Lessons in Global Security – Part 2

May 11, 2015

SSI_logoAbout this blog post series: In this two-part blog post, we review new publications from the U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute (SSI). As in “Lessons in Global Security – Part 1,” in this post, we continue our focus on SSI publications covering U.S. national security, public policy, and international relations topics. (Permission granted for use of Strategic Studies Institute-United States Army War College logo)

 The Saudi-Iranian Rivalry and the Future of Middle East Security

008-000-01076-5This monograph reviews the outlook of the Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, Lebanon, Israel, and Syria. Of these, Iran and Saudi Arabia are becoming the two behemoth forces in the Middle East. While Saudi Arabia has most control over Gulf-area Arab states and is a close ally with the United States, Iran’s closest Arab allies are Syria and the Palestinian territories that support Hamas and Hezbollah. The author presents several conclusions and recommendations for the U.S. policymakers to consider, emphasizing strategic interests as a way to bolster peaceful negotiations with Middle Eastern states, rather than persistent conflict over reform and democracy.

Recent newsworthy events relating to U.S. and Saudi relationship can be found in this article here:

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/kerry-hopes-win-pause-yemen-war-heads-talks-30839695

(Image is copyright-free from Yalibnan.com)

(Image is copyright-free from Yalibnan.com)

With the current events tie-in, these titles may be appropriate for high school global history classes as well as for university students with coursework relating to international relations and foreign policy arms control.

Legality in Cyberspace: An Adversary View

008-000-01108-7This Letort Papers series title highlights the differences in interpretation between the Euro-Atlantic nations compared to China and Russia’s views of international law in relation to cyberspace activity, including cybersecurity attacks, cyber warfare, and cyber weapons. The authors explore this issue from the Russian perspective to analyze and examine the legal status of various activities in cyberspace, including what constitutes a hostile activity.   The authors adequately present each side of the argument and confirm that to date an agreement on this expanding field of conflict has not yet been met.

US Army Cyber Command image

(Image compliments of US Army Cyber Command website http://www.arcyber.army.mil/)

Within the conclusion section, the authors present implications for U.S. policy makers to consider; including taking a closer observation of how Russia defines cyber warfare and information weapons.   After U.S. policymakers have determined Russian’s interpretations, they may be better equipped to strategizing their defense.

Students participating in cybersecurity and foreign policy programs may be interested in this text. Additionally, students pursuing a law degree may find this text informative for international law classes. Political scientists, diplomats, international law attorneys, intelligence community teams, and military strategists should keep this text on their bookshelf for referral for guidance about complex negotiations.

Army Support of Military Cyberspace Operations: Joint Contexts and Global Escalation Implications

008-000-01094-3This unclassified monograph examines past and present joint and Army cyberspace military operations, as well as how these operations may fit into the complex and dynamic sphere of international deterrence and escalation. It provides information about the founding and responsibilities of the military units that comprise the U.S. Cyber Command for offensive and defensive initiatives with network operations for protection of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) global information grid.   Primarily, these operations were developed to provide a deterrence to a nuclear threat, prior to the 21st century. Now these defenses are used to influence national response across the intelligence community and law enforcement as a method for deterrence and escalation to possibly reduce risk.

Military science and cyberspace or cybersecurity students may be interested in this text. Additionally, U.S. military personnel, U.S. international community, law enforcement, and historians may find this book useful in their operations.

(Image compliments of US Army Cyber Command website http://www.arcyber.army.mil/)

(Image compliments of US Army Cyber Command website http://www.arcyber.army.mil/)

The US Government Bookstore is receiving new print titles on a weekly basis from the US Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, so please check for future available titles on the topics of U.S. national and global security, cyberspace capabilities, combatting terrorism, and political science issues, such as international relations and foreign diplomacy, that will be added to this growing collection at this link: http://bookstore.gpo.gov/agency/1609

How can I get these new SSI publications?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy the following  publications (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov:

Order by Phone: You may also Order print editions by calling our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: This week’s blog contributor is Maureen Whelan, Senior Marketing Team Leader for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales program office in Washington, DC. Maureen oversees print and digital content dissemination strategy and manages third party free and paid content distribution through platforms and vendors, such as Apple iBookstore, Barnes and Noble.com, Google Play eBookstore, Ebscohost databases, Overdrive, and more.


