World Oder, Failed States and Terrorism

PART 8: Militarism and failed states

Henry C K Liu

PART 1: The failed-state cancer
PART 2: The privatization wave
PART 3: The business of private security
PART 4: Militarism and mercenaries
PART 5: Militarism and the war on drugs

(Click here for previous parts)

This article appeared in AToL on April 28, 2005


Militarism is the doctrine that military might is the basic source of all security. In its mildest form it argues that military preparedness delivers peace through strength. The doctrine leads inevitably to the militarization of peace as a form of permanent preparation for war. Militarism disparages peace movements as utopian and naive.

Yet militarism can be self-defeating. It can threaten national security by energizing compensatory militarism in other countries as dictated by the doctrine of balance of power. Militarism is the doctrinal fuel for arms races, not only among hostile nations but also among allies who can be expected to change sides in the future, since international relations are affected by shifting national interests, and not based on permanent friendship. National interests of different nations converge and diverge over time, particularly in an international geopolitical architecture built on the principle of balance of power. There is strong logic in the premise that peaceful relations with neighboring states will enhance rather than diminish a nation's overall power and security, which extend beyond the confines of the military. Militarism rejects this self-evident proposition. Militarism is not exclusive to dictatorships or authoritarian states. Liberal democracies are frequently proponents and willing victims of militarism.

In his book The New American Militarism, Boston University Professor Andrew J Bacevich, West Point graduate, Vietnam veteran, professional soldier for 23 years, and a conservative scholar, identified Albert Wohlstetter and Andrew Marshall, both life-long civilians, as having transformed a Cold War strategy of nuclear deterrence that regarded war as a last resort to be avoided into a proactive war strategy of superpower aggression. The resultant "marriage of a militaristic cast of mind with utopian ends has committed the United States to waging an open-ended war on a global scale".

Herman Khan, while at Rand Corp - the US Air Force strategic think-tank - was by far the most dominant figure in nuclear-deterrence scholastics based on the concept of terror. Khan worked out the logic of MAD (massive mutually assured destruction) as an effective deterrence to nuclear war that would not allow any winners. Wohlstetter was a minor voice at Rand who worked on the theory that tactical nuclear war would be winnable even under the general rules of strategic deterrence. Both Khan and Wohlstetter subscribed to the use of terror; the difference between them was that Khan was strategic and Wohlstetter was tactically inclined. Khan would prevent war unleashed by first strikes with the terror of doomsday war machines that would also destroy the first-strike party even after the target party had been obliterated. Wohlstetter advocated the use of tactical wars that would gain geopolitical advantage without setting off the doomsday machines. Both had supporters in the Pentagon as long as both themes provided ample circular rationalization for rising defense spending. Khan's nuclear-deterrence strategy is part of an arms-control approach that requires a concurrent buildup of conventional arms. Conceptually, arms control is the deadly enemy of disarmament. Weapons are acquired to create a condition of military stalemate under which their use will produce no advantage to any one side. That condition is ultimately anchored in the terror of global nuclear holocaust.

Deterrence moves the prevention of war from an "if, then" to an "either, or" and finally to a "neither, nor" stability based on paralyzing terror. Stability is enhanced when the dialogue of restraint among enemies moves from "if you transgress, then you will be attacked" to "either you desist, or we will outdo you" to "neither would you start, nor would we start". It is a concept of peace through strategic terrorism.

The turning point came after Khan's death and when strategic deterrence based on the balance of terror ran out of steam in its justification for further military spending when both sides had more than enough to destroy the whole world several thousand times over, and more tanks and planes than any army can use without the prospect of recurring shooting wars. Strategic deterrence operates in a world of two superpowers. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the balance of terror was destabilized with the existence of only one superpower, albeit Russia is still a formidable nuclear power.

Under US president Ronald Reagan, tactical-weapon development spending took over as the main driving force, propelling Wohlstetter's tactical theories on to a pedestal of doctrinal respectability. The argument of "what's the point of having all these sophisticated and expensive weapons systems without reaping some geopolitical benefit?" began to attract support from the military-industrial complex. The technological imperative in arms races is augmented by the stockpile imperative. Stockpiles need to be depleted regularly in real battles and refilled with new, improved generations of weapons based on real battle feedbacks. This is illustrated by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's statement that "you go to war with the weapons you have, not the weapons you wish you had". The birth of new weapons systems requires the midwife support of real shooting wars to accelerate the rate of weapon obsolescence and highlight the awareness of the need for updating.

For Wohlstetter and his followers, the function of weapons is not to deter war, but to enable war with impunity to deter challenges to US national interests. Peace through strength is supplanted by democracy through war. The United States, with its superpower resources, is in a position to use war to impose its world view on smaller nations to make the world safe for the US values. This approach solicits two responses: 1) the revival of the doctrine of balance of power in international relations among sovereign states to replace the doctrine of balance of terror between two superpowers and 2) the emergence of asymmetrical warfare from the powerless in failed states in the form of terrorism.

