This is a look at some of the interview of Mr. Thomas Barnett by Hugh Hewitt, part 2 in a series. My look at part 1 in the series on proposed reasoning for force structure are here.
These are 'first round thoughts' on reading the interview and I am extracting portions of the interview and then putting my ideas following. Very much on the 'rough and ready' sort of deal.
TB - Thomas Barnett, HH - Hugh Hewitt
TB: I think, you know, my nutshell definition of grand strategy is to think about war within the context of everything else. And I think that’s been less an issue in, say, the two major wars we fought in the 20th Century, World War I and World War II, because those were all-out, fully committed, total wars. What we’ve endured since the end of the Second World War is this overarching framework of mutual assured destruction, and the nuclear standoff. And that forced us, progressively over time, sometimes better than others, to factor in other aspects of human interaction, most notably with the rise of what we now call globalization, the underlying economic trends which force us to kind of reconnect our definitions of war with our definitions of peace. They became kind of abstract, in some way, across the Cold War, because the concept of all-out war became prohibitively expensive. But now that we’re past that dangerous period, I would argue, and the threat of global nuclear Armageddon is gone, we’ve lost the sense of identity between U.S. national security and a definition of global security. So it’s crucial, as we move further beyond this 9/11 experience, which haunts us still, I would argue, to kind of reconnect a definition of what makes America great, and why we want to live here, and why we want to keep it safe, and what makes the world great, and why we want to live in it and keep it safe.========
The overarching concept of warfare during the WWI-II era was a movement from mass industrialized warfare to Total War doctrine in which the manufacturing capability of a Nation was seen as the primary support for military might. Civilians that worked in such manufacturing areas were, thusly, targeted as legitimate targets that supported military capability. The post-WWII theory of 'containment' was meant to limit the spread of Communism, not address it and hope that the internal weaknesses of that system would bring it down. Here the movement of the 'Realists' into Global Geo-strategic thinking morphed what was and continued to be one of the weakest industrialized Nations on the planet into a global threat. Communism was put forth as an anti-capitalist, anti-colonial system that did not require the 'baggage' of Western thought to go with it and would serve as a counter-point to the West. Foreign Policy that sought to 'stabilize' parts of the globe, most notably the Middle East but also in Oceania, SE Asia and Latin America, put forth that anyone fighting the Communists were *less bad* than the Communists themselves. By seeking that 'balance of power' the foundations of American Foreign Policy were slowly eroded as governments that were outright dictatorships were gaining support of the US and its Allies in an effort to 'contain' Communism.
'Abstraction' was a tool utilized by the political class on a global basis to put forth as a means of having a rough and ready score card to tell who was on which side. Global warfare of the old Total War conception was seen as expensive, but the reductio ad absurdum of that military conception was to bring more and deadlier weapons down in price so that for very little money a mass of destruction could be had. Actually *taking* and *holding* territory was put by the wayside by those seeking a 'balance of power' as a zero-sum game. In the Korean conflict the North Koreans saw that taking and holding territory was *still* a viable option and started out with that as their goal. In turn, by practicing that form of warfare they were vulnerable to it and pushed back to the brink of utter collapse. Only when China stepped in to 'restore' balance did their initial, overwhelming numbers prove effective: one of the last mass armies on Earth had temporary reign on the battlefield against a technologically superior power group. That, however, did not last until the Foreign Policy of actually attacking aggressors was put aside to get a 'balance of power'.
By seeing Korea as a direct superpower confrontation, the industrialized West had not noticed that there were very few Soviets in the region, although they had put themselves into the firing line in the air war there, and that the main obstacle was China. China was seen as having 'inexhaustible human resources' to continually lose men in a ground based battle. They were, man for man, brave but under-equipped, malnourished and nowhere near as mobile as their Western counterparts. The idea of a stalemate took hold and that is what we are left with today which is a direct *reward* for aggression by not taking out a power that sought to harm an Ally of the United States. Acceptance of the Chinese position of not wanting a democratic Korea on its border left millions under brutal Communist oppression who could have been freed by continued application of force. China had neither the industrial capacity, agricultural capacity nor military might to sustain its force posture and the problems it was already having with the USSR were no longer ensuring that China would have a continuous supply of Soviet made goods. The West by accepting that never put the counter-proposal on the table that if China ends its support for North Korea, then the West would ensure that a buffer zone be established very much like in Europe. Nor did the West put on the table that China be made wholly responsible for all further problems on the peninsula as they had just saved North Korea. Instead the West got a 'balance of terror' and continual flare-up point that could radically destabilize the globe for decades.
That was *not* containment.
That *was* appeasement.
