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19.01.2021

"The Islamic State Stopped Talking About China."

https://warontherocks.com/2021/01/the-islamic-state-stopped-talking-about-uighurs/

Elliot Stewart erinnert daran, dass der "Islamische Staat" China im Jahr 2014 wegen der Verfolgung der muslimischen Uiguren in seiner Propaganda an den Pranger gestellt habe. Drei Jahre später habe die Terrormiliz das Thema nicht mehr beachtet. "This apparent decision by the Islamic State to de-emphasize China’s repression of Uighurs, a mostly Muslim ethnic group of 11 million that China fears harbors extremist views and is attempting to 're-educate' in detention camps, is at first hard to square with the Islamic State’s self-appointed role as violent defender of Muslims everywhere. The Islamic State’s inattention carries significant risk to the organization. Much of the Islamic State’s success in attracting and maintaining support across the globe has been born from its willingness to take extreme action to match its extreme worldview. Growing anger in many Muslim-majority countries over the lack of support for the Uighurs from their religious and political leaders — many of whom have been cowed by Chinese investment — is a golden opportunity for the Islamic State to recruit. However, the Islamic State seems to have determined that a less provocative approach to China is more advantageous. Specifically, the group believes an unprovoked China can play a constructive role in achieving an overriding objective: ending the U.S. military presence in the Middle East and South Asia."

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11.01.2021

"Guantánamo's Unhappy Birthday"

https://warontherocks.com/2021/01/guantanamos-unhappy-birthday/

Benjamin R. Farley schreibt, dass die Argumente für den weiteren Betrieb des seit 19 Jahren bestehenden US-Gefangenenlagers in Guantanamo Bay zunehmend "hohl" klängen. "Whatever intelligence collection benefit Guantánamo may have provided has long since ceased. The necessity of an American law-of-war detention facility on Cuban soil is disproved by its disuse. The military tribunals there might most generously be described as ineffective. And the dangerousness of the detainees who remain is demonstrably mitigable. It is long past time to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay — President-elect Joe Biden can and should begin doing so upon taking office."

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20.11.2020

"President Biden: Think Bigger and Broader with Berlin."

https://warontherocks.com/2020/11/president-biden-think-bigger-and-broader-with-berlin/

Stephen F. Szabo and Jason Bruder analysieren die gegenwärtig angespannten Beziehungen der USA zu Deutschland und nennen vier Gebiete für eine künftige Kooperation: "Is the United States Germany’s strategic rival? Germany is the fourth-largest economy in the world, a leading liberal democratic power, the core state in the European Union, an active NATO ally, and home to the headquarters of the U.S. military’s European and African commands. Its cooperation is vital to U.S. national interests. Yet U.S.-German relations have deteriorated over the past four years. Last year, even Chancellor Angela Merkel, formerly a champion of close German-U.S. relations, suggested that Germans and their E.U. partners might need to consider the United States as rivals, as they already regard Russia and China. The new U.S. president has an opportunity to revitalize the U.S.-German partnership by thinking bigger and broader about a new series of centerpiece projects. Four areas of possible cooperation in which to promote positive and forward-looking solutions to shared problems are: transatlantic security, trade, public health, and climate change."

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13.11.2020

"The European Offers America Cannot Refuse."

https://warontherocks.com/2020/11/the-european-offers-america-cannot-refuse/

Tara Varma und Jeremy Shapiro präsentieren eine Reihe außenpolitischer Vorschläge, mit der die Europäer die kommende US-Regierung zur neuen Zusammenarbeit einladen könnten. "Europeans need to come to the new transatlantic table prepared with a proactive set of offers that both express European interests and might appeal to the new U.S. president. (…) There is reason to believe Washington will be receptive. Not only is President-elect Biden looking for new cooperation with allies, but most of the offers presented here (with the notable exception of climate change) will appeal to significant elements on both sides on the aisle in the United States. Accordingly, we present here some proactive offers that European leaders could make to Biden’s America, including new bargains on trade, NATO, Russia, China, human rights, and climate change."

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15.10.2020

"Washington Should Push for a Stronger E.U. Foreign Policy"

https://warontherocks.com/2020/10/washington-should-push-for-a-stronger-e-u-foreign-policy/

Max Bergmann und Erik Brattberg erklären, warum die USA an einer starken EU-Außenpolitik interessiert sein sollten. "For decades the United States has encouraged Europeans to 'get their act together,' while simultaneously looking warily at any efforts by the European Union to expand its influence over foreign and security policy. (…) But as the European Union is signaling an ambition to become more 'geopolitical,' Washington ought to end its hostility, or at least its ambivalence, toward the European Union. Instead, the United States should become the biggest advocate for a stronger European foreign policy. The next U.S. administration should begin with using America’s remaining diplomatic clout in Europe to push the European Union to transform its foreign policy decision-making and upgrade its strategic thinking in order to be able to become a more capable partner."

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14.10.2020

"The Second Nagorno-Karabakh War, Two Weeks In"

https://warontherocks.com/2020/10/the-second-nagorno-karabakh-war-two-weeks-in/

Michael Kofman und Leonid Nersisyan ziehen eine Zwischenbilanz der bisherigen Kampfhandlungen in Bergkarabach. "The fighting is the worst it has been since the Karabakh War of 1992 to 1994, encompassing the entire line of contact, with artillery, missile, and drone strikes deep past Armenian lines. This war features modern weaponry, representing a large-scale conventional conflict between these two states which will undoubtedly change the long-standing status quo. Turkey is backing Azerbaijan, seeking to leverage this conflict for foreign policy gains. Russia’s efforts to balance relations with all parties, while supporting Armenia, once kept the conflict frozen, but is no longer viable. (…) fetishizing combat video feeds plays to a Western intellectual preference for the tactical, and system on system evaluations, while ignoring the basic fact that Azerbaijan has not been able to attain a significant operational success. This perhaps is the most important lesson of the conflict: Tactical successes, which may appear impressive, can fail to add up to an operational breakthrough. In such cases, military strategy turns to the old familiar: a battle of attrition."

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25.09.2020

"It Will Take More Than a Biden Victory to Solve NATO's Strategic Malaise."

https://warontherocks.com/2020/09/it-will-take-more-than-a-biden-victory-to-solve-natos-strategic-malaise
/

Sara Bjerg Moller analysiert die Zukunft der transatlantischen Diplomatie und der NATO nach einem möglichen Wahlsieg Joe Bidens im November. "A Biden victory is widely expected to bring about, if not a complete restoration of the postwar order championed by previous U.S. presidents, then a 'quiet reformation' still familiar to the 'blob.' Rather than seeking a return to the status quo ante Trump, a potential Biden presidency should use this moment to move away from America’s ambitious post-Cold War strategy of global activism toward a leaner grand strategy focused on deterring and defending against potential existential challengers. (…) Rather than expend precious resources and continue to use NATO as an instrument to grapple with all manner of cooperative security issues, a Biden administration should instead reorient the alliance’s strategic focus toward the more pressing task of adjusting to China’s rise. Not doing so risks turning NATO into nothing more than a glorified discussion club. To avoid this fate, the Biden team will have to move quickly. At stake is not just alliance unity but NATO’s future utility."

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11.09.2020

"'Negative Peace'? China's Approach to the Middle East."

https://warontherocks.com/2020/09/negative-peace-chinas-approach-to-the-middle-east/

Guy Burton vom Vesalius College in Brüssel analysiert die Motive der chinesischen Nahost-Politik und kommt zu dem Schluss, dass Peking die von der Hegemonialmacht USA dominierte regionale Ordnung bisher nicht ernsthaft herausfordere. "Although China has worked with different regimes across the Middle East, that does not mean that the prevailing regional order is under severe challenge yet. To understand the situation, it is important to recognize the role of established and rising powers — the United States and China, respectively — and the behaviors they exhibit. (…) it will prove challenging for China to apply its concept of peace through development in the region. But regardless of whether it works, the new tactic does herald a change in Chinese behavior in relation to conflict management and resolution. Instead of the more defensive, responsive actor it has been in the past, China appears set to become a more proactive participant. For that reason, U.S. and other Western policymakers should take note and respond accordingly."

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01.09.2020

"Opening Up New Avenues to Understanding the Path to War in Iraq"

https://warontherocks.com/2020/09/opening-up-new-avenues-to-understanding-the-path-to-war-in-iraq/

Joseph Stieb stellt das Buch "To Start a War: How the Bush Administration Took America Into Iraq" des New-York-Times-Journalisten Robert Draper vor, der sich eingehend mit der Entscheidung der damaligen US-Regierung für den Irak-Krieg beschäftigt hat. "This book’s value lies in its meticulous reconstruction of the Bush administration’s decision-making processes, its gathering and use of intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and its internal divides. However, the book does little more than this, leaving the larger interpretive task of 'going wide' to other scholars. These limitations suggest that scholars should increasingly focus on how Americans’ perceptions of Saddam Hussein and Baathist Iraq formed over the previous decades, not just in policymaking circles but in broader cultural, intellectual, political spheres. In order to write this book, Draper conducted 300 interviews with policymakers, politicians, intellectuals, and high and mid-level personnel throughout the relevant departments and agencies of government."

