Security Through Anticipation

Author: Gary Hart

As the world changes dramatically, so does the nature of conflict and methods for achieving security.  Even as nations increasingly find the costs of war unacceptable, stateless nations, such as al Qaeda, have found unconventional conflict attractive and insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown the limitations of our Cold War large-scale force structures and weapons systems.

Chechyan separatists, Somali pirates, Mexican drug cartels, Pakistani Taliban, Turkish Kurds, Tibetan nationalists, and many others join al Qaeda (though not always as viciously) in representing the conflict of the new 21st century.

But they all have one thing in common: they are not afraid of nuclear aircraft carrier task groups, B-2 bomber wings, or big infantry divisions.  Despite our massive military superiority (at least in traditional terms), this fact–plus the rejection of stupendous reward offers–illustrates why Osama bin Laden is still alive almost a full decade after 9.11.

From these circumstances, certain conclusions may be drawn: the prospects of major nation-state wars is sharply declining; the prospects for unconventional conflicts are increasing; we are much better prepared for the former than we are the latter; invasion of other countries almost inevitably guarantees commitment to costly, long-term counterinsurgency warfare; and long-term reconfiguration of our force structures (and their strategies, tactics, and doctrines) is imperative.

And a lot more thought must be given to our real mission in countries such as Afghanistan and countries such as Iraq before unleashing the dogs of war.  That kind of great power intelligence, as well as a dramatic increase in our ability to anticipate threats and reduce them through a better understanding of history, culture, and local politics, will do more to make us secure than a new generation of massive Cold War weapons.

Welcome to the bright new century.

9 Responses to “Security Through Anticipation”

  1. Forest Henry Book Says:

    After reading its entirety, and the closing sentence: “Welcome to the bright new century:” The first word that came to mind was/is: Inclusion. The idea that each culture, each dogma yearns to exist. The bright new century exposes to us a history that bodes your attention to it; so as to best choose our inclusive steps forward as our very existence is being challenged by burgeoning populations, and the demands on resources consumption takes. Each culture, each dogma is now faced with the issues of existence as a whole.

    Central to inclusion is the act of sharing. Sharing responsibility on a global scale seems to demand we redefine what it is we are sharing. In the face of climate change, ecocide, and other Earth issues; War in its most traditional or seemingly technological advanced state becomes increasingly, both unwise and foolish. Found in each of these is are accountings of financial burden, and actual living proof that humanity either learns from the history or war, or it doesn’t.

    One very real detail of our contemporary theaters of battle is this (I learned last week): Our military actions in Afghanistan, and Iraq have gone on as long as did our forefathers battle for Independence from the tyranny of the British monarchy. Think of it: the technology our forefathers fought with and won their war, in contrast to the alleged advancements of our contemporary war machineries.

    Today we find the nature of our global conflicts changing to those of humanitarian deployments against the ravages of ill-fated mining, drilling, natural disasters, and the rest nature has in store for us. Again it is one of our American forefathers, Thomas Jefferson who may again show us the way from war to the unity and healthful benefits of inclusion (today – that inclusion would be nurturing such an idea on a global scale). He wrote: Excerpted from :: Query XXII The Public Income & Expenses:

    “Never was so much false arithmetic employed on any subject, as that which has been employed to persuade nations that it is in their best interest to go to war. Were the money which it cost to gain, at the close of a long war, a little town, a little territory, the right to cut wood here, or to catch fish there, expended in improving what they already possess, in making roads, opening rivers, building ports, improving the arts, and finding employment for their idle poor, it would render them much stronger, much wealthier, and happier. This I hope will be our wisdom.”

    Change the language to reflect the dwindling resources, the needs of the many and there lay the formula for a new centuries rules of engagement in the theaters of battle that may actually produce something more inclusive and healthful than generational wealth for war mongers and war profiteers.

    The violence nature has in its arsenal always wins.

    Thank you for this issue Mr. Hart.

  2. Jeff Simpson Says:

    Slowly weaning the military-industrial complex off of government largesse is going to take time and skill. In the absence of a powerful political lobby, the task would be far easier. The populist-driven forays into ‘nation building’ and other whimsical endeavors thousands of miles from home make getting in so much easier than getting out. Imagine, though, saving $10b a month that we could instead use to (1) reduce the deficit, (2) invest in manufacturing infrastructure, (3) purchase exports to promote legitimate and productive economics. In Afghanistan, we could be buying rugs to put in the lobby of every government building, or we could even buy their opium (for pharmaceuticals, or we could just destroy it).

  3. stefan Says:

    gary Hart or mario Cuomo was my choice for vice president in 2000

    security is a state of consciousness consciousness is a function of the brain; stressfree brain is conscious or resting stressed brain is a problem

    the threats we perceive are or not acccording to our brain state ; we cannot defend ourselves against millions of problematic brains whatever label we put on them taliban etc

    therefore simply put security is Transcendental Meditation (TM )

