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North Korea Wins The Propaganda Gold
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, February 15, 2018
 

Whatever other awards North Korean athletes earn at the Winter Olympics now underway in Pyeongchang, South Korea, their country has made a championship level effort at manipulating the international press.

This week, the American media went on overload in praise of North Korean Minister of Propaganda and Agitation Kim Yo Jong, sister to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The minister was praised for her poise, her smile, her fashion sense and her handwriting. The Washington Post compared her to Ivanka Trump, (which even the New York Times found a bit much). There hadn't been this kind of gushing over a dictator's handmaiden since Leni Reifenstahl was hailed as a genius for her Nazi propaganda film about the 1936 Munich Olympics. And North Korea's propaganda minister can return to her brother claiming a gold medal performance.

 
Germany's Social Democrats Meet Their Day of Reckoning
By E. Wayne Merry, The National Interest, February 10, 2018
 

Government formation in Germany is approaching a crunch point. The main center-right (CDU/CSU) and center-left (SPD) parties have reached an agreement on a new grand-coalition government, similar to that which preceded inconclusive national elections last September. The crunch point will be a referendum on that agreement by the dues-paying, card-carrying membership of the Social Democratic Party.

 
Iran's Uprising Pits The Country's Old Rulers Against Its Young Citizens
By Ilan Berman and Rachel Millsap, The National Interest, February 9, 2018
 

Last month, with mass protests underway on the streets of Tehran and other cities, one of Iran's most senior clerics inadvertently sparked an altogether different sort of international incident.

On January 8, Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, one of the country's most powerful officials and a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, traveled to Germany to receive medical treatment amid rumors of failing health. The visit prompted outrage from human-rights activists, and German authorities — under growing pressure from watchdog groups — contemplated bringing charges against Shahroudi for "crimes against humanity" for his role in directing the imprisonment and torture of numerous opponents of the Iranian regime. The sixty-nine-year-old jurist ultimately decided to flee the Federal Republic in order to avoid the fallout.

 
How Poland Is Stoking Anti-Semitism
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, February 6, 2018
 

After Israel's ambassador to Poland criticized that nation's bill to outlaw words that suggest Polish complicity in the Holocaust, a spokesperson for Poland's ruling party retweeted the comment that the ambassador's action "makes it difficult for me to look at Jews with kindness and sympathy."

 
A Turkish-American Divorce?
By Ilan Berman, Al-Hurra Digital, February 5, 2018
 

The United States "is an enemy country. It is a serious threat to our country's existence, its unity, integrity, present and the future. It is carrying out an open attack, and an undeclared war..."

Those aren't the words of the radicals of the Islamic State, whose "caliphate" has been dismembered by America and its international partners over the past year. Nor are they the views of Iran's ayatollahs, now facing a White House that appears committed to curbing their regime's global menace.

 
The U.S. And Turkey: Past The Point Of No Return?
By Svante E. Cornell, The National Interest, February 1, 2018
 

U.S.-Turkish relations have deteriorated for some time. But until recently, no one would have thought that the American and Turkish militaries, closely allied since the 1950s, could end up confronting each other directly. Yet in northern Syria today, that is no longer unthinkable.

 
Trump Believes In U.S. Power
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, January 31, 2018
 

In the national security section of Tuesday's State of the Union speech, President Donald Trump had a single, unifying message: The administration will confront America's international challenges with a realistic appreciation for the importance of U.S. power and leadership.

 
Russia Is Poised To Surprise The US In Battlefield Robotics
By Samuel Bendett, DefenseOne, January 25, 2018
 

No one would call Russia's government and budgetary bureaucracy particularly nimble, nor its defense industry particularly advanced. Certainly, it trails Western economies in such key areas as communication equipment, microelectronics, high-tech control systems, and other key technologies. But in certain aspects of the field of unmanned military systems, Russia may be inching ahead of its competition in designing and testing a wide variety of systems and conceptualizing their future use.

 
Freedom On The Wane
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, January 23, 2018
 

When Great Britain told the United States in February of 1947 that it could no longer protect Greece and Turkey, President Harry Truman and his top aides realized that America would have to step up to protect freedom or cede the Mediterranean and maybe Europe and other regions to the Soviets.

 
A New Approach To Iran
By Ilan Berman, U.S. News & World Report, January 17, 2018
 

The recent protests in Iran may be petering out, but the White House is ramping up its response to them. Last week, in tandem with his most recent decision to prolong the controversial 2015 Iran nuclear deal for another three months, President Trump opened a new front against the Islamic Republic by levying fresh human rights sanctions on a number of key regime figures and institutions.

