• Africa,  China

    Nigerian Saying: “The chicken that is searching for food in the rain must be very hungry”

    "The chicken that is searching for food in the rain must be very hungry" is a Nigerian proverb the Chinese hope won’t become their fortune. China is not yet hungry but it is looking to get in front of the rain that is sure to come in the form of a Western rush. The Chinese footprint in Nigeria is expanding quicker than most would think or admit. While oil and other natural resources are essential to Western economies, there is more to Nigeria and the region. There are other business opportunities the West in general, except for French Alcatel’s lucrative partnership with China, are missing out on.

  • Counterinsurgency,  War

    Phase IV, 4GW, and Comprehensive Solutions

    To continue my previous post, the myth of Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW) is distracting from the reality of present andfuture threats. I previously focused primarily on legitimacy issues of the State and of the use of force. This post has lingered in various draft forms for a week or so, even getting posted briefly (and thus picked up by a number of RSS readers) before I took it down.

  • Private Military Companies

    Shadow Company movie review

    Later this month in Texas, the movie Shadow Company will make its debut at the South by Southwest Film Festival. Self-described as a “ground breaking investigative” documentary, Shadow Company explores the origins and “destinations” of private security contractors (PSCs). Back in January, Onnesha Roychoudhuri interviewed Nick Bicanic, Shadow Company’s director and co-founder of the production company putting the movie out. If you haven’t read the interview, you should. Not to be redundent with Roychoudhuri, I asked Nick why he made Shadow Company. "I decided to make this film because I could see that the Rules of War have changed. There was a relevant message about modern warfare that did not…

  • Private Military Companies

    PMC Fraud: Tip of the Iceberg?

    Briefly, the Custer Battles lawsuit will likely be an eye opener for many. The Iraq war has been a watershed in the outsourcing of not just tangible assets and roles the military used to provide for itself (meals, logistics) but intangibles also. The role of private military companies in the war, from pre-deployment training to site security to force and VIP/"nation building contractors" protection, are part of the soft power of the United States.

  • Private Military Companies

    Update: PSC Snipers in Iraq

    If you have not seen this yet, I had posted a link in an earlier post to a video clip of a PSC sniper in Iraq. The video has impact. The video is of private security troops interdicting hostile enemy targets (i.e. insurgents / terrorists) from a rooftop in Iraq may be taken place in April 2004 (Sadr’s Rebellion). The firing position may be CPA headquarters. Two other stories on snipers in Iraq… The first one is on a successful SAS operation, Marlborough. The second is a record sniper shot in Iraq by a US soldier in theatre. More details are available on both ops, but I have decided not…

  • Public Diplomacy

    DOD as our public diplomat in Pakistan

    The headline Schoomaker champions Pakistan relief mission is just further emphasis of the empty promises of the Karen Hughes public diplomacy and the emphasis by the military on public outreach (see US Military rates PD higher the USG). True, the military is a branch of the USG (US Government), but the paltry sum the USG itself dedicated to cultural diplomacy compared to sustained efforts and funding by the military, instead of USAID or other services / functions / paths, is not to lauded. The fact the military is the outreach is great, but is the military liason w/ the civilian sector going to build the long-term relations we want? Is…