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The "Quadrennial Defense Review Report", an official document released by the U.S. Pentagon this February, reveals the nature of the U.S. attitude towards the conflict thus far referred to as "struggle against terrorism". It will be a "long war". Presenting the new four-year defense plan, the U.S. army Chief of Staff Peter Pace emphasized that the war the U.S. were engaged in would last for decades and that the document reflected the developments in the U.S. strategic thinking after September 11. "The United States is a nation engaged in what will be a long war. Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, our Nation has fought a global war against violent extremists who use terrorism as their weapon of choice, and who seek to destroy our free way of life. Our enemies seek weapons of mass destruction and, if they are successful, will likely attempt to use them in their conflict with free people everywhere. Currently, the struggle is centered in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we will need to be prepared and arranged to successfully defend our Nation and its interests around the globe for years to come," reads the document. In addition, it stresses that this century ushers the era of the "unexpected" and "unpredictable", requiring the adjustment of the U.S. armed forces. The Under Secretary of Defense Ryan Henry confirmed that noting that in the coming years the U.S.A. would in all probability be engaged somewhere in the world where they were not currently engaged, but could not say "where, when or how that might be". However, the "long war" is expected to last for at least the next 20 years.
Ever since the end of the Cold War, American military strategists have been trying to coin a phrase that would meet two specific requirements. Firstly, it should appropriately express the U.S. position in the world and indicate that this country is fighting terrorism on the global level. The American "hawks" refer to their vision of the world as Pax Americana, where military forces and the security doctrine should affirm and, more importantly, sustain this position of the U.S.A. in the world. It is no longer the "superpower" or "great power", but "mega power", as the director of the London's Chatham House Victor Bulmer-Thomas defines it. The second requirement of the new term is to make it clear that the U.S. considers itself in a state of conflict, and even war. However, until now a clear understanding of the space-wise, geographic spread of this conflict has apparently gone missing. The term "long war", to all appearances, satisfies both requirements, and will from now on be used in all official military documents. All the things thus far referred to as "global war on terror" will be denoted by a new phrase - "war against extremism", while "long war" will be a substitute for what used to be called "cold war" for several decades.
The term "long war" simultaneously derives from and replaces the phrase "cold war", and not only terminologically. This syntagm is a derivative of two concepts: "cold war" and "long peace". A renowned historian of the Cold War John Lewis Gaddis used the phrase "long peace" as a monicker for "cold war". The main ideologists of American neo-conservatism are more outspoken by calling the post-cold war period World War IV. The leader of neo-conservative thought Norman Podhoretz in his essay "How to Win WW IV" offers a periodization of world conflicts wherein Cold War is designated as WW III. "The Cold War was WW III which reminds us that not all global conflicts entail the movement of multi-million-man armies or conventional front lines on a map. The analogy with the cold war does, however, suggest some key features of that conflict: that it is, in fact, global, that it will involve a mixture of violent and nonviolent efforts; that it will require mobilization of skill, expertise and resources, if not of vast numbers of soldiers; that it may go on for a long time; and that it has ideological roots," Podhoretz writes. In order to be entirely precise Podhoretz specifies the main enemy in this war. "The real enemy in this war is not the generalized abstraction of 'terrorism', but rather militant Islam." Militant Islam" could conceivably be substituted with the term "global jihad".
Long before it was possible to anticipate that terrorism will become so large a threat the "hawks" in the US establishment (in mid-1990s) demanded the strengthening of the U.S. position in the world, primarily in military terms. They claimed that nothing but the awareness that they did not have a chance to win a military contest with the U.S. could deter countries like China or India from endangering the world order or trying to compete with the U.S. technology or force size. Radical militarists argue that the Americans should be pleased with the fact that their military expenditures exceed those of the next sixth countries combined, and invoke the British 19th century standard of "double power", namely the principle that the British navy must to be twice the size of the next two largest naval powers taken together. They propose the adoption of a similar standard on double, triple or quadruple power for the U.S.A.
