State In A Box
a radical approach to SSTR
On the stability doctrine side, my proposal is a system called State In A Box (SIAB.) SIAB revolves around an analysis of what the essential functions of the State are, and a systematic approach to migrate power to the best level for each essential function.
Basically, in practice, this means three things.
1> Municipal functions - water, power generation - are pushed DOWN to the HOUSEHOLD level wherever possible. Solar panels, wind, water purifiers, composting toilets etc. That's the hexayurt for refugees, and an as-yet-unfinished Distributed Infrastructure Retrofit kit for single family homes. Larger buildings - govt. offices, schools, hospitals - become "citadels" which provide power etc. not just for themselves but for a small area around them and also network services (i.e. a large wifi cloud with a satellite uplink as a backup backhaul) creating little islands of stability around them, but still within a distributed infrastructure framework. This approach simplifies the creation of "protection bureaucracies" which have to guard infrastructure, and "service division bureaucracies" (like power companies) which ration who can use how much of a shared resource. We're unifying the owner, user and protector of infrastructure systems as a way of reducing the level of social complexity and stability required to get essential services restored.
2> State functions - identity databases which generate passports, issuing currency and so on for example - move UP to INTERNATIONAL level. The Big Horse in this race is the SIAB Identity Services Architecture, which is a genocide-resistant or genocide-proof international ID card standard which uses classical American separation-of-powers political thinking to keep the biometrics and biographical databases separated by a judge with an encryption key.
3> This leaves a greatly simplified State. We migrate power and, more importantly, responsibility up and down leaving a simplified State which is much more plausible to stand back up even in horribly unstable areas, and - for bonus points - we put computers into the equations as we solve them, possibly reducing the bureaucratic overheads of state function to about 3% of their current level. The resulting society is generally-speaking stabilized by the autonomy of its householders and institutions, rather than by vesting power in an already shaky state apparatus: with distributed infrastructure, a mistake at the government level cannot result in the electrical grid failing, because there is no grid. The lights stay on, regardless of what is happening at the Presidential Palace.
Resilience and Opportuniy - Effective Tools for Victory in Fourth Generation Wars? is a short (5 page, odd format) paper that I put online about two years ago that runs through the "Individual Marshall Plan" approach to SSTR / COIN - the idea that irregular forces demobilize one man at a time, and a job and some economic prospects are a key part of that.
The paper mentions an Iraq war spend of $200 billion. This was written some years ago. The figure is now closer to $3 trillion dollars, and the last figure I saw for insurgent kills in the news was 50,000 giving a cost of $60 million per insurgent kill. I believe that if even a small amount of that money was spent in creating alternative career paths for Iraqi youth it would be a much more effective way of taking fighters off the battlefield, and putting them behind the wheel of taxis, in pizza kitches, and in board rooms, where they belong.
The best piece I have seen on the virtues of that approach is "All You Need Is Love" which covers Yassir Arafat's individual level demobilization of Black September by semi-arranged marriage.
In general, I view the State as a vendor of services to the People that constitute it. SSTR is about getting essential services restored to individual humans. It is essentially humanitarian at a fundamental level, when done right. Distributed infrastructure and a decentralization of political power are keys to making SSTR work in the real world, particularly in areas (like much of Africa) which lack a sufficient economic base to finance the centralization of power while at the same time providing good services to their citizens in other areas.
I think, in general, the Jeffersonian model of relatively self-sufficient and highly educated gentleman farmers is about to re-run on a fairly colossal scale as the Internet arrives in the developing world significantly in advance of the toilet.
In terms of how the pieces might fit together at a policy level, consider "Winning the Long Peace" which envisages a "policy of containment" style grand strategy for addressing the threat of WMD-based asymmetric warfare based on building direct relationships between the USG and individuals all over the world: we help feed you, we help protect you, we pay for the basic science that improves your life... drop a dime if your crazy cousin is trying to build a nuke, please.