Cyber Flag 14-1 participants analyze an exercise scenario at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Nov. 5, 2013 (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Tam).

For decades military strategists have studied and refined what they call the “principles of war.” Drawn from the long history of armed conflict, these guidelines encapsulate the things that often lead to battlefield success. They are not immutable laws—bold commanders sometimes ignore them and get away with it. But they reflect the accumulated wisdom of warfighting, including things like concentrating combat power at the decisive place and time; the value of directing every military operation toward a clearly defined, decisive and attainable objective; and the need to seize, retain and exploit the initiative, among others. Every budding military planner and […]

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott speak at a press conference, Canberra, Nov. 17, 2014 (AP photo by Rick Rycroft).

Last month, Australia signed a free trade agreement with China, though it has yet to be implemented. Its ninth free trade deal with its neighbors came amid Australia’s active participation in ongoing negotiations over two major trade deals in the Asia-Pacific region, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). How does all this trade-related bustle fit together? And how much is politics, as much economics, involved? The current activity reflects a shift in global trade regimes. Australia used to be a strong supporter of multilateral trade, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at the center of […]

Titan II ICBM missile silo at the Titan Missile Museum, Arizona, June 2, 2012 (photo by Flickr user jurvetson licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license).

Last week, I discussed why the Iran nuclear deal offers limited—if any—lessons for making progress on other regional nonproliferation issues. This week, I thought it would be valuable to assess the obstacles and opportunities that exist for making further global nonproliferation and arms control progress. One reason for the failure of this spring’s Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was the growing effort by some non-nuclear weapons states to highlight the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. This initiative seeks to mobilize support behind a Nuclear Weapons Convention that would mandate immediate nuclear disarmament. The existing nuclear weapons states […]

The Iran Deal is announced by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015 (European Union External Action Service photo).

Washington is in full gear for an intense 60-day debate over the Iran nuclear deal, and one important feature of the discussion is the contributions made by diverse civil society organizations. It’s one of those moments where information and analysis are in high demand, highlighting the interplay between government and nongovernment actors. Think tanks in particular are playing a prominent role in educating the public and engaging with journalists and congressional offices, whether to amplify, endorse or critique the Obama administration’s position. The decade of on-again, off-again negotiations with Iran in some ways serves as a good illustration of the […]

Syrians gather in a street that was hit by shelling, in the predominantly Christian and Armenian neighborhood of Suleimaniyeh, Aleppo, Syria, April 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Syrian official news agency SANA).

The world has done a dreadful job of managing the civil war in Syria. Could it do any better at rebuilding peace there, if and when hostilities eventually slow down? This prospect still seems sadly remote. The Syrian government indicated last week that it is still not ready for new peace talks led by the United Nations. Yet there are signs that the regime is getting nervous. President Bashar al-Assad admitted this weekend that his army is depleted and has deliberately withdrawn from some battlefronts. In the event of a series of further defeats, the regime could yet conclude that […]

The Security Council unanimously adopts resolution 2231 (2015) on a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding Iran’s nuclear program, U.N. Headquarters, New York, July 20, 2015 (U.N. photo).

Yesterday, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 2231, which confirmed key provisions of the nuclear deal—officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—adopted last week by Iran and its P5+1 negotiating partners, comprising the U.S., France, the U.K., Russia, China and Germany. In her speech marking the resolution’s enactment, Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, drew several lessons from the lengthy efforts to constrain Iran’s nuclear aspirations. These included the requirement for vigorous enforcement of global nonproliferation norms, the value of “tough, principled diplomacy,” the need for effective implementation of negotiated agreements and the imperative […]

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki waits to give an interview outside the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands, June 25, 2015 (AP photo by Peter Dejong).

Can international legal mechanisms defuse tensions among the West, Russia and China? Last week, U.S. and European officials praised their Chinese and Russian counterparts for helping seal the nuclear deal with Iran. Yet there were warning signs of new spats with Beijing and Moscow over the South China Sea and Ukraine. These tensions concern not only the countries’ core national interests, but also their readiness to submit these interests to legal reviews. China and Russia seem determined to ensure that, as great powers, they cannot be contained through international law. In The Hague, the low-profile but august Permanent Court of […]

U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division at a redeployment ceremony, Anchorage, Alaska, Nov. 1, 2012 (DoD photo by Justin Connaher, U.S. Air Force).

Nations going to war often believe the fighting will end quickly. A lightning campaign or two, a few battles and the enemy will fold. Few nations plan for a long war. Despite this, long wars do happen, normally when the belligerents overestimate their own prowess and underestimate the determination and capability of their enemies. For most of its history the United States worked on the same assumption, entering wars with the expectation that they would be short. The world wars and the Cold War were exceptions, but after the demise of the Soviet Union, Americans again believed all their wars […]

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends a news conference, at the Vienna International Center, Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015 (AP photo by Carlos Barria).

