Steven Metz, WorldPoliticsReview

Steven Metz


United States

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Past articles by Steven:

Abolish DHS? Reform the Department of Homeland Security Instead

Like other actions after 9/11, the creation of DHS was a visceral and hasty reaction to what was seen as a dangerous new world, cobbled together with inadequate analysis and thought. Its shortcomings soon became evident. Now, President Donald Trump is turning it into a domestic law enforcement agency. → Read More

America’s Global Role Was Already Shifting. COVID-19 Will Accelerate It

Americans have begun the most serious reconsideration of their nation’s role in the world since the 1940s. It might seem that the coronavirus pandemic is driving this reappraisal, but the pandemic is only part of a perfect storm that is undercutting the viability of America’s long quest for primacy. → Read More

Amid Rumors About Kim’s Health, What Would North Korea Look Like Without Him?

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently failed to make his annual visit to Kumsusan Palace in Pyongyang to celebrate the birthday of his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, who is interred there. In North Korea’s dynastic cult of personality, it was shocking break from tradition that sparked rumors about Kim’s health. → Read More

The U.S. Military Will Feel the Impact of COVID-19 for Decades to Come

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the United States military is trying to support civil authorities while staying prepared for other missions. This is a complex and difficult balance to strike, and the virus will likely take a long-term toll on readiness. Things will never be the same for the military. → Read More

How to Fix the Flaws in Trump’s Approach to U.S. National Security

Under President Donald Trump’s direction, the approach to the world that served the United States well for decades has crumbled, but there is no discernible replacement. The primary reason for that is Trump’s attitude toward statecraft, which he scorns or dismisses. Is there any way to fix these flaws? → Read More

How to Manage the Threat of an Expanding Islamic State in Africa

In response to its battlefield defeats in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State has been dispersing, keeping its brutal brand alive with hopes that someday it can take another shot at creating a proto-state. Sub-Saharan Africa has proven particularly vulnerable to infiltration by the Islamic State. → Read More

ISIS Isn’t Defeated, and Trump Doesn’t Have a Plan for What’s to Come

In February, President Donald Trump declared that “the ISIS caliphate has been decimated.” But the Islamic State is only dispersing, its fighters flocking to its franchises around the world. There is no sign that Trump grasps this reality or has a plan to deal with a rapidly evolving extremist movement. → Read More

Young Officers Are Hungry to Learn Strategy. Will the U.S. Military Listen to Them?

Recently, young officers have begun mastering strategy outside the strict confines of the U.S. military’s formal educational system, sparking the emergence of a small, informal community of next-generation strategists. Their efforts bode well for the future of the U.S. military, if the services capitalize on their talent. → Read More

Why Trump’s ‘Maximum Pressure’ Campaigns Are Failing

While difficult to sustain and often slow to produce results, international pressure campaigns can work, as the U.S. learned during the Cold War. But they aren’t working for President Donald Trump, who has revived “maximum pressure” against America’s adversaries, particularly Iran and North Korea. → Read More

The U.S. Still Hasn’t Figured Out the Security Challenges South of the Border

There has been much to criticize about President Donald Trump’s handling of U.S. national security, including his recent misguided declaration of a national emergency on the southern border. But Trump has been right about one thing: The U.S. hasn’t effectively dealt with the security challenges south of the border. → Read More

The Hanoi Summit Failed Because the U.S. Doesn’t Understand How Kim Sees the World

The world was riveted this week by the meeting in Hanoi between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. But a breakthrough was always unlikely for one pressing reason: Americans persistently fail to understand how Kim sees the world, treating him as they want him to be, rather than as he is. → Read More

Pre-Emptively Striking Iran Would Be One of the Worst Blunders in American History

The idea of a pre-emptive American attack on Iran periodically resurfaces in Washington, despite the absence of any strategic logic. After abating following the 2015 agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program, the war drums are beating again, with the Trump administration ratcheting up the pressure. → Read More

What the Quagmires in Afghanistan and Syria Reveal About America’s Strategic Culture

Frustration is growing on the political right and left in America with seemingly interminable conflicts abroad, yet security experts, political leaders and military commanders keep pushing back. Why is the U.S. stuck in quagmires and left with no better ideas than tweaking the existing approach and hanging on? → Read More

How Committed Is the U.S. to Fending Off a War Over Taiwan?

China and Taiwan marked the Lunar New Year holiday this week with dueling propaganda videos showcasing their respective military might. It was the latest sign that North Korea may no longer be the world’s most volatile hotspot, the nation most likely to unleash a crisis that could spiral out of control. → Read More

To Retain Its Technological Edge, the Pentagon Must Transform Its Culture

The U.S. Department of Defense is grappling with a serious problem: It has an increasing need for top-tier technology talent but has a difficult time competing with the private sector for the people it wants. Beyond salaries, many of the issues that the Pentagon faces are self-inflicted. → Read More

Trump Is Wrong, ISIS Isn’t Defeated. But It Poses a Limited Threat

During the 2016 presidential race, then-candidate Donald Trump didn’t talk much about the specifics of foreign and national security policy, with one exception: a pledge to defeat the Islamic State. A month ago, Trump declared victory. While the Islamic State is down, though, it is far from defeated. → Read More

A Border Wall Won’t Improve America’s Security—but That’s Beside the Point

American politics today is consumed by a debate over the security of the nation’s long southern border with Mexico, driven by President Donald Trump’s determination to build a wall. This debate is not simply about the wall itself, but about deeper schisms in America over its essential national character. → Read More

Why 2019 May Be the Year America’s Global Strategy Finally Unravels

During the Cold War, America’s global strategy was based on two pillars: leadership and security partnerships. The consensus underlying it developed small cracks in recent years that have now grown into gaping fissures. Is it the end of the road for a strategy that served the U.S. well for seven decades? → Read More

To Better Deter Russia, the U.S. Should Rediscover the ‘Indirect Approach’

Among the security threats the U.S. is grappling with, Russian aggression against its neighbors in Eastern Europe draws the most attention, especially after last month’s standoff between Russia and Ukraine. Is there a way to amplify deterrence with existing capabilities and without additional spending? → Read More

The U.S. Army Has a Vision for the Future. Is It the Right One?

Last week the U.S. Army released a new report entitled, “The U.S. Army in Multi-Domain Operations 2028.” The title might suggest that the document would only interest die-hard military geeks. But the report is a fascinating window into how the Army sees future armed conflict and how it intends to prepare for it. → Read More