posted on Aug, 20 2008 @ 10:17 AM
For many years, many, including myself, have criticized the U.S. power elite of rampant military spending, much of it on items that we do not really
seem to have much need for in the postmodern era (post-Cold War). After all, in an era of subnational threats, insurgencies, and non-state actors such
as guerrillas, and whatnot, what good are F-22s, Virginia-class SSNs, and a whole host of other high-tech air, naval, and space-based platforms in
peacekeeping situations and humanitarian missions? It seemed as if those who advocated spending on such items were simply trying to make the big bucks
at the expense of the well-being of the rest of society
However, military sociologist John Allen Williams pointed out something rather interesting. He noted that after the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. military
would have to be forced to adopt a new type of military force, one he calls the hybrid. The hybrid is quite similar to the postmodern military, but
rather than just facing subnational threats and carrying out mainly non-military missions, the U.S. military now has to deal with transnational
threats such as terrorists and, lo and behold, international threats, such as Russia (and later China).
How does this validate the point made by the power elite? Well, it gives credence to their "full-spectrum" philosophy. Clearly, Russia's invasion
of Georgia points out that whoever stated the days of interstate warfare were over was wrong. While interstate warfare may no longer be industrial and
the war involve a more complex series of major participants ranging from transnational entities (i.e., the European Union, NATO) to guerrilla (the
Chechens) and the individual state (in this case Russia), as Stratfor stated in a recent report, the 21st century is really no different from any
other century. The U.S. military cannot count on being just focused on violent insurgents in Iraq, starving children, and terrorists, they must be
ready for the big fight as well.
It also gives some credence to the idea that the peace dividence is largely a pipedream for America. In order for the U.S. to maintain its superpower
status in the 21st century, the U.S. will undoubtedly have to spend more on its military than we previously realized. Less defense spending will make
our economy bloom, but there's no point in having such a prosperous economy if we cannot protect our interests. One can only try to imagine such a
wealthy and vibrant economy such as that of the United Arab Emirates having protect itself. It cannot do that very well. Therefore, the U.S. cannot
get away with having just a small professional military like we tried having in the 1990s. Does this military need to be as big as the militaries of
the modern era? No, but it has to be of substantial size in order to meet all commitments in the short and long term.
Preparing for the full-spectrum of operations as well as increasing the size of the military means a diverse range of equipment as well. Soft skills
may be important against insurgencies, but we may very well need that F-22 in the face of Russia's MiG-29s and Su-35s. The beleaguered KC-45 program
may also pay off in the end, as we do not want our Air Force relying on an old fleet of KC-135s in the face of high-tempo operations. Also if we are
to maintain some sort of functioning civilian economy, then contracting out to organizations like Blackwater Worldwide, CACI, and DynCorp may actually
be a smart idea. The unfortunate side-effect of preventing militarism in American society is that we'd have to resort to neo-militarism in turn. Pick
I still have a very negative view of the power elite and the military-industrial complex. However, the research, as well as current events, show that
these crooks may not have been entirely wrong when they proclaimed a need for seemingly useless high-tech systems. As Stratfor says, George H.W. Bush
spoke of the New World Order when the Cold War ended, but on August 8, 2008, Russia introduced us to the Real World Order.