19 January 2019

Is Artificial Intelligence (AI) Changing the Nature of War?

Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd)

The professional military body differentiates between an objective nature and a subjective character of war by drawing upon Clausewitz. Nature of war describes what war is and character of war describes how it is actually fought. Nature of war is violent, interactive between opposing wills and fundamentally political. War’s character is influenced by technology, law, ethics, culture, methods of social, political, and military organization and other factors that change across time and place. Character of warfare changes in concert with the tools that become available and how they influence the ways militaries organize themselves to fight wars.

In his book On War, Carl von Clausewitz highlighted how failing to understand the character of war leads to disaster. He chastised Prussian generals for using the old tactics of Frederick the Great against a Napoleonic army waging a new type of warfare. They had not appreciated the changes in how war was being fought or in the character of war. Future development and deployment of human-machine teams and autonomous weapons systems represents such a shift in the character of war.

A Cold Start to Nuclear War in South Asia

BY: Aaron Kliegman

The number of foreign-policy challenges facing President Trump is daunting—from a nuclear-armed North Korea to a revanchist Russia, from an imperialist Iran to an increasingly belligerent China. These global threats garner numerous headlines each day, and deservedly so. Amid this chaos, however, one conflict receives too little attention in Western media.

South Asia is home to the ongoing rivalry between India and Pakistan, the international dispute most likely to produce, in the near term, a war between two large, powerful countries in which the belligerents use nuclear weapons. Indeed, the neighboring countries, each with well over 100 nuclear warheads, have gone to war four times since 1947, in addition to several other standoffs, skirmishes, and crises that nearly escalated into war. A primary reason this bilateral tension is so concerning today is that both India and Pakistan have adopted military doctrines that make another war—a large-scale one with nuclear weapons involved—all too foreseeable. A new development from India just last week provides the latest reminder of this reality.

Why the Indian Ocean region might soon play a lead role in world affairs

Craig Jeffrey

In recent days, Australia’s foreign minister Marise Payne announced efforts to strengthen Australia’s involvement in the Indian Ocean region, and the importance of working with India in defence and other activities. Speaking at the Raisina Dialogue in Delhi – a geopolitical conference co-hosted by the Indian government – Payne said:

Our respective futures are intertwined and heavily dependent on how well we cooperate on the challenges and opportunities in the Indian Ocean in the decades ahead.

Among Payne’s announcements was A$25 million for a four-year infrastructure program in South Asia (The South Asia Regional Infrastructure Connectivity initiative, or SARIC), which will primarily focus on the transport and energy sectors.

She also pointed to increasing defence activities in the Indian Ocean, noting that in 2014, Australia and India had conducted 11 defence activities together, with the figure reaching 38 in 2018.

Trump Is Right to Seek an End to America’s Wars

By Jon Finer and Robert Malley

There is no shortage of policies and decisions made by President Trump worth criticizing, but since the earliest days of his presidential campaign, he has expressed at least one belief that deserves to be encouraged, not denigrated: the desire to disentangle the United States from costly overseas conflicts.

Mr. Trump’s noninterventionist impulse has always fit uncomfortably with the team he assembled, particularly the latest, more hawkish iteration in his ever-shifting foreign policy cast. For a time, the President grudgingly deferred, allowing conflicts to escalate in virtually every theater he inherited.

Recently, the president’s preferences seemed to prevail, at least momentarily, as he tweeted his decision to withdraw 2,000 American troops from Syria and suggested he would do the same with as many as 7,000 from Afghanistan.

Ringside Perspectives

In his foreword, Anatole Lieven, author of Pakistan: A Hard Country (Penguin, London, 2011), aptly describes General Durrani’s book as a ‘combination of memoirs and reflections’ by ‘Pakistan’s foremost military intellectual’, which he finds ‘enlightening, necessary but in many ways depressing.’

Asad Durrani was Director General, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) between August 1990-March 1992. Before then, he had been Director General, Military Intelligence (DGMI) for two years. He was brought into that post by the then Army Chief, Gen. Aslam Beg, shortly after Zia ul Haq’s death in the fateful air crash of August 1988, in which several other top Pakistani Generals and the American Ambassador to Pakistan were killed. After his ISI tenure, Durrani moved to a staff assignment in the Training and Evaluation Directorate. Thereafter, he was Commandant, National Defence College. He was abruptly retired compulsorily in May, 1993, three years before tenure, because he was found to be ‘dabbling in politics’. He never commanded a Corps, considered an acme of achievement for three star Generals in the Pakistan Army.

