But think about this larger point: Ever since the end of World War II, this country has assumed that the real threats to its security resided in countries of roughly similar size, development, and wealth—in other words, other great powers like ourselves.
During the Cold War, that other great power was the Soviet Union.
These parts of the world I call the Non-Integrating Gap, or Gap. The pattern that has emerged since the end of the Cold War suggests a simple answer: in the Gap.
Think about it: Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are pure products of the Gap—in effect, its most violent feedback to the Core.They tell us how we are doing in exporting security to these lawless areas (not very well) and which states they would like to take "offline" from globalization and return to some seventh-century definition of the good life (any Gap state with a sizable Muslim population, especially Saudi Arabia). Special Operations Forces have recently zeroed in on: northwestern Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen.When the big Red machine evaporated in the early 1990s, we flirted with concerns about a united Europe, a powerhouse Japan, and—most recently—a rising China.What was interesting about all those scenarios is the assumption that only an advanced state can truly threaten us. Those less-developed parts of the world have long been referred to in military plans as the "Lesser Includeds," meaning that if we built a military capable of handling a great power's military threat, it would always be sufficient for any minor scenarios we might have to engage in the less-advanced world. After all, we were not attacked by a nation or even an army but by a group of—in Thomas Friedman's vernacular—Super-Empowered Individuals willing to die for their cause.The problem with most discussion of globalization is that too many experts treat it as a binary outcome: Either it is great and sweeping the planet, or it is horrid and failing humanity everywhere.
Neither view really works, because globalization as a historical process is simply too big and too complex for such summary judgments.Instead, this new world must be defined by where globalization has truly taken root and where it has not.Show me where globalization is thick with network connectivity, financial transactions, liberal media flows, and collective security, and I will show you regions featuring stable governments, rising standards of living, and more deaths by suicide than murder.September 11 triggered a system perturbation that continues to reshape our government (the new Department of Homeland Security), our economy (the de facto security tax we all pay), and even our society (). national-security establishment a huge favor by pulling us back from the abstract planning of future high-tech wars against "near peers" into the here-and-now threats to global order.Moreover, it launched the global war on terrorism, the prism through which our government now views every bilateral security relationship we have across the world. By doing so, the dividing lines between Core and Gap were highlighted, and, more important, the nature of the threat environment was thrown into stark relief.But you have to be careful with that Darwinian pessimism, because it is a short jump from apologizing for globalization-as-forced-Americanization to insinuating—along racial or civilization lines—that "people will simply never be like us." Just 10 years ago, most experts were willing to write off poor Russia, declaring Slavs, in effect, genetically unfit for democracy and capitalism.