Andrew W Marshall, known as Yoda in defense circles, co-author (with Zalmay Khalilzad and John P White) of Strategic Appraisal: The Changing Role of Information in Warfare, had been named director of the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment by president Richard Nixon in the 1970s and reappointed by every sitting president since. Today, Marshall, along with his star proteges Vice President Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz (who has just been appointed president of the World Bank), has been drafting President George W Bush's plan to upgrade the military. Put in charge of the Bush administration's proposed major military overhaul by Rumsfeld, he has sharply polarized the defense community on the nature of future wars and the military's role in fighting them.

Nicholas Lehman, political correspondent, in "Dreaming about war" published in The New Yorker on July 16, 2001, writes: "People with decoder rings knew that Bush's speech at the Citadel had been drafted by Marshall's corps of allies and that it endorsed Marshall's main ideas." Bush said "the best defense can be a strong and swift offense - including ... long-range strike capabilities". The comment implied that in future conflicts the US might be denied access to US bases on ally soil near the conflict. Bush noted that "power is increasingly defined not by mass or size but by mobility and swiftness ... The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close." In other word, the approach of "shoot first, ask questions later" would govern the Bush administration's security policy. And this was a full year before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In his campaign speech in September 1999, Bush promised that, as president, he would order up "an immediate, comprehensive review of our military" and give the secretary of defense "a broad mandate to challenge the status quo". Within weeks into the new Bush administration, it was reported that the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, would conduct a broad review of the military. Unreported was the fact that Andrew Marshall would be the main force behind the review.

Since the 1980s, Marshall has been an advocate of an idea first posited in 1982 by Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov, then chief of the Soviet general staff, called Revolution in Military Affairs. RMA asserts that technological advances have changed the very nature of conventional war. Rather than conflict conducted by ground troops, the new conventional war will be conducted with the same control and command of a nuclear war, managed by computers at remote locations targeting missiles at enemy military assets and infrastructure in accordance with strategic defense doctrines. The battlefield would be transformed into a vast virtual reality, utilizing military assets from great distances. War, in RMA lexicon, would be conducted by spy satellites and long-range guided missiles with precision targeting capability, by computer viruses and laser beams that would disable enemy offensive and defensive systems, and by a "layered" defense system that would make US defense impenetrable. Military adventurism is enhanced by impenetrability of one's own defense. It is a doctrine that focuses not on deterrence by balance of terror, but on winning in war by remote control from a safe haven. Yet the doctrine neglects the more important problems of enforcing the peace after military victory. It reduces war to no more purpose than a barroom brawl where the fighting itself was the game.

The US Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute in its seventh Annual Strategy Conference in April 1996 examined China's ability to participate in RMA. Dr Bates Gill of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), on a panel called "Seizing the RMA: China's Prospects", argued that there is more to participating in RMA than securing or producing high-tech weaponry. A revolution is an all-encompassing phenomenon with socio-cultural as well as purely technological aspects. China's prospects for seizing the RMA lie not so much in the development of technology as in the restructuring of concepts and organizations. History, culture, and philosophical values will make it problematic for China to participate in the RMA. The same of course applies to the military of all nations, including the US, where RMA continues to have its skeptics. Gill believes that China may be able to develop an "RMA with Chinese characteristics" much as it took Marxism-Leninism, a Germanic-Russian innovation devised for proletarian revolution, and modified its tenets to be relevant within a peasant revolutionary context with a level of success unseen in Europe or elsewhere in the Third World. Through sheer determination and by optimizing technology and expertise available from outside sources, China might approximate a less sophisticated RMA entirely suited to its own needs. US Army Lieutenant-Colonel Lonnie Henley argued that over the next decade, China will deploy a dozen or so divisions possessing relatively advanced systems, but that overall, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) will remain about a generation behind the US Army in terms of its ability to participate in a fully developed RMA. Furthermore, capabilities within the air and sea forces of the PLA will be even more limited with relatively small infusions of advanced aircraft such as the Su-27 and naval vessels such as Kilo-class submarines. These modern weapons will make up only a fraction of what will be otherwise seriously dated forces. According to Henley, by 2010 the PLA may be able to achieve for its elite force the kind of capabilities demonstrated by US forces in the first Gulf War. That does not mean that the technological gap between the military capabilities of US and China will be closed, as the US is not expected to stay still and will have advanced technologically significantly by 2010.

These papers, written a decade ago, painted a picture of China with limited potential to become a peer competitor of the United States in the two decades following their writing. Nonetheless, there was little doubt that China's relative power in Asia and globally would grow sharply in that period, a prediction that has been borne out by fact. Even partial success in pursuing advanced military technology and organizing concepts could enhance the speed and impact of that rise in Chinese power.

US Army Colonel Richard H Witherspoon, director of the Strategic Studies Institute, sees the exploration of the issues surrounding the RMA as having only just begun, and being worthy of consideration by anyone interested in the role that China may play in the strategic military balance early in the 21st century.

Michael Pillsbury, an alumnus of Rand, former special assistant for Asian affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, reporting to Marshall, director of net assessment, edited for the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University a volume titled Chinese View of Future Warfare. The report grew out of a process that began in 1995 when the Chinese Academy of Military Science hosted in Beijing a delegation of the Atlantic Council of the US, with extensive reprint of papers by high Chinese military officers and analysts. It shows that the views of Marshall are highly influential within Chinese military planning circles. It is a vivid example of militarism in one government stimulating counter militarism in other governments.

Throughout the 1980s, the US Central Intelligence Agency purchased arms from China for the mujahideen in their war against the Soviet Union. The USSR-Afghan war was the beginning of US-China military cooperation, a policy advocated by US right-wing Republican senators Orrin Hatch and Gordon Humphrey and defense secretary Caspar Weinberger, and carried out by State Department intelligence head Morton Abramovitz and the Pentagon's Pillsbury. The Afghan mujahideen freedom fighters later evolved into the Taliban, who harbored Osama bin Laden, the hunt for whom was the pretext of the 2001 US-Afghan war after September 11.

Professor Bacevich argues that the greatest threat to US security is not from terrorists but the neo-conservative belief, to which President Bush is firmly committed, that US security and well-being depend on US global hegemony and the imposition of US values on the rest of the world. This belief resonates with a patriotic and paranoid public manipulated with the help of the mainstream media. Persistence in these misconceptions will lead the United States to "share the fate of all those who in ages past have looked to war and military power to fulfill their destiny. We will rob future generations of their rightful inheritance. We will wreak havoc abroad. We will endanger our security at home. We will risk the forfeiture of all that we prize," argues Bacevich, who sees the problem as not how to deal with terrorism but how to deal with the hubris, laden with catastrophe, that the US is God's instrument for bringing history to its predetermined destination. Being assigned such an exalted role creates the delusion that US virtue is unquestionable and its use of preemptive coercion is infallible, a delusion that led to the "cakewalk war" that would entrench democracy in the Middle East and have US troops home in 90 days with "mission accomplished". War is not much more than an adrenaline-filled college spring-break orgy with fanatic purpose.

Paul Craig Roberts, former assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, associate editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and contributing editor of the conservative National Review and co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions, and reviewer Bacevich's The New American Militarism, observes that US hubris, which flows so freely from Bush's rhetoric, explains why half the US population seemed unconcerned over the US slaughter of Iraqi civilians and torture of Iraqi prisoners. The "cakewalk war" is now more than two years old and has claimed more than 10% of the US occupation force as casualties. Yet the delusion persists that the US is prevailing in Iraq and that democracy is firmly planted in the Middle East.

In Chapter 7 of Marshall's The Changing Role of Information in Warfare, Brian Nichiporuk wrote of Emerging Asymmetric Strategy: "The lopsided American victory in Desert Storm featured a clear display of the vast margin of superiority the US Air Force holds over any conceivable adversary. Most analysts agree therefore that, in future wars, hostile regional powers will use asymmetric options to counter the US advantage in air power."

Yet asymmetric warfare decidedly puts a superpower at a disadvantage. The logic of asymmetric response is based largely on its economy, which suits the poorer adversary. It costs exponentially less to foil a sophisticated system with virus and laser than to build the system and its defense. This fact is demonstrated by the exponential growth of anti-virus software companies such as Symantec. In fact, the higher the level of sophistication, the greater the cost differential between attack and defense and the penalty of failure by each. Thus the financial advantage lies with the asymmetric attackers. This is the basic economics of terrorism, with an astronomical cost:effect ratio beyond the wildest dream on defense analysts. Asymmetric warfare accelerates the effective neutralization of superpower prerogatives.

Nichiporuk observed that work on asymmetric strategies has revealed three types of enemy options the US needs to be concerned about: 1) increasing hostile capabilities in selected niche areas; 2) enemy strategies that target key US vulnerabilities that are difficult or costly to protect, and 3) creation of domestic and international political constraints that hinder US force deployments flexibilities.

