Archive for April 2010
Here’s a roundup of some good blog posts from around the web.
From Dave Reidy at Demagogues and Dictators, “Corruption and Counter-Productive Policy”
- Reidy addresses the story of Guinea-Bissau, the small western African state which is becoming a regional drug-trafficking hub. The government of “Guinea-Bissau,” Reidy points out, “is either impotent to stop drug traffickers or is entirely complicit and enmeshed in illegal activities.” He goes on to extrapolate that developments in Guinea-Bissau reflect the growing nexus between crime and terrorism.
From Tim Stevens at Kings of War, “What Prospects for Cyberdeterrence?”
- Stevens discusses the potential for deterrence (think: Mutually Assured Dysfunction?) against cyber attacks. Some critical questions: How do you deter an act which cannot, with 100%, be attributed to a government or state actor? And if deterrence won’t work because of this, then what about cyber defenses? Consequently, what is the utility (or futility?) of cyber defenses? Conclusion: deterrence cannot serve as the dominant “strategic anchor” in cyber security as it did in Cold War nuclear security; and crusty old military structures must adapt to be more flexible, especially in the realm of cyber defense.
From Jeffrey Lewis at Arms Control Wonk, “Missile Defense and the Prague Treaty”
- Lewis, who is an expert in nuclear strategy and nonproliferation, discusses whether the New Start treaty will require the US to limit its ballistic missile defenses. Here’s my quick intro: the US loves its missile defenses and so does its European, Asian allies; Russia… not-so-much. So, although Russia and the US want to lower the amount of nuclear weapons in the world, they have slightly different views on how to go about it. Another basic essential: the US has a more defensive nuclear strategy, while Russia counts on tactical offensive nuclear weapons for its strategy. This offense-defense balance makes nuclear disarmament difficult.
Bonus blog post: The Data Blog at the Guardian UK has some great charts on world military spending.
General McChrystal wants to close down the Burger Kings in Afghanistan. Known for his Spartan ways, General McChrystal believes that the Burger Kings are not essential to keeping up troop moral. And, I for one, agree with him. Troops shouldn’t give a damn about Burger King in a combat zone. Moreover (actually the most important issue) the goods required to run a Burger King in the middle of Afghanistan have to be transported there. Meaning, the more you transport to and through Afghanistan the more you put at risk to attack those convoys who have to supply Burger King. Even if it is for a delicious grande royal with cheese, they need to be shut down.