Theory Analysis: Why We'll Keep Going to War Research Paper

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overriding aim of globalization is to eliminate physical boundaries, uniting all the countries of the world into one massive village. So far, globalization has had both positive and negative influences, and has literally split the world into three -- the portion that is already reaping the benefits of globalization and is characterized by high standards of living and stable governments (the Core); that which is yet to reap any benefits and is still grappling with political repression and widespread disease (the Gap); and that which exhibits features of both the Core and the Gap (the Seam)[footnoteRef:1]. Most Americans tend to think that the problems the Core faces are a result of its association with the Gap; and hence, believe that cutting links would be the solution to the issues of drugs and terrorism. This, however, is not a valid argument because as long as the Gap is not enjoying the gains of globalization, it will continue to incubate terrorists and drug lords, and exporting its pain to the Core in the form of instability. [1: Thomas Barnett, "The International Security Environment; the Pentagon's New Map: It Explains Why We are Going to War and Why We'll Keep Going to War," Pentagon News Map, (accessed 23 July, 2011)]

Getting the Gap to be part of globalization is only possible if the Core first recognizes the Gap's significance, identifies the factors hindering its success, and then engages with it in a bid to find long-term solutions. Looking back in time; the Saddam Hussein regime has used the threat of terrorism to instill fear and cause years of instability in the Middle-East. This fear is a threat to development, and Saddam Hussein a stumbling block to the diffusion of globalization. Military engagement with him is the only way to bring about peace, and get Iraq, and the greater Middle East region to share in globalization. Most countries within the Gap face similar problems; and the Core, particularly the U.S., will keep going to war until all stumbling blocks are taken care of. This is referred to as 'shrinking the gap', and is one of the three strategies of the war on terror. Using the seam to suppress 'bad things' from entering the core; and increasing The Core's own immune systems are the other two strategies.

Persuasion of the Theorist

The theorist puts forth a reasonable analysis of the international order; however, the simplistic, one-dimensional solution he offers for decreasing disconnectedness is not all that convincing; in fact, it is dangerous. To begin with, he completely disregards the role played by diplomacy in the containment of threats and coercion of outcomes. To this end, he simply dismisses the value of soft power as a persuasion tool and relies solely on military action to build on the argument that the only way to free the core from its security issues is to export security to the Gap, and maintain the status quo, or rather, preserve peace in the Core. Diplomacy has provided solutions to some of the worst conflicts of all time. The decade-long conflict between England and North Ireland is a perfect example; military action failed, and a solution was only reached when the conflicting parties came together in diplomatic talks. The power of diplomacy can, therefore, not be underrated.

Only recently, America witnessed other countries openly refuse to participate in the U.S.-led efforts to reconstruct Iraq because of President Bush's refusal to establish a coalition so as to gain international consensus for the 2003 invasion[footnoteRef:2]. This virtually ensured that the U.S. bore almost all the costs of the Iraqi mission -- just because President Bush was unwilling to exhaust diplomatic efforts. [2: John Prados and Christopher Ames (Eds.), "The Iraq War -- Part II: Was There Even a Decision?" The George Washington University, / (accessed 23 July, 2014)]

A second fundamental concern arises from the 'go-it-alone' attitude the theorist's proposals suggest. The theorist mentions nothing about coalitions or multilateral corporations in situations that require wars to be waged. This is a fundamental weakness given the high degree of uncertainty that often mars military operations. With this level of uncertainty and the emergence of violent non-state actors, the U.S. will have to make use of a responsible engagement strategy / foreign policy capable of defending against the potential threats, and at the same time spreading and expanding the nation's values as a parapet against those threats.

