Barnett Transcript - 6

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With Afghanistan, you have the new tail - Pakistan.  Pakistan frankly, was on the verge of being declared a rogue nation.  We were just waiting for the paperwork to come through the system.  Now they are our friends all over again - Great.  India and Pakistan almost go to a war.  After the 12/13 bombing of the New Delhi parliament which occurs in the aftermath of our take down of Afghanistan.  Which changes dramatically our relationship with Pakistan and also plusses up our military to military cooperation with India.  What was so scary about the massing of the troops on that border after that terrorist attack was that both sides were saying to the other side, “you’re in a world of trouble my friend, because I’ve got a brand new friend called the United States”.  You want to talk about a scary situation; a rule set reset on nuclear war in South Asia would have been profound. And then we have the tail called ‘The Stans’. 


We’ve got military bases in the former Soviet Union.  If I’d came to you in 1985  and said in 2004 there would be military bases throughout central Asia, you’d say how many millions died in WWIII.  Over time, some of these tails disappear and new ones appear.  The global war on terrorism is a tail that we create.  Within months of 9/11 it looked like we were going to pull the string on Israel and the Palestinian Authority because of the high jump in suicide bombings that were occurring there.  You could argue the Bush Administration redirected and said, “No, No, No”, we’re going to do this one instead.   As we ran up to the war last spring, our friend on the Korean peninsula said, “Hey, Don’t forget about me.  I’m still crazy.  What’s a guy got to do to get an arms inspection?”  Whoops, there goes another one.  I have no idea what’s in the nose.   Now when you show this kind of slide to a complexity theorist, first thing they ask you is  “How do you do all the animation, because that can’t be PowerPoint.  And I’d say, for a consulting fee, I’ll tell you.  The other thing they’ll tell you is, “Don’t kid yourself, a lot of green lines goes into this.  This is 20 years payback for Afghanistan;  50 years payback for the creation of the state of Israel; 800 years payback for King Arthur and the Crusades.  It’s like your marriage; no bad deed ever goes forgotten.


The other thing they will tell you is, when you get that much stress in the system, something’s got to pop.  This is a super saturated solution at that point and what popped was that we decided to create a vertical shock ourselves:  Operation Iraqi Freedom.  What happens in effect, when the Perturbed chooses to be come the Perturber that’s when it gets scary and exciting all at once I would argue.  What’s neat about this is you get to set the timing of the creation of the new rule set.  Bin Laden picked  9-11 the date.   Based upon our fascination of shark attacks across the summer, I would say we probably weren’t ready for it.  We picked last March.  We scheduled it in advance.  We let the networks know about it.   We priced it before hand.  We let the contracts.  We put it right after March Madness.  It worked just fine.  You get to set the conditions under which the new rules emerge.  You fight the war for a demonstration effect.  There is a reason why interstate war disappeared across the 1990’s.   One of the reasons why is we took Kuwait back from Iraq.  We basically said to the system, if you think you are going to conquer in that old-fashioned way, it’s not going to happen.  Lo and behold, interstate war seems to disappear across the 90’s.  Last good interstate war - Ethiopia and Eritrea.  Page 29, NY times - exactly where it belongs.  You establish the target audience for the rule set export.  You define an Axis of Evil and you say listen up - do you want some of this and Libya decides to change its colors.  You grab hold of the microphone but you’ll force them to hold the press conferences.  You force the leadership of the Middle East to explain why there are so many authoritarian governments there.  Frankly the bombs that have gone of since 9-11 - inside the Middle East.  And the warfare that’s engaged since 9-11 - inside the Middle East. 


Transnational terrorism is like politics - it is inherently local so you have a choice of dealing with terrorism vectoring into this country.  You can try to firewall yourselves off  - don’t think it will work - think you’ll damage our society in the process.  You can run around and try to kill these guys as quickly as possible, but as we’ve seen with Israel and the West Bank and Gaza, you tend to create more than you can kill in that process.  Or third you can try to decide what their strategic goals are and you can try to get there first.    There is no secret about Osama Bin Laden’s goals for the Middle East. He wants to drive the west out of the Middle East so he can hijack the Middle East out of the world.  We’ve seen it before. It’s the same basic deal that Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks pulled off.  An exclusionary rule set for a big chunk of humanity.  Lenin eventually grabbed one-third of humanity thanks to Mao and others.  We’re just seeing a modern variant of it.  And he’s fairly explicit with it.  Osama says to the Europeans, you leave the Middle East, I’ll stop killing you.  You’ve got 90 days.  What the Bush Administration is really trying to do - and they are quite explicit about it - is to create a Big Bang in the Middle East. They hope to change serious behavior - by extension to create a better situation in Lebanon, by extension better situation with Palestine by extension - relief for Israel. They hope to create a process of change in Iran.  We hope to alleviate some of the stresses for Saudi Arabia so we move some of our troops out.  They’re still hoping for positive evolutions there - so a lot of expectations.    Of course, our friend Kim Jong Il he can always throw a hex on this party anytime he wants - pull us right over to northeast Asia in a heartbeat.  That’s the fear.  But what is so thrilling and dangerous about what we just are tried to pull off and are still trying to pull off - and No, I don’t think you can judge it completely in 12 months - I think that is ridiculous. 


