US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

War on the Rocks


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"Deadly Cooperation: The Shifting Ties Between Al-Qaeda and the Taliban"

Die Terrorismus-Expertin Tricia Bacon von der School of Public Affairs der American University hat in einem Diskussionsforum anlässlich des 9/11-Jahrestags die wechselhaften Beziehungen zwischen den Taliban und der Al-Qaida in Afghanistan erläutert. "An alliance does not mean that partners have merged, operate in lockstep, or even always adhere to one another’s input. In this case, they certainly have not, do not, and they sometimes ignore one another’s counsel. Allies can have areas of major divergence. And the Taliban and al-Qaeda certainly do. Since the inception of their relationship, the two groups have differed on their strategic objectives, priorities, and tactics. The Taliban continues to be staunchly focused on Afghanistan and has never embraced al-Qaeda’s global jihadist ambitions. For its part, al-Qaeda has consistently pursued its agenda with a disregard for how doing so has affected the Taliban. Yet they cooperate in Afghanistan and expect future cooperation and consultation in that realm."

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"Remembering the French War in Afghanistan"

Olivier Schmitt stellt das Buch "Jonquille. Afghanistan, 2012" von Jean Michelin vor, der sich mit den Hintergründen des französischen Militäreinsatzes in Afghanistan beschäftigt hat. "The book gives interesting insights on several features of Western warfare during the Afghanistan intervention: the importance of airpower for supporting ground troops, the overly burdensome equipment that soldiers have to carry during their operations (at the cost of tactical proficiency), and what it means to be part of a coalition operation as a junior partner to the United States. (...) For those Americans who can read French, the book will be interesting not only for its literary qualities, but also because it gives an insight into the 'French way of war' in Afghanistan. Notably, it shows how armed forces with much less logistical support and available means than the U.S. military effectively organize themselves for expeditionary warfare (as also illustrated by France’s subsequent intervention in Mali)."

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"The Demographics of Southeast Asian Jihadism"

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Vivian Hagerty and Madeline Dement haben über zwei Jahre lang die demografische Zusammensetzung dschihadistischer Gruppen untersucht und stellen in diesem Beitrag die Ergebnisse für Südostasien vor. "There is little research to date elucidating the demographics of typical members of Southeast Asian jihadist groups who may carry out or support attacks like the Lamitan City bombing. This article is designed to advance the state of knowledge about Southeast Asian jihadism by drawing on original research into the demographic characteristics of 242 Southeast Asia-based jihadists. While there are limitations to the representativeness of demographic information derived from open sources, which will be discussed subsequently, having a larger amount of data on the phenomenon can aid in better assessing the plausibility of existing hypotheses about jihadism in the region."

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"The Clash of Generations and American Foreign Policy"

Trevor Thrall, William Ruger und Erik Goepner zufolge gibt es in Washington die Sorge, dass die derzeitige US-Außenpolitik von der Generation der sogenannten Millennials nicht mehr lange mitgetragen werden könnte. Die Autoren haben die veränderten Einstellungen junger Amerikaner in einer neuen Studie untersucht und stellen fest: "(...) the story behind America’s attitude shifts on foreign policy is more mixed than many realize. Though there are real signs of global leadership fatigue, younger Americans are not opposed to engagement with the world when it is mutually beneficial. In fact, younger Americans remain quite committed to international life in their own way. However, as our recent study published with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs reveals, the United States is experiencing an intergenerational shift in attitudes about the proper goals and tools of foreign policy. Relative to their elders, younger Americans are much less supportive of the use of military force abroad, but they are equally or more supportive of international trade, cooperation, and diplomacy. (...) In short, since World War II successive generations of Americans have become less hawkish and want a more cooperative U.S. foreign policy. The result is a new generation of Americans ready for Washington to chart a new course in foreign affairs that shows greater realism about the challenges in using military power and more hope for mutually beneficial engagement like trade."

