Counter-Terrorism Beyond Platitudes | commentary

“Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have embraced a shallow, platitudinous approach to counter-terrorism and anti-insurgency warfare.”

Max Boot effectively explains the flawed analogy (resulting from a lack of historical perspective) behind the simplistic approach to counter-terrorism espoused by Trump, Cruz, and many Americans. Their understanding of war is based on the crushing defeats inflicted on the Axis powers during WWII.

But as Boot points out, “The situation with the War on Terror today is very different. We are fighting insurgencies, not nation-states, even if some of the insurgents (the Taliban before 9/11, ISIS today) have taken on many of the attributes of nation-states. This is an unconventional conflict in which our enemies seldom wear uniforms or mass in the open. They prefer to hide among a civilian population and to strike with stealth and surprise, usually against civilian, not military, targets. As I argued in my book Invisible Armies, this is an ancient form of warfare that requires a different response from conventional conflicts. Using maximal force against terrorists and guerrillas can backfire, more often than not, by killing innocent civilians and thereby driving their friends and relatives into the insurgent camp.”

Read the entire article here: Counter-Terrorism Beyond Platitudes | commentary

“Are Russians Really Long-Suffering” | History News Network

Christopher A. Lawrence contests the claim that Russians have had a particularly difficult history. I was shocked when I read his claim. How could this be?
As a graduate student one of my areas of specialization was Russian history (Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union). Therefore, I had to read a lot about the history of the Russian people in preparation for my comprehensive exams. One of the things that struck me was the constant stream of misfortunes endured by Russians. They never seemed to catch a break.
I thought maybe I mis-remembered  their history when I saw this article by a supposedly credible historian. But upon reading the essay I realized that it wasn’t my memory that was the problem, it was Lawrence’s argument. His argument focuses on their many political revolutions, the last of which he highlights as “fundamentally peaceful.” Now where does he discuss the actual suffering or explain why it wasn’t actually suffering. In fact his argument works by actually ignoring the real suffering of the Russian people (wars, famines, political oppression, purges, etc.). He only mentioned one, World War I, which he points out was short-lived and entailed fewer deaths than other nations. He forgets to mention that they left only to fight a civil war that killed millions, followed by famine, political purges, terror, and crushing poverty.  And that was all before the Second World War!
It’s easy to make an argument that the Russians  are not long-suffering, if you ignore the actual suffering!

Source: History News Network | Are Russians Really Long-Suffering