Trump’s National Security Strategy

Salman Ahmed and Alexander Bick from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace have authored a discussion paper on the Trump administration’s likely national security strategy. The authors contend Trump has signalled a “mercantile, transactional vision” that may threaten the existing alliance structure.

The Credibility Vortex

In 2006, I studied strategic studies and wrote a Masters mini-thesis on North Korea’s nuclear weapons development program with Dr Andy Butfoy. He’s an Australian expert on arms control, strategic studies, and US-Australian politico-military relations.


In late 2016, Andy released his first novel The Credibility Vortex:


It’s a political thriller set in Washington. It features intrigue in the National Security Council, rogue officials, dirty tricks, assassination attempts, and the possible end of the world . . .


I recommend you check Andy’s first novel out: it’s a gripping read.

The Post-Classical Hollywood Studio System

One of the major insights I gained from my Bachelor of Arts (Cinema Studies major) at La Trobe University was how the post-classical Hollywood studio system evolved. The late 1960s to the mid 1970s was a period of innovation: the rise of powerful auteur directors and producers. From the mid 1970s onwards the blockbuster film, changes in film financing, and merger-driven studio consolidation came to dominate. J.D. Connor’s book The Studios After The Studios (Stanford CA: Stanford University Press, 2015) may be the definitive recent study of this period (which he dubs ‘neoclassical Hollywood’). Its legacies shape current scholarship on the political economy of the creative industries – and Entourage fans.

ASPI’s Nuclear Strategy Masterclass

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute is running a Nuclear Strategy Masterclass on 27th September 2017 in Canberra. The speakers include the Hon. Kim Beazley, Senator David Fawcett, ASPI’s Rod Lyon, Griffith’s Andrew O’Neil (invited), and the Lowy Institute’s John Carlson. Brad Roberts of the Center for Global Security Research and author of The Case for U.S. Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century (Stanford University Press, 2015) is a major speaker.

S.M. Amadae’s PhD Thesis

I’ve followed S.M. Amadae‘s work for several years. Her 2016 book Prisoners of Reason informs Chapter 1 of my PhD on theory-building in strategic culture. Now, I’m reading her 1999 PhD dissertation from the University of California Berkeley on the 1944-85 history of rational choice theory. I know that rational choice frameworks have influenced Jack Snyder’s later work and Martha Crenshaw’s analysis of terrorist organisations. I also note that Amadae thanks Philip Mirowski in her acknowledgments. Amadae and Mirowski’s work are writing models for possible future research. For example, it may be possible to write a similar history of strategic culture research that goes beyond Alastair Iain Johnston’s influential generations framework.

Aaron Cheak on Metis

Author and scholar Aaron Cheak is on the latest Daimonosophy 2.0 podcast where he briefly talks about Metis as “cunning awareness” and as a kind of fluid engagement with the world that reshapes the psyche. He mentions Peter Kingsley’s book Reality (The Golden Sufi Center, 2004) on Metis. Cheak and I discussed Metis and Kingsley’s book in 2005-06, in the context of my 1998 Book of Oblique Strategies ‘received text’ experience.

Multinational Rapid Response

In 2005-06 whilst at Monash University, I considered early warning indicators to prevent genocide. One of the limits was the lack of a multinational rapid response capability. Now, Yf Reykers and John Karlsrud have a new overview article in Contemporary Security Review, introducing some recent scholarly research. Here’s the abstract:


Military rapid response mechanisms are generally understood as troops that are on standby, ready to be deployed to a crisis within a short time frame. Yet, the overall track record of the existing multinational rapid response mechanisms within the European Union, the African Union, and North Atlantic Treaty Organization remains disappointing, and the United Nations does not even have a rapidly deployable capacity anymore. Meanwhile, despite that calls for the further development of these mechanisms are still being voiced politically, scholarly literature remains fragmented. This is problematic as many of the obstacles faced by these organizations are similar. This forum uniquely compares experiences from the four aforementioned organizations. Drawing on these insights, this introductory article identifies some key factors that hamper or enable the development and deployment of multinational rapid response mechanisms.



Philip Mirowski’s New Book

I’ve been following Philip Mirowski‘s work on economics and science ever since I spotted a copy of Machine Dreams: Economics Becomes A Cyborg Science (Cambridge University Press, 2001) in RMIT University’s Swanston St, Melbourne library. Mirowski’s book Never Let A Serious Crisis Go To Waste (Verso, 2013) was one of the best studies of the 2008 global financial crisis and neoliberalism’s ideological role. Now, he has coauthored The Knowledge We Have Lost In Information (Oxford University Press, 2017) on how modern economics deals with information. Mirowski’s work is a culturally informed model that I will use for in-progress PhD and post-thesis research.