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"The August War, Ten Years On: A Retrospective on the Russo-Georgian War"

Michael Kofman mit einem ausführlichen Rückblick auf den Krieg zwischen Georgien und Russland vor zehn Jahren, dessen historische Bedeutung seiner Ansicht nach immer noch unterschätzt wird. "The Russo-Georgian War, the August War, or for some simply the 'five-day war,' was an important departure point in U.S.-Russian relations, and in European security. Although few understood it at the time, this war heralded an important transition in international politics. This brief conflict presaged the return of great-power politics and the end of the post-Cold War period. In 2008, Moscow demonstrated the will and ability to actively contest the U.S. vision for European security, veto NATO expansion in its neighborhood, and challenge Washington’s design for a normative international order where small states can determine their own affairs independent of the interests of great powers. Simply put, the historical significance of the Russo-Georgian War has been underrated."

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"Dealing with the Russian Lake Next Door: Romania and Black Sea"

Im 5. Teil einer Artikelserie über die neue strategische Bedeutung des Schwarzen Meeres beschäftigt sich Iulia-Sabina Joja mit der Rolle Rumäniens. "The Black Sea is a body of many monikers: NATO euphemistically calls the sea an area of 'strategic importance,' former Romanian President Traian Băsescu famously dubbed it 'a Russian lake' in 2005 and the Russians, in response, labeled the body 'a NATO lake.' While traditionally Romania has considered the Black Sea 'its best neighbor,' these labels reflect today’s heightened threat perceptions in the region. Yet ultimately none of these nicknames, laden with geostrategic significance though they are, show the reality."

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"The Real Roots of Germany's Defense Spending Problem"

Barbara Kunz vom Institut français des relations internationales in Paris schreibt, dass die deutschen Militärausgaben nicht aufgrund ihrer nominalen Höhe, sondern wegen ihrer fehlenden strategischen Perspektive problematisch seien. "The problem, of course, is that 'doing more' or 'assuming responsibility' does not a strategy make. Herein lies the real problem with German security and defense policy. Things have certainly evolved since 2014, notably with the 2016 White Paper, but defining a German approach to strategy remains a work in progress. Today, there is a sense of stagnation in the German debate and, to some extent, a sense of complacency with what has been achieved since 2014. Outside Germany, and notably in France, there is in turn growing frustration. Four years on, it is increasingly clear that hopes for the 'normalization' of German strategic culture (and perhaps automatic convergence with French approaches) were exaggerated. (...) Against that backdrop, the exclusive focus on Germany reaching the 2 percent target is not only annoying; it is counterproductive: It suggests that the German – and thus, by extension, European – defense problem can be solved through money alone."

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"The Year of the Gray Wolf: The Rise of Turkey's New Ultranationalism"

Bei den jüngsten Wahlen in der Türkei habe ein neuer "Ultranationalismus" gewonnen, der das Land auch außenpolitisch viele Jahre prägen dürfte, schreibt Burak Kadercan vom United States Naval War College. "The rise of ultranationalism in Turkey will have three consequences in the long term. First, Turkey will likely continue its anti-PKK/YPG campaign in the region. (...) Second, the rise of ultranationalism does not necessarily mean that Turkey’s relationship with the West will deteriorate. Instead, relations with the West (especially the United States) will be increasingly 'conditional' on how the United States and European countries approach the Turkey-YPG conflict among other issues. (...) The third long-term consequence of rising ultranationalism in Turkey is that it will shape Turkish political discourse in the foreseeable future, and as the June elections clearly displayed, sometimes in ways that would difficult to predict."

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"What Does Assad's Southwestern Offensive Mean for the Future of Syria?"

