Back to Square One with a Hand Tied Behind Our Back

by Steven R. Corman I remember arriving in Karlsruhe, Germany on March 17, 2003.  It was two days before the Iraq invasion.  I didn’t know the date certain of the invasion, of course, but I knew for certain it was coming.  I was quite worried (needlessly, as it turns out) about how I would be received by the Germans.  They, like the rest of “Old Europe,” were vehemently against the war. So was I.  It […] Read more »

Hatfield/McCoy Update

by Steven R. Corman As predicted in an earlier post,  Hoffman’s counter-tat to Sageman’s response to Hoffman’s panning of Sageman’s book has appeared at Foreign Affairs (below Sageman’s reply).  It contains little in the way of new information. I’m a little surprised that Foreign Affairs published this.  Normally in the academic world the custom is that when a critique of an author’s work is published, s/he gets a rejoinder and that’s it.  It’s sort of […] Read more »

Narrowing the Listen-Do Gap in U.S. Public Diplomacy

by Steven R. Corman On Monday, recently sworn-in Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Jim Glassman published an op-ed piece in the International Herald Tribune.  Entitled “The Animosity Does Not Run Deep,” it interprets the latest Pew Research Center Global Attitudes Survey. In a nutshell, he says that the survey is not all bad news.  Some metrics are not as bad as on the last survey, and the dislike is not uniform.  In general […] Read more »

Sheba’a Farms: Hail Mary Pass?

by Steven R. Corman At a conference two and a half years ago I met Sami Hajjar. He was born in Lebanon, and has served in a number of diplomatic posts in the Middle East. Later he was on the faculty at the U.S. Army War College and a member of its Strategic Studies Institute. At the conference he told me his theory that a key to peace between Israel and its neighbors was a […] Read more »

al Jazeera and the Neocon Boogeyman

by Steven R. Corman During my usual media grazing I ran across an article published yesterday in Aljazeera Magazine by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, in the “reviews” section. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be reviewing, but on the surface it has something to do with language and the word “islamofascism,” and I am on record as having serious concerns about use of that word. At the same time I have heard complaints in the past […] Read more »

The Hatfields and McCoys of Counterterrorism

by Steven R. Corman Yesterday’s New York Times reported on a feud between Bruce Hoffman and Marc Sageman about whether al Qaeda represents a continuing threat as an organized force, or whether it has degenerated into a disorganized social movement. At the root of it is Hoffman’s scathing review of Sageman’s latest book entitled Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-first Century. Sageman’s thesis is that al Qaeda’s days as an organized threat are largely […] Read more »

More Conflict About Language

by Steven R. Corman The latest entry in the war of language comes from Jim Guirard of the TrueSpeak Institute writing today at Small Wars Journal Blog. Guirard is one of the earliest and most persistent arguers against using the word “jihadi” to describe the Bad Guys, a position we here at COMOPS have also defended again, and again, and again, and again. In today’s post, Guirard gives a nice catalog of proofs of al […] Read more »

Should Travel Be A Public Diplomacy Priority?

by Steven R. Corman Jim Snyder has an interesting post at The Hill on efforts to reinvigorate international travel to the U.S. It cites statistics from the Travel Industry Association (TIA) suggesting that travel to the U.S. has declined by one-third over the last 15 years, having an impact on travel-related businesses like hotel chains and conventions. It’s a slide that even the Hughes/Disney production Portraits of America was helpless to reverse. Now the travel […] Read more »