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March 7, 2024

From the Editor in Chief

Welcome to the Spring 2024 issue of Parameters. Readers will note a few differences in the formatting for this issue: we are now using endnotes instead of footnotes to facilitate switching from pdf to html via Adobe’s Liquid App; also, readers will be able to click on each endnote number to view the full endnote and then switch back to the text to resume reading. Please drop us a note to let us know how you like the changes. More are coming!

This issue opens with two In Focus commentaries: one on the urgency of continuing aid to Ukraine and one addressing ways to improve the West’s use of sanctions as a coercive tool. We then feature three forums covering two geographic regions and one offering ideas to improve our strategic thinking. We wrap up this issue with remarks from the China Landpower Studies Center (CLSC) and an update from the Director of the Strategic Research and Analysis Department (SRAD).

Our first In Focus commentary, “Ukraine: The Case for Urgency,” is by Rebecca Jensen and Anthony Tingle. They argue the West must continue to support Ukraine, and with urgency, as a failure to do so will have severe repercussions for the United States and Western Europe, to include emboldening actors hostile to the rules-based international order. The second commentary, “Toward a Strategic Art for Sanctions,” by David Katz, outlines a possible strategic art for sanctions in an effort to increase their effectiveness.

Our leading regional forum, The Indo-Pacific Region, includes two articles. The first of these, “China’s Use of Nontraditional Strategic Landpower in Asia,” by Sheena Greitens shows how the People’s Republic of China uses its police and internal security forces as a nontraditional means of projecting strategic Landpower within the region. The second article, “US-Taiwan Relations and the Future of the Liberal Order,” by Christina Lai challenges the conventional wisdom that Taiwan’s geostrategic importance will inevitably lead to a conflict. She also sheds light on Taiwan’s soft-power reach.

The second forum, The Middle East Region, features two articles. In the first, “International Law, Self-Defense, and the Israel-Hamas Conflict,” Eric Heinze examines the international law of self-defense as it applies to the conflict in Gaza to determine whether the attacks of October 7, 2023, by Hamas give Israel the right to use military force in self-defense. The second, “The Politics of Restraint in the Middle East” by Andrew Payne, shows the relationship between a program of restraint and domestic opinion.

Our third forum, On Strategic Thinking, contains three articles that highlight different aspects of strategy. In “Rethinking the Relevance of Self-Deterrence,” Jeffrey Michaels clarifies the meaning of self-deterrence and outlines its utility in strategic planning. The second article, “Strategy as Problem-Solving,” by Andrew Carr, challenges the assumptions underpinning many post–Cold War approaches to strategy and offers an alternate rationale for applying strategy. The final article, “The Art of Avoiding Strategic Miscalculation,” by Steven Knott offers pertinent warnings about the pitfalls of strategic miscalculation by examining an influential memorandum penned by British War Secretary George Cornewall Lewis; the memorandum helped convince the British not to intervene in the American Civil War.

The Spring issue concludes with comments from our CLSC Director’s Corner and our SRAD Director’s Corner. In the former, Richard Butler and Joshua Arostegui discuss the Center’s key goal of examining the strategic issues associated with a protracted conflict against a major power. In the latter, Eric Hartunian previews a forthcoming report on emerging threats and technologies researched and developed by the US Army War College through a partnership with the NATO Centre of Excellence Defence Against Terrorism (NATO COE-DAT) in Ankara, Türkiye. ~AJE