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Intelligence and National Security: Article Review

Introduction:

For the week five assignment a review of the following two articles was performed.  Article 1, comes from the journal Intelligence and National Security.  This article by Britta Stime in entitled “Counterinsurgency Agent Networks and Noncombatant-Targeted Violence.”  The second article to be reviewed for this assignment comes from the journal International Security.  Or Rabinowitz and Nicholas L. Miller wrote this piece, and it is titled “Keeping the Bombs in the Basement: U.S. Nonproliferation Policy toward Israel, South Africa, and Pakistan.”

In the first article, Stime is attempting to inform the academic community of the need to study Counterinsurgency Agency Networks, how they are created and used by the various entities involved in an “intelligence war.” (Stime, 2017).  Additionally, Stime studies the impacts that these COIN operations have on the population in the affected area.  This project gives insight and a framework for researching the different effects of violence on civilians.  Due to the effects of Counterinsurgency operations on the local population, there is a dire need to study the violent effects, psychological and sociological effects on these individuals.  Ultimately, this information may lead to changes in policy that will change the tactics and practices of agencies or governments to help prevent or avoid collateral damage to the general population (Stime, 2017).

This study was conducted using a literature review of the available open source information in part due to the nature of these types of operations and the use of classified materials.  This method was chosen to provide an overview of how intelligence operation networks are development, cultivated and used by both sides of a conflict, which Stime refers to as the “Incumbent” and the “Insurgent.”  Conducting field research into this subject could be deemed as inherently dangerous and only provide marginally representative data.

In explaining how these intelligence operations are conducted, Stime focuses on the impacts of the population and the “direct and indirect effects on civilians, focusing on the issue of violence.” (Stime, 2017).  The study attempts to determine if any patterns are discernable regarding the violence issue and have successfully identified multiple patterns that directly effect noncombatants and how they are subject to violence as enticements for additional rewards for operatives. (Stime, 2017).

Building on “Stathis Kalyvas’ theory of violence in civil war shows how political violence in civil conflict is a joint venture involving the incumbent, the insurgents, the noncombatants and the agents alike (which he generalizes as ‘denouncers.’”(Stime, 2017).  Stime describes these patterns in the following way.  Operating and developing networks of agents by organizations reveals that tactics such as punitive violence, coercion, and unauthorized crime as used as motivations for their agents (Stime, 2017).

Stime continues to describe some of the additional side effects of the use of intelligence actors during these types of operations.  While Stime refuses to discuss the morality of the use of “spies,” another issue is uncovered.  Due to the nature of what these individuals do, as well as the environment in which they perform these actions, there are occasionally underlying consequences or secondary effects.  Stime refers to this with the comments about additional actions and crimes that are perpetrated by these intelligence actors.  It has been found that individuals operating as agents are often operating outside of the law.  Some of these actions such as low level crimes may be authorized by handles as a means to keep an identity or cover story intact, where others may commit more serious crimes that are either hidden or covered up by handlers, or even disavowed as they cross the line of what is permitted by their handlers (Stime, 2017).

Unfortunately, due to the subject matter, and the need to use only open sources materials there are more disadvantages in this study than advantages.  Stime directly addresses this by stating “the assertions herein are based on open sources.  This may limit the reliability and generalizability of the conclusions of this research;” (Stime, 2017).  However, with this identified, Stime goes on to point out that because of this situation, the need to investigate the psychological and sociological effects of these types of Counter Insurgency operations affect the general population, as well as the recruited operatives.  This information may lead to changes in tactics, or policies or even the development of new technology that will help to diminish the use of violence against noncombatants (Stime, 2017).

It is the opinion of this researcher that the best method to keep this study moving forward would be to press for, and locate additional materials, be it policies, first-hand accounts, operational reports or other documents that look at the complexity of this issue, and open these records to additional scrutiny, and academic research.  Additionally, the possibility of field research does present itself when trying to obtain additional information that may be left out of official records.  These could be first-person interviews or looking to other source materials such as death certificates, or prison records to attempt to increase the understanding of the impact of these actions on the population.

The second article that will be reviewed during this assignment is “Keeping the Bombs in the Basement: U.S. Nonproliferation Policy toward Israel, South Africa, and Pakistan.” (Rabinowitz et al., 2015).

This research study was conducted in a completely different manner as it was primarily a case study review of previous events, with additional literature review due to newly declassified information.

The goal of this study is to change the conventional wisdom and perception of the history of US policy of Nuclear Nonproliferation concerning Israel, South Africa, and Pakistan.  These three countries are of particular interest to those who study this US policy as it was a different implementation that was used with countries such as Taiwan, West Germany, and South Korea.

This study was able to look back at the history of the US policy regarding Israel, South Africa, and Pakistan, reviewing the historical academic research and compare that against newly declassified information that was able to provide additional insight into how the United States dealt with these situations that were not previously available to other previous studies.

The authors of this study have identified past research that indicates the lengths that the United States went to in the form of various policies and directives as well as diplomacy, and the threat of abandonment of political and economic support to prevent countries like West Germany and South Korea from obtaining nuclear weapon capability.  Previous research authors attempted to ascertain that in the cases related to Israel, Pakistan and South Africa, not only did the United States not exert the same pressure to stop the proliferation of nuclear-capable weapons to those countries, but they active changed the United States policy regarding nuclear proliferation when dealing with these countries (Rabinowitz et al. 2015)

The authors refer to their assessment and their hypothesis in this manner:

“In contrast to these accounts, we show that the United States pursued nonproliferation measures with Israel, South Africa, and Pakistan even within the context of geopolitical constraints. Successive U.S. administrations did not believe that an Israeli bomb was in the national interests of the United States; they were not indifferent to the South African nuclear program; and U.S. opposition to the Pakistani program never fully receded, even during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Moreover, by examining the deals that the United States brokered to restrain each country’s nuclear program after initial nonproliferation efforts failed, we seek to move beyond the existing literature, which has paid little attention to these deals or has explored them only in individual cases.  We show that such agreements have been a common feature of U.S. nonproliferation policy across cases.” (Rabinowitz et al. 2015)

By re-evaluating the case history of each county individually the authors have been able to establish that while the same level of pressure applied to other countries as mentioned above was not applied to prevent nuclear proliferation with the case study countries, the intent of the United States policy was to create the best possible outcome for the national security of the United States while preventing other possibly destabilizing events from happening in these regions.

In the case with Israel, the authors describe negotiations, and the carefully crafted use of language in the agreements that were able to allow Israel to develop its nuclear program while allowing the United States to keep a key ally in the region, and prevent the expansion of other nuclear countries in the Middle East.  While publicly supporting nuclear proliferation, policymakers and leaders at the highest level of the United States government found an alternative solution in negotiating a secret agreement that any nuclear weapons that the Israelis had created would not be tested, and would not publicly acknowledge the existence of the program and it would be held to the highest level of secrecy.  This would allow the United States to keep its standing on the world stage with the policy of nuclear nonproliferation, as well as the belief that this agreement would not create a reactive response from other countries in the Middle East (Rabinowitz et al., 2015)

The review of the case study with South Africa points to the global concern about nuclear proliferation during the 1970s and 1980s.  While South Africa did develop a nuclear weapon during this time, it was never tested, and various western powers were involved in making that happen.  The United States, in conjunction with the French, and West Germany were all instrumental in the negotiations and preventing the South Africans from testing a full-scale nuclear device.  Due to changes occurring within South Africa during the late 1980s and early 1990s South African F.W de Klerk was credited with abandoning its small arsenal of nuclear weapons without ever testing a weapon.  Additionally, this was a period of great sociological change within the country as the government began the process of ending apartheid, which allowed South Africa to be welcomed back to the global community and avoid many of the economic sanctions that were imposed upon it.

The case study of Pakistan shows how complex of an issue that this was at the time, possibly even more so than the case involving Israel.  Pakistan began to develop a program “covertly initiating a nuclear weapons program in the wake of its crushing military defeat by India in 1971” (Rabinowitz et al. 2015).  Throughout the following decade various sanctions, economic aid, and potential conventional weapons sales were used as a means to prevent Pakistan from continuing with its plan.  Eventually, during the Carter administration “began consideration of a new proposal suggesting that the administration should adopt the Nixon-Meir model and apply it to Pakistan.” (Rabinowitz et al. 2015).

The events of late December 1979 further complicated this policy approach.  “The Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in the closing days of December 1979 drastically altered U.S.-Pakistan dynamics by necessitating Pakistani support in resisting the Soviet advance.” (Rabinowitz et al. 2015).

While the study does not detail the full extent of aid given to the Pakistani’s during the period of the Soviet invasion of Afganistan, the Nixon-Meir model worked during this period of unrest in the region.  To date, Pakistan has only tested one nuclear weapon, years after the United States resumed sanctions under President George H.W. Bush for failing to certify that it did not have a nuclear weapon (Rabinowitz et al. 2015).

This study had a significant advantage over previously comprised studies, due to the newly available information and documents that have since been declassified since the 1970s and 1980s.  This allowed for additional information not previously available in the form of notes, memo’s and other documents to glean a more extensive insight into the US Strategy regarding these countries nuclear proliferation scenarios.

The authors note that “Skeptics might argue that U.S. opposition to the Israeli, South African, and Pakistani nuclear programs was merely cheap talk and that the United States was unwilling to bear significant costs in its nonproliferation efforts. U.S. policies toward all these states, however, involved significant costs” (Rabinowitz et al. 2015).  Additionally, their conclusions show that newly uncovered historical evidence shows that not only did the United States continue to support nuclear nonproliferation in the best way possible when faced with the geopolitical situations that were a party to the agreements with Isreal, Pakistan and South Africa (Rabinowitz et al. 2015).

For this study to continue, further investigation into the history and the policy positions that the United States held with countries around the world to stop or at least slow down nuclear proliferation, the authors should look back at other cases of the same time period, and compare it to the the information that is now available, as well as conducting a review of current US policy regarding nuclear nonproliferation.

Resources:

  • Stime, Britta. “Counterinsurgency Agent Networks and Noncombatant-Targeted Violence.” Intelligence & National Security 32, no. 1 (January 1, 2017): 107–125. http://search.proquest.com/docview/1854813177/.
  • Rabinowitz, Or, and Miller, Nicholas. “Keeping the Bombs in the Basement: U.S. Nonproliferation Policy Toward Israel, South Africa, and Pakistan.” International Security 40, no. 1 (July 1, 2015): 47–86  http://search.proquest.com/docview/1705483795/.

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