Author profile: Harvey M. Sapolsky

Harvey M. Sapolsky

Harvey M. Sapolsky is Professor of Public Policy and Organization, Emeritus, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and former Director of the MIT Security Studies Program. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Michigan and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. In the defense field he has served as a consultant or panel member for a number of government commissions and study groups. His most recent books are US Defense Politics written with Eugene Gholz and Caitlin Talmadge and US Military Innovation Since the Cold War edited with Benjamin Friedman and Brendan Green, both published by Routledge.

No Brakes

No Brakes

As with America’s war in Afghanistan, there now can be wars without end thanks to a professional military, new technology, and a changing politics of party competition.

The Shift to the Pacific

The Shift to the Pacific

America will find more ways to project more power from a distance and less reasons to be constantly on scene. It is a slow walk home, not a major change.

MORE THAN TEN MONTHS TO GO

The US presidential election is more than ten months off and it is going to be, to borrow a phrase from the unloved Donald Rumsfeld, a long, hard slog to get there. The Republican nominee is yet to emerge from the messy competition that began months ago and seems likely to stretch on for months more.

AMERICA’S NEXT WAR

The American public is tired of war. Soon there will be no US forces in Iraq and the scheduled drawdown of troops in Afghanistan is being accelerated. In both cases American field commanders objected to the withdrawals, hoping to preserve tenuously held gains in those conflicts by retaining on site American combat capabilities.

THE FORMULA FOR AMERICAN ISOLATIONISM

THE FORMULA FOR AMERICAN ISOLATIONISM

I prefer to call it Restraint, but let’s be clear, by whatever label America is pulling back. The oceans are big and protect America from much of the world’s turmoil. Being on American side of them is cheaper than being on the other side and wiser too. America is coming home thanks to the government’s budget deficit.

9/11 + 10 Years

9/11 + 10 Years

In a blast from e-IR’s blogs past, Harvey M. Sapolsky considers ten results from the war that the 9/11 attacks against the United States provoked over a decade ago.

THE TEA PARTY SAVES DEFENSE

The intransigence of the Tea Party Republicans during the recent US debt ceiling negotiations has apparently saved the US defense budget from deep cuts that had seemed almost certain a month ago. The negotiations pushed a full agreement onto a special legislative committee which is to report in the fall.

COSTS NOT FORGOTTEN

In the past I have complained about the fecklessness of America’s allies, citing most especially their failure to carry a fair share of the global security burden. More recently, I have softened my complaints somewhat, recognizing that the allies are merely pursuing the most attractive political option available to them.

END NATO

END NATO

When Europe lay devastated after WWII and seemed menaced by the Soviet Union, a cross Atlantic military alliance was needed to preserve European freedom. Through a patchwork of military commands and an influx of American troops, a protective wall of security was created within which European recovery and democratization could take place. However, today, NATO is irrelevant and needs a respectful termination.

SIX REASONS FOR AMERICA TO BE A RELUCTANT INTERVENER

SIX REASONS FOR AMERICA TO BE A RELUCTANT INTERVENER

America’s great power and wealth tempts some to advocate its intervention when civil wars in weakly or ungoverned lands threaten to become humanitarian disasters or when tyrants refuse to surrender their thrones. Our aid for victims should be readily offered in these cases, but very rarely should our troops. America must avoid becoming the global policeman, self-designated or not

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: THE WAR IS WON

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: THE WAR IS WON

The death at US hands of bin Laden eliminates al Qaeda’s most important and recognizable symbol of defiance. With diminished forces, a dead leader, and little relevance to the several struggles engaging Islam globally, al Qaeda has lost its war. We should declare “Mission Accomplished” and return home.

THE INTERVENTION BUBBLE CYCLE

There is a cycle developing in American post Cold War foreign policy that is not very different from a financial investment cycle. First, there is a cautious military action which, if successful, leads quickly to the hubris of distant military interventions, which then produces over-reach and disaster, the bubble and the burst if you will, and finally, the resolve into timidity.

ROTC, Harvard, and Hypocrisy

The news is that Harvard University is allowing the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) back on campus after more than four decades of banishment. The ROTC Program is one of the three main ways the US military acquires officers (the others being Officer Candidate Schools and the military academies, like West Point).

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