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Thursday, December 15, 20051134679200

Embracing Defeat, Part II: Blood and Will

Note: This is part of a series of reviews for Blueprint for Action. The introduction and table of contents are also available.

Tom Barnett has been embracing losing.

Now it is time for him to embrace defeat.

embracing_defeat_cowardice


In the first part of Embracing Defeat, I outlined Barnett's two plans for winning the Global War on Terrorism: the Reverse Domino Theory to move countries to the Core, and the A-Z Rule-Set for dealing with bad guys.

Dr. Barnett also looks at the enemy and lists his plan for defeating globalization, and outlines a Hub and Spoke Response System for dealing with it

barnett_hub_spoke_md


Dr. Barnett also list's the enemy's four strategies

  • Discourage Mobilization
  • Lie Low 'til After the Blow
  • Encourage Insurgency & Chaos
  • Wait for Withdrawal


The enemy's schemes boil down to blood and will. Will, or Moral Warfare, is the enemy using his superior resolve to take away our determination. By discouraging mobilization, he relies on peace activists and other ne'er-do-wells in America to turn parts of America against the war before it begins. By lying low, he prevents bloodshed by his side while our hyper-successful Leviathan kills anything it can find. By encouraging insurgency, he increases the blood we spill and further takes away our will. By waiting for withdrawal, the enemy knows our will depletes quickly, and that time is on his side.

The enemy's formula is extremely successful. Variations of it, where the blood wasn't even spilled by Americans, have been used to topple American allies. Persia fell to an Islamic Revolution that could have been prevent by a coup -- a coup that President Carter vetoed, because of the non-American blood that might be spilled in it. Likewise, South Vietnam fell after the US Congress slapped a de-facto embargo on it, because it was winning a war that was spilling Communist blood.

Barnett almost recognizes these weaknesses

In :

Spending American treasure on securing global peace in one thing (because we're rich), but spending American blood is something altogether different. A big part of the so-called Vietnam Syndrome was the notion that the American public is casualty-averse, something many strategies believe was reinforced by the terrible experience in Somalia, when the bodies of American soldiers were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. (204)


Dr. Barnett goes on to exempt high-tempo Leviathan operations, leaving the weakness on the SysAdmin's lap. A similar point, that the Leviathan is free of public weakness but the SysAdmin is full of it, comes from Blueprint for Action

The reality of the transformed Leviathan is, however, that the Pentagon can go to war quite effectively without asking buy-in from the public. What it can't do, because we've also stuffed most of our natural SysAdmin forces (e.g. military police, civil affairs construction) in the Reserve Component, is go to peace without gaining the public's buy in. (33)


Dr. Barnett acknowledges the strength and will of the Bush Administration

If there's one thing the Bush Administration has accomplished, it's demonstrated that the U.S. Government is willing to wage war with almost no concern for the resulting VIP body count, the subsequently incompetent occupation, or the inevitable political uproar back home. (185)


But how can one have faith that Americans will continue to be won by strong, determined leaders like Bush, when even Barnett supported the Opposition?

And even under President Bush, "doubts" (weakness and cowardice) naturally grow when America tries to fight a SysAdmin war

Such an approach can work for a while, but then the photos from Abu Ghraib are posted on the Web, and you have to explain to your kids why that sort of stuff is okay when it's the bad guys who are really bad. And if you're the president? Well, maybe the doubts creep in when your own White House counsel warns you about possible war-crimes charges over Guantanamo, your oversight-free mini-gulag down in Cuba. (129)


Barnett sees hope for strength and resolve in religious proselytization, something I originally called the neocon-theocon axis

Remember how nineteenth-century colonialism went hand in hand with missionary zeal? Well, we shouldn't be surprised that an era that demands a grand strategy of shrinking the Gap would go hand in hand with a renewed focus on proselytizing global faiths. While the more secular Left can't support U.S. interventionism abroad because of its association with military means, and the secular Right can't stomach the "betrayal" of our "founding principles" for similar reasons, the religious community -- both left and right -- similarly can't stomach the notion that America, with all its wealth and power, stands by while the faithful in numerous Gap countries (and a few New Core ones like China) suffer persecution for their beliefs. To believers, then, the Heavenly Father's admonition to spread the faith trumps the Founding Father's inhibitions on mixing church and state. (298)


But this is a hope, not a guarantee. It's better to recognize our weakness, and take what strength there is as a bonus, than to hang our dreams on the devout of the future.

