Category: Academics (Page 1 of 5)

Q+A with Dr Jacqueline L. Hazelton, Asst Prof at the Naval War College

For over a decade, United States and NATO have been involved in counter-insurgency operations across the Islamic world. A new ground breaking paper by Dr. Jacqueline Hazelton, challenges the established COIN dogma, and suggests that the usual operational process of good governance, democracy promotion, nation building, and dependence on human rights, are actually counter-productive.

In simpler words, perhaps more brutality is needed to actually win a war. 

To explain further, Dr Hazelton kindly agreed to answer a few questions for Bombs + Dollars on US COIN operations, grand strategy, and what changes might be needed urgently to re-calibrate a failed Western counter-insurgency strategy.

You can follow her on Twitter @DrJLHazelton.

You can also find other Q+As here.

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Two pathbreaking studies you need to know

First, the US and Western Counter insurgency operations are failure, because frankly, in simple words, we are too good and pussyfooted. We are not brutal enough.

I have previously written why Western strategies fail, and stated that in the last 20 years, only two Counter Insurgency operations succeeded, and that’s in Sri Lanka, and Chechnya. It was brutal, but it brought on stability.

US and Indian officers in a joint COIN training briefing.

Latest research proves, the only way to succeed in a COIN op, is to be insanely heavyhanded.

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What Good is Going to University Anyway?

Fraud has been perpetrated against the nation’s youth. It has been perpetrated by successive governments. This fraud is not tuition fees in higher education but the status granted to that education in the first place. Universities are pillars of civilisation but millions of men and women would be better off not going to them. Britain would save millions in the process. Before abolishing tuition fees, then, we should minimise worthless tuition.

Between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s, the proportion of young people going into universities across the Western European Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development rose from about 20% to about 40%. Many, doubtless, have benefited from this evolution. Many, on the other hand, have not.

I could have lived without university. I took a mixed humanities course, with politics and creative writing, but learned nothing life and Wikipedia could not have taught me. I remember two things: my creative writing tutor telling me I used too many adjectives, which was true, and a politics lecturer claiming that everybody is bisexual, which is not.

(Aware of the pointlessness of the endeavour, I went home and signed up with a distance learning course. This was cheaper, obviously, and wasted a lot less time. I recommend it to potential undergraduates.)

Naturally, my work has little to do with either field.

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The Bear in the neighbourhood: Comments from experts on Russia policy

Is Russia an existential threat to the West? Is it just another geopolitical adversary? The answer to this question can determine Western action and Western goals. If we consider the Second World War definition of the West, which is limited to Western Europe and North America, policy prescription will be radically different than when one compares an ever expanding NATO and EU. This is important, and has been a major factor in punditry’s analysis of US President Donald Trump’s meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Hamburg G20, at a time of extreme global turmoil.

What we know so far is that there has been external interference in the US presidential election, by cyber attacks, originating from Russian mainland. That’s the US joint Intel assessment. Although the assessment claims that the cyber attack was ordered by Vladimir Putin, no public evidence was forwarded to corroborate that claim, and it is all classified. Nor is there any evidence of any active collusion between Russian intelligence and Trump campaign, yet, nor any clear indication of whether Russian interference decisively tilted the vote count.

Reporting continues to attempt to flesh out details, as investigations continue. Last week the Wall Street Journal reported last week that a Republican operative, Peter Smith, who claimed to have had communications with former Trump official advisor Michael Flynn, was actively seeking Clinton emails from hackers. Matt Tait, a cybersecurity professional who was a source for the Journal‘s reporting, wrote that he was contacted by Smith, who represented himself as working with the Trump campaign, to verify emails he said he had received on the dark web.

Whatever else turns out, Russia is still a geopolitical adversary of the United States and Europe. It is imperative for countries to have a clear coherent grand strategy and one based on a clear understanding of the issues. In light of that, we asked three International Relations experts, two from US, one from UK, on how should the West deal with Russia.

Here’s what they said.

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The (Liberal) Empire strikes back

Cathy Young analyses Trump’s pivotal Warsaw speech, and critiques, alongside many others, my Quillette piece.

Here’s my original.

