea imbroglio has been a gift to China’s leaders, further delaying the vaunted U.S. “rebalance” toward Asia. At the beginning of 2014, with war over the use of WMDs in Syria off the table, the prospects for a long-term troop presence in Afghanistan looking dim and a settlement with Iran over its nuclear program possibly within reach, it seemed that, at long last, Washington might finally begin to match […]

When the Cold War ended, the days of imperial expansion seemed to go with it. No one expected the revanchism of bygone empires to affect, much less shape, the 21st-century global security system. But that is exactly what is happening. Al-Qaida is using the dream of a long-lost Arab empire to justify terrorism. China is yearning for territory it owned centuries ago and seems willing to use its rising economic and military power to regain it. And now Russia has joined the revanchists by invading Ukraine and seizing a large chunk of its territory. As a result, policymakers, military strategists […]

During the course of two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military has faced challenges in treating wounded soldiers on a scale it hasn’t witnessed since the Vietnam War. In response, the military has succeeded in reducing the mortality rate of soldiers injured in combat through a radical shift in doctrine, procedures and medical technology. The duration of the two wars has also produced a wealth of research that has informed Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC), which has become the standardized set of procedures used to treat U.S. casualties across active-duty military services. Despite this, the cost has been […]

Greeted with much fanfare in 2012, the Obama administration’s so-called pivot to the Asia-Pacific region has of late been beset by doubts and distractions. Developments in the Middle East and Europe have consumed a great deal of top-level attention, and declining U.S. defense spending has raised concerns that the military aspect of the rebalance may simply not be feasible. On top of this, the administration is working to convince two of its most important regional partners, Japan and South Korea, to move past an especially rough diplomatic patch and form a durable and consistent partnership on security and other matters. […]

The crisis in Ukraine has presented NATO with both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is to reassure its nervous members and partners about their security while deterring further Russian military aggression. The opportunity is that the crisis may rescue the alliance from perceived irrelevancy after the end of its major role in the Afghanistan War this year and against the backdrop of the ongoing U.S. military focus on East Asia and the Middle East. In a speech here in Washington yesterday at the Brookings Institution, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen termed Russia’s seizure of the Crimea from Ukraine […]

Like all states, the Federal Republic of Germany’s strategic posture is determined by its politico-strategic culture, which, in turn, is shaped by the country’s history, geographic position and economic status. In the German case, however, the outcome is particularly peculiar—because all factors involved are rather unique. Take, for instance, Germany’s history of Nazism and the incomparable civilizational crime of the Holocaust, the aftereffects of which can be observed in German society and public discourse even today, and very likely will be forever. Consider also Germany’s central position on the European continent and its tradition of wealth, mostly based on plenty […]

Many security analysts and futurists agree that in the coming decades the prevalent form of conflict will not take place in remote rural areas like in Afghanistan but in the massive, highly connected megacities that are already experiencing most of the world’s population and economic growth. In his recent book “Out of the Mountains,” David Kilcullen, one of the most astute thinkers on the changing nature of security, argues that all aspects of human life in the future will be “crowded, urban, networked and coastal.” Megacities will be the locus of economic energy and cultural creativity in the future, but […]

On two occasions in a period of less than a week over late February and early March, North Korea fired short-range missiles into the sea off its eastern coast. In an email interview, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., chief analytics officer for Allsource Analysis Inc. and publisher and editor of KPA Journal, explained the state of North Korea’s missile arsenal. WPR: What is the extent of North Korea’s current missile arsenal and capabilities, in terms of numbers, range and accuracy, and what have been the main sources of its technologies? Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr.: Providing a detailed account of North Korea’s […]

The Realist Prism: Obama Must Choose What Comes Next for U.S.-Russia

It’s safe to say that the U.S.-Russia reset is now dead and buried. It was already losing steam, in part because the low-hanging fruit it offered had already been harvested—and because many of the “concessions” made by both sides at the high point of the reset in 2010 and 2011 were decisions that Moscow or Washington would have taken anyway. The Obama administration’s decision, for instance, to cancel the Bush administration’s plan to deploy a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic was guided as much by concerns about cost and technical infeasibility as it was about improving […]

After more than a decade with the U.S. at war, the question around Washington is not whether the Defense Department’s budget will come down, but by how much. The Department of Defense officially released its base budget yesterday, which came in at slightly less than $500 billion, alongside a new Quadrennial Defense Review. Previewing the budget last week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the new budget is the first “to fully reflect the transition DOD is making for after 13 years of war—the longest conflict in our nation’s history.” The White House and the Pentagon face a tough balancing act, […]

After 13 years of war, Afghanistan is preparing for a new phase of political transition. The U.S. intervention has left widely divergent situations across the country, but the long-promised 2014 troop withdrawal is set to proceed regardless of local conditions. As the year unfolds, Afghans will see a presidential election with no clear frontrunner amid faltering Taliban peace talks. Regional actors, notably India and China, are re-evaluating their position in the country. And America’s continuing leverage—and political interest—is in doubt. This special report examines Afghanistan’s uncertain transition through articles published in the past year. Subscribers can download this report by […]

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is an accomplished fact, but many questions remain unanswered regarding the crisis. Perhaps the most important of these are how far Russia will go, what steps the West can take to resist Russian belligerence and what economic consequences will ensue from Russia’s actions. Thus far, Russian forces have only occupied the Crimean peninsula. While it is possible they will go no farther, it remains unclear under what conditions Russian troops would end their occupation. Moscow might decide to occupy the region for a while simply to pry various concessions from Kiev, such as a pledge […]

The Ukrainian crisis has aroused an ugly array of thugs, from the snipers who fired on protesters in Kiev to pro-Russian biker gangs. But numerous multilateral organizations have been implicated too. The crisis began when former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych nixed a trade deal with the European Union in November. Three months later, with Yanukovych in exile and Russia having abruptly seized control of Crimea over the weekend, many more international institutions risk being entangled in the conflict. They range from the Group of Eight (G-8) and United Nations to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). A […]