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February 2016

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Clack

George Clack is the former director of the State Department's Office of Publications, where he also served as creative director for the Internet magazine "eJournal USA." Previously he was editor-in-chief of America Illustrated, USIA's Russian-language magazine distributed in the Soviet Union. He currently teaches literature and social media at Johns Hopkins University and Howard Community College.


 

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American Diplomacy Links—February 2016     

"Trump’s America"
Trumpism will not fade away if Donald Trump fails to win the Republican nomination. It is an expression of the legitimate anger that many Americans feel about the course that the country has taken, the end game of a process that has been going on for a half-century: America’s divestment of its historic national identity.
By Charles Murray, AEI Publications and the Wall Street Journal. Murray is a political scientist, author, and libertarian. Among his books are Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950-1980  and The Bell Curve: intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. 
http://www.aei.org/publication/trumps-america/

"Work with the Russians on Syria"
It’s important to remember that this is not the Cold War, and not every conflict is zero-sum. Some Russian objectives in Syria conflict with U.S. objectives, but others are neutral and some are congruent with American interests.
By Paul R. Pillar, the National Interest. Pillar is a nonresident senior fellow at the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University and a nonresident senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution.  He is a contributing editor to the National Interest.
http://www.nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/work-the-russians-syria-15184

"Putin Is No Ally Against ISIS"
The leaders of the United States and the European Union are making a grievous error in thinking of Russia as a potential ally in the fight against the Islamic State. Putin’s primary aim currently is to foster the EU’s disintegration, and the best way to do so is to flood the EU with Syrian refugees.
By George Soros, Project Syndicate. Soros, a pioneer of the hedge-fund industry, is chairman of Soros Fund Management and chairman of the Open Society Foundations.
http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/putin-no-ally-against-isis-by-george-soros-2016-02

"How Wars End"
This review of Pierre Razoux’s book The Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s has lessons for the current conflict in Syria.  How can a war end if the participants don’t want to stop fighting? One answer:   there won’t be any diplomatic progress until the proxy war throughout the region between Iran and Saudi Arabia is dealt with. 
By Joost Hiltermann, the London Review of Books. Hiltermann is Middle East and North Africa programme director at the International Crisis Group and the author of A Poisonous Affair: America, Iraq and the Gassing of Halabja.
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n03/joost-hiltermann/chemical-wonders

"Cyber Propaganda"
From how to start a revolution to how to beat ISIS - scholarly articles on the role social media played in Ukraine’s Euromaiden movement, propaganda in an age of social media, and responses to ISIS propaganda.
By Peter Pomerantsev, Katrina Elledge, David Patrikarakos, and Charlie Winter. The Legatum Institute’s "Beyond Propaganda" series in its Transitions Forum. Pomerantsev is a senior fellow at the Legatum Institute in London and the author of Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible; Elledge is a U.S. Defense Department analyst; Patrikarakos is the author of Nuclear Iran: The Rise of the Atomic State; and Winter is a senior research associate at Georgia State University’s Transcultural Conflict & Violence Initiative
https://lif.blob.core.windows.net/lif/docs/default-source/publications/cyber-propaganda-2015-final-pdf.pdf

"Let’s Design Social Media That Drives Real Change"
Wael Ghonim helped touch off the Arab Spring in his home of Egypt by setting up a simple Facebook page. As he reveals, once the revolution spilled onto the streets, it turned from hopeful to messy, then ugly and heartbreaking. And social media followed suit. Ghonim asks: what can we do about online behavior now? How can we use the Internet and social media to create civility and reasoned argument?
By Wael Ghonim, TED Talk video on YouTube. Ghonim is an Egyptian activist and former Google engineer, who became an international figure during Egypt’s pro-democracy demonstrations in Tahrir Square in 2011.
https://www.ted.com/talks/wael_ghonim_let_s_design_social_media_that_drives_real_change

"America’s New Plan To Fight ISIS Online"
The State Department will diversify its one-way approach, while other agencies reach out to Silicon Valley.
By Patrick Tucker, Defense One. Tucker is technology editor for Defense One. He’s also the author of The Naked Future: What Happens in a World That Anticipates Your Every Move? 
http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2016/01/americas-new-plan-fight-isis-online/125043/

"Why the U.S. Can’t Make a Magazine like ISIS"
The propaganda success of ISIS isn’t just online. Its magazine, Dabiq, is read all over the world. If only the U.S. government were so creative and effective.
By William McCants and Clint Watts, the Daily Beast. McCants, a former U.S. State Department senior adviser for countering violent extremism, directs the project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at the Brookings Institution. His new book is The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State. Watts, a former U.S. Army infantry officer and FBI Special Agent on a Joint Terrorism Task Force, is a Robert A. Fox Fellow in the Foreign Policy Research Institute's Program on the Middle East.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/01/11/why-the-u-s-can-t-make-a-magazine-like-isis.html

"Predators on the Frontier"
In much of the world rivals of the United States are modernizing their military forces, grabbing strategic real estate, and threatening vulnerable U.S. allies. Their goal is not just to assert hegemony over their neighborhoods but to rearrange the global security order as we have known it since the end of the Second World War.
By A. Wess Mitchell and Jakub Gruygiel, the American Interest. Mitchell is president and co-founder of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), a U.S. foreign policy institute dedicated to the study of Central and Eastern Europe. Grygiel is the George H. W. Bush Associate Professor at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of Great Powers and Geopolitical Change.
http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/02/12/predators-on-the-frontier/

"Looking for Moderates in All the Wrong Places"
A reported C.I.A. study has found that sending U.S. money and arms to local proxies in conflicts across the world "rarely works." Whatever the administration is thinking about combating the spread of ISIS in Libya, it has failed to learn at least five important lessons from the experiences in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
By Trevor Thrall, Real Clear Defense.  Thrall is a senior fellow for the Cato Institute’s Defense and Foreign Policy Department, an associate professor at George Mason University in the Department of Public & International Affairs, and the director of the graduate program in biodefense.

"Silencing Critics of Israel"
In response to recent speeches by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, and U.S. Ambassador Daniel Shapiro, Israeli officials unleashed a torrent of abuse. They view even mild criticism as an existential threat. This overreaction harms our political discourse, damages the effort to combat real anti-Semitism, and, because it enables destructive Israeli policies, makes a just peace a near unattainable goal.
By James Zogby, LobeLog. Zogby is the president of the Arab American Institute in Washington, D.C.

 "Carter Unveils Budget Details; Pentagon Requests $582.7 Billion"
In a speech outlining Pentagon budget priorities for fiscal year 2017, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the requested funding reflects the challenges of threats from insurgents as well as those from "near-peer" nations like China and Russia.
By Aaron Mehta, Defense News. Mehta is the senior Pentagon correspondent with Defense News.
http://www.defensenews.com/story/breaking-news/2016/02/02/carter-unveils-budget-details-pentagon-requests-5827b-funding/79686138/

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