Defending the Baltics

I recently returned from Estonia and the Baltic Defense College, where the Russian counterattack on Georgia had left a residual case of nerves. They have little to fear in the short run, unless they duplicate Georgia’s folly and attack Russia. But the question of how the Baltics might be defended is worth considering, both in … Continue reading “Defending the Baltics”

Don’t Miss the Train

Improbably, an opportunity has arisen in Iraq for the U.S. to attain two of its most important goals, namely obtaining some legitimacy for the Maliki “government” and getting American troops out. This could be the last international express leaving Baghdad Central Station, and we should be on it. The opportunity arises from a breakdown in … Continue reading “Don’t Miss the Train”

The Ancient History of Military Reform

When the world was young and hope dared live in Washington, a small group of people put together something called the Military Reform Movement. Its purpose was to measure defense policies and programs by the standard of what works in combat rather than who benefits financially. Launched in the 1970s, it peaked in the early … Continue reading “The Ancient History of Military Reform”

A Confirming Moment

When Iraqi Prime Minister al-Kerensky sent his "army" to fight the Mahdi Army in Basra, President Bush called it "a defining moment." It turned out instead to be a confirming moment. It confirmed that there is no state in Mesopotamia. One of the most common signs that America’s leadership is clueless about 4GW is the … Continue reading “A Confirming Moment”

When the Money Stops,
Military Reform May Start

At a recent book party for Winslow Wheeler’s new history of the military reform movement of the 1970s and 1980s, I was asked for my views on the prospects for genuine reform. I replied that “So long as the money flow continues, nothing will change.” Chuck Spinney, a reformer who spent decades as a polyp … Continue reading “When the Money Stops,
Military Reform May Start”

Linear Tactics in a Chaotic War

One of several dead hands the First Generation of Modern War lays on contemporary state militaries’ throats is linearity. Most state militaries both seek and expect linearity on and off the battlefield. Sometimes, this manifests itself in tactics that offer magnificent if unintentional tableaux vivants. I recall a field exercise years ago with the Second … Continue reading “Linear Tactics in a Chaotic War”

Kosovo: Fools Rush In

If the Balkans had an anthem, it would be that 1950’s doo-wop hit, “Fools rush in, where angels fear to tread.” The latest Balkan fools are the United States and the European Union, which have rushed in to recognize what Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica rightly calls the “fake state of Kosovo.” Why is it … Continue reading “Kosovo: Fools Rush In”