Michael P. Dempsey vom Council on Foreign Relations schreibt, dass sich die Assad-Regierung mit ihrer Offensive im Südwesten Syriens über die Vereinbarung einer Deeskalationszone hinweggesetzt habe, ohne große internationale Proteste hervorzurufen. Assad sei dadurch in seinem Glauben bestärkt worden, dass der Krieg gegen die Rebellen militärisch gewonnen werden könne. "Once Assad prevails in the southwest, he will likely turn his attention to Idlib Province in northwestern Syria, home to many (probably numbering in the low thousands) of the most extreme al-Qaeda and Islamic State fighters left in Syria. Idlib is also home to more than two million civilians, including more than one million children. (...) Only after Idlib is secure, probably sometime next year, will Assad finally turn his attention to the east and begin his campaign to regain control of the large swaths of territory now in Kurdish hands. Regaining this territory, which includes the bulk of the country’s critical oil resources, will be key to Assad’s pledge to recapture every inch of Syria, and his eventual efforts to try to rebuild Syria’s devastated infrastructure."

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"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Three Scenarios to Expect From Turkey's Upcoming Elections"

Vor den türkischen Wahlen am 24. Juni hat Burak Kadercan vom United States Naval War College drei Szenarien des Wahlausgangs analysiert. "There are three possible scenarios: the good, the bad, and the ugly. In the 'good' scenario, Erdogan and his AKP are finally 'balanced' by an opposition victory in either the presidential or parliamentarian races (or both), an outcome that may stop Turkish democracy’s slide from majoritarianism to outright authoritarianism. The 'bad' scenario involves Erdogan scoring victories in both races. Under such circumstances, he and the AKP will further tighten their grip on Turkish political and social life, making it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the opposition to have any chance of victory in elections down the road. Such an outcome would accelerate Turkey’s move toward an increasingly authoritarian regime that legitimizes its existence through a majoritarian understanding of democracy that passes the votes of the majority as the 'will of the people,' without acknowledging that the AKP closely controls much of the media and harshly silences opposing voices. The 'ugly' scenario entails either Erdogan or the opposition refusing to agree to the election results. In this scenario, Turkey will likely undergo either large-scale protests and instability, likely met by an authoritarian crackdown that would make the emergency rule of the last two years look like a day at the beach."

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"Hiding and Biding No Longer: How China Could Emerge the Big Winner of Korean Peninsula"

Mason Richey hält einen diplomatischen Kompromiss beim Gipfeltreffen zwischen Donald Trump und Kim Jong-un nicht für ausgeschlossen und erklärt, warum China in diesem Fall als geheimer Gewinner betrachtet werden müsste. "(...) many underestimate the likelihood of an alternate result: a compromise in which North Korea retains a small (verifiably limited and capped) nuclear arsenal with non-intercontinental-range ballistic missiles in exchange for some combination of nuclear weapon production capacity dismantlement, a production halt on long-range missiles, nonproliferation promises, the aforementioned peace regime (including a formal Korean peninsula peace treaty and South-North reconciliation), diplomatic normalization, and economic measures such as sanctions reduction, aid packages, and international investment. Such a deal, which falls short of Washington’s current demands for complete denuclearization, would be admirably realistic. (...) A minimally nuclear-armed North Korea makes a virtue of necessity for China, as Pyongyang would be doing Beijing’s work for it: maneuvering the United States off the Korean peninsula through decoupling, whilst fomenting South Korea’s slow alliance rupture with the United States. Politically, the consequence would be to telegraph to Japan and other U.S. partners that Washington is unreliable. Geostrategically, China would achieve a significant step toward a key goal — getting the United States out of the first island chain."

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"What ‘Generation Kill’ Tells a French Soldier About U.S. Military Culture"

Der französische Major Jean Michelin vergleicht die Militärkultur in den USA mit der in Frankreich und arbeitet die Unterschiede am Beispiel der seiner Ansicht nach sehr realistisch wirkenden Hollywood-Serie "Generation Kill" von 2008 heraus. "Popular depictions of war are essential because they help connect a military institution that tends to shroud itself in secrecy with the population it defends. Culture, as a whole, helps a nation process the scars of history. For example, the depiction of the Vietnam War through countless movies, series, and books, even terrible ones, changed the way American society looks at the war in hindsight. Looking at France, I am also convinced that had we made a similar effort with the traumatic war in Algeria, we would probably have a less schizophrenic relationship with that conflict today."