Lessons in Global Security – Part 1

April 23, 2015

US Army War College Press logo

In this two-part blog post, Government Book Talk takes an in-depth look at several new publications from the U.S. Army War College. (Permission granted for use of United States Army War College Press logo)

The U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) recently has published a few very timely monographs with a primary focus on U.S. national security, public policy and international relations topics.

The Strategic Studies Institute conducts strategic research and analysis to support the U.S. Army War College curricula, provides direct analysis for Army and Department of Defense leadership, and serves as a bridge to the wider strategic community.

SSI is composed of civilian research professors, uniformed military officers, and a professional support staff. All have extensive credentials and experience. SSI is divided into three components: the Strategic Research and Analysis Department focuses on global, trans-regional, and functional issues, particularly those dealing with Army transformation; the Regional Strategy Department focuses on regional strategic issues; and the Academic Engagement Program creates and sustains partnerships with the global strategic community.

In addition to its organic resources, SSI has a web of partnerships with strategic analysts around the world, including the foremost thinkers in the field of security and military strategy. In most years, about half of SSI’s publications are written by these external partners.

Some of my personal favorites from SSI’s growing collection include the following titles:

Reviewing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). 9781584874447The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and IAEA have had frequent mention in the mainstream news media recently due to ongoing nuclear weapon development discussions with Iran, as well as increased tensions with the Soviet Union.

This book reviews the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) agreements that the United States has with many countries from an historical perspective. Although a bit technical in nature, this work does include an array of essays by different contributors that analyze different articles of the Nuclear Nonproliferation treaty and provide their insights to the reader.

treaty image

(Treaty image courtesy of http://www.state.gov/s/l/treaty/)

One area that was very beneficial to me is that this work defines the responsibilities of the International Atomic Emergency Agency (IAEA) and their practices for safeguarding nuclear programs, including coverage of nuclear program inspections. This book also contains insights about nuclear weapons treaties with other countries that are already in place with the USA and provides some background to those treaties. Additionally, this text explores how treaty agreements work, mentioning “Articles” within the treaty that often pertain to terms of conditions that each country should abide.

Many political scientists, historians, and diplomats may be familiar with this process, but many American citizens who are not routinely involved in negotiations with these diplomatic matters might benefit. Also high school students may be interested in this material to stay on top of current events for their global studies classes. University and Graduate students might be interested in this material as a supplemental text for courses, such as international relations coursework required for some political science degree programs.

Moving Beyond Pretense: Nuclear Power and Nonproliferation008-000-01098-6. This monograph focuses on the making of nuclear fuel– a process that is expensive and complex. The first section of this book features “Nuclear Proliferation Matters,” which covers the argument that nuclear weapons proliferation is more likely to occur with the spread of civilian nuclear technology and that such nuclear proliferation constitutes a threat to international security—certainly if there is nuclear weapons use, but even if there is not.

The volume’s second section, “Nuclear Power, Nuclear Weapons—Clarifying the Links,” makes the case that civilian nuclear power programs actually afford a major leg up for any nation seeking development of a nuclear weapons option.

The third section of this work covers the discussion on “How Well Can We Safeguard the Peaceful Atom?” and the question of how well the IAEA and the United Nations (UN) are likely to do their job enforcing the NPT in the future.

Each chapter within this text has a different contributor to the point of view, but the overall themes are maintained. Plus, some chapters include an analysis of specific Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Articles which are helpful to make their discussion points understood. Some of the contributors’ discussions indicate that the past historical events worked well in policy, but the implementations and enforcements of the policies seemed to be more troublesome.

Additionally, within each section, historical events relating to these discussions are presented to the reader to point out a sense of initiatives that will be needed to strengthen the monitoring for greater security.

