The National Interest http://nationalinterest.org/readers/kindle/xhtml en Remember Bosnia? http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/remember-bosnia-10294 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/gordon-n-bardos'>Gordon N. Bardos</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/bsniA_map_pd_41814.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>Now that the smoke has cleared from what is being called the <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/07/us-bosnia-unrest-idUSBREA160UU20140207">worst violence in Bosnia in the past nineteen years</a>, it is worth taking stock of what actually happened, where international policy towards Bosnia has floundered, and what needs to be done down the road to stabilize both the country and the region as a whole.</p> <p>First, to understand how absurd press coverage of Bosnia’s recent unrest has been, imagine the following news report, adjusted for an American context:</p> <p><i>Protesters burned the White House, several state capitol buildings, and parts of the Library of Congress demanding the resignation of government officials at all levels of government and that the states be abolished.</i></p> <p><i>Analysts attribute the violence to the United States’ dysfunctional governmental structure, which is composed of a federal government, fifty states (each with its own governor, legislature, board of education, judicial and police systems), and countless municipalities. The street protesters also claim that politicians who have won office in internationally certified democratic elections are not legitimate. </i></p> <p>Fortunately, after the initial naïve euphoria about a “democratic spring,” clearer heads have started to prevail. Several individuals involved in the violence have been charged with terrorism, and Bosnia’s security minister has been forced to resign.</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/remember-bosnia-10294" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/remember-bosnia-10294#comments European Union NATO Global Governance Bosnia and Herzegovina Mon, 21 Apr 2014 07:00:00 +0000 Gordon N. Bardos 10294 at http://nationalinterest.org The Guns of April? http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/the-guns-april-10293 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/andrew-j-stravers'>Andrew J. Stravers</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/missile_launch_cc_41814.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>Secret mobilizations. Attacks with plausible deniability. Unclear alliance commitments. Vague statements of resolve. A battle for neutral parties. Highly provocative military movements. We have seen these events take place in the last few weeks in the crisis in Ukraine. We also saw these same dynamics at play almost <a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/2014-good-year-great-war-9652">exactly one hundred years ago on the eve of World War I</a>.</p> <p>The major powers of Continental Europe were maneuvering, and the wheels of war creaked into motion. In the coming battle, swift mobilization would be key, but even more important was the commitment of a powerful third party. Britain closely aligned with France, but British policy prioritized a free hand in Continental affairs and did not want to jeopardize the sizable British trade with Germany. No one could be sure where the greatest sea power on Earth would stand.</p> <p>The key determinant would be who acted as the aggressor in the coming war. The Entente and the German alliance maneuvered to paint the other side as provocateur in order to win the support of British public opinion. Austria issued disingenuous ultimatums to Serbia to look moderate, Russia mobilized in secret to avoid looking like an instigator, and every side sent contradictory signals of both resolve and moderation.</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/the-guns-april-10293" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/the-guns-april-10293#comments History Great Powers Security Ukraine Mon, 21 Apr 2014 07:00:00 +0000 Andrew J. Stravers 10293 at http://nationalinterest.org America's Start-Up Problem http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/americas-start-problem-10291 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/samuel-rines'>Samuel Rines</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/dollars_cc_41714.jpg" alt="" title=" Flickr/401(k) 2013. CC BY-SA 2.0." class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>Where are all the jobs? Even in the midst of a multi-year recovery, labor-market indicators make for grim reading. The hires rate sits well below pre-recession levels, the unemployment level has declined less than the number of people leaving the labor force, and the quit rate is barely off its 2009 bottom.</p> <p>Conventional wisdom holds that small businesses are the engine of employment growth, the solution to a lack of labor-market dynamism.</p> <p>And small businesses are critical to a healthy US economy—97 percent of all firms have less than one hundred employees. But it is start-ups, which just happen to be among the smallest firms, that drive employment growth. Between 1994 and 2000, these newly born businesses contributed an average of 190 percent of newly created jobs. Put another way, start-ups created jobs and older firms destroyed them. Even in the middle of the Great Recession, start-ups were creating jobs. Granted, the job creation slowed, but it never dried up.</p> <p>The question economists should be asking is whether entrepreneurs are creating a sufficient number of new companies. And, more to the point, whether these companies are creating the needed employment opportunities.</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/americas-start-problem-10291" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/americas-start-problem-10291#comments Economics United States Mon, 21 Apr 2014 07:00:00 +0000 Samuel Rines 10291 at http://nationalinterest.org Securing Sovereignty: When Should America Weigh In? http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/securing-sovereignty-when-should-america-weigh-10290 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/mira-rapp-hooper'>Mira Rapp-Hooper</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/fa18_pd_41814.