The Syria Paradigm: New Approaches Needed for New Type of Conflict

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter addresses U.S. troops at the Incirlik Air Base, Adana, Turkey, Dec. 15, 2015 (AP photo).
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter addresses U.S. troops at the Incirlik Air Base, Adana, Turkey, Dec. 15, 2015 (AP photo).

In the aftermath of the Cold War, two operations became seminal events for America’s armed forces: Operation Desert Storm and the peacekeeping mission in the former Yugoslavia. The military’s leaders saw the war with Iraq as the model for their future, so they institutionalized it in what they called the “revolution in military affairs.” But, in fact, Yugoslavia was the true preview of 21st-century conflict. Now Syria has become Yugoslavia on steroids, the bloody paragon of this century’s wars. As in Yugoslavia, ethnic, sectarian, religious and regional hostility that the national government had long suppressed and kept in check were […]

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