The emergence of enemy homeland sanctuary in wartime protected by nuclear deterrence would have serious implications for US Air Force planners and operators. Specifically, the enemy's leadership, command and control structure, and internal security networks could all become off-limit targets for fear of touching off a wider nuclear war. This is why tacit cooperation from all nuclear powers to refuse nuclear protection to targeted non-nuclear nations is needed by the US before hostile action can be launched anywhere. Despite the dissolution of the USSR, Russian nuclear protection remains the key reason the US does not attack Cuba. Diplomatic concession by the United States to other nuclear powers, both allies and non-allies, is the price the US pays for such tacit cooperation. That is the strongest argument against US unilateralism. This special treatment of nuclear powers gives irresistible incentive for non-nuclear nations to go nuclear, not for self-defense, but to gain diplomatic respect and attendant concessions from the hegemonic superpower. Nuclear proliferation will continue unless the US begins to stop treating non-nuclear nations as second-class nations in a nuclear age and pledges a guarantee that non-nuclear nations will be not be subject to attack by conventional forces by nuclear nations. This is in fact what North Korea demands and the US rejects as preconditions for abandoning the former's nuclear capability. Until and unless the US adopts the doctrine of no first use, non-proliferation will fail.

Supply and communications for enemy ground forces could not be disrupted and the enemy's industrial war-making capacity (including electric-power generation and telecommunications capacity) would in essence be off limits to the orthodox offensive use of air power if the enemy were under a nuclear umbrella. This limitation was clearly demonstrated in the Korean War, where the US had the capacity to attack Chinese air and ground bases inside the Chinese border but was prevented from doing so by the Soviet nuclear umbrella.

The US is in a position to deny the enemy a homeland airspace sanctuary if the US leadership itself is protected from risk of attack. Under such circumstances, the US could deal with enemy possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in more direct ways of preemption other than offensive information warfare. The United States could, as it did in Iraq, threaten massive nuclear retaliation for any nuclear power protecting any adversary use of WMD by a non-nuclear nation and then proceed to carry out a massive conventional air campaign against the non-nuclear enemy homeland under the assumption that the threat of escalating dominance by the superior US nuclear arsenal cancels out the enemy's sub-par nuclear capability or that of its nuclear protector. Another option would be to mount a conventional counterforce campaign aimed at destroying the enemy's WMD before they could be employed and before nuclear deterrence could be put in play, as Israel did with the Iraqi Osirak reactor in June 1981, albeit that the Orirak reactor was considered by experts not to be a weapon-producing facility. A third option is to protect the US homeland with a strategic defense initiative (SDI).

A US president could well select any of these approaches in dealing with nations without the protection of a nuclear umbrella. However, if the US leadership is highly risk-averse from non-nuclear terrorism or any other form of asymmetric non-nuclear warfare in a future major theater war (MTW), it would force the US Air Force to plan to deal with scenarios in which much of an enemy's homeland is off limits to sustained aerial attack even without nuclear protection. Thus, according of Marshall and his colleagues, homeland security is not a just defensive strategy, but a platform from which to launch offensive wars in an era of asymmetric warfare.

The new American militarism is nursed by militant evangelical Christianity. Christian doctrine of love and peace has always been accompanied by the theme of "Onward Christian Soldiers", as evidenced by the Crusades and numerous expeditionary campaigns in the colonial world to protect or avenge attacks on Christian missionaries. Professor Bacevich, along with others analysts with similar views, explains that evangelicals, aghast at Vietnam-era protests of the US war against "godless communism", turned to the military as the repository of traditional US Christian virtues. Of course, the images of Buddhist monks setting themselves on fire to protest government-sponsored persecution from Catholics in Vietnam generally failed to disturb US Christian evangelicals, nor the centuries of anti-Semitic programs in Christian nations. For Christian evangelicals, end-times doctrines join US national security with eschatology, the belief in the end of the world coinciding with the second coming of Christ. Biblical prophecies clearly merge US fate with Israel. Unlike Islam, Judaism is not evangelical. In fact, it is self-restricting in its exacting exclusivity. Anti-Semitism is more secular than religious. Islam on the other hand is a fanatic and expansionist infidel sect in the Judeo-Christian world view. Islam inherited the role of godless communism as the post-Cold War target of a Christian holy war against satanic evil. The US emerges with the "same immensely elastic permission to use force previously accorded to Israel". Traditional isolationism was pushed aside by the events of September 11, which served the role of a new surprise attack at Pearl Harbor in justifying a holy war. What US evangelicals overlook is that the end of the world may bring the second coming of Christ, but the price may be the end of the United States as a nation. By that standard, US evangelism is conceptually anti-patriotic. In World War I, the European monarchies lost their thrones in a war to defend their empires, and in World War II, the "democratic" imperialists lost their colonies in a war of intra-imperialist rivalry to gain more colonies. The next world war, launched by superpower neo-imperialism to spread bogus universal democracy, will have similar self-destructive ironic outcomes. Democracy with local characteristics, based on universal equality, will rid the world of neo-imperialism and superpower hegemony.

