DR ANDREW GAWTHORPE A new book from Evan Thomas reminds us – as if we needed it – of the peculiarities of President Richard Nixon. Brilliant, reclusive, and disturbed, Nixon ought to defy caricature even though he has often been the subject of it. His foreign policy partnership with Henry Kissinger reflected this. By marginalizing… Read More Nixon the Nation-Builder? Strategic Understanding in the Vietnam War
by DR GERAINT HUGHES Last month, I was invited to a workshop at the University of Glasgow on ‘Proxy Actors, Psyops, and Irregular Warfare’. This proved to be a valuable experience, giving me the opportunity to share and debate ideas with fellow academics, and also to develop a strand of research that started with an… Read More Militias, Weak States, and Contemporary Warfare
DR CHRIS TRIPODI In an era of supposedly unparalleled challenge and complexity (ignoring for one moment the fact that it isn’t in any way unparalleled), ‘Understanding’ appears to be the current doctrinal plat du jour for Britain’s armed forces. Particularly so for the Army, that service which by and large interacts most closely and personally… Read More The Doctrine of ‘Understanding’ and the Illusion of Control
by Dr GERAINT HUGHES My last post on Defence-in-Depth described a battlefield tour of Oman, studying the Dhofar conflict waged between insurgents and the Sultanate from the mid-1960s to late 1975. Thanks to the declassification of British government archives under the 30 Year Rule we now have greater knowledge of the covert operations conducted during… Read More The Secret War in South Yemen, 1972-75
by Dr GERAINT HUGHES Please click on the thumbnails in this post for full-sized images. Forty years ago Oman’s Southern province of Dhofar was in a state of civil war. The Sultan’s Armed Forces (SAF) was fighting to wrest control of the province from the guerrillas of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman… Read More Oman – On the Ground in Dhofar
by MR ANDREW GAWTHORPE While the debate over American strategy in the Vietnam War has been long and bitter, it has also been strangely constricted. This stems in part from the fact it has largely been an anguished dialogue among Americans searching for the reasons which underlay their nation’s defeat. This means that a lot… Read More Nation-Building: A Forgotten Aspect of the Vietnam War
by DR HUW J. DAVIES A few weeks ago, I visited Stratfield Saye, the Berkshire country estate of the Duke of Wellington. Acquired in 1817 as a reward for the decisive victory he gained at Waterloo two years earlier, grand plans were drawn up to knock down the old house and erect an enormous palace… Read More What did officers read before Clausewitz?
by DR CHRIS TUCK ‘The airstrikes at the moment are a holding operation… Nobody has pretended the battle against Isil can be won from the air alone.’ These comments, made last week by Philip Hammond, the British Defence Secretary, speak to two essential truths in war: first, land power, ‘the ability to exert influence on… Read More Land Power and the Islamic State Crisis