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Sept. 30, 2022

Great Power Competition: Understanding the Role of Leaders in French Joint Forces

Engaged in counterinsurgency or counterterrorism operations for several decades, Western forces are now faced with the resurgence of Great Power competition (GPC) and the specter of high-intensity warfare. This type of conflict, characterized by the clash of symmetrical military powers confronting each other with high-tech capabilities in a wide range of domains and fields of action, marks the return of potentially high levels of attrition and the end of the relative operational and strategic comfort known during past asymmetric conflicts. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022 is an excellent example of this, demonstrating the disinhibition of a part of the stage with respect to international law. Is France, seen as a balanced power, ready for this return to GPC?

Sept. 30, 2022

Defining and Achieving Success in Ukraine

This article examines the ongoing war in Ukraine and explores options that lead to ending the conflict in some way that would constitute success or “victory.” Decisive victory in a purely military sense is an unlikely prospect. A frozen conflict, a larger and longer version of Donbas across the entire Ukrainian frontier, is increasingly likely despite the efforts by the West to induce Russia to back down. The prospects of a grinding stalemate are evident and extending the fighting creates spillover consequences for other U.S. strategic priorities. A war of endurance may play to U.S./European economic advantages but could evolve in a way that harms longer-term interests.

Sept. 30, 2022

China, the West, and the Future Global Order By Julian Lindley-French and Franco Algieri

The primary purpose of this article is to respectfully communicate to a Chinese audience a Western view of the future world order. China needs the West as much as the West needs China. However, the West has awakened geopolitically to the toxic power politics that Russia is imposing on Ukraine and China’s support for it. China is thus faced with a profound choice: alliance with a declining and weak Russia or cooperation with a powerful bloc of global democracies that Russia’s incompetent and illegal aggression is helping to forge.

Sept. 30, 2022

The Limits of Victory: Evaluating the Employment of Military Power

On November 28, 1984, then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger appeared before the National Press Club in Washington, DC, to deliver a speech titled “The Uses of Military Power.” The previous year had brought mixed results in the deployment of U.S. combat troops overseas. An invasion of the small West Indies country of Grenada wrested regime control from the one-party socialist People’s Revolutionary Government in favor of a relatively stable democracy. In Lebanon, however, the bombing of a Marine Corps barracks complex in Beirut killed 305 troops and civilians, including 241 Americans, and led to the withdrawal of the multinational peacekeeping force months later. Perhaps most central to Secretary Weinberger’s speech was the Vietnam War, an event that two decades later still struck deep into the institutional fabric of the U.S. military.

Sept. 30, 2022

Panda Power? Chinese Soft Power in the Era of COVID-19

The rivalry between the United States and China is not only one of military-strategic and economic challenges but also one of ideas. The West has had the advantage of presenting the more compelling image to the rest of the world. While China makes propaganda efforts, the United States enjoys soft power—the attractiveness of its culture, political ideas, and policies—and this gives America an international advantage. With a recent analysis suggesting that China’s economy will overtake that of the United States in 2028, China’s attempts to rebrand its image will not only have more resources but also find an increasingly eager international audience that seeks to engage the newly emerging number one global economy.

Sept. 30, 2022

The BRI and Its Rivals: The Building and Rebuilding of Eurasia in the 21st Century

China’s re-emergence as a global power after 400 years raises profound questions about not only China’s place in the truly new world order in which no superpower can reign supreme but also the international system itself, as well as the ways in which China’s policies may be reorientating Eurasia’s regions in the direction of China.

Sept. 30, 2022

The 21st Century's Great Military Rivalry

The era of uncontested U.S. military superiority is likely over. While America’s position as a global military superpower remains unique—both China and Russia are now serious military rivals and even peers in particular domains. If there is a “limited war” over Taiwan or along China’s periphery, the United States would likely lose—or have to choose between losing and stepping up the escalation ladder to a wider war. Choices the administration and Congress will make in 2022 and beyond can significantly impact the current trajectories. But the decisions likely to have the greatest positive impact are the hardest to make and execute.

Sept. 20, 2022

Crafting Strategy for Irregular Warfare: A Framework for Analysis and Action (2nd Edition)

The United States, and the West, struggle to understand and respond to irregular warfare, whether by states or nonstate actors. Attempts to master the art have generated much new jargon, ranging from “hybrid war” to “the gray zone,” and most recently “integrated deterrence.” The terminology belies a struggle to overcome entrenched presumptions about war—a confusion that generates cognitive friction with implications for strategy. To inform a better approach, this monograph presents an analytical framework to assess and respond to irregular threats.

Sept. 13, 2022

The Civil War and Revolutions in Naval Affairs: Lessons for Today

At certain times, owing to new strategy, new technology, or the vagaries of war, the character of naval warfare and course of naval history undergo rapid, profound, and lasting change. Our thesis is that the American Civil War was one such time. It was the seminal revolution in naval affairs in the history of the United States. With its existence at stake, the Union doubled down on its plan to blockade the Confederacy even as the demands of doing so became clear. What followed was an American revolution in naval affairs with worldwide implications for the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.

Sept. 13, 2022

Gray Dragons: Assessing China’s Senior Military Leadership

This report analyzes more than 300 biographies of senior Chinese military officers from 2015 and 2021 to assess the composition, demographics, and career patterns of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) leadership.