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"Denuclearization Again? Lessons from Ukraine’s Decision to Disarm"

Angesichts aktueller Bemühungen im Kampf gegen die Weiterverbreitung von Atomwaffen erinnern Mariana Budjeryn und Polina Sinovets an die erfolgreiche Denuklearisierung der Ukraine nach dem Kollaps der Sowjetunion. "Ukraine’s denuclearization deal was forged in a relatively short time and at a rather low cost for the West. For Ukraine, the deal legitimized its claims to the Soviet nuclear inheritance as well as recognized its security concerns. Despite all the ingredients conducive to proliferation, Ukraine emerged as a great nonproliferation success story just at the time the NPT was going into its 1995 Review and Extension conference. Today, Ukrainians are not so sure they did the right thing. Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and involvement in the war in Ukraine’s east, in violation of its security commitments pledged to Ukraine exchange for denuclearization, public support for the renewal of Ukraine’s nuclear status rose to almost 50 percent from the previous high of 33 percent in 1994. The final lesson of Ukraine’s denuclearization might be that future such deals will come at a much higher cost and will require more robust security commitments on the part of nuclear states."

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"Does the West Have a Vision for the Western Balkans?"

Die beiden früheren Mitarbeiter der US-Regierung Michael Carpenter und Mieczysław P. Boduszyński werfen Russland vor, einen verdeckten Krieg gegen die westlichen Regierungen zu führen. Der Westbalkan sei dabei eine wichtige Front, was im Westen erst langsam realisiert werde. "Most of the Kremlin’s influence operations in the Western Balkans feed off local corruption, one of the primary conduits through which Russia maintains relationships with friendly elites. Through bribery and shady business deals, Moscow can buy the political acquiescence of Balkan politicians and pursue its economic interests at the same time. The Western Balkans face three key challenges that demand much greater U.S. and E.U. diplomatic focus and resources: growing secessionist agitation in Bosnia and Herzegovina; the dispute between Greece and Macedonia; and the dispute between Serbia and Kosovo. (...) The time to focus on the Western Balkans is now, while the European Union and United States still have the combined resources to incentivize reforms and strengthen rule of law."

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"No, Iran Does Not Have an ICBM Program"

Michael Elleman und Mark Fitzpatrick empfehlen der US-Regierung, im Konflikt mit dem Iran nicht länger auf der Einstellung des iranischen Raketenprogramms zu bestehen, sondern eine Begrenzung der Reichweite der Raketen anzustreben. "This includes preventing it from obtaining intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and intermediate-range systems (between 3,000 and 5,500 kilometers in range). Such a prohibition is realistic, because Iran today does not have any such programs and while countries are typically loath to give up existing capabilities they are often willing to accept limits on what they do not have. The facts are clear: None of the missiles Iran has under development come close to being able to hit the United States. Nor can they reach much of Europe beyond its southeastern corner. (...) A realistic solution involves differentiating among Iranian missile systems. Not all of them are inexplicably linked to nuclear weapons development. Those that obviously are should be curtailed. It may be necessary to allow limited and transparent space launch development. Meanwhile, Iran’s neighbors will have to live with its shorter-range systems, for which integrated missile defenses present the best counter-measure. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s a realistic way to deal with the real issue."

