Weekend Reading: August 28-30

August 28, 2015

More of our platforms on the high seas need to be able to kill. That’s the opinion of WOTR contributor Bryan McGrath over at USNI. Bryan was one of the pioneers of this concept of distributed lethality — basically placing big guns and missiles on as many of our ships as possible. He writes: “In seeking to increase the unit lethality of as many surface ships as is practicable, and then operating them in surface action groups … more widely dispersed from other concentrations of naval power, the surface force aims to provide combatant commanders with [way more options to kick ass].”

Build a larger Navy now. Justin Johnson, also a WOTR contributor, has a great piece over at RealClearDefense that explains how the calls by so many for a bigger U.S. Navy are realistic and affordable, and should be answered now by the Obama administration. Justin tell us: “A larger Navy will not be cheap, but it is certainly not a fantasy, as some have characterized it. The path to a larger U.S. Navy is both achievable and affordable and is not something that should wait for a future administration.”

Two takes on Turkey. And they are both from Aaron Stein, another WOTR contributor (seeing a pattern?). Over at FT, due to Turkey’s approach and alliances, Aaron tells us that the Islamic State may beaten back, “only to be replaced with mutually antagonistic non-state actors.” At The American Interest, Aaron assures us that contrary to some folks out there, Turkey is not going for a nuclear bomb.

Want more? Who are those antagonistic state actors that might fill in the blank space on the map once the Islamic State is driven back? One of these groups is Ahrar al-Sham. Aaron and his co-author Sam Heller tell us about the trouble with these folks. This week, we had two great pieces on Turkey, including one on its growing rivalry with Iran by Josh Walker and Gabriel Mitchell, and another by Mustafa Gurbuz on how Turkey’s strategy in Syria is shaped by its restive domestic politics.

International law has its say on Ukraine. Over at Lawfare, Thomas Grant gives us a sneak peak of his new book, Aggression Against Ukraine. He makes a few interesting points, namely that it is not helpful to call the conflict in Ukraine a civil war and that “clothing aggression in the language of self-determination does not change what it is.”

Want more? Michael Kofman teaches us about Russia’s power to annoy the crap of out of us. An infantryman turned journalist joined a historian of infantry combat to school WOTR’s Ryan Evans on fighting on the ground in our latest podcast.

What does Britain’s re-opened embassy in Tehran mean? Good question! Suzanne Maloney writes at Brookings’ Markaz blog: “[T]he steady recovery of Iranian–European relations since Rouhani’s election two years ago underscores that the shift in Iran’s approach to the world commands a fairly wide consensus among the relevant body of decision-makers in the Islamic Republic.”

Infographic of the Week. Task & Purpose keeps it real with this cool infographic on Generals Grant and Lee.



Photo credit: The U.S. Army