A clear-eyed view of our past would embrace defeat and recognize that America would rather be a cowardly traitor than spill blood and will. Grand strategists must realize this.

As Barnett has said

So you can't be just about peace in this quest, because that's like pretending you can fashion a world with neither crime nor police (205)

..

If you want to be all about peace, you have to understand war (266)


You can't be just about victory in this quest, because that's like pretending you can fashion a war without defeat. If you wish to kiss victory, embrace defeat.

Or maybe more clearly:

When you see fear, start running toward it. (47)


How should Dr. Barnett run towards betrayal and cowardice? Stay tuned, and find out!




This has been Embracing Defeat, part of a series of reviews for Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett's Blueprint for Action. The posts in Embracing Defeat are:

I. Barnett's Two Strategies
II. Blood and Will
III. The Born Gimp
IV. Embracing Victory

Comments

I think you're profoundly misunderstanding Barnett

The reality of the transformed Leviathan is, however, that the Pentagon can go to war quite effectively without asking buy-in from the public. What it can't do, because we've also stuffed most of our natural SysAdmin forces (e.g. military police, civil affairs construction) in the Reserve Component, is go to peace without gaining the public's buy in. (33)

This is simply a restating of the Abrams Doctrine which has been bipartisan policy for decades post-Vietnam. There's nothing cowardly, defeatist, or fearful about it.

Barnett has said many times that he's looking to fashion a foreign policy grand strategy that will be bipartisan in nature on the level of the doctrine of containment. This means that there need to be Barnett advocates in both parties. By personal history he's a Democrat and I don't envy him the task of convincing that band of sad sacks strategic sense. That's the cross he's chosen to bear though.

The sad state of the black community regarding how its treated by the two parties in the US should be a stark lesson to the flaws of too slavish dependence on one particular party. If we're going to have a sensible foreign policy, we're going to need to have one that doesn't turn on a dime whenever there's a shift in party control due to purely domestic matters.

You also might consider the idea that while Barnett has placed UN elements at the heart of his system to process politically bankrupt regimes, there's no reason that alternate groups couldn't do the job. Given enough corruption, alternate groups are going to *have* to do the job.

Posted by: TM Lutas | Thursday, December 15, 2005

TM,

Thank you for the contribution. I first found your blog off Barnett's, so I know I am talking to wisdom. :-)

I agree with Barnett that the grand-strategy has to be bi-partisan, but it also has to be widely accepted. Having the DLC on the left and the Neocons on the right isn't enough. The friction from Barnett's Leviathan and SysAdmin would simply generate too much heat.

Of course the Abrams Doctrine is defeatist. It is an abadonment of Presisdent Kennedy's pledge to "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." Or at best, it adds "unless it would be politically unpopular" to the end of the promise.

This doesn't mean it's wrong. A wise leader recognizes his weaknesses, and a wise manager knows where his subordinates cannot perform. The American People have admirable core competencies. Nation building and System Administration are not among them.

I agree that while the UN organs, the UNSC and ICC, guide Barnett's "A-Z Rule-Set," some replacements could be found. Barnett himself cites Kosovo, where the ICTY tried Milosevic.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, December 15, 2005

Water is Oil let it run down hill on the enemy, cut off the Petro Dollar supply lines, its that simple.

Oil is a economic WMD it will eventually defeat us.

$500 B could lower our thrist for oil by 60% over 5 years.

Bin Laden is trying to send the US broke so it cant fight , that intent is in every message.

They are not trying to kill us they trying to banrupt us

Like your site

Craig

Posted by: Craig Tindale | Thursday, December 15, 2005

Craig,

Thank you for your comments. With your emphasis on economic warfare, you may enjoy John Robb [1] [2]. I don't believe expensive oil what have much lasting change, other than speeding up the Core's adoption of alternate fuels, especially nuclear power [3].

Ultimately, Barnett isn't trying to kill us or bankrupt us. Just make us, and our ideas, go away.

[1] http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/
[2] http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/johnrobb/
[3] (http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/05/03/geogreen_labour_to_embrace_nuclear_power.html).

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, December 15, 2005

Dan - If you don't think that the DLC to the left and the neo-cons to the right are a sufficient political coalition, I would like to hear who is electable outside that sweet spot. On the right, is it a Patrick Buchanen? On the left, is it a Nancy Pelosi? Buchanen can't get elected dog catcher and he really would rather be an outsider bomb thrower. On the left, the list of electables is heavily, heavily skewed towards the right wing of that party. So who is both outside the reasonable political factions that Barnett's analysis could reach and convince and has a realistic hope of being the next president of the United States?

