Today’s Random Geopolitical Thought:
Pick up a copy of Robert Kaplan’s The Coming Anarachy. Not only is it a scary-yet-comforting (or is that comforting-yet-scary?) look into the near future, but it’s a damn well-written travelogue into some of the places our armed forces might soon be wandering.
The reason I mention it, however, is this: We’re now hearing stories of how China is getting involved in Afghanistan. Not too worrysome by itself, but you should take a look at the whole China picture. They lay claim still to Tawain, to the Spratley Islands, and probably the nice half of Siberia. In addition, they want to play the Great Game in Central Asia and build a military with a truly global reach.
But I’m not losing any sleep. Hell, I barely give China a thought.
Yeah, they can cause us some trouble short-term, and maybe even kill a whole lot of their Taiwanese brethren. These are things we need to prepare for and discourage. But long term, China is not a problem. Why not? Well, Kaplan tells us that the future of real military power isn’t about the nice Tom Clancy gadgets, but about culture. The ability not just to think up and build the shiny new toys, but to deploy them creatively, to combine them freely with global information in order to use them effectively, etc. The future of the military is about speed, decisiveness, and creativity — not in Soviet-era five year building plans for the latest T-80 variant.
There’s only one big-league country that can do all that. And it ain’t China.
OK, we’ll go back to the news now.