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"Spike in African Terrorism Highlights the Importance of Jihadist Innovation"

Im Jahr 2011 hätten viele Experten geglaubt, dass der Arabische Frühling nicht nur dem Despotismus, sondern auch dem Dschihadismus im Nahen Osten und in Afrika das Wasser abgraben werde, schreibt Daveed Gartenstein-Ross. Das Gegenteil sei eingetreten: "The significant spike in terrorism in Africa since the onset of the 2011 Arab Spring revolutions is as undeniable now as it was unanticipated at the time. The numbers speak for themselves. In a new study titled Evolving Terror, three colleagues and I found that between January 2007 and December 2011 — as the impact of the Arab Spring revolutions was just beginning to be felt — jihadists carried out 132 successful, thwarted, or failed attacks against Western interests in Africa. This figure nearly tripled to 358 attacks between January 2012 and October 2017. The chaos wrought by the revolutions provided jihadist groups with unprecedented opportunities in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Mali (where regime change in Libya had a spillover impact), and they capitalized. (...) In addition to the sheer number of terrorist attacks in Africa increasing, the attacks have also grown more sophisticated as jihadist groups adapted to countermeasures employed against them."

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"The Discrimination Problem: Why Putting Low-Yield Nuclear Weapons on Submarines Is So Dangerous"

Vipin Narang, Politikwissenschaftler am Massachusetts Institute of Technology, warnt davor, die vom US-Militär geplanten neuen "Mini-Atomraketen" auf U-Booten zu installieren, da dies zu gefährlichen Missverständnissen führen könnte. "Right now, all the SLBMs [submarine-launched ballistic missiles] in the American inventory carry multiple - up to eight! - thermonuclear warheads. Mixing these missiles with one or several of the proposed low-yield warheads creates a very real problem: How will the adversary know which of the two is coming its way? It cannot. If the adversary sees a single SLBM headed toward it - even if that missile turns out to only be carrying a low-yield warhead - it must react as if it is facing the full brunt of American strategic nuclear use. It would be catastrophic - potentially nation-ending - to hope otherwise and be wrong. (...) In trying to deter more - and lower - forms of aggression with nuclear weapons and broaden the deterrence spectrum, the Nuclear Posture Review generates real risks of spirals of nuclear escalation in a crisis or war. It tries to reintroduce the idea of a calibrated 'escalation ladder' - the notion that in a conflict the United States and the adversary can have various 'rungs' of very precise and controlled nuclear exchanges of varying intensities without unintentional escalation. The heroic assumptions made by the idea of such a 'ladder' are too numerous to address here. But a primary one is that it erroneously assumes the United States can alone control the climbing of that ladder without the enemy getting a vote."

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"Contrasting China’s and Russia’s Influence Operations"

Peter Mattis vergleicht im ersten Beitrag einer neuen Artikelserie über staatliche Programme zur Beeinflussung politischer Entwicklungen in anderen Ländern ("Influence Operations") die chinesische mit der russischen Strategie auf diesem Gebiet. "I have attempted to describe the differences with three distinctions between Russian and Chinese influence operations: set-piece operations vs. playing the man; service-led operations vs. service-facilitated operations; and agents of influence vs. influenced agents. These are not perfect distinctions, and both systems can and do draw on a wide variety of means. Beijing’s methods also appear to be evolving over the last year to incorporate Russian techniques, if its operations on Taiwan can be viewed as the leading edge. (...) Perhaps the best way to describe the differences between the two approaches is that the Chinese are human- or relationship-centric while the Russians are operation- or effects-centric."

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"Why Americans Aren’t Really Worried About War With North Korea"

Einer aktuellen Umfrage zufolge ist die Unterstützung der amerikanischen Öffentlichkeit für einen Präventivschlag zur Zerstörung nordkoreanischer Atomanlagen auf 39% gesunken. David Barno und Nora Bensahel wundern sich, dass die Aussicht auf einen möglichen Krieg trotzdem keine größeren Debatten in den USA auslöst. Als mögliche Gründe nennen sie fünf gefährliche Illusionen über den Charakter moderner Kriege und die Schlagkraft des US-Militärs: "No matter what people tell pollsters, there is no public uproar about going to war because most Americans harbor some dangerous misconceptions about the U.S. military and modern war. (...) Misconception #1: The U.S. military is the best in the world, so any war with North Korea will be short and decisive. (...) Misconception #2: Few Americans would die in a conventional war with North Korea. (...) Misconception #3: War won’t impact Americans at home. (...) Misconception #4: War won’t personally touch me or my family. (...) Misconception #5: The war will end with the defeat of North Korea. (...) These misconceptions reflect an unsettling truth: Americans have largely forgotten what it means to go to war, and what a 'real' war can mean — both here at home and around the world."