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>In mid-February, the United States government’s long-standing position that it does not opine on sovereignty disputes in the East and South China Seas was given an important and long-implicit caveat: Washington <i>does</i> insist that all sovereignty claims accord with international law, and as has long been stated, these cannot rely on coercion. This position, articulated<a href="http://www.state.gov/p/eap/rls/rm/2014/02/221293.htm"> </a><a href="http://www.state.gov/p/eap/rls/rm/2014/02/221293.htm">in testimony</a> by Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Daniel Russel, took on new significance just a few weeks later, when Moscow unilaterally upended Ukrainian sovereignty in its occupation and annexation of Crimea. This updated position on Pacific maritime disputes and ongoing events in Eastern Europe raise an important question: For the United States, which aims to protect the status quo and the international legal principles that support it, when is the right time to opine on a sovereignty dispute? The Ukraine crisis has demonstrated that there are several reasons why it may be advisable for the United States to take a position on some Pacific sovereignty disputes sooner rather than later if Chinese maritime revisionism persists. This is because deterring prospective opportunism may be easier than compelling a challenger to reverse course once he has executed a <i>fait accompli</i>. There are also, however, several drawbacks to clarifying sovereignty positions too soon, and these must be enter into calculations as Washington considers whether and when it should update its public position on maritime sovereignty disputes.</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/securing-sovereignty-when-should-america-weigh-10290" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/securing-sovereignty-when-should-america-weigh-10290#comments International Law Global Governance United States Mon, 21 Apr 2014 07:00:00 +0000 Mira Rapp-Hooper 10290 at http://nationalinterest.org Australia's Challenge: Navigating the Uncertainty of the Asian Century http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/australias-challenge-navigating-the-uncertainty-the-asian-ce-10286 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/nick-bisley'>Nick Bisley</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/australia_navy_pd_041814.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>During its first few months in office, a combination of rookie errors and challenging circumstances gave the Abbott government’s international policy a shaky start. The PM’s declaration that Japan was Australia’s best friend in Asia showed a lack of diplomatic finesse, while the government’s handling of the Snowden leaks made something of a mockery of the Coalition’s intentions to prioritise good relations with its near neighbours. Critics who had labelled Abbott out of his depth in foreign and strategic policy seemed to be on to something.</p> <p>After nearly seven months in office, the Coalition’s foreign and strategic policy is beginning to coalesce. Abbott’s remarkably successful three-country tour of Northeast Asia shows the government’s approach to Asia is beginning to take firmer shape. In particular, we can now see clearly the course it is trying to navigate in its dealings with Asia’s major powers.</p> <p>One of the big themes of the Abbott government’s strategic policy is to signal clearly where Australia stands in relation to the fundamental underpinnings of Asia’s regional order. Australia thinks the basic parameters of the strategic status quo are the best means of securing and advancing Australian and regional interests. Those centre on continued American primacy, a stable military balance, a relatively open economic system and the international rule of law. While both sides of Australian politics share that belief, they’ve not always been clear about their commitment, mindful of the ways it might upset China.</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/australias-challenge-navigating-the-uncertainty-the-asian-ce-10286" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/australias-challenge-navigating-the-uncertainty-the-asian-ce-10286#comments Grand Strategy Security Australia Mon, 21 Apr 2014 06:00:00 +0000 Nick Bisley 10286 at http://nationalinterest.org Twists of History and Interests in Ukraine http://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/twists-history-interests-ukraine-10295 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/paul-r-pillar'>Paul R. Pillar</a> </div> </div><p>Imagine that the collapse of Soviet communism more than two decades ago had taken a different form than it did. It might have done so, if the dramatic and fast-moving events of 1991and key people who participated in them had taken a few different turns. Today we associate the collapse with the dissolution of the U.S.S.R. and its replacement by fifteen independent republics. But the break-up of that union did not need to be part of the failure and demise of the Leninist method of organizing politics, economics, and society that we came to know as Soviet communism.</p> <p>It is true that separatist sentiment had become by early 1991 a significant part of the growing political crisis in the Soviet Union, with the Baltic republics and Georgia making declarations of independence. Even then, however, the break-up of the union was by no means certain. The center was using military force to try to bring the Lithuanians back in line and Mikhail Gorbachev was supporting the adoption of a new charter, to replace one from 1922, aimed at mollifying sentiment in the non-Russian republics while preserving some sort of union.</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/twists-history-interests-ukraine-10295" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/twists-history-interests-ukraine-10295#comments Paul Pillar Democracy History Great Powers Belarus Russia Kazakhstan Estonia Latvia Lithuania Turkmenistan Uzbekistan Ukraine Sun, 20 Apr 2014 20:45:27 +0000 Paul R. Pillar 10295 at http://nationalinterest.org Could the Ukraine Crisis Reboot NATO? http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/could-the-ukraine-crisis-reboot-nato-10288 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/erik-brattberg'>Erik Brattberg</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/army_tank_usarmyeu_041814.jpg" alt="" title=" Flickr/U.S. Army Europe Images/CC by-nc 2.0" class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>Even since the Russian invasion of Crimea began a few weeks ago, a certain degree of triumphalism has been felt throughout NATO security circles. A surprising number of Western leaders and analysts have been quick to declare that, thanks to Vladimir Putin, the United States will now pivot back to Europe again, Europeans will begin to take defense seriously, and NATO will get a renewed strategic purpose.