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President Xi Jinping State Visit to the UK

China in the Pacific: How is Beijing flexing its power in the region

The Pacific Islands and their vast expanse of ocean have never been a major source of traditional military threats. The post-World War Two security architecture of the Pacific has historically been dominated by the United States. Yet today, China’s diplomatic and economic push into the Pacific is incrementally reshaping the strategic landscape. While its presence in the region is not new, Beijing has capitalised on the dissonance between Washington and the Pacific Island nations by steadily and significantly expanding its commercial and geopolitical clout. As a result, ten of the fourteen Pacific Island nations now recognise the One China policy, which warrants considerable attention from the United States and other regional actors such as Australia.

U.S. Army in Afghanistan

Lessons on Insurgency and Counterinsurgency (COIN) from Star Wars

In the aftermath of the war in Afghanistan, much can be learned from Star Wars about the practice of Counterinsurgency (COIN). In the fictional universe, the period between the final moments of Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith (ROTS) and Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi (ROTJ) would be when COIN tactics would be most clearly utilized. With Afghanistan, the United States effectively lost, the Taliban taking control of Kabul and pushing out the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the pro-democracy, U.S.-allied government. This is quite similar to how the Empire itself lost to the Rebel Alliance; a large, technologically advanced force being overwhelmed by a smaller, primitive force. However, beyond this similarity of being an insurgency, the Taliban and the Alliance share little else.

CIA director William Joseph Burns

Black Operations: A Primer on Covert Action throughout U.S. History

Covert Action (CA) has been a point of contention within political and foreign policy discourse, with constant discussions about the legalities of targeted killings and enhanced interrogation techniques. There are vast historical examples of U.S. intervention abroad which complicated matters in their respective regions, in some cases having an opposite effect than what was intended, in other cases resulting in scandals that eroded the public’s faith in governmental institutions, and in other cases simply resulting in a less stable country or government. In spite of all the discussion about covert action, it is undeniable that it can be extremely beneficial when dealing with foreign powers and with new issues like non-state actors and international terrorism.