By continuing this strange conception of warfare in which one does not actually take and hold enemy territory so as to stop them from being enemies, the West, in particular, put at jeopardy centuries of diplomacy which had been working up to that very point. Jus ad bellum as a Foreign Policy dictate, understood between all Nations, was being undermined as a touchstone of what it means to be a Nation. When this form of appeasement was put forth in Vietnam by a political class that wanted to meddle in warfare and not put a point to it, what was seen was a long counter-insurgency on the lands of those we were protecting against the financed, supplied and finally sourced forces of a neighbor. The answer to *that* is not 'bombing raids': it is robustly going in, taking territory, and trying to stand up a civil society that will stand on its own against those elements trying to kill them. The 'cost' to the Nation during the entire Vietnam conflict was a robust and expanding economy that was not only advancing technically and materially, but was constructing a new way of life and removing the need for high dependence upon agrarian resources. The perceived cost of the Vietnam war was high, its actual cost in economic and human terms on sheer loss of life were minuscule compared to anything seen in the Mass War and Total War era that preceded it. What did happen was the 'balance of power' in and of itself was made a goal instead of directly addressing aggressive military powers that threatened the Friends and Allies of the United States.
The death toll that accrued to America's unwillingness to stand for her values, stick by an Ally and retreat with mere scratches when entire societies were threatened was enormous. The media conveniently under-reported such things and so retreat was seen as a 'low cost option' against military aggression in far off lands. Mind you, the mightiest economy of the planet was expending less than 10% of its economy and more on the order of 8% to deal with this, continue a build up of thermonuclear weapons, heavily increase its industrial capacity, raise its standard of living by leaps and bounds, put a new era of agriculture in place that would further reduce the manpower needed to feed the Nation, and put forth new science and technology at a phenomenal rate. The USSR, meanwhile, was spending 15-25% of its economy on war material, creating substandard housing, inventing very little, and repressing its people continuously through secret police, gulags and imprisonment without fair trial for stating 'political dissent'. The layer of 'Mutual Assured Destruction' was used to cement the 'balance of power' in place and KEEP IT THERE. Those who had put forth that Foreign Policy had so inculcated the power structure of the West to it, that there was no other option ever put forth that got a hearing on trying to do something different. Grand Strategy had, indeed, become based on fantasy and those holding wonderful reports from the CIA in the late 1980's about how the USSR would be around at least until 2010 and most likely 2030-50 should have been seen as *frauds*: they had so weakened the Nation to respond to *any* attack and counter threats to the Friends and Allies of the United States that the US was no longer seen as a reliable power of any sort.
The loss of identity of the American People to its Foreign Policy strategy is not new. It is traced directly back to Korea and Vietnam where the disenchantment of the American People with supporting dictators, appeasing aggressors and, generally, giving up the ideals of Liberty and Freedom to a 'balance of power' that they started to walk out on the system ITSELF. By the late 1970's the mass movement of the American People was no longer along standard political and ideological axes, but was a growing disenchantment with the political system that would *support* the deterioration of National Sovereignty and the Preceptual belief in the Declaration and the limitation of Government seen in the Constitution. The end of the Cold War did not start this trend which was in full swing by that point in time. The American People believed that the Nation should stand up for some things and the political class was telling it that those things were not worth standing up *for* or doing anything to *continue* them. To have a sense of the lost security on the Global Scale one must first *start* with that sense which America has not had since the middle of the Cold War.
After Vietnam, the destruction of Cambodia, Laos, and the reprisals taken against South Vietnam were huge with death tolls as a result of American cowardice rising into the tens of millions. The USSR saw this as a vital way to undermine the West and the very conception of Western Liberty because their sympathizers in the West had shown an ability to redirect outlook away from Preceptual basis to one of 'no blood now for any reason, ever'. This was not helped by the US non-response to the overthrow of Iran by Islamic Fundamentalists, the botched hostage rescue attempt, the Embassy bombing in Beirut, the Marine Barracks bombing in Beirut, the Second Embassy bombing in Beirut, the Pan Am Lockerbie bombing, the Berlin Disco bombing... The continuous hit parade against the US and its Allies by foes both Communist backed, like the various 'Red' factions/legions and the Pan-Arab to Islamist groups led to further deterioration in the concept that the US would actually address anything outside of herself. The retaking of Kuwait was seen as a validation *of* that because the US would no longer dare to act *alone* in her own interests. And promises given to people wanting to over throw a dictator were not fulfilled and so 300,000 Shia Arabs died due to Saddam Hussein because they actually had this strange belief that the US would actually stand FOR anything it said.
Economic power leading to freedom is a case unmade as of yet. Pointing to Solidarity that had to do the hard work of hitting at the foundations of Communism to bring it down is, in fact, a point in support of doing very little to help anyone under dictatorial power. While the Polish People did, indeed, get help and support from their *families* in the West, the actual Western powers, including the United States, did very little to stand by THEM when push came to shove. Those very fine 'Realists' were caught unprepared and with no ideological underpinnings to address People actually striving for Freedom in a non-Economic way. The goal of economic stability had so hampered the political elite in the US and the West that it was seen as the sovereign salve to cure all dictatorships. That has so removed the American People from their foundational belief that Liberty begats Liberty for All, that the American People no longer VOTE for Congress by majority and that trend is also present on the Executive side, as well.
