The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Would be Live-Blogging the ISSS/ISAC Conference

October 16, 2009

… but for the fact that, though security specialists can theorize the millitarization of cyberspace they cannot manage to provide wireless access at their otherwise excellent academic conferences.

Will my IPhone be sufficient to the task? Stay tuned.

8:25 am PST: Geostrategy and Post-Arctic World panel, James Manicom draws interesting links between nationalism and EEZs. Offshore territorial disputes in the Arctic & Spratlys are less about resources or geopolitics and more about identity. Hm.

8:35 irony: melting arctic continental shelf both tells us climate change is real and scary and provides new and exciting ways to contribute to the problem. But only if oil hits $80 a barrel. Also ice is only at it’s third thinnest this year – thickening right now not thinning.

8:43 Barry Zellen: Indigenous issues will matter resolving tensions btwn sovereignty, territory, identity and natural resource claims in a post-arctic world. Could the Inuit become the Saudi royal family of the 21st century? (Canadian?) Northwest Passage per se will become less passable therefore less relevant if warming trends continue. New trans-Polar sealanes will Solve maritime pracy problem. (? I think not… piracy hotspots will move.)

8:56 superior model 4 conf panels: speakers who know and like eachother interjecting into one anothers presentations = exciting synergistic format

10:46 compelxity State disorder and global commons panel. Frak missed the maritime piracy paper while hobnobbing. But Justin Logan has very thouhtful views on failed states. U know it will be a good talk when the speaker introduce shimself as a “bad politicAl scientist.” but he only means he’s challening conventional wisdom, hey Isnt that part of what we do? His key Argument, spelled out in a recent CATO paper: failed states r not the scurity threat we have thought.

11:14 Useful insight: the idea that state failure is more threatening than invasion by other states may be true and meaningless if incidence of interstate war is approaching zero. Is CATO throwing out the baby with the bathwater, though? Logan’s argument seems to support a standardization of measures for state failure to derive useful insights (it’s true that if you lump together current indices and get both N Korea and Somalia as “failed states” this doesn’t tell us much). But I’m not sure “ignore people who talk about failed states” is a useful policy prescription.

11:28 Curse of the multiple commenter. Brevity, for frak’s sake!

11:37: Does the US have a national maritime policy? What is it? Where does the navy fit into grand strategy?

11:50: This conference has had a number of panels/papers invoking the global commons as a way to lump papers together, but the concept of the commons – what it means, how it’s changing, how governance is problematized in these areas – has been under-discussed on these panels.

1:37 Total caffeine saturation achieved. Must read papers on cyber-security, cluster munitions, UAVs and bioweapons gy in the next 2 hours to fulfill discussant duties. Comments to follow.

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Charli Carpenter is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is the author of 'Innocent Women and Children': Gender, Norms and the Protection of Civilians (Ashgate, 2006), Forgetting Children Born of War: Setting the Human Rights
Agenda in Bosnia and Beyond (Columbia, 2010), and ‘Lost’ Causes: Agenda-Setting in Global Issue Networks and the Shaping of Human Security (Cornell, 2014). Her main research interests include national security ethics, the protection of civilians, the laws of war, global agenda-setting, gender and political violence, humanitarian affairs, the role of information technology in human security, and the gap between intentions and outcomes among advocates of human security.