Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… We present below some of the most interesting or relevant features for each section.

World (all matters related to war, international and national security) –  Note a very interesting and excellent article, part of a “series on strategic communications, narrative, and the Islamic State” for The Bridge (publication stopped) by Lieutenant Colonel Dean Case, a United States Army Information Operations Officer, and Mikhail Grinberg, which, using lessons learned from Iraq makes the case for a strategy to win the “battle of legitimacy” against the Islamic State. Considering this aspect may be all the more important considering the Caliphate “expansion”, in Libya and Egypt.

Notably, Lt Col Case underlines that “One critical element of all of our messaging efforts was the truth. To win the battle of the narrative against AQ, we had to not only tell a better story, we had to prove it.” This is a lesson that must and ought to be remembered as, with the heightening of the tension in Eastern Ukraine, we are back to a very heavy anti-Russian, anti-Putin campaign. Again, nothing is spared, even hyping an insignificant event in China, bordering on slander (the facts being obviously true but the implied slander making us wonder if the story is truly better, or if it does not rather make the side hyping it despicable). Hardly any voice – in the english-speaking social networks’ sphere – disturbs the new doctrine. Even using multi-lingual crowdsourcing, only one article in Spanish looking at what is happening inside Luhansk is identified. It will thus become again extremely difficult finding and elaborating objective analysis. Meanwhile, if policy is based only on biased analyses, then only bad decisions are likely to be taken, which considering the other current challenges would come at the worst moment. Interestingly, The International Red Cross, which has a policy of neutrality, stressed similarly the highly polarized climate that made of Ukraine a highly complex and very difficult crisis for them. But because the ICRC president Peter Maurer expressed those views in an interview with Russian Agency Tass, we should surely discard them as propaganda…

Also of crucial importance we should signal the still difficult yet happening rapprochement between Japan and China, while the evolution over the last months tends to show a Japan that is slowly moving closer to Russia thus becoming less strongly anchored into the American dominated world. Positively, this also shows that even high escalation can be lowered toward stabilization.

Technology and armaments – Besides much on new armaments’ contracts, cybersecurity and big data, the article “The Cyborg Medicine of Tomorrow Is Inside the Veteran of Today” is particularly interesting. We can perceive the issue as not only frightening but also terribly sad, for example when one has seen the last version of the film Robocop (2014, by director José Padilha – a must watch to understand many issues at hand here), or, alternatively, as exhilarating when one believes in technologism, “human enhancement”, and “singularity”. Two different perspectives and narratives on the same problem.

Energy and environment security – A particularly thought-provoking article points out the feedback look existing between the wars being waged in the Middle-East, the related environmental damage and the future potential impact in terms of heightened likelihood for new, continuing or renewed wars. The article focuses notably on aerial bombing, seismic areas and impact on water.

Science  – Unsurprisingly, we have many articles on the “Rosetta mission’s comet landing”. Besides the scientific impacts and feat, it is also a success of the European Space Agency, which might mean that Europe is not yet out of the picture, first, and, second, notably considering the recent catastrophes involving commercial endeavours, that public or state’s efforts are, similarly, neither that inefficient nor defunct, of course when implemented properly with the right people.

Economy (look here for issues related to economic crises, monetary policy, inequality, or budget deficit for example) – A must read article by Pr John Clarke on “imagined economies” allows readers to step back and reflect critically on various possible “economies”, which, in turn brings back “the economy” to its true dimension “a social and political product and thereby open to social and political action”. here again we find the central theme for this week, narratives and the war and battles that may surround them.

Ebola – We again identify the same finding as previously, the Ebola epidemic outbreak hardly interests anyone. The “crowdfeeling” might be right as, according to the WHO latest situation report, there might be some stabilization at work in both Guinea and Liberia, but not in Sierra Leone, while Mali now knows four cases with four deaths. However, it is most likely that the lack of interest is linked to the absence of fatal cases outside West Africa, considering the origin of most sources for crowdsourcing. The danger might be that the efforts to stop the epidemic become impacted.

Access the 13 November 2014 scan

The Weekly is the scan of The Red Team Analysis Society and it focuses on national and international security issues. It was started as an experiment with Paper.li as a way to collect ideas, notably through Twitter. Its success and its usefulness led to its continuation.

The information collected (crowdsourced) does not mean endorsement but points to new, emerging, escalating or stabilizing problems and issues.

If you wish to consult the scan after the end of the week period, use the “archives” directly on The Weekly.

Featured image: “C-band Radar-dish Antenna”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Published by Dr Helene Lavoix (MSc PhD Lond)

Dr Helene Lavoix, PhD Lond (International Relations), is the President/CEO of The Red Team Analysis Society. She is specialised in strategic foresight and warning for international relations, national and international security issues. Her current focus is on the war in Ukraine, international order and the rise of China, the overstepping of planetary boundaries and international relations, the methodology of SF&W, radicalisation as well as new tech and security.

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