In the April–May issue of Survival, François Heisbourg discusses the lessons of the war in Mali; Amitai Etzioni explores how the United States could accommodate China; and Christopher Bronk and Eneken Tikk-Ringas analyse the cyber attack on Saudi Aramco. Also in the issue: Christian Le Mière on the US rebalance in East Asia, Trevor McCrisken on Obama’s drone war and Seyed Hossein Mousavian on globalising Iran’s fatwa on nuclear weapons.

In the April–May issue of Survival, François Heisbourg discusses the lessons of the war in Mali; Amitai Etzioni explores how the United States could accommodate China; and Christopher Bronk and Eneken Tikk-Ringas analyse the cyber attack on Saudi Aramco. Also in the issue: Christian Le Mière on the US rebalance in East Asia, Trevor McCrisken on Obama’s drone war and Seyed Hossein Mousavian on globalising Iran’s fatwa on nuclear weapons.

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  • A Surprising Little War: First Lessons of Mali

    The war in Mali broke out on 11 January 2013 in the form of an out-of-the-blue French offensive against two armed columns heading towards Bamako, the country’s capital. During the following weeks, a brigade-sized French force, accompanied by a similar number of soldiers from West African countries, reclaimed an area the size of Texas from jihadist groups, which in spring 2012 proclaimed to have set up an independent territory called...
  • Women in Combat

    On 24 January US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey announced that ‘we are eliminating the direct ground combat exclusion rule for women and we are moving forward with a plan to eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service’. This triggered media speculation that all barriers to women serving in the US military would quickly be lifted. But much of...
  • Rebalancing the Burden in East Asia

    When the Obama administration announced its pivot to Asia in late 2011 and early 2012, there was much consternation over the choice of words. ‘Pivot’ implies impermanence, and suggests that the United States had been neglecting the Asia-Pacific to a greater extent than it might wish to signal. The preferred term soon became ‘rebalance’. But this only partially describes the policy mix adopted by Washington. A more accurate phrase would...
  • Noteworthy

    Easy, tiger ‘As the saying goes, a newborn puppy knows no fear of a tiger. South Korea’s erratic behavior would only herald its final destruction.’ North Korean diplomat Jon Yong Ryong on Seoul’s criticism of his country’s nuclear test in February 2013. ‘North Korea’s nuclear test is a challenge to the peace and security of the Korean peninsula, and north-east Asia and beyond. There should be no mistake that the biggest victim will...
  • Accommodating China

    There are increasing signs that the United States and China are on a collision course. Some scholars see this course as following the historical pattern by which a declining power refuses to yield to a rising power, and war ensues. Yet the collision is by no means inevitable. The United States should be able to accommodate China’s rise without compromising its core interests or its values. Freed from his pre-election...
  • China, North Korea and the Spread of Nuclear Weapons

    Once described as ‘as close as lips and teeth’, in recent years the relationship between China and North Korea has become more strained. Beijing has conflicted motivations in its policy towards Pyongyang. It resents the disruption North Korean provocation brings to Northeast Asia. Some observers argue that Beijing’s North Korea policy is illogical, as it increases anti-Chinese resentment and support for America’s military presence in Asia. (When Beijing gave Pyongyang...
  • The Cyber Attack on Saudi Aramco

    On 15 August 2012, the computer network of Saudi Aramco was struck by a self-replicating virus that infected as many as 30,000 of its Windows-based machines. Despite its vast resources as Saudi Arabia’s national oil and gas firm, Aramco, according to reports, took almost two weeks to recover from the damage. Viruses frequently appear on the networks of multinational firms but it is alarming that an attack of this scale...
  • Obama’s Drone War

    At the beginning of his presidency, Barack Obama vowed to fight terrorism with greater effectiveness and moral rectitude than his predecessor. He insisted that ‘we must adhere to our values as diligently as we protect our safety – with no exceptions’, and issued executive orders to end the use of torture by US agencies and close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Achieving the latter has proved difficult politically and...
  • America’s Sputnik Moments

    In his 2011 State of the Union speech, US President Barack Obama cast investment in research and technology as a strategic imperative: Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik, we had no idea how we would beat them to the moon. The science wasn’t even there yet. NASA didn’t exist. But after investing in better research and education...
  • Globalising Iran’s Fatwa Against Nuclear Weapons

    Over a decade of negotiations between Iran and various world powers over Tehran’s nuclear programme have yielded little or no progress. Although all parties seek a peaceful resolution to this quagmire through diplomacy, all the major demands of the P5+1 (the permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Russia, China, France and the UK – plus Germany) go beyond the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its Safeguard...
  • Can’t Stop the Signal

    The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction Nate Silver. London: Allen Lane, 2012. £25.00/$27.95. 534 pp. In her classic 1962 study, Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision, Roberta Wohlstetter argued that intelligence failures were to be expected not because of lack of adequate information about enemy intentions or capabilities, but because that information – the signal – was lost in a much wider sea of contradictory or irrelevant...
  • Revolution No. 3

    The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World Jeremy Rifkin. Palgrave MacMillan, 2011. £16.99. 304 pp. Industrial revolutions occur when a new energy system that allows for more interdependent economic activity converges with a new communications technology that enables the organisation and management of the resulting dynamics. The communications–energy mix of the First Industrial Revolution involved the printing press, the rise of coal and the...
  • Looking for Balance

    The Sovereign Debt Crisis: Placing a Curb on Growth Anton Brender, Florence Pisani and Emile Gagna. Centre for European Policy Studies, 2012. £17.00. 136 pp. Many developed countries are in a precarious state. Their sovereign debts have soared to their highest levels since the Second World War, particularly due to high budget deficits related to the financial crisis. Gross public debt-to-GDP ratios in the eurozone, the United States and Japan for 2012...
  • Book Reviews

    War, Conflict and the Military H. R. McMaster Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present Max Boot. New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2013. £25.00/$39.48. 729 pp. The end of the American and British involvement in Iraq and the drawdown of NATO troops in Afghanistan in accordance with a predetermined transition timeline led some commentators to view these conflicts as aberrations. Both involved protracted fighting against insurgents, terrorists...
  • Brief Notices

    War, Conflict and the Military From Insurgency to Stability: Volume II: Insights from Selected Case Studies Angel Rabasa et al. Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2011. £25.99/$36.50. 283 pp. The authors look at six case studies (the Philippines, Colombia, El Salvador, Mali, Iraq and Afghanistan) with the aim of identifying factors that contribute to successful counter-insurgency outcomes. They note that in each case, understanding locals’ grievances and needs was important for achieving greater stability. Targeted...
  • Letters to the Editor

    Objectivity and the Iran Debate Sir, After reading Ray Takeyh’s review of our Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran (Survival, February–March 2013, pp. 178–81), we are compelled to note that it is unethical for a reviewer (and his publisher) not to acknowledge circumstances which raise questions about the reviewer’s objectivity in assessing a particular book. Such might be the case...
  • From Boom to Bust to Flight

    Was it for this the wild geese spread The grey wing upon every tide … ?       – W.B. Yeats, ‘September 1913’ I In 1691, more than 20,000 Irish soldiers set sail for continental Europe, never to return. Unable as Catholics to secure positions in the English army, they left to fight in the Irish regiments of the armies of France, Spain and Austria, and were immortalised in Irish legend as the Wild Geese...
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Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

April–May 2013

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