To respond to the first two revolutions requires foreign policy initiatives in the Middle East and elsewhere as bold as the Marshall Plan and as encompassing as energy security. (Tucker, 2006) To create a national security strategy requires an understanding of the changing nature of conflict particularly, and that requires an understanding of the erosion of the sovereignty of nation-states.
For 350 years, wars have been fought between the uniformed armies of nations with fixed borders, meeting in the field to achieve a political result. Rules evolved for these wars: Geneva conventions and a body of international law spell out the norms for humane treatment and repatriation of prisoners, the rights of noncombatants, rules against the use of torture, and so forth. Nations disintegrate; and when a nation disintegrates, as in the former Yugoslavia, geographic borders warp and sometimes evaporate. (Clancey, 2006) Indeed, part of the process of creating peace among ethnic combatants in a disintegrating nation involves drawing new boundaries and building new nations. And now, in the new age of terrorism, United States experience violence being perpetrated by combatants in civilian clothes, representing no nation, attacking civilian targets, with no political agenda, and possessing only a fanatical commitment to destruction for its own sake.
When the nature of conflict changes, the means of assuring security must also change. New forms of violence resemble war, but by historic standards they are not. What is this new conflict, and how should United States deal with it United States call much of this new kind of violence terrorism. But labeling every bad actor a terrorist tempts us to embrace wretched allies on the always-dubious theory that the enemy of our enemy is our friend. On this same theory, United States supported undemocratic and repressive authoritarian oligarchies during the Cold War simply because they were opposed to communism. (Howard, 2006) United States set about assassinating foreign leaders United States did not like. The bills United States accrue from despicable allies and unprincipled policies that undermine the very principles United States claim to defend, however, always come due.
In the past ten years, United States have seen a dozen or more low intensity conflicts between tribes, clans, and gangs. United States participated in some, including in Somalia, where United States experienced the painful consequences of brawling, however well intentioned, in another man's alley as memorialized in the fi lm Black Hawk Down. United States passively observed similar bloody confl icts, in Rwanda and elsewhere, where the weapon of choice, a machete, dated to the Bronze Age. (Korb, 2006) United States successfully formed a "coalition of the willing," essentially an ad hoc international posse, in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Kuwait. United States earned a quick victory in Kuwait largely due to intensive bombing and maneuver