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Military globalization

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Title: Military globalization  
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Military globalization

Military globalization is the increase of range within which military power can be projected through the progress of military organization and technology and the increasing strategic interrelation first of regional systems and later of the global system. Similarly to economic globalization, military globalization involves strategic integration of a system as expressed in network of alliances. Contrary to economic and socio-cultural globalization, strategic integration entails centralization under a single command.

Military globalization can be traced to the earliest historical records which preserved evidence of growth of areas under military control of a single center. States began to wage wars within close proximity and warfare led to regional integration and centralization. There were several periods of intensive expansion representing a punctuated equilibrium pattern with long stable periods punctuated by short transitions to wider system (the Amarna Age and the Axial Age).

The most expansive phase took place in the Columbian period (1492-circa 1900). The revolution in the technology of warfare circa 1900 resulted in drastic reduction of time required for projection of power world-wide and allowed the phenomenon of world wars. The Twentieth century witnessed the most intensive phase of strategic integration and centralization as expressed in the global network of US-led military alliances.

Contrary to economic and socio-cultural globalization, the subject of military-political globalization remained omitted by research until 2007, when it was explored by Historian Max Ostrovsky in his Y = Arctg X: The Hyperbola of the World Order.


  • History 1
    • Pre-modern time 1.1
    • Early modern time 1.2
    • World Wars 1.3
    • The Cold War 1.4
    • The post-Cold War period 1.5
  • Theory 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4


Pre-modern time

The process of political globalization began at the dawn of history circa 3000 BC. Then in the river valleys appeared first political units visible on the world map. The second expansion occurred in the Amarna Age (mid-Second millennium BC) with civilizations of the Fertile Crescent merging to form one political system in diplomatic and military contact.[1] The Egyptian Army of the New Kingdom reached the upper Euphrates and was surprised to discover a river flowing southward.

The third and the most significant pre-modern surge of globalization took place in the Axial Age (mid-First millennium BC).[2] The scale of the Axial Age globalization is perceived from the comparison between two empires which succeeded each other in the Axial Age—Assyria and Persia.[3] Sargon II (722-705 BC) of Assyria was proud of subjugating Cyprus—a land he knew as "far away in the midst of the sea" and "so far off tat none of my forefathers [had ever he]ard the names of their countries."[4] His successor Sennacherib (705-681 BC) continued to call Cyprus an island in the "midst of the sea."[5] Eastward, the Assyrian Empire never penetrated the Zagros Mountains. Less than two centuries later the army of Persian King Darius I (521-486 BC) invaded Greece, crossed the Danube northward and annexed the Indus Valley.

Since the reign of Darius I, an enormous Indo-Mediterranean political system was formed. It included the bulk of the world population and represented a cluster of all contemporary civilizations except the Chinese. Hence, "all these civilizations from India to Greece stood in very direct contact wit one or several imperial sates of the Near East."[6]

The Axial Age formed two political systems separated by Tibet.[7] The Chinese world expanded synchronously with the Indo-Mediterranean,[8] with the original core civilization becoming Country in the Middle Chung Kuo}. The Chinese discovered the world west of Tibet in 138 BC, when the royal official Chang Chian, dispatched by the Han Emperor Wu, reached the countries of the Central Asia and was amazed to discover that those "people cultivated the land and made their living in much the same way as the Chinese."[9] Two centuries later the Han army followed in his steps and for the first time the major systems of the Old World came into political-military contact.

Largest political units brought about by the Axial Age—empires—occupied considerable parts of the world map. When the Han army penetrated into the Central Asia (the Second century AD) the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans were connected by only three empires—China, Parthia, and Rome—stretching along the famous Silk Road.

To contradict the Eurocentric view, the process of globalization was not reversed with the advent of the Middle Ages. In the Eighth century AD, the two Oceans were connected by only two empires—the Caliphate and Tang China. The two clashed in the battle at Talas in 751 AD. In that battle could be soldiers from both the Atlantic and the Pacific shores. In the Thirteenth century the Mongol conquests turned Eurasia into the Mongolian realm and the remainings. One family ruled the whole land mass from the Pacific to the Adriatic and Baltic Seas.

Early modern time

The Columbian epoch (1492-circa 1900) began the "global" and most expansive stage of globalization. The largest overseas empire—Inca—was conquered by the Spaniards within scarcely four hours. Kings of the ancient Egypt dreamed to rule "all what the sun encircles," and their contemporaries in Mesopotamia to extend their rule "from sunrise to sunset."[10] The Spaniards, and later other European colonial powers established empires on which literally "the sun never set." The Spaniards and the Portuguese, having fixed their frontier along an American meridian, found that the world is round and they need another frontier along an Asian meridian. The Romans were proud to turn the Mediterranean into their mare nostrum. In the Columbian era world oceans became mares nostrums of several Western powers.