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"Satire, Religion, and Terror: A Conversation with the Editor-in-Chief of Charlie Hebdo"

Ryan Evans hat sich in diesem Podcast mit dem Chefredakteur des französischen Satiremagazins Charlie Hebdo, Gérard Biard, über die Zeit seit dem Terroranschlag auf das Redaktionsbüro am 7. Januar 2015, den französischen Säkularismus und das Wesen von Satire unterhalten. "Gérard spoke with Ryan about everything from the impact of the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, how the ideal of French secularism contrasts with its American counterpart, the nature of the satire they do better than anyone, and why some people still don’t get it. They discussed why satirizing Islam and other religions when they the political arena is not just fair game, but even important. And they close with Charlie Hebdo’s origins (Did you know the name in part comes from the fact that its predecessor magazine was the first to publish Charlie Brown in France?) and the challenges of satirizing Trump ('What could we write that would be funnier than a tweet from Donald Trump?')."

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"Mali is France’s Afghanistan, But With a Difference"

In einem Artikel der Le Monde hat der französische Journalist Christophe Ayad den Militäreinsatz in Mali mit der US-Intervention in Afghanistan verglichen. Nach Ansicht von Stephanie Pezard und Michael Shurkin gibt es durchaus Parallelen, aber auch fundamentale Unterschiede zwischen den beiden Einsätzen. "Ayad is largely correct. Both the United States and France now seem stuck in intractable wars, frustrated by the apparent fruitlessness of their best efforts. (...) There are, however, some important differences between the two cases that give one at least a glimmer of hope for the French. First, notwithstanding Ayad’s assertion that Western forces are unqualified, the French military in Mali knows well the environment in which they are operating and the people with whom they are interacting. (...) Second, France benefits from its ability to act with and through the security services of Mali and its neighbors, who are willing, if not the most capable, allies in the fight. (...) Third, and relatedly, there is no Pakistan in the Sahel. There is no country providing Islamist fighters support and the benefits of a safe haven, no regional spoiler to steer the conflict in directions that it sees as beneficial. (...) France has more at stake, given the direct relationship between stability in the Sahel and France’s own well-being. The Sahel is France’s backyard."

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"What Political Science Tells Us About the Risk of Civil War in Spain"

Eine politikwissenschaftliche Analyse frühere Sezessionsbewegungen zeigt nach Ansicht von Sara Plana, Politologin am MIT, dass der aktuelle Konflikt zwischen der spanischen Zentralregierung und den Anhängern einer katalonischen Unabhängigkeit durchaus in einen bewaffneten Bürgerkrieg münden könnte. "One common pathway to civil war involves the weakening or collapse of the state, which can embolden revolutionary challenges to its central authority or create a whirlwind anarchy in which groups compete for security, a dynamic known as a 'security dilemma.' (...) In perhaps the most alarming parallel to Yugoslavia, a number of nations within Spain have separatist aspirations, and an independent Catalonia could be just the first of many dominos to fall. Basque Country, for instance, has similar grievances as Catalonia. (...) Political science not only helps us predict conflict; it also offers insight on how to avoid it. The Catalan regional government has indicated that it prefers negotiations, giving Spain several opportunities to pump the brakes on the looming conflict. The Spanish government could negotiate some appeasement of Catalonia’s economic grievance over redistribution (...)."

