Ukraine’s new president-elect, Petro Poroshenko, has promised to open talks with Moscow on repairing the frayed Russia-Ukraine relationship. With fighting continuing in the eastern parts of the country, the economy headed toward collapse and Western rhetoric of support unmatched by concrete deeds and dollars, Poroshenko and his team might want to consider learning from how another mid-sized Eurasian state has managed its relationship with the Russian bear. This week, in a ceremony in Astana overshadowed by the events in Ukraine, Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, signed the agreements formally creating the Eurasian Economic Union, along with the presidents of Russia and […]

A funny thing happened on the way to the apotheosis of Egypt’s next president: The adoring crowds stayed home. The former military leader, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, was supposed to win a landslide victory with strong support from a public that had given every indication of burning with passion for the strongman. El-Sisi urged them to come out en masse to give him a strong mandate, and in the past they had always responded. There was never any doubt that el-Sisi would win. The only other candidate, Hamdeen Sabahi, served the useful purpose of giving a patina of legitimacy to the process. […]

War games provide insights into the mind of the U.S. military, showing the types of conflicts it anticipates and what it might be ordered to do in them. While war games vary, almost all share one characteristic: They are based on a relatively short war or operation, sometimes followed by a lengthy period of stabilization. Few strategic war games think through American involvement in a long major war. This is not surprising. Throughout history, Americans have expected and planned for short wars. When Abraham Lincoln decided to forcefully stop the South’s secession, for instance, he initially asked for 90-day volunteers, […]

I had the opportunity to spend part of last week in Russia, giving a talk at the Moscow Carnegie Center on U.S.-Russia security cooperation after Ukraine, and attending the third annual Moscow International Security Conference, organized by the Russian Defense Ministry. The difference between the two audiences was striking: The talk at Carnegie attracted mostly members of the liberal intelligentsia eager to manage the Ukraine crisis in a way that preserves U.S.-Russian cooperation in some areas; in contrast, the Russians who addressed the conference, including top officials of the Russian Foreign and Defense Ministries as well as the armed services, […]

In the aftermath of the Indian elections, President Barack Obama expressed his desire for rejuvenating the U.S. relationship with India, which is still seen as a linchpin for America’s rebalance to Asia. But at present Obama is not scheduled to meet with India’s newly elected prime minister, Narendra Modi, until the East Asia summit in Myanmar in November, and again at the G-20 conclave later that month in Brisbane, Australia. But if last year’s G-20 meeting in St. Petersburg is any guide, the U.S. president will have a full dance card at these two multilateral meetings and will not, in […]

The electoral earthquake that just shook up India is stirring up great excitement in, of all places, Israel, where Indian voters’ dramatic move to sweep away the ruling Congress Party and bring to power the opposition is making outsized headlines. By all indications, the victory of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its leader, Narendra Modi, is about to rapidly accelerate a trend that was already in place, creating much closer and much more productive ties between Israel and India. Modi was famously described months ago by an Indian journalist as “Israel’s best friend in South Asia.” The […]

Policymakers, military leaders and members of Congress are making choices now that will determine the size and capability of the future U.S. military. Because of the government debt crisis, the armed forces are shrinking quickly and extensively, amplifying the long-term effects of any bad choices. As always, the downsizing process is political. No member of Congress wants to lose jobs in his or her district when a base closes or the military stops buying a locally made product. That said, Pentagon leaders, both civilian and uniformed, think more in terms of strategic factors, prioritizing capabilities by projecting what a future […]

Last week’s visit of Gen. Fang Fenghui, China’s highest-ranking military officer, to the United States both testified to the improvement in bilateral military relations and highlighted the continuing differences between these two military powers. Fang, the chief of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Staff, initially spent two days in San Diego, where he met the head of the U.S. Pacific Command, Adm. Samuel J. Locklear, and toured the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, a littoral combat ship and the regional Marine Corps Recruit Depot. He then traveled to Washington to meet with his U.S. counterpart and official host, Chairman […]

