James Stavridis

How to Salvage France's Mistral Shipwreck

Selling warships to Russia doesn't seem like a great idea right now. But there's someone else that could buy them -- and make it a win-win for European security.

Here's the problem: Selling weapons systems to a country that might one day turn them against your allies, partners, or even your own forces is a risky proposition. In the 1982 Falklands War, an Argentine pilot sunk a British destroyer, HMS Sheffield, with an Exocet missile launched from his Mirage fighter-bomber. Both were made in France. (To be fair, the Argentines also flew American-built Skyhawks and British-built Canberras against the United Kingdom's forces.) And in the 1986 American raid (Operation El Dorado Canyon) to punish Muammar al-Qaddafi's regime for mounting terrorist attacks in Europe, Libyan forces reportedly used a French-built Crotale surface-to-air missile to down a U.S. F-111 bomber. Needless to say, these incidents did not help the climate in London or Washington for defense-related cooperation with Paris.

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Coalitions

Powerful lessons in personnel management from the former supreme allied commander of NATO.

During my time leading NATO global operations from 2009 through 2013 as the supreme allied commander, I spent an inordinate amount of time and effort focused on keeping the 50-nation coalition of the International Security Assistance Force on a steady course and speed in Afghanistan. In every sense, the coalition itself represented the strategic center of gravity in the complex struggle for the future of Afghanistan -- and still does.

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NATO's Brave New World

With crises brewing in Ukraine and the Middle East, the transatlantic alliance needs a shot of fresh energy.

As the NATO summit in Wales approaches, the 28 nations of the alliance should recall the words of Aldous Huxley, author of the classic 20th-century dystopian novel Brave New World: "And, of course, stability isn't nearly so spectacular as instability."

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Inshallah and Ojalá

The lessons of counterinsurgency and nation-building in Colombia can also apply to the Arab world.

A 50-year ideological struggle, hundreds of thousands killed, millions displaced, mass graves, murder, rape, torture, a virulent insurgency threatening the overthrow of the entire social order, a rebel enclave carved out of the heart of a big nation. It sounds a lot like the Middle East today, but the grim tale of the tape also applies to the beautiful Andean nation of Colombia over the past half-century.

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