In this Commentary section I examine in a regular column major foreign affairs and military issues that are facing the United States today. The columns are arranged in chronological order, with the most recent at the top. I hope lots of you will respond to these columns by sending me your own views and reactions. You can do this by visiting the Questions and Answers portion of the website, and typing your comments in the space provided. I’ll reproduce any observations that have general interest. You can also use the Q&A location to send me any questions you have about foreign affairs or military matters. I will answer all your questions by e-mail.

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Cordially yours,
Bevin Alexander

The Military Genius of Stonewall Jackson

The subject of my talk tonight is the military genius of Stonewall Jackson.  With your indulgence, I’d like to begin shortly after Jackson’s death by focusing on Gettysburg.  That monumental campaign shows in a most riveting manner what Stonewall Jackson tried, but failed, to accomplish.  I then would like to go back and look at the war from the spring of 1862 forward to Gettysburg. Read more >>

Statement of Bevin Alexander Before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capability On Terrorism and the New Age of Irregular WarfareWinning Future Wars: How Weapons that Never Miss Have Eliminated Conventional Warfare

The United States military must not find itself in the position that the French and British armies found themselves in 1940. In the campaign in the West, the Allied commanders were trying to fight the same sort of static war along a heavily defended, continuous front that they had conducted successfully in World War I. But Germany was fighting an entirely new kind of war that broke through these fronts with fast-moving panzer or armored divisions. These panzers drove deep into the Allied rear, dissolved the continuous front, and created chaos. In six weeks Germany shattered France and threw Britain off the Continent at Dunkirk. This German victory was achieved by only four German corps, 164,000 men, less than 8 percent of the German army. They brought about the complete rout of the better-equipped and much more heavily armed Allied armies totaling 3,300,000 men. At the critical point where the victory was won, Sedan, France, fewer than 60,000 of these men were present. Thus, the actual victory was achieved by about 3 percent of the German army. Read more >>

Winning Future Wars: How Weapons that Never Miss Have Eliminated Battlefields, Large Armies, and Conventional Warfare

The world has moved entirely away from orthodox warfare because the Global Positioning System or GPS permits weapons to be guided with complete accuracy to any point on earth. This has ended the possibility of concentrating military forces, because massed troops and weapons become targets that can be destroyed from afar. It has also eliminated traditional battlefields, because soldiers no longer can survive on them. GPS-delivered weapons have forced a profound movement to the other extreme of indirect warfare conducted by small, clandestine forces that avoid the enemy’s main strength and aim at weakly defended targets or targets that are not defended at all. Read more >>

Turning Back Islam’s 1,300-year Assault on Western Civilization

There has been nothing in history like the war of annihilation that Islam has waged and continues to wage against all other religions and cultures, but especially against the Christian West, its most formidable opponent. Present-day Islamic attacks are identical in concept to past attempts, only different in tactics. But they can be stopped by resolute action. Read more >>

A Plan for Peace in the Twenty-first Century

We can prevent most of the dangers in the foreseeable future without resorting to war. But we cannot prevent all of the misery in the world. Read more >>

Get Out of Iraq Now

In Iraq we are repeating the terrible mistakes of Vietnam. Arizona Senator John McCain and (apparently) President Bush claim the way to victory is to increase U.S. military forces vastly and “surge” into Baghdad to stamp out the sectarian fighting. This would not work. Read more >>

No Hope for a Military Solution in the Middle East

Collisions in the Middle East in recent weeks have emphasized a profound fact about warfare: guerrilla forces cannot be defeated by conventional armies. We must give up any hope of settling the differences in that part of the world by military action. Read more >>

East Is East and West Is West

The news that an Afghan man may be executed for converting to Christianity reminds us of one of Rudyard Kipling’s most memorable couplets:

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgement Seat. (1892)


Civil War in Iraq?

The fundamental problem with Iraq is that it has the most ethnically diverse population in the Arab world. These entities have been at odds for centuries, but especially since the old Turkish Empire collapsed at the end of World War I.

Unintended Consequences of Democracy

We in the West have great faith in elections and democracy, because they bring consensus and moderation to our societies. But we are finding that elections and democracy can have different meanings in other parts of the world.

A Time of Change in the Middle East

We have reached a turning point in the Middle East. Many of the factors that we thought were reliable verities are turning out to be false. The Middle East is not going to arrive at peace by democratic consensus. Read more >>

With a Whimper

It’s time for us to take stock of the situation in Iraq, especially in light of the comments of President George W. Bush at Annapolis, Maryland, on November 30, 2005. It’s not nearly as bad as some doomsayers think. Read more >>

Is Terrorism at a Dead End?

A German writer, Thomas Bärthlein, has made a compelling argument that the attack in New Delhi that killed 60 innocent Indians and wounded 200 on October 29, 2005, is a sign that the terrorist threat is getting weaker, not stronger. Read more >>

No Hope for Democracy in the Middle East?

There was a telling comment about Iraq in The New Yorker of October 24, 2005, by Peter Viereck, a famous American conservative in the 1950s and 1960s. Read more >>

The Terrorists’ Main Battleground Is Iraq

A letter intercepted by American intelligence details al Qaeda plans to create a theocratic dictatorship in Iraq. It shows that al Qaeda considers Iraq the heart of the terrorist struggle against the West and against secular Muslim states, like Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. It contradicts the far left’s argument that the Iraq war is unrelated to the war on terror. Read more >>

Bush’s Agenda to Fight Terror

President George W. Bush’s October 6, 2005, speech is the most coherent case he has ever made on pursuing the war on terror. His primary goal is laudable—eradicating all Islamic terrorists everywhere. But it’s doubtful whether he or anyone can achieve his other laudable aim—turning the Middle East into a bastion of democracy. Read more >>

Suicide Bombers Are Unstoppable

I mention in my September 25, 2005, column that a civil war is brewing in Iraq between Sunni Arabs on one side and Shiites and Kurds on the other. We have not come to grips with a key element in this war: the Sunnis are employing a devastating weapon—suicide bombers. Their wanton killing of innocent civilians is creating chaos. Read more >>

The North Korean Pact Raises Hope

After over half a century of deceit and aggression, we have every reason to be suspicious of North Korea, whose officials agreed on September 19, 2005, to drop their nuclear weapons program and rejoin international arms treaties. Read more >>

“Take Sides”

On September 20, 2005, Simon Wiesenthal died in Vienna at the age of 96. Wiesenthal, a Nazi death camp survivor who lost his entire family in the Holocaust, helped to track down 1,100 Nazi war criminals after World War II, including Adolf Eichmann, the SS leader who had a decisive role in organizing the “Final Solution”. Read more >>

We Cannot Win the War in Iraq

In Iraq today we are experiencing the reassertion of an ancient military axiom that was confirmed in Vietnam: any nation invaded by a more powerful nation will always move to guerrilla warfare, since it can hide its soldiers among the people, whereas an invading state cannot hide its soldiers, who then become vulnerable to debilitating surprise attacks. Read more >>

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