|Up-to-the-minute perspectives on defence, security and peace
issues from and for policy makers and opinion leaders.
The New York Times
The Torture Papers
The Obama administration has taken important steps toward repairing the grievous harm that President George W. Bush did to this nation with his lawless and morally repugnant detention policies. President Obama is committed to closing the Guantánamo Bay camp and creating legitimate courts to try detainees. He has rescinded the executive orders and the legal rulings that Mr. Bush used to excuse the abuse of prisoners.
After Afghanistan's Vote
Five months after President Obama announced a new approach to Afghanistan that was supposed to invest more heavily in nonmilitary programs, American commanders are talking about adding troops to an increasingly tough fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
The C.I.A. in Double Jeopardy
Early in 2002, Eric Holder, then a former deputy attorney general, said on CNN that the detainees being held at Guantánamo Bay were "not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention," particularly "given the way in which they have conducted themselves."
The next 100 years
Japan and Turkey form an alliance to attack the US. Poland becomes America's closest ally. Mexico makes a bid for global supremacy, and a third world war takes place in space. Sounds strange? It could all happen. . .
The Washington Post
Time to Get Out of Afghanistan
"Yesterday," reads the e-mail from Allen, a Marine in Afghanistan, "I gave blood because a Marine, while out on patrol, stepped on a [mine's] pressure plate and lost both legs." Then "another Marine with a bullet wound to the head was brought in. Both Marines died this morning."
How to Lose in Afghanistan
The United States cannot win the war in Afghanistan in the next three months -- any form of even limited victory will take years of further effort. It can, however, easily lose the war. I did not see any simple paths to victory while serving on the assessment group that advised the new U.S. commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, on strategy, but I did see all too clearly why the war is being lost.
The Default Power
Since the United States first became a global superpower, it has been fashionable to speak of its decline. But in today's world, the United States' economic and military strength, along with the attractiveness of its ideals, will ensure its power for a long time to come.
The Afghan 80s are back
It is deja vu on a huge and bloody scale. General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan, is about to advise his president that "the Afghan people are undergoing a crisis of confidence because the war against the Taliban has not made their lives better", according to leaked reports. Change the word "Taliban" to "mujahideen", and you have an exact repetition of what the Russians found a quarter of a century ago.
Iraq inquiry: let there be no more cover-ups
There can have been few more skilful cover-ups in British history than the story of the British government's efforts to force the Poles to give up territory to Germany on the very eve of the Second World War. When Neville Chamberlain, who had been at centre of these efforts, left the premiership in May 1940, there was strong political pressure for an inquiry into what had really happened. But Winston Churchill, Chamberlain's successor, dreaded the split in Britain's national unity that such an inquiry would cause.
General Sir David Richards: Many battles ahead
General Sir David Richards takes over command of the army this week at a exceptionally delicate time. The dangers facing British soldiers are as sharply etched in the national mind as they have been in years. The mounting death toll in Afghanistan has already begun to sap the public's confidence. Now there is the demoralising sense that the mission has not been boosted as hoped but has suffered from this month's dubiously conducted presidential election.
We owe it to our troops in Afghanistan
All of us in the military knew, and made clear, that this would be a long, hard summer for our people in Afghanistan; that they faced a resilient and determined enemy who would make every effort to disrupt our work to support the development of effective governance in Helmand province. It was clear to us that the Taliban had identified Helmand and Kandahar as their vital ground, and that they would throw everything into the struggle there.
The Wall Street Journal
The Yin and Yang of U.S.-China Relations
American and Chinese officials said all the right things during this summer's inaugural round of their Strategic and Economic Dialogue. President Barack Obama pledged to "forge a path to the future that we seek for our children." Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo wondered aloud whether America and China can "build better relations despite very different social systems, cultures and histories." He answered his own question, in English, with a "Yes we can."
The Army is too small to fight all of the battles facing Britain
As General Sir Richard Dannatt steps down as Chief of the General Staff (CGS) this week, what will be the legacy of his outspokenness; and what lies ahead for his successor, General Sir David Richards?