February 21, 2013

How Wars Start

Robert Kaplan, Stratfor

AP Photo

Just as Herodotus is the father of history, Thucydides is the father of realism. To understand the geopolitical conflict zones of the 21st century, you must begin with the ancient Greeks. Among the many important lessons Thucydides teaches in his History of the Peloponnesian War is that what starts a war is different from what causes it.

Thucydides chronicles how the Peloponnesian War began in the latter part of the late fifth century B.C. with disputes over the island of Corcyra in northwestern Greece and Potidaea in northeastern Greece. These places were not very strategically crucial in and of themselves. To think that wars must start over important places is to misread Thucydides. Corcyra and Potidaea, among other locales, were only where the Peloponnesian War started; not...

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TAGGED: Iran, North Korea


February 14, 2013
How Tight Are Iran and North Korea?
Mark Fitzpatrick, The National
Among the issues raised by North Korea's third nuclear test, on Tuesday, is what it means for Iran's nuclear programme. It is sometimes assumed that Iran will benefit from North Korea's nuclear advances. There is also speculation... more ››
February 12, 2013
U.S. Weakness Provokes N. Korea, Iran
Max Boot, Contentions
So much for the exaggerated hopes of those that believed Kim Jong-un would turn out to be a different kind of dictator. Following a long-range rocket test in December, North Korea has now apparently tested a nuclear weapon... more ››
The Pyongyang regime is so whacky it defies normal government-to-government discourse. And it can be argued that just as the US successfully contained a nuclear Soviet Union during the Cold War, so could it now contain a nuclear... more ››
February 13, 2013
Rogue Nations Shrug Off Obama's Threats
James Robbins, USA Today
In his State of the Union Address, President Obama pledged that 'America will continue to lead the effort to prevent the spread of the world's most dangerous weapons.' Strong words. But then again, he says that every year, and... more ››
February 13, 2013
The West's Vain Love Affair with Sanctions
Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
Economic sanctions are hugely popular to western politicians, not because of their effect but because of their cause: the desire to stand on an international stage and being seen to "do something". They are the least-cost first... more ››