Pakistan's India Policy

On 21 December 2018, IPCS hosted Dr Moeed Yusuf, Associate Vice President of the Asia Centre at the US Institute of Peace (USIP) for a round-table discussion on Pakistan's India Policy. 

The discussion explored Pakistan’s foreign policy, politics and internal dynamics, involvement of third parties in the India-Pakistan equation, and the potential window of opportunity that is available for India and Pakistan to recalibrate bilateral ties.

A shift in trend since the 2013 general elections in Pakistan is noticeable: the country has moved from its so-called 'India obsession' to India being sidelined even as an election issue.

Pakistani youth have now actively started questioning the establishment on policy matters, and surveys show that the India factor as a point of obsession is missing in the younger generation. Greater cross-border physical mobility and freedom can be helpful in addressing whatever gaps in perception still remain. However, these positive domestic trends do not suggest that the bilateral relationship is on the mend or that there is a paradigm shift in Pakistan's political structure and policies with regard to India. 

Agonizing Over Afghanistan

Richard N. Haass

NEW YORK – After more than 17 years, the time has come to accept two important truths about the war in Afghanistan. The first is that there will be no military victory by the government and its American and NATO partners. Afghan forces, while better than they were, are not good enough and are unlikely ever to be capable of defeating the Taliban. This is not simply because government troops lack the unity and often the professionalism to prevail, but also because the Taliban are highly motivated and enjoy considerable backing at home and from Pakistan, which provides it critical support and sanctuary.

The second truth is that peace negotiations are unlikely to work. Talks have taken place on and off over the years, but diplomacy is never far removed from facts and trends on the ground. Both work against a negotiated settlement.

Taliban Suicide Bomber Kills 4, Wounds Over 100 in Kabul

By Rahim Faiez

A Taliban suicide bomber killed at least four people and wounded scores when he detonated an explosive-laden vehicle late in the evening in the Afghan capital, officials said Tuesday.

It was the latest in a relentless wave of near daily attacks by the Taliban, who now either directly control or are contesting about half of the country. The violence comes despite stepped up efforts by the United States to find a negotiated end to the country’s 17-year war.

Health Ministry spokesman Wahidullah Mayar said as many as 113 wounded were taken to different hospitals in Kabul after the Monday evening explosion near the Green Village compound, home to several international organizations and guesthouses.

Commentary: Are China, Russia winning the AI arms race?

Peter Apps

In October 31 Chinese teenagers reported to the Beijing Institute of Technology, one of the country’s premier military research establishments. Selected from more than 5000 applicants, Chinese authorities hope they will design a new generation of artificial intelligence weapons systems that could range from microscopic robots to computer worms, submarines, drones and tanks.

The program is a potent reminder of what could be the defining arms race of the century, as greater computing power and self-learning programs create new avenues for war and statecraft. It is an area in which technology may now be outstripping strategic, ethical and policy thinking – but also where the battle for raw human talent may be just as important as getting the computer hardware, software and programming right.

Consultancy PwC estimates that by 2030 artificial intelligence products and systems will contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy, with China and the United States likely the two leading nations. But it is the potential military consequences that have governments most worried, fearful of falling behind – but also nervous that untested technology could bring new dangers.

How China Avoids War in the South China Sea

by Nicolai Fogth Gjøde Nielsen

Seven East Asian nation-states are currently laying territorial claim on often overlapping areas in the South China Sea. The claims are over different portions of the sea and various small, mostly uninhabited islands. Possessing the territories is just a matter of national prestige, as the South China Sea contains an estimated 11 billion barrels of untapped oil, 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and over $3 trillion worth of trade passing through annually.

China is claiming the lion’s share, through its Nine-Dash Line, a maritime demarcation line China created that encompasses almost the entirety of the South China Sea (around 85-90 percent). So far, China has built 3000 acres of new land in the South China Sea, some within disputed areas, on which it placed numerous military installations, including radars, surface-to-air missiles and paved runways capable of accommodating fighter jets.

China’s Plan to Break off US Allies

By Tao Peng

There’s a reason Beijing is pressuring Canada – not the US – over Meng Wanzhou’s arrest. Australia and New Zealand could be next.

