Threats in the Age of Obama: 100 days into a presidency

I wrote a chapter for a book called “Threats in the age of Obama” that was edited by Michael Tanji and there were many superior authors included Dan tdaxp, Christopher Albon, Matt Armstrong, Matthew Burton, Molly Cernicek, Christopher Corpora, Shane Deichman, Adam Elkus, Matt Devost, Bob Gourley, Art Hutchinson, Tom Karako, Carolyn Leddy, Adrian Martin, Gunnar Peterson, Cheryl Rofer, Mark Safranski, Steve Schippert, Tim Stevens, and Shlok Vaidya. My chapter was on the rise of non-state actors and the issues of nation states dealing with non-state actors titled funny enough as “The issues of non-state actors and the nation state”. The question is how has the ideas held up, did I get anything right, was there anything surprising?

So far I believe my chapter is not only holding up being proven extensively. Though I discussed in depth the ideas of domestic non-state actors the thread runs true. Non-state actors have featured extensively in the first 100 days of the Obama administration with the advent and escalation of the Somali pirates. It is not to much of a stretch to see that the United States and the rest of the world has had difficulty dealing with the pirates. The rules of war, intra-national conflict, non-state actors, and other issues have left the world reeling unable to deal with the pirates effectively. The machines of war (battleships and troops) are ineffective tools for wide scale interdiction of piracy.

I would say that I am surprised that primarily the United States and the French stand head and shoulders above the rest of the world. So far the French and United States are the only nations to use military force to end hostage situations or piracy. Other nations have been engaging in catch and release piracy interdiction. I would not have seen the French responding so resolutely. The rise of Al Queda in Pakistan was already well moving forward when I wrote the chapter. So it was not surprising that we would shift focus, but what was surprising was to until recently so little furor from Pakistan. The recent intelligence analysis released from Homeland Security detailed left and right wing domestic recruitment strategies. Castigated, retracted, and likely sacked the analysts who put those estimates together have a point. Domestic terrorism is a rising issue in a time of economic turmoil.

Finally I think the chapter is holding up due to the increasing utilization of low intensity conflict. Though there is a tickling of China waking and Russia building the economic recession has muted many trans-national conflict scenarios. The non-state actor continues to be the primary adversary. Check out of the book if you get time. My fellow authors were on to a few things. The chapter by Christopher Albon “Infectious diseases, foreign militaries, and US national security” has an interesting intersection with the Swine Flu outbreak in Mexico, the raging narco-insurgency as non-state actors coupled United States national security interests. So, not only are some of the chapters ideas being realized there are correlations between the chapters.

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