Talk:Michael L. R. Smith

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Moving large block of unreferenced text here. -- Diane Farsetta 10:56, 17 March 2008 (EDT)

British academic. A strategic theorist, strongly influenced by the thought and writings of Carl von Clausewitz. His sometimes controversial writings are infused with a conservative-skepticism.

Regarded as the first analyst to introduce strategic theory to the understanding of non-state military actors. His early work on Irish Republican military thinking assessed the effectiveness of IRA methods. Criticized for exerting moral neutrality towards the use of violence, he nevertheless, presciently adjudged the IRA's campaign to be suffering from "strategic failure" that would necessitate a change in the means if it stood any chance of achieving its objectives.

He expanded his ideas to show how Clausewitzian principles could be applied to insurgent conflicts. In this he was frequently critical of the narrow obsessions of strategic studies, in particular the superficialities of terrorism studies, as well as what he saw as the intellectual fashions of contemporary international relations.

He has forged a long time writing partnership with the Australian based conservative political theorist David Martin Jones. Smith and Jones's writings are often regarded as abrasive and counter-orthodox, revealing considerable skepticism towards the idea of East Asian regionalism. Their writings were notable for having identified the threat of Al'Qaida linked terrorism in Southeast Asia before 9/11. Smith and Jones's recent writings on the growth of jihadist violence within the UK have generated controversy, and attracted criticism in 2007 in the journal International Affairs from a group of academics from Cambridge, Manchester and Oxford. Their response was characteristically robust.

Despite being widely published Smith is regarded as a low key academic who avoids the media. He heads his department's MA in Intelligence and International Security program. His links with the intelligence world are difficult to discern.