</p> <p>While all these outcomes are certainly possible, it's still too early to declare such a victory. The crisis in Ukraine is still an ongoing affair. The current crisis could spur a reinvigorated transatlantic alliance in the short term, but there are no guarantees that the effects will be lasting. In fact, if they are not careful, the Ukraine crisis could even undermine the NATO alliance going forward. The allies must therefore take steps to ensure that the opportunity stemming from the current crisis is effectively seized.</p> <p><b>Will the United States Pivot to Europe?</b></p> <p>For far too long, Washington has chosen to take a backseat role when it comes to European security. Not anymore—the Ukraine crisis will force the United States to boost its military presence on the continent in order to reassure its allies. As a result, NATO is already undertaking plans to reinforce its military presence in Eastern Europe.</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/could-the-ukraine-crisis-reboot-nato-10288" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/could-the-ukraine-crisis-reboot-nato-10288#comments NATO Global Governance Security Europe Sun, 20 Apr 2014 06:00:00 +0000 Erik Brattberg 10288 at http://nationalinterest.org Democracy on the Brink in Iraq http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/democracy-the-brink-iraq-10284 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/eli-sugarman'>Eli Sugarman</a> </div> </div><div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/omar-al-nidawi'>Omar Al-Nidawi</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/iraq_army_pd_041814.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>In two weeks, Iraqis will go to the polls to elect a new legislature for the first time since the U.S. military withdrew its forces in 2011. Incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is seeking a third term over the objections of Sunni, Kurdish, and even some Shi’a parties, who blame him for Iraq’s dangerously dysfunctional politics and ever-deepening, ethno-sectarian divides. If Iraq is to avoid Syria’s fate, it must learn from its last Parliamentary election—held in 2010—and ensure an inclusive and transparent government formation process. Anything less will accelerate the country’s slide towards civil war and dissolution, and risk making the April 2014 elections Iraq’s last.</p> <p>Identity-based politics are flourishing in Iraq against the backdrop of worsening security and intensifying sectarian polarization. Armed militias roam freely throughout the country, and an alliance of convenience between terrorists and disaffected Sunni tribes control major cities in Anbar Province, a mere thirty miles from Baghdad. Reprisal attacks are increasing and overall violence is at levels not seen since Iraq’s first brush with civil war in 2006. The widening Sunni-Shi’a divide is tearing apart the country’s social fabric and is the most significant threat to Iraq’s future.</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/democracy-the-brink-iraq-10284" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/democracy-the-brink-iraq-10284#comments Domestic Politics Elections Politics Iraq Sat, 19 Apr 2014 06:00:00 +0000 Eli Sugarman, Omar Al-Nidawi 10284 at http://nationalinterest.org Enrique Peña Nieto: the Most Interesting Man in the World http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/enrique-pe%C3%B1-nieto-the-most-interesting-man-the-world-10281 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/alexa-l-mcmahon'>Alexa M. Poteet</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/epn_cc_41714.jpg" alt="" title=" Wikimedia Commons/Aristoteles Sandoval. CC BY-SA 2.0." class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>His coif is the envy of Mitt Romney. He’s so handsome his soap-star wife is known as “the seagull.” He managed to get elected president of the<a href="http://qz.com/43137/mexico-the-economic-dynamo-of-2013-has-some-catching-up-to-do-in-one-very-important-sector/"> </a><a href="http://qz.com/43137/mexico-the-economic-dynamo-of-2013-has-some-catching-up-to-do-in-one-very-important-sector/">tenth-largest</a> economy in the world on the slogan “because you know me.”</p> <p>Is he the most interesting man in the world? Perhaps. He is Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, and he is certainly a man of contradictions.</p> <p>“Do you agree,” Peña Nieto told an <i>LA Times</i> reporter recently, “that when there's tension and an obsession to want to hit the ball is when you hit it worst? You have to be loose.”</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/enrique-pe%C3%B1-nieto-the-most-interesting-man-the-world-10281" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/enrique-pe%C3%B1-nieto-the-most-interesting-man-the-world-10281#comments The Presidency Politics Mexico Fri, 18 Apr 2014 07:00:00 +0000 Alexa M. Poteet 10281 at http://nationalinterest.org Can Obama Save His Mighty Pivot to Asia? http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/can-obama-save-his-mighty-pivot-asia-10280 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/michael-mazza'>Michael Mazza</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/obama_plane_pd_41714.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>Peace in Asia is slowly slipping away. America’s closest allies in the region, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/daniel-sneider-the-us-can-facilitate-healing-between-japan-and-south-korea/2013/10/31/d4db3d84-40b3-11e3-a751-f032898f2dbc_story.html">Japan and South Korea, are barely talking to each other</a>. <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-12/an-china-ship-sails-into-disputed-waters2c-says-japan-coastgua/5386310">Nor are Japan and China, which are locked in a bitter territorial dispute involving the regular deployment of military and paramilitary assets to a contested area of the East China Sea</a>. North Korea is lobbing missiles into the Sea of Japan and threatening to carry out a “<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/claudiarosett/2014/04/17/north-koreas-nuclear-fallout/">new form</a>” of nuclear test while Chinese forces in the South China Sea attempt to starve out marines stationed on a Philippine-held reef. Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement has shown Beijing that its efforts at peaceful unification are making scant headway. The list goes on.</p> <p><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-aims-to-reinvigorate-asia-strategy/2014/04/16/4a46ed5e-c4bf-11e3-bcec-b71ee10e9bc3_story.html">President Obama’s upcoming trip to the region</a>, then, comes at a crucial moment. And yet the Asia-Pacific’s numerous challenges are heightened by perceptions of America’s waning determination to stand by its commitments. U.S. allies see the Asia “pivot” as being strong on rhetoric but lacking in content. For starters, difficult U.S.-Japan negotiations are holding up the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which in any case would have a difficult time making it through the U.S. Congress.</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/can-obama-save-his-mighty-pivot-asia-10280" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/can-obama-save-his-mighty-pivot-asia-10280#comments Defense Grand Strategy Military Strategy Security Northeast Asia Asia Fri, 18 Apr 2014 07:00:00 +0000 Michael Mazza 10280 at http://nationalinterest.org Say Yes to a Balance of Power in Asia http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/say-yes-balance-power-asia-10279 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/andrew-taffer'>Andrew Taffer</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/balance_rocks_cc_41714.jpg" alt="" title=" Flickr/Paul Tomlin. CC BY-SA. " class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>In a March 31 article, “<a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/say-no-balance-power-asia-10159">Say No to a Balance of Power in Asia</a>,” Jan Hornát draws ominous parallels between the era preceding the First World War and the current security environment in Asia. He discusses a number of seemingly profound problems inhering in what he calls “a genuine balance of power system,” but holds out hope that “[i]f India maintains its ‘strategic autonomy’ and historical emphasis on ‘nonalignment’ and China remains reluctant to build coalitions…a genuine balance of power in the Indo-Pacific will not emerge.” While at first blush it seems Hornát is sounding a note of caution regarding alliance politics, his is a confused argument warning not so much against the perils of great-power alignments but against balancing activity itself. He betrays a misapprehension of the basic challenges embedded in the international system and an apparent allergy to the tools of statecraft used to manage them.</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/say-yes-balance-power-asia-10279" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/say-yes-balance-power-asia-10279#comments Grand Strategy Security China Northeast Asia Japan South Asia India Taiwan Asia Fri, 18 Apr 2014 07:00:00 +0000 Andrew Taffer 10279 at http://nationalinterest.org Afghanistan's Murky Choice http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/afghanistans-murky-choice-10276 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/ehsan-azari-stanizai'>Ehsan Azari Stanizai</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/afghanistan_usarmy_041714.jpg" alt="" title=" Flickr/The U.S. Army/CC by 2.0" class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>The euphoria over Afghanistan’s April 5 elections has begun to evaporate amid allegations of widespread electoral fraud. This weekend’s partial result indicated no clear winner. The two front-runners—Abdullah Abdullah, a leader of the old Northern alliance and ex-foreign minister, with 41.9 percent of the vote, and Ashraf Ghani, ex-finance minister, with 37.6 percent—might head for a run-off. The tally was based on half a million ballots of the estimated seven million that were cast.&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Abdullah’s leading role signals that the initial announcement was politically motivated. It has to be viewed as a warning that the political elite or the old Northern Alliance—propelled to power after the United States defeated the Taliban in 2001—will continue to rule Afghanistan. Afghan observers blame the outgoing President Hamid Karzai and his allies for horse trading behind the partial result. The partial result also may be calculated to address the demands of Abdullah Abdullah’s powerful supporters, who threatened that in case Abdullah isn’t the ultimate winner, Afghanistan could be awash with new waves of bloodshed.</span></p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/afghanistans-murky-choice-10276" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/afghanistans-murky-choice-10276#comments Elections Politics Afghanistan Fri, 18 Apr 2014 06:00:00 +0000 Ehsan Azari Stanizai 10276 at http://nationalinterest.org Washington's Biggest Strategic Mistake http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/washingtons-biggest-strategic-mistake-10274 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/ted-galen-carpenter'>Ted Galen Carpenter</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/putin_jinping_kremlin_041714.jpg" alt="" title=" Kremlin photo." class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>The United States is on the brink of committing a cardinal sin in foreign policy: antagonizing two major powers simultaneously. There are frictions in bilateral ties with both Moscow and Beijing that have reached alarming levels over the past year or so. It is a disturbing development that could cause major geopolitical headaches for Washington unless the Obama administration takes prompt corrective measures and sets more coherent priorities.