Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Why the U.S. can handle minor threats like terror better than Europeans can

Jakub Grygiel is one of the more interesting strategic thinkers around. In the new (Fall 2011) issue of Orbis he has a good piece that looks at why certain decentralized parts of the Roman Empire were better able to counter the barbarian invasions than were others. The lesson of his inquiry: The policy of decentralizing ...

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Jakub Grygiel is one of the more interesting strategic thinkers around. In the new (Fall 2011) issue of Orbis he has a good piece that looks at why certain decentralized parts of the Roman Empire were better able to counter the barbarian invasions than were others.

The lesson of his inquiry:

The policy of decentralizing security provision by, for instance, building greater capabilities for local police forces, may be the most effective way of responding to such a security environment. Signs already abound that this is exactly what is already happening in the United States, a country that because of a deep tradition of self-reliance and federalism may be well positioned to adapt to the possibility of non-state, small, localized, threats. Other countries, in particular in Europe, where the drive to build a centralized state that arrogates to itself most aspects of social life has been historically longer and more relentless, may face greater challenges.

Jakub Grygiel is one of the more interesting strategic thinkers around. In the new (Fall 2011) issue of Orbis he has a good piece that looks at why certain decentralized parts of the Roman Empire were better able to counter the barbarian invasions than were others.

The lesson of his inquiry:

The policy of decentralizing security provision by, for instance, building greater capabilities for local police forces, may be the most effective way of responding to such a security environment. Signs already abound that this is exactly what is already happening in the United States, a country that because of a deep tradition of self-reliance and federalism may be well positioned to adapt to the possibility of non-state, small, localized, threats. Other countries, in particular in Europe, where the drive to build a centralized state that arrogates to itself most aspects of social life has been historically longer and more relentless, may face greater challenges.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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