THE DEATH OF WESTPHALIA AND THE RISE OF A NEW RULE-SET
Yesterday, belaboring a point I've frequently made here, on HNN and on H-Diplo, I wrote:
"...retaining control of the initiative is critical in an unconventional, asymmetric war like the War on Terror. Smart, creative, ever evolving tactics within a larger strategy keeps the enemy off-balance but forces him to evolve to an extent, organizationally-speaking, in a direction we determine by our setting of the conflict parameters. This is why it is critical that the United States government - not the UN, not the Red Cross, not the EU, not professional NGO activists or media blowhards - determine the rules of engagement against a foe whose only rule in this war is that they will honor no rules whatsoever. Beslan is their paradigm, not the Geneva Convention.
Attempts to force the post-Kantian " police model " rule-set of warfare, adhered to by most European powers, on the United States military, is an attempt to hobble our response to al Qaida. Not an *effect* of applying such standards but the *intent* for applying them. Not all of our friends are really our friends in this war and not all of our usual or logical enemies are against us either, as they each pursue their own best interests."
Today TM Lutas had an important post
about how the American public - who foots the cost in blood and treasure for being the world-system's leviathan and stabilizer - perceives the War on Terror and how the rest of the World does. It is noteworthy that the remainder of the Core could afford such chores but opt to leave them to the United States - while implicity demanding " stakeholder rights " on determining on how that American force is employed on their behalf. Go read the whole post but here is the critical excerpt:
"That approximately 7 in 10 voters feel that we are in a real war, a war that is non-westphalian, is incredibly disruptive to the current international system which is based on westphalian principles and which can not survive in a non-westphalian world. This poll means that a durable majority in the country that supplies nearly 50% of the world's military force essentially believes that all the international applecarts are going to have to get turned over. Furthermore, this is one of the two issues that they feel are most important for the country to face today. This is an electoral tiger that neither candidate is entirely comfortable riding though President Bush comes a lot closer to popular sentiment than Senator Kerry...."
"...I suspect that if the poll were taken among the political elite and among the general population, a huge, yawning chasm would appear in their responses. In this bifurcated nation between the people and the powerful, it would be President Bush on the side of the people, with the powerful's champion being Senator Kerry. "
I agree. The American foreign policy elite - except for the Neocons who have blind spots of their own- from the Dovish Transnational Progressives to the hawkish Realist Stabilitarians of the Kissinger-Nixon mold, are loath to grapple with the implications of the collapse of the post-WWII, Cold War, world order. They just ignore the obvious breadth of the Islamist insurgency and forget that WWIII itself provoked a drastic change of rule-sets - Bretton Woods, the World Bank, The UN, NATO, GATT, Bipolarity, MAD, EU - because the interwar rule-set no longer matched the conditions of the world.
So far there have been two alternative models proposed - The National Security Strategy of the United States,
a document influenced by Neocon analysis and Dr. Barnett's Global Transaction Strategy
based on the PNM theory. The rest of our bipartisan elite, so far, has nothing to offer - except pretense, criticism and the dogged obstinacy of a ruling class stunned by the realization that circumstances are leaving them in the dust.
They need to lead or get out of the way.