Browsing All Posts published on »June, 2010«

RollingStan: the next stage

June 30, 2010

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A whole new meaning to RollingStan (hat-tip to Alan Tindal, my now ex-housemate unfortunately, who made this for me)

Cameron and Afghanistan: the importance of institutions and rhetoric

June 30, 2010

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Has anything changed in our approach to Afghanistan with a change of government? Sayeeda Warsi, a minister and Chairwoman of the Conservative Party, has denied that the Prime Minister David Cameron has produced only rhetoric about the conflict and not a change in policy from Labour. Unlike under the last government, our goals in Afghanistan […]

RollingStan and civil-military relations

June 29, 2010

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Andrew Bacevich and Bernard Finel are like Nietzsche; they make me think, but often the opposite of what they want me to think. They have both written pieces about civil-military relations, focussing on the controversy surrounding Stanley McChrystal’s Rolling Stones profile. Bacevich argues that long wars ‘are antithetical to democracy’; protracted conflicts encourage praetorianism in […]

And on a lighter note, Otto von Bismarck…

June 23, 2010

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If only President Obama was this adept at using the military for policy objectives…

‘Quick and Dirty’: Obama, McChrystal and Petraeus

June 23, 2010

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At Permissible Arms, Karaka describes President Obama’s press conference today dismissing McChrystal as ‘quick and dirty’. It’s a phrase that can be used to describe the whole episode, like a fight which everyone involved feels embarrassed about afterwards. A good commander has been dismissed because of poor judgement; an administration has been humiliated by some […]

Should McChrystal go? (Updated)

June 22, 2010

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Stanley McChrystal has committed one of the worst crimes in politics, he’s told the truth. His comments on the Obama administration and its approach to Afghanistan confirm stories coming out both the country and Washington since last autumn. But the problem is that McChrystal is a soldier and not an elected politician, which raises questions […]

Just when I thought I was out…

June 15, 2010

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As with Israel, I’ve been wanting to move the blog away from Afghanistan for a bit, partly to broaden its horizon and also because I’m supposed to be writing an article on it. But this is a good brief piece about Britain in Helmand 2006-2010 (not exactly an “anatomy”, as the title suggests). Although there […]

Primat der Innenpolitik

June 14, 2010

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I had wanted to move this blog quietly away from Israel for a bit to broaden its horizon, but I’m drawn back by this poll on the flotilla incident. To me, it illustrates a few things. Those Israelis polled have seemingly divorced the use of force from strategy, which is highlighted by three of the […]

The Man with No Name, the greatest strategist since…?

June 14, 2010

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Apparently, an inspiration behind neoconservatism was old Westerns; an upright outsider appears in a town terrorised by lawless men and, through a mixture of moral conviction and firepower, restores law and order to the decent inhabitants. What does it say about my approach to international relations then if I prefer Sergio Leone films? I finally […]

What the Hell is strategy, anyway?

June 12, 2010

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The goal of this blog is meant to help people think strategically about foreign affairs, but this goal isn’t furthered if I touch on strategy indirectly and within specific contexts. If readers don’t know what I mean by ‘strategy’, how can I expect them to see things from my perspective? So I want to try […]

Quote(s) of the Day: Tamil Tigers (Updated)

June 8, 2010

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From an episode of BBC HARDtalk, looking at the defeat of the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) in northern Sri Lanka last year. Stephen Sackur: “Isn’t the truth that many Tamil civilians died in the days of April and May 2009 because you, in the Tamil Tigers, would not let them escape? You forced them to stay […]

Arguing Afghanistan: Rory Stewart and Military Orientalism

June 8, 2010

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As readers might’ve guessed, opponents of the campaign in Afghanistan are a nuisance of mine, from anti-war protestors who think because the country is hot and Muslim it must be like Iraq to more serious critics like Adam Holloway. The problem is not their position, which is valid, but the disingenuous arguments they use to […]

Arguing Afghanistan

June 4, 2010

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I was lucky to get onto a discussion panel in March debating whether or not British troops should be withdrawn from Afghanistan, which was hosted by the university International Affairs Society. One of the speakers against withdrawal, Con Coughlin of The Daily Telegraph, dropped out at the last minute and I grasped the opportunity to […]