This guide helped me to better understand the intense negotiations that the U.S. foreign diplomats and ambassadors in foreign countries must engage in with our allies and other countries to achieve the end result of greater global security.

European Missile Defense and Russia008-000-01109-5. This monograph provides the historical perspective that began with fear around the time of World War II and continued through the 1950s to 1960s regarding Russia’s expansion of their missile defense and nuclear weapons programs. This book also mentions and focuses discussions around the Ballistic Missile Defense Treaty and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense Program Treaty between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. (Russia).

Russian flag

Russian Flag

During the late 1990s, the United States became aware that Russia had started to sell some of its missile defense weapons to rogue states within the Middle East. These countries created another possible harm to the United States, rather than a direct attack from Russia. As a result, the U.S. began implementing missile warhead interceptors as part of their long-term defense plan.

The primary focus within the pages of this book is about America’s expansion plan to build missile defense sites in select European and Asian countries to aid in our national defense strategy and Russia’s adversarial challenges to this U.S. strategic plot. The authors have included primary source excerpts from actual conversations and speeches between world leaders that add to each of their points of discussion throughout this work.

(Images are copyright-free from copyright-free-images.com)

(Image of flag and this missile are courtesy of copyright-free-images.com)

Again, the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute has released a title with historical perspectives that can shed insights into today’s current events concerning U.S. and Russia missile defense program relations.

Undergraduate and graduate political science classes with a focus on comparative politics and U.S.-Russian relations may have interest in this book as a supplemental reading text or reference for research.

How can I get these new SSI publications?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy the following  publications (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov:

Order by Phone: You may also Order print editions by calling our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: This week’s blog contributor is Maureen Whelan, Senior Marketing Team Leader for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales program office in Washington, DC. Maureen oversees print and digital content dissemination strategy and manages third party free and paid content distribution through platforms and vendors, such as Apple iBookstore, Barnes and Noble.com, Google Play eBookstore, Ebscohost databases, Overdrive, and more.

 


Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

August 15, 2012

After watching Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s interview about the State Department’s release of their Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2010, I had to blog about this important annual publication.

Image: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presents latest Annual Human Rights Report (Read her remarks here.). Source:  State Department

In its 35th year for 2010, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices are Congressionally mandated reports produced by the U.S. Department of State that provide encyclopedic detail on human rights conditions in each of the 194 countries that are members of the United Nations.

The 2010 version available from GPO is a two-volume set that provides an overview of the human rights situation around the world as a means to raise awareness of human rights conditions, in particular as these conditions affect the well-being of women, children, racial and religious minorities, trafficking victims, members of indigenous groups and ethnic communities, persons with disabilities, sexual minorities, refugees, and members of other vulnerable groups.  Grouped by region, the country reports detail the situation in each member nation, and the set also provides an introduction and preface describing overall trends as well as detailed appendices.

What are Human Rights?

With the end of World War II, and the creation of the United Nations, the international community vowed to never allow atrocities like those experienced during the war to happen again. World leaders decided to complement the UN Charter with a road map to guarantee the rights of every individual everywhere, with the resulting document becoming The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

 Image: In 1950, on the second anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, students at the UN International Nursery School in New York viewed a poster of the historic document. Source: United Nations

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proposed 64 years ago next month and adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948. This defines the following universal human rights across all members of the United Nations:

Image: Universal human rights. Source: Jayara9re

The Best and the Worst List

The Country Reports also serve as a progress report in relation to previous years by outlining which countries are improving and which are backsliding as far as human rights are concerned. The 2010 reports praise Colombia, Guinea, and Indonesia for their marked improvements shown that year, and notes Ukraine for backsliding. Check the book for details on each country’s status.

Image: Human rights protestor in Syria holds sign in English aimed to worldwide audiences and media. Source: My San Antonio blog.

