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Walk the Line: Russia as the New Chair of the UN Security Council

October 1st began what could be one of the more interesting Chairships of the United Nations Security Council, with Russia taking over and being charged with a rather delicate balancing act: between conducting the numerous affairs expected to be covered by any standard Chair of the UNSC and deftly handling the ‘special’ relationship with the United States that has recently become woefully deficient. Even more intriguing, some of the most vivid recent examples of that degrading relationship...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
26.10.2016 17:14:00

American Jihadi: Why Westerners Fight with the Islamic State

Media outlets and government circles both cringe and squirm when the subject of Westerners leaving the West to go fight in Syria and Iraq with the Islamic State arises. While acquiring data and calculating accurate numbers wildly diverges from source to source, there is no doubt that ANY number simply makes countries like the United States uncomfortable and perplexed: in short, how could anyone want to leave the land of the free, the tolerant, the open, the just and go fight for a group that represents...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
18.04.2015 17:10:00

The American UAV Attempted Apartheid

It is perhaps a misnomer to discuss future ‘blowback:’ there have been groups actively pursuing technological attacks on American targets simultaneously alongside the development of the U.S. drone fleet. Keep in mind blowback comes in forms other than just anger over actual attacks. There is growing dissent across the Middle East at what is perceived to be a total lack of transparency and scrutiny by the American public over its government’s use of drones. This concern was growing...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
05.04.2015 07:42:00

America's National Security Schizophrenia

There is no stronger example of the schizophrenic nature of American foreign policy toward Russia than comparing statements written in the formal National Security Strategy (NSS) of President Obama with actual testimony given by the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. In 2010 the NSS asserted that the U.S. would endeavor to ‘build a stable, substantive, multidimensional relationship with Russia, based on mutual interests.’ What’s more, the NSS called Russia a 21st century...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
23.02.2015 20:59:00

U.S.-Russia Relations: The Problem of Intellectual Insincerity

There are numerous think tanks, both in the United States and Russia, which are deeply concerned about the state of Russian-American relations. Places like the Moscow Carnegie Centre or the Brookings Institution in Washington DC are regular go-to places for the media when seeking expert opinion and analysis. However, these centers of independent knowledge production have had a decided slant in allocating blame for the poor bilateral relations to the Russian side, with the explanations ranging from...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
03.02.2015 00:20:00

Twisting in Our Own Tortured Noose: American Verbal Duplicity and Torture

So the United States Senate has released its report highlighting extreme and supposedly ‘abhorrent’ techniques used on terrorist targets after 9/11 to glean greater intelligence and information. Since that release there has been an orgy of oscillating condemnation/hand-wringing with rationalization/chest-beating, depending on whom you speak with. What strikes me more is the whole surreal ridiculousness of this false debate. I say false debate because in some ways this just highlights...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
15.12.2014 18:04:00

Prisoners of Preconception: The Problems of Bias in American Intelligence

Anyone who has worked through post-mortems on the Iraq war is familiar with the pitfalls associated with ‘groupthink’ and preconceptions. Indeed, it is perhaps one of the few modern examples of consensus across American partisanship. Some have argued such assumptions emerged from an administration not interested in counter-arguments and alternative information. Others pointed to embedded preconceptions within the Intelligence Community itself, making it impossible to jump off the analytical...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
08.12.2014 06:59:00

Bears and Byzantium: How America Misreads Russian Strategic Thinking

Common complaints within Intelligence Studies about the examination of foreign intelligence communities, especially those not residing in the west, run the gamut from being too historically driven to being completely ahistorical and thus nothing more than a simple organizational review of facts and details to being too often inevitably compared against a standard framework that uses either the United States or the United Kingdom as the backdrop. While these analyses are all important, they have failed...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
26.11.2014 18:37:00

Soft Spying: The Love-Hate Relationship America has with Economic Espionage

Despite Hollywood romanticizing about Bonds and Bournes, one of the most prevalent forms of modern intelligence activity is also arguably the least emphasized: economic and industrial espionage. Aimed at garnering a financial and innovation advantage for countries seeking greater influence in a highly globalized world, this activity is not just about economic policy but serves as de facto proxy military rivalry: states maneuver to outperform, outwit, and ‘outstrategize’ across all spheres...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
22.09.2014 04:36:00

Targeted Killings Coming Back to Haunt America

While most international organizations and foreign states have made attempts to explicitly fuse drones and targeted killing to already established norms, ethics, and rules of war, the United States has focused more on drones being something of a semi-covert tool of political means. In other words, drone war is not necessarily the exact same thing as conventional war. Once you blur the line on this basic fundamental categorization then nearly everything else becomes open to interpretation, including...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
16.09.2014 06:44:00

