Southeast Asia has long been a region in policy limbo with shifting goals. Strategists who write off the region as destined to fall under a Chinese sphere of influence or, blind to history, attempt to force Southeast Asian countries to choose between the United States and China miss the mark.
It is time that the United States and its allies plan for the long haul of supporting the Government of Afghanistan instead of remaining fixated on the immediate crisis at hand. For far too long the international community has tried and repeatedly failed to create a durable peace on a Western timeline. By dividing the insurgency into smaller manageable groups, pressuring amenable Afghan leaders, and aligning the win sets across all levels, the United States may eventually help the Government of Afghanistan bargain a tenable peace and achieve an honorable exit from its longest war.
There isn’t much grand about America’s post-Cold War grand strategy. Such is the consensus among the academic scholars, think-tankers, pundits, and many former national security officials who have chastised U.S. foreign policymakers for lacking strategic sophistication, or worse, failing to craft a coherent grand strategy at all...In their well-crafted and important new book, War by Other Means: Geoeconomics and Statecraft, Robert Blackwill and Jennifer Harris join this discussion orthogonally, arguing that the United States has altogether abandoned the economic dimension of grand strategy.
On April 8, 1904, French Foreign Minister Théophile Declassé took a telephone call from Paul Cambon, his ambassador in London. “C’est signé!” Cambon roared into the phone—”It is signed!” The modern era’s most significant treaty, the Franco-British Entente Cordiale was signed. What had been one of the world’s most significant historical rivalries from shortly after the Norman Conquest in 1066 up to that April day in 1904, was over. France and England reached agreement on a host of issues, specified and sorted out in painstaking detail through three treaties signed at once. The world would never be the same.
Many scholars, such as Noam Chomsky, have asserted that understanding the way we use language is important, as words shape the way we conceptualize, communicate, and act. Therefore, it is prudent to define the key term up front. After a brief search, I was very surprised to find a formal definition of frenemy in the Oxford English Dictionary as “a person with whom one is friendly, despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry; a person who combines the characteristics of a friend and an enemy.” I was also quite surprised to find that it was the journalist Walter Winchell who first coined the term in 1953 when he wrote, “Howz about calling the Russians our frenemies?”
The last American combat troops left Vietnam in 1973, twelve years before I was born and 42 years ago as I write this. No millennials, as my generation is called, lived through the Vietnam War. For most of us even the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union happened too early in our lives to resonate politically. My generation’s perspective on Vietnam is shaped entirely through textbooks and movies. Through those lenses, the Vietnam War seems to be one of the most costly political and strategic blunders in United States history.