</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/washingtons-biggest-strategic-mistake-10274" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/washingtons-biggest-strategic-mistake-10274#comments Grand Strategy Great Powers Security United States Fri, 18 Apr 2014 06:00:00 +0000 Ted Galen Carpenter 10274 at http://nationalinterest.org Ukraine Crisis: Russia's Neighbors Are Worried http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/ukraine-crisis-russias-neighbors-are-worried-10272 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/ian-bond'>Ian Bond</a> </div> </div><div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/brian-carlson'>Brian Carlson</a> </div> </div><div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/denis-corboy'>Denis Corboy</a> </div> </div><div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/william-courtney'>William Courtney</a> </div> </div><div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/john-herbst'>John Herbst</a> </div> </div><div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/richard-kauzlarich'>Richard Kauzlarich</a> </div> </div><div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/ints-silins'>Ints Silins</a> </div> </div><div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/william-taylor'>William Taylor</a> </div> </div><div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/kenneth-yalowitz'>Kenneth Yalowitz</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/putin_kr_41614.jpg" alt="" title="Kremlin photo." class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>Moscow's aggression against Ukraine has spawned not only an international crisis, but fears throughout Russia's neighborhood. Even countries that cooperate closely with Russia worry they could be next in line for creeping annexation. No former Soviet country endorsed “independence“ of South Ossetia and Abkhazia after the 2008 Russian-Georgian war, and the lack of support for Moscow's annexation of Crimea is striking. Those former Soviet neighbors that lag in economic development or freedoms are more vulnerable. The West should help those willing to help themselves.</p> <p>The seizure of Crimea on fabricated pretenses of threats to ethnic Russians and the most recent provocations in eastern Ukraine by Russian forces and proxies have sent shock waves from the Baltic states to Central Asia. Kyiv has initiated an “antiterror” security response in the Donetsk region. Even as the outcome of the current crisis in Ukraine remains uncertain, it and the other former Soviet countries are looking at what more they can do to steel themselves against Russian coercion.</p> <p><b>Ukraine</b></p> <p>In some ways, Crimea was special. Russia has major strategic interests because its Black Sea fleet resides there. Despite a treaty giving it basing rights until 2042, Moscow could not be sure a future Ukrainian government would not seek the fleet’s ouster. Nearly three-fifths of Crimea’s population, or 1.5 million people, are ethnic Russians.</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/ukraine-crisis-russias-neighbors-are-worried-10272" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/ukraine-crisis-russias-neighbors-are-worried-10272#comments Global Governance Armenia Belarus Azerbaijan Kazakhstan Estonia Georgia Latvia Tajikistan Lithuania Moldova Turkmenistan Uzbekistan Ukraine Thu, 17 Apr 2014 07:00:00 +0000 Ian Bond, Brian Carlson, Denis Corboy, William Courtney, John Herbst, Richard Kauzlarich, Ints Silins, William Taylor, Kenneth Yalowitz 10272 at http://nationalinterest.org The Deep Policy Failures That Led to Ukraine http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/the-deep-policy-failures-led-ukraine-10266 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/nikolas-k-gvosdev'>Nikolas K. Gvosdev</a> </div> </div><p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/how-putin-can-use-crimea-10038"><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/somke_kief_cc_41614.jpg" alt="" title=" Wikimedia Commons/Amakuha. CC BY-SA 3.0." class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>Now that there's a crisis in Ukraine</a>, American politicians and foreign-policy experts are fast and furious in rolling out the policy proposals. Supply Ukraine's military with advanced weapons to blunt a possible Russian offensive; promote new economic-development projects&nbsp;<span>that will generate prosperity in Ukraine's industrial east and decrease reliance on Russia; wean Europe away from its dependence on Russian supplies of oil and natural gas. The problem is that all of these are long-term projects, which would take months and years to&nbsp;</span><span>reach fruition. Yet the crisis is now being measured out in hours and days. The provision of arms to the Ukrainian military, for instance, presupposes a force that's already been trained to use such equipment, and that protocols are in place which will ensure that weapons will not be diverted to purposes that are askance of other U.S. policy priorities—things which cannot be done overnight.</span></p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/the-deep-policy-failures-led-ukraine-10266" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/the-deep-policy-failures-led-ukraine-10266#comments Grand Strategy Security Ukraine Thu, 17 Apr 2014 07:00:00 +0000 Nikolas K. Gvosdev 10266 at http://nationalinterest.org GOP Hawks Gear Up for War on Rand Paul http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/gop-hawks-gear-war-rand-paul-10265 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/w-james-antle-iii'>W. James Antle III</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/rand_paul_gage_cc_41614.jpg" alt="" title=" Flickr/Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0." class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>The long knives are out for Rand Paul. The period in which the most hawkish Republicans eyed the junior senator from Kentucky warily is over.</p> <p>As one GOP bundler<a href="http://time.com/43216/rand-paul-2016-rjc-sheldon-adelson/"> </a><a href="http://time.com/43216/rand-paul-2016-rjc-sheldon-adelson/">told</a> <i>Time</i>, “we’ll be ready to take Paul down.” The money men may not have started yet, but their print-and-pixels auxiliary has already mobilized against him.</p> <p>The <i>Washington Post</i>’s Jennifer Rubin<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2014/04/14/rand-paul-gives-an-interview-that-will-haunt-him/"> </a><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2014/04/14/rand-paul-gives-an-interview-that-will-haunt-him/">warns</a> of an interview that will “haunt” Paul, whom she decried as “far, far out of the mainstream.” Bret Stephens of the <i>Wall Street Journal</i> decried the senator’s “bark-at-the-moon lunacy about Halliburton” and<a href="http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303663604579501441901549788"> </a><a href="http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303663604579501441901549788">suggested</a> his nomination would deliver Republicans “another humbling landslide defeat.”