Academic journal article Military Review

Sources of Conflict in the 21st Century: Regional Futures and U.S. Strategy

Academic journal article Military Review

Sources of Conflict in the 21st Century: Regional Futures and U.S. Strategy

Article excerpt

SOURCES OF CONFLICT IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Regional Futures and U.S. Strategy, Zalmay Khalilzad ed., The RAND Corporation, Santa Monica. CA. 1998, 336 pages, $20.00.

Sources of Conflict in the 21st Centry assembles analyses from a 1996 RAND Corporation research study for the Project AIR FORCE Strategy and Doctrine Program. The book posits three alternative "worlds" from the evolutionary to the benign to the malignant- and identifies important wild cards capable of upsetting straight-line analyses.

The first alternative world represents a base case of what 2025 might look like from a linear projection of today's world. The second alternative is a more benign world with more cooperation than conflict, peace among the great powers and active cooperation to prevent or terminate clashes among lesser actors. The third alternative represents the worst-case scenario-instability, weapons proliferation, tenuous peace and economic, demographic and political turmoil.

The wild cards include environmental catastrophes such as the emergence of a new, lethal virus; an earthquake of massive scale; or a gigantic asteroid collision with earth. Others are political upheavals such as revolutionary collapse of a regional ally and assumption of power by extremists in a nuclear-armed country and technological developments such as a new energy source.

The book identifies global awareness, global reach, rapid reaction and appropriate force as critical qualities for the future US Air Force. …

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