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18.08.2020

"The Looming Influx of Foreign Fighters in Sub-Saharan Africa"

https://warontherocks.com/2020/08/the-looming-influx-of-foreign-fighters-in-sub-saharan-africa/

Die bewaffneten Konflikte in Subsahara-Afrika eskalieren derzeit nicht nur, sie nehmen Austin C. Doctor zufolge auch neue Formen an. Dies habe mehrere Ursachen: "This change is instigated by three factors: the steady propagation of Islamist insurgency, escalating inter-militant competition, and fallout from the pandemic. Combined, they open the door to an increased influx of foreign fighters in sub-Saharan Africa. While they present their share of organizational challenges, foreign fighters tend to make insurgent organizations more resilient to military defeat, expand the range of tactics available to local insurgents, and increase the severity of targeted violence against civilians. Of particular concern is the risk that conflicts in the region will attract veteran 'career foreign fighters' who present a greater security threat than one-off foreign fighters. This carries important implications for regional security and, by extension, for global actors with active interests on the continent."

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29.07.2020

"Ten Suggestions for a 'Russia Strategy' for the United Kingdom"

https://warontherocks.com/2020/07/ten-suggestions-for-a-russia-strategy-for-the-united-kingdom/

Großbritannien sucht derzeit nach einer neuen Strategie für den Umgang mit Russland. Mark Galeotti hat zehn Empfehlungen: "1. Tackle the 'Oligarch Problem,' but First Decide What It Is (…) 2. Russian Organized Crime Is Not Just for the Police (…) 3. Fight Disinformation Through Demand, not Supply (…) 4. Upping Britain’s Intelligence Game, a Critical and Expensive Task (…) 5. A War with Russia Is Unlikely, but Planning for It Is Critical (…) 6. Cultivate Solidarity by Defending Others (…) 7. Engagement Is a Weapon Too (…) 8. Dig in but Stay Optimistic (…) 9. Know Your Enemy (…) 10. Make Strategy Matter Again (…) The point is, after all, that all this matters. It matters not just in terms of the challenge from Moscow — which, after all, needs to be taken seriously, but not exaggerated — but also because the skills, policies, attitudes, and strategy adopted today are likely to be needed to face rather more problematic threats tomorrow. As China moves into the 'wolf warrior diplomacy' phase of its rise, Britain might even want to thank the Kremlin for the early wake-up call and opportunity to build these capabilities."

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08.07.2020

"Trump's Nuclear Test Would Risk Everything to Gain Nothing"

https://warontherocks.com/2020/07/trumps-nuclear-test-would-risk-everything-to-gain-nothing/

Die US-Regierung habe sich unter Präsident Trump bereits aus drei wichtigen sicherheitspolitischen Verträgen zurückgezogen, schreibt Justin Key Canfil. Für Anhänger einer internationalen Rüstungskontrolle könne es um einiges schlimmer werden, sollten sich die Gerüchte um einen neuen Atomwaffentest des US-Militärs bestätigen. "Nuclear testing, even at very low yields, would jeopardize the hard-fought Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which prohibits its signatories from testing nuclear weapons in any environment. The treaty was arguably one of the most difficult packages the United States has ever negotiated, and though it has floundered in the Senate since the 1990s, it remains a cornerstone of U.S. nuclear nonproliferation policy. President Bill Clinton, who signed the comprehensive test ban in 1996, described it as the 'longest sought, hardest fought prize in the history of arms control.' More than 160 countries have ratified the treaty — not including the United States and China who are among the few to have signed but not yet ratified it — but the treaty has yet to enter into force. Some have questioned whether the Trump administration has plans to unsign the treaty. Moreover, renewed nuclear testing could unravel all past efforts to generate worldwide buy-in. (…) Nuclear testing by the United States would destabilize the international system and undermine American national interests. By unraveling the tapestry of arms control that previous generations fought hard to achieve, the United States risks creating more problems for itself than it solves."

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22.06.2020

"Corona and Bioterrorism: How Serious Is the Threat?"

https://warontherocks.com/2020/06/corona-and-bioterrorism-how-serious-is-the-threat/

Die Corona-Pandemie hat die Debatte über das Bedrohungspotenzial bioterroristischer Anschläge neu angestoßen. Marc-Michael Blum und Peter Neumann erinnern allerdings daran, dass die Geschichte des Bioterrorismus auch eine Geschichte des Scheiterns sei. "For the vast majority, the technical challenges associated with weaponizing biological agents have proven insurmountable. The only reason this could change is if terrorists were to receive support from a state. Rather than panic about terrorists engaging in biological warfare, governments should be vigilant, secure their own facilities, and focus on strengthening international diplomacy. (…) It seems clear, therefore, that governments’ priority should be to limit the potential for states and terrorist groups to cooperate, because it is only through states that terrorists are likely to obtain a significant bio-terrorist capability. In practical terms, this means developing intelligence capabilities, securing facilities, and making sure that government scientists — especially those working with high-risk pathogens — are regularly vetted. Biosecurity also requires well-funded and functioning public health systems, which limit the potential consequences of any attack."

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19.06.2020

"China's Strategic Assessment of the Ladakh Clash."

https://warontherocks.com/2020/06/chinas-strategic-assessment-of-the-ladakh-clash/

Yun Sun vom China Program des Stimson Center erklärt den strategischen Hintergrund des gefährlichen Grenzzwischenfalls zwischen den beiden Atommächten China und Indien aus chinesischer Perspektive. "A border settlement between China and India is unlikely in the foreseeable future, and Beijing believes it has little incentive to push for a quick resolution. China’s priority remains crisis management and escalation prevention, until India is willing to embrace a package deal which basically follows the earlier trade between the eastern section and the western section, with the exception of Tawang. (…) China’s obstinance and assertiveness in the current standoff came as a surprise to some. In the view of foreign observers, China is pushing India too harshly at a time when China needs to retain India’s friendship, given Beijing’s deteriorating ties with Washington and the reputational damage China has suffered due to its culpability in the global pandemic. This logic holds some truth, but fails to appreciate China’s concern that India is exploiting its vulnerability, particularly at a time when Beijing is grappling with COVID-19. (…) The good news, if any, is that the turbulence is necessary (but not sufficient) to consolidate a LAC that neither side will like but which both could likely accept in the future. (…) The bad news is that the process will be long, destabilizing, and could include more casualties. Neither side will easily abandon their tactical objectives."

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15.06.2020

"America Shouldn't Restart Production of Weapons-Grade Uranium"

https://warontherocks.com/2020/06/america-shouldnt-restart-production-of-weapons-grade-uranium/

Die US-Energiebehörde hat angekündigt, die 1992 eingestellte Produktion von hochangereichertem Uran wieder aufzunehmen. Alan J. Kuperman kritisiert die Entscheidung und empfiehlt eine Alternative: "Under a new 'strategy to assure U.S. National Security,' the department declared in April a 'well-defined future defense need' to produce 'highly-enriched uranium needed to fuel Navy nuclear reactors in the 2050s,' when the existing stockpile supposedly will run out. So, while the U.S. government is demanding that Iran and other countries not initiate production of weapons-grade uranium, we would do exactly that ourselves. It is hard to imagine a policy more damaging to U.S. national-security efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. Fortunately, this policy disaster could be avoided through technological innovation. As Congress has urged for five years, the U.S. Navy should explore designing its next generation of aircraft carriers and submarines with reactors that run on low-enriched uranium (LEU), which is unsuitable for nuclear weapons, instead of the Navy’s traditional weapons-grade fuel. Not only would this avoid the contentious restart of HEU production, it could prevent other countries like Iran from claiming to require weapons-grade uranium for their navies, and it would reduce terrorism risks at Tennessee’s civilian facility that makes Navy fuel. Such safer LEU fuel is already utilized successfully by the navies of France and China."

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15.05.2020

"A Healthy Dose of Realism: Stopping COVID-19 Doesn't Start with the WHO"

https://warontherocks.com/2020/05/a-healthy-dose-of-realism-stopping-covid-19-doesnt-start-with-the-who/

Der Politikwissenschaftler Frank L. Smith III widerspricht dagegen der Ansicht, dass eine erfolgreiche Bekämpfung der Corona-Pandemie nur unter der Führung der Weltgesundheitsorganisation möglich sei. Wichtiger sei eine effektive Kooperation der Großmächte. Als historischen Beleg für seine These verweist er auf die erfolgreiche Ausrottung der Pocken während des Kalten Kriegs. "Conventional wisdom credits the WHO for eradicating smallpox, and yet, contrary to popular belief, WHO leadership opposed this campaign. The eradication of smallpox started and succeeded thanks to the Soviet Union and United States. This political history provides insight into how to combat COVID-19 during the current era of great-power competition. Eradicating smallpox was the greatest public health victory in history. (…) A great-power concert won’t save the world. It will help nation-states — particularly the United States and China — help themselves in the midst of great-power competition. It will also accomplish more than damning the WHO or expecting miracles from international institutions. As with the eradication of smallpox, the WHO and the rest of the world will follow when the great powers choose to lead."

