Friday, September 21, 2012

US-Iran War Games Staged at Brookings

Here is how the Washington Post's David Ignatius describes the US-Iran war games that were held this week at the Brookings Institution.
Perhaps it was the “fog of simulation.” But the scariest aspect of a U.S.-Iran war game staged this week was the way each side miscalculated the other’s responses — and moved toward war even as the players thought they were choosing restrained options.
The Iran exercise was organized by Kenneth Pollack, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy. It included former top U.S. officials as Washington policymakers, and prominent Iranian American experts playing Tehran’s hand. I was allowed to observe, on the condition that I wouldn’t name the participants.
The bottom line: The game showed how easy it was for each side to misread the other’s signals. And these players were separated by a mere corridor in a Washington think tank, rather than half a world away.
War simulation is nothing new for think tanks.  Back in June, Brookings, along with the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Institute of War Study held a one-day crisis simulation titled "Unraveling the Syria Mess: A Crisis Simulation from the Syrian Civil War."  Some in Turkey apparently were quite alarmed by that simulation.

Also, cyber war games were recently held between the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR).