“In a world in which relative power levels are narrowing and means are diluted, America’s historical black hole, a bifurcation between policy and operations, must be closed. Given that our country expects great sacrifices from those toiling at the tactical level, much more can and should be expected at the summit. It is my expectation that War on the Rocks will help fill in the black hole.”
-The War on the Rocks Mission Statement, as articulated by Contributing Editor Frank Hoffman
War on the Rocks is a web magazine for analysis, commentary, and debate on foreign policy and national security issues through a realist lens. It features articles and podcasts produced by an array of writers with deep experience in these matters: top notch scholars who study war, those who have served or worked in war zones, and more than a few who have done it all.
This is what sets us apart from similar web publications: experience. In fact, we are confident that there is no other web-based publication on war and foreign policy out there that has been blessed with this much experience from its collection of regular contributors.
Among our 50+ regular contributors are people who have worked on every continent in the world (aside from Antarctica, so far). They have commanded ships, bargained with militias, led patrols, managed alliances, called for fires (ten of them are combat veterans), and negotiated treaties. They include former diplomats, officers, NCOs, intelligence professionals, and some of the most established scholars in the world studying war, conflict, and international politics. We have seen the worst battlefields of our times. And we have studied war at some of the world’s greatest institutions of higher learning.
Realism teaches us how to think about the world, rather than what to think about it. It is a broad term that encompasses people of many opinions with a variety of party affiliations but all of whom believe in the centrality of fear, honor, and interest as drivers of inter-state affairs. Politics is power. À la Morgenthau, we understand power as “anything that establishes and maintains the power of man over man …. from physical violence to the most subtle psychological ties by which one mind controls another.” As such, while we focus on armed force, we do not dismiss ideas and social control as mechanisms for power.