Category: Robert Farley
My latest at the Diplomat surveys some of the latest lit on how the Cuban Missile Crisis affected Chinese domestic politics:
Cuba provided an ideal arena for sparring between Moscow and Beijing. In a developing country long under the thumb of the United States, the Castro brothers’ revolution accorded perfectly with Mao’s vision of conflict between the capitalist and socialist blocs. But China lacked the military and economic power to support the Cuban Revolution; only the Soviets had the means to protect the Castro regime.
Some thoughts at the Diplomat on what a dissolution of the Korean People’s Army might mean for private military firms around the world:
The end of the Cold War led to the largest military demobilization since the final days of World War II. Between 1988 and 1999, the Soviet Union alone reduced its military personnel by about three million men (although some of these found employment in the armed forces of successor states). The rest of the Eastern bloc went through a similar experience, followed by the NATO alliance.
This demobilization left a massive, floating population of trained soldiers, often without any good economic prospects. This pool of military labor helped feed the growth of private military firms, operating in Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere. In some cases, Russian and Eastern European soldiers served on different sides of the same conflicts, often bringing equipment along with them.
Given the changing nature of military technology, it is unlikely that we’ll ever see a global military demobilization of similar magnitude. Mass armies have gone out of style, except for in one place: the Korean Peninsula.
My latest at the National Interest suggests that the Israeli nuclear program has had a fairly minimal impact on regional politics and security:
Since the early 1970s, Israel has informally maintained a nuclear deterrent. In order to prevent the activation of a variety of legal instruments that would disrupt Israeli relations with the United States and Europe, Israel has not acknowledged the program. It remains, however, the worst-kept secret in international politics.
But a country always has options. What if Israel had never developed these nukes? What impact would a different decision have had on Israel’s security, and on regional politics more broadly?
Some thoughts at the Diplomat on how different perspectives on IP protection are proving to be an obstacle in the budding US-India alliance:
Intellectual property (IP) protection remains a sticking point in the budding bromance between Washington and Delhi. Reports have emerged over the last month that the Indian government has given informal assurances on IP protection to a U.S. business lobbying organization. Such assurances would violate at least the spirit of Delhi’s commitment to viewing IP regulation within the framework of broader humanitarian goals, and as such have generated considerable controversy.
It’s not surprising that India and the United States feel differently about IP protection. Vast social and economic differences often lead to different regulatory approaches; the U.S. favors strong protection for its corporate interests, while especially in pharmaceuticals, India reserves the right to compel firms to license their IP in service of broader health care goals. In the past, these practices have made Western firms reluctant to invest in Indian industry and infrastructure (see the Novartis case from 2013).
The winner should contact me at the address on the far right sidebar for prize info!
Fascinating video of Kim Philby explaining the tricks of the trade to the Stasi:
I’m curious how seriously the Stasi agents took Philby. A legend, to be sure (although I wonder how widely his story spread within Eastern Bloc intel services), but also an old guy who had probably told the same story a hundred times.
Here’s your leaderboard for the LGM Tourney Challenge:
The dispiriting conclusion is that one of thefxc or the punchykoos will win.
My latest at the Diplomat reviews some of the recent lit on Hanoi’s public diplomacy efforts during the Vietnam War:
The impact of Vietnam on the radical imagination of the late 1960s is hard to overstate. Antiwar, feminist, anti-colonial, and other groups took inspiration from the struggle of the Vietnamese people in their war against the United States. These included those focused mainly on domestic political issues, including Western European groups that ran the gamut between pacifist philosophical organizations to terrorist gangs, but also groups concentrating on comparable struggles, such as Palestinian fighters.
A recent lecture by Lien Hang Nguyen discusses Hanoi’s efforts to build a revolutionary international coalition opposed to U.S. intervention in the war. This included targeted outreach at feminist groups, black militant organizations, Palestinian groups, artist collectives, and others. These efforts did not always work; sometimes, the particular appeals made by DRV officials fell flat in front of Western audiences. Nevertheless, Hanoi’s efforts at public diplomacy helped to undercut European and broader international support for American efforts in Vietnam.