Rejection of the Peace of Westphalia by NATO
The Peace of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years' War, a secular war with religious dimensions. Subsequent wars were not about spiritual issues of religion, but rather revolved around secular issues of state. The "war on terrorism" today is the first religious war in almost four centuries, also fought mainly by secular institutions with religious affiliations. The peace that eventually follows today's "war on terrorism" will also end the war between faith-based Christian evangelicals and Islamic fundamentalists. Westphalia allowed Catholic and Protestant powers to become allies, leading to a number of major secular geopolitical realignments. The "war on terrorism" will also produce major geopolitical realignments in world international politics, although it is too early to discern its final shape. Westphalia laid rest to the idea of the Holy Roman Empire having secular dominion over the entire Christian world. The nation-state henceforth would be the highest polity, subservient to no supranational authority.

Both the League of Nations and the United Nations were international institutions based on the concept of sovereign states. They enjoyed no supranational authority. The only creeping supranational trend comes from institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Bank of International Settlement (BIS), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Health Organization (WHO) etc, through neo-liberal globalization after the Cold War. This trend is fueled by US ideological assertion that capitalist free markets, inseparable from Western capitalistic democracy, are the sole venue for prosperity. Out of ignorance and cultural prejudice, such a biased assertion rejects socialist or tribal democracy and cooperative community in societies with historical roots different from those of the individualistic and materialist West. This assertion forms the self-righteous rationale behind US global aggression, ironically from a self-proclaimed modern people who irrationally cling to the primitive myth that a man born of a virgin was the son of God who had been killed by followers of a rival sect only to rise from the dead before ascending to heaven and is expected to return to Earth at its apocalyptic end. Just as the Holy Roman Empire, even with the allegedly one true God on its side, brought about its own demise by trying to impose religious universality on a Christian world, the United States will bring about its own demise by trying to impose its version of universal economic-political laws on the modern world. Cultural relativity and diversity is not suppressible even in a shrinking world of universal standards.

After the Peace of Westphalia, the concept of balance of power among sovereign states governed the shape of world order for subsequent centuries. The "war on terrorism" today will eventually lay to rest US hegemony and end the age of superpower, possibly through a new balance of power by sovereign states otherwise not particularly hostile to the United States as a peaceful nation. It is ironically inconsistent for the US, a culture that values individuality, to aim to impose universal values. While everyone can have the same weapons, he or she will use these weapons to defend their separate individuality.

This trend of moral imperialism is not limited to the United States. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) after the Cold War, looking for a rationale to continue, has transformed itself from a defensive security alliance against Soviet expansion toward Western Europe to an offensive alliance of force projection beyond Europe in the name of spreading humanity and democracy.

In a 1998 Symposium on the Political Relevance of the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, then NATO secretary general Javier Solana, a Spanish socialist, said that "humanity and democracy [were] two principles essentially irrelevant to the original Westphalian order" and criticized that "the Westphalian system had its limits. For one, the principle of sovereignty it relied on also produced the basis for rivalry, not community of states; exclusion, not integration." Within days of Solana taking up his NATO post on November 30, 1995, the NATO-led, multinational Implementation Force (IFOR) was deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina to enforce military aspects of the Dayton peace agreements. A year later, in December 1996, IFOR was replaced by the Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia. Solana himself visited Sarajevo and other localities in Bosnia many times, paying calls on NATO and non-NATO forces there.

Solana's appointment as NATO secretary general in 1995, a post he held until 1999, was a surprise to many, including 52 US congressmen who telegraphed a protest because of his alleged Marxist views and open sympathies for Fidel Castro. Solana had once been on the United States' subversive list. He was one of Spain's most vocal and most prominent opponents of NATO and had once written a pamphlet, "50 Reasons to say NO to NATO". Scratch a Marxist, you will often find a Trotskyite under the skin who despises cultural relativism and professes firm commitment to universality. The neo-cons in US politics are Trotskyite rightists while the social democrats in European politics are Trotskyite leftists.

The NATO secretary general normally has a ministerial role, passing on instructions from member-nation consensus to the organization's military components. NATO was not conceived as a supranational organization. Charles de Gaulle took France out of the NATO military command in 1967 to pursue France's own nuclear defense program and expelled all foreign-controlled troops from the country, which rejoined in 1992. During his 1995-99 NATO tenure, Solana was given sole unusual powers to make military decisions over Yugoslavia and the order to commence bombing against Yugoslav targets was subsequently given solely by Solana. He is part of the so-called Third Way Movement whose members include Bill Clinton of the United States, Tony Blair of the United Kingdom, Romano Prodi of Italy and Gerhard Schroeder of Germany.