By the end of the Columbian epoch, circa 1900, the political globalization filled all sovereign void of the globe.[11] The waves of the European military-political expansion circumnavigated the globe and coincided in the Far East—the fact symbolized by the US's annexation of Philippines (1898) and Open Door policy in China (1900), and the Russian-Japanese War (1904-5). The Pearl Harbor attack was another symbol of the accomplished military globalization—two non-European powers clashed on the opposite to Europe point of the globe.

World Wars

The formation of the global political system circa 1900 coincided with the technological revolution of warfare and communication. Air-Power exposed the globe defenseless. Not only the Lines of Siegfried and Maginot but even vast oceans ceased to be insurmountable barriers. The Eighth century scribe Alcuin was amazed by the Viking invasion from beyond the North Sea because it was not "thought that such an inroad from the sea could be made."[12] In the past century the Americans were similarly surprised by the Japanese inroad but this time the sea was the Pacific Ocean. At this point the history of surprise inroads from beyond the sea ended for no sea was large enough to make an inroad surprising.

After the Pearl Harbor attack the American policy-makers were convinced once and for all that political isolationism is no longer possible on this globe. President Franklin Roosevelt acknowledged that hostilities in Europe, Africa, and Asia are parts of a single global war and added: "Our strategy and self-defense [therefore] must be global strategy."[13] In his Inaugural Address on January 20, 1961, President Kennedy confirmed the fact of the global strategy: "The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe."

The formation of the closed global political system, combined with the technological revolution, resulted in explosive military globalization, expressed by two World Wars.[14] The maximum acceleration was reached in December 1941. On December 7 the Japanese attacked the United States and Britain and proclaimed war on them and Canada; the next day the United States and Canada proclaimed war on Japan; on December 9 China declared war on Germany; the next day Germany and Italy declared war on the US; on December 12 the United States proclaimed war on the Axis; Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa on Japan; and during the week of December 11–18, the declarations of war by great powers were followed by reciprocal salvoes of declarations by their allies: four European states proclaimed war on the United States and nine Latin American nations and the Philippines proclaimed war on the Axis.[15] The War was globalized.

The battles of the War were synchronously fought amidst snow and ice and in the tropics half a globe apart.[16] A contemporary observer had stated in 1942: "The battle area is planetary in dimension."[17] Fronts of global dimension were formed. The German-Soviet front stretched for 3000 miles; the Pacific front from the Aleutians through the Solomon Islands to Burma. The two fronts represented the longest in history land-front and sea-front respectively. British and Japanese soldiers, representing eastern and western islands of Eurasia, collided on the Indian-Burmese frontier thousands of miles from their homes. In the words of Zbigniew Brzezinski, "Europe and Asia had become a single battlefield."[18] In 1945 on the Elbe River met soldiers some of whom were from the Pacific Western and Eastern shores.

The Cold War

The Berlin Wall and the 38th Parallel in Korea symbolized the bipolar phase of the political globalization—two remaining powers faced each other on the opposite sides of the globe. This was the culmination of the five-millennia process of the globalization of conflict. Beginning with the first recorded confrontation between two powers (Upper and Lower Egypt circa 3000 BC), the history of confrontations between ever-larger political units ends by the Cold War with almost the whole globe divided on two blocs.

The Truman Doctrine announced in 1947 represented a global extension of the Monroe Doctrine. Hundreds of US military bases and installations, and a network of military alliances (the Rio Pact, NATO, ANZUS, bilateral alliances with Japan and South Korea, and less formal arrangements with Taiwan, Gulf states, and Israel) spanned the globe. In his New Frontier Speech in 1960 President Kennedy stressed: "Our frontiers today are on every continent."

Having inherited the British strategic position in the southern Asia and the Indian Ocean, the United States closed the circle around the Communist world. Having "globalized" the Monroe Doctrine, the US lines of national defense coincided at the opposite side of the globe. The Panama Canal declined in strategic importance in favor of the Suez Canal and the Malaccan Strait. Old World sea passages became more important in the age of US global strategy. For example, in 2001 the US Navy did not need the Panama Canal to move the fleet from the Far Eastern outpost in South Korea to the far western in Afghanistan; they used the Malaccan Strait for this purpose.

