The Best Defense

The Best Defense

Bungay's 'The Most Dangerous Enemy': A fine analysis of a fascinating campaign

A few months ago, one of youse told me to read Stephen Bungay's history of the Battle of Britain. Again, thank you. Even if I didn't care about the subject, I would have enjoyed the book. Bungay can write, he can analyze, and he appears to be meticulous and thoughtful in his research.

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The Best Defense

Do Iraq and Syria no longer exist? (6): They still exist, but they are dying slowly

Laurence Pope, retired American diplomat: 

"Both regimes still control their capitals, if not much territory...They are disintegrating, and we have nothing to replace them with, nor the means to prevent their further decay. My point is that rebuilding political legitimacy in the Bilad ash-Sham will be the work of a generation, and there are no international mechanisms for unmaking a modern nation state. Which means that in their moribund state, they may still be troublesome for many years."

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The Best Defense

Do Iraq and Syria no longer exist, and if so? (7): They never made sense anyway

Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, former commander of U.S. Central Command:

"It is all based on Sykes-Picot, so why should it be sacred? It didn't make sense in its divisions from the start. This might be an opportunity to fix borders and rejoin ethnic groups."

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The Best Defense

The Middle East after the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal: A look back from next year

By Suzanne DiMaggio

Best Defense guest columnist

It is the year 2015.

Since a final agreement on Iran's nuclear program was reached some months ago, there have been a few minor missteps on Tehran's part and the process of rolling back the sanctions has not been entirely smooth. Beyond these hiccups, the IAEA has continued to verify that Iran is complying with its commitments. This has enabled Washington to directly engage Tehran on two strategic priorities that they both hold in common -- the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and stabilizing the unity government in Afghanistan.

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The Best Defense

Do Iraq and Syria no longer exist, and if so? (5): Yes -- and that's a big reason why their militaries simply won't be effective

Paul Eaton, a retired Army major general who oversaw the training the Iraqi military from 2003 to 2004:

"Creating a soldier from an 18-year-old civilian is easy in most Western nations. We make them physically tough, give them the military skill sets necessary to prosecute the mission, and amplify what my British colleagues call the moral component. This final part of the soldierization phase is essentially a trust in national institutions and a belief in the chain of command from squad leader to the commander-in-chief. For a Westerner, the moral component is built over the new soldier's lifetime and is strengthened in uniform.

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