Archive for July, 2011

Breeding Grounds for Terrorism and Transnational Crime

July 19, 2011

As the U.S. is withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Department of Defense and Pentagon are cutting excess programs, security analysts are faced with the challenge of doing more with less.  How can the U.S. best use its resources, military, and intelligence tools to focus in on the major threats to U.S. national security?

Fine tuning what too look for and where to look for it is key to this process.  A team of analysts at Syracuse University’s Global Black Spots—Mapping Global Insecurity Project (GBS-MGI) is developing a new research methodology that goes beyond the traditional state level analysis to find “Black Spots,” or areas of insecurity that are beyond government control.  The team probes the local-level characteristics of a region using open source information to determine where terrorism and transnational crime may develop in the future.  Their findings provide a map of global insecurity that is being applied by U.S. intelligence agencies.

The Summer 2011 issue of the National Strategy Forum Review shares this process with our readers.  The case studies below are a sample of the estimated 600+ Black Spots operating around the globe.  This unique research demonstrates that traditional security analysis must add a deeper, more local component to the search for future security threats.


The New Princes: An Update to Niccolò Machiavelli’s Classic

July 18, 2011

The New Princes

Niccolò Machiavelli was born in Florence, Italy in 1469 and held important posts until his death in 1527.  He was a keen observer of the errors and personal character of the rulers he served.  He synthesized his vast experience and observation of rulers, nobles, political systems and statecraft in his magnum opus, The Prince.

Machiavellian in modern times has acquired a pejorative meaning – a sinister connotation that was unknown to his peers.  However, a careful reading of this book leads to more reasonable and affirmative interpretation.

The theme of Machiavelli’s The Prince and this updated essay, The New Princes by Richard E. Friedman, is the relationship of the rulers and the ruled.  Machiavelli’s observations and conclusions regarding mankind’s motivations and weaknesses tend to be negative, rather than what we would prefer them to be.  The Prince provides great principles for the guidance of rulers and their relationship with the people, nobles, parliaments, and with the rulers of other states.

Politics is the instrument to achieve government; politics is not the instrument to achieve more politics.  The objective of The New Princes is to counter the drift of politics that is leading the state into the commode.  The following text is derived, in large part, from the marvelous insights to be found in Machiavelli’s original, with liberties taken to assist contemporary readers, and organization for rhetorical flow.  The purpose of this essay is to make the nation a bit better by a thought-provoking handbook for common cause and positive political action.

If you are motivated more by pragmatism than idealism; if you seek to correct a major wrong; if you seek to communicate with other like-minded pragmatists through use of social network technology, and explore social action among your peers that was impossible only a few years ago, there is a useful intellectual basis for your involvement.  Please consider reading the full text of my essay, The New Princes.

-By Richard E. Friedman