For his views on democracies and dictatorships, he’s been called a cynic. But NYU professor Alastair Smith doesn’t think that makes him wrong.
After thousands of American lives, literally billions of dollars and more than 15 years, the U.S. can’t seem to quit its longest war in Afghanistan. With no end in sight, no word on strategy from the White House and the NATO-backed leader calling for more troops to defend against the Taliban, it might be time to cut and run.
Growing up, I was always told the military's job was to “kill people and break stuff.” It’s a maxim that gained popularity in the United States at the end of the Vietnam War. But total war with few rules, as World War I demonstrated, carries too high a human cost.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s first month in office has ushered in a whirlwind of change. One bit of procedural change raised eyebrows among the national security crowd. At the end of January, Trump reshuffled the National Security Council by elevating chief strategist Stephen Bannon and demoting both the Director of National Intelligence and Joint Chiefs of Staff.
According to Presidents John Kennedy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaXt7GE0aUo) and Ronald Reagan, the United States is a shining “city upon a hill” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c32G868tor0). It’s a beacon of democracy in a dark world full of cruel dictators and vicious despots. But history shows the United States has also been willing to side with despots in the name of stability.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily restricting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries and halting the U.S. refugee program.
War has changed in the 21st century and combat is not always kinetic. Russia’s battlefields are the internet, financial markets and television airwaves. The goal is not necessarily to take and hold territory but to expand Russia’s sphere of influence and achieve political goals.
Adolf Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess, was obsessed with the occult. He attempted to read minds and used astrological star charts to inform his battle plans. On the allied side, English magician Aleister Crowley kept in contact with German occultists, fed them false information and even created the V for Victory.
On Jan. 9, 2017, Gizmodo ran a story titled “Trump Just Dismissed the People in Charge of Maintaining Our Nuclear Arsenal.” The article published claims from unnamed members of the National Nuclear Security Administration who said the incoming president had ordered them to clear out their desks before his inauguration.
Right now, America is fighting a war in Afghanistan – the longest in its history – a war against the Islamic State in the Middle East, a war against Islamic radicals in Pakistan, several different operations in and around the Horn of Africa and – if you ask the Houthi rebels – a war in Yemen.