More Black Globalization

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Shlok Vaidya  -  
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Farah touches on the lack of social mobility in Nigeria- due in no small measure to Robb’s Global Guerrillas as evidenced here – and how transnational Nigerian gangs are expanding black globalization into Afghanistan.

It also signals a new danger for the influx of massive amounts of cash into a region where disaffected armed groups are growing in power and influence while corrupt, incompetent governments continue to crumble and breed contempt. It also intersects with a region of the world where Salafist groups are expanding their appeal, reach, and support for armed conflict.

Unless we can provide basic services and industry (read social mobility) for the populace – and faster, and from our perspective, more efficiently than the drug networks can – our efforts are doomed.

This is where Robb and Barnett clash, as OSD talks about here

Both men are identifying the same dynamics. They just come to the discussion from opposite directions. Robb approaches the discussion from the GG perspective, asking “how can I disrupt this?” Barnett approaches the discussion from the Core (aka good globalization) perspective. His thinking focuses on “how do I keep this going?”

Barnett went into Afghanistan seeking to expand the global network. With our national security apparatus that is a long term inefficient process. Global Guerrillas have and will continue to exploit the lag between invasion and “provision” to their own ends.

Rule Set Shift in the Ivory Tower

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Shlok Vaidya  -  

As the GWOT moves forward the states engaged in destroying terror will be forced to adapt the realities of this new kind of warfare. The NSA surveillance debate, the Patriot Act, the advent of state sponsored assasination, the redefining of sovereignty and failed states etc are all examples of this transition.

The rule set shift is being shaped and slowed by friction caused by the various forces Marc Schulman discusses here.

Most interesting to me was an article he cited where Pulitzer Prize winning author and professor of history Joseph Ellis (author of Founding Brothers) makes a profound mistake.

He argues –

My first question: where does Sept. 11 rank in the grand sweep of American history as a threat to national security? By my calculations it does not make the top tier of the list, which requires the threat to pose a serious challenge to the survival of the American republic.

Here is my version of the top tier: the War for Independence, where defeat meant no United States of America; the War of 1812, when the national capital was burned to the ground; the Civil War, which threatened the survival of the Union; World War II, which represented a totalitarian threat to democracy and capitalism; the cold war, most specifically the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, which made nuclear annihilation a distinct possibility.

Apparently the opening shots of a long term conflict designed to destroy the legitimacy of the American nation state does not qualify as a “serious challenge”.

The ivory tower has repeatedly shown an inability to understand and process this idea; with the noteable exceptions of Phillip Bobbit and Martin van Creveld of course.

Larry Johnson Almost Gets It

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Shlok Vaidya  -  

Larry Johnson rips into Condi for her inability to recognize the Hamas victory in Palestine (quite rightly as I wrote about earlier) but then he engages in a bizarre discussion about Islamists prevailing over secularists as a rule in the Middle East.

Apparently Maslow doesn’t apply to the region.

60% of Palestinians are below the poverty line; a majority are secular. They are voting for food, water, and electricity. Not grandstanding bullshit.

This aside Mr. Johnson is a great voice to listen to though. He is an expert in terrorism with field time with both the CIA and the State’s Office of Counter Terrorism and currently heads up Berg Associates – a threat management business consultancy.

I have asked him for a response to this argument and will post if he gets a chance to respond.

Gartenstein-Ross Gets It

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Shlok Vaidya  -  

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross of the Counterterrorism Blog says today what I said yesterday – except he does not pay any attention to the inner makeup of Hamas that makes it very very vulnerable to moderation.

Other than that it’s a great read –

Third, being elected tends to have a moderating effect on radical groups. Observe the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, which — while far from an exemplar — has served in Jordan’s parliament since 1987. However, moderation is not a given. It is important that the U.S. and the world community not be myopic, but instead hold Hamas accountable moving forward and not make excuses for them. Particularly unhelpful in this regard are comments such as those by the UN’s envoy to the Middle East Alvaro de Soto (as noted by my colleague Andrew Cochran yesterday): “Let’s judge the participants in the government by what they do, not by what they have said in the past.” Aside from the fact that Hamas’s critics are not just judging the group by what it has “said in the past” but rather by the fact that it is literally responsible for hundreds of deaths, positing a sort of “blank slate” for the terrorist group sends a dangerous signal of weakness and moral confusion.

Why Was Hamas a Surprise?

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Shlok Vaidya  -  


For some reason people are thinking Hamas gaining a majority in Palestinian politics is a surprise… as evidenced here here and here.

Hamas, with its focus on providing social services that the previous governments could not, has done more for the average Palestinian than its Fatah or PA counterparts with their corrupt government. 95% of Hamas’ budget (70 million?) goes towards its social services network through which it provides education, health care, and recreation.


Hamas’ internal focus on hearts and minds will undermine its extremist elements. The leaders who are involved in the moderate stance of grassroots development will naturally face off with the leaders who are focused on violence. The moderates derive their power from lifting the standard of living for Palestinians. They’ll realize very quickly that their efforts are being counteracted by Hamas’ international hardliner status. Those extremists who derive their power from the gap between the Palestinians and the Israelis and will splinter off when they realize that the moderates don’t want to buy into their plan.

Simply put Hamas will split, following the mold of the PLO’s various splinter groups, the Real IRA and the IRA, and the GIA and the FIA in Algeria.

Or it will gradually collapse much like its predecessors and the cycle will repeat until this scenario rings true.