Three Trends Affecting Human Rights

The 2010 report discusses three important trends from the year including:

1)      Persecution of Vulnerable Groups: the continuing rise of violence, persecution, and official and societal discrimination of members of vulnerable groups, often racial, religious, or ethnic minorities or disempowered majorities;

2)      Repression of Civil Society and Growth of Advocacy Groups: the repression of civil society in different countries and the explosive growth of non-governmental advocacy organizations focused on a wide range of democracy and human rights issues and causes; and

3)      Rise of Web and Mobile Technology: “the dramatic growth of the Internet, mobile phones, and other connective technologies that allow instantaneous communications to billions of people across the globe.”

Further information on all three of these trends is more fully documented in the Introduction to this year’s report, as well as in specific country reports.

Persecution of “Vulnerable Groups”

The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2010 outlined the negative trend of the continuing escalation of violence, persecution, and official and societal discrimination of members of vulnerable groups, often racial, religious, or ethnic minorities or disempowered majorities.

In many countries this pattern of discrimination extended to women; children; persons with disabilities; indigenous; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons; and members of other vulnerable groups who lacked the political power to defend their own interests.

The report also notes that “often members of these groups were denied economic opportunity or the ability to abide by their social or cultural traditions or practices or were restricted in their ability to speak freely, to assemble peacefully, or to form associations or organizations.”

For example, the report notes that there is increasing exploitation of laborers and threats against workers for attempting to unionize in many countries, as well as increasing violence against members of the LGBT community.

Image: LGBT Human rights protestors in Honduras hold sign saying “Nuestros derechos también son humanos.” (“Our rights are also human.”). Source:  Ultima Hora (Honduras)

Civil societies rebel against repression: The rise of the “Arab Spring”

By the end of 2010 which is when this report finishes, the issues relating to repression of civil society were giving rise to the so-called “Arab Spring.” Maria Otero, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs at the U.S. State Department, noted that this report captured these conditions in Egypt and Iran that were leading to protests, and “some of the areas we are seeing changing in the Middle East as demonstrating the inability in those of societies of civil societies to express themselves as one of the problems that emerged.”

Tools of rebellion: The Internet, social media and mobile technology

One of the more interesting trends that added fuel to these rebellions was a key theme in the 2010 report, namely “the explosive way in which the Internet, mobile phones, and other types of types of technologies have emerged in order for different groups to be able to use them to promote democracy and to promote human rights.”

Image: Protestor holds sign that points out the importance of social media today to civil protests and movements. Source:  Linney Group

Smartphone-based social media such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs played a critical role in extending the reach of opposition messages, which was validated by the University of Washington’s Project on Information Technology and Political Islam which assembled and analyzed data from more than 3 million tweets, gigabytes of YouTube content and thousands of blog posts about Tunisia and Egypt prior to the crisis in each country.

Image: Protester in Egypt holds up home-made sign at a protest rally that mentions both Facebook and the Egyptian uprising organizers’ Twitter hashtag #jan25. Inspired by the successful Tunisian Arab Spring revolution hashtag, #sidibouzid, the Egyptian hashtag #jan25 stands for January 25, 2011, the date the organizers launched the Egyptian civil uprising in Tahir Square. Photo by Essam Sharaf.

Who should read this?

Maria Otero says the State Department team sees this report as a “way of providing credible thoughtful, analytical information to all of those people around the world, whether it is non-governmental organizations, universities, other governments who are specifically looking at this issue.”

But in addition to serving scholars, reporters and analysts looking at the past, Otero says the State Department uses these reports as a source of information for present and future U.S. policy making, and sees them as a way activists and policy developers in this and other countries can help their own governments identify and decrease whatever abuses may exist, while at the same time increasing their own capacity to protect and to address the issues of human rights in their own countries.

It shows that there’s nothing wrong with reading about rights!

HOW CAN YOU OBTAIN a copy of the two-volume set of Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2010?

  • Buy it at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm, except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.
  • Find it in a library.

To find more U.S. government reports and publications about human rights reports,browse our online bookstore and search on “human rights”.

About the Author:  Michele Bartram is Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division and is responsible for online and offline marketing of the US Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public.


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