In the early days of the air campaign of the 1991 Gulf War, the United States undertook a concerted effort to track and strike Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The effort was predicated on the belief that eliminating Saddam Hussein would have two effects; it would throw the Iraqi military hierarchy into chaos, and it would make the surviving Iraqi leadership more amenable to a negotiated solution.
The effort to kill Hussein was only one episode in the U.S. pursuit of “decapitation” as a politico-military strategy. In the post-Cold War era, the United States has faced a variety of tyrants and terrorists. U.S. leaders reasoned that steps to crush the head of the snake might make it unnecessary to kill the entire body, thus sparing much destruction and civilian death.
The problem here is that the Turks are not asserting that any armed attack took place or, for that matter, that any armed attack was even being contemplated by the Russians. Instead, in a letter to the U.N., the Turks only claimed that the Russians had “violated their national airspace to a depth of 1.36 to 1.15 miles in length for 17 seconds.” They also say that the Russians were warned “10 times” (something the Russians dispute) and that the Turkish jets fired upon them in accordance with the Turks’ “rules of engagement.” Of course, national rules of engagement cannot trump the requirements of international law. Moreover, international law also requires any force in self-defense be proportional to the threat addressed.
Thus, the legal question is this: Is a mere 17-second border incursion of such significance and scale as to justify as “proportional” the use of deadly force as the only recourse — particularly where there is no indication that the Russians were going to actually attack anything on Turkish soil?
The Turkish military has reportedly shot down a Russian military aircraft on the border with Syria.
Russia’s defence ministry said an Su-24 had crashed on Syrian territory after being hit by fire from the ground.
But Turkish military officials said Turkish F-16s had shot down the plane after repeatedly warning its two crew they were violating Turkish airspace.
The crew ejected before the jet crashed in Latakia province, but Syrian rebels said at least one was dead.
You kinda wish that the Turks would chill out just a touch, but then you kind of wish that the Russians would stop violating Turkish airspace (slipping in and out with some regularity) with their transponders off, while bombing Turkey’s friends in Syria.
With due respect to the Salon staff, why is this question “bonkers?” Every system of social organization, from anarchist to tyrannical, involves measures both punitive and celebratory. The fascist and communist regimes of the twentieth century insisted upon creating space for joyous celebration, and to some extent they surely succeeded. I read Oates as asking the question of whether and how ISIS manages the same thing. The Western discussion of ISIS concentrates on the punitive and puritanical, with some time set aside for ISIS’ delivery of social services and basic governance, but it has very little to say about how ISIS constructs and maintains a positive, forward looking worldview that can animate followers and attract support.
I think Oates is interested in this subject, and it’s surely an important question to ask. It’s not clear to me why folks can’t see past their own noses on this issue.
Since 1756, the modern-state system has experienced four global wars; The Seven Years War, The French Revolutionary Wars, World War I, and World War II. The longest global peace came between 1815 and 1914, and it has now been seventy years since the last world war.
“World War III” would, in effect, be the fifth World War in the history of the modern state system. What might spark such a war, and how would it escalate into a global conflict? Here are five potential scenarios, none likely, but all possible:
Some of the strategic questions are clear; how closely does Canada wish to cleave to the United States, how does it want to approach the arctic, and how does it plan to replace or refurbish aging equipment. Even these questions, however, can lead to difficult debates over the operationalization of strategy.
“Woodrow Wilson by Pach Bros c1875” by Pach Brothers, New York – Heritage Auctions. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.
I suppose I’m not utterly convinced that Princeton should change the name of the Woodrow Wilson School; Wilson was a two-term President, and is particularly important to Princeton as an institution. He’s not nearly as disposable as John C. Calhoun, for example. But it’s unquestionably positive that student activism has forced a public conversation on Wilson’s central “achievements:”
Leaving the broader question of whether Wilson’s name should be removed, let’s be clear on one thing: Woodrow Wilson was, in fact, a racist pig. He was a racist by current standards, and he was a racist by the standards of the 1910s, a period widely acknowledged by historians as the “nadir” of post-Civil War race relations in the United States.
Easily the worst part of Wilson’s record as president was his overseeing of the re-segregation of multiple agencies of the federal government, which had been been surprisingly integrated as a result of Reconstruction decades earlier. At a April 11, 1913, cabinet meeting, Postmaster General Albert Burleson argued for segregating the Railway Mail Service. He objected to the fact that workers shared glasses, towels, and washrooms. Wilson offered no objection to Burleson’s plan for segregation, saying that he “wished the matter adjusted in a way to make the least friction.”
In effect, Wilson killed the last, best part of Reconstruction. While I don’t necessarily support expunging him, it’s fair to say that we (both generally, and specifically the institutions that lionize Wilson) need to grapple with this.
Jerry Hendrix traces the history of the carrier air wing, with emphasis on how the World War II experience led American naval aviators to appreciate the need for long range attack aircraft. Especially late in the war, the effectiveness of Japanese land-based kamikaze aircraft helped create interest in longer range attack planes, which in turn drove an increase in deck and ship size. This culminated in the mid-1970s, when US carrier wings could boast the long-range F-14 interceptor and the A-6 strike aircraft, as well as organic aerial refueling capabilities.