Updated on Tuesday, June 3, 2008 at 16:46 by CTLab
While fundamentalist jihadi leaders decry the ills of modernity and globalization, they surely know how to exploit modern, global media and communication for their propaganda - in favor of turning back the clock of history to times past. Benjamin Barber's important mid-1980s book Jihad vs. McWorld attached the “jihad” label not specifically to Muslim fundamentalists but to other religious and secular anti-globalization/modernization extremists as well; he concluded that the two sides need each other in spite of the deep gap between them.
Once upon a time, Karl Marx assigned power to those who own the means of production. Today it's safe to say that power is in the hands of those who either own the means of communication or otherwise manage to communicate their messages directly to their target publics. Governments and influential interest groups have always understood this, and so have terrorists. This point was once again driven home in the latest clash between the Lebanese government and its backers and Hezbollah, the terrorist organization that has actually grown into a mighty guerilla and de facto ruling force.
I just fired off two paper abstracts/proposals to the Small Wars and Insurgencies Working Group. It's organizing conference panels for the British International Studies Association meeting at the University of Exeter in December 08, and the International Studies Assocation meeting in New York in early 09. I thought I'd take a risk and post them here, as well, in the hopes of generating some feedback and discussion. The first, for the BISA conference, is an extension of the CTLab's raison d'etre, the second, for ISA, extends things a bit further. There's some contextual overlap between the two,
What word or phrase best describes the state of Somalia? Iraq? The Democratic Republic of Congo? The Solomon Islands? All of these have been described as ‘failed’ states, although the buzzword among policymakers these days seems to be ‘fragile’ states. What we call them is more than just playing with words. Words shape ideas.
It's useful to think of the problem of statehood in historical context. The current international order was established in 1945 amid the rubble left by a world war. When the United Nations was founded in that year it had 51 member states
[Brian Glyn Williams] As an historian who has carried out field work for the US government in Afghanistan, my feelings are that this debate about the morality of human terrain is a storm in a tea-pot. Anthropologists, political scientists, historians, and of course scientists of all backgrounds have contributed to US understanding of the wars it has fought in