 
What Trump Needs To Know To Reform US Broadcasting
By Robert Bole, The Hill, January 16, 2018
 

The announcement last week by Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), the powerful chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, that he plans to resign at the end of his current term in office will unquestionably have enormous ramifications for the shape of U.S. foreign policy toward Syria, Ukraine, North Korea and Iran, as well as a host of other topics on which the congressman has distinguished himself during his eleven terms in office. But Royce's impending retirement will be felt in another area as well: that of U.S. public diplomacy.

 
Unconventional Wisdom in the Middle East
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, January 9, 2018
 

Recent events across the Middle East put the lie to one of the foreign policy establishment's most enduring tenets of conventional nonsense: that Israeli-Palestinian peace is key to greater regional peace and stability.

 
What To Watch For In Iran's Turmoil
By Ilan Berman, The Hill, January 8, 2018
 

Will Iran's pro-democracy protests last? As the uprisings that have unexpectedly swept across the Islamic Republic approach their second full week, that's the question on the mind of policymakers in Washington.

 
Trump's foreign policy pattern is all bark and no bite
By Stephen Blank, The Hill, January 8, 2018
 

Recent foreign policy moves by the Trump administration disclose a pattern of thought and action that merits being seen in its totality. Towards the end of 2017 the administration released a vigorous national security strategy that not only labeled China and Russia as adversaries but also “took no prisoners” in asserting that the U.S. would act vigorously against challenges.

 
How Washington Can Influence The Outcome Of Protests In Iran
By Ilan Berman, The National Interest, January 4, 2018
 

These are heady days in Iran. For more than a week now, thousands of Iranians have rallied publicly against their government, demanding accountability, transparency and an end to the repressive clerical status quo. In the process, they have presented Iran's radical theocratic regime with one of the most profound challenges to its authority since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

 
How To Support The Second 'Persian Spring'
By Ilan Berman, USA Today, January 2, 2018
 

Could we see a new Iranian revolution in 2018? For nearly a week now, tens of thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets in various cities throughout the Islamic Republic in the largest mass demonstrations of their kind in nearly a decade. In the process, they have raised the tantalizing possibility that we might in fact be witnessing a second "Persian Spring."

 
Expect 2018 to be a year of living dangerously as global tensions rise
By Stephen Blank, The Hill, January 2, 2018
 

Anyone hoping to leave the turbulence of 2017 in the past will be in for a rude awakening. While we can’t know for certain what will unfold in the year to come, observable trends in several countries, including the U.S., give us a glimpse of what to expect in 2018.

 
The National Security Strategy Will Work
By James S. Robbins, The National Interest, December 28, 2017
 

President Donald Trump's new National Security Strategy codifies what has already been a noteworthy shift from his predecessor's worldview. It is the difference between "leading from behind" and actually leading.

 
NATO Next Steps: Upgrade The Role Of Finance Ministers
By James Jay Carafano and Herman Pirchner, Jr., The National Interest, December 27, 2017
 

Next year's NATO summit, slated to take place July 11-12 in Brussels, will clarify just how serious the member states are about recommitting to collective defense. The assembled heads of state will also be in a position to assess how effectively and swiftly the alliance and its individual members are implementing key decisions taken last year at the 2016 Warsaw summit and the Brussels "mini-summit."

 
New Security Strategy Could Signal The Beginning Of A 'Trump' Doctrine
By Lamont Colucci, The Hill, December 24, 2017
 

This week, President Trump formally unveiled his National Security Strategy. Much has been made of the Trump administration's ability to introduce this document (something required by Congress since the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act) in the first year of its first term, and for good reason. Trump's predecessors often struggled to articulate a coherent path forward on national security, and none have done so so quickly.

 
What Trump's New Strategy Means For The Middle East
By Ilan Berman, Al-Hurra Digital, December 21, 2017
 

Earlier this week, in a major address in Washington, DC, President Donald Trump formally unveiled his administration-s new national security strategy. That document - the first of its kind since 2015 - lays out a compelling and fundamentally different vision of American security from the one that dominated during the Obama era.

 
Emerging Technology and Security - Tables
By Richard Van Atta, Defense Dossier, December 20, 2017
 

Please use this link to reference the Tables in the November 2017 Defense Dossier Future of War issue article Emerging Technology and Security - Looking to the Future.

