> A couple of other thoughts:
> 1) Following along the logic of Ramos, we too have shifted from outside to in; specifically, from capabilities to context. It’s no longer enough to understand the Syrian Air Defense grid, we have to understand under what circumstances they would use it. We have to understand the difference between the different sects and whether our interests align with theirs. And we have to do it with every instrument of natl power.
> We could use 18’s own story of driving into Baghdad with the tanks and being told to play mayor of the town. Came in with capability, not context. After looking at the inside, he figured it out. Same-same with Afghanistan (although a little slower). >
> 2) There is a fundamental shift – powered by the dual forces of end of Cold War and Globalization of communications – between govt and the governed. The end of the CW made us – and others – complacent. We saw no existential threats to our nation on the horizon and embraced those countries that had been outsiders.
> The Balkans disintegrated as those who ruled became excluded but made a grab for power. Central Asia became a Wild West show where the people – ethnically fractured under the Soviet divide and rule theory – didn’t have too much of a chance to rise up. 100 candidates on the ballot doesn’t matter too much when they’re all from the same party (true story from a Moldovan exchange officer). Hyper-empowered individuals were personified by UBL. With a video camera and a cell phone, he inspired other individuals – those with whom no government had a relationship with (or control over) – to action. The Arab Spring shows a similar pattern of the change.
> And that is what frightens us (no longer honor or interest motivations), the prospect of someone under no government control that wishes us harm.
> In each case, the government seeks to re-establish control (survival of the nation-state). In place where there is a diversified population, this is more difficult. Others resort to force (Bahrain) or bribery (Saudi), nationalism (China, Japan, Russia) to reassert the dominance of the govt.
> We face similar challenges at home. One used to require a visa to visit Russia or Cuba or Myanmar. With a couple of clicks, we are communicating at the speed of light. And as our electorate fractures, we too seek to reassert control not through military force, but by looking in and focusing on “rebuilding our nation at home” mixed with a dash of “Made in the USA” nationalism. >
> Just a couple of alternative scenarios for consideration.