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12.05.2020

"Is Human Rights Training Working with Foreign Militaries? No One Knows and That's O.K."

https://warontherocks.com/2020/05/is-human-rights-training-working-with-foreign-militaries-no-one-knows-a
nd-thats-o-k/

Das Pentagon und das US-Außenministerium betreiben ein Programm, bei dem Sicherheitskräften verbündeter Staaten beigebracht werden soll, bei ihren Einsätzen Menschenrechte und internationale Normen zu beachten. Emily Knowles und Jahara Matisek zufolge gibt es keine Auswertung, aus der abzulesen sei, wie erfolgreich diese Bemühungen in der Praxis wären. "A recent War on the Rocks article by Melissa Dalton and Tommy Ross identified American assistance to Uganda as an example of the paradox of trying to make a partner force that is effective and abides by international laws and norms. However, Uganda’s military isn’t the only problem child. American security assistance to Afghanistan, Cameroon, Chad, Iraq, Somalia, and many more countries, suffers from various problems and traps ranging from creating Fabergé Egg militaries (expensive to build but easy for insurgents to break) to assisting powerful counter-terrorism partner forces that commit atrocities. (…) Now that the Government Accountability Office has recommended clear timelines and plans for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of human rights training for foreign security forces, this is a good opportunity to examine what these programs are delivering."

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01.05.2020

"COVID-19 and America's Counter-Terrorism Response."

https://warontherocks.com/2020/05/covid-19-and-americas-counter-terrorism-response/

Lydia Khalil stellt enttäuscht fest, dass die "Fixierung auf die Terrorismusbekämpfung" im sicherheitspolitischen Establishment Washingtons auch von der Coronakrise nicht erschüttert worden sei. "Ever since the Sept. 11 attacks, U.S. foreign policy and national security have been swallowed whole by counter-terrorism considerations, even as a number of counter-terrorism experts have cautioned against overemphasizing the terrorist threat. If anything could ever shake the United States out of its counter-terrorism fixation it would be a crisis of even greater magnitude than 9/11. It seemed like that moment finally came with the COVID-19 pandemic, as the death toll in New York alone has been greater than the 9/11 attacks. Yet what we have seen so far is the opposite. Instead of reorienting toward other paradigms and reexamining its strategic priorities, the United States continues to reflexively overextend its counter-terrorism tools to deal with some of the more problematic aspects of the virus’ spread."

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30.04.2020

"Disease and Diplomacy in the 19th Century"

https://warontherocks.com/2020/04/disease-and-diplomacy-in-the-nineteenth-century/

Andrew Ehrhardt vom King’s College London wirft einen Blick in die Geschichte und beschreibt, wie Staaten früher auf diplomatischer Ebene mit Epidemien umgegangen sind. Bis zum 19. Jahrhundert habe dabei die Verhängung von Quarantänen im Mittelpunkt gestanden, seitdem gebe es eine zunehmende internationale Kooperation. "(…) the practice of quarantine defined the relationship between disease and diplomacy for much of modern history. Yet toward the midpoint of the nineteenth century, as the industrial revolution significantly increased manufacturing within nations and the trade between them, both national and international opinions on quarantines found the practice ever more cumbersome and costly. After a particularly deadly outbreak of cholera in 1832, the British government implemented strict quarantine measures which drew the ire of English businessmen, traders, and merchants, leading some to argue that cholera was a 'humbug got up for the destruction of our commerce.' Likewise, on a regional and global level, the impact on trade and commerce was inconsistent and increasingly debilitating. (…) The need to resolve this uncomfortable strain between pandemic on the one hand, and progress and prosperity on the other, was one of the reasons European governments once again advocated for nations to cooperate on matters relating to the spread of disease. (…) The relationships between disease, science, nationalism, and internationalism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have been highlighted by a number of historians in the past; yet these linkages seem to be undervalued by a number of commentators today. On the subject of international order, in particular, the pessimism of some leading thinkers is discouraging."

