Here’s my over-simplification of John Robb’s thesis in Brave New War: A few, dedicated “Global Guerrillas” can defeat the army of a nation state by disrupting critical systems. I thought he made a pretty good case. Not sure about his timing, however. The book, written in 2007, suggests a dire sceneria for 2016:
“Security will become a function of where you live and whom you work for, much as health care is allocated already. Wealthy individuals and multinational corporations will be the first to bail out of our collective system, opting instead to hire private military companies, such as Blackwater and Triple Canopy, to protect their homes and facilities and to establish a protective perimeter around daily life. Parallel transportation networks—evolving out of the time-share aircraft companies such as Warren Buffett’s Netjets—will cater to this group, leapfrogging its members from one secure, well-appointed lily pad to the next. Members of the middle class will follow, taking matters into their own hands by forming suburban collectives to share the costs of security—as they do now with education—and shore up delivery of critical services. These “armored suburbs” will deploy and maintain backup generators and communications links; they will be patrolled civilian police auxiliaries that have received corporate training and boast their own state-of-the-art emergency response systems. As for those without the means to build their own defense, they will have to make do with the remains of the national system. They will gravitate to the cities, where they will be subject to ubiquitous surveillance and marginal or nonexistent services. For the poor, there will be no other refuge.”
I kept looking for “the good news” but this was the best he offered:
“The strikes of the future will be strategic, pinpointing the systems we rely on, and they will leave entire sections of the country without energy and communications for protracted periods. But the frustration and economic pain that result will have a curious side effect: they will spur development of an entirely new, decentralized security system, one that devolves power and responsibility to a mix of local governments, private companies, and individuals.”
Brave New War was only a couple hundred pages and well worth the read for those that share my sneaking suspicion a) our governments don’t tell us the truth, and b) we are not winning The War on Terror because it can’t be won.