GLOBALIZATION AND WAR:PAUL KRETKOWSKIMr. Paul D. Kretkowski is a consultant and journalist based in San Francisco who writes on a range of topics including soft power, U.S. foreign policy, Middle Eastern politics and information warfare. His writing credits include, among others, Mother Jones, Wired, Business For Diplomatic Action and SFGate.com. Beacon, Mr. Kretkowski's blog, is devoted to exploring the concept and applications of " Soft Power" as articulated by political scientist Joseph Nye
.Globalization and Warby Paul D. Kretkowski
From a soft-power standpoint, the biggest wild card in globalization is that visual communication is becoming universal.
Billions of illiterate or marginally literate people can now receive not just faceless radio broadcasts, but hundreds of commercial and government satellite TV channels from around the world.
People who once relied on rumors or their governments' views of other countries can now access those countries' own images of themselves. Entire worldviews can be imported into sod huts via tin-can satellite dishes, as in Afghanistan. http://www.idsnews.com/story.php?id=7382 Where before people thought they "knew" the U.S. because their cousin's in-laws had a falafel stand in Detroit, they now think they "know" the U.S. because they can see actual Americans at the Oscars or on Baywatch.
The major question today is whether the increasing ability of everyone to see everything will lead to greater understanding—or to revulsion that contributes to increased terrorism and war. What will be the effects as two-thirds of the world realizes that it is shockingly poor?
In China and India the answer seems to be a conversion of those countries' normal industriousness into a consumer and private-enterprise boom. Other countries may follow suit—but what happens if their booms stall but images of wealth continue to be beamed from abroad?
In other regions, particularly in the Muslim world, the result is bafflement that the West's apparently godless, chaotic, mercantile societies can be so far ahead in nearly every measure of human development. Responses to this vary from denial and retreat to new attempts to close the gap.
Part of what Beacon tries to do is monitor this ongoing realization of the world's disparities and suggest how countries, companies and individuals can enhance their soft power in that environment. I welcome others' input as I continue examining ways to accomplish this task.