Saturday, December 10, 2011
Political analyst Glenn Greenwald points to a recent US accusation against an Iraqi who attacked US military forces in Iraq. The US has accused the person of being a terrorist. Greenwald is critical of this:
Sunday, October 30, 2011
As we discussed earlier in the semester, one of the main assumptions that drives military strategies is what the nature of the threat is. But how can states determine what that threat will be? In the era of large armies and traditional warfare, frameworks like realism (answer: anyone with lots of military power is a potential threat) and liberalism (any nondemocracy with a lot of military power is a potential threat) might have done the job. But today?
The Pentagon has responded to this challenge:
Instead of planning for failure, they’ve been stocking up on polish for their crystal balls. Not only has the military spent $125 million in the last three years alone on computer software to predict political unrest, they’re also funding a ton of initiatives, from Internet mining to network science, to upgrade their forecasting.
But as Dr. Richard Danzig, the former Navy Secretary and current chair of the Center For a New American Security (CNAS), notes,
“I accept that the inclination to predict is deeply embedded in U.S. institutions and in human nature,” Danzig writes. “[But] long-term national security planning…will inevitably be conducted in conditions that planners describe as ‘deep’ or ‘high’ uncertainty, and in these conditions, foresight will repeatedly fail.”
Read this article in Wired.com, "Defense Whiz to Pentagon: Your Predictions Are Destined to Fail", and think about the various strategies we've discussed and how the assumptions on which they are based were arrived at.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Below is a link to an article by Fred Kaplan on what the author sees as the future of US warfare.
The future face of American warfare is very likely on display now in Africa. Libya, the coast off Somalia, and now the borderlands of Uganda—it’s a fair bet that these theaters of conflict, far more than Iraq or Afghanistan, foretell the shape of our military adventures. What this suggests is a return to the “advise and assist” missions of the Cold War, with international terrorists (or, on occasion, particularly hideous thugs) replacing international Communism as the predominant threat.
As you read it think about how this vision contrasts with RMA (military transformation) and with COIN (counterinsurgency). Think also about what has changed and why since the proponents of both RMA and COIN were sure that their way of war was the real future of warfare.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
One of the differences that we've discussed between unilateral and multilateral liberals is how to best ensure the spread of democracy.
In a speech today, President Obama stated, about the recent events in Egypt:
What we didn't do was pretend that we could dictate the outcome in Egypt -- because we can't. So we were very mindful that it was important for this to remain an Egyptian event, that the United States did not become the issue ...
Compare this statement, and US actions before and during the Egypt demonstrations, to the statements of the Bush administration before and during the invasion of Iraq, as well as Bush statements in the various documents cited in the Rhodes article. This difference is one of the things that divides the unilateralist liberals from the multilateralist liberals.
Do you agree that the spread of democracy is good for international peace and security? If so, what do you think is the most effective way to spread democracy?
Monday, November 1, 2010
The US is pursuing an RMA-like strategy of robotic warfare, relying on unmanned drones, in Pakistan:
Imagine if, an hour from now, a robot-plane swooped over your house and blasted it to pieces. The plane has no pilot. It is controlled with a joystick from 7,000 miles away, sent by the Pakistani military to kill you. It blows up all the houses in your street, and so barbecues your family and your neighbours until there is nothing left to bury but a few charred slops. Why? They refuse to comment. They don't even admit the robot-planes belong to them. But they tell the Pakistani newspapers back home it is because one of you was planning to attack Pakistan. How do they know? Somebody told them. Who? You don't know, and there are no appeals against the robot.
Now imagine it doesn't end there: these attacks are happening every week somewhere in your country. They blow up funerals and family dinners and children. The number of robot-planes in the sky is increasing every week. You discover they are named "Predators", or "Reapers" – after the Grim Reaper. No matter how much you plead, no matter how much you make it clear you are a peaceful civilian getting on with your life, it won't stop. What do you do? If there was a group arguing that Pakistan was an evil nation that deserved to be violently attacked, would you now start to listen?
In fact, this is what is happening, and it's one of the factors behind the rise in anti-US sentiment and violence. "Even the 2004 report commissioned by Donald Rumsfeld said that 'American direct intervention in the Muslim world' was the primary reason for jihadism."
For more details, see Johann Hari's article "Obama's robot wars endanger us all" in The Independent (UK)