Hyperconflict: Globalization and Insecurity

Hyperconflict: Globalization and Insecurity

Hyperconflict: Globalization and Insecurity

Hyperconflict: Globalization and Insecurity


This book addresses two questions that are crucial to the human condition in the twenty-first century: does globalization promote security or fuel insecurity? And what are the implications for world order? Coming to grips with these matters requires building a bridge between the geoeconomics and geopolitics of globalization, one that extends to the geostrategic realm. Yet few analysts have sought to span this gulf.

Filling the void, Mittelman identifies systemic drivers of global security and insecurity and demonstrates how the intense interaction between them heightens insecurity at a world level. The emergent confluence he labels hyperconflict- a structure characterized by a reorganization of political violence, a growing climate of fear, and increasing instability at a world level. Ultimately, his assessment offers an "early warning" to enable prevention of a gathering storm of hyperconflict, and the establishment of enduring peace.


Matters of security and insecurity are endemic to the globalizing world that marks daily existence. Not conditions of one’s own choosing, they are inseparable from personal experience. So, too, this book is about big, powerful structures. But there is also a story behind it. Not mere abstractions, the concerns in the pages ahead stem from my journey through life. Although not wanting to detain the reader with an autobiography that may be intrinsically uninteresting, I offer a brief personal history in the Preface, for I believe in the importance of self-reflectivity.

Born during World War II, I vividly recall my father and uncles recounting a history of U.S. military valor. Having served in the European and Pacific “theaters” of war, the veterans in my family returned to “the home of the brave”—in the artful language of the national anthem, which we often recited—and found it painful to relive the grit of armed conflict. Nonetheless, these former soldiers continued to fight this war as a war of words. I was tutored in passionate narratives of masculinity, heroism, patriotism, and American invincibility. As my father put it, “‘We’ won every war that ‘we’ ever fought.” and some family friends, Holocaust survivors, did not have to voice their horrific stories. Tattooed in blue with numbers from concentration camps, their forearms evinced such gruesome tales. Time and again, children of my age viewed war movies that graphically portrayed threats posed by the “enemies of the free world.”

At school, my teachers reinforced the narrative about U.S. military courage and love of freedom. in the wake of a shadowy war against a putative transnational enemy (“the communist threat”) in Korea, distinctions between “we” and “they” were inscribed in the consciousness of American youth. During drills in the 1950s, sirens sounded an alarm, signaling that teachers and students should quickly move to the schools’ interior corridors and put heads down on folded . . .

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