Small Wars Journal

foreign policy

The Monroe Doctrine in 21st Century Great Power Competition

Mon, 03/25/2019 - 12:58am
After a 20-year hiatus since the fall of the Soviet Union, the 2017 National Security Strategy (NSS) and 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) identify a new great power competition as the priority security threat to the United States. Although focused on Europe with Russia, and Asia with China, this great power competition is just as applicable in Latin America where China is aggressively using the economic instrument of power.

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Pulling the Plug

Mon, 12/31/2018 - 2:20pm
Foreign policy in the Trump era is a tug-of-war, a test of wills between national pragmatists and global utopians. Binary equations might be simplistic, but if it has done nothing else, the Trump agenda has exposed the venal politics and pratfalls of “social” democracies, here and in Europe. The contest is a struggle, as irony would have it, between voices arguing for change and the “business as usual” crowd.

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In Case of Emergency - Don’t Panic, Plan

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 6:18am
If we want to increase the chances of our missions succeeding, we must first understand the complexity of what we are dealing with and plan accordingly. Moreover, we need to treat planning not as a one-time activity but as an ongoing, iterative affair that is responsive to the continual and multifaceted changes characteristic of complex crises.

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Trumpism and Tribalism Run Amok in the Middle East SWJED Wed, 11/07/2018 - 11:34am
Trump and his enablers do enough damage in America and to their direct targets, but the indirect effects are also quite serious, not least of all in the Middle East. Two very current, sad examples are Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Exemplar, Not Crusader

Thu, 01/24/2013 - 8:30am

Many of you have already seen this, but for those who haven't, I discussed warfare, foreign policy, and America's way ahead in a changing world with Time's Mark Thompson the other day

 

No matter what portion of the ideological spectrum Americans come at world problems from, their views are shaped in a way by the idea of the “end of history.” We think that political development has a single endpoint, that being liberal democracy.

I'm not arguing that there's a better endpoint. Instead, I’m arguing that America cannot get the world to that endpoint in the near term. America needs to be more humble in its foreign policies, more realistic than its current expectation of instant modernization without any instability, and more cognizant of the significant challenges it faces in getting its own house in order.

In a phrase, I argue that America should focus more on being an exemplar than a crusader.

First, the world is undergoing a massive wave of change, bringing rapid development and modernization to more people than ever before. I show that this change is intensely destabilizing. It took the West centuries to progress from the corrupt rule of warlords to liberal democracy.

There is no reason to believe that America can remake the world—or even a corner of it—in its image in the course of a few years. We are going to face a period of intensifying instability in the developing world and we need to understand that some things just cannot be neatly managed, much less controlled. We can’t bring on the end of history by using war to spread democracy and the welfare state (used in the academic, not pejorative sense).

Second, and perhaps more importantly because it affects us domestically and internationally, the welfare state is facing a crisis in the world’s leading democracies. This defies the notion that history is teleological—marching toward a determined end point. It would be no surprise, however, to the ancients who saw all governments as fallible and saw history as more of a cyclical thing.

You can read the rest here.

Special Ops and the Future of American Foreign Policy

Sat, 09/08/2012 - 8:30am

In this Center for National Policy video, SWJ friends Dave Maxwell, Fernando Lujan, Sean Naylor, and Ryan Evans talk special ops and foreign policy.

From the toppling of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan to the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, special operations have taken on a new prominence in American foreign policy in the 21st Century. It appears that America's reliance on special operations forces will only increase in the coming decade. Major Fernando Lujan, Colonel David Maxwell (ret.), Sean Naylor and moderator CNP Research Fellow Ryan Evans discussed the political and strategic implications.