With all his insight for the future, Herbert Wells underestimated the pace of military globalization: "...Long before the year AD 2000, and very probably before 1950, a successful airplane will have soared and come home safe and sound" (Anticipations 1900: 208). By the 1950s long-range strategic bombers with atomic weapons came "home safe and sound" having exceeded the speed of sound. Within the next decade, armed with hydrogen device, they exceeded the speed of sound twice.

Despite all the progress of long-range bombers, already by the 1960s they declined in importance and many projects, such as B-70, were cancelled as anachronistic due to the advent of the Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile. The ICBMs could strike anywhere in the world within 40 minutes.

With the advent of long-range bombers and missiles, the American policy-makers realized that not only the Pacific and Atlantic but even the Northern Ocean does not protect. The Northern Ocean became the third frontier between the superpowers. Strategic Air bases and radar network spread across the new northern frontier in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Iceland.

Ancient Romans believed in a legendary Thule. It hosts the US strategic base (Thule Air Base). Another Classic Tacitus described the Roman expedition to the North Sea: the sailors did not “lack daring,” but the Sea blocked them from investigating. “Soon … we stopped trying, and it was deemed more reverent and more pious to believe in the works of the gods than to know about them” (Germania, 34). Eventually Polaris submarines, with their crews preferring to know rather than believe, sailed underneath the polar ice.

US War Plan became global in scale. The first Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP-62) designed to hit 1080 targets in Eurasia from East Europe to China in a single massive attack, involving 3423 nuclear warheads of total 7847 megatons. Such an attack would kill nearly a quarter of the population and destroy half of industry of world's largest land mass.[19] Adjusting to its global range, the new authority over Air Force which inherited Strategic Air Command in 2009 was called "Global Strike Command."[20]

The post-Cold War period

[21] In the age of military globalization it became hard to distinguish between "national" and "theater" defenses. Their fusion means that US national defense became global defense. The following year Michael Hirsh commented that a "world they had wished to keep at ocean's length became largely their world."[22]

Barry R. Posen in his article "Command of the Commons"[23] stresses that the US obtained an unchallenged "command of the commons"—global neutral sea, area, air, and space—which provides unprecedented global military projection. For the contrast Posen referred to the level of military globalization during the peak of the British Empire only a century earlier:

When Nineteenth-century Britain had command of the sea, its timely power projection capability ended at the maximum range of the Royal Navy's shipboard guns. The Royal Navy could deliver an army many places around the globe, but the army's journey inland was usually difficult and slow; without such a journey, Britain's ability to influence events was limited."[24]

The technological progress, Posen comments, changed all that. The US enjoys the same command of the sea that Britain once did but it can also move larger and heavier forces around the globe and do it faster. Command of space allows the United States to see the whole surface of the world. And air power, ashore and afloat, can reach targets deep inland and destroy them.[24]

In the same article Posen refers to the Unified Command Plan.[25] It divides the whole globe on strategically controlled branches unified under a single command. In case of necessity it "can generate significant combat power in the far corners of the world on relatively short notice."[26]

The adjective "global" became common in US strategic vocabulary. The Department of Defense Guidance (2012)[27] is titled "Sustaining US Global Leadership." It calls for "global responsibilities" and promises "global presence" to cope with "threats worldwide" and "aggression anywhere in the world." Given a global projection of power, the United States has reached what might be called the strategic end of greatness, for no larger space can be controlled in a strategic sense.


Ostrovsky finds that contrary to economic and socio-cultural globalization, the political-military globalization implies not only interrelation and interdependence of the global system but also reduction of political poles[28] and centralization of strategic power. Main military alliances strategically are both integrated and coordinated by a single US command (hub-and-spokes system). Ostrovsky expressed the political-military globalization by drawing a graph of the largest territory under strategic control of a single center in time.[29] What he got was a hyperbolic curve expressed by formula Y = Arctg X. Backward the graph endlessly strives to zero; forward seems to always strive to the total size of the earth. On the long time-scale, "globalization" appears to represent a short period of explosive increase between two much longer periods—prehistory and what some philosophers call "planetary" or "world" history.[30]

