When do we start the honest debate over the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act?

Read my post this morning at the Public Diplomacy Council website about the lack of serious debate over the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act. What is it about U.S. public diplomacy that we must hide it from Americans? Is it so abhorrent that it would embarrass the taxpayer, upset the Congress (which has surprisingly little additional insight […] Read more »

Counter-terrorism and human rights | European Voice

This excerpt is from a piece written by  Denmark’s foreign minister, the EU’s counter-terrorism coordinator and the United Nations special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism. It stands in start contrast to the direction US counter terrorism is taking. I will be adding this to my […] Read more »

Two pieces on al Qaeda and Yemen you should read

For those interested in AQAP goings on and US strategy may I suggest reading Gregory Johnsen’s thoughts here, as submitted for Frontline’s Q&A as part of its AQAP documentary. Following on from this is an excerpt from an interesting piece by Sarah Phillips of the University of Sydney.   The war against AQAP can never […] Read more »

Congress, the State Department, and “communistic, fascistic, and other alien influences”

The current debate on the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act is filled with misinformation about the history of Smith-Mundt, some of it verging on blatant propaganda, making the overall discussion rich in irony. In 1947, the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional committee assembled to give its recommendation on the Smith-Mundt Act declared that it was a necessary response […] Read more »

Egypt’s Depressing Run-Off

Given the turbulent path of Egypt's post-revolutionary transition, it somehow seems only right that last week's first round of the Presidential election managed to produce the worst of all the possible run-off combinations: the Muslim Brotherhood's Mo... Read more »

A Study of Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet (2d ed) – Part 9

Zawahiri Describes the Afghan Camp Complex In Chapter 4 Section 4 of the 2d edition of his spiritual autobiography, Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet, Ayman al-Zawahiri describes the training camp complex that had developed throughout Afghanistan during the chaos of its civil war. He paints a picture of a country teeming with foreign fighters (“jihadist immigrant sons in Afghanistan”). The scale of the enterprise is the biggest revelation. Despite ten years of scrutiny, I’m not sure we have a good idea of the reach of the jihadi camp complexes of this time, and the scale of their long... Read more »