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Day: April 15, 2010

US Joint Forces Command and global strategy

This, a strategic study by the US Joint Forces Command, is a thoroughly fascinating read.  The part of immediate interest  is of course the section on energy, and the prediction of oil shortages made already in the introduction by the commander of the USJFC General Mattis.

“By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day.”

And then this:

“While it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved tensions, push fragile and failing states further down the path toward collapse, and perhaps have serious economic impact on both China and India.”

The rest of the text is equally interesting however. For starters, Mattis is a Marine, and the Marines seem to have been very interested in Fourth Generation Warfare lately. There are plenty of Sun Tzu references throughout, and the depth of the analysis is fascinating.

Joint Operating Enviornment 2010

China links

“What’s at Stake in Kyrgyzstan?” by Ariel Cohen, Wall Street Journal, 14 April 2010.

“Bismarck holds lessons for a rising China,” by Wen Liao, Financial Times, 14 April 2010.

The recent action in Kyrgyzstan prompted a lot of speculation on spheres of influence, hands under the table belonging to the usual suspects, the great game, etc.  Tom Barnett has some very insightful comments on China’s role in this and the wider neighborhood. This  relates in a way to the earlier post on complexity – the Chinese do not engage as much with the ‘center’ of adjacent systems, but instead try to interconnect economically with the local ‘peripheries’. A low-radar high-impact strategy. Key bit from Barnett for me:

“If anything, China’s rise and the growing organized resistance it generates means its diplomacy is arguably the biggest change-agent on the planet right now–even bigger than our own, because everybody is simultaneously adjusting to and preparing against China’s trajectory.”