Imagine that a new parliamentary political faction is suddenly formed in the European parliament consisting of 38 members from over eight European countries.
In the 1980s, commentators predicted that conventional precision-strike systems would become capable of strategic effects that formerly only nuclear weapons could do.
There is nothing like nuclear weapons to add drama to conventional crises. On the anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, President Putin’s claim that he considered placing Russia’s nuclear weapons on alert to deter retaliatory action caused more than a few strategic analysts to sit up and take notice.
Whoever takes office in January 2017 is likely to inherit a nuclear landscape of greater risk, complexity, and challenge than any time since the collapse of the former Soviet Union.
History, we are often told, is written by the winners. Modern states and peoples are the products of success; historians seek the origins of their glory. The victors make it easy: they leave voluminous records and they ransack the records of those they have defeated.
“It has been a long and hard fight, and we have lost. This experience, unique in the history of the United States, does not signal necessarily the demise of the United States as a world power. The severity of the defeat and the circumstances of it, however, would seem to call for a reassessment of the policies . . .
The United States appears to be on the defensive everywhere. China has embarked on an aggressive reclamation and fortification program in the South China Sea and is calling for a new Eurasian order that would diminish U.S. alliances. Russia continues to defy NATO by deploying regular forces inside Ukraine and now Syria.
Every day, it seems Americans awaken to a crisis signifying a world out of their control. In Europe, our allies and partners are coping with Russian aggression, ranging from cyber attacks and energy coercion to conventional military might and a renewed emphasis on nuclear weapons. At the same time, Europe grapples with the world’s most significant migration crisis since World War II.
It is all too easy to call for dramatic new military action, and draconian new security measures, as part of a natural human reaction to the horrifying events in Paris. It is equally inevitable that such calls have already come in the form of political opportunism and as part of a search for status and media visibility.
It is one of the grim ironies of the terrorist attacks in Paris that only a few hours earlier, the media had been calling to ask if the reported killing of “Jihadi John” had somehow marked a “turning point” in the war against terrorism.