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"NATO’s Expanding Military Exercises Are Sending Risky Mixed Messages"

Ralph S. Clem, früherer Nachrichtenoffizier der U.S. Air Force, meint, dass die Nato-Übungen in Osteuropa widersprüchliche geopolitische Signale an Russland senden. "This invigorated NATO exercise activity is intended to assure allies and deter Russia, a policy the alliance underscored at its Warsaw Summit in 2016, and Washington affirmed with the European Reassurance and, later, Deterrence Initiatives. However, the deterrence element, as manifested in what NATO capabilities are being exercised and where these exercises are taking place, is confusing and potentially destabilizing. (...) these NATO exercises as they exist certainly do not, in and of themselves, contribute to deterring Russian aggression in any meaningful way. First, they are too small, largely lacking in heavy armor and artillery (where the Russians have a significant advantage), and do not typically involve all combat arms. Second, they do not fully engage the huge logistics train that would be required to move forces of sufficient size to halt a large-scale Russian attack through the Baltic states or Belarus."

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"Not-So-Soft Power: Russia’s Military Police in Syria"

Mark Galeotti erläutert die offenbar auf Dauer angelegte Rolle der russischen Militärpolizei in Syrien, die nicht nur militärische Aufgaben übernehme, sondern auch Teil der "Soft Power"-Strategie Moskaus sei. "According to the accounts of both journalists and others I have spoken to who have seen them on the ground, these military police appear to be relatively effective and professional, and they are likely to stay. (...) This is also part of Russia’s domestic and foreign PR campaign for a war that is not especially popular at home (in a recent survey, half wanted Russian forces pulled out of Syria). The presence and activities of the military police have been hyped heavily for domestic consumption, not just playing to the general militarist and nationalist agenda of the state-controlled media but also suggesting that Russia’s role is both humanitarian and relatively casualty-free."

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"A U.N. Peacekeeping Operation is the Only Way Forward in Ukraine"

Die Minsker Verhandlungen zur Lösung der Krise in der Ostukraine befinden sich heute in einer Sackgasse, stellt Alexei Arbatov vom Center for International Security in Moskau fest. Die von Präsident Putin vorgeschlagene Entsendung von UN-Blauhelmen sollte deshalb von allen Seiten als Gelegenheit genutzt werden, den "Teufelskreis" aus gegenseitigen Sanktionen und militärischen Demonstrationen zu durchbrechen. "There is probably no other way to solve the Ukraine crisis, given current political realities. Three years of declarations, diplomacy, military moves, and sanctions have not brought stability let alone positive results. As the old saying goes, 'However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.' A U.N. peacekeeping operation would not imply renegotiating the Minsk II agreement. Instead, it would be a vehicle for allowing the parties to meet their obligations and move on to resolve broader problems of Russian-Ukrainian relations and Moscow’s deeply troubled relationship with the West."

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"The Myth of Russia’s Lowered Nuclear Threshold"

Einige Russland-Experten sind der Ansicht, dass das russische Militär die Bedingungen für einen Einsatz von Atomwaffen in konventionellen Konflikten gelockert habe. Kristin Ven Bruusgaard meint, dass es für diese Behauptung keine echten Belege gebe. "First, there is very little hard evidence that de-escalation is part of Russia’s nuclear doctrine. In fact, Russia’s doctrinal statements indicate an increased rather than a decreased nuclear threshold. Second, the idea of lowering the nuclear threshold logically flows from a lack of conventional capabilities, while in fact Russia’s conventional capabilities are rapidly improving. Third, it is difficult to understand why Russia would want to pursue military adventurism that would risk all-out confrontation with a technologically advanced and nuclear-armed adversary like NATO. While opportunistic, and possibly even reckless, the Putin regime does not appear to be suicidal."

