29 December 2012

India's Changing Afghanistan Policy: Regional and Global Implications

Authored by Dr. Harsh V. Pant

Added December 26, 2012 
Type: Monograph 
57 Pages 
Download Format: PDF 
Cost: Free 

Brief Synopsis 


Since 2001, the situation in Afghanistan has afforded New Delhi an opportunity to underscore its role as a regional power. India has a growing stake in the development of peace and stability in Afghanistan; and the 2011 India-Afghan strategic partnership agreement underlines India’s commitment to ensure that a positive momentum in Delhi-Kabul ties is maintained. This monograph examines the changing trajectory of Indian policy toward Afghanistan since 2001, and it is argued that New Delhi has been responding to a strategic environment shaped by other actors in the region. U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces are preparing to leave Afghanistan in 2014, and India stands at a crossroads as it remains keen to preserve its interests in Afghanistan. The ever-evolving Indian policy in Afghanistan is examined in three phases before implications of this change for the region and the United States are drawn. There has been a broader maturing of the U.S.-India defense ties, and Afghanistan is likely to be a beneficiary of this trend. Managing Pakistan and unravelling Islamabad’s encirclement complex should be the biggest priority for both Washington and New Delhi in the coming years if there is to be any hope of keeping Afghanistan a stable entity post-2014.

Orbis




Copyright © 2012 Foreign Policy Research Institute. All rights reserved 

Volume 57, Issue 1, Pages 1-196 (Winter 2013) 

Page ii
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Page iii
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Pages 1-4
Mackubin T. Owens

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Pages 5-19
Arthur I. Cyr
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Pages 20-40
F.G. Hoffman
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Pages 41-58
James L. Cook
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Pages 59-82
Lani Kass, J. Phillip “Jack” London
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June Teufel Dreyer
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Pages 101-119
Leslie S. Lebl
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Boaz Ganor
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Yoel Guzansky, Benedetta Berti
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Mehran Kamrava
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Dominic Tierney
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Review Essay

Pages 187-196
J. Furman Daniel III
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2012 in Review

2012 was an interesting year to look back on for PLAN and PLAAF. We saw the commissioning of No. 16 Liaoning carrier, the launching of the new 052D class destroyers, the first flight of J-31 fighter jet and what appears to be taxi-run and impending first flight of Y-20 strategic transport. Here are what I think are the 10 biggest story of 2012.

1. The Aircraft Carrier project:

Many of the PLAN followers have waited for the commissioning and the first flight off Liaoning for over 7 years. Since 2005 when ex-Varyag was first moved into Dalian shipyard dry docks for extensive work and painting of PLAN colours, internet forums have been buzzing with questions about when/if this ship will ever join service. The negotiation for 50 Su-33 and the application of the non-skid layer in 2006 further moved us to think that this ship will join service. However, what appeared to be extensive period of inaction in 2007 and 2008 made us question some of those thoughts. When it was moved to dry docks again in 2009, it appeared just a matter of time before this ship will enter service. Much of the outfitting of sensors and self-defense weapons were installed in 2010 to 2011. We even saw a replica of Liaoning in Wuhan. The sea trials for Liaoning started in August of 2011 and it officially joined service on September 24th of this year after 10 sea trials. We did not find out until later, but numerous touch-n-go had already been completed on this ship by that point. The monumental first take-off and landing with J-15 naval aircraft off Liaoning was completed by Nov 20th. More of the photographed take-off and landings of multiple J-15s were accomplished on Nov 23rd. All in all, this marked the completion of the first stage of the carrier project. Now, China begins the long process of developing a fully operational carrier group with its own naval aviation doctrines.

2. Emergence of type 052D class DDG:

While the wait for this was not nearly as long, many PLAN followers have been waiting since at least 2008 for an improved surface combatant to the 052C class. The relocation of JiangNan shipyard and indigenization of DA80/DN80 gas turbine (QC-280) delayed the production of follow-on units for several years. By late 2010, the 3rd unit of the 052C class was launched at the new JN shipyard. Many PLAN followers were disappointed over the fact that the new 052C had no visible external changes compared to the first two 052C. Over the next year or so, 3 more 052Cs were launched in JN shipyard. They are all in various stages of sea trials and fitting out at the moment. By August of this year, we had the long awaited launching of the much anticipated 052D class. As discussed in previous blog entries, 052D class is fitted with an entirely new generation of air defence and combat system. In addition, we saw the introduction of the Chinese version of MK-41 VLS that can launch different types of missiles and fit multiple missiles per launch cell. When we compared the overhead shot of 052D vs 052C, it appears that the size of the ships did not change much, but the new VLS and other weaponry have allowed more capabilities to be packed in the same hull. It appears that at least 4 052D are planned at the moment. Whether or not we will see more of this class depends on the development of PLAN's next generation of large surface combatants. 052D class is not only important in its much improved combat power versus the 052C class, but it's also very important in testing out this new generation of sensors and weapon systems that will likely be used by future surface combatants of different sizes. One thing to look forward to is the different missiles that will be developed and fitted into the new VLS. Another thing to look forward to is whether this will just be an interim class of 4 ships before a new series of surface combatant comes along or will this be part of a much larger part of PLAN's future.

