The High Ground – With Harvey Sapolsky

In The High Ground Professor Harvey M. Sapolsky shares his observations on international security issues, and the role of the US in the 21st century. Harvey is Professor of Public Policy and Organization, Emeritus at MIT and was formerly the 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.

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).

PROFESSOR VALE’S IMPORTANT LESSON

Professor Peter Vale’s provocative piece on “The Responsibility of IR Scholars” deserves comment which I suspect many e-IR readers will provide.  Let me offer mine in this blog. I must say that I would hardly claim to be an IR Scholar as I was trained in political economy and government […]

MIL to MIL

One of the most under-studied, and perhaps most over-promoted, aspects of American foreign policy is the so-called Mil to Mil Relations, the cultivated ties the US military has with foreign militaries. These Mil to Mil Relations consist of military training and liaison exchanges, joint exercises, and senior level consultations.

Obama’s War

Bob Woodward’s new book, Obama’s Wars, chronicles the President’s effort to fashion a policy for the Afghanistan War. It describes the agonizingly slow process composed of high level government reviews, meetings and reports that culminated with President’s decision in late 2009 to add 30,000 more American troops to the conflict this year and begin withdrawals in July 2011.

The Tea Party’s Foreign Policy

The first American Tea Party movement which gave us the American Revolution had huge international implications although like the current one it was initially overwhelmingly focused on narrow economic issues, especially taxation and the fear of big government. The question some are beginning to ask is: what are the likely international implications of the current American Tea Party?

“BITE ME” GOT IT RIGHT

“Bite me” is the dismissive nickname that General McChrystal’s staff officers gave Vice President Joseph Biden, admittedly a frequent subject of mockery in the US because of his many gaffs and his desperate attempts to regain a long lost youthful appearance via hair plugs, facelifts and the like.

A NATION AT WAR

President Obama and other senior US officials make constant reference to America being “a nation at war.” This is politically necessary to say and obviously the case because the US has nearly a hundred thousand troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan and reports combat casualties daily.

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