Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



SUPERPOWERS
Outside View: Chaotic world consequences

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Harlan Ullman
Washington (UPI) Apr 6, 2011
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld elevated the words "known and unknown" to high art forms.

In essence, Rumsfeld was referring to both the intended and, more importantly, unintended consequences of policy decisions on difficult and often intractable issues. Indeed, in 2011, it is the unintended consequences of what is taking place in North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia that should trouble us most.

During even the most frightening moments of the Cold War, the threat of nuclear Armageddon provided the interesting consequence of preventing war between East and West. One metaphor describing this standoff was two scorpions in a bottle stinging each other to death. Fortunately, one of the scorpions had a fatal DNA strain that caused its self-destruction. Unfortunately, identifying similar strains among the many crises of today and those arising tomorrow is more difficult.

In Libya, the largely predictable consequence of international military action to prevent Moammar Gadhafi from wholesale murder of civilians is a likely stalemate with him remaining in power. As Geoffrey Kemp of the Center for the National Interest recently pointed out, Tehran and Pyongyang have taken careful note of what happens when an otherwise weak state gives up its nuclear option, a consequence that surely couldn't have been intended by the decision to establish the no-fly zone.

In Egypt, as that country lurches toward an uncertain future, helping the rise of Islamist parties wasn't intended by U.S. pressure on President Hosni Mubarak to stand down.

Islamist doesn't mean radical as in the extreme perversions of Islam. However, the next Egyptian government is likely to re-examine the peace treaty with Israel and could possibly decide it was time to reassess or revoke parts of it. The regional and geostrategic consequences of such a step, if it occurs, will be profound.

In Yemen, the battle apparently has become a blood feud between President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his former closest ally Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsin al Ahmar over who rules. The West needs Saleh in the fight against al-Qaida. Ahmar appears to be better disposed toward the fundamentalists although no one can be certain. Supporting Saleh especially as violence provokes civil war is distasteful at best. But Ahmar replacing Saleh could give al-Qaida a boost -- inadvertent consequences of the first magnitude.

Arnaud de Borchgrave, United Press International editor at large and a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, supports the Kemp thesis on the consequences of Gadhafi foregoing his bomb and reports that Saudi Arabia is already seriously considering a nuclear option vis-a-vis Iran.

Whether intended or not, the last thing needed is a nuclear arms race in that or any other part of the world with the likelihood of the most unintended consequences imaginable. And, of course other oil-rich states in the Persian Gulf could follow suit.

In Afghanistan U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus is modestly bullish on the progress of military operations while continuing to caution that the situation is "fragile and reversible." Opinion polls in Afghanistan reinforce this optimism with four of five Afghans favorably supporting President Hamid Karzai and a majority describing life as getting better.

Yet many rightly worry over the lack of governance and development on the civilian side. The tension between tactical military progress and failure or success of governance and development inevitably will provoke unintended consequences and not necessarily good ones.

In Pakistan, U.S.-Pakistani relations will take a long time to recover from the release of CIA contractor Raymond Davis. Largely unreported, Pakistan recently expelled some 330 U.S. "diplomats" -- read CIA -- and is preparing to expel more.

Pakistani Army Chief General A.P. Kayani publicly chastised the United States for a Predator strike that killed 40 Pakistanis. The U.S. version was that these were Taliban hiding in the open to disguise their meeting. Pakistan rejected that interpretation.

Worse, Kayani has privately warned the United States that if another mistaken attack happens again, the consequences will be serious.

These and other major problems won't disappear as did the Soviet Union. Worse, unlike World War II or the Cold War, no single threat or danger will coalesce into a single strategy or policy for success. The times are untidy -- a euphemism for complex, complicated and dangerous.

Three actions are critical. First, a strategic approach that integrates these diverse challenges to find interconnections and pressure points and achievable and well-stated aims and objectives is imperative. This is called strategic thinking. Second, integrated planning not merely across regions and related issues such as energy, instability and extremism but across government is essential. Third, the president must exercise strong leadership to accomplish both.

This White House, as others, will assert this is being done. If it is, it is well-disguised and isn't working -- the worst of all unintended consequences.

(Harlan Ullman is chairman of the Killowen Group, which advises leaders of government and business, and senior adviser at Washington's Atlantic Council.)

(United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)



Share This Article With Planet Earth
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook



Related Links
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com



Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


SUPERPOWERS
China: Peaceful military development
Beijing (UPI) Apr 5, 2011
China's military development remains focused on national security and not regional hegemony, a major government white paper on defense said. Beijing will continue to improve its military capability and strengthen military cooperation with many nations, including the United States, the document "China's National Defense in 2010," issued by the Information Office of the State Council, sai ... read more







SUPERPOWERS
Israeli system intercepts Gaza rocket for first time

Netanyahu praises Israeli system intercepting Gaza rocket

Israel to deploy four more 'Iron Dome' anti-rocket defences

Israeli port city gets Iron Dome anti-rocket system

SUPERPOWERS
Taiwan inaugurates missile ships amid buildup vow

SLAMRAAM Intercepts Targets In Two Test Firings

US Navy Accomplishes Several Firsts During Operation Odyssey Dawn

Boeing Supports First Hellfire Test Launch From Avenger System

SUPERPOWERS
Northrop Grumman Ships First Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Fuselage

AeroVironment Global Observer Experiences Mishap During Extended Duration Flight Testing

Euro Hawk Undergoes Testing At Edwards AFB

Northrop Grumman Submits Final Proposal For NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance

SUPERPOWERS
Preparations Underway As US Army Gears Up For Large-Scale Network Evaluations

Global Military Communications Market In 2010

Raytheon BBN Technologies To Protect Internet Comms For Military Abroad

Gilat Announces New Military Modem For Robust Tactical Satcom-On-The-Move

SUPERPOWERS
US Army Selects AAI's Man-Portable Aircraft Survivability Trainer

Argon ST Awarded Joint Precision Air Drop System Ultra Light Weight Contract

F-35C CF-1 Catapult Hookup

Pilots dead in California F/A-18 fighter crash: report

SUPERPOWERS
Budget impasse means no pay for US troops:officials

Armoured Vehicle Worth Over 10 Billion Dollars

Eurofighter back in Danish jet competition

India inches closer to major aircraft deal

SUPERPOWERS
In shutdown, US troops will stay on duty: Pentagon

Outside View: Chaotic world consequences

China: Peaceful military development

Commentary: Celebrity diplomacy

SUPERPOWERS
Scientists Build World's First Anti-Laser

Yale scientists build 'anti-laser'

'Air laser' could find bombs at a distance

ONR Achieves Milestone In Free Electron Laser Program


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement