More than two decades after Oliver North's role in the Iran-Contra affair exploded into public view as part of one of the most important political scandals in the United States in the latter half of the twentieth century, the imbroglio continues to offer critical insights into contemporary debates about foreign policy mechanisms and the role of the military. North's responsibility as an individual, combined with certain institutional enablers that flourished within the Reagan Administration's conduct of foreign policy, resulted in an inexorable bifurcation between the traditional ethos of the U.S. armed forces and the foreign policy aims and practices of a conservative administration, despite their sometimes conflation in the popular mind. This paper will explore the tensions between institutional versus political conservatism, as well as those institutional practices, that facilitated North's shift away from the instincts and training of the military sphere to that of a lone-wolf activism.
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This essay explores the more than 230-year-long development of the military justice system of the United States, a process that began even before the country's constitution was written. It examines the contributions to the jurisprudence of other countries made by the justice system of the U.S. armed forces and looks at some of the most important controversies accompanying its development. It also presents some of the contemporary issues facing both the U.S. military and civil society in the early 21st century, as the United States conducts actions against hostile non-state actors who threaten both the security and human rights of democracies around the world.
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Strategic communications is a key means of gaining acceptance of one's ideas, policies or courses of action. As such it plays a critical role in helping the United States to reinforce understanding of its values and culture — including support for its ideas, policies and courses of action — both within its war-fighting establishment and by the rest of the world. This article examines the historical actions of military chaplains to shed light on a critical aspect of their work; their ministries as strategic communications platforms from which they carry out a pastoral role while offering, as valued members of the military inner circle, religious, moral, spiritual and ethical advice to leadership, both at the strategic and tactical levels. It examines the role of the American military chaplaincy as a strategic communications phenomenon that predates the concept itself. A buzzword emanating from the 1990s that gained even greater currency in the September 11, 2001 global "war of ideas" — "strategic communications" might appear to be a new concept. Yet for centuries military chaplains have labored as strategic communicators in an effort to win support within the armed forces for their countries' national policy and doctrine.
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The United States has largely sat on the sidelines during the more than a decade of Latin American indigenous peoples' efforts to fully participate in their countries' political and economic life. Meanwhile, the growing political space created by the Indian movements appears to be dominated by radicalized forces united by anger and opposition to the United States. In at least one case, in southern Mexico, militant Islamicists reportedly use a shared hostility to Western, Judeo-Christian ideas and identity to recruit disaffected Indians to their cause. The importance strategic thinkers now give to "failed states" and "ungoverned spaces" suggests that Native Americans can and should be full partners in efforts to improve their standard of living and to deny terrorists and organized crime sanctuary in or near areas where they live.
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