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"Unconventional Wisdom"

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Feature Article Index


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October 14, 2001: - Cultural Relativism and Deterrence Strategy in the Middle East  Elliot P. Chodoff & Benjamin Frankel

The proposition that cultures differ from each other is a truism.  So it may seem surprising that the study and practice of military strategy has not exhibited great sensitivity to the differences between societies and cultures. 


February 24, 2002: - The Sharon Buffer Zone Plan  Yisrael Neeman & Elliot P. Chodoff

Last Thursday Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced his plan for a buffer zone between Israel and the Palestinians.  Sharon was responding to the rising wave of calls from Israel's political, military and civilian sectors for solutions to the Palestinian terror onslaught suffered over the past months.


September 29, 2002: - An All Volunteer IDF?   Elliot P. Chodoff

Jonathan Lipow has contributed his opinion to the periodic debate over the transition of the IDF to an all volunteer force (AVF) in an article which expounds the virtues of economic determinism ("The Ultimate Solution to the Draft-Deferment Controversy," Jerusalem Post, Friday Opinion, 27 September 2002).  But does money truly make the world go ‘round, or are there other, deeper factors which drive people to behave as they do, particularly in national issues?  


May 11, 2003: -  Iraq: Mislearning the Military Lessons  Elliot P. Chodoff

The swift Coalition victory in Iraq has led to an equally swift drawing of conclusions about the nature of future battle and the means required to wage war in the 21 st Century. As often happens following an unexpectedly easy victory, lessons will be drawn in an attempt to apply them in general terms in the hope that whatever led to this success can be repeated ad infinitum in future conflicts.


May 31, 2003: - A Palestinian Altalena? Not Likely Elliot P. Chodoff

A central issue in the implementation of the “road map” is the Palestinian commitment ot fight terrorism. Understandably, Israeli leaders expect Abu Mazen to back up his statements with deeds and, more importantly, with results. It is clear to most that the only way to prevent terrorist attacks against Israelis is a serious crackdown on terrorist organizations with the full weight of the security services which will be reconstituted under command of Abu Mazen’s security chief, Mohammad Dahlan, allowing IDF troops to withdraw from Palestinian population centers.


Sunday, July 06, 2003: - Winning, and Losing  Elliot P. Chodoff

US National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice’s statement this weekend that she expects Israel to show restraint even following a major terrorist attack was as predictable as it was misguided. It was clear that once the US administration put its reputation on the line to push for progress in the road map, it would begin to pressure Israel to accept the reality of “peace with terrorism” using some euphemism reminiscent of the Oslo era’s “sacrifices for peace” term for the victims of terrorist attacks.

Sunday, July 13, 2003: - Saddam's Guerrilla War  Elliot P. Chodoff

The almost daily attacks on Coalition forces in Iraq are inflicting casualties at a rate that is making the “war” fought in April and declared over in May look less and less like the real war for Iraq. The almost effortless sweep of Coalition forces through the Iraqi countryside followed by the immediate conquest of Baghdad virtually without a fight led many to believe that the Saddam regime had given up the ghost and Iraq was on its way to a quick and easy democratic rebirth. If only it were so simple.

Sunday, September 1, 2003: The Nature of Terrorism Elliot P. Chodoff

The recent wave of terrorist attacks in Israel, Iraq, India and other countries around the world have left pundits groping for a means to explain this raging phenomenon. Some have argued that there is no need to understand the perpetrators of these outrages, since all that the civilized world can do is fight them. Others, of a more liberal political persuasion, have argued that the only way to stop terrorists is to understand and alleviate the sources of their grievances. Both perspectives are wrong.

September 11, 2001 - Special Feature Page 


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