TB: Well, I guess I would define their grand strategy as maintaining a certain primacy in terms of military power, and using that primacy to extend their economic empire. And their definition, not unlike the famous phrase, what’s good for GM is good for America, was sort of what’s good for the British Empire should be good for the world. And they really were the source code of what most people describe as the first great globalization period, that a lot of people date from roughly 1870 up unto about 1914, and you saw that kind of massive multi-decade civil war rage across Europe, that eventually left the planet so scarred, so defeated in terms of the major empires, that it was really only the United States and the Soviet Union left standing. And it was at that point that you start to see the American source code definition of globalization really begin to emerge. And by that, I mean I think the model for the way states interact is in many ways foretold by the experience of the United States coming together, and growing across the course of its history, that the free movement of goods and services, and the collective security, and the high transparency we have between states in this country really represents sort of a source code for the globalization that survived that first negative definition of…in terms of colonial powers in Europe, and really gives us the possibilities we face today. To make that argument is to sort of reach for a definition, post-9/11, of why our defense of globalization and our, in effect, bodyguard role, in terms of the U.S. Military, is crucial to understand. We’re not just waging a war against terrorists. We’re not just waging a war against radical extremists, or the global Salafi jihadist movement. What we’re really doing is we’re defending the spread of the ideals that informed and animated this country so successfully, and are really be replicated in Europe, and ultimately, I believe, will be replicated in other major portions of the world as well.====
There is a strange hearkening back to the era of "The White Man's Burden" and juxtaposing it into economic transparency. The United States by being so distributed across a continent spent long decades just getting infrastructure in place to actually cohere. Economic 'transparency' was achieved through the inability of enforcement of nearly any economic rules or codes. The People saw themselves as sovereign, controlling land they had purchased as they wished and doing much of what they wanted to that land without government interference, oversight or taxation. The Federal Government was hard pressed to put anything like Constabulary Forces together and multiple small scale wars were fought against the Native Americans to establish this new system of Individual Freedom and self-rule. The entire westward expansion of the US was not a peaceful affair accompanied by economic transparency, it was a hard fought and bloody affair with People looking to the Government to get *any* basis for civil protection down in lands the Nation was expanding into. Today that very same Government has so twisted the very limitations placed upon it by the Constitution that it can now legislate against things done by individuals that are non-destructive to *anyone* by expanding the inter-state power to one that now is fully upon not only intra-state affairs but things happening on the land of an individual that does not harm the Union.
The original 'source code' is the Constitution, and it became a recognized fact that Federal Government and oversight is limited over the Individual as the Individual is seen as the source of all Power in the Union. A wholly agreed-upon framework for those wishing to enter the Union was to abide by those rules that governed the Union but that the individual States have a high level of autonomy for all of their own affairs. Today the United States has its own problems INSIDE the Union placed by those who wish to abrogate its 'source code' entirely and start the final erosion of all National Sovereignty. And there are many in the political elite that are cheering this onwards! Now, which source code are we to live by? The one that is the basis for small government, low interference with individuals by government and the highest possible Freedom for the People *or* the one in which the People are seen as the main targets for fiscal bribery via direct payments from the government, interference by the government for *anything* that can be construed as being inter-state commerce, proposals to limit the freedom of speech in the political realm and the movement of the Nation away from Individualism and towards Group Rights? Because the United States is no longer practicing the former and is heading hard and fast towards the latter which is not a recipe that will actually *help* anyone on a global basis, including the People of the United States. It is a great 'source code' but the 'fork' on the path it has taken from the early 20th century onwards is not one that remains on the original path or intent of the code itself.
That latter code is, indeed, being promulgated on a Global Basis and has come to be known by the name of Transnational Progressivism as given by John Fonte. Transnational Progressivism seeks an end to Nation States, National Sovereignty and Individualism and seeks to replace it with a top-down hierarchical conception of multiple societal 'groups' that will be given rights based upon group identification by an Elite Group. This is the inculcation of Communist concepts of class warfare turned into a global view that not all individuals deserve equality and should only get the equality they deserve when chosen by a larger, superior group. By moving towards 'Group Empowerment', special rights for groups, putting forth Internationalist Non-Governmental Organizations as superior to Nations and by seeking to reduce Nationalism and National Sovereignty, the Transnational Progressivists are putting forth a world wholly compatible with a brand-new 'source code'. This new 'source code' encourages large amounts of social spending, small amounts of industrial investment and a centralized oversight authority that is not amenable to democratic means. This is the current paradigm being replicated in Europe, parts of Asia, being put forth in Africa and Latin America and, generally, seen as a 'benevolent way' to establish an authoritarian structure over Nations.
Somehow Individualism and Exceptionalism via merit are just not in the cards for that system, which is set up as the current alternative to the old fashioned form of the US 'source code'. Unfortunately many Americans are pushing hard for this new formulation and dis-empowerment from the inside as well as empowering those outside the Nation to assert its supremacy over mere Nations. I would be a bit more sanguine on things if America had kept to its original conceptions from the 19th century on Personal Freedom and Liberty as that does, indeed, have the hallmarks of what Mr. Barnett is talking about. That is, however, not the case.
TB: Well, the underlying flaw in the Soviet theory, and I mean, we faced this version…in many ways, we face it again with the radical Salafi jihadist movement, is that there’s the success of the early entrance into capitalism, okay? And then we face the difficulty of when capitalism starts to impinge upon those parts of the world that aren’t initially successful at it. One is a catch up strategy for that part of the world. And Leninism offered a catch up strategy. It was kind of the extreme dictatorship by a single party, and rapid industrialization. In effect, Lenin took Marx and turned him on his head. Marx thought that capitalism was going to self destruct at the height of its creative powers. When that didn’t happen, say, in the failed socialist revolution in Germany, Lenin said no, we’ve got to go back in time, and we’ve got to catch a country before it becomes too capitalistic. Mao did one better than Lenin and said no, we’ve got to go back and catch them while they’re still in the villages. And what we’re looking at now with the radical Salafi jihadist movement is again, even another attempt to go further back in time, and make the argument that you really want to catch up and surpass the evil infidel, in this instance, life of the capitalist West. You’ve got to go back to a perfect time defined as roughly the 7th Century, the first two or three centuries after the life of the prophet Mohammed. So we’ve met over time, I would argue, and the Soviets were one version of this, an increasingly desperate sort of back to the future promise of a competing, alternative ideology. And that’s why when I look at the radical Salafi jihadist movement, I see that it’s just another iteration of Leninism, another iteration of Maoism, but the weakest one we’ve faced yet, because they don’t really offer much of an alternative.=====
I do come from a slightly different background on Socialism and its outlooks having grown up in a family of Socialist sympathizers. The disconnects that I have seen from the inside on Socialism are two-fold: social limits and limitations by outlook. From those the problems with Socialism is that it is an 'end-state' system designed around 19th century concepts of what that end state would be. Without the underlying understanding of human nature that is necessary for actually postulating how humans act within systems (something that is still lacking in a scientific sense) and by not understanding that new knowledge could change the original conceptions of industry, Socialism becomes something that is only high-level as a postulation but can never be implemented as a fact without harsh disconnects between it and the real world. What was seen, instead, was an attempt by to Socialists and Communists to either 'ease the capitalist system into socialism' or to overthrow capitalism and try to force a socialist system to come about. Do note that if you use the mid-19th century ideal of what industry *means* they were both successful! The world did not stop in the 19th century, however, so a successful mid-19th century industrialized economy in the 1930's was considered to be antiquated in the extreme. Communism by being willing to force an end state to come about 'forked' from its original Socialist 'source code' and would continue to do so along authoritarian lines as that is what that 'fork' in the 'code' was meant to do. Going to extremes along that path are engendered by the direction of the path itself, not its distant underpinnings. Sort of like where 21st century America is in relationship to its attitudes from the 19th century....
Those wishing to rise up for radical means throughout time have used multiple reasons to do so: xenophobia, Nationalism, racism, religion, economics, social disorder, and so on. Within the 20th century alone we saw uprisings based upon: Nationalism, imperialism, colonialism, militarism, religion, capitalism, communism, social disorder, economics, racism. There is no 'point source' for disgust with society and, throughout time, many forms of opposition to the ruling status quo have arisen and fallen time and again. When Lee Harris describes al Qaeda's Fantasy Ideology, he had no idea that it would then be applied to formulate an Empire based end-game to terrorism in the form called The Management of Savagery. Far from Islamists having a rational viewpoint towards economics and society, they have put forth a fantastical one that is not amenable to rational discussion due to its irrational disconnects. This goes for both the State based and non-State based components of Radical Islam which is trying to usurp the totality of thought space of all of Islam to itself. While the Socialists and even the Communists had *some* tie points back to economics and some form of rational thought, the Radical Islamic groups do *not* have that.
The reason for this is that they do not come from manufacturing based societies nor from societies that put forth modern economic theories. When one is not allowed to charge 'interest' and must invent all sorts of other ways around that to get a larger recompense over time for such money, then how does one adequately explain 'compound interest'? That higher, derivative thought, is an application of high level economic models via calculus to money lending and the tie in between these two does date back for some time as the calculus was quickly applied to other realms of economic goods, like figuring out exactly how much liquid was left in a non-uniform container. Taking direct application tools and applying them to derive higher economic functions is a complex underpinning of Western thought which Radical Islam cannot deal with. It is not that they have old and rusty tools in their mental toolkit, it is that they do not have certain tools *at all* in it. A primary and foundational underpinning of 'Realism' was that Nation States behave in rational ways to their own self-interest. Those ruled via Radical Islam do *not* have a rational basis for their system and act in ways that can be contrary to their long and short term survival for a gain that cannot be rationally described. That is *not* a formulation of Socialism or 'Realism'.
An example of how this works out is seen with my analysis of the petroleum sector in Iran hosted at Classical Values. No matter how poorly the Soviet system worked, they did understand the basis and foundation for oil exploration, recovery and utilization. While their equipment was extremely sub-standard, their outlook took into account increasing depletion rates, increased utilization rates and build in nominal expansion and maintenance into the system. The overall system worked poorly due to lack of initiative and oversight, but it had the foundational outlooks that allowed it to chug along inefficiently. In Iran the foundational understanding is now lacking and the entire structure is in a bad state of decay and addressing the economic factors of it are not being done. Socialists understand those basics and try to cope, the fantastical ideology of Iran does not allow for such things: it is missing from their mental toolkit as a regime.
