Can America Fight Wars that Matter Anymore?

*Note: This essay was originally published at Rally Point’s “Command Post” on March 2, 2017.

“I don’t want to go! It’s not for me!”

This past holiday season brought the annual war over religious service attendance. Our inter- and multi-faith loved ones squabbled over the need to go, together, to this annual social tradition. It was a typical scene—our family’s certainly not the only one in which congregational conflict has become common. Sociologists tell us that generational norms are shifting with the rise of the Millennials, and participation in religious community events has fallen, sharply. Martin Luther King Jr. once noted that Sunday’s church hour was America’s “most segregated”—today, for many struggling to cope with this social trend, Sunday has become the family’s most separate hour. Continue reading “Can America Fight Wars that Matter Anymore?”

Winter is Coming: Sociology and the Next Great War

*Note: This essay was originally published on the Modern War Institute’s Commentary & Analysis site.

Winter is coming.

At least, it seems that conflict is more likely these days if you listen to Professor Eliot Cohen of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, as I did this week at the Modern War Institute’s inaugural War Studies Conference. His remarks were strident, striking, and, interestingly, sociological. Continue reading “Winter is Coming: Sociology and the Next Great War”

From Gettysburg to Sri Lanka

*Note: This essay was originally published on the Modern War Institute’s Commentary & Analysis site.

The military loves Gettysburg. But why?

Isn’t it strange to fixate on an event in a war that happened over 150 years ago, fought on home soil, in Virginia, New Mexico, Tennessee and more, over slavery, in a society with 8,000 different types of money in use, featuring tactics that violate the core modern principle of cover and concealment? In short, these conditions are certain never to be replicated. So why do over a million visitors, including scores of thousands of military students, flock there every year? Continue reading “From Gettysburg to Sri Lanka”

Taking American Soldiers Hostage: Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

*Note: This essay was originally published on the Modern War Institute’s Commentary & Analysis site.

Mark my words, it won’t be long until an American soldier is taken hostage on a battlefield.

There are a lot of places this might happen, but let’s see how it might play out with one major threat: North Korea. There are at least three reasons the North Koreans are likely to snatch American soldiers during combat operations: significant tunnel infrastructure which enables surprise, past North Korean orientation towards kidnapping as an accepted practice in international relations, and the likely prospect that conventional military engagement will not bring success to the North Koreans. Continue reading “Taking American Soldiers Hostage: Coming Soon to a Theater Near You”