Bring on a European army, but do it for the right reasons

Angela_Merkel_Juli_2010_-_3zu4_(cropped)

Over at The Hill, I endorse this week’s proposals from German and French leaders to create a pan-European army. The more American allies and friends take responsibility for their own affairs, the better for them—and for us. But I urge them not to launch into a project of this magnitude out of petty spite at President Trump’s manner or negotiating style. Founding a European force would be a huge and costly step. Europeans should undertake it for strategic reasons, not frivolous ones.

https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/416976-a-pan-european-army-makes-sense-but-not-because-of-trump

If the WWI peace settlement wasn’t particularly good, neither was the one from WWII

The last (?) in the series of First World War retrospectives: https://blog.usni.org/posts/2018/11/13/what-makes-a-good-peace-settlement.

A triumphal afterglow surrounds the outcome of World War II, the “good war.” But as we lament the dismal end of World War I, it’s worthwhile remembering that the Cold War started within months of World War I, and it did so when the wartime Allies fell out among themselves. Hard to depict that as an unalloyed triumph . . . .

Learn from WWI: do not be a control freak

Over at Foreign Policy, a reminder that winning too big and being granted a long peace is a dual-edged sword: https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/11/13/the-u-s-navy-has-forgotten-what-its-like-to-fight/

jutland

A Nelsonian triumph is good, but it lets commanders and officials slip into bad habits such as obsessing over paperwork and spit and polish at the expense of battle readiness. It also deludes senior leaders into thinking they can choreograph fleet maneuvers. Which may be true . . . until the first shock when the fleet collides with the enemy. Then a melee ensues, ruining elaborate choreography. The force that excels at improv rather than scripted movements boasts the advantage during that decisive phase. Hence the imperative to liberate and empower more junior folk, unlocking their ingenuity.

Spinoff of my presentation from the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City.

Is the World War I past Asia’s future?

Over at Foreign Policy I try to draw out lessons of World War I for strategy and foreign policy in Asia today: https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/11/09/world-war-is-depressing-lessons-for-asia/. Amazing how many rhymes there are between then and now, and even the dissonant notes are enlightening.

The occasion is the centennial of the armistice, which is coming up this Sunday. Last week I ventured out to Kansas City to address the centennial symposium at the National World War I Museum and Monument and spun off my remarks into a couple of articles. Part 2 coming Sunday!