A Simple Man’s Simple Thoughts—On the War in Ukraine Was it the “aggressive expansion” of NATO into Eastern Europe that caused Russia’s war against Ukraine? Greater minds than mine, from both academia and the policy world, certainly think so: John Mearsheimer, Henry Kissinger, Fred Ikle, Paul Nitze, Robert McNamara … All names I had either … Continue reading Questions About the Ukraine War
Debacle in Afghanistan: What military history ought to have taught us about war
America’s war in Afghanistan came to an end, not with a bang, but with the whirring throb of helicopters ferrying US civilians and military personnel out of Kabul, as Taliban forces ring-fenced the capital. Just as how America’s war in Vietnam 46 years earlier had ended. In both wars, American military forces, together with their … Continue reading Debacle in Afghanistan: What military history ought to have taught us about war
The COVID-19 Crisis: Is it (finally) time to seriously consider cutting Singapore’s defence spending?
The front page of The Straits Times this morning (12 August 2020) declared: The economic numbers are truly horrifying: GDP shrinking by 13.2%, amounting to SGD 11 billion lost; the 92,000 new positions created seem almost lost in the sea of negativity. The headline, of course, does not--it cannot even begin to, to be fair--convey … Continue reading The COVID-19 Crisis: Is it (finally) time to seriously consider cutting Singapore’s defence spending?
What Happens if Indonesia’s Defence Spending Exceeds Singapore’s?
A recent story suggests that Indonesia's economy will be growing steadily throughout the early part of the third decade of the 21st Century. Furthermore, Indonesian President Jokowi, in his 2nd inauguration, said that he is aiming to create the foundations for sustained economic growth for Indonesia, and that by 2045, Indonesia should be among the … Continue reading What Happens if Indonesia’s Defence Spending Exceeds Singapore’s?
What’s with this desire for nuclear weapons???
I've written about this before. One of the latest comes from a very respected strategic thinker, who has recently argued that given the uncertainties of its relationship with the US, Australia ought to consider acquiring its own nuclear arsenal. Here's the thing: what exactly does an independent nuclear arsenal do for Australia? Or for that … Continue reading What’s with this desire for nuclear weapons???
Steve Metz says, “Don’t blame the generals”?
In his World Politics Review column, Steve Metz argues that the strategic shortcomings that the US has faced in its recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq ought not to be placed solely on the shoulders of the military leaders. Rather, he argues, "If there is a failure of strategy, its roots are deep in the … Continue reading Steve Metz says, “Don’t blame the generals”?
The Key to Strategic Effectiveness? Education, Education, Education!
A colleague from the United States' Army War College wrote this. This is an important issue, possibly the single most important issue, in the development of a strategically coherent and effective military organisation; obviously this follows from the last post, which argued that lethality does not necessarily confer strategic effectiveness. I have reproduced his commentary … Continue reading The Key to Strategic Effectiveness? Education, Education, Education!
Strategic Effectiveness, Not Lethality
For those who follow Singapore's defence matters, the following graphic is probably familiar to you: Singapore's Ministry of Defence all has another infographic, provided below: So here's my problem with the narrative that the graphic presents: greater lethality does not guarantee strategic effectiveness. To be fair, however, when a military organisation undertakes a modernisation programme, … Continue reading Strategic Effectiveness, Not Lethality
Michael Raska on The SAF After Next Incarnation
The text below belongs to my colleague, Michael Raska. I felt it important, and I wanted to put his commentary in this blog. You can also access his commentary here. According to Singapore’s Ministry of Defence, Singapore’s force modernisation priorities toward the Next-Generation SAF currently follows three lines of effort: (1) developing capabilities to counter … Continue reading Michael Raska on The SAF After Next Incarnation
How to evaluate a country’s arms dynamic?
In An Introduction to Strategic Studies: Military Technology and International Politics, Barry Buzan argued that the phenomenon of the arms dynamic is driven by three elements: an action-reaction dynamic between the state and its putative adversary; the domestic structures within the state that is not necessarily fully synchronised with the action-reaction dynamic with its putative … Continue reading How to evaluate a country’s arms dynamic?