From Parameters, Summer 1998, pp. 2-3.
In This Issue . . .
Martin Blumenson uses the capture of Paris in 1944 to analyze leadership in coalition operations at the highest levels of command. His account highlights the once and future influence of political issues on theater strategic and operational planning.
Robert E. Hunter describes and analyzes how NATO has adapted to the end of the Cold War, to emerging European political, social, and military realities, to the challenges of incorporating new members, and to the development of its next Strategic Concept. His authoritative, wide-ranging article can inform strategists and serve as an introduction to NATO today for the generalist.
Michael G. Roskin asks several questions about the expansion of NATO, including why the first round added all three new members at once. He concludes in this instance that enlargement could have been used selectively to counter Russian strategic initiatives.
Frederick P. A. Hammersen's fictional monologue, exhaustively documented from Russian and other sources, suggests how a Russian officer might describe strategic options to members of the Russian parliament. By combining regional, military, and economic matters that individually seldom make the six o'clock news in the United States, the author puts a public face on some of Moscow's most compelling strategic challenges related to NATO.
Richard Halloran examines US-Chinese relations in the context of Beijing's presumed intent to increase China's prominence in regional affairs. He uses current political, economic, and military issues to review activities on China's borders and China's search for a strategy that could eventually marginalize the United States in the Asia-Pacific region.
David Tucker analyzes strategic and operational asymmetries described in articles by Ralph Peters and Charles Dunlap, concluding that the outcomes those authors anticipate should not be considered inevitable. His review of the connection between the American public's perception of the value of an armed intervention and its tolerance for military casualties challenges those who believe that Americans in general have no stomach for combat.
Kevin L. Falk and Thomas M. Kane examine formal modeling and statistical analysis and describe the techniques used by political scientists to create analytical and predictive models. They suggest that military readers should be skeptical of policy or strategic concepts based on theoretical models whose assumptions are sometimes purposefully obscure and whose processes often are rigidly linear.
Jonathan Shay defines the commander's need for sleep as an ethical issue and suggests that the military consider modifying its concept of commander self-care. His discussion reflects the stress that accompanies a period of change in which deeply held institutional values, the assumptions derived from them, and the stated and presumptive policies that follow are called into question.
John E. Lange describes and analyzes the role of US military forces deployed to support the 1994 humanitarian intervention in Rwanda. He cites the "early" departure of US forces as an example of the enduring differences between emergency life-saving relief and nation-building operations, concluding that the potential for clashes between the US military and relief organizations in such operations remains high.
Review Essays in this issue include Richard G. Trefry's survey of materials on Army unit cohesion, another in Lawrence G. Kelley's series on Russia past and present, a survey of Civil War texts by Leonard J. Fullenkamp, the fourth annual survey of publications on the Middle East by Norville B. DeAtkine, and an inquiry by Richard S. Friedman into the value and management of open source intelligence.
Pauses, Strategic and Other . . .
It is presently fashionable to proclaim that the world is in a "strategic pause." As often as not, the author or speaker who advances that proposition then explains why the pause makes possible the adoption of a specific proposal or the completion of a particular action. Evidence of a pause, however, is seldom forthcoming. Hence the validity of any argument so structured rests entirely on our willing acceptance of its unsupported major premise. Caveat emptor.
Others insist not only that there is no geostrategic pause, but that innovation in strategic thinking is occurring faster and with greater immediate and potential consequences than at any time in this century. In this issue, Robert E. Hunter's appraisal of change, continuity, and growth in NATO suggests the many ways that Europe's basic military, political, economic (and ultimately social) ideas and organizations have changed and could continue to change in the next 20 years. Richard Halloran demonstrates similar trends in his assessment of Chinese geopolitical objectives in the Asia-Pacific region, and Frederick P. A. Hammersen portrays creatively how some in Russia may perceive the region to their west that ends at the westernmost of the Hawaiian Islands. For comparable perspectives, see articles in the Spring 1998 issue on strategic wargaming and the state of US surge sealift capacity.
Cold War strategies by and large were determined by a closed geopolitical system, defined by the superpower confrontation and the allies and friends that supported or carried out bloc strategies. We now seem to be enjoying the benefits (and coping with the uncertainties) of a relatively open system. We might therefore conclude that in considering strategic options we should be learning how the world is trying to restyle itself and not assume away the issue of change to buttress an argument. Our geopolitical and strategic choices seem relatively clear: cause change, participate in change, or continue to ask what changed.
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Reviewed 18 May 1998. Please send comments or corrections to firstname.lastname@example.org