America Goes Jousting

Our splendid military is all for show. 

U.S. Air Force Photo 

If the whole United States active-duty military, excepting strategic nuclear weapons, disappeared tomorrow in a puff of smoke, would Americans be less secure, more secure, or about the same? That the answer is not self-evident points to the biggest military secret of our time: conventional armed forces are following the knight’s road. 

Knights in shining armor lasted for several centuries after they had become militarily obsolete. In fact, the armor got ever more splendid (and expensive). What was it for? Show. It was worn for tournaments, which remained a popular form of entertainment at court. It was donned for portraits of kings and noblemen well into the 17th century. To the public, nothing said “military might” quite so loudly as a parade of men in beautifully engraved and ornamented suits of armor. 

My city of Cleveland, Ohio was honored by just such a grand entertainment in early June in the form of “Marine Week.” Each year, the Marine Corps picks a lucky city to host it. Uniformed Marines, all looking good, paraded about the town. Public Square was full of tanks, artillery pieces, and Light Armored Vehicles. Fighter planes screamed overhead, and for the grand finale the Marines did a full amphibious assault on Burke Lakefront Airport. Cleveland enjoyed the Marines, and to judge by those I talked to, the Marines enjoyed Cleveland. 

Deliberations of a Working Group on Military and Diplomacy


Author 
2013 

Publisher: Magnum Books Pvt Ltd
ISBN: 978-93-82512-01-1
Price: Rs. 195 [Download
About the Report 

The Indian defence establishment is confronted today with what is probably its greatest challenge since Independence. Besides being prepared to wage conventional war on possibly two fronts simultaneously, our Armed Forces need to be geared to undertake this under a nuclear overhang and within a technological environment that encompasses cyber- and space-based threats. At the same time, our forces will continue to be committed in dealing with the proxy war imposed on us, insurgencies and separatist movements, and possibly in due course, with the growing phenomenon of left wing extremism. 

There is therefore an imperative requirement for change that would enable us to adapt to the emerging situation. The archaic organisations and processes put in place on achieving Independence must undergo radical overhaul. 

Contents 

Introduction 

Section I: Restructuring the Ministry of Defence 
Section II: Deputation of Armed Forces Officers to MEA 
Section III: Pursuance of a Sound Defence Industrial Policy 
Section IV: Defence Cooperation 

Charge of the unenlightened brigade


Published: December 29, 2012
Vidya Subrahmaniam 

As the year draws to an end, we seem to be caught between an intolerant, insensitive government-political class and mobs baying for instant justice 

Rape Capital? Rage Capital? Delhi 2011 was completely and overwhelmingly defined by Anna Hazare and the milling, stampeding crowds that rushed after him, raising their fists and shouting “Vande Mataram” even as their messiah promised a “second war of Independence” to liberate the country from its corrupt, venal rulers. 

The images return as 2012 fades into another new year: Delhi’s VVIP avenues are choked with protesters who have breached security to reach Raisina Hill, the sanctum-sanctorum of the Republic. The outrage this time is over the unimaginably brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old and the target is the same government. The difference between then and now: Anna has vanished, and having evicted him and his Independence call from public memory, the regime has grown more muscle, more arrogance. 

Commonalities 

A future historian will surely record the commonalities between the protests. If the two periods could be captured in slide shows they would show anger as the primary emotion — anger directed at a government seen as crooked, self-serving and callous to the point of disbelief towards the ordinary citizen. But the slides would also show fury gone out of control, they would show lynch mobs with their cries of “hang them, kill them” overshadowing genuine, peaceful agitators asking for little besides their own personal safety. As in 2011, the mobs would show up on the streets, and perhaps in even larger numbers on social networking sites and Facebook accounts, seeking immediate, kangaroo court-style justice. In 2011, it was death to the corrupt, and a law (Jan Lokpal) with overriding powers and authoritarian shades. In 2012, it would be death to the rapists and a law that “must be enacted here and now” so offenders can be sent to the gallows with minimal due process. 

As in 2011, television channels — and some newspapers — would sensationalise the 2012 “mass anger,” projecting it once again as India’s “Tahrir Square moment” — implying thereby that street protests were enough to topple a shamed and discredited government. Of course, we know and they know that the moment would pass, a new distraction would take the place of the gang rape, and the government would live to fight another battle, if anything with greater confidence and bluster. After all, Team Manmohan’s handling of the gang rape protests suggested the perfection of a formula it had successfully employed against Anna and Ramdev. The government arrested Anna with no reason, and it set upon Ramdev’s rally with equally no reason. A year later, it would go after the crowds at India Gate with a sledgehammer, and earn further wrath by exploiting the death of a police constable. But crucially, none of this would matter because this government has been rude, unresponsive and has survived. 

India and Sri Lanka’s Civil War

By Pratyush 
December 29, 2012 

Last month the United Nations published a highly critical internal report in which it admitted it didn’t do enough to protect Tamil civilians in the final months of the Sri Lanka civil war. In late 2008, the UN had withdrawn staff from the northern part of the country in anticipation of the Sri Lanka government’s bloody military offensive against the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, more commonly known as Tamil Tigers). Tamil civilians had pleaded with the UN to stay at the time, but the international organization said it was unable to ensure the safety of its staff members. Still, the new report raises real questions about the international community’s response during and after the conflict. 

A UN report from last year, however, issued a damning indictment of the Sri Lankan government’s actions during the conflict, and called on Colombo to “issue a public acknowledgment of its role in and responsibility for extensive civilian casualties in the final stages of the war.” The UN believes that the final offensive alone may have resulted in more than 40,000 deaths. The senseless violence depicted in the UN report is also shown in the documentary, “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields,” which details the brutality of the war and suggests some Sri Lankan officials may have been complicit in war crimes. 

The international community has strongly condemned the Sri Lankan government for its refusal to allow an international investigation into these alleged war crimes. Along with the criticism offered by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper has threatened to boycott next year’s Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka. There is also a campaign underway in the United Kingdom urging its Prime Minister, David Cameron, to follow Harper’s lead. 

Deportation issues for Illegal Bangladeshi Immigrants

Issue Courtesy: Uday India | Date : 29 Dec , 2012 

Gadaharishpur Panchayat is a stunningly green and beautiful patch of land on the periphery of coastal Erasama Block of Jagatsinghpur District populated by Bengali-speaking Muslims, accused of being illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. The funny thing is that the settlers posses valid government documents—from electoral rolls with their fathers name in them to birth certificate, ration cards and judicial stamp papers signed by easily identifiable magistrates. Some even have land tax records, the most conclusive evidence of Indian nationality and live in government-sponsored Indira Awas Yojana houses, enjoying all sorts of government benefits. 

With these immigrants bearing a striking similarity in physical appearance and mother tongue with those of the locals who have migrated from West Bengal, it becomes a herculean task for the civil administration to keep apart the Bangla nationals. 

Unconfirmed reports estimate that the number of these infiltrators, settled in Garia, Suakunda, Ghasua, Patharkunda and Ahanda villages, is about 15,000. Moreover, in Paradeep port town and its adjoining Musadia and Sandhakuda villages about 5,000 illegal Bangladeshi people reside, but official reports put the number in Jagatsinghpur district to be 887—Erasama block 423, Balikuda block 167 and Paradeep Municipal Area 297. However in neighbouring Kendrapada District these Bangladeshi settlers are about 80,000, official reports said that as many as 1886 infiltrators had been identified residing in Patamundai, Mahakalpada and Rajnagar blocks in a survey conducted by the revenue department with police assistance in the year 2003. 

Frequent infiltration of Bangladeshis into coastal patches along the Mahanadi deltaic region, which has the country’s second largest mangrove cover, has become a matter of concern for the local administration. These Bangladeshi immigrants have caused serious threat to the rich mangrove cover—by destroying the mangrove forests they create homestead land for their living as well as for cultivation. Many of them have resorted to massive prawn farming in the region which is likely to cause ecological disaster in the area. They are also involved in counterfeit currency racket, and setting up illegal broadcasting stations for propagation of criminal activities of all kinds. 

How is India Doing (2012)?


