Sunday, January 24, 2016

Quotable: Johnny Sokolosky on globalization, conflicts, diplomacy, and information

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Sunday, January 24th 2016
“. . . globalization is the integration of trade, ideas, services, information, technologies, and communications. . . . in the past few decades the phenomenon exponentially progressed with advances in communication and transportation technologies,” wrote Army Captain Johnny S. Sokolosky Jr., currently assigned to the Multinational Force and Observers in Egypt. His article, “The Future of War: How Globalization is Changing the Security Paradigm,” appeared in the January-February, 2016, issue of Military Review.  Writing that “globalization is a force that is significantly changing how the world works,” Captain Sokolosky joins the ranks of armed forces professionals who are thinking about the future.  The globalized world, he judged, will need more diplomacy, information, and communication.  Here are a few excerpts from his article that will interest Public Diplomacy practioners:

  • . . . globalization creates conditions that will further encourage irregular warfare and intrastate conflict as opposed to interstate conventional warfare . . . the potential of cyber warfare is expanding . . . .

  • Another global trend influencing intrastate conflict is the process of democratization. While conflicts between developed democratic states are practically nonexistent in modern times, the path to democracy is often through intrastate conflict because globalization provides greater avenues and tools for people seeking democratic freedoms.

  • The effect of globalization as a source promoting dissatisfaction among populations for their governments cannot be understated. The interconnectedness of people through technology gives ways for the oppressed to have a voice where no avenue existed previously.

  • The rapid expansion of the Islamic State . . . also illustrates the capability of globalization to enhance the power and influence of nonstate actors. ISIS has proven to be remarkably effective at using social media to inflict terror, seize territories, raise funds, recruit members, and propagate its agenda.

  • . . . using social media and modern transportation capabilities, ISIS exploited the poor governance and weak governance of Syria and Iraq in order to establish territorial control over broad expanses of territory in a very short time span.

  • While a substantial number of immigrants entered Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghan War, the rapid movement of tens of thousands of ISIS supporters in a short period is very revealing of globalization’s influence today.

  • These examples show the potential for greater intrastate conflict and irregular warfare as nonstate actors grow in influence and become increasingly involved as competitors in internal state affairs.

  • Advances in global technologies and communications also enable terrorists to share ideas, exchange techniques, coordinate activities, and connect with a larger audience beyond their local communities. An important question is whether their access to asymmetric weaponry will eventually extend to weapons of mass destruction or catastrophic cyber attacks.

  • It is imperative that U.S. national security policy shift its emphasis toward using nonmilitary elements of power (diplomacy, information, economic, financial, intelligence, and law enforcement) to promote greater international security and stability.

  • As U.S. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster observes, “Winning in war, of course, is not a military-only task. Achieving sustainable outcomes consistent with vital interests is an inherently civil-military task that requires integrated planning and execution of political, diplomatic, military, economic, informational, intelligence, and, increasingly, law enforcement and rule-of-law efforts.”

  • John A. Nagl, scholar and former soldier, explains why such organizational and strategic planning measures are needed: “Victory in this long struggle requires changes in the governments and educational systems of dozens of countries around the globe. This is the task of a new generation of information warriors, development experts, and diplomats.”

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