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Friday, May 21, 2004

The Pentagon's new map

Michael Barone writes about Thomas P. M. Barnett's new way of looking at the world's strategic situation. As they say, read the whole thing. To me the single most urgent idea here, one that we need to begin working on right away is a new type of military unit, what Barnett calls the sys admins. It is obvious to me that we need nation building forces. I will admit that I used to scoff at the very idea of nation building. I used view it as an expensive, thankless task that had no bearing on the security of the United States. Sept. 11th changed that. Now I view nation building as an expensive, thankless task that is crucial to the security of the United States. Our military forces are ill prepared for this job. While we have seen many Soldiers and Marines perform miracles rebuilding infrastructure, teaching tribal councils about democracy and performing countless tasks of a similar nature; they have had to do this with little or no training in many of these skills. We have also seen them fail horribly at Abu Ghraib. We must look at the world realistically. Globalization is improving quality of life for people all over the world but some countries cannot, or will not, integrate into the community of nations. These countries are, or will become, failed states. These countries will be havens for terrorists who will use the technology of connected world to strike, with potentially increasingly devastating results, at the nations who are successful. In this reality defeating an enemy will never be enough. We have to transform our enemies into successful partners. We need a force that can specialize in building up a countries infrastructure to it has an chance economically. That can teach a city how majority ruled elections combined with guaranteed minority rights make violence unnecessary as a means to solve political disagreements. We need a military that can train a police force and run a prison, all the while maintaining security it a place of chaos. This is a tall order. It will take a lot of personnel and a lot of training. It will cost serious money both the keep this force maintained and to deploy it. And while we may be able to trim the regular military, because of our technical advances, we will need to maintain our conventional strength as well. Some nations will help us in this. Over time I hope this number will grow. We must understand however that many nations will choose to shirk this burden and remain neutral. We cannot allow this choice by others to prevent us from doing what is right and necessary. I am not advocating forcible invasion of every country that does not immediately and fully embrace democracy and join in the global economy. As long as we can we should seek diplomatic solutions. It is better and cheaper to help a nation before we have to invade rather than after. But years of throwing money at totalitarian states has taught us that this just lines the pockets of despots rather than allowing a nation to prosper. Once a nation chooses to be a refuge for radical elements with hatred against the free world or begins to develop horrific weapons to blackmail it’s neighbors or us, the time for talk is over. We must be ready to remove that enemy, and equally ready to build something better. Globalization and Democracy can be good for all people. Individuality of people and cultures alike flourishes best in such an environment. Arab democracy, African democracy, Asian democracy and Western democracy will always be linked to their own individual cultures. These cultures can find their best expression within the framework of guaranteed human rights and a global economy will be able to richly reward the variety that each produces.


Blogger Aric said...

I have been saying for a while that the conflict in Iraq would be going a lot differently if the occupation forces were all made up of police officers who were at least in their mid twenties. Since the theory is good, and it makes some sense, I expect the whole idea will be poop-canned. Oh well.

5/22/2004 09:22:00 PM  

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