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10.04.2020

"Aftershocks: The Coronavirus Pandemic and the New World Disorder"

https://warontherocks.com/2020/04/aftershocks-the-coronavirus-pandemic-and-the-new-world-disorder/

Zur Einordnung der Corona-Pandemie werden oft Vergleiche zur globalen Grippewelle von 1918 angestellt. Colin H. Kahl und Ariana Berengaut empfehlen dagegen, den Blick auf die beiden Jahrzehnte zu richten, die jener Pandemie folgten: "This period, often referred to as the interwar years, was characterized by rising nationalism and xenophobia, the grinding halt of globalization in favor of beggar-thy-neighbor policies, and the collapse of the world economy in the Great Depression. Revolution, civil war, and political instability rocked important nations. (…) Even before COVID-19, shadows of the interwar years were beginning to re-emerge. The virus, however, has brought these dynamics into sharper relief. And the pandemic seems likely to greatly amplify them as economic and political upheaval follows, great-power rivalry deepens, institutions meant to encourage international cooperation fail, and American leadership falters. In this respect, as Richard Haas notes, the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftershocks it will produce seem poised to 'accelerate history,' returning the world to a much more dangerous time."

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10.04.2020

"Leak Reveals Jihadists' Weakening Grip in Syria's Idlib"

https://warontherocks.com/2020/04/leak-reveals-jihadists-weakening-grip-in-syrias-idlib/

Sam Heller berichtet über eine Audioaufnahme, die darauf hindeute, dass die Vorherrschaft der radikalislamischen Gruppe Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) über die syrische Idlib-Provinz ins Wanken geraten sei. "A newly leaked recording of a pep talk by HTS figure Abu al-Fateh al-Farghali to the group’s rank and file provides a unique insight into what HTS was telling its members as they defended Idlib from a Syrian military offensive earlier this year. (…) as HTS-led rebels have lost more ground to the Syrian army and Turkey has injected more forces into Idlib unilaterally, al-Farghali says the terms the group originally imposed on Turkey from a position of strength are 'void.' Turkey has since made new promises to counter HTS, per the March 5 protocol it agreed with Russia to halt Idlib’s latest bout of violence. And if this leaked recording is to be believed, the modus vivendi that had existed between Turkey and HTS has been destabilized."

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18.03.2020

"Germany, Wilsonianism, and the Return of Realpolitik"

https://warontherocks.com/2020/03/germany-wilsonianism-and-the-return-of-realpolitik/

Nach Ansicht von Dominik Wullers treffen in der sicherheitspolitischen Debatte in Deutschland Pazifisten und "Wilsonianer" aufeinander. "Pacifism is the strict rejection of any use of force, irrespective of the goal. (…) Wilsonianism, on the other hand, accepts a narrow set of reasons for military intervention. The protection or enforcement of human rights sits chief among them. Both pacifism and Wilsonianism, however, adhere to strictly ethical goals. Neither would accept the realpolitik goals of stability and order as valid and especially not using military means to achieve them. Subsequently, the debate in Germany has not been between pacifists and realists, but between pacifists and Wilsonians. (…) Germany would do well to continue its multilateral path with successful and stabilizing organizations such as NATO or the United Nations because prosperity, stability, and order may depend on it. A stable order is easy to take for granted — the current Corona crisis aptly demonstrates this. At the same time, Germany should and already does realize that the world extends beyond Europe. The toolkit of a nation such as Germany needs more than hopes and dreams for a better world. It needs a good dosage of realism — and it needs to drop the intellectual quotation marks around 'great-power competition'."

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12.03.2020

"Al-Qaeda: Threat or Anachronism?"

https://warontherocks.com/2020/03/al-qaeda-threat-or-anachronism/

Nachdem US-Außenminister Pompeo die Al-Qaida als "Schatten ihrer selbst" bezeichnet hat, erläutern die beiden Terrorismus-Experten Bruce Hoffman und Jacob Ware, warum sie derartige Siegesmeldungen für verfrüht halten. "Sixteen years ago, Osama bin Laden explained in his last publicly released videotaped statement that al-Qaeda was waging a 'war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers.' He boasted that the group and its Afghan mujahedeen partners had 'bled Russia for 10 years, until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat' from Afghanistan in 1989, and predicted that al-Qaeda would do the same to the United States. With the signing of the landmark U.S.-Taliban peace agreement and drawdowns from both the Syrian and African theaters, bin Laden’s prediction is becoming prophecy. To be sure, the defeat of the Islamic State and the dismantling of its caliphate — coupled with al-Qaeda’s prolonged quiescence — have created the impression that the fight against Salafi-Jihadi terrorism is over. However, the then-commander of the U.S. Central Command presciently reminded us of the opposite back in 2013: 'No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it over, we may declare it over,' General James N. Mattis warned, 'but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.'"

