31 July 2016   Leave a comment

The US Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have published the Joint Operating Environment, 2035 which is a projection of US strategic concerns through the year 2035.  It is a very long document but should be of special interest to those who are interested in questions of strategy.  The document is written in a very scholarly manner (it quotes von Clausewitz and Raymond Aron) and has a rather expansive view of important trends in world politics.  Some of the more important sections deal with the role of ideology and geographic and demographic changes.   One section addresses the future contexts for conflict and these contexts include:

  • 1. Violent Ideological Competition. Irreconcilable ideas communicated and promoted by identity networks through violence.
  • 2. Threatened U.S. Territory and Sovereignty. Encroachment, erosion, or disregard of U.S. sovereignty and the freedom of its citizens from coercion.
  • 3. Antagonistic Geopolitical Balancing. Increasingly ambitious adversaries maximizing their own influence while actively limiting U.S. influence.
  • 4. Disrupted Global Commons. Denial or compulsion in spaces and places available to all but owned by none.
  • 5. A Contest for Cyberspace. A struggle to define and credibly protect sovereignty in cyberspace.
  • 6. Shattered and Reordered Regions. States unable to cope with internal political fractures, environmental stressors, or deliberate external interference.

The level of generality in the document is quite high, but it provides a very good road map of what the Pentagon is thinking about.

The rise of right-wing extremism in Europe is an issue of concern to everyone.  The blog, Understanding Society, has an excellent review of some important research studies on nationalism and anti-immigrant sentiment conducted by European researchers.  The analysis is dispassionate and straightforward.

Yanis Varoufakis is the former finance minister of Greece who led a losing fight against the IMF, the European Commission, and the European Union to renegotiate the terms of Greece’s sovereign debt.  He has written an interesting essay which makes the argument that both Trump and Clinton are key parts of the economic crisis in the world: Trump represents a proto-fascist alternative and Clinton represents the neoliberal alternative.   Varoufakis makes the case for a third way–a progressive stance quite similar to that of Bernie Sanders–as a way of addressing the slowly degrading global economy.

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Posted August 1, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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