An interesting side-light on Mr. Barnett's view of the decision by power-point concept in the Pentagon and elsewhere in Government. It is a highly exacting and insightful look at the current decision making process as of 2004 when I was last associated with the DoD, although not in the lofty Rings but in an affiliated Agency. There is, however, a proviso to getting buy-in, especially on the Civilian side: dealing with the fiefdoms and Empires of the Agencies and their sub-components. Going that route to get buy-in is often a highly treacherous affair with much banging of bureaucracies, Memos of Understanding, Memos for the Record, and such going on to a fare-the-well to get even the smallest of small changes looked at. Some of that was changing in some parts, but the problem of bureaucracy and bureaucratic inefficiency and 'Not Invented Here' syndrome is rife throughout the Government from what I have seen with personal experience. This is a greatly overlooked part of how Americans approach their Government as they assume that it is functioning for a high degree of efficiency. It is *not*. It is functioning for the highest degree of power and recognition to accrue to organizations via programmatics. From that the small office-level fiefdoms appear and soon spread upwards in Agencies and the between Agencies. The Pentagon had a particularly awful system of multi-year contracts for procurement which, at the end of same, had individuals paying large amounts of money for completely outmoded equipment. Further those that had gotten themselves into positions of relative authority and power at the lower levels fight hard and nasty battles to anyone that threatens that supremacy.
TB: Well, the concept of the core is just a definition of where globalization has extended deep connectivity throughout the world. I mean, our definition of the core, for example, through the Cold War, would have been simply the West, okay? North America, Western Europe and Japan. We preserved, and we integrated, resurrected, Western Europe and Japan after the Second World War, in an effort to box the Soviets in. It was the economic component of our containment strategy. But that globalization, while very successful, only about 10% of the world’s population by 1980 encompassed as much as 2/3rds of the planet’s productive power and economic wealth. That core grew dramatically across the 1980’s, and across the 1990’s. It started first and foremost with the decision by Deng Xiaoping in China to open China up to the outside world, and to choose markets over socialism. But it also includes the emancipation of the Soviet Bloc, it includes India, it includes industrialized Asia, Australia, New Zealand, it includes South Africa, post-Apartheid. And it includes three big pillars down in Latin America, Argentina, Brazil and Chile. So it’s the construct of looking at the world, and saying where has globalization extended itself in terms of deep connectivity? On that basis, what can we define as countries that have joined an overarching rule set that says freer trade, freer markets progressively over time, more transparency on security issues over time, and a definition of collective security that says there’s not going to be wars between we the great powers 1) because there’s the threat of nuclear war hanging over us, which really outlaws the utility of great power war in its traditional definition, but 2) because we’re all moving in roughly the same direction in terms of the acceptance of markets. If you think about that large core of globalization, it’s roughly half the world’s countries, but it equates to almost 90% of the world’s GDP. So the old West, the new East, and key pillars from the south.====
On this accounting of globalization I am, perhaps, less sanguine about the scope and breadth of the points of: free trade, free markets, transparency on security issues and concepts of collective security. Some of these are definitely developing, but not in a necessarily coherent or coordinated manner nor with any final goal nor end-state in mind. And with such widely diverse populations, ethnicities, religions and economic outlooks that will always be the case. We are having to live with multiple side-effects of each of these things and many of them are contrarily undermining the very fabric that is being postulated.
Taking free trade and markets, as an example, while large sections of various populations now do have access to goods, there is a lack of jobs to give pertinent and meaningful purchasing power to such tools. Here advances in technology are the over-riding factor on intercommunications, as an example, and the effect of Moore's Law and Metcalfe's Law cannot be underestimated. However, as the first is a driver to technology and the second an outcome of the strength of interconnected networks, neither of them can be said to have definitional end-points in such concepts as: Freedom, Liberty and Prosperity. Here social underpinnings are a key and the strength of societies have rested with the passage of cultural history from generation to generation. The very first wave of interconnection is hitting that social fabric hard as the cost to entry is lowering in proportion to all incomes on an annual basis, if not faster. In manufacturing based economies the utility of such computational and communication power has been put to work to leverage individual productivity to an extent that had not been thought of even as recently as the 1970's. The question then was: "What will people in 2000 do when they can achieve a week's worth of work in 20 hours?" By 1986 the answer was, for America: "Work more and longer and harder as a 1970's standard of living was seen as primitive."
Traditional culture in both China and India have been hard hit by such technological communications. In India the prevalence of television has now spread the urban concepts of how families operate via their own sitcoms so that women, generally, across India are changing their outlooks on life, family and motherhood. This is being accompanied by a hard and fast spread of small-scale capitalism into India which is transforming their viewpoints of themselves and is built upon the British Imperial views that still remain in its governing structure. India is changing and adapting to the modern world as a grass-roots concept.
