The general stressed, however, that these changes have come about as part of a “fundamental change in the character of war” spurred by broad technological changes. “The last great [shift, between World War I and World War II] was the introduction of the plane, mechanization and radio. Today you see robotics, artificial intelligence… and a wide variety of other technologies.

“If we, the US military, do not make a fundamental change ourselves in the next 10 to 20 years, we will be on the wrong side of a conflict.”

What the general was talking about involves more than a vague speech about a new cold war between two unequal superpowers. The Soviet Union was a self-isolating country with a lousy geography and a failing economy, whose might depended on a vast arsenal of nuclear weapons and its reserves of energy.

The new “tripolar war”, as the general called it, involves competition between the United States and a Chinese economic giant seeking technological supremacy with America, dragged by a Russian economic dwarf still defined by oil, the gas and nuclear weapons.

Again, rapid advances in science are the key to defining the new era we live in. “By adding all the technologies that are coming to us very quickly,” the general said, “we are entering a potentially much more strategically unstable world than in the past 40 to 70 years.


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