Academic journal article Parameters

From the Editor

Academic journal article Parameters

From the Editor

Article excerpt

This issue of the US Army War College Quarterly opens with a Special Commentary by Frank Hoffman, "What the QDR Ought to Say about Landpower." Hoffman reminds us that recommendations articulated in the Quadrennial Defense Review may not be easily reversed. If strategy is largely about managing risk, one might well ask where risk will be transferred in a Joint Force that is landpower-lite?

Our first strategic forum, American Power in Transition, addresses the popular question of America's declining influence. The forum's three articles consider that question from different perspectives. Isaiah (Ike) Wilson's, "The True Tragedy of American Power," argues that the core problem for US grand strategy is its tendency to mistake force for power. Until that confusion is addressed, America is likely to experience frustration achieving its strategic aims. In "Redirecting US Diplomacy," James E. Goodby and Ken Weisbrode underscore the need to move beyond the mere rhetoric of thinking globally and acting regionally. If US power is transitioning, then surely its diplomacy must do likewise. In "Rebalancing US Military Power," Anna Simons questions how US-centric our military partnerships should be. She suggests the United States may reap greater benefits by treating its partners more as equals and by offering them more opportunities to realize their own goals.

The second forum, Fighting Irregular Fighters, offers three contributions that broaden our understanding of irregular warfare. In the first of these, "Is the Law of Armed Conflict Outdated?" Sibylle Scheipers shows how states shaped the law of armed conflict largely to delegitimize irregular fighters. If the law of armed conflict is now considered outdated, one has to wonder who is to blame? Robert J. Bunker's "Defeating Violent Nonstate Actors" outlines how landpower can address the gap between war and policing to help defeat violent nonstate actors. In "Confronting Africa's Sobels," Robert L. Feldman and Michel Ben Arrous explain the very real phenomenon by which African mercenaries serve as soldiers who protect civilians by day, then as rebels who victimize those same civilians by night. …

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