In early December 2018, Sarah McIver, a Canadian teacher, was detained in China for illegal employment. She became the third Canadian citizen detained in China after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, an executive for Chinese tech giant Huawei, in Vancouver. Reports indicate up to 13 Canadians have been detained in China since Meng’s arrest, although some of them have already been released by the Chinese authorities, including McIver.

The first two Canadians detained in China, however, remain in custody. Former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor were both arrested on the more serious charge of harming China’s national security.

Japan Accelerates Its Defense Buildup

Long pacifist, Japan has decided to accelerate its military spending and effectively begin to gear up. It should hardly come as a surprise. Though Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has long sought to shift Japan from pacifism to what he calls a “normal country,” North Korea’s missiles and China’s aggressiveness in the Pacific would have left Tokyo little choice anyway. Spending has stepped up dramatically, as has planning. The nature of the buildup responds to other pressures from its great ally, the United States, which wants Japan to buy more U.S. equipment, as well as from the demographic and technological imperatives facing that nation.

France, Japan Look to Increase Indo-Pacific Maritime Cooperation

By Ankit Panda

In recent years, across both the administrations of French President François Hollande and now Emmanuel Macron, France has sought to deepen its footprint in the Indo-Pacific region. Last week, in another marker of Paris’ sustained interest in this region, the foreign and defense ministers of France and Japan met in Brest, France, for their fifth “two-plus-two” round of defense and security talks.

The talks took place between Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya, and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Defense Minister Florence Parly. At the conclusion of the talks, the two sides released a lengthy joint statement underlining joint areas of concern in the region and around the world.

There's no walking away from Islamic jihad


President Trump announced in December that we are pulling out of Syria, and cutting our forces in Afghanistan by half. The statements took everyone by surprise, including at the Pentagon, and generated a tsunami of commentary. Lost in most of the rhetoric was any context about the nature of the war that the U.S. is actually fighting in those countries. 

There are all kinds of wars — conventional and irregular wars, direct and proxy wars, ethnic, political, economic and religious wars. The differences between them are crucial; they drive — or should drive — how we fight them. How we engage with China over Brazil, for example, or Russia over Venezuela, is very different from how we fight Islamic jihadists in Syria, Afghanistan and the Philippines. 

The United States is now engaged in two very different kinds of war. The first is an evolving cold war with Russia and China over economic and political power. It is part of the ebb and flow of great power competition, and it will endure as long as great powers vie for influence and resources. This war is playing out in a growing number of proxy countries, driven mostly by China’s new grab for geostrategic dominance. 

Hold a Second Brexit Referendum

By Roger Cohen

All the debate has come up against a stubborn fact: Brexit is damaging to the British national interest.

A democracy that cannot change its mind is not a democracy. The people may do that when presented with the whole picture after seeing only a partial or distorted one.

It has taken more than 30 months to shift from “Fantasy Brexit” to “Reality Brexit.” The difference, after vitriolic debate that has consumed British politics virtually to the exclusion of all else, is stark.

The first was Britain’s 2016 vote, fueled by lies, to leave the European Union, trumpets blaring. The second, after a crash course in the facts of what membership brings for Britain, came Tuesday in the form of the crushing defeat by a 432-to-202 parliamentary vote of Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan for British withdrawal on March 29.

A Very British Thrashing

By Owen Matthews

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s 230-vote defeat on her Brexit plan on Tuesday night marks a new low point of chaos for the process of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. The scale of the rebellion against May’s deal was the most crushing defeat of a government ever. Effectively, Britain’s House of Commons has mounted a coup against the authority of the government.

Yet while dramatic, today’s chaotic scenes both inside and outside the Commons chamber have failed to provide any kind of clarity on what the future of Brexit is likely to be. “Tonight’s vote tells us nothing about what [Parliament] does support,” May told a tumultuous house amid loud heckling and mocking laughter.

Tomorrow Parliament will spend the day debating a motion of no confidence in May’s government raised by opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn within minutes of the historic defeat. “After two years of failed negotiations, the House of Commons has delivered its verdict on her Brexit deal,” Corbyn told the Commons. “Tomorrow … this House can give its verdict on the sheer incompetence of this government.”



In his recent Oval Office speech, President Trump invoked humanitarian motives, fears of beheadings, and even God to justify shutting down the government until he gets $5 billion for a wall to “protect” the U.S. border with Mexico. The Democratic response pointed up the bad faith of that position, and offered a pragmatic measure to reopen the government while continuing to debate the wall.