Published: December 29, 2012
C. Rammanohar Reddy 
QUALITY OF LIFE: Close to half our children suffer from malnutrition, much the same as 30 years ago … for the large mass of India’s poor, daily life remains a struggle. Photo: AP 

In a 1982 essay, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen asked how India was doing and concluded that its progress was mixed. Revisiting the question 30 years later, C. Rammanohar Reddy notes the co-existence of change and changelessness that is India today. Everything that makes you shudder is here. So too everything that says the citizen will not give up the fight for her rights 

Thirty years ago, in an essay titled “How is India Doing?” (New York Review of Books, December 16, 1982) Amartya Sen took a synoptic view of where the country was. He concluded that while India was “doing quite well in many respects,” this progress was mixed and “had to assessed in the light of the persistent inequities, and the basic weakness of modern India that sustains them.” 

India’s politics, economy and society have changed hugely in the intervening decades. But when reflecting on where we are today, what strikes one is the change with changelessness that is India in 2012. 

What It Will Take to Secure Afghanistan

Policy Innovation Memorandum No. 23 
Author: Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies


Publisher Council on Foreign Relations Press 

Release Date June 2012 

Afghanistan is approaching a major inflection point in its long and turbulent history. In 2014 most of the foreign military forces are due to pull out. With them will go the bulk of foreign financing that has accounted for almost all of the state's budget. Twenty fourteen is also the year that Afghanistan is due to hold presidential elections. Hamid Karzai, the only president the country has known since the fall of the Taliban, has said he will not seek another term in office. Thus Afghanistan is likely to have a new president to lead it into a new era. This era will be shaped by many factors, principally decisions made by Afghans themselves, but the United States has the ability to affect the outcome if it makes a sustained commitment to maintain security, improve the political process, and reduce Pakistani interference so as to build on the tenuous gains achieved by the U.S. troop surge since 2010. 

The Problem 

The signing of a U.S.-Afghan Security Partnership Accord in April 2012 and the Chicago Summit Declaration in May alleviated some of the uncertainty about the post-2014 period—but only some. President Barack Obama and other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) heads of state agreed to remain committed in Afghanistan after 2014. However, the nature and extent of that commitment remain opaque. 

At times Obama has depicted the U.S. mission in Afghanistan in fairly narrow terms—designed, as he said in announcing the troop surge on December 1, 2009, to "deny al-Qaeda a safe haven," deny the Taliban "the ability to overthrow the government," and "strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan's security forces and government." The Chicago Declaration commits the United States to the more ambitious goals of helping craft "a democratic society, based on rule of law and good governance." However attractive the maximalist position, it would require an increased deployment of foreign troops and political advisers, and changes in Afghanistan's political culture, that are unlikely to occur. Yet even the minimalist objective, designed to prevent a return to power by the Taliban (which has consistently refused to renounce its long-standing ties with al-Qaeda and other transnational terrorist groups based in Pakistan and would be likely to provide them a safe haven in Afghanistan), will be impossible to achieve absent a substantial commitment. 

Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf’s Best Quotes

Dec 27, 2012

The general who commanded coalition troops in the first Gulf War was known for his straight talk as well as his battle prowess. The Daily Beast assembles some of the most pithy remarks of Norman Schwarzkopf, who died Thursday at age 78. 

America loves a tough, no-nonsense general with a few stars on his collar and patriotic and wise battle talk coming from his mouth. Such was the case with Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who became a legend after leading American and coalition forces to victory in the Persian Gulf War. The 78-year-old retired member of the military’s top brass was known for his inspiring quips and one-liners and his bluntly expressed opinions. We round up some of the most pithy comments from the general, who died Thursday of complications of pneumonia.

US General Norman Schwarzkopf (R) shown in a photo dated 24 July 1991 being decorated with the medal of Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor, the highest distinction awarded to a foreign policy figure by General Maurice Schmitt, who headed the French contingent to the allied operation against Iraq, at a ceremony at the Aubagne base, in Southern France. (Eric Cabanis/AFP, Getty) 

“War is a profane thing.” 

“The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.” 

“It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.” 

“The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.” 


“You learn far more from negative leadership than from positive leadership. Because you learn how not to do it. And, therefore, you learn how to do it.” 

“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.” 

Three months before his retirement in 1991, General Schwarzkopf told soon-to-be soldiers about the importance of protecting the nation. 

“Any soldier worth his salt should be antiwar. And still there are things worth fighting for.” 

“They didn’t want to go to war, they didn’t want to leave their families, but when their country asked them to, they did, because they thought it was the right thing to do.” 

