Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Terror and Consent - UChannel podcast review

The University Channel Podcast (aka UChannel) reran a lecture at the London School of Economics by Philip Bobbitt, who is hailed to be the most important thinker on issues of geopolitics and terror these days. Bobbitt wrote a book Terror and Consent: The Wars for the Twenty-First Century and was invited to explain his writings.

Terror, Bobbitt teaches, is a war method, not any particular army, movement or ideology. Terror, he argues, will be used in numerous conflicts to come. The wars against terror have only begun and they didn't begin at 9/11, the began in 1990. When the Soviet Union fell apart, the wars on terror became the successor conflict of the Cold War.

What marks the era of wars on terror, is that the are fought in the arena of everyday life. Terror doesn't disrupt the state, it doesn't even harm as many citizens as weird accidents, but it disrupts common security, it disrupts the market. War on terror are not like wars in the past, but they do require a force (army in his view, police in some other's) to protect security, to prevent breaches of human rights and inhumane living conditions and the prevention of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

A lot of what he says seems rather common place. A major discussion is, whether the tasks at hand are tasks for army or law enforcement. It is insightful to have issues of security (terror per se), market, human rights and conditions and the proliferation of WMD's together in one package.

More UChannel:
Nudge: improving decisions and behavior,
Hot, Flat and Crowded,
In 2050,
The Arab-Israeli Conflict,
Civilization and the Hills.

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