NATO Summit Unlikely to Answer the Most Important Questions

To adapt to secular use a phrase from medieval mysticism, “the cloud of unknowing” deepens as the war-waging countries of North America and Western Europe approach their NATO “summit,” beginning Friday in Lisbon. The phrase is appropriate because in the past it spoke not only of the unknown, but the unknowable. The meeting’s avowed purpose … Continue reading “NATO Summit Unlikely to Answer the Most Important Questions”

Nuclear Armament Still Our Central Issue

Of all of the sources of strategic delusion and political illusion today, nuclear weapons undoubtedly make the most prodigious contribution to hypocrisy and useless expense. This certainly is true for Britain, which is set to make major decisions on military expenditure this week. It is expected to avoid a decision on its largest new military … Continue reading “Nuclear Armament Still Our Central Issue”

Are Obama’s Hands Tied?

A splendid and courageous new book, Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War, by Andrew J. Bacevich of Boston University (and for many years previously, the U.S. Army), describes with lucidity the degree to which the power of the American presidency over war and peace has been weakened in our day, and, in important respects, … Continue reading “Are Obama’s Hands Tied?”

US Could Be Alone as Europe Turns Inward

The relationship between Western Europe and the colonies that became the United States was complicated from the beginning, when the North American settlements were mere appendages of the European powers, and were drawn into their conflicts – King William III’s and Queen Anne’s wars, the French and Indian war involving the Iroquois, and then the … Continue reading “US Could Be Alone as Europe Turns Inward”

A New Season in Military Fashions

President Barack Obama has promised a fundamental review of American policy towards Afghanistan this December. In the meantime, his decision seems compromised by the continuing military and civilian “surge” to Afghanistan  ordered soon after Obama took office in 2008. The Pentagon is constructing bases for the new arrivals on a giant scale with all the … Continue reading “A New Season in Military Fashions”

There Can Be No ‘Graceful Exit’

Gen. David Petraeus, the man who replaced his former Central Command subordinate Gen. Stanley McChrystal, when the latter was cashiered last month for insubordinate criticism of his civilian superiors, denies that President Barack Obama has given him the assignment to “seek a graceful exit” from America’s war against the Taliban. He is determined to win. … Continue reading “There Can Be No ‘Graceful Exit’”

How the EU Keeps Its Peace

SIENA, Italy – The latest in a series of meetings on reform in the function of the European Union, sponsored by the Luxembourg Institute for European and International Studies, concluded here last week at the splendid restored palazzo of Nobel Prize-winning Canadian economist Robert Mundell. The meeting of nearly 40 EU academic analysts and non-academic … Continue reading “How the EU Keeps Its Peace”

When the ‘Right War’ Goes Wrong

The increasingly dangerous Afghanistan situation is worth analysis at two levels, that of the war itself, the ultimately doomed attempt by the United States to conquer the Taliban insurrection and impose a pro-American government, and the domestic political effect of Barack Obama’s misguided decision to replace “Bush’s war” in Iraq with “Obama’s war” in Afghanistan. … Continue reading “When the ‘Right War’ Goes Wrong”

Runaway Defense Spending Not Winning Any Wars

In Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, the major places of military interest to the United States today (disregarding the hundreds of other places where American soldiers and agents or mercenaries have been dispatched to suppress one or another outbreak of ethnic, tribal, religious, or territorial conflict, the United States having appointed itself the enemy of Disorder) … Continue reading “Runaway Defense Spending Not Winning Any Wars”