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Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Tech Giants At The Crossroads

by Jon D. Michaelsvia Aegis Paper Series
Monday, July 30, 2018

Major technology companies find themselves at the center of two critical and vexing conversations. First is the digital public square conversation: millions of citizen-consumers wholly depend on these companies’ goods, services, and platforms to remain socially, politically, and economically engaged. Second is the deputization conversation: those same companies are often obligated to facilitate or intensify state surveillance over citizen-consumers. Thinking about the two conversations in combination—and thus viewing the tech firms as both victims and perpetrators in inherently unequal, imbalanced relationships—presents opportunities for a grand regulatory bargain that fixes the pair of problematic links in the broader chain of private-public relations. 

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An Intelligence Reserve Corps To Counter Terrorist Use Of The Internet

by Daniel Bymanvia Aegis Paper Series
Wednesday, July 25, 2018

This papers assesses the creation of an Intelligence Reserve Corps (IRC) to counter terrorist use of the Internet. US government agencies are poorly equipped to handle cutting-edge technological problems and they often devote resources too late, giving terrorists a window in which to exploit new technologies. An IRC, modeled loosely after military reserve programs, would bring in part-time government personnel with a technical background and increase private sector awareness of government needs. Many companies, however, would not support participation, and cultural and other differences are likely to limit progress.

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Iran On The Brink: Challenges And Opportunities For Washington

by Sanam Vakilvia Analysis
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

In this essay, Sanam Vakil assesses the four interconnected economic, regional, domestic, and nuclear deal challenges besetting Iran. These challenges have emerged due to renewed US pressure against Iran but also stem from Iran’s endemic factional tensions between pragmatists and conservatives and their ideological differences on how to best protect the Islamic Republic. Vakil also argues that the gravity of these challenges offers a unique opportunity to the Trump administration to move beyond its traditional containment policy toward a meaningful grand strategy to reduce US-Iranian tensions. 

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The Sorrows Of Egypt Revisited

by Samuel Tadrosvia Analysis
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Does Egypt still have a place in the US grand strategy? For many pundits in Washington the answer is a resounding no. From every corner of the US foreign policy community frustration abounds with Egypt. If, however, the United States is ever capable of understanding its troublesome ally and salvaging what remains of the US–Egyptian alliance, it must tread carefully, following Fouad Ajami’s steps, and approach the Egypt of reality, and not that of imagination. It must take a voyage to “a jaded country,” as Ajami called it, and visit the land of sorrows.

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Russia And The World of Islam: Within And Without

by Robert Servicevia Analysis
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Of all the world's great powers, Russia has the longest and most tangled experience of Islam at home and abroad. Muslims have led or taken part in revolts.  Chechnya is only the latest such rebellion against Russian rule. Tsars, commissars, and now presidents have had to contend with internal difficulties that are aggravated by external Islamic interference. They have also intervened actively in Muslim countries in the "near abroad" and in the Middle East. This makes for danger in world politics.

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Countering Islamism In The Middle East

by Dennis Rossvia Analysis
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Countering Islamism requires several elements. First is defining the term and understanding that Islam is one of the world’s great faiths and that Islamism is not a religion but an ideology of power and control.  Second is recognizing that radical Islamists seek to use that ideology to gain control for a violent, exclusionary, and expansionary agenda.  Third is realizing that radical Islamists are both Sunni and Shia.  The Sunnis, in the case of the Islamic State, must be defeated and the idea must be discredited—and only other Sunnis can do that.

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Strategy, Grand Strategy, And The Enduring War On Terror

by Hal Brandsvia Analysis
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The United States has now been fighting a global war on terror (GWOT) for nearly two decades, but the threat posed by extremist groups remains. This essay seeks to reconcile the strategic requirement of prosecuting an aggressive campaign against the most dangerous extremist groups with the grand strategic constraints that the United States currently faces. 

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The United States In Northeastern Syria

by Fabrice Balanche via Analysis
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The presence of the United States in northeastern Syria after the defeat of the Islamic State is justified in the context of the confrontation with Iran and Russia in the Middle East. However, by relying primarily on the YPG (People's Protection Units), an outshoot of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), Washington creates an existential threat to Ankara and pushes Turkey into the arms of enemies of the United States. The inversion of local power to the benefit of the Kurds and the disastrous economic situation strikes the Arab populations, who are turning to Damascus. That calls into question all the calculations made by strategists who are not interested in the deep reality of the territory that must support their actions.

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The Question Of American Strategy In The Indo-Pacific

by Michael R. Auslinvia Analysis
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

For much of its history, America had little formal strategy for the Pacific. Only with the rise of China and the vital economic role of Asia can one envision a US grand strategy with the Indo-Pacific region at its core. Yet just when Asia has become central to US global strategy, Washington’s influence and power in the region have been significantly challenged. US policy makers must formulate an effective and comprehensive strategy toward Asia that preserves stability and protects American and allied interests while managing a growing strategic competition between Washington and Beijing and the threat of a nuclear-capable North Korea. 

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Internet Platforms: Observations on Speech, Danger, and Money

by Daphne Kellervia Aegis Paper Series
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Policymakers increasingly ask Internet platforms like Facebook to “take responsibility” for material posted by their users. Mark Zuckerberg and other tech leaders seem willing to do so. That is in part a good development. Platforms are uniquely positioned to reduce harmful content online. But deputizing them to police users’ speech in the modern public square can also have serious unintended consequences. This piece reviews existing laws and current pressures to expand intermediaries’ liability for user-generated content. It discusses three ways that poorly designed laws can do damage—to First Amendment-protected online speech, national security, and the economy.

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