Publications

Jan. 25, 2023

The Realist Case for Ukraine

Despite US support and Ukrainian valor, the war is now approaching a second year, and several observers in the United States and in Europe have become increasingly alarmed at the consequence of a longer war. None of these concerns should be dismissed out of hand. Each, however, rests on problematic assumptions. The realist case for aiding Ukraine accepts Mearsheimer’s insight about the tragic structural nature of international politics, particularly the danger of a sustained period of great-power competition with both Russia and China—as well as the continued threat that Vladimir Putin’s Russia poses to peace and stability in Europe. It acknowledges that Ukraine’s resilience and ingenuity provide an opportunity to, as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin put it “weaken Russia” and reshape the global balance of power in favor of the United States and its allies.

Jan. 17, 2023

The PLA's Strategic Support Force and AI Innovation

If China’s strategic ambitions for AI are clear, how it intends to integrate AI into the PLA remains opaque. The CCP’s goals for militarized AI are still shrouded in mystery, even as the PLA clearly views AI as a technology that will be vital for driving next-generation warfare. Our research into the SSF took a deep dive into open-source information, convened subject matter experts, and looked to scholarly analysis to form a more precise understanding of what role the SSF might be playing in the PLA’s AI innovation—and what role it definitely is not.

Jan. 9, 2023

Let's Make a Deal? Ukraine and the Poor Prospects for Negotiations with Putin

Ukraine has defied expectations and admirably defended its sovereignty. It still has quite a way to go to eject Vladimir Putin’s armed forces and hirelings. A bitter frozen conflict could last for some time despite the tenacious and creative defense of Ukraine’s determined military. But it is time to start thinking about the end game. Sketching out the compromises and hard choices for Russia’s termination of its “Special Military Operation” is not an exercise in optimism or wishful thinking. Understanding what the West desires out of this conflict and what is the objective in terms of relations with a defeated Russia is a clear strategic question for US policymakers at this point in time.

Jan. 3, 2023

American Defense Priorities After Ukraine

Even though the war will continue into next year, and perhaps beyond, it is time to begin assessing longer-term implications for modern warfare, especially in Europe. It is not too early in this age to draw inferences about how the character of warfare is changing. How can NATO and the United States adapt to best ensure Europe’s stability and advance U.S. interests?

Dec. 22, 2022

Averting Escalation and Avoiding War: Lessons from the 1995–1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis

This study assesses information-sharing, communication, and policy coordination between U.S. and Taiwan decisionmakers in the 1995–1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis, derives key lessons, considers the implications for a future crisis, and makes recommendations to policymakers.

Dec. 21, 2022

The Inevitable U.S. Return and the Future of Great Power Competition in South Asia

More than a year after America’s painful Afghanistan withdrawal, the future of U.S. and Western security interests in South Asia no longer relates mainly to the terrorism threat from Salafi jihadism, which has receded and reoriented there to be most menacing toward Pakistan and China. Instead, American security interests now require the proper posture for long-term Great Power competition (GPC) with China. Such a posture in South Asia requires patient, persistent growth in the slowly maturing, overt strategic security partnership with India and a quiet regeneration of a transactional one with Pakistan.

Dec. 21, 2022

Dangerous Alliances: Russia’s Strategic Inroads in Latin America

Russia’s growing strategic presence in the U.S. near abroad empowers anti-U.S. populist authoritarian regimes while gaining potentially important access points for Russia in the Western Hemisphere. Understanding and developing a comprehensive response to this asymmetric threat should be a hemispheric priority as the United States faces numerous strategic challenges with waning influence in the region. The response should include ongoing proactive engagement in the media and on social platforms to create a fact-based counternarrative to Russian propaganda as well as coordination with regional allies to expose and counter Russian activities and the threats they pose.

Dec. 21, 2022

Priorities for NATO Partnerships in an Era of Strategic Competition

This study evaluates how select NATO partner states in Europe and the Indo-Pacific region see the strategic value of cooperating with as the Alliance adapts for strategic competition, and it assesses the prospects for future cooperation.

Dec. 12, 2022

America's Great-Power Challenge: Managing Russia's Decline and China's Rise

Russia is in strategic trouble. Vladimir Putin’s war of choice in Ukraine has weakened Russia’s global posture and eroded the carefully honed image of great-power prowess Putin cultivated for two decades. But Russia’s loss of relative power is not necessarily America’s gain. Modern geopolitics has returned to the framework of past multipolar, great-power competitions, the last of which was contested prior to World War II. American policymakers must help manage Moscow’s strategic malpractice in a manner that does not harm Washington’s prospects for success in the long-term Sino-American rivalry.

Dec. 4, 2022

Europe Has to Step Up on Ukraine to Keep the U.S. from Stepping Back

Tensions over the war in Ukraine have relaxed since the U.S. midterm congressional elections but could ramp up again if Europe continues to fall behind the U.S. when it comes to providing financial and military support for Kyiv.