This eighth issue of the Journal discusses problems of geo-strategy, military tactics, and politics from Tudor England through wars of the 20th and 21st centuries. Richard Thornton recounts how Queen Elizabeth I defeated the threat of French attack through Scotland within the first two years of her reign. James Perry reviews recent books covering the European theater in WWII, and the Vietnam war from Hanoi’s perspective. F. Charles Parker analyses the strategic implications of America’s complete withdrawal from Afghanistan. Finally, Thornton adds an overarching political context in an essay examining the American political establishment since the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Cover, Table of Contents, and Editorial Note (PDF)
Elizabeth I and England’s Forward Defense in the North (PDF)—Richard C. Thornton
Abstract: Soon after Elizabeth Tudor acceded to the throne, French control of Scotland posed a serious threat to England’s security. The new English queen leveraged religious, political, and military circumstances at home and abroad in preparing to defend against potential invasion from the north.
England’s 1560 Intervention in Scotland (PDF)—Richard C. Thornton
Abstract: By mid-December 1559, Queen Elizabeth I determined that overt military support of Scottish Protestant rebels was necessary to oust the French and establish a friendly Scottish regime. This essay examines the execution and implications of Elizabeth’s command decision to intervene directly in Scotland’s religious and civil strife.
Afghanistan Withdrawal: A Strategic Mistake (PDF)—F. Charles Parker IV
Abstract: The presence of the United States, NATO, and other allies in Afghanistan provided leverage in the contest for Central Asian mineral resources, and a favorable military/intelligence position vis a vis China, Iran, Pakistan, and Russia. Complete withdrawal surrendered significant strategic advantages based on a false impression that the cost of limited engagement was unbearable.
The American Political Establishment Since FDR (PDF)—Richard C. Thornton
Abstract: The election of FDR in 1932 marked the eclipse of the center-right Republican establishment that dominated American politics since the Civil War, and the emergence of a center-left Democratic establishment that has permeated American politics ever since. Their national security strategy of détente with Russia and China repeatedly failed yet withstood intermittent Republican attempts to change course. The coming election cycle may bring a decisive turn to a new strategy.
Book Review: David P. Colley, The Folly of the Generals (PDF)—James D. Perry
Abstract: The author examines battles in Europe in 1943 and 1944 in which Allied commanders failed to achieve conclusive victories, but he does not advance any unifying explanation for the failures. In many cases, he blames Eisenhower’s character flaws. A better approach would have started with the assumption that overall strategy for WWII was conceived in Washington and decisions in Europe reflected that strategy.
Book Review: Pierre Asselin, Vietnam’s American War (PDF)—James D. Perry
Abstract: This book examines the conflict from the standpoint of Hanoi, portraying it as a “David versus Goliath” encounter that galvanized worldwide insurgencies. But it suffers from a fundamentally incorrect view of the American, Soviet, or Chinese role in the Vietnam war. In particular, the author downplays Soviet military aid, misrepresents the Soviets as frustrated peacemakers, and misrepresents China as unified in its revolutionary zeal to support Hanoi’s conquest of the South.