In a Well-Armed World, Fewer Reasons to Fear Us

Robert D. Kaplan wrote in the Washington Post in April about what we really should be afraid of.

“Despite the dangers they represent, such crushing, Dear Leader tyrannies are not our major concern. The future problems of the United States lie more with regimes that thrive on information exchanges with the global media, using it as their megaphone, in the way Chavez does, and ones in such a condition of underdevelopment, tribal animosity and physical insecurity (take Taylor’s Liberia) that the state, to the extent it exists, becomes psychologically isolated from any mitigating global forces.

We are entering a well-armed world, with more players than ever who can unhinge the international system and who have fewer reasons to be afraid of us. That’s why a resentful state leader, armed with disruptive technologies and ready to make use of stateless terrorists, poses such a threat.

Hussein was a wannabe in this regard. According to a Joint Forces Command study, parts of which appeared in the May/June issue of Foreign Affairs, he was preparing thousands of paramilitary fighters from throughout the Arab world to defend his regime and to be used for terror attacks in the West. Looking ahead, Ahmadinejad would also be a prime candidate for such tactics, as would Chavez, given his oil wealth and the elusive links between South American narco-terrorists and Arab gangs working out of Venezuelan ports.

We face a world of unfriendly regimes, even as our European allies are compromised by burgeoning Muslim populations and the Russians and Chinese deal amicably with dictators, because they have no interest in a state’s moral improvement. Never before have we needed a more unified military-diplomatic approach to foreign policy. For the future is a multidimensional game of containment.