In the June–July 2017 issue, Hal Brands and Peter Feaver explore whether different US policy choices between 2003 and 2014 could have stopped the rise of ISIS; James Dobbins and Seth G. Jones ask what strategic choices can ensure that ISIS’s imminent loss of its remaining territorial strongholds will mean lasting defeat; Fabrice Pothier highlights the necessity of an area-access strategy for NATO; Tim Huxley and Benjamin Schreer analyse Donald Trump’s mixed strategic messages for Asia; Lawrence Freedman reflects on the role of historians in holding policymakers to account; Jonathan Stevenson anticipates the impact of Brexit on peace in Northern...

In the June–July 2017 issue, Hal Brands and Peter Feaver explore whether different US policy choices between 2003 and 2014 could have stopped the rise of ISIS; James Dobbins and Seth G. Jones ask what strategic choices can ensure that ISIS’s imminent loss of its remaining territorial strongholds will mean lasting defeat; Fabrice Pothier highlights the necessity of an area-access strategy for NATO; Tim Huxley and Benjamin Schreer analyse Donald Trump’s mixed strategic messages for Asia; Lawrence Freedman reflects on the role of historians in holding policymakers to account; Jonathan Stevenson anticipates the impact of Brexit on peace in Northern Ireland; Jens Ringsmose and Sten Rynning set out the challenges for NATO posed by Russia; Martin Zapfe questions the effectiveness of NATO’s strategy for deterring threats to Baltic members; Peter Rudolf highlights the widening gap between traditional principles of peacekeeping and contemporary operations; Erik Jones, Russell Crandall and Jeffrey Mazo review new books; and Asger Pedersen examines Denmark’s treatment of local interpreters who assisted its troops in Afghanistan.

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  • Was the Rise of ISIS Inevitable?

    Barring some catastrophic policy blunder by the United States, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, will eventually be defeated. The US-led international coalition that has assembled to fight the most formidable terrorist organisation of modern times overmatches ISIS on every relevant dimension – manpower, lethality, financial resources, global reach. As such, the defeat of ISIS, at least in its current form, is only a matter of time...
  • The End of a Caliphate

    From its peak in late 2014, the so-called Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) has steadily lost territory and population. As an actual – if unrecognised – state, it is on the verge of extinction. Mosul, its last major stronghold in Iraq, is nearly cleared. Raqqa, its capital in Syria, is surrounded and awaiting an assault. The trend lines are stark. By early 2017, according to our estimates...
  • An Area-Access Strategy for NATO

    With the decisions taken at the Warsaw Summit in July 2016, NATO crossed a new symbolic threshold. For the first time since the end of the Cold War, NATO will deploy, on a quasi-permanent basis, troops on the eastern flank of the Alliance. This move, touted by the Alliance as historic, is meant to reassure nervous allies and to deter Russia from crossing the sacred border of NATO territory.  The measures...
  • Trump’s Missing Asia Strategy

    The Trump administration needs an Asia strategy that will reassure its allies and partners there about Washington’s capacity, competence and resolve to retain its position of leadership in the region. Despite early visits by Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis to reaffirm America’s ‘ironclad’ commitment to allies such as Japan and South Korea, mixed messaging and Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ doctrine –...
  • Noteworthy

    In the June–July 2017 issue, Hal Brands and Peter Feaver explore whether different US policy choices between 2003 and 2014 could have stopped the rise of ISIS; James Dobbins and Seth G. Jones ask what strategic choices can ensure that ISIS’s imminent loss of its remaining territorial strongholds will mean lasting defeat; Fabrice Pothier highlights the necessity of an area-access strategy for NATO; Tim Huxley and Benjamin Schreer analyse Donald...
  • The Benefits of Hindsight: Historical Research and Political Accountability

    This article draws largely on my experience as the Official Historian of the Falklands Campaign, and then as a member of the UK inquiry into the Iraq War. My aim is to explore the particular challenges faced when charged with holding ministers, officials and officers directly to account. Although I was solely responsible for the Falklands history, I was part of a team working on the Iraq Inquiry, led by...
  • Does Brexit Threaten Peace in Northern Ireland?

    The list of strategic oversights on the part of those who advocated the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union, known as ‘Brexit’, is dauntingly long. One of the least-discussed challenges, but perhaps the most significant, is the loss of the EU as a conflict-resolution mechanism. Brexiteers appear to have assumed, rather complacently, that this was a question for other European countries, and not for Britain. In so doing, they...
  • Now for the Hard Part: NATO’s Strategic Adaptation to Russia

    NATO’s July 2016 Warsaw Summit was a crowning achievement in terms of Alliance adaptation. Taking place on the territory of a former Soviet vassal state (Poland), the summit consecrated the Alliance’s embrace of a renewed strategy of deterrence by punishment vis-à-vis Russia. The punishing intent, reminiscent of the Cold War, is made clear in the section of the summit’s declaration on nuclear policy, in which the allies state that  if the...
  • Deterrence from the Ground Up: Understanding NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence

    As a nuclear alliance, NATO’s deterrence is ultimately based on the threat of nuclear retaliation. However, Russia under President Vladimir Putin seems to have rejected the established Western playbook, opting instead for ‘cross-domain coercion’1 that transcends conventions in deterrence, most importantly the balance between conventional and nuclear forces. NATO’s answer since 2014 has been largely based on conventional adaptation mirroring similar evolutionary steps in the Alliance’s history. Important as these...
  • UN Peace Operations and the Use of Military Force

    Peace operations have undergone considerable change since the turn of the century. Peacekeepers are deployed in a greater variety of scenarios, ranging from monitoring ceasefires to complex peace operations. The protection of civilians has become an important focus, and operations have become more robust in their use of force to defend their mandates. At least some missions have the explicit purpose of helping to stabilise a country in the midst...
  • Book Reviews

    Europe Erik Jones Tangled Governance: International Regime Complexity, the Troika, and the Euro Crisis C. Randall Henning. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. £25.00. 320 pp. Why did the Europeans involve the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the bailouts of Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus? After all, Europe is a rich place; the countries needing support share the euro as a common currency and so can draw upon the resources of the European Central...
  • Brief Notices

    Europe A People’s History of Modern Europe William A. Pelz. London: Pluto Press, 2016. £18.00. 273 pp. Pelz presents an account of European history from the Middle Ages through to the present from the perspective of those whom he believes are usually overlooked. He argues that a great number of bottom-up political revolutions, from industrial uprisings in eighteenth-century England to student protests in contemporary Europe, are worth recounting as an alternative to ‘tired’...
  • Letter to the Editor

    Prohibition and Its Discontents Sir,  In ‘The Logic of Banning Nuclear Weapons’ (Survival, vol. 59, no. 1, December 2016–January 2017, pp. 43–50), Beatrice Fihn provides an insightful explanation for the motivations underpinning recent negotiations for a treaty banning nuclear weapons. Her argument, however, suggests these motivations are uniform across civil-society groups and states participating in the negotiations, which is not the case. Indeed, many state participants are motivated by political frustrations and...
  • The Interpreters

    In Afghanistan’s upper Gereshk Valley, a Danish infantry platoon descends from high desert into green and pink fields of poppy. They are headed for a small village on the bank of the river. It is morning, and although the sun has barely risen, the soldiers are sweating under their equipment. They mostly look the same, despite great efforts to differentiate themselves. They have trained together for months, and by now...
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Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

June-July 2017

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