Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Disputing Robert Kaplan's Essay "The Coming Anarchy"

In 1994, journalist Robert D. Kaplan predicted a world, "in which criminal anarchy emerges as the real 'strategic' danger."[i] His essay published in The Atlantic Monthly identified that the scarcity of resources was the primary driving force behind an impending anarchy. Kaplan's prediction was dire. It was also definitive in tone. Kaplan did not parse words when he suggested the world would follow a similarly demising path that West Africa had been following.[ii]Fortunately his predictions failed with time. Consequently, in 2011, Kaplan revised his predictions suggesting that now the future of conflict rests in the South China Sea.[iii] The problem with Kaplan's anarchy prediction is that he generalizes a wide global outcome based on narrow anecdotal cases in point. In doing so his diagnosis fails to address opportunities in innovation, advances in technology, and an international system capable of self-correcting.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

British Military Decline During the Interwar Years

History is a very difficult subject for me. I don't know why, but I have always had trouble grasping events in time. Here is an attempt to examine the British military and their decline as a world military leader between 1919-1939. The thing to note about their decline is the naivete through which they viewed military power in general in relation to other nations. Contrast their lens then with our lens today as we relieve our military efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq and replace them with diplomatic intentions. I have only slightly edited it, so there may be some technical grammatical errors still.

          By 1919 the body politic in Britain lacked the stomach to endure the physical cost of another Great War. They also could no longer financially afford it. This aversion transcended social attitudes to political and military policies to the extent that the British government definitively forecasted a ten year period in which, "the British Empire will not be engaged in any great war…and that no Expeditionary Force is required for this purpose."[1] Through the 1920s and 1930s, protecting British fiscal interests outweighed protecting potential security interests. Consequently Britain's weakened will for security translated into policy constraints limiting revolutionary technological advances which compelled the nation's leaders to withdraw into a protective posture of traditionalism and isolationism that resisted relevant change. Specifically Britain implemented broad reductions in defense, followed protectionist policies that ignored the European situation, and she stagnated in terms of doctrine development as a result of hopeful assumptions.