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John Robb and the Global Guerrilla

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Shlok Vaidya  -  
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John Robb is a businessman at heart and as such is focused on efficiency and profit. This comes through in most of his finance focused thinking and writing. He sees the advent of cheap and smarter technology intersecting with the illicit economy and globalization’s affects on the nation state to produce a new generation of warrior dedicated to the destruction of the nation state and globalization system in an effort to socially advance himself and his.

In the words of OSD

GGs use black globalization to disconnect a target state from the positive flows of good globalization. Tactics such as system disruptions erode the legitimacy of the state and establish temporary autonomous zones (TAZ) that can then be used as hubs in globalizations black network. TAZs are to black globalization what free-trade zones are to good globalization.

Robb is a AF Academy and Yale graduate, served in a “tier one” AF Special Operations unit as a pilot, and made money on the first iteration of blogs and RSS and all that jazz. He’s currently at work on a book on the GGs.


Thomas Barnett Brief

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Shlok Vaidya  -  
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Barnett wrote the Pentagon’s New Map, and its follow up Blueprint For Action. There is a third text on its way, but not for a while.

In the first volume he basically argues for a new vision of the world based on his understanding of the geopolitical dynamic at play. He divides the world into two areas; the Gap which is made up of what he terms “disconnected” states or failed states (Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, N. Korea, etc) and the Core which is made up of interconnected states (US, Europe, etc). He describes a global network, not just made of economies, the various contents that flow through the network and explains how states without connectivity to this network are “behind” and how globalizing them will solve their problems. Then he goes on to explain what shifts are necessary in what he terms “rule sets” (our perspective on the world) in order to achieve this goal.

The second volume, BFA, basically consists of a “how-to” on achieving his vision. I have to make it clear that I have not finished this volume, but will post any feedback I have at a later time.

I have been following his blog for several months (and months before I got around to buying a copy of his book) and have to say he’s a great writer with a great vision. I also have to say… I hope he’s right.

The next two theorists have a far bleaker vision of the future.


Titans at War

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Shlok Vaidya  -  
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There is an interesting drama unfolding online between two giants in the “grand strategy” realm.

Thomas P.M. Barnett of PNM fame and William Lind of 4GW fame are butting heads. Everyone over at John Robb’s 5GW (what he terms Global Guerrillas) centered site is discussing it.

I will be explaining the three men’s philosophies in my next three posts. Together they represent the bleeding edge in global strategy.


Syriana Review

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Shlok Vaidya  -  
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Spoiler Alert
Why it is I found this movie one of the most captivating and intellectual films in recent history –

SUBTLETY

The movie does not take it upon itself to educate you about the various dynamics of the region. It expects you to know or to want to find out. I prefer films that do not attempt to babysit the audience and walk them through complex political situations within two hours because the end result is always a superficial action packed adventure.

Key scenes were where at the beginning Cloony asks the terrorist if he speaks Farsi. A majority of the audience would not understand the profound revelation just made but if you know the various languages spoken in the region you can recognize what the writer/director just did.

The portrayal of the father and sun duo from Pakistan also adds to the subtle nature by which the writer seeks to portray the complex dynamics that shape the political climate of the region. The massive amount of menial workers from Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Phillipines, is something I have experienced first hand and I was suprised to see it in a film with brand name actors. I

I was even more gratified to find that a majority of the film – the entirety of the dialogue between the father/son duo and who they interact with – was in Urdu. (The official literary language of Pakistan and form of Hindi with major influences of Arabic and Persian) The average listener may have been able to pick up on the difference in languages (Arabic vs something else) but being fluent in a dielect of Hindi heavily influenced by Urdu I was able to listen to it in it’s entirety.

Subtlety lends the film depth.

FOCUS

The film focuses upon the human players in the Middle East’s relations with the world. From Emir’s to CIA Case Officers to Oil Companies to Businessmen; their stories are the focus rather than their actions. If you will remember the screen turns white when the terrorists attack; the camera cuts out when the cars are blown up; each is designed to focus on the human aspects of the political dynamic rather than their actions. To summate – the film is a concentrated effort to recognize what creates the dynamic rather than focusing on what occurs as a result of it. As the Global War on Terror continues it is vital that this kind of knowledge is transmitted over communications networks to the masses.

Rest assured, I will be buying the DVD and will be reanalyzing the film at a later date.