But what is at stake is larger than the shutdown. There is indeed a crisis, but the wall and the shutdown are the symptoms, not the cause.

The true crisis is not about border security, reopening the government or how we’ll muddle through the latest manufactured crisis du jour. What is at issue is corrosion of the pillars of modern civilization: rule of law, respect for the truth, upholding basic societal values, and the imperative to be guided by them in policy decisions.

Gulf States are Poised to Play a Major Role in Trump's Peace Plan—When He Unveils One

by Varsha Koduvayur David May

This year saw a slew of activity from the Gulf states embracing Israel. What could 2019 have in store, particularly if the long-awaited Trump peace plan is released?

The trickle of outreach between Israel and the Arab Gulf states became a torrent in 2018. While an open partnership remains elusive, the unprecedented volume of activity bodes well for what 2019 could hold in store.

The biggest and most overt display of Israeli-Arab rapprochement came with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Oman in October, where he met Sultan Qaboos. Though former Israeli prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres made trips to Oman in the 1990s, this trip was much more visible and the first official visit since the Second Intifada. Soon after Bibi’s visit, Israel’s transportation minister arrived in the sultanate to speak at a conference.

A U.S.–China Counterterrorism Partnership?

By Elliot I. Silverberg

Twelve months ago in the Pentagon’s first new National Defense Strategy since 2008, President Trump quietly replaced terrorism with interstate competition as his top national security concern, thus relegating the threat of terrorism to pre-9/11 levels.

Recent years have witnessed a resurgence of state rivals like Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. However, even in the midst of the justified media frenzy surrounding allegations of Russian U.S. election meddling and other foreign influence operations, Washington’s growing complacency regarding terrorist activity should be troubling. Global terrorism peaked in 2014 but may spike again as Trump begins to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan. While most terrorist attacks occur in the Middle East, these attacks are perpetrated by ISIS and Al Qaeda, which target the U.S. homeland, as well as by other regional terrorist groups like the Taliban and Jaish-e-Mohammed, which undermine U.S. allies and partners in Europe and Asia. Accordingly, terrorism should continue to rank high in America’s order of national security priorities.

McChrystal Fires Back at Trump

By Paul D. Shinkman

The former general criticized the president for reports that he hid details of meetings with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP risked damaging the U.S. government's broader ability to counter what the Pentagon considers one of its most troubling adversaries if he concealed details of his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, says a former top general who has wrought criticism from Trump in recent weeks.

"It's not good government," retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal tells U.S. News. "We don't have a head of state that runs the U.S. We necessarily have a team of people because it's just too big a job. And that team of people has to work together to be effective."

"Particularly in very sensitive issues like our relationship with one of our primary adversaries – Russia – we have to be very well synced on that," says McChrystal, who ran the Joint Special Operations Command that planned some of the military's most secretive missions before serving as the top commander for the war in Afghanistan. He was dismissed in 2010 by President Barack Obama after members of his staff criticized Vice President Joe Biden and other senior White House officials to a magazine reporter.



It’s frequently stated that the Republican Party has a lot of ideas but only one common priority: lowering taxes. Their legislative record tends to back this depressing assessment–after two years of complete control of Congress and the White House, their main legislative achievement was yet another tax cut. As a fan of tax cuts, I admire that achievement. But the same GOP that promised to defund Planned Parenthood, radically increase border security, remove the regulatory burdens of Obamacare and reform the welfare state hasn’t done much of any that.

If the GOP’s point of commonality is its willingness to cut taxes, the Democratic Party presents the mirror image: a group of disparate interests that coincide only on the topic of raising taxes. Thus, newly-empowered Congressional Democrats have begun competing with one another to promise higher and higher tax rates. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), she of the Fresh Face™ and charming social media, has proposed a top tax rate of 70 percent for those earning over $10 million. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who is running for president, has approvingly stated that the top tax rate should be above 50 percent, although she says that 90 percent would be “shockingly high.” Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, who also wants to run for president, has echoed those words.

Britain's Economic Future Depends On Brexit

by Salvatore Babones

Brexit fearmongering tends to focus on the old economy of planes, trains, and automobiles. But London's future hinges on the twenty-first century's “innovation” economy.

