Zachary Keck

‘The End of History’: 25 Years On

Plus, is amphibious assault not dead after all? Pacific Realist links.

‘The End of History’: 25 Years On
Credit: Flickr/ apesphere

Some links:

Over at the Wall Street Journal, Francis Fukuyama defends his “end of history” thesis from 25 years ago. The Cato Institute also held a conference earlier this month with Fukuyama and other panelists discussing the “end of history.”

Not long ago I wrote that modern military technologies like precision-guided missiles make a massive amphibious invasion in the mold of D-Day impossible. Not so fast, says Brett Friedman writing on War on the Rocks. Friedman makes a persuasive case by noting the long history of people declaring the death of amphibious assaults, only to be proven wrong each and every time. As Friedman explains, “Coastal artillery in the late 19th Century and the machinegun in the early 20th Century were challenges that needed to be overcome. But overcome they were.”

The new issue of International Security has a number of interesting articles. The first, by Evan Montgomery Bradley, argues that “China’s antiaccess/area denial strategy and conventional precision-strike capabilities are already undermining the United States’ ability to prevent local conflicts, protect longtime allies, and preserve freedom of the commons in East Asia.”

Also in IS, Gaurav Kampani explores why it took so long for India to weaponize its nuclear arsenal, writing: “India lacked technical means to deliver nuclear weapons reliably and safely until 1994–95. Further, until the outbreak of the Kargil War in the summer of 1999, political leaders refrained from embedding the weapons within organizational and procedural routines that would have rendered them operational in the military sense of the term.” This holds important lessons for the proliferation community and for dealing with North Korea in particular.

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Over at Breaking Defense, Colin Clark publishes two in-depth and insightful articles about the F-35. Both are based on interviews with Gen. Mike Hostage. The first article examines how F-35s would be used on the frontlines in the initial days of a war with China. The second article explores the extremely important but normally overlooked cyber and electronic warfare capabilities of the aircraft. As Clark notes: “These are the capabilities that most excite the experts I’ve spoken with because they distinguish the F-35 from previous fighters, giving it what may be unprecedented abilities to confuse the enemy, attack him in new ways through electronics (think Stuxnet), and generally add enormous breadth to what we might call the plane’s conventional strike capabilities.”

At The National Interest, Robert Kaplan writes that “China is starting to build a commercial empire-of-sorts throughout two oceans—the Western Pacific and the Indian.”