A Brief Model of Extremist Politics

Though strange to us it seemd At first, that Angel should with Angel warr, And in fierce hosting meet, who wont to meet So oft in Festivals of joy and love Unanimous, as sons of one great Sire Hymning th’ Eternal Father: but the shout Of Battel now began, and rushing sound Of onset ended […]

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Who is to Blame For Taiwan’s Military Woes?

Chiang Kai-shek reviews Taiwanese conscripts in the 1950s. Image source. Two weeks ago The National Interest published an important, hard-nosed essay by Wendell Minnick. I have had the opportunity to meet Minnick before. His knowledge of and long experience with the ROC Armed Forces (the “guojun” 國軍) has few equals. His assessment on Taiwanese defense preparations […]

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Psychology Makes the Strategist

Military activity is never directed against material force alone; it is always aimed simultaneously at the moral forces which give it life, and the two cannot be separated. —Carl von Clausewitz, On War I have a new double-book review up at Strategy Bridge. This time both books were written by the same person: King’s College […]

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Taiwan Will Be Defended by the Bullet, or Not at All

Image Source “The ultimate determinant in war is a man on the scene with a gun.” —J.C. Wylie, Military Strategy: A General Theory of Power Control Some excellent comments were written in response to last week’s post “Taiwan’s Past Matters Less Than Taiwan’s Present.” Two of these comments were particularly excellent, and I am saddened to […]

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Why Didn’t China Give Birth to Democracy?

“The nominal form of [China’s] government… is an irresponsible autocracy; its institutions are likewise autocratic in form, but democratic in operation.” —Herbet Giles, The Civilization of China (1919) Yuhua Wang and Mark Dincecco have an interesting paper out in the Annual Review of Political Science. The paper offers and tests a new hypothesis for why […]

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What Cyber-War Will Look Like

When prompted to think about the way hackers will shape the future of great power war, we are wont to imagine grand catastrophes: F-35s grounded by onboard computer failures, Aegis BMD systems failing to launch seconds before Chinese missiles arrive, looks of shock at Space Command as American surveillance satellites start careening towards the Earth–stuff […]

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You Do Not Have the People

軍國之要,察眾心。 The essence of the army and the state: investigate the minds of the people. —The Three Strategies of Huang Shigong (2nd century BC) 士民不親附,則湯武不能以必勝也。故善附民者,是乃善用兵者也。故兵要在乎善附民而已。  If the people and the nobility are not devoted, then even a Sage King could not guarantee victory. The man who is skilled at obtaining the support of the people is […]

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Leveraging Indian Power The Right Way

Image source. Now that the affair in Doklam has come to a close, analysts of various stripes are trying to make sense of what happened and what lessons can be learned from the episode. One of the smartest of these write ups was written by Oriana Skylar Mastro and Arzan Tarapore for War on the […]

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Everybody Wants a Thucydides Trap

This post was originally published as part of the Thucydides Roundtable project over at Zenpundit. I encourage you to read all of the posts in the roundtable. All the world trembles at the dreaded “Thucydides trap.”Of late this phrase has been all the rage. It was first popularized by Graham Allison in 2012, and has only […]

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