Battleland

The Democratization of Destruction

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Is destruction going democratic? / Wiki

Andrew Krepinevich, one of the most solid thinkers to come out of the Army in the past generation, has a thought-provoking – and foreboding – piece in the latest issue of Foreign Policy. In it, he suggests that the rules of military might are changing, and not in ways that favor the U.S. and the rest of what we might call “the civilized world.” Massive firepower and other tools of destruction used to be available only to wholesale buyers – meaning nation-states with the brains, and bullion, to design, develop and produce them. But all that, says Krepinevich, who now runs the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, has been – to coin a phrase – atomized by technology’s relentless march:

These developments, combined with others in the economic, geopolitical, and demographic realms, seem likely to make the world a less stable and more dangerous place…The bottom line is that the United States and its allies risk losing their military edge, and new threats to global security are arising faster than they can counter them. Think the current world order is fragile? In the words of the great Al Jolson, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

Battleland‘s bottom line: if it’s true that “new threats to global security are arising faster than [the U.S. and its allies] can counter them,” do we pre-surrender to our inevitable defeat? Spend ourselves into the poorhouse (oops – too late!) if we think that will prevent or delay (by how much?) that from happening? Or come up with a new way of thinking about national security that acknowledges this looming reality and figures out how to handle it? No. 1 is wrong, No.2 is today’s special and No. 3 — well, that is going to take some time. Let’s aim for No. 2.5, for now…

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