Regional Security

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Win-Win Steps to Prevent a New Korean War

(HTML version) by Charles Knight, U.S. News and World Report, 06 April 2107.

“[T]he basis of regional cooperation that can make North Korean denuclearization possible… is the interest shared by the United States and China in a stable peaceful Korean Peninsula and in halting and then reversing North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. With the stakes for millions of people in the region so extraordinarily high, our leaders and our diplomats must be prepared to work with keen will and open minds to identify the paths to peace and mutual security – and then leaders must boldly walk them.”

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Choosing war & decline … or not

(HTML version) by Charles Knight, Huffington Post, 03 February 2106.

“A cold war framework for our relations with China, Russia and any other powers that might eventually align with them will almost certainly result in the addition of $200 to 300 billion in annual U.S. security expenditures. It would also very significantly divert the energies of Americans from many social and environmental goals. The U.S. will end up deferring domestic investments needed to sustain its economic strength.”

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A New Cold War: a costly, unnecessary, and dangerous construct

printable PDF transcript of a panel presentation by Charles Knight sponsored by the Economists for Peace and Security at the Allied Social Sciences Association conference in Boston, MA, 04 January 2015. Full transcipt and video of panel presentations by Richard Kaufman, Robert Skidelsky, Allen Sinai, Stephen Walt, Charles Knight and James Carroll.
knight at podium EPS
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Not a common global home, but a fine mess

transcript of presentation by Carl Conetta on the “World Security Situation – Russia, Iraq and Syria, and Beyond” panel of the Economists for Peace and Security conference in Washington, DC, 17 November 2014. Full transcipt and video of panel presentations by Richard Kaufman, Carl Conetta, Bill Hartung, Heather Hurlburt and others at the Economic and Security Future Conference.

panel one EPS 1114

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Something in the Air: ‘Isolationism,’ Defense Spending, and the US Public Mood

(printable PDF full version) (printable PDF executive summary) (HTML full version) (HTML executive summary) by Carl Conetta, Project on Defense Alternatives, Center for International Policy, 14 October 2014.
Something Report-Cover Is “neo-isolationism” captivating the American public? Or is interventionism back? Will the public continue to support reductions in defense spending? The report offers a comprehensive and critical analysis of current and historical US public opinion polls on global engagement, military intervention, and defense spending. Significant fluctuation in public sentiments is evident. So is an enduring divide between elite opinion and the general public. The report assesses these in light of changes in US policy, strategic conditions, and the economy. It also examines the effect of partisan political dynamics on public debate and opinion. Seven tables and graphs.
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Asia Pivot and Air-Sea Battle: Precipitating Military Competition with China?

(HTML version) by Carl Conetta, Reset Defense Bulletin, 03 March 2014. Will China come to pose a peer military threat to the United States?  The Obama administration’s 2012 Strategic Defense Review and the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) turn on this eventuality. Both the so-called “Asia pivot” and the evolving Air-Sea Battle (ASB) operational concept are meant to preclude it. But they may serve to precipitate it, instead.
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US Policy on Syria: War or Diplomacy?

(HTML version) by Carl Conetta, editor, Project on Defense Alternatives Resource Compilation. Updated: 23 September 2013.    A Selection of Critical Views & Proposals:   ● War or diplomacy?   ● Intelligence   ● International Law   ● International & Domestic Support   ● Congressional War Authorization   ● A broader purpose, a wider war?  ● Military Factors  ● Collateral Effects of War  ● Cost Factors & Budget   ● Alternatives to war  ● General Background
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Kerry for Keeping Option to Use Ground Forces ‘In the Event Syria Imploded’

(HTML version) by Charles Knight, Huffington Post, 06 September 2013. “A punishment raid is one thing, but using armed force to attempt to prevent proliferation from Syria is very different sort of activity. In the event of a chaotic collapse of the Assad regime and the disintegration of the Syrian military U.S. air-strikes alone will not be able to stop proliferation of the chemical weapons.”
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Military Intervention in Syria? — American People Show Greater Wisdom Than Washington

(HTML version) by Charles Knight, Huffington Post, 07 May 2013. Advocates for U.S. military intervention in Syria are presently confounded by wide and deep opposition from the American public to additional military interventions abroad. When strong majorities hold opinions opposing military intervention in Syria there is something other than isolationism going on. Indeed, a majority of Americans are far ahead of Washington in learning the hard lessons of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
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Three Leadership Steps for Peace in Korea

(HTML version) by Charles Knight, Huffington Post commentary, 15 April 2013.If you want China’s help on restraining the Nort Korean state you must make a credible promise to them that you will withdraw all U.S. forces and leave all bases on the peninsula after the old Stalinist regime collapses — as everyone expects it will sometime in the next twenty years. Otherwise, it is in China’s national interest to keep the North Korean regime limping along … as long as possible.”
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USA and Allies Outspend Potential Rivals on Military by Four-to-One; America Carries Much of the Defense Burden for its Allies

(printable PDF version) by Carl Conetta, Project on Defense Alternatives, 17 July 2012.
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The World’s Top Military Spenders: Comparison of US and Other Nations’ Military Spending

(printable PDF version) ( HTML version) PDA Table, 28 June 2012.
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Meeting the Enemy with Serious Talks of Extraordinary Scope

(HTML version) by Charles Knight,, 05 January 2009. This commentary invites us to imagine President Obama’s Assistant for National Security Affairs or Secretary of State sitting down for serious talks of extraordinary scope with one or more of the leaders of present day ‘enemy’ nations in the Middle East.
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Yes, We Really Must Talk With Iran

(HTML version) by Charles Knight and Chris Toensing,, 28 October 2008. If American troops are ever to come home from Iraq and Iraqis are to have a decent chance at peace and prosperity, the United States must open up a new chapter in its Middle Eastern diplomacy.
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Quickly, Carefully, and Generously: The Necessary Steps for a Responsible Withdrawal from Iraq

(printable PDF version) (HTML version) (summary) by Task Force for a Responsible Withdrawal from Iraq.  A Commonwealth Institute publication, 01 June 2008. Twenty-five initiatives the US can and should take to reduce violence and regional instability as the US leaves Iraq. Preface by U.S. Representative James P. McGovern (MA – 03).
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Symposium: The Role of Force & the Armed Forces in US Foreign Policy — What have we learned?

