Guidelines for War in the News: Emerging Strategic Thought Essay, NTU, Singapore

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University Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
Subject Emerging Strategic Thought

1 – Guidelines for “War in the News.”
2. Guidelines for the Malayan Campaign-Battle for Singapore Role Play
3. Guidelines and Topics for Final Papers

Guidelines for “war in the news”
“War in the news” is the sequence that introduces our syndicate discussions. The goal of this short sequence is to remind ourselves that the issues that we discuss in our Evolution of Strategic Thought (EST) class are happening every day in the world. “War in the news” provides you with an opportunity to briefly identify the current relevance of the strategic concepts and case studies discussed in class for a broader range of war/strategy-related issues.

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Select a recent news article devoted to a war that is currently happening. A news article published within a week before our scheduled session is fine. It can be about a particular war, a significant militarized crisis, or a source of major militarized tension that is ongoing. My preference is that you focus on the causes, conduct, or termination of the current, ongoing war.
For example, do not refer to historical naval battles such as the battle of Salamis or the battle of Red Cliff during Ancient China’s three kingdoms period. These are not currently ongoing wars. Similarly, I prefer that you do not select an article on the US-Iran nuclear deal, for example, this is not an ongoing war [Jan 2021]. Similarly, the South China Sea territorial disputes or the North Korean nuclear tensions are not currently ongoing wars [Jan 2021].

  • Make sure that the article that you select is different from the war/crises discussed in previous sessions of “war in the news”. It is better that we discuss a wide variety of wars/crises instead of focusing on just one.
  • Keep your presentation short: 5 minutes. Provide a short summary and highlight the connection between the current event you selected and our EST class. Your presentation will be followed by an exchange of about 10 minutes.

Essay Topics

Choose one (1) topic out of the nine (9) below.

1. – In the making of Israel’s strategy during the 2006 Lebanon War, what was the key problem for strategy, an intrusive civilian direction or an excessive military autonomy?

Benjamin S. Lambeth, Air Operations in Israel’s War Against Hezbollah. Learning from Lebanon and Getting It Right in Gaza. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2011, 13-72 (Chap 2. Highlights of the Campaign), 199-276 (Chap 5.

The Winograd Commission’s Findings), 277-334 (Chap 7. The Second Lebanon War Reconsidered). Gil Merom, “The Second Lebanon War: Democratic Lessons Imperfectly Applied,” Democracy and Security, 4 (1) (2008), 5-33.

2. – During the planning of the U.S.-led coalition’s campaign against Iraq in 1991, war planners misunderstood Iraq’s “center of gravity.” Discuss this statement

Lieutenant Colonel Antulio J. Echevarria II, “Clausewitz’s Center of Gravity: It’s Not What We Thought,” Naval War College Review, Vol LVI, N°. 1 (Winter 2003), 108-123.

Michael R. Gordon, General Bernard E. Trainor, The General’s War. The Inside Story of the Conflict in the Gulf. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1995, 129-141, 142- 158, 227-241. George Bush, Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998, 462-464, 483-487, 488-492.

3. – In the planning of the Dardanelles campaign, there were errors at the highest level of command, but they did not doom the campaign. Discuss this statement.

Basil H. Liddell Hart, Strategy (1st ed. 1929). New York, N.Y.: Meridian, 1991, 322-329,162-163, 176-179.

Robin Prior, “Gallipoli as a combined and joint operation,” in: Naval Power and Expeditionary Warfare: Peripheral Campaigns and New Theatres of Naval Warfare, edited by Bruce A. Elleman and S. C. M. Paine. London and New York:
Routledge, 2011. Pages 45-57.

Julian S. Corbett, Naval Operations. History of the Great War Based on Official Documents. Vol. II. (1st ed. 1921). London: The Naval & Military Press-The Imperial War Museum, 1929, 62-69, 103-109 (Chap. VI), 119-129 (Chap. VIII) [The decision-making process: the indirect approach in practice] 8

George H. Cassar, Asquith As War Leader. London: The Hambledon Press, 1994, 57-66 (Chap. 4. The Search for a Way Around), 67-69. [The perspective of Henry Asquith, Prime Minister] Christopher M. Bell, Churchill and Sea Power. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, 53-75 (Chap. 2 Learning Curve: The First World War). [The perspective of Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty] George H. Cassar, Kitchener’s War.

British Strategy from 1914 to 1916. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books, 2004, 119-145 (Chap. 7 Drawn into the Dardanelles Vortex). [The perspective of Field Marshal Horatio Kitchener, Secretary for War] Eliot A. Cohen, John Gooch, Military Misfortunes. The Anatomy of Failure in War (1st ed. 1990). New York: Vintage Books, 1991, 133-163 (chap 6 ‘Failure to Adapt: The British at Gallipoli, August 1915).

4. – Was the Guadalcanal Campaign decisive with respect to the outcome of the Pacific War?

Assess pros and cons and justify your answer.

