What We Are Reading Today: Secret Wars: Covert Conflict in International Politics 

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Updated 06 September 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Secret Wars: Covert Conflict in International Politics 

  • The book shows that covert interventions can help control escalation, but they are almost always detected by other major powers

 

AUTHOR: Austin Carson

Secret Wars is the first book to systematically analyze the ways powerful states covertly participate in foreign wars, showing a recurring pattern of such behavior stretching from World War I to US-occupied Iraq. Investigating what governments keep secret during wars and why, Austin Carson argues that leaders maintain the secrecy of state involvement as a response to the persistent concern of limiting war.

Keeping interventions “backstage” helps control escalation dynamics, insulating leaders from domestic pressures while communicating their interest in keeping a war contained.

Carson shows that covert interventions can help control escalation, but they are almost always detected by other major powers.

However, the shared value of limiting war can lead adversaries to keep secret the interventions they detect, as when American leaders concealed clashes with Soviet pilots during the Korean War.

Escalation concerns can also cause leaders to ignore covert interventions that have become an open secret.

From Nazi Germany’s role in the Spanish Civil War to American covert operations during the Vietnam War, Carson presents new insights about some of the most influential conflicts of the twentieth century.

Parting the curtain on the secret side of modern war, Secret Wars provides important lessons about how rival state powers collude and compete, and the ways in which they avoid outright military confrontations.

Austin Carson is assistant professor of political science at the University of Chicago.


Gwen Stefani dons Reem Acra gown for fairytale show

Updated 17 November 2018
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Gwen Stefani dons Reem Acra gown for fairytale show

DUBAI: Hollywood singer Gwen Stefani wore an ethereal gown by Lebanese designer Reem Acra for a performance at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, last week — and she looked like a princess.
The former “The Voice US” coach arrived in Disneyland in a horse-drawn carriage, wearing a pink tulle ruffled gown, complete with a glittery bodice and a green satin bow adorning the neckline.
Acra — whose creations have been worn by numerous world-renowned personalities, including US First Lady Melania Trump — posted an image of Stefani wearing the festive gown, which is part of the design huse’s pre-fall 2018 collection.
Stefani is no stranger to Acra’s gowns — she once wore another one of the Lebanese fashion icon’s creations to the 43rd People’s Choice Award in 2017.
Stefani was in the Disney-themed park to perform a line-up of Christmas tunes, including “Feliz Navidad” and “Let It Snow,” for Disney’s upcoming special holiday show airing on Nov. 29 on US television network ABC and the Disney Channel.
Other holiday-themed performances included pop star Meghan Trainor, father-son duo Andrea and Matteo Bocelli, singer-songwriter Becky G and other celebrities.

The 49-year-old multi-Grammy-award-winning singer will also perform in two other upcoming Disney Christmas specials on Nov. 23 and Dec. 25, serenading her fans with classic covers from her own Christmas album.
Stefani, who has three sons with her ex-husband, started dating “The Voice US” coach, country singer Blake Shelton in 2015 — and now both are looking to have a baby through a surrogate, according to US media report.
“They are in the final stages of choosing the woman who will carry their baby. It’s extremely important to Gwen that she give Blake a biological child, and Blake is so excited,” a source said, according to fashion magazine Cosmopolitan.