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Dr. Barnett offers a helpful critique of John Robb’s recent analysis “PLAYING WITH WAR

While Robb’s post was excellent, I disagree with Robb’s certainty of “It is not possible to reverse the clock” on the scenario he describes. Of course it is. The ” clock” is a metaphor for a political dynamic, in this case, a global one, which is why it is going to be very difficult to change, hence the resonance of Robb’s reasoning. However, if you create a provocation of a sufficient magnitude then you enter a revolutionary moment where the previously impossible or unthinkable suddenly has become all too present or real. That’s the nature of revolutions, system perturbations and paradigm shifts; they represent creative destruction unfolding.


John disagrees.

To an extent, I think there’s a tendency to talk past one another in the short blog post format. It would be rather cool to put together a symposium with Tom and John and invite some other ” big names” like Martin van Creveld, William Lind, Chet Richards, Ralph Peters, Antulio J. Echevarria, Robert Kaplan, John Arquilla -perhaps a senior general officer or two like Abizaid and Petraeus or a military historian like John Keegan. Let them hash out the future of globalization and war at a high profile location – say, West Point in front of an audience of cadets -and televise it on C-Span.

The discussion could only do the country some good.

2 Responses to “”

  1. Lexington Green Says:

    That would be a great symposium.

    I think it would work best if there were several questions posed to each person, with each allowed a short answer to each. Then, the discussions could hash out the variety of answers and the bases for the various answers. Panels should be three people at a time, though, or it becomes anarchic.

    It should be a two day event at one of the military academies.

    The proceedings should be published as a dvd series and a book of transcripts, with authors allowed to put in a closing comment after they have had a chance to digest everything.

  2. fester Says:

    I’ll buy the beer for this discussion.

    I think it would be most productive with several sessions of moderate direction and long (weeks potentially) breaks between sessions for sythesis and analysis to occur, but this would be a very interesting event to attend.

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