Lee, Bradford A. “A Pivotal Campaign in a Peripheral Theatre: Guadalcanal and World War II in the Pacific.” In Naval Power and Expeditionary Warfare: Peripheral Campaigns and New Theatres of Naval Warfare, edited by Bruce A. Elleman and S. C. M. Paine. London and New York: Routledge, 2011. Pages 84-98.

John Miller, jr., Guadalcanal: The First Offensive (1st ed. 1949). Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History-United States Army, 1995, 1-21 (chap. 1), 22-58 (chap.2), 59-81 (chap. 3).

Ronald H. Spector, Eagle Against the Sun. The American War With Japan. New York: The Free Press, 1985, 184-187, 190-204. Phillips Payson O’Brien, How the War Was Won. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015, 378-386 (“Guadalcanal Sets the Stage”). 9

5. – Despite Slobodan Milosevic’s eventual capitulation and despite the absence of combat casualties on NATO’s side, the protracted two-and-a-half month Kosovo air campaign (1999) proved to be more challenging than expected, shaped by mistakes and misjudgments. Why?

General Wesley K. Clark, Waging Modern War. Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat. New York: PublicAffairs, 2001, 193-220 (chap. 8); 221-242 (chap. 9); 243-267 (chap. 10), 268-292 (chap. 11). Lambeth, Benjamin S. 2001. NATO’s Air War for Kosovo: A Strategic and Operational

6. – Al-Qaeda is engaged in a transnational revolutionary war that shapes its ends, ways, and means. Discuss this statement.

Bernard Fall, “The Theory and Practice of Insurgency and Counterinsurgency,” (1st ed. 1965) in Last Reflections on a War. New York: Schocken, 1970, skim 209-223.

Also available as an article in the Naval War College Review, April 1965 Thomas Hegghammer, The Caravan: Abdallah Azzam and the Rise of Global Jihad. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020, 205-243 (Chap. 9 Manager), 244- 270 (Chap. 10 Recruiter), (Chap 11 Ideologue).

Fawaz A. Gerges, The Far Enemy. Why Jihad Went Global (1st ed. 2005). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009, 119-150 (Chap. 3 The Rise of Transnationalist Jihadis and the Far Enemy). David J. Kilcullen, “Countering Global Insurgency,” The Journal of Strategic Studies, 28 (4) (2005), 597-617.

David Martin-Jones, M. L. R. Smith, “Whose Hearts and Whose Minds? The Curious Case of Global Counter-Insurgency,” The Journal of Strategic Studies 33 (1) (2010), 81-121.

John Nagl, Brian M. Burton, “Thinking Globally and Acting Locally: Counter-Insurgency Lessons from Modern Wars – A Reply to Jones and Smith,” Journal of Strategic Studies, 33 (1) (2010), 123-38. 10

7. – Why did Russia’s ‘hybrid warfare’ in the Ukrainian crisis (2013-14) generate tactical and operational successes but no long-term political gain?

Michael Kofman, et. al., Lessons from Russia’s Operations in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2017, 5-32 (Chap 2 The Annexation of Crimea), 33-70 (Chap 3 Separatism and Aggression in Eastern Ukraine (MarchMay 2014).

Stephanie Pezard, Kaya Migacheva, Brenna Allen, Russia’s Hostile Measures. Combating Russian Gray Zone Aggression Against NATO in the Contact, Blunt, and Surge Layers of Competition. Appendix B: Detailed Case Studies of Russia’s Use of Hostile Measures. Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2020, 61-88. Bettina Renz, “Russia and ‘hybrid warfare,’” Contemporary Politics 22 (3) (2016), 283- 300.

Lawrence Freedman, “Ukraine and the Art of Crisis Management,” Survival 56 (3) (2014), 7-42. Lawrence Freedman, “Ukraine and the Art of Limited War,” Survival 56 (6) (Dec 2014- Jan 2015), 7-38.

8. – To what extent, and with what consequences, did misperceptions affect Saddam Hussein’s strategic plan for the Persian Gulf War (1990-91)?

Kevin M. Woods, The Mother of All Battles. Saddam Hussein’s Strategic Plan for the Persian Gulf War. Annapolis, Md: Naval Institute Press, 2008, 47-59 (Chap 4. Saddam’s Strategic Calculations), 60-92 (Chap 5. Restoring the Branch to the Tree), 93-123

(Chap 6. Occupation and Consolidation), 124-171 (Chap 7. The Iraqi Plan for the Defense of Kuwait); 299-306 (Chap 10 Saddam’s Strategic Lessons of the War), 307-309 (Epilogue: Insights from the Iraqi Perspective). Charles A. Duelfer and Stephen Benedict Dyson, “Chronic Misperception and International Conflict: The U.S.-Iraq Experience,” International Security, Vol. 36, No. 1 (Summer 2011), pp. 73-100.

9. – Compare General Percival’s performance as commander in the Malaya campaign

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