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25.02.2020

"Cleaning up Turkey's Mess in Idlib and Ending the War"

https://warontherocks.com/2020/02/cleaning-up-turkeys-mess-in-idlib-and-ending-the-war/

Aus humanitärer Sicht wäre es nach Ansicht von Aaron Stein am besten, wenn der Konflikt in der syrischen Idlib-Provinz durch eine von Ankara vermittelte Kapitulation der Rebellen beendet werden würde. Die US-Regierung sollte entsprechenden Druck auf die Türkei ausüben, so Stein. "The United States is Turkey’s ally, but has little interest in the Turkish armed forces being bogged down in an unwinnable war in Syria, taking casualties and being humiliated by Russian bombardment. It is distracting. A ceasefire makes sound strategic sense. It also would be preferable to an outcome in which more Syrians will die fighting for an unwinnable endeavor. Negotiations with Russia will not be easy, nor straightforward. Idlib is a massive humanitarian catastrophe and the Assad regime is almost certain to exact revenge on innocent civilians it accuses of being disloyal. The United States ought to work to prevent this, but the path to doing so is not continuing aid to an insurgency that will not win."

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19.02.2020

"Leaving Afghanistan: Pulling Out without Pulling the Rug Out"

https://warontherocks.com/2020/02/leaving-afghanistan-pulling-out-without-pulling-the-rug-out/

Angesichts von Berichten über eine möglicherweise bevorstehende Unterzeichnung eines Friedensabkommens zwischen den USA und den Taliban denkt Joe Felter über eine angemessene Exit-Strategie des US-Militärs nach. Der Abzug der Sowjetarmee aus Afghanistan im Jahr 1989 halte in diesem Zusammenhang wichtige Lehren bereit. "History provides a precedent for cautious optimism by the United States as it engages the Afghan government in charting a path forward in the execution of this conditional agreement. The Soviet Union’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 — the last time a great power departed this conflict-ridden region after years of occupation — offers some important lessons on achieving minimalist objectives in the wake of failure to achieve more ambitious strategic objectives. And Moscow did so with modest expenditure of resources and with some degree of success. (…) Katya Drozdova and I recently explained in the Journal of Cold War Studies the key components of the Soviet exit strategy and how it was implemented. Through a systematic mining of official records and previously classified transcripts of the internal discourse of the Politburo in Moscow, we reconstruct the Soviet strategy’s critical aspects and identify salient lessons that can help inform decisions the United States must make as it plans and executes its withdrawal from the country after nearly two decades of occupation and conflict."

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16.02.2020

"Germany's 5G Debate Ought Not Be a Referendum on Donald Trump"

https://warontherocks.com/2020/02/germanys-5g-debate-ought-not-be-a-referendum-on-donald-trump/

Julianne Smith vom Center for a New American Security empfiehlt Deutschland, die Debatte über eine Beteiligung des chinesischen Unternehmens Huawei am Ausbau der 5G-Netze nicht im Kontext der schwierigen Beziehungen zu Donald Trump zu betreiben. "At its core, this is a debate about German values and German security as Chancellor Merkel decides whether she wants to continue relying on a Chinese telecom company that China could use for espionage or coercive purposes. The great irony here is that while the Trump administration clearly has strong views on the matter, the United States isn’t promoting an alternative vendor. It doesn’t have one. (…) it is critical that Berlin tune out the noise, hear from other voices, and focus on the fundamentals. Given that the European project sits at the heart of German foreign and economic policy, the European Union’s position on this issue should count for a lot. (…) Berlin may want to hear more from democratic allies who have either recently taken their own decision on 5G or are currently grappling with the issue. (…) Finally, when Germans see the Huawei posters claiming that '5G is about values,' I hope they nod in agreement, but not in the way Chinese state-aligned tech executives mean. (…) Ultimately, Berlin must make a 5G decision that respects and protects the values it holds dear."

