Center for Strategic Communication

Top Billing! C. Christine Fair – State of Terror 

I am zen and I approve of this message!

….There can be no doubt that Pakistan’s unrelenting support for the Afghan Taliban and allied militant organizations, of which the Haqqani network is just one of many, has made any kind of victory — however defined — elusive if not unobtainable for the United States and its allies. The crux of the matter: The United States and Pakistan have fundamentally divergent strategic interests in Afghanistan. America’s allies, such as India, are Pakistan’s enemies, while Pakistan’s allies, such as the Haqqani network and the Afghan Taliban, are America’s enemies. Unfortunately, Pakistan’s ongoing support for these groups has become an altogether easy hook on which the Americans and their allies have hung their failures in Afghanistan.

But even if Pakistan were not actively undermining U.S. and allied efforts in Afghanistan, would the country be any more stable than it was on Sept. 10, 2001? The United States and NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan have stumbled from one strategic disaster to another. The delusional belief in population-centric counterinsurgency is simply the latest chimera that plagued international efforts to bring Afghans a modicum of peace and security. The various national missions strewn across Afghanistan under the ISAF banner have been a disjointed disaster; more like a militarized version of Epcot Center than a cohesive effort. Some of the best development projects these national partners have undertaken have been restricted to their own bases and provisional reconstruction teams (PRTs). One of my most memorable moments during a 2009 visit to Afghanistan occurred at a German PRT, notable for its perfectly paved and LED-lit sidewalks, sleeping quarters equipped with duvets and duvet covers and individually heated commodes.

Adam Elkus – Observations on Embassy Attacks 

….We have already condemned Jones’ actions to little effect. Anger instead should be directed at the criminals who violated diplomatic norms by assaulting the American embassy in Cairo and the consulate in Benghazi. Anger should also be reserved for the foreign governments that shirked their sovereign obligations to protect US diplomatic property and personnel. This is not say that we should toss out the entire idea of information operations, public diplomacy, or military information support. Any tool the United States can employ to realize its interests should be used, and IO, PD and MISO all have valuable roles to play as instruments of national power. But we should be realistic about what they can achieve.

And if we are talking about sending the wrong message, the image at the beginning of this post sends one that certainly damages the United States brand in ways that many often underrate. From 1979 to tonight, we have a troublesome habit of allowing rent-a-mobs of armed “students” and “protestors” to gain access and control over US diplomatic facilities. Perhaps the consistent failure to secure these facilities, prevent entry. and exact costs on governments that fail to protect them plays a role in their continued seizure? 

Thomas P.M. Barnett – Wikistrat’s latest sim: “Syria’s Turmoil Explored 

I co-wrote with Nick Ottens, a Wikistrat supervisor and Dutch journalist who specializes in globalization reportage.

This crowdsourced simulation, conducted in real time on Wikistrat’s online platform during the course of three weeks, discussed the sustainability of the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria and forecasted dozens of scenarios for its collapse or survival. In addition, analysts explored and evaluated a range of policy options for the United States, Russia, Iran, Israel, Turkey, France and other actors. The simulation saw the participation and collaboration of over 120 Wikistrat analysts from all around the world. The following is an excerpt from the simulation’s executive summary, available for download here.

SWJ Blog (Audrey Cronin) –Politics, Strategy and the Haqqani Network 

Dart Throwing Chimp – Why Dictatorships Build Stuff that Crumbles and Democracy and Development Revisited…Again

Pundita – Arrest of Indian political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi: Is India’s government turning Stalinist?

Greg Palast – The Worst Teacher in Chicago 

Wilson QuarterlyIdeal Education 

Defining Ideas – Technology & the Future of Violence