return to ICG Spaces home    ICG Risk Blog    discussions    newsletters    login    

welcome

This weblog commences the public side of an impromptu commentary that started immediately after 11 September, 2001, when colleagues were asking "What is Islam?" What followed was a brief history of Islam, the schism between Sunni and Shia, moderates and conservatives, and their respective views and responses towards the West.

Our central theme is preemptive risk identification and remediation prior to an attack. To defend, defer or deflect an attack is to prevent loss, the "big hole in the ground." There is a place for forensic, post-attack, risk analysis to close loops and make remedial corrections, but the focus is preemption.

Major topics are:

  • terrorism
  • infrastructure defense
  • risk containment
  • cybersecurity
  • intellectual property theft

I subscribe to Sir Harold Nicholson's description of diplomacy as "the understanding that for intractable problems there are only adjustments and not solutions."

Americans are resistant to that idea and too often paint a scenario into black and white, seeking a single, lasting, and implicitly moral solution. Other than by force-of-arms, it’s difficult to find such a solution that works for diverse stakeholders, overcomes a history of accumulated slights and resentments, and engenders a negotiation process that’s not resented by one or more stakeholders.

I hope this commentary will make you think, question an assumption, consider the secondary effects of any action, and gain a wider window to global issues.

- Gordon Housworth