Notes & Reviews

REVIEW: Confront and Conceal by David Sanger

Title: Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power Author: Sanger, David It is a common misconception that presidents that are consistently “pragmatic” do not simultaneously have a more general doctrine guiding their policy decisions. However, as is made amply clear in David Sanger’s new book, Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power, pragmatism is more a matter of knowing when and how much to follow… Read More »REVIEW: Confront and Conceal by David Sanger

NOTE: The Nonexistent Obama-Bush Doctrine

Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen recently wrote: When Barack Obama hosts George W. Bush at the White House today for the unveiling of Bush’s presidential portrait, the 44th president will have to find something nice to say about the 43rd. Perhaps Obama could point out that the two men’s counterterrorism policies are virtually indistinguishable — except in the liberal reaction to them. However, when reading through the details of his argument, it becomes clear that Thiessen’s… Read More »NOTE: The Nonexistent Obama-Bush Doctrine

NOTE: Congressional Hawks

In recent months and years, it seems that Congress has been taking an increasingly active role in setting US national security policy. Legislators are no longer satisfied with simple pronouncements on their foreign policy preferences, even in the form of House or Senate resolutions that indicate broad support for their position. Instead, Congress has been affirmatively exerting its power through all of the tools available to it, from requiring reports from the Pentagon and the… Read More »NOTE: Congressional Hawks

NOTE: North Korea’s Three-Level Game

Over the course of the last week or so, several events in North Korea have occurred which shed light on the nature of the regime and thus its role in the strategic environment. The typical view of North Korea is as a “communist dictatorship,” or less charitably, as an ideologically driven state with a child (or, formerly, a wingnut) at the helm. Alternatively, the DPRK is seen as a totalitarian monolith. However, there is more… Read More »NOTE: North Korea’s Three-Level Game

NOTE: US is “Like a Bus”

Daniel W. Drezner recently challenged his twitter followers to submit the YouTube clip that best represented U.S. Grand Strategy. All are worthwhile and illustrative of current or recent American grand strategy and its results. Of particular note is a late entry by  Diana Wueger, “Like a BUS!,” which portrays beautifully the benefits and dangers of hegemonic power. According to Daniel: Like most of these seemingly short clips, Wueger’s submission works on two levels.  On the one hand, it demonstrates… Read More »NOTE: US is “Like a Bus”

NOTE: Competing (?) Perspectives on American Grand Strategy

Peter Feaver noted in a recent Foreign Policy blog post, Competing perspectives on American grand strategy, that a recent report by the Center for New American Security (CNAS) on the future of American grand strategy displayed a remarkable amount of agreement between competing perspectives. In his words: Dick Betts calls for the greatest amount of change from the status quo grand strategy, but I wonder if that isn’t because he pegs the status quo to somewhere around January 2003,… Read More »NOTE: Competing (?) Perspectives on American Grand Strategy

NOTE: Combat Exoskeletons Are No Longer “The Future”

Robotics is the future of warfare. While it is difficult to predict the exact nature  or shape of the future in any field, especially one as new as robotics, it is a relatively safe bet that the robotically augmented soldiers will be appearing on the battlefield soon. It seems, in fact that this is just around the corner, as reported by Danger Room’s David Axe. He reports that Lockheed Martin’s HULC, a robotic exoskeleton, will be… Read More »NOTE: Combat Exoskeletons Are No Longer “The Future”