Yesterday’s announcement of a comprehensive agreement with Iran to limit its nuclear ambitions is no ordinary triumph. It is, in fact, a historic and seminal moment that fundamentally strengthens the international system and suggests a major shift in global affairs. For 12 years, the international community has been trying to force Iran to accept limitations on its nuclear aspirations. United Nations Security Council sanctions were placed on the country, threats of military force made, torturous negotiations initiated and interim agreements achieved. While talks, at various points, appeared to be on the brink of failure, in the end, the international community, […]

NATO defense ministers meet to discuss the Ukraine crisis, Brussels, Belgium, June 25, 2015 (NATO photo).

Today’s international system is a confusing and hybrid mix of concepts about how states interact and manage their relations. Since the end of the Cold War, the absolute and relative importance of alliances is increasingly being questioned, and new forms of ad hoc cooperation that do not assume permanent shared interests have emerged. Above all, there’s no longer one rule book to govern interstate relations. Instead states in the 21st century work across a full spectrum of approaches, from insistence on absolute state sovereignty on one end of the spectrum to regional integration on the other, with a range of […]

A crowd listens to Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the Turkish pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), speak at a campaign rally, Paris, France, May 2, 2015 (Photo by Aurore Belot/NurPhoto via AP).

Editor’s note: The following article is one of 30 that we’ve selected from our archives to celebrate World Politics Review’s 15th anniversary. You can find the full collection here. In London, a group of Americans meet at a fundraiser in a private home in support of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Across the Atlantic, in Maryland, the construction of a $100 million mosque complex is funded by Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs, or Diyanet. In Canada, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress lobbies the government to strengthen its official aid to Ukraine, while urging individuals to directly support the Ukrainian army by donating for […]

An employee surveys Reykjavik Energy's Hellisheidi geothermal power plant, Reykjavik, Iceland, July 28, 2011 (AP photo by Brennan Linsley).

Today, the phrase “Arctic energy” has become synonymous with snowy oil rigs, icy ocean exploration and Greenpeace activists. The conditional U.S. approval in May of Shell’s plans to drill in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska has reinforced this narrow delineation of what’s included in polar energy debates. Reflecting how observers and international policymakers view the Arctic more generally, northern energy is written as an extractive narrative. From the opening of shipping routes to warnings of climate change consequences, the Arctic is frequently framed and valued by how it can help those living below the 66th parallel. But there is another […]

Health workers wash their hands after taking a blood specimen from a child to test for the Ebola virus in an area where a 17-year old boy died from the virus on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, June 30, 2015 (AP photo by Abbas Dulleh).

On Tuesday an independent panel of experts released a scathing report criticizing the World Health Organization’s (WHO) response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. The panel, led by the former head of Oxfam, Dame Barbara Stocking, said that politics and bureaucracy were to blame for the WHO’s mismanaged response and called for the WHO to create a new division to coordinate emergency responses. The report comes days after Liberia, which was previously believed to be Ebola-free, confirmed two new cases of the disease, prompting fears of a resurgence. While often harsh, the panel’s findings are unsurprising. As Jeremy Youde […]

A cab parks during a blockade by taxi drivers Paris, France, June 25, 2015 (AP photo by Bertrand Combaldieu).

June 2010, a start-up company in the Bay Area launched a new service to match riders with taxi cabs via a smartphone app. Today, just five years later, Uber operates in over 58 countries and 300 cities. Venture capitalists as well as investors such as Goldman Sachs, Google and the Chinese company Baidu have all poured in capital, with the company currently valued at $41 billion dollars. And even as it encounters violent protests in Paris and legal crackdowns elsewhere, Uber seems poised for still more growth. Some estimate that the company will generate revenues of $10 billion by the […]

Foreign ministers from the P5+1 meet at an hotel, Vienna, Austria, July 6, 2015 (AP photo by Carlos Barria).

If ambitious aliens reached Earth tomorrow, they might conclude that the planet is too troublesome to bother conquering: The world looks like an ungovernable place. The European Union faces an ever-intensifying crisis over Greece. Arab powers and their Western allies are struggling to keep up with terrorist attacks and atrocities by the Islamic State. The U.S. military reported last week that Russian and Chinese assertiveness now makes the chance of great-power war “low but growing.” Can these crises be defused? The answer may lie in Vienna, where talks on an Iranian nuclear deal are coming to a head, after widely […]

Over two hundred Nepalese peacekeepers arrive from the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to reinforce the military component of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Juba, South Sudan, Feb. 4 2014 (U.N. photo by Isaac Billy).

Last month the United Nations released a policy paper, “Uniting our Strengths for Peace,” on the future of peacekeeping. Written by a panel of 16 experts, including former East Timor President Jose Ramos Horta, the report is a subtly subversive summary of the current problems with U.N. peace operations. To further explore this subject, World Politics Review partnered with the Global Dispatches podcast to produce this interview with WPR columnist Richard Gowan. Gowan and host Mark Leon Goldberg discuss U.N. peacekeeping, the challenges it faces and how current trends in global security will force the U.N. to adapt. For more […]