Evolution of Conflict

Vol. 8 No. 1 | 2021 Edition
 

Post-Covid Security Landscape
A Conversation with Raffaelo Pantucci

Interviewed by Vishal Manve

Fletcher Security Review (FSR): Thank you for joining FSR today. To begin, what challenges do you believe countries or security practitioners will face in preventing terrorism or countering violent terrorism in a post-COVID-19 world?

Raffaelo Pantucci (RP): There are going to be a lot of challenges. The difficulty with trying to make judgments about what is going to happen in a post-COVID world is that we are not in the post-COVID world yet. We are still in the midst of the pandemic, so a lot of this work and assumptions that we look into are based on assessments of what we think could happen....

 

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Raffaello Pantucci is a Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London and a Senior Fellow in the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore. He has also worked at IISS, ECFR and King’s College in London, CSIS in Washington and the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS). He is the author of “We Love Death As You Love Life” (Hurst/Oxford University Press), a history of British jihadism, and his academic work has featured in journals like Survival, The National Interest, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Terrorism and Political Violence, while his journalistic work has been published in the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal and New York Times amongst others.

 

The armed militia is an emblem of political decay. With the weakening of institutions designed to regulate the ambitions and anxieties of those inhabiting a state, and with the erosion of a political culture meant to confer legitimacy upon the rituals of governance, martial energy once held to constitutional prescription in the service of impersonal public rule can be redirected toward private purpose. Dissenting factions within a governmental structure, groups seeking its overthrow, or militias fighting within society itself challenge the viability of states, stability in their regions, and international order....

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Bradford R. McGuinn holds a Ph.D. in international studies, with a concentration in Middle Eastern studies, from the University of Miami. Dr. McGuinn is a Senior Lecturer with the Department of Political Science and Director of the Master Arts in International Administration program at the University of Miami. His fields of research and teaching include Middle Eastern studies, international security, civil-military relations and political violence. He has contributed recent book chapters dealing with security questions in Latin America, West Africa, the Middle East, and the Caucasus.

Grievance in Space and Time:
The State, Militias, and the Irredentist Temptation

Written by Bradford McGuinn
 

Fletcher Security Review (FSR): Dr. Gordon, it’s a pleasure to introduce you to our audience. Your new book, Losing the Long Game: The False Promise of Regime Change in the Middle East, is fascinating and we are excited to hear about it. To get us started, could you briefly describe your argument?

 

Philip Gordon (PG): In briefest form, as the title of the book indicates, the argument is that regime change in the Middle East doesn’t turn out very well. I’ll just unpack that a little bit.

 

First, by “regime change” what I’m talking about is when the United States sets out as a matter of policy to bring about a different government and political system in a country for whatever reason. It’s not when it happens naturally or internally. We have to have it as a policy and we have to do something about it. It turns out that we’ve done this fairly regularly in the post-World War II period. In fact, we’ve done it on average about once per decade. In the book, I look back all the way to the first time in 1953, to the CIA-backed coup in Iran, and look at all the episodes for the track record. I started thinking about this in particular as the Trump administration was pivoting towards what looked like a regime-change policy in Iran. It wasn’t their official, announced policy, but it looks like that’s what they were trying to achieve in Iran. That led me to think more about the track record: when have we done this before, why have we done it, and how it has turned out?...

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Philip Gordon is the Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President of the United States. He was previously the Mary and David Boies Senior Fellow in U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. During the Obama administration, Gordon served as Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Region from 2013-15 and as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs from 2009-13. He served as a Director for European Affairs on the National Security Council Staff during the Clinton Administration. Gordon has an MA and Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a B.A. from Ohio University.

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Losing the Long Game

A Conversation with Phillip Gordon

Interviewed by Zach A. Shapiro