CORRUPTION AS A STRATEGIC VARIABLE IN THE TERROR WAR A PROTOTYPE DIAGRAM FOR DISCUSSION
The Cold War was pleasantly simple, even when the Communist bloc split and France and the Nonaligned Movement were being obnoxious, the strategic variables were relatively few and were easily recognizable. Risk assessment for U.S. policy makers was an easier task as was communicating the stakes to the general public.
But today, while strategic challenges do not rise to the magnitude of avoiding WWIII they are more complex, interrelated and self-reinforcing.
There is a tendency to see corruption and organized crime strictly in national and law enforcement terms. Due to the tendency for modest levels of corruption to make otherwise inefficient statist economies of various autocratic regimes more humane and responsive, corruption as a strategic phenomenon tends to be overlooked, particularly in times of peace. It is a transaction cost of doing business in not-quite market, not so transparent states. In times of war, the scale of corruption assumes the position of a strategic variable for American policy makers.
There is a remarkable overlap between lists of most corrupt states
and those countries considered candidates for State failure on Foreign Policy's Failed States Index
( subscription required). Those states whose economies appear to be wholly reliant upon oil production, incidentally, seem to be the most corrupt regardless of ethnicity or culture.
Corruption is a connecting variable that links otherwise unrelated networks and, unfortunately, can create a commonality of interests against U.S. policy. It figured decisively in PNM theory discussions about " Implicit Villains"
in the Core states, to use the phrase of TM Lutas
and there relationship with authoritarian " Gatekeeper
" elites in the Gap states like Saddam's Iraq, Iran's clerical regime or Zimbabwe's thuggish dictatorship. Corruption undermines both explicit and implicit Rule-Sets and puts globalization itself at risk by making some New Core/Seam states agents of infection rather than healthy new additions to the Core. What Rule-sets get adopted and actually enforced in economically transitioning great power states like Russia and China
matters a great deal.
And in this environmental geoeconomic context, the United States is at war with a transnational Islamist insurgency that draws upon a much larger socio-political extremist movement that numbers in the millions and possesses no central ideological authority or command hierarchy.
So I'm looking for comments on both the representational diagram, does it show an accurate " correlation of forces" in the strategic situation ? What important variables are missing ? Are my premises here questionable ?
Have at it !