For the sake of balance you should read both, and I applaud Quillete, and my editor Claire for being so balanced, which is rare in these days of hyper-partisanship, and of course Cathy, who I admire, exceptionally passionate as she is, for the spirited response.

This debate is crucial, for the future direction of US (and UK/Western) FP.

And I hope it continues.

 

 

Post-election survey finds ethnocentric, identity politics factors in election

Trump supporters don’t terribly like immigrants or Muslims, and white Democrats like African-Americans more than white Americans.

Those are some of the findings of a large-scaled post-election study by John Sides, professor of political science at George Washington University. The survey data comes from multiple surveys by YouGov of 45,000 respondents, including 8,000 respondents who were interviewed both in 2011-2012 and 2016. One of the questions asked voters to rate certain ethnic and religious groups on a thermometer scale:

A few things that can be said:
– For all groups surveyed, immigrants and Muslims rated second to last and last, respectively, but the difference was much greater with Republicans and Trump primary voters.
– Trump voters ranked white people more favorably than any other group ranked them and ranked minorities (excluding Jews) lower than every other group.
– While Trump voters ranked Jews slightly lower than did Republicans as a whole, their rating of Jews is lined up pretty evenly with the rating of Jews by Democrats, white Democrats, and the population at large–around 75.
– Democrats ranked blacks, Hispanics, and Jews noticeably higher than they ranked whites. Even white Democrats ranked blacks and Jews slightly higher than they ranked whites. The gap in the ratings of whites by Democrats as a whole is thus due partially, but not entirely, to the fact that there were many more blacks and Hispanics represented in the survey sample of “Democrats” (as opposed to “white Democrats”).

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Here’s how feminists stifle everyday debate in Western academia

Imagine a situation, where a female professor writes something or asks something in class, or explains a bizarre chain of causality, and a male student, colleague, or researcher points out how flatly wrong it is. What would be the logical step after that in civilized circles? Debate at best, disagreement and parting ways at worst? Or an appeal to authority, and charge of “mansplaining”? The second one, happened to me, when I pointed out something in public.

The entire, hilariously short conversation is here on record. I have taken screenshots as well.

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Exclusive: The maritime balance of power slowly shifts in the Indian Ocean

Published in CLAWS.

The naval balance of power slowly shifts in the Indo-Pacific region, especially in the Indian ocean, as China launches its first domestically built, and the second aircraft carrier of its navy. The carrier was built in the northeastern port of Dalian, and is expected to join service, in 2020, but the bow and hull is already operational, and the arms and software needs debugging and fitting. The carrier’s development was already underway since 2015, and it shows the remarkable speed and expertise with which the carrier was built. China’s first carrier was the Soviet made Liaoning, which was also refitted in the same shipyard, and was only operational a few years back. The design is Soviet style ski jump, and not American style catapult launch. The carrier is supposed to base Chinese J-15 fighters. [1][2]

 

This is remarkable development and here’s why.

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Why young Chinese aren’t nationalistic

Sumantra noted a research paper by Harvard’s Alastair Iain Johnston in the journal International Security that raises doubts about the narrative that China is becoming increasingly nationalistic.

One section of the paper highlights differences between attitudes of the youth and those of their elders.

Johnston wrote:

Moreover, contrary to the conventional wisdom, the data do not show that China’s youth express higher levels of nationalism than older generations. Indeed, it is China’s older generations that are more nationalistic than its youth. These findings—with due regard for caveats about representativeness— suggest that rising popular nationalism may not be a critically important vari- able constraining Chinese foreign policy.

Sometimes the claim is made that rising nationalism exists because it is assumed, though not shown, that official government policies such as the Patriotic Education Campaign, launched in the early 1990s, are having their intended effect.

As Johnston’s numbers suggest, China’s youth are in fact noticeably less likely than their parents to answer yes to questions of patriotism and nationalism like, “I would prefer to be a citizen of China,” “China is a better country than most,” and “You should support your country even when it is wrong.”

china better

This makes sense for multiple reasons:

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New research suggests that conflict with China is not inevitable

Extraordinary research came out yesterday in International Security Journal, which concludes that

  1. Nationalism declining in China.
  2. China views, any potential Great power conflict from geopolitical and not ideological lens.

Here’s the paper.

And some data set.

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