The U.S. Navy Can’t Fight North Korea Alone
How can the U.S. Navy destroy North Korea should Washington give the word? It can’t. Or at least it stands little chance of doing so by its lonesome barring improbable circumstances. What the Navy can do is contribute to a joint or multinational campaign that destroys the northern regime... Read more
Could North Korea Sink an American Aircraft Carrier?
Could North Korea’s armed forces sink an American aircraft carrier? Yes — depending on what type of carrier they confront, how skillfully U.S. Navy commanders employ the flattop and its consorts, how well North Korean warriors know the tactical surroundings and, most crucially, whom fortune favors in combat. Fortune... Read more
China’s Blustering Over Taiwan Means Xi Jinping Is Blowing It
So now China is overtly threatening cross-strait war should U.S. Navy vessels tarry at seaports in Taiwan. Congress and the Trump administration contemplate such port calls in the text of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. Pres. Donald Trump has just signed the act into law. Afterward, diplomat Li Kexin announced that... Read more
The General Who Could Have Replaced George Washington
Queries the great Sheldon Cooper: “How would the Civil War have gone differently if Lincoln had been a robot sent from the future?” None can tell. But we can essay some critical analysis about how the revolution would have gone had the Patriots rejected Washington as commander-in-chief and embraced the alternative... Read more
What If Japan Had Never Bombed Pearl Harbor?
Suppose Robert E. Lee had laid hands on a shipment of AK-47s in 1864. How would American history have unfolded? Differently than it did, one imagines. Historians frown on alt-history, and oftentimes for good reason. Change too many variables, and you veer speedily into fiction. The chain connecting cause to effect gets... Read more
What Teddy Roosevelt Taught Mao About Naval Power
Theodore Roosevelt was an avowed Mahanian. He was also a closet Maoist! Or at least, his convictions about strategies for lesser competitors ran parallel to those made popular by Mao Zedong during the Chinese Civil War and Second Sino-Japanese War, as transposed to marine warfare by the Great Helmsman’s... Read more
The Three Strategic Lessons of Guadalcanal
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. The battle is one of seven naval engagements that — together with hard-ground fighting on the part of the U.S. Marines and Army — make up a six-month bloodletting known to history as Guadalcanal. It’s a... Read more
Five Times the U.S. Navy Was ‘Sunk’ in Battle
It’s crucial to remember and learn from defeat. People and the institutions they comprise commonly tout past triumphs while soft pedaling setbacks. That’s natural, isn’t it? Winning is the hallmark of a successful team, losing a hateful thing. And yet debacles oftentimes have their uses. They supply a better... Read more
What Would the Athenians Think of the U.S. Navy’s Mishaps?
U.S. Navy leaders should drink hemlock! Some of them, I mean. Figuratively. That would be the Greek approach to solving the Navy’s woes, at any rate. Take Athens. Ancient Athenians were hypersensitive about individual accountability. Athenians enforced accountability remorselessly, and these radical democrats seldom did things halfway. They went... Read more
How North Korea Crashed the Atomic Club
It appears the fat kid in Pyongyang has backed off his threat to rain missiles on Guam. Still, one can only say: welcome to the second nuclear age. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave — no matter how many treaties nonnuclear states negotiate purporting to ban the... Read more

James Holmes

Professor of Strategy at the U.S. Naval War College.

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