- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (April 20, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0471780790
- ISBN-13: 978-0471780793
- Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#907,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #883 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Specific Topics > Political Freedom
- #1474 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Specific Topics > Globalization
- #1729 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > International & World Politics > Security
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Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization 1st Edition
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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 exportsa 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 actionblowing up an oil pipeline or knocking out a power gridwill 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 nationincluding the United Statescan 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.
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Top Customer Reviews
There is enough more bad news – (1) states are poorly equipped to combat global guerrillas and (2) the same trends that empowered the open source software movement fuel the expansion of the global guerrillas. Each attack severs as the source code to be copied or modified in future attacks. The commercial market of loose network of autonomous actors organizes their efforts while at the same time is more resilient than a hierarchy. Global guerillas individually need to be as smart as the smartest individuals running the state; their numbers, experimentation, and organizational structure favor their collective intelligence against the state’s.
John Robb offers some predictions. He predicts global guerrillas will manufacture uncertainty. Increased uncertainty will undermine the state’s ability to provide the basic functions of the state: utilities, health, safety, etc. Wealthy individuals will opt out of the collective and hire private firms to recreate the services of the state. Robb’s vision is similar, only darker, to Tyler Cowen’s vision of the future in Average is Over.
This book shows you how the US has lost the plot of the story. We did everything right and according to the book. It's just that someone came along and changed the script via "4G Warfare" (Fourth Generation Warfare) so that the USA has now lost the trail. We'll get back on track but only after it becomes apparent to the majority of people that we are way off course.
The writer is not blowing smoke. He is qualified to speak on the subject of terrorism and the military. According to the author's bio on the back of the book: "John Robb is a former U.S. counterterrorism operation commander and high-tech entrepreneur who now advises corporations, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Intelligence Council on the future intersection of terrorism, infrastructure, and markets. He is a graduate of Yale University and the Air Force academy. His writings on war have appeared in the New York Times and Fast Company." So he knows that of whence he speaks.
I like the way the author weaves lessons learned from his software and internet ventures into the means and methods of what he terms "global guerrillas" - networks of criminals, terrorists, and entrepreneurs that span the globe and are growing stronger by the day. They don't want to take over nation states because they don't want the responsibility of providing services such as electricity for the masses. They just want to weaken and cripple the nation states in which they operate so they are free to make loads of money and have freedom of movement and operation in their preferred area of interest or specialty such as human trafficking, drug smuggling, or religious adventurism.
After reading this book, one is left wishing those in charge of our military and politics would "get it" and change course. Since we have little control over their decisions, we may only watch and observe in real time what Robb calls the "hollowing out of the nation state" and begin rebuilding our own communities. Toward that end, the author has started a new "open source venture" called MiiU [Me-You] at [...]. MiiU is "The Resilient Community Wiki" - an early offering in a field that is about to experience exponential growth as people become aware that our standard of living will be going down unless we adapt and learn new ways of making a living and making a life. At MiiU.org the author and participants are "building resilience one page at a time." You are welcome to join this effort and help make it happen. Check out John Robb's sites mentioned herein and learn what is happening in the world. Then get involved "documenting resilience in your community" via MiiU.org. Be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. You will benefit and so will your family, neighbors and the world at large.
Reading "Brave New War" is a good first step toward greater resiliency in your own life and in your community. It will help you appreciate the scope of the change afoot in the world today. Knowledge is power and this is an empowering book. Buy it and read it today. It will be time and money well spent. I know it has been for me.
America is going to lose in Iraq an Afganistan. The question is when will the political leadership decide to call it quits. Not because the troops are not motivated and well trained. Rather it will be because they have been put in a situation where their strengths will work against them.
America, despite giving up some of our rights to a monolithic security organization, will experience more 9/11 attacks that will be far more devastating. The world is at war. A war that most of the leadership, let alone its citizens, do not understand. Unfortunately the best analogy I can think of is dinosaurs v. mammals and we are not the mammals.
The author ends on a positive note. A better world will come from all this. We will adapt. That is possible. What scares me is what the price will be. Read this book. See the future.