July 16, 2006
World as board game

Thomas Barnett calls the ongoing clash between Israel and Hisbollah a war instigated by Iran by proxy (Hisbollah) to defuse western intrest in Irans nuclear build up (or just general military build up). Barnett seems to dislike the current neocon government, but he comes from the same school of politics where recognizable players of a strategy game are moving recognizable pieces, strategic resources around on a global scale. Classic superpower thinking, only redone with a view towards the postwar scenarios. I liked one of his assertions elsewhere: There's just no way an increasingly connected 3 billion plus world of unwarring capitalists (remember India and China in this group) will continue to accept the Middle Eastern disarray for this entire century, so sooner or later the Middle East will change.

In other news from this kind of practical power politics there's a discussion on whether assymmetric warfara aka 4th generation warfare aka 4GW can win. The idea is that terrorists eem to be retargetting from symbolic warfare to effective warfare by hitting transportation infrastructure in urban centers instead of symbolic targets (which - even if the horror that resulted was truly horrific - the WTC bombings were). The argument continues that if terrorist can succesfully make urban concentration untenable by increasing the cost of urbanization (a terrorism tax), complex societies that rely on urban centers to achieve high economic output will suffer the most. I find it implausible that these complex societies wouldn't just turn up the complexity in response: e.g. move to wireless to have less communication infrastructure to hit and move to local power generation to have less power grid to hit. Interestingly the kind of challenges available for terrorists to exert are already exerted at a lesser scale by the market: Monopolies threaten the efficiency of network and WiMax grows to balance them out. The California energy crisis of the Enron years provoked an enormous interest in alternate means of power generation.

Isn't the best economic threat available to islamic terrorists extremely high oil prices? Won't the world will survive that too?

Posted by Claus at July 16, 2006 08:23 PM | TrackBack (0)
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