In the October–November issue, Michael O’Hanlon argues that the process of NATO enlargement has run its course; Michael Elleman pinpoints North Korea’s rapid progression in long-range missile technology to its acquisition of a high-performance liquid-propellant engine; Christopher D. Kolenda examines the strategic flaws in US policy towards Afghanistan; Steve Andreasen calls on NATO to withdraw US tactical nuclear weapons from Europe; Erica Frantz and Andrea Kendall-Taylor compare twentieth- and twenty-first-century autocrats; Walter Posch examines the challenges faced by the West in dealing with Iran; Reinhard Wolf analyses the impact of Donald Trump’s extreme attention to symbolism on his foreign-policy outlook;...

In the October–November issue, Michael O’Hanlon argues that the process of NATO enlargement has run its course; Michael Elleman pinpoints North Korea’s rapid progression in long-range missile technology to its acquisition of a high-performance liquid-propellant engine; Christopher D. Kolenda examines the strategic flaws in US policy towards Afghanistan; Steve Andreasen calls on NATO to withdraw US tactical nuclear weapons from Europe; Erica Frantz and Andrea Kendall-Taylor compare twentieth- and twenty-first-century autocrats; Walter Posch examines the challenges faced by the West in dealing with Iran; Reinhard Wolf analyses the impact of Donald Trump’s extreme attention to symbolism on his foreign-policy outlook; Jürgen Altmann and Frank Sauer argue that autonomous weapon systems will increase crisis instability; Rebecca Friedman Lissner traces the shape of US nuclear policy following the First Gulf War; Gordon Barrass and John A. Gans, Jr, contribute review essays; Teresita C. Schaffer, Ray Takeyh, Erik Jones and Thomas Rid review new books; and Dana H. Allin describes how race is the distinctive problem of American history.

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  • NATO’s Limits: A New Security Architecture for Eastern Europe

    Western relations with Russia are in a dangerous state. In the United States, evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 election has produced a rare bipartisan consensus of inflexibility towards Moscow. President Donald Trump’s long-stated goal of improved relations is thwarted, not least by the ongoing investigation of possible collusion between his campaign and Russian intelligence agencies. Yet, the goal itself is worthy. After all, Trump’s two immediate predecessors had...
  • The Secret to North Korea’s ICBM Success

    North Korea’s missile programme has made astounding strides over the past two years. An arsenal that had been based on short- and medium-range missiles, along with an intermediate-range Musudan that repeatedly failed flight tests, has suddenly been supplemented by two new missiles: the intermediate-range Hwasong-12 and the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasong-14. No other country has transitioned from a medium-range capability to an ICBM in such a short time. What...
  • America’s Generals Are Out of Ideas for Afghanistan

    President Donald Trump’s much-anticipated 21 August speech promised to roll out a new strategy for America’s 16-year-old war in Afghanistan. (Afghans themselves have been at war for nearly 40 years.) Those hoping for meaningful change were disappointed. The decision to do more of the same and expect different results underscores a broader strategic bankruptcy within the US national-security establishment that is eroding trust in American leadership. That President Trump agreed to...
  • Rethinking NATO’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons

    The aftermath of President Donald Trump’s first visit to NATO headquarters in May 2017 and the G20 Summit in July might seem an inopportune time to debate the future of US tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. Anxiety in NATO capitals has risen since last November, driven by continuing concerns over Trump’s election and the threatening direction of Russian security policy. Against this backdrop, the easy – some would say obvious...
  • Noteworthy

    In the October–November issue, Michael O’Hanlon argues that the process of NATO enlargement has run its course; Michael Elleman pinpoints North Korea’s rapid progression in long-range missile technology to its acquisition of a high-performance liquid-propellant engine; Christopher D. Kolenda examines the strategic flaws in US policy towards Afghanistan; Steve Andreasen calls on NATO to withdraw US tactical nuclear weapons from Europe; Erica Frantz and Andrea Kendall-Taylor compare twentieth- and twenty-first-century...
  • The Evolution of Autocracy: Why Authoritarianism Is Becoming More Formidable