Yemen's Special Interests, or, Horton Hears a Houthi

The percentage of Americans who have heard of Yemen is undoubtedly small. Still fewer could locate it on a map. Still fewer have even an inkling of its current political issues. Reality shows that civil unrest and insurrection has been happening in the north of that country since 2004, meaning there has basically been war in Yemen as long as there has been war in Iraq. Most of the world actually didn’t pay any attention to this conflict until maybe 2011-2012, when events inside of Yemen were...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
23.07.2014 18:13:00

Saving Lives or Saving Face? Sanctions, Russia, and the West

New sanctions were levied against Russia on July 16th by both the United States and the European Union. America has taken the lead in explaining the sanctions, claiming continued unrest in Eastern Ukraine is primarily because of tacit Russian support behind-the-scenes. This new round is a bit broader than the original sanctions from a few months back that tried a new tactic of strategically targeting individuals. Basically it was one of the first examples of a state trying to make Putin’s personal...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
17.07.2014 18:57:00

Problems of Perspective: The Intelligence Community and American Academia

Thirteen years after Sept. 11, 2001 the United States still rightly prioritizes the development of new cadres for the intelligence community. This emphasis is not just logical because of the continued threat of terrorism but also makes sense when considering demographics: the oncoming retirement of the baby boom generation requires that new talent take its place. Developing that new talent, however, has not been as easy as US officials wish. There are at least three problems plaguing both the academic...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
08.06.2014 04:23:00

Washington's Perceptions about Russian and Chinese Cyber Power

There seems to be a strong divergence in American governmental perception behind Chinese and Russian command of cyberspace and their general cyber interaction with state authority. On the one hand, there is the assumption that this is a natural manifestation of the growing desire on the part of Russia and China to achieve global superpower status. On the other hand, there are the counter-arguments that emphasize China's and Russia’s own perception of inability to operate effectively...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
01.06.2014 19:19:00

It's a MAD MAD MAD Cyber World

Many cyber experts state that the United States is woefully ill-prepared for a sophisticated cyber-attack and that each passing day brings us one step closer to a potential virtual Armageddon. While the problems hindering the development of an effective and comprehensive cyber deterrence policy are clear (threat measurement, attribution, information-sharing, legal codex development, and poor infrastructure to name several), this piece focuses on one aspect of the debate that heretofore has been relatively...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
29.05.2014 15:02:00

Spies Don't Tweet: Why Social Media is Only a Grassroots Tool

The Intelligence Community, regardless of regime type, has famously always tried to co-opt and ultimately adopt advancements and evolutions in technology, especially in terms of media. Newspapers, radio, and television have long been appropriated in order to influence, massage, and outright manipulate messages and events important to the national interest. Often the question is not so much whether a country’s intelligence community engages in such activity but rather how explicit and open will...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
21.05.2014 19:43:00

Putin-Mongers

If you spend some time listening to reputable news shows all across the West you will start to notice several recurring ‘interpretations’ that explain all things Russian and Vladimir Putin. Rather than being enlightening about this complex country and perhaps even more complex leader, a series of increasingly incredulous ‘pop-psychology-analyses’ emerge instead. What follows are just five of the most commonly touted, with subsequent breakdowns for those who wish to read more...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
14.05.2014 18:11:00

Eco-Conflict and 'Green Spies'

Ecological dilemmas are moving beyond the realm of local environmental, health and human population studies to a more dangerous transnational aspect of globalization – intelligence operations. It is in opening up an interaction between environmental studies’ liberal domain and intelligence studies’ realist domain, projecting onto geopolitics, that ‘green security’ morphs into ‘ECOINT.’ While issues of water, energy, climate change, pollution, and deforestation...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
07.04.2014 17:54:00

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Poll conducted

  1. Korean Peninsula Crisis Has no Military Solution. How Can It Be Solved?
    Demilitarization of the region based on Russia-China "Dual Freeze" proposal  
     36 (35%)
    Restoring multilateral negotiation process without any preliminary conditions  
     27 (26%)
    While the situation benefits Kim Jong-un's and Trump's domestic agenda, there will be no solution  
     22 (21%)
    Armed conflict still cannot be avoided  
     12 (12%)
    Stonger deterrence on behalf of the U.S. through modernization of military infrastructure in the region  
     4 (4%)
    Toughening economic sanctions against North Korea  
     2 (2%)
 
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