The Program for Culture and Conflict Studies is pleased to release our Spring 2009 issue of The Culture and Conflict Review.
In it, we present a conference report authored by the CCS Research Associates on our first Culture & COIN Conference held at the Naval Postgraduate School on March 23-25. We also present a selection of new articles and viewpoints on the ongoing engagement in Afghanistan and the tribal dimensions of world conflict:
As our work continues to reach a wider audience, and interest in our efforts to illuminate the nexus of culture and conflict in South Asia continues to grow, we've had the opportunity to share our thoughts with a wider audience through the media. Two recent CCS commentaries and analyses have been published in recent weeks, one in the daily San Francisco Chronicle and the other in the Middle East Times:
We are also pleased to present two recent student theses that we believe will be of interest to our readers.
This thesis is an exploration of the concepts of data integration with respect to military operations, and an attempt to establish practices that analysts and operators can use to integrate many types of data from disparate sources. The project focuses on two software platforms, Palantir Technologies and Google Earth, which are utilized because they provide off-the-shelf products that are easy to use, require little training, and are compatible with each other. Using these software packages, the authors attempt to integrate data with geospatial, temporal and relational data in order to gain greater understanding and insight into complex problems.
This thesis explains why current attempts to expand the reach of the Afghan government in Kabul have been met with heavy resistance. It examines the historical dichotomy between state capacity and the prevalence of solidarity groups' opposition to central rule in four Afghan regimes: the monarchy of Amir Abdur Rahman, the communist regime of the Peoples Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and the Soviet occupation, the Taliban's Islamist theocracy, and President Hamid Karzai's democratic Islamic Republic. Charles Tilly's Four State Activities model is used to subjectively determine each regime's relative degree of state capacity in four areas: war making, state-making, protection and extraction. The thesis draws implications for how the current government of Afghanistan can best expand its reach without creating further revolt and insurgency.
In the coming weeks, stay tuned, as the Naval Postgraduate School will be unveiling its brand new video portal, on which we plan to make available selected video presentations from our recent conference in Monterey.
Until then, we'll see you next time!