Security Policy Working Group, 10 April 2008.

  • Andrew Bacevich, “The Origins and Demise of the Bush Doctrine of Preventive War”
  • Carl Conetta, “Out from the House of War: A Litmus for New Leadership in Security Policy” (printable .pdf)
  • David Gold, “How Much Defense Can We Afford? (printable .pdf), as republished in Challenge (Sept/Oct 2008)
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A Note on the State of Israel

(HTML version) by Lutz Unterseher, Universities of Osnabrueck and Muenster, November 2007. Focuses on selected aspects of Israel’s military security. It looks at the basic pattern of this country’s recent war against Hezbollah in 2006, and attempts to give a sketch of the problems affecting Israel’s military position today. In addition to objective factors, the subjective side is considered: in the form of impressions gained in casual conversations with Israeli citizens.
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Is Worry about Pakistani Nukes Serving to Keep the U.S. in Iraq?

(HTML version) by Charles Knight, PDA commentary, July 2007.

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Congressional withdrawal plans, permanent bases in Iraq, increase in ground troops

(HTML version) by Bipasha Ray. Defense Analysis Bulletin #4, 01 May 2007.
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US aid to Somalia, counterterrorism in Horn of Africa, results and motivations of terrorism

(HTML version) by Bipasha Ray, Defense Analysis Bulletin #3, 07 March 2007.
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US aid to Afghanistan, Taliban in government, Afghan casualties, permanent bases in the Mideast

(HTML version) by Bipasha Ray. Defense Analysis Bulletin #1, 24 January 2007.
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Resolving Iraq: Progress depends on a short timeline for US troop withdrawal

(printable PDF version) by Carl Conetta, PDA Briefing Memo #40, 18 January 2007.  The memo argues that the large-scale US military presence in Iraq makes sustainable progress toward peace and stability there impossible. It advances an alternative approach to stabilizing Iraq that hinges on a short timeline for US troop withdrawal and a new international effort including Iraq’s neighbors.

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A Troop Surge Can’t Win a Victory from a Bad Decision for War

(HTML version) by Carl Conetta, PDA Commentary in Common Dreams, 10 January 2007.

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War & Consequences: Global Terrorism has Increased Since 9/11 Attacks

(HTML version) (printable PDF version) by Carl Conetta, PDA Briefing Memo #38, 25 September 2006. The memo analyzes the change in the incidence of terrorism since 11 September 2001, finding a distinct increase. It also summarizes the findings of various studies on the relationship between the Iraq war and terrorism which show that in the words of one, the Iraq war “has reinforced the determination of terrorists who were already committed to attacking the West and motivated others who were not.”

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Pyrrhus on the Potomac: How America’s post-9/11 wars have undermined US national security

(printable PDF version) (HTML version) by Carl Conetta, PDA Briefing Report #18, 05 September 2006.  A net assessment of America’s post-911 security policy shows it to be “pyrrhic” in character: although progress has been made in disrupting Al Qaeda, the broader effect has been to increase the threat to the United States, while weakening the nation’s capacity to respond effectively.
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Dissuading China and Fighting the ‘Long War’

(printable PDF version) by Carl Conetta, World Policy Journal, 01 July 2006. The 2006 US Defense Review advanced two new strategic vectors for the US armed forces – one targets a putative “global Islamic insurgency”; the other puts America on a collison course with China. 

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Die Europäische Union: Stolpersteine auf dem Weg zur Integration (The European Union: Stumbling Blocks on the Road to Integration)

(printable PDF version) by Lutz Unterseher, Guest Publication, Studiengruppe Alternative Sicherheitspolitik, Berlin, Germany, May 2006. In German with English abstract. The EU is entering a sustained period of conflict-prone development with grossly different paths of adjustment and modernization stimulating constant fighting for a redistribution of notoriously scarce central resources. If Europe does not want to fall back onto the level of a mere free-trade arrangement, if it intends to become a unified actor in the international arena that transcends the role of just an economic bloc and is also capable of generating and executing global policies with respect to the environment, security and other issues, there is no alternative to an ‘open-club régime’.
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Lambert Guard Unit Appears Headed to Israel

(HTML version) Harry Levins. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 22 April 2006.
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More troops for Iraq? Time to just say “No”

(printable PDF version) (HTML version)  by Carl Conetta, PDA Briefing Memo #39, 09 January 2006.  There is no reason to believe that a marginal increase in the US troop presence in Iraq will turn the tide there. The memo reviews relevant data on troop strength, insurgent activity, and Iraqi public opinion. It traces America’s troubles in Iraq to the nature of the mission, which it concludes is founded on strategic error.

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400 Days and Out: A Strategy for Solving the Iraq Impasse

(HTML version) by Carl Conetta. PDA Briefing Memo #34, 19 July 2005.The memo outlines a strategy for substantially defusing the Iraqi insurgency, de-escalating the inter-communal conflict there, and enabling near-total US troop withdrawal by September 2006.
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