Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Megacity Geography: The Future of Military Geography

I once posed the question, "Would we know a war if we saw one?" at work. A handful of people pondered the question while most ignored it. It is in the best interests of all though to seriously think of the question.

Recently the German intelligence service stated its fear of civil collapse in megacities (Hat tip: Coming Anarchy). The Germans point out how areas of these cities have been ungovernable. The primary way (wealthy) people are combating the lawlessness is private security companies is worrisome because of legal issues and more importantly their presence shows the legitimate government as ineffective.

The opening question plays a major role in the decay of megacities. Already the police have waged war in Sao Paulo against a criminal gang and over two thousand people have died in violence between drug cartels and the Mexican government. The Mexican military is now involved in holding territory which the cartels once controlled as their own little microstates. Geographers and the military all must realize this upcoming era will be one of non-state actors who blur the lines between criminality and warfare. Other examples like the Mahdi Army of Iraq have shown the damage gangs can do if order is lost.

In the next fifty years over ninety percent of urbanization will occur in Asia and Africa's "Gap" zone. These cities will grow much faster than most governments can manage. Urban geographers and military geographers must take in consideration solutions to megacity problems in order to prevent or contain the troubles to come.

Be sure to check out Street Smart for military urban geography reading.

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