In China, the draconian policies for '1 child' the expansion of older industrial sectors and the attempt to push through a capitalist system that is still held in check by an authoritarian government is having profound impacts, too. Infanticide, rural depopulation, heavy pollution of cities, the rise of chronic health problems due to pollution and the disassociation of individuals from society are sweeping China. Here the use of modern technology and telecomms is enabled by the same Moore's Law and Metcalfe's Law which are changing how the Chinese people intercommunicate. While the government may try to crack down on renegade web sites, the proliferation of very inexpensive hardware and software have made duplicate and redundant back-ups with near instant fail-over to them possible. Even if one site is taken down, physical back-ups are distributed amongst groups of affiliated, although often unassociated, individuals. With the proliferation of cellphones, pdas and other portable communication and storage devices, individuals can now have, at their fingertips, a way to instantly get messages across the entire network to thousands of friends and affiliated groups. Messages pass via wireless capability to wired sites and are then retransmitted amongst those sites and back out via further distributed wireless networks. The Chinese government has tried hard crack-downs while wanting to give some opportunity for discussion and personal insight. What that has done is allow individuals to then put forward things like: which party member I seduced today and was he a good lover? The authoritarian regime has no answer to this as, in their conception, talking about sex is something that is fully allowable. And yet their authoritarian structure is undermined by those individuals pushing *that* minor freedom to the maximum. This is patently *not* an integration of China as a Nation into some greater free trade, free markets. It is an absolute liquidation of the urban culture in China, creating a state of constant anomie and disassociation with the State all the while rural productivity has *not* jumped by leaps and bounds and with fewer individuals able to produce crops and living in poverty conditions is facing the exact same conditions that led to the Revolution there.
On a global scale, the decrease in manufacturing cost in goods has led to one of those unintended consequences that hit one like a boomerang: those that dissent from globalization, free trade, free markets, and collective/transparent security can now purchase, at low cost, weapons of various sorts. In this conception of Nationalist based terror from the 1960's morphing into international formulations by the late 1970's, an internetworking started that increased training, efficiency and capability in arms use, distributed the concepts of counter-intelligence operations, and allowed for a fully distributed means of operation to appear. This is something I call Transnational Terrorism and acts as an interconnected network between all terrorist organizations both State based and non-State based. In this conception it is impossible to segregate purely Nationalist based terrorist organizations like the multiple IRA's and ETA from purely international ones, like Islamic Jihad and al Qaeda. Further, criminal organizations also have multiple contacts with this system while maintaining their *own* networks of communications, operations and finances. The known and suspected contact bases just on the Transnational Terrorist side, alone, has a globe spanning set of organizations that have multiple, deep levels of contacts. This global system then allows for a distributed knowledge and training base for new organizations or for new cells in older systems to 'spin up', train, get funding and supplies nearly anywhere on the planet.
Nation States that support terrorist organizations separately cannot control anything beyond their first-order, immediate contact. This interactivity, then, allows for the funneling of National Capacity to spread out beyond an immediate organization and make the entire network more capable via its distributed distribution capability. Documents are particularly liable to have this happen on an almost instantaneous method globally, so that counter-intelligence plans supplied by Saddam Hussein in Iraq to al Qaeda in Afghanistan would also show up in Islamic Jihad, Shining Path and FARC hands. Training and suppliers would similarly expand via this network so that companies and organizations sympathetic to one terrorist organization would then be exploited via the contact network to help other organizations, often with 'cut-outs' and 'pass-throughs' to hide destinations. The AQ Khan network used multiple distribution channels in Malaysia, Dubai and Singapore to then filter advanced equipment out to multiple buyers that were, in theory, on proscribed lists for such equipment. And as some of that equipment of the highest capability started OUT in Japan, the question of 'transparent security' and 'collective security' comes into deep question. When one of the most technologically advanced Nations on the planet cannot properly keep track of dual-use equipment for creating nuclear devices, then the viability of lesser Nations doing so is in grave doubt.
In such instances 'free trade' and 'free markets' leads to the proliferation of the base technology to create weapons of mass destruction. This same system is the one that allows the global arms export and re-use market to thrive with warehouses full of cheap weapons for sale with little of no oversight as such companies can act in full compliance with local laws and treaties and not care what the end-user does with them. Those that have violent dissent from the modern formulation of the world via economics are thusly given cheap and easy means to wreck havoc and terror to express their conceptions. This was bad enough in 'the good old days' when it was for a political showmanship sort of deal: terrorists were deadly but also showmen to get some ideological point across. We *still* have leftists crooning for 'Che' who ignore the fact that he was a medical doctor that broke is oath and used the instruments of medicine for torture. In this one does not even have to have a 'good cause': any cause will do to kill and ask for excuse of such killings based on same. And all of *that* is headed down the same reductio ad absurdum path that Nation States went through in the 1940's.
The enabling power of technology in the 21st century gives those who fully utilize it, although they may lack understanding on what it takes to make such things, immense capability. Their efforts are magnified and increased by the ability to wield information and distributed manufacturing on a global basis and any 'ends' can have this means applied to it. To those individuals seeking such, concepts of gross GDP, economic freedom, and 'security' have little or no meaning at all. Seen in a full mode of just utilization of means to an end, the modern world is rife and open to exploit the systems and networks that *no* Nation State can oversee and that no super-national organization can even figure out without wanting to apply dictatorial controls. China is learning the problem of *that* and is facing up to the fact that a large army is of little use if the society, itself, disintegrates.
