Editor’s Note: The relationship between soldiers and civilians is a fundamental question for any democracy. In the United States, the military has long been respected, but only recently has it been idolized—far more so than any other American institution today. Not surprisingly, politicians increasingly bring military officers into their administrations. Raphael Cohen of RAND finds that the civil-military gap is growing, in large part due to the shift toward an all-volunteer force and the decline in the percentage of Americans with military experience.
Latest in H.R. McMaster
Assad Regime Strains Russian Ceasefires, Iran Responds to Trump’s Plans for Nuclear Deal, Israeli Officials Snared in Corruption Scandals
Russian-backed Ceasefires Falter in Syria
Russia’s efforts to wind down the conflict in Western Syria were set back by renewed clashes over the past week. In recent months, Russia has sought to expand its patchwork of local ceasefires into a blanket “de-escalation zones” to be patrolled by Russian forces, and even gained some support for its plan from the Trump administration. But this past week was marked by clashes in Homs and Hama province and rebel-held districts in Damascus.
Editor’s Note: When the United States invaded and occupied Iraq in 2003, it found itself woefully unprepared for the insurgency that followed. It took years—and many lives lost—for the U.S. military to relearn how to fight insurgents, but the results were stunning. By the end of the decade, al-Qaeda in Iraq and other violent groups were on the run, and it looked like Iraq was on the path to stability. Zach Abels at the National Interest, however, warns that much of this valuable knowledge is being lost.
In the weeks and months after the presidential election—and even before it—an unusual debate took shape on the pages of Lawfare and elsewhere: Would it be possible to serve ethically in a Trump administration? And even if it is possible, should a person of conscience do it?
After yesterday’s briefing by National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, it is clear that the Washington Post article about President Trump’s disclosure of classified information to Russian officials was accurate in all material factual respects. In fact, McMaster doggedly reiterated only that the “premise of that article” that “the President had a conversation that was inappropriate” was false. I’ll return later to the issue of appropriateness, but McMaster’s other statements are worth a close look: