Presenting the Philadelphia Papers
The Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) is pleased to announce the launch of “The Philadelphia Papers” -- a new series of E-Books devoted to illuminating the foreign policy and national security issues of the day. With expert analysis from FPRI’s global network of scholars, the Philadelphia Papers will seek to bring the best of scholarship to bear on issues of policy import.
In the inaugural issue, “21st Century Cultures of War: Advantage Them,” the anthropologist Anna Simons provocatively assesses cultures of war in the 21st century. Simons cautions that while the United States military increasingly dazzles in the technological realm, it remains at a marked disadvantage when it comes to social relations. Because of this, the U.S. chronically underestimates the sophistication of some of our adversaries and allies in the non-Western world. This asymmetry puts our soldiers, diplomats, and intelligence communities at a distinct disadvantage as the U.S. attempts to rethink how to wage war. Indeed, without a greater appreciation for the social and anti-social skills of likely future adversaries, current problems plaguing our military – from PTSD through questionable generalship – will only worsen over time.
Anna Simons is a Professor of Defense Analysis at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), where she teaches courses on the anthropology of conflict, military advising, low intensity conflict in Africa, and political anthropology. Dr. Simons is the author of Networks of Dissolution: Somalia Undone and The Company They Keep: Life Inside the U.S. Army Special Forces, as well as co-author of The Sovereignty Solution: A Common Sense Approach to Global Security. She has written extensively about intervention, conflict, and the military from an anthropological perspective for a wide range of publications. She holds an A.B. from Harvard College and a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Harvard University.
The Foreign Policy Research Institute was founded in Philadelphia in 1955 on the premise that “a nation should think before it acts,” as founder Robert Strausz-Hupe put it. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, FPRI is devoted to bringing the insights of scholarship to bear on the development of policies that advance U.S. national interests. We add perspective to events by fitting them into the larger historical, cultural, geographical context of international politics.
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