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Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization

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Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization [Hardcover]

John Robb
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews


""a fast, thought-sparking book."" (""The New York Times"", May 18, 2007)

From the Inside Flap

During the summer of 2004, a small group of Iraqi insurgents blew up a southern section of the Iraqi oil pipeline infrastructure. This attack cost an estimated $2,000 to produce, and no attackers were caught, while the explosion cost Iraq $500 million in lost oil exports—a rate of return 250,000 times the cost of the attack.

In Brave New War, the controversial terrorism expert John Robb argues that the shift from state-against-state conflicts to wars against small, ad hoc bands of like-minded insurgents will lead to a world with as many tiny armies as there are causes to fight for. Our new enemies are looking for gaps in vital systems where a small, cheap action—blowing up an oil pipeline or knocking out a power grid—will generate a huge return.

Drawing on scores of chilling examples from the ongoing insurgency in Iraq, Robb reveals how the technology that has enabled globalization also allows terrorists, criminals, and violent ideologues of every stripe to join forces against a far bigger and richer foe without revealing their identities, following orders, or even working toward the same ultimate goal. This new brand of open-source warfare enables insurgents to coordinate attacks, swarm on targets, and adapt rapidly to changes in their enemy's tactics, all at minimal cost and risk. And now, Robb shows, it is being exported around the world, from Pakistan to Nigeria to Mexico, creating a new class of insurgents he calls global guerrillas.

This evolutionary leap in the methods of warfare makes it possible for extremely small nonstate groups to fight states and possibly win on a regular basis. The use of systems disruption as a method of strategic warfare gives rise to a nightmare scenario in which any nation—including the United States—can be driven to bankruptcy by an enemy it can't compete with economically. We are staring at a future where defeat isn't experienced all at once but as an inevitable withering away of military, economic, and political power through wasting conflicts with minor foes.

How can we defend ourselves against this pernicious new menace? Brave New War presents a debate-changing argument that no one who cares about national security can afford to ignore: it is time, says Robb, to decentralize all of our systems, from energy and communications to security and markets. It is time for every citizen to take personal responsibility for some aspect of state security. It is time to make our systems, and ourselves, as flexible, adaptable, and resilient as the forces that are arrayed against us.

From the Back Cover

""For my money, John Robb, a former Air Force officer and tech guru, is the futurists' futurist.""

War in the twenty-first century will be very different from what we've come to expect. Terrorism and guerrilla warfare are rapidly evolving to allow nonstate networks to challenge the structure and order of nation-states. It is a change on par with the rise of the Internet and China, and will dramatically change how you and your kids will view security.

In ""Brave New War,"" the counterterrorism expert John Robb reveals how the same technology that has enabled globalization also allows terrorists and criminals to join forces against larger adversaries with relative ease and to carry out small, inexpensive actions--like sabotaging an oil pipeline--that will generate a huge return. He shows how taking steps to combat the shutdown of the world's oil, high-tech, and financial markets could cost us the thing we've come to value the most--worldwide economic and cultural integration--and the crucial steps we must take now to safeguard our systems and ourselves against this new method of warfare.

About the Author

John Robb, a former U.S. counterterrorism operation planner and commander, now advises corporations on the future of terrorism, infrastructure, and markets. He is a graduate of Yale University and the Air Force Academy, and his writings on war have appeared in ""Fast Company"" and the ""New York Times.""
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