A General Reports on the Dangers of Global Instability

Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times:

Zinn190_1 No one was more prescient about the problems that could ensue from the present Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq than Gen. Tony Zinni, the former commander in chief of United States Central Command (Centcom) and Mr. Bush’s former envoy to the Middle East. His central theory is that the world changed not on Sept. 11, 2001, but in 1989, with the end of the cold war, which created seismic changes (comparable to those left in the wakes of World War I and World War II) and a dangerous new environment of global instability. “We expected a new world order of peace and prosperity,” he writes of the collapse of the Soviet Union. “We could not have been more wrong. Instead of global peace and prosperity, all the snakes came out, with consequences that are still unfolding.”

Change and flux, he reminds us, accelerated in the closing decade of the 20th century and the opening years of the 21st. Globalization held out the promise of worldwide economic development but also threatened to increase economic inequalities and feelings of exploitation on the part of the third world. At the same time, old ideas of sovereignty were being challenged by a proliferation of “non-state entities” (like terrorist networks and drug cartels), while old ideas of nationalism were being challenged by religious, ethnic and tribal identities.

More here.