This volume is the product of a collaboration between the European Intelligence Academy (EIA) and the Chanticleer Intelligence Brief (CIB), a student-run initiative supported by the Department of Politics at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina, United States. Four CIB analysts tackle some of the most pressing and timely questions confronting intelligence observers today. Topics in this volume include the possibility of a war with North Korea, and the rise of far-right militancy in the United States. The volume also includes an assessment of the impact of the Islamic State in the relations between Russia and the United States, and a discussion of Turkish politics and its effect on NATO's cohesion.
known as America’s “global war on terrorism”. Inevitably, the political rise of Donald J. Trump, America’s 45 th president, was shaped by the domestic and foreign-policy pressures that American society has been experiencing since the events of 9/11. During his presidential election campaign, candidate Trump struck a markedly assertive —belligerent, according to his critics— tone on matters of national security. He also proposed to narrow considerably the scope of America’s actions in defense of its national security, focusing solely on what he saw as essential priorities. Overall, however, the lack of clarity on national security policy that characterized Trump’s election campaign has persisted during his presidential tenure. The recent appointment of John Bolton to the post of National Security Advisor —the third during Trump’s 14 months in office— is perhaps indicative of his administration’s ambiguity in this crucial area of policy. Ambassador Bolton, a leading neo-conservative ideologue, is known for his military-interventionist views and his belief in so-called “democracy promotion”. That was a policy staple of the administration of US President George W. Bush, to which President Trump is —in theory— bitterly opposed. Thus, in the words of Marlon Brando in the 1963 film adaptation of The Ugly American, “the only thing that’s clear so far is that there’s no clarity at all”. That is concerning, given that clarity on national security is required by the pressing nature of ongoing national and global developments on many fronts. The present volume, a special edition of The Intelligence Review, with articles that are longer than usual, is an attempt to asses some of the most important national-security challenges facing the Trump administration. Given the immense breadth of national-security concerns for any American administration, our choice of topics in this compendium is inevitably selective. The selection of topics came from a hierarchical evaluation of current challenges faced by the United States, combined with the personal interests of the Chanticleer Intelligence Brief’s analysts during the concluding months of 2017, when the reports in this volume were authored. Our North Korea analyst, Matt Pologe, writes about one of the thorniest foreignpolicy issues of the Trump administration, namely the United States’ stance on North Korea’s nuclear program. The rhetoric on all sides has always been heated in the decades-old conflict between North Korea and its rivals. But Pologe notes that, despite its heightened rhetoric, the Trump administration “remains broadly unwilling to engage in a war in the Korean Peninsula”. The same applies to China, Pyongyang’s political ally and largest trading partner. More importantly, says Pologe, the two Koreas are aware that they have nothing to gain and everything to lose from a destructive regional war. That does not mean that a war will not happen, he argues, but that it is highly unlikely. Ultimately, North Korea wants to be viewed by the outside world as a sovereign state with the “right to exercise as many freedoms as any other world power, including the United States”, says Pologe. That is something on which Pyongyang will not compromise, and will protect even at the expense of its nuclear program. Washington, therefore, must 12
use that to achieve, not the complete elimination of North Korea’s nuclear program, which is highly unlikely, but rather “a cap in the production of nuclear materials” by North Korea, advises Pologe. “There are no other realistic options”, he argues. Because of the global nature of its strength, the United States has become accustomed to viewing national-security challenges as coming from abroad. But that is not so, argues CIB analyst Maeve Stewart, who studies the contemporary rise of American far-right groups. Ideas that could today be classified as far-right have been parts of the American political landscape since the late 1700s. Indeed, students of American national security will recall that the largest domestic terrorist attack on American soil before 9/11 was carried out in 1995 by Timothy McVeigh, a white nationalist who blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, killing 168 people and injuring several hundred more. Other far-right believers have been behind high-profile terrorist incidents, such as Eric Rudolph, a Christian Identity believer and anti-gay propagandist who planted a bomb at the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia, during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. These kinds of incidents could happen again, argues Stewart, if the United States government does not take comprehensive action against far-right groups. Counter-terrorist attention should focus on far-right groups that are motivated by race, because they “have shown more discipline and organization than the rest, indicating that they are moving faster towards becoming a US national security threat”, according to Stewart. She notes that a plethora of far-right groups are working in closer cooperation, having been emboldened by the election of President Trump, whom they perceive as a tacit supporter. The president, therefore, should go out of his way to explicitly and repeatedly denounce his supporters from the far-right. That act alone would help significantly to deflate the national-security threat from the extreme right, says Stewart. America’s relations with the Soviet Union and Russia have been a central pillar of Washington’s national-security policy for decades. The current juncture is no exception. But bilateral relations between the two rival states have been furthercomplicated by the ongoing military standoff in Syria, argues Maddison Nowlin, a longtime CIB analyst and executive officer. A major aspect of the Syrian Civil War is the rise of militant Sunni Islam, which has prompted the growth of numerous armed groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Nowlin points out that, while further complicating American-Russian relations, the rise of ISIS —a group that has attacked both Russian and American targets— has helped facilitate a limited dialogue about security between Washington and Moscow. The United States became militarily involved in Syria as part of its longstanding support for the so-called “Arab Spring”, a combination of peaceful and violent protest movements that have pressed for political changes in the Arab World since 2010. Russia, on the other hand, entered the Syrian Civil War in an effort to prevent a repetition of the political chaos that engulfed Libya following the removal 13