I don't view Abrams as defeatist. Rather it's much more like a battered wife trying to protect herself. That doesn't make it good doctrine for the long haul (Abrams is going to be reversed, I believe) but it hardly makes it defeatist. Think about it for a minute. What do you call a defeatist general? What do you call an entire string of generals who have sabotaged our military with a defeatist doctrine? If Abrams is defeatist, then there should be a serious set of housecleaning going on, starting by firing everybody of flag rank and starting over with a new crew that might not be as good at war fighting but at least believes in winning. If you think the remedy is uncalled for or too radical, I suggest that you, like me, don't really believe that the Abrams doctrine is truly defeatist.

As for nation building being in the core competence of nations but not our own, could you please tell me who would have done a better job? It can't be the UK, they already botched the job. Would you suggest France (snicker), or Belgium (snort)? Saying that the US isn't good at something implies that somebody else out there *is* good at it. So who is it?

Craig Tindale - the bin Laden fortune was made off of honey and construction, among many other non-oil ventures. Why do you think that a construction company with outside-the-ME contracts is going to go away? There will remain plenty of wealthy ME families fully capable of funding 9/11 even after the age of oil passes into the sunset.

Posted by: TM Lutas | Friday, December 16, 2005

The "Adversary plan of action for defeating US intervention" was devised under the specific conditions of post-Vietnam America. The idea of America as a paper tiger that would flee in response to minimal casualties and the confidence that the American media would highlight spectacular terrorist acts and spin them against a US intervention. But we are succeeding in Iraq and al Qaeda is losing. The predictable bias of the US media is not enough to save al Qaeda. Future enemies will take note of this and they will adapt their tactics accordingly. So it's probably not a good idea to develop a future-oriented strategy based upon al Qaeda's plan of action. While it's certainly possible that some other transnational terrorist group could emerge to try to take down the US, this kind of terrorist group would need to depend on an ideology to justify the whole escapade and I don't see that happening. The age of ideologies is over. Over the next few years as Iraq develops as a self-sustaining democracy and the US withdraws, I think we will begin to see the emergence of a different world. By no means a utopia, but something that our present categories cannot describe. And we may not be able to predict what kinds of threats we will face. So how do we prepare for the unpredictable?

Posted by: phil | Friday, December 16, 2005

TM,

Ultimately, "electable" just means "can be elected." A shrink-the-gap coalition has to include as many of the possibles as possible, because even one enemy can destroy the enterprise. It's not enought to rely on Hilary Clinton's hawkishness of John Kerry's spine, any more than it is to rely on Bush's resolve and McCain's rogue-state-rollbacks.

Nationbuilding is very unpopular with the American public. The left rapidly defects over sovereignty, and the right over "national interests." Opportunistic politicans of all stripes demand that the troops be home before Christmas, as family and friends fret over deployed National Guards.

The energy that must be spent to keep the frictional heat from fatally deforming the enterprise is too much. Politicians have to sacrifice too many things (Clinton her liberal credentials, Bush his domestic reforms) in order to keep troops deployed. This is unsustainable.

The purpose of a politician is to rise above principal, and that includes the principal of shrinking the Gap.

We've seen foreign policies crumble before -- Truman's Cold War was almost aborted by the twin threats of McGovern, only to be changed by Carter. (How lucky we were that Carter's insistence on universal principles was a winning correction, not a fatal mistake!) Barnett shouldn't risk his grand strategy collapsing by making shrinking-the-gap as shallow and difficult as Truman made his.

(Not that Truman had much of a choice - his enemy was much more dangerous than ours)

I wouldn't go so far to describe the Abrams Doctrine as battered wife syndom applied by military strategy - it was more rational than that. Likewise, I don't believe that defeatism is always sabotage. Pessism is rational when it is realistic!

A comparison would be post-War Japan: if Tokyo had dismissed the collaborators and insisted on a foreign policy dedicated to "winning," Japan would be in the Gap now, or at best New Core. Instead, the nation realized it could not win - that it's foreign policy would be constrained by Americna whims -- and oriented itself in that context. For that price, Japan is #2 -- under the US.

Yes, the British would be a great example of a people for whom nation-building is a core competency. The happy fates of Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, in the first tier, and Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa in the second, are testament to this. Britain's major humanitarian contributions were cut short by two World Wars, those fiscal catastrophies. For more on this, I advise Empire, by Niall Ferguson http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0465023290?v=glance .

