Can these folks ask the right questions?
Brian O’Connell at The American Spectator has an interesting interview with Ohio Republican Steve Stivers, a congressional candidate in the 15th District. While Bellum is nonpartisan and takes no position on the race itself, Stivers did make a provocative comment:
A Bronze Star recipient and Iraq War veteran, Stivers praised the president’s decision to send additional troops to Afghanistan, but expressed concern over the new nuclear policy…He also pointed out that the number of military veterans serving in Congress is at an all-time low. “I’m not sure we have enough people in the Congress with military experience who know what questions to ask,” Stivers told TAS.
This past Monday, NPR published a brief article about the fate of the C-17 Globemaster III assembly line in Long Beach, California. While Secretary of Defense Robert Gates desires the program to end, Boeing is hunting for foreign buyers to keep the assembly line open and its 5,000 workers employed. Boeing C-17 spokesman Jerry Drelling emphasized the loss of the workers’ technical expertise should production cease:
The workforce here is one of the best in the world. It’s advanced. You close a line like this, you run the risk of losing a lot of those skills sets for a long, long time.
Senior editors Tristan Abbey and Scott Palter were published in the online edition of Foreign Policy today. They used the perspective of a wargamer — that is, one who sees institutional power structures at play — to analyze the European response to the Greek debt crisis:
The conventional narrative paints this debate as a duel between Berlin and Brussels…While the tension between these two power centers is undeniable, a third player has been largely overlooked: Frankfurt, home of the European Central Bank (ECB).
The Bellum editorial staff is pleased to welcome a team of weekly and biweekly columnists that are joining the project.
- Jeffrey Dressler is a research analyst at the Institute for the Study of War. The author of the ISW report, Securing Helmand: Understanding and Responding to the Enemy, he has also conducted numerous briefings for members of the press, industry, Congressional audiences, and the Marine Corps. See here for his full bio.
- Mark Rice is in the doctoral program in history at The Ohio State University, where he is completing his dissertation on NATO and the Berlin Wall crisis. He is the recipient of numerous academic awards, including the Bradley Fellowship in 2009.
- Frank Blazich, Jr., is in the doctoral program in history at The Ohio State University, where he has conducted extensive research on civil defense. He served as an assistant wing historian in the US Air Force and is a member of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.
- Craig Caruana is an MA candidate in international affairs at the Bush School of Government, Texas A&M University. He has worked for a variety of think tanks and has conducted extensive research on nuclear security.
Keep an eye out for their commentary and analysis of the news.
The Alliance Assembles (Dept. of State)
I recently presented at a conference dealing with the success, failure, and future of pacts and alliances. My paper dealt with how NATO handled the nuclear question in the 1960s, but for various logistical reasons, I was part of the panel looking at alliances in the 21st century. I tried to say something in my presentation to tie into the panel theme, but I of course still got the question from the commentator about NATO’s relevance in the 21st century. The question obviously raised the issue of whether NATO’s members should rethink the role of the Alliance in the new century, an issue which came up at this past week’s annual spring foreign minister’s meeting in Talinn, Estonia. As the AP pointed out in its story previewing the meeting, one of the problems threatening to split the Alliance is the role of American nuclear weapons still in Europe as part of NATO’s deterrent.
Dutch Crown Prince visiting Afghanistan in 2009.
As those of us in the US debate the merits of the latest Joint Operating Environment, Dutch media is reporting on a fascinating study done in Holland entitled “Explorations: a Starting Point for the Armed Forces of Tomorrow.” From the piece:
Two years ago, defence minister Eimert van Middelkoop established a working group to investigate some existential questions. Why does the Netherlands need armed forces in the first place? What kind of military will the Netherlands need in years to come? Where will future threats come from?
To wet your appetite and to spark some discussion, here are some suggested readings for the weekend!
A recent article in the New York Times proffers that President Barack Obama faces the decision of approving the further development and deployment of a new class of non-nuclear offensive strategic weapons. Deemed the Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS) system, the weapon, delivered by existing strategic weapon systems (missile or air-launched) is designed to deliver a massive conventional explosive globally, striking its target under an hour of launch with surgical precision. The CPGS would theoretically provide the president with a non-nuclear capability to neutralize and destroy imminent threats based on time-sensitive intelligence, for example a potential missile launch or report on the location of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Daniel C. Kurtzer
Daniel Kurtzer served as US ambassador to Israel (2001-2005) and to Egypt (1997-2001). Currently the S. Daniel Abraham Professor in Middle Eastern Policy Studies at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs, he joins us today to discuss Israeli-American relations, the future of Egypt, the Iranian nuclear program, and his love for the Middle East — a region, he says, where the “work never seems to be finished.”
1. Do you think Israel will always be an important US ally? ‘Strained relations’ have been in the news as of late, and over the long-term some analysts suggest it might benefit the US to distance itself.
The recently published Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) lays out the United States’ nuclear weapons policy and the U.S.’ desire for a nuclear free world. A complete review of the document would be as long as the document itself. So let us just look at one simple question the document does not ask and therefore fails to answer: Why do nations seek nuclear weapons? Addressing this question is necessary in order create policies which remove a country’s incentive to acquire nuclear weapons.