Reporters working the national security beat spill far more ink covering airstrikes and saber rattling public statements than the actual policies, economic conditions, and military practices that produce conflict. Media narratives are driven far too much by events than by the systems, hierarchies, and interests that are ultimately far more consequential. The constant stream of events is a distraction from causes that are systemic and structural.
What are the root causes of conflict, clashes, and tensions?
What practices escalate tensions and increase the likelihood of conflict?
Who benefits from conflict, and how?
What impediments (and whose interests) stand in the way of de-escalation?
Be Suspicious Of:
Simplistic narratives that purport to explain complex issues. // Conflicts begin long before the first shot is fired.
Explanations that misattribute the causes of conflict. // Tensions don’t rise. They’re a predictable consequence of past policies and actions.
Explanations that go beyond the surface level. // Don’t settle for misleading answers that “tensions” risk producing war. The actual practices and interests which fuel tensions are the real drivers of conflict.
The interests which actually produce conflict. // The authors of malign security practices are individuals and institutions with real interests. Rarely are they held to account.
Alternate perspectives. // American security practices and policies are not normative. Just because the government acts in a given way does not mean it should.