Strategic communication

The latest “Principles of War”: seminar series featured “John Rendon”: of the “Rendon Group”: who spoke on the topic of strategic communication. This is an issue dear to my heart as a former PR man with a technology bent familiar with the monolithic industrial-age government department system and its lack of timely communication capability.

Rendon hits all the buzzwords mentioning “tipping points”:, communities of interest, “long tails”:, social networks, user-generated content, “Blink”:, etc. Without getting bogged down in all the jargon the presentation remains interesting for an audience wider than just “MountainRunner”: and yours truly. Rendon gives insight into the problems a modern-day government faces in an unpredictable news cycle, and highlights the dangers of not knowing how a diverse and asymmetric audience will _receive_ your message. His speech is wide of scope and blasts through a slew a topics. His scenario of a cyber attack perpetrated on a sovereign country by a community of interest geographically located in America raises an interesting legal point related to the legality of the US invasion of Afghanistan: can a country claim the right of self defence if attacked by a group within a sovereign country? Rendon brings up a number of diverse issues, connecting them in interesting ways that will give you a new appreciation of the problems in “official” communication in the 21st century.

About Younghusband

Sir Francis Edward Younghusband (1863-1942) was a British explorer, army officer, military-political officer, and foreign correspondent born in India who led expeditions into Manchuria, Kashgar, and Tibet. He three times tried and failed to scale Mt. Everest and journeyed from China to India, crossing the Gobi desert and the Mustagh Pass (alt. c.19,000 ft/5,791 m) of the Karakoram mountain range in modern day Pakistan. Convinced of Russian designs on British interests in India, Younghusband proactively engaged in the nineteenth century spying and conflict over Central Asia between the British and the Russians known as the Great Game. "Younghusband" is a Canadian who has spent a number of years bouncing back and forth between his home country and Japan. Fluent in Japanese and English with experience in numerous other languages from Spanish to Georgian, Younghusband has travelled throughout Asia. He graduated with an MA from the War Studies Department at the Royal Military College of Canada, where he focussed on the Japanese oil industry and energy security issues. He has recently returned to Canada from Japan, and is working in the technology sector.
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5 Responses to Strategic communication

  1. IJ says:

    On the legality of the US invasion of Afghanistan. More and more people are asking if a country can claim the right of self defence if attacked by a group within another sovereign country. However this takes us into the realms of international law which all permanent five members of the UN’s Security Council seem happy to ignore.

    For example, Time magazine published an interview this month with Russian president Vladimir Putin. He suggests that Russia has a lukewarm attitude towards the United Nations.

    Might still makes right. The P5 won’t agree to anything else.

  2. Pingback: Daily Links 12/27/2007 « Umbrella

  3. purpleslog says:

    “On the legality of the US invasion of Afghanistan. More and more people are asking if a country can claim the right of self defence if attacked by a group within another sovereign country.”

    Who is asking?

    Why could a country not claim self-defense?

    The host government of the country were the attack originates from is to either presumed to have a monopoly on force and therefore implicitly allowed the attack to occur (unless they explicitly tired to counter it) or to not really be in charge (aka not a legitimate government).

    In either case, why would the country attacked not have a moral right of self-defense?

  4. Younghusband says:

    “@purpleslog”: If a bunch of hackers based out of the US dos-attacked China, causing a couple of planes to crash and some hospital deaths totaling 3000 people, would you consider the US government as illegitimate?

  5. purpleslog says:

    I missed the reply.

    If the USG said to china “too bad – we didn’t do it” and if the USG made no legitimate effort to get the hacker terrorist, then from China’s PoV, the US is either really behind the attacks, or is no longer in control of its territory (not legitimate as a gov).