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04.02.2020

"Russian Demographics and Power: Does the Kremlin Have a Long Game?"

https://warontherocks.com/2020/02/russian-demographics-and-power-does-the-kremlin-have-a-long-game/

Michael Kofman vom Wilson Center widerspricht demografischen Prognosen, die Russland eine unaufhaltsam zurückgehende Bevölkerungszahl und einen damit einhergehenden internationalen Machtverlust vorhersagen. "First, it is not fair to take the worst-case scenarios for any country’s demographic future and advance murky numbers as though they represent the likely outcome. (…) The prospective decline of Russia’s population is not only overstated but is also unlikely to substantially constrain Russian power or make the country less of a problem for the United States. Such notions are not only based on bad information, they have also become an alibi for the absence of U.S. strategy on what to do about Russia. (…) Instead of talking about Russia’s or China’s uncertain demographic future, U.S. policymakers should pay closer attention to the demographic situation of their own allies, like the Baltic states, which is more dire. Latvia’s and Lithuania’s populations have been in constant decline since 1991, and Ukraine’s is particularly problematic. (…) The core Russian problem is not demographics, but the fact that the economy and the political system are unable to tap into the talent and human potential of that country. Russia has the requisite attributes to be far more powerful and influential than it is today, with fewer people."

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28.01.2020

The three elephants of European Security

https://warontherocks.com/2020/01/the-three-elephants-of-european-security/

In den vergangenen Jahren hat es viele Absichtserklärungen zur Neuausrichtung der europäischen Sicherheitspolitik gegeben. Von einem Durchbruch könne jedoch keine Rede sein, solange drei grundlegende Probleme immer wieder sorgfältig umgangen werden, meint Johanna Möhring vom Institute for Statecraft in London. "Europeans and Americans need to address three elephants crowding the room of European security — some familiar, some less so. As so often with indoor pachyderms, they irritate, as they confront us with our inability to address them and our tendency to tiptoe around them. The three European security elephants will resonate differently depending on which side of the Atlantic you reside. But they need to be seen, and tackled, together. The First: A Creaking European Security Architecture (…) The Second: European Militaries Under Pressure (…) The Third: The Shackles of Institutions (…) Scrutinizing the three elephants in the room of European security — a security architecture underpinning the sovereignty of European countries that is faltering, a fundamentally challenged military, and defense cooperation at pains to keep up with the pace of geopolitical change — is an uncomfortable exercise. With the trans-Atlantic relationship remaining at the heart of European defense, and cornerstone of the European project, Americans and Europeans have no choice but to think and act together as the three pachyderms relentlessly question the future of European security."

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21.01.2020

"The Drone Beats of War: The U.S. Vulnerability to Targeted Killings"

https://warontherocks.com/2020/01/the-drone-beats-of-war-the-u-s-vulnerability-to-targeted-killings/

David W. Barno und Nora Bensahel erwarten nach der gezielten Tötung von General Soleimani, dass US-Offizielle bald selbst zum Ziel derartiger Angriffe werden könnten. "As advanced technologies inexorably became cheaper and more widely available, the U.S. monopoly on these capabilities started to erode. By 2016, for example, eight countries other than the United States had conducted armed drone attacks, including Iran, Pakistan, and Nigeria. By 2019, Russia and two other countries joined this exclusive club. (…) The Soleimani strike has given potential U.S. adversaries every reason to accelerate their efforts to develop similar capabilities. Moreover, these same adversaries can now justify their own future targeted killings by invoking this U.S. precedent. Sooner or later — and probably sooner — senior U.S. civilian and military leaders will become vulnerable to the same types of decapitation strikes that the United States has inflicted on others."

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16.12.2019

"There Was No 'Secret War on the Truth' in Afghanistan"

https://warontherocks.com/2019/12/there-was-no-secret-war-on-the-truth-in-afghanistan/

Nach Ansicht des Sicherheitsexperten Jon Schroden erwecken die "Afghanistan Papers" der Washington Post den falschen Eindruck, dass es eine geheime Regierungskampagne zur Unterdrückung von Informationen über den tatsächlichen Stand der Dinge in Afghanistan gegeben habe. "The story the Post is telling is neither wholly true, nor supported by the documents it published. Instead, the Post’s reporting puts sensationalist spin on information that was not classified, has already been described in publicly-available reports, only covers a fraction of the 18 years of the war, and falls far short of convincingly demonstrating a campaign of deliberate lies and deceit. (…) My personal observations during the roughly 12 years I have been working on assessments of the Afghanistan war are that U.S. officials have not generally engaged in a deliberate campaign of lies and deceit of the American public when it came to progress in the war. Rather, what I’ve observed is shifting (and often unclear or arguably unachievable) strategic and policy objectives combined with aggressive optimism and an overwhelming 'can do' attitude on the part of U.S. government officials — especially within the military given its rigid hierarchy, and culture of following orders and vertical appeasement".

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