Research Program

Friday Links

  1. Surviving the pandemic, reading Late Victorian Holocausts.
  2. Trump’s social media executive order is just for show.
  3. Building a modern military: the force meets geopolitical realities.
  4. The Good Web Project.
  5. Why the United States will need a new foreign policy in 2020.
  6. How innovation works, with Matt Ridley.
  7. The wealth of generations, with special attention to the millennials.
  8. The end of the backlash to big tech.
  9. Can Christopher Nolan save the summer?
  10. There is only one way we can prevent economic ruin.
Research Program

Thursday Links

  1. Tyler Cowen reviews Stephanie Kelton’s MMT book The Deficit Myth.
  2. Could Donald Trump be re-elected by a major economic turnaround?
  3. Companies reducing their reliance on China must deal with currency volatility.
  4. US says Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China.
  5. How Estonia has moved its government services online.
  6. Will the US face an arms race with Russia and China?
  7. The right-wing legal network now pushing conspiracy theories.
  8. A graduate student solves the epic Conway Knot problem.
  9. What will post-pandemic warfare look like?
  10. Calculating the costs of declining industries.
Research Program

Pop & Silber on Iran/Hezbollah

Hezbollah is one of the terrorist organisations that I identified in my PhD that likely had a viable strategic subculture. Ioan Pop and Mitchell D. Silber have some new insights in a recent article for Studies in Conflict & Terrorism:

Tensions between the United States and Iran/Hezbollah have been on the rise since 2018 when the U.S. administration withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal. These tensions spiked in January 2020 when U.S. strikes killed Qassem Soleimani the leader of Iran’s IRGC-Quds Force. Furthermore, there is mounting evidence that in recent years, Iran and Hezbollah have sought to create a sleeper network in the U.S. and Western Europe, which could be activated to launch attacks as part of a retaliatory attack. This paper assesses Iran and Hezbollah pre-operational modus operandi in the West derived from court documents and open source reporting of recent arrest of Hezbollah and Iranian agents in the US and abroad. It sheds lights on the recruitment, training, and placement of these agents and the intricacies of their past operations. While it is impossible to predict when, where or how Iran/Hezbollah might retaliate as retribution for Soleimani’s killing, this article argues that there is growing number of indicators and warning signs for a possible attack in the U.S. or against U.S. interests abroad.

Research Program

Farrell on Military Adaptation

Professor Theo Farrell has a new article in the Journal of Strategic Studies on military adaptation in Afghanistan. Here’s the abstract:

Existing studies focus on explaining how militaries adapt in different ways to the challenges of war. However, organisation theory suggests that competition and normative pressure will lead overtime to convergence within particular business and policy sectors, as optimal ways of organizing and operating are learned and emulated. I examine this dynamic in the context of the conflict between the Afghan Taliban and the British Army. That there should be convergence in modes of operation or organizational form between these two very different opponents seems most improbable. Yet, as this article shows, convergence did occur as the conflict wore on.

Farrell’s convergence hypothesis has implications for Blue Team versus Red Team strategic cultures: adversaries and enemies can be closely studied and mirrored in terms of their organisational design (or strategic subcultures).

Research Program

Two New Research Projects

Monash University conferred my political science PhD on 29th April 2020.

I am now focusing on the following two new research projects:

Project 1Formal Models for Strategic Culture, Foreign Policy and Crisis Decision-Making: this project will develop new formal models and process tracing tests of strategic culture (the use of force) to inform decision-makers in defence and foreign policy institutions.

Project 2 – Computational Strategic Culture and Decision Elite Subgroups: this project will integrate computational social science methods (such as agent-based modelling) with the corpus of fourth generation literature and the study of decision elite subgroups (in terrorist organisations, and in the political economy context of hedge funds, central banks, and white collar crime).

I also have recently launched a subscription-based newsletter on my research program.