The British political establishment can't seem to make up its collective mind about Brexit. Meanwhile the European Union's Jean-Claude Juncker says that he will offe r "clarifications" to help British prime minister Theresa May push her Brexit deal through Parliament—but no “renegotiation.” It seems unlikely that “clarifications” will do the trick.

The British economy may be on go-slow in advance of Brexit, but with the Eurozone descending into recession for the third time since 2008, it’s hard to understand why the British are so worried about their economic future outside the European Union. Looking beyond the quarterly results calendar, the EU has big structural problems too. Not least among them: an addiction to the old-economy manufacturing industries of the twentieth century.

The Weaponization Of Artificial Intelligence

Technological development has become a rat race. In the competition to lead the emerging technology race and the futuristic warfare battleground, artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly becoming the center of global power play. As seen across many nations, the development in autonomous weapons system (AWS) is progressing rapidly, and this increase in the weaponization of artificial intelligence seems to have become a highly destabilizing development. It brings complex security challenges for not only each nation’s decision makers but also for the future of the humanity.

The reality today is that artificial intelligence is leading us toward a new algorithmic warfare battlefield that has no boundaries or borders, may or may not have humans involved, and will be impossible to understand and perhaps control across the human ecosystem in cyberspace, geospace and space (CGS). As a result, the very idea of the weaponization of artificial intelligence, where a weapon system that, once activated across CGS, can select and engage human and non-human targets without further intervention by a human designer or operator, is causing great fear.

Are we long—or short—on talent?

By looking at their supply of skills and talent in a new light today, organizations can take actions that better prepare their companies for tomorrow’s challenges.

CEOs and HR leaders worried about the viability of their talent strategy may be excused an occasional sleepless night. After all, there’s a closetful of bogeymen to pick from as disruptive technologies such as digitization, automation, and artificial intelligence combine with demographic forces to continue transforming the nature of work, how it gets done, and by whom. The resulting job displacement could be massive—think Industrial Revolution massive—affecting as many as 800 million people globally by 2030 and requiring up to 375 million of them to switch occupational categories and learn new skills.

What separates leaders from laggards in the Internet of Things

By Michael ChuiBrett May, Subu Narayanan, and Ridham Shah

Even among companies working at scale with the Internet of Things, there’s a wide gap between top and bottom performers. Nine practices distinguish the leaders from their less successful peers.

For all the excitement that has built up around the Internet of Things (IoT)—the network of digitally connected devices whose economic value could amount to trillions of dollars per year—the IoT’s impact varies greatly from one company to next. Many enterprises have launched pilot projects to develop IoT-enabled products and services or use the IoT to achieve operational improvements. Of these, less than 30 percent have taken their IoT programs beyond the pilot phase, according to our research.

Yet even among companies with large-scale IoT efforts, a significant gap separates the top tier of performers from the bottom tier. In a survey of IoT practitioners at 300 businesses with mature IoT programs (those that have expanded beyond pilot projects), about one-sixth said their companies had seen a significant payoff from IoT, an aggregate cost and revenue impact of at least 15 percent.1 We call these companies IoT leaders. At the other end of the spectrum, about one-sixth of respondents—the IoT laggards—said their IoT efforts had yielded an aggregate revenue and cost improvement of less than 5 percent (Exhibit 1).

In 2019 let’s address the ‘real problems’ in national security space

by Mike Rogers 

The most concerning issue in this Space Force discussion is that it doesn’t actually seem to be about space.

For all of the talk about the establishment of a Space Force, much remains unclear and uncertain. The Trump administration continues to drive towards an end goal in which a Space Force in some form or fashion is established. What that entity looks like, does or fixes by its creation has yet to be answered.

Indeed, The Center for Naval Analyses (CNA), which was tasked with developing a plan for the establishment of a Space Force warned in an unclassified executive summary that “we cannot definitively know before it is implemented that any design will produce the expected benefits.”

The most concerning issue in this Space Force discussion is that it doesn’t actually seem to be about space. The U.S. government is about to spend — and will spend — an enormous amount of energy and taxpayer dollars on the wrong issues: What do we do about China’s new killer satellite? Sorry, we’re too busy designing new logos. SpaceX’s future mega constellation seems to offer greater capabilities for our soldiers and Marines in the field. Maybe, but we really need to get these uniforms right. Russia’s satellites seem to be getting really close to ours, shouldn’t we do something? Probably, but we need to get the bases sorted out first.

