It's Still a MAD, MAD World: The Illogic of U.S.-Russian Missile Defense Cooperation

Ellen Tauscher, a former under secretary of state for arms control, and Igor Ivanov, a former Russian foreign minister, have a new essay at Foreign Policy calling for the United States and Russia to cooperate on missile defense as a means to redefine their strategic relationship. They argue that “U.S.-Russian cooperation on missile defense could fundamentally change the bilateral relationship. It would shift the paradigm of U.S.-Russian strategic relations from ensuring the ability to destroy one another to jointly protecting the two countries from common ballistic missile threats.” Tauscher and Ivanov claim that missile defense cooperation can transform relations between . . .
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Foreign Policy, Militarization, and the Flawed History of Draft Nostalgics

In a Memorial Day op-ed in the New York Times, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, a retired Army general, and historian David Kennedy, bemoaned the end of military conscription while warning of a growing civil-military crisis in American society. Steve Saideman and Jason Fritz have both done an effective job, respectively, demonstrating both the relatively small scale and general irrelevance of the supposed civil-military gap and why the draft offers few answers to it anyhow. However, Eikenberry and Kennedy are just the latest in a long line whose draft nostalgia misrepresents the effect of conscription on another area: American foreign policy.

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Shameless Self-Promotion: Nuclear Edition

Seeing as I’ve survived completed my first year of grad school, I thought it was a good time to resurrect this long-dormant blog and engage in one of my all-time favorite activities: shameless self-promotion.

In the spring edition of Strategic Visions—the biannual newsletter of Temple University’s Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy (CENFAD)—I have an extended review of two new books on nuclear weapons and international politics. The two books, Nuclear Statecraft: History and Strategy in America’s Atomic Age by Frank Gavin* and Paul Bracken’s The Second Nuclear Age: Strategy, Danger, and the New Power Politics, both . . .
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Max Boot Responds! And He's Still Wrong…

Earlier this week, Max Boot responded to my post from Sunday night on the differences between Israel's Iron Dome and U.S. missile defense efforts. Unfortunately Mr. Boot obscures the issue even further in his response than he did in his initial post. The new post misrepresents the history of missile defense, fails to properly address the errors in his initial post, continues to ignore the conceptual differences between Iron Dome and national missile defense, and erects a strawman argument as to the motives of those opposed to his views. Needless to say, I am less than impressed.

adobe creative . . .
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Iron Dome Does Not Vindicate SDI

Sure, Max Boot makes terrible historical analogies, but I’ve always just assumed that the disagreements I have with him are based on honest differences and not utter ignorance. After today, I’m no longer sure that’s the case. Writing at Commentary Magazine’s Contentions blog, Boot argues,

The latest Gaza war is only a few days old, but already one conclusion can be drawn: missile defense works. This is only the latest vindication for the vision of Ronald Reagan… who made missile defense a major priority for the U.S. and our allies.

Boot is referring to the Iron Dome system co-developed . . .
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Nuclear Disarmament and Argument from Authority Writ Large

Blogging has been slightly slower than my usual prolific pace lately due mostly to the soul crushing experience that is the first year of grad school the large amount of reading one encounters in their first year of graduate study. While I try to get caught up I thought I would indulge in some shameless self-promotion. In the latest edition of Cato Journal, a public policy journal published by the Cato Institute, I have a review* of Philip Taubman’s book The Partnership: Five Former Cold Warriors and Their Quest to Ban the Bomb.

Taubman attempts to piggyback off the . . .
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Cyber Power and Poor Analogies Make Bad Analysis

The study of cyber security varies in approach, but I find that perhaps the most helpful is thinking about it in terms of power. Instead of analyzing cyber security based on very limited empirical data and from there inferring some operational utility, it is more useful to approach cyberspace holistically, examining the environment and the many ways actors can utilize it for political gains. People like Joseph Nye, Jr. and David Betz and Tim Stevens have made good contributions to the concept of cyber power, and Martin Libicki’s work on deterrence in cyberspace is also closely related and relevant. . . .
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Japan Won't Go Nuclear: Should We Care if it Did?

A former classmate of mine, Mira Rapp-Hooper, recently had an excellent post at The Diplomat laying out the case for why Japan is unlikely to pursue its own nuclear deterrent. Mira is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and her thoughts on matters of nuclear proliferation are always worth reading. That being said, a discussion of whether this country or that will go nuclear at some point always raises a simple question in my mind:  should the United States really care?

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This question is commonly answered in the affirmative, as the general assumption seems to . . .
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Rep. Adam Smith (D-Fantasyland)

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Congressman Adam Smith of Washington is generally pretty sharp on a wide-range of defense and foreign policy issues. As the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, he has displayed an admirable for addressing policy, strategy, and legislation in a thoughtful manner. Many of the positions he holds are of debatable quality, but that’s largely the case for the overwhelming majority of congress. Still, he seems to approach policy with a wonkish dedication to understanding the issues his committee deals with each day.  That’s why a recent statement of his about the foreign . . .
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Sequestration and the Limitlessness of Congressional Stupidity

We usually don’t comment on domestic politics here on the blog, but yours truly has been out of the blogging business for so long the best way back was to write up a short rant on Congress. I know, not exactly a challenging task, but today’s topic is actually important:  sequestration.

When the Democrats and Republicans in Congress were negotiating the debt ceiling in 2011 most assumed there would be some kind of deal in place. And there was—though short-term and with an agreement to make another, bigger agreement later. That last part is key, because Congress in its . . .
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