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Global policy with a dash of Napalm

While watching The X-Files, I mentally poured this drink: Take one glass bottle and one Styrofoam cup. Fill the glass bottle about two thirds full with gasoline. Then, crumble into it the Styrofoam cup to form semi-solid napalm. Garnish with cherry bomb. Light and serve.

The reason why I am giving you the mixology of a Molotov cocktail is rather simple. This level of technology is our current opposition in Iraq. We’re facing many improvisational explosive devices. Yet, insurgents are effectively killing our troops.

(The recipe is courtesy of Steal This Book by Abbie Hoffman. I suggest that you merely find it at a library and copy sections by hand. Library records can be searched by federal agents due to the Patriot Act.)

Contrary to the evidence above, I insist that I am not paranoid. Paranoia is the delusion that everyone is out to get you. I believe that only the people I hate are pursuing me. Back when The X-Files promised us the truth is out there, paranoia was very hip. Allow me to reminisce.

The entire theory behind The X-Files was that the U.S. Government is a big scary organization full of ruthless figures. They withheld from the public a massive cover up involving the manipulation of alien technology. We had a Rhodes Scholar president, a federal surplus and a booming economy. Our government was intelligent and we were suspicious of the almost supernatural power it had.

That mindset seems extraordinarily outdated today. Our intelligence is so far from being omniscient that they could not even tell if Saddam threatened us with WMDs. The commander-in-chief has a troubled command of the English language and we have the biggest federal deficit in history. We are not allied with aliens, but incompetence.

Thomas P.M. Barnett, author of The Pentagon’s New Map, wrote in Esquire (March 2003) that the future of foreign policy is global strategic security. In a nutshell, the United States will continue to go to war to bring countries in the “globalization gap” into the “functioning core.” In the globalization gap there are poverty, repressive regimes and a lack of legal rule. This breeds terrorism. Dr. Barnett’s solution is to shrink the gap by spreading globalization. He states the Iraqi conflict “forces Americans to come to terms with what I believe is the new security paradigm that shapes this age, namely Disconnectedness defines danger.” He continues, “it is always possible to fall off this bandwagon called globalization. And when you do, bloodshed will follow. If you are lucky, so will American troops.”

Dr. Barnett advocates reorganizing the military and permanently devoting a full branch to long term peacekeeping operations. This would help us “win the peace” in future conflicts. Though he realizes that it took America 200 years of strife, civil unrest and war to get us to this enlightened age of globalization, entering the functioning core is still a worthy and unavoidable end for the entire globalization gap.

Though Dr. Barnett is a Naval War College advisor and I’m a dumb sophomore, I must disagree with him. If terrorists hate freedom, they would have attacked Amsterdam. Terrorists hate us because we’re arrogant. We direct the world in the way we want it go. In our nation’s past we have rigged elections, installed governments and created the Taliban. Now there is the backlash against our nation-building in Iraq.

If the government has global X-Files ambitions, it is not X-Files smart. It’s a simple calculation of the odds. The more people you piss off, the greater the likelihood that some of those people are insane. Piss off enough crazy people, and you increase the probability that some of them are armed, dangerous, and willing to kill. Disconnectedness defines danger. The next time we use our military might to further our goals, we must remember this: Our neighbors know how to make cocktails. The truth is still out there.

Gideon Weinerth is a Pratt sophomore. His column appears every other Tuesday.


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