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"Facts About the Vietnam War, Part V: Bad Strategy, Bad Leadership Doomed South Vietnam as Much as the Curtailing of U.S. Aid"

Der Vietnamkrieg erfährt in den USA seit kurzem wieder verstärkte Aufmerksamkeit. Der frühere Kriegskorrespondent Arnold R. Isaacs hat in einer fünfteiligen Artikelserie einige Fakten zusammengetragen, die seiner Ansicht nach in der Diskussion über Ursachen und Verlauf des Krieges oft verfälscht wiedergegeben werden. "We’ll begin with the myth that American troops fought the war with one hand tied behind their backs. Proponents of this belief hold that the United States failed to win in Vietnam because it did not use enough of its military power. But those who think this might do well to remember some statistics that do not indicate anything remotely resembling an unduly limited war effort".

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"Want to Avoid Nuclear War? Reject Mutual Vulnerability With North Korea"

Vince A. Manzo und John K. Warden sind der Ansicht, dass die USA das Prinzip der gegenseitigen Verwundbarkeit durch Atomwaffen, das im Verhältnis zu Russland seit Jahrzehnten anerkannt sei, im Fall einer Atommacht Nordkorea in keinem Fall akzeptieren sollten. "(...) accepting U.S. vulnerability to North Korean nuclear forces would improve the credibility of North Korea’s coercive strategy and increase the risk of both war and nuclear use. (...) Thus, rather than accepting North Korea’s ability to cause significant destruction to the United States with a nuclear strike, the United States should field damage limitation capabilities, a combination of strike and missile defense armaments that would allow the United States to disarm the majority of North Korea’s nuclear weapons capability and prevent significant retaliatory strikes against U.S. cities. If the United States has a credible damage limitation option, the Kim regime is more likely to calculate that crossing the nuclear threshold would be a strategy for suicide, not survival, because North Korea would lack a reliable second-strike capability to deter regime change."

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"How to Deal with Authoritarianism Inside NATO"

Die NATO versteht sich nicht nur als Militär-, sondern auch als ein Wertebündnis. Die autoritären Tendenzen in Mitgliedsländern wie der Türkei, Ungarn und Polen stellen dieses Selbstverständnis in Frage. Lisa Sawyer erinnert allerdings daran, dass dies in der Geschichte des Bündnisses nicht zum ersten Mal geschieht. "NATO leaders would be prudent to consider what lessons can be learned from managing these difficult moments in the organization’s history. Here are three that stand out: Lesson 1: Understand NATO’s Limits (...) Understanding the limits of NATO’s ability to play a forceful role in reversing or halting a member’s slide into dictatorship is an important starting point for allied leaders as they consider their options. (...) Lesson 2: NATO Requires Unity; Unity Requires Compromise (...) Lesson 3: Beware the Consequences of an Overly Accommodating Approach (...) Short-term security interests should, of course, be considered and protected to the extent possible — but the price to NATO’s long-term credibility must also be carefully weighed. The Washington Treaty opens with a recitation of common values for a reason. NATO is more than just a security alliance; it would do well to remember that."

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"Are Cyber Weapons Too Dangerous to Use?"

Joshua Rovner schreibt, dass der heute am besten bekannte offensive Einsatz einer Cyberwaffe, der Stuxnet-Angriff auf Iran, auch die Probleme dieser neuen Taktik aufgedeckt habe. Der für einen begrenzten und spezifischen Einsatz programmierte Computerwurm sei nicht zu kontrollieren gewesen und habe sich schnell international ausgebreitet. "The more this happens, the more these operations risk eroding faith in cybersecurity. Ordinary internet users may be less willing to log on. Businesses could be increasingly wary of operating online. Computer scientists and engineers may become less enthusiastic about volunteering their time and expertise to sustain the internet. And if states believe their rivals are actively undermining cybersecurity for their own purposes, they will be less likely to cooperate on shared issues like cybercrime. Policymakers thus face a dilemma. Should they stay on the offensive in cyberspace, even if it puts everyone’s cybersecurity at risk? Should they pursue parochial national interests like espionage and sabotage at the expense of a global public good?"

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