Geopolitical Analysis Within the Context of International Relations

June 19th 2012 in Analysis Publications

© Copyright 2012 Ideas That Shape (ITS)

By Joseph Lerner

analysis-article-2bOften one could surprisingly come across the Political Analysts – who have a hard time presenting their thoughts through proper modes of reasoning – and communicating how they arrive to their conclusions.  For this reason, one often could identify a generous use of fallacies and talking-points in many of such analysts’ debates and arguments.  Such irregularities in modes of reasoning – give rise to one’s curiosity – that whether such analysts are aware of their own arguments being invalid.

Hypothetically speaking, if each analyst is given a pen and paper – and assigned to methodically and systematically deconstruct his statements – then could such an analyst break down his own written and spoken ideas into their core components?  Gifted engineers are those who understand the science and art of reverse engineering.

Could such analysts identify and present the logical patterns in their arguments and prove that each one of their arguments is logical and valid?

When any analyst lacks having such, highly scientific and technical abilities as discipline in dialectic, then he/she would be unable to produce any reliable analysis.  Furthermore, when any analyst starts  relying on raw data – that could be possibly collected similar to when people gossip in various social settings – then there would be difficulties when it comes to wisely, scientifically, clinically and properly understanding the complexes and issues.

True analysts are diligent and respect the protocols and procedures.  There is always a process of collection of data – converting it to information and placing it into its proper context – then analysis and finally highlighting the probabilities, possibilities, options, various possible outcomes in different scenarios and under various circumstances.  It is the logical, scientific, clinical, proper and pragmatic understanding of the world and events – that enables a true professional – to properly and acutely pro-act to each event and incident.  This way each party’s interests could  be preserved and protected – while maintaining the balance and harmonious state of coexistence – within the context of International Relations and diplomacy.

Isolating Each Specific Issue

The question that often comes to one’s mind while patiently observing and reading – thousands of analyses, discussions and communications – within the context of International Relations and political industry is:

i) What is the  precise hypothesis in each specific and isolated discussion, debate or argument?

ii) Why there is a tendency to relate the unrelated?

Often after patiently observing some of the discussions and chain of related communications – it seems that their nature and structure mutates and turns into becoming something similar to that of a social gossip column – rather than having the structure and nature that alludes to the existence of the discussions and debates amongst the analysts and scholars, who follow the proper modes of reasoning.

What are the root causes for such tendencies?

When this happens then one could observe and identify many disorganized thoughts – occurrence of repetitive patterns of presenting false premises and invalid arguments – and use of various logical fallacies.  This includes constant and consistent use of appeal to emotions – through dramatization of the subjects during its delivery – amongst many other logical defects in communications.

In such situations the question is:

What is a single important hypothesis that each specific and isolated discussion, debate or argument intends to focus on – and rationally, strategically and pragmatically develop its dialogues based on – rather than resorting to emotional appeal or dramatization of the subject during its delivery?

Separating Wheat from the Chaff

A gifted analyst is someone who through logical and pragmatic means – investigates to learn about the essence of each existing complex – through analyzing the collected raw data and statistics, and converting them to information.  Such an analyst communicates what the core components of the issues and complexes are.  Such an analyst is able to flawlessly simplify – and explain the complexes in a concise language – to decision and policy makers.

When coming across a geopolitical analysis that is hard to understand – then there is a great possibility that such an analysis is produced by someone – who has minimal or no real-life experiences in such field of expertise.

The astute analysts present their analyses through open ended questions – as possibilities and options – and their analyses are neither black and white nor conclusive.  It is hardly the duty or job description of an analyst to make strategic or operational decisions.

Skepticism is a quality of an individual who possesses an acute sense of analysis.  True scientists are skeptics.

The intuition and instincts are the initial guiding compass of the analysts – and logic and pragmatism are the regulating mechanism of critical thinking that each analyst utilizes and benefits from – when diligently examining the initial insight that he has accessed through his intuition.

The reason for the existence of such professional protocols, methodologies and procedures is: human intuition and instincts might not always necessary be right – especially when they are not in tune with nature – due to the irregularities that are often caused by emotional reactions.

However, within the context of International Relations and diplomacy – without the existence of the intuition and instincts – it is merely impossible for any analyst to notice the subtle nuances or micro-movements.  Without such qualities, it is impossible to understand the raw, unverified and unexamined data – so that the analysts could diligently examine and re-examine them through logical, scientific and clinical processes – then determine their validity, effects, defects, and consequences in various circumstances.

A true analyst is someone whose intuition is regulated by logic and scientific process.  A genuine analyst is someone who has an in-depth knowledge and wisdom – when it comes to the art and science of understanding the variables – and the proper context where each piece of the puzzle fits in.

For these reasons, the Analysts are required to undoubtedly reach their conclusions, through accumulative knowledge and collaboration with various professionals, scholars, experts and practitioners.

Mainstream Media

Often some of the individuals who are perceived as analysts in the mainstream media – reporting  that how things are or how things ought to be – unlikely are the analysts with the characteristics as described earlier.  Such individuals – who are in the mainstream media – might possibly be echoing various unknown agenda through use of well-crafted talking-points.

The agenda presented in the mainstream media could be both positive or negative – depending on who benefits from such agenda – or what are the short-term and long-term consequences of various agenda.

Such groups of individuals who appear in the mainstream media as analysts – are often the Spokespersons of the strategists and tacticians with various special interests – who utilize the mainstream media to communicate their already developed plans and strategies.  Such processes are often achieved through gradually preparing the audiences by using well-crafted talking-points – when the Spokespersons communicate through the mainstream media – as one of the very effective communication tools.

It seems that the idea and theory of “the medium is the message“ that Marshall McLuhan presented in the past – has been taken out of its context and presented as a fact and rule in the industry – that the mainstream media should operate based on verbatim.  This has resulted in the mainstream media and public excessively investing their time, energy and focus on the medium rather than the message.  Therefore, the mainstream media have found and adopted convenient and cost cost effective means – to communicate the materials that they might find or perceive favourable – while discrediting what the mainstream media perceives as unfavourable and/or inconvenient.

The mainstream media often achieve such objectives through their ingenuity of developing refined talking-points – and use of the linguistic techniques such as embedded commands and installing – and properly framing each one of their messages.  The other methods and techniques that are commonly used by the mainstream media – are launching countermeasure campaigns through use of counter-talking-points – to distort the other parties’ opposing viewpoints.  The mainstream media usually achieve these objectives through use of various well-designed and well-delivered complex fallacy attacks and emotional appeals.

This could be possibly one of the reasons that why the culture of media tabloids are being promoted and have become lucrative businesses.

Furthermore, it is essential to realize and acknowledge that various mainstream media – that utilize such methods, strategies and tactics – could be echoing either the left, centre or right political spectrum.

Such methods, strategies and tactics are used by various mainstream media throughout the world – that some oppose each other and have contrasting viewpoints – when it comes to what perspectives they believe that are more appropriate to be communicated.

It would be unfair to completely blame the mainstream media for all this.  Some of these complexes are caused by the instant gratification – that is available through spontaneous and real-time rating results – that the mainstream media utilize to partially measure the success of their programming.  The mainstream media – with the exception of some of the state owned media – are business entities that are driven by making profit.

Having more loyal readers, listeners and viewers equates to attracting more advertisers and sponsors.  Therefore, success in increasing the number of their audiences and readers, results in increasing the profit.  The improvement of the methodologies and technology in communications – always could change such elements and help the mainstream media to better measure their success and achievements – when it comes to finding creative programing solutions.

It is very important to realize and acknowledge that there are highly ethical individuals with integrity who work in the mainstream media.  Furthermore, some of the mainstream media have high integrity and try as much as possible to report the facts.

For these reasons, often some, but not all – who appear in the mainstream media as analysts and experts might tend to provide commentaries and talking-points – rather than concise and proper analyses, within the context of International Relations.  It is also necessary to realize and acknowledge – that there are well-respected, ethical and honourable experts and Analysts – who make appearances in the mainstream media.  However, such Analysts and experts very rarely make media appearances due to lack of the audiences’ demand.

Conclusion

There is neither the truth, a truth nor truth is black and white.  More awareness of truth equates to more awareness of grey areas in life.

Any analysis within the context of geopolitics or International Relations – hardly could precisely forecast the future  – or explain the exact reasons for the existence of the complexes or conflicts.  Simultaneously, the genuine analysts who have integrity – could provide some possible options or solutions – that might assist the decision makers to better understand the extant complexes and conflicts.  This way the decision makers and policy makers in the world – would have far better options– when it comes to making logical, wise and pragmatic decisions.

Hopefully, the outcome would be a cohesive and harmonious collaboration amongst the analysts, experts, scholars, policy makers and decision makers – so that through accumulative knowledge they could properly address the extant problems – and successfully ease some of the existing tensions, within the context of International Relations.

© Copyright 2013 Ideas That Shape (ITS)

 

Joseph Lerner is an Analyst whose areas of focus are Cultural Studies and Geopolitics.  He has been educated at Glendon College / Collège universitaire Glendon at York University.  Joseph currently serves on the panel of Advisory Board of Ideas That Shape (ITS), and is member of Board of Advisory of the Centre for Strategic Cyberspace + Security Science (CSCSS).  In the past, he has served on the Advisory Board of the Research Institute for European and American Studies (RIEAS)