We Have a Radicalization Problem

We Have a Radicalization Problem

You want to elevate the discussion about the violent extremist threat that the United States and much of the world faces right now? That is a fantastic suggestion! Let’s start here.   There are many angles that one could approach just how seminally awful the retweeting of material from the violent extremist group, Britain First, by the President of the United States was. I will not address all of them here. Instead, I will focus on two important lenses through…

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A Note on the Responsibility vs. Inevitability of World War I

A Note on the Responsibility vs. Inevitability of World War I

When we look back at the events of 1914, the slide into World War I seems to have an almost inevitable quality to it. Henry Kissinger describes it as “a vortex” into which Europe was sucked. It was of course caused by the decisions and actions that various parties took in the period leading up to the war, but the reality of the monster that was unleashed was surprising to even those responsible for the decisions and actions. I have…

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Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address

Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address

Source: Yale University’s Avalon Project   Fellow-Citizens of the United States: In compliance with a custom as old as the Government itself, I appear before you to address you briefly and to take in your presence the oath prescribed by the Constitution of the United States to be taken by the President before he enters on the execution of this office.” I do not consider it necessary at present for me to discuss those matters of administration about which there…

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Pericles’ Funeral Oration

Pericles’ Funeral Oration

What follows is the public funeral oration that Pericles gave to the Athenians in the first year of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.), as related by Thucydides, in his account of that systemic war. Pericles was a statesman and a general, and Athens was at the beginning of a war, which would end its democracy and its standing as supreme power in the Peloponnese. It is a speech that sought to praise the greatness of Athens, its citizens, and its…

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Meanwhile, While Rome Burns…

Meanwhile, While Rome Burns…

Good ol’ boys down at the bar Peanuts and politics They think they know it all They don’t know much of nothing Even if one of them was to read the newspaper Cover-to-cover That ain’t what’s going on Journalism’s dead and gone The Eagles, Frail Grasp of the Big Picture   Last night, I went over to some friends’ house to watch the news. We chatted and watched the (mainly) Generals on CNN break down the crisis with North Korea….

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On “Getting out of the Way” of the Military

On “Getting out of the Way” of the Military

I gave a talk on Strategic Leadership yesterday, and closed it with the following quote from Eliot A Cohen’s ‘Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime‘ (2002:4-5): We can call this consensus the “normal” theory of civil-military relations, which runs something like this. Officers are professionals, much like highly trained surgeons: the statesman is in the position of a patient requiring urgent care. He may freely decide whether or not to have an operation, he may choose one doctor…

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Making Sense of Terrorism – Part 1

Making Sense of Terrorism – Part 1

Terrorism holds a special place in the Pantheon of Fears that Americans and many others have taken to prostrating themselves before with increasing degrees of devotion over the past generation. The proselytizers of insecurity have found a public that is ripe for conversion through the creation of ubiquitous flows of written, visual, and audio communications that poke and prod at the innate sense of vulnerability with which all human beings struggle. It is by no means the only anxiety-driven idol…

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FISA Statistics for 2016

FISA Statistics for 2016

These data were derived from the mandatory report by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts to the Committee on the Judiciary of the U.S. House of Representatives. They indicate decisions taken by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts (FISC) in 2016 on applications for surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). It is important to note that this does not provide insight into how 2016 compares to other years, or how the approval rate of FISA applications compare…

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Congratulations, Erdoğan?! Seriously?!

Congratulations, Erdoğan?! Seriously?!

U.S. President Trump apparently called Turkish President Erdoğan on Monday to congratulate him on his victory in Turkish referendum that took place on Sunday. Setting aside the fact that observers have called the freeness and fairness of the referendum into question (not an insignificant fact); it is the actual substance of the victory for Erdoğan, how it changes the trajectory that Turkey was on not so long ago, and the fact that Turkey is a NATO ally, that makes this…

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RSI Global Does Mind the Gap!

RSI Global Does Mind the Gap!

Significant changes are underway in world affairs. Nationalism is on the rise, while global freedom is declining. Authoritarian leaders are consolidating power, some while holding onto the visual and verbal trappings of democracy. As is so often the case, the ramping up of nationalist sentiment is constructed upon a deeply internalized foundation of militarism – particularly in the most powerful states. Several flashpoints create ripe conditions for an onset of the first major war that the world has seen since…

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