How a World Order Ends

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And What Comes in Its Wake

A stable world order is a rare thing. When one does arise, it tends to come after a great convulsion that creates both the conditions and the desire for something new. It requires a stable distribution of power and broad acceptance of the rules that govern the conduct of international relations. It also needs skillful statecraft, since an order is made, not born. And no matter how ripe the starting conditions or strong the initial desire, maintaining it demands creative diplomacy, functioning institutions, and effective action to adjust it when circumstances change and buttress it when challenges come. Continue reading

The Winds of War

 

This is a video of Putin explaining the balance of power from the Russian viewpoint. He is absolutely correct in saying that an anti-missile system neutralizes opposition. It would certainly embolden the war hawks into believing that they could defeat Russia and rule the world at the expense of American and Russian citizens.

Montesquieu, who influenced the Founding Fathers in creating the Constitution, met the political leader and soldier known as the Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736). The political discussions between these two men helped Montesquieu understand the evils of government and forged the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and the right to bear arms. The Prince of Savoy was considered, even by Napoleon, as one of the seven greatest strategists in military history. He fought against the Turks (1683-1688, 1697, 1715-1718) and he fought against the French in the War of the Grand Alliance (1689-1691). He was also the teacher of Frederick the Great of Prussia (b 1712; 1740–1786) who he shaped into a brilliant military strategist. Continue reading

U.S. Ground Forces: Not Ready for a Big War

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Image credit: Poster Collection, US 7319, Hoover Institution Archives.

 

This past week, we heard from multiple service chiefs that key components of our military, particularly our land forces, may not be ready for a “big war” of the sort we’d face with China or Russia—or for a combination-play conflict against two second-tier foes, such as Iran and North Korea.

The generals were right. But not about the most basic reason why we’re not prepared. Congressional testimony stressed deficient numbers and aging equipment. Those factors certainly matter. The greater problem, though, is that today’s officers (and our countrymen) are not mentally prepared for high-intensity conflict, with its devastating casualties and traumatic destruction. We lack the mindset, the grit, and the psychological resilience, along with the tactical and operational repertoire, to win. Continue reading

“Too Big for Europe”: The Recurring German Problem

German chancellor Otto von Bismarck, May 18, 1889

Today’s Germany emerged in 1990 when the formerly communist East Germany was incorporated into the Federal Republic. Nearly half a century of disunion had left an economic and social divide in the country that took more than two decades to mend — and some imbalances remain. Historically, however, the more pertinent geographical divide in Germany has been between its north and south.

This Nord-Süd-Gefälle actually mended an economic divide that had previously been to the advantage of the north. Trade centers like Bremen and Hamburg, as well as Berlin, have since imitated the south’s focus on high technology and employed more workers in services.

Competition between the highly autonomous Länder and Germany’s big cities stems from its long division into different sovereign states. Prussia, which had come to occupy virtually the whole of the North European Plain during the Napoleonic Wars, including today’s northern and western Poland as well as Russia’s Kaliningrad province, was by far the most powerful. Its prime minister, Otto von Bismarck, forged an empire out of the many German kingdoms and principalities in 1871. Continue reading

Why Russia Needs Eastern Europe — And why Eastern Europe needs to be rid of Russia

(Click to enlarge) Russia’s border with Europe is the bloodiest place in the world.

 

Russia’s border with Europe is the bloodiest place in the world. Caught between the major powers of the West and the might of Russia, the region has seen some of the worst conflicts in history.

During World War II, roughly 17 million soldiers lost their lives in battles on the Eastern front. By way of comparison, in the West, fewer than four million soldiers died—including D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge and all the other battles we hear about more often. And these figures don’t include the huge number of civilians who lost their lives in the Battle of Stalingrad or the Siege of Leningrad, and other horrific clashes.

The numbers for World War i are also appalling; rough estimates indicate that 5 million soldiers lost their lives fighting on the Eastern front.

Conflicts between Europe and Russia are bloody and frequent. This history gives the context necessary to appreciate what is happening in Ukraine, and how Europe will react.

Continue reading