PRAETORIAN PROPENSITIES

The second offering in this brief series is this article by Todd Schmidt. He claims that the terms “apolitical” and “non-partisan” are often confused and misused. The reality of an apolitical, non-partisan military does not exist. Since the creation of the country the military of the United States has been intensely political, and many senior military professionals have been crucial members of political society. And thoughtful actions must occur to ensure the healthy rebalance of civil-military relations.

SHOULD THE MILITARY LEADERSHIP SPEAK UP ON PARTISAN POLITICS?

The first offering in this brief series is this article by Jovanna Davidovic. She posits that the simple litmus test of not appearing partisan as a way of determining whether or not to speak out as a military member is problematic. Rather, the content of the discussion is more important: racism is wrong, genocide is wrong, torture is wrong—regardless of the political actor or party professing the idea.

WHEN A GENERAL WRITES FOR THE GENERALIST (ON WRITING)

A BETTER PEACE welcomes authors General Sir Rupert Smith and Ilana Bet-El to the virtual studio to talk about the ultimate goal of being understood as authors. Smith and Bet-El are co-authors of The Utility of Force now available in a second edition. They join our own Michael Neiberg to discuss their collaborative process and the different strengths and attributes they each bring to the effort. He is a retired British Army officer with a wealth of experience in matters of war and diplomacy culminating as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe. She is a strategic adviser, writer and historian with experience at the UN as well as advisory work around the world. Together they compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses to produce a book that is readable by academic, specialist and generalist alike.

Editor’s Note: We apologize for the intermittent sound quality of our guests. We had technical difficulties with the equipment, but we feel the intent of the conversation remains intact and is well worth the distractions.

CHINA, SUSTAINABLE ENERGY AND GREAT POWER COMPETITION

The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) BRI is currently the world’s largest global foreign investment program and has the potential to shape the future of global sustainable energy. In 2018, fossil fuels met 70% of the world’s increasing energy demand, and developing countries accounted for the majority of that demand. Developing states require tremendous amounts of energy to […]

THE FUTURE OF THE UNITED STATES’ FRIENDS AND FOES

As the United States sees its dominant position in the world diminish, and rising powers such as China ascend, it will find that allies will be indispensable in the coming years. The United States’ global power has been in steady decline over the past 20 years. The United States must, therefore, reevaluate its global presence […]

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE: WHY THE ALLIES WON (DUSTY SHELVES)

With such overwhelming numbers, how could the Allies not win? The numbers in World War II are striking. The Allies, who in many ways had not prepared properly for conflict, produced just over 20,000 aircraft in 1939, a number already almost double that of Germany and Japan. By 1943, the Allies manufactured about three and […]

PAST VISIONS OF FUTURE WARS

A BETTER PEACE welcomes Adam Seipp to discuss the world of Cold War literature. Adam’s previous article in our DUSTY SHELVES series reviewed Sir John Hackett’s 1978 best seller, The Third World War: August 1985. Hackett, deemed both the heir to Pat Frank and Neville Shute and also the ancestor of Tom Clancy and so […]

MILITARY GEOGRAPHY AND MILITARY STRATEGY

Military strategy depends on geography to a far greater degree than what is currently practiced or taught. One of the effects of the diminished attention to military strategy as warmaking has been to focus the efforts of military strategists on crafting or sorting out objectives. The favorite gripe of military professionals, even in military strategic […]

THE INFORMATION APOCALYPSE PART VIII: CIVICS LESSONS

So long as we have enough people in this country willing to fight for their rights, we’ll be called a democracy.  ACLU founder Roger Baldwin Studies, polls, and surveys continue to demonstrate that Americans’ trust in democratic and civil-society institutions is at rock bottom. Given that fact, how can Americans approach upcoming elections with any […]

A MODERN APPLICATION OF LANDPOWER IN SYRIA

U.S. involvement in Syria and Iraq from 2014 to the present exemplifies the central role of landpower in a nation’s national security and shifting political objectives. Late on 6 October 2019, a Sunday, the White House ordered American troops to depart from key ground positions in Northern Syria. For almost a year, U.S. forces had […]

THE VALUE OF WRITTEN THOUGHT: STEPHEN VOGEL (ON WRITING)

A BETTER PEACE welcomes Pulitzer nominated journalist and author Stephen Vogel to the virtual studio to talk about his path to authorship and his love of history. Steve joins our own Michael Neiberg to discuss the differences between his role as a journalist versus his style as a narrative historical author and how that differs […]

TURNKEY ALLIES: ISRAEL BACKING THE SUNNI CAUSE

Ultimately, a positive end for Israel will lead to a dual benefit of strengthened regional security and stronger bonds with the wider Arab world. The current sectarian violence in the Middle East gives credit to some scholars’ belief in a looming war between the Sunni Arab states on one side and Iran and its allies […]

BATTLE CRY: A COMPREHENSIVE CIVIL WAR STUDY (DUSTY SHELVES)

Before speculating about another civil war, one should properly understand the first – the reasons for it, its conduct, and its legacy. Many of the tumultuous events in the past few months can trace their origins to the Civil War. Long-simmering racial tensions, rooted in America’s slave-owning past, boiled over after George Floyd died. Protestors […]

MAKING SENSE OF THE RUMBLINGS ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA

The sparks that had defined the previous weeks promptly fizzled out. Two and a half years of relative tranquility on the Korean Peninsula was shattered in the month of June 2020. It began on the night of May 31, when South Korea-based North Korean defector groups floated balloons with anti-North Korean messages across the border. […]

IMAGINING OVERMATCH: CRITICAL DOMAINS IN THE NEXT WAR (A WHITEBOARD)

As global politics and the international order destabilize, planners, strategists, and warfighters the world over are reminded that the threat of armed, large-scale conflict is a central feature in the histories of states. Recent conflict between China and India in the Galwan Valley and ongoing military buildups in that region testify to this fact. While […]

A REALIST CASE FOR GERMANY TO RESURRECT NATO

Given the constraints on future U.S. defense spending, European states should expect U.S. defense spending to prioritize the threats to U.S. national interests emanating from Asia over European defense concerns. NATO is at a consequential intersection. It can continue down the path of status quo towards brain death and obsolescence, or NATO can adapt to […]

WHAT’S IN A WAR PLAN?

A war plan develops a concept to win a war militarily and politically; it is the detailed ways and means of an overarching strategy. The Department of Defense has no definition of “war plan” according to its own doctrine. There are the Unified Command Plan, campaign plans, theaters of war, and regional theater strategies. There […]

TWO AUTHORS UNDER THE SAME ROOF
(ON WRITING)

It’s a two-for-one on A BETTER PEACE this week. Kara Dixon Vuic and Jason Vuic join Michael Neiberg in the studio for our ongoing ON WRITING series. Kara and Jason share their varied approaches to writing and discuss what literary collaboration looks like in their house. Two very different authors that write on different topics […]

CHINA’S RECIPE FOR INSURGENCY

China’s treatment of the Uighur population in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region has been covered widely in the world news arena. Many around the globe have called for an end to what has been deemed human rights violations. WAR ROOM welcomes Alden Leader to examine the issue through the lens of a counterinsurgency. Leader points out that while there may be some extremist bad actors, China’s heavy handed tactics will only gain them short term success and risks fanning the flames of a full fledged insurgency.

THE GAITHER REPORT: REALITY VS WORST CASE PLANS (DUSTY SHELVES)

As the American national security apparatus again focuses on peer-to-peer combat after thirty years of assumed supremacy on the battlefield, the Gaither Report is vital reading… If you were told that a single falling satellite could destroy your entire home and car without warning, would you consider spending almost 10% of your annual income for […]