Saturday, December 13, 2008

Globalization - Part 4

The Globalization of Organized Violence
  • War, military force and organized violence have been central to the globalization of human affairs for much of history, especially in the modern epoch and more recently in the Cold War era.
  • By comparison with previous epochs, contemporary military globalization is remarkably extensive and intensive (measured , for instance, in terms of military diplomatic links, arms sales and global military production) for an era distinguished by the absence of empires, great power conflict and interstate war.
  • Since the end of the Cold War there has been a continuing institutionalisation and (albeit uneven) regionalization of military and security affairs to the extent that a majority of states are now enmeshed in multilateral arrangements or multilateral fora for military or security matters, and neutrality no longer appears a credible defence posture.
  • In comparison with previous epochs, there has been over the course of the last fifty years a rapid world-wide proliferation of unprecedented military capability and the capacity to project military power across increasing distances, including the capacity to produce and utilise weapons of mass destruction, which is both transforming the pattern of stratification in the world military order and creating new global and regional risks which require multilateral action.
  • Even though the end of the Cold War has undermined the logic of the global arms dynamic, the Cold War itself ensured the accelerated diffusion of military-technological innovation across the world's major regions such that, for instance, whereas it took two centuries for the gunpowder revolution to reach Europe from China in the middle ages, it took less than five decades for India to acquire its existing nuclear capability.
  • In comparison with earlier periods there has been a significant shift in the organization of defence production in the direction of more extensive and intensive transnationalization through licensing, co-production agreements, joint ventures, corporate alliances, sub-contracting, etc. Few countries today, including the US, can claim to have an autonomous military production capacity.
  • The same infrastructures which facilitate global flows of goods, people and capital have generated new potential security threats for states, in the form of cyber-war, international terrorism, eco-terrorism and transnational organized crime, which are no longer primarily external or military in character and which require a combination of multilateral and domestic policy responses.
  • Despite the ending of the Cold War, global arms sales (in real terms) have remained above the level of the 1960s and since the mid 1990s have continued to increase, whilst the number of countries manufacturing arms (40) or purchasing arms (100) is probably greater than at any time since the 1930s, an era of regional and global crises.
  • In the post Cold War period all major arms producers have become increasingly reliant upon export markets; the imperatives driving defence industrial restructuring have intensified to the extent that regional and transregional production arrangements are being strengthened. Few states can realistically continue to aspire, as in previous periods, to an autonomous defence industrial base. This is especially so as key civil technologies, such as electronics, which are vital to advanced weapons system production, are themselves the products of highly globalized industries.


luciano said...

We reviewed a clear example of this proliferation and "globalization" of the militar perspective in the Iraqi war: all western nations involved, and a military power disposed all over the available territory. It was a failing war, though.

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bibliochef said...

Nice entry; have you read Mark Juergensmeyer's book on violence?

By the way, just acknowledged borrowing a picture from you. thanks.

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