In 2001, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, whose radical past was well known with political trouble from allegations that he had once harbored a key member of the extremist Red Army Faction terrorist group, referred to the Peace of Westphalia as obsolete in his Humboldt Speech: "The core of the concept of Europe after 1945 was and still is a rejection of the European balance-of-power principle and the hegemonic ambitions of individual states that had emerged following the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, a rejection which took the form of closer meshing of vital interests and the transfer of nation-state sovereign rights to supranational European institutions." Fischer supported German participation in the Kosovo war by NATO, which did not have the backing of the United Nations, with the justification of "international humanitarian emergency".

Rumsfeld's disparaging reference to the European Union as "Old Europe" was not off the mark, albeit for the wrong reasons, based on his displeasure with French and German opposition to the second Iraq war. NATO wanted to revert back four centuries to pre-Westphalia world disorder. In many ways, the Kosovo war was the opening shot of a new Thirty Years' War.

NATO's bombing campaign lasted from March 24 to June 10, 1999, involving up to 1,000 aircraft operating mainly from bases in Italy and US aircraft carriers stationed in the Adriatic Sea. Tomahawk cruise missiles were also extensively used, fired from aircraft, ships and submarines located hundreds of miles from their targets. The US was, inevitably, the dominant member of the NATO coalition against Serbia, although all of the NATO members were involved to some degree. Over the 10 weeks of the conflict, NATO aircraft flew more than 38,000 combat missions, setting a world record.

A less official reason for the war was given by then US secretary of state Madeleine Albright when she said, "What's the use of having the world's best military when you don't get to use them?" - a remark that allegedly caused the US Army Chief of Staff to question her sanity. The lady summed up the weapon-stockpile imperative argument for war. It was been suggested that a small victorious war would help NATO find a new role.

There was, however, criticism from all parts of the political spectrum for the way NATO conducted its "clean war" of precision weapons. The US Department of Defense claimed with pride that, up to June 2, 1999, 99.6% of the 20,000 bombs and missiles used had hit their targets. That meant 160 bombs and missiles hit innocent victims, not counting collateral damage of the direct hits. Moreover, the use of technologies such as depleted uranium and cluster bombs was highly controversial for a humanitarian operation, as was the bombing of oil refineries and chemical plants, which led to accusations of "environmental warfare". Many deformed babies were reported born after the war, and the British Broadcasting Corp (BBC) reported that health experts estimated that about 100,000 cancer deaths would result from this pollution. The Chinese Embassy in Belgrade was "accidentally" bombed on purpose, causing a temporary rupture in US-China relations, despite sham apologies from the US and NATO.

The Kosovo war violated the NATO Charter that limited its role exclusively to the defense of its members within their borders. In Kosovo, NATO was used to attack a distant non-NATO country that was not directly threatening any NATO member. NATO countered this argument by claiming that instability in the Balkans was a direct threat to the security interests of NATO members. This line of argument has now extended to the "war on terrorism". The far left saw the NATO campaign as an act of US aggression and imperialism, while the far right criticized it as being not central to the country's national-security interests. The liberal left and the neo-cons were strange bedfellows in their quest to spread freedom around the world. The term "moral imperialism" came into general use in policy debates over Kosovo.

Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, former Warsaw Pact members, made history by becoming NATO members on March 2, 1999. Slovenia, Slovakia, the former Warsaw Pact countries of Bulgaria and Romania, and the former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania officially acceded to NATO on March 29, 2004.

On September 12, 2001, NATO invoked, for the first time in its history, the collective-security clause of its charter, Article 5, which states that any attack on a member state is considered an attack against the entire alliance, in response to the September 11 attacks on the US.

On February 10, 2003, NATO faced a crisis when France and Belgium vetoed the procedure of silent approval concerning the timing of protective measures for Turkey in case of a possible war in Iraq. Germany did not use its right to break the procedure but said it supported the veto.

On April 16, 2003, NATO agreed to take command that August of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The decision came at the request of Germany and the Netherlands, the two nations leading ISAF at the time of the agreement. All 19 NATO ambassadors approved it unanimously. The handover of control to NATO took place on August 11, and marked the first time in NATO's history that it had taken charge of a mission outside the North Atlantic area.

On June 19, 2003, a major restructuring of the NATO military commands began as the Headquarters of the Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic, was abolished and a new command, Allied Command Transformation, was established in Norfolk, Virginia. On March 29, 2004, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia join NATO. Many argue that NATO is in conflict with the prospects of deeper European integration in the fields of foreign policy and security within the framework of EU institutions. Advocates for a strong EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) would like to see NATO dismantled and would create common defense and foreign policy within the existing EU institutions. After the re-election of President George W Bush in 2004, Norway publicly questioned whether it would gain by strengthening her defense relations with the EU, reflecting a spreading attitude that NATO is a politically dead organization.

