The Buzz

UNGA: Assad’s Coming Out Party?

This year’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has been particularly colorful with presidents Hassan Rouhani, Raul Castro and Vladimir Putin all escaping the arctic winds of past diplomatic stand-offs and experiencing a diplomatic Indian summer in New York. Only North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un was left in the cold.

The Birth of Military Strategy: Enter the Battle of Salamis

The dichotomy of strategy and tactics in war did not solidify as a concept until the publication of Carl von Clausewitz’ On War in 1832. Since then the relationship between the two has been hotly debated, along with the subsequent interjection of the operational level of war. What is not debated are the concepts themselves. Tactics and strategy are related but they are not the same thing. Strategy, of course, comes from the word ancient Greeks used for their generals, strategos.

The U.S.-China Summit's Big Accomplishment: 'Rules' in the Sky?

Media reporting from the third summit between U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping was dominated by cybercrime and news of cooperation on greenhouse gases. But observers interested in U.S.-China relations and Asian security matters should also pay attention to a little-noticed accord signed by the U.S. and Chinese militaries on “Rules of Behavior for Safety of Air-to-Air Encounters.”

Get Ready, NATO: Could Russia Build Lethal Combat Robots?

The defending soldiers are in a fortified position on elevated ground or a reverse slope. They’ve arranged machine guns and anti-tank weapons to kill anything that comes into view. They’ve dug into the ground to help them survive the initial artillery barrage. To bolster their defenses even more, they’ve covered the area in front of them with mines.

If the Russian assault force was human, then it’d probably be too dangerous to go ahead with the attack. But it’s not. Over the horizon comes a mix of mostly-robotic vehicles — and the NATO troops don’t have much of a chance.

The Russian Air Force's Fatal Flaw

After two decades of neglect, the Russian air force is enjoying a petrodollar-funded renaissance.

In 2010, the air force and naval aviation bought just 19 new fixed-wing airplanes. The number of new planes swelled to 24 in 2011, 35 in 2012, 51 a year later and a whopping 101 in 2014. This year the Kremlin expects to acquire 91 new fixed-wing aircraft.

But for all this modernization, there’s one big thing the Russian air force still can’t do.

The 61-Year-Old 'AK-47' of Tanks: Russia's T-54s and T-55s Keep Fighting

Like the AK-47 but for tanks, T-54 and T-55s endure on battlefields around the world. Simple to operate and maintain, these decades-old Soviet armored beasts are still popular in small nations and with non-state irregular forces — a true “people’s tank.”

If a coup or fratricidal civil war breaks out in one of Moscow’s current or former beneficiaries, there’s good chances T-54 or T-55s are taking part.

Now the Hard Part: Protecting the Iran Nuclear Agreement

Following a successful effort by 42 Democratic senators to block a resolution of disapproval, the nuclear agreement between Iran, the United States, and its international negotiating partners, was not derailed during the congressional review period. Winning this hard-fought victory required the Obama administration to learn lessons from its previous efforts to pass major legislation through Congress; protecting and effectively implementing the Iran nuclear agreement will require more of the same.