Rather than pulling the cyber domain away from deterrence, current policy has brought cyber elements closer to the U.S.’s broader strategic deterrence strategy. Strategic deterrence now incorporates a well-defined role for cyber that is likely to expand in the future, and strategic deterrence has begun to play a role in cyber deterrence strategy.
The political turmoil in Venezuela has captured the attention of the United States for several months, and the recent introduction of Russian troops into the country has solidified a place for the ailing petrostate on front pages nationwide. As American eyes are drawn to the ongoing unrest in the streets of Caracas, it is worth noting this is not the first time the United States has been concerned by European intervention in Venezuela.
The chance of conflict in the Korean peninsula should be weighed against the direct threat being posed to the U.S. The risk of nuclear war in Seoul should not be exchanged for the risk of nuclear war in San Francisco. Washington should not deceive itself that risk and tragedy can be forever postponed. The U.S. should prepare for the unthinkable to prevent it from becoming the inevitable.
All things considered, Israel must now prepare to rely upon a multi-faceted doctrine of nuclear deterrence. In turn, this doctrine must be rendered selectively less ambiguous and more expressly synergistic. Its operational range of application must include both rational and non-rational adversaries and both state and sub-state foes.
The adversaries of today are still human, and the threats of today may not be so conceptually different from those of the Cold War. By looking back at how a previous generation of strategists considered and communicated their strategic challenges in context, we may be able to gain insights into how to address these modern threats. 21st Century Power: Strategic Superiority for the Modern Era is a useful resource toward that end.
For Israel, ultimate survival tasks will necessarily be profoundly intellectual or analytic, and require utterly durable victories of "mind over mind" as well as more traditional ones of mind over matter. These victories, in turn, will depend upon prior capacities to fully understand the prospectively many-sided elements of Cold War II. In principle, at least, such prior capacities could lead Israel to seriously consider certain preemption options.
By definition, as long as particular countries regard their nuclear status as an asset, every state that is a member of the so-called nuclear club is a direct beneficiary of the Cold War. This is because all core elements of any national nuclear strategy, whether actual or still-contemplated, were originally conceptualized, shaped, and even codified within the earlier bipolar struggles of post World War II international relations. Nonetheless, as the world now enters into a more-or-less resurrected form of this initial struggle the strategic postures of each extant nuclear weapons state are being modified within the still-developing parameters of Cold War II.
The continuum of applied U.S. strategies towards North Korea has failed and will never achieve the desired strategic objectives, as they are currently envisioned. This is because U.S. policymakers remain focused on denuclearization and non-proliferation vice regional stability as the strategic goal. In the 2015 U.S. National Security Strategy (NSS) President Obama outlined his vision for leveraging “strategic patience” as a means to force the Kim regime to the negotiating table. In his view, this strategy focused on a “commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” However, because the U.S. continues to fundamentally miscalculate the underlying cultural influences guiding North Korean decision-makers and because China and Russia have failed to consistently enforce economic sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council (UNSC), strategic patience as envisioned by President Obama failed to produce the desired results. Continuing to march towards the same end-state, albeit more aggressively than before, President Trump released his 2017 NSS that asserts the U.S. “will work with allies and partners to achieve complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and preserve the non-proliferation regime in Northeast Asia.” Unfortunately, pursuing a denuclearized North Korea and convincing North Korea to agree to non-proliferation are fruitless endeavors. To understand precisely why these strategies have failed and will continue to fail, it is important to understand the cultural ideologies that influence North Korean national objectives and domestic policy actions.
The ultimate question begged by these musings is to consider what effect more than fifty years of trying to implement business management models into the American military has had? Are we more efficient and monetarily lean than ever before? It doesn’t seem so. We have the world’s most expensive military, with the costliest equipment and highest operating margins. It is difficult to draw a direct causal argument, despite the apparent correlation in time, and beyond the scope of this article to do so. The argument is simply that military effectiveness is a matter that ought not to be judged by monetary value (profit or cost-savings efficiency) of the services performed, and it is thus not appropriate for business management models. More bluntly, whenever a public organization (as opposed to a private one) is so conceived the result will be unavoidably perverse.
All strategies have origins; none are conceived wholly from scratch. This axiom holds true even for states’ most fundamental strategies; indeed, the grander and more foundational the strategy, the more deeply rooted its historical and cultural origins. Yet it can sometimes appear otherwise: new strategic realities can emerge, if not overnight, then in the space of, say, a fortnight, a month, or a year, and states can be left scrambling to articulate a coherent response. The advent of nuclear weaponry was one such instance. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki stand as a watershed to which historians and policy-makers are inexorably drawn. What came before stands as pre-history; what follows is a brave new world, demanding brave new strategic visions. So runs the logic.
Numerous voices have claimed that the day of conventional war is over. For years, these voices have predicted that “war amongst the people,” or “hybrid war,” or “gray zone operations,” or “distributed security missions,” are the new face of war. But conventional war—however it may be changing—may not be as dead as some believe. Danger is already emerging from the confluence of several unfolding trends.
it is important to reintroduce many of the well understood concepts of strategy to the cyber-Security debate precisely because it adds clarity to an otherwise murky topic. While it is good to come to the right answer, it is also important that we understand the strategic relationships of different behaviors so that we can consistently prescribe proper policy. Understanding why negotiations are a good idea today will better help us determine if they are a good idea tomorrow, and hopefully forestall deleterious decisions based upon improper analogs.
A state can exist as poor or rich, powerful or weak, and even very crude military strategies may suffice because a state can appeal to the order provided by alliances with superpowers and international conventions sustained by superpowers to meet their control needs. On the other hand, a superpower must, by definition, remain preeminently powerful and well resourced. This modifies a superpower’s definition of control.