Lacunae in the Study of Culture in International Security
Twomey, Christopher P.
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In the decade before the invasion of Iraq, the most important concepts in security studies for an American policy audience were the revolution in military affairs and transformation. Primarily due to the failures of that war and in Afghanistan and broader problems in the Middle East, culture has replaced these in the attentions of policymakers. Washington has been smitten by the idea that deeper understanding of cultural issues can reduce policy failures and advance national interests. This manifests most clearly in a range of recent policy documents from the Pentagon. Its recent Quadrennial Defense Review introduces a two-page section on the topic by arguing, ‘Developing broader linguistic capability and cultural understanding is also critical to prevail in the long war and to meet 21st century challenges.’1 The document mentions the importance of ‘cultural’ awareness a stunning 18 times. Consequently, the United States military has moved to increase its support for regional specialists in uniform (‘foreign area officers’ and their brethren), increased its support for language training, and is reaching out widely for academic expertise.
The article of record as published may be located at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13523260802284324
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