Current focus: Academic Perspectives

Nation-Building: A Forgotten Aspect of the Vietnam War

South Vietnamese Lt. General Ngo Quang Truong honors American soldiers. Image: tommy japan/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by Defence-In-Depth on 8 December 2014.

While the debate over American strategy in the Vietnam War has been long and bitter, it has also been strangely constricted. This stems in part from the fact it has largely been an anguished dialogue among Americans searching for the reasons which underlay their nation’s defeat. This means that a lot of research into the Vietnam War ultimately seems to boil down to a search for villains – be they firepower-mad generals, feckless politicians, or corrupt and incompetent local allies. » More

Prior focus: Global Views

Review – Leo Strauss: Man of Peace

The German-American philosopher Leo Strauss. Image: Academia Christiana/Flickr

This book review was originally published by E-International Relations on 7 December, 2014.

Leo Strauss: Man of Peace
by Robert Howse,
NYU School of Law: New York

To begin, I must emphasize the extent to which Robert Howse’s Leo Strauss: Man of Peace is a book about Leo Strauss that is not exclusively for those steeped in the ever expanding Strauss literature, unlike so much that has a steep learning curve (cf. Velkley 2011; Lampert 2013). Nor is it solely for IR scholars, or even trained political theorists, as Howse’s book is easily accessible to a generally learned audience, staying true to Strauss’s thought without losing newcomers in his unique rhetoric. This said, Howse’s clarity in no way mars his lucidity. Readers already familiar with Strauss, or with some knowledge of Machiavelli, Thucydides, Grotius, or Kant will benefit from Howse’s presentation of Strauss as a worthy thinker for international relations. People new to these conversations in IR and Political Theory have an unmatched gateway. » More

Prior focus: Our Perspectives

Lethal Robots and the Conduct of Warfare

The military robot “Atlas”, developed by Boston Dynamics for DARPA . Image: DARPA/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by the ASPI Strategist on 5 December, 2014.

The use of lethal robots in conflict is inevitable. When it happens, it’ll create a significant shift in the ways of warfare. A discussion has already begun (see here and here) on how such capabilities might be developed and applied.

Robots in general are becoming smaller, smarter, cheaper and more ubiquitous. Lethal robots are becoming more deadly and discriminating. The degree of autonomy will be a key driver of a robot’s role in conflict and is likely to evolve in three generations; the semi-autonomous, the restricted-autonomous, and ultimately the fully-autonomous generation. » More

Prior focus: Partner Insights

Can Militarizing Public Security Reduce Violence on the Streets of Honduras?

Honduran police officers. Image: Paulien Osse/Flickr

This article was originally published by Southern Pulse on 4 December, 2014.

In recent years Honduras has been on a trajectory to militarize its police force. Towards the end of 2011, the Honduran National Congress approved a decree allowing military personnel to perform duties normally carried out by police officers such as making arrests, disarming civilians and raiding private residences. In 2013, militarization practices became more solidified when Congress authorized the creation of two new forces, the Tropa de Investigación y Grupo de Respuesta Especial de Seguridad (TIGRES) and the Policía Militar del Orden Público, (PMOP, or Military Police). The Military Police currently has 2,000 officers and is expected to reach 5,000 officers. The 2013 legislation granted the PMOP power over patrolling and securing violent neighborhoods and arresting people deemed a threat to public security. This militarization occurred under the guise of what appeared to be the strengthening of a weak and non-functioning police force. The involvement of police in crimes and extrajudicial killings in recent years was used as grounds for the government to slowly phase out traditional methods of law enforcement and implement this new military approach to policing. The paradox herein lies in the fact that military personnel in Honduras have an equally horrific track record of abusing power and human rights. » More

Prior focus: Global Views

Talk Stealthy to Me

An F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter and an F-22A Raptor. Image: Jeremy T. Lock/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 4 December, 2014.

As the Air Force Times recently reported, the F-22 and F-35A conducted their first integrated training mission earlier this month. Several observers declared this mission, which included offensive counter air, defensive counter air and interdiction operations, to be a success. But if the planes are to actually operate as a cohesive strike package in the complex A2/AD environments of the future, the services will first need to address a glaring gap in interoperability: data links. » More

Page 1 of 304