“You can’t help someone get up a hill without getting closer to the top yourself.” 

No sex? Permission to speak freely, Sir.


By Laura Cannon, Published: November 24

Laura Cannon, a 2001 West Point graduate, is writing a memoir on her military service titled “War Virgin.” She blogs at WarVirgin.com.

West Pointers are human beings, even those with names such as David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell. I think I have the standing to make this declaration, because I’m a fellow graduate. West Point is long on molding military officers, but a bit short on humanity. Its mission statement stresses the intent to commit every graduate to a career of professional excellence and service, embodying the values of “duty, honor and country.” How does West Point do that?

Here’s how: Rules! Hundreds upon hundreds of rules that govern every facet of human conduct imaginable, including my favorite: no sex in the barracks.

Yes, to become a leader of character and serve my country well, it is imperative that I not have sex in my college bedroom.

Does West Point succeed in stifling one of the most basic of human urges? What about cadet couples who are in love and will one day get married and have families? Does the threat of punishment — namely having to spend a weekend dressed in full parade regalia, marching with a heavy rifle, back-and-forth in a confined area — deter them?

Not so much.

Whether it’s because love (or lust) conquers all, or because ambitious Type-A’s stop at nothing in the face of adversity, cadets soon become experts at evading the no-sex rule. West Point officially designates “Flirtation Walk” as the one area where cadets can enjoy romance. But who, with the exception of the die-hard infantry types who will go on to Ranger school, wants to trek outside, far from the cadet barracks, to do their “flirting”? (Plus, for most of the year, it’s freezing outside in upstate New York.)

So cadets engage one another in the parking lot, behind Battle Monument and in sports equipment rooms, among other places. Many grow tired of navigating these complicated logistics, and succumb to the comfy confines of their bedrooms, breaking myriad rules in the process.

Contemplating the Future of Social Media, Dark Networks, and Counterinsurgency

By: Sean Everton 

The spectacular growth in social media over the last decade, led by Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, and their potential usefulness have not been lost on insurgents and others using what we call dark networks.3 Over the last few years, such groups have increasingly turned to social media to communicate with and motivate their followers and supporters. For example, the use of social media by Egyptian insurgents during the Arab Spring is well documented,4 and other dark networks, such as the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia—Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA), have attempted to exploit their functionality as well. At the same time, authorities have been seeking ways to capture the information that dark networks share through social media. To date their efforts have yielded minimal returns, but there is good reason to believe that this could change in the future. 

"We use Facebook to schedule the protests, Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world." — Cairo activist, Egyptian Arab Spring2 

Speculating about the future is almost always a tenuous endeavor, and contemplating the interplay of social media, dark networks, and counterinsurgents is no exception. I'll limit myself here to discussing three of many possible scenarios: the use of social media by insurgents to communicate and disseminate information; social media's value for authorities who track and disrupt dark networks; and the ways both insurgents and authorities use social media to frame and reframe discontent. 

Communication and Diffusion 

Scholars have long highlighted the importance that communication networks play in the mobilization of insurgencies and other social movements. "For example, the communication channels that were long embedded in African American churches and historically black colleges were employed to help coordinate communications in the black civil rights movement of the 1950s and ‘60s;" more recently scholars have noted that the internet, satellite broadcasting, and cell phone technologies "have helped to mobilize and sustain various uprisings, protests, and insurgencies since the 1990s."5 Thus, it is not surprising that contemporary insurgencies, such as the FARC and the FSA, have turned to social media to help mobilize members and supporters. The FARC and some individual members have their own websites, while the group's commander, Timoleon Jimenez, a relative newcomer to the world of social media, recently issued a series of tweets attacking the Colombian government, less than two weeks before peace talks were to begin.6 Similarly,the FSA operates two Facebook accounts on which it posts information concerning its military operations; it also uses Twitter and YouTube to communicate with and disseminate videos to its followers.7 

Authorities have been seeking ways to capture the information that dark networks share through social media. 

Mining Twitter Data from the Arab Spring

By: Rob Schroeder, Sean Everton, and Russell Shepherd 

In this article we draw on social movement theory to help explain how the use of social media, in particular Twitter feeds, may have played a role in the emergence of the Egyptian Arab Spring revolution. More precisely, we suggest that activists' uses of Twitter may have facilitated the framing of grievances in ways that resonated with their target audience. In an examination of a subgroup of primarily Arab-speaking Twitter users, we found that not only did traditional media and activists appear to play a large role in framing the events in Egypt, but so did a fake Twitter account impersonating Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. This account's tweets attracted a large audience, and may have helped disseminate a portrayal of Mubarak as a corrupt leader who should resign, both of which were goals of the Egyptian revolution. 

