Students & Alumni

Student journal Active Measures now available

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The 2018 edition of the student-run journal Active Measures is now available online.

The name of the journal refers to a set of influence operations and propaganda — disinformation and deception — used by the Soviet Union to persuade and to have a strategic impact.

Active Measures was founded in 2012 by a group of IWP students, and Daniel Acheson and Michael Webber served as its founding editors. The Editor-in-Chief for the 2018 edition is David Stoffey, and contributing editors include Brooke Kuminski, Daniel Acheson, Erin Cook, James Rice, Kelly Zug, and Ryan Hauser.

Articles in this edition are as follows:

Growing Challenges in the Republic of Serbia Towards European Union Accession
Kelly Zug
This essay will analyze the accession steps of the Republic of Serbia towards European Union membership and the emerging challenges that may undermine Serbia’s commitment to this objective. These emerging challenges include the Serbian leadership’s blatant disrespect for certain common values of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the increased use of Russian soft power efforts in Serbian affairs, and Serbia’s resistance to a shared European identity. In reaction to these emerging problems, the EU should undertake initiatives to promote support for EU accession in the country while maintaining its standards of good governance and accession criteria.

Beijing’s Hegemonic Inhibition: Asia’s Foreboding Geopolitics and China’s Grand Strategy
David Stoffey
Contemporary scholarship of international relations commonly promotes the idea of Chinese power ascendancy and the subsequent erosion of U.S. primacy. These analyses regularly ignore geography in great-power calculations. Where the United States is blessed with abundant geographic benefits and distance from powerful competitors, China suffers from its adjacency to three great-power rivals. These relationships stand to inhibit Beijing’s aspirations of regional hegemony. While China’s rise will likely continue for many years, this growth will cause greater consternation among its powerful neighbors. This paper details China’s geographic relationship with Russia, India, and Japan and how geopolitics may be a strong catalyst for Beijing’s containment.

The Successes of the Islamic State in Comparison to Al Qaeda: Near Enemy Focus and Social Media Persuasion
Brooke Kuminski
The Islamic State is currently the most successful jihadist group in the Middle East because, unlike Al Qaeda that focuses on anti-Westernism, they present themselves as religious crusaders. This is important because by not expressing an anti-Western goal, the group is opening up its ideological target audience to include Westerners. By not focusing on the far enemy and instead embracing the near enemy, the Islamic State has achieved the ability to recruit a wider and more diverse audience. This is because the demographic interested in the establishment of a religious caliphate is much broader, and more inclusive of Westerners, than an exclusively anti-Western goal. Through the medium of online propaganda, the Islamic State is able to convey its message to a global audience at virtually no cost. Its videos, social media, and blog posts reach untold thousands of fellow travelers or jihad-curious men, women, and children, creating an unprecedented problem for those wishing to stifle its activities. The result is new, often unpredictable, forms of attack, such as the so-called ‘lone wolf’ incidents as witnessed in downtown New York and London in 2017.

The United States’ Response to Corruption in Afghanistan
Samuel Read
This paper offers an analysis of how systemic corruption impacted U.S. nation building efforts in Afghanistan, and briefly overviews how corruption has grown in and impacted Afghan politics since the days of the Soviet invasion. The paper then looks at anti-corruption efforts by the U.S. and allies, and the various agencies and organizations that are now dedicated to identifying and preventing corruption, fraud, and waste in the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. There are also some ways in which the U.S. has not prevented corruption, ways in which a lack of proper oversight has contributed to corruption, and instances wherein local actors in Afghanistan have worked with both U.S. and criminal elements, taking U.S. money while assisting criminal or insurgent forces. The paper ends with a brief conclusion and offers some policy recommendations to build on and replicate the successes of U.S. anti-corruption efforts in Afghanistan.

To read the full journal, please click here: Download file Active Measures 2018 

To view past editions, please click here.