Image: Population density (people per km2) map of the world in 1994. In relation to the equator it is seen that the vast majority of the human population lives in the Northern Hemisphere
, as 67% of the Earth's land area is there. Public domain. (A more recent population density map can be found at http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/gpw/
Defense and Strategic Planning Challenges in an Entirely New Age (2 of 2)
Analysis. By Gregory R. Copley, Editor , GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs.
Trends in geopolitical, economic, and technological developments increasingly need to be viewed within a global context. The age of stovepiping, which worked during much of the Cold War, cannot be expected to work now, or through the coming decades. Everything is connected.
. . . 2. The changing nature of economics: Population growth, coupled with urbanization, from the end of World War II until today meant two overriding things:
· The rise of consumerism as the most significant driver of economic growth; and
· The rise in real estate asset values because of constantly rising demand.
As a result, modern urban thinking is now driven, almost to the point of visceral paranoia, toward sustaining this model. However, we are now moving toward an end to that model, whether we like it or not, because macro-level population reduction is starting to occur at the same time that balanced societal viability is being threatened by mass urbanization and migration.
What will this population chaos do to the very recent economic model of wealth and credit leveraged against demand for urban real estate? Population quantitative and qualitative reduction would reduce demand for urban real estate and would therefore reduce the consumer-driven creation of cash.
So we are moving gradually from a global economic model which had been based around rising population and rising urbanization to an economic model based on declining population — either in absolute numbers or, because educational and linguistic factors make societies unable to create efficiencies — and therefore declining demand or value of urban real estate. This is neither happening overnight nor with clarity, but the massive inertia is under way.
It has the force of nature. Even if the global population, except Africa and India, declines by 20 percent over the coming two decades or so, then we need to think of economic models being rewritten to accommodate the change from rising market size to static or declining market size.
Right now, the internal wars in most advanced economies are between those, mostly urban people, who insist that the growth model must prevail at all costs, and those which wish to revert to the safety of control of the fundamentals of life: food, water, and shelter. This is at the heart of the urban globalist war with the regional nationalists. And it is this fundamental which drives us to the reality that, for example, internal population schisms in each society — the US, the PRC, or Europe — represent the greatest threats to each of these societies before they consider threats from external powers.
3. The changing nature of technology: The most fundamental change of the past few decades is that we have moved past the tipping point in our dependence on electricity as the driver of everything. Electrification makes urbanization viable at the scale we have achieved; it makes every form of advanced warfare viable and more effective. And it has become the tool of warfare; the weapon of choice.
Just as electricity has become the basis of modern wealth, capability, and scientific advance, so too has it become the basis of weaponizing the new strategic doctrine and framework: Strategic Information Dominance (SID). This framework embraces and permeates the operational tools of cyber warfare, psychological strategic warfare, information warfare, electronic warfare and the various levels of countermeasures, energy weapons and their countermeasures, and all the levels of C4I (command, control, communications, computing, and intelligence). It is therefore the guiding hand in the creation and use of the new generation of kinetic weapons and the application of direct force.
But we must bear in mind that the sole goal of power is the imposition of our will upon an opponent, rival, or friend; and the countervailing ability to resist such an imposition of will upon our own society and leadership.
The US (and the USSR) in the Cold War calculated strength on an ability, particularly with nuclear weapons, to “blast enemies back into the Stone Age”, but, from the perspective of the end of the second decade of the 21st Century, even the use of strategic nuclear weapons would be “so Stone Age”.
As a result, the decision by Boeing to withdraw for the time being from the US Air Force’s Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program to replace the Cold War era Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and their obsolescent nuclear warheads may provide an opportunity for the US to re-think the entire basis of strategic deterrence. ICBM thinking — let alone counter-city nuclear weapons thinking — is now profoundly “old school” in much the same way that manned penetrator bombers and carrier strike groups are “old school”. They represent the legacy systems which we dare not, yet, discard. But we must calculate where, at what cost in manpower, doctrinal, and budgetary terms, they still fit into our spectrum of priorities.
The GBSD has begun as an $85-billion program, and one to which the incoming Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen. Mark Milley, has thrown his support. But the US at this moment has the opportunity to weigh whether . . .