The Skeptics

Living Dangerously on Both Sides of the Taiwan Strait

During the Cold War the People’s Republic of China lobbed artillery shells at nearby islands controlled by the U.S.-supported Republic of China, based on Taiwan. Twenty years ago the PRC shot missiles into nearby waters to discourage Taiwanese support for independence-minded candidates. Neither policy aided Beijing’s objective of reunification.

The Long Battle for Mosul: Is Iraq Ready?

Last month Iraqi forces successfully retook Ramadi after it had been in the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS) for more than a year. It was the first major victory for the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) since ISIS swept the Iraqi Army from large sections of the country in 2014. The victory has justly lifted the morale of the ISF troops—hugely important in war. But next in the crosshairs is the city of Mosul. The stakes for both Baghdad and ISIS in the outcome of that fight are enormous. The task facing Iraq, however, is going to be more challenging than it will be for ISIS.

Persuading China to Cooperate Against North Korea

Another North Korean nuclear test, another round of demands that China bring Pyongyang to heel. Said Secretary of State John Kerry: Beijing’s policy “has not worked and we cannot continue business as usual.” Alas, his approach is worse than ineffective. It likely ensures that the PRC will ignore Washington’s wishes.

The Truth About Women in Ground Combat Roles

Women have long been an integral part of the U.S. military, having performed admirably—in some cases, heroically—in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Over the past month and a half a succession of some of the nation’s most powerful civilian and military leaders have lauded the recent decision to remove all restrictions on what jobs women can fill in the U.S. Armed Forces. Lifting the ban, they say, will make the military stronger. They are wrong.

Obama Ramps Up Anti-ISIL ‘Messaging’ Surge

If there is one overarching foreign policy objective that President Barack Obama would like to accomplish before he departs the Oval Office in a year, it is the absolute and unquestioned defeat of the Islamic State—a terrorist quasi-state that has given his administration so much heartburn over the past sixteen months.  From the “J.V.

Why Are America’s Allies So Persistently Pathetic?

The United States is allied with every major industrialized power on the planet. America’s friends in Asia and Europe generally are prosperous and populous. Yet decades after the conflicts which led to Washington’s security guarantees for them, the allied gaggle remains a bunch of ‘losers,’ to paraphrase Donald Trump.

Are U.S. Interests in Iraq Any More Secure After Ramadi?

For the first time since entire divisions of its army disintegrated before Islamic State (ISIS) fighters in the summer of 2014, the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have reportedly beaten ISIS in the battle for control of Ramadi, a major city in Anbar Province nearly seventy miles west of Baghdad. While an important battlefield success, the significance of this victory must to be viewed in a regional context. Overall, the situation is not looking very good for U.S. interests.