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  • Spectrum of War and Peace (2008)
    Psychological Struggle,  Public Diplomacy,  State Building

    The Spectrum of War and Peace and the Role of Public Diplomacy

    I was on the wrap-up panel at the end of an unnamed conference a few months ago where I verbally presented the idea of a spectrum of war and peace as it related to the subject matter. Movement along this spectrum, as I described it, changes the appropriateness, and effectiveness, of different elements of power and methods engagement. But at no time, especially in today’s global information environment, global diasporas, and the relative increased power of individuals and non-state actors relative to states and state-actors, does the power of persuasion through information go away.

  • State Building

    Isn’t capitalism about building capital?

    Just a thought, but as we look at the causes of the economic crisis, shouldn’t we remember that capitalism is (was?) about building capital and not short-term, pecuniary gain? I’m not economist, but it also seems to me that the engine of functional and enduring economies is a large and vibrant middle class whose membership, as well as the membership above and below, is dynamic. Should that engine fail to start or sputter, then social upheaval is guaranteed. We know this. It’s what drove the Marshall Plan and is central to our maturing doctrine and practice for building state-capacity elsewhere.

  • ICT,  Psychological Struggle,  Public Diplomacy,  State Building


    “An overview of the review team’s mission obtained by The Post says that including other government agencies and other nations in the planning will ‘mitigate the risk of over-militarization of efforts and the development of short-term solutions to long-term problems.’ … Another priority is to take a regional approach to the problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including more robust diplomacy with neighbors and a regional economic development effort.” – from a Washington Post article by Ann Scott Tyson on General David Petraeus’s 100-day assessment of strategy in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq. “We also pride ourselves on our ability to move ahead of the sound of guns. If we can…

  • Psychological Struggle,  State Building

    Realizing the value of Foreign Aid

    The importance of foreign aid programs in building capacity, empowering foreign populations, and denying physical and ideological sanctuary to our adversaries is finally coming to the forefront. The militarization of America’s foreign policy is more than Defense leadership in informational engagement and propagating a comprehensive approach to stability operations, but in the management of foreign aid for development. As was noted in a conference call with LTG Caldwell this week, the percentage of the foreign aid budget the Defense Department manages has skyrocketed.

  • Interagency,  Public Diplomacy,  State Building

    Report: The “militarization” of diplomacy exists and is accelerating

    The American Academy of Diplomacy came out with a critical and honest assessment of the militarization of America’s public diplomacy. The report emphasizes the lack of personnel, expertise, and overall resources to do its effectively do the job required. From the executive summary: …our foreign affairs capacity is hobbled by a human capital crisis. We do not have enough people to meet our current responsibilities. Looking forward, requirements are expanding. Increased diplomatic needs in Iraq, Afghanistan and “the next” crisis area, as well as global challenges in finance, the environment, terrorism and other areas have not been supported by increased staffing. Those positions that do exist have vacancy rates approaching…

  • Media,  Psychological Struggle,  Public Affairs,  Public Diplomacy,  State Building

    New Army Doctrine Places Stability Operations Equal to Military Combat Power

    While military operations may neutralize immediate “kinetic” threats, enduring change comes from stabilizing the unstable and building capacity to self-govern where there is none. Security, humanitarian relief, governance, economic stabilization, and development are critical for ultimate democratization, but more importantly, for peace and security locally and globally. Without competent and comprehensive engagement in these areas of “soft power,” tactical “hard power” operations are simply a waste of time, money, and life. This week the U.S. Army released a new field manual, FM 3-07 Stability Operations, to adapt the military to these requirements of the modern age. The manual “represents a milestone in Army doctrine,” writes LTG Bill Caldwell in the…

  • State Building

    Reconstruction and Stabilization Corps to be Enacted

    Bullets and bombs represent short-term tactical responses to a much larger strategic dilemma. Any text worth reading on insurgency or counterinsurgency recognizes and emphasizes the operational and strategic center of gravity is the people. Failing to address grinding poverty and disillusionment in regions creates fertile breeding grounds for extremists, terrorists, and insurgents to attack the national interests of the United States.

  • Africa,  Public Affairs,  Public Diplomacy,  State Building

    Event: AFRICOM and Beyond: The Future of U.S.-African Security and Defense Relations

    From the American Enterprise Institute: The October 1 operational launch of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), on the eve of a new American presidential administration, provides an unprecedented opportunity to reshape U.S. strategy toward Africa. Significant attention has been devoted to the structure and functions of AFRICOM–and to its strategic communications challenges. Less thought, however, has been given to identifying the core security interests that should guide U.S. strategy on the continent or to defining the new kinds of partnership with a more self-assured Africa that are most likely to advance those interests. With its capacity for political as well as military engagement and for conflict prevention as well as traditional…