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Parameters | Winter 2023–24
November 20, 2023
Welcome to the Winter 2023–24 issue of Parameters. 

This issue consists of two In Focus commentaries which bring to light observations from the Russia-Ukraine War, two forums addressing deterrence and strategic influence, and the inaugural Director’s Corner for the China Landpower Studies Center (CLSC). 

Keywords: deterrence; Ukraine; Russia; Putin; NATO; unmanned aerial systems; deep strike; reconnaissance-strike complex; electronic warfare; Russia-Ukraine War; nuclear; misperception; Russia; multidomain operations; freedom to roam; grand strategy; offshore balancing; offensive realism; regional hegemony; stopping power of water; Middle East; integrated deterrence; strategy; Cold War; flexible response; New Look; economic interests; globalization; strategic competition; multinational exercises; bilateral exercises; reflexive control; strategic behavior; strategic analysis; nonlinearity; complex adaptive system; civil-military relations; general officers; promotions; flag officers; political participation; People’s Liberation Army; Chinese Communist Party; Belt and Road Initiative; China; Landpower; security assistance; Iran; Operation Iraqi Freedom; Operation Enduring Freedom; Bill Clinton; George W. Bush; Barack Obama; Civil War; Army of Tennessee; John B. Hood; William Tecumseh Sherman; Battle of Atlanta; Close Combat Lethality Task Force; Secretary of Defense General James N. Mattis; Iraq; Vicksburg Campaign; Ulysses S. Grant; William T. Sherman; Chickasaw Bayou; World War I; World War II; W. E. B. Du Bois; Talented Tenth; 1920s; citizen-soldier; National Guard; modern Army; Harry S. Truman; atomic bomb; Japan; nuclear war; North Korea; George W. Bush; Kim Il-Sung; Kim Jong-Un; China; Xi Jinping; Chinese Dream; authoritarianism; diplomacy; Samuel P. Huntington; Carl von Clausewitz; Dwight D. Eisenhower; George S. Patton; Kenneth Payne; Jan Smuts; South Africa; World War I in Africa; German South West Africa; German East Africa

Would Venezuela Really Invade Essequibo?
December 4, 2023
By R. Evan Ellis
In the context of unfolding global conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine and the dangers of an increasingly aggressive yet economically fragile People’s Republic of China (PRC), Venezuela’s provocative referendum on its claim to two thirds of the territory of neighboring Guyana has received understandably little attention in Washington, D.C.
Original background image from article: https://theglobalamericans.org/2023/11/would-venezuela-really-invade-essequibo/

How to stop Ukraine’s NATO bid from derailing Washington summit
December 4, 2023
How to stop Ukraine’s NATO bid from derailing Washington summit
by John R. Deni
Marking the 75th anniversary of NATO’s founding, the alliance’s next summit in Washington is just months away, and allies are eagerly preparing the agenda.

This time around, several member countries are keen to avoid the kind of divisive discussions over Ukraine’s path to membership that publicly played out at last year’s summit in Vilnius — and none more so than hosting nation the United States.

Background image from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ukraine_%E2%80%93_NATO_Commission_chaired_by_Petro_Poroshenko_(2017-07-10)_48.jpg

War of Supply
November 22, 2023
Book Review: War of Supply
John A. Bonin
Author: David D. Dworak
Reviewed by Dr. John A. Bonin, consultant, US Army War College
The reviewer notes, “While there are thousands of books about World War II, there are relatively few on the war in the Mediterranean and fewer on its logistics.” Dworak provides just that, with a chronological account of Operation Torch in North Africa; Operations Husky, Avalanche, and Shingle in Sicily and Italy; and Operation Dragoon in southern France.