HH: Now I want to explain to people, globalization is, Thomas Friedman’s understanding, openness to market forces and free trade. Is that a good baseline to understand it by?=====
TB: I think it is. And again, he doesn’t push the concept of democracy first and foremost. Neither do I, because I think you really get democracy from markets more than you get markets from democracy. I mean, I’m a bit of an economic determinist in that regard. I think we flowered as a democracy as our market activity forced that kind of freedom, politically, across our country in terms of our development. I mean, we fought wars over it.
So, what does that mean for America? The States under Britain were not economically free, agrarian in type, without manufacturing, and made in a pre-industrial era. The weapons of the Revolution were hand made and fitted, not turned out from factories, but from small and local shops. The very first of what would be considered the first *real* factories were just showing up in Britain and there were none in the States during the colonial period. Did the concept of freedom and democracy rest on economics? Or on the free passage of ideas and individual self-determination? As a conception I do have problems using 'economic determinism' for addressing democracy not to speak of the rights of the individual to be free. The economic push is a secondary effect to the conception of a free-flow of ideas to empower individuals to lead free lives and guide markets. How does something like Ancient Athens play into this, where there was a democracy of the most direct sort? And the Norse conception of the Thing ruling the people and even the Nobility had to bow before the power of it in recognition of the free voice of their People? Truly, I am at a loss to see how economics drives democracy, liberty and freedom as founding conceptions.
Economics has made the free flow of ideas easier and faster and sped up the entire cycle of technical achievement, but even in this sphere the writings of Ray Kurzweil point to a growth rate in that interchange that dates back to 4000 BC or so. That rate of accumulation of knowledge and transmission of it has been growing without respect to economic capability and seems to be an imperative in mankind across the board. Are the economics driving that or is this need driving the economics? From this standpoint the ability to get the communications and knowledge tools to the most hands for the highest level of interaction would be a systemic axiom: a basis of foundation. Economics was only developed AFTER that basis was formed and well after agriculture was developed. While passing of tokens and such in more primitive societies did exist, the concept of lending, interest, prompt repayment, and tracking of same waited for the development of the written capability and mathematics. We do take our modern technology for granted and the derivative artifacts of it in that same light, even such ancient things as mathematics and economics.
Going back to the 'source code' concept for this, the ability of freedom and liberty to 'route around' tyranny to empower individuals undermines tyrannical systems without regard to economics. This is using the IP networking concept for getting around damage to an IP network. China faces this in spades as every hole they close tends to open up another one in their network else where and the entire network is now getting globalized so that local controls become mere damage to route around. Under the conception of knowledge doubling requiring more individuals to help keep the rate of increasing increase steady, economics is a side-light to actually getting more individuals more power to communicate. Anything that stands in the way of this is either ignored or routed around so as to disable it as a function. Thus laws to prohibit certain types of contact are mere temporary blocks to getting to the vital information. In Saudi Arabia the outlawing of picture phones has done very little to start the liquidation of their social system by teenagers exchanging hundreds of images of themselves on a continual basis. Similarly, the ingenuity of terrorists to use this system to exchange information on a mass, many-to-many scale also empowers their networking for their own ends.
TB: Well, there’s always going to be a trade-off, okay? The more connectivity, typically, you’re going to see a government seek more control over the content. Why? Because they can’t handle all the free images that come along with it. I mean, globalization, and the networks it brings, tend to be gender neutral, okay? So when they come into any society that was previously unopened up, okay, by definition, traditional, that traditional society tends to be defined as male control over the female, by and large, in economics and politics, in family life. And when you come in with globalization, and those gender neutral networks, by definition, you’re empowering women disproportionately to men. And frankly, that’s what we find when we analyze the kind of radical jihadist movements’ resistance, and the fears of people in the Middle East. It’s not that they don’t admire democracy. They want it. It’s not that they don’t want markets. They want that kind of personal freedom. What scares most people, when globalization comes in, is the social change. You go in with those kinds of markets and networks, I guarantee you, you are messing with people’s definitions of wives and lovers and mothers and sisters and daughters and families and education, and the definition of the good life. And when you do that, it’s typically going to be educated young men who look at that package and say you know what? This is not what I signed up for, and I’ll be willing to fight and kill and die under the most perverse conditions to prevent the social change that I find reprehensible.=====
HH: Now is it your position that we ought, as a grand strategy, to be pursuing globalization, and thus greater connectivity, at economics first, and then wait for the flowering of democracy at countries’ own time?
TB: Right. I mean, my trinity is, I define it now, is it’s connectivity first, okay? Get the economic connectivity, connect the masses of any country to the outside world. The second order of business has to be, and we’re seeing this, I think, in the long war, reciprocity. There needs to be freedom of religion, okay? And democracy tends to follow, I would argue, after those two preconditions have been met. And you’re going to have to accept that globalization when it comes in, and that first economic connectivity, it’s going to come with a lot of Pollutus content, as far as the locals are concerned. So it’s going to be natural for them to reach for, you know, taboo based controls over content. And they want their MTV, they’re just not sure they want Britney Spears naked staring at them.
