Some may say that the War on Terror is World War 3. Some say that the War on Terror is World War 4, and that the Cold War was World War 3. I think, if the world continues on its current path, that particular semantic argument will be absolutely put to rest by the sheer unimaginable horror an actual World War III.
What is true is that the chaos in the third world is increasing, and the ability to deal with that chaos is decreasing. An imbalance of power currently exists, and America has been unable to effectively apply her weight of influence as a leader.
So now that I've looked at this, I take what I know of military history and world history and being applying this knowledge to the current situation. It is an academic argument thread, to be sure, but one thing has always rung true about the lead ups to America's great wars: we were not prepared for them when they started.
Right now, America is not prepared for a conventional worldwide war. Luckily, we are more prepared than the next, like, eighteen nations, and we've proven time and time again that we can become prepared and adapt rather quickly.
Here are some things I think we need to begin thinking about in regards to our preparedness in dealing with the world situation:
1. World War is not inevitable. At the current time, we can still apply diplomacy, economics, culture and international police action in order to move away from the 'clash of civilizations' radical punditry seems to want us to engage in. The fuse is lit, to be sure, but it ain't made it to the poweder keg just yet.
2. Chaos in the Third World is the breeding ground for terrorism; religious strife is the result of this as well as the banner under which popular support is rallied. The West cannot physically take and hold the whole of the Third World by itself.
3. America is not prepared, materially or psychologically to fight either a conventional world war or an ideological struggle. Any way you cut it, American democracy is divided almost 50-50 on any direction (or non direction) this nation plans to take. Here are some bi-partisan concepts I think should be considered:
A. National Serivce. Military, Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Education, Medicine, Infrastructure. Reinstate the draft and start folding folks into those six fields.
B. Business interests, especially international businesses, are subordinate to the interests of the American State. Alternative fuels, more efficient vehicles, and local sources of oil are strategic priorities at this point. Doing business with brutal regimes are strategic blunders.
C. Nation-states within our sphere of influence must be pressured to liberalize. modernize and strengthen. Somalia is bordered by two developing nations in Eithiopia and Kenya. The longer Somalia stays in chaos, the more chance that chaos will spread into Eithiopia and Kenya. The stronger Eithiopia and Kenya are, the more chance that modernization will spread into Somalia.
D. We must work with and lead International Organizations.
E. We must have far greater organization with our local disaster response programs. During any disaster: man made, natural or terrorist, first responders are going to be the boots on the ground at hour zero. First Aid, supply dumps, basic deputization training, and access to vehicles can save lives in the first minutes after everything goes wrong. Americans have proven a willingness to do this on their own. The government of the several states needs to find a way to empower, encourage and help organize such volunteerism.