How has our understanding of Russian influence operations evolved since the 2016 election? Just a few days before Trump was elected president, Clint Watts, Andrew Weisburd, and J.M. Berger sounded the alarm in a War on the Rocks article about the Kremlin's efforts to undermine American democracy. Since then, the world has learned a lot more about how Russia influenced the election and, more generally, the continued dangers of influence campaigns and information warfare. Clint's new book, Messing With the Enemy: Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians, and Fake News, is an effort to help us think through these issues. He recently spoke with Usha about his efforts to track and understand Russian social media trolling, what studying jihadi terrorists taught him about online propaganda, and what the government, tech companies, and the public can do to deal with this difficult problem.
Read the November 2016 War on the Rocks article here: https://warontherocks.com/2016/11/trolling-for-trump-how-russia-is-trying-to-destroy-our-democracy/
Order Clint's book here: https://amzn.to/2I4NKbt
Martyn Frampton (@FramptonM) of Queen Mary University, is one of the most talented historians of his generation. He recently sat down with Ryan in Washington to speak about his new book, The Muslim Brotherhood and the West: A History of Enmity and Engagement. Since its founding in Egypt in the 1920s, the Muslim Brotherhood has been animated by hatred for the West, but has also vigorously engaged with Western nations -- especially Britain and America -- in pursuit of its goals. Martyn walks us through this alternatively harrowing and fascinating story. In his telling, the Muslim Brotherhood is the perfect example of a movement that is intensely ideological yet deeply pragmatic and flexible. And the United States and Britain have a habit of getting led into the same cul-de-sacs with the Brotherhood over and over again, hoping -- in Martyn's words -- that they could achieve certain things by engaging with the Brotherhood, only to be left disappointed. This tale does not just have major implications for foreign relations, but also for integrating Muslim communities at home in the West. For you aspiring historians out there, he also discusses the process of writing the book, including learning a new language and conducting archival research on three continents.
Partner cooperation is crucial when it comes to fighting terrorism, but it's also complex. Stephen Tankel, assistant professor at American University -- most importantly -- a senior editor here at War on the Rocks, examines U.S. counterterrorism cooperation in his new book With Us and Against Us: How America's Partners Help and Hinder the War on Terror. He and Ryan chatted about troublesome partners like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, how young academics can be more policy-engaged, and what Stephen drank to celebrate reaching major academic milestones.
Be sure to check out Stephen's book: https://amzn.to/2JyufwJ
Recently, two enterprising young scholars spearheaded a major conference that ended up being sponsored and hosted by CSIS and the Kissinger Center at SAIS. The topic was the future of force and it will hopefully be the first in a series under a program called the Future of Strategy Forum that aims to feature women doing important work in national and international security. At the end of this day long event, Usha Sahay and Ryan Evans sat down with the people responsible for making it happen -- Sara Plana, Rachel Tecott, Alex Bick, Alice Friend, and Kath Hicks. We had a fascinating conversation about how this conference came to be, the challenges of gender diversity, and -- of course -- the future of force.