One of the major objectives of President Bush’s trip to Europe last week was to secure additional international support for the war in Afghanistan. Although European governments generally reaffirmed — and in several cases announced slight increases in — their military and economic commitments to the beleaguered Afghan government of Hamid Karzai, which remains entangled in a protracted insurgency with the Taliban, their declared level of support appears to fall short of that needed to allow the Afghan government to consolidate its control of the country. The members of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) continue to reaffirm their commitment […]

Last week, the Supreme Court once again waded into the murky legal waters of the War on Terror. In Boumediene v. Bush, a deeply divided court struck down a provision of the Detainee Treatment Act that limited the access to judicial review by detainees in Guantanamo seeking to challenge their classification as “enemy combatants.” The legal rationale for this decision, although controversial, was not complicated: aliens held by the United States in areas where the U.S. exercises sovereignty are protected by the Constitution; Guantanamo is within the de facto sovereignty of the United States; the Congress had not suspended the […]

Part I: Series Introduction PARIS — Since the time of Gen. De Gaulle, France’s posture towards the United States can be summed up in the familiar expression, “Friend, ally, non-aligned.” A source of French pride and American distrust, the formula has haunted France’s historically stormy relationship with NATO, and served as the geopolitical expression of l’exception fran├žaise, France’s cultural identity of exceptionalism. It took on added significance since the emergence of the European Union, of which France was and remains a driving force. The need to balance its two principle relationships — one a strategic alliance with political implications, the […]

The Al-Qaida Threat: Local or International?

A piece in yesterday’s NY Times Week in Review section examines a debate between two well-known terrorism experts on the current nature of the threat from al-Qaida: On one side is Bruce Hoffman, a cerebral 53-year-old Georgetown University historian and author of the highly respected 1998 book “Inside Terrorism.” He argues that Al Qaeda is alive, well, resurgent and more dangerous than it has been in several years. In his corner, he said, is a battalion of mainstream academics and a National Intelligence Estimate issued last summer warning that Al Qaeda had reconstituted in Pakistan. On the other side is […]

This year, American children born after the fall of the Berlin Wall, literally a generation ago, will vote in a presidential election for the first time. They will join a group of voters born and raised during the long struggle against communism and now entering retirement. On Feb. 12 of this year, the nation’s first baby boomer — born on January 1, 1946 — collected her first social security check. In 2008, the long shadow cast by the Cold War will finally start to recede. Both baby boomers and so-called “millennials” seek a president that can address the most obvious […]

Training the Trainers

We often hear about the importance of the training component of counterinsurgency. Theoretically, the military endgame in Iraq and Afghanistan is not to defeat the insurgents so much as to empower the Iraqi and Afghan security forces to defeat the insurgents. The recent fighting in Basra but especially in Sadr City illustrates, among other things, both the importance of Iraqi units doing the fighting, as well as their limitations in doing so. Nevertheless the Army still doesn’t have a coordinated training program or doctrinal approach to military advisors. It’s a subject that’s getting more attention these days, and Kip over […]