Spring/Summer 2015
Number 28

Editor's Note

Ilan Berman

Today, the United States faces a world in chaos. From the Middle East to the Asia-Pacific, a dizzying array of crises now challenges regional stability—and, by extension, America’s strategic interests abroad. In this edition of The Journal, we take a tour of some of today’s most prominent geopolitical hotspots and flashpoints.

We start our examination in the southern Persian Gulf, as Oren Adaki of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies explains why Yemen could well be the region’s next failed state—and why this would constitute a dangerous development for the United States and its allies. From there, Jantzen Garnett of the Institute for the Study of War provides a probing look at the Islamic State’s newest franchise, situated in Israel’s geopolitical backyard of the Sinai. The American Enterprise Institute’s Michael Rubin then looks at the past and present of the most prominent “frozen conflict” in the greater Middle East: the Western Sahara. Tom Wilson of the Henry Jackson Society follows up with a detailed overview of Israel’s changing threat environment—and of the changes taking place in Israeli policymaking as a result. We round out our examination of the region with M. Zuhdi Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, who makes a compelling case that anti-Semitism makes up a core element of Islamist political thought and practice.

From there, we branch out to Asia—and beyond. First, Stratfor’s Phillip Orchard outlines the brewing crisis in the South and East China Seas, where China’s “reclamation” activities are increasingly challenging the regional legal order and strategic status quo. Herman Pirchner of the American Foreign Policy Council offers up a comprehensive, and compelling, description of the current struggle taking place for the soul of Ukraine. The National Defense University’s Leo Michel takes a different tack on much the same subject with his description of what the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is doing to deter Russian behavior in Ukraine, and beyond. Paul Rosenzweig of Red Branch Consulting then takes us behind the scenes of the changes taking place in cyberspace, the next great arena of conflict between the United States and its adversaries. We wrap up with Celina Realuyo of the National Defense University, who argues for a serious strategy to tackle the finances that help sustain and empower the Islamic State terrorist group.

Our coverage does not stop there, however. This issue’s “Perspective” interviewee is former Under Secretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith, who weighs in on the Syrian civil war, the unfolding nuclear deal with Iran, and a multitude of other issues. This time out, our “Dispatches” come from Finland, China and Spain. And our book reviews cover a quartet of important new contributions dealing with Russia, espionage and American foreign policy.

In short, like the current state of the world, this issue of The Journal offers a great deal of food for thought. We hope that you find its pages interesting—and illuminating.

Ilan Berman