The United Nations Turns to Stabilization

A United Nations long range patrol in Liberia, 2006. Image: Irish Defence Forces/Flickr

This article was originally published by IPI on 5 December 2014.

Stabilization is catching on in security and development circles. It is the object of growing attention among military practitioners in particular, and US-led stability operations are currently ongoing in at least 50 fragile settings, especially in the Americas, Africa and the Middle East. Other governments including Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom are invested in stabilization, albeit adopting different approaches. Although expanding in number and scale, the conceptual and operational parameters of these stabilization interventions are still opaque. Moreover, their actual record of success is still only dimly understood. There is in fact an emerging backlash challenging the underlying theory, assumptions and practices of stabilization. » More

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

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

“Boots On Our Ground, Please!”: The Army in the Pacific

US Marine Corps General John Paxton in conversation with US Army General Vincent Brooks. Image: Cpl. Tia Dufour/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 26 November 2014.

“It’s great to be someplace where ‘boots on the ground’ is not an insult.” With these words, Secretary of the Army John McHugh kicked-off last month’s Association of the United States Army (AUSA) annual meeting. He continued, to raucous applause, that the United States is, as President Obama termed it, “the indispensable nation,” and that, “we are the indispensible Army of that indispensible nation.”

Good meat and potatoes stuff for an Army crowd, but Secretary McHugh’s words tend to fall on deaf ears outside the medal-bedecked battalions assembled within the AUSA convention hall. Does anyone else share Secretary McHugh’s views? As the Army defines itself for the future, how does it make sure “boots on the ground” is a compliment rather than an insult, and how does it remain “an indispensible Army”? » More

Mexico’s Low Point

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Mexican_Flag.jpg

Mexican flag. Image: Lisette/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by IPI Global Observatory on 21 November, 2014.

Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto is in the most difficult period of his presidency, with vociferous protests over the disappearance of 43 teachers-in-training in the state of Guerrero fueling angry calls for his resignation. At the same time, his government is facing accusations of corruption. Taken together, the two problems seriously undermine the image of Mexico that the president and his team have worked to promote around the globe. » More

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