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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

... Chengdu Pterodactyl 1, and Sharp Sword, have startling similarities to the American Global Hawk, Reaper and Predator, and the X-47B stealth drone respectively. This of course alludes to the apparent success China has had for several years in economic espionage, where it is believed massive amounts of confidential technical and commercial applications have been stolen from major aerospace and defense industries in America. This leads to a curious question: why are so many experts relying on the continued ...

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

Cold War Triumphalism and the Chicken-and-Egg Dilemma

There is a decided chicken-and-egg quality when trying to unravel Russian-American relations. The general pessimism and pejorative characterizations that come from the U.S. Congress clearly have a negative influence on Putin’s strident bravado and dismissive arrogance to the United States. What is perplexing is how this dilemma, which implies that it is difficult to figure out which truly came first, never seems to be an actual problem for American politicians: the Russian ‘corrupt and...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
14.02.2015 21:08:00

Keeping Russia the Enemy: Congressional Attitudes and Biased Expertise

America seems reluctant in accepting the fairly benign fact that countries do not like to be dictated to and thus misses opportunities for creating new dialogues. This is especially prominent in explaining the poor relationship at the moment with Russia. There seems to be an element of purposeful animosity in the way Russia is viewed, analyzed, and engaged, especially at the so-called expert level and most prominently within the now Republican-controlled United States Congress. Perhaps one of the...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
07.02.2015 00:55:00

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

The Price of Paris: Islamism and the Exploitation of Women

The events in Paris are unfortunately all too familiar in the 21st century. I think in some corners it is still perhaps a bit shocking that events like the storming of Charlie Hebdo and the killing of civilians do not actually take place more often than they do. In my line of work, this is the foundational conundrum of secret success: intelligence communities around the world actually do a stellar job of ferreting out literally hundreds, if not thousands of ideas, intentions, and full-on strategic...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
18.01.2015 18:34:00

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

American Failures with Grand Strategic Culture

This work is about how a specific conceptualization of ‘culture’ in intelligence studies, amongst scholars at first but subsequently practitioners as well, has taken on too powerful a role, one that has become too restrictive in its impact on thinking about other intelligence communities, especially non-Western ones. This restriction brings about unintentional cognitive closure that damages intelligence analysis. My argument leans heavily in many ways on the fine work of Desch in Security...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
27.10.2014 01:40:00

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 ...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
22.09.2014 04:36:00

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

The Strange Bedfellows of a New Deadlier Iraq

Judging by any host of news organizations and commentary shows on television you would think Iraq has already fallen completely into the hands of a radical Islamist terrorist group called ISIS. While it is true the military and strategic gains achieved by the group so far this year have been impressive and unexpected by leaders in the West, this lack of expectation may be accounted for more by the absence of diligence on the part of Western analysts covering the Middle East than by any miraculous...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
01.07.2014 20:06:00

The Fast and The Furious in Gas Geopolitics

The interplay between Ukraine and Russia when it comes to gas geopolitics goes far beyond economic negotiations and development. It lies at the heart of what has been fairly inaccurate or uninformed media reporting in the West. This aspect of the conflict has been so poorly documented in the West, while being exhaustively reported in Russia, that it is time to provide some English language background to this underappreciated aspect still powering the conflict in negotiations between Ukraine and Russia...

Crosston Matthew
Опубликовано:
19.06.2014 17:56:00

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

 

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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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