Federal Triangle: Preventing Armageddon
The American public, government and industry must understand and accept the new Globalization defining the world's future, which is a term that itself needs definition. Since human endeavors are stable and prosperous for most when conducted according to rules, new "rule-sets" emerged after WWII. The U.S. did not exact retribution from the conquered, a first in history, and it was a brilliant strategy for the U.S. to "buy off" two major losers and "wait out" the third, Russia.
Even rules of war changed with the policy of "mutual assured destruction," agreed by superpowers during a Cold War, inoculating us all from nuclear violence. Then a great economic surge came when the Soviets fell, Europe was reorganized, and China returned to civilization, teaching in retrospect that a divergent rule-set occurred during the last fifteen years. Economics got ahead of politics and technology got ahead of security. The world became connected too fast.
In the U.S. this connectivity, the hallmark perception of globalization, is viewed in economic terms. But to others this connectivity was and is seen as a threat. "Rouge regimes" view connectivity as a direct assault on their power and territorial control while religious fundamentalists see it as a means to assimilate them into a sacrilegious global economic empire under an autocratic America. So both objector classes fight connectivity and globalization, taking vast swaths of humanity off-line. We recognize this resistance as bad behavior, as in the case of Serbia or Iraq or transnational terrorism but, in either mode, the origin of conflict is dispute between connectivity versus disconnectedness.
We now recognize that rule-set asymmetry creates a "Gap," and disconnectedness results in the common people living in the Gap isolated, deprived, repressed and uneducated but keeps the elite in control with means to hoard wealth. The Gap is actually a non-integrated part of the world comprising two-thirds of humanity and covering all of Africa, except Republic of South Africa; the Middle-East; most of South Asia except India; and Central and South America except for Argentina, Chile and Brazil. What remains is the Functioning Core.
This concept of the Functioning Core of our world and our American place in it is, in my view, as important a subject to understand as may happen in the remainder of your life. There is a special role for industry here because the provisioning of goods and services is the engine of globalization. Keeping bad things from flowing from the Gap to the Core is the role of the military, and the U.S. defense establishment has failed miserably until recently to grasp transitions needed to move from conventional to nuclear to today's warfare threats, termed military operations other than war (MOOTW). It is only a recent U.S. policy to consider, much less credibly use, preemptive strikes to seal unacceptable rifts within the Gap.
While America can reduce the Gap to rubble militarily, that does little to promote connectivity. Selling Gap leaders and residents on new rule-sets acceptable to the Core is a test of our will, capability and credibility. The American view of Globalization, the economic development of the Gap to bring those nations into modernity, is essential to mutual survival of all peoples. The more the world defines and adheres to agreed rule-sets, defining acceptable fair play, the less violence there will be and the more entrenched will be Globalization benefits. Think of actions in Iraq as a process to readmit a disconnected state to the community of nations and the biggest threat to the Core as the non-state actor, an Osama bin Laden, running amok. History shows us that the world is progressively moving away from warfare against states and toward warfare against individuals. The ultimate enemy is that living idea, disconnectedness.
These foregoing thoughts are drawn in part from the outstanding book by Dr. Thomas Barnett, "The Pentagon's New Map." I recommend it as a thoughtful, unbiased treatise on this evolution of U.S. policy and as important as anything available on what globalization is really about. How U.S. national defense and homeland security agencies resolve preparations for warfare and security is of crucial importance. And of equivalent significance is how the American private sector and industry within the Core responds to prevent Armageddon. We can remember words of wisdom by Admiral Art Cebrowski who heads the Defense Office of Force Transformation; "If change is happening faster outside the organization than inside, the end is near." This war can be won when peace is secured by correctly accommodating Globalization. IH