The American "hawks" revel in the fact that the leaders of Russia and China criticize the US for its "hegemony in the world", considering it a "compliment" and "operating instruction". In the same way they proudly invoke the views of their other enemies, e.g. Slobodan Milošević, while he was still president: "The simple truth about this era has been told by the Serbian leader Slobodan Milošević, who tried to explain why he wanted to reach the final agreement with Washington." "A Serbian politician claims that Milošević, being a pragmatist, knows that all who are U.S. satellites are in a better position than those who are not." They asked the U.S. to turn towards a "neo-Reaganite foreign policy of military supremacy and moral confidence". They believe that the usual post-cold war question of what constitutes a threat is wrong. In a world where global peace and American security depend on American power, the most important threat America is, and will be, facing is its own weakness. "American hegemony is the only reliable defense against the breakdown of peace and international order. The appropriate goal of American foreign policy, therefore, is to preserve that hegemony as far into the future as possible." Preservation of American hegemony is not a matter of trifle of detail, but of long-term strategic consideration and planning. What is important, therefore, is not so much whether the U.S. will continue to grant China the most favored nation treatment, as whether it will have a strategy it could use to check, influence or unconditionally demand the change of the regime in China. Whether NATO will expand in five or ten years from now, or perhaps even later, is less important than whether it will remain strong and cohesive and under the decisive American leadership. Whether America builds 20 B-2 bombers or three less, is not so important as giving its military planners sufficient funds to make "intelligent choices" guided more by strategic than budgetary considerations.
The US president George Bush Jr. pursues this vision. Expressing his views on the "global war on terror" he was both explicit and radical and described the conflict as a broad one. He said the U.S. would defeat the global terror network with organizations in over 60 states, and that terrorists would no longer be considered ordinary criminals, but rather members of illegal military formations interlinked in such a way that they actually wage a war not only on the U.S. but on the civilized world as a whole. Al-Qaeda is, like communism, understood as a global conspiracy the workings of which are not all visible and one that has strange helpers in all layers of society. The theoretical background for the term "long war" rests on victory over "global jihad". By contrast from communism, which was not viewed as a monolithic movement, Pentagon's planners see this threat as emerging from widely spread links among terrorists from Iraq and Afghanistan to Indonesia, from Kyrgyzstan to Morocco, and therefore as requiring an elaborate strategy equal to that of the "Cold War".
A war of several decades is certainly a long one, but the question is how global it will be and where it will be fought. The U.S. is getting ready to wage it in America as well as in Europe. The threat arrives into the sphere of "Western civilization" from a specific direction. The global instability zone covers a very wide area, including the Balkans. Starting from such ideas as Francis Fukuyama's "end of history", Samuel Huntington's "clash of civilizations" and Thomas Friedman's "global, horizontally integrated world", one of the most influential Pentagon's experts Thomas. P. Burnett last year published a book "Pentagon's New Map", where he reviews the scenario and geography of war and peace in the 21st century. This map got him elected for the best "strategic thinker" and ensured him a series of guest appearances all over the world. His book has been translated into Turkish, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic languages. Burnett's map divides the world into two hemispheres. One represents a "functioning and integrating core" comprising the developed countries on the north and south of the globe, while the other represents the "non-integrating gap" encompassing the countries that are essentially excluded from the functional globalized hemisphere. These are the states of the Caribbean, Africa, Balkans, Caucasus, Central Asia, Middle East and Southeast and Southwest Asia. Burnett believes that this is a region where the likelihood of a U.S. military intervention, like the one of 1990s, is quite high. That is the region wherein he finds the "geography of threat" and which is, for the purposes of the "long war", considered a territory of active, immanent and integrated terrorist threat.
The "integrating core" would be divided into three parts: one dominated by the U.S.A., another dominated by the EU and Russia and the third dominated by Japan and China. In the formation of these "worlds" a special place is given precisely to border territories like Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Chechnya. Particularly interesting for Serbia at this point of time is the fact that Kosovo is in the area where threats are expected to emerge. Those within the "instability area" are largely distinctive in cultural terms, since they are predominantly Muslim countries. One wonders then whether the drawing of borders actually leads to isolation from the area of "instability and threat", or to its integration into the globalized world. This gives rise to a question of the means the U.S. will use to wage this "long war" in the coming years. The defense doctrine has already established that the U.S.A. will be able to engage in two major conventional wars simultaneously, but that it will focus on non-conventional threats, in view of the increasing numbers of "intra-state" conflicts with "non-conventional characteristics" and the resulting lower threat of conflicts between states. The U.S. military doctrine has adopted and publicly proclaimed "preemptive attacks" as a means to do away with threats to American security. In military terms this means that special forces will be given exceptional importance, with small and well equipped teams to be used for the liquidation or capturing of important targets. A synchronized response of U.S. security agencies, rather than the Defense Ministry alone - as was the case before the adoption of this document - provides the basis for a comprehensive understanding of the "global jihad".
The proposed solutions have been inspired by the superior spirit of "the specific situation and operations" and, one would say, steady increase in combat readiness. Military forces will thus be flexible to shift from a "peacetime tempo" to a "wartime sense of urgency", "from a time of reasonable predictability - to an era of surprise and uncertainty", "from single-focused threats - to multiple, complex challenges", "from conducting war against nations - to conducting war in countries… [the U.S.A. is] not at war with", "from responding after a crisis starts to preventive actions so problems do not become crises", "from crisis response - to shaping the future, "from threat-based planning - to capabilities-based planning, from peacetime planning - to rapid adaptive planning, from a focus on kinetics - to a focus on effects…" The authors anticipate that U.S. forces will be engaged in unconventional fighting around the globe. They recommend an "indirect approach" seeking to unbalance their adversaries physically and psychologically, rather than attacking them where they are strongest or in the manner they expect to be attacked. This will be a costly project requiring investment into expansion of intelligence services - field agents, strengthening of NATO intelligence centers, expansion of global protected information networks, learning and mastering of foreign languages, primarily Arabic, Chinese and Farsi.
The U.S. National Counterterrorism Center at this point of time has a list of as many as 335 thousand names of people suspected of engaging in terrorist activities or linked with them through different networks. That is four times more than in the autumn of 2003 when the establishment of the Center was prepared. In order to arrive at this enlargement of military capacities on the global level and in an unpredictable period of time characterized by the same circumstances, increased military spendings and technological innovations will be required. The military budget has, at present, reached the sum of 440 billion dollars, or 4 per cent of the national income, but even that is not enough: Podhoretz, for instance, wants it upped to six per cent and about 600 billion dollars. That kind of a budget should contribute to creating sophisticated and technologically superior military forces on land, in air and at sea - "the dominant military forces for the future", as Gary Smith and Tom Donnelly have called them in the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute's project "Strategy, Forces and Resources for the New Century". Documents related to the technological development of the American army anticipate innovations in the "stealth" technology, including vessels with corresponding characteristics. The U.S. military forces will have resources that should fulfill the expectations even in the face of major surprises.
This undefined, but global and time-wise unlimited, almost universal war, has naturally elicited a series of critical reactions. An influential columnist of the International Herald Tribune William Pfaff concludes that a state of war has been proclaimed in the entire world and that this "long war" is but an "eternal" or "perpetual" war wherein international law, state sovereignty and legislation will not be observed. In his "1984" George Orwell explained that totalitarian regimes were in the state of "eternal war" since the terrorist threat had been described in extremely broad and vague terms, resulting in its almost complete dematerialization. The fact is that this is a war against an idea, rather than a physical target, which does not even have to be found. Thus, owing to the concept of "preventive action", the war can be started and conducted without it.
* Translated by Ljiljana Nikolić