Threats, Challenges, and Opportunities

The strategic environment of the U.S. "is characterized by complexity, uncertainty, and rapid change, which requires persistent engagement"[footnoteRef:3]. Partnerships and alliances are constantly changing; and new threats, both transnational, and national, coming up. This state of flux, in itself, poses a challenge for the military, as it becomes almost impossible to predict the form global events will take. Challenges are those factors or phenomena that hinder the defense forces from adequately securing a jurisdiction and deterring its adversaries; prevailing in conflict; enhancing security cooperation among a nation's partners, and restoring civil functioning. The above, however, also pose as challenges, particularly because they are duties owed to the members of the public, and which the defense forces have an obligation to fulfill. Strategic planning is paramount if threats are to be correctly identified, and challenges adequately-prepared for. [3: Joint Publication 3-0, "Joint Operations," Department of the Navy and Department of the Army, (accessed 23 July 2014), I-2]

The theorist describes the Gap as a strategic threat to the peace and security of the Core, particularly because it feels sidelined, and perceives the Core as the only true beneficiary of globalization. Identifying this threat and singling out the specific countries and regions that make it up is the steppingstone for the war against terror and drugs; and policy formulation depends on it. However, there is a major challenge -- the different countries (regions) within the Gap face different problems; fear may be a key obstacle in the Middle East, but an insignificant factor in Africa. The challenge lies in coming up with military engagement techniques that can effectively address each region's obstacle (s). One way to minimize the strength of these challenges, however, is to identify, and capitalize on available opportunities. A key opportunity for the Core lies in the fact that it is more technologically advanced than the Gap, has committed more resources to research, and, consequently, has a higher capability to project offensive military power.

Analysis of the Future Operational Environment (OE)

The term OE collectively refers to the influences, circumstances, as well as conditions that warrant "the employment of capabilities and bear on the decisions of the commander"[footnoteRef:4]. The army prepares for operations by assessing the operational environment in terms of both mission and operational variables. Operational variables include the physical environment, infrastructure, the socio-economic and political environments, as well as the military environment[footnoteRef:5]. Mission variables, on the other hand, include civil considerations, time available, support and troops available, terrain, nature of the enemy, and the operation's mission[footnoteRef:6]. Mission and operational variables are both crucial to the process of determining where to attack. [4: ADP 3-0, "Unified Land Operations," Department of the Army, (accessed 23 July 2014), 2. ] [5: Ibid] [6: Ibid]

The U.S. is known to deploy its forces to countries that lose out to globalization because they cannot put their act together. A country could be losing out for various reasons; civil war, political instability and acts of terrorism, and environmental degradation are some of the key obstacles to globalization. In the light of these three factors, one could make an informed assessment on where the U.S. forces could deploy in the future. Columbia, Israel-Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Indonesia have been on the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, and are potential targets for a terrorism-driven operation by the U.S. military. North Korea has come under fire in recent years for its decision to match towards weapons of mass destruction; and with its population deteriorating as fast as it is, most people think it will be hosting the next 'away game' for the U.S. forces. Congo, Rwanda, Angola, and Burundi have remained underdeveloped due to unending civil wars and political instability. Argentina and Brazil, though not very likely targets, have also come under fire for legalizing industrial processes that are damaging to the environment.

Operational and mission variables keep evolving and affecting the army's tactical concepts and employment actions[footnoteRef:7]. For this reason, operational environments are never 100% identical. Economic levels change, and so does technology and infrastructure. To this end, the U.S. forces can expect to face more resilience and resistance when they engage any of the likely targets outlined earlier on. The threats will definitely be "harder to deter than was the Soviet Union"[footnoteRef:8] . They will indeed have substantial supplies of WMDs and will be characterized by established transnational terror networks operating from virtual zones, over which the government can exercise no physical control. [7: ADP 3-0, "Unified Land Operations," Department of the Army, (accessed 23 July…

Sources Used in Document:


ADP 3-0, "Unified Land Operations," Department of the Army, (accessed 23 July 2014).

Barnett, Thomas, "The International Security Environment; the Pentagon's New Map: It Explains Why We are Going to War and Why We'll Keep Going to War," Pentagon News Map, (Accessed 23 July, 2014).

Joint Publication 3-0, "Joint Operations," Department of the Navy and Department of the Army, (accessed 23 July 2014),

Prados, John and Ames, Christopher (Eds.), "The Iraq War -- Part II: Was There Even a Decision?" The George Washington University, / (accessed 23 July, 2014

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