Blood and Ruins: The Last Imperial War, 1931–1945
November 22, 2023
Book Review: Blood and Ruins: The Last Imperial War, 1931–1945
Jonathan Klug
Author: Richard Overy
Reviewed by Jonathan Klug, colonel, US Army, and assistant professor, Department of Military Strategy, Planning, and Operations, US Army War College
Teaser: Many track the start of World War II to Poland in 1939. In Blood Ruins, Richard Overy contends the 1931 Japanese invasion of Manchuria was the start of an Asian war that later merged into the 1939 war in Europe when Japan attacked America in 1939. The book addresses policy and strategy as well as operational, technical, and tactical issues.

Bolivia’s Descent into Deep Chaos and the Implications for the Region
November 22, 2023
The resource rich, land-locked South American nation of Bolivia has traditionally received limited attention from Washington. The country, historically mired in poverty, corruption, and cycles of political conflict is one of the hemisphere’s major sources for coca and illegally mined gold, as well as a transit country for both. Bolivia’s leftist populist Movement for Socialism (MAS) governments of Evo Morales and Luis Arce have made the country an important point of entry into the hemisphere for extra-hemispheric U.S. rivals including the People’s Republic of China, Russia, and Iran.
In recent weeks, a power struggle has emerged for control of the MAS between current President Luis Arce and former President Evo Morales. This has implications for the stability of the country as it plays out in the context of crosscutting political rivalries, economic difficulties, and a significant criminal economy with competing interests. This work examines the deteriorating situation in Bolivia and the potential implications for the region.
Image adapted from:

China has acquired a global network of strategically vital ports
November 8, 2023
The expansion is critical to China’s economic power and has significant military implications as well, analysts say. “This is not coincidental,” said Carol Evans, director of the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College. “I firmly believe there is a strategic aspect to the particular ports they’re targeting for investment.”

Background photo credit: A dockworker passes by a container ship at the Chinese-operated port of Djibouti in 2015. (Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images), from the article https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/interactive/2023/china-ports-trade-military-navy/

Implications of the Israel-Hamas War for the Global Strategic Environment
November 7, 2023
Implications of the Israel-Hamas War for the Global Strategic Environment
by R. Evan Ellis 

Iran’s Re-engagement with Latin America
November 3, 2023
Iran’ Re-engagement with Latin America
by R. Evan Ellis 

Comparing China’s Engagement in Africa and Latin America
October 21, 2023
Comparing China’s Engagement in Africa and Latin America
R. Evan Ellis
There are substantial commonalities in Beijing’s engagement between the two regions, but also differences that provide insights into how China-based entities make, and adapt, policies.

Image credits: Chinese flag from Pexels.com, world map overlay from FreePik.com

Security Challenges Facing the Dominican Republic and the Government Response
October 18, 2023
Security Challenges Facing the Dominican Republic and the Government Response
R. Evan Ellis
From September 24-28, 2023, a trip was made to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to present a paper on crime and violence in the Caribbean at a forum organized by Funglode,[2] one of the country’s leading think tanks. As part of this visit, he held a dialogue with a wide range of former and current security personnel and other experts on the security challenges facing the nation.

The Dominican Republic’s economy, closely linked to that of the United States (U.S.) through geography, family ties and the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR),[3] is one of the fastest growing in the region.[4] Despite the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,[5] tourism has recovered remarkably. The country has a vibrant democratic political culture and, unlike many of its Caribbean and Central American neighbors with whom it shares close linguistic and cultural ties, has managed to maintain significantly lower levels of violence and gang activity.


Background image credit: CEEP

The Origins of Victory: How Disruptive Military Innovation Determines the Fates of Great Powers 
October 17, 2023
Book Review: The Origins of Victory: How Disruptive Military Innovation Determines the Fates of Great Powers
Author: Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr.
Reviewed by Zachery Tyson Brown, defense analyst, Office of the Secretary of Defense

Andrew F. Krepinevich has questions for policymakers when it comes to emerging technologies and warfare. In The Origins of Victory: How Disruptive Military Innovation Determines the Fates of Great Powers, Krepinevich asks: How do states gain advantages in military competition during periods of disruptive change? How are developmental technologies best incorporated into legacy military structures? Or are entirely new structures necessary?