See also


  1. ^ [Max Ostrovsky, Y = Arctg X: The Hyperbola of the World Order, (Lanham; University Press of America, 2007), pp 36-37; Mario Liverani. International Relations in the Ancient Near East, 1600-1100 BC, (Wiltshire: Antony Rowe, 2002).
  2. ^ Max Ostrovsky, Y = Arctg X: The Hyperbola of the World Order, (Lanham; University Press of America, 2007), pp XXII-XXIII; Samuel Eisenstadt, ed. The Origins and Diversity of Axial Age Civilizations, (New York: State University of New York, 1986).
  3. ^ Max Ostrovsky, Y = Arctg X: The Hyperbola of the World Order, (Lanham; University Press of America, 2007), pp XXII-XXIII.
  4. ^ Ancient Near Eastern Texts, (ed. James B. Pritchard, New York: Princeton University Press, 1969), p 284.
  5. ^ Ancient Near Eastern Texts, (ed. James B. Pritchard, New York: Princeton University Press, 1969), p 288.
  6. ^ Hermann Kulke, "The Historical Background of India's Axial Age," The Origins and Diversity of Axial Age Civilizations, (ed. Samuel Eisenstadt, New York: State University of New York, 1986), pp 390-391.
  7. ^ Max Ostrovsky, Y = Arctg X: The Hyperbola of the World Order, (Lanham; University Press of America, 2007), pp 38-46
  8. ^ Max Ostrovsky, Y = Arctg X: The Hyperbola of the World Order, (Lanham; University Press of America, 2007), p XXIII
  9. ^ Ssu-ma Chien, Records of the Grand Historian, (tr. Burton Watson, Hong Kong: Columbia University Press, 1962), vol 2, p 236.
  10. ^ Mario Liverani. International Relations in the Ancient Near East, 1600-1100 BC, (Wiltshire: Antony Rowe, 2002), p 30.
  11. ^ Halford J. Mackinder, The Geographical Pivot of History, London: J. Murray, 1904; Fredrick Jackson Turner, The Frontier in American History, (New York: Viking, 1920); Max Ostrovsky, Y = Arctg X: The Hyperbola of the World Order, (Lanham; University Press of America, 2007), pp 126-140.
  12. ^ Cited in Henry Royston Loyn, The Vikings in Britain, (London: B. T. Batsford, 1977), p 55.
  13. ^ Geoffrey R. Sloan, Geopolitics in US Strategic Policy, 1890-1987, (Sussex: Wheat Sheef Books, 1988), pp 114-115.
  14. ^ Max Ostrovsky, Y = Arctg X: The Hyperbola of the World Order, (Lanham; University Press of America, 2007),139-140
  15. ^ Declarations of war during World War II
  16. ^ John Lukacs The End of the Twentieth Century and the End of the Modern Age, (New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1993), p 107.
  17. ^ Hugh Byas, The Japanese Enemy: His Power and Vulnerability, (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1942), p 29.
  18. ^ The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, (New York: Perseus Books, 1997), p 5.
  19. ^ Fred M. Kaplan, The Wizards of Armageddon, (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991), pp 269-279.
  20. ^ Air Force Global Strike Command.
  21. ^ Ken Jimbo, "A Japanese Perspective on Missile Defense and Strategic Coordination," The Nonproliferation Review, 9/1, (2002) pp 56, 58, 66; Wade Huntley, "Missile Defense: More May Be Better—for China," The Nonproliferation Review, 9/1, (2002) p 8.
  22. ^ Michael Hirsh, "Bush and the World," Foreign Affairs. 81/5, (2002), 31
  23. ^ "Command of the Commons: The Military Foundation of US Hegemony,"' International Security, 28/1, (2003).
  24. ^ a b Barry R. Posen, "Command of the Commons: The Military Foundation of US Hegemony,"' International Security, 28/1, (2003), 9.
  25. ^
  26. ^ Barry R. Posen, "Command of the Commons: The Military Foundation of US Hegemony,"' International Security, 28/1, (2003), 19.
  27. ^ The White House, Washington DC: January 3,
  28. ^ See Unipolarity and "Polarity" in International Relations
  29. ^ Max Ostrovsky, Y = Arctg X: The Hyperbola of the World Order, (Lanham; University Press of America, 2007), p 363.
  30. ^ Chinese Philosopher K'ang Yu-wei and his German colleague Karl Jaspers independently designed three perfectly corresponding stages of history; the first and second both called prehistory and history; the third K'ang called "world history" and Jaspers "planetary history" (K'ang Yu-wei, The One World Philosophy, (tr. Lawrence G. Thompson, London: 1958), p 79; Karl Jaspers, The Origin and Goal of History, (London: Yale University Press, 1949), p 196. More on the nature and meaning of globalization see in Max Ostrovsky Y = Arctg X: The Hyperbola of the World Order, (Lanham; University Press of America, 2007).

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