In the August–September 2015 edition of Survival, David C. Gompert and Martin Libicki lay out an American way of cyber war; Bruno Tertrais and Jeffrey Lewis propose trilateral US–UK–French nuclear cooperation; Adam Mount debates the merits of retaliating in kind to nuclear attack; Sean M. Maloney discusses risky Soviet nuclear behaviour; Mark Fitzpatrick dampens speculation about Saudi–Pakistani nuclear links; Virginia Comolli explains the regional aspects of the threat from Boko Haram; Sibylle Scheipers explores historical precedent for Western use of auxiliary forces in the Middle East; Amitai Etzioni calls for an end to efforts to democratise the world; and Jeffrey Mazo assesses the Pope’s encyclical letter on the environment.

 

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  • Waging Cyber War the American Way

    ‘War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it,’ said William Tecumseh Sherman. As we have previously argued in this journal, cyber war is war. Whether it is cruel and unrefined depends on the manner in which it is waged. While this is not solely up to the United States, US policy can have big effects. Yet, if US policy on offensive cyber war is influential, it is also inchoate. While...
  • Deterrence at Three: US, UK and French Nuclear Cooperation

    Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression against Ukraine, members of NATO are again pondering the strength of Western deterrence. Over the course of the Ukraine crisis, President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly emphasised the potency of Russian nuclear weapons, announced new nuclear-weapons programmes and brushed off accusations that Russia is cheating on a number of arms-control agreements. Most ominously, Putin has declared that he would have been prepared to place...
  • The Strategic Logic of Nuclear Restraint

    It is manifestly in the American interest that nuclear weapons are never again used in war – but if they are, should the United States retaliate in kind? In many ways, US nuclear policy still labours in the shadow of Cold War deterrence models, yet a new concept of nuclear escalation is coming to dominate strategic planning. Today, there is little risk of a massive, disarming strike of the sort...
  • Remembering Soviet Nuclear Risks

    In a 2005 interview, former Soviet Western Group of Forces commander Matvei Burlakov said that the peak of the Cold War came in the 1980s. In a crisis, he asserted, Soviet plans were to strike pre-emptively, when tensions first started to rise. All that remained was for the signal to be sent and the Western Group of Forces would be the first to act. Burlakov also insisted that the Soviet...
  • Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the Nuclear Rumour Mill

    One of the arguments most often raised against the emerging Iran nuclear deal is that it will prompt a proliferation cascade in the region. For years, many observers have worried that if Iran got too close to being able to produce nuclear weapons it would stimulate a similar effort by Saudi Arabia, which in turn might encourage Egypt and others to follow suit. Seven years ago, the IISS released a...
  • The Regional Problem of Boko Haram

    ‘Boko Haram is a typical example of small fires causing large fires’, declared retired general Muhammadu Buhari in his inaugural speech as Nigeria’s new president on 29 May 2015. The analogy was apt. From its inception in the early 2000s, the group has evolved from an isolated, broadly non-violent sect to a brutal, Islamist insurgency engaged in terrorism and criminality. In the course of 2014 and 2015 Boko Haram’s violence has...
  • Noteworthy

    Over the rainbow ‘They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.’ Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in his opinion ordering the legalisation of same-sex marriage across all US states. Score one for North Korea ‘In my view, 20 is a hell of a lot of bombs.’ Siegfried S. Hecker, former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and a professor at Stanford, comments on reports that...
  • Auxiliaries at War in the Middle East

    In a BBC Radio Four interview on 9 October 2014, UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon declared that the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in the Middle East ‘can only be won on the ground, but it can also only be won by a home army, not by America or Britain’. According to Fallon, this was the main lesson to be learned from recent Western interventions...
  • The Democratisation Mirage

    One is reluctant to publish an essay that suggests that the families who lost their loved ones in Afghanistan and Iraq (as well as in Vietnam) – and the even larger numbers who have been maimed there – made these sacrifices in vain. As a former combatant, I know this grief closely. However, a clear-eyed view might prevent even more bloodshed and grief. And so, with much sadness, it must...
  • The Economics of Multipolarity

    Catch Up: Developing Countries in the World Economy Deepak Nayyar. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. £25.00/$45.00. 221 pp. Since the turn of the twenty-first century, the attention of economists and geopolitical analysts has been focused on China’s spectacular rise. In the shadow of the 2008 transatlantic financial crisis, and against the backdrop of the ‘global imbalance’ that the United States–China relationship came to represent, analysts even entertained the possibility of a ‘G2’...
  • Delusions of Grand

    What Good is Grand Strategy? Power and Purpose in American Statecraft from Harry S. Truman to George W. Bush Hal Brands. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2014. £18.50/$29.95. 273 pp. In late January 2015, retired general James Mattis, former chief of US Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that, with threats like the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) seemingly on the ascent, the United States needed a ‘refreshed...
  • Book Reviews

    Asia-Pacific Lanxin Xiang Grassroots Fascism: The War Experience of the Japanese People Yoshimi Yoshiaki. Ethan Mark, trans. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015. £30.95/$45.00. 360 pp. This is a unique book, written by a leading Japanese historian who is also a founding member of the Center for Research and Documentation on Japan’s War Responsibility. Its primary focus is on how ordinary Japanese lived during the Pacific War. Seventy years after the Japanese defeat, the...
  • Brief Notices

    Asia-Pacific Comparative Study of Child Soldiering on Myanmar–China Border: Evolutions, Challenges and Countermeasures Kai Chen. Singapore: Springer, 2014. £44.99/$54.99. 96 pp. Chen conducts a historical and geographical comparative analysis of child-soldier recruitment by Burmese insurgent groups. Highlighting the main challenges limiting Myanmar’s capacity to address the problem alone, he proposes the creation of a targeted ‘transnational public–private partnership’ as a more promising solution. Makers of Modern Asia Ramachandra Guha, ed. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press...
  • The Pope’s Divisions

    I It was either to Winston Churchill or the French politician Pierre Laval that Stalin famously derided the importance of the Pope. ‘How many divisions has he got?’ But as the spiritual leader of more than 15% of the world’s population and representative of a 2,000-year ethical and moral tradition, the Pope may have more soft power than any individual on the planet. So the publication in June 2015 of Pope...
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Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

August–September 2015

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