This Big Bang is basically the pursuit of a system perturbation.   What Osama Bin Laden tried to achieve on 9-11 was to throw our rule sets in such tremendous flux with that attack that we would retreat militarily, economically, and politically from the Middle East.  He wants to disconnect the world from the Middle East.  So if we want to deny that entity’s strategic goal, we have to connect the Middle East faster than he can disconnect it - and that’s very difficult.  A way of thinking about the scenarios in the Middle East - What happens with Iraq?  Did we get the makeover or does it become our West Bank.  The effect on the rest of the region - Does it become a chosen trauma for Muslims worldwide or do you get the hoped for Big Bang.   Worst case, West Bank - chosen trauma,  Blackhawk Down, the series - not just a bad movie -  a reality series we watch every week to numbing and/or enraging effect.  Why?  Because we have the reserve component over there big time now.  The Abrams doctrine when we put it together back in the early 1970’s said that you can’t go to war unless you use the reserve component.  We’ve gotten around that rule.  We can go to war whenever we want without using the reserve component.  What we can’t do is wage the peace without them and we are going to discover that increasingly as this occupation drags on.  The danger here is that this becomes a global magnet.  Next worst case situation - the Arab Yugoslavia - sequential instabilities around the dial.  That is probably the path you take if you accept the notion that you are going to have 3 Iraq’s at the end of this.  The Kurds, the Sunni’s and the Shites.     The better route I think, what I call the New Berlin Wall Muslims are still angry about our situation and our presence, we succeed somewhat in Iraq, we focus on the next problem set.  Israel and the Palestinian Authority. We sit on that security fence probably for two or three decades. You say, it can’t be done.   I say we did it in Berlin.  We’re still doing it in Korea.  Europeans have done it for decades in Cypress.  We know how to sit on walls.  Israel will be just fine without the West Bank.  The West Bank is going to need a lot of aid.  But I’ll ask you which is cheaper over the long run?   


Best case, makeover, you get the Big Bang.  Call that scenario, Persian Gulfed.  I would argue, the counter-revolution is waiting for a Chernobyl like spark in Iran. It won’t take a whole heck of a lot.  I think we are within several years of that happening.  I don’t expect the Mullahs to rule that country the same way they do now by 2010.  And I think Saudi Arabia sees the handwriting the wall and will move progressively in that direction.  Why?  Because the terrorists are coming back home and blowing up things in Saudi Arabia now.


So a system perturbation. This is a slide I developed for the National Intelligence Council because John Landry says, can’t you just give me a slide with words on it.  A system perturbation - is an international security order thrown into a state of some confusion by a perversely shocking development - emphasize perverse.  9-11 was the first live broadcast mass snuff film in human history.  First opportunity in my life to watch several dozen people I knew die live on national television.  I was meant to watch that.  I was meant to be impressed.  Same thing with Nick Berg.  It was designed to get an emotional response.  But we have to understand when Marines walk unopposed in Baghdad last April, at the end of that conflict before the occupation set in, that turned the world upside down throughout the Arab world, that was a perversely shocking development - the notion that Saddam would drop like that.  This vertical shock generates an outflow of horizontal waves cascading effects can cross sectoral boundaries.  Think about the SARS superspreaders.  One guy gets on a plane in Hong Kong, flies to Toronto.  Toronto gets shut down by the World Health Organization.  Absolutely amazing.  In this outflow process, seemingly every rule set is somehow disturbed, altered.  We got a preemption strategy.  That is a huge change.  The fluxing of the system is temporary but it is path dependent.  We will never, thanks to 9-11 plus the anthrax scare, not have a Department of Homeland Security.  You take away 9-11 and the anthrax scare would have been nothing.  It would have been a Columbine.  It would have been a Michael Moore movie. You put it the aftermath of a 9-11.  You change history.  So whoever that individual was wielded an enormous amount of power I would argue.  The potential for conflict, class of cultures doesn’t have to be always violent.  Europe and the U.S. over Iraq - we see a war, they see a police action in the global war on terrorism.  China and the World Health Organization on the SARS - very interesting rule set clash.  WHO basically said to China - you want to be connected to the global economy, you’d better clean up your medical act now - or we’ll stop traveling to your country.  Just like that. 


End states some new rules - like the Patriot Act, some old rules like the UN Security Council and some mixing of old and new.  Russia joins NATO, Russia still a problem. 


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