  4. Wm. Scott Pappert Says:

    Another provocative piece Prof. Hart. I might add though that in the problem lies the answer. There are not only threatening forces working in a non-polar world, but as defined by the forces of globalization, nonstate actors such as multinational corporations that otherwise have profound influence on global financial health and hence stability. This is not a new phenomena and has been described prolifically, most succinctly by Richard Haass at CFR. Here is a synopsis you may be familiar with What is most troubling of course and what I believe American administrations are in most denial about is just as you write; the perpetual impact of Cold War mentality militarism in serving to destabilize the precise regions Americans are trying to influence. Let’s set aside for a moment the potential global impact decades down the road of the prehistoric Bush 43 agenda and simply focus on the conflicts at hand. We live in a country with a war-invested MSM, a misguided sense of cultural imperialism, patriotism and therefore nationalism to shield the collective liability for misguided policies of the immediate past and now a near global schizoid fiscal response of austerity in fear of the inability to compete with authoritarian savers like China. This global economic austerity I fear will only serve to impugn the poor, further carve up global class structures and potentially create greater instability. In dealing with this absolutely inverted paradigm, some of the world’s wealthy on whom global economic stability depends are beginning to recognize the need for creating a world with less disparity which hopefully in the end creates less need for military intervention. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and the Gates foundation comes to mind. Bill Clinton’s vision for engaging corporations by linking them to development projects and global needs serves as an emerging model for corporate social responsibility in development economics. Perhaps Davos should move to New York City. As for the need for a more culturally reflective foreign policy and convergence of State Dept and military, in short, Amartya Sen’s book ‘Identity and Violence’, Greg Mortenson’s work ‘Stones into Schools’ and Rory Stewart’s ‘The Places In Between’ are often cited. Oh, and how about a different energy policy.

  5. Richard Pearce Says:

    Yes, the days of the ‘great powers’ being able to invade, install a puppet government, and leave the killing and dieing to others, and not having much attention paid, are passing in this age of global connectiveness.

    But, as that becomes more internalised by the people of the world, and as the ability to shrug off the ‘war by other means’ (sponsoring ‘rebels’, sanctions and trade embargoes, etc) grows, the populations of those ‘great powers’ are going to become restive over the new order of things, where they will find their country’s ability to dictate the agenda of the world, or at least block things that would disrupt their lives from being adoped, has faded away, the pressure to revert to the old ways of invading (directly or by proxy) will increase from those ‘patriots’ who think that the natural order of the world is their country on top (or nearly) and the rest of the world bending under that weight.

    That the tool that was used for so long to easily shape the ways of the world is no longer suitable because of the changing nature of the world is no guarantee that those who long for the ability to shape it so easily won’t give it one more try, as soon as the mess of their last attempt gets swept under the rug of politics and rhetoric.

  6. Bette S Baysinger Says:

    Mr. Hart,
    Since history tends to repeat itself as evidenced by recent leaks into the behind the scenes reality of war showed up in the Vietnam War with similar leakage, would not you think we have a known to anticipate here to use in establishing some actual security this time. All we have to do is to recognize that history repeats itself, recognize the pattern we are following, the script in use by those trying to remain in control of money, and break the pattern by doing something completely new and forward thinking, right?
    Bette S Baysinger

  7. Neal Taslitz, Esq. Says:

    As I have commented in past blogs, fighting enemies that are willing to spend their lives living in caves, without the amenities we seem to find hard to live without, is not going to be easy.

    Americans are not addicted to oil, we are addicted to a lifestyle of technology (that depends on oil), and most of those who are bent on destroying America do not have or need our “lifestyle” and do not want it.

    Bigger houses, and bigger television sets are not priorities for our enemies. Yet we keep thinking bigger weapons are the way to protect our “bigger” lifestyles.

    Abe Lincoln grew up in a log cabin without plumbing.

    We need to start making the changes you suggested and also make some personal sacrifices, or we will soon be reading books with titles like: How China Bought Wallmart.

    Keep up the Good Fight.

  8. cripes Says:

    Technological war works great if you are a military contractor making obscene profits dealing death by remote control or subcontracting billions in public works projects out to Afghans at $5 dollar a day wages. What works in New Orleans works anywhere.

    And Osama Bin Laden is alive because no one ever was serious about catching him. Better a live boogy-man than a dead one. Or maybe dead works, too.

  9. femtobeam Says:

    cripes wrote: “Technological war works great if you are a military contractor making obscene profits dealing death by remote control or subcontracting billions in public works projects…”

    The new way of waging war and obtaining intelligence is now by remote communications capabilities, interactive and increasingly embedded in our bodies and brains. The overwhelming power that Eisenhower warned us all about concerning the “Military Industrial Complex” has already arrived and is well on it’s way to taking over the US Government and the world. The DoD is a many times larger and more powerful now than all other areas of the US Gov combined. They have their own laws and their own life support systems. That was clear when speaking about the torture of prisoners and the recent unpunished child pornography ring run from the Pentagon.

    The only way to protect the people of the United States legally, under the Constitution is to bring US Justice to Military Justice, not the other way around and get the criminals out of DoD protection.

    The only way to protect people technically is an automated network system for the defense (and upholding) of human individual rights. One obvious first step is to prevent advertisers from interacting or obtaining any information from a person’s so-called “medical devices”,(profiling. There was a hearing about this on Capital Hill. Right now there are no regulations whatsoever to protect people from a hellish future of “neuromarketing” and unwanted communications network intrusions into their homes and bodies.

    “Death by remote does not require a drone, only the right equipment and spectrum access”.

    The only way to protect people economically is to audit the Federal Reserve and put it under US Government oversight and operations, not independent bankers.

    The need to correct history and protect the truth needs to begin with a full independent and complete investigation into the deaths of leaders like President John F. Kennedy and what really happened on 9/11. Fewer believe today that men in caves were responsible while Israeli Mossad agents are dancing and later being arrested in the act of trying to blow up buildings in Mexico, dressed as Arabs.

    After the break-ins of Government data bases and the large-scale theft of bank accounts through ATM’s, along with the Conficker Botnet, we can no longer ignore these problems, which continue to pile up under the rug.

    What happened to the GAO records? How can the DoD lose 2.3 Trillion in one year? The FBI should be required to keep records on theft below $5,000 and restitution to those whose funds were stolen should have been included in the bank bailout funds. Also, subcontractors should be required by law to disclose their sources of information and whether those sources were paid and granted permission.

    What about the victims? There was zero for the victims! Hundreds of years of Constitutional History is being reversed.

    I strongly disagree that transcendental meditation is an answer to security.
    Planned actions are necessary… before it is too late.

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