Issue 4, Spring 2017

This issue features a collection of recent papers by Institute principals and guest contributors. The first three pertain to the motives and implications of Japan’s WWII assault on Pearl Harbor. The second set of papers were delivered at the Institute’s July 13, 2016 American Strategy symposium on Capitol Hill, during the heat of a momentous election campaign.

Cover, Table of Contents, and Editorial Note (PDF)

The Axis Strategy: A Deception Game (PDF) — Richard C. Thornton

Abstract: The popular view of Japan under Emperor Hirohito—especially in the run-up to WWII—is a distorted one. There is a misconception of Hirohito as innocent bystander, which blurs the history of Japan’s strategic collaboration with Germany.

North Wind Averted: Operation Barbarossa and the Pearl Harbor Attack (PDF) — James D. Perry

Abstract: After Germany launched Operation Barbarossa against the USSR in June 1941, FDR feared that Japan would attack Russia from the east, making Axis victory more likely. To avert this, Washington took actions to draw the Japanese southwards, impelling them to proceed with plans to attack Pearl Harbor and seize the resources of Southeast Asia.

Pearl Harbor in Perspective: How Much of a Disaster? (PDF) — James D. Perry

Abstract: The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is usually represented as a catastrophe, and indeed it imposed a shockingly large number of American deaths in a single day. But the losses of US men and materiel were relatively small when viewed from the perspective of the war as a whole.

The Long Goodbye: American Strategy Since JFK (PDF) — Richard C. Thornton

Abstract: As a result of victory in WWII, the United States gained a forward position on the Eurasian landmass that was subsequently formalized with the “containment” strategy. A fundamental shift in strategy in 1961 began a long retreat to the situation in which the nation finds itself today.

America First: 1940-2016 (PDF) — Diana West

Abstract: Donald Trump’s “America First” campaign pledge revived an old struggle in American politics.   His electoral success signals that this is not an idea whose time is indisputably past.

A Strategy for Deterring Russia (PDF) — Mark B. Schneider

Abstract: The West faces a growing Russian military advantage against its neighbors, coupled with Moscow’s doctrinal willingness to “go nuclear” in order to de-escalate conventional conflict. Increased defense expenditures and declaratory policy must be directed at strengthening NATO and deterring Russia’s first use of nuclear weapons.