has taken some serious hits in recent years. Now,
with the terrorist strikes in New York and Washington,
it is fair to say that globalization faces its
greatest test yet.
The extreme antiglobalization wing represented
by terrorist Osama bin Laden is not interested
in debating the pace of globalization; it wants
it stopped dead in its tracks. For bin Laden,
U.S.-led globalization represents the worst possible
corruption of his ideal Muslim society. It is
expressed politically in our support for Israel,
culturally in our military presence in Saudi Arabia,
and financially in our ability to isolate Iraq
and Iran through sanctions.
Bin Ladens symbology of attack could not
have been expressed more clearly:
- Operating from one of the most isolatedand
least globalizedcountries in the world
- Using icons of our international connectivity
as weapons (United, American Airlines)
- Wreaking unprecedented destruction on our
financial and military nerve centers (World
Trade Center, Pentagon), while just failing
to land a similar blow against our political
command center (White House)
How will the United States respond to the challenge?
This question is not adequately answered by any
immediate military response. Rather, it is answered
by our willingness to forge a new international
rule set, much as we did following World War II.
Our goal then was preventing a reoccurrence of
the economic nationalism that killed the first
wave of globalization (1870-1929).
Today, it is not so much economic nationalism
that threatens globalization as cultural nationalismthe
assumption that globalization equals forced Americanization.
How does the United States combat that fear? Three
steps move us in the right direction.
First, we need to expand dramatically the dialogue
between Wall Street and the Pentagon regarding
how globalization changes our definitions of national
security. Over the past several years, the Naval
War College has collaborated with the broker-dealer
firm Cantor Fitzgerald in conducting a series
of Economic Security Exercises examining scenarios
such as a terrorist strike against Wall Street,
the Year 2000 Problem, and Asias future
These pioneering war games are the brainchild
of retired Navy Admiral William J. Flanagan, Senior
Managing Director of Cantor Fitzgerald, which
until 11 September had its international headquarters
in the uppermost floors of the World Trade Center.
It is not hyperbole to call the September terrorist
strike a new form of warfare. Cantor Fitzgeralds
catastrophic human loss (roughly two-thirds of
the 1,000 employees headquartered in the World
Trade Center) only underscored the paradigm shift.
These individuals were killed not only to terrorize
the American people, but also to disable U.S.
financial markets and, by doing so, diminish global
investor confidence in their long-term stability.
Second, we need a better understanding of which
countries are the real enemies of globalizationand
thus the United States. Samuel Huntington, in
Clash of Civilizations, mistakenly lumped Asia
with Islam as challenger civilizations.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Developing
Asia desperately needs two things in the coming
years: energy from the Middle East and capital
from the West. If either of these two global markets
breaks down, Asia cannot move forward and instability
Until September, the Bush administration clearly
focused national security strategy on Asia in
general and against China in particular. This
was a huge mistake in the making, but the danger
has not yet passed. As the United States pursues
this war against international terrorism, we must
be aware that the West and Asia can either come
together or be driven apart by events in the Middle
East. Remember this: as far as globalization is
concerned, China is not the problem; it is the
Finally, both Washington and the American public
need to come to grips with the inevitable reality
that this war on terrorism only will cement our
nations role as global policeman. There
will be a rather scary blurring of the lines between
external war fighting and internal policing rolesnot
only abroad but within the United States.
Since the Cold War, the U.S. military has bifurcated
progressively into a high-tech strike force designed
for state-on-state war and a lower-tech mobile
police-state force designed for military operations
other than war. This war on terrorism only will
exacerbate that emerging split and render it permanent,
with much of the change coming under the guise
of "homeland defense.'
Barnett is a professor at the U.S. Naval War
College, serving as a senior strategic researcher
in the Decision Strategies Department of the Center
for Naval Warfare Studies.
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