Sunday, July 23, 2006

War, yes... but WWIII it ain't

Thomas P.M. Barnett ticks off a few points that torpedo the World War Three meme.

First off, the world has never been more at peace. This is a not a claim or a vision. It's just the way it is, statistically speaking.

Second, World Wars were wars between states. We have none of those here. No State A on State B. The "war" that revives all this talk is Israel going into Lebanon against non-state actor Hezbollah. Wasn't a state-on-state war when Israel did the same to the PLO in 1982. Isn't a state-on-state war today.

Third, the road to victory in the Long War, as the new Counter-insurgency (COIN) doctrine argues, is overwhelmingly non-kinetic. A "war," however "global" in its day-to-day expression (I have freckles all over my body, but it doesn't make me a black man), that is both won or lost on the question of non-kinetics (the ultimate exit strategy in the Middle East is called JOBS!) ain't exactly a rerun of either of those two bloodbaths.

Fourth, the scale here is all wrong. Not just the tiny percentages of combatants, but the tiny amounts of death. This whole "world war" since 9/11 hasn't yielded a good week's worth of WWII dead.

Fifth, this view indulges in the myth that what Israel does against 4GW opponents actually works, when it does not. Masada-on-steroids isn't the answer. We, the Core, don't have to shoot ourselves out of this situation. Time is on our side, as all all the major dynamics that count (energy, investments, demographics, sheer firepower, enduring ingenuity, strength of our societies, our enduring resilience--none of which favor the other side). The Brits in Northern Ireland or the U.S. cavalry in the Wild West are our models. Stick to the Long War. Don't give in to quick fixes or Armageddon-like fantasies. WWIII is just the End Timers with a patina of strategic analysis, but shit on a stick still tastes bad.

Sorry, guys.
Drop back a few yards and punt. Again.
H/T Coming Anarchy

Taking a slightly different tack, Dr. Hadar agrees.
(As an aside, note how our buddy Newt gets a bit of the spotlight here... Frankly, I think he knows better but the line was like a piece of candy, too tempting to resist.)

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