The New Front Line: Climate Change

Another data point on the relationship between Sustainability and 5GW (fifth generation warfare) is presented below. First, an article from the Financial Times:

Climate change ‘could tip states into failure’
By Hugh Williamson in Berlin
Published: October 24 2006 03:00 | Last updated: October 24 2006 03:00
Global warming could endanger the political stability of entire nations, with a failing climate leading to more failed states, Margaret Beckett, the British foreign secretary, told the Financial Times on Monday.
Disputes over access to water and food resources were exacerbated by climate change, Ms Beckett said. “There are nations in a very delicate condition and [global warming] will tip some of them over into being failed states.”

Now, let’s hold that thought, and see what John Robb has to say about State Failure and why State Failure is relevant to the growth Global Guerrilla networks:

Monday, December 13, 2004
Iraq spent another night in total darkness due to a cascading infrastructure failure that shut-down electricity throughout the country. It was another major tactical victory for Iraq’s global guerrillas in their campaign to keep the country in perpetual failure. In contrast, the US is focused almost exclusively on what they consider Iraq’s most important need: January’s elections for self-determination. This asymmetry demonstrates a problem that will continue to dog US efforts in the country.
This recent infrastructure collapse underscores a basic fact about global guerrilla warfare: it strikes at basic needs first and works its way up. What are basic needs of the average resident of Iraq? Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a good place to start (never thought you would see this again, did you?). In Maslow’s view, people must meet basic needs first, before they can consider more esoteric needs. This makes sense. You can’t worry about job advancement if you spend your entire day on the hunt for fuel to heat your home or food for your table. Global guerrillas strategy plays on this. The disruption of systems that meet basic needs prevents the resuscitation of the state (a higher level need).

So again there is another example of processes that further Sustainability also making our defenses against the Global Guerrilla much more robust.

These processes are linked because they both center on making our economic networks more efficient and robust. Efficiency is measured by the distance and energy expended in order to derive economic vitality from the biosphere. Robustness is measured in the resistance of these networks to attack, and is also measured in terms of the lack of the extension of these networks in physical space, as well as the simplicity of their structure.

For example, in terms of power distribution compare the following:

Decentralized network: power goes from wind farm, harvested to transmission lines, then to a light rail system in which the energy is used.

Globalized Network, with multiple bottlenecks: from an oil drill in the Mid-East, across a pipeline to a refinery, then to a supertanker, across several oceans, to an off-loading point, then via trucks to a gas station, and then finally, into my my car.

Now questions:

1. Which network would you rather defend against an enemy whose primary power base is in the Mid-East? Think about the physical extension of that network, its complexity, and bottle-necks (choke points) in the network.

2. Which network is most aligned with present economic structures?

3. Given the answer to question (2), is it not in fact likely that our pre-existing economic structures are a great handicap in this War?

4. Given the answer to (3), is doesn’t that suggest what new political realities are necessary in order to free U.S. to effectively re-organize society to respond to the Global Guerrilla?

The New Front Line: Climate Change

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