The citation is interesting on the neutrality of networks by gender. But there is a major problem that is also seen that is not addressed by this: the flattening of hierarchical structures. This has the glib name of disintermediation or 'removing the middle-man'. Email is a perfect example of this, where all email boxes are created equal and, so, any individual can contact any other individual without respect as to actual position in the organizational structure. Not only are male dominated societies hit by this, but heavily autocratic and authoritarian ones are, also. The combination of increased communication, neutrality of contact, many-to-many connectivity and personal ability to carry and replicate information are anathema to any totalitarian society. On the Internet this has led towards true 'cut out of the middleman' and going either straight to a supplier or first line distributor for goods and cutting out local stores. For information any expert that is part of the network not only lends their incremental capability for their own knowledge, but their asymmetrical capability of making the network overall more capable and adaptable to knowledge.
The ability of the society to adapt to this depends very much on their original social outlook and conception. In Iraq it has been quipped that the 'Satellite Dish is the National Flower', and the thirst to just drink in information is enormous after decades of going without it. Baghdad used to be the cultural and philosophical hub of the Middle East and the memory of that and no longer being that hub still does not sit well with the people there. Going from 1.3 million cellphones in the first year after the end of the war to 7.2 million *now* is a huge increase in communications capability and interactivity of a scale and type not ever addressed by their society. And yet the basic outlook of being the old center of philosophy and thought allows for those in Baghdad and Iraq, generally, to start wanting and absorbing information at a phenomenal rate. Unlike very didactic and pointed information used by terrorist organizations that of a society are generally broad and deep.
On the question of religion, the West is so far removed from a time of central religious authority that even reading about it in the history books does not bring it forth as a living thing. As a concept it is understood, but as an emotional drive with depth it is not. The Reformation empowered by technology, in this case the printing press, no longer reserved all power to the Church and allowed for multiple and various interpretations of scripture to be done. Suddenly being able to *question* the local priest and compare notes on answers allowed individuals to start to determine their own path on these things. The result of that was the 30 years war and the Peace of Westphalia which put the foundations for the Sovereign Nation State down as entities separated from the Church and each other. By trying to ignore the modern era, Islam is now facing a huge crisis across the board once individuals actually start comparing notes between local Imams, those who are more scholarly and those in the past on their own and come to their *own* conclusions on things. It is not the mere ability to question authority, but the power to then examine the reasoning behind each authority and then decide for oneself what works and what does not. Suddenly religion is not *just* local, and every speaker gets to be judged against *other* speakers on a mass scale. This is something that the Christianized West is so used to that it cannot be imagined that there was a time when that was proscribed. In theory Islam has always had this as a conceptual point, but in practice individuals have been limited by geography, repression, censorship, intimidation and death threats from doing this.
In that case it is a dual mixture of hierarchical flattening and gender neutrality along with thought neutrality. The current capability to be anonymous allows for *ideas* to be addressed, not individuals. Those that cannot bolster ideas and attack individuals are seen as lacking in intellectual rigor and in depth of thought about society and citizenship. To closed societies that are highly authoritarian and male oriented, modern technology is something that they dare not take, because their status and position will be lost in time if they do. And if they don't take it they will be over-run with it in any event as the cost of entry is lowered overtime as capability also increases. You cannot run from it nor hide from it and it is not going away.
Also note that Mr. Barnett is now putting two preconditions on democracy: free markets and freedom of religion. I have addressed the first so the second needs to be addressed. In our modern conception of the Nation State religion is left up to each State as an autonomous unit. That is on the international scope, although the bar to Congress making laws with respect to religion does not speak of the autonomous States within the Union doing so. Each State has emulated this, but it is by intentional design and common agreement by the People of that State to do so. This is a known thing within the US and is a perfectly acceptable way to address other Nations. We may bemoan their choice of religion and intolerance of other religions, but freedom of religion is not something that comes from external forces save after losing a war. Self-determination of Nations to have any religion of their choice has been a Western ideal since Westphalia and Nations with starkly different religious basis have been able to cooperate and work together. Many have also gone to each other's throats, but that is the cost to entry in the Nation State concept: if you try to force it on another Nation unwillingly or use means to otherwise subvert a Nation's religion, they do get to wage ware upon you. If you start it, then be prepared to pay the price.
HH: And they have not yet been bought into by the rest of the West, or the connected core, much less the disconnected gap?=====
TB: Well, and it’s because we have to acknowledge the notion, and it’s an argument I make in the second book, Blueprint For Action, that we really have to contextualize the employment of that awesome power known as the U.S. Military. We’ve been entrusted dramatically, I would argue, since the end of the Cold War, with having the world’s sole military superpower status. Nobody’s really trying to build a force that’s anywhere close to our reach and our firepower and our capacity to roam the world and wage war at will. But in exchange for allowing us to keep that disproportional status, we have to submit to some larger understanding of it’s under these conditions you get to use that tremendous power, and it needs to be some understanding as to what the repercussions and what the responsibilities of not just the United States, but other advanced powers to deal with the aftermath of that kind of situation. That’s the rule set that hasn’t emerged yet, although we’re getting closer.
Yes, this Nation's Government has been allowed to have an awesome military.
By the People.
And the People set all the preconditions for use of power by the Nation.
I will never trust an international institution nor organization to set up preconditions for the use of the Power of the People entrusted to the Government. That is a sovereign right that is bestowed by the People to its Government and cannot be given away as it is retained, in full, by the People.