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Quarterly Review: June 5, 2017

This is the first in a series I'm calling Quarterly Review:  every three months, I'll be posting a review of all that I've published over that period.  This collection of publications will ensure nothing gets lost and provides an opportunity for some reflection-at-a-distance.

For this Quarterly Review, I'm starting from January 1, 2017.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Opinion Articles

Postgraduate Papers

Kyle R. Brady

Publishing Note: "Beware the Limits of Hard Power in 2017"

My latest piece -- "Beware the Limits of Hard Power in 2017" -- is now out in Small Wars Journal:

In the first four months of 2017, the use and threat of American military force (hard power) has substantially increased, while diplomatic and socioeconomic efforts (soft power) have been notably marginalized, with little concern for the appropriate mix of the two (smart power). Under the Trump Administration, this reliance upon hard power can be seen in his generally aggressive rhetoric; his budget proposal that provides increased funding to the Department of Defense while severely decreasing funding for the Department of State and related efforts; his positioning of top military leaders in non-military, civilian leadership positions; his framing of the evolving situations in North Korea and Iran; his willingness to grant more autonomy to the military in their overseas operations; his interest in using the military to disrupt and prevent terrorism; and recent developments in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Quite simply, President Trump seems to hold the view that most of the problems of the United States can be solved through military power, even when other courses of action may produce improved outcomes.

Go take a look!

Publishing Note: "On a Modern Form of Terrorism: Small-Scale and Self-Contained"

My latest piece at Small Wars Journal is out now:  "On a Modern Form of Terrorism: Small-Scale and Self-Contained."

The recent vehicle-based terror attacks in London and Stockholm have been noted as much for their devastation and chaos as for its low-tech approach to terrorism. At the core, these attacks are predicated upon a very simple premise: drive a regular civilian passenger vehicle through crowds of people in a very public, high-profile, and undefended area -- colliding with as many individuals as possible -- with some form of knife-based or small-arms attack afterward, if desired. As devastating and chaotic as these are, this is not a new form of attack.

The problem, however, is that this form of attack is so simple and effective. These attacks can be executed with very little planning, no training, no funding, and no preparation, which makes them quick, easy, and deadly. Given the simple and self-contained nature of these attacks, there is very little law enforcement, the intelligence community, or even the military can do: when a future terror actor decides to undertake this effort, they simply don't raise any red flags that would trigger various forms of government surveillance or contact.

Go take a look!

Kyle R. Brady

Publishing Note: "Considering the Iraq War, Iraqi Oil, and American Interests: an Assessment"

My latest postgraduate paper for King's College London -- "Considering the Iraq War, Iraqi Oil, and American Interests: an Assessment" -- is now out, available via PDF or on


As the United States struggled to cope with the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush sought to publicly lay blame and prepare a counter-attack.  The targets of this counter-attack were quickly identified as Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, and the Taliban -- all located within Afghanistan -- despite initial concerns that other states, including Iraq, may have played a role.  However, by early 2002 and despite ongoing military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq was again on the minds of both the American government and the American people:  weapons of mass destruction were allegedly possessed by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.  Beginning with the earliest discussions of confronting an Iraqi threat, it was posited that an interest in this state as a security concern was, instead, an interest in the oil fields and reserves found within its borders.  To date, many well-considered positions on the Iraq War present oil as a major, if not central, motivational factor.  In order to assess such a position, the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the war must be understood, as well as the basics of the Iraqi state.

Go take a look!

Kyle R. Brady

Publishing Note: "Framing and Assessing the Counter-Terrorism Efforts of the United States between 2001 and 2011"

My latest paper for King's College London -- "Framing and Assessing the Counter-Terrorism Efforts of the United States between 2001 and 2011" -- is now out via PDF and at

Following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York City, the United States endeavored to both provide an overwhelming response to those determined culpable and prevent future attacks. Although the initial goals and targets of this counter-terrorism campaign were limited, this quickly changed. Over the course of a decade, two American Presidents, and multiple elections, the United States became an international fighting force seeking to combat terrorism in seemingly any location and through a variety of means. The first ten years of these counter-terror efforts -- 2001 through 2011 -- is essential to understanding the modern state of affairs.

Go take a look!

Kyle R. Brady

Closing "Reads" and Starting a New Project

Update (2017-04-05 08:15 EDT):  Reads is gone and I've decided not to pursue Project Reads.  This concept will stay dormant for awhile, perhaps indefinitely.


As of today, I've closed Reads and removed all of the content:  what was formerly at and on Twitter @KRBreads no longer exists.

However, this is because I'm converting what began as a personal project into a more universally accessible open source academic research transparency project.  This is known as Project Reads.  For now, however, there isn't much to share.  This conversion/creation process may take a few months.

Stay tuned!

Kyle R. Brady

Publishing Note: "The Role of Allies in the Modern Era: Four Choices for Western Governments"

I have a piece now out at Small Wars Journal:  "The Role of Allies in the Modern Era: Four Choices for Western Governments."

This article discusses the four choices for western governments when considering how to approach both allies and alliances, particularly with respect to costs/benefits and preferred outcomes.  The analysis is also grounded in a very timely and modern context.

Go take a look!

Quick Note: "The View from Washington" v. "The View from Moscow"

As the United States and Russia continue down a path that towards The New Cold War aka Cold War II, I came across two maps worth considering, since they illuminate a rather stark point of forgotten clarity.

Courtesy of Dr. Marcus Faulkner from the Department of War Studies at King's College London, the following two maps of perspective and reach come from a book on the Cold War from Sir Lawrence Freedman:

"The View from Washington"

"The View from Moscow"

Publishing Note: "Beyond Personalities: The Inevitability, Polarization, and Institutionalization of the Cold War"

My latest paper as a postgraduate student at King's College London is now out:  "Beyond Personalities: The Inevitability, Polarization, and Institutionalization of the Cold War."
As World War II ended in 1945 and the Cold War rose from its ashes, the United States and the Soviet Union stood opposed each other in nearly every way possible. Despite the prior cooperation of these two states during the largest war known to humanity -- under the guidance of American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Soviet General Secretary Josef Stalin -- the inevitability of the Cold War was set long before the end of World War II and it outlived both legendary leaders. Given the immense personification of the Cold War, particularly during its early years, the question remains why the conflict lasted decades beyond the death of the two leaders who guided their countries to superpower status, foresaw the arrival of the Cold War, and undertook preparations. The answer to such a question is threefold and can be found in the inevitability, polarization, and institutionalization of the Cold War.
You can find it through or as an open access PDF.

Go take a look!