 
Directed Energy Weapons Table
By Howard R. Meyer, Jr., Defense Dossier, December 20, 2017
 
Please use this link to reference the Tables in the November 2017 Defense Dossier Future of War issue article Directed Energy Weapons and Modern Warfare.
 

 

 
Law Warriors Needed
By Ilan Berman, U.S. News & World Report, December 19, 2017
 

"The first thing we do," proclaims one of the characters in "Henry VI," Shakespeare's famous play about palace intrigue, "let's kill all the lawyers."

Over the ages, the phrase has become ubiquitous - and synonymous with popular disdain for what is widely seen as an elitist, out-of-touch profession. Yet today, the expertise of legal professionals is desperately needed to help the U.S. navigate the emerging geopolitical discipline known as "lawfare."

 
Red Robots Rising: Behind The Rapid Development Of Russian Unmanned Military Systems
By Samuel Bendett, The Strategy Bridge, December 12, 2017
 

Over the last five years, the Russian Federation has made great strides in designing, testing, evaluating, and fielding a variety of unmanned military systems, including land, air, and sea-based models. Russian media is full of announcements and analyses of the use and specification of what I call red robots, while Russia's foray into Eastern Ukraine and Syria afforded Moscow a rare opportunity to field and operate such machines in combat

 
America, EU, Japan: Time to Reunite Afghanistan With Central Asia
By S. Frederick Starr, The National Interest, December 12, 2017
 

With respect to Afghanistan, the United States, Europe, Japan, South Korea and the major international financial institutions are all caught in a time warp. Dating back a century and a half, this distortion today impedes Afghanistan's development as a normal country. No less, it helps isolate the other countries of Central Asia from a nearby major market, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, and pushes the other countries of Central Asia into a one-sided relationship with their former imperial overlord, Russia. It's time to correct this long-standing mistake.

 
Suspend Robert Mueller
By James S. Robbins, USA Today, December 11, 2017
 

The FBI has historically had a well-earned reputation for competence and integrity. The American people deserve no less when it comes to extraordinary investigations that touch the highest levels of government. Justice demands that these matters be pursued with the utmost honesty, probity and impartiality. However, evidence is emerging that special counsel and former FBI director Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, as well as the Hillary Clinton email investigations, have been fatally compromised by naked politics.

 
If the US does not act, the Caucasus will be under Russian control
By Stephen Blank, The Hill, December 11, 2017
 

Since the Black Sea and its littorals have become contested zones between Russia and the West, it behooves us to think cogently about U.S. interests in the equally important Caucasus and how to defend them. Our vital interests are the same as the 1990s, even taking into account major changes in the regional and global strategic environment. We want these states to remain independent, enjoy real sovereignty within their treaty-defined borders, remain at peace with each other and be open to international economic markets.

 
Reality In Jerusalem
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, December 8, 2017
 

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced that the United States officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. "This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality," he said. "It is right thing to do. It has to be done." He also said the U.S. will begin the formal process of moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the Holy City.

 
Beyond Super Soldiers and Battle Suits
By Richard Harrison, AFPC Defense Dossier, December 5, 2017
 

Science fiction is always fascinating to follow, because at least some of the ideas presented in the genre do become reality over time. The concept of "super soldiers" is a case in point. Although the protagonists in Marvel's iconic Avengers comic books (and now movies) are still a long way from being realistic, we are unquestionably trending in that direction. Thus, the character of Captain America is a soldier enhanced by the government using a special serum to make him stronger, faster and more resilient, while Iron Man is an operator encased in full body armor that affords him super human strength, advanced weapons, and extrasensory systems. Even though such enhancements are still a stretch, performance drugs, exoskeletons, and other new technologies are increasingly augmenting - and expanding - the capabilities of today's warfighters.

 
Egypt's Population Bomb
By Ilan Berman, Al-Hurra Digital, December 5, 2017
 

It's the most important Middle Eastern news story that no one is talking about.

Earlier this Fall, Egypt's state statistics agency, the Central Agency for Popular Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), formally released the
findings of its 2016 national census. The results shed important new light on the challenges now confronting the government of president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in Cairo.

