|Up-to-the-minute perspectives on defence, security and peace
issues from and for policy makers and opinion leaders.
New York Times
NATO will be marking its 60th anniversary with a summit in early April, which will be hosted by France and Germany. Much of the preparatory hoopla has been celebratory, in large part because an eight-year chill in trans-Atlantic relations is seen as drawing to an end. President Obama is still soaring on European popularity charts, and Europe's current leaders are a pro-American bunch. France's president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has also decided to lead his country back into full NATO membership, putting to rest the Gaullists' longstanding ambition to be a counterweight to Washington.
The States of Iraq and Afghanistan
Since the first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, we have compiled charts on the state of the country for the Op-Ed page every three months. Now, on the sixth anniversary of the invasion, it seems appropriate to include data from the conflict in Afghanistan as well.
The Washington Post
Our Must-Win War
Later this month, the Obama administration will unveil a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan. This comes as most important indicators in Afghanistan are pointing in the wrong direction. President Obama's decision last month to deploy an additional 17,000 U.S. troops was an important step in the right direction, but a comprehensive overhaul of our war plan is needed, and quickly.
Leaders have not shown the courage to explain what the war really means
Does the name Christopher Harkett mean anything to you? Or Thomas John or Graeme Stiff? They are the three casualties who took the total loss of British soldiers in Afghanistan over the 150 mark last week. Every week there is another; we glimpse the blurred shots of a young man smiling and hear the brief reference to Helmand, the regiment and the next of kin being informed.
To free Iraq, resistance must bridge the sectarian divide
In a last-ditch attempt to rescue some wafer of credibility from the west's most catastrophic war of modern times, the story is taking hold in Britain and the US that after six years of horror Iraq is finally coming good. So quickly has this spin become accepted truth that politicians and pundits now regularly insist that if only General Petraeus is allowed to work his surge magic on Afghanistan, all could be well in that benighted land as well. One recent report in the Sunday Telegraph even claimed that the 4,000 British troops still in Basra are regarded as "heroes and liberators" by Iraqis now that their £8bn mission has at last been "accomplished".
The problem of Persian pride
The Islamic Republic of Iran is nearing a moment of truth. In the next few months its leaders, nudged by its people at presidential polls in June, will have to decide whether to return to the comity of nations or stick to their angry, self-isolating revolutionary rhetoric. America, the revolutionaries' Great Satan, is seeking to reopen a conversation after three decades of a dialogue of the deaf.
NATO: Soldiering On
Alliances die when they win. Take away the enemy, and you take away the glue that holds a coalition together. The European alliance against Napoleon was all but dead seven years after they had danced the last waltz at the Congress of Vienna. The entente that followed the defeat of Wilhelmine Germany collapsed five years after the armistice. The Soviet-American alliance against Hitler was practically finished by V-E day 1945.