MCU Journal, vol. 7, no. 2
Fall 2016

International Relations Perspectives

From the Editors



Pressure Dilemma in International Politics 

Robert Nalbandov

MCUJ vol. 7, no. 2


Abstract: As global terrorism and low-intensity conflicts replace traditional aggressive warfare strategies, the struggle to maintain political stability amid demands for retribution fuels pressure dilemmas in which conflict resolutions are rarely acceptable. The discussion on realism, anarchism, liberalism, constructivism, and positive and negative pressure dilemmas, such as Chad’s claims against Libya in 1990–94; Germany’s pursuit of parts of Czechoslovakia in the 1930s, which led to Britain’s appeasement policy; Armenia’s ongoing calls for Turkey to acknowledge and reconcile the 1915–16 genocide; and the persistent Russo-Japanese dispute over the Kuril Islands, illustrate the importance of creating institutions that support economy, technology, morality, and communication necessary for facilitating modern compellence cases.


Keywords: pressure dilemma, compellence, diplomacy, appeasement, coercion, deference, rationality, identity, low-intensity conflict, security dilemma, offensive realism, anarchy, liberalism, constructivism, consequentialism, societal security, diaspora, Armenian Genocide, Sèvres Syndrome, Kuril Islands, Sea of Okhotsk, Aouzou Strip, Horn of Africa, instability curve



Robert Nalbandov completed his PhD in political science from the Central European University, Budapest. An assistant professor with the Utah State University’s Department of Political Science, he teaches and researches U.S. foreign policy and Eurasian and African politics and security. His most recent publications include The Crisis of the African State: Globalization, Tribalism, and Jihadism in the Twenty-First Century(2015) and Not by Bread Alone: Russian Foreign Policy under Putin(2016).



Political Culture and Risk Analysis: An Outline of Somalia, Tunisia, and Libya

M. J. Fox

MCUJ vol. 7, no. 2


Abstract: Since the 1980s, the political culture concept experienced important theoretical advances that stressed durable patterns of behavior over time. Since these theories can be applied to conflict settings and unstable states, the potential value of culture within risk analysis has emerged. Risk analysis has tended to treat political culture more as an afterthought, but the integration of several theoretical contributions allows it to be considered a starting point. Examining the contemporary cases of Somalia, Tunisia, and Libya in the frame of this alternative approach establishes the groundwork for assessing future cases while providing an added dimension to risk analysis.


Keywords: political culture, political assessment, political tension, cultural integration, risk analysis, risk assessment, national maturity, independence movements, extremists, national violence, Africa, Somalia, Somaliland, Puntland, Tunisia, Libya



M. J. Fox is an independent researcher and author of several works, most recently The Roots of Somali Political Culture(2015). With a PhD from the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University, Sweden, Fox researches selected aspects of political culture, autonomous rule, armed conflict, and child soldiers.



TERRORISM AND WARFARE: Past, Present, and Future

Command and Irregular Indigenous Combat Forces in the Middle East and Africa:
A Historical Perspective on a Current Reality

Jacob Stoil

MCUJ vol. 7, no. 2



Abstract: From the beginning of European involvement in Africa and the Middle East to the present, working with indigenous irregular forces has been, and remains, an integral part of engagement in these regions. This article examines one aspect of this relationship: the command pathways that allowed these relationships to function. By comparing the command pathways of cases in Palestine Mandate and the Horn of Africa during the Second World War, the author explores the structures that led to success and shows the importance of such cooperation. He then applies the lessons gained to suggest a way forward for contemporary operations.


Keywords: Second World War, Israel, Ethiopia, Haganah, Palmach, Irgun (IZL), Special Operations Executive (SOE), hybrid warfare, indigenous force, gray zone, force cooperation, command structure, influence operations, Horn of Africa, Syria, Palestine Mandate, East Africa Campaign, Italian East Africa, British Empire, imperial security



Dr. Jacob Stoil is currently a research analyst at CNA in Arlington, VA. Prior to joining CNA, he was a visiting assistant professor in peace and conflict studies at Colgate University. He holds a doctorate in history from the University of Oxford and a master’s in history of warfare and has a bachelor’s degree from King’s College London.



Asking the Right Questions: A Framework for Assessing Counterterrorism Actions

Jonathan Schroden, William Rosenau, and Emily Warner

MCUJ vol. 7, no. 2


Abstract: Since the 9/11 attacks, America has dedicated an extraordinary amount of time, money, and effort to countering terrorism. It has devoted, however, comparatively little effort to developing rigorous and useful assessment frameworks to help policy makers and practitioners understand how effective these counterterrorism (CT) actions have been. To address this shortfall, this article first identifies and characterizes today’s prevailing terrorism theories and their associated CT actions. For each theory, an assessment framework is created consisting of specific questions that help gauge the success or failure of CT actions and indicators that could be used to answer those questions. These assessment frameworks, which rigorously link policy to practice, should enable CT practitioners to provide policy makers and commanders direct and actionable feedback on whether the approaches chosen are having the expected impact.


Keywords: terrorism, counterterrorism, CT, assess, assessment, evaluation, M&E, theory, framework, policy, operations



Dr. Jonathan Schroden is the director of CNA’s Center for Stability and Development, which focuses on issues of terrorism/counterterrorism and assessing the effectiveness of U.S. government actions, among other topics. Schroden also directs CNA’s Special Operations Program. Dr. William Rosenau is a senior analyst and policy historian at CNA who has written extensively and advises senior U.S. government officials on issues of counterterrorism. Emily Warner is an analyst at CNA with extensive experience in intelligence and counterterrorism activities. She is currently on assignment with the I Marine Expeditionary Force.



Mali and Islamic Extremism: Applying Lessons Learned from Afghanistan

Rebecca Yagerman

MCUJ vol. 7, no. 2


Abstract: More than eight years into the war in Afghanistan, military leaders realized that they had been approaching the problems of Islamic extremism the wrong way. Despite staggering similarities leading to the rise of Islamic extremism in Mali, military tactics have mirrored those used early in Operation Enduring Freedom. The lessons learned from Afghanistan need to be applied to the growing problem of Islamic extremism in Mali; enemy-centric operations alone will not garner long-term military success or lasting stability. This article addresses the similar contexts between the two countries and how lessons from Afghanistan can be applied to Mali to improve chances for lasting stability.


Keywords: Africa, Mali, Azawad, asymmetric warfare, belligerent forces, jihad, Islamic extremism, sharia, terrorist funding, peacekeeping, instability, al-Qaeda, al-Mourabitoun, AQIM, MNLA, MUJAO, MUJWA, MINUSMA, ISIL, Ansar Dine, Tuareg, Salafist, Masked Battalion, Afghanistan, French stabilization mission, PMESII, United Nations



Rebecca Yagerman is an attorney and military readiness training specialist who worked on postconflict stabilization, peace support operations, rule of law, countercorruption, strategic communications, information operations, and human rights as USAID’s rule of law advisor to a provincial reconstruction team in Afghanistan during 2011. In 2012, she became the senior rule of law advisor for eastern Afghanistan, working with military units on predeployment and general readiness training and exercise design. In 2014, she helped rewrite U.S. Army and NATO doctrine and field manuals for stability operations. Since June 2015, Yagerman has been preparing West African military units for the UN stability mission in Mali. She has a BS in development sociology from Cornell University and a JD from the University of Miami.



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