</p> <p>Paul’s critics definitely smell blood in the water with his 2009 comments about Dick Cheney and Halliburton. They’ve already been used not just to link him to his father, but to<a href="http://freebeacon.com/blog/courting-the-truther-vote/"> </a><a href="http://freebeacon.com/blog/courting-the-truther-vote/">9/11 truthers</a>.</p> <p>There has also been a concerted effort to isolate and marginalize Paul within the party on Iran.</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/gop-hawks-gear-war-rand-paul-10265" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/gop-hawks-gear-war-rand-paul-10265#comments Domestic Politics The Presidency Politics United States Thu, 17 Apr 2014 07:00:00 +0000 W. James Antle III 10265 at http://nationalinterest.org Ukraine's Political System Couldn't Have Handled Nukes http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/ukraines-political-system-couldnt-have-handled-nukes-10264 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/alexander-lanoszka'>Alexander Lanoszka</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/ukraine_bomb_41614.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>In light of Russian efforts to annex Crimea and encourage political instability in eastern Ukraine,<a href="http://mag.newsweek.com/2014/03/28/ukraine-russia-nuclear-weapons-vladimir-putin.html"> </a><a href="http://mag.newsweek.com/2014/03/28/ukraine-russia-nuclear-weapons-vladimir-putin.html">international observers</a> and<a href="http://mag.newsweek.com/2014/04/25/ukraine-countries-border-russia-start-thinking-nuclear.html?utm_source=NSSPI+News+Digest&amp;utm_campaign=39621eaced-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_d96553fdd0-39621eaced-366493962"> </a><a href="http://mag.newsweek.com/2014/04/25/ukraine-countries-border-russia-start-thinking-nuclear.html?utm_source=NSSPI+News+Digest&amp;utm_campaign=39621eaced-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_d96553fdd0-39621eaced-366493962">even some countries</a> have begun questioning Ukraine’s decision to surrender its nuclear weapons following the<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2014/03/10/288572756/what-if-ukraine-still-had-nuclear-weapons"> </a><a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2014/03/10/288572756/what-if-ukraine-still-had-nuclear-weapons">1994 Budapest Memorandum</a>. Under this agreement, Ukraine gave up the nuclear-weapons stockpile it inherited from the collapse of the Soviet Union in exchange for security assurances from Russia and the United States regarding its territorial integrity and political sovereignty. Had Ukraine kept its nuclear weapons, the thinking goes, Russia would not have reneged on its promises. The current crisis would never have happened.</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/ukraines-political-system-couldnt-have-handled-nukes-10264" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/ukraines-political-system-couldnt-have-handled-nukes-10264#comments Nuclear Proliferation State of the Military WMD Security Ukraine Thu, 17 Apr 2014 07:00:00 +0000 Alexander Lanoszka 10264 at http://nationalinterest.org The Prize for Fencing Stolen Goods http://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/the-prize-fencing-stolen-goods-10263 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/paul-r-pillar'>Paul R. Pillar</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/pulitzer_cc_41614.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>Prize-awarding committees sometimes use their decisions to make some sort of political or policy statement. The committee that bestows the Nobel Peace Prize seems to have done so with increasing frequency in recent years, giving the prize to recipients who represent current aspirations more than past accomplishments. One risk of this practice, beyond any controversial or questionable aspects of the particular statement being made, is that it debases the award itself by moving it farther from any connection with actual accomplishment. Those who award Pulitzer prizes have now done so by giving this year's prize in the public service category to the <em>Washington Post</em> and <em>Guardian US</em> for publishing purloined secrets about the National Security Agency. And the Pulitzer people have done so for motives less noble than those of the Nobel people.</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/the-prize-fencing-stolen-goods-10263" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/the-prize-fencing-stolen-goods-10263#comments Paul Pillar Media Intelligence United States Thu, 17 Apr 2014 07:00:00 +0000 Paul R. Pillar 10263 at http://nationalinterest.org The Rand Paul Threat http://nationalinterest.org/blog/jacob-heilbrunn/the-rand-paul-threat-10273 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/jacob-heilbrunn'>Jacob Heilbrunn</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/rand_p_cc_41714.jpg" alt="" title=" Flickr/Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0." class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>Sen. Rand Paul should be pleased by the wilding that conservatives have attempted against him in the past week. Paul is attracting numerous brickbats from the likes of Rich Lowry, the editor of <em>National Review</em>, Bret Stephens, a columnist for the <em>Wall Street Journal</em>, and Rep. Peter King. The attention suggests that his opponents are worried—worried that Paul may be making friends and influencing people both inside and outside the GOP.</p> <p>Lowry weighed in to accuse Paul of "dewy-eyed foolishness" and "blame America first libertarianism." Stephens complains that he might well lead the GOP to a "landslide defeat." And King says his views are "disastrous."</p> <p>What's all the fuss about?&nbsp;</p> <p>The proximate cause of the latest fusillade against Paul are his recent comments about the possibility of the containment of Iran. To even suggest that containment might be a viable strategy is apparently heresy inside the GOP, or at least that's the way it's supposed to be. Paul himself says that he wasn't endorsing containment, in a <em>Washington Post</em> op-ed. He says he hasn't precluded anything. "Nuance," he says, is what he's after. Connoisseurs of the Bush presidency may recall that 43 famously declared, "I don't do nuance." Look where that got him.