FM newswire for April 16, interesting articles about geopolitics

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis. If you find this useful, pass it to a friend or colleague.

  1. We have the best government money can buy:  “Lawmakers Regulate Banks, Then Flock to Them“, New York Times, 13 April 2010
  2. Not Your Father’s Oil Shock“, Economic Synopses, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, 15 April 2010
  3. He who protects everything, protects nothing (but gets a tyrannical government as a bonus):  “U.S. Terror Targets Unprotected, According to Former CIA Official“, ProPublica, 15 April 2010
  4. The secret war – and the hidden lair of the Taliban“, Patrick Cockburn, The Independent, 16 April 2010 — “He investigates the insurgents’ mountain hideaway – and a little-known conflict that has killed thousands.”
  5. A moving first person report from Afghanistan:  “The Path to Yaghestan“, Elliott D. Woods, Virginia Quarterly Review, Spring 2010 — “In the remote mountain villages of Afghanistan, fighting factionalism may be like fighting gravity.”

 Today’s feature news

(6)  Why propaganda succeeds:  “When Corrections Fail: The persistence of political misperceptions“, Brendan Nyhan (U Micigan) et al, Political Behavior, 30 March 2010 — Abstract:

An extensive literature addresses citizen ignorance, but very little research focuses on misperceptions. Can these false or unsubstantiated beliefs about politics be corrected? Previous studies have not tested the efficacy of corrections in a realistic format. We conducted 4 experiments in which subjects read mock news articles that included either a misleading claim from a politician, or a misleading claim and a correction. Results indicate that corrections frequently fail to reduce misperceptions among the targeted ideological group. We also document several instances of a “backfire effect” in which corrections actually increase misperceptions among the group in question.

(7)  “Afghanistan: Searching for Political Agreement“, Gilles Dorronsoro, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 2010 — Summary:

“Coalition strategy in Afghanistan has reached an impasse: tactical successes will not defeat the Taliban while Pakistan offers sanctuary, nor can security be “Afghanized” by a government that lacks legitimacy and is irreparably unpopular. A less costly—both in lives and money—and more effective option would be a negotiated agreement with the Taliban that paves the way for a unity government.”

(8)”Joint Operating Environment 2010“, Joint Forces Command, released 18 February 2010 — One of the few attempts to present a wide forecast of changes in our world.

In the broadest sense, the Joint Operating Environment examines three questions:

  • What future trends and disruptions are likely to affect the Joint Force over the next quarter century?
  • How are these trends and disruptions likely to define the future contexts for joint operations?
  • What are the implications of these trends and contexts for the Joint Force?

By exploring these trends, contexts, and implications, the Joint Operating Environment provides a basis for thinking about the world over the next quarter century. Its purpose is not to predict, but to suggest ways leaders might think about the future.

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