In the first week of July I was fortunate enough to attend the annual Cyber Conference at Chatham House. Two significant trends became apparent, which enable the exploration of a long muted metaphor, of mine, for cyber-security: at the end of every episode of Scooby-Doo the ‘monster’ is unmasked and a human is revealed to be behind the incident.
There seems something incongruous about two recent pieces of news about the US and Drones. The first piece of news came in February as the White House announced its new policy regarding the export of military (including, and perhaps particularly armed) drones. Continue reading Get Your House in Order: On Drone Exports and US domestic anger about their use
I have always held a great interest in the naval arms race between Great Britain and Imperial Germany at the start of the 20th Century, which contributed towards the outbreak of the First World War. The theoretical ideas that underpinned this arms race are just as relevant to the issue of competing powers in today’s multipolar world.
On the 9th of April 2015 I went to see the Drone Documentary at the Doc House at the Curzon in London. I’ve been following the progress of the documentary by Tonje Hessen Schei for many months (noting the many awards it has received: Cinema For Peace award, Best of Fest, IDFA, Best doc at BIFF) and was looking forward to the opportunity not only to see it in full but also to the Q&A session with Hessen Schei and Chris Woods (a journalist who has researched and written extensively on the US drone strikes in Pakistan and who is interviewed in the documentary).
Watching global governance fail is a sobering thing. The 9th Review Conference of the NPT ended late in the evening of Friday 22 May with no final outcome document – no frank assessment of progress, no benchmarks, and no plans. At a time when there are serious fears that disarmament processes are in reverse, and strategic tensions between India and Pakistan and NATO and Russia are increasingly worrying, international society came up empty. Great power veto and the most narrow self-interest was allowed to ride roughshod over the interests of humanity and the security of the planet.
Fatal violence and political crises have recently drawn international attention to Macedonia. The deaths of 22 people in Macedonia on May 10th in a police operation allegedly against ‘terrorist’ Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army, and a continuing political crisis sparked by opposition allegations of wire-tapping, cover-ups, political control of the judiciary and electoral officials risk becoming the opening shots in another ethnic conflict in the Balkans. While the outbreak of violence may have come as a shock to many it may also be seen as an anticipated if regrettable result of the behaviour of the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and the stalling of the Euro-Atlantic integration process.
On a stairway above first avenue in New York City, opposite the United Nations, is a wall into which are carved the famous words from the Book of Isaiah: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. Neither shall they learn war anymore.”
The 9th Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) has now been underway for a week, at the United Nations Headquarters. The five-yearly “Revcon” is a crucial international meeting that has the aim of improving and strengthening one of the most important global security regimes: the nuclear nonproliferation regime.
The Swiss blog Offiziere.ch has recently published a piece by Paul Pryce, analysing the Brazilian Navy’s current endeavours whilst trying to figure out what bearing it is sailing. Pryce evaluates the ‘quiet expansion’ of the Brazilian Navy, and whilst he delivers a brief but sound level of analysis, he fails to deliver an accurate reading of some of the key underlying issues. These issues include the ‘military industrial compound’ dimension of the Navy, the often unspoken aspects of civil-military relations in Brazil and the competition for budget between branches.
In the growing literature about how to identify the presence or absence of trust, Keating and Ruzicka have written an extremely persuasive paper on the role of hedging as an indicator of a trusting relationship. Whilst the article provides an extremely important framework for analysing the dimension of hedging as an indicator of trusting relationships, however, it highlights a common problematic occurrence in the analysis of trust; the assumption that states are the primary referent for trust, and that states as a whole are responsible for any hedging behaviour.