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  • Author: Katherine C. Epstein
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This article uses the centenary of the First World War as an opportunity to re-examine a major element of the existing literature on the war—the strategic implications of supposed British decline—as well as analogies to the contemporary United States based upon that interpretation of history. It argues that the standard declinist interpretation of British strategy rests to a surprising degree upon the work of the naval historian Arthur Marder, and that Marder's archival research and conceptual framework were weaker than is generally realized. It suggests that more recent work appearing since Marder is stronger and renders the declinist strategic interpretation difficult to maintain. It concludes by considering the implications of this new work for analogies between the United States today and First World War-era Britain, and for the use of history in contemporary policy debates.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, America
  • Author: Geoffrey Sloan
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: It was the British maritime strategist Sir Julian Corbett who, on the eve of the First World War, described doctrine as 'the soul of warfare'. This assertion conceals as much as it reveals, leaving out any explanation of how doctrine is formulated, disseminated or used, and any account of the relationship between doctrine and command philosophy. It is only through a synthesis of these two factors that fighting power can be generated. Doctrine can be described as a force multiplier in that a fighting organization that applies it consistently will be able to take on a larger force in battle and win. It is often analysed and evaluated in isolation from command philosophy. How, then, do we define doctrine and what are the major variants of command philosophy? What is the nature of the relationship between doctrine and command philosophy? Is it possible to identify and assess the component parts of doctrine, and to understand how they manifest themselves at the tactical, operational and strategic levels of war?
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Julie Smith
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Many people believed that Great Britain was not and did not wish to become European, and that Britain wanted to enter the Community only so as to destroy it or divert it from its objectives. Many people also thought that France was ready to use every pretext to place in the end a fresh veto on Britain's entry. Well, ladies and gentlemen, you see before you tonight two men who are convinced of the contrary.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Arthur I. Cyr
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: There is no shortage of attention to disagreements and tensions between the United States and the nations of Europe, considered both individually and collectively. The 40th anniversary of Britain's entry into the European Economic Community (EEC), now the European Union (EU), is a good benchmark anniversary not only for reflection on what has transpired to date but also for evaluation of current trends and likely future developments. The nation's course, regarding both entry into membership and participation, has hardly been smooth, but the relationship with the institution has endured.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, Europe
  • Author: Thomas Cargill
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The next big thing: Once known only for hunger and war, Africa's moment has arrived
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Trevor Mccrisken
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: It has been almost ten years since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon led President George W. Bush to proclaim a 'war on terror'. This article focuses on the difficulties faced by his successor, Barack Obama, as he has attempted to move away from much of the Bush rhetoric and practice of counterterrorism. Obama came to office determined to 'reboot' US counter-terrorism policy so that it would not only be more effective but also more in keeping with what he perceived as the core moral values and principles at the heart of American political culture. For many observers, Obama has not lived up to expectations as he has not made wholesale changes to counter-terrorism policy. This article argues, however, that he always intended to not only maintain but, in fact, deepen Bush's war against terrorism, not because he was trapped by Bush's institutionalized construction of a global war on terror, but because he agrees fundamentally with the core assumptions and imperatives of that war on terror narrative. Nonetheless, Obama promised to continue combating terrorism in ways that were distinctive from his predecessor, not least because a higher moral standard would be applied to the conduct of counter-terrorism. By addressing his policies toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, Guantanamo Bay and torture, and the use of unmanned drone attacks, it is argued that Obama's 'war' against terrorism is not only in keeping with the assumptions and priorities of the last ten years but also that, despite some successes, it is just as problematic as that of his predecessor.
  • Topic: Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, America
  • Author: Robert Foley, Stuart Griffin, Helen McCartney
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: While the US and British armies have proved adept at fighting high-intensity conflict, their initial performance against asymmetric threats and diffuse insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrated how much each army had to learn about conducting counterinsurgency operations. This article examines one important means by which the US and British armies have transformed themselves into more flexible and responsive organizations that are able to harness innovation at the front effectively. It traces the development of the lessons-learned systems in both armies from the start of counterinsurgency operations in Iraq to today. Reform of US and British army learning capabilities offers an important insight into the drivers of military change.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Alex Danchev
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This article reviews the fruits of a sustained collaboration between the writer and reporter Sebastian Junger and the photographer and filmmaker Tim Hetherington, embedded with the US Army in Afghanistan: Junger's meditation, War; Hetherington's photographs, Infidel; and the documentary film they co-directed, Restrepo. Taken together, these works offer perhaps the most significant insight into the nature of combat, and combat effectiveness, yet to emerge in the era of the 'war on terror'. Remarkably enough, their fundamental theme is love.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Christian Barry
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Troubled times often gives rise to great art that reflects those troubles. So too with political theory. The greatest work of twentieth century political theory, John Rawls's A theory of justice, was inspired in various respects by extreme social and economic inequality, racialized slavery and racial segregation in the United States. Arguably the most influential work of political theory since Rawls—Michael Walzer's Just and unjust wars—a sustained and historically informed reflection on the morality of interstate armed conflict—was written in the midst of the Vietnam War. It should be no surprise, then, that the bellicose period of the past 20 years should give rise to a robust new literature in political theory on the morality of armed conflict. It has been of uneven quality, and to some extent episodic, responding to particular challenges—the increased prevalence of asymmetric warfare and the permissibility of preventive or preemptive war—that have arisen as a result of specific events. In the past decade, however, a group of philosophers has begun to pose more fundamental questions about the reigning theory of the morality of armed conflict warfare—just war theory—as formulated by Walzer and others. Jeff McMahan's concise, inventive and tightly argued work Killing in war is without doubt the most important of these challenges to the reigning theory of the just war. This review article discusses McMahan's work, some of the critical attention it has received, and its potential implications for practice.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Vietnam
  • Author: David Fisher, Nigel Biggar
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This article is based on a debate held on 22 March 2011 at Chatham House on 'Was Iraq an unjust war?' David Fisher argues that the war fully failed to meet any of the just war criteria. By contrast, current coalition operations in Libya are, so far, just. This is a humanitarian operation undertaken to halt a humanitarian catastrophe that is taking place, with wide international support, including authorization by the UN Security Council. Nigel Biggar argues that the fact that the invasion and occupation of Iraq suffered from grave errors, some of them morally culpable, does not yet establish its overall injustice. All wars are morally flawed, even just ones. Further, even if the invasion were illegal, that need not make it immoral. Regarding Libya, Biggar notes the recurrence of conflict over the interpretation of international law. He wonders how those who distinguish sharply between protecting civilians and regime change imagine that dissident civilians are to be 'kept' safe while Qadhafi remains in power. Against those who clamour for a clear exitstrategy, he counsels agility, while urging sensitivity to the limits of our power. What was right to begin may become imprudent to continue.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Libya