    Globalisation, shifting power dynamics and the growing availability of the internet and other communication technologies have significantly changed the environment in which autocrats operate. Some observers have concluded from these changes that citizens now hold the upper hand, and that dictators’ days are numbered.1 The centralisation of power, according to this argument, is a requisite of dictatorship. In a world in which power is diffusing across NGOs, corporations, and wealthy...
  • Ideology and Strategy in the Middle East: The Case of Iran

    The West’s dealings with Iran are characterised by confusion. The greatest challenge stems not so much from Iran’s political and military behaviour in the Middle East, or even its nuclear programme, as from uncertainty about Iran’s ultimate goals. Tehran maintains diplomatic relations with all the Western democracies except for the most important, the United States. Yet Iran is an ideologically governed political system,1 widely believed to be motivated by an...
  • Donald Trump’s Status-Driven Foreign Policy

    Ever since Donald Trump won the US presidential election, governments and pundits all over the world have been agonising about the direction American foreign policy will take under his watch. Is he a traditional ‘America First’ isolationist who fears ‘entangling alliances’ and therefore wants to soften commitments to Europe and East Asia? Is he bent on a clash of civilisations with the Muslim world? Does he want to team up...
  • Autonomous Weapon Systems and Strategic Stability

    In July 2015, an open letter from artificial-intelligence experts and roboticists called for a ban on autonomous weapon systems (AWS), comparing their revolutionary potential to that of gun powder and nuclear weapons.1 According to a 2012 Pentagon directive, AWS are weapon systems which, ‘once activated … can select and engage targets without further intervention by a human operator’.2 Proponents of AWS have suggested that they could offer various benefits, from...
  • Nuclear Legacies of the First Gulf War

    Although the ultimate political success of the Gulf War remains contested, the United States’ military success was staggering.1 US conventional war-fighting abilities – largely untested in combat since Vietnam – demonstrated the potential of the information revolution, as precision-guided munitions enabled pinpoint strikes against regime targets and global positioning system (GPS)-guided troops manoeuvred in the desert with unprecedented coordination.2 The experience of the Gulf War was formative for the United States’...
  • We Can’t Go On Living Like This

    Gorbachev: His Life and Times William Taubman. London and New York: Simon & Schuster and W.W. Norton, 2017. £25.00/$39.95. 880 pp. Mikhail Gorbachev wanted to revitalise the moribund Soviet system by giving socialism a ‘human face’, thereby securing for his country an honourable place in the vanguard of world history. Even though this Tolstoyan undertaking ended in Shakespearean tragedy, horrendous slaughter was avoided and great things were achieved. In an outstanding biography, William...
  • Hillbilly Insurgency

    Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis J.D. Vance. New York: Harper, 2016. $27.99. 272 pp. There was a time when America’s heartland was seen as critical to the nation’s strength. Its food, factories and coal powered the nation; its men and women fought its wars; and its white-picket-fenced small towns evoked the American dreams of foreigners. During the Cold War, none other than Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev...
  • Book Reviews

    South Asia Teresita C. Schaffer Choices: Inside the Making of India’s Foreign Policy Shivshankar Menon. Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2016. $26.00. 159 pp. Shivshankar Menon is one of the most gifted people to lead the Indian Foreign Service, both in terms of his intellectual grasp of strategy and foreign policy, and in his diplomatic skills. In this slim volume, he uses five complex decisions in which he participated as examples of the way...
  • Brief Notices

    South Asia A Difficult Transition: The Nepal Papers Mandira Sharma and Seira Tamang, eds. New Delhi: Zubaan, 2016. ₹695.00/$45.00. 366 pp. This collection of essays is part of a series of books on a subject that some believe is too often overlooked: sexual violence in South Asia. Focusing on Nepal, the authors argue that the country’s own ‘feudal patriarchal structures’, in addition to post-colonial influences from the wider subcontinent, have enabled widespread sexual...
  • Charlottesville

    I On the second of May 2008, Mildred Loving, a 68-year-old black woman, died of pneumonia in Central Point, Virginia.1 In the same town 50 years earlier, Loving had been asleep in bed with her new husband, a white man, when sheriff’s deputies broke into their house and arrested them both. The Lovings had been legally married in adjacent Washington DC, but this did not spare them several nights in jail...
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Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

October–November 2017

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