Browse by

March 19, 2021

Weaponized Words: The Strategic Role of Persuasion in Violent Radicalization and Counter- Radicalization

Preoccupation with the effort to fight extremist propaganda in an increasingly complex information environment has produced an overwhelming amount of literature from professors, practitioners, policymakers, and pundits. The problem of terrorist messaging is easily defined; solutions, in the form of effective counter-narrative strategies and the tools to disseminate them, are much harder to come by. Kurt Braddock’s Weaponized Words: The Strategic Role of Persuasion in Violent Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization takes this on, providing well-researched and relatively jargon-free guidelines to the development of persuasive counter-narratives and the use of emerging communications technologies to fight back.

March 19, 2021

The Kill Chain: Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare

In the introduction to Kill Chain, Christian Brose issues a blunt warning. “Over the past decade, in U.S. war games against China, the United States has a nearly perfect record: we have lost almost every single time.” (pp. xii) The statement is meant to be shocking—more so because Brose brings significant credibility and inside information to this work. He served as a member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, as a senior policy advisor to Senator John McCain, and as staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee where he supervised four National Defense Authorization Acts.

March 19, 2021

How Ike Led: The Principles Behind Eisenhower’s Toughest Decisions

Part memoir, part historical recounting, part leadership lesson, Susan Eisenhower’s How Ike Led: The Principles Behind Eisenhower’s Toughest Decisions is not only the sum, but the product of its parts, in keeping with her grandfather’s own “Great Equation.” Each part magnifies and amplifies the other: exploring Eisenhower in such a personal way helps us understand his historical period; delving into the historical context informs us about the man; providing the strategic insights illuminates both Ike and his times. This is a rich, multiform yet still cohesive book.

March 19, 2021

America in the World: A History of U.S. Diplomacy and Foreign Policy

The book should deservedly become a canonical text for students and teachers of U.S. foreign relations, American and foreign diplomats, and importantly, the U.S. military.

March 19, 2021

“GeoEconomics and the Emerging World Order: The Power of the U.S. Dollar”: Interview with the Honorable Jacob J. Lew

Let me start with the positive—being the world’s reserve currency gives us enormous capacity to support our own fiscal and trade objectives in a way that strengthens our economy and our country. One of the reasons that the United States has the ability to borrow as much as it needs to at a moment like this—during a pandemic, when other countries might not have such easy access—is that when you have the world’s reserve currency, there is depth and liquidity in the markets for your securities unavailable to other currencies.

March 19, 2021

Negotiating [Im]plausible Deniability: Strategic Guidelines for U.S. Engagement in Modern Indirect Warfare

American adversaries such as Russia and Iran are persistently challenging U.S. interests around the world through indirect attacks. Rather than threaten the United States head-on, these competitors employ nebulous tools like private military contractors, proxies, and cyber-driven disinformation campaigns that are difficult to attribute, enabling plausible deniability, and muddle the distinction between violent and nonviolent actions. The frequency and ubiquity of these incidents—whether in Syria, Afghanistan, or even back home—suggest that indirect attacks will remain a primary tactic in geopolitical competition for the foreseeable future. Yet, the implications of these indirect means of competition for U.S. policy are not well understood. The centerpiece of these attacks is adversaries’ ability to threaten U.S. interests repeatedly over time and geographies while obfuscating the seriousness of the threat and keeping the acts below the threshold of public attention. We find that by mitigating domestic political pressure in the targeted state to react decisively, indirect attacks provide that state the benefit of decision space for how to respond. The aggregate implication for national security is that the use of indirect attacks may have the overall effect of reducing the level of conflict in the international system by increasing opportunities to offramp escalation. For this to be true, however, states must take advantage of the space to leverage other tools like diplomacy to reduce tensions.

March 19, 2021

A Friend to All is a Friend to None: Analysis of Russian Strategy in the Middle East

Since the start of the Arab Spring, Russia has sought increased influence in the Middle East, rekindling relationships and building influence in Syria, Turkey, Libya, Israel, and elsewhere. The return of Russian influence puts pressure on U.S. interests in the region. In the increasingly complex security environment of today’s world defined by transregional and multi-functional challenges across all domains, the United States is constrained in the Middle East by both available resources and an American public exhausted by military efforts in the region. America must make difficult choices and prioritize efforts. This article analyzes Russia’s strategy in the region, framed by the ways, means, ends, and risk models, to uncover risks to the Russian strategy that the United States could exploit.

March 19, 2021

Iran’s Gray Zone Strategy: Cornerstone of its Asymmetric Way of War

Since the creation of the Islamic Republic in 1979, Iran has distinguished itself (along with Russia and China) as one of the world’s foremost “gray zone” actors. For nearly four decades, however, the United States has struggled to respond effectively to this asymmetric “way of war.” Washington has often treated Tehran with caution and granted it significant leeway in the conduct of its gray zone activities due to fears that U.S. pushback would lead to “all-out” war—fears that the Islamic Republic actively encourages. Yet, the very purpose of this modus operandi is to enable Iran to pursue its interests and advance its anti-status quo agenda while avoiding escalation that could lead to a wider conflict. Because of the potentially high costs of war—especially in a proliferated world—gray zone conflicts are likely to become increasingly common in the years to come. For this reason, it is more important than ever for the United States to understand the logic underpinning these types of activities, in all their manifestations.

March 19, 2021

Time for a New National Innovation System for Security and Prosperity

In his 1989 classic The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers Paul Kennedy wrote, “To be a Great Power—by definition, a state capable of holding its own against any other nation—demands a flourishing economic base.” Kennedy should have added, “an economic (and technology) base that is flourishing more than its competitors.”

March 19, 2021

China and America: From Trade War to Race and Culture Confrontation

The Thucydides Trap is an intellectual trap for the unwary when uncritically applied to China. China is not a rising power; it is a returning power. The psychology is different. Misapprehending the nature of the problem will exacerbate it.