A year ago this week, President Barack Obama spoke at the National Defense University, where he laid out a vision for how the United States would—slowly—move away from the paradigm of war in confronting the threat posed by terrorism. Every war America has fought, Obama reminded us, has come to an end. So must the war footing, if not the struggle, against global terrorism. What’s happened since then? The State Department’s annual assessment of terrorist networks says terrorist attacks on Americans have continued to decline, with just 16 U.S. citizen fatalities last year. U.S. drone strikes targeting terrorists have also […]

While most Americans have been absorbed over the past month in the usual medley of celebrity scandals, from Donald Sterling’s racist comments to Jay Z’s family troubles, the Obama administration has quietly hinted at two changes in its approach to U.S. foreign policy that, if followed to their logical conclusion, signal a major reorientation in how Washington plans to conduct international affairs. The first, in response to the crisis in Ukraine, has been, as Peter Baker of the New York Times described it, to develop “an updated version of the Cold War strategy of containment” for dealing with Russia. The […]

article card

Tensions between Moscow and Washington are nothing new, but the growing level of animosity and the dangerous escalation around the political turmoil in Ukraine have ended any remaining illusion that the U.S. and Russia could develop a partnership, working together without rancor toward common goals on the global stage. Now that Ukraine stands on the edge of civil war, with the two sides clearly delineated—one supported, even controlled, by Russia, the other backed by the U.S. and its Western allies—it looks as if the world has undergone a geopolitical backflip. The calendar seems to have been returned to something resembling […]

A year ago, as Boko Haram, the violent jihadist group from Nigeria’s north, expanded its operations, I argued that even though the Nigerian government had launched what seemed to be a serious military offensive, it continued to reject the sort of deep and serious reform needed to undercut support for extremism. Hence the United States should avoid offering anything other than modest, indirect help. Since then, Nigeria’s security situation has eroded further. In the words of Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Boko Haram has become “increasingly monstrous.” Approximately 500,000 Nigerians have fled the fighting between government […]

At a ceremony on the margins of last week’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) preparatory committee meeting in New York, the governments of France, the United Kingdom and the United States reversed their long-standing opposition and joined China and Russia in signing the protocol to the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Agreement. The regional nuclear weapons-free zone (NWFZ)—the world’s fifth—was established in March 2009, following ratification by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan of the Treaty of Semipalatinsk, which they signed in 2006. The zone will officially enter into force once the protocol is ratified by the five states that […]

Now that we’ve all taken our #BringBackOurGirls pictures, we can spend some time examining what the appalling tragedy in Nigeria, and the attention paid to it, explains about some 21st century realities. Doing so just might help other young women and communities, as well as our security. But first we might have to relinquish some tightly held ideas about who these girls are and what we can do for them. Who are these girls of “ours”? They are Muslims who live in an area so poor, so neglected by Nigeria’s government and so bypassed by its oil wealth, that high […]

No matter whether the crisis in Ukraine begins to de-escalate in the coming days, Vladimir Putin, with his 19th century outlook, has demonstrated the hollowness of the West’s 21st century approach to Euro-Atlantic security. The twin pillars of the European security establishment—NATO and the EU—have been unable to respond effectively because their assumptions about the nature of conflict and the burdens that members ought to bear to provide for the common defense, formed out of the experiences of the mid-to-late 20th century, have not been updated. For all the exalted talk about NATO as the mailed fist of the West, […]

More than three weeks have passed since members of the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram burst into a girls’ school in the northeast of the country and kidnapped hundreds of girls. It took at least two of those weeks before international attention turned to the crisis, and even longer for the Nigerian government to sharpen its response and accept help rescuing the girls. Among the many questions surrounding the attack, one of the most puzzling is why Nigeria failed to react effectively for so long. By the time Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan at last spoke publicly about the kidnapping, the […]

Even while U.S. troops are still disengaging from combat in Afghanistan, the American military is hard at work distilling lessons from its long, costly counterinsurgency campaigns of the past decade. Two new counterinsurgency doctrine manuals—a joint one released last November and an updated Army/Marine Corps publication that will hit the streets in the next few days—provide a window into what lessons the military drew from Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet both are also important for what they do not or cannot address. Military doctrine institutionalizes the recent experience of the armed forces and identifies “best practices” for future operations. That the […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 211 2 Last