Peace of Westphalia rejected by Islamic regionalism
Islamic regionalism and pan-Arabism hold the view that the international system that has splintered Islam and the Arab nation into a large number of separate states will collapse. This system had been constructed by Western imperialism under the sovereign-state principle of the Peace of Westphalia. A new world order will rise with all Islam under the leadership of a mighty Islamic confederation and a unified Arabic nation. Neo-liberal globalization is bringing about an evolution of the international system that threatens the principle of sovereign states that has been enshrined by the Peace of Westphalia and coopted by US neo-imperialism. This globalization also provides the opening for global Islamic unity and Arab nation-building.

Within the balance-of-power framework, failed and failing states created by collapsing imperialism are too destabilizing for the hegemonic superpower to tolerate. Since self-determination had been denied to nationalities separated into colonies of Western imperialist powers as a result of balance of power, the post-colonial era's newly independent sovereign states inherited territorial arrangements that were convenient to the need to maintain a stable postwar balance of power system for the benefit of the victorious great powers. At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, France was punished for the Napoleonic Wars, but was maintained as a major player in the ensuing concert of Europe. Indeed, the practical settlements in Vienna all attempted to create as stable a balance of power as possible among the European states. The German Confederation was established and Sweden took charge or Norway. After World War I, Imperial Germany fell not from defeat in war, but from internal revolution. After World War II, both West Germany and Japan were made into key allies in the Cold War against the spread of communism.

Klepto-imperialism is another cause of failed states. Germany and Japan are examples of klepto-imperialist victimization in that their new constitutions were imposed on them by the foreign victors in war to mimic the victor's own neo-imperialist character. These new constitutions fundamentally limit the sovereign authority of the two defeated nations by limiting the state structure to that envisaged by the victors as desirable, denying the popular will until it could be molded into desirable shape under the label of "de-Nazification" in Germany and "demilitarization" in Japan or "nation-building" in weaker states in the Third World.

Germany was artificially divided into two failed states of opposing ideologies, both imposed from the outside. Both Germany and Japan still are unable to forge fully independent foreign policies, rid their soil of foreign troops, or free their politics from alien ideologies imposed by the victors even six decades after their separate unconditional surrenders. This is the geopolitical aim of the US "war on terrorism" - the spread of political institutions deemed desirable by the hegemonic superpower into sovereign states around the world. It is the ultimate Clausewitzian view of war: to deprive of the enemy not only the ability, but the will to resist, in the complete sense of the term "hegemony". Support from these two subservient states for US policy was Pavlovian until the second Iraq war.

Militarism and the doctrine of balance of power
The doctrine of balance of power among sovereign states is rooted in militarism, for it is through military force or the threat of force that the balance is maintained. It has several aspects, all of which are based on a common objective of anti-hegemony. One is political equilibrium in which power is distributed among many independent sovereign states so that none can be a hegemon. A second aspect is the natural tendency of weaker states to unite against a rising dominant power to prevent it from becoming a hegemon, or to demolish an existing hegemony. A third aspect denotes the status of a state whose membership in a coalition is necessary, such status being recognized as holding the balance of power between competing coalitions.

The aim of statesmen in the 17th and 18th centuries was generally to preserve their own maximum independence and utmost flexibility of action in a fluid world. Hence the basic rule was to ally against the dominant state, regardless of common language, culture, values or economic interests. A world order created by balance of power was one where states threw their weights toward where it was most needed, so that its own importance was enhanced. The purpose of balance of power was not to enhance peace or prosperity, but to preserve sovereignty and independence of states, as the term "liberties of Europe" was generally understood. War was often necessary to maintain or achieve a balance of power. The doctrine was in essence anti-hegemonic and imperialist rivalry.

As the ambition of Louis XIV grew bolder, and as the capacity of Spain to resist withered away, the balance of power to oppose the Sun King was engineered by the Dutch. William II, prince of Orange, who in his late years would be king of England and Scotland as well, became France's tireless enemy. In 1609, the Dutch founded the Bank of Amsterdam, the first modern national bank. European money was in a state of chaos - coins were being minted not only by great sovereigns, but also by minor states and principalities in Germany and city-states in Italy and by private banks and persons. Under continuous inflationary pressures, money issuers habitually debased their money with cheap alloys. Money in all forms represented uncertain and fluctuating value. The Bank of Amsterdam provided a needed service by accepting all forms of money from all holders, accessed their true content value and allowed depositors to withdraw equivalent value in gold florins minted by it at exchange rates fixed by it. By providing such monetary order, Amsterdam became the center of world finance. Under their republican government, the Dutch enjoyed unprecedented freedom, but the Dutch nation was not a modern state. The Prince of Orange was simply first among equals of many noblemen in the country. As finance became a national industry, the aristocracy was being outdistanced by the rising bourgeoisie and public affairs were generally managed by the burghers fixated on making money and lowering taxes, rather than preserving feudal traditions. Private, civilian and decentralizing tendencies prevailed to keep a strong state from emerging except in times of imminent foreign threat. It was the original prototype of modern neo-liberalism.

