Academic journal article Military Review

A Handful of Bullets: How the Murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand Still Menaces the Peace

Academic journal article Military Review

A Handful of Bullets: How the Murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand Still Menaces the Peace

Article excerpt

A HANDFUL OF BULLETS: How the Murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand Still Menaces the Peace

Harlan K. Ullman, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 2014, 256 pages

A Handful of Bullets: How the Murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand Still Menaces the Peace has virtually nothing to with Franz Ferdinand. Instead, Ullman offers an insightful and daunting strategic analysis of today's globalized world. One of the Navy's foremost strategic thinkers, Ullman argues that rapidly increasing interconnectivity has fundamentally changed the potential reach of individuals across the globe--no longer does someone have to assassinate an Archduke to have a global impact. Ullman argues that the traditional state is failing, but American strategic planners remain locked into state-centric and outdated modes of thought. He sprinkles his book with potential solutions to many of America's ills. Although many of his solutions are unlikely to be implemented--such as reintroducing the draft to reduce the insularity of our professional military--they are certainly worthy of discussion.

At the heart of A Handful of Bullets is Ullman's "New Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" The new horsemen are "Failed and Failing Governments;" "Economic Despair, Disparity, and Disruption;" "Ideological Extremism and Religious Fanaticism;" and "Environmental Calamity and Climate Change" While war, famine, pestilence, and death presumably are still in business, Ullman's horsemen summarize the most serious threats to the world today. Ullman believes that Failed and Failing Governments is the most dangerous of the horsemen, but he emphasizes the interconnectivity of the horsemen. One of the best sections of the book is a series of "nightmare scenarios"--looming crises that could have a geopolitical effect similar to Franz Ferdinand's murder. These include everything from a super storm, to the dissolution of NATO, to large-scale cyber disruption of the economy. …

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