People often assume that all that is needed for a social movement, an insurgency, or other form of collective action to emerge is for enough individuals to become sufficiently angry about a particular social condition. While grievances are certainly necessary for sustained collective action, they alone are not enough. As social movement scholars have noted, in most societies there are plenty of individuals who are angry with the status quo, but few become activists or engage in contentious politics.1 For a social movement or insurgency to gain traction, other factors need to fall into place.2 In particular, not only do individuals need to harbor grievances of some kind, but: 
  • the grievances have to be framed in such a way that people recognize they share them with others, and believe that together they can do something about them (i.e., insurgent consciousness); 
  • the aggrieved population needs to have access to and be able to appropriate sufficient resources so they do not have to rely on external support (i.e., sufficient mobilizing resources); and they need to perceive (whether correctly or incorrectly) that the broader socio-political environment is either vulnerable to collective action, or that it represents a significant threat to the group's interests or survival (i.e., expanding opportunities or increased threats). In isolation, none of these factors is sufficient to generate and sustain an insurgency. When they converge and interact, however, collective action becomes a possibility although, we should emphasize, not a certainty. 
In this paper we explore how the use of social media, in particular Twitter feeds, may have played a key role during the Egyptian Arab Spring of 2011. We focus on Twitter's role in the framing of grievances, but along the way we also note how it may have been used to attack some of the Egyptian government's vulnerabilities and as a communication network among activists. We begin with an overview of social movement theory, and explain the process of framing.3 We next consider how Twitter functions, and how activists and others used it during the Egyptian Arab Spring. We then examine Twitter data gleaned from the Arab Spring and what it possibly tellsus about its role in the framing process. We conclude with a few thoughts on the role that social media could play in facilitating the development of social movements, insurgencies, and other forms of collective action. 

The high cost of disengagement

By Walter Pincus, Published: December 27 

The United States has spent nearly $600 billion over the past 10 years putting combat forces into Afghanistan. Now it’s going to cost an additional $5.7 billion over the next year or two just to transfer or return most of the troops and equipment we shipped into that country, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office. 

The size of the withdrawal is mind-boggling. But with the “fiscal cliff” approaching fast, it’s worth taking a moment to realize that the costly Afghan operation is going on a credit card, along with the $1 trillion or more spent in Iraq.

Iraq and Afghanistan are the first U.S. wars in which the American public was not asked to pay a cent in additional taxes.

What were we thinking?

As I list the new expenses, consider who is going to pay for all this and when. Congress and President Obama are negotiating over increasing revenue and cutting spending, but the billions in Afghan withdrawal costs cannot be reduced and must be paid. Their payment will be considered next month when Congress faces an increase to the debt limit. 

Meanwhile, the Defense Department estimates that the military services have more than 750,000 major items worth more than $36 billion in Afghanistan, including about 50,000 vehicles and more than 90,000 shipping containers of materiel, according to the GAO report.

In fiscal 2011, the U.S. Transportation Command shipped 268,000 tons of supplies — more than 42,000 containers — into Afghanistan via its northern surface routes, which involve truck and rail routing through European and Central Asian countries. Those supply routes were developed after truck convoys from Pakistan were halted in November 2011 in response to the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

The Defense Department has three ways to dispose of its Afghan materiel: transfer equipment to another federal or state agency or a foreign government, destroy the materiel in Afghanistan, or return it to another Pentagon location. The United States has three Afghan sites and plans for a fourth where materiel is to be destroyed and 10 storage areas where equipment is to be inspected and prepared for transport home.

Military Review

January-February 2013


The complete edition as well as all articles are in pdf format. Complete issues may have large file sizes that may take some time to download. Individual articles can be accessed by clicking on the article title below.


Major Sean P. McDonald, U.S. Army
Leadership doctrine has not fully incorporated critical empirical data into its leadership model.

General Robert W. Cone, U.S. Army
Commanders will build the new culture of training for the next 40 years.

Colonel Thomas Boccardi, U.S. Army
The Army should move away from the muddy-boots culture and adopt a system of talent management.

Lieutenant Colonel Michael Hartmayer, U.S. Army, Retired
Lieutenant Colonel John Hansen, U.S. Army, Retired
Improving interoperability with future coalition partners is a vital investment in our national security.