An Assessment of North Atlantic Treaty Organization Cyber Strategy and Cyber Challenges

By Ali Crawford

Summary: Cyber capabilities are changing the character of warfare. Nations procure and develop cyber capabilities aimed at committing espionage, subversion, and compromising the integrity of information. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has evolved to meet these modern challenges by consistently implementing new policies, creating governing structures, and providing education to member-states.

Text: In 2002, leaders from various nations met in Prague to discuss security challenges at a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit. Agenda items included enhancing capabilities to more appropriately respond to terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to consider the pending memberships of several Eastern European nations, and for the first time in NATO history, a pledge to strengthen cyber defenses. Since 2002, NATO has updated its cyber policies to more accurately reflect the challenges of a world that is almost exclusively and continuously engaged in hybrid warfare.

The Quest for 5G Technology Dominance: Impact on US National Security

By Mercy A. Kuo

Trans-Pacific View author Mercy Kuo regularly engages subject-matter experts, policy practitioners, and strategic thinkers across the globe for their diverse insights into U.S. Asia policy. This conversation with Brett Simpson – Co-Founder of Arete Research, an international research consultancy based in London – is the 171st in “The Trans-Pacific View Insight Series.”

Describe the strategic context of U.S.-China competition over 5G technology dominance.

The cellular industry typically develops a new generation of wireless standard every decade and given that there are almost 6 billion mobile device subscriptions today, this has become the main consumer technology platform for communications and internet usage globally. With 5G, we will have network infrastructure that enables mainstream AI and connected machines (e.g. automotive) on a scale we have never seen before. The amount of data generated from these machines become a significant source of new value in tomorrow’s world. China is likely to be the first market to launch 5G commercial services and given the unique scale of their networks (serving 1 billion-plus people) they will benefit from cost leadership.

‘Be Ready To Fight Now’: Top Admiral On Russia & China


"The Battle of Guadalcanal was a brutal campaign, but shows us what the next fight could be like," Vice Adm. Brown said. "Usually, the CO (skipper), XO (executive officer) and senior officers – even admirals – were killed immediately – but what happened?"

WASHINGTON: The Navy’s top surface warfare officer called for his crews to rapidly develop “a sense of urgency” about the Russian and Chinese navies.

Vice Adm. Richard Brown

For the first time since the Cold War, Vice Adm. Richard Brown told the Surface Navy Association conference here, sailors must make ready for aggressive sailing by adversaries that come so close they scrape your paint, as a Chinese destroyer came within yards of doing last fall in the disputed South China Sea. And for the first time since World War II, junior sailors may have to pick up the pieces when their superiors are cut off or killed outright by a sophisticated surprise attack.

Trump and U.S. Civil–Military Relations — the Generals Aren’t Always Right


As Tom Nichols, my friend and former colleague at the Naval War College, noted recently in The Atlantic, Americans don’t often think about civil-military relations, and that’s a good thing. It means that paratroopers are not normally seizing communications centers, and tanks aren’t rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol.

But since U.S. civil–military relations are generally healthy, when Americans do talk about them, they often do so in apocalyptic terms. Each example of civil–military tensions, it seems, portends a crisis. Nichols’s essay is a case in point: President Trump, he writes, has taken a dangerous path, excoriating retired military leaders who criticize him and lavishing praise and make-believe pay raises on the active-duty military voters who he believes support him. A precious heritage built on the dual pillars of military obedience to civilians and civilian respect for military professionals is now at severe risk.

RIP RAF?: One-Third of Britain’s Air Force Can’t Fly

by Michael Peck

One-third of Britain’s military aircraft isn’t available to fly, according to British media.

One-third of Britain’s military aircraft isn’t available to fly, according to British media.

“Figures unearthed by freedom of information campaigners show 142 of 434 of the air force’s planes have been sidelined,” said the British tabloid Daily Mirror .

Some planes and helicopters have been mothballed, while others are down for major maintenance. The problem spans numerous models, including the Royal Air Force’s flagship fighter, the Eurofighter Typhoon.

“Military top brass revealed 55 of the 156 Typhoon jets are in the RAF’s ‘sustainment fleet’ - and not in its ‘forward fleet’ ready to be deployed on operations,” the Mirror said. Even aircraft in the forward fleet, which should be available for operations, are down as “short-term unserviceable aircraft.”