</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/blog/jacob-heilbrunn/the-rand-paul-threat-10273" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/blog/jacob-heilbrunn/the-rand-paul-threat-10273#comments Jacob Heilbrunn Congress United States Thu, 17 Apr 2014 02:35:42 +0000 Jacob Heilbrunn 10273 at http://nationalinterest.org China's Stealth Fighters: Ready to Soar? http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/chinas-stealth-fighters-ready-soar-10262 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/jack-mulcaire'>Jack Mulcaire</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/j-31_41614.jpg" alt="" title=" Wikimedia Commons/Alexandr Chechin/CC by-sa 3.0" class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>The test pilots of China’s state-run Shenyang Aircraft Corporation have <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2cAwQ8W-8o">been joyriding</a> in a high-tech new aircraft. Does China already have a multi-role fighter in the works to challenge the F-35? Or is this new aircraft really “all about the program?” Chinese military research and development is notoriously secretive, so Chinese and international People’s Liberation Army (PLA)-watchers were surprised by the October 2012 appearance of the J-31, a fully-fledged, advanced fighter prototype, deployed by the Shenyang Aircraft Company. It’s similarity in <a href="http://sinodefence.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/j-31.jpg?w=2000&amp;h=">shape</a> to the <a href="http://media.dma.mil/2010/Aug/31/2000329892/-1/-1/0/100827-F-9437R-033.JPG">F-35</a> is noteworthy. In recent months there has been a great deal <a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/13/f-35-secrets-now-showing-chinas-stealth-fighter/?page=all">of speculation about successful Chinese espionage</a> against the F-35 program, although most of it has focused on the appearance of certain sensor systems on China’s prototype air-superiority fighter, the J-20. The J-20 might very well have been influenced by the F-35, but the J-31 almost certainly was.</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/chinas-stealth-fighters-ready-soar-10262" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/chinas-stealth-fighters-ready-soar-10262#comments The Buzz Defense State of the Military Security China Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:00:00 +0000 Jack Mulcaire 10262 at http://nationalinterest.org The Tragic Decline of American Foreign Policy http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/the-tragic-decline-american-foreign-policy-10256 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/ian-bremmer'>Ian Bremmer</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/obama_rainy_day_pd_41514.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>It's remarkable that the US economy looks to be picking up steam even as rising stars like China, India, Turkey, and Brazil wrestle with slowing growth and the risk of unrest. Improving US fundamentals, a steadily recovering jobs market, <a href="http://nation.time.com/energy-revolution/">and revolution in energy production</a> remind us that Americans aren’t waiting on Washington to kickstart growth. Yet, even as America strengthens at home, its influence abroad continues to wane.</p> <p>The American public doesn’t seem to mind. A Pew Research poll conducted in December 2013 found that, for the first time in the fifty years Pew has asked this question, a majority of US respondents said the US “should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.” Just 38 percent disagreed. That’s a double-digit shift from the historical norm. A full 80 percent agree that the United States should "not think so much in international terms but concentrate more on our own national problems." In a democracy, no president can sustain a costly and ambitious foreign policy without public support. In America today, that support just isn’t there.</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/the-tragic-decline-american-foreign-policy-10256" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/the-tragic-decline-american-foreign-policy-10256#comments Global Governance United States Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:00:00 +0000 Ian Bremmer 10256 at http://nationalinterest.org How the Paycheck Fairness Act Will Hurt Women http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/how-the-paycheck-fairness-act-will-hurt-women-10255 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/rachel-greszler'>Rachel Greszler</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/ww2_factory_person_pd_41514.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>As a working woman and mother of four young children, I strongly support fairness in the workplace. And that is why the Paycheck Fairness Act worries me. It would unintentionally harm working women by taking away some of the freedoms and choices we currently enjoy.</p> <p>The Paycheck Fairness Act seeks to equalize wages. Under the Act, employers would have to prove that any wage differential results from a “business necessity” that cannot be remedied through any other means. In practice, this will make it more difficult for employers to pay workers according to their merit.</p> <p>Everyone supports equal pay for equal work, but often things are not that simple. Shouldn’t the more efficient computer programmer receive more than the less efficient? Shouldn’t a worker who puts in extra hours on a major project be allowed to receive a bonus? Without such merit-based pay, both women and men who deserve higher compensation will be less apt to receive it.</p> <p>The Paycheck Fairness Act would also send trial lawyers into overdrive by automatically including women in class-action lawsuits and allowing them to sue for unlimited damages. Effectively allowing lawyers to second-guess employers’ business calculations about the value of a worker, the prospects of facing frivolous class-action suits may well discourage business owners from selecting female job applicants, reducing women’s opportunities and choices in the workplace.