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January 13, 2007

All The King's Men Global Guerrillas  Iraq

John Robb, of Global Guerrillas, sees globalization as a force that fosters the disempowerment and, eventually, the disintegration of nation-states. Globalization is the atomizing context within which Iraq is disintegrating, and Iraq is but one example. So long as US leaders (and leaders of nation-states generally) fail to face up to the new world in which they're living, they're doomed to fail. Which brings us to Robb's take on Bush's "new" plans for Iraq:

[T]he failure of these periodic efforts [to tweak tactics in Iraq] may be due to an inability to revisit a key assumption upon which the present US effort is based: that strong states tend to form naturally if provided the right minimalist conditions. I believe the opposite is true: that states, once broken, tend to remain hollow and in perpetual failure. The reason is that in the current environment minimalist conditions yield social disintegration (we will see this minimalist/disintegration paradigm repeated world-wide, even in the absence of war, as globalization continues to rapidly grow and spread — which fatally undermines any argument that the success of globalization means that "we win," if "we" means the US and nation-states in general) and the ascendent military power...is in the hands of those [global guerrillas] who would disrupt the state rather than form it. If this revised assumption is correct, it is safe to conclude that building a stable Iraq would require a level of effort that is beyond our ability to provide... [Emphasis added]

Globalization and global communications networks dissolve borders. As that happens, people's loyalties shift from nations to things that still have meaning in a world without borders: tribes, religious and ideological groups, like-minded communities. When a nation breaks down, it's pretty much Humpty Dumpty time. All the King's men — even 20,000 more of them — can't put Humpty Dumpty together again.

Posted by Jonathan at January 13, 2007 04:17 PM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb