Articles and analysis

A major theme of the US and Western commentariat in recent months has been the way in which so-called "grown-ups" from the Washington foreign and security policy establishment have stepped in to control the "reckless and irresponsible" President Trump. Given the record of that establishment over the past two decades, one might be pardoned for asking which of the parties to this arrangement is the more irresponsible, says Anatol Lieven.

Two things however are indubitably true: that for the past 12 years or so the US security establishment has acted severely to constrain the foreign policies of three successive presidents; and that more than ever before this security establishment is dominated by the US uniformed military. Today, not only the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Adviser but the White House Chief of Staff as well are all generals or ex-generals who reflect absolutely the consensus of the US military high command. Another general who defied that consensus – Mike Flynn - was rapidly removed, in part through behind-the scenes pressure from his former military colleagues.

The world's attention is currently focussed on developments on the Korean peninsula. This is due in large part because of the remarks made by US President Trump at the recent UN General Assembly (UNGA). North Korea has been a neuralgic problem since the end of hostilities in 1953. This week the London based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) has published a paper 'Preparing for War in Korea'; a title which its author Professor Malcolm Chalmers, the Deputy Director General of RUSI, hastens to stress does not imply any inevitability, reports Nick Watts

Daesh, "the Islamic State", is collapsing. But Daesh, the organization, is not. What Forbes once declared to be "the richest terrorist organization the world has known" with an annual turnover of US$ 2 billion, is simply shifting tactics and preparing to resume guerrilla warfare, writes Joe Fallon..

Daesh, the ideology, remains potent and resilient. Its narrative is of a Manichean world of good (Daesh) and evil (all others). Highly embellished with selected citations from the Quran and the hadiths on end-times "proving" Daesh will be victorious, it calls on Muslims to take direct action now to establish a "true" Islamic state on earth. Such a narrative appeals to many extremists. Despite military setbacks, despite the failure of the prophecy of the battle of Dabiq to be fulfilled, by which the Daesh version of Islam would achieve ascendancy over the West, its "true believers" continue to believe. Passionately.

It is estimated by U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism experts that, to date, some 60,000 Daesh fighters have been killed. And still they fight.

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