In 1661, the revolutionary government of England re-enacted the Navigation Act, first passed in 1651 but lapsed into invalidity during the Restoration, upon which a series of follow-up measures were introduced that formed the foundation of the British colonial empire. The act, the first anti-trade-liberalization measure in modern history, was aimed at destroying Dutch carrying trade. It stipulated that all goods imported into England and its dependencies must be brought in English ships or in ships belonging to the goods' country of origin. In the Act of 1663, the importation principle required that all foreign goods be ship to the American colonies through English ports. In return for restrictions on manufacturing and regulation of trade, colonial commodities were often given a monopoly of the English market and preferential tariff treatment. The American colonies benefited when tobacco cultivation was made illegal within England; and British West Indian planters were aided by high duties on French sugar. These trade restrictions were a focus of popular agitation that preceded the American Revolution and laid the foundation for the north-south conflict that led to the American Civil War.

Since the Dutch were too small a nation to be producers or origin exporters, they had to trade by carrying the goods of others. Three indecisive wars over free trade erupted between the two nations from 1652 to 1674 in which the British annexed New York. On land, the Dutch were threatened by France, which in 1667 claimed the Spanish Netherlands and Franche-Comte. To save their own lot, the Dutch aristocrats granted the 22-year-old William III centralized sovereign power, restricted feudal liberties and constitutional checks, to move in the direction of absolute monarchy by abandoning liberalism.

The Westphalia world order of sovereign nation states that survives to the present is based on the concept of inviolable sovereignty. One of its key functions had been to resist free international trade that threatened national economies. Britain was against free international trade until the Industrial Revolution propelled it to the status of world power and empire builder. The US went through a similar transformation, from a policy of Hamiltonian economic nationalism to a policy of neo-liberalism as the two world wars propelled the US to the status of superpower. The theory of comparative advantage in free trade does not contain an equalization element. In his National System of Political Economy (1841), Friedrich List asserts that political economy as espoused in England, far from being a valid science universally, was merely British national opinion, suited only to English historical conditions. List's institutional school of economics asserted that the doctrine of free trade was devised to keep England rich and powerful at the expense of its trading partners and it must be fought with protective tariffs and other protective devices of economic nationalism by the weaker countries. Henry Clay's "American system" was a national system of political economy.

As List pointed out, once a nation falls behind in economic competitiveness, free trade only exacerbates the resultant wealth gap. The causes of wealth are something totally different from wealth itself. A person may possess wealth, ie exchangeable value; if, however, he does not possess the power of producing objects of more value than he consumes, he will become poorer. A person may be poor; if he, however, possesses the power of producing a larger amount of valuable articles than he consumes, he becomes rich. The power of producing wealth is therefore infinitely more important than wealth itself; it ensures not only the possession and the increase of what has been gained, but also the replacement of what has been lost. Under "dollar hegemony", a term describing the status of the dollar, a fiat currency, as the major reserve currency for international trade, free trade produces absolute advantage for the dollar economy, not comparative advantage for all trading economies. One should not be misled by the dollar-denominated trade deficit the US runs with the rest of the world, particularly Asia, for dollar hegemony has become the most effective power of producing wealth for the United States, despite dislocations in selected sectors of the US economy. These dislocations, in the form of unemployment in sunset industries, actually strengthen the US economy structurally in the long run in a globalized economy. When US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warns about the adverse effect of the deficit on the US economy, he is talking exclusively of the government budget deficit, not the trade deficit.

Within a world order of sovereign states, for one state to attack another with legitimacy, the target state needs to be deemed as having failed as a political institution. Failed states are defined as those that can no longer perform basic governance functions such as providing security, livelihood, public health and education, usually due to fractious violence or extreme poverty. Within this power vacuum, common citizens fall victim to warring factions and runaway crime. Sometimes, an international institution such as the United Nations, or a coalition of neighboring states, intervenes to prevent a humanitarian disaster that would spill across borders. However, states fail not only because of internal factors. Foreign powers frequently purposely undermine a minor state by fueling ethnic warfare or supporting rebel forces, or destabilizing its economy, or assassinating its leaders, causing it to collapse. Humanitarian intervention often rings hollow when starvation is frequently caused by superpower sanctions or embargoes brought on by geopolitical motivation. Economic sanctions, generally recognized as acts of war, caused the death of an estimated 2 million Iraqi civilians, mostly women and children, between the two Iraq wars, which Madeleine Albright, as US secretary of state, declared publicly on television as being "worth it".

The general attributes of failed states are that they are small, underdeveloped and poor and helpless to stop foreign interference in their internal affairs. Yet a case can be made that large states with advanced social infrastructure and developed economy can also qualify as failed states, by virtue of ideologically driven trends to disable basic state functions.

Next: Sovereignty, democracy and militarism