It’s really going to be a challenge to come up with the right phrases to describe the military confrontations that characterize the first half of the 21st Century. The 20th Century was simple, you had World Wars, theaters of operation, etc. You had the Cold War, which was a lot hotter than most folks realized at the time – that’s in my next book – and you had the undeclared warfare described in Shadow Warfare. But what do we call what’s happening now? We have Putin reasserting a nationalist confrontation with the West, and even scarier some far right Russian types who appear to be pure racist Russo-Fascist and who want to see America destroyed to protest Russia (they also want Russian ethnic cleansing, it all sounds revoltingly familiar). You have Access Denial issues in the Pacific and the seemingly irrational North Korean leadership. Many of the old school military elements of the Cold War are resurfacing, but with new missions. Its striking to see a Cold War era B-52 in a maritime interdiction role in the western pacific, flying escort for a Navy carrier group.
And what are we going to do about al Qaeda, and ISIS which this week is now just IS and is building a new denied area all to itself. In Shadow Warfare we predicted that one wave of the future was going to be the growth of military assistance missions, not large scale but relatively small scale missions to help any government in Asia or Africa threatened by Jihad insurgency. That’s one prediction that seems to be pretty much right on and this week we see military missions returning to Baghdad – and soon to Kurdistan. It all has the look and feel of the 20th Century American response to what was perceived as the global Communist conspiracy. Perhaps it should, and in fact there may be a lot more reality to the national security threat of the radical jihadi ideology/religion than there ever truly was from a global communist movement – much of which was actually nationalism in action rather than true revolutionary Marxism.
I still don’t know what to call any of these various confrontations and conflicts but they are out there and very real. If you want to see the most current military assistance groups now forming, check out the following link, at least the geography will be familiar.