 
US Would Be Wise To Prepare For EMP Attacks On Its Cities
By Ilan Berman, The Hill, November 29, 2017
 

Imagine that a hostile nation - say, North Korea - fires a nuclear-tipped missile at the United States. The missile detonates in the upper atmosphere above a major American city such as Los Angeles, releasing a cascade of charged electrons that damages and destroys all technology and electrical systems within line-of-sight of the explosion. Vital infrastructure on the country's Western seaboard is incapacitated. Large swathes of California and parts of Nevada lose power. Stores, social services and emergency functions that rely on electricity begin to break down, as disorder spreads and the death toll climbs.

 
Human Rights Hypocrisy
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, November 29, 2017
 

Seventy years ago today, with the Holocaust still fresh in the minds of global leaders, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to partition Palestine in two, with the goal of establishing one state for Jews to reclaim their historic homeland and another for the Arabs who were also living there.

 
Toward A New Uzbekistan
By Ilan Berman, U.S. News & World Report, November 22, 2017
 

You could call it "Extreme Makeover: Central Asian Edition." Today, among the five post-Soviet republics that make up the region, there are heartening signs of political dynamism and a newfound drive for integration.

At the center of these changes is the Republic of Uzbekistan, which has launched a far-reaching program to reform and modernize the state.

 
The Advent Of The UAV Era
By Chloe Thompson, Defense Dossier, November 21, 2017
 

Though Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, or drones) are now an essential part of the U.S. national security toolkit, military views of UAVs were less than enthusiastic when the technology first emerged. In the early days of drones, the most prominent roadblocks to widespread adoption by the armed forces were inconsistency in performance, spiking costs, and, perhaps more importantly, a significant lack of interest on the part of military leaders, who could not quite envision a tactical use for the technology and thus had little incentive to push for the investment that such systems required. Today, by contrast, UAVs are an accepted, even vital, part of military and intelligence operations.

 
The Advent Of The UAV Era
By Chloe Thompson, Defense Dossier, November 21, 2017
 

Though Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, or drones) are now an essential part of the U.S. national security toolkit, military views of UAVs were less than enthusiastic when the technology first emerged. In the early days of drones, the most prominent roadblocks to widespread adoption by the armed forces were inconsistency in performance, spiking costs, and, perhaps more importantly, a significant lack of interest on the part of military leaders, who could not quite envision a tactical use for the technology and thus had little incentive to push for the investment that such systems required. Today, by contrast, UAVs are an accepted, even vital, part of military and intelligence operations.

 
Iran's Imperial Project
By Ilan Berman, The Washington Times, November 21, 2017
 

Iran is on the march in the Middle East.

Over the past year, a steady drumbeat of news reports from the Persian Gulf, intelligence assessments regarding Syria's civil war, and firsthand accounts out of Iraq, Lebanon and beyond has pointed to an inescapable conclusion: Iran is erecting a new empire in the region.

 
Future Thinking: the Role Of Artificial Intelligence
By Zachary Lemnios and Michael Perrone, AFPC Defense Dossier Iss. 20, November 2017, November 18, 2017
 

The past several years have seen a remarkable transition of Artificial Intelligence (AI) from academia to practical use. This shift is beginning to transform every industry, is fundamentally changing many consumer services, and will have a profound impact on national security.

 
Iraqi Kurdistan: Post-Independence Referendum
By Christine Balling, Small Wars Journal, November 17, 2017
 

On September 25th, against the urging of the United States and other allies, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) held an independence referendum within the boundaries of its autonomous region and provocatively, without, in the city of Kirkuk. While the regional response was fast and furious, the United States did nothing, leaving the Iraqi Kurds at the mercy of a revengeful Baghdad: Erbil and Sulaimaniyah airports were closed to international commercial traffic. Turkey threatened to close borders and the Iranian and Iraqi militaries conducted joint exercises on the Iraqi Kurdish border.  Baghdad sent the Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Shia Popular Mobilization Front (PMF) militias to retake the disputed territories back from the Kurdish peshmerga. Then, on October 29th, KRG president Masoud Barzani stepped down and suspended the post of presidency, distributing control of the KRG to other branches.

 
Gaming To Victory: Synthetic Training For Future Combat
By Jennifer McArdle, War on the Rocks, November 15, 2017
 

It looked like a video game. From the comfort of a living room couch, with TV dinners in hand, families watched as precision-guided munitions rained down with seemingly perfect accuracy on Iraqi military and civilian targets. It was Jan. 17, 1991 - the start of Operation Desert Storm - and the combination of camera equipped high-tech weaponry and night vision equipment provided viewers an action-packed front-row view into the coalition's air war. What had seemed like science fiction was now a reality.

 
Directed Energy Weapons And Modern Warfare
By Howard R. Meyer, Jr., AFPC Defense Dossier Iss. 20, November 2017, November 14, 2017
 

In a 2009 article entitled "Technology and Warfare," Professor Alex Roland of Duke University wrote that "...technology, more than any other outside force, shapes warfare.”[1] In his article, Roland went on to explain how military technologies, while not being deterministic, open doors and provide opportunities - often referred to as 'opportunity space' in current military parlance - for the nations employing them.

 
A Saudi Shake-Up At Last
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, November 8, 2017
 

Saudi Arabia is in the midst of a long overdue housecleaning. The mass arrests of members of the government, royals and businessmen that have taken place in recent days are unprecedented in modern times, and the country's attorney general has promised that what has taken place so far is only "phase one."

 
The Russian War On Terror
By Ilan Berman, The National Interest, November 3, 2017
 

Which country ranks as the largest source of foreign fighters for the Islamic State's "caliphate" in Syria and Iraq?

That dubious distinction doesn't belong to a Middle Eastern state, despite the fact that countries such as Saudi Arabia have historically been major contributors of radicals to the Islamic State's ranks. Nor is it a North African nation, even though Tunisia had previously served as the preeminent supplier of fighters for the Syrian front.

 
President Trump Takes A Wise Middle Course On The Iran Nuclear Deal
By Ilan Berman, Orlando Sentinel, October 20, 2017
 

In his policy speech last Friday, President Trump did not scrap the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, as some prominent conservative thinkers had suggested he should. Nor did he simply leave the deal intact, as proponents of the agreement had previously counseled. Instead, the president charted a middle way intended to give America greater leverage over Iran's nuclear program and processes.

 
Trump Takes Aim At The IRGC
By Ilan Berman, Al-Hurra Digital, October 18, 2017
 

You wouldn't know it from the media coverage surrounding President Trump's October 13th speech on Iran, but the most notable element of the Administration's new, "comprehensive" strategy toward the Islamic Republic isn't its plan to revisit the 2015 nuclear deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

 
A Setback For Peace Prospects
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, October 17, 2017
 

Perhaps United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to congratulate him on the new unity deal between Abbas' Fatah Party and the terrorist group Hamas, simply didn't know what Hamas had said about it a day earlier.

 
Prague's Eastward Turn
By Ilan Berman, U.S. News & World Report, October 10, 2017
 

Since its emergence from the wreckage of the Soviet Union more than a quarter-century ago, the Czech Republic has consistently ranked as a success story of post-totalitarian transition. Unlike that of many of its neighbors in Central and Eastern Europe, Prague's path toward democracy has been more or less linear, cresting in the middle of the last decade when the country garnered the ranking of "full democracy" from the prestigious Economist Intelligence Unit. Today, however, Czech democracy is showing signs of erosion, while the country as a whole is in the process of making an alarming eastward turn.

 
Could Spain Go The Way Of Yugoslavia?
By Svante E. Cornell, The National Interest, October 5, 2017
 

In recent years, the European Union has been bogged down by one crisis after another - from Greece to the Euro to Brexit. But happily, none of these have endangered what has underpinned European integration since the late 1940s: securing lasting peace among European states. Europe has not been spared political violence, as residents of Northern Ireland and the Basque country can attest to. But to almost all Europeans, the notion of armed conflict within their midst is no longer even thinkable. While the Catalonia crisis is not destined to degenerate into large-scale violence, European and American leaders do not appear to take the potential for conflict seriously. They are mistaken.

 
Defending The Indefensible
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, October 3, 2017
 

Like an all-too-proud father rejecting a teacher's legitimate criticism of his child, former Secretary of State John Kerry is defending the U.S.-led global nuclear agreement with Iran that he engineered from the legitimate concerns of Iran-watchers in the Trump administration, Congress and the private sector.

 
Political Power Is Dividing a Germany That Was Once Unified
By E. Wayne Merry, The National Interest, October 2, 2017
 

All politics may be local, but the German national election reflected major trends in the political culture of a country at the center of both the European Project and the Transatlantic relationship. These trends need to be understood by Americans who casually assume that Angela Merkel won again. In fact, her party received one vote in three, hardly a mandate. More broadly, the election demonstrated the continuing fragmentation of political power in unified Germany, the sustained alienation of its eastern population from the political cultures of both Germany and Europe, and the increasing delegitimization of German political and economic elites.