</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/how-the-paycheck-fairness-act-will-hurt-women-10255" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/how-the-paycheck-fairness-act-will-hurt-women-10255#comments Economics United States Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:00:00 +0000 Rachel Greszler 10255 at http://nationalinterest.org Surprise Attack on Iran: Can Israel Do It? http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/surprise-attack-iran-can-israel-do-it-10253 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/thomas-saether'>Thomas Saether</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/iaf_f16i_c_41514.jpg" alt="" title="Israeli Air Force photo." class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>According to a <a href="http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.580701">report</a> in March by the Israeli daily <i>Haaretz</i>, Israel continues to prepare for a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Quoting anonymous members of the Knesset who were present during hearings on the military budget, officials in the Israel Defense Force (IDF) have allegedly received instructions to continue preparing for a strike and a special budget has been allocating for that purpose. However, conducting a military operation against Iran’s key nuclear facilities would be a challenging task for the Israeli military. The distance from Israel to the Iranian nuclear sites is such that any strike using the air force would be challenging on its fuel capacity. Allocating tanker planes to the mission could alleviate part of this concern. Nonetheless, Israeli jets can't spend too much time in Iranian airspace before the mission itself is in jeopardy. Engaging Iran's air force in dogfights must be avoided. Therefore, surprise will be a necessary element in a successful Israeli mission.</p> <p>A successful surprise attack is not easy to achieve. It rests on the ability to deceive the adversary. In general, a deception strategy might involve several elements, related to the timing of the operation, the military platforms involved, the targets, the routes chosen to the targets, the munitions used, and so on. There are several potential obstacles. First, preparations for conducting a military operation must be made without revealing the main elements of the surprise. Second, the political decision must be made covertly, that is, without revealing the timing of the operation. Could Israel pull it off?</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/surprise-attack-iran-can-israel-do-it-10253" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/surprise-attack-iran-can-israel-do-it-10253#comments Defense Military Strategy Nuclear Proliferation Rising Powers State of the Military WMD Security Israel Iran Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:00:00 +0000 Thomas Saether 10253 at http://nationalinterest.org Afghanistan Needs an Army Corps of Engineers http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/afghanistan-needs-army-corps-engineers-10259 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/christopher-k-tucker'>Christopher K. Tucker</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/army_bridge_guys_pd_41514.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>Why did the United States pay to raise an Afghan National Army but fail to institute an Afghan Army Corps of Engineers? It seems that we built a capacity to fight, but did not fight to create a capacity to build. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) provided the facilities and infrastructure that the Coalition needed for war, but a much-needed Afghan Army Corps of Engineers was not developed in parallel to lay the groundwork of a sustainable Afghan society. How was this basic concept overlooked? Certainly it was not for lack of engagement by the ubiquitous and well-funded USACE presence within Afghanistan.</p> <p>Perhaps this oversight is the result of ignorance concerning the role that the USACE has played in America's own transformation from a frontier backwater into one of the most developed and resilient nations ever to exist on the planet Earth. Our quest to enable regional stability by building partner capacity will continue to falter until foreign-policy makers learn to embrace the critical role of engineers, and the engineering institutions that have made the United States strong.</p> <p><b>History of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers</b></p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/afghanistan-needs-army-corps-engineers-10259" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/afghanistan-needs-army-corps-engineers-10259#comments Technology Post-Conflict Security Afghanistan Wed, 16 Apr 2014 06:00:00 +0000 Christopher K. Tucker 10259 at http://nationalinterest.org A Thirty Years' War in the Middle East http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/thirty-years-war-the-middle-east-10257 <div class='field field-type-userreference field-field-author'> <div class='field-items'><a href='http://nationalinterest.org/profile/greg-r-lawson'>Greg R. Lawson</a> </div> </div><p><span class="insert image-resize-340"><img src="http://nationalinterest.org/files/imagecache/resize-340/images/assad_1600s_derivativecc_41514.jpg" alt="" title=" Wikimedia Commons/Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ABr/CC by 3.0" class="imagecache-resize-340" /><span class="image-caption"></span></span>History teaches through the use of analogies. Inexact though these analogies may be, they represent one of the best ways to draw upon the past to inform, though certainly not dictate, the future.</p> <p>In the wake of the end of the Iraq War and the vagaries of the Arab Spring-cum-Winter, the Middle East is ripe for an analogy to describe its present turmoil. One could do far worse than the hellish Thirty Years’ War that convulsed Europe between 1618 and 1648 and ended by bequeathing to the world the modern state system. Whether the present bloodletting in Syria, the ongoing geopolitical contest of wills between Sunni and Shia Muslim powers, and renewed Great Power rivalry yields anything approximating such a dramatic and long-standing order is questionable in the extreme. Yet it would benefit analysts to consider the similarities between that previous epoch shaping event and today’s ongoing drama.</p> <p><a href="http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/thirty-years-war-the-middle-east-10257" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/thirty-years-war-the-middle-east-10257#comments History Middle East Wed, 16 Apr 2014 06:00:00 +0000 Greg R. Lawson 10257 at http://nationalinterest.org