Steven Spielberg has quit his role as consultant to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Beyond giving China some bad PR, his decision will not substantially alter the country’s policies towards Darfur. Still, the transnational coalition of music and film celebrities and professional NGO activists continue to press Beijing. Lost in the hubbub is the radical nature of this campaign–the first to try to pressure an authoritarian government to change its policies. Yes, Hollywood has protested over China’s occupation of Tibet, but the campaign was directed primarily at Western audiences and aimed to convince decisionmakers to pressure China. This time, Spielberg, Mia Farrow, and their fellow activists are trying to convince the Chinese government itself to shift its foreign policy.
Via the SWJ Blog, a great analysis by Col. Robert Killebrew (ret.) of Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ shift towards soft power. Killebrew is correct–Gates’ constant agitation for the expansion of non-military forms of influence is unprecedented within the Defense Department, and in many ways the United States government as a whole.
However, Gates’ recent heckling at NATO to send more troops to Afghanistan is a poor example of this new soft power at work. There is little chance of Europe making a substantial commitment to counterinsurgency in the near future. Trying to guilt them into it with talk of a "two-tiered" NATO will only harden their already potent intransigence.
(Note: this is an entry in the Boyd roundtable at Chicago Boyz)
How do the theories of John Boyd speak to America’s most important international security issue, the war in Iraq? This is no idle question—if Boyd is as revolutionary a strategist as claimed, what do his ideas say about the war? Or rather, what does the war say about his ideas? I will examine Boyd’s influence on network-centric warfare and the strategy of "shock and awe," as well as the Boydian subtext inherent in larger geostrategic issues.