Why is it that, in spite of the hundreds of billions of dollars the U.S. has borrowed to finance its War on Terror, terrorism has steadily increased? Could it be because violence benefits chaos, rather than stability?
It’s also because the US insists that fighting terrorism must be done by using state-on-state tactics, and it’s not that kind of conflict. The US uses the wrong tactics and the wrong approach, thinking that if they can just cut off the head of whoever they deem as the Chief Evildoer this week, that terrorism will end. This totally misunderstands the tactics and organization of those the US deems as terrorist.
From the inside flap to John Robb’s new book, Brave New War
[The] evolutionary leap in the methods of warfare makes it possible for extremely small nonstate groups to fight states and possibly win on a regular basis. The use of systems disruption as a method of strategic warfare gives rise to a nightmare scenario in which any nationÃ¢â‚¬â€including the United StatesÃ¢â‚¬â€can be driven to bankruptcy by an enemy it can’t compete with economically. We are staring at a future where defeat isn’t experienced all at once but as an inevitable withering away of military, economic, and political power through wasting conflicts with minor foes.
In other words, the US can build all the Green Zones it wants in Iraq, and a few insurgents can still bring down crucial oil pipelines and the electrical grid almost at will, thus eroding the power of the government and of the US, as well as costing them millions, if not billions.
It is time, says Robb, to decentralize all of our systems, from energy and communications to security and markets. It is time for every citizen to take personal responsibility for some aspect of state security. It is time to make our systems, and ourselves, as flexible, adaptable, and resilient as the forces that are arrayed against us.
Those forces can be Islamists, transnational gangs, home-grown militias, or whatever. Their aims may differ, but the tactics and approach are the same. Small, highly mobile, loosely networked groups who inflict major damage despite their much smaller size. Robb sees the state itself as a declining force with its power worldwide starting to ebb, to be replaced by corporations, private militaries, insurgencies, regional networks, and other such decentralized organizations that will emerge in the hollowed-out structure of what used to be a state.
He uses the response to Hurricane Katrina as a telling example. The government wasn’t able to respond quickly. Instead, who was on the ground quickly, offering huge support? Wal-Mart and Blackwater, that’s who. Wal-Mart used their huge logistics system to get food, water, and supplies quickly to people who needed them. Blackwater private military were hired by the wealthy to protect their property and lives. Whether you loathe Blackwater isn’t the point, that they were able to get there fast and efficiently when the government couldn’t IS the point. The US government is preoccupied and probably bankrupting itself slogging through (and losing) wars it started but doesn’t understand. Which is precisely what those opposed to the US want to happen and according to Robb, have deliberately planned to happen.
That “violence benefits chaos” is precisely their goal. Robb, whose blogs I read regularly, is not right-wing, and says he doesn’t have politics or even vote. He’s more of a futurist with a background both in military special ops and high tech software startups. That we are moving towards a highly decentralized world that the US government appears clueless about is, I think, a given. Those who survive will be those who adapt.
[tags]Brave New War[/tags]