That the British weren't able to undo the damage of Mongolian and Turkish deprivations on an already shattered Arab nation in twenty years is hardly a counter-argument. Especially considering how we euthanized their attempts to maintain order in the Suez Crisis.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Saturday, December 17, 2005

Phil,

An excellent comment, as always.

I agree that al Qaeda is losing in Iraq. Sadly, spreading globalization Barnett's way would require many Iraqs ("the troops are never coming home"). While Iraq's rebuilding was poorly executed, Barnett's "A-Z Rule-Set" would repeat many of the same mistakes. The facts on the ground just don't matter much when something's politically unsustainable. Witness the MSM's conversion of Tet from a great US victory to a great US defeat.

If the age of ideology is over, then why are we seeing ideology spread in both the United States and the Gap? Ideologies fade during periods of normal controversy, not revolutionary remodeling. The US and the Gap are in phases of revolutionary remodeling [1].

I agree that we will face new kinds of threats. When Barnett promises "the end of war as we know it," a strategist should put the emphasis on the second part. It makes sense that future wars might be SecretWars [2], democidal [3] or not.

[1] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/11/21/globalization-is-water-the-magic-cloud.html
[2] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/07/20/dreaming-5th-generation-war.html
[3] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/07/20/dreaming-5th-generation-war.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Saturday, December 17, 2005

phil - It is quite possible that enemies will view President Bush as an aberration. Certainly, the next president will be probed in some fashion to determine whether the US is presenting "another 'W'" or "another Clinton". President Bush repudiated 50 years of US foreign policy. That's not going to be believed until there is a confirming presidency after him much as Clintonism's permanent features aren't quite permanent until the next Democrat president confirms his 3rd way executive methods. Clintonism as foreign policy was repudiated by W but will the repudiation stick or will Clintonism reassert? The presidency starting in 2009 is going to be very key in determining trends going forward.

Dan - I disagree that the left defects over sovereignty. That's only true during a Republican presidency (see: Bosnia, Kosovo). National interest has been redefined by the Bush doctrine. That's percolating through the right now and people in the realist school right really haven't come to grips with the accusation that realism, as classically enunciated, hasn't delivered the goods of stability and furthering the national interest. Is there any doubt that realism has evicerated liberal critiques of ME dictatorship and left only the islamists as alternatives to the whims of authoritarian princes?

You assert that politicians have to sacrifice too much. This is a statement of priorities, that Hillary Clinton would sell the Republic's future in order to enhance the chance for progressive legislation and that Bush would do likewise. I find that possible but less than certain. All politics is about priorities. We're going to have to grow up a great deal in meeting the challenges of this age. I don't think that it's a foregone conclusion that we won't make the tough choices.

Now I disagree that defeatism and pessimism are the same thing. You can be pessimistic about Dunkirk without any stain at all on your honor or your record of performance. Being defeatist about Dunkirk is different. And we're nowhere near at a Dunkirk level of performance, Rep. Murtha notwithstanding.

I think that you really don't understand where defeat would take us. If you think that defeat would mean anything other than the imposition of the head tax (the jizya) and a dhimma agreement enshrining our status as a 2nd class, humiliated people, you do not understand the goals of the jihadist. They won't stop coming until they get that as a minimum goal. Their maximal goals are death to all who do not convert and a world where Islam is the only religion on pain of death.

I do not agree that spreading democracy Barnett's way would require many Iraqs. I think it would require less then 5 and possibly zero. An Iraq is only necessary when the international order is corrupted and cannot act rationally, Gap tyranny is supported by mutually interlocking regimes, and implicit villains form a normally unbreakable power bloc in the Core. That perfect storm is rarer than you might think. It requires a major Gap region where the Gap nations have a lot of natural resource wealth that can't be gotten elsewhere and there's no way to move things along incrementally.

Africa is the only other contender for that kind of a logjam and they aren't as prejudiced against their neighbors as the Arabs are against their former colonial masters, the Turks. Once the ME is integrated, you can move south and west to further integration from the ME and north via S. Africa is already a possibility. Moving in from some of the coastal states that have strong Core relationships is another possibility. Where's the future Iraq there?

N. Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, DRC, and I'll leave #5 blank, those are my list of possible Iraqs in future. I don't think that any of them will actually happen with the possible exception of N. Korea.

As for Tet, future Tets are no longer possible because of the milblogs fact checking the MSM. This trend will only grow stronger as military to civilian communication lines increase in frequency and influence at all levels from private on to flag rank.

Posted by: TMLutas | Thursday, December 22, 2005

TM,

As Dr. Barnett has said, Clinton and Bush had very similar foreign policies. Proportional response to terrorism, wars of human rights, free-trade, etc. With strategy as with economics they are very close. I hope our next President is in the Clinton/Bush mold.

The same people running the anti-War demonstrations against Iraq ran them against Kosovo, too. Reflexive liberals of course go with the party line, but that a President of either party is able to rely on both his partitisans and the noble of the other party says good things about our willingness to give quick-big fixes. A real rule-set for processing politically bankrupt states should encourage this.

By telling politicians they have to prioritize shrinking the Gap, you are punishing them for doing the right thing (because shrinking the Gap will hurt them by forcing them to de-priortize other things). Politicians aren't stupid -- they recognize punishment when they see it -- and they will reasonably avoid it. We need a rule-set which is self-sustaining, where it is natural or even positive /in the short run/ for politicians to Shrink the Gap. Barnett's A-Z Rule-Set, which ties intervention's to a global test while promising a long-and-bloody back-end, is not such a positive solution.

The choice to srhink the Gap shouldn't be tough. It should be easy.

Defeat would be terrible. That's why we have to build a rule-set that gives us victory. I'm not a critic of Barnett's A-Z Rule-Set for Processing Politcally Bankrupt States because I don't mind it when it doesn't work -- I'm a critic because it will not work. Barnett's vision is a great one, and we can win, but not that way.

(Or maybe in spite of that way.)

You give the American people more ability to sustain the long pain of smal wars than I do. Even if we best-case it and assume there only has to be five more Iraqs, that's five more chances for the Left to sabotage us and try to take us down. They were successful for a generation after Vietnam, and that vision still leads them.

If you want war, prepare for peace. If you want the disasterous end of Barnett's A-Z Ruleset, assume it will only have to be used five times.

States do not stay the same. Freezing a list of concerns at DPRK, Cuba, Venezuela, DRC, with another thrown in for safety, is not prudent. The wars of globalization come from globalization's seems -- the more succesful we are, the more countries we will have to fight (at least until the final victory and the end of all wars as we have known them).

Blogs are not so useful for providing informtaion to the public as providing orientation to those who provide information to the public. If the milblogs are ignored than their impact will be zero outside of the military and the hawks who will be skeptical of the MSM anyway. Perhaps in the long-term this will change, but this hope is hardly enough to hang "no more Tets!" on.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, December 23, 2005

Hey TM,
"It is quite possible that enemies will view President Bush as an aberration."

That's certainly possible but they are really in no position to predict what the US will do. After all their predictions that the US would be a paper tiger proved to be wrong. But what I'm talking about is that after reading many blogs, comments and columns etc, it seems we have a tendency to think of al Qaeda as the Sept. 10th al Qaeda. As an organization that was confident in its plan whose members had high morale and one that had scored several successes with its bombings of the 90s and one whose assessment of the US appeared to be accurate. This al Qaeda no longer exists. We need to have an accurate assessment of our enemy. Today al Qaeda is an organization that has suffered defeat in Afghanistan, is suffering a major defeat in Iraq, we've seen anti-al Qaeda protests in Amman and Morocco. Al Qaeda has become known throughout the Muslim world as the organization that cuts peoples heads off and blows up Muslim children. And so when we think about a strategy for the future we need to be careful not to project a Sept 10th 2001 al Qaeda onto the decades ahead. I don't doubt that al Qaeda will continue to exist in some form, but it won't be the form it had in the past. If it manages to reorganize itself after Iraq it will have to do so in light of what has happened since 9/11. It will have to change tactics, recruitment methods, its assesssment of the US, and deal with a less sympathetic Muslim population. And it will have to explain why, if they are doing Allah's will, they have been defeated by the Great Satan in Iraq and Afghanistan. My gut feeling is that over the next few years al Qaeda will suffer from diminishing support as an increasingly democratic and more affluent Iraq appeals to people's aspirations and as the volunteers who managed to survive Iraq return to their communities in the Arab world disillusioned and with tales of al Qaeda chaining volunteers to car-bombs, drugging them, and forcing them to murder other Muslims instead of American infidels. The enemies of the future will not be like the enemies of the past or the present. And we need to be careful to get sucked into preparing for the last war while we think about the future.

Posted by: phil | Monday, December 26, 2005

Hey Dan,
Perhaps "age of ideologies" is the wrong term. What I am referring to is what seems to me to be a distinct period roughly from the early 19th century to the fall of the Soviet Union. This period could be divided into two phases: a generative phase and a governance phase. The generative phase from the early 1800s to about the 1920s saw the generation of socialism, communism, nationalism, fascism, nat'l socialism, technocracy, and a huge number of variations and hybridizations on these ideologies. The governance phase lasted from roughly the Russian revolution to the fall of the USSR. During the governance phase these ideologies were enthusiastically put into practice around the world and they all proved to be complete disasters. This particular "age of ideologies" is over. I'm not saying it is any kind of "end of history". But the kinds of ideologies that dominated politics in the 19th & 20th centuries will not dominate the 21st century. Without a doubt we will continue to be menaced by socialists of some sort or another, but it will be a bitter, cynical socialism that has no new ideas and will be characterized by opposing rather than proposing. We can see today that the most interesting ideas about social organization are not statist and technocratic, but about Smart Mobs, Wisdom of Crowds, an Army of Davids, Free Agents, etc. The future will still be dangerous but I don't believe we will see the invention of the kinds of all-encompassing, anti-individualist, statist political ideologies akin to those that caused such mayhem in the 20th century. We are transitioning from one distinct era to another. Our 21st century challenges and threats will not be like our 20th century struggles against socialism, communism, fascism etc.

Posted by: phil | Monday, December 26, 2005

Phil,

One of the questions I asked my students was (more-or-less) "After al Qaeda, will America's next danger come from a State or another Non-Governmental Organization like al Qaeda? If you believe another State, then history since 9/11 has been a daydream. If you believe another NGO, then 9/11 was the day where we woke up."

Of course, the answer could be something that's not a State and not an NGO but rather a(n) _________________ (insert noun).

The concept of generative phase and governing phase seem similar to "normal controversy" and "revolutionary remodeling" [1] The descendents of the Age of Socialist Ideologies is still with us. al Qaeda and affiliated groups act like Neobolsheviks, and if the original Bolsheviks aren't counted as Socialists, then Socialism might be too narrow to have its own "Age."

It will be interesting to see what solutions are technocratic but not statist.

Hopefully the 20th Century will forever remain the worst in human history. Socialism was a terrible detour.

[1] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/11/21/globalization-is-water-the-magic-cloud.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, December 26, 2005

Dan,
I think I may have perpetrated an unclarity. When you say this:
"It will be interesting to see what solutions are technocratic but not statist."
I suspect you are referring to this:
"...ideas about social organization are not statist and technocratic..."
And I just wanted to make clear that I meant "neither statist nor technocratic".

"If you believe another State, then history since 9/11 has been a daydream. If you believe another NGO, then 9/11 was the day where we woke up."

I completely agree. Future threats will come from a variety of NGOs. And we need to prepare for this by not only having gov't organized to deal with an NGO threat, but we citizens need to be creative and establish NGOs to counter an NGO threat as well. These threats can be both violent and non-violent. Because gov't has a monopoly on violence then it will be the lead actor in counter violent threats, however the gov't can't be everywhere, thus underscoring the importance of the 2nd Amendment and an armed populace. Gov't is not, however, the most effective vehicle for combatting non-violent threats. Moral war, idea war, media war, political warfare etc are all legitimate within the framework of a free society and yet they can be more destructive than violent actions. The best way to fight this kind of a war is with NGOs that are entrepreneurial, nimble, resilient and capable of drawing on the vast knowledge and skills distributed throughout our society. If the business I'm trying to bootstrap into existence now becomes successful enough one of the things I would like to do is create a small documentary film company to produce films to counter anti-Americanism. What I would like to see is an explosion of enthusiastic NGO creation by people who share our concern about future NGO threats.

Posted by: phil | Monday, December 26, 2005

Phil,

Why should the government have a monopoly on violence? Certainly that requirement is found nowhere in our Constitution, and the opposite is implied (IInd, IXth, and Xth amendments, especially). Private Military Companies are allowed through the Constitution "Letters of Marque and Reprisal" (Article I, Section VIII), and even the requirement to create "a Navy" implies no more of a monopoly that the requirement for "Post Offices and post Roads."

Good luck on the business! :-)

Completely unrelatedly, while writing this post I stumbled across both the Articles of Confederation http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/artconf.htm and the Constitution of